Sunday, June 30, 2024

2024 Temperature Quilt--post 2

Border fabric approved
Goal number five on my June list was to piece the March, April, May and June blocks for my 2024 Temperature quilt. Last month, I pieced the blocks for January and February. Gertie, my inner squirrel, whispered to me that I needed to pick a fabric for the filler blocks. I could locate a fabric from my stash that would work for an outer border.

As the completed row of the month blocks grew, I played with possibilities. My oldest granddaughter popped in for a visit and I asked her for her thoughts. She picked a Kaffe print which was perfect. There is a yard which should work for the border. I thought that I could cut it for filler blocks. The print, however, is so large that I would get a different color for each month. 

Inner border and filler block possibilities

Next, I considered adding a narrow inner border. I chose a brown which was okay; but when I shared with my Friday Sit and Sew group, they suggested to choose an orange or a pink instead. In the stash was a dark pink/red purple that was the winner. 

Filler block auditioning
My plan is to add a one inch finished inner border and at least a three inch finished outer border. For the filler blocks, I had a Kaffe jelly roll. I decided I could part with one of the strips to make the filler blocks (Thank you Sandy P for both of these fabrics and the jelly roll!)  

I opened the jelly roll and looked at the possibilities. I chose two strips in the same print. While I liked the bluer print best next to the geese, the greener strip looked best next to the border fabric.

I am caught up with piecing the blocks. I've sewn the months January through May together. I'm excited about how this project is coming together. 

I'm happy that I was able to use stash fabrics for the project! After I made the 
filler fabric and border decisions,I pieced the January through May rows together. 

January through May
I've also determined that once a week, I'll piece the blocks together and add them to the monthly strip. Moving forward, I should be able to stay current! Next Friday, I'll finish the June strip and add it to the group of strips I've already pieced together.

I've loved using these hand dyed fabrics for the temperature quilts. Unfortunately, I recently learned that Vicki Welsh has closed her business earlier this month so if I decide to continue with this project next year, I'll have to source a new fabric line.

Do you have a preference of Bella Solids made by Moda or Kona Cottons made by Kaufman? I'd appreciate your thoughts both pros and cons!

I'm linking to: Frédérique at Patchwork and Quilting and Cynthia at Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Transparency Borders. . .Do They Work for Your Eye?--post 4

Back in April, my Transparency project was a top that measured 51 inches by 51 inches. I kept telling myself to piece a back and quilt it. I said to myself: finish it. The problem with my thought pattern was that I felt the top needed to be a little bigger so it could be used as a throw. The issue with making it bigger was that I didn't have enough scraps left from the project. . . or did I? 


Goal number 11 on my June list was to determine if I could add a bit to this project. I pulled out the scraps and had a look. I asked myself, "What if I extended the dark to the top and bottom.?" I looked at the dark blue and dark green scraps. I found I could cut enough fabric to increase the top six inches. If I supplemented the black fabric prints, I could squeeze out another six inches. 

Additional borders 
I carefully cut and stitched the pieces together. The top now measurers 51 inches wide by 63 inches tall. I like the size better. While I may not have maintained the transparency effect, the addition didn't obliterate the technique either. I plan to bind the project in a dark black fabric that I have on hand.

Trimming the scraps 
After giving the top a good press, I began to trim the scraps into usable segments to use on the quilt back. I decided to use half inch seams and to press the seams open to make the back easier for the needle to penetrate. 

Segments for back on the design wall
There were quite a few chunks which I placed on the design wall. Next month, I'll continue piecing the sections into a top. I will have to add some fabric from stash. Using the leftovers for the back will lessen the amount of scraps I'll be putting into my scrap stash!

Advanced applique May lesson
Goal number three on my June list was to complete the May and June embroidery software classes. I got stuck in the May lesson so that was the only lesson that I completed. I spent many hours on the May lesson. There is a challenge lesson too. While I reached a stuck spot, I'm a few minutes away from completing the entire offerings for May. There isn't a July lesson so I'll have a chance to catch up!

Mid way through the May embroidery challenge
I'm linking up to to Carol at To Do Tuesday and Alycia at Finished or Not Friday.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Play--An Improv Piece (Formerly Called Free Hand Curves)--post 2

Where I left off in February
Goal number eight on my June list was to make progress on the piece I began in the Cindy Gridsdela class I took last February. 

Auditioning a curve layout
I left the pieces on the design wall and have turned them in a number of directions looking for the layout that felt "right." I had an orientation that was a long gradual curve; but I didn't take a photo of it. In that layout, I was stuck with what to fill in the space around the curve. Instead, I have a photo of a shorter curve.
Auditioning some parts

I decided that I needed to decide whether I wanted to spend a lot more time on the project or did I want to finish it and move on to another project. Gertie, my inner squirrel, was all in for creating a circle and finishing sooner rather than later.

Piecing the bits as a leader/ender
I began with my pile of scraps. I began piecing more curves and adding length to an insert piece. I continued to audition a fabric and the orientation of the curve until I could live with the result. When I had the quadrants mostly pieced, I auditioned a sashing. A challenge one of my small groups currently has is to make a traditional block modern. There is a size rule and cream has to be used. This is a variation of a drunkard's path block. I wasn't feeling the sashing.

Quadrants mostly pieced

After a few days of adding a piece of fabric, rearranging, adding another fabric, rearranging, I managed to piece most of the quadrants. On purpose, I didn't piece a square nor did I square three of the blocks. I liked the wonkiness of the organic blocks. 

Lower right quadrant needs a bit of green
Next steps are to determine the frame. I was considering a dark frame around the piece; but that plan felt too traditional. The lower right quadrant needs a bit of green. Perhaps, a pieced strip would add some interest.
Green in lower right quadrant; pieced 
strip added to upper right quadrant
The upper right was too boring. I pieced a strip of scraps and liked the results. The upper left quadrant was now too boring. My small group that stitches on Friday, suggested I put some cream in that area. Rosanne even drew me a shape as an example. I love Friday Sit and Sews. The conversation is good and the advice shared is helpful. We chuckle that we are quilting by committee!
Rosanne's suggestion
I cut the shape. I'm becoming more comfortable cutting free hand organic curves! Then, I cut the shape into sections so I could piece a few confetti squares into the area.
Curved shape cut into segments
for confetti
Looking at the section spoke "too much white."  I subbed out the uncut segments for the dark green fabric and that action "felt" better to me.
Beginning to piece the curve
There was still too much white, so I added some green strips on each side of the white segments. The green was a good add. I liked the direction that corner was going. 
Left corner audition
The top half is wider than the bottom half so I pieced another strip of scraps together. I wanted a horizontal orientation for this section. Initially, I placed it on the lower left side of the piece; but, after a group discussion, Su suggested I put it in the center of the two bottom blocks. I liked the suggestion.

Center pieced strip added
The photo above is where I was at the end of Friday. The top still needs some work. I am rethinking the black strips on either side of the bottom half of the project. The lower right quadrant needs a little more interest. Saturday morning, I removed the dark strips from each side of the lower half of the project. I separated the lower quadrants. I plan to insert a fabric next to the green and do something in the gray. Let's see how far I get today! In spite of all the changes, I feel like it will be a finished top soon!

This is going to be a book club quilt for the book, "Prayers for Sale" written by Sandra Dalles. The main character in the book is a quilter. She fell in love with a blue fabric and bought the bolt. Fast forward years, the reader learns that each project has a bit of this fabric in it and that her quilting circle of friends' projects also has some of the treasured blue fabric. Using some blue fabric was my inspiration to create this piece.

Linking to Alycia at Finished or Not Friday; Frédérique at Patchwork and Quilting and Cynthia at Oh Scrap.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Blue Selvages--Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Some blue selvages
Goal number two on my June list was to stitch enough squares for four blocks in the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I have a lot of blue strings.

