Monday, August 31, 2020

Beginning A Modified Quilt Retreat

 The pandemic forced us to cancel the annual Canter's Cave Retreat which was supposed to happen in early April. We tried rescheduling for this week, but so many of us were needing to cancel or cut short their stay. What to do? Trusty friend to the rescue: Terry offered to host us for the week at her house; we canceled Canter's Cave entirely and are now set up in every inch of her family room. We are not staying overnight since we all live so close, but we are gathering there each day for sewing, quilting, and camaraderie. I will miss two afternoons for my classes; others will miss for various and sundry reasons, but for the biggest part of the week we are making it work.

My first objective for the week is to stitch as much of this quilt - True Blue - as I can. I made a valiant start this morning before having to leave for my classes, and first thing tomorrow I will be removing papers from my Thangles HSTs. I anticipate that this quilt will go together quickly; the instructions couldn't be more straightforward. And since I have already been working on that earlier churn dash quilt, I sorta' have a system established. 

I did pack the other churn dash project for a backup project. I knew I would end up working on these two projects simultaneously. And I do not regret this in the least! In fact, we Frankfort girls are going to do another sew-along from now until Christmas - make 42 6.5" churn dash blocks for a group exchange. So I need to get started on that! Whoo - hoo! I went from just dying to have a churn dash quilt to working on 3 all at the same time. 

I do not have a problem with this!

In other news, I have been visiting the one UFO that was on my goals list for 2020 - Meadow Lily. I cannot explain why I have drug my feet on this; from all my investigations, I see no mistakes; only potential. I can offer a couple of pictures of the situation as it now stands.

All I can figure is that my plan was to make more blocks than the pattern called for; then I realized I would not have enough fabric to make the setting blocks - so I stopped. Hmmm. Puzzling.  I've decided that I will make the pattern as it was written, and deal with all these extra flower blocks somehow, sometime, later. FYI: it is a Thimbleberries pattern.

Now, here we are at the end of August. My goodness, it went fast. September needs to have some goals, and I am working on those now. I will share soon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Churn Dashes Galore!

 In case anyone has wondered about my lengthy absence from blog posting, school has started. Whew, what can this old dog learn? I'm working harder than I ever imagined I would to learn virtual teaching methods and programs to make my two sections of freshman comp as successful as possible. Monday was an absolute disaster; Wednesday was mildly successful. I commended my students for coming back to day 2, after the rough opening day. I wasn't sure I'd get anyone back.

But, let's talk about quilting. Even with all the extra school work I'm doing, I am still quilting. Only the blogging has taken a backseat. 

The last time I wrote, I had 32 5" churn dashes on the design wall along with setting blocks of neutral shirting fabrics. In the foreground of this picture is a stack of 30 more churn dashes. I have not cut any more setting blocks, but I've run out of room on the design wall, so I will just continue making parts; I don't need to see it in its entirety.

Plenty of fabrics remain. My churn dash pairings are fanned out in the photo above. I am sure I could get at least 2 more churns from each set. In front are two shirtings, but I have more I can cut into, so it looks like I'm set to finish the block construction phase of this quilt.

Now, my title says churn dashes galore, and while I am completing the construction of this quilt, I have just cut out the parts for another.

One of my goals for quite awhile has been to make this quilt called True Blue. The original features feedsack fabrics (which I do not have), however, I do have a good supply of blue in my stash. So I pulled out a big stack and began cutting.

My choices came from the huge stack above. The quilt has 42  churns; I used 20 blues from the stash. I am using Thangles for the HSTs, and the rest is just straight sewing. I was so eager to see the block made up, I went ahead and made a couple. Ooooh, I am excited about this!

This pattern has 9-inch blocks, considerably larger than those itty-bitty 5-inchers I've been making. It will be so fast to get this made.

True Blue will be my main activity for next week. Because of the pandemic, the Frankfort Girls had to cancel the annual Canter's Cave Quilt Retreat. Rescheduling has been iffy, so Terry is having it at her house next week. I will have to miss most of  M/W because of my classes, but I will be able to get quite a lot done in the remaining time. Going in with this cut out and ready to sew will speed things up quite a bit.

