Monday, November 27, 2023

What I Worked on at Retreat

When I showed the design walls from retreat, I didn't include what I worked on, so let's look at that now. 

First priority, the baby quilt for my niece. I got all the hexies laid out and the rows sewn together for a finished top. (Since I've been home I finished the quilt, which will get its own finish post.)

Second priority, large pillow covers for my son, per his request. I had sent him a selection of fabrics and he chose the ones he liked. Unfortunately I had only a scant quarter yard of the one he liked best, the grey stripe in the lower right. So I had to get creative with it and use his other choices as well, the top two. 

A quilt I made in neutrals in 2015 lives on his grey sofa, and in addition to all the neutral fabrics, there is a print with a touch of marigold in it and marigold piping in the binding. 

So I chose a similar color (didn't have any more of the original fabric) for an accent color. I needed a little something to enlarge the center square of his preferred print up to 10" for the center of a star. 

I kitted everything up prior to retreat, and took the leftover fabric with me as well. I pieced both pillow tops, shown here with the  already quilted backs. 

The more I looked at the one with the light center, the less I liked it. So I carefully took the center out and replaced it with the dark print. Much better. 

These are very large pillows; the tops are oversized for quilting, and when finished they'll be 24". I got one of the tops quilted at retreat, but not the other. Walking foot quilting echoes the star, and it took awhile to quilt one pillow top. When the second is done, I'll add zippers, square them up and trim them, and finish sewing them together. They need to be finished and mailed out prior to Christmas. 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, November 24, 2023

Christmas Quilts for Hospice

 Wow! PC Quilters really came through! 

We originally thought we had enough fabric for 40 kits. Then 50. The donations kept coming, and many of the participants made multiple quilts on their own. One lady made 10! We ended up with 73, which we displayed at our November meeting. 

A few more quilts are still being finished up. The final deadline is Nov. 30, and we have an appointment to take them to the hospice offices in early December. 

The nurses know who the patients are who don't have family nearby, don't have visitors, and don't get holiday gifts. Those are the intended recipients. PC Quilters really stepped up to brighten the holidays for them!

Link up: Alycia Quilts,  

Monday, November 13, 2023

Design Walls at Retreat

The retreat I went on recently is at a beautiful ranch run by Sheila and Bill in southeastern Arizona. We are so fortunate to enjoy a great sewing space with lots of design walls. Ten of us went, and all of us made great progress on projects or accomplished finished flimsies. So, in no particular order, here are photos of what we were working on.

Paula's paper pieced elephant

Helen's inherited UFO #1

Helen's inherited UFO #2

Judy's "What Happens at Retreat" wall hanging

Linda's blocks, part of a much more complicated piece

Janet's One Block Wonder

Debbie's Tilda project blocks

Nancy's queen size star top

Amy's finished top. Her method of keeping the colors organized 
was genius: she wove 1/2" strips of them and glued them to paper 
in the placement she wanted. Brilliant! 

I finished the top for the baby quilt for my niece; see previous post. I also worked on pillows for my son's sofa for Christmas, at his request. More in a later post. 

The setting for the ranch is just delightful, and the weather was conducive to sitting outside on the patio for happy hour. Here's the view to the west as the sun was going down behind the cottonwood tree and the mountain. 

And the view to the east from the patio. Note the red building - that's the private quilt shop for retreaters. And yes, we shopped! No tipping, so we generously support Sheila's store. 

Sheila and Bill serve delicious meals in a lovely setting. Here's the great room with part of the dining table, as we're anticipating dinner: 

And a happy group of retreaters! 

Another successful retreat - a good time was had by all!

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, November 10, 2023

Baby Quilt Flimsy

 My #1 priority at retreat was to get the baby quilt for my niece pieced. Mission accomplished. 

Since I've been home, I got it layered and pin basted, and I've started quilting in the ditch. The quilting lines will all intersect in the centers of the hexies when I get done. No baby news yet, so fingers crossed I can get this finished very soon after baby comes. 

I haven't had a chance yet to edit and post retreat pics; hopefully I'll get that done soon. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

October Stash Report and Goals Update

A lot of my time in October was spent working on Christmas Quilts for Hospice with PCQ and the community service committee. Not many photos to show for it, but I hope to have more photos later in November. 

My big finish this month was my Stay-at-Home Round Robin, started in 2020. 

Fabric usage for the front was already counted in April, and for the pieced back was counted in June. I bought a half yard of black for the binding and immediately used it, so that was a wash. I did find the khaki grid print I need for Road Trip and got the last yard of it from Etsy. Other than that, there wasn't much activity with the stash report this month. 

