Sunday, February 28, 2021

Tidal Pool Finish

       One of the teachers our guild booked BC (Before Covid) was Marlous Carter. She did a class with her pattern, Tidal Pool.  I like my choice of colors much better.
     I had cut a stack of batiks to use and made the quilt with them. The curves are cut free hand and the curve centers are swapped between blocks. She showed us how to sew these curves by first making some practice blocks that I have yet to sew into a table runner.

     In my great closet cleanup caper, I made a backing for this quilt and then loaded it on the longarm. I changed up the center curve motifs in every block and kept the other quilting consistent. I used a Glide blue on top and Glide 60 Mocha in the bobbin- great bobbin thread. 


      I decided to gather scraps of batik bindings and make a scrappy binding for this one and I think it worked out perfectly. Yes, another finish! I don't know how long it will be here until I receive another comfort quilt referral.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Digging in deep and scary

       I become convinced I had to tackle the quilt top and backing situation as it was getting close to scary. I took all the tops out of the closet and labeled each of them for size. I took every large piece of yardage (over 2 yards) out and sorted and measured them. I made tags from post it notes that are pinned to the lower right corners so I can just browse throught the closet and see the size. I took all those sizes and descriptions and wrote them down on a legal pad. I am trying to make a spreadsheet in Google docs (learning as I do it) to enter all that info- ode to The Left Handed Quilter who loves spreadsheets. 

     I am washing every single piece, folding on a hanger, labeling and hanging in the closet. My hope is that I will look at the spreadsheet and see what sizes I have for tops. My goal is to match all tops with backings, sew them and have them in line for the longarm. I have to do it. I don't want to do it. I am doing it. 

     I have to make a spreadsheet for the tops also. What have I gotten myself into? Almost 3/4 of the fabric is washed and dried and I have run out of plastic hangers. I have to hit the dollar store to get this done. 

To get washed after measuring
Backings top rack, quilts bottom rack. Not done yet with backing, still washing

   I buy what I think would make a good backing when I find sales. Sometimes people donate the backing to me for the comfort quilts (Gwen), and sometimes I have to piece them. I am resolved that when a top is done, I am getting a backing together. I have no idea how long this will take, but I am gritting my teeth and getting it done. I pray I don't run out of steam and determination. I know it will be worth it.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Disappearing Hourglass ready to go home

      The requests for Comfort Quilts has not slowed. Cancer and illness (non-COVID) are too much with us. This Disappearing Hourglass (MSQC pattern) needed a border to make it a smidge bigger. I had a piece of yardage that never went with anything, but is perfect for the backing. I quilted it, just changing the center motif in each block row. It actually went flawlessly on the longarm. Sometime, I have to write a post on all my trevails and adaptations to make things work on the longarm.

All quilted, just need to decide binding


Detail of quilting

Final with binding before washing

          Because this is a comfort quilt, the rest of the package (quilt, tote bag-custom pocket, book, card, pocket quilts and NEW- an instrumental CD donated by a friend), is shown below before it was mailed off to Minnesota where tracking told me it arrived Saturday.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Mystery quilt QSTs trimmed

      I am caught up with the guild mystery quilt so far. This month was sewing Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs) into a nine patch star, solid color in middle. The QSTs were a breeze to trim using a Bloc Loc ruler. 

   I don't buy rulers just to buy them- if I think they will help in accuracy and piecing, I will buy them. I usually try them out at vendors at Quilt Shows (remember them?). Can't wait until I can go to a big show again.

Seams pressed for less bulk

12 Blocks are made for Mystery Quilt

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Blue and green HST zig zags

      A while back, I bought a layer cake that was very reasonable from Fort Worth Studio and had my mother sew a 10" white square to the print square all the way around. I glue basted the corners so we did not need pins and would counteract her practice of pushing the fabric through the machine instead of letting it feed. She can sew straight seams, sometimes she zooms around the corners too fast.

     I finally had the time to press and cut the squares diagnally twice, resulting in 4 triangles. Instead of opening them up and trimming all four sides, I used the Clearly Perfect Slotted Ruler to trim just 2 sides, then press the HST open. Saves lots of time and handling of those bias edges. The rulers work, but are flimsy as I snapped the corner of one just picking it up. 

