Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Perkiomen Valley Finish

About a month ago I started this project and shared it in this blog post.
I finally got the quilt loaded on the frame. I tried to fit in a little bit of time each evening to quilt, but that only happened a couple nights. I finished it up over the weekend.
I meandered in the dark colored blocks with brown and did this alternating block treatment in with cream in the light colored blocks.
I used Superior Thread So Fine for the top thread and a matching Omni in the bobbin.
Once it was done, I had to take a picture of the backing. I always match my top and bobbin threads. That means I can sometimes get an interesting effect on the back of the quilt.
Bound and ready for a trip to California.

Directions to make the Perkiomen Valley Block can be found on the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild's blog.

Others bloggers talking about the Thomas Fire and the Quilts from the Ashes project:
From my Carolina Home
Super Buzzy - this site has great info with many more links and has a list of those that have already contributed

Have you made a block or two to help out people touched by hurricanes, floods, fires, or other natural disasters in the last twelve months? Do you have a project that is close to your heart? I would love to hear about it.

2018 Charity Quilt Count: 14

Monday, February 26, 2018

Get It Done UFO Challenge 2018 - February

This is the February installment of the Get It Done UFO Challenge 2018.
The challenge this month is for Number 7. My number seven is Weed Whacker
This block design is a free Bonnie Hunter pattern I wanted to try to use up some of the 2.5" strips I've been collecting to excess. 
This is a start to finish project as all I started with is the the block design and fabric. This is my basic layout designed in EQ8
I pulled out this stack of 2.5" strips, some more reds from my collection, some lights and a dark print for half of the corner triangles. As soon as I got to cutting the dark triangles I changed my mind and went with a solid black fabric. 
I spent a bunch of time cutting the corner triangles using the EZ Quilting Easy Angle 6.5-inch ruler. This thing has made some things so much easier. I also used it to cut my paper template for the parallelograms. 
Stacks and stacks of cut pieces.
I trimmed each unit before sewing three into a block. Checking your unit size before making the blocks is an important step to keep everything the right size and not chopping off those points. Not that my points are always perfect.
I tried to make a couple blocks each evening. 
I finished half the blocks with black opposing corners.  
Then finished the rest. I ended up with one extra block, which means my counting was slightly off, but I got to remove one less-than-perfect block from the stack. That one will go into the bin with the other 12" orphan blocks. I think that bin is filling up enough there should be another quilt hiding in there. 
The next step was sewing the blocks into rows and the rows into one column. I webbed the blocks to keep them all straight. If you've never webbed a block or a quilt top, you should check out Bonnie Hunter's post for webbing a quilt top. You can also web individual blocks during construction. I often do this when unit placement is important. 
I popped over to Spring Water Designs to pick up some backing. They are my favorite shop when looking for wide backing fabric. The selection is always great. This time I decided to use the humble meander for quilting.
As usual, the binding is as scrappy as the top. That's a wrap for the February Get It Done UFO Challenge 2018!

Remember, finished is better than perfect. 

2018 Charity Quilt Count: 13

Friday, February 23, 2018

Charity Quilting

Last week I dropped the charity quilts from my last charity quilts post and picked up a new stack of tops and some more batting. 
Working on these little quilts is a great way to find your excitement about making. 
I like to see the different projects other members of the Annapolis Quilts For Kids send my way. Sending them back with the knowledge they will be given to children in need is even better.

2018 Charity Quilt Count: 12

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

D.C. Adventure

I went into D.C. on Tuesday.
With several friends from work, we visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture
If you get a chance to go see it, I highly recommend it. 
I didn't take very many pictures, because there is just so much to see and I was trying to take it all in. 
I was not surprised to find a few fun things here.

I also found painful images, stories, and history. I am struck by how little humanity seems to learn through time. The mistakes we continue to make. The hurt we continue to perpetrate upon each other.

I am equally amazed by our ability to continue to make beautiful things, tell amazing stories, do wonderful things, and continue to make what feels like glacial progress to a better tomorrow. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Early Spring

This post isn't about the season, but there are a couple springs.
I've been concerned the tensioner check spring on my Empress long arm quilting machine isn't quite holding up to its responsibilities. After poking around the Internet for a while, I found a vendor that would sell me five of them (likely more than I will ever need) for a very reasonable price and not an overabundance of shipping fees.
Here is the offending spring.
I grabbed the manual, turned to the section on changing the spring and got busy. This machine is a very basic Tin Lizzie.
Removing the tension assembly was really simple. I just needed a flat head screwdriver. I followed the step-by-step instructions to replace the check spring.
Then I put it all back together and did some test quilting on a charity quilt. I think it improved the quality of the top stitching, so I'm going to put this in the win column. A new needle, a new quilt loaded, and I'm off to another quilt finish.

Do you do your own machine maintenance? If you're even a little bit handy I recommend you give it a try with an all mechanical machine like this one.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Red Fish, Blue Fish!

I couldn't stop with the fish hats.
This time, I pulled a bunch red fabrics and got cutting and stitching. 
One fish is not as much fun as two, so here is a blue one. Aren't those fins fun?
Red Fish! That dorsal fin gives such a great mowhawk look.
Blue Fish!
Aren't they fun?

Make your own Choly Knight's wonderful Slouchy Fleece Fish Hat.

If you want to learn to work with fleece, you should really check out Choly Knight's blog Sew Desu Ne? You will find loads of free patterns to try out and great tutorials for working with fleece, minky, and felt to make both clothing and plush critters.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday Radomness

It seems I've been up to many things but have completed none of them. I cut out a bunch of blocks for the February Get It Done UFO Challenge 2018 project. It isn't ready for prime time, though.
I visited the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington, DC. If you're in DC I do recommend it. Just a short walk from the Metro station.  
I painted a rock.  
I continued to make progress on my latest Linus shawl project. (this is a free pattern on Ravelry) 
And I trimmed a few dozen blocks.

I also attended the February meeting of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. Sadly, I did not win the block lottery. I did pick up the directions for the next mystery quilt which is exciting. I do love a good mystery.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Something Fishy

Last week I took the day off to take our pup to have her teeth cleaned. That story is too long and expensive to repeat so I'll just move on to the fabric store. 
I purchased Choly Knight's wonderful Slouchy Fleece Fish Hat pattern the day after it was released and decided this would be a great day to pick up some fleece. Sure, I have pounds and pounds of fleece, but I didn't have any orange, pink, white, or yellow. I may have gotten a little carried away with my purchases, but the fleece was half-price. My basket of fleece (more than 10 yards worth) cost about $65, and will keep me busy for the rest of the year.
Eyes are the number one reason I no longer had white fleece. I'd used it all up, even the tiny pieces. Not that these eyes are tiny. 
The eyes, fins, and tails for two carp.
What kind of carp? Why, Magikarp, of course. I didn't add the whiskers, even though the pattern gives instructions. I just didn't think I needed them. 
This was such a great project! I will be making a school of fish hats in a rainbow of colors.

If you want to learn to work with fleece, you should really check out Choly Knight's blog Sew Desu Ne? You will find loads of free patterns to try out and great tutorials for working with fleece, minky, and felt to make both clothing and plush critters.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Charity Quilting

I had a couple more charity quilts to get done. This one got the humble yet effective meander.
This one that got some wavy lines that I hope gives the impression of rolling waves.

2018 Charity Quilt Count: 10

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Virus Poncho

I've wanted to try the Virus Poncho for a while now. I don't need a poncho, but I wanted to try this design. I found a really good tutorial on YouTube, grabbed my yarn and hook and got moving.
This is not my first Virus project, so I already knew the basics of the motif. I just needed the help getting going with working the design in the round.
Joanna does an excellent job of getting you started with the project with her clear instructions.
If you want to give this one a try, I recommend you check out her YouTube channel for this and other tutorials.
With worsted weight yarn (this is Caron Big Cake in Nightberry) it works up quickly. In a lighter weight yarn it would be light and delicate.
To get a proper sized poncho, I think you really need two of the big cakes.
When I was approaching the end of the first cake I didn't think it was big enough so I picked up a second cake. I think it turned out the perfect size.

Self-striping yarns (Caron Cakes, Caron Big Cakes, Bernat Pop, Lion Brand Mandala, Premier Yarns Sweet Roll, Knit Picks Felici, and loads of others) are a great way to add a collection of colors to your project without buying full skeins of the yarn in each color or having to change colors. You have to give up a little control and let the yarn do the work, but I think it is worth it. If you aren't a fan of self-striping, check out the vast number of ombre yarns out there. They create a similar effect that can be more subtle with the color changes.

Clover Armour Crochet Hooks
Clover Armour Crochet Hooks with zippered case
Clover Locking Stitch Markers (3-pack) Buy more of these than you think you will need. Someday you will find you need every one you have for one project even though most projects only need one or two.