Sunday, October 17, 2021

Santa Tree Skirt

Beard quilted

I free motion quilted all of the quilting in this project. Using monofilament thread, I quilted in the ditch. Then I quilted the Santa beard in each of the blocks. I used a white 50 weight Aurafil thread and a paisley sort of free motion filler. I like the definition the quilting gave the mustache. The wool batting added a nice amount of "puff" to the project.

After completing the beards, I began quilting the Santa suits. I used a red 50 weight Aurafil thread and stitched diagonal straight lines that were a 1/4 inch apart. I used a ruler to help me stitch "straighter" lines. I quilted this design to give the tree skirt a bit of a modern flair. I also quilted the red portion of the hat in diagonal quarter inch lines.
Santa suit quilted

The third section that I quilted was the belt, boots and eyes. In these areas, I stitched with black 50 weight Aurafil thread. For the belt, I stitched eighth inch vertical lines. I didn't use a ruler as I wanted the belt to take on a more organic look.

For the boots, I stitched two opposing 45 degree angles to give them the appearance of being "quilted." I outlined the eyes. To make the eyes stand out more, I stitched about four times around each one. I liked the look.
Quilted block and background

Next, I quilted an organic continuous curve variation in the green sleeves. I used a 50 weight green thread made by Superior. For the snowflake background fabric that is on the inside of the tree skirt, I quilted loops using black thread. In the holly print background fabric, I used the circle template and quilted circles. I used a 50 weight tan Superior thread.

I liked the texture that the quilting provides to the piece. I've photographed the quilting in low light to show how the quilting will likely show up when it is being used as a tree skirt. The wool batting does enhance the quilting motifs.
Thread assortment

This was an enjoyable project in spite of my error when sewing the layers together. I'm on the look out for a suitable background fabric as I have used all of the holly on the tan background. Perhaps another time, I'll make all the Santas
using different red and green fabrics. Hm m m Gertie is having a "think" on that prospect!

I estimate that I spent about 123 hours completing this project. I used seven yards of fabric which brings my total stash use of the year to 20 3/4 yards. This was goal number three on my Fourth Quarter 2021 list. It was goal number six on my October list

It is also my third finish in the hundred day WIPs Be Gone challenge. It is my twelfth quilt finish for the year. Wow! 
Am I ever over the moon to have finished so many projects since 2021 began! Gertie, my inner squirrel, is whispering in my year that there is still time to finish more. She is asking me if I can finish to more quilts before the end of the year. I guess time will tell!

It will be a bridal shower gift for my daughter when she marries. If you missed earlier posts about this project you can read them in the links below.

Since this project contains leftovers from the Santa tree
skirt I made for my niece for her weeding last year, I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun
Back of tree skirt

Than Housework

Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 241M cases; 4.91M deaths
United States: 44.9M cases; 724K deaths
Oregon: 349K cases; 4,161 deaths

At the hospital where I work, 93% of the staff are vaccinated. By October 18, management estimates that 98% of the staff will be vaccinated.  I think that is awesome.

There are more and more breakthrough cases. At our Friday Sit-n-Sew, one of the participants said she had listened to the man who had invented one of the vaccines talk about how the vaccine was released too
Finished front of tree skirt

early because the vaccine didn't cover enough of the various antigens. I've tried to find that information and have been unsuccessful.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Lime Green Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Pressing the strips
With the help of my ghost sewer, we've completed 12 lime green string blocks! She and her sister were over for a day because they had no school. We started the day with finding the mail box.  Then we made sourdough pancakes and bacon for breakfast. 

(The mailbox is small, about six inches long and about three inches high. It contains a letter to the girls. The letter is an agenda of the day. I hide it and the girls take great pleasure in finding it. Generally, the mailbox contains a treat too!)

Miss K made the sourdough pancakes and cooked about three griddles of pancakes while Miss J cooked the bacon. They make a great team. They ate while I finished cooking the pancake batter.

