Friday, May 3, 2019

busy, busy, busy!

I've been trying, after a prompt to share our progress on our for the Hands 2 Help Comfort Quilt Challenge, to get a chance to take photos of the six (yes six!) quilts I've completed to donate this year.  It's been raining or windy or I've been at work for far too many days now.  (The rain, in particular, can take a break any time now!)

The rain is supposed to stop today.  And it is pretty much dead calm outside, so I thought I'd try to get photos.  Turns out it is still misty raining and there IS a wind (want the wind to blow?  try to photograph a quilt!)...but nothing significant, so I can handle this.

I asked my hubby to help, as there are six quilts to wrangle onto the clothesline.  He grumbled, but agreed.  I AM making a fancy birthday cake for his niece for her birthday this weekend, so maybe we're even now?  (I'm going to attempt a checkerboard cake using devil's food and strawberry layers!)

Let's just jump right into the whole lineup!

Look - green grass!  (And a messy hosta bed in there, too...oops...but the green grass makes up for the untidy flower bed!)  (And a rickety old garage.  But it keeps the snow off my car, so I'm not going to complain too loudly!)

Wanna see individual photos?  Sure you do!

First up, the Churn Dash quilt.

I blogged about getting it started here, and about quilting it here, but don't know if I shared much more than this.  So it started out as a nagging idea to make a Churn Dasn quilt.  And I found Jack's Basket thanks to the quilt drive last year.  I thought I'd get an early start and use up some of my darker blue and darker green scraps.  Because they are not colors I choose to use a lot and it would make a nice boyish quilt.

The green is gone.  Much of the off-white tone-on-tone prints are gone (there wasn't much to start with).  The blue?  That doggone blue.  It's that cursed fabric in my stash that just Will. Not. Go. Away.  It's a nice enough blue.  But I'm so over it.

Ah well.

Next up, the Left-Handed Quilter Sampler Quilt 2.

I have been following a blog written by a left-handed quilter for quite a few years now.  She's pretty funny (and some of the e-mails we send back and forth are even funnier!), but she's also a really amazing quilter.  A while ago she made 99 9-patch blocks to prove to herself she could.  She invited us to join in, but I was still working and had 98 other excuses why that wouldn't happen.  But recently she decided to do another round - this time smaller.

I wasn't going to do it.

Then I thought about my idea to make a quilt using all my dot fabrics.  When I remembered the two chunks of grey with white dots languishing in my stash (yes, I bought the same fabric twice and didn't even know it), I was in.  I posted about starting the quilt here (aka "drinking the Kool-Aid") and some of the finishing here.  There are probably other posts with block info running around, but the final quilt is the fun photo, right?

And then there's the pink log cabins.

This one started because I had a gazillion pink "bonus" half square triangles that I was NOT going to throw out.  They were left over from my crazy, insane idea to make a whole 72x72" quilt in about four days.  (I still love, love, love that quilt and smile every time I see it draped over my couch...and smile wider when I pull it down to curl up under!)  I had a brilliant idea one day to use those triangles to make log cabins.  And I was off!

I had aspirations to quilt this fancier, with something in the diagonals to show off quilting skills, but when it came down to it, getting the quilt loaded on a longarm diagonally and knowing this will go to a little one, I decided for easier.  It still looks pretty good, right?

Next up is the sampler quilt.

Waaaaaaaaay back in 2013 (well, actually, late 2012), I decided to make blocks that were being e-mailed to me from the QuiltPro Block of the Day program.  At the time, this was free.  I'm not sure if it even exists any more.  But I thought it would be a good reason to get myself into my sewing room every day (or every other day, depending on what block was chosen...) and I would get a few charity quilts out of my scraps.  I got two twin-ish sized tops from darker colors and 12" blocks (oh look, more of the cursed blue).  I stalled out on these - 10" in pastels - because there weren't that many coming through that were the right size.  And eventually, after a few months, I fell off the wagon.

When I found five blocks hiding in my sewing room (oops!), I decided to pull out fabrics and make 4 more and add this to the list of quilts for Jack's Basket.  I didn't find some of the fabrics I'd started with and was worried the substitutes I'd chosen would look wrong.  I think it turned out just fine and actually like this quilt.  (Normally I'm not a big fan of sampler quilts...still not on my bucket list as something I'd do to keep!)

Then there's Squirrel Poop.

