Binding & Grunge

I have very little to show this week. I've been quite busy trying to get the binding sewn on to my Grassy Creek so that I can enter it in the show. Last week I was panicking a bit because the piece of Moda Grunge in fabric in the Calypso color way that I'd ordered on eBay (seller from TX) that said it should be delivered by 22 Monday did not show up until 26 Friday. I ordered another piece from Fat Quarter Shop (which I should have done in the first place because the angst wasn't worth saving a few dollars) on Monday and it showed up on Saturday. 

Midweek I was debating cutting up the piece I did have, which would have been about four strips too short. I thought maybe I could start sewing down what I had, then add the extra strips once one of the fabrics arrived. {Big thanks to a couple of you out there for listening to me whine about it via email.} I was planning to cut and sew on Thursday, but my day got away from me while working on someone's quilt. Friday morning my initial order showed up, so I washed that and got to work. Saturday the FQS order, ordered a week after the original piece, showed up.

When I was considering using the Grunge I already had and adding extra to it later, I assumed that the color would be very similar and you wouldn't be able to tell. I assumed wrong. Nancy asked me if the pieces matched, and the short answer is NO. I think the fabric is busy enough that it wouldn't have been super noticeable, but they are very different.

The original piece must have been purchased in late 2020 when I started working on the quilt. It is the smallest piece, on the top of the picture. The piece from eBay that I ended up using is in the middle, and the FQS piece is on the bottom. All have been washed and dried. I didn't iron the piece from FQS for the photos. 

Another difference on the newer pieces is the size of the selvedge. That one really surprised me, far more than the color variations. I don't have the selvedge from the original piece available.

The difference is most visible on the back. Look at how different they are! 

I've been binding like crazy in the evenings and my hands are sore. Right now I'm 3/4 of the way done, so I'm in pretty good shape. I have until the 5th to register my quilt. I think I should be able to finish up the binding tonight, or tomorrow night at the latest. I have the hanging sleeve and the label made and those will need to be attached before the drop of day of February 24. Actually, they'll need to be done before I leave for Quilt Con, so before the 21st, but I can always safety pin on the hanging sleeve if I run out of time.

Meanwhile, I've worked on a few quilts. I had to do some thinking and creative piecing on Mary Ann's quilt. This was a big quilt, 109" x 129", and her wideback ombre fabric didn't quite cover her quilt. She gave me more of a different wideback since the original one was unavailable. I put strips of the second fabric at top and bottom and attempted to center her quilt, but like I always tell people, don't plan on it being perfect. I had everything measured, pinned, and marked, but the quilt shrunk up quite a bit during quilting, so the strips at the top and bottom didn't end up being equal like I'd planned. It took me a day to piece the backing and get everything loaded and set up and two days to quilt it with the Paw Prints design she picked. I chose purple thread, Glide Lilac, for the top thread.

I also quilted another of Margaret's scrap quilts. She decided on String of Hearts for the quilting. My daughter and I selected Glide Sand for the thread color.

I started Shirley's quilt. This one is fully pieced front and back. She requested small scale Stipple. I'll finish this one this afternoon after I get home from my haircut.

Besides the binding, we are gearing up for the first of our two February robotics tournaments. They need volunteers again this weekend, so I'm sort of considering it. I had fun at the last one, but I didn't get to see our team compete. Oh, and 40% of our team has to attend a school band event, so they will miss the tourney. 😬

Henry the rooster has a sore on his foot. We think it might be bumble foot. My daughter and husband gave him an Epsom salt soak, followed by applying medicine and wrapping the injury, over the weekend. The wrap is still on and he's still able to get in and out of the coop, so we'll have to see how it goes. 

My month of jury duty starts tomorrow. I have to call in tonight to see if I need to report. Let's hope I don't, because I don't want to make time to sit on a jury and I really don't feel comfortable judging someone.

A few odds and ends of sewing: the next Malted Mystery quilt clue comes out tomorrow. Will this be the final month? Here is my PHD progress so far. I'm hoping to be able to update that chart soon!

And finally, the February OMG link up starts tomorrow. I hope you'll join us.

January One Monthly Goal Finish

How did you do with your January goal?

My goal was to complete my Grassy Creek top. I am happy to report that this thing is finally done. I started it late 2020. If you want to read more about my border process, check out yesterday's post just below this one.

I am also happy to report that I got it quilted. It took FOREVER! 

I chose the Lovely Loops pantograph, Glide thread in Seagull, and Quilters Dream Cotton Deluxe batting. This quilt weighs a ton!

I am still hoping to have enough time to get the quilt bound before the IHQS entry drop off on February 24. I really wish I would have had enough fabric left to make binding, but I didn't (with the exception of the bright green, but I think that would be just too much). Unfortunately, the fabric I ordered for the binding seems to have gotten lost in the USPS system. I ordered another piece from somewhere else and I'm really hoping it arrives this week. I am not particularly fast at hand binding and the quilt is 93 x 93.  If I think I can get it done for the show (I have until 8 pm on February 5 to enter it), it will also need a hanging sleeve and a label attached. Yikes! Oh, and I'm heading for Quilt Con on the 21st and I also have been assigned jury duty for the month of February. Good grief!

Well, I hope your month has been successful and less chaotic than mine. 

Now it's your turn to share your progress. Link up your project and then visit others, make new friends, and gain inspiration.

This link up will remain open until January 31 at 11:55 pm EST.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Making Marks & RSC

I've been working on Grassy Creek. One thing I discovered that wasn't mentioned in the directions is that the seams of string pieced border units really need to be aligned with the seam lines of the blocks in the top. I discovered this the hard way after sewing a 93" seam and then unsewing when I saw how bad it looked without the alignment. I've marked the photos with blue lines to show where I aligned.

Here is my quilt top with two of the borders attached.

Log Cabin Stars is another one where I found I needed to mark where each seam line should meet in order to look best. I hasn't anticipated this and it took a while to mark everything and sew two rows together. Again, I marked the photo with blue lines to indicate where I drew alignment marks. That dark mark on the lower left star is a shadow from my phone.

Even though it takes quite a while, I plan to continue marking and pinning as I assemble more of this quilt because I think it is faster and less painless to mark than to rip out poorly aligned pieces. 

I was able to complete my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for this month. I used Sandra's Strippy Slab Star pattern and decided to make two blocks for each color that is assigned. Here are my blocks in progress. I notice I had one of the HST turned in the picture. Oops!
And here are my finished blocks. See that green floral print just under the monkey print in the photo below? That is a leftover from a shirt I made my daughter when she was around three. She's a senior in college now! Actually, now that I think about it, the green Christmas tree print is from an outfit I made her when she was in kindergarten. Time sure flies.

I found a few areas where I can improved on next month's blocks (watch where the seams are on the outsides of the center square, watch those awkward skinny strips on the HST pieces, watch where you put the colored low volume corners--I did two LV color on each block), but I am quite pleased with them overall. 

They didn't make much of a dent in the green basket. It is one of my fuller scrap baskets, so that's okay. Some of my greens need to be cut into much smaller pieces than what I used in the blocks if you know what I mean.

Are you a member of the Modern Quilt Guild? If so, I listened to and recommend: On Demand Education - Value of Quilts: Panel Discussion by MQG. I hadn't been a member for quite a number of years, but rejoined because I am attending Quilt Con next month. Will you be there?

I've completed two quilts for others. Trish's table runner with Lovely Loops and Vegas Gold thread. (Vegas Gold is one I was gifted and it's surprisingly versatile.) We layered InsulBright on top and Quilters Dream 80/20 on the bottom. That was my first time quilting through InsulBright on the longarm and it was no sweat.

I quilted Pat H.'s quilt with Toss Up and light pink thread on top, white thread on the back. She left all the decisions up to me and she hasn't seen it yet. 

I'll be back tomorrow with the OMG link up. 

Linking with For the Love of Geese/Quiltery, My Quilt Infatuation, Alycia Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and So Scrappy.

Malted Mystery & Others

It's been a strange week, in regular life and in weather. We had torrential rain and high winds and then switched to bitterly cold, single digit temps with more wind. Our chickens won't leave the coop, which is probably good since they are not especially cold hardy. We've had just a dusting of snow. By this time next week, we are supposed to be in the upper 40s.

Since writing out and sharing my PHD goals, I somehow have it in my head that I need to finish most of the things this month. I don't know why. Slowing my roll and focusing, I decided to work on catching up on the Malted Mystery. I was able to get all of the January clue done after fixing a mistake I'd made with a measurement on a previous month's clues.

