Monday, August 31, 2020

August Stash Report and Goals Update

Time is very elastic this year. Each day drags on forever, but suddenly a week or a month is over. Summer is over, and where did it go? It doesn't seem like we've been doing the safer-at-home thing for six months already, but we have. Thank goodness I have quilting and a few other things to keep me busy, but I have to admit, I'm getting bored and I sure do miss getting together with my friends. 

Since I've been spending time in the sewing room every day, let's see what the impact was on my stash report and how I did on my August goals. 

August Stash Report: 

IN this month: 8-1/2 yards for a new secret sewing project. More about this later. 

OUT this month: 7-3/8 yards (Treehouse Party 2-1/2 yards for top, 1/2 yard for binding.  Test block, 1/4 yard. Baby quilt in boy colors with X print: 2-1/4 yards for top, 1-1/2 yards for back, 3/8 yards for binding.)

IN YTD: 57-7/8 yards

OUT YTD: 103-5/8 yards

YTD Net Change: 45-3/4 yards out


August Recap: 

1. Confirm Sandy can still quilt How Many and Corona Medallion and ship the tops, backs, and batting to her. DONE. Sandy has received the package and we've discussed the quilting plans for both quilts. 

2. Continue looking for and developing a long term, complicated project. Made a disappointing test block; will put this concept on hold for awhile. 

3. Finish the Treehouse Party baby quilt.  DONE.

4. Piece and quilt another baby quilt. DONE (Boxed X with spirals)

5.  Find a UFO to work on and move it forward. Not done. 

September Goals: 

1. Make progress on the secret sewing quilt intended as a Christmas gift. This project involves piecing a pixelated picture, with a lot of cutting and a lot of seams. This takes the place of my search for a complex long term project. 

2. Piece a Log Cabin Triangles quilt to hang in our family room hallway. There is an older, darker quilt there now, but we need to lighten and brighten up the area. LCT has a lot of light low volumes in it. I'll need to shop for more fabrics, both LV and colors. Oh, darn, I have to go fabric shopping.  ;-)

3. If time permits, piece and quilt another baby quilt for Operation Shower.

4.  If time permits, find a UFO to work on and move it forward.

With two big projects, and some other non-quilty stuff going on this month, I'm limiting the list of goals to only these few. Because of the secret sewing and the other non-quilty stuff going on, I may not blog as frequently this month. If I go radio silent for a few days, that's why. 

Linking up with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts and Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, August 28, 2020

Slow Quilting

 I've been working on quilting the boy-colors baby quilt with the boxed squares. I stitched in the ditch around both sides of the frame for definition. I thought the squares needed something to make them more of a feature, so I quilted spirals in them. I am not skilled at free motion spirals; these were marked with a template and traced with the stitching. 

Then I went back in and meandered around the boxes and in the borders. 

The spiral quilting was slow going and took a lot longer than I anticipated, so I don't have a finish today. I still need to get this trimmed and bound. But any progress is good, right?

I'd like to work on FMQ spirals, but I get tripped up on spacing going in and then I'm messed up for coming back out. Does anyone have any advice for me? Thanks.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Test Block

 I've been wanting a more complex, longer term project than the baby quilts I've been churning out lately. I've been looking at Jen Kingwell's and Freddy Moran's work. Perhaps with those inspirations I can come up with something. 

To that end I made a test block. Steam Punk / Airship Propeller blocks were the inspiration; my own templates printed from EQ.

I'm not thrilled with it and I think I'll explore other possibilities before I commit to something like this. 

What I like: 

  • The fabrics individually 
  • The curves. 
  • The concept of striped sashing, although I'd need to see it used with multiple blocks. Maybe it's too overwhelming. 

What I don't like: 

  • The proportions. There's too much background. My templates were supposed to yield a 14" block but it came out undersized so I trimmed it down to finish at 13".  Maybe if I had trimmed it down to finish at 12" there would be less background and I'd like the proportions better. 
  • Maybe it needs to be set on point or redesigned so the big X is diagonal. 
  • Or, maybe the big X is too prominent and I need to make the propeller shapes the dominant colors.
  • Something about this block just doesn't work. What do you think? Critiques and comments welcome. 
I've been playing with the concept in EQ and it just feels like I'm trying too hard for something that's not coming together. What I've learned: 

  • Some of Jen Kingwell's palettes are generally light-medium value and overall low contrast, with a lot of black and white prints that read grey scattered throughout. Her prints are generally smaller in scale. Where she uses solid black and white, it's in small pieced areas.
  • Freddy Moran's work is loud and bright, with lots of large dots and vivid colors, always a lot of red; black and white used boldly. 
  • Combining these two styles just doesn't work.
  • While I admire the work of Jen Kingwell and Freddy Moran, I need to stick to my own style. 
  • I need to order commercial templates if I ever want to make a Steam Punk quilt.
So, I'll file this test block in the orphan blocks drawer. Maybe it'll become the center of a round robin style baby quilt someday. In the meantime, I'll keep thinking about what I want for a longer term project that doesn't try so hard to copy someone else's style. 

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

Friday, August 21, 2020

Too Little Plus Too Little Equals Magic

Last week I mentioned that I had too little of the stripe fabric I was planning for the border of my Treehouse Party baby quilt. Too little of Plan B, the green tonal print, too. 

Susie's Magic Binding to the rescue. It truly is magical how this works! I had just enough of each fabric to create the self-piped binding. Now the quilt is finished and bound. 

Actually, I think this is one of my most favorite ever donation quilts. The colors are much more subtle and sophisticated than the ones usually seen in baby quilts. The pattern is a simple medallion style which really makes the most of the focus print. This quilt will go to Operation Shower eventually. 

The backing is a thick, soft flannel, given to me awhile ago by a generous friend for use in my donation quilts. I love a flannel back for a baby quilt. 

The same generous friend gave me the batting for this quilt as well. She's a member of the guild who supports Operation Shower, and she says this is her way of contributing. (Thanks so much, Cherie!) I'm looking forward to someday being able to get back together live with the guild and being able to pass this quilt and several others along to the OS coordinator. 

Link Ups: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Alycia Quilts, Wendy's Quilts and More, TGIFF at MMM QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation

Monday, August 17, 2020

Measure Twice, Cut Once

I thought I had a plan for these fabrics in cute boy colors. I had two FQs of the X print and three FQs of the dotty print, and I wanted to feature the X print. 

The plan was based on this, but not exactly. 

Measure twice, cut once is good advice if I would have paid attention. And if I would have calculated correctly. You know where this is going, right?...

I cut parts that turned out to be incompatible. The three small squares in the sashing, when joined, were longer than the size of my cut squares. I didn't want to unsew all the sashings and recut the squares down to a smaller size, so I added coping strips to the outsides of my large squares. Very skinny coping strips - the colored frames will finish at 3/8" wide. 

Here's the revised plan, with parts just stuck on the wall so I could distribute the colors. 

Okay, this works. When sewn, it'll be 37-1/2" by 47-1/2", a good size for a baby quilt. It's actually more interesting with the framed boxes than it would have been with just plain squares. 

When I get around to quilting it, maybe I'll quilt spirals in the large boxes. Or some sort of motif. The framed boxes look like they should feature something. 

Monday Link Ups: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, August 14, 2020

Not Quite a Finish Yet

The Treehouse Party quilt is quilted, but not bound. I used a large meander to keep it soft and drapey. The backing is flannel, so this should be a cuddly quilt after it's washed. 

I thought I had enough of the stripe to bind it. Turns out I have less than a quarter yard, plus some off-cuts from the sashing. I checked the green, and I have a little more than a quarter yard. I need 5-1/2 WOF strips. I really wanted the stripe. Grrr.....

I might possibly be able to make it work if I make self-piping binding, but I need to research the widths to cut and calculate if I have enough fabric to make it work. I would want the stripe for the majority of the visible binding and the green for the piping. Wish me luck! 

Friday Link Ups: 
Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Alycia Quilts

Monday, August 10, 2020

Another Boy Baby Quilt from Stash

Staying at home and having only my stash to work with has forced me to dig deep. I've found fabrics I forgot I had. 

Awhile back I picked up a few FQs each of these two prints, thinking they'd make good backgrounds for a boy-themed quilt. This was back when the LQS used to have $1 FQ sales. I hadn't thought of using the two prints together, but they work. 


Back to the stash for some coordinating solids, good colors for a little boy. I'll play with these and see what develops. 

Monday link ups: 
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, August 7, 2020

Treehouse Party Progress

Remember a couple weeks ago I started playing with this cute treehouse party print and these coordinating fabrics from stash:

I've been working on this project and here's how it's coming along. 

The center is large plain blocks to feature the print. Those blocks finish at 9-1/2" to maximize the use of the fabric. The sashing is 1-1/2" wide. 
Building out medallion style, I added some HSTs to frame the center. 
Then another border of the stripe:
And finally a border of the featured print. This required some math and some partial seams in order to make WOF strips work, and I used up every inch of the print that I had. 
The final flimsy came out to about 45" square. I have a piece of dark green flannel given to me by a friend that I'll use for the backing. I have just enough of the stripe left for binding, which will look great with both sides of the quilt. 
I'll get some better outdoor photos after this is quilted and finished. 

Note - until now I haven't had trouble with the new Blogger, but today it's giving me trouble with formatting. Yeesh, why can't they leave well enough alone?!!!

Monday, August 3, 2020

July Stash Report and Goals Update

Ho hum, another month of 2020. Boring. Virus cases are on the rise in our area and we're still staying home except for groceries, etc. We're still doing only take out once a week; we haven't dined in a restaurant since March 4. We've been doing a lot of cooking. DH is fully retired as of July 31 so I expect he'll do a little more of the cooking; he's a good cook and he enjoys it occasionally. Me - I'm tired of meal planning.

I play in the sewing room for awhile every day. I've been making baby quilts that will eventually go to Operation Shower, and I finished my bright strippy spiral quilt that I'm keeping. I had some fabric usage and also some incoming this month, but the stash report still looks good for the year. 

July Stash report: 
IN this month: 6-3/4 yards (3-3/4 yards Kaffe print for backing. 3 yards solids)
OUT this month: 15 yards (Little Birds 1-1/4 yards backing and 3/8 yard binding. Bright Strippy Spiral, 5-1/2 yards for top, 3-5/8 yards backing and 5/8 yard binding. Positively Peachy 2-1/4 yards top, 1-1/4 yards backing, 3/8 yard binding.)

IN YTD: 49-3/8 yards
OUT YTD: 96-1/4 yards
YTD Net Change: 46-7/8 yards out

My stash could use some refreshing. Since I've been working with what's on hand so much lately, I'm getting bored with what I have. 

July Recap
1. Piece backing for Corona Medallion. If backing for How Many arrives, ship everything to Sandy for quilting. Progress - Backing for Corona Medallion is pieced; backing for How Many was received last week; need to double check with Sandy and ship everything to her. 
2. Find fabric, piece backing, baste and quilt Bright Strippy Spiral. DONE
3. Quilt Little Birds baby quilt. DONE
4. Plan a more complicated quilt and start piecing it. Progress, maybe??? I'm looking at Jen Kingwell, Freddie Moran, and X and Plus quilts for inspiration. Made one test block, a disappointment.
5. Piece and quilt another baby quilt. DONE, Positively Peachy
6. Find a UFO to work on and move it forward. No progress. I have very few UFOs left, and most are large-ish flimsies at the Needs to be Basted stage. Crawling around on the floor basting is painful for my knees. 

August Goals:
1. Confirm Sandy can still quilt How Many and Corona Medallion and send the tops, backs, and batting to her. 
2. Continue looking for and developing a long term, complicated project. 
3. Finish the Treehouse Party baby quilt.
4. Piece and quilt another baby quilt. 
5.  Find a UFO to work on and move it forward.

At the rate I'm going, I'm finishing about two baby quilts a month. Baby quilts are the perfect size to use FQs, etc. from my stash, baste on a table top, and quilt myself on my domestic machine. I'll have quite the pile of baby quilts for Operation Shower whenever I'm able to pass them along! 

I'm also putzing around with test blocks and potential ideas for a new project, but nothing has been successful so far. I'll keep playing in EQ and making test blocks until something jells. If nothing else, I'll at least end up with plenty of orphan blocks! 

All in all, I expect August to be just like July, more of the same sameness for awhile. Thank goodness I have my quilting to keep me busy!