Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Bee, Myself and I in August

There hasn't been much activity on my current Bee, Myself and I project. This is something I'm making for my own pleasure, not for someone else's benefit. The Botanical Blur top and Pink Lemonade jelly roll flimsy have been quilted together. I've made binding but haven't put it on the quilt yet.

The binding is made from the same batik I used to extend the jelly roll flimsy for long arm quilting. James kept the quilting simple so as not to compete with the busy prints on the botanical side of the quilt. He was able to use a variegated thread my sister bought for me years ago. It's satisfying to be able to put things to good use that I've had around for a long time.

The question I've been pondering is what to tackle next. There are a couple of Squirrel Projects I haven't shared with you yet but now is not the time. The last time I ventured into my local quilt shop I came away with a couple of new Halloween prints. I've also picked up some online recently. 'Tis the season afterall, or almost anyway. Of course, for some of us it's always the season. 😉

I've had this large panel possibly since last autumn.

These ladies have now joined her:

I'm not up to getting the measurements of these panels for you at the moment. Suffice to say, they could all end up in one quilt top. That's the direction I'm leaning at the moment anyway. If I could just get my brain working again...

We've been blessed with cooler temps and cleaner air the last few days. Unfortunately, while the air quality monitor may say our air quality is good, apparently the air in our backyard is not. I went out this morning to deadhead the roses and bring in a couple of blooms for the studio space. That was enough to knock me off my pins, in spite of the mask I wore with two carbon filters inside. And I felt so good before I went outside! {sigh} One of these days I will be feeling well enough long enough to come around to see what everyone else has been up to. At least I hope so.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Oh Baby!

Because of the wildfires burning all around this region I've been monitoring the NW Clean Air web site pretty closely of late. Smoke particulates are one of the many triggers for my sensitivities and subsequent reactions. The day of my last post the particulate count for our community hovered around 35, in the 'Good' range. Since then it skyrocketed to 165, making our air quality unhealthy even for healthy people. Areas north of us were worse, venturing into the
'Hazardous' zone. Poor British Columbia has had some 600 active wildfires. I'm happy to report that the longed-for change in air flow and air quality seems to be underway. The air isn't safe for me yet but it's much cooler and more humid than it has been. Hallelujah! 

It's been too hot to have the iron on. I haven't had the clarity of mind to be able to do much anyway. There has been significant progress on one front however. One of our nieces had her first baby six months or so ago. I whipped up a receiving blanket at the time but promised a real quilt. I have a cute-cute-cute! panel print from long ago I thought would be ideal for this baby. I've had it out a few times, trying to do something with it, but nothing ever developed. I pulled it out again for this baby... and still couldn't come up with a design or a plan I was happy with. Then I remembered a fabric swap our guild did back in the day.

We were a much smaller group back then but there were enough of us for each person to be assigned (randomly, as I recall) a letter of the alphabet. The challenge was to find a print that would represent that letter visually. We cut and swapped 6" squares so everyone had a complete alphabet after the swap. I was too busy with my own children back then to do anything with the patches but I hung onto them, as you do. When the panel print wasn't working out I got out the alphabet squares. It didn't take long to realize I could put them in a Disappearing 9 Patch pattern without even having to trim them down. And I had enough of an alphabet print to be the alternate patches! 

A few of the original patches weren't safe for me to use (not 100% cotton), and there were a few others I thought I had better prints to use for that letter. I didn't think to take pictures of the nine patch blocks before I quartered them. Well, I did, but I didn't do it. I made an effort to keep directional prints all going the same way but of course failed. Fortunately it didn't matter with allover prints. 😊

I used the green juvenile print you see in the lower left corner of the block above as filler. The alphabet patches wouldn't stretch to a full square quilt on their own. At first I tried keeping all those filler patches at the beginning and the end of the alphabet but it just didn't look good. In the end I used them between blocks to allow images to read properly or when I just needed that pop of color.

The final layout.
I've sewn the quarters together, just finger-pressing those seams. When it cools down sufficiently I will give all the blocks a good press and then finish assembling the quilt top. Right now it would finish at 48" square. I'll probably add a border to bring it up to at least sixty inches in both directions. Not quite sure what that will be yet. 

