Tuesday, April 25, 2017

POTC - Using the Last of the Scraps

The remaining bits of fabric left from the 9-Patch Strippy finish have now all been used and/or dealt with.

From the large pieces, I cut the designs you see in the photo above for a very quick Patchwork of the Crosses block. I will put this aside to stitch later. For now the parts are all taped down the way I want them.

After cutting those parts, all that remained was bits. I used the 1" hexie to cut a whole bunch of the little calico print to be used in some yet-to-be-planned flowers. Then I cut a little stack of 2.5" squares to add to my basket of to-go stitching. They will be a pleasant reminder of my wonderful 9-Patch Strippy quilt.

Short and sweet today, Peeps! Sharon is here to sew; later I am meeting the Frienzies for dinner; and I might have to fill in for DH on his Mennonite bus route. Lots to do today!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sewing or Surgery??

Getting my April UFO into the finished column took a whole lot of effort. At times, it seemed as though I was doing the work of a surgeon rather than a quilter. I took some pictures as I went along, thinking that it might be worthwhile to examine the grunt work of finishing a quilt top when things haven't gone quite as smoothly as planned.

Earlier this month I pulled out this tub into which I'd stuffed the UFO that was tops on my UFO list. I really wanted to finish this! However, I recall facing some rather challenging obstacles which resulted in my abandoning my efforts. The time had come at last to face the unpleasant reality.

The problem was that I didn't know how to finish off the ends. I'd run short on the blue calico print and didn't have enough to make the end triangles for each strip of 9-patches. Cutting off the triangles would give me excess fabric, but the triangles were not big enough to fill the space.

Above is a cut-away  triangle applied to an end. You can clearly see that it was both too short on the side touching the red floral strip and it left me with no seam allowance at the point of the 9-patch. Bummer.

Students of psychology know the term 'avoidance tendencies" - well, I truly do shut down entirely rather than cope with the likes of this. I have been avoiding since October of 2015. I explained a lot of the quilt's history in this post from earlier this month. If you go back to see that post, check out how little of that blue calico remained for what I needed to do. I really had to be certain about how I used that last little bit.

The arrows in the photo above point out two problems that had to be solved in order to finish my flimsy. The purple arrow indicates that I had several spots that needed a triangle unit inserted. The pink arrow indicates too-small triangles that needed to be removed. All told, I suppose I had about 5 of each of these to correct.

Ugh. Let the surgery begin.

Above, you can see that the strips have been unsewed to a workable distance; the offending small triangle has been removed removed.

Using the small triangles, I pieced extensions onto them and re-cut larger triangles to fit the spaces.  Fortunately, the little calico is a forgiving print;  the seam lines barely show.

I like that they disappear so nicely. It made the job more agreeable knowing that the fixes wouldn't be noticeable. I have arrows pointing to the seams in the picture just above, but you still might have to click to enlarge.

Each newly-created triangle was then attached to the blocks and then trimmed to size.

A surgeon who can stitch up a patient so well that the scars are minimal earns the respect of his/her colleagues and patients; my own brand of  'surgery' passes the "eye-test," wouldn't you say? It satisfies me, for sure.

This whole process falls into the category of doing the grunt work of quilting. I really hate being bogged down by correcting mistakes like this. In this case, I knew that I really wanted to have this quilt top finished; I just love how it looks! So I was willing to do that tiresome grunt work in order to get my flimsy, at last. Yay!! I love it!

Here's another look at my finish, even though you saw it in yesterday's post. One never tires of looking at a newly finished quilty creation!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Finish!

After complaining in Friday's post about not getting much of anything done this month, I spent yesterday changing those circumstances. Yes, I have a finish, dear readers, and my streak of completing my monthly UFOs now stands at 4 for 4.


My 9-Patch Strippy was a devilish little bugger to finish, but I stayed with it and got 'er done. The sort of finishing required included the types of things I dislike - a lot: picking out stitches, removing things, replacing them and re-sewing it all. Ugh.

But, in the end, isn't it worth it?!! Yes!!

Here she is on the guest bed. She has 5 vertical rows of 9-patch blocks - all hand stitched - and placed on point with some ancient calico from my stash. Then there are 3 red floral (also from the stash) strips between them and two outer strips of the same fabric but a bit wider for the borders. I had not planned to add an upper and lower border, but since I had the fabric, I decided that would be the thing to do - use it  up. So the top and bottom borders are on. I have very little of either fabric remaining. Perhaps just enough to throw in my stack for potential EPP use.

The size is quite a bit larger than I ever would have imagined when I started this quilt, measuring out at 93" long by 81" wide, roughly.

I have an answer to the questions I posed at the end of my last post. The way to get over "can't-focus-itis" is to complain about it, then after reading it and realizing you sound like a whiner, just get to work, for heaven's sake! *cheesy grin*

Added later: I forgot that I signed up at Elm Street Quilts for her One Monthly Goal linky party. I have linked to her post for finishes. Click on over there to see what other quilters have accomplished this month and to be inspired to get moving next month!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Slow Down April!

This month is going faster than I am.

I'm at that point in the month where I should be boasting of finishes or at least checking a few things off the April to-do list. Ever since retreat, though, I have had the attention span of a 3-year-old. Nothing has engrossed me enough to maintain my focus.

This is not good.

I went back to the list of April goals. Gee-whiz, I'm really off.

The top item on the list was my April UFO - the 9-patch strippy. I have carried it around a bit, but have done next to nothing on it. I spent about a half hour picking out seams so that I can resew to more accurately match the blocks. I need to just take this one step at a time and finish it. It won't take that long - if I just focus.

The second item on the list was to make the last 3 Swoon blocks - haven't even cut them out.

Next was to finish the 2 baby quilts - The first one is ready to be quilted and I have ordered the 505 Spray Baste. Below is the second one, pretty much as I left it about two and a half weeks ago. I did rearrange the order of the chevron rows so that the OSU print is centered across the middle of the quilt. Plus I have sewn about half of the rows together. The reason I stopped? I used some really cheap gray which was melting as I pressed; so I need to pick out those units and replace them with the better-quality gray. There's a lesson in the necessity of buying quality fabric.

Other items on the April list:

I did get a good start on Stars and Chain at retreat. I have not worked on it since coming home, but I accomplished a good bit of it while there.

I did finish blogging the series Antique Delights. That was an easy one.

I have found myself on a new 'kick' here in the past few days - English Paper Piecing - EPP, for short. I am collecting templates and cutting fabric for some hand stitching I want to do next month.

Also, you can see in the picture below that I have spent some time sketching out a pattern for the wall hanging that DD Emma wants for her apartment. I like how it is looking and I really do think I can churn it out pretty fast, provided I can focus long enough to do it.

So much for accomplishing the items on my list. If I start new stuff and can't focus on old stuff, I will be hard pressed to check off anything. I suppose I could make excuses:

*I can't focus because I have a book to read for book club.
*I can't focus because it's the end of the semester and lots of essays need to be graded.
*I can't focus because it's spring in Ohio and the wildflowers are so lovely right now.

I have a plethora of excuses, but the fact of the matter is I have just been unable to decide where to turn my attention. What I really want to do is start something new - as in, cutting out EPP fabrics.


Do you ever go through stretches like this? I sure hope I am not alone in my inability to focus. How do you pull yourself out of a scatter-brain slump and get back to making things happen?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Canter's Cave Wrap-Up - Part 4

I have been able to stretch the fun of quilt retreat out over 4 days! It's as if I can't bear to leave it and move on. Today's focus is on all the extras, and we had plenty. From shopping at Guhl's in Jackson (a discount store with a huge fabric section), and food and goodie bags, we were certainly pampered in one way or another.

The first night of retreat we ate a popular local restaurant called Arch and Eddie's. It is what I would consider a bit upscale, but still quite reasonably priced and extremely varied in its menu. On Tuesdays the special is $2 off on all burgers. So that top picture is my dinner, cheeseburger and sweet potato fries. Yum-o!

The strawberry pie was Susan's contribution to the food we had on hand at the lodge. Her mother is a world-class pie baker, and we frequently get to be the recipients of her fantastic creations. This was as mouth-watering as it looks.

The bottom picture is a typical in-house meal. We put out a variety of sandwich fixings, snacks and desserts and make whatever we are in the mood for. There was fruit salad, black bean salsa, pimiento cheese spread, ham salad, all manner of chips and munchies. We certainly did not go hungry.

Last week you saw the tower of little fabric baskets I made for each retreat participant. I hadn't yet shown the goodies I included in my little baskets, so the picture above is a representation of my stash. I used a variety of bite-size Easter candy, along with a single-serving of Nutella and crackers, and a pack of sticky notes. Not much, but enough. 

Above are the goodies presented by Laura and Terry. Laura wrapped the cloth labels in the ribbon on the starch bottle and gave one to each of us. Clever! And Terry had a little box of sewing band-aids and a package of sewing tissues.

And the over-achiever of the group, Jan, presented each of us with this treasure trove. She works off of themes (a retired elementary school teacher) - can you guess? The theme was chevrons. So we had a large chevron re-usable bag, and inside were all these items! A chevron goodie bag of one-serving packages of popcorn, cookies and crackers. A bag of goldfish in rainbow colors. A jar of jelly beans arranged by color and topped with a piece of chevron fabric. A quilting coloring book. A zipper bag that she made and in it are colored pencils (among other things) for the coloring book. And, finally, drum-roll please, over on the far right is a zip-lock bag of a quilt kit ready to sew - solids for a chevron quilt! Jan is over-the-top when it comes to themes and goodies. I have been on the receiving end of much of her generosity. What a sweetheart she is!

And now for the shopping. A store in Jackson - Guhl's Country Store - is an outlet for all manner of household items, some food, and decorative items. The link above is to their Facebook page; they don't have a website. Can you imagine fabric shopping when the price is $3.99/yard? And we are talking about some really nice fabrics - not all, but quite a lot is just overage yardage that fabric companies needed to unload to make room for new stuff. Here are my purchases, and you can be sure that most of the others had equally impressive purchases, too.

These prints all look like they will be useful with plans I have in my mind for a great-granny square quilt. the possible exception is the red and black shirting on the bottom, which might instead get matched up to some red quilts I have swirling around in my mind.

The prints above are my inspiration for an EPP quilt. I will show the exact plans later, and I certainly have way, way more yardage here than my quilt will require (good stash builders, though!). It is supposed to evoke a look of water or cool waterfalls. Eh? Maybe? Well, I will be revisiting this soon, so bear with me.

Finally, I bought a small amount of black, white and OU green for a wall hanging that DD2 has been wanting. I have a pattern (thanks to Pinterest!) and it isn't large, so I should be able to get right on this ASAP.

That totally wraps up our 2017 version of Canter's Cave Quilt Camp. It was a wonderful 3-day get-away, and I am already looking forward to next year!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Canter's Cave Wrap-Up - Part 3

It's show time today, dear readers! You are in for a treat, getting to see the fantastic finishes and additional show-and-tell quilts from the ladies at the retreat. Let's get right to it.

This is a sweet baby quilt made by Anita - not a camper - she owns Canter's Cave! She was free for a good portion of the time we were there and joined us for sewing, sharing and dinner. Isn't it a great quilt?

Becky brought a quilt that she is ready to begin quilting and isn't it grand?!? Let's have some close-up shots.

I am giving serious consideration to beginning some sort of EPP quilt, and this is so very tempting. Becky brought two other in-progress quilts for show-and-tell - a smaller hexie quilt and a tumbling block quilt.

This sweet mini quilt is the type of EPP that one could work on and be able to finish in a reasonable time frame. Those big ones with a gazillion pieces are too intimidating. Becky is in the process of big-stitch hand quilting this mini.

Can you tell Becky has a thing for reproduction prints? These examples plus the Snail's Trails from yesterday's post all feature her love of repros.

The two quilts above are from Jan. The top one is her Thimbleberries finish. The bottom one is one she is making for a friend who lost her husband recently. These flannels are from his shirts. Jan is so thoughtful.

Laura finished her quilt - almost. She still has one border to add. The top picture shows her quilt with the first 2 borders; the next 2 pictures show the fabric she intends to use for the outer border. Very striking and perfectly suited.

Sharon's Christmas quilt looks spectacular. She will very likely have this quilted in plenty of time for the holidays. Or maybe she will gift it?

Jan and Sharon were the first to finish their Thimbleberries quilt tops, so they displayed their work on the furniture around the fire place to provide inspiration to those of us still working. Pretty nice view, I think you'd agree.
Susan got her quilt top together before we left. The lighting in the room gives this picture a fuzzy look, but it's gorgeous and tempting to place on my wish list.

This king-size beauty is Terry's finish. You can see why she didn't turn down Jan's offer of helping to pin and  match all those rows of blocks with the rows of sashing. It is supposed to get a border, but Terry is seriously considering leaving it off. The quilt is so heavy now that adding any more too it seem unnecessary. Plus, how will she ever get in to fit in her long-arm? Once finished, it will look fantastic with her decor.

Okay. So there you have all our finishes. Now, I still have stuff to share - namely food, shopping and goodies. All the really important stuff!! Since this post is already long, I think I will eke out one more post to finish off this retreat wrap-up. Gosh we had fun, and it was so super-productive!

See you tomorrow for the final installment of 2017 Canter's Cave Retreat.
Happy Quilting, Friends!