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
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.