Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Piecing for Peace

Piecing is my favorite part of quilting, like most quilters, I think!  Lori of Humble Quilts is having a quiltalong that is short and sweet, called 50 Shades of Brown.  My Civil War scrap box had a thorough rummage for browns and lights, with a few colored pieces of blue and pink for this recreation of an antique. 

It was a fun little diversion and I await the final border instructions next week.  

Months ago I cut out pieces for a Plaidish Quilt (free tutorial on Kitchen Table Quilting here) and turned to that project box for some scrappy happy play.  My version is a 6x8 setting.  I started with just a few of the light blocks.

 Sew much fun!  I needed 12 of these for my setting and sewed them up between telemedicine visits. 

It was so fun to see the blocks come together.  I moved on to the dark blocks right away. 


I need 12 for my setting so have another set to sew tomorrow.  The last set is 24 medium blocks and I can look forward to plenty of piecing time with those. 

Leader-ender Easy Breezy blocks are slowly building as well (Bonnie Hunter/Quiltville). 

About 30 are finished and I have multiple sets of precut scraps ready to go under the needle.  The scraps never seem to stop being generated--I'll keep piecing them for my sanity :)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Having an Occasional Good Time

This was a rough week, mood wise.  I spent way too much non-work time staring at my phone, as I didn't even desire to piece, which is a true sign of how low I was feeling!  I did do a little bit of hand embroidery, pulling out the well-aged wool applique blocks from the Greenpiece BOM my husband bought me so many years ago.  The bottle of applique glue that had been sitting in the Hoosier cabinet was unusable.  A longer than anticipated search for regular glue turned up another not-young bottle of Elmer's.  It worked well enough to adhere a few small dots. 

I just added the three little (tiny!) khaki details to the watermelon rind.  Somewhere I lost one piece and now think I want two more to make the rind more stripey--there is plenty of wool left.  The watermelon is about 7-8 inches at its widest.  


I glued down the yellow flower in the first block, and will add the layered stem/petal pieces already prepped. Next are even tinier black seeds to cut and add to the apple.  

By Friday I just had to get out of the house, and visited with my Mom and Dad for a couple of hours (with my mask on), then did a little shopping for a replacement rug and some fall decorations.  At Lowe's, Fall, Halloween, and Christmas were colliding, and expensive.  No runner sized rugs were available, so I drove to Big Lots where the same holidays were also crashing into each other. My least favorite unsupervised child activity was also occurring, siblings chasing each other all over the store, bigger boys vs little sister with very noisy sandals.  Sigh.  However, I found my favorite cookies, though I had to kneel on the floor and reach to the back of the bottom shelf to get the one bag of Archway Iced Molasses cookies left.  A suitable hall runner was also found.

Not wanting to go home yet, I took a long drive through town, down to the harbor, turned through the pumpkin and strawberry fields, then on some back streets, up to the foothills and east to the orange and lemon orchards before finally down to our driveway, feeling better. 

We had a great Saturday when this little guy and his parents came for a long visit.

Dane is gaining and growing just as he should at 6 weeks.  

The little family is doing well.  Mama has more time off, which is a good thing, while Dada is back to work.  

Baby smiles are the best!  And his left-cheek dimple echoes Mimi's :)  

After the family headed out, I pulled out the scrap box for choices for Lori of Humble Quilt's quiltalong.  I hadn't decided until then that I would join, given the number of unfinished objects around here!  But it's not a large quilt so I felt I could play too--and I love browns.


Next clue tomorrow, no idea where this is going to end up yet :) 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Design Wall Monday--9/21/2020

Design Wall Monday rolls around again--see more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog. 

My design surface was only shortly occupied by the Now and Then baby quilt plan I showed last post for our DIL's sister, as I was eager to sew it up.  But first we had a very special visitor; grandson Dane came to Mimi and Papa's for the first time at 4 weeks old.  Here he is in Papa's arms.


He's growing well and filling out nicely.  I got to feed him a small bottle and change a diaper :)  His daddy is very proud of his growing boy: 


He's not quite smiling but does respond to voices and likes to sleep with one eye open, per daddy!   Not sure yet if he'll get daddy's blue eyes or mama's brown eyes. It was great fun to have a long visit with the little family, Mama is doing a great job.  Our son's paternity leave is over and he will be returning to work--but they made the most of the four weeks since baby Dane arrived. 

Construction of the Now and Then quilt occupied many happy hours (pattern in July 2019 APQ magazine, designer Victoria Findlay Wolfe).  My version is just a portion of the design.

Nine patch parts completed first, and then laying out all the cut snowball squares. 

I love the doubled nine patch block--so clever.  I was happy with the layout so proceeded to adding all the snowball corners. 

After considering a few different layouts, switching some of the blue and orange blocks, I stayed with the layout that is close to the magazine pattern. 

The top was completed in an afternoon and I like it a lot.  I'm thinking of using the orange print for the backing and binding after quilting this myself.   My sister is making two quilts for the next  babies to be born in the family, twin girls our nephew and his wife are expecting in December.  We still have never met our other grand-nephew born last December, due to the pandemic, but see him often in videos that his dad posts, love that.  

I've sent off one quilt to be done professionally but can't afford that for all the tops waiting in line...unfortunately my sister's longarm has died and unless she can find an old major computer component somewhere in the country, and someone to fix it, her money has been wasted.  Very sad! Sewing room plans for the week therefore should be directed to making quilt sandwiches for some already paired up tops and backs that I can do myself.  I'd like to have a nice pile of completed quilts before the year ends and time suddenly seems to be hurtling faster to the holidays and year end :)

Friday, September 18, 2020

Now and Then--Another Baby Quilt

I just love the satisfaction of sewing up smaller projects-- and if they are for a baby, even better!  Our daughter-in-law's sister is due in a few months with her own first baby, and I asked our DIL Ashley if she thought her sister might like a quilt.  I try never to assume that everyone loves handmade--we all have different tastes--but Ashley thought her sister would like one similar to the first quilt I made our grandson Dane. 


 The snowball blocks were fun to sew and I liked the simple block to block layout.  While perusing some of my APQ magazines, I found a great companion to this quilt.

This is a redo of an antique quilt by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.  I loved the combination of the nine patches and snowballs.  Her version is all solid fabrics with the snowball blocks randomly placed, but I wanted to use prints, making the cousins' quilts complementary.  I cropped a portion of the quilt for a baby sized version.


The navy and white is for the nine patches and snowball corners, and the sun/cloud print and yellow speckle for the center, with primarily bright blue for the remaining snowball blocks.  Though I drew it with orange in the corners, I may switch things up when all the blocks are ready to layout.  I prepped all the fabrics and started cutting.  And then....a design opportunity was presented when I mistakenly thought I was using my 6.5" ruler for the squares and I WAS NOT.  Sigh.  Luckily I had only miscut one of the sun/cloud print blocks, but didn't have any more of this fabric (I had made a bunch of peepee teepees with it).  I found a rocket/moon fabric in the fat quarter drawer to use; with the yellow speckle squares, these will be my center snowball blocks.


Getting out the Accuquilt 2.5" die for strip cutting is a big time saver, even though it wastes a little bit of fabric.  I'll be marking a lot of squares for all those snowball corners, but am happy to strip piece the 9 patches per the designer's directions. 


The pattern is in issue #158, from June 2019.  Here's a link to the magazine with a photo of the antique and modern remake. Can't wait to get started--I haven't sewn a thing all week!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Design Wall Monday--9/14/2020

 It's Design Wall Monday--see more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog for more inspiring projects using needle, fabric, and thread.

Off my design wall is the #gobblesewalong pillow from Center Street Quilts.  I finished mine very late on Saturday night, in time to show for the final day Sunday.  Pattern available in her Etsy shop.

Walking foot channel stitching in groups of three finished off the front of the pillow.  Backing and binding from stash completed the 18" pillow cover.  My sister wants me to add "crazy eyes", which I don't want to do, but I'm considering button eyes as the designer, Kristina Brinkerhoff, used.  I didn't win the prize she was offering participants, but enjoyed very much creating Mr. Gobble from scraps and stash.  Instagram users can check the #gobblesewalong hashtag for some really fun turkeys. 


Meanwhile in Southern California, there is a lot of smoke and bad air quality.  This pic was taken Thursday morning and the sky stayed this color all day into the next.  Over the weekend the sky almost returned to normal low clouds/fog/overcast, but no blue skies or sunshine in our area.  We are far from the fires and safe, but mourn the loss and  heartbreak so many are facing in California and Oregon.  Fingers crossed the fires will not last weeks longer.  We are thinking of all the firefighters and citizens saving lives and property amid the devastation seen from the air.  Stay safe!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Cutting the Day Away

The overflowing scrap bin and piles of fabric set aside after cutting was reducing my useful space on the cutting table to smaller and smaller acreage, necessitating a long session of reduction efforts on Friday.  Fat quarter sized chunks were returned to their dresser and precuts to the scrapbooking tower drawers.  For several months I have just been chucking the 2.5" squares and strips willy-nilly in their drawer and it got to the point where the lid would not close without effort.  


Sorted once again into color families--but so many 2.5" colored squares and strips meant moving the white/cream/beige to another drawer. 

The 1.5 and 2" drawer is fairly full too, though I have also been cutting a lot from the 2" lengths for Easy Breezy leader-ender blocks.


