Wednesday, March 31, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 28, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 127M cases; 2.78M deaths

United States: 30.2M cases; 548K deaths

Oregon: 164K cases; 2,386 deaths

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Spring--Eighth Finish 1st Quarter 2021

The embroidery for the project

Our book club read, "A Single Thread" by Tracy Chevalier this quarter. I enjoyed learning about the bell ringers of Winchester cathedral as well as the needle women who stitched kneelers. I like reading historical fiction.

While I was working on finishing my "Summer" wall hanging, I thought it would have been a good choice for this book; but, another book, "The Vinegar Girl" by Anne Tyler was the inspiration behind that wall hanging. I decided that I would stitch a second wall hanging and call it "Spring."

Two borders almost stitched
In the Chevalier book, the character finds working the stitches therapeutic. She meets new friends and she ultimately finds a purpose for her life. I thought spring when the first blooms appearing after a dark winter would be a good starting theme for me. The pansy embroidery seemed a great choice for the project. I definitely find stitching therapeutic!!

Auditioning a binding
This time, I wanted to make the wall hanging a bit larger. I thought about a checkerboard border; but, instead opted to paper piece strings using the colors that were in the embroidery. Sometimes, I repeated fabrics and sometimes I didn't. There wasn't a plan and perhaps, I repeated a fabric because there was another piece of it. The strings are mostly from my friend Martha's stash. Yes, there is a piece of my granddaughter's skirt because she is dear to me!

After I pieced two sections of the string border which finishes at three inches wide, I squared the embroidery and auditioned the string border. I liked what I saw. I stitched a couple more string borders. Then I sewed them in place.

Close up of the embroidery
English gardens can be formal; but, they can also be informal. I like the informal ones best. I like plants tucked in almost on top of one another. Pansies blooming next to daffodil shoots developing into blossoms which give way to a later blooming plant. I enjoy gardens that have color year around.

Quilting can be a formal and an informal process. One can use a few fabrics or a lot. Of late, I've been letting the design process happen. I've been playing with the parts and letting them speak to me. . .although sometimes, I disagree with I'm hearing. Sometimes, I miss the message all together! I'm liking the results of being spontaneous.

 Once I stitched the borders, I auditioned a fabric for the binding. While it is a fine choice, I decided that I didn't want to "fence" in my garden so I decided that I would finish the project with a facing. I also wanted to hand embroider "Spring" on the project. 

Quilt back
Again, the lettering is from my hand. I wrote "Spring" a number of different ways until I had one that I liked. Using a pencil, I lightly traced this the option to the project. In other words, I didn't use a particular font or enhance the image in some way. I used a stem stitch to embroider "Spring." Mary Corbet has a great tutorial on how to stitch the stem stitch. I do like this stitch because of the way the stitches are formed, tight curves look beautiful.

I used another of Cindy Needham's stencils from her Ultimate Background Stencil collection for quilting the background of the pansy. I used two layers of batting because I wanted a lot of definition in the pansy background. 

Once I had drawn the pattern, it looked too formal so I opted to place a few lines to denote an area for dense quilting around the word and the embroidery. Having an area of dense quilting will draw my eye into the piece. The shape sort of reminds me of a bell.  Perhaps, I will linger a bit when I walk by this piece when it hangs on the wall! I 

also opted to draw those lines organically because I like the result better than trying to achieve a formal balance.

Using a blue 50 weight cotton thread, I quilted the curved grid lines. Using a light blue silk thread, I quilted a stipple around the embroidery motif and letters. Using a cream silk thread, I quilted pebbles between the letters. Using a 50 weight cotton thread, I quilted straight lines in the border.

After I finished quilting, I soaked the piece to remove the marking lines. I did use a little Dawn dish detergent. Again, it took a long time for the marker to disappear; but, it did. I blocked it. I created a label and I stitched a sleeve. I cut the strips for the facing and applied it to the edge of the quilt. The facing fabric is leftover bits from a project long ago. . .pre 2000! I still have a little left; but, much less! It went well with the backing that I picked up from the free table.
Quilt front

This is another project where all the supplies used were on hand and mostly scraps. I have some needles and thread as an expense. I used 3/4 yard of fabric. This brings the total yards of stash used this year to negative 1/4 of a yard. This was goal number four on my March plan. This was goal number nine on my 1st quarter list. It is my eighth finish for the quarter.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Joyful-Seventh Finish 1st Quarter 2021

The pieces
One of the activities at the virtual retreat, that ends later today, was a challenge quilt contest. We were to make and finish a small quilt--no smaller than 8x10 and no larger than 11x14 inches that represented us. We couldn't use a photograph, we couldn't use something that was lifelike. 

I wanted to participate so I thought about my quilting of late. I made a short list: use scraps, use leftovers from the parts department, enjoy machine quilting, like hand stitching something in the project, like to try something new in a project. 

An early arrangement of the pieces
I thought about what quilting means to me. During this pandemic, quilting allowed me to exercise my brain and it kept my fingers occupied. Quilting gave me the chance to experiment and to connect with friends through zoom. Creating makes me happy. Being happy while you are home waiting for "ordinary" to return, was a feeling many others did not have. I am thankful to quilt. When I complete a project or have success with a new to me technique, I feel joyful and exuberance. I liken the feeling to playing outside in the rain when I was in elementary school. Catching rain from the sky on my tongue, splashing through puddles made me laugh.

Figure representing stomping puddles
I thought about projects. I could string piecing a star on a placemat. I looked at the parts in the parts department. I thought about putting machine speciality stitches along with quilting stitches and some trims on a piece of fabric. I thought about piecing some 1 1/2 inch squares together then appliquéing a flower on top of the squares. I thought about using the Summer wall hanging I recently finished. . .measurement was too big. I thought about using the Spring wall hanging had close to a finish. The day I received the information about the challenge, I had pieced a string border around the embroidery making it too large.

I sketched shapes in my sketchbook. . .then, I had a thought. In Martha's scraps were some curved pieced fabrics. I wondered if I could make a happy piece out of those. I don't know if these parts were practice pieces or if the parts were trimmed pieces from other blocks. I don't remember Martha working on a project in these fabrics.

Auditioning a face fabric
I played with the pieces as if they were puzzle pieces. I put them together in a myriad of ways. I took photos with my cell phone to be able to review the various options. In one arrangement, I thought the center resembled a child playing outside on a gray day.

The child and playing outside made me think of splashing through puddles so I played a little more with the arrangement until I found a layout that represented more movement and expressed pure joy.

Once I had my layout, I determined that I needed a face. I thought about machine stitching an outline; but, decided a face would be better. I tried a comic style face; but, decided I wanted to try a more realistic face. 

Drawing faces
A sketch artist, I am not. I looked at early sketches of young children on the internet. I made a pencil sketch and I liked it. However, the orientation was wrong and the face was too large. 

The next sketch I made, I placed the paper on top of the block pieces and drew a line from the head to the body. This helped me with the orientation; but, the head was too large. As I redrew the head, I tried to refine the lines to keep the face young looking. I redrew the head several times until it was a good size for the project. 

Appliquéd face
With a sharpie pen, I darkened the lines of the drawing. The darkened lines would make it easier to transfer the image to fabric. I auditioned fabrics for the face. Peach, tan, cream, four shades of pink, two shades of brown and one yellow. The yellow was the winner.

Using a pencil and a light hand, I transferred the image to the fabric. I cut out the image with a scant quarter inch seam allowance and appliquéd it to the top of one of the curved blocks. 

Ready for quilting
While I am pleased with the appliqué, it was challenging to needle turn the edges under while refining the facial elements. In the end I was successful. I started piecing sections of the block together. I trimmed the excess parts of the block. I added the bits to other parts of the block that needed to be filled.

