Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Village--a 2010 completion

Applique figures
The book, "Baking Cakes in Kigali" written by Gaile Parkin, inspired me to make this quilt. It was a Thread Tales or book club book and quilt. 

The story was about Angel who baked cakes for members of her community. She kept an album of cakes that she had made. Angel created each cake specifically for the recipient. Angel was a creative artist! 

I had nine random blocks that I "won" in 2008 from the guild block of the month. We were supposed to bring any block that was set with Sharyn Craig's twist and turn sashing technique using Christmas fabrics as the sashing. 

Sharyn was coming to the guild to teach a workshop and the BOM committee chair wanted to get us ready for Sharyn's visit. We were to choose a block that was a leftover from another project or one that didn't make it into a project. Sharyn believed that one could take any grouping of blocks and turn them into a quilt. These blocks were a challenge to turn into a quilt!
Close up of houses in the village

Two of the nine blocks were my own. One was the basket block and the other was the modern looking block that had a "window" in the center of the block. The basket block was a practice block for a retreat that I attended and the modern block was a leftover block from a previous guild block of the month.

Quilting of trees in border
I had the privilege of being a participant in one of the last classes Sharyn taught before she stopped traveling to teach. Her class opened my eyes to so many possibilities that I hadn't considered. I started asking myself a lot of what if questions. If you don't recognize her name, I suggest that you google her as a quilting author. You might recognize some of the many books that she wrote. Some of which, like "Setting Solutions" and "Great Sets" are in my personal library.

But, back to the story of building this quilt! The blocks reminded me of album pages so that was my "start." I set the blocks with pieced sashing that made a star. I liked the gold print fabric. This fabric was in my stash for a long time; but, either I didn't have enough of it or it wasn't quite the right fit for the top I had in mind. For stars, however, it was the right fabric! I knew that I wanted to use it for the binding and the back too.

There are kids in the story so I looked through my books for an applique pattern of a kid. I found a boy and a girl. I cut out enough applique to span the width of the quilt. Stitching a narrow zig zag along the edge of the shapes, I appliquéd the pieces to the background.  My original thought was to use white thread so that the figures represented cookies. After making a sample, I decided, black thread was less obtrusive. When it was time to quilt this section, I used black thread to quilt some simple lines in the figures. 

Close up of the extra and practice blocks
I wanted houses to represent Angel's "community." I used scraps to "build" the houses, windows, and doors. I had fun choosing different fabrics for my village. I also wanted the windows to have light coming from inside the houses so I chose yellow fabrics. I stitched in the ditch to quilt the houses. I liked how the yellow made the houses "glow."

Pieced back of the quilt
At the end of the story, Angel talks about traveling from Rwanda to a place where pine trees grow so I chose to piece a border of pine trees. Again, I used a variety of fabric scraps to represent pine trees. When I quilted these, I used the edge of my free motion foot to echo quilt a curved line in the trees.

I quilted the background with stippling. I pieced the back with the rest of the gold print and the rest of the background red print. I even used my "practice" blocks because I needed more fabric! I still didn't quite have enough so I used a chunk of the black that I had used for the applique. It was a good way to use that gold fabric that I liked; but, hadn't been able to use in a project! 

I completed this project in August 2010. It measures 52 inches wide by 64 inches tall.  I think Sharyn would agree that I did well not only completing the challenge of incorporating these "anything goes" blocks into a quilt but also using red, green and gold fabrics to make a quilt that didn't speak Christmas holiday even though there are Christmas themed fabrics around the blocks!

June 26 was my five year anniversary of writing this blog. For the most part, I've consistently posted on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Many of you have read each of the 475 posts I wrote! I thank you for reading and commenting! Blogger updated their format and the last couple posts I've written have been using the new format. It is supposed to be easier for people reading with phones and tablets. 

Since it is the end of the month, I will list my training number which is 32 people that I trained in Healthcare Provider CPR.

Regarding Covid 19:
Worldwide: 10M confirmed cases; 5.08M recovered; 499K deaths
United States 2.56M confirmed cases; 783K recovered, 
Label of finished quilt
127K deaths
Oregon: 7, 818 confirmed cases; 202 deaths

News from the U.K. is that researchers have developed a Covid vaccine that is now in the trial testing phase.

