Monday, August 28, 2023

What I've Been Up to Lately

 ...Not blogging! 

I've actually been pretty busy with quilty things, but not all of them lend themselves to photos and blog posts. In no particular order: 

Prepping for and teaching a color class for quilters. Two lessons down, four to go. Prep takes a lot of time, both to think through how I want to organize the lesson and to put together the demo materials. We're using a book as a guide, and color chips from a printed fabric panel. *

Colors influenced by Season

Photo credits: Linda L. 

I've also been working - a lot - on PCQ's Community Service Christmas Quilts for Hospice, but I'll write more about that in a separate post. 

Linda, Edna, and I finished our second Scrappy Celebration top in bright colors; Linda assembled it. She passed it and the fabric for the back to me, and I've pieced the back. It's twin size and I'll quilt it on the club's long arm later this week. Right now both the top and the back are pinned to my design wall because they're pressed and I'm keeping them wrinkle-free. Here's the top: 

We've been working on blocks for a third Scrappy Celebration, in patriotic colors. We need a few more blocks. This is certainly not the final layout; the stand-out colors and prints need to be assorted better across the top. 

And last but not least, remember my Kaffe gradient project that I worked on at retreat in July? I've revised the layout a few times, and here's where I ended up. I was aiming for a smooth-ish transition from the blues to the reds and pinks so I had to bring in a couple of non-Kaffe prints with purple in them, but they harmonize well. 

 I'm working on adding the sashing for a luminous stained glass look, here placed on the wall but not sewn. I found backing for it this week, the Kaffe fans print in purple. Perfect! 

The next few weeks are likely to be equally busy, so forgive me if I don't post as often as usual. Once I finish teaching my class later in October things will ease up a bit. I have to say, I have a whole new respect for teachers! I don't know how they manage to prep lessons and teach day after day! 

* The Quilter's Field Guide to Color by Rachel Hauser, and a printed Kona color panel from Robert Kauffman, which we got from Hancock's of Paducah. No affiliation.

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, August 18, 2023

Kristen's Quilt

Back in 2013, my youngest niece had recently learned to sew. She wanted to make a quilt. She was in Girl Scouts and the leader had taught the girls simple patchwork.

My niece lived in Tulsa, I lived in St. Louis. She was about 11 then. So I came up with a very simple plan of squares, and she picked colors of purple and turquoise. I even found a background print for her with tiny dots of her colors, that she could use instead of plain white. Her Girl Scout leader would help her cut with the rotary cutter.

The plan was that I would make the same quilt, photograph the steps and email the instructions to her, and we'd make our two versions of the quilt together. Mine was pink and orange. 

We got as far as how many squares of each color to cut and what size to cut them. Then she got into band and robotics, and hasn't sewn a stitch since. She's now a senior in college majoring in mechanical engineering.

I don't know what ever happened to what she started, or even how far along she got. My start was just cut squares, and has remained a UFO all these years. I kitted it up to take to a retreat several years ago as my "extra project" in case I ran out of things to work on. That kit has gone with me to every retreat since, never touched. One time I found the perfect backing for it at retreat. Does purchasing backing count as moving a UFO along when the top is just a bunch of cut squares? 

Anyway, in July I once again took it along on retreat. And this time I actually assembled it. I have only this one photo of the top on the design wall there. 

I packed it up along with the backing and prepped binding, and donated it to PCQ for someone else to quilt and finish. It will go to one of the charities we support. It's about 49 x 59". 

I always thought of it as Kristen's quilt, even after she gave up on sewing. Now it has finally been moved along, closer to a finish. 

I guess now I'll have to come up with a new "extra project" to take along on retreats. 

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Monday, August 14, 2023

Christmas Quilts for Hospice

Recently PCQ's Community Service Committee chair had a request from Hospice which we can fill. Hospice has clients who never get visitors and never receive Christmas or holiday gifts. How sad! They've requested small quilts, 42-45", to be given at Christmas to these patients. 

My role on the committee is lead pattern designer, so I've been playing with ideas.

We'll make simple 7" (finished) blocks. A 6 x 6 layout will result in a 42" quilt. Some layouts benefit from borders, so those quilts would finish up to 45".  Along with all the dark Christmas prints - lots of red! - we can use light Christmas prints, and we also have available some white or cream yardage for the light strips.

I have very few Christmas prints and I didn't raid the club's stash. I made as many blocks as I could with what I had, just to test out various layouts. The simplest layout is Straight Set. This would benefit from a top and a left side border added. 

The next layout is the always popular Rail Fence, no borders needed.

The third layout is Brick Wall. This works best with pairs of blocks together, and would get a top border.

There are many other possible layouts using these blocks, but in the interest of keeping the project quick and easy for everyone to work on at the next Sew Day, these are the simplest. Any of these layouts can be scrappy, or if enough fabric is available, could use all one or two dark prints. 

