Last week (I think) I mentioned my breaking point with my sewing room and the day I spent cleaning and reorganizing some of it. This weekend I had another of those events. I have developed a habit of dumping things that need to go elsewhere into the living room. By elsewhere, I mean to other people. I end up with stacks of finished veterans quilts to deliver, quilted veterans quilts to be returned for binding, things I've borrowed to return, etc. I walked through there Thursday and I couldn't take it anymore. So Friday and Saturday I did deliveries to get everything where it belonged. I moved the veterans quilts upstairs to the office and I put the living room back together for the first time in months. Of course, we never use the room but at least it doesn't look like a thrift store anymore.
I've also done one other thing to make myself more productive. Over the past few months I've realized that I spent way too much time on social media, mostly looking at puppy and crochet posts. I could just leave the phone in a drawer or something but since I listen to books from the phone I do ahve it with me at all times. I decided that I would just delete the apps. If I want to check Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest I can do it on the computer. You know what? I don't miss them at all. I don't miss the reports of cows in the road in Montpelier. I don't miss the same questions over and over in the quilting and glass groups and I don't miss the general meanness. I have 2 groups that I partly manage on Facebook so I check in every few day. Otherwise, I don't miss them at all. I'm also on a mental health news vacation for the month. So much "news" now is just agitprop and I'm not going to be caught up in it. At the end of January I will search out some new sources that I can trust but for now I'm on a news break and it's fabulous. That's a ton of time saved.
I've been taking advantage of that recovered time.
I filled some of that time quilting these 2 veterans quilts. Betsy made these and I was delivering some backing fabric to her Saturday so I was motivated to get these quilted for her too.
Red thread in the star pantograph looked good on these.
I had to deliver a belated Christmas gift to another friend. It was belated because of USPS losing one package, then the store re-shipped and both packages arrived within a day of each other. The store told me me to keep the t-shirts so my friend got 2. She's the one I make the dog beds for too so Friday night I spent a couple of hours making more pet beds. I had a lot of batting scraps and it was nice to get this bulk out of the sewing room.
In between I've finished another set of blocks for a star point.
I'm finishing off a lot of bobbins, in every possible color, making these.
Here's the star so far for the big quilt.
Here's the star for the little quilt - not that you can tell a difference! I'm still not sure why I thought making both would be a good idea but the small one is made from the scraps of the big one. Maybe someone in my family will want it for decoration.
I have reached that point in the project where I can see the end in sight so I'm really motivated to get this done.
There was also football so I made good progress on the baby quilt. This Bernat Baby Velvet yarn is soooo soft. Someone is going to love having this for their baby.
Speaking of baby. I sent off the doll nightgown and got a report that it fit perfect so now I can make some more outfits for Ella's dolls.
This week I'm going to make more star points, work on the Spirograph floor cloths and, maybe, quilt 2 more veterans quilts.
Benartex is finally presenting all the sample quilts for Paula Nadelstern's new fabric line and I can finally share my quilt. Of course, the schedule was haywire for the 2020 release. Where we usually receive fabric in September with quilts due in time for Quilt Market at the end of October, this year we received fabrics right before Thanksgiving and we only had to send quilt images.
The new line is called Duets and you can check out the fabrics here. I always try to pick a name for my quilt that is a gesture to the name of the fabric line. Endless Love is one of the most famous (and sometimes most annoying) duets of all time.
This year the fabrics are digitally printed and, to be honest, I had some issues with the printing of symmetry so that meant that I needed to scrap my original plan and go with something simpler.
There's nothing simpler than a giant log cabin block! I'm so glad that I had to make the change of plans because this simple block really let the fabric show off it's potential.
The center black square is one of these medallions cut into quarters. I did have to add some extra black fabric to the outer edges to make the block big enough but, seriously, the impact of that one element was soooooo simple! It's the medallion in the middle of the bottom row.
