Donation Block Prep

At the meeting on Saturday, Michelle reported that the guild had donated 175 quilts to various organizations. I can’t tell you how amazing that is. That is about 2 1/3 quilts per member! It is really a great team effort.

Donation Block Prep
Donation Block Prep

After my last post about donation blocks, I had to do some prep to be able to make more. The first thing I did was cut up some charm squares of white. At first, I just cut a few, then on a recent Craft Night, I cut up the entire pack and now have a ton of backgrounds.

I have not yet cut more foreground fabrics. I really want to use the dregs. I know I am not a fan of them, but they are perfectly fine fabrics that need to be used.

ME Check donation block - Nov/Dec n.21
ME Check donation block – Nov/Dec n.21

I made one more block before the meeting, bringing my total since the last meeting to 21.

I also checked out my bin to see what was still left. I have some plaids that I will put into a block together. I also have those sunset kind of fabrics. I cut many, many squares from them and will have to just suck it up and make a bunch of blocks from them. They will look good together and I might have enough for a whole quilt.

Bin of donation patches
Bin of donation patches

My little bin of donation patches is pretty empty. The top fabric is the sunset fabric. We’ll see what I can make from this weird assortment.

Anchor Quilt

BAMaQG Anchor Quilt
BAMaQG Anchor Quilt

Tim and I worked on the Anchor quilt on Saturday. This is a true group project. Gerre organized it. Christina did the piecing. I appliqued on the anchor and Tim will do the quilting. The last time I talked about this quilt was back in June and it has been languishing. Now we are back on track!

Saturday, he did everything and I just stood there and helped him pin and gave my opinion.

BAMaQG Anchor Quilt back
BAMaQG Anchor Quilt back

We had to work on the back a little bit. The back was two large pieces and the big area of white was bugging Tim. We talked about different things we could do and finally decided on adding a piece that Christina had started sort of 1/3 of the way down the quilt. I think it broke up the white enough for comfort.

We also looked at quilting ideas. Tim had some ideas in mind and they were good. We found a couple that we thought would reflect the them and he will do the quilting soon.

Even More Donation Blocks

You must be getting sick of my donation block craze. I really do want to add more blocks and quilt tops to my 2017 list, so I made 5 more blocks on Sunday.

I worked on them while I was piecing the last quarter of En Provence. The blocks seemed to fly out of my machine despite the fact that I was really struggling to find backgrounds.

I have been working through my  little bin of donation patches since I started on this binge. After 20 blocks, I have few backgrounds and a lot of fabrics that I am tired of using. Still, I was determined not to cut more backgrounds until I absolutely had to. I decided, after I made the Cal block (blue and yellow) that I needed to see if I had some charm packs.

The blue and yellow block as well as some of the others will be difficult to use with the standard blocks others make. There is some thing about using up as much as you can before you have to cut more background.

Eventually, I went to my tote of charm packs and found two of white fabric. I started cutting up one of them, so my next batch of donation blocks will be pretty standard.

All Donation Blocks All the Time

Although I had a lot of other projects to use as leaders and enders, I really made a lot of donation blocks throughout the weekend as well.

I have used a lot of 2.5″ squares this weekend and I am kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel. It is not a bad thing as I am using up pieces I might not normally use. I’ll have to cut some backgrounds soon, but I hope to work out some piecing so I can use some donation blocks from last year to make a new top.

More Donation Blocks

French Provincial donation block
French Provincial donation block

You’ll notice that this post is not about the #OnRingoLake mystery quilt project as you will find on many other sites today as people show their progress on Bonnie Hunter’s new mystery quilt.

Since I am still working on En Provence, I thought it was prudent to finish that before starting another mystery. I am reading and collecting the clues in case I change my mind.

While I was working on En Provence on Friday, I made some more donation blocks. I used the donation blocks as leaders and enders, of course.

I figured out that each donation block has 15 seams. I made about 6 in the course of several hours of sewing, which means I sewed somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 seams total. That is between the En Provence pieces and  the donation blocks. I did a couple of other things in between as well, so my total is probably a few more.

Of course, the seams are short, which means they are quick, but I am making progress.

