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.
Through someone else's blog I found a link up to Best of 2020 posts at Meadow Mist Designs. I had been thinking about doing a "best of" post because I refuse to end the year thinking about the bad parts. So, I'll do this in 2 parts. Part one will be the creative part sort of in line with the link up and part 2 will be the personal part.
Best of 2020 Creative
1. I relearned crochet! After finishing all of the flower applique blocks I wanted another TV project and I wanted something easy. I decided to give crochet a try again after a 40+ year break. I didn't have any specific goals but I had a couple of rules. Those rules were to only make baby blankets and to not build a stash of yarn. In the end I made 14 blankets, a number that I would have scoffed at in January. As for the stash, I only have yarn for 3 blankets and one of those is a third done.
2. Speaking of applique flowers, I finished Kim's Garden and gifted it to my friend just before Christmas. This is my most ambitious quilt of the year. This quilt has so many hours in it and I enjoyed every one of them. I worked on these flowers in front off the TV, in the car and on vacations. I have one other top made with these appliques and enough of the basted flowers for another quilt...or two.
3. Veterans quilts - My quilt club makes veterans quilt for the local VA hospital Interventional Radiography Department. They give them primarily to patients receiving ports for chemo. But they can give them to any patient they want. They use them to help particularly distressed patients. It calms them so that they can focus on their treatments. In previous years we have averaged 60 - 75 quilts per year. This year we donated a record breaking 108! See, what some extra time can do for you? I try to quilt at least 40 each year but I had lots of help this year from other longarmers. I quilted 39 for other people and made an additional 15 myself. I don't think I've ever made more than 4 or 5 in a year before. I love making the veterans quilts and hope to keep up the pace in 2021.
4. The Pizza Oven mosaic. My best friend built a grilling area with a pizza oven and recruited (drafted) me to help mosaic it. I really thought I was done with mosaics after the basement walls but I was ready to tackle one more. Mosaic on a shaped surface is really different from mosaic on a flat surface but we figured it out. It took one weekend to set the tiles and another to grout it and it was all done in million degree heat in July. Chris was there for the grouting and we couldn't have finished it without him.
5. Food Bank fundraiser. We have several wonderful local food pantries and other community service organizations in our area. My quilt club specifically supports WHEAT which is run by one of our members. When the need increased in April and May I decided to get a bunch of tea towels, dye then and sell them to raise funds. My friends and fellow quilt club members really stepped up and I sold so many that I had to order more towels, In the end we raised over $1000 for WHEAT. It was such a good fundraiser that I might do it again next year.
As I think back on the creative part of my life in 2020, these are the things that make me the happiest. A few honorable mention items are:
- The UFO list is, for the first time ever, under 10!
- The Groovy quilts made with ice dyed fabrics
- Penguins on Parade quilt for my one of my SILs
- Corona Cats quilt for another SIL (I have one more to make in 2020)
All in all, it was a great creative year.
Best of 2020 Personal
It's very easy to sit here and think about the things I missed in 2020 including going to the AQS show in Paducah, vacation in Sedona and an Elton John concert but as I think back I really had a pretty darned good year. Here are the 5 best things:
1. Vacations and hiking: We did have to cancel one vacation in March but Chris got to go to Vail in February (where he caught covid without any severe symptoms or consequences). He came home with it and I didn't catch it. We stayed locked in through April but the Outer Banks of NC opened the week that we had our family vacation reservation. We went and had a blast. Then we went to the Great Smokies for a few days of hiking in June followed by 3 weeks in Maine in August. It was during that trip that I turned 60 and two of my best friends were there to help me celebrate. I even met my goal to hike Cadillac Mountain on my birthday. We came back from Maine and immediately planned another trip to the Great Smokies in October where we hiked Mount LeConte. There's no way I could have done that hike 2 years ago. We will take our last hike of the year tomorrow with friends on Cole Mountain in Virginia.
During these trips and in between I spent some quality time with my friends and family. We may not have seen each other as often as usual but we made the best of the time that we had.
2. Clay shooting: I started taking clay shooting a few years ago and I was REALLY bad. I do enjoy it and I realized that if I could work on it more that I could improve my distance vision. I stuck with my lessons this year and I am now doing report pairs and I can even hit a few rabbit clays. Those are MAJOR accomplishments for me.
3. Health research: Covid sent me directly into a research rabbit hole to learn more about the virus and how to strengthen my immune system for this or any other virus or illness. I believe that we have approached this thing entirely wrong. We are so focused on the specific pathogen instead of the body's ability to fight ANY pathogen. I'm grateful for doctors like Dr. Mobeen who have taken so much time to share true analysis of studies and reports and explain how our bodies work at a cellular level. I fell like I've become so much smarter about my own health. As a result I have changed some of the supplements protocols that I take and delved deep into nutrition. Long term, it's been a true benefit for me to have the motivation and time to do this and it's this knowledge that has allayed all of my fears of this virus, or any other. I'm confident that I have improved my immune system dramatically. Now I'm deep into various nutrition research topics.
