Friday, January 19, 2018

Sewing a Blue Streak

While the snow is gently falling outside (may I say.... FINALLY!!!), I’ve gathered up my sewing progress pictures for the week and am ready to blog! My supervisor Darla is deftly pacing back and forth here in front of the big computer screen, raising an occasional paw to catch  the cursor. When she tires of it, she will perch on the back of the chair to read over my shoulder. I’m so lucky to have such great support!

Starry, Starry Day is now a completed quilt. YAY!!  


It finished at 72x78”. The batting is Warm and Plush cotton, and the quilting is just simple wavy lines. I did wash it before photographing. I just love how it has a lit-from-within look radiating out from the yellow center.


The binding was a simple orange and white print, and the backing was pieced from random fat quarters and pieces that have aged well (and too long) in my stash. This was a Rainbow Scrap project from 2017 and is my first finish of this year.


I will be sharing this finish and post with Rainbow Scrap Saturday, Oh Scrap!, OMG - One Monthly Goal, and the 2018 Finish Along as the link-ups come online.

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Once Starry, Starry Day was done, it was back to sewing blue scraps.  I made two blocks for the 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler, Squared Away. 



The next block is the beginning of a new quilt for me, and it will combine two blocks; the birds  plus an Irish Chain block. Irish Chains have been on my bucket list for a long time, and I will start off with a single chain in this quilt to create a lattice effect. The background of the quilt is Kona White, and the lattice will be Kona Ocean, the deep blue in the fabric of the body of the bird.









In fact, it is that fabric that I fell in love with. I ordered yards and yards of it last spring to be the inspiration for this quilt. It’s called Maggie Jean and is from the Frolic line by one of my very favorite fabric designers, Tamara Kate. The birds will all be made in coordinating rich blues, greens, pinks, and warm orange-yellows. I found a free bird pattern at Quilting Support, and also ordered the Feathers pattern from The Scrap Basket. I looked at both, but used neither. The Feathers pattern was poorly written and made an 8” finished block. The Quilting Support pattern made a 12” finished block. I needed a 10” block to work with the 10” Irish Chain alternate block, so I drafted my own in a similar style. Half the birds will face right, the other half left. I will show more detail as I complete more birds and chain blocks.  This quilt will definitely be for me. I originally drafted my pattern to be 50x70” plus borders (probably 60x80”), but I may go larger and turn it into a queen bed size. Time will tell.


And then all my blue scraps got sewn into these 12 miscellaneous 6.5” (unfinished) blocks; three nine-patches, one block of half-square triangles, and the others being crumb blocks. They will join all the other 6.5” blocks in the Parts Departments for eventual inclusion into either kennel quilts, baby quilts or who knows what....

And next up on the design board is Hot Rods, a quilt for my brother Steve. The fabrics are all here and I am playing around with them and letting ideas percolate. Lots of accent colors are being auditioned. The larger motifs have been cut up and will be trimmed and framed. This one is going to have to lead me instead of me leading it. 


The only part I am not enjoying is that my dear brother is hovering too much and weighing in on every.little.thing. I know he’s excited, but geez. I know what I’m doing (for the most part, LOL). Anyway, this project may end up going on vacation with me next month just so I can think in peace. 

Speaking of thinking, I think that wraps it up for this past week. Oh! Just one more thing. I often get questions from No-Reply bloggers. Often I am slow to reply, but I do get there. So if you don’t hear back from me, it’s because I have no way to contact you. So be sure to either include your email address in your comment, or update your account. Bonnie Hunter has full information on how to correct your No Reply status HERE.





Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Blue Saturday

It’s been a good week of seeing family visiting from out of town and getting things done.    The weather has been mild (for a mountain valley winter), with highs averaging in the high forties and no snow.

Bruce and I have taken to mall-walking. We love it! Fashion Place Mall is about a mile from our house, and any time between 7am - 10am when the mall opens, you can find lots of people walking. The mall plays great music and there are two coffee shops that are open and a lot of old-timers congregate there afterwards. There are even parents and grandparents walking babes in strollers. And I love when we run into (metaphorically speaking) someone we know! Once the weather is nice, we’ll switch to walking in the neighborhood and at Wheeler Farm, a block from our house.

Anyway, there was also a lot of sewing happening this week. I have linked up to the Scrappy Saturday blog party and you can see lots of great blue happenings there. January is for our light-to-mid range blue scraps. 


