Sunday, April 11, 2021

two projects

After the muddy results of my first half square triangle project, I decided it may be time to rethink things.  I have had this quilt in the back of my mind for quite a while now.  I had talked myself out of it because it would take so long and a lot of half square triangles and the birds - how do I make the birds?

But I decided that this was far too inspiring and had honestly been kind what I wanted to do with those bonus half square triangles from the start.  So I started doing some research about making the birds.  And I found something like a tutorial here.  I've been quilting long enough that this was enough to get me rolling.

And I was off and running with my trimmed half square triangles and inspiration.  (So far as I know, there is no pattern...)

Bird #1 came out quite nicely!

I have some extra turquoise triangles left from my miscalculation last month, so I'm trying to use up some of those in the birds.  But with a whole rainbow to start with, this is probably a good thing.  It eliminates one more thing I can't decide about!

I started doing math (which proved to be harder than I wanted it to be since I trimmed all the HSTs to 1.75" unfinished) and sewing and forgot to take many pictures, but here is bird block 1 about half done:

A few more rows and some more math troubles and I had a whole block!

I surprised myself when I went through my stash to find black and white prints.  I had a few more than I realized, but not a lot of any of them.  But I knew I had enough to make at least a few more blocks, so onward!

Block 2 happened with no photos except for the bird all by itself.  (He (she?) has a little lump there in the white, but it is just due to a lot of seams right there and will be just fine.)

This is fun!  And the birds are turning out to be a lot easier than I thought.  The hardest, most tedious, part is getting all the half square triangles sewn together.  But after the first block, I divided them up into stacks per block so I would have a reasonable assortment of each color for each block.  No sense in finding out at the end I have 43 red ones left and no green or yellow!

On to block 3!

I think this bird looks like a robin.  But maybe I'm being weird?

And then I had four!

At this point I decided to take a break.  I have enough half square triangles yet to make a fifth block, but not beyond that point.  I could make more of them, but I want to regroup.  These blocks will finish 14", so this is not yet large enough for much more than a wall-hanging and I'm pretty sure I want more than just that.  So I have set all of this aside while I work on other projects and let it marinate.  I may become a long-term project or I may get a week at the end of the month to whip through making a bunch more.  Time will tell!

It was also at block 4 that I finally decided to write down my measurements for those solid strips.  Because measuring and re-measuring and second guessing myself was getting tedious.

But I had help with the layout, of course...

So next up, now that my cutting table and work surfaces were cleaned up (this got messy really fast!), I could start working on my Molehills quilt.  The templates printed from the pattern gave me a bit of trouble (somewhere along the line "actual" size was not actually actual), but the second attempt was good enough (off by a hair, but if they're all off, it's okay).  I had to cut and piece them together - holy cow these are big pieces!

Large pieces are okay, though.  It means those curves will be even easier, though they're quite gentle to start with.  I've done harder, so this should be easy enough.

The designer also has quite a few videos on YouTube to help you become more confident about piecing curves.  (Though she does make it look easier than what I've been able to do so far...but I'm getting there!)  Also about cutting paper templates with a rotary cutter.  (I'm still afraid of that, so used scissors.)

But first, a lot of cutting!

My hand started hurting after about half of the fabrics (cutting 3 layers at a time), so I took a break and did this over a couple of days.  I anticipated this going quickly, as the pieces are large and I only need 24 blocks for the whole quilt, so I wasn't in any rush.

Next up was mixing and matching the arcs.  I had some usual...

She is actually stretching and yawning here, but boy does she look fierce!  It's a wonder her little brother is so aggressive towards her.  I sure wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of something that looks like that!  I can only imagine what a real snarl would look like!

I pinned each set together and picked them up.  Next up sewing some blocks!

Blocks 1 and 2 were done chain-piecing style and seemed to take a lot longer than I wanted.  But a lot of that was getting used to fussing with the curves and getting them tidily matched.  Of course, pressing after each seam (getting up and down) and making registration creases to match things up better slowed me down, too.  In all, though, not a long process.

Today I decided to tackle four at a time.  In the future, I think I will do 3, as I have three of each print and each piece.  This way I can make extra sure my mixing and matching was least that's how the idea works in my head.

Making them in sets where the outermost arc is the common denominator (although putting them on top might make them the numerator?) is going to make things look a little uniform, as you see here, but these four went faster.  They would have been done much, much earlier if my hubby hadn't offered to take me out to lunch (take-out) and then I took a 3 hour nap afterwards.  (All that peopling wore me out!)

This puts me at a quarter done already!  We'll see how I progress in the coming days.  Tomorrow evening I have my second vaccine dose and I am expecting to be down a day or so.  I'm hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.  I plan to spend a chunk of tomorrow doing the cleaning chores and whatnot that would be done later in the week.  Just to make sure things roll smoothly if I do feel poorly.  (Also, having a clean toilet *just in case* is never a bad thing!)

I did attend the needle felting class this weekend.  Well, I should say I tried to.  I arrived on time and found the teacher with a headache.  She passed it off to a bad night sleep and such, and apologized that she would not be at her best, teaching-wise.  The other two classmates had done this before and I'm a quick learner, so I figured we could make it work.  Life happens.  Well.  Then the shop owner asked about room temperature and she mentioned she was hot.  Okay, again, I'm usually cold, so no worries.  Then she excused herself and "lost her lunch" in the bathroom.  I was torn between running out of there like a scared rabbit (we were all wearing masks, but still...) and feeling obligated to show concern.  The shop owner told her she couldn't stay if that was happening and I was glad she made that decision for us all.  My money was refunded, but I came home with a few class supplies.  And now I am torn between wanting to reschedule and just calling it done - if I didn't have the supplies, the decision would be easier.  There are a lot of thoughts running through my head regarding this situation, but I'll spare you those details and just let you find your own...

So technically, I tried needle felting.  I didn't finish the project (I have a mushroom stem), but I tried it.  I suppose that counts to fulfil my stick?  Hmmm...

Time to go pack the hubby a lunch and finish a few more chores.  For having taken a long nap today, I still feel kinda tired.  Maybe it's the weather?  Or maybe just I slept poorly last night?  Or maybe that nap was just TOO good?!

Happy quilting!

PS Gabby is a ham...

Sunday, April 4, 2021

lucky log cabin and new sticks

Let's start with a finish, shall we?

In January, I started pulling sticks for monthly assignments.  My first pull included making a quilt from shirts.  But first I had to buy some shirts!

I washed, deconstructed, and pressed them.  And then got busy cutting and pairing up sets of 5 and sewing.  They went pretty fast, if I remember right.

Next they had to be cut in half diagonally and mixed up and sewn back together to get the final blocks.  That was a little daunting, but since my math was off initially, I had some extra parts and pieces if I needed them.

And then came the layout.  Of course that took a few extra days because I had to time it right between the design floor having been recently vacuumed and the hubby not around to complain!  But it went fairly quickly - faster than I anticipated with having to try to make sure no two fabrics were doing too much touching.  Picking them up is always a good and bad part - good that the layout is done, but bad for all the crawling around on the floor!

Then began the journey to the LONG seams.  My machine did not like the varied fabrics and bumps.  I was struggling and changed the needle, tension and all I could do easily, but it turns out sewing slowly was the only real way to lessen my troubles.  Needless to say, I was glad when this was together.

I had it finished fairly early in the month and moved on to my other assigned projects, but the bin of leftover fabrics was kinda staring at me.  I debated purchasing a back for the quilt, but the idea of piecing one with the remaining leftovers kept coming back to me.  And finally, at the end of the month (or was it the beginning of the following month?) I caved and started cutting.

I cut the pieces I had to a uniform width and took them back down to the design floor.  The quilt itself was used to make sure I had things long and wide enough, but otherwise it was just trying to get things randomly placed.  Once I had a back that was larger enough, I marked it to make sure it was oriented correctly when loaded on my longarm.

