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

Monday, July 25, 2022

Ritter Ranch Retreat Recap

A photo-heavy post...

Last week I spent a few days at Ritter Retreat Ranch with a few of my Pebble Creek friends. Since it's located at about 4600 feet elevation, it was much cooler there, a welcome respite from the heat in the Phoenix valley. We had comfortable accommodations including a spacious sewing room with all the amenities, gourmet meals, a shop exclusively for us, and a delightful back patio where we enjoyed happy hour each afternoon. 

Did I mention gourmet meals? Lunches includes homemade soups and salads:

The sewing room was spacious, and we had plenty of room to spread out.  The lighting was excellent and we had ample design wall space. 

So what did we do? Take a look...
Robin's 3-Yard top

Dawn and Jonnie at work.
Sadly, I didn't get a photo of Dawn's amazing triangle quilt made 
entirely of chintz fabrics she got in Amsterdam. Sorry, Dawn.

Jonnie's finished top

Edna's table runner blocks. She also got several placemats
 made and this table runner finished.

Nancy's top with Quick Curve border

Nancy's table runner

Jean's pumpkin themed 3-Yard quilt, from a kit she purchased there.
I didn't get a photo of her other pumpkin project in tradiditional 
autumn colors. 

Linda's modern project that will look terrific with her decor.
Linda also taught a class in how to make little schnibble baskets
 to those who wanted to make them.

Karen's batik triangles. This batik palette is so Karen, 
and looks even prettier in real life.

Karen's paper pieced project, a Judy Niemeyer pattern.
She got several colorways of these parts done. 

Jonnie's blocks on the wall, ready to design the layout.

Robin made lots of One Block Wonder blocks

My Dresden Medallion progress. You can see 
the beginning of this project here, and I'll 
post more about this project later. 

My Cube Challenge project, more about this in a future post also. 

As you can see, we were all very productive. All this in 3-1/2 days of sewing! 

Although we worked hard and we all got a lot accomplished, we had a really good time. I didn't think to take photos of our happy hour gatherings every afternoon. We enjoyed beverages of choice and snacks on the patio, where is was so pleasant to sit outside. At home the temps were in the 110s in the afternoon. We enjoyed being outdoors! and enjoyed the conversation. 

Convivial activities and sewing continued in the evenings. We played games a couple of nights; Jean won the fat quarters and Robin won the dollars. Will she spend them on fat quarters? 

The woman who runs the retreat ranch has a small shop and she opened it to us each morning. Some of the girls got kits which they've already started working on. I found backing for my oldest UFO; I hope that will motivate me to get it done. 

I'm glad I got to go to Ritter, for the wonderful company, the sewing and creativity, and escape from the heat. Those of us who went this July are first on the list to go next July. Count me in! 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday and  Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, July 15, 2022

A Quilt for Natalie's House

 Natalie's House is one of the charities PCQ supports, a group home for hard to place foster girls ages 7-17. They can accommodate 6 girls who will transition into foster homes when they're ready. Each girl gets her own twin bed quilt upon arrival and gets to take it with her when she moves on. The staff at Natalie's House is expecting some turnover in August or September, so they have requested some new quilts for the anticipated new arrivals. 

With the addition of a border, one of the prototype quilts I made for PCQ charity projects is the right size, 72 x 92. The challenge was to get it quilted. I wanted something much nicer than I could achieve with my skill level on the long arm, so I asked for help. Mary H of the PCQ charity committee offered to quilt it with my help. We used a cute panto called Daisy Duo, and it quilted up without hiccups.

I chose blue thread, a little bolder than Mary would have chosen, but I really like how it turned out. 

I bound it - note how the bulk of the quilt is tied up to keep it from falling off the sewing table. There was teal binding left over from something else that accented the teals in the piecing.

So now we have a finished quilt for Natalie's House that will soon be delivered, ready for a new resident when one arrives. 

It may not be girly colors so it'll probably be given to an older girl, but it will be all hers to keep forever. Since most of the girls who come in have only the clothes they're wearing, if even that, I don't think it matters too much that it's not pink and girly. 

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, TGIFF

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Computer Problems

Hello friends, 

My laptop is acting up and I'm leaving for retreat Thursday. I'll see about getting someone to look at the computer and hopefully fix the problem before I leave. 

This means no blog posts for awhile until I get the laptop fixed. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Tropical Stack-N-Whack Flimsy

 Last week at social sewing I worked on adding the coping strips to all the tropical stack-n-whack blocks to enlarge them so I could trim them all to a consistent size without cutting off the points. When all the blocks were framed up I put them up on the club's design wall and everyone there contributed suggestions for the layout. 

We sought a balanced distribution of the peach, the darkest greens, and the lightest blocks. After many suggestions and much moving around of blocks, the layout above is where we ended up. 

I brought the blocks home and squared them up to the largest possible size. I was able to trim them all to 16". Here is the top assembled on my home design wall (the background fabric is the same color as the wall so the edges don't show up very well). 

As you can see, some of the blocks rotate left and some rotate right, which makes the negative space around them variable, not a consistent shape. 

Since these were Carla's blocks (from 2001!) to begin with, the plan is to quilt this on Carla's computerized long arm. I'd like to see a motif that complements the tropical theme quilted in peach or seafoam thread in the negative space. I'm sure she has something in her library that will work. And some sort of simple wreath in the blocks, something that doesn't conflict with the fabric and piecing. If necessary I can stipple any leftover background space in off-white thread to complete the quilting. First, though, we have to find backing and get batting. That will have to wait until I get back from retreat.

This will be a donation quilt, probably for hospice. The top measures about 50 x 65", lap size.   

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

Friday, July 8, 2022

A Quilt for Natalie's House

 Natalie's House is one of the charities supported by PebbleCreek Quilters. It's a group home for six hard-to-place girls in foster care, ages 6 to 17. We provide twin bed quilts, and as each girl moves on, she gets to keep her quilt. The staff at Natalie's House are anticipating some turnover in late summer/early fall and they want to have a few quilts on hand so that new arrivals will immediately have a quilt on their bed. They've requested twin size 70 x 90. 

When I found out about the request I thought we didn't have much time to make twin size quilts. But I had one of the prototypes for the PCQ Charity patterns, the Basketweave top, which could have borders added to bring it up to size. The original top measured 60 x 80" and featured shades of blue, aqua, teal, and cool green. Isn't the blue sky a perfect match for it in this photo?!

I added 6" borders to each side, bringing it up to 72 x 92" before quilting. The blue netting print border is the same color as that beautiful sky. 

Tomorrow another member of the PCQ Charity committee and I are quilting this on the club's long arm. Mary is the quilter and I'm the helper, since she knows what she's doing far better than I do. She has much more experience than I have, so we can choose a panto that flatters the top. The backing and batting are prepped and ready to go. After we get it quilted I'll bind it. I have binding ready to go, too.  

I'm glad this prototype is actually getting finished and will be a useful bedspread quilt for a girl who deserves something of her very own. I know it's not pink and cutesy, but I'm sure there's a girl who will be glad to have it. 

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, TGIFF

Friday, July 1, 2022

Tangerine Quarter Log Cabins, a Finish

Recently I posted about a finished top made from Carla's extra blocks. Turns out, they weren't from a UFO after all; her finished quilt using this collection of blocks looks terrific. These were extras she passed along. I adopted them, made a couple more, added some bright tangerine, and ended up with a top for a donation quilt. 

Tangerine, because I wanted a bright solid. Red or pink would have been too expected, and I had used teal on the last black and white quilt. Tangerine is a spring orange so it doesn't look Halloween when combined with black like an autumn orange. And it's gender neutral. What's not to love about tangerine?! 

Carla has a computerized long arm and she's been after me to come quilt with her, so this was the perfect project to quilt together. She wants the practice using the computer features - there's a very steep learning curve. I wanted something other than just my usual meander to enhance this quilt. 

Together we loaded it on her frame and looked through her library of patterns. We chose this circle design because I wanted something modern with curves to contrast with the angular piecing. After she figured out how to select the pattern and position it where we wanted, the first pass went smoothly. The machine just magically stitched and the pattern appeared. Wow! 

Positioning the second pass is where the learning curve kicked in, but she got it figured out. Once learned, the third and fourth passes went quickly. 

We had sized the pattern to make it fit in four passes and the scale turned out great. It's just an accident that the circle repeat is a good size for the side triangles. The largest circles are about 3-1/2" in diameter. The overall look is modern and clean, and nicely enhances the piecing. We were pleased with the overall effect when we took it off the frame. 

I took the quilt to social sewing earlier this week and bound it. The binding is a cute bias plaid I picked up when I went fabric shopping with friends last week, knowing it would make great binding. 

So now this is a finished quilt, ready to be donated to the local social services agency. Not bad for a baggie of leftover blocks and strips! 

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