Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A Plan. . .OR is it a List??

Before: The next designated pile to clear
Goal number six on my August list was to make a plan about tackling the projects that I've stored in a couple of tubs. In my head, I thought that goal number six was to clear/organize an area of my space. It was tough, but I did find homes for all the stuff but the wire basket. I have to report having access to the cabinet shelving is great. Note that in the after photo, my cutting table is still clear! Clearing another pile is a bonus!

I thought that the wire basket could become the place holder for the projects in the queue. I've written before that I'm super great at bundling projects but less than stellar than finishing the bundles. For now, I'll leave that wire basket empty. This was the basket that my friend, Martha, had about half full of strips and strings!

I wrote that I had a couple tubs of started/planned projects; but, I have more than that! I considered making projects out of the flannel bin and small project box until it was empty. Gertie, my inner squirrel, was on board with that idea.

After: Cleared area
Because sewing quilts out of flannel is not my favorite activity, I couldn't see myself sticking with that plan. I thought about choosing to work through one tub. I asked myself how would I approach the projects stored in the tub?

Gertie immediately reminded me that I've some projects that are within sight that I've earmarked to work on in the next year. I wondered how would I work those projects into the mix?

Maybe, I spend the next year working on started projects. Of course, Gertie swished her tail in excitement about getting back to some of those abandoned projects. Then she whispered in my ear wanting to know what happens when we start a new project? She also wanted to know how I planned to spend time learning the new embroidery software that I purchased last month. All good questions with no great answers. . . YET!

Mostly flannel scraps from Martha's stash
I had so many questions and no clear answers! I had a conversation with my friend, Marla, who is an organizing
guru. She suggested that I take an inventory of my projects. I have resisted making a list of started projects. She did help me see the value of a list, however. Sigh. . . .

I made a general list from the thoughts running around in my head combined with Gertie's gentle nudges:

1. Make two to three flannel projects in 2023. Making the projects make a dent in the amount of flannel in the box without making me commit to spending hours sewing with fabric I'd rather not sew! Most of the flannel came from from when I sewed pajamas and nightgowns when my daughters were in elementary school.

Two tubs of started projects
Most of the other flannel that I acquired from my friend, Martha, I've made into six quilts that have been gifted. I still have some juvenile flannel prints in a small project box that were in Martha's stash. Click on the link so view all the projects I've made from her scraps thus far.

2. Inventory the projects in one tub. Some of the projects are clothing. Some of the projects are small gift items. Some of the projects are quilts. I'm considering numbering the projects and then drawing one project every month to have more finishes or at least make progress! Likely there are more than a dozen projects in a tub. This step would be a start.

3. Make a list of the requests I've received. Someone wants Christmas stockings. I don't have to have the stockings finished in time for Santa's visit in 2022. The granddaughters that live near by, want to work on their quilt projects and to make clothes.

4. I have the Grassy Creek, Bonnie Hunter, mystery project from 2021 that is ready for the last clue.

5. I have four butterfly quilts that have been lingering for years at various stages.

6. I have some started book club quilts. Several projects are in the drawing stage. Several projects are in the "stuck" stage.

7. I've two older quilts that need a hanging sleeve attached. 

8. I've started class projects stored in project boxes.

9. I've a temperature quilt from 2021 that needs quilting.

Sigh. . . .

I could go on; but I decided that this list was varied and big enough! If another pandemic happens in the next five years, my little space will keep me occupied! I've spent more than a decade "acquiring" the projects and it is going to take time to reduce the number of them. 

Seriously, this list will evolve as I learn what what works. A list is helpful. My current thought is to incorporate an item or two from the list on my monthly and quarterly goals. Let's see how that works for a few months and a couple of quarters!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Lone Star Quilt--Ditch Quilted and More (post 5)

Back view of ditch quilting
On Friday, August 19, 2022, I began ditch quilting the Lone Star quilt that I began in a Saturday workshop in January 2021! On Friday, August 27, I completed the ditch quilting. 

I pin basted the project pinned last February; but, I hadn't taken the time to get it started. Ditch quilting, while necessary, is so boring to do. I chose a monofilament thread in the needle and red Aurifil 60 weight thread in the bobbin.

Ditch quilted Lone Star
Over the next few days, I'll determine the thread and the quilting designs. It would be great if I could make progress on the quilting of this project next month! With each project I quilt, I can sure tell that I have less time to quilt before my arms and hands numb. I notice the numbness more on my left side. This is residue left from being rear ended in a car accident 13 years ago. Sigh. . ."maturing" sure isn't for sissies! 

This was goal number seven on my August list. It was goal number four on my third quarter list. It was also my one monthly goal!

Batik sleeve
I'm linking to Patty at Elm Street Quilts. Please check out the link to see all the other inspirational projects! Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - August Finish Link-up

I also made and attached a sleeve to a quilt for a friend in my Mystery Mavens small group. She made Frolic which was the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt in 2019. She doesn't like attaching sleeves and decided to pass on entering the quilt in the upcoming Mt. Hood Quilt guild show. The show, Quilts of the East Wind will be held October 14 and 15.

My friend, while participating in Bonnie's mysteries, doesn't make all the blocks and sets the blocks different from Bonnie. Her quilts are always fun to view. Other people would enjoy seeing her work so I volunteered to add the sleeve. 

Back of my secret sewing project
Honestly, I feel the same way she does about quilt  sleeves! I even measured her quilt and pinned the note with the size to the sleeve so it will be easy for her to complete the entry paperwork. 

I did use a quarter yard of fabric from my stash, which was a win for me! Even better, the fabric was in the "chunk" section of my scraps! It is a batik sleeve because the fabrics in her quilt as well as the back are all batiks. I've now used 64 yards of fabric from my stash this year!

Goal number three on my August list was to do some secret sewing that Gertie, my inner squirrel, convinced me to do. She is pleased with herself because I've finished the project. For now, I'll share the back as it is a secret project. Gertie is busy writing the post. She is most pleased that no yardage was harmed with this project. We made the project out of scraps!

I'll also link to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

Book project
Goal number nine on my August list was to come up with a plan for a project inspired by our current Thread Tales book. We are reading, "Color-A Natural History of the Palette" by Victoria Finlay. 

The cover of the book inspired me with the color palette. In Martha's projects was this Costa Rica star project from Judy Mathieson's "Mariner's Compass Quilts--New Directions" book.

The colors in the project were what I envisioned. The project has issues. I'll write about that in a future post. For now, I'm going to try to make it work. If you have suggestions about how to inset that circle to an oval. . .please share!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Two Cross Stitch Projects Fully Finished (FF)

Auditioning the frame
The two cross stitch projects that I began in London are FULLY FINISHED! When I packed the little kits, my plan was to fully finish them on my trip. While I did complete the cross stitch, I didn't have enough materials available to finish the items.

The first kit that I finished was the "Love one Another" kit. As I placed the plastic frame that came with the kit over the cross stitch work, I discovered the frame was too small! Hm m m. . .perhaps this was the reason that the kit was on sale for a dollar!

Lacing the edges
I paused. What to do? The kit was for a refrigerator magnet. I planned to add a hanger and turn it into an ornament or a piece of art for someone who loves blue. I thought about searching for a larger frame. I thought about making it into a pin cushion or a mug rug or a tiny wall hanging. 

Then I decided that what was most important was that I finish the work. So while I liked the hearts at the bottom of the piece, I allowed the frame to cover them. 

Finished view
I cut a piece of card stock and using some heavy thread from my grandmother's thread stash, I laced the edges together. I started in the middle on one of the sides and worked my way around the piece. 

It was a bit of a fiddly job. I needed to flip the piece over to ensure that I was keeping the design centered. Sometimes I was and sometimes, I needed to do a little correction. This was the first time that I tried this method for finishing cross stitch. I liked the results and will make this my go to method for finishing future pieces.

I also added a piece of ribbon as the hanger. Then I placed the work in the frame and slipped on the back. The back clipped snuggly under the edge of the frame. I like how it looks. It is a small piece. It measurers two inches x two and half inches.

Note on the back
Then I moved on to finish the second cross stitch piece which was the "All hearts come home for Christmas" piece. I followed the same format as I did with the first piece. Because I wasn't inserting this work into a frame, I used a second piece of the card stock that came in the kit to use to center the design.

Once I had the work secured to the piece of card stock, I added the lace. I hand basted a thread along the edge of the lace and used this thread to gather the lace until it fit the edge of the ornament. Then I hand stitched the lace in place. I added the hanger and the back. It measures about two and a half inches by four and a half inches.

This piece was also finished! I thought that it would take me much longer to finish these two pieces. I probably spent a couple hours total to get these projects finished. Because this truly was an ornament, I wrote the recipient's name, our grandparent names and the year. It's cute and it's special . . .just like the recipient!

Finished front
This was goal number seven on my third quarter list. It was goal number four on my August list. I am glad that I have written these goal lists, otherwise, these finished cross stitch pieces wouldn't have been fully finished!

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Happy Trails

Single Wedding Ring block
This project was goal number 10 on my August list

Last March, I purchased a top from my friend Susan. Susan is a prolific piecer; but, quilting the tops isn't her thing. She decided to create some room in her studio and sell some of her tops. I thought the top I chose would be great for a high school graduate. 

The label
I purchased backing fabric from my friend Alvera and then quilted it on her longarm. . . .this was last March. The block is called a Single Wedding Ring. Susan's piecing was so great that I was able to quilt a square design over the blocks. I used a variegated 40 wt cotton green thread made by Superior Thread company. I selected an 80/20 batting for this project. I made the binding out of the backing fabric.

Finished front
When I quilted the project, I planned to cut and sew the binding to the quilt before the end of July. I didn't get that accomplished; but, I did finish it less than two weeks later. The label is one that has been in my stash for at least two decades. I purchased a half yard and there were about 12 label blanks printed. This was a great project for a floral label!

Quilt in use

I named the quilt, "Happy Trails." It seemed appropriate for a someone beginning a new chapter in her life. It was about 46 inches wide by 60 inches long. The quilt arrived the day before the graduate was schedule to leave for college to study dentistry. Her mom sent me a photo of her daughter's room which I'm sharing here. Her mom said she loves the quilt. I'm glad!

Susan used her scraps to make this top so I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Two Swim Suits Finished

Swim suit number one
One Thursday, I drew off the swim suit pattern for the eight year old granddaughter. The next day, I cut it out and stitched it. The following Sunday, I cut out a swim suit for the ten year old granddaughter and on Monday I stitched it. Two swimsuits completed. 

Hooray! I had planned to try to sew them with the granddaughters. I, however, am challenged when it comes to stretching the elastic and aligning the edges of the fabric when I sew. I couldn't imagine how hard it would be for each of the granddaughters. Sewing shouldn't be a struggle. Sewing should be a joy. Additionally, summer is ending. If the girls were going to get a swim suit for THIS summer, I needed to get on the project.

I'll spare you the in process photos. I neglected to take any. Photos of the girls wearing their suits seemed more appropriate anyway! The girls were excited about a new suit. They went to an overnight camp this week. They packed their suits. I sure feel honored that these suits made their cut!

They return home in a couple of days. I look forward to hearing how the suits performed when the granddaughters swam in the camp pool! Their mama recognized the patterns as she had suits made from the same patterns when she was about their ages. 

The fabric in suit number one was thick enough that I only lined the crotch. I used the same fabric to line suit number two. Thanks to my friend Marla, I have enough swim fabric to last me the rest of my life so lining the suit with the same fabric is something that I can many more times in my future! I used about two yards of fabric in this project. This brings the total yardage I've used this year from my stash to 61 and three quarters yards.

Making one suit was goal number five on my August list. I thought that I might get one made for me this month; but, I think I'll consider stitching one in October.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Orange Blocks Complete for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

Selection of orange fabrics
I was excited when Angela released the color orange for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I always enjoy checking out Angela's linkup each Saturday because the blocks people post are wonderful! Then, I encountered a reality check. In my chunk drawer, the selection was one piece of light orange, one piece that had a lot of yellow in with the orange, one piece that had a pumpkin feel and the rest were orange with a brown feel. I had in mind a brighter orange. 

Colored strips cut and ready to stitch
I raided the fabrics in my Good Fortune project box because there were more of the "oranges" that I wanted to stitch into blocks. At some point, I'll get back to the Good Fortune project. (Good Fortune was the 2018-2019 Bonnie Hunter Mystery.) I pulled what I needed. I cut the fabrics for my blocks. I don't think I'll miss what I used in the project box.  

Orange blocks
In a few hours in an evening,  I stitched my blocks.  I'm ready for the next color.  I'm linking with Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. I'm linking to Angela and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge because without her, I wouldn't have played with the colors or made a block!

This is half of goal number eight on my August list. The other half of my goal of number eight is to keep up with my temperature quilt blocks. . .so far so good!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Soldier's Wife---

In 2013, our Thread Tales book club read "The Soldier's Wife" by Margaret Leroy. The story is about a woman during the time the Germans occupied residences in her village during World War II. A German soldier moves into her home. What she decides to do to keep her two daughters and her mother-in-law safe during a time that food is scarce and the brutality of war shows itself. 

In the story, she removes the flowers from her garden to make room to grow food. She cuts down her fruiting trees so she has fuel to burn to heat her home. She wrestles with cutting the trees because she is losing a food source; but, she is freezing. She makes many hard decisions. She agonizes as she removes the flowers from her garden; but in the end she keeps one rose to remind her what her garden used to resemble. 

This rose was what inspired me to make a project. At the time, I had purchased a new sewing machine and I was taking a class to learn about the embroidery features of my machine. This rose was one of the designs I learned how to stitch with my embroidery module.  The cut work motif represents the love she experienced and kept hidden. The candlewick stitching represents the path she took to keep her family warm, fed and safe. 

Also, at the time Ami Simms had developed Alzheimer's quilt initiative as a way to raise money for researching an end to the disease. Ami's mom had Alzheimer's. Ami launched a non profit that accepted small quilts from makers and then sold those quilts to raise research monies. 

The mini quilt

Some quilts were priced and I think some were bid upon. For a number of years, you could purchase the quilt outright at the International Quilt Show in Houston. For shipping, the quilts had to be able to fit into a small United States Postal Service priority envelope. I made three quilts for the project to honor of my grandmother who had Alzheimer's. 

Ami closed her non-profit a few years after her mom died. 

I have only one photo of the project. I don't remember what I called it either! Writing this post was goal number one on my August goal list.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Rhododendron Trail--A FINISH!

Quilting pattern
It took some time; but, I finished Bonnie Hunter's 2021 Mystery which she named Rhododendron Trail! Last March, I quilted it on my friend's computerized longarm using an interlocking meander pattern. I used a variegated gold thread made by Superior Threads in both the needle and bobbin to quilt it. I like how the pattern looks on the fabric that reads as a solid. The pattern gives the texture that I wanted the quilt to have.

Using the machine tray to guide the binding
I used a wool batting. It has a nice soft drape. I am so thankful to have been able to quilt this project on my friend's longarm. 

When I returned from London at the end of June, this was the second stitching project that I tackled. I was thankful that I had made the binding when I had finished piecing the top. I often make the binding and determine the sleeve when I finish the top. It is so nice to have those parts available when I'm at that point of the quilt process.

Since I had trimmed the quilt after I finished the quilting, it was ready to stitch the binding. I've been trying to improve my binding by machine technique. 

Some tips that have helped me follow. First, pay attention as I'm stitching the binding to the quilt to ensure that I'm stitching a consistent seam. Second, press the binding away from the quilt top. The pressed binding is easier to consistently stitch close to the edge on the second pass. Third, use the lines on the bed of the machine tray to help keep the binding feeding smoothly and accurately. This was the best and quickest binding I have applied!

Pieced back
For the sleeve, I had to figure out what I could make into the sleeve. Unfortunately, when I pieced the back, I had to use the fabric I had earmarked for the sleeve. My goal was not to purchase additional fabric to finish this quilt. I pulled my project scraps. I found the largest pieces. These weren't large enough for the sleeve. I pieced  the two largest chunks together along with a strip. Had I a little more fabric, I would have incorporated it to make the sleeve a couple inches wider. I used what I had and it will work.  

The label came from my stash. A second label will join this one. From the moment I decided to stitch this project, I also decided that the quilt would be destined to be a Quilt of Valor (QOV). I have the recipient in mind. 

He served in Vietnam. A number of years ago, there was a documentary on our local public broadcasting station about the Vietnam war. He was one of the veterans that was interviewed. I learned he was a bronze star recipient. During the making of this quilt, I learned that he has four bronze stars. He lives about a mile from us. I had no idea. 

Finished quilt.
 I have the name of the QOV contact person in my area. I know that generally, there isn't a quilt made specifically for the recipient. I hope that this quilt will be awarded to the person I have in mind. I will add the official QOV label when we get to that point. Now that I'm finished with the project, I'll start the next steps.

I will contact the vet first to make sure he is on board with receiving an award like this. But, I'm getting my ducks in a row for the next steps of this quilt's journey!

I used about 23 yards of fabric for this project. This brings the total of fabric used year to date from my stash to 59 and three quarter yards. Materials cost about 445 dollars. I estimate I spent about 390 hours to finish the project. It measurers 89 inches wide by 103 inches long.

I did wash the quilt. There was no fabric bleeding. Because I used a lot of scraps in this project, I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting is More Fun

This was goal number two on my August list. This was goal number on my third quarter list.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

July Recap and August Goals

 My goals for July were:

The secret sewing project

1. Continue piecing blocks for the 2022 Temperature quilt. My order of the purple background fabric arrived on the day that I returned. My One Monthly goal is to attach all the blocks for July. This means I need to finish attaching June. 
The next "pile" marked for sorting

2. Write two more posts that feature book club quilts from the past. The books will likely be: The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows and The Midnight Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I'm close to documenting all the finished past book club quilts. My next step will be to begin finishing the book club quilts that I started but have let languish for one reason or another!

✔3. Write a post about the Ottolenghi we ate while we celebrated with the Queen during her Jubilee.  I ran out of weeks to post about this topic last month! 

4. Clean and organize the studio closet. Clear the cutting table in my studio. Originally, I planned to remove almost everything from my sewing space and start over. I thought a month would be enough time.
I realized the process will take much more time and effort than I had envisioned. I can see doing this process several times as I'm able to let more "go." 
Progress on the 
2022 Temperature

✔5. Spend a day quilting with the granddaughters that live near me. It would be great to have the youngest get her quilt quilted and the oldest to make progress on her scrap blocks.

✔6. Begin catching up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks as I haven't stitched the blocks for April, May and June! I'm caught up

Six goals listed for July and I met all six. Hooray! Gertie, my inner squirrel has done a number of happy dances!

Books I listened too were:
The Deeds of the Disturber/Elizabeth Peters 3.5/5 and The Year of Magical Thinking/Joan Didion 3/5

I helped 29 people earn their American Heart CPR certification.

My August goals are:
1. Write one post about past book club book/quilt. I've two posts left to document the finished quilts I've made that were inspired by books I read through the Thread Tales book club. The book will likely be: The Soldier's Wife by Margaret LeRoy. 
2. Finish the 2022 Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt. The pattern this year was Rhododendron Trail. I have the sleeve and label to attach.
3. Gertie, my inner squirrel, took me on a detour. She's seen so many fabrics/trims/patterns and started projects since I've begun the reorganization process in my studio. She's wanted to start or restart many projects; but, I managed to hold firm until she pulled the black squares that have been hanging about my "precuts" for a long time. She had a good idea. I added some red squares that were in my precuts too! This project is the guild challenge so I'll be doing some secret sewing. 

4. Fully finish the cross stitch projects I began in London.
5. Make at least swimsuit. I could use one in the backup pile. My granddaughters each picked fabric for a suit. Three is a lot to stitch; but, if I got into a groove. . .well, that is what I'm hearing from Gertie!
The current book club book
6. Make a plan of tackling the started projects and gifts that I stored into a couple tubs. It would be great to reduce the number of "opportunities" in those tubs! This is going to be my "cleaning/organizing" goal for this month.
7. Begin quilting the Lone Star Quilt. I need the pins so that we can baste my 8 year old granddaughter's quilt. This is going to be my One Monthly Goal. Check out what other people have planned to accomplish this month at Patty's link up: Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal August Link-up

8. Stay current with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and the Temperature quilt blocks. The RSC color for August is orange. I plan to piece August into the temperature quilt along with March. This means that I'll be stitching two blocks a day. . .doable if I keep at it!
9. Determine a plan for the next book club quilt. We are reading: "Color: A Natural History of the Palette" by Victoria Finlay.
10. Add the binding to a quilt that I'm planning to gift to a graduate.

I hope to keep Gertie busy with #3 and #9 so she doesn't overwhelm me when I'm working on #6!