A finished small project

Last week I worked on some blocks that I picked up off my “pile” on the corner of the cutting table. I mentioned them here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2021/01/24/little-between-projects/ .

I would like to report a FINISH for that pile of blocks! The disappearing 4 patches have been completed, and joined up and turned into a nice size throw the lady that started them 2 years ago.

Backstory, in case you missed it…..I ‘used to‘ volunteer at an assisted living facility where my friend June is in residence. I would take boxes of squares that had been donated to the quilt guild, and let the ladies choose their own colors and fabrics. This was easier than trying to work with shaking hands and rotary cutters, and a bit safer.

I would go once a week to sew with whoever showed up in the activities room. One resident, Stella, only came to sew a few times and then just quit coming a couple of years ago. I kept bringing her bag of squares every week, hoping she would turn back up. She never did. Stella only sewed for 20-25 minutes and then would leave, even though I was there for 2+ hours. I don’t think she could concentrate for much longer, and other residents told me she was like that in every activity. So, when I came across her bag of squares, I pondered what to do with the blocks she had sewn. I probably am repeating myself, but here goes. I took Stella’s squares apart because her stitches were loose and very crooked. I’m certain her stitch length had been set on a basting stitch (5.0 stitches per inch) because she just could see those “tiny” stitches. Many times I would catch even my friend June, cranking the dial because she couldn’t see the stitches that were 2.5, and I had to “dial” her back. I always promised them all, if there were stitches to rip out, I would do it! Anyway, if you read the blog post about the little in between projects, you know I put Stella’s squares back together as 4 patches, then cut them up again.

More switching
Disappearing 4 patch

The method involves taking a squared up block, then cutting it apart and rearranging the pieces. I cut 1.5″ from the center line, 4 times. My previous blog post has information and links to better explain the method.

I took the pile of blocks I made during a zoom retreat with my blogger friend, Carole, (https://frommycarolinahome.com//) and arranged them on the design wall.

Disappearing 4 patches

Last Tuesday, I had a “ZOOM QUILT BEE” with the Queen Bees. During that bee, I added an “alternate block” in the layout, and worked on getting the blocks sewn together. Since I have all of June’s fabric, I dug in her boxes and found some pieces that I wanted to use up.

work in progress

Once the blocks were put together I decided I needed to break up some of that PINK with another color. Hubby suggested green and I thought that was perfect idea for the borders.

6x7 layout

I dug through June’s stash again, and found a nice green! Borders went on, backing was made, again from June’s stash, and the quilt top got pin basted and ready to machine quilt.

I spent Thursday on another Zoom Retreat with Carole and got the quilting done. (It’s amazing how much you can get done while chatting with others during a day of sewing and zooming!)

Disappearing 4 patch finished

For quilting, I used my walking foot. I went in the ditch down the rows working from the center out, and then went across each block on the diagonal, in both directions. For the border, I switched thread and used the wavy serpentine stitch with my walking foot.

quilting

It doesn’t take long to put on the binding because it is all done by machine, using the Susie’s Magic Binding technique http://www.52quilts.com/2012/05/tuesday-tutorial-susies-magic-binding.html . (Save that link, as it is my GO TO binding method and SEW EASY!!!).

Here is a close up of the binding if you haven’t seen it done before – my hubby tells me it is his favorite because it adds an unexpected pop of color!

close up of quilting and binding
Susie’s Magic binding method – also known as “binding with a flange”

Threads for quilting – Superior Fantastico , colors 5021 (40 wt) blue/purple/green varigated; and Superior Fantastico color 5025 (40 wt) pink green yellow blue varigated. On the back, the bobbin thread was also Superior Fantastico color 5031 ( 40 wt) varigated pink. The pink was also used top stitching the binding in the flange. I love how the thread has a bit of a shine, and on the back of the quilt it all but disappears in the pale pink fabric. When doing the patchwork, I usually sew with a grey or beige thread, Superior Masterpiece which is a cotton 50 weight.

As a side note; while zooming with Carole in December we were chatting about favorite threads. I really love my Superior threads and a favorite I use is Bottom Line Silver # 623. It is a 60 weight and my 3000 yard cone was nearly empty. I went shopping for thread and found it available at the Fat Quarter shop. (I usually buy my threads at quilt shows). It took a few weeks, but my thread arrived on Friday and I can adjust my “inventory” on my spreadsheet (what a geek). It’s true, I keep track of the thread I use and when and where I bought it and the price. Much nicer to buy in groups of 3 at quilt shows as there is a discount usually!

I plan to make a label using my embroidery machine in the next day or two and getting this quilt delivered. Won’t Stella be surprised when the staff takes it to her apartment! Before I head to the assisted living though, I think I will make a couple of placemats for June and her hubby, using the same method of “disappearing 4 patches”. I probably will do them out of reds and whites/creams so she can use them all of February.

RANT – warning….not for the weak of heart…….

I can only “drop off” in the lobby as the facility is still in lockdown for COVID-19. My dear friend June and her husband just tested positive, even after they had round one of the vaccine 3 weeks ago. Hoping that having had the vaccine means they won’t have as severe of a case. Over 53% of the deaths from COVID-19 in our state have been residents of Long Term Care facilities, and 911 out of 1090 deaths in Delaware were people over 65. Those are some frightening numbers and I get angry when I think about staff bringing the virus into the facilities. My friends have been in isolation from their family and friends since early March of 2020, yet now, they have COVID. Obviously , the precautions are not working, staff is not following proper protocol, and these dear old ones are at risk! Sigh…rant over, anger is steaming out my ears yet!

Snowy day in So. Delaware
1-5″ forecasted for this storm

Do you have any weather coming in? You know, my sewing room is “out there” on the 2nd floor of the detached garage, so I will probably do some hand stitching of hexi’s in my recliner today! What’s under your needle today?

Little “between” projects

Around the new year, lots of quilting bloggers create for themselves a listing of Unfinished Projects (UFO’s) that they want to complete in the coming year. I’ve done that in the past, surveying all the things I have started and not finished. Not this year. I know that is not a motivator for me, looking at the “LIST”. I would just feel guilty while making it, and staring at it. Sometimes it is just hard to continue on with a project, so in my sewing room it sits in the “time out” zone. I don’t need to make that UFO list on paper, because it is always in my head. I think of quilting as FUN time and the idea of the list doesn’t sound fun at all. If you follow me for a year or more, you will KNOW when I am excited about a project, because it is all I drone on about, post after post. When I get bored with something…you don’t hear a peep.

Now that that is out of the way, let me tell you about a couple of my “between” projects. The “between” projects are those things I work on just to keep my hands busy sewing while I am thinking about all those things sitting in “time out”.

Last week I had fun with an all day Quilter’s retreat on Zoom, hosted by Carole of the blog – From My Carolina Home. This was my 3rd retreat with Carole and I decided the day before I better figure out what I wanted to work on during the retreat, and get some prep done ahead of time. After the last retreat I worked on one more block from the Lori Holt Vintage Christmas Quilt book. My box of blocks is filling up, and I have a couple more from the book I still want to make. I am starting to think about how to “set the blocks” and what I want to do in the borders. The book has SO many patterns that are interesting, and I am coming up with ideas of how I will do it. Meanwhile, I need some training on ‘hand embroidery’ to get a face on my Dolly block.

dolly block for Christmas quilt
Dolly from Vintage Christmas Quilt book

I decided for this retreat, I wanted something “easier” to sew and that would give me a lot more “production” during the all day retreat. I picked up a zip lock bag of squares off of my cutting table and inspiration struck. What was in the zip lock were 2 patches stitched at the assisted living center where I volunteered for a couple of years. This particular bag was a project a lady had started, but never returned after the first couple of times sewing. I looked them over, got out the seem ripper and took them apart. She had made some interesting choices when she picked her blocks out of the big box of squares I brought with me. One thing that happens when I volunteer is the ladies use donated machines, and let’s just say the stitching isn’t always of the best quality. So, my seem ripper and I became friends, and I quickly took the blocks apart. As I looked over the stack, I decided I would put them together as 4 patches and then cut them apart into “disappearing 4 patches” to get a little more interesting block.

So, I started with this – a 4 patch made from 4.5″ squares

Four patches

I squared them up to 8″ and then during the retreat, I cut them up and repositioned the pieces and made this –

Fun with disappearing 4 patch
4 patch changed to disappearing 4 patch

I decided with the size of the blocks, that cutting at 1.5″ would work.

Cutting the 4 patch

The rotating cutting mat is very helpful for this, as you don’t move the fabric, you just rotate the mat and ruler. My Fiskars mat fits perfectly on the side of my sewing machine table, so I could just stand up, make my cut, and not move away from my work area during the zoom.

Before the switch example
four cuts, all 1.5″ from the center seam

After you make the 4 cuts, you rearrange the pieces like this….

Switching the pieces
all rearranged…..

and you sew it back together. This was a lot of fun to do and I managed to get these all done in one day.

Disappearing 4 patches
20 blocks complete

There are dozens of patterns for “disappearing 4 patches” , and I used the one inspired by Laura at Sew Very Easy –https://youtu.be/8iO5ODW5Unw

I was “sewing for the sake of sewing” but this was really fun, and elevated a simple 4 patch into something that looks a little more complex. I’m not sure what I will do with these, but I am thinking I will find a fabric that plays nicely with these fabrics, and put them together into alternating blocks, and make a lap quilt/throw out of it. It will probably end up back at the assisted living facility at some point. (I justified the “sewing for the sake of sewing” because I got the zip-lock off the cutting table! )

What is happening in your sewing room?