Saturday, February 27, 2021

Crazy Yellow

Moving on with my 52 Weeks of Scrappy Triangles (pattern and tutorial by Leila Gardunia), I've finished my yellow month for Rainbow Scrap Challenge with my yellowish blocks. Wow, this is going to be a crazy quilt. I wonder what I'll end up doing for those big background triangles. It's really too early to start thinking of that. 


I didn't have as many multicolored fabrics with yellow as I thought I did, but I did find bits and then just filled in with basically yellow fabrics. My favorites are in the upper right corner block--those blue strips with tiny fish were actually two different print fabrics. Took a little fussy cutting to make sure the yellow fish showed up. 

Here are the yellows with their pink mates:

Crazy, huh? 
Another random layout:


Who knows how this will end up over time? (And now I've just wasted a bunch of time trying to figure out the punctuation of that last sentence/question. Was I asking a question? I wasn't expecting an answer. But I digress. We all know my grammar and punctuation are mushy at best anyway.) There are some fairly large triangles in there. If they stand out too much later, maybe I'll add in a bit more fabric to make them smaller, but we'll see. This will change significantly as the colors get added in throughout the year. 

I know I had high hopes for using up my multi-colored scraps, but these really don't put a dent in that bin. Recently one of our local fabric stores showed all the placemats they've been collecting in the past year to give to recipients of Meals on Wheels. I'm thinking I might start making some of those. They don't have to be in sets so really any fun improv piecing and fabrics will work. I have some quilts ready to send out as donations, and I will continue to make those, but with the rising costs of sending quilts long-distance, I've been thinking I need to find some organizations to donate to closer to home. This seems like fun and will use up a lot of odd pieces of batting, too. So perhaps I will add those little projects into my quilting this year.

My other little monthly task, if you remember, is upping my fabric supply with the color of the month. Here's this month's batch. 


I have a lot of beloved yellows so I didn't really need them, but I did add some goldish yellows as well as a couple colorful low volumes. We'll pretend that that bottom one has yellow in it. It's actually a lime green but I couldn't pass it up. Just as I did last month (not really planned), I purchased these from Lark Cottons. I like that I can put together my own FQ bundle, and that the selections are not overwhelming to sort through.

So that's February. What a long short month it has been. We have had snow on the ground the entire month. Kind of unusual in recent years, but similar to what I remember from my childhood. Not sure if those memories are accurate, but I do remember wearing snow pants and boots, and sometimes black "stretch pants" under our dresses because we girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school. Fun memory: at the end of recess, the custodian (probably our favorite staff person at school) would stand just inside the door with a big soft broom, and as we filed in from the playground, he swept all the snow off of us so we wouldn't walk it into the halls and classrooms. We thought it was great fun, although it might be frowned on today. Then we lined up all of our wet mittens and hats on the heating system blowers to try to dry them out before the next recess. What a stink of wet wool! I thought of all that the other day when I was trying to sweep a load of snow off our porch. Now you know I'm an oldie. "When I was young" and all that. 

During the last few days, we've had melting. I went out on the porch in my socks and without a jacket to take a photo. I could smell things again and hear birds, and dripping! Yay!
We went for a walk to the old gravel pit near our neighborhood. There is still ice, but it looks a little soft. There was only one fishing shanty left and the current of the stream flowing out was fast.


I haven't minded being inside and sewing this month, but signs of spring are nice. We did have a power outage for about 10 hours on Monday. We usually get these when there is no explainable weather-related reason for them. The official word was "equipment failure" that affected much of our part of town. This one started in the middle of the night, which is not good because we keep our thermostat set quite low at night, so there was no residual heat from the daytime. The worst thing was that there must have been a power surge because it set off all of our smoke detectors and they wouldn't shut off. Standing on a chair in the cold dark in the middle of the night taking them down from the ceiling and removing the backup batteries is not fun. (Well it wasn't fun for my husband. I just held my cell phone up for some feeble light because I didn't have the presence of mind to pick up the flashlight next to my bed.)  We piled on the afghans and went back to bed, and then bundled up with layers, afghans and quilts in the morning to wait for the electricity to come back. Usually in a situation like this, I go immediately to the treadle sewing machine because I like the smugness of being able to sew during a power outage. But it was just a bit too uncomfortable this time. The one good thing was that when we lose power in the winter, we don't have to worry about losing