Posts Tagged ‘Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart’

I Persisted!

September 5, 2019

Last Friday I decided it was time to lay out the blocks for Good Fortune, the 2018 Bonnie Hunter mystery. When I picked them up I discovered that I had already laid them out into rows that were ready to be assembled. I was a mad woman, sewing since then to get this project ready for quilting.

Everything went reasonably well until yesterday. The top was completed except for stay stitching around the edge.

 

 

I substituted purple where Bonnie used blue. I really like the purple and lime green or whatever color green that is together. The orange looked great with them but I wasn’t sure about the red at first but I like it.

Tuesday evening I stopped for the day when the bobbin ran out of thread while I was working on the back. Yesterday, everything that could go wrong did. I started by cleaning out the bobbin area and putting in the next bobbin. When I started sewing the machine made horrible noises and there was an awful mess on the back of the piece. Sigh. Lock the machine, remove the plate, take out the bobbin, make sure the bobbin case is seated properly, insert the bobbin, unlock the machine and try to bring up the bobbin thread. I lost count of how many times I tried this. Each time the top thread got caught underneath the plate.

 

See where the brown thread is caught in front and to the right, looped around something down there? Yeah, that’s not supposed to happen. I sat there for a while brooding and cussing. I considered giving up and doing something else but I get stubborn from both sides of the family. I was determined to get it working. Eventually, it was happy with the way the bobbin case was seated and decided to make proper stitches.

Finished the seam where the bobbin ran out on Tuesday. Did the final seam for the next piece to be sewn to the back for the quilt. Then realized I had sewn the wrong ends together. Ripped that out and fixed it.

Started to pin the piece to the back. Well, crap. Apparently I misread the ruler and cut a piece the wrong size. Started ripping that out and cut a hole in the seam line of one of the pieces that wasn’t being replaced. Double crap. Now I had two new pieces to cut instead of one. Sigh. Finally got it right and got it sewn on. Now the back was done. Yay!

 

My signature big block back. I’ve done this for all of the Bonnie Hunter mysteries I’ve done except one. Making the big block is fun!

I persisted and got it done.

I started working on En Provence, the mystery from a couple or three years ago, again yesterday. I wound some bobbins and put a new one in. Then decided it was time to do a deep excavation to see if the missing screw would turn up. The area where the machine sits inside the table really needed cleaning. As luck would have it I found a screw. But it didn’t match the other hinge screw and didn’t really fit. Hmm. that’s odd. I put everything back and resumed sewing.

Somehow I managed to get the middle finger of my left hand under the needle while it was sewing and sliced the edge of the finger. I had always wondered how people managed to sew through their fingers. I’d never done it until I got this machine. This is the second time I’ve done this. I probably need to take for servicing now because this time the needle not only broke but the point somehow went through the plastic bobbin case. Took me a while to get that out. My large hemostat has gone missing somewhere so I had to use the tiny one. At least the needle pieces didn’t fly around like they did the first time this happened.

While I was looking inside the cover to see if I needed to rethread, what to my wondering eyes should appear but the missing hinge screw. Ok. Take out the wrong, ill-fitting screw and put the correct one in. Now I’m wondering where the other screw came from. As Gilda Radner’s character on Saturday Night Live, Roseanne Roseannadanna, said, “It’s always something.”

After all that, I finished the block I started yesterday and quit working. Probably won’t get back to the machine until Sunday. Tomorrow is sweatshop again so will be working on Ladies of the Sea or hand embroidery for Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart. Saturday I’m going with friends to the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point state park in Annapolis. The weather should be really nice. Last year it was cool, humid and drizzleish.

Basket of Fun

June 12, 2019

Here in central Maryland, we’re experiencing a couple of beautiful days in between rain storms. I went out for my second walk this week yesterday. Boy, am I out of shape. I really need to do something about that.

May 30 was sweatshop for Ladies of the Sea with Polly at Spring Water Designs. Polly is ahead of me, as usual. I pressed and trimmed the blocks that have the inking completed, decided on the sashing and the sawtooth border accent color. Still had two blocks to wash before inking and trimming.  I eventually did that but both have bleeding so I need to soak them again to see if some of it will come out like the other one did.

May 31 I embroidered on one of the carrot seed packet pieces for the June Snowman. I really don’t enjoy embroidery but it has to be done sometimes.

June 1 Patty and I went to the Quilters Unlimited show in Chantilly, VA. Quilters Unlimited is a coalition of quilt guilds in northern Virginia around DC. This show is as large as a regional show. They had 500+ quilts and 71 vendors this year. Pretty much an all day affair.

6/2 I finished the borders on the Jacob’s Ladder quilt and made the backing so it’s ready for the quilter. Those cats on the back are huge – 6″. The little kids are doing various things on the cats – eating, playing, napping.

I also decided the border sizes for the Kaffe leaves quilt and cut and stitched the inner border strips.

6/3 was Mimi’s Grad School. That evening was my guild’s summer potluck. No sewing happened.

6/4 I traced the remaining seed packet pieces to be embroidered for the June snowman. I chose the “broach” (it’s a button) for the May snowman.

 

She’s fused but not stitched. I’ll do that as the quilting, someday.

I finished the assembly of the February snowman. Again not stitched.

 

I see they’re missing the “coal” pieces. They’ll get them when I do the stitching.

I cut the background pieces for the June Snowman.

I cut the inner borders to size and attached them to the leaf quilt.

Worked on the embroidery for the June snowman.

6/5 Calculated the best way to cut the directional border fabric for the leaf quilt so that all the borders were going the correct direction. Pressed the fabric and cut the side borders. Don’t you just hate dealing with large swaths of fabric? I find them so hard to manage.

I got one side sewn on and pinned the other. Cut the borders for the top and bottom – they have to be pieced to get the necessary width. I decided not to bother matching the print. Don’t think I have enough fabric for that anyway.

6/6 was the daytime guild potluck. Went to JoAnn for batting for a donation quilt and the pillow form for the Schnauzer pillow. No air conditioning at JoAnn that day. Might have wandered around longer if there had been.

Got home and finished the borders on the Kaffe leaf quilt.

 

6/7 was supposed to be sweatshop with Polly again but she was sick so I had a reprieve. Linda came over. I paid lip service to the ships by studying the border and sashing fabric requirements. I chose fabric for the mariner’s compass blocks for the border corners.

I started to clear out the leaf bin since the top was finished. Found a bag of 35 more fused leaves. After Linda left I rummaged around in the background fabric yardage bins and found something suitable. Got the backgrounds cut and fused the leaves. I’ll wait until these are stitched to choose the fabric for the 36th block. Stitched three leaves – hand buttonhole stitch with #12 pearl cotton.

6/8 Chose the thread for the rest of the leaves. Here’s where the basket of fun comes in.

 

To hell with the embroidery for the June showman. I dropped that sucker in a hot New York minute to work on the leaves. If you remember, I said above I don’t enjoy embroidery. Except, I do like to do hand buttonhole stitch. Go figure. Anyway, I’ve been sewing leaves ever since last Friday when I got them fused.

6/8 was Jinny Beyer club. We drive an hour each way for a one-hour meeting. Crazy, isn’t it? When Linda comes we leave earlier and have lunch in the village center where the shop is. I sewed 3 leaves that evening.

Only sewing thing I’ve done since club was stitch leaves. I’ll probably get that out of my system soon. Then, I’ll have to buckle down and work on getting sashing on the ships. After the cleaners leave today, I’ll put one of the ships in to soak and hope the bleed comes out.

Yesterday, after my walk I grabbed my book and sat downstairs in my recliner, enjoying the open windows that are so rare in the Maryland summer.

 

When you fall off the horse …

May 29, 2019

Get back on. No, I haven’t been horse riding. The horse I fell off of was keeping notes about what I’ve done in the studio and writing about them. Even though I wasn’t keeping notes all the time, I’ve got a lot to share.

4/23 – I sorted the scrap bin from the garage. Yay! All the scraps have now been sorted and I have an empty bin to put to use doing other things.

I also completed the assembly of the fussy cut animal quilt body (i.e., no borders yet). I have since ordered and received fabric for the outer border and backing. Inner border comeing from stash. Hopefully, the piece I have is large enough. More about that soon, with pictures. Here’s a picture of the body sewn together.

4/24 – Linda, Patty and I went to the Blue House fabric sale in Westminster, MD. I didn’t find much, even at 40% off. They used to have a lot of grunge colors so I was expecting to find some of those. There was very little, nothing that interested me. The sale made me suspicious. Sure enough, a few weeks later Linda got the email that they are going out of business. Linda is sad because their fabrics were in her wheelhouse. Me, not so much.

4/25 – I had sweatshop with Polly at Spring Water Designs. I did the inking on most of my ship blocks.

When I got home that afternoon, I worked on the step-outs for my guild demo scheduled for May. The demo has since been rescheduled for August.

4/26 – Linda came over. I worked on prepping one of the Baltimore Garden bird blocks.

4/27 – Baltimore Garden class.

One of my ship blocks had bleeding from the ultra-suede. I took a deep breath and followed Vicki Welsh’s instructions and started the block soaking in hot water and Dawn (some clear version with no dyes or perfumes). The bleed did come out. Whew! Polly did like the idea of making the ship look like it was burning because the bleed looked like smoke around the masts. I’ll post pictures of all the ship blocks one of these days.

I worked on the hand stitching of the binding on the T for Two quilt.

4/28 – More work on the T for Two binding.

And, here’s where I fell off the horse. No notes for the next month. I was in Illinois for Dad’s 96th birthday so no sewing happened while I was gone. His birthday is Star Wars day (May 4th). I asked him if he knew that. He just keep saying, “Huh?” He’s extremely hearing impaired so it’s very exhausting to talk to him. Mom said she didn’t think he knew what Star Wars was. I said I’d wondered about that. He looks pretty good in this picture but he’s gotten quite frail.

Red Lobster is Dad’s favorite restaurant. He had been talking about the Red Lobster lobster fest promotion for a couple of months. He fretted because it was over. My brother and I kept telling him “if you want lobster, order lobster.” Usually he orders coconut shrimp, probably because that’s what mom orders, and then complains about the breading, insisting that it didn’t used to be so thick. Mom and I and the waitress always tell him it’s always been that way and to order something else but he never did. This time they had a new lobster and shrimp dinner so he ordered that and, as you can see, was quite happy afterwards. My brother and I also ordered it. It was pretty good. Came with corn on the cob and roasted potato wedges and some sausage. Too much for one meal but made for nice leftover meals.

My brother and the dog sacked out. Smokey is his last dog. Smokey has really declined in health since the previous dog died. Sounds like he may not last much longer. He’s the last dog because my brother wants to travel and he can’t do that with animals to care for.

I was only there a few days so Becky and I didn’t get to do our usual get together stuff. We met for dinner one night and I gave her the T for Two quilt. I wish I’d gotten better pictures of it but I didn’t.

 

A couple weeks later I was off to my guild’s spring retreat. Four days at the Black Rock Retreat in Quarryville,  PA. Actually, the retreat center is out in the country in the middle of nowhere. I took eight or nine projects just to be sure I didn’t run out of things to do. I didn’t touch two of them, which is fine. I try to take things that don’t require much thought because with 28 people in a big room, there is lots of distraction.

I assembled two smaller quilts the first day.

 

Ignore the extra bits on the left. I didn’t hang this straight enough to crop out the other project on the design wall. This 16-patch from strips from Genie’s scraps. It will be donated to charity as that is what her family wanted done with her fabric. Charity was a big part of Genie’s being.

I also assembled the Jacob’s Ladder blocks.

 

I’m working on the borders now. You can see a little of the inner borders on the sides.

The second day of retreat I assembled Sweet Poison. I don’t seem to have a photo of that. More on it when it comes back from the quilter.

I spent the third day making blocks for 9-patch Madness. I’d been using the broken dishes blocks as leader/enders the entire time. This happened.

 

It’s hard to see because of the dark fabric. This is a connecting corner square. I cut off the outer bit and then the following piece appeared out of nowhere.

 

Something definitely wrong here. This was my leader/ender. Where did it come from and why isn’t it square? Here’s why.

 

The bottom triangle is the piece I cut off the 9-Patch Madness block shown earlier. My leader/ender got caught up and sewn into the 9-Patch Madness block. Sigh. I’ve probably made every mistake in the book over time but this is a new one.

The last day of retreat is really only a half-day and not much work happens. Around 10 or 10:30 we have show and tell where we go around the room and everyone shows what they worked on. Then, it’s mostly pack up and leave because we have to be out of the room by 1 p.m.

Nothing to do with quilting but this happened. My handyman finally came over to install the ceiling fan in the living room. It’s the weird looking round thing – a bladeless fan. I also had him help finish assembling the dining room chairs.

 

He also attached my design wall to the wall. It’s no longer just leaning against the wall. I’m beyond thrilled. I did have to move a heavy piece of furniture though so the design wall didn’t block the outlet. Bless whoever invented hand trucks and those furniture slider things. I was able to move the cabinet all by myself.

 

I must have done other things but no idea what they were. Actually, one is the project on the left of the design wall. More about it at another time. The one on the right is the May snowman.

Last Friday Linda came over. I realized at one point that she had stopped working and packed up her stuff. I was wandering around trying to find something to focus on. I had a brainstorm and said, “I’ve got something we can do!” Here’s the result.

 

We placed all the embroidery hoops I’ve been collecting for the last several years. Some I had, some came from guild freebie table, some from silent auction. Now, I have to choose fabric to fill them.

5/25 – Baltimore Garden class.

5/26 – Sew and Tell meets at my house. I cut and fused pieces for the June snowman. After S & T, I assembled the April and May snowman tops. So, during my not taking notes, I must have cut and fused the April and May snowmen pieces.

5/27 – I finished assembly of the April Snowman. No picture of the April snowman right now.

I made the back for the Genie 16-patch quilt. Was going to use a bunch of different blue fabrics but found this backing yardage, so used it. It’s an old Jinny Beyer print.

 

I also cut up the leftovers from that yardage. Some squares for the guild’s love quilts. Some for my pre-cut stash.

I started the back for Sweet Poison.

5/28 – Finished the back for Sweet Poison. Stay-stitched the edges of the top. Will have piectures when it comes back from quilter.

I nailed the hangers in the wall for the embroidery hoops. The picture I showed earlier was after this happened. When we were arranging them they were held on by blue painter’s tape. That made it easy to rearrange them until we were satisfied.

I filled two of the smaller hoops with scraps from the Sweet Poison backing.

I traced the four carrot embroidery sections for the June snowman. Selected the thread and embroidered one of them in the evening.

I cut the inner border for the Jacob’s Ladder and attached the two long sides. It occurred to me after I cut the two side borders that maybe I should miter them so the corners look better. The perfectionist in me wishes I’d done that but I’m going to live with butted corners.

The house cleaners just left so I’m going to get a late lunch and, maybe, head to the studio. I really need a cook. I’d be in hog heaven then.

 

Progress

April 23, 2019

Now that my memo board is up, I’m trying to get into the habit of writing down what I’ve done when I leave the studio. I often feel like I’ve done very little but when I see it written down I feel more productive.

April 9

  • Sewed the binding, front and back, on the March snowman wall hanging, stitched the coal pieces and did the embroidery. It’s finished except for a label.

Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart: Going in Like a Lion, Coming Out Like a Lamb

I did the applique stitching as the quilting. I used the triple stitch on the machine to do the whiskers on the lion. Probably should have chosen a darker thread because they don’t show up so well. This was my first time stitching the binding on completely by machine. I think I cut it 2.25″ for .25″ binding on front. Stitched in the ditch on the front to catch the back. Occurred to me too late that I should have used my stitch in the ditch dual feed foot. Next time.

April 10

  • Sorted the floral 16-patch blocks into my quilt and other quilts. This is the first sort. When I lay them out, more or fewer may be needed for my quilt.
  • Sewed the binding to the front of the bargello wall hanging
  • Trimmed Flying Home to ready it for binding.
  • Cut some scraps with the Accuquilt
  • Cut paper templates for fussy cutting Serengeti kit from Jinny Beyer.
  • Pieced the front of the Schnauzer pillow cover

 

I found the Schnauzer piece on the freebie table or peddler’s table at a quilt show. I really don’t remember where I got it. The paw fabric came from stash. My brother has had 6 rescue mini-schnauzers over the last many years. This will be for  him. I need to get a pillow insert, then make the back. I’m not quilting it.

April 11

  • Did some hand sewing of binding on bargello
  • Went to guild
  • Went to sale of former quilt shop owner’s stuff. Bought too much fabric.

April 12

  • Traced and fused seaweed and anemone for Clown School and cut them out.

 

These are some honking big pieces. Fortunately I had a roll of 36″ wide fusible that I bought a while back. Perfect size for this project.

April 13

  • Went to Stella Rubin’s with Baltimore Applique Society. Saw some fabulous antique quilts but we weren’t allowed to take photos of them.
  • Went to Jinny Beyer club
  • Sewed the binding on the front of Flying Home

April 14

  • Sew and Tell meeting at my house. There were only 4 of us out of the 10. It wasn’t our usual day because of Easter and Passover.
  • Sorted scraps and cut strips with Accuquilt for Gyleen Fitzgerald pineapple blocks.

April 15

  • Did some hand sewing on the bargello binding
  • Sorted scraps and cut pineapple block strips with Accuquilt

April 16

  • Hand sewed bargello binding
  • Made 4 good pineapple blocks and 2 bad ones.

 

The good blocks

 

The bad blocks. I went off the rails on the last two rounds on these. Sewed the last two rounds on the wrong edges. Then cut the side off one of them. The one I didn’t screw up the cutting on could have been used with the others, I guess. I gave these two to Linda to do something with.

April 17

  • BAS meeting. Debby Cooney showed chintz quilts from her collection and Polly Mello’s collection.
  • Reviewed 5 older magazines. Getting rid of 3.
  • Made two pineapple blocks.

 

I haven’t taken a picture of the two blocks yet but here’s the back of one before I trimmed it. I think I showed in a previous blog a pineapple quilt made by one of my guild members with stars in the sashing. In Gyleen’s method, the 8th round won’t even show on mine because it will be in the seam allowance. This time I used 2″ wide pieces to serve as both round 7 and round 8. I think this must be how Carol did hers but we haven’t had a guild meeting for me to ask her. This way is much easier and wastes less fabric.

April 18

  • No guild meeting because of Holy Week.
  • Fussy cut animal blocks
  • Designed the fussy cut animal block quilt
  • Auditioned fabrics for fussy animal alternate blocks
  • Arranged the animal squares

April 19

  • Cut and pieced the alternate blocks for the fussy cut animals
  • Sorted scraps and cut strips for pineapple blocks

April 20

  • More hand sewing on bargello. Unsewed the part that has to be redone on the front. A short area of the top ended up not getting caught under the binding.
  • Cut binding strips for the T quilt
  • Prepared the T quilt binding strips that will have the label stitched into them.
  • Sorted scraps and cut strips for pineapple blocks

April 21-22

  • Fixed the binding on the front of the bargello. Finished the hand sewing of the binding. Yay! Will blog about it another time.
  • Prepared the binding and sewed it on the T quilt. Finally!
  • Sorted scraps
  • Assembled 4 columns of the fussy cut animal quilt into two pieces of two columns each.

If you’d asked me what I did, I’d have said not much. By writing it down, I feel like I accomplished a lot. This is an unusual amount of time in the studio. No guild meetings because of Holy Week and other church activities. No appointments. Nothing requiring me to be out of the house. That will be changing soon.

 

Rite of Spring

April 8, 2019

Everyone has been asking how it got to be April already. Count me in that group. Didn’t I just report my January progress last week? I feel like I haven’t done much but I’ve been really busy doing it. Saturday I completed that annual requirement of filing income taxes. I was quite agitated by the time that was done. The Republicans’ so-called tax cut resulted in an increase in my taxes of $4500 over 2017. Yikes! I headed to the studio to calm down.

A couple of years ago I matched my floral fabrics with greens and cut strips for 16-patch blocks. It doesn’t pay to do anything but simple sewing when I’m upset so I got out the bin to finish up the blocks. There are enough blocks for many quilts. Here’s the result. These are just plopped on the way as I finished pressing them. They’re not sewn to each other or arranged or anything like that. I was much calmer after finishing these.

 

I took the previously finished blocks out of the bin and discovered that stack wasn’t just finished blocks.

 

The pile on the right is the finished blocks. The pile on the left is the blocks waiting to be completed. Oy vey! Here’s what came out of that pile on Sunday.

 

I was thinking that there were lots more finished blocks so I went digging in the UFO closet. Found this bin of completed blocks. Now, that’s more like it.

 

 

Now that ALL the blocks are finished and won’t fit into one bin, it’s time to sort them into the blocks for my quilt (all my favorite blocks, of course) and the blocks for donation quilts.

Here are random shots of other things I’ve done since the early February report.

 

First block for Baltimore Garden class still in progress. For the March class we were supposed to have the block ready for the flowers. The block is ready to have the first part of one of the flowers stitched. I got a start on the freezer paper pieces for our April class homework. I don’t think I’m going to be ready to sew a bird’s eye by class time.

 

4-patches from 1.5″ squares.

I laid out blocks I made a couple of years ago at retreat. I laid them out at retreat and had one left over. Someone said I had to make more to finish another row. So, I brought it home and made the blocks but it sat. I neglected to take a photo of it on the design wall. It’s now packed up to go to retreat next month for block assembly. I’ll save the border work till I get home from retreat.

 

4-patches made from the leftovers of the blocks I forgot to take a picture of.

 

Some string blocks.

 

More string blocks.

 

 

 

 

 

Blocks for the checkerboard top.

 

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Laid out the Sweet Poison blocks and trimmed them to size.

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Made some pink 16-patch blocks.

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Got the borders on Mocha Meringue and made the back with leftovers and some added fabric from stash.

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Assembled these 9-patch blocks and added a border. This started with already made blocks from the freebie table at guild. I made a flannel back for it so it’s ready for the quilter.

 

Went to Target this morning and got some Command picture hanging strips so I could get my memo boards up. This door is at the bottom of the stairs so I will see it first thing when I go into the studio. My Target is being renovated so everything has been moved around. While I was looking for what I needed, I found those cute hexagon wood magnets and the pins with hooks. Do I need the hooks? Beats me but now I have them. I must have dry erase markers somewhere but Target had these neat ones that have a magnet and eraser built in. The dry erase boards are magnetic so that’s perfect. I’ve already filled up the bottom board with things that are pending just laying around the studio waiting for a turn. The top board contains the tasks that need to be done next. If the boards stay stuck to the door I’ll be a happy camper. In the process I discovered that the door doesn’t latch securely so pressing on it pushes it open even if it is closed. Have to get my handyman on that next time he’s here.

Things I don’t have pictures of: February snowman is fused. March snowman is ready for binding and needs the coal pieces added. Haven’t started April and it looks like maybe it’s going to get skipped for now.

Clown school: I made a list in January of tasks to do each month and lost it. I did get the background pieced. That was so hard. Cut 2 pieces of fabric and sew them together. Now I need large pieces of fusible web. I think I bought a roll of the long stuff so I need to find it and see if it’s big enough.

Ladies of the Sea: I did get the final ship done. Discovered that I used two stands of floss for some of the embroidery then got confused and switched to one strand. I have to go back and redo about 3 bits on one of the sails so they all match. Polly thought I could leave the big sail as it is since it has two rows of tell-tails. I realize y’all have no idea what I’m talking about but it’ll show up here one day.

Looks like I’ve done more than I thought. Now that the memo board is up I can make notes about what I’ve done when leaving the studio.

 

 

January Projects

February 13, 2019

We have a bunch of geese that commute to the farm near my house every morning. Every night they fly back to their night time hangout. Their flight path is right over my house so we hear them every morning and evening.

A couple of weeks ago we had extremely cold temperatures for this area thanks to the Polar Vortex. This pond where the geese like to hang out froze over. I decided to stop and take a picture last week. I was surprised to see that the geese are sitting and standing on ice. When they’re not on the pond, they’re in the fields looking for food. The day I took the picture the temp got up to the low 70s. The next day it was 20 degrees cooler. In one week our temperatures went from the teens to the 70s. Is it any wonder I have four coats of different weights hanging on the hook by the garage door?

I realized last week that just as Pigpen goes around with a cloud of dirt around him, I leave a trail of stuff when I’m working on certain projects, particularly applique. Here’s my dining table while working on my last Ladies of the Sea ship. There was also a nest of stuff next to me on the couch.

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Yes, that’s the Christmas tree on the right. A couple of friends came over and we moved the tree into it’s new storage bag with rolling stand and wheeled it out into the garage where it will live. One hitch in the git-a-long was that the tree is taller than the doorway. We managed.

Look at that mess on the table! I try to be neat but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I did get the block finished by Grad School class on Monday. That was the goal for this ongoing bucket list project.

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Unfortunately, when I washed the block, the lighter tan ultrasuede used for the masts bled. See the tan smudges next to the left edges of the sails? I’m going to try Vicki Welsh’s advice and pray that it works. I’ve used this piece of ultrasuede on other blocks but it looks like they are ones that haven’t been washed yet.

New bucket list project for this year was Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart by Curtis Boehringer. The January block is Building a Snowman. The pattern showed it done in black, white and gray. Yuck. January is bad enough without a black, white and gray wall-hanging. One of the benefits of having a large stash is that I got this from it:

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Is this not adorable? The backgrounds are bluer in person than they are showing on my monitor. I doubt the photo shows that the black for the hats is a sparkle fabric. Looks like little ice crystals all over the hat. I used a string of asterisks stitch that look like snowflakes to stitch the snowmen. The rest of the pieces were topstitched. All edges were turned under before stitching.

I was planning to have Kim quilt this but there isn’t really much quilting space for her artistry. I guess I need to suck it up and do this one myself – just stitch around the appliques. Someone who likes to embellish would have a great time with those snowflakes on the background of the center piece. Unfortunately, that someone isn’t me. But, you never know. Stranger things have happened. And, Hell did freeze over (Hell, Michigan). Each block is supposed to have the name of the month embroidered on. January, broken into three sections, would be to the left of the big snowmen. Ending with the Y just above the pieces of coal that I see ended up on the points of the snowflake. Looks a little weird but it’s not going to change. Anyway, this also was finished for Monday’s meeting. So far, so good.

The second new bucket list project is Clown School. My goal for January was to acquire the rest of the fabric needed. As large as my stash is, it doesn’t have a lot of pieces over a half yard. And, we’re supposed to buy stuff to support the store that lets us meet there. And, they give us a 15% discount on Grad School days. I did accomplish the goal for this project. Yay! The remaining fabrics, just black and white, I believe, will come from stash. That’s the plan, anyway.

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The third new bucket list project is Baltimore Garden. This is a long term project so you’re not going to be seeing a block every month. We had our first class at the end of January. Our assignment for the February class is to prepare a block to be ready to sew. I’m still searching for the perfect fabric for the flowers. I have a 1.5″ strip of a probably discontinued Fairy Frost that would work very well I think. A road trip with Polly and Vera is planned. I’ve already bought two possibilities for the flowers. I’ll probably end up with 20 yards of fabric before I’m happy. I also need binding for a large queen quilt that is a gift to my BFF from junior high school. I’d like to use a Fairy Frost for that. Polly is still dithering on sashing and borders for Ladies of the Sea. If we can’t find what we want at Webfabrics in Purcellville, Va, it probably doesn’t exist.

The Good Fortune mystery fell by the wayside in mid-December when I took my machines for maintenance while I was gone for the holidays. My Janome 9400 stopped winding bobbins the night before I took it in. I had not had good experiences with this machine ever since I got it mid-2016. After talking to the Janome regional rep at a show last June, I took the machine up to Glory Bee’s in Fallston, MD. I wrote up my tale of woe so whoever looked at the machine would know my history with it and my dealer’s so-called technician. Gloria, the owner, spent over an hour with me when I picked up the machine, making sure I knew certain things and showing me some features she likes. She said the tech spent quite a bit of time working on it. It now sews a straight seam with correct tension using normal thread. Before, I had to change the tension before sewing every single time. It’s like having a brand new machine. If I can forget the bad times, I might actually come to like this machine.

I was able to sew clues 5, 6, and half of clue 7.

In the grad school class, we celebrated Eleanor’s 90th birthday. Mimi had each of us make a block, then she and Kim finished the quilt we presented to Eleanor. Isn’t Kim’s quilting gorgeous! My block is third row down, second from left.

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I started going to my guild’s retreats two years ago. When I tried to sign up for this year, I was too late – it was full. Oh, no! Got word the day before my birthday that a space has opened up. Yay! Great present! Now I need to see if my roommate from the last two years is going and wants to room together. The spring retreat doesn’t offer single rooms.

The last of the current checkerboard blocks were made. Time to sew them up into a quilt or two or three.

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I met all my January goals. Small goals help with that. Can/will I stay on track in February and meet my goals for the next Grad School meeting? We’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks for visiting. I’d love to read your comments.

Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart: January

January 1, 2019

I’ve have not been good in the past at documenting my quilts. There’s no better time to start doing a better job than January 1st.

One of the projects I selected for 2019 is Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart by Curtis Boehringer. I’m doing it as twelve wall hangings rather than a quilt with 12 blocks. What really attracted me to the pattern was the borders on the wall hangings. Linda came over this afternoon to sew. I chose fabrics and started prepping the pieces.

Here’s January:

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The pattern shows it done in black, white and grey. Mine will be more colorful. January is drab enough.

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These are my background fabrics. The bottom is for the center and the top five are for the borders.

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The snowmen fabrics. The bottom two are for the center snowmen. The top four are for the borders. White on white doesn’t show up well in photos, so from left to right a sort of crackle looking print, a print with little dots, a cat print and a Y2K print.

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From left to right: the coal pieces, hats (this fabric is sparkly), arms on the large snowman, carrot noses.

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The two on the bottom are for the scarf, mittens and hat for the large center snowman. The top 5 are for the border scarves.

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One of these is for the hat bands, probably the bottom one.

All of these came from my stash. It’s days like this when I don’t feel bad about having an extensive stash. I can’t even begin to imagine having to find that many fabrics at one time in the shops.

Two of my machines are in the shop so I can’t proceed to get to the sewing step because I need to use the machine to prep for one of the techniques I’m using. I could drag out the old Bernina but it’s a pain to set up a machine in the table only to change it out a short time later. I may do that if I run out of other things to do in the meantime. My travel machine is ready to pick up but there’s no point in going until the other is ready because the shop is an hour, hour and a half away. I’m anxious to talk to the technician about the 9400. Am I crazy or does he agree that the default tension sucks? Not to mention the other issues. Hopefully it won’t wind a bobbin for him, either.

I’m also in a wait state on Good Fortune. I’ve cut clue 5 and some of clue 6. I need to cut more strips for clue 6. Clues 5-7 need to be sewn. I think clue 7 had a typo because the math didn’t make sense. Haven’t checked yet to see if she’s made a correction.

I’m Delusional!

