Tracyhttps://touchogrey.wordpress.comI'm starting my second half of life. I have been cutting fabric apart and reassembling the pieces for as long as I can remember. I also ride my horse, knit and garden in the Bay Area, CA.
Yesterday I worked on all four of my current projects, Hampton Square quilting, Halloween Figs, Curling Mists Shawl and Newcastle cross stitch. I also did four loads of laundry, not as fun, but productive. I felt like I had a lot of time yesterday, it was like one of those never-ending days, except that I did things I wanted to. I am at a point where I don’t have any deadlines, challenges, or commitments hanging around. It’s a nice way to start the month of June.
Today I want to wash the windows on my house, maybe just the outsides. It’s about time too, our rainy season is over, well it won’t rain until September anyway. The windows are mostly dusty from the smoke of last years fires, oak tree pollen, and the general dusty-ness of this climate. What I really want to do is start a new project ;). I have a bunch of quilt kits that I bought from various people on ‘Sew Its For Sale’ the old Craftsy site, and other sale places. I feel the need for some mindless chain piecing. I did a bit of it this past weekend, I made 64 “scallop” blocks for the Halloween Figs quilt border. They were stitch and flip style, two different color combos and two sizes. The interesting part is that half were 4 3/8s inches and half were 4 ½ inches, this is so the border will fit better. Supposedly no stretching or smooching needed. We shall see. I have been working diligently on finishing the appliqué blocks for this top too, so its a “sort of goal” to have it done for this October.
In an effort to use up more of my Julie Paschkis fabric collection, I have been working on this. It started with a panel of the animal prints. They were not a regular size, I ended up settling on 10 1/4 inch square. That made the alternating blocks a bit difficult. I made them 10 ½ square and cut slivers of the edges to make them fit. A few points were lost, but not too noticeably. I want to get the outer border on later today. It will be the white and red floral, 5 inch wide, I struggled with the two inner borders, but chose the black because it needed to be held together a bit. The orange was put in because I still have a lot of it and it brought out the colors from the inner top.
I still have quite a bit more of Catkin and Folkloria left and a panel and borders of Chickadee. I might just squeeze out one more and let it rest a bit. I have a few other quilts I want to make in the queue.
I worked on the Halloween Fig appliqué last night. I received month 12 in the mail on Monday, the final fabric pack of the BOM. Sort of a kick or impetus to get me going on finishing this project.
I made a little more progress on the Curling Mist shawl, I’m about 120 rows in. The rows at this point go fairly quickly as they are only about a hundred stitches long.
I would like to get to quilting the Hampton Square quilt. I have it all set to go on the frame, but I can’t seem to choose a quilting design. I don’t want to do feathers, I thought maybe some kind of vine or leaves, or geometric. The geo design is problematic as the quilt it already linear, I’m feeling it may conflict or not add anything to it. Part of the problem is that I have hundreds of digital files and they aren’t really organized. There are 6 years worth, most are on the Dell computer that runs the robotics, some are on USB sticks and some are on my MacBook. Just getting to see them is a pain, I dislike Windows explorer to begin with, but getting to see what each design looks like requires at least three clicks. Maybe I could pay some one to do it LOL. This reminds me of when my DH decided to put all his CDs on a server. He had to do them one at a time, he has a lot of music, more than a thousand CDs, back then. He came up with an idea to pay my son to do it. Even with payment, he wouldn’t do it, too boring. The CDs did get transferred eventually, DH would do them a little at a time. Now most of the music is directly downloaded to the server via internet. I should just suck it up and start, my wrist is starting to ache just thinking about it.
Linking up with Denise at For the Love of Geese today, It is the 100th posting for the Put your Foot Down Thursday Link up.
I had the best intentions of completing the ten pumpkin seed blocks for the Halloween figs quilt. I got two done on the plane ride, one half way done on the way there and one fully done on the way back. A whole lot of reunion-ing and fun happened in between, so its okay. My eldest son got married this past weekend in Plymouth MA. It was wonderful and so GOOD to see and be with my tribe.
I feel like I accomplished something. All the build up to the event, planning and doing, now I am feeling like a new start is going to happen. I had been putting off starting anything large, or multi-parted for about a month. Now I feel free to do/start new things. It may be a subconscious thing with me, but I end up doing this kind of “limiting” behavior before major events, like holidays and vacations. It’s a good thing I don’t hibernate, as I would never get anything done. I now feel like I have a huge chunk of time to do things.
One of those things is the Curious Handmade Shawl Society Knit Along 5. I have not picked up knitting needles in months. Cross stitching has taken over that time, and I sort of lost interest in the white shawl I started. I may even frog it, as I think I have a major error in it. Anyway, the first (of 6) patterns is called Curling mist Shawl, and I needed just over 900 yards of yarn. Last night I was shuffling through the yarn bags and baskets and found a package of Madeleine Tosh yarns. Remember a few years ago when they had an inventory reduction sale? I bought a bunch, and this one, called Patagonia, will work well for this shawl. I am thinking that I will have to use two skeins at a time, since the MT colors/shading can differ slightly from skein to skein. I should add a project to my neglected Ravelry page, but that can wait.
I finished the Happy Cat quilt top, by adding borders. I had enough yardage to use this cat print border, its from the Folkloria line, not the Catkin line, but it’s not that noticeably different. The pieced center of the quilt was about 60 inches square, I needed to add corner blocks. I had one extra star block from it too, three more made it work. That was my goal for today, to finish this project. Maybe I’ll make it over to start the Hampton Square quilting too, it is all set up on the frame. I need to decide on an appropriate quilting motif though, too many options. I want to do something that will add texture, maybe an ivy or leafy panto. Although a geometric could work too, due to the top’s brick like pattern.
Last week I made some progress on my Cats in the Stars quilt. Yep, I named it too, my DH commented that the cats all look happy, and thought Happy Cats was a good name, but then said “When have you ever seen a happy cat?” true. I have 7 more green chain blocks to make to get this in the to-be-quilted pile as a top. The chain blocks take a bit longer to make than the star ones, but I am developing a chain piecing rhythm. I am hopeful that I have enough black yardage to finish them. I have about an half yard left, with all the triangles and long rectangles cut for the remaining blocks.
This weekend was exciting around here too. Exciting in that it became quiet. For the past two weeks I had been watching my friends dog, Layla (she’s a Havanese). Along with my two dogs and my DD’s dog, we’ve been out numbered by dogs. My DD and her dog moved out on Saturday, and Layla went home on Sunday. It is a very peaceful Monday morning here, Ahhhh.
With the new vacancy in my home, a new possibility opens for sewing studio expansion. I am thinking of moving my Longarm to the room (den TV room) adjacent to DD’s former bedroom and making the bedroom my new sewing studio. I keep thinking how great it would be to have the Longarm in the same area as my sewing room/stash/stuff. I could sew and quilt at the same time, productivity would increase! Currently my Longarm is in a different area of my house, far from the sewing room. The only thing that is stopping me is the daunting task of disassembling the frame and computer system. When I bought my set up, the dealer sent his technician to deliver and set it all up. When I got the robotics, I did the switchover myself. It took me two days, as there was a modification that had to be made to the frame to hold the machine that drives the belts and machine head. I think the hardest part was getting the tension on the belts correct, and mounting the computer screen (insert expletive). My DS and his wife are coming to visit later this summer, they would be the perfect helpers too. The wheels are turning…
I have been dedicating hours to the Newcastle Bouquet cross stitch project. I have had to use the magnifier for all the stitching on this as it is forty count linen. I can honestly say that in the future, I will not attempt anything this small. While I stitch, I feel like I’m accomplishing so much, the stitches look like they are 1/4 inch in size, then I move the magnifier and they are so tiny, 1/32″. It looks so pretty though, the shading of the over-dyed thread really gives the design depth.
I have made a bit of progress on the Tulip block for the Halloween Figs BOM too. I need to get the pumpkin seed blocks prepped for an upcoming trip. They will be busy work on the plane ride east.
The Hands 2 Help challenge is wrapping up soon. I made four quilts this year, and used stash fabrics to make them. They are packed up and ready to ship to Little Lambs, a foundation that provides comfort kits to foster children in transition.
I concentrated on using stash up and succeeded in using up all of the pink (the name escapes me) Boundless line. I had enough to bind it too. There is a random pattern of squares and four patches, I probably should have auditioned it on the design wall, but it turned out okay. The panto is a larger spaced leaf and vine, done with a ‘new to me’ thread called Finesse.
The blue and yellow quilt is made with the Dutch Garden line, also a Boundless fabric line, but I still have some left over. This is a simple patten of 6 inch squares and four patches. The panto is hydrangea flowers and leaves, I used a blue and yellow variegated King Tut Thread.
The “Animals on Earth” feature fabric in this quilt was in impulse purchase at PIQF 2019. The coordinating solids were from stash though. The panto is swirls and bubbles, using a variegated Fantastico thread.
This flannel quilt was made from some of my oldest stash. I found a pile of squares and rectangles at the bottom of a scrap bin. They were left overs from a baby quilt I made for a friend, the baby is 18 now, so these scraps were definitely mature. I had enough for a flannel backing and binding, this quilt is so soft and cozy. I quilted it with a heart and bubble panto, using a variegated pastel Fantastico thread.
I’m happy to be sending these out today, I feel like I accomplished a few things, getting some stashed used up, and creating a few simple designs, but mostly contributing to a charity that helps make a difference in the lives of foster children.
I’m linking this post to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict today, 05-30-21, as it will be included in the wrap up of this years Hands 2 Help quilt drive.
A Hem or two or sixteen. Monday was hemming day, I hemmed five pairs of sweat pants, two scrubs, and one pajama pair. I did most of them on the serger, and the others on the regular machine. Just in time for the weather to warm up enough to wear shorts.
I framed up my Pet All the Dogs sampler. I still need to work a bit on getting the lines to look straight, I am close though, the lacing on the back needs a bit of pulling and loosening in the lower left corner. I also finished the Strawberry fields sampler last night. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. On the original pattern the maker had the year 1992, it was the year that she had visited the strawberry fields house that the song is named after. I thought I would update it with this year. I was happily stitching it when I got to the 1, then I noticed that I had mistakenly stitched 2221. There was a bit of unstitching, and the two became a zero. My other changes are my initial in the upper right. I made a few counting errors, and the pattern isn’t exact, but all in all, if I don’t point them out, no one will know. I’m going to put glass on this one, I think, as I may put it in my kitchen.
I managed to get the panel blocks cut for the Catkin quilt project, and a sample block of one of the two blocks. I think it may look a little better with some solids in the mix of prints. I got an box from the Fat Quarter shop yesterday, I had ordered some more 30’s fabrics (sale) and a ½ yard pack of Laundry Basket solids. I unpacked the box and placed the pack next to the pile of Catkin fabrics on my table. Wow, it matches, the colors look so nice together. I think I bought them to go with the rest of the Sequoia fabrics, but they go better with these.
I am itching to start a new cross stitch project, but I really need to do the appliqué blocks for the Halloween figs BOM. I have to fly to Boston later this month, so I think if I get them basted before then, I can stitch them on the plane. It will be easier than bringing all the cross stitch supplies and such. three spools of thread, a couple of needles, scissors, and a thimble. Maybe I’ll do nail clippers, I’m not sure if I want to give up my little embroidery scissors. I have four kitted up and ready to stitch projects to choose from, Heaven and Nature Sing, Newcastle Bouquet, Pilgrims Progress, or Blessings be More.
Today I want to get the three quilts for H2H bound and finished. I put the last one on the frame for quilting, hope to get it done by Saturday, it is small.
One dyers Grasshopper is another’s Emerald. The flosses called for in the Strawberry fields sampler are from Weeks Dye Works, DMC and Gentle Arts. When I ordered them, I think I got mixed up and ordered a Classic Colorworks Grasshopper, in place of a GA Grasshopper. Same names, but vastly different colors. I stitched the leaf over the roof with the CC and it looked out of place, then I looked at the picture on the pattern, yeah – wrong color. I had to order a new one, and of course, I had to add more cross stitch supplies to get free shipping. Two more charts, linen and other flosses were delivered yesterday. I got to stitching with the correct color last night, looks much better.
I did get most of the Halloween Figs blocks together. However, I have to make the ten pumpkin seed blocks and one large tulip block in order to get the sections finished. That is my goal for the month of May. The last BOM (shipping in a few weeks) pack has the outer borders blocks and strips. I think the blocks are folded corners on rectangles, I going to wait and see.
I am starting to put a quilt together using some of my Julie Paschkis Catkin collection of fabric. I have two large panels and four smaller ones, plus a lot of yardage. I want to do something similar to this quilt:
The picture is from an up coming class by Charlotte Angotti at Road to California, although this quilt was from a past class. I guess it’s an on going offering from her, these surprise quilt kits. You buy the laser cut kit and (start) make it in class, as a mystery. I have my fabrics, wish they were laser cut. I worked out the blocks in EQ8, so they would match the panel sizes I have. I may tweak them a bit, as I don’t like making the “house” shaped segments in the chain block. I also need to check if I have the ‘right’ black fabric.
Yesterday I finished the Evolution quilt, and renamed it “PCH”, or Pacific Coast Highway. I needed a name that described the color way better. The dusty pallet of all those greens and grays and reds, pinks and blues. It reminded me of a redwood grove, sunsets, and the pacific coast, and where else can one see all such things? I have traveled on most of the 656miles of PCH during my 30 years of being a Californian, it is so beautiful and a way to really see the different landscapes of CA. I remember when we first drove into California, we had taken a northern route across the country from NY, we came in from Oregon. The road up there is narrow and winding, and we were getting stuck behind giant RVs. We decided to cut in to route 5, the inland route, it wasn’t as pretty, but much better than looking at the back end of an RV. I did get to see all of the northern route a few times on road trips to Oregon though.
While binding PCH I had a “first” for me. I had exactly enough binding to go around the quilt and attach the two ends together. I should have taken a picture to document the event, lol. When I make bindings, I add up all the sides and divide the total by 40 to figure out how many strips I need to cut. In this case the number was 6.4, so I cut seven and joined them together. As I was nearing the join part I saw how close I was to the start end, and eyed it up to see if it was long enough. Yes, all I had to do was unstitch the last (now extra) segment. It would be hard to explain this win to any one other than a quilter or sewist, but it happened and I’m a bit proud 😊.
This week is supposed to be my catch up on the Halloween Figs quilt. I got some of the 42 geese needed cut yesterday, but not much else. I have not looked at the next part yet, but I have the fabric pack. I finished the Catching rainbows top, my version is smaller than Bonnie Hunters, only 25 blocks. I modified the outer border, instead of string piecing, I used the extra squares I had from cutting the blocks. There are four days left in this week too, I am feeling optimistic that I’ll finish month ten and eleven.
I have been making a lot of progress on the Strawberry Fields sampler though. This sampler is a lot smaller than Pet All the Dogs, and it was throwing my stitching timeline off a bit. I kept thinking that I had to cover more space, but this one is a third of the size. I took it off the frame, to use the hoop as there is a lot of color changing and the flipping back and forth was getting tedious.
I was watching/listening to a Floss tube while sewing yesterday. It was Jean Farish, and she started talking about the other side of cross stitch, the back side. It seems that there was a “heated” (not really) discussion on a Facebook group recently about fun verses neatness. Some people don’t care what their project back looks like, some are fastidious, and some are very sure that if your back isn’t as neat as your front – well you know. I think it is a matter of craftsmanship, I fall somewhere in the middle of the extremes. I have been hand stitching things for almost 50 years, I can still remember when I was six years old, and my grandmother showed me how to embroider on a hankie. Later, my favorite first grade teacher gave me an embroidery kit, with wool yarns and a metal hoop and a printed design. Crafting took hold and I haven’t stopped. I don’t remember how I started to care about my backs, but I think it evolved with my skills.
There is one particular incident that stands out in my mind though. My first real job, was as an assistant manager in a craft/garden center chain store. I was in charge of the craft section, ordering and merchandising etc. We also had a framing department within the craft part. I would hang out in there, see what was going to be framed, and how it was done. I had a lot of free framing lessons, and learned more about framing than I probably needed to know. Anyway, there was a cross stitch piece that I will never forget, it was a full size monopoly board. All the words, properties, railroads and GO TO JAIL boxes carefully stitched out in all the right colors. It was really a neat piece of work. However, the stitcher didn’t bury any of the black thread ends. They also jumped from lines to words and outlines over the whole back. When the piece was framed, all those threads showed, I felt it was ruined. I remember the framer felt bad about the finished product too, I don’t remember what happened when the stitcher picked it up though.
Long Arm quilting has also helped me to become a better craftsperson too. Those loose bobbin threads or railroaded threads are the bane of my work. I have to check my quilt backs all the time, at least with cross stitching, it happens more slowly, and is a lot more controllable. Miscounting though, that’s another story, lol. A back side area that I need to improve on is ironing my completed tops. I am a bit lazy about that, I have no problems ironing units and blocks, but once that queen size top is together, my ironing mojo is out the door in a flash. Wrestling that big thing around, having it slip off the board, meh, no fun there.
This week I have been working on more rainbow blocks, I have three more to do. I am thinking two pink and one red in the corner. Then I need to make the sashing and cornerstones. I may switch it up a little and use blue, but I have plenty of WoW, and the sashings are very narrow.
I really NEED to work on my Halloween Figs BOM. I sort of forgot about the March blocks, I pulled the package out when I got the shipping notice for the April installment. I thought I better get it done, it was three blocks and 42 flying geese, and one of those blocks was a 12″ square with appliqué. So much for whipping those together. I got the appliqué prepped and one stem done, the small blocks were simple Ohio stars, an hour of sewing there. The 42 geese, well they are going to have to wait until the rainbow is done. April’s package showed up yesterday, it is the 11th month, but glancing through the instructions, there is a lot of putting chunks together, and a lot of filler and border pieces, more geese and nine patches I think. I can’t remember if I have done the pumpkin seed ones yet, there are a bunch of those. That’s my goal for next week, get this BOM into shape and mostly, if not wholly together.
This quilt, Evolution, started from the charm pack of Arctic prints by Elizabeth Hartman. I wanted them used and gone. I added some other dusty colored charm squares and didn’t like the mix. I added some more colors and squares and HSTs, eventually removing the Arctic fabrics and finishing the piecing to copy a quilt I had seen on a blog. The Arctic charms are still on my sewing table, but they have multiplied. I was shopping an online sale of end of bolts, when I came across some of the arctic line. I bought them, so now I have more, and still no plan as to what to do with them. By leaving them out, I am hoping inspiration will strike, or as seems to have happened, they’ll get buried in some other stuff for a while.
I have been working on the Rainbow blocks. The yellow ones were made yesterday, I really don’t have much yellow stash. I had to use a solid yellow, even that was a scrap, less than a fat quarter. Green is up for today. In the full (86″x 90″) 72 block size there are 5 green blocks in the fourth diagonal. I am thinking that these will be my longest line, my smaller version will be 25 blocks, 5 x 5, good baby quilt size. I am using a half yard bundle of WoW fabrics I got from the Fat Quarter shop last year. It may have been a sale, or I had something in mind for it, but there was no ‘note to self’ on it, and it works well with this pattern. Must be meant to be.
A recent email ad from Shabby Fabrics “enticed” me to buy this cute tea towel kit. I want to make it for my mom, for Mothers day. Growing up with my sister, and a single parent, this was an often heard catch phrase. It makes me smile now, although I may have found it exasperating at the time. I understand it much more now that I am a parent. I am hoping to get this small project done by next week to get it in the mail so it will make it in time for the big day.
Progress continues on Strawberry fields too. I got the flower pot done, its the zig-zaggy thing next to the house. I am thinking I need to start the borders, lots of diagonals and counting there. I may start them during a day stitching session, rather than a before bed session. It will be better in the long run, less frogging if you know what I mean.