Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Quilting the 5 inch squares--post 3

Stitching in the ditch
Goal number five on my June list was to layer and baste the five inch square project. Usually, I pin baste; but this time, I used my design wall and I spray basted. In about half an hour, I had it basted. 

Burying thread tails
With spray basting, I have issues with the back bunching so it takes me some time to finesse the layers into flatness! For a small project, the spray baste process worked well.

Next, I started stitching in the ditch to secure the layers. I used the same color thread in the needle and bobbin as the fabric. Hey. . .this was over and above my goal!!

I had lots of stops and starts. This time, I decided to bury the thread tails. Usually, I snip the ends because it is time consuming to bury the threads. At a retreat, someone shared a hack about burying threads.

Essentially, you use the loop of thread created when you push both ends of a nine to ten inch piece of thread through the eye of a needle. Push the needle into the fabric at the base of the threads you want to bury. 

Curves didn't work

Pull the needle through a few inches. Open the loop, place the thread ends to bury inside the loop. Pull the loop through the fabric and the thread ends are also pulled through as well. It's a magic trick!

I found a tutorial from Penny Spool quilts that shows photos of the process. This process was sure simpler and easier to use than using a self threading meeting which was my previous method.

Straight lines are the ticket
After I completed stitching in the ditch, I decided that I wanted to stitch a simple curve in both the background and colored pinwheels. I like inserting a curve into a block that has straight edges.

While I liked the movement the curve presented, I didn't like the way the curve would interact with the  neighboring curves. 

I spent some time ripping out that quilting. Instead, I used a straight line ruler and quilted lines a quarter inch apart using the angled edge of the pinwheel as the place to begin the quilting.

Again, I'm using a thread in the needle and bobbin that matches the fabric. I don't want the quilting to show. I want the quilting to provide texture. I've completed the straight lines in all the purple pinwheels. I'm slowly making my way around the border squares. Quilting straight lines takes some time! Although, I do see a finish ahead!

Quilting the same design for the background as well as the colored fabric makes the density the same so the quilt ought to lie flat after I've finished the quilting. 


Sunday, June 25, 2023

Basting the Churn Dash--Post 3

Beginning the layering process
Goal number eight on my June list was to spend time with Miss J and to baste her quilt. I won these blocks at the Spring virtual retreat I attended in 2021. The theme of the retreat was down on the farm. The churn dash blocks have some sort of farm motif as the center fabric. Miss J loved the blocks so I asked her if she would like to make them into a quilt. She did. We spent some time figuring out the layout

We auditioned a variety of fabrics for the sashing and borders. January 2022, she had completed the top and pieced the back. Our plan was to longarm it; but, life happens and we weren't able to longarm it together. 

In process
Several times between March 2022 (the original date to longarm) and now, I asked if she wanted to quilt it on the domestic machine, or if she wanted me to send it out to be long armed. If we quilted it on the domestic machine, we needed to pin baste it. The answer she gave me was, "let me think about it." When I would approach the subject again, she would say, "I'm still thinking about it."

So when she was over for a sleepover last month, I
thought working on this project would be the perfect activity. Well. . .I thought she would arrive early in the day; but, her arrival was delayed because of activities she was doing with either family or friends. She is nine and her social calendar is filling!

She arrived after four in the afternoon and by the time we had cooked dinner. . .we were having gnocchi one of her favorite dishes. . .there wouldn't have been time for basting.  I did bring up the subject. She again gave me the think about it answer. I decided that the interest in quilting had definitely waned.

Instead, we did a little drawing and visiting. It was a good visit. We both agreed that it was more fun for her to come without her sister. .  .sharing is hard and waiting your turn can be difficult at times.  

So this week, I pulled out the top, backing and batting. My husband helped me put a couple leaves in the table. In a couple of hours, I basted the quilt. I plan to quilt it. I plan to gift it to her. I'm not planning to bring up the quilt subject again.

I do plan to invite her to help me select fabrics, design tops and to layout blocks because those are activities that she finds fun. Perhaps with selective exposure, I still will be able to infect her with the quilting bug after all.

