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It’s Monday Again

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Turkey Tracks: June 14, 2021

It’s Monday Again

Funny how Monday rolls around each week.

One thing about time, it is always moving forward.

It was a quiet weekend here, as most weekends are. I worked in the yard mostly and was too tired to sew in the late afternoon. Plus, I did something to my right foot with all the outside work, so there has been pain. And now I really need to stay off of it and let it heal. Nothing serious, just something to slow me down a bit.

So, the good news is that now I will have time to finish sewing this quilt top together.

Reminder: This year Latifah Saafir is the guest designer for Sewtopia’s The Color Collective, season 3, month 7. This “Tenderoni” block and the color palette are her design. Members of The Color Collective this year are making some really interesting quilts using this block. I got intrigued with all the shapes and patterns that can be made by keeping the blocks close together. I’m calling it “Fractures.”

I’ll call this one finished. It will be a wall hanging. I’ll bind with the dark red in the fabric palette, and I found a paisley backing in my stash that will work really well. I may grid quilt it, but I don’t know if I’ll do that by hand yet or not.

Plus, I am playing around with the discarded quarter circle pieces that arrive when the block pieces are cut. I’ll need to redo this trial one as it got itself off-center while being sewed. And maybe I’ll machine stitch it down with a tiny blanket stitch done in invisible thread—as Tara Faughnan taught us way back in the first project of Season 1. I don’t mind the hand stitching though. I suppose those choices will depend on how many circles are available from the scraps.

I had fun this weekend discovering more gardening by Mother Nature.

She planted this Kousa dogwood some years back—when facing the garage, it is on the left, just down a very steep hill. I don’t have any dogwoods, nevermind Kousas, so this tree is so fun.

AC is DELIGHTED to have one of his old balls available for play OUTSIDE. It is now living in my work tool bucket.

I throw garden refuse along the top edge of that hill, both to stabilize it and to see what might start to grow. It is always amazing to see what begins to grow there. Right now there are some wildflowers, including some orange daylilies, some Joe Pye weed, some Bishop’s Weed, and look what else just emerged in the rocky ground.

Three white Fox Glove plants. I also found two more along the driveway over by the rock wall. (Yes, I know they are poisonous for dogs, but AC doesn’t really chew at plants unless I weed and throw them for him to chase, and I won’t be doing that with these plants if by chance they get weeded.)

I was able to mow yesterday, but it got hot again so I came inside. By then my foot was saying “enough.” When it is better, I’ll finish the last two beds on the far side of the house that need massive weeding. One is almost done and the other is small.

And here we are with another week of Maine summer to enjoy!

Written by louisaenright

June 14, 2021 at 8:54 am

Design Wall June 2021

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Turkey Tracks: June 3, 2021

Design Wall June 2021

I’m having fun with quilt projects these days.

The design wall is full of fun.

Here’s the “funky” wedding ring block found in FREDDY AND GWEN COLLABORATE AGAIN: FRIENDS by Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston—and also made recently by Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table blog. I’ve wanted to make this block since I saw Debbie’s modern version. Two blocks are together, but I’ll leave the other parts loose until all are made. I see some already I’ll be wanting to move. And, of course, I’m using up both solid and print scraps in this project.

Here’s Debbie Jeske’s version, which I love. Note that she begins to incorporate some printed fabrics in her half-square triangles at the bottom right. I really like that touch. She has such a great design eye.

Moran and Marston pioneered modern funky blocks, which they often made and put in what they called their “parts department” bins so they would have blocks ready to use. It is always fun to go back and revisit their work.

Guest designer for the seventh and last project from The Color Collective, season 3, is Latifah Saafir. “Tenderoni” is already taking many forms as members of the collective work with the block. Here’s what I have now. I’m thinking 5 by 7 rows, but who knows if this design of mine will hold. I could expand it with insertions of plain blocks of fabric. But I’m kind of liking the “windmill” that is taking shape—and of course all the fractured “parts” of a circle.

This next block designed by Abbey Lane Quilts for Issue 22 of SIMPLY MODERN magazine is called “Monkey Business.” I thought it might work to whittle down my Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics. The block is way fun to make, and I’m having such fun combining fabrics in each block and then making some sense out of where to put each block.

Abby Lane Quilts did a lap size of 4 by 5 blocks, so with a 13 inch block, that’s a nice lap size of 52 by 65.

I’m in no rush on any of these projects. It is just nice to have “play” time on the design wall.

I’ll likely get to the light grey/dark grey big log cabin later in the summer. And I’m looking forward to making it.

I heard this morning that my new longarm is coming in late July! The log cabin will be the first quilt to be quilted on it I think.

“My Bokeh” is Done

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Turkey Tracks: May 15, 2021

“My Bokeh” is Done

“Bokeh” is a photographic term for when one manipulates the camera so that it makes the background fuzzy in a picture. In my mind, the darker colors are the “background” here—they are softer and less sharp in that way, though one could easily think that what is also interesting is how all the squares are like the pixels in a photo.

I really enjoyed making this quilt—and after I had an acceptable piece to say I tried it—I went back and made it all bigger as I was not ready to stop at a wall hanging size This one is now a nice lap size, and I used pretty much all the fabric. I added white and cream to the palette.

This project was one of this year’s The Color Collective online classes, hosted by Amy Newbold of Sewtopia. Tara Faughnan is the designer, and she picks the palette colors for each of the six yearly projects that she teaches to TCC students. I think this palette is particularly nice. (A guest designer staffs the 7th month, and this year that person is Latifah Saafir.)

I quilted from the front with an organic kind of doodle—using a wheat/gold thread that worked for the front and the back. I added in lots of curves to soften all the straight lines.

The backing is an architectural pattern—and I would not have thought of using this warm color until I had the top with me in a local fabric store. It was so much more interesting than any of the other colors represented in the quilt.

I am now working on Latifah’s project, and it is really fun.

And look what I had for lunch today!

This lettuce started out late last fall—as it was seeded into the cold frame and covered for the winter. Then, there is that moment in early, early spring when the light is changing, when the snow is melting, and when I walk by the cold frame and can see green down in the dark earth. It is still a long time before the cold frame cover can be removed permanently, not just on warm days, and before I can start harvesting the lettuce and sharing it with friends. Underneath the egg is a bit of leftover rice/lamb/veggie stir fry, and the white is a cottage cheese that I can tolerate on low histamine days.

These are the last of the daffodils, and the first of the very fragrant viburnam white “balls.”

The cool spring has been really good for the daffodils and forsythia this year.

Written by louisaenright

May 15, 2021 at 2:14 pm

“My Splice” and “Trees”

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Turkey Tracks: March 31, 2021

“My Splice” and “Trees”

“Trees” is on the longarm—mostly because I need another night time hand-sewing project. Though, I should confess, I can fall back on the EPP project that has been underway for several years now. But, it is a hard project. Sewing binding is more soothing.

This quilt is SUPER BRIGHT, for sure.

But…cheerful.

And I have finished and hung “My Splice,” a project from this year’s Color Collective class with Tara Faughnan—hosted by Amy Newbold’s Sewtopia. I wanted something I’ve made for this spot in the living room, so I made a wall hanging rather than a larger quilt.

I quilted with 12-weight Sulky cotton, with a Tulip Sashiko needle AND had a lot of fun using different color threads.

The corner where I hung it had an old opera poster—Turandot—that was looking faded and stodgy. “My Splice” has certainly brightened up that corner of the living room.

Here’s one more:

The April project will arrive online tomorrow.

Ah, anticipation unfolds strongly today. The fabric is already here and is very pretty.

More Bits and Pieces

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March 7, 2021

More Bits and Pieces

I finished the expanded “My Bokeh” quilt top today and purchased a backing for it this past week.

You may recall that I thought I’d finished it. Only, it kept calling to me, and I had more fabric. So I turned what I had on its side and added more rows. Now it is a lap-quilt size: 60 by 72. And I like it a lot.

