I finished the Red Chunk Donation Top and back on Monday morning. Hooray!
I am pleased with how it came out. I thought the border was rather perfect. I would have preferred to have enough fabric, so I didn’t have to have different corners, but it looks nice, so it is all good.
Another top for the BAM Community Quilt Project and another 3 yards used up this year.
I wanted to look at these three quilts together. I can’t actually see them since I don’t have them anymore. I am interested in the differences in these tops as well as the similarities.
These tops display one reason why I love quiltmaking so much. Essentially, these are the same pattern. They, however, look very different. They don’t look so different that you can’t tell they are the same pattern, but they still look different enough for the viewer not to be bored.
Last month, the guild had another class with Sarah Goer. As you may recall, I took the Planned Improv class with her and really enjoyed the process as well as the end result. I also really like seeing people be excited about a class project.
Due to travel (did you see the Thimble Towne and Calico Mermaid reviews?), I wasn’t able to sign up. Although I was home, I would not have had time to pack for the second trip and I needed a bit of a breather. I still was able to admire the work of the other students at the guild meeting on the 18th.
Last year I let you know what projects I entered into the fair. I saw the post by accident and can’t really believe another year has gone by. I didn’t wait until the last minute this year. Cyndi was kind enough to collect a bunch of entries at the BAM meeting to take to the fair. I gave her mine since it is much easier to have someone else drop them off. I think I’ll have to give her a gift or take her to lunch, because she really does save me a lot of time and energy.
I didn’t enter as much this year as I only wanted the free tickets. I know it is pretty callous, but it is true. There are so many quilts in the pieced-by-one, quilted-by-another category that I have no hope ever of winning for a quilt. I can usually win in the paper category, but didn’t finish the piece that I started with Nancy and Maureen.
SIL2 figured out that the embellishment category was the least populated so we had the best chance of winning, thus I had incentive to finish Under the Sea.
Under the Sea was entered.
Since Metroscape is pretty unusual, in that I haven’t seen a lot of finished quilts using the Quick Curve Ruler, I thought I might have a tiny chance, despite it being in that overcrowded category.
I really ended up liking the Aqua-Red Sampler. It is a striking quilt. Though I have no hope of winning anything with it, I wanted someone to see it and entered it anyway.
I started it in 2014 with high hopes of having a fun joint experience with Julie. Of course, it was fun to work on it at the same time, but the whole experience was not that great. I had problems with my seam allowance. Coupled with the small pieces in a lot of the blocks, many of the blocks came out the wrong sizes. I think of myself as a competent piecer, so this problem was extremely frustrating especially when I couldn’t diagnose the cause of the problem.
Also, I do not like log cabin blocks. I don’t know what it is about them, but I don’t like them. This book had a ton of log cabin-like patterns. They just felt like torture to me.
I finally decided to suck up the suffering and get this off of my list. As you know, I worked on it at the CQFA Retreat and that event provided the hours I needed to get over the hump.
What makes this quilt is the quilting. Colleen outdid herself with masterful work. We have a true collaboration and it shows in this quilt.
You can find more posts about the making of this quilt by clicking on the City Sampler tag.
The other day I wrote about the Calico Mermaid. The second shop we visited was Thimble Towne. It was closer to the hotel, but we went to it second. I think SIL #2 was right in going to Porterville first. It was a long drive and I might not have done it if we had visited Thimble Towne first.
Thimble Towne is a large shop. They sell BabyLock sewing machines, have a large amount of fabric, embroidery designs and projects as well as notions and tools for both quiltmaking and embroidery.
It is nice to see shops with lots of fabric. Again, I didn’t buy anything, but I was tempted by some Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics.
I did like the embroidery patterns and projects. They had a number of ‘in the hoop’ patterns. I no longer have an embroidery machine, but I like the idea of embroidering something that can be immediately made into a project. The projects were small like key chains and change purses. I might like to have an embroidery machine available to me to make projects like this whenever I felt like it. I don’t want to invest in a machine, though.
