Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Playing with Projects and a Flimsy

Well, I finally have a "first finish"!  This quilt top is now a flimsy. This is the Rail Fence pattern from Sujata Shah's book "Cultural Fusion Quilts".

Rail Fence quilt
56 inches square
I started this quilt way back in April of 2016.   You can read about it here.  This project got put on the back burner a few times since 2016, but I finally decided it's time was now and got it put together.  The i-sew-lation is at least good for getting some projects done.  I am very happy to get it to this stage.

one block to show you the fabrics, but each block is different.
It took me quite a while to decide what fabric I wanted to use for this quilt.  I finally decided on the indigo prints (shweshew) from DaGama Fabrics in South Africa because I love indigo and I love blue & white quilts too. I collected these fabrics over a span of time (maybe 10 years?).  I bought a few of them at a time at Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara every year.  I lived about 10 miles from where the Festival is held, so it was a yearly trip with my friends. ( I sure miss going).  The fabrics were fun to collect and to use.

 I used both the 3 Cats and 3 Leopards lines for the indigos and I used 1800's reproduction prints for the whites.  Quite the cultural fusion, eh?  I think I used up most all of my Da Gama fabrics making this.  You can see the logo that is printed on the backs of the fabrics in the pictures below.  There is also some of the fabric print showing, so you can see how different it is.



This one is almost reversible!


I made sure I got these photos because there wasn't any other way to preserve the logo otherwise, since I had to cut the fabric.  And I think it's pretty cool.

in process on the "design floor"
This quilt was a little math challenge for me, as the DaGama fabrics are only 35 inches wide, not 42.  I had to do math and shrink the blocks to 14 inches instead of 16 inches.  But it worked out really well!

There is lots of ways to lay out these blocks, but I didn't even play with them.  I knew this was the layout that appealed to me for these colors.  Maybe another time I'd do a different layout.  I'm so happy to finally have this done!  Now I need to decide if I'm quilting it myself or sending it out to the LA quilter.

This is what 50 pounds of flour looks like!  We were never able to find any flour in the grocery stores, because of the pandemic panic buying and hoarding, so we ended up ordering the flour directly from King Arthur Flour.  My husband has made almost all of the bread we use for the last 2 years, as well as hot dog and hamburger buns, biscuits etc.  Finding yeast was another adventure.  But now we're set for a while! Yay!

I was in the mood for finishing some things after I cleaned up the quilt studio and found a bunch of half-done projects. So, this was some blocks from an exchange I was in.  These blocks are so pastel they don't fit color-wise with the other blocks, so I decided they needed to be a table runner.  The 3 blocks made it just the right size.  I can't tell you how long this was waiting to be put together.  Kinda silly, right? My working theory is that no project is done before it's time - it needs to age properly!  Like a fine wine.

12 inch Urban Chicken blocks

Rather then basting and quilting the baby quilts that I'm supposed to working on, I started working on another project that I had been stalling on.  As in, I had the pattern and some fabric pieces were cut.  But I was inspired when I saw someone's quilt they were working on, and decided no time like the present for working on this.  Maybe it's my quarantine quilt?

Anywho, these are Urban Chicken blocks.  I fell in love with this pattern when the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild used this block for the Block of the Month one time.  Here is the pattern from Cath at Wombat Quilts.  It's a very easy block to make and fun for using up scraps.  Cath shows this quilt done in a couple of different color schemes here and here, and I like them both.  I haven't decided if I'm using a limited color scheme (blues, greens and maybe purple) or if I'm going to go with rainbow colors.  I think rainbow, as I've wanted to do a rainbow quilt for a few years now.  Anyway, these 12 inch blocks are a lot of fun to make.  The chicken "beaks" are done with a wonky improv process and are so easy to do.  So easy that mine aren't being quite as wonky as I'd like them to be!  I have decided that the blue block needed more contrast in it.  It reads all the same color.  Lesson learned, I hope!

When I was trying to photo the blocks, the Quilt Inspector (Shade) came to see if he approved them.

Here he's complaining at me that they're not snuggle-worthy yet.

I think he got over it!  Now he's just being a little grumpy. 

Here is what I call the Washington state flower, as there are millions and trillions of these around here.  Whole pastures just full of them!  

And I found, when I wandered around the yard, that my trilliums are blooming and starting to spread!   The deer don't come through our yard anymore due to a new house and fence in the neighborhood and I miss seeing them but the trillium are happy about that.  The deer were nibbling them down to nothing. Sadly, they're also not eating the ivy that wants to take over everything on one side of our yard. Oh well.  I had never seen trillium before we moved to the Pacific Northwest.

It's been almost 70 days that we've been staying home.  Well, I have. My husband and my son keep going to the store for necessities, and I'm so glad they're going.  They both say that those trips are pretty stressful, even though most everyone is being so careful to do the social distance thing.  I had to take my son to the dentist last week, but it wasn't bad.  They were doing emergency appointments only, so the waiting room was empty.  I had to go get a blood draw yesterday and it was also empty.  And I wear my mask all the time I'm out.  For Mother's Day we all went for a drive.  I was getting antsy and ready to see something else.  So we just drove around in the country and never stopped anywhere.  It was a nice trip, but it was surprising how many people were out at the river!  Because we were having our first heat wave of the year.  

