Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Update on April and May's Doings

Gee, I didn't get to post at all in April!  Yet during that month and as this one got underway, INTENTION has been on my mind --- I just can't say FOCUS has been at the heart of it!  I can blame some of that on the gardening season which is in full swing and the fact that I've spent a lot of time at our community garden....

...and setting up the seed and root starts indoors that I should have gotten started at the beginning of  March.

Hmm, that Basil pot on the end needs watering.....

On the quilty front, I've did have a few moments here and there to do a little stitching...

1.  With all the green scraps laying around from the "Emeralds" project (and more on that later), I managed to finish Part 1 of  "Roll, Roll Cotton Boll" which is another of Bonnie Hunter's old mysteries....

....and lucked up on a sale of some perfectly-themed backing fabric for it!

2.  After donating string blocks for Kat Drinkwater's "Covered In Love" quilt charity project at the beginning of the year, I wanted to really make sure I made some blocks for her March/April block call.

The block design was so "Spring-y", it really suited the time of year!  Looking forward to seeing what she wants for her next block call which won't be until July.

8/31/19 Update:  See all the pretty "Late Blooming Quilts" made up from everyone's donated blocks here!

3.  In April, I helped a friend host an Afternoon Tea for her Building Association (this was just a small part of the set-up).

I wanted to use this box  I have to hold tea bags at the event.......

......but its cover is worse for the wear.

My dream has long been to make a quilted piece for the cover that would allow me to try out machine-sewn silk ribbon embroidery.  However, in the meantime, I thought I could maybe piece a little  tea-related mini quilt for it instead.  At first I was going to use designs from Maaike Baker's "Cups and Saucers" book (the link is to the updated edition):

However, then I found a cute online project with even smaller blocks called "Grandma's Tea Party" by Beth at Piece By Number.  I liked the smaller blocks in this one because it would allow me to fit more blocks within the same amount of space.  However, I started too late for these rather intricate paper-pieced units so only got the tea pot done by the day of the event.

The good news was that where the tea box was displayed in the room it sat with the top sitting open so no one was any wiser of the lid's condition.  After the event, I did get a few cup blocks also sewn up.  I had fallen in love with the background print I used -- it reminded me of old-fashiond wallpaper but I think the contrast with the cup prints could have been better.  Even so, they are cute so I want to finish the blocks and the piece up eventually.

Each participant got to keep their place setting from the event.  My friend had picked up special settings for each of us that had helped with all the planning, sourcing, food prep and set-up!   Hmmm, I think making a special mug rug may also be in order.....

As to my other projects?

4.  Wholecoth on Hold

When I finally (after a year's delay) got started on my wholecloth project back in January (!), I thought I was good to go.  But it didn't take long to realize that trying to quilt a queen-size top on the 18" hoop I have wasn't going to work easily.  The hoop has worked great with the mini, wall hanging and lap quilts I've stitched on it before.  However, with this project, when I kept trying to turn the hoop to stitch (I started working from the center), all it did was twist all the rest of the quilt around the base of the hoop.

At that point, I decided that a bigger hoop or maybe even a frame was in order.  I admit I've been awed by the work being done by Karen over at her Quilts...Ect/Karen's Quilting blog as she hand quilts her "Good Fortune" quilt (from the last Bonnie Hunter mystery) so that may have just had some added influence in making this decision!  However, checking the features and prices of various frames and hoops, at first I thought this might not be something I could justify purchasing since I don't do a lot of hand quilting.  However, as always the Quilt Muses look out for me and I managed to snag a used Grace Company no-baste hand quilting frame off of eBay recently for an affordable price.

What I like about this model/style is that it's adjustable to load three different sizes of quilts (baby, lap and queen).  Of course the down side is that now I have to rip out the little bit of stitching I had already done (which fortunately was not that much) and take out the basting so I will be able to load the project onto the frame.  Addtionally, this time around I'll have to work it from one end of the quilt to the other.

 I had also considered getting a Q-Snap frame which would have allowed me to continue to work on my project as is with it already basted.  I admit that I liked the idea that for future projects, using the Grace frame means I can eliminate the basting step completely.  Additionally, the Grace frame can be folded down for storage with the project being worked on still on it.  Even so, while I work on the quilt, I will have to figure out where I'm going to stand it while it's extended to its full queen-size width when I'm not quiliting on it.

While I did find some information about the frame on the company's website, it took a deep search to access it so they have clearly moved away from offering hand quilting frames.  Even Hinterberg which used to be the other big name in hand quilting frames, now only offers a "build your own" kit that provides only the cogs and gears for the rollers with instructions to source/make the actual frame legs and rollers.  Funny, when I started quilting at least half of all quilters still hand quilted.  I know that percentage has dropped over the years due to the advancement of machine quilting techniques and machines.  Does this mean hand quilting as a skill is now going the way of the dodo?

5.  What about Emeralds?

After making up all the blocks back in March, when I put them up on the wall, I was not excited about what I was seeing and even after trying to rearrange things a bit, it took me a while to figure out why.  What I came to realize is that while I had been very attracted to the magazine quilt and had noted the greens used in it, I had not taken into account the ratio of the specific shades and colors of green represented in it.

The majority of greens in the patterned quilt are in the yellow green - olive ranges with a just sprinkling of darker greens among them.  The greens I had pulled from my stash were just the opposite -- the majority were in the dark blue-green range with a just sprinkling of spring, olive and pale greens.  So the visual balance of color in mine is totally different than that of the patterned quilt.  Which makes sense since that's totally reflective of the shaded color palettes I tend to use.

I am still very excited about using the Blendables thread I purchased to quilt this with so I will eventually push forward with it as is.  Fortunately the darker overall tone will also be balanced by the fact that the tan fabrics I had pulled to use for the border setting triangles are of a darker value similar to that of my blocks in contrast to the lighter tan fabric used in the patterned quilt.   So I believe that in the end, the overall color balance of quilt will still be good.

6.  Spring projects:  As usual there are a lot of things I had wanted to work on once Spring hit.  I wanted to make a table runner for my dining room sideboard for Spring, finally get to a Spring Wool Wallhanging that I kitted up years ago and I wanted to finally paint a Spring barn quilt for my terrace (I previously made ones for Summer and Fall).  For May, the plan had been to get back to my Quilts of Valor projects and move them towards finishing.

So of course, at this point the question is "How the Heck Am I Going To Get To It All?!?!?"  Well,  hopefully I have a possible answer to that and I will share that in future posts!

1 comment:

Quilting Babcia said...

Hi, I was lucky enough to find a Grace hand quilting frame at an auction last fall but still haven't loaded it with a top. That will require moving it to the dining room to actually have enough room to quilt. Plus there's a king size quilt that has been languishing in my Grace floor hoop that really needs finishing first. Were you aware that there is a Facebook group called Celebrate Hand Quilting? With nearly 20,000 members now from around the world, you are not alone in the world of hand quilting. Lots of inspiration there!