Tuesday, April 30, 2024

April Recap: Still Busy and Now Blue (and White)

Warning:  As usual since this is a month long recap, it's pretty long so strap in!

The busyness of the last two months has continued a pace.  Our community garden's Season Opening/Earth Day Celebration on the 20th went well.  

 "Mother Earth" (Our Garden President) and some happy Butterflies celebrate the day!

Being in charge of organizing the garden's set up for the day was stressful right up to the end!  While glad to have done it and with ideas for improving it next year,  I would also be more than glad to hand the reins to someone else next year!

As noted in my post for March I had started a blue and white Bargello quilt for decorating for the Spring season.  That quilt is now basted and while I have tried sketching out designs for quilting it, I haven't settled on one yet:

One other thing we were also waiting on this month was word of the health condition of my MIL's ill sister.  Unfortunately, the day after the garden event we were told she lost her battle with lung cancer so now we are organizing things for a trip back down to North Carolina for her funeral.  

My DH and I will be staying at my MIL's house and although it will not be a long trip (this Thursday until Sunday),  I am also packing for our usual mini quilt retreat.  I had gone down to comfort my MIL when her husband passed away in 2020 and had found that what time we could spend together quilting helped blunt the pain of the grief she was feeling so I want to be ready to do that again.

While I had put together the Bargello quilt, I had ideas for two more blue and white quilts.  One was based on a Fat Quarter bundle I had seen on Etsy while shopping for fabrics for another quilt (and more on that later).

Fat Quarter and Half Yard Bundles available from Neemerone on Etsy

As I have noted in the last two years, my new "go to" easy quilt design is the "9 Fat Quarter Disappearing Nine Patch" that I learned about from a You Tube video.  I have finished two so far:

The Last Dash and Lavender Love

When I saw that the FQ bundle above contained nine fabrics, two of which were Grunge, I knew I had to have it and knew just what design I'd make it up in!  However, I replaced the Grunge pieces it came with and added those to the stash I am trying to build of those fabrics.  

The light blue Grunge in the bundle was replaced with a tone-on-tone fabric that was used in the Bargello quilt.  When I realized that it would work here too, I was fortunately able to find more of it.  The white Grunge was replaced with a light batik from my stash.  So that top is now done too!

The fabric bundle was anchored by four indigo prints from Debbie Maddy's "Yukata" line for MODA.  Debbie's Shibori dyed fabrics are reproduced by MODA for her fabric lines.  Ironically,  I have a label panel of MODA designers and one of the labels happened to be by Debbie Maddy!  So of course, I had to use it for this quilt.  

To do so,  I purchased some yardage of a print from one of her other lines ("Kawa") and used that to make the backing for this quilt.    

This has now been put with the things I plan to take down with me.  I am hoping I might be able to quilt it on my MIL's longarm while there.  

It should be noted that this is actually an alternate project to take along.  Originally my plan was to take my Juki sewing machine down with me and resume the quilting of yet another FQ Disappearing Nine Patch quilt I had started as a gift for one of the Steering Committee members of my garden.  

What's funny is that I hadn't unpacked this machine since I took it with me on our last trip down to my MIL's back in February!  However, as plans for family members to attend the funeral got underway, the plans changed to having us ferry some relatives down with us in our car.  That means we would not have as much cargo space as originally planned.  So I decided that I would nix taking the Juki in favor of taking my Singer Featherweight and the new FQ Disappearing Nine Patch project both of which will take up less space than what I originally had planned to bring.

I am also taking another top that I had made after our trip to my MIL's last Fall for the All Carolinas Shop Hop.  I had expected to long arm it on the trip in February but didn't get to it.  So it and the batting for it are also packed.  

I had also planned to bring a scrappy piecing project:  Bonnie Hunter's "Shoo-Fly Shoo".  However, now that plan has changed too.  Ironically, all the recent blue and white quilt project setups had actually started with finding a blue and white fabric picked up when I had visited my MIL in 2020.

I had picked up this fabric as part of a scrap bag I purchased on our first trip to the Keepsake Quilting/Pineapple Fabrics Outlet which had opened that year.  I had come across the scrap bag in March while cleaning up my quilt space and was surprised to find that this "scrap" piece was actually a little over a yard!  After I had put out the few Blue and White Quilts I had for Spring, I got the idea to see if I could find a design that could utilize this fabric to make up another one.  That is when I found the Bargello design but then realized that I already had other fabrics in house to make it.  However, I still wanted to find a design that could use the "scrap" fabric.

In mid-April, Pat Sloan previewed "Celebrate with Quilts", the new book by Lissa Alexander and Susan Ache in one of her daily videos in anticipation of a Quilt Along.  I thumbed through the book along with her since I had picked it up when the Fat Quarter Shop ran a book sale at the end of last year.  That's when I saw this quilt using the "Baby Bunting" block from the book:

Since one of the Blue and white quilts I have on display is this mini I made back in 2017:

I immediately thought the blue and white "scrap" print would be great made up in the "Bunting" quilt and I'd love having another quilt with a basket design!  A bunch of blue fabric purchases later and yet another blue and white "kit" had been established.

With the adjustment to our travel plans, I figured that if I take the FQ Disappearing Nine Patch quilt, I'd just as soon take the piecing for the "Bunting" quilt along instead of the scrappy project.  So I've prepped the block sets for it.

The book gives instructions for making this block in four sizes and my plans are to make it in the nine inch finished version for the lap quilt size I want to make.  The good news there is that all the pieces for the block could be die cut since I have the 9" Cube set from Accuquilt:

This is the first time I've used it!

Of course I am also taking cross stitch with me for the drive down and back.  I admit with the garden work,  I had been too distracted (and pooped) to concentrate on the "Harriet Tubman" piece I had been working on.  Then I saw a You Tube video where 123Stitch.com announced they were doing a Spring Stitch Along!  Although I have shopped with them, I had not been aware before then that they A) had a You Tube channel or B) hosted Stitch Alongs.  So with the usual nod to "squirrels" and FOMO,  I had to make plans to join in!

What I liked about the design they are using is that it is a Lizzie Kate pattern and that is a designer I have not stitched before.  I also liked that they were going to use a decorative button to complete part of it.  Of course, I then decided to take it to the next level:  my plans were to do less stitching of the motifs in it and use even more decorative buttons to create it.  So I found these on Etsy:

A chance to try a new way of embellishing a CS project.

However, while I will take this with me it is not what I'll be stitching on the way down.  At the time I had set up this project, I thought I had an empty project bag to put it in but couldn't find it.  During the AC Shop Hop in the Fall, I had picked up pieces of an older line of Pat Sloan's fabric.  I had decided that I'd use it to do another popular Cross Stitch thing:  make a project bag out of it!  

Not content to just work with the fabric, I noted there had been a pattern I had seen a while back that I had liked and realized it was the perfect thing to incorporate into the project bag.  Luckily enough when I went to look for it, it was on sale so yet another cross stitch project was born!  

This is also another chance for me to practice stitching on an Evenweave fabric.  I had started doing so for last year's Stitch June and I am hoping that this even easier stitch will get me in gear to resume that project.   Actually it looks like I will be attacking this frog design another way -- I see I already need to do some "rippit, rippit", LOL!!  I am hoping that I can finish it during the trip and can start the 123Stitch SAL project during the ride back.  We'll see!  

April has once again been a whirlwind, let's see if May will calm down a bit for a change of pace!

Monday, April 1, 2024

March Recap: Another Month Has Just Blown By!

As my posts recapping the month of February showed, that was a busy month and March has been no different!  

Garden Activities

This year I am taking on the Event Coordinator duties for my community garden's Season Opening/Earth Day event near the end of April.  I've had to reach out to other community organizations to see if they want to participate.  In addition, our garden is replacing all of our wooden raised beds with new (and longer lasting) metal Vego beds so everyone is expected to chip in and help with demoing the old beds and setting up the new ones.  


So the garden has been front of mind this month and will continue to be so during the next one.  

Quilting

For me, with the season opening event now fast approaching that also means I am now back to crunch time on this raffle quilt project:

However, I am once again not sure I will be able to get this (and its companion!) ready in time for this year's opening day event now that I have the event organizing duties also on my plate.    

What I have finally managed to finish is the top for the scrappy strings project I started while away last month:

"Scrap Vortex" is now in the "flimsie" category.  I already have ideas for how I think I want to quilt it but don't have a backing plan as of yet.  Right now figuring that out will not be a priority so this project will probably sit around for a (long) while before it moves further forward.

However, that doesn't mean there isn't new stuff starting!  Having put out a few Blue and White quilts for the change of season to Spring, I realized I could use a few more.  My stash yielded some starter for not one but two projects.  Some filler for one just arrived at the end of last week but the other is already almost a finished flimsie:

This is another American Patchwork and Quilting magazine freebie:  It is the "Roaring Waves" color variation of the "Quake" quilt that was originally published in the Spring 2016 issue of “Quilts and More” magazine.   It's always interesting to see how different fabrics and colors can work in the same design.  

It is a little wider than it is long so I'll be adding small borders to the top and bottom to bring it square using the fabric sitting at the top of it.  Ironically, I had purchased that for use in the other B&W project I was trying to start up.  I may still include some of it in that one too if I have enough leftover.  Since it turned out to go so well with this, I will also use it for the binding.  I also already have ideas for how I want to quilt this but still have to figure out what I am going to back it with.  

Cross Stitch

At the start of March I had three projects going:

I had finished stitching the "Year of the Dragon" in early February so now needed to work on "fully finishing it".  My plan had been to finish it in a lantern design and I had gone through my Asian fabric stash to pick choices for that.

I've gotten as far as deciding on the final fabric and format of it.

The Dragon print in the picture above will be on the back.

And there are plans a foot to finally try making  my own cording and tassels to add to the finishing.


Because things have gotten busy on the garden and quilt front,  I haven't moved forward on that yet.  

For Black History month in February, I had started on two projects.  One was the cross stitch version of the Fat Quarter Shop's "Stronger Together" campaign from last year:

I finished stitching that in the middle of March and now need to think about how I can frame it for display along with the history information provided.

The other Black history month project I worked on was "Harriet Tubman":

Work on this one is still on going and the great news was that it also counted as a March "Women's History Month" stitch.  I've loved stitching on the 18 count Fiddler's Cloth I chose for this.  As a primarily Aida stitcher, I like the way the stitches sit on the weave of this fabric and feel like it gives it a "closer to linen" look.  I definitely look forward to using this kind of fabric for CS projects again.  

At this point it looks like this will also be my focus CS project for the start of April.  That said, I also have things coming for a new stitch along that starts later that month!  So I have no expectations that April will be any less busy!!