Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday report: blue berries and scrappy geese

 Here's the work in progress. I abandoned the monotone batik background in favor of a lively print and changed the red berries to blue.

Yes, one of the flowers floats higher than the others. I am trying to let that NOT bother me.
(I used a tiny zigzag stitch and I don't want to have to rip that out.)

The narrow border is actually a flange. (That's a tip o' the hat to both Libby and Joy whose current projects have flanges.)

I'm still auditioning borders, but this turquoise-with-blue (from the batiks I bought from Libby earlier in July) may do it.

The wall hanging is awkwardly displayed because the design wall is occupied by something new.  I needed to let the wall hanging simmer but I had to sew something.  I have hundreds of HSTs trimmed and sorted by size, stored away in the Parts & Orphans Department.
I pulled out two bags with 3.5" HSTs and began sewing them in pairs -- going for light and dark contrast, no color coordination. I sewed two pairs together to make 6" blocks.  I still have more to sew.  I'm aiming for a quilt that is as big as the number of blocks I can get out of this batch of HSTs.

When we watch reporters and the people they interview we try to make out the titles of the books on their shelves -- and I'm sure I'm not the only quilter who'd like to know about the quilt on Nick Shifrin's sofa!  (I wrote to the PBS Newshour and asked but they haven't replied.)

Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
and Finished Or Not Friday

P.S. I'm going to have a fabric acquisition adventure today -- stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Midweek: design considerations

My next project is a wall hanging.  Two wall hangings, actually, for the immediate past co-presidents of the Zion Woman's Club.  I want to use the same pattern and similar colors and I want to use batiks.
That's the plan, anyway.

(c) Piece o' Cake Designs
I found a design by Piece O'Cake (Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins). It was published in American Patchwork & Quilting, June, 2009.  They specialize in hand applique but I'm converting the pattern to fusible.

This is their quilt. It uses a preprinted checked background.

This is my work in progress.  The background is offwhite batik.

I want to make all four flowers the same. The four flowers shown here are possible color combinations. 

I added a round of petals.

Here are a variety of other color combinations.

The berries don't need to be red. They can
be purple or blue or orange.

Center flower possibilities.

(A note:  the original pattern calls for eight little wedges to be cut out and individually appliqued.
I cut wedges out of a circle leaving them attached to the center. Much easier.)

What color combination appeals to you?

Linking up with Midweek Makers at Susan's Quilt Fabrication.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Weekly update: inches to spare

Our church has begun in-person worship again.  Every other pew is blocked off and people must wear masks and sit only with their spouses/families.  It's a good thing we have a large sanctuary and a small congregation.  They are also continuing to  tape a version of the service that is on YouTube at the same time as the in-person service.  I went to church and set up the computer at home for my husband.  (His allergies make mask-wearing a challenge.  Now that I've seen what in-person is like I think he can try it next week.)

I multi-tasked on Saturday morning. I had a 2-1/2 hour Zoom webinar that I needed to attend.  I set up the laptop in my studio and cut and sewed while the audio/video were muted. It was easy to take notes when I needed to.

It was so hot on Sunday that other than going to church I didn't leave the house. It was too hot even to sit in the shade on the patio to read.  I wasn't about to go to the beach which I'm sure was crowded.    I spent the afternoon sewing, of course, while I finished listening to Trickster's Point, #12 in the Cork Corcoran series by William Kent Krueger.  (I have read or listened to many of these mysteries but this spring I began again with the audio from #1, and taking them in order.)

The 30-patch blocks are a flimsy!  I auditioned a variety of batiks for the border but none of the larger pieces had the color balance I had in mind.  I dug deeper and found a black batik that was 45" long -- almost enough but not quite. What to do?
The half-blocks were just enough.

These scraps are all that was left.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!
Monday Making
Design Wall Monday

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 Interlibrary loan is back among the 26 libraries in our consortium so I *finally* got Faster -- I placed the reserve in March, just before the shutdown.  It's about a Jewish Grand Prix driver who thwarted Nazi efforts to dominate the circuit in the late 1930's.  I didn't know much at all about auto racing in that era -- I was more interested in the social history. Very interesting.

The Glass Hotel is an advance copy from ALA Midwinter. It was published in March. The ripples created by a crooked financier's Ponzi scheme spread across continents and decades.

The new novel by Anne Tyler is also checked out from the library (yay!)   Tyler's descriptions of quirky people and their Baltimore neighborhoods are crystalline in their precision -- just enough to envision the scene.  Redhead by the Side of the Road has enough tension to keep the reader guessing -- and a happy ending.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Homespun churn dashes and something new

78 x 78 and 5 yards used!

