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How I Make a “Tree” Quilty Block

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Turkey Tracks: November 16, 2020

How I Make a “Tree” Quilty Block

Several people have asked me now how I make my Quilty “Tree” Block. First let me say that this block was inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg’s tree block quilt AND that I finally devised my own method after completing the “Mowed Lawn” block in the Sugaridoo Bernina Quilt-Along that just finished up this month. Up until the “Mowed Lawn” row, I just could not get my head around how to proceed easily with this kind of a block.

My own blocks are moving along quite nicely now as a leader/ender project, and I am pleased with how this project is shaping up. Note that I have used some different sizes of the “tree” trunks—for me about 2: a 1-inch cut and a 1 1/4 inch cut. And this arrangement will not likely remain after I have more blocks done. I’ll refine placement then by color and by how the trunks relate from block to block.

Start with a block that is ONE INCH bigger than your finished block size: for me that has been 8 1/2 inches. And it should have been 9 to finish at 8, but that was part of my own learning curve.

Cut the block into 4 pieces—without coming too close to where the seams that join the blocks will be on either side. Don’t make these angles too, too sharp or you will have trouble getting four pieces AND do vary the slant on the first cut—leaning to the left or the right differently for individual blocks. IMMEDIATELY put little numbers ON THE TOP marking each pieces placement. It is so easy to get confused really fast, especially with solids.

That is a “2” on the right strip. These little numbers disappear as you sew.

You will have already made a swatch of fabrics that will make the tree trucks. I cut these strips randomly at 1 inch up to 1 1/2 inches. Then I cut the trunks at 1 inch for most, but add in a few 1 1/4 inches. Again you can see how the widths work out in the first picture of my completed blocks.

I make my tree trunks so that they will be a bit longer top and bottom—so I can vary now I lay them out in terms of color—by reversing some of the strips. It’s good to make several sets of sewn strips so that you can vary color.

It is easier to sew the strips to the block is you have all the seams going down. Just reiron a strip if you need to.

Here’s my plan for this block. When you sew try to keep the top (pink) edge about the same if possible. You can see here that I didn’t do that as neatly as I like. Lay your strip in, put a pin on the 1/4 inch line, and turn the strip to see if your background fabric is lined up better than here. I don’t worry so much about the bottom edge if this top one is fairly even—since I won’t lose too much fabric on both sides, just one.

So now it is time to trim to 1/2 inch bigger than your finished block when sewn—so my 8 1/2 will now go to 8 inches square.

A square ruler REALLY helps with this trimming as you can see everything at once that you need to consider and can see how to best trim ALL the sides and if there is some problem with size. Honestly, I use my different sized square rulers a lot. I trim two sides, then flip the block around, line up again, and do the final two sides. (This block is 8 inches and will finish at 7 1/2—the ruler is just a bit high on one side in this picture as I relaid it in for this picture.

Enjoy! This block is very fun to make once you see the best way to proceed.

Written by louisaenright

November 16, 2020 at 12:12 pm

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Turkey Tracks: Maine’s Pine Tree Quilt Guild Show

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Turkey Tracks:  August 14, 2017

Maine’s Pine Tree Quilt Guild Show

I was able to attend this show for a quick run-through one morning while my family visitors went off to Squirrel Island.

The show has recently changed its judging process and categories.

And, the show winner is now deemed “Best of Judged.”

There is now a non-judged hanging quilt category for “modern” quilts.

There were rows and rows of red and white quilts–to honor the show’s 40th anniversary.

And rows of gorgeous functional quilts that one wraps up in to feel the love.

I saw a LOT of Bonnie Hunter quilts in all kinds of colors, and each one was so lovely.  Some groups had obviously used Bonnie’s patterns to create challenges for each other.

I LOVED this selvage quilt.  Do you recognize the star pattern Vicki Fletcher used to start her “traveling” quilt–and which Linda Satkowski paper pieced in miniature for Vicki’s quilt–see earlier posts–but this one has an added small triangle at the center, which makes the on-point block in the middle of the star.  And look at the selvage borders.

Here’s one of the quilts in the modern grouping.

Another improv one I liked:

And, another.

I like the free-hand nature of the blocks in these quilts–and the improv nature of making and joining them.  I like the energy.  I like the grid quilting in many of these quilts.  And, often, the heavy use of solid fabrics.

I like to think of traditional quilting as being about a “community” of blocks that make secondary patterns with each other–producing all sorts of crossing paths and connections.  To me, modern quilting is about individuals–each free and stand-alone.  They can join to make a “community,” but not in the same way traditional quits do.  I love both.  And there is in the modern movement, something called traditional modern, or something like that, which blends the two.

Here’s the Coastal Quilters’ (Maine) Challenge quilt for 2017:  Dawn Chorus.

Sarah Ann Smith found this idea on Pinterest a few years ago and proposed it as a challenge for us.  It was created on Pinterest by Terry, Draw Me A Line.  The idea, and others like it, can be seen on Pinterest at this link:

If you belong to a group interested in this kind of project, and my link does not work, you can find it in the Pinterest Art section, under group projects.   I think it would lend itself to paints as well as fabric.  And to other animals besides birds.  There are other examples of this idea at the link.  Per Terry’s Draw Me A Line Pinterest instructions, Sarah painted the sky and tree-limb background on a large piece of heavy something and cut it into numbered squares, which members took away with them in May of 2015–with the assignment to reproduce the background and add a bird and leaves and bring back the square in May of 2016.  Sarah organized putting the completed squares back together, hanging the completed quilt on its black backing, and getting it to the show with all the attendant paperwork.  Thank you, Sarah, for a fun challenge.

Here is Sarah  with her “Best of Judged” winner at the show.

Congratulations, Sarah!

In the best of my memory, in the 13 years I’ve attended this show, this is the first art quilt to ever win it.

Sarah has an awesome blog, teaches at the big show in Houston, has a special exhibit for emerging artists there this year, and has published several books.  Her quilts have been displayed world-wide.

 

Written by louisaenright

August 14, 2017 at 4:47 pm

“Peaceful” Has Landed

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Turkey Tracks: May 13, 2021

“Peaceful” Has Landed

On Tuesday, the big log cabin, “Peaceful,” arrived at its home—the home of my niece Lucy Howser Stevens, her husband Colby, and their three adorable children, who now have a doggie family member.

I love this picture:

But I love this one even more!

Dogs can love children deeply, and apparently this dog does. And dogs also love quilts!

Lucy chose these colors: grey and blue. And after much discussion. with me, she chose the lavender “chimney” (Kona “thistle”), which works really well in this soft, traditional quilt and which is there to remind her of her mother’s once-favorite color: purple. I really like this quilt—so much so that I’ll make another one in light and dark greys with a black chimney in the very near future. What’s been fun has been working with colors I would not have chosen on my own—the blue and grey. I don’t ordinarily like working with someone else’s colors, but this quilt has been a joy to make from start to finish.

Lucy and Colby are now in their first purchased home, and they are in the midst of making it their own, with home projects which include lots of painting of rooms. They will now choose the paint color for their bedroom.

I used the Creative Grid 12-inch log cabin ruler, and I really love how easy that ruler made this quilt block. I quilted with a light grey thread—and you can see the architectural backing in pictures below. As the quilt is 96 inches square, I used a 108-wide backing and a dark navy print for the binding. The pantograph is one I’ve used many, many times: Anne Bright’s “Simple Feathers.” I also purchased a Dream Cotton king batting rather than having to piece a batting for a quilt this size.

Here’s the backing—the quilt is mirror-image square, so the backing can go on the bed in any direction.

There are sheep, birds, stars/moons, villages, words, flowers, trees, leaves, paperclips, and all sorts of happy, whimsical organic prints in this quilt. The sheep are there to remember Lucy’s Uncle John, now deceased.

“Peaceful” is plenty big enough for their bed:

And look at that grey pillowcase with it!

It was a pleasure to make this quilt for Lucy and Colby and their family. Now I know that something special I have made will bless their lives together and their family.

On to the next!

