Retreat and UFO

Every year, since I have been a member of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, there has been a retreat in early February.  I’ve attended many of these retreats and always enjoy the time spent with so many creative, talented people. As in the past, we meet at a lovely beach front hotel in Ocean City Maryland, where we are greeted most mornings with spectacular sunrises in our ocean front rooms. 

640 Dawn's early light - Ocean City MD Sunrise

There are 9 more photo’s in this sunrise series you can see hereOcean City Sunrise photo’s

It is inspiring to wake up early at this retreat, so you don’t miss the glorious sunrise.  Breakfast is at 7:30, and we are sewing by 9 am !

I took with me many items to work on at the retreat.  Turns out, only ONE project captured most of my time and energy.  I dug out one of my oldest UFO’s and brought it along, with the intent of quilting.  Just how old is it?   You can read about it back in 2012 here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unfinished-projects-starting-to-bug-me/

and here https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/crossroads-pattern/

and here-  https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/playing-with-borders/

About a year ago, I came across a bit of fabric that was in the same deep red/brown tones and I tucked it into the box for backing of this project.  So, when I pulled it out to take to retreat, I just needed a bit of batting.  This project was about 44″ square.  I am happy to say I finished all the quilting during the retreat. I cut the backing and batting and pin basted in our hotel suite on Tuesday night, so I was ready to start stitching when the classroom opened on Wednesday morning.  I worked two solid days quilting this, and thought it is small, there were TONS of starts and stops, and turning constantly. I decided right away I was going to “pull up” the bobbin thread, and use my lock stitch on my Janome for my start & stops, and not burying all those threads. It’s a wall hanging and a 6 year old UFO !  (I’m not putting it in a show, so hush you quilt police)  (Oh, and by the way, I KNOW there are a few crappy HST and a few geese that lost their points in this project….they jumped out at me while quilting….hey it was before I knew what I was doing…..)

Quilted and bound

 

I did most of the quilting using my walking foot. The exception is in the wide border of hearts, I used a stitch that is connected hearts, and in the narrow red border I did the same stitch.  On the outer red heart border I did some wavy stitching.  I like to use these built in to the machine stitches if possible.  They make quilting a lot easier.  If you want to see close-ups of the various quilting that I did, look at the photo’s here – UFO Finish  .  (There is also a photo of the back where the techniques I used really show). 

Yesterday,  I trimmed it down to about 40″ square, as I felt the final borders were TOO wide.  I used up a bunch of left over bits of the red to make a scrappy binding, and did the Susie’s Magic Binding technique. (Some call it binding with a flange or piping) If you have never tried this method, check out the tutorial here – Susie’s Magic Binding Tutorial(Watch the video’s too…)

I used the same fabric that is in the area around the flying geese in the flange for the binding. I love that little pop of color along the edge. I added a hanging sleeve while I was doing the binding, and the last thing that needs to be finished is to hand stitch the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve and make a label!

Since this was the “big deal” for me at the retreat, I will stop here and ask – what is the OLDEST UFO you have sitting around, and WHY didn’t you finish what you started?  

I will tell you why this went “in the box”.  We were doing a new project every week in the class and I was overwhelmed.  I also could not figure out how to “finish”.  Our instructor had scaled the pattern in Pat Sloan’s “I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting” down to just a 1 block project instead of a whole quilt, and I didn’t “know” what to do at the time.  Of course, a few years of experience were needed under my belt before I could say, enough is enough and a wall hanging is just “fine”.  🙂

More about the retreat in the next post!

 

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Grandma’s Kitchen – Some assembly completed

Grandma’s Kitchen – Some assembly completed!

Some decisions still to make!

before borders Grandma's Kitchen

(before borders)

 

I have gotten the rows assembled and joined, 2 borders on.  The photo below shows the colors of the borders better than the photo’s of the whole top, because of the lighting.  (I seem to be taking these photo’s late at night!)

Border fabrics for Grandma's Kitchen

With the current borders, the top currently measures 73 1/2″ wide x  92 1/2″ long.  I am contemplating one more round of borders so I can use it on my queen size guest bed.  I think I will bring it in from the sewing room today and lay it out on that bed and take a look and see what kind of drop I want.  I think I need to add 10 1/2 inches for a queen on the width.

closeup of borders Grandma's kitchen

Someone on the Quilt Along with Pat Sloan Facebook group yesterday asked me about the fabrics when I posted a photo.  If you have been following along since last summer, you know that primarily I am using 30’s reproduction. Many are Aunt Grace by Marcus Fabrics, like the pink border (Simpler Sampler).  I used the pink from the border in 2 blocks – in  the checkerboard block in the center of row C below –

Rows A - C Grandma's Kitchen

and in block 25 –

Block 25 Grandma's Kitchen

There are several companies doing 30’s fabrics now, and I lost track of all the names.  I used Spring Fling for PB Textiles by Terry Atkinson & Liz Lois, for the white and yellow print that is in many of the “filler pieces, and in some of the blocks (like block 4 below). I liked it because they coordinated nicely.  Some of the whites, like the stripe tone on tone are “just scraps” from my stash.  The medium blue 2.5″ border is VIP by Cranston (2011). It is a nice blender and I had just 1/2 yard in my blue box of stash.  There are several tones of blue in various blocks and it was the best choice with the pink border.

Yesterday, I ordered the backing fabric and it appears to be “on the way”.  I went in search of 30’s reproduction in a wide backing. Marcus Fabrics had one print that I already included in the quilt manufactured in 108″ width.   Way back in block 4 I used the white background multi floral in the 4 patch center of the block.  In the pattern, this block was partially repeated, and I had enough to use again in another 4 patch, and in some of the filler blocks.  I was pleased to find a fabric that would really work with the quilt!

Block 4 of 25 Grandma's Kitchen Challenge, pattern by Pat Sloan

My challenge turned out to be getting a 3 yard cut, and my first order had to be cancelled when the shop only had 2 2/3 yard….  The fun thing about a group like Quilt Along with Pat Sloan is how helpful people are when you post.  One lady got busy searching and found two other sources, and I communicated with one and verified they had what I wanted and I placed my order, and got confirmation of shipping late last night.  By going to the manufacturers web site, I was able to get a list of shops that had ordered the fabric, and that is how I started my search originally.  I tried to order from shops I had done business with in the past, and I quickly learned the fabric was not going to be easy to find !  Turns out, Marcus did several of the prints in 56″ wide, but only this print in two color options in the 108″ width! R34-5878-0199 by Judie Rothermel

So this is where I am at on the project as of yesterday —

Borders on Grandma's Kitchen

If you have an interest in seeing the blocks “up close”, you can see them all in my Grandma’s Kitchen Flickr Album  

or search back thru the blog posts using the Grandma’s Kitchen tag as a search criteria.

The pattern for this quilt is available for free from Pat Sloan – http://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/grandmas-kitchen-sew-along.html

Pat is doing a “quilting” series for this pattern, so now, I need to go study!

If you were to add 1 more border, what color would you go with? I may have to go out and survey the 30’s yardage I still have, and start making some choices.  (Do you remember that clothesline fabric with the black background?  Oh, how I wanted to use that in this quilt, but it was such a large print, and the scale was just too big!)

What are you working on?

Scrap Decisions

I have mastered the scraps!  I have battled and won!  They are contained!  I have trimmed and cut and put order to some of the chaos and declare victory! Phew….that’s enough for now!  Yesterday I declared victory over the basket of blues, and since then I have gone through the red & oranges and basket of browns & blacks.  The yellow stacker is EMPTY!  (Ok; I haven’t tackled the laundry hamper and those zip lock bags, but I have met my goal!!!)

I was getting a little anxious because nearly a week has gone by and I had not “pulled” my fabric for Carole’s Scrap Dance Square Dance Mystery Quilt!  Are you dancing too???  Info on the mystery is here – Square Dance Begins

As I was taming the scraps, I was setting aside pieces cut to size for the Square Dance Mystery.

Step One is to cut those fabrics.

Today, I gathered up those pieces and counted out what was required and determined I had plenty set out for a Twin Sized project.  All is ready except my fabric A which needs to be cut.

Scrap Dance Square Dance Fabric pull

(Do you see Elvis?)  (Notice the Superman fabric?)  (How about those wonderful fish?) (and Cats?) (hiding in among these lovelies are llamas too!)

Selections for Scrap Dance Square Dance

 

Everything came directly from the scraps in the “yellow stacker” that I have mentioned in the last few blog posts except Fabric A.  I (gasp) took it out of my neutral box that was set aside for my Bonnie Hunter project that is a UFO. It was “just the right size”.  I went with it because Carole had suggested a tone on tone would be favorable for this constant Fabric A.

Fabric A - the ONE constant

So, many thanks to the friends who have gifted me their scraps in the last year!  I look forward to including them all in this Square Dance mystery!

When you are out “shopping” for fabrics, I strongly encourage you to pick up a few yards of those great neutrals that work for background fabrics and stash them away.  A few days ago a friend of mine came in search of “low volume” neutrals for background fabrics. Sometimes they are not easy to find, and we went “digging” in the scrap bins for her bits and pieces.

I am heading “back” to the sewing room to cut “Fabric A” and put all those lovely scraps that I have cut and sorted for this project into a nice basket to await Step 2 in February!  And, perhaps, between now and then I will get back to one of those other projects that has been hanging around for a while!

Happy scrapping!

PS – One of my readers asked “what sizes” do I cut and save – Here is “MY” list – which, as I have mentioned is a combination of Bonnie Hunter and Joan Ford.  I have this list on the wall by my cutting table, and it is a good reminder. It helps me to look at the fabric and get the best use from a raggedy mess!  Remember – press and CUT THE SCRAPS!

CUT THE SCRAPS
SQUARES BRICKS
1.5 2 x 3
2 2 x 3.5
2.5 2.5 x 3.5
3 2.5 x 6
3.5 2.5 x 6.5
4.5 3 x 5
5 3.5 x 6
STRIPS
1.5
2
2.5
3.5
4
5
6

Blue boredom Strings

I’m bored….I must be feeling better!

I’ve been cutting scraps for the last couple of weeks.  I can’t focus on my projects because I have had a run of bronchitis and the cough syrup and meds make me fuzzy.   I’m tired of being sick. I’m bored cutting scraps. I must be getting better!

I’ve missed a guild meeting, church services, my Queen Bee’s yesterday……My friends are calling and wanting to bring food or run errands, my Pastor called to find out if I was alive, I have missed newsletter deadlines at church…..I am not having any fun. 😦    I’m all done (out of patience) with the coughing!  With the terrible flu that is going around, I am avoiding going out to do anything. I don’t want to add my nasty germs to the mix.  Google said it takes 3 weeks to get over this, and my visit last week to the doctor confirmed what I already knew.  I decided it was risky to return to the doctor when I seem to be on the tail end. (Too many sick people to come in contact with at the Doc’s office)

For the last 2 weeks, all I have managed to do is stand at the iron and press scraps, and stand at the cutting table and cut into my “scrap management” sizes. This was a much needed therapy from being stuck in the recliner too sick to care.

Now, I am 3/4 of the way through the yellow tower of terror….down to the blue level, and only 2 more to go plus the basket on the floor underneath……progress…..

Scraps by color waiting to be ironed and cut

I’ve grown tired of fiddling with scraps. My string boxes (5 shoeboxes) were full.  No place to put any more cut pieces.  And my sewing machine is calling, loudly, to sew.  I can sit and sew for hours without expending a lot of energy. I MUST be getting better. It helps to just sit and stare out at the tree tops while I mindlessly sew.

I grabbed an old phone book, and removed some pages, got out the paper cutter and cut 6.5″ squares, and just started to sew. Three days, and 3 or more bobbins later, I have a few string blocks. 

Blue boredom

 The bronchitis is better, still coughing, reduced meds, so less fuzzy headed. My sewing room is calling to me. I am getting better.  SEWING IS THERAPY!

I just need 1 more 6.5″ string block to bring the number up to 60. (Fuzzy brain miscounted when cutting the phone book papers……)(Oh heck, why not…I should make 100…..)  Not sure what will happen to these pretty little blue blocks with their pops of purple. The will end up in a ziplock and I will add them to a charity quilt at some point.

Sometimes a little mindless sewing along with an audio book is the perfect medicine. (That, and the milkshake the hubby brought me when he was out running errands yesterday).  I might be cured……

Now, back to the scrap management. I feel inspired to clear out the rest of the blues that are pressed and on the table waiting to be cut……projects await and my fuzzy brain is clearing.

Do you do “mindless sewing” when you are bored? 

Linking up to  Oh Scrap! today.

 

 

 

Help for Victims of Thomas Fire – Other ways to help

As you may recall, in December Carole – From My Carolina Home put out a call for help asking for blocks for Victims of the Thomas Fire.   I shared her post and worked up 16 blocks and sent them to her last week.

16 Thomas Fire blocks done

Carole received my blocks and 16 other envelopes !!  It is exciting to know that quilters DO love to help when there is a big need.

I was reading through my email today and saw that AQS (American Quilting Society) is also trying to get the word out for assistance for the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild.  There are lots of ways that you might be able to help too. Perhaps making blocks and sending them to Carole wasn’t something you were able to do, but you have a finished top of another pattern on a hanger, or have an excess of blocks from a different style?   Without repeating the entire list, I will “redirect” you to the AQS post –http://www.aqsblog.com/help-the-thomas-fire-victims

Perhaps something on the AQS post will be just the right fit for you!

Today is a “scrap attack” day for me!  I want to dig through 1 container of greens and get them “ready” for the next scrappy project that Carole has planned on her blog!

Stay warm and happy sewing.  I am thankful every day for the sunshine, the warmth of my heaters and my ability to create! I think quilts are really a blessing in my life!  What about in yours?

The final 3 blocks for Grandma’s Kitchen

I had a lot of fun picking and choosing from my stack of fabrics for the final 3 blocks of the Grandma’s Kitchen pattern.  I mentioned previously that I did a little “balancing” of colors, as I have a big variety with my 1930’s reproduction fabrics.

Block 23 –

Block 23 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 24 –

Block 24 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 25 –

Block 25 Grandma's Kitchen

Now that all 25 blocks are made, I am considering all those filler blocks the pattern has called for.  There are 3 more units of “friendship stars”, several sets of “checkerboard blocks”, and lots of what I would call “filler strips”.  These filler strips are giving me something to think about.  I am trying to decide if I am just going with one of my white background fabrics; or maybe pull in another yellow, with some very tiny print.  If you haven’t seen the final layout, take a look at Pat’s post here – The final layout plan

Here are my thoughts….I have a lot of very “different” prints and colors going on.  I put them all in an album together on flicker if you want to take a look – Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks album

I think the blocks need something to “calm them down” and “give your eye a place to rest” or “a bit of space”.  This is what leads me to the white.  I have been doodling and coloring – Thank goodness for lots of fine tip markers and lots of copies of the pattern.

Making sense of the layout

I’ve set aside fabrics for some of those filler blocks, made one of the checkerboard sections for row 3(using the same fabrics as block 25), and decided what fabrics those extra friendship stars will use.

Next time you see it, I will have it stitched together as a full top…but that will be a while.

I’m in slow down mode as of this afternoon!  I had to deliver my beloved Janome 8900 to the sewing center for service. Long & short of it – my machine does NOT like the thread painting class I took today. Sadly, I paid for a class that I only managed to sew for about half of, and then spent the rest of the class battling the machine.  I went straight from class to take the machine for repair.  Tomorrow, out will come my beloved Featherweight, and I will “begin again”.

Meanwhile, there are lots of scraps to be sorted and trimmed and put away, so I might get busy with that job.  I have LOTS to get squared away!   I am going to try and get some cleared up before Carole puts out the first edition of Scrap Dance Square Dance Mystery QuiltWill you be sewing along?  Carole said she is going to have us “use up leftovers, precuts,  charm squares, jelly roll strips ” etc.  I tend to cut my scraps to the “largest size” for my storage system, so I should have plenty of 5″ squares, lots of 2.5″ strips.  I don’t buy pre-cuts usually, but I do have a big collection of fat quarters (which are NOT scraps….)  I think I will start with the overflowing basket of GREENS!

What’s on your project list??

BOMBOGENESIS and Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks 18-22

I did some “power sewing” yesterday ahead of the snow – or as the Weather Channel calls it the Winter Storm Grayson to Undergo Bombogenesis 

I was not sure what was going to happen overnight, as they have been hyping the storm all day on Wednesday. Honestly, the effort to “scare you to death” is something. Anything to make noise….I mean news.  I just know I am glad I am retired, and not making the 40+ mile commute to work!  Not to bore you with snow photo’s but thought you might appreciate a bit of my morning.

It snowed all night, and the cats were not sure about what was happening as they looked out their window perch. It was pretty early and so I had to use a flash….and got the eerie photo of Smokey with the glowing eyes…..Mittens is busy looking at the birds that are hanging out under the house eaves.  (This is the 1st time I have seen him up that high on the climber!!)

While the were peering out the window, I had to see what was up, and caught site of the oil tank which is only 1/4 full.  (I have “auto-delivery”, and did not like to see it that low with the days of extreme cold that are forecast between now and next week! Our low today is 12, and for Friday it will be 7 with a high of 17 both Friday and Saturday!)  A quick call to the oil company and they put me on the schedule for tomorrow!  (Keeping my fingers crossed….at least they “JUST” filled the propane for the heater in the garage……)

CHUCKY CAT!

There didn’t seem to be much snow piling up out front, and I noticed the winds were whipping from North to South…so I went out to the laundry room for a peak out back.

A little snow

I think that is about 6″ of snow in the foreground on top of the hot tub.  The roof of the porch along the garage has some interesting swirling snow. Note….my sewing room is “out there” on the 2nd floor of the detached garage….I think I am staying in today!

Needless to say, I am VERY glad I power sewed last night!  Since I had ALL the fabric out in stacks on the work table for Grandma’s Kitchen (pattern by Pat Sloan), I dug in and worked on blocks 18 – 22. Hubby went to the train club yesterday afternoon and I sewed from 4 pm until after 11pm when he got back home!  It was funny when he came upstairs in the garage all covered with snow, and asked me if I realized how much had already fallen.  I didn’t have a clue.  I couldn’t really “see out” the window with all the sewing room lights on, but we had already gotten about 3 “.  I’d skipped supper and was oblivious to the weather.  (At least until one daughter decided to send me severe weather warnings!)

I set aside the fabric for Block 18 the last time I was out working in my sewing room.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this block with 4.5” corner squares.

Block 18 Pattern by Pat Sloan Grandmas Kitchen

I had fun with block 18, fussy cutting the yellow fabric.  I have used the pink and the yellow in other blocks previously.

I knew I wanted a stripe with block 19 –

Block 19 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 20 just had to be made with reds!

Block 20 Grandma's Kitchen

For Block 21, I dug in to a bag of scraps for the gray fabric, and actually in the leftovers from Addison’s quilt for the biggest part of the phone.  (Ok, so they are not 30’s reproduction fabrics, but I needed gray!) The dial circles were cut from a piece of “very modern” dot fabric.  Those dots were hard to applique stitch down.

Block 21 Grandma's kitchen

Block 22 wasn’t one that I felt excited about until I pulled the fabric.  Now I am rather pleased.

Block 22 Grandma's Kitchen

Just 3 more “feature blocks” and TONS of filler blocks to make.  A fun project.  I feel like I am catching up a little!  More color balancing to do as I proceed.

Are you on the East Coast of the USA getting hit with the storm?  Don’t you think these silly names they give the storms “over hype” what is just a snow storm???

Working on anything fun today?

edit – note – pattern for Grandma’s Kitchen is by Pat Sloan, and can be found at Grandma’s Kitchen Sew Along