Then DH and I had to go for a drive the other night.  The battery in my car pooped out (after sitting in the driveway for 2 months!) and after 2 days of not starting very well (but still sitting in the driveway), we went for another drive to get it charged up good.  So another nice diversion that was a no-contact trip.  It's helping me to not be too antsy.  I miss going to guild meetings and seeing my friends!  

How are you doing?  Are you going out?  Are you wearing a mask?  I was so glad for the mask yesterday because the cottonwood trees are now spewing their "cotton" everywhere and it really aggravates my allergies.  Having the mask on really helps with the allergies.  Who knew?

That's all the news for now.  I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!
Happy quilting!

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Staying Home and Staying Safe

We have been staying home for 57 days today.  The days are starting to blur together.  I have to look at my smart phone almost every day to find out the day of the week and the date!  And if I wasn't doing a kind-of-bullet journal I wouldn't remember how many days it's been since we started staying home.  I've only been out of the house once, to pick up our completed taxes, last month I think.  The Potter and The Kid have both been out numerous times, mostly for food and other supplies.  I haven't been missing going out too much.  I am an introvert, and frankly, I already have all of my toys right here at home. So, I decided I should quit reading the news and stressing out and worrying and start playing!  That's much better for my mental health!

But first I have to tell you a little story.  Before all the COVID-19 stuff started, I met my neighbor, I'll call her J., one day by the mailboxes.  She is a quilter and is also elderly.  She told me about how she had gotten a quilt back from the long armer but cannot do a binding on her quilt anymore, due to a bad shoulder and having had a stroke.  So I told her I would do the binding for her.  (It's still waiting at the moment)  So when I went in her house to retrieve the quilt, I saw this quilt hanging on the wall.  She gave permission for me to take some pictures and told me the story of the quilt. 

When J. was a little girl, her mother made this quilt for her.  Her mom passed away when J. was only 10, so this is especially dear to her.  I think this was made probably in the late 1930's to the 1940's.

This is a little yo-yo vest that J's mother made for J's little sister.  It looked like it would fit a child about 4 or 5.  Those yo-yos are about 1 1/2  or 2 inches across.  So sweet! 

the mess in my quilt studio
Before I could get started playing with my quilting, I decided I really couldn't deal with the disaster area that my studio had become any longer and started cleaning up the mess some.  I had started last year but got overwhelmed and then sick and quit after doing only part of the room.  Here is some of what I was dealing with.  I was still a little overwhelmed, but I just stuck to it.  It took me quite a few days but I finally ended up with some organization.

I compiled, combined, listed and labeled a lot of projects in these bins.  It's not perfect, as you can see it's partially blocking my armoire which is full of fat quarters.  And directly to the right is the closet where I keep my quilt book library. I've had my design wall there in front of the closet doors, but I couldn't get to the books, or even use the design wall because of all the mess in the floor in front of it.  Sigh.  So I took down the design wall temporarily.  I'm not ready to put it back up yet.

When I could get to the closet door on the left side of the closet, I found all kinds of things I haven't found in years.  And I found a big pile of new kitchen towels!  Score!  I have no idea when I bought those.  Most of those have been washed and put to work in the kitchen.  A few will get some decorative things added to them, eventually.  But I just closed the door on the rest and will deal with it at a later date.

I also got rid of quite a few things that I'm not interested in anymore.  So, progress.  But more work is still needed as I still have more messes to sort and organize.  I have the smallest bedroom in the house for my quilt studio, and it's a constant struggle to keep the "stuff" under control.

So the first thing I wanted to sew turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated.  I want to make a baby quilt for my hairdresser, who is about to have her 2nd baby.  And I happened to find some exchange blocks from an exchange with my friends in California from a few years ago.   And they were almost enough for a baby quilt!  I had originally envisioned a big quilt, but the baby quilt was a better idea as that saved me a bunch of time.  By laying this on the design (living room) floor,  I found I had only 3 blocks to make!  

Ta Da!  Making those extra 3 blocks was fun and easy.  This pattern is called "The Future's So Bright" from the Crazy Mom Quilts blog.  But it's so easy as it's just a block that I call a "belly button" plus double 4-patch blocks.  Everything is made with 4 1/2 inch and 2 1/2 inch squares and strips.  Now to get it basted and quilted.  How to quilt it is always a painful decision for me.  But the baby is almost due, so I've not got too much time to waffle on it.

masks cut out to sew

I made a dozen masks for some of the local nurses, using the pattern that they requested.  I would have liked to do more, but I found I was really struggling with not only the pattern but just with making the masks and I just couldn't do any more.

I have made some masks for me and my family.  The pattern I used and really liked was a tutorial from Beebe's.  It doesn't have the seam up the front and I think it fits better.  Just in case you want to make some masks!  I still have to make some extra masks for us, for when the first ones are in the laundry.  

Oh, and just a note here about masks.  The Kid has mentioned that he wears his mask when he's walking the dog and it's really helping him with the allergies!  Yay for that!

I also found some projects that have been neglected for awhile that I want to work on now.  It's time to get some things finished!  I really want to start a new quilt, but I'm trying to scratch that itch by working on some of my neglected projects.  But I will save something to tell you later.  

Mr. Bunny Long-Legs says to be sure to wear your mask and wash your hands!  We want you to stay safe and healthy!

Happy quilting til next time!