Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March Stash Report and Goals Update

What a month this has been! Our plans have changed drastically. I don't know about you, but I feel like I've kind of lost my sewing mojo a little while simultaneously having more time to spend sewing. Or maybe it's just that I can't seem to focus very well. Anyone else having trouble concentrating?

At the beginning of March I celebrated the completion of my WIGSP, a hand pieced top that's been in work since 2008. My friends in CSQ Piecing Group who helped piece it celebrated with me. That was my final attendance at Piecing; I resigned because of my planned move to Arizona.
CSQ Piecing Group with WIGSP now called "How Many"

Well, the house-hunting trip to AZ scheduled for this week is cancelled. DH's retirement date was to be April 30 but his work will be extended through the summer. Our plans to buy a house in AZ are on hold for at least six months, then we'll relook at the situation. Therefore we didn't put our current house on the market this month as originally planned. In addition, our beach vacation with son and grandson planned for May to celebrate DH's retirement is cancelled. The Paducah quilt show and annual trip with my quilting buddies is postponed until September. My busy April calendar is suddenly looking very empty.

So with extra time in the sewing room, let's look at my stash report and goals and see how I did in March.

Stash Report
IN this month: 10-1/2 yards (Connecting Threads sale order including backing for Color Spoke Puzzle)
OUT this month: 7-3/4 yards (Corona Medallion flimsy)

IN YTD: 26-1/2 yards
OUT YTD: 54-5/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 28-1/8 yards OUT
Note: I'm not counting the fabric used in the WIGSP flimsy because it predates my stash report days and was never counted in as part of the stash.

Corona Medallion flimsy

Goals Update 
March Recap: 
1. Thoroughly clean up the sewing room.  Um, yes-ish. Somewhere between a lick and a promise and deep clean.
2. Gather up small quilts for donation to Operation Shower. YES, donated seven small quilts that had been hanging in a closet for years. 
3. Get Checkerboards and Dresden Plates appraised; ship it to AQS. DONE (AQS will hold it until the rescheduled show in September)
4. Finish making blocks for Fan Medallion. DONE. Not only finished making the blocks, finished the top. 
5. Layer, baste, and quilt Have Faith. Currently being pin basted.
6. Start something new. Yes, started new Plus quilt for donation. 
7. Keep up with bee blocks for the last month. DONE. I will continue with Sew Bee It for as long as I'm still in St. Louis. 
Have Faith being basted on the dining room floor

Craving, made in 1998,
one of the small quilts I donated to Operation Shower

April Goals:
1. Quilt and bind Have Faith for Hands 2 Help.
2. Talk to Sandy about quilting How Many and Corona Medallion; order batting and backing.
3. Layer, baste and quilt Color Spoke Puzzle.
4. Assemble Plus top for Hands 2 Help.
5. Make a baby quilt for Operation Shower.
6. Look through UFOs and find something to move forward.

This photo kind of expresses how I feel: The Plus quilt on the design is partially sewn into rows. While vacuuming the sewing room, the exhaust from the hand vac I used blew some of the unsewn squares off the wall.
Results of cleaning up

We'll see how focused I can stay in April. Maybe as time goes on the news won't be so distressing. Meanwhile I'm just staying home. DH is still going to work because his company is deemed essential (they make rotary die equipment for printing and cutting medical labels and masks). He's able to practice social distancing at his office. We'll continue like this for at least the next several months.

I hope you all, my blog friends, are staying safe and well. How has your life changed this month?

Monday, March 30, 2020

A New Project on the Wall

Once again, I've signed up to participate in Hands2Help organized by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Plus quilts are always a good choice, quick to make and positive, uplifting in spirit. I'll make a Plus quilt using some scraps given to me by others. A couple of the prints inspired the palette.

The one on the left was an actual sleeve from a blouse. Just the one sleeve...
The one on the right was a lengthwise strip, maybe an off-cut from backing.

To maximize the available fabric in these and some other scraps, I decided on squares cut 4" (finish 3-1/2"). I pulled all the scraps I had that could work, and raided my stash of fat quarters. I added a few pops of color from the inspiration prints to keep the palette from being boring, and a selection of low volumes for value contrast.

Of course I ended up cutting extra in order to make the layout work, so I have a baggie of 4" squares that can become the seeds for a future project.

A layout of 16 squares wide and 19 squares long will come out to 56" by 66-1/2", throw size, which fits in the parameters of one or more of this year's charities.

I snuck in a little surprise, too.

This should go together quickly.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, March 27, 2020

Corona Medallion, A Finished Top

This was supposed to be a goal-of-the month long term project with my First Saturday buddies. My goal for this month was to finish making the blocks. The blades had been appliqued down but the corners needed to be snowballed and there were still some details that needed to be taken care of.

