Tuesday, July 17, 2018

BOM for July

I am caught up with most of the BOMs. I worked on this one called Broken Dishes this morning.
Two quilt-along BOMs will go to various people in my life who expressed a desire to receive a quilt from me. They are scrap quilts and each block will be a color combo specific to the pattern and month. Nothing will 'match' in the truest sense of the word. I remember one of my quilting teachers telling me that the more colors and fabrics in a quilt, the more people will find what they want to match their environment.

What I am doing is laying out the blocks when I start selecting fabrics for the next one so that I am using something different. The electrician who was here this morning said he just gave away a lot of fabric. Seriously, I breathed a sigh of relief because I want desperately to use up what I have here now. For as many quilts as I have made, it surprises me how much fabric is still in the bins. Its getting harder because there is less and less, but making THESE BOMs as scrap blocks helps so very much.

I pulled out the few books and magazines still on a shelf and plan to revisit the patterns to see if there is something I might still want to make. In truth, there are a number of projects listed on the blog side-bar that need completing first. Hard for me not to start new things. I am that quadruple Aries, which brings a real desire for new.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Mystery Surprise

I say this all the time that mystery quilts stress me out and then they become so beautiful. If only I could get this lesson in life...trust the process, trust the choices, trust myself. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

This is the first medallion quilt I've made. I pulled fabrics out that coordinated and then struggled with the pattern maker's choices of using red. I used red in the very center and kept grumbling about it from that moment forward. She used reds and blues.

Then, this last round asked for a small center square. I decided to bring the red back in for the 3.5" corner Shoofly blocks. It worked. I understand that there is more to come, and I am quite content with how this looks right now. It stretched me.

I am not sure why it was a challenge. Something new? Something beyond my skills? The mystery component is also interesting in as much as it is a symbol of trust.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Step 7 Medallian Quilt

There is quite a bit to this step, and so it is a work in progress. Until I get the step done, I decided to forego photos. As a Sunday with very high heat, I did get outside to water plants and did not do any weeding or otherwise work in the garden. I added water to the fountain and used the weed blower to clean off the South porch where fallen birdseed gathers. The high school grad comes early in the morning.

Then, I went to a concert in the park where a Celtic Blue Grass band was playing under the trees. There was a breeze for a little while and I made it through the first set. Such high heat makes me run for the AC. 

So the week is started. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hallows Scrap Back

I bought more of the black and finished the back of the Hallows Log Cabin. I also bought a gingerbread colored brown to make mug rugs. There is an actual practice called CHRISTMAS IN JULY among fabric artists, who buy their materials in June and have already got projects going.

Here I am with a Hallows quilt and still need to baste, machine quilt and bind it. It is only a couple of inches larger than the top but will work as long as I take time during the basting process to line it up. There are lines on both sides so it is essential that they do line up and if they go wonky, it won't be too bad a look. I will attempt to pin so they join in the center as well as going outward to all four sides.

I found a kids paper project that I used for a pattern to make a mug rug and did get a start on it this morning. I had to adjust the corners on the arms to make it work but did. I've got enough for 5 of them after cutting two WOF strips and some white for the background. They become a 9-patch. I want to make one up before going on with them, just in case it doesn't work out.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Need Fabric

There isn't enough of the black tone on tone to finish the back, so its off to the fabric store on Saturday.

I am really glad I selected black to do this sashing, and also that it is cut 2.25". At first, it mattered which fabric laid next to others. And yet, it became quite random as the rows were joined. Even looking at this pic, I can see where other choices might have happened. Again, Hallows fabrics are so busy and bright. Black gives your eye a place to rest from it all.

The side-to-side measurement will accommodate the top's side borders. There are enough blocks to make two more rows to extend the back, but at this point, it might be long enough. Six across and 8 down. In fact seven might work. I'll buy enough black to do the binding too and finish the quilt by the end of August and ship it out as soon as it is done.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Making 8" Blocks

Hallows scraps were saved in many sizes, the largest of which are 8" squares. As a result, I joined smaller bits so they measured 8". And now what?

Halloween fabric prints are incredibly busy. Even if the square is cut from a single fabric, it is still busy. I want to do a sashing but am not sure what will work better and coordinate with the front, which is black and white with orange. Colors are vivid so nothing light or pastel will work. Too much orange, or black already. I thought about a bright, deep yellow, which would complement the orange on the other side, and found a black that auditions better and is on hand. I have black. I do not have the yellow. The challenge using such a scrappy back is in matching it to the top. It is important to check all seams and clip threads.

Sigh. Math. I found one site that set up the formula, but calculated it for 12.5" unfinished blocks. I am using 8". The scrap of black I found is a tone on tone. I drew the layout and have first started with the side pieces to join them. I am not sure how much fabric will work, so made the cut at 2.25" and will do the center part first. I have another solid black to make an outside border. For as much of this Halloween fabric I used for the top and the bottom, there is still a lot of it left for another project.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fabric Panel Books & a LC Top

I love being able to use batting scraps for this project. I am one page short of batting, but made great progress.  All the pages are together except one for two books.

