Saturday, September 16, 2023

Quilting On National "Sew A Jelly Roll" Day!

Woo hoo!  It's National Sew A Jelly Roll Day!!

I don't buy a lot of jelly rolls although I love to cut my own Jelly Roll (2-1/2") strips from project leftovers to save for scrap projects.  However, last month I was lucky enough to snag a kit for a pattern I've long wanted to make:  Bonnie Sullivan's "Over and Down Under" quilt originally designed to showcase her "Woolies" flannel fabric line.

On the left is the kit contents (jelly roll and border/binding fabric) and on the right is the Riley Blake National Park Pillow panels yardage that I am going to use for the backing.  I had liked this set of panels because it picked up the colors of the kit fabrics and because we will be going camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park next month.  To fill out the rest of the back,  I purchased yardage (center) of the "Signs" print  from the National Parks line in Cream.  

I'm hoping to make this a "sew day" and just work on this project.  To be ready for the day, I reviewed the pattern and supplies.  I had wanted to pre-cut my fabrics but finishing up my "Christmas Ribbons" quilt took longer than expected (which always happens so is what should be expected!).  I also think I will cut some of the things different than the pattern calls for.  

This past week I had found a picture on my phone of a quilt top my MIL had made and asked her if she remembered what it was.  She didn't initially but after looking around, found the pattern -- which was made from jelly roll strips -- and decided she wanted to make it again.  She had picked up a partial Jelly Roll at her guild's "take away" table but would need to add a few strips to it and pick up two more coordinating background fabrics to make her project.  I told her about today so if she was able to get the supplies, we may sew in tandem and Skype during the course of the day.  

I also got an email from the Fat Quarter Shop that said Kimberly Jolly will be doing a Live Stream today on You Tube at 2 PM CT (3 PM EST).  She will be showing new fabric releases and previewing their new Jelly Roll pattern book.

It will be interesting to see how this goes!

12 Noon Update:

Okay, everything is cut out and I actually stuck to the pattern directions for doing so. 

This was a great work out for my Stripology ruler (note: link is to the even larger XL that I hope to upgrade to one day).  Whenever I have gobs of strips and squares to cut (whether from yardage or pre-cuts), the ruler makes it easy to cut many multiples at once. 

There is not as much leftovers in a Jelly Roll kit as there usually is in a yardage kit but I guess that also depends on the design of the quilt.  This one definitely makes use of most of it!

All that's left!

So for the next hour or so it will be a lot of chain pieced "flip and sewing" and then trimming.  

Then it will be onto laying out all the tipped rectangles and the squares to preview the layout.

4 PM Update:

Turns out there were many other You Tubers I follow who posted vids for today. 

Emily @ TeriblyRad (who is better known for her 3 Yard Quilts series):  

Jo Carmel @ Quilts By Carmel in CA:  

Even the Fabric Cafe (the 3 Yard Quilt people) had one:  

And a "Public Service Announcement" with advice on using your own fabric to participate:

My MIL actually found another project to work on and after some problems getting her computer working, we were able to Skype for a while too.  

I've gotten a bit more done in the last few hours:

The rectangles were all prepped, trimmed and pressed.  I also sewed up the "bonus triangle" cutoffs too!

Then it was laying out the quilt on the design wall, starting with the outer borders of rectangles.  I threw them in a paper bag, shook it up and picked them blindly in the hopes of developing a random initial layout:

At this point, I'm half way through filling in the center with squares.

Once that is finished (and I tweak the layout if necessary), the next step will be taking down each row to sew them together.

8 PM Update

Well that's it for today!

The Fat Quarter Shop Live Stream was fun and there are some cute quilts in their new jelly roll book

Also be sure to pick up the discount code from the video, good until Monday for 20% off jelly rolls. 

As for me, I finished filling in the layout and no tweaks were needed!

As the day drew to an end, I had half of the rows of rectangles and squares sewn together.  

It looks so much smaller once the seam allowances are taken up!

Bonus:  Putting the rows together was also a perfect opportunity to leader/ender a few more trapezoids for my Quiltville Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll quilt.

DH and I have the opening shift for our community garden tomorrow and I have the follow-up cross stitch class later in the afternoon so I doubt I'll get back to this before Monday.  However, I'm very excited to get this to a top and then work on the planned pieced backing!

For my first Jelly Roll Day this was pretty good!  In the coming months, I'll have to pick out another roll and a pattern to be ready for next year!  Hope you enjoyed the day too!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Finished Or Not Friday: Better Late Than Never!

It's been a while since I've had something to check in over at Quilty Girl Alycia's with another:

That's because I've FINALLY finished the last of the quilts I had set out to make for Christmas decorating in 2022, "Christmas Ribbons":

Every quilt has a story and this one started out as my interpretation of Sally Schneider's design using her "Painless Borders" technique from the cover of her 1992 book (published by the already dearly missed Martingale Publishing).

Her design technique is to piece blocks that when set into the edge of the quilt layout (usually on point), create the look of a "border" around the outer edge.  

I modified the piecing instructions for the four blocks needed to complete the design so I could cut most of them with my Accuquilt dies.  In particular, I changed her original tree blocks so I could use my Log Cabin die to cut the strips for the "branches".  I made the "tree trunks" using a Signature block die and trimmed it down to 4-1/2" to create an 8" finished block.  

First time using MODA "Grunge"!

Ironically, I had worked up my layout in EQ8 but didn't notice until after I finished piecing the top, that I had completely overlooked the fact that in Sally's design the tree blocks "float" because they have background strips pieced around them.  Oops!  However, since it hadn't bothered me when I drafted and colored in the layout, I decided to leave my blocks "snuggled together", LOL!!   

I also decided that a line of ribbon needed to be finished with a bow and fortunately I also (to quote Accuquilt’s Cutting Expert Pam Heller) "have a die for that"! 

The back is made with one of my favorite kinds of fabric:  flannels!!  

I did the backing the same way I had done my "Indigo Weave" quilt finished back in 2021.  A couple of extra star blocks were used to create a label area.  One thing I had managed to finish for Christmas was to sew pieces of the two flannel fabrics to make a tree skirt wrap for the Christmas tree I had put up.

I had a very helpful push for getting this done now:  my community garden is doing an Art Show exhibit of things made by our members who are artists/crafters.  I'm going to do a Red and White quilts display so need all the ones made for last Christmas as they are the only R&W quilts I have.  I do have one more quilt (that's not a Christmas quilt) to also finish for the display which I hope (no, have to!) to get done in the next week or so since the show is at the end of the month.  

Now that I'm done here, I can go over to Quilty Girl Alycia's to link up and get to see what everyone else finished up this week!  Meet you there!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Week 2 Project Updates for September

With the long list of things I want to get done in September, I've needed to clear some things off of my sewing and cutting tables.  


One of them was a little companion project to the By Annie Piecekeeper bag I finished up back in July.  At the time, I said I was debating between which charm to get to add to the bag.  Well, I finalized the decision and got it recently.  Then I was looking through some of the Shop Hop stash bags and found something to make another accessory to go with it:

Sunbonnet Sue zipper charm by Lori Holt from Fat Quarter Shop 

The fabric License Plate used in the front had been purchased during the Shop Hop last year.  It was an old plate the shop still had in stock from back when the national Row By Row shop hop was still happening and so of course was on sale.  I've always loved these and didn't get any when I did a tri-state (CT, NY, NJ) Row By Row swing back in 2016 so was thrilled to get one now.  

The good news is that this plate matched the color scheme of the Piecekeeper bag.  The English Paper Piecing cheater print I used above and below the plate on the front and for all of the back was actually purchased from the same store the first year we hopped in 2021 so came in real handy right now.  

I have another plate that I am going to pair with more of the Hop fabrics and make up to go with the other Shop Hop project bag when(ever) I get around to finishing that WIP. 

Not the things I should be focusing on but it did help take one thing off of my sewing table so it's a start!

Once I got all of the other stuff piled on the sewing table cleared off, I pulled out the "Christmas Ribbons" project and started work on quilting it.

The stitching was clearer to see from the back.

It may be a little hard to see here but I've finished the cross hatching diagonally across the center of the quilt in one direction.  After the cross hatching will be some free-motion petal swirls in the ribbon border and then back to straight-line stitching with some piano key lines in the outer border.  Hope I can finish the quilting by the end of the week.  

Cross Stitch

I've worked on a couple of my cross stich projects:  I completed all the stitching on the Summer Camp badge.

I still need to do the "Nun Stitch" around the design so I can fringe the edge of it.  I've watched a couple of Flosstube videos on this and it seems pretty doable.  

Admittedly though, I've done no further work on the "Try Something New" project that was the actual camp project.  I'll get back to the "Right To Vote" piece I'm stitching on Linen once I can get past some of these more urgent deadlines.  I'll be more mentally prepared to focus on that once these other things are done.  

I also picked out the finishing fabric for the "United  We Stand" piece I stitched back in June.

I would love to add a trim to the edge as was done in the pattern.  I think this may be the perfect small piece to finally try the Shell Edging  (although not piped) that I talked about back in this post.    

I've also started on the "Christmas in the Round" piece that I want to display at my community garden's Art Show.  

So things are moving right along!

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Plans for September

Fun Crafty Holidays Ahead!

As always there is so much to do in my own crafty world and in the world of crafts in general.  For anyone that wants to put a needle to fabric whether it be by hand or machine, September is the month to celebrate all that is Sewing!

You can check out the history of this celebration on the National Sewing site here.

For Quilters specifically, there is also another day to celebrate!  The big quilty holiday this month is...

MODA Fabrics (the company that originated the term "Jelly Roll" for pre-cut 2-1/2" fabric strips) has an information packet that you can pick up here.

For lots of free Jelly Roll project ideas, check out the Fat Quarter Shop here and the Hancock's of Paducah website here.

Also check out the sampler designed by Sherri McConnel of A Quilting Life for the event (blog post with the quilt details is here with links to tips on using jelly rolls and a video showing the quilt is here).

I don't frequently buy Jelly Rolls but for once I do have one perfect to celebrate with!  My project for that day will be to finally get to start an "Over and Down Under" quilt.  This is a pattern that was designed by Bonnie Sullivan to showcase her "Woolies" flannel fabric line.  I love flannel quilts and have wanted to make one of these for years.  In early August, the Annies catalog site ran a clearance sale and I was able to get a kit that also supplied the pattern.  

It's still selling at a reduced price now although I got it even cheaper back in August.  This kit uses regular quilting cottons but now that I have the pattern,  I can make the kit quilt and then use my flannel stash to make another version.   

I'll admit at first I didn't like what I felt was the "dull" color scheme of the fabric line supplied with the kit but another fortuitous find helped me quickly get over that.   I happened to be on Etsy and saw this panel:

I got excited because the colors in it reminded me of the over all murky colors of the kit quilt.  However then I also saw this pillow panel set:

I loved the greater range of colors that reflected even more of the colors in the kit fabrics.  I also liked that it highlighted some of the popular attractions to visit in the park.  Now that resonated because my DH and I will be going camping there in October so I will actually get to see those places in person!  

When I purchased the pillow panel, I also purchased what was billed on both the vendor's listing and the manufacturer's (Riley Blake) website as a "Charcoal" tone on tone print from the NP "Legends" fabric collection.  I had planned to piece wide strips of that around the panels to make up what would be the backing for the kit quilt.  However, when the fabric came this is what it looked like:

Yeah, really more brown than charcoal.  I can't fault the vendor as the SKU# on the selvedge matched what the manufacturer listed as the "Charcoal" fabric.  Sigh, once again foiled by shopping online!  

The good news is that I am familiar enough with the various National Park fabric collections and prints and knew there was also one in Cream available that would work just as well.  Fortunately I found another shop that had that on sale so scooped some up and now that will be my backing filler.  So I really look forward to getting this one underway.

Preparing for a Quilt Art Display

My community garden is having it's third annual Art Show at the end of this month.  For the last two, I've participated by displaying some of my quilts.  The first year I displayed a variety of quilts showing the versatility of quilt designs, fabric styles and piecing and applique techniques.  

Last year my theme was "Scraps or Scrappy?" with a display of quilts that showed quilts that used a lot of different fabrics in them. 

There were additional quilts presented in the back of both displays.

This year's theme needed to start from what I already have made up so I've decided to do a "Red and White" quilts display.  This would allow me to make primary use of all the quilts I made for decorating last Christmas.

However I also have the "Christmas Ribbons" quilt top left from that endeavor that still needs to be quilted.  

This will be a good opportunity to tackle that because it will also give me a chance to familiarize myself with my new Juki machine.  I think I will also display my little Valentine's Day quilt since it has a lot of Red along with Pink (which is a tint of Red) in it:

And speaking of Red and Pink, I think I will add one more for the back of the display:  my "Roll, Roll Cotton Boll", a Bonnie Hunter-Quiltville mystery quilt.  This would be of two fold benefit to me:  another quilt to display and (yet) another chance (with a firm deadline) to try to finally get it finished up once and for all! 

It think it also fits well within the Red and White quilts theme.  Plus, it was moved forward along with all the holiday quilt sewing so it fits right in on that count too!  

Adding In A Little Cross Stitch!

Of course now I can't display quilting without also showing off a little cross stitching so I am planning to work on this too:

Because two of the Red and White quilts to be displayed are mini quilts, I'd love to finish and "fully finish" this little "cross stitch in the round" design to add to the display.  

I'll need to do a little stitch test first though.  The middle floss pictured here is the DMC conversion called for in the pattern.  However, I also liked the top floss which as pictured here doesn't look much different but is "pinker" than the called for thread in person.  The bottom thread is the variegated floss I plan to use to make "Quaker Christmas II".  If I decide to use it for this, it will be a good preview of how it stitches out. 

As always lots of big plans for the month so let's see how many I actually get done, LOL!!  Hope you are gearing up for a busy and enjoyable September and bracing yourself for the oncoming Fall weather. 

Thursday, August 31, 2023

August Recap

It was another busy month and once again not with all the things originally planned.  There was a lot of cross stitch, a little quilting and a new addition to my quilting arsenal!

Cross Stitch

I had signed up to participate in the Colorado Stitcher's Cross Stitch Summer Camp.  She holds these in June, July and August with a themed prompt for each month.  I was already doing something else for June and didn't have anything for the July prompt as well as having quilty plans for that month.  However August was up for grabs as she had always made the prompt "Try Something New" for that month.  Since I am still a relatively new CSer, pretty much anything I do is new-to-me!

I had two potential options for that one.  The first was this Halloween kit I had picked up on eBay:

I had chosen this one as my first "Halloween Stitch" (it seems that CSers are big on stitching Halloween projects) and also as my first "beaded embellishment" stitch.  This "kit" consisted of the pattern and the beads so I was going to have to source the fabric.  I liked the color of the "called for" fabric in the pattern picture but not so much that it was for a 32 count Belfast Linen.  I was already working really slowly on a project stitched on an Evenweave from "Stitch June" so wasn't sure I wanted to commit to that.  However, I really wanted to try to see some fabric in person.  

A couple of "near me" shops I Googled turned out to be needlepoint shops not needlework shops and I learned that there is a big difference in what is carried in each.  I wasn't sure about ordering online since the color I was trying to match was not one that I have any immediate plans to use again in the future and most of the ones I saw that had potential called for ordering a fairly large piece.  Additionally, you know how it is when you order something online:  I didn't want to order and if the color that arrived didn't work, have to make additional orders until I got something I liked.  Unlike with quilting, I am not trying to build a cross stitch fabric stash!

As such, I tabled that in favor of working on a "Stitch June" project that I hadn't gotten to:  Mani Di Donna's "Right To Vote":

This meant I'd be challenging myself to working on Linen after all since I had purchased the "called for" fabric of the same stitch count for this project.  It turns out that if I thought stitching on Evenweave was hard, Linen proved to be even more challenging!!   

I will admit I'd pick this up, struggle to do very little (or a lot of ripping and re-stitching) and then put it down, sometimes for more than a day or two before getting back to it.  As I came into this last week, as much as I felt like I was finally starting to get the hang of it, I also realized that it was going to take a lot more time than I had left to focus on it and get it done.  So I only got as far as this for the month:  

Oh well, at least I now have a better idea of how working with this type of fabric is executed.  What was a lot easier to tackle was the Summer Camp badge issued for this year.  I stitched that on a simpler 18 count Aida and while easier to stitch, I did flub some of the pattern counting and there are some motifs that are a bit off.  The finished badge will also be larger than patterned since it was designed to be stitched on 25 count Lugana (Evenweave).  

I worked on the badge between the times I tried to work on the Linen project.  Even so, I still have flowers to add to the wreath and a stitched border to finish this up so it too will remain on the stitching docket until it gets done. 

And More Cross Stitch!

As I noted in a previous post, the founders of my community garden are very craft and art focused and like to program workshops for creative endeavors that can be hosted in our garden.  I had done an EPP workshop for them back in 2020 and was asked if I had anything for this year.  

