Echoes


Echoes
May 2021

Here’s a baby quilt that will be donated to Little Lambs Foundation for Kids @littlelambsfoundationforkids as part of this year’s Hands2Help Challenge being hosted by Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict @fabricaddictquilts.

The fabric of the animals riding around in cars is the last I have of this fabric, which I also used in Twizzler Goes for a Ride and Toodles. The blue, cream-colored and dark green blocks are all solid fabrics, which is deceiving since the fleece I used for the backing on this quanket (blanket + quilt = quanket) shows through when held up to light. The fleece backing is green with big white polka dots, making an interesting echo from the back to the front.

Fun fact: the letter E in the NATO phonetic alphabet is Echo and its morse code is a dot.

#h2h2021 #hands2help2021

M81


M81
April 2021

While it has been quiet here on my blog for the past few months, my sewing room has been anything but quiet! I’ve been working on improving my quilting skills, which I like to do on smaller-sized items, as they are more manageable on my standard domestic sewing machine. I made four table runners, shown in the picture below. The Valentine ones were for each of my daughters, the blue one was for my youngest daughter’s birthday, and the one that looks like a serapa blanket was for me. I have also been working on a couple of larger quilts, which have been keeping my sewing days busy.

I’ve slowed down a little on making charity quilts over the past few months, as due to Covid, my local county’s Children and Family services has been closed to visitors, so dropping off my donation quilts has been a challenge. Luckily, Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict @fabricaddictquilts is currently hosting the Hands2Help Challenge, and Little Lambs Foundation for Kids @littlelambsfoundationforkids is once again one of the receiving participants, which is where this baby quilt is heading.

This scrappy quilt incorporates an orphan block from my Hoplon quilt as the center block. The Valentine table runners I made used the crumb block technique — which by the way is super fun — and since I had all my pink scraps thrown on my sewing table, I decided to just keep making pink crumb blocks, which I used for the setting triangles. I attempted doing a fish scale quilting design (free motion), and while it ended up looking more like squares with arced sides, I was happy with the end result.

#h2h2021 #hands2help2021

Quiet Start


Quiet Start

January 2021

In mid-December, my nephew surprised everyone, announcing that he and his partner of six-years were getting married in a week’s time. While it wasn’t a surprise that they are perfectly matched and would eventually marry, the actual wedding arrived sort of out of the blue. However, it was such a beautiful and memorable culmination to a year that had been to that point less than stellar, leaving me with a good memory for 2020.

The name, Quiet Start, comes from their wedding vows. While they don’t have “a song” per se, they feel that Mama Cass’s It’s Getting Better, is a fitting description of their relationship, and they incorporated the lyrics into their vows :

Once I believed that when love came to me
It would come with rockets, bells and poetry
But with me and you it just started quietly and grew
And believe it or not
Now there’s something groovy and good
Bout whatever we got
And it’s getting better
Growing stronger warm and wilder
Getting better everyday, better everyday
I don’t feel all turned on and starry eyed
I just feel a sweet contentment deep inside
Holding you at night just seems kind of natural and right
And it’s not hard to see
That it isn’t half of what it’s going to turn out to be
Cause it’s getting better
Growing stronger, warm and wilder
Getting better everyday, better everyday
And just like a flower that takes time to bloom
This love of ours is taking time to grow
And I don’t mind waitin’, don’t mind waitin’
Cause no matter how long it takes
The two of us know
That it’s getting better
Growing stronger, warm and wilder
Getting better everyday, better everyday.
~ Cass Elliot (Mama Cass)

The majority of the material used for this quilt is wool that I inherited from my nephew’s grandmother, Virgie. Year’s ago when his grandmother passed away, I had been given stacks of wool that she had planned to use in making men’s suits. Over the years, I had used some to make a couple of clothing items for myself, and when I discovered that it wasn’t crazy to use it for a quilt, I made Virgie’s Wagga Rug. Even after making clothes and a quilt, I still had a good amount of this beautiful wool sitting in my stash. So, when my nephew announced the wedding, I knew what to do with the wool – make another quilt! The design is one I borrowed from an actual rug I had seen, that I wanted to interpret into a quilt. All the greys and brown/tans are from Virgie’s stash, while the mauve-colored wool is some I purchased back in the 1980’s with the plan to make a suit for myself, a plan that just never materialized (no pun intended).

As a nod to history, I want to notate here that some of the wool was stamped Harfred Fabrics Limited. While I attempted to learn more about the company, the internet had very little information about them. In the numerous years that this wool has been in my care, I have treasured the piece pictured below, that carries their logo. I used it in the backing for Quiet Start. I feel with the gifting of this quilt, that I have officially done honor to Virgie’s ‘stack of wool’.

For more information on wool quilts, check out TheEclecticAbuela’s blog. The story and origin of Wagga Rugs is fascinating.

