Saturday, April 30, 2022

April Recap and As Usual A Lot of Changes In Plans.....

Can you believe that April is now over?!?  This year is going by just too fast.  For a month in which I thought I had clear plans, things just tumbled and jumbled until where I came out in the end was not where I planned to be in the beginning!  

The Raffle Quilts Were A Bust

So I knew it was a long shot when the month started but I had hoped that it might still be possible to get the raffle quilts for my community garden's opening day made up.  Nope!  I continued to have an issue with the basket blocks coming up a wee bit short of the patterned size.  And of course since I was now rushing to try to get this done, I also did things like this:

So before too long, an Executive Decision was made to "Abort Mission!"  Since I had not promised the quilts, there was no loss in not having them ready.  Additionally, there is a whole garden season ahead of us and we hold at least one other big event each year.  If I can eventually get them made up, I could still offer them for raffle at a later date.  At the very least, I am now well ahead of the game for next year, Lol!

Added to that, the wide-back fabric I had pre-ordered to fill out around the panel I had purchased for the back of the light version of the quilt still has not come in!  Had I gotten to that point, that would have been yet another complication to my plans anyway.  

On a plus note, while shopping for border fabric for the leader/ender project I worked on while trying to make up the basket blocks (more on that later), I found a lovely panel depicting realistic images of butterflies to add into the back of the black version of the quilt:

The original plan was to make the black butterfly version with just a solid black backing and the light version was to have the "Be Kind" panel and the "still missing in action" wide-back print.  Now that both quilts will have pretty panels in their backs, I think I will buy more of the Kona white to complete the light backing so they are truly "fraternal twin quilts".  

Additionally, I decided to purchase two of the butterfly panels so I can use the second one to make a quilt for myself with the leftover pieces that Jenny Doan has us put aside when cutting the fabrics for the basket blocks.  Score!      

So despite the disappointment in not getting that project done, I did still get to do something special for the Opening Day ceremony.  Back in March our Garden's President had asked if I could make a sash for the Grand Marshal for this year's event.  I wasn't thrilled with the idea since I had by that time already come up with the raffle quilt plan and had never made a sash before.  However, she sent me a link to a site that sold sashes and it didn't look like all that hard a task.  I rolled around ideas in my mind for a good while and what eventually resulted was this:

Finally a chance to use some of the "food fabrics" I have been collecting for years and the little embroidery machine I purchased a while back!  I used fabrics from my stash that each represented things we grow in our garden.  The letters were die cut using black Kona from my solids stash (separate from what I purchased for the raffle quilts) and the Accuquilt "Classic Alphabet" die.  

I decided to use some burlap that I had on hand as the sash base and chose a tan print from my "backgrounds" stash to use as the lining fabric.  I used pieces of the lining print "wrong side up" under the burlap and positioned where the embroidery was to be placed in order to minimize the additional stabilizer I would add showing through the burlap.  I then applied iron-on tear-away stabilizer to the back (right side) of the lining pieces to further stabilize the embroidery as it was stitched.  After the embroidery was done, I used more of the tan print (right side up this time!) to line the whole sash, attaching it using the "pillow turn" method and edge stitching around it to finish it off.  

The two ends of the sash were secured together with a safety pin to make it easy to adjust the fit.  I decorated the pin with a fabric covered button with a shank placed on it.  We don't grow blueberries but that was the only print in my stash where the images centered perfectly on the button!   Our local councilman was the Grand Marshal and the sash was gifted to him at the end of the event.  And yes, I did put a label on it too!

Details about our Opening Day event can be seen on page 3 of our community paper which can be viewed on the website.

Leader/Ender Work

While trying to sew up the basket blocks, I decided to also begin sewing together the layout for the "String Bean" blocks I had finished up at the end of March.  So those went from this: this.

The top still wasn't quite wide enough for my taste so as noted earlier, I went looking around for something to add on as borders.  I was pretty sure that with the red sashing squares I also needed something red for the borders and found it.

The center is longer than it is wide so visually I found that it worked better to do the side borders wider than the top and bottom borders.  That complicated things slightly as I had already pieced together the scrappy corner squares as a nine patch with a red center.  I had to re-do them into a 4x3 patch rectangle so moved the red squares to the outer corners so it all remained balanced.  

While debating about the borders and still in "pieced back" mode from March, I wondered if I might do something along those lines again for this project.  Then I remembered this easy quilt design by Mary Johnson (who blogs at Making Scrap Quilts From Stash) which I had picked up from her free pattern site Mary Quilts years ago:  

So I made it a point to purchase extra of the border fabric to use as the "focus" print (the wider strips) and more of the solid black from my solids stash for the accents.  Still needing something else for the "tone on tone" strips in the design, some of the prints I had purchased for my "Scrappy Figs" project came to mind.  When the border fabric came I realized that I really liked one of the "Figs & Shirting" prints in that position.  I found a shop that still had some so now that everything is in house, first thing for May is to get this backing made up!

More Harry Potter Work

The other project plan for April was to finally get to the "Realigned" quilt stitching practice.  However once I did not start on it in the first few days of April, I lost the momentum to do it and so it too now moves on to May.  I decided that what I could steal some moments to work on were the other two paper-pieced blocks needed for my son's Harry Potter quilt.

I made the dragon in March while we visited my MIL.

These three were the only blocks I had originally planned to piece into the center using blocks from Maaike Bakker's book.  Of course now, I'm thinking that maybe a few more might make it all a little more balanced (there's that word again!).  This time though, I wanted blocks a little more specific to the HP lore.  Well, where do you go when you want to find PP patterns that are story specific?  None other than Fandom In Stitches of course! 

After going through all the offers for HP lore blocks I settled on blocks for the "Sorting Hat" and "Hogwarts  Castle".  There is a castle block in the Bakker book but it is pieced in kind of a fan shape and I wanted one that was smaller and squared.  So I guess this project will also continue on into May.  

Now that the garden is open for the season, DH and I have already volunteered for shifts (we did our first on the day after the Opening Day).  Our anniversary was also in April and he was on vacation this past week so more diversions from quilting happened.  We have been doing a little "in person" RV and tow vehicle research.  I don't think it will happen this year but with any luck, I may be an "On the Road Quilter" by next year, finger crossed!  

I hope your April stayed more on track than mine did and we both have a very productive May!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

"Infinite Variety" Fans, Your Time Has Come!

Great news for all of you that loved the "Infinite Variety" exhibit:  The International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska acquired Joanna Rose's quilt collection last year and it is now on exhibit again!

They will also be holding a "Textile Talk" today at 2 PM Eastern.  You can register for it although if you miss it, these are usually posted to You Tube within a day or two.

Will any of you be lucky enough to be in Nebraska in the coming months to attend?  If you do, please post about your visit and share it with the rest of us!!

Update 4/30/22:  

Just saw on Lori DeJarnett's Humble Quilts blog that the IQSC has put up a fabulous virtual display of the exhibit!  So if you (like me) can't get to Lincoln, Nebraska you can take it all in at the museum website.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

March Carryover/Plans for April

In my last post I noted that there were projects that were supposed to get started in March that didn't happen.  The most important of those was the raffle quilt project I wanted to do for my community garden.  While I did not commit to providing them unless I could have the tops ready by end of March/early April, I still very much want to give it the "old college try"!  

The Missouri Star "Butterflies and Baskets" Quilt

Planned:  one "Dark" and one "Light" version

So with the two "Daily Blocks" projects now out of the way (I made the last three "String Beans" blocks yesterday),  I'm going to try to focus on the getting the raffle quilt tops done over the next week.  If I can, that wouldn't leave me too far off from where I had hoped to be at this point.  

I spent yesterday getting all the cutting done for the basket blocks.  The baskets for the quilt with the black background are being made from a layer cake stack so I needed to sub-cut the squares chosen from the pre-cut set into 6-1/2" and 3-1/2" squares to make those.  The baskets for the quilt with the white background are being made from my batik stash.  When I chose those prints, I had made the initial cuts needed for the blocks so now had to sub-cut the larger squares into two triangles.   Additionally, I needed to cut all the background pieces for the blocks from the Kona cotton purchased for that.  Oh, and I needed to print templates on the paper backing of the fusible web I'm using for the applique basket handles. 

Once I got all that done, I tested out the zigzag stitch setting for the handle applique (the split moon piece in the center) and tried making two test blocks.  When I saw the original tutorial for this quilt design, it seemed really easy compared to basket blocks I've made in the past.  The sewing is simple but mine were coming out small (note the extended triangles on the sides at the mid point in the blocks above).  They need to be squared up to 8-1/2" and mine were coming up at best to about 8-1/4" even though my seams are at 1/4".  Maybe I need to make them a scant quarter inch?  

