Sunday, August 29, 2021

Progress on the Log Cabin Block

Starting view at the beginning of August
Stitch number one is a running stitch. Stitch number two is a cross stitch. Stitch number three is a stab stitch and stitch number four is a whipped back stitch. I added the stem stitch (stitch number five) and the back stitch (stitch number six). These stitches I did in the January workshop or soon after. The workshop was using embroidery stitches as embellishment.

At least three evenings a week, I'd look at this project and say. . ."not tonight." Or, I'd pick it up and say, "Hmmm what should I do next?" This past week, Gertie, my inner squirrel, told me to review the stitches in my book and "Get On With IT!" I took her advice. It worked. I made progress.

The book I used for reviewing stitches was "Just Designs"  by Lesley Turpin. I purchased it around 1996; but, I see that there are used copies available on line that range in price between four and eight dollars. I purchased it because there are beautiful examples of designs worked in silk ribbon.

Book for stitch inspiration
I also reviewed stitch tutorials on Mary Corbett's Needle-n-Thread website. Now that I've stitched a few more sections of the "logs," I feel like I am on a roll. Changing thread to incorporate the pink and tan from the center blog felt better to me. Gertie loves color.  She was immediately on board with adding color to the block!

I took this project as handwork to do on my breaks during work last week. I started to berate myself for not bringing a pen or pencil to mark a line in the center of the log. 

Gertie, who was sitting on my shoulder, whispered in my ear, " It's organic. Eye ball where the center is and call it great!" I liked that approach. I liked the depth the pink thread added to the look of the block. Stitch number seven is the wheatear stitch with a colonial knot and stitch number eight is the whipped running stitch. I used pink thread to complete these stitches.

Stitches one through six
Using the tan thread to stitch on the cream logs felt like a good choice. I decided to stitch an organic chain. 

That afternoon, the granddaughters were over for a short visit. They immediately recognized the chain stitch. They were interested in how I formed it. So I showed them. The older granddaughter wanted to stitch it. Any time, a granddaughter has an interest in a sewing related technique or task, I'm on board to let them experience it.

Stitches six and seven
She liked stitching it and immediately made a thumbnail sketch of a potential quilt project using the stitch! I don't know if she will pursue her idea; but she tells me she wants to learn more stitches! I love the thought of creating an embroidery sampler with her!

I have finished  half of the stitching. I plan to finish the stitching next month! I am pleased with the progress that I made. This was goal number three on my August list.

I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun Than Housework since my log cabin block is scraps!

Regarding COVID:

Chain stitching
Worldwide: 216M cases; 4.49M deaths                                            United States: 38.8M cases; 637K deaths                                          Oregon: 265K cases; 3,112 deaths

Cases and deaths continue to rise at alarming rates throughout the world. Two Oregon counties, Tillamook and Josephine,  have requested refrigerated trucks to hold the bodies because the funeral homes in those counties have exceeded their limit.  

We chose not to attend college football games this fall season. The rules we received were as follows:
To enter the stadium, you need to show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative COVID test within the last three days. You will remain fully masked for the entire game.

Miss K having a go at chain stitching
We decided to credit our ticket purchases to next year as we don't feel comfortable sitting shoulder to shoulder in a group, even with masks, for four plus hours. Surely, next year will be better.

One of the participants in the BLS skill sessions told me that one of her patients had passed from COVID an hour before her skill session. I can't imagine how hard it would be to not be able to heal a patient and still have hours to go before your shift ended.

Progress at the end of the month
This week at one area hospital, there were about 19 COVID patients. Seven were on ventilators. Two of the 19 patents were vaccinated. Twenty-two staff were out with COVID. No information was given regarding the vaccination status of the staff. Staffing is critical. Staff from other areas of the that hospital system are being diverted to help at the hospital which had 97 patients. One hundred to 110 was considered a full house.

With the FDA giving full approval to Pfizer vaccine this week, already there is a shift in requirements for entering venues and some workplaces have placed a six week deadline to become vaccinated or be unemployed.

One of the doctors, who completed his CPR skill test last Spring, said because there was such a divide over becoming vaccinated and if the number of people getting vaccinated  didn't increase dramatically, the number of COVID cases was going to get much higher before the number lessened. Sadly, he was correct in his prediction.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Challenge Quilt Is Stitched in the Ditch--August OMG Achieved!!!

Outer border

Ten minutes here, 30 minutes there, an hour here, twenty minutes there was how I accomplished finishing stitching in the ditch on my string quilt. Stitching this project in the ditch was my One Monthly Goal. I'm linking to:
Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - August Finish Link-up 

This month, I entered it in the Clark County Quilters guild quilt show. In spite of the rise of COVID cases, plans for an in person show are moving forward. The show is scheduled for October 21-23. It is possible to submit a photo of the entry in progress! 

