Everybody Else's Quilts

We are adjusting to our new normal.  To be honest, it's not that different than our usual, other than everyone is at home and we can't just go do something or buy something when we want.  It could be so much worse.

School started back up today for the kids.  My daughter seems to be able to do her day's work as she pleases. My son has specific times for each thing.

My husband is still teleworking.

I am probably having the hardest time adjusting, simply because I am used to being alone all day and now everyone is in my space.  It's not that bad though.  I'm happy to have us all home and safe.  Indiana started our "stay home" directive this week.  It's not especially strict though, and I fear too many people are still out and about and taking their kids with them.  It frustrates me that people are not taking the risk seriously. Since I already addressed that last week, let's get to some quilting.

I quilted two quilts for others since last week.  First is Marilyn's quilt.  She wanted navy thread and we decided on Saffron Blossom for the quilting design.  This quilt had several firsts for me:  first time quilting with a dark thread on a light background, first time quilting a batik backing, and first time mailing a quilt.  I was in a rush to get this back in the mail, so my pictures are not ideal.  Sadly, most of the pictures I took came out blurry when I enlarged them.  But you can get the idea.

Also, the post office was closed by the time I had it ready to ship, but the mail pickup hadn't come yet.  The box did not fit in my mail box, so I waited until I heard the mail truck coming and put it out like this.  And then hovered in the yard to make sure the carrier picked it up and treated it nicely.  I'm happy to say that this quilt made its way back across the country to its owner, safe and sound.
Next was Keetah's quilt.  This is the largest quilt I have ever done!  It was 112" x 111".  You can see it goes almost from one end of the frame to the other. She wanted a colored thread (we used So Fine #470 Big Sky) and loopy meander. 

You might notice my Frolic quilt on my design wall in the background.  I have started laying it out.  I wasn't sure I'd like it, but it's definitely growing on me as I see it on the wall.  Here is a better shot of it.  Most of it still needs the sashing strips inserted, and it does not show any of the borders yet.  I'm hoping to work on it this week.
I also need to quilt my Meadowland quilt within the next week since it is my March OMG.  It's in the same state as it was last week--need to press and seam the background, press the top since I left it wadded up, and decide on a quilting design.  And then quilt it!
We got an email from Bluprint the other day offering 60% off one item.  My daughter got the Ouroboros pattern by No Hats in the House from Crimson Tate at the IHQS show and we decided batiks would be a good choice for paper piecing since they don't have a definite right or wrong side.  She chose this fat quarter bundle.  We'll still need to come up with some background fabrics somehow.  It's hard when you can't physically go match fabrics.

Other than that, I've helped my husband move way too much drywall over the last few days as he prepares to drywall our basement living room.  We are still trying to go for multiple walks per day as the weather allows. My daffodils are glorious.  Enjoy some pictures of them.

I will need to get groceries soon.  Wish me luck on finding some flour.

How are you keeping busy?  

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

A New Way to Wash

That title could mean so many things in our current times, no?

I am really thankful that I was able to get out and buy backing fabric for three quilts before all this (though I do regret not being willing/able to schedule a hair appointment).  While I was at the store, one of the ladies asked if I knew the trick to washing without all the unraveling and wrinkles.  I wasn't aware of it, so she briefly described it.  When I was ready to wash, I Googled it do get a better description and some images too.

I used the directions found here.  

What follows is a series of photos of the process.  I had two large pieces of fabric.  I think they were 6.5 and 7.5 yards.  So.  The first thing you have to do is unfold the fabric and open it out. If you're going to try this and don't have strong arm and shoulder muscles, you will want someone to help you. I was really feeling the burn with this amount of yardage on my own.  Note to self:  use the resistance band more.
Next you are going to accordion fold the fabric.  I did 18" to 20" folds because that's what I could manage folding on my own.  I also tucked in the raw edges.  
A side note on the raw edges--many people have suggested to me that I either a.  serge, zig-zag, or somehow finish the raw edges or b. clip the corners of each raw edge before washing.  Okay.  One, I am too lazy to sew the edges of the fabric before washing.  Two, I have tried the corner clipping many times and it just does not work for me.  Also, I am pretty much always going to wash my fabrics ahead, other than charm squares or jelly roll strips.  I want all the surprises to happen before I spend the time and effort of making something.  I want things preshrunk as much as possible.  And it doesn't hurt to wash away whatever chemical or dust remnants that might be lingering.

Moving right along, after I accordion folded the first piece, I laid it out on my laundry room counter, aligned all the selvedge edges as much as I could, and begun the hard work of pinning all the edges together.  This is a great time to use your quilt basting safety pins.  Make sure you don't use any rusted ones.  I pinned every couple of inches.  Some parts were really easy to pin through and some were quite difficult.  I pinned through a few layers at a time instead of trying to jam the pin all the way through.  My method was to place a few layers onto the pin, push them down, place a few more layers on, push, continue, until I made it through all the layers.  I did make sure that I placed a pin where I had folded in the raw edges.
After I finished one end of the fabric, I rotated the piece and pinned the other side.
Then I repeated the process with the second piece of fabric.  

I then placed both pieces into the washing machine.  I used a small amount of detergent and used the gentle cycle.  I felt that the two pieces were balanced pretty well and did not need anything additional in with them.  I might have reconsidered if I only had one piece.  My washer is exceptionally finicky about being in balance. 
Here's how they looked at the end of the washing cycle.
I threw both pieces into the dryer when I was finished.  I ran them on low for 40 minutes. The pinned ends were still somewhat wet when I pulled them out, but they air-dried quite quickly.  They look really good.

I had very minimal unravelling.
They will need a light pressing, but there are no crazy creases.  An unexpected bonus is that the center fold line is not visible.

I will definitely use this method in the future.

In other news, you all are well aware that the nation is essentially shut down.  I urge you to take this seriously.  Please don't go anywhere unless you absolutely need to (food, doctor, work).  If everyone would just *^%$$^&* stay home, this will pass much more quickly.  If people continue to disregard the risk, this will drag out forever. Please consider that your friends, family, or others you come in contact with may have compromised immune systems or other issues you may not be aware of. Be considerate and protect yourself AND others.  You would feel horrible if you blithely went out, got mildly ill, exposed others, and they DIED. Think of the risk to the doctors, nurses, and medical support staff and cleaning people. Please don't be selfish.

Other than the boredom, this really isn't so bad, is it?  We have so many things now that people under quarantines in the past didn't have.  While we are not physically present, we can still communicate easily. We can FaceTime or Skype.  We have cell phones and internet.  There's social media, for better or worse. We have electricity.  The weather is getting nicer, so you can go for walks around your neighborhood or around your yard.  We are not truly isolated like people of the past were.  A little sacrifice now isn't the end of the world.  Maybe our kids miss some events, or you can't go on your vacation right now.  Better than the alternative.  

I realize that not everyone is privileged to have all the luxuries I mentioned above.  If you are able, please help out your fellow citizens.  Maybe you can share some groceries with someone in need or help in some other way.  I have donated money to the local food bank. Just keep your social distance.

I was at Target to get a prescription last Wednesday.  I grabbed some cereal and juice.  I tried to buy some other things we were low on.  Remember that I had been in my house for five days while our solar was installed, so it was sort of like social distancing before it was required.  I had my son with me because he'd had an appointment.  We were in awe of how many things were just completely gone.  All types of pain medicines and cold-type medicines.  All first aid kits, all the rubbing alcohol and the majority of the peroxide.  All the cleaning supplies (were you not all cleaning your houses before this?), all the paper towels.  There were a few packages of toilet paper left.  I did not need any and did not buy any.  Weirdly, all the bandages were gone.  The toothpaste was pretty picked over.  At that point the food was well stocked and there was loads of alcohol everywhere. Drinking alcohol, that is.

I'm glad my husband had gone to the store to replace all the stuff I had to throw away Tuesday and I'm wishing I had bought some pasta while I was at Target.  We went to get groceries Friday late afternoon.  The store was packed and most things were gone.  Carrots, avocados, bananas, potatoes, onions, most of the apples, celery, and tomatoes, and weirdly, all the ginger root.  No pasta, dried beans, or rice, very little meat, bread, and canned goods.  No eggs, no flour, almost no sugar, most of the frozen vegetables with the exception of Italian green beans (eyebrow raised here) and lima beans.  Luckily we quite like both of those.  We managed to get enough things to make it through a week, but it was just so weird.  I hear the stores are still super busy.  I'm dreading when I have to go back.  (Update on Saturday, March 21--my husband has been to the store.  Produce is back in stock, most dry and canned goods are not.  I've been lucky enough to get the majority of what we require, other than flour.)