Now it has joined the other ongoing projects on the bed next door to my quilt room. There are two finished quilt tops that need to go on the longarm, all the ironed fabric for the blue/grey log cabin for my niece, backing and binding fabric for the log cabin, a pile of fabric sent by Sewtopia for this month’s Color Collective project, a BIG block I cut out to see how it would look that needs to be sewn together, and the “funky” wedding quilt project I’d like to try out—the one Debbie on A Quilter’s Table blog tried and posted, from a book by Gwen Marston and Freddie Moran (COLLABORATE AGAIN) about “funky” quilt blocks and projects (see a previous post for pics).

I cleaned off the design wall and put up the log cabin blocks I’ve already made. My niece and her husband chose a barn raising format. So now I’m really excited to cut more fabric and to make more blocks. I’m thinking 8 rows at the very most—that would be 96 inches square. But it is already looking really pretty!

The best thing about roasting a big chicken may be what comes after that first meal, as in the gorgeous lunch salad the next day:

Or the broth-dense soup for dinner last night:

Unfortunately, I’ve reacted slightly to this soup, so now it’s a benedryl nap day. I don’t know if it is that the stock cooked too long in the Instant Pot, or if it is the teaspoon of tumeric I added, or both. I’m resisting throwing out the other half of the soup. The 5.5 pound chicken produced 2 dinner meals, a big lunch salad, 3 soup meals, and 4 cups of stock frozen in 1-cup portions. AND, some really healthy and delicious meals.

My boy was so pretty yesterday that I took a picture of him.

That’s “the look” that says it is well past time for us to do something TOGETHER.

And so we did.

“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!

“My Bokeh” Quilt Project

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Turkey Tracks: February 21, 2021

“My Bokeh” Quilt Project

I finished this top last night—it’s 36 by 42. It is the 4th project in my online class with Tara Faughnan, hosted by Sewtopia’s Amy Newbold. Tara called her demonstration quilt “Bokeh.” I’m not going to post a picture of her work as I do not have her permission to do so and could not get a picture of her whole quilt anyway, just parts of it. She will post images of her Bokeh when she is ready to do so.

I looked up what “Bokeh” means and found it is a photographic term for pictures with deliberately manipulated fuzzy backgrounds with a sharp foreground image. Suddenly what Tara was attempting fell in to place for me. And I loved the transferring of that concept to fabric “pixels.”

I don’t think I’m done with this project. I have more fabric and could add more (I added white and cream here). I wasn’t sure how to think about color in the individual blocks, and now I would NOT line up strips of color but would work with light, medium, and dark blocks, but in a way where individual pops of color allow more “twinkling” in all of the blocks. The light blocks could almost always have a pop of dark color and the dark ones could pop with the bright fabrics. In that way the way the colors fall doesn’t necessarily matter. So I may start from a light center and work out to medium and dark blocks—but with patches of light blocks mixed in appropriately. It won’t be a large project. I just want to see if this way of thinking about the colors would work.

I do like my dark patches here—they seem to glow—and I didn’t expect that effect. I think that speaks to how well Tara chose these palette colors. I moved blocks around and moved them around, but still wound up with three places that butted up the same patches. Ugh!

Also, I’m finding that these clips I purchased (and included in a previous blog post), REALLY help with keeping all these seams perfectly aligned for sewing. So a big thumbs up for this product. I sew right up to the first prong and then hold the fabric with finger pressure as I slowly slide out the prong to near it’s end so I can keep sewing without hitting the metal of the prong. I also fold back the fabric to make sure the seams are nested correctly before inserting the prong at each seam.

What a fun project this is. Thank you Tara for this one. It’s been a real distraction from the required social distancing of the pandemic. And a joyful project for winter sewing.

Written by louisaenright

February 21, 2021 at 8:52 am

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!

I LOVE the Tulip Hand-Sewing Needles

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Turkey Tracks: February 4, 2021

My love of the Tulip Sewing Needles started with the kind of “big stitch” hand quilting I often do that uses heavier threads. I prefer perle cotton size 8 and 12-weight cotton threads. The 12-weight is lighter than the size 8 cotton, but much heavier than a 50-weight thread such as I use with piecing. I prefer these threads to embroidery floss or the heavier perle cottons.

There are multiple manufacturers for these threads, so I am only limited by color availability. Red Rock Threads is a good place to start. Sulky’s 12-weight cotton threads also come in “mini” spools of 50 yards for $1.65 each, which allows one to collect an array of colors. And anyone reading this blog knows I love color in all forms.

