Thursday, April 30, 2020

Deep Stash Dive

That desire to start a new project took hold of me yesterday, and this is what I reached for. At last a notion that has been floating around in my head would come to life. Literally years ago I put these two fabrics together with the idea that they would become a quilt using stars as the main design. To me they just look so dreamy together. The yellow Thimbleberries print called Lake Life (3.25 yards) and the blue 3 Sisters Shangri-La paisley (3 yards) would look great with a white/cream neutral added to them. It would be lovely.

It might be hard to see, but the date on the Lake Life selvage is 2012. I would venture that Shangri-La is of similar vintage. I am not kidding when I say that this has been a notion rattling around in my head for years.

I spent a lot of time deciding things. I mean a lot. The size of the stars. The style of the stars. The most efficient way to cut fabric. How to set the blocks together.

I made 4 Ohio Star blocks and laid them out on top of the blue which I pinned to the design wall.

 It wasn't much help in my 'seeing' the final quilt, so I went to a layout app on my phone. Here is a simulation of how a straight set would look.

Not bad, but I still had uncertainties. After waiting so long to use these fabrics, I want to get this right. I tried putting the blocks on point. That looks pretty good, don't you think? Below is another simulation.

Still unsure, I decided to make some blue stars to see how I'd like alternating blue and yellow stars.

I turned this picture into a simulated layout using that phone app and here's what we get.

So, this final layout is the one I think I want to go with. All the stars. All the blue and yellow dreaminess. So yes, this is it.

Whaddaya' think?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Progress on My Sew-Along Sampler

Another bit of catching up for you today. If you check the blocks for this sew-along sampler against the ones I shared in the last post of the 30s sampler, you will see the exact same blocks.

I am making only one each of the 30s prints; I am making two each for the sew-along, which is a group effort of the Frankfort Girls, the sewing group I am in.

Our rules. Well, we basically only have one rule: we take turns assigning a block. That's it. Period. Individually, we are free to pick the size we prefer, how many to make, and colors. For my sew-along sampler, I am using two fabrics - red print and off-white print. My blocks are 9.5" unfinished, and I am making two of each block. Click here to read my first post about this project.

My newest blocks are blocks found in Judy Hopkins' book 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks (2008). The first is Grandmother's Cross and the second is Garden of Eden.

Another 'non-rule' for our sew-along is that we can feel free to adapt as needed. The original pattern Grandmother's Cross is done with 3 fabrics and calls for all the squares shown here (4 red and 1 white) to be 4-patches. I wasn't sure how my 2-color option would work, so I opted to just use a solid block instead of 4-patches. I like how this looks, and it was way easier, simpler, faster.

Here is the same block in my 30s prints. I have used 3 fabrics and made it exactly as instructed.

As I study this block, I can see how I could have used just my two red and white fabrics. Every little block above that is yellow, I could have made in the red, and all the rest would be white. Oh well, I am happy with my modified version.

Next up is Garden of Eden.

That was a fun block to make. After the 4 square-in-a-square sub-units are made the block goes together like a 9-patch - super simple. I had never made this block before, so I was quite happy to have now made it.

Take a look at all the blocks together. It becomes readily apparent that some have white dominant while others have red dominant, so when I do my final layout I will be sure to sprinkle around all the blocks to be sure that the colors are evenly distributed.

With this, I am all caught up on 2 of my samplers. Now, those doggone Blockheads...I am not doing such a great job of keeping up with those.

And, you know what? I am itching to start something new!

Oh dear...

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Progress on my 30s Sampler

Just a quick post today as I am doing a bit of catching up on some details I've let slide for a month or so.

The first loose end I addressed was catching up on the sampler quilt I am making using my little stash of 1930s prints. I have shared previous blocks, but I will pull them all together here for a comprehensive look.

The 6 blocks above will be augmented by 6 more in the coming months. At some point, I will make setting blocks using a stepping stone pattern. You may note that all but one of these blocks is a single color with white. That one block in the bottom corner has two colors with white. I plan to intersperse a few more like this (two colors plus white) so that there is a nice even balance in the whole quilt.

My decision about what color to use for the stepping stones will probably be made based on my available yardage. So far, my blocks have all come from remnant fabric. I do not have big cuts of any 30s prints, so short of buying fabric I may have to create multi-colored setting blocks.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Acceptable Madness

Fun fact about me: I often do not follow the directions when making a quilt. I pay attention long enough to get the cutting correct, and then I usually just refer to the pictures and sew, sew, sew. If this weren't my tendency, the entire post you are about to read would not have happened.

My title refers to the name of the quilt I have been stitching for most of this month - Diagonal Madness, a pattern by Kaffe Fassett featured in his book, Country Carden Quilts. I have finally completed my quilt top, and while it lacks a cohesive look, the title gives me license to put my own spin on it. I now deem it acceptable.

Kaffe's version pictured above shows distinct diagonal movement as well as vertical movement all created by the placement of fabrics. Note, too, the checkerboard border - I will come back to borders further down this post.

So in earlier posts, I have explained how I let a significant gap of time lapse from when I began this quilt until this month when I decided to finish it. I could not have foreseen the exasperating complications this gap would cause. My vision from 8 months ago and my vision now were very, very different, and the result was a chaotic mess. See previous post for pictures.

Today, I finished the remake of this quilt. In addition to unsewing almost half of it, I also removed two rows across the bottom. Yes, those directions certainly would have told me how many rows were needed, but gosh, who has time to read directions? I just stopped when it seemed 'enough' and after I'd gone a good ways into it, I realized I got a bit carried away on the length. So that was fixed with my seam ripper as was my chaotic placement of fabrics in this newer portion most recently added.

The photo above shows all my deconstructed rows pinned in place as I attempted to rebuilt a quilt top that suited me. All the upper left was what I made back in September. I wanted my new part to 'work' with my original part.

I finally finished the quilt top and spread it out on the bed. While I still see parts I would or should fix, I am not so bothered that I am willing to do further unsewing. In other words, I can live with this.

It is evident without the visual aid, but I put in some dotted lines to show where I would do more work if I were so inclined. (I'm not.) Everything above the top dotted line was done last September. Everything under the top dotted line was my addition this month. Everything under the lower dotted line was sewn, unsewn, and resewn. And in between the dotted lines, I selectively removed blocks and changed out here and there in an attempt to establish some manner of cohesiveness. I wasn't entirely successful, but it's better than it was.

So here are some random shots from different angles. I do love the variety of color in this quilt. It is quite a happy quilt, in my opinion.

Now to the topic of borders, which I alluded to above. This part of the quilt measures roughly 70" x 74" - I will be more precise once I  trim it. I went to my Kaffe Fassett stash to consider outer border options. I decided early on that I would not be doing a checkerboard border. Too much work. I have worked hard enough on this quilt as it is, I will just do regular old borders and move on. So here are some options I am considering.

By using those light blue setting triangles to frame the quilt, I technically already have a nice inner border. So my first inclination is to simply add a bright and bold outer border and be done with it. One problem: I don't have tons of yardage for that. My biggest piece of KF yardage is the blue above, and I would definitely need a middle border if I were to use this.

My preference is a single bold border. I pulled my biggest pieces and they are shown numbered above. My least favorite of these is number 1. It is just not bold enough, in my opinion. I have an idea that I can piece the three other options above into a border and it would look quite striking. Or I could shop online for adequate yardage of 2, 3 or 4. That is doable, for sure. If they are still available. I bought these years ago. Literally, like more than 10 or 15. It is old stuff.

So there's my madness saga. The final chapter in the saga has come, and none too soon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Diagonal Madness Creates Madness

A more aptly named quilt I have never known. It is the simplest pattern to sew, yet somehow I managed to include some colors and fabrics into the mix that for some reason did not meet my "eye test." Consequently, I have spent the better part of this week considering alternatives and performing quilt surgery, all in an attempt to set things right.

I may be back on track. Let me show you.

Over a week ago, I was determined to at last finish Diagonal Madness, a quilt top I started late last summer.  It has been hanging half completed on my design wall all fall and winter! It was definitely time.

I have to say that it was lovely to look at through all these months. What cheerfulness! Those luscious Kaffe Fassett colors and prints cause my heart to skip a beat!

I spent parts of several days working on the remainder. I had no plan except for the picture in the book; I was choosing fabrics and colors as I went. Notice that in this much of my work, there is really not a lot of truly diagonal placement, so I worked intentionally to create the diagonal effect in the rest of the quilt top.

At the stage where I took this picture, I was growing increasingly concerned that my cohesiveness was becoming a wreck. To begin the diagonal "look" across the middle of the quilt was not at all pleasing to me. I stopped. I had to think about this. My mind worked and worked on it, figuring possible solutions.

The picture above shows some lighter prints pinned on top of dark ones to erase the severity of the diagonal across the middle. It helps it a lot, in my opinion. It still shows a diagonal, but much more subtly so.

My next concern was the overly "dark" conglomeration in the bottom right area. The first part I did was so much lighter and brighter; I wanted that same look throughout the entire top. So I added the next row using lighter and brighter fabrics. Hmmm. The dark section was not greatly improved.

 I took my nearly finished top to another space in the house to see if lighting made a difference. I don't think so. My eyes like what I did back in September; and what I have recently added appears to be messy in all spaces. So what to do??

Get the ripper.  

I began deconstructing; surgery in a serious way.

What is shown in the photo above is my current state of affairs. I will get back to the machine this evening or tomorrow in an attempt to finally finish off this quilt top.

This should be a lesson for me: do not let so many months interrupt quilt top construction, especially when the top has a distinct "look" that requires planning. I totally lost my eye for the plan in those many months of inactivity.

Happy Quilting, Friend!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter!

Easter traditions will be upended for us this year. No services. No gatherings. No extended family. But one thing remains: He is risen!

