Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Crossing another one off the "to-do" list!!

 It's two days before Thanksgiving here in the USA.  This morning I've been thinking about the controversial aspect of this "holiday" and decided to focus on the "gratefulness" aspect of it.  Gratefulness is a universal attitude that can reframe mindsets and dissipate frustration.  The challenge is to look beyond the personal aspects and adopt a wider viewpoint of gratefulness so if you will indulge me for a paragraph before I share finish #17?

I'm grateful for all the courageous people who are calling out dominate cultural views and expanding my point of view on a variety of topics from racism to habitat protection.  It has been a year of discovery for me in spite of hardly leaving my little world.  I hope their impact on my thoughts and ideas will have a powerful impact on my life going forward.

I'm also grateful for each of you and your interest and support of my blogging and social media posts!!  You give more purpose to my life and efforts than you realize.

And finally I'm grateful for that loaf of bread baking in the kitchen and lifting my spirits with it's aroma.  Nice that the sun has decided to shine this morning, too!

Number 17 is finished!! Quilted, bound, and snuggle tested!

The blocks are paper pieced - a BOM from a very clever gal I found via Instragram -- Elisabeth at @lemonshark.  If you want to see some of the other versions or check out her blog with the PDF's for the blocks, search the hashtag #sharksdinnerbom2019 on Instagram.  There are twelve different blocks -- each has the same outer shape but the center of each one is a different configuration of shapes.  
(Also, the background/sashing is my design and everyone has been doing their own thing with that.)
The backing of the quilt is a scrappy Kaffe thing (I'm trying to use up that stack) as is the binding.
I "big stitched" this quilt with #8 perle cotton using Quilters Dream Request batting.  It is so soft and supple!!  The background/sashing is quilted the same on each block plus the entire "motif" is outlined with white thread.
I used an assortment of perle cotton colors -- orange and green, lavender and teal -- choosing colors to blend or contrast with the color of the pieces.
The quilting designs were spontaneous decisions -- sometimes I was inspired to quilt in such a way that a big motif was emphasized rather than the individual pieces that created it.
The gray crown in the middle of the block below is a good example of that.
Other times, my brain was stuck and so I simply outlined the shape often times using a contrasting                                                            thread color.  I enjoyed being spontaneous!                                                                                               

I usually do my handwork in the evening (while watching English murder mysteries) and each block took between 4 and 5 sessions.  It felt like I was zooming along!
I was zooming along!!!
I said there are twelve blocks so there is a second lap quilt underway with the six remaining blocks.  The blocks are about 22" square and I feel like two small quilts will be more useful and appealing than one big quilt given the boldness of my color/fabric combinations.
Quilt number 18 is about 75% machine quilted so it feels like there could be another finish before the end of the month -- woot, woot!!  
My biggest dilemma at this point is do I clean the house or make Christmas gifts??

Bread is done!!



Thursday, November 4, 2021

Down The Home Stretch!!

 #16 is FINISHED!!

Would you like to see it??


Julie of Pink Doxies machine quilted it for me with a lovely overall design in light gray thread.
This double-size version of my Courthouse Stars pattern is going to a young friend of mine named Ophelia.  It started as a teaching sample for the last few workshops I taught using this pattern.

One of my goals in making teaching and shop samples is always to expand the design's appeal.  When I make a sample from a pattern, I never use the fabric style from the pattern envelope.  My goal is to broaden the appeal of the pattern. It is a good strategy because it expands
 my customers and students ability to look beyond the pattern cover.  The downside for me is that I have quite a few quilts that aren't "my style", so I'm always glad to find a happier home for one that doesn't fit with my home décor.
That large floral in the backing is an older Jane Sassaman print I just "had to have" and then because it is so beautiful, I couldn't cut into it???  
(Tell me you have that hang-up, too.)
So, I've started using those big gorgeous prints as backings because I don't want them to go for pennies in the BIG yard sale. 😏

Also, I should say that piecing the border as it is in this version is not in the pattern.  I didn't have enough of the large print that I used as the basis for the color palette so stash busting with the "piano key" border was the best solution.

You know what else?  #17 is layered and the machine quilting has started!!
These circa 1900 quilt blocks caught my eye at a show several years ago.  They were set together with a 1920's solid green and I bought it so I could save it from the wrong sashing.  I took the quilt top apart and replaced the sashing with an assortment of reproduction shirting prints.  The fabrics in the original blocks are almost certainly clothing construction leftovers.  I think it was intended to be a utility quilt so have kept the quilting simple with cross hatching in the blocks and stitch-in-the-ditch for the sashing.  Since it's a larger quilt, I'm quilting it in two sections and will add borders after joining the sections.

But wait, #18 is two-thirds of the way to being quilted!!
Two more blocks are finished.
I'm enjoying the "big stitch" quilting partly because it's easy on my hands but also because the quilt is going to drape softly and be a good cuddler -- excellent attributes for a lap quilt.

I might actually make my goal of #quilt21in2021 -- woo-hoo!!!  Striving for my goal has been a success even if I fall a quilt or two short.   I am accepting my energy limitations and discovering simpler quilting strategies that make me confident about finishing every quilt I start going forward.

As 2021 nears the end, it's time to start thinking about my quilting goal(s) for 2022!  Possibilities are presenting themselves.  Use 222 yards of my stash?  Deal with the antique quilt tops I've hoarded over the years? Do something about the remaining UFO's in the studio?  Start as many new projects as I want?!?  Cull my stash?

So many possibilities!  During December, I'll inventory the UFO's and antique tops and my want-to-make-that list.  That's always my first step in making an annual goal.

Back to the quilting!!