Even more selvages
I sorted them into a blue/green pile, a light/bright pile and a dark pile. I noted I had some teal and some aqua strips too!

Some of the wording on the selvages
This month, I remembered to snap a couple photos of the selvages before I started to cut them into segments for the blocks.

A few more selvages with wording
I could have stitched more squares since my pile didn't decrease much after I had finished making enough squares for four blocks. 

Squares in process
We had a bonus Zoom sew day on Monday. A member of one of my small groups moved to Kansas. To stay connected, we've been zooming one Monday a month. It's fun to hear what she found in her neighborhood and who she's met in the quilting world. 

Finished squares
We shared stories and laughter. I finished all of my squares. I'm linking to: Angela at Scrap Happy, Carol at To Do Tuesday.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Temperature Quilt 2022-2023--It's A Top!

Goal number one on my June list was to cut the borders and begin stitching one to my 2022-2023 Temperature quilt. One afternoon, I cut the two remaining borders and marked the quarter inch sewing line. I noted the half and quarter marks on the length of each border.

Border cut and marked
Next, I needed to remove papers. This was a job I did while watching television with my husband! I spent several evenings creating a pile of thread and used papers!

Paper removal debris pile
As I positioned the border in place, I removed the papers along the outer edge. It didn't take as long to prep the border as I had led myself to believe. I marked the quarter sections on the quilt top and began to pin the border in place. I found I needed to ease the top to the border. I thought that stitching with the papers would have eliminated wonkiness. . .not so! 

Appliquéing a straight edge is much faster than going around all the points on the lengthwise borders! I thought that I'd applique one border this month and one border next month. . .nope. I finished both THIS month. It is now a finished top! 
Detail view of appliquéd edge
I do need to press the back carefully to tame all the seam allowances and I need to construct the back. Pressing and constructing the back may happen next month. Considering the quilting, I am thinking simple. The top is heavy with all those seams!

I'm linking to: Cynthia at Oh Scrap; Alycia at Finished or Not Friday and to Frédérique at Patchwork and Quilting.
Finished top

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Rita's Temperature Quilt

Rita's project bin
Goal number six on my June list was to begin to decode my friend, Rita's Temperature Quilt project. Cancer took Rita last January. Her husband asked if someone could finish the temperature quilt that she began in 2021. In March, I took her project box and a box labeled temperature quilt home. About all that I remembered from her project was that she was making a braid design. 

Rita's notes
Inside the tub were a few fabrics and a folder containing her notes. She also had a box of fabrics with a lot of the fabrics marked as to the temperature range. Rita's fabrics all came from her stash. She changed fabrics every two degrees and her temperature range ran from under 20 degrees to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. I was impressed that she gathered the ALL the fabrics from her stash!

Box of fabrics

I took the bin and the supporting fabrics home with me at the end of March. I didn't look carefully at the tub nor the fabric box until this week. I fully expected that I would need to sew some of the days. 

Braids and legend
A welcome surprise was that Rita had sewn all the days of the year. The strips, in person, aren't as vibrant as they appear in the photo, but, the effect is just as wonderful. I'm impressed with how well her stash worked for this project!

Rita also had sewn her legend which are the rectangles at the base of the braided strips. She didn't leave notes on what she was thinking for the filler blocks. There was an illustration of the blocks with a two inch sashing. There was also a two yard piece of fabric in the project tote that might have been a border fabric.

Months of the year and the legend
Her husband, Brad, thought Rita was making houses. A next step could be to draft a simple house to fit as a filler block for February. After spending a few days looking at the strips, a dark navy fabric might work well to separate the rows. I also think that that framing the legend would be a nice effect. I may shop for the sashing fabric next week. My first step will be to determine the filler block as well as draft the triangles that will turn the ends of the braid into a blunt end. 

I'm linking to: Carol at ToDoTuesday.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Farm Quilt An Update--post 6

Quilting pattern
When I last posted about this project last March, I had quilted a handful of the blocks. I had knee joint replacement surgery in April. I wasn't able to do much quilting until the last two weeks of May. Sitting continues to be an activity my healing quadriceps muscle doesn't like so I quilt a little bit several times during the day. Being able to quilt makes me happy!

