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Ongoing Quilty Projects, December 2020

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Turkey Tracks: December 10, 2020

Ongoing Quilty Projects, December 2020

As usual, I have multiple quilty and garment sewing projects going on. I move from one to the other as my momentary interest prompts. Joy and engagement prompts me, not stress to finish anything.

The as yet unnamed flying geese quilt is getting its binding sewn down at night. I’ve got a few more nights on this one. But I have to say, I’m really pleased with this quilt, and it was a huge stash buster. The striped binding was a risk, but I think that it is working really well. It is just fun.

Marrakesh, designed by Tara Faughnan for The Color Collective online class I’m taking, is ready to quilt. I started the first line of matchstick quilting and realized there was a HUGE fold in the batting, starting about 1/4 of the way down. How on earth…??? I put smaller quilts I’m going to quilt on my domestic on the longarm to layer and pin. I can’t imagine how I missed a fold in the batting along the way. The quilt WAS pinned more intensely, but I had to put it back on the longarm and take most of the pins out and then repin it. And, yes, the fold was bad and thick, so there was no choice. Anyway, I’ll probably spend some time with Marrakesh later today. I can watch tv from this spot I’ve set up. I really enjoyed Selena The Series on Netflix, by the way. I had no idea about this story.

I’ve got the rows sewn together for this very interesting quilt inspired by one Tara Faughnan made. She has classes on color in which she uses her quilt like this one as an example. I need one more row at the bottom—which should be lighter. It will finish at 50 wide by 60. Easy Peasy. I’ve taken a ton of pictures along the way while trying to check and recheck how the colors are working together. This quilt is made mostly from my solid scraps, not my larger pieces of solid fabrics. I think it will need a dark binding to hold it all together…

”Trees” is now the only leader/ender quilt, and it is growing slowly, which is ok. It is based on a block designed by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts. I think it will finish at 8 by 9 rows. And it, too, is meant to knock back my solid scraps, which it is doing.

The two Sugaridoo quilts are all ready to go on the longarm—as soon as I figure out how to quilt them. And the second project from The Color Collective is all ready go—my fabrics are washed and I’ll iron them soon. This project is all about curves.

Then, there are two garments that are all cut out and ready to sew, but neither is something I can wear right now, so they are still on pause.

I’m busy and engaged, despite being alone and staying away from people. And I’m grateful for my sewing projects. They can pass a lot of time, for sure.

Written by louisaenright

December 10, 2020 at 8:42 am

Maine Is So Pretty

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Turkey Tracks: December 9, 2020

Maine Is So Pretty

I haven’t been out of Camden in over a month now.

So, Monday I undertook an errand in Damariscotta, which is about 45 minutes south of Camden.

We had been blessed with our first real snow and some, finally, cold weather. (It has been very warm this November.) It was good to be out on the highway and seeing how pretty Maine is, period, but with a new fall of snow, it is just beautiful.

Marsha Smith sent me these pictures taken by her son and grandson as they repaired a hiking shelter up on Ragged mountain. I’ve been meaning to put these pics on the blog, so today is the day.

That’s the bay out in the distance.

Maine in winter just has the most gorgeous colors due to the winter light. In these pics we get pastels. But in winter we also get fiery sunsets and dawns. And long lavender shadows on the snow when the sun is so low in the sky as it is now. And cobalt blue light at dusk that turns the world blue. And marmalade orange on tree trunks when the sun rises. I could go on. I could move to the starry cold nights where the full moon is so big you feel like you can reach up and touch it. But I will leave you with my joy about winter.

Solstice is coming, and them we start to climb uphill to longer and warmer days and all the lush green growth of summer.

I love our seasons, and I love being close to them, so I see most of the small, beautiful daily changes.

Written by louisaenright

December 9, 2020 at 2:07 pm

“Funky Rail” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: December 4, 2020

“Funky Rail” Quilt

My “Funky Rail” quilt is all done. This pattern is from Sajata Shah’s CULTURAL FUSION QUILTS book, which I love. I will be doing more patterns from this book and will likely make this one again in different fabrics

Sajata Shah’s method for forming these blocks is different and amazing. I could never visualize a concept like this one on my own. The block is so lively and fun.

I pieced this backing from leftovers from the front and from my stash.

The line of rectangles is made from the trimming off-cuts from the block pieces. I couldn’t just thrown them away.

I quilted with an antique gold thread, which worked well I think. And the pantograph is “Check and Chase” from Lorien quilting.

I’m using this same pantograph for my wild geese quilt, which is now on the longarm.

More rain is coming in, so I’ll probably get this quilt longarm quilted soon now.

Written by louisaenright

December 4, 2020 at 11:29 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

Bits and Pieces in Late November 2020

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November 25, 2020

Bits and Pieces in Late November 2020

Winter is closing in now, and we are in the darkest time of the year.

But there are seasonal gifts to view, witness these beautiful red berries against the grey sky that I saw in my travels the other day. We’ve had some cold days, but I have not yet switched out my cotton socks for my warmer winter ones. That day is coming though.

I’ve spent some time playing with using up the scraps in my solid scrap bin. I had a lot of leftover bias strips sewn together and cut from projects like The Color Collective Lone Star quilt process and the Sugaridoo QAL rows (the pink strips). What if I used them on fun and funky “tree triangles” that so many people are making these days as they rise to quilter Nicholas Ball’s challenge.

I’m working away at the first project from Season 3 of the online class The Color Collective, hosted by Sewtopia, with designer/teacher Tara Faughnan. The first block is called “Marrakesh,” and it allows us to play with and manipulate color choices that can radically change how the block appears. There are also several construction methods that I have never made, and that’s always a fun learning curve.

