Our Most Excellent Quilting Adventure, 2018 Version – SHARED

I know, I said I was wrapping up my travel post yesterday, but I needed to share this post with you first thing!

I’ve talked about the One Block Wonder Woman — well….she shared her story of my visit and her photos of the Queen Mary in Long Beach California on her post below!  

Go check it out  Our Most Excellent Quilting Adventure, 2018 Version (USE THAT LINK !) and be sure to follow for her excellent quilting and gardening posts!  

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The final chapter of my April travel adventures (and a FINISHED Quilt!)

PHOTO INTENSE POST – fair warning…..

If you have been hanging around reading over the last 2 months, you are aware that I took a lovely cruise for 10 days in April along Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.  This cruise returned to the Port of San Pedro California.  My next adventure began when my brother Rich and his lovely wife, Carolyn (AKA – http://www.OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com) picked me up at the port and transported me (and all my luggage) North of Los Angeles to their lovely home in Monterey County California for a brief stay.  

There are a few different routes to take but my brother chose I-5 North out of Los Angeles.  Boy was I glad he did that!  We got to see the hills ablaze with California Poppies.  Disclaimer – I grew up in the Los Angeles area, and I vaguely remember seeing the poppies as a child traveling to see my grandmother.  Well, did we have a great show on the ride North.  Get ready – some of the photo’s appear a little hazy, because we were moving along at 65+ mph, and I was shooting thru the windshield from the back seat or the side window, so I apologize ahead of time.  Too pretty not to share!

Bright orange poppies

Poppies on the Grapevine

Can you believe the various colors in the hillsides?   All that orange and gold and (GULP) GREEN!!!

swaths of poppies

Golden hillside

Poppies and green hills

It is not vary often you see the hillsides in California SO green.  Spring must have been kind with the rains.

Hills ablaze in poppies

I remember when I lived other places, my mother would go on and on during phone calls about the poppies.  I honestly don’t think I have ever seen them until now.  I really timed my visit “just right”.

Now, if you are a “travel person” reading my blog, I am about to change lanes and return to my normal activities….and that is QUILTING.  I invite you to hang around, you might enjoy the rest of the photos or the story.

Those regular readers who have followed for any length of time might be aware that earlier in the year, I finished a rather LARGE quilt and planned to visit by brother and his wife and work on quilting it on her long arm quilting machine.  This is WHY they picked me up.  (Sweet of them to drive 4 hours to get me and 4 hours to take me home! )  California is a very big state!  I offered a night in a hotel so they didn’t do all the driving in one day….after all, Rich is my OLDER brother…giggle…..I booked them a room on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I figured they should enjoy a night “on board a ship” since they were picking me up from a ship.  There cabin on the QM was MUCH nicer than a modern cruise ship cabin.( Oh to go back to the old days on ships!!) If Carolyn (aka oneblockwonderwoman) ever posts her photo’s, I will link to them.

Now, back to the story – I packed up my quilt top, and the backing (see the post – In Betweens – for that story) and shipped it to California before my cruise, so it was waiting on my arrival. Dear Carolyn had thoughtfully taken it out of the package and hung both parts to “relax” when she got the package.  Since we arrived late Tuesday afternoon, and I was flying home on Sunday, our time together was very short.  We got busy and loaded a practice piece to quilt .  I learned a lot about loading a quilt, and using the leaders and basting the top and sides, and floating the quilt, and how to use the size clamps.  By 10 am the next day we were set up to stitch on Greta, her new Gammill long arm quilting machine.  I had LOTS of practice before we loaded my quilt.

Greta the Gammill

This is her dining room, with windows on 3 sides.  The sun is so bright that she has heavy drapes to block the glare.

Time to practice

Greta the Gammill has great LED lights.

Practice on plain muslin

Carolyn taught me some of her favorite stitching elements.  I wanted to tackle each block independently and I had fun learning to operate the machine, and not drive it like a drunken sailor. Thank goodness for a great stitch regulator!  She even taught me how to work with a ruler –

Practice and planning

I decided I needed to “draw” a couple of quilt blocks so I could get a better handle on exactly where the needle was stopping and planning out some layouts for various blocks.

