Tuesday, June 5, 2018

One Monthly Goal :: June 2018


So last month, this happened.


I grimaced my way to finishing my May One Monthly Goal, but I am definitely paying for it.  Doctor says that I should be good as new in a few weeks, but I'm going to make it easy on myself just in case I don't have many sewing days.

Since I haven't been able to sew, I am very glad that I made the decision last month to buy new patio furniture. I've had my eye on these sets for 3 summers, but finally came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to find anything I like better. 



The daybed is the Newport Circular Sun Bed by TK Classics (in Aruba). I was pleasantly surprised to see that the bed came with two sets of cushions, both the Aruba turquoise I ordered, plus a bonus set in beige. 

The dining table is part of the Modway Convene Collection in Turquoise. Both sets seem to sell out quickly (on Amazon, at least). The dining set is only available in Beige as of this writing.

We've only had the furniture for a few weeks, but I think we've already spent more time on our back porch that we have most summers! 



In keeping with the summer theme, my One Monthly Goal for June is to make some coordinating pillows for the day bed.  Maybe, if I'm really feeling ambitious, I'll make a pouf, too.

I need to shop in person, but I'm thinking something like this Solarium Olympica Lagoon from Joann. 




Previous OMGs:
June 2017 - no goal

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

One Monthly Goal :: May 2018 Update


It's the last day of the month, so I had to get my behind in gear to finish my goal this month. My brain injury has been giving me grief and I've had such a hard time getting going for the last few weeks. Oh, and I also did this.


The crazy thing is, I'm not even sure how it happened. The doctor isn't even sure if it's tendonitis or a sprained thumb, but the treatment is the same. After having my left foot in a walking boot the last two summers, a brace for my thumb doesn't seem so bad,  but it does get in the way of my quilting!

Challenges aside, I'm happy to report that I did well this month with my one monthly goal. My goal was to start my Oops and Orphans quilt using some of my practice, sample, leftover, and not-quite-right blocks, as well as small scraps given to me by my quilting guild.


In addition to using up bins and bags of scraps, I wanted to push myself to practice free motion quilting. I used the Quilt as You Go so that I could use up batting scraps as well, and could start with smaller pieces. (I used 15.5" squares).

Making the scrappy blocks was rather fun. The bag I used was made up of 1.75" strips. I decided to sew them into long strips and used them to make each Oops block into 15.5"--easy peasy.


 I cut the batting and backing 17.5" square and used basting spray rather than pins. So far, so good.


For the first square, I tried my hand at a basic meander. The result was pretty herky-jerky. I can why a stitch regulator is so nice. I do not have a stitch regulator.


My second block was more of a geometric meander, though I had more curves than all right angles as I intended. 


For my next two blocks I used the quilting ruler I picked up at a quilt show a few years ago.  The large waves got easier after the first few rows.


The small waves were a bit trickier, but I'm happy with my first attempt.


I started a fitth block, but my sewing machine was DONE with free motion and I could not get it to work again. (I found a Pfaff shop close my son's Dutch school. In the fall, I'm going to bring my machine up there while he's a school to make sure I'm setting everything up right and have someone who knows my machine looking over my shoulder).


I ripped out all the wonky stitches and tried again (I was doing matchsticks so it was a lot!), but the thread kept breaking. (Same thread that worked beautifully for everything else). So I decided that four blocks was a good start for this goal

I intended to use Jera Brandvig's method as she describes in her book, Quilt As-You-Go


Unfortunately, I didn't read the book before starting my quilting. Her method has the quilting done with just the top and batting. Oops.

I found Jennie Doan's method on YouTube. I was able to modify her method to make my blocks work. I took two of my squared up blocks and placed them backing sides together. 


I sewed a 1" seam.


First I pressed the seam open. You can see that there is still some free motion quilting within the seam allowance. I may or may not rip that out at some point


Then, I folded each side of the seam under itself to hide the raw edge.


I didn't pin the folded under seam because it was pretty thick with the batting. Jennie's version is such that it's only fabric--no batting. Follow Jennie's lead.  Then I top stitched the folded under seam, checking every couple inches to make sure that the seam was completely tucked under.


Since I had four decent blocks, I decided to add the other two blocks. This is why Jennie's method is better. I had to cut out the notches of batting on either side of my seams because it was too thick. Here's the first notch.


At this point, my quilt is approximately 30" x 30". I'm trying to decide what to do with these quilts.  Obviously, they aren't my best work, so I don't want to donate them to my normal places. I'm thinking I may use smaller blocks to make up kennel mats for our local animal shelter. I'm sure the dogs would love all the smells from some of these vintage prints and they won't care about my wonky free motion. I may make a couple more blocks this size thought to make a slightly larger quilt that I will keep as a reminder of my first attempts at free motion.


Now that I've dug in, free motion isn't so scary. I just need to make time to keep practicing. Fortunately, I have enough scraps to make about a hundred quilt as you go quilts!

Here's a recap of other One Monthly Goals I have made.

June 2017 - no goal

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

One Monthly Goal :: May 2018


Another month, another goal. I have a stack of quilt tops to quilt, so you would think my goal would lie somewhere in there.


However, I'm going to do something different this month. I have three little goals that I can work into one project. I just need the push to get started. Thank you, Elm Street Quilts!

#1: I really want to learn to free motion. I have used straight line or spiral motion for most of the 107 (!) quilts I've made so far. I really like the look, but I want to expand my repertoire.

#2: I also want to learn Quilt as You Go. I have a TON of batting scraps (hello, 107 quilts!) and I can only make so many microwave cozies. I'm planning to use Quilt As-You-Go by Jera Brandvig.


#3: Speaking of scraps, I want to start an Oops quilt of all my practice blocks, extras, and not quite right for the project blocks I have overflowing in a bin.


So my goal for May is to start my Oops quilt using free motion and QAYG techniques. I will work on this as I'm also tackling that big stack of quilts from the top of the page, so I'm making a modest goal of 5 blocks this month. I think once I get started, I'll really like it. I just need to get over my fears and dig in!

Here's a recap of other One Monthly Goals I have made. 

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

One Monthly Goal :: April 2018 update


It's that time again, the end of the month means time to post an update on my One Monthly Goal. 


When I set my One Monthly Goal for April, I was sailing the Caribbean. As I write this update back home in Ohio, it is overcast and rainy. Fortunately, the colors of the quilt reminded me of the warmth and beauty of our trip.


At the start of the month, I only had a few blocks done. I made them over a year ago after my friend Jamie got engaged. I knew I wanted to make her a scrappy, beachy quilt for her wedding to Toben, but I didn't have the actual design figured out.


The "love" letters are paper pieced using the Wonky Alphabet pattern I bought from Kelby Sews. For the "HEIM" in the middle, I made my own templates in the same style as Kelby's lowercase letters. Here they are in reverse because I love the stained glass look of a quilt top in the sun.


Today is actually Jamie & Toben's first anniversary. I didn't quite finish the quilt, but the top is done and should be headed their way soon.

Here's a recap of other One Monthly Goals I have made. 




Friday, April 13, 2018

Quilt #100--and #101, #102, #103, #104, and #105--Gramma Ann Memory Quilt



Once upon a long time ago...actually nine months ago, I started what I thought would be a simple fun mystery quilt designed by Pat Sloan. 2017 was the year of social quilting for me, and I joined (too?) many quilt alongs. 

When the quilt along started, all I knew was the name, Grandma's Kitchen. I made my first block with a picture of my Gramma Ann's kitchen, which fascinated me as a little girl because the cabinet doors were push-activated.


I shared the block on a text message with my mom and four aunts. They oohed and ahhed and shared their memories of Gramma Ann's kitchen.


Gramma Ann passed away in 2014. She was an incredible woman who witnessed dramatic change in the world during her 93 years: WW2 bride, Avon lady, newspaper writer, game warden's wife, mom to five vivacious girls, lover of the outdoors, travel, fishing, golf, cards, Dr. Oz, Betty Boop, leopard print, babies, God, and "her pool." She spent most of her life in Minnesota and Arizona before her final years in Wisconsin. In her later years, she was almost always found with a crochet hook in hand, churning out scrubbies that she would give away as gifts and sell for a dollar at garage sales.

The last time I visited her in Arizona home, she tried teaching me to crochet and all I succeeded in making was a huge knot. My son was about to start school and I was looking for a hobby to fill my days. Crochet was not to be. I decided to try quilting because my son requested a Thomas the Train quilt. I made it on a $15 machine from Big Lots. The quilt was a mess but I was hooked. And promptly bought a new sewing machine


One of my first quilts was an Irish chain memory quilt for Gramma. I wanted her to see that I could be crafty, but more than that, I wanted her to have something to help her remember her amazing life and everyone she loved.  I was so honored that she asked to have it hung up on her wall to show everyone who visited, and I was really touched that at the end, it kept her warm while it showing the hospice staff that the frail woman they nurtured had lived a full life.

When Gramma passed, I was given a box of her clothes. I wanted to make a memory quilt for me with them, but the emotions of the project stunted my creativity. So I put the box on a shelf and waited for inspiration to hit.


Along came Pat Sloan.

Three weeks into the quilt along, my family went to the Netherlands to visit my in-laws. We brought my mom and Aunt Lori. To tick a box on my Mom's bucket list, and to fulfill one of Gramma Ann's wishes, we took a five day trip to Ireland, the land of Gramma's family.