Leftovers and trimmed bits
After breakfast, Miss J set the timer for an hour sewing session. I had string blocks prepped for Miss K. I had sashing strips prepped for Miss J. We began sewing. When the timer sounded, Miss J wanted to know what was next. I told her that we needed to take a break and to set the timer for 15 minutes. Miss J wanted to know what I meant by "break." I told her break meant a time to stretch, to get a drink and to let your mind rest. 

Completed lime blocks
Miss J was all over a break. Miss K replied she wasn't tired, she didn't need a bathroom break and she planned to make progress on her blocks. I explained how the change in pace often helps increase productivity. Miss K decided a break was in order! While they had their break, I prepped more blocks and sashing strips.

For other breaks, we walked the dog, baked a chocolate sourdough cake and worked on our watercolor project. We used baking chocolate in the cake. Miss J was in charge of melting it. Both girls wanted to lick the spoon. I let them know that this chocolate had no sugar and it would taste bitter. The look of their faces from the anticipation to the realization that it was awful tasting chocolate was priceless. I remember a similar realization in my younger days!

Rows ready to stitch together
Miss J was quite concerned the cake was ruined and Miss K agreed. They weren't at all on board that the sugar In the batter was going to be enough. They licked the beaters and determined it would be an edible cake after all! To their delight, it was delicious!

At the end of the day, Miss K had finished sewing the lime green blocks. We trimmed them so that she could layout the design. All I did was pin the strips to the blocks. She completed the rest of the process. Her quarter inch seam is much improved. She is so proud of her accomplishment! (I am also proud of what she can do!)

Miss J stitched her sashing together. She stitched her blocks
into rows. She even stitched a few rows together. She told us so many stories about the pins in the pincushions which were aliens or eyes for the turtle. She can sort of sew a quarter inch seam if the seam is about two and half inches. She likes talking about the feed dogs. She would "Woof" "Woof" when she started a seam! We had a great day. She thinks it is cool that the quilt is taller than she is!

They were tired. Gertie, my inner squirrel, and I were exhausted! Although, we can't wait until we can stitch together again!

I'm linking to Angela and Scrap Happy Saturday. Completing the lime green blocks was goal nine on my October list

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Charity Baby Quilt Finished

The top
At the September 30 through October 3 Mt. Hood Quilt guild virtual retreat, I spent two of the four days working on this flannel baby quilt. I finished it. I so appreciated my ghost sewer laying out the blocks. All I had to do was sew the blocks together to complete the top. I left the fabrics that touched one another in a couple places.

Perhaps the child, who gets this quilt, will find these areas. There are lots of minky rectangles to "pet." An elephant and birds to find hidden away in the print of fabrics. Of course if one wanted to play, "I Spy," there are flowers, hearts and circles to find too. I hope that the quilt is used until there is nothing left of it!

Ready to baste
I layered and pin basted it on our kitchen table. The batting was pieced many times with small scraps from previous projects.
Back and label

I used a 100 weight polyester light lavender thread from Wonderfil to quilt in the ditch. I had planned to stitch a clam shell design on top of the blocks; but, it was too difficult for me to hold the template and move the fabric. 

I had saved a box of flannel scraps from nightgowns that I had sewn for my daughters over twenty years ago. I thought that the scraps were small. I was wrong. There is a lot of flannel in the box! 

Gertie, my inner squirrel, thought this discovery was so funny because for years, I've stated I didn't have flannel in my stash! She is telling me that I've more flannel quilts to make in my future. She didn't estimate how many projects. For this, I am thankful because I don't want to know how many potential projects exist in that box!!!

Finished front
There was a piece of flannel that was perfect for the backing and the binding. After machine stitching the binding, I added the label and rolled it up to be delivered to the charity program at the Mt. Hood Quilt guild. This project will be donated to the "Boxes of Love" organization.

