Friday, May 22, 2020

May Mini and other things

When creativity eludes me, as it often does, I usually fall back on copying recreating something that's already been done successfully.

This month it was this very sweet little antique quilt, which I've had my eye on for a long time.  

Apparently it was for sale at some point, as part of a group.
Wouldn't it have been fun to bid on and win these?

Well that didn't happen, so I did the next best thing and made my own.

Its just simple nine-patches, but the layout creates a really cool pattern. I'm not a big fan of pink, but I was lucky and found a piece in my stash that worked.

I was surprised at how much fabric it took! The quilt measures 13" x 17", with the individual patches finishing at 3/4" (more or less, haha) I think I had about a fat quarter and a half of the pink, and used all but the tiniest shreds! In fact I panicked near the end when I thought I wouldn't have enough for the binding. I did, barely, but because of my lack of planning I had to cut it on the "length" of the fabric, which means it had very little give. I used some magic though, and made it work.

I machine quilted it in the ditch between the blocks, and hand quilted the diagonal lines. It crinkled up nicely after a light wash and dry.

This is my mini for May.
Go here to view more Montly Mini's.,hosted by Wendy, The Constant Quilter.

Meanwhile, I've been working on what was supposed to be "Lil Orphan Scrappy" by Lynn Wilder. I've been wanting to make this quilt for a long time, but by the time I got around to it my tastes were changing and I decided to use a cooler color palette, and a little different layout.

I don't know about you, but no matter how "precise" I try to be, my small units never turn out perfect. To compensate for my lack of cutting/sewing skill, I sometimes like to use a scant 1/4" seam, which results in a little bit extra around the edges of the unit to trim.

 A tiny trim and now they are now perfect.

Other news:  For some reason your comments are no longer showing up in my email, so I cannot answer them there. I've checked my settings and everything looks right. Hm. I think others of you may be experiencing this? Any tips on how to fix it? Meanwhile, I went ahead and changed my blog setting to https:/ bla bla so it is now more secure.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

strange and interesting things...

I've been running low (or running out) of some of my favorite thread colors lately, so a couple of weeks ago I put in an order with Connecting Threads. I filled out my order with a few other items, as they have good deals on many things. I noticed they are carrying one of Primitive Gatherings new lines, Indigo Gatherings, which I've been very interested in as good indigo reproductions are hard to find. So I went ahead and ordered a couple of cuts.

My order arrived yesterday. I want to show you what these fabrics look like.

Connecting Threads often prints their own fabrics this way, where the print shows only on one side, and white (or whatever color the base fabric is) on the wrong side. I don't know the term for this, if there is one, but I always have thought the quality was somewhat compromised, compared to what you find in a fabric store. Which might be a reason their fabric is relatively inexpensive. I admit I know next to nothing about fabric printing and might be completely wrong about this, and I would love to hear from anyone who knows more about the topic.

Apparently this hasn't bothered me enough to forgo their fabric, however (I love their "basics" and "blenders"). But the above fabric, albeit slightly discounted, is Primitive Gatherings, by Moda. Would I have gotten a different product had I purchased it from PG? or.. is this a new trend?  Curious minds want to know.

On to another strange thing -

Something slightly disturbing happened with my Pinterest account recently.  I admit I am addicted to  a frequent peruser of this website. Anyway,  few weeks ago I wanted to look at some pins on our desktop computer (as opposed to my  ipad)  and instead of seeing my usual sign-in screen, I was prompted to sign in with Google. So I did, using my Google email and password.

That appears to have been a big mistake. First of all, while signed in with Google, I could only view my pages as a guest. I could not see my  secret boards, and  I could not edit my pins. And I couldn't get in using my original sign-in info, as apparently my original account had disappeared.   Hmm.

Meanwhile, the Pinterest app on my ipad went blank.  Initially I thought it was due to my ipad being so old, and not being updated in forever. But.. very untimely, as the desktop version was already compromised. Then things went even more haywire, but I'm giving you the short version.

Thankfully, the folks at Pinterest dug deep and after a good week of back-and-forth, they figured it all out and was able to restore my account. No more Google (who I'm sure didn't really mean to hijack my account ~) And... they restored the app on my ipad! (so much for the ancient ipad theory) Kudo's to Pinterest!

But what the heck, right??

Anyway, all is resolved, and I'm a happy Pinterest addict once again. 


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April Monthly Mini

You'd think with all this time off work, I'd be getting more things done. What I mean by that is, more things than what I'd usually be getting done. Maybe I am, but it doesn't seem like it. I did manage to make a tiny little mini earlier this month, but I couldn't seem to find the time to sit down and do a blog post. Well the time is at hand, so here goes.

My quilt, above, was inspired by this adorabe little quilt, below, which I first saw on Pinterest.

Come to find out, it was made by Katy ( who's quilts I adore. She's made several mini quilts using vintage fabric, which you know I love, right? I just so happened to have the right bits and pieces to make mine.

All the fabrics except the binding are from my "vintage" bin. 

Getting those tiny snowballs to line up was a little challenging, but being sort of casual about perfection as I am, I just did my best. It was totally fun to make, and I'm really happy with the result.

l'll go ahead now and link up with Wendy, The Constant Quilter, who hosts the Monthly Mini challenge. She'll be posting our links any day now, so check it out!

Moving along.. I confess I didn't jump on the mask bandwagon as everyone I know was making them. Lots of them. I made one. I offered to make a second one for my husband but he prefers to wear a bandana. And with his hair down to his shoulders now, he looks like he's going out to rob a bank. (sorry, no picture) I hope he doesn't get arrested, or shot for wearing the "wrong" color.

Then my quilt guild got involved with another project, making isolation gowns. I was feeling guilty about the masks, so signed on to the gown project. I made three. It took me three days. A seamstress I am not. I had to channel my inner home-ec student to do this, but I think I managed a solid "C" grade, and I'm confident they won't fall apart in the wash.

Meanwhile, I got roped into was encouraged to join a virtual round robin with a group I otherwise would have been retreating with last week. What we're doing is taking turns "advising" each other on their next round. I'm really having to think out of the box, as we all have completely different styles.

Here are some pictures of our incomplete quilts:

Can you guess which one's mine?


ps  what happened to our emoji's? I thought we had emoji's. Looks like all we have now are symbols and arrows. (insert growl-y face) (ha ha)

Monday, April 6, 2020

One Small Step...

... can lead to unexpectedly cool things.

 Recently I saw something that inspired me.

Take a close look at the detail picture. Those little squares finish at 1/2". Look at the construction. Its so simple, and you never have to match up any seams. And so well organized, you end up with really cool looking blocks. I became completely enthralled with the idea, and so I bought the book.

What makes this really thrilling to me, besides the fact that I love working with teeny tiny scraps, is that I have a zillion of them and until now have not had a plan for anything more than a mug rug or a small mini. Which are fun and delightful, but don't make a dent in my little scraps.

The book arrived a few days ago and I immediatly went to work. One by one I went through every box, bag, tray, basket and other container of tiny scraps - and believe me, I had lots of containers full of these things - and methodically started cutting and organizing them for this project. I was surprised it only took me a few hours, and with a good playlist of music going, it flew by. 

Then the fun began!

I stopped here, thinking I'd like to make the four-patches as leader-enders. As of now, I'm not sure I want to make the exact quilt as shown above. But who knows. At this point I'm more attracted to the blocks themselves, and will work with these in my own way.  Whatever that may end up being ... ;-) !

Next up - I've been wanting to make Lynn Wilder's " 'Lil Orphan Scrappy" ever since she designed it (?) years ago. She recently posted a tutorial for the Ohio Stars on her blog (Sew'n Wild Oaks) for a sew-along. I was spurred on, and thrilled to be finally starting this quilt!

It helped that I actually had a head start on it, as I had several Ohio Star blocks kitted up and a few already made, leftovers from another project. So really, it can be considered a UFO rather than a brand new project, right?

My stars are slightly different from Lynn's, and my quilt will be similar but not an exact replica of Lil' Orphan Scrappy. Like maybe Orphan Scrappy's Illegitimate Daughter, or something like that.

My intent was to dig into my scrap basket for at least some of these blocks. But first I have to spend some time filtering through this mess to glean acceptable pieces. And that's going to take some time. My feeling is, there won't be as many as I hoped. Not to worry... I believe I have some regular fabric (as opposed to scraps) stashed away somewhere. I will meditate on this, but do want to attend to those scraps.

So I moved on, again, to another project, which is to make another one of these ...

... which, like this one, will go to the VA.

I already have a box of 2 1/2" squares, and another one of triangle squares, ready to go. Plus a giant bin of 2 1/2" strips, that I'd dearly like to empty, as it takes up far too much real estate in my closet.

Boxes of parts, complete with notes to myself, lol! Methinks I have enough of all of the above for several lap quilts. And its high time to get working on emptying some of these boxes and bins that have been hanging around far too long, taking up space.

Well, it looks like I won't be getting bored anytime soon!

Stay well, dear ladies (and men), stay in and be safe, and be grateful we have quilting to keep us sane!


Sunday, March 29, 2020

March Monthly Mini (and other things)

Before I get to my March Mini,  I should show you what else I've been working on.

I finally finished my 2015 Summer Sampler from Temecula Quilt Company. Finished the top, that is. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to quilt it.

I had a lot of fun making this, especially interpreting and drafting out some of the blocks from the original inspiration quilt. (did you notice I actually performed a tiny bit of applique?!) You can read a little about my process here.

The background blue is Evelyn's Homestead, by Betsy Chutchian.

I also finished a give-away quilt, which I just now found a home for.

 Very simple quilting, by machine

This will now go to my client's husband, who has terminal cancer. I will deliver it her tomorrow, probably in some parking lot, we'll both go home and shower, and she'll launder the quilt before giving it to her husband.

OK, now for my March Montly Mini, made from fabrics gleaned from an old quilt top

After quilting and trimming, it was looking like this. I realized too late, it really needed a border, as a thin little blue binding wasn't going to do it any justice. So I figured out and installed an extra wide butted binding, made to look like a border.

The binding/border extended the size of the quilt, so I made sure to fill it in with perfectly fitting strips of batting. Unconventional I'm sure, but it worked. 

I hand quilted in the ditch between all the logs, then across each block. I'm really happy I got to show off these wonderful, quirky fabrics!

This was the last of this versatile print (what do you call this? its not really a toile.. ) which you've seen on the backs of other small quilts of mine, and at least one large one. Too bad the picture is blurry, but you get the idea. Label to appear soon, I promise!

This is one of those "shaded" shots, to better show the effect of the quilting.

I would dearly love to wash and dry this little beauty, but I already know those reds are real bleeders. I know because I pre-soaked them in (Retayne?) thoroughly washed them, then gave them another good soak with a little white vinegar, rinsed again, then blotted them out to dry. I thought they were good to go until I put my hot iron over one of the blocks, and it bled into my ironing board cover. Like, a LOT.

So, I'm afraid to wash it. And I'm wondering if there's a way to get the crinkly look without actually washing. Cold water? I might do an experiment with some scraps and see.

Meanwhile, don't forget to check out Wendy's blog to see all the other mini quilts for this month!


Monday, March 16, 2020

Sew-cial Distancing

I learned a new phrase today: "sew-cial distancing", coined by my friend Tracey, referring to the many of us in California who are refraining from social contact right now, for health reasons. If you live in California or Washington State, or New York, you know what I'm talking about.

Those of us that are quilters are blessed in that we have something to keep our hands and minds busy for many hours at a time, during the long (potentially) boring days ahead.

What better time to get started on the somewhat daunting project of deconstructing this vintage top I recently picked up at the Bargain Garden at our quilt show.

Picking the seams apart was out of the question, so I set about cutting the blocks apart with my trusty Ginghers, and then separating the logs with my rotary cutter. Mindless work, but it ate up (several?) hours, then it was done. Resulting in this:

And then this:

Organized, usable strips of a bunch of really cool vintage fabrics!

That accomplished, I started playing around. What does one do with strips? The first thing that came to mind was a log cabin.

I spent most of the day yesterday composing and sewing twelve little log cabin blocks, and when I was finally (mostly) happy with them, I sewed them together into a top.


I have just enough of this blue floral for the back, assuming I don't end up putting borders around it.

I'd like to hand quilt this. If I start soon (and my fingers hold out) I could have it done by the end of the month!


*update: As of tonight, Santa Cruz County is on lock-down.  All businesses must close, except for those considered "essential". We are being told to "shelter in place" ie stay home. Officially this stands until April 7, but my feeling it will last much longer. My advice to those of you in areas that haven't been hit yet is to stock up now, before the stores run out of everything. But please, do not hoard. You can't even get toilet paper around here, let alone disinfectant wipes. Word to the wise...

Monday, March 9, 2020

Catching up on a few things

We've finally been getting some rain here on the Central Coast, which means I've had an excuse to stay inside and sew. Good timing, as the UFO's were starting to stack up. 

Here are a couple of lap quilts I just finished. Each year our guild members make somewhere around 100 of these and deliver them to the VA hospital in Palo Alto for the wounded soldiers.

The first one is another rail fence quilt, which is easy and an excellent stash buster.

I really like the look of overall stippling on quilts like these, but alas, I am not keen on trying to learn and perfect free motion quilting on my home machine. Instead, I've been playing around with alternative quilting methods I can do with a walking foot. The wavy line works well, and is stress free and actually fun to do.

Here it is, hanging on the porch rail in natural light.

This one is Sheryl Johnson's Joyful Jumble pattern, from her book Return to Temecula. I increased the block size to six inches, which keeps the scale the same, but increases her mini to a lap size quilt.

I think Annette Plog (Petite and I must have come up with the same idea at the same time, as she just finished her version, which is huge! I think hers was a block exchange for more variety.

This time I thought I'd try making the wavy lines closer together and overlapping in some places. I really like how it looks, and the overall feel of the quilt once its washed and dried. There's a heck of a lot of thread in this quilt, and it took about twice as long to quilt it as the rail fence one, but I love the result.

I used Superior Threads Micro Quilter 100 wt. thread in a medium neutral for both quilts, which is perfect for going over a variety of darks and lights without standing out.

Another porch rail shot. Hopefully you can get an idea of the texture of these quilts from some of the pictures.

Another flea market find for this groovy back on Joyful Jumble. Kinda makes your eyes blur just looking at it! 

This one is easier to look at.

 Next up....   labels! I have way too many quilts, recent and old, that need them. I really don't even know how many. I've been terribly remiss (insert: lazy) in this. I got a few done last week, but there are many many more. 

I recently had an "aha" moment while watching a friend sewing labels on multiple quilts for a project she's doing. Glue basting! Why didn't I think of that? You're probably all nodding "yep.." Anyway, better late than never, learning this little time saver. I should really look up some tutorials and see what else I can learn.

I long ago gave up making fancy labels, but I still like to give them some character.

OK... back to the sewing room!