Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 2017

A good part of November and December were kind of a blur for me.  My sister had major surgery and I calmed my worries to some extent being there to help with her recovery. I was kind of a mess actually.  Broken hearted that she had to go through this but it helped somewhat to be there. It also helped that many were praying for her and for me as well.  God has indeed been faithful to hold us close and to give healing and courage and a superior medical team as well. The road ahead is still full of challenges so we really appreciate the continued support and prayers. 
My girl, Sabra
continues to do pretty well.  Her only symptom that we see from the cancer is back pain, presumably from a growth attached to her spine.  So with regularly scheduled pain meds, she is still very interested in eating her special diet and going for walks around the neighborhood and out to the bluff.  The walks are shorter and she sits and rests when she needs to.  I am thrilled to have more time with her still enjoying her life. 
As for sewing, I have snuck in moments here and there and have managed to complete the 72 Ohio Star blocks needed for my Lil' Orphan Scrappy.

Today I sewed up 2 sets of blocks that will be going for quilts to be given to those who have lost their homes in the huge Ventura fire this past month. I am sending two directly to the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild (see link for more info if you want to join in).  The other two are going to Carole at From My Carolina Home who is going to make two quilts. One for the Ventura guild to give away and one for a family who lost their home in the Santa Rosa fire earlier this fall. It has been a devastating time for so many in California. I hope these blocks and quilts bring comfort and warmth to someone.

So this year ends with many things still in transition. I'm grateful to have more time with my sweet Sabra and look forward to hopefully having my sister live close to me before this time next year.
I'm switching gears to sew up two smaller for a new baby coming and one to celebrate a friend's new puppy!  These will be fun and cheerful sewing.
Thank you all for reading along on my not so exciting blog. It's fun to connect with many of you as I keep track of what I've been sewing. I managed to finally actually enter a quilt into our guild show and quilt my Double Wedding Ring quilt this year. I hope to tackle some more long awaited challenges this year as well.
Happy New Year 2018 to you all.  I pray that you see God's faithfulness and love in your lives. My hope is in Him!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On to November

There was a small amount of sewing going on here last month. I have pieced almost 60 of the star blocks needed for my Lil' Orphan Scrappy.
And the leader/ender 16 patches are totaling about 30 now.
But I haven't been able to sew for several days now.  Sabra, my beautiful red Golden Retriever has been diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer and all my attention has been for her.  She is doing pretty well although a bad reaction to acupuncture nearly finished us both off yesterday. Fortunately, she recovered and we are fighting the good fight again.  As more health issues in my family are needing attention, I will be switching to some handwork to sooth my soul.
We could use some prayers from those who pray. And as Thanksgiving comes next week, we can be so grateful for the God who hears us and holds us in His hands.  God bless you all with His saving presence and peace! Psalm 121

Monday, October 2, 2017

Backing up to September

Summer seemed to get busier and hotter! I'm quite happy to move into Autumn. In August I made some table runners and a little quilt for my sister ♥
They were made with some fabric purchased from Connecting Threads that I liked. A nice feel to it and wouldn't it have been nice if I had taken pictures?!
I then sewed scrappy mostly black, some brown and one maroon selection of 2" squares to make a table runner for our family room. This was wonderfully mindless and relaxing and I could squeeze in sewing time for just a few minutes and still accomplish something. It's hard to photograph black but here it is doing its job.
The last week of September brought some better sewing time as I headed northeast to Arnold, California and joined about 20 other quilters at a retreat hosted by Lynn Wilder of Sew'n Wild Oaks. I shared a cabin with Joy from Joyful Quilter and enjoyed the beautiful mountain setting. We sewed, ate delicious food and chatted 3 full days.  I worked on a pattern from Lynn called Lil' Orphan Scrappy using some beautiful fat quarters of Wild Orchid by Blackbird Designs. My progress almost completed a heart...which has nothing to do with the pattern it just looked fun on the design wall.
My first block
I have been busy sewing since I got home and am up to 20 blocks.
While at the retreat I did a little gift sewing as well so pictures of that might show up in December or January. I'm happy to be home again but this was such a great time with wonderful people. I hope to do it again next year.
Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Metro Rings with probably too much commentary!

Inspired by a couple of quilts at my local quilt store, Quilter's Cupboard (Atascadero), I purchased the Quick Curve rulers by Sew Kind of Wonderful.
After all that curved piecing with the smaller quilt, I was ready to give this a try.

Initially, I was really impressed with the instructions and with what you could do with this ruler, getting the arc consistent and not wasting much fabric.

There was a lot of squaring up to do after sewing all the blocks together and I think it was here that I started seeing a problem. I had followed the directions closely though and couldn't see what I had done wrong. The background pieces were not the same in each block and I couldn't really figure out what to do about it though I tried trimming to get them uniform and then tested sewing them together. That wasn't helping but I plowed ahead since all the blocks were already sewn together. 

I went on to sew on the corner connector pieces hoping this would fix some of the issues I was seeing. No, it didn't and the pattern's squaring up instructions were a little too "casual". Fortunately, I realized that I needed to figure out a consistent measure for the corner pieces so that when the blocks were sewn together, the triangles would meet to make up that square. 

The pattern had said to watch a YouTube video about curved piecing that I had watched but it was at this point that I also found one specific to Metro Rings. It mentioned not pressing the blocks until both sides of the background pieces were sewn onto the rings.  This may have been the defining mistake I made but I'm still not sure. The overall effect of the design is still clear in the finished quilt but I am really not happy with the inconsistent points (or complete lack of) in the inside rings as well as the inconsistency of the how the outside pieces come together. After looking further on their website at blog post comments, apparently I am not alone in this frustration.  I am going to try again with the added information that came from the Metro Rings video.  I have added the measurements that were not included in the pattern for keeping the connector triangles accurate and I will see if I can't get this to look like it was designed. I do think there is hope! but you really need all the information before you start working with this ruler.
I used Hobb's 80/20 batting and Feathered Curls pantograph for the quilting. 

And with that, it will be off to my oldest sister who has yet to receive one of my quilts. Hopefully she won't be bothered by the inconsistency.  Thank you for reading to the end of this long post. I hope the information helps someone.
I have moved on to sewing simple squares together :-)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July and my Double Wedding Ring Quilt

July has been a good month for sewing here. It feels so good to spend time pushing fabric through my Bernina! Though most of what I'm showing today was actually sewn years ago. I think it was about in 2005, I took a class from a local instructor, Mary Russell. She had designed a specialty ruler for the double wedding ring block. Her quilts were beautiful and I set about making the rings to applique thinking I knew exactly how I was going to quilt this as an online machine quilting group had some great ideas. I finished the top pretty much that same year and then felt the trepidation of actually quilting the feathers that I saw on the ones online.  It sat. And then I was less enthused about the feathers and it sat longer. Finally at a quilt show I saw ring quilts from Sew Kind of Wonderful that had a very different look and I was inspired!  Eventually I bought curved rulers from The Quilted Pineapple and well it sat a little longer... Till after practicing on the little mystery wheel quilt, I finally jumped in.  So all that to say, here it is... finally done!

There was much to learn in this process. I didn't mark this until I had it on the quilt frame.  Before would have been better but I think I was still intimidated with the design.  In fact, even after the first couple of rows, I was still overwhelmed by how much quilting was on it.  My DH had to talk me into leaving it.  I quilted on for several days and just stayed committed. 
I was pleased and surprised that when I took it off the frame, it was still soft and not stiff with thread.  We are hanging this on a wall but it could actually be used to cuddle up with.  Getting the curved crosshatching consistent will be more to learn in the future but I've got to say that these rulers from The Quilted Pineapple are wonderful. I am actually kind of enjoying the look of it now though won't be repeating this process any time soon! 

So I promised a few more pics from the quilt show. Here are some more favorites.
A Gypsy Wife in pastels!

 Boston Chicago not Boston but still cute :-)

And specially for a friend who just attended a goat yoga event :-) Nama-a-aste!

Linking here to Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop it up, Friday!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Too far behind to even title this!

Way back in February (I think), I asked a friend if she needed help with her En Provence. She hadn't started we met for breakfast and she showed me a variation she had seen using blacks, greys and whites.  I liked it too so we set about gathering fabrics and met to figure out how to make it happen. Another friend offered up all her neutral 4 patches as she had stalled after the first clue. A collaborative quilt :-)  Julie set to making the dark 4 patches and I started with quarter square triangles. I had some skill building to do with this step and improved along the way somewhat.
Next I started the triangle in a square blocks and treated myself to the Loc Bloc ruler to make them. This was fun and I got hooked on making all these smaller units.