I have trouble making "unbalanced" quilts with an even number of rows (i.e, seven columns and eight rows). Does that bother you, too?

Here's the new project.  It was inspired by "Sound Check" by John Kubiniec (McCall's, March/April 2014).  He used solids.

The fun part is choosing the fabric!

 I've admired Wanda's (Exuberant Color)   16-patch block series.  I like the look with 30 patches, too.

Linking up with  Finished or Not Friday
and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Weekly update: plaid churn dash progress

I knew about Turk's Cap lilies from the wildflower book but I'd never seen them in the field until this week. They're much smaller than hybrid lilies. 

(Photos taken at Illinois Beach State Park.)

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In the studio:   I pieced the backing for the Goose in the Pond quilt. (See the flimsy in the previous post.)  I used 52 of the extra flying geese as an insert strip.  (8-1/2 yards by weight. This will be a heavy quilt.)  I buy Warm & Natural by the bolt which is 90" wide, so I'll have the piece the batting, too.

GITP is my One Monthly Goal. Now that I have achieved it I have turned my attention to the homespun churn dashes that I rediscovered last week.  I made two dozen more and put them on the design wall. I thought about using homespun 9-patches for sashing -- I had a box of them on the shelf with the homespun stash. Then I had another idea.    I auditioned a couple of homespuns for the squares in the alternate blocks and this turquoise/brown had the right density and medium tone.  And I have enough of it!

Here's the work in progress.

Linking up with
Oh Scrap!
Monday Making
 Design Wall Monday

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The Beauty of Your Face was outstanding.  Afar is a Palestinian-American school principal who is threatened by a shooter. The standoff alternates with her family story.
Hannah's War is a novel based on the experience of Austrian-born physicist Lise Meitner who escaped Nazi Germany for the U.S. and worked on the Manhattan Project.
A conspiracy of Bones is the latest in the popular Temperance Brennan series. It's fast-paced and it kept my attention.

TO QUILT GRANDMA:  I appreciate your comments on my blog posts but you're no-reply!  If you could provide your email address then I can respond.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday report: it's a flimsy (and the consequences of miscounting)

7/26: Linking up with Elm Street Quilts OMG finish here

Hooray!  The wedding quilt is assembled!

It's BIG -- 96 x 96.  12-1/2 yards by weight.

The border closeup I posted on Monday showed the flying geese framed by a strip of gray-on-white. I didn't think that all-the-same inner and outer borders played well with the varied backgrounds of the blocks and of the geese.

I cut many, many gray/white strips and pieced them into 5's. (Why 5's and not 6's? No reason.) I sewed two 5's together and then sewed those units in long strips.  It was easier and more accurate to make units rather than make long, long, long strips of squares and sew those strips in pairs.
          The squares are 1-3/4" so the strips are 3" unfinished/2.5" finished.

I put the green geese on the inside because it seemed that the greens are somewhat lighter. The darker blue pulls the view outward.

I added an all-the-same final border for stability.

It turns out I miscalculated the number of flying geese I needed for the border.  I made twice as many! 

Some will go into the quilt back.  I'm already thinking about Yankee Puzzle blocks to use the rest of them.

Linking up with Alycia's Finished or Not Friday
and Sarah's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Weekly update: border decision and letting the squirrel out of the box

Brisk northeasterly winds brought rolling waves to the lake today.  The water temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees.

I have water shoes with perforated soles so I can wade and walk over the pebbles in comfort.

1.7" of rain mid-week was great for wildflowers as well as lawns and gardens.  (These wildflowers are in Illinois Beach State Park.)

Chicory, thistle (with an orange butterfly), butterfly weed.
Queen Anne's lace, monarda, purple prairie clover.
Lead plant, mullein (6' tall!), yucca.

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In the studio:

I've been mulling over border designs for the GITP quilt.  I had flying geese in mind and made 80 blue and 80 green.  But long rows seemed skimpy.  And should I alternate colors or do segments (four green, four blue, etc.)?

Then I had a WWBD? (what would Bonnie (Hunter) do?) inspiration.

The double rows will require 328 geese so I'm cutting and sewing more.  (As of this writing I've finished the green ones and have just begun the blues.)

And the squirrel in the box?

A while ago I began making 9" homespun churn dash blocks.  I completed one and finished the HSTs for several more.

I don't know how many blocks I'll make nor how I'll set them. Playing in my homespun stash is a nice diversion from the GITP project.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!
Monday Making
 Design Wall Monday

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This week's reading:  The Giver of Stars is the second novel about the pack horse librarians of Kentucky.  (The  Pack Horse Library Project was a WPA program to deliver books and magazines to people in the rural mountain country of eastern Kentucky.)  Both the first novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, and Giver of Stars have the pack horse librarians and the setting in common but the characters and the sub-stories are different.  I enjoyed both!

