Monday, January 27, 2020

casey's quilt and free fabric!

It's another slower week between challenge prompts, so I've been sewing some, but thought another of the 2019 finishes should be presented!

Today we'll work though Casey's quilt.  It started out as the Little Miss Sawtooth quilt along.  I was intrigued and loved the mixed low-volume backgrounds.  I'd never done anything like this on my own (I had done it with a kit), but thought it would be fun.  But I wasn't sure what to use.  And almost talked myself out of it.

Then inspiration struck!  I had a fair amount of leftovers from Adrian's quilt.  A little time spent with the coloring page (and some scissors) and I had a plan.  I wanted it bigger and the sides evenly spaced, so I came up with a plan.

And then further inspiration: Adrian's best friend could use a quilt, right?

So, very early, this became Casey's quilt.  But I wasn't sure it would be Casey's quilt because I needed Adrian's input.  And until the quilt could be finished in time for Christmas (a bit ahead of the final timeline for the quilt along), I didn't want to offer.  I needed to be close enough to know I could pull it off.  I didn't want to make an empty promise.

I sewed along with the new patterns that came out every other Friday.  Some weeks they were done earlier than others, but I never got behind.  Even when I had to make extras of the blocks to fill up my coloring sheet plan.  (Individual blocks were shown as I completed them here on the blog, but in the interest of keeping this from being a marathon, I'll leave those out today!)

I sewed the alternate blocks leader-ender style, instead of waiting until the end, so I would have a little more time for top construction at the end.

And, after what seemed like forever, I was ready to sew it all together!

Next up I needed a back.  Off to the local quilt shop sale room for the best bargains around!

While this is obnoxious, it works for me.  The colors are perfect and it will hide a multitude of longarming sins, if needed.

I didn't do fancy quilting on this one.  I just couldn't figure out WHAT to do and time was getting short.  So just an overall swirl flower worked for me.  It went fast and will make the quilt more snuggly, right?

So at this point, knowing I was going to make it, I asked my niece if she wanted to give it to her friend.  Of course she said yes!  So I labelled it and packed it up for Christmas.  This friend is often around for holiday family gatherings and has earned the title of niece just by being around so much, but this time she wasn't able to come.  (I can't say I blame her parents - it WAS Christmas day after all!)  The quilt went home with my niece and her family and was given to Casey the next time she was visiting.

And while I know Casey gravitates towards golds and burgundies (I've taken the girls shopping a few times), these are Adrian and my favorite colors, so I think it's okay.  I haven't seen much of her since the holiday (Adrian moved in with her mom and is only with her dad on weekends, so until summer rolls around again, the girls won't be around as much), but I think she liked the quilt.

What have I been working on since the last challenge ended?

Well, I've been dragging myself into the Triple Crown project.  For whatever reason, this one started off with a bang, but my interest has waned since.  Perhaps it was the days off midway through?  Or maybe just the realization that there are 204 triangles to be dealt with?

Regardless, last Friday I talked myself into laying out all the triangles.  The hubby watched.  He watched the cats help.  We have a laser light - he could have at least distracted them with that, but he was "busy"... (*eyeroll*)

The first layout needed work.  There were a couple of fabrics that had more than their fair share of blocks, so I needed to make sure they were dispersed evenly.  And I also wanted to make sure that the lighter and darker blocks weren't clumped too much.  But I knew that I could spend all day tweaking this, so decided to call it quits before too long.

Then came the long task of picking everything up in rows.  But I could see the end, so I kept going.  (And by this time, the cats had decided to do other things, so at least I didn't have to defend my layout any longer and could focus on picking it up properly!)

The rows seem to take forever to sew.  There are 17 triangles across a row and 12 rows.  I sewed them in sets of two - leader-ender style - and that made it even seem LONGER.

But today I have all the rows sewn together.

They're all piled up in one long row-stack, as there are still a fair number of bias edges, so I'm trying to avoid handling, folding, and draping them.  I'll work on sewing them into a top in the coming week, as my goal is to have them into a top before the next Project Quilting prompt comes out - 1pm on Sunday (my time).  Even with three shifts at work this week, I think I can do it.