Much of the fabrics came from Martha's juvenile scrap bag. I did use a yellow fat quarter and a white polka dot fat quarter in the top from JoJo. I used about 2 1/2 yards of fabric in this project. This brings my net usage of fabric from stash to 13 3/4 yards. Of course, if I would stop purchasing fabric, that would be a higher number! 

Bundled and ready for delivery
This was goal number ten on my Fourth Quarter list. This was also goal number two on my October list. I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun than Housework. Please, go visit that link as there are lots of amazing projects that people are creating with their scraps. I posted about the pattern in my first post about this project.

Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 238M cases; 4.86M deaths
United States: 44.3M cases; 713K deaths
Oregon: 341K cases; 3,982 deaths

According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID cases declined nine percent last week. The United States, the United Kingdom and Turkey are the three countries with the highest number of new cases.

In Oregon, 67 percent of the population has received at least dose of the vaccine and 61 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated number is the same as last week. Hospitals remain at close to capacity.

I have been following how the disease transfers. I have been particularly interested in the number of break through cases. It appears that the majority of these cases originated from an unvaccinated person and over prolonged exposure, the vaccinated person contracted COVID. Vaccinated people may not be wearing a mask because being vaccinated, they think they are protected. Households which contain combinations of vaccinated/unvaccinated people seem to be where the virus spreads. The unvaccinated passing it to the vaccinated. 

Last weekend, one of the retreat members talked about attending a water aerobics class and how people continued to wear a mask in class. She said a vaccinated person who stood next to her came down with COVID. The retreat member said this woman caught it from her unvaccinated 17 year old. Eventually, the entire family caught it; but, no one at the pool came down with COVID. The retreat member said that this situation was an example of how masking works.


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Fourth Quarter Goals 2021

Last quarter, I made progress on my goal listUnfortunately, there were a lot of projects that I didn't touch. I either finished or made progress on twelve of the 24 projects listed. It always takes me longer to finish a project than I estimate.

Frolic blocks and Butterfly glue basting
This year, I've finished 11 projects and I've three months left to finish more. In 2020, I finished four projects. In 2019, I finished eight projects. In 2018, I finished seven projects. Clearly, I need to continue making a one monthly goal because this is the best year since I've tracked finishes yet! 

The theme for the fourth quarter is FINISH! This quarter, I'm shortening the number of projects on the list. I still find it helpful to make quarter lists because it helps me make the monthly list. I'm even considering writing a weekly list to help me be more successful with finishes. Breaking projects into sections has helped me make progress.

Tea quilt
Below is my plan for the last quarter of the year. 

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.

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.

With Gertie's help, let's see how many more finishes I can complete!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

September ReCap and October Goals

Tree skirt quilting--goal #6 for October
A recap of my September goals follows. I did finish the quilting on my challenge quilt which was goal number one. I totally finished the project which was TERRIFIC. I did begin the quilting on my Santa tree skirt. Hand stitching the back to the project took much longer than I had anticipated. That was goal number two. 

Goal number three was to make a challenge block. I did! Goal number four was to purchase more fabric and piece the last two squares into the lone star top. I purchased the fabric and have pieced the squares into the project. I have a top!

Challenge block
Goal number five was to get the center of my tea quilt into fabric. This didn't happen. 

Goal number six was to decide about making a baby quilt for charity. I went for it and have blocks made. 

Goal number seven was to make progress on the churn dash blocks with the farm theme. Miss J has spent a few sessions stitching sashing. She is spent at the end of the school day, so we will be making sew dates once her soccer season ends. It will be fun to spend a weekend morning or afternoon with her. 
Lone Star

Goal number eight was to finish the Frolic border and attach it to the top which I did. 

Goal nine was to catch up with the temperature quilt and stay on point with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. My fabric for the temperature quilt arrived.  I did make the August and September blocks. I've posted a photo of those two months! My ghost sewer stitched all of the orange strings blocks for September. Goal ten was to finish the handwork on the log cabin block which I did. 

