Monday, June 21, 2021

Lotta Projects, Little Progress

We took a little road trip last week to Santa Fe. Along the way, we had to stand on the corner in Winslow Arizona. Of course.  

Other than that I didn't take pics. We visited the shops and galleries that were open in Santa Fe but sadly many didn't survive the year of Covid and were closed. Since we were travelling I didn't spend much time sewing last week. 

I have lots of projects in work, projects I can work on a little at a time. There are several groups that get together at the sewing room in the Creative Arts Center (CAC). On Monday nights there's Hot Summer Nights sewing, just an informal gathering of year-rounders. On Wednesdays there's a group that sew and go out to lunch. Some of the same people are in both groups and are also on the club's Charity Committee, so I'm getting to know them better.  Between Monday night social sewing, Wednesday go-out-to-lunch social sewing, and prep for retreat, I have multiple projects in work. Tonight I'll take my Color Spoke Challenge quilt to hand sew the sleeve on. 

One of my social sewing projects is another Strippy HST. We cut more strips than we needed for the Charity Committee's kids' quilts, so I pulled all the yellow ones, cut a few more, and found a navy floral print in the club's stash that harmonizes nicely with the yellows. This will be a donation quilt that will go to the local social services agency for abused women. 

Another WIP is the Star Spangled Spiral remake that I'll take to retreat in July. I need to finish cutting for the white blocks and kit them up. The star blocks are already kitted, some already made. 

And after making the test block for the new snake quilt, I committed to the project and started prepping for more blocks. I'll take this project to retreat, too. Blocks require tracing templates and cutting them by hand, and paper piecing the arcs. I have a few blocks traced and a few arcs pieced. 

Lotta projects and little progress, so no finishes on the horizon. Except maybe the sleeve on the Color Spoke quilt. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt, Quilt Fabrication

Sunday, June 13, 2021

A New Project

One of my goals for this month is to prep projects to work on at retreat in July. Lately I've been wanting a challenging project, something more complicated than the donation quilts I've been making. 

Remember the Snake Quilt QOV some friends and I made, a few years ago? 

I was reminded of it recently when a new friend asked me about Loop in Motion. Loop in Motion was from my pre-blogging days. It's hand pieced - no applique - and the blocks were made by my CSQ Piecing Group friends in 2006. 

I'm thinking of a new project that will have blocks like the snake quilt but a meandering layout like Loop in Motion. 

So, this project will require templates and paper piecing foundations. 

Before I get too carried away, I want to make one test block to make sure I'll like where I'm going with this. I'll need two arcs, two corner wedges, and a middle background piece. 

I mentioned recently that I cut way too many strips for the Coral Strippy HST quilt. I can use the strips for the paper pieced arc segments in the snake blocks. 

Which means tracing the templates and carefully cutting the curves with scissors. 

Having learned with the Snake Quilt QOV that a little extra room is needed to square up the blocks, I've added an extra 1/8" on all the outside edges of the block. Here's my test block, untrimmed. A little mis-shapen, and the edges aren't quite straight. 

And all squared up, much better. 

With this project, I'm using one background fabric throughout, and as many orange - coral - pink prints as I can. I have plenty. 

One block down, 47 to go. I'm in no hurry. I can take this project to retreat and make a few blocks there, and take some other projects to work on to have a break from these blocks. 

Notice I didn't post an EQ design of what this Coral Snake quilt will look like? You'll just have to wait and see. It's really cool. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

PS  - Cherie, do you ever foresee another Snake Quilt in your future? Want to play along? 

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Coral Strippy HST Quilt

 A fast finish...

This started out as a trial of my Strippy HST concept using light feature fabrics and dark strips, the opposite of the other Strippy HST quilts I made. I wanted a controlled palette, not totally random, so I searched my stash for what I had on hand that could work. I pulled a selection of light prints with color in them, not typical low volumes.  Most of them were bargains or swaps or from the free table at guild, so there was a pretty random selection. I narrowed it down to the 12 prints used. Then I pulled all my corals, oranges, pinks, and a few reds, edited them, and cut strips. The palette ended up having a cheerful vibe but also pink for breast cancer, so I figured I'd send this quilt to Happy Chemo for Hands2Help along with the other quilt I sent. 

I love the way the colors turned out, especially the little pops of robin's egg blue in some of the prints, and touches of chocolate brown in a couple of them. Cheerful, positive, but not too sugary.

While I was piecing this, my neighbor encouraged me to expand my FMQ skills and I learned to stitch hearts, so I included them in the quilting here. Yes, they're wonky, but I think that only adds to their charm.

I showed my neighbor my FMQ progress and mentioned that this is intended as a donation quilt. She told me of a need in the neighborhood. So instead of mailing it off, tomorrow several of us neighbors are getting together for brunch and this quilt will be given to one of them. 

For a fast little finish, this quilt feels pretty special to me. The palette, the new quilting skill, and especially that something I made can give a quilty hug to a new neighbor. A pretty good feeling! 

Link ups: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Alycia Quilts, Wendy's Quilts and More

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

A New-to-Me Skill

 I moved to the best neighborhood for me! On my block and within a couple of other blocks there are at least half a dozen quilters. My neighbor across the street is a master quilter and she's pushing me out of my meander comfort zone rut. She loaned me a little booklet about taking meandering to the next level by adding elements to it. 

I always thought I couldn't free motion quilt except for meandering because I can't do FMQ spirals or feathers. It never occurred to me to build on a meander to expand my FMQ repertoire. My neighbor is very kind, but as a former teacher she also has expectations that I'll practice and improve. She suggested drawing the motifs to get the muscle memory. I found that not helpful so I made a muslin and batting sandwich and just started stitching. 

First exercise: add a loop to the meander.

Second exercise: add double loops or figure 8s to the meander.

Third exercise: add hearts to the meander.

Whoo-hoo! I can do this!!!  Now granted, it's a table-runner sized practice piece, not the bulk and weight of a quilt to maneuver, and I have the benefit of a stitch regulator on my Bernina. But I'm amazed that I could jump right in and do this, and I know I'll definitely build on this new skill by practicing on donation quilts. 

Speaking of, did I mention my great neighbors? I was making a donation quilt for Hands2Help when I learned of a need in my neighborhood for a comfort quilt for someone dealing with cancer. Instead of mailing my Coral Strippy HST quilt to Happy Chemo, I'll give it locally. And I've already been practicing my new quilting skill on it. Look: hearts!

So many more possibilities... I'll continue to work through the exercises and practice the motifs, and enjoy both the process and the results. 

Link up: Quilt Fabrication

Monday, June 7, 2021

Coral Strippy HSTs

 More Strippy HSTs! I wanted to make a version with light feature fabrics and darker strips. It's all about the contrast but the other Strippy HST quilts I've made had dark feature fabrics and light strips. 

I pulled a selection of fabrics in the orange - coral - pink range for the strips and then found some light prints in my stash that would harmonize with them. 

I cut two 8-1/2" squares out of each light print and creased them on the diagonal. 

I cut lots of coral, pink, and orange strips. Lots. Way too many. Strips are 2" wide and 13-1/2", 11-1/2" and 8-1/2" long.  The side triangles are 4" squares cut in half. 

When sewn together the strippy unit is larger than the 8-1/2" square. 

Making sure the crease in the light squares was perpendicular to the seams in the strippy unit, I sewed a scant 1/4" on each side of the crease. 

Then cut the unit apart on the crease and pressed toward the light triangles. 

Blocks were squared up and trimmed to 8" unfinished. 

I started with 12 light prints and two squares of each; each square and strippy unit makes two blocks. I ended up with 48 blocks for a 6 x 8 layout which will finish at 45" x 60". 

Now the blocks are on the design wall. I played with some layouts and I'm going with this one. 

This is the same block I used for the PCQ charity quilts in May, tutorial here. This block has turned out to be more versatile than I ever imagined. 

This quilt is intended as a donation quilt that will go to a breast cancer patient. I was going to send it to Happy Chemo as part of Hands2Help, but there is a need in my neighborhood so it will be donated locally. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, June 4, 2021

STLMQG Color Spoke Challenge

 Back in April I was working on quilting the Color Spoke Challenge, the quilt I made from the 2019 STLMQG BOM challenge. To recap, we had to choose one "Spoke" of the color wheel and use only that color plus neutrals. I chose yellow-green, called "pickle" on some color cards. Each month's BOM had a theme or a challenge such as nine patch (my Card Trick block below) or curves (Drunkard's Path block), or paper piecing, applique, fussy cutting, flying geese, etc. 

I made all of the monthly challenge blocks and added in a few blocks of my own, plus smaller filler blocks. The black and white striped setting was inspired by Jen Kingwell's Gypsy Wife pattern plus some quilts with black and white stripes I had seen on line. Those stripes are pieced, finishing at 1" wide. It was a challenge puzzling the top together. 

After quilting in April, one of my goals for May was to get this quilt bound, labeled and finished. I didn't quite make it by the end of May, but I was able to get it done this week. 

It's big - about 65 x 78", too long to fit on the wall. 

I took the above two photos with my phone, which takes clear pics but cannot handle yellow green colors. It makes the "pickle" green look like some horrible muted chartreuse. 

