A great weekend
Every once in a while we actually get to live the weekend that we planned and this was one of those weekends! The weather was really, really unseasonably cold but the sun was bright so it was fine to sit outside yesterday to chat with some friends. They were my only social time this weekend the rest of the time I was doing things!
I got both of the Blockade veterans quilts quilted and bound. I like seeing them side-by-side to see how different they look just by changing the palette for the hand dyed fabrics. I like both of them a lot but I can see where people would have strong preferences for one or the other.
When I quilt the veterans quilts I am trying to use up a huge stash of King Tut thread and I was able to use purple thread on these quilts.
Two more veterans quilts ready for delivery!
I also screen printed some tea towels to get ready for my next fundraiser sale in a couple of weeks. I have a couple more dozen to dye but I wanted to do some in white.
I got in a little more crochet in the evenings. I'm really loving this pattern and I know I'll make it again. If you like this one just search "filet crochet baby blanket pattern" on Etsy and you will find it. This yarn is Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn and I do actually like it a lot.
But the big news of the weekend is that the cat quilt is quilted! It was the last thing I finished so this was all I had the energy to photograph. Today or tomorrow I will get the binding done. Then I need to make labels for this and the penguin quilt. I want these done, done by Friday.
The cat is ready for quilting
It's late Thursday evening while I write this and my allergies are messed up but I want to get this posted before I turn in so pardon me if it's a little disjointed or full of typos. But as a consolation there are lots of photos! I spent the day getting the cat quilt ready for quilting and that turned into quite the grueling task.....because, you know, I get IDEAS.
The cat quilt has 3 borders. One blue border was already added, then there's a print border and finally another blue border. Simple, right? It was until I got the great idea that the print border had to be totally symmetrical. These 2 photos are of the same print fabric with strips of the blue positioned to highlight stripes so I could choose what I wanted. The left is lengthwise and the right is crosswise. I chose the left one in the right side photo.
I needed 8 strips, 2 for each side. I think those 2 spots look like cat eyes. This border had to be planned from the corners to the middle so that meant that the whole border had to be constructed like a frame and then stitched onto the quilt. It was a little overwhelming but I just took it one step at a time.
First I made all 4 corners and they are stitched to within 1/4" of the inside corner so that I can stitch it onto the quilt like a Y seam. Next I had to do a bunch of math, some of it really bad, to figure out how long each leg would need to be to meet up with the next corner so that the join was a symmetrical design. My brain was hurting during this part and I made a bunch of mistakes and I completely forgot to take more photos. I was smart enough to make all of my join seams with a long stitch length until I knew that I had it just right. I even stitched two wrong legs together once and wound up with and S shape instead of a frame.
Here's I've finally got it all the frame seams basted and the frame pinned to the quilt top. As I sewed the frame in sections I'd stop to stitch the join seams and trim the excess fabric.
Here are the joins: corner, top/bottom and sides. It's PERFECTLY symmetrical. I will admit that this border ended up a little wavy but I was able to reign it in with the final blue border and a good steam press.
Aside from some early morning grocery shopping, this is ALL that I accomplished Thursday. I'm really thrilled! I'm glad I took the extra time to do a symmetrical border. I may be the only person who actually notices it but I don't care. I now know that I can do it. I can't wait to get it quilted and bound and I hope that happens in the next week.
Today I think I'm going to load 2 veterans quilts to quilt up really fast and screen print some tea towels.
A crochet update
Yesterday was dyeing day so I didn't do much of anything else. But I have a little update on the crochet I've been doing lately.
This little blanket is finally done. It's the blanket stitch and is such a perfect stitch for watching TV or riding in the car. Once you get going you barely have to look at it. The edges finish really nicely so it doesn't need a border either. I didn't use that particular tutorial, I just picked the first one I could find to link to but it looks right to me.
The yarn is Lion Brand Ice Cream in the color Lemon Swirl. I like working with this yarn a lot. I used an H hook and the yarn doesn't snag or split. It makes a really soft blanket. I don't particularly like this colorway. I remember picking it just because my previous blankets had all had pink in them and I wanted something blue. This yarn line has some variegated yarns in single color, like yellow, pink. blue or grey. I think those single color variegated yarns would look MUCH better in this stitch and I'd be happy to work with this yarn again for my next car project.....if we ever get out again!
Now it's time to start another project. I started with the one on the left. I've been wanting to try out a corner-to-corner stitch. It's easy to do but I think I might want a smaller hook so I have new hooks on order. In the mean time I had some of this Hobby Lobby yarn that I wanted to try out and I found a pattern form some filet crochet. That's another technique that I wanted to try so I started this one. So far I really like this yarn and pattern. So this is what I'm going to be working on for a while.
Today I'm doing grocery shopping in the morning and dropping groceries off for Mom. After that I plan to be quilting.
Busy with stuff
Now that the basement is clean I can start doing some quilting without worrying about ruining a quilt with grout. I think the first thing I'm going to quilt is the 2 Blockade quilts made from symmetry scraps. The one in the left is the first one that I made and the one on the right is the one I got together yesterday. My friend, Wanda, suggested cool colors for one of them so that's what I did and I like it a lot. I expect they will get a light blue backing because I have one dyed and ready to go.
Next I'll do these 2 quilts that Mom made. There's a batik backing for the one on the left and I think I'll dye a gold backing for the one on the right. Both of these are pretty big quilts. My Mom sure knows how to tame a scrap quilt.
I ordered more tea towels for my fundraiser and the package got lost in the mail. It only took a couple of days for the post office to find it and get it to me yesterday. I think they delivered it to a nearby house that's currently vacant, I should have known to check there. Our neighborhood is 10 acre lots so you can't see neighbor's houses from the road but I should have known to check across the street. All's well that ends well and I spent most of today screen printing with Color Magnet and dyeing 16 towels. I also decided to do some white ones with straight up screen printing with fabric paint. I know that some of the towels are sewn with polyester thread so they would dye leaving the thread white. That's not a really big deal but since I have fabric printing paint I've decided to leave some white. I'll be printing and dyeing towels for the next week and then get them posted on some local Facebook pages to sell them next week.
That's pretty much what I'm going to be working on the rest of the week. After my standard dyeing today I'll be quilting and dyeing towels.
Black is Back!
Today's news is all about black. Black is one of the most difficult colors to dye but it's a color that I need because I use it a lot. Often you can get a good dark black but the current commercial black dyes don't really gradate to real grays. One of the suppliers used to have a wonderful black but it was discontinued several years ago. After a year of experiments, I was able to mix my own black that would gradate to beautiful light grays. It's a very precise mix of 5 colors and because it's a mix it does dye with some beautiful texture in all of the shades.
Today I want to highlight several different fabrics that are based on my custom black dye.
Fabric of the Week - Blue Morpho
Blue Morpho is another fabric that is made with my custom black dye and it's the fabric of the week this week. It's marked 20% off through Sunday (or until supplies last).
Patricia Caldwell made her Mystical Raven using the Blue Morpho gradient as the background.
Black Shades Packs are back!
Black Shades Packs are made with 8 steps because the darkest black is so black that you really don't get any good light grays in the traditional 5-step pack. The are offered in fat quarter and half yard sets but I can custom dye any size that you need and any number of steps that you need.
Stephanie Wilds made her portrait, The Prophet Bert, using a Black Shades Pack.
Also Available in Black
Also available in Black are these 2 gradients. The Black Gradient starts with the darkest shade on one edge and gradates through 6 lighter shades. The darkest gray in Gray Skies is the middle gray of the Black Gradient. (I hope that makes sense!). You get more of the lightest grays in this gradient.
Jane Sleeva used both the Black and Gray Skies gradients in her Perkins Quilt.
The Beaded Wall!
I'm so happy to finally share my last mosaic project, the beaded wall! The whole purpose for this wall section was to use up lots of the leftover bits from the big wall. I had stacks of cups and containers full of mosaic bits and this was the perfect project for them.
Here you can see that the beaded section is right next to The Great Wall in my longarm room. There's something really cool about knowing that these are hidden in the basement and I'm pretty much the only person who sees it.
This is my last mosaic. It's been a fun 4+ years diversion but it was time to get all the mess out of my basement and to get back to doing my glass work. You cannot believe the mess that mosaic art makes and how much space it takes up. It's much worse than a huge fabric collection.I needed to get all of that stuff out of my house. It was starting to dampen my creativity.
You can see all of the mosaic projects and more photos of this wall in the Mosaics Gallery.
So after getting the mosaic grouted last week and giving it a few days to finish off gassing, I spent the weekend cleaning the basement.
As I'm writing this post it's Sunday evening about 8:30 and I am exhausted. I cleaned and cleaned and culled and culled. It was brutal but I'm happy to have some clean and empty shelves in the basement. One of the curses of having space is that you can always keep things "because I might need it some day". The next thing you know you basically have a space full of garbage. Some of the gems that I found there are:
- wallpapering supplies that I haven't used in 20 years
- a bag of PVC elbows left over from making ice dyeing screens
- about 40 plastic containers with lids that Chris used to use for his painting business that he stopped doing about 2 years ago
- homemade jam dated 2012!
and loads of dust bunnies.
I have to deep clean the basement once a year because we have a wood stove down there so even the floor gets mopped. I didn't even have the energy to carry these bags to the truck so I had to tell Chris that I had some "gifts" for him by the basement door. As you can imagine, he was incredibly grateful.
Now that the dangerous products are away from the longarm I can start quilting again this week. I'm working on the second Blockade veterans quilt from the symmetry fabrics so I might put those on first for a quick win. I also have 2 quilt tops from Mom and the cat quilt will be done soon. At least that's the plan!
Customer Gems - Wanda Hansen
This weeks inspiration comes from Wanda Hanson. Her blog, Exuberant Color aptly describes all of her work. If you aren't familiar with it you will absolutely want to check it out.
Seeing Stars is made by blending Stash Packs with Kaffe Fassett fabrics for the star blocks. Check out her blog for more of her colorful quilts.
For sharing, Wanda received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
April Progress and May Goals
Occasionally I think that I should stop doing this post but then I have a month like April and I'm glad that I sit down and take the time to look back and I'm actually surprised. April, it turns out, was a really good month.
My goals were pretty simple because I knew I'd be doing things like making masks and dyeing tea towels (my COVID contributions). Here's what I set as my goals:
- piece the flower applique top and start quilting it. I did get it pieced and eventually got some batting but needed to hold off on quilting until the mosaic was done because of the mess near the longarm.
- make the symmetry cat quilt top - I need to add 2 borders and then it will be ready to quilt
- finish the Pleiades II quilt top - I completely changed direction on this and turned it into a veterans quilt kit
- grout the last mosaic wall
I can't take the full view photos until I move the fans out of the way. That will happen this weekend for sure because the basement is about to get a serious deep cleaning. But here's a teaser photo to prove that I did it so I can count it as an April finish. That's the BIG accomplishment of the month and it marks the end of my mosaic hobby. I really enjoyed doing these walls but I just can't do these hobbies that involved a lot of VOC emissions. It's the same reason that I do almost no fabric painting anymore. I just can't handle the fumes. But I'm glad I did all 3 projects and they make me really happy when I'm working/playing in the basement.
But in terms of time investment, April was all about community service. I started making masks in March and continued well into April eventually making over 180. Then I quilted 3 veterans quilts and now I'm in the middle of dyeing and selling dozens of tea towels to raise funds for our local food pantry. I've already sent off $480 in checks to the organization and I have loads more to dye and sell.
I finished 2 veterans quilts of my own this month and finished a new top. After my cutting marathon this week I have a total of 8 veterans quilt kits cut out and ready to piece. I want to spend most of May quilting so I'll probably limit my sewing time to veterans quilts. I don't really have excitement for any particular new project at the moment but hopefully something will gear up in my little brain soon.
Finally, I finished 2 crochet projects. Both of these will be donation blankets as soon as some of the local charities start taking them again. In only have 7 UFO projects! I didn't think I'd ever hit a number that low.
My March stats were:
Starting UFO 12 (15 in 2018)
Finished YTD 4
Started YTD 1
Ending UFO 8
Veterans quilts made - 2
Veterans quilts quilted - 13
Fabric Postcards - 8
Pet Beds 5
Placemats - 12
Quilted for others - 2
Crochet projects - 3
My current stats are:
Starting UFO 12 (15 in 2018)
Finished YTD 5
Started YTD 1
Ending UFO 7
Veterans quilts made - 4
Veterans quilts quilted - 16
Fabric Postcards - 13
Pet Beds 5
Placemats - 12
Quilted for others - 2
Crochet projects - 5
COVID masks - approximately 180
My goals for May are:
- dye and sell another 4 - 5 dozen tea towels
- Quilt 2 quilts for Mom
- Quilt 2 of my own veterans quilts
- Start quilting the vintage flowers quilt
- Quilt and finish the cat quilt.
That means a lot of time down in the basement and I'm cool with that because I have some very nest mosaic walls to look at there.
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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.