Friday, May 20, 2022

Bolt of Lightning Donation Quilt Finish

Quilted, bound, labeled, and finished. This quilt will go to the local family services agency. At 46 x 59", this will be a good throw size for a kid or a teen. 

I enjoyed playing with all the black and white prints - thanks, Julie! - and setting the bold colors against them. The piecing was super easy, just half square triangles. There are so many possible layouts with HSTs but this one kind is of fun, more modern.

The bright sunlit photos make the quilting look wrinkly, but it looks much better in real life. I chose stippling for the B+W prints because it wouldn't show anyway. And straight lines for the lightning bolts because that's what the quilt told me it needed. Lots of wrangling using my domestic machine, but worth it for the result. 

I'm really glad I have an outlet locally for donation quilts and that they truly appreciate having them for their clients. I want to keep making quilts but I don't need any more, and my family members don't need any more, so I'll continue making donation quilts for awhile. 

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, Wendy's Quilts and More, TGIFF, My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, May 16, 2022

Kitting up Steppers

Now that my snake quilt is a finished top, I need a new piecing project to work on at social sewing on Wednesdays. I'll make another donation quilt using the black and white prints that Julie sent for that purpose, along with something bright. I can cut at home, where I'm less likely to make cutting mistakes, kit it up, and piece it at social sewing. 

The pattern is Alycia's Steppers pattern, with a slight modification to add borders to one side and the bottom. I drew it up in EQ to plan the borders before I knew what fabric I'd be using for the color. The teal is from PCQ and is used with permission from the club's charity committee chair. It's perfect to make this a gender-neutral quilt. This quilt will go to the local family services agency we support. Although the majority of their clients are girls and women, occasionally there is a need for a boy quilt, too. 

I still need to cut the teal strips and pack up the kit for social sewing. When sewn, the blocks will look like this mock-up:

Thank you to Julie for the black and white fabrics, Alycia for the pattern, and PCQ for the teal fabric. Together we'll make this a comfort quilt for a teen who's been sexually abused. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Snake Quilt Flimsy

 The coral and pink Snake quilt that I've been working on for nearly a year is now a finished flimsy! I finished sewing the rows together at social sewing earlier this week. Whoo Hoo! 

The girls at social sewing named it: Candyland. It does look like the game, doesn't it?!!!

The flimsy is 60 x 80", too big to hang vertically on my wall, so it's horizontal for photos. It doesn't make any difference, the coral trails still snake their way around the top. 

Pardon the wrinkles - it was folded and stuffed in the bag I carry to social sewing and I should have pressed it again before I took pics. 

The arcs are paper pieced. The background shapes are cut from templates. With some careful squaring up of the blocks, the seams came together and the snake trail matched up pretty well.

I have a plan for quilting it, and I have a pretty peachy coral print for the backing. When I get the backing pieced and can get time on the club's long arm, I'll baste it all together. Then on my domestic machine I'll quilt in the ditch around all the arcs, and diagonal lines in the background behind the snake trails. There's so much movement in this design that it definitely needs straight line quilting to balance all these curves. 

So, a finished flimsy, a long time in work. I first posted about it on June 13 last year, so it's been 11 months in progress. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and TGIFF

Monday, May 9, 2022

Charley Harper Pillows, Part 1

My favorite find from the AQS show in Paducah is these Charley Harper prints. When I showed  them to my husband, he just had to grin. Those quail are too cute! 

We have quail in our yard frequently, although I haven't seen any babies. They're fun to watch; they're so goofy how they run everywhere, rarely fly. They walk in a row along the top of our wall in the back yard and it looks like a cartoon shooting gallery.  I've also seen road runners a couple of times since we've lived here, but they're fewer and far between and much harder to spot.

My plan is to use these fabrics for pillows for our family room. The old pillows are looking a little worn, so we need a refresh. I found a sage fabric in Paducah that coordinates with our decor that I'll use for pillow backs, and I'll use these prints for the fronts. In my bag of batting off-cuts there were some pieces that I can trim to size. The pillows will be 18" finished. 

In order to feature the prints, and in keeping with the Charley Harper aesthetic, the quilting has to be simple and linear. Straight lines for the quail, and careful outlining for the road runner. An afternoon with my walking foot accomplished the job.

