Wednesday, October 31, 2018

My Fall Preparation

I've been away from my blog for several weeks now, mainly because of my Granddaughter Micah's visit earlier this month and then our trip to Washington, D.C. last week.  The title of my post is a little tongue-in-cheek since it doesn't have anything to do with decorating for the Fall season even though I've included a photo of one of my favorite wallhanging from a Jan Patek pattern done raw appliquéd in the style of Sarah Sporer finished in the last Century.  Rather, it has to do with my being laid up for the next five to six weeks because of a fractured knee cap which I suffered in the first hour of being in Washington D.C.  No, I was not on my iPhone but tripped over an uneven sidewalk walking to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  The pumpkin in my wallhanging really reflects how I feel right now.  The reason why this post is titled My Fall Preparation is because after the accident and having a brief pity party, I realized that my past decisions and activities have prepared me for this temporary hiatus from the downstairs sewing studio due to my unfortunate fall.
Before the interruptions of the granddaughter visit and the vacation, I finished my October blocks for the Classic Meets Modern QAL and the Fireburst Mystery top hosted by Tish in Wonderland.  The remainder of the CMM top consists of only the filler blocks and very unlike me, I've already precut them and can now be sewn on my upstairs sewing machine in my almost formal sewing room, aka, the dining room.
I also started two 2x4 projects, one made with Moda's London Calling fabrics and one made from a  RJR Pie Making Day jelly roll and I can also continue sewing the blocks upstairs.
What was intended as a road trip project, the Happy Flowers EPP inspired by Rene' Creates is now a great project to do and will keep me busy for awhile laying either on my recliner or on my adjustable mattress bed which we thankfully purchased last year.  It really has been put to great use this past week and boy is Tiffany Haddish funny.
And other past activities which contributed to my Fall Preparation is I recently finished my son's quilt so he's been very helpful and even photographed the pumpkin wallhanging for this post.  Best past activity of all for my Fall Preparation is marrying my hubby almost forty-five years ago and he's has been more than helpful and absolutely wonderful.  I'm pretty sure he, the Master Quiltholder, is going to be able to navigate my downstairs sewing studio, if I draw him a good map to find the sewing projects I need upstairs.  Thankfully, I keep all of my projects on a cart so it's going to be easy for him, I hope.  Maybe, a future plan would be to teach him how to sew but that would be asking too much, right?
Like my dear friend, Dee, who said "God must have wanted to slow you down for a reason", I have to admit I'm really catching up on some major zzzz's now and there won't be any late night quilting till the A.M. for awhile.  I made a very abbreviated stop at Dee's house near Cleveland, OH on the way home from D.C. to gift her the Gee Whiz Quilt.  We became fast friends in 2016 right before the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians and I still feel a little guilty about winning the great quilting bet of a layer cake of Pat Sloan fabric.  Most important, we stayed friends. (can you see my Walker next to me--I named her Sandra for you know who--pun intended).
I don't think I will be posting for awhile now since I only do when I have some sort of finish which usually happens in my studio downstairs. I definitely will be reading other bloggers' posts which will make the healing time go by nicer.  I will say that I'm moving up and down the stairs to the second floor is pretty good using my derriere and legs, (who would have thought I's be reusing those toddler skills now) so maybe in a couple of weeks I might be tempted to venture downstairs to the studio.  The first step might be the trickiest and definitely Hubby will need to be around.  
I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween today.  Usually I don't want or say this at this time of year, but I'm really looking forward to the holidays and December coming quickly when hopefully my knee will be healed.  Wish me well!

Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, NTT

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Forever 30's

Clarification: I'm talking reproduction fabrics now and not about age which I don't think this would be the age I would want to be forever since this is when my boys were born and wee littles, so no Thank You, I'm still recovering. 