Goal eleven was to quilt a day on Thomas and I actually quilted two days. I've now quilted seven quilts for the charity group. A guild member decided to purchase him so sadly, he will be moving to another location likely by the end of the month. I hope that there will be a send off party for him. 

August and September Temperature quilt
I completed ten of my eleven goals in September. I call that a great month! I also trained 51 participants in the American Heart Association Basic Life Support CPR program. 

To help me focus more on finishing, I joined Darlene at Devoted Quilter for her 100 day WIPs Be Gone challenge. You too can join. Check out: #wipsbegone2021 on instagram. For the first 25 days my plan is finish the challenge quilt, get the baby quilt quilted and at least make a top of the tea quilt. I am finding that actually working on the project makes it easier to get it to the finish! 

My plan for October is to:

1. Turn a couple kitchen towels into gifts. How odd will it be if the carrots are upside down?? I'm planning to cut them in half and add a contrasting fabric to the cut edge that will include a button so the piece can be secured over a towel rack or an oven door. Hmmmm, I might hem the new bottom edge. . . something to consider!

Baby quilt for charity

2. Finish the charity baby quilt. The flannels are mostly scraps. I pulled a backing from my stash and I've cut the binding.

3. Work on another small hand stitching project. 

4. Piece the backing for Frolic, piece the batting and get it to Christie to longarm. Last week, I did purchase the batting. I'm using wool.

RSC September blocks
5. Piece more string blocks from the January Saturday Workshop class that I taught. 

6. Finish the Santa tree skirt. I've begun the quilting and have selected a label.

Some October projects 
7. Piece the top for the "For All the Tea in China" quilt. Gertie's thought was to appliqué the Chinese word for tea on a background. Gertie is my inner squirrel. 

My thought was to use the crazy pieced blocks of silks. I pieced them for a border for another project. That project rejected them. It would be good to use them in this project since I purchased some of the silks in China when I traveled there about 2009. 

Tea quilt--The OMG
This is going to be my one monthly goal. Check out other peoples' goals at  Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal October Link-up I appreciate Patty having this link up as it has helped me make progress on languishing projects!

8. Continue glue basting the Butterfly. I haven't worked on this project in at least a quarter.

9. Keep up with the RSC and Temperature quilt. My ghost sewer has started piecing the lime green blocks which is the color for this month!

10. Begin a new baby quilt.

11. Work on piecing the flannel bear paw quilt. 

12. Begin collecting fabrics for the next Bonnie Hunter mystery.

13. Determine the borders for the lone star quilt. It is square and I'd like it to be rectangular so it could live on a bed!

14. Help Gertie, my inner squirrel, with a party on October 29. Stay tuned. Gertie tells me it is going to be FUN!

Again, I listed a lot of projects which is good for variety. I hope that I can continue forward progress! I'm also linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Regarding COVID: 

Worldwide: 219M cases; 4.55M deaths. United States: 43.6M cases; 701K deaths. Oregon: 332K cases; 3,815 deaths

In the United States, deaths have surpassed 700,000. According to a media report, the last 100,000 deaths came at a time when vaccinations were available for people over 12 years old. The majority of the deaths are unvaccinated people. Researchers believe that those vaccinated who contracted COVID were exposed by an unvaccinated person. An epidemiologist said that 90% of the deaths might have been prevented had there not been such a resistance to vaccinations. It is sad that so many families have lost someone close to them. 

In Oregon, the NW Quilt Expo show management reported that about half the number of people attended their show and that they broke even. (The show was last weekend.) Sixty one percent of the population is fully vaccinated and 66 percent of the population is partially vaccinated.


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Charity Baby Quilt and Challenge Block

Scraps for the project
 Fall retreaters, attending the Mt. Hood Quilters retreat which begins tomorrow, were asked to make a baby quilt for the community organization, Boxes of Love. In 2021, I've quilted five charity quilts on Thomas the longarm. I've completed four others on my domestic machine.  I had no desire to make another charity quilt. I did look through my baby quilt patterns; but none said "make me." Additionally, I am juggling other projects.

Laying out pieces for a block
One Saturday, I was spending a little time enjoying scrap projects on Cynthia's Oh Scrap link up. Gertie, my inner squirrel, saw a scrap block that she thought would work well in a baby quilt. 

She insisted that I check the reference link which took me to a tutorial through the Treadlestitches blog that Sylvia writes. I had to agree with Gertie, this block would be terrific.

I pulled a bag of Martha's juvenile flannel scraps. The scraps on the left side of the pile in the first photo were too small for this project. Many people would have tossed these; but, I will likely string piece those into strips to use in a future project. There were a few squares and a few strips that were the correct size for the block. It was serendipity. 

A finished block
I cut enough pieces for two blocks. I've learned it is good to begin with a trial block or two to test that I understand the directions. Testing also gives me an opportunity to see how well I like the block.

I decided that I would make a 36 inch square quilt which meant that I needed 36 blocks. I cut enough pieces to stitch six blocks. After I had completed the blocks, I repeated the process. 

Blocks arranged courtesy of Miss K
I find it helpful to cut a little and stitch a little. At times, I had to scrounge for more scraps in her flannel bits. In the end, I exercised creativity with the fabric combinations. I constructed 36 six inch blocks. It took me about four hours to make the blocks.

Picking the pattern and choosing the fabrics was goal number six on my September list. My ghost sewer arranged the blocks for me. I am so fortunate to have an ally on the quilting front! 

Over the next few days, my plan is to make the blocks into a top and begin quilting it it. I've left the blocks pretty much as my ghost sewer designed them. I do have some blocks that will have seams to match; but, I'm okay with matching a few seams. 

In retrospect, I could have told my ghost sewer about turning the block so that there weren't seams to match. She had fun arranging the blocks and sometimes rules/parameters get in the way of having fun. The fun factor this time was more important than matching seams!

My plan for the backing is to use flannel left from making my daughters' nightgowns when they were about my ghost sewer's age. There may be piecing involved of the back!

Completed challenge block

Also, I started and finished the challenge block for the Clark County Quilters guild. The theme is the northwest. When I was about 12 years old, my parents took us on a horseback vacation in the Wallowa mountains. We rode on trails to different mountain lakes and fished. 

I remember how blue the water was and the wonderful colors of the sun setting and rising each day. I also remember watching the fish jumping out of the water. A couple years ago, I drew and watercolored a fish that I used for a greeting card.

I redrew that image larger and pulled fabrics that spoke "fish." I had appliquéd it to the background and added some embroidery stitches to enhance the image. For the dorsal, pelvic and anal fins, I fussy cut a leaf fabric so the "veins" in the fins would be represented. 

Tomorrow, I'll mail the block to the challenge chair. Eventually, she will make the blocks into a quilt that the guild will sell chances to win it. The proceeds will go to a charity that the members have determined. This was goal number three on my September list

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Quilting the Challenge Quilt--One Monthly Goal Met and a FINISH!

One cornerstone sunshine quilted
Quilting texture and a curved design in the cornerstones were all the clues I had before I began the "fun" quilting on this piece. I picked three colors of Floriani 40 weight polyester gray threads from my stash. I looked at the quilt. I made some temperature blocks. I looked at the quilt. Honestly, I was stuck!

Gertie came to my rescue. She reminded me that I wanted to stitch a similar curved design in each cornerstone. I looked through my quilting rulers. I chalked some lines to get an idea how a design might look. I saw something that I liked so I quilted it.

I used a charcoal gray thread to quilt the design. I did use a ruler that I haven't had success in using in the past. I liked the thread and I liked the space that I could use later to quilt a little definition or shadow.
Ruler and stitched echos

Had I thought to place a piece of tape on the line of the ruler that I was using, I would have ripped less. In the end, I quilted all the spaces and I asked Gertie to be thinking about designs to place in some of the spaces. 

The reason I haven't had success with these rulers is that they have a post which often I end up banging into the back of the foot of my machine or I forget where the end of the ruler is until I find I can't move the project. Then I realize that I have one end of the ruler lodged against the side of the machine. 

Part of the inner border quilted
I bought the entire set of these Fine Line rulers based on another quilter saying they worked great for her. I wished I had tried them before buying!! Still I used three of them to quilt this project. Perhaps, there is hope that I will figure out how to use them after all! It is challenging to hold and position the longer rulers. The smaller rulers help me have better success at the quilting design.

Gertie, my inner squirrel, and I had a number of conferences regarding the best way to add texture to the borders. During one of our meetings, she mentioned she had heard that this was such a plain project. She asked if it was possible to ramp up the quilting so that it elevated the string piecing. I asked if I could figure out a design so that it too could add to the illusion of the project. Gertie liked my question and I liked her question. 

I thought about dividing the space so that if I were looking to the project from a height, each border would have a little different amount of the design showing. Then, I tried to quilt a line to divide the space. I couldn't hold the ruler. 
Design after the first border was quilted

I was in a car accident in 2009 where I was rear ended/shoved into the car in front of me; then rear ended/shoved into the car in front of me a second time. Over time, I've improved a lot; but, I have reduced feeling
in my fingers. I think I have a hold of something; but, I don't! I needed to figure out an alternate option to divide the space.

In the end, I used the blue wash away Clover marker, the ruler to mark the line. I quilted it with the walking foot and then I added three more lines of quilting to give more definition between the two areas. I did find that I needed to stitch with a white thread on the white fabric. 
The three borders and corner stone

Once I had defined the two areas; I free motion quilted some texture on the inside of the border. I followed up with quarter inch lines in the outer section of the border. I liked it. My plan then was to increase the free motion area in the other two borders while decreasing the straight line quilting area in the other two borders.

In the second border, I increased the curve depth which decreased the straight line quilting. I didn't follow a mathematical plan. If it looked good to my eye, I went with
it. (Gertie agreed!)
Auditioning more lines

It was challenging to mirror a similar curve to the first border; but, I feel I managed to get close. I did enjoy stretching my ability to combine motifs in the free motion areas. I'm still working to improve my ability to create an even area of dense and less dense quilting! I know that ability will come with more practice.

For the third border, I again decreased the straight line quilting. My thought was that if I were looking into the quilt, I would see more lines and less of the pattern. While I did enjoy the quilting process, it took, as my seven year old granddaughter would say, 
Cornerstone with additional lines
a L O N G time! 

Once I finished the border quilting, Gertie and I turned our attention to the corner stones. I tried a variation of a ribbon motif in the center of the shape; but, it didn't feel "right." I ended up adding texture similar to what I stitched in the borders. That quilting felt "right" and Gertie agreed with me. I was perplexed about how to treat the echo quilting around the shape. As it was, it felt like I hadn't finished. I quilted more lines and then it felt "right!" 

After, about fifty hours of quilting, I finished the quilting. I added the binding, label and sleeve. It measures 72 inches square. I had a FINISH! My friend, Martha, would have enjoyed seeing this finish. After all, I used her strings to make it!

This was goal number one on my September list. It was my One Monthly Goal! It was also goal number one on my third quarter goal list. I'm linking to Patty at Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - September Finish Link-up. I'm also linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun Than Housework

I used 13 yards of fabric from my stash for this project. I created about four yards of fabric from my strings! But, I've purchased six yards of fabric so I have a net loss of 16 1/4 yards of fabric from my stash this year.

You can read previous posts about this project. . 

Regarding COVID:
Finished quilt
Worldwide: 219M cases; 4.55M deaths
United States: 42.9M cases; 688K deaths
Oregon: 321K cases; 3,682 deaths

In spite of an increasing number of vaccinations, case numbers are still high. In Oregon, 66 percent have received one dose of the vaccine and 60 percent are fully vaccinated.  It is heartening to see the vaccination numbers increase each week. I wish the percentage were much higher. . .sigh.
A peak of the pieced back

A couple school districts in the state returned to online classes because of the high number of students out of class because of isolating from COVID exposure, testing positive for COVID or recovering from COVID. 

A classmate of my chiropractor's son, who is ten, tested positive for COVID. This knowledge caused him to be tested which turned out to be negative; but he still had to isolate and be retested last Friday. I hope he had a second negative result. 

The Northwest Quilting Expo show ended yesterday. I hear there were a lot of people attending and that all people were wearing masks properly. I didn't attend. I also hear it was a fabulous show. I am sorry that I didn't get to see it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Jingle Bell Block Exchange

Debbie, Ruth and Christie getting ready to swap blocks
In May, Debbie, one of the Mystery Mavens suggested that we do a block exchange while we between Bonnie Hunter mysteries. I haven't worked on Grassy Creek since the pattern reveal last January. I'm working to finish Frolic first. . .then, I'll get back into that project. Of course, I do plan to participate in the mystery when it actually begins in November! I digress. . . .

Regarding the block exchange, eight of us decided that we would make 24 Jingle Bell blocks and 24 hour class blocks. We said we would use our stash and scraps and that we would use complimentary colors. We also agreed that we our blocks would measure 8 1/2 inches square for the JingleBell blocks and 4 1/2 inches square for the hour glass blocks. You can read my post about the blocks here. We picked September 20th as the day for our exchange.

My blocks
We thought that we would be sewing in person by now; but, with the COVID cases and hospitalizations high in our area, we are continuing to meet via Zoom. We held our exchange on my patio. One person had to opt out because she broke her ankle, had surgery and is recovering. Two other people made blocks and said to pass them out among those participating because life wasn't going to let them put the blocks together. One person sent their blocks with another member. So in the end, we had four people actually at the exchange. 

We divided the blocks into six sets. One set of blocks is going to the woman with the injured ankle. She is going to be surprised that she will be able to play with us after all. We have generous members in our group! I'm not sure when I'll get to my blocks or what they will turn out to be. 

We wore masks; but, we still had some space for giggles. I look forward to playing with these blocks!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Frolic is a top! (post 10)

Cutting and stitching more HSTs
In my last post about this project, I was making more half square triangles (HSTs) for the zig zag border. In that post, I thought that I had cut enough pieces to be finished with that step. Alas, I was incorrect. I needed lots more! In the end, I had leftover red HSTs. Those extras will go into the parts department for a future project. 

Stitching the sections together took me much longer than I had anticipated. To keep the boredom at bay and to keep me progressing with the project, Gertie, my inner squirrel, suggested that I figure out the corner design. 

As I worked through the design, I determined that I would need to do a bit of unstitching so that I started and ended the zig zag in the same color. Unstitching is my most unfavorite of quilting tasks, but, it wasn't a long seam and there weren't a bunch to tackle. It wasn't the daunting task unstitching can be.

Planning the corner
As I finished stitching a long section of the border, I laid it next to the top. After I had stitched the first side of the pieced border together, I measured to see what width the inner border would be. Lucky for me, it needed to be one inch finished. 

At the guild parking lot sale in July, I picked up about two-thirds of a yard of a white on white neutral fabric. This was the fabric I used to cut the inner border strips. 

Auditioning the outer border
I stitched the remaining sides of the pieced border and laid them next to the top. My corner design wouldn't work. I let the project rest overnight. The following day, I saw the issue. I had oriented the zig points inward in my corner design and outward on my top. Changing the orientation was an easy fix. I like the more color option better.

I stay stitched along the outer edge of the top. Stay stitching supports the bias edge from stretching out of shape. I used some of my grandmother's thread to stitch around the outer edge of the top. In every project, I like to add a little of my grandma who taught me how to sew! 

Trimming the top

This top is too big to lay flat anywhere in my house. For auditioning purposes, I folded it in half. After I determined the layout was going to work, I trimmed the top. Mostly, I was able to save the points during the trimming phase. I did not save the leftover crumbs!

Gertie found a HST of one block that was turned incorrectly. I did a little unsewing and resewing to correct the oops.  (Any other mistakes. . . .well, I'm not going to notice!)

The next step was to add the inner border. Gertie was telling me that I would have this step complete in no time. Her time schedule and mine didn't sync! I sewed two sides on before dinner and before I called it a day!

Finished top
The top measured about 110 inches square before I added the inner border. Two sides went on easily and two sides needed a little easing. With so many pieces in this project, the little bit of easing was much less than I thought that there might be. 

After adding the inner border, the top measured 112 inches square. It took me a couple more sewing sessions before I finally finished attaching the pieced borders. There was no easing of the pieced borders! I have no idea how that happened; but, I found stitching the border was easy! 

The top measures 120 1/2 x 120 1/2. I like it. I LOVE that I have a top. This was goal number eight on my September list. Goal number four on my third quarter list was to finish the border and I exceeded that goal! I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Now to figure out the backing. The original backing fabric I chose for this project was almost six yards. That was a good start. I did locate another fabric from stash that may work as well. I'll need a 128 inch square piece of backing! 

Miss J with one row of blocks and sashing together
I want to use a wool batting and will see if I can purchase a chunk from a roll so that I only will need to piece one side of the batting. I've located a source for the batting. I also connected with Christie, from my Mystery Mavens group, who is willing to quilt a project this large. We've exchanged a number of e-mails regarding thread and the edge to edge quilting pattern. I will likely piece the batting and backing next month. I'm excited that she is excited to quilt it for me! This will be the first project that I haven't quilted myself! 

Miss J happier to have two rows stitched together
On another note, Miss J was over yesterday and stitched some rows of her churn dash blocks together. I posted about this project here. She was excited when she could put a whole row on the design wall!

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 219M cases; 4.55M deaths United States: 42M cases; 674K deaths Oregon: 310K cases; 3,569 deaths

In Oregon, the projection is that the cases and deaths due to COVID will decline soon. In other words, we are at our peak. The hospitals continue to operate at near capacity. Friday, the media reported that there were 58 ICU beds available and 369 regular beds available in the state. Unvaccinated people continue to make up the greatest percentage of those hospitalized. Hospital staffs continue to be stretched beyond capacity. Vaccination numbers are: 60 percent are fully vaccinated; 66 percent have received one dose. 

The Mt. Hood quilt guild did hold their meeting in person last Tuesday. I and about 20 other people attended via Zoom. We were told that 50 members attended in person. There are almost 200 guild members. From the brief pan of the audience, it didn't look like chairs were six feet apart. People speaking passed the microphone from one to another. The main speaker removed her mask during her presentation. I hope all those attending remain safe from COVID. The Zoom part was awful. You could hear the speaker; but, couldn't see much. It looked like the speaker was a white light. Maybe next month will be better. Although, my impression of the zoom group to the in person group was we weren't important enough to follow up. I hope I was incorrect.

Working at the hospital and having grandchildren who aren't old enough to be vaccinated likely skews my view regarding safe behavior to not contract COVID. I hear over and over from hospital staff, "I never would have thought we would be back in this situation after the vaccinations became available." I am so careful with cleaning touched surfaces at work as well as ensuring each person coming into the room and leaving the room sanitizes their hands. I'm exhausted by the end of the shift. I so want to go out, to travel, to be maskless and to enjoy being social. However, I remain cautious about my activities. I don't want to contract COVID nor would I want to inadvertently pass it on to my grandchildren. The mantra get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance to kick COVD's butt seems simple to me.