Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

     This is one my recent watercolors. I think it fits today even though those colors are now gone. Thanksgiving is one of my best holidays. It is a holiday exuding gratitude- gratitude for others, my gifts, and God's character. I know this year has been very hard. I lost one of my best friends. Most things were cancelled. People who I thought were friends took a powder. Uncertainty dawned every day. But-

   Gratitude is not about circumstances or brokeness, but an attitude that holds true to what is true despite. Four hundred years ago this month, the Pilgrims landed and endured horrible tragedies- death, disease, wrong destination, and so on. They endured as a community and forged the Mayflower Compact. They established a mindset and celebration of Thanksgiving. I know people love to trash them these days, but examine what they went through.

   I am grateful for the people, past and present, whose lives have enriched mine and have been kind and steadfast. Through these lonely times of lockdown, I remember them. I thank you for reading this. One quilt blogger said we should not share our blessings because it makes other feel bad.  In bad circumstances, we can still be grateful and rejoice with others. I pray for many people, for their specific needs and requests. I am so grateful for that gift. I am grateful for being gifted to make quilts and cards, have the resources to be able to give them away to those who need them and occasionally hear how much it meant to them. I am grateful for the absolutely wonderful people I have met and become friends with through quilting. What a gift and they are such blessings. I am grateful for the folks at Zoom. These are the things I will dwell on despite the brokeness, tragedies, and loneliness.  If you need a prayer, reach out and I will intercede for you. I would be grateful to.

     Happy  Thanksgiving to you!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Final border on Snail's Trail

      I auditioned all kinds of colors and prints with the Snail's Trail sashed blocks, but a blue Grunge seemed to hold it together the best. I think it is done, wish it was bigger- it's about 40 x 44. Regardless, I really like it. It could be a small quilt I guess. I am not fond of squares quilts, but this one works.


Friday, November 20, 2020

The trees are coming branch by branch

      I completed 4 trees out of 12 and laid out the other 2 light green ones. I cut all the white background pieces. I used a variety of white on whites (WOW) for the backgrounds. I really like them. I strove for a variety and sparkle. I tried to combine a variety in scale and pattern. I had no light green strips in the jelly roll pack, so I had to raid the regular light greens stash for some. Some people would say that the white with gold scrolls or stars are too light to use. I think it adds some sparkle to the busy strips.

     A Note to Non-comment reply blog comments: I can't send you a response. I am thankful a number of you commented on my last post. I do not have anything against precuts- I am always a sucker for Kaffe jelly rolls and neutral fat quarters. I don't believe, however, that often a company gives a good range of values, contrasts, and colors often in its packs. I have no trouble substituting or changing fabrics. Just sticking with one collection does not mean your quilt will be the best it can be in color and interest.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Diagonal Crazy

      This is not the first time I made this pattern, but it is a very nice balance. I used a jelly roll of mixed white type solids and cut my own blues and greens from scraps. It uses two strip sets- a light-color-light and a color-light-color and then the two sets are seamed together, top and bottom. The strips are cut with a strip tube ruler or 45 degree one, opened up and then trimmed to size.

     I wanted it to be a good size comfort quilt, so it is 8 x 9 blocks, 8 1/2" finished blocks. This is the very first layout, so I will let it sit on the wall and think about it for a couple of days before I mark the rows and clip it for webbing. 

    I personally like the few lighter green strips and a couple of the odd ball strips I added. I want the quilt to have some surprises and move the eye around and not just see one area as just a repeat of the previous. I  did not realize this was a problem for people, but I took an online class today that said your colors have to "go together" and match like a collection does. I guess I might get a fine or something.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Love those flowers!

      By now, I have only a few scattered blooms outside. However, this quilt top completed at retreat, a 2 x 4 pattern using 2 1/2" strips, is a riot of garden colors. Love the way it turned out. 

