Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dodecagon EPP Update!

Early in February, 2017, I began my Dodecagon journey using Marge Sampson-George's pattern and templates.  I've shared my progress in several posts since then and today's share is exciting to me!!  I have the center of my layout almost completely assembled and it's coming together so beautifully!! 

Back in January (read it HERE), I shared how I was setting up the four large floral units and some tips (ala Karen @faeiriesandfibres -- you can read through her posts for lots of great EPP tips HERE!!).  
Once the four units were finished, I began spending my evenings with the units laying on the living room floor, adding rows of hexagons in preparation for assembling the large central diamond section of my layout.
Every stage of completion gets me more and more excited about the final quilt!!
At this point, I needed to organize more pink and yellow hexies to complete the border around the outside of the center.  
Finally, the nine center units were ready to set together!!
In the picture below, I have the two top rows stitched completely together but snapped this photo so you can see how I've dissected the units for the most logical (to me) assembly.  
The units interlock together -- that was necessary to applique the floral motifs into position without losing the hexie paper's stability along the outer edges.

And a closer look!
Once the center section is together, I'll do some more auditioning -- I have a layout design but it has changed a bit here and there as I work with the fabrics and see the interaction of the colors.
These are my grab-n-go baggies for stitching on the run -- one dodecagon plus enough black hexies to border -- there are only seven left!!
Actually, I was "worrying" yesterday about what I can "take along" when these are done?!?
Ahhh, but it just occurred to me that I can bag up sets of the green hexies to stitch into bordering strips that will be set between the dodecagons in each corner of the quilt -- dilemma, no more!! 

I'm doing well to stay focused on this project as there are so many tempting other EPP things going on out there -- the Kingfisher SewAlong with Jodi Godfrey of @talesoflove keeps popping up in my Instagram feed and then there's the #roseofkaleighsewalong based on one of Sue Daley's patterns -- arggghhhh.
But at my age, I need to focus on "leaving quilts, not fabric".
This will NOT become an ancient UFO!!
Check out this thoughtful post from Jenny Kae -- as one who has been dealing with UFO's for over a decade, I could have written this and you need to read it!!

Have a good week!!

NOTE:  Blogger isn't currently forwarding comments to me (their glitch) so please excuse me if I don't respond with a personal e-mail.  I'll post replies on this post but that means you'll need to come back for another visit to read it.  Sorry if that is an inconvenience and thanks for reading today's post! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Drying on the Clothes Line!!

With just hours to spare (typically), I finished this scrappy tumbling quilt, washed it, and it's hanging out on the line as I write this.  It is a retirement gift for my pastor. He has been our pastor for 9 years and we hate to see him go, but it's hard to begrudge a person the joy of retirement.
As I shared last week, I kept the quilting simple with an equilateral grid guided by the piecing seams.
It took about a week -- 30 minutes to an hour a day.  By traveling around the quilt like a maze, I kept the thread burying to a minimum!
By the time I started quilting the border, I realized I had 3 days to finish rather than the luxurious 6 days to my original target date.  Focus and simplicity were the keys to being done on time! 
Rather than a standard "piano key" border which was my first thought, I alternated a pair of lines 1/4" apart with a freehand squiggle about 1" from that.   It allowed me to work back and forth from the edge to the accent border with no tie-offs!!
Rather than use a mathematical approach to the spacing, I "eyeballed" the spacing from the double set of lines to the squiggle.  Many years ago, a teacher/mentor explained to me why she preferred to draw her feathers freehand over using a stencil -- it looks more organic, like a human did it.
That's my rationale!!
As I came to a corner, I marked a diagonal line that would serve as a stopping mark for the lines as I worked my way into the corner.
When I arrived at the diagonal chalk line, I traveled along it to the beginning of the next line of the design.  It leaves gaps in the diagonal line, but if I pay attention to where I begin to work my way out of that corner, I catch all the gaps in the diagonal line as I started the next side. 
Here's a picture of one of the corners from the back side.  
I'm good with the spontaneous flow!
At a distance, it looks very jumbled in the middle of the quilt.
That's the result of the five 6-pointed stars that are inserted randomly around the quilt.  They are a bit more random than I intended -- someone moved one of them to a different row?!?
Random elf at work again!
It finished at 56" by 74". 
It's finish #2 on my second quarter goal list for the 2018 Finish Along and another potentially ancient UFO averted!!

What's next in the studio?  
It's time to organize this pile of fabric into a backing for my ZenChic Bernina Triangle Sewalong quilt top!  Maybe layer it up and keep the quilting momentum going?!?
Of course, it's my favorite birding time of the year -- breeding season! So I may not actually get to the quilting, but whatever progress is made will be progress!!
Yesterday, I found the pileated woodpecker nest at the park I visit the most!
Look at those two chicks, leaning out of the nest hole, scanning for one of the adult birds to arrive with a tasty morsel!!
I'll be back next week with more ancient UFO progress!!

NOTE:  Blogger isn't currently forwarding comments to me (their glitch) so please excuse me if I don't respond with a personal e-mail.  I'll post replies on this post but that means you'll need to come back for another visit to read it.  Sorry if that is an inconvenience and thanks for reading today's post! 


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Finishing Quilts!

Little did I realize back in January, 2016 when I was finishing up this hexagon reproduction quilt that the grid I used to quilt the background of that quilt would become my "go-to" strategy for all future hexagon-based quilt designs!
I like the results and it's easy to stitch with minimal decisions to be made!
So I used it again this past February for my really yellow Project Quilting piece.
So it was a simple decision as to how I'd quilt this I Spy style garden quilt top.
Through  all the hexagons and along all the seam lines to create the equilateral triangle grid.
A new quilting tool arrived while I was working on it -- the Squiggy designed by Angela Walters.
I put it right to work guiding me through a border of clamshells.  
Isn't the border fabric gorgeous -- it's an oldie from my stash.
Since I didn't take the time to do very in-depth math, each of the corners is slightly different and I was only able to use 3 rows of clamshells.  Some simple "piano key" quilting finished the border.
Overall I'm pleased with the finished results.
I bound it on Sunday evening -- had fun playing "thread roulette". 
I lost and had to find another spool of green thread.
Today I mailed it off to a longtime friend who retired from teaching high school sciences this past week.  She has a bevy of grandchildren who love to snuggle with her so I hope the quilt will be enjoyed by all!
There was another quilt basted and ready to go -- also a retirement gift!  
And it's one of my goal finishes for the second quarter of the 2018 Finish Along!
There are seven 6-pointed stars hidden in this tumbling block quilt, so I quilted each of them first to emphasize them a little.
But the rest of the quilt?  You guessed it -- back to the equilateral triangle grid!!
I'm at the half way point today and need to have it ready to gift by June 15 -- think I'm good!!

This little quilt went out the door today, too.
It's destined for a first grader who is learning that people die so I hope it's becomes a snuggler!
I love having a string of finishes!!
Better yet, one of the three was an ancient UFO -- so happy to find a good home for it!!
Are there more finishes on the horizon?
I hope so!!

NOTE:  Blogger isn't currently forwarding comments to me (their glitch) so please excuse me if I don't respond with a personal e-mail.  I'll post replies on this post but that means you'll need to come back for another visit to read it.  Sorry if that is an inconvenience and thanks for reading today's post! 


Monday, May 28, 2018

Where's Mary???

Yes, I'm still here!  Several of you have e-mailed me to be sure of it and I appreciate that -- nice to be missed!!  But it was May and as a lifelong birder, May is about birds.  Birds returning for the summer or passing through on their way north -- they must all be seen!!

I'm not a good bird photographer but this hooded warbler was doing his best "bird-of'-paradise" imitation back and forth across this fallen tree, running to one end and singing his heart out, then running back to the other end and singing again.  It was hard to get a bad photo!!
And I was amused to stumble across this pileated woodpecker (size of a chicken if you aren't familiar with this one) taking a "dust" bath at the base of a fallen tree.
This green heron is a summer resident in our area, stands about 14" tall and is an expert frog hunter.  Several days before, my daughter and I watched this bird eat a good size frog, swallowed it whole!!
I had a half vacation, half teaching trip to western Virginia in late April where it was already spring!
Insects and flowers were abundant which was a welcome sight as spring was cold, wet, and slow here in Northeast Ohio.  This is wild blue phlox.
And wild columbine. 
How about this beetle?
And if the creeping charlie that surges through my lawn and gardens attracted zebra swallowtails (I'm too far north), I'd tolerate it happily! 
I've been sewing everyday just not writing about it.  As I get older (and wiser?), I realized that my time is finite so some thing has to give when some thing else soars. 

I've been machine quilting some ancient UFO's as part of my drive to find them better forever homes than a shelf in my studio!  This one is a "garden I Spy" quilt for a friend's retirement from teaching!!
I stayed caught up with my temperature quilt to celebrate the beginning of the next decade of my life!
I've cranked out my #fussycuttingsewalong hexie flowers every week and come up with a plan for a quilt that will use all of them plus most of the blocks from last year's Morris Hexathon stitch along -- love it when I can pull off a consolidation like that!! 
I'm getting my Bernina ZenChic blocks set together -- it's subtle color palette makes it a challenge to stay engaged but I'm very close -- 3 more rows to stitch and then set the top half together!! 
I even made time to be totally distracted by this cute cat face block that Elizabeth Hartman did for Janome -- the quilt will be donated to a project and it will be hard to let it go!  Guess I'll just have to make another one?!?

I had a few days away at Chautauqua, New York for a stitching retreat -- just me and my needle and a thousand hexagons!  I'll share more of my progress and strategy later this week!
Now I'm focused . . . sort of . . . . on getting the gardens and outdoor living spaces organized for the summer.  Lots of plants to manage!
But I'm taking the time to enjoy the results of past years efforts -- my special vintage rose as a backdrop for that iris -- have you ever seen such a deep rich purple?
Just stumbled across this new book -- think it was an Instagram ad? 
A quick flip through when it arrived -- promises to be a good read this summer!
I invested in some new quilting inspiration this month!!  Not sure I'll make any of the specific projects but sure the inspiration from reading these three books will be stimulating.
So thanks for coming back to read about my May inspiration break -- lots of new memories and images in my head to fill my summer with happy stitching possibilities.
Could there be another lichen quilt in my future?
I hope the month of May has been a good one for you and you are eager to stitch your way through this summer (or if you are a Southern hemisphere reader, winter)!!

NOTE:  Blogger isn't currently forwarding comments to me (their glitch) so please excuse me if I don't respond with a personal e-mail.  I'll post replies on this post but that means you'll need to come back for another visit to read it.  Sorry if that is an inconvenience and thanks for reading today's post!