Summertime

I spent most of the first day of summer sewing blocks for the commission quilt. It was a hot day here, so staying in was a good idea. Work on my house and yard are continuing at a good rate. My yard is a vast expanse of dirt and my bedroom now has windows and a door. I am having 12 tons of base rock delivered today, can you say dust? I am so glad that I am not the one who has to move it all.

Back to the quilting. I need to make 4 more blocks today, I think I can do that.

Four days later…

I have a finished quilt top. I ended up adding another row of blocks to make it truly twin sized. When I cut the borders, I realized that the fabric print was eight inches wide, not eight and a half. Damn, the corner blocks were already made at that point, they are 8 ½”. Striped spacer to the rescue! I really like the pop of color that it adds to the border of this top. The final size is 86″ x 56″ , its for a twin bed.

Other than the quilt top, I haven’t done much sewing on anything else. I need to get some more quilting done on the Mrs. Miller quilt. If I can get the quilting of the HSTs done then I can do the bottom borders. Then I’ll take it off the frame, stitch the Commissioned quilt, and re-mount the Miller quilt turned so I can do the side borders. Thats my plan for this weekend.

With all the quilt making going on I haven’t been stitching much on my Cardinal cross stitch piece. I really want to have it done by August, for a birthday present.

Yesterday I went to a fun sort of thrift shop. Its called Fab-Mo and it is a place to find fabrics and all kinds of things for making fabric art, clothes, quilts, and collages. I spent 30.00 and got a bunch of “needed” things. I had seen in their newsletter that they had gotten in a lot of heavy duty canvas, it was about 50 inches wide and at 3.00 a yard, I splurged and got two yards. I also got some nice webbing, a few notions, a large piece of fabric suitable for a backing, a few vintage calico fat quarters, AND a stamped cross stitch piece that was mounted on a small sized scroll frame. I was so excited by the $3.00 price tag that I didn’t look at the embroidery until I got it home. I’m not sure I’ll be finishing that one anytime soon. Before I left the shop, I asked about donations, and they do take them, then I started cleaning out my sewing room in my mind. Maybe later this summer, I am imagining a great clean-out of bins and books and patterns. I have often thought of selling things, but, after all the time and effort needed to photograph, post, sell and send an item, it really doesn’t end up profitable. For instance, I have upholstery fabric that I’ll never use, that would be one empty bin.

Be Kind.

Where did the time go?

I think I have been busy I have much progress to show for the time, but not many words. I have been working on my BOMs, Reunion and Ribbon runs through it. I’m happy to report that I am caught up. For reunion I finished the 16 “different” blocks, they are different colors and same pattern. They have 117 pieces each, finish at 12 inches and take about 3 hours to cut, sew and put together. I was looking forward to starting the secondary blocks, all same colors and pattern, because I thought they would be easier. Alas, no. They have the same number of pieces, the difference being that they have a modified nine patch in place of the double flying geese. The centers are a bit bigger too, I was surprised when I counted that they had the same numbers.

The Pilgrim is making progress, I have been steadily working on it most evenings. Thankfully more stitching than ripping. I don’t have a side project, although that may change soon. I get a little bored stitching one color, so I have been doing smaller cross stitch pieces along with this large one. I have this Cardinal one kitted up, but I am not sure about the linen I have here for it. It is actually a woven hemp, that has been hand dyed. Its a 32 count, and the resulting stitchery would be too large for the frame I have for it. I ordered a few pieces of 36 count linen last week, I may change it out when that shipment gets here.

I started on the quilt restoration project. I carefully took the whole quilt apart, it was like an archeological project, it took me a few days. This quilt was made in the 70’s, with all the skills of that time. Some machine stitching lots of hand stitching, scissor cut fabrics, and templates were involved. For example the quilt was finished envelope style, after it was hand quilted in the center, the edges were turned in and invisibly hand stitched together. This is a large quilt, almost a queen size, I guess its akin to hand stitching binding, bleh. The borders were machine stitched on and the stitched in the ditch by machine. It seems to me that maybe the sewist did a sort of quilt as you go method. I must mention the batting, it was polyester, a decent grade of it too, but, for some reason, the quilter used two different bats, one was slightly thinner than the other, so it was folded in half and doubled. This made half the quilt heavier on one side, I was happy to get that out and separated. The backing fabric seems to be a poly blend muslin type. It is pieced, but not too much. There seem to be some seams that are industrial machine sewn. I am wondering if the fabric may have been curtain lining at one time. I washed it in my front loader, but it still looked dingy. I am soaking it in dish washer detergent and water now, it seems to be getting cleaner. The problem with quilts that have been used, is that they pick up skin oils, grime and dust and “stuff” that becomes one with the fibers. Rhonda Dort has an excellent tutorial about cleaning vintage linens at her blog Rhonda Dort . I would like to use this backing to replace some of the backing on the Dresden blocks. The dark green blades bled when this quilt was laundered and left ugly yellow stains. I am going to remove the green blades and repair and replace the blades that need it. Then I’ll resew the blades to the new/old backing. I am hoping that I can also wash these blocks once they are repaired, so they can be made into a new quilt. I am thinking of adding some sashing, and different borders. The lady to whom this belongs to, didn’t like the original brown, red and yellow borders, I am thinking a softer pallet may be better. Plus, the originals are faded on one half from the sun.

I have another commission for a twin size quilt too. Last year I made this quilt (above), Cats in the Stars, to use up my Julie Paschkis fabric stash, this client would like a similar one in a twin size for her son. As is the case with OOP fabric, finding it is tough. She has been scouring the internet here and in Canada, for pieces of the Catkin line and complimentary lines. She sends them directly to me, so I get these happy little packages of pretty fabric. I am awaiting the delivery of some solids and black fabric to start the scrappy stars, plus I do have the matching center cat panel left over. Hoping to get this one done quickly, and off to its new bed.

Cats in the Stars – before borders were added

I have purchased a bunch of fabric too. I bought all the batiks to make the Swordfish quilt from Judy Neyermeyer. There is a clearance/retirement sale still running at Batiks Plus, when I got mine it was 30% off, now it is 40%. I also bought a fabric kit to make the Enchanting Stars Pattern from Jacqueline de Jonge. It was on sale too, and I have the pattern already, so why not? So I have two monster sized quilts to make this summer, as well as finishing the two BOMs.

On top of that, we are replacing all the windows in our bedroom and redoing the landscaping in our back yard. Yup, going to be busy around here.

Be Kind.

Getting things finished

I have a bunch of finishes I accomplished in the past two-ish weeks. I am procrastinating though, by making and finishing things I am putting off starting a big commissioned project. The quilt is a Dresden plate that was made in the 70’s. Its got some shattered fabrics, a poly batting, hand quilting and machine quilting, and a bit of wonky-ness. I have talked with the customer and come up with a plan for it, even wrote it down, so I wouldn’t forget. I just don’t want to start it yet. The customer is in no hurry either, but I am at the point I want to get it done and out of my sewing room.

Things finished this month

  • Summer cross stitch – framed
  • Christmas Figs bound and finished
  • Four small quilts quilted and bound
  • Estrella quilted
  • Two pillow shams quilted and made
  • Table runner made
  • Sold four quilts (yay!)

I have another quilt on the frame, the Sew Kind of Wonderful pattern, called Posh Snowball. I’m using a Panto called Mr. Marbles, its coming together nicely.

I have been steadily stitching on the Pilgrims Progress, although I did start another small piece. I friend and I have a tradition of saying “Rabbit Rabbit” upon waking up on the first morning of a new month. We kid each other about it, and often forget, but when we do remember, its a lucky month. This piece is a gift, not only is it a rabbit piece, but its part of a monthly series by Ink Circle. This one is for June, my friends birth month.

I finally got my 4 month seven blocks together for the Reunion quilt BOM. There was a mix up in the cutting room and everyone got the wrong fabric, purple instead of pink. It was number 6 instead of number 9, I can only imagine how organized one must have to be when cutting these kits. I have to check and recheck the colors before I cut my pieces. Funny thing is that the other BOM I am doing, A Ribbon Runs Through, had a similar problem, but they just forgot to add a strip of a blue printed fabric. I had a little of it left from a previous month, but not enough for the block. They are sending it with next months kit.

Off to sew.

Be Kind.

Progress with the Pilgrim

Last month I posted a picture of my current cross stitch piece, Pilgrim Progress -by LongDog Samplers. I have been stitching a bit every day (almost every day:). The process is really starting to show, I have almost finished the four pages of pattern that go across the bottom. There are twelve pages in all, so I’m about a third done. This sampler(?) is still fun and engaging for me, all the interesting motifs, and geometric shapes, its easy to skip around and work on bits of something. Or if I want a little challenge, try to stitch something in its entirety, like the fox or rabbit.

Recently, LongDog came out with two new chart, that I bought, called Tap Dancers. It just appealed to me, the motifs and the story of it. Just look at the submarine and the little scene in the bottom right corner, fun! The description is below.

This design is a slightly tongue in cheek tribute to the British architect Richard Rogers who died in 2021. He turned architecture not just inside out but on its head too with his striking plans for the tubular Pompidou Centre in Paris, the vast Millennium Dome in London and the brash Lloyd’s of London building with its soaring atrium.

I am plugging along on the longarm too. It is working very well after its spa day and replacement of its upper tension assembly. I finished the Christmas Figs quilting, just need to bind it. It actually have the binding all ready to go, I made it when I finished the top, back in July 2019. I have two quilts done on this large backing and I am going to try to fit two more. This saves me time, not having to re-pin backings on, but it also makes it very easy to get four done in the time of one big one.

Four Corners 🙂

Off to quilt a bit.

Be Kind.

Shrinkage may occur

I last posted on 3/15, about my upcoming retreat to Empty Spools in Asilomar. I had a very good time, too much to go over in print. I communed with the quilting community, and had a few nice walks on the beach and through the town of Pacific Grove. I worked a lot on collage-ing too. The hardest part for me was letting go of the “paint-by-number” mentality, allowing the print of the fabric to do the textures and coloring. Susan Carlsen is a good mentor/teacher for this, she has a very encouraging way about her, to help you get the feel for collage and make it work. I have this photo of my owl, Trusty Friend. I still need to add some layers of tulle, and quilting.

Part of the Empty Spools program is to have a classroom walk about on the last full day. I get a lot of inspiration doing this and get to see a bunch of techniques and ideas to try on my own. Pricilla Bianchi was giving a class using her striped fabrics and Guatemalan woven fabrics. I took her class a while ago at PIQF, I bought a few ½ yard woven stripe patterned pieces at the time too. I can’t find the quilt blocks we worked on in class, but I was inspired to do another stripe quilt. Pricilla had this one with her, on display, and a few more on her website.

I really like the log cabin one, but I didn’t have enough of the “right” material to make it. The stripes, however, I did. I cut as many 3 ½” triangles as I could, and sewed them into squares. There were too many to lay out on my design board, so I switched to the guest bed. Once I got them together in a pleasing way, I sewed the diagonal rows together and added blue HST’s to the edges. This is where the “shrinkage” occurred, my final top size is 42 x 55. Its a good throw size, but I was kinda shooting for a full size, like the bed it was on.

I’ve been working on finishing the Christmas figs quilt currently on my frame. Yesterday I quilted the last block, now I just need to do the sashing, I am planning on computer stitched bead strings in each part. The outer borders are skinny too, only about two inches wide. I may just do parallel lines an inch apart.

Be Kind.

The Ribbon Quilt blocks

I started this BOM in January of this year, with the first four blocks. Then, due to some kind of supply/shipping issue, I didn’t get the February set until last week. I have been working on them this week, and realized that they have a lot of pieces and take a few hours to make. I counted the pieces, 115, which I probably shouldn’t have, but I figured out why it is taking so long to put these together. After seven of them, I have a system down, thankfully the instructions are easy to use and helpful. There are 16 of these blocks in total, and then 8 different ones. I think I have said this before, but I am glad this is a BOM, otherwise I don’t think I would finish it.

Speaking of long term projects, I am steadily stitching on the Pilgrims Progress Sampler. It is starting to look like something now. I have completed two pages, there are twelve in all, the small motifs and patterns are interesting to stitch. I like to have a goal each time I stitch, to do one, last night I did the bird cage and a bit of the lettering. I started to fall asleep (thanks to the hour lost thing) while stitching, which is not conducive to counting, so I packed it up. Generally though I do about 200 stitches in a session, not having to change colors makes it a little easier. Still have to count accurately though.