I did wish that I had made the face a quarter of an inch shorter after I had sewn the block together. However, I did have a small piece of the pink batik that I could use to make a trim for the hood. I took the block apart, inserted the trim and restitched the block. I liked the addition. 

The face is in better proportion to the rest of the figure. I squared the block. It measured about six inches wide by about eight inches high. I was ready to audition fabrics for the border.

Finished back
I tried a pink, a green, a grey, a floral print. . all not the one. Then I tried the bubble or dot fabric that I used to bind "Little Bits." That fabric seemed to tell me that it wanted to be the border. It must have been the correct choice because there was just enough to place the fabric around the block to keep the design in the fabric as well as get the design to about 11 inches wide by 14 inches tall. I was ecstatic! My story is the bubble print represents the stomped splashes. . .although, in real life, this splash would be mud!!

I used the leftover facial fabric for the backing. It is what I used to back my New Beginnings quilt. It also came from Martha's stash. I layered and basted the project for quilting. As I was pin basting, I decided that I would call this project "Joy." I also reminded myself to enjoy the journey.

Using a 100 weight polyester thread, I quilted in the ditch. Using the circle template, I quilted circles in the outer border. I quilted slanted lines with a metallic thread to represent rain and I quilted a puddle so the rain had a chance to pool. I quilted paisleys in the pink and added hair
and and eye. I liked it. I added a black single fold binding. I addd a little micron pen to give my figure lips and called it finished!

I used about half a yard of fabric. I purchased nothing for the project and used leftover batting, backing and scraps to complete the project. I have now used negative one yards of fabric from my stash. This is finish number 11 on my quarter goal list. It is my seventh finish this quarter. It went together fairly quickly. 

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

Regarding COVID:

Finished front
Worldwide: 122M cases; 2.69M deaths

United States: 29.7M cases; 540K deaths

Oregon: 161K cases; 2,369 deaths

Everywhere, the number of hospitalized COVID cases continue to drop as do the number of deaths. However, as more people are vaccinated and social distancing protocols are relaxed, the number of cases are beginning to rise. We are being cautioned to continue wearing a mask and to social distance even though signs of normalcy are beginning to return. In Oregon, it is still a challenge to get an appointment for the vaccine.

At the end of the month, Oregon schools grade K-6 will be open to in person students. The remaining grades will follow about a week later. (Parents still have the opportunity to continue with online learning.) 

At the hospital where I work, there was a small ceremony marking the last year of living with COVID. Last week, it was reported that there was one COVID patient being treated. Over the last year, I learned that 100 employees contracted COVID. I learned that staff treated 282 COVID cases and 63 patients died. While I'm sad for the families of those 63 patients, I'm also happy for the families of the 219 patients. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Stringing Selvages--Sixth Finish for the 1st Quarter 2021

Lining and outer fabric ready for assembly
I've been collecting selvages for years. I've saved selvage examples to my Pinterest board. I've made a couple ruler totes, a lot of pincushions and a block with selvages. I haven't made a quilt using selvages. 

I've pieced the selvages on a muslin foundation. The foundation works well; but, it makes the product bulkier. When I constructed the door block, I glued basted the selvages. That process worked well. Glue basting also allowed me to line up the selvages and keep them from wiggling when I stitched them. Glue basting takes time.

In the Saturday workshop class, we pieced selvages together and made selvage fabric. The teacher used a fabric foundation. Instead of using muslin as a foundation or glue basting the selvages, I used newsprint as my foundation. This was the first time that I had pieced selvages on newsprint. 

My method, when string piecing, is to place a strip in the center of the foundation and add pieces on either side of that strip. This method is the most efficient because I can sew twice as many pieces before moving from the piecing station to the press station. 

View of the top of the bag
The Saturday Workshop teacher, however, suggested starting the piecing at one corner of the block. I tried this method. It was easy to position the woven edge of the selvage over the previous piece and topstitch. During class, I pieced four blocks that were 7 1/2 inches square. Removing the paper was easy. I would  repeat this process. 

