Monday, April 3, 2017

365 Challenge -- March 13 to April 2

I worked on bunches of 365 blocks this past week and all weekend long and finished up three weeks worth, mostly. I'm still missing three blocks, one from this past week and two from a couple weeks ago. Hopefully I'll get caught up with those this week. I hate getting behind because it's so much work to get caught up, but that's life.

New concepts Kathryn introduced over the last few weeks--mitered corners, units set on point, log cabin style blocks, and partial seams. We're getting the full treatment, especially when you consider that these are 3" blocks. Imagine how much easier it would be to apply these techniques to a larger block. By the time we finish the first dark border, we'll be able to handle just about anything.

I think the tan in that one block is too light, and I expect I'll have to remake it. But I'll wait and see what it looks like on the design wall. I had to remake the checkerboard block above because there wasn't enough contrast in those tiny half-inch squares. Sometimes you just don't know til you make it up.

This past week we worked on two of the borders that go round the central medallion. It was a lovely change to work with some lighter colored fabrics, and there are more light colored blocks coming up this month. Later this month we also sew together the central medallion with the first round of dark borders. Can't wait.

No finishes for March, didn't have time for much else this month, but I dug out this small quilt and decided it was time to get it quilted. This was an experimental piece, 15" x 18", from a long, looooong time ago. It was a technique developed by Pat Coulter called frigid piecing, so called because every single piece is inset, and freezer paper was applied to the back of each piece for accuracy. It is a lot of extra work to make a template for every single piece in the quilt, but it worked exceedingly well because every single seam I sewed is perfect--no puckers. Her website is still online, and if you google "frigid piecing", you'll find her notes on the subject.

Naturally it sat in the closet for years, because that's how I operate, lol. Actually it was because I had no idea how to quilt it. Recently I signed up for a class on Craftsy called Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot, and Jacquie teaches something called matchstick quilting. Thought I'd try it out on this small piece. In the photo I've quilted lines at different angles 1" apart, and I'll go back and quilt in between those lines 1/4" apart. I am marking with painter's tape, and it's working very well.

My Christmas cactus is in full bloom this week. Strange plant. I have another one that I've had for two or three years, one that had white blossoms and was labeled a summer cactus. Stupid thing hasn't bloomed since I bought it. If it doesn't bloom by the end of the year, I'm trading it in for another model.

Even though we just had another snowstorm with a 6" snow dump, I found these strawberries from California on sale at the grocer's for $1.88 a container. That's a really good price for my neck of the woods, so we bought a bunch, cored them and flash froze them. They're huge, aren't they?

Farm Girl Vintage Weeks 16 and 17

I thought I already posted the first set of these Farm Girl Vintage blocks, but no. I'm finding it challenging to keep track of much of anything these days, just too darn much going on in my world. 33/45 blocks finished now, the end is in sight! I've ruled out the idea of enlarging the quilt, otherwise I might not get much else done this year, between the FGV blocks and the 365 blocks!

Monday, March 20, 2017

365 Challenge, Feb 27 - Mar 12

Trying to keep track of what week I'm on in the 365 Challenge was just too darn much trouble, so I'm going by the dates. These six blocks were from the week of February 27. I'm not sure if the theme that week was quarter square triangles or if it was those triangle in a triangle corner units, which I am not fond of.

The block for February 28 was the Centre Medallion, which finishes to 18". Although the center portion of the block was a little tricky to put together, it was a nice change from dark 3" blocks. I have to say that Kathryn's cutting measurements and piecing directions were spot on. Very pleased with how this block turned out.

There is another 6" wide border that goes around this block to enlarge the center medallion. I think that is slated for April, and then maybe I can sew all the blocks together that I've made so far. Progress!
This was the following week, Mar 6-Mar 12, with more of those triangle in a triangle corner units. Also more of the half square triangles that finished to 1/2", in the basket block. There was supposed to be a four patch unit in the basket base, but I eliminated it to simplify.

This was also the first introduction of a 6" block for the outer dark border. I was horrified when I first looked at that block, thinking those little triangles in the middle were going to finish smaller than a half inch. Finally realized it was a 6" block, not a 3" block, lol.

Haven't started on last week's blocks yet, so now a week behind. I do plan on sewing today, but maybe not the challenge blocks. I'd really like to make some headway on the Neptune quilt--would like for that to be my March finish.

Farm Girl Vintage Friday, Weeks 13 to 15

We left Friday morning to go to my son's to spend the weekend caring for my little granddaughter. My son worked, and my daughter-in-law wanted to see a friend off down in Connecticut, so we had Baby Girl all to ourselves during the days. She stayed with us last weekend, so we were pleased to have her two weekends in a row this month.

I think I got a week out of sequence somewhere with the Farm Girl Vintage blocks; but no matter, I finished these four blocks the week before last...there's the Milking Day block that goes with the Cow block I made earlier...

...and these are the blocks for Week 15, which was last week. No way did I have 30 different 30s repros for the pumpkin block, so I repeated a few fabrics and threw in some other orange fabrics I had--to include one with a pair of scissors, and one with Mr. Potato Head, lol. I like the idea of a little surprise here and there.

Well over halfway through the blocks and border flying geese units now. I'm toying with the idea of making this quilt large enough to fit on a double bed, but I'll figure that out later.

February Finish

A small finish, 12" x 14", but a finish nonetheless. Finally got it quilted, with a diamond pattern in the center and a double curve in the border. I don't do much free motion quilting, so I drew the border pattern on Golden Threads paper, pinned it in place in the borders, and stitched through the paper. Easy peasy, and no markings to worry about removing.

Credit where credit is due: design and fabrics by Kim Diehl

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Despite being busy enough with 365 Challenge blocks and Farm Girl Vintage blocks, I still want to work on some other projects. One of the quilters in my chapter asked for donations of twin size quilts for a local shelter, and I remembered I had this project in the ufo pile. One of my kids claimed it before I could even think of donating it, so I'll have to plan something else for the shelter.

I must have bought the fabric for this as a kit, like a jelly roll and extra yardage; but I don't think I ever had the pattern, just a cover picture of the pattern that I printed out. I can't even remember how I knew how to cut and piece these blocks, but it doesn't matter now because they're all made, and I've just started sewing the blocks into rows. I wish I could get more time to work on it.

The pattern is called "Jelly Girl" by Joanna Figueroa from Fig Tree & Co. Coincidentally I just discovered the other day that Joanna has a class on Craftsy called Smarter Strip Quilting featuring this same pattern, plus a diamond pattern.

365 Challenge Weeks 7 and 8

Despite being away from the machine for a little while, I did get caught up with the 365 Challenge blocks. Most of the blocks for week 7 were pretty easy, and I made a few extras to fill in holes from previous weeks. One of those had 42 pieces--eek!--so I simplified it. I see more simplification and substitution in my future.

A few of the week 8 blocks were more complicated, but in the latter half of the week Lori introduced squares on point. Those were easy, but they will get harder too. The little T's block this week had 39 pieces to it, with half square triangle units that finish to 1/2", but it was too cute not to make. Seems like it took hours.

Anyone who is familiar with the Dear Jane movement might recall that diehard Dear Janers tracked the piece count for their individual quilts. I thought that would be interesting to do for the 365 Challenge too. So far, I've made 58/365 blocks, with a piece count of 780. I've made a few changes in the blocks as I've gone along, so my piece count won't be the same as everyone else's, but I suppose it would be close. It'll be interesting to see if it surpasses the Dear Jane piece count of 5,602.