Monday, October 15, 2018

My Stitching Week

My stitching week included some minor dabbling on the Sweet Land of Liberty, Colonial Bricks and Quilty Circle 365, but it was waylaid by a llama and an elephant, or should I say a squirrel project.

15 Minutes to Stitch

My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  240 out of 287 sessions
Success rate: 84%

If I didn't get waylaid by other projects so often, I would have bigger and more quilt finishes by this late in the year, but maybe it wouldn't be as much fun. It is hard to measure progress by the fun factor and easier to measure it by finishes and quilt progress, but looking at the quilts I made this week, let me tell you, I did have a lot of fun quilting this week.

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch
BOMs away

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I Llike You a Llot Llama

We interrupt regularly scheduled programming to bring you a very special Llama. I took a vacation from my vacation. I was running around thinking about all the things I wanted to get done before I went back to work, and decided I was going to take a pure vacation day that didn't entail getting ready to go back to work.

I watched this video.

I looked at my trash can. You know how I have been making circles out of my fabric trash. Well I can make other things besides circles too.  It's strange that the colors washed out in these photos since I did take the quilts outside to photograph them and it is bright outside. (edited to add: I took new pictures which are slightly better and replaced some of the old ones.]

The fabric scraps were mostly used as is, straight out of the fabric trash can, although I did have to make some skinnier. I didn't make sure they were all the same size.  I used double-side fusible web (Steam a Seam2) instead of liquid glue to  hold down the fabric scraps, and used a stick glue to help hold down the pieces that overlapped.

Then I cut out the shapes and fused them to the background.

Then I stitched the strips down. For this quilt, I used the wavy line stitch on my machine to avoid having to change feet. Then I added decorative stitches.

I birthed the quilt and then I stitched around the shapes with dark thread and added the words and ribbon. It was a lot of fun.

Those of you who know me are probably wondering why I used a llama instead of an elephant. "Don't you know you can use any shape with this technique?"

Way ahead of you. In fact, I finished the elephant before the llama, only because I had to piece the batting for the llama. I used scraps for everything - including the design, the background, the backing, and the batting. The size of the pieces were dictated by the size of the scraps.

The thread was new. This technique takes several feet changes, but by the time I got to the llama, I became more economical.

The circle was surprisingly in the right place to be an eye.

The border ribbon is made out of jute and polyester. I thought it worked well with the elephant.

Both of these were a lot of fun to make.

Linked to:
Off the Wall Friday 
Friday Foto Fun 
Oh Scrap! 
Moving It Forward Monday - these quilts were a brief respite from making the Sweet Land of Liberty and the Colonial Bricks quilts.
Monday Making

Monday, October 8, 2018

Weekly Recap of 15 Minutes to Stitch

This is my weekly recap.

The sun was shining today so I thought I should take a group picture of Sweet Land of Liberty blocks while I could. I forgot the map is on the sewing machine for the applique to be sewn down so it didn't get to participate. I finally got the smart idea to make the houses improv instead of trying to copy the measurements of the Cheri's blocks.  These houses will now be fun to make. I will make more houses and fewer stars.

I kept working on sewing circles together and have almost finished sewing two rows of circles together. (They had to be done together because of the big blocks). I put them under the previous rows to make sure nothing stood out at me. I don't know if you remember, but there were a couple of rows that needed a coping strip because the rows did not match up.  I don't think I should have done that, because now those rows don't match up with the new rows.  Coincidentally the gap is about the size of the coping strip.

One of my rules for this quilt apparently is that I want to avoid ripping out seams.  (It was a rule I didn't know I had but came up when I decided I had to rip the row.)  I now have to decide whether ripping out the seam would be a good rule to break for the rule breaking rule, or whether I can adjust the rest of the borders and make it a non-rectangular quilt, or at least a nonrectangular border. I'm also tempted to add the new rows to the top instead of the bottom of the quilt. I'll decide later.

The picture is from April 24, 2017. The coping strip is the blue on the left side. Once I figure out what to do, I will have four rows I can add to the quilt.