With my selvage fabric, I decided to make a simple bag. At a virtual retreat last fall, in one of the activities, we were given a zipper, access to a handout, lining fabric and a demonstration of how to make a simple bag.  I decided to use that red zipper in this project.

In the top photo you can see the lining pieces with pockets and the outer pieces. I approached this bag making project with no pattern and no directions. I picked up a bunch of tips in the process. For example, the pockets should be a couple inches up from the bottom of the bag. Otherwise, the pockets end up on the bottom of the bag. 

The lining needs to be between a half inch and an inch shorter than the outer bag. Otherwise, the lining puddles in the bottom of the bag. The zipper placket needs to be a minimum of one inch shorter than the width of the bag. Otherwise, the zipper placket will be too long! 

View of the side of the bag
The seam finish that encloses the zipper placket edges needs to be wider than 1 1/2 so that it can be doubled. Next time, I'd try a 2 1/2 wide strip. These were painful lessons because I spent a lot of time ripping and resewing. I could have abandoned the project; but, I wanted to see it finished.

Regarding the zipper placket, I made a second placket. I decided I could use the first placket in a second bag. In this case, it was easier to start again as opposed to ripping the stitches to trim the placket a couple inches. I used leftover scraps from the previous Camelback Carryall bag projects for the pockets and some of the trim pieces. 

In the end, I finished! I like it. It is about ten inches wide by six inches tall. I used about half a yard of scraps/selvages, a scrap of wool batting and two of my grandmother's stash zippers. The green one was marked 55 cents! The blue one wasn't in a package. It was also a zipper that would have been put in the side of a garment. It worked great for the pocket.

I have now used negative 1.5 yards of fabric from my stash. This is my sixth finish for the quarter. Finishing the three Camel Carryall bags and this selvage bag was goal number one on my March monthly list.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Green String Blocks--March RSC Complete

Some of the strings available for the blocks
Green is the color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for March. Green is a color that is abundant in my strings, scraps and stash. I knew I would have no problem pulling enough materials for the dozen string blocks that are my goal for each month of the challenge. 

I find piecing four blocks at a time is a good number. I can easily work through four blocks and see results fairly quickly. Seeing the results is the part I most enjoy! I find that having a variety of fabrics in the color of the month produces more interesting blocks.

In these blocks, there are a variety of greens: olive, lime, grass, spring, pastel, blue green, sage, moss, yellow green . .well, you get the idea that I've used it all! In one of my small group Zoom sew days, I was asked if I used only tone on tone or solid fabrics for this process. My answer. . Nope!

Finished blocks and removed paper  
There are batiks, tone on tones, Christmas, novelty, landscape, florals and geometric print fabrics in the blocks. If the strip is the correct length, I sew it into the block! I don't pay too much attention to what fabric is next to each other. I do make a feeble attempt at varying strip widths. Although, if all my strings were the same width, I believe the blocks would look fine. I like using strings that vary
from 3/4 of an inch to about two inches wide. Although, I have a few strings in these blocks that are wider than two inches.

Four blocks using a variety of green fabrics
In another small group that I Zoom with the first Sunday of the month, one of the gals commented that she doesn't deal with a string that is narrower than 1 1/2 inches. Some of her strings are five inches wide. She makes lots of string quilts and finishes tops much faster than I do. Her string quilts are dynamic looking too. String piecing parameters contain a wide range of factors which makes piecing strings attractive in many quilt patterns. 

I LOVE sewing these bits into useable blocks. I like these green blocks just as much as I liked the January and February blocks! The pile on my cutting table came from Martha's string baskets. She would shake her head in disbelief that of all the fabrics in her studio, the strings were what came home with me! I believe had I not taken these strings, they would have ended up in the landfill.