I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework because the backing is from scraps!

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Two Swimsuits

Cutting out the suits
I've been sewing my own swim wear since I married. Before that, my mom sewed my suits. She started sewing suits after I wore the butt out of the suit she bought me at the beginning of summer. I only had worn it a few times to play in the irrigation ditch. The neighbors and I used the concrete "fall" as a slide. The fall was used to move the water to a lower elevation. 

Once I bought a suit because it was five dollars; but, otherwise, I've sewn them. I've made suits for my kids and my grandkids. I think they last about as long as purchased suits last. Plus, my friend, Marla, gifted me swimwear fabric that came from her sister. The amount she gifted me is enough to last me through the remainder of my lifetime!

Miss J, our nine year old granddaughter, picked out a fish print fabric for me to make my suits. I was able to cut out two complete suits. When I write complete suits, I mean that I also cut out the linings. 

Finished suits
I haven't worn a suit with self lining; but, thought why not? I have lots of fabric and not having to purchase lining fabric would be great. Although, I do have a lot of black lining fabric on hand.

When my children would preschoolers, I'd cut out and make at least two suits for each person at a time. Many times, I'd make six suits at a time for myself. I was a swim instructor so the pool chemicals, like chlorine, ate through the fabric quickly. In case I went somewhere, I always had a "Sunday" suit waiting in the wings for those occasions!

I haven't made suits since the pandemic which is probably the longest time between suit making in my life! Because I fully line my suits--that information isn't in the directions--I couldn't remember how I handled the back neck strap. Next time, I will try attaching the lining another way. 

I also couldn't remember the seam allowance I used to baste the armhole and leg openings. Three eights of an inch is the measurement. One afternoon, I cut out the suits. The next afternoon, I sewed the pieces together. I inserted the linings into the suits. The third afternoon, I added the elastic. Wella, I had two finished suits! After trying them on, I've decided that self lining is not the way to go. The suits are heavier and will take longer to dry. 

Making two swimsuits was goal number two on my June list. I used three yards of fabric from my stash which brings the total of fabric used this year from my stash to six yards. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Quilt of Valor Presentation

Quilt of Valor label
Goal number ten on my June list was to connect with the veteran and complete the Quilt of Valor nomination. Last August, I posted my finish of the quilt. It is the Rhododendron Trail that was Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt in 2022.

All the while I was making the quilt, I was thinking of Rod. I first new of Rod when he appeared on screen during the Vietnam documentary that Ken Burns produced. My husband exclaimed, I have coffee at Starbucks with that guy! I didn't know this about him! That was the moment that I decided Rod needed a Quilt of Valor (QOV).

I've made blocks and a couple of tops for the program; but, this was the second quilt that I had made. The first quilt was for my dad. Unfortunately, he refused the recognition. I gave it to him anyway as a gift. 

Showing the quilt to the audience
Sometimes veterans don't want the recognition--as recognition stirs up memories of soldiers they knew who didn't come as well as battles fought. My dad who served at the end of the Korean War, wouldn't share more about his service than he was a country kid who was tasked with building roads.

The "ask" part of the Quilt of Valor process hung me up because I feared a second rejection. Over the past year, I looked for opportunities to ask Rod if I could make and present him a quilt. The right time didn't come. 

Reading the poem
This month, I decided it was time to make the request. If he said no, I would deal with the consequences. While I wanted to ask him in a face to face conversation, I ended up calling him on the phone. I had given myself until the end of the first week of June to make the ask and that day arrived so that was why I called. 

Our conversation went like this: 

Me: Hi Rod, This is Terry, Bob's wife. I have a favor to ask.

Rod: I'll do it, whatever you need.

Me: Well, first listen to what I'm asking. Then answer the question. You can say no.

Rod: Okay...

Me: You know that I'm a quilter and I make quilts.

Rod: Yes.

Me: Well, I've made you a Quilt of Valor to honor you and your military service. I would like to present it to you. Although, you have to say yes and we have to complete a nomination form.