I purchased the larger blue and ivory spools years ago—and I have a few of the blue and a lot of the ivory left. I have machine quilted quilt sandwhiches using either of these colors, but they lay down a strong line. I think they are best for grid quilting a quilt—and then decide if you want a strong quilting statement or not.

But, back to Tulip needles. My first ones were Sashiko needles. They are NOT cheap—they only come about 4 to a pack. BUT, they slide through fabric like a dream and they don’t bend. And I don’t have trouble threading them. In other words, these needles last. They are “polished” up and down to make them slide through the fabric easily. And they are available in many places online, including Amazon.

Here’s one of my Sashiko needles at work on my “My Splice” quilt with some 12-weight thread. The horizontal lines are from my longarm machine basting lines. I got a bit of a start on this project last night.

This quilt is going to look awesome when the hand quilting is done.

The Tulip needles come beautifully packaged.

Inside, one finds the actual container. This one contains 6 needles, two of each size.

This purchase of an assortment of straw needles was an experiment that I’m delighted to say is a happy one. Remember that the smaller the needle number, the bigger the needle. So, the size 8 is bigger than the other needles. I like all three of these needles. They are super sharp.

I lost one I was using to sew down the binding on Sugaridoo Rainbow a few days back. It fell out of the quilt sometime, likely, when I was finished for the night and folding it up. That led to vacuuming out the couch where I sit at night and then the whole carpet. And under the chair where I hang quilts I’m working on. But I’ve never found it. Lost needles have a funny way of appearing sometimes, so I am hoping this one does. And now I don’t leave the needle lose in my work—I clip it down with one of those little quilty clips we have all grown to love.

Sugaridoo Rainbow is now living on the stair bannister, and I’m enjoying seeing its happy face when I go up and down the stairs during the day. I will turn it about so I see different colors off and on.

My Tulip needle (a size 9 I think) did a great job with the Sugaridoo binding.

“My Bars” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: January 26, 2021

“My Bars” Quilt

I’ve been working on this quilt for some time now. It was inspired by Tara Faughnan’s “Bars” quilt, which I fell in love with at first sight. But Timna Tarr and Maria Schell have also been making similar quilts in this vein, but with different organizational color theories—solid fabric quilts drenched with color.

Tara’s “Bars” quilt was highlighted—along with her color theory—on a recent episode of Alex Anderson’s The Quilt Show. And, Tara has online classes for her color theory, using this quilt.

I really like Tara’s color theory, and I think the use of it made this quilt “pop.” I quilted it with a variety of size 8 perle cotton colors I had on hand—with a Tulip Sashiko “thin” needle. I really like the Tulip needles for hand sewing—they don’t bend out of shape when going through quilt layers—and are good about sliding through the layers. I have ordered more in different sizes. I used interlocking big circles as I thought the straight lines in the quilt would benefit from curves.

Of course, this project has been a great way to use up some of the solid stash I have acquired via three years now of The Color Collective projects.

One of the really fun things that has happened during the current Covid isolation has been the digging through my stash to find backings. I’ve been trying to find a use for this Kaffe Fasset print for over 15 years now. And it is PERFECT for the backing on this quilt.

I hung “My Bars” in my quilt room yesterday morning after taking down a quilt and moving “Let There Be Light” to that spot.

My Sugaridoo (solid version) is drying out on the longarm as almost near the end of quilting it, I discovered A FOLD IN THE BATTING about 10 rows up!!! So, I had to take it off the long arm, pick out the rows, and spritz the quilting holes with water to close them up. I got it back on the longarm yesterday so will likely finish it today. I am hoping to get it trimmed and to install the binding so I have some hand-sewing for night tv watching.

This is NOT the first time this has happened, so I need to devise a better method to proceed for the future. I float the quilt top over the batting, which also floats, and I measure and sew down the sides as I go. Perhaps picking up the top and taking a look at the batting along the way would be wise. I was smoothing with my fingers and feeling along the way, but I did miss this fold as it developed. Ugh!!

Here’s a close-up.

And here’s a pic of my best buddy and boyfriend cuddling next to my legs last night: