Saturday, June 12, 2021

Getting back to normal

We are slowly getting back to normal. A week ago we went to a grandson's baseball game. It was so ice to take our chair and sit on the sideline without face masks. On the way home, we both commented that the evening felt normal. 

Last weekend, we attended a family graduation party. We loved seeing our extended family on my side. It's been a long time. Two of my three brothers were there along with many of nieces, nephews, great niece, great nephews and three of our grandchildren. We were outside but it just felt normal. Here I am with my oldest and youngest brothers.

And then I went on a quilting retreat with 3 friends. We along with a couple of other friends were at a quilting retreat when Illinois began shutting down in March, 2020. There was lots of visiting, eating, and some sewing. It was a wonderful, normal, time. We were at a farmhouse a few miles from my house. Here are some pictures.

The Barn which is a wedding venue.

One afternoon we sat and visited in the corncrib
which is outfitted with a table, chairs, and lights.

The House

A favorite spot to talk with husbands via cellphones.


A comfy swing

One morning I spent about an hour napping
in this hammock.

Update on my health: The doctors finally have my pain somewhat controlled. There are some side effects to some of my meds but I'm dealing with them. I use a cane because periodically one of my legs will give out. Ray is still doing most things here but I am able to do more and yesterday I began exercising again although it is minimal right now. I will see the surgeon to hopefully schedule surgery in mid-September. I was notified by letter that my bone health doctor is retiring at the end of July. I was waiting for a call to see what was happening with my case and was very pleasantly surprised to get a call saying that he was retiring from Endocrinology and would keep some bone health patients. I am one of those patients! He is nationally know in the Bone Health field and I am delighted. As of today, I am halfway thru the first 6 months of bone building. I need 6 months before the surgery can be done.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Baby Bricks

I saw a postage stamp quilt, something on my list to make someday, and I decided the time had come. So I went in search of small squares - I knew there were some here. I started a quilt at some point and decided to give it up; those pieces would be a good start. Well, I found the pieces. Everything was cut for the original quilt and 91 blocks were finished with some being sewn together! There was just too much done to begin cutting it up. So I had a change of plans. I decided to finish Baby Bricks. It would be a table cloth with 96 blocks for our screen porch instead of a donation quilt to the Children's Hospital.

This 51" square quilt went together FAST! I used Free Fuse to baste it and learned that one should check both sides of the quilt before quilting just like when pinning. At least it was just a tiny crease and with a little ripping out, it was fixed in under 10 minutes. I won't forget that lesson though.

I used Aurifil #5006, a light turquoise thread to quilt this. I saw a video and decided to try quilting a curvy braid motif with the walking foot. I think you can see the quilting better on the back.

The  backing is a light turquoise fabric with colored fish that was in my stash.


I seldom have a quilt that I don't like. I'm really glad that I set this one aside because I am going to love it on our porch table.

Here are my notes on the curvy braid:

1. I made a large template with pointed ends using a pizza pan. I measured and marked the middle of the template (end to end) with a small hole. My template, cut from a file folder was 9" by 3 1/2".

2. I marked a straight line across the quilt and positioned the template on it with the ends both on the line. I traced the template and put a dot for the middle of the template on the line. Repeat with template end to end all the way across the quilt. Now repeat this whole process across the entire quilt putting the lines as close together as you like. Note: I used diagonal lines on this quilt about 4 1/2" apart.

3. I quilted each braid as a serpentine (doing left side, right side, repeat) from end to end. Then I quilted the opposite serpentine. The quilting ideally crosses at the straight line but who will ever know?!

4. Marking the second set was easy; I just matched the ends of the template to the center marks on the straight line.

5. ! quilted the second markings using serpentines just like the first.

It is a lot of marking but not hard at all. I always wash my quilts in plain water, no soap, to be sure any and all markings are removed.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Jamestown Landing

Jamestown Landing is finished. I made this using Bonnie Hunter's pattern. The entire quilt is made with fabric scraps and I still have more.


This 63" by 75" quilt with stay with us. It looks nice on our new couch

or behind it.


I used Free Fuse on this quilt to sandwich the layers with no problems. I'm pretty convinced that you can use Free Fuse on any size quilt. I did roll the quilt top, the batting, and the backing on boards just like I do when I pin baste. For me, that really helps with controlling everything. 

I used light blue Aurifil #2715 thread to free motion quilt this. I ran out of thread with about a square foot left to quilt so I had to wait a couple of days for the guy in the brown UPS truck to bring me more. That nice man has almost become family this past year! 

I used a sort of flower motif. Here is a quick rough sketch:


The back is a light blue print.

Health Update: I saw my neurosurgeon Monday. My surgery will not occur until I have taken at least 6 months of the bone-growth meds and have new scans. That means at least September. The surgeon says he will not do the spine surgery sooner or he would be redoing it again in two years. He will be replacing all of the screws in my back, and adding more as he fuses another vertebrate in place. Today I saw my general physician. She and I had a long discussion about pain management. My pain tolerance, which did a good job of getting me through a rough back surgery 10 years ago, has met its match. She gave me some meds and I'll be seeing her often between now and the surgery. She knows how much I hate taking meds and she wants to be sure I have some quality of life in the next months. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The I Spy Tree

I finished The I Spy Tree quilt top in early February and it is now a finished quilt. This quilt is based on Bonnie Hunter's Pine Tree Point. Each tree is a color family except the one in the lower left, The I Spy Tree. That tree was made with strings of any color, some with images.

This is the first quilt sandwich that I basted with Free Fuse basting powder. What a game changer that has been for me; I may never go back to pins! 

This 51" by 61" quilt is a donation quilt. I stitched-in-the-ditch around each tree block and on each side of the sashing strips. I free-motion quilted a horizontal stipple in the background of each tree block and in the turquoise border. The lazy eight motif was used in the sashing and the light colored borders. 

Each of the nine trees have a different motif - stippling, vertical lazy-eights, improv, paisley, wavy line, feathers, spirals, double loops, and loop-de-loop. Each of the nine tree trunks also have a different motif - diagonal squiggle, ribbon candy, vertical lazy eights, squiggle, horizontal squiggle, wood grain, horizontal lazy eights, diagonal lines, and vertical lines.


The backing is turquoise and purple. I used #2600 Dove gray Aurifil thread in all of the light areas of the quilt top and on the entire back. Each tree has a 'matching color' thread as do the tree trunks.


There will be more finishes soon!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Are you following my blog via Email?

To all of you that Follow by Email -

I received this message recently:

FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner) is going away. 

You are receiving this information because your blog uses the FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner). 
Recently, the Feedburner team released a system update announcement, that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021

After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported. If you’d like to continue sending emails, you can download your subscriber contacts. 

For the time being, I have decided to leave the the feed as is. That means it will be unsupported as of July but may still work. I certainly hope it continues to work, especially because it affects so many people. There are 1323 people that follow my blog via email. I am shocked! 

I use blogger.com for my blog and to keep track of the blogs I follow. Anyone can create a blog there (there are no rules stating that you must post) and then you will have access to the Reading List where you can add and keep track of the blogs you follow. Personally, I prefer that to email because I already get many, many emails and with blogger, I can check the Reading List when I have time and see blog posts in most recent post order. You may want to check into blogger or another subscription service.

The only people who like change are wet babies. 
-author unknown



Sunday, April 11, 2021

Little Squares is finished

Little Squares is finished. I began this quilt at least a year ago. It was a long term project to use small scraps. I placed the blocks in a log cabin type layout.

Looks like the quilt was folded before I took pictures.

Each little square (colored) has 2 fabrics and finished at a 1.5" square. I was able to use many tiny pieces of fabric. 

I made the blocks as mock log cabin blocks using 6 white squares and 10 colored squares for each block. I used white sashing with turquoise corner squares between each block.This donation quilt is 58" square. I quilted it with a large stipple (meandering) motif and loops using Aurifil #2600 Dove Gray thread. 

I really wanted a colorful border but I didn't have enough of the fabric I wanted to use. Using all of the fabric I had, I was able to make a wide binding. I cut the binding strips at 4" and used the typical double fold binding. The backing is a blue water spot fabric.


I hope to get another quilt top sandwiched one of these days...


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Keeping Busy

The Jamestown Landing quilt top (Bonnie Hunter pattern) is finished.  It is in the to-be-sandwiched-and-quilted pile. I think this quilt will stay with us. We both loves the colors and it will look great on the new couch when it arrives for our front room.


Joy at The Joyful Quilter had a guest blogger, Connie, who made a table topper inspired by a pattern for a quarter log cabin quilt. I really liked the pattern and went hunting at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and found a picture of her beautiful quilt in blues in a March 28, 2021 post. (For some reason, I can't give you the direct link??!) She gives credit for the idea to Christina Cameli. I eventually found the pattern on Christina Cameli's blog. Here is my first block.


While on the hunt at Confessions of a Quilt Addict, I came across a pattern for Supernova and I loved it - of course it was in orange and white. I wanted to do something in reds. And here is my finished Supernova quilt top. It is 100 half square triangles (each finished at 6") - very quick and super easy. 

I've spent some time with a project using some hand dyed fabrics I've had for a few years. I think I want to add some yellow sashing and I don't seem to have enough of the right color in my stash. So this will wait until I've had a chance to do some shopping.

And I've finished knitting the pieces for an afghan, Building in Color by Michelle Hunter. The ten strips are now blocked and ready to be put together; then I can knit the borders.


I did stipple a quilt and am sewing down the binding. I'll show you when it is done. I don't have any other quilts pinned and I'm not sure when I'll be able to pin any - I'm working on that. 

Keeping busy helps me deal with the pain. Less than 4 months until the back surgery gets scheduled, not that I'm counting...

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Progress

I've been slowly sewing blocks for Bonnie Hunter's Jamestown Landing quilt. Slow and steady adds up to progress! I have most of the blocks made for the quilt and I've started to put it together. 

One of these days I'll be ready to begin the borders.

Health Update: There's also progress to report here. I am now taking Tymlos to help make my bones more dense. My new skill is giving myself daily shots. I have the bones of a 70 year old woman which I thought was great since I'm 72 but evidently it's not good enough for the hardware in my back. I'm happy that we are finally moving forward. I'll see the surgeon in early August. 

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.

#3
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.


#4
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.


#5

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.


#6

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.

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