Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A Wreck of A Quilting Room

On more than one occasion have I bemoaned the deplorable state of my sewing space. It just isn't in me to be a neat freak, apparently. 

In analyzing this I believe the problem lies with my never putting anything away when I finish a project. I just move on to beginning the next project, and pile the old stuff up at the end of the table or in a tub on the floor. 

On top of that, because I have so many ideas and a frenetic attention span, I grab patterns or fabrics to consider various future options and, of course, these are never put away; no! Just add to the mess!

The view above is pretty much the exact view Sharon has from her table. The last time she was here, I promised her that I would have those 3 tubs plus overflow of Kaffe fabrics cleaned up and put away. Instead, I got into the patterns (see this post), and made a bigger mess by leaving the doors open and even more stuff on the floor. 

A closer view of this bit of the chaos lets you see that it would not take a whole lot of time or effort to tidy this and put it away. The top tub, above, is missing a lid which is surely buried somewhere in this room.

Now, let's turn our attention to the desk - this (above) is to my right if I'm sitting at the machine. I swear, if I pile on one more thing, it will topple over and create an even more critical situation. 

My new idea: take 15-20 minutes daily to tidy just one small area. 

One. Small. Area. 

My first tidy session dealt with the Kaffe tubs. I found the missing lid  buried in that wobbly pile on the desk; yes, my second tidy session was attacking the pile on the desk. 

The Kaffe tubs are stacked in the closet, and the doors are shut. I also returned those many bags to the closet. The items in the foreground are 4 finished quilts packaged up and ready for delivery to friends and relatives. These will disappear as I make plans to see them.

The random papers stacked here comprise much of that chaos shown up above. I need to get out all my notebooks and plastic sleeves. The papers all have proper homes when I make myself file them. And that leads to this next part.

The downside to trying to get a handle on the mess is that while tidying one area, the need to access an entirely different area is frequently necessary - and you guessed it - that area is a disaster, too.


 My filing system: 3-ring binders with specifically labeled categories. (The 'Coms1010' notebook needs to be labeled - leftover from DD2s college days.)

I will - I promise! - continue to make an effort at chaos control. I just cannot allow this dishevelment to go on any longer. I will let you know how it goes. So far, two tiny areas are looking a whole lot better!

Happy Quilting, Friends!






Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Baby Garments

Influencers are those people on social media who put ideas out to the masses which consequently 'influence' others to do, buy, decorate, shop, spend, cook - whatever - like they do. Since I mostly follow fabric- and quilting-related accounts on Instagram, I am influenced by quilts or products I see on my IG feed. I do follow other accounts - home decorating, especially, and they influence me, too.

So why am I talking about influencers when my title says baby garments? Well, on a Kaffe Fassett account I recently saw the most adorable little baby romper and elastic diaper coverup (is there a name for that?) and I was moved to make one for our soon-to-arrive granddaughter. 

Yes. I was influenced.

In the depths of my quilting room closet, I knew I had a box of patterns. I haven't used anything in this box for at least 20 years. However, I knew there were baby patterns here, and since baby styles change very little, I knew, too, that I would be able to use them.



The sampling shown above are some of the older patterns in the box. I have never made these to my recollection. Someone must have given them to me when my kids were small. I have a variety of sizes, so I selected the one below as it is the closest to newborn size available.

I have no idea how true to size these patterns are, but I made the sleeveless jumper and matching pants last week. It was fun to renew a long-lost art of garment-making. I had a remnant fabric of 3/4 yard. I finagled a way to get it to fit and proceeded. It was like riding a bike - once you know how to layout and follow pattern directions you can do it years - years! - later.

This first foray into making grand-baby clothes was fun and I am thinking of making something with sleeves for the cool days of winter. I could skip the bottoms and let Mama dress her in matching leggings or tights.

Happy Quilting, Friends!



Monday, October 3, 2022

September Collage & October Goals

As we begin a new month, I always like to review the one just past and establish a plan of action for the the one ahead.  So let's do that today.

The September collage contains a lot more running around than quilting, but that's okay. It was a fun month, even if it might not have been the most productive as far as quilt-making is concerned.

TOP ROW: My brother-in-law, husband and I took a madcap trip to Kansas City to see the Guardians play the Royals at Kaufmann Field. It was a nutty thing to do, driving 11 hours to see a baseball game and then turning around the next day to drive home, but we had a great time, our team won in extra innings and all went well. The following weekend we celebrated our daughter Erin and her hubby Jeff as they are in the last month of pregnancy - our granddaughter will arrive later this month! Pictured is my mother and preggo daughter Erin, and aunt-to-be, daughter Emma. The final picture in the top row is taken at a nearby orchard where my neighbor and I spent a morning picking apples. When I saw this multi-generational family of Mennonite ladies tugging an overflowing apple wagon up the hill, I just had to snap a photo.