When I reviewed the tutorial again, I saw that there was one key tip that I had forgotten:  when Jenny lined up the sides to add to the center basket triangle, she lined them up from the top whereas I had been lining them up from the bottom which is the way it looked like it was done in the pattern.  When I re-did them the tutorial way, those sides are looking a little better and only one side is still coming up about 1/8" short.  

Progress but I'll have to see how it goes moving forward.  If I'm still going to make this happen, I'll need to be able to have tops by the end of next week.  At least as of now I believe I can do this if I focus, focus, focus on this project!!  

And actually maybe the "String Bean Daily Blocks" can actually be of help again this month after all:  I think I can use the piecing together of the block sections as leader enders for the basket piecing.  

I will also take the time to look these over and see if I want to do a little rearranging.  It makes me happy to think I can still get two things done at once!  

The other big thing I was supposed to start last month was the 28 Day Quilting Challenge on Craftsy using the "Realigned" pattern.  I had the batting I needed but what I hadn't been able to make time to do was cut it into squares to make the Quilt-As-You-Go block sandwiches in order to do the practices during March.   So yesterday, I also got that done too. 

So hopefully now I can piece together those blocks each day and try out one of the quilting practices.  I really want to feel comfortable with quilting if I am able to get to that point for the raffle quilts.  Also considering that I have a couple of other quilts I want to quilt up over the next two months, getting this practice in will also be a big help for that.     

And so it goes for the start of April.......

Thursday, March 31, 2022

It's Time for the March (Madness) Recap!

Although there will be no talk of Basketball here, LOL!  Is it as chilly where you are as it is here in NY?!?  If so, then I'm guessing you are as glad as I am that March is on its way out!   Looking forward to the (hopefully warmer) April showers and May flowers!

Once again, I am here at the end of the month reviewing that what I had planned to do and what I did do proved to be two different things.  As noted in Part 1 of my Recap for February, the Rainbow Scrap Quilt Challenge color for that month was Teal/Aqua.  In order to provide scraps for that, I had started working on improv piecing a backing for my "On Ringo Lake" mystery top.  I had left a significant stash of fabric scraps and cuts in those colors with that project for that purpose.  

Top finished in 2018

The good news is that the backing is now also finished!

Back when the mystery started, the quilters from the Chandler AZ Quilt Guild had sent Bonnie Hunter pictures of the quilt labels they made for people who participated in their kick-off day for that mystery.  

I loved that idea and had made a note to do the same when I was ready for that step.  As I was piecing the back, I realized it was helpful to add those in now to help fill out the backing design.  The label information was printed on fabric and inserted into the backing layout. 

That meant I had to also provide the finishing date now so I have also committed to quilting and finishing this in May.  I hope I won't regret that!  

Although  the Teal/Aqua scraps were now freed up, I never did get around to doing any RSC work for the month after all.  The other downside to all of this is that I thought it would only take me a few days to choose which scraps and extra pieced units to use, make the different sections, figure out what to put where and get the backing all pieced up.  To my surprise, in the end it took ten days to get it all done!  While I did leader/ender some other sewing while working on this (See the "Daily Blocks" next), there were other things I wanted to also get started but just didn't have the head space to juggle any additional projects until I was finally able to put this backing to bed.

Pleased with the final backing that I created and still in "pieced back mode", I wondered if I had any others I might want to work on as well.  Lucky for me, the APQ UFO number for March was #3 which on my list just happened to be another Quiltville mystery project: "Old Tobacco Road". 

 I had finished this top in February of last year and had planned to also piece its back so figured I might as well get that done and let that be what I did to move that UFO forward for this month.   

This one was a lot easier (and faster) to get done as I had a simple plan for it already in place.  I had pieces of two backing fabrics already cut for it but the top turned out to be just a little bit wider than originally planned.  Since I just needed enough extra to provide the extra width to allow for "quilting take-up", I decided to insert some pieced strips comprised of the leftover Flying Geese blocks and fabric "Bricks" not used in the front of the quilt.  In the right side strip I added a light "Double Brick" that will serve as the label area when the quilting is done.  Easy peasy and this one did only take two days to complete!

As noted in the "Plans for March" in Part 2 of last month's recap, I had also decided to go back to work on last year's "Daily Blocks" project.  In that I was influenced once again to join in on Pat Sloan's "Daily Blocks" project for this year.  The good news is that they are for the most part now done!

All of the 3-1/2" (unfinished) blocks for the "Wishing Rings" year long project are now completed.  I had started these last March and last left off with only five blocks pieced for the month of November.  With four months of blocks still to do, I decided that it was doable to work on four blocks a day (!) to finish up all the blocks for the final months.  Doable, yes --- as easy as I thought, no!  The hardest part was processing the scraps for the block sets which took a lot more time than I remembered.  I have to give my MIL a big shout out because I don't know that I would have been able to get a year's worth of blocks done at all without all the additional scraps she had passed my way.   

There was also this year's "String Bean" blocks that I had decided to make:

As noted in the previous recap, I had decided to make my blocks smaller than Pat's in order to make use of a big stash of pre-existing strips already die cut with my Accuquilt Log Cabin die.  However this also meant I needed to make two blocks a day for this project in order to have enough blocks for a reasonable sized lap quilt when the month was done.  The picture above is where I am with those as of yesterday, the last day Pat was piecing blocks.  

I had decided on piecing my blocks together into "Seven-Block Sections" to optimize how the finished size of my blocks fit together.  As you can see, I still need five more blocks to fill one more section to complete the layout.  I've already made three of those today and will do the last two tomorrow.  Even then the top will be a little narrow so I now plan to add sashing and cornerstones between the sections and add additional borders to bring it all up to size.  That however will be work for another month! 

The other thing that helped me get all of this up to date was that my DH had a vacation scheduled for last week so we headed down to spend it with my MIL in North Carolina.  For DH it's a vacation, for me a mini quilt retreat!  My MIL had purchased a Featherweight last year although it turns out it was missing the drip pan and bottom screw which I helped her order from The Featherweight Shop while there.  We also almost ordered the same thread stand as I have but looking around her space for something else, I discovered she already had one!  Her electronic machine is in the shop right now so at one point we were set up to sew with "dueling Featherweights"!

My MIL was also doing the "String Bean" challenge.  This is her first stab at working really scrappy although she limited it to her Teal/Aqua batiks.  At first she had just picked different fabrics for each position in the block but then was making the blocks all exactly the same.  I helped her "scrappy it up" more, encouraging her to vary where the fabrics were in each block.  We managed to get her blocks done (hers are made the same size as Pat did them).

After we got them to this point, she cut narrow sashing strips in a light batik and cornerstones from the block fabrics to put between the blocks.  However after seeing how much additional work that was going to be, she decided instead to just sew the blocks together and add light borders around the outside.  She has also prepared scrappy binding by piecing together the leftover strips.

Oh and she thought I couldn't make use of even the littlest bits?  Challenge accepted!

Can you say "Crumb-Pieced Mug Rug"?!?!  I brought it home with me to finish the backing for it.  I'm going to use the no-longer-needed cornerstones and turn the cutoffs from the diagonal binding-joins into HSTs to also help fill it out.  When finished, I can send it back to her as a memento of our working together!  

Although I brought a lot of projects with me, other than working to catch up on the two "Daily Blocks" projects and helping her with her "String Beans" blocks and Featherweight upgrades, the only other thing I was able to work on was getting started on the quilt for my son:

In last month's recap, I had talked about how my son asked me to make him a quilt.  He gave me some colors he wanted but I had also long been stashing "Harry Potter" fabrics with the intention of making him a quilt.  He was more than open to getting both!  My MIL had purchased an Accuquilt 6-1/2" strip die during one of their sales shortly before we arrived.  The good news was that the design I had come up with for the quilt needed a bunch of 6-1/2" squares cut as well as 2-1/2" strips for an inner border and she also has the die for that.  So this trip was a perfect opportunity to get all that done.     

Additionally, in the design, I plan to add (freezer) paper-pieced blocks for an Owl, a Wizard and a Dragon using patterns from the book "Spellbinding Quilts" by Maaike Bakker.  I had two fabric sets for the latter that I couldn't decide between so I started piecing those first to help make that choice.  Once again, doable but way more fiddly than expected!  The bottom one wins and the other may wind up as a pillow since I already have "Potter" fleece for the quilt back so don't want to use the remaining block to make a label.  

A big help to me is that when I told my MIL about the other quilt my son also wanted she was excited to volunteer to take on the making of that one!  She is looking forward to deciding what design to use and to go fabric shopping for it.

So that's all I got done for March.  Needless to say there was a bunch of other things I was supposed to get to but didn't so I'll review all of that in the next post outlining my plans for April!

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

February Recap: Part 2 and Plans For March

In my last post I talked about the projects I worked on in February.  In this one I'll recap the rest of the things that were also developing throughout that month and are now going to "bloom" in March!  Let's hope that's also a harbinger for the Spring weather and season too!

Raffle Quilts for the Garden

As a quilter, I am always looking to try a new-to-me "quilty thing".  A big thing in the quilt universe are "raffle quilts" .  I am a member of a community garden and I was asked a few years ago if I might make one for the garden's opening day event.  Actually my garden President mistook a comment I made about "thinking about it" as me "volunteering" to actually do it!   Fortunately I was able to get out of the commitment that time.  For me, it seemed like a HUGE task with a firm deadline!  Not to mention that I didn't know what I could make that would have wide appeal.  After displaying my quilts at our garden's Art Show last fall and seeing the response to them, I revisited the idea of making a raffle quilt.  However, the "what to make?" still stumped me.  

Then at the end of January, I happened on a Jenny Doan Missouri Star Quilt Company You Tube tutorial:

The pattern she was demoing was their "Baskets and Butterflies" quilt showcasing Jason Yenter's new  "Elysian" fabric line for In the Beginning Fabrics.  Oh that is a beauty and a perfect garden theme!  I have made basket quilts in the past and have another one in progress but Jenny's baskets are larger and the construction very simple.  Hmmm, could this be doable?  

When I checked on the pattern and fabric in early February, MSQ had the pattern and the layer cake used to the make the baskets but not the butterfly border fabric.  As I went searching for it elsewhere, I discovered something interesting: at Keepsake Quilting they had the border print (although strangely, not the layer cake) but also had another Jason Yenter floral border print in white on clearance.  At that point, a plan was hatched!  

I knew that many people in my garden would love the bold and bright colors of the original quilt but there might be people who would also like a lighter colored quilt.  What if I used my own batik stash to make baskets to go with the clearance border print and made both from the same pattern for the raffle?  I told the garden President of my idea but also said it wouldn't be a definite commitment (aka something she could advertise) until I could get all the supplies in and make a few test blocks to make sure I could do this by our opening near the end of April.

Well it took a while (darn the supply chain!) but as of Sunday, everything has finally arrived in house:

Ironically, by the time I finally put in the order with Keepsake, they no longer carried the "Elysian" border print and I had to order that from someplace else (and thanks to Bear Creek Quilting for that!).  Also when I was ordering some batting during a "Friday Flash Sale" from for another project, they had a pretty garden themed panel on sale at half price.  It's the "Be Kind" fabric on the lower right in the picture above.  I figured that would be great for helping to fill out the backing although I also think it could wind up on the front.  I picked up a coordinating wide back from Keepsake for the rest of the back and that still has to come in.  For the black quilt, Jenny used the multi-squares print from the "Elysian" line for her backing but to save some money, I decided to just use the same black Kona used for the background.  

I've already cut the block sets from my batiks for the light quilt.  Now that the layer cake is in, I'm hoping to start on the test blocks over the next few days so I can make an estimate of what it will take to produce these and make a final determination of whether I can meet the deadline.    

Quilts for My "Kid"

The first and last time I made quilts for my two sons was all the way back in 2008.  

Kaye Woods "Six Hour Quilt" made with novelty fabrics and a serger.

I did start a string pieced project for some new ones the next year that started out with them helping to piece the blocks.  Those have been UFOs for a good while!  As my sons hit their twenties, I have asked them from time to time if they were interested in new quilts and while they said yes, I got no responses when I asked them to think about what they might like.  My youngest son often used my "Floribunda" quilt when picnicking with his girlfriend and took it with him when he moved out last year.

So you could knock me over with a feather when my oldest son asked me last month "for a favor".  He had come up with some colors he liked and wondered if I could make them into a quilt for him!  My son is also a big fan of the "Harry Potter" book and movie series and over the years when I came across Potter-themed fabrics on sale,  I often picked them up with the idea of making him a themed quilt at some point.  So when he came to me, I asked if he'd also be interested in that too.  So we struck a deal:  I told him I would make up the "Potter" quilt in the near term and once I could figure out fabric and a design for his colors, I would make that for him too!    

