Monday, October 3, 2022

Cube Challenge Progress

My project for PCQ's 2022-23 challenge, something based on the cube that looks three dimensional, is coming along. All the background strips are pieced in at the top and bottom, and about half of the long vertical seams are sewn. 

The long seams require a lot of careful matching and pinning to get the points to match, very tedious. But I made good progress in September and I expect to do the same in October. Wide borders of the background fabric will finish out the top to 96" square. 

The challenge is due by the end of February 2023. I'll need to have this quilt professionally quilted, for sure.  My long armer friend is having health issues and is currently not taking in quilting jobs, so I need to find a new long arm quilter. Recommendations welcome. 

I'm thinking ruler work in the Y motifs to emphasize the shapes. But what about the background? I'm torn between grafitti-style quilting, or feathers. Or something else??? Opinions and suggestions are  welcome. This huge quilt will either live on my bed, or hang in my foyer.  


Link ups: Small Quiils and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

Sunday, October 2, 2022

September Stash Report and Goals Update

Well, September was a busy month, but not good for my stash report. Really, I'm not complaining. Sometimes a refresh is needed. And when a quilter's estate is offered and there's good stuff, you have to take advantage, right? 

I finished a top, and I usually count fabric out of my stash when a top is finished, and then when the quilt is completely finished and bound. But the fabrics for this quilt were donated so I don't count them as mine. And the mini charms and scraps were never counted into my stash so they aren't counted out, either. 

 I also finished two UFOs, but the backings came from PCQ so I'm not counting that, either. 

Stash Report: 

IN this month: 20-1/2 yards (Connecting Threads order, 6 yards.  Quilter's estate sale, 14-1/2 yards.)
OUT this month: 8-1/4 yards (Hot race quilt,  8-1/4 yards. Story coming soon)

IN YTD: 78-5/8 yards
OUT YTD: 71-7/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 6-3/4 yards added

I'll need some finishes using my own fabrics to break even for the year. 

I spent a lot of time this month working on long term projects and moving them forward. The quilting on CandyLand is slow going - a lot of long lines with the walking foot, with lots of starts and stops. Eventually the grid behind the "snake" will be about 7/8". At the rate I'm going, it will take a few more months. The small squares here are at the 1-3/4" stage and I have a lot more passes to finish this stage. 

I also made good progress on the Cube Challenge project. All the rows are fully pieced with their backgrounds, and I've sewn about half of the long seams. Lots of careful matching and pinning in those long seams! There will be wide side borders of the background fabric added later to make the quilt 96" square. 

Goals Update: 

September Recap: 

1. Continue quilting Candyland.  Progress. 

2. Continue piecing the cube challenge project. Progress.

3. Work on a charity quilt from Quilt Diva Julie's donated black and white fabrics. Done - Top finished.

4. Write and post a tutorial for So Inclined. No, I've abandoned this. 

5. Quilt something on the long arm. No, couldn't get on the long arm schedule this month. I'm booked for Oct. 7.

Other:  DrEAMi * - Hot Race top, story coming soon. 

October Goals: 

1. Continue quilting CandyLand

2. Continue piecing the cube project; start looking for a long arm quilter to custom quilt it.

3. Quilt the hot race quilt on the club's long arm.

4. Piece a charity quilt top from the race leftovers.

5. Plan a new charity quilt to work on at social sewing.

There are some charity sewing events scheduled for a couple of the Wednesdays I go to social sewing, so I'll be working on those projects instead of my own project. Technically Wednesday is Sewing Club day in the Fiber Arts Room, but quilters are welcome. Since I usually go hang out there on Wednesdays (and go to lunch with the girls), I feel an obligation to participate in the Sewing Club's charity projects. We're making felt Christmas stockings and Little Dresses from the Heart. 

Should be a busy month!

* DRop Everything And Make It, hosted by Sandra at MMM Quilts

Friday, September 30, 2022

Another Black and White Top Finished

The Black and White Plus Brights top I've been working on at social sewing is finished. Once again, the fabrics were from the box donated by Quilt Diva Julie.  I had an EQ map of the layout but the real top looks so much better! I love how the bright colors sparkle and create strong diagonals. The concept was inspired by several things I saw on Pinterest, but I don't know whom to credit for the idea. 

The bright colors were mostly from several mini charm packs that were door prizes from STLMQG a few years ago, plus a few pieces from my scrap-loving friend. The four patches finish at 4".  

The (vertical) bricks used four different white ground prints and four black ground prints. I cut 12 of each print for 48 blocks. The bricks were cut 4-1/2" by 8-1/2" or 12-1/2".  24 of the short ones are two different white ground prints and 24 are two black ground prints. Likewise, 24 of the long bricks are two additional white ground prints and 24 are two more black prints. 

The blocks finished at 8" wide by 12" high. All the blocks were assembled with the four patch in the same location; the diagonal effect is from the orientation of the blocks when they're laid out. The top finished at 64" by 72". 

Did you notice the object in the lower right corner of the top photo? It was windy when I was trying to take photos yesterday. My husband was doing some garden work at the time and helped hold the fabric from flapping in the wind with the rake handle. 

I'll quilt this top when I get a chance, but now that the snowbirds are starting to come back it will be more difficult to book time on PCQ's long arm because so many more people want to use it. When the quilt is finished it'll be donated to the local family services agency. They occasionally have a need for a quilt for a teenage boy, and this quilt is both gender-neutral and six feet long so it could go to a boy if the need is there. 

Link up: Alycia Quilts

Monday, September 26, 2022

Black and White Plus Brights

 The latest black and white quilt is coming together quickly. The blocks have been assembled and laid out on the design wall. There are four different fabric configurations and four different alignments for the blocks, resulting in this layout:

I like the pops of color running through on the diagonal. 

I should be able to get the rows assembled at social sewing this week, maybe even get the top finished. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

Monday, September 19, 2022

Another Black and White Project

Several months ago Quilt Diva Julie sent me, for my club's charity quilts, a big box of black and white fabrics. Story here. I put together and set aside set aside several kits to assemble at social sewing, and put the rest of the fabrics in the club's stash. So far I've made Bolt of Lightning and Steppers, and I have two kits left to work on at social sewing.

The one I'm working on now was inspired by some things I saw on Pinterest, but I don't know whom to credit. It features colorful four patches and bricks of B+W prints that read either dark or light. Thank you, Julie, for the wonderful variety of prints you sent! 

All the four patches have been pieced and attached to their bricks.

The four patches are very random. I had a couple of mini charm packs and a friend gave me some additional scraps so I'd have enough, with a lot of variety. A few of the patches are Grunge or blenders, but they're mostly solids or read as solid. 

My only concern when making the four patches was not to have two of the same color side-by-side. As a result, each four patch is different. Totally by accident, some of them are actually very pleasing palettes that could work together in a quilt. 

These look better in real life than they do in this photo. The dark patches in the top row are actually dark plum. I really like the grouping at the lower left.

This week at social sewing I'll get the blocks all made. They all have to be assembled with the four patch in the same corner, so I'll have to pay attention to orientation when I sew them. Maybe I'll get to the point where I can put them on the design wall and lay them out. We'll see. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Another UFO Finish

Wow, two older UFOs recently finished... 

I posted about the first one last week, here. This one today is Winding Ways. Most of the blocks were hand pieced by my St. Louis CSQ Piecing Group friends back in 2018. 

I participated in PCQ's UFO support group, found the missing block - story here - and assembled the top earlier this year. Then someone in the group quilted it on PCQ's long arm. 

Finally it's a finished baby quilt, about 40" square. It's just the right size for tummy time, with enough contrast for baby to see. It will go to the local women's shelter. 

Traditional but modern. The print is a sweet rosebud floral with shades of aqua, pink, coral rose and pale yellow in it. The background is a pale aqua print - aqua has been a popular neutral for several years now. To modernize it for a young contemporary mom, some of the parts are colored aqua and coral to look like bubbles, some of them floating off the page.

It feels good to have this project done, especially since I thought one of the blocks was lost and I had no more of the fabrics to replace it. Whoo-hoo!

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, TGIFF

Monday, September 12, 2022

Quilting the Coral Snake Quilt, a.k.a. CandyLand

 Remember CandyLand? 

I'm working on quilting it on my domestic machine. Because of all the curves in the piecing, I want straight lines in a diagonal grid for the quilting. 

This quilt is big, 60 x 80, and the quilting is slow going. I started by marking and stitching across the diagonal in every block, breaking where the snake is. Then I marked and stitched halfway between the previous quilting. That's where it's at now and the grid is about 3-1/2". 

I will continue stitching between the quilting until I have about a 7/8" grid behind the snakes.  That's a lot of passes and a lot of stops and starts. I'm not burying all those thread tails, just shortening my stitch length and clipping threads. (This quilt is just for me and I don't care if it gets demerits from the quilt police.)

Now that the grid is about 3-1/2", I hope I can use the guides that attach to my walking foot so I don't have to mark the next passes; we'll see. So far measuring and marking has worked out well. 

At the rate I'm going it'll take another couple of months to complete the quilting. That's okay, no rush. No deadline. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

An Old UFO, Finally Finished

One of the UFOs I brought with me in the move to AZ from STL was this one. The top was finished in late 2019. You can see it here; this photo of it with the sun glowing through is one of my all-time favorites. 

I finally finished this quilt. I quilted it on PCQ's long arm with a meander in the center and a leafy vine in the border. Let's just say I need a lot more practice trying to make consistent motifs like leaves freehand on the long arm. 

The top was pieced together race-style using 1-1/2" wide cut strips, with the black and white stoppers to break them up. The stoppers fell wherever they landed in the race construction process, like bits of confetti. This was a fun top to make because I had no idea how it would turn out so there was no way to predict what it would look like. 

The backing is a hot pink batik and I used pink thread for the quilting. The quilt finished about 51 x 61" and I'll donate it via PCQ to the local family services agency. 

I love this quilt if I do say so myself. I'm inspired to make another strippy race-style quilt, and I have a lot of already cut strips to get me started. 

Link Ups: Alycia Quilts, Wendy's Quilts and More, TGIFF

Monday, September 5, 2022

3D Project Progress

 Slowly and carefully, I'm adding the background to the 3D project on my design wall. Here's what it looks like today.

I'm adding the background strips to the top and bottom of the pieced strips, then stitching two adjacent strips together into a pair. This requires measuring for the background lengths, lots of pinning to match the seams, and carefully pressing the seams open to control the bulk of the seam intersections. Slow going! 

After all the pairs are made, I'll again join two of them together into columns, to work with manageable sections. Then the halves of the top, and finally the two halves together. This project is huge, about 98 inches square, and as it gets assembled it'll require some serious wrangling. 

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

Friday, September 2, 2022

The Green Dresden Plate Medallion Quilt

 The Dresden Plate Medallion project I was piecing at retreat in July is now a finished quilt. 

The center Dresden Plate is quilted in a spirograph pattern. A friend is teaching me ruler work on my domestic machine, and after a successful test on a table topper, the ruler work spirograph turned out well here. 

This quilt is much prettier in person than it is in photos, partially due to the lighting and partially due to how my camera turns all yellow-greens brownish. Photographing quilts is such a challenge here due to the intense sunlight. Everything is either full harsh sun, like the two photos above, or deep shade like the one below. 

This quilt's palette was actually inspired by the backing fabric. The backing fabric was a gift from Quilt Diva Julie when she visited St. Louis several years ago. I pulled greens and teals from my stash to harmonize with the backing. I used every inch; I actually planned the top to fit the backing. The binding is a green bias stripe that goes with both the front and the back. 

In real life this is a pretty quilt. I don't have a specific purpose for it or a recipient in mind, so I'll hold onto it for awhile. 

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

Thursday, September 1, 2022

August Stash Report and Goals Update (and July, too)

It seems I never posted a monthly recap for July, so I'll briefly cover both July and August here. 

Stash Report: 

July IN: 6-5/8 yards (Connecting Threads order, 2-3/4 yards. Ritter purchase, 3-7/8 yards)
July OUT: 8-1/2 yards (Dresden Medallion top, est. 6 yards. Backing for Natalie's House quilt, 2-1/2 yards wide backing.)

August IN: 2-1/2 yards (Durango shop)
August OUT:  6 yards (Backing and binding for Dresden Medallion quilt, 3-5/8 yards. Ruler Quilting test table topper, 1-7/8 yards)

YTD IN: 58-1/8 yards
YTD OUT: 63-5/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 5-1/2 yards out

Still moving in the right direction! 

Goals Update: 

Dresden Plate Medallion

July Recap: 

1. Cut for 3-D project to work on at retreat. Progress, triangles are cut and columns are being pieced. 

2. Plan and cut for Dresden Medallion project to work on at retreat. Done, top is finished.

3. Quilt and bind twin bed quilt for Natalie's House. Done, long armed by Mary H and me, bound, labeled, and ready for Mary to deliver.

4. Start quilting Candyland. Started.

5. Make progress on the Stack-N-Whack UFO. Done. Top finished, given back to Carla for quilting. 

6. Read through the new cross-body bag pattern and plan fabrics. Order stabilizers and interlinings. Started reading pattern but have not ordered any materials. 

7. Work on something from my own UFO list for No Shame Train. Didn't get to this. 

8. Have fun at retreat. YES!!! 😀

August Goals and Recap: 

1. Make progress quilting CandyLand. No progress.

2. Make progress piecing Cube Challenge. Good progress; all triangles are pieced and background strips are in work.

3. Quilt Dresden Medallion. Completely finished including spirograph quilting. 

4. Work on something from my own UFO list for No Shame Train. Yes, quilted the Bright Strippy Race top.

Other:    1) Made table topper to test and practice spirograph quilting and for a binding class teaching sample. 
              2) Bound Winding Ways, also for teaching sample.   

Spirograph Quilting Test

September Goals:

1. Continue quilting CandyLand.

2. Continue piecing the cube challenge project.

3. Work on a charity quilt from Quilt Diva Julie's donated black and white fabrics.

4. Write and post a tutorial for So Inclined.

5. Quilt something on the long arm. 

Several finishes including two UFOs occurred in August and they deserve their own posts. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 29, 2022

A New Piecing Project for Social Sewing

My design wall today looks much like it did last week with the Cube Challenge laid out, except there's a gap where I've taken down the middle columns to add the background to the ends. You can see what it looks like here. This is a work-at-home in my own studio project since it requires measuring for each background strip.

I need a new project to sew on at Social Sewing on Wednesdays. No worries, I have something. Last spring when Quilt Diva Julie sent me a donation of black and white prints for my club to use for donation quilts, I kitted up a couple of projects for future piecing. Now it's time to pull one of them out to work on. 

Inspired by some things I saw on Pinterest, I'm combining colorful four patches with black and white bricks. I had some mini charms of solids so I've been using them as leaders and enders. 

Not quite enough, so I hit up a friend who a) works in solids a lot and b) loves and keeps small scraps, and she gave me enough to finish the quantity I need. 

You know how leaders and enders soon take on a life of their own and become the primary project? Well, that's the case with these. Now that I have enough twosies, I'll take them to Social Sewing and make four patches. 

I rarely work with precuts. These little mini-charms are supposed to be 2-1/2 inches. They're a little large and I'll have to square up and trim the four patches when they're sewn. I can do that at Social Sewing, too; I think the club has a 4-1/2" square ruler I can use. 

So between the Cube Challenge project at home and this one at Social Sewing, I have plenty of piecing projects to keep me busy for awhile. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

Friday, August 26, 2022

A Successful Test

 That project I mentioned on Monday, a table topper to test my quilting plan for my Dresden Plate medallion quilt, turned out successfully. I used my friend's curved ruler and the ruler foot attachment for the BSR and carefully quilted curves in the blades.

With careful attention to holding the ruler and moving the quilt, the ruler work went surprisingly smoothly, as long as I took my time. I attribute the success to the small, manageable size of the project. The background quilting is a simple stipple so as to flatten it and not detract from the focal feature. I like the spirograph quilting enough to attempt it on my Dresden Plate medallion quilt, where it will truly be the focal point. 

This project has a third purpose as well, a teaching sample for the binding class I'm teaching next week. It's just the right size to demonstrate my glue-basting method. I will partially attach the binding, then demonstrate the rest in class. 

Three birds, one stone. Success! 

Link up: Alycia Quilts

Monday, August 22, 2022

A Trip and a Test

 Last week DH and I took a little break from the Phoenix heat and visited some friends who live near Durango CO. We've been friends with them since our college days, and every time we get together, no matter how long it's been, we just pick right up where we left off. 

It was so nice to visit a cooler area! We had the use of a condo near Purgatory ski area and it was very comfortable. We went hiking, easy hikes for us flat-landers who aren't acclimated to the elevation. We hiked to Spud Lake, beautiful scenery. There's a beaver lodge in the lake and we saw a beaver. 

We visited Silverton one day, not on the train, although we've done that in the past. Another day we went for a 4-wheel drive on the back roads behind Purgatory ski area. The rocky road winds around to where the lifts go up to. Incredible views! This is looking toward Potato Hill (aka Spud Mountain) from the top of one of the ski runs. 

It was really nice to take a break and visit our friends. But since this is primarily a quilting blog, let's catch up with what I've been doing in the studio since our vacation. 

I'm quilting the green Dresden Medallion quilt. A friend is encouraging me to try ruler work on my domestic machine. She loaned me a couple of rulers and her Bernina ruler foot, not stitch-regulated. Then I found a ruler foot attachment for my BSR, and I've been practicing with it. 

So far, though, I've been doing mostly walking foot and FMQ meandering on the medallion quilt. I did use the curved ruler on the orange peels. Not horrible, but I definitely need more practice. 

I may have a plan for quilting the center Dresden Plate but I need to test the idea and practice with the ruler. I can practice on any quilt sandwich, but to test the idea, I need an actual Dresden Plate to stitch on. 

So, I made a new test and practice sample. I hope eventually it will be a table topper, if it turns out okay. I plan to quilt the Dresden Plate portion like a spirograph, and stipple the background. This is also a teaching sample because I have a binding class coming up next week and I can demonstrate with this project. 

 Wish me luck with my test and my ruler work practice! 

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

PS - That beaver we thought we saw at Spud lake? DH got out his monocular and we discovered it was just a large duck paddling near the beaver lodge at the far edge of the lake. What a disappointment!!!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Cube Challenge Progress

The triangle strips for my cube challenge project are all pieced and up on the design wall. This will be a queen-size quilt when finished, about 98 x 98 inches. It looks a little wide for its height now but the width will shrink in when all those vertical seams are sewn, and it will be symmetrical. 

The next step will be to cut strips of the background to piece at the top and bottom of the triangle strips. I waited to cut them because I wanted to verify the size to cut based on the actual sewn width of the triangle strips. 

After that, just vertical seams, but a lot of very precise matching of points with lots of pinning. And careful pressing with all those bulky seam allowances to manage. 

Link Ups: Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

A side note, I'll be taking a blogging break for a couple weeks due to some non-quilting activities going on. 

Friday, August 5, 2022

An Older Finish: So Inclined

Last week when I posted about my Dresden Medallion top in shades of green, I looked for photos of other quilts I've made in this palette and discovered that there's one I never photographed and posted about. Well, let's fix that here and now. 

This is So Inclined hanging in STLMQG's 2019 quilt show. 

The palette is one of my favorites, analogous hues ranging from yellow green to blue green, all shades from light to dark.

This started as a project for the Sew Bee Its, the bee I belonged to in STLMQG, when it was my turn to hand out sometime in 2014. Each person made a block and a border segment. I named the block So Inclined because of its shape against the background. Here are four blocks:

I provided a handful of precut wedges, the background fabric, and a template for the wedge. I asked the girls in the bee to stick to the palette represented by the swatches I gave them, and they did a wonderful job of following the color scheme.  

After the blocks came back to me, they sat for awhile. Finally a couple years later I assembled the top and put it on my long armer friend's wait list. I asked her for modern quilting, no feathers, and she did amazing ruler work. This quilt was finished probably in 2018 or maybe early 2019. 

At the time I didn't post about So Inclined because I thought I would write and submit a book proposal featuring this block and some others related to it, with several quilt patterns using the Inclined concept. But my book Cut and Shuffle Quilts was in work at the publisher at that time and there were some frustrations with the publishing process so I didn't pursue the book idea. 

So, this is an older quilt that's never been shared on the blog before. So Inclined, twin bed size. 

If there is any interest in a tutorial for the block and some layout ideas, let me know and I'll post one here. It's a much easier block than it looks. 

Since I usually photograph quilts against the wall in my backyard, I couldn't resist this shot with my baby lemon tree. See it's one little green lemon? Pretty foliage against all those organic greens in the quilt, I love it! 

Monday, August 1, 2022

My "Cube Challenge" Project

 The challenge for PCQuilters this year is "The Cube." The project can be anything, quilt, pillow, tote bag, whatever. It's due in March 2023. 

I found inspiration and how-to in a book purchased at the AQS show last April, Stunning 3-D Quilts Simplified by Ruth Ann Berry. I modified one of her designs in EQ and made my own version.

It's pieced in columns and here are most of the columns on the design wall. I pre-cut the triangles and kitted them up, and started the piecing at retreat. A couple more columns are still needed to complete the design, then the background needs to be filled in. 


The background will be very dark green Grunge, almost black. Rather than continue to piece the columns in triangles, I'll cut strips of the background fabric to the appropriate lengths and piece vertical columns that way. 

When finished, it should look like this EQ rendering. It'll be about 98" square when complete. Huge!

It's planned for my bed or to hang in my foyer. My husband likes it and it would certainly be a statement piece in the front hallway. 

I've seen a couple of projects others are working on for the challenge, and all I can say is Wow, there are some talented quilters in this group! 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Dresden Medallion Progress

One of the projects I took to work on at retreat was my Dresden Medallion. I wrote about kitting it up  back in June, and I've made good progress since then. 

The first round is Shoo Fly blocks. The HSTs were die-cut and the blocks were kitted up in baggies, so these blocks came together quickly.  

Next came a border, then appliqued Orange Peel blocks. Since applique is not my thing but this quilt needed it, I made test blocks ahead of time at home to work out the technique that would suit me best. I also paired up the fabrics ahead of time and cut the background squares. There are 28 Orange Peel blocks and I made them in pairs, alternating with other piecing because I just couldn't power through 28 applique blocks. 

Another border, then Friendship Stars. Again, these were die cut and kitted up so they were quick to piece. And piecing them in between appliqueing Orange Peel blocks helped. 

Although the Friendship Star blocks were pieced at retreat, I didn't get them sewn on. Ran out of time. And I had one pair of blocks I wasn't happy with; the fabrics didn't play as nicely with the others as I would have liked. So when I got home I replaced the rejected blocks, sewed the Friendship Stars into rows, and added them to the quilt. 

Now it's a finished flimsy, measuring 48 x 66", lap quilt size. It would have been nice to add a final border all the way around, but I don't have enough of that fabric and can't get any more. 

I have no particular purpose or recipient in mind for this quilt; I'm just making it for the pleasure of playing with fabric and color. The girls at retreat suggested I think about donating it to the fund raising efforts for the expansion of PebbleCreek's Creative Arts Center. We'll see, after it's quilted. 

The colors look much better in person than in these photos because my phone's camera distorts yellow greens, making them look brownish. The palette looks much prettier in person.

There are 34 different fabrics in this top. I've had many of them in my stash for years. I've used them in other projects, here, herehere and for a couple of donated tops that I don't have photos of. Since I started this project with scraps, partial FQs and small bits of yardage, and I die cut more triangles than I ended up using, there were lots of little bits left over. My friend loves to work with the tiniest scraps, so my leftovers have already started to become her next project. 

Now to come up with a plan for quilting this. I may ask for some advice; the friend who's using the scraps is an excellent quilter and I'm sure she'll have some suggestions. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and TGIFF