Jo, Bob, Rod and Butch--coffee buddies
Rod: Well, I'd like a quilt. You made one for me? That would be nice. Tell me what you need.

This time my request was NOT rejected! Whew! First hurdle out of the way. Then it was on to the nomination form. Using his words, we wrote the following:

"I'm proud to have served my country. When I landed in Vietnam, I read in the Stars and Stripes that I was one of 500,000 troops. In the service, I was a machine gunner. Every day, I carried my machine gun and at least 200 rounds of ammo. I carried about 60 pounds of gear every day.

Rod and his wife Jan
During the two years I spent in the service, I experienced many battles. One  battle lasted more than 12 hours. One flank was taking one more fire than our flank. My sergeant and I took ammo to that flank. Bullets flew all around us. We delivered the ammo and returned without getting hit. After we returned, we were sent back to that area as
replacements. I survived that battle and many others. 

The Army awarded me:

1. Bronze star medal with V-device ( for valor) 

2. Bronze Star medal with oak leaf cluster meritorious duty

3. Vietnam Service Medal with two service stars awarded for years served in Vietnam

4. Combat Infantryman Badge

5. National Defense Medal

6. Vietnam Campaign Medal"

I submitted the nomination using the National Quilt of Valor website. Next, I contacted the district coordinator, Lynda Lutz, who made the "official" label and gave me a small bag that contained a Vietnam Veteran decal and a commemorative medal of serving in Vietnam 50 years ago. She also gave me a copy of the poem to read at the presentation. I sewed the label to the quilt.

We held the presentation last Friday morning on the patio of his home. Several of his coffee buddies attended the event. Jo brought his wife, Yvonne. Rod's wife, Jan was also there. I shared how QOV began. Butch helped me wrap the quilt around Rod. I began reading the poem. Rod got emotional listening to it. I got emotional because he got emotional. 

It was great to gift this quilt to such a humble man. What a great way to honor someone and their service. After almost a year, this quilt is finally home! I was gifted a jelly roll of patriotic fabric so I'll be beginning another QOV at some point as most of the coffee buddies are Vietnam veterans. I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap because this quilt contained a lot of scraps!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

A Finished Shirt

Goal number four on my June list was to sew a shirt to wear with the skirt I posted about last Sunday. The blue sparkly fabric and pattern came from my friend who was clearing out her sewing supplies so she could spend more time painting.

Shirt front
In hindsight, had I made a test shirt first, I would have had an easier time. I like the neckline and the gathers in the front. Unfortunately, I didn't add enough to the sides for the shirt to fit. I solved the issue by adding a rectangle of fabric between the front and the back on each side.

Finished shirt
Next time that I am Joann Fabrics, I will check to see if the pattern is still available and in a larger size! I also might get out a pattern drafting book and attempt to draft a pattern that will fit my body. I did finish the shirt. It fits. Although, I might decide to alter it a bit so that it fits a bit closer to my body in the sleeve area.

I used one and three quarter yards of fabric in this project which brings the total amount of stash used to three yards this year.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Skirt--it fits and it is finished!

Goal number three on my June list was to make myself a skirt. I'm taking a trip and could use a few clothing items. While my weight has changed little--I fight five pounds all of the time--, my body shape has changed. I'm round where I used to be flat and more round in the curved places. Little fits in ready made to wear items. I hate shopping and I DETEST trying on clothing.


Last month, my friend, Sandy, gifted me a lot of her sewing fabrics, books and patterns as she decided that she would rather paint than quilt. I even have some of her unfinished projects. One of the fabrics was this gorgeous sheer fabric and she had a skirt pattern to pair with it. There was also a blouse fabric and pattern too but, that is for another day! 

I looked at the pattern and thought that I could easily alter it to fit me. That pattern had one seam, a hem and an elastic waist finish. I thought I could make the skirt in an afternoon. Once again I underestimated the amount of time it would take me to make the garment. 

The pattern

Day one--First, while I had fabric, pattern and thread, the pattern wasn't large enough for me. My friend is smaller than me. After taking my measurements and comparing them to the pattern, I realized that I needed to draw a new pattern. 

Because I didn't have pattern material, it was off to Joann Fabrics to purchase some. Then I drew off the pattern which included the alterations.  

Day two--Next up was cutting out the skirt. My friend is shorter than I am. The yardage wasn't enough after I had made the alterations to the pattern. I spent a day contemplating options. In the end, I pieced the lower skirt. I was able to cut out the skirt.

Finished skirt
Day three--I started sewing, thinking that in a few hours, I'd have a finished skirt. I sewed a right side to a wrong side. I sewed a top to a bottom--I wouldn't figure this out until at the end of the day! There was a lot of ripping. This is a polyester fabric and it wouldn't press on the synthetic setting on my iron. I turned the iron up; but, I wasn't able to actually press the fabric. Honestly, I wasn't brave enough to continue turning up the heat as I was afraid that I would melt my fabric. I was using a scrap; but, I didn't want to have to clean the iron! 

At the end of day three, I was putting the outer and inner skirts together when I discovered that I had made the sew a bottom to a top error. I ripped out half a hem and two French finished seams. Ugh!! If I were to make this pattern again, I would add notches to the waist edge so I didn't repeat that last experience!

Day four--I began the day sewing the waist of the skirts together. I sewed them wrong because the under skirt ended up on top! More ripping happened. I repined. . .correctly this time and re-stitched. A little trimming, a casing stitched and elastic inserted, I FINALLY had a finished skirt. 

Hand dyed fabrics
This project used five yards of fabric. But, I ordered seven yards of hand dyed fabrics so total of fabric used from my stash is negative one and quarter yards! I ordered the fabric from Vicki Welsh over at Colorways by Vicki. Ordering the fabric was goal number nine on my June list. Vicki makes the most luscious hand dyed fabric and is a gem to work with. She is a GEM!

I have some bigger finishes in the pipeline. I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework because I needed to piece the scraps together to make this skirt!                       

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

London Adventure--Day 9

Last view of the bridge
On our last day in London, we had breakfast at the WatchHouse. It is located less than a ten minute walk from Nicole's flat. On the way, we took a last photo of my favorite bridge.

Leaving the WatchHouse
The WatchHouse is a coffee shop that also serves delicious pastries, sandwiches and brunch entrees. Each coffee is served with a small card that lets the customer know where the coffee originated. I like reading about the farmers behind the coffee beans.

The first time that I visited London on my own, I enjoyed a coffee and an avocado, poached egg on toast several times! The company has grown. There are now 12 locations in London! The company held a go fund me campaign last summer with the goal  to open a location in New York. 

Airline activity bag
After breakfast, we said our good byes. It was hard to part from Miss A! We took an Uber to the airport. It was good that we had arrived early because the staff who get you through all the lines at the airport were on strike. Many flights were canceled. About a quarter of the area was operating. Lines were long. It was so strange to see a bank after bank of unmanned agent booths.

When we entered the first passenger check, the scanner didn't read Miss K's face so we couldn't proceed to the hand baggage scan line. This happened to a number of passengers. We were directed to a line. When we arrived at the head of it, the person pointed us to another equally long line. Meanwhile, Bob was waiting for us on the other side of scanner. Staff wanted him to proceed and of course, he was waiting for us. What a situation that was! The staff relaxed a little when it was realized that our party had been separated.

When we finally arrived at the head of the line, our passports were again scanned. When I asked what happened, there was no explanation. Later I learned that if the staff person (who was obviously a fill-in) had moved the camera angle to Miss K's height, we could have breezed through that airport scan and saved ourselves about 20 minutes.

Trying out the sleep mask
We did make it to our gate with time to spare; but the process upset Miss K. She was worried we would miss the flight. After we had our luggage scanned, a British Airways employee handed Miss K an activity bag. Checking out the bag contents brought out a few smiles.