I've finished quilting the blocks. To recap about the quilting of the blocks: using monofilament thread, I quilted around the print in the block center. Using quilting rulers, I stitched curved lines in the sashing and straight lines oriented vertically or horizontally in the half square triangles. It took me about two hours to quilt each block. 

It is silly to spend so much time custom quilting these blocks; but, my inner squirrel, Gertie convinced me that it was the right look for the project. I imagine that the sharp eyes of my now eleven year old granddaughter will notice all of the center block details. For that reason, it was worth my time to stitch that plan into the blocks.

Design and template used for sashing
As a reminder, she is the one who wanted these blocks. She organized the blocks, picked the sashing, cornerstone and border fabrics. With my help, she stitched the top together. She even picked the fabrics for the back. Again with my help, she made a pieced back.

Density of the quilting
To distribute the quilting evenly in the sashing, I used another template and quilted a curve. The curve points up in the lengthwise sashing and in the horizontal sashing the curve points to the right in some rows and to the left in other rows. It took me about 25 minutes to quilt each segment of the sashing.

Again, my granddaughter will see the pattern. I quilted this section with yellow 50 weight two ply thread by Superior. I joined the thread of the month club years ago and had just completed my collection when the company decided to produce this thread as a three ply thread.

Outer border detail

Longarmers had a lot of breakage with the two ply thread which was the issue that drove the company to make the change. I don't have an issue of the two ply thread breaking in my domestic machine when I'm quilting,  I've pieced and quilted with it. The company still makes the two ply for appliqué. It is available on prewound bobbins. In the meantime, I'll continue to sew from my thread stash!

To quilt the corner stones, I quilted around the stone print using the monofilament thread from Superior Threads. The density of the quilting is consistent across the quilt. In low light, the texture of the quilting shows and looks great. Touching various areas of the quilt will provide the recipient some tactile stimulation too! It took me about 10 minutes to quilt each corner stone.

To quilt the skinny inner border, I stitched in the center of the border using a red cotton thread. I didn't have to quilt it; but, quilting it improved the overall look of the quilt. 

Oops. . .time for a little ripping. . .
For the outer border, I am quilting around the trees and filling in the other areas with loops. I've one more border to go before I have finished the quilting! While I was quilting the border, I managed to snag a surplus block from another project and inadvertently quilt it into the project. I spent some time ripping.  
An almost quilted project

I estimate that when I am finished quilting, I will have have invested about 71 hours of time quilting this project.

Goal number six on my June list was to get back to quilting on this project. I have other projects waiting to be quilted. so making progress on this project is a big deal to me! Being rear ended in 2022 and knee surgery last April beat up my body so quilting wasn't doable. It's good I've figured out a work around so I can quilt again. I do have another large quilt pin basted so likely that will be my next quilting project. 

My plan is to quilt a bit every day that I'm in the studio so I make progress on this project. I'm so close to a finish!

What has made me push myself to return to the actual quilting was a conversation I had with myself. If I'm going to track fabrics used from stash, I must do better about the finishes. Completing a few a year isn't going to make a notable difference in my stash accumulation! I also need to sew with yardages rather than the chunks, strips and strings; but that process is for another today. 

I'm linking to Frédérique at Patchwork and Quilting and Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Working My Way Through Clue 8 Indigo Way--Post Five

Partial layout of the blocks
January was the last time that I posted about this project and also the last month that I worked on it!  I had considered going rogue and coming up with my own layout; but, I decided to follow Bonnie's lead instead. I could spend many more hours playing with designs and still not have a finish. Since this may become a Quilt of Valor, finishing it sooner rather than later is important.

Sewing blocks together into a row
Last Friday, I laid out the blocks to check if I had any misaligned. I didn't; but, I did find one block that I had turned one of the half square triangles in a different orientation from the instructions. I found I had made three corners. Four are needed. I had sewn one extra side triangle. With a little unstitching, it didn't take long to convert the side triangle into a corner.

