Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Taking a Break from De-stashing

I was going through plastic bags of "stuff" during my clean up and found a bag with bunches of these pieces and two completed blocks.  I hadn't remembered making a quilt from these but looking through my quilts on Pinterest, I found the quilt and remember it now.  It was too  much temptation and so I made a few more blocks.  

An hour later, I had nine blocks!  But I decided I needed more variety so went through some of the boxes I had and found some more different purples, greens and orange/yellows.

So now I have 16 blocks which if I had a two inch border will make a baby sized quilt but I am contemplating doubling that for a cot sized quilt.  I, of course, have lots and lots of pieces left. 

Each block is made up of 1 2 1/2 inch x 9 1/2 in strip, 3 3 1/2 inch squares and 2 5 inch squares.  I will be moving these pieces around as it looks best when you have some of the fabrics butting up next to each other in side by side blocks.  Then the blocks disappear.  It makes up very fast!

I actually have at least one more of the  larger rosettes done since taking this picture.  You can see I am progressing on the Passacaglia quilt.

I am trying to spend 2 hours a day groing through my fabric and selecting those that I will keep and those that will be sold or given away.  I also spend about 2 hours a day doing the hand sewing on the Passacaglia while watching mindless television!  


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Catching Up!!

 It has been a long time since my last update which is a rarity for me!!  Yes, I am still alive and thriving and actually doing a  little work.  My biggest accomplishment has been trying to tame my stash of fabrics and sewing gear!!  I plan on having a sale this year to hopefully get rid of a lot of it.  That which isn't purchased will be donated to various charitable groups that either sell craft related supplies or groups that make quilts for charity.  Last year I decided I only wanted to work with fabric that I loved and not because it would look good cut up!  This applied primarily to all those "stack and whack" fabrics I have collected over the years.  I also have found that I don't have the same palette taste that I had when living up north full time. 

I have been diligently working on the Passaglia "rosettes" each day though and have made significant progress and may actually get this done some day!  This was where I was at the beginning of May.  It takes me about two hours to do those first three rows of hand stitching and there is a lot of wonkiness which hopefully will be less noticeable when all the papers are removed (if I am ever able to get them out!).

You can see the progress.

I am almost done with the rosettes and have taken the pattern and decided how to vary it from the original.  I will have eliminated several partial rosettes and will be constructing some of them a little differently.  The big block in the center is one of four that has more rows around it and I am working on the second of these now.  I still have a couple of more rosettes to complete as well.  The remaining rosettes will all  have some partial row of the stars around them, some more than others so the design wall will definitely be in  use so that I don't have any blaring color combinations as I have used the rainbow of fabrics here, good scrap quilter that I am!!

I have boxes and boxes of stuff to sell or get rid of and I couldn't face another day of doing that so I started machine quilting one of the "one block wonders" (the Canada goose) the other day and am happy to get back to some machine sewing.  It will hopefully inspire me to keep going on the "de-stashing".  Besides my sewing room, I also have my basement to deal with.  I was taken aback to find I had four more rather large boxes of hand dyes down there and may just include them in the garage sale but will keep whatever remains rather than donating.  I thought I had brought all the hand dyes either to southern home or upstairs!  One box is filled with just millions of shades of browns from golds to rusts.

Just a couple of spring pictures from here in western NY  This is the magnolia in the front yard in full bloom.

This is one of our Japanese Cherry trees.

My daughter's yard is full of babies this time of year.  She has had red shouldered hawks, Canada goslings, bluebirds and opossum in past years.  This year there are two families of Canada Geese as well as this nest with baby cardinals she discovered in a bush right next to her house.  She has had to monitor her cats closely until they fledge.

Monday, April 12, 2021

A Couple of Days of Extreme Overdyeing!

Well, this weekend was a marathon extreme overdyeing session with my friend Dianne.  We haven't done one of these massive dyeing sessions in quite some time. So we dyed 70 yards of fabrics over two days and resulting in 35 different colors.  I let her pick the palette this time and she picked mostly brights from my dye book.  We substituted a couple of colors so we would get something a little different.  I used some sateen I have had for probably 40 years -- not pfd but they used to give me pretty good results.  Dianne had Kona and hers were definitely darker in some colors.  This grouping is the colors we did the first day, They were (ProChem names) Boysenberry, Grape, very very dilute Strong Orange, Basic Blue and Leaf Green (which I don't think they make any more).  The Basic Blue was very light so I suspect is was getting over the hill.

The second day we overdyed each of the above colors with Fuchsia, Lemon Yellow, Golden Yellow, Turquoise and their new Navy (which I really like). 

This bunch is the above colors overdyed with fuchsia.  The differences are very subtle but they are there!

This is the Lemon Yellow overdyeing the first bunch of fabrics above with Lemon Yellow (top 6) and Golden Yellow (bottom).

This is the very first bunch overdyed with ProChem's new Navy (I think 420).  Again, the differences are subtle as it is pretty overpowering and there were some very light colors dyed the first day.
This is those first colors overdyed with Turquoise.  I think they are a little darker than it looks in the picture.

This is the whole pile of 35 different colors.  I was relatively pleased with the results even though some colors were a little closer than I normally get.  I can easily see a quilt made with those paler colors and some white! 

This is the chart that shows the dyes and results.  The one that is missing is still at Dianne's but I assume it will be a kind of deepish orange when I add it!


Monday, April 5, 2021

My Passacaglia Process


It seemed like the time to document my process for making the Passacaglia quilt featured in Willyne Hammerstein's Millefiori Quilts book which I bought a few years ago.  I really don't know what possessed me!!!  It can really only be constructed with hand piecing or English Paper Piecing which is the approach I chose.  It is really a complicated quilt to say the least and I hadn't touched it in quite some time until I picked it up about a month ago.  Unfortunately at that time, after searching the house, I couldn't find the book and decided I had left it back north!  Luckily, I had been a iittle compulsive when I started and photocopied one page of the book and had all the templates stored in their respective envelopes with notes on how big a strip or piece I needed as well as how many I had to made for each row (I call a row one round on the quilt).  I glued a copy of the piece contained in the envelope on the front.  There are only five different shapes in the quilt but the smallest and most frequently used is only 7/8 in finished!!  They are the star points.

Until this week I was cutting out the pieces individually.  A lot of the pieces (the fussy cut ones) still demand that but this week I decided to try those little clips that people use for attaching quilt binding to hold my plastic templates on the fabric.  Wow, did that improved the speed of cutting!!!  I pile up 8 - 10 pieces of fabric, put the clips on, make a cut and then re-arrange these little clips.  You really need to use at least 2 of the clip to stabilize and it does a great job!  This was after the first cut.

After the first cut I move the clips around.  I do this with both the fabric and the papers and it really moves things along.

After I have cut all the fabric and their corresponding papers (1/4 to 3/8 in smaller all the way around), I was at first basting the fabric onto the papers (I use freezer paper and iron it on) using water soluble thread which you can see in this close-up if you look at the center of this rosette.

I tried using glue some time ago (Elmer's which is water soluble) but it was too hard so searching on line I found a couple of water soluble glues to try and finally settled on Roxanne's.  So while watching tv, I patiently glue the 1/4 inch seams down.  Again, at first I was putting the glue on the flap of fabric but now I put it on the paper and press down the flap of fabric.  This works much better.  I believe I saw this hint on a Tula Pink video but not sure.  

A couple of days ago I got some sewing magnets in the mail (which I think was another Tula Pink hint) and I use those on either side of the two fabric pieces I am sewing together.  This works really well to hold those little pieces in place so I can do the whip stitches.  It also traps those little flaps that the thread often gets caught on.  

Another thing I am doing differently (and I know this was a Tula Pink idea) is to make a simple knot at the beginning of stitching.  Impossible to explain it but it is the knot I use when finishing off a row so I was familiar with it. 

This is the sum  of the rosettes that I have done so far.  The big rosette is one of three.  The two with the stars around the outside are the beginnings of two more like the big one and then there will be one more like them.  There is one more big block which has much more of a partial series of rows than this big one.  The two small rosettes will have different numbers of stars around them and you make about 25 of these.  The big rosette is about 20 inches across to give you an idea of size.

Yesterday I actually put an Excel spreadsheet together to keep track of what I have to do.  This was easy as in the process of cleaning up my dining room table, I found the book!!  So now I have a better idea of what I have to do as it gives clear pictures of the remaining rosettes and how many you have to make of each.  

One thing that makes no sense whatsoever to me is that the last step in making the quilt in the book is to trim away large chunks of rosettes that you have carefully pieced.  No way I am doing this and my last step will be appiqueing however much I finish onto a piece of fabric.  I decided if you cut off the last point of the stars on the outside rows, you have a nice easy to applique edge.  So will have to do some more calculating.  

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Brown Tote and More Progress!

I have piles of 2 1/2 inch brown strips, a bunch of which I used for the last quilt.  I am going to give them away.  I have a pattern for a tote that uses the kinds of strips from which I made a rug a couple of years ago.  I always cut up leftover batting and tried to give that away but no one wanted it so I decided to give the pattern a try.  I had bought it when I won a jelly roll of beautiful batiks figuring I would use them.  I hated to use them before testing the pattern out.  I just started sewing the batting in the strips and then sewing them together.  The pattern called for 40 strips so that is what I did.  It was quite soothing.  I wasn't in the mood to baste baby quilts and needed something different to do.

Here is a bunch of strips sewn together.  I started using tape to keep them straight as the middle was beginning to bow a bit!  The tape worked well so will be using that again.

Here is the bag with the sides sewn together and a pleat in the bottom so that there is some depth to the bag.  I trimmed off all the extra as the strips were all different lengths.

Here I have added the band around the top.  The instructions were not very good on the pattern for how to join the band but I winged it and it is okay.

I decided to just use two more of the strips as the handles and that worked just fine although I will put an additional row of stitching the next time I do it.  It measures about 18 x 18 and is about 6 inches deep.  That is bigger than the pattern shows but she had you cut it down more which seemed like a waste to me.  It stands up by itself but is a little beefy!  I may do another one as it did substantially decrease my stash of the strips of batting!!  You can actually see a little drop in the bag of brown strips as well!

