Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Great Granny Squared Finished Flimsy

While I was working on the blocks below, and had the fabric out, I went ahead and cut out a second quilt.

The second quilt is Great Granny Squared, by Lori Holt.  The book came out in 2014 and there was a sew along at the time for blogging quilters.  I liked the design and put it on my to-make list, and here I am, six years later, with the quilt top made.

The fabrics I used are mostly even older than the quilt design.  I think most are from some 3 Sisters lines for Moda called Paris Flea Market and Seaside Rose, with some other similar and complementary prints added. I remember making a big Paris Flea Market purchase at my LQS, I think it was in 2004, and I made several quilts from the line before now but still have plenty of fabric left.

The blocks are pretty easy, I think even a beginner could handle them.  The background pieces at the edges (white in the block below) are cut oversize.  You sew the pieces together in rows, then join the rows and then trim down with a 12.5" square ruler.  All the blocks end up perfectly sized, just add the sashing, and voila!  

The original design incorporates cornerstones and a pieced border but I left those elements out.  With 20 blocks, my quilt is roughly 58" by 72" which is big enough for a throw.  

This was a totally from stash quilt for me, even the background (Kona Snow) and the backing fabric came from my stash, so this quilt and the original one I'm still piecing are making a nice dent in my stash.  But it is amazing how much of this fabric I still have on hand!

I mailed the top and backing to my long arm quilter; while she works on it, I need to come up with a name.  Any suggestions?

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Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday Finds - Book Edition

I'm a bookworm, with a preference for historical fiction and mysteries.  But not just any mysteries, I'm not keen on the first-person, psycho narrator type that have been popular for the past few years.   I like to have a detective (preferably connected to the police), interesting characters, and nothing too gory.

I recently found the works of Peter Grainger and love them.  The first in the series is called An Accidental Death.  We are introduced to Detective Sergeant David Smith (aka "DC"), a veteran detective nearing retirement age, based in Norfolk, England.  He is often given a case that the boss thinks could be wound up in a day or two, but DC finds evidence of a more complicated situation.

The characters are well-written, there is a little humor and wit, and interesting plots that aren't predictable.  As of now, they appear to be available only in Kindle and audio formats and the Kindle price is very reasonable.  I strongly recommend the series to my fellow mystery readers!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Inspiring Studio Tour

I saw a video tour of Edyta Sitar's studio on YouTube.  She is the pattern and fabric designer behind Laundry Basket Quilts and what a space she has!  

I was not only envious of her studio, I saw some quilts there that I would like to make.  So after viewing, I shifted over to her online shop and here is my haul.

I got the patterns for Wildflower, Dot Dot Dot, and Illuminate.  I was really drooling over Dot Dot Dot in the studio tour video and it is moving high up on my to-make list.  First step is to cut a circle out of nearly every piece of fabric in my stash, lol.  I don't have Edyta's stash so will allow myself to make this over a long period of time.  The first decision I need to make is machine or hand applique. I'm leaning towards hand applique and making this my portable project one I finish Flowers for Emma.  

I bought the blue floral toile for the border and will use one of the two blue mini dot prints for the binding.  The low volume fabrics are from a fabric bundle called Marshmallow Lights; they will augment my stash for the background.  

Wildflower and Illuminate will wait until "later."  

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Friday, May 29, 2020

Love In The Time of Covid-19

I have my first finish of 2020, Love In The Time of Covid-19.

I used the pattern Piece & Love Quilt by The Cloth Parcel.  Well, I used the pattern mostly as inspiration because I changed the size and the construction method.  The pattern makes a quilt 70" x 80" or 70" x 92" while I wanted a smaller quilt to fit my kitchen hanging space.  The wooden quilt holder is 40" wide so I resized roughly proportionately.  

I used a charm pack of Braveheart fabric from Laundry Basket Quilts, actually parts of two charm packs because I didn't use the lightest prints.  I used the charm squares to make quarter triangle squares that finish at 3 inches to form the heart.  I used two tone-on-tone fabrics from my stash for the background, one a mini polka dot and the other a subtle paisley print.  The background stripes finish at 6 inches wide.  The finished quilt is 38" by 48".