Written by louisaenright

May 13, 2021 at 10:32 am

“Bright Birches” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: April 12, 2021

“Bright Birches” Quilt

This very-fun-to-make quilt was inspired by a larger block made by Amanda Jean Nyberg (Crazy Mom Quilts) “Trees” block. My blocks finish at 7 1/2 inches. (There is an earlier blog post here on how I made this block: https://louisaenright.com/?s=How+to+make+a+tree+block. )

The backing is “Art Theory Overall Day” by Allison Glass for Andover. It comes in “night” and “charcoal” as well.

I quilted with Signature 40-weight, “Rose,” with the “Check and Chase” pantograph by Lorien Quilting. Using a darker warm thread and the burgundy border “knocked back” the neon brightness of this quilt, and I am liking the finished product.

Here’s a nice close-up picture.

Bits and Pieces April 5, 2021

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Turkey Tracks: April 5, 2021

Bits and Pieces April 5, 2021

It’s Monday again!

And so the wheel of time turns, as it has a habit of doing.

I got the big long cabin, “Peaceful,” on the long arm. Naming credit goes to Linda McKinney, who told me on day when this quilt was still on the design wall that it made her feel peaceful. And, I’ve started quilting it. I’ll take it easy—a few passes each day. It is a big quilt.

There is so much promise when the design wall is empty.

I pulled out the gifted blocks made by those in the Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild group who are participating in our “Bee Sewcial” challenge. My prompt was “Shapes,” and I specified solids and very clear, bright colors. I included a selection of example bright solid colors in my prompt information. Not all of the received blocks are on the board as I ran out of room. And the long arm head is blocking the bottom of the design wall so you can’t see those. To begin, I’ll start combining blocks into bigger blocks—so everything will shrink down somewhat. But aren’t these blocks beautiful! I am loving all the motion that so many of the blocks have—motion from shapes and from color choices.

How fun!

”Trees” now has a name: “Bright Birches.” It is so funny to me how a quilt will name itself at some point. This one didn’t like being called just “Trees.”. Sewing down the binding is coming along.

LOCAL PEEPS: I am replacing the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan with a smaller car. I love the van. I especially love to drive it on the highway. It is so easy to steer and has a great turning radius. But it is too much car for me for everyday use. So, if you know someone who wants this pristine, one-owner, garaged, VERY low mileage (just under 34K) car at a very reasonable price, let me know. (I did my research and am selling it for $14.2K—which is lower than you’d buy it from a used car dealer, but a bit more than the dealership is offering for it. Dealers make their money on trade resells, not on the new cars.) It can go to a new home when the new car arrives some time this month—which I hope will not be delayed due to the recent Suez Canal blockage of 400+ ships.

The “boyfriend” is not for sale.

Written by louisaenright

April 5, 2021 at 2:13 pm

“My Pips” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks/Books: February 26, 2021

“My Pips” Quilt

Here’s “My Pips” quilt:

You may recall that this quilt is a project in the current season (3) of The Color Collective, hosted by Amy Newbold’s Sewtopia, and with projects by designer and quilter extraordinaire Tara Faughnan and one month with another designer—this year it is Latifah Saafir. I think the fabric palette Tara chose for this project was just delicious. I cut and sewed until I ran out of fabric.

I quilted on my domestic with a walking foot (see the book WALK by Jacquie Gering) with a medium grey Gutterman thread, using a swirly pattern I saw in a post in Debbie’s A Quilter’s Table blog. I did not do the opposite diagonal as the quilt told me it was done. Pips are apple seeds, and this quilting pattern made me think of spring winds swirling through apple trees as they begin to leaf out in spring.

I would also say that I lost some of my points on the top and bottom rows—as the quilting shrank up the quilt, as quilting does. I think if I were to make this block again I would set my top and bottom rows BEFORE trimming those blocks at the top and bottom—and would only trim them after the quilting was finished.

I had enough of Carrie Blomston’s “Newsprint” fabric (108 wide leftovers) to cover the back, and I ordered more of the Kona “Thistle” in this palette for the binding and for another project as well.

I can see other uses for this block—for sure. It could be made to highlight a printed fabric in a quilt for someone to whom the fabric would “speak.” Learning about using Sewline glue to hold the curves while one sews is an awesome trick.

I’ll use this picture to make a photo card to have on hand—I’ve been doing these cards for years now and use them for every purpose where I need to send a card.