We've been busy cleaning out our gardens on the days the weather is nice.  All the daffodils are starting to bloom.

The kids are on spring break this week.  We did my daughter's college advising and registration for the fall over the phone, so it was a little different than we expected, but we got it done.  We're just hanging out and enjoying each other.  My husband will be home starting tomorrow and the kids will be home at least for this week and next, though I expect that will stretch longer.

Duke Energy came back to switch over our meter yesterday, so the solar system got turned on.  My husband is excited because in the first six hours the meter was moving backwards.  According to the dashboard for the system, we saved enough CO2 emissions to be the equivalent of planting a few trees.  Still kinda shocking to see all the panels on the roof though.
Oh, I have been working on my Bonnie Hunter Frolic mystery again and got all the half blocks finished.  Now it's on to the corner/quarter blocks.  Then the sashing, then the center assembly, then the pieced outer borders. No sweat! 😂  

I also was feeling a bit helpless last week and started a new project.  Just need to quilt and bind.  Story of my life!
If you made it this far, thanks! I commend you. 

Stay safe and healthy, friends.

Linking with For the love of geese, My Quilt Infatuation, and From Bolt to Beauty.

Scenes from IHQS

This past week has really messed with my routine.  We are adding solar panels to our house.  So far they have been working inside, outside, and on top of my house last Wednesday, Friday, this week Monday, Tuesday, and today.  Some days it's really loud, some days it's really inconvenient, and all of the days I am stuck in the house.  Yesterday the power was supposed to be off for 30-45 minutes, and it ended up being off over five and a half hours.  My fridge got too warm and I had to throw away all meat, milk, eggs, and leftovers.  Unfortunately, I had all the lunch and dinner things for the rest of the week in there, so the loss was great.  Somehow I was the only one who was that upset by it.  The workers certainly weren't, and neither was my husband.  I am attributing this to them all being men.  I was devastated.  I understand that there are much worse things in the world than this, but really, all the waste, not to mention all the time I had invested.  Apparently my time is worth nothing.  😢
March 5--some things sticking out of the roof.
March 10--frames and lots of wires and boxes.  A few of the panels were added later in the day.
Moving on to happier things, I was able to go to the IHQS show on Thursday and returned for a bit on Saturday.  Since I haven't had much time to sew anything of my own, I will share some of the quilts I saw there.  The first few are part of the Elvis exhibit.
Change of Heart by Nancy B. Adams
Hound Dog by Cheryl Stanczyk
Generosity by Sarah Entsminger
The rest are quilts that caught my eye for whatever reason.  I didn't take pictures of most of the winners.  While they were of course very lovely, I'm sure you will see them on the show circuit for years.  At least, that's been my experience in the past. I liked this next one because of the outer space view.
To Rule the Night by Pat Kelley
This one is very tiny.  I am always a fan of tiny quilts because of the skill and the size of the piecing. 
My Carolina Lily by Rhonda Nelson
Fun story about this one--I don't think you can read it in the picture, but there are a group of "Bonniacs" in town who love Bonnie Hunter and do her mystery quilts every year.  Maryam decided she didn't really need another big quilt, so she reduced all the pieces of Good Fortune by 75%.  Isn't her quilt awesome?
Good Fortune by Maryam Othman
Good Fortune by Maryam Othman
This one caught my eye both times I was there.  The quilting was really good.
PowWow by Mary Bauer
This one was also very impressive.  
Cardinal Points by Gail Stepanek
What's not to love about a Harry Potter quilt? 
Erised by Gail "Windy" Baumgart
 Everyone loves a rainbow.
Exploding Spectrum by Susan Young
 This one should win just for having the best personal name.
 The embroidery details on this one were amazing!
Stavanger Village by M. C. Bunte

 This one was a stunner too.  Amazing quilting.
Reverberations by Suzy Webster
This one was entirely hand pieced and quilted.  Each of the squares was 1/2" finished!  Her quilting stitches were ultra-tiny.  
Dynamo by Megan Farkas
 This one was really striking in person too.
100 Days with Tula by Kim Dunnington
Hope you enjoyed the show!  On a final note, my first daffodils bloomed yesterday.  Spring is officially here--at least in my book.
March 10, 2020, first daffodil blooms of the year.

March OMG and a Custom Quilt

I have so many works in progress right now that I am having a hard time choosing just one as an OMG. I need to buy backings for the two Sunshowers tops and the Meadowland top.  All three need to be quilted and bound.  I would love to complete the Frolic top. If you've done a Bonnie Hunter quilt before, you know it is a ton of sewing.  I have the main blocks made, but need to make all the edge blocks, do the setting, and put on a bunch of pieced borders.  I already have backing for that one.  I sewed together a bunch of leftover HST from another project and I'd like to do something with that.  Right now I'm leaning toward a pillow, but I'm just not sure.  

I like to have several projects going at once because often I get bored with the repetitiveness and need the mental break/challenge of working on something new.  But sometimes having choices is overwhelming! That's usually the point where I just start something new that is smaller and a quick finish.  But really, these WIP are getting a bit out of control.

Which to pick, which to pick?  I think I'm going to go with quilting the Meadowland for my March OMG.
Linking up with Elm Street Quilts for One Monthly Goal.

I've been pretty slow-moving the last few weeks.  My back has been pretty sore after the tumble down the stairs.  I did very slowly work on quilting my friend's top.  I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.

I was privileged to hear Gyleen X. Fitzgerald speak last night at one of the guilds I belong to.  I have been very fortunate to hear and/or take classes with many nationally known speakers and Gyleen is right at the top.  She's a really fantastic speaker.  I enjoyed her so much.  I wish I could have been able to take one of her classes at IHQS.  If you ever have the chance to hear her or take a class, I urge you to do so.  Or you can check out her website here.  I just really can't say enough good things about her.  

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

February OMG Complete!

I have completed all three of the quilt along tops that I had in progress--the Meadowland and two Sunshowers.  The Meadowland is my February OMG, and I am so happy I got the top sewn in time!  

I messed around with block placement for over a week on the Meadowland.  I took loads of pictures in black and white, trying to get the values as balanced as possible.  Eventually I got a layout I was somewhat okay with and just started sewing.  Then I decided I'd like it better if there were small borders in order to give the blocks more of a floating appearance.  I couldn't remember which white fabric I used, but I found a long scrap piece that was close and the dimensions were almost perfect.  I figured that was a sign.

I woke up super early Saturday morning and couldn't get back to sleep, so finally around 6 AM I decided to go downstairs and cut and sew the borders.  Everyone else was still asleep, and we have a nightlight in the stairway, so I didn't turn on the overhead light.  No sooner had I thought, "Wow, that nightlight really makes it easy to see," than I found myself flying through the air and landing on my knees.  I missed one or two of the last steps.  Oops.  My back is still a bit sore.  I guess I twisted awkwardly as I fell. Anyway, I sewed on my borders and my top is complete.  It was super windy when we took the pictures!
I was surprised by how green the colors look in the photos.  I thought they would read as more blue.  Also, the top is upside down in the next picture, not that it really matters.  Though I did work hard to make the directional prints all go the same direction.
I also finished both of my Sunshowers tops. I changed things up a bit from my original  plan, which was to make a twelve-block throw.  I switched out one of the fabrics and moved them around a bit.  I figured I could then make a smaller throw, a baby quilt, and a mini from what I had left.  I decided I didn't really need a mini, but a bit larger throw would be good.  Since I changed that, I was short on the blue fabric to make the side borders on the baby quilt.  We were in Indianapolis this weekend, so I stopped by Crimson Tate to purchase more of the blue.  That way I had a much better chance of making sure I had the same dye lot. Here are my two Sunshowers tops.