December 9, 2018

Every year in Mimi Dietrich’s Grad School class, a project is chosen for the group to do. Most of the folks participate but not all. It’s fun to see 20-30 versions of the same project. Some years Mimi makes an executive decision and sometimes we get to vote. For 2019 Mimi wanted to do some design by Lori Holt but when she put it to a vote, she was soundly defeated. Only a few people wanted to do such a simple applique design. More on 2019 later.

One year we couldn’t agree on a single project and ended up with 4 or 5 different groups. No one liked that. Instead of having show and tell with the entire group, it was only within the project group. We agreed never to do that again. We ran into a similar situation when trying to choose a project for 2017. Everyone wanted to do something different so Mimi came up with the idea of a bucket list album quilt. Album quilt covers a lot of territory from a simple quilt with a bunch of different blocks to a Baltimore Album style quilt. Polly and I chose to do Sue Garman’s Ladies of the Sea.

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Image borrowed from Sue Garman website

Yes, we’re insane. What made you ask? We started block one in January 2017. Polly has been waiting for me to finish my ship blocks and catch up with her. The last one should have been finished in April 2018. My excuse is that I moved last year and couldn’t work on it for a few months. How much longer can I milk that excuse? The shipyard had a lengthy work stoppage this year. I just finished a block on Friday at sweatshop day. That’s what Polly and I call it when we meet at Spring Water Designs open studio day. I have two more blocks to finish. One just needs the embroidery and one has half the wreath applique finished so needs the rest of the applique and the embroidery. It would be really nice if I could finish these by the January meeting. Of course, then we’d have to make final decisions about setting and borders. We’ve been dithering a lot about that.

2018 was Jo’s Floral Album, formerly Anna’s Blue Baskets. I didn’t intend to do this because I was still working on the ships but found myself buying a background fabric. I’ve managed almost 3 of the 9 blocks using the Anna’s Blue Baskets pattern.

So, on to 2019. It’s another bucket list year. I’ve got so many designs I want to make. I checked my pattern inventory and found 200 applique designs I want to make. Ai-yi-yi! That doesn’t even include the pieced quilts. How to decide?

One of the grad school gals assigns quilts to TV shows and works on them while that show is on. So, she has a Dr. Phil quilt, a Wheel of Fortune quilt, etc. I was thinking maybe having multiple projects would work if I assigned them to days of the week. Not sure I’m that disciplined, though.

A couple of months ago I bought background fabric for this project so, apparently, it’s going to be one of the projects. It’s a large wall hanging and I already know where to hang it in the house. Hopefully, it won’t take long to make.

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Clown School by Carol Morrissey

Finding Nemo is one of my favorite movies so when I saw this pattern at a show I had to have it. My co-worker, Phil, and I watched the movie in spurts on the way to and from lunch when our co-worker Bill drove. One day Vadim joined us and sat in the front with Bill, while Phil and I, in the back, were mesmerized by the movie. Bill looked at Vadim and said, “The DVD player keeps the children very quiet.”

Another project I’ve wanted to do for years (The pattern came out circa 1997, I believe) is Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart by Curtis Boehringer. You can view an image of a quilt someone made. I will be doing each month’s block as a wall hanging rather than a quilt with all twelve blocks. For the wall hanging version, each block has a border design specific to the month. So, this will be new project #2.

Because two new applique projects in addition to the two already in progress aren’t enough, I’ll be taking a year long class for this quilt, assuming the class hasn’t filled up in the last few days.

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I did say I’m insane. This is Baltimore Garden by Barbara Burnham. Barbara showed the original quilt and her blocks years ago at a Baltimore Applique Society meeting. I started urging her to publish a pattern for the quilt. Every month I would bug her about it until she finally showed up with a completed book. The book was published in 2012 so it’s about time I started working on it since I was one of the people begging her to publish it. When I talked to her at guild last week, she said this is the last time she will be teaching the class. Barbara’s version was made using only 3 fabrics and a background. I will NOT be doing that. My background will also not be a light neutral. I bought a darkish green fabric for an applique quilt background years ago. While trying to decide whether to buy it, the store employee, Robbyn suggested using fall colors with it. That sold me! It should be perfect for this quilt. I hope I have enough of that fabric. I need to find the book and see how much it calls for. Choosing the applique fabrics will be a challenge to get the values right so everything shows up.

We always say that the quilt will tell you what it wants. These tell me they want to be made now. Guess I have to listen to them.

Wanna know how many Grad School projects I’ve finished since I joined in 1999? Two. I didn’t participate in the project every year but still, a pitiful showing. We won’t talk about how many total UFOs I have. Let’s just say I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’d better live a very long life with all my faculties.

I’m delusional but it keeps me off the streets and out of the bars.