Of course, then there is the pressure of actually finishing the quilt before it is due to be hung in the show! It is difficult to see the quilting from the front; but it is possible to see the texture the ditch quilting creates. It is easier to see the quilting from the back of the quilt.

I used the walking foot for the long borders and the open toe darning foot for the string piecing. I find that my hands tire quicker than they have in the past with pushing and pulling the fabric when free motion quilting with the darning foot. 

View of the back of the quilt
With the long borders, I used the walking foot. The machine pulls the fabric. Of course, I still "get" to pull the mass through the machine harp to start the next section; but that process seemed to agree better with my body! I used Superior's monofilament thread in the needle and a 60 weight black Aurafil cotton thread in the bobbin.

Next month, my goal is to add the texture quilting. Christina Cameli spoke about texture quilting at the guild a couple months ago. The day after she spoke, I looked up her texture quilting book at the local library and placed a hold to check it out. I was tenth in line when I requested it. She spoke in June. Last week, I noted that I'm first in the queue so it should be available soon. 

Ditch quilting completed
Gertie, my inner squirrel, hopes to review it before I start the fun quilting on my challenge quilt. She thinks she will be able to tell me what I should quilt in the spaces around the string piecing.  Let's see what happens!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Cross Stitched Duck--First Finish 3rd Quarter

Cross stitch kit
This cross stitch project has been on my to do list several times and for a number of quarters over the last few years. My friend, Martha, had two of these in her stash. I finished and posted about the first one, May 3, 2020! This is the third project from the little basket of projects that I have finished. I plan to work on embellishing the log cabin block with embroidery stitches next as I started that project last January!

I have a friend that I plan to gift the first project to in December. I have another friend that I plan to gift the second project to at the end of September. 

The kit contained plenty of threads to stitch the picture. This time, I worked to slant all my stitches to the left as that is what it looks like in the directions. I've made some needlepoint projects and those stitches were all supposed to slant to the right!

Finished cross stitch design
Over four days, I worked on this project. I haven't done much cross stitch; but, there has to be some hack/hint to track the stitches better. There were a number of times that I realized that I was off a stitch or two and so I got to unstitch and restitch the section. Consequently, the
unstitching and restitching add to the hours that it took to finish this project! Gertie, my inner squirrel, convinced me that I'd finish the project in a few hours. Her time was way under estimated!

I decided to make it into the refrigerator magnet. I'm happy to have finished it. I do like having small handwork projects for the evenings and to take with me when I travel. (After our coast trip, Gertie is ready to travel more. I, however, am not!) Our county fair was this week, I entered the finished magnet and won a third place ribbon! 

This was goal number four on my August list. I didn't mention this project on my third quarter goal list!
Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 211M cases; 4.42M deaths
United States: 37.7M cases; 628K deaths
Oregon: 253K cases, 3,033 deaths

Finished as a refrigerator magnet
In Oregon, the governor is requiring all K-12 educators and staff as well as all healthcare workers to be vaccinated by October 18 or by six weeks after full FDA approval of the vaccine. Yes, there is an exemption allowed for religious or medical reasons which has to be approved. Workers not complying with the requirement will lose their jobs, the media reported on Thursday. 

Elective surgeries are again being postponed because there is no space/staff to provide care. Wednesday, 2,941 new cases of COVID were reported. This is the record number ever reported in a day. This number surpassed the previous high which was reported last November. Eighty-six percent of those cases are unvaccinated. The number of breakthrough cases is rising at 14 percent; but less than six percent of the those cases end up in the hospital. Likely, more than immunocompromised individuals will be encouraged to receive a booster shot.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Making Progress on Frolic Border (post 9)

This week, I pulled out the components to make more half square triangles for the Frolic border. It's been about a month since I last worked on this project. I took some time to reacquaint myself with the process I had been following.
Components in the making of the zig zag border

When I know it is going to be some time before I get back to a project, I leave a trail of parts in process so I can "remember" what I was doing! I had few raspberry type fabrics so I cut more parts. I scrounged my leftover bits from the quilt and found a few more blue fabrics. 

At the end of my sewing session, I had pieced five more sections. I still have more to piece; but, less than when I started! Perhaps before the end of the month, I'll get another five six sections pieced. Then it will be time to see how many more pieces and sections I need to finish the border!

The reason I pieced a strip of four zig zags was I knew that I would use all of the HSTs I made at the start of the project. Since this project is bigger than the original design, I would need more HSTs. I used scrap fabrics which I've stitched into the project. Using up is great! I've pulled more strips from my "collection." I plan to sprinkle those in between the sections I've already pieced to retain a sort of randomness in the border.

Stitched sections

Gertie, my inner squirrel, wants to know what white inner border fabric I've selected. I haven't thought about the size or the fabric. She has been asking how I'm going to deal with the corners. She has ideas. I'm glad she has ideas. I told her that when I stitch enough sections to fit the outer edge, "we" will consider her ideas. She's excited. 

This was goal number two on my August list.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Lone Star--Out of Time Out (post 2)

Pinning the intersections
I had planned to begin piecing the Santa tree skirt that I cut out months ago. I wanted to use all of my ironing station to layout the block sections. This Lone Star project, however, was in the way because it was resting on the half of the station. 

I started this Lone Star project in a Saturday Workshop last January. I posted about my progress at the end of April. I could put it away which would mean out of sight, out of mind. Or, I could finish piecing the strips together. I decided to finish piecing the strips.

Why I stopped working on the Lone Star was that I was having difficulty matching the intersections. All the ripping and restitching was painful so I put the project in time out! I figured three months was a long enough break.

Auditioning  a variety of colors and tones
This time, I again placed a tic mark on the quarter inch mark at the seams. I pinned the seams together. Then I basted each intersection. If I needed to readjust the fabric, I had six to ten stitches to remove. When I had basted all of the intersections in a strip, I stitched it. This process, while taking some time, worked better for me. Along the way, I did manage to flip a few pairs and sew the wrong edges together. I did get to rip a bunch of long seams. Sigh. . .

The good news was that I did get myself back on track. It was nice to see the pairs of strips come together to reveal a whole star leg! When I pulled the fabrics from my stash for this project, I planned a cream fabric for the setting squares and triangles. The teacher commented that it would work. I thought cream because I could do some fun pattern with the quilting. Other class participants set their lone stars into bold prints while others used fabrics that read as a solid in purples, grays and blues. Perhaps, cream was boring and perhaps, choosing a fabric with color would make this project feel more modern. 

Half of the design
Since my goal is to use from stash, I looked through what I have on hand. Sometimes, I'll audition a fabric that isn't enough.That fabric will be a color I like which is helpful when I go to shop for the fabric. In my head, I thought a bluish purple or an orange. . .well, neither of those were the "one." I went to the local quilt shop and found a blue that seemed to want to be "the one." I bought it!

Picking the fabric for setting squares and triangles was goal number eight on my July goal list. I reviewed YouTube videos about figuring the math for the triangles and squares as well as setting the triangles and squares into the star legs. I cut the setting triangles; but, I didn't have enough fabric to cut all of the setting squares. I needed about 23 inches to cut each square so I wasn't able to cut two squares out of each width of fabric. I was short two squares of fabric. I'll purchase more fabric next week to finish setting the squares. 

When I laid out the star legs, I discovered that the striped center configuration was not pleasing to my eye. I hadn't considered how not fussy cutting the stripes would alter the look of the project. I rotated the legs until I could see a swirl in the center of the star. The movement, draws my eye to the center of the quilt. That center, by the way, went together perfectly! 
Set in corner

I was curious how the blue would look as the background fabric. I was also curious about how well I could set in those triangles and squares. Sometimes Y seams can be "fiddly!" Regarding the latter, the videos helped with the setting in process. I had no issues with those often dreaded Y seams. It does lie flat although it doesn't look like it from the photo! 

Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think of my background fabric choice. It sure is bold! I love the joyful feeling the blue gives to the project.

I'm linking to Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. Please visit and enjoy all the scrappy projects!

Regarding COVID: 
Worldwide: 207M cases; 4.36M deaths
United States: 36.7M cases; 621K deaths
Oregon: 238K cases; 2,958 deaths

In Oregon, the COVID cases and hospitalizations are rising at such an alarming rate that the governor mandated mask wearing indoors again. The southern portion of the state has exceeded hospital capacity. Elective surgeries are once again being canceled. The national guard is setting up field hospitals to handle the case loads. The cases are more than 90% unvaccinated people. Sixty-two percent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Fifty-seven percent of the population is fully vaccinated. 

Two more squares to piece
When I was at the library earlier this week, there were two maskless ladies manning a table in the foyer. They were available to answer questions about the vaccine and to share locations where to receive the vaccine. Because I was masked, they assumed I was unvaccinated. When I explained that I had been fully vaccinated since January, I watched them sit straighter in their chairs. When I explained that I worked in a hospital, their eyes widened. 

One asked, why are you wearing a mask and why are you standing six feet away from us? I replied, because people not wearing a mask are either vaccinated or not. I continued, "While the adults in my immediate family are fully vaccinated, my grandchildren are not old enough to be vaccinated. I wouldn't want to inadvertently pass COVID to them nor would I want to inadvertently pass the virus to any of my co-workers." (I watched their eyebrows shoot up toward their hairlines at the conclusion of my comment.)

One perfect center

There are more and more cases of vaccinated people testing positive for COVID. Yes, they are sick; but, thankfully they are generally not sick enough to need hospital care. Some people have been carriers of the virus. In other words, they have been infected with the virus but not shown any symptoms of it. They didn't get sick; but, passed it to members in their household/pod who did get sick and have symptoms. 

The college aged son of a police officer came down with the virus. All in the family were fully vaccinated. Through testing, the police officer dad had the virus; but showed no symptoms. The other two family members never tested positive. 

The fully vaccinated daughter of a quilting friend came down with the delta variant. She works in an outdoor environment and has no idea where she contracted it. Two days later, her dad who has a number of underlying health issues, exhibited symptoms and tested positive for the variant. Two days after her dad's symptoms, her mom exhibited symptoms and tested positive for the variant. All were sick. The dad exhibited the most severe symptoms. So far, her unvaccinated children are not exhibiting COVID symptoms. After two weeks, all are feeling better. Thanks to the vaccine, none in that multi-generational household needed hospital care. 

Wearing a mask, especially on hot days, is uncomfortable; but, it is preferable to not contracting the virus. I'll continue to avoid groups and if I choose to attend an activity, I will be wearing a mask.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Making Lemonade. . .A Tree Skirt Update

Stitching around the outer edge
In my last post about this project, I was ready to assemble and attach the ruffle to the tree skirt. There was a lot of fabric to gather so that process took some time. I pinned and machine basted the ruffle to the edge of the tree skirt. Then it was time to layer the fabrics and stitch around the edge leaving a space to turn the project. I had hand basted the edge because if there is fullness, the hand basting helps to have less opportunities to stitch tucks into the seam. 

When I turned the project, I learned that I had incorrectly layered the batting. I should have had it on the top of the sandwich instead of in the middle. . .What was I thinking??? Now my batting was on the outside of the project..

Because I had trimmed away the batting and trimmed all the seams, ripping the stitching around the edge and starting over would not work well. I now had a lemon on my hands. I've made at least four of these tree skirts and I'm not a rookie stitcher so I beat myself up for making that error. 

Gertie, my inner squirrel, hollered at me to stop berating myself. She suggested that I press the top and to pin another backing to the project. She thought that I could hand stitch the back to the top. I decided that I would give that process a try.

View of hand stitching ahead of me.
I trimmed away the initial backing that was now a layer in the center of project so that the piece wouldn't be so heavy. I also decided that I would turn under a scant quarter
of an inch on the sides of the backing so I had a solid edge to pin to the backing and so that I had a solid edge to stitch to the front! My plan is to hand stitch the backing during evening visits with my daughter. 

I made progress on this project which was goal number nine on my August list. I'm pleased that I didn't abandon the project. This is one time that I had to thank Gertie for keeping me on track with this project because I sure derailed myself! Gertie told me that I owe her one now! Oh Boy!! I can't imagine what adventure she will be up to next! 

The majority of my basting pins are in my challenge quilt. Yesterday, I spent some time ditch quilting that project. I freed enough pins to baste this tree skirt project. Today, I'll pin baste the layers to ensure less shifting of the layers as I stitch the backing. It will all work out. I'm happy to have taken the lemons that I created for myself and made lemonade!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Aqua String Blocks--Rainbow Scrap Challenge Complete

Aqua fabrics--leftover from Frolic
This is the first time that I've cut strips from leftover chunks of fabric for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC). The fabrics came from my Frolic project. (It's one of my goals this month to make progress on piecing the border!)

I cut a bunch of strips in a variety of widths. I did group the strips together to ensure that I had one of each fabric in a group. It would have been terrific if I had two or three more fabrics in this group; but, I didn't. I'm okay with using what I had. The idea behind this quilt is to use what I have!

The pile of possibilities
I also cut a bunch of neutral strips. I probably have enough neutral strips cut to piece the next couple of months! I had quite a pile to start.

As I pieced, I wondered how the selection of fewer fabrics would look when I was finished with the piecing. For the first time this year since Angela at So Scrappy announced the color of the month, I pieced all of the blocks in one day. I was inspired to see how the blocks looked all together!

When I was finished and I had trimmed the blocks, I was not disappointed with the results. I love these blocks! This was goal number five on my August list. I'm linking to Anglela at SoScrappy! I'm also linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

This past week, my daughters, granddaughters, husband and myself, spent time at the coast. One morning, we drove 40 minutes along the coast to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. We arrived a few minutes before it opened and already there were people waiting in line. We wore masks; but, there was no social distancing. There was a lot of people not wearing masks too. 

Finished blocks
The last time I was at the aquarium was when our daughters were about the same age as the granddaughters. A lot has changed since I was there last. I still enjoyed the jelly fish exhibit as much as I did the first time! The closeness of all the people--masked and unmasked--made me feel uncomfortable. There were more people wearing masks than not; but, being in such a large group made me uncomfortable. I don't know when I will feel okay being amongst so many people!

We rented a house that faced the beach. We took walks on the beach early in the morning and early in the evening. We cooked wonderful meals, played pinochle and visited. A banana with peanut butter for breakfast this morning seems so bare after the spreads that were prepared during the week!

Some members of our group went shopping; but, the aquarium was my only outing! I was tempted to stop at a quilt shop for Gertie, my inner squirrel; but, the granddaughters weren't interested in a b-o-r-i-n-g quilt shop! I didn't push the issue. I enjoyed watching the waves and walking along the beach. I was also ready to come home and return to my solitary life! (How sad is that?)
View of the beach from our rental

Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 201M cases; 4.27M deaths
United States: 35.8M cases; 616M deaths
Oregon: 227K cases, 2,915 deaths

In Oregon, last month there were more than 4,200 COVID cases. Of those, 81 percent of those infected were not vaccinated. There were also 55 deaths. Ninety-one percent of the victims were not vaccinated. Research is showing that the all of the vaccines stop the virus from mutating. It is being reported that soon the FDA will give full approval to ALL of the vaccines. After the full approval occurs, I wonder how long it will be before those who have refrained from becoming vaccinated change their tune or if organizations, businesses and employers will mandate all who enter must be vaccinated. The new normal definitely continues to be different.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

July Recap and August One Monthly Goal (OMG)

Month of July blocks for Temperature quilt
In July, I worked another ten days! I helped 62 participants earn their American Heart Basic Life Support CPR certification and I helped four people earn their Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor certification. Additionally, I spent two days learning a little bit about Thomas, the longarm. I quilted two charity quilts on Thomas. This was goal number seven on my July list.

I met my OMG which was to string piece the fabrics I needed for my challenge quilt.  Gertie, my inner squirrel, encouraged me to keep stitching after I had pieced all of the strips. I have completed the top. Piecing the strips was goal number one! It was awesome to be an over achiever!

One Monthly Goal

Goal number two was to begin piecing the Santa tree skirt. At a Sit and Sew on Zoom, I pieced about half of the Santa blocks in about five hours. A few days before I started the piecing, Gertie, diverted my attention. She had been whispering in my ear to spend time stitching the lone star strips together on the project that I began last January. I caved. I had to agree with her as I was over having that project in my line of sight and taking up room on the ironing surface day after day. Gertie's "nudge" helped me finish piecing the star legs! 

Goal three and four
Goal number three was to finish the leggings for the granddaughters which I did. Actually, the youngest granddaughter stitched her own pair of leggings with my supervision. I appreciated the assistance. Anytime that I can stitch with a granddaughter is a great day! 

I was successful with goal number four which was to piece a few border blocks for Frolic to see if I liked my idea. I kept up with piecing blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and the temperature quilt which was goal number five. Goal number six was to think about a design for the next book club quilt and I have an idea. I met ALL of my goals for July which was GREAT! 

For August, again, I'm trying to hold back Gertie's exuberance and to set attainable goals. My daughter from London is here for a long visit and I want to be able to spend time with her and the family. 

Goal five string piece blocks in aqua 
On August 1, I pieced the back, layered and pin basted the challenge quilt. I plan to begin the quilting process and at least have the ditch quilting finished by the end of the month. This is going to be my One Monthly Goal and goal number one.

I'm linking to:
Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal August Link-up Please visit the link and see all the other awe inspiring goals that people have listed.  

Goal eight figure out the background fabric
Goal number two is to continue piecing the border for Frolic.

Goal number three is make progress on my log cabin block.

Goal number four is to work on the cross stitch goose.

Goal number five is keep up with the temperature quilt blocks and the RainbowScrap Challenge. Aqua is the color this month.

Goal number six is to start working on the book club project. 

Goal number seven is to quilt one day on Thomas, the longarm.

Goal number eight is to figure out the background fabric for my Lone Star project. The pictured fabrics weren't the "one!"

Goal number nine is to make more progress on the Santa tree skirt.