Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Journey-a 2009 Book Club Finish


In 2009, our Thread Tales book club, read the book "The Tenth Gift" by Jane Johnson. In the book, Julia is given a book of old and beautiful embroidery designs. 

Close up of the quilting

Julia is a book seller. Upon examining the book more closely, Julia notices that it looks like there are diary entries listed. 

Cat has written the entries long ago and describes her life as an embroideress. Cat includes her experience of a Muslim pirate stealing her and members of her town to be auctioned off as a slave in Morocco. 

While reading this book, I took a Nancy Chong two fabric hand applique class. One of the patterns we could stitch was this sailboat. 

The pattern reminded me of Cat's description of being in the ships' hold and having no idea of where she was being taken. She was sailing into the unknown, yet hopeful of a good outcome. Her sewing skills served her well when she uses her skills to stitch a wound of her kidnapper. 

The author weaves Julia's story and Cat's story throughout the pages. In the end, Julia finds that there is a connection between the two of them. While I had a hard time jumping between centuries, I did enjoy the story.

I used the print of the brown fabric to add dimension to the project. I placed a layer of wool batting under the top and stitched around some of the leaf print to provide dimension to the project. 

I trimmed the excess and then layered the top with wool batting. I quilted the piece in silk thread in the needle and cotton thread in the bobbin.

I'm posting about this project so many years later because one of my goals is to record the various quilts I have made with my book club. Writing this post was goal number 13 on my January list

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Churn Dash is a Top AND There is a Pieced Back!

Making breakfast cocoa
 Miss J and Miss K spent an overnight with us recently. I picked them up at seven in the morning and returned them at five in the afternoon the following day! They thought that I was there to join them for a ten mile walk. One was not happy about walking in the dark and the other was concerned that there weren't enough snacks packed!

After we had traveled to our house by car and had taken a 20 minute "wamu-up" walk, they figured out that their parents had surprised them with an overnight with us, their grandparents. They were excited that we had begun our time together with an early start! They said getting up early on a Saturday was worth it after all! LOL!!

Frying pancakes
We had a blast! Spending time with the granddaughters is absolutely WONDERFUL! We started the day making pancakes and hot chocolate for breakfast. They are old enough and skilled enough to help with meal preparation.

After years of making special shaped pancakes like cats, dogs and Mickey Mouse, it was great to have special shaped pancakes made for me!  Miss J learned how to wait to turn the pancakes until the top was set. (There is less opportunity for a messy flip if the top is set.) She delighted in learning it was easier to flip the pancake if she lifted it higher.

Sewing the last border to the quilt
I learned how to bake bacon. Baking bacon is how they prepare it at home. My granddaughters are good teachers! (They thought it was funny that I hadn't baked bacon!) Baked bacon was easy and I likely will do it again. (They thought me baking it again was cool too!)

Finished top
Miss J, my eight year old granddaughter, has been spending time each week making progress on her Churn Dash top. She used the time we had together to finish constructing her top. She had two borders left to sew. She was excited to have finished the top. She liked measuring the top so we would know how big to make the quilt back. Our target size for the back was 77 inches by 90 inches.

When I asked her what fabrics she envisioned on the back of the quilt, she replied, "Orange of course!" Orange is not a color a I have much in my stash. I pulled a print of butterflies that has been in my stash for a long time. That fabric became our starting point. 

Auditioning and piecing the back progress
I have loved the butterfly fabric for years and have tried to use it in other projects; but, either there wasn't enough of it or I couldn't figure out how to showcase the print. I did broderie perse a few of the butterflies on a project. We picked a couple fabrics to compliment the butterflies. We started piecing the back.

Although Miss J liked the puzzle part of the process, she felt the seams went on forever! We stitched some seams a second time because our quarter inch in some places was less than a sixteenth of an inch. When we ran out of our selected fabrics, we perused the stash for other chunks of fabric that played well with the butterflies. 

Most of the complimentary fabrics are leftovers from my "Boo" Halloween wallhanging/table runner that I made years ago. We used about four and three quarters yards of scraps in this back. 

Finished back

Miss J was especially pleased to learn that she can independently sew short seams on her own. She, however, feels more comfortable if I continue to monitor the stitching process. At eight years old she is way ahead of my sewing abilities when I was her age!

We would sew a few seams and take a break. During our breaks, we took a walk, painted with water colors, cooked a lunch and a dinner. In short, we were busy! After she finished sewing her back together, we took a photo of her with her finished quilt back. She thinks it is way too big for the top that she made. She is also interested in being able to longarm her quilt. I'll make an appointment to do that with her.

Then, it was time to load up for home. She and her sister are ready to schedule the next overnight. I said there was a day in March that they would be spending the day with us and perhaps that day would work with their parents' schedules. Both replied in unison, "What about February? You can't skip February!" We will be putting our calendars together and finding another weekend in February to play together.

Helping Miss J finish the Churn Dash top and piece the back was goal number 10 in my January list.

Watch for an up coming post about what Miss K did while Miss J was working on her project! Since lots of scraps ended up in the back of this project, I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. Check out the link. There is lots of inspiration!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Baby Quilts Are Tops And There Is A Pieced Back

Most of the project fabrics
 Our daughter Nicole, who lives in London, announced that she is pregnant. She told us, "It's a girl!" Her baby is due to arrive mid-March. 

Her news was super exciting because this is the daughter who always stated kids were not in her future. Miracles do happen! We are over the moon to be grandparents for a third and precious time! Perhaps, our youngest granddaughter will become a quilter!

One block ready to stitch
Of course, I sent a quilt home with Nicole at Thanksgiving to ensure that there would be a baby quilt available should her daughter arrive earlier than planned! While Nicole was visiting, I picked out some flannel fat quarters that I had on hand. I asked if she thought her daughter would enjoy a quilt made out of those fabrics/colors.

Two tops
Nicole took a look at the fabric. With a raised eyebrow, she said,  "you chose a fabric with flowers?" (Nicole is not a fan of any type of floral found in a print!) I told her to take a closer look as there was a fabric printed with butterflies; but, there were no florals in the mix of flannels. She did take a second look and agreed!

The pattern I decided to make came from Kat and Cat Quilts and her Covered in Love block
. I cut strips. From there, I subcut the pieces to make a block. I decided that I would make two quilts so that one quilt would always be available for use. 

Pieced back
My husband's grandmother gave me two flannel quilts when I was expecting. It was so great to be able to wash one while still having one available for comforting! Those quilts were always in use!

The blocks finished at twelve inches. I decided that a 48 inch square quilt or a four by four layout would work great. As I finished blocks, I'd put them on the design wall. 

This process allowed me to see the quilt come together. The design wall view helped me equally distribute the prints and colors around the quilt top. 

I pulled a few scraps that worked well for some of the shorter pieces of the block. After all, I had to have a few pieces of my friend Martha's flannels in this quilt. Martha made a lot of baby quilts in her quilting career!

I chain pieced, stitching two like blocks at a time. Of the finished blocks, I placed one on the design wall and the other I placed in a pile for the second quilt. I did cut the binding for both quilts after I had completed piecing the quilt tops.

I pieced the leftovers into one long back. I'm planning to longarm these quilts  both at the same time. Longarming two quilts at once will be different! I haven't tried that yet; but, I did make my back extra wide to accommodate both tops! I'm thinking that a yellow polyester thread would be a good thread  for the quilting and that a circle pattern would give the piece nice texture. 

After all of that piecing, my pile of scraps was small! I'll use the bits for string piecing and maybe the larger chunks will work for corner squares in another project. I was surprised at how few scraps remained from the 11 yards of abric that I pre washed at the beginning of the project! I love how colorful the fronts and the backs are.  

This was goal number eight on my January list. Perhaps next month,  I'll quilt them.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Lone Star Back. . .Pieced!!

Finished pieced back
I took a different approach piecing the back for the Lone Star. I started with the leftover fabrics from the front. I knew I'd have to add some fabric; but, I didn't realize how much more I would need! Usually, I begin with the smallest scraps and work my way up to the larger scraps. 

This time,  I began with the big chunks. My goal was to build a back that was about 108 inches long by 88 inches wide. I dug through my stash and found a leaf print, 3/4 of yard of a red tone on tone, a quarter of a yard of a gold print and a quarter of a yard of another green print. I liked incorporating the three extra geese blocks that I didn't use on the front. 

At the end of the day, I had pieced the back. I figure there is about five and three quarters yards of stash in this back which includes the fabric for the sleeve. When I was trying to calculate how much fabric I needed, I found that there was a post about how to calculate yardage on the Missouri Star blog which was helpful. Regarding that quilt sleeve, I did save enough of the green print that I used on the front to make a sleeve. 

Next month, I'll get it layered and pin basted! This was goal
number four on my January list.

This week, I also stitched a wonky/crazy house block for the outgoing president of the Mt. Hood Quilters guild. I went with a stilt house at the shore. The block measurers 6.5 inches square. This was goal number 14 on my January list.

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

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Fourth Quarter ReCap; First Quarter 2022 Goals

2021 empty spools
Below was my plan for the last quarter of the year 2021.

✔1. Finish gluing the butterfly pieces.

✔2. Finish the tea quilt.

✔3. Finish the tree skirt.

4. Finish Frolic.

5. Finish the heart wall hanging.

6. Help Miss J get her churn dash to a top.

✔7. Finish the log cabin.

8. Finish a hand embroidery project.

Hand stitching the binding in process
✔9. Get the string quilt I started last January to the a top.

✔10. Finish the charity baby quilt

11.  Finish the Lone Star.

✔12. Finish the fourth flannel top from Martha's scraps.

✔13. Stitch four to six gifts before the year ends.

Eight finishes, progress on three other goals. . .that is a win in my book! I realized last quarter that it is helpful to have fewer goals on my quarter list. It is helpful to use my monthly list as a way to divide a project into chucks to finish during the quarter. I'm going to try that approach this year. I also found having one project to highlight each month helped with the finishing process too. I met all 12 of my monthly goals this year!

Heart wallhanging parts & fabrics for the Lone Star back
In 2021, I used up 29 spools of thread. In 2020 when I first documented my spools, I used 19! 

I read about 50 books. A friend introduced me to audio books last  November. I've listened to four books. I didn't think I'd like audiobooks, but, I do! In no particular order, I'm listing the six books that I enjoyed the most last year below:

The Gentleman of Moscow/Amor Towles

Meet Me At the Museum/Anne Youngson

When We Were Young and Brave/Hazel Gaynor

Borders for Churn Dash Quilt
Salt--A World History/Mark Kurlanksy

Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea/Gary Kinder

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana/Gayle Lemmon

What was your favorite read this year? Please leave your pick or two in the comments section.

My First Quarter goals are:

1. Finish Frolic. --I'm hand stitching the binding and have decided that I will add a sleeve so I'll still be at this project for a while. The end is in sight and I'll stitch two to three lengths of thread each evening until the project is finished! 

2. Finish the heart wall hanging project. I didn't even look at it last quarter. Likely, I'll tackle it in February.

Embroidery project
3. Help Miss J finish her Churn Dash project. Had she not come down with a nasty cold and had we not had some snow and icy weather on the days we had planned to stitch, she would have completed her top last month.

She has one more border to sew and the back to piece before she can quilt it. We are edging toward a finish! She has prepared her binding!

Finish String of Lightening
4. Fully finish the hand embroidery project. Last month, I completed the stitching. I need to look for a frame. I am inspired by Janice over at A Positive Outlook. The cross stitch bug has bitten Janice and she has the cutest ideas for fully finishing her work. Now that the holidays are behind us, I'll do a little shopping for a method of displaying the work.

5. Finish the Lone Star. I thought that I would piece the back and get it sandwiched last month; but that didn't happen!

6. Finish the String of Lightening quilt. I've started the quilting process.

Blocks for two flannel baby quilts
7. Finish two flannel baby quilts. Last December, I purchased additional flannels to go with my scraps and began piecing the project. These will be for my newest granddaughter who is scheduled to arrive in March.

8. Make progress on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for 2022. I've selected a block that I will stitch in two sizes.

9. Make progress on the Temperature quilt for 2022. Last December, I determined the pattern I want to try. I ordered the hand dyed fabrics and the materials I need to English Paper Piece the project. I still need to purchase the background fabric and the fabrics that I plan to use for the third side of the cube. 

10. Document the Thread Tales Quilts that I stitched in 2009 and 2010. There are four quilts during this time period. 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

December Recap; January Goals

Binding for Frolic
My December goals were:

1. Finish Frolic.

✔ 2. Keep up with the Bonnie Hunter 2021  Rhododendron Trail mystery. 

3. Fully finish the small hand stitching project. 

✔4. Finish the fourth flannel quilt
Hand stitching project

5. Piece a back for the lone star and begin 
quilting it. 

6. Piece the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks into a top.

✔7. Figure out my next RainBow Scrap Challenge block. I did enjoy playing along with Angela at Super Scrappy constructing the blocks this year!

✔8. Figure out my next Temperature quilt block.

9. Finish the heart wall hanging.

✔10. Make four to six decorative hanging kitchen towels.

✔11. Work on the new baby quilt(s). 

✔12. Layer the string top and begin quilting it. 

13. Finish the December temperature block and figure out the legend/sashing. 

✔14. Finish the log cabin block

15. Help Miss J get her churn dash blocks into a top and maybe quilted. 

Completing eight of the fifteen goals and making progress on four other goals was a good month! I do like looking back and seeing the progress that I have made!

I also helped four American Red Cross lifeguard instructors renew their certifications. I helped 35 participants earn their American Heart Basic Life Support certificates.

My January goals are:

Rhododendron Trail mystery blocks

1. Finish Frolic. I'm hand stitching the binding. I've completed two sides of the binding. The label is pinned in place. I've decided to add a sleeve. 

I thought that I would finish it last month; but, didn't. I hadn't planned to hand stitch the binding and I hadn't planned to add a sleeve. I've a lot of stitches ahead of me, however, I have many more stitches behind me. I can see the finish line!

This is the project that I am making as my One Monthly Goal this month. Please visit: Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal January Link-up for lots of inspiration!

2021 RSC blocks

2. Continue keeping up with the Bonnie Hunter 2021 Rhododendron Trail mystery. 

3. Fully finish the small hand stitching project. Last month, I finished the stitching. Now I need to figure out how to frame it.

4. Piece a back for the lone star. 

5. Piece the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks into a top. My design consultant, the oldest granddaughter, has a good eye for color and composition. She has a plan

2022 RSC block
6. Stitch the 2022 Rainbow Scrap Challenge block. I had fun participating last year. I want to play along with Angela at SuperScrappy constructing blocks again this year! 

I chose a log cabin block. My sample block was even in the right color for this month so I believe I'm off to a great start! I might choose to make a couple blocks and continue making them in 2023!

7. Start stitching the Temperature blocks for 2022. I'm planning to English Paper Piece cubes this year. I need to purchase a few fabrics; but, my order for hand dyed fabric and paper piecing supplies has been placed! 

I plan to prep a lot of the papers so that when it comes to the day, I'll have a selection of parts ready to put together. Likely, I won't start piecing the blocks until the end of the month or perhaps at the beginning of February. Being behind won't be great; but, I'll be able to catch up.

8. Work on the new baby quilts. Last month, I stitched the blocks for two quilts. I'd like to get the tops pieced this month.
Determining the size for the 2022 Temperature block

9. Finish the December temperature block and figure out the legend/sashing. My design consultant, Miss K helped me with the sashing. I'm still stuck with the legend design.

10. Help Miss J get her churn dash blocks into a top and begin to piece the back. We had snow and ice on the days she had planned to come to stitch so we will have to schedule a sew day or two once the weather returns to wind and rain!

11. Begin a BOM. I purchased the Color My World kit last summer from The Quilt Show. I've been apprehensive about beginning the project because it is likely over my head. Likely, I'll work on pre-washing the fabrics to start. 

Baby quilt blocks

Gertie, my inner squirrel, was telling me to order the kit the day it was released. She's excited about this project! In fact, she wants to blog about that project and the RSC this year. Hm m m . . .I don't know if I'm ready to share my blog. 

12. Continue quilting the string top. I started the ditch quilting last month.

13. Write a post about a past Thread Tales quilt.

14. Make a house block for a guild president.

I'm linking to Angela at SuperScrappy regarding the RSC. I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework regarding my scrap projects.

String of Lightening
For many months, I've reported the COVID numbers. I've decided to no longer include a weekly report. Medical sources predict another serge of COVID cases in the coming weeks. For months, I've watched televised collegiate and professional football games. When the camera scans the crowd, I see few masks worn properly. When I'm out, I also see a disregard for masks.

With people disregarding the mask guidelines, serges will become more common place. The return to "normal" will be delayed even longer. I continue to shake my head at the state of the world in regards to its inhabitants' responses to battling COVID. I will continue to act responsibly when I leave my home. Home continues to be a wonderful place to hang. I am so thankful for my studio and for Zoom as a method to connect with friends. Please be safe!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2021 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Block Layout

Same color in each block
My oldest granddaughter, who is nine years old, liked the blocks that I started during Angela's Rainbow Scrap 2021 challenge. She liked the process so much that she took over making the blocks. It was fun watching her create. It was awesome to see her confidence and skills increase as she completed each block. We both thought that we would like similar blocks together, all green, all red, etc.; but, she decided that was too boring! I agreed!

Color on the outside of the blocks
When we had sewn all the blocks, she wanted to know how the blocks would be positioned for the top. I told her she could choose the layout. Each sewing day that she spent in the studio, she would try a different layout. 

Trying a secondary design
She wanted to know how we would choose THE layout. I told her that she would know. As she progressed, some layouts didn't get more than ten blocks in and she was changing out the design! She skipped taking a photo of many designs!

This might be the layout
She decided the design above had possibilities. She is planning to layout all of the blocks to determine if she wants to continue or not. I think that she is on to something with her plan.