Thursday, August 27, 2020

One Monthly Goal - August Finish

My goal for August was to complete my Halo quilt top.

This was a quilt that I started a couple of years ago then stalled on. I'm glad that I came across a Halo sewalong on Instagram that helped motivate me to get back at it. We were to do two blocks per week....easy peasy.

I'm so happy that I accomplished my goal...

When it came time to sew the blocks together I used a method of organizing the blocks that I learned on a retreat last year. 

Normally I would gather up all the blocks for the first two vertical rows off of the design wall and sew them together, then gather up each subsequent row and sew it on. 

This method, instead, has you get all of the blocks carefully stacked in a pile waiting to be sewn together.  It's a bit scary, but it works! Thanks to SS for teaching me a new trick!

And, of course, I just had to put a few stitches in....there's just something special about the very beginning of a hand-quilting project.

I'm using Hobb's wool batting, which is like quilting through butter, and Wonderfil Spaghetti thread for big-stitch quilting. For someone like me that has spent 40 years working on traditional tiny stitches, this kind of quilting is taking some concentration. 

I love everything about this quilt....I wish I'd had the patience to make it a bed-sized quilt, but I settled for a lap-sized quilt :(

Meanwhile, I've been a bit behind in the Summer Sampler 2020 sewalong. One block is released each week. The theme this year is blocks that are constructed in a manner easier than they seem. They are all quite unique and are looking good up on the design wall.

In the picture above you can also see a narrow peek of my Leaders and Enders blocks. I've been keeping two little containers near my sewing with 1" light strips, and the other with 1" dark strips. I'm really wanting this to be a full bed quilt so I imagine I'll be working on it for a while!

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of a bouquet of roses from our garden. They are really starting to flourish (it's a fairly new garden), and they have suffered a little from a couple of heat waves we've had this summer, but we are getting some spectacular blooms.

I am linking up with Elm Street Quilts for One Monthly Goal - August Finish, and with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Slow stitching on a Sunday

It's a lovely morning here, and, as always I've started my day with a bit of hand-stitching.

I'm almost finished with this "Covid squirrel" Hills 'n' Hollers quilt...

...only one more piece to applique, then it will be done. I'll sit down and do that after writing today's post. 

I did have an unexpected bit of applique to do on this quilt this week. I added these bits...

No one will ever know (except you) that they are not actually a design element, but a cover-up for the dreaded "unfortunate scissors incident", lol! Life happens....but in quilting it just presents another good use for some creative applique, am I right??

Here is the quilt up on the design close to being done...

I feel like this one will need "big-stitch quilting", which I think will be difficult for me...after all, I've spent the last forty years trying to do small, even, traditional stitches! Another thing, how does one even know how much perle cotton to buy to quilt a piece? Oh well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I'm actually just remembering that I have done big-stitch quilting on a piece a couple of years ago, so I'm sure I'll be fine.

In this past week, wouldn't you know it, I've come across yet again another sewalong. 

This one is offered by Lucy Engels out of Scotland and is called the Naive Melody quilt. It is a quilt that evolved out of herk own Covid lock-down experience.

The sewalong starts on September 1st and consists of doing a block per day for 100 days, and is an Instagram sewalong. You can look up the hashtag #naivemelodysewalong....and Lucy at @_lucyengels.

Here is a link to the sign-up page, and you can have a peek at the quilt...

When you sign up for the sewalong you get an email with a discount code for buying the pattern, which is very reasonably priced. The blocks are 6 1/2" unfinished.

It's a quilt that can be easily made from your stash, can be done with hand applique or machine applique, and the simple shapes are repeated in many blocks.

Of course, I've had to test the first 2 blocks...

I hope some of you will join me in this sewalong! 

Edited to add: I've just found out that instead of 100 blocks in 100 days, the sewalong will be 4 blocks per even more manageable!

I'll end with showing off my latest attempt at sourdough bread. Just for fun I threw in a handful of dates and walnuts. It was definitely a success!

Have a lovely Sunday. I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Oh, and another thing....I've tried to change the commenting on my posts so that I need to approve them first....I'm not sure if it's working properly. I've done this as I've been getting so many spam comments lately. I'll have to see how to add on the captcha(sp?) about "not being a robot". 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Old dog, new tricks....

