Wednesday, August 15, 2018

70, 273 Project and a Machine Update

     Ruby,  my Janome 7700 is still waiting for parts at the "spa". Turns out she needs a new "mother board"!  She was new in December of 2011, so isn't all that old...   It's been well over 5 weeks now, but after limping along on the backup machine with very limited features for 4 weeks,  I whined just a bit to the dealer, and was given an upgrade of a Janome 8900 to use as a loaner.   

     This means that I've finally been able to do some actual Quilting, instead of piecing. Believe me,  I don't need to piece any more tops right now,  I have so many waiting for their quilting to happen.  

      While  quilting on the loaner this weekend, I see that the newer model has worked out many of the  little issues that the 7700 has.  New machine?  I'm not totally sold yet, but a seed has been planted.  

     One thing I have been working on while Ruby has been away is the 70,273 Project.   If you have not heard of this, you need to check out the links below and find out more about this human atrocity.   

the 70,273 Project itself

Historical information

     As a Special Education teacher,  this project grabbed my heart and won't let go.   I pledged to make a block for each of the students I've had over the last 18 plus years, thinking the number would be about 125,  only to do an actual count and it is upwards of 225.   

     I'm still stitching blocks, but I did get one quilt top assembled that commemorates 60 lives lost during the early years of WWII.   The blocks with the green are blocks that were made by some of my students this past year.  

       I have nearly enough blocks done to make a second top finished.  The ribbon and string blocks go together quickly,  but I want a mix of media in each quilt, and the embroidery blocks take a bit longer... and I need to get the paint and stamps back out as well. 

      I'm also working on a "Midling"  which will be about the size of a fat quarter, which is on my design wall waiting for the next level of inspiration.    I am embroidering on a vintage damask tablecloth.  I love the way the damask adds texture to the background. 
 If you haven't checked out the links above yet,  each pair of   XX commemorate one soul. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Retirement at Last!

     Really?   Over 7  months since my previous post ?   Seems to be a pattern I've established over the years....  Quilt like crazy over winter break... and finally come out of a coma in July....  only to go back to school and repeat. 

     I officially retired on June 15,  after nearly 20 years in the same Special Education Program for students ages 18 - 21, where I taught transition skills for participation in real life activities at home, in the community and for work.  I loved my job,  but it finally worked out that I'm able to spend time with hubby, work in the garden, and quilt!  Yeah!!!!

    I've been working on some projects,  and yes.. I've already started 3 new projects since June.   

     Ruby, my Janome 7700  decided she needed to go to the spa.... and it's been a week already,  and most likley another 2 weeks until I get her back.    Right in the middle of a project, she decided she didn't want to change needle positions anymore...  the tech thinks it's a transformer....    I'm so glad I have a couple of backup machines!

     I've been working on the 840 HST I need for Jamestown Landing as my Leaders and Enders now for at least a year and a half....   I'm feeding them through in  mutliples of 5 now,  in hopes of finishing them before a new century arrives...  Only 260 to go.  My strategy is now to feed them 10 at a time.  Then I only need to stitch 26 chain seams to finish!   

     I've recently started following HollyAnne Knight over at the String & Story....  she's having a summer Quilt Along, a Summer Stash Busting Challenge  and has shared her pattern "Lanterns of Hope" with us. We are piecing the top in July, and she will walk us through the actual quilting of it in August.   Her blog link is: .

   Here is my top.  I chose to use 3 1/2" strips in reds, whites and blues so that I'll have a Quilt of Valor when we are done.   This goes together quickly. The tricky part is getting each block turned just right in the layout. 

    Retirement brought several  wonderful gifts and greetings from friends and co-workers.  Fabric gift cards, gardening gift cards,  eating gift cards,  even a wine gift card.... 
However,  a friend of ours was overly generous with the amount of the card they gave me for a fabric store.  I'm not divulging the amount that it takes to "bribe" me into making you a quilt... but I pulled from my stash to make them each a quilt.   Her quilt is one that I have had in the back of my mind for awhile.  In fact,  when I received this fabric several years back,  this beautiful lady came to mind,  but time hadn't allowed me to start anything for her.   It's now a top,  waiting for Ruby to return from the spa for quilting. 

Pattern:   "Samurai Garden" 
Designer: Nicole Chambers
Book:  Simple Quilts that Look Like a Million Bucks

     This is a pattern from a book I purchased several years ago.  The 3 quilts I've made from it have gone together very quickly.  It does have some waste with the triangles  go on the corners.     I usually prefer stitching scrappy quilts,  but I do have to admit that three color  quilts cut out much quicker.   