This is the last pic I have. Julie is hand sewing the binding finish.
I quilted a swirl and hook version that I learned from a watching Angela Waters video. She is really good teacher! (Julie chose the red for the binding...not the black)

Our local quilt show was this last week in San Luis Obispo.  The 7 area guilds come together for this show every year.  Seven Sisters Quilt Show is named after the mountain (hill) range from SLO to Morro Bay. A fun show and I was encouraged to finally show a quilt when my friend told me to enter the curvy Wheel of Mystery. This really was me practising so I never thought about showing it while I was quilting it...or I would never have been able to finish! It was such a stretch for me.  But I filled out the forms and it was included in the show. I was shocked to learn that it won a sponsored ribbon (as in not judged for skill...someone just liked it)!  It was picked because the quilting was planned and different than others.  Thank you Sew Kind of Wonderful, Judy Madsen and even Karen McTavish! who I have learned from and follow their design ideas.
I have to say this certainly made the show fun for me this year! It was my first time to enter a quilt. More quilts from the show...

I'll show more quilts next time. It was a lovely show!

more later :-)
I hope you all have a wonderful, safe Independence Day celebration!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hands2Help Reveal

I have my completed quilt to show. Supernova was showcased with some instructions by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict here. I had some orange in my stash and so away I went. I really enjoyed making this.
Thank you to my sis helping with the quilt holding :-)

For quilting, I wanted to use my rulers and do something different than usual....which are allover designs.  I struggled with coming up with something very interesting though.  I finally settled with just some defining lines.  It was not very exciting but I did get a lot better with ruler use by the time I finished this.

This quilt measures about 60" square.  It has Hobb's 80/20 batting and is sewn with Superior Threads Sew Fine and Bottom Line in the bobbin.
Supernova is headed to Emily of Em's Scrap Bag to give to someone going through chemotherapy.  Her charity is called Chemo Cozies. 
Thank you, Sarah for a fun design idea and for hosting Hands2Help!
Thank you to Emily for an avenue of sharing our quilts to cheer someone.

For anyone interested, I learned a couple of things with this ruler work business :-) 
I have not been trusting of the water soluble pens used for design marking but finally just went for it with this quilt. Long ago I had purchased a bottle of SewClean after taking a class from Pam Clark at a longarm convention up in Spokane, Washington (I think?).  I sprayed rather too liberally to get that blue ink to disappear and then found the quilt top fabric had some pieces that ran color. After finishing the quilting and the binding, I stuck it in the washer with just regular soap and a Color Catcher (purchased at my local market, not Amazon). The water took out all of the blue ink and the Color Catcher caught a lot of the excess color coming from non prewashed fabric.  I use to prewash everything but got away from it using precuts.  
I had gotten my fabric so wet with the SewClean though that fabric color had run all the way through to the backing.  This didn't come out with the first wash so I ran it through another cycle and this time added Synthrapol as well.  This took care of the excess color and the quilt was definitely clean :-)
I have since starting using yet another tool though besides SewClean...or actually...besides using my SewClean bottle which now just has water in it!
I am sewing on a Double Wedding Ring quilt that I made over a decade ago (!) and using that blue pen a lot.  This time if I want to remove the lines right away, I'm using a Sewline Aqua Eraser Pen. This was given to me in a big box of goodies from Moda that I was selected to receive a couple of years ago.  This is refillable using just water and maybe some dish detergent or whatever...I actually think just water will be be effective enough. It also is precise so I can just take out the line and not worry about dark fabric color running in the block next to where I'm using it. So thank you yet again to Moda for sharing this treat and useful tool with me. 

I am now deep into quilting the Double Wedding Ring.  It is going to take me awhile and with other things going on, I don't think I will get to work on it much very soon.  But I'm playing with my blue pen and curved rulers and learning a lot. I am also working with a friend making a Bonnie Hunter mystery from this past New Year's called En Provence. I'm having a great time making all the parts.
More later  :-)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Hands2Help 2017 Check-in

I had some fun sewing a bit this past month and so I have some pictures to show for it. The Supernova was pieced and sewn together...not without some unstitching as I managed to turn or just lay the blocks out wrong. Arggggh! Even found one in the very last corner after quilting most of it! I was able to pull it off the longarm and fix it without really much trouble though so all is good now. It amazes me how I can miss those things!
Choosing to play with rulers again, I ended up with a not very exciting design but one that was good still for practice and looked alright after all. 

After starting to sew the binding on, I was interrupted and came back to the machine to find this...
I waited a few minutes for the quilt blessing in progress.

But apparently it was going to take awhile. Then additional help arrived.

This wasn't appreciated but instead of arguing...Elinor just turned her back.
I wasn't getting anywhere fast but eventually the binding was sewn on.
More later :-)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hands2Help 2017

It's that time of year! Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict has kicked off the challenge with weeks worth of inspiration in Stunning Star quilt patterns. Go to the website and enjoy the 5 wonderful quilts she shared with pictures, tutorials and instructions.  Then join us in the challenge to make quilts for chosen charities or for a charity of your own!
I was taken by her orange and white creation called Supernova. It looked like too much fun to pass up and I just happened to have some orange sitting there in my stash. :-)
It's all sewn up into half square triangles from 7" squares.

Then an important step of trimming to make sure they are all 6.5" square. (wonky pic!)

And then on to laying the blocks out.

My table wasn't big enough!  But I got them laid out and sewed blocks into rows webbing them like Bonnie Hunter shows. I can only seem to do that in one direction but it helps keep things in order....which I really needed with this!  I am almost done sewing those rows together and will hope to get this quilted this weekend. 
This was really fun to make and I will enjoy sending this off to Emily for her to give to as a Quilty Hug to someone undergoing chemotherapy.
Hands2Help challenge is a guaranteed good feeling activity that I highly recommend :-) and if that isn't enough...there are prizes for participating.
Please join us for a sweet cause.
Thank you for all the fun comments on my last post. I enjoy connecting with you.
I'm linking here to Whoop it Up at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and to Busy Hands Quilts: Finished or Not Fridays.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Rulers, Curves and Roomba

When showing you pictures of our new flooring, I forgot to tell you about my new hobby. Cleaning with Roomba!
With 3 dogs and 2 cats, the fur around this place can build up fast, so I run Roomba every morning and only have to clean it out once or twice while it's making its rounds.  It isn't very tall and so fits under baseboards and even our TV console. We have secured wires and cables so it isn't bothered by those and manages to back itself out of any other thing that might entangle it.  I pick up the dog toys but that's about all I do to prepare the way. The animals don't seem particularly bothered by it...much less than the regular vacuum anyway.  My back is also much happier than when I had to push the vacuum cleaner :-)  It leaves more time to sew ...which I have finally been able to get back to!
So I sewed up all those Mystery Wheel blocks and then pondered how to quilt it.  I have a pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful that is similar and saw some design ideas on the pattern cover.  This quilt is too small for a lap quilt.  It is meant to be a wall hanging.  Since I was practicing with the curved piecing I decided to continue on and practice with some quilting using my curved rulers from The Quilted Pineapple.  A wall hanging could handle the stiffness that comes with quilting something to death ;-)  so I gave it a go.
Marianne decided to help.  But this process was already challenging enough. The curved seams were clipped at the halfway point and pressed in opposite direction.  So stitching in the ditch of the curves was even more challenging than usual...which is already requiring some skills on a longarm. I unsewed some of it and left some of the wonky lines when I realized that if you are putting tons of thread on the quilt, the wonky lines are less noticeable.
I got over being fearful of using the blue disappearing ink pens...haven't really trusted them to disappear! And learned a bit about design congruency, etc.
Linda's curved rulers are wonderful! I used them for marking and for guiding the foot along. They have lines for placement and you can use either side of the ruler for both. They also seem stable on the fabric, not slipping as I quilted along. 
This was fun to do and looks pretty good at a distance ;-)
I'm linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

2017 January

Still not a single stitch of quilting here though I did mend some dog toys...twice. Sammy likes to chew off the legs of his soft toys. Grrr.
The flooring is completed

and the furniture moved back in. We are slowly putting felt under each piece to protect the floor. Some of this happened quickly with the help of the young men helping us move it all back in place but we ran out of supplies quickly and so it was left to us. It is likely we are overdoing this step....common here ;-)
For fun though, I have pictures of my cats.  A friend gave us two of these wonderful felted wool cat caves!
They are comfy for the cats and kind of entertaining for us to watch them used.
This has been a cold and wet month outside. Great days for curling up in a cat cave.  I am getting hopeful of being able to sew again soon!