Monday, March 8, 2021

Circles, Triangles, Paper Piecing...

I've been wanting to try a few things so I just took some time to play in the last few weeks. 

First, I wanted to try some paper piecing with freezer paper. I took the Freezer Paper Piecing Masterclass with Rebecca Bryan. I had this Rainbow Radial Quilt pattern from Audrey Esarey that I wanted to try and thought it would be a good place to try my new paper piecing skills. 

So I rounded up some scraps and found everything to be quite easy. The one little glitch was that the four outside corner pattern pieces were a tad too big. It could easily have been a user error, The next time I'll 'dry-fit' the pieces before any sewing begins.

After taking pictures, I saw that 2 of the blue fabrics had run a little. That is being fixed.

My completed piece is 36" square. I quilted this with a walking foot and straight lines that are 1-1/4" apart. I wanted to do a grid but decided one way was enough. When I had to make corrections for the corner pieces being off, my piece wasn't sure it wanted to be flat. It's fine but I didn't want to fight it anymore with more quilting. I used 50-weight Aurifil #2600 Dove grey thread for the quilting. Instead of binding, this has a facing. The table topper is rather plain but looks fine on our dining table. 

The back is a pale orange with a white dot.

Now that I have a pretty good understanding about this circle quilt, I think I can draft whatever I want. There may be some interesting circles in the future.

When I took Rebecca Bryan's class, I signed up for everything on her website for a year. She has these amazing BOMs on her site. She does a lot of design work with triangles and I wanted to pursue that. So instead of a whole quilt in one of her beautiful BOM designs, I opted for The Big Mini. It is the center of the Stargazer quilt. You can see from my smudged notes that the design is made of triangles. 

With no idea what I was doing, I chose some orange, yellow, and blue scraps and began. I did not do her preliminary steps concerning color. I just wanted to test some things. Here is my Big Mini in a black and white photo. 

And here it is in color. It's about 28" wide and already in the scrap box. I don't like how it turned out but I learned things and that's what I was really after. My major dislike is the many multiple seam joins. It gets to be very bulky.

I've decided I don't want to make one of Rebecca's BOMs but I do enjoy her modern triangles. So I will probably have some kind of  Modern Triangle Quilt in the future. Many of the triangles are paper pieced and I think they all could be.

I also just started Bonnie Hunter's Jamestown Landing Quilt. I've always loved that quilt and saw it again the other day. I decided that now is the time to make it even though I have a number of other projects in progress.

The health update: I saw the specialist for my bones. I'll be taking shots to increase my bone density. I'm waiting to hear which shots (there are 3 possibilities). More patience. We did get our 2nd Covid vaccines and all went well.

Monday, February 22, 2021

February - a month for Finishes!

I didn't plan on February being a month of finishing things but it sure turned out that way. In addition to the two earlier finishes, I have 4 more quilts and a hat! That makes six quilts finished in February!

#1 was shared here and #2 here.

Rhombus Gemstones is a 51" by 64" donation quilt. The pattern is from Missouri Star Quilt Company and I used their large rhombus template to make this quilt. I used a Moda Grunge Jellyroll for the strips. 

The quilting is free motion lazy eights in the colored strips, free-hand free motion feathers in the negative (white) areas,

and ruler work candy ribbons on the border. I had pretty good success with my ruler foot on the ribbons. It gives me headaches when it has to cross seams. 

I used Aurifil #2600 Dove gray Forty3 thread. I ordered the thread from an Etsy shop. It took a while to get here and then was a yellow spool instead of orange. I wanted a big spool of 50 weight and got Forty3 which is 40-weight 3-ply cotton.  I decided to keep the thread; it sews like a 40-weight but is stronger. Of course, I still need some 50 weight.

The backing is orange from my stash.

Easy Breezy is a 59" square donation quilt. The block is Bonnie Hunter's 2020 Leader/Ender project. I added sashing with corner squares and a border. The blue in the four small squares of each block, the sashing corner squares, the border, and the binding match.

I quilted this with a walking foot and curved lines. I drew an arc with a 42"radius from one corner of the quilt. Then I  stitched the arc and every 1-1/2" from the arc.  I used Aurifil #2600 Dove gray thread - Forty3 for the top and 50-wt for the back. 

I think you can see some of the stitching above and below.

I had just enough blue fabric that matched the border for the binding but some of the pieces were only 4" or  6" long. So I decided to add a little color to the border because I didn't want a bunch of seams in a plain blue border. Each side has a pop of color 2" from the corner, 4" away, and 6" away. 

The back is another orange fabric from my stash.