I have been working on a few other things, too, and Sharon has been here to sew; always pretty, fun stuff coming from her sewing machine. Hopefully, you'll be hearing about all that soon. Now that I am getting into a groove for my classes, my blogging groove should return.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, August 21, 2020

A Desire for Churn Dashes

 Ever since I began admiring and making quilts, I have preferred the traditional styles. My grandma always made LeMoyne Star quilts. She made a lot of other styles, too, but that was a frequent go-to. While I make a lot of more modern quilts with some very modern fabrics, I still seem to prefer the quiet orderliness of the old standards, those made for generations by quilters who stitched out of necessity rather than out of fulfilling a whim.

My whim lately is to make a churn dash quilt. I have been planning for some time to make a quilt called True Blue, a pattern by Linzee Kull McCray. And my plan yesterday was to cut out the quilt to prepare for our upcoming quilt camp (more on camp in a future post).

Well, I didn't have the fabrics pulled from the stash, and I sorta' got side-tracked by some fabric I recently bought which was still splayed out on my desk.

I added a charm pack of Jo Morton shirtings alongside this grouping. The appeal was so great, I could almost feel a quilt being born.

One thing I really dislike is cutting into a precut, only to waste portions of it. I knew I wanted to use all the fabric - no waste. I decided that I would use those 5" squares for setting blocks. Out of the fabric grouping above, I would add other shirtings from my stash for backgrounds.

I spent a good little bit trying to figure out the math necessary to result in a 5" churn dash, but I did accomplish the task, and have made a good amount of progress. I am chain-piecing them, and so far have 15 blocks completed.

I am loving this! The blocks work so great with the shirtings, and they are super-easy to do. If I have calculated correctly (?), I will end up with around 60 churn dashes, and I have some remaining fabric with which to make more which is entirely likely. 

I do still plan to make True Blue. I will get that fabric pulled, and then cut before camp. At some point, I am sure I be working on both churn dash quilts at the same time. 

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Finishing A Baby Quilt

 A couple of months ago, I loaded a baby quilt into the long arm machine and attempted to quilt it. I became very frustrated because the top thread broke time and time again. 

 Then we went on vacation, then I bought a new spool of thread, then I proceeded to avoid returning to the long arm to see about making things right.

Today, in less than 30 minutes, I re-threaded the machine and quilted the baby quilt. Agghh! I am such an avoider! I could have had this done weeks ago!

Oh well. It is done now, and I will share pictures. It still needs the binding, but at least the quilting is done. I don't "avoid" so much on binding, so I expect to do that soon.

The HSTs used in this quilt were the cut-away corners of a quilt I made for DS Emma back in 2015. I never throw these out, especially if they are big ones like these. At some point, a need will present itself. Click here to read about the day I spent making this quilt top, and to access a link to the 2105 quilt for Emma.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sixteen Blockheads

 In odd moments here and there, I have stitched blocks in the Moda Blockheads 3 sew along. It now seems I am farther along with the blocks with round 3 than I ever got with rounds 1 or 2. 

I was motivated to get a nice even number of blocks made so that I decent picture could be taken. Here are my 16 blocks laid out in no particular order. 

It is looking rather busy, in my opinion. I typically do not go for such a look. Those two blocks with the plain background are such restful blocks in the midst of the chaos. I need to use more of that plain background in future blocks so that there will be less going on. A bit more controlled, if you will.

Here are my most recently made blocks. I did these last week when I sewed over at Terry's. I cut them out in the morning, and sewed them after lunch. It's hard to believe a whole day's work results in just two blocks. That's the nature of the sew along sampler quilt, I suppose.

The basket block is #31 and is the most recent block in the series. I am still filling in a lot of gaps where I have skipped blocks. Block 29 was fun to make, however this 6-inch block has squares that finish at 3/4-inch. Yikes!

I find I am gradually turning back into a teacher lately. University classes begin a week from today and all (nearly) will be taught virtually. I am learning so much and have a long ways to go, but I am getting there. 

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Another Larkspur Quilt

 I don't suppose y'all are getting tired of seeing quilt tops made with Larkspur fabric? I finished up my second one on Thursday while Sharon was here for sewing.

Both Sharon and I had rather hefty collections of Larkspur by 3Sisters/Moda. We determined back in May to make quilts using this luscious fabric. We did that and we both still had a significant amount of remaining fabric, so each of us has now made a second quilt top.

Click back here to see my first quilt, Larkspur Stars, as well as Sharon's two quilts, Larkspur Lane and Lark Meadow. And now I have finished my second one - Yay!!

My latest is just plain Larkspur 9-Patch - not very original, but I know what I am talking about when I refer to it, at least.

My Larkspur Stars required random 3.5-inch squares and 3.5-inch HSTs. Consequently, I had a hefty little stack of each left over. Rather than to let them go to waste, I used the squares with a piece of neutral and made  9-inch 9-patch blocks. I had two light fabrics that I cut for setting blocks. I also had a good amount of coral that I used for setting triangles and corner triangles - I like how the coral serves to border the quilt. 

Believe it or not, I still have Larkspur fabric remaining. I have used the HSTs to make a sweet little quilt that will serve nicely as a table topper. I quilted this little quilt Thursday evening and stitched the binding down Friday morning when the Frankfort Girls met.

This is Sharon O's (a different Sharon!) dining room table. She brought out some of her pretty pottery to accent my little quilt. Below see it at my house on the mantel.

It sure has been fun to sew with this beautiful fabric. I still have some, and a couple of pieces are rather large for having made 2 quilt tops and a table topper. I am not sure what I will do with this remaining bit. 

This next week is the last week of summer for me as I go back to class on the 24th. I feel like I have so much to get done before then. I sure hope there will be some sewing.

Happy Quilting, Friends!


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Sweet Surprise

You may recall that I offered up some assistance to a "quilter in distress" a couple of weeks ago. Click back to read about the situation.


The transaction is fully complete; I recently got a sweet note from Lynn which contained one of her rosettes. She said that through her auditioning process, this one didn't "make the cut," as she put it.


I am happy to have it, Lynn, and will give it a good home. Since I have made a few rosettes over the years, I thought I would just add yours to my collection. However when I compared them, mine are slightly smaller. So this presents a nice little conundrum - do I use yours as a solo show? Do I find templates to match your size and add to it? This is one of those dilemmas that will need time to marinate.


Lynn also emailed a picture of the remnant of the fabric I sent her. She needed quite a few hexies for the rosettes; she has very little remaining. Whew! Close call!

I am off today to sew at friend Terry's house. And tomorrow Sharon will be here. Lots of stitching! Catch up with you later!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Sharon's Latest Finish

Sewing with Sharon is proving quite rewarding of late. We try to get together every Thursday, and have become quite regular about it in the past few weeks. Besides just catching up with each other, our productivity increases as we feed off each other, and sewing is just plain more enjoyable with a friend. 

 Earlier in the summer we both worked on our stash of Larkspur fabrics. I made up a pattern and named it Larkspur Stars.

Sharon made a strippy quilt that she named Larkspur Lane.


 And now, guess what? We are both still have a good amount of leftover Larkspur fabric. It is an absolute shame to leave it boxed up in a closet or drawer. Sharon got busy right away and began a second Larkspur quilt. 

She had saved back a layer cake of Larkspur. She set aside the cuts of the fabric with the birds to use as setting blocks for this quilt she has named Lark Meadow. It is so simple; so sweet; so striking. And it went together fast. All the best of quilt-making, if you ask me.

Now, I have to do something with my leftover Larkspur, right? My original quilt had a lot of 3.5-inch squares, and I was left with several. Rather than to let those go to waste, I am now in the process of making 9-patches with those. It won't take many of those 9.5-inch blocks to make a quilt, so I am rather amped up to finish them. I have a couple of neutral/light pieces of yardage which will do nicely for setting blocks.

The plan is to show you a finish later this week!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

An August Finish!

 Quilts have stories - did you know? I'm sure you do, if you quilt. We might remember buying the fabric or deciding the pattern, or the book you listened to as you stitched - that sort of thing. 

My most recent finish has a story, and for a little quilt, it might seem like a rather involved story, but that's just how it is sometimes.

This is the Key West quilt, aka Periwinkle. The story of this table topper began in March of 2019 when while on spring break, I bought these fabrics in a little quilt shop on the island. I didn't have a lot of suitcase space, so I limited my purchase to 8 fat quarters - 4 background and 4 different darker prints.

And they have lived happily on the back of my sewing table for well over a year. I wanted to use the cheerful little bundle rather than let it sit forever, but I could not find a pattern that suited me.

Now before I go on much further, I have to remain in Key West for a relevant little side note. Take a look at this picture from the courtyard of our little condo for the week. 

The design in the privacy fence reminded me of a quilt; and just like that I determined that these fabrics would be turned into periwinkle blocks. So earlier when I said I spent over a year looking for a pattern, to be more clear - I was looking for a suitable periwinkle pattern. Using the fabric was never far from my mind, as I considered a lot of various options and construction methods. When I saw this pattern in this book, I knew that was something I could work with. I purchased the book in March.

This spring we decided to take a road trip out to Oregon. Coronavirus had us postponing it for a few weeks, but we finally decided to go near the end of June. We would be driving for the better part of 12-14 days; I needed a project for all that car time. I would go absolutely stir crazy if I didn't have something to work on while a passenger on a trip this long. This urgency sent me to the sewing room to cut all the parts for the KW quilt. I knew I could hand stitch the blocks while we traveled - I would be making a vacation quilt while on a different vacation! (What a novelty.) The Key West quilt now encompasses our western US road trip. 

I wrote a little bit about my road trip stitching in this post, and I have continued to make the remaining blocks here at home. I had to find my scraps to cut a few more background pieces in order to come up with the 25 blocks I needed for the table topper.

From this point on, I credit Sharon for motivating me to finish. On Thursday when she was here for sewing, I stitched the 25th block and arranged them all on the design wall. With so few blocks, I decided to just go ahead and sew them together. I mean, why wait? Get'er done, right? At some point, Sharon offhandedly said something about how cute the back would be if I quilted around the periwinkle stars.  This totally appealed to me, and suddenly I was super-stoked to finish.

Small quilts like this are perfect for using all the batting scraps. I found some bits that I pieced together. Now what would I use for the backing? I had not thought this far ahead, but then Sharon again came to the rescue by saying "Use a Kaffe."

Good grief, YES I have gobs of his fabric, and surely something would work. And wasn't that a fun 20 minutes of digging through the tubs? Yes! Below you can see the fabric we decided on. All the colors are so representational of Key West, and while they don't exactly match the periwinkle colors, there is no issue as far as I am concerned about the choice.

I spray-basted the layers and proceeded to quilt. In no time at all, I had it finished and we were looking for binding options. I have a healthy stash of solid fabrics, and we found this royal blue which works just fine.

And that pretty much tells the whole story of my Key West quilt. Now let's see a few more pictures.

It is currently on duty on our screened porch table. Sure, she has some wavy edges and some questionable intersections, but I am not at all interested in checking out her flaws. I am reveling in a finish that has such a happy story. 

I am linking with Kathy's Quilts for her weekly feature, Slow Sunday Stitching. Hop on over to have a look around.

It's a beautiful day here in southern Ohio. Hope you all are enjoying a beautiful day where you are.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Blockheads 3 Update

If you follow me on Instagram or FB, I have been regularly posting the blocks I've made in the BH3 sew-along. Facebook has a group dedicated to Blockheads, and on Instagram, using the hashtag modablockheads3 will yield all the varying blocks being made all around the globe.

I have not, shared here for awhile, though, so let's take care of that today.

My most recent block is #16, Dream. It was an easy one to make, and I am sure I took more time making fabric choices than making the block.

Just as a reminder, let me show you the fabric pack I am using, along with a few added pieces to extend the options.

Faith; Collection for a Cause by Moda

The original group along with additions.

I have now made 14 blocks; only 16 to make and I will be all caught up, as block #30 was released earlier today. I will not ever be caught up, though, because I won't be making all the blocks they offer. Some of them just don't appeal; I am being a bit selective.

So far, all my blocks are 6.5 inches. I reserve the right to add in some larger blocks along the way, if I so desire, and if it is necessary in order to make my size work out right. I will just have to play it by ear as we see the remaining blocks. How each individual quilter finishes the quilt is entirely according to one's preference. Wait and see; that's the ticket.

I am late posting a blog today as I undertook a very large project - for me anyway. I cleaned the garage. It still has a ways to go, but my car is parked in it, and that hasn't happened in many, many months.

Happy Quilting, Friends!