The shop had a fair number of batiks. They didn’t have as many solids as I would expect, but, perhaps, they are not following trends like the Bay Area shops do. I saw a wide variety of fabrics and think that they do a good job catering to different types of quiltmakers.
The shop had a class sample for a travel notions tote. There was no pattern with it, but I am hunting for one, because it looked like a super useful bag.
I asked about a pattern and the shop owner (worker bee?) said that there was no pattern for sale, but that someone taught a class regularly on making the tote. This is not a convenient option for me, but I might try to collaborate with Lynette to make a pattern of our own. It might be a good bag to give to officers.
I worry that I just like the challenge of making the bag and don’t really want the bag. After all, I have the Tool Tote waiting to be filled. The tote at Thimble Towne has some very useful features, however, including a small pressing mat, many zipper pockets, slip pockets and mesh pockets. It might work well as small project tote – or a tote for various small projects. The tote has features that other bags I have made have. I think the construction may be similar to the All Rolled Up Tote, in part. The slip pockets and other pockets could be customized, but I have made similar ones before.
Thimble Towne also had a large classroom (sorry about the vacuum cleaner! I didn’t notice it until we were already gone). Not only is the classroom large, but it includes high quality chairs. I also saw cutting and ironing stations set at a good ergonomic height. The shop really takes good advantage of the space they have.
It seems like my donation quilts are coming back from the past. For me, once I give the top and back to someone else to quilt and bind, I am done with them and don’t really think about them anymore. Last week Kelly contacted me about a donation quilt and now another crops up.
The guild meeting was last Saturday and Cyndi was sitting near me. Peeking out of her bag was a quilt with some food fabric in it. I thought to myself, Oh! I used that fabric in the Food Quilts. It turned out Cyndi had finished a food donation quilt that I made in 2016. I didn’t even remember making it, but I looked it up and, yep, there it was. I know I made it to use up the fabric from the three food quilts.
I spent a happy afternoon on Sunday working on the Flying Geese Exchange quilt and the Red Improv Donation Top. The latter has exploded in size from the small piece it was when I last wrote about it to about 30 inches now.
I am thrilled to say that I am seeing the bottom of the red scrap drawer, too!
I used this project as leaders and enders for the Flying Geese Exchange. I wanted to concentrate on that one, but can’t work on it without leaders and enders.
Yes, I think I will call this quilt Flying Around.
I was sort of avoiding this project because it is hard. I had the first dedicated time in 2 weeks on which to work and I just decided to do it. Often I decide to sew two pieces together. Two pieces become two more and suddenly I am in the middle of it and enjoying myself. That is what happened on Sunday.
First, I was thrilled to be at my machine again. I loved the travel, but really missed sewing. I did bring some handwork with me, but just didn’t do it.
Second, I was excited to be making progress and I really felt like the part on which I worked just went together. That is not to say I don’t need to do some ripping, but this piece is difficult because I have an idea and not a pattern. Nobody is telling me how to piece it or which piece to put where. It is an intellectual challenge, but it is difficult.
I have to work on the edge of the upper right hand corner. It is off the design wall, so I haven’t concentrated on it. I will need to do so soon, though.
I love it when I get to see other people’s projects. Recently Mrs. K sent me a picture of her recent scrap quilt.
It looks like she sewed a lot of strips together to make larger chunks or blocks. The many colors makes this very cheerful.
I asked her what was her inspiration and she wrote “YOU were my inspiration with your blue and white 16 block squares and charity quilts. I started doing leaders and enders. One time I was sewing somewhere and didn’t have my little box of squares, so I collected other peoples small scraps and just started sewing them together as my leaders and enders.