In the U.S., there are about 21 states which are seeing an increase in Covid cases. The media reports that these are due to people not following social distancing guidelines. Going out in groups, singing in church, drinking in bars appear to be the biggest instances. The media has not mentioned protesting as not following social distancing guidelines or being a cause of the increase in Covid cases.

The age of a Covid positive person is 30-40 instead of over 65. People with underlying health issues continue to be the hardest hit.  There are reports of some people not feeling well more than 100 days after having the virus.

This week in Oregon, the community center opened for fitness programs; but, the pool, showers and locker rooms remain closed. The governor issued an executive order to people living in seven counties within the state requiring people to wear a face covering when in a public place. These are the counties where there is the most increase in covid cases. My husband said he saw a couple people turned away from entering the grocery store because they were not wearing masks.

The Seattle, Washington Mariners baseball game that my husband and I had planned to attend in July to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary was canceled. Our London daughter reported that a friend who is British; but, works in Boston, Massachusetts followed the isolation guidelines. The first day that he went out when it was "okay" for him to do so, he contracted Covid. He is recovering.
Finished quilt

I continue to miss reading, cooking, sewing and hugs from the grandkids. I miss face to face encounters with my friends and quilting community members.

Regarding the protests: Late Thursday night and into early Friday morning, a group of several hundred protesters set fire to a police precinct in northeast Portland and barricaded the exits while people were inside. 

Protesters set fire to area businesses as well as vandalized others. The outer wall of a salon was scorched. No other business were burned. Other businesses now have broken windows and graffiti painted on the walls. A number of these businesses are black owned.

I am thankful that no lives were lost and no injuries were reported.

The current Portland police chief stated that the demonstrators have cost the city 6.2 million dollars. This figure does not include the straight time of officers that were pulled from other jobs to cover the demonstrations. (Last week, the city council voted to cut 16 million dollars from the police budget.)

I have no words as I continue to stay as isolated as possible.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Dad's Ties-Post 3

Group tie segments
After several work sessions, I finally had prepared enough strips to begin the project. I have a couple extra ties at the ready in the event what I've prepared don't work.

I get to stitch eight panels with eight strips in each panel. Four strips will be ties and four strips will be the neutral fabric. Deciding which four ties went into each grouping took more time than I thought it would!

As I stitched, I thought about the memories I have of my granddad. He was a tall man. He was at least six feet two inches. When I was about five, I thought he had to be Paul Bunyan just in another environment. I thought that because sometimes, he would allow me to go into the metal shop with him. I watched him heat metal and then beat it until it was the right shape. I loved hearing the sound of the bellows to increase the fire and the sound of the water when the hot metal entered it. He was a farmer, a bee keeper, a farrier, an inventor and a business owner. He built a pump manufacturing business and sold pumps all over the United States. He even fulfilled an order to England. He loved to hunt and fish. He was conservative. He was an avid supporter of conservation efforts to improve salmon runs.

Two of eight panels finished
His dad had a small farm and my granddad kept bees for the honey. His father-in-law, who was a short man, taught him how to shoe horses and sharpen plow shears. I don't remember my granddad shoeing many horses especially if the horses were short as the horse would need to raise their leg quite a bit higher to rest on my granddad's knee! 

Later in his life, he developed food allergies to gluten and kiwi fruit. My grandmother baked his bread so that he could have a product that tasted good. He claimed the gluten free products in the store tasted like sawdust. I often wondered why he wanted to taste sawdust; but, I never asked!

He was a man of few words and he had a dry sense of humor. He loved his grandkids. He attended every event they were in from ballgames, wrestling meets, horse shows to school concerts. He took his camera and proudly snapped photographs of his grandkids while they competed and performed.

At the end of the afternoon yesterday, I had stitched two of the eight panels. I'm using a printed foundation available from The Tuffet Source. I ordered a kit from this company and look forward to putting all the parts together. The directions are good with plenty of illustrations.

Also yesterday, I was on line searching for a 12 inch upholstery needle. I didn't order one from the tuffet source because I had planned to borrow one from my friend. Unfortunately, she moved too far away to make borrowing easy! I sure miss our consults and face to face visits. 

Joann Craft and Fabric store had a variety pack of upholstery needles so I ordered it. I even was able to take advantage of free shipping. I hope that my order will arrive when I am ready to attach the button. I've more panels to construct so I won't be at the button point for a few days!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Dad's Ties--Post 2

Ties from Bob's dad
It has been a long time since I posted about this project! My first post was Wednesday, March 7, 2018! Eleven ties isn't a lot of fabric to work into a project. My friend JoJo made a tuffet and I thought that would be the perfect project for these ties. My mom would enjoy having a memory tuffet of her dad's ties.

I knew I didn't have enough for a tuffet because these ties are narrow and the project uses 64 two inch strips that are 21 inches long. I asked a couple of my small group to donate a tie or two. Laura gave me one of her dad's ties. Julie gave me two ties that her husband wore. Heidi gave me two ties that her policer officer husband wore. Each tie is special. I am honored to have the extras! I most likely will need even more; but, my plan is to prepare these first. 

In my previous post, I had planned to wash the ties. I did the research and decided it was too "iffy" to wash the ties because of the fabric content. The ties are mostly rayon if there is a fabric content label!

Ties washed and ready for cutting into strips
As I handled the ties, they felt "dirty." Likely, these ties hung in a closet and collected dust for many years before my grandmother placed them in the box. I decided to use a little Dawn liquid dish detergent (the original Dawn which is blue) to hand wash each tie. 

I gently scrubbed the soiled spots and swished the tie in the suds. Washing was a good choice because the water was brown in all but two of the washings! Two of the ties did bleed. The stains didn't come out completely. The wool blend tie developed some holes which meant that some moths were busy. I was not able to salvage a large enough piece from the wool tie for this project. Overall, the ties were brighter after washing.

The directions for the tuffet state that six strips can be cut from each tie. At least half of the ties are less than six inches at their widest point and less than four inches at their narrowest point. I had hoped that I could cut four strips each tie and that I could piece the parts into strips. I decided to save the pieces for another project. I found that I could cut two pieces from each tie.
Ties prepared for stitching

I did recruit ties from my husband. He was glad to contribute because he doesn't care to attend an event where a tie should be worn. The ties he contributed were ones his dad wore. He still has a few ties in case he changes his mind about those "tie" events.

Even with all the "additional" ties, I didn't have enough. I needed 32 ties and I started with 11! I decided to place a dark brown fabric between each tie. The neutral would allow the ties to contrast more in the project. The neutral would also reduce the total ties need for the project in half! Currently, I'm stuck with cutting the two ties with the print because I won't be able to symmetrically capture the print.

Many years ago, a friend who was on a trip to New York City brought back the type of interfacing that Paula Nadelstern used when she pieced with silk fabric.  This is what I used for the ties. I found that while it was light, the fusible on it wasn't good enough to make it stick. Perhaps, the glue needed a higher heat setting; but, the tie fabric couldn't tolerate a higher temperature. 
Hand drawn watercolor card

Maybe in the next week, I'll start piecing the strips together.

Regarding Covid:
Worldwide: 8.75M confirmed; 463K deaths
U.S,:  2.3M confirmed;  715K recovered; 121K deaths
Oregon: 6,572K confirmed; 188 deaths
Since the protests, the number of confirmed cases are rising as is the number of deaths. We are still in phase 1 of the recovery plan. The governor decided to put seven counties which had rising cases on hold in phase one. The last county in the state was allowed to move to phase 1. The media is reporting that the rising cases are due to a combination of increased testing and workplace incidents.

The protests and violence continue. Protesters dumped the
Lincoln statue which stood outside of Lincoln High School in Portland. Protesters dumped two pioneer statues on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene. Workers are removing the Lewis and Clark statues from the University of Portland Campus. The statue of York, Clark's slave companion, was removed earlier in the week. I value free speech. I am dumbfounded as to how destroying property contributes to their cause.
Fish tie

To end on a more positive note, Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's! Yesterday, I visited a new to me quilt shop which could easily become my go to shop. That was my first "fun" type outing since the stay at home order back in March. I decided shopping for a Father's Day card for my husband was non essential so I made one for him.

We have had so much fun fishing for walleye that I tried to recreate a walleye fish on his card. I'm happy that he recognized what I was trying to do!

Then he said, "I have the perfect tie to match." Of course he did and I have the photo to prove it! He said his dad used to wear this tie when there was a bet about who would land the first fish!

Yesterday, we tried a food truck for dinner. I wanted to take him to one for dinner today; but, he wanted to cook a prime rib and have a social distant dinner with our daughter and her family. It is his day and he get to do what he wants! His prime rib is delicious!


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Burp Cloths--Tenth Finish 2nd Quarter FAL 2020

Flannel topstitched in place
When my oldest daughter was pregnant the first time, one of my friends had a daughter expecting twins at the same time. My friend made her daughter burp cloths with a purchased cloth diaper as the base. I thought that it was a great idea.

I bought a dozen cloth diapers and made six into burp cloths for my daughter. I used a fabric print that coordinated with the theme of her nursery. I put the rest of the diapers away.

Some time ago, I uncovered the diapers and put the project on the FAL list. It was time to get the project into a usable state! It sat on the list for some time; because I couldn't remember how I had made the cloths all those years ago. My oldest granddaughter turned eight years old last month so it had been awhile since I sewed the first ones!
Finished burp cloths

I decided I could use two fat quarters if I cut the fabrics seven inches wide by the length of the fabric which was about 18 inches. Steps in the process were:
1. Press under a quarter of an inch on all four sides of the rectangle. 
2. Pin the flannel in the center of the diaper. 
3. Topstitch around all four edges close to the edge of the flannel.
4. Use the walking foot to quilt a few channels in the flannel.

It didn't take long to finish the project. It was a welcome change from quilting the "Unity" quilt. I used half a yard of flannel in this project which brings my total of stash used this year to 46 3/4 yards. This is finish number ten this quarter and goal number eight on my FAL list. 
I have also posted this finish on Instagram #2020FALqal2finish

It is now waiting to be wrapped for a mother to be!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Unity--Post 7

Carmel, peanut butter and chocolate chip birthday bars
Today, is my husband's birthday. He asked for a pizza for dinner. This morning, I baked a bar cookie that has caramels in the recipe. It is a new recipe; but, I figure it has to be good with caramels! Plus, the two of us would have a hard time eating a whole pie or a whole cake so that was another reason that I decided to make bar cookies!

I hope that when our daughter does a drive by visit later today, we will be able to share these with her and the family. For Miss J, I have either banana bread and/or Annie's Bunny crackers. (Miss J can't eat dairy.)

Handmade birthday card
I used my watercolors and made him a birthday card. I haven't been out to shop since we were advised to limit ourselves to essential trips. He ordered his gift online and received it. Still, I want to make the day special for him. He makes every day special for me!

 On the quilting front, I searched through my stash looking for fabrics that I could use on the back of my Unity project.

I had two pieces of a firework fabric that each measured one yard and 7/8. These came from my friend, Martha's stash. I decided that firework fabric would be a good start. She would be tickled to find her fabric in my project!
Selection of backing fabrics

I also had a striped fabric that could coordinate and I had a piece of blue batik that would contrast.
Years ago, I had purchased that striped fabric to make a ruffle or a back on a tree skirt. I decided it would make a great hanging sleeve. After I cut the fabric for the sleeve, there wasn't enough left for the center section so I added a chunk of a dark blue print. Of all the back fabrics, the dark blue was the only one that I used on the front of the quilt!

When I pulled fabrics for this project, I saved a dark blue navy batik fabric to use as binding. Once I finish piecing the top, I like to make the sleeve and binding. It often takes me months to quilt a project. Having the binding and sleeve set aside for when the time is right, helps me continue to the finish. I started this procedure after I stitched the binding into another project and had to come up with another option!
Backing ready for layering

It does take some time to piece a back together. I like the added visual interest a pieced back provides. In a couple of my projects, the back could have been a front! Additionally, it is another way to use stash!

Once the backing is finished, it is time to cut the batting and baste all the layers together. Since the table basting didn't work well for me last time, I decided to baste on the floor. I was prepared for this part of the project to take several days because it hurts too much to kneel on the floor.

I asked my husband to help. Although not really "into" the project, he closed all the pins. I am so thankful for his help. It would have taken me days to get this project basted on my own. As it was, it took about an hour and a half. This is one example of his selflessness and love. I am one fortunate wife!

Closing the pins
The following day, my body was rebellious. While my knees felt like I had huge bruises on them, it was my ribs the hurt the worst. After about three days, I did feel better. A massage also helped. Gosh. . .this maturing process is not for the faint of heart!

Regarding, Covid:
Worldwide: Cases 755M; Deaths: 423K
U.S.: Cases 212M; Recovered; 650K; Deaths 123K
Oregon: Cases 5,377; Recovered; 5,207 Deaths 177

Thursday, the governor pulled the last county in the state which was slated to open on Saturday from moving into phase one for another week. I feel for the restaurant owners who had ordered perishables as there was not much notice for the change. 

The Portland female police chief who had been in the position for six months, resigned. A black male police officer was sworn in the following day. The police budget is probably going to be cut 15 million dollars. Protesting and rioting continues. 

Last night at 6:30, a tornado swept through our town. Powerful winds snapped huge trees like matchsticks. One man who had purchased three cars the previous day to detail and resell, lost all three cars to trees falling on them. We had a hard rain. Our property had no damage. I didn't see the funnel cloud. I am thankful!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Lace Star Ornaments--Ninth Finish 2nd Quarter FAL 2020

In process and raw material stars
I saw a plastic ziplock bag of lace on the free table at a guild meeting over a year ago. I thought that the lace would be easy to form into star ornaments. When I inspected the bag contents later, I realized that it contained a couple finished stars, a couple stars in process as well as parts for a couple stars.

Close up of attaching the lace process
The pieces of lace were three inches wide by 12 inches long. The plastic rings were about an inch in circumference. I was intrigued with the ring insertion. I looked and looked at the sample; but, couldn't figure out how it was inserted. I couldn't imagine trying to gather the lace with a needle and thread onto the ring. I put the project aside for even more months!

Later, I looked online for a tutorial. I found several; but, none of the tutorials incorporated a ring. I was surprised that Google and Pinterest let me down!

What I liked about the ring was how neat it made the center of the ornament. In the tutorials that I saw, the center was often covered with a button. This lace didn't speak "add a button!"
Drying set up

I wiggled the ring in the finished sample. I saw the secret. The ring was split and the fabric was fed onto the ring. Feeding the lace onto the ring took a little patience; but, I did it. Then, I used a needle and thread to tack the edges together in strategic spots.
The three I finished

Next, I was ready to make the stars stiff. Again, I looked on line for some tutorials. There were tutorials about using spray starch, liquid starch, powdered corn starch, terial magic and glue! I texted a friend who recommended the liquid starch.

The brand of liquid starch I used was StayFlo. It is available to purchase at our local grocery store. I often mix this product with water and wet fabric that I want to piece. Once the starch mixture dries, I iron the fabric. The end result is fabric that is extra crisp. Piecing crisp fabric yields blocks that are spot on square.

For this project, I used the starch differently. I dipped the stars in the starch. I allowed the starch to penetrate all the surfaces. I squeezed out the excess starch. On a newspaper covered with wax paper, I placed the star. I arranged the lace so the points were flat and the center a bit poufy. Then, I let it dry completely. It took a full day. The stars are stiff and will hang beautifully on a tree!
The entire group

I added a thread hanger and now I have six ornaments ready for gifting at Christmas! I would make these again and will keep my eye out for lace that I could turn into ornaments.

This is my ninth finish for the quarter. This was goal number six on my FAL list. I didn't use any fabric for this project so my total stash usage since the first of the year remains at 46 1/4 yards of fabric. I have posted this finish to Instagram #2020falq2finish

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Unity--Post 6

Centers of first step complete
One reason I took a break from this project was to finish the tree skirt for my niece. The other reason I took a break from this project was that I didn't have enough variety of the dark blue fabrics remaining to start the last step. I scrounged through a project box and found two fabrics that would work. I had enough fabrics to start the last step.

I like Bonnie's method for piecing the square in a square block. She recommends oversizing the center block a bit and she recommends straight grain on the quarter square triangles. It all worked well for me. I especially liked being able to
The first star finished and a lot of stars yet to be stitched
piece these oversize and then trim them to the size needed. The challenge I had was that I had to search for additional "center" fabric since I needed some chunks rather than using strips from my scrap saving system!

The lighter blue fabrics are also almost sewn into the top! The lighter blue in the upper left and lower right is the front and back of a batik. Being able to use both sides of the fabric gave me additional variety without involving additional yardage!

Definitely, I made a dent in my red strip bag, the neutral bag and blue fabrics in my stash with this project!

Finished top
I decided for this last step, I would go with a little more "control." I kitted the fabrics so I had little bundles to stitch. I worked on two blocks at a time and slowly, more stars emerged!

These blocks went together better and were more spot on to the size than the smaller stars. I believe my piecing skills are improving!!! It is too large for my design wall so I needed to take a photo of it on my floor! Today, my plan is to see what fabrics I can come up with to make a back.

Had I seen this project before I started, I would have skipped it because of all the pieces. I'm glad that I persevered and am at this point.

I have no idea how to quilt it. Some seams are pressed open so I'm unsure if quilting in the ditch will be appropriate in those areas. I do love how the top turned out! I am ecstatic that all the fabrics came from stash. I so appreciate Bonnie's approach to using up the "bits!"

Regarding the Covid virus, Worldwide 6.6M confirmed cases; 353K deaths---U.S. 193M confirmed cases; 458K recovered; 111K deaths--Oregon 4,570 confirmed cases; 2,152 recovered; 163 deaths.

Regarding the George Floyd protests in Portland, Oregon--While there have been peaceful protests in other areas of Oregon, the downtown protests have often turned violent with protestors throwing bottles, rocks, cans and metal objects at police. Police have been injured. The destruction of property continues.

Currently, more press is given to the protests than the virus. No mention is made of the social distancing protocols not being followed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Santa Tree Skirt--Post 3 Eighth Finish 2nd Quarter FAL 2020

Clam shell design on the belt
My plan with this project was to use rulers and templates as I quilted so that I could improve my ruler skills. I tried stitching a loop pattern along the belt edge with the Westalee clam shell ruler. It was difficult to hold the ruler in place and move the fabric because of the intersecting seams.

I did stitch the other side of the belt; but, didn't like the results enough to let the stitching stay. I ripped what I had stitched. I've decided for me, ruler work is going to take place in the more open areas of the quilt. It is too hard on my body to manage the ruler,  move the quilt and be satisfied with the stitching.
Close up of belt stipple and beard swirl

In the end, I filled the space with a large stipple. It took me less than five minutes to stitch the belt section and another five minutes to quilt the sleeves of the Santa coat.

For the beard, I stitched a variety of sizes of spirals, some wavy lines and some stippling to give the surface a more beard like appearance. I stitched nothing in the mustache.
Close up of the beard quilting

 Overall, the free motion quilting is a good companion to the straight line ruler quilting. For the background quilting, I thought about stitching free motion stars. In the end, I chose to stitch more spirals interspersed with stippling. When I get stuck on what to add to an area for quilting, I will look at my piece and see if there is a clue.

I will ask myself, is there a print in the fabric that provides me with an idea? In the beard fabric, there is a sort of paisley design that influenced my decision to stitch spirals.

Front/back of quilt and threads used in the process
I also ask myself, is there enough repetition on the elements? I stitched straight lines--some diagonal and some horizontal in at least three places in the project. The straight lines are in the coat body, coat sleeves and hat. That was enough repetition of straight lines!

I continued quilting--stippling in the belt, a spiral and stippling combination in the beard. I needed more repetition with the spirals so I stitched a combination of spirals and stippling in the background to balance the fills.

Quilting should enhance the project. As I looked at the finished quilted blocks and background, I felt that I had met that goal!

The label was from my stash. I figured a Christmas label was perfect for this project! All I needed to do was to figure out what information I wanted to include on the label and then transfer the information to the label! I hope my niece will like this wedding gift and that it will grace their tree for each and every Christmas.

If you missed the previous posts about this project, I've provided the links below:
Post 1
Post 2 

Finished tree skirt
It took me about 62 hours to complete this project. I spent about $95 for materials for this project.

I used 7 yards of fabric from my stash for this project. This brings my total stash usage since the first of the year to 46 1/4 yards of fabric. This is my eighth finish this quarter and goal number 21 on my finish along list. I have posted this finish to Instagram #2020falq2finish