U R (heart)

This weeks project, a small quilt using the You Are Loved panel is nearly complete. I didn’t get a chance to sew yesterday, as we had company for most of the day. I decided on the pattern for this quilt, and made a valiant attempt to find a written one, but in the end I am winging it. The center print is where I started, I measured it and by looking at the inspirational quilt picture, figured out how big to cut it. I noticed that there were 10 flying geese on each side of it, which led to 20 inches a side if I used 2″ x 4″ geese. Okay, then I’ll need to add 1 inch borders to the center.

This is the way it went for a few sessions, adding and subtracting, measuring twice (sometimes thrice) and sewing it together. I am being really careful with the fabric usage, as I only have half yards of most of the coordinating prints. The eggshell solid is from the scrap pile. The borders came about in a slap dash way. I measured the boxes on the print and figured out that three wide was seven inches. If I added a narrow border of tan, then they would be eight inches and I could put eight inch blocks in each corner. I was looking at my Accuquilt dies and saw the Winding Ways one, an eight inch block. I have been wanting to try this one, as its a B.O.B (block on board) and easy curved piecing. Ended up making eight, four reverse color and four forward color. The die is made to use the least amount of fabric, and the pieces are nested next to each other. This is great for conserving fabric, but it makes it difficult not to cut backgrounds at the same time as foregrounds. In order to make four different blocks, I had to cut eight. In the end though, it worked out because I had enough border print and white background print. the quilt top finished at about 65″ square.

I finished the Snowy quilt, with a red binding. I would like to get it posted this weekend, it might get sold before the holiday. I have enough scraps left to make a pillow or a table runner, but that will wait. I have been embroidering the facial details on the Irish bears quilt top. I can do one a day, the needle is a bit tough to pull through the fabric. It seems like I “carefully” placed each detail on a seam intersection. Pulling three strands of floss through three layers of fabric is taxing. I think sewing on linen for cross stitching has spoiled me. Now I wonder if I would have trouble hand quilting, maybe, but I don’t have any plans for such endeavors at this time.

I started the Turkey Bay cross stitch piece, got the bay done and part of a turkey, it is swimming. Apparently they are able to swim, who knew? The Pilgrim is also progressing, I started the crow, lots of mindless X’s.

Off to clean house for guests this weekend.

Be Kind.

Wedgies

I spent a few hours yesterday cleaning up the floor in my sewing room. I had an appointment to go to at ten, I figured since it was only a few hours to do something in, clearing the floor would accomplish something, but not be an onerous task. You know, like cleaning all the flat surfaces in the room. My sewing/cutting table is in the center and surrounded on three sides with bookshelves and drawers of fabric. The last side is my design wall which is in front of the closet. The floor space is sort of a moat in which to walk around. The moat was clogged up with small boxes of fabric, bins of scraps, and bags of project kits. There were also a few small boxes of picture frames and decorative items from the MBR that needed to go back. Since the remodel this summer, I have not put all the decorative things back on the dressers and such. That’ll be for another day though, I was concentrating on the floor. I was happy with the results of my job, even swept up all the threads and dog ears, shook out the rugs and dusted a bit.

When I got home, I pulled out the ‘Ribbon Runs Through It’ BOM to see where I was and what needed doing. There were 16 wedge blocks, piecing the top and the final borders to be done. I cut all the pieces for the log cabin style blocks in quick order. Then set about making one entire block, for my sample. Then I broke down the sewing into segments and made 15 of every thing in a chain piecing frenzy. All the blocks for this BOM are done now, it felt good. I put it all back in its box, to do another day. I really need to concentrate on the block placement for this quilt top. After the ripping fun time I had with the Reunion top, I want this one to be easier. Instead of “measure twice = cut once” my mantra will be “check placement twice = sew once”.

The second bear quilt is together and appliquéd now, still need to add eyes, noses, and claws. I am not sure about the backing. Usually my client likes the Minky/cuddle backing. I don’t have any blue in the house, I could go get some, or order it in. I have some blue yardage I can use, but its not baby themed.

Today I may just start a new quilt top. A few months ago I bought a panel from the fabric line called “love is..” and a bunch of coordinating fabrics to go with it. There are a few pattern ideas I gleaned, I need to pick one.

On the frame this week is “Snowy”, this was a kit from a local quilt store. I think I bought it in May, but I am hoping to have it ready for sale very soon, only 45 more days till Christmas.

Be Kind.

Progress-ing

Last week, I worked on the Reunion quilt top. I had a few squares that were misplaced and I fixed them. After correcting the mistake, I hung the top on my design wall and compared it to the picture. I found another mistake, all four inner corners were not right. Unsewed them and resewed them. Okay. I lay the top on the floor, and spot checked it again, damn. Another two turned blocks, I fixed them and then attached the four next corners. Quality control drove by, and pronounced it “perfect”. I folded the top and put it on the shelf for another week, when I want to put the final borders on. Now I am afraid to look at the other BOM I have been working on, the Ribbon Runs Through quilt. I know I still have blocks to make, I just hope it will go a bit more smoothly than the Reunion.

Inner square, without final corners and borders.

In between bouts of hair-pulling frustration sessions, I finished the Star Wars quilts, quilted the Street fair quilt and a top I call Dragons and Dungeons. Once these were done, I started working on a commissioned baby quilt. It is the same design I made about a year ago, the double Irish chain with the teddy bears peeking out. Then maybe take the Ribbon Runs through it quilt out and see what needs doing. I just got a notice that the next installment of Message in a bottle BOM is shipping. All this work keeps me out of trouble for sure. It seems like work, but I am very happy to have those four quilts out the door.

Last week I ordered a piece of linen for the Thanksgiving cross stitch project, Turkey Bay. It came in, but I think it is too blue, so I’m going to stick to the light tan I originally pulled for it. There are stitches of blue waves, and they get lost on the blue linen. It is a pretty blue though.

It was a busy week, I am hoping to keep the momentum up, there are a few rainy days in the forecast next week, my favorite days to stay in and sew. Plus there is that “extra” hour in my day now. I put the Snowy quilt top on the frame, so that’s my main goal. I am thinking of using a snow flake pantograph, and possibly metallic thread. So many options.

Be Kind.

Check, Please

Check, check and recheck. Friday night I had some uninterrupted time to spend constructing the reunion quilt. I had finished all the blocks with the September shipment, and got the fabric for the borders and setting triangles earlier this month. I was steadily sewing along, the instructions are very detailed, with lots of pictures for each segment. The reason there are lots of pictures is that there are a lot of directional fabrics, and parts of blocks that need to match up. I had to unsew a block or two because of a mistake in directional-ity. This quilt top is a giant square in a square in a square, finished size is 107″ square. I got the center done, a nine patch when all is said and done, and pinned it to the design wall. I then went on and sewed the light shaded corner sections, I decided to attach them and finish up for the evening, I had spent about two hours and I wanted to leave some for the weekend. I sewed a corner on and got to the center of it and saw that the gold and white four patches were not matching up, in fact they were not even on the same side. UGH! I had turned the blocks 1/4 way too much, I had to un sew the center nine patch. I did and called it a night. Saturday night I started again, I re-sewed the center and added the four corners and pinned it up to the board again. Then I got the next set of corners done. Okay, I thought, tomorrow I’ll get the whole top together, just four long corner seams, and two borders. I sat for a moment gazing at the center. Something was amiss, wait, nooo! The mistake was in one of the blocks from month two, two HST’s in the wrong spot (third picture). I need to surgically remove them and switch them with ones that are in the correct spots. Maybe later today, I need a break from all this checking.

On the Long arm front, the quilting of the star wars quilts is finished. It went quickly, on the throw sized one the motifs are 7 inches, and on the queen I enlarged them to 8 inches, so each row took about ten minutes. Just need to bind them, I am thinking of black solid, I have a bolt of it around here somewhere. I put the next quilt backing on the frame, I am ready to get the “Street Fair” top started. I’ll probably do the ripping on the Reunion top while that stitches. Multitasking. I redid the errant hanging sleeve and finished the Halloween Figs quilt, it is hanging in the place of honor now. I may leave it up for a few more weeks, it is sort of autumnally themed. I feel good about this finish, the top was done last year about this time and it sat for another eleven months. I finished it before halloween though, a win!

I am also putting lots of stitches into my Longdog Sampler “The Pilgrim”. I started on my second aurifil spool, I can’t figure out how many yards are on the #12 thread size spool. The pattern calls for 115 meters of six ply thread, used singly. A lot of thread, a DMC skein is 8 meters, about 15 to do this project. I’d like to finish this in 2022, so the date is correct. I am going to start a new piece this week, called Turkey Bay, by Plum Street. To get in the mood for the upcoming holiday.

Hoping your October ends well too.

Be Kind.

More Stars and less wars

This week I have been working on the two commission quilts with a Star Wars theme. I chose the pattern “Alyssa” by Pine Tree County Quilts for these two because it would use all the fabric types and colors and still come together nicely. In other words, it’s a great scrappy quilt pattern. The cutting and sewing is pretty simple, no triangles, just forty two 16 ½” blocks. I have got the smaller one together, and I hope to have the larger one done by today. There are two straight borders and lots of straight line sewing. I’ll be winding a few extra bobbins too.

May the Force be with you

This coming weekend I want to do the two BOM blocks from last month. I should like to have them finished before this months arrive <ahem>. I would like to get the Reunion quilt finished, and on the frame this month. There are two months left on the Ribbon Runs Through it BOM. Oh and the Message in a Bottle BOM for October will be here next week. I have just started on the first block, appliqué, the three “flowers”. The second block is hanging around here somewhere. I showed a bit of restraint this month that I feel I need to mention. I joined Sue Spargo’s newsletter recently because I enjoy her works and thought I might do one of her BOM’s as a diversion from my other ones. She does a lot with decorative stitching, threads and wools. I was smitten by her latest pattern called Flora, click the link, I dare you. I spent a few minutes clicking and reading and then I grabbed the calculator to figure out the price per month. She has a slightly complicated way of charging, some months are more than others, and there is a reservation fee. It’s all clearly written out and explained, sadly, too well. I talked myself out of doing it, mostly because I didn’t see the value. Yes, there is the original design, but I would like to use some of the yards of specialty threads that I have collected over the years. I really don’t need any more, and then there is wool fabrics, I have a small stash, and I want to keep it that way. So I won’t be signing up for this one. Really.

The quilting on my Halloween Figs quilt is finished, I like how it turned out. I used Superior Threads Microquilter in taupe on the top and black Bottom Line in the bobbin to add just a bit of texture and whimsy. The design sewed over the appliqué with out a problem, I used the cup attachment for the regular quilting foot. I am not too happy with the backing fabric. It was a 108 wide black with gray vines, I’m not sure of the manufacturer, the selvage isn’t printed. The problem is that the needle holes sometimes show as grey dots. The needle was deflecting the wrong side of the fabric to the good side. I first thought it was the top thread coming through, but when I attached the binding, the fabric did the same thing, gray dots. Very frustrating. Also, when I was sewing the binding on, I made a hanging sleeve. I think the quilt got turned or I thought since it was square, it didn’t have a top or bottom. Or maybe I just thought it was the top, it actually turned out to be the side that I attached the sleeve onto. Grr, damn my impatience, anyway, I had to unseen two sides and resew the sleeve and binding back on. Other than the hand sewing of the sleeve along the back, it is done. But, after all that I “won” at Thread chicken!

I am going to hang it up after halloween, as my Baltimore Halloween has the place of honor right now. Oh, and I finished the other halloween quilt, the Pumpkin a Day SAL, it was fun and now its done. I used a slightly different pumpkin patch panto for it, and variegated thread. Its for sale in my Etsy shop. These two and the Spider and the Fly quilt I made last year, pretty much used up most of my All Hallows Eve collection, I do have some of the white background prints left.

PIQF 2022 opened yesterday, I am still on the fence as to if I want to go. I haven’t been since 2019, but I would like to see the quilts and shop a little. But people, there will be lots of people there, hmmm.

Be Kind.

Pumpkins

I’m on a roll this week getting lots done. Three quilts bound, one quilted and ready for binding, lots of four patches, and many cross stitches.

The quilt with all the four patches is from a pattern called Street Fair, by Clark quilts. It is written for a smaller size than I am making, so I am making more blocks, 49 in total. Also, just to make it more fun, the pattern calls for a 10″ square fabric pack, I’m using yardage. Thankfully, I will have enough of the white on white, but it is going to be tight.

After quilting the Pumpkin-a-Day quilt, I pulled out my finished Halloween Figs quilt top. I had a backing with it, so on the frame it went. I am going to do an all over panto on it. I wrestled with the thought of custom quilting it, but after finishing the Christmas figs quilt that way, I said no to custom. I spent about an hour yesterday looking for a specific pumpkin pantograph I had seem a few months ago. In fact I had thought of using it for the Pumpkin a Day QAL, but gave up and used one from Anne Bright Designs, called The Great Pumpkin. The Pumpkin Patch from Beany Girl was the one I was looking for, but I don’t think it will work for Halloween Figs, the scale isn’t right. While searching, I came across one from My creative Stitches called Autumn Splendor. Its a little more crips and swirly, I wanted to add texture and interest to the Halloween figs quilt and not take away from all the precision piecing and appliqué I did. I can now type the word PUMPKIN without looking at my keyboard.

Pilgrims Progress is slowly filling in, I am working on this particularly dense area on the left top, under the fox. I have resisted the siren call of starting a new piece, but it’s tough.

I other news, my fountain was installed last weekend. It took six guys to move it from the truck to my back yard, it reminded me of the ancient Egyptians making a pyramid, as piece by piece they brought it in.

Be Kind.

Many things

I have been steadily working on quilting and piecing the past two weeks. Although I haven’t gotten to the Reunion and Ribbon BOMs yet. I finished three tops, The Pumpkins (PumppleSALwith Ivory Spring), Effie Love and Snowy. I don’t think I blogged about Snowy, maybe that I bought the kit earlier this year. It is a quilt designed by Julie Paschkis, using the fabric line “Snowy” by In the Beginning Fabrics. Kits are still available, this is such a pretty quilt, I may keep it. I have to admit that I made a cutting error though, I was being my usual fabric frugal self while cutting all the pieces for the paper foundation blocks. I didn’t read through the instructions fully, and cut the right angled triangle pieces with the fabric WST. So I had only half facing the “correct” way. If you look at the top closely, you’ll notice that four of the pieced blocks are different from the other four. It works though, and I bet if I didn’t mention it, no one would notice right off.

Snowy

I quilted the Botanica Park quilt, in order to get it done enough to take it off and switch in a baby quilt that needed quilting. It was going along quickly, I was in a rhythm, getting the motifs aligned and stitching them out. Then I got to the last row and discovered that my backing was too short, by about three inches. I almost wept. The finished size of this top is supposed to be 107″ square, I measured mine to be a bit less, I was thinking 104″ (?). Anyway, I used 108″ wide backing and it shrunk up a bit. Damn. I took it off the frame and after I get the errant HST repaired I will add a strip to the backing, I think I can hide it by making that the top side and adding a hanging sleeve there. Not that many people have that much wall space for a quilt this large.

I got the baby quilt on with the minky backing and quilted it with no problems. Had it squared, bound, packaged and in the post the next day. I loaded up Effie Love and proceeded to quilt that on to a 108″ wide backing. I was careful with the top placement, and was able to add another small baby quilt on the same backing. I am hoping to get it finished today and get the peacock quilt on the frame. I haven’t picked out a panto for it yet, I know I want to do something with feathers, and I don’t want to buy one. I looked through my library and found a few that I didn’t know I had already. I wish someone would organize my library of digital pantos for me. I am so hopelessly disorganized in that respect.

“Effie” on top and a baby quilt

I have an order for four more quilts, possibly five depending on fabric usage, that needs to be done before December. I am hoping that I can get at least one done per week, as they are relatively simple designs/patterns and mostly scrappy.

I have also been working on the LongDog Sampler, Pilgrims Progress again. I did wash and press the Cardinals, but have not framed it yet. I am itching to start a new piece too, I was looking through all the new and upcoming designs at 123 Stitch earlier. I must show restraint though and work on the kits I have here. I may have to start the one I made up earlier this year, Huckleberry Farm. Or there is also the Heaven and Nature Sing one.

Off to stitch.

Be Kind.

Long weekend quilting

This is Labor Day weekend, which is a reminder that Summer is almost over and that it is time to put away the white pants and shoes. Does anyone still do that, or is it from “the way back”? My holiday started on Wednesday, as my DH left for a short 6 day vacation. I have been sewing up quite a few things in my time alone. It’s not that I can’t while he is here, it’s that there are less interruptions and must-do things.

The Pumpkin a Day quilt is coming along, I have completed the twenty blocks, I want to work on finishing it today and tomorrow. The stitch-a-long is with Ivory Spring, follow along on Instagram #pumppleSAL. I would really like to get it sold this year, and Halloween is rapidly approaching.

Early morning design wall

In the mean time though, I have an order for a baby quilt that needs to be quilted, and in order to do that, I want to finish the Botanica Park quilting. This quilt is large, and the way the border and center blocks stitch out, requires Turning the quilt 90 degrees at about the half way point. I’d like to get the first orientation done, so I’ll only have to switch/turn it once, and do the baby quilt in-between the turns. While quilting it yesterday, this errant HST caught my eye, Damn. Well, I can fix it when I take it off to turn it.

The finishing kit for A Ribbon Runs Through will be here this week. Last week I worked on finishing the 16 more sashing blocks I needed. I used a HST method which makes eight at a time, and I was able to get them done in a few days. These sashings are a bit of a pain, 20 pieces, but they are the “ribbon” in this quilt design, so I can’t really skip them. Looks like I will be crafting half log cabins for the setting blocks.

Finally, I finished the stitching on the “Love” cross stitch piece I was working on. I wanted to finish it in the beginning of August, but it proved to be too much. The Hellebore flowers were dense, and I thought they would go as quickly as the cardinals did. I have the frame and will get to it soon.

Off to stitch a bit on the Pilgrim now, I have missed it. Although, I am itching to start something new, maybe a small for Halloween or Christmas.

Be Kind.

Peacocks, Pumpkins and Reunion.

This week I worked on all three quilts listed above.

The peacock evolved from a panel I saw on Etsy, and the fabric line that was complimentary. The pattern is by Pine tree quilts, called Peacock twist. The twist part is sort of a stack and whack center for the star blocks. Since I had many fat quarter pieces from the line, I choose not to do this method. I cut squares instead, and felt that they were colorful and interesting enough. The S&W way always seems so wasteful to me. This quilt went together very quickly, and I had enough left over (over bought) fabrics, that I added an outer border, the finished quilt size is about 50″ x 66″. The fabric line is called “Glow”, and it really does have a certain luminescence.

I worked on my 20 Pumpkins, got most of the gray corners attached. I realized that I didn’t have enough of the Halloween figs white on white background. I went on an internet search, couldn’t find any of the Houndstooth, on Etsy or Ebay, I even went to my favorite online shops, nothing to be had. I ended up ordering a basic beige, but its a bit too dark. It was while doing this search that I saw the peacock fabric, so I bought that and gave up on the Figs fabric for a bit. Then as I was looking something completely different, I found the houndstooth at Pastry Shop Quilting . Typical rabbit hole experience shopping on the internet. I also saw this cute baby quilt kit, called “Effie Love”, by Deb Strain. So I got it too, I think the pattern will work for other panels I have too. The gingham hearts are so cute.

The completely different thing I was looking for was a beaded tree kit from Westrim. Back in the late 80’s, I worked for a garden/craft store, and I was in charge of the craft department. Many times if we didn’t have a sample for a line of merchandise, I would get to make one. The Westrim Christmas tree was one of those samples. At the time it was quite expensive, and there was probably no way I could have afforded to make it on my budget. I got to use all the bits and pieces to make the model, it was fun and I wished I could keep it when I was done. Fast forward a few months, and I was leaving that job, at my going away party, the store manager gifted the model to me. My mom ended up keeping it, and I think she still brings it out at Christmas time, as her “tree”. I started looking on Ebay, and found one, Vintage, NIB, for less than it was in the 80’s, the box is marked “value priced” at 49.99, retail value, if purchased separately was 69.99. It should be here tomorrow, I am looking forward to making it and embellishing it with tiny beaded ornaments and such. There is even a tiny set of battery operated lights that go with it.

Todays work was the last 16 blocks for the reunion quilt. They are small, and went together fairly quickly. Next month is the final one for this BOM, borders and construction. Then it is time to quilt it. I am pretty sure I am going with a floral pantograph, as I don’t want to spend a bunch of time custom quilting this. It’s a pretty quilt, and I feel that intricate quilting would be lost on it. Plus its huge, 107″ square.

Speaking of huge quilts I started quilting the Botanical quilt. I has become a “labor” too, I am using a set of custom designed motifs from Wastach quilting specially made for this Wing and a Prayer quilt. I just finished the top border. I really like how it is looking.

Off to sew.

Be Kind.

The Star Wars quilt

This quilt was a commission for a client, for her Star Wars fan. All the fabrics were picked by them and sent to me (9 packages). They wanted a two sided quilt, with the dark storm trooper on the back and the white one on the front. I went with a medallion style layout, and kept adding borders until it got to queen size.

Two days ago, I put it on the frame and was measuring the backing and top together to center them on each other. Out of curiosity I rolled the whole un-quilted quilt up on the rollers, phew! I’m glad I did, as the backing was nine inches short. Unpinned it and added a wide blue strip to the bottom, re-pinned it and put it back on the frame. In a classic “do as I say, not as I do” move, I knowingly didn’t add 4 inches on all sides of the backing. I ended up basting some waste strips to the sides as I went, so the side clamps would hold.

The quilting went very quickly, I used a pantograph called “The Force” by Crystal Smythe. I made it a bit larger, each circle is 8 inches, and I filled the quilt with staggered 12 rows. About 3 hours of quilting, not too bad, I almost quit for the day at half done, but pushed through and finished. Now to get the binding on.

I got to work on the Pumpkins this week too. I wanted to use the folded corner ruler, rather than the method on the magazine. I don’t need any more cut off HST’s in my realm. Plus, since I am working with scraps of the Halloween Figs quilt, I have to be frugal. My sample block went well, so I cut the rest of the pumpkins (19) and started cutting the background pieces for each block. I have enough white prints to do each block the same, but the oranges and black/grays are going to be mixed. Each block has 16 HST’s and eight corner triangles, and a bunch of squares and rectangles. The Sew-a-Long co-ordinator, Ivory Spring, has us sewing the center pumpkins first, ten per week. Since we are on week two, I need to get those done and the next set, by 8/17.

Speaking of BOMs, I am working on my two, I have not done the August installments yet. I did get the July ones done, 32 sashings strips for A Ribbon Runs Through it, and four more alternate blocks for Reunion. The fabrics for August ARRTI, got here the other day, 32 more sashing strips. I am not too enthusiastic about them, as they are many parted and a bit fiddly. The Reunion pack came last week, looks like one block, that’s good.

Twenty pieces each 🙄

I did sign up for another 12 month BOM, which also starts this month, called “Message in a Bottle“. We recently had new windows installed in our master bedroom and removed a non-working gas fireplace. Now there is a blank wall, approximately 54 inches wide, that needs artwork a quilt. I like the quirkiness of the MinaB quilt, there’s patch work and appliqué, a lot going on and the size fits perfectly.

Off to sew a bit of binding.

Be Kind.