Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hunkered Down

As are most folks these days, my family and I are hunkered down, trying to "flatten the curve" and avoid catching the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  I haven't been out of the house since March 11th, so I am on Day 16 of self-isolation.  We are all of us in the "high risk" category, so we're being pretty careful.  The Kid and The Potter have both gone out, but only for essentials, like groceries, taking the mail to the post office drop box, walking the dog and that sort of thing.  And, except for last weekend when we had some beautiful weather, it's too cold and rainy to want to go out much anyway.  

Our lives now aren't really that different from before all this started.  We don't go out much at the best of times.  But I do miss going to the store and I really missed my quilt guild meetings!  The Potter had to cancel a class he was going to give, and a lot of his selling opportunities, like the Spring Fair, have been cancelled.  And of course, we all miss the occasional meal out.

We live about an hour from Seattle, out in the boonies, so we are a little more isolated than the folks in Seattle.  But there are many people who live out here and commute into the greater Seattle area for work.  So, we're not completely out of danger.  Really, I don't think there are many places left in the U.S. that aren't in danger, looking at the news and the maps of the outbreaks!  These are very scary times for all of us!

One would think that with all this time at home I would be in the quilt studio, just sewing away.  But no, that's not the case.  I've been obsessively looking at my smart phone and all the terrible news.  My anxiety has been so high that I can't seem to focus on much of anything else.  So I am working on NOT looking at the news so much (just once a day) since at this point there's nothing happening very quickly, and trying to do some other things.  

How are you doing?  How are you coping with the world being topsy-turvy?

I've been playing the piano, trying to reduce my anxiety.  It works some. It's also frustrating as I'm out of practice, but I know the cure for that!  I also have been messing around in the quilt studio, but not focusing on any one project.  I did get one project sewn into a top, but I can't show you that as it's a secret for now.  I need to make a baby quilt pretty soon and have decided on the pattern, but not the fabrics I need.  So that's probably what's up next.

Very Very Mary
70" x 95"
This is my quilt that I named Very Very Mary, as it's made of lots of Mary Engelbreit fabrics.  There's a story for this quilt, of course.  

I started the quilt at a quilt retreat about 20 years ago.  I had a lot ME's fabrics that I loved, so I decided to make the quilt with the Yellow Brick Road pattern in a twin size.  Well, when I was finished putting it together (minus the borders), I was kind of horrified at how very busy it was!  I was so disappointed that it didn't come out like I had envisioned, that I put it away and forgot about it for about 20 years.  It might not have been that long except for the fact that we moved in that time and I "lost" some of my sewing projects for a few years. 

so busy!
before quilting

after quilting
Then, last year when it was almost time for the quilt show and I had only finished one quilt, I thought that was kind of a poor showing on my part so I decided to take this top out and see if I could finish it in time for the show.  First I added the red inner border.  I was going to do a different, pieced outer border, but decided to keep it simple.  I think the dotted border calmed it down some, as well as coordinating with the Mary E look.  I also found a little 6 inch star that I had done, so I made one more and put them in opposite corners in the border for a little whimsy.

Then it was time to make the back.  Well, I found tons of ME fabric that I still had.  Lots of panels for pillows etc.  So I thought I might as well use up what I could of that and made a busy, scrappy back.  I had the long-armer do an all-over simple pattern, as I thought any quilting just wouldn't show too much with all that pattern!  So, it's really a two-sided quilt!  And I still have too much fabric left!  

the back

back detail
At the quilt show, it was hung so you could see both the front and the back.  It's still a very busy quilt, but it's done!

I've learned an important lesson with this quilt.  I don't really like the whole "everything and the kitchen sink" approach to quilts anymore.  It was fine when I started, and it still works for some scrappy quilts, but I'm happier now with some "breathing room" in my quilts.  If  I were to do this quilt again, I'd definitely do it differently!   Isn't it funny how our tastes change over time? 

Happy quilting and stay safe and healthy!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Better Late Than Never?

I've had the flu for most of the month of February and haven't felt well enough to do any sewing to speak of.  The flu has just sapped me of any energy or ambition, and I'm having a hard time getting back to normal.  I go into my quilt studio and just sit and look at everything I want to do or should be doing.  The Dr. said it takes 2 weeks to recover from 1 week of being sick.  So I should feel better in about 2 months.  I sure hope it's sooner!  There are quilts to sew!

So, since I have so little to share with you, I thought I would share my quilt photos from the retreat I went to last October. This is late, but I thought it would be fun to share the photos anyway.

I went down to the S. F. Bay Area in California, where I used to live, to see my quilting friends who have a retreat 2 times a year.   I went early and got to spend a couple of extra days with my bestie Kate.  We checked into the hotel and set up the sewing machines and iron.  We had a suite and it was such a pleasure, and a great place to sew!  We also ate out and had such good food!  I was starved for some real Chinese food and we ordered so much that we had it for lunches for a few days.  It was heavenly!

I wanted to make the Interlock Quilt by Amy Friend of  It takes a jelly roll, but I was making it for my son.  His favorite color is green, anywhere from olive to lime, and I have lots of green fabrics, so I cut my own jelly roll.  You can see Shade was helping me pick out some of the greens to use.

Cutting my own jelly roll ended up being harder than I thought it would!  After while, the rotary cutter was really hurting my wrist (that I sprained badly a few years ago).  Then I remembered that I have a Martelli cutter that is more ergonomic.  It really saved my wrist to use that! I've switched to using the Martelli cutter full-time now.

Anyway, I got all the blocks made at retreat, but saved them to do the layout at home.  I wanted my son to decide on the layout, since it will be his quilt.  This is where I'm at now:

So, it's all ready to sew together when I feel well enough to do it.  I hope to able to do it soon!

Kate decided that she wanted to make the same pattern.

She used a jelly roll of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  How striking is that blue background?!  It looks so different from my calm, quiet colors!

After we got those quilts sorted, we went to work on the Jelly Strip Stash Buster pattern, a free tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew.  It uses 2 1/2 inch strips, or Jelly Roll leftovers.

I've got the blocks sewn together into a flimsy.  I don't have a photo of them put together, but you get the idea here.  I used strips from my 2 1/2 inch strip drawer.  The unifying element is that each block has a blue strip in it.  I stretched the boundaries of what is "blue" in some of these!  This will be a comfort/charity quilt.

This is a fun, very easy pattern!  You get two blocks for every two strips you use, so it goes pretty quickly.  I'd like to try it in some other color combinations too.

Kate also did this pattern and used a stripe in every one of her blocks.  Isn't this snazzy?  She was making this for her grandson's bunk bed.

This is Berta's quilt that she made while on a cruise.  I loved this pattern!  Sorry, I can't get the picture right side up.

Berta used extra blocks on the back of her quilt for a 2-sided quilt.  If you click on this photo to "biggify" it, you can see the quilting design.  I really like it!  It looks like rain drops in puddles to me.

Jeanne took the same cruise and this is her version of the quilt.  I love the yellow in with all those greys.

And this is the binding on Jeanne's quilt.  I love that little pop of yellow on the edge!  And she had some great low-volumes in there too.

This is a Jelly Roll Race quilt that just really makes me happy.  Love all those black and white prints and the red is such a great accent!

A sweet charity quilt that everyone contributed blocks to.

This quilt is a Nine Patch Swap, tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Co.  Everyone made blocks for this charity quilt also.

I'm going to end with a couple of other quilts, but unfortunately I don't remember who made them.  They're so pretty that I want to include them, even if I can't give credit to the maker.

Redwork embroidered Santas.

I don't know the name of this pattern but its so pretty in those batiks.

I hope I'll get to feeling better very soon.  I have so many projects to work on.  First up are some baby quilts!

Happy Leap Day to everyone tomorrow!  And happy quilting!

Saturday, February 08, 2020

A Bag and A Blogiversary

Having the flu put a crimp in my blog plans!  But it's Day 8 now and I'm pretty sure I'm going to live after all.  So here we go.

I missed my blogiversary because of that darn flu.  It was on Wednesday and it's been 12 years! Hard to believe that I haven't run out of things to say yet!  Thanks for hanging in there with me!

My secret pal finally received her Christmas gift from me, so now I can share it with you!  This was through the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild.  We have a gift exchange at least once a year and I try to participate when I can.  It's so fun!

first bag

Secret Pal requested zip pouches and also Zen Chic fabric is her favorite.  Perfect for me, as I love making zip pouches and I happen to have a good selection of Zen Chic fabric as she is one of my favorite fabric designers also!  I used some mini charms for the piecing on this bag.

I started these two bags while at my sister's house in December.  I got an emergency call from her for help, as she had slipped and fallen on her porch and broken her leg!  She lives about 3 hours away, so the first emergency was over.  But she was having trouble dealing with it all - she lives in a split level house.  So while I spent a week there helping her, I got these bags started.  I didn't use a particular pattern for them, just kind of a mash-up of two or three.  Then got them finished at home in time for guild meeting.  My sister is all healed up now and doing well.

inside of first bag
Secret Pal is a German lady, so I put the Zen Chic fabric that has German writing inside both bags.  I used the black-on-white version in the first bag.

inside of 2nd bag
And I used the white-on-white inside the other bag.  It's harder to see.

second bag
I used hexies on the outside of the second bag.  I used more of the Zen Chic mini charms for them and I used the tutorial by Modern Handcraft.  They were fun to do, and pretty easy.  The hardest part was getting them to stay in place on the bag while I stitched them down.  I started by just quilting over them but that wasn't going super well.  So I went back and stitched around the edges on all of the hexies.  I'm happy with the way they came out!

I even put more hexies on the back of the second bag!  And I included lots of dark chocolate for her to enjoy!

So, Secret Pal was very happy with her gift, which makes me very happy!

We've been having So. Much. Rain. this past week!  There are flooded rivers and places all over.  Not to mention landslides.  Everything is totally saturated.  And everyone is hoping the rain lets up soon.  It just hasn't given us a break!  It's been so dark and grey and depressing, and the rain has been coming down so hard.  I was perfectly happy to not set foot out of the house at all for the past week.  We finally got a few hours of a break this afternoon and now it's supposed to be dry for a few days.  No sun particularly, but at least not End Of The World amounts of rain.  I sure hope we can dry out some now!  

I hope to feel well enough to start sewing soon too!

Happy quilting!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Back In The Saddle, I Hope

Hey Ho!  I will try to do this blogging thing again.  I fell off the "blog/horse" last year and have been having trouble getting back to it again.  Mostly because I really wasn't doing much that was blog-worthy.  At least I felt that way.  So, a new year, a new decade and hopefully I'll be a more successful blogger.

My broken ankle has healed up beautifully.  I'm able to do pretty much whatever I want now.  I am more careful about how I do things now though!

"Positive Vibes"
60" x 80"

I did finish my Plus Quilt in time for the quilt show.  I'm very happy with it.   And it was lots of fun to make.  It was a very easy pattern to do.  The hardest part was deciding how to set the blocks.  LOL
You can see more about the start and the process of this here and here.

Back of the quilt

I had Sue Bradbury of Pretty Threads Quilting quilt it with an all-over pattern and I really like the look of it.  You can really see the quilting design best on the back of the quilt.  I used something from my stash for the back.

I had three leftover blocks (because I can't count, I guess) and I set them in the back.

I love the way the V&Co. Ombre Dot fabrics change color across the quilt.  I set the colors in diagonal rows.

I used one strip of each of the seven colors I used for the binding.  I had just enough!

More photos, just because.  I just love those Ombre dots fabrics! 

And all of my low volume fabrics make me happy too.

I didn't do as much quilting as I would have liked this year.  I was lacking focus, I think.  But I did accomplish some things.  

The start of the 1st scarf

I re-learned how to knit!  I've learned about 6 times now (first time in High School Home Ed), and it never "stuck" for me.  But now that I've forgotten how to crochet, the knitting seems to be working for me.  Hee hee!  Between You Tube and my son who knits, I finally "got" it.  I'm not ready for anything too fancy yet - I tried and it didn't go well!

Finished Scarf!

I have finished one scarf and am now working on another, which is just straight knitting.  I was a little disappointed with my first, because I think the color blocking of the yarn is too large, but it's still warm and cozy. I used a free pattern called Little Checkerboard Scarf from Ravelry.  

 I do enjoy the process of knitting the best.  I wanted to knit to keep my hands busy while I watch TV, but I have to look at what I'm doing!  Hopefully the next scarf will finish a little more "artsy" since I'm using nicer yarn.  

I have more quilts and projects to share with you, but I'll save them for my next blog post.

Meanwhile, Happy Quilting!

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Slow Progress

It's been a slow month around here.  Just hobbling around, trying to heal up the ankle I broke.  I have finally graduated from the cast and crutches to a walking boot.  It's big and clunky, but at least I can get a shower now!  I've had it for 2 weeks now, and another 2 weeks still for sure.  After that, I get re-checked.  I hope it will be healed then!

We had about 12 inches of snow over a 2 week period (which is a tremendous amount for here) and I didn't go outside for quite a while.  I wasn't going out there with crutches and bare-naked toes!  I was very happy to stay in and sew.  My dear hubby did all the cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping.  What a nice vacation for me!  He got grumpy because he didn't have time to go make pottery.  I just smiled.

We moved some of my sewing supplies and my travel machine downstairs so that I could sew.

Real Life is messy

This is "supposed" to be the dining room, but we were using it for a lounge/music room, as my piano is in here too.  But our DS needed some room for his art and writing space, so now that's what the room is.  So he's sharing with me.  I cut fabric and sewed at the table, and then I had the iron and small ironing tray to iron on across the room.  It was quite a process to get to the iron on the Kneelie-Wheelie or the crutches, but I managed it.

I was trying to do some sewing so I didn't go completely nuts with the forced inactivity.  I couldn't sew too long at a time, but I got a surprising amount done in-between elevating my foot!

The first few blocks I made.

And then there were more.

And today when I laid the blocks out on the bed. I now have 41 Plus blocks.  I need to make one more and then I can start putting the blocks together into a top that should be 60 x 70 inches..  That lump in the upper left hand corner of the bed is Shade sleeping under the covers - his favorite day-time sleeping spot. It sure makes laying out the blocks a little challenging.  Hee hee!

I sent my son to Ben Franklin's to find some handwork for me to do.  He brought me some plastic canvas and cotton yarn, and so we both made coasters. The old ones I have are about 20 years old and boring.  I'm sick of looking at them, so this was fun.  I made the 4 on the bottom, DS made the 5 on the top.  I have one more to do, and I'm thinking of what I want to do for the last one.  These are way more fun to use than the old coasters!

Another thing I did was to finally finish the weaving on this little woven bag I started 2 or 3 years ago.  I got disgusted with it and didn't really like what I was doing.  I think I don't care that much for the colors.  This is the side that was the outside on the loom.  You can see all my starts and stops.   

And then I turned it inside out.  It looks better!  I still don't like it much though.  I still need to finish the top edge, but that involves going in the quilt studio and I can't do that yet because we moved a bunch of stuff from the bedroom into the quilt studio so I could get around in the bedroom with the crutches. So now the studio's full of stuff that I can't maneuver this boot around.  Sigh.  I'll get in there eventually.  When I can get around without the boot, I'm going to clean my quilt studio.  It desperately needs it!  And I need to be back in there, sewing!

Happy quilting!

Friday, February 08, 2019

A Finished "Squirrel"!

This post has been a long time coming.  I've actually had this quilt finished since August of last year so it could be in the guild quilt show, but I didn't have time to do a post nor did I have decent photos of the quilt.  Finally the stars have aligned!  I've finally managed to get some decent photos and I have time to post!

"Falling Crumbs"
80 x 95 inches
hanging at the quilt show

First, an explanation for my post title.  You'll see a Squirrel! logo on my left side bar.  Quiltdivajulie at Me and My Quilts blog came up with the idea of a quilt project that you just HAVE to DO! that is just like a dog chasing a squirrel!   I'm a member of the Squirrel Club and that's what this quilt was for me.  A Drop Everything and Do It Right Now project.

You can read about when I started this quilt here.  I got  the top finished really quickly.  And I managed to find 9 yards of fabric in my stash that would work for the back, most of which I used.  It's a not great colors and outdated plaid fabric from a long time ago, but it worked and I didn't have to go buy any fabric.  Yay!  I had it quilted by Sue Bradbury, a local quilter, who did an awesome custom job for me. 

The quilt ended up being a lot bigger than I thought it would be!   Some of that was because I used larger crumb blocks and some of it was because it just needed a border. And that border grew and grew!

And that border used up even more crumb blocks!  The whole quilt just kind of grew on me.  LOL

I decided to go with the turquoise for the border because that color of blue was in the quilt a lot and it has become one of my new favorites, again actually.  And then I couldn't find a binding fabric that really worked, so I decided to use a rainbow fabric.  It just seemed to go with the quilt the best.  I've been saving that fabric a long time and I'm glad I used some of it.  It will go in other projects eventually as well.

I love the design Sue quilted in that corner square!  And I love feathers, so I'm glad she used them all over as well.

It was a lot of fun to make this, and I'd love to make another with this pattern some day.  Maybe using actual charms? LOL

This was the fastest quilt finish I've had in a few years, and it feels good to not have a project linger. 

Here are just a few more shots to show off some of my crumb blocks.  I've used up most of my backlog of crumb blocks now - it must be time to make some more!

We're supposed to be having "Snowmageddon" this weekend here in the Seattle area.  We had 5 or 6 inches of heavy, wet snow last Sunday and Monday, most of which hasn't melted yet due to our below freezing temps this week.  There is a lot of snow still on the trees too.  We could get another 6 inches from this storm.  I hope we don't lose too many trees/branches.  

Taken Monday Feb 4.  
This kind of snowfall is really unusual here in the Pacific Northwest.  So far, we've got about 1 1/2 inches this afternoon and then the snow stopped and hasn't started up again yet.  Update: It's snowing again, heavily!  We are all set with everything we need for a few days and don't need to go out anymore.  As long as we don't lose power, we're all set.  I'm hoping for some good sewing time!

I'm linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation. (a day late!)