Friday, July 31, 2020

Quilters Helping Quilters

Over the years that I've been keeping this blog, I have had interactions with others that would not have been possible had it not been for this platform. Just in these past few weeks, I have had another encounter I would like to share.

Just after we got home from our road trip out west, my email inbox contained a message from a woman who in her closing identified herself as a "quilter in distress." Here is an excerpt from her message:

  • For the last 10+ years I’ve been working on a hexagon quilt using reproduction fabrics that I have been collecting for years. I have finally got all the Hexie-rosettes placed and realized I’ve run out of a key fabric!

    In desperation I turned to google for the hunt. I found a blog of yours from Wed. 11-Jul-2018 that had this fabric in your stash. Do you have any of this fabric left that I can purchase from you?
Here's the post to which she referred. I was working on Blockheads 2 at the time. I never got very far in the BH2 sew-along, but here of late have entertained the notion of going back to it.

But I digress. As far as Lynn from Canada is concerned (that's how I have referred to her in my head), let me finish the story. She sent a picture of the fabric she needed.

We had a few back-and-forth emails; I did find said fabric and had a good bit of it available. I looked over my BH2 progress to see if I would miss this fabric if I sent it away. I had used it a couple of times, so it would not be missed; I sent what I had to Lynn. Having been a "quilter in distress" myself a few times over the years, I couldn't NOT help her out. I couldn't even imagine telling her no.

And now let me share the happy ending to this story. Lynn has received the fabric; she sent these pictures.

Meet Lynn! In one hand she is holding the tiny bit that she had left of her fabric. In the other hand is the bit I sent to her. Yay! I am so glad to have helped her out. I know all too well the feeling of needing a certain fabric and not having any way of getting more. I'm sure many of you can relate, right?

This photo shows Lynn's hexie project; the rosettes using this particular P&B Textile fabric are located in the outer row. This is so pretty! What a labor of love! Here is an excerpt from Lynn in Wednesday's email:
  • Fabric received!  With this I have enough fabric to fussy-cut the remaining hexies.  In total I need 20 rosettes.  I attached a couple of pics. Holding in my left hand the remains of my own fabric, right hand your contribution. Also included is a pic of the quilt corner where the fabric is used. I can’t give you an overall pic of the quilt because I want to enter it in a competition... in about 2 years. All done be hand.
Lynn, I am glad to have been able to help out a fellow quilter. Good luck in your competition! You are creating a beautiful quilt; it's already a winner in my book. If you can remember two years from now, let me know how your quilt fared and send along a full-on picture.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

BH3 - Pennies From Heaven block

Edit: The true name of the block is Lucky Penny; it's # 23 of the 52 to be released.

One of the knocks against quilting is that we basically do a really ridiculous thing - we cut fabric into itty, bitty pieces, and then sew them back together again.

We really take it to an entirely new level of ridiculousness when we end up with small blocks. The block I just finished is a case in point.

This particular block calls for 64 of these small squares, and for my 6.5" block, they were to be cut at 7/8ths of an inch. Yeah. Sixty-four squares cut less than an inch. Is there any wonder why I dragged my feet on making this block?? I wish I'd thought to lay a dime down in this picture to show the true size of these squares; trust me, they are 7/8ths inch blocks. And I used 64 of them! *aacckkk*

So, each colored square is cut at 2" and the tiny neutral pieces were applied to each corner. I had an audio book going, took my time, and pinned to get as much lined up as possible. I am satisfied with this, even though some points miss their marks; no biggie.

This one 6.5-inch block has 80 pieces of fabric sewn together. Boggles one's mind, honestly. But I still love doing it. *grin*

And just like that, I now have 11 blocks done. Still a long way to go, but I don't have any super-pressing projects on the horizon, so I will try to stay on these steadily. I might just get 'em all caught up one of these days.

