Sunday, January 29, 2023

Chilhowie Is A Top--post 3

Inner border attached
Constructing the inner border wasn't hard. It was a bit "fiddly" to attach it to the sashed top. Usually, I spend a lot of time placing the fabrics so I don't have similar fabrics next to each other. 

With this project, I did a lot less of that. This border went on without any need for adjusting. Any time that happens, I am happy. Pieced borders often have "fit" issues! I like how the aqua in the border accents the aqua in the other areas of the quilt.

Finished top
I knew the outer border was going to take some time. This time, I did layout the blocks around the quilt because I didn't want similar orange fabrics or purple fabrics close together. Then because I am notorious for not sewing parts together as I laid them out, I pinned the pieces together. 

Again this border fit without any adjustments. Wahoo! It was "fiddly" to save points. In the end, the "fiddling" was with the effort. I like the interest those orange triangles created! 

Pieced back featuring "aged" fabrics from my stash
This is a border that I could incorporate in another project. Over all, I am pleased with my project. I had fun all along the way. This top measures 78 1/2 x 78 1/2 inches. 

While I would rather the top was more of a rectangle, I'm not planning to add additional borders. Finishing it is better than having an unfinished project. This is what happened to my first Bonnie Hunter mystery project. That, however, is a story for another day!

I selected some fabrics that have been in my stash for more than a decade as backing. I'm always trying to use from my stash. It is a lot cheaper to shop in my stash! 

Using from stash also helps create space. Although the three pieces I chose totaled about seven yards, the space it took up on the shelf was only a few inches! I didn't need all that yardage, but, I like to have extra on hand so I can cut the hanging sleeve out of the backing scraps.

Possible thread options
Because I'm still struggling with head, neck and back issues, I plan to pay to have it quilted. To that end, I asked a friend to quilt it. She wrote me an e-mail that stated she would be delighted to quilt it! I'm delighted she said yes! 

I looked through my thread stash and spooled out a few threads that were possible quilting choices. I have those packed and ready to travel along with the parts of the quilt sandwich. I have ideas about an all over quilting pattern for the project.

Quilt sandwich parts and the binding
While I was stitching the blocks together, I considered using a variety of the leftover purple fabrics as binding. As I looked at the top in a photo, I decided that using a variety of the leftover oranges would be a better
choice. I have cut and prepared the binding. 

I like to prepare the binding after I finish the top. There has been occasions in the past of when I didn't prepare the binding after I had finished the top, I ended up using the fabric in another project. Forgetting made me scramble to locate another suitable fabric. I like to make the sleeve after I piece the back of the same reason. 

Because there are scraps in this project, I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


Sunday, January 22, 2023

An Outing and Chilhowie--Post 2

Shrimp and grits
Last Monday, my friend, Theresa took me on a mystery outing. I pulled out my jeans which I haven't had on since COVID locked us down in March 2020. I was surprised that the jeans fit! This outing was my first long outing since I came down with the flu December 11! We were gone about five hours.

Theresa shared one of her Christmas presents with me. First, we went to The Hive Social restaurant in Oregon City. It is a farm to table restaurant. We ordered from the brunch menu. She had shrimp and grits. I had poached eggs, roasted vegetables and brisket. She enjoyed her dish almost as much as I enjoyed my order! We both took half of our entree home with us. Next, she took me on drive to another secret location. Imagine my surprise when she pulled up to Cup of Tea in Clackamas. 

Beef brisket, poached eggs
and roasted vegetables
I hadn't been there to enjoy a cup of tea since the lockdown. The previous Friday, I was thinking about making a stop there as my tea supply is beginning to thin. I used to drink tea more than coffee. During the pandemic, I drank more coffee than tea. After recovering from the flu, I'm finding that I enjoy one cup of coffee in the morning and tea the remainder of the day.

Oops, I missed a piecing error
We had a flight of tea which meant we sampled five teas. She purchased two teas to add to her collection. I will purchase a tea once I finish the leaves in my storage tin! We both enjoyed how quiet and laid back the tea shop was during the time we were there. It was an enjoyable outing; but, the company was what made it extra special. 

I thought that I had held up rather well. Then, I rested in my chair after returning home and didn't do much else the remainder of the day! The following day, I was still recovering! It is so interesting how long it takes a body to recover from an illness!

I also worked two days this week helping staff earn their CPR certificates. I was so exhausted after the work day! I continue to be shocked at how little stamina I have!

Chilhowie Update from last week: I thought that I had caught my piecing error; but, thanks to the sharp eye of Ivani, she found an error I totally missed! Bless her heart, she even sent me a photo with the error circled. Thank you Ivani for taking the time to point out the mistake to me! I don't think I would have spotted that second error on my own! I have corrected that error too.

Center together

Our quilting community is amazing. I am so fortunate to have had Ivani's support! She has been making crumb blocks from small bits of scraps that many quilters would have tossed. She is going to have a fun project to
share. She can say that using the bits kept them out of the landfill! Click the link above to read her blog post.

Pieces cut for the inner border

Leader ender block kit
I was berating myself for not catching either error sooner. Then I took a breath and counted the number of pieces in the block. There are 111 pieces in the quilt block. One hundred eleven translates to me that there are tons of opportunities to go awry so two isn't many at all!

The last clue of this mystery was Clue #7. Some years, there are more than seven clues. Not knowing how many clues there will be or when the reveal will be are fun parts of the mystery! The reveal is always an exciting post to read. As I viewed Bonnie's finished quilt, I enjoyed seeing her vision for the project. My eyes look for where she placed the units made during the mystery. Rarely has Bonnie used the units like I imagined. 

The last clue involved sashing the blocks together and adding a couple pieced borders. It seems like the steps won't take long; but, the process always takes longer than I think it will!

Block almost ready for sewing
This year, we cut some fabric for the sashing and then pieced it together. There are two pieced borders. For the inner border, we were to cut some fabric and position the appropriate triangle next to its corresponding block. For the outer border, we were to piece together the units from Clue #2. We also made and added some four patch units. 

For a few days,  I worked on the sashing. Ensuring that the seam lines with the triangle piece lined up to its mate in the adjoining block took some time. I like that Bonnie constructed the design so it finishes in the sashing. I also like the secondary pattern the piecing created. By the end of putting the quilt together, I was better at matching those intersections.

I cut the pieces for the first border and next week, I'll be working to piece that together to attach to the top. There is one more border to make before the top is finished. I'm getting closer to a finish every day!

As I'm working on this project, I'm making Bonnie's current leader and ender project, Triple Treat. A leader and ender means you start (leader) sewing with a couple pieces of fabric to ensure that you've a quarter inch seam. Then you sew the pieces for your current project. When you've sewn the your project units, you finish (ender) with another couple of pieces of fabric. Many people use a scrap of fabric; but, using parts to make a block, you actually can sew an additional quilt top at the same time. Using this method also saves on thread.

A few completed Triple Treat leader and ender blocks
I spent some time last week cutting fabrics for 20 blocks. Then I made kits. I lay out one block and stitch parts of it in between my Chilhowie project. I have about 11 blocks stitched. For now, I'm just making blocks and using up the many inch and a half squares that I have in my precuts! I'm also using the two and a half inch strips that have been in my precuts for a long time. These are the strips that may have a lot of pattern or colors in them.

If stitching blocks with scraps or you have a use it up philosophy, another quilter where I find inspiration is Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Chilhowie--post 1

Cotton Rolls
The day after Thanksgiving, Bonnie Hunter released clue number one of her Chilhowie mystery. In October, Bonnie released the "introduction" to the mystery which listed the fabric colors and yardage amounts. I ordered some cotton rolls from Cotton to Cotton Quilts. I knew that while I had a little of some of the colors, I didn't have enough of any one of the colors. I knew that I wasn't recovered enough from my accident to drive to various quilt stores looking for fabrics. For sure, I knew that I wouldn't be able to stand in line while my fabrics were cut. 
Nine Patches and four patches

My order arrived about a week before Bonnie released the first clue. I prewashed the fabric, dried it in the dryer and then starched it. My liquid starch ratio is one part starch to two parts water. I spray the liquid starch on the fabric until it is saturated. I let the fabric dry. I use the shower floor for the process because it is easy to wash away the excess starch after I've finished the process!

I iron each fabric and if the fabric has wrinkles, I will use spray the surface with spray sizing. I use the brand Niagara because it is available at the grocery store. Yes, it is a lot of prep. The prep is worth the time. The fabric is crisp which makes stitching accurate seam allowances better for me!

More half square triangle usage

Our Mystery Mavens group is meeting the first Monday of the month. Last November, we began meeting in person. It was so nice to see people in person and to be able to catch up with each other. Our group has grown. There are now 29 of us. When we formed our group in 2019, there were 15 of us! Our focus is to support one another while we sew Bonnie's mystery quilt and/or her other patterns.

I did raid my "precuts" of strips and squares for clue number one. I had almost enough of the purple and about a quarter of of the aqua fabrics. I also pulled a few more oranges and more neutrals from my stash. I added about two and half more yards of fabric from my stash. Primarily using backgrounds with a small print is a first for me. I like the interest those backgrounds provide and will likely purchase more to build into my stash. 
Quarter square triangles in process

I finished clue number one. . .four patches and nine patches. I also finished clue number two. . .strips with a HST sewn at the end. I will admit that my brain fog had me missing part of the directions in this step. After a chuckle with myself when I thought that there was an error in the photos, I figured out that I needed to sew two sections together! Thank goodness I'm working on this project with a group because I could view their progress and compare it to mine! 

Clues one and two, I completed on time. Then I came down with the flu and nothing happened on this project for a month. 

Sets of half square triangles 
Clue three was making a bunch of sets of quarter square triangles or hour glass units. I employed the technique of cutting a few strips of fabric and then sewing the pieces together. After every fabric change, I'd press my pieces. The constant movement and change of tasks wore well on my body. 

The crisp fabrics pieced well. After trimming the hour glass blocks, I was happy with the sharpness of the points. It took some time to stitch these!

I was piecing clue number three when Bonnie revealed the last clue. Normally, I would have allowed myself a bit of pity party because I was so far behind. This time, however, I didn't feel that way! I continued on with my 
Combing units into a block
process. I did like the layout and looked forward to finishing the project.

Clue four was to sew sets of half square triangles and to cut additional triangles for use later in the project. I did need to raid my orange chunks because I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough of the orange that I purchased. 

After making so many hour glass units, this step was a welcomed change! As we Bonnie releases the clues, it is fun to try to guess how we will use the units. She outwits me every time!

Clue five involved some cutting. We pieced some of the units from previous steps together. I loved that she had us stitch some parts together. Combining units and making more guesses about how these units might be used is fun. 

I stitched the first unit together and loved it! Although the first three blocks I stitched were a little large. By the 
Block variety
time I had stitched the remaining blocks, I had managed to meet the written block size. Using a larger print for the center squares added interest to the block.

Usually, I stack the blocks as I finish them. This time, I put them on the design wall. My thought was that whatever happened in the next steps, I would have a layout started. I often spend many hours placing the blocks into a layout and I hoped that starting the process early would eliminate some of that angst! The beauty of laying the blocks out and taking a photo was that I noticed a piecing error! 

After fixing the error, I started clue number six. To ensure I had a good mix of the units, I laid them out on the design wall along with a fabric that I would cut into squares. For the most part, I left the blocks from step five in the order that I had them on the wall.

Adding more units to the central block
The intersection of the orange and white half square triangles (HSTs) was tricky to match. I did a lot of ripping to achieve a good looking connection. In the end, I found that if I were more consistent with my quarter inch seam and if I basted across the intersection to check alignment, I had better and faster results.

I sure like the secondary pattern that the blocks made. It took a few sessions of careful stitching to finish this step. I actually finished it a week after Bonnie revealed the last clue and her finished quilt.

I'm feeling good that I'm not that far behind since I didn't sew for three weeks when I was the sickest with my flu/coughing illness. It has been a month since I first came down with the bug. Goodness, it's been a haul back to health!

View of the project at the end of clue #6
My goal over the next week will be to add the sashings to these blocks which is part of clue #7. There are a couple borders to add and then the top will be complete.

While the remaining steps are few, it will take some time to stitch the sashings to the blocks as there is a lot of point matching involved. The borders will be fiddly too. 

I have sure enjoyed stitching this mystery. The more I stitch, the more I want to stitch. I'm so glad that Bonnie had us put some units together during the process. When she released the reveal, I didn't end up with a bunch of baggies full of parts!

This month, I had planned to work on three other projects to give myself a break from this project. With my brain still skipping at time, I've decided to continue working on this project until I finish the top. Since my car accident, multi-tasking is not in my wheelhouse!

Because I've used scraps in this project, I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

Sunday, January 8, 2023

2022 Temperature Quilt--Post 5

Progress at the end of 2022
First, thank you for your comments on my last post about my return to blogging. I appreciated your words of encouragement and thoughts of work arounds. I heard from Linda H; Pat S and Theresa K via e-mail. I have so missed the interaction of friends, fabric and quilters! 

I thought writing the last post was a challenge. . .well, writing this post was even more of a challenge. Partly, I couldn't choose a topic. Then, I was unable to get my brain focused on the topic. I notice when I'm tired or feeling bad energy, my brain skips around. It doesn't skip like it does when Gertie, my inner squirrel, is sharing ideas, it is more of a leap into emptiness. It is a weird feeling. I find if I acknowledge the skip happened, I can become grounded and I can move forward again. 

Year spacer blocks--far right row
Previous to my accident, I multi-tasked and had a laser focus. I have so much less capacity for multi-tasking and focus now. I hope improvement will happen. Time will tell. I must work on applying patience as well as celebrating small wins. Thanks again for the comments, I was moved that I was missed!