Aurifil #12 36 count Linen

I am really looking forward to my up coming retreat at Empty Spools next week. I have a class with Susan Carlson, Fabric Collage. We have already met in an introductory Zoom session, and talked over what we need to do before class and what we need to bring. No sewing machines will be used, as the process of collage-ing will most likely take all five days. I am using this Great Gray Owl photo as my inspiration.

The Great Gray Owl is a character named “Trusty Friend” in the novel “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr. I really enjoyed listening to the story, and due to the magic of the internet, Gray owls started popping up in my Pinterest feed. I had been searching for an animal to collage for a few months, when this photo came up. A magnificent bird, more pictures here, the eyes are really that yellow too. I’m thinking of bringing a suitcase full of fabrics, as I know I’ll be using lots of little bits to create the shadings in the feathers. Since I’ll be driving there, I can load up my car, and not have to worry about overweight bags and checking them. I may do a blog post from there, we’ll see.

Be Kind.

393

I have a fondness for palindromes, be they numbers, words or patterns. I think patterns are called something else though, tessellations. Todays is the 393rd post, the last day of the shortest month. I should have posted on 2/22/22, but I was doing something else.

I have a bunch of works in progress, and a few FFO’s to show. The cross stitched Pansies have a frame and mat, I used a shadowbox frame from Michaels for it, with a circular cut mat from CustomMatCA an Etsy shop that will cut a mat to your specifications. I wanted a 7 and a 1/4 inch circle centered in a 9 ½ inch square, and that’s what I got. You may remember that I stitched this piece on a slightly small piece of Aida, which was rectangular. I wanted to frame it as a square, so the round mat hides the edges that don’t wrap around the backing. I used acid free double sided sticky tape to stitch the stitchery and adhere it to the backing. At some point the glue will probably give out, and I will have to redo it, but finished is finished and I think it looks good.

The Cecropia moth stitchery is also framed, I especially like how the gray wood frame compliments the colors. My only lament is the white linen I used, and how the white colored thread is lost to the eye.

I have been stitching on my LongDog Sampler “Pilgrims Promise” exclusively, yep, it is keeping my attention. I have to admit that I did pre-buy a chart that will be released at the upcoming Nashville Stitchery Market. It’s called “Love Reigns”, and it is by Teresa Kogut, but I doubt that I will start it when I get it. I do want to start a small piece soon, that will be a gift for a friends birthday. I have to get the threads for it though, the pattern calls for Gloriana silks, which are a bit on the costly side, 6.50 a skein, and there are 7 colors. I’m thinking DMC would be a good alternative, and I have a few extra hanging around here. Once I kit it up, I may alternate it with stitching on the Pilgrim. I am enjoying stitching with one color, and the motifs are interesting, fun to see the dots develop into patterns, leaves, and animals.

I finished the Heart quilt, I just need to iron it a bit. I thought the ironing fairies might do it for me if I left it on the bed, but it seems only the wrinkle fairies have danced on it. I also got all the cut off triangles sewn together with a border around them. I may add another round of blocks, as this top is too big for a doll quilt and too small for a baby quilt. Notice the “fancy” mitered border corners :).

I started on two pillow shams to match a quilt I made a few years ago. I used Hoffman 1895 batiks to make it and didn’t have enough scraps to make the eight blocks I need for the shams. I contacted Batiks Etc. and Sew What Fabrics and sent them a few scraps of the colors I used. Robin was able to match them and I got a yard of each to use. I am thankful that Hoffman is pretty consistent with their dye lots, and for the excellent customer service at Batiks Etc. The completed paper foundations are piling up and I’ll be getting these together soon.

On the frame, I am slowly working my way through the Christmas figs quilt, one block at a time. I’m not sure what I want to do in the sashings yet. I am hoping it’ll come to me soon.

Be Kind.

Tiles and Quilts

Yesterday I visited a ceramic tile and tableware store, Heath Ceramics, in San Francisco. They make custom tiles for decorative use, not for only bathrooms and kitchens. They have patterns on display as 18″ square blocks, very design wall like. These two caught my eye.