We boarded without an issue. Then we sat on the tarmac for over an hour because the pilot was waiting for a serious thundershower to pass before we took off. The rest of the flight, while long, was uneventful. Going through customs in Portland was a first for all of us. It was a simple process. Before we left, we had a notarized document that stated it was okay for Miss K to be traveling with us. Interestingly, we were never asked to show it.

Auntie and Miss K
It was a fabulous trip. One with many memories made. Nicole ensured we all had a good time and that all the items plus more were checked off the list that Miss K had made! Posting about our final day in London was goal number seven on my June list.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

May Recap and June Goals

Temperature quilt after 17 months

For May, my goals were:

✔1. Keep up with the temperature blocks. I've completed 17 months of recording the daily temperatures. The top measures 37 inches by 72 inches. 

✔2. Continue piecing my maze quilt top.

✔3. Continue to free motion an area of my Lone Star quilt.

✔4. Sew a Christmas stocking for my youngest granddaughter.

✔5. Play with the embroidery unit on my machine.

✔6. Teach a Zoom class on EPP.

Make more filler blocks
✔7. Teach an in person class on EPP.

✔8. Play with the five inch squares I won from Preeti.

✔9. Document more days of our March London trip.-- Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8,

I completed a block for the outgoing CCQ president. We were to make a six inch bear paw block in bright colors. 

Bear Paw block
In spite of being stuck for three weeks with the next step of quilting on the Lone Star, I was able to make progress. Whew! I thought that project might be in the same place at the end of the month as it was at the beginning of the month! 

All in all, I am happy with all the progress I made in May. 

For June, my goals are:
1. Keep up piecing the temperature blocks each day. Begin piecing the filler blocks for the borders. I will need about 165 of these. It seems like a huge task; but, I've already pieced 558 blocks so what is another 165?? If I begin piecing now and add them into the project, I may finish the border fairly close to the end of the year! 

Reimagining a space
I'll be taking a trip soon so the next three items on the list are items to take with me!

2. Sew two swim suits.

3. Sew a skirt. 

4. Sew a top.

5. Layer and pin baste the quilt top that I made last month with the five inch squares that Preeti gave me.

6. Participate in Preeti's Positively Sew Along.

7. Finish the documentation of our March London trip--I've one last post to write!

8. Spend some time with Miss J and baste her quilt.

9. Order enough hand dye fabric for the temperature quilt and for a potential project for Mod Squad, one of my small groups that works in the modern style.

Adding curved lines to the space
10. Connect with the veteran and complete the Quilt of Valor nomination.

On the health front, I used all of my personal injury protection money and then some. I haven't had a chiropractic or acupuncture treatment in a month. 

I had my last physical therapy appointment two weeks ago. I'm still scheduling massages at least a couple times a month. I pay for the massages from my own pocket.

If I make more progress using the PT exercises, I may request more sessions. Because I had plateaued, I couldn't see spending money without seeing better progress. Over time, I believe I'll continue improving.

View after adding the curved lines
Last month, I've been swimming once a week. I've increased my swim time to 30 minutes. I plan to add an additional day next month. I can turn my head to side breathe when swimming freestyle which has been painful to do. My neck is still weak because it is sore after a swim day!

I am swimming about 800 yards which is 500 more than I did last month. I can swim 100 yards continuously of freestyle and another 100 yards continuously of breaststroke. My shoulder, while tired, can stand the freestyle. 

I can alternate 50 yards of freestyle with 50 yards of breaststroke. After that, I swim backstroke, elementary backstroke and scull until my body is ready to call it a day. At some point, I'll be able to swim a mile or 1760 yards.

Potential skirt and top fabrics
Sadly, I still can't quilt without pain in my back. Quilting with a walking foot is gentler on my body than free motion quilting. I might be able to get in three or four 20-30 minute sessions in a day. These sessions are possible as long as I stretch and do other activities in between the quilting sessions. 

I still don't have the strength to free motion quilt with rulers. Some days, I can manage a small ruler in a small area. It's been hard on my ego to see the quality of quilting I produce now compared to what I produced before the accident. 

I'm linking to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework as I've played with scraps a lot last month with more scrapping to come this month!