I brought the advance copy of Wild Nights back from ALA in 2017. My husband read it right away. I finally got around to it this week.  Our norm for sleeping conditions -- seven to eight hours of uninterrupted, continuous sleep,  bed-sharing only by consenting adults, children in their own beds and mostly in their own bedrooms -- is a North American and western European phenomenon developed in the 19th century.  A new way to think about what we think of as "how it is supposed to be."

Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday report: blocks made and sent, the flock comes together, and batik bonanza

We got 1.67" of badly-needed rain Thursday evening. 

I was going to make 60 string blocks as my contribution to the HeartStrings memorial for Marianne, but I miscounted and made 61.  I mailed them along with some fabric to Sue in Minnesota. 

I decided against sashing the GITP blocks. Because I was careful about the size of each unit and thus each block, all the seams match up. (Yay!) 

 Here is the quilt that inspired this project. I am contemplating using the border (intermittent flying geese) using scrappy grays if that won't look too spotty.  [Danny's Quilt by Ruth Ann Johnson, published in Great American Quilts 2003.]

Libby -- Hillside Quilter -- said she was culling her batik stash. I offered to relieve her of some of it and sent her a check.  Here's what she sent me!  32 yards that include an infusion of light cream/neutral -- perfect for replenishing my  batik HST box.

Linking up with Alycia and friends at  Finished or Not Friday
and Sarah and friends at  Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Weekly update: the pond is filling up on this holiday weekend

This post is being composed from the shady comfort of our patio.  This is the third afternoon I've sat outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. There's just enough breeze from the northeast (Lake Michigan, a mile away) to make it very pleasant.

If this were a normal year we'd have celebrated Independence Day with a concert in the park followed by fireworks.  Our neighborhood was likely like yours -- lots of firecrackers and a few fireworks being set off in the street this year.  (There have been firecrackers nearly every evening for weeks. We can hear them loud and clear since keep windows open at night rather than run the air conditioning )  Fortunately they did not stay up TOO late.

I made pulled pork in the crockpot for July 4 supper and served it with potato salad and what would have been a five-bean salad except that I didn't have wax beans so I substituted a can of corn.

My mother made the Kraft American flag cake every year.  Here's my version -- a yellow layer cake (from a mix) with powdered sugar/butter icing.   I can't remember the last time I made a layer cake! (I use the bundt pan much more often.)

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In the studio:  16 out of 25 Goose in the Pond blocks.  All the units for #17 are assembled ready to sew.  I've established a sequence for cutting, sewing, pressing, trimming so the process is pretty efficient.

I haven't decided on sashing (yes or no?) and the borders. 

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Narrative nonfiction has grown in popularity over the past couple of decades. It is the genre in which a factual account is written as a story. Generally the author writes about one topic pretty exhaustively.  My reading this week included these narrative nonfiction books:  An Obsession with Butterflies (2003) and And a Bottle of Rum (2007).  I'm about 1/4 into the latter.  Good information, interestingly-presented.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!
 Monday Making
 Design Wall Monday

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Midweek / midyear: churn dashes, stash report, and OMG July

Rabbit, rabbit!  I snapped this photo during my afternoon walk one day last week.
I finished 60 9-1/2" churn dash blocks. They're my contribution to the Stashbusters' quilts in memory of our friend Marianne.  It was fun to choose a variety of prints and colors -- the only criterion was that there be a strong contrast.  I'll mail these today to Jean M. who's coordinating the project. 
Stash report for June:
Fabric IN:  31-3/8, $213  ($6.76 avg./yd.)
Fabric OUT: 49-5/8

YTD fabric IN:  405-7/8, $668 ($1.90/yd.) 
YTD fabric OUT: 522-1/8
Net reduction:  116-1/4

After not purchasing any fabric from March 1 through May, I indulged a little in June (hey, it's my birthday month!) --some pink for the baby quilt and some gray, blue, green for the wedding quilt (see below)....and some just because.

My One Monthly Goal for July is to make the quilt for my nephew's wedding.  More precisely, make the quilt this month for delivery to Barb-the-quilter in early August so that it will be finished in time for the late-September wedding.  I have four blocks done -- 21 to go.  They're not hard, just piece-intensive. 
Linking up with Midweek Makers

P.S.  Happy Canada Day!

This sewing machine, in the Canadian History Museum in Ottawa, was used to sew the prototype of the Maple Leaf flag.  (From our 2017 trip.)