Starting with the scraps. I'm still procrastinating finishing the Summer Sunset quilt top. Instead I spent much of yesterday playing with scraps.
When you cut diamond shapes from fabric there are a lot of odd triangles left. I had just enough to crazy piece them together for 4 placemats. If you study them carefully you will be able to tell that the one on the loser left was the last one. I think they are fun. I'll probably quilt them with an orange/bronze color thread in straight lines. I have no idea when that might happen but it will likely be a week when I feel the need for a quick finish of anything.
With the last of the leftovers I patched up some postcards. These still need backs and edges but I can knock those out some evening soon. I will save one of these to send my SIL for her birthday.
I still have the equivalent of about 18 fat quarters left over from that fabric. I'm pondering ideas for what to do with it. I might make Karen some placemats and I might make a veterans quilt or 2. I'm debating on whether I might want to order some more fabric on one of the darkest patterns for sashing. I might be able to dye a mottled dark brown that will work. My dyed black doesn't look good with it at all but the darkest brown in Coffee and Cocoa might work. I'll think on that later.
Today I'm supposed to be at the monthly sewing with my quilt club. I'm delayed because we have to wait around for someone to magically appear between 11 and 2 to give us a quote on some work. I hope I can at least get my station set up this afternoon for sewing tomorrow.
But before I can go I had to "fix" my travel sewing machine. I've had this Janome Gem Gold for ages and it is a wonderful machine. I think I paid about $300 for it over 15 years ago. It's never been serviced and it sews like a dream. It has the best 1/4" foot of any machine that I own. The case is soft so anything that sticks out gets abused. On this machine, that's the thread holder. It broke over a year ago and held up pretty good with duct tape for a while. It finally gave up the ghost at the river last week.
I have looked and there is a replacement part but I can't get the broken pieces from the old holder out and I'm not taking it to be repaired. It will cost more than the machine is worth and I've already bought a replacement travel machine ($75) when this one deicides to pass on to sewing machine heaven.
I rummaged around Anne's house and found a skewer in the kitchen. One piece of duct tape later and I was back in business. The problem came when I was packing up. I can't leave this thing taped to the back of the machine because it won't fit in the case. I pulled he tape off, packed up my skewer and decided to figure it out at home.
The fix was simple. I just needed to line the tape in the center so that it doesn't stick to the skewer. It can be removed for packing up and inserted for sewing.
I used the large thread cap for a base and, from the front, it doesn't look redneck at all. As long as I don't lose my skewer, I consider this a long term solution. I think the white duct tape classes it up a lot. In fact, I might even paint the skewer white and then no one will notice.
The best part of this weekend (besides the beautiful weather) was being able to sew with my quilt club friends Friday and Saturday. I missed the January meeting and February was canceled for weather so I was really needing a fix. This is my project for sewing weekends for the moment. I've got all the blocks cut out and only 40ish left to sew together. I've been really iffy on this one but I'm feeling better about it now. Imagine that 2 of the 6" x 12" blocks makes 1 12" square block. That's how it will be constructed. It will be king size so if you look at this as the lower left corner is the center block you can see the gradation from light to dark in one quadrant. It will be 9 blocks by 9 blocks so there are 4 more columns to the left and 4 more rows below. All 4 corners will be dark and the center will be light. I think my friend will actually like it and not pretend to like it just because I made it. She's one of those people who would love a pile of sculpted garbage if she knew that you made it for her. She's absolutely batty for the postcards that I send to her. Green is her favorite color so that's why the green frames.
I sure do love the effect of the waste fabrics in the windows of the green blocks!
After sitting on my backside for 2 days I needed some exercise. Chris has chopped a lot of wood so I got my workout in by stacking all of it. This is just the start of what we are gathering to put in for next winter.
I also almost caught up on my videos for Bethanne Nemesch's feather quilting class. I'm on the one where we learn feathered wreaths, setting triangles and borders. I have NEVER been able to do a feathered center. These aren't "perfect" but they are perfect for me. This class was worth it just to learn to do these! I'm going to practice feathers on some of the veterans quilts that I have coming up. I really hate practicing on practice fabric. I need a purpose with my quilting. I prefer to practice on real quilts and I have a few good candidates in the veterans quilt stack.
