Saturday, July 31, 2021

July Recap

I didn’t get as much sewing done this week as I’d hoped, but that’s not surprising seeing that I’m heading out tomorrow with Cousin Kim, Cousin Carrie and niece Jenny for a week-long road trip and retreat at Missouri Star Quilting Company. There’s been a lot of stuff to plan and pack up. Although we’re all looking forward to the retreat, we’re a little spooked by the resurgence of the ‘Rona - the Delta Variant.  And we’re going to a state where the covidiots still outnumber those who’ve vaccinated. Hopefully everyone attending the retreat will be vaxxed, but we’ve got our masks (and stuff to make more) and our sanitizers just in case. And we plan to practice social distancing with strangers. 

So, I did finish another scrappy blue quilt this week. It’s nothing to write home (or the blog for that matter) about, but just for the record, here it is.  I had enough navy and white half-square triangles to make four pinwheel blocks and four disappearing pinwheel variation blocks. There were lots of selvage squares and half hexes to chop up and use up, a miscellaneous boat block (donated to Quilts for Kids), plus lots of other bits and pieces. Yeah, so it’s a hot mess. A “creature quilt” with very little design planning other than to slap it together before the end of the month.

The quilting was done on my Bernina and is just loops. It measures 44x48”. That was the fifth and final blue donation quilt for July. They’re all listed under the “2021 Quilts” tab above. There was another quilt - blue, green and red bricks - that I will finish up another month. I ruined it by adding a border that was too busy and fought with the brick pattern, so I’ll be ripping that border off and just adding a plain border. But that won’t happen until sometime in August.

Here is a recap of my dark blue blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s Blue July. I’m linking up to the Scrappy Saturday gathering at Angela’s blog today.

The only blocks I didn’t do this month that I’ve been sewing recently is blue four-patches, but in lieu of that I cut up a lot of scraps into 2.5” squares.  I have other plans for them down the road (RSC ’21).  Not pictured in the above collage are the 38 string blocks I made this month. All of them, plus some blue string blocks left over from last year, went into the making of Stringing the Blues (again, see tab above).

Anyway, my total blocks sewn this month numbered 80. 

I was going to take pictures of the three quilt projects I’m taking along to the retreat, but it rained again last night and that meant more water coming in through the basement window. At least we’re prepared for it now until the insurance company can get someone out here to do the troubleshooting. Isn’t that the way it goes, though? If you want rain you just wash your car - or discover a leaky window seal. 

Have a good week, friends!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Thunderstorm From Hell

On Thursday night we finally got rain. It was a welcome relief, or at least it started that way. It came pouring down. Lightening, thunder, winds. And then the winds turned angry and decided to see if they could blow us all the way to Kansas or something. It was about 7:00 in the evening, and still light before the storm clouds gathered. Once the heavens broke loose with everything, however, it was almost dark. There was even a period of time as the wind howled through the trees of the neighborhood and the rain slashed down (or more accurately, slashed across) that we could not see across the street. It lasted about 10-15 minutes and then moved off, but the damage was done. This picture was taken just before I was finally able to go outside, but it was taken through a bedroom window. 

That’s Mort, our 11-year old maple tree. May he Rest In Peace. Notice in the picture below how our portion of the lawn is dry because we adhere to the city’s twice-per-week watering schedule. Our neighbor apparently does not. This thundershower aside, we are in the midst of Utah’s worst drought ever.

Mort has sustained a fatal injury and will need to be cut down, a job for a contractor with two arms. Two neighbors came by with a chain saw and helped cut the fallen limb down and haul it out to the street. There are lots of brokcn and uprooted trees in the neighborhood, so Murray City says they’ll be by next week to pick up the debris. We have lots of limbs of other trees to haul out to the curb

Bruce has to tie up my rose tree since its ties came loose from the stake and it is curved gracefully to the ground. Luckily, it’s not broken and will be fine.

Now, if that were the worst of it, I could live with it. But while the storm was raging, I decided to go into my basement studio to make sure everything there was alright. It wasn’t. There was water pouring in through the window casing and soffit above my ironing board and between my two fabric shelves.  Here’s an “after” picture of the area involved.