Next I'll quilt up the sage for both pillow backs. Sometime soon I'll get to the store to buy zippers and pillow forms, and soon we'll have new pillows. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

The Blue Quilt from Carla's Scraps

Back in December I wrote about Carla's Box. She was destashing and gave me a big box of fabrics and told me to use what I can and give the rest to PCQ. Among the goodies in the box was a baggie of mostly blue scraps. So not my usual colors, but so pretty. 

I knew there wasn't enough here for a quilt so I'd have to add more, but I was intrigued by the design possibility here. I was envisioning a row quilt. With some added fabrics from my  own stash and some purchased navy solid, I ended up with this flimsy:

And now it's quilted, bound, labeled and finished. I used PCQ's long arm to quilt slanted loops in the pieced rows, and my domestic machine to SID in all the horizontal seams and around the border. 

Several years ago in St. Louis one of my Modern Guild friends gave me some yardage that wasn't her taste and said to use it for backing for a Quilt of Valor. Well, it's a floral print, too feminine, so it hadn't been used for a QOV yet. Her intent was that it be used in a comfort quilt, so I think using it here is appropriate. It's the perfect backing for this quilt. 

Carla says this is the fourth quilt made with this group of fabrics; she previously made three before passing along the scraps. This quilt will go to the hospice PCQ supports. It looks very soothing, and I don't think the recipient and their family would ever guess that this quilt started from leftovers. It came out about 56" by 66" for a nice throw size.

Thank you, Carla, for the scraps and the inspiration. And thanks, Marie, for the backing. Once again, it takes a village to make a quilt. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and TGIFF

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

My Post-Covid Paducah Experience

I've been attending the AQS show in Paducah since 1997. The first couple of times it was on a bus trip, down and back from St. Louis in one day. Then it was day trips driving with friends. If you've ever been to Paducah you know that there was always too much to see and do in one day, so we started staying over. Some years with a local hostess, sometimes in a hotel, then with a different hostess, then at a farmhouse B&B. Prior to Covid it was always a big "girls week out" adventure. We'd usually meet up with groups of other St. Louis friends while we were there. 

with Sandy, 2012

We had plans to do the same in 2020. But of course Covid cancelled everything. Since then several of the friends I always went with have scattered, to Pittsburgh and Memphis, and I've moved to Phoenix. 

I had a quilt in this year's show, so I talked to the girls about meeting up in Paducah. Planning was a bit complicated, but we pulled it off. It was wonderful to be with long-time friends again!!!

Our gracious hostess from years past agreed to host us again. She has a lovely home and she serves gourmet breakfasts. Best of all, we get to have wine and chocolate and have show-and-tell parties in her sunroom to share our fabric purchases. She gets tickled by our quilter lingo sometimes. 

We didn't see nearly as many St. Louis friends as in years past, but we connected with several, including Kevin the Quilter and Tea of TeaQuilts (You Tube). 

Kevin, Tea, Cherie and me

The Paducah experience was different this year, as expected. Many of the in-town ancillary events and shops weren't there. The Rotary didn't have their antique quilt show and vendors; that was always a highlight in previous years. The Quilt in a Day shop is closed and Eleanor Burns didn't have her warehouse sale. Murrays of Kentucky was the only pop-up shop in town, in a different location than in the past. The "hurt books" sale wasn't in the pink Finkle building but they had a booth in the Bubble at the AQS show. We heard that a tornado took the roof off the Finkle building last year.

Hancock's of Paducah is still there and was as crowded as ever. Apparently they did all right during Covid. But like everywhere they can't get enough help so they were only open from 9 to 5 each day, no evening hours.

No Paducah quilt show experience would be complete without strawberry shortcake from the Boy Scouts' booth. Yes, they were still there, and we indulged. 

The caliber of quilts on exhibit in the show was exceptional. Entries that were accepted in 2020, quilts that would have been entered if there had been a show in 2021, and quilts ready for 2022 entry were all part of the competition. Three years of show-worthy quilts, and they could only accommodate the same number as usual, so the level of excellence was amazing. Watch for photos to be posted at AQS. Updated, photos at AQS.

I'm honored that my quilt was accepted; it's nowhere near the level of excellence of most of the quilts in the show. Being in the Group Quilt category helped as it's a small category. It was very gratifying to see my quilt hanging. I think the lighting flattered it. Sandy is one of the 33 CSQ Piecing Group members who helped hand piece it, and she quilted it. Gotta love those Contestant ribbons hanging from our show badges! 

I didn't take photos of the quilts in the show because I ordered the show book, which will be sent to me when AQS returns my quilt. So, sorry, no photos to share here.

We enjoyed looking at the show quilts and we also enjoyed shopping the vendors, both in the Expo Center and in the Bubble, although there were fewer vendors overall. So what did I get and how badly did I splurge on stash additions? Not bad. 

I rarely buy patterns, but I found a book that will help me with PCQ's 2022-23 challenge, and a cross-body bag pattern with a built in wallet. The challenge, due March 1, is to make something featuring the Cube. This book is perfect!

I've been wanting a new cross-body bag with a built in wallet that's big enough for my phone and my large sunglasses case. My regular handbag isn't quilt big enough, and the sunglasses are a must in Arizona. I think I found what I need, and I tried out my stuff in the vendor's sample so I think it'll all fit. The bag is small and lightweight, exactly what I need. The vendor says it's a challenging pattern. Wish me luck!

I didn't go overboard on fabrics - I had to carry everything home in my luggage on the plane - but I did find a few goodies. I couldn't pass up a FQ pack of linen-texture prints in "my" colors. I bought several cones of thread, some as a gift for Sandy and a couple for me. 

One of the vendors at the show was featuring Charlie Harper prints. Cherie collected them all, and I nabbed the Roadrunner and the Quail. I'll make pillows for my family room with them. My husband was quite tickled with them when I showed him. The small geometric (not CH) looks like stylized feathers and could be combined with the bird prints, maybe. The sage-y green matches the upholstery fabric of our new recliner chair and will be the back side of several pillows. . 

Last but not least, a bit of stash enhancement. Cute prints that coordinate, and a couple of great neutrals. 

So not the huge haul of years past, but I think I did all right. And I was able to get it all in my carry-on so I didn't have to check a bag for the flight home. 

Did you go to Paducah? What did you think? 

Linking up with Quilt Fabrication

Monday, May 2, 2022

April Stash Report and Goals Update

 April was a fun and surprisingly productive month. Even though I went to Paducah and bought fabric, my stash report is still looking good. A couple of finishes helped.  

I finally was able to quilt and finish the blue quilt that started from Carla's box. I'll write a finish post for it later, but here's how it turned out. 

From Carla's Scraps

The quilt above will be a donation quilt, probably for the hospice we support. Like the one above, I was able to kit up and sew another donation quilt using a combination of the club's fabrics and my own. Blue Bars was a PCQ sew day project, but because I made the kit, I chose the colors and included some of my own strips. After the sew day I was able to get the top finished at social sewing.
Color Bars pattern in blue for PCQ

When a project uses a combination of donated or PCQ's stash and my own fabrics, I only count the amount used that's actually mine. Being accountable like this helps me keep my stash purchases under control. So with that in mind, let's look at the stash report for this month.

April Stash Report

IN this month: 19-1/2 yards (MGD order, 6 yards.  Paducah purchases, 13.5 yards.)
OUT this month: 14-3/8 yards (Winding Ways top, 4-3/4 yards. Blue Bars top, my  fabrics, 1 yard; backing 3-1/2 yards, binding 5/8 yard. Bolt of Lightning top, my fabrics, 1-1/4 yards. Lilac/grey quilt for kids, 3-1/4 yards.)

IN YTD: 25 yards
OUT YTD: 35-7/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 10-7/8 yards out

Wow, I think this is the first time ever that I've had more out than in after going to Paducah! 

A finally finished flimsy helped with the yardage out, a UFO that was in time out for years, Winding Ways. Apparently I didn't take a photo of the finished top before I turned it in for quilting and binding by club members. I don't know if I'll ever get a photo of it. 

I made the lilac Kid Quilt larger and got it quilted and finished, using my fabrics for the front and the club's backing. 

I had set fewer and easier goals for April knowing that I'd be working on making charity committee kits as well as travelling for a few days. Maybe I should have been more ambitious....

