Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October....and on and on it goes.

   I had 2 projects to work on this month........ The scrappy floral mountains is under the needle....only not finished.   I am about half way thru the quilting, and easy meandering loop.  I debated on trying something more complicated or with detail.   But common sense prevailed and I knew the florals were so busy nothing much would show, so why invest that much time.

   The other got finished...... the rail fence in florals.

   I worked on the leader and ender ---Double 4 Patch---as I assembled both of these quilts.   Talk about a bonus.....I will probably work on hourglass blocks as leader and ender as I assemble this one.  Never ending, just one after another.

   Bonnie Hunter released her colors for the Mystery Quilt......I sent Sir Old Man to Lowe's for color cards.  LOL, he was wanting to get nails for the nail gun anyway.    He needs them to make a couple more pumpkins for the front porch:)   The sun was quite bright so the photo is washed out.
   This is his first prototype.  Made from wood pallets, unstained raw wood.  He sculpted a stem  of sorts too.   He plans on a couple more that are taller.  I will get better photos too.

   We had a great visit with Chad while he was in town over the weekend.  He and Amber are now in Missouri and expecting a second child.  He noted the featherweight was out, and said he was so relieved that I was back to quilting.    So I am now perusing thru patterns for the next baby quilt.  I have an couple of ideas which I will nail down soon. 

I will figure out next month when it gets here......tomorrow.  Happy stitching, and eating chocolate.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Double 4 Patch

    I began writing this post yesterday, got sidetracked with the weather, and completely forgot to finish it.   The weather front moved through and we got 3 1/2'' of rain, which we needed, just not all at once.  Tornadoes did drop down in the next county, and we got hooked on watching the news. 

  I worked up more blocks for the Double 4 Patch.    Now the chain effect is more obvious.  I will put together the parts that I have on the work tray and see how big it is.  Since I will use this as a donation quilt, a large throw will be fine.  It's about 40'' by 48'' now.

  So I moved on to sewing up some floral strips between joining the units for the D4P.   These blocks are done using the strip pieced method I detail on this page.   

  I made up 4 different sets using 16 different fabrics.  I had intended to use 25 fabrics, and play around with the value layout......but that won't happen.

   To be honest, this is not my favorite technique now.  I love the finished block, and how neat it looks.  But this week has been one of dealing with "brain fog" which just throws me for a loop.  Things that should be easy, make no sense.  Spacial thinking goes out the window. 
    Luckily, some things are so ingrained that it is like a muscle memory.  Example....pressing the seams  in the watercolor so that they will nest together.  I  use the method of alternating direction for pressing by pressing odd number rows toward the lightest strip, and the even number rows toward the darkest strip.  
   The result is I ended up with enough blocks for a small table runner or wall hanging.....I will get things pressed and onto the design wall to decide.    But I  am pretty sure, I won't be working this way again.  It is much easier on the brain using the  "no-thinking"  interfacing method. 
Happy stitching:)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Floral rail fence

   I had to hunt a bit for the earlier post for when I started this one.  Here is one with the rail fence blocks on the design wall.     Blocks were begun in May as a leader and ender project. 

  It has been pinned and waiting for quilting for a couple of weeks. 

  I used my 2'' floral strips to cut 6 1/2'' pieces.  I planned out the blocks according to value....dark, medium, and light.  Please note, I used 4 strips per block and not the usual 3. 
  So you might find 2 dark, 1 medium, and 1 light strips per blocks.  Or a dark, 2 medium and a light......I decided to be random and not be strict about how many of what value per block. 
 With more attention to value, this could be turned into one of those 3-D designs.  Not for me.....they make my head hurt :0

   Label on the back....per usual.
Quilting can be seen on this photo of the back too......lots of overall swirls.   With this much busy on the front, little quilting can be seen.

   And I used up more strips of floral  fabrics for the mixed binding.

  Finished size is 48'' by 60 ''.

Freshly washed, it is soft and cuddly.   Just right for tonight as the weather finally shifts to almost fall.  Today was a beauty with temps about 70 and tonight in the 40s. 

Happy stitching.

Monday, October 16, 2017

From the oven

    I love  to experiment and make recipes  into my own version.  It must be my  background  in biology and chemistry.   I was a Medical Technologist in my earlier life......think laboratory tests and blood  and that was me.

   I found a recipe a few weeks ago for Pumpkin  Cream Cheese Muffins .....here for the original link from Pinterest.    I had a partial can of pumpkin in the freezer, and some left over sweet potatoes, and cream cheese is always around.   It was time for seeing how it would come together.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Loaf

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (pure pumpkin puree)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.   Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray.  I used  2  loaf pans  9'' x 5'' pan.   Original recipe uses muffin tin...see link for those details. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  • In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar and brown sugar.
  • Beat in eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps.   Spoon about 1/2  of the mixture into the 2  loaf pans.  
  • In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  • Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the batter.  Spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese mixture.  Use a knife to swirl thru the layers to blend into a swirl.   
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  •   My original batch was a mix of pumpkin puree and mashed sweet potatoes.   That minor adaptation  turned out great.  The extra loaf went into the freezer for later.   And wouldn't you know the photo did not turn out and now the pumpkin loaf is gone.....lol.   You will have to trust me, it was good.  
      Now I want to try homemade pizza dough....I'll share that one too.  

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017

    A very scrappy Double 4 Patch

        Several years ago, I saved the instructions for the Double Four Patch quilt that  I found  here at Mary Quilts.    Matter of fact, I have saved lots of her instructions as they are clear, and concise, and easy to print.

      A good variety of layouts for the Double 4 Patch can be found on Pinterest.  Here is the link to my board for some I found.   And there are some very beautiful ones based on color and not scraps.

      Last week I had a question about how to select the fabrics when putting the block units together....randomly select a dark and a light?.......was the actual context.   Answer......Ummmm, yes and no.  I don't really delight in being confusing, but sometimes things are not so cut and dried.

      This is the photo I shared for  my scrappy version.  On the left are 2 patch pieces, obviously dark and light, that are ready to become 4 patch units (paired sets in the center above the clothes pin).

    Then on the right some 4 patch units sewn with large squares above.   Look again at the 4 patch unit that is sewn.  The print squares are  not true dark values, but rather relatively dark because they are placed next to very real/true light squares.

      Searching thru the stack I found a few more blocks/examples to talk about.    First note the variety of the "light" squares......tan, cream, beige background or neutral prints.   There is even one  that has some obvious dark  there on the right.......the major part of it can be called light. 
      I usually think about Bonnie Hunter's standard.......anything lighter than a brown paper bag goes for the neutral.....even with peeks and pops of other colors.   So a couple of the darks in the upper right hand unit are a bit too brown to fit the light spot.   I decided to put them in as a dark fabric value.

         Then look at the lower left corner......I put that print in the dark spot of the arrangement.   Two reasons:
    •  1. Light background but enough of the dark print is showing....over 50%.  That pushed it to the dark slot for me.   
    •  2.  The  use of lower contrast--in this case, the background blends a lot---can give the element of surprise that pleases the eye.    In vintage quilts you often find fabrics arrangement like that.  It could have been luck, but I prefer to think they had a delightful sense of value and design :)

       Dark selection.....easy.  Dark to light, and again note that I throw some neutrals in that have some color to them, although the color is quite faint.   So for strong darks.....yes, use the random selection for a very scrappy look.  

       A very scrappy look, I say.  Guess you need to see what I mean.   
       This is what is on the design wall of the few blocks I put together already.   For my set/layout, I want the darks, big and small parts, moving up and to the right.  All the lights will be set to move to the left.  

      It doesn't look like much yet, but I love the look in real life!  You can get the idea of the unexpected  effect in some of the blocks.  

        And now that I have brought more confusion probably to this, I will just go sew a few 4 patches.   Happy stitching.

    Sunday, October 8, 2017

    From quilt show 2017 and QOV

    No automatic alt text available.
    Made by Shelia 

        From the Quilt Show  2017 style!
    I borrowed/stole a couple of photos of friends to share.

       Stained Glass Cathedral Window quilt was 12 years in the making.  This is a close up of part of the big, huge thing!   It has traveled with Shelia, been an ever-present take along project for so many years that she is sad it is finished.  Well, maybe not, because I saw a big grin on her face.  
      Working the Admissions Desk with Sarge was exhausting.  You have to know her to believe how much energy she consumes!  As a man was leaving the show he asked if any quilts were for sale.  There was one he was interested in.  Yep, this one.......Sarge priced it at "OH, about $20,000."    We had to giggle when he thought it was too much.

    No automatic alt text available.
    Made by Susan 
       Now, the story about Sarge.   
    She has grown as a quilter......
    from someone who said she  didn't do scrappy quilts  (afraid to use more than 3 fabrics  in a quilt) to a quilter who can finish  a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt  in style.  Her En Provence is  just beautiful!   

    I have to share these two.....just because:)  One made by Shelia from a workshop I did, and the other by Fannie.  Love them both!

      A highlight of the Saturday  at the Quilt show was the covering of 3 veterans by Quilts of Valor.  Word had spread about the ceremony and men began arriving.  

      This list of medals and service by this vet was amazing.....he served 3 tours.  

       The words Marietta read for the presentation of the quilts was so touching.  The line that really struck a chord was,  "A Quilt of Valor is the highest award a civilian can give a veteran in recognition of his service."

       The three recipients are here wrapped in their quilts, and flanked by the Honor Guard of SC, who escort  and honor veterans  in events on their motorcycles.  

       I was only able to do a quick tour of the rest of the show.....a bit too crowded for me to do photos....and my knee gave out.  So Susan took the QOV photos for me....thanks.
      Keep stitching. 

    Saturday, October 7, 2017

    Question on value

      I had a comment with a question about how to determine value of fabric.  Since she could not find a Ruby Beholder locally, this commenter bought some red cellophane and tried that instead.    Red cellophane is not exactly the same as a value viewer.  It tends to be mis-leading especially for blue-green and turquoise.  ( Thanks, Linda, for helping with this info:)

      I also use this technique for value determination with a black and white photo.  Turn your photo to B&W and the gray scale will really show the value. 
    Range of floral fabrics

    Same fabrics in B&W gray scale

    I saved this lesson on Value by Karen Combs.   She designed a red/green set of a  Value Viewer and explains how to use it too. 
       One thing I will note on the use of any style value viewer is look through the colored glass.  Once again, look through it.   I had students in class try to lay the tool on the fabric to determine value.  It doesn't work that way.....hold the viewer up to your eyes and look thru it.  

      Another point that Karen makes is that some fabrics may be light or medium to dark....depending on what fabric it is placed next to.    Sometimes value is relative!  With multi-print fabrics it may sometimes be very hard to class them on their own.  It is very helpful to place them on the table or design wall next to each other.....even just overlap them.  Look at them and the determination can be made easier.  

    The last part of the question referred to selecting fabrics for my leader ender project.  I do have some thoughts on that to talk about, but I must hold them till next week.  My brother and growing up big-time nephew just got in, and I want to visit a bit.  Till then, keep stitching.

    Friday, October 6, 2017

    As I mend......

      The knee is better finally after 12 days.....I am walking rather than limping.  The swelling is less, pain is much better, I just am cautious when stepping out or turning/shifting direction.  Today I picked up the knee brace and wore it when we did two errands.  No photo....it is not elegant.  In fact it is ugly/awful  and stiff....but it does help keep the knee stable.

      But on to better things.  I have not done much in the sewing room....sorting and finding things I had set aside.  I was asked yesterday if I was still quilting.  I hated to answer with yes, and no.  But it is truthful.  I am a quilter, just not productive recently.  Pain is the biggest sap to my creativity.    That silent enemy I battle each day.  Like the little train that said, I think I can, I think I can.......I keep pushing and planning.

      I have pinned two tops for quilting....the floral rail fence and the floral scrappy mountains.  These are my main project for the month.....get them quilted.  I can only sit for short periods and have to move around to reduce the stiffness, so it might just take me all month.

       The shopping therapy.......I gave in to the need for more wonder clip things.   The dozen I had just were not  enough.  Instead of the expensive "name" set, I found 100 of them for  much less  on Amazon.  Mixed colors and 2 sizes satisfied that need.

    Notice what they are resting on?

        I  found a set of six fast food trays to use for project trays.  Linda at Art In Search  commented that she was using cafeteria trays for her floral squares/strips.  I loved the idea and broke down and got a set.  I chose the smaller size of 10'' by 14'' fast food size.  If I am using them for floral squares, they stack and fabrics don't slide around.  They have the sides to contain pins, clips, small appliques, etc.

       I set this one up for my leader ender assortment.  This is a very scrappy Double 4 Patch in various stages.  I have about 10 blocks put together and the rest of these parts/piece units.    Instead of putting everything away, I plan on letting the tray next to the machine so I can make progress on this one.

        The guild's Quilt Show is this weekend.  I am slated to sit at the admissions table on Saturday morning.  So I need to bake up some goodies for the  "food room" as Sir Old Man calls it!  That should keep me out of trouble for today.
    Thank you all for checking up on me during my knee rest.
    Keep on stitching.
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