Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Positive progress

 Hi all! How are things going for you? I'm just hanging out, watching it rain and getting over that stupid embolism. I am feeling MUCH better, plus I'm glad to see the rain, even though it's been going on for a while now. Unbelievably, we still haven't made up for all the rain we didn't get for weeks, and we're still way below average for the year. It hardly seems possible given the amount of water that has fallen from the sky over the last week.

While I'm lazing around, I'm working on several projects, including this year's Positivity quilts, but first, here's one that I just recently started:

This is the very beginning of what will be a gift for the wedding of a friend and colleague. I love this center part because it's so hard to get gradations in yellows. I'm very proud of myself for this! It's not a hard pattern, so I'm hoping to have all the blocks made this week, so that I can get a longarm rental appointment and get this quilted up and sent off in time for the wedding at the end of July.

Then I have the two Positivity quilts. First are some of the blocks that have the green background:

I just love how these have turned out. You know how sometimes you get an idea in your head and you're not sure how it will work out? That's how I felt about these, but they are turning out okay.

And then I have the fall-themed Positivity quilt:

I have a bunch more of these blocks in pieces, but not together yet. The scrap thing is working out pretty well, though. I'm liking the half-drop in this layout, too, so that might make its way into the finished quilt.

So that's what I'm up to, other than re-doing some travel plans. I can't fly for a while, so it looks like we'll be driving to various places around the country. Not California, though! Still too far for me to drive. Hope things are going well for you. We're expecting more smoke from wildfires, so that will be fun, won't it? I understand it was quite smoky in the Midwest over the last few days, so believe me, we feel your pain. Ick.

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Sharing at Midweek Makers and Wednesday Wait Loss.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Neighborhood table

 Hi everyone! How was your week? Mine was a doozy, and I will tell you all about it at the end of this post. We have to get to the quilty stuff first, right? Today I'm showing the rest of the placemats I made for the Rainbow Neighbourhood quilt along at mmmquilts. Most people made an actual quilt, but these houses just screamed 'fun placemats!' to me, so that's what I made. Here is the whole set of six:

It has been raining for the past couple of days (hurray!), so the pictures are a little washed out, but aren't those great placemats? They each finish at about 16 by 20, a very nice generous size for outdoor eating in the summer.

How about some closer pictures? Here are the two that I had finished earlier and already posted about:

Obviously those were photographed on a much brighter day! 

I call this one the party house, and it's my granddaughter's favorite because it's mostly purple:

Doesn't that look like a house that has a lot of fun summer parties? Or maybe it looks like a house of some people you knew in college. You know the ones I mean. . . I love the pink roof and the wild colors of this house.

This is the hippie house, the home of some very laid back people:

If I had had some fabric with a peace sign, I would have found a way to incorporate it, but nothing like that in all the fabric I own. I'm sure the people in this house have no trouble with their very unusual turquoise roof. 

Next up is the birdhouse, which was very, very hard to photograph, for unknown reasons:

As you can see, the birds have a design feature on the front of their home. I added the extra green strip because there was no way for me to match up all the birds, and it just looked too weird when I joined the front pieces together. I love the star on the side of this house, too. 

Finally, there is the garden house, which might be my favorite:

This is probably the house I would choose to live in, if such a thing were possible. It looks so peaceful. And it was a great use of a gray and coral fat quarter, which I got in a kit that I bought a while ago just for the fabric in it.

All in all, a fun project for a fun summer table! The pattern is great and chock-ful of all kinds of things I didn't include, including different kinds of house features, all the different blocks for the sides of the houses, and some trees and flowers, plus two different layouts and instructions for a pillow. You could end up with some fun placemats, too!

So, here's why I had a heck of a week--

Short version: I have a pulmonary embolism. You can read more about what that is HERE. Pay attention to the 'lfe-threatening' part.

Longer version: Last Wednesday, as I was finishing stitching on the binding on one of these placemats, I started having trouble breathing and was sweating and shaking, so I thought I was having a heart attack. That's your first thought, right? Of course we went right to the emergency room, and if you ever want fast service, walk in and tell them you think you're having a heart attack. You'll get four nurses and a doctor to help you right away. It wasn't a heart attack, but hours and many tests later, they discovered a pulmonary embolism. I'm happy to know what happened, and glad that the hospital took such good care of me. I'm taking more (very expensive) medication than I ever thought possible, and I get to have even more tests! Won't that be fun?

So, there's what happened! It was exciting and terrifying, and continues to be so. All of my summer plans are up in the air, so we'll have to rearrange. I gues that means more time for stitching, right? It's a non-stressful activity, isn't it? 

Take care of yourselves, friends, and have a great weekend! If you have trouble breathing or your chest hurts, get help right away. Take it from me!

Sharing at Sandra's quiltalong linkup, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or not Friday, and the Quilting, Patchwork, Applique linkup.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Positive thoughts

 Hi all! Hope you are having a lovely, lovely week. We got back from the conference, which was pretty good, and the air has cleared up quite a bit. I was still a bit hoarse for my presentation, but at least I had a voice! Glad to be home, though, no matter the weather.

When I got home and rested a bit, I started playing around with some colors and pieces for the Positivity quilt along, sponsored by our friends Preeti and Bernie. You can find all the info and directions for making this year's quilt right HERE.

Here is the first set of blocks I made:

Can you tell these are meant to be fall themed? I wanted to use a bunch of scraps that have been hanging around here forever. These are the darker reds and the golds that I very seldom use, along with a few dark greens and even a couple purples. There's even a really dark turquoise in there. Most of them are leftovers from old quilt projects, and I just could never throw the scraps away. I pulled out everything I had that was at least 2-1/2 by 9 inches and threw it into these blocks. I think they're turning out okay.

The background, which you can''t see very well in the picture above, is this fabric:

I got this from a destash and I'm really pleased with it. The leaves are a dark blue ( I think) and it's way better than a plain beige.

Then, because I'm just never happy unless I'm overwhelmed, I also made these:

Yes, a second quilt. I know, but I had two different ideas, and two separate sets of fabric that I wanted to use up, and the blocks are very, very easy, so why not? I just have some leaves right now, because I haven't settled on a stem fabric, but the leaves are made from beige and other neutral scraps. The green background is just a faux linen tonal that I got from Connecting Threads and intended to use for a backing but didn't. I'll know more when I get them put together, but I think it works so far.

Here's an important question I have about these quilts: I wanted gender neutral colors so that everyone can have a choice of a quilt that suits them, no matter their gender. Are these gender neutral? I think they are, but then I look again and they look feminine. I'm probably just second guessing myself, but what do you think?

And here's the question I know you're asking: how do you use scraps to make these blocks? It's pretty simple-- you make shorter tubes:

I made tubes from Preeti's directions, just shorter, then cut one leaf block from each tube. My tubes are about 9 inches long. There is fabric waste, and you won't have any blocks for a second project, but it works. I think you could probably figure out how to cut the different strip lengths for less waste, but that sounds like too much math for me. 

And those are my Positivity projects! You can still join in-- the quilt along doesn't end until Labor Day. And the blocks are really, really easy, too. And now you know you can use scraps, too!

Everyone enjoy the rest of the week!

Sharing at Midweek Makers and Preeti's Positivity linkup.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Starry, starry haze

 Hi everyone, and happy smoky Friday! If you are on the East coast, you probably know what I mean. It has been very hazy here from the drifting smoke from wildfires in Quebec, Canada. Today might be a little better, but the last few days have been surreal. Very hazy, the sun looked orange, and the air has been like breathing mud. Oh, and I was out watering the plants and it seems like everything is coated in a sticky film, like a soda exploded and sprayed everything. Just all kinds of fun.

This week I was getting ready to go to a conference, so that was work, but I also made time to crank out a few stars for the rainbow scrap challenge. The color for this month is pastel blues and greens. I don't have a lot of pastels, but I do have a few lighter and brighter greens, so I mananged to make three green stars:

How do you not fall in love with that star on the left? These are 9-inch blocks, so some of those pieces are quite small. It was very fun to make. The others will be fine in the quilt, but they aren't nearly as festive, or as fun to make.

Since this month is about light blues and light greens, I also made one light blue star:

Okay, it's more medium than light blue. Truth be told, there are not that many light blues hanging around here. I think I may be able to find a couple more, and I might make a couple more blue stars, though there's already a lot of blue for this quilt. 

One thing I do have in a very pale (and hard to photograph) blue are these little hourglasses:

I have 32 of these, all untrimmed, and I don't know what to do with them. I thought I might make something small with an alternate block, but I don't know what that block should be or what color it should be. I could also combine these into some blocks, but again, don't know what block that would be. Any good suggestions out there?

And speaking of good suggestions. . .

I showed this block as a failed block last month. Here was the original block:

A couple of readers suggested turning the hourglasses to make an orange star instead of the hard-to-see white star, and it worked! Thanks guys! It doesn't look as first intended, but it will work well as a fixed block. And really, all I did was turn the hourglasses the other direction. What a difference!

And with that, we're off to my conference! I hope to find some more breathable air there, because one of the side effects of this haze has been that I've almost lost my voice from hoarseness. I sound awful, so some better air is a must. Wish me luck with my presentation, and everyone have a great weekend!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Another dose of Mercy

Hi all, and happy weekend! It has been a warm week here, and today it is supposed to be about 95 degrees. Yikes! It's only early June! We might get some rain, too, which is great because the grass is already turning brown. Thankfully, I have not yet shriveled in the heat, but I'm eating popsicles and drinking iced tea just in case. Wouldn't want to take chances!
You know what's a good place to be when it's very warm outside and you really can't be out there planting anything? In a basement sewing room, that's where. So you know where I hid out for much of this week. And look what happened while I was down there:

Yes, another finish! Happiness abounds, especially because this quilt gave me a few fits in the quilting process. It may not look like it, but this was a beast. And it took three bobbins to finish!

Some of you may remember this quilt from earlier this year, when I made the top during the Stay at Home Round Robin, a quilt along by Quilting Gail and friends. It was a fun project and I got a great top out of it. I knew all along it would be a donation quilt, and I'm quite pleased now that it's all finished and ready to send off.

Because there was so much going on in this quilt top, I decided to quilt it in straight lines so that the piecing could be the star. Truth be told, I also thought it would be the easiest for me to do because the quilt is about 62 by 72 and that's a bit big for me to wrestle with. Lines across the width of the quilt was probably the easiest way to go, but that was still a lot of quilt.

The problem, of course, is that this quilt did not have a grid of any kind that I could follow across the quilt, and that made everything extra hard for me, because my brain is very strange and just kept wanting to slide over and follow some seam lines. I ended up marking the first line across the quilt and then using the space bar attached to the walking foot. I still had to wrestle, and I still had to pay really close attention. I did rip out a couple of partial lines and start over. In the end, it did get finished, though. Hallelujah!

The backing for this quilt is a wideback piece with a pale beige leaf, and the binding is the same blue that is in the quilt. Every part of this quilt is a scrap or a leftover, except the binding, which comes from a saved half yard. I washed the quilt and it came out very soft and cuddly and overall worth the trouble to quilt it. 

Oooh, artsy!

This quilt is bound for Mercyful Quilts, which benefits a palliative care unit. Our friends Bernie and Preeti have just started the Positivity quilt along, which also benefits Mercy, and you can find all the details and links right HERE. It's a very cool and easy pattern, and you should definitely join in!

So, another quilt is in the books! Hope everyone has a great weekend and doesn't melt out there! I may wrestle yet another quilt through the machine. I've got it basted and everything threaded up, but there are some chores I have to get to as well. And those popsicles won't eat themselves, either!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or not Friday, and the Quilting, Patchwork, Applique linkup.