MIDDLE ROW: Finally, I finished the William Morris flimsy on the very last day of September. It is still hanging on the design wall just so I can gaze at it! To mark the first day of fall, we joined our friends on their pontoon boat on nearby Rocky Fork Lake. I grew up with this lake just across the county, yet I'd never boated on it. The weather took a chilly turn that day, so we were bundled up, but it was a gloriously relaxing day with friends. The quilt pictured next is one I made up after seeing an internet picture. Made with solids and Kaffe Fassett florals, I plan to quilt it this week.

BOTTOM ROW: The hexies are a trial run at seeing how they look sewn together. I am considering options, but for now it appears to be destined to be the center of a tablecloth. The next two photos are taken from my front sidewalk. One night we had the most interesting mixture of clouds over the sunset that produced the look of golden-tipped trees above the shadows. To the east, it looks as though the leaves have turned golden, but it is the sun shining on them. The last picture is a sunset from a different evening. Looking west toward the sunset, we had a glorious display of colors to end the day. Later I learned this was likely the lingering clouds from that destructive Hurricane Ian.

Here's a wider view of golden tree tops. It truly looked magical.

Now what do I have in the works for October? I've had to give this some careful consideration, actually. We have that grandbaby coming at the end of the month, and for 4-5 days mid-month we are planning to drive toward New England to see fall colors. Yes, tree-peepers. We missed the good color last year by being there too early, so we are gonna' try again. My quilting will have to fit around those two events - no problem!

1. I am taking the hexies with me on our New England road trip. Easy stitching in hotel rooms and on boring interstates. When we get into the pretty country, though, I will be totally immersed in the views.

2. I will continue hand quilting the quilt from History Day, Fall Foliage. It's just straight stitching and it shouldn't take long if I just stay at it.

3. Do 3-4 quilts on the the long arm machine. I have two ready to go with their backings prepped, as well. By the time I get those first two done, I will have a plan for the what comes next.

4. Sew the blocks together for my green/cream snowball quilt. I have sorta' been ignoring it, and it needs to be finished.

5. Put borders on my red and white Irish Chain. I have been wavering about doing it, but Sharon did add them to hers. Oh My! They really add so much. I will share pics of Sharon's soon. Here is mine sans borders.

It is good to have a plan. Too often I fly by the seat of my pants and consequently don't get much done. It helps to be able to refer to a list like this. Oh that urge to make new projects is still one that might grab hold, so don't be surprised to see me deviate from the list every now and then. For example, I still want to make a pine tree quilt and a fall leaf quilt. Hmmm....

Hope you have a productive month - one that sees you tick a few items off your list and allows you to create some new magic along the way!

Happy Quilting, Friends!





Sunday, October 2, 2022

Welcome October!

October is here! What a pretty month it is, too, with fall color and crystal blue skies. I bemoan saying goodbye to summer, but October in Ohio is wonderful.

I'm a day late in welcoming the new month, but I have a good excuse. Yesterday was History Day in Greenfield, and after a 2-year hiatus (pandemic, ugh), I was back to demonstrate hand quilting.

I am embarrassed to admit this next part. The quilt I worked on is the same one I was working on in 2018! Yikes! I worked on it again in 2019 - here's that post - and it has collected dust in my sewing room ever since. I've not taken a single stitch on it since that first Saturday in October 2019. *shaking my head in shame*


The pattern is called Fall Foliage by Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries; it is featured on the cover of her 2001 book September Morning. After extensive searching, I found that I made the quilt top in 2010. It is aging well, isn't it? *hah!*

Since I hand quilt so infrequently, I am often simply stitching in straight lines, and this quilt lends itself quite nicely to a gridded look. I used the outer surround of blocks with the gold centers as my guide to stitch straight lines diagonally across the quilt. I use the seams, tape or a lightly drawn line to keep lines as straight as possible. 

I am keeping this out in the family room for a week or two. I hope to make myself work on it in the evenings while we watch Guardians baseball - they are extending the 2022 campaign into post-season action be claiming the AL Central Division crown. We are sure hoping for a lot more baseball out of these young men!

I'm joining Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching link-up today. It's not all hexagons! ha-ha! This is more than a one-pony show over here!

Coming up this week: the September collage; a foray into making a baby outfit; apple-picking; long arm quilting. Come on back and see what I get into!

Happy Quilting, Friends!






Friday, September 30, 2022

William Morris Flimsy

Big reveal! Big freakin' deal! For whatever reason, finishing this quilt top became almost too much for me. Maybe it was knowing that my star points and triangle tips were "off" or maybe it was just so darn big - whatever, I really had to give myself a stern pep talk to get back to the sewing machine to finish it.

It has been laid out on the guest bed for most of this month. The troubles were many. First, I ran short of light fabrics, but determined to stay true to my promise to use the existing stash. Then, I found I hadn't made enough star blocks, so reverse myself and finish up 7 more of those. The outer borders which appear at the top and bottom needed to be made with lights and darks in specific order, so with limited lights, I managed to figure that out. Then the sheer size was daunting, too. 

 

Well, it is now done and hanging on the quilting room wall. I do love it, too. I see a lot of blue, which does not bother me in the least. I pick out some stars that seem pretty, and then I find others that are equally pretty. Gosh, I am glad I made this!