These are my two Linked Squares blocks for January. I saw a quilt with these blocks in it on Pinterest, but there was no linked site or instructions, so I just figured it out on my own. The finished blocks will measure 16” and be set 4x5 in a rainbow quilt. I won’t use sashing, so it  should measure 64x80” when done. I’m thinking it will be a great 2018 start and finish for a donation purposes.

Next I tackled my selvages. Selvages reproduce in the dark, you know. They grow like mint in your garden. You can’t get rid of them. So, I made ten 6.5” squares of light blue selvages. The rest are going into a baggie, and at the end of the year I’ll give them away with my other color selvage leftovers.  


And finally I began some 6.5” quarter square log cabins. I had done several of these last year in mixed colors, trying to alternate light and dark colors. It was a failed experiment, and they reside in the parts department where they will eventually find a home in a donation quilt. In the meantime, here are my ten light blue (with some medium blue) quarter logs:

And since the logs and the selvages are the same size, I had to mix them just to see what that looked like. Hmmmm..... Well, they’re not really meant to go together, and this is still just January. My guess is that I’ll have plenty of both blocks by fall to make separate quilts. 


And then this happened this week...... Starry, Starry Day is a finished flimsy that is sandwiched and ready to be quilted. 
I’ll do that on Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE, returned from her annual “spa” treatment) this week. I haven’t decided on a quilting pattern yet, but I’m leaning toward simple lines or even ditch quilting. I think the only thing that would actually ruin it would be too too much (like matchstick) quilting. 

I’m so excited to have this one nearly complete and am planning on the reveal next weekend.




Tuesday, January 9, 2018

First Quarter 2018 Finish-Along Goals

I’m joining, for the fourth year in a row, the global Finish-Along challenge. We make our own quarterly lists of things we’d like to finish. While there are no penalties or even stern looks if we don’t finish them, we DO get to link up each finish to an end-of-quarter party. Each finish then becomes an entry into prize drawings from lots of great sponsors - fabrics, patterns, gift cards, etc. Wow, sign me up! LOL. Actually, the link is in the sidebar, LOL.

These are my hopeful finishes for FALQ1 (Finish-Along Quarter 1). No particular order here, just how the pictures loaded.

1.  Bruce’s Guitar Quilt.
This is a pattern by Robbie Joy Ecklow and it’s giving me fits because I’m really not good at working in reverse (as in fusing images, paper piecing, etc.).  But it’s got to happen sometime.

2.  Autumn Sampler Quilt
This quilt is actually a flimsy that is backed and basted. So all I need to do is quilt and bind it. It will be a good project for when I need a break from piecing. I expect this one to be an easy and quick finish.


3.  Starry, Starry Day, a Friendship Star variation Quilt.
FINISHED AND BLOGGED ABOUT HERE.

This quilt is now officially a flimsy too. The next step is to piece a backing from my orphan fat quarters. Then baste, quilt and bind it. It’s my January goal for OMG - One Monthly Goal.


4.  Rainbow Strings.
This Rainbow Scrap Challenge project actually started with some test blocks in 2016 and was the first time I’d string pieced. Now I’m obsessed! I only have 10 more 8.5” blocks to make to finish this one. I originally thought I would wait until the missing colors rolled around in the monthly assigned colors of the RSC, but now I’m anxious to finish this so I can piece string blocks for Covered in Love and also start my own new strings project. Like I said, I’m obsessed.


5.  Hot Rod Quilt.
This is a quilt that I’ve finally started for my brother, Steve. What a mishmash of fabrics from clothing, panels and fabric. It’s really not just hot rods, it’s vintage cars, motorcycles, license plates and more. I was finally able to devise a plan that would separate some of the bigger or more incongruent fabrics for the backing. That, with the addition of lots of blue, green and black solids will hopefully help to unify this into a merely nauseating (vs. migraine-inducing) quilt. One can hope. Don’t tell Steve I said that.....


6.  Kennel Quilts
Yep, I’ve done dozens of these in the past, but I’m going to add them in here for good measure. I’d like to get 10 done this quarter to deliver to some of the California animal rescue sites after all the autumn fires. Ten kennel quilts for one checkmark, not a bad deal.

Darla models some kennel quilts from 2017.
That’s it for the first quarter.  Wish me luck, and thanks for dropping by!

Friday, January 5, 2018

First Rainbow Scrap Saturday of 2018

Welcome to my little corner of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge world. Our leader Angela has selected blues (medium to light range) as the color for January.  I thought it would be appropriate to begin the month sewing on the carryover projects from last year.  So, these blocks will look familiar to regular readers.

First, I needed two more 8.5” string blocks to finish up a blue foursome for my string quilt.  Now there are just 10 more of these blocks to finish up the quilt.


Then I sewed up another Geese Migration block, which brings me to 18 of the 25 needed for the 62x62” quilt as called for in Cynthia Brunz’ pattern. However, I may decide to change the size, because I don’t like square quilts. I’ll have to decide what this quilt is for - donation or personal use (everyone needs 57 quilts, don’t they, LOL?)  Once I figure that out, I’ll know where the finish line is!


And then I had to sew up some fun 4.5” bow tie blocks - ten of them to be exact. That brings my combined 2017-18 blue total to 26 and the total number of blocks to 250 (of 304 needed). There is a light at the end of the tunnel!


Next week I’ll begin sewing the blocks for the new RSC quilts I’m planning. It’ll be fun to sew and share some new things. 

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In my last post, I mentioned how Darla was not impressed with my progress with On Ringo Lake (ORL). She basically stuck her tongue out and gagged. With the help of my friend Libby, who pointed out something obvious to both her and Darla (but not to me), I realized that I had put my two ORL blocks together incorrectly. 

My first layout, a “missssnake”:


Bonnie Hunter’s (the correct) layout: (not yet sewn):


Much nicer, isn’t it?!?  I guess it’s time to get my glasses prescription checked....

Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Saturday.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Quilting Goals

My mind is like a steel trap. Rusted shut with everything on the outside....  Therefore, I create lists. I make daily to-do lists on my iPad, mostly just to space out the essential housework and let me spend my time doing something - anything - else. Sometimes it's just shopping lists (that I often leave at home or in the car). But I find that even the act of writing things down helps me remember the items better.  

So, it seems only natural to take this list thing a step farther and join in with the many bloggers who are posting their goals for 2018.

Rainbow String Blocks
I participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, (see link in sidebar) where a monthly color is assigned and we dig into fabric scraps of that color and sew whatever block(s) we want. I’ve also committed to participating in OMG (One Monthly Goal - see link in sidebar) because we can choose our own goal each month. Perfect for me, as some of mine will be time sensitive. The Block Lotto has started up again this month. There, we make anywhere from 1-9 blocks of the assigned pattern and color way, then a drawing is held at month-end and the winner(s) take all. Voila! Instant Quilt. I’ve also agreed to be the Host/Leader of Block Lotto for the month of March.

In 2018 I will endeavor to make a couple dozen kennel quilts (about placemat size) to use up my remaining pet scraps. As well, I will make between 2-6 baby quilts for the local church charity drive. And then there is Covered in Love, a worthy cause where blocks and quilts are made then gifted to families of persons who have died of cancer. Based in Texas and run by Kat from Kat and Cat Quilts, it’s been going strong for 3 years now.

Plus Blocks
The above goals are general in nature, and I expect that often I can work on two or more simultaneously. For example, using small leftover scraps of the Rainbow Scrap Color of the month, I can piece small kennel quilts, baby quilts or a donation block if the colors dovetail.

In the first quarter of the year, I usually finish up the Rainbow Scrap Quilts from the previous year, if I can. There are at least a half dozen in various stages of progress, but the ones I have my eye on for the first quarter are Friendship Stars (see previous post), Rainbow Strings, and perhaps The Plus Quilt.

Bruce’s Guitar Quilt
After Friendship Stars, probably the next quilt I’ll work on is my brother’s Hot Rod Quilt. No pictures yet, although I do have all the fabric and a general idea of what I need to do to accommodate the large-scale prints. I’m hoping to whip a flimsy out in a couple days of intense sewing and cutting. I want it off my plate.

Then I can get back to DH Bruce’s Guitar Quilt, which has aged nicely in the corner of my sewing studio. I’m hoping it’s ready to behave now. What that means, of course, is that I hope my brain can wrap around working backwards (fusing reversed images).

Sometime in the first half of the year when I just need a break from thinking, I can quilt my Autumn Sampler Quilt. It’s already backed and basted and waiting for it’s turn under the needle.



And speaking of Under the Needle, Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE) is spending a week at the spa for her annual “spa treatment” (servicing). I miss her fiercely. In her place right now I’m using Ken - my 1974 Kenmore that I had serviced a couple months ago. Ken is terminally ill, and it breaks my heart. The bearings in his motor are going, although he still runs. I can sew regular cottons (like for piecing), but denim and several layers are just too much for his weakened “heart”. Bruce and the repairman talked, and we will be able to fix Ken if we can find an appropriate replacement motor. We'll be scouting yard and estate sales, or may even resort to purchasing one online if reasonably priced. Bruce will do the transplant. I’ll keep you posted.

Another first-half-of-the-year project will be a baby quilt for our daughter Stacy, who is pregnant and due in July. I will have to wait to begin that for another month or two until we know if it’s going to be a girl or boy.

In addition my Rainbow Scrap projects (at least one of which has not been introduced yet, but will be over the course of January Saturdays), I have promised my daughter Megan another quilt. We’ve decided on a medallion style, although it will be rectangular, not square. Drafting THAT pattern was a nightmare. While she was here visiting in December, we picked out the fabrics. The picture below is an old one, but while most of the specific fabrics have changed, the color way is still the same.


And I hope to finish this WISP - Work in Slow Process - this year. I believe all the lozenges and most of the white corners are cut. Now I just need to cut the black corners (they will alternate with the white) and put the pedal to the metal! I’ll work on this during the RSC orange month.


Finally, without showing more pictures, I have a linens quilt in process that will be worked on as one of my monthly goals; another pineapple quilt is planned for my nephew Wes; I have some lovely Kaffe Fasset fabric I’m itching to cut into for a quilt; and I want to make a Spiderweb Quilt this year too.

Somewhere in there, I’ll pull out On Ringo Lake, the Bonnie Hunter December-January Mystery Quilt and work on that. I have all the pieces to Clues 1-8 cut and just need to begin sewing blocks together and then doing sashing, etc. I did make two blocks, and I love the colors. However, my precision leaves a lot to be desired.


As luck would have it, my Sewing Supervisor Darla was on hand when I finished these, and I asked her what she thought of them. This was her reaction:


 Enough said.

And today I sewed up these four blocks for the January edition of Block Lotto.  They look rather Mondrian-like, don’t you think?


Tomorrow it’s back to more blue sewing for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. And at some point I may talk about personal goals, most of which have to do with weight loss and exercise (so what else is new?)

For my friends on the east coast, please stay warm and safe away from the awful storms that are being forecast.







Monday, January 1, 2018

Off and Running with OMG - One Monthly Goal

I’m not going to let any grass grow under my feet this year when it comes to quilting and sewing goals! There are so many projects I have in progress and many more I want to start, so in order to stay on task and keep myself organized, I’ll be playing along with Elm Street Quilts in the fabulous One Monthly Goal challenge (OMG).

For January, I’ve selected my Friendship Stars work-in-process as the quilt I’d like to finish for my January OMG. For those who are new to my blog, I’ve been participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for several years now. Our hostess, Angela, picks a color each month and we work on blocks and/or projects to use up those colored scraps. Often projects span a couple years or even longer.


This is my Friendship Stars variation. Obviously, the piecing of the flimsy is in process, so it is a do-able goal.  All the blocks are sewn, and I just need to finish adding the white inner border, then sew the blue and purple blocks in a ring around that. And THEN there is the quilting and binding to finish.

I’m linking up with Patty and the gang for the January OMG HERE.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

End of the Year Recap

Oh my, it’s been ten days since I’ve written anything. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, regardless of what you did or did not celebrate. I hope it was warm with the love of family and friends, that the spirit of giving and sharing was present, and that everyone enjoyed good times and good health. It was all that here, and I am so filled with love and contentment as I write this 2017 recap post.

I’m going to divide this post into two sections; quilting and personal. Feel free to skip one or the other as your interest dictates!

QUILTING

It was a great year in which I finished 19 quilts. You can see them in my Quilt Gallery tab at the top of the blog, under the header.

I also made 4 whole cloth baby quilts (for donation) and 84 kennel quilts/beds for Best Friends that are in addition to the regular quilts. I plan to continue making donation baby quilts and some kennel quilts in 2018. The latter will be primarily to use up specially-dedicated (animal-themed) fabric stash.

This first collage shows the five quilts that were 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) quilts that were finished during the first quarter of 2017.


Top Left: Rainbow Rails, made of vintage sheets
Top Center: Cool Improv, made of tiny bits of blue, green, teal and purple fabrics
Top Right: Warm Improv, made of tiny pink, red, orange, yellow fabrics 
Bottom Left: Rainbow Dresdens, with doily and yo-yo centers
Bottom Right: Rainbow 16-Patch (I’m so original with quilt names, eh?)


Next are the 4 Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts I started and finished in 2017.  


Top Left: Scrap X+plosion, a quilt made of “kitchen sink” fabrics 
Top Right: Color Me Quilt (pattern by Emily Herrick). I added one extra crayon.
Bottom Left: Reading Rainbow
Bottom Right: Rainbow Selvages (more creative naming) (*insert dripping sarcasm*) 

I have five other RSC2017 quilts which are in process at the end of this year. They'll be finished in 2018:  Starry, Starry Day, the Plus Quilt, Bow Ties, Rainbow String Quilt (started 2016), and Geese Migration.  I’m planning of participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again in 2018. What a great and supportive group of quilters! Come visit the RSC linky party at So Scrappy to see some other rainbow finishes

And finally, I’ve picked the following three quilts as my overall favorites for 2017 (one is a repeat picture). All of them were such enjoyable makes. Each step of the process was fun, although I had different reasons for enjoying the making of each quilt. 
  
Reading Rainbow. What a fun journey this quilt was for me! From the piecing of “books", to the hunt for great selvage “book titles”, to the silly additions that were added to the “shelves” as the mood struck, I couldn’t wait to see “how it ended”!  I would do another bookshelf quilt in a heartbeat. Well, maybe in another two or three years.....  It will be a gift for my friend Nancy Burkey (see post HERE from last year). Her home burned down in the Santa Rosa fires this fall. When I finished it, its purpose seemed so clear to me. You may recall that Nancy had her first book published last year. She was lucky in that the manuscript for her second novel wasn’t harmed in the fires. But I figured she could use the quilt for warmth of the figurative and literal kind. I’ve love the notion that a quilt is like a hug, and this quilt is my hug to Nancy. 

The Tulip Quilt. This was a joint effort with my friend Terri, for another friend Diane (are you still with me?)  It was fun to find out what colors Diane liked and then find fabrics to fit our ideas. We settled on this tulip pattern, the quilt color way, and both pieced half the tulips. I sewed together the quilt top and quilted it. Terri did the binding. Each step was a collaboration over the course of six-plus months. And I’m thrilled that in the process, Terri and I have become closer friends. 


The Pineapple Quilt (another original name, brought to you by me)
For the pure joy of each step of the quilting process, this quilt takes the cake fruit! It was another fun ride during the long, languid days of summer. When it was finished, it was such a soft and dreamy quilt! I’m happy to say that it captured my granddaughter Lauren’s heart, and she wanted it. And so it’s now serving her well. 



PERSONAL

Life had it’s ups and downs this year! There were twice as many of the ups as there were downs, and the year is ending on a high note.

In February, we learned that DH Bruce once again had cancerous growths in his arm. After almost 8 weeks of tests, surgeries and recoveries, Bruce is cancer-free with all arm function intact. That was confirmed in his 6-month post-op checkup this fall. Down, then way up. 

Trump was elected President and took office in January. What a downer! But the spunk and sheer number of of supporters of the Women’s March immediately followed. Exhilarating! A real UP! I’ve never been overly fond of politics, but this Presidency has been a personal source of depression for me all year. 

My brother Steve came to stay with us in July. He is transitioning from a working citizen to a retired one. I helped him with all his retirement paperwork, healthcare, etc. He isn’t good with that stuff. Now Steve has begun making plans about where he wants to live and travel, etc. Definitely ups and downs here. But we figure he’ll be out and on his own by next April.  

I began a personal weight loss and good health journey mid-year. I’ve lost about 30 pounds (final weigh-in for year still to come), and got a Fitbit for Christmas. I’m walking more, and enjoying it. This will journey continue into 2018. I’ve got some more weight to lose, and becoming more fit is always a win.

We had a great Christmas season! My daughter Megan lives in Seattle and visited us (and her two brothers, who are also local) for a week. She was masterful at splitting her time between her dad’s family, us, her siblings and friends. I asked my kids if they’d humor me with a group picture. To my surprise, they were all enthusiastic, not grumbly. 

My three: Megan, Shane, Ryan
Shane with granddaughter London (AKA Rudolph)


Bruce’s daughter Stacy with our granddaughter Oakley
There were lots more fun pictures of the family, but I won’t bore you with them here. Although family gets a smaller share of blog space, they have the lion’s share of my heart.

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In my first 2018 post(s), I’ll be sharing my quilting goals for 2018, my planned Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, My “On Ringo Lake” progress, and whatever else is under the needle. In the meantime, friends, have a Happy New Year from all of us (Cathy, Bruce, Alfalfa and Darla)