Sad

July 20, 2019

I have been a member of Ravelry since it’s inception, and the past few weeks have made me very sad.  I did not like seeing how a wonderful knitting forum could degenerate to be full of hate speech.

I don’t like how negative the political arena has become – on both sides.  When the Ravelry owner decided to allow F**K Trump patterns to be shared, removed any pro Trump patterns, then took further steps to ban any patterns that supported President Trump, then called anybody who did so white supremacists and racists,  I decided to pull my free pattern, and leave the site.

Why?  Because I’m all about free speech, I’m all about being truly inclusive – not saying I’m about being inclusive, then promptly banning anyone who disagrees with me.  I don’t like bullies, refuse to be bullied, and now refuse to be quiet.

I’m thinking a lot of us have kept quiet and just accepted this behavior because we don’t want to get involved.  Heck, I don’t want to get involved.  All I want to do is be happy in my little creative world, loved by my family and friends, and be kind to others.

No more staying quiet.  Too many people have lost their way.  They have forgotten how to respect each other, be kind to each other, accept our differences and celebrate them.

I don’t care what color you are.  I don’t care what religious or political  beliefs you profess, I don’t care about your sexual preferences.  As long as you are not hurting anyone, or anything, go ahead and enjoy your life.  Open yourself up to the wonders of our world, the diversity of cultures, and focus on how we can each make the world a better, kinder place.

Hugs…

 

 

 

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Easy Stack Quilt Progress

July 3, 2019

After looking at my quilt blocks on my design wall, I realized something was off.  I was not pleased with how the two blocks looked next to each other, and thought it was because of the fabric I selected for the star block.  I auditioned multiple colors, but nothing worked.  Then it hit me.  The triangles around the block next to it, were too plain.

The author had added some embroidery to that block, and I thought, hmmm.  I have hundreds of built-in designs in my Pfaff sewing machine, and hardly ever use them.  I tested some of them, and came up with a winner:

Easy Stack emb

That block looks so much better now.  It needed a little something extra, and I complied.  (That’s meant to be a humorous reference to Star Trek: The Next Generation, for those of you who love those shows.)  Can you tell I’m binge watching them while I make this quilt top?

This is a design that is sewn out with a wide sewing machine foot, and stabilizer – no hoop required.  I hardly ever use those stitches, paid a lot of money to have them in my sewing machine.  It’s about time I do something with them.

Since this quilt will be donated, I did not use rayon thread for the design.  I don’t know how it will be laundered, so polyester was the go to choice for me.  I’ll also have to make all those embroidered blocks while home, as I don’t bring my big, heavy Pfaff with me when we travel.

After this one is finished, I do believe I’ll try a Log Cabin layout.  Not sure what size I’m making this yet though, so might be using a different fabric to create the radial symmetry for a Log Cabin layout.

For those of you who celebrate the 4th of July, have a happy and safe holiday.  I am blessed to live in a land of the free, because of the brave.

Hugs…

 

Easy Stack Quilt Project

June 29, 2019

I am thoroughly enjoying Paula Doyle’s approach to radial symmetry.  It truly is easy, and she shows so many variations in her book, and gives instructions for multiple sizes of all her patterns.  Her directions are really good too.

Here is a picture of two of the blocks I made this morning:

Easy Stack 2 blocks

The center squares are composed of 4 squares that form the symmetry, and then I used a green fabric with gold sparkles to border the top block.  Next was a cream fabric with gold stars.  It’s oh so sparkly.

The second block has black fabric with gold sparkles to form the star points, surrounded by more of the cream fabric with gold stars.  I’ll alternate them according to the pattern in her book, and am looking forward to seeing how the on point design and star design will float over the background.

I love the way that green Christmas fabric creates so many different designs.  Each center will be completely different.  It is so much fun to see what  will happen next.  And yes, this is the same green fabric that was the basis for the fabric kit I’m taking to Tucson this winter.

You see, I have a system.  It’s not as organized as Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap System, but I like working this way, and will continue to do so till I don’t like working this way anymore.  As you can guess, I select one fabric and use it till there is nothing left.  And I do mean nothing left.  This green Christmas themed fabric was a 4 yard piece I’ve had since the 80’s, and it will all be gone by the end of 2019.

As I make multiple projects with the “chosen” fabric, I use different colors with each quilt.  That is where my fabric collection comes in handy.  I really don’t like making the same thing more than once,  so part of what keeps me engaged with using up a piece of fabric completely, is discovering different color combinations.

