Sunday, June 23, 2024

A couple quilt finishes

It's been a while since I posted. Since I've managed to finish a couple of quilts, I thought I'd share. 

The first, Bargello, is a Bargello quilt that doesn't have a pattern. I was just experimenting and am happy that there really is an optical illusion of movement to the quilt which is lying flat. 

I used a fat quarter bundle of fabric, Rainbow Sherbet, by Sarah Thomas of Moda. This donation quilt is 55" by 60'. I quilted it with a loop-de-loop motif and Glide #38201 Steel Blue thread.

The back is a light blue with tiny cream and navy dots while the binding is a navy blue.

The second quilt, Potato Chip Block Quilt, is made with the Potato Chip Block. I was able to make 16 blocks with the fabric left from Bargello.

This quilt is 48" square and will be used as a tablecloth on our screen porch table. I quilted this with a double teardrop that is echoed. Sometimes the double teardrop looks like a heart. It was fun to quilt. I used Glide #38210 Steel Blue thread.

The back is bright pink with flecks of all the right colors! I love finding something in my stash which seems to be perfect for a quilt.

Update on Ray: He is getting radiation and is worn out; he has no energy and doesn't feel well. He has to prepare for radiation daily and it is rough. He is over halfway through the treatments and we are both counting the days until he is done. Thank you for the prayers and encouraging words.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Hockey Quilt is Finished!

It's done! I haven't made a quilt in a long time that was as challenging as this one. I carefully planned this quilt almost 2 years before I started it. And then, after I began, I changed the design (due to a variety of factors) causing myself constant problems. Every quilt has a story... 

This quilt is for our youngest grandson. I tried for a year and a half to find the Chicago Blackhawk HEAD printed on cotton fabric in the right size for the center of this quilt with no luck. Because it is trademarked, I couldn't even have one printed. One day, I saw a 100% cotton t-shirt online that I thought might work so I ordered it. By that time, it was late enough in the hockey season that I had trouble finding Blackhawk fabrics. When I did finally find a couple of prints, I could not order the plain red and black fabrics that went with the printed fabrics, and it took a couple of orders to get the right red. When I did find the red fabric I wanted, I was shorted a yard of fabric, so I had to order more. At that point I thought I was all set to go forward.

I made the 7" letters with no problems.


I then realized that the red print was directional, so I decided how I'd deal with that. I had to match the pattern to make the strips long enough for the borders Then came the rink. I inset all the circles - that was a bit tedious knowing I didn't have any extra fabric. The middle circle surrounds the Blackhawk head - there was one chance to get it right OR I would have to find another t-shirt to order and pay more $$. I made lots of prototypes and things went well. THEN I CHANGED THE DESIGN. Looking back, I should have stopped and redrafted the entire pattern, but I was ready to sew! I really do know better.

The rink was done and looked great,
but it really needed to be shorter since there was no easy way to make it wider for this new design. I didn't have enough fabric to start over. So, I cut off the ends and made the white space between each goal and its end 1.5" shorter. I had to completely remake the ends of the rink. It was a lot of work but worth it to make the entire quilt 3" shorter.

The letters I made were now too big since they were now surrounding the rink instead of being in the outside border. So, I made 5" letters. The red borders above and below the letters needed to be different sizes on the sides and ends since this new design changed the dimensions of the quilt to be longer so I wanted the quilt to be  wider. I was glad that that I ordered more red fabric, lots more!

The printed red fabric became the outside border instead of the inside border meaning the strips I had made needed to be longer. Adding to the length (and matching the pattern) of the already made strips used nearly all the red print. I scrounged just enough to add a small detail to each of the four corners. I carefully noted the quilt length when I added the side borders and the width when I added the top and bottom borders. And the top was finished!

It was time to put together the back. The black print is also directional (surprise!) and I didn't want to match the pieces so I decided to use half of those 7" letters and more of that 'extra' red fabric. It went together easily, and I was careful to use my recorded measurements for length and width, so all was good.

When I sandwiched the quilt on the longarm, I decided to baste the quilt, so I'd be able to move it back and forth easily as well as remove it from the frame and put it back on in different directions as needed. It took a while to figure out basting - I've only done that once before - but I finally got the hang of it and was almost done when I ran out of backing with 2" of the quilt top left! I went back and checked my measurements. I wrote down the length of the sides for the borders but did not update them after adding the borders to the ends of the quilt.  So... I ripped out the basting which was very easy. There was no way I was going to match the black print on the back, and I didn't have enough plain black to add to each end, but I did have extra red. So, I added 6" of red to each end of the backing. Although only about 2" would actually be on each end of the back of the quilt, the rest was needed to attach the backing and rest of the quilt to the frame. 

After basting the quilt again, I quilted the quilt with meandering. I used Glide thread: #10WG1 Linen for the ice rink, #11001 Black for lettering on red fabric, and #70187 Ruby the lettering on black fabric, the rest of the top, and for the bottom. I tried printing the letters but didn't like that so I used cursive which I'm not sure my grandson can read. I wish I had made all the writing 1" tall but decided to leave the 2" letters that were done. The size of the quilt is 72" by 96".

The red print fabric on the front:

The black print fabric on the back:

When I asked our youngest grandson for his four favorite all-time Chicago Blackhawk players, he also gave me his four favorite players for the 2023-2024 season, so I included them. Originally the four favorite player numbers would have been in the corners of the quilt. In the revised version, all eight numbers are on the inner border.

His current (2023-2024) favorites: 
This says " 2023-2024 Favorites"

Connor Bedard
(first name on the side of the 8)

Philipp Kurashev

Seth Jones

Andreas Athanasiou

His all-time favorites:
This says "All time Favorites"

Connor Beard made both lists

Patrick Kane

Corey Crawford

Alex DeBrincat
notice his nickname "the cat"

The Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Quilt was worth all of the challenges.

Oh yeah, the BEST part is our grandson loves it! And he can read the cursive writing.   

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Scrappy Mosaic Wallhanging

I wanted another wallhanging and happened to be reading Connie's blog Freemotion by the River. She shared a pattern for a Scrappy Mosaic Quilt. I decided it was the perfect pattern for my wallhanging. The pattern uses 6 rows of 5 blocks; I used 3 rows of 3 blocks.

My wallhanging finished at 27" by 27". I quilted this on my Juki domestic sewing machine with a large spiral that began in the center and got looser as it approached the outer border. The inside spirals were about 1/4" apart and the outside ones are close to 1 1/2" apart.  I used Glide Linen #10WG1 thread on the top and Aurifil #2735 royal blue thread on the bottom.

The front is all scraps - the white is Bella Solid bleached cotton and the colors are all batiks. The backing is a scrap piece of blue batik.

It fits the frame perfectly and adds a little color to that corner of our home.

Update on Ray: He is in treatment and we know he is in the Control Group of the Clinical Trial. Usually you don't know and never find out which group you are in but in this case, the Test Group is given an extra hormone and the Control Group does not get a placebo so they just tell the patients which group they are in. Ray is getting the same treatment he would get if he wasn't in the Trial but he is being monitored more often and longer than he would be if he weren't in the trial. We think that is beneficial. Thanks again for your prayers and messages; we both appreciate them.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

We decided that we would visit the Swiss Valley Nature Preserve and Nature Center near Peosta, Iowa, today. Ray was anxious to find some wildflowers to photograph and I wanted to just spent some time outside.

We stopped at the Nature Center to get a map. That's also where we saw two busloads of 3rd graders on a field trip. We could hear the happy sounds of children once in a while but this preserve was plenty big enough for all of us!

We decided to hike the Mature Forest Trail and never met another person the entire loop! The trails were well groomed.
Look at that gorgeous blue sky.
The trail followed Catfish Creek for a while. It is stocked with trout and the fisherman we met as we were leaving had caught and released quite a few trout.

We found steps,


and a variety of wildflowers.

I enjoy seeing the new leaves on the trees against a blue sky.

 We found fungi on this tree.

This was the only swinging bridge we crossed. I'm not a fan of swinging bridges.

We went down these steps and then climbed them later.

We hiked a short distance on the Woodland Ecology Trail looking for bluebells. We found some mixed in with a few dandelions.

We also found a few more wildflowers.

We enjoyed a picnic on our hike and also Blizzards at DQ on our way home. It was wonderful to spend part of this beautiful day outside.

After we got home, a friend stopped with some shiitake mushrooms and purple asparagus. The mushrooms are huge! That is a 6" saucer in the photo with the largest and the smallest mushrooms. Tomorrow we'll enjoy sautéed mushrooms and roasted asparagus. I already have a few trays in the  dehydrator so we'll enjoy our mushrooms for a long time.

Update on Ray:
First, thank you for the concern and prayers offered on his behalf. We were at the University of Wisconsin hospital last week and met with an oncologist that only deals with prostate cancer and recurring prostate cancer. Treatment (hormone injections and IMRT, an advanced type of radiation therapy) will begin soon. Both Ray and I really like the oncologist and are happy with the plan he has set forth. Ray has also agreed to be in a clinical trial and we'll find out soon if he is in the control or the test group. There will be many trips to Madison and maybe some overnight stays in the next few months AND the prognosis is really good. Ray is doing okay but is more tired. We are very flexible with what we set out to do each day which seems to be working well.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Two Colour Mystery Quilt

Hmm, I said maybe I'd put the Two Colour Mystery Quilt together next week - wonder where my mind was. The last clue came out yesterday! I decided to just go for it. I know I don't have time to quilt it right now but it is together.

I really like it and the borders really add to the design! Next time I'd like more contrast between the colors though. The red/white quilts that were made during the mystery were striking! The Two Colour Mystery was fun and Joanne wrote clear, easy to follow instructions. You can see her blog and her patterns at Canuck Quilter Designs. The pattern for Two Colour Mystery is called Half 'N Half.


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