Here's one block. I got this quilt put together in one afternoon. I spent some time auditioning the fabrics and selecting the section that I wanted to cut but the rest was so incredibly simple. That's the magic of these fabrics. The fabric pattern does all the work. It's taken me a long time working with them to relax and let the fabric do the work.
Quilting them is easy too because you can't see the quilting on this fabric. These quilts only need utility quilting like straight lines or stippling.
Yesterday was dyeing day and that usually means several hours straight in the basement but the plan for this week was shibori. Shibori takes a lot more elapsed time (about 8 hours) but there are some breaks while the fabric is on the dye bath. I probably should dye shibori more often but, frankly, it's just too fatiguing. Once every couple of months is a good pace for me. I do love seeing the color combos develop.
In between sessions I'm working on Summer Sunset. The 5th set of star points are almost done.
And here's the surprise pink RSC project that I did this week! My SIL's granddaughter, Ella, is 7 and she's delightful. She is also obsessed with American Girl dolls. Personally, I've always hated dolls. They creep me out no end. But I have always liked doll clothes. I tried making Barbie clothes for another little girl once but Barbie clothes are way too tiny and really hard to make. After spending some time with Ella I thought I might try to make some clothes for her collection of TEN American Girl dolls that includes her mother's AG dolls. I ordered a pattern off Etsy and this is the first piece. The fabric is a cute vintage feedsack fabric and the pattern is a nightgown and sleep mask. As I was sewing it I found some unforgivable flaws in the old fabric that I patched as best I could so I consider this one a prototype and will send it to Ella just to see if this pattern fits. Has anyone made anything from 18" doll patterns? Do they generally fit OK?
I even added some vintage buttons as decoration. I learned a lot making this little dress so I'm better prepared for the next outfit.
Back to dyeing, I found this photo that I forgot to share last week. When I was doing the impromptu sewing room cleanup last week I found a box of linens that a friend had given me. She used to haunt thrift stores and find all kinds of cheap linens. I've decided that I need to just start dyeing them. I dyed these in the bin with the Coleus Gradient and they turned out really nice. I have a friend who is now big into carving stamps and printing on fabric. I'll give these linen cocktail napkins to her for to add the final decoration.
Tomorrow I finally get to share the project that I did for Paula Nadelstern last year!
Yesterday our marriage was tested when we decided that it was the perfect day to replace 2 fluorescent fixtures in the basement. Both had died, one spectacularly with flames when I put in a new bulb. We replaced them with LED fixtures. Of course it couldn't be done without one extra trip to the hardware store. But they are done and I have light in my exercise corner again. They kind of look like 2 idiots installed them but they are in and they work and it's an unfinished basement.
Next I decided it was time to cut my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. Since I am making 8 quilts I did 8 blocks of each. All 8 aren't necessarily the same fabrics. I'm using what I have. I even decided to "use what I have" for white fabric. I was going to set aside a bolt of white fabric but I have a bin of various white and white-on-white fabrics and I need to use them. There's no reason that the background can't be scrappy too.
Now that these are cut, I'm pondering saving the sewing until we go to Maine in August. I have these arranged on boards that can easily be stacked and wrapped. We will be there for 4 weeks this summer and I like to take projects that are already cut. Last year I took veterans quilt kits. I'll spend some time thinking about that this week but it would be kind of cool to just have a bunch of blocks cut and ready to sew.
I cut something else out of pink and I'll share it tomorrow if it sews up nice. You will NEVER guess what it is.
While I was pulling fabrics I found this really cool one. It's vintage but not feedsack and it's awesome! I must finally use it for something. It needs to come out in public and be seen.
Then it was back to the floor cloths. Here's the first motif. I have a 160 tooth base circle and I drew with a 60- toothed football shape. I had to go around multiple (maybe 4?) times skipping 5 spaces between each.
I did one set of lines using the hole that's on the point (left) and one set with the hole on the side (right)
Then I wanted to do a design in the center using the inside of the 160 circle. To make sure everything stays centered I first fit the outside template over the inside template and then I remove the inside template. I use lots of that artist tacky stuff to hold the templates in place.
For the inside design I used a 72 tooth square and went around twice, once using the side hole and once using the hole on the point.
A little coloring in and this one was done.
Here's how that floor cloth is looking. The new design is at the top right.
That photo reminded me to show you the gears that I used for the squiggle line. I've got loads of these shapes that I can put together any way I want. These are a lot of fun to work with.
Here's the second design. I only got 2 designs done yesterday because both of these took a while. Planning, prep, drawing and cleanup took about an hour and a half for only 2 designs. The more they are layered with other designs the longer they take. I almost messed up and drew through the "top" design with this one.
Here's how that floor cloth looks with the new design in the lower right corner of the photo.
They are coming along! I do love them.
I'm in the mood to make a bunch of new gradients so I've been scouring the interwebs and my own photos for inspiration. Succulents is my first new gradient of 2021 and I love it! There's loads of texture in this one for a background or fussy cutting. The inspiration (and name) for this one came from the popular Design Seeds website. It's such a wonderful resource and I'm sure that between us we have spent endless hours there looking for color inspiration.
Gradients Back In Stock
Keeping my focus on Gradients I've got 2 gradients back in stock.
Artist Patricia Caldwell has worked with Sunshine and Shadows in several of her art quilts but I think my favorite is this one, Copper Trails. I think it uses the gradient beautifully.
Sunshine and Shadows is also a nice representation of the Pantone 2021 colors of the year, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating.
Coleus Gradient was inspired by some of my Grandmother's favorite plants. Becky Brown used this gradient to create a fabric painting of one of her favorite flowers, the Daylily.
Fabric of the Week
The fabric of the week this week is a whole category! Stars are 1 yard cuts of mottled colors. These work great as solids in your pieced quilts and make beautiful quilted whole cloth art quilts. They are on sale for 20% off through Sunday. Just use coupon code STARS20 at checkout.
Well, I didn't make it to sewing with my quilt club. I started having some big allergic reaction Thursday and decided not to go because I didn't want to freak out anyone with my sneezes and sniffles. How do I know for sure it was allergies? Hives and abnormally low temperature (97.0). That's allergy. It was mostly cleared up by last night and it didn't keep me from being productive although there were a couple of Benedryl naps.
The biggest accomplishment of the weekend was getting Mom's quilt quilted. The quilt was started by a friend who passed away a couple of years ago. It was supposed to be a Yellow Brick Road. After getting the whole quilt together she didn't like it. She took it apart and added the 3 sold borders and the coins border on the edge. It finished at 102" square and this is how it looks on a queen bed.
The color in this photo isn't quite right. I love the backing fabric hat she picked but I had to add another few inches on one edge because the backing fabric was exactly the width of the quilt. I'm glad I don't have to bind it!
I also got back to the floor cloths after more than a month away. I can only do this about an hour at a time because I'm so sensitive to the Sharpie fumes. I wear a respirator and run a fan but that only helps so much. It's just as well because crawling around on the floor isn't the most comfortable thing to do at 60. During this session I added the 2 small motifs on the left and added 2 squiggly motifs on the right. I have some elements that can be snapped together for different shapes and that's how these were done. In some future posts I'll try to remember to take some photos of the set up for some of the special shapes.
Because there were good football games to watch this weekend I decided to finally tackle this mess. It's my dye binder with all of my recipes and it's become a huge mess.
During the games I alternated between working on the book and doing some crochet. Once I get the book cleaned up it will save me a ton of time on Wednesdays. This chore should have been done 2 years ago.
The crochet blanket is over half done. My goals for this week are to work on Summer Sunset and the floor cloths.
I was out most of yesterday. I had a clay shooting lesson in the morning. I wasn't very good. I was having allergy symptoms and when that happens the floaters in my eyes are more prominent. I don't know why that happens but it does. Floaters make it much harder to track the clays, especially when they are presented on the back (black) side. But it was still great practice and having to train myself to see beyond the floaters is part of the purpose of all these lessons anyway. My distance vision really is getting better and that helps my driving.
I also got to see my instructor's 8 week old puppy, Lacy. They will train her to be a hunting dog so she brings her to the range just so she gets used to hearing gun shots. It doesn't phase her at all and I get puppy kisses.
That reminds me of one of the dogs that used to visit our house all the time. Stanley was a beautiful yellow lab and was the pick of the litter. The owner wanted him for a hunting dog but it just didn't work out. He was afraid of the sight of a gun and the sound of thunder. He was the sweetest dog ever but he wasn't the sharpest blade in the drawer.
After the lesson I ran a couple of errands. One was to my local Innova longarm dealer that is no longer a longarm dealer! Their business started as a quilting and machine rental business and they are going back to their roots. Covid gave them to opportunity to really understand the amount of time that they spent traveling to shows in 9 states. They decided that more balance in their lives needed to be a priority. Everyone really seemed happier. I'm happy for them all although I'll miss being able to drive a few miles for supplies but, let's face it, the chances that I will ever buy another longarm is close to zero.
I came home in the mood to quilt so I added 2 more rows to Mom's quilt. I'm over halfway through now. I should have this ready for her by Monday easy.
After dinner I sat down to add some more rounds to my Summer Sunset quilt blocks. I'm working on the 5th star right now. It's really good to be back working on this.
I'm linking up to Alycia's Finish (or not) Friday.
Yesterday was "dyeing day" so I didn't get much of anything else done. My cleaning lady came, halleluiah! She missed a time because she had covid (very mild). She did the requisite quarantine so I was very comfortable with her coming back. Plus she uses a lot of bleach products here so I doubt she could leave germs if she wanted. Chris and I did clean the day she missed and we aren't in a hurry to do it again. My allergies were crazy after that experience. Anyway, we spent some time catching up, she cut my hair (because she's also licensed for that too) and then I got to the dye studio. After dinner I did get a couple of rows quilted on Mom's quilt. Based on where I am I think this will take a total of 9 passes so 6 more to go. It's a really wide pantograph. From this photo you can get a better idea of what the quilt looks like.
The quilt was started by a friend of hers who passed away a couple of years ago. It was supposed to be a Yellow Brick Road. Once Mom got it together she hated it. She decided to cut it up and add the 3 borders and I think it made a huge difference. It's going to basically be big enough to be a bedspread on her bed and it's going to look great in her bedroom. I want to finish quilting it by the weekend because I expect that I'll be picking up more veterans quilt tops at sewing this weekend.
So, on to the real purpose of this post, to introduce my Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. I've been following the RSC blog for several years and always considered starting a RSC quilt but nothing has ever really grabbed my attention. But while cleaning up the sewing room this weekend I got to pondering my modest collection of feedsack, vintage and repro fabric collection. I feel like it's time to do something with them.
Then I remembered these star blocks. This is the very last of my Great-Grandmother Flora's UFO projects. You might remember this quilt that I made for my brother a couple of years ago. It's actually my childhood quilt made by Flora, recovered in her orphan blocks. It's really heavy, just like my brother likes.
The only blocks left from her stash of stuff are the 8 stars.
I started to play with them over 10 years ago and got one set in a white background and bordered with Broken Dishes blocks. Then I packed it away. I couldn't decided if I wanted multiple quilts or one big quilt.
I've now decided that I will make 8 lap quilts and give them to members of my family so that everyone will have a piece of her work. This will be a multi-year project and I'll use the RSC project to make a bunch of 9" blocks to set around the stars. They may all be identical or I may make a couple of quilts at a time. For now I'm just going to make some blocks and see how it goes. You can see that she used whatever fabric that she had and I plan to do the same. I'll use mostly vintage and repro but I'll probably add in some plaids, solids and maybe some hand dyes. I will not be buying fabric. That's really the only rule.
I've pulled a basket of pink fabrics for January.
I'll pick a block from this book each month.
Here's the first block. I plan to get some blocks cut out this weekend and sew them next week. I'll work on this as much as I have time. I'm not going to stress over it because I expect this to take a few years to complete.
I'll play around with layouts but I expect that I'll end up with something simple like this but with different blocks and some sashing between blocks.
We'll see how it goes.
I had no intention of doing a clean up in the sewing room. All I wanted to do was to get my Summer Sunset project set up again and start a new project (more on that later). But after all the Christmas sewing I finally actually looked at my space and it was a disaster. There wasn't a free flat surface anywhere. I could not tolerate it anymore.
I didn't do an actual full deep clean but I grabbed a trash bag and cleared out the three areas that bugged me the most. My fabric cabinets still need some attention but now I can work here.
These are the project shelves. I realized that I didn't know what was in a couple of the bins. See the green bin on the right side of the middle shelf? It had a project idea from 2007! I think it's clear that I'm not going to make that particular miniature quilt. Now that bin will hold my travel crochet project between trips. About 5 more bins were emptied. The bins with blue tags are the ones that I've designated to work on this year, hopefully the first half of the year. I got everything off the top of the cabinets and even have a few empty bins/baskets on the left side of the top shelf. Ahhhh, breathing room. It's not "pretty" but when it comes to my work spaces I'm totally function over form.
Before and after are really obvious here. I hate when my cutting table gets full. Now I just have the binder to replace my worn out dye binder and the materials for the upcoming online quilting class. Perfect.
Now Summer Sunset is set up again at the Juki and the Brother is all cleared off and ready for my new project. What is it? I've decided to do the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year. I've been wanting to do it for a while but didn't have a good plan. I'll share what I'm going to do tomorrow. Of course, it's kind of involved.
Another project on the future/wish list is to make a 3-D quilt. I just got this in the mail last week and I think it will be a fun project. I'm not pulling fabrics or anything yet. I just added it to the wish list.
Aside from cleaning, I got Mom's giant quilt loaded and started quilting. It's 102" square. The backing fabric is exactly 102" wide including the selvedges so it needed a little more width. I found a fabric in my stash that I could add on. She will have about a 4" strip of blue on one side. If she decides to use the quilt back side up (it's a really pretty fabric) she can put the strip edge under the pillows and no one will be the wiser. One row quilted and about 45 more rows to go!
Well, it seems like 45 but probably a good dozen. The pantograph is wide and uses almost a whole bobbin in one row.
Cleaning up the sewing room really helps the creative juices. I'm excited to get back to Summer Sunset this week. I'll also get back to the floor cloths and get those finished up. But Friday and Saturday will be sewing days so I'll be back working on the king size green quilt.
I've got some blues of my own to cure that!
I hope you had a nice holiday. I know we were all happy to turn the page on the calendar. I had a wonderful 2 week break. We didn't really go anywhere but it was just nice to have a break without structure or due dates and to spend some time with family.
I'm excited to kick off the new year with a new Stash Pack.
I love dark, brooding blues and grays and I got everything I wanted in this new Stash Pack called Nightlife. The inspiration was cloudy night skies and moon reflections on water. I hope you think that I captured those moods in this pack of 10 fat eighths.
Here are 6 of the fabrics in the set. On the left are fabrics that I think are perfect for moonlit skies. On the right are waves and ripples reflecting moonlight. Of course, you may see something totally different in these fabrics. I'm more of a traditional quilter, so these are great for a blue scrappy quilt as well.
Check out Nightlife and all the other Stash Packs in the shop.
Fabric of the Week
Keeping with the blue theme, the fabric of the week this week is the Indra Shades Pack. It's one of my favorite blues. I sued it as the background fabric in my Grandmother's Choice quilt. The blocks are made from the Shades Pack and the border is a gradient of the same color.
Indra is 20% off through Sunday. If you want pieces larger than fat quarters just order multiple quantities. I will dye each shade as one continuous piece.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.