30's Reproduction Prints have always been one of my favorite fabrics since I started my quilting journey in the mid-1990's.  My three fave fabrics then were Fassett, Feedsack and 30's and I'm still making quilts with all of them since I still love them and also have quite a bit of each in my stash.  I've already posted this year about Fassett and Feedsack love so I thought it was time to do a 30's post and what better way to do it is with a Throwback Thursday post. (This linky party is usually hosted by Sandra of mmm quilts but for the remainder of the year, Andree of Quilting & Learning - What A Combo blog will graciously be hosting).  This is a great way to do some Show and Tell and reminisce about about the 30's quilts I've made during the past twenty years--definitely before my Blog days. Doesn't the yo-yo quilt look sweet on Susannah The Tin Goat's back?
I fell in love with 30's Reproduction Prints (which are so called, if case you didn't know, because they were inspired by 30's Feedsack prints) when I first started haunting my local quilt shop and saw this poppy print on one of their display quilts.  I was so surprised and sad to learn that this reproduction print was no longer available then, which being a novice didn't understand the concept of fabric lines being available only for a season, just like fashion. Thankfully I've been quilting long enough now to know that some prints or lines get reissued and this print was reissued but only on a much smaller scale years later.  I ended up buying the original print on the secondary market which was way more than the $1.36/fq price which was such a bargain price back then.  It should be no surprise that I've accumulated quite a stash, since after I started working at this quilt shop, I bought them with my 40% employee discount which made the cost under $1.  Aunt Grace prints were designed by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Brothers and were the ones to buy, others came later, had almost the same feel as authentic feedsack fabrics, somewhat coarse.  The prints were so fun and cheerful, came in so many colors and as you can tell by my quilts, you have to use a lot of prints, `ala scrappy when you do 30's.  You also have to make the quilts big too.
Another reason for loving 30's prints were the antique/vintage quilts I saw in books and publications. Since I am the first quilter in my family and didn't inherit any of these quilts, I knew I had to make my own "antique" quilts and my first 30"s quilt was going to be a Grandmother's Flower Garden, which I posted about last year.  This was probably one of the first quilts I came up with an alternative finish (which I tend to do rather than abandoning the project) after I realized these quilts were so named because you probably became one after finishing one.
Forever 30's has a double meaning for me -- loving the fabrics and also any 30's quilt I've made were not quick; they took forever, like years, to finish. I only made no more than ten quilts in the last twenty years and, as I mentioned before, most of my quilts are big, either queen, double or twin size.  I've made only two table toppers and this one, a lap quilt. Most of these quilts started as hand piecing projects while on road trips and I don't think I ever totally used up any of the fabrics, some of them are used with other quilts and some fabrics will live quietly forever in my scrap or tidbit pile. Also being the big patch, make them easy and quick Quilter that I am, you can see by these quilts, they are all made with small patches, the largest patch being maybe 4" and the smallest patch is 1" finished which does not make a quick quilt.  I had to show the quilt made with Kaye England's 30's fabrics--sometimes you wonder why you go through the hassle of piecing when there's a wonderful cheater print also in the fabric line.  The two sides are separated by the red binding in the middle and a portion of the pieced top is on the right.  I guess you can call this a reversible quilt.
Before I purchased my die-cutters, the go-to tools for making 30's quilts were (no affiliated links here) my June Tailor Shape-Cut ruler for cutting squares and strips, Triangle Paper for the HST which was so appreciated for the Pinwheel/Broken Dish Quilt made up with 1" finished half triangles, Clover Yo-Yo maker and paper pieces.

