Friday, December 10, 2021

Smatterings of fabric and stuff

      Fabric, just love it. No matter how it comes in the door, no matter what size. Recently, a box came from Gwen, who has over the years boosted my ability to back comfort quilts.

     With the brown batiks jelly roll I received from Gwen, I bought a jelly roll of neutrals to go with it and now have to remember the pattern I was going to use for the two.
     I was trying to find another set of affordable two jelly rolls that I could make either another Upstairs, Downstairs quilt or another bargello, like the blue one. It is so hard online to tell if they will work. These are called Hidden Canyon, and they were under $20 ea. When I opened and laid them out, I don't think the gradations are sufficient- too many darks, dark mediums and then real lights. Hmm, now what do I do with set of 2?

Tried to layout for a bargello, B&W shows how there is no gradation despite the colors.

Tried to layout sets for Upstairs, Downstairs but not great gradation.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Out of focus

      It is very disjointed here at the Swanekamp abode. On Black Friday, my husband went shopping with a friend. Two days later, the friend called and said he was Covid positive and he did not feel all that well when shopping. Immediately, my husband went to the top floor of our Cape and I disinfected the whole downstairs. The top floor has 1 bedroom, a full bath, and his office. He tested negative until Wed.- 5 days later, when a home test revealed his positive and followed it up with a PCR test, positive. He has been stuck up there except going outdoors (cold here) for walks. I have been making his meals and delivering them on the stairs. He has been tossing down clean clothes for me. I quarantined also and my primary said to wait 5 days from his positive to PCR test. I used home tests up to then on this past Monday when I had a PCR, negative as all the tests were. He gets out tomorrow. I am clearly negative.
     So it has like been living alone trying to make sure my husband gets what he needs. I write this to say it is a difficult time to concentrate, focus is hard. I don't fear the virus, but respect it. My husband never had a fever, lost his taste or smell, etc. Just a bit of plugged up head. We had already been boosting our immune system with recommended vitamins ( iMask protocol), used a nebulizer with saline and hydrogen peroxide and were vaccinated. He got monoclonal antibodies via IV, but it was hard to get it scheduled when we wanted it.
     I was able to finish the guild raffle quilt and now it will go to the person who is binding it. I used Glide Military Gold in the top, Glide 60 Military Gold in the bobbin.

This is the pattern "Lucky Stars"

This is one block design, the one below is quilted differently,
and I alternated the designs block by block.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Block swap, 4 patch


    These two blocks represent two sets of blocks, 24 each set. My guild did a block swap share using 3 1/2" squares  made into 4 patches. I was first introducted to block swaps when I took a workshop at Quilting by the Lake and shared a dorm suite with Lynn Roddy Brown, who has books on the subject. Later at Houston, I got to take a trunk show class she offered with the quilts from the books. I lent my books to the program chairs and they decided to do these blocks. 24 people signed up, so I ended up getting 48 in return.
     Some of the blocks did not have the specified contrast, so I ripped them apart and added the lights. I also had to make a lot of extra blocks because some people had trimmed them to finished size, so half were not the right size. I wanted to do something a bit different, so I set the blocks on point with a plain block of a taupe with dots. By making the setting triangles a darker gray, it gave the quilt more contrast. I lined all the squares up so that the color prints went up and down like a beaded curtain. Lastly, I auditioned a whole lot of border choices- trying to stick with a dot theme, and chose one to add as the border. It is a nice size and now I need to find a back. All those disparate color squares nicely jell. I really like it. I guess I am just a simple person and scrap lover.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Guild workshop- All pieced!

      A couple of Saturdays ago, our guild had a guest teacher, Marija Vujcic, to show us how to make her quilt pattern, Borneo Nights ,  a freebie. It uses larger squares of fabric so I thought of some RWB layer cake squares I had around that were not enough to make a quilt on their own. Marija is a very energetic person, smart (does bio research on cancer at the Roswell Cancer Institute), funny and helpful as well as very talented.
     I got a good chunk of the blocks made that day and I was determined that they would not sit around and marinate for an extended time. The arrangement of blocks in the pattern somehow bothered me- kind of scattered to my eyes, so I moved them into a different arrangement. It is quite large. I see this as a veteran quilt. It will be awhile until I quilt this one as so many are ahead of it. Pretty simple pattern as long as you keep your wits about you.

Arrangement according to pattern

My arrangement

All sewn together

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

RWB with star finished

       A couple of weeks ago I finished quilting a RWB quilt made with a winter mystery held by Alycia. I changed the center to make it more of a star from what she designed. Yikes, I sewed it in December 2019 .Finally, I quilted it and bound it and now it is ready for a recipient.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Reflect on fall

      Today is the day after Thanksgiving. Yesterday was a blur of cooking and cleanup. In the past, I was out the door very early at Black Friday sales chasing down fabric bargains. This year, there does not seem to be those in person sales. The few local fabric stores here are selling online and shipping or curb pickup next week. Most of the joy in fabric shopping is doing it with real people and feeling fabric. I have looked at some fabric online, but no big bargains for the day. I miss shopping with friends, seeing other people's ideas in the stores, and discusssing ideas for fabrics. I am not a loner and although I work alone alot, I am not ashamed to say I need other people, real, not just virtual.
      To cheer myself up, I looked back over the photos I took this fall outdoors. I still have some snapdragons inside in a vase that I saved when I emptied my pots this week. Maybe I should pull out my paints and work up some magic on paper.

My lacey Japanese Maple

My ginko and other Japanese Maple

My Endless Summer hydrangea

My Sunset Maple

Landscape from Saegertown, PA

Across the street at my son's house- Sunset maple, Tulip trees

My Mum

One of the last Zinnias
And lastly, the last hydrangea flower which resembled a heart- very encouraging to me!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Violet comes home

      My new granddaughter, Violet, made her appearance on Nov. 14th via a very speedy labor that offered her mom no opportunity for any pain meds. We were called as we were walking into church, had to retreat, pack and drive 2 hours to Erie, PA where we picked up our 3 yr. old grandson who was being watched by a friend, and took him home another 35 minutes. In the snow. The rest of the family arrived home the next afternoon. My husband had to go back home, but I stayed for the rest of the week. There is something magical and miracle laden about newborns. So grateful I got another chance to hold and care for this one.

     Because my daughter asked me to make curtains (lined) for her room (I am techically challenged except for quilts), I sweated through the measurements and finishing as well as making a tabbed blockout panel and did not have time to finish the custom quilt I was making the baby. At my quilt retreat, a friend gave me a partly done top and fabric that was pink so I completed the quilt, made a backing, spray basted it, and quilted it on my 301 while I was at my daughter's. Been a while I quilted not on the longarm. Masterpiece Lavender top, and DecoBob Dove Gray bobbin.
     I will finish the custom one with the birds and butterflies. Of course, just like home, the cat appeared as soon as the quilt hit the floor to photograph.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Huge Backup

      I have no idea how much time has passed since I posted. I feel like I am in a giant logjam. It is not like I was doing nothing, because I have tons of photos and things done, but oh my, the crush of the days.
     The first weekend in November was our guild retreat. I take projects with me that can be webbed and done due to no interruptions.
     I have had a lot of grandkid duty- taking and picking up from school, feeding etc. here and my daughter in PA had her baby on Nov. 14th. I have photos of all that and I am trying to sort it all out to present.
     One of the quilts I webbed and completed at retreat was Supernova by Sarah Craig. It was made from a batik layer cake I bought on Etsy along with the same fabric jelly rolls. The jelly rolls became an Upstairs, Downstairs, also webbed and sewn together at retreat, as inspired by A Left Handed quilter. Isn't it amazing that the same fabric looks totally different in the two quilts?

The layout, wall too small

Upstairs, Downstairs All Sewn

Monday, October 18, 2021


      A border was added to Blue Bargello because I did not want to bind on the seam edge and  have all that bulk in the binding. I think I was able to add the right color and width to the quilt without diminishing the sparkle. Just got lucky, I guess.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

It's a cut- Pixel Chain

      I have had a Kaffe jelly roll for a while that MSQC got me with. I decided to make the Pixel Chain quilt. Cutting everything up was time consuming and I did it while I did not have access to a machine. Now it is all cut, and I used some freezer paper to lay the first blocks out on. I am trying to figure a way to chain piece these somewhat so it does not take me forever.

      I will try to chain piece the top and bottom row and then the next two identical rows. Having all the pieces on the freezer paper helps to keep everything organized.

All bagged up and cut

15 more Block 1 to go, then Block 2

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

ADK in the fall

      We were able to stay at a teeny cottage in the Adirondacks (ADK) in Old Forge, NY for 4 nights and take 2 grandkids. The weather was chilly, but sunny. It was grand. It was less than half peak, this week is peak.
     I think I would live up there but for the distance to get medical care and supplies. I love to visit and drink in the scenery. I took my sketchbooks and was able to do a little work. With the photographs and sketches, hopefully paintings will follow.