It surprised me how quickly these went together, though the project has a few more steps to slip stitch closed the bottom of the pages, top stitching around all of them, and joining the centers with a vertical stitch to form the book. I am not sure if the pages will get quilted for stability or how to do it. Directions do not give that as a step, however, batting will shift if not secured. I may do another seam next to the top stitching seam or run a few horizontal stitches before putting the pages together.

Next, I pulled more projects in the bins out to finish tops, match with backs, and get them ready for basting. Again, it surprised me, though shouldn't, that there were a number of projects without notes-to-self. I guess that means I will get to choose what happens next and use the creative thoughts I have NOW. Some of these projects have been sitting awhile.

I finished a Log Cabin Hallows scrap top. The darker pieces are all black prints. 'Scrappy' means gathering in a very random manner, and 'scrap' quilting means some thinking and planning while using scraps on hand. I have so many scraps that I want to make the back from them with the intention to use as much of the holiday as possible. Thing is there is no pattern for the back, as of yet. 

This top turned out so good, I would like to make the back as close to stunning as this top is. It was more planned using all the spider web on white for the entire white side, using the same fabric for the center blocks, then making the borders. Yet, all from scraps on hand. So it would be considered a scrap quilt. Even though the back is also made of scraps, to get it to look nice, it needs structure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bargello Top Finish

I don’t think I will make another Bargello. I don't like the fragility of cut seams this might have. Maybe not, but it wasn't a pattern that sparked joy in me the way Log Cabins do. Next I need to buy flannel for the back and get it basted. I have several quilts ready to baste that I want to work on.

Next project is a couple of cloth baby books, one for alpha and the other for numbers. They will be a mid-August birthday gift for a Nanny who works locally with two toddlers. I found the panels at one of the local fabric stores and can use batting scraps to line the pages. Everything is cut and needs pressing next. It seems to be an easy project. It surprised me how many options for these books are for sale. I have not seen the quilting panels before and so bought both that were available.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

First Half of the Bargello

According to Wikipedea, Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery  consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello Palace in Florence, Italy, which have a "flame stitch" pattern. Traditionally, Bargello was stitched in wool on canvas. Embroidery done this way is remarkably durable. It is well suited for use on pillows, upholstery & even carpets, but not for clothing. In most traditional pieces, all stitches are vertical with stitches going over two or more threads. Traditional designs are very colourful, and use many hues of one colour, which produces intricate shading effects. The patterns are naturally geometric, but can also resemble very stylized flowers or fruits. Bargello is considered particularly challenging, as it requires very precise counting of squares for the mathematical pattern connected with the various motifs to accurately execute designs...it entered the quilting world in modern times.

The first step in joining the colors was relatively easy. Each jelly roll was joined to form a tube. Then, if I am following directions correctly, strips of varying sizes were cut to form the wave. This weakens the end seam stitches a bit. I numbered each of the strips, and then started pinning and joining them. Each strip that was cut was a different graduated size going from narrow to wide and back to narrow again. Only one tube was cut in strips and numbered. And only 6 strips from the first tube have been pinned, joined and pressed. This is not a one-day or one-sitting kind of project. 

It is, as was written above, very challenging. My guess is that consistency is key to make this work. From all I read, starting with solid rainbow colors makes it easy for the beginner. This pic represents the first jelly roll. The full impact of the quilt is yet to show itself.

Friday, July 6, 2018


When I was a grrrl still living at home with my Parents, one of my tasks was ironing. I hated ironing. Back in the day, cotton wrinkled so bad. Well, it still does. And now, as a part of quilting, one must 'press' seams open, or 'press' to get wrinkles out from washing. 

Pressing is different from ironing. It is not the sweeping motion. It is a downward action that doesn't move the fabric to stretch it or ruin the bias cuts. Some quilters press seams open and some say that open seams are more fragile and prefer to press them 'to the dark side'. It really depends upon how the final quilting will be done, and so you have to know what your plans are. 

Today is a pressing day for me. I want to press the seams on the comfort quilt (no photos until the recipient has it in hand), and press the seams on the Bargello. This is the perfect time to check seams to ensure they are joined with that 1/4 inch to hold up to use. I plan to press the top seams open and the back seams to the side. I've thought about how I will quilt this project and plan to use white thread to go with the background of the top. I want back seams to have the strength of side pressed seams and think that I will quilt this one a bit more than usual just for the added strength.

As for the Bargello, well, it is still a WIP (work in process) so one step at a time with it. Today, it gets pressed and each section made into a tube. Admittedly, I am way beyond my comfort level with it and am second guessing everything I do with it. Already, I am concerned with my color choice on it. It is my first Bargello, and will be a learning experience.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Back From 4" Squares

Piecing the squares is an adventure. First they go into 9-patch blocks, then six of those blocks get joined in rows. Right now, I have 6 rows. I learned that the term scrap quilt means using scraps in patterns to form cohesiveness. Scrappy quilts means you just grab what you have and piece away. I like more of the orderliness and so mine are scrap quilts rather than scrappy. These blocks for the back might look random to the eye of a non-quilter, but they are not.

The project is coming along nicely. The next step might just be scrappy because at this point, the rows are joined in whatever way they come together to make the sizing requirements. I did my best to have the squares look good next to each other, but did not spend too much time doing that step. Once the back measured out, it was ready to sandwich with batting and get basted. It is a lot larger than it needs to be, but I would rather have it larger to trim off than to be short. Done.

What I do plan to do next is work on the Bargello quilt, to piece the tubes and cut into the strips as suggested in the pattern.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

When the Machine.....

Starts to rumble...

I worked on another comfort quilt the last few days and in fact, have many more days to work on finishing steps. Because my friend might read the blog, I am not posting photos. I pulled out 4th of July movies, The Sandlot, & National Treasure to watch while I work. Wish I had others but the day passes quickly and these were enough.

And the back of the quilt. I have a lot of the blocks done & measured the top so I can piece the back to fit. As I use these squares, thoughts about other quilts I've made & who they went to come to mind. Of course, I remember different people who gave me fabrics too. The 'stash' of fabrics is getting down, which is the goal. Yet, there is so much here to use. Sometimes it seems to multiply rather than subtract.

I think about the woman in town who gave me bags of her fabric when I first decided to quilt. At the time, she said she wasn't going to continue quilting and then took it up again. I think about friends who donated their own leftovers or those whose relatives had passed who left behind materials that their family would not use. And then what came from my dear friend, whose Daughters gave me boxes of her supplies. All of them contributed to what I have. In some rare cases, I bought fabrics myself. Some times the fabrics were to finish off a scrappy quilt, and sometimes I bought specific fabrics that were for a specific reason. 

I think I like the scrappy quilts more than when I buy fabrics. Seems like I can stretch my creative juices with scrappy quilts and have less misses than when I try to shop. I am simply not a shopper. Not for fabric. Not for other things. I like scrap quilting. I really need and want to make more backs from the squares I've cut. I like the look of those kinds of backs and know that it takes me much more time to make them than it would to go out and buy 5-6 yards and make one seam.

Fireworks seemed quick tonight. Weather was nice here in the valley. No winds to blow them away. The valley is pretty flat, so you can see the fireworks from just about anywhere. Some of us just pull chairs out and just look up. 

There is the sky at night. This pic is not quite as dark as it gets here but the starlight is the same. Its amazing to be so close to the night and feel like you could reach up at touch the stars.

And tomorrow. Well, like Scarlett O'Hara said, 'I'll think about it tomorrow.'

I read the Bargello directions again and had a friend look at them with me to be sure of what I was doing. So this is my next WIP.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lost Pieces

One of the challenges after leaving a project is that cut fabrics can go missing. No matter how one labels or leaves notes to self, things happen. The other day, I wanted to save the leftovers from a quilt I basted and use them for binding. Well, without thinking and because I did not write a note to self, I cut the leftovers into squares and put them in the bins. Sure enough, when it came time to cutting the binding strips, that fabric was elsewhere.

(No photos of the current project.) I had my share of snafu's today, but feel much better than when I had that stomach bug.

The quilt I am currently making will have two sides to it so that it is reversible. Both are different from each other so that the new owner of this quilt can chose what they want to have top side up. The colors will be different. The patterns will be too. I am making the 9-patch back for it from the bin of 4" squares. I'll put as many of them together as I can and trim to fit the front part when it is done.

Ideally, the 9-patch should have a good contrast to each block. In some cases, it should have either 4 patches the same, or 5 patches the same so it doesn't end up looking too busy. Well, ideally doesn't always happen in scrappy quilting. What I do find is that it takes on a life of its own and usually turns out better than I thought it would. So I just go with what is under the needle.

I have got to use what Is here. Over the years, I've saved usable scraps just so I could join them for backs. Whatever is here will make up a back and then get sized and set aside to be used for the comfort quilt project.

I've joined in on the controversy quilters have about whether or not to wash the quilt before giving it to someone. In almost all cases, I have not pre-washed them and sent along a few Color Catchers. This particular quilt has a lot of white for background and because it is really scrappy, may suffer color bleed. I have not decided yet if It will get pre-washed or go with the Color Catchers. Lots of different fabrics are risky with the white. Hmmmm.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Out of Gray Thread

With one line left to stitch, the thread ran out and both local fabric stores are closed until Tuesday.

I stitched the binding onto the quilt with a black thread because that part will not matter. The back is a black print fabric. I need to set this aside until later and get on with other things. For instance, next on the list is the Bargello. My next step was to press and check seams. Of course, I found a few spaces where seams were ok, but I wanted to secure them. I've gone back to the pattern. This is a time consuming quilt. Lots of cutting and layout.

This morning, I pulled out bins from the closet to get ready for the week. The Bargello is pressed and seams reinforced. I asked for help with the pattern so that when I start cutting, there should be a better understanding. 

Then, I took out the next Comfort Quilt project. Its been started and set aside long enough. After looking at the smaller bins and labels on them, that I have enough projects to keep going for some time. Its a matter of pulling the small bins out and simply working on them.