Sunday, July 25, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching--Smyrna Cross

Slow Sunday Stitching--see more links on Kathy's Quilts blog. 

Blackbird Designs' Loose Feathers #21 Garden of Life is getting closer to being finished.  I stitched the large bird's body first and added the Smyrna Cross stitches in the wing last.  A new to me stitch, it was fun and pretty fast, being worked over four threads. 


I stair-stepped down the bird's back to outline the area.  This nighttime pic is a bit off in color. 


Daytime pic is better.  I love the texture the Smyrna Cross stitch gives the wing. The bird got his legs and feet and the last portion of zig zag border was then completed.  

While there is plenty of color in this design, I liked that the soft palette was limited--only two greens, pink/peach, blues, and ecru and a light taupe/tan. Left to finish are the rest of the phrase in green below Friends, and then my initials above the F in Friends. Oh, and a few light taupe highlights amid the flowers in the trees I skipped.  I'll enjoy completing the last stitches this week.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Design Wall Monday--My Lupine Heaven

 Design Wall Monday--see more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Well I don't have a design wall, so my design floor will have to do.  It's been occupied by the same quilt top for the past couple of weeks.  


This is my green and purple version of Bonnie Hunter's "My Blue Heaven", a free quilt pattern on her Quiltville website.  I cut the borders and got them sewn on easily. 


I liked this fabric the best of the several choices pulled from stash--I wanted to stay more white than ecru.  No recollection at all where I picked this up, but I had about 3/4 yd and have leftovers.  Then I sewed together a row of the green hourglass blocks already completed for the outside border. 


I am not really liking the teal/aqua blues in these blocks--they seem very distracting as there is no teal in the star blocks.  So here it sits until I overthink/decide whether to continue the borders or make more hourglass blocks without the teal.  Opinions welcome!

There is another quilt sandwich waiting for quilting so perhaps I will work on that and get it off my cutting table this week!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching July 18

Slow Sunday Stitching--join in with Kathy's Quilts weekly linkup.  Lots of great stitching to enjoy there. 

The Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers Garden of Life project continues to occupy most of my stitching time--the sewing machine has remained untouched this week. But there has been some unsewing...

I noticed AFTER stitching the entire pathway that the bottom of the house was incomplete.  Luckily the area was one color and not very dense. 

Much better with the door full length as it should be.  I also finished off the last row of bricks on the house and added the ecru mortar. 

A bit of grass, the rest of the tree trunks, the zigzag border, and the pink flowers at the top border are all complete.  I got a little start on the bird's head there below the house and tree.  Smyrna crosses will fill the bird's body. I haven't done that stitch before but look forward to working those.  

Since I accidently turned my linen the wrong way when I first started stitching this design, I will have a very tiny top and lower edge to deal with.  I found this mistake after I had completely stitched the house and half of the upper left side of the pattern and alphabet. I'm thinking of adding a fabric border but will decide when all the stitching is done.  

I did also notice that in late night stitching--without great lighting--that the A and B of the alphabet are not the correct color--they are blue, not gray.  But I'm leaving them blue, as a nod to the designers, Alma Allen and Barb Adams--some may be aware that Barb Adams passed away recently and their happy design collaboration has ended after all these years. 

And now for some Baby Spam: 

Youngest grandson Dane feeling Papa's beard during a break in eating his oatmeal.  He is pretty much full time walking at not even 11 months old.  So happy to be able to pop over to visit and help out now that our son's little family lives close by. Mama was getting in a run at the beach while Daddy had to help with inventory at work on Saturday.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Guild Projects

We had our first in-person guild meeting this month, and the call went out prior for turning in finished quilts for philanthropy.  I had two finished quilts taking up real estate on the cutting table, and two quilt tops ready to be sandwiched with batting I bought last month, after running out of the guild-provided batting with the others.  Now, that batting buy was an adventure.  I went to Walmart because the batting is fairly inexpensive there.  The fabric/notions department was deserted of staff in the mid-afternoon when I went.  I stood at the cutting counter for a bit, with the big bolt of batting; a staff member from another department came over to cut the yardage for me, but didn't know how to run the price tag printer.  Instead she found a scrap of paper and wrote down the SKU from the bolt and the price.  The cashier's reaction when I later brought up my items through the line and handed her the paper was pretty entertaining.  "WHAT is this?"  She rang it up after my explanation, shaking her head the whole time :) 

Anyway, I had two quilts with ready backings since February. Make the Connection, a free charity quilt pattern from APQ magazine using mini-charms, was quickly layered and machine quilted with my new favorite, fast wavy lines. My version used many fewer blocks than the pattern, but since it is block-based, adjustments are pretty simple. There are actually only two different blocks--they are just turned to make the stair-step effect.  Clever! 


