Yesterday was a really good day. To start off the weather was spectacular. For Virginia it was cool (high 70's) and low humidity. It was a great day for ice dyeing because the sun was still hot on the dye bins but we weren't burning up. But I'll start the day backwards with the 2 quilts that I quilted last night. That's 8 for the week so far and I've identified the two that I plan to get done tonight.
My friend, Anne, came over to ice dye with me and she brought this picnic quilt to quilt. We got it basted yesterday and will get it quilted today. This fabric brings back great memories. We both bought packages of these beautiful sun printed fabrics the first year that we went to the Houston Quilt Festival. That was probably sometime around 2005. We both treated them as precious until we learned out to sun print ourselves. I finally made a quilt I called Autumn Leaves with mine in 2014 and gave it to the guy who cuts our yard. (Yes, mine is a yard, not a lawn. It doesn't receive enough care from us to be called a lawn. We live on a river so I don't use fertilizer. We have weeds that mostly look like grass right after mowing.) Anyway, Scooter got that quilt and loved it. Anne made this fun picnic quilt with her leftovers of the fabric. She's coming back over to quilt it today. Can you see the perfect backing fabric that she used?
The real purpose of our day was ice dyeing! I haven't done this in 2 years. I sort of enjoy doing it but it really is a huge waste of dye powder and it's a lot of physical work. But you can't argue with the wonderful and unique textures that you get from the process. We set up 8 bins/trays in the driveway and Chris brought us 150 lbs. of ice.
Half of the ice is put directly on the fabric and the we sprinkled the dye powders over the ice.
The rest of the ice is spread over the dye and I sprinkle more soda ash on top just for good measure. I have fabric in the bottom of every bin because I love the texture on those fabrics created from the dripping dye. My Antelope Canyon quilt is made from one of the "bin" fabrics. You can see the plastic collars that I set up to keep the ice from rolling off.
Here are the 8 bins at the end of the day. They stayed out all night and we will wash the fabrics out with a garden hose this morning. Unfolding the fabrics is the best part of the process. It's always a surprise!
It's been a busy couple of days and, aside from my weekly dyeing, I'm staying focused on quilting the veterans quilts.
First, I want to thank Lily for providing a nice counter to the propane bill in our mail this week. Isn't that a very cool card? Much better than a gas bill.
Here are the 2 newest veterans quilts. Ribbon meanders on both. Anne is coming over tomorrow to quickly quilt a little picnic quilt and then I'll load the next 2 veterans quilts.
I successfully finished my first loom knitted hat! It's not a masterpiece but it's really warm and will be a nice donation hat and I think this is going to suffice for a donation hat. This yarn is Loops and Treads Tweed Big from Michaels. It's bulky and soft and it was on sale for $3. There are at least 2 more hats in this ball and the second one is underway. That's $1/hat! I can crochet a couple of rows on the wheelchair lap blanket and the I have to take a break and do this for a bit. I'll work on a few hats and then I might try a scarf.
The rest of my day was spent getting fabrics ready for ice dyeing today! I haven't ice dyed in a couple of years so be on the lookout for more ice dyed mandalas in the shop soon. If you need me today I'll be out in the driveway making a big mess with 100 lbs. of ice.
It's official now, my longarm is well and truly fixed! The tension is perfect just like it used to be. No more thread breakage, no more shipped stitches and no more bobbin nests. Best of all I feel very confident that I can fix it myself alone going forward. I even feel like I could work on mu Juki straight stitch machine if I needed. My brother (the auto mechanic) has repaired a couple of sewing machine himself so we're probably going to service my Juki together at some point.
I immediately got busy tackling the stack of 20+ veterans quilt tops that I have here to be quilted. I've told the group that I'm not taking any more tops until September, after vacation. I'm going to quilt as many as I can this week and then I will not quilt any others until the fall. I've done 34 already this year and now it's time to work on some of my own quilts.
These 4 were made by 2 club members and are only 4 of the 10 that they made from the fabric that was donated to us from Benartex (to compensate for the quilt that was stolen.) These fabrics are so busy that it doesn't matter at all how I quilt them.
With the goal of speed and volume, most of the quilts getting quilted this week are getting wavy straight lines, ribbon meander, wavy cross hatch or some other type of continuous curves. All of those are fast and I can get 2 quilts loaded, basted and quilted in less than 3 hours. My goal is going to be to get 2 done every day this week through Saturday. On Sunday I'll load one of my own quilts.
On the crochet front I'm making progress on the corner-to-corner blanket. I haven't been a big fan of the c2c blankets but now I get the attraction. It's so fast and easy! I think this Cascade Cartwheel yarn is beautiful and it will make a very soft wheelchair lap blanket. Working with the bulky yarn seems to be more tolerable for my hand as well for the moment. I've devised a weighting method with the yarn so that I don't have to use my fingers for tensioning and that's working really well. I'm also taking lots of breaks. I like this yarn so much that when I saw that Webs had it on clearance I ordered a bunch more. It's 40% off right now and it was an additional 15% over the weekend but I think that part of the sale has ended. It seems like June is the big yarn clearance month.
I got the 4 quilts done before I left for Eli's birthday party Saturday. Mom and I had a great time watching the kids play on a giant inflatable water slide. It was a fun afternoon. After the party we stopped by Joann's. I've been researching loom knitting as a possible car project and project to do in the evenings when I need a crochet break. I picked a pack of looms and a $3 ball of bulky yarn and watched a bunch of You Tube videos. I think this is going to be a fine project to do when my left hand gets fatigued with crochet. This is mostly a right hand task and I can make hats and scarves to donate.
This week is going to be all about veterans quilts. I don't have any appointments or house projects so I should be able to get through the quilts and maybe even get some other, more interesting, sewing projects done.
What time of day is most productive for you? I'm not particularly productive in the mornings. I do exercise every day but I don't even eat breakfast until 10. Then I will do computer stuff and I don't get motivated to make/sew/due until about 2. But after 2, I'm on fire until about 10 pm.
I've become my father who was an incredible night owl.
Yesterday afternoon I made some good progress on my weekend goals.
I got the little t-shirts tied/stamped and ready to dye this weekend. These are for a birthday gift for next weekend. One will be a spiral, the one with the little tied nub is a fish and I'm doing color magnet with another fish theme. Hopefully he will like them.
Then I got started cutting out more veterans quilt kits. This is a panel that my friend bought for me. It's almost as wide as the quilts we make so it's getting 3" stripes above and below. This one will sew together in a couple of hours.
I had enough batik left over to cut out 2 HST quilts with 6: HST blocks. Both are in blue and cream batiks.
Here's what's left of all of that 30+ yards of batiks that I bought several months ago. These leftovers might become placemats.
When I get back from sewing today I'll get started cutting into those 2 piles in back. That's all that's left of my patriotic fabric. I'm so glad because as of now I have EIGHTEEN kits cut out. That should keep my busy for the next year.
I will not be buying more patriotic fabric for a while.
I didn't get anything creative done yesterday except the regular Wednesday dyeing session. I was sill a little tired from the long day Tuesday so at the end of the day I just say and worked on a puzzle and listened to a book. It was kind of a perfect day!
My big goal for the weekend is to cut the rest of this pile into veterans quilt kits. I like pre-cutting kits for my quilt club sewing days and for vacation sewing. I have 2 quilts planned from this pile and the rest might be cut into tumbler or square or HST scraps. But I'm committed to not returning these fabrics to stash!
The other thing I'm doing this weekend is tie dyeing these toddler t-shirts for a birthday gift. I know I'm doing a fish and a spiral but I need to quickly come up with another idea.
It is sewing weekend with my quilt club so Friday and Saturday I'll be working on 2 kits in this pattern. One has the light blue background and one has ivory.
I've ordered the backing and batting for the king size quilt. The backing needs to be dyed but I'm a little closer to getting that quilt done. Because the backing needs to be dyed it means that I will be ice dyeing again soon!
Yesterday was the Democratic primary for 3 positions in Virginia and I spent the day working at the polling station. I did this the first time for the last presidential election and I really enjoy doing it. Unfortunately the turnout was abysmal (as expected for a single party primary) so we were all quite bored. We had 82 voters in a precinct with over 1400 registered voters. There were 5 of us working and we all got lots of reading in and I finished off this hat that will be donated as a chemo hat. It's a 15 hour day so I was almost straight to bed by the time I got home.
Back to the hat. The yarn is Flecks from Michaels. I had been hearing a lot about and I caught it on sale and picked up this skein. I like buying single skeins and trying them out with hats. Then I can figure out if it's something I want more of. This yarn is really soft so it would be great for shawls, hats and scarves. I've seen it made up into a pretty swing-style tank top too. I think it made a pretty chemo hat and I have enough for at least 2 more. It's pretty splitty so I don't know if I'd buy more of it but I'm glad I bought some to try out.
I think this brings my total number of hats to 6 for the year and I finally feel like I'm starting to understand hat making, so that's good. I'm also glad that I have a place to donate them.
My hand is starting to get better so I'm doing a little bit of crochet every day. I'll have to avoid doing hours of crochet every day again. I did love sitting down after dinner and doing crochet until bed time. Now I'm working puzzles and piecing. I'm going to try a turmeric-based anti-inflammatory to see if that helps. The problem is all inflammation but I can't take ibuprophen or other drugs. I hear good things about tumeric/cumin but I'll need to try it for myself. I have discovered that, as with most things, the good brands are not inexpensive.
So I mentioned Wednesday that my goal Thursday was to get the Innova timed.
It all started when I wanted to get these 2 veterans quilts done quickly before vacation. For this one I was happily quilting along with the wavy cross-hatch when the machine started acting up. I think I ran up on a thick seam and it messed up the hopping foot height. That's not uncommon and it's not a big deal. I fixed it and moved on and finished this one.
Then I started on this one just doing some wavy horizontal lines. On both of these quilts I was using thread that wouldn't really show so I could get away with really simple quilting. This quilt legitimately deserved some fancy quilting but I have to remember that I'm quantity over quality when it comes to veterans quilts. This quilt should have taken 40 minutes, max, to quilt.
As of these evening I expect that it's taken me 4 hours! My machine is unhappy. It is quilting great from left to right but right to left is awful.
Yesterday Marcy came over and we went through the timing steps and I think we did everything right but I still have some sort of problem. It's possible that there's a burr somewhere that I can't see or something. I've taken a lot of photos and sent an email to Innova for some help. I'm not frustrated with the machine or anything. I've had it since 2014 with so few problems. I'm sure this is either a damaged part or something stupid I've done in my attempts to adjust it. I expect it will be resolved soon.
Here's what the back of these quilts look like. It's nothing special except the specialness of being done! I'm all caught up on veterans quilts until the meeting Tuesday night.
This weekend is all about getting the green quilt top together.
I'm trying to clean things up in my sewing room before we go. Last night I got a little Minnie Mouse doll dress cut out. There's a cape that I'd like to cut out but that will happen when we get home. I also cut another veterans quilt with a charm pack and stack of scraps. I still have a heap of patriotic fabric for even more veterans quilts but I probably have about 10 quilt kits cut out and that's enough for a while! The rest of the patriotic fabric is going in a bin for now.
Then I had the great idea to knock out a few for veterans quilts so that when I get back I'll be ready to load one of my own quilts.
Everything started off gangbusters. I got these 2 quilts loaded and quilted Wednesday afternoon. They are quilted with ribbon quilting.
Then I loaded 2 more. The first one was going great with a wavy cross-hatch. Some of the seam corners were pretty bulky and it eventually sent the machine out of timing.
This is the second quilt on the frame and I was going to do a quick job with the Woven Wind pantograph. But the machine refuses. I reset the height of the hopping foot and readjusted the tension assembly. Neither of those things fixed it. Then I checked the timing and found the problem.
Then I tried to re-time it and now it's kind of a mess. I'm pretty sure I know what's wrong but I lost patience with it. It might set until I get back and I might make my brother come over and help me. I think I'm going to send him some links to timing machines so he can be prepared. I can always buy the Innova timing tool as a last resort.
Now it's time to pack and get ready to leave tomorrow. Be sure to check in every day next week for the daily giveaways!
This weekend seemed to speed by. I've put myself into some sort of self-imposed rush to finish some things before we leave for the beach Saturday. None of these apparent deadlines have anything at all to do with actual deadlines but I feel like I want to come home to a clean slate.
First up was finishing the walker caddies. Here are 9 ready to deliver the next time I'm near the donation site. I purposely tried to make these look less feminine so that the men might get some caddies that they like. This denim should be very sturdy. One side has a wide pocket and the other has the small pocket. Next time I would make the caddie a little shorter and put wide pockets on both sides with a seam on one of the pockets to make 2 narrow ones.
Then I decided to catch up on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge cutting. As a reminder these are blocks for a set of 8 quilts that I'm going to make using up 8 giant 8-pointed stars that my Great-Grandmother made. There are 8 blocks cut for each of these.
I stack them on boards with the pattern on top.
Here's everything that I've cut out so far. I think this might be the project that I take to work on at the beach. I only need to piece blocks so I won't need a lot of space.
While I was cutting and sewing, I finished the last batch of pillowcases. I wanted these particular ones done because we saw the kids last night. They just got back from Disney so I wanted to give Eli a the Disney pillowcase. Ella got the American Girl gardening outfit and she loved it. We had a fun visit and I was reminded why old people don't have children. There's a lot of energy bottled up in those little bodies.
I think my goals for this week are to finish cutting out things to clear off the cutting table and get a few more veterans quilts quilted. When I get back from vacation I'll be ready to quilt one of my own quilts.
Yesterday I got back in the sewing room to work through more of the serger projects. I finished the edges on some postcards that I'll share as soon as one is received by my brother for his birthday. He reads my blog every day and I don't want him to see it here first.
After the cards were done I got back to the walker caddies that I cut out weeks ago. I had a basket of leftover hand dyed denim scraps from various projects over the past few years and I cut them out using this pattern from my local organization. But once I started putting one together I realized that it wasn't a great pattern. The straps are way too long and there aren't any side straps to keep it from swinging.
I had to re-work it.
These photos are the 2 sides of 1 caddie. I don't think this one is perfect either but it's better and much more functional. I needed to work within the parameters of what I had already cut out so this is what I'm going with.
I spent the rest of the day cutting out large pockets and lining for the other 8 caddies. They are all ready to sew up today and I cleared out more fabric from my stash. But at the end of the day I still had an stack of denim scraps big enough that I didn't feel like I could just toss the out.
This is where the serger comes in real handy. I just started sewing them together randomly to see what I could come up with. What we have here is another pet bed cover!
Something out of nothing. I like that.
This is what I'll be doing today. This weekend will be lots of cutting out stuff to get the piles off my cutting table. I hope you have a great weekend.
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In Bloglovin you need to search "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" to find the blog.
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.