Well, with time available I was able to finish the blocks before the end of the month, so I went ahead and assembled the top. I added a 2" border all the way around because the outer points needed some breathing room.

The finished top measures 68-1/2 by 68-1/2".  When possible, I'll get it professionally quilted. I want wool batting so it'll be soft and drapey. This one's for me, to replace the sofa quilt I've been using for awhile.

Given the crown-like shapes made by the fan arcs, as well as the times we're living through right now, I'm naming this quilt Corona Medallion.

Awhile back someone asked if I was planning to write a pattern for this quilt, and at the time I was undecided. After working on it and having to revise the sizes of some pieces, I've decided not to pattern this one. Sorry!

Linking up with:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia Quilts
Wendy's Quilts and More

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Corona Medallion

As I'm sewing together the rows of my fan medallion project, it occurs to me that the fans look a bit like crowns.

It's only fitting that I should name this quilt Corona Medallion since we're all focused on that other corona-thing these days.

I'm liking the way this is coming together.

The center - gotta love that negative space!

Link Up: Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Monday, March 23, 2020


...Because anyone who knows me knows I'm detail oriented. But it's the little things that make for a more successful result.

Last post, I had all the fan blocks appliqued to their backgrounds and had snowballed the corners to create the inner point shapes.

The points of the fan blades are machine appliqued down but the tails have an actual seam, not appliqued. So, where they'll come together, part has visible stitching and part doesn't. I fixed that by topstitching across the snowballed corner, so that when the blocks are joined the stitching will appear continuous.

The top stitching is purely decorative; it serves no structural purpose. Here's what the back of the block looks like now. You can see the topstitching parallel to the seam where the snowball corner is attached.

There's a lot of bulk where those corners are snowballed: the background of the block, the tails of the blades with their seam allowances, and two plies of the snowball square.

A friend of mine is an award winning applique artist and she always recommends cutting the layers away from behind applique so the batting will fill it out. I did so on my Checkerboards and Dresden Plates quilt and was pleased with the results. I'll do the same on this quilt.

In the snowballed corner, I trimmed away the backing, the tails of the blades, and the inner layer of the snowball square, leaving only the top layer of fabric. The seam allowances are graded so there won't be any visible lump. Then I trimmed away the background fabric from behind the blades. Lastly, I trimmed the facing layer of the points of the blades. Here's what's left; the batting will fill in nicely.

There's the tiniest strip of background fabric where the snowball seam and the topstitching are, not a problem.

The shape I cut away from behind the blades is too large to go to waste. Each piece is large enough to fit on my 3" HST die on grain and cut two triangles, so I'll save all these cut-aways for a future project. There's 56 pieces in that stack.

With all the blocks prepped, I can now sew them into rows. Here are the rows on my design wall:

Oh, yeah, I'm liking this. Totally worth all the attention to detail. I love that interesting negative space!

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Monday, March 16, 2020

On the Wall Again

The Fan Medallion

I'm really glad I chose this background - I really like it even though it's not the vision I originally had in mind for this project. All of the fan blades have been machine appliqued down to the background fabric, 56 fan blocks.

The next step will be to deal with the corners where the blade tails end. 

In a traditional Dresden plate design, there would be an appliqued circle there, or quarter-circle for a fan block. That's not what I'm going for. I plan to snowball those corners across the blade tails to make an angled shape in the negative space.

Since I'm creating this pattern as I go along, I don't have measurements or a template for the size of snowball corner I need. My first attempt used a 2-1/4" square, stitched on the diagonal, and it came out a little too big. Those blades need to align at the precise point where the seams cross. I'll have to remeasure and try again with a slightly smaller square for the corner. 

A 2-1/8" square stitched on the diagonal seems to be working better. 

Below, four blocks are basted together to see how well the blades match. I think this will work. (Note, these seams are only basted and there's a lot of bulk because none of the blade tails with their seam allowances, extra snowball layer, and background have been trimmed away yet.)

Yes, 2-1/8" squares for the snowball corners will work. Next step is to cut the background squares for the corners and stitch them to all of the blocks.  

In other news, we've cancelled our upcoming trip to AZ to find a house. With the coronavirus and the state of the stock market, now is not the time to travel and not the time to buy a house. We will reassess in a few months. We still want to move to Pebble Creek and enjoy the lifestyle there, but now is not the time. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Chunky Churn Dash

This is the Chunky Churn Dash I made using the precut squares gifted by Wanda of Exuberant Color. I finished it at the very end of February but haven't had a chance to post about it yet. I still need to get some better photos, but these will have to do for now. Sorry for the poor indoor lighting.

I quilted it with a simple meander ising a pale lilac-grey thread. 

At 43" by 51" it's just the right size for a comfort quilt for a tween. 

Thanks, Wanda, for the squares and backing for this donation quilt. 

Link ups:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict