Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Look Back


What a year 2020 has been. For me it was not my best or worst year ever. I changed my perspective during this year and just took it one day at a time and finding what good things I could in each day. This photo is one of our January sunrises. The beauty of nature provided much joy this year.



In February I went to a quilt retreat in Phoenix and got these t-shirts up on the design wall. I had been carrying them around for 2 years and needed to get this comfort quilt for a friend finished.
I also designed a carpenters wheel to work on during the retreat. I used my own handyed fabrics. The carpenter wheel has been on my quilting bucket list for decades and I just love the top I created. There are more of this design in my future.


In March I had lost my sewing mojo and kick started myself by finishing up this pair of pants. To date I have made this pattern 4 times and plan to make more as each pair is different.
I pulled out this small piece of fabric I had gotten on the shop hop during the retreat and self drafted this top. It used all of the fabric but a few tiny scraps. I wore this a lot during the Summer.


In May I finished the carpenter wheel top I had started at my retreat. I am over the moon about it and plan to do some very fancy quilting on it but I need to get some black batting for that project.

I also quilted this little improv art quilt with some very different designs. I am pretty pleased with how it came together.

My friend Shelley was making 3D hexi blocks and challenged anyone that was up to it to make some so I jumped aboard and made them in the colors of the rainbow. I shleped this project around most of the summer doing hand applique to put the blocks on a background.
I cloned one of my favorited thrifted t-shirts and made a mustard one and a tourquoise one. Both were out of a huge gift of fabrics my daughters friend was getting rid of. I wore those t-shirts all summer.


I made a sample of this pair of pants and was going to make my final pair out of blue linen but changed my mind. The top was thrifted during the quilt retreat in February and cost me a whopping $1. It was my favorite t-shirt this summer.

Instead of the blue linen I made my final pair of pants out of this brown linen I found in my stash. I need to take them in a little before I wear them next spring.


I pulled this jacket out of a bin of UFOs and finished it. I started in around 1999 and it was too boxy and needed to be taken in at the waist. I am surprised that it is still very trendy, animal print and nice clean lines.






I pulled out my tree of life quilt top I made two years ago and started the applique around the border. I worked on this project all spring and summer. I designed two squirrels and two birds and lots of vines and leaves.
 
I finished the top in June. I am planning on doing some very fancy quilting on this top.


Late Summer I went thrifting and got some clothes to upcycle. I took this men XL top and resewed it to fit myself in a much smaller size. I kept the neckline but cut down the body of the shirt. I have been wearing this a lot this fall and winter. I also remade a huge blue oversized mens sweatshirt but did not take photos.


 

In August I finished the t-shirt quilt and presented it to my friend whose wife had passed away. It made us both cry.  


I also spent days, and weeks quilting this top I had started a couple of years ago and had put together in Feburary. I had high hopes of entering this in some quilt shows but it will have to wait till things reopen so I will not show a photo of this amazing quilt till that happens.


I did a mystery quilt that I began in April. I changed the design from what how it was designed but I used every single block and no more. I also make a wider border and spent all of September and October putting the applique on it.


I finished the quilting in late October and still need to bind it and add a label.


After doing some large quilts I dug into to UFO tops and pulled this table runner from the early 2000's out and quilted and bound it. In spite of it being small I still managed to take a full week and many hours to quilt it.


In November I got the 3D hexi quilt on the longarm and spent many, many hours on the quilting. I still need to bind this and add a label.



In December I pulled this strippy top out of the pile of quilt tops and wanted to finish it up as a donation quilt I had been tasked to make out of it at the retreat in February. My friend Shelley had made the stripes but there were to small for an adult size quilt so I dug into a UFO bin and found some blocks from a swap I did around 15 years ago. I added them to the top and bottom, added some muslin borders and it is now ready to quilt.


After finishing up the last project I was trying to decide what to quilt next. I pulled all the tops I had out of the ready to quilt bin and hung them on the longarm frame. There are 11 tops here and it is my goal to quilt all of them in 2021 except the first one on the left that I chose to quilt that day. I also measured each top and made a list so it will be easier to organize the backings and have them ready to go.

This was my least favorite top out of that group but now that it is quilted with some fancy quilting I really love it. Mostly the quilting was for practice and to try some new designs. This quilt took many, many hours and was my last quilt quilted in 2020.


I pulled this tiny 14" top out of a UFO bin and decided to add a border. I am planning on working on that bin and getting many more of those projects in various stages of done to finished tops in 2021.


Here is the border I created for the top and it is now a good size for an wall quilt. I want to quilt this early in 2021 as I really like the design and the border will be a great place to do show off some cool quilting.


Here is the quilt from a few photos ago in progress. I did a different design in each zigzag row. I love this design on the green and will be using it again for sure.


This dress pattern has taken sewers on Instagram by storm. The view the model is wearing in particular. Those sleeves are amazing. I got the pattern at the JoAnn sale for $1.99 and found lots of yardage of the tiger paisley on the clearance rack. I am currently working on a muslin version. Once I finish that I will get this dress sewn up for my spring wordrobe. I really like making muslins first because it ensures I get a perfect fit out of my final fabric. So far I am going to make the sleeves 3" longer and maybe make the dress just a bit bigger in the side seams as I am between sizes.

If you have gotten this far I want to wish you a Happy New Year. Just take each day as it comes and focus on the good things you can. We had many challenges in 2020 and it has been like no other year I can remember in my 65 years. 

 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Table Runner


This table runner began way back in 1999. I was teaching quilting classes at a store up in Washington at the time. One of the classes was paper piecing and I taught a couple of classes doing the pineapple pattern. I made a rainbow colored one that I finished years ago and used as a Easter table runner, as well as a set in green and purple that I finished about 10 years ago. This Christmas theme set of blocks languished for years. I set them together in a row at some time in the past. Some years passed and I added the green border. I loaded it on the longarm twice and took it back off because after staring at it for a week or so I could not figure out how to quilt it. After finishing a very intricate quilt a couple of months ago (it is a secret project waiting for quilt shows to happen again so I will not show it on the blog till that happens) I decided to try this again.
 


 Ok loaded on the longarm and now I refused to fail on the quilt design once again. 

I decided on a few different elements for the quilting and love how it finally came together.

I started with the black centers and decided to do a feathered wreath.

Next I decided to do a continuous feather around the border. It sat like this for a few days but I finally figured out the other elements one at a time. I just did one thing and then stared at it till I could figure out the next thing.


This little project took almost 20 years to complete but I finally got it finished and really love how it came out. One other thing that I did when I pieced the blocks was to tea dye some of the lighter fabrics and the background was a very bright white and they were too stark looking with the other fabrics. I love how the tea dye gave them a much more aged look. In the close up photo above the red fabric and the white above were from my beginning quilt stash around 1984 or 85. All the other fabric were purchased in the 90's.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Joy's Mystery Quilt



Back in May one of my quilting friends on Facebook started a group to make a mystery quilt just to give us some fun during the quarantine. I decided to go ahead and join the group since it was for a scrap bin project and I had two overflowing scrap bins. Well I made all of the blocks she had in the mystery, but in the end I decided to just mess around with the blocks and see what else I could come up with. My final setting is not the mystery but I did use all the blocks, with no extra nor did I have to make any more than she asked for........a real win. I used a bunch of scraps and had fun. I kinda put this on hold when I started working on the tree of life applique border. Now that that is done I pulled this back out yesterday morning and started playing.

I have leftover leaves from the tree of life project. I also found some flower buds from another applique project. The flower template is from a round robin I did years ago for someone's quilt (I think it was Linda Hoo). The vine in the photo is leftover from another project and it is too dark so I will use a different fabric. I found a couple of butterflys I had cut out and am going to use them. I also love the birds I did on the tree of life project so I am going to make two more. The good thing is this is a lot less applique than the tree of life so it will not take as long to get it done. Each corner will have the flowers, vine and leaves. The top and bottom will have a bird and a butterfly. At least that is the plan right now.

This plan is close to the one I made but it needed a few more blocks to be made and it was also a bit to tall and narrow. 

I really love this idea with the string blocks and may use it in a future project. Again this setting I needed to make more of the string blocks and I had leftover fourpatches.

These are my blocks after clue 2. I just laid them out and do love the string blocks. I have decided that I like the idea of taking the string blocks and adding a plain fabric to half of them as we were instructed to do in clue 3. (Sorry no photos.........I lost some of the photos I took of the early steps of the mystery including some other alternate setting I played around with) This made 60 blocks out of the 30 string blocks without a huge amount of extra effort...........love that technique!

Here are my clue 1 fourpatches. Not very exciting but I did use quite a lot of scraps to make these 32 blocks. They finish at 5" a good size. Aside from the blue triangles in the center star all of the fabrics for this quilt came from my scraps...........well ok I did cut a few from yardage but not that many.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

New Personal Record





I finally got in full gear a couple of months ago with quilting and sewing. I had been putting off making the bias strip for this project for months. I had cut the straps 5/8" wide.....yup crazy. Well one day I decided to tackle this a couple of months ago and got it done. I made one very, very long strip. It was many yards long.  The next day I basted the main strip to the drawn line on the quilt. Then another few days to cut out a million leaves. Then I was off and running. I think I started the applique on June 12th. I have only missed working on this about three days since. I just designed a section at a time and tried to do at least 5 leaves each day. This is a new record for me to finish a project of this magnitude. It was a great distraction from the rest of the insanity going on in the world around me.


I am really happy with the squirrels. I think they add a little fun. This little guy is scampering down the vine.

A bluebird at the bottom, just hanging out.



I think this squirrel is my favorite. He was also the hardest to do. I just love how he came out. 


Friday, July 17, 2020

Around The Last Corner



This project has been my focus for the past month. Once I got the vine figured out I really got excited to see this come together. I kinda set myself some hard and fast goals for this and that was to applique at least 5 leaves a day. I have actually exceeded that goal. There was a week spent figuring out the squirrels and I am very pleased with them. So now that I have finally gone around the final corner it is time to get the two birds done and figure out the last part of the vine and leaves on the top center. There will be a few more branches around that top bird.

The bottom bluebird just needs to be made and plopped down in the center and he is good to go.

This one is a mountain bluebird. Yes I just spent some time online finding images of birds I liked and then just drew my own version that would be easy to applique. I actually did these birds in the very beginning and they have been waiting patiently in the wings for their turn to come front and center in this project.

So here are the final plans for these little birds. The line art is ready to be cut apart and the fabrics are selected. This will be the focus this week to get them done and hopefully also the last group of vines and leaves. So far I am pretty pleased at how this project has come together.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Making Squirrels




This is the current state of my work table. I have reached a place on my vine and leaves where I really need to add the squirrels to determine where they will fit and what branches and leaves will go around them. I was making great progress appliqueing the vines and leaves till I hit this roadblock. So This past week has been all about these two squirrels. When you design everything yourself you have to do lots of work and research to find the image, draw it, tweak, it and tweak it more, again, and again till it works. I found images on the internet and got to drawing but they did not look right. I had my artist daughter help and then they were better but looked more like dragonlike cartoon features (she draws that style). Well now I had the proportions right and kept drawing. I had pages of squirrels till I finally settled on these two. The one on the too is pretty easy and is ready to be appliqued down, the bottom one is much more complicated and I am still tweaking.

I made templates for the outline and this is the starting point. I have simplified the idea and some of the lines will be defined with quilting instead of different parts. This is a process of designing as you go. I am pretty happy so far with how they are coming together and hope to finish the second squirrel this week and get them appliqued on the quilt.
This is a little preview of where the first squirrel will go. There will be lots of branches and leaves added before he is appliqued down but at least now I can figure out that design.


Here is the placement for the four applique creatures. The squirrel on the top right will be behind the vine so that is why he is so problematic to figure out. I am making progress with his design though.