Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Quilting in the ditch

Ditch quilting in progress
This was one of the last quilts my friend, Martha pieced. She had started it before she had serious health issues. She was in the hospital and a recovery center for many months. She still sewed after she returned home; but, she wasn't the same. She lamented that the pattern for this quilt was "off." She said it was not a fast and easy quilt at all. At the time, I thought that she was right. Sometimes, patterns are more challenging than they appear. This pattern appeared in a magazine. I don't know if it was in Quick Quilts; McCalls Quilting or another magazine.

It contains lots of inch and half strips in a variety of fabrics. There are batiks, novelty prints, tone on tones and strips. All the colors are represented too. She always liked to mix fabrics. I think that was her favorite part of the process.

My monthly goal was to quilt this project in the ditch. One of my small groups has also taken up the challenge to make progress on a project that has been hanging about their workspace.  We will check back in the second week in February to celebrate our progresses.

It has been challenging to quilt this piece. I've had to repair some seams that has pulled apart. There are also spots where she stitched tucks into the seams. I'm quilting it as she stitched it. I'm using a monofilament thread in the needle and a dual duty thread in the bobbin. I've had this thread a long time. I can remember making dress for my mom for a special occasion with this thread. It was a good color to match the fabrics in the back of the quilt. Anytime that I can use thread that I've stored for years, I'm happy.

Once I finished the ditch quilting, I am planning to use purple thread and a template to quilt medium to large bubbles in the sashing. I thought the bubbles would compliment the straight lines of the piecing.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

2021 Temperature Quilt--post 1

Hand dyed fabrics
Last October, I read a blog about a temperature quilt. I did a little research on Pinterest. About that time, a group of quilters through the Mt. Hood Quilt guild started talking about this topic. A couple gals took the lead and formed a group. I decided to join and make my version of a 2021 temperature quilt.

For some time, I've wanted to stitch a project with Vicki Welsh's hand dyed fabrics. You can find her at Colorways By Vicki Welsh. I know that I will need to order more of some fabrics as the year progresses; but, for now, this was a good start. I'm using a palette of 20 colors.

When the fabrics arrived. I tested all of them for bleeding. They all bled. Some fabrics bled more than others. All the fabrics received a wash in synthrapol.  I wouldn't want any surprises if I need to wet the quilt at the end of the process! I also wouldn't want surprises when the scraps end up in another project!

I spent time looking at temperature quilts on Pinterest. What a variety of projects people have stitched over the years! I wanted the end project to be small. I wanted a project that included handwork. I also wanted to document all the days in the year that rain falls in addition to the high and the low of the day. 

Prewashing the fabric
In the end, I decided to hand applique a circle which represented the high of the day, to a square which represented the low of the day. I'm using a website, DarkSky, as my resource for the daily temperature. I like the website for two reasons. One, I can look at the history so I don't have to record the temperature every day. Two, I can select my address as the location for the temperature. The temperature in Damascus, Oregon varies a bit from Portland, Oregon. The ability to record the temperatures in Damascus makes the project personal to me. 

I chose circles because I wanted to make better looking circles when I hand applique. After I do the process 365 times, I should be an expert! I'm using Karen Kay Buckley's perfect circles as the template. 
Prepping the circle

I also plan to add hand stitching to some of the units. The units will finish to two inches.

The hand stitching will represent the days it rains. I haven't decided what stitches I'll choose. I do know that I will stitch a variety of stitches since there are many stitches from which to choose. I like to experiment!

Deciding how to set the rows will come later. Currently, I'm focusing on making the units. I am keeping the date/temperature/rainfall documentation on the units until I set them. I've been auditioning different layouts with different fabrics. I've been playing in my grey scraps. I'm considering setting the blocks to resemble a calendar using grey as the neutral. Then again, another color might be a better fit. I've time to determine what design elements I'll use!

I've been preparing four to seven days worth of units and then appliquéing the circles in the evenings or when I have waiting time for appointments.  It's all a process. It is okay that I don't have an answer yet! Because I'm planning to use scraps as filler to the blocks, I'm linking to Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun Than
Thread lace leaf

A week ago, Saturday, I took a virtual workshop with one of our Clark County guild members. She taught thread lace, I had fun making the leaf in class. It is three different colors for green thread stitched over water soluble stabilizer and tulle. I might use it in this project. I might make other thread lace items to embellish this project. I could make a snowflake, a pumpkin or I could make leaves in a variety of colors. It was fun creating the thread lace. I plan to create more items using that technique!

Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 94.5M cases; 2.02M deaths
United States: 23.8M cases; 396K deaths
Oregon: 132K cases; 1800 deaths

Last Tuesday, I became one of the more than a thousand people vaccinated through the hospital where I work. I received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. I will be receiving the second dose sometime between February seventh and February eleventh. I am grateful to have received the first dose.

Possible layout
As the vaccine entered my arm, I felt an intense burning sensation. I thought I'd be one the ones who had a bad reaction; but, that feeling dissipated by the time I was receiving my bandaid. I didn't have any other reactive symptoms. Fifteen minutes after receiving the infection, I drove home.

I did have a sore arm and felt "off" for about four days. I had a headache. I felt nauseous. I felt a little dizzy and I felt fatigued. In short, I felt like I was coming down with the flu.

On the fifth day, I felt much better. Although, on the sixth day, I felt like I was fighting off a bad cold. That headache comes and goes. I'm positive that when tomorrow arrives, I will feel right as rain. (This was a saying that my grandmother use to say!) Massaging the arm that received the shot, icing the vaccination site, taking ibuprofen and taking it easy helped me manage the symptoms.

I understand that people receiving the second dosage report stronger side effects. I'll be ready to face the recovery. I also participated in the CDC health watch program. Daily I check in and list my symptoms. Since there is little data about the vaccines' effect on people, this documentation will provide historical data.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Santa Ornaments--Post 2 and a finish

Four ornaments almost stitched
This has been a great evening project. I don't stitch every night and some nights, I don't stitch but a thread or two. Still, it doesn't take too much time to see progress.

In the first photo, three of the four Santas are finished. The fourth is ready to have the outline stitching added. 

I waited to cut each Santa apart until I had stitched all six ornaments. This is the first time that I have stitched on plastic canvas. I liked stitching on the plastic canvas. The canvas would be a great project for the granddaughters as the canvas is easier to count the stitches than it is on Aida cloth. Thread tension is easier to achieve on the plastic canvas!

I liked that the Santas are different. I also liked that the ornaments are small. Each one is about two inches! I imagine that I will be gifting these to someone who has a tiny Christmas tree during the holiday. These would look great on her tree next year.
Six ornaments stitched

As I stitched, I tried to keep the back neat. I thought about adding a piece of felt to cover the back which would protect the stitches; but, I couldn't come up with a method to attach the felt. I didn't want to add glue. Had I left the outline stitching to the last, I could have outlined stitched adhering the felt to the ornament. It would have been tricky to find the holes in the plastic canvas using that method. In the end, I decided to leave the back exposed.

Finished Santas
It surprised me how much the outline stitching brought out the facial features and details of each ornament. When I put this project on my Finish-A-Long list last August, I thought that I would easily finish it by the end of September. I finished the cross stitching at the beginning of November. Then, all that remained was to cut each ornament out. . . .which I did last night. I attached the hangers this morning and now I have a FINISH!

This is a project that I might do again. I would need to purchase a piece of 14 count plastic canvas about 7 and 1/4 inches wide by 4 and1/2  inches tall. The hanger was a gold string of elastic about 33 inches long that I cut into 5 and 1/2 inch segments.

This was goal number six on my first quarter finish list. It is my first finish of the quarter! If you want to visit post one about this project, click here.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Grassy Creek--Clues 5 & 6 post 4

Scrappy nine patches in the making
Clue number five contained three steps. In the first step, we made a bunch of nine patches. Bonnie's directions were to stitch strips and then sub cut the strips into segments. Next, we stitched the segments together. This is a fast way to stitch nine patches.

In looking through my "pre-cuts," I had more than enough of the orange squares as well as a bunch of the neutral and green squares so I pieced my nine patches after I laid out the squares.  The nine patches are scrappy. Having all the squares different, is my favorite part of Bonnie's patterns. I like that having one square of a fabric is fine to use. When so many different ones are used, finding that one of a kind is almost impossible! I also like how these fabrics bring a sparkle to the quilt top. She truly uses "it" all!

After the nine patches, the second step was to sew geese with neutral wings. I had cut extra wings in the previous step so I had a bunch of these already cut. It wasn't long until I was ready to start the third step which was cutting red segments. Again, my "pre-cuts" supplied a bunch! With days to spare, I was ready for clue number six!

Clue five complete

Clue six was lots of string piecing with the grey fabrics. I started stringing all the bits leftover from the previous steps first. This was a great project to stitch while I Zoomed with my Friday Sit and Sews. I felt like I had sewn all day. At the end of the day, I had pieced almost one sixth of the sections needed. 

The following morning in about an hour and a half, I pieced the same number of sections. I guess I had been talking way more than I had thought! I was concerned that I would run out of grey fabric before I finished!
String piecing the grey fabrics
Most of the grey fabrics, I purchased because this was not a color I had purchased in any quantity. I liked working with them and plan to keep a few in my stash. In the end, I had enough grey fabric.

For the final step of strings, we were to place a pair of neutral triangles on each end of the string strips. I removed the paper from one of the string strips and pieced the triangle. . .it wasn't easy. One the next string strip, I left the paper on and pieced the triangle. Leaving the paper in place made stitching the triangle much easier. 

Pulling the paper from behind that quarter inch seam was more time consuming; but, worth the trade off in how much easier and more consistent I was able to stitch the seam allowance on the triangles.

I also used the folded corners ruler to cut the angle on the ends of the strips. I used the essential triangle ruler to cut the triangles from a variety of neutral fabrics. I liked using the combination of tools. I like learning how to use a ruler in a different ways. 

With this project, I am learning what a valuable ruler that folded corners ruler is! By the end of last Friday, I had pieced all of the triangles to the grey strips. I had pieced a couple extra strips in case that I had a cutting error. . .which I did so I was happy for the extra strips!
Strings with triangles added

Last Friday, Bonnie released clue seven which was the reveal. I had mixed emotions with the reveal. There was the joy of being able to see what the end result looks like and the fun of seeing where all the parts created end up in the design. There was the let down that this was the last clue. I get excited about seeing what the next step is on Friday!

There are a lot of steps in clue seven. Easily, this clue could have been broken into three or even four weeks! It is going to take me some time to move through the steps and that is okay. This is not a race! I like how this quilt has a masculine and modern vibe. I look forward to finishing it.

I'm linking to Oh Scrap and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 89.6M cases; 1.93M deaths
United States: 22.2M cases; 372K deaths
Oregon: 124K cases; 1,607 deaths

The number of cases and deaths continue to rise worldwide. 
In Oregon, the number of vaccinations being delivered is lower than was originally projected. Teachers are in the 1b group (after healthcare workers) to receive the vaccine. A 27 member committee will determine who will be next to receive the vaccine.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2021 1st quarter goals and the January monthly goal

1. Quilt this top
I didn't make much progress on my fourth quarter Finish-A-Long 2020 list. I had two finishes in the quarter. One finish, Unity, was on my list, so the quarter wasn't a total loss! This quarter, I'm changing my strategy. I don't know if there will be a 2021 Finish-A-Long (FAL). The hosts didn't post information about FAL beyond the initial introductory post. When the posting became exclusively through Instagram, I haven't made much of an effort to look at other people's projects. 
2. Flannel top #1 ready for basting

The Instagram platform, while having lots of great photos, doesn't have enough details. I have missed reading the post behind the photo. The FAL has been happening for years and it could be that it was time for a change. I, however, think having a plan helps me so I'll continue posting quarter goals. This year, some goals won't be finishes; but, the goals will help move a project forward.

Because I get sidetracked with other projects and because it can take me a long time to finish projects, I'm also going to include a monthly goal. The monthly goal won't necessarily be a finish; but, it will be something that will help move a project forward. I have a quilting friend who refers to a "closet of abandonment." This is where her projects went when she got stuck, the project lost its allure, etc. I have a stack of project boxes that have hung around for years. The reason I stopped working on the project was because I started a new project. I'm such a squirrel. . .I'm attracted to the next shiny and sparkling project!!!! While I'm not ready to actually know how many projects are in the UFO/abandonment stage, I do pan to set myself up to make better progress this year.

3. Flannel top #2 ready for basting
My monthly goal for January is to quilt in the ditch of quilt number one. If I progress further than that, I will feel terrific. If I get started, I will feel grateful. I'm also linking to Elm Street Quilts to her one monthly goal. January 7 is the last day to link for the month. If you want to link and play, do it soon!

Also, I am planning to schedule time each week to work with my embroidery software. I got stuck with the January lesson last year and I didn't make progress past that point. I know that if I had a better understanding of the software, I would use it.

I have one quilt top ready to quilt and two others that are ready to be layered. I need the pins that are in the top that is ready for quilting before I can layer and baste the other tops! 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 try to slip in a little quilting with rulers! If I can quilt one top a month, I'd be happy!
4. Flannel top #3 ready for basting

#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.

#2. Quilt number two is the first flannel top that I made from Martha's flannel scraps. #3. Quilt number three is the second flannel top that I made from Martha's flannel scraps. #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. I'll be happy if I can baste and quilt one of these projects each month!
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. 

#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!
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.

#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. 

#9. Project number nine is a piece of machine embroidery that I think would make a Spring wall hanging.

    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!

#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.

#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. 
12. Make more Frolic blocks

#13. Project number thirteen is the butterfly. I'd like to finish gluing the edges of the pieces I used to collage it. 

This month, I'll be taking virtual Saturday workshops through my guild as well as teaching one workshop. That means, I will start about eight new projects! You can read about the first two Saturday workshops here.

I plan to spend part of each Sunday in the month using the embroidery software. I'm currently stitching the Bonnie Hunter Grassy Creek mystery. I'm planning a Temperature quilt. I have a selection of fabrics, a pattern and a rough plan; but, I haven't started the blocks yet.

Last night, I began reading our Thread Tales book for the quarter, "A Single Thread" by Tracy Chevalier. Thread Tales is my book club. We read a book and we may be inspired by the book to stitch a project. After reading a few chapters, I'm thinking project number nine might be the project for the book. I am also thinking about participating in the rainbow scrap challenge. I've watched from the sidelines at the blocks people create; but haven't taken the plunge. Scraphappy sure has some great starts already!
13. Glue the edges of the fabrics

Next month, I am attending a virtual retreat. I've some preparation work to complete before the end of the month. I sure enjoyed the previous two that I attended. I look forward to the shared laughter that this retreat will bring.

Already, I've lined up plenty of projects for the year ahead! Boredom will not inhabit my quilting studio in 2021! Perhaps, I'll even figure out my formula to complete more finishes while I play in my studio!



Sunday, January 3, 2021

New Project--Mile A Minute Quilt

The small scraps
Our Clark County Quilters group is holding virtual Saturday Workshops every Saturday in January. Pre-COVID, attendees would have selected one or two classes from a list of about a dozen offerings. Participants would have driven to the class location to attend the classes. 

Saturday workshops is one of my favorite activities that the guild supports because it is when members teach other members. It looked like COVID would cause this activity to be canceled; but, the workshop chair decided to try holding virtual workshops. Cost for the classes is $5 for a half day and $10 for a full day. (If we were meeting at the church, the fees would have been $10 for a half day and $20 for a full day.)

There are nine workshops scheduled. Two half day workshops are scheduled for for each Saturday except for the last Saturday of the month. On the last Saturday, the class is all day. For the first time, it is possible to take all of the classes. I enrolled in all the classes except the one that I am teaching! 

Yesterday, the morning class was "Mile A Minute Quilt." It is a great project to use a lot of scraps. Ada did a great job describing the steps and demonstrating the technique to the 30 of us who tuned in to Zoom to learn. I originally had pulled a pack of batik strips from a guild exchange long ago and the leftover green batik fabric from the Skittles & Sherbet project as my scraps.

The small pieces
After listening to Ada's introduction and Rizza's question about triangles, I got to thinking about the batik leftovers from "Into the Depths." Rizza was one of the workshop participants. Had I been at the in person workshop, I would not have been able to use those scraps. 

The process reminded me of making a log cabin block. I first pieced parts of some of the larger scraps with a 2 1/2 inch strip from my batik exchange. Then I took apart the smaller scraps and trimmed them to a useable segment. I stitched the segments together. Once I had a length, I stitched it to the batik strip. When I started to add the third round, I used the second batik strip. What I found interesting was how even the edges became because cutting consisted of slicing the pieced sections. 

Pointy parts pieced--parts for section two 
The next step, was to cut the fabric into squares. My goal was to see how large a section I could make from the scraps and two batik strips. I made a piece of fabric about 12 by 16 inches. I'm not sure what size square I will cut or if I will even cut squares. I plan to piece a few more "sections" and listen to the quilt before I make cutting decisions. Stitching 2 1/2 inch strips feels to me like stitching with a quarter yard of fabric. I've been sewing with strings and pieces smaller than 2 1/2 inches for months!

Rizza's question about how to piece around a triangle got me to thinking about the points that I was cutting away. Perhaps, I should piece a couple together to add more variety to the piecing. So I pieced some of the points together. I liked what happened so I plan to piece more of those in the future. 

Leftover blocks may become a border
It was a fun class. Had I started with larger scraps--these are parts of one and a half inch strips, I would have likely made actual blocks like others in the class. I'm happy with my progress.

Included in the scraps were a number of blocks that I didn't use in the original quilt. Perhaps, these will make a border. There are also some larger pieced chunks which I might be able to use. For the time being, I put all the scraps, my progress and the directions back into the project box. I need to work on a couple of other quilts first!

The afternoon class, with an attendance of 17 participants, was a lecture about how to take children's artwork into thread. It was informative. Even though I have taken a couple projects from artwork to quilts, I picked up a few tips. Judy shared fun examples of children's artwork with cats as the subject matter. (She is a cat lover.) Judy was a great speaker. She made the two hours pass like it was 15 minutes! Even better, I got to know a couple members which is another reason why I like the Saturday workshops so much!

If we had been able to meet in person, the maximum class size is about 20 people. A number of the rooms are small so some classes are limited to less than 10 people. It was great not packing up the machine and class supplies. I also like having classes through the month. I hope the program is successful enough to hold virtual workshops after we can meet in person.

Finish at the end of the session
I'm working on my first quarter goals. I'm planning to make monthly and weekly goals. Even though I have goals, I rarely make much progress. It takes me longer than I think for projects. Perhaps, if I divide the the work in achievable segments, I'll make better progress!

I'm linking this post with Oh Scrap at "Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework."

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 84.7M confirmed; 1.84M deaths

United States: 20.5M confirmed; 350Kdeaths

Oregon: 116K confirmed; 1,503 deaths

Parts of the world and parts of the United States continue to be locked down because of increasing number of COVID cases. In Oregon, for the last four days, there have been more than 1000 new reported cases each day. This week, there was a severe allergic reaction to a health care worker who had the Moderna vaccine in Eastern Oregon. The worker had to be hospitalized. I know of some health care workers who have received the vaccine. Some received the Phizer vaccine and some have received the Moderna vaccine. All reported sore arms; but none reported other side effects. Since December 13, 38,698 people have received the vaccine. About 26,000 doses were the Phizer vaccine.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Santa 2021


Package delivery
When our daughters were little, my father-in-law would drive two hours to our house to wake the kids up wearing a Santa costume that my mother-in-law had made. He would ring the bells and the girls would fly out of their beds to try to "catch" Santa in the act of leaving presents. One daughter would always check outside for reindeer hoof prints! He would gift each girl with some special presents on his way out to make other deliveries. 

Then he'd make the return two hour trip. He would call the girls to find out if they had been good enough for Santa to fill their stockings! He played Santa for other families too once the girls become wise and then too old for Santa.

The "awe" of  Santa in the house
My husband has been filling the Santa role since the granddaughters have had Christmases. The beard and wig while the best accessories for the costume are also what makes the costume extra hot. The pillow worn at the midriff also traps the heat! 

This year, we didn't think that their parents were going to allow Santa inside their home in spite of Dr. Fauci's claim that Santa was immune to COVID 19. 

With less than a day notice, Santa received visiting privileges if he wore a mask. The granddaughters at age 7 and 8 1/2 were up at 3AM. Their parents encouraged them to go back to bed; but, they were too excited to sleep. I'm told the bell ringing at 5:30AM brought them out of their rooms!

Santa commented that the youngest seemed to figure out his identity although she didn't ask. The way she is "snuggled" in for the photo gave us all a clue that she is in the know! With the deliveries complete, Santa returned to the North
Pole for a well deserved nap and vacation.

Snuggling with Santa
The first opportunity after the holiday that my husband had to spend with granddaughters was a walk yesterday. The youngest granddaughter said, "Papa, you look a lot like Santa. AND Santa is almost as handsome as you!" Is that not a thoughtful comment for a kid to make? To let you know; but, yet, still be able to walk the line so that Santa will come again next year? What a memory they made together!

As a family, we met via Zoom. A year ago, we were visiting our youngest daughter at her flat in London. We traveled Christmas Day. What a difference a year makes! 

The daughters cooked lamb for dinner. We cooked a ham. We look forward to physically being together in 2021.

This is my last post for the month and the last post for the year. I helped 22 people earn their 
American Heart Health Care Provider CPR certificates. I had two finishes for the quarter. I finished Unity and I finished Steps. I plan to roll most of my fourth quarter list forward into 2021. I also have lots of new projects planned for 2021 which I'll be posting about in the coming weeks.

Thank you dear readers for reading my posts and for your kind and uplifting comments. New Year's Eve, I'll be sitting and sewing with my Friday Clark County Quilters group. I hope the new year brings you joy. Stay safe. May the vaccine come to each one us sooner rather than later!