Sunday, April 18, 2021

Good Bye Feedburner and Two "Manly" Blocks

As you may already know, Feedburner will stop their e-mail notification service in July. This morning, I was successful adding the widget for e-mail followers to change to bloglovin. I hope that those of you who used Feedburner, will now switch to bloglovin. I have found it simple to subscribe on a couple people's blog that I read and I am so not technical!!!!!  I'm also posting that I'm claiming this blog on bloglovin.  
Two "manly" blocks completed

In my small group that meets the last Monday of the month, one of the members challenged us to make "manly" blocks to make a man's quilt as the charity group is too short on the number of quilts for men. One member pulled a fabric for the back to donate and also said that she would quilt the finished top. The backing fabric had browns and greens in it and that was how we determined the color palette.

Each member was asked to make two blocks that finished at ten inches. Another member offered to stitch the blocks into a top while another member offered to bind the quilt. I pulled my brown scraps and my Around the Block with Judy Hopkins book. This is a good resource for a making blocks because not only are there a variety of blocks but there is a chart to make six sizes of each block in the book.

In Martha's scraps, there was a chunk of dragonfly fabric that I chose as my inspiration fabric. In a couple hours, I had determined the blocks, picked coordinating fabric scraps from my stash and stitched the blocks. As we have finished our blocks, we have e-mailed  a photo to group members. Every block is terrific! It is going to be a great quilt.

My two blocks are in the hands of the member who is piecing the blocks together. It always feels good to participate in a community quilt project. This was goal number seven in my April goal post. It was goal number seven in my 2nd Quarter goal post.

I'm linking to Oh Scrap/Quilting is more fun than Housework.

Regarding Covid:

Worldwide: 140M cases; 3.01M deaths

United States: 31.6M cases; 566K deaths

Oregon: 174K cases; 2,471 deaths

In spite of the fact that cases everywhere continue to rise, restrictions are relaxing in some areas. More people are becoming vaccinated in spite of the fact that less doses are available. Sadly, I was notified yesterday that an acquaintance in France, has contracted the British variant of the COVID virus. I hope she is able to heal quickly.

My husband has an appointment next week to receive his second dose of the Phizer vaccine. My friend who has no computer or cell phone received an appointment for her first dose through her naturopath. She received her first dose yesterday. I'm glad she was able to get an appointment.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

End of the 1st Quarter 2021 Recap--

1. Quilt this top 
This post is a recap of documenting what I accomplished last quarter. The "bones" of this post came from the goal setting post I wrote at the beginning of the quarter. In past quarters, I'd hope to finish some on the list. This year, I'm being more thoughtful about what I put on the list. Rather than hope to make some finishes, I plan to make better progress on the goals that I listed. 

If a project has been on my list for many quarters, it may become a priority or I may decide to give that project away. I feel rejuvenated when my list is "fresher!" To help me be more accountable for my projects, I'm adding a post about what happened to each one that I listed last quarter. Perhaps, this documentation will help me become more mindful and more successful with finishes.

#1. Quilt number one is one of the last tops my friend Martha finished before she died. I know of a high school graduate that would like it as a finished quilt. Last August, I pieced a back and pin basted it together. It is ready to be quilted. I'm planning a lot of in the ditch quilting with something fun stitched in the sashing. It was my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for January.
Follow up: I did quilt it. I called it "Little Bits" and my husband mailed it to the recipient at the beginning of February. At the beginning of March, I received a heartfelt thank you note from the recipient! I know that this quilt lives on the back of her couch when she isn't using it!
2. Flannel top #1 ready for basting
#2. Quilt number two is the first flannel top that I made from Martha's flannel scraps. It is pin basted and ready for quilting.
3. Flannel top #2 ready for basting.  

The two other flannel tops are ready to be layered.  These projects will be goals one through four.  I plan to develop my walking foot quilting skills when quilting the flannel tops. Although, in the larger areas, I may slip in a little quilting with rulers! If I can quilt one top a month, I'd be happy!
Follow up: Quilting Quilt #2 was my OMG for March.  I finished it! On March 25, I dropped it off at the scheduled Mt. Hood Quilt Guild Quilter's Exchange for charity. 
4. Flannel top #3 ready for basting

#3. Quilt number three is the second flannel top that I made from Martha's flannel scraps. Follow up: I completed quilting it the last week of March! I posted about here. I also quilted one top a month and meeting that goal did make me happy!!

 #4. Quilt number four is the third flannel top that I made from Martha's flannel scraps. Martha had a lot of scraps!! I have made pieced backs for each of the tops and when the basting pins are free from quilt number one, I'll quilt one of these tops. Follow up: I layered and basted it. 
5. Supplies for a small wallhanging
#5. Project number five is to stitch the hand dyed black fabric into a modern styled wall hanging with the red corduroy applique and other red accents. I've thought about this project for about a year. I don't know why I've kept this project in the project box. Follow up: I did nothing to further the progress on this project.

#6. Project number six is cross stitching six Santa ornaments. I thought it would take me a couple weeks in the evening to complete these. I did complete the stitching. What is left is to cut the ornaments apart and add the hangers. Perhaps, this will be one of my first finishes this quarter! Follow up: I finished this project. It is ready to be gifted.
6.-8. Cross stitch and bag projects

#7. Project number seven is cross stitching another small project. I've a bunch of small projects like this. Most of these came from Martha's sewing room. It is nice to have another medium to play with from time to time! I also completed one of these last year. Follow up: I didn't work on the project.

#8. Project number eight is to stitch three camel back carry all bags. Nothing happened with this project last quarter. Perhaps, because I don't have a purpose for them is why I haven't progressed. Follow up: I finished these. I plan to use them as the container for birthday gifts.

#9. Project number nine is a piece of machine embroidery that I think would make a Spring wall hanging. Follow up: I finished it. I shared it at my book club meeting at the end of March.

    9.-11. Three small wallhanging projects

#10. Project number ten is that little piece of embroidery that I thought wanted to be a pillow. It wanted to be a wall hanging. I decided it needed a word. It looked like Summer to me so I penciled in that word on the piece. I thought that I would get the word embroidered last quarter; but, it didn't happen! Follow up: I finished it and named it "Summer."

#11. Project number eleven is six curved pieced waste blocks from Martha's scrap bin. I played around with an arrangement of the blocks and came up with a fun design.
Follow up: I finished this project! I called it "Joyful" as that is how I feel when I get to work on quilting projects and when I get to quilt with other quilters. For now, I appreciate each virtual get together!

12. Make more Frolic blocks
#12. Project number twelve is Frolic. Last quarter, I made an additional six blocks with some of the leftovers. I want to make enough more blocks to increase the size a bit as well as use more of the leftover cut pieces. It would be great to finish the top this quarter. Follow up: I finished making at total of 19 more blocks and stitched the blocks together. I thought that I could piece a border for the remaining 16 inches that I need to make it a size that will fit on a bed in my house. After spending three weeks contemplating options, I've decided to take the quilt apart and add another row or two of blocks. I'm sad about the prospect of stitching a bunch more blocks; but, I wouldn't be happy with the project if I don't stitch more blocks.

#13. Project number thirteen is the butterfly. I'd like to finish gluing the edges of the pieces I used to collage it. 
13. Glue the edges of the fabrics
Follow up: I spent a few hours gluing the edges. I've a long way to go. It takes a long time to carefully tack the edges; but, it is also good to be working on this project again.

Out of the 13 projects I listed, I finished nine! I made progress on two projects. I didn't work on two projects. This is the best quarter of progress I have had since I started making a quarter list of goals!

Next quarter, I look forward to continuing my successes. I've posted my intentions here

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Bunny Bags--First Finish 2nd Quarter 2021

Fabrics for the project
I saw a cute Bunny bag in a We All Sew newsletter. I clicked the link and reviewed the tutorial. It was a few days before Easter. I decided that I would add this project to my second quarter goals as well as my April monthly goals. The bag tutorial seemed straight forward and small enough to utilize scraps.

I printed the pattern and chose some fabrics from my scrap drawers. The cream was a fabric I picked up from the free table long ago. I think the fabric was a table cloth. I used a lot of it in a scrap project I called, "Ripples," years ago. 

That cream looked like a bunny color to me.  The scrap, unfortunately, was two main  pieces plus an eighth of an inch too small for a third bag piece to cut out all of the main bag pieces.

Ears in place attaching the ribbon channel
I  split the difference of the 1/8 inch seam allowance to be able to cut the fourth piece of the body of the bag. I scrounged around in the neutral scrap drawer and found a lining fabric to cut the last two pieces of lining.

I began the sewing process, stitching the ears first. The directions didn't include topstitching the ears; but, I did. When the bag and the lining are the same fabric, it doesn't matter which side the ears are placed. When the lining is different from the bag, I learned it does matter. I needed to place the contrasting ears face down on the lining.

Finished bags

I added the ribbon channel. Rather than embroider the faces, I used a micron pen and drew them. Purposely, I drew the faces differently. Then I stitched the bags together. I did finish the seam with a zig zag stitch. I turned the bags right sides out and pressed them. I added the ribbon handles. In my stash, I have a gallon plastic zip lock bag full of various lengths and widths of a variety of colors of ribbon. Unfortunately, I didn't have one length of ribbon that would work for both handles. So, I used two different colors of ribbons instead. I actually like the two colored handled ribbons better!

A greeting card, a small bag of candy, a little money and a card game went into the bags which were gifted to my granddaughters. If I were to make the bags again, I would add a little interfacing to the ears so that they stood upright. I still think it is a cute pattern! My granddaughters enjoyed opening their bunny bags and approved of my fabric choices!

This is my first finish for the quarter. It is goal number 12 on my 2nd quarter list and goal number one on my April goal list. I used 1/4 of a yard of scraps from my stash which brings the total amount of yardage I've used this year from my stash to 8 yards.

I'm linking up to Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 135M cases; 2.92M deaths

United States: 31.2M cases; 561K deaths

Oregon: 170K cases; 2,451 deaths

Cases worldwide continue to rise; vaccinations continue to rise. Deaths are also increasing. Media reports that the increase in cases is in the 20-29 age group. In spite of relaxing restrictions over the last couple of months, many countries are again reinstating the restrictions. That is the case in the United States and in Oregon.

Friday, the Oregon governor reduced business capacity from 50% to 25% occupancy. She also stated that even though most of the population will be eligible for vaccinations on the 19th, the number of available vaccines will be dropping. I'm still working to get an appointment for my friend. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

2021 2nd Quarter Goals

1. Quilt this flannel top

This quarter, I'd like to continue with the success that I had last quarter with finishing projects. Last quarter, I finished or made progress on ll of the thirteen goals that I had listed for myself. I have found success with interspersing large projects with smaller projects. I have found success with making a monthly goal list from the quarter list. I have found making a monthly goal helpful too! With all these factors in mind, I've listed my goals for the second quarter below.

1. Quilt the third flannel quilt that I stitched from Martha's flannel scraps. Last quarter, I quilted two of the four flannel projects that I pieced from her "adult" scraps. I layered and basted it at the end of March. 

2. Complete this project
2. Make this project. It has been on the list for years. It's time in the queue has arrived!!! A book inspired this project. I want to add red embellishments.

3. Legging fabric
3. Make leggings. My friend, Marla, gifted me several large boxes of swimwear fabric that her sister had collected. This was before I began working at a pool where the uniform is a black swimsuit. Since I haven't swam in the last year because COVID protocols have kept the pool closed, I haven't sewn one piece of fabric. The other day, I decided that I could make myself some leggings. I also haven't purchased clothing in about 18 months because I prefer to try on the garment before I buy. Because of COVID, dressing rooms are closed. I figure if I can sew a
swimsuit, I ought to be able to sew leggings. I do plan to make some leggings for the granddaughters.

4. Make even more Frolic blocks. After stitching an additional 19 blocks and spending last month contemplating a variety of border options to grow the top a sixteen inches longer, I was unable to select a border that didn't feel that I had placed it there to make the quilt bigger. I've decided to rip the quilt in half and add even more blocks. I've also decided that rather than try to make it rectangular, I'll keep it square and it can live on the king bed that resides in this house. This was a painful decision as neither ripping perfectly good seams or stitching more blocks that contain 64 pieces is motivating. My plan to make the project into a bed quilt hasn't changed. 

5. Finish glue basting the butterfly.

4. More Frolic blocks and 5. Butterfly glue basting

6.--12. These are small projects. I plan to make block for the outgoing president. I plan to make a couple manly blocks. I want to make: a couple potholders, a few embellished kitchen towels,  a couple more camel back bags and a couple Henrietta pincushions. I want to finish a second Happy Hearts table runner. I want to make a couple bunny bags for the granddaughters before Easter It is good to have some smaller projects on the list for a change of pace.

13.--15. These are handwork projects. Number 13 is the cross stitch duck kit that I didn't get to last quarter. Number 14 is the log cabin block embellished with hand stitching that I started in a Saturday workshop last January. Number 15 is a wool pincushion that I started at a retreat last month.

6. -12. A selection of the some of the small projects listed
16. Make a tree skirt. At one time, I had a goal of making one of these a year. It is a good gift for a bride. There might be an upcoming marriage. I'll need to locate the fabric. I have a wonderful metallic fabric for the ruffle.

17. Finish making string blocks from the Saturday workshop class I taught last January and piece together a top.

18.--19. Keep up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) and the Temperature Quilt. 

20. Actually, complete three lessons on the embroidery software.

13.-15. Handwork projects
21. Make a project inspired by the book, "How the Penguins Saved Virginia."

22. Start stitching my illusions challenge quilt.

It is a big list. Let's see what I can accomplish in the next 90 days!

On another note, I'm doing a test to see if I can follow directions to claim my blog using bloglovin.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

April Plan and One Month Goal

Bunny bags ready to stitch
It was time to put together my plan for April. I found last quarter, writing a monthly plan and being accountable for one monthly goal was helpful.  In my next post, I'll share my plan for the quarter!

My plan this month is to: 

3. Make leggings from this fabric
1. Make two bunny bags for the granddaughters. I cut out the components for the bags on April 1. The components are all scraps. Today is Easter. You will have to check in next Sunday to learn if I made them in time or not! I saw this pattern on the Bernina We Sew blog. Because I used scraps, I'm linking to Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

2. Make leggings. . .I'm thinking two pairs for myself and a pair each for my two granddaughters. I've been reviewing stitching tips for knits. I've selected some fabrics and I have been working up the courage to start. I have been telling myself that I make swimsuits so leggings have to be easier!

4. Quilt this flannel quilt
3. Keep up with the Rainbow Scrap (RSC) challenge and the Temperature Quilt. The RSC challenge color this month is blue. . .bright and light. I have some of those fabrics! Keeping up with the Temperature quilt could be a challenge because I've used all of one of the fabrics. I've ordered more. It likely will not arrive until the end of April. In the interim, I hope for warmer lows! I plan to have the sashing made and as many blocks possible made so that when my order arrives, I won't have too much catch up to do. 
5. Make more Frolic blocks

4. Quilt the third flannel quilt. I pieced enough leftover pieces of batting together for this project. I have layered and basted it. This is a project that is inspired by a book that I read. It is also the third flannel quilt that I've made from Martha's flannel scraps. This is my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for April. Please check out Elm Street Quilts and the  OMG link up. There are many inspiring projects to view!

5. Make even more Frolic blocks. I couldn't come up with a border option that I felt talked nice with the center and the outer border that is planned. I'll be sewing even more blocks, at least 11 full blocks! I'm not excited about sewing more blocks. I was less excited, however, with my border options or leaving it the size it is. Making more blocks is the route I'll be taking. My actual goal is sew six to eight blocks this month. Perhaps, after I sew one or two, I'll get into the swing of making them again. (I'm also not excited about ripping apart the middle of the quilt to insert more blocks.)

#3. Temperature quilt blocks and #7. Manly blocks

6. Complete an embroidery software lesson. I've not completed one lesson this year. This is the month. I'm planning to schedule time in my week specifically for this task. I also concentrate on digitizing lettering like one letter at a time, I'll have some success.

7. Make two "manly" blocks. One of my small groups decided to stitch "manly" blocks. In other words, blocks that would appeal to a male. We are to make two 10 inch blocks that have brown and or green fabrics in them. 

Regarding Covid:

Worldwide: 131M cases; 2.84M deaths

United States: 30.7M cases; 554K deaths

Oregon: 166K cases; 2,406 deaths

Nearly 60 percent of Israel's population is vaccinated and the Jerusalem streets are again full of religious activity even if international tourists are still not allowed. It is good to read media reports of the number of people returning to pre-COVID activities.

As of yesterday, the U.S. is averaging three million doses a day. Nearly one third of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. The CDC director gave a tearful/emotional plea earlier in the week for us to stay the course with wearing a mask, etc. She said that 2/3 of the states are seeing an uptick in cases and is fearful that hospitals could be slammed with more cases.

In Oregon, family members of front line workers become eligible to receive the vaccine tomorrow. My son-in-law will also be eligible to receive the vaccine. My husband received his first Phizer dose last Wednesday. He has his appointment to receive his second dose. I'm still working on getting an appointment for my friend who has no cell phone/computer/internet. She wants to go to a particular pharmacy and so far there have been no open appointments that fit her schedule.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Second Flannel Quilt--Eleventh Finish for 1st Quarter 2021

Quilting the smaller half circle pattern
Since I had pin basted this quilt, I decided that I would try to finish it this quarter. It is made from flannel scraps from my friend Martha. I pieced the majority of the top last March and used some flannel that I picked up at the guild's back porch sale last August to finish it.

I found quilting in the ditch much easier to do using either the walking foot or the number 10D foot. Generally, I use the number 24 foot and free motion quilt; but pushing the flannel through the machine was too challenging. After I completed the ditch stitching, I used a Westalee ruler to quilt half circles in two sizes. I haven't used that ruler much so it was good to find a design to incorporate it in this project.

Stencil and chalked images
I also used the spin wheel ruler to quilt an image of the template in the center of the blue blocks. It was a good way to place one motif in the blocks.

The large purple border at the top and bottom of the quilt was a space to quilt a design. A number of years ago, JoJo and I were at a quilt show visiting the vendors. I purchased some Full Line Stencils and a pounce pad. I thought that I would use some of the designs in a quilt that I was piecing at the time. I didn't use any of the products in that project. I decided that this project would be a great place to try the products!

Quilted images
 One of the flannel fabrics contains a butterfly so I decided the dragon fly stencil would be a great fit. It also was a good size for the space. I had the pink pounce pad. This meant that I would be washing out the chalk when I finished the project. 

I had a bit of a learning curve using the pounce pad. My first try, I had way too much chalk and then I had way too little. I learned it takes a bit to get the chalk to saturate the pad.

View of quilting
I also found that a swipe netted a clearer image than swiping a second time to make the design "darker." I did find that marking two images was about all I could quilt before the chalk disappeared. The chalk either disappeared with my handling the design during the quilting or it disappeared when the needle moved through the design. 

Loops surrounding petal motif 
I didn't have a cheap hairspray to try to see if the design would remain in place longer. I also have read that a light spray of water might help the chalk adhere a bit better to the fabric surface. I didn't try that because this chalk dissolves in water. I would use these stencils again. I did like how quickly the chalk did rub off in the places where it adhered well.

Finished front
I filled the spaces between the dragon files with a meander that in the past I have quilted to represent wind or water. I quilted the dragon flies with a green cotton thread in the needle and a blue cotton thread in the bobbin. I added loops around the half circles and around the motifs in the center of the blue blocks using blue cotton thread in the needle and bobbin.

I used monofilament thread to stitch in the ditch and to add the texture in the subway tile blocks. I applied the entire binding by machine. I am getting more consistent with this binding process. Pressing the binding away from the quilt after the first sewing has been so helpful. Now, I only pin the corners and nothing else. 

It took me about ten hours to quilt this project. While I like the feel of flannel quilts, quilting them on my domestic is a workout! The more I work with flannel, the more I am glad I don't have much of it in my stash.

Finished back
I used about four yards of stash in this project.  I have now used 7 3/4 yards of fabric from my stash this year. This was goal number three on my 1st Quarter goal list. It is my eleventh finish for the quarter!

I've added the guild charity label and washed the quilt. It now measures 38" x 58" inches as is shrunk a bit! It is packaged and ready for distributing. I'll drop it at the next charity drop off event. It will keep someone warm. It is another finished project of Martha's scraps that I've saved from the landfill.

This month, I helped 50 people earn their American Heart Basic Life Support CPR certificates.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

First Flannel Quilted--FINISHED March OMG MET Tenth Finish of 1st Quarter 2021

Block detail
At the beginning of this month, the flannel quilt top, that I mostly pieced a year ago out of Martha's flannel scraps, was ready to quilt. I planned to quilt it with my walking foot. I auditioned a variety of threads. I used a monofilament thread in the needle to stitch in the ditch. A 50 weight green cotton thread seemed best for the visible stitching on the project. It also worked well in the bobbin. 

I decided to stitch the width of the presser foot away from the vertical and horizontal seams in the interior of the top. I extended the lines across the borders to the edge of the top. Using the serpentine stitch on my machine at a 5.4 width and 2.75 length, I stitched row after row. 

Border detail
Once I had completed the rows, I stitched diagonally through the blocks to add a little more dimension. I liked the design the stitching made in the blocks. I wasn't that excited about what the corners of the blocks looked like. However, I love how the quilt feels and I love how quickly I was able to finish it. Generally, I spend a lot of time on the quilting. Martha was always trying to get me to make smaller projects and to quilt less intensively. 

It took me about eight hours to quilt this top. I machine stitched the binding and added the label. I had a finish! Martha would be pleased that I produced a finished quilt from her scraps. She would be tickled that it will warm someone in the community. She would tell me it was about time that I took her advice about smaller projects and less quilting! 

View of the back
Last Thursday, I took it to the Mt. Hood Quilters Guild drop off. Every month or two, the charity committee holds a drive through at the church where we held our in person meetings. People can drop off finished projects and/or supplies to make quilts. They can pick up tops to quilt, kits to make a quilt or quilts to bind. The members fully support this committee. I arrived at noon when the event opened and I was third in line! It was great seeing people in person after more than a year!

Quilting this project was my One Monthly Goal (OMG). I'm pleased to have met that goal. I'm more excited to have a finished quilt. I'm glad that these scraps are in a useable item and not in the landfill. I listed my goal in a post at the beginning of the month. I'm linking to the OMG finish link up. Thanks Patty for hosting the link through Elm Street Quilts. Please go visit the linkey party. There are so many inspirational finishes!

I used four yards of fabric stash  in this project which brings my total for the year to 3 3/4 yards. It is my tenth finish of the year and goal number two on my first quarter list. This quilt is 40 inches wide by 60 inches long.

Finished front
I'm linking to Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 127M cases; 2.78M deaths

United States: 30.2M cases; 548K deaths

Oregon: 164K cases; 2,386 deaths

In the UK, the time between vaccinations is twelve weeks. The country leaders have determined that it is better to have more people who are partially vaccinated than it is to have a lot of people still awaiting a vaccine. My daughter thinks that she will be able to receive her first shot between the end of May and the end of June.

In the United States, while the number of people receiving vaccinations are going up and the number of hospitalizations are going down, the number of infections are rising. The CDC continues to caution to continue the safety protocols of social distancing and wearing a mask. The infections are in the under 40 age group. 

In Oregon, the media have spent time reporting how officials are coming up with a plan to vaccinate the 14,000 homeless people in Oregon. Since contacting and scheduling seem to be big issues, it would seem to me that using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and sending a mobile vaccination team to the various blue tent encampments would be the way to go. Officials have spent hours working through delivering a two dose vaccine. The media highlighted one homeless person who is fully vaccinated with Pfizer. Her message was to take the opportunity to get protected. There was no coverage of how she managed her appointment. My husband is eligible for his shot on Monday. He has an appointment to get his first phizer dose on Wednesday. I'm still working to help my friend who declines to go to the convention center an appointment. She doesn't have a computer or a cell phone.