Sunday morning I delivered 22 veterans quilts to our VA contact. She lives on the other side of the county from me so it's about 45 minutes to get there and back but I learned that she's moving about 5 minutes away next month. Future deliveries will be very easy.
That trunk that they are stacked on belonged to my Grandmother. She gave it to me before I went to college and it's been everything from a coffee table, foot stool and end table for 40 years. It's now a suitcase rack for guests and display for finished veterans quilts.
After running errands Sunday afternoon I finally sat down to finish piecing the corners for the big star.
Then I started on the little star. That inside curve is a beast! But if I can get 4 done a day I'll be able to start putting the quilts together this weekend.
The weather this week is going to be pretty crummy so sewing seems the best plan of action.
This weekend was sewing weekend with my quilt club.
These are the blocks that I'm working on and this is the layout from the book. I love making the blocks but I'm not loving the quilt so far. But I persevered and made even more blocks this weekend. I'm thinking of this quilt as a possible king size to gift to a friend who loves green.
The other quilters and I talked about some different options. One was to make a square block instead of the rectangle from the pattern. I laid these blocks out alternating the orientation of the block and arranging them in a light to dark gradient based on the green frames. If it becomes king sized then this would be 1/4 of the quilt with the lower left corner as the center.
This is sort of the same thing but in columns. I kind of like the columns.
I then took both of these photos and roughly cropped and arranged them to see how it might look as a whole quilt.
I think this has some possibilities and I think I like the one in alternating squares better than the vertical stripes. What do you think?
I'm going to play around in EQ a bit. I'm getting to the point that I do need to know how many blocks I need to make. Although extra blocks can always be made into veterans quilts.
This week I have a few more coaster sets to make and them I'll get on to working on the last Christmas gift that doesn't actually have to be done by Christmas.
That sums up everything I did yesterday. It was time to get all the cat scraps off the cutting table and make some veterans quilt "kits".
I decided to make this one a little less scrappy and pulled only the cool colors. I even found a blue for the binding. Kit #1 done!
Then I wanted to do something different with the third Blockade set. I found this fabric (also by Paula Nadestern from an older collection). It's the fabric that I used for the background of my Pleiades quilt. I had exactly enough for the blocks and binding. See that little scrap on the right? That's all that was left from this piece of fabric. Clearly I'm living right!
Kit #2 done.
Next up were the 2.5" squares. I'll do a simple double 4-patch. The dotty fabric is from a project that I had planned a long time ago and eventually lost interest. I cut the binding from the dots also. I have TONS black. It's Paula's Marbella black and it's one of the best black fabrics that I've ever seen. I stocked up when it came out.
This is basically how it's going to look and I'm happy enough with it. I have a lot more 2.5" squares so if I like this maybe I'll make another....or not. I'll deal with that later.
Kit #3 done.
While I had everything out I figured I might as well deal with this. I did a very simple design in EQ and adjusted it so that I wouldn't have to cut any more of the pinwheel pieces out.
The background is the purple version of the same fabric that I used in kit #2. I have at least 3 yards of this fabric left.
Kit #4 is done!
I still have lots more 2.5" squares, a stack of 3.5" squares and scraps for crumb blocks but at this point I'm sick of cutting things out and I have a total of 8 veterans quilt kits cut out so I put all that away for later. I'm sure I'll find it in 5 years and wonder what I was thinking keeping all those bits and pieces!
While I was chatting on the phone with Mom I got a quarter of the blocks in kit 1 put together.
I'm really at a stand still on other quilt projects at the moment. There isn't anything that I'm particularly inspired to do. I want to focus on longarm quilting as soon as the mosaic wall (which is in next to the longarm) stops off gassing. I think I'll focus on longarm quilting for the next few weeks and piece these quilts during my break times. Maybe I'll come up with an idea for a new quilt in the mean time.
For now I'm just glad to have a reasonably clean cutting table.
Yesterday was a day without any distractions so I got to spend a good 5 hours or more in the sewing room with my audiobook on. The scrap bin is almost empty! There are at least 3 veterans quilts in here. I'll need to cut some other fabrics to go with but I have drawers and drawers of hand dyed fabrics for that.
After I got tired of cutting I sat down to some sewing. I cut these blocks out while I was cutting the cats and there are enough blocks here for a veterans quilt. I'll start sewing this quilt together tomorrow.