(I can do it if things stop hurting.  I managed to pull both hamstrings while laying out the quilt and then, as that eased up, I have re-aggravated a back injury - while sleeping!  I'm not complaining and know continuing to move helps keep the muscles from hurting worse, but darn it, getting older is not fun some days!)

Last but not least, I've promised to give away the last of the green fabrics.

It's definitely a smaller stack than I started with and definitely leaning towards the darker greens, but I'm done with it and just want it out of my stash.  Some of the fabrics are faded (as though they were stored, folded, on a shelf exposed to sunlight) some seem to have water spot stains and others have odd splotches that may be from dyes not being fully mixed.  They are by no means perfect, but they are free and I'd guess this is at least a couple of yards.  No itty bitty pieces - the smallest are a few 2" strips - and I think the largest pieces I saw were about a yard.

If you want the fabric, mention it in a comment.  (If you want to comment, but not be entered, that's okay!)  I'll draw a winner Friday afternoon and hope to have them in the mail to you Saturday before the post office here closes at noon!

Happy quilting!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

project quilting 11.2

It's done!  It's done!  It's really done!

The prompt for Project Quilting this week is "Team Colors."  It doesn't have to be a sports team, just something that represents a group of people.  From what I have seen, a lot of quilters do not define themselves as sports fans.  I can't say I'm a sports fan exactly, but having attended Michigan State University, I tend to root for them when they are in a sporting event.

So my first idea was to to do something with MSU.  I mean, I've made another MSU quilt for my niece a few years back and it did cross my mind to drag out that pattern and make another.  Perhaps smaller.  Or something.

But I just wasn't feeling it.  I can't say why.  I was discussing this with my hubby some (he was captive in the car as we headed north 25 minutes to pick up 300 bags of Fritos - yeah, we do some odd stuff...) and realized I have been green and white since kindergarten.  Every school I have attended had chosen green and white as their colors.  So it seemed perhaps something green and white would be necessary.

And then, as I was driving home and the hubby was silently playing his fighting game on his phone (the phone was not silent...), I remembered these fabrics:

I'd found them at a garage sale that was happening during a quilt guild show.  I bought two bags of "scraps" and came home with a lot of yards.  At first I thought maybe they were Cherrywood, but as I worked with them, I think they may have been a home-dyeing experiment.  Not that they weren't good, just varied some in the fabrics - enough to make me wonder.

Anyways, the original idea was to make a forest from these.  Small, free-form trees.  A bigger quilt probably.  And then they went into the Closet of Nonsense, in a stack all by themselves, away from the main stash.  And were forgotten.

All of this came back in a rush as I was driving and I was excited to get home and get started.  But first I wanted to do a little tree construction research.  A video I'd recently seen outlined the steps.  A little more research and I was ready to start cutting.

Of course, I had to sew some things wrong and go rewatch the video, this time actually paying attention, to learn how to sew things back together...  Before long, I had a few trees!

I even used the wood grain print left over from the Sasquatch quilt for tree trunks!  I debated back and forth with myself over that and finally decided "whatever" and rolled with it.

This gave me confidence to cut more!

And before you knew it, a forest was starting to emerge.

At this point, I had to decide how many more to make.  I had visions of a large quilt with varying size trees and all sorts of whatnot (even maybe a cabin in the woods - which I honestly forgot until the whole top was together a few days later!), but I decided that, in the interest of time, I needed to keep this on the smaller side and needed about 14 more trees.

Though the trees aren't made of many pieces, they seemed tedious.  But I kept sewing.  I liked where this was going and was happy how things were going at this point.

Once all the trees were completed, I played around with them on the floor for a while.  Originally I thought I would alternate darker then lighter backgrounds, but the randomness of putting them down as I finished and where I had room appealed to me more, so with some adjustment to keep those more blueish ones apart, I ended up with a random layout.

Gabby helped, of course.  She actually got into a few wrestling matches with Finn and tried to recruit her brother Freddie to help also.  So much extra effort led to me using six sheets from a lint roller to clean them up as I pieced the rows together.  All this from fabric that had no cat hair on it when I started!

Freddie's biggest contribution was pre-wetting the thread when I was trying to sew...

I had to take a break to go to work Tuesday, but Wednesday I was back at it.  The blocks were all ready, waiting to be sewn into a top and that didn't take as long as I anticipated.  (No complaints there!)

I still had a fair amount of fabric left, so I pieced some together for the back.  I'm over this fabric and was happy to use it up this way.  (And if you keep watching my blog, when there's not a challenge happening, it just might be given away!)  I layed it out on the floor (sunlight!) to make sure the back was bigger enough for the longarm before calling it a night.

Today was longarm day!

I'll be honest here.  I'm over this quilt, too.  I loved the idea.  The trees are fine.  But somehow once it got to this stage of being a top, I'm not so in love.  I thought quilting it would help, but my idea for quilting didn't go as planned or look as good as I'd hoped, so I think it made it worse.  Or at least I didn't fall back in love with it, as sometimes happens after you quilt something.

But onward!  Binding!  Quilt, a photograph before it gets too dark.  (It was snowing earlier, so I'm glad I missed that...)  Try to get one where the colors are almost accurate.

I present to you "Pine Ride."
About 38x56"
Designed, made and quilted by me.

Why did I name it that?

Remember how I said I was green and white since kindergarten?

This is one of my school yearbooks!  Fifth grade to be exact.  Apparently somewhere between the publication of the 3rd grade and 4th grade yearbooks, we became the Panthers, as you see depicted here.  I have no idea how someone decided that panthers live in pine forests, but apparently in elementary school, these things can happen.  (There was a huge stand of pine trees right behind the school, which I expect is how the school got the name?)

Actually, I do vaguely remember voting for a mascot.  I don't remember what the other choices were, but did peruse a few of the yearbooks and find my mom's photo in there more often than my own.  (She was involved with the PTO and stuff.  I, on the other hand, only had opportunity for extra photo ops if I was on the student council.  Which I was not.)

Anyways.  Now you all wanna see a photo of elementary school me, right?

5th grade and I feel like I look a lot the same now.  And I have no idea why, but I wore glasses starting in 2nd grade.  Can't see without them still today.  So someone must have told me to take them off for this photo shoot.  (I just went back further and it seems I never wore my glasses on photo day...guess that must have been a photographer thing?  Because I am not so vain that I am going to take off my glasses just for a stupid school photo!)  But hey, less nerdy, right?!

So there you have it.  My entry for this challenge and some fun stuff behind it.

Happy quilting,

Monday, January 20, 2020

kae's baby quilt

I've been up to a LOT in the last week, but I need to get these 2019 quilts blogged before it gets too much further into 2020, so here we go!

Since I don't remember how much I told about this quilt as I constructed it, I'll just start from the beginning.

Quite a while ago, my high school friend Sarah (who got her own quilt here) announced via Facebook that her oldest daughter, married a year or two ago, was pregnant.  This is the friend that, with her pregnancy of this daughter, started me on my quilting journey.  Of course this, my friend's first grandbaby, needed a quilt to celebrate!

The birth announcement had bees on it.  I'm not entirely certain of the relevance there, as our lives have taken different paths in different cities and we're not that close any longer, but I thought that bees on the quilt would be fun.  So I contacted Sarah to make sure the quilt would be okay (and not weird) and bees were acceptable.  Both were given the green light, so off I went to buy fabrics.

I had a pattern in mind, but I'm not sure if I even had it handy when I went shopping.  The pattern was for a single bee anyways, so I had to wing it.  (ha ha ha ha ha!)  The flannel on top is for the back.  How perfect!

I dug right in after washing and pressing everything.

Not too many pieces...well, compared to a Sasquatch I constructed recently...

It's starting to look like a bee!

Now I just have to sew the strips together.  Those stripes going different directions were kinda annoying and I tried to cut them properly, but at this point, I was ready to be okay with them.  (I was also struggling because those elongated half square triangles weren't going to have points where they should have been - I'm not sure if it was the pattern or me, but I also made my peace with those.)

