Sunday, June 26, 2022

Jazzy Blues Blocks

 


I've been cutting, sewing, pressing, counting, cutting, sewing and pressing the last three weeks even though I haven't been posting. I am close to being done with three months worth of blocks in the Aunt Daisy quiltalong. The most time-consuming are the double flying geese, and I just have a few more to make. I don't have enough fabric to make four at a time, but I do have enough to make one at a time ones, and I only need two or three. I have enough quarter square blocks. I haven't counted the four patch, but I cut the number of strips I was told to cut, and sewed them all up, so there may be some extras. The next batch will be HSTs so they will go pretty quickly.

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 22, 25, 26

 

15 minute days these three weeks --21 out of 21
15 minute days this year -- 136 out of 177 days
Success rate  = 77%
 

These three weeks helped increase the rate and hopefully I will be able to increase it even more this summer.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Park of Roses

 
I took some weekend time off from work and went to the Park of Roses with my family. It was a lovely day and many roses were in full bloom. These tiny roses made a very nice hedge.

These Flower Girl roses were bundled quite nicely for a wedding.


This is a Dawn Redwood. It is the tree I chose with just a picture of a young tree and a couple of reviews. It has really soft leaves. This is a really old tree. I don't think my backyard tree will get this big in my lifetime.




 

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 23


 
I made time to work with fabric this week. Since I only had little bits of time, I simply continued with the trimming of the flying geese I did before the lull. All the geese have been trimmed now and I did sew a few into pairs. We won't mention that the flying geese were the month one block, and we are now several months into the blocks. I am not worried about it. I knew when I chose to join this BOM that I would not be able to keep up, and chose to make a big quilt anyway because I think that is the best way to showcase this block combination.

15 minute days these three weeks --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 115 out of 156 days
Success rate  = 74%
 

During the lull, I bought some fabric. I didn't have the same number of pieces of fabric as there are blocks in the quilt. Although I know that I can use the leftover fabric for the remaining blocks, I really wanted to make sure I had the flexibility of using a separate fabric for the remaining blocks, so I found some on sale. It was a big relief. I know that the quilt will be fine with whatever solution I worked out, but having extra fabric gave me extra options of making this big quilt the best I could make.

I also some backing fabric for the Sunshine in Winter quilt and a few extra pieces because they were on sale.

Unfortunately, the package never made it. I got an email that it was delivered, but when I went out to look for it, it was not there. I don't know if the post office didn't deliver it or if a porch pirate got to it first, but several of my neighbors were out and nobody saw a delivery or a porch pirate. Since they were sale fabrics, they were out of stock when I tried to repurchase them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Weeks 20, 21, and 22

 


2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Weeks 20, 21, and 22

 
I haven't found time for quilting the last few weeks, so here is another sorry report. I just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten you. We still have lots of available overtime and lots of work that makes us feel obligated to do the overtime. There is more yard work.

15 minute days these three weeks --0 out of 21
15 minute days this year -- 108 out of 149 days
Success rate  = 72%
 

I think this is a record low since I joined the challenge, and things do not look very promising for the next month, but I am getting better at balancing my time so there will be some positive numbers for this coming weekend. The Memorial Day holiday helped. There was a graduation and a memorial day picnic. We planted a tree in my back yard and put Zeus' ashes underneath it. I planted a few vegetables, and added watering them to my calendar to give me a better chance of having a good harvest this year.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Quilt Reveal: Be YOUnique

 This quilt was inspired by a quilt I saw in Quilts for Kids Nepal. It isn't affiliated with the U.S. version of Quilts for Kids. I wanted to make a folk art peacock quilt.

 

I won't show you that first progress picture, because you have seen it twice already. I started with a background that feels Indian to me, and I added a green strip to add some interest in the background. I love that they both echo the shapes even though the mood of each fabric is very different from each other. 

The original quilt had piecing in the border. While I liked the idea of adding piecing to my quilt, I wanted to do something that would get me to a finish faster, knowing that I have only small bits of time to quilt this month. I am also working on a full size quilt which should remain my main quilting work.