The quilt itself is square, but the back is a bit wider than long (or however you want to think about that), and I can work with a bit less on the sides than the top and bottom when loading the quilt.  So I wanted to be extra sure I didn't have it wrong.  Turns out that was a good idea!

So last week, when waiting for April to roll around, having a few days extra with no projects (and a pending front porch quilt show), I decided to load this up and quilt it.  I had been pondering a motif for a while and finally one popped into my head and I knew it was time.

I had some help...

I wound more bobbins than I needed (I anticipated it taking more thread!) and this went quite fast.  I had to load really close to the leaders, so there was some extra finagling that happened for that first pass, but in all, it went well.  Sort of.  Two of the five passes had multiple instances of thread shredding.  I adjusted things here as well, but I think again this was a case of too many changes in fabrics and moving slowly was best.

(So, basically, I learned that I will not make another multi-fabric-type quilt again!)

After trimming the quilt, I realized I had trimmings wide enough from three sides to make binding.  Add in a few more strips from the ever-decreasing bin of leftovers, and I could make a binding also from the shirts!  It took a few hours one day to get that done, but due to the hubby having been on vacation the week before, I was woefully behind on my favorite podcasts, so I had company while I donned my thimble and got to work.

But I realized, in doing the final step by hand, how VERY different some of these fabrics are.  To feel them, you might not notice.  To stab a needle through repeatedly?  You definitely notice!  I persevered and got it done.

Of course, it was a beautiful sunny day, which is great.  Except when your trees aren't quite bearing leaves yet, which means a shadowy photo shoot.  The wind did not help, so I ended up under more trees than my preferred, clothesline, spot.  You get what you get, though!

And the back?

Hooray for a finish!

Quilt stats:
Pattern: Lucky Log Cabin from Quilty Love
Size: I think 85x85" ish?  I can't remember exactly what I did...
Pieced and quilted by me!

I also mentioned in my last post that I was making tiny stars.  I decided to exhaust my bin of squares cut from recent projects and ended up making 32!

These kept me busy for quite a few hours, but were easy enough to stop and start as needed and were a perfect way to round out March.

And then it was April!

As in past months, the project from leftovers (red) got started first.  Since I have everything needed to get going, it is easiest to start.  (Okay, okay, I have a lot of the stuff needed for some of the other sticks, too...)  I had a few ideas already, so I started there.  I had come across a few blocks made of many half square triangles in the last few months, so I had those in mind.  Which one?

Oh, but first... pile.  These have actually been sitting there since I made the Bear's Paw quilt months ago.  They were small, but too pretty to just toss.  But in the way, sitting on top of a little plastic set of drawers.  Cats keep knocking them down and that space would be nice to set other things.  So I'm glad it came up this month.

Inside that set of drawers, I also have 1.5" squares stashed.  Whenever I'm cutting and have a small piece left, if I can get a 1.5" square, I cut it and toss it in the drawer.  This stash all started with that darn unicorn.  But it has come in handy a few times for random projects since then.

A bit of a mess, but plenty to add to the block as needed!

The block I ended up choosing was easier to work with in quarters, so I started there.

Not as contrast-y as I had hoped, but maybe if I keep going it will look better?

Oh my.  That is NOT better.  Maybe if I see it in black and white?


Now what?  This is 8" finished.  Not really big enough for anything.  And I don't really want to just give up and stick this in an orphan block bin.  Maybe if I make four, it will look better?

Oh dear.  I've made it worse.

Though some of you might be squealing with delight, this mess of color is NOT doing ANYthing for me.  BUT.  It is now 16" and can become a dolly quilt.  Some little girl will hopefully enjoy the bright variety of colors and maybe notice the stars hiding in there, too.

Unfortunately, this didn't seem to make much of a dent in my stash of half square triangles...

...and my goal was to use them up.  So I am going to try something else, this time with each color by itself, and hope for better results.  Something to look forward to, right?!

The drawer, though?

Much tidier.  So at least something went right here!  (But you can see the purple stack fell over already, so not the best storage option, I guess, but better than a random pile!)

This also created a pretty haystack of trimmings that I left all on my cutting mat until the end.

Between stretches of sewing, I went through my quilt board on Pinterest, snagging screenshots of those that caught my eye.  And then, with just those in front of me, whittling down my choices further and further until I was down to six.  At that point, I asked my friend Colette to weigh in.  (I made a collage and sent it to her via text - she moved two hours north of me a few years back, so even if we wanted to visit in person, this would not so easy.)  Her first choice was a good one, but with more pondering, I think I actually chose her LEAST favorite!  But her input was helpful, as she pointed out that a few of my top choices were very similar to other quilts I've made.  I guess that means I have a style, but also was good for me to recognize it and, since I was feeling adventurous, step out of that routine!

What did I choose?

A quilt called Molehills by Latifah Saafir.  I'm not sure her original would have caught my eye, but this version on Pinterest is where the magic started to happen!  In reading the pattern info, I realized I would probably need to purchase fabric for this to happen.  So off I went!  With a plan to do orange and yellow and greys.  I spent so much time in the store, selecting fabrics and then putting them back and then adding something else and going back...are you dizzy?  I sure was!  It just was NOT working.  I couldn't find even a grey I liked to go with the fabrics once I got the colors selected.  I wasn't happy with the colors.  The fabrics were pretty, but just not working for me.  But I had seen this:

So I put everything back and started over.  This was my new beginning.  I pulled every rainbow color based on this fabric.  A couple I wavered on, but in general?  This was done in about 10 minutes.

What else did I get?

I bought either one or two yards of all the colors and seven of the balloon animals, because it needs to be on the back, too, right?  The pattern calls for a good amount of fabric and since I'm going to be cutting non-square pieces, I understand that you need more wiggle room.  This should be plenty and I'm excited to get started.  (Although as I look at this photo, I'm not sure that dark grey actually belongs?)

I am beyond excited about my new fabrics.  Well, except the purple.  It is kinda boring, but purple is a hard color and I couldn't find anything else really of the right color.  (Okay, maybe one, but it was so girly it made my eye twitch!)

I don't have the pattern yet (I love, though, when designers put enough info on the back of patterns, so when you look at them online, you can get fabric purchased before having the pattern in your hands), but that is my next stop after blogging.

I don't think I'll get to sew any of this yet today (still debating, too, if I want to download and print it myself, or if I want the fancy treatment of buying the printed pattern!), as family and holiday obligations are more important, but I'm definitely making progress on the sticks already.

Happy quilting!

PS Not too many cat helper photos this week, but with the nicer weather, they've been allowed outside a bunch.  That and sunbathing.  Lots of sunny days!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

peppermint float

It has been a rather light week of quilting here this past week.  The hubby had the week off from work (planned vacation), which meant he wanted to spend time with me.  Add in a few days of weekday shifts at work and a few family things (now that folks are getting vaccinated, we can visit more easily!) and I have a week of little time in my sewing room.

Not to fear!  I DO have a finish-finish!

Last week, I quilted the stick-assigned quilt and trimmed it off the longarm, but I had used a water-erasable blue pen that took many attempts to get it all to actually disappear.  (Newer pens give you a more visible mark, but also take more effort to remove.)  Which meant it hung from the bars on my lonagarm for a while, drying between spritzes.

Finally I did sew down the (prepared ahead by months) binding and set it aside again, waiting for a chance to do the hand-sewing portion.  I wasn't worried.  I had time.  Yesterday I finally finished the hand-sewing - after two fairly long sessions where I listened to/watched some live streams saved on Instagram - and took it out for a photo.

But this is a lot of words, right?  And you want to see a quilt!

First, a little of the process.  And some in-process photos, of course.

Quite a few years ago (I just looked, it was 2016!), on a road trip to a family reunion, a friend and I found a quilt shop hop across Missouri.  We found it completely by accident when stopping at a rest stop at the edge of the state.  There was a line in the small bathroom at this cute little visitor center/rest stop, and while my friend did her business, the very friendly couple who ran the center started a conversation with me.  Turns out, they knew all about this state highway/route shop hop and gave us a map.  It altered our course only to keep us off the more major highways, but it was a peaceful, beautiful drive.  And we only got kinda lost like once.

Anyways, at one of the shops, which was one my mom would have loved for all their Civil War reproduction fabrics (and I told her to go there, make my dad take her on the way home, but she declined...silly lady!), I found a huge stash of books.  "Simply Modern Christmas" by Cindy Lammon was among them and it screamed at me to buy it.  While the shop did have a room of more modern, less dull fabrics, this book was definitely not the norm!  But I snatched it up super fast.  Along with another book and some fun applique pins.  Maybe some other stuff, but it's been a lot of years, so the fact that I remember THIS much is amazing.  (I probably forgot some other important information in the process of remembering this, but who cares?!)

The book sat on my shelf of other books, with me knowing that this quilt needed to be made.  Last year, when the world was forced to shut down due to the spreading of a nasty bug, when it seemed every other well-known quilter out there decided to host a quilt-along, I decided to go my own direction.  Nothing was screaming at me to join ANY of the group projects, but I needed SOMETHING.  I decided this project was it.

I rummaged through my stash to find reds and greens that would play well together and meet my goals of a quilt that resembled the one in the book.  I didn't need the exact fabrics, but knew the colors chosen were what drew me in, so I needed to stick fairly close to the original.  I had bought some fabrics for this late the year before (or so my previous blog posts tell me - I have no photos or memory of when I did this), but never did start it.  It was time.

At first, I sewed them one at a time.  Because each combo of center and outer star is different, I had to pay a lot of attention.  And with all the events unfolding in such a quick, scary fashion, I felt quite scattered and knew I needed to limit what I had to process at one time.

The original pattern called for just nine blocks, but that also made a small quilt.  Finishing at 53" square, that was too small for a throw.  So I kept going, making 16 stars total, to make a good-sized throw quilt!

It stalled out some here.  I needed to get a sashing fabric and that was one thing I was unable to find on my shopping trip that brought me both of the black and white dot fabrics.  Eventually, I made it into my local quilt shop, I think in a between time when she was allowed to be open and not?  It is all a blur now, but I found a perfect black and white print.  Because the stripes in the photo below were dizzying!

A few months later, a friend invited me to sew with her.  We both have limited exposure to life outside our homes and decided sewing with the windows open at her lake house was a chance worth taking.  So I headed 2 hours north and we spent the day together.  I took this project.

We had a beautiful June day and I used her deck as a design floor.  (She has a design wall, but was using it for her own project.  No worries.  This was fast and being outside wasn't terrible!)

It was a fun day of chatting and sewing (scroll down in the link for photos and such) and we both got a lot done without even realizing it.  Tedious tasks like long seams go so much faster when you're not doing them alone.

Before it was time to head home, I had a top.  No borders yet, but a TOP!  I love it so much just here, but it's kinda small yet and borders are going to spruce it up, for sure.  Also, that sashing is a bit busy and needs some taming.

Home and border auditions from the stash.  Quite a few of the fabrics in the blocks were fat quarters or less to start, so my options were limited...

I was sure of the red (mostly because it was the only one I had enough of!), but I wasn't sure about the green.  While the lime green wasn't in any of the blocks, it seemed like it might work.  But...

...I ended up choosing the darker green.  Since it was in the stars and not adding a new fabric, I decided it was best.  And I like it a lot, though the print itself makes me go "meh" when I see it as a whole.  The other border fabric loses a little of the bright punch at a distance, but that's okay.  I like it just fine.

I whipped up binding before returning all leftovers to my stash - in July of last year - and then it went to the Rack of Shame.

Late November last year, when JoAnn's had a really, really good sale on calicos, I picked up enough yardage for four quilt backs.  (And a giant roll of batting...)  This was one of them, though since I bought a red and a green and had two Christmas quilts on my list, I wasn't sure which would get what.  The cars and trees quilt I longarmed in January got the red.  So this got the green.

But did I longarm it in time for Christmas?

Of course not!

Then the sticks came to be.  And of course, this quilt needs to be on a stick!  I have too many quilts I just love hanging on the Rack of Shame, so those were the ones first onto the sticks.  This month, it was drawn, so after a fair amount of procrastinating, I pieced the back and headed to the longarm.  (I also had managed to replenish my stash of white-white thread earlier in the month, so that was another way to pretend procrastinate.)

This is the only photo I took.  Aside from one I drew on in my phone editing app to remember how I did the corners.  That I deleted.  (oops?)  But how many photos of a single quilt on a longarm are needed?  You get it, right?  Quilt an area, roll it, quilt another area, roll it, etc. until done.

My brain decided this needed ruler work.  Echoing the stars and stuff.  Which not only required the ruler (which I'm not great with), but marking (which I don't enjoy) and the ruler base, which makes my throat space significantly smaller.  Neither the ruler motifs nor the marking were complicated, it adds time.  Lots of time.  But it took less thread than something like an overall swirl - by a LOT - so I guess trade-offs?

I can't say "before I knew it, I was done" because that would be an outright LIE!  But it did go faster as I got the hang of the ruler movement and muscle memory set in.  So EVENTUALLY, about 13 years later, I had quilted the last pass, and could remove and trim and spritz.

Finally the stupid blue marks were gone, so I hauled it upstairs and attached my "walking" foot (remember, it's a very difficult walking foot and it is more like a "break your shoulder making it feed foot", though it IS better than without it), and attached the binding to all 317 sides of the quilt.

A few days later, I had a finished quilt!

Quick!  Outside for a photo!

And since the wind was blowing some, I managed to get a photo of it flapping in the wind where you can see what is on the back!

Green gingham seems right.  I mean the cornerstones are black and white gingham, so it all fits!

No up close photos of the quilting.  Sorry.  It's nothing super fancy, so you're not missing much.  (And maybe if you click on the photo and blow it up, you can see it?  I haven't tried, so no idea!)

So now for the pattern information:

Pattern: Peppermint Float
Book: "Simply Modern Christmas" by Cindy Lammon
Size: 67x67" (I notes are sketchy...)
Pieced and quilted by me using all sorts of fabrics from all sorts of sources!

Today I have embarked on making a few more tiny stars.  With new fabrics coming in for a few projects in the past few months, I've been cutting squares and setting them aside for that project.  Today, with no sticks to be working on, it seemed a perfect fit to tackle that bin before it gets overwhelming.  I still need quite a few stars, but before I decide to go raid my mom's stash again (my parents are fully vaccinated and I'm getting there, so soon!), I better catch up mine!  (Speaking of which...the last few quilts I've longarmed have had backs that aren't yet represented...better go cut a few more!)

The hubby had a birthday this week, so a trip to the nearest Bass Pro Shop was in order.  He is hard to buy for, so most family give him gift cards, and since last year was so crazy, he had two years worth of "cash" to spend...

This cost us $6.99 after the cards were all emptied.  And since he has a credit card that gives points, he used those to finish paying for this.  We got out of there without spending a single penny!  (We had to pay for gas to get there, but he used the credit card to earn more points doing that!)

He MIGHT be ready to go fishing this summer?  (He has about ten times this many stashed in tackle boxes, but they do get lost and broken and he likes to try new things, when he comments about my fabric stash, I just remind him about the bins of lures he owns...and the 15 poles...I think he has more fishing stuff than I have quilting stuff!)

Time to get back to the tiny stars.  I've been having trouble motivating myself to get into the sewing room this week, not only because of the odd schedule and interruptions, but because I wasn't sure what to start.  Tiny stars?  More tiny words?  Both were tempting, but neither were hollering.  Finally, this morning, I decided I could also pull sticks for April, early, and that motivated me to do tiny stars instead.  No explanation why, but whatever.

And one more note about the sticks for this month.  Some of you may remember that needle felting was also on a stick.  I wasn't able to attend the class at my local quilt shop this month to do that, but yesterday I officially signed up to take the class offered in April.  That will satisfy that stick, though a bit late.  The project is some funky mushrooms and I'm hoping mine turn out at least half as good as the sample.  I've never done it before, but have always been intrigued by it...I'll have a full report in a few weeks!

Time to go work some more on the tiny stars!

Happy quilting!

PS I think, due to yet another year with no guild quilt show, I will be doing a front porch quilt show on Memorial Day weekend again.  The hubby is on board and we're looking at better options to hold the quilts.  We worked out a number of kinks last year and with more planning ahead this year, I hope it will be a little easier!

Monday, March 22, 2021

pq 12.6 and other projects

First let's talk about the final prompt from Project Quilting: "ab intra."  It translates from Latin to "from within" and holy cow could that go ANY direction!

My first idea was to use a bunch of dog ears trimmed from blocks to show chaos.  Because I feel like my head is often a big swarm of chaos.  I even put some thought into how to get them stuck down and whatnot, but then it it hit me.  I'm a science geek.


(And this one could be a pincushion, too!)

I drafted it, but, as you can see, I made notes as I went along.  Sometimes what I thought was going to be the right size was not.  Thankfully always too big, but some days math is just harder than others.

Before I even knew it, I had all the letters made and sewn together!

Since it is laying right there on my cutting mat, you can see how small it is.  I'm pretty excited about this.  I enjoyed making these letters and kinda want to do more.  I pulled out my bin of strings and rummaged through each color until I found some I thought played nicely together.  In my mind, I used brighter colors, but I like this just as well.

I added final top and bottom borders, backed with some batting, and quilted it simply.  And then layered it to make a pincushion and yet again left myself only a tiny opening to turn it.  One day I will get the hang of that...

Oh, the back?

Another scrap and exactly perfect!

I made a big mess with the crushed walnut shells, stuffing this.  For whatever reason, they didn't want to just pour down to the bottom.  So I was smashing and being generally frustrated...which did not help my focus in keeping the crumbs in the bin I should have been working over...

But, I was determined and now have a final pincushion!

I showed my hubby and he was like "another pincushion?"  He likes it, though.  (I honestly thought about, during the election season, putting a sign in my yard that, instead of stating my candidate preference, simply said "SCIENCE!" because I'm such a nerd.)

And with this being the last challenge for the year, there may not be any new pincushions for a while.  Though I am tempted to make some with naughty words.  Or maybe "quilt" on it?  Hmmm...

For the fifth challenge, I actually won the "Ultimate Sponsor" prize.  I didn't even know what it was, there are so many amazing, varied, prizes, so when I got the e-mail, I had to go look.  I won a bundle of fabrics!

It came a few days ago...

I kinda cut it off on the card, but it was from Fat Quarter Shop...the inside?

So pretty, but it is not lost on me that these arrived as I was working on a project trying to decrease the turquoise in my stash!  But some of these are calling to me...I may have to come up with a project sooner rather than later to use them...

Speaking of the turquoise quilt.  My March stick directing me to make a quilt from a pattern I've downloaded has progressed nicely in the past week.  I first layed out the blocks on the design floor.  And moved them until I had a layout that was pleasing to my eye.

Somehow I had made one too many of the half blocks - I had cut it out and everything, despite counting as I went.  Apparently math foils me yet again!  But one too many is way better than one too few.  I labelled rows and carefully picked them up and headed up to sew.

I had a lot of help...

Toby is being a little brat to her and she spends most of her days hiding.  Often that is under the couch/chair in my sewing room.  But if I close that door, she will come out and be herself.  Obviously.  (At night, Toby gets closed in my bedroom with me - food, water and litterbox all present, as well as toys - so she can roam the house and stomp on the piano and shred papers and generally create havoc.  And he generally snuggles and is happy.   But I am very much hoping for a return to normal in time.)

So anyways, the quilt took a while to get together.  Setting blocks on point always seems to take longer than straight settings, but this quilt loses something when you set it straight, so on I went.

Though this may look like a whole quilt, due to cropping, it is actually about half.  Today I took the whole top out for a photo!

There's a bit of a sun flare there in the upper right corner, as it is early yet, but I am SO not complaining about sunny days!  Though this gives me a different perspective.  Laying on the floor inside, it seemed to have a darkness around the edge due to all the partial blocks.  It is less dark here.  But now I'm debating on binding colors...dark grey? light grey?  Any thoughts?  If I do turquoise, it may be scrappy, but I also think that's not the right direction.

With this done, I knew the longarming project was next on the list.  The quilt is called Peppermint Float (but I didn't know that until yesterday - I made the whole project and never looked at the quilt name in the book!) and was the Christmas quilt I put together last summer.

How to quilt it?  I dragged out the book and doodled.  I also doodled on my phone on a photo of the top so I knew where to go when I got to the longarm.  The plan came together fairly quickly, but called for ruler work.  Not my favorite, but I need to get better at it, right?

So I loaded it yesterday (after piecing the back), and got to work.

I finished longarming it yesterday evening, but used the blue water-erasable marker to mark stop/start points and it is now draped on the longarm, drying, from the second round of spritzing.  It was a new marker, so it will probably take a few rounds.  So no photos just yet of a finish.  But I promise soon - I'm hoping to get the binding on soon as well.

For the most part, I'm pleased with my efforts.  There are a few bobbles with the ruler (more early than later, but practice makes perfect!), but this is for me and much of the quilt is busy enough that it probably won't ever be noticed by anyone but me.

And finally, more masks.  At work on Friday, my boss asked me to make her some.  It's literally been a year now, but apparently she has tired of the paper masks.  And the cloth ones that have been made as "one-size-fits-all" that are about as accurate at fitting everyone as all other clothing sized in that manner.  She offered to pay me, but I don't want this to turn into a business.  I just want to keep folks safe.  And I can say no.

But she is a horse (or, more accurately, mule and horse) person as well as a dog person.  Guess what I am not?  So I made a quick run to the store to see what I could find.  It doesn't take much fabric, so I was willing to invest a little.

Horse fabrics were not easy to come by.  I figured out the horses in the border print could be fussy cut and would be just about perfect for the center of a mask.  But I had to buy extra because that horse that looks grey?  Well, close up he is more blue and CREEPY!  Unfortunately, the way the previous cut had been made, I had to buy about a half yard to get the non-creepy horses with enough on either side to make it work.  (From a distance, here, they aren't so bad, but believe me, they are way worse up close!)

And why are all the paw print fabrics in rainbow colors?  I mean, yeah, that's fun, but seriously?  Can we make an animal-type print that isn't geared to a 4-year-old?  Maybe just one?

I also was hoping to get some fabric printed with realistic jelly beans to make some Easter masks to wear and share, but no dice.  That was gone.  I should have picked it up when I was there last!

Home to wash and press and do some stash diving for not only insides for these, but also a few more.  My goal was 10.  Since she is full-time, and doesn't often get more than one day a week off, I imagine having a few more than days in a week would be good.

These weren't exactly what I had pulled to start, as I edited a few when I went to cut, but I think I have some nice pairings.  I hope none are too wild, but it's hard to know what someone else will want on their face.  The left fabrics are fronts, the rights are insides.  (And maybe some would say I should do the inside fabrics on the outside, but darn it, I like fun stuff - I mean, I have a ninja mask and one with glow in the dark vampire teeth - so this is hard for me.)

It took the better part of Saturday afternoon, but I got them done!

The colors here a bit off, as it was dark outside, but there you go - 10 masks.  And you can kinda see how the horses worked out.  I work tomorrow (I somehow had the weekend off, but will NOT complain!) and will hand them over then.

So that has been my quilty week.  The hubby has this week off (his birthday is Friday), so I have no idea how productive I might be - never mind the beautiful weather - but I at least want to get the binding on the Christmas quilt!

Tired yet?

(Everybody loves the poof!)

Happy quilting!

PS I got my first vaccine last Monday afternoon.  My arm felt like someone had lobbed a baseball at it for a few days, but was otherwise just fine.  The vaccination site was well organized and EVERY SINGLE PERSON was wearing a mask.  Correctly.  First time I've seen that level of compliance and I was so pleased.