Just for grins, here's the list of images for each letter:

A= alligators
B= birds
C= cat
D= dog
E= elephant
F= frogs
G= gingerbread men
H= hearts
I=ice cream
J= jack o'lanterns
K= kites
L= lizard
M= monkeys
N= notes (musical notes)
O= owls
Q= quilt (of course)
R= rocking horses
S= snowmen
T= trains
U= umbrellas
V= valentine
W= watermelons
X = X (I actually had an alphabet panel with a letter X in the right size!)
Y= yellow daisies
Z= zebras

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Stitching Along in August

It's been three weeks since our last stitch along check in. I don't have much progress to show. The air quality around here has taken its' toll on my system, leaving me in a zombie-like state much of the time. We've been fortunate that the last couple of days brought marine air coming from the coast. I can't imagine (don't want to) what it would be like to be living even closer to any of the wildfires burning to the north, east, and south of us. 

I've added some more "geese" to the small needlepoint case I showed last time. I only had one column done then, now there are three:

Each goose is stitched with a different shade from Nancy's dye pot. It will be interesting to see whether I have to repeat any of the colors before I get to the sides. I might choose to in any case.

I probably won't get around to see what everyone else is working on but you won't be disappointed if you do, I assure you. 😊 And maybe when we check in again on 9 September I'll have had more good days than bad.
Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, JessConstanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Tony, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Connie                                       


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Scrap Happy in August

It's time for our monthly display of scrappy goodness hosted by Kate and Gun. To see who else is participating you can hop over to Kate's blog. Not everyone works with fabric!

I've sewn nearly all the 6" Bow Tie blocks from my Parts Dept. into 12" circles.

Then it took a couple of days of arranging and rearranging them on the design wall to come up with a layout I was happy with.

I wanted to keep the lighter backgrounds in the middle of the quilt top. It was hard to get the blocks balanced, distributed evenly. The lighter ones always seemed to be clustered near one end. Eventually I hit upon an arrangement I could live with. 

This made the top 60" x 72." To make this more useful, say for a teen graduating from the foster care system, I wanted to add a bit of length. Another night of cogitation brought up the idea of creating a fringe effect by using a stripey print.

So now I have a 60" x 80" top. 

I also have a print ready to be pieced to make the back. That print is of dogs of various types and sizes. It's just occurred to me that these Bow Tie Circles could be seen as dog collars! After all, every dog ought to have a bow tie or a necklace to wear. 😉

I've made a few new blocks for the Parts Dept. recently too.

One of these days I'll have to see what I can do with them!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Two From Australia

The last of the Footsquare Freestyle blocks that have been made for me have arrived! As it happens, both sets hail from southern Australia.

These are from Robin. She got a little excited and made four blocks instead of just three!

Nanette made these:

I was delighted to see the House block. I almost made one for myself. Now I have a hedgehog and a vase of flowers, a tall ship and a house among all the other blocks. I have one more block to make for myself (although since Robin made four I guess I don't really have to!). I haven't a clue yet as to how I might set these. They could all go into one quilt or I might be able to get two smaller quilts out of them. And, of course, if I make one or more blocks on my own I'll have that much more to work with!

In the meantime, Claire has asked for blocks in turquoise, gray, and white with black prints.

Turquoise is a little tricky since it's a blend of green and blue. It could look more green or more blue depending on what's next to it. I've already made (and just mailed today) three blocks for Claire. I hope they fit in with her idea of turquoise. You'll have to wait to see what they are though!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Up to My Neck

Recently I had to move the Bow Tie blocks in my Parts Department to make room for still more Hole in the Barn Door blocks. The other day I decided to count up those Bow Ties to see if I had enough to do something with them on their own. I've used small quantities in the past as borders or rows in quilts with other blocks but I've also continued to make new scrappy Bow ties. Even though the 2 gallon plastic bag I'd stashed them in was pretty full I wasn't sure I'd have enough for a strictly Bow Tie quilt. 

That's 136 Bow Ties!

Just for kicks I started laying them out on the design wall.

I tried to ignore the bow ties themselves and focus on the background colors or values. It remains to be seen whether or not that was a good idea.

Turns out I have enough 6" Bow Tie blocks to make thirty 12" blocks, with maybe another ten Bow Ties left over. And, of course, there are more scraps in the wings that could be turned into Bow Ties! You may not see this again until Scrap Happy Day on the 15th. I have a couple of new projects brewing in the background. It's too hot to use the iron for very long currently. A quick press of yardage might be all it takes to get me started cutting for one or the other of those new projects. 😉