Thank you Tara Faughnan for this beautiful project!

Winter Quilting, February 2021

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Turkey Tracks: February 14, 2021

Winter Quilting, February 2021

This last week was a busy one for me, so blog postings got put on hold. This coning week will contain several snow storms, starting later today, and that is just fine by me. I have food (or will get what I need this morning), and I have LOTS of ongoing quilty projects.

The “Trees” quilt top is done now. Remember that these quilt blocks were inspired by the work of Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts. Making the tree trunks turned out to be the most time-consuming task in this project. A lot of solid stash went into “Trees” and more printed scraps and cuts from the print stash then I would have thought.

I purchased a new WILD print for the backing—as I didn’t have a backing in my stash that would work for this quilt. It’s a “rainbow” print from Alison Glass and Andover fabrics called “Art Theory Whole Cloth in Day.” It’s WILD, right? But it screams about the abundance in spring/summer flora and the insect world. The colors are perfect though. I don’t know about the binding yet—probably a solid green from my stash. Or maybe that majenta.

The “My Pips” top is now quilted, and I will trim it today and install the binding. This quilt block and these fabrics are a project in season 3 of The Color Collective, Tara Faughnan designer/teacher, on Amy Newbold’s Sewtopia platform. I really, really liked the fabric palette for this project.

After Debbie from A Quilter’s Table recommended WALK, a book about quilting on a domestic sewing machine with one’s walking foot, I scrolled her blog once again to look at her quilting and found this quilt on her “Working Small, ”December 27, 2020, post (https://aquilterstable.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2020-12-28T08:09:00-08:00&max-results=1&start=5&by-date=false). I include it here to show the lovely curved quilting she did—by starting her diagonal curve lines from opposite corners and working from the center line on each side and working out to the corners of the quilt. And, by the way, right now Debbie is doing a self challenge of 50 small scrap quilts in 50 days, which is inspiring and down right fun to see.

Here’s “My Pips” at this point. I’ve been looking and looking at these great swirls—which remind me of spring winds swirling about and bringing warmth with them. I think I’ve decided NOT to do the opposite swirl pattern on this quilt. I think what is there now is enough. And I am noting that my swirls are an inch apart. Debbie’s seem to be a bit wider, and that, I think makes a difference in the acquired density. The binding will be the Kona “Thistle” lavender fabric you see in this quilt.

Here’s a closer view.

The February Color Collective project in somewhat underway now. The fabrics are washed, ironed, and partially cut. Tara’s improv quilt is called “Bokeh” and is, in part, all about how color relationships work to create certain effects in a quilt. These end-cut squares are going to allow me to figure out how my blocks will look—and I’m already moving around ideas A LOT before I actually sew ONE idea together—maybe later today. (I probably won’t be able to resist). This quilt involves MANY ideas about how blocks function in a quilt, and I think these improv block versions will begin to inhabit a life of their own. Quilts DO talk to their maker if the maker listens.

Here’s one block mock-up to try. I’ll probably change it, knowing me. But once chosen, each idea will make four blocks. And you can see that they can be turned in multiple ways and spread throughout the top. Or, not. I will definitely spread them around. I was thinking of a small quilt, just to try out this method. But I can already see that I’ll get addicted. I usually do to Tara’s projects. And these projects are so much fun when one gets rolling with them.

Here’s the palette. There are darks, lights, brights, mediums, cools and warms.

I have been ironing and cutting and replenishing blue and grey fabrics for many days now—for a large log cabin housewarming quilt for a niece out in Wyoming. I played with ideas for block size and decided on a 12-inch block made using a Creative Grids ruler that will also make a 6-inch block. I had one of these rulers in the 8-inch size, but it didn’t feel right to me for this project. I REALLY like these rulers for both log cabin and pineapple block projects as the finish for each block is dead perfect.

With the “Trees” top finished and the design wall vacuumed and ready to go, I made some initial blocks. I don’t know about the setting yet—when I’ve made more blocks my niece will choose the setting she likes. And I’m sure blocks will get moved around. But here are the first blocks. This is the primary quilt project for me now as this family is moving into their new home TODAY.