     On another unrelated quilt note, I am determined to sew a Christmas quilt this year. I bought a jelly roll and will make a sample block today of this free pattern. My greens are too dark and I will have to supplement from my stash.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Sometimes it comes together, but not right

      Another of the quilt tops finished at retreat, it used 10" Kaffe squares (Missouri Star Daily Deal- always gets me when it is Kaffe) and white. I have no idea how I muffed the layout of the blocks. I did not see the errors when I laid out the quilt, but when I sewed it together, POW, there it is. These blocks are impossible to rip apart as all the edges are bias and that would be a bigger disaster. I don't think the comfort quilt participant will care about the big boo boo. To comfort myself, I bought another Kaffe layer cake when it was offered this week to try again and get it right. It is not the first time I made this pattern- Disappearing Hourglass from MSQC. My brain must have been too distracted and cluttered. Focus again is critical.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Figuring out Appalachian Autumn

      When Bonnie Hunter offered her pattern, Appalachian Autumn, I bought it as I love leaves. I don't particularily love square designs, so when I saw Julie's layout, called Resplendent,  I started drawing. I thought if I made some of the leaves green, some changing and some orange, I could make it work. I also would transition the border to match the leaves. Instead of grays and creams, I decided to try light blues and dark blues. I am still totaling up all the pieces I need on my graph paper, but I have the idea going. Rectangular shape, transition leaves and border, light and dark blue backgrounds. Here is my paperwork.

     Here are my string blocks for the leaves, transition leaves to the right:

     Here is a rough mockup I did in a word processor using a couple of blocks I had :

     What I need are more light and dark blue scraps to cut out the HST and rectangles. I need to cut all the HST pieces, the two color sashing and 4 patch cornerstones. At least I have a solid start. Long way to go. Trying to keep myself from being confused in cutting the right amounts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Borders and another top

      Using the four patches as Leader/Enders, I finished the checkerboard border on the Snail's Trail piece. I do think it needs one more border and am thinking of more text fabric. I have to audition some and see. I wish it was bigger, but I am not ripping it apart now. I think the sashing helps to calm down the sharpness of the blocks and I love the scrappiness.

     Another quilt top finished at the retreat is a free pattern from Jo's Country Junction called Jimmy John. A guild member gifted me with a bright jelly roll and I thought this pattern was perfect.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Retreat and Refocus

      The past weeks have been hectic and scattered. I had computer issues- my big computer, the iMac, went down. The repair shop found a system software update went haywire and chewed up all the memory. My Mac laptop and my iPad are no longer allowed updates to the system, browser or Blogger. They work fine, but are not allowed upgrades. These fully useful tools can no longer work for what I need them to do. It is a terrible waste of resources. I am faced with buying a new laptop or iPad. The laptop will allow me more functionality, store on a hard drive, and better processing. Then I have to decide between a Mac Air or MacPro laptop. Which one will be obsolete first? I have to spend money that I did not plan on. It seems Blogger and Google Chrome took both devices down in one day. 

     Then the election happened and I decided I would do a media fast because the nastiness and diatribes were unbearable. Our guild retreat was Thursday through Sunday, only 6 of us instead of 20, at the same place we usually go, which provided distanced tables, individual meals and rooms. Stella Niagara went the extra mile to keep things clean and safe. I decided I would focus on finished the bags of quilts that were clipped and numbered for assembly. By focusing, I was able to complete 6 quilt tops and 7 flannel pillowcases (Christmas presents) and a bunch of masks. I will be sharing the quilts throughout the week. 

    When I came back, I was refreshed, my blood pressure down, sleeping and energized. I was horrifed to see the vilification of anyone who did not vote the "right way", the smirky nastiness, and encouragement to unfollow if you did not agree totally with the poster of art and quilt blogs. I am a student of history and I study hard to figure out trends and decisions. I do not demand or demean those who think differently. I have reasoned through my beliefs and hold to them. I found myself in the crosshairs of meaness, marginalized, and scorned with no room for explanation or defense. I can respectfully disagree, but am not allowed. This is not politics- it is the basis for humanity or inhumanity. 

    I am going to keep refocusing on my work. I need to organize better, document and label consistently, and work in less distraction.  I need to get quilts quilted and better my craft in design, color, and assembly. I will keep giving comfort quilt packages. That is enough to keep me fully engaged. Focus.

    Here are 2 quilts that were sewn. Both of them have HSTs that are the same size and made from 10" squares. Placement and color are everything.