 

I am feeling like I am running out of 2.5″ pieces in my donation bin from which to choose. I think it is just that I don’t have enough to make blocks from one color. I also think that some of the choices are not my favorites. I have a number of pieces left and will make an effort to use those up before I commit to cutting more.They are not ugly and someone will like them, so I will need to use them.

Color My Quilt-November

Color My Quilt - November - Melinda
Color My Quilt – November – Melinda

I started my contribution to the November Color My Quilt project for Melinda pretty soon after the October meeting. I meant to do more, but I just ran out of time.

Again, I used all scraps and did some Improv piecing. I was a little mean, but I couldn’t cut off that curve. It was part of the scrap that I used and I liked it. I am sure it will get cut off in the final piece, but perhaps Melinda will keep it.

The pieces have a fall-ish look, but are also bright.

November Color My Quilt Shards
November Color My Quilt Shards

The shards made hung together surprisingly well. I think the colors Melinda wanted were clearly defined and easy to use. There were lots  of blocks this time, which made me happy. Someone made a block using the method from Sarah Goer‘s class.

Even More Donation Blocks

Donation block, November 19, 2017
Donation block, November 19, 2017

As I said yesterday, I used donation blocks as leaders and enders. I only finished 2.5. After doing an inventory of the donation blocks I have made this year, I was determined to up my numbers.

I’d love to give Peggy and Michelle a nice little stack at the BAM Winter Extravaganza, but we will see.

I am trying to clear out my little bin of 2.5″ squares. Some have been hanging around for a long time and I am sick of looking at them. The group above are not any of those. I needed some nice fabrics to work with first.

Donation block #2, November 19, 2017
Donation block #2, November 19, 2017

I do worry about using non-white fabrics for backgrounds, though I do it anyway. I don’t want to say beggers can’t be choosers, but I do think it. I do firmly believe that other background fabrics thrown in make the blocks more interesting. Some of the background fabrics in the second image come from the appealing California fabric I bought at the Granary. These fabrics were also not the ones I was eager to move out of my bin.

Donation block #3, November 19, 2017
Donation block #3, November 19, 2017

Some of the red tones in the half made block are those that need to earn their keep in a donation quilt. I bought too much of those Joel Dewberry red-pinks at the top. They keep showing up and I need them out of my life. The two squares on top might be the last two, but I suspect another 1-2 squares are hiding from me, ready to pounce when I am least expecting it.

I’ll have at least three new blocks to give to the Charity Girls in a  few weeks and more, with any luck.

Stars #3 Quilted

Stars #3 Complete
Stars #3 Complete

I had a bonanza yesterday at the guild meeting. Gerre finished quilting Stars #3, which I was not expecting. Her finish meant I (we!) had something finished to show after all. I was really thrilled that she was able to finish it. I really enjoy collaborating with Gerre on projects.

She chose to do some straight line quilting, which I think was a good choice. This quilt will go off to its new home soon.

New Donation Top

This quilt top has a connection to two other quilts. One is the Carpenter’s Wheel. The other quilt to which this top has a connection is the Ends Donation Quilt.

Ends #2 Donation Top
Ends #2 Donation Top

This top is second in a series (yes, I see more in my future) of quilts made from the leftovers of quilts after they have been quilted. I made this top from the leftovers of the back after Colleen trimmed it.

The back of the Carpenter’s Wheel was pretty big so there was quite a bit leftover. This top is about 48×48. I am in the process of making the back and sewing leftover pieces of batting together. While I am very much into fabric buying, using every little bit really makes me happy.

Tim said that he would quilt it when I am done making the back. I love his quilting, so this is an awesome development.

Sarah Goer Class

Saturday I took a class through BAMQG with Sarah Goer. Sarah is a GREAT teacher and her class, Planned Improv, is fabulous. I liked it, mostly, because it was a design technique that I can use beyond the class. It is a technique that could be similar to using Electric Quilt, but sometimes I need to sit down with graph paper and scribble.

I went to class thinking that I would expand the technique and use it for one of the Niece-phews quilts, if it worked out. I had one nephew in mind, so I brought reds for the foreground and dark grey for the background. I thought I could make a pillow cover for a gift if i was not willing to commit to making a quilt using the technique.

The technique is great. Mary C asked me where this technique had been all her life and I wondered the same thing. Another thing I liked about this technique is that it isn’t quite improv, but it is not a buttoned up pattern either.

Planned Improv Class Block
Planned Improv Class Block

I am pleased with the way the block came out. I think it has potential for becoming a quilt.

The block is 25×24, so I don’t have to make many of them to have a large lap quilt. I have some squares cut, so I can make another block soon.

More Doing Good

As I have said a few times, I have a stack of donation blocks slated to make at least one donation quilt, but probably more. As a result, I should work  on that project rather that making new blocks. I don’t listen to myself. I have tons of 2.5″ squares handy. And I need leaders and enders periodically, so there you have it. And endless supply of blocks.

Blue & White Donation Block
Blue & White Donation Block

Lately, things have been no different. I have made a few as I have sewn En Provence. I need to cut some pieces for the Triple Star, which is why I haven’t been using those quilt blocks as leaders and enders.

I feel like I should just randomly select foreground colors and be done with it. That doesn’t work for me. I seem to have to carefully select all one color or similar colors to make a block. Not sure what is driving that (OCD on some level?). Still, I want to make pretty quilts to donate and this is part of how I do it.

Cotton & Steele Donation Block
Cotton & Steele Donation Block

I recently came across some beige Cotton & Steele 2.5″ squares and decided to make a block with them as the background.

I happened to place the dots so they were all moving in the same direction. On some level, it looks to me like the dots are flowing behind the foreground. The beige won’t go very well with the bright whites the guild usually uses, so I might have to pull some beige out of my bins and make several more blocks with a beige background. It would be nice clear out my beige, but not so nice to work with. Perhaps I won’t notice?

Donation block -pink/orange
Donation block -pink/orange

Finally, I had one under the needle. It was finished, but placeholding so I could start up again with no needle issues. There is a little violet, but most of this block is pinks and oranges. I am really liking that color combination at the moment.

Yes, I have another donation block on the wall even though I have a lot of other projects to use as leaders and enders. A good habit, I guess.

What Else We Did at the BAMaQG Retreat

BAM 2017 Scrap Attack
BAM 2017 Scrap Attack

I wasn’t the only one busy at Retreat. A lot of charity blocks and tops were made. People also worked on their own projects.

MassDrop gave the guild a bunch of fat quarter packs to use to make charity quilts. The group did not disappoint. Right there, at least 5 were made. There were only about 4 packs left at the end of the day on Sunday, so I think others are in process.

Yellow Donation Quilt
Yellow Donation Quilt

Gerre had taken my Yellow Donation quilt and quilted it. She was working on the binding on Friday at the Retreat. She finished it and, thus, finished the quilt at the Retreat. I was pleased that she had worked on the top I made. I always feel happy when Gerre and I collaborate, especially when she says nice things about my color combinations. 😉

Michelle S' map quilt
Michelle S’ map quilt

Michelle S was working on, what I think of as, a map quilt. She had a different name for it, but I thought the blocks looks like a map or aerial photo.

Retreat 2017 Workspace
Retreat 2017 Workspace

I didn’t take as many photos as I expected to. I was focused on sewing and getting as much done as possible. There was a lot of moving around to shared cutting tables and ironing stations. People were also very chatty and interested in what other people were working on. It is always interesting to be in a Retreat situation because you get to see how other people work, what they are working on and how they interact with other.

BAMaQG Retreat

I have discussed the Retreat in passing over and over, so finally decided that I should get around to writing about the retreat itself.

BAM 2017 Scrap Attack
BAM 2017 Scrap Attack

The Retreat started on Friday at 10am. Following along with our year long theme, Scrap Attack, the Retreat followed that them as well.

Before arriving at the Retreat, I went to the gym, ate breakfast and packed the car. I had two days at home alone (YM gone at school, DH on a NSGW trip) in the evenings during which I prepared and packed and organized. After leaving to go to the Retreat, we stopped at Always Quilting and The Granary. I wanted to find an open toe Acufeed foot for my Janome 6600. I planned to quilt the Thanksgiving tablemat and needed to see where I was going. The Acufeed foot that came with the machine is good, but not for seeing exactly where the foot is going or following a line. I didn’t get my hopes up for the foot to be available at Always Quilting and I wasn’t disappointed. I resolved to try to quilt the tablemat anyway.

We went to the Granary, because I like that store and SIL had never been there. I bought a couple of pieces of fabric, thinking I might make an extra Cell Phone Wallet with one of the pinks.

Sewing Nirvana?
Sewing Nirvana?

Then we headed the 8 or so blocks to the Wild Palms hotel and to sewing nirvana. We didn’t arrive until about noon, but we set up and got to work right away. Nirvana isn’t easy and setting up took some time.

Once I got set up, my first order of business was sewing together all seven Cell Phone Wallets I had cut out.

Lesson one for quilting retreat is prep your projects. Having several projects already cut out made my output much better than expected.

7 Cell Phone Wallets
7 Cell Phone Wallets

I had cut out seven Cell Phone Wallets from fabric leftover from dresses and tunics. I spent Friday making them. I didn’t think I would get as far as I did, but I was able to finish all except for weaving in the last two ends from top stitching. I was shocked that I even had time to turn the pieces. Turning these and poking out the ‘corners’ is not for the faint of heart. I rose to the challenge and got the job done. Now I am going to feel a lot more confident when wearing my dresses, skirts and tunics. I made all of these with D rings and will use the same chain for all of them. I also think I can use the black one with other black outfits.

Thanksgiving Table Mat
Thanksgiving Table Mat

Next, I started quilting the tablemat. 🙁 It didn’t work. I want to follow the lines of the leaves and other Thanksgiving motifs and I just couldn’t see where I was going. I ripped stitching out three times before I gave up. I would really like to get it done before Thanksgiving. Not only to I want to count the yardage as fabric used, I also want to have one less item on my to do list. I have ordered new feet from Sew Vac Direct, a suggestion from Gerre, so we will see.

Poolside Tote
Poolside Tote

No rest for the sad or wicked. I was determined to get as much done as possible. So, next up was the Poolside Tote. Not only had it been taking up horizontal surface space for a long time – ever since I cut it out at Scruffy Quilts back in May, but Tim and I had decided to work on ours together. Julie said she would make one as well, but she wasn’t at the retreat and I have only seen quilts coming out of her studio. You can read about the sewing, etc of this tote in the post from earlier in the week. I am not sure if I will make this tote again. I may need to as it is large and popular.

Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt
Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt

I worked on this all day Saturday and a little bit on Sunday morning. Next on the list was the Mostly Manor Lozenge quilt. I had the blocks made so all I had to do was sew them together. Lucky for me, the raffle prizes had all been given away (I won a charm pack of grey Northcott solids-YAY), so I had a table right behind me to use as design surface space.

I sewed fast and got this top done in a couple of hours. I used the Terrain donation blocks as leaders and enders.

In between everything I made three donation blocks. We received kits for 3 donation blocks in our goody bags. I didn’t have a lot of leaders and enders opportunities, so I rushed at the end to get these done. The Committee gave extra raffle tickets for handing in donation blocks and charity quilts and tops.

I really didn’t want to leave and stayed until the bitter end. The Retreat Committee did a great job organizing everything and I was thrilled to get so much done.

Terrain Donation Quilt to be

Well, I seem to be quite lackadaisical lately with the posts. I thought I would have more time this week and, apparently, didn’t. I was sewing, so there is that.

At the retreat, I started to sew together some Terrain rectangles I had laying around. You might remember that I made the Renewed Jelly Roll Race from this line of fabric. it started out as a disaster, and ended up pretty well after. At some point in dealing with the disaster, I must have cut up these rectangles, but I really don’t remember doing it. I especially don’t remember WHY I might have done it.

Regardless, they have been laying around bugging me. I brought them along to the retreat and when I was sewing the Mostly Manor Lozenge blocks together, I used these as leaders and enders.

Terrain Donation Quilt
Terrain Donation Quilt

At Craft Night on Monday we looked at different layouts and eventually settled on the one shown.

SIL and I are working on this together.

I brought some white for another project and we used a lot of it to make the background. SIL plans to quilt it.