Monday, October 16, 2017

Sew Me STL 2017

So much fun! I was too busy and having such a good time that I forgot to take photos of my projects. I haven't unpacked yet so I'll have to sort out everything and post photos later. I was able to get accomplish all the projects I brought with me, just in time for clean up at the close of the event.

We had a huge sewing room with a capacity for 60 and I heard 59 attended. Everyone had adequate space, and we could use the hallway floor outside the room to lay out blocks. We had enough irons to share, and unlike last year, no fuses were blown. Here's our space before everyone straggled in Sunday morning:

I did capture a photo of the scrap scramble. Everyone brought a baggie of scraps and dumped them in a pile. Then we all grabbed what we wanted out of the pile and re-filled our baggies. The scrap scramble is always one of the highlights of Sew Me STL.

Well, I can see I need to do better at documenting the event next year. I'll just have to remember Sew Me STL 2017 the old fashioned way, in my head. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Planned, Prepped, Packed

STLMQG is having our annual retreat this weekend, called Sew Me St. Louis. I'm so looking forward to a weekend sewing with friends!

Since it's hard to concentrate and I'd rather socialize, I usually take easy projects that don't require much serious thought to work on. Several projects are planned and prepped.

A QOV that started as leaders & enders. I plan to get the top assembled, then I'll hand it off to the quilters at QOV of Eastern Missouri.

Sashing units for the Solstice Challenge blocks. The blocks are laid out and numbered; I'll bring them along and maybe I can get the blocks and sashing sewn into rows.

HSTs for a donation top. This a stash busting project that will probably go to Sarah for a Heart Builders quilt.

This ought to be enough to keep me busy for two days! And hidden in these packs are bee blocks, a baggie of scraps for the Scrap Scramble, and my fabric swap contribution. So fun! All packed up and ready to go.

The retreat is in town, at a hotel about a half-hour away, so if I've forgotten anything essential I can always come home and get it. They'll have ironing and cutting stations set up for us, so I don't have to haul that stuff along. Just gotta throw together my overnight bag, bring along a snack to share, and I'll be all set.

Whoo-hoo! Looking forward to a fun weekend. Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Yes, This Is Going to Work

While I was in Florida I found new sashing fabric for my Solstice Challenge blocks. Here it is photographed under incandescent light which is very warm light. While all the colors have a warm cast, the olive doesn't flare brown, which was a problem with the first sashing fabric I bought.

The plan is to sash the quilt like this: 

Yes, the new sashing fabric will work nicely. I had just enough of the light background fabric left for the center strips. For the 9-patch cornerstones, I'll use another light fabric that was used elsewhere in the blocks.

The photo below was taken under Ott light which imitates daylight, a much cooler light. The olive and the pale green look much greener here but both flare consistently so they're okay together no matter what kind of light they're seen in. The pale green is the same fabric that's used for the background in the blocks above.

Yes, this is going to work, and I've already cut strips so I can work on the sashing at retreat this weekend.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, October 9, 2017

Perdido Key 2017

Nothing on my design wall today...

I haven't been sewing much lately because I was here for two weeks.

Just got back from a nice vacation to Perdido Key, on the Gulf coast at the Florida/Alabama state line. We've been going down there since 1983 and never tire of going back.

This is the condo we stay at now. For the first 20 years or so when we went down there we stayed at a beach house that's just out of the frame to the right, but it's now a private home. So we stay at The Mariner and this feels like "our" beach.

We had delightful weather most of the time we were there; got sprinkled on a little one day, and it was so windy a couple of days that our legs got sand-blasted as we walked on the beach, but for the most part it was sunny and pleasant the whole time.

Some days it was very calm, no surf. The sea oats and dune vegetation are pretty dense this year after a few sparse years.

Later in our visit the wind kicked up, the surf was pretty rough and the red flags were out.

I took along some sewing, some mindless HSTs to work on for a donation quilt, but I actually did very little.

Here's my sewing set-up at the condo. And check out that view from my porch!

Thanks to a visit to A&E Fabrics in Pensacola, I was able to find sashing fabric for my Solstice Challenge blocks. I had already searched my local fabric stores and actually bought something, but the olive green color flared brownish in home light. I was relieved to find something at A&E that would work.

All in all, a great vacation. I ate seafood and good unhealthy Southern cooking to my heart's content and came back a couple pounds heavier, but it was so good, and now I'll go back to eating sensibly.

We were scheduled to leave for home on Saturday 10/7, but Hurricane Nate was heading toward the Gulf coast and was forecast to make landfall near Mobile around midnight Saturday. The leading bands of wind and rain would have made our drive miserable across Alabama and Mississippi. It's a tough 12-1/2 hour drive from door to door with minimal breaks anyway, so we decided to bail out Friday afternoon. Good call. We had good weather on the first half of the drive home Friday and just a few sprinkles when we got into Arkansas on Saturday. We got home Saturday afternoon, and after two weeks away, it felt good to be home again.

So even though I didn't accomplish much in sewing or quilting, I did move two projects forward, the Solstice project and some HSTs.

Linking up with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Em's Scrapbag, and Love Laugh Quilt.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Checkerboard Block

I made one checkerboard block for the red project. The plan is to make one Dresden plate block and one checkerboard block a month, due at First Saturday. My project requires 13 of these checkerboard blocks and 12 Dresden Plate blocks.
One 14" Checkerboard Block

Making one block at a time is very inefficient. It would make so much more sense to strip piece the rows, slice them up, and then piece the checkerboards.

So, that's exactly what I did. I cut 2-1/2" WOF strips from a selection of dark and light prints.  I pieced WOF pairs of dark & light, then sliced them into 10-1/8" pieces. I was able to get four pieces from each WOF strip.

Then I combined the pieced pairs together, mixing up the prints and alternating light and dark, for a strata of six strips. One more strip was added to one end of the strata, either light or dark as needed to alternate the value placement.  Here are seven strata, stacked, to simulate the checkerboard effect. One complete strata is visible on the right.
Stack of Seven Strata

Since each strata is 10-1/8" long, it can be cut crossways into four 2-1/2" strips. Thus, the set above will yield four checkerboard blocks.

Enough strips for eight blocks are shown here and I need twelve blocks, so one more set of seven strata will be enough.
Two Stacks of Strata

It's so much easier and more efficient to strip piece these checkerboards!
So how does this affect my plan for one checkerboard block a month? It doesn't really matter. I may get some checkerboard blocks made ahead, but I still have to keep up with Dresden plate blocks, so it's not going to make much difference. Just easier and less wasteful of fabric.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, October 2, 2017

September Stash Report and Goals Update

Wow, September went by quick! It's time once again for my monthly recap. I did better than I thought on the fabric front but not as well as I might have on the goals.

September Stash Report:
IN this month: 14-3/8 yards (3/4 yd. binding for Emerald Isle.  1-1/8 yds from STLMQG Door Prize & free table.  8 yds from FQ Shop for red  project.  4-1/2 yds from A&E, for Original LCTs border and Solstice sashing.)
OUT this month: 14-1/2 yards, more out than in this month (Emerald Isle Flimsy: 3 yds of my own fabric for alternate blocks, extra frames, sashing and cornerstones [BOM kit fabrics not counted]. 10 Pillowcases: 10-1/2 yds.  Test block for Cherie - 1/4 yd.  2 Dresden test blocks -  3/4 yard.)

IN YTD: 95-1/2 yards
OUT YTD: 108-1/2 yards. Hard to believe I've used over 100 yards this year!!
YTD Net Change: 13 yards out. Whoo-hoo, still doing well for the year.

I was able to go to a fabric shop I can only get to about once a year, and I found a border print to work with my original LCT top which needs to be bigger.

I also found an olive print that will work well enough for sashing for my Solstice Challenge blocks. It wouldn't have been my first choice for the type of print, but since it'll be used in 1/2" strips, I don't think it will matter. It doesn't flare brown under incandescent light, so the color is good with my solstice blocks in all light conditions.
Sashing fabric photographed under incandescent light

Some of my acquisitions this month were additional neutrals, blues, a brown, and a border print for my red project, but I totally forgot to photograph them before washing and cutting into some of them. 
Strips cut for red project checkerboard blocks


September recap:
1. Finish Emerald Isle flimsy. DONE
2. Make pillowcases for Harvey victims. Made 10 and sent them to Sarah.
3. Find suitable sashing fabric for Solstice Challenge blocks; cut and kit up sashing pieces for future retreats, etc. Finally found a suitable fabric, an olive print that doesn't flare; haven't started cutting yet.
4. Assemble 9-Patch Star QOV top. Not done; saving it for retreat. 
5. Work on WIVSP hand piecing project. Not done.
6. Plan and prep projects for retreat in October. DONE: Cut HST donation quilt project; saving 9-Patch Star QOV to assemble at retreat. Started the red project (made test Dresden Plate blocks, made test checkerboard block, cut strips for remaining checkerboards) and will take it to retreat to make one of each block. 
7. Keep up with bee blocks. Done
8. Plan &/or work on improv project from Jean Wells book. Re-read first chapter about journaling and photos; found photo images on line for inspiration. (link to website for free photos)

Emerald Isle Flimsy

Pillowcases for Sarah's drive

October Goals:
1. Assemble 9-Patch Star QOV top at Sew Me STL.
2. Assemble HSTs for donation quilt at Sew Me STL.
3. Cut and work on sashing strips for Sostice Challenge blocks.
4. Make one Dresden block and one Checkerboard block for the red project.
5. Work on WIVSP hand piecing project.
6. Bind Gary's Flannel Quilt.
7. Add borders to Original LCT top using fabric found at A&E
8. Keep up with bee blocks.
9. Work on improv project from Jean Wells book.

That looks like a lot, but some of those are easy or fast, and I'll have time at retreat to work on them. If I get all that done, October should be a varied and productive month!

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Red Project: Inspiration

If you've seen some of my earlier posts this month, I've kind of teased about a new project using red fabrics and involving Dresden Plates. Let's back up and see where that came from.

One of my goals this month is to prep something to work on at retreat next month. So it's okay to start a new project, right? It's not really totally new; it's been percolating in my mind and in several iterations in EQ for months.

Inspiration: Back in April at the Paducah Spring AQS show I was quite taken by a rich mostly red quilt that was made by Carol Sloan Brix of Byron IL.  She used a pattern called Chippewa Nine Patch by Minick & Simpson. Here's what the pattern looks like, and the quilt in the AQS show looked just like this, same palette.

The quilt was huge, and in the lighting of the show, the reds were very rich and deep. Very luxurious. What I particularly like, in addition to the palette, is the combination of diagonal and vertical movement around the quilt. I like the checkerboard blocks, too - that's a lot of piecing!!! - and the snowballed corners of the alternate blocks. Because I was so struck by the palette and the piecing, I honestly don't remember how it was quilted.

While in Paducah I started collecting red fabrics, mostly Civil War era reproductions, and a few blues and neutral prints to go with them.

I thought about ordering the pattern and making it as is. And I played in EQ. And I came up with this:

This is huge, 102" wide x 96" high, a large bedspread for a queen bed. What I like about it: the checkerboard blocks, the strong diagonals created by the alternate blocks with snowballed corners, the dark rich palette, and the simple construction with no on-point setting required. Special thanks to Minick and Simpson and to Carol Sloane Brix for the inspiration.

So now I've collected more fabrics (my stash report this month will take a hit!) and I've made test blocks. This will be sort of a BOM project; my plan is to make one checkerboard block and one Dresden Plate block a month.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm getting together with friends on the first Saturday of each month and we're doing our own BOM thing. Since I'll have to miss the October meeting, this post and the earlier ones this month about the red project will have to suffice.

This project needs a name other than just "the red project." Any suggestions?

Linking up with Whoop-Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict because having a plan and starting a new project is always whoop-worthy, right?!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Red Project: Prep

A number of influences have converged to prompt a new project. Inspiration and color palette - more about that in another post. Suffice it to say it's very different from my usual. For now I'll call it the red project.

Another influence is a group of friends. We all participated in a LQS's BOM series this past year (Emerald Isle), and the year before, and the year before that, etc. We go out for coffee and conversation after the BOM meeting on the first Saturday of the month. The new BOM series starts next month, but we're kind of burnt out, so we decided to just get together for coffee on First Saturday and do our own projects. The thing is, we agreed we have to bring some kind of project progress to show and share each month.

So the red project will be my new First Saturday project. With 13 main blocks and 12 alternate blocks, it's perfect, I can do one of each per month and make good progress.

So far preparations this month have included prewashing the red fabrics and resolving the bleeding issues. Thank you to the readers who suggested Synthrapol and Retayne. I've prewashed all the other fabrics as well.

I tested Dresden plate blocks. These will be the alternate blocks.

And I cut fabrics for the main block. I cut three WOF strips from each fabric, and I think I may have cut too much. There'll be plenty left over for binding, already cut. Just for a little variety, there will be an occasional pop of very dark blue, but this will be mostly a red and neutral quilt.

So I have a project planned and much of the prep started in time for October First Saturday. Unfortunately I have something going on and I'll have to miss our coffee gathering, so this post and Friday's post will have to suffice. Come back Friday and I'll tell you about the inspiration for this project.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, September 25, 2017

Points or V's?

Last week I made a couple of test Dresden Plate blocks. 
I think I got everything worked out for my project 
except for the alignment of the points. 

Here are photos of an unfinished block to compare the alignment.
The question is, should the points be oriented at 12, 3, 6, and 9? 
Or should the V's? 



Side by side comparison:

These blocks will have snowballed corners in the actual project. Here's a mock-up:

These blocks will not be next to each other; 
they'll be separated by alternate blocks in a checkerboard pattern. 

Do you have a preference? Why? 

I want the light backgrounds to look round-ish in the actual quilt. 
Does one of these layouts achieve that better than the other? 

Thanks for your input. 

Link Ups: 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Seasonal Migration

Amy Ellis is once again hosting Bloggers Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side. Check out all the quilty eye candy over there!

For my second entry I'm featuring Seasonal Migration. 

Formerly referred to as KBFG (Kaffe & Batik Flying Geese), this quilt has been in the making for about two and a half years, but came back from the quilter in late July. I was able to get it finished in time for my guild's show which will start September 30.

Lots of flying geese: 

I worked on it at camp: 

I finished the flimsy more than a year ago, but then it had to wait until its turn came up on my quilter friend Sandy's waiting list. She's very good and very popular.

Sandy quilted it lightly per my request, using bamboo batting, so it would remain soft and drapey.

46 different fabrics  were used in the top, plus the backing, plus the binding.

The backing is perfect for me: Names of colors in huge script. Before I retired, I worked as a color specialist in apparel, textiles and footwear, and one of my responsibilities was naming colors. 

I'm keeping this quilt for myself.

Link Ups: 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Christmas Tree

It's time once again for Bloggers Quilt festival, hosted by Amy from Amy's Creative Side.

My first entry is the Christmas Tree hanging I made for my son. It's almost life size, and it's made so that real ornaments can be hung on it.
Christmas Tree Wall Hanging with Real Ornaments

This project came about because my son requested something for the home he shares with two friends, 3 cats, and a two-year-old. They just don't have space for a real Christmas tree.

Quilted Tree with Star Ornament Used as a Topper

This was easy to make, pieced with just triangles and strips.  Great way to use up a variety of green prints and low volume fabrics.
Pieced with 3" Triangles and Strips

I quilted it in the ditch around the triangles and added straight line quilting to the background. To attach the ornaments, I stitched thread loops that the ornaments can hook into at all the triangle intersections. You can see the pickle hooked below, and the star topper in the photo above.
Ornaments Hanging from Thread Loops

Although the photo at top shows this wall hanging attached to a door with magnets, it will actually be hung on a wall. It has two sleeves on the back, top and bottom, and pieces of wood sanded smooth for hanging. By adding an extra sleeve at the bottom, the tree can be firmly attached to the wall so cats and kids can't do too much harm.

This will be an early Christmas gift, to be presented at Thanksgiving, so I made a pillowcase-style bag that the rolled up tree can be stored in which also serves as a gift bag.
Gift Bag / Storage Bag / Dust Cover

For more about this Christmas Tree wall hanging, visit my earlier posts  O Tannenbaum  and the tutorial at  O Tannenbaum Tutorial.

Check out all the other quilty inspiration at Bloggers Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side.

Also linking up with:
Sew Fresh Quilts,
My Quilt Infatuation