Once the bees were together, I had to decide on a layout.  Freddie helped.  (Yes, that is a devilish look on his face and yes, he was messing things up about as fast as I could fix them.)

Once the helpers tired, the top went together quickly.  Technically this is just eight blocks with sashings.  Not too bad!

But those bees needed antennae and this was before my amazing garage sale bargain of a $10 light box.  Once the top was together, using a window to trace the lines wasn't going to be very easy.  But wait...

My finger is just about right!  Well, that was easy!

Embroidering them wasn't so easy, but I got it done one night.  With the birth looming and knowing the quilt needed to be mailed, I was finally urged on to get this step done.  And get it on the longarm!

I wimped out and opted for just loop-de-loops over the whole quilt.  (After I pieced the back that shrunk to be too narrow...I had bought enough extra, anticipating this happening, but it was still annoying!)  It went super fast and I was ready to bind it in no time.

And finally, I had a finished quilt!

Of course, I did not plan ahead, so I had to take the photo indoors, later in the evening, as a post office run had to be squeezed in the following day, so the lighting isn't great.  But there it is.  It looks kinda small in the hands of my hubby, but it measures about 34x35.  Not huge, but with bees being a very rectangular specimen, it got harder to make it larger without making a LOT more bees!  And I think this is a good enough size for a little one.

I sent it off, knowing mom was due early 2020.  I wasn't sure if there had been a baby shower, if there would be, if this quilt would be given immediately or saved or what.  But I knew it arrived and that was enough.  My friend was the go-between and I trusted her judgement.

A few weeks ago, I was tagged in a photo on Facebook...

Sarah said those are happy tears.  I didn't really see she was crying until prompted, but yes, it does look like she is either squinting into the sun or maybe crying.  She loved it.  And I'm going to guess that this gal, who has never met me, was absolutely surprised.  But she is the reason I quilt, so she deserves this.

Baby was born just a few days ago.  Mom had a rough go and both were still in the hospital recovering yesterday.  I hope to hear good news soon, but they've been in my thoughts a lot these last few days.

Okay, now what I have been up to recently!

First up, Sasquatch is a top!

I used the design floor last Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?) to figure out a layout...

(Of course I had help!  Please ignore the cat toys.  The cats do.)

And then sewed it up into a top!

I also pieced the back (yuck!) and made the binding.  Now it is properly read for procrastination until about November...

Up next, while waiting for the next Project Quilting prompt (due out Sunday at 1pm my time), I decided to cut pieces for the Triple Crown quilt project.  My blue/turquoise stash is overflowing into the purples, so it was time to do something drastic.  And I had a hunk of white just sitting there.

Yeah, that's a lot of different fabrics.  A few got put back because they weren't turquoise enough, but quite a few more are no longer in my stash at all!  The spot where they live is ALMOST large enough now, with just that bottom fabric hanging out where it shouldn't be.  At least five of the fabrics in here have come from quilt backs, so I had long, skinny leftovers.  This was a good project to use them up, as it originally calls for a jelly roll!  And though it doesn't seem like a lot, I feel my stash was visibly reduced at least a little.

I cut and cut and cut and cut and cut and cut.  Each block takes 3 pieces.  There are 204 blocks.  I was able to cut some as doubles, but for accuracy, much more would have been dangerous.  And with so much bias to sew, I wanted to be extra careful that pieces were accurate to start with.

And then I sewed.

And sewed and sewed and sewed and sewed.

Finn is learning how to supervise.  More often, though, he likes to help.

The blocks are all sewn, and I debated trying to lay them out either Saturday evening after work or at some point Sunday morning, but time got away from me and, let's be honest, I wasn't in the mood to crawl around on the floor and label 204 blocks quite yet.  Soon.

And then the Project Quilting prompt was announced.  "Team Colors."  It doesn't have to be a sports team, just anything with colors that represent it.  I went to Michigan State University and of course those colors are the first thing that came to mind.  But I just wasn't into making an MSU quilt.  I mean, I've made one before, and it occurred to me to dig out my pattern and make another, but that would be a big task and I just wasn't feeling it.