I may have even worked ahead, but I won't share that in case anyone reading this is keeping the mystery a mystery. I always take the sneak peek so that I know my colors will work.

Next I switched over to Grassy Creek. I added the two green inner border pieces. Then I moved on to sewing the gray string pieced units together. I got to the end of the units and was like, "What? Oh crap. I counted wrong." I was two short on one angle and had two extra of the other. 

So I made two more and then went back to sewing them together. I misunderstood the directions, so had to do a little ripping. As of right now, I have one border on. I wasn't happy with the alignment of the second one, so I'm ripping that off and will realign it so that the seams match the inner seams. I might tweak that edge with the green a bit to make it line up a bit better too. I didn't notice that until I saw it in the photo.

I'm trying to come up with a quilting design, with an eye on quilting it sometime this week, but my initial pick didn't look as good on it as I had pictured.

I've started pulling out and pressing fabrics for the RSC. It didn't really make much of a dent in the green scrap basket. I will admit that I'm not entirely sure how RSC works, other than use your scraps to make a rainbow quilt by following the color prompts. My plan with it is to just follow her prompts each month and make a block or two using that color and then finish the entire quilt this year. I don't know if there are other restrictions, but I probably won't follow them if there are since I have a hard time keeping my head above water most of the time.

I've been working on a few other things too. Back in 2016, I shared a guide for a mini quilt I made for a swap. The photo quality in it was really bad, so I've refreshed it with graphics. You can find it in the Free Stuff/Free Patterns section here.

Did you know that if you start your fabric aligned with the horizontal line on the Bernina throat plate, your fabric should avoid going down into the hole? Maybe I'm the only one who never knew this? I usually use a straight stitch throat plate to help avoid that, but now I know. I learned this while reading the manual to the B350 I bought last month.

My small guild is doing a paper pieced BOM (Sun and Sand pattern) this year. I had to scrap my original plan of using my Tula Pink fabrics since I couldn't make it work with the fabric cuts I had. I was really stressing about it and my husband told me to go buy new fabric so that I could end up with something I liked. I used my Kona color chips and just kind of pulled out colors I liked and assigned them places in the quilt. A local shop, Quilt Depot, carries all the Kona and I was able to get all but one color there. I ordered the remaining piece I needed. I really hope this works out. Most of the people have picked colors similar to the original quilt. Mine was WAYYYY different. LOL. It usually is. Not pictured is the Kona Sheen in Arctic Ice that I picked for the background. I did not include this project in the PHD because it's unlikely that we actually get all the way through the pattern this year.

I had a few quilts to work on this week. The first one belongs to Carol T. I chose The Tempest for the quilting design.

Next I worked on a quilt and shams for Paula. She usually has an exact idea mocked up for me, which is extremely helpful. For this one, she picked the Ripples design. This particular design is set up as a wide block instead of a small, repeatable unit. So I got to apply my Machine Quilters Academy learning and split apart and enlarge the design to achieve the look she wanted. I'm very pleased with the end result. I think it looked very close to the mock up she sent and I got to try something out of the ordinary.

The next quilt belongs to Keetah. It is very similar to the quilt I did for her a few weeks ago. She loved the first one, so wanted this one to be the done the same. It's quilted with Christmas and I used Eggnog Glide thread again.

Margaret sent me another scrappy quilt. She decided on the Malachite design.

Before the cold snap, we'd had quite a large flock of starlings hanging out in the neighborhood. Many of them landed on the roof and when they took off, it made a very loud noise! There must have been at least 1000 birds!

Thanks for reading. I'll be back next week.

Linking with Quiltery, My Quilt Infatuation, Alycia Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

RSC, PHD, and a Home Improvement Finish

I am going to try a few new things this year. First, my scraps are overflowing, so I'm going to try to join in with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The color for January is green. Most of my greens are...meh. I keep wavering between a few projects. Right now I'm leaning towards Sandra's slab star tutorial because I have a lot of skinny strips and tiny pieces in my baskets. 

Next, I am going to try to complete a PHD--Projects Half Done this year. Here is my proposed list for the year. If you've followed me for any length of time, you've seen most of these projects multiple times over the past few years. You may even be sick of hearing about them. Maybe even as sick as I am of looking at them. Perhaps this is the time for me to finally finish the things.

1. Grassy Creek quilt

This is the Bonnie Hunter mystery from 2020. I got stalled out at making string pieced border units. They are now made, but not attached. My OMG this month is to get the top completed. I'm hoping to pull off a miracle and get this pieced, quilted, and bound in time to enter it in the IHQS. Entries close February 5. I'm not sure I have enough of any fabric except the green left for binding and I don't love that choice. πŸ˜•

2. Log Cabin Stars

I joined in a QAL last fall. I haven't had time to finish the top. I do have backing, binding, and a quilting plan ready.

3. Dress form

I purchased this custom pattern as a birthday gift to myself last summer. I have not had time to make it. 😭

4. Macaron Mystery quilt

I think I'm in good shape on this one. I've kept up with the clues so far. I do have backing and binding fabrics selected. I need to get it quilted and bound in a timely fashion. I never quilted last year's mystery quilt. 

5. Quilt & bind art quilt

I made this in a class. Has it been almost two years ago now?? According to the instructor, it needs to be densely quilted with invisible thread. I'm scared to try the invisible thread on the longarm. I did that one other time and it didn't go well.

6. Bias binding onto jacket

This has been hanging around for months (actually years, but my daughter claimed it last year). No good excuse for why it's not done.

7. Batesville BOM 

This project has been in progress for 16 years or so. I made the remaining blocks last year. The setting is challenging, so I've been putting it off. It's also not really my taste, which makes it even harder to want to finish.

8. RSC

No photo; see green scrap bin at top of post. My scrap bins overflow. Time to try something new to actually use some of them.

9. In and Out mini

This has been ready to sew for over a year. 

10. one donation quilt using a Frankenbatting

I was gifted this jelly roll in October. I'd like to make something to donate, and bonus, make a Frankenbatting. As a longarm quilter by trade, I have A LOT of batting cut offs.

11. one item of clothing, tbd

I have many options. All waiting on the dress form. See photo below. The clothing fabric is in two piles on the lower right in the photo, one pile on the floor (plaid), one spread over some of the bins.

12. one quilt top just for fun, tbd

Lots of projects to choose from. I alternately think of this as my closet of shame and my closet of possibilities. I did pretty well in 2023 with making things only from what I already had and trying to buy less and use more. I'd like to stay on that path.

13. Make selvedge yarn

I have enough to knit at least one rug, maybe two. 

So there's my list. Can I earn a PHD in 2024? 
Random aside...I have a master's degree and never had any desire to go on and earn a PhD. I also feel like I did an MBA as my husband earned his since I read part of his assignments and proofread most of his work. I think I've had enough formal schooling for my lifetime. Now I learn things for fun, not because I have to.

In quilting news, I am back to work. The first quilt of the year was Keetah's Christmas tree quilt, quilted with the Christmas design and thread in the color of Eggnog. 😏

Then I quilted Sara's quilt with the Moon & Stars design. She's been so good at using her scraps.

Next was one of Mary Ann's, quilted with Flirtatious and purple thread.

Then I quilted Margaret's quilt with Ginger Snap.
This one belongs to Carol T. She left it to me to decide and I picked The Tempest.

I have a few more quilts in my queue, then I'm wide open until more bookings come in. 😬 I guess I could have lots of time to get moving on all these projects, but it does make one a bit nervous when it seems like there's not enough work to meet income needs/goals.

Over in the home improvement arena, the closet is basically finished. We ended up short one hanging rod (I totally forgot to buy it) and that is on order. 

I also need to paint the underside of the filler caps (like 60 of them) we bought on Amazon because they look really gray when installed. We will need to glue them in place since they don't fit snugly. I can't believe IKEA doesn't sell something for this.

I spent a good part of the weekend filling most of the remaining holes with Variera plugs. I did have some help from the family, but did a lot myself because I was motivated to be done! My fingers and thumbs are pretty sore. I switched to using the handle end of a screwdriver the second day. Should have been smart enough to do that the first day.
Here are some photos from all angles. 

I've already put all my clothes back in. My husband has only done part of his. I have a lot of extra space on my side of the closet. We'll see how his does once we have the hanging rod in hand and also unload his existing dresser into the drawers. Overall, I'm very happy with the end results. It looks much better than the single wire rack we had previously. It seems to be a much more efficient use of space and I can easily reach my clothing now. (Someone hung the original wire rack higher than I requested and I seem to be shrinking as I age.)

This post is really long, so I'll stop here. If you made it to the end, thank you for sticking with me. See you next week.