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.
Last Friday, Bonnie Hunter released, for sale, a new scrap using pattern called Catching Rainbows. I have been waiting to get started on it since she started constructing the blocks a few months ago. Its a pretty simple block, I have made three in a short time. They are like potato chips though, I want to make more, the quilt BH made has 72 blocks. I don’t know it I will want the “whole bag of chips” but these are fun to make now.
On my virtual design wall, are the four H2H tops I have made so far. The flannel scrap quilt, the blue and yellow, the green blue and yellow one and the pink one. Sorry for the lack of creative names. These all made up pretty quickly, I want to get them quilted this coming week. The pink one used up another batch of scraps, yay!
I put my Evolution quilt on the frame yesterday, and started quilting it with a feather/bubble type panto. I am using Microquilter, in a dark gray, that blends with the colors on the top. Was having a bit of trouble with the thread breaking in the first row, like eight times (eye-roll). It seemed to calm down a bit for the second row. Might be because its a new spool of thread and it jumps off the spool a little erratically. I might try a little sew-ers aid today, might be a bit of static too. That’s what makes long arm quilting so much fun, tracking down and fixing troubles to get the quilt quilted.
Progress is being made on the Strawberry Fields stitchery. It’s still in the new and fun phase, but it will be a faster finish, as it is a bit smaller than Pet All the Dogs.
I finished another baby sized top for Hands 2 Help yesterday. I have a bunch of fabric left over form two quilts I have made, the first was a blueprint kit called Summer Sampler (middle), the second was I pattern I made up(left), to use the scraps from the sampler. I ended up buying more of the hydrangea prints, because they were on clearance sale, and I figured I could use them for backings and use up the scraps. The H2H quilt used up a bit, I still have enough left for another small quilt though. Carol, at From My Carolina Home, is making a quilt with the same fabrics. She started a tutorial that uses her pattern for a quilt called To the Nines. Maybe I have enough to make one of hers too.
I would like to make another of the chained quilt with these fabrics, I bought this cute print at PIQF 2019, and thought it would make a cute baby quilt. The print would look good in the main blocks, I thought I would use some of the greens and blues from this jelly roll and some browns. I want to get a backing made for the Evolution quilt today, get that quilted. I need to check on its finished size and if I can use the reddish Essex linen I bought for the Hampton Court quilt on it. Or look through the stash and see what’s available.
Big news in cross stitch land! I finished Pet All the Dogs. I started it in February 2021 and finished April 12th. Would like to get it framed, I’m thinking of an antique carved dark wood frame with a dark green mat. It’s an odd sized piece, 9″ x 15″, so I may have to let a professional custom frame it.
Strawberry Fields was started too. I made a major error that I need to record here, so I don’t do it again. It all turned out okay, but it may not if I were to repeat it in the future. I had measured the linen piece before mounting it on the stretcher bars, according to the pattern size with three inches of extra for framing/mounting. As I started the design, I found the center and stitched using a waste thread up it. I counted the spaces, and made a stitch every ten squares. When I got to 140 squares, I made a horizontal row of stitches across at the 70 square mark, the center of the design. I started in the center, with the house. As I stitched, I began to notice that it seemed low on the fabric, yeah, like low enough that I might not have enough extra fabric. It was a tense few moments of counting and fearing I would have to rip out the roof. Then it dawned on me, I was stitching over two threads, and I had only counted one hole per stitch. UGH. But it worked out that I would have two inches of fabric at the bottom before the design started. Phew. Lesson learned, find center before mounting fabrics on bars and count threads not spaces for accurate placement.
The other day I started ironing the binding scraps form the bin that I had been using to store them. I was thinking about how this bin came about, but I couldn’t remember consciously creating a bin for extra binding pieces. Then I thought, why did I over make the binding lengths? I wasn’t measuring the quilt perimeter, just eyeballing it and cutting lots of strips. I have gotten more frugal, I carefully measure and make enough binding now. Could it be that fabric was less expensive, or was I just a bit lazy, and didn’t want to measure? As I ironed and thought, I found that I really didn’t have enough variety for the log cabin quilt I had in mind. It wasn’t really a log cabin block either, it had morphed into a pineapple cabin, as that is the ruler I have. I thought I had a regular log cabin ruler from Creative Grids, but I couldn’t find it, and may have been thinking of this pineapple one instead. I checked through the other bin of string scraps and they weren’t wide enough. The pineapple ruler need strips at least 1 5/8 wide, so that wouldn’t work. Time for a new plan, I finished ironing all the strips anyway and at the bottom of the bin was a pile of flannel squares and rectangles. These are from a baby quilt I made a while ago, a long while, because the baby just graduated high school. These scraps had to get used or chucked, they were way past their fresh by date, lol. I had a bunch of purple 3 ½” squares and a few piles of 3 ½” by 2 1/4″ rectangles, and a half yard of creamy white striped flannel. This is what I came up, amazes me how it shrinks, although it did turn out too narrow, so I made it more square. I’m not sure I like the blue, but the white balances it a bit. My first Hands 2 Help quilt top has arrived. I have just enough flannel for a backing and the binding is already cut.
I started quilting the “girly quilt” with giant roses, there are five across and nine rows, it stitches out pretty fast too. I want to get this one done and out the door. Because it is the only thing I “have” to finish. I really need to get the pile of tops I have, quilted, I feel behind in that category. I am playing around (in my head) with moving my long arm into the downstairs den in my house. The room has become an un-used spot, just a sofa, TV and fish tank. As much as I like the LA where it is now, I feel a bit isolated, and when we have company, I have to clean-up and put everything away. If I move it, I’d still have to keep the area neat, probably neater, but I would be nearer to my DH (hmm) and the main areas of my house. Then I start thinking about the logistics, taking it apart and reassembling it, at least two days work. The robotics weren’t easy to put together when I got them, not looking forward to that part. I would need help getting the poles and pieces in the new area too. Yeah, its probably going to stay where it is for a bit longer.
I am so close to finishing PATD, I finished all the little dogs in the lower border last night. I need to add the eyes to them, two half stitches in black and white. I may just do black, the holes in the linen are just too small, and I don’t really think its a detail worthy of the effort.
Linking up with Sara at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for the first H2H link up. There is also a tutorial from Carol at My Carolina Home for a Star pillow, perhaps you know a star who needs recognition?
I fully intended to gets lots of things done this week. It’s Thursday and I have made two 12 inch blocks and got a machine embroidered block done. Oh… I bought some fabric too.
Where has the week gone? Monday was a yard work day. Tuesday was laundry and various chores, I did the machine embroidery done that day. Wednesday was Vaccine day. Which brings us to today, I really want to get started on the Hands2Help quilts. I have been working on the Pet All the Dogs sampler everyday, now that it is off the frame, it is much easier to do all the little bits and change threads. I think I have the rest of the dogs on the lower border and the rest of the flowers around the border. I finished all the green stems yesterday, so close to being done. I wanted to give myself some incentive to finish, I bought a set of shorter stretcher bars for the Strawberry Fields stitchery that I want to do next. I was a little shocked at how small it is 6″ x 9″, my linen is 12″ x 18″, I think this one will go a bit faster than the PATD. There are probably the same number of stitches in the whole thing as there are in the house from PATD. Then I have to decide whether I want to do Heaven and Nature Sing, or the Pilgrims Progress. These are kitted up and ready to stitch too. Who knows what else I will “have to have”, there are so many cross stitch things to do. Perhaps I should stop watching the Floss tubes…
My fabric acquisition was on a whim. I had to drive an hour east to get my shot yesterday, and on the way home I came to the exit for the semi-local quilt/sewing store. I made the exit after a little wavering, as I really didn’t need anything, but I like to support them. I headed over to the new fabric section and saw this pretty humming bird print. It is digitally printed, it’s an ‘In the Beginning’ fabric, there were a few others, whales and birds and animals, all very colorful and beautiful. I may just hang this on my design wall to look at for a while. The colors are so vibrant, I’m not sure if regular Bella/Kona solids will complement them. The fabric has almost a statin finish, it may go with the Big Dream panel I have. The halloween fabrics will be made into something, those prints are cute, and easy to work with.
Yay! It is done. This top was a lot of work. Simple piecing, but a lot of sewing. I think I went through almost three full bobbins. I like the color combinations in the fabric collection, Sequoia by Laundry Basket Quilts, they are so “California”. I am linking up today with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts, for week three of the Quilt-a-long. This is actually week five, but I needed an extension, as I was waiting for fabric. I may even get it quilted by the end of the month.
Yesterday, I tried to start a new project, it’s a BOM from Elefantz, called Simple Days. I had the first two months downloaded and downloaded the third. I figured I had some time to work on the blocks. Originally, when I drew/traced the embroidery designs on the white fabric I planned to stitch them and then cut them apart. I should have measured more carefully around each one, because I didn’t leave enough room around some of them. Yesterday I started cutting them apart, and assembling the blocks, so that I could then do the embroidery on them. That’s how I discovered my mistake. I ended up cutting out the ones I could, and will have to re-trace a few that didn’t make the cut. I also had to leave the sewing room to do chores. Household stuff that I have been putting off for a few weeks. We have tile floors in our great room, and I have been waiting for the rains to stop before cleaning them. With three dogs, the muddy foot prints add up quickly, and yesterday was a day to wash the floors.
My Pet All the Dogs sampler is coming along. I am at the point where I want to take it off the frame to use a hoop. There are too many spots that need just a few stitches of a color. Flipping the frame over to start and finish the threads is more trouble than its worth. I’m going to finish up the lower border triangle motifs and un-frame it. I am hoping to be done by next week, so I can start Strawberry Fields.
This past month I have been participating in a QAL with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts. The quilt we are making is Hampton Square, one of her patterns. I have had my ups and downs with this quilt. It is a well written pattern, and I like my fabric choices too. I just can’t seem to do things right the first time. It has become a “It’s not you, it’s me” kinda thing. I gotta keep following the directions and not going off course. I got all the strips sewn together (despite cutting errors) and started making units of 7 strips. They are long and slightly different lengths, no seams to match. Okay, this is easy. Mmm, not really. I found that by the last strip there was a bit of creeping going on. The last strip was a full inch too short. I quickly deduced that, yes, I should have ironed all the seams flat and some of these strips need pinning. Had to rip and resew that last row. I spent some more time organizing, labeling and ironing my strips. Sigh. The next unit went together easier, until the second to last strip, ugh, it was sewn in upside down, wrong end up, two long seams to rip and resew. Deep breath. I am going to try to finish this top before the end of this month, the date on the QAL is 3/29, oh, tomorrow. I have four, no, eight more units to complete, then I’ll start on the H2H quilts.
Then a British squirrel showed up. Last week I made this Union Jack from a tutorial over at Molli Sparkles blog. I was planning on a mug rug to include with the shopper bags and zip bag for a gift I am giving. Should have looked at the finished size, before starting, because it turned into more of a place mat size, I’m going with Tea time mat. I spent a fair amount of time, two hours I think, happily quilting and finishing it.
I did get two units of the Hampton Square done later that day.
Last Friday, Jo, at Jo’s Country Junction posted about a new scrap quilting book by Lissa Alexander called Scrap School. I immediately bought the Kindle version, since I have the kindle app on my laptop and I had a dollar off coupon, I felt thrifty too. There was one quilt in particular that grabbed my attention, Rolling Nine Patches.
I am thinking of making one in blues and tans and whites. There are also quite a few that would make good H2H donation quilts. While looking at my new kindle acquisition, I realized that I had another Lissa Anderson book in there, Sisterhood of the Scraps. There are a few in there that I’d like to revisit too. Patterns, patterns, everywhere.