You can see which tools were used for the making of some of these quilts and I don't think they would be in their finally finish state if it weren't for them.  I apologize for not showing full size photos or recent photos of some of these quilts, but some of them are huge and there was no way Master Quilt Holder could hold them up by himself yesterday. The Apprentice Quilt Holder had just got off duty and is sleeping on the couch. Quilts just don't look pretty when a grouch is holding them up.  (Today, of course, it was too windy to take photos outside.)
I always have a 30's quilt on my project plate.  The Clamshell quilt top, on the left, which was a road trip project but then became too large, has been waiting several years now for me to decide on a border color--should it be the traditional green or maybe salmon pink or lavender.  I need to check out the 30's solids once and for all.  And speaking of greens, when I first started, Niles Green, which was the color used for the Irish Chain Quilt, was the shade of green to use in order to be authentic.  Looking at it now, it's a rather dull green and I'm glad to see there are other brighter greens which goes so well with the 30's fabrics now.  Working on the one patch quilt, on the right, should resume again, because the Fall TV shows have started and there's a lot of good shows for me to sew by.  I probably should start thinking of its border color now.
Thanks to Shannon of The Flemings Nine I started another 30's quilt project. When I saw and purchased her Sweetart pattern, I knew I wanted to make it with my bundle of Aunt Grace Around The World prints which came out in 2005.  It's about time, thirteen years, that I make something with these wonderful, fun prints, don't you think?  
I wanted to make a modern 30's quilt with this pattern and after playing around with the fabrics, I did make a slight change with the block layout since I wanted to showcase the prints more than the happy, bright green I found in my stash.  I love it when the purchase of three yards of green fabric many moons ago finally gets to be used, I think a Minecraft quilt was the reason. As with my other 30's quilts, my Thirties Tart may take me forever to make, because I may do a QAYG with each block since there is no way I can duplicate the wonderful quilting Shannon did on her Sweet Tart quilt. Oh, I have to mention that all of the patches for my Thirties Tart quilt were all die-cut, the first 30's quilt to have this distinction.
I'm still loving my 30's stash and projects even after more than twenty years. It still doesn't look like my stash has dwindled, I sort of think that these fabrics reproduce themselves--is that why they're call reproduction fabrics, ha, ha, getting goofy now from writing this post.  I have a lot more chunks than fat quarters which is still enough to make more scrappy 30's quilts -- the more is merrier. Too bad I can't buy them anymore at 1.36/FQ or under $1/FQ.  Also sad is that I can't lay any of my 30's quilt on a bed being that Sophie, the World's Worst Dog just loves to mess up a made bed and scratch on my quilts.  It's nice that these lovelies could come out of the closet to enjoy a day in the Sun.