I will also start cutting the cat background fabrics and, hopefully, start sewing it together this weekend. If the weather allows I want to grout my mosaic wall Sunday. Fingers crossed!
I hope you have a great weekend. I find my days are really nice when I stay off any news sites on the internet.
Yesterday was dyeing day so I didn't get a lot done except for dyeing. We've also spent a bit of time making sure we are stocked and able to stay in for over a week. We did take in my car for a recall repair since I don't need it and I figure the mechanics need all the work that they can get. I took along a Clorox wipe and wiped down the touched surfaces before I turned it over to them. I'll do the same when I pick it up.
We went to Kroger after that. I felt a little silly wearing gloves and one of my homemade masks in the store but I'm glad I did. People were not being nearly as careful as they should. Some guy was coughing in the potato chip aisle. Of course a month ago I would have never noticed! Chris did a Costco run and it was clear that they have put much more thought into how they are handling controlling everything. Our local Food Lion is doing a nice job too of keeping people spaced apart. But it was good to see the stores well stocked so maybe the hoarders are done for now and everyone else can get their supplies.
Remember Monday when I was playing around with the penguin scraps and made the one sample postcard? I decided to play around with the rest of the scraps yesterday.
I just started sewing the scraps together into chunks that will be big enough for postcards.
I sewed and sewed until all of the scraps were stitched into chunks.
All those scraps made 16 card bases.
I made up a little stitch kit that I'll work through between crochet sessions in front of the TV.
Now it's time to get the Penguins on Ice quilted and I'm contemplating making more masks.
It's just a cold.
That's my mantra right now. Chris got it about 4 days ahead of me (because he gave it to me) so I just watch him to see when it's going to finally leave this house. We're both fine, just tired and annoyed.
But I had some energy to do some sewing and these were perfect to work on. I 21 cards ready for backs. Why 21? Well, that's how many symmetrical diamonds that I could cut from the scraps. I would have been happier with 25 or 30 but this is what I got. I'll get the backs on them this week. I'll probably save serging the edges until I have all the cards ready for edging.
I started to sweep all this in the trash but I was lethargic and just listening to my book so I thought some mindless piecing might be good therapy.
It was good therapy because ti kept me from snacking and didn't require much thinking. That's a pretty big chunk of fabric from nothing. I don't know what I'll do with it. It could be cut into crumb blocks, made into placemats or even postcard backgrounds. But that takes thinking so it's going to get folded up and put away for now. What would you do with it?
I'm not a world's-about-to-end environmentalist. I'm not worked up about plastic straws or any other sudden crisis that's really meant to divert our attention from other things. Instead I'm more interested in thinking about consumption in general. I don't judge your consumption, only my own. I try to really think about things I want to buy and whether I really need them. I don't buy note pads, for example, because we generate plenty of scratch paper from printing my mailing labels every day. I don't like having a lot of collectibles or stuff that needs to be managed.
Right now I'm most annoyed that my cell phone is dying after only 5 years. It has all the capability and function that I need but I'm going to have to buy a new one anyway because some of my apps will no longer work and it's starting to overheat. I was able to extend it about a year with a new battery but I can't keep going to the Verizon store to have it restarted when an app crashes and shuts it down. If I could keep this phone 2 or 4 more years that would make up for a ton of straws. I don't know why I'm talking about straws, I don't even use them.
But I've got no control over controlling technology so I have to focus on what I can control and one of the things I can control is trying to reduce the amount of garbage that we produce in this house. This is one of my garbage reduction projects.
Quilting my quilts plus 40+ veterans quilts each year produces a lot of scrap batting and backing. I save the wide end pieces (12" - 20" on average) along with extra backing fabric and give it to a woman in our quilt club. She makes dozens of baby quilts for a local hospital. These batting chunks are easy to piece into baby quilt size batts.
Since I trim the veterans quilts I have all of the trimming scraps. I chop up the bits like this.
All of those bits get stored in this white trash can but I had some overflow this week. I'll also add in here some chopped up fluffy clothing (like sweatpants) and pillow filling. I do not add in fabric cut offs. Plain chopped up fabric makes the pet beds too dense and heavy (in my opinion). Fabric attached to batting is fine, plain fabric bits are better for scrap quilts or fabric postcards.
It was time to deal with all of the batting scraps because it's gotten out of hand.