My niece is expecting a baby boy any day now. I thought I had longer, but no. So I quickly pulled together a palette featuring her preferred color, teal, and kitted it up to work on at retreat. Retreat starts tomorrow, so I can get to work on it right away. 

October Stash Report: 

IN this month: 1-1/2 yards (Khaki grid from Etsy, 1 yard. Black to bind Red Stay-at-Home Round Robin, 1/2 yard)
OUT this month: 1/2 yard (binding for Stay-at-Home Round Robin)

IN YTD: 49-1/2 yards
OUT YTD: 107-1/4 yards

YTD Net change: 57-3/4 yards OUT

Goals Update: 

October Goals:

1. Prep for and teach the final two color classes. Plan shopping trips with the students. Done.

2. Bind three Xmas quilts for Hospice. Done, quilted two more and bound five so far. 

3. Continue working on the Kaffe Gradient project to the point it can be packed up to finish at retreat in November. Project is packed for retreat but I'll have to put the parts on the wall there to check for which sashing color comes next. 

4. Plan pillows for my son's sofa, requested for Christmas, and kit it up to make at retreat. Done, two pillow covers cut and kitted up.

5. Put Road Trip blocks on the wall, work on layout, and figure out what else is needed. Progress

6. Quilt the Stay-at-Home round robin. Quilted, bound, labeled and finished. 

Other: planned, cut and kitted up a baby quilt for niece's soon-to-come baby boy. 

November Goals: 

1. Have fun at retreat Nov 2-5.

2. Make baby quilt for niece's baby: assemble flimsy at retreat, quilt at home ASAP.

3. Make pillows for my son for Christmas.

4. Finish assembling the Kaffe Gradient flimsy. 

5. Continue working on the layout for Road Trip.

6. If needed, bind more Christmas for Hospice quilts.

7. Quilt something on PCQ's long arm.

Retreat will give me a chance to focus on the baby quilt and the pillows; hopefully I can knock out the baby quilt flimsy and two pillow covers with zippers while I'm there. I'm taking along the Kaffe Gradient project in case I have extra time and I need another project to work on. 

After that, November will be a busy month. We have visitors coming after I get back from retreat. Then there are some Color Class wrap up commitments with a couple of my students for some one-on-one coaching. DH is celebrating a milestone birthday so we're planning a little trip, and we'll get together with some special friends. I have time booked on PCQ's long arm before Thanksgiving so I need to prep whatever I'm going to quilt.

I hope November is as productive as anticipated - wish me luck! 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Stay-at-Home Round Robin

 Finally finished, a UFO I can cross off my list. This was started as a stay-at-home round robin in 2020. It was built around an orphan block that didn't come out as I had hoped, but it certainly works as the center here. 

When we found out we were moving to AZ, work on the top was put on hold. It was pieced to the second striped border and the red triangle strips were assembled but not attached. I pulled the UFO out and finished the top at retreat last spring. 

Also last spring, I pieced a back for it, inspired by Kelly Young's book Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs, which was featured in her book launch blog hop.

It wasn't quilted in time for the blog hop; other things came up. Recently I got it layered and basted, and found time to quilt it. It's been ages since I quilted something on my Bernina. It finally cooled off enough here that I felt like wrangling a quilt as one does with domestic machine quilting. This is all stitch-in-the-ditch, nothing fancy.

I'm still struggling to get good photos. Too much wind, always. And either full sun or deep shade. The dappled shade under my palo verde trees is about the best I can manage today. Other than the difficulty with photos, I have no complaints about the sun and the beautiful weather here now that the heat has finally broken. 

This quilt finished about 53" square and it will go to the local family services agency. It was fun to make but I don't need it, so it can go to a teen or tween who needs a quilty hug.

Link ups this week: 
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 10/30
My Quilt Infatuation 11/2
Alycia Quilts  11/3
Confessions of a Fabric Addict  11/3
Wendy's Quilts and More  11/3

Monday, October 23, 2023

A Baby Quilt in Teal

 I just found out that my niece's baby boy is due in less than three weeks. Yikes, I thought I had more time! The baby's room is decorated in teal and white, so I pulled everything in my stash that might work with teal. Lots of aqua and turquoise, a couple of teal prints, a pretty print with turquoise, yellow, and soft green in it, and a few accent colors. 

In order to make this quickly, I'm doing a layout of half-hexies. It will be simple to sew together; the fabrics will do all the work.

Above is the first layout, just slapping the blocks up on the wall. Obviously it needs some tweaking to assort the colors and values better. 

Swap fabrics, take photo, study photo, decide something else needs to be changed, repeat. Every time I move something, something else looks wrong. It took nine attempts to get to the layout below, the layout I ended up with. Enough tweaking, it's as good as it's going to get. 

Here's a close up of the fabrics:

The final size will be about 39 x 45", small enough to fit on one WOF for the back. I have enough of the swirl print (thanks, Cherie!) for the back, and plenty of turquoise options for binding. 

I'll kit it up, take it to retreat next week, and get the top pieced. Hopefully I can get it finished around the time the baby is born.

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, October 20, 2023

Santa's Elves

The push is on to get PCQ's Christmas Quilts for Hospice quilted. A lot of progress has been made in the last couple of weeks, but there's still work to do. Just a reminder, these lap quilts are for Hospice patients who never have visitors and don't get holiday gifts.

Three Wednesdays ago Edna had time booked on the long arm, and I was her helper. We quilted two hospice quilts that were loaded side-by-side. Then the following week I had time booked and she was my helper, and we cranked out another two hospice quilts. 

I forgot to take photos of the first two. These are the second two. I've since bound and labeled them.

Then the Community Service committee held an evening work session this week. Some people were piecing tops; some were quilting on their domestic machines; I bound one; and then I helped Jackie quilt four more. 

These are small lap quilts, measuring 42 to 44" square. Jackie is our backing guru, and she found info on diagonal seamed backing, which saved us an enormous amount of yardage and stretched what we have to cover the approximately 50 quilts we're making. 

Here Amy is prepping her backing to layer, baste, and quilt on her domestic machine.

This top has a nice masculine vibe, and the green plaid is perfect for its backing. There's enough yardage of the plaid to make a back using the diagonal seam method. 

Ruth quilted this one on her domestic machine. We all liked how the red thread and diagonal quilting made red Xs in the sashing. You can't see it, but this one has a cute blue snowman backing.

While we worked hard during the event, we also socialized and enjoyed pizza for dinner. 

Jackie's plan was to quilt four of these small quilts. She seamed the four backings together and loaded the giant back on the long arm as one big piece. It was almost as big as a king size quilt. 

I had finished binding one quilt and there were no more ready to be bound yet so I helped Jackie with the quilting. With two quilts loaded side by side, each of us could do one and take a break while the other person was quilting the other. 

Jackie does beautiful loops, smooth, round, and even. I can only meander, but I can do it well. Hers is on the left, mine is on the right. It took three passes. 

Here the first two tops are done and we're ready to roll; you can see where the four backings are joined. 

The second two quilts were loaded and we quilted them in the same way. 

We all made good progress at our work night. We have 40 quilts completely finished so far, and tonight's will bring us up to 50. We think a few club members may still have tops or quilts that they're working on at home. 

The plan is to present them to Hospice of the Valley at our November meeting. A guest from Hospice will be there to tell our club about what they do, and at that time our community service chair plans to have all the quilts made so far and all the people who helped make them stand up and show them off. Then she'll finish collecting them and take them to the hospice's location at the end of November. Her dining room is absolutely inundated with quilts - I wish I had a photo! 

So, 40 or more Hospice quilts are now completely finished, and several more are still in work. Santa's elves have been very, very busy! 

Monday, October 9, 2023

Road Trip Blocks

I've been making blocks for Road Trip off and on all summer as I've had time. There are quite a few now so I put them up on the wall to start arranging them and see what else I need. 

As is, there's areas that need a little breathing room, and of course some gaps to fill. 

I finally found more of the khaki grid fabric I've been searching for, and I bought the last yard of it from an Etsy seller. I hope it's the right thing when I get it. 


I'll use it for filler in the gaps between blocks, or if that doesn't look right, for HSTs to fill in those gaps. I like that it reads a little darker than the cream net print used in many of the blocks after I realized I was running out of the khaki grid. 

If I keep the current layout, I need four more 9" blocks, two more 12" blocks, and a few 6" Broken Dishes blocks for filler. The Broken Dishes blocks will probably include the khaki grid fabric. 

There are a few blocks I don't like so after I get the new ones made, I'll re-evaluate them and maybe replace them. And continue to move stuff around. 

As is, this layout would finish at 84" square. I have a 78" quilt hanging in my foyer and I'd like to replace it with this one, which has to be at least the same size because of the nail holes in the wall for the hanging rod. 

I welcome any comments you might have about the layout. What do I need to change so it doesn't look like just a bunch of blocks? 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  and Finished or Not at Alycia Quilts

Friday, September 29, 2023

August/September Stash Reports and Goals Updates

Apparently I didn't post a recap for August, so this one will have to combine both August and September. 

In August PCQ learned that one of our charities has a need for small quilts for resident hospice patients for Christmas. This immediately changed our priorities, so I spent a lot of time developing a pattern and working with the Community Service Committee. 