Center complete
I began stitching the blocks into rows. To ensure I didn't turn a block during this part of the process, I pinned the blocks before I picked them up for stitching. I found that I had either pressed the A or the B blocks incorrectly because the seams didn't nest. 

I tried repressing the block; but that didn't work as well as I thought it would. In the end, I found pinning the seam intersection with an anchor pin before it gave me the best results. 

Of course, I didn't learn this until I was stitching the second half of the rows together! Over the three days that I worked on this project, I did a lot of unstitching! When I stitched the two halves together, however, all the seams matched. It was the first seam that I did no unstitching. That was a good way to end that part of the process! 

Piecing the blocks together was goal number seven on my June list. Next up are the borders. There are two skinny borders and one pieced border. I need to determine if I'll make those borders scrappy or use the same fabric. I'll also need to think about what fabric I'm going to use for the binding; but, that is for another day!

I'm linking to Gail at To Do Tuesday,  to Susan at Midweek Makers.and Alycia at Finished or Not Friday.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

May Updates and June Goals


April software class creating an applique from artwork
My May goals were:

✔1. Make Progress on the 2022-2023 temperature quilt.
✔2. Glue selvage squares in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.
✒3. Complete the February, March, April and May embroidery software lessons.
✔4. Continue planning a modern mystery quilt along for the next year.
✔5. Piece the January days for the 2024 temperature quilt.
✔6. Continue my PT. I have a six week appointment with the surgeon towards the end of the month.
✔7. Figure out a plan for the latest book club quilt.
✔8. Share the judge's comments from the
Borders for 2022-2023 Temperature quilt

three quilts I entered in the Clark County Quilt show.

In May, I made great progress on my goals. I completed all but the May embroidery software class so in June I ought to be able to catch up with the course materials! I am enjoying the class.

I've done more preliminary planning regarding the new mystery quilt for the guild. Mid-June I've invited the current participants to a wrap up of the Bonnie Hunter/Indigo Way mystery we did as a guild this year. I've prepared a slide show of participants' projects. . .no matter where they are in the process. We will be meeting via Zoom during the guild's Friday Sit and Sew. 

Partial layout of Indigo Way
At the end of May, I had an appointment with the surgeon who replaced my knee joint. He gave me a return to work date of June 10. He said I should wait another month before trying to kneel; but, I don't have work restrictions. He was impressed with how well the incision has healed. 

He was surprised to learn about the quadricep muscle tear; but, seemed to think that another month of PT would get me to my range of motion goals. I did drive for the first
time this past week. Short trips are okay; but, trips that involve 30 minutes are too long to sit for that muscle tear! I'm walking every day; but the tear still limits the distance to about a quarter of a mile at time. 
Auditioning fabric for the spacers
 in 2024 Temperature quilt

My June goals are:
1. Cut and begin stitching the last two borders on the 2022-2023 temperature quilt.
2. Stitch selvage squares in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month. This month, the color is blue.
3. Complete the May and June embroidery software lessons. The May lesson is advanced applique.
4. Continue planning a mystery quilt along for the next year.
5. Piece the March, April, May and June days for the 2024 temperature quilt. 
6. Get back to quilting the Farm quilt.
7. Layout the blocks for Indigo Way and begin piecing them together.
8. Work on the improv piece I began in the Cindy Grisdela class.
9. Continue my PT.
10. Begin to decode Rita's plan for her temperature quilt.
Farm quilt quilting progress
11. Determine if it is possible to add a couple borders to make the transparency quilt a little longer.

It's a big list. I realized if I'm going to make measurable progress on using my stash, I need to actually finish projects. It isn't enough to pull fabrics from the stash and put them in a project because my rule is that I can't count the fabric used until the project is finished!  So this month I'll be concentrating particularly on the Farm quilt.

Linking up with: Oh Scrap; Patchwork and Quilts. I'm going to pour myself a cuppa and be inspired with the work people have completed!