 

I cut out the peacock freely with scissors. I noticed that the thick legs looked like the chicken or duck that I had seen in a folk art quilt and decided to let them remain thick. It would be easier to sew it down and it retains the folk art aspect of the quilt..

I cut yardage to cut out the triangles for the tail, to avoid going through the rabbit trail that is the scrap fabric boxes. Plus, I am trying to use the good stuff.

I added some applique around the peacock because I can't keep things simple. 


I echo quilted it. I knew that I wanted to add some bling to the quilt, but decided to bind it first to keep the bling from getting in the way. I have bling so I have to use it.



 It was scary to do since the quilt looked fine as it was, especially since it had a binding, but I like the crown. I put sequins on the wing and there are some on the tail feathers too. When I was looking for quotes for a peacock, the only thing that I saw was about being unique.The sequins on the tail certainly make it unique.


2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 18 and 19


 
I haven't found time for quilting the last couple of weeks. We have been offered overtime. Normally they say unlimited, and this year there is much more work to do, but this year, we have to ask for each little bit at a time.

15 minute days these two week --0 out of 14
15 minute days this year -- 108 out of 128 days
Success rate  = 84%
 

I have a silver dollars plant that decided to have purple flowers this year. They are normally white. So pretty.





Tuesday, April 26, 2022

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 17

 

 Work has been really busy and I have only managed to eek out small amounts of time to make my mini quilt of the month. It is truly taking a month to make it.

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 17




I know you have seen this photo before while you wait for a big reveal.  I have been enjoying making this peacock mini quilt, so like last week, I didn't have any trouble finding tiny bits of time to sew every day to work on it. Last week, I added some applique in the background. During week 17, I chose to add some bling to add to it, and quilted the piece.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 108 out of 114 days
Success rate  = 95%

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15 Minutes to Stitch

Sunday, April 17, 2022

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 16

 

Happy Easter!
 

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 16




I have been enjoying making this peacock mini quilt, so I didn't have any trouble finding time to sew every day to work on it. This photo is of its early stage, so that the reveal will have a bigger impact.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 101 out of 107 days
Success rate  = 94%

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15 Minutes to Stitch

 

 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 14 and 15

 

I have been making an effort to make sure that I spend time quilting and doing things that are calming to me the last two weeks. This means I have been putting more stitches to make the double flying geese and trimming them down to size. I will count them after I have them trimmed to see if I need to make any more.



2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Weeks 14 and 15


I also sewed and trimmed more of the quarter square triangles. I do not like trimming and usually cut pieces exactly so trimming is not necessary, but since this quilt has a lot of sharp points and I make a lot of improv quilts, I decided to follow the instructions to cut big and trim. The blocks do look much neater this way.

15 minute days this week --14 out of 14
15 minute days this year -- 94 out of 100 days
Success rate  = 94%

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15 Minutes to Stitch

 I added this list to show the status for the end of the first quarter. Even though there weren't any changes from the last time I showed it, it was good for me to keep in mind. I started a mini today so it is no longer current.

 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Rest in Peace, Zeus


 Zeus passed away on Monday.


 
He joined us in January of 2011 and completely changed our lives. Taking care of him was a big learning curve for me because I did my best to stay away from dogs before I got him.

His main job was to make sure I got exercise every day, but he took on a lot of other responsibilities as well. He kept me company after my daughter went to school and out in the world on her own. He ate the crusts from my toast. He took a control of my schedule, making sure I woke up on time, ate on time, slept on time. He also made sure that I took breaks from work. 

He was very eager to please but he had his ideas about what he wanted. He liked waking up early, especially when I stayed up late. He regularly changed his communication with me. Sometimes he would just sit beside me when he wanted something, other times he would whine, other times he would pant impatiently, so I did not learn what each communication meant. It took me a while to figure out what he wanted. He also had a certain order he wanted things. Feed him before letting him out. He wanted to go out but only if the neighbor dogs went inside. He wanted to go out but only if I walked with him.

