Friday, January 14, 2022

FONF and the First Two Finishes for 2022!

Once again, I am joining in with everyone visiting Alycia Quilts today for Finished Or Not Friday!

Today I bring my first two finishes of the year!  The first one is now called "Serendipity Feather Sampler"........

I tried to get a picture this morning that would show the stitch patterns.

...and it was the quilting practice for the second one, "Hometown USA", a Country Threads design.

I had embarked on "Serendipity"  to help use up some of the leftover stash I had collected to make my "Modern Bohemia" project.   The very simple pattern is in Fons and Porter's Easy Quilts magazine, Fall 2009 issue and is a great showcase if you have some "I can't cut them up" fabrics.   I made the top back in December 2020 during a visit to see my MIL in North Carolina.  

I started on "Hometown" back in the summer of 2021 (it already feels like so long ago!).  I love Red, White and Blue quilts, love Country Threads designs, really want to make more Log Cabin quilts because I have the Accuquilt die that makes the block parts easy to cut (particularly if you are working scrappy) and I want to do a series of quilts with the theme of "home or houses".  As such, this was one I couldn't resist doing!  

These finishes represent my completion of Angela Walter's latest free-motion quilting challenge called "Fabulous Feathers".  

Angela did a series of weekly videos demonstrating seven different feather motifs as well as how to place feathers in various places on your quilt (within a block, as an edge-to-edge filler stitch pattern, within irregular shaped areasaround borders and border corners).  

I had envisioned quilting feathers in the diagonal dark and light sections in "Hometown USA" but when I tried it initially, I wasn't getting the look I wanted.  Early on, I did try Angela's "Paisley Feather" from her "Flora and Foliage" challenge but it was a little too stitch intensive to do for the whole quilt (and I didn't pick it out so you can still see it in two of the smaller blue areas).  Fortunately, all of the large open rectangles of the "Serendipity" top gave me places to try out each of the feather motifs Angela demoed.  

Ultimately it was her "Wonky Feather" that was just the thing I was looking for to finish "Hometown".  While doing the challenge, I also took the opportunity to review two books on Feathers that I had in my library and also try motifs from them.  Patsy Thompson's "Feather Adventures" and Sue Nickels "Fabulous Feathers and Fillers" provided additional motifs that I used and provided more inspiration for using Feathers in future quilt stitch schemes.

I wanted to bind these quilts quick and for me that is best done by machine with a zigzag and monofilament thread.  So Nova the straight stitch mid-arm came out of the sewing table in favor of my vintage Singer 401.  

The good news there is that I plan on continuing the FMQ practice and review by doing the "28 Days to Better FMQ" class on Craftsy.  It is also hosted by Angela and features demonstrations by eleven other instructors including Patsy as well as Leah Day, Lori Kennedy, Christina Cameli, Christa Watson and others.  Now that I've gained some confidence in stitching on the mid-arm, I'm hoping to do the same on the 401 and learn how it works when doing FMQ on it.  The Craftsy class starts off with basic stitch patterns like Scribbles, Loops and Pebbles and progresses all the way up to Feathers and realistic images (like quilting a Butterfly) so it will give me a good chance to once again, try it all.

Hoping these finishes are another good omen for the start of this year and I can keep this up!

Linking up with:

Alycia at Alycia Quilts for "Finished Or Not Friday"

Monday, January 10, 2022

Getting 2022 Underway with Make A List Monday

Whew!  New Year's Day didn't go quite as expected.  We spent way more time cooking and talking than planned so I did much less quilting than planned.  The day after was a lazy but fun day spent watching movies and clearing out the DVR of shows we had recorded but hadn't watched yet.  So last week was all about continuing the quilt stitching I had started.  By mid-week I had finished one quilt and immediately started in on another and completed the quilting on it on Friday.  Which effectively starts off today's list:

1.  Cut the binding for "Serendipity" (aka "The Feather Sampler"), choose and cut the binding for "Hometown USA" and bind both.

2.  Saturday I was ready for a change of pace after free-motion quilting all week.  The good news was that in the morning I saw a post by one of my favorite quilty influencers, Cathy over at Sane, Crazy and Crumby Quilting.  She has started in on doing the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2022 and has already made a bunch of different blocks with this month's color which is "Red".  It didn't take much to convince me to pull out my RSC project bag and see where I left off with the 2021 projects I had started last year!

According to my tracking sheet for last year, as far as cutting and piecing for RSC projects, it looks like I stopped at April.  However, I found baggies in the project bag where I did start compiling the Red scraps for May and Purple scraps for June but just never got around to cutting or sewing them.  