I’m thinking down the road that I’ll make this quilt in dark and light greys with a black center chimney. So while cutting, I made a trial block, and I really like it. I’ve been wanting to make a grey quilt.

The binding on “Sugaridoo: Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society”—the second Sugarisoo quilt—is almost done, and I really love the wider black and cream stripe for this quilt. I will finish it tonight probably, So pics will come soon.

The hand quilting thread for “My Splice” came, so I will circle back to that project after I complete the binding on “My Pips.” I have no idea how I’ll quilt “Trees,” but it will be likely on the longarm as I think it needs curves. Did I just say “curves” after loving the curves on “My Pips.” Hmmmm…

Meanwhile, as you can see, I have lots of fun projects for quilty play and production. And I am noting that I did not cover three projects I would really LIKE to make—OR the assembling of the improv blocks made for me by my fellow “Be Inspired“ prompt challenge members.

It’s all good!

Snow Days Quilty Projects

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Turkey Tracks: February 1, 2021

Snow Days Quilty Projects

We’re getting our first BIG storm tonight—with a lot of accumulation overnight.

That meant I had to cancel my right eye cataract surgery for tomorrow early. The reschedule date will be March 2. There was no question that I had to cancel—once it starts to snow hard, it isn’t safe to drive down and up Howe Hill or my steep and curving driveway where deep ditches live alongside. The plow guys get to me soon enough, so I just stay put until they do.

So, it’s brrr cold too, and I will work on sewing projects. I need to get “Trees” off the design wall to make space for a planned large log cabin quilt.

This “trees” block, as you may recall from other posts, is based on/inspired by a block by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts. I’m planning 8 by 9 rows so will have a nice lap-size quilt. The tedious part of this quilt block is making the tree trunks. Piecing and trimming the block goes really fast actually.

I’ve often noted, as have other quilters I know, that it is so fun to start a project, but at some point, it becomes tedious to finish up the blocks. I’m sitting on my fingers now to finish this one before diving fully into the log cabin blue/grey project. And I’ve already started wondering about a log cabin with a black center chimney and light and dark greys. I’ve gone as far as cutting out the parts for one grey block to see how that looks. I’ve wanted to make an all grey quilt for some time.

Meanwhile, I have a BIG block of flying geese cut out to see how that looks—from a pattern in the “Simply Modern” magazine an issue back. More on this one later, of course. And then the 4th project from The Color Collective will be dropped today. The fabric is already here, and it is, as always, intriguing and pretty.

I’m taking a break from “Trees” (I finished the leftover parts of the “Pips” quilt yesterday) from time to time to iron/cut, iron/cut the blue grey fabrics for the log cabin.

The fabrics on the longarm bar are ironed and ready to cut into some strips. I’m almost done with the ironing and first cutting of strips. Meanwhile, all the fabrics I pulled from the stash or purchased (I was almost out of light grey fabrics and had no good medium dark blues), will be ironed and ready to cut when I need more strips. The ironed fabrics and strips are living on the long arm bed for the moment.

So now it is time to get dressed and get about this promising quilty day!

Written by louisaenright

February 1, 2021 at 10:32 am

I Have Projects

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Turkey Tracks: January 27, 2021

I Have Projects

Yes I do!

And I can easily start more apparently.

First though, I am loving my Instant Pot. As I’ve said before, I have Histamine Intolerance and need to cook my food quickly as long cooking times increase histamine levels. My Instant Pot allowed me to cook a pot roast in 45 minutes, with a 15 minute stay in the pot with the steam, and about 15 minutes in the pot first to saute the meat, onions, and garlic. I could even remove all but the juice and use the saute function to thicken the sauce.

The result was a tender and very tasty pot roast that did not take hours in the oven and that has provided me with a lot of meals all ready to heat quickly and eat. Here’s one with some smashed potatoes that I cooked separately alongside. I did not put the carrots and asparagus in the pot either. They are easy enough to cook fast on the top of the stove.

My collection of the “other” selvages—the side without writing—had grown to a point where I needed to stop and knit them into the eighth and final placemat. They are funky and fun combined with bright colored, generous-sized cloth napkins—and I was without a sewing hand project for the last two nights anyway. The Sugaridoo quilt is back on the longarm, and I will finish it today and trim and bind it so there will be hand sewing tonight. Then I will try to baste “My Splice” on the longarm.

It started snowing last night—off and on. AC doggie went outside and came right back to get warm snuggled next to me on the couch.

Yes, he wallows when he wants to be loved up.

I love wedding ring quilts and am very drawn to this “funky” one that Debbie of A Quilter’s Table blog made recently. She got the pattern from the older book FRIENDS by Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston, who pioneered the idea of creating a “parts department” of blocks to be used in improv quilts. They also created a whole series of “funky” blocks based on traditional blocks—like this wedding ring block. I am wondering about making the block with my solid stash. Or, maybe the Cotton+Steel stash. I do like the way the prints and solids are mixed in Debbie’s version here. And isn’t the wide binding with her fabric choice awesome? I have not tried a wide binding like this on e. She did further secure this binding with some bit-thread cross stitches done decoratively along each side. Thanks, Debbie!

This block is in this book, which I found online. And, I love it.

It will be a snow day for me today. I did all the household work, laundry, and errands yesterday, and I am looking forward to finishing Sugaridoo and then playing with some of the projects I have already started. I really need to spend some time with the leader/ender “Trees” quilt as it is taking over the design wall. I have some parts department “Pips” block to make to finish off that project. And I’ve started a Log Cabin quilt for a niece out in Wyoming as a house warming gift as they have just purchased their first home.

There are, of course, other projects to do. Always.

Written by louisaenright

January 27, 2021 at 9:14 am

“Marrakesh” Quilt Top

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Turkey Tracks: November 30, 2020

“Marrakesh” Quilt Top

For the first project of Season 3 of the online class The Color Collective Tara Faughnan designed her “Marrakesh” block and curated a selection of 12 Kona cotton colors. (Amy Newbold of Sewtopia hosts this class. And congrats to Amy as she is now setting up an actual quilt store building in addition to her online business.)

Marrakesh is pieced and is all about manipulating color for different effect. (My top needs ironing, but I won’t do that until I get ready to layer it. And to protect the exposed seams from coming apart I staystitched the edges.) Precision is the name of the game here, and I learned some new piecing and trimming tricks. Tara’s method for trimming blocks with a 45-degree angle is really good and something I did not know.

I probably should have done more with the coloring page Tara included, so that’s a lesson learned. If I were doing a bigger top, I definitely would lay out the colors first. Other class members used different backgrounds as well—both light and dark. The greys are really nice, and one person used a rich red that is just yummy.

I have enough of the pale, pale orange to bind it—I have white, too, but am hesitant about using white for binding. The orange would have to be straight cut, and I prefer bias binding, so I’m still thinking about that issue. But I have not decided. This quilt, at 45 1/2 square, would make a nice baby quilt, or a table topper, or a wall hanging. I’ll put a sleeve on it probably. And I think I’ll quilt something a bit wider than up and down 1/4-inch matchstick lines. I have to do some measuring, and I’ll use a thread that kind of disappears. Perhaps a pale grey or a pale grey-blue. Or a mixture of those. Even a pale orange in places might be nice.

This one has been fun, and Project 2 drops tomorrow. The fabric for it has arrived, and it is lusciously delicious!

I was warned that the strawberry red—the middle one—ran, so I handwashed it. And, yes it did. A lot. So, I also hand washed the darker red, the orange, and the dark blue. The dark blue and orange were fine; the darker red ran a bit. I rinsed them all in a mild vinegar solution and rinsed again to be sure.

I’ve also read elsewhere that the Kona blacks are running, so I’ll be careful with those as well.

I don’t think we need to wash many quilting fabrics today, but I do as I react to the dyes. Plus, I don’t like to wash and dry a quilt I’ve just finished. I like them all crinkly and soft, yes, but for a time I like them not crinkly. There is no right or wrong here, but people do tend to fall into one camp or the other.

Today we are getting a big storm in the early afternoon that will go through until tomorrow. We need rain, but I could do without the wind. The ground is so soft in this warm weather we are having, and high wind will bring down trees. In any case, I am all ready to go for Project 2 tomorrow!

Written by louisaenright

November 30, 2020 at 9:32 am