     I then laid out the HSTs in a zig zag pattern. The HSTs are 6 1/2", finish at 6", so this a large comfort quilt. I numbered and clipped all the columns together and bagged this for webbing sewing at our upcoming quilt guild retreat in March. I will have my second shot by then and not be a threat to anyone. Isn't it tough when people walk by and back off near you like you are an outcast?


Monday, February 15, 2021

Signed, sealed and delivered

      I can only hope everyone I mailed a Valentine card to, received it. I know Maureen would not yet as New Zealand is far from Buffalo, NY.

      Every year I fear I won't come up with an idea that I can make multiples of without repeating each card exactly. This year I found some Valentine fabric at Joanns that simplified things. I was able to fussy cut foil stamped hearts, attach them to purple batik with Superior Twist thread (sews like a dream) using felt as backing and glue to pre-scored cardstock. It took awhile and I sewed most of them during a Treadle On Zoom meeting a few weeks ago. I used one of my trusty, beloved Singer 301s to free motion the hearts. 

    I have this quirk (some say flaw) that I cannot make the same thing over and over again, so I have to vary each design a bit.

    Here are the cards in process:

Sunday, February 7, 2021

An Extra Three Years

      On February 7, 2018, I suddenly out of the blue suffered a heart attack. Serious enough to warrant an emergency ambulance ride, three rounds of zapping and 2 stents. It was a hard road to get better. I have participated in cardiac rehab 3X a week since then.

     God was gracious to my family to spare me then. I was able to witness a grandson's birth and grandkids' growth and make a lot more comfort and other quilts. I am grateful to God for the extra time. Let me remind you, especially women, that women's heart attacks don't have the normal symptoms. I have zealously told my story to other women warning them to act quickly and decisively if they had something similar happen. I thought maybe I talked about it too much, by to my deep sadness, one of my best friends, Jan, died of a heart attack in June as she waited through initial distress too long and did not insist on the ambulance taking her to the premier cardiac center (saved my life) in our area. She died after arrival at the nearest hospital.

    Everyone is all wigged out about COVID, but heart attacks kill more women every year than COVID has this year. Heart disease is all too prevalent. February is heart month. 

    Many blog readers reached out to me then, some sent gifts, and I am grateful for all of you. Today, I got a request for a comfort quilt for a 54 year old woman with pancreatic cancer. I don't know her, but she has to be hurting. Below is a top that I hadn't got to quilting yet and need to make a back for. From now on, backing gets made when quilt is pieced. Yes, I know there are errors in the stars. It is MSQC Disappearing Hourglass. I have to get the backing done and quilted real quick and get it in the mail. And I was given the extra days to do it. Thank you, God.

Friday, February 5, 2021

The orange and gray blocks quilt

      Previously, I showed a gray and orange batik squares quilt that I repurposed from a quilt kit because the original fabrics did not play well together. I had trouble getting  border I liked or the fabric I did want. I retried another six or so fabrics to no avail. I hauled out the whole gray pile of batiks (thanks, Julie), and found buried a hand dye that had the bluish tinge I wanted. I added the border. Done.

     I have promised myself that right after making a top, I am going to make the backing. This should help me get more quilts on the longarm. I pulled out a large piece of gray I got from Connecting Threads on clearance once (I used a lot of it in another back). I also found some orange left from a big piece orange Gwen had given me a while back. The two together I think make a good back. The quilt is about 57 x 70. A good comfort quilt size.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

More out the door

      The comfort quilt made from 10" squares (white paired with batik), has been finished, sent and received. The HSTs are made by sewing around all 4 sides of paired squares (10") and cutting diagonally from both sets of corners. I used the triangle ruler, Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer, to trim the cuts while still a triangle before it is pressed open. This means you only have to cut the block on two sides, saving lots of time and cutting. The ruler works well, but I have to say it is a bit thin and I accidentally snapped the corner of one.

     The arrangement of the HSTs was a long process on the wall following a graph paper design I drew, but I liked the result. I sewed the blocks with the webbing method during a fall retreat. When I received a referral for someone having surgery for throat cancer, I made the backing and quilted it. I used scrappy blues for the binding. The man did not know it was coming and was quite taken by surprise.

    My only regret is that in a few places an orangeish batik bled through to the backing. I did not have enough time to soak the quilt as Vicki has shown so well, it had to get in the mail due to the cancer surgery.

The tote bag that the quilt goes in. The whole bag goes into an XXL zip plastic bag
and into a box when it is mailed.