I wasn't able to sew for those weeks, but I printed off the block instructions and listened to my mom and aunt's ideas. I had decided to use expand Pat's theme to all the facets of Gramma's life. Mom and Lori joked about who should get the quilt, and by the time I returned home, I decided that I would make SIX quilts, one for me, and one for each of Gramma's daughters.


It took several weeks before I was caught up with making six of each of the blocks. The hardest part was not posting any photos. I was spending more time sewing that my Instagram feed would indicate, but I knew it would be worth it to surprise my aunts. 

Mom and Lori were in one the surprise and helped build the discussion with the aunties on a text thread that continued each week as I shared each block. I also wrote up a post for each block for this blog, sharing pictures, telling stories, and writing about the fabric I used for each block, including several using her clothes.


Once Pat shared the layout of her design, I had already decided that I would switch things up so I could include Gramma's name and the years of her life on my quilts.


Around this same time, I realized that I was nearing my 100th quilt finish. I had several quilts in progress, so I made sure that my first Gramma Ann quilt would be my 100th. When I finished the top, I had Niels take pictures of me in front of it, wearing the duster I started wearing in her honor as I sewed.


And then I remembered that Gramma actually died in 2014. Oops...What a relief that I hadn't quilted it yet...or finished piecing the other five quilts!


I should mention that the letters and numbers were used with patterns from Lori Holt's awesome book, Spelling Bee. I have Pat to thank for this, as well, as she promoted it on her page. I love text quilts and have already used the book for several projects. 

Fixed it!


For the back of my quilt, I chose a print that reminded me of the scrubbies I tried to make with Gramma six years ago. 


I shared my quilt with my mom and aunties. They admired it and talked about how much they enjoyed remembering Gramma with me as I worked on it. And then we moved on...or so they thought. I went back to work finishing the other five quilts. 


Once they were all done, we drove all over town looking for a place long enough and with a fence that would allow me to display all six quilts. 


I chose backing for each sister that reflected their personality.


And then, before our family left on vacation, I mailed out the quilts. 


Even though she lives farthest away from me, the first quilt arrived to Auntie Ann, who is the firstborn, and Gramma's namesake. Mom texted her the day her box was due and led Ann to believe that she would be receiving something from her. Ann asked what it was, but Mom wouldn't tell her. While my uncle went to pick the box up, Mom called Ann and added me to the call so I could silently listen in. It was SO fun to hear Ann's surprise and delight and confusion about how she ended up with the quilt. Ann isn't on social media so it was really special to hear the emotion in her voice as she looked at each block.



For the back of Ann's quilt, I chose a Southwest pattern I hoped would fit with her new home and collection of Southwestern art. For the label, I used the photo the Grampa Leo had with him during the war.


Images were shared and Mom, Lori, and I went with the story that Ann got the quilt because she was the namesake. But then, the next day, My aunt Terri, who is currently sharing her home with aunt Mary, received their box. It was so fun to see this text.


While Terri was waiting for Mary to get home from work, Mom received her box! 


For mom's backing, I used the Route 66 fabric I used on block #24 because it included the name of the city where both Gramma and Mom lived for so many years. For the label, I used my favorite photo of the two of them, taken on Mom's wedding day to my dad.

Finally, nearly 10pm my time, Mary and Terri opened their quilts. I'm hoping they send me a photo of them together, but in the meantime, I love that their photos show their different personalities so well 


Mary is always on the move, whether hard at work or hard at play. For the back of her quilt, I used a print with the quote, "Not all who wander are lost." For the label, I used one of my favorite photos of all five sisters together. It was taken on Easter Sunday, in the mid60s. Fitting because her quilt arrived on Good Friday. (Mary is in the red coat).


Terri, like me, is more sentimental. I love this picture of her with her quilt.


Terri is an artist, who paints beautiful watercolors. I chose her backing as a nod to her gift of color and art. For the label I used a photo I just love of her in Gramma's arms.


The final quilt was mailed to my aunt Lori, who was in on the secret all along. She was out of town when I mailed the others, so she asked me to wait until we were back from vacation to send hers. 


For the back of Lori's quilt, I used Minnesota fabric I bought the last time we were in Minnesota, on our way to Russian camp. We spent the night before camp at Lori's house, where I saw the picture I used on her label.


My friend Janice from Quilts of Compassion, gave me six crocheted angels that I was able to give with each quilt. Such a perfect final touch on a project that really started when Gramma tried to teach me to crochet five years ago.


I hope that these six quilts will be well loved and well used. I like the idea of my Aunties taking Gramma with them to the cabin, or enjoying the outdoors,  and snuggled on the couch. I love the idea of my Aunties using the quilt to tell their grandchildren about the wonderful woman who was our matriarch. And I hope Gramma is proud of me for finding my craft.

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