Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020

2020 was not the best year for us, but I think we did fairly well adapting to the hermit life. We both continued to work on our health. Jeff maintained his 60-pound weight loss and got in much better physical shape with strength training. I lost another 55 pounds and am only about 30 pounds from my weight goal. I also do a lot more exercise than I have done for many years, though probably not as much as I should. It turns out quilting is more fun than exercise. Well, really, just about anything is more fun than exercise.

Jeff spent this year working for Oregon Indivisible by hosting regular zoom meetings organizing campaign volunteers. He spent so many hours on the election.

I, on the other hand, turned to my hobby to amuse myself during the pandemic. I cleaned and organized my sewing room, made a list of unfinished sewing projects then I started taking part in a number of virtual sew-ins: WOOFA, FNWF and FNSI. I actually made good progress on my To-Do list; the big house-related accomplishment was I finally recovered the living room furniture.

I finished the Queen's Jewel quilt flimsy,

the Harvest Gathering flimsy,
the holiday quilt flimsy,

quite a few rag quilts, and a number of other minor quilts, placemats and mug rugs that were in my UFO list. And while I did all this sewing, I listened to over 100 audiobooks. I love our library system.

I hope to continue my sewing binge for as long as it takes to survive the pandemic. Here's to hoping that 2021 brings better things.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Next Quilt Started

I had planned to work on the Sea Swept quilt next, but I was in the mood to get started and the rulers I ordered two weeks ago still had not arrived. I tried to talk myself into working on something else, like pillowcases, but my brain is in full quilt obsessing mode so I started on the Snake River log cabin quilt instead.

I decided to start with a round of making strip sets and then cutting them into slices. I don't mind there being some amount of repetition within the blocks but I won't do the entire quilt in this manner.

It took me two full days to make the first block, then the next seven took about three hours.
As a reminder, this is the approximate plan. I got the design from Judy Martin's Log Cabin Quilt Book, page 50, although the border is missing pieces from the original pattern because Electric Quilt cannot handle multi-piece borders.
I am making it from William Morris fabrics in my stash.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Queen's Jewel Finished!

So much for my 2021 sewing queue. I have already finished the Queen's Jewel Quilt that was on my plan for next year. It took me two weeks from the day I started cutting it out.

Inspired by the Queen's Jewel pattern from Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag by Patricia Wilens.
I removed the outer border from each block and replaced it with a sashing.
I'm quite pleased Jeff was able to calculate the size of the triangles in the border and I got it put together. It turned out just like I hoped.

I've also assembled the backing and it's ready to go to the machine quilter as soon as she returns from her holiday vacation.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Quilt Changed Again

So, it turns out right angle rulers are not marked with inches; at least, not the number of inches that represents the length of the line on the ruler. That would have been a nice thing to know last week. That line labeled 6 is actually seven inches, so the finished size of my blocks are considerably larger than I wanted. LOL

I almost decided to cut down all my triangles to get them to the right size, but I just don't have the right rulers to do that accurately and can't find one either despite a pretty thorough search.

(It took me a while to figure out what that number actually represents. Apparently, that number represents the size of the square if you sew four of these triangles together.)

So I went back to Electric Quilt and played with the design to make the quilt smaller; I don't want to make another bedspread. I made a few alternate designs and this is the one Jeff liked best.

Until I can think of a better name, I'm still calling it Queen's Jewel even though it's not the exact same pattern anymore. It is still made from pretty jewel tones. 

I've finished twelve of the blocks so far and I've gotten it down to about half an hour each to construct them so I have about 12 hours of work left building the blocks, perhaps less as I am getting into a bit of a rhythm of ironing, pinning and sewing and I've gotten faster than when I started.

Now I just need to figure out how to calculate the size of the border triangles.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Last FNSI for 2020

I joined Wendy and gang for the last Friday Night Sew In of the year. Thank you Wendy for hosting these virtual gatherings; it really helped motivate me to get extra sewing done at a time when I would normally be wasting time in front of the TV.

I worked on blocks for my Queen's Jewel quilt. I managed to get eight of them done.

I am so happy this year is almost over. I am just going to cross my fingers and hope next year brings better things.

Today is Jeff's and my 33rd Wedding Anniversary so I won't be able to spend all evening in my sewing room working on this project. I signed up for Disney+ so we'll be binging Mandalorian. I hope you all have a good holiday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Queen's Jewel Redo

I first finished the Queen's Jewel quilt in October 2018. I made it mostly from my scrapbag, but in the end, I didn't like how scrappy it was so I bartered it for our mason bees.

But I still like the pattern, so I decided to make it again.  This time, I carefully planned out fabrics and their typical arrangement. It takes a lot of time to make this quilt and I don't want to get it wrong again. 
I started the quilt last weekend and have been working on it a few hours every day.
I had to cut out 160 strips to make the triangle units.
I'll still have to cut more strips for the outer rows of each block.
I sewed the light and dark strips together and then ironed them flat.
Then I spent about 8 hours using my right angle ruler to cut them into triangles.
Now that I've finished the triangles, I can start assembling the blocks. I think I will try making them in batches this time; maybe five blocks at a time so I can mix up the fabrics better.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

My 2021 Quilt Queue

2021 Planning Party
Amy Bouchard at Cascading Quilts is quilting all my outstanding quilt flimsies for me. She actually tried to make them double-sided, but it won't work; the vertical seams on the back layer shift too much when the long arm goes back and forth. I'm very sad because I was desperately hoping it was possible to make double-sided quilts because I could have twice as many quilts for the amount of storage space (and the cost of quilting). So now I've had to spend a bit of time the past couple of weeks trying to come up with backings for them, which has been surprisingly difficult. (I've had to reorder two backings because the original fabrics were out of stock by the time they got around to filling my order.) I suppose there are worse problems.

I got the train lap quilt back from Amy at the beginning of the month and I put on the binding the same day I got it back. I am so happy I learned how to apply binding by machine; it goes so much faster now.

I have been obsessing about the projects I'd like to make in 2021 so I spent quite a bit of time in Electric Quilt trying to come up with plans and get the fabrics right.

First, I am going to make the Queen's Jewel quilt again. I think I've got a pretty good idea of how I'm going to arrange the fabrics within the blocks so I won't have the same problems with arranging blocks as I did last time.
Queen's Jewel from Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag
by Patricia Wilens. I reduced the block size from the original pattern.
Next, I found a pattern that I thought would be perfect for William Morris fabrics. I entered it in Electric Quilt, but the border had to be changed a bit because the software couldn't deal with all the pieces in the original pattern. I will follow the original directions when I make it.
Snake River Log Cabin from Judy Martin's Log Cabin Quilt Book, page 50.
The border is missing pieces from the original pattern.
Then, I am hoping to make the Sea Swept quilt that was on my 2020 WOOFA list. I worked on the design in Electric Quilt some more and I think I have all the paper templates printed out for the sashing diamonds.
This is based on an image I found on Reddit. Unfortunately,
I don't know who originally designed this pattern.
Finally, if I have time and energy, I am going to make an Unbeweavable lap quilt with 4" squares. 
This is another quilt design I ripped off the image from the Reddit quilting list.
I believe this one is normally made with a special clear plastic template for cutting Xs out of pieced strips, but I am just going to use paper templates because the plastic ones don't come in a small enough size. 

Four more quilts, that should be more than enough. Only time will tell if I manage to make it through these projects next year.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Dec Friday Night w/Friends

I got my sewing machine back from the shop on Friday morning, so it gave me the opportunity to again join the virtual sewing gathering: Friday Night With Friends. I got started early in the day and continued through the evening. During the day, I finished binding the train quilt.

I also spent several hours sewing down the edges on the denim circle panels.
Then I spent a couple hours on Saturday, sewing them into tubes.
The goal with these panels is to make more tote bags, like this one I finished in spring.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Can Someone Have Too Many Quilts?

I guess I am having a bit of a quilting binge this fall. Sometimes I'll go months without ever stepping into my sewing room, but with Portland shut down again for the pandemic and the country in turmoil, it's just easier to hunker down and play with fabric. =)

I had meant to spend more time this fall out in the garage working on projects, but it's gotten pretty cold. We are hoping to buy a used SawStop table saw from a friend later this winter; it belongs to his father who is no longer able to use it but isn't ready to part with it. I'm sure if that happens, we'll have a binge of woodworking projects.

This week, while my sewing machine is in for service, I've been cleaning up my sewing room again for the next round of projects. I had piles of fabric sitting around everywhere, leftover from all the quilts I've finished over the past few months. Plus, I had a bit of a fabric buying binge last week (right before Thanksgiving). While I was sifting the fabrics, I saw a cool color palette I rather liked and may have inspired a new project.

In October 2019, I finished a quilt called Queen's Jewel. I really liked the design of it, but I didn't like how scrappy it was so I bartered it to a friend for our mason bees. I'm thinking about sewing another, but with a much more constrained color palette. 
Queen's Jewel from Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag
by Patricia Wilens. I reduced the block size from the original pattern.

I haven't decided yet how I feel about the colors. I almost always use yellow as the light color for my quilts so it takes some mental adjustment to get used to a light blue.

Also, when I cleaned out my closet over the summer, I found a big hunk of cotton fabric I bought to make square dance clothes probably 20 years ago; I liked using the square pillow panels to make handkerchief skirts. I'm thinking about making a lap quilt with them. I'm playing with a couple of designs.
These blocks will be a bit of a challenge for me; lots of mitered seams and the flowers have to be cut out with templates. I need to practice making a block before I start cutting them out in earnest. If I can manage the motivation, I'll make both and sandwich them together, if possible.

Monday, November 30, 2020

WOOFA 9 Month Update

I joined the WOOFA challenge in late February when I cleaned up my sewing room and realized how many unfinished projects I had. Since joining, I've made good progress on my list, but I will admit I've gotten a little bored recently. I want to work on new projects! =)

I reworked my list by removing several projects that I've decided to delay until next year. Now that I've made so much progress on old projects, I'd like to focus on just a few remaining projects to finish/start this year.

I finished the pieced panel for the harvest quilt. And I finally found a new long-arm quilter and dropped off all of my outstanding quilts to have them machine quilted. There were three of them. With any luck, I will get them back in time to finish them all before the end of the year.

Along with my quilts, I dropped off my Pfaff sewing machine at the spa for some rest and relaxation (and some cleaning). I am fortunate to have a wonderful Bernina I inherited from Jeff's aunt as a backup machine.

9 Month Update:
Harvest Placemats
Jeff’s Georgian Coat
Stenciled Pillow (panel stenciled already)

I also started some brand new projects. Since the last WOOFA update, I added the train quilt project and it was dropped off with the other two quilts for machine quilting.

I also got distracted by a new project. I am making three new denim tote bags. I had way too many pairs of old jeans so I spent an afternoon cutting out circles.
These two and a third. I have chosen the fabric for the third, but not cut it out yet. I often find it faster to make projects like this using an assembly line technique. 

Bind Dinosaur Lap Quilt
Canvas Bag Repair (replace handles)
Denim Circle Quilt
Denim Circle Tote Bag
Louisa’s Batik Dress
Rag Quilt Grey: I've made too many rag quilts recently. We don't need more now.
Rag Quilt Solar System
Rag Quilt Xmas
Sea Swept Quilt
Square Dance Skirt (elastic, eyelet): Since I'm not currently dancing, I may as well wait until I reach my goal weight.
Stack & Whack Quilt
Tie Large Disaster Quilt (or just ditch it): Postponing it for now. I'm hoping to take a long arm machine quilting class and this would be a good practice quilt that I won't be devastated about ruining.