15 Minutes to Stitch

I didn't work on the bricks quilt this week, although I am close to making a top so I should.  My focus has been on Sweet Land of Liberty and the circles as I explained already.

My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  233 out of 280 sessions
Success rate: 83%

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

I've started to add more posts to my High Road Reader blog if you care to take a look.  I review books, and have started showing pictures of my library shelf.

Friday, October 5, 2018

More Sweet Land of Liberty blocks

Another couple of blocks are made for Sweet Land of Liberty.  This one isn't one of the better blocks, but hopefully it will add to the primitive feel of the piece. I didn't position the birds close enough to hold the heart and they are pretty far from the banner so I might leave them the way they are without adding their legs. I know the pattern has long legs but these legs will be even longer. Maybe I can add a branch that can hold the banner.

Some applique and embroidery are left to be done. I hate putting pins on faces, but I gotta do what I gotta do.

I've also been sewing together some Circle 365 blocks to make a couple of rows. I'll show them to you when I am finished.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Rogue Sweet Land of Liberty Block

I've made another block for Sweet Land of Liberty. You may not recognize it in the original pattern or the quilts others have made because it is a rogue block that comes from another pattern. I want to make mine wider, and am not sure if I will make mine shorter, so I figured rogue blocks would fit right in. Or it could replace another block I don't feel like making in the future. It may make it harder for me to figure out how the blocks work together, but there is enough background fabric to fill a big space, and sashing or bordering the block is always an option if it needs to be even bigger.

I really like this block, since I have been wanting to make a map quilt like this for a while. Even though the purpose of making this block for this quilt is to get it out of my system and my to-do list, I'm now debating whether I should make another one for my small quilt collection.

The directions require fusible applique and since I am all about following the rules, I made this one fusible. I still need to sew it down.  But the bonus we got out of this block is that fusible applique is now on the table for future blocks.

There's some good news here.  The flag bird is back.  I was hoping to find it on the ironing board all nice and flat, but nope, it was with scraps of fabric.  There has been more whispering, because the bird did not return with the star.  There is a betting pool for whether it has been a big break up, the star ran off with someone else, or if the star was disappeared. 

P.S. The Orphan Block box is where the circles are stored.  During some reorganization a few years ago, the orphan blocks were kicked out of the box. Don't worry, I'm sure they were moved to a nicer home.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

More Circles 365

Here are a few more circles I made for my circle 365 project.

Circle Block 251

 I've probably made a sun like this before, but this fabric really wanted to be made into a sun.

Circle Block 252

I know I've  made a face before, but that fabric looked likes eyes to me, and my other face needed a friend or soul mate.

Circle Block 253

These are just scraps thrown together on a background. They didn't say anything to me, but the background did say "ouch" when it was pulled too hard by the machine.

Circle Block 254

A pretty lacy fabric. I sewed it on a background circle and then put the circle on the background with a decorative stitch. I also decorative stitched on the lace itself to make sure it wouldn't snag too much on anything.

Circle Block 255

This one is an attempt to copy a design I have on a blouse. The blouse is made in India but says dashiki which is an African design, so I don't know if the motif is Indian or African.

Circle Block 256

Leftovers from Sweet Land of Liberty.  I copied a circle I saw somewhere, but it had a white inner circle and didn't have a dark background, so pretty much the only thing I copied was using a stripe for a circle and putting something on top of it to make an O. I don't know if it will be in this orientation or rotated in the final quilt.

15 Minutes to Stitch

I am late posting my progress for last week, as usual but I definitely sewed all seven days working on the bricks quilt and the Liberty quilt and the circles quilt. It looks like I missed a week of progress report, but I know I've been diligently quilting every day, usually more than 15 minutes, so I am going to go ahead and give myself full credit for the missing week.  My work is going to start getting busy again soon, and I want to finish the year above 80%.

My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  226 out of 273 sessions
Success rate: 83%

Linked to:
Week 39 Stitching Report

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sweet Land of Liberty Progress

I am very late in starting this quilt, which is a quilt-along with Lori Humble Quilts. She broke out the pattern into months, and I started on the last month so I could at least keep up with the group for the month. They are in their last month and I am in the first.

I have made almost all of the last month's blocks and a couple of other blocks. I just put them on the table - this is not the final layout.

The flag bird appliqued leaves has run off with the star from the moose bird on star vase. It may be a scandal, but I do know that fabric morals are different from people morals, so I'm not sure what to make of it.  I didn't want to mention it, but I did notice that circle block 248 had some fabric from the Sweet Land of Liberty as well as the Colonial Bricks quilt, both of which are just babes and hardly old enough to be having offspring, so it does seem suspicious.  I think that is normal and not only acceptable, but actually encouraged here on the High Road, so I don't know if blocks and block pieces running off together are all right, as long as they return on a timely basis.

Do you know what the name of this style of quilt is? I would love to know what to call this type of quilt. A Life of Plenty is similar - with folk art blocks, pieced and applique, a collage of sorts, but I imagine it has a name.

Circle Block 249

This one is a well behaved block, as far as I can tell.  The star fabric did look more blue at night and looks more purple during the day, but with the other scandals going on around here, we will let this go.

Circle Block 250

This one looks innocent, using fabric from Sweet Land of Liberty, but that cream triangle is from A Life of Plenty.

Linked with:
Humble Quilts

Friday, September 28, 2018

Storm Damage

Our electricity was out a couple of days ago.  This happens from time to time so I figured it was a squirrel that got to a wire or some such issue, and the electricity would be back soon.  I managed to get ready and have breakfast without electricity without issue. 

Zeus and I walked around the neighborhood and everything seemed normal.  I checked in with the electric company with my cell phone and it looked like a huge area of my side of town, as well as several other areas in the city were without electricity.

I then got a text to walk further north.  Wow.  Normally, my wandering camera post would have shown summer flowers, but all of my photos for this month were taken a couple of days ago.

At six o'clock in the morning, a big burst of wind went down this neighborhood, knocking down branches and even huge trees. These trees fell on cars, houses, and power lines. There were several blocks that were affected.

House after house had signs of damage. This big tree went across both yards.  There were many trucks in the area cleaning up debris and cutting down the broken branches.  As you can see, a lot of the branches on this tree has already been trimmed.

Here you can see yards and sidewalks filled with branches, and in the back rows of trucks of the people helping with the storm damage.

The storm lasted just a few minutes, maybe five or ten minutes That's a lot of damage in such a short amount of time.

This tree is covering the driveway.

Here's a closeup of the sign by the driveway. I'm pretty sure that is not what they meant by that sign.

Here you can see some downed lines on both sides of the street.

Since I was not prepared for this photo opportunity, my camera ran out of battery. This was the last photo. In front you see a memorial for a child who died at this intersection a few years ago. The memorial is refreshed from time to time.  Behind that is a city truck and behind that is the big power line that was downed and probably the cause of the outage.  Even though this is a main busy street, I'm really surprised they kept this street open for cars to drive on.

When I got back, the power was up, which is amazingly quick due to the amount of damage. The National Weather Service has declared this event to be a tornado.

Linked to:
Wandering Camera

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Throwback Tuesday: Lansing Leaves

Jumping on the bandwagon after everyone has abandoned it, I decided to show you an old post from my many years of blogging.  I chose a random year and a random month. I only wrote one post that month, so it was easy to choose the specific post, July 19, 2014.  In this post, I explained how I made a quilt top while living out of a hotel room for a month. You can read it here, Lansing Leaves Quilt.

Since that post, I added another round of leaves as a border.  I also sewed alternating flying geese for the borders. I wasn't sure if the border fabric matched the center very well and probably had some issue with the size of the rows. You can read the whole story by reading all the Lansing Leaves posts here.

While it is tempting to finish it - either as is, or with the alternating flying geese border, but for now, I am going to keep going with my current quilt, Colonial Cotton Bricks, and at least get the top finished.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Who's The Leader?

I am working on teaching my quilts some to have some self-control and patience.  They have to wait their turn as I randomly throw bits and pieces of several different quilts into the sewing machine to see what turns up.

I've been diligently working on the Sweet Land of Liberty blocks. I am very late in starting this quilt, and would at least like to be timely in getting one month's blocks done in a month. I showed you the two applique blocks already.

This is the next applique block. If it doesn't look like oak leaves to you, what can I say?  I did my best.

This is not the right size, as it should be a square, but I figure I will add or subtract fabric as needed when joining with the rest.

Circle Block 247

This block showed up while I was sewing.  The red fabric is from the new fat quarter pack. I used it to make the churn dash for the applique block.

Circle Block 248

This one started with leftovers from the Colonial Bricks quilt.

I am also making the Colonial Bricks quilt.

Each of the quilts have been patiently taking turns as I decide which piece gets done next.  I choose the order in which the pieces get put into the machine.  It may be a mad frenzy to avoid starting any new quilts.

I am the leader here.

 Either that, or the squirrels are taking over my brain and my head is about to burst soon.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Quilt Festival Fall 2018

It's time for a virtual Blogger's Quilt Festival organized by Amy Ellis from Amy's Creative Side.

To participate, you get to show off one or two of your favorite quilts!  Today, I thank you for visiting, and share with you a quilt I finished early in the year, Adinkra.   It is one of favorite quilts for many reasons.

It started out very slowly, one block a month in 2016. This really helped me during the times of the year I was incredibly busy, as it was easy to make a block (fusible, machine stitched) there was no guilt for not finishing a whole quilt. One block was a finish. The slow pace slowed me down on this quilt, and I took my time making each decision on this quilt without rushing through and accepting the first choice.

I changed the size of the applique blocks, and made a mistake in sizing the economy blocks so I lost the sharp points on the yellow, but that made the quilt turn out even better. I didn't have to fix my "mistake" and I really like how the same yellow fabric in these blocks looks like it is a different color. That open area in the intersections work to prove that it is the same fabric.

I was able to use my precious African fabrics that were waiting for just the right quilt to use. Each of the fabrics worked so nicely together too.

The quilting on the quilt was so incredibly fun. I learned about doodle quilting, and I did exactly that. Instead of making a plan for each area, I just doodled different designs as it came to me.  The thread hides most of the stitching until you take a closer look.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this quilt, and everything tended to work out on this quilt. As you can see in the picture above, even the join I had to make in the border worked well. The top of the head seamed nicely with the body on the next piece.

Even the binding went on well, with four sharp miters in the corners that look beautifully mitered.

All the pictures, and the rest of this post are from when I introduced it in February. Unfortunately, I haven't made a label for the quilt yet.

Quilt stats:

size:  44" x 44".

pattern: 2016 BOM by Debby Kravotil. Thank you so much Debby!

fabric: variety of African fabrics, most of which are metallic

quilting: free motion echo stitching around motifs, doodle stitching throughout border and remaining blocks

what I learned:
  • Expanding the definition of what "matches". This quilt has lots of combinations I wouldn't have thought to use together, but my limited selection of fabrics made me stretch, and I think the result is fabulous.

  • I really enjoy combining applique with piecing. The applique and the quilting were my favorite parts.

  • When I first learned about free motion quilting, I thought it looked like doodling on fabric, but then I learned rules about not crossing lines, and saw lots of videos about proper quilting designs, and breaking the quilt into sections and choosing a different design for each section and lost the fact that I could truly doodle.  I truly doodled on this quilt and it was exhilarating!

I plan to make up a label that explains all the symbols on the quilt.

Linked with:
Friday Photo Fun

Weekly Update

 It's time for my weekly update for my stitching 15 minutes a day. I am happy to report that I spent more than 15 minutes a day every day this week.  I worked on the applique blocks for the Sweet Land of Liberty quiltalong at the beginning of the week. Then knowing that Moda had a Jelly Roll Day on Saturday, I worked on stitching the 2 1/2" strips I bought.  I'm not sure if it is a Jelly Roll (made by Moda) or some other name from some other manufacturer, and I am not honoring a holiday just for one company, as I am hardly ever brand loyal, but I figured it was as good a motivation as any to work on the Colonial bricks quilt.