Making progress on the Passacaglia quilt as well.  Working on the next rosette now.  Not sure just how much I will do or how I would fill in areas.

I finished a couple of baby quilt tops with strips I had cut out some time ago but had to supplement them.  They are tops in the these pictures but I basted and machine quilted them today.  Still have a little to go with some free hand quilting on this one.  

It took a couple of afternoons to iron all that fabric!  I also over-dyed the very green looking black with green.  A couple in the gradation of grays were okay so didn't dye them all.  Realized after the fact that I had done a gradation of the new blue a couple of months ago so may overdye that blue as well at some point.


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Some Dyeing Results and Miscellaneous Updates of In Process Projects

The brown quilt top is finally completed and is a good size at 56 x 70.

The first block in the Passacaglia quilt is finished!

I spent the day dyeing with my friend Dianne and had decided to do something quite mundane but necessary for my further education!  I just did gradations of some colors I hadn't done straight gradations of before.  From left to right are Pro Chem Blue 420 which is a new pure color.  Second is Black 402a - Cotton Black, and next is Black 604 - New Black.  I started with 8% for the blue and 10% for the blacks.  I had a lot of leakage in the bags so am a little uncertain about those darkest colors.  The Cotton black tended to green in the darkest shades and did look like gray in the lighter shades so will be good for shading colors.  The New Black was definitely tending toward blue in all shades!  I will be overdyeing the blacks most likely although I have decided with what yet!!


This was an attempt to get a redder red by mixing Mixing Red with Strong Orange -- both pure colors.  I did four parts red to orange and is still came out more coral than red in the darker shades (8%).  I don't have any pinks in my stash so will keep these as is.

I still have a lot of pfd fabric but we are planning another marathon dye/overdye session where we use 10 colors to come up with 35 different results!!  That will definitely put a dent in my stash of pfd fabrics!!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

A New Quilt, Passacaglia Progress and Some Birds


Ready to start a new quilt which I intended just to be an excuse to get rid of some of my brown strips, of which I have two big bags.  I was going to donate it but as I got going on it, I realized it is the colors of my lion quilt which is in my living room  on the wall and it will make a great snuggling quilt up there.  I used my 2 1/2 in strips and also put a 2 1/2 inch square in the middle.  The strips are 5 1/2 inches long.  Next time I would make the centers larger and I wish I had made them greener,  This is how I sort my strips (although the next batch will have the beige strip already sewed on).  I put them  in piles and then randomly take pieces.  I do this with most of my scrappy pieces so they are not totally randomly selected out of bags as some people do.  I like a little more control with my scraps!

Each block takes about ten minutes to make so they are going pretty fast!

Still working along on the Passacaglia block and have the starts to two more and I am further on this one, actually doing the last row.  I am sure I am not going to make the whole thing at this point but will do some subset and consider it done.  The pieces are just too small and my eyes don't need all that strain!  I do like having some hand sewing to do.  

It was an afternoon of birds this week at my daughter's house on a beautiful sunny day teasing of spring to come  This was an Eastern Phoebe, a frequent visitor.

This is a female Bluebird.

And here is her presumptive mate!  They are also frequent visitors.

This is a Yellow-rumped Warbler, also called a "butter butt" down here.

A Great Blue Heron was frequenting the pond.

Way off by the pond was this Northern Flicker high up in a tree.  I am not used to seeing them in trees although they are woodpeckers.  He has a red tuft on the back of his head but the light was bad for photographing him.
There were of course the ever-present Turkey Vultures circling overhead.

There were also hawks off in the distance but I wasn't quick enough to get their pictures.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Alexander Henry Fabric Stack and Whacks - My Favorites - Now What Do I Do?

Still doing stack and whacks.  I had two Alexander Henry Fabrics that I really liked.  However, they are very bright and each very different as the repeat was at least 24 inches.  I really like these blocks individually and call this Alex Henry 1.  These are octagons.  I don't make all the strips octagons but save a couple to make two sets of 4 patch posies instead.  Must not have taken a picture of the posies!!
This is the fabric for the above and was one of my favorite fabrics.  I had two pieces so had to do some fancy cutting and matching to get the eight repeats.

These are from the second Alexander Henry fabric.  I actually have 110 of these blocks and this was the first day's worth!

I do love these "posies".

This is the beginning of the second batch from the fabric  When I cut them from the fabric I had pinned for octagons, I have two sets of four.  Here you can see them paired up as I try to make two different looking blocks.  I have a lot more to go!!

This is the fabric for this second batch.  I haven't pinned the octagons on the wall for picture taking yet!  They have been done for some time.

My great quandary is what to do with these blocks.  They look a little bright for large bed quilts and I like the individual blocks so much, seems there must be a better way to showcase them.  I have been toying with totes, pot holders, hot pads or even some wall hangings!

Passacaglia is coming along, slowly but surely.  It is going much much faster now that I am using a doubled thread instead of the single thread which kept coming unthreaded.  Actually looks better also even though more thread.