Since time was short, after 2 practice pieces (and lunch), we loaded my quilt on Greta’s frame.  That took us over an hour, getting everything “just right”.

Quilting at Carolyn's on Greta the Gammill

This is not a small quilt and nearly fills her frame.  I can see why my brother is often referred to as the “Quilters Assistant”.  It really seems like a 2 person job getting the quilt, the batting and the backing all set up right.  Because I had a pieced backing, I was extremely careful about the placement of the backing on the machine so the quilt top would be centered.

I won’t bore you with all the close up photo’s of the quilting.  Let me just say, if you really want to see them, they are in an album all together with the quilt construction photos, and you are welcome to browse through them.  Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks  .  There are lots of notes in the album about the various names of the blocks etc.  I quilted each block taking into consideration the elements of the block.  99% was done free motion with no stencils, drawings, markings.  2 blocks were done with ruler work.  We spent a lot of time working on the quilt.  I took a shot of the screen on Saturday –

LOTS of stitches

Even though we had been working since Wednesday, the machine said we had an actual 6 hours of stitching time, with over 152,000 stitches in the quilting. The “timer” only clocks when the needle is going up & down, not when the machine is on. (Has something to do with time for oil and cleaning if I remember correctly). There is a lot of “in between time” that happens.  Advancing the quilt, taking practice stitches along the side, and the distractions of where I was in California.  Their home is on several acres with gardens and meadows and the weather was perfect.  The home was constructed in the manor of a California Adobe, with tiled roof, walled garden area and arches.  The view out the windows is amazing.  What a great place for a break and a stretch!

In the courtyard

The sound of the fountain was so relaxing –

View from the window while quilting

Those of you who follow Carolyn on her blog – https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com know about what lies in wait on the other side of the gate in the grape arbor, just outside the courtyard wall.

Grape Arbor

And of course, in between times, we had to eat breakfast lunch, dinner, drink wine and go for walks.   Check out the great area they live in – quietly nestled in a little valley down a dirt lane.  There are vineyards and cattle and farmers all around. It was good to get out, stretch my legs and enjoy the beautiful Central Coastal California.

Enjoying a walk

My sister-in-law is well known among her neighbors and has several quilting friends that stopped over to meet me. It was so fun to visit with the people I had heard so much about who get to share time with Carolyn all the time!  (Thanks for sharing Mona!!)

We ran out of time on Saturday when all of a sudden the top tension went nuts when we changed bobbins, and nothing Carolyn adjusted could make the machine sew right. There were big loops on the bottom (thankfully I had an extra 6″ of backing all around and she had a place to test stitch.) Many phone calls to her dealer tech rep, and to a friend with a Gammill still left us unable to stitch.  So, we stopped, left the quilt on the frame and the next day, I had to fly home.

After 2 weeks of “adjustments, and a visit by her friends with a Gammill; she was able to finally get things working again, and she finished up my quilt.  Carolyn did the center of one block, and finished the last 2 blocks and quilted the border for me.  I was very thankful that she was able to do this and ship it home.    She trimmed the quilt for me and saved the cutaway backing pieces. She knew I was planning to use them for the binding.

 I spent a couple of evenings with the seam ripper removing the stray stitches on those saved pieces and made my “Susie’s Magic Binding”.  I got the quilt bound just in time to put it on the guest room bed!  I had family coming and I want them to be cozy under a new quilt!  I finally got to show it at the Material Girls Quilt Bee this week.  Still needs a label, but the hanging pocket is on already. I will enter it in our next  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show April 2019

My quilting is a novice attempt, so I will enter in the non-judged category.  Overall, I love the outcome, and I declare the project FINISHED!!!

Grandma's Kitchen - queen size

                            GRANDMA’S KITCHEN by Mary Deeter

Note – Pattern is by Pat Sloan, block of the week quilt along (Jun-Dec 2017).