Finished 12 green blocks
Over a couple afternoons, I pieced a dozen blocks. My pile of green strings is smaller; but, not completely used. My husband would say that I left some "seed stock" behind so that I could make more blocks later. He says this about cookies too. He rarely will eat the last cookie because he is concerned it will be just that. . .the last cookie!

Next month, I'll cut more neutral fabrics; but that will be easy! In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the view of these green blocks! I'm linking to Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun Than Housework and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 119M cases; 2.65M deaths

United States: 29.4M cases; 532K deaths

Oregon: 159K cases; 2,328 deaths

President Biden reported this week that the vaccine will be available to all people beginning May 1. The Oregon governor, Kate Brown, said on Friday, that the timetable for will remain in place which means all people will be eligible for the vaccine in July.

Regarding the vaccine, I've received an e-mail for the person that I'm helping to get an appointment for the vaccine. The only option available to her right now is to go where she doesn't want to go. I check in with a several pharmacy chains every morning; but, so far, there have been no appointments available. As of Friday, 800,000 Oregonians have received at least the first dose of the vaccine. At this rate, it will be July before the remaining 3.4 million state residents have a chance to get the vaccine. 

We are still cautioned to continue wearing masks and social distancing. The governor said that if we stay the course, it is likely families can gather for the 4th of July. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Camelback Carryall Bags--Fifth Finish 1st Quarter

First completed bag

Sunday, I started stitching the  Camelback Carryall bags. This is a Janine Babich pattern. I've had it for a number of years. I've made at least four bags; but, that was when I first purchased the pattern. The pattern calls for two fat quarters, fusible batting, interfacing, thread and a 12 inch zipper. I've had the fabrics and zippers sorted to make three bags for years in a basket. I decided this month was the month to turn the fabric into bags!

Quilting around the motifs

The first bag that I stitched helped me get reacquainted with the pattern, the sewing terms as well as the process of sewing a bag. I quilted the fabric with an overall circular free motion design.

The bags, that I had previously made, had tabs which I found helpful to open and close the zipper. I decided to include the tabs on these bags. I also liked using the tabs as a handle to move the bag. The pattern calls for ribbon tabs; but, I prefer the fabric tabs.

For the second bag, I quilted around the cats. If you want to improve your free motion skills, quilting around the motifs in a fabric is a good skill building process. Between the motifs, I stitched some loops. 

Zipper placket of second bag
For the second bag, I used batting instead of interfacing for the zipper placket. I cut the batting half of the width of the placket. I pinned the batting to wrong side of one edge of the placket. I folded the other edge to the pinned edge and pinned all three layers together. The pinning helped the batting to stay centered in the placket.

Quilting detail of the second bag and lining
I liked the results better using the batting because the weight of the placket matched the body of the bag. For all of the bags, I used a scrap of thin polyester batting. It wasn't fusible; but, it work great to give the bag a bit of shape without becoming too poofy.  I like using what I have on hand! 

When I layered my fabrics to quilt the body of the bag, I laid the bag template on the fabrics and traced a line about three eighths of inch larger than the template. I have found that quilting draws the fabric up about that much. I also have found that it is faster to quilt a smaller item and easier to "reclaim" the leftover fabrics if there aren't a bunch of quilting stitches in the layers!

Quilting in the body of the third bag
I also topstitched a few lines the width of the presser foot on the placket. I liked the texture that the few lines of topstitching gave to the bag. I also edge stitched the seam away from the placket on the second bag. (On the first bag, I edge stitched the seam toward the placket.) 

I forgot to insert the tabs which I made a little shorter and a little wider on the second bag, when I stitched the zipper placket to the bag body. I stitched them in place like a belt loop instead. I like the look of stitching the tab into place before adding the placket.  

Quilting in the lining of the third bag
On the third bag, I used my walking foot to quilt straight lines. I used a sulky rayon thread in the needle and a cotton thread in the bobbin. I used a 2.75 stitch length and I stitched diagonal lines the width of the pressure foot. I liked the texture the straight lines produced on this bag. I liked experimenting with different machine quilting techniques. 

Many people avoid machine quilting. This is the part of the process I enjoy the most. I don't do a lot of quilting with my walking foot. This year, I decided that I would play more with the walking foot. The stitch length is sure easier to achieve consistency when the feed dogs are pulling the fabric through the machine as opposed to my hands moving the fabric though the machine!

Three finished bags
For the other bags, I used cotton thread in both the bobbin and the needle. In all the bags, I matched the thread color to the fabric as closely as possible. I also used an overlock type of stitch on my Bernina to finish the edge of the seam where the zipper placket attached to the body of the bag.

For all of the bags, I added a piece of ribbon to the zipper pull to make opening and closing the zipper an easier task. These ribbons came from the guild free table. The zippers are from my grandmother's stash. The prices marked on the zippers ranged from 15 cents to 75 cents! The fat quarters were given to me so the only "real" cost of materials in this project was the thread! 

During Zoom sews with a couple of my small groups this week, I finished the three bags. I used one and half yards of fabric which brings my total use of stash this year to negative two yards. This is my fifth finish this quarter and goal number eight on my first quarter list

It is great to finish the three bags. Likely the bags will become vessels for holding gifts. My granddaughters would like bags one and two. My teacher daughter would like bag three. Now. . .what to put in the bags? I like them all. They were fun to stitch and it was fun to try different techniques on each bag. I imagine that I'll make more of these bags as I think that they would make good hostess gifts. For now though, I'm happy to have emptied a little project bag!

I've the selvage bag yet to make to meet goal number one for March. I may stitch that soon. I am planning to finish paper piecing the green string blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge next.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Summer Wall Hanging Finished--Fourth Finish of 1st Quarter 2021

Detail of hand embroidery
Originally, I had planned to complete this project as a pillow. When I would get the materials out to complete the pillow, it didn't feel right. I decided to make it into a wall hanging. That decision felt right. Last month, I finished the hand embroidery for the pillow that wanted to be a wall hanging. I also completed the machine quilting. 

Clamshell marking
I'm glad that I listened to what it wanted! I added a border using blocks from my "parts department." The parts department is a box that holds leftover bits from past projects. There are a lot of HSTs in that box. I need to consult this box more often to use parts!

For the hand embroidery, I lightly penciled the word, "Summer" under the machine embroidery. I used three strands of floss to form the whipped backstitch. In the detail photo, you can see the dimension adding the thread to the backstitch created . I learned this stitch from Mary Corbet over at Needle and Thread. She has lots of tutorials of which the whipped backstitch is one.

Detail of the background quilting
After I had the top together, I added a clam shell quilting design in the background. I used the medium sized stencil from Cindy Needham's Ultimate Stencil Collection. For marking on light fabrics, I use a blue ink wash out marker. Unfortunately, it was dry. 

I tried a yellow Crayola wash out marker. It was too light for me to see. I tried a green marker. It was easy to see. I was concerned about the Crayola marker washing out; but, if it stayed, perhaps, it could be part of the design. I remember purchasing the blue washout marker just before the pandemic began. I purchased the Crayola markers more than five years ago! I found it interesting that the Crayola markers had plenty of ink after all that time!

Although I planned to leave a space around the design, I did mark with the stencil into the design to ensure that leaving a space between the embroidery and the background was the choice I had in mind.

I used a cream cotton thread and stitched in the ditch of every seam and around the embroidery designs. As I stitched, it became clear that leaving a little space between the embroidery and the clamshell background was a good idea. I quilted a second line about a quarter of an inch outside of the embroideries to complete the space.

Using a yellow silk thread, I stitched the clamshell design. I used a cream cotton thread and stitched the background of the embroiders. I also stitched a couple of places in the flower to give the embroiders a little dimension. One place I stitched was around the brown center and another place I stitched was down the center of the leaves.

Once I had completed the quilting, I soaked the piece in cold water watching to see if the green marks would disappear. It took time. . .like half an hour; but, all of the
marks did wash away. I used a Shout Color Catcher and the color catcher did capture the green color from the markers. I did use a little Dawn detergent in the process. I will use Crayola markers again to mark a quilt top. Although, I will test first to be sure the markers will completely wash away.

After the piece dried, I added the yellow binding. This is the same bias tape that I used to embellish the project. It came from my grandmother's sewing supplies. It finished at one quarter of an inch! I did hand stitch it in place. I'm glad I used the bias tape because it adds an element of interest to the project.

The label came from my stash too. I used an 80/20 batting as stabilizer for my embroidery. It worked well and I would do that again. I put the entire project on a leftover piece of wool batting. I like the texture that two layers of batting provide.  I'm glad it talked me out of being a pillow. I like it much better as a wall hanging.

It measurers about 12 inches square. I used about half a yard of fabric to construct the project. All the supplies for this project came from stash. All of the fabrics are scraps from other projects. I'm linking to Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

I have now used -3.5 yards of fabric from my stash this year. (Last weekend, I purchased a couple yards of grey fabric which I hope will become sashing in my temperature quilt. The temperature quilt, however, is a story for another post!)  This project is my fourth finish this year. It was number ten on my first quarter finish list

It is also a book club quilt. I was inspired to make a bridal bouquet after reading the novel, "Vinegar Girl" by Anne Tyler. It is a quick read. The hour glass blocks in the outer border represent the time factor in the story.

Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 116M cases; 2.59M deaths
United States: 29M cases; 524K deaths
Oregon: 157K cases; 2,303 deaths
The number of cases and the number of deaths continues to drop in areas where mask wearing and social distancing protocols are followed. In many places, it is still challenging to get on the list to receive a vaccine. Vaccines are going into arms. Some states have relaxed mask wearing guidelines. Those states are seeing a rise in cases. Oregon isn't one of those states. This week, the Oregon governor  mandated that grades K-5 to be back to school by March 29, 2021. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

March Plan and One Monthly Goal (OMG)

Four bag projects to make and a wall hanging to finish
I don't know where January and February disappeared; but, now it is March! I've put some thought in my plan for the month. I completed most of my February plan and I'd like to repeat that success in March!

This is the last month of the first quarter. In reviewing my goals for the quarter, I have had a plan to make some bags for more quarters than I remember. It is time to make progress on that project. 

Quilt this flannel project--my OMG
1. I plan to stitch three camel back bags and one selvage fabric bag. The selvage bag is going to be of my own design! Surely stitching one bag a week is doable, so this is the first item on my March list.

2.  Quilt one of the flannel quilts that I pinned last month. I'm making this my one monthly goal. I pieced this top out of Martha's scraps at the beginning of the pandemic. It felt good to be piecing without having a plan. It felt good to be using up the flannel scrap bag that kept spilling its contents! It will feel great when it is quilted! I am linking to Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal March Link-up

3. Finish a piece of embroidery into a small wall hanging. Last month, I quilted it. I've a binding, sleeve and label to add before it is a finish.

4. Finish a second piece of embroidery into a small wall hanging. I think it could become a nice wall hanging to represent Spring as well as be the project inspired by our book club's latest book. It's been hanging about my studio for years.

The start of a wall hanging
5.-8. Continue progress on various on going projects. Number five is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Each month we make a block or a few blocks or series of blocks in the monthly color. This month the color is green! I'm enjoying participating in the challenge. People post the most interesting projects on the Saturday link up where I'm inspired over and over again. 

Number six is to continue piecing my Temperature quilt. I've managed to keep pace and have completed the first two months of the year. Number seven is to work on the embroidery software lessons. 

Number eight is to continue progress on Frolic. Now that I have finished stitching the blocks; it is time to make a plan for the borders. I want to be able to put this quilt either on a king bed or a California king bed.