Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2021 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Block Layout

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

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

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

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

 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Longarming the Fourth Flannel Quilt--Finished!

The top before quilting

Leaf pattern
I made an appointment to longarm this quilt. It had been about two months since I last had an experience on a longarm.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that the session would go well.  I envisioned that I had forgotten a lot! I took two variegated threads as possibilities to quilt the project. One was a variegated 40 weight polyester because the colors were like what was in the top. The second was a variegated cotton thread in shades of purple. 

Thread options
I used the variegated polyester thread. I purchased this cone of polyester Rainbows/pinata by SuperiorTthreads at a quilt show in 2012. I liked it in the project that I chose for it; but, didn't find that it was a "go to" thread until this year. I've used it in at least three projects! Now that I'm seeing its worth, I'll be purchasing a
replacement cone!

I used a Pellon brand of 80 percent cotton and 20 percent polyester batting. I quilted it with a leaf design. I liked the point on the leaves because the points reminded me of the points on the bear paw blocks.

Quilting pattern
It took a long time to get the tension adjusted. Flannel front, flannel back along with the batting made the project extra thick. I loved the texture the quilting created. I also loved how nicely the variegated polyester thread played with all of the fabrics in the top. I ran out of the bobbin during a quilting pass once. I had no thread breaks. 

I did forget how to do some parts of the process; but, I remembered a lot more than I thought I would! It took me seven hours to quilt this flannel quilt. I'm calling it "Bear Paw." I used about 11 yards of fabric in this project. This brings the total of fabric I've used from my stash this year to 32 1/4 yards. I figure I have about $350 and 102 hours invested in this quilt.

I practiced improving my machine binding skills. It was a little better experience; but, I've still a long way to go! The top measured 76 x 91 inches. After it was quilted, it measured 73 x 88 inches. After it was washed and dried, it measured 70 x 85 inches. Flannel shrinks a lot. I hope it will still be a good size for a six foot guy!

Trimming the edges
My dear husband shipped the package a week ago Monday. The package arrived a week ago Tuesday which I thought was amazingly fast given this time of year. It traveled from the Portland, Oregon area to the Seattle, Washington area.

The graduate was flying home from Washington D.C. later on Tuesday. I have received photos of him opening the package and from the body language in the photos, I can tell that he loves it! 

I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. This was goal number four on my December list. It was goal number 12 on my Fourth Quarter list

Label
This project was also my One Monthly Goal with Patty at Elm Street Quilts. Please click on Cynthia's and Patty's links to enjoy a lot of eye candy! I completed my monthly goal every month this year. That is an accomplishment in itself! I thank Patty for being the inspiration behind my success. I couldn't have done it without her!  Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - December Finish Link-up

Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 279M cases; 5.39M deaths
United States: 52M cases; 815K deaths
Oregon: 411K cases; 5,598 deaths

Texture after washing
I hope you are all having a Merry Christmas today no matter your circumstances. Some of my friends had to change their holiday plans because either someone was exposed to or contracted COVID or the threat of a winter storm kept people from traveling. At least this year, it is possible to get together with family and friends. While in person is the best, a Zoom session is better than a phone call. Before COVID, I had no idea of a Zoom session. Now I use it about one to two times a week.

It is disheartening to see people in long lines waiting to be tested. It is disheartening that there is a test kit shortage. This COVID is hanging around much too long! 

This morning, I heard the jingle of Santa's bells and caught site of him just as he was finishing his delivery at the neighbor's house. He looked like he was ready for Mrs. Clause's dinner and a long nap!

Quilt back
I've baked the cinnamon rolls my husband made yesterday. Soon, they will be cool enough to eat. I also baked a pecan pie which is my husband and my son in law's favorite pie. My daughter and granddaughter prefer a fruit pie so I baked a gooseberry and blueberry pie for them. As for my preference, I'm an equal opportunity pie eater. . .if it is a piece of pie, I like it!