 

About two years ago, he was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. DM is a spinal condition that impacts a dog’s ability to walk and stand independently, He lost feeling in his back legs and struggled to walk. He was very independent and found solutions for each new issue he had. He had arthritis so he was in a lot of pain even from walking a few steps.


Rest in peace, my dear Zeus. Thank you for the last 10 years. I love you. I miss you. I will never forget you.

Monday, March 28, 2022

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 13




 

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 13

 
I had another successful week of sewing, making sure I take the time away from work and chores to get some quilting done. I spent two fifteen minute breaks from working at home to rip out small portions of seams from the pieced border of the Olympics quilt to close up the chain. This is black thread on black fabric so I am glad it is a small portion. I thought I would just have to chop it straight and add a black rectangle, but I will have to add triangles. This is still a small manageable fix and not a big deal at all.  
 
 
For the rest of the time, since it is close to the end of the month, I wanted to make sure I made more progress on the Jazzy Blues quilt so I added the last row of stitching on the flying geese and now I have to cut off the dog ears and make double flying geese. I also sewed the first set of stitching for the quarter square triangles. Right now, they are half square triangles.


15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 80 out of 86 days
Success rate  = 93%

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15 Minutes to Stitch

 

 

 

There is a great auction happening this weekend. Full of Americana including furniture, pottery, paintings and many gorgeous quilts. I had to keep reminding myself that I am a quilt maker and not a collector. That I have been working the last five years to reduce the amount of things I have in my house. That I am still trying to find a good space to hold the quilts that I do have. The online minimum bids told me that these things would likely be sold outside of my price range. I avoided going to the auction because I would not be able to resist temptation if I went.


So instead I headed to the thrift store. I shouldn't have bought this either, but it seems like something that would have sold at the auction for much more, and at $2.99 it seemed like a crime not to take it home. They priced it as a frame and not as art. Besides the historical significance,the amount of time it took to make this and the cost of framing it is worth way more than that. 

It is disappointing that a professionally framer work used masking tape.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Happy Spring

 

 
I was looking for a flower quilt to celebrate the first day of Spring, and came across this Thirties Boro tree quilt which will work with all the floral fabric in it.  I made it in August 2020 completely by hand.

 

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 12

After a couple of weeks where I did not quilt every day, I decided to make a more concerted effort to get to the sewing machine. I continued quilting the Olympics Twist quilt. I quilted the outside edge of the twist blocks and, sewed down the other side of the inner black border. It looks pretty much the same as it did before, but now it is more secure for washing. I still need to quilt the two outer borders before I can trim and bind, but it feels like significant progress.


15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 73 out of 79 days
Success rate  = 92%

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Sunday, March 13, 2022

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 11

 

I took the coloring chart for the Aunt Daisy quilt and added colored in the blocks, using a different color for each kind of block. As you know, my version, Jazzy Blues, is made with blues. The program I was using does not have a lot of choices for colors, so instead of different shades of blue, I just added different colors that might be the same value. Then I tiled it so I could see what it would look in the quilt. The different colors just exaggerate the effects the fabric will make on the quilt.

In my last post, I was worried that using dark colors for the flying geese and the hourglass blocks, I would create dark vertical and horizontal lines. As you can see in this picture, yes it does do that, but it doesn't take away the circular design, so I will just continue to use a different fabric for each block and hope for the best. The other thing I learned about this I can add yellow if I run out of blue fabric, and maybe even if I don't.


So many possibilities. I colored these pretty quickly as you can tell and didn't check the original pattern so I think some of lights / darks are reversed.



 

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 11

I didn't get a lot of sewing time this week, but I did manage to add some colors to the color chart as you can see above. I also sewed the inner border for the Olympics quilt on. There is still a lot of quilting left to do.



15 minute days this week --4 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 66 out of 72 days
Success rate  = 92%

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Monday, March 7, 2022

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 10

 


2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 10

The second block of the Aunt Daisy sewalong has been released, so I spent my week trying to finish the blocks for the first block. My quilt is called Jazzy Blues. There are a lot of flying geese blocks to make. Since the machine is set up for quilting, I sewed and cut these blocks as I was supposed to, but still have more sewing and pressing to finish them up. I also cut the fabrics for the second block. There are much fewer hourglass blocks. I  am now rethinking my fabric choice. My original plan was to let serendipity decide how the quilt will look, but now I wonder if I need to bring out the coloring sheet and test out the colors first .

15 minute days this week --3 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 61 out of 65 days
Success rate  = 94%

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 I have skipped the last two Project Quilting challenges since I have been trying to work on my current big projects, the Olympics Quilt and Jazzy Blues. I won this pincushion kit from Go-Go Kim.The buttons are upside down in this picture so you can't see how cute they are.  I look forward to making it, since cathedral windows is on my mental list of quilts to make and this will give me a chance to learn the technique. Thank you Go-Go Kim!

Sunday, February 27, 2022

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 9

 


2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 9

I spent my week working on the Olympics Twist quilt. The quilting for the body of the quilt is pretty much done. I just have to do the half snowball blocks. I will just be stitching in the ditch like I did the full snowball blocks.

 
I pressed and cut the fabric for the new inner border, and have started to sew it down, raw edge. Instead of straight stitch, I am using a different stitch my machine can make. This is a little scary because I broke a machine while using an applique stitch to quilt, but this is a better machine and I have a flat bed so hopefully all will be well.

 
This is taking some time, because I have to clean off the lint first. The black really shows the lint from the batting.


15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 58 out of 58 days
Success rate  = 100%

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15 Minutes to Stitch

 


 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Problem Solving the Olympics Quilt

 

 
Now that I have been working on quilting this quilt, I like it better now. I want to apologize to it. I think the sandwiched quilt is the ugliest stage, and I left this quilt in its ugliest stage for 20 years. I can see beyond the ugly stage now and see its potential.
 
I have a conundrum about the border for my Olympics quilt. When I pieced the quilt, I added borders to make it big enough for a twin bed. To do that, I pieced a border, but didn't have enough fabric to go around the quilt so I added the pieced border on one side, and on the all the sides, I added a large blue border and the same size black border.

My problem is that the borders do not look correctly proportional. Having the inner and the outer border be the same size just looks wrong to me. The blue border looks like it is too wide for the quilt too. I no longer care about the size of the quilt.
 
My plan was to finish quilting it and trimming the blue border. I am thinking of leaving a five inch border, but I may think more carefully about the size if I go this route.  This plan, let's call it Option #1, means that I will be cutting off the pieced border. This is not a big problem, because I do have a spare parts box and I could easily add it to my orphan block quilt when I get around to making it. This is the easiest fix although the border looks pretty boring

 
Do you see from this picture how cutting off the blue border doesn't really allow for keeping the pieced border? 
 
Option #2 is to keep it as is, even though the border looks disproportional.
 
Option #3 is to get out the seam ripper. Don't even think about it. 

Option #4 is to leave the top blue border the size it is and trimming some blue off the other three sides. Some of the pieced border will be cut off, but not very much.

Option #5 is to keep the blue border and  narrowing the black border. I am used to seeing the inner border more narrow than the outer border.




Option #6 is to applique a narrow black border inside the blue. There will be three borders then but since the background is black the rings will float more. This will make blue look narrower than the black and I can keep the quilt the size it is. If I do this, I think raw edge applique will be fine for this quilt.

Option #7 is some other idea or combination I haven't thought of.

What do you think?

2022: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 8

I spent my week quilting the Olympics Twist quilt. My plan was to try to finish it by 2-20-22 or 2-22-22. The deadline helped add the motivation to get this quilt moving. I don't think either will work since I am working now and I need to think about and implement the border decision. My new plan is to keep working on it, giving it the amount of time it needs.


15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 51 out of 51 days
Success rate  = 100%

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15 Minutes to Stitch

 

 

If you are interested in seeing how this twist block looks in more scrappy colorway, head over to Quay Quilter. Seeing her quilt is what motivated me to dig out mine and work on it. It is the second of the three projects she shows on that post. The third quilt she shows is also on my mental list of quilts to make.

 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Olympics Quilt

 

This is the quilt that has been hoarding my safety pins for DECADES. Which isn't a big deal since the new safety pins I bought were curved and I like those much better.

In my last post, I told you the quilt was started in 2007, but I looked on my old blog, and it told the story of the quilt. Here's what I said at the time.


Olympics Quilt Story


I always mean to tell the story of a quilt when I finish it, but I generally tell it earlier, while I am procrastinating finishing it. So let me tell you about the Olympics quilt. I started it in 2002. Even though I made my first quilt in 1994, and started the denim circles one then, the quilting police succeeded in making me give up quilting (that and a baby to raise and a career to advance). I took up quilting again in 2002, by taking some quilt classes. So this quilt was a learning quilt for me.

There was a pattern on the internet, affiliated with another quilting newsgroup, and I felt guilty about looking at some other newsgroups stuff, but I did, and I wound up subscribing to that newsgroup. I wound up unsubscribing only because I couldn't handle two very chatty newsgroups at one time. Anyway, the designer made options to make the quilt in two colors or in four (plus the background), and of course I wanted four.

The color selection was probably easy, because I like these bright primary colors, and I like the subtle pattern of the fabric. And I was very very afraid of colors then. I probably asked everyone I knew if those primary colors matched each other!

The pattern was very beginner friendly. It told you in detail how to cut the fabric, and held my hand through each step. I learned how to use squares to make a snowball block. I was afraid of making mistakes, so I did not cut off the excess. No extra HSTs in this quilt! I even learned how to do partial piecing. Oops, I don't remember what that is called. You piece part of a seam, and don't put it down all the way until you have sewn the rest of the pieces in. There was a panic when the designer dropped my hand and said arrange the blocks according to the picture. I was so scared that I didn't even try different layouts.

I was watching the winter Olympics at the time I made the quilt, and when the top was pieced, I realized that my color circles seemed very much like the Olympics rings. I had big ambitions of doing some bluework or quilting of Olympic motifs in the solid black spaces in the snowball blocks. I spent a lot of time at libraries and on the internet copying sports figures.

I needed the quilt to be bigger, so I added a WIDE border. I also made a nice pieced border - another first! - but I didn't have enough fabric to go all the way around, so it is only on one side.

I do like the quilt, but it feels like forced, like a mother who is required to love her own child. I am now debating whether to still put on those sports figures, by free motion quilting on the machine. I don't have enough for every block, but I think I should do it for practice. I keep wavering back and forth between doing something quick just to get it done, and taking my time to make it as good as I can. The second set of squiggly lines look okay, but not good. The first set has already been ripped out, and I'm thinking that I might be able to take them out if I do the motif quilting. For someone who doesn't often take out quilting stitches, I'm being very generous with the seam ripper on this one!

2022 Update

The photos on the blog show that indeed there were a lot of random things added to help make the bed as flat as possible. Now that I have a flatbed, the quilting is much easier, although the thread is breaking from time to time.

The photo above shows the last motif that was left on the quilt, halfway done. I have finished it. I decided to stitch in the ditch around all the big black squares and add some simple quilting in the small black squares. I was originally quilting in the colored rings but that is hard to do on a domestic machine with the bulky seams and it is hard to keep track of what direction I am going when I do that.


 

I took the photos quickly on my porch. I've already quilted a bunch of the areas which is why some of the safety pins are gone. You can see that there is a big blue border and then a big black border around the whole quilt in addition to the row of chain at the top of the quilt. I don't really like the way the borders look and will probably be cutting most of them off. Right now, I think I will just slice off part of the blue and not add anything else. Having a skinnier blue border would look good., but I don't know what to do about the pieced border.