Monday, September 30, 2019

September Monthly Goal Finished

I'm thrilled that I've finished my September project for OMG - One Monthly Goal. YAY! That means I get to link up to Patty at Elm Street Quilt's finished goal link-up post. This makes the ninth month running that I've completed my goal.

My September goal was to finish up the two-sided wall hanging made of African fabrics. It will go to Harambe Humanitarian as a fundraising item. We're working toward getting the books we've collected over the last 2 years in the US send over to Kenya. They are going specifically to Tenkes, where we are building a library in the Mau Forest region of the Maasai highlands. 

Anyway, here is one side of the wall hanging. It is made with African fabrics (except the white background and complexion fabrics) using the International Sisters pattern adaptation by my friend Preeti.  Because the blocks finish at 10" and are set on point, it only takes 8 of them with setting triangles to make up one side.  The quilt measures 28.5" x 42x5".

Here is a close-up of some of the quilting. I wanted the Sisters and their dresses to pop, so the quilting was basic stitch in the ditch, some outline quilting in the setting triangles (fabric courtesy of my friend Sally), and then some micro-stippling in the white background areas.

The hanging sleeve was made to come out on top so that the quilt could be hung from either direction. The second side is an African mandala-style panel. Sorry it looks wonky; you can see it is just pinned up to my design board for these pictures.

And a close-up of some of the quilting as it shows up on this side.

Over the course of the next year, I plan to make another half dozen of these 2-sided wall hangings. All will have an African mandala fabric side and an International Sisters/African Queen size. However, the dresses of the ladies may not all be authentic African fabric. We'll see how that plays out.  This wall hanging was also Goal #10 on my Finish-Along List, which you can see HERE.

I've got most of the cutting done for Punkin' Patch, using Bonnie Hunter's pattern from her book String Frenzy.  I'm only doing 16 pumpkins (a 4x4 setting with a green postage stamp border) so it will be a fall wall hanging instead of a quilt.  I'd like to get this one done and hung up within the next week or so. I'm itching to get out all my autumn decorations!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Wrapping up Purple

Once again it's time to recap my scrappy sewing for the month. We worked on purple for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and if you visit Angela's Scrappy Saturday post today, you can see some of the other wonderful things that have arisen from our purple scrap bins. But for now, you're stuck with mine, hehe!

The collage shows most but not all of my purple sewing. Not shown are the selvage tumblers (one purple row) and the selvage 4-patches. They just aren't very photogenic. However in addition to those, we have 2 Beachcomber scrappy blocks, a row of purple bitcoins, 10 cracker blocks (upper right; one is cut off the picture), six string blocks, 12 9-patch variations, 8 anvil blocks, 8 garlic knot blocks, and 6 purple International Sisters. That amounted to 56 blocks.

In October we will be working with our dark neutrals (black, gray, brown) and I will only have a few blocks to do. But that will give me time to begin assembly, basting and quilting of the 6 Rainbow Scrap projects that are waiting patiently for their Fairy Sewmother to turn them from mere blocks into real quilts.

The only real sewing I did this week was to begin an autumn wall hanging project (no pictures yet because I'm lazy) and to quilt 2 quilts for Quilts for Kids. I have one more QFK quilt basted that Cousin Kim sewed. I've also basted the International Sisters wall hanging for Harambe Humanitarian. That will get sewn this weekend so I can make my finish goal by month-end. I'll plan to get pictures of all of these for my end-of-month post.

Cousin Kim, Sarah (her daughter) and I went to see the Downton Abbey movie on Wednesday. It was so lovely to hear the opening music again and to see everything and everyone on the big screen. The plot of the movie is simple (the King and Queen are coming for a visit!) and enjoyable. The costumes! The scenery! Maggie Smith! We laughed, cried, and agreed it was everything we’d hoped the movie would be. Afterwards, we went to lunch together before heading to our respective homes.

For the rest of the week I spent more time out in the garden harvesting vegetables and fruit than I have for weeks. And time spent outside harvesting means triple the time working in the kitchen to sort, clean, preserve, cook and/or distribute the goods. I snapped some pictures of what I harvested on Monday and took to Weight Watchers on Tuesday.  Then there were two more batches of veggies and fruit harvested on Wednesday and Friday. After this week, all that's left are some Anaheim chiles, cucumbers, tomatoes and pumpkins. Oh, and some grapes in the upper reaches of the arbor that I may just leave for the birds.

Armenian cucumbers

Spaghetti Squash
Some of these carrots look like science experiments. But that's the real world of carrots.

A bag of Concord grapes. This was the second of three bagsful of the Concords. We probably had ten times this many of the regular green grapes (seedless varieties). Cousin Kim made juice, I shared lots with friends and neighbors, we've been eating tons (maybe a slight exaggeration), plus I've made raisins. Yummy!

And just when you though Alfie couldn't get weirder cuter, here he is with Bruce again one evening this week....

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A Fabric Bomb Went Off...

On Monday morning, I was able to return to the estate sale mentioned in last week's post. The sale was over, the family had given their blessing to donating all the remaining fabric to Quilts for Kids, and I had a clean, empty vehicle to haul it all away with.  If I'm being honest, I was hoping there would be more of the Vast Fabulousness of Unbelievable Quantities of Quilting Cottons left. But beggars can't be choosers, as they say, and there ended up being more there than I initially thought. Luckily, after struggling up the stairs from the basement sewing room at the estate sale with my first hand-truck full of bags and bins, I had help from some kind gentlemen with the last two loads.  

When I got home, I had to cart it all downstairs to sort because Bruce is still under doctor's orders not to lift more than 10 pounds.  I wish I'd gotten better pictures, but this was the beginning of some of the sorting - dividing things by fabric type and by color.

QFK doesn't use holiday fabrics (Christmas, patriotic), nor do they use flannels for backs. Those were sorted out. Also, as I was packing up while still at the estate sale, I tried to filter out obvious pieces of clothing (possibly to be robbed for fabric?) and knits and bottom-weight cottons (canvas, duck). But there were still some of those in there as well. So, besides the keeper fabric, I had a thrift store pile and a pile for others (friends and other charities) to go through.

That was a happy occupation for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday was our sewing day (me, Cousin Kim and Bonnae). After they were done with the flannels and holiday stuff, the remainders went into my thrift store pile or the QFK pile (flannel bolts for some members to take to other charities).  Anyway, after all was sorted, there were over 100 yards of usable cotton fabric (that's where I stopped counting) for QFK. Plus there was a box of large batting pieces to frankensew together, a large box into which I'd sorted just fabric strips, and a bagful of cut or cut/sewn quilt blocks that could make an additional four quilts.  A great haul at a great price - FREE!  I dropped it all off at my friend Sandy's house on Friday. She's the president of the Salt Lake Quilts for Kids, and the wife of my former boss Fred from back in the day when we both worked for the same health insurance company. Small world!

Now my back is out after all that lifting, and my right shoulder is just dead sore. I'm living on Advil and trying to take it easy. My annual mammogram was this week, too, and now I need to make an appointment for my annual physical. My guess is that I won't be scheduled in until October, but at that time I hope to see what can be done about my hands and arms and shoulder (carpal tunnel surgery? more arthritis meds? body transplant?)

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I did manage to get some sewing done on the rest of my purple Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks so that I could share them this morning with Angela's Scrappy Saturday linky party.

Six strip blocks; three at 9" and three at 6".

Two beachcomber crumb blocks (will finish at 11" each) and a row of purple bitcoins.

This coming week I plan to work on an International Sisters quilt/wall hanging for Harambe Humanitarian. It's my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for September. I've also been cutting out some orange and gray scraps to make an autumn wall hanging. More about that next week.

Finally, just to show you that some things never change....

Alfie appears to be resting up for the Big Party, but really he's just depressed. He heard that Smitty and Sadie would be passing through town. And since Alfie and Darla got some fresh new catnip this week, the cats had been planning a party together along with Molly and Buddy flying out from Oregon to join the festivities. However, it appears that Molly and Buddy have been put on the TSA no-fly list due to an unfortunate incident the last time they flew. No, the incident didn't go viral or even get widely reported, but there are TSA agents who may be scarred for life. The party is in dire jeopardy.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Persisting with Purple

My cat Alfalfa is sitting by my elbow as I type this. He's insisting that my blog title should be spelled PURRsisting with PURRple.  Now, some people would find that amazing. Not that he talks or spells - that's pretty ho-hum. But the fact that he is here with me instead of with Bruce. They are best buddies. In what is becoming a somewhat regular feature here, I have to share another picture of Bruce and Alfie from yesterday afternoon.

Here's Bruce, reading (or whatever) while Alfie props up his tablet. Note Bruce's T-shirt. That's how they roll....

But let's talk about purple scraps.... I'm linking up with Angela's Scrappy Saturday post for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Here are 6 International Sisters.  There are two sets of twins there. That's because those are the African fabrics that Sally sent to me for these fundraising wallhangings I'm making, and I wanted one set for my own personal Sisters quilt as well.  :-)

Next I sewed 8 Garlic Knot blocks. That brings me up to 70 of these blocks. I didn't start these until March, so I still need some blocks in red and yellow (and maybe a few other colors too) to bring it up to a good sized quilt. So this will get pushed into 2020.  The blocks will finish at 8" each.

And finally there were 8 Nine-patch variation blocks.  I have all 120 of these sewn now, so unless I change the size of the quilt, I can begin sewing these together into a quilt top next quarter!

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I used to be a regular fanatic over local yard sales and (especially) estate sales. I'm on the regular email list for a couple estate sale companies locally, and this week I got a notice of an estate sale that was billed as "a quilter's dream".  So, I decided to go, and I have to tell you - it was all that and more.

The poor woman who died ("poor" meaning she suffered with ovarian cancer - she was certainly not monetarily poor) had a room full of fabric. A LARGE room full of fabric - in a wall of custom cabinets. There was also boxes of fabrics all over the room, and plastic bins-ful in the closet. Boxes all over the house. Bolts, scraps, fat quarters, pre-cuts, backings. On and on and on. It would take four people three lifetimes each to use it all. Plus scissors, rotary cutters, mats, batting, interfacings, and all manner of notions for not only quilting, but mending and sewing clothing, home dec projects, etc. Sewing machines, a serger, sewing tables, Ott lights galore, yadda yadda. It was almost obscene!

I decided to pick out some cute kids fabrics (and coordinating solids) for potential Quilts for Kids donation quilts.

There were about 6.5 yards of this Seahorse fabric on the bolt. It made me think of Sally (see link above).

And I could almost hear Sally's cat Molly whispering to me that no fabric haul is any good without cat fabric, so these also came home with me.

And then I found a cute pieced quilt top....

And large cuts of fabrics (2-4 yards each) of the matching fabrics for the borders, back and binding:

All told..... $36 for 52 yards of fabric (and 2 of those yards were 108") plus the quilt top. THAT, my friends, was a SCORE!!!

And the best part (I hope)???  I talked to them about Quilts for Kids, and they are willing to donate all the leftover, unsold fabric to us if I will haul it away. I am going there this afternoon to do just that and give them our non-profit donation receipt.  How much fabric will be left? I have no idea. It may be 10 yards, it may be 500 yards. Either way, my Rav4 is emptied out, clean, and rarin' to go!!  I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!  Have a great weekend, friends.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Seeing Stars. And Quilts. In a Barn. Oh My!

It's only been about 3 days since my last post, but I have so much to share, so why wait?

I'm participating in the Seeing Stars Sew Along with Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting. Diane is the author of two of my favorite books, Scrap Quilt Secrets and Strip Quilt Secrets (link here), plus I had the opportunity to meet her when she was in Utah this summer. Oh, and she did the faaaaabulous quilting on my Lattice Birds quilt too. Wow, I guess that makes me an official Fan Girl, haha!

Anyway, I had taken a picture of my fabric pull for this sew-along, but can't find it on my camera or my phone. So, we'll just move along to Step One, which was published this week on Diane's blog. The really unique thing about this sew along is that the pattern will be constructed in panels. You can decide how many panels you want to make ahead of time, like one for a table runner, two for a wall hanging, or more for a small, medium or large quilt. I've decided to do 8 panels for a nice lap quilt for myself. So, that means for every monthly block released, I will make 8 - one for each panel. Diane also gives lots of ideas for variations to personalize the various steps. It's a sure bet that there will be no two alike - and I really love that idea!

Here are my first 8 blocks for Step One.

The fabric I selected was Flower Garden by Nadra Ridgeway (Ellis and Higgs) for Riley Blake fabrics. I had a layer cake (a pack of 10" squares) of this fabric line. I omitted the oranges and beefed up the reds, greens and yellows with other pieces from my stash. I love this fabric line so much because it reminds me of a summer in Austria going to summer school when I was 16. We took a day trip by train to Innsbruck and I bought some lovely floral print fabrics. That fall back home, I sewed myself a couple dresses for school. I still have some of those fabric scraps, and this line really reminds me of them.

You can check out some of the other participants and their blocks on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtags #seeingstarssewalong or #butterflythreadsquilting

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My friend Bonnae and I went to a quilt event on Saturday called Quilts in the Barn. It is put on by a local quilt group and is held at a very exclusive estate the east side of the Salt Lake Valley. From the parking area, the visitors are shuttled to the estate, which is in a (my pinkie is up when I say this) "veddy, veddy EXCLUSIVE" neighborhood. Electronic gates to get into the neighborhood and also the estate.  Oh, and did I mention that this is put on only every 2 years?

Our driver was full of historical information about the area and the Walker Estate as he drove us through the acres and neighborhood lanes. The ladies in our van were so sweet. I didn't realize HOW sweet until Bonnae and I got up to the registration table to pay our entrance fee and found out that we were the victims of a true RAOK - random act of kindness. One of the ladies on our shuttle had paid our fees for us! Whoever you are, dear friend, THANK YOU!

Bonnae is on the left (with the pink purse) in this picture. Cousin Kim couldn't come with us, but the three of us do stitch together every Wednesday at my house.  But I digress...

Here is the "Barn".  It truly is a barn that houses animals, although they were outside in the pasture for this event. The barn was designed to resemble a European-style barn. The quilts were outside and inside on all three floors.

Let me show you a few of my favorite quilts.  Many of the pictures aren't good because the lighting was not really very good. I did take pictures of the cards, but I'm not going to post them here. I do remember that this was a pattern by Lisa Bongean done by one of the local ladies.

I loved this red sampler. Such a great variety of blocks!

Those two quilts above were on the main floor. Then we walked up the stairs to the second story and I took a picture of the view out the front barn window. It was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the mid-seventies.

This tree quilt is from a free tutorial by Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter).

One of my favorite quilts was this one done by the wife of the gentleman who was our shuttle driver. They lived in Austria for more than a decade, and this was her tribute quilt to the landscape, people and places of Austria. It was called "Land der Berge" (Land of Mountains).

 This next quilt had assorted cute baskets and yo-yo flowers.

Close-up of a flower basket:

And then we went up to the third floor, and here is the view from that window (same view, higher up!)

The lighting on the third floor was particularly problematic, but I did want to share this picture with you. The pattern is called Laundry Day by Sandra Workman (who owns a local quilt shop called Pine Needles here in the valley). I know all this because I've got this pattern and actually started hand sewing some of the little clothing about 3 years ago.

I don't even consider it a UFO because I'm not sure if it's something I really want to finish. Except that it's So.Stinking.Cute.  *Sigh*

Then we walked back downstairs and took a quick look through the items for sale.

While we were waiting our turn for the return shuttle, I snapped this picture of the Walker mansion. It is over 150 years old and the 4th owners just moved in about six months ago. You can see it is in the French Provincial style.

The most impressive thing on all these manicured grounds (there must be a team of groundskeepers!) was this giant, stately willow tree. See the woman in the picture for scale.

Once we got back to our car, Bonnae and I went out to lunch and just sat, relaxed and gabbed. It was such a fantastic day!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Purple Patchwork

September means purple scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. As usual, I start with my selvages and work on some 4-patch blocks. I made four of them and sewed them into this 16-patch.

Since I only plan to sew 9 of these, the purple block completes what I need for this project. With the blocks measuring 16" each, this project would be 48x48".  I'd like it to be a bit larger, however, so I plan to add some colorful sashing. But it's a project that will wait until next month to get the finishing underway. I look forward to auditioning fabrics and playing with possibilities.

Next up, selvage tumblers. This month I sewed the purple row, naturally. When added to the previous rows, they look like this. Sorry about this horrible picture -  this d*** new computer won't let me edit it. Still in the learning curve with all the new technology.  There will be at least two more rows to add - I'm thinking a gray/black row and a brown row. Then the sides will get trimmed, perhaps a border added, and it can go into the donation pile. Another project for the autumn....

I have big sewing plans for this month, so in an effort to make my way through the purple scraps by mid-month, I continued on with 10 Cracker blocks.

And that gives me the last of the 80 blocks I need for a quilt. I put some of them up on the design board to get a feel for how it will look.  The blocks will finish at about 7.25" each, and when set 8x10 will yield a quilt about 58x72".

And finally, there were 8 Anvil blocks to sew up.  That gives me 72 blocks at 8" each (finished).

Again, here's a sample of some of the blocks on the design wall. I'm not sure if these are going to be randomly placed or grouped by color.  I'll play with these - you guessed it - next month (or quarter) as I begin finishing all of this year's RSC quilts.

My goal for the coming week is to baste and quilt 2 kids quilts (already sewn by others) for Quilts for Kids and to work on my purple International Sisters blocks, my Alternate 9-Patch blocks and my Garlic Knot blocks. There's also a bi-annual quilt show here in Salt Lake that my friend Bonnae and I are attending. Cousin Kim was going to go with us, but family plans intervened. I plan to take some pictures and share them soon.

In the garden, we are being inundated (no complaints) with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and spaghetti squash. I also have to find time to dig up all the carrots and potatoes and prepare them for storage. But first I'll be making big batches of chili (tomatoes, onions, peppers) and stew (potatoes, carrots, onions).

Bruce is doing well and we have a follow-up appointment on Monday with the orthopedic surgeon and an appointment the week after with the oncology surgeon. Then it's just a matter of quarterly follow-ups. For this month, Bruce can't lift anything heavier than 10 pounds with his right hand, but he's regained a lot of use and dexterity. Although he can't use the hand to write yet, he can eat with his right hand and he's started doing some light chores around the house. Yesterday he changed the water filter in the refrigerator and grilled some pork loins.

And in between all of this, I'm glued to my latest read (a Greg Iles book, Turning Angel) and hate putting it down to sleep, eat, sew, etc. I love/hate when that happens, hehehe!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Finished Donation Quilts and September Goals

Over the last couple weeks I've been working to use up some of my scraps and at the same time finish some small kid-sized donations quilts for Quilts for Kids.

It started out with some 9-patch variation blocks that I won a few months ago from the Block Lotto. Each block contained two 3-inch 9-patches plus one dark and one light solid fabric, forming a 4-patch (Nine in Four).  I played with them and was not crazy about them, then finally had the brilliant idea to just use them to make a couple smaller quilts for donation instead of one large one.

So, with a half yard of some red grunge fabric plus some fun navy fabric with dots for the borders and backing (all from my stash), this first quilt whipped up very quickly.

The quilt measures 40x46", perfect for a small child. The quilting was just a simple cross-hatch done with my walking foot.

But there were still lots more Nine in Four patch blocks left, and my ideas started going downhill from there, LOL.  I had some cute (relatively speaking) pirate fabric and some leftover gold 1.5" strips from a former project. So I combined those with more leftover blocks and got this quilt.

This is Ugly Pirates I, and it measures 36x46.5".  I used the pirate fabric on the back too, and did a self-binding (as with the previous quilt and the next one). The quilting was a fun and quick stipple.

But I still had leftover blocks PLUS leftover pirate fabric and leftover gold strips.  What to do? I shopped my stash, determined to find something to make it big enough to use up the dang blocks. Don't run away screaming; below is Ugly Pirates 2 and it earned its title.

I had to use a brown windowpane check for the back/binding (admittedly a poor choice), but the pirate fabric is gone. The blocks are gone (well, there might be 2 little ones left in the Parts Department) and the brown fabric is gone. There are more gold strips, but they are reserved for a cute yellow and gold giraffe fabric I have that I'll use to make a similarly-styled baby quilt down the road. This quilt measured 36.5"x45" and got loopy quilting. By then I was loopy too. But they are done!

And you know what? Using these blocks was my Goal #7  on my 3rd Quarter Finish-Along list, which you can see HERE.  Only instead of making one quilt, I made three!  YAY!!

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It's also time to set a personal goal for OMG - One Monthly Goal.  Looking back at my goals for this year, I am proud to say that so far I have finished every monthly goal I've set for myself this year. That surprises me, because some were really last-minute finishes.

This month, I would like to finish a quilt that I'd hoped to finish in August, but personal circumstances (Bruce's surgeries) prevented that from happening. But it's a new month and everything is looking up - including spare sewing time, so I would love to finally finish up ONE International Sisters 2-sided quilt.

The ladies pictured above are only some of them that I've made, and will eventually be used in more than one quilt. In fact, I'm planning several over the next year; one for me to keep and the others to go to Harambe Humanitarian for fundraising purposes. One side of the double-sided quilt will be these International Sisters blocks, and the other will be an African fabric panel print.  I'm linking up to Elm Street Quilts and the September Goal-Setting post.

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Finally, my son Shane sent me a picture of granddaughter London (now age 10) on her first day of school. She is in 4th grade this year. Where does the time fly?? It's just a candid, and her eyes are closed..... but she is laughing. It is So London!!