Linking up with: Andree of Quilting & Learning - What A Combo

Monday, October 1, 2018

Slinky To The Finally Finish Line

Last month when I finished the Slinky top, I had mentioned that I needed to quilt it as soon as possible because Fall was in the air despite being in a heat wave at that time.  And wouldn't you know it, after finally having some cool temps for a few hours this week, a voice living outside my head said: "Are you ever going to finish my quilt?".  Yes, the screaming squirrel has morphed into my 6'4" son and the quilt was now needed at the fire station. It's not that I wasn't working on it, just thinking about it for the past month.  I still had to purchase the Star War fabric for the backing and I was tempted to not quilt it myself since this was going to be the largest quilt I ever machine quilted so I needed to ruminate for the challenges.  Slinky was finally finished yesterday and wouldn't you know it, we're going to be having cloudy weather for the next few days so my photos are going to be on the dismal side.  Master Quilt Holder is happy that this quilt needed to be hung off the screen room room since it was too long for him to hold up.
The fabrics I chose were Amy Ellis' Chic Neutral, which I had in my stash, a charm pack and yardage were left over after using it as a test quilt for the Jelly Roll Charm Chase Quilt last year and also yardage of Marcus Brothers Aged Muslin in gray.  Since I had to design Slinky around the charm pack, the quilt is made up of 4.5" squares and strips in varying widths as you can see in my sketch.
I wanted a modern look rather than a traditional one patch layout and was inspired by some of the quilts I've seen made by Kelly Young of My Quilt Infatuation and others on Pinterest.  I opted for the gray strips to be equal on both sides rather than offset since I thought it would have looked crooked laying on the bed. The sizes of the gray strips depended on what I could have cut from my June Tailor Shape Cut ruler since I wanted them to be exactly the same size and my cuts are never accurate when it involves cutting them either with a ruler or the measurements on the cutting mat.  I've learned from making my Regatta quilt  that it's easier for me to precut my strips to size before sewing and not to cut them to size after the top is sewn. After the top was sewn, the end of my rows were exact and, if I can remember, there was no trimming at all.
For such an easy pattern, there was a challenge with Slinky when I was sewing the top. Once the squares and strips were laid out on my design board, the squares were numbered and the rows separated by a fabric scrap in between, this should have been an easy sew but it was not since I wasn't paying close enough attention to the numbers and sometimes inadvertently flipped some of the squares the wrong way up while sewing them together.  Sir Seam Ripper was called to action way too often to take apart some rows which I knew were wrong when two squares of the same fabrics happened to be in the same spot and didn't noticed it until after it was sewn together.  Lesson learned--take a photo of your layout before sewing for reference, which I did several times before the seam ripping began.
Once the top was sewn I was ready to take a break from Slinky because I had other projects like my Echinacea Quilt which I mistakenly thought needed to be finished for the 2018 Quilt Bloggers Festival and there were other new DrEAMi projects which distracted me from the inevitable piecing of the Star Wars backing.  Normally, I'm not particular about matching seam lines which is why I choose busy prints for the backing, but the Star Wars print needed to match.  I thought I did a pretty good job by getting Princess Leia's shoulders to match but after the backing was sewn, I realized the match point should have been Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker with their lightsabers.  Oh well, not too noticeable, right?  And this should prevent Demando from using the backing for the top which someone (specifically his sister-in-law) does.  Sometimes piecing is not appreciated when the backing is really cute or cool.  My only disappointment with the Star Wars fabric is that Yoda does not appear on it and would have been sweet since Demando used to call my late mother, his grandmother, Yoda.  BTW, when my sweet granddaughter is going to call be Moda when she's able, which is way more nicer sounding than "Da" which sounds like dog.
Slinky measures 68"x 90" after quilting which is not as long as I would have liked; I am still amazed that the quilting could shrink a quilt as much as 2". The machine quilting went very nicely, despite the size and the wrestling involved--just straight lines along the seams and slinky, wavey lines in between using a gray thread on top and silver on the bottom.  Surprisingly and very welcomed was the lack of distortion on the sides--I think the tight weave of the Aged Muslin prevented that which is also why I used a Chrome Microtex needle. I'm glad I decided at the last moment to machine bind Slinky with the gray aged muslin rather than with one of the prints used in the quilt. I had planned to use wool batting since Demando wanted the quilt to be warm so I purchased Pellon's wool batting, in Queen size, since I've already used their cotton batting for many of my quilts and never had any problems with it.  Once the wool batting was placed over the backing, I happened to look at the care instructions and much to my surprise and disappointment I saw that this it could NOT be put in the dryer which I did not notice when looking for wool batting online.  Why would or could anyone hang dry a bed quilt after washing especially in the Winter.  I can't even get a clothes line in my backyard let alone inside my house.  So the wool batting was replaced with the Pellon cotton batting in white, thankfully I just purchased a bolt of it recently and mentioned to my hubby that Demando probably wouldn't notice the difference.  I was wrong.  The first thing he said after touching the quilt was why didn't I use wool batting. I asked him how he knew and his response was Slinky felt like all of the other quilts in the house. Really, I now have Quilt Detective Demando living in our house. When I explained to him that the quilt would have to have been hang dry which is hard when the weather is cold, Demando's response was didn't I know that quilts were supposed to be washed in the Springtime so they could be hung outside. Demando knows way too much about quilting for someone who's never made a quilt.  
All in all, I'm happy that Slinky is a Finally Finish and I really like this pattern which I think will be using it again--it's great for squares which I have with the many charm packs I have and can easily be die cut from my stash. Demando is happy, he better be, despite not having a long, super warm quilt to sleep under while he's at the fire station.  My thought, he shouldn't get too comfortable, after all he's on duty.  Maybe, I'll make him a new quilt with the wool batting for his bedroom at home so he can wash it and hang dry it outside himself if and when I ever get my clothesline.  A Mother's love only goes so far now that my granddaughter is around.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