This fabric is leftover from my squirrel to make Swoon.  I found a bundle of fat quarters in my stash (yes, I forgot about them, but in all fairness, I didn't buy them) and realized it was PERFECT for that Swoon quilt I'd been considering for ages.  But the pattern calls for a lot of "lost corners" in the construction.  Had I had plenty of fabric and not been hoping to get all I needed from what I had, I might have ventured out more and used the no-lost-corners method of block part construction.  But I didn't.  (Chicken?  Yes.  Lazy about refiguring?  Yes.  Honest?  Yes.)

So what to do with all those leftovers, aka "squirrel poop"?  Well, another quilt, of course.  You can see I varied the pattern some - due to the amount of fabric I actually had left over and the number of blocks needed - but I got enough to make the whole top!  This is perhaps not the best name for a quilt, but it makes me giggle, so it's gonna be Squirrel Poop to me forever.

And last but not least, another squirrel, Summer Fun.

This is the fault of my friend, Carol.  We were teasing each other back and forth about squirrels and she found this quilt along.  We both ended up making the quilt.  Originally, it had the word "summer" appliqued where my friendship stars are.  But I decided, before I even started, that this would end up going to Jack's Basket, and so I thought it needed something that was less seasonal.  I also had to make it a bit larger, which was a stalling point, because I ran out of the red used for the checkboard borders.  Eventually I did find more and finished the quilt.  Don't mind the quilting.  I was over-ambitious or didn't go as well as I had envisioned, but it's okay enough.

So that's the six quilts that I will be packing up to ship out today.

I'm pretty excited about having this many.  It wasn't the original plan to go so overboard, but it seems this year, between the Project Quilting challenges, I was more inspired to get things done.  That level of activity has fallen off some, but I am plugging away at the Pantone challenge quilt...

I finished all of the extra blocks and earlier this week took over the living room floor to decide on how to lay them all out...

All circles seemed too regular.  Too predictable.  And this pattern is not about predictability.

Move a few around...

Well this is looking better.  More irregular, but at this point, I wondered if I should move a few more circles because this is still looking a little pattern-ey...

One more set of moving...this is getting harder and harder...

We have a winner!  There are still regularly spaced circles, but you have to look a little harder for them and to see the symmetry surrounding them.  (It IS still there!)

I labelled all the rows, but then realized this would be hard to make sure all the blocks were facing the correct direction, as determined by this layout.  I thought about letting it fall to chance and if it was wrong, it was wrong.  But that's not how I work.  Also, I tried very hard to keep the same fabrics from touching too much, so I got out the pins...

...and I put a pin in the top edge of all the blocks that didn't have row labels.  It worked well and I'm sure saved me more than once from sewing things together incorrectly!

And then I decided to put it on my freshly made bed.  (Thanks to Emma who hopped into bed RIGHT after using the the whole bed went into the wash!)

(And can see the swap quilt hanging on the wall behind it!)

With a 8x8 layout and 9.5" finished blocks, this will finish at 76x76".  Fairly large, and it turns out my two-width-of-fabric backing isn't going to quite be large enough - not to get it on the longarm.  I want to bind it with the solid coral, so I'm going to buy enough to add to either side of the quilt to get it loaded easily onto the longarm, and then trim it back off to use as binding!  Win-win!

I ordered a LOT of thread yesterday - I only had a turquoise that would work - and got stuck finding coral.  The So Fine! that I love doesn't come in coral.  What?  Yep.  So I ended up buying a variegated coral/red spool and hope that will work.  It's King Tut, and a little heavier thread, so it will require some finesse with tension, but I'm going to put on a practice piece and figure it out.  It's about time I learn those skills of tweaking tension for other threads.  (But let me tell you, I would have ordered the coral So Fine! had it existed and never looked back!)

Speaking of thread...I bought coral thread for my little machine to piece this.  I started a 300-yard spool with the start of this project.  I chain sewed a lot.  And when I couldn't, I have a little scrap of fabric (about an inch wide) that I use as a leader-ender so I don't have to break thread as often.

This was the state of affairs as I finished the last seam...


But I made it.

The bobbin looks just about as bleak.

In other news, I went clothes shopping the other day.  My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last week, and had asked that the priest bless their marriage at mass last Sunday.  And asked that we all be there.  That meant I had to dress nice and my stash of nice clothes is pathetic.  So I went to Peebles (like Kohl's or a tiny JCPenny's) and got a steal:

I got a pair of very dark, fairly skinny-fit Levi's and a cute top.  I could have saved even more, as their clearance was buy one, get two free (the jeans were actually on clearance), but I wasn't in a clearance-diving mood, so I let it be.

