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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mid April... well maybe a little later than that!

As usual, I am behind but will eventually be caught up - maybe?
It has been a horrid month of rain since we returned from our winter home and one would think that it would be perfect for sewing but it is so hard to get motivated on dark, dreary, wet days.  I am definitely a sunshine person and the brightness and warmth motivate me.
On a rare sunny day, I ventured outside to look at my blooming flowers and to see what is coming up.  I was so worried about my peony and my Icelandic poppies I planted last year but they are both showing signs of coming to life.
I really haven't done much sewing.  This crazy dizziness/vertigo is really annoying but had a good few days last week so manged to accomplish a few things.
I got my yellow/gold scrap strip blocks done though have more of the wider strips cut to make the rail fences in both yellow and green since I didn't get last month's done.
And I did get two donation quilts basted, quilted and bound that were from guild demonstrations last fall - toonie Tuesday.  I showed the two options for making log cabin blocks and used half square triangles in the center.  Hopefully these  quilts will make two young girls happy at Peardonville House.
And five preemie quilts finished made from 'happy' blocks.
A quilt that I worked on last fall leftover from the Great Canadian Quilt bee 2017 and handed over to me from the FVMQG for finishing is done.  I added borders to make the quilt large enough for Quilts of Valour and got it quilted and bound and all is done! I did NOT make the center of the quilt... and if someone knows of the quilt maker, I would gladly add their name to the label. 

I also got to work last weekend on a quilt for the Humboldt Broncos.  The Saskatoon Modern Quilt is making quilts for the hockey player's and their families but they have asked for donations of at least 200 quilts to be given to anyone who helped or was associated with the bus crash... first responders, helicopter pilots, ambulance drivers and paramedics, nurses, doctors and all hospital staff as well as volunteers and those that stepped in to help out in some way along with anyone who works with the hockey team.  I have my top done and stopped today to buy some flannel backing with a hockey theme and the quilt will get finished as quickly as I can mange and sent off to Humboldt.
I also have been making some blocks for a group called Canada Stitches.  While I am involved with Quilts of Valour, those quilts are for armed forces only and there are many first responders from the police, RCMP, ambulance workers and others who can apply for a quilt from Canada Stitches.  This month, I decided to make blocks using their maple leaf theme in masculine or autumn colours.

So a small stack of these will get mailed off in the next week or two for inclusion in the quilts they make.
And so it goes... a bit of sewing here and there!  I did get my windmill blocks put together into a quilt top and that is now added to the list of projects needing to be quilted.
Hopefully, I will have more projects completed so that you will hear from me more often!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

In the rain... life in the slow lane.

This is what we left behind to come home to rainy, wet, gloomy weather.

Lovely, sunny, happy yard with spring flowers just starting to look fabulous.

To be fair, we have had one or two nice days here in the Pacific northwest since returning.  But snow on the mountains and very few days where we can venture outside to the tennis court.

I have unpacked all the boxes that I sent to myself.  "If it fits, it ships' boxes are awesome.  Fabric is heavy!The quilt tops I brought home are hung and waiting to be layered, quilted and bound before they head to their various charitable destinations. The ones hanging to the right of the picture were left behind last fall, not getting finished before we headed south to the sunshine.
Before I left to come home, I had a few more "finishes".
Portlandia by Villa Rosa is a top.
And my green strip blocks for March were completed for the Rainbow Challenge.
My windmill blocks were completed but not put together.
And here they are on my design wall here at home... needing to be rearranged and stitched together.
And two more stargazer blocks were made.
And, I have some economy blocks that I have been working on for the last few years but they haven't had much attention.  I pulled the container out and made some more blocks and went through scraps and cut a bunch  more for stitching this fall or next spring.
I have not accomplished much in the last two weeks but I did manage to get 7 small quilts spray basted and ready for quilting.  I also have put away and organized everything that was in my 'boxes'.  They are unpacked and ready for recycling.  I only leave my sewing space for 5 months but my poor memory forgets totally what I have and where it is.  I need to re-acquaint myself with what is here and where it is!
I have my yellow strips pulled out from my shelves ready for this month's rainbow challenge and I have binding fabrics for these quilts pulled as well.  But progress is slow as I work on other, more demanding projects, like income tax (ugh) and stocking the pantry and freezer.  Tennis weather will be here soon so working on some of these projects is my goal in this rainy weather.  Now, if only my health would improve.  I am suffering from mouth ulcers on my poor tongue and also vertigo?  But, good weather for napping so most afternoons, our house is calm and quiet while the two seniors that live here are comfy on the sofa or in bed for their snooze time.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Finishing up before packing up and closing down.

The time of year when I am very sad.  Sad to be leaving the glorious sunshine in Arizona and heading back to the rainy west coast.  Weather here has been much cooler than normal and lovely for playing tennis and having windows open during the day and not having to run our a/c.
I got my crazy windmill blocks finished by digging through all possible sources of white prints and black fabrics in my scrap box and stash of fabric.  Not much to be found but the reds were easy. Blocks will get trimmed and assembled back at home.  There are 13 so one will be an orphan block or put on the back of the quilt. 
 A couple more of my stargazer blocks are made but the rest are packed somewhere in boxes to be mailed to my WA state address for pickup after I get home.  Fabric weighs a lot so I use the 'if it fits, it ships' boxes to save money on having an overweight suitcase.
Boxes have been taken to the post office.
Plus quilt is ready and packed in those boxes.
A new quilt started that has been a ufo for a couple of years.  It is a Villa Rosa, Portlandia and I have the top completed and ready to take home for quilting.
My green scrap blocks got done for Oh Scrap but having trouble loading the picture onto her site.
And I dug out my container of 'economy' blocks.  These were started many years ago and using scraps.  A good leader and ender project.
And so happy that all my L-7 blocks are made!
That is about all that is going to happen here.  Time to service my machine, extra oil and packaging in a heavy plastic bag so that nothing dries out during the heat of the summer months.  I also bag all my thread and have heard I should pour in some mineral oil?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

In like a lion....

The weather here in Mesa started off as a very cool March and it has been wonderful.  At this time last year, the afternoon temps were up to 99 and last week, we were having temps in the mid 60's!  We are warming up now to mid 80's in the afternoon and warm evenings but am hoping that at home, the cold weather will also be warming up to comfortable temperatures by the time we return for the spring and summer months! But, good sewing time!
My Plus quilt got put together.  This was a kit from Connecting Threads and it has sat for a year.  It was very slow sewing, one row at a time once I got it up on the design wall and had to keep checking to make sure I had my pieces in the correct placement.  I modified the pattern which added to the confusion!  But very happy this is on my 'needs quilting' list instead of my 'to do' list.

 And a really simple quilt from Villa Rosa got put together as well.  This is Sheryl and it is a really simple way to use up some fat quarters with background fabric.  I think this will need a border to make it large enough for a Quilt of Valour.

I started playing with half rectangles using some 10" squares and background.  I have a pattern in mind but will see how this goes.  I need to sit in the front of the tv drawing the lines on the back of the background rectangles.
I .
 I dug out my green scraps as yellow greens and light greens are the scrappy colour of the month.  More string piecing planned!

 And another Villa Rosa kit that is called Show Biz.  You have turn your head to see this properly but it has a cat panel in the center and lots of oranges, pinks and purples. 

I  splurged and bought myself a totebag at the tennis tournament.  I could easily have made myself this bag BUT... the fabric is fabulous and not available anywhere.  The gal making the bags said it is impossible to find tennis themed fabric. 

 I pulled out a kit I purchased at a quilter's garage sale.  It looked great and had all the pieces cut in it.  BUYER BEWARE!!  I opened it up and yes, there were cut fabrics but all in one length - 6.5" and in black on white and white on black fabrics.  But, it needs 4.5" strips of the same fabrics AND it needs red fabrics in both lengths.  The red was easy for me... but had to really scrounge in my fabric closet for the rest and I don't know if I have enough but will finish it at home where the supply is better.

 But, I did get to try a new ruler that came in my monthly box from Fat Quarter shop and it is quite slick. It is called "mini simple folded corners"
And this is what the finished blocks look like:

I have the binding ready to stitch for the Villa Rosa Show biz along with almost being finished with my L -7 blocks.  They have been my leaders and enders as I have worked on the other projects and almost there!

Another project on my list was to cut the blocks for the Moda Stargazer quilt.  A lot of cutting and each block gets put into a ziplock bag - 20 of them!
I have one block stitched and another one on my design board.  This will end up heading home with me but the cutting is done and that was the complicated part!

My husband had Moh's surgery on his face last week and is recovering but it is a long time just sitting and waiting for each step.
So, I started knitting a scarf.
And I managed to get my Quilter's Planner March block completed.
Down to less than 2 weeks of sewing time left here and weather is warming up plus lots of tennis tournaments happening!  Busy but happy days.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

End of second month of the year - how time flies!

Very cool here in Arizona...winter weather has arrived in late February.  Crazy! But, I get to dig out some sweaters and warmer clothes to wear though I must admit that wearing long pants feels strange.  However, it is more like quilting weather than hot temperatures are, so that is a good thing and the mountains are getting some much needed snow in northern Arizona.

I finished pressing my brown half square (Cornerstone pattern from Etsy) quilt top and you can compare it to the quilt in my last post that was blues and yellows that I didn't stitch together the way the pattern intended.
Quite a different effect!This might need a border to get to the correct size for Quilts of Valour but a great way to use a package of 10" squares.  Sews up quickly and if you have a package of squares on hand, an excellent way to make a donation quilt. (hmmm... I see an error in block placement that I can easily fix - how did that happen?)

I dug out my blue bag of scraps and made some blocks.  Blue was the colour for January for Oh Scrap and I cut some 3" strips from odd fat quarters that were good for rail fence blocks and then I used my strings for some really scrappy blocks.

My 7 - L quilt blocks are still the same on the design wall but the strips are getting sewn together as leaders and enders and I do have a bunch of blocks to take to the next step.

Then I dug into my lavender and purple scraps and it didn't seem like I had many?

So, I took out my scrap bin that "was" crammed full of odds and ends of fabrics and started sorting the fabric by colour.  At first, I was just looking for purples but figured if I was making a mess, I might as well sort.
The small pile of purple went from small to much larger! There were a few that I moved into the red bag but otherwise, had a decent amount to choose from. 

And then I went through a bin of 3.5" strips and found some lavender in there so had enough to cut strips for rail fence blocks and did use up some strange fat quarters that probably arrived here in a Free Spirit fat quarter surprise box from Etsy a few years ago.  I had more than enough to make rail fence blocks and then a large pile of strips for foundation piecing some scrappy blocks. Working on the blocks created total chaos and a bit of a disaster zone but in the end, I used up a lot of fabric.

I ended up with almost 50 rail fence blocks so a few more and I will be able to  make a donation quilt or may mix them up with other colours to create a rainbow effect.
I also got my Pow Wow quilt put together and added the outer borders.
Now, I am determined to cut fabric for two projects.  The plus block quilt has been waiting for me since this time last year and the Moda stars block is a new project resulting from a picture on Instagram that I just loved when I saw it.  So, off to cut and to work on my L 7 blocks. Less than a month left to get projects finished that are on my to-do list.