Sunday, December 31, 2023

Year In Review--Bye Bye 2023

 Today, on New Year's Eve, I'm doing a little look back at the year. I hope you all have a safe and fun New Year's with even more fun and finishes ahead of you in 2024~

My favorite finish of the year was my Modern Contemporary Lone Star. 

Modern Contemporary Lone Star finish
The blog post that received the most views this year was Sleepover Number One and Sleepover Number Two. I hope to share more posts about times with the granddaughters.

Enjoying chicken noodle soup
The blog post that received the most comments was Swimsuits for Miss A. Miss A is a cutie and LOVES the water. As fast as she is growing, I see making more swimsuits in my future. Also, my niece is having a girl sometime in January. I plan to make her baby a swimsuit. I have plenty of swimwear scraps to stitch into little suits!

Swimsuit model
We traveled with our oldest granddaughter to London in March. After school ended, we spent a couple weeks in Greece with the whole family. We made a lot of memories together!
Pool time in Naxos, Greece
I taught an English Paper Piecing class both in person and on line on two different days. I like teaching and felt that my participants learned the techniques in either format.
Hexagon ornaments made as a class eample
Of my 15 finishes that I shared on my Finishes page, 13 were scrap based. One, the Modern Contemporary Lone Star was made mostly from stash. Yet, I didn't made much of a dent in either my stash nor the scraps! At year end, however, I had only used eight yards from my stash. I need to purchase less fabric as well as finish more of the projects in 2024! 

Nuggets--favorite scrap project
My favorite scrap project was Nuggets made from bonus triangles that were gifted to me by other people!
Tomorrow, it will be 2024. I'll be stitching with friends via Zoom this afternoon. I plan to make progress on the Farm Quilt. I'm also thinking about what projects I want to stitch in January. I've some goal setting ahead!

Clue six of Indigo Way
I'm looking forward to finishing Indigo Way which is the current Bonnie Hunter Mystery. I'm caught up on all six clues she has released. She will release clue seven on Friday. I plan to have fun making a lot of selvage squares which I will turn into blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year. Of course, I've a number of tops that need quilting. Eventually, I will get those projects finished at a pace of one at a time!

Selvage strings the makings of a 
Rainbow Scrap Challenge block
I have two more temperature blocks to make. After making a daily block and keeping up with at least making the block every day for the last two years, I'm ready to stop piecing blocks! Although, I will be piecing filler diamonds into the top and bottom of the project. There is still a lot of handwork to do before this project becomes a top!
Temperature quilt 2022-2023
I'm inking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. Today, she is sharing more blocks of her Two Bit pattern. This is the block that drew me to follow her. I simply MUST make some of these. May even more scraps find their way into useable projects in 2024!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Clue Five of Indigo Way --post 2

Some of the blocks I made Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve, I figured out that I had enough of the focus fabrics to cut the squares for the square in a square block that is what we are making for Clue number five of the Indigo Way mystery. Click the link if you would like to learn about Bonnie Hunter's mystery of if you would like to join in on the fun.

Adding the first corner
I purchased that fabric at an estate sale at least ten years ago although I'm thinking that was more like 15! I've tried to use it in several projects; but, there wasn't enough of it. It is perfect for this project! After I figured out I had enough of the focus fabric, I made at least one and sometimes more of the square in a square variations that were listed in the clue.

Adding the second set of two corners
This clue isn't difficult to stitch. I went with the paper piecing route because it used the smallest size of the center square. I'm painless paper piecing which means that I tack the center square in place with a little glue. I'm using a glue stick from The Dollar Store which comes in a package of at least glue sticks. This glue easily releases the fabric from the paper after I'm finished stitching the block.

Moving toward finishing clue five
I used Bonnie's Essential Triangle Tool ruler to cut the corner triangles for the block. I placed them with a little of the square fabric exposed so I took a smaller seam with the triangle. This worked well for me. I either came out perfectly with the triangle or needed to trim a bit. While I printed two pages of the paper piecing patterns or eight blocks. I've used just two block patterns. 

I might finish clue five after work today. If I don't, I'll finish it tomorrow. Then I'll be ready for clue six!

Sunday, December 24, 2023

It's Christmas Eve. . . .

Ditch quilting
It's Christmas Eve and all through the house this woman and her husband are scurrying about readying the house for Christmas dinner! Today, there will be baking and prepping with a little tidying thrown in to give variety. I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday enjoying good food, family and friends!

I've looked at my December list and can see that I'll not be meeting four of my goals. Towards the end of each month I review the list with a critical eye. I see the goals that I've set and see if there is a way to meet them. This month there are four goals which I won't meet. These are: 1. Finish the Farm Quilt. 2. Get the Color project to a top. 7. Help Miss K make progress on ditch quilting her string quilt. 8. Determine if I'm going to embark on a 2024 temperature quilt.

Color project
I listed ten goals on my December list and met six goals. All in all, I am having a productive month! Next, I look at what is holding me up from making progress on those goals. First, I take a general look at the month.  

This month, I know that I've spent more time than I had planned, working through the mystery clues for Indigo Way. I also picked up three weeks of work that I hadn't planned on doing. My physical time in the studio has been greatly reduced. After work, even though it was under 20 hours each week, I'm tired when I return home. Often, managing a few hours doing hand work is all the energy I have remaining in my tank! Finally, Gertie, my inner squirrel, encouraged me to play with a gifting project. I'll share that project next month!

Miss K and her String quilt
Next, I take a critical eye at each project. For finishing the Farm Quilt, I've started the ditch quilting. Allocating more time next month is likely what I need to do in order to get the project to the finish line. After all, if I'm not stitching on it, I won't finish it! 

Regarding the Color project, I seem to be hung up on the size of the background. I know it will be black. I'm concerned that 45 inches isn't going to be tall enough. Piecing should be fine; but, the idea doesn't feel right. Perhaps, I need to cut a chunk of
fabric that is longer than a yard and see if a larger rectangle shape feels better to me.

Regarding Miss K's string quilt, she has spent all last week being an extra set of hands helping out at home while her mama recovered from COVID. Yesterday, they all tested negative so perhaps, we can figure out a day to stitch before her winter break is over.

Embroidery software project
While I will have months ahead of me to finish the current temperature quilt, I would like to do another temperature quilt. I've had an idea in my head for months. Drafting the pattern has been my bottleneck. 

I also want to learn my embroidery software and play with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge next year. I've decided to make a dent in my selvage container so I've come up with a block. These blocks will take some time to make so this project could go on for several years. I registered for a software class that will be taught over ten months. 

Can I plan enough time to do all three AND make progress on projects that I've started but haven't finished. I need to think more about the temperature quilt. Perhaps, I will plan to record the temperature and put it together much later.

I need to noodle on the temperature quilt a while longer. Now that I've had this conversations with myself, I be better able to plan my list of goals for next month as well as the year ahead. I know that I accomplish much more if I have a plan!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

2024 RSC Block--Sample--post 1

Some of the selvages in the under 18 inches bag
Goal number nine on my December list was to figure out a block to make each month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) that Angela over at Scrap Happy hosts each year. I didn't participate last year as I hadn't finished either of the projects that I had begun the two years that I did participate. I have missed playing along though!

Block example
I haven't finished either quilt; but, that could happen sometime this year! I've been collecting selvages for years. The container where I store them is swelling so it is time to begin making the selvages into something useable!!! I began collecting selvages because the graphics are interesting.It seemed wasteful to through them away!

Gluing the selvages together
I've been thinking about a block. A couple months ago I bought a background fabric. I pulled a pattern that I have saved from the January/February 2021 issues of Quiltmaker magazine. Yesterday, I began a sample block.

Adding another selvage

First, I cut a selected selvage into four, four inch segments. I cut the same fabric four times because I wanted this block to feel "planned." I made a pencil mark on the back of the selvage a quarter inch from the edge. I placed a fine line of glue dots in the penciled area.

Pressing the glue dry
I placed the next selvage on the glue dots and pressed it into place. I waited a few minutes. Then I pressed the strip to dry the glue.

Securing the selvage
After the glue was secure, I stitched about an eighth of an inch from each selvedge edge to "make" my fabric. I kept adding segments until my section was four inches square. If my selvages are too similar in value, I will need to throw in a "rouge" to liven up the block. When I have a remaining segment that is too short to be cut into four equal pieces, I'll add it to the selvages strings I began piecing before the pandemic. I didn't and still don't have a plan for the strings. . .yet! 

Four blocks ready to be assembled.
I auditioned the four blocks against the grey background and I wasn't moved. I didn't like it against a cream background either. 

Different yellow fabrics for the background
I decided yellow would be a cheerful neutral. I'll make at least one block each month in the color that Angela posts. Sorting the selvages is messy; but, worth the effort. I think that these will be fun to make. I'll use a variety of the yellow fabrics.  . . .at least that is what I think at this moment! Linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Indigo Way--Bonnie Hunter's 2023 Mystery post 2

 Stitching some of the Indigo Way clues was goal number six on my December list. I posted last month about my preparation for this project. Bonnie released the first clue the day after Thanksgiving. While I didn't begin stitching until the Tuesday after, I did download the pattern and read the clue.

Some of clue number 1
We were to make a bunch of these to combine into units. I used clips to keep like fabrics together. I liked that Bonnie gave us an easy unit to begin this mystery!

Clue number 2 in progress
Clue two was a challenge to ensure I didn't cut off any points. I found it interesting in talking in a Zoom sew session with three other people who had used a different method to make these units. There three ways were different from the tri rec ruler method that I used! How fun to be able to choose the path that works the best for you!

Some of the finished units for clue 3
Clue three was again a bunch of cutting. I found that kitting the units worked best for me. My piecing is getting better. I hardly had any amount to trim! Bonnie finger presses her units as she stitches. She saves the iron for the final press. She said that when you are working with bias edges, finger pressing only the seam helps to not stretch the bias. I tried it. I liked the result. I am now a finger presser!

Kits assembled for clue 4
Clue four again took some time to cut; but, not as much time as clues two and three! I was able to use some of my dark blue and neutral precuts for this step. It always feels great to use my scraps! 

A completed set of Clue #4
I needed to dig in my stash for more dark blue, so while the piece was drying from the starch treatment, I stitched a few units. The sewing of this clue is going quickly. I did decide it would be much easier to trim these units if I had a ruler that was the size of the unit. Bonnie seems to incorporate this size unit into her projects. Yesterday, I bought a ruler at my local quilt shop. Using that square ruler has made block trimming easier and faster!

First third completed
I'll be ready for clue five on Friday. I have almost two-thirds of the clue pieced. Gertie, my inner squirrel, saw a project that she wanted me to make. It looks quick, easy and a great hostess gift involving tea towels. As you know, she's been quiet since my car accident September 2022. I may acquiesce to her "niggling." Although, in my spare moments, I should be quilting the Farm Quilt!

Are you playing along with this mystery? Or, are you following along?

Linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Another Hexagon Ornament

Getting supplies ready for another ornament

Goal number three on my December list was to stitch another hexagon ornament. It takes me a little more than three hours to cut out, baste and stitch one of these ornaments. I now have three of them. When we mailed our cards on Monday, I forgot to add them to the card!

Three total ornaments made

I may wait until next year to deliver them. . .I do plan to make more. . .although, I will wait until after the holiday!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Lone Star. . .FIinished. . . .FINALLY!!--post 11

The Lone Star Modern/Contempory is at long last a useable quilt! When I started it, I used Christmas fabrics that had been in my stash for at least a couple of decades. I pulled the fabrics because the project began as an online Saturday Workshop the Clark County Quilters guild sponsored. Alvera Gaskins was the instructor.

During the all day class, I didn't get as far as actually having a "leg" together. It was months before I picked up the project again. Eventually, I was ready to add the background fabrics to the corners and sides.

The book that inspired me to finish
Originally, I had planned to go old school and use a cream fabric as the background. That decision didn't feel right so I went to a local quilt store to peruse a more modern background. I came up with several choices. Because I have a phobia of making the wrong choice, I asked the owner for her opinion. She chose my second candidate. When she explained why, I chose that fabric.

Relatively soon after my fabric purchase, I stitched the legs into a top, pieced a back, layered and basted the project. I quilted in the ditch and had finished that task when I was rear ended in a car accident. 

The accident happened at the beginning of September 2022. All progress stopped. For months, pain and the inability to hold the ruler stopped me from cutting, piecing, and stitching. After physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and massage sessions, I'm better. While I am back to quilting, I still have pain and mobility issues. I try to focus on what I have because when I let myself consider what I've lost. . .well, I become sappy sad!

Highlight on quilting from back
Eventually, I got back into quilting this project. This Lone Star project had me stuck so many times. Our book club's latest read :The Kitchen Front" by Jennifer Ryan provided the inspiration to finish this project. 

This book is a great read. Four women are competing in a cooking contest held in England during WWII. They must use ingredients available during the ration time. One character, Nell, falls for a POW from Italy. He is the son of a family who own a restaurant in Italy. I thought of Italian pottery and had had the answer to a part of my quilting dilemma! Italian pottery designs inspired me to quilt the background as if it was a plate. You will have to read the book to find out how relationships develop between the characters.

Finished front
Friday morning. I put the last stitch into the project. It is now ready to be washed. It measurers 75 inches by 95 inches. I used 14 yards of fabric from my stash; but, I purchased 18 yards of fabric so I've only used  17 1/4 yards of fabric from my stash this year. Next year I will have to improve the amount of fabrics I use from stash!

While I attempted to make this a "modern" quilt, I didn't achieve that. I would call it a contemporary quilt and reflected that in the label. I'll keep plugging away at the modern part. Thanks, Rosanne H for helping me with the modern and contemporary definitions!

It feels so wonderful to be FINISHED! It will be going on our bed. 

Previous posts:

Lone Star post one; Lone Star out of time out post two; Lone Star with borders post three; Lone Star
back post four
; Lone Star quilting in the ditch post five; Lone Star update post six; Lone Star quilting update post seven; Slowly moving forward Lone Star update post eight; Quilting the Outer Edge post nine; Filler Stitches post ten.

Finishing the Lone Star was goal number five on my December list. I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework as she has been sharing many wonderful compassion quilts stitched from scraps.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Hand Crafted Christmas Decor

Our cards and tree will go out and up on the weekend. This week, I pulled out the Christmas decor and hung it around the house.

Itty Bitty Tree

I have several Christmas wall hangings that Martha made. First, is the "itty bitty" pieced tree that hangs in my studio year around. My friend Martha made it and it hung in her entry way. Many of the items I stitch, I gift. Seeing this in my studio makes me smile because she was a gifter too!

Log cabin wreath
Second is the small log cabin wreath she stitched. I believe she made a bunch of these and sold them at a Christmas bazaar.

Third is the angel wall hanging. Martha loved sparkle. She quilted this with metallic thread to accent the silver in the printed border fabric.

Close up view of an angel
She used yarn and embroidery stitches to embellish each face.

Scrappy Christmas quilt
My husband's mom quilts too. She made her son and her daughter a Christmas quilt. It is hand quilted. The pattern came from Better Homes and Gardens. She enjoyed pulling scraps to make each block. Most of the applique is raw edge machine stitched.

Close up of a block
Many of the pieces are tiny! It took a number of years to complete as she put it, "her lifetime project!"

Gingerbread man
One year, her quilt group decided to make gingerbread wall hangings. She made one for each of her grandchildren. She used reclaimed fabrics and embellished the project with buttons and trims from her stash.

Close up view
She said she had fun making each one. This one hangs in my daughter's childhood room. It hasn't fit into a suitcase yet to fly over the pond.

Santa's Sleigh
When I began quilting in 1980, I gifted projects as I finished them. The second quilt I kept for myself was Santa's Sleigh. I made it in 1996 and it is one of the first decorations to adorn the wall after Thanksgiving and the last item to stow away after New Years Day arrives.

I posted about stockings that I repaired and stitched this year. These did make it into the suitcase and are hanging in London waiting for Santa to come fill them.

Christmas Santa
I made a Christmas wallhanging for my grandmother. She had moved from Oregon to California in a part of the state where it wasn't practical to have fresh evergreen wreaths. She hung this in her entry way so any visitor saw it first and last when entering her home.

Close up view
My grandmother liked to paint. She purchased a kiln and made many ceramic items, Eventually, she dabbled in china painting. She had a knack for capturing an expression if she were painting a face. I tried to give this Santa a personality which tickled her.

I also made a wall hanging for a friend as a secret pal gift. It hung in her home for many years until she needed to downsize. She called me and asked if I wanted it back. Every quilt, I gift, I let the recipient know that if wears out, I'll replace it. If it is no longer of use to them, they can give it back. The latter is how I came to have this wall hanging returned to me. 

Santa tree skirt
Over the years, I've made a few tree skirts. The first one I made, went to my youngest brother and sister in law as a Christmas gift. Since then, it is an item I've given when my nieces and daughter have married. This is the tree skirt my youngest daughter will receive when she marries.

Close up
I've even made a few hexagon holiday ornaments. I've finished three so far. Two will be going in cards and the third, I'll keep as "seed stock" for next year. I plan to make a few more ornaments next year to gift to my grandkids. It takes me about three hours to make one ornament. In the end, the effort is worth it!

Hexagon ornaments
Posting about my Christmas decor was goal number ten on my December list. This time of year sure seems to come and go quicker each year. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!