The blinds were attached to the soffit/casing above (as opposed to the sides). They came down. Bruce ran and got towels while I moved the ironing board, quilts, fabric and shelves away (it’s amazing how strong and quick you can be in a moment of panic!) Here’s the soffit:

Yuk. It looks to me like there’s mold there - perhaps the problem has been around longer than we think. We don’t know if it’s the window that’s leaking or what. It’s one of two windows in the house we did not replace because it was already double paned. The picture below is the paneling that’s on that wall - you can see how it has bubbled. And that bubbling is just from the last year since I had it repainted. Some of that bubbling was there before, but I naively thought it was from the steam of the iron. *slaps head* That’ll teach me to wait until a problem becomes a PROBLEM.

Here’s the window area from the outside (note the lovely clump of weeds...). No apparent issues with the bricks or foundation. The water did not come from above, because this area sits just below the master bedroom, and that wall and carpet and ceiling are just fine. It’s not the roof because that’s not very old either. To me, it almost HAS to be the window, because water will travel and follow the path of least resistance.

Our insurance (Safeco) has been great so far, but I’ve made it clear that I don’t want them to just cut a check for estimated damages. I want an expert out here to troubleshoot the issue and determine what caused the problem. We want to know the cause and get it fixed once and for all so it won’t happen again. At least I can finally replace those prehistoric window coverings!

But, hey, other than *THAT*, it’s been a great week!

Here are the dark blue blocks I sewed this week for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Twelve string blocks of dark blue with black and white.

Twelve waffle blocks that I made into three 10.5” blocks.

And two quilts that I finished up before the disaster, but didn’t photograph until afterwards. So please excuse the makeshift arrangements. I’ve had to move a lot of stuff around to clear the area by the window. The pain of upheaval is real!

The Space quilt I’d so looked forward to playing with turned into a big MEH. Why cut up a perfectly good panel when it’s fine as is? And I saw other ones online (this is an older panel) where it was left intact, so I thought, why not?  I added the red and blue space fabric, which it turns out was from that same exact line of fabric. The back is just more of the blue.

But I did enjoy putting together this blue string quilt - Stringing the Blues. It finished at 42x48”.

Into the pile of quilts for Quilts for Kids it goes. Our next workshop will be in mid-August, so I’ll continue collecting and sewing more little quilts until then.

Have a great week, friends. We are about 8 days away from leaving on our trip to Missouri Star Quilt Company for a retreat. We (meaning Cousin Kim and the 2 others; not Bruce) plan to be very careful, masking up, social distancing, etc etc. The Delta variant is raging in Missouri (and here too) because - I’m just going to say it - some people are too ignorant to get vaccinated. One of my sons is one of them (although he just says he’s too busy). Not too busy to die, though. I don’t wish it on anyone, but geez..... *End of Rant* and *End of Post* xo

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Positivity Progress

My friend Preeti is hosting The Positivity Quilt Along. The quilts that participants are making will go to benefit our friend Bernie’s group, Mercyful Quilts (for Mercy Hospital in California).

While participants may donate their quilt locally if they wish, I’ve chosen to send mine to Bernie because long ago (at least 2-3 years ago) I’d told Bernie I’d donate a quilt to her cause someday. I’m sure she doesn’t remember. Heck, I barely remembered! LOL

At any rate, I’ve finished the flimsy. I pinned it up on the design board. (Note to self: next time use more than 3 pins so it won’t be saggy). Regular followers know that if it’s a large quilt or top, it’s a problem for me to show it off. My quilt holder (DH) only has one arm! 

So I’m linking up with Bernie at Needle and Foot to join the others who are participating in this great cause! Thank you to Preeti and Bernie for all their work! 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Same Old Same Old

I’ve got to start taking more pictures! If I did, I have more to document about our activities during the week. But I always seem to forget. So in 100 words or less, I’ll document our week’s highlights: 

Monday was our 18th wedding anniversary and to celebrate we went out to dinner. The company (each other) was better than the food, and I think we’re done with Olive Garden. We used up an old gift card though. And speaking of food, we harvested our first tomato and some blackberries from the garden. Things are finally beginning to take off!  ...  I bought a bolt of Kona White from Joann’s with a 50% off coupon...  On Tuesday I attended my weekly WW meeting and lost a pound. My friend Diane from WW brought me a full plastic bag of yardage from her group’s giveaway table. They’ll be great for backings for QFK. Thanks, Diane! 

And now you’re up to date, so let’s turn to the quilting, shall we?

Early in the week I basted then quilted the two quilt tops I’d sewn last week. This first one I’m calling Playtime. It’s just a mix of various width-of-fabric strips in blues and reds primarily, with some solid accent strips thrown in. It measures 40x46”.