Our daughter and son-in-law are cooking dinner. We are looking forward to playing with the grand daughters and their new toys. I look forward to seeing all of their Christmas decorations and hearing if they caught Santa delivering their packages or not.
Quilt front

About the time dinner is planned to be served, snow is supposed to fall. I like white Christmases. Those happen rarely here. When they do, the driving conditions are treacherous because people aren't used to driving in those conditions and because there is often ice or freezing rain that accompanies the snowfall. I hope we have no ice.

Last night marked the fifth anniversary of my dad's passing. I can't believe it has been five years as it seems like it was last year. I think fondly of him often.  He loved the season of Christmas. In addition to giving gifts and watching the recipient open the gifts, he loved the Christmas tree. He would sit for hours enjoying the lights while sipping a beverage!



















Wednesday, December 22, 2021

"Embellished Cabin"--A Finish

Thread selection
I finished free motion quilting the log cabin block with a variety of threads. I was inspired to finish this block after reading "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng. I began this project last January in a Saturday Workshop through one of the guilds that I am a member.


I also used a variety of filler stitches. 

More filler stitches 
For the binding, I pulled the backing to the front. I wanted to carry the embroidery into the binding. I ended up making a straight stitch about every inch. Then I pulled the stitch tight to create a bit of texture.

Detail of binding
For the label, I filled in a pre-printed one. 

Label
The sleeve was a leftover from a previous project. I love it when that happens! I used the same thread in the bobbin for all the quilting. It's the rust colored thread in the first photo. I love my Bernina for the tension. There isn't one stitch on the back that would let you know what color of thread is on the front.

View of finished back

In the end, I used about a quarter of a yard of fabric. This brings the total yards of stash used to 21 1/4 yards. The project measurers about 12 inches by 12 inches. This was goal number 14 on my December goal list. It was goal number seven on my fourth quarter list.

Finished front




Sunday, December 19, 2021

"String" of Lightening. . .Quilting in Progress

Fun fabric
When I last posted about this project, I had pulled three chunks from my stash to use to piece the back. I pieced the back. I checked my batting scraps. One of the chunks was this "Bee Positive" fabric. I am grateful that I have the time and the ability to sew and to create quilting projects! The light green was a fabric I used as bag lining for a couple of totes. The dark green fabric I used in several projects. I like using my old friends in new projects. I reminisce often about where those fabrics were in the past!

Pieced back fabrics
Regarding batting, I had a couple "chunks that I was able to piece together for a large enough piece to layer. I use all of my batting scraps. I piece even small bits together. A placemat, a bag, a mug rug or a handle for a kitchen towel is a good place for this sort of batting. The trimmings and too small pieces end up as stuffing for pillows and other projects.

Pin basting in process
I spent part of Monday morning, pin basting the layers together. I've started to quilt in the ditch. This was goal number 12 on my December goal list. It was goal number nine on my Fourth Quarter goal list

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

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 272M cases; 5.35M deaths

United States: 50.7M cases; 805K deaths

Oregon: 405K; 5,531 deaths

All over the world, COVID rates are rising. Media reports continue to conclude that the omicron variant is seven times more contagious than previous variants of COVID.

 On Friday, the Oregon governor painted a bleak picture. She forecasted that by February 2022 COVID hospitalizations would exceed 3,000 which would be surpass the previous record number of hospitalizations by more than 2.5 times. The news is disheartening. 

The get vaccinated/get your booster/wear a mask/social distance mantra hasn't worked although the message remains the same. I feel for all of those on the front lines. They have been through the worst and are about to return to even deeper trenches. We are all exhausted. Please keep yourself safe.


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Rhododendron Trail--post 1

So far, I'm keeping up with the clues for the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt this year. Okay. . .we've had three clues! Still, keeping up while balancing work and the demands of season is a win for me. Week one, we made half square triangles.

Clue #1

Week two, we made flying geese.

Clue #2

Week three, we added more wings to the geese. Let's see what the clue is for Friday!

Clue #3

I've gone rogue with the colors. My red is Bonnie's pink, my white is her yellow and my navy is her neutral. This was goal number two on my December list.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Piecing A Back

Selection of possibilities
Before I put the flannel scraps away from the bear paw top, I decided that I would cut and sew the binding strips together. I also pieced the back for the quilt. This is the fourth flannel quilt that I've made from my friend Martha's flannel scraps that were suited for an adult. Many quilters purchase wide backs or purchase a special fabric for the back. 

Often, I hear, my fellow quilters lament about having to piece a back. I hear that they don't have the time to prep and stitch the pieces. I hear them comment that pressing long seams isn't fun for them. They will make a trip to the local quilt shops to purchase a wide back.

Camping print on the flannel
I, on the other hand, prefer to use the scraps from the front in the back. There have been times when I've liked the back better than the front. One time, I seriously considered a back as a separate project because I liked it so well. The only reason I didn't make that back a front was that I didn't need to add an additional project to my list!

When I was purchasing some background fabric for this project, Gertie, my inner squirrel spied a camping fabric that worked well with the theme. I immediately thought it was perfect for the back. I bought all that was available. It was about a yard so I knew that I'd be piecing more fabrics to make it work!

Piecing the bits together
I actually enjoy piecing a back. I piece the small bits together. These small bits usually end up in the center of the back because I don't want the small pieces and many seams on the outer edge of the back.

I begin the process on the design wall. When the design grows too large for the wall, I move the units to the floor or to the bed. My goal is to elevate the pieces from leftover bits to intentional accents. The best part of using the bits is that more of the fabric is used in the quilt and fewer scraps end up returning to my stash!

Since I'm planning to longarm this project, I used 3/8 inch seam allowances. I know that others use 1/2 inch seam allowances. When I piece a back that I'm going to quilt on my domestic machine, I use 1/4 inch seam allowances. If possible, I press the seam allowances open; but, sometimes, I press the seam allowances in opposing directions. I don't worry about "matching" seams. 

A string insertion and a dark chunk example
I lay out the bits in a way to get the most coverage out them as well as using as many bits as I can. I often work in quadrants. When two quadrants are full, I'll stitch  them together to create a half. Then I'll stitch the two halves together.

These scraps lent themselves better to piecing the leftovers into three sections. Every back is different. Sometimes, I needed a string to get the "chunk" to the size that will fit into the design. Sometimes I needed a "chunk" of a leftover to fill in a section. I always enjoy watching the pile of scraps dwindle as the back takes shape!

By the time I had finished piecing the back, I had a small bag of strings left. I'll piece them into strips at some point. Perhaps, the bit of black, the couple strips of maroon and the cream flannel chunks will be the start of a new and final project. Honestly, I'm not that keen sewing with flannel!  So I truly look forward to the END of it!
Section of backing

I measured the back and realized that I needed it to be slightly larger.  Fortunately, 
the chunk of leftover black was still available. There was more than enough so I pieced an additional strip on the outer edge of one side of the back.  I like that the back could be a front.  

It took me a couple afternoons to piece this back. I'm slowly moving toward meeting my One Monthly Goal. I want to send this quilt to its recipient before the end of the month. I need to stay on track!
 
The leftovers
Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 269M cases; 5.3M deaths
United States: 49.8M cases; 796K deaths
Oregon: 400K cases; 5,381 deaths

My granddaughters received their second dose of the vaccine last Monday. The youngest one felt off the following day and played it low key. Two days later, they were both back in their "normal" range. Sixty-five percent of the population is fully vaccinated and 73 percent have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. It is a slow process. There remains such a divide in the state between those supporting the vaccination program and those who don't.



Wednesday, December 8, 2021

More Kitchen Towels. . . Six!

Towels and auditioning fabric

I picked up this pack of three towels because I liked the color and design combination. They were different from the plain colored towels that I have worked with in the past. I looked in my stash for a fabric that went with the towels. . .my reds were too blue and my greens weren't yellow enough! Gertie, my inner squirrel, thought we might go shopping until I picked up a leftover from the lone star top. It was perfect. I did note the red I had purchased to border Miss J's churn dash would have worked well too!

This time, I drew the handle pattern from a previously finished kitchen towel. The handle was a bit wider than the towels that Gertie and I made for the give away towels in October. I cut out the handles and a layer of batting. I sewed the handles and turned them right side out. Then I cut the towels apart and gathered the upper edge. I had considered adding some rick rack to the towels; but, I decided that I liked the towels more plain this time. I added the handles to the gathered edge of the towel and top stitched the handle. I added a button and buttonhole. Wella. . .I had six finishes! 

Finished Towels
These will be gifted during the holidays. Honestly, I could and will make a bunch more! I've a few linen towels in my stash. That project will be a good diversion sometime next year! This was goal number ten on my December list. I used about a quarter yard of fabric which brings my total used from stash this year to 21 yards.


Sunday, December 5, 2021

String-A-Long--Post 3

Selection of strings for 2 1/2 inch strips
I continued to paper piece the strings together. I was curious how many units would come from that gallon bag. I was also curious how long it took to piece a section of "string" fabric. It took me about an hour to piece two 11 inch squares and two 3 1/2 inch by 20 inch strips. As for the number of strings. . .I pieced enough to make nine 3 1/2 inch by 40 inch strips. From there, I've pieced 72 blocks. (I have two 11 inch squares and 3 1/2  partial strip leftover from stitching the strips to the background fabric. I estimate that I will be able to stitch another 18 blocks.)

Selection of fabrics
That gallon bag also contained strings that were 2 1/2 inches long. I pieced those into strips too. I pieced four 40 inch strips. My friend, Martha, liked to make Chinese coin quilts. I cut the remaining chunks into squares for my scrap savers system in 2 1/2  inch or 2 inch or 1 1/2 inch squares. Those strips will be the border. Any leftovers will go into another project.

There were also a lot of triangles and six reject curved pieced blocks in the bag. I put the triangles in a separate bag. I have a plan for those triangles later. The reject blocks I made into a mini quilt I named "Joyful."  

In October, when the date of a virtual quilt retreat approached, I decided this was one of the projects that I wanted to move forward. During the retreat, I pieced more blocks. I ended up with 104 blocks. I thought that I would take some time and play with different ways to layout the blocks. 

When I was piecing the strings, I had planned an asymmetrical layout. As I began laying out the blocks, Gertie, my inner squirrel, was whispering in my ear that she liked this lightening design better. She had a point. 

Such a variety of colors and prints in these strings
We get along so much better these days now that we are working together! She suggested a few names for the quilt which was also helpful. "Strings of Lightening" was my favorite of her options.

When we were on a family trip to Australia, I happened upon an art exhibit that was lines. It was so beautiful. Until that point, I hadn't thought of a line much more than wonky, curved or straight! I explored a little bit with line and made several quilts. I had planned to add other projects to that series.  Instead, I got side tracked and played with other techniques. This project will be added to that series though because Gertie insists! 

Quilt layout
In November, I pieced the blocks together. I pressed the horizontal seams open because there was too much bulk at the points of the design. 

The gallon bag netted enough strings to piece 104 blocks. It also produced some "thought" blocks that I used to audition my ideas at the beginning of the process. I made some of the "thought" blocks using a different method of constructing half square triangles. 

There are hour glass blocks that came about from cutting the first angle of the strip. Likely, the hour glass blocks and other HST blocks will become their own project simply because of the bulk a bunch of them would provide on the back of the quilt. It was my intent to use them on the back.


Auditioning borders and binding options
That gallon bag also produced more than enough 2 1/2 inch fabric for a border. Those strings came from the leftovers of making the string fabric. I'll have some "seed stock" for a future coin quilt.Truly, it all is getting used! Gertie told me that the border contributes positively to the design. I agreed and added it to the top.

Last week, when it came time to sew the string border, I decided to miter the corners so that the corners weren't where vertical lines nested next to horizontal lines. 

Mitering is a fiddly process; but, not a difficult process. With the uneven widths of strings, you get what you get in the corners. There is no matching of the lines in the border fabric. I liked the border best with the mitered corners. I did need to add a few inches so I had enough fabric to stitch the miters; but, that didn't take long!

Detail of mitered corner

The neutral fabric will also become the binding. This top measurers 47 x 47 inches. I found some bits in my stash to audition for backing. 

It is terrific to make a useable item from bits that would have ended up in a landfill. It feels great to have made some progress on this project since it's been sitting in a bag in my line of sight for almost a year! 

I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. Be sure to check that link as those who link provide me so much inspiration on how they've used scraps! 

Finished top
Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 265M cases; 5.25M deaths

United States: 49M cases; 787K deaths

Oregon: 392K cases; 5,186 deaths

Omicron is a new variant from South Africa that is being touted as more contagious than previous strains. It is already spreading through the United States. Travel restrictions are increasing. Those with connections trying to stop the spread of COVID, continue to plea for eligible people to become fully vaccinated and to get their booster.

Selection of chunks to become a back. . .maybe
Monday, I received my Moderna booster through the hospital where I work. It was half of the dose of the same vaccine I had received earlier. The first day, I had a sore arm. The second day, I had a sore arm which became hot around the injection site. I also felt tired. The third day, the soreness of my arm lessened. The hotness increased and an itching sensation appeared. On the fourth day, I added a headache to my symptoms. By the sixth day, the symptoms had greatly lessened. Truly, I had fewer symptoms than with my second dose. I am glad to be current.

I will continue to be careful and to wear my mask. Being vaccinated doesn't mean that I can't come down with COVID.



Wednesday, December 1, 2021

November ReCap and December Goals

Finish Frolic
My November goals were to:

✔1. Finish the "Tea" Quilt.

✔2. Piece the borders for the Lone Star

✔3. Make a special gift for my granddaughter's birthday.

4. Figure out the layout for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.

✔5. Machine embroider the names of the months for my Temperature quilt.

✔6. Work on the fourth flannel quilt.

✔7. Work on the small hand stitching project.

8. Finish Frolic.

✔9. Keep up with the Bonnie Hunter 2021 mystery.

Temperature block and hand stitching project
10. Finish the log cabin project.

11. Piece the string blocks into a top.

12. Work on a new baby quilt.

✔13. Spend time gluing the butterfly.

✔14. Continue the piecing process on the Churn Dash quilt.

Completing nine of 14 goals and making progress on four other goals means I had a great month!

Fourth flannel quilt
I also helped 34 people earn their American Heart Basic Life CPR certificates and six people earn their Red Cross lifeguard instructor certification .

My goals for December are:

1. Finish Frolic. I picked it up from the quilter on November 24. Surely, I can get it trimmed and the binding on before the end of the month! Although, if I hand stitch the binding, I could be at the project for a long time! As for the quilting, I like the lime green thread we chose as well as the quilting pattern.

2. Keep up with the Bonnie Hunter 2021 mystery. I plan to work on clue number one later today.

3. Fully finish the small hand stitching project. I am working on the lettering and framing will be next.

Possible RSC layout
4. Finish the fourth flannel quilt. I need to finish piecing the back.

Heart wall hanging and available lone star back fabrics
I want to quilt this on a longarm as I know from experience, flannel on the front and back of a project is too much for my body to push through my domestic machine! This is going to be my one monthly goal for the month. Check out Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal December Link-up with Patty for lots of inspiration.

5. Piece a back for the lone star and begin
quilting it. I plan to use the leftover fabrics from the front to piece the back. I like piecing backs. Mostly, I like using as much of the leftover fabric as possible; but, I also like the freedom of creating too. 

6. Piece the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks into a top. My design consultant, the oldest granddaughter, hasn't been here much to audition various designs. She laid out one design; but, wanted to "see" how other layouts she has in her brain translate to the design wall. I sure hope she will be come addicted to quilting. She has a good eye for color and composition.

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

8. Figure out my next Temperature quilt block.

9. Finish the heart wall hanging.

Kitchen towels and flannel fabrics for a new baby quilt
10. Make four to six decorative hanging kitchen towels.

11. Work on the new baby quilt(s). Last month, I purchased additional flannel. My thought is to make two; let's see how that goes!

12. Layer the string top and begin quilting it. I do need to finish the top first!

Log cabin project
13. Finish the December temperature block and figure out the legend/sashing. My design consultant, Miss K helped me with the sashing.

14. Finish the log cabin block. I did figure out a back and even started the quilting last month. I want to try a different style of binding treatment on this project.

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

December is a busy month; let's see how much progress I can make in the next 31 days!