Also in August I began teaching my color class, every other Sunday, which requires prep for each lesson. So far I've taught four lessons. They've closely tracked the book we're following up to this point. Now I'm going off book for the 5th lesson, which has required me to spend a lot - a lot!!! - of time prepping, figuring out how to say what I'm trying to communicate, demonstrate with the materials and swatches I have available, and plan exercises for the students to do in class and for homework. One particular challenge with teaching this class is that I have two very advanced, accomplished students, three intermediate, and three beginners. One of my beginners has never made a quilt block. Next time I teach the class I will specify that it's for intermediate/experienced quilters. 

August Stash Report: 

IN this month: 7 yards. (Jean's destashing sale)
OUT this month: 7-1/4 yards (Test samples for Xmas charity blocks, 1-3/8 yards.  Red wide backing used for sashing strips, multiple kits - 2 yards. Green metallic for sashing, one kit - 7/8 yard. Pattern test top, non-Xmas fabrics, 3 yards.)

September Stash Report:

IN this month: 8-7/8 yards (Darker Purple, 1/2 yard. Kaffe fan print for backing, 5-3/8 yards. Jerome shop, 2 yards.)
OUT this month: 1/2 yard (Purple bits removed from Kaffe gradient project, too small to be used for anything else)

YTD Net Change: 58-3/4 yards OUT

September is actually the only month this year that I've brought in more than has gone out. 

August Goals Update: (updates noted at end of August and don't include further September progress)

1. Prep for and teach first two lessons in my color class. Done; now prepping for third class Sept 3.

2. Continue making SC3 blocks. Yes, made a few; project is on pause while other priorities take precedence. 

3. Work on my Kaffe gradient project. Yes, added sashing and discovered a color/value problem which will require taking rows apart and replacing sashing. 

4. Make backing for SC2 and quilt it. Yes, SC2 is finished (and was shown at guild in September and donated).

5. Continue making Road Trip blocks; work on layout. No, did not get to this. 

6. Make backing for Kaffe Shuffle. No, did not get to this. 

Other: developed a Christmas quilt for Hospice for PCQ Community Service; wrote pattern, made test blocks and test sample; helped make kits; assembled two tops.  

September Goals Update: 

1. Prep for and teach lessons 3 and 4 in my color class. Done; class is going well so far. Working on prepping for Class 5 which is taking a lot of my time and attention.  

2. Work on my Kaffe gradient project. Progress - Still working on ripping out and replacing the too-light purple solid.

3. Work on Xmas quilts for Hospice at prep day and sew day. Yes, helped make kits. Quilted one of my own kits at home. Bound, labeled and finished one of my kits; bound two other charity quilts. 

4. Quilt something on the club's long arm. Yes, quilted three Xmas quilts for Hospice. Also assisted a friend with quilting two deadline quilts. 

Other: Pin-basted the red round robin medallion, now ready for quilting at home. 

It seems I don't have much in the way of photos for September. Much more of my time has been spent prepping for classes and helping out the Community Service committee with Christmas quilts than doing anything photo-worthy. That's totally fine, I'm very satisfied with all I've accomplished. 

Teaching this color class is really challenging me to up my communication skills. What I understand and what comes easily to me from lots of experience is definitely not self-evident to other quilters. Everyone in my class stated their goal is to learn how to combine fabrics to go together in a quilt. If you're working with a designer collection, that work has already been done for you. If you're creating your own palette, how do you choose what goes with what? That's my challenge to communicate. I appreciate the challenge, it's pushing me to grow. There has been a lot of positive feedback, a lot of requests from other PCQ members to offer the class again, and I've agreed to teach it again in January/February/March. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Moving the Red Round Robin Medallion Forward

 Any progress is good progress, right? 

This top has been finished since April. It was started in the fall of 2020 so it's already been in UFO status for awhile. It started as an orphan block, and I built it out round robin style by adding the borders. 

The backing for it has been ready since May; I made a pieced backing from Kelly Young's book Perfectly Pieced Backings (My Quilt Infatuation) for her book launch in June.

Other projects took priority and I haven't been able to quilt this yet. I'm going to quilt it on my domestic machine rather than PCQ's long arm because I want to do some SID and try my hand at some custom quilting, maybe some ruler work. 

Quilting on my domestic machine means I have to layer and baste it, my least favorite task. But since this quilt is not too large, about 52" square, I can baste it on my work table.

With the backing taped and clamped down, it's smooth enough, and I can add lots of pins. I just use straight pins because my hands can't handle maneuvering that many safety pins anymore. If I find I'm getting too scratched up from the straight pins when I quilt, I have little foam caps I can add to the points, but usually it's not annoying enough to bother with the caps. And since I'll start with all the SID, I can remove the pins as I go along. 

Now that it's basted, I can get to the quilting as I have time. At least I feel like I'm moving it forward a little bit! 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts for Finished - or Not! - Friday