I really admire people who say "Here's the quilt I made today", since I've been working on the bricks quilt all week, and even though I've made substantial progress, it is nothing like a whole quilt top.  This quilt reminds me of the rail fence quilt I made, as they are both simple and made up of rectangles.  The rail fence quilt is a generous lap quilt and I really like the size, and even though I was planning on making this Bricks quilt small enough to be a baby/toddler quilt, I've decided I want to make it bigger. The fabric in this collection is already looking like a scrap quilt, since some of them don't really match each other without the intermediary fabric, so it won't ruin the mood/style by adding others to the mix.

Stash Update

I hardly ever provide an update for my stash since I don't buy new fabric on a regular basis anymore. I have avoided going to stores that will provide too much temptation. But I did manage to open an email about a clearance sale and bought some backing fabric and the "jelly roll" I am using for the Bricks quilt, and then I won two fabric prizes, so my stash has been thoroughly enhanced this week. I'm sure my neighbors must be thinking I won the lottery, getting packages every day.

Linked to: 15 Minutes to Stitch 
WIPs on Wednesday 
Off the Wall Friday 

Edited to add the stats!

15 Minutes to Stitch

I am late posting my progress for last week, but I definitely sewed all seven days working on the bricks quilt and the Liberty quilt I mentioned in my last post. My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  212 out of 259 sessions
Success rate: 82%

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Scrappy Prize Winner!

I am working on piecing the backing for the Stars Wars quilt, so the top looks like the last time I showed it to you.

I finished my Angel block (for Sweet Land of Liberty) I showed you a couple of posts back. Despite the fact that our angel is hovering under the Death Star, she is clearly holding a flag and not a hatchet. I used the embroidery floss I won from Okan Arts.

Speaking of winning, my luck is running over!  I won a big bunch of scraps from Silly Mama Quilts. Thank you so much, Brooke!  So many beautiful scraps.  There is no debate about how to use these scraps. They simply get picked up and absorbed into current projects.

The next block for Sweet Land of Liberty needed a star applique.  There was no way I was going to actually applique a star this tiny, and was considering embroidering a star, but the scraps said "you wanted a star?" and all of a sudden my angel had a star almost as soon as I opened the package. The blue background was also in the package and perfect for that spot and the sashing for the block.

By the way, I saw that in the past people sometimes used cross-stitch or a running stitch to hold down the applique. I decided for this casual quilt that I don't have to hide my stitches. I am using the same color thread for the applique throughout the quilt. This is a necessary decision that makes it easier to make this quilt in the winter when it is so dark much of the day.

Here's the angel with the star.  I made her neck too long and thought I would give a v-neck to the dress to help shorten the neck.  I made a mistake with the neck in that I made it so low that it didn't shorten the neck, just gave a v-neck, so I had to rip it out and move it up, but now it looked strange since it didn't fit with the shoulders.

I considered removing the v-neck and let her just have a long neck, but I'd already ripped it out once and it seemed like a lot of waste of time. Then I got an email about a ribbon for 9-11, and decided I could add a ribbon around her neck. One of the neat things about making a quilt like this is that it is subject to change from the whims of the day.  I've now added a ribbon to this quilt and don't have to start another project.

It may look like a scarf and not a ribbon, but I think it fits better with the neck.

  Circle Block 246


The other good thing about making an applique quilt and with winning the scraps is that I have an association with making circles with scraps.  The last time I made any circles for my Quilty 365 circles was in February, and here's yet another one. I need to cut out some background squares so that more circles can be easily made when the mood strikes.

Linked to:
Slow Sunday Stitching 
ScrapHappy Saturday 
UFO Busting - the completion date of the circle quilt has definitely expired
Show Off Saturday