The big stack toward the back of the box above is of Easy Breezy sets ready to sew.  It was fun to choose from the scrap drawers for the color combos.  As usual, neutrals are the hardest to keep stocked. I'm anticipating needing a lot of leader-enders while piecing two quilt tops ready to layout and assemble.

2.5" squares and strips on the left, and neutral strips still to cut down on the right.  All these precuts--plus another drawer with 3.5" squares and strips, and a drawer for solid precut squares/strips, live in the scrapbooking tower under my cutting table.  I basically follow Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville's Scrap User's System, on a smaller scale than the full-time quilter that she is!  She just showed a storage rack holding clear shoe boxes full of her fat quarters sorted by color.  I haven't nearly that many fat quarters but envied the space and ease of her storage shelves!  Someday I may have an actual sewing room with four walls, a door and a closet, and then perhaps my storage methods can change :) 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Design Wall Monday--Labor Day 2020

Happy Labor Day to all!    Design Wall Monday is here again.  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  

I selected 6 alternate blocks for my Log Cabin Loonies quilt from these modern churn dashes with low volume backgrounds, swapped several years ago through Barb's blog.  I made the dark purple one on the lower left.


Happy to have a cooler day today here in SoCal--it was 100 degrees in our area yesterday, and 88 degrees downstairs in our non-airconditioned house when I was cutting and sewing these sashings.  Unfortunately, due to MATH, the sashing had to be recut as I didn't account for two seam allowances and were too narrow.  My revised plan for the Log Cabin Loonies blocks shown last post is to add an additional row of Log Cabin blocks all the way around and call it done. That will make an 8x11 layout finish at 60x82", a nice sized throw.  I likely will not add any borders but can decide that later.  


That's better!  The top will get put together in the next month I hope.  I also spent a lot of time cutting and mixing/matching pieces for Easy Breezy leader-ender blocks.  These are so fun to sew, and triangle free (Bonnie Hunter, Quiltville).

Our son and daughter-in-law brought their 2 week old son to meet his cousins and aunties over the weekend.  

I think they were impressed with how little newborns are! Auntie Erica got first dibs.

The boys' mama, our other daughter Elaine, also got an Auntie cuddle in with Dane.  We'll make another trip up to visit the new family again soon.  Meanwhile, photos and videos give us updates on his growing and changing!

Friday, September 4, 2020

Gobble Gobble and Log Cabin

As noted on my prior post, I joined a quiltalong by Center Street Quilts on Instagram of her Gobble Gobble Turkey pattern (in Quilts and More Fall 2019 and on her website)  and made good progress over several days in short stretches of time. There was some restitching of seams to make the turkey feather parts line up but overall my piecing was good enough.  I then added the outer borders, thinking to myself as I found the pieces oversized that I had done that on purpose as I blithely trimmed it off.


Hmmmm....Well that doesn't look like an 18 1/2" square pillow front, does it? Gobble went into Timeout until I could muster the energy to remove ALL the border pieces, recut and resew.  It wasn't as painful as I expected, since I had plenty of the background fabric, and I also did some sliver trimming to really make it square and true. 

That's better!  Next week we are to layer and quilt the front; I will copy the channel quilting the maker used.  I've chosen and cut the pillow back pieces, so just need to find a binding.  I may just wait until the pillow is constructed before deciding on that.  It's going to be a fun addition to holiday decorating this year.  It will be a very sad if we aren't  able to gather for Thanksgiving due to COVID :(.   

A boxful of Log Cabin blocks has been waiting for a final setting plan. I made these during Julie's Log Cabin Loonies sewalong in 2018.  Recently on Pinterest I saw a setting I really liked, by Judy Martin, and then another pin with reverse layout.  

These modern churn dash swap blocks need a home too, but would require upsizing to match the log cabins.  Can you see the Friendship Star around the churn dashes?  How about in the reverse setting...

I like them better with the dark half of the log cabin blocks surrounding the alternate block.  I also have a baggie of house blocks made over 10 years ago in a swap with the Quiltbuddies online group, which amazingly matched the odd size of my log cabins at 8" unfinished. 


The house blocks are kind of lost in the dark setting so maybe I would use the light setting.  Always happy to find a dynamic design for traditional blocks.  It will be great to free them from their box; there are many more to add to bring this up to a good sized quilt :)

We're expecting very hot weather in California this weekend--near 100 where I live--let the whining begin for those of us without air-conditioning!  Many counties are closing their beaches to keep crowds from gathering.  Hoping people stay away from our beaches so we can get through this crisis faster. Our numbers are improving and barbershops and hair salons are reopening--my Mom and Dad are looking kind of shaggy and need to see their hair stylist granddaughter.  Maybe Grant and I will make it on her schedule eventually...