That and This

Or this and that. I am feeling less than productive this week. Although I have a few things/projects moving along, I’m having trouble being in the sewing mode. Our guests are still here, waiting anxiously for the evacuation order to be lifted from their little slice of town. I am enjoying hanging out with my friend, reminiscing about old times, talking through new times and future plans. Due to social distancing, we hadn’t really seen each other since February. Living together is easy, we get along, we cook and clean and laugh and talk and sometimes just sit and be in the moment.

I finished the binding on the paper boat quilt, going to gift it next week. When I was quilting it, I had extra backing and batting at the end of the quilt, so I was able to add a panel on to it. I got this cute panel from Connecting Threads, Fruit box labels, with the city of San Jose on them. San Jose used to be know as the valley of hearts delight (or something like that). Back in the early 1900s it was mostly fruit orchards, plums and apricots. There was also a large canning/processing area near downtown. Can you imagine the beauty of the spring bloom of all those trees? Then the subdivisions and developments moved in during the 50s and 60s. The fruit production slowed as the orchards were replaced with lawns and back yards. There are few remnants to be seen, but you have to look hard. Anyway, a friend of our lives in SJ, and has a thriving fruit orchard in his yard. I thought these placemats would be a appropriate for him. I should finish the bindings today. Also in the “to be Bound” pile is the Promenade quilt. I cut the binding, just need to sew it on.

I spent a few hours Thursday finishing moving the rest of the sewing/craft related items for the old room to the new one. I reconfigured the closet system in the new room, more shelves, and better spacing. Now everything is in one room. The old room is almost ready for habitation, just need to get rid of a few pieces of furniture, and find a place to put a large assortment of sports trophies.

The smoke from all the wildfires is still very prevalent in our area, which doesn’t make it pleasant for outdoor activities. I am glad the temperatures are back to normal though. My electric bill was shocking this past month, they even chastised me for going over the “normal” average usage. Maybe I should treadle, save some energy, burn some calories, but I’d probably have to turn on the AC to keep cool enough to work and that would negate any savings. Besides, sewing machines don’t really use that much energy, it’s things like washing machines, dryers and refrigerators that do.

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Fire on the mountain

Although we are about 10 miles from the current wildfires (CZU Lightning complex) we are mostly safe, but ready to go if the winds change so to speak. It’s really smokey outside and sometimes there is light ash fall, time to be staying indoors. We are hosting my friend and her family, their home is directly in the line of the fires. I haven’t had much time to sew this week, but I did get my two BOMs finished and the Boat quilt is 90% done. I may finish it tomorrow, just want to outline the boats.

I have also spent a few hours knitting the peacock shawl. I have ripped it out 6 times, I think I have it right, then my stitch count is off by one. It seems like if I can get it to about 6 inches in diameter, then I’ll be able to see my previous stitches better.

I’m itching to start a new project. I have been downloading the weekly clues for The Holiday Solstice quilt. Its a mystery block of the week by Michelle Renee Hiatt at Sew On The Go . If you want to get the previous 10 weeks, you’ll have to sign up for the subscription to get all the past clues. I have missed two, so I’ll probably end up buying it. I would really like to use the rest of the scraps from the Christmas figs quilt. Michelle is using the Christmas figs II fabric line and has a solids version. I also have a few kits I could start, or a few UFO’s I could finish…

I made a bit more progress on the cross stitch project too. I am getting back into the groove of chart reading and counting. Employing a highlighter helps too.

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

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This weekend flew by. It’s been very hot here, add staying in and sewing is happening. Sadly, not much sleep happened these past two night. Got woken up at 3:30 am on Saturday night by a massive thunder and lightening storm. The newspaper reported there were over 2500 lightening strikes in our area. That’s a lot of booming and flashing, then worrying that nothing catches fire.

Friday I pulled out the bin of holiday fabrics and choose a bunch of halloween themed prints. Started cutting squares and rectangles for the Phat Boo pattern from Sew Fresh Quilts, I got a few weeks ago. Saturday I got half of the blocks done and Sunday finished them and put the quilt top together. Its small, 37″ square, I guess it’s a wall hanging. I’m thinking a pumpkin vine pantograph would work.

There was no long arm activity happening, that room has no AC and no windows to open for a cross breeze. I am trying to pick a panto for the Alaska quilt. It’s difficult, because there are soo many to pick from. I spent about an hour on line looking through hundreds of them. Too flowery, too square, too dense, too pointy, too loopy. I want something that will give some texture, but not take away from the piecework. Something that will hold up to wear and tear and something that will quilt out fairly quickly.

This is Chinook, its about 8 inches wide, I think I’ll bump it up to 10 though. The quilt is 102″ square, so ten rows or so.

Chinook (dog), a rare breed of sled dog. Chinook hops, a variety of hops. Chinook olives, a dish of acorns cured with urine. Chinook salmon, a species of fish.

It is also a thirty-five million dollar double rotor-ed Helicopter, a Tribal name, and it means “warm wind” in Salish. I think I’ll pass on the acorn dish though.

I put a few hours into the cross stitch project. A few more flowers and some leaves. This is my before bed project, I try to stay up until 10pm, my theory is that I will sleep later, so far this isn’t the case.

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

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No Sew Zone

This past weekend I started the great migration into the room across the hall. There was a lot to do, and it is just now winding down to sorting through the “why did I save this?” piles. I painted for three days, ceiling trim and walls. But before painting began there was the furniture that had to be moved out. Some had to be disassembled, most went into other rooms and some stayed. The furniture that stayed was pushed around the room while the painting happened. Tuesday night I started putting my things into the room. I continued yesterday, and got the majority of the room set up. I am debating on whether or not to move the sewing table more toward the center of the room. Once I get the two dressers out, that should be easier to do. Also I have quite a lot of quilting books still in the closet of the old room to bring over. I have an empty book shelf, but I am debating on if I want to give up the floor space for it. If I leave the books where they are, the are still accessible, but I don’t think to use them. I have this idea if they are within my line of sight, I might just use them to make something. So many patterns. If I was really industrious, I would list them for sale.

I wrote the above yesterday, and got most of the job done during the day, including the books. YAY! I really want to sew now. I think that will help me to settle into the new spot. It is set up mostly the same as the old spot, except that not as much is in the closet. I already had my yarn stash and extra personal quilts in the closet of the new room, I took out the section that was my son’s stuff and put most of my precuts and kits in there. I still have some miscellaneous crafty stuff in the old closet, and I think I’m going to use half of that closet for that. I just need to get more shelving brackets from the Container Store. I have to go over near there on Monday, so it’ll be my “fun” time allotment. If you haven’t been to the Container Store, its an organizers dream store. I leave there ready to organize my whole house, but then reality hits LOL.

I still need to hang up the pictures and quilts on the walls, but I worked so hard on the painting, I don’t want to make a hole in it yet.

This weekend is supposed to be hot here, upper nineties, but it’s a dry heat as they say. I am planning on finishing the quilting on the paper boats quilt and possibly getting another quilt on the frame. That may be Alaska, but then I would have to get the backing ready. I can’t remember if I got a 108″ wide, or if I bought yardage. I did unearth a few forgotten UFO’s with the move, maybe one of them will get finished. I am making head way on the cross stitch project too. I am am also contemplating making a wedding shawl for an up coming nuptial. Its a beautiful peacock feather pattern in lace weight. I think I’ll do a bit more learning research on Craftsy/Bluprint first.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for “Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?” today. She’s working on a cute Harry Potter quilt this week.

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I finished my friends quilt last week. I think it came out pretty nice. It was a bit of a challenge at times, but as long as I stood there and carefully watched the machine, it went well.

The things that helped most were:

  1. Basting top and side edges
  2. Fluffy Batting – 50/50 wool poly
  3. enlarging pantograph to 15″ wide
  4. quilting the top the long way parallel to frame, it was rectangular, less rows
  5. kneading the fabric as the machine quilted, I moved the fullness as the design stitched out, making some parts a bit more puffed.
  6. Patience

These pictures are from the last row. I floated the top and pinned the last edge, I removed the pins as the machine neared them. The first picture on the left shows the fluffiness, the last one on the right shows the finished quilting. Once it was off the frame, I decided not to square it up. The outer borders were only about 4 inches wide, any cropping would make them look too small. I made binding from the extra backing fabric and applied it to the edges. Done, and sent back to my friend, it was a learning experience for me and I hope that she enjoys her finished quilt.

Meanwhile, I put together another paper boats quilt. This is a free pattern from Textillia I have made it before, with the wave print fabric background, and a bunch of Cotton and Steel prints. Oh yeah, I wrote a blog post, Paper boats about it. I wanted to make another one for a friends new guest cottage. The cottage decor is all in blues, and my friend had seen the original boat quilt and admired it. This version uses a 108″ wide print from Connecting Threads, Faded Chambray, in denim, and a cute wordy print for the boats. I used most of the chambray print for the backing, as the top is 60″ square. The quilting on this is fun, a wave motif. I can block off (mask) the boats, so that the stitching looks like it is going around them.

This past weekend I have been painting my “new” sewing room. I have been wanting to move into my youngest sons bedroom for a while now. It is bigger than my current room, has a skylight and more wall space. My son is away at school for the next two years, so I figure that room shouldn’t be un-used. I got the ceiling done and the trim, I have to get more paint today to finish the walls. Then I’ll start moving my things across the hall. Such excitement!

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

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First Quilt Quilting

I have been working with a friend, through texting and on the phone, to help her make a quilt for herself. She’s done a few, three I think, baby quilts made from a QIAD book for an Irish Chain pattern. which makes her an experienced newbie. She finished her top, it was a kit from Connecting Threads, and bought a backing to match, packed it up and sent it to me to quilt for her. We decided to use wool batting, to keep it light weight and fluffy. I realized I only had queen size batts, Amazon to the rescue, and I have a twin size. This quilt top measures 64″ x 77″, large throw size, it is the first quilt that I have quilted, that I didn’t make. I’m a bit nervous, and hope it works out, as its not as square and ah, flat, as I’d like.

I got it all set up on the frame. What I decided to do was baste the edges, top and sides. That first basting line across the top was rough. There is a bit of ruffling in the outer border. I then stretched the quilt top to the left and right to try to get the sides as straight as possible. Finding the average middle-ish spot with out causing too much bias wrinkles. I basted the edges down, they are sort of, on average, straight-ish. The Panto I’m using has sea shells and bubbles, I made it 15 inches high and to the width of the quilt top. I stitched out the first row, and surprisingly, it looks okay. There are a few tiny wrinkles, but it’s flat all in all. I think the next row will really show me how this quilt is going to go. I also want to be sure to start the row on the right side, and continue to alternate starting sides as I work towards the bottom. I mounted the quilt with the longest side perpendicular to the frame, so longer rows, but less of them.

I have started packing up my DS’ stuff to move it out on our deck. I have the luxury of doing this because it most likely will not rain here until September. Plus there is a sliding door to the outside in the room which will facilitate this. My sewing room is directly across the hall way from this room, there will be a lot of “sliding” things on mats and towels. I want to paint the room before I move my things in. Knowing that once I move everything in there, it won’t happen. I have a gallon or two of the white I used in living area of my house, so that should be enough to start. The ceiling needs to be done as well, yuck, bought the paint for that, maybe I’ll start cutting in today.

I finished my MKAL shawl. It turned out really pretty, I enjoyed knitting it. I also used two skins of stash yarn, the navy blue was bought for this project though. It was a calming part of my day, there is a certain rhythm to knitting that quilting just doesn’t “get”. I guess you could try to find it with chain piecing or hand quilting, or even long arming (background fills anyone?). But for me it is knitting.

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Scrappy recycle

I was looking around for a quick and fun project to do in between quilt finishing, or as it is commonly known, procrastinating. I have a bag full of old table placemats and too small for current table cloths, napkins etc. It was supposed to go to good-will, but it didn’t make it in time. I have been thinking about the Kawandi quilt that Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict made a few months ago.

I happened to walk by the bag of table stuff, when I had the idea to use one of the woven placemats as a base for a Kawandi quilt-let. The two sewn edges of the mat had to be picked out, I thought they were too thick, I coaxed them down with some water and a hot iron. Then, as a challenge, I pulled a bin of scraps down from the closet. I figured there was a bunch of stuff in there that I could use. So I set up my backing, also a scrap from a quilt back, and got out my school glue stick and went to work.

As I pulled the gobs of fabric out of the bin I noticed that there were mostly strips in there. None were wider than 2 inches, most were 1 ½ or 1 1/4 inches wide. Weird because I don’t really remember saving strings specifically. Most of the fabric scraps in this bin are between ten and twenty (?!?) years old, I recognize them.

This little quilt went together quickly, I used a wave blade to cut the rectangles and squares, and put glue on the corners and placed on the mat. Like Sarah, I quilted a free form squared spiral. My machine went through the layers with no trouble, I did lengthen the stitch a bit though. The mat was a good size, easy to handle and maneuver through. There was a just long enough strip of single fold binding in the bin, which looks okay with the scraps. It was a fun quick and easy distraction, however, it also is leading me on to another tangent. I really want to make a Lego quilt. This post from 2011, Lazy Gal Quilting, shows a tutorial. There are others out there too, actually I saw one the other day on Sew Preeti Quilts blog Her scrappy quilt used lots of different shapes and fabrics. I enjoyed reading about her memories and comments about this quilt.

After the place mat was done, I started to finish the quilting on the Promenade quilt. Wouldn’t you know, the first block I quilted, I used the wrong motif? There are two blocks, I chose two motifs to alternate with the block patterns. One is a lot denser, read as “takes a long time to stitch”, than the other. Mr Murphy was helping that day, and I put the dense stitched motif on the wrong block. Oh the temptation to leave it was strong, but I couldn’t change the alternating pattern as I was on the second to last row. It just wouldn’t have looked right. In between picking that out and watching the machine sew out the others, I started ironing the strips from the bin. There are a lot.

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

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A productive weekend

I spent a few hours Saturday making a slip cover for my ottoman. Actually, it is my dog Sasha’s ottoman, she uses it the most. It was getting pretty ratty looking, and having reupholstered a smaller footstool in the way back, I though a slip cover would be a much easier way to go. I think it looks pretty good, I probably shouldn’t have centered the seem in the front panel. but there is one in the back too. Now, I really should get to the chair that I stripped down back in May of 2016.

I got the borders sewn to the blue hydrangea quilt, and the binding and backing ready. Not a great picture, sorry. Now if I could just finish the quilting on “Promenade”. Thanks to Chrisknits for the name suggestion! Only twenty more blocks to quilt, I should know better than to pick intricate designs for a “to be sold” quilt. I do have one other problem with finishing this quilt, thread. I started sewing it with a spool of variegated # 701 So Fine thread (Superior). It’s a nice blend of tans and light browns, it looks good on the light beige fabric, as well as the blues and reds. I had about a half a spool left, thought it was plenty, but then I checked on line to get some more. Yeah, it’s been discontinued and no one has anymore. I looked at the Omni thread, same weight and fiber, and saw the color Palomino. I am awaiting its arrival, because I have run out of the 701, and I am half way through the quilt.

I got my BOM’s packages for July, made the Botanica blocks and two for the Halloween Figs. The drunkards path blocks were made with a new to me technique. The instructions say to cut square 1 inch larger than the blocks unfinished size. Then cut the arc piece out of it, using the template. I used the creative grids circle savvy ruler, much easier. Then sew the pieces together, concave part on the bottom, quarter circle on top. Press the seam towards the circle and trim to 6 ½ inches square. Not sure how well this would work for smaller blocks, but I’m really happy with the way these turned out. There’s a YouTube video. One may also make a template out of paper for the quarter circles, I was happy to use the circle savvy for something.

The MKAL shawl is coming along, I finished the fourth clue. I didn’t run out of yarn, but I don’t think I have enough left of it to knit more than one row. The last section, will be all dark blue, I’m speculating that it will have some lace to make the edging pretty. 523 stitches of lace, I better get all my markers ready.

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All Together Now

I finished putting Alaska together earlier this week. I put the top up on the wall to get a picture of it. That proud moment, (remember when you would stick your kids artwork on the fridge?) Look! I did this. I sent the picture to my DS, and then I saw it. Right near the center, a block out of place.

I had a few blocks left over and plenty of pieces due to my terrific counting abilities. I carefully removed the offender and replaced it and another block that was on the bottom edge. Now it’s perfect and ready for long arm land.

I have been working on my cross stitch piece in between clues for the Stillness shawl. I am finding that I am a bit lackadaisical about this cross stitch. The little symbols are tough to see and using three shades of purple in a small area is confusing to me. Wait, was that a 1 or an upside down T or maybe its a /. I admit to getting close enough often. They are flowers, so its not like theres a pattern to mess up or make lop sided. I am giving myself permission to be creative with it. Otherwise it will go back in the drawer for posterity to find. I might see if I can enlarge it on my scanner printer – that’s a project in itself, me and the printer are on shaky terms.

The shawl is coming along. I ran out of color B, the purple, two rows short of the end of that section. This weeks clue uses color C, so I just picked up where I left off and finished clue 3 with color C. This new section increases the width of the shawl, now its over 500 stitches. These are the rows that take time, most of them are stockinet, which is fine with me. The variegated yarn provides the interest. I’m planning on working on it while the long arm works finishing the current quilt. This quilt (below) needs a name, the kit name was Pas de Deux, a French term used in ballet meaning the “dance of two”. I guess it is because of the different two blocks combine to create the quilt? I don’t think it is saying it wants to be a fur-fru ballet dancer, the fabrics are kinda civil war era/ country colors. More like a country hoedown or square dance, do si do your partner quilt.

I have two new projects that I want to get done this weekend. I got a foam bolster that I want to make a cover for (that’s it all wrapped up in plastic like a football) and I really need to make a slipcover for this ottoman. It is over twenty years old, and recently my dog has decided it’s better to sleep on than her own bed. It keeps her off the recently recovered sofa that used to be her first choice. I went to Joanns yesterday to see about upholstery fabric. I figured about three yards would do the ottoman, since it’s only a slip cover. I was a little shocked at their cotton quilt fabric inventory, it was about 25% of what it usually is. Lots of empty shelves to be seen. The funny thing is that I had gone to my local quilt shop first to get a new bobbin case for my 790, and they had more quilting fabric than Joanns did. Strange times. Anyway, I found two flat folds of three yards each that will work nicely for my projects this weekend.

Last but not least, this quilt top needs a border to contain all its scrappy hydrangeas. I am going to use the blue, for a 2″ border then the white for a four inch outer border. Binding will be the blue yellow and white stripe for the finish.

Linking up with Sara at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I get a Whoop Whoop

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Alaska Continues

Yesterday I started putting the blocks together for my version of the Laundry Basket Quilts pattern “Alaska”. I split it up into four sections, and I am using a webbing method to join these sections. I have all the blocks in separate numbered piles, and place them on my design wall in their proper place with pins to hold them.

Then sew the first two rows of 5 together with a lot checking and rechecking. The next rows go together a bit easier, but I am constantly rechecking placement. First half is good to go.

Taking these photos really helps with checking for placement of the blocks. The mirror image from left to right and top to bottom really makes my head hurt.

I have been working a bit on the cross stitch flowers, and the MKAL ‘Stillness’. I think I need to mark my cross stitch chart, because I keep finding mistakes, most are simple and I can leave them, but the last leaf I did is four rows too high. I might be able to leave it, because it doesn’t interfere with any other parts of the design. My shawl is coming along too, we are at the 50% done part, 3rd week of 5.

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