Goals Update

April Recap: 
1. Continue working with charity committee to make kits for Color Bars quilts and Kid Quilts. Participate in charity committee prep day and sew day. Done. In all we made 18 or 19 kits. I sewed the navy and pastel one. 

2. Cut and kit up pieces from donated black and white prints for charity quilts to work on at social sewing. Done; Bolt of Lightning kit is sewn to a flimsy; two more kits are started. 

3. Quilt the blue strip quilt from Carla's scraps on the club's long arm (booked for Apr. 13). Done. 

4. Quilt the lavender kid quilt before April 11. Done, shown at guild show and tell, and donated to PCQ.

5. Travel to Paducah for AQS Show April 26-30; attend the show, visit with friends, and have fun.  YES!!! It was so much fun to get together with friends that I haven't seen since before Covid! 

Sandy and me in front of my quilt at the show

Kevin the Quilter, Tea of TeaQuilts, Cherie and me
Photo credit Kevin Huffman

May Goals: 
1. Prep for and teach glue-basted binding class on May 12. 

2. Prep backing and batting for the blue Color Bars top. Quilt it on the club's long arm; bind and label it.

3. Finish the coral snake quilt top. Prep backing. 

4. Work on something from my UFO list for No Shame Train.

5. Participate in PCQ Community Service sew day. 

6. Read through the new cross-body bag pattern and plan fabrics. Order stabilizers and interlinings. 

7. If time permits, make two new pillows for family room. 

There are projects on this list that are inspired by my Paducah trip. I'll write a separate post later all about the trip. Meanwhile, I think there's enough here to keep me busy and out of trouble in May. 

Link ups:  Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

Friday, April 29, 2022

Quilting the Bolt of Lightning Quilt, Part 2

 Yes, I listened when this quilt told me it needed channel quilting in the lightning bolts. 

Not finished yet...
I'll trim it and use it as a teaching sample for a machine-finished binding class in May. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Quilting the Bolt of Lightning Quilt

 I'm teaching a machine-finished binding class in early May so I need to have a demonstration sample ready to go. I specifically want a sample with points at the edge to teach how NOT to cut them off with the binding, so I'm using my Bolt of Lightning quilt. Here's the top on the wall before I fixed the layout problem. It's fixed and now the coral at the top matches the bottom, both ends pointing into the corners. Quirkier, more modern, and I like it better.

I didn't think about how I would quilt this when I designed it with such high contrast fabrics. What color thread??? It definitely doesn't want an allover panto. What I've decided to do is quilt it on my domestic machine so I can change thread colors as needed. 

I've started by stitching in the ditch along the diagonal seams, separating the black and white prints from the colors, and meandering in the prints. The I'm using a charcoal grey thread and the quilting totally doesn't show at all. 

Then I'll come back with thread to match each color and do something in those areas. Not sure yet if it'll be more walking foot quilting to emphasize the jagged shape, or just meandering to get it done more quickly. Walking foot quilting would look better but it would require at least three passes per lightning bolt, and that's a lot of quilt wrangling. But that's what the quilt is telling me it wants. We'll see. 

This project will be on hold for a few days while I go to Paducah. Anyone going? Want to meet up? Leave a comment and maybe we can connect while I'm there. I have a quilt in the show, # 508 in the Group Quilts category, HOW MANY, aka the WIGSP. I'm looking forward to getting together with some of my St. Louis friends, who have all moved elsewhere like me. And seeing some friends who've stayed in STL, too. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

Friday, April 22, 2022

Blue Bars Flimsy in the Yard

After some tweaking, I was able to get the navy and pastel Color Bars blocks kitted up. Scroll down to Monday's post to see where I left off. I had a very productive day at social sewing on Wednesday, and I was able to get the blocks assembled to a flimsy. 

It's extremely windy here today so to take photos I ended up laying the top out on the rocks in the yard. Even though I weighted down the corners with rocks, the wind still had its way with the fabric. 

My yard is desert landscaping: fake grass and gravel. We've been adding potted cacti to the plants that were already there. 

We have two Palo Verde trees that are blooming profusely and dropping yellow blossoms like snowflakes. All that yellow on the rocks is Palo Verde petals. 

Murphy got in on the action. He doesn't like walking on the rocks, so he sat at the edge of the grass and sniffed the breeze. Here you can see more of our pot garden and our patio. This photo was taken about 10am. We get sun in the morning - nice in the wintertime! - and deep shade in the afternoon, which is the best possible aspect for a home out here. 

The quilt photos were taken from out in the yard. Here's the view we usually see from our patio.

Our yard is unusually deep for homes here, so we have lots of room for plants. We're slowly making it our own, but planting season has ended for the summer and will start up again in October. Every plant and tree in the yard is on a drip line watering system and DH has run lines into all the pots, so every plant gets water on a schedule. 

In the yard we have artichoke agaves, a lemon tree, a valentine bush, bougainvillea, Palo Verde trees, and a Yellow Bird tree. We recently planted an organ pipe cactus, just a baby now but they get big, and an ocotillo, not visible in the back right corner behind the tree trunk. On the mound we have boulders and two big clusters of barrel cactus, and a hedgehog cactus which is finished blooming now but it gets gorgeous orange flowers. 

In the pots on the left we have a desert spoon, something we named Flat Stanley because it's as flat and two-dimensional as a cactus can be, a Morroccan Mound, Clarence the lumpy totem pole cactus, pine cone cactus, and baby hedgehog cactus. On the right we have some kind of succulent, a Victoria agave, some artichoke agave pups, a bunny-ear cactus, an African Milk Plant, an Old Man cactus, a firestick plant, a mammalaria with pink flowers, a single barrel cactus, and another desert spoon. When we find interesting specimens we add them to our collection. The tall standing woody thing is a saguaro skeleton. 

OK, so I got off topic a bit - what started out as a quilt post turned into a yard post. Oh, well, they're both works in progress. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts for Finished or not Friday

Monday, April 18, 2022

Color Bars, a PCQ Community Service Sew Day Project

The project for PCQ Community Service for April was quilts for adults. The quilts will go to the local hospice we support and are much appreciated by the families of the patients they serve. For April the committee made up kits for the sew day, using the Color Bars pattern (see tab below header). 

We had about 18 or 19 kits made up. It took several sessions of cutting to cut all the strips, even using the die cutter, to make that many kits. We used mostly the club's stash for the dark colors and some light prints we had ordered in bulk for the lights. The prototype is typical of the colors in the kits, warm neutrals for the lights and random darks: 

I had also cut some pastel strips from my own scraps and from bits and pieces from the club's stash. These were much more multicolored and varied than the light neutrals (low volumes) for the kits. It used up a lot of leftover binding strips and backing off-cuts, as well as some one-off scraps.  

Knowing that in merchandising, navy is often the base color that grounds a palette of pastels, I used some navy from the club's stash for dark strips for contrast. This kit is one of a kind, and I nabbed it for myself to sew at our sew day last Saturday. 

I was able to get all of the blocks with dark outer strips made at the sew day. 

And a good start on the light blocks, but I didn't get them finished before it was time to clean up. 

Since then I was able to finish the blocks and put them all up on my design wall. 

It needs a little tweaking, then I'll label the blocks and kit it up for assembly at one of my social sewing Wednesdays. It'll be 60 x 80" when sewn, a good size for an adult throw as preferred by the hospice. 

I really like this palette, very soothing. I hope this quilt will bring a little comfort to a patient and family served by our hospice. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Bolt of Lightning Flimsy

This is the first of many, I hope, charity quilts for our local family services agency to come from the fabulous box of black and white prints sent by Julie

I love the variety of prints - Thanks, Julie! - and the cheerful colors. When this flimsy gets quilted and has the quilting texture rather than just piecing seams, it'll be even better. 

I see a design decision that I'm second guessing. See how the upper coral bold of lightning parallels the green, but the lower one veers off? Now I'm wondering if I should make them match. If so, which way? On the one hand the eye likes to see them all going the same way as on the right. On the other hand, I really wanted this layout to have some irregularity, which is why the blue and green stripes aren't parallel and there's more negative space. That's what I was going for on the left. Either way it's an easy fix at this point. 

This was a quick finish, but it's been so windy here that I haven't been able to take photos until now. Finally, a calm morning, but as always here, the sun is wicked but the shade is too dark, so you get bright sunny pictures. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and TGIFF