So, since we were out doing errands in the big city north of us, I had time to think while driving (and my hubby played his silly game on his phone and, if he answered me at all, it was in grunts...boys...) and I kept thinking.  I've been green and white literally since kindergarten.  Every school I've attended has had green and white as their colors, though the mascot changes.

And then I remembered these maybe-Cherrywood fabrics I snagged at a guild garage sale during a quilt show a while ago...

...and remembered my idea that I wanted to use them to make a tree quilt.


No time like the present!  (And stash reduction!!!)

I had recently seen a video to make wonky trees and revisited that (and had to watch it a second time because I flaked out and didn't catch everything and then sewed things wrong) and was off and running.

I'll share more of my process and whatnot soon enough (I don't want to repeat myself too much), but I thought you'd at least like to see Gabby helping...

She was trying to get Freddie to help, but ever since Finn has come to live with us, he generally declines the helping with quilts and snuggling part of catting.  I think he is happy, but I worry...of course, about the time I seriously think he is depressed, he goes tearing through the house after a milk ring like he's never seen anything so amazing before in his life...

Speaking of doing things that make me believe he is happy, Freddie did help, now that I think about it...

...he inspected and pre-moistened my thread.  (Yeah...that did cause some problems...)

And while this was happening, Finn was taking a turn at camouflaging himself...

He's pretty good!  (Gabby melts into our blue-grey carpet quite well - as did her sister Lexie - super fun when that decision happens on the stairs...  Freddie, being black, stands out in most situations, but we regularly trip over him in the evening when walking through the house without turning on every single light... Ah, cats.  We love them.)

And with that, it is dinner time!  I'm keeping up with my one book a week reading goal and plan to do more of that tonight after I eat.  The challenge quilt blocks are all made and a layout has been chosen and labelled and picked up already!  I work a long shift tomorrow, so construction will likely commence Wednesday with longarming perhaps Thursday or Friday...we shall see!  But I feel confident at this point to stop and take a break.  And my next post will likely be about my finish!

Happy quilting,

Monday, January 13, 2020

shhhh! don't tell my dad!

The last month of so of 2019, I didn't sew much.  Or at least it didn't feel like it.  With the holidays and extra work shifts and all sorts of stuff going on, I just wasn't in the mood.  But with those things all gone and a jump start from retreat, I'm ready to get going!

Remember the Sasquatch pattern I purchased while on retreat?

(This is definitely a better look at that pattern - you can see the Sasquatch!)

I decided that I would start on this right away.  I wanted to make this for my dad for Christmas.  (Shhh!  It's a secret!)  I've got plenty of time, but for whatever reason, this had more draw than the purple and grey kit.  Or maybe I forgot about the kit for a minute.  While this squirrel chased me!

Off  to buy some fabric because the background claims to need something like 4 yards.  Seems excessive, but I don't have that much of anything in my stash (other than solid white - boring!), so off I go!

Some other fabrics may have jumped into my cart.  Notably that bottom fabric.  It will be the back and truly, it was the LAST fabric I chose!  Quite a nice match (though I notice now you can't see the background very'll see it soon enough) and I knew I could raid my stash for a few more greens to make those trees more interesting.  (I'm not totally into scrappy, but feel that a Sasquatch would prefer to live in a forest of mixed conifers for maximum foraging and security.)

The three at the very center are the purchased fabrics.  All the others were one iteration of stash-pulling.  Some got cut because there just wasn't enough.  Some were too dark.  Or too green.  Or too busy.  Or something.  A few came back because it turns out you need a decent sized chunk of fabric for a single tree.  And I only had to piece one small section of one fabric!  About three of the trees will be the last of their kind, though.  I would cheer for stash reduction, but, well...there are three new fabrics going in...  Stash turnover!!!!!

Time to dig in!  Lots of pieces, so no sense in procrastinating.  First I cut the backgrounds.  And took no photos.

Then, let's do Sasquatch next.  Just one of him and a good way to dip my toes into the water on this pattern.  (Though Elizabeth writes amazingly detailed and accurate patterns, so I had no real worries other than the 378 pieces it would take to construct just 14 trees.  But we'll talk about that later.)

Holy cow!  But thanks to my diligence at making those labels, this went really fast.  (To be honest, though, I groaned inwardly at having to make those labels.  I didn't want to do it, but knew I needed to.  And current me thanked earlier me for doing such an arduous task.)

I think the cutting took longer than the sewing?

And by this point, Freddie was absolutely WORN OUT from all the "helping"...

(I love him so much.)

Next up was cutting into those greens.  Some of them had to be washed (not all of my stash has been prewashed - some of it predates my decision to do that, so sometimes you have to do a quick load of laundry for a scrappy quilt...), but I managed to plan far enough ahead that while Sasquatch was being constructed, they were washing and drying.  Just need to iron them and off we go!

And I took no photos.  I was on a mission.  You see, after mathing, I discovered (very late in the construction process, thankfully) that there were 378 pieces in those trees.  And though I didn't know how many pieces, I knew there were a lot.  And a lot of "lost corners" to construct them.  I cringed at the idea of drawing all those lines.

But wait!

Purchased at a quilt retreat in 2000 to use for the mystery quilt I made there, I have an Angler 2!  (And have recently seen advertisements for a "new" version.  Wonder if it's really new or if folks have just rediscovered this gem?)  It's kind of a pain to get set up.  Okay, it's really not.  But that's my story for why I don't use it more often.  In this case?  Worth the trouble!

Finally, about an hour ago, I decided to take a photo...

Poorly lit but this is my favorite fabric.  It looks so pine tree-y.  I wasn't sure in the store, seeing it all as one big piece on the bolt, but I am so happy I got it.  I want it in all the colors now.  (Uh oh...)

And then, not too long ago, I had them all done!

14 whole trees and one Sasquatch!

I still have the dreaded long seams of top construction, but this is making me happy.  I started it Friday and this is only Monday!  I didn't have to work this weekend, which helped.  And the hubby, after being gone a few days for work, didn't have a huge desire to go anywhere (the "ice storm" on Saturday helped curb our desire to go anywhere also - it wasn't nearly as nasty as predicted, so I'm only slightly sarcastic with those quotes above...), so he watched the football playoff games and I sewed.  (And made a pot of chili and some brownies and stuff.)

There is still almost a whole week before the next Project Quilting prompt comes out and I hope to have this top completed by then.  Just in case I do, I have my next project picked out...

My turquoise stash of fabrics is running over into purples.  (To be fair, blue and turquoise are mixed together, but after trying to find a true blue in there that was large enough to make four 7's for the PQ project, I can tell you turquoise is winning that battle by a landslide!)  So I think this will be my January charity project, done in turquoises and white.  Scrappy-ish.  The pattern looks fairly simple, just the layout is kinda tricky.  But I can do it!  (It'll be fine.)

And while you wait for my next post (I know you all are waiting...probably just to see the cats...), check out the Project Quilting entries!  There is no voting this year, sadly, but there are still some pretty cool creations.

Also, this old post might entertain you all and help explain some of the Sasquatch fascination in my family...and the friend blamed my mom for the whole thing!  Guess he hasn't met me well enough yet?

But there is also the story of Grampa Squatch.  My dad decided, about 20 years ago, to grow a beard.  Now, he's grown these on and off through my childhood, so it was just my dad being dad.  Nothing odd.  But my mom hated it.  HATED it.  So we tried to get my niece, then about 2, to call him "Grampa Squatch."  Because it would be hilarious.  She wouldn't do it.  I think it scared her a little because all the other guys she knew were clean-shaven.  He shaved it off a while later, perhaps because of the teasing (but had to wait a while so it didn't seem like we helped make that choice) or perhaps because he tired of it.  He hasn't grown one back since, though.  But I still remember.

And with that, I'm off to read some!

Happy quilting!