Committee members will be working on kitting these up, so the kits will be ready to hand out at the next Sew Day. If your group is interested in these blocks for charity quilts, here is the info for prepping kits: 

Prep for Hospice Christmas Quilt:  Per quilt kit:

Cut 36 dark 6” Christmas print squares. Could be 18 red and 18 green blocks, or all one color.

 - Cut 6” WOF strips and sub-cut 6” squares. This should yield 7 squares per WOF strip.  If desired, assort prints among several kits for a scrappy look. Or use all the same print in one kit, which would require ½ yard each of two fabrics.

 - If using a fat quarter, if it’s straight and the full 18” long, it should yield 9, 6” squares.

Cut 13 light WOF strips, 2” wide*. This will yield 36 pieces at 7-1/2” long and 36 pieces at 6” long per kit plus an extra WOF strip.  

 - From each WOF strip, cut 3, 7-1/2" pieces and cut 3, 6" pieces. Tip: open the WOF strip, stack two or three, and cut desired lengths.

 - If using partial WOF strips or scraps, make sure there’s enough in the kit to yield the required number of pieces.

 - If using all one light fabric per kit, ¾ yard is needed plus extra for borders. 

 - At the sew day, have available additional  2” light WOF strips for anyone who wants to add borders.

*Use die cutter if available

Each kit will include the pattern. 

In PCQ's stash there are Christmas prints we never knew what to do with because we weren't sure they'd be suitable for the recipients of our charity quilts. Now we have a use for them, but there's not enough for more than two or three small quilts.

We put out a request to PCQ's members for any unwanted Christmas fabrics that anyone would care to donate. We should receive them at tonight's meeting. Tomorrow the planning committee will meet to determine how many kits we can make up using the fabric available. We hope we can meet Hospice's need so that no one goes without a comfort gift this Christmas. 

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, August 11, 2023

Kaffe Shuffle

In 2014 when I was working on my book Cut and Shuffle Quilts (now out of print), the publisher asked me to include a quilt using Kaffe Fassett fabrics in the book. 

This is the quilt that ended up in the book: Heat Wave

The premise of the book was to start with a framed square, slice and dice it, shuffle the parts, and create new blocks from those parts. Here's the block used in Heat Wave; the top, bottom, and side units are turned inward. Heat Wave has pieced sashing between the blocks.

If you look at the block parts on the right and look at the block in the lower right corner of the quilt, you see that I used black for the center square and print for the frame. When working on this quilt, I started with blocks with printed centers and black frames. I ended up not using them, instead using blocks with black centers and printed frames, making the black less prominent when they were cut and shuffled.

Since 2014 I've had those orphan Cut and Shuffle starter blocks just sitting in a drawer. I needed a project to work on at retreat in July, so I gave some thought to what I could do with them. I wanted something different, not just another Cut and Shuffle quilt. Prior to retreat I cut each block into fourths. Here's the same framed starter block image as above, showing where I cut it.

I ended up with a lot of print squares with black frames on two sides. By themselves, they looked too busy together and didn't combine into a large enough quilt. So I planned for some sashing, using the same magenta/mango dot print as in the original quilt above. 

At retreat I laid out the blocks on point, with the sashing fabric. We were all surprised at the three-dimensional effect that appeared! 

With an on-point layout I would need side and corner triangles. I planned on using the dot print, but that would have been just too much, too loud and gaudy. Yuck! The consensus among the retreaters was that I should use black for the side and corner triangles.

I agreed, but there was one problem. That black isn't actually black, it's a charcoal-on-black tiny crosshatch print. And I didn't have any more of it. Since it was from 2013-14, my chances of getting more were nil. 

The quilting gods were with me at retreat. Our hostess has a small shop, and she had a different tiny charcoal-on-black crosshatch print. Very close! What were the chances I could ever find something that close?!!! The two black prints never actually touch each other, and unless you know they're different and hold them together, you wouldn't know a substitute print was used. 

I was able to get the top assembled at retreat. Fortunately we caught that turned square in the bottom row before the borders were added. 

The girls convinced me that it needed black borders to finish framing it, so back to the shop I went for more of that black print. They were right, the black border helps contain all that chaotic color.

So now I have a finished flimsy. Still a UFO, but definitely farther along than just a pile of orphan blocks. I have enough of that new black for the binding. I might have something in my stash for backing, otherwise I'll see if there's something in PCQ's stash.

Since it started as a Cut and Shuffle quilt and uses Kaffe fabrics, I'm calling it Kaffe Shuffle. This will be a donation quilt for the local family services agency, probably for a teen girl. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Wendy's Quilts and More, My Quilt Infatuation

Friday, August 4, 2023

Scrappy Celebration 1, Finished

Back in the spring my neighbor and quilting buddy Linda approached a few friends with the idea to form a "hive' (a.k.a. a bee) to make blocks for Scrappy Celebration, which was on the cover of the April issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. 

We pulled a palette together based on the colors in the magazine sample, and made blocks. 

We made our version a little larger, a few blocks bigger, because the charity we're giving it to needs twin bed size quilts. 

Fast forward a few months, and our first Scrappy Celebration is completely finished. Linda assembled the top, quilted and bound it. 

photo credit Linda L

This will go to a group home for girls ages 6-17 in foster care. The recipient will have it on her bed, and she'll be able to keep it for her own when she moves on. We think the girly palette will be especially appealing. 

We had so much fun as a "hive" making the blocks that we've made another set, in brighter colors, for a second Scrappy Celebration quilt. And we're not done with blocks yet: a third set in patriotic colors is in work. 

I really appreciate that I'm able to get together with quilty friends right here in my community.  

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

July Stash Report and Goals Update

July was a busy, productive, and hot!!! month. Also a fun one. July is indoor season here because of the heat, so I spent a lot of time in my sewing room. I was able to escape the heat for a few days at retreat, which was nice. But we've had temps over 110 all month, so thank goodness for air conditioning. (Don't tell me "But it's a dry heat." Temps that hot are brutal no matter what!)

The masculine geometric top I was working on has been quilted and is now ready for binding, which is prepped. I should easily get that quilt finished soon, because the agency it's destined for desperately needs quilts. They must have had an influx of clients recently because their quilt supply is depleted. Each client gets a comfort item to keep. 

The Four Patch Shuffle quilt has been quilted, bound, and donated to the same organization. 

Four Patch Shuffle

I accomplished a lot at retreat: a donation top that's been a UFO since 2014; another top that's salvaged from some spare parts from when I was making my book quilts; and blocks for a new project. I've already packaged up the donation top along with fabric for backing and donated it to PCQ for someone else to finish. It will get finished more quickly that way. And since the piecing is so simple, someone skilled at using pantos can enhance it with a pretty quilting design.

2014 UFO

Those retreat flimsy finishes helped my stash report. I indulged in some stash enhancement, mostly for the side triangles for Kaffe Shuffle and the patriotic version of Scrappy Celebration my friends and I are making, but my usage for the month and the year way outpaces my acquisitions. 

July Stash Report: 

IN this month: 7-3/4 yards (5-1/2 yards Ritter retreat. 1/2 yard (2FQ) from Jean. 1-3/4 yard 35th Ave shopping.)
OUT this month: 17 yards (2 yards bright polka dot backing and 5/8 yard binding for 4 Patch Shuffle. Bright SC2 blocks & related fabric shared, est. 2-1/2 yards. Kaffe Shuffle top, 4-1/4 yards. Pink/Orange donation top 4-5/8 yards, and donated backing, 3 yards.)

IN YTD: 33-1/8 yards
OUT YTD: 99 yards
YTD Net Change: 65-7/8 yards OUT.  Wow, nearly three times as much yardage used as I've brought in this year. And that doesn't even count what I've used for charity quilts from PCQ's stash. WOW! 

I counted only the sashing and side triangle fabric out now that there's a finished top using the leftover Cut and Shuffle blocks. The sashing and side triangle fabrics are recent acquisitions specifically for this project. 

Kaffe Shuffle

Since July was such a productive month, I feel good about my goals update. 

July Goals Recap: 

1. Finish prepping for retreat. Have fun at retreat! Yes and YES!

2. Bind Four Patch Shuffle. Done and donated.

3. Make blocks for Road Trip sampler and work on layout. Yes, made blocks. Layout is still to be determined. 

4. Make blocks for Bright Scrappy Celebration. Made blocks, laid them out at retreat. Bright SC (SC2) is now a completed flimsy. Now making blocks for SC3 in patriotic colors.  

5. Quilt something on the club's long arm. Yes, quilted the gold geometric print masculine top.  

6. Find or create a new project to work on at social sewing. Yes, working on SC3, Road Trip blocks, and a Kaffe gradient project. 

Other: worked on prep for teaching a color class starting in August. 

Kaffe Gradient

August Goals: 

1. Prep for and teach the first two lessons in my color class.

2. Continue making SC3 blocks.

3. Work on my Kaffe gradient project.

4. Make backing for SC2 and quilt it. 

5. Continue making Road Trip blocks; work on layout. 

6. Make backing for Kaffe Shuffle. 

Road Trip sampler blocks

I'm sure August will be another hot month so I'll still be staying indoors. I'll have time to work on my projects, but much of my time will be devoted to preparations for a six-lesson color class that I'm teaching to some of the PCQuilters*. I was never a teacher, so now I have a whole new respect for what they have to do to plan and prep for lessons, and how much time it takes! Looks like I have a busy month ahead of me....

Wish me luck that I can stay on track and get all this done! 

* (Please don't ask me to teach the color class on the blog; it's not gonna happen. It's much too hands-on.)