I need to go shopping for lots of backing yardage now.  I do still need to work on my friend's custom quilting job before I quilt any of mine.  I have a plan for it, so I just need to mark and quilt. My three will all be edge-to-edge jobs.  After that I will probably finish piecing the Frolic mystery quilt and also the hippo one that I started before the QALs.  I will also be working on a custom quilting plan for another of my friend's tops.  That one is all Tula Pink fabrics and will be in a show, so I want to make sure I have something really special for it.  Some year I will custom quilt my own eight or nine tops I have waiting! 😜

Oh, I also finished quilting and binding the donation quilt I had received.  This photo was pre-binding, obviously.  Unknown maker on this one.
And finally, here is my little pineapple this week.
Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.
Linking with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal -February Finish Link-up

Getting Closer

This month has just flown by.  I feel like I'm having a hard time keeping track of time.  Last week I was a day ahead the whole week and this week I'm a day behind.  Mostly because everyone was home on Monday, so today feels like Tuesday instead of Wednesday.  Whatever.  Anyway, I've been plugging away at the quilt alongs.

I have one of the Sunshowers rainbow tops completed.  This one is 60 x 78.  I have a tentative quilting plan worked out for this one. I usually choose a thread based on the background color.  In this case, that would be the blue, but I really don't like how the blue thread would look going over the rainbows.  I'm not a fan of dark thread on light fabric. I tried a bunch of grays, pastels, and even a 100-wt white, but none of them appealed.  I do have a heavier rainbow variegated thread left from a previous project, so I think I'm going to go a bit away from my norm and make the thread really stand out on this one.  Hopefully it works out!
I have the second one partially completed, but I ran out of the blue fabric, so I need to get more so that I can put the sides on the quilt.  Just in case you wondered, my original fabric pull was different than this and I also had intended to make 12 blocks.  So the yardage I originally bought didn't quite go as far as I had planned.  Honestly, I'm not sure I could have made it through all 12 rainbows.  Curved piecing isn't really my thing.  Tiny block piecing is my love.
I think I'm finally at a point where I'm ready to sew the Meadowland blocks together.  I have been shuffling them around for days and nothing felt quite right.  Getting this top completed is my One Monthly Goal for February, so I have about a week left to get it sewn.  I think I'm going to add white borders around the outside once I'm done.  However, I'm not sure which white I used--was it Kona white or Moda Bella white? Sorry for the lousy picture.  My design wall is behind my longarm and it's right behind the bank of lighting over the machine.  You can see it the colors more accurately in the next picture.
Once I get the tops sewn, I need to get backing fabrics for everything and binding fabric for the Meadowland. I'm hoping that happens this week.

I actually have a quilting queue right now!  I have this giant 90 x 90 top (unknown maker) that I am quilting as part of the Community Quilts program at one of the guilds I belong to.  It is headed for someone receiving a home through the local Habitat for Humanity program.  As you can see, it's loaded up and ready to go.  I had to order in some king sized batting for it, and the batting came Monday.  This one needs to be quilted and bound within the next two weeks.
I have two custom quilts in my lineup as well.  I have the quilting planned out on the first one, so I need to mark it and then get stitching.
Joining concurrent quilt alongs probably wasn't my best idea.  However, since I'm participating in Longarm League discounts for them, I wanted to have experience with both tops.

In other news, my daughter has finally finished the 50 hours of practice driving the state requires before you can get a license.  A little more practice with the various types of parking and she should be ready to take the test.  That means we are also looking at needing to buy an additional car since my husband has been driving the Prius that we bought for her.  Car payments and increased insurance premiums are in my near future.  But also relief once she actually gets the license.

She's also back in math class.  The first trimester of Pre-calc was rough on both of us and we'd been enjoying the 12 week reprieve where she didn't have math.  My undergraduate degree is in math.  I had years and years of calculus in college.  I taught math, though it was mostly at a remedial level, so I never really went beyond Algebra with my students.  I cannot remember the majority of what my daughter is studying in math class.  They do not have a textbook, though that may not have been much help anyway based on the lousy ones she had for her lower classes.  Her high school only offers honors or dual enrollment level classes for the fourth year of math.  For the life of me I cannot figure out why.  Not every kid is a whiz in math, but most every college bound kid needs the fourth year.  Why can't there be a normally paced class that actually uses a book?  And doesn't use a really aggressive, insane amount of work for the teacher, grading system.

Why, oh why, have I forgotten almost every bit of math I ever learned in college?  If you don't use it, you lose it, for sure.

Let's end this with something happier.  Here's how my baby pineapple looks this week.
Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.