Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tuesday's Orts--Late February Edition

Tuesday's Orts--bits and pieces of thoughts and events that land here occasionally...
  • Bruce, our younger daughter's rescued kitten, posed for a photo when I checked in on him recently when she was out of town.   He's close to four months old now.

Here he is surrounded by some favorite toys.  Bruce especially enjoyed attacking my feet which I had tucked under the blanket folded on the bed.  I told Erica that while he didn't let me pick him up, he tolerated me holding his paw to extract a talon from my sock.
  • My mom's birthday was last week and we celebrated on the weekend with dinner out at a popular local restaurant as a party of  seven. There were several large parties there at the same time. While the waiter was friendly and personable, the service was surprisingly bad--it took over 30 minutes just to get the drinks we ordered.  The food took even longer, but was good except for my sister's steak, which looked to have been microwaved hot before serving.  She was not pleased at all, had the dish taken away and refused replacement, but was polite about it.  The manager sent over free desserts later but some family members will not return there, I think!
  • The Meadowland quiltalong continues (pattern by Then Came June) and I posted my "middles" on Instagram.  I'm piecing the quilt by rows rather than blocks to eliminate some seams.

Somewhere along the way in making these blocks, I misplaced my favorite 6.5" square Omnigrid ruler that I have had for many years.  I have not been able to find it after multiple searches of everywhere I could think of.  I imagine it will reappear in an unlikely place at some point!
  •  Traffic rant:  Drivers who look you dead in the eyes and pull out in front of you anyway.  Even worse if they poke along after doing it. Grrr.
  • I was offered an extra shift to scribe at a different office and enjoyed working with a younger demographic--we even saw an 18 month old boy.  The doctor I mainly work for sees a large number of patients in their 80s and 90s. We had a 99 year old man the other day who wanted to be checked for a hernia.  I did not stay for the examination section of that visit!
  • My husband helped me fix an issue that has been a bother in the sewing room for months.  My adjunct desk in the sewing room had a drawer failure--likely due to me adding too much weight, causing the center drawer support to fail.  One drawer has been taking up a lot of counter space and I finally tired of it.  We turned the desk upside down and Grant found some Gorilla glue in the garage.  Unfortunately it was completely dried up so I had to make a trip to the hardware store--making a 10 minute repair job take three times as long!  Anyway, my repair worked and yesterday after getting the desk back in place, I spent TWO HOURS clearing surfaces and putting things away in my small room.
 Finally I can use the desktop as intended and all my necessary tools are hidden again.
The Hoosier cabinet is a little more visible as most of the stacks were put away.  I have a lot of empty bins and totes that need a home.   The next photo is laughably blurry but does show a good clear cutting mat :)

  • Finally, we have some exciting news we can share at last--we will be grandparents again in August when our son and his wife are expecting a baby BOY!   In an amazing coincidence,  DIL Ashley has the same due date as I had with our son.   Nick was born 3 days after his due date so we will wait and see if baby and daddy have the same birthday. Happy times!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Design Wall Monday--2/24/20 Mixed Bag

Another week flies by--its Design Wall Monday again.  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  As usual, my design wall is a mixed bag :)

Our guild's Pizza Box round robin ended earlier this month and we all got our blocks back after 12 rounds. Each participant picked a block design and provided fabrics placed in a pizza box.   I chose Grayscale Quilt blocks (Cluck Cluck Sew tutorial)  in solid green and white--I provided directions and fabric.  Midway through the swap, one member asked if they could use a different color, and I said yes to another solid color.  Somehow this translated into mixed colors in the blocks; not my intention, but there you go :)  Since 12 blocks isn't really enough to make a quilt, I am sewing up 8 more in the opposite orientation with a white instead of colored starting square.  There are so many ways to set these blocks; I'll do a 4x5 setting for a 48x60" lap quilt.


I woke up very early Saturday morning and decided to make my Mom a little something for her birthday--we were celebrating it with dinner out Saturday.  I began with rummaging around the extra parts drawer--do you have one of those?  I found a bunch of trimmed pieces made in the wrong colorway for a quilt I made our younger daughter a few years back.  I thought they would make good edging for a small table mat and poked around in the fat quarter dresser for options, finally settling on a pretty fat quarter my sister in law Laura brought me from Japan a few years ago.  


Five of the extra parts made about a 20 inch strip and I trimmed the FQ to size once they were sewn together. Since so many of the squares were left, I decided to make a tablemat for Laura too.  The hardest part was choosing backing and binding fabrics, but once again stash and the leftover binding drawer were helpful. 


For Mom I chose a dark browny-gray binding and the never-ending white berry spray fabric on mustard for the back.  It was fun to quilt some zig zags through the print with dark gray thread after I stitched in the ditch with neutral thread on the triangles and edges of the center panel. 


I was happy with the way it turned out.  For Laura, I switched things up a little, flipping the squares and trimming off some of the solid cream fabric.


The flash shows the texture of the Japanese print and backing/binding fabrics better.
Straight stitch quilting and machine stitched binding.  Both ladies were very pleased with the little mats.  There are enough leftover squares to do two more mats--maybe I'll make one for myself!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Design Wall Monday--2/17/20

It's Design Wall Monday.  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog. 

On my design surface is the ongoing Dreamweaver quilt I'm making for my son and daughter-in-law (Jen Kingwell Designs).  I'm still working on the pieced rings that will be appliqued to the completed background. After several attempts at piecing, the outer ring has been in Timeout while I played with the Meadowland QAL blocks that have no curves! 

After ripping apart the four or so pieces I'd sewn together, I consulted the template pattern drawings and my cut templates and fabric pieces again.  It finally dawned on me that the seam allowance was wider than 1/4" and that was the key.  I drew on the seam allowance for a few pieces but then noticed the width of my machine foot was the same as the drawn line.  Yay, a shortcut!

 There was still a struggle to get all 32 triangles sewn with enough seam allowance for the points not to be chopped off when I add the bias tape around the outside.

I am sure to be adjusting seam allowances again to get the inner rings attached to the outer rings.  But that will happen on another day...meanwhile I sewed up a bunch more Meadowland blocks :)

For leader enders, I've long been making four patches from 1.5" squares and adding triangles to make square-in-squares.  I decided to use some neutral, brown, and black 1.25" strips to separate the blocks--that is the smallest size scrap I save!

I like the striped spacers a lot!  This is a pretty wild bunch of blocks.  I wasn't paying close attention to the orientation of the four patches when I added the strips.  Separated with the lights going horizontal and a straight setting calmed down the look:

 They are still very scrappy! 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Sewing Room is Humming

There has been plenty of stitching going on in the sewing room.  I am working on several things at once--a habit I cannot seem to tame!  First up is the Meadowland Quiltalong hosted by the designer,  Meghan of Then Came June.  I showed my fabrics last post and have been having so much fun sewing these big blocks from the We Whisk You a Merry Christmas collection (Maywood Studio).

The first five blocks went together fairly easily, though I did have a struggle with one of the directional fabric prints.  Since it is a text print, I wanted the words to all be in the same orientation.  There was a little surgery and recutting triangles, but not too much drama....that came later when I decided to add another color print from the fat quarter collection for more variety.   I blithely cut out squares for the flying geese "sky" corners without consulting the pattern...naturally I cut them too small. 

I was able to rescue myself by using Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle Tool to cut more geese and HSTs from the fat quarter scraps.  I am happy with the pink brightening up the darker prints. Since I chose to piece by row instead of constructing full blocks, the background white fabric squares are missing yet.

I'm up to 11 blocks and will have an extra to choose for my 16 block layout. They look pretty good stacked next to each other too.


 Pink and red block for Valentine's Day :)

Our Guild is having a block party this year and we are making X-Plus blocks to turn in and hopefully win others.   I couldn't stop at one!


Three very disparate blocks from scraps and stash.  The purple one required surgery twice--this pic is before I noticed the right lower corner orientation did not match the others.  I took off the corner and had to completely recut and resew it.  More surgery for poor lining up of the top and bottom edges was required, but eventually it came out right. I didn't win this month's block lotto, but will sew up some more to play next month.  

Meanwhile, I have been working on the next round of the Dreamweaver quilt for my son and daughter in law but it is currently in Timeout as the points are not coming out correctly.  No photo of that mess.  Sigh.

Last weekend daughter Erica asked me to check on her kitten, Bruce, as she wanted to stay another night out of town with her boyfriend.  I arrived at her house and observed a plant murder had taken place. 


I had to remove the pot to the garage and do some clean up.  Bruce eventually came out from under her bed and ate and drank.  He's shy so I didn't try to pet him at first.--just played for a bit.  He's also quick so hard to photograph! 
Bruce is 3-4 months old now and has classic Tabby markings and green eyes. I was able to get a few pets in toward the end of my visit, and he almost climbed onto my lap from the coffee table--at least one paw was on my knee!  Hopefully he'll get used to me as I'm sure more kitten sitting opportunities will arise :)

Monday, February 3, 2020

Design Wall Monday--Dream Weaver Progress

It's Design Wall Monday.  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.

On my design wall is the applique for the Dream Weaver quilt I'm making for my son and daughter-in-law.  I got the next round of applique pieces cut and began piecing them.  There was some frustration with this Jen Kingwell Designs pattern is it lacks instructions for lining up the ring pieces as well as pressing directions.  I seldom work with templates and my dearth of experience showed in the size difference of some of my traced and cut pieces.  


There was a bit of sliver surgery performed on multiple pieces. The appeal of kits with precut pieces definitely is understandable, though the prices can be scary high.  The piecing was slow and required multiple uses of the seam ripper. Initially I was pressing the seams open, but found that pressing one direction was better for nesting the seams. 


I did not redo the partial ring pieces pressed open!  I had a surprisingly easier time sewing this ring to the center ring.  Lots of pins helped, as suggested by the quilt's designer, Michelle McKillop.

Making it lie flat took spray starch, pressing, and pinning to the ironing board for some minutes.  The next ring is of larger triangles in two widths.  I'll add some different solids and prints to that ring. My DIL will need to decide on the center circle applique fabric before too long. 

Tomorrow is the first day of the Meadowland Quiltalong and I am ready to start cutting.  I double checked my fat quarters today and pulled solid Kona White for the background.  On Instagram I saw there were some hints on Ev Quilts & Co for sewing the flying geese with directional prints, of which I will have several!  She also has a post on cutting larger setting squares for the background and alternate assembly of the blocks in rows rather than squares.  


Looking forward to getting all the cutting done for the 16 block throw size. #MeadowlandQAL