Then, since I'm in a wedding in about a month and needed silver shoes (flats or heels, my choice), I stopped at Payless, just across the street, hoping for a miracle.  They're going out of business and everything is super cheap.  (Well, it's cheap to start with...)  And in the girls department (a 4 in girls is a 6 in women's for whatever silly reason), I found the cutest pair of silver ballet flats.  With tax they cost me $3.45.  I broke my streak in going to Wal-Mart for a few necessary groceries and got in the stupidest checkout line possible.  (And had to pay full price for everything, too!)

But bonus?  The shoes looked super cute with the outfit I got for church!  (Sunday night church where my parents attend is very casual.  Based on the outfits of the high school kids doing the official stuff for mass - it's a youth mass - I was overdressed a bit...yes, in jeans...but jeans without holes...)

So there you have it.  One very long post, but I caught up on a few things.  Now it's back to the real world of cake-baking (I'll try to get a photo of the inside...the outside may not end up too fancy...), laundry washing and errands.

Happy quilting!


Carol R. said...

Oh, you liked that Summer challenge and you know it lol. WTG on all those quilts for the challenge! I think you forgot something, though... there wasn't any mention of Gabby or Frankie/Freddie ( can't remember it's name) ... just one quick mention of Emma.
Now that I've read all you've been doing (no wonder I've barely heard from you), I need a nap.

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Love your long posts - and all of your quilts - that's quite a collection on the clothesline! Jack's Basket is sure to love them, too! Thanks for the kind words - and for playing along with my quilt-along - I'm glad you "drank the Kool-Aid" - LOL - your dotty quilt looks great. The first photo of your Pantone challenge quilt looks like "curvy" Snail's Trail blocks to me - and I really like the last layout - it's a "winner" for sure. Like Carol R. - I missed pictures of Gabby and Freddie, too - ;))

---"Love" said...

I really liked the first layout of your 'circles', but must admit I like the last one best. It is a beautiful layout for sure! All those other quilts are great too, and will be much loved by whoever gets them. Looking forward to seeing your checkerboard cake. When I was a child, our neighbor used to make them, and always shared a piece with me; I loved the idea! One day she gave me the rings she used to make those cakes, and I still have them. Maybe I'll try a checkerboard cake at my party next week, or whenever it is! ---"Love"

Ruth said...

I love the quilts on the line! I didn't notice the messy costa bed until you mentioned it! I think my favorites are the polka dot one and the log cabin, but they are all wonderful! I agree with Love concerning the circles quilt. BTW, I went to Penneys this week to see what I could find in the clearance section and I found 5 tops. I had a $10 off coupon and all the tops had a pink sticker which was a really low price, but was also 50% off that price, so I ended up paying about $12.00 and saving (rolling drums here) $194!! I just laughed because we all know that they put high prices on everything so that we will think we are getting a bargain when they give you 10 or 20% off. But, I was really happy because I am trying to sell some clothing on Ebay and have just sold one top, so I hope I can sell a couple of these. One of them will be given to my sister for Christmas because it is her size and I think it is really pretty. There are 2 sweaters exactly the same, but different sizes and I will probably keep the one that fits me.

a good yarn said...

Those six quilts are fabulous and I love the stories around them. The circle quilt is amazing and I really like to mixed up layout. Nice to see our friendship quilt peeking out there. There must be something in the water because I've snaffled a few clothing bargains as well.

Marsha B said...

Wow, busy is an understatement! Sounds like fun though. I love the picture of the line, they are all so pretty and will make great donation quilts. Lots of people will love their quilts! The circles look fantastic! Looks like any way they are placed, it looks good. Your way of keeping them straight sounds good, this layout looks complicated. Great shopping trip and lots of savings. That is my kind of shopping! Glad everything goes together so well. Hope the cake turned out great, it sounds delish!

Preeti said...

SIX??? Did you say six? OK, I got it. Six it is. So when there are six, it is perfectly acceptable to go a simple route on quilting. And although all of them are lovely and will bring joy and comfort to the recipient, this is not what I want to gush about.
It is the circles - disjointed, deconstructed that I am absolutely drooling over. I will be copying that idea. Shamelessly. Will do. You are hereby notified.

Sarah Craig said...

Katie, you have outdone yourself! Your quilts are beautiful and will bring much joy! Thanks for participating in H2H this year.

And I want to add, smart move to rearrange your circle blocks - they have much more movement and are hence more interesting now!