Blue and Yellow

I finished another baby sized top for Hands 2 Help yesterday. I have a bunch of fabric left over form two quilts I have made, the first was a blueprint kit called Summer Sampler (middle), the second was I pattern I made up(left), to use the scraps from the sampler. I ended up buying more of the hydrangea prints, because they were on clearance sale, and I figured I could use them for backings and use up the scraps. The H2H quilt used up a bit, I still have enough left for another small quilt though. Carol, at From My Carolina Home, is making a quilt with the same fabrics. She started a tutorial that uses her pattern for a quilt called To the Nines. Maybe I have enough to make one of hers too.

I would like to make another of the chained quilt with these fabrics, I bought this cute print at PIQF 2019, and thought it would make a cute baby quilt. The print would look good in the main blocks, I thought I would use some of the greens and blues from this jelly roll and some browns. I want to get a backing made for the Evolution quilt today, get that quilted. I need to check on its finished size and if I can use the reddish Essex linen I bought for the Hampton Court quilt on it. Or look through the stash and see what’s available.

Big news in cross stitch land! I finished Pet All the Dogs. I started it in February 2021 and finished April 12th. Would like to get it framed, I’m thinking of an antique carved dark wood frame with a dark green mat. It’s an odd sized piece, 9″ x 15″, so I may have to let a professional custom frame it.

Strawberry Fields was started too. I made a major error that I need to record here, so I don’t do it again. It all turned out okay, but it may not if I were to repeat it in the future. I had measured the linen piece before mounting it on the stretcher bars, according to the pattern size with three inches of extra for framing/mounting. As I started the design, I found the center and stitched using a waste thread up it. I counted the spaces, and made a stitch every ten squares. When I got to 140 squares, I made a horizontal row of stitches across at the 70 square mark, the center of the design. I started in the center, with the house. As I stitched, I began to notice that it seemed low on the fabric, yeah, like low enough that I might not have enough extra fabric. It was a tense few moments of counting and fearing I would have to rip out the roof. Then it dawned on me, I was stitching over two threads, and I had only counted one hole per stitch. UGH. But it worked out that I would have two inches of fabric at the bottom before the design started. Phew. Lesson learned, find center before mounting fabrics on bars and count threads not spaces for accurate placement.

looks better in person 😉

Be Kind.

U-Turn

The other day I started ironing the binding scraps form the bin that I had been using to store them. I was thinking about how this bin came about, but I couldn’t remember consciously creating a bin for extra binding pieces. Then I thought, why did I over make the binding lengths? I wasn’t measuring the quilt perimeter, just eyeballing it and cutting lots of strips. I have gotten more frugal, I carefully measure and make enough binding now. Could it be that fabric was less expensive, or was I just a bit lazy, and didn’t want to measure? As I ironed and thought, I found that I really didn’t have enough variety for the log cabin quilt I had in mind. It wasn’t really a log cabin block either, it had morphed into a pineapple cabin, as that is the ruler I have. I thought I had a regular log cabin ruler from Creative Grids, but I couldn’t find it, and may have been thinking of this pineapple one instead. I checked through the other bin of string scraps and they weren’t wide enough. The pineapple ruler need strips at least 1 5/8 wide, so that wouldn’t work. Time for a new plan, I finished ironing all the strips anyway and at the bottom of the bin was a pile of flannel squares and rectangles. These are from a baby quilt I made a while ago, a long while, because the baby just graduated high school. These scraps had to get used or chucked, they were way past their fresh by date, lol. I had a bunch of purple 3 ½” squares and a few piles of 3 ½” by 2 1/4″ rectangles, and a half yard of creamy white striped flannel. This is what I came up, amazes me how it shrinks, although it did turn out too narrow, so I made it more square. I’m not sure I like the blue, but the white balances it a bit. My first Hands 2 Help quilt top has arrived. I have just enough flannel for a backing and the binding is already cut.

I started quilting the “girly quilt” with giant roses, there are five across and nine rows, it stitches out pretty fast too. I want to get this one done and out the door. Because it is the only thing I “have” to finish. I really need to get the pile of tops I have, quilted, I feel behind in that category. I am playing around (in my head) with moving my long arm into the downstairs den in my house. The room has become an un-used spot, just a sofa, TV and fish tank. As much as I like the LA where it is now, I feel a bit isolated, and when we have company, I have to clean-up and put everything away. If I move it, I’d still have to keep the area neat, probably neater, but I would be nearer to my DH (hmm) and the main areas of my house. Then I start thinking about the logistics, taking it apart and reassembling it, at least two days work. The robotics weren’t easy to put together when I got them, not looking forward to that part. I would need help getting the poles and pieces in the new area too. Yeah, its probably going to stay where it is for a bit longer.