Right before that, I had come across a cute (and free) little pin pillow pattern with a Lavender theme.  I got excited because I knew we had a lavender patch in the garden so thought it would be cool to stitch this up and harvest and dry some of the garden lavender to put in it.  

It wasn't much of a leap to think about how this could translate into a class so I proposed it and the proposal was accepted.  Of course then I had to actually prepare for the class which presented its own issues and a bunch of work to be ready for it on the last Sunday of the month!

I finished stitching the above samples early in the month then spent the rest of the month sourcing materials for kits that included little mini project bags.  I wrote up an information packet that summarized some of the basics of the stitching techniques, supplies used and sources and a glossary of common terms and acronyms used by CSers.  

Unfortunately, our garden lavender patch was a little worse for the wear.  I have since learned that is because we never pruned the plants.  I will work on rehabilitating it for next year but now that also meant sourcing dried lavender to turn these little pillows into sachets.

The class went well although many found the concept of cross stitching a bit challenging.  However a good time was had by all and we have scheduled a follow-up session to see if everyone was able to complete their stitching and to go over how to finish the pieces.   

A Bit 'O Quilting

The only quilt-related thing I worked on this month came about because I needed fabrics to provide the workshop attendees backing squares for their little pillows.  To that end, I remembered a set of fabrics I had purchased to make a doll quilt for a (now deceased) aunt of mine.   I found the batch of leftover fabrics that had lavender motifs on them but also found the remains of the project that had been my first attempt at making that doll quilt.  

Back then, I had worked up a design in the Quilt-Pro design software I had at the time and had started piecing the nine patch blocks for the center.  

However when I went to cut fabric for the outer round of blocks, I wound up not having enough of the large floral fabric for both the blocks and the outer border of setting triangles and at the time didn't have the budget to purchase more.  As a result, I had taken what fabrics had not already been cut up and used those to make an alternative "Twister" quilt design for her instead.  

Coming across the remaining fabrics and the nine patches that had been pieced, I realized I still very much liked the first design I had come up with.  I wondered if even though all this time had passed, I might be able to A) get more of the border fabric and B) finish the piece.  I really was interested in doing this because I knew it would now coordinate with the fabric I had purchased back in April for doing Angela Walters "Floral Frames" free-motion quilting challenge.  That would give me a coordinating quilt to go with the challenge quilt when(ever) it gets finished.

So I worked up the design again, this time in the EQ8 software I have now.  I added additional borders to the design to make it big enough for a wall hanging and used the software to confirm how much fabric I needed to have.

Lo and behold, I was able to source more of the floral fabric even after all these years!  However that led to a new problem:  I now also needed more of the blue leaf fabric I had planned to use in the outer nine patch blocks because I had used up most of what I originally had when making the "Twister" quilt.  Unfortunately, more of that fabric in that color could not be found anywhere!  

However, in the course of sourcing more fabrics for the class project backings, I picked up some promising prints that I thought might now replace the old blue fabric I couldn't find.  I realized that I no longer needed the quilt to be strictly and primarily blue and white (which had been the colors my Aunt liked) so could introduce a little purple into my version.  I found the leaf print from the original fabric line in purple and one of the cross stitch backing prints looked like it might work and another blue flower print that I also hoped could be another potential alternate.  

I made up a few test blocks including some with what little I had of the original blue leaf fabric.  I'm still not sure which works for me so this project too is now on hold.....

Last But Not Least:  A New Addition!

A BIG change to the quilt studio happened in August:  there has been a changing of the guard!  The Brother Nouvelle 1500 machine that I had purchased used back in 2019 unfortunately was determined to have breathed its last (well, actually it needed a replacement part that could no longer be procured).  

Fortunately the machine repair shop I had taken it to was able to give me a great deal on a demo model of the machine I had always wanted in the first place so I am now the proud owner of a Juki TL 2010Q machine!

I am thrilled but once again am now in the position of needing to get used to working with a new machine.  The good news is that this has pretty much the same "stitch feel" as the Brother did without the problems I had with the other machine being periodically unresponsive.  

This means I may finally be able to really settle in on getting my quilts quilted up faster.  I do like that the Juki has an adjustable speed control, a needle threader and that the thread cutter can be activated from a button on the front or with the foot pedal.  Also just like when I purchased the Brother, the Juki offers the ability to be put onto a long arm frame if I ever get the space to do so in the future.  So a new adventure is a foot!  

Looking forward to seeing what September and the Fall bring in!!