Hope you are having a fantastic Tuesday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Another BH3 Block - #18 Alternate

Today we have recovered from our Sunday reunion. I had the kitchen cleaned up (except for the mopping) before 9am, the trash taken out, the floors vacuumed, and then I sat down. And sat a lot. I actually put my teacher hat on for most of the afternoon, checking  out alternative delivery methods. *yikes!*

After finally doing the mopping, I rewarded myself by going upstairs to see what I could sew. I was greeted by a block all ready to stitch together. A happy surprise! With all the preparation and excitement for the family gathering, I had totally forgotten that I had cut out a BH3 block. What fun to just sit down and sew.

I loved this sweet alternate block for #18 that designer Betsy Chutchian offered participants. Hers was in blue and cream (a dreamy combination!), however, in keeping with my fabric selection, I elected to use pink with the cream. 

This pink fabric is one that I recently bought to augment my very limited original fabric grouping. It seems very obvious to me that it is different, but I hope when all the blocks are pulled together, the pinks will look very natural together.

I think I have now made 10 blocks for BH3. Still a few more to do until I am caught up.

Hope you have had a wonderful Monday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Kim Diehl Mini Finished!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Queen of Procrastination has finished a UFO!

Shouting from the rooftops and ramparts, this is a finish I am sooo happy to finally share.

Our Frankfort Girls group met for a pseudo "camp" last June at Terry's, and every day for that week, most of us worked on making the blocks for this little sew-along hosted by Kim Diehl on her IG feed. I am sure all the others had theirs finished ages ago while I was stuck in UFO land. On June 11, 2019, I posted my flimsy.

Over a year to finally finish this little gem. *smh*

The reason for my long, long delay? Well, numerous issues popped up after I marked the entire quilt with the Pounce marking tool - it just made a mess of chalk dust everywhere, and it faded off before I could get to the outer edges, and it smeared too much. A total fail, IMO.

So I put it aside for awhile (months) while I stewed on how to proceed. I finally determined that I could re-create the markings with a white pencil. I did that with decent success. I may have fudged a bit on the overall quilting design, but I didn't sweat it.

Then, daggone it, I ran out of the floss I was using to do the big-stitch quilting. The trouble there was that I had no clue as to what the color number was; it was a bit of floss without a color number; I miscalculated on having enough to do the job. Again, I set it aside for awhile (more months) deciding how to proceed.

Then one day in mid-June, I found myself in Hobby Lobby walking through the sewing section. Right there staring me in the face was all the embroidery floss. I pulled out 4 different browns figuring that I would get at least ONE of them to work well enough to finish this mini. And I did. It is really obvious in a side-by-side comparison that the original brown is different from the new one, but when you look at this mini in these pictures, I doubt very much if anyone would see the inconsistency.

I love a story with a happy ending. Even when the ending takes way too many months to unfold.

Hope you are having a great Sunday! We entertained a big bunch of extended family here today; our house was full  - as well as our hearts! I am linking with Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy's Quilts. Check out all the pretties when you have a moment.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Sew-Along Sampler Flimsy

Late Thursday I had a chance to stitch the blocks together for my Frankfort Girls' Sampler Sew-Along. When using setting blocks (stepping stones) that are this easy to make, quilt tops go together super-fast. Her she is draped over a wicker porch chair. I've never photographed this fabric in natural light; in my opinion, it looks pretty spectacular, even with some shadowing.

Obviously, my next step is to add borders. This center portion measures 45"x54"; when I do some mental calculations (always a dangerous business), I believe I have enough remaining fabric to add a 2.5" inner light border and a 5" red outer border. That is how I plan to proceed. Cross your fingers for me; the red is what I am likely to run out of; I have less than a yard remaining.

Draped over the family room couch; see the difference in the coloration? Indoors, this always looks too yellow; it has to be the artificial lighting. Regardless, it is still a quilt that makes me very happy to look at. It will always remind me of the girls in our group whose contributions helped make this quilt a reality.

Gotta' get in gear! We are having family here tomorrow and the final preparations are going to be full throttle today. We might have as many as 19 from hubby's side of the family. Yes, we have enough space here to social distance, and masks will be available. Looking forward to all the visiting!