Well that's good news since if I have projects I plan to continue this year or want to start some new ones, that puts me ahead for this month since I need Red anyway!  On Saturday, I started cutting and piecing for two of the 2021 projects but still have more to do.  I'll wait for Saturday to work on those again.

However, I also have have two projects that don't call for much.  In this case, it looks like I had already added the Purple for June last year but not the Red for May.  With these two, I'd just as soon pull the additional five months of color for them that needed to be pulled last year and just finish those up. 

So this week, I'll work on pulling the colors needed for my GO! Scrappy Log Cabin and the Technicolor Rainbow runner from the Modern By the Yard free-zine.  In each case, these only need one piece of fabric for each month's color although to make the die cuts for the Log Cabin, I need a large piece of one fabric not scraps.  I'll work on adding the fabrics to these over the next few days and then start piecing them together.   

3.  With all the quilt stitching last week, work on the  "Hexie Snowflakes" project was interrupted.  I did prep a few hexies for the last block early last week, then the focus on the quilting pushed that aside.  I did a little more yesterday and today and now I have all the pieces for the block prepped and ready for sewing the hexies together.

This is good for working on while watching the evening news shows and watching TV with DH when when he comes in from work in the mornings.

4.  Lastly I really want to take some time to crack open my new planner and start formally planning for the year!  

I already have  few lists complied including a list for participating in American Patchwork and Quilting's UFO Challenge this year.  I've never had much luck staying with these in the past but I feel good about getting to the things on my list one by one this year.  Even better, they pulled #12 for this month and that just happened to be the quilt top I want to add to and that's been sitting on my design wall for the last two months!  It will be good to take it down and start working on it  --- that is, next week!  

However, I hope that this being the first UFO called up is a good omen!  So I have more than enough to keep me busy this week.  What's on your "To Do" list for this week?

Saturday, January 1, 2022

The Seven Days of New Years 2021 - Day 7: Happy New Year and Welcome to 2022!

I'm hopping in early on this one!  DH and I rang in the New Year and right after, started watching "Another Thin Man"  playing on Turner Classic Movies at that moment.  TCM ran the whole "Thin Man" series yesterday and this is one we hadn't seen before.

It's a good thing we also set it to record because not too long after it started, I fell asleep!  When I woke up again,  DH was now also asleep and the TV was watching both of us, LOL!  Of course, now that I was up, I couldn't go back to sleep so here I am!

So what's on the quilting agenda for today?  Just more of the same from the past six days of quilting.  First off was to pick the fabrics for the next and (for me) last "Snowflake" block.

The mottled print in the center is another fabric from the NC Shop Hop in October.

I'll die cut the pieces today and can work on prepping them for a Slow Stitching Sunday session tomorrow.  

On the quilting front, I have twelve more panels in my "Serendipity" project to quilt.  I estimate it takes about an hour for each so maybe in the course of today I can get half of them done? 

Plus one more not seen here.

I doubt I'll get to more than that because the real priority today will be New Year's Day cooking.

There's cola-basted ham, cranberry sauce and Hoppin' John with Kale on the menu and a new to me Ginger cookie recipe to try out.  DH is a pretty good cook so we'll both be in the kitchen today which should help free me to quilt from time to time.

I hope your year has already gotten off to a good start!  Let's hope 2022 passes by a lot slower and grows brighter in the days ahead!!  

Friday, December 31, 2021

The Seven Days of New Years 2021 - Day 6

We're almost there.....

So this is the last check-in for 2021.  The good news is that one more "Snowflake" is done!

Hopefully by the end of the weekend, I can get the last block done and have a winter wall hanging well before January ends!  

On the quilting front, I started on the green "Wine Glass" sections today and got three done.

I played with two more feather types today, one from Angela Walter's Fabulous Feathers Challenge and one from a book by Sue Nickles.  So at this point I have about a third of the quilt done and look forward to getting to the finish line on this one soon too.

Also, let me say this:  An important gadget that has helped keep the stitching going without interruption:  my Sidewinder Bobbin Winder!

So, I'll be spending the rest of the evening waiting for the ball to drop.  Hoping you are either celebrating with friends and family or relaxing and waiting for another New Year to start.  In either case, I look forward to seeing you on the other side!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Seven Days of New Years 2021 - Day 5: Another Snowflake and More Quilting.....

 Another busy day!  This morning there was work on the "Snowflake" from yesterday while DH and I watched a little TV.  

The center is stitched together and I should get the last outer ring done while watching tonight's Accuquilt Live in a little while.  They are once again looking at quilts currently displayed at the Boston Museum of the Arts.

On the quilting front, I got a few more panels stitched using the feather designs from Angela Walter's Free-motion Feathers Challenge (Week #2).  

