Sunday, March 29, 2020

Talking to Myself

#QuiltBee: Candied Hexagons quilt
For much of this winter I have spent the better part of my Tuesdays, and often Thursdays, helping the gals at the church with the quilts that are up on the frame. That all changed a few weeks ago when social distancing became the norm.

The isolation hasn't been a problem for me as I have been very busy working via my computer and then sewing Huddle as time allows. Lately I've taken a break from the machine work to go back to my hand quilting because (surprise, surprise!) Candied Hexagons is still in the hoop.

#QuiltBee: Candied Hexagons quilt
It has been a rewarding break, tho I have to say that I am missing all of the chatter that you get when quilters gather round the frame (the things you learn!). And the conversation isn't nearly as interesting when it is just me and the hoop - quilting bees are the best for getting caught up on all the things you want to know, and even a little bit more 😉.

The Official Cookie Tester swings by every now and then to interject some levity.

I feel that I have picked up speed with my stitching and seem to be moving around the quilt at a decent pace, one hexie after another.

And it is lovely to be able to visit with these fabrics again.

#QuiltBee: Candied Hexagons quilt
My ever helpful green painter's tape continues to be a mainstay. It wouldn't be totally necessary for the quarter inch lines on the edge diamonds, but since I am a 'stabber' rather than a 'running stitcher' I find that it helps keep me on the straight and narrow and going at a decent pace.

#QuiltBee: Candied Hexagons quilt
Today is rainy, dark and miserable outdoors but there's an apple pie in the oven and pork tenderloin marinating for dinner so that means a free afternoon to return to hoop. Yay! Think this will be a COVID-19 finish?....M

Monday, March 23, 2020

Message in a Bottle

Make 'A' blocks first. That's what my note says. Now if I could only remember why that is...

I think it might have something to do with getting a good variety of creams but it could mean anything. That's the joy of cutting out a quilt and leaving the pieces to steep for a year before sewing them - sort of like my own personal mystery quilt, or a message in a bottle that has rolled up onto the shore with a note from a far off land.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt blocks
So I set to work on the 'A' blocks, but you had to know that I just had to try one or two of the 'B' blocks to see the reverse colour placement 😏.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt block
I'm enjoying putting them together. Initially I laid all of the pieces out so as not to confuse myself, working in concentric circles until the last round of pieces is added, but lately I've been able to just group the pieces that need to be assembled into units before they are sewn and that seems to be saving a bit of time.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt block
All 'A' blocks (a.k.a. the centre panel) are now together so I'm headed to 'B'. Fourteen down, 16 to go!....M

Monday, March 16, 2020

We Live In Interesting Times

It's been an interesting and somewhat stressful week, hasn't it? The world watches the evolution of the COVID-19 virus and all of its fallout. Societies are slowly being shuttered. Feeling as though we have been buffeted from one thing to another for the last several days it seemed like a good time to enjoy some comfort food. This Gingerbread Poke Cake fit the bill perfectly - the heavenly caramel sauce that is poured over it just takes things to a whole new level.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt
With more and more emphasis being put on social distancing I am looking to my quilting to provide solace as well. Somewhat appropriately, I started sewing together Huddle blocks.

This is an Eye Candy Quilts pattern - a Christmas gift the year before last - which has been cut and waiting for the better part of a year. Perfect. No need to think, just sit in and sew (but only after you rewind the bobbin, cut two missing get the idea).

My version will be larger, primarily so that I don't end up with a square quilt (you know me!). I can't remember how many blocks I need - 30? We'll find out.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt block
This was the first block off the presses and I have to say that it was easy and fun to watch it come together. I always find it interesting to work on large blocks because so much of my time is spent sewing tiny pieces - it almost feels like cheating 😏.

#QuiltBee: Huddle quilt block
And this is the second. I tried to stay as true to the colours in the pattern as possible, including adding in this plaid. It makes me doubly happy because the fabric came from a thrift shop shirt which gives things a nice 'make do' feel right from the get-go. Not a bad way to begin National Quilting Week, is it?

As social distancing becomes the norm for the near future I hope that you too are able to use some of that time to relax with your stitches. Sending wishes for good health....M

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Taking Minnie for a Test Drive

#QuiltBee: Minnie hexagon quiltI've been working a bit on Minnie lately to get my hand stitching fix and decided that I needed to throw some of the diamonds up on a small design wall just to see what things might look like. This is only a fraction of the quilt, but you get the idea.

The real impetus was to see how my half diamond bits that I've been piecing to fill in along the top, bottom and sides looked - my setting triangles, basically.

#QuiltBee: Minnie hexagon quiltI thought that I had made great strides with the setting triangles but I realized after I laid a few out that most of them still need another row of hexies added to the outside edge. Guess Minnie won't be going anywhere any time soon!

#QuiltBee: Minnie hexagon quilt
It was good to see this grouping together because it also gives me some sense of how light/dark it will be. It maybe just have been the bundle of diamonds that I pulled but going forward I think I'll lean to adding more light fabrics for the final borders so that it doesn't get too lugubrious.

Lots more little hexies on the horizon - back to needle and thread!....M

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Ooo Baby, Baby

I'd be lying if I said that I've been spending all of my time stitching lately. It has, in fact, been the opposite. It's been a busy couple of weeks and the stitching seems to be the first thing to go, but late yesterday it was back to business on my quilts for the twins.

Getting the Lone Star blocks assembled was the first order of business, and then sewing them into a flimsy. The diagonal seams in the blocks are pressed to the darker print but when sewing the rows together I pressed the seams open to minimize bulk, particularly where several points met; it made all the difference.

There's a couple of prints that really make these quilts for me - these fun little mice running to and fro...

and a pretty aqua Tula Pink print with bees flying in among what looks like wind-blown petals. Both should help keep the attention of the little ones snuggled in under them.

With both together it was time to think about borders. You know my aversion to square bed quilts, so that had to be addressed, and the border on the inspiration quilt didn't seem quite enough, so I went a little improv.

A random collection of light prints that were used in the blocks worked, with one or two extras like this lovely rabbit print thrown in for interest. I only have a bit of it left and would love to get more but have no idea what it is called or who produced it. The top border was cut 6.5" wide and the sides 3".

Close to the finish line I took my eye off the ball a bit and ended up sewing two borders - a narrow one and a wide one - to the same edge. Sheesh. Ripper time!

It's a little hard to see the final effect, but here's the first one'; I love it. I darkened the photo a bit to try and get the borders to show more but it's taking away from the dreaminess of the fabric combinations.

The second one is very similar.

They measure 42" x 48" but I suspect will be a little narrower after they are quilted, depending on how wide the backing fabric will be. That's my next challenge.

I'd like large, graphic prints to offset the structure of the stars - one in green and one in aqua - and to help differentiate between them because they are so similar. Even if the twins are identical I don't want the quilts to be. Hopefully something shows up soon and then I can get them to Roberta for quilting. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy Smokey Robinson and the Miracles singing 'ooo Baby Baby' - it's my latest ear worm. Wonder why?....M