My main rule is that I will not purchase anything to make these. Occasionally I find someone wanting to get rid of a stash of decorator fabric. In the case of the green fabric, that's some old double knit polyester! A friend was clearing out her MIL's house and came across a stash of fabric. I figured I might as well try the poly. It made a pretty soft bed and I've got plenty more. The brown print was a heavy cotton jumper that the MIL had made but never added buttons to. The skirt was big enough to make another pet bed.
I got 6 beds out of all of that and every bit of it was destined for the landfill. Now it has a second life to make some dogs comfy while they are at RAL (Richmond Animal League) also waiting for a second chance at life. I asked my friend to let me know if the double knit actually works out because I have a ton more of it.
Now, don't get any ideas. I am often offered other quilter's scraps but I can barely handle my own garbage! You'll have to be responsible for your own and I don't judge if yours goes to the landfill. Time is also a valuable resource that has to be factored in and after all, that's why we made landfills.
I mentioned Monday that before starting a new project that I wanted to see if I could get something else off the UFO list. This quilt is what I picked.
The original plan was to use this on a bed in the guest house after appliqueing some giant sunflowers on it. You can sort of see that I have a few rows of predominately green tumblers at the bottom. I drew out lots of ideas that I liked but I eventually realized that the quilt wasn't quite big enough for the twin beds in there and I wan't motivated to cut and sew more tumblers.
This being 4th of July week I though maybe I could turn it into a couple of veterans quilts. Of course the easy solution would be to cut it in half, quilt then and call them done. But the quilt wasn't quite wide enough for that easy solution.
But it would work with a border. I remembered that I had a veterans quilt upstairs paired with a green backing so this predominately green end of the quilt and a green border would mean I'd have 2 more quilts ready for quilting.
It wasn't quite as easy as cutting it in half and adding a border. I added a step to remove 2 of the green rows and sewed them to the other side for a little more balance. Truthfully, in really life you don't see the distinction between the green and blue so much.
Most importantly, I've 1/2 a UFO down! For the remaining half I wanted to see if I could do something different (more interesting). So off to EQ I went to work up some designs.
I checked my stash and I had at least 2 yards of 4 different blue fabrics that I could work with. I love a good stash!
I unsewed the rest of the quilt into 2-row sections. The finished width of these is 6" so that was easy to work with in designing a very simple pattern.
Voila! Two veterans quilt tops! These took longer than they should because I made some ridiculous cutting mistakes. Fortunately, most of the cuts were too large. I was thinking that this would be a great way to use some of my waste fabrics or even a bold print. I'd only need about a yard of the feature fabric. You could even do crumb blocks like this. I might write this up as a pattern just so I have the instructions for future use. Anyone else interested?
The nest part is that this is all that's left of the original quilt top!
Now on to some quilting. I'm so glad that my quilt club makes veterans quilt because they are such a great way to use scraps and bring new life to old UFO projects.
A few weeks ago I took a break from Lost My Marbles to quilt some veterans quilts and this quilt for Mom.
Mom thought she was going to use up her stash of 2.5" squares.
Seriously, she should know better by now. We know that scraps procreate while we are away. This might have made a dent but I don't think it came close to using up what she had. Still, it's a pretty stunning quilt.
The color in the first photo is way off. This one is a more accurate representation of the color.
The first original quilting plan was a pantograph but I've used pantgraphs a lot and wanted a change. I decided on a mix of ruler work in the narrow sashing and continuous curves in the blocks. But while I was quilting the first block I thought that the outside border needed to be feathers. I wanted feathers somewhere else too so I changed the plan a bit and decided to do alternating blocks in feathered wreaths.
I can quilt small feathers pretty good but I am totally horrible at feathered wreaths simply because I've not done them often. I really, really bad at the centers of the wreaths. I got a little more practice on this quilt!
I dyed a pale green backing for this quilt and you can see the texture of the quilting really well here. There's a 4" feathered border and feathered medallions to go with it. I probably should have feathered every block but I wasn't going to rip out any stitches to start over.
This quilt is going to my cousin who will really appreciate having something made by her Aunt but she will not care about, and probably not notice, the quilting. Our policy is that we give people blankets to cuddle with so we don't stress the construction details.
To show you how big this quilt is, here it is draped over the queen guest bed. I think this could also serve on a king size bed.
I'm glad I don't have to bind it.
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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.