I plan to spend some time with the Good Book; perhaps watch one of the church services available on television.

Have a blessed day, dear readers!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Binding X 2

I went to bed last night with a true feeling of accomplishment. My big sewing goals for the day involved binding two quilts, and I did it. Once needed to be pieced and scrimped together, but I wasn't to be deterred. I got'er done!

The Ludwig baby quilt is at last ready. The shower was to be several weeks ago, and had they been able to go ahead with it, I would have finished it then. But, you may know by now, I am a world-class procrastinator. Once that shower was cancelled (corona virus), finishing the quilt immediately fell off my radar and down to the bottom of the to-do list.

This is the same quilt that you read about in the previous post; I quilted it on Thursday evening and attached the binding on Friday (yesterday).

Matt and Lindsey's baby is due in mid-May, and my friend Cheryl, Matt's mother, will be in charge of taking this to the expectant couple. I think Lindsey will find the tiny animal motifs very much to her liking. She and my older daughter were high school classmates - both artsy types - and I know she has a thing for "critters."

Now, my title indicated that two quilts were bound yesterday, and that is true. I have  had this Simple Sixteen quilt ready for binding for quite awhile. I knew my binding was going to be dangerously close to being too short, so I just avoided sewing it on. Well, with the success of the baby quilt, I decided to figure something out. Yes, I had to add a length of somewhat-matching fabric to the binding, and you know what? It will be just fine.

I made this quilt on an absolute whim a bit more than a year ago. It was so fast and satisfying. Because it was really not any "special" quilt, I quilted it more for the practice on the long-arm than any particular need I had for it. So the fact that it has a pieced backing as well as a pieced binding just adds to its "story."

This may soon go onto our bed for it is so springy and fresh-looking. It's time for a changing-out of the quilts, for sure.

That feeling of accomplishment I mentioned in the beginning also carried over into my increasing skill with virtual teaching. I successfully recorded myself "teaching" a lesson, edited, copied, and uploaded it to our school's learning management system - all on my own!  Whoa! This blows my mind! I'd had two prior "help" meetings, and now this breakthrough. I amaze myself. (snicker)

What's on my agenda for today? I have to say I really don't have a list, and that's a dangerous thing. I generally fritter the entire day away if I don't begin it with a plan. We shall see.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Bona Fide Quilting!

Happy Good Friday greetings to you all!

After a couple of weeks of masks and scrappy quilt sewing, last evening I loaded a baby quilt into the frame and quilted it up!

First, new needle and a bit of lint cleaning - I still need to figure out oiling. But I had no issues, and was done in a flash.

Loaded and basted across the top.

All systems GO!

Finished without incident. Baby quilts are fast.
I say I had no problems while stitching, but there was one stoppage - I ran out of my bobbin thread. I have quilted enough quilts already that I'd emptied my first spool. A milestone!

So today, I will finish the binding then hand this off (at a safe social distance!) to grandma-in-waiting Cheryl, who will deliver it to her son and daughter-in-law. Baby boy is due in just over a month.

Yesterday, I told you about giving all those masks to DDEmma. Well, she posted them on her company's FB page, and here are some of her co-workers modeling a few of them!

Also in that post, I said I was done making masks for awhile. Well, I was wrong. One of my nieces saw the FB post and she asked for masks. As a Vet Tech, she has a need, as well. So back to the sewing machine to make 8 more masks for Lyndsie. They were finished in no time and in the mail by afternoon. She will get them Saturday.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Something Other Than Masks

I have been rather quiet around here lately because all I've been sewing is masks. That only has so much appeal for content, you know what I mean?

This picture was taken a couple of days ago when our temperatures were in the 70s. Just look at that sky! Our magnolia was just beginning to open its blooms.

So I finished the last of the masks yesterday, and we took a drive to a halfway point between here and Columbus where we met Emma and Geoffrey to hand off all the masks - 50 of them! Whew. I am glad to have them done. I may make more, especially if the need continues. For now, though, I am taking a long break.

We have had a beautiful spring here in Ross County, Ohio. I love walking out to the woods to take pictures of wildflowers. It's just so exciting to see the changes that occur from day to day. Since this is really the only other thing I've been photographing, I figured I'd bring you along for a little explore. Let's go!

Spring Beauty
Purple Trilliums
Trout Lily (aka Dogtooth Violet)
Cutleaf Toothwort
Now for further exciting news from our house - we have a new garden feature! This pergola was installed yesterday, and we are so eager to finish the gardens and landscaping around this space.

It leads from our backyard into what once was a pretty thickly wooded area. However, the trees were mostly ash, and those are all dying (emerald ash borer); DH has been cutting the dead trees and now enough space has been opened up that it can't really be considered wooded any longer. He is trying to establish some gardens in there.

We envision some wisteria or clematis trailing over this structure. Maybe a hanging flower basket or two. I think there will be some bricks installed underneath to create a path.

I hope you are making the most of your "shelter at home" time. We seem to be doing okay here.
Happy Quilting, Friends!