Friday, August 7, 2020

Summer Happenings

There are a couple of people who share their coronavirus diaries with us every day.  They both add drawings to their daily happenings and make beautiful journals.  I really enjoy getting to vicariously join them in their adventures, so I thought I would share some of my "adventures" with you. 

Think of it is a "what I've done on my summer vacation so far." This replaces the photos of the month I usually present.

I bought a planter to take to my brother's funeral. I was too late to order one for delivery, so I ran out to a local nursery, hoping to find one that would be presentable. Much to my surprise, there were so many beautiful ones to pick from, and at wonderful prices. I decided to get one for my mother and sister as well as for my sister-in-law, and I got one for myself too.  My mother and sister kept theirs in their pots where they look wonderful on their respective front porches.  I planted mine in the garden. I really like the contrast between the orange and the purples.

Someone on Freecycle offered some handmade embroidered seat covers. There are about 10 of them.  He said his grandmother made them, and maybe his mother too. Mom and I drove there and got a lot of beautiful works of art.  I have to decide what to do with them now. My mother said she would take what I didn't use. I hadn't heard of seat covers, but Susan Lenz, an artist whose blog I follow,  recently worked with seat covers. Whatever I do with mine will be much simpler.

I haven't planted any food in my garden for a few years. When I am working, I have a hard time tending to the garden, and I feel great guilt in ruining food plants or wasting any of the harvest. I have been planting flowers only, which have the beauty without as much guilt.  This spring, I decided to make an exception during the coronavirus shortage situation. A victory garden of sorts. My brother-in-law planted one tomato plant and two pepper plants for me. As you can see, they are doing quite nicely, and I can't wait to start harvesting them. They are in tall pots so they will be easy to harvest.  I also got some basil after I saw it in his garden.

My neighbor was throwing away her porch coffee table. She was just tired of it, so I took it to put on my porch. I need to do some painting anyway, so it won't be any big deal to scrape and paint this too. There are flaps on both sides to add lots of horizontal space when it is necessary.

My college friend was in town and asked whether I wanted to join her in geocaching. I haven't done it much, but it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors (parks, cemeteries, other public spaces) while social distancing. You use coordinates to find the treasures which are hidden all around the world. Most of them have a log to sign that you found it, and sometimes the container also has little trinkets you can take if you want them. You can also leave other trinkets in there for others to find.  Now with smart phones, you don't even have to buy a separate GPS; you can just use the geocaching app. I've found 12, all of them with her. She has found 14,000. She said there are people who have found many more than she has!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Inspirational Quote Quilt Revisited

In my last post, I revealed a finished pinwheel quilt as my mini of the month of July. Please go back to admire it if you didn't get a chance yet, since finishes are quite rare on my blog.

Since it is finished, I am continuing to work to the Inspirational Quote crazy quilt which was being made concurrently with the pinwheel quilt.

This week, I gave the dog a dog house. He shouldn't have painted the chimney green, because it is hard to see.

It's been a while since I have shown the whole quilt, so I thought you may want to see the whole thing in its current state. Here's the best picture I got today.  When it is finished, I will find someone taller to give you a better picture.

Here are some closer views.  Top third.

Here is the middle. The long paper is a rose pattern that will go there. The short paper beside it and the one on the top right is just signifying that it is a duplicate quote. While I don't mind repeating quotes, I figured that if I found another quote that I wanted on the quilt, I would want to know where I could put it.

Here is the bottom third. At one point, I thought I was pretty close to having balance in the whole thing, but it doesn't feel balanced right now. It might be too early to ask right now, since I still have lots more to add, but what would you put where to make it more balanced?

2020:  Week 31 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

Another timely post!  This week, I quilted and bound the pinwheel quilt and gave the quote quilt a dog house.

The cleanup of the basement continues. I have filled a recycling bin full of paper, glass, and cardboard and have a bunch of stuff for the charity pickup this week.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 161 out of 215 days
Success rate  = 75%

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Friday, July 31, 2020

Quilt Reveal: Pinwheels

I have finished my latest quilt. It is relatively small 12" x 36" so it a mini quilt or a table runner.  It is my mini quilt of the month for the month of July.

The blocks were started in October 2010. While some quilts are delayed because of some problem, this one was delayed because I thoroughly enjoyed making the blocks. Once the components are made, they can be switched around and placed in different ways to form blocks that look very different from each other. I planned on making even more components to find more ways to form these blocks.

In May, I pulled out the blocks again. I decided to finish these blocks off into a quilt and experiment with more blocks at a later date.

The original plan was a 2 x 2 layout, but once I saw that a 1 x 4 layout let each block shine on its own, everything fell in place and it was easy to make the quilt top.

Then some things happened and this quilt top waited for me to finish it.

Sandwiching it was easy, since the backing fabric and the batting were already cut to size.  I haven't used the sewing machines in a while, and I still had post traumatic shock from the last time I used them. I broke needles, and a needle holder, and when I took the one machine to the shop, it got waylaid in the coronavirus store closing, and then I had to pick it up from another town quickly. "Come today because we might shut down tomorrow and then we don't know when you will be able to get your machine back."

The quilting is simple to let the quilt blocks shine, and since the busy border wouldn't show the quilting much anyway.  Straight lines to avoid any trauma.  I was originally planning on quilting horizontal lines on the longer borders, but I was afraid that there might be some puckering where the lines crossed, and I wanted this quilt to be as stress free as possible. Straight vertical lines did mean more turning (since I didn't quilt through the pinwheels), and more rows to quilt, but it is a small quilt so it wasn't a big deal.

I didn't have enough of the backing / border fabric for a separate double fold binding, but I did have enough for a fold over binding. I haven't done that very often, but I did write a tutorial the last time I did it.  Since it wasn't planned, I did have to rip out some parts where I had sewn past the quilt top, but it wasn't very much. Since I quilted all the way to the edge, I trimmed the quilt slightly past the quilt top to avoid cutting the backing and kept the binding wide enough to cover that gap. Since it is the same fabric as the border, it looks great!

Linked with:

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Week 30 Already

There was a sudden change of circumstances for my employer last week. My last day of work this time around last Friday, so I have been out of work this week.  This meant I should have more time for quilting, but I spent my newfound time working in the basement, not 40 hours, but a few minutes a day. I am bringing up one box at a time to process it.

It is starting to look better and I am optimistic that I will be able to go through everything and make it better.  I am not going to give myself a deadline, but just keep working on continual progress.

2020:  Week 30 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

Don't be shocked by my timely post. This week, I decided to turn on the sewing machine. I am quilting the mini quilt I have been thinking about for months. The blocks were started in October 2010, and I was hoping to finish them as a mini of the month for May. The quilting will be simple, and I would love to be able to present it as a mini for July.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 154 out of 208 days
Success rate  = 74%

Linked with:
Kate's Life in Pieces 15 Minutes to Stitch

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

15 Minutes to Stitch

I am a couple of days late with my 15 minutes to stitch recap.  To my credit, it is much better than my lateness in some other weeks. I stitched this dog a few weeks ago.

2020:  Week 29 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

During this week, which was chronologically last week, I stitched the tea cup.

I also thought of ideas for the memorial block.  Right now, I think that instead of making a block with headstones with names on them, I might make a little booklet instead. I really like the idea of a cemetery gate, and a booklet will let me do that without taking up a lot of space. Also people can look into the booklet when they are ready to do so, or just walk by the pretty gate when they aren't ready. There are about a dozen names I want to include (a few of them are out of the 2002-2020 range, but it seems remiss to not include them) so they possibly would need more than one cemetery block if I made headstones on the quilt itself unless I wrote really small.

There were a few births in this time period too, but I haven't counted how many they were. But statistically they were probably about a dozen of those too. I hadn't thought about adding those, but that would also be more fair.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 147 out of 201 days
Success rate  = 73%

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Motif Planning

When I select motifs for the inspirational quote quilt, I look for designs that are simple to stitch. Designs that are calming or whimsical, that potentially bring a smile or a sigh of contentment or peace to the viewer. But since it is made during a long time frame 2002-2020, I considered adding some historical reference. Since I had added the corona-virus block, maybe some references to other things that happened during this time period.

I immediately thought about 9/11, but that happened before 2002.  It was something that probably affected the fabric and the quotes that were chosen, but didn't happen in the 2002-2020 time range. Thinking about the other things that happened in this time range, the biggest thing that popped to mind are the deaths that have happened in the extended family. There have been several uncles and an aunt who have passed away in this time period. The more I thought about more I thought I should add their names to the quilt.

Maybe if I could think of a way to add the information, I could decide whether to do it.  I thought about adding a name of the family members near the each sprig of flowers. Maybe a cemetery block so they could be together and a name doesn't get hidden in all the embroidery. Headstones with names on them. With a cemetery block, people could avoid that one block if they were feeling especially vulnerable.

While I was debating whether I wanted to add these sad reminders in a quilt that was designed to be comforting, there was another death in the family. My brother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the end of June.

I haven't been sewing since then, but I do plan to get back to it soon.

2020:  Week 25-28 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

I didn't realize it had been so long since my last update. I stitched a dog the first week in this time period, but haven't done any stitching since then. I have chosen more designs to add to the quilt though.

15 minute days this week -- 1 out of 28
15 minute days this year -- 140 out of 194 days
Success rate  = 72%

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Additions to the Quote Quilt

It is amazing how much quilting you can get done when you are procrastinating cleaning out the basement!  I had a week of evenings working on the quote quilt while listening to an audiobook while keeping Zeus company as he fretted over fireworks or thunderstorms, depending on the day.

This space was supposed to be filled with a scene but I kept thinking of motifs I wanted to add so it became that instead.

This guy was sitting in the inspiration photo but standing seemed better for the quote so I am leaving his legs like that. Plus I don't feel like drawing the legs.

I keep saying how excited I am about putting the dates of this quilt on the label. I couldn't wait so I went ahead and put the dates on the quilt. The squirrel will subtly help explain the long time period of the quilt's process. Now I really have to get it done this year. I don't think it can wait until 2200!

2020:  Week 24 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

This was cleanup week for the project that didn't happen at work.  The current job is expected to continue for several weeks.

15 minute days this week -- 7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 139 out of 152 days
Success rate  = 91%