Much better color with my old camera, but no matter how carefully I focus and hold the camera steady, pics taken with this camera always come out blurry. 

Anyway, back to the quilt - 
The quilting is mostly stitch-in-the-ditch between each stripe and around the blocks. There's SID in the blocks, too, and stippling in the white parts of the blocks to flatten them to let the the yellow-green parts pop. There's a little FMQ point-to-point and some traced circles. Lots of starts and stops!

I'm hoping to enter this quilt in STLMQG's quilt show in July if they're still planning on having a live show. I'll have to ship it back to St. Louis, of course, but that's no problem. I'm just happy I got this quilt done in time. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

May Stash Report and Goals Update

May turned out to be a busy month. I was asked to come up with a project that the PCQ charity committee could make for their Quilts for Kids themed month. I came up with Strippy HSTs, and spent a lot of time prepping for the sew day. Here's a tutorial for the Strippy HST block if you're interested. 

For class samples I used my own fabrics but for the group's kits we used the club's stash. A local quilter was having an estate sale and I picked up 10 FQs of kid-friendly prints for $1 each. I used half of each in my class samples and donated the other half to the club. I also donated some of my own kid-friendly fabrics to the club, in the form of squares cut for the kits. 

May Stash Report

IN this month: 10-1/2 yards (Quilter's estate sale. 2-1/2 yds FQs. 8 yards wide backings from online order for Star Spangled Spiral)
OUT this month: 8-1/4 yards (Donated to PCQ kids' quilts project plus demo step-outs: 3-1/4 yards (includes the FQs from the estate sale).  2 sample Strippy HSTs tops, 5 yards.)

IN YTD: 41-7/8 yards
OUT YTD: 43-3/4 yards
YTD Net Change: 1-7/8 yards out

Goals Update 

May recap: 
1. Prep for Work Day and Sew Day w/PCQ charity committee: finish cutting squares, write pattern, make step outs and demo sample top. YES, it took two work days to make the kits and because of an error I ended up making two demo tops. 
2. Lead/teach project at PCQ work day and sew day. Yes, I enjoyed it and it seemed like the others did too. 
3. Bind and label Color Spoke Challenge. Progress; the binding and label are sewn on but the binding is not stitched down. 
4. Continue binding WIGSP. Slight progress; I'm 1/4 of the way around hand sewing the binding down.
5. Send off Rainbow Charm H2H quilt. No, not sent yet; I have another quilt in work to go to the same destination and I'll send them together in June. 
6. Make backing & binding for PCQ demo quilt, deliver for quilting. Done, I made backings for both demo tops.  In addition, after they were quilted I bound them. Both quilts are completely finished. 


1. Cut strips and started piecing blocks for a coral version of Strippy HSTs to go to Hands2Help along with Rainbow Charm. 
2. Ordered fabric and started cutting pieces to remake Star Spangled Spiral.

June Goals: 
1. Finish coral Strippy HST quilt for Hands2Help and get both H2H quilts sent off. 
2. Plan and prep a project to work on at Weds. morning and Mon. evening social sewing days with the PCQ club. 
3. Finish the binding on Color Spoke Challenge.
4. Start sewing blocks for Star Spangled Spiral (kit them up to work on at social sewing days/evenings with thePC girls). 
5. Make progress on the binding on How Many (WIGSP).
6. Plan and prep projects for retreat in July.
7. Make placemats for FMQ practice
8. Do muscle memory "homework" assigned by Linda L

That's a lot and it will be a busy month. But there's a lot of overlap there because some of the tasks can be done at the social sewing events, and the placemats and muscle memory homework are part of prep for retreat in July. 

Social Sewing: Covid restrictions have loosened up in PebbleCreek and we can use the sewing room at the Creative Arts Building for extended hours now, with more people allowed in the room. One group meets informally on Wednesday mornings, then goes out to lunch, and I've been invited to join them. Another group of year-rounders (the snowbirds are gone now) is being organized to meet on Monday evenings for socializing and sewing. Everyone in PebbleCreek is so friendly and welcoming! 

Retreat: Neighbor Linda L invited me to participate in a retreat in July with several of the other more experienced PC quilters.  She's a master quilter and she's pushing me out of my FMQ comfort zone. She's well known in the community as a great teacher, and she's a lovely person, so I'll gladly do the homework and prep work and look forward to next month's retreat. 

Remakes: Over the next few months I'm going to remake Star Spangled Spiral and Log Cabin Triangles (tops only) in preparation for giving a trunk show in December. The club has booked me for their December program, with the possibility of teaching a Cut and Shuffle Quilts workshop afterward if there's interest. 

Star Spangled Spiral

Log Cabin Triangles

All these projects and social sewing opportunities ought to keep me pretty busy for awhile! 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt