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!