Well, I wish I was someone who used the Covid time as an opportunity to work on their UFO's....but I've been caught up in a couple of sewalongs along the way.

I've said it before....I'm a sucker for a sewalong!

The latest one is hosted by @thenextstitch on Instagram. She started a sewalong a few weeks ago called @shutdownstitchalong....I think because her area in Melbourne, Australia had entered a shutdown again because of an uptick in Covid cases. (I just have to say....up until a couple of weeks ago, I'd never ever heard the word "uptick" before. Now I hear it all the time and here I am actually using it!)

During this stitchalong we are encouraged to slow stitch for at least 15 minutes a day. Hey, I start everyday with slow stitching, so I'm in!!

Somehow during the beginning of the sewalong I saw the quilt Hills 'n' Hollers being shown and remembered that I have this pattern and what a good opportunity to try it. 

Should have worked on a UFO, right?...oh well. 

I thought it would be a great opportunity to use my Jen Kingwell Stash....just needed a background fabric. So, I made my way to my local quilt shop, Quilt Junction. Well, didn't I find out that Lana has started carrying a couple of Cotton & Steel fabrics....and I have a lovely stash of C&S fabrics sitting in a box at home. So I switched thing up to use these fabrics.

You can see that I basted down all the pieces first to make sure the "hills" were spaced out nicely across the fabric. 

I baste in my applique once in a while....normally to attach all the "vines" in a piece of applique. It takes extra time, but I find it worth it in the end.

When I posted a picture on Instagram showing my progress in the sewalong, a friend commented that it looks like surfboards....I like that and I think this quilt will now be known as Beach Blanket Bingo!....anyone old enough to catch that reference???

Once the surfboards were in my head, my brain somehow leapt over to a pattern I bought recently and thought that if I incorporated part of that pattern it would kind of look like sun rays. The pattern is "Hunt" by Carolyn Friedlander...

So I read through the pattern and was surprised to find out that she uses a whole other method of applique in this design. 

It scared me and thrilled me at the same time, lol!!!

I've been a quilter for over 40 years now and I've got a lot of my methods down pat....but I always enjoy learning a new tip or trick that I may be able to add to my toolbox. 

Here are all the pieces pinned to the background...

The next step was to baste each piece down....with the stitches precisely 1/4" from the edge of the applique piece. Not difficult when you've been a quilter for a while as the 1/4" measure comes quite naturally, right?

Then I was to needleturn applique the pieces. But wait a minute....for years now I've been finger-pressing my seam was this going to work????....that was the scary part. I was prepared for the fact that this would not be my best work, but it would be a learning experience.

So I started this morning...on a straight section as the curves were going to be the messy part...

Well, here's the brilliant part of this method....those basting stitches really make a nice "edge" that my needle used to follow as I was needle-turning. So pleasing in an inexplicable way.

Then came the curvy bit, and it worked out just fine. I'm quite happy with my work this morning, and I can see using the "Hunt" pattern for a full-sized quilt.

I will digress for a moment.

A long time ago I read this book and I came to call it my applique Bible...

Almost everything in this book revolutionized my method of applique.

 When I have trouble with curves (and circles were my nemesis for a long time), I always remember this bit of the just make that next stitch a good stitch, concentrate on just that stitch...and this passage of the book served me well again doing the curves this morning. 

My design wall is full at the moment, but I had to see how Beach Blanket Bingo was really looking...

I like it....a lot!!! I can even hear Annette Funicello singing in the background as she dreams about Frankie Avalon.

This quilt has been quite the journey that has morphed in many different ways since I began the #shutdownstitchalong!!

On the design wall is my Halo quilt....a long-time UFO that will finally be a real quilt because of another sewalong on Instagram.

I put the blocks up haphazardly to live with for a while and shuffle them around when I see something that needs shuffling...

Already I know that this is a quilt that will call for hand-quilting.

Halo will be my One Monthly Goal for August. I am linking up with Elm Street Quilts for One Monthly Goal.

I am also linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching