Monday, June 1, 2020

Hands2Help 2020 Quilt

Hi friends!  It's been a minute (a year, almost) since I last wrote anything here.  Between the many months that have elapsed and a different Blogger interface, I had to stare at the screen a little while before I figured out how to create a new post!

Things have been mostly fine here, personally, aside from the pandemic and other recent happenings in our country, which hurt my heart and mind and spirit.  But things will change, and hopefully for the better, sooner than later.

I've made only a few quilts during the past year, including a couple of commissioned baby quilts, but altogether haven't been super productive in that area.  When the coronavirus happened, I started making masks for various community organizations as part of a grassroots volunteer effort.  Lately, I've been making them for family members and friends required to wear them for work and/or in public.

The latest batch of masks - a photogenic bunch!
Then in late April, I got laid off, not due to the pandemic but because of a business sale which resulted in a different work model for the company. So now I've got a little more time on my hands.  Not a bad thing, just unexpected in the overall scheme of things.

For this year's Hands2Help charity quilt drive, I made a "Bricks and Stepping Stones" quilt from the free Bonnie Hunter/Quiltville tutorial.  This is the second one of these I've made.  The first was over 10 years ago and I gifted it to my sister, who still uses it on her bed.  I saw it there in January when I was visiting her house and thought to myself, I need to make another one of those.

Bricks and Stepping Stones Quilt
I had a pile of scraps sitting on the end of the cutting table from all the mask sewing, so I started cutting those into bricks, 3-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches.  Then I moved into the scrap containers for some more variety.  Had all the bricks cut and ready to go pretty fast, as well as the strips to make the black/white four-patch stepping stones.

Had fabric in the stash for borders and a pieced backing, and was able to piece together a couple big chunks of batting.  It's quilted it in a multi-color thread in a lazy meander. 

This is being sent to Mercyful Quilts.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Sundry 6-23-19

It's been awhile since I've done a post in the "Sunday Sundry" category, where I gather various odds and ends into a smorgasbord of sundry themes.  So let's do this thing.

Old Business

First, in the interest of closure, I did get the last Hands2Help flimsy quilted and sent off to Quilty Hugs earlier this month.  Norm took a couple minutes out of his yard work to hold the quilt up on the porch for a couple pictures of the front and back.  

Some close-ups. 

This was a great way to utilize 2.5-inch strips and went together fast.  Go back one post for the link to the tutorial, if you're interested in more details.  I'd definitely make one of these again.

Who Likes Leftovers?

I do, when it comes to both food and fabric.  Food-wise, it usually means I don't have to cook, which is a welcome change of pace.  Fabric-wise, it's a fun and creative challenge to make something on a smaller scale within the confines of the scraps from a bigger project.  I like the low pressure, who-cares-if-it-doesn't-work, but-it-might-be-awesome-if-it-does feeling of working with leftovers.

I had a couple orphan blocks left over from the Blooming String Baskets quilt, as well as some leftover triangle units in solid colors.  So I played around with positioning those this way and that, and came up with this table runner.

When it came to quilting it, I had no clear idea, so I started with just ditch quilting, and that led to a bunch of other straight lines.

Here's a fun, good to know tidbit:  Anybody who thinks straight-line quilting is taking the easy way out when it comes to finishing a project, has probably never buried three thousand thread ends!  Of course, I'm exaggerating the number (somewhat), but man oh man, the thread burying on this little ole thing! 

I'm happy with the end result, after all is said and done.  Yeah, so maybe it looks like the carnival has come to town, but it sure brightens up a room!  If it's too bright, I can always flip it over for a (kinda?) more subtle effect.

The next leftover project was with more solid scraps and remaining 2.5-inch strips from the quilt shown above.  I put together a few 16-patch blocks and came up with this little doll-size quilt.

My grand-niece has a birthday in a couple weeks, and I think she and her dollies might like this.

The back is from a vintage fitted crib sheet I found at a thrift store years ago.  It's so soft and sweet, and the perfect size to finish this little quilt.

Non-Sewing Related Gigs

I've been working on a different kind of project lately, and that is transcribing the many hours of conversations I recorded with my dad a year or so before he passed away.  

He's been gone a year and a half now, but I still think of him just about every day.  Sometimes it's just a passing thought.  Other times it's like a step back into a more painful kind of missing him all over again.  

(View from Dad's memorial bench overlooking the marsh near sunset.)
I think grief is like that.  It comes and goes, sometimes dull, sometimes sharp.  I'm no expert, but I think you just have to ride those waves, up and over, as many times as they roll in.  

When I've been out for my daily walks this summer, I've been relistening to those conversations.  Dad wanted to talk about his life, his stories from a young kid on.  When we covered most of that ground, we went through his photo albums and he talked about the people in the pictures.  I'd go over there once a week or so during 2016, with my digital recorder in hand, and hit the record button.

You might think relistening to those conversations would be painful, but I find they are anything but.  To hear his voice again, his stories, his laughter and mine co-mingling, is relaxing and comforting.

(Dad in 2014 - Quote by Scribbles & Crumbs/Lexi Behrndt)
My mom wrote down her stories about growing up and compiled them into a book that she then supplemented with pictures.  She gave each of us children a copy.  When she passed away unexpectedly, 10 years ago, we were all so glad she had done that.  

I think Dad wanted to do the same, but he didn't have the skills mom had when it came to typing it all into the computer and organizing it into a narrative.  I'd helped him edit the book he wrote in 2012 from his handwritten notes, so I think he wanted me to do something similar with his life story. He never asked me explicitly, but I got the drift that that's what he was wanting to do once we got started.  When I was working with him on his book writing project, it became obvious that "the rest of the story" was often in the details I teased out when seeking clarification of his written notes.  He was a great storyteller, and it seemed he recognized that his own story was going to have to come straight from the horse's mouth, as it were, with me asking questions along the way.

(Wild columbine along the bike trail, with "sparkles" of dandelion fluff.)
So now I'm starting to transcribe those long conversations.  I'm a transcriptionist by day, so it's not difficult work for me, just time-consuming.  And after hours of transcribing for my day job, I am usually pretty much over with sitting in front of a screen and typing any more than I have to.  However, last week I had a light workload for some reason, so I got started.

I tell you what, even though you may have heard your parents' or grandparents' stories being told time and time again, there's no way you're going to remember all the details.  And you may hear a snippet of a story here and there but never the whole thing.  In relistening and transcribing Dad's own words, I'm learning many "new" things, even though, technically, I've heard them before.  The overall scope of it is coming into better focus.

It is going to be wonderful to get this down in black and white for posterity, and to share it with the rest of the family.

Thrift Finds

So far this summer, there's been more going out of the house than coming in, which feels like a very good thing.  I've sold an old road bike, a camera, and an amplifier, among other things.  I've driven a couple trunk loads to Goodwill.  The circle of stuff, and all that.

But on Saturday, we happened by a nice thrift store where I sometimes find fabric, and once again, the trip did not disappoint.

That roll of pink fabric?  Five yards!  That'll make a nice backing some day.

Love the paisley print!  And that striped fabric may make a nice binding.

This gray (and black/white/red) fabric was definitely a vintage head-scratcher.  What is with those shapes, for one thing?  And feathers?  It was just too weird to pass up.  I tried Googling the name on the selvage but nothing came up.  Hmm...gotta love a good mystery!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Chain Link Quilt Top for H2H

"Bolder and Older" describes some of the fabrics in this quilt, the last of four made in the Hands2Help Challenge this year.

Bolder prints, including florals and feathers and swirls (oh my!).  Older, as in used a while ago and there's maybe just a smidge left, perfect for the few strips needed.  Or an older fabric that deserves a chance to be useful and appreciated, but in a limited dose (if you know what I mean).

That could mean a lot going on, but the background fabric provides enough space so they all seem to play nicely together, I think.  

Thanks to Meredith for the tutorial a couple weeks ago in a Hands2Help blog post.  When I saw that the quilt was set on point and read through the instructions, I realized I already had the right size setting triangles cut and ready to go!  They were the ones I had unsewn from the String Baskets quilt and replaced with a different fabric.  Serendipity!

From there, it was a no-brainer to cut some 2-1/2 inch strips and make a few of these fun, big blocks.

I actually used up the background fabric before I got to the border, but I found a remnant of off-white, tone-on-tone shooting stars in the stash.  Close enough for rock 'n roll!

I'll be quilting and finishing this in the next few days, and then it will go to Quilty Hugs as part of the H2H Comfort Quilt Challenge.

Linking to:  Confessions of a Fabric Addict - H2H Link Up

Friday, May 3, 2019

Blooming String Baskets Quilt Flimsy

I think this is it, friends.  This is the string basket flimsy ("Blooming String Baskets") as of today. 
I was going to add a narrow stop border and a six-inch outer border, but for the life of me, I couldn't see it working.  I pondered this, that, and the other thing.  Auditioned various fabric combinations, but nothing seemed quite right. 
Then I got out the tape measure, and as is, it's a respectable 65x85 (-ish), which I am content with.  Why add more fabric and more weight for me to fling off in the middle of the night, mid-hot flash?  (Keeping it real.)

Now I could see, perhaps, some fun applique in those tan setting triangles.  But right now, as far as a vision on that, I've got nothin'.  Maybe something will occur to me (or not) while this one waits in the quilting queue.  I'm open for suggestions.
(Mama Mallard on the neighbor's roof this morning.)
As far as the layout of this quilt, I considered a few options and put them in a Facebook post for people to weigh in on.  

The consensus seemed to be the one with the baskets oriented vertically (an on-point setting--the third one above), so that's how it went together.

And then, halfway through sewing it together, I decided that setting the entire thing with Kona Snow was way too much...Snow.  Which is how I've felt about late winter/early spring in general, coincidentally.
So I took apart half the quilt and recut the setting triangles in a straw basket-colored fabric (yes, that's the way my brain worked it out).  The new version, I think, contains the flower baskets as a central theme, instead of having them sitting in a drift of Snow.

My favorite thing about this quilt was piecing the string baskets themselves.  (I talked a bit about how I did that in THIS post.)  
The inspiration came from the "American Picnic" quilt in the book Simply Strings by Rana Heredia.

Piecing, in general, is what I like most about making a quilt.  Do you have a favorite part of the process?

Linking to:  
Humble Quilts:  Linky Up! String Quilt Progress!
Confessions of a Fabric Addict:  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

H2H Check-In

I have three quilts ready to donate for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge!

The first two are baby quilts, made from orphan blocks left over from a quilt-along I petered out on a while back. 

I'm glad to have gotten them together and finished up in these past few weeks.  These will go to Jack's Basket.

The third is a scrappy string quilt made using Sarah's On-Line tutorial.  I quilted it a couple days ago with long vertical wavy lines.  

Simple but effective.  In fact, I love the effect!  I think I need to make another one to keep.  :)

(Back of On-Line quilt - using a border print in center.)
This one will go to Happy Chemo.

Linking to:  Confessions of a Fabric Addict - First Check-In


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