4. Vitamin D: Because of the covid research I learned about the many studies that shows a direct correlation between covid severity and vitamin D levels. As a result I spent a ton of time researching Vitamin D and went on my own personal trial of high levels of vitamin D. As a result I solved several long term chronic problems including nerve damage, TMJ, esophageal spasms and chronic muscle and tendon pain. I don't recommend doing anything above 10000iu without having your vitamin D levels tested but I was able to take 30000iu safely for a few weeks and it was during that time that these big things happened but I saw a lot of benefits even at 10000iu.
5. Exercise: As a result of the vitamin D and getting rid of my chronic muscle soreness, I'm now able to exercise twice as long at a higher level. For the first time in my life I actually enjoy exercising. If for no other reason than this, 2020 was a great year!
But first, a couple of photos from Thanksgiving. The day started off a little rainy and overcast but by the time the mashed potatoes were underway this is the view we were blessed with. It was a lovely day on the Rappahannock River. We always do Thanksgiving as a small group so, for once this year, there was no change for us. As usual we had too much food for too few people! Absolutely perfect.
It's possible that Ginger even got more treats than she was supposed to have. But don't tell anyone that. Sometimes I get in trouble. But she always seems so hungry and does pitiful to perfection.
My one goal of the trip was to get Dale and Chris to hold the quilt up for me to get a full front photo. I didn't have any place where I could do it here. It was a little breezy but we got it done and now Kim's Garden is officially finished! I will now wash it and make the label and get that done soon because I know that Kim is waiting for it.
You can read all about the history and making of this quilt here.
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.
It was a great weekend of quilting and binding and now Penguins on ice is done!!
You can click on the image to go to the gallery page to read more about this quilt. I still need to make the label and then once we are allowed to socialize again, I'll deliver it to my sister-in-law.
The weather was quite nice here this weekend so Chris got a lot of outside things done. My allergies are insane so I stayed inside and quilted and did a little crochet and worked on coasters. I'm listening to a lot of books so the book post tomorrow is going to be long!
So far, though, we haven't been too horribly impacted but that is not the case for most people. I sent a donation to our local food bank but I'm working on another idea for a little fundraiser for them.
Mom lives in a retirement apartment and it's pretty much on lock down. I'm going to meet her at the fence tomorrow to toss over some paper towels and fabric.....you know, emergency supplies.
I know I talked about new projects yesterday, but I still had the two Hunter's Star veterans quilts to finish up. Here's the autumnal one. I absolutely love it. It started with a gradient similar to Sugar Maple. I added a couple of oranges, yellow and green fabrics to fill it out. I made this one difficult by making it completely scrappy. It meant that I had to keep up with pressing directions while I was arranging the blocks. It turned into kind of a nightmare but I eventually got it done.
I decided to do a little custom quilting on this one but it still had to be something quilt that I could do edge to edge. The result is a little awkward but repetition makes it work OK. When I used to teach new quilters I always told them "crappy quilting, done consistently, looks good"! I still use that mantra.
I used a veterans quilt back so I had space for another and quilted this Disappearing 9-patch.
It got the Loose Leaf pantograph in orange thread.
I picked up several more quilts at the meeting this month. Marcy will quilt 4 of them (3 have fragrance and I can't deal with that). I think there are 4 others but they are going to wait a while. It's only February and I'm already 25% into my goal of quilting 40 quilts.
I got bored with binding but I finally finished the placemats and I'm really pleased to be down one more UFO. For the first time in forever, I'm below 10! Not to worry, I'm about to start another new one.
I broke them up onto 3 sets and Mom got this set. Here are the other 2 sets.
I may keep both of these or I might gift a set. I haven't decided. But, either way, they also have matching napkins! I didn't make napkins for Mom's because she doesn't use cloth napkins.
The napkins were screen printed with Color Magnet, my favorite screen printing medium.
Now that these are done I can start planning some new projects. This weekend I want to get my Hunter's Star quilts quilted and do some reorganizing to make way for new projects!
It's a quilting miracle - 2 finishes for January! This quilt has been on the list for a long time. It was started in 2013 with Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice quilt-along. I made 2 sets of blocks. One set was done in shibori and this set was done with symmetry fabrics. After I finished the blocks I realized that I had created quilts for each of my Grandmother's. The shibori one would have been the favorite of my maternal grandmother and this one would have been absolutely loved by my paternal grandmother. It's been waiting since about 2016 to be quilted. I recently realized that this quilt belonged to one of my cousins and that's what finally motivated me to finish it.
I'm so happy to have this quilt done and to know that it's going to the right home. Go over to the Gallery to see lots more photos.
It's my first finish of 2020!
The binding is on and the quilt has been washed. Aside from the label, Groovy II is done! We love this quilt and it's going to be a great summer quilt for our bed. You can read more about it and see the ice dyed back in the Gallery.
With this quilt finished I'm feeling a little lost with nothing to do. I've been dyeing more veterans quilt backings and Laura started a new Stack-and-Whack project under Mom's tutelage yesterday. I forgot to take some photos but will snap a few to post tomorrow. But I need to find a new project. I think I'm going to try to attack another UFO and design a few veterans quilts before I start something new. We need to get both of Laura's new projects cut out before I start spreading one of my new projects out. It already looks like a bomb exploded in here......although we did try to neaten things a little for the cleaner today.
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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.