 

Rising Star


Rising Star

October 2020

A year ago Christmas, I received EQ8 (Electric Quilt software) that has for me, become an invaluable tool for quilting. I have a design wall – another important tool for designing quilts – but with EQ8, it is much easier to visualize what the finished quilt will look like, figure out piece sizes before cutting, and get estimates on the amount of fabric that will be needed. Since many of my quilts are made from material in my stash, it’s great to be able to determine if there will be enough before making that first cut.

My Catnip quanket is the only other Lonestar quilt I’ve made, which I had modified to leave off the star points. I haven’t done a true Lonestar quilt, however, this may still be the case since I chose to offset this one 😉  In EQ8, I chose a standard 6-row Lonestar design and then created several options based on the fabric I was planning to use. I was able to import images of the fabrics I was using, which provided a very realistic rendering of what the final quilt would look like. I used flannel for the backing, so this will be a toasty warm quilt! 

This will be gifted to my niece, who will be turning one in December. It is a bit big for her now, but she’ll grow into it! 

Mesozoic Scraps


Mesozoic Scraps
October 2020

I have made several quilts and quankets this year using mainly scraps, making me think scraps must be genetically related to rabbits, because they multiply so quickly! My gray, white and black scrap bin was still too full for the lid to sit on it properly, so I made this string quanket. I had the green fleece for the backing in my stash, so I pulled in some green scraps leftover from my recent Tiger Tracks project to add a bit of fun color for the top. I also incorporated a few fussy cut squares of dinosaur fabric leftover from my Prehistoric Pennies quanket to add a bit of whimsy.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in October 2020.

Tiger Tracks


Tiger Tracks

September 2020

I enjoy experimenting with different quilt techniques and methods, and wanted to try doing an attic window quilt. When I started looking around to purchase a panel, this gorgeous creature caught my eye! However, when he got home and onto my design wall, it quickly became apparent that 1) he was too beautiful to cut up and 2) he would be alarmingly close to my attic window, if I had an attic window 🙂 Instead, I chose to use simple borders and let him be the star of this show.

For the quilting, I stitched around some of the key elements in the tiger panel, using seven different colored threads so that they blended well. While there were a lot of threads to knot and bury, the final effect was well worth the effort. For the borders, I quilted big tiger paws all around. I pieced the back (shown below), which allowed me to use standard 44″ wide fabric.

The majority of quilts I make are quankets – fleece backed tops that I tie – so I feel I’m still a bit of a newbie when it comes to the traditional method of sandwiching the top, batting and fabric back. My foray into traditional quilting began with the QAYG method (quilt as you go), quilting each individual block and then joining them. I then progressed to doing bigger quilted sections, keeping a section not much wider than 20″ since I quilt on a standard sewing machine. However, this quilt didn’t lend itself well to the QAYG method, so I quilted at the full size which is roughly 54″x60″. I hear other quilters comment how their shoulders get sore after quilting a bigger quilt on a standard sewing machine, and I certainly learned firsthand what they are talking about! I rigged up some overhead clamps to hold much of the quilt’s mass off of the sewing table, to reduce the amount of drag, which helped a lot. But, I still need to come up with a better solution for reducing the drag across the very front edge of my sewing cabinet where I’m sitting.

I gifted this to my 2-year old nephew Harry, whose reaction upon seeing it was a gasp and then a whispered, “Wow”. I think that’s one of the best compliments I’ve gotten on one of my quilts! 

 

Phillip


Phillip
September 2020

Here’s my blue version from Jacquelynne Steves Silver Linings SAL (sew along) that I participated in during the Spring. Like my pink version, Aurora, I stitched an owl to work with my overall owl theme. But instead of embroidering the owl this time, I did it as cross-stitch, since I’m much more familiar with cross stitching — much fewer stitches to know/learn than embroidery 🙂

I used scraps for all the blocks, and fabric from my stash for the sashing, cornerstones and binding. The blocks are 6″ and since the SAL only had twelve blocks, plus six embroidery blocks that I chose not to do, I pieced extra blocks to make the finished size 40″x46″ so it can work for a baby or young child.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in October 2020.

Pocket Full of Monsters


Pocket Full of Monsters

August 2020

Patterns for quilts can come from a variety of atypical places. I often notice quilt designs in tile installations. My grandson has a math activity book that has Pokemon characters drawn in grid format, which on seeing it, I instantly saw quilt potential.

At the beginning of the pandemic, my daughter asked me about doing a sewing project with her and my grand-kids via video calls. Since my grandson is currently into Pokemon, I had her send me the Pikachu picture from his activity book, and I then cut the needed pieces from fabric I had in my stash. Each week I would mail them two rows which they would sew together. The pieces were 3.5″ which by placing into two stacks,  fit into a standard #10 envelop. I added card stock on either side of the fabric to add rigidity. My grandson enjoyed ‘decoding’ the pieces each week – sort of like a puzzle, figuring out where each piece needed to go.

When they finished the Pikachu portion, my grandson asked, “what do we do with it now”? He felt that using it as a blanket at that point seemed like it was going to be too rough and scratchy on the back – the seam side 🙂 We discussed using it as a wall hanging, a quilt or a quanket and he decided he wanted it finished into a quanket.

They returned Pikachu to me for adding the borders, binding and backing. Luckily I found the Robert Kaufman Pokemon card panel from Hancocks of Paducah which was perfect for the border! I say ‘luckily’ because before the pandemic, I probably would not have known this particular fabric existed as I rarely purchased fabric online. I would just run down to the local fabric store to get something that worked with my design and I’m pretty sure they would not have had this fabric. In the first few months of the pandemic, running down to the fabric store was not an option. Since March, I have shifted pretty much all of my fabric and notions purchases to online, with trips into my local store being the rarity.

The finished size is approximately 54″ x 60″. I typically tie quankets, but since the Pikachu didn’t really work for this, I instead did a running stitch to outline him and did ties in the border.

 

Onshore Breeze

Onshore Breeze
August 2020

When I can’t sail, I quilt. My husband and I have been sailors for over 30 years, so naturally, when the grandkids came on the scene, we taught them that a nice onshore breeze is synonymous with good sailing. We often say, “Nice onshore breeze, we should go sailing!” Now that they are a bit older, we merely start the sentence, “Nice onshore breeze”, and they finish it 🙂

 

I made this quilt as a gift for my granddaughter’s 4th birthday which was earlier this month. When trying to get ideas for a design, I asked her what her favorite color is (blue, at that moment) and her favorite animal (cow, at that moment). I opted to design around her favorite color, as while I like cows, they were just not sparking much creative inspiration for me.

 

But, I didn’t have much in the way of blue fabric left in my stash (no cows either). With more time on my hands during the past several months, my stash has been substantially depleted. The pandemic has also made fabric acquisition very challenging! I was able to order three jelly rolls – two in a blue colorway, and one in aqua, however getting solid fabrics has been nearly impossible – both online and in stores! Where once there had been a dozen or two of various Kona solids on the store shelves, now there are seldom more than a half dozen. Fortunately, on one of my rare trips to the fabric store in the past two months, they happened to have turquoise Kona fabric. Needless to say, I scooped some up right quick to use for the back. I incorporated the leftover fabric from the front to create a strip down the back, which helped get around the issue of the solid fabric being only 45″ wide and my needing 54″ for the width. Warning for fellow quilters (in case you haven’t already found this out): the jelly rolls were supposed to be 2.5″ wide, however they were not! I am so glad that I checked them before I began assembling. The blue rolls were 2.75″ while the aqua was 2.625″. So, I trimmed the blue to be the same as the aqua.

 

As with the past few quilts I’ve made, I did this using the quilt as you go (QAYG) method. I built the quilt in three horizontal panels roughly 20″ x 54″, so quilting it on my domestic machine was much easier. I kept the quilting pretty simple, doing wavy lines. Because the front reminds me of ocean waves, my intention for the wavy lines was to emulate an onshore breeze across the water.

Aurora


Aurora
August 2020

Back in May, I joined Jacquelynne Steves Silver Linings QAL (quilt along). Each Monday, she would release a new block, for a total of twelve. There were also six  optional embroidery blocks as part of the project. Since I’m not overly familiar with embroidery, I only did one embroidered block. I used a coloring page for the pattern, and did an owl to work with my overall owl theme. Although the group QAL is ending this week, there is still time to download the block patterns here.

The first block was a nine patch, which I fussy cut the center square from scrap owl fabric leftover from my quanket Hooty. The owls are in different colors, including pink, which began my colorway for this quilt. I used scraps for all the pink blocks, and fabric from my stash for the borders and binding. The blocks are 6″ and since the QAL only had twelve blocks, plus the embroidery, I pieced an extra seven blocks to make the finished size 40″x46″ so it can work for a baby or young child.

As I suspect with many people, the pandemic has become a depressing pall over daily life. The hardest thing for me has been the infrequency of seeing and spending time with family and friends. And when I do see them, it’s at a safe social distance, so no hugs 😦 The not being able to plan for parties, camping trips, vacations, etc. is particularly difficult for me, since I so enjoy planning for the next big adventure! In a nutshell, the inability to ‘look forward’ to something concrete has been the biggest loss (for me) as a result of the pandemic. This QAL has been a breath of fresh air during this difficult time, as while it was just a small thing, it gave me something to look forward to each week. 

The name Aurora means dawn. For mariners, a pink/red sky in the morning is a warning of a potential storm. While a storm at sea can be scary, if a sailor uses the scientific knowledge of prevailing winds, along with the fact that a pink/red sky in the morning could indicate a high pressure system to the east, and a possible impending storm, then they can take the necessary precautions to be better prepared to ride out the storm. The pandemic can certainly be likened to a storm, and if we rely on the scientific facts and take the necessary precautions, we will get through this!

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in October 2020.