When I began the current temperature quilt last year, I knew I wanted a project that could travel since I planned to spend three months in London with my daughter getting to
know my youngest granddaughter. Once I had picked the pattern, I started making the blocks. I didn't map out size or plan beyond making a block every day.

Auditioning background blocks 
The problem came in September when I realized that this project was going to be long and narrow. (It would measure about 25 inches wide by 72 inches long.) 

Auditioning border fabric
My goal was that it would be a lap quilt. It was headed to be more of a bed runner! I contemplated my options. My London daughter said finish it as it was and move on. I considered that option. The project didn't want to be finished at that size. I decided that I would continue the project for a second year. My London daughter said I was CRAZY!

Early December, I met up with my friend, Gail. I picked her brain for ideas about the border. I showed her options I was considering. I do want to finish this project. I don't want any more challenges!!

Gail provided terrific feedback. For example, I was considering building the black background blocks into a design in the border. Then, I planned to applique the edges to the purple fabric that I had used as the secondary background. She commented that the additional block design would take away from the central blocks. She was right. 

In the end, I decided that I would add dark background blocks around the perimeter. This additional block will balance the dark background blocks that I used to separate the year 2022 from the year 2023. Let's see what I think as time progresses and I finish more of the blocks. I will have a lot of those dark background blocks to make!

Scale of the blocks
I also auditioned a strip of the purple that I used as a secondary background as a border. I like the color. I will think what width of
border that would compliment the project. When I began the project, I thought that I would add more of the dark background as the border. Later, I decided that I liked the points on all those blocks. I didn't want to cut off the edges so add the border. 

My London daughter tells me it is crazy to add more work to this project. She wanted to know if this project was going to become a chicken project! To save all those points, my plan is to applique the border to the top. Yes. . .that is crazy and it will take a lot of time. . .I hope it will look terrific. I do agree with my daughter that I'm likely certifiable when it comes to her definition of crazy!

I'm linking up with Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework as I started this project with the scraps from the piecing of the temperature quilt I pieced for 2021.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

A Soft ReStart

Temperature quilt project
Happy New Year!

It's been eleven weeks since my last post. Being rear ended at the beginning of September continues to cause me lifestyle issues. Sigh. . . . I've tried to piece with good success. I've had limited success with both machine quilting and rotary cutting. Pushing and pulling the fabric during the machine quilting process, fatigues my arms. My strength to use the rotary cutter is not what it was before the accident and my arm/hand fatigues after a few cuts. Both activities also cause tremors to my hands.

Chilhowie project fabrics
I'm still working through the pain/body issues of my head, neck, back, left shoulder and left thumb and left index finger. Our youngest daughter and youngest granddaughter did come for Christmas early in December. Two days after they arrived, I came down with the flu. I had a temperature for a week and for that week, I stayed in bed. The second week, I managed to spend time in my chair and the third week, I actually got dressed every day. 

I've been coughing for three weeks. The cough wracks my body and leaves me breathless after the coughing impulse  has subsided. I haven't left the house since December 10! I hope that next week, I'll be able to return to my physical therapy exercises. I also plan to return to massage, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. I'm still weak. For example, walking more than a couple hundred steps makes me feel like I've been walking for three hours! 

Beyond the Flower Garden class sample
Since my last post in mid-October, I have worked on my temperature quilt. I started the Bonnie Hunter Chilhowie mystery. I made a baby quilt. I've progressed no further with the studio revamp. 

I've spent a lot of time trying to focus on what I can do rather than grieving over what causes me pain. While I've missed keeping up with my blog and reading other people's blogs, I did notice that my headache has been less severe when I lowered my screen
time. My memory continues to improve although, I still have moments when the word I want to say won't come to my tongue. 

We did celebrate Christmas with our immediate family and my mom. We did have freezing rain and cold temperatures 18-30 degrees Fahrenheit a few days before Christmas; but, it warmed up enough that the ice melted and family members could safely travel. During the holiday break, our oldest daughter came down with COVID. On day nine she was still testing positive. She wore a mask and ate in another room; but, we were able to be together. No one else contracted COVID. Interestingly our immediate family members, my youngest granddaughter, her dad, my husband and I are the only ones who haven't had COVID. 

I've been thinking about what sort of goals I could set and attain for January. I decided to set three goals:

1. Keep up with the temperature quilt.

2. Make progress on the Chilhowie mystery.

3. Make an example for my "Beyond the Flower Garden" class which is scheduled for May.

For the first month, my plan is to post once a week on Sunday. If I can tolerate that pace, I'll post on Wednesdays in February.  

Of course, Cynthia over at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework continues to motivate me use what I have! The mug rug above was made with scraps from past projects combined with machine embellishment stitches. It was a fun project!