I have 4 blocks done now—they will finish at 15 1/2 inches each.

I’ll make at least two more and may stop at creating a rectangle wall hanging. Who knows. In any case, I’m sure these blocks will get moved around more. If I make more, I’ll definitely stop at 3 by 3 blocks, which will be a bit larger than 45 inches square. Or a longer 2-block wide rectangle wall hanging. Time will tell…

I keep moving around these four blocks because I see something that just needs to be changed, but then I see something else. I definitely need more blocks.

AC Slater’s Favorite Pastime

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Turkey Tracks: November 24, 2020

AC Slater’s Favorite Pastime

AC Slater is a little over 2 1/2 years old now.

He is a young dog with a lot of energy—which means he gets me outside doing something active at least once every day that allows being outside. It’s good for both of us.

His most favorite things to do are taking a hike with me through woods, especially if there are water features present, and chasing his ball on a big field. I believe he thinks both of these acts are his “work.” He craves these interactions with me, and I enjoy them so much as well.

I’ve spent a lot of time training him so that he is safe with me under voice control. I wouldn’t test his behavior on a city street, but I bet he’d stick close as he’d be scared. We don’t walk much in town as that just doesn’t run out his energy the way a hike or a ball activity does.

Here he is, ready for me to throw his ball with a chuck-it.

He brings me the ball as part of this activity. Sometimes the “drop” command is hard for him as he loves to chew this ball. And, he likes to hold it some times while he gets his breath back. Remember that it takes about 8 seconds some times for a dog to process a command.

What amazes me is that he can track the ball and jump way up to catch it in the air. I’ve seen him jump way over his own body length to get it—which is hard to catch on a camera when you’ve also thrown the ball. But here’s a kind of idea of what he can do.

He also runs way out in anticipation, and then he watches for the direction I’ll throw the ball. He uses my body placement as to whether I’ll throw to the right or left or straight out.

I’m really enjoying the size of this dog. He’s not as small as the rat terriers, but he’s not a big dog either. He’s just right…

Written by louisaenright

November 24, 2020 at 7:04 am

Loving My Instapot

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Turkey Tracks: November 17, 2020

Loving My Instapot

And so the Instapot adventure continues…

Here is a lamb stew (with added rice and asparagus when plated) that came out with tender, tasty lamb chunks and carrots that were NOT overdone. The sauce was thickened with the addition of a flour at the start—for me cassava, which I can eat.

Next up, chicken thighs browned skin side down in butter and duck fat. It’s the butter that browns the skin so nicely. Then a very short cooking time. The additions of the last of the rice and the asparagus were added when plating the meal. This sauce is delicious as well.

I could do 4 thighs in the pot easily, so I have a leftover meal ready to freeze or eat today. I’m freezing as I have a big, boned leg of lamb from last year defrosted and ready to cook. I’ll do that in the oven though and will freeze a lot of it for future meals.

I am beginning to understand how the pot works, like how to saute in the pot before starting something, what kind of liquid it needs to work, when to use the trivet, how long to cook something, and so forth.

I love learning curves AND delicious food.

Written by louisaenright

November 17, 2020 at 10:30 am

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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More Of Giovanna’s Knitting

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Turkey Tracks: November 15, 2020

More Of Giovanna’s Knitting

Giovanna McCarthy is a master knitter, and I do love to see and share her work.

She just finished this lap-size throw and is blocking it. Oh my! How gorgeous is this work? Very GORGEOUS.

Giovanna says the piece below is a “knitted quilt.”

I think it is a knitted piece of art and am encouraging her to hang it as such.

The colors are so, so pretty.

Enjoy!

Written by louisaenright

November 15, 2020 at 9:17 am

Mid November Quilty Update

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Turkey Tracks: November 13, 2020

I have FOUR quilts to longarm now—each is all set up with all their parts organized, including their labels and bindings.

And while my quilt room is feeling MUCH less tangled with projects now, the bed in the adjacent bedroom is piled high with these projects.

First up to quilt will be the Wild Goose quilt, seen here on the design wall a while back:

Next will be the funky rail fence quilt designed by Sajata Shah and which can be seen in her book CULTURAL FUSION QUILTS.

The TWO Sugaridoo QAL quilt tops are finished as of yesterday. These two quilts have been a year-long journey. Here’s the rainbow solid one. You can see a piece of the backing fabric on the cutting board. I wanted something quiet, though I was tempted by the very bright choices others are making. I am going to bind in the darker grey accent fabric.

Here’s a close up pic of the LAST row, row 11.

Row 11 is so graphic. It was so fun to make. And in general, I have learned a lot during this project and have now 12 new patterns and several quilty methods new to me.

Here is the Cotton+Steel version:

And a close up of those bottom rows:

I have absolutely no idea how I should quilt these quilts. At 70 by 90, they are just way too big to be done on the domestic machine with a grid. And I don’t do intensive longarm quilting with rulers. I just don’t. And I don’t like intensive quilting on a functional quilt as it makes them too stiff. So I will do something overall—either freehand or with a pantograph.

I have TWO leader/ender projects on the design wall; each is endlessly fun and are using up the solid scraps. The tree block is inspired by a quilt by Crazy Mom Quilts, and the striped quilt is inspired by a quilt by Tara Faughnan.

AND, in the relatively clean quilt room, I will now wade into the first Color Collective project as the white background fabric I ordered arrived this week.

People taking the class are showing their completed blocks now in the online social media groups (FB and Instagram), and their different color choices are so fun and so inspiring to see.