The backing is the same kid print that’s in the two widest strips. Next up is Riverdance. Strange name for a quilt that has nothing to do with rivers or dancing or Riverdancing, but let me explain.

Riverdance was made from scraps cut into 6.5” squares and 3.5” squares that were then sewn into four-patches. If I’d just sewn them all together without some sort of spacing, it would’ve been chaos. So I added 1.5” strips (in Kona Snow) to make the patches dance. Now, it’s not a major shift in the columns, just a small one. But it helps the eye separate the columns and gives the quilt some movement. And it reminded me of Riverdance, where the focus is all in the fancy footwork. So that’s my convoluted thought process. 

Riverdance measures 40x49.5”. The backing is a great orange print I picked up on sale at Connecting Threads.

Then I turned my attention to dark blue, the July color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  As usual, I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday to share my dark blue scrappy sewing with the other Scrapettes. 

First I sewed some some “chips”. These blocks measure 4” finished. They’re not my favorites to sew, mainly because my black and white fabric scrap drawers are full but untidy a hot mess.  I did take the time to do some organizing in those drawers, but more importantly I decided to check my original plan for these blocks and my progress. It made sense to downsize the quilt these will eventually make into a youth size instead of a full lap size. That means I only had to sew 11 blocks this month instead of the usual 24. And that is where I personally did some riverdancing, LOL! 

Last week I mentioned that I’d sewn a bunch of dark blue string blocks. I thought I had 39, so I sewed one more for an even forty. Then I counted and had … 38. Ok, well… that’s just fine.

When I added in the 19 dark blue blocks I still had left over from last year, the total came to 57.

These won’t all be used together in one single (boring and dark) quilt, of course. Then I remembered I had some blocks that I made in light blue when that was the RSC color of the month. The lighter colored blocks don’t show up well when mixed in with the multi-colored string blocks, but they’d be perfect with the dark blue. This is what I came up with:

This layout will be sewn up in the coming week. Best of all, is uses up every light blue block in the Parts Department!

The last quilt to show you is the one that started out with these scraps. I ended up eliminating the bright blue and the red/navy plaid because they weren’t needed.

Here’s the flimsy (quilt top):

I absolutely loved it - until I added the border. I wanted to use up the last of the scraps and at the same time widen it a bit. But instead, it confused the pattern and took away from the quilt as a whole. A simple stop border would have been better. But I’m not ripping it out. And to top it off, when I was cleaning up my studio yesterday, I found MORE of the strips, so I ended up not using them all anyway! This top will be basted and quilted up in the coming week, just like the blue strings.  

But first I have my Positivity quilt top to put together. The blocks are all sewn and laid out, so that is today’s project. I’ll be joining the link-up on Sunday. Drop by if you’re in the neighborhood! 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Is it Fall Yet?

Are we there yet? Is it autumn? Oh, wait … summer just started a couple weeks ago. Shucks! Being forced indoors by the extreme heat here in the Western United States is like enduring Pandemic 2.0. (But seriously, if the unvaccinated peeps don’t get their arms under a needle soon, the Delta variant will be forcing the real Pandemic 2.0 on us this winter. But I digress… ) Back to the heat. This born-and-bred California girl is officially stating for the record that I no longer have any desire to return to California. The “good old days” are gone. A summer at the beach and Disneyland don’t hold the appeal they did decades ago, especially when things are burning up around you and water sources are drying up. Oh my, I digressed again. Let’s just move on to something more pleasant, shall we? But first, share a chuckle with me.

Ok, so the best way I’ve found to stay cool is to stay indoors with the air conditioning running, sipping lots of Fresca mixed with Cran-Raspberry juice and sewing in my basement studio. That’s because I don’t fit in the refrigerator, and standing in front of it with the door open wastes energy. So, I sewed. And sewed. And sewed some more. In fact, I sewed so much that I’m going to save some of it (38 string blocks and counting) until next week.

But I do have two Spring Star blocks to share.

And a dark blue mama cat and her litter of five kittens.

And another quilt top from scraps that just needs two side borders sewn on. You can see the orange strips there, pinned along the sides. 

This was a fun little quilt to puzzle out with the scraps that I had. You may remember that these scraps are what I started with.

The plan for the coming week is to get this quilt top and the first scrappy blues quilt top (no picture except last week’s in-process photo) basted, quilted and bound this week. Then I can begin on the next set of scraps, the “bricks”.  I’ll also be sewing up more dark blue blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s color of the month. So there should be plenty to share next week. I just need to remember to photograph everything. I think my brain has melted in the heat.....

So I’ll sign off with this picture of Emily and the grands, Deacon, Gunner and Abbie. Emily’s husband Chad had to stay behind in Idaho because their air conditioning went out and he was waiting for the contractors to come to fix it. Hopefully he’ll be joining them later either this trip or another one later in the summer. We haven’t seen him in ages!

Have a good week and stay cool (or warm if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, LOL). Life is good.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Swimming in a Deep Blue Sea of Scraps

Happy Independence Day Weekend to those of you in the USA! If you live elsewhere, I hope you have a wonderful weekend too! This was a whirlwind week for us. Sometimes I wish we were still in lockdown mode simply to get a respite from running around and having so many Things To Do. I won’t bore you with all the details. Just some, LOL.
(1) We tended grandkids on Tuesday afternoon/evening for a few hours and fed them dinner. I even bought pizza and drinks (as recommended by daughter Stacy), which they barely touched. Or else ignored. That is, until Stacy got back to our house from her meeting and sat down to eat. Then they all wanted her attention and her food (that they wouldn’t eat before). Kids.
(2) I’m back attending WW (Weight Watchers) meetings again, and it was so good to see old friends (not that they’re old, LOL, but you know what I mean). Shout-out to Diane and Annette!  

I was summoned to the home of a Quilts for Kids (QFK) board member to come get some scraps. I told her jokingly that she (Virginia) and the chapter President (Sandy) were keeping me hopping with all the scraps they give me periodically. Well, it turns out that neither one knew the other was pushing scraps on me, LOL. Whew! Now I know that I can be a little choosy (or even say no, I’m not ready) about what they pawn off on me and not be guilt-ridden that I can’t always keep up! So I only picked up things that would enhance my stash or fill out themed scrap baggies that I’d already pulled together. You’ll see some of those later in the post.

So, here are some of the chunks and squares I did get.

There was some green stash enhancement as well, because I can never have enough green! The pieces on the right half are fat quarters. The pieces on the left are smaller than a FQ.

Virginia also stuffed a grocery bag of potential I Spy chunks. I’ll be cutting them down into 3.5” x 5.5” bricks for her. So, all in all, It was pretty reasonable.

This week I also finished cutting all my Zipper block pieces and finished the 8 kits for the fall scrap workshop. That was my July goal, and it’s already done! 

Last Wednesday when Cousin Kim was over, I was quilting the Zipper quilt I showed in my mid-week post (visit here to see my last two June finishes). I was zipping along (pun intended) when my needle accidentally (because who would do it on purpose?) hit a safety pin. CLUNK! But when we looked for the damage, this is what we saw…

See that hole in the head of the safety pin? Wow! The needle went straight through - and did NOT break! You can see the needle there, ready to continue stitching. But don’t worry, I may be dumb, but I’m not *that* dumb! I changed the needle and threw away the safety pin. Luckily the mishap didn’t mess with the tension or cause any other issues. 

So, why am I so chatty, and why haven’t I shown any blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s Scrappy Saturday? Um, maybe it’s because I haven’t sewn any yet! Duh. I have a mountain deep blue sea of deep blue scraps (July’s color) and all I’ve done so far is manage to sort them. 

The three not-so-neat piles of strips on the left are my strings. They are all 2” wide or less. The pile of strips on the right are 2.5” wide or wider, and many are WOF (width of fabric), so may find a home in one of the blue QFK quilts this month. 

Here are most of the rest of the scraps, ranging from chunks and orphan blocks to squares, pieces and crumbs. I’ll start with the largest of these pieces and cut out a mama cat block and five kitten blocks today. 

Something I haven’t done much (if any) of in the past is show these scraps packs I referred to above. This is how I start out with the color-of-the-month quilts I try to make. You’ll see that these packs (or kits, or whatever you want to call them) aren’t necessarily made using the month’s color exclusively. Or even predominantly. Sometimes I have to get creative in the kits I select to work on just to round out the lineup for the month!

This grouping is dark blue/navy, with orange, purple and gray. There will likely be a lot of additions and subtractions from this group, so for now it’s just a starting point.

Next we have these rectangles (varying sizes, but close).  This may become a brick-style top. Oh, those blues are both a better match to the floral print pieces on top than the camera shows.


Then there is this navy and aqua fabric group with bits of orange. There be lots of odd sized pieces here!

And one I’m really looking forward to working on is this space-themed group. There is enough here to do a front and back. I loooove that plaid!!

Last but not last (because it’s actually first) is this jumble of fabric strips up on the design board. That center plaid section will not stay like that; it’s just a sort of placeholder at this point. I plan to cut it into squares to lengthen the half strips on either side. And the busy-ness of the myriad prints will be separated and calmed by more blue or red or white WOF strips. 

This is the fabric in a couple of the wider strips. There is enough use as the backing. I can’t remember if this one came from my friend Angie (forgive me), or if this was a piece I picked up at an estate sale a couple years ago. Regardless, it’ll be the first finish of July.

We are having a champagne brunch with a couple of our neighborhood families on Sunday. Then Cousin Kim will be over for the afternoon to sew. Fireworks have been banned here finally (insert happy dance); the cats won’t freak out and with a little luck, nothing will burn!

Life is good.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

39 and 40

What an odd title for a blog post, but it’s been my mantra for about 5 or 6 days now. It refers to quilts #39 and 40 that I wanted to finish up before the end of June. It was close, but I made it by the skin of my teeth.  It’s July 1st as I write this, but they were June finishes. Yesterday was a busy day, with Cousin Kim coming over to sew. I already had the two final quilts basted up, and quilted them in the morning and early afternoon. 

 Image Courtesy Jordan Fabrics
Then we decided to do the cutting on a project that we’re both taking to the retreat at Missouri Star Quilt Company in early August. The pattern is Ribbons, a free pattern from Jordan Fabrics that you can find here. The only thing that complicated it for us was that instead of using 10” squares, we cut ours from yardage I had bought on sale last year. It took us both working (oh the quilty math!) about three hours to get it done. But we did it. I’ve now got two projects down and one to go. I’ll show them all in another post before we leave. 

After Kimmie left, son Shane and DGD London came over and we all went out to dinner for Shane’s birthday. By the time we got home it was after 8, and although the two quilts had been trimmed, I still had to turn the bindings and sewn on labels. Got that done, but didn’t get pictures until this morning. So, here they are.

This is the Zippers quilt that I made for Quilts for Kids. It measures 48x54”. It’s the second one I’ve made - the first one I kept for myself! There will be many more of these, I’m sure, because they are so fun to make and are a great scrap eater. 

The 6x9” (finished) blocks are set 8 across and 6 down. After consulting with our QFK chapter President, we decided that a majority of the quilt kits (that I’m making up for our scrappy workshop in the fall) should probably be limited to 42” wide to accommodate a single width-of-fabric piece for the backing. 

Isn’t this backing great, though? It’s a riot of color, just like the front!

Anyway, now that this quilt is finished, I can spend July cutting and bagging up the remaining blocks for the kits. In August I can write and print up the handout, and in September I’ll do any final cutting (including the contrast squares) of any more fabric scrap donations. 

The second quilt came into being in between Sunday and Tuesday. I had a bag of brightly-colored scraps, containing 4.5 - 5” squares, some strips and some bricks (about 3x5.5”). I pulled out the bricks as their colors told a different story. Most of the strips ended up with their like-colored friends in my scrap buckets. Some strips that were multi-colored were sorted out for future Zipper blocks or strip blocks. The reds and greens stayed with the squares, and I was off and running.  Sorry for the wonky pin-up job on the design board...

I trimmed all the squares to 4.5” and drew up a quick plan. These multi-colored squares were the starting point. I used 9 of the 11 in the center portion along with some lighter contrast squares cut from some backing yardage I have on hand. From there I used the two strips of red Pok√©mon fabric to frame the blocks and create the 16x28” center.

The next round was more 4.5” squares and some four-patches in the main colors of green, red and purple. I sewed together a white and green 1.5” strips and made another border with four-patch cornerstones. The final round of blocks used up most of the scraps, and I finished the top off with a blue border to tie it all together. It was purposely wider on the top and bottom to add more length.

The final quilt measures 39x47”, and I can’t tell you happy and bright it is in person! This was such a fun little project and used up a lot of miscellaneous bright scraps.

This afternoon I’m off to visit one of our QFK board members, who called me to come and get some scraps. Twist my arm.....

Life is good. xo