Thursday, September 12, 2019

52 blocks in 52 weeks

Even though quilting and sewing is a fun thing that I chose to do, within my world there are still tasks that must be done and then projects that are just play.  Thanks to my wide-ranging friends through social media, I learned about the "52 Blocks in 52 Weeks" #52blocks52weeks through the Canadian Quilters' Association.  Each Tuesday a different 6.5" block is put up on the web site using grey scale.  I love the black/grey/white combinations of the grey scale and decided to follow along with the project using only fabrics from my scrap basket.  And guess what I have a lot of?!  It's been fun every Tuesday to see what the block is and then - despite whatever else is on my schedule - making the making of this block a priority. 

Here are blocks #1 - #25

And here are blocks #26 - #35

In keeping with my resolution to make things that are usable, I know that I will either add sashing between these blocks or maybe even experiment with a checkerboard approach.  Luckily I still have 17 weeks left to make that decision!  And I'm thankful that the Canandian Quilters' Association - despite our big orange leader - is letting me and other Americans play! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Eighteen Years

What a melancholy day.  It's horribly hot and humid, and I'm just now getting over my sulking about the cancelled Newfoundland trip.  I really am thankful the tour group had the foresight to cancel the tour - Sunday was when Dorian hit Newfoundland with rain, winds, and downed electricity.  But still...changing gears is hard.  And it's nice to have this new-found time. 

Once I sent the big batch of purses and notes off to Sew Powerful, I needed to celebrate by doing a project "just because."  This backpack is a pattern by Swoon.  I've never had a backpack in my life, but this pattern just looked fun.

It turned out so cute that I made my sister-in-law a backpack, too.   But I had to finish them before turning the studio into a guest room for her Labor Day visit.

 Closing down the studio in preparation for guests really broke my rhythm and impetus.  The best outcome so far of the trip cancellation is that there is now room to breathe on the calendar.  So nice. -
But here it is - 9/11.  Jon Best stopped by for our annual visit - we were on our way to school and listening to the radio.  There are a whole generation coming up who don't know the impact of 9/11.   So glad to have backpack patterns.

So cute - Number 1

So Cute - Number 2

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Goal for July? Check

My goal for July was to make a purse a day for SewPowerful.  And SCORE!  I made it.  Along with the ten I had before July 1, that means I have 41 purses ready to put in the mail.  Well, almost...

Every purse needs a notecard in it, a note of encouragement to the young lady who receives it.  Part of me just wants to gloss over this part.  But I have heard firsthand from Jason and Cinnamon Miles how much the girls treasure these notes.  Writing these heartfelt notes isn't quick or easy.  So I am going to tackle them the same way I did the purses - write one a day.  Except I have 41 purses.  You do the math.  My new goal is to get these in the mail just before or after Labor Day.

I love how these giraffe purses turned ourt

And check out the text on the bottom two!

These fabrics are perfect and will be the first ones I use for the next set of purses.

A funny thing happened on the way to Interwoven, a pattern by Lo and Behold Stitchery.   Because the blocks of this quilt are set on point, there was a lot of trimming and some lovely leftovers.  I began to play around with them. 
This is where I started.  And?

This is where I would up.  I loved it so much that I immediately stopped the Baptist Fan handquilting on the real Interwoven (pix to come...) and began working on this.  I started a spiral off-center and just kept going.  Instead of wool batting, I used Warm and Natural.  I am surprised at how much I like it and how beautifully it washed.  And quilting it wasn't difficult either.   This is my new favorite quilt!

Detail from the back

But this is pretty wonderful too.
While the leftover piece is finished, this one is not.  These quilting lines are 2" apart, and I'm thinking there should be another row in between.  I have no plans for this quilt and will be absolutely happy fondling it as I continue to quilt it.  

I'm pretty happy that the purses are off the design wall because I need it for Nikki's quilt.  This is a WIP of an inset for her quilt.  It's an aerial view of Manhattan from like 34th to 110th.  This part above represents Central Park.  It'll take me a while to get this going because it's hand-cutting the templates and then sewing the curves.  But I think it's going to be smashing!  Here's to August goals!

 And last but oh so not least, here is an Interwoven baby quilt for little Fiona Lee.  Holly and I collaborated on this, and we are thrilled with how it turned out!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

What happened to June?

I don't know what happened to June.  All I know is that I'm busy both day and night with my quilting and I'm still dreadfully unhappy politically.  The only solution for me right now is to keep on with Sew Powerful purses. 

 This quilt top - 60 x 80 - is from leftovers of Interwoven, a quilt pattern by Lo and Behold Stitchery.    I like it so much that I dropped the hand quilting on Interwoven to work on this.
I started with an off-center spiral and am happily making my way.  It's backed with a muslin that has a nice feel.

Detail from Interwoven.  
Detail from the back

This quilt top is finally off the floor.  It's a layer cake by Zen Chic, her Modern Luster line.
July is all about Sew Powerful for me.  My goal - a purse a day.  So far I'm on target.  But it's early days.

I'm good through July 6.  Uh oh, it's July 7...  Lucky for me I have more fabric...

This final picture are possibly fabrics for my granddaughter Nikki's quilt. She just graduated from IU and has her first teaching job lined up. What an exciting time of life for her. I need a face-to-face with her to get approval on fabrics and also see if my idea is one that will suit what she wants. It's kind of a view of midtown Manhattan from 34th Street to 110th or so. Still tweaking the details...

Friday, May 31, 2019

Third Hand-Quilted Finish of 2019

Who have I become?  After years of begging my mom to do my handwork - hemming and binding - which she always graciously agreed to do because she liked doing handwork, I have become a handwork maniac.  I twitch if I don't have a quilt to hand-quilt in process.  I now plan my hand-quilting by the season.  If it's cold, I'll do a big,heavy quilt.  If it's hot, I'll quilt blocks and then join them together later.  This amuses me.  I good-naturedly would chide guildster Mimi about her hand-quilting years ago, suggesting she'd get done more if she used a machine.  It was Mimi who turned me on to Renate Hiller - and her video -about the importance and nature of handwork.  Watch it here. 

I had a charm pack by Gingerber called Catnip, which actually has nothing to do with cats.  Just lots of black, white, and taupe in interesting designs.  The sashing is my attempt to create a woven look. 

The backing is from two different fabrics that feel good.  And I have finished this just as the weather is really warming up. It is 70" x 88", and I have a friend who is interested in being the caretaker of this beauty.  Finishing a quilt, while a good thing, is always a bit sad.  It's a matter of changing gears and deciding what is next.  I think I know.  But picking it up and actually starting to lay in those wonderful stitches is always a bit daunting. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Repairing/Updating/Refreshing a Favorite Quilt

It's hard to explain why certain quilts resonate with us.  The difficulty is one of texture, color, design, and size.  So when you find that perfect combination, it's precious.  Long-time friend Madeleine has just such a quilt.  In a neat coincidence, it was made in 2005 by a Kevin Stankowicz who was a member of my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild for a few years.

This quilt was made from men's shirts' shirting fabric in very fine thin cotton, often with polyester in it.  This means the fabric is thin.  And soft.  This look is very muted.  Some of the fabrics have just shredded while others are just fine.  So this post is letting Madeleine know what I plan to do.  We have agreed that my fee, which I estimate to be around $100 - $120 will go to a charity of my choice.  And I'm sure it will be for Sew Powerful

These are the fabrics I plan to use.  None of them are shirting fabrics, but they have a similar color/feel to the shirt fabrics.

Some of the squares have worn completely through to the batting.  For these squares I will applique a square of similar value.  

A few of these squares may be hand-mended, sashiko-style.  TBD once project is started.

Look at the light blocks between the two brown rows.  Each one is shredded or worn through.  For a part like this, I am going to overlay a strip of fabric.  See the first picture in this post and below:

I think this is a practical and modern way to give this quilt another couple of years!

The last thing I will probably do is replace the binding.  Kevin hand-quilted this quilt, adding to the soft feel.  The outer parts of a quilt are the ones that are handled the most - think about how you hold and use quilts.  So the binding is important.  I don't think I'll cut off the original but rather bind over it, hoping to add some additional strength.  

There are a few things I need to finish before starting this restoration.  But I'm sure it'll be done by July.  And of course if it's sooner, I know the ants in my pants will want to get this to Oak Park!

Monday, May 13, 2019

All Blogging in a Day

Did you ever read the Ray Bradbury story "All Summer in a Day"?  It's a bittersweet little story about life on a distant planet that has only one afternoon of summer a year and a little girl who misses out on it.  For whatever reason, I've been way more interested in sewing than I have in blogging.  This post is mostly all pictures...just to document what I've been doing in the studio.  It seems my main adventure has now been taken over by hand-quilting, which I only work on at night.  In the studio I feel in love with Interwoven, a pattern by Lo and Behold Stitchery.  It's graphic, bold, and time-consuming - all strips are 1.5".  This is pin-basted and ready for hand-quilting - Baptist Fans will complement the linear dominance nicely, I think.  And check out the leftovers from Interwoven:
Leftovers from Interwoven
I'm not sure what this will be yet.  But it's fun to play around with them?  But I have to do something quick - I miss my design wall. 

Thanks to the wonderful world of social networks, I have some Canadian quilting friends who are participating in the 52 blocks a week Sew-A-Long sponspored by the Canadian Quilters' Association.  Every Tuesday morning, starting the 2nd week of January, a 6.5" block pattern is released.  And so every week I have been making one of these blocks from my scraps.  So far there are 16 weeks.  I'm already thinking that I want to join these blocks with sashing to make a quilt of a usable size.  It's kind of fun to spend 30 minutes a week and see how that time adds up.
7 in April
 And of course Sew Powerful purses.  I took 30 to the International Quilt Festival the end of March,  Those purses went to Paducah for that quilt festival and have since made their way to Washington state.  So I did seven more and sent them in for the May 1 deadline.  And now?  Here are two I've just finished for the November 1 deadline.  And as soon as I finish this post, I will begin more.

Two for May

                      This Noodlehead 3-2-1 Tote called to me, and I made it from an old pair
                      of my jeans.  A bit slouchy-looking but pretty handy. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Winter of My Content

These two quilts have much in common.  Both are Trips Around the World, both are hand-quilted, and both have the tail ends of favorite fabrics.  The peppered shot cotton one (on top) was my evening companion throughout January and February.  The bottom one was quilted in March and April.  And there was some sad satisfaction as I finished each one.

 These fabrics are from Janet Clare's Wordsmith line, which is no longer in production.  That green-grey-beige color?  It is perhaps my favorite of all and very hard to match.  It's almost the color of my studio walls.  The pattern is a bit difficult to discern since I was using up bits, most evident in the border.  I usually try to make quilts on the larger side, but I simply ran out of fabrics for additional borders.
Front detail

Back detail
Panic set in as I finished up this group of fabrics, so I began to do some Internet searching.  And through ETSY and EBay, I found some more fabrics from this line.  I don't know what I am going to do with them - yet...  But I am thrilled to have found them and am working on other fabrics to combine with them.

I'm totally out of these peppered shot cottons.  And I have loved quilted them - the hand feel and weight is so perfect, especially during the Polar Vortex.  The wool batting is a perfect for these fabrics.   I may have to investigate Cherry Wood fabrics, an almost sueded-cotton, as replacement fabrics....
Front detail

Border detail
 With the warmer weather I have to carefully choose hand-quilting projects.  Here's my current one, just started.  It has a poly batting and is not so heavy - I think I'll be able to finish this one before it gets really hot.

And here's the one I'm saving for those hot months - each block is 27", batted, backed, and marked. When each is quilted, I'll join them all together. When did I become a handquilter? I mark the beginning when my parents were declining. And immediately after my mom's death, as welcome as her death was, quilting was my solace. Now? It's what I have to do.