The roses show up nicely on the minky.

I am so close to finishing PATD, I finished all the little dogs in the lower border last night. I need to add the eyes to them, two half stitches in black and white. I may just do black, the holes in the linen are just too small, and I don’t really think its a detail worthy of the effort.

Linking up with Sara at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for the first H2H link up. There is also a tutorial from Carol at My Carolina Home for a Star pillow, perhaps you know a star who needs recognition?

Be Kind.

First week in April

I fully intended to gets lots of things done this week. It’s Thursday and I have made two 12 inch blocks and got a machine embroidered block done. Oh… I bought some fabric too.

They still need embroidery and embellishment, this is the Simple Days BOM from Elefantz

Where has the week gone? Monday was a yard work day. Tuesday was laundry and various chores, I did the machine embroidery done that day. Wednesday was Vaccine day. Which brings us to today, I really want to get started on the Hands2Help quilts. I have been working on the Pet All the Dogs sampler everyday, now that it is off the frame, it is much easier to do all the little bits and change threads. I think I have the rest of the dogs on the lower border and the rest of the flowers around the border. I finished all the green stems yesterday, so close to being done. I wanted to give myself some incentive to finish, I bought a set of shorter stretcher bars for the Strawberry Fields stitchery that I want to do next. I was a little shocked at how small it is 6″ x 9″, my linen is 12″ x 18″, I think this one will go a bit faster than the PATD. There are probably the same number of stitches in the whole thing as there are in the house from PATD. Then I have to decide whether I want to do Heaven and Nature Sing, or the Pilgrims Progress. These are kitted up and ready to stitch too. Who knows what else I will “have to have”, there are so many cross stitch things to do. Perhaps I should stop watching the Floss tubes…

My fabric acquisition was on a whim. I had to drive an hour east to get my shot yesterday, and on the way home I came to the exit for the semi-local quilt/sewing store. I made the exit after a little wavering, as I really didn’t need anything, but I like to support them. I headed over to the new fabric section and saw this pretty humming bird print. It is digitally printed, it’s an ‘In the Beginning’ fabric, there were a few others, whales and birds and animals, all very colorful and beautiful. I may just hang this on my design wall to look at for a while. The colors are so vibrant, I’m not sure if regular Bella/Kona solids will complement them. The fabric has almost a statin finish, it may go with the Big Dream panel I have. The halloween fabrics will be made into something, those prints are cute, and easy to work with.

Three days left of the week, I should get moving.

Be Kind.

Hampton Court top

Yay! It is done. This top was a lot of work. Simple piecing, but a lot of sewing. I think I went through almost three full bobbins. I like the color combinations in the fabric collection, Sequoia by Laundry Basket Quilts, they are so “California”. I am linking up today with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts, for week three of the Quilt-a-long. This is actually week five, but I needed an extension, as I was waiting for fabric. I may even get it quilted by the end of the month.

Yesterday, I tried to start a new project, it’s a BOM from Elefantz, called Simple Days. I had the first two months downloaded and downloaded the third. I figured I had some time to work on the blocks. Originally, when I drew/traced the embroidery designs on the white fabric I planned to stitch them and then cut them apart. I should have measured more carefully around each one, because I didn’t leave enough room around some of them. Yesterday I started cutting them apart, and assembling the blocks, so that I could then do the embroidery on them. That’s how I discovered my mistake. I ended up cutting out the ones I could, and will have to re-trace a few that didn’t make the cut. I also had to leave the sewing room to do chores. Household stuff that I have been putting off for a few weeks. We have tile floors in our great room, and I have been waiting for the rains to stop before cleaning them. With three dogs, the muddy foot prints add up quickly, and yesterday was a day to wash the floors.

My Pet All the Dogs sampler is coming along. I am at the point where I want to take it off the frame to use a hoop. There are too many spots that need just a few stitches of a color. Flipping the frame over to start and finish the threads is more trouble than its worth. I’m going to finish up the lower border triangle motifs and un-frame it. I am hoping to be done by next week, so I can start Strawberry Fields.

Be Kind.

Of Squares and Rectangles

This past month I have been participating in a QAL with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts. The quilt we are making is Hampton Square, one of her patterns. I have had my ups and downs with this quilt. It is a well written pattern, and I like my fabric choices too. I just can’t seem to do things right the first time. It has become a “It’s not you, it’s me” kinda thing. I gotta keep following the directions and not going off course. I got all the strips sewn together (despite cutting errors) and started making units of 7 strips. They are long and slightly different lengths, no seams to match. Okay, this is easy. Mmm, not really. I found that by the last strip there was a bit of creeping going on. The last strip was a full inch too short. I quickly deduced that, yes, I should have ironed all the seams flat and some of these strips need pinning. Had to rip and resew that last row. I spent some more time organizing, labeling and ironing my strips. Sigh. The next unit went together easier, until the second to last strip, ugh, it was sewn in upside down, wrong end up, two long seams to rip and resew. Deep breath. I am going to try to finish this top before the end of this month, the date on the QAL is 3/29, oh, tomorrow. I have four, no, eight more units to complete, then I’ll start on the H2H quilts.

Then a British squirrel showed up. Last week I made this Union Jack from a tutorial over at Molli Sparkles blog. I was planning on a mug rug to include with the shopper bags and zip bag for a gift I am giving. Should have looked at the finished size, before starting, because it turned into more of a place mat size, I’m going with Tea time mat. I spent a fair amount of time, two hours I think, happily quilting and finishing it.

I did get two units of the Hampton Square done later that day.

Last Friday, Jo, at Jo’s Country Junction posted about a new scrap quilting book by Lissa Alexander called Scrap School. I immediately bought the Kindle version, since I have the kindle app on my laptop and I had a dollar off coupon, I felt thrifty too. There was one quilt in particular that grabbed my attention, Rolling Nine Patches.

From the book “Scrap School” by Lissa Alexander.

I am thinking of making one in blues and tans and whites. There are also quite a few that would make good H2H donation quilts. While looking at my new kindle acquisition, I realized that I had another Lissa Anderson book in there, Sisterhood of the Scraps. There are a few in there that I’d like to revisit too. Patterns, patterns, everywhere.

Linking up wit Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts today for Design Wall Monday.

Something Girly

My latest quilt is a commission for a baby girl, the client wanted “something girly”. I sent out a few ideas of flower quilts and designs, but they weren’t feminine enough. Then I saw a simple quilt made with soft pastel colors and florals, yes, that’ll do. Next, the fabric search, what did we ever do with out google search? Rose & Violet’s garden fabric line popped up a few times and it was “perfect”. Luckily it was still available (what did I ever do without Etsy?) and I ordered a fat quarter pack and a few yards for the outer border.

The blocks were simple, my mind started working on how to make them in a quick and efficient manner. I first though I would do the square on the corner, sew a diagonal and cut method. I didn’t want to take the time to mark or cut and have a bunch of extra triangles though. Folded corners would be a good way to reduce waste and increase efficiency. Next thought, how big of a starting square? I got out a pencil and paper and the easy angle ruler. I have two folded corner rulers, but since I didn’t know what my block size was going to be, I had to work backwards. I didn’t want to waste the cut off corners, I would make them 2 ½ inch HSTs. Then after a few tries of block size, I figured 6 inch finished would give me a balanced look. Then I had to figure out the white triangle size, if you look at the drawing/pattern you’ll see four lines marked sew or cut. I placed my easy angle on the innermost cut line, and came up with a 3 1/4 triangle. I then figured that I would need 42 blocks to make the top. I cut them from the 21 FQ’s and then cut the 84 – 3 1/4 triangles from Kona “Bone”. I like bone, because it has a slight pink undertone, and it went well with the Rose and Violet. Some quick chain piecing and ironing and the blocks were done. I then achieved a semblance of random, without two of the same fabrics touching.

All together and waiting for quilting. Lots of fabric left for a few more girly quilts too.

I am starting to think about making some Hands2Help quilts. I have a bin of binding scraps, most are 2 ½ inches wide. This was my go to size for a while, but in the past few years I have decreased it to 2 1/4 wide. I like the lesser width for machine sewing the binding on. I sew it to the back first and bring it over to the front and machine sew it to the front. The narrower size allows for a better 1/4 inch showing on the front, although its more like 3/8ths, truly. I don’t like to cut those border HST points off either. I’m thinking scrappy log cabin or split rail, less cutting and more sewing. First there will be ironing, getting those center fold lines out, not fun. Maybe I can use the steamer, what can I hang them over? Maybe the laundry drying rack… I’ll let you know.

Today I want to finish the strips for Hampton Court, they had to take the back seat while I worked on the baby quilt. I have three more sets of 15 to make, then the assembly of the top can start.

Linking up with Denise at For the Love of Geese today, for “Put Your Foot Down”. She’s been making a special baby quilt too.

Be Kind.