I recently returned from a week in the beautiful Central Valley where I attended the Native Sons of the Golden West Grand Parlor. Grand Parlor is the organization’s statewide convention. As you may remember, my DH was Grand President in 2016-2017, so he is now a Past Grand President. He has a lifetime vote, which is one reason he enjoys attending. I enjoy seeing some of the ladies I have met in the past. Mostly, I go because DH and I get to spend a dedicated week together. I have gotten him interested in audiobooks, so we listen and have book discussions on the drives.
What I enjoy when I go on these trips with him is visiting quilt shops. While I didn’t buy anything (shocking, I know), I did visit two shops. Somehow I missed the outside sign in this photo. Not sure what I was doing.
The Calico Mermaid is in downtown Porterville. It was about 45 minutes from where we were staying in Visalia. Google Maps got us there, though some of the roads seemed a little odd. Also, not all of the roads have street signs so we had to go on faith a little bit.
The shop is very bright and cheerful. I think it was all painted white and the shelves were see through metal. The wooden shelves were white. The local area was very bright, but the decor and furnishings of the store made it light-filled.
In the photo, left, you can see the umbrella, which I thought was a unique and fun touch.
There was a lot that I liked in the store. I was particularly drawn to the area with violets this time. I am not sure why. That isn’t a color I use particularly, but I saw some fabrics I would have purchased. I didn’t feel like I was in the mood. I was also thinking of my fabric spreadsheet and how much I have used recently.
I felt like they had a lot of fabrics. In addition to the violets, there was a great shelf of dots that was very tempting.
The shop had a wide variety of notions and patterns. I didn’t see a lot of bag patterns, but, perhaps, I missed those? My SIL was my partner in crime on this outing and she was able to find some nice fabrics.
There was a class going on. It was some kind of finishing class or UFO class. The people were laughing a lot and it seemed like they were getting things done. I am a big fan of quilt shops using their classrooms. Finishing/UFO sew time are a really good way to get things done. Sometimes having people around really motivates me to make progress on my projects.
Visit the Calico Mermaid, Downtown Porterville’s Quality Quilt Fabric Shop
122 N. Main St
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 6, Sunday 1 – 5
I finally finished all of the blocks for the second Red Strip Donation Top. As mentioned before, not all of these scraps were strips, like in the Green Strip Donation Top. There are a lot of chunks. Perhaps I should call it the Red Chunk Donation top? That would differentiate it from the first one.
One of the things I like about working on a design wall is that I see different things after I put the blocks (or pieces) up. In this case, I saw that the quilt looked pretty good with thin white strips in between the blocks. I may cut strips and try that as a layout. I’d use cornerstones as well. More scraps to use up.
The quilt won’t end up as large as the Green Strip, the Purple Strip or the first Red Strip Donation quilts, but it will still be big enough for something. The layout will be a little different than the first red version.
I am still working on the second Red Strip Donation Top, but I needed a leaders and enders project, so I started on the red improv version of my series. Yes, I have a lot of red scraps.
This doesn’t look like much. I hope it will look like the center of the green improv donation top when I am finished. I haven’t taken out any yardage yet. I have some large strips in the drawer and am using those before I dig into yardage.
I want to use as many of the scraps as I can. Strangely, I am fascinated by how much I can make from a drawer full of scraps. I haven’t yet made anything with just the scraps. I always add yardage, but I am still making my way through the scraps.
Some time ago, I asked you to take a survey about the size of your scraps. This came back to mind as I work through the various scraps in my drawers. Thus, I finally took some time to look at the results.
Over 180 of you responded. WOW! Thanks. Sadly, 97 of you also skipped the one question I asked, thus I had 83 usable results.
I was really surprised to find that almost 60% (49.8) of you keep scraps larger than 3″. Now, I have some scraps that are large from awhile ago, but these days I make a big effort to only save scraps that are smaller than 3 inches. As you know, I cut up anything larger into usable patches. When in doubt I cut pieces up for donation quilts. I am curious about what you think are scraps and how you plan to use them. Please leave a comment to let me know.
There are no wrong answers and we each have our systems. I think we can learn from each other by understanding how we work.