     I've also finished the center of a scrappy Jacob's Ladder in browns, and it is waiting for the border fabrics to come out of the laundry....  wouldn't you know it... All those browns and two of the same end up right next to each other!  LOL 

  There has been progress on my "On Ringo Lake" quilt as well!  All 50 blocks are now intact,  and waiting to be pieced, but I need to clear my design wall first!  This one goes together like a puzzle with the way the sashings rotate.  

Here is picture of it partially pieced.  

 I made a leap into landscape quilts early this spring,  and made a quilt of Haystock Rock on the Oregon Coast.    I used my EQ8 software to trace a photo of the rock,  and free formed the rest.   There are two very similar versions of this quilt... One is completely quilted and bound, and it took a 3rd place ribbon at our quilt show in May!  The other top is done, and waiting for quilting.... it will be gifted to my step daughter in Montana.  She loves Haystack Rock! 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Scrap and Stash Management - A Revisit

I've posted before  in Jan. 2015, about my stash and scrap management.  I believe you can find the previous posts both here ...   and  again here.  

While working on the current Bonnie Hunter Mystery, "On Ringo Lake",  I was amazed at how easy it was to go to my bins of pieces and strips a pull from them for variety.  I made it all the way through part 1 without cutting into the yardage in my stash.  In fact, much of it came from my 1 1/2" squares that were already cut.  As you can see in my picture, that I all but wiped out  my reds and whites.  

I did purchase a handful of fat quarters in the light blue I'm using for the corals that Bonnie is using,  and I cut 2 fat quarters from some blue yardage on my shelf.   The two lighter blue pieces under my step one units.  (Since is is going to be a Quilt of Valor, I am trying to steer clear of girly looking florals, and most of my lighter blues were just that... girly florals!)  I didn't have any strips of those two in my strip bins.  Other than that, Through step 5, all of my color pieces have come from strips or smaller scraps. 

Here is where my "revisit" part of this post comes in.    

As I was getting ready to cut  for clue #5 last week,  I realized that everything left in my whites/ creams bin is on the creamy, beige side.... I've used up all the whiter pieces that were in there.  Yeah for me!  but this means I need to re-supply.  


 Now,  creams and beiges are often my backgrounds of choice,  but I really wanted a brighter white feel to the background pieces in this project.  So I took a couple of hours, and re-stocked my whites on whites. 

I purchase fabrics when I find a great deal!  Especially if it's not going into a current project.  I have been really diligent about this the last couple of years.... In fact, I can honestly say that I think this past year, I've probably purchased less than 10 yards of fabric! (I'm practicing for retirement... LOL)   As you can see from this previous stash photo,  I'm not in need of anything to speak of...   See that stack of Whites near the bottom left?  Yep.. that one.. the middle part of the next to the bottom row.... That's the stack I'm working with today... and this picture was taken in Jan. of 2015...  Those are my whites on whites. 

It is a daunting task to think about pulling each of those fabrics,  and only cutting one strip off of each.   So thinking proactively,  I decided to work the pile systematically. 
I opened up each piece,  some measuring a yard,  some up to 5 yards. 

  • Step 1.  Press out the fold lines on one end, so that I could cut a half yard from one end. 
  • Step 2.  Cut the 1/2 yard off.  
  • Step 3.  Refold the remaining yardage, hopefully on the original fold lines, so that I don't have to re=press the entire piece. 
  • Step 4.  trim the fold line, resulting in 2 Fat Quarters.   One fat quarter got put aside in  a pile for later pressing and refolding. 
  • Step 5.  Once 5 fat quarters were pressed, (I like to use a little sizing or starch),  I laid them out in a stack that I'll call  a "5 stack".  Making sure that the salvage edges were straight, and the pieces were smooth.  
  • Step 6.  Now,   use about 4 of my flat flower pins, and pin about 1/3 of the way down the stack of fat quarters, to keep them from shifting.  (the use of starch or sizing in the previous step helps with this too). 

  • Step 7 -  I knew I needed 2" strips for my current project, so I cut one of those first.  
  • Step 8 - Now the planning part comes in... I also cut another 2",  1 1/2",  2 1/2"  and 3 1/2" strip to put into the strip bins for another day.   
  • Step 9 -  This left me with about 6" of my "5 stack" left.  I haven't cut the 3 1/2" strip yet from the photo above.   
Note - If you look closely in the photo above you can see the difference between my "clean cut" edge at the top,  and the uncut edge at the bottom of that striped set. 
  • Step 10 - press and refold the pile of fat quarters that I set aside earlier.  These will go into the fat quarter drawers to be pulled out to play another day.  I may not have to pull my entire stack again for a couple of  years.  
The remaining portions of my "5 stacks"  will stay pinned like this until I finish all my cutting for this project.  If I need a different size strip,  I'll cut from each of these stacks rather than grabbing from the strips I just cut for re-supply.   If I need  3 1/2 inch strips for the next clue,  I'll use these stacks.  

Then ,  I'll see what is left.  If I have more than 4 1/2 inches left,  I'll unpin, and refold them to go back into that bin marked "whites and creams"... which contains pieces smaller than a fat quarter.    

If it's less than 4 1/2",  I'll cut whatever size strips I can get out of it,  and add them to the strip bins with the strips I just cut for re-supply.  Anything less than 1 1/2" will go into my "String Bin"

Here is a picture of my results... 

I still have a stack of fabric to return to my stash shelf.. (the ones on the right).  
I have a stack of 25 fat quarters to grab when needed. 
I have strips to add back into the strip bins to use as needed.   Each little folded roll is 5 fabrics. 

I choose to do this with groups of 5,  because then I can easily count to 10 when cutting.  I use a 60 mm  rotary cutter,  (make sure it's nice and sharp).   5 single layers is my limit for strip cutting.  Many quilters feel more comfortable with just 3 - 4 layers at a time.  

When sub-cutting units,  or trimming blocks,  I do not cut this many layers.  

I use the "5 stack"  technique when cutting my colored fabrics as well.   If the pattern calls for Assorted Blues, for instance,  I pull blues just like I did my whites,  press,  make a separate FQ for use later,  and pin 5 together for cutting for the project.  When the project is done,  I'll  unpin and return to the bins.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

On Ringo Lake Week 5 update

I am all caught up!    I'm loving this project.  It was exactly what I needed for therapy.   My colors are coming together nicely,  if I have a wish for what color is up next it would be more of Bonnie's aquas,  or my reds.  

I am linking up to Bonnie's Linky party for the week at Week 5 Linky Party

Here is clue #1  - Darling little nine patches

Here is clue #2 -  Flying Geese! 

Clue #3 -  Diamonds in Squares...  Going in opposite directions... 

Clue #4 - Some winged squares....  

 And finally...  clue #5  - Another gaggle of Flying geese. 

Up to this point,  I have cut entirely out of my scrap drawers, and scrap saver system....  The only yardage I have cut into was 4 fat quarters of the lighter blue that I purchased for this project and 2 pieces of lighter blue yardage.   I also had to re-supply my white on whites from stash yardage for the flying geese wings for clue 5.     It is amazing how having that variety of strips and pieces in your scrap system allows for such a wide variety!  Thank you Bonnie for giving us this valuable information on your website and Blog.   

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Bonnie Hunter's 2017 Mystery, On Ringo Lake week 2

I'm linking to Bonnie's Linky party for Clue #2.  Week 2 Linky Party   I'm just about half way through the weekly clue.  It's going quicker than I had anticipated.   I have a busy week ahead of me, and not sure if I'll get around to an evening post later this week.  

Check out Bonnie's blog for instructions... its not too late to join in the fun!  

I love flying geese!  I've cut all my pieces using the Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers.. using from my 2" strips of blue and white on whites.  I've exhausted the colors I'm using in both colors,  and actually went out and purchased about 5 fat quarters to add to my blue variety.  Since I'm doing this as a quilt of valor,  I'm trying to stay away from prints that are floral or kid's prints....   Looks like this value of blues is one area I can look for more variety when I find good deals out there, especially prints that have a variety of textures.  

The picture is with my step one in the middle of the geese.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Bonnie Hunter's 2017 Mystery On Ringo Lake Clue #1 complete

I couldn't resist!   When clue one went live on Black Friday last week,  I fell in love with those cute little nine patch blocks... 

I had originally decided that I was going to sit it out, and finish some UFO's,  but that was my reasoning the last 3 years, and my UFOs are still here, lurking in corners and under tables... LOL   

I decided to do this year's mystery in red, white and blues... and with any luck, I'll have a Quilt of Valor to give to someone special when  it's done.  

Here are my blocks for clue #1 all trimmed and ready to be stitched into something fantastic! 

It's still not too late to join in the fun.   Go visit Bonnie Hunter's Blog...  click on the tab that says "On Ringo Lake". There you will find the  introduction which gives fabric information... and Clue #1 with the instructions for week 1.    On Ringo Lake Mystery Link

I'm linking to the Monday Linky party    so go here to see what everyone else has been up to! 
Monday Linky party for Clue #1

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March projects and Finishes

It's nearly the end of March,  and I have some finishes!  I also made progress on a few other projects this month.   I'm linking to Judy's blog... patchworktimes.  Check it out to see what everyone else is working on

First, the finishes.... 

It wasn't my March UFO,  but It is a completion...  This is on my 2017 UFO challenge list. 

This quilt had it's beginnings as a medallion for a Round Robin I was involved in with some internet friends in 2010.   It came home to me in August of 2010.  It had some issues with laying flat,  and I wanted it to be bigger.  So it got folded up and placed in my UFO pile, waiting for inspiration and the patience to work on it.  Now we fast forward to the present.  

As I was sorting out my UFOs in early January,  this one  came to my attention once again.   I really do love the homespun fabrics and overall design elements my friends added as they each worked on it.   I decided that even though it wasn't my March number,  that if I was going to finish it this year, I had some work to do to address the fact that it was not square, and did not lay or hang straight.    I took a course of action to fix it, and then once it was to my satisfaction,  I decided it needed one more border.    I blogged about this process  at the end of February ...

"Life is Good"    3/27/2017

I worked on the border while I was at our guild retreat earlier this month and got the final border added.  When I brought it home and showed my husband the progress I had made, he mentioned that he would like it to go to our good friends, Ted and Cindy.  We have stayed at their cabin in Island Park, Idaho, which is about 15 miles from the entrance to Yellowstone Park.   Since it was out and ready to go,  I decided to go ahead and get it pinbasted and start on the quilting.   

Homespun fabrics are soft and loose,  so I decided to do ditch work, to stabilize the seams and keep them from morphing over time.    There are lots of seams in this quilt!  Many stops and starts, but it paid off.   The final results are great!  Since I wanted the quilt to be soft and cuddly,  I did not want to put too much quilting into it.    It measures 65 x 82"
Hobbs 80/20 for batting helped create the soft, snuggly effect.  

Back of  "Life is Good" 

The back was pieced with more homespuns, and the leftover four patches from the border.  Once again,  I over estimated while cutting and stitching,  but I used them all! 

WIN!  No orphan blocks were created in the making of this quilt.  

Homespun Lap Quilt  - finished! 

I also finished quilting and binding this lap quilt for our guild's "Comforting Quilts" project.  This is made with some leftover bits from my  orphan bin purge in January.   it is 46" square.   Our Guild has a need for this size for several groups who use them in pallative care units in our city.   This size of 45" approx. finished, is large enough to help cheer up a bed,  be used as a topper for extra warmth, or to be used when sitting in a chair.  It's a great way to use up leftover blocks and bits.  They will ultimately go to the families of the recipients.    

I did a simple ditch stitching on this one as well,  and added some straight lines in the two larger borders to keep it stable over time.   The backing for this was the same that I used on the Fall colored Lap I finished in February.  (With 2 yards and some creative piecing, I backed two 46" laps, and a 24" doll quilt.)    These were done with smaller pieces of batting from my batting bin, stitched together.
24" doll quilt 

This little doll quilt was 4 more orphan blocks from my bin purge.  It measures 24" square, and will go to the Toy and Joy Foundation that wraps dolls and teddy bears in quilts before giving to children for Christmas.  

My March Progress on Other Projects: 

Marble Madness:   I blogged about this quilt here in February

Marble Madness II -  Waiting for bottom zig-zag border 

At retreat this month, I got it all assembled, until I ran out of border units.  I have added the final borders.  It's been pinbasted, and is ready to start the quilting.   Since I've entered into our quilt show in early May... There is no time like the present.  I have a plan! 

Quilt of Valor:  

I have a blog post explaining the whole story here   
QOV  Stars and Geese
still needs final borders... 

Got the top assembled at the retreat,  but the border fabric had been given to me, and I decided to wait until I could pre-wash it at home prior to adding the final borders.   The fabric is now pre-washed and waiting....   The color catchers were very dark, so I am glad I made that decision.  This quilt has a lot of white space.