Bees in a box

In case you were wondering, the bees have a new home. My neighbors bee keeping friend came by on Saturday and gently persuaded the swarm into this box. It was fascinating to watch, and after a few hours, they had all settled down into their new home.

I was busy inside (safely) sewing together the Evolution top. I’m happy with the way it turned out. Only one or two spots where colors meet, but I’m leaving it.

I worked some more on getting the strip sets cut into units for Hampton Court. I sewed units together into rows too, I’m making a queen size top and they are long. This week I’m planning on getting them together into quilt sections, 7 strips sewn together. I think it would be too unwieldily to try to sew all the rows (49?) at one time. Plus I want to avoid the stretching and warping that may occur.

I started quilting the Garden City quilt too. I decided to do an all over diamond pattern for the center, and will probably do ruler work in the two borders.

This coming week I have another commissioned baby quilt to do. I ordered the fabric Friday, so I am hoping it’ll be here soon. The store is in Utah, so we’ll see. The fabric I ordered from Joann’s is having a jaunt around the state, it made it to Hayward, but for some reason, it then made a hard 180 to Tracy, ah FedEx ground so special. I am supposed to get more fabric delivered today, from Nancy’s Notions. They were having a sale, I got some cute coffee themed charms and coordination yards. I also want to start making plans for this years Hands 2 Help quilts.

I did a little shopping for Cross stitch supplies, bought some linen, two charts and some thread. One of the charts is for a Long Dog Sampler design called Pilgrims Progress. I am going to use one color thread for it, it calls for 300 meters of it. Since DMC and Weeks Dye Works are 8 yard skeins, that would get a bit pricey. I am going to try 12wt Aurifil thread, I got a pretty medium blue and it was less than ten dollars for 350 yards. Using it one thread over two strands with the 36 count linen.

Be Kind.

Quilting Bee(s)

Yesterday, I was puzzled to see a crowd of honey bees on my doorstep. They were sort of flying around drunkenly, and crawling on the concrete. I am allergic to any kind of stinging thing, including bees, but I am fascinated by them and respect them. I called my neighbor who has a hive, and asked her if they were hers, nope, hers were all together in their home, not active yet. I continued to watch them through the day, I thought maybe there was a swarm, but couldn’t see any from my vantage point, and I wasn’t keen on going out there to look. At around five, my DD came home from work and she told me that when she got out of her car she could hear a buzzing and looked up, and there in the small oak above was a massive swarm. They were there all right, and I could see them from the safety of my kitchen. I called my neighbor back and asked her if she was sure her’s were home, yes, they were. She also said that the bee keeper who helps her was coming tomorrow, and he could take a look and take them with him to a new home. That was my excitement of the day. They are still hanging out this morning, I am hoping the Keeper will be able to get them. In a way, I’d like them to stay, find a nice hollow tree somewhere, but I can’t risk it. They will have a new hive later today.

I got about half of the evolution quilt top rows sewn together yesterday, I worked on it after making a bunch of strip sets for the Hampton Court QAL. I had to quit after half, because I had been at the machine too long, my upper back was starting to ache a bit. The Hampton Court strip sets are going quickly. In my last post I explained that I mistakenly cut the brown strips for the single piece piecing plan, and realized half way through. I sewed the all the right sized strips I had together to make as many strips sets as I could. Then I got creative and figured out I could sew the rest in web-mode. I sewed the pairs or three’s of the prints together, cut them to width and then made a web with those strips and the brown spacers. It was quite a bit slower than normal strip piecing, but I only had so much brown. I’m glad I went with the brown, I was afraid that it would be lost in the prints, but it is a nice rich color, like the Sequoia fabric line. I want to finish these sets (36 more) today, and if I’m up to it the Evolution quilt top too.

Webbed set on top, uncut strip set lower.

Happy Worldwide Quilting Day!

Be Kind.

Plans and Patterns

The best laid plans…

I waver between liking quilting patterns and free form quilt making. Maybe because I can get lost both ways. The Evolution quilt top is almost a top, I web stitched it vertically together. I was able to put most of it on my design wall, I had to use the wall sideways on a chair, but it help most of the pieces. The lower third were on the floor, and I remembered to keep the door closed, so the dogs only walked through it once. This pattern-less quilt went through three different design attempts, it is much different than my original idea, but the colors are the same. Sadly, the main reason I started this was to use up the Arctic charm pack. I think I’ll just make something simple with that, maybe a disappearing 4 patch. I want to sew the rows on this one together this weekend. First I have to fix that errant HST in the second row.

