Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Swimsuit For A Baby Finished

My niece delivered her daughter on January 23. Her little girl joins a one and a half year old brother. I had finished a flannel quilt months ago to be a quilt for this baby. Additionally, I decided to sew a swimsuit for my niece's little girl. 

Fabric cut out for the swimsuit
This is fabric my friend Martha gave me. Initially, I made a suit for my middle granddaughter. It is such a fun kid fabric. Last Sunday, not only was I able to sew a size two swim suit out of the scraps, I was able to cut out a size four swimsuit out of the remaining pieces! Next month, I'll sew that one for my youngest granddaughter's birthday.

Finished swim suit
Last night, I stitched the label for the flannel quilt. I've readied the quilt and suit for mailing. My husband will mail the package tomorrow. Making the swimsuit was goal number 12 on my January list. I used a quarter yard of fabric; but, I purchased seven yards of solid fabrics earlier this month so I've used negative 6.75 yards from my stash.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Dancing with the Wall--An Irene Rodrick Workshop--post 1

Auditioning the triangles
Goal number 17 on my January list was to attend an Irene Rodrick workshop. Our Portland Modern Quilt Guild sponsored the Zoom workshop. It's been years since I've taken a workshop from a national teacher. It was the first time that I've taken a Zoom workshop.

Progress at the end of four hours
The title of the workshop was Dancing with the Wall. The idea is to design your quilt from the center out. We were to start with two colors of fabric. Once we placed a component on the wall unless we were adding to it or altering it in some way, we didn't move it.

I tried freehand piecing curves. I liked it. I liked making curvy lines, skinny lines and beads. Irene defined Improv as unplanned. I could wrap my head around that definition. While in class, my goal was to give each element a try. If I had an issue, I could always ask Irene for help.

At the end of the first four hours, I was enjoying the process and actually having fun. By the beginning of the second day, I had mapped out how large I wanted to make my piece. I often use selvages to mark the dimensions I want my quilt to be. I had placed  a couple more components in the piece. I had started piecing a large component. 

Sans the black equals progress at the end
of eight class hours.
A focus of the second day was to help us learn how to engineer the components so that we could sew them together. Because I've pieced backs with bits, chunks and slabs of leftover fabrics and leftover blocks, I wasn't concerned about filling my space so I could envision how to engineer the stitching.

Progress at the end of Saturday
I spent the day making more blocks or pieces. It was great to see other people's creations. I was not happy with my fabric choices. As my fabrics were too close in value. I knew this when I started. Had the weather been cooperative, I would have purchased another piece to go with one of these. The supply list said two yards of two
contrasting fabrics.

I've been purchasing solid fabrics in one yard pieces. I had a white, a black or a yellow; but, I wasn't into a color combination that could be made with those fabrics. I figured after class I would add more color and make a project that I liked.

After class, I auditioned black as another color. I liked the effect the black gave. I do plan to use lime green in two small places and a lame gold in one other spot. My small modern group has issued a challenge using lime green, gold, and skinny lines in some way.

This week, I've played or as Irene would say, danced with the wall a little bit more. I've made components and auditioned some background fabrics. I've a ways to go yet, but, I'm making progress. The upper left bare corner will likely be solid black. I'm waiting for inspiration to hit for the other bare area.

I'm liking the piece better with the addition of the black fabric. If you want to learn more about the process I used, check out Irene's book, "Dancing with the Wall." I'm linking this post to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Filler Blocks for the 2023 Temperature Quilt--post

December 31, 2023 block
I pieced and inserted the last block for my 2022 and 2023 Temperature quilt. I'm calling the project Deux Ans which means two years in French. The block below was December 31 2023.

I took a break one evening and didn't work on the project. After spending time on this project daily for the last two years, I missed not piecing! I was surprised! I suppose almost daily English Paper Piecing a block provided me a routine. Now, I'm missing that routine!!

Close up of upper border
I have begun adding the filler blocks to the top edge of the project. I will also add the same filler blocks to the bottom edge of the project. For now, I'm inserting a few blocks into the top most evenings. I'm not putting a deadline on completing the filler blocks. It is a fiddly process to insert the half blocks. I'm taking my time. I'm finding not having to insert a particular number is freeing!

The finished blocks
A couple Sundays ago, I was sharing the project with my friend, Theresa. That is when I saw that I had added a design feature. Gertie, my inner squirrel has been on hiatus. Had she been her usual cheery and busy self, she would have alerted me that I was altering the design.

The left side of the quilt contains blocks from the temperatures in 2022. The right side of the quilt contains blocks blocks from the temperatures in 2023. I'll likely not share a progress post until I have inserted all the blocks in the bottom edge. Goal number nine on my January list was to make progress on the half diamond shapes in the project. I have made progress and it wasn't as difficult to add that half block as I had envisioned.

