March OMG Complete

This one was definitely a stretch, but I finished my last block to meet my OMG yesterday. My goal was to make three blocks for the Flower Patch SAL and two blocks for #Trending.

You saw two of my blocks last week in my progress photo for Flower Patch--the cardinal block on the lower left and the lone block on the upper left. 

I also made an extra bird block. Only two more blocks left to make for this one!

For #Trending, I needed to make February and March's blocks. Here is February's.

It got combined with one of the bee blocks from a few months ago.
And the unicorn for March. I messed up so much on this block--sewed things in the wrong direction, cut pieces the wrong size repeatedly, trimmed pieces to the wrong size, etc. But I got it done! And it is a really big block! (Over 25" x 25".) I think there are only two more blocks to go on this project too. Again, part of a past month's bee blocks got sewn into this block.

Other than that, not much has been happening. I bound two quilts and delivered them to their owners on Saturday. 

My small guild had a quilt retreat and I was a day tripper (as usual). It was fun; I hadn't been around other people that much in a couple years. I got about half the rows for a throw quilt made and talked a lot; probably a lot more than I should have. ha ha.

I quilted five more quilts. 

One for Elle, quilted with Starry. The thread is actually light gold, but looks white in my picture.

Sara's memory quilt, quilted with Basic Swirls.

Amber's king size quilt, hand guided loopy meander. Loved all the seashell blocks and pretty batiks in this one.

Legene's, quilted with The Tempest. This one has some math symbols fabrics. You can see a bit of one in the lower left. I do love my math.

And Elle's, quilted with Hopscotch.

I'll be quilting a very large quilt for Elle today, along with binding some of Pat's quilts. And we have a visit to the orthodontist this afternoon, which will interrupt my work day.  My poor child has been in braces over five years. I hope we are done soon. Anyway, here is the quilt while I had it spread out on the floor to measure prior to loading it.

My goals for the next week are to get at least five more quilts quilted 😰 and complete all outstanding bindings. I'll be thinking about what next month's OMG should be. I have quite a few candidates. It will be want vs. need again.

We finished spreading mulch in the large garden over the weekend. I weeded the side garden and my husband spread mulch on that garden too. I still need to clean up the upper garden and maybe add some mulch. I found at least four saplings I'm going to need to cut out (thanks, squirrels). I might remove more of the lamb's ear too.

We haven't planted the vegetable garden yet because our weather has been garbage. It's supposed to be in the upper 70s today and the high tomorrow is in the 40s. I took pictures of some of the daffodils last night. Thankfully they've survived the heavy rains, light snow flurries, and temperature extremes this week.

I harvested my lettuce again. I'm not sure how much will regrow this time. I said that last time I harvested and was shocked to have a meal's worth again. Here's how it looks now. I'm expecting only one or two to have any growth. We'll see.
Guess that's about it. A few things of note: I became a great aunt. I helped my daughter file her first taxes. I have my taxes ready to file, pending final review. We selected the replacement carpet for the basement. Not the color I was hoping for, but hopefully the product will hold up better. See you next week with my goal.

Flower Patch SAL Blocks 12 & 13

It's link up day for Denise's Flower Patch SAL. We are getting really close to a finish--only three more blocks to go! Block 12 was another cardinal block. I like the cardinal blocks because they are quick to sew together. I couldn't quite get one of the beaks in this one to line up correctly, tried a few times and decided to live with it. Perhaps this cardinal attacked his reflection in the window too many times. You can't really see it from a distance, so it's all good. I also seamed all my blocks/rows together, so I have a partial top!

Block 13 was the flower block. I thought I had it, took the picture, and was like, nope. 

Did some selective seam ripping, was in a hurry, and completely sliced one of the units with my seam ripper. Of course. So I cut a new piece and moved along. Here is my correct block.

I've finished removing all the old quilting on the pink and green baby quilt. I will give it a press and hope that the holes from the old quilting close up. As long as they do, I will eventually re-quilt this one.

I have my fifth finish of the year, but I can't show you. I decided that showing a portion of the back doesn't give anything away. It's made from stash! Always a win, even if it yields somewhat unusual backings. The green and gray have been in my stash since 2012 or so. I quilted it with Twist Tie.

The quilts are still multiplying like bunnies here. I quilted five more this week.

First is Margaret's little quilt. I went with a quite skewed version of Julie Hirt's Rolling Hills Stack for this to echo the shape in one of the fabrics.

Next is Jodie's sampler made from my BOM program. This is the second quilt I've quilted that was made with my BOM instructions. So gratifying! Jodie went with Hiding Out (look in the center, light colored block to see who's hiding out) and chose black thread and it is awesome! This one needs to be bound by me prior to this weekend. 

Next is another of Pat's, quilted with Peak Blooms and salmon thread. I seamed the back on this one. Pat had bought a kit and whoever assembled the kit apparently failed to notice that the backing was directional, so while there was plenty of backing if I ran the pattern perpendicular to the front, there was not enough if I ran it in the correct orientation. While Pat left it up to me and was okay with it running sideways, I could not leave it like that. I added buffer strips to the top and bottom and worked very carefully to make sure I had enough backing. This one, along with her two others and one more of Annie's from last week and Jodie's above, still need to be machine bound by me this week.

I had almost an inch left at the bottom. Whew! All is well.

Next I quilted Amber's quilt with Ginger Heart. The thread I used blended really well with the fabrics, so it's pretty hard to see the quilting. I love that butterfly/dragonfly fabric at the bottom of my picture.

Finally, I quilted one of Elle's quilts with Bookmarks. This one had a new-to-me rosebud minky backing. I used Glide Buttercup (matches the mustardy yellow Grunge borders of her quilt) on top and Tar Heel blue on the back to match. I love how it came out!

Switching over to the garden, many of the daffodils are blooming now. I had hoped to have pictures, but this one is the only one I took while it was sunny the other day. I love how there's a weed coming up right next to it. Ha ha ha, just keeping it as real as I can over here. 

Over the weekend we started spreading mulch in the lower garden. We got just over half way before we ran out. We'll try to finish this coming weekend; the mulch place still has really short hours until April.

I mentioned to my husband that we needed to clean out the vegetable garden, but I needed to go inside and work after we ran out of mulch. He cleaned out the beds while I was working. He found a surprise patch of chives that he completely harvested. We used them in biscuits. I was surprised any grew since he kept pulling out my sprouting chives, thinking they were grass. I guess when you abandon the garden for months and let nature do its thing, you get chives. I think I can safely sow peas and lettuce now, but I'm glad I didn't yet since we've been having a ton of rain and storms. I can wait a week.

My indoor lettuce is nearing harvest again. I can't believe how much yield we've gotten from this.

What will you be doing this week? I'll be binding five quilts, quilting at least five more if I stay on track, and working toward finishing my OMG. My goal was to make three Flower Patch blocks, which I have, and two #Trending blocks, which I haven't started yet. I'm also getting a much-needed haircut. I'm trying yet another salon and will likely be the only one wearing a mask. Wish me luck! I'm also doing something else slightly out of my current comfort zone, which is going to a sewing day with my small guild this weekend. 

Linking with For the Love of Geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

Big Quilts

For as much time as I've spent in my sewing room over the past week, I sure don't have much to show you. I've quilted several very large quilts. I worked all weekend, which I typically try to avoid. I haven't done anything at all towards my OMG for the month.

I've been working on a test quilt and have the top completed. The designer requires that the project remain secret until she publishes her pattern. I'm hoping to get it quilted over the weekend and I don't really know when I can share, but I will of course share once I'm able. I can say that I shopped my stash for it, only buying background fabric. I'm hoping to be able to get a workable backing from the stash as well.

I also finished sewing my Macaron mystery top together. I thought I would quilt it last weekend, but I didn't have the backing ready, so switched to a client quilt instead. Here is a really lousy photo of the top. I added extra to the top and bottom to get an oblong quilt. I can't remember if this was my first attempt or if this was after I trimmed down the sections I added. 

Once I get the backing ironed and pieced, I have the quilting design picked out, so just need to make another opening in my oddly burgeoning queue.

So...what can I show you? How about the most recent quilting jobs.

First, Midnight Sparkle on Sally's quilt. I really, really, really wanted to quilt a Bigfoot pattern on this, but I couldn't find a design I liked and she didn't want that anyway. LOL.

Next, I had Kristi's very large, 104" inch square Lori Holt sampler. We used a hexagon pattern on this that mimics chicken wire. I tried four other chicken wire designs before this and NONE of them stitched out in a way that I was happy with. This pattern was kind of complex, which my testing didn't reflect. I had to use the tweak function on every pass after the first one. It took me two days to get everything done since Lucey wasn't cooperating and iQ was doing some screwy stuff. The end product looks pretty good and it went back home yesterday.

I decided to go with something easier for the next quilt. This is Pat's military/patriotic quilt. I chose Malachite for it. This one still needs to be bound by me. I used Glide in Bark for this one.

Then I switched back to another very large quilt. This one is Annie's. She wanted Ikat on it. Luckily, I knew that Ikat tends to drift, so I planned my quilt layout accordingly to allow for the amount of tweaking I knew I'd need. Sometimes I do smart things. 😄 This quilt also still needs to be bound by me. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the thread is Glide Buttercup, which is a hair darker than her yellow fabric.

For my fifth quilt of the week, I switched to a smaller quilt again. This is another of Pat's. We went with Keryn's Chevrons for this one. We thought it mimicked goal posts. I'm quite pleased with the finished product. Again, still need to bind this one.

I've had a whole lot of binding requests lately. I did finish up this one of Annie's that I shared last week. This is another pretty big quilt.

So, that's my quilting week. Oh, I thought you might like to see a different view of my sewing room than I usually show. This view is from the closet looking back toward the sewing machine. You can see my cutting table (with blue bins) and ironing table on wheels. I swear, I spend more time moving those around than I ever dreamed. That cutting table is hefty. 😅 In this picture, it is pushed all the way against my built-in sewing desk so that I could get a whole-quilt picture of Annie's quilt. Her quilt is 111" long!

I am very disappointed to report that we have to redo our brand new basement carpeting (installed mid-October). We had already had the installer come back around Thanksgiving to work at better aligning the seams. Well, they are still very visible, so the carpet store owner came out Friday. He let us know yesterday that their rep told them to redo the carpet with a different, more traditional type of carpet and pad. I guess that the product we chose (Mohawk Air-0), which I really love other than the ugly, very visible seams, isn't really meant for large spaces. They are worried the seams will get worse over time, so a replacement carpet it is. I feel really wasteful, though I know it's not our fault. The product is recyclable, but who knows what they'll do with it. I'll be looking over the product they offered us and trying to choose a new color. On the plus side, none of the furniture we ordered in November has arrived yet, so there is very little to move in order to redo the carpet. Also on the plus side, we haven't replaced the slider with the new one yet, so we will definitely wait to replace it until they are done hauling carpet in and out.

Out in the yard, most of the trees have very visible buds. We have a few dandelions with flowers, which makes me happy. We worked on cleaning up the remaining dead plants last night, along with pulling more 🤬 spearmint. The weather was just beautiful. We have our first blooming daffodils. Oddly, these are usually amongst the last to bloom, but they are first this year. Many of my daffodils have large buds, but they are very short compared to their normal height. Looks like it's going to be another weird growing year. Hopefully I can at least get cucumbers to grow this year (for reference, I planted cukes three times last year and they never grew). 

And in my veggie garden, much to my surprise, most of the lettuce is growing again. There is one pod that is very definitely done.
Guess that's about it. I hope you have a lovely, peaceful week.


For the Birds

Over the weekend, we visited a local conservation area to see migrating birds. We typically go during the kids' spring break (well, in the before times), but looking at the Facebook page, I could see we needed to go much sooner or there wouldn't be any birds left to see. In the past, it seemed to always be freezing cold in mid-March when we'd visit. Well, it was March 5 and in the 70s. And most of the birds had already left. Global warming, I guess.

I managed to forget the binoculars--I'm out of practice! I didn't even realize I forgot them until we were outside the visitor center and saw a large party of Amish visitors with a serious bird scope. We looked through the viewing scopes at the visitor center to see a nice amount of swans, though not in any detail because the viewers had poor focus and magnification. I'm not even sure what type of swans they were. We went off on the back roads to where we usually see pelicans.  We found a fairly small amount of them. We used the zoom on the camera as binoculars. One kind lady let us borrow her binoculars, but the camera zoom actually gave a better view. So we passed around the camera. We were lucky we got there fairly early in the morning, because they all took off and flew to who knows where while we were standing there.

We also were able to see three whooping cranes--parents and a juvenile. There are 78 whooping cranes in our migratory zone, and only just over 800 in the world, so seeing three is amazing! Someone else let us look through his camera to see the cranes since they were on the other side of the pond.

We also saw several types of hawks, an eagle, loads of coots, Mallard ducks, Canada geese, killdeer, and Canvasback ducks. We did not see any snow geese or Sandhill cranes. It was so nice to get out, see different scenery, and enjoy nature.

I haven't gotten much shareable sewing done this week--most of my test quilt is assembled. I did make this Peace for Ukraine block the other night, along with the appropriate donation to relief efforts. It was so nice to just sew something because I wanted to, with no deadline or any other pressure. It got my creative juices flowing, but alas, I have very little time for pleasure sewing right now. I do wish that things were such that this block was not needed. And while people whinge on about masks, gas prices, perceived slights, and such, and waste gas driving around in protest convoys, I am choosing to be thankful that I currently live in a safe area where my life and livelihood are not at risk. 

I made a little progress on my Macaron mystery quilt. I'm ready to join the rows together and trim the overhanging pieces. At that point, the pattern would technically be considered done, but I don't really care for smaller square quilts, so I will add strips to the top and bottom to make the quilt oblong. The top and bottom are actually the partial blocks, but those are going to be my sides.

See my bird fabrics in the center? I have more to use for backing and I call this quilt "For the Birds". How should I quilt it? I'm currently suffering from decision fatigue.

Moving on to the business side, I met my goal of five quilts for the week. I'm not sure I'll hit that for this next week. I had to order thread for four of the quilts I had lined up and everyone will be home next week. Anyway, here's last week's five.

Keetah's throw quilt, hand-guided loopy meander.

Keetah's Christmas quilt, also loopy meander.

Here is one of Elle's, quilted with In the Swirls.

Another of Elle's, quilted with Saffron Blossoms.

And Annie's steampunk quilt, quilted with Bora Bora.

Meanwhile, I harvested the last (I think) of the lettuce from the hydroponic garden. I actually had a fairly large head from it! We had enough for 3.5 servings of Riviera salad. There is a restaurant at home that serves this salad. It is usually made with leaf lettuce or mixed greens, pecans, strawberries, and sweet poppy seed dressing. This recipe is fairly close to the Arnie's dressing. I quarter the recipe. I'd like to experiment with reducing the sugar some time. Side note: I just looked up their online menu and they have rebranded and overhauled their menu. 😩 The Riviera salad is still there, though. And I can replicate it at home whenever I want. Also: I have not lived at "home" in 25 years, would not want to live there now, but still call it home. Weird.

Well, I guess that's about it for this week. Trees are starting to have visible growth, the daffodils are maybe 6" tall and many have buds, though not my usual first bloomers, and most of the grass has not started greening yet. We had another huge thunderstorm front move through with several inches of rain Sunday night and the repairs done to the potholes  from the last heavy rain a few weeks ago washed away. See you next week. Peace.