I used a green Aurifil thread and the walking foot.  The leftover binding box turned up some striped bias binding that matched the solid green, and I cut more strips from the same fabric in the fat quarter drawers.  It took way longer than I imagined to sew all the short pieces together, so I was regretting my choice for a bit. 


The nighttime shot grays out the solid green.  Can you see where my binding stripes changed direction?  I could not figure out how I did that, but I liked it!


Pieced backing and quilting.  Nighttime photo so the colors are dull.  Anyway, I was able to turn in three donation quilts at the meeting.  One top is still awaiting quilting, as I ran out of time, but it is sandwiched and ready to go:  


This was our Round Robin guild challenge.  The blocks are 12" finished so I chose to quilt the smaller charity quilt and get it turned in first!  There is also another finished top and backing for a baby quilt to get sandwiched and finished before next meeting.  Hopefully we will have more attendees next month, though some folks joined the meeting through Zoom. It was good to get to visit in person. There were snacks--and I won one of the raffle prizes! The 2021 Quilter's Run starts next weekend.  Only one of the shops is close by--Cotton and Chocolate--but I may run to it!

Monday, July 12, 2021

Design Wall Monday--Moda Love Pillow

 It's Design Wall Monday--see more Design Walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog. 

I actually sewed something for the first time in weeks!  My mood being what it was, the untouched big projects on the cutting table remained where they were.  I dug into a box of smaller unfinished projects for something more attractive, and found a Moda Love pillow top I made last July from a mini charm pack. I pulled some choices for a backing and pawed through the leftover binding drawer for something suitable.


After sewing on some 2.5" borders to make the pillow to 16.5" square, I decided not to quilt the pillow front but ironed on some thin interfacing and stitched a few straight quilting lines by machine, just to hold the interfacing on, as the fusible wasn't very sticky. 

The mini charms, Bubble Pop by Sandy Klop, have a '30's-40's vibe, and I found this floral leftover binding that seemed to go well.  However, there was not enough to go all around the pillow top.  I pulled many different choices from stash but nothing really felt right until I tried this Pezzy Print, another Sandy Klop fabric, in black and white.  I wanted to use as much of the floral as I could, and positioned equal sections of the Pezzy Print in the corners only, trimming them to extend 3" from the corners. 

I attached the flower print sections one at a time as I made my way around the pillow sandwich with the walking foot...


...Stitched in the ditch by machine from the front to finish. I think it turned out well!  It needs a pillow form and then will be ready to brighten up a couch or chair.  I'll share another finish next post. 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

June's Mixed Bag

Here we turning over a new calendar page.  I still have not sewn a thing in weeks, but did get some more mood boosting from family and fabric.  Our son and daughter-in-law spent the weekend with the tedious job of trudging up and down stairs at their apartment putting moving boxes in a truck. We were invited to help the other grandparents with watching baby Dane.   


Who could resist spending time with these chunky baby legs?  Dane's other grandparents took us out on their harbor cruiser.  

Dane enjoyed co-captain duties. 


The Grandpas enjoyed the scenery while he took the helm :)  It was a beautiful day with great conversation and play, and snacks!  I got to give Dane his bottle and put him down for a nap too. 

After donating blood on Tuesday, I went looking for rotary cutter blades.  Prices for these blades have soared incredibly.  I first tried Michael's in town, but they only sell Fiskar's brand, which I did not think worked in Omnigrid cutters, so a trip to JoAnn's was necessary.  I had a 40% off coupon but asked a salesperson if I could use it for the blades.  Happily, I could.  I also scored a nice remnant for 40% off. 

Part of this fabric pull has been waiting years to be turned into something.  I needed the larger blades to cut through the six layers for the magazine pattern saved along with the fabrics.


My plan is to make only six "crazy method" stars for a runner. The brown will be the spacers. 


The pattern is in this specialty publication...


...which I've held on to for 10 years!  Many times I've nearly put the fabrics back in stash.  I hope this will restart my sewing mojo. Meanwhile, slow stitching continues on the  BBD Loose Feathers #21, Garden of Life. 

I am barely going to have enough linen at the top and bottom of this stitchery!  Framing will be a challenge but I have some ideas and am not too worried.  There are many more hours of stitching time to enjoy yet :)

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Long Days of Summer

It's been awhile since my last post, obviously.  I haven't been functioning very well, with a poor, unhappy mood, feeling very stressed and having unusual bouts of tears.  My dear husband, once I admitted my difficulties--aside from my obvious lack of motivation to do anything, see anyone, or go anywhere--rallied the troops.  Dear daughter Elaine and husband Chris came over for dinner with the grandsons.  Always a mood booster to spend time with sweet Cove and Hunter.  There were a bunch of new things to play with, as my parents had been sorting through things and passed on a lot of toys. We also played a game of Trouble and of course there is always a piano solo. 

Dear daughter Erica invited me for a walk during the week. I met her at the office where she works, and we walked down to the pier. 


I spied a flowering vine in a palm tree on the way--must have come from a seed a bird left. It was a very windy day but sunny and not cold.  We walked to the end of the long pier. 


Very cool cloud formation--someone charmingly described it as looking like Anacapa Island was blowing bubbles towards the city.  The wind blew us back to the beach and we turned onto the promenade for more Vitamin Sea. 

There were a few surfers but more wind-sailers.  It was late in the day so hardly anyone was on the sand.  We turned back at the palm trees and took a  windblown selfie before finally leaving the beach. 


We had a quick dinner at a favorite fish taco place and then said our goodbyes, feeling very good.  I drove home by the foothills, and stopped to catch the sunset--always my favorite time of day. 


It was only a couple of days after solstice so the moon was still pretty full.  Loved the sketchy clouds above the Eucalyptus trees. 

Lovely colors and island view as dusk began.  I had the road practically to myself as I headed home.  As I passed by an orchard, a coyote came out of a ditch and crossed the road into the foothills.  I have driven this road literally thousands of times and that was a first!   

Tomorrow we will get to spend time with son Nick and his family--we will be helping to watch grandson Dane at his other grandparents' place while Nick and Ashley move house. Looking forward to seeing him walk--he has taken after his Auntie Erica and cousin Cove by walking early, just barely 10 months old. 

Although I have not done any sewing since my last post, I am still putting stitches in the Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers cross-stitch.


I like portable projects so I can stitch upstairs or down!  There has been more added since this pic was taken.  This time last year, I had just purchased the threads at my local fabric shop. 

Last year, because of the lockdown, other than a couple of days vacation when we went to Del Mar, I lost numerous hours at the close of the year, and have not taken any vacation this year as yet.  I just put in for the Sewtopia retreat trip with my sister coming up in early October, and also added a day to the upcoming long Independence Day weekend.  My plan is to use every vacation hour this year---I earned them and deserve the time off.  It definitely boosted my mood to see the approval of my requests!  

Blog business: Feedburner is being eliminated in a few days and therefore the ability to have signups on my site for email delivery.  I only follow a few blogs that way myself, choosing mostly to follow through Bloglovin'.  So far I have not decided whether to sign up with FollowIt, though I have received communication from that service and looked into it--it is not a new service and has a track record. I'd better decide in the next day or two...

Monday, June 14, 2021

Design Wall Monday--Purple and Green

 I'm a little late to the DWM party, but have something to share.  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog. 

There was no sewing at all during the week, but I got busy on Sunday sewing the rest of the rows on my version of Bonnie Hunter's My Blue Heaven (free pattern on her Quiltville website).  All the block rows got sewn with only a couple of mistakes needing to be ripped. 

I'm liking it!  It was a very purple and green day--at one point I looked down at my outfit and my leader-ender blocks...


That's a purple and green Easy Breezy leader-ender by my hand, a purple and green quilt block row I'm holding, and my purple shirt and green khaki pants, lol!  I'm happy with the two color version and all the scrappy goodness. There will be some auditioning of a neutral for the plain border, then the scrappy green hourglass blocks will be added.  

I have a blood donation appointment this week, and while I'm out I will pick up some batting for the quilt tops taking up a lot of space in the sewing room.  The year is nearly half over and there are lots of finishes to aspire to!  This time last year I had just finished up a bunch of baby quilts for guild donation. 


There is still a need for more, as well as placemats, and I sure have plenty of leftovers and scraps to sew up. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching--mid June

 Joining in with some Slow Sunday Stitching on Kathy's Quilts blog.  

I remain entranced with the Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers project, Garden of Life.  I stitched a bit during the week but generally the weekend is when I can enjoy it more. 


Newest stitches are in the arcing stem and flowers at the top of the frame.  I've had to turn both the frame and the stitching chart upside down in order to reach the area.  Since it not a face or other recognizable form, it hasn't seemed weird :)   There is not much green in our garden just now, with our severe drought, but I do have a bloom indoors.


This Mother's Day orchid seems to like this spot in the entryway just fine. I love the intense purple of the flower. I like the name Cerise for this shade. 


Purple isn't a color I decorate with much, though it is in my top 5 colors to wear.  This purple bordered mini quilt I made from leftovers of another quilt some years ago.  It is attached to the hanger with  vintage clothespins of my mother-in-law's.  


Very simple quilting and bound with leftover binding pieces--on mini quilts there is slow stitching of the binding :)

I haven't sewn a thing all week, but did go to two local quilt shops.  Older daughter Elaine gave me a gift certificate to Superbuzzy and I picked out the green gingham, purple dot yardage and the Folded Corner Clipper tool last weekend.  Tools are so expensive! I plan to make napkins with the gingham; the purple was "Just Because".  The other neutrals and pink print yardage came from the sale shelves at The Fabric Shoppe this weekend.  I ran into several guild members there coincidentally.  The purple fat quarter jumped up onto the counter, and I could not resist the piece of cross stitch fabric for 10 cents! 

Our state will be opening up in two days--looking forward to seeing more faces, though since I work in a medical office, will probably still be wearing a mask when with patients.  I'll still wear one when shopping or near other folks I don't know.  The virus has not gone away, there are mutations, and the vaccine is not 100% coverage, so that extra layer of protection can help.  

Monday, June 7, 2021

Design Wall Monday--June 7

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

My sewing room having no closet, the Hoosier cabinet stands in for storage.  While looking for something to piece, I pulled out numerous boxes with aging projects.  A blast of stitching ensued to move them along to the next stage. 


I sewed together these leftovers set aside from a quilt I made almost 10 years ago for our daughter and now son-in-law. It is now a good sized runner and will be backed with the rust print. I expanded a quilt featured in the Winter 2010 Quilts and More magazine called Natural Beauty, for the wedding quilt, so had lots of leftovers.  Time for them to move on.


Binding was made from the multicolor leftover batik fabric too. There was another baggie with this small runner I made from bonus triangles from two different quilts--I had recently even cut a black and white piece of yardage to add, and the binding pieces.  These got sewn up quickly into a top. 



Then I pulled out the box of finished blocks for my version of Bonnie Hunter's My Blue Heaven quilt.  I had taken a class from her through another local quilt guild three years ago.  The pattern is free on her Quiltville website.   All the blocks having been completed, it was time to layout my two color version I'm calling My Lupine Heaven...not that it rained enough this past Winter or Spring in SoCal for us to actually see any local lupine!  The block with the blue paper in the middle was the sample block I completed in the class.  

Mini helped, as usual.  Oh my, these are very busy blocks--but I do love the two color families together. There will be a neutral border and then a final border of green hourglass blocks.  I've sewn a couple of rows together so far and the rest are stacked and numbered. 


My version is fewer blocks than Bonnie's.  It will be a large lap quilt size at about 54x70.  I'll need a lot of batting to get all these quilts finished!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching Loose Feathers Progress

It's nearly over, but today was Slow Sunday Stitching on Kathy's Quilts blog.  I have stitched sporadically the last week, but still enough to show progress on the Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers stitchery in play. 


More alphabet letters completed, another star, and I added the chimneys but noticed I left off one stitch on each end of the chimney top.  Stitching the P, U, and V really required a stretch of my hand to feel the needle on the back of the piece. 


I'm down to one painted fingernail on my left hand--but that finger it is stretched as far as the rectangular snap frame will allow me to reach.  I'm really enjoying these soft colors and open spaces. I'm ignoring the quilt binding on a small quilt that's been attached for several weeks, in favor of the cross-stitch--so much more fun!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Tuesday's Orts On Thursday

 Tuesday's Orts on Thursday--thoughts and events that land here occasionally...

  • Caught this funny cloud coming back from lunch break. 

  • We've been back working in the office for a  month.  It has been an adjustment but there are fewer technical difficulties to curse at from home! There are a few new employees whom I don't know at all, but it is good to see the familiar faces I've worked with for 6 years. 

  • I don't know if it was an old or new employee whom I can thank for this entertaining misspelling of umbilical. LOL
  • Returning to wearing scrubs for work hasn't been bothersome, but I 've had to get used to wearing makeup daily again.  Since we wear masks all day, I only have to apply eye/eyebrow products. 

  • Mini would prefer I stay home with her, I'm sure. I'm getting the steely-eyed glare in this pic because my cross-stitching equipment was blocking her preferred position on my lap. 
  • Traffic Rant: While there seem to be fewer drivers on the road on my commute, the tailgaters are still well-represented among them--of every age and style vehicle...
  • Six years ago I was attempting to Kon Mari my sewing room and came across these vintage promotional sewing items of my mother-in-law and grandmother. 

    I would love a vintage photo of the Perma-Kurl Beauty Shop!