Have a great Saturday!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Returning To BH3

If you know what BH3 is in the title, then you may be gasping in disbelief. I am actually getting back into making the blocks for this online sew-along.

Block Heads 3 (BH3) is the sew-along sponsored by the fabric company Moda, and includes many of their top fabric designers. This is the third one they've done, and each is bigger that the last. This one will go on for 52 weeks, one block released each week.

The end result will be enough blocks for a sampler quilt (samplers have many different blocks rather than a few repeated blocks). When the new week's block is released, sewists will be given directions in varying sizes - 4", 6", 8", 12"  - and participants are free to make the blocks in their desired sizes.

Out of the 28 weeks of pattern releases, I have made 9 blocks, all in the 6" size. Clicking back here and here will fill in some gaps on my efforts in the early weeks of the sew-along - details like fabrics and such.

Why did I take such a long hiatus from this project, you ask?

Well, I have a two-fold answer. First, I did not have nearly enough fabric in the original pack to make 52 blocks; I solved that problem by shopping for suitable additional fabrics to stretch the collection.

Second, the designers began releasing blocks that just were not my style. I have always preferred traditional blocks, and some of these were quite modern. My solution: skip the ones that I don't want to include, and make up for the "gap" by increasing to 12" blocks for a few blocks. This will probably work out fine.

I know that 28 weeks down the road when the final block is released, I will have a few notions on how to proceed. It's the process, after all.

So, up top you see the block for week 28 - Broken Dishes. I saw several of these shared on FB and IG, and OMG!! They were gorgeous! It is definitely a traditional block, and since my fabric has a nostalgic, historic feel, I knew it would be a pretty block.

So off I went to the sewing machine; in no time I had 'er done. A perfect marriage of pattern and fabric.

I then decided to go back and make one of the blocks I had skipped. Get myself on a roll, maybe?

I landed on Block 10, Windmills It was super-simple; I made it yesterday afternoon while Sharon was here sewing.

I thought for a very brief moment about re-cutting those plaid rectangles to get the lines straight, but look at the next photo and note that in the whole scheme of the blocks, that will be imperceptible. I'm not touching it. *wink*

Well, I guess I am back in the game. I can get myself caught up in no time.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Sampler Sew-Along

Back in December my sweet quilt group friends, The Frankfort Girls, entered into a little sew-along with as few rules as possible. There are seven of us, so for seven straight months, we took turns assigning a block to be made for a sampler.

Blocks from the first 6 months.
Blocks for the 7th month.
We made the blocks in fabrics that suited our individual tastes, and I believe most of us made two of each block for a total of 14 blocks. I chose to do a 2-color quilt which limited me with a couple of the blocks; my solution for any problematic block was to select a different block to do. The one that was most problematic was Card Trick, which does not work with two fabrics/colors at all. Here's an example of Card Trick done in 30s prints. It really needs to have 4 prints so that the 'cards' show up.

Okay. Now that we have arrived at July, our blocks are all done (theoretically), and we are free to go about making our quilts however we like. Today's post will detail how I plan to proceed with mine.

I have become a big fan lately of the setting block that I refer to as Stepping Stone. I made a sample over the weekend, and I think this will work well with my blocks.

All my blocks surround my one setting block.
Now to decide how to work with 14 sampler blocks and 14 setting blocks. It would make such an awkward size, so a couple more blocks are needed. I plan to add one more Ohio Star for a total of 15 sampler blocks. Then I will make 15 stepping stones which will give me the option of a quilt five blocks wide and six blocks long. My blocks finish at 9 inches, so the size without borders will be 45"x54" - a decent lap quilt. Add some borders and it will be nice to drape across a chair or the back of the couch.

Border decisions will have to be made when I see how much fabric I am left with after making all the setting blocks.

Today I am sewing at Terry's with these very same Frankfort Girls. I hope to make great progress on my setting blocks and that one additional Ohio Star. I am motivated to finish this top.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Sharon's Fun, Dotty Project

The word of the day today is FUN.

Long time readers know that my dear friend Sharon comes almost every week to sew here for the day. We get a lot accomplished when we have these days, but I all too often fail to share her finishes.

In an effort to do better, I recently snapped this photo of fabrics draped over Sharon's table across the room. Those strips - 2", I think - of dotted fabrics are headed toward a really fun quilt. Both of us have a love for Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and since May Sharon has been playing with a quilt that she says is is long-term project.

Let it be known that she is playing, not working.

The inspiration quilt is from one of KF's books, Quilts in America.

When a quilter will end up with a finish that is this FUN, then of course the making must be play. She says that at home she keeps a bowl of these fabrics on her dining table, and whenever she has a spare moment, she will just stop and make a block. Impromptu sewing like this usually results in faster finishes than one realizes. Kites is just as lively, bright, and playful as can be.

Here are some of Sharon's finished blocks. These are just a few; she has a goodly sum stacking up.

I will keep you updated periodically on Sharon's version of Kites. Seeing it all come together will be fun to follow.

Remember, the word of the day is FUN! Hope you are having some!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Summer Breeze Flimsy

Making this quilt has been so satisfying. I hardly even thought about what I was doing most of the time; my desire was to make something simple and fast and enjoyable.

Mission accomplished.

If you click back to this post, you can read about my fascination with our wide open blue skies and the trees surrounding our yard. I love those views of blue and green together; the intention was to create a quilt that evoked the summer "look" from our porches or out our windows.

Over a year ago, I pulled these fabrics out and considered very seriously making the quilt you see in the picture - Plan C, by Miss Rosie Quilts/Carrie Nelson. Never happened, but I did keep the fabrics nearby. The fabrics were ready, but my ideas still needed to marinate.

When I actually made the move to work on this, I really never did have a firm idea of what I would end up with. I knew, though, that there would be nothing wrong with making the layer cake into hourglass blocks. So that was my start. I did the entire stack and trimmed them to 9.25 inches. That is where I was when this picture was taken.

Then I unfolded the half-yard cuts. At that point I had a very big surprise. I'd been assuming all along that these 5 half-yard cuts were all from the Summer Breeze line of fabrics from Moda. Well, I was wrong. They are from two different lines by April Cornell (also from Moda) called Secret Garden and Amanda.

Never, I mean NEVER, did I suspect that I had anything other than Summer Breeze! How could these look so perfect together and NOT be from the same line? This is one of those happy accidents that occur from time to time.

The next step was to cut these April Cornell fabrics into 9.25-inch setting squares. Fortunately, the half-yard cuts were generous and I could get 8 from each piece for a total of 40 squares.

I set them alternately with the hourglass blocks, and have 8 blocks across with 9 blocks down.

I did not allow myself to fuss about placement - too much. I sewed the first two columns together randomly, but did lay the rest out on the bed so that I wouldn't end up with unpleasant combinations at the end. This probably saved me a lot of time as well, because I stacked them up in Eleanor Burns' fashion, and whizzed right through the construction phase.

Then borders. Because this center part has so much yellow, I knew I wanted a solid green inner border. I searched the stash and found a few candidates; the one I chose is rather strong, but I wanted the green to have a 'presence' so I went with it.

The outer border came from that large piece of clearance fabric I bought a couple of weeks ago. The original plan was that it would be the backing for this quilt. Since I used it for the larger border, I will likely return to that clearance table to get a bit more to make up the difference and do a pieced backing.

The basics on this quilt are simple, and I might try making another one with some random layer cakes I have had here for far too long. To recap:

  • 1 layer cake, made entirely into hourglass blocks, trimmed to 9.25 inches.
  • 2.5 yards setting fabric;  one piece or several different pieces of fabric - cut to 9.25-inch squares
  • Stitch alternately an 8 block by 9 block quilt top. My borders are 2.5 inches for the inner; 5.5 inches for the outer.
  • Final quilt measurement: roughly 93" x 84".

Happy Quilting, Friends!