Friday, July 3, 2020

The big orange quilt

Hi everyone! How are things at your house these days? Have you been venturing out? Here in Maryland, we've done a decent job of keeping the virus in check, and our numbers are pretty good, so I've felt safe enough to go to a couple of places this week. Don't worry, I always have a mask and hand sanitizer, and I have a semi secret stash of Clorox wipes in my car, too. But I went to a farmer's market, and I had lunch-- in person!-- with a good friend. It meant so much to me to see her that I may have dropped a few tears as I was driving away. I have really missed seeing actual humans that are not on a screen.

After lunch, I came home and confronted a problem I've been having: the quilt I'm supposed to be making for my nephew. A long time ago, I started a quilt for him, using a free pattern from Kevin the Quilter. The ones that I've seen online turned out great, so I had high hopes. Alas, it was not to be! Sorry, Kevin, but I just couldn't face one more 4-patch. Time to turn to a different pattern altogether:

Yes, I grabbed all the pieces of orange and gray (his choice!) that I hadn't cut into 4-patches yet, and used them to make Elvira, which was a quarantine quilt along pattern by Gudrun Erla. If you look closely, you can see that I also used up some of the 4-patches that weren't stitched together yet. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get rid of all that ornage.

Because I was determined to use those 4-patches, I had to adjust the widths of the strips, which turned out okay because my nephew is a very large man and needs a very large quilt. He's going to get his wish, because this quilt top is about 64 by 84. This will make a nice lap quilt for him, don't you think?

I call this quilt "Big Orange" because, really, what else could you call it? If you have very sharp eyes, you will notice what I did when I ran out of big enough orange pieces to finish making the B blocks from the pattern, but just looking at it, I can't really tell that there is any issue. I don't think my nephew will notice, do you?

I've ordered some batting, and will baste this quilt as soon as that gets here. I've got a wide back gray polka dot for the backing, and I'm really hoping it doesn't give me any trouble. This is a bigger top than I'm usually comfortable with doing on my own, but I've got a plan, and I think if I baste it well enough it will work out okay. I'm not sure I have orange thread to quilt it with, though, so I should definitely check on that!

I only have these three pictures of the quilt top because it's so big that I can't get a picture of the whole thing. I've really got to get some landscape areas where I can hang big quilts. As it is, I'll have to have my nephew hold it up when it's finished. I do have one more orange-ish picture, though:

Aren't those flowers pretty? I do really love flowers, but i'm still learning about what will grow here. This is a daylily that kind of showed up here by surprise, and I like it! I think it can stay, but it might have to move to a slightly different spot this fall. For now, though, it's pretty cheerful where it is.

Hope you all have a happy Independence Day in these strange, party-free times, and keep on being careful and staying healthy. Potato salad is quite tasty on your own porch, too!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and Quilt Patchwork Applique.

Friday, June 26, 2020

A little bit of mercy

Hi everyone! Getting a bit of a late start this morning, but I promise there are some pretty pictures coming up. It's a lovely day here in Baltimore, and I hope it's lovely where you are, too. Our roof got a temporary patch this week, but we had some strong storms that pushed off the major work for another week, and we got a ridiculously high bid for some other work we need done. A homeowner's work is never done, is it?

I finished a quilt this week! Yahoo! A few weeks ago, I bought myself a very expensive present, and I kept the old one and set it up with the walking foot permanently. This is the best thing I could have done, because I finished this top faaar too long ago, and now it is all quilted up and cozy.  Here she is:

This is a donation quilt that is going to Bernie for Mercyful Quilts. I made this from a panel last year and I think it could work for a man or a woman, don't you? I finished it off yesterday and even washed it, but it didn't stop raining in enough time to get some pictures. It was worth waiting until this morning, though, because it's nice and sunny now.

A few weeks ago, Bernie posted a quilt and talked about how she had had a "quilter's block" that had kept her from quilting it. When I read that, I immediately thought of this top. I had almost no ideas about how to quilt it, and then later I had really complicated ideas about how to quilt it. In the end I just did an uneven diagonal plaid with the walking foot, and it turned out great.

One problem I had with this quilt was that I could not get it basted for the life of me. I tried taping the backing to the floor, clamping it to a table, I even tried pinning it on the design wall. The danged backing just would not cooperate. I ended up doing this:

Yep, I pinned it directly to the deck boards! It was the only thing that worked.  I swept it all really well, and I knew the quilt would be washed after it was quilted, so it wasn't a huge deal. It worked, and I got that sucker basted in no time. And no wrinkles on the back!

Right now, this quilt is in a box by the back door, ready to head off to Bernie. I hope it brings someone a lot of comfort in a really hard time. We could all use that, couldn't we?  Here's one little bit of comfort from a friend that I got in this morning's mail:

Wendy offered me some aqua batik scraps she had, as well as some "runny" yardage, and she sent this really cute pincushion in the package, too. Isn't it darling? Thanks so much Wendy! It makes me smile and will be  great for my flower head pins.

Okay, I am going to brave the post office and get that box sent off to Bernie, then I think I'll tackle the dye in that yardage. I've got a few good ideas, and I got some Retayne, so I'll let you know how it works out! Hope you all have a lovely and restful weekend. Keep those masks on, wash your hands, and stay healthy!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or Not Friday, and the Patchwork and Quilts Party on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Making progress

Hello everyone! Hope you all are having a good day.  We keep having storms that take out our power, but otherwise it's been an okay week here so far. Well, except for the part where the hubs and I may have finally hit the point where we have spent too much time together. Two full time jobs, a cancelled vacation, a new granddaughter we can't meet, a pandemic, civil unrest, *and* home improvements have finally proven to be a little much. Good thing we can sometimes escape outdoors! Or rage clean, which is what I sometimes do. (The shower is currently sparkling.)

Meanwhile, down in my little kingdom where I make all the rules, I've been working on getting some projects finished up. I've been putting some time in on this one:

Yes, we've seen this before, but I needed a pretty picture for the top of the blog here. This is a very old project from before we moved to the East coast that I've finally taken out of the box to finish up. This is just the center here, and I've finally sewn the sections together.

Turns out that there is not a lot left for me to do to finish this. "Past me" left a lot of very helpful notes for "future me," so it looks like all I have to do is make a whole lot of flying geese and some more of the hopscotch units for the borders.

This quilt goes together in sections, not rows, so I have to finish the geese before I can really go any further. Apparently I made all of the blocks and the center sections, but I stopped with the border parts. Yay for past me, because now I don't have a lot to do to complete this top. The only bad part is that I bought this as a kit from a rummage sale (for some ridiculously low price) and the kit was from 2008, so the directions call for making the geese one at a time-- and it has pieces that only allow that, not the faster four-at-a-time method. Once you've done things the faster way, you just don't want to go back. I will be strip piecing that other border, though.

I can't be sure how many until I'm completely finished, but there will be some really great scraps left over from this project.

I'll need to come up with something to do with these rather than just throwing them in a scrap bin, because these are such nice fabrics that go so well together. Any ideas? (They are all Shadow Play fabrics by Maywood Studio, in case you want to know.)

The other thing I'm working on is making some more masks. Siiiggghhh. That was me, sighing like a 14 year old. I'll have to wear one every day for every class come August, so I'm trying out new patterns that are more comfortable and that I might be able to teach while wearing.

This is my current favorite, a pattern by Bonnie Hunter that you can find HERE. The shaped patterns don't fit me well and come right off my nose, and the seam bothers me, but the pleated ones are better. I cut up an old t-shirt and it made great cording!  I can pull these nice and tight around my head, too. My hubby likes this pattern so much that I'm adapting some masks that my friend Jen made and just adding the longer cording to his.

So, that's what I'm up to right now! I got most of the curtains finished, with just one more pair that needs hemming, and I spent a very nice afternoon cutting some random scraps into regular sized squares-- 2-1/2, 2, and 1-1/2 inches. I also spent some time watching these guys in the front yard:

I think the storms have pushed them out into the open, for some reason, because they are everywhere right now. Or maybe I've suddenly become a Disney princess without realizing it. Do you think that's it? Yeah, me too.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of the week! Stay cool, healthy, and dry!

Sharing at Midweek Makers

Saturday, June 20, 2020

In the pink

Good morning everyone! Today's post is brought to you by the letter D, for damp, and B, for boom. Actually, boom! boom! boom! accompanied by very bright flashes and then, very excitingly, a fire. All of which added up to no power all night. Yeah, no fun.

I think you can guess what happened. We had some pretty strong storms, and it was apparently too much for the electrical infratructure. Or maybe something got struck by lightning. Who knows? All I know is that more than one transformer blew, and one caught fire for a brief time. It was semi exciting, but it did mean that the post I was working on got wiped, and that I got to have takeout for dinner for the first time in a long time. So, you know, good and bad.

All that to introduce the paltry few blocks I have to show today! Here are my pink Ohio Stars for the RSC this month:

These are a little damp, as I took the photos in between rain showers. I promise that they are dry now. I do love pink, and these stars are super easy to make and let me paw through those pink scraps. The larger star has a pink that is very old, from pre-blogging days. Which reminds me that somehow this blog turned six years old during quarantine. Six! Time flies, doesn't it?

Because we're at the halfway point, I pulled out the rest of the stars for a "halfway" picture:

Hmmm. . .I seem to be missing a couple of smaller aqua stars. I'm not sure that I made them, but they weren't in the box. I also skipped the dark blue, and I should probably find something to add there. Not dark blue, but maybe a royal blue? Either way, these stars could use a happy shot of yellow, don't you think?

Finally, I had a visitor this week, and I finally managed to snap a photo:

Not a great photo, since it was taken through the window, but you have to be quick with these guys! The deer live in the woods near our house, and occasionally come up near the house. This one came right up to the patio, and ran off right after I got this picture. We've also seen her (or one her friends, you know) with a fawn recently. It's like living at the zoo, really. Still haven't managed a picture of the foxes, but they're here, too.

That's my update for now! Hope you all are having a great weekend, with power and everything. May your internet never falter, and your ice cream not melt!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC20.