The pattern is Lil' Orphan Scrappy by Lynn Wilder of Sewn Wild Oaks. I bought it 3-4 years ago, and have listed it as a goal for most of those years. This year, it again appeared on my list as did a goal of using my existing William Morris stash. When it occurred to me to join those two goals into one, a great light bulb came on! What a beauty this would be. And, finally the goal is accomplished in 2022. Feels like a huge accomplishment.

Here are a few more random photos. And here are a couple of my earlier posts about making this quilt - here and here.



Can you believe I still have a lot of William Morris fabric left? How can a person make such a big quilt and not use more of this fabric? (I ask rhetorically, heh-heh.)

Happy Quilting, Friends!



Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hexies

Grandmother's Flower Garden has always been a favorite quilt design of mine, but making one sure does seem like it would take a whole lotta' time. And while I do enjoy sitting of an evening with these hexies in my lap and a needle in my hand, I don't think I am going to continue any further with making more.


So I have come up with another idea. I will take these 19 hexie flowers and attach them sorta' like what you see here. Once they are attached, I will applique them to a cloth and VOILA! I have a pretty table cloth.

Even this downsized hexie project is sure to take me some time, and I don't have any idea when I will ever finish. I guess that's the way with some quilt projects. Just like a gardener who plants seeds and saplings for future enjoyment and beauty, so it is with quilting. Those tiny 2-inch bits of fabric have slowly become my own little flowers, and my Grandmother's Flower Garden grows into a miniature, adapted version of the traditional one.

Before the day is out, I hope to have the William Morris quilt top stitched together. It is turning out so
very nicely. 

Happy Quilting, Friends!


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Counting Counts

Welcome to the first day of fall!

 Stupell Industries Wall Art #AC-067-WD-13X19

Don't ask me how I managed to do it, but somehow I miscounted the number of stars I made for my William Morris quilt. I was blazing through the construction of this quilt top when I realized I was short by about 6 blocks.

I have the quilt laid out on the guest bed. I've been working my way from the foot of the bed to the top of the bed, and row by row, I am rearranging blocks and pinning rows and checking for the proper zig-zag around the border.

I have the bottom border and the next four rows sewn together. I have the next four rows pinned together.

This was all done on Monday and Tuesday. It was Tuesday night that I realized I was running short on blocks! What!?? I was sure I had counted correctly. But short, so apparently I messed up somewhere.

Initially, I was just going to leave off that last row, sew the border on and call it finished. But the more I thought about it the more I wanted it done right. I still have William Morris fabric in the stash. Just make the necessary blocks and get'er done!

So I spent yesterday making blocks. It was pretty straightforward work, but slow. I needed six, decided to make 7 just to have an extra one to plug in somewhere if variety warranted it. I got three made. Slow going, indeed.
 

This morning I made the other 4. Because I had them all planned out and trimmed, the sewing went so much faster. But going faster isn't necessarily good because if you study those 4 blocks in the photo above, a glaring error awaits my discovery. At the point I was taking the picture, I hadn't yet seen it.

I was preparing to show off individual blocks - some of the ugliest; some of the prettiest. Here's my nomination for ugliest.

This is what you get when you are using what has already been cut, and the supply is limited. Garbage blocks are easily hidden in a quilt as busy as this one promises to be.

This is my nomination for prettiest. I snapped the picture, then saw the mistake. Aaaggghhh! How in the world did this slip past me? Because I was speeding through with my chain piecing - a block got twisted the wrong way in the process.


I grabbed the seam ripper and took the block apart. It didn't take long to set things right.

 

Much better! Worth the extra effort to correct the mistake, but such an aggravation so near to the end of the quilt-making process.

I now have the final row in place. All the border blocks are arranged the way I want. Now I sew. Blocks become rows, rows become an ever-growing quilt top. I'm liking it!

It's not very likely that I will finish this top in time for show and tell tomorrow morning, but that's okay. It was a self-imposed deadline, and one that kick-started me to finish this quilt. Truth: I need a kick in the seat every now and then. 

Have a great rest of your first day of fall!

Happy Quilting, Friends!








Monday, September 19, 2022

Plans for the Week

I've spent the morning watching coverage of the Queen's funeral. What a great show of respect. I was moved to tears more than once. 

Queen Elizabeth II's Funeral: Latest Updates | Time

And now I need to redirect my focus to figure out what will be my week's priorities. On Friday we have Frankfort Girls, so it is always nice to have a finish to share with those sweet gals. Maybe I can make that happen this week.

If I find myself being super-industrious, I could have this William Morris top put together.

I haven't touched this green/cream snowball project in about a month. This would be super-easy and fast to stitch together.

Any available stitching time over this past weekend was devoted to hexies. I am really motivated to make more of these, yet I don't have a precise plan at this time. 

Rather than to work on any of the other starts I've made in recent days, I think I MUST focus on William Morris and Snowball.

Check back in with me through the week to see how effectively I maintain my discipline. I really will try!

Happy Quilting, Friends!