Monday, March 27, 2023

Back Home From "Vacation".....

We returned on Saturday from our week long visit to see my MIL.  She had told us that North Carolina had some really warm (70+ degrees) days in the prior weeks so we prepared for that.  But it looks like we brought the cold from New York along with us as it stayed below mid-50 degrees for most of the time we were there and only warmed up on the last two days of our stay.   She had wanted my DH to help her with some yard work but he was only able to till a small section of her front yard when it finally got warm.  I harvested some mint that was growing there and showed her how to dry it and use "fill your own" tea bags to make mint tea which is something she likes.  

For me a trip to my MIL's also functions as a mini quilt retreat so for the purposes of this quilty blog, here's what I took with me and what did and didn't get done:

In order to sew away from home, you have to take a machine!

First and foremost, Fanny my Featherweight is my go-to travel sewing companion!  Now that we are back home, I'm cleaning her out (look at all that lint!!) and oiling her up before I stow her away until our next trip.

One of the primary projects I had planned to resume work on was the APQ "Scrap Happy" blocks I started last year for their quilt along.  I have been following Pat Sloan's "Daily Blocks" prompt for March but instead of working on the block she is doing, I've been trying to complete blocks for some of my WIP projects.  

For the first half of the month I finished up piecing the blocks for "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll" (more on that later) and for the second half of the month, I was scheduled to work on finishing the APQ blocks.  The good news is that I managed to stay on track even though I was supposed to start them on the 15th but didn't get to start sewing them until we arrived in NC on the 17th.  I sewed two blocks for the first few days and our last day there and one block a day for the rest of the trip.  

My leader/ender for that project were my "Scrappity-Do" blocks from a long ago free McCall's Quilting pattern.  When we left home I already had 85 made and would like to get them up to 100.  While away, for every "Scrap Happy" block I made I also made a "Scrappity-Do" one.  

The squares for the bottom three on the right came from my MIL's scraps.

Bonus:  I also was able to cut parts for both sets of blocks from my MIL's scraps as well as bring some more of her scraps home with me to process and add to my scraps stash.

Okay, all of you Yellowstone fans will recognize this one:   

Blocks and top all cut and finished on the trip! 

This is my recreation of the now famous quilt Beth Dutton wrapped herself up in while staying in the homestead cabin with Rip!  Haven't watched Yellowstone so don't know what the heck I'm talking about?  If you can get access to Season 2 Episode 7 you'll see it (or check out the scene @10:32 in this "Best of Beth & Rip" video).  In my project notes, I wrote down that the shot of it I worked from (as seen in the picture on the design wall) appeared in Season 3 Episode 7 but I haven't been able to confirm that.

DH and I watch the show and as soon as I saw it, I wanted one!  Well, looks like I'm not the only one as there are people on Etsy offering patterns and/or kits for it and a couple of people selling finished quilts like it.  It's a pretty simple design so I drafted mine in EQ8 last year to get the fabric requirements.  At the time, I knew that I had planned to stock red prints for all the Red & White Christmas sewing I was going to do.  I did manage to get all that I needed from the leftovers in that stash.  I was lucky enough to find the perfect  fabric for the alternate squares in the "by the pound" sale cubes at the Keepsake Quilting/Pineapple Fabrics outlet when we Shop Hopped in NC back in October.  I had a few suitable black and white fabrics in my stash but also purchased a bunch from two Etsy vendors who happened to have a lot of cuts from some of my favorite fabric designers (Fig Tree, Minick & Simpson, Primitive Gatherings, ect).

I've had everything bundled together since the end of last year and this is the perfect kind of "mindless sewing" project to bring when I go to my MIL's.  It took an evening to cut everything up and another three days to sew up the nine patch blocks.  The (diagonal) block rows and top went together easy-peasy on our last day there.  

My MIL hasn't seen the show but when she saw the blocks laid out on a "design bed", she wanted to make one too and is going to start gathering fabrics for her version!  I already have the backing fabric for it that was also purchased on the Shop Hop.  I have an idea for what I want to bind it with but still need to procure that.  I'll print out a couple of pictures of the top so  I can sketch out some options for quilting it.

I also brought three other projects down with us but only managed to get a little work done on one since the rest of time there was spent helping my MIL with some of her quilt projects, we made a few shopping outings, assisted at her church's weekly soup kitchen and visited an ill relative.   

In this bag were the two layered projects that I had hoped to try to quilt on the trip.  The top one is my too long simmering "Modern Twist" quilt.  It's an old Planet Patchwork mystery that I had been stumped all of this time on how to quilt but now think I know the direction I want to go with it.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to that one this trip.  The bottom one is "Christmas Ribbons", the last of the R&W Christmas projects I made up at the end of last year.  I had thought I might be able start the quilting on this but ran into a problem with the label area I had pieced into the back when I layered this before we left.  

I had pieced the label area into the left side of the backing but when I finished the layering, found that it extended past where the top would stop on the front.  Since it has two star blocks as part of it, cutting part of them off just wouldn't do!  Measuring, I realized it would fit on the right side just within the boundaries of the top.  So once at my MIL's,  I unpinned the area where the label area was pieced in and "unsewed" the section and replaced it with some more of the fabric used on the sides of the backing.  Then I had to unpin an area on the right side, cut out a section of the fabric used there and insert the label panel on that side and then re-baste both sections.  Whew!  

I had to wait a couple of days to do all of that because my MIL had a quilt laid out on the table she uses for layering and on our second day there we went to purchase batting for it.  However when she pulled out the batting the day after, we discovered a problem with it!  So while we waited to go exchange the batting, I was able to slip my project onto the table and make the correction I needed to do.  Unfortunately, there was no time in the days remaining to work on the quilting so that will be a job to take up now that we are back home.

The last project taken on the trip were all the string and pieced blocks for "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll".  My MIL had told me her design wall was empty so my plan was to pop these babies up on the wall, work on the layout and maybe get that top sewn together.  However, when we arrived, my MIL wanted some help with some Drunkard's Path blocks she had learned to make at a recent guild workshop.  We wound up needing the design wall to work out an alternate layout for the blocks so I focused instead on the piecing projects I brought with me and the rest was history!

Now that I am back home, finishing up the last week of "Daily Blocks" with the APQ project and working on the raffle quilts for my garden will take precedence in the coming days.  I may even start laying out the "Scrap Happy" blocks on my design wall and see if I can't start piecing together that top even as I finish making the last of the blocks.  We'll see how the work for March rounds out by week's end!   

1 comment:

Vireya said...

Sounds like you had a good trip away, even if you didn't get done everything you took along.