I got side tracked when the Essex Linen for the Hampton Court QAL got here. I had already cut the fat quarter bundle into the proper sized pieces called for in the pattern. Just had to cut the solid, easy strip piecing ahead. I didn’t end up liking the linen color, Sierra, with the Laundry Basket Sequoia prints, it was a bit too pink. No worries though, since I ordered a bit (ahem) too much, I can use it on the backing of one of two other quilt kits I have in the queue. I started cutting the brown strips, only to discover that I had been looking at the wrong page/chart. I cut about 30 strips for the separate piecing version, not the size for the strip piecing version that I wanted to do. At least they are the right size, so I’ll be doing both versions of piecing this pattern requires. I figure, this way the fabrics will be sufficiently mixed and I will experience the fun of making a half and half quilt.

Was watching a FlossTube video the other day and the hostess was talking about her stitching WIPs. She had 41, FORTY ONE. I guess its possible to get that backed up, especially if that’s your main hobby, but really? I’m about half way done with ‘Pet All The Dogs’ to date, and I have two projects kitted up and waiting for me when it’s done. ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘Heaven and Nature’, SF is pretty small, and H&N is a medium size sampler.

I’ve seen a couple of cute smalls or minis lately, but I’m strangely not interested in actually starting any thing new. I have, however, found a few new charts on Etsy, that I might have to have.

I have to remember I am a quilter first. Yep.

Linking up with Denise today for Put Your Foot Down #91 at For the Love Of Geese.

Be Kind.

Practice

DH : What are you doing?

Me : Sewing

DH : Again?

Me : Yes, I am practicing.

DH : Oh?

Me : Yes, like a Doctor or a Lawyer, I practice my craft.

DH : I see, will you ever be done practicing?

Me : No, I think its a life-long thing.

This weekend I worked on a new project, which I am calling Evolution. I started out with the intent to use up a charm pack and a roll of 8 inch wide Boundless brand solids. The charm is a collection from Elizabeth Hartman, called Arctic. The two color families complimented each other nicely. I started out by cutting 5 inch squares from the solids and sewing them together with the Arctic squares in a random fashion. I wasn’t thrilled with how it was looking, dull and boring. I thought I’d add some four patches, still, not interesting. Hmm. Maybe some HST’s? I need a constant here, gray, coal gray, and I had two yards of it. The HST’s were looking good, I decided to drop the Actic charms. They just looked too washed out, the cute polar bears looked forlorn. I needed to let it rest for a day or so. On Friday, I was looking at Sarah’s site, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and saw a link to Crafts, Cavies and Cooking and her current project called Sunny Lanes. I googled Sunny Lanes, I should have put the words “quilt pattern” in the search though, because SL is also the name of an “actress” of a certain type of films. Ugh, this should be an interesting next few weeks on social sites. Anyway, I found a bunch of patterns with the same name, some similar to CC&C’s, but I liked her version. It’s pretty simple, a sixteen patch block and four HST’s in a block. By rotating the blocks you get diamonds surrounding the sixteen patches and the seem to float in the background of other sixteen patches. I had a plan. Now the counting and figuring started, I finally mocked one up on EQ8 so I could count the pieces. I needed more fabric, I dug through some left over charms and found half a pack of Kona charms called “Dusty”. They matched pretty well, and since this is a stash quilt, that is good. I finished up the HST’s yesterday and need to iron them. This is going to be a design wall quilt, as achieving the proper random-ness will be easier that way.

Also this weekend I got the bindings on three quilts, the two Mia Charro baby quilts, and Grassy Creek. I did end up cutting the outer row of squares in half to cover the quilting stitches that were, um, where they shouldn’t be. I cut out the Halloween Figs BOM blocks too. The mail brought another installment of the Holiday Snow Village, now I am two months behind. I’m really trying to like this quilt, but I just don’t like the way the printed accents look, too fake. I received the original brown yardage I bought for the Hampton Court quilt-a-long too, but I am waiting for the Essex linen I ordered to arrive to make a final decision on which to use. We are supposed to be putting the pieces together in the next two weeks to finish by 3/29. It’s doable.

Pet All the Dogs is progressing too. I did the border, thankfully, it joined up on the left side. I also took it off the frame, trimmed it and finished the edges with an overlock stitch. I was hesitant to do so before stitching the border, as I didn’t want to cut off too much. Waiting meant I could have a three inch outer border with which to frame the piece. It is still a bit too wide for the frame, but I folded the extra inch under and it works fine.

It’s a rainy day today, I think I’ll get the ironing done, and head out to the post office, then get the long arm set to quilt the Garden City quilt.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday today.

Be Kind.