These tiles look just like the 112 triangles I have from my current quilt top that I’m working on. The Marcus fabrics Aunt Grace heart quilt, a free pattern from them, has 56 hearts made with the cut off corners technique. I’m thinking that I can use the ones from the lower edges to make a scrappy quilt.

I started the heart quilt last week as a way to use up the box (see ☝️) of 1930’s repro fabrics I have ‘collected’. These started life with the Farmers Wife’s quilt, went on to a few scrappy squares and scrappy diamonds quilts, and finally to the Simple Pleasures BOM quilt.

I fear it’s a never ending bottomless box though.

Be Kind.

Ribbons and Pansies

I completed the four blocks for the January installment of A ribbon Runs through it. By the fourth one, I was able to sew it together quickly, and without any ripping. The fabric packs ship mid-month, so I’m good to go for the next installment of my other BOM, Reunion.

I finally got the Spider and the Fly quilt finished. It has been on my longarm for(ever) a long time. Not for lack of trying to finish it, but because my system is not working as it should. I got my longarm back from its repair/tune-up on January 18th, it was gone for three weeks. They replaced the missing check spring, and didn’t find anything else wrong with it. It is working well now. It’s the q-matic system that is spazzing. It will quilt for a few inches and then the machine will stop stitching, but still moves with the robotics. There is some disconnect there, I have checked all the connections and updated all the drivers and reset everything that could be reset. Still, same issues. While limping through finishing the last ten inches of the last row of pantograph on the S&F quilt, I wrote down all the steps I went through to get the machine to work. It is a two page list, single spaced. I have sent this in to the techs at Bernina, with my dealers help, and I hope that they can come up with a solution for me. I think it has to do with the control board in the control box. Or that the computer, which is four years old, needs a memory upgrade.

I am loading up my Christmas figs sampler in the meanwhile, as I can do some free hand and ruler work on it and enjoy using my machine again. This morning I laid the wool batting over the frame so it can relax a bit, this is a bagged, precut piece of Hobbs Heirloom. I want to keep this quilt for myself, as I really like it and spent a year making it, well, not 365 days, but 12 months of a BOM kit. I still like the fabrics and the colors. Joann Figarella has come out with a Christmas Figs ll, which is just as pretty and coordinates well with the first version. I am almost done with all my scraps, I probably have enough left over for one more lap quilt. I also have a bunch of the Halloween figs scraps, but most of those I used in the Spider and the Fly quilt. Might be one more small quilts worth there too. First, I’ll put a binding on the S&F quilt though.

The Pansies are almost done, I didn’t make my end of the month goal of finishing them, but I am getting closer. The leaves are made up of many different greens, I think I have one more bud to make and three more leaves. I am trying to come up with a creative way to frame or finish this piece. My “frugality” caused me to use a smaller than desirable piece of Aida, and the lower right side has only about an inch of selvedge. I was thinking of using a circular or oval mat, or frame, if I can find one. I just may end up making a small pillow.

Be Kind.

A Ribbon Runs Through it

This week I am working on the four blocks for the January installment of “A Ribbon Runs Through It”. These blocks finish at 12 inches square, and each one, although it the same uses colors/prints, they are in a different mix. This pattern comes with a block layout sheet or (BLS) as the maker calls it. It is very helpful when laying out all the block pieces and getting them in the right place. From start to finish, each block is taking me about two and a half hours to cut and piece together. It’s a bit fiddly at first, but after the second one, I think I’m developing a rhythm. I set up a small folding table next to my machine with a wool ironing pad and my iron. It saves me a little time on the up and downs of pressing the units. If you haven’t invested in a felted wool pad, you are missing out.

Stitching on the Vintage Pansies is progressing too, I would like to be done by the end of the month, we’ll see. I realized today that I am missing a skein of DMC, might have to go to the store soon. I am thinking of knitting more and more, and I have a half done shawl, but I just want to cross stitch right now. The Longdog patten for The Pilgrims Progress is also calling to me. This is large piece, 305 x 367 stitches, about 16″ x 19″, it is one color. It’s a long term project, no hurry to finish. I will be using a scroll frame, so it will be possible to have a smaller piece going at the same time.

Off to Sew.

Be Kind.