Last month, I was able to get some some additional coordinates and some "Potter" themed fleece for the back to round everything out.  I have already mapped out a simple design for the fabrics and hope to add a few paper-pieced designs from the book "Spellbinding Quilts" to the big central panel of the quilt.  My hope is to get this one started either this month or in April.  

My son's quilt colors.

I'll give the Quilt Muses a month or two to strike me with inspiration for the colors he gave me.  If I haven't found anything that sparks my interest by then, I will talk with him again about what he is looking for in the finished quilt to see if we can collaborate on a design idea.   

Back To "Daily Blocks"

Last month Pat Sloan announced she's doing another "Block-A-Day" sew along for March again this year.  When she made her "Hope" blocks last year, I was encouraged to also embark on a BAD project (seriously, no pun intended!!).  At the time, I had been eyeing Cathy's "Wishing Rings" projects and since the blocks looked similar to Pat's, I decided to do it too.  Since Cathy's blocks were way smaller than Pat's, I decided to make it a year long project.  Eventually, I added two more BADs to the daily list:  blocks to finally make a "Trail Mix" quilt (which I started along with the "Wishing Rings") and the Log Cabin blocks for the Country Threads quilt "Hometown USA" (which I started in April).  

I shocked myself in that I managed to complete the Log Cabin blocks in a month and subsequently completed the top and layered the quilt in May (and you can see the finished quilt here).   However after that I realized that trying to do both "Wishing Rings" and "Trail Mix" was proving to be too much (since I was also piecing baskets for another Cathy-inspired project) so I dropped "Trail Mix" in favor of focusing on the "Rings".   I managed to keep up on those in fits and starts right up until November when I stopped processing scraps for the blocks so I could focus on finishing projects for the end of the year.

So Pat's announcement, reminded me that I only need to make four more months of "Rings" blocks to finish out that project.  So I am going to try to work on those while I also start this year's blocks.  Pat has updated her "String Bean" block pattern that she used back in 2015 for a similar quilt along.  Her block starts with a  2" x 8" finished center and 2" finished surrounding strips.  Since I love my Log Cabin die and have a lot of strips already cut, I decided I wanted to convert my blocks to utilize those as much as possible.  So I did two test blocks:

The one on the left stars with a 2-1/2 x 8-1/2" rectangle and adds 1-1/2" strips around it. The smaller block on the right starts with a 2-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch rectangle and does the same.  Reviewing Pat's quilt layouts, I've decided to go with the smaller block as it looks more balanced and I also have a die to cut the centers.  However because my blocks are smaller than hers, I'll need to make two a day for the month to get a lap sized quilt.  The plan is to work on these and finish the "Wishing Rings" blocks so that I can restart "Trail Mix" as Daily Blocks in April!

Dredging Up Another WIP

Last month I had planned to also re-start work on my "Emeralds" quilt project in the hopes of being able to have it ready early to put out at the start of the month for St. Patrick's Day.  

Well that didn't happen!  I still want to try to work on it and see if I can bring it to a finish or at least a top, if not by the holiday then at least by the end of this month.  If not, well there's always next year!  

So that's all that was occupying my mind last month!  Let's hope I can focus more on the actual sewing and quilting this month!

Monday, February 28, 2022

It's now the last day of February so it's time for a Recap (well, Part 1 anyway....)

There was so much going on in February: work on some WIPs, some prep for RSC and even a new hobby!  So much that it kept me on my toes but off the blog! 

From WIP to Flimsie

One of the priorities for the month was to once and for all get my "Box Trot" project updated and the top finished.

From this....

I decided on a plan to remove that pieced sashing strip at the bottom right and trim the others even with the bottom block.  The next part of the plan was to extend the width of the trimmed top.  For that, I added clamshells to act as an "inner  border" and a second outer border underneath them using one of the new-to-me fabrics from the line that I had been able to purchase.  All that took some doing and resulted in this: this!

After this gets quilted, the plan is to also scallop the outer border edge using a new-to-me tool.  Nothing like having an old project introduce you to new stuff!  I already have a quilting plan for it, have pieced a backing and already had batting in house.  So this has now been added to the "To Be Quilted" list!

Backing In Progress

I also had hopes to keep up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month.  The color announced for February was Aqua/Teal.  My problem was that I didn't have any Aqua or Teal scraps in my scrap bins or in the boxes of scraps I got from my MIL.  However, I did know where I had a ready supply of Aqua/Teal scraps --- in my "On Ringo Lake" project box!

When I finished the top for this 2017-2018 Bonnie Hunter mystery, I had lots of scraps and so planned to piece a backing with them.  If you've never done that before, check out this post by former Quilters Newsletter magazine editor Lori Baker or one of Karen Brown's Just Get It Done "After Quilt" videos on You Tube.  Back when I was making the top, I had also found the perfect panel to go with the project and purchased that to use to start off the center of the backing: 

The plan was to use the scraps to piece around the panel.  When the RSC call came, I figured if I got the backing made up, there might still be scraps leftover that I could mine to use for the RSC piecing.  It is turning out to be a fun exercise in Improv piecing which is something I've wanted to do for a while.  I guess this is a good way to start!  

I'm not quite finished yet and now it's too late to do any RSC piecing this month.  So I'll just add it to whatever I work on for the March color pull.  

Set Up For FMQ Practice QAYG

At the beginning of this month, I talked about doing a project in order to do the Craftsy 28 Day FMQ Challenge to practice free-motion quilting on my vintage Singer 401.  I had found a project and pulled fabrics from my "Mod" stash to fund it:

Then I needed to get sashing and backing fabrics.  I picked those up early in the month along with lucking up on a sale at that provided the batting for it (nothing I already had worked for this one).  I waited for the batting to come in and once everything was in house, I began cutting the focus, sashing and backing fabrics in prep for piecing and layering the blocks.  

I plan to layer the blocks individually and stitch them in "Quilt-As-You-Go" style for the practice challenge.  This way I will only have a small (approximately 14 inch square) piece under the small harp space of the machine to work on at a time.  However, even though February was perfect for a daily 28 day challenge, I didn't get all the moving parts in place until mid month -- not to mention having a lot of other irons in the fire by then.  So I decided to hold up starting the stitch practice until March and do it daily then.

What was also supposed to happen once I completed the challenge, was to work on finishing the quilting for my APQ UFO pick for February which was my "Modern Twist" project.  

The last time I worked on this was in 2017 when I  "stabilize stitched" around all the horizontal and vertical seams and started with a little stitching in one of the sashings.  The overall look of the design reminds me of pipes so I wanted to try to evoke different looks of "running water" in the sashings.  

However, much like what happened with my "Hometown USA" log cabin quilt completed last month, I could envision what I wanted but got nervous/stumped on how to execute it.  I'm hoping some of the designs from the Craftsy challenge will jumpstart some ideas while burnishing my stitching skills.  With any luck, the same way that doing the Feather quilting challenge on "Serendipity"  aided me in finishing up "Hometown", I'll get this one finished even if it's a little late!  So it looks like this one will get bumped to March as well.

In With the (Really) New!

Oh, and I mentioned there was a new hobby started:

Yes, I've caved and gotten into Cross stitch!  So far I have one finish (although not yet an FFO) and one in progress with three others planned and supplied.  The more I look around or listen to Flosstube videos (my new Pinterest!), the more projects may wind up being added to the "Future To Do" list!  I'll detail how I got here and where I think this is going in a later post.  

A Few Things Left Behind....

With all of the new squirrels running around my feet, I am sorry to say that what I didn't get to was completing the "Hexie Snowflake" top.  

However, I'm hoping to still try to do some work on that in the latter half of March if possible.  Otherwise, I might not get back to it until Winter rolls around again which might not be so bad either, Lol!  

There were also some additional developing starts that occurred this month but I'll detail those in the next post.  No rest for a busy quilter!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

It's the First Day of February, Time To.....

 We have already moved into another new month!  Looks like 2022 is going to zoom along just as fast as 2021.  So what's percolating for February?

Carryovers from January: 

Two things I didn't get done in January as hoped was to finish the tops for my "Box Trot" and "Hexie Snowflake" projects.  

I am still going to focus on these two this week and try to get them finished up if possible.

My plan for changing the Box Trot layout is to remove the extra sashing on the bottom right and trim the rows above it to the same length.  Then I want to add a wide border of the pretty fan print from the fabric line that I was able to get.  It is one of the prints in the line that I didn't have in my original kit.  

As a "separator" I also wanted to create an "inner border" by adding scallops in the solid black sashing fabric around the center.  It took me a while to figure out how big I wanted them and whether to do them as one continuous faced strip or individually.  I finally worked out that to get the spacing right without too much futzing, using the individual scallops is the way to go.  The good news is that I lucked up since I had decided on 2-1/2" wide finished scallops and I already had a plastic template for that!

This was the template I made back in 2010 when I did the edge finish on my "Vintage Treasures" quilt.

 I talked about these in the "Edge Finishes" post I did last year for Frédérique's "Quilting A to Z" link up at her Quilting Patchwork Applique blog.  I have eighty-four scallops to make to go around the quilt and as of today, I have about half of them made.

With regards to the "Hexie Snowflake" project, I hadn't taken down the Christmas tree yet because I was hoping to get the "Hexie Snowflake" piece completely done so I could take a picture of it with the tree.  Oh well, taking down the tree is now another task for this week.   

More FMQ Training

Since I had such a good experience last month with using the "Serendipity" quilt project to practice my Free Motion Quilting, I was hoping to do the same again.  When I did the binding on the two quilts in January, I swapped Rhubye, my Singer 401, into the cabinet to attach it.  Now I want to try another FMQ challenge to get some practice stitching with her.  

On Craftsy there is a class called "28 Days to Better Free-Motion Quilting" hosted by Angela Walters and other famous quilters.  I am hoping to spend this month doing that one daily (if possible).  I wanted to do it in big open squares similar to how I was able to quilt the fabric rectangles in "Serendipity".  I found the perfect pattern for that and it gave me another opportunity to use up more of my "Mod" stash.

"Realigned" is from the Summer 2014 issue of Fons & Porter's "Quilting Quickly" magazine and this is the fabric pull I've done for the blocks.  The pattern starts with 10" squares and I'm going to quilt them individually (in effect, "Quilt As You Go") which I figure will make it easier to practice the stitch pieces.  This is the way Leah Day worked when she started her "365 Days of Free Motion Quilting" filler stitch project back in 2009.  Leah is also one of the quilt teachers in the Craftsy class.   

It'll be easier to stitch the little quilt sandwiches in the small harp space of the machine and I won't have to worry about wrestling with the full layered quilt while doing so.  When the individual sandwiches are done, I'll be able to put the final quilt together in sections.  However, what I haven't decided on yet is the sashing fabric and backing I'm going to use for all of this.  So for this week at least,  I'm doing muslin sandwiches and then can later re-do those stitch patterns with the project fabrics when I've worked out those project details.

For Day 1 of the class, all I had to do was set up the machine and a quilt sandwich and just "scribble" to try to get a feel for stitching on the machine.  

I learned that this machine stitches smoothly but like with my old Euro-Pro machine, I get better results if I run the machine very fast and move my hands fast.  Overall though, my stitches are small.  I tried slowing down but there you have to be careful because too slow and the thread breaks.  In FMQ, it's all about finding just the right rhythm with the machine you are using.  

Overall the tension was also pretty good but I found a difference when I changed threads.  I started out using a light Green thread (Aurifil) on top off an almost empty bobbin and black thread in the actual bobbin underneath.  I was surprised that the tension was almost perfect front and back.  When the top bobbin emptied, I switched to an almost full spool of Tan thread on top (also Aurifil).  Now the tension seemed a little off with more of the black bobbin thread pulling to the top.  Hmmm, I will have to see how that goes going forward.  

What's New Pussycat?

I also had to check on a few things:  first of all what's the new APQ UFO number for this month?  

It's #7 and on my list that is my "Modern Twist" project.  I had started quilting this back in 2017 but stalled as this was another quilt that I am looking to create a specific "look" with the quilting and was unsure how to proceed.  This is actually good news because I had already decided that if I was comfortable enough quilting on my 401 after I did the Craftsy challenge, I was going to try to quilt this one.  So APQ and the Quilt Muses were both reading my mind on this one.

Before I went to sleep last night I was reading some Bloglovin' posts and someone mentioned that that the February RSC color was already out and it was Aqua/Teal.   Another good opportunity!

Most of the teal scraps I have are still in my "On Ringo Lake" project box as I had always planned to use them to make a scrappy backing for that mystery project.  So I've brought that box out and before I start the search for Aqua/Teal scraps, I will make that back up which also helps to move that project forward too!  

After I mine the "ORL" scraps, I'll mine the rest of my scrap bins and the boxes of my MIL's scraps that I still have.  Hopefully all three of those sources will fill the coffers enough to cover all the RSC sewing that needs to be done for the month.

So safe to say I have enough to do for the short month of February!