Next month, I'll begin adding those half diamond shapes to the bottom of the quilt. I had planned to applique a plain purple border around the edge of the quilt; but, Gertie has been whispering to add filler blocks around all the sides ad bind it with  the purple. Hm m m m. . . .Leave me a comment with your opinion! 

While I have recorded the daily temperatures this month, I have yet to stitch a block for the temperature quilt of 2024!

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Selvege Squares in the RSC Color--Green-post 2

Goal number five on my January list was to at least piece a few selvages in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) color of the month. This month the color is green. Anyone can participate in this challenge. If you are interested, visit Angela at SoScrappy for more information.

Close up of selvages
Basically, Angela picks a color for the month and you make blocks. . .whatever block you want or whatever blocks you want in whatever amount you want. She lists colors for ten months and then you stitch your blocks into tops and quilts. So far, I've made a top and blocks; but, I have yet to finish a quilt!

Close up of a second group of selvages
On Saturdays, Angela provides a link up. I enjoy visiting and seeing what other people are stitching. It's a good way to be inspired while I'm enjoy my cuppa!

Close up of a third group of selvages
I've been saving selvages for years. What made me decide to use selvages as my fabric scraps this year was because the scraps were outgrowing the container! If you want to see my technique for piecing the selvages, I wrote a post in December about my process.

First set of squares
I like reading the selvages. Sometimes there are cute symbols representing the colors used in printing the fabric. Often there is an interesting name for the fabric.

Second set of squares
This month, I made enough four inch squares for three blocks. I thought I had more green selvages than I did! I also selected selvages that were also printed in green. I repeated the orientation of the selvages four times so my squares have some consistency.

Third set of squares

This month, I had also planned to audition backgrounds so I could actually stitch the blocks. This was goal number four on my January list. Instead, I've decided to make squares over many months. I'll audition backgrounds when I've more fabric colors. 

Three sets of green squares.
This might be a several year project so I'm in no hurry finding a background. I'm linking up with Cynthia at Oh Scrap Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework and Angela at SoScrappy Saturday.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Kerr and Ringle Secret Agent Mystery Quilt Along--Post 1

 Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle are the co- owners of The Modern Quilt Studio. I've watched them for years. Last summer they had a mystery sew along that was summer camp themed. I saw constructed components. I read lots of light heart heated banter between participants. In short, it looked and sounded fun.

Product packaging
Late fall, they made the announcement of their next mystery which is a Secret Agent Modern Mystery Quilt Along.  This mystery is billed as working with the transparency effect. I joined. I even purchased a fat quarter bundle of their Transparency fabric manufactured by Bernertex. I liked the packaging of the product!

The contents of the package
The program began January 1; but, you can still get in on the fun. The fabric bundle is out of stock; but they expect more to be available in their online store soon. With this quilt along, they place clues at a particular time on a particular website. They also record You Tube videos to explain their process and methods. I like the laid back feel of the program.

Even the bundle is treated specially
While I've had my fabric for a couple of months, I was slow in getting it pre washed and starched.  I like ALL of the fabrics even the two that likely won't be used in this project. Of course, you could use stash or purchase your palette. Bill and Weeks record a video on how to select fabrics. 

I printed my clues and read through them. I was thinking all that I needed to do was to complete my "key." which is to identify each fabric. I didn't realize that I had some blocks to make so I will get to it. I want to be in good sewing form; because it will be important to read the cutting directions with a sharp eye and brain so that I cut the pieces in a format that gives me the best use of the fabric. I sure don't want to end up short!

Ice on top of snow
Likely, I will only post that I'm making progress until the reveal of participants' projects happens. Beginning this mystery was goal number 11 on my January list.

Three inches of ice on the driveway
In other news, after being in a deep freeze since last Friday, our area has begun to warm. The freezing rain that fell yesterday on top of the snow, will take longer to thaw. It is still treacherous to walk outside as it is like being on a skating rink. . .super slick! 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Clue 7 Complete; Clue 8 Begun of Indigo Way--post 4

Clue 7 blocks

 Our area is experiencing a cold spell. . . the low yesterday was 12 degrees and the high was 21 degrees. . .we received about three inches of snow. Yes, there was some sleet and some freezing rain too. We've had wind gusts of 40mph. 

Trees are down. Many people are without power. Roads are ice covered. Staying home is the safest. I'm glad we are stocked and don't need to go anywhere. Thank goodness we haven't lost power.  

Brrrrrr. . .it is COLD!!!!!! We don't experience cold temperatures often. Keeping the house warm with the wood stove has been a challenge. The kitchen and living room are great; but, the studio is too cool to sit and stitch. 

I had planned to spend yesterday making great progress on clue 8 which is the final clue of the mystery. Friday, I finished making the "A" blocks for clue 7 Friday.