2018 Bloggers Quilt Festival: Echinacea Dream Quilt

This is the week of the Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted by Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side.  I have a new quilt, Echinacea Dream freshly finished just last night at 1 a.m. in the morning.  This is the second year I am participating and may not have remembered that you don't need a a new quilt for the festival.  Oh well, at least this was a very good impetus for me to finally finish this quilt which has been laying around my studio for the past month.
If this quilt has an air of familiarity, it's because this is the fourth quilt I've finished using my Staggered Squares and Strips pattern and also this is the second quilt made with my favorite colors of the year, steel teals and grays with a hint of coral, which were used for my Spa Spurts quilt finished earlier this year and many of the fabrics used for this quilt can be seen on the Echinacea Dream Quilt.
I just love the fabrics in this quilt, especially the Anna Marie Horner's Echinacea print in the Pretty Potent color way which I've seen my fellow blogger and mentor Susan Snooks of PatchworknPlay used for her beautiful Delilah quilt.  One of the reasons why I love making Staggered Squares and Strip Quilts is that it's a great pattern to use a mix of fabrics from all different fabric lines and also because I can die-cut these strips.  The Echinacea Dream Quilt follows the pattern I just used for my Smiling Sloths Quilt.
I had a hard time coming up with a name for my quilt, which is part of the fun of making a quilt, and was just calling it plain old Echinacea and added Dream after it was finished last night.  Usually when  I have a deadline it usually attracts quilting disasters but thankfully the stars and strips were aligned yesterday.  Choosing the backing and binding were an easy decision and not the usual one or two hours going through the backing vault and stash, picking the thread, I used Silver, Juki June Bug was on her best behavior and no binding strips were lost--this quilt was a dream to finish. This does not happen too often; really it doesn't, because Quiltastropes are always waiting to happen in my studio.
Here's a close-up so you can see the wavey line quilting, charcoal gray polka dot backing and the Spa Green binding; have I mentioned how much I love these colors.  This quilt measures 56" x 70"--I am amazed how much my length loses, 2",  after the quilting.
I woke up this morning to an overcast sky and thought, "Great", after a perfect finish last night, I wouldn't be able to take photos outside, but to my surprise and joy, the sun came out.  The Master Quilt Holder and I braved the mosquitoes to take some outside photos but decided to include an inside photo with Susannah the goat who, thankfully is metal, because it looks like she's ready to take a chomp on some Echinaceas.  Now that this quilt is a finally finished and part of the festival, I can visit and enjoy the other great quilts on the Bloggers Quilt Festival.  Next year, I hope I remember that I don't need to make a new quilt just for the Festival or will I?  I got out of a few things yesterday because I needed to focus on finishing this quilt--I don't need to tell Hubby that there was no Quilt Emergency after all.  Sealed lips would be appreciated.

Hope everyone is enjoying this year's Quilt Festival and thanks again to Amy for hosting.  This is a great way to visit other Quilters' blogs, get inspired by wonderful quilts and make new blog buddies.

Monday, September 17, 2018

I Keep Throwing Along: Patchwork Throw #4

Yep, I made another patchwork throw; the three made within the last few weeks was not enough.  Truth is I needed to make this one after my Hubby's surgery last week after realizing that the other patchwork throws I made were just not the right size or were not meant for my use.  I needed one small enough to cover my lap while sitting in the hospital waiting room which I knew would be too cold for my newly acquired Senior Citizen body so I was resolved to make one when we returned home.  While Hubby was recovering sitting in the family room, I stayed upstairs and made this while sewing in the dining room.  I needed to be close by if case he needed anything or if someone came knocking at the door which always happens when you can't get out of the chair.  Before I continue with this post, surgery went very well and Hubby was feeling like his old (literally and figuratively) self in a few days; in fact, he said he hasn't felt this good for awhile since the hernia was really bothering him for the past few months.  
I can say that this patchwork throw was ready to be made; I already had the right scraps already cut to 8-1/2" wide strips mostly from my C+S Coin QuiltErnie Interrupts Quilt and Unruly Quilt along with leftover patches of some of my favorite Tammis Keefe, Lotta Jansdotter, and of course, Cotton + Steel prints.  Since I wanted to make this a smaller patchwork throw, it was quickly sewn together by sewing five rows of the 8-1/2" strip sets and patches 'ala Scrap Vortex style until the desired length of 60" long; this was a quickie.
Another reason for making this throw 40" x 60" is that I wanted to use this IKEA fleece throw purchased many years ago for just $2.49 and no longer available. I'm using this with some trepidation since the washing instructions are, wash in warm water, gentle cycle, do not dry or iron which makes me wonder if this fleece can't handle heat and might melt or disintegrate.  So, if I'm going to use this, I might as well be the guinea pig and of course will follow the washing instructions. This fleece is very lightweight, almost like flannel, and if you hold it up to the light, you can see the top but that doesn't bother me, just the possibility that I really didn't want to make a disposable throw.  We'll see and hopefully I can't report later about this patchwork throw after I wash it, but first I'm going to use it for awhile.  It is such a cute and modern print.
I did some daredevil machine quilting with straight and wave lines by only basting the top with flowerhead pins.  I know I could have spray basted, I have never done this yet, but didn't want to wash it for reasons stated above.  The fleece did sew very nicely and I didn't experience any problems.
What I love about my latest patchwork throw is that I'm once again using my beloved scraps and laughing at this Tammis Keefe print which you can see why it didn't make the "cut, for the quilt since Mama Kitty's head went missing but I thought it was okay for the throw.
Also, I used one of the prints for the binding, red newsprint from Carrie Bloomston's Paint fabric line and I love seeing the words appearing around the throw and thinking of using more text prints for binding.
As you can see, the lightness and size of this patchwork throw can be easily rolled up in case you need a pillow and fits in my hand so I can take a photo of it with my other hand.  Okay, I do have large hands.
Seriously, with Florence happening last week and people having to evacuate, it made me think this patchwork throw is small enough to throw in my bag if needed which I pray I never will.  I'll be leaving this where I can quickly find it.  Also, if I can find a suitable fleece, (I'm really hoping the IKEA fleece will wash fine)  I'll be making more of this size to give.

Unfortunately, National Jelly Roll Day fell on the 15th this month which is the day I always set aside to work on my QALs:

Classic Meets Modern hosted by Kelly, My Quilt Infatuation
The 12" Squash Blossom and Eccentric Stars were so fun to sew and they may be my favorite blocks so far.
Next month, the last two blocks will be made and then in November we will sew the filler blocks before the top can be assembled and finished by December.  I really love this quilt along; I'm using skills long neglected like patience and paying attention to details and my seam ripper is my Studio Pet.
Fireburst Mystery hosted by Tish's Adventure in Wonderland

Block #2, four blocks are finished and I am up to date.  Would you believe these took the majority of my day to make--I had to read the instructions nice and slow and Señor Sudio Pet was very helpful.
Last but not the least, I finally finished the fabric flash cards made from an Einstein Baby Genius panel.  I originally was going to make a quilt sooner but had an epiphany that granddaughter Micah has enough quilts for now and can play with these fabric flash cards when she is at my house since I realized that I hardly have any toys for her here.  Another reason why they're staying at my house is because these cards were pretty labor intensive and I could have made at least two-three patchwork throws for the time it took me to make these fabric flash cards, these need to stay here so they don't get lost with her other toys.  Of course, I may change my mind if she really wants to take them home. What sound does an unhappy Grandma makes when her hard work gets lost.  Grrrrrrrrr with a smile of course.
And speaking of epiphanies, I had one while I was doing upstairs sewing in the dining room, the formal dining room with the Queen Anne furniture, dark and heavy.  This room also houses a lot of my finished quilts and with the thought of moving the desktop computer back to the dining room for various reasons, I thought I could turn the dining room into a FORMAL sewing studio.  My regular studio, or soon to be renamed my informal sewing studio, will still be downstairs in the basement.  It would involve no furniture moving or purchase, I would just need to pack up the never used China from the cabinet and buffet which would be replaced by lovely bundles of fabric stash never used or to be purchased.  Pretty good idea but of course I would have to wait until Hubby recovers from his surgery which depending upon how much he's on board with this idea may not happen for another five years.  Hee Hee, one can dream and scheme, right.