Pathways to Friendship has serpentine strips that I learned in Christina Cameli's Pillow class quite a while back. The other blocks in this quilt are from my orphan/leftover bin. It's always fun to find a use for the extras.

This 56" by 58" quilt is ready to donate.

This entire quilt was free-motion quilted using Aurifil #2600 Dove gray thread - Forty3 for the top and 50-wt for the back. I used the lazy eights motif in all pathways, both serpentine and straight. 

The rest of the quilt has a horizontal stipple.

The back of the quilt is fabric from my stash.


I found the pattern for Magic Squares at The Joyful Quilter. I had a burnt orange layer cake and a yellow one to use with white. After making a few squares, I decided to just go with just the orange and white.

I wanted to quilt this 60" X 60" donation quilt with a large SQUARE spiral but it looked off-kilter so I settled for a large spiral. I used the walking foot and spaced the stitching at 1-1/2". I used # 2315, a light beige/cream, 50-wt Aurifil thread. Note to self: I sewed the spiral counter clockwise and think it would have been easier if I had gone clockwise.

The binding and backing are both from my stash. I think the back is a neat surprise when one turns the quilt over.

And I made this hat. I used Jagger Spun Mousam Falls yarn from my stash and a fake fur pom. The pattern is Trail 4 Hat by Claire Borchardt. 

I think it's time to take a break from finishing quilts. Six finishes are enough for one month! The remaining 3 finished tops will wait while I pursue a couple of new ideas. I think this may take a while - I'll let you know how it goes.

On the health scene: This week I'll see a specialist and hopefully find out exactly how we are going to make my bones stronger. Later that day we're supposed to get our 2nd Covid vaccination. It feels like progress.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

A second finish in February!

I have a second finish this month - Diamonds with Squares! You may recall that I bought the book, Quilts for Scrap Lovers, so I could see this simple block. I wrote a little about that in this post. I made this entire quilt, except for the white border, with this little block.

Diamonds with Squares is a donation quilt that is 53" square. 

I quilted it with Aurifil #2784 navy 50-wt thread. I echoed the blue squares in the white using rulers. In the blue diamonds, I free motioned the lazy eight motif (which happens to be one of my favorites) and a fun madeup medallion in the corners.

This is the first quilt I have used an actual color wheel to choose fabrics. In this case, all of the fabrics were from my stash. 

The backing on the quilt is Navy Grunge - I do love working with the Grunge fabrics.

We are really having a cold spell here and we have lots of snow. It is great weather to stay inside and sew or watch the Super Bowl or both!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Patience . . .

Amazing what a few minutes a day will yield. I try to do a little quilting each day and I've managed to finish another quilt top, sandwich/pin three tops, quilt two tops and finish one. Here are a couple views of my studio today with different things in progress.

B/W with Red is finished!
I used some black and white strings that I've had around here for a few years. Every so often, I dig them out and use some for another quilt. One of these days, that bin will be empty.

This donation quilt is 58" square. I quilted it with large loops and double loops using Aurifil #2600 50-wt Dove thread for the top and Microquilter 100-wt #7007 light gray thread for the back.

The back is black with a small white dot and the binding matches the red in the quilt.

The newest quilt top, The I Spy Tree, is based on Bonnie Hunter's Pine Tree Point. I used strings from my overflowing string bin to make the trees. Since this will be donated to a child at the Children's Hospital, I made one tree with prints, the I Spy tree. I made minor changes to the pattern. The most significant was cutting the trees with fewer pieces. I also changed the borders. 

Update on my health:
Monday I saw the surgeon. I've had lots of imaging - CT scan, X-rays, MRI, and more X-rays. The surgeon said I needed surgery which I expected. BUT... he went on to say that my bone strength/density is not good enough to have the surgery. That came as a shock. So we are working on changing the strength and density of my bones. He is hopeful that he'll be able to do the surgery in 6 months. He said that I can work through the pain - I was told a few months ago to stop any activity when the pain ramped up. The surgeon said I will not be doing any more damage to the nerves. So for the next 6 months, I'll still have the pain but at least I can do some things. I've started riding the stationary recumbent bike again and I'm trying to walk a little on the treadmill. Patience ...

Saturday, January 9, 2021

First Finish of 2021 and more

We had a Rime Ice for a number of days. It's like a Hoar Frost but caused by fog. On Tuesday, we also had sun which left us with a magical winter wonderland. I'll share just a couple of my pictures from our short ride. 

I'm trying to spend a little time sewing each day. It's about all I do but I am showing some progress. I have two finished quilt tops. The first is Easy Breezy. This is based on Bonnie Hunter's leader/ender project of 2020.

And the second is Pathways to Friendship. I made the serpentine strips based on Christina Cameli's Pathway Pillow, a class I took a while back. Everything else in this quilt is from my orphan/leftover block bin. 

And I have my first finish of 2021 - Awesome Aspens which is based on Amanda Jean Nyberg's Bright Birch Trees. I did not buy Amanda Jean's pattern but the idea totally belongs to her.  

The turquoise and tangerine fabrics are Moda Grunge. The trees are made from many small scraps. I used a walking foot and stitched this with 1/2" vertical lines, using dark gray #2605 Aurifil thread.

You may have noticed that the binding matches the color of fabric it borders.

The fun backing for this 54" by 58" donation quilt is black with all of the colors from the quilt.

A few days ago, I had 9 quilt tops waiting to be sandwiched and quilted and no other WIPs. I thought about that overnight and came up with ideas for 4 new quilts. I now have one of the quilt tops sandwiched and hope to begin quilting it this coming week. Who knows, I might have another finish one of these days!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Just Checking In...

I thought it was time to check in. There isn't much happening here. I do have the rest of the blocks made for Easy Breezy. I need to add sashing and sew them together.

I'm hoping to begin machine quilting a quilt later this week. We'll see how it goes. I am knitting each day - I'm working on an afghan and a sweater.

We finally decided to get an Air Fryer in October and it has become a favorite. We use it most days and have been eating well. Yesterday we had egg bites for breakfast and roasted a whole chicken for dinner. Both were excellent. Tomorrow I think we'll try apple fritter bread because we have some apples that need to be used. We've cooked beef, pork, poultry, fish, pizza, grilled cheese, different vegetables, and a few desserts. It will be a long time before we run out of ideas.

I have become somewhat of an expert at a couple of computer games. I have played Algerian Patience for 10 years. I had to reload the game and began a streak last fall. Yes, I really win this game. Every. Time!

My other, more recent game is Numberzilla. I have almost every badge and I refuse to buy the hints, bombs and undos so I have to play smart. I've only been playing about a month. 

Both games involve some concentration which helps me deal with my back pain.

I'm seeing a neuro-spine surgeon in a few weeks. The imaging I need cannot be done in time for the one appointment he has in January due to Covid, quarantines, holidays, and vacations. So I will see him first thing in February. The pain is rather constant so my days aren't very productive. I'm not supposed to work through the pain which is hard. I am hoping to get a little exercise - treadmill walking and stationary recumbent bike riding - in the days ahead. A little will be like 5 minutes or until the pain intensifies. I feel better when I get some exercise so I'll do whatever I can. 

We had a big snow storm a couple weeks before Christmas so ours was a White Christmas. Last night we got a little more snow and tomorrow we are under a winter storm warning with many inches of snow forecast. We are ready to hunker down for a few days. The two of us will celebrate the New Year at home.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Some progress made

I finished Basket Weave Strings a few days ago using  Bonnie Hunter's Basket-weave-strings pattern. 

This donation quilt is 58" by 66". The strings are all from my string scrap bin which is still overflowing.

I free-motion quilted this with a back and forth curve across the strings in each block using Aurifil 50-weight #2600 Dove Gray thread.

I quilted the edges with a loop in each setting triangle and straight lines in the border.

The backing is from my stash.

I also finished a table runner using Missouri Star's Circle Magic. I bought the templates early in the pandemic and they arrived broken. MSQC was very quick to replace them. I was not as quick to make something. I ordered the templates because I had a bunch of blue circles cut with the Baby Go cutter. I thought this might be a good way to use them. The circles were the perfect size for the small template. 

I used red or white for the opposite side of each blue circle. The table runner is 9" by 29". Each circle has a square of batting (Dream Cotton) inside which is a perfect use for scrap batting.

Each circle is quilted before sewing the pieces together. The process is easy in this quilt as you go project. 

On the back, you can see the centers of the blue circles I began with.

I might try the larger circle template - I'd like to see how that looks. This little runner will be used in our home next summer.

I also finished two quilt tops, Batik Knots and

Black/White with Red. Both have been added to the growing pile of tops waiting to be sandwiched and quilted

Easy Breezy is half done! I sewed fifty 4 1/2" blocks together. When the other 50 blocks are finished, I'll add them.

We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving by ourselves. We are hopeful that we'll be able to be around some family at Christmas time.

Update on my back: Physical Therapy has ended for the time being - the tests showed that I wasn't making progress; in fact, my mobility was regressing. The first spinal injection was painful and didn't help. I'm hoping to skip the second spinal injection and just progress to the next doctor. We'll see... 


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