The first "B" block that I made in clue 8 took time. I had heard that these blocks were easier to stitch because there were fewer points to match. It feels it takes at least as long to make these blocks as it did the "A" blocks!

Clue 8 block
I stitched a few blocks Friday evening and I stitched a few yesterday.  . .until it was too cold in the studio! I'll work on other projects during this cold spell which the weather personnel have forecasted to end Wednesday. Let's see. . .they had thought the temperature would improve on Monday, then Tuesday. Now they are saying we will be back to normal Thursday.  

Adding the B blocks to the A blocks
At any rate, I did make progress with Clue 8. As I stitched the full blocks, I placed them on the wall. I have a few more to make of the full blocks. Then, I get to move on to side setting blocks and corners. I've seen several centers and finished tops. Every top that I've seen has been amazing. I like how the blocks seem to glow. My blocks will be on point. There are borders to follow so I'll be working on this project for some time!

I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. I hope she is weathering this storm okay. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

A Sunflower Block and Greeting Cards

Last week, I made a four inch sunflower block for the outgoing President of the Mt. Hood guild. February is the last meeting of her year. In addition to quilting and longarming as a business, she is a gardener who loves sunflowers. The directions were to use a yellow fabric with a dark center with white to separate the petals.

Four inch Sunflower block
I mailed it to the guild and heard Monday that it had arrived and would be delivered to the President at the February meeting. While stitching it, I wondered if it would make a good block to stitch when I have little bits laying about. . .hm m m . . . .Gertie, my inner squirrel thinks it is a grand idea and wants to make a plan. I am not sure! Making the block was goal number 15 on my January list.

Making a Valentine card
Sunday, my friend Theresa and I went to a greeting card make and take session.  Lorie, who was my supervisor before she retired from nursing at the hospital, started this group to stay in touch with co-workers. There are people who have retired as well as some who are still working. 

Valentine card
We play from 11am to 2pm one Sunday a month for about seven months of the year. I haven't gone since before COVID; but decided to give it a whirl in December. It was a fun activity to share with my friend Theresa. 

Sentiment inside of Valentine card
Lorie brings supplies and samples for at least three cards. There can be 15-20 ladies in attendance and there is ALWAYS laughter and conversation. It is a great way to catch up. The fee to make a card is two dollars. I like to have a few cards on hand to send to special people throughout the year. 

Birthday and thank you card--inside was blank
The last two months, Lorie has also brought a small box of leftovers and challenged Theresa and I to make a couple cards from the scraps. I'll admit, I do have fun playing with the scraps! 

Cards made from scraps
Next time I'm participating, I'll try to remember to take more photos of the process. I only managed one this time. I was too busy playing!

Inside of one scrap card
Going to the get together and making cards was goal number 16 on my January list. It was nice to catch up with my friend Theresa and it is always good to get in a visit with Lorie. 
Inside of second scrap card

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Clue 6 and Clue 7 of Indigo Way--post 3


Triangle blocks with a different background

Clue six was to make a bunch of  triangle blocks with the light blue color as the background. I finished stitching the clue on New Year's Eve. I planned to spend New Year's Day making progress on the Farm Quilt.

Bonnie pulled a fast one. She released clue seven on New Year's Day! I spent New Year's Day stitching the hour glass units. I decided to use all of my "special fabric." I knew I wouldn't have enough; but decided I would make as many units I could. I used a solid looking fabric to make the remaining units. 

Hour glass units
By the time Friday had rolled around, I had finished the hour glass units and had stitched seven of the blocks. Working half time sure cuts down the studio time! I thought that between Friday evening and last night, I would finish stitching the half of the blocks.

Correct block layout
If I could have kept the center unit in the correct  orientation, I would have easily met the goal of stitching half of the units. As it was, I continued to stitch a block and then realize I had oriented the center unit incorrectly. . .not once but seven times! I ripped and restitched a bunch!

Later today, I'll stitch more blocks. . . I will be more alert regarding that center orientation! This is a fiddly block to stitch as there are points to match and points to not cut off!

Incorrectly sewn block
Last Friday, Bonnie released clue eight which was the reveal. While I'm always excited to see if I was close in determining where the units are placed, I'm also sad that the mystery has ended. 

Some finished blocks --clue 7
This is also the time in the project that I find the most challenging to keep myself motivated to continue stitching the clues until I have a top.

I liked the reveal. I am thinking about a destination of the finished quilt. I've a lot of stitching remaining. I have a long list of goals for the month. In the end, I'll likely continue
making progress on this project because I'm concerned if I work on something else, I won't get this top finished any time soon.

I will have to determine a binding fabric. I have a chunk of a print fabric that will cover a large portion of the back. The piece is likely not large enough; so there will be piecing involved. I'll also need to determine a fabric for the sleeve.

In the meantime, I'll work a little as many days as I can until I've finished the top. Goal number six on my January list was to make progress on Indigo Way. I've made some progress and I plan make more progress this month. I will have it long armed quilted.

 I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. Please go visit. Pour yourself a cuppa, sit back and be inspired!

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

December ReCap and January Goals


Clue six of Indigo Way
My Goals for December were:

✒1. Finish the Farm Quilt. Update:I have managed to complete the ditch quilting and have begun the "fun" part of the quilting.

✖2. Get the Color project to a top. Update:While I didn't physically work on this project, I did think a lot about it. I think I am going to need to piece my background fabric to reach the size that "feels" right to me. 

✔3. Stitch another hexagon ornament.

✔4. Keep up with the blocks in the temperature quilt.

✔5. Finish the Lone Star.

✔6. Stitch some clues for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery, Indigo Way. Update: I finished clue six on New Year's Eve.

Spools emptied in 2023
✖7. Help Miss K make progress on ditch quilting her string quilt. Update: I really thought that while Miss K was home during the winter holiday, we would have at least one and maybe two opportunities for her to begin ditch quilting her quilt. 

Sadly, her mama came down with COVID a few days before vacation. Miss K helped cook meals and tidy surfaces. While her dad was at work, she provided food and drink for her mama who spent 10 days in isolation. Fortunately, no one in the family caught COVID and we were able to be together for Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, other than hemming two pairs of Miss K's jeans that sh received at Christmas, we didn't carve out time to sew.

December 31, 2023 block
✔8. Determine if I'm going to embark on a 2024 temperature quilt. Update: I'm planning to make another Temperature quilt. Gundra Erla of GE Quilt Designs is doing a version using flying geese. I'm planning to tag along.

✔9. Figure out a block to make for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) for 2024. 

✔10. Write a post that includes the quilted Christmas decor.

While I didn't meet all my goals, I did make good progress. I enjoyed Christmas and New Year's AND I worked extra hours in December because I'm subbing in for the administrative assistant position until a new person can be hired.

Selvage blocks for 2024 RBSC
I've been working on using up spools of thread. I have a lot of old thread from my grandmother's stash. Some of it isn't strong enough to use in a project, so I use it in the bobbin to secure the edges of a quilt before binding. It is a way to honor my grandma and to leave a little part of her in each of my projects. 

Kitchen towel fabrics
Last summer, my mom gifted me a big bag of thread. I've used some of it to quilt and piece projects. The bag came in handy when I helped hem a couple pairs of my granddaughter's jeans on Christmas Day! I wish I would have take photos of that process. My granddaughter was ripping the hem as my daughter pinned a leg and I was pressing, pinning and sewing on any open leg! 

Back to the thread, I emptied 15 spools of thread! Last year while I had saved the spools, I didn't capture a photo or document how many I used. 

Card attached to the Secret Agent Mystery
fat quarter bundle
My goals for January are:

1. Finish the Farm Quilt.
2. Get the Color project to a top.
3. Complete the January lesson regarding my embroidery software.
4. Audition backgrounds for the RSC. Solid fabric doesn't "feel" right to me. I have a fat quarter pack of a line of fabric. Many of the fabrics read as a solid; but, are in fact a
print with a small motif. Auditioning a few different pieced units may give me the idea of what sort of fabric will make me feel happy!
5. At least, make squares of selvages in the RSC color for the month which is green.
6. Make progress on Indigo Way.
7. Organize the stack of magazines on the studio floor.
8. Be available to help Miss K make progress on her string quilt.
9, Make progress on the half diamond shapes on my 2023 temperature quilt.
Assemble a bunch of these blocks
10.Stitch a few decorative kitchen towels.
11. Begin the Modern mystery with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.
12. Make a swimsuit for a new baby coming sometime this month!
13. Begin a quilt for someone who is having heart surgery in a week, Three months after her heart surgery, she will begin treatment for kidney cancer.
14. Start making blocks for the 2024 Temperature Quilt.
15. Make a block for the outgoing President of the Mt. Hood guild.
16. Spend a Sunday making greeting cards.
17. Attend an Irene Rodrick workshop.
Seventeen goals are far too many. Gertie, my inner squirrel, is making herself known again! I'm thankful to feel her presence again. While I see many hours of studio time in my future, I am telling myself whatever I achieve will be great. 

Yesterday, I spent time getting physical therapy on my knee as the surgeon said I would have a better outcome from surgery if the supportive tissue around my knee were stronger. 

Luckily, the office is about five minutes from my home. The first session went well and while I was sore afterword, this morning I'm able to move without additional which hasn't always been the case when I've had PT in the past. I'll be working extra hours again this month so my studio time will be limited. In the end, I know it will all be good. My plan is to greet each day and make the most of it!