Hope you enjoy the pictures included in this post and take time to check out the link to the FLICKR photo album.

Have you had any fun travel or quilting adventures lately?

Square in a Square Tool Review

My sister-in-law, Carolyn, aka One-Block-Wonder-Woman and I both have purchased the Jodi Barrows “Square in a Square” ruler and book. (Since we live on opposite sides of the country, we don’t share our tools, but DO share what we love in terms of information with each other).

I’ve posted in the past about using  Option 3   to make several hundred flying geese https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/small-projects/ .  I have great plans for using many of the other options in the future.

Recently, Carolyn has used her Square in A Square to make many of the “options” for which you can use this ruler. She wrote a great blog post last week, and I would encourage you to take a look – I have a tool for that too

WHY do you need this ruler?  If you have never used the ruler or don’t know what it is, take a look at some of the videos on You Tube that Jodi had published – Jodi Barrows You Tube Video

Many times we buy specialty rulers that only do I thing.  This one has LOTS of uses. And, you work from strips and squares , not with triangles which can be problematic because of bias.

If you purchase the ruler, do your self a BIG favor and purchase the companion book. Honestly, to use the ruler to it’s full function the book is an ABSOLUTE necessity.  It is full of information, techniques.  You will be much happier if you do.   If you purchase directly from Jodi’s website, http://squareinasquare.com/Pattern-BooksPatterns_c_12.html    , then she gets a greater share of the profit, vs purchasing through another retailer.  (I like to support these designers by purchasing directly!) (Same thing with Bonnie Hunter & Pat Sloan books/tools)

Disclaimer – Nobody is paying me a dime for sharing this info!  I love this ruler!!!

So, my quilting friends – put this on your Christmas Wish List….give the family a link to the tool on Jodi’s website, and enjoy making square in a square blocks, and flying geese and all those other blocks that in the past might have been a struggle.  Having the “right tool” in your inventory that is so multi-functional is like having one of those screwdrivers with 42 tips and a flashlight!

What is your “favorite tool” in your quilt room?

Pet Mosaic piecing completed

It only took me 7.5 months to “finish” the piecing of this project.  You might remember I went to a retreat at Cheryl Lynch’s cottage at the end of May  ( where we started our mosaic projects.  My sister in law (www.oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com ) worked on her Rotti while I worked on my cat.  (She finished her’s and has already had it in a show —     https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/creating-a-dog-from-scratch-can-be-ruff/     )

This was the look of my project when I packed up to leave the retreat.

Mittens Mosaic

I came home from the trip, was faced with out “deadlines” and left everything in the bin until August.  During August and September I got the project “out of the box” and back up on the design wall.  One 2″ square at a time, plus lots of additional angle piecing to “make the curves” work out.

20160820_223820

I got busy sewing once all the design work was done; but toward the end of September, the deadlines snuck up on me again!

Layout is complete

So, by October 8th, Poor little Mittens was stuck again! Mittens spent all of October, November and December stuck on the wall…..  I don’t know what is worse….being stuck in a box or stuck on the wall?  (see those blue blocks? I took 2 classes from Bonnie Hunter, and I claim distraction!)

When I started thinking about UFO’s that I want to complete in 2017 I decided that MITTENS the Mosaic Cat would have to be  # 1. A few days after I recovered from New Years, I got busy.   Seriously, the hard part was done, it was just 5 or 6 days of sewing.

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In between model rail road club weekends, and a snow storm that dumped 8.5″, and 44 degree temps in my “over the garage” sewing room, I did some work.

Yesterday I was able to join up all the sections .

20170111_142650

and   I would like to report that he is “constructed” to include a 3″  border !

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Now, he will hang on the wall until I can come up with a quilting plan!  There are lots of photo’s in my album – https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/albums/72157668596534501

Thanks to Cheryl Lynch Quilts – http://cheryllynchquilts.blogspot.com/   for the great project and guidence.  If you can take a class from her, you would certainly enjoy any project she will teach.  This is my 2nd  “Cheryl” project.  My first was in June 2014, when she came to Ocean Waves Quilt guild and taught a class with Dupioni Silk.  The class was called “Sensational Silk” and I LOVED that project. I made a wall hanging and I just love the way the silk catches the light. It hangs in my living room.

Barn Raising in Silk  27 x 39"

Barn Raising in Silk
27 x 39″

I now have a  Janome 1600p quilting machine and frame, so I want to get busy practicing before I tackle this kitty!   This set up has been “sitting” since early September, waiting for me to find time to use it.

Janome 1600 mid arm

I now have a collection of needles and bobbins for this machine, and was “gifted a set” of leaders for the 12′ width; so I must  load up a practice quilt and “get busy”.

I am “anxious” to use these wonderful tools that I have and see if I can make good use of them.

What is on your 2017 UFO list?

UFO # 1 -Swirly Bird FINISHED

Yippee…..Swirly Bird is finished….Quilted…Hanging sleeve, Binding AND a label!!!  Finished in time to take to the Helping Hands Quilt Guild meeting on Monday night and the Queen Bees gathering today!!  This project is from a class I took at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in June 2015.  Pattern is by Linda M. Poole.

Making a label for my Swirly bird

Gave my little embroider machine a work out!  Always amazing to see it work out properly. Very time consuming when you have to monitor it as it stitches.  The minute you turn your back is when it wants to get goofy.

Label finished and attached

I used fusible underneath the label to attach to the back of the project.  I promise I will hand stitch the edge of the label down.  (I always use do both).

Susie's Magic Binding Swirly Bird

You can see the echo quilting I did around the applique.  I went through a bobbin plus half of a second bobbin with this Superior 50 wt parchment thread doing the quilting.

Susie's magic binding

My favorite binding method is Susie’s Magic Binding.  Tutorial at 52 quilts in 52 weeks blog  –  The hardest part of this binding is getting a good “join”.

Swirly Bird bound

SWIRLY BIRD is finished!!

Yay !!! 2 finishes in a week!!!  While I was at it, I made the label for my “Crusty Crab” (UFO #2) Crusty Crab Finish   and got it affixed to the back of the project.  I showed them both at the Helping Hands Quilt Guild meeting last night.  Both Bees that I am in are doing UFO challenges; and both Swirly Bird and Crusty Crab were on those lists.  Now I need to empty the contents of the project box, file away the pattern details and “move on”.

Today at the Queen Bees we are making “folded Christmas trees” and I need to get busy and find my background fabric and get those strips cut.  I also want to get a border on that Scrap Happy Challenge Courthouse steps that I did two weeks ago and get it layered and quilted.  It is going in a charity auction at the end of August.  I heard last night that  June’s Quilt is in the mail on the way back to Delaware from California where Carolyn  ( One Block Wonder Woman )kindly long arm quilted it for me, so tomorrow I will get busy at our church sit & sew and prep that binding.  Did I mention already that when I was on a bus trip on Friday, I found more of the green fabric that we used on her borders?  I bought all that was on the bolt – 4 3/8 yard and took it to June last night. She wants to re-do her fabric covered headboard and possible the side chair in her bedroom to match.  All I had left was one piece at 18″ x 100″.

Someday soon I hope to get my Pet Mosaic back on the wall, but first I have to finish quilting the border on Addison’s quilt…..gee whiz I better start a list ! !  (You see what I do to myself!)  (And Bonnie Hunter is coming in 2 months to Helping Hands Quilt Guild in Dover DE, and I want to get those borders done on my Allietare – hey – it was March when I got the top together and I only need those 12″ borders…and I still haven’t found a fabric I love for the border)

How many projects are you working on at once???  (I swear I am not starting anything new, and here I go with the folded Christmas tree……TABLE RUNNER! )

Time to get busy before the Queen Bee’s start buzzing….