The backing and binding also came from my stash so it was a pretty good use of stash fabrics.  I sent the finished top to my long-time quilting collaborator, Karen Thompson of Greenbriar Designs.  She used pale pink thread to quilt a pantograph pattern of a vine with hearts and curlicues.  I like the way it came out and the pale pink thread shows up just enough against both the off-white background and the darker pinks and reds and in the heart.  

The binding is a beige and tan mini hounds tooth print; it's one of my favorites for binding.  I like the way it finishes the edge against the lighter background fabric.  

My fabric choices resulted in quilt that is less "modern" in appearance than the original on the pattern but it fits very well with my decor.  You could get a similar, more traditional look with Laundry Basket's other red and pink line called Anna or a modern look with Just Red by Zen Chic or red and pink batiks.

As for the name, Love In The Time Of Covid-19, I chose it to commemorate this time.  I started the quilt in late January by making the blocks that would form the heart; at that time, we thought Covid-19 was a flu-like condition confined to China.  I took a break while I went on a vacation in Florida then started assembling the heart and adding the background in late February.  By the time I finished the top, Italy was in quarantine and New Jersey entered stay-at-home orders just as I mailed the top and backing to Karen in North Carolina.  My husband and I are in our 11th week of staying at home to "flatten the curve" and while neither of us, nor any other family members, have caught the virus (or have been asymptomatic if they have), over 100,000 Americans have died to date.  I hope it is over soon.

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Friday Finds

I've found a few new-to-me things recently that are enhancing my life right now so I'm sharing them with you.

IT Cosmetics Anti-Aging Armour Tinted Sunscreen SPF 5-+
I'm a redhead with very pale skin that always burns, never tans.  Gyms have been closed in NJ for 9+ weeks now so I go on long walks outside to get my exercise; sunscreen is a must for me (and you should use it too).  I recently discovered this mineral sunscreen (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) for the face that is tinted.  Unlike foundation, it doesn't really cover up anything but it blurs my uneven pigmentation areas and gives me a dewy glow without looking shiny or feeling greasy.  There is only one, "universal," tint and when I saw it out of the bottle, I was sure it would be too dark for me but it blends right in.  I put it on over my moisturizer and I think you could put makeup on over it but I don't.  The link above will take you to the company's website which includes ecommerce.  I bought mine at Ulta and Sephora stocks it as well.

Note, the bottle is quite small (1 fluid ounce) and I use it only on my face.  For the rest of my body, I like Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel sunscreen.  It has a great texture and doesn't feel greasy.  The scent is overpowering out of the tube but I find it fades quickly.  I also like Aveeno Protect & Hydrate sunscreen.

Adapter for Bose Sounddock
I like to listen to music when I'm sewing, with a preference for classical music.  My music collection has transitioned from records to cassettes, then to CDs, and finally to digital files on an iPod.  I got an iPod Touch for the capacity and converted all my CDs to digital files.  I could listen with earbuds and I got a Bose Sounddock to play the iPod through its speakers, eliminating the need for the earbuds and also great for when listening with another person.  When I got an iPhone, it held all the music as well but I continued to use my iPod.  That is, until last summer, when my iPod died on me.  Apple no longer makes iPods and my latest phone has a newer pin configuration so it doesn't fit in the Sounddock.  I lived without it for a while and thought I would have to get a new listening device until I stumbled across this adapter.  It basically adds Bluetooth wireless connection to the Sounddock, so it connects to the phone without the phone being connected on the pins.  It is super easy to use (just take it out of the package and plug it into the Sounddock, go to "Bluetooth" under "Settings" in the phone and connect it - no advanced degree in IT required.  It has given new life to my music collection, which I am listening to more than ever while Staying-At-Home. 

Raspberry Lemon Cake 
The View From Great Island blog is a good source for dessert recipes.  I don't bake often but was feeling like we needed a sweet pick-me-up last week so I made this cake.  Wow, is it good!  And not difficult to make.  That photo above is from the recipe website because mine did not look nearly as good and I forgot to take a picture anyway.  I'm thinking of trying her Strawberry Lemon Blondies next. 

Back to the regular quilting content next week.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Sew Many Projects

Lots of stash whittling going on here, with 256 blocks made from my hoard of faded floral fabrics.  Each block is 6" square.  Now on to assembling the top.  

But this is not the only project I've been working on.  I seem to have some kind of pandemic induced attention-deficit problem as I often find myself flitting from one thing to another.  I currently have two quilt tops quilted and ready for binding, the completed blocks above, pieces for another quilt partially cut but now yet sewn, my English paper piecing hexie project, and two smaller projects waiting in the wings.  And a sewing room that badly needs a clean out!

Time to focus.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Quarantine Quilting

It seems like we were living like normal then, BAM, we were in the middle of the great plague.  I'm in the fifth week of "staying at home" and really am staying at home.  On March 19, I had a doctor's appointment (nothing serious or related to the virus) and I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home.  I've been once to Staples in order to mail a package to my mom via UPS and once to the grocery store, followed by the drive-thru at Panera.  I do go outside for a walk almost every day.  My husband went to the grocery store today and scored a package of six rolls of toilet paper!  But only one can of black beans for a recipe that calls for two cans so we'll be improvising there.   

So...plenty of time for quilting projects.  Let me show you what I've been making.

First, like probably every other quilter, I made a lot of face masks.  My first lot went to my nephew's fiance.  She's a pharmacist or pharmacologist or something like that at a hospital in the Boston area and the hospital did not have enough proper protective gear to go around. 

Then I sent some to Miss Main Street, my daughter.  She has been working in Manhattan and living in Brooklyn, New York, aka pandemic central.  She worked from home (the tiny apartment she shares with three roommates) since mid-March (but is now furloughed until filming can resume - she works for a TV show production company), but has to go out for groceries, laundromat, etc.  Then some masks for my mom, living in a senior living complex in Michigan.  Then more to send to Mr. Main Street's and my siblings and their spouses and the adult nieces and nephews.  I got the whole extended family covered then I sort of sputtered out with the mask making.  I felt the need for something more creative, though I'll go back to mask making later if the need is still there.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote that 2020 would be my year to work on UFOs and to whittle down my stash.  And that's exactly what I've been focused on for the past few weeks.  I started machine quilting a wall hanging size quilt that I started in 2018.  I've almost halfway finished but ran out of thread, as least in the color I was using.  I ordered more but while I wait for it to arrive, I put that aside and started cutting fabric from my stash. 

This is Summer Romance, a foundation pieced string quilt I made in 2009.  It is one of my favorite quilts, there is just something uplifting about these pastel colors. 

I wanted to make something similar, but not a string quilt and not using foundation paper.  While I enjoyed that process, I wanted something else this time. 

Then Nicole at Sisters Choice blogged about the sew alongs she's doing and all her works in progress, including this block called Star Studded Event, a project from Primitive Gatherings a summer or two ago. 

I like the colors, I like the block in 19th century reproduction fabrics, I like the little star...but I could not see starting a project like this right now because those aren't the kinds of fabrics I have in my stash.  Then I had a brain flash - what if I made the blocks using my faded floral fabric stash, made all the blocks scrappy, and skipped the star in the center?  I made some test blocks, and, voila:

I'm pretty happy with it, although the blocks are only 6" square finished and I occasionally think I should have upsized them to 7.5" or 9" but I suppress those thoughts when they occur!  I have a lot of cutting and sewing ahead of me because I need about a bajillion of these blocks to make a queen size bed quilt (ok, I need 256 blocks).  But as I cut, I'm also cutting fabric for a second quilt, completely different, that starts with 2.5" strips. 

So clearly, I have plenty to keep me busy.  More soon,

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