Today I used the "Basic" and "Wonky Feathers" in two purple panels, the "Ferny Feather" in a brown panel and the "Feather Meander" in two white panels as well as continuing the practice of stitching the "Custom Feathers" along both sides of the vertical seam allowances of the panels I've stitched.  They are hard to photograph at night due to the matching thread so I look forward to getting a better shot during the day when this is all done.

Gotta run, the show's starting!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Seven Days of New Years 2021 - Day 4: Quilting Has Commenced!

Before going to bed last night, I laid out the next "Snowflakes" block:

I had to make a few extra of the textured medium blue hexies since I had changed the color placement in the patterned layout a bit.  Wanting to get started on the quilting, I decided to save the "sit and stitch" on it for this evening's Accuquilt Live event and I'll work on it then. They will be viewing quilts from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts both tonight and tomorrow night.  

I'll update this post with the actual video links once they air since the videos live on You Tube and Facebook for good.  Actually if you like quilt museum visits, you can also check out the ones they made at the International Quilt Study Center back in July and September.

Today's focus project was quilting the "Serendipity" quilt.  It took me a while to review all of Angela Walter's Feather FMQ Challenge videos again and make some decisions about what to quilt where.  One thing I had decided last week was that I wanted to use Angela's "Custom Feather" (seen in this video) to quilt along all the vertical seams that run the length of the quilt.  

It is the one motif that doesn't work from a pre-stitched center stem and she used it to quilt along block seams.  The twist for me is that I'd need to watch how the feathers transition from one rectangle to another since I'll need to change the thread color then.  I also decided to take her advice and mark the outer line that the feathers needed to meet to help keep the stitching even (I'm using 1-1/2" away from the seam as my guideline).

I started in the middle of the quilt with the blue rectangle and once the feathers were stitched on that side, I decided to continue with the same thread and stitch the feathers in the center of that rectangle. I really debated for a while about what to use here as on close inspection of the print I used, it actually has a sort of feathery/frondy motif in it already.  I decided to use those as a guide to stitch along.  Initially, I sketched out on preview paper Angela's "Basic Feather", then thought her "Curly Feather" would look better.  However, I have a few other books on stitching Feathers that I decided to consult and found another option that I liked even more.

Patsy Thompson's book "Feather Adventures" always intrigued me with her technique of layering colors when stitching feathers to make them pop.  I won't be going that far this time but I did find a feather motif that when sketched out on preview paper, really picked up the underlying motifs on the print so I went with that.

Oops!  While I marked the right side of the rectangle for the seam feathers, I forgot to mark the left side before stitching the feathers in the center!  Not a big deal, fortunately I realized it before I had stitched the rest of the rectangle.  I just fill stitched by the seam around those bottom two and resumed the feathers along the seam further up the rectangle.  

It's a little hard to get a good shot of it at this hour but it all stitched out pretty good!  Needless to say, I know I was pretty tense because I was starting off so, I'll break from this for tonight.  I am pleased with the good start and hopefully tomorrow, I can continue and get a good deal further now that I've warmed up!   

Now back to the hexies for the rest of the evening!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Seven Days of New Years 2021 - Day 3: Continuing with Hexies and Setting Up for Quilting

Not a lot done for the "Snowflake" project this morning beyond finishing the prep of the dark blue hexies that I didn't get to last night and starting the center of the third block.

Re-purposed food containers make the best organizers!

The main focus for the day was to be on setting up the "Serendipity" project for quilting.  I had decided last week that I'd probably change threads over each of the different colored sections to help highlight the different motifs to be used in each.  Of course that meant picking and auditioning threads.   

These are the final choices.  It worked out that I can use the same thread on the peach and cream print as well as the wine bottle print.  Unfortunately, the closest I had to the purple print was a brown that sort of blends.  I'll settle for that as I have two spools of it so don't have to worry about running out during what I expect to be a lot of intense stitching.    

I interrupted the quilt work to watch today's Accuquilt Live during which I had lunch.   I also had received word today that Kari Shell was giving a free special Techno Quilters workshop on creating Snowflake designs in EQ8 and of course I had to see that!  I had signed up for the classes back in August but have only completed one module so far.  I have to get back in the flow with those in the (soon to be) New Year as I have a commission project that I want to design using the program. 

That accomplished, this evening I did the stabilizing stitch-in-the-ditch on the quilt using smoke monofilament thread on the top.  For this project with just flat expanses to be quilted, I removed all the pins now before I move on to doing all the decorative quilt stitching.  

Tomorrow, I'll preview the motifs and hopefully can try to get a significant portion of it done!