Thursday, June 29, 2023

Last Finish for June

There is no rain in the forecast today, but more is predicted within the next week. The sun is peaking out through cloudy skies. We got another 4-1/2 inches of rain this week at camp. The water level at the lake is so high now that more than half our dock is underwater and the top step of those two little staircases is underwater too. The water level was three inches under the end of the dock when it was installed earlier this summer. When hubby goes out to the boat, the water is over his ankles. 

Last summer we were in a severe drought condition; this summer we're flooding everywhere. It's just crazy. Conditions have been just right for a sturgeon run up the Cobbossee stream that hasn't been seen here for 40 years. You can't see them especially well in this photo, but they're big, about 3-6 feet in length but up to 10 feet. These are Atlantic sturgeon, and they're spawning right under the bridge downtown. 

I planned to sew all day yesterday, but my plans were derailed by other work that had to be done; so I was up til midnight finishing this quilt. This is 'Feels Like Fall', a round robin my quilt group did, which we called the Tacoma Pizza Box Challenge. Each participant provided a center block and a pizza box full of fabric, and I included some yardage and an abundance of scraps in fall colors in mine.

We made our center blocks in early 2019, and the reveal was in June that year. I don't know why I never blogged about it, I just never did. 

I quilted it with a leaf design, which I liked but hadn't used before. The design is nice but maybe a little too open to suit me, so I'm not sure if I'd use it again. 

I love these embroidered labels. I had a lot of information I wanted to include, and I hate to write them by hand; so an embroidered one was just the ticket. I embroider almost all of my labels and have for years.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Another June Finish

I finished the Letters to Santa QAL quilt, which I renamed Family Christmas, a few days ago. I chose a pantograph called Nancy's Flakes from Dave Hudson for the quilting, and my longarm quilter did a great  job quilting it. 

The show theme this year for Maine Quilts 2023 is 'Christmas in July', and this quilt was entered in that division. The paper pieced palm tree, which has 51 pieces, is my nod to the 'July' part of 'Christmas in July'. 

Love this backing, which came from Marden's. They had it in three colors--red and green, green and white, and red and white, and I bought a lot of all three colors. I'll be sorry the day I use it all up!


A Few Days at the Lake

I got a chance to stay up to camp for three days last week. It was cloudy and/or showers the entire time I was up there. I thought I would make it up there again this week for a few days to help hubby put some dirt in what we hope will be a garden area, but it is supposed to rain all week. The entire month has been cool, cloudy and rainy. Other than June 1 and 2, we have seen only two days in the 80s. I hate the heat so I am not complaining, but a little more sun would be nice. 

I had a specific summer project to work on at camp for three summers running, and that was The 21-Year Pineapple Project that I finished early last year. Last summer I worked on a couple different sets of blocks but not a dedicated project. 

This year, my summer camp project is Conestoga Star, another oldie but goodie. The pattern originally appeared in an issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting. I bought the pattern and fabric as a kit from Sew Batik, which no longer assembles their lovely kits like they used to. I am adding bunches of my own batik scraps for variety. Got plenty of those!

All of the blocks in the center of the quilt are paper pieced; and although the picture doesn't show it, I now have three complete rows. Three more rows to go, and I'll be ready to start on the borders. This quilt is a big one, finishing at 88 x 100. 

Reassessing the Scrap Situation

I started making some blocks in January when the color blue was announced for the Scrappy Rainbow Challenge. In February when the color pink was announced, I started work on a different set of blocks. By March, I was so darn frustrated digging though boxes of scraps to find the colors I wanted that I threw up my hands and set to heck with all of it. I finally realized that my time would be far better spent sorting the scraps that I've collected over the years by color.

For years I subscribed to the Bonnie Hunter Scrap User's System, dutifully cutting up scraps left over from quilts I'd made and cutting up more out of the scrap bins and feeding them into containers for squares and strips. It was and still is a daunting task. The sad part is that they seem to get used very little because it never seems to be what I need at the moment. I usually find myself digging around in the bins instead.

I have a lot of scraps. Like a mountain of scraps. Like multiple boxes, bags,  and big Rubbermaid tubs of scraps. The obvious solution is to simply get rid of them, but that's just not ever going to happen because I love my scraps too much. And people keep giving me more to get them out of their sewing rooms. I never turn down scraps. Sometimes I even buy them. It might be a sickness. 

So I settled on a different plan. The owners of quite a few of the blogs I've been frequenting lately sort their scraps by color, and I thought that was worth trying. So I bought 14 clear plastic bins from Walmart and started sorting. These bins are 15 x 10 x 9 inches tall; and I will tell you, it is astonishing how many more scraps you can store if they're laid out flat instead of throwing them willy nilly into a container. 

I started with two of these tall tubs full of scraps and worked my way through  three of the smaller tubs. I also sorted through multiple plastic bags of scraps, and a few more stacks laying around the sewing room.

One of those stacks were the ones I had gotten from Barbara. It got too hard to keep track of what quilts I was working on that used up some of her scraps, so I abandoned that idea and sorted them into the rest of the bins. I also took down the Page I had at the top of the blog called Barbara's Scrap Bag.  

I used these smaller open top bins to sort by color; and I had separate piles of neutrals, batiks, strings, multicolored prints, and crumbs that either went into plastic bins or other established containers in the sewing room. As the open top bins filled up, I moved the scraps to their larger bins.

I also had smaller piles of plaids, solids, Christmas fabrics and block parts that were dispersed to other parts of the sewing room. The block parts will either be seam ripped or chopped up to go into a Whackadoodle quilt. More on that another day.

I had an excess of blues, greens, and surprisingly browns, and purchased a couple more bins for those. 

I had the least amount of yellows, pinks, and oranges, which didn't surprise me; but the reds were also in short supply, which tells me I did use lots of those.

After the dust settled, I now have a lovely wall of colorful scraps, all neatly stacked inside and ready for use. I still have two more large cardboard boxes full of bags of scraps to sort, but I'll have to work down the  scraps in the bins first because they're full. Which of course is the whole point -- to use them!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

June Finish

We seem to be in a pattern of mostly clouds and rain this spring and summer. At the beginning of June we had a few days in the upper 80s and even low 90s, and we might have had only one mostly sunny day since then. I'm sure the tourists are not happy.

I can't say I mind because work at home has kept me from spending much time at camp anyway; and if it's cloudy and rainy outside, then the neighborhood is quiet, and I can get my work done. I do love my peace and quiet. 

I haven't had a lot of time to sew either, but sewing still gets done behind the scenes. I finished the binding and label on this quilt yesterday. It is the Tis the Season block of the month from Missouri Star Quilt Co. I worked on last year. 


I took this one to Whippersnappers in Manchester for quilting because it was too big to fit on my machine. I don't know what design she used, but it has small snowflakes in it and some quilting that reminds me of strings of pearls, and I just really liked it. 

The quilt finishes at 82" x 91", so a good double bed size. 

Whippersnappers also did the quilting for my Letters to Santa quilt, which is getting the binding treatment today. Yay! I anticipate this one will be another finish for the month.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

A Couple Other March Finishes

It was 40 degrees when I got up this morning, which was a nice change from below freezing temps. April has arrived in Maine, and that means less snow, longer days, warmer temperatures, and... flowers! My daffodils have been up for quite a while, but they are refusing to bloom until it warms up.

I finished this little strippy last month for my granddaughter. I was going to donate it to a good cause, but she saw the top and wanted to know if she could have it. Of course! It's a perfect little nap quilt for spring.

I quilted this in a variegated pink thread, and the daisy swirl pantograph looks so nice on it.

The pink flannel back will make it soft and cuddly.

Wiggle Time in 30s repros is finished too, which used up more fabric scraps from the quilt chapter bin. It takes most of a fat quarter to make one row, and I only had enough fabric for three rows. So I added a row from my own stash and duplicated one fabric for the fifth row.
For the backing, I pieced together larger chunks of that green and yellow fabric and used up most of that. Then from the 30s scraps that were left, I cut and pieced a scrappy row on the back. I really like this, maybe more than the front, lol.

Tis the Season came back from the longarmer about a week and a half ago. When I see the lovely stitching that a computerized longarm will do, I'm tempted to trade in my Tin Lizzie. It's a whole lot of money though, so I guess I'll think about it for another year. 

I have the binding sewn to the front and have yet to start hand stitching it to the back. 

My focus for the rest of this month is to finish the top of my Christmas Words quilt. This was a Moda QAL called Letters to Santa that started last July and finished at the end of November. I've been wanting to make a words quilt, so I issued a Christmas Words challenge to my quilt chapter for this year's Maine Quilts show, because the show theme this year is Christmas in July. It simply won't do for me not to get my own quilt finished, so I have to get this done!!

There are 6 or 8 filler blocks scattered throughout the quilt to even out the rows--trees, wreaths, stars, gift boxes, etc. For only one of those fillers, I wanted to make a palm tree, just to remind myself of this year's theme. I'll have to locate a paper pieced pattern somewhere. 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Some Finishes

Yikes, it's been several weeks since I blogged! I don't always realize how much time has gone by since the last post.

The weather has been crazy over the last couple of weeks. Seems like for a while there we were getting snow every other day. And it seems like we've gotten more snow this year than the last couple. 

I'm busy all the time with lots of different things. I've done two more loads in the freeze dryer this week--fresh asparagus and chili; and a load of sweet bell peppers going in tomorrow. We still can't get over how different freeze dried food looks, and the fact that it's so close to fresh or freshly made when it's rehydrated.

I fit in as much sewing as I can; but you know, some days it just doesn't happen. I did finally get some finishes last month. The Coastal Cool sampler quilt came back from the longarmer, and she did a beautiful job.  

Above is a picture of the whole quilt from my pattern cover-- and mine looks just like that, haha. It's a big quilt, so it's hard to get a view of the whole thing at home. The dimensions are odd for a bed quilt, but it still fits better on a double than a queen, so that's where it will go. 

I finished this scrappy quilt on the last day of February. My quilt chapter had an in-house silent auction, and I bought this top plus some extra fabric that went with it. The top was already assembled, but I added one more vertical and horizontal row to extend the size. It was a fast finish, and I thought it would make a fine donation quilt. 

This is an interesting pattern. I hunted high and low for the name of it and finally found it under a couple of different names, like Whirligig. My friend referred to it as Fun Patch, so I named it One Patch Fun Patch. 

It really is a one patch quilt, and Kathy Doughty used an improv version of it in a couple of different ways in her book 'Making Quilts'. One of those was "Fractured" which was a favorite of Wanda's at Exuberant Color. I'd like to use this one patch again, only in a different layout.

I used a variegated gold thread for the quilting because I thought it went well with all of the different fabrics; and I quilted it with a daisy swirl pantograph. I used this same panto on one of Shar's quilts, and it's getting to be a favorite of mine.

At the beginning of March, I got the binding on the Ribbon Candy quilt, that had been hanging around the sewing room for too long. 

Coincidentally I used a pantograph called Ribbon Candy too. Not sure I like it, but it's done!

I am working on getting the binding on a small quilt for my granddaughter right now; and this one, another Wiggle Time quilt from Cynthia Brunz Designs, is on the frame. I used that same daisy swirl pantograph for both quilts.