Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Progress Continues...

All the rows here are finally pressed. What a job that was!

If you look carefully, you can see that there's a black border at the top. The border is two rows of the same size triangles as the black triangles between the hexies. Yes, they are all hand-pieced together, black on black.

I am currently in the process of sewing together a row of black triangles and the last row of colored pieces. Then a second row of all black triangles will be added to complete the border, same as at the top. The rows I'm working on will go at the bottom in the photo above and will complete the half-hexies you can see in the lowest row.

My hands are doing relatively well now, so I'm going to continue working on this project while I can. I do limit the hand-sewing to not more than 30 minutes a day even on good days, so it's very slow going.

This is hand piecing, not EPP. In hand piecing, all the seams are left to float free, so they can be pressed in the best direction afterwards.

Sewing black to black is the hardest. Thank goodness I have a very bright Ott light (no affiliation). It has a bendable neck and I have it placed about 8" above my work, aimed directly on it.

In addition to completing the bottom border, I need to get the half-rows on the wall joined together at the centers. Then I can take this project off the wall and free up the wall for something else. All that hand sewing will take me awhile!

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I'm going to take a little time off from blogging for a few days. Progress on this project is so slow, I don't need to photograph and blog about every stitch. Other projects are in holding patterns or boring stages that aren't blog-worthy, so I'm going to take a few days off and not worry about having something to share. I'll be back when I have something to show or a story to tell. Meanwhile, happy quilting.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, March 13, 2017

An Old UFO with a New Purpose

A couple weeks ago my sister-in-law Jackie came to me with a request for a quilt to give as a gift.

Jackie, her husband, and a group from their church go to a remote village in Alaska for missionary work every summer. They've been doing this for about 20 years, same village. They basically take Vacation Bible School to the village.

After 20 years, Jackie has become very close to some of the people from the village, including a young woman she's watched grow up, go to college in the Lower 48, and visit here in St. Louis. The young woman is now about to be married. Jackie is attending the wedding, in another village above the Arctic Circle, in July, where it will still be daylight at midnight.

Jackie wants to give her friend a quilt as a wedding gift. We talked about what's needed and looked through my available finished quilts and UFOs. We had to nix the ones with a lot of white in them, too difficult to keep white in the village. That left one finished quilt in blues, and this UFO in browns:

Jackie chose this one because she likes the native feel of it. I asked if that would be offensive in any way, and she said no. She also thinks the colors are good choices for the remote village environment.

This is a race-style quilt from before my blogging days, probably a stash-busting project because it uses fabrics left over from tumblers quilts I made as gifts in 2010 and 2011. It's constructed like a Jelly Roll Race quilt up to a point, then chopped into sections and assembled. The strips finish at 3" and the overall dimensions are 60 x 72".

We ordered backing and batting, and I'll quilt this with vertical organic wavy lines. Jackie needs it by the end of June, so I have plenty of time to get it done. I've also committed to making a Hands2Help quilt, so I'll get that done first because the deadline is sooner, then finish this one.

Linking up with Patchwork Times, Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Stash Report 3/12/17: QOV Backing

My friend Marie has such a generous heart! She reads my blog and knows the Cave Quilters are making a Quilt of Valor. Yesterday at STLMQG she gave me a four-yard cut of fabric for backing for our QOV. Thanks, Marie!

I'm not actually counting it into or out of my stash because it's designated for QOV. If the Cave Quilters can't use it for the snake quilt, I'll pass it along to Dar for the QOV Quilters of  Eastern Missouri. She has lots of tops from the block drive that need backings.

In other stash news, I picked up some small pieces from the free table at guild, about 3/4 yard worth.
So, 3/4 yard in this week and nothing out.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times

Friday, March 10, 2017

Jake's Quilt & Boomerang Patches

Ten years ago I made this quilt for my then-pregnant niece's baby shower. She and her husband didn't want to know the baby's sex ahead of time, they wanted to be surprised, so I had to make a gender-neutral quilt. Turquoise, lime and coral would do nicely. I gathered fabrics, cut lots of squares - lots! - and made lots of tiny 4-patches.

My friend Sandy quilted it; she was just starting her long-arm business and I didn't have any FMQ skills at all. It has a meander in the center and feathers in the borders. After all these years and many washings, this quilt is soft and crinkly. I was pleased to see that the label held up well, printed on my ink-jet printer.  The wind was helping me take photos this morning. 

The baby turned out to be a boy, and now Jake is a handsome and charming young man who's about to turn 10. His mom lent me his quilt for these photos and for a guild Show & Tell coming up.

Apparently there were a lot of leftover parts after I made Jake's quilt. I must have donated them to a guild destashing event, and someone must have taken them. Fast-forward a few years; my friend Cherie visited the estate sale of a quilter who had passed away and whose daughters were clearing out their mother's stuff. Cherie came away with a partially completed baby quilt top and the rest of the fabrics to go with it. She finished the top and there were still squares left over, so she put them in our guild's Orphan Adoption Event last October.