This is actually a “what if” type of challenge.  Color excites me, and fabrics change color depending on what you put next to each other.  In one quilt, that green could be the darkest value.  In another, it could be the lightest value.

I originally had a dark red selected for the background fabric in these blocks, but realized, everything was the same value, and yes while they were complementary colors, they contrasted well.  You could still tell the stars and the on point blocks were in the quilt, but there was no oomph.  I like oomph.  Changing the background to the cream with gold stars, upped the oomph factor.

I do believe I’m going to like the Easy Stack projects the best, and have enough blocks to make 2 quilt tops this way.  The second one might be just plain blocks, or I might use the blocks as the center of a log cabin lay out.  If I use the log cabin idea, I’ll be able to make it scrappy, and I do so love the scrappy look.   There will be more pictures to come.

Hugs…

 

 

Hidden Wells

June 27, 2019

My first fabric kit is completely cut and packed for Arizona.   It’s easiest for me to cut all the pieces at home as I like the nice, soft marmoleum flooring I had installed in my sewing studio, plus I stand on one of those anti fatigue mats.  Lots better than standing on a concrete floor in the Tucson craft room.  Happy legs make for happy fabric cutting.

One of my Rochester friends – Beth – has a great blog, and I read about a block design she has learned to make easier than when she first took up quilting.  It is called Hidden Wells and here is my version:

Beths hidden wells block

Do you dig that millennium fabric?  LOL  Yes, I still own some.  That’s what I get for purchasing an entire bolt, then not using it in my millennium quilt.

If you clicked on the link for her blog, and compare my block to hers, you’ll see it’s not quite the same.  If there is a way to reverse a design, I will find it.  It didn’t help that I decided to try the pattern at 1 am the night before having an outpatient surgical procedure.  Nothing like sewing when tired and stressed.

The points don’t match up  because, wonders of wonders, I accurately cut 2.5″ strips from my fabric collection, but used one piece from a jelly roll, and that piece was wider than 2.5″.   It’s the red piece – easily spotted in the photo.

If you are interested in giving this block a try, Beth gives the instructions on how to make Hidden Wells on her blog post, so you can get them there.  I can see where you could get some great secondary patterns, and you could also have fun with 2 or 3 color versions.  Lots of opportunity for creativity in this block.

I really enjoyed trying this, and am oh so happy to fit in a little experimental sewing between projects.   I used to experiment every month when I attended classes at my sewing machine dealer’s shop, but since the owners retired, I’ve been ignoring that aspect of sewing.  Not  anymore.

Experimenting and learning new techniques brings me such joy, even when I discover I don’t like what I’m trying.  The joy is in the attempt.  If I love the result, yeah.  If I don’t love the result, then yeah I learned I don’t like it.

There are no photos of my second sewing experiment, but there will be some soon.  All I can say is you have got to try Paula Doyle’s method of creating radial symmetry in a quilt block.  It’s so easy, and you get stunning results without a lot of bulky seams.

Hugs…

 

 

Testing a Scrap Quilt Project

June 8, 2019

Most quilters who travel in an RV for an extended period of time, pack quilt kits, so they can sew when they aren’t out and about sight seeing.  Last year, I packed 3 kits, and finished them all off in one month.  That left me with using fabric donated to a local church, and making lots of quilt tops for donation.

Hello!!!  I’m supposed to be using fabric from my extensive collection, as I’m not getting any younger.  I enjoy making quilts for donation, and I was grateful to have projects I could work on, but I really need to focus on using what I own.

I have an abundance of Christmas themed fabric and thought it would work well with the Felicity pattern by Wendy Sheppard in the American Quilter May 2019 magazine:

Xmas block

I like to make one block in whatever pattern I decide to kit up.  This way if I make any cutting errors, they can be corrected while I’m home.

Success, and I’ll have all the components cut, ready to sew when I’m on vacation.   This is perfect for social sewing.  No math or standing at the cutting mat trying to cut accurately.  We all like to visit and catch up with each other’s lives while we’re sewing.  Easy projects are the way to go.

I have enough of the green fabric to make another quilt top, and thinking about a Stack and Whack for the next quilt kit.  The plan is to use up every single bit of that green fabric, then move onto another fabric that has yet to be chosen.

Hugs…

 

Arizona Scrap Quilt IV

May 18, 2019

The top is pieced, and I am thrilled with how it turned out:

Top

I waited till my daughter came for a visit, as this required both she and my husband to hold it up for a photo.  It sure grew.

Some of my fabric was used in the second border from the edge as I had used up all the blocks from the swap, and consider it a minor miracle that the math worked out.  Not one thing was planned about this quilt top.  I winged it along the way, and it is quite possibly the most enjoyable quilting experience I’ve had in the last few years.

It was partially pin basted at my Ogden Art Group meeting Thursday, and I have been playing around with tension and testing new designs for a couple of days.  I did get a nasty surprise when I opened up my brand new quilt batt, I found this:

Hobbs Batt

Someone must have purchased the batt, tested it, decided they didn’t like it, rolled it back up, and returned it to the store.  I was the unlucky person to purchase this batt.  A 90″ x 108″ Hobbs Wool Batt is not exactly inexpensive.  The store is now out of business, and I should probably contact Hobbs about this situation.

How do you like that Millenium fabric I used for the backing?  The fabric’s wrong side looks white, so it works great for quilt backing.  I have a few fabric scraps left, and they will eventually be included in other projects.

A couple of days were spent playing around with different quilting designs, practicing my free motion quilting, and getting my tension right.  I’m using a new to me thread, and it’s pretty darn thin.  I think I’ll be a fan of it for piecing, but not for quilting, only because I want my quilting to show, and it’s doing a very good job of being invisible on the back, and showing up only on dark colors on the front.  That is most likely a blessing for this quilt, as I’m definitely rusty with my free motion quilting.  😉

I hope all who celebrated Mother’s Day had a great day.  It was also my 46th wedding anniversary, so I received an abundance of fresh flowers.  They are still beautiful and haven’t dropped a petal yet.  It makes me oh so happy to see the glorious colors.  I hope you all have something in your lives that makes you happy too!!!

Hugs…

 

 

 

Arizona Scrap Quilt III

April 30, 2019

Tis the last day of April, and it still feels like winter in Upstate New York.  Hopefully, it’ll warm up soon.  Inside, it’s been warm and cozy and I’ve been having a grand time working on the scrap quilt started in Tucson:

B57F28BE-D506-4D77-81CD-C3ED4589DB82

The string piece border triangles were completed, attached to the blocks, and sewn into rows.  Now I’m auditioning what fabric to select for the next border.  Somehow this simple little quilt has decided to be larger than envisioned.

I still have 4 more 16 patch blocks to add, but haven’t decided if they’ll go on the front or the back.  Two of them are the right size, and 2 of them are smaller than the others.  I’m thinking on this and hope to come up with an idea so they can shine on the front of the quilt.

My embroidery machine is also getting used, and wonder of wonders, I selected some of my hand dyed fabric for this project.  It takes a lot of time to hand dye fabric, so I tend to put it all in a nice neat pile – yeah sure, one neat pile  😉  – saving all the fabric to  use for something special.  Nobody could be more special than the friend I made this mug rug for:

Love for Lona

This is a free design from the Kreative Kiwi website, and I have plans for sewing out more of her designs.  I love how she digitizes the edges of her mug rugs.  It’s not just the usual satin stitch.  Don’t you think it adds a lot of texture to the design?

The rest of this week has way too many doctor appointments for me – nothing is wrong – just basic body maintenance – and all I can say is, it sure interferes with my sewing time.

Hugs…

 

 

Arizona Scrappy Quilt II

April 16, 2019

Okay, the votes are in and the string triangle version won, hands down.  Too bad, because let me tell you, this entire quilt top would have been pieced by now if I hadn’t started making those triangles out of strings.

Now this is not the technique’s fault.  It’s the total lack of neutral strings in my extensive fabric collection that is causing the trouble.

I sorted through my one lone scrap drawer.  Hardly any strips, and most of them were nice pretty colors.  Nope, I need neutrals.

Went through my fabric collection and removed the ones I thought would work well, cut off a strip from each – all 3″ wide across the width of fabric because I could make them narrower easily, and this was the fastest way to contribute to the cause.

Went to quilt club and came home with only 3 pieces that would work, and one of them has so many slubs in the cotton, I decided not to use it.  White background, with green polka dots, and big white slubs running across the piece = not great quality fabric in my mind.

This is my entire amount of neutral strips:

Sewing room mess

They are draping from every flat surface around my sewing machine, and over the top of my embroidery unit.   Kind of sloppy, which kind of drives me crazy, but it’s the only way I can see the pattern and make sure not to repeat fabrics close to each other.

I worked almost 5 days on those little triangles, and only have 6 squares done.  I must be the slowest string piece quilter in the world,

16 patch with top string row

Looks pretty darn good to me.  That is why I’m continuing to make them, and have to say, it is very satisfying to see how well the strip triangles complement this scrappy quilt top.

All my telephone paper squares are cut, so all systems are green for more string triangle piecing.   I wish I could just sit and make all them without having to monitor which fabrics are used in each block, but I flat out don’t have enough variety, and I’m not buying anymore fabric for awhile.  I already own more than I can use before I go to the great big sewing retreat in the sky.

Let me tell you, string piecing is great for people who use Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap System for storing their scraps.  I’ve done too good a job of using up my scraps as I finish each quilt.  Whatever fabric was left over from each of my quilts, usually ended up in the backing fabric, or donated on the free table at my local quilt guild.  I do like sharing with my fellow quilters, and I am a finisher.  I don’t even have any orphan blocks.  Seems I’ve been a bit too efficient with my scraps to easily make string quilts.

I do love string quilts.  I do love the texture all those different fabrics add to a quilt top.  It is worth the time.  This will be completed, and I can’t wait till I get to go back to Tucson and show this quilt to all my Arizona friends.

Hugs…

Arizona Scrap Quilt Project

April 8, 2019

We are back home from our wonderful Arizona get-away, and I am happily working on the 4 Patch into 16 Patch Swap quilt.  That has a link so you can refer to the original post on the blocks.

Here is what I’ve done so far:

9DB695BC-B4C8-45B8-801E-6BC70C1DA5DE_jpeg

I sewed together 16 of the blocks to form the center, and placed a small border around the blocks.  Picked up a shirt from Goodwill while in Arizona just for this quilt.  Bonnie Hunter suggests using cotton shirts in her scrap quilts, so I thought I’d give it a try.  No great buy for me.   It was $4.99, but I sure like the look.

Then I placed some 4 square blocks around that for a play on different block sizes.  I liked that too, and added another small border with the shirt fabric.

Then I was stumped.  Started cutting a block, made a mistake and cut a slit in the center of a block.  Time to step back and not force adding the next border.  Packed it up,  brought it home and played around with the blocks on my design wall for 3 days till I liked the third border idea.

Putting blocks on point adds more interest to the quilt, and I am debating about what to use for the triangles to square them up.  It might not show in the first picture, so I took a close-up:

string or solid

Should I go for the string pieced triangle look on the left, or the print fabric on the right?

The string fabric goes well with the scrappy look, but it’s kind of dark, and those are darn light neutrals.  White on white neutrals looked lousy, so I tried  light cream fabrics.

The print fabric goes well with the plaid shirt fabric – really well, but not too sure how well that look plays with the rest of the quilt.

Decisions, decisions.  I find I spend more time on this part of making a quilt, than anything else to do with the quilt making.  I would really appreciate hearing your opinions on which look you think makes for a more interesting, cohesive quilt top.

Hugs…

 

 

Friendships

March 27, 2019

My time in Tucson is quickly coming to an end.  The weather was cooler this year, but I still loved it.  In fact, I prefer 60’s and 70’s.  It’s now in the 80’s, and let me tell you, an RV gets mighty hot in full sunshine and 80 degree temperatures.

I belong to two quilt groups here, and have made such good friends.  How do quilters manage to “click” so well with each other?  We certainly have.

I’m not one to do a lot of social sewing at home, but that is the only type of sewing and quilting I do while I’m on vacation in Tucson.  I don’t have room in my RV to sew, and while I can sew outside on my patio, it’s a lot of work to set-up and take down, and then there is the breeze.  We are in a great location, and enjoy the breeze when we sit outside reading on our patio, but not so enjoyable when pieces of fabric take flight. So off to the craft room I go.

It’s been pure joy to sew and chat this year.  After coming to the same resort for 8 years now, we’ve all gotten to know each other pretty well, and get along great.  We’ve gone on fabric shopping trips together, and quilt shows together, and some of us have gone out to eat with our spouses together.  We’ve formed a great little community here.  I’m really going to miss my Tucson sewing sisters.

One of them – Linda – gave me a parting gift, and it pretty much well sums up how we all feel:

Joy

Hugs…