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Friday, January 26, 2018

Impulse Project and Sewing Room progress

     For quite some time, I have been following the Facebook page of the Antique Textiles Company in London.  Christopher Wilson-Tate collects and shares photos of some amazing old quilts.   This graphic pickle dish/wedding ring like quilt kept popping up in the background and occasionally took front stage. I couldn't stop looking at it!   The website can be found here.
Christopher Wilson-Tate and the wonderful quilt!  Photo used with permission. 
     The Facebook discussion made it clear that the line of folks wanting to purchase this quilt was long, indeed!  Even if I could purchase an antique quilt, this one wasn't going to be available.

     What to do?  Well, try to make one, of course!  Christopher graciously allowed me to share some of his photos of the quilt, which he says was made in the United States in 1904.  The dark fabric is a dark blue indigo print, with that wonderful cheddar and white.  I just love it!

Photo used with permission

Close up of the quilt.  Photo used with permission 

    I was in the process of ordering up some Kona Tiger Lily (the 2018 Kona color of the year) for another project, and decided to add in some Papaya (which seems to be the orange I'd like), as well as a solid navy to add to my already abundant stash of Kona white.   I found a pickle dish pattern in one of my Kaffe Fassett books (Quilt Romance, 2009) which will give a somewhat different look to this quilt.   The striped part will be more prominent, but I think it will be a very satisfying project.   I also found a free pattern here from AQS blog, and may make up a sample of each before deciding.   I'll keep you posted.

     I was primed to get going as soon as the fabric arrived, but now there is a snag.  I am working on creating a sewing space in one of the bedrooms, and made great progress getting things cleaned out, switching a twin bed for the double that was there, and getting rid of an extra dresser.  I've got my list for things to make a design wall (this weekend?), and the new craft table, which I use for cutting, and for pinning quilts, was delivered and assembled by my trusty quilt holder husband!   The big step was moving the sewing machine up to the room.    Years ago, I had purchased an Arrow cabinet to keep my Bernina in the living room, but to be able to close it up for parties, etc.   I removed the Bernina, emptied the drawers, and got ready to move it up.  I was so excited!

       It turns out, that cabinet is heavy!  So heavy that the two of us can't pick it up and carry it up a flight of stairs!   So, all sewing has halted until we figure out how to get it upstairs.  I am hopeful that it might happen today!  Fingers crossed!

Take care,
Gretchen 

     I received a question about the Kona Papaya I bought to be the "cheddar" in that quilt.  I chose that by using my Kona Color card (with the little 1 inch scrap) and holding it up to the computer!   When I got the fabric, it seemed more yellow and considerably lighter to me sitting on the ironing board than I had expected,  but I then held up a bigger piece of the fabric to the computer, and the match seems okay.   I folded the fabric to account for the backlight on the computer.  I have four yards of this, so I'll be using it!  I'll keep you posted! 


 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Plus Block Quilt Along (#plusblockqal) Progress

20 blocks sewn in one day (and many breaks)  
     At the beginning of the year, I happened upon a plus block quilt-along on Instagram which seemed to have very few rules or deadlines, and looked like a simple block to complete.  Check it out with  #plusblockqal.    Steph's website (which I just found) is  here.   The basic instruction is simple!

    I lurked for a while,  looking at the progress and great color choices of the blocks being posted on instagram.
     I have made other versions of plus blocks.  This version was a new one, and was just what I needed as a break from the 'On Ringo Lake' pieces I am still working on.   
Dave's homespun and flannel rag  plus quilt. 
Amy's Wonky Cross Quilt
Baby Plus Quilt 
     Well, once I decided to do it, I had to do it right away!! So, Tuesday night (after school), I went through fabric, not giving myself too much time to ponder all the possibilities.
    I was planning a scrappy neutral backing, since I have alot of neutrals from the  'On Ringo Lake' quilt, as well as others I hadn't used on that one. 
     What to use for the "pluses"?  My first inclination was blue, and I have a large assortment of blue batik fat quarters that I have been anxious to use.  But I also decided to do a baby size quilt, and I have had orange on my mind since I saw Kona's color of the year (Tiger Lily - I am waiting for my fabric to arrive!).  I had a adequate stash of pieces of oranges to make the pluses for a baby quilt, so just decided to go with it.   I only needed 20 blocks, and so I ended up doing all the cutting on Tuesday night!
Using my Clover clips to keep the parts organized! 

You can see how the music print pops from the other neutrals. 
      My test block with the pieces still not all sewn!

      On Wednesday, I had some time to sew, and just started sewing on and off all day.  These really go together quickly!  By dinner, I had the blocks all done.   Of course, when I am speed sewing, there are going to be mistakes.  I have yet to make a quilt that didn't involve ripping out at least one seam!
The print fabric is on the wrong side!  
     Despite my careful counting,  I ended up with 21 blocks, so one to play with.  I am still playing with a few layouts, and checking the values and contrast.   I was concerned that adding the music fabric was a mistake, but since some of the orange fabrics are quite light, I think it adds some additional visual interest.  

I love using the mono filter on my phone to check the values!  
     I have another orange project in the works, too!  I liked this so much, I may do another one as a smaller wall hanging.  Stay tuned, and thanks for visiting! 
Take care,
Gretchen
     
   

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

'On Ringo Lake' - slowly making progress

     I have managed to make some progress on some of my projects.  I am back to the 'On Ringo Lake' pieces.  So many quilters have actually got their tops together!  You can see some of the completed tops here.  I am anxious to get mine done, but am also content slowly slogging away.   This has many more small pieces than I am used to!   The good news is that I have the Clue #3 pieces all finished and ready to go.
Getting ready!  Somehow I was short some neutral blocks! 
A little string piecing action. 
     I always discover a few goofs, but nothing a seam ripper won't fix!  

I sewed one neutral corner to two pieces!  
Right side/wrong side! 
       I also started working on Clue #5, and am about halfway through these flying geese units.  I am pleased that I notice an improvement in these from the ones done before.  I guess practice does make perfect (although these certainly aren't perfect, just better!)   Clue #4 is a bit more challenging, and I need a block of time to work through that one.  Hopefully, this weekend!
   My list of things I haven't gotten to is much longer than those I have!   I hope I am not the only quilter with a decorated tree still up!
     I am hoping to get this tree taken down and packed away this weekend.  It is artificial, so in theory, it could stay up all year! 

Take care,
Gretchen 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Three Starts for 2018

    Usually I use my blog to share finishes of my quilts and sewing projects.  Today, I am sharing three starts instead! 
     The New Year always brings a good opportunity to consider doing new things, or doing old things differently.    My first new thing of the New Year has to do with our dining room table.  Our dining room is lovely, and we use it when we have company and parties.  I use it for bill paying, for organizing our files, and of course, for some machine quilting, but not regular dinners.  Since the New Year, we have had dinner at the dining room table (which still has its holiday decorations out).  It is amazing how a few lit candles can make a pedestrian meal seem so special!  
    The second start is a long-term project.  I have talked for a while since retiring about transforming my daughter's bedroom into my sewing space.  She hasn't resided here, except when visiting, for years.  This year, both she and my son spent some time cleaning out their old stuff - putting things to keep in boxes for the attic, taking some things with them, and donating or tossing alot of old paperwork.  (Once you are in or done with grad school, do you need high school notes?  No!)   Here is the somewhat cleaned out room as the "before" picture. 
     Step one was switching the bed in this room (a full size bed) with the twin bed in the other bedroom.  We got that done yesterday, and what a difference that made.  I can actually start to see some space for my sewing apparatus!  Step two will be moving one of the dressers out.  Hopefully that will be done this weekend, and perhaps I'll even get my cutting table (which I use to pin quilts) set up.  I have six quilt tops to pin!  I'll share my progress as I go along!

     The third new beginning is bigger and more long term!  This summer, as I was cleaning out part of the attic, I found my old sketch books from high school and college art classes.  The smell of the ink and paper brought me to an unexpectedly happy place. 
A high school sketch.
    I always wanted to pursue art a little bit more, and thought why not now?  My husband and kids were very supportive.  I did the necessary paperwork (FAFSA, applications, getting official transcripts, campus visit!), and  I start classes in two weeks, on a part-time basis, as a fine arts student at a small area college.   I've been to college and to law school, so the "going to college" part is not an issue; going to college as an AARP member may be interesting!  Hmmmm, I wonder if I can stack student and senior discounts??   We'll see how my two classes this semester go; I am very excited! 
    I am hoping to spend at least part of this very chilly weekend working on my Bonnie Hunter "On Ringo Lake" pieces. 

Stay warm and
Take care,
Gretchen 



 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hello 2018 - First Finish!

      I finally completed the little floor mat knit from selvedges and long scraps.    It is a little lumpy, but colorful, which is what people might say about me!   I had several pretty thick home dec fabric scraps that were a bit tough to maneuver, but I think this will look fine at the sink in my daughter's little kitchen.  It is thick, soft and comfy under foot.   It ended up being 22 inches x 18 inches.  Lots of scraps found purpose in this little project.   My daughter started it and my mom helped out, so this is a three generation creation!  
The scraps sewn together and rolled up 

Initial progress by my daughter

Invaluable help from my mother!
Now I need to ship it out, and get on to other projects!
After taking part in the 31 day blogging challenge, I can promise that I will not be blogging every day.   However, I do hope to blog about my quilting projects twice a week. 
Happy New Year!  Stay warm!
Take care,
Gretchen