I noticed the little clamshell of cute 4-patches and I liked the colors, so I adopted it. When I got it home and spread them out, the strangest, most surreal feeling washed over me. OMG, these are my scraps! I had totally forgotten about them and hadn't seen Jake's quilt in years so I didn't recognize them in the box.

Since I adopted that box of patches, I couldn't let them go to waste. I found more of some of those fabrics in my stash, added a couple new fabrics including the green stripe, and the Boomerang Patches quilt was born.

Cherie and I are going to show these quilts and hers at guild Show & Tell later this month. Then Jake's quilt will be returned and Boomerang Patches will be donated.  There are a few leftover patches and they're going to the free table at STLMQG tomorrow. I still love the colors, but I think I'm finally done with these patches.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Another Fun Day at the Quilt Cave

Last time the Cave Quilters got together, we made several snake blocks for a QOV and this is where we left off, 14 blocks complete.
Snake Blocks

We got together for another fun day recently, and in between conversation and laughter, we got a lot more work done.
Dar, Kevin & Cherie Working on Blocks

Our day was definitely not all work and no play. There was plenty of play involved, including some scrap diving. 
Cherie & Me with Scraps

We had a great time together, and we really did accomplish a lot. In the afternoon we had enough blocks on the wall to play with layouts a bit. If you turn some of the blocks, they make closed loops or circles. 
Layout Option at the Right

We ended the day with 26 of 48 blocks done; we only need 14 more. We're leaning toward the traditional layout where all the blocks go the same way, creating diagonal "snakes." Even though it's the same block over and over, the fabric variety and the movement created by the wavy diagonals give it a lot of interest. 
26 Blocks, Straight Layout 

I love that we have so much variety in the fabrics even though it's a very controlled color palette. There are several white-on-white backgrounds, dozens of reds, and many dozens of blues. Pulling from four quilters' stashes really helped! 
Fabric Variety

Several people have asked me for the pattern. I don't know if there's a published pattern for this block or not. If I find one I'll let you know. If anyone knows of one, please tell me in the comments. If I don't find an existing pattern, I'll post a tutorial about how to draft it and make the templates. 

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, March 6, 2017


*Work In Glacially Slow Progress

On my wall 3/6/17

This is my Piecing Group project, a hand-piecing bee project that's been in work since 2008. It's been through seven go-rounds when it was my turn to hand out, and a total of 30 people have now worked on it, since people have left the group and others have joined over that time. It won't be handed out in Piecing Group any more because it's now in too few parts to go around.

It's currently in rows and half-rows. There are two rows of black triangles at the top, then three rows of pieced units that form hexies, and these rows are all sewn together and pressed. After that there are half-rows joined in pairs; these were returned after the last piecing go round. Everything down to the horizontal gap has been pressed.

Pressed rows

My friends in Piecing Group know I have arthritis etc. in my hands and hand sewing has become much more difficult than it was when this project was started. Several of the girls got together and joined up the sections they were working on. Everything below the gap on the wall is completely sewn together. I'm very grateful to them for doing so much extra work on my project. The big section they put together is not pressed yet; it will be a tedious job to press it so that's my goal for this week.
Unpressed section

Not on the wall yet are three more rows that form hexies. Then after that there will be two more rows of black triangles for the bottom border. 

It will be awhile - a very long time - until this is a finished top. One of my friends has offered to continue helping me with it, and I appreciate her help very much. When it's finished this will be a queen size quilt and I'm definitely keeping this one for me. I still love the luminous effect of all those sparkling colors against the black.

Linking up with Patchwork Times, Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, March 3, 2017

Welcome Home - Finished

Welcome Home 

This is a small quilt - 45" square - made from a few FQs I received in a STLMQG swap/challenge event a couple years ago, plus some stash. I don't know the name of the fabric line, so if anyone does, please let me know in the comments.
Welcome Home, Detail

It was pieced at one or another of my bee sew days and the top sat in a box for awhile. I had time in February so I got it quilted and bound. This quilt has always been intended as a donation quilt. I like that it's gender neutral and cheerful.

I was able to use up some stash for the backing, too.
Backing from Stash

Do you follow Sarah Craig's blog, Confessions of a Fabric Addict? Sarah hosts a quilt drive called Hands2Help every spring. One of this year's charities is the St. Louis International Institute, an organization that helps immigrants. Since I live in St. Louis, I'll choose this charity instead of mailing my donation quilts off to one of the other charities this year. I think the houses/trees/neighborhood theme of these prints are perfect, don't you? So I'm calling this quilt "Welcome Home."

I also finished my Boomerang Patches quilt in February:
Boomerang Patches Baby Quilt

It, too, is intended as a donation quilt. At about 36" x 46" it's a nice baby quilt size. For twice left-over and recycled scraps and 4-patches, I think it came together pretty well. I added the green/blue stripe from my stash to the boomerang patches so I could use it for the binding and it would relate. I do love a striped binding!
Boomerang Patches, Detail

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts