Saturday, October 31, 2020
Moonset Over Dartmoor
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Shake, Shake the Ketchup Bottle
None'll come, and then a lot'll
That pretty much describes my quilting activity recently!
Last week was full of service contractor visits at the house and Nashville doctor visits for Alex. Though I didn't accompany him for these routine annual visits, I find it hard to get seriously involved in anything while he's gone, "just in case."
I did finish those nine kitted blocks for the monster quilt and cut five more blocks on Sunday. I measured our bed to make sure I really need 81 11-inch blocks, and yes, I do. 😟
That's about the sum total for last week.
This week has a lot scheduled, as well -- more contractors, a medical procedure for Alex, a socially distant visit with friends, and a potential shopping trip in Knoxville. It's hard for me to immerse myself in a project when I have to work around other scheduled activities. But I set some goals for the week and as soon as the restoration contractor left yesterday (we're having some water-damaged drywall replaced in the family room), I went about finishing Colorado Lily. TA-DA!
The real pattern name is Churn Dash by Kim Brackett from one of her Scrap-Basket books, I think Scrap-Basket Sensations. I call it Colorado Lily, though, because the block is very similar to the Colorado block and the friendship stars in the sashing make it look like flowers. I coerced my better half to be my holder in the daylight so that the colors show better.
And while I had the momentum yesterday (and an easy dinner planned) I decided to stitch the last four seams on a Halloween wall hanging that has been in progress for an embarrassing number of years. I took advantage of my top holder while he was on the stool (he's short) to get a full view of it.
The 12" blocks are from a block swap hosted by Denise Russart/justquiltin in September 2014. She is a very prolific pattern designer for Hoffman California Fabrics and also Electric Quilt.
I am considering appliqueing a ghost on the black center and may add side borders to make it truly twin size. But for now it will be part of the decor on our dock for the Halloween boat parade on Saturday.
I'll leave you with a couple of pics of my blocks.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Sometimes you just have to step away
The six rows of my Colorado Lily are in twosies. I wanted to add the top and bottom sashings to rows 1 and 6 before the last two seams. I related the tale of my leaf shortage and my planned replacement here.
Well, after incorporating the stripey green into the top sashing, I decided it was too distracting.
The shades of green were in the same family, but the stripes were "in-your-face". Nothing else in my stash would do so, in frustration, I decided to step away and revive a project that not only has been languishing in the project pile, but also occupying three boxes of "potential" fabrics -- the monster grey and yellow quilt for our king-size bed (shown below in no particular order).
About ten blocks were kitted up, five with the 9-patches already made, so it was pretty much mindless sewing. Which gave me time to cogitate on my leaf options for Colorado Lily. I decided to check the green scrap bin and, YES! There was a 4" half-WOF strip of a near-perfect replacement.
It required some strategic cutting, but I'm back in business! Sometimes you just have to step away and give your mind some breathing room.
However, TOO much breathing room can be dangerous! As I was drifting off to sleep last night I thought the original dotty fabric reminded me of my Asian fabrics. Wait! Could I possibly have any more of that fabric in my Asian drawer?
YES! This morning I found seven 2.5" squares. I only need 10. Those seven along with the one still in the abandoned top sashing and the two I couldn't find when I was cobbling together the last horizontal sashing so I threw them away ... Oh, (bleep), Alex emptied the trash last night ...
Back to Square Three.
Do you ever play Thread Chicken or Bobbin Chicken --
seeing if you can finish the task before one or the other runs out?
Yesterday I was keeping an eye on the thread ...
...when the machine started making the mechanical sound it makes when the bobbin gets low.
I sewed on, keeping an eye on the thread and my stitching. I finished the task at hand with thread to spare so I stitched on, whipping up a pile of cutoff HSTs.
In the end, I had about a foot of thread left and this much still on the bobbin.
Sometimes I win, but more often I don't 😞
How about you?
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Note to Self: Record your plan!
Friday, October 16, 2020
It has a REAL Name!
Thanks to Sandy at Sew High I now know the source of my Colorado Lily quilt! It is a design by Kim Brackett that appears in her book, Scrap-Basket Sensations: More Great Quilts from 2-1/2" Strips, which she called Churn Dash. I used to own that book -- even made a quilt or two from it -- but I don't remember that pattern.
But to me it will always look more like flowers than a churn dash so it will remain Colorado Lily.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
... on Thursday
Last week included a round trip to the dentist in Nashville and a stop in to visit Son-1 and his bride. He will still be working from home until the end of the year and DIL is recovering from foot surgery. Some of the houses damaged by the March tornado in their neighborhood are being rebuilt, but others look like they have been abandoned. So sad to see.
The rest of last week was devoted to whipping the house into shape, including sanitizing, in preparation for our first neighborhood Ladies of the Pointe book club meeting. I am really excited to see what books we will pick to read next year. I get to suggest two, so send your recommendations my way.
This week began with the trip to NQM in Paducah, KY and an overnight to celebrate Alex's 69th birthday (yes, I robbed the cradle). By Wednesday I was finally able to return to the sewing room and am making progress on Almost Colorado Lily.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
A Visit to the National Quilt Museum
It's always a pleasure to visit the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. I have been there many times, usually during the AQS show in the spring or the fall, but only twice have I made the drive to JUST visit the museum as we did yesterday.
That first visit circa 1998 was the beginning of my obsession. Several reenacting friends and I made a day trip to Paducah, primarily to shop at Hancock's of Paducah, but we were also interested in a special exhibit at the quilt museum. We thought we'd spend about 30 minutes at the museum and then head to Hancock's. Well, we dragged ourselves out of the museum about 2 hours later and after lunch at one of the delightful restaurants in the downtown area and a bit of antiquing, we had exactly 30 minutes to shop before Hancock's closed. You likely have never seen 7 people shop for fabric so fast!
Anyway, the minute I stepped into the gallery that day and saw the beautiful quilts I said, "I have to do this!" I attended the next year's AQS show, took two classes, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Yesterday's trip was specifically to see the Suffrage Exhibit. If you click on the link above, scroll down to the September 1 post and you can see a panoramic view of the entire exhibit. As you scroll you will see highlights of other exhibits currently hanging.
This was a challenge by the Dakota County Star Quilters in Minnesota which they opened to others outside their guild. I was worried that my quilt, seen at the bottom of the second panel, would be too amateurish to be accepted but I think it holds up well among the others.
Some of the little quilts were very "artsy," and a lot of them included a slogan on the quilt itself, like this one. (Sorry, I forgot to note the maker)
My message was a bit more subliminal -- 36 yellow rosebuds (the Suffragists' flower) in the suffrage colors of yellow/white/purple surrounding the state which provided the 36th and deciding vote on the amendment.
Alex and I both liked the message on this one by Doris Carr from Kansas City, MO.
Monday, October 12, 2020
The Perfect 36
Here it is, hanging in the National Quilt Museum along with 40+ others from 16 states.
Oh, and that's me, after a 5-hour drive to see it.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
You may have heard (or read) me say that I am not a fan of specialty rulers, but when I find one that does what it promises, works for multiple sizes, lefties or righties, and offers options, I'm happy to share with you.
One of my least favorite things to do in this crazy hobby is drawing a line and stitching 1/4" on either side of it or, worse, stitching ON the line. Not saying I'm ever perfectly accurate, but I'm "just-as" accurate when I stitch against a cut line and I haven't taken the extra time to draw the line. And then there's the issue of all those cut off triangles that I can't bear to throw away .... oh, don't get me started!
Here's how it works ... Place a folded corner square face down on a rectangle (my squares are 2.5" and the rectangles 2.5" x 4.5"; I'm using the "exact size" option).
Then position the ruler so that the first solid line is at the left edge of the square. You can see that the diagonal line is going from corner to corner of the square where I would have drawn the line to stitch on. The cutting edge is 1/4" to the right where I would be trimming the cutoff after stitching with the "line" method. I like that the lines on the ruler are relatively fine and the intermediate markings are just dashes and/or crosshairs which makes placement easy.
I take them to the machine and stitch from the side. (That pin on the long edge is telling me the rectangle was cut just a little shy of 2.5". I'll adjust for that in the next seam.)
I press toward the corner by pulling the straight edge in line with the side of the rectangle, then move the iron up toward the corner.
Repeat the process on other end of the chevrons ...
Bottom line -- I'll probably use this ruler more often when the situation warrants it. But those cutoff corners ... I just couldn't resist the urge to salvage them.
Since each block yields 8 cutoff corners, I am putting them into pinwheels of four. Rather than trimming them as triangles, I will square up the pinwheels. OR I may put frames around each of them and then square up ...
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Pour the Wine
and start shufflin'
This is the point where it pays to pour a glass of wine, sit back, and consider what should go where.
Should I arrange by color? Should I arrange by pattern in the fabric? Should I balance value? These are rhetorical questions, by the way, 'cause I've already made my decisions! I have two more blocks to make; one has been cut. Even though this is not the Colorado block, I plan to call this one Almost Colorado Lily.
While clearing off some shelves in the storage room, I found a nice white 100% cotton fabric in my costume-making supplies that is the perfect white for the sashing! It's what I used to make my 19th century chemises. With input from DH, I have selected a green for the "leaves." Unfortunately, this coming week is full of trips, house cleaning, and meetings so I doubt there will be little progress till next weekend.
I still owe you a tool report so watch for it.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Blue Moons and Blue Birds
and New Birds and Dead Birds
Did you know that there will be a blue moon in October? A Blue Moon is when there are two full moons in the same month. I'm not sure which one is blue ... (Actually, there's a more technical definition that involves 13 moons, but I won't go into that right now.) I don't know if this always happens, but this morning the moon was still high as the sun was coming up.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
New Technique, New Tools
It's a beautiful Fall morning here on the Plateau, the sun finally rising at a humanly decent time.
I've noticed that some of my friends who do precision sewing starch their fabrics before cutting. I first heard about this in a workshop with Elsie Campbell quite a few years ago, but I was hesitant to adopt this practice as it seemed to be an unnecessary step in the quilt process. Plus I had heard that silverfish
(a small insect) are attracted to starch (they love the glue in books and cartons) so I didn't want starched fabric aging on my shelves.
Silly Me, it hadn't occurred to me to starch just before I cut. My friends say that it should almost feel like paper, so that's what I've been doing with my current
I'm here to tell you that it works! The biggest advantage that I am finding is less raveling. How I hate having to clean loose threads off the back of a flimsy!
I am using Sta-Flo liquid starch in a 1:1 ratio.
My new tool, a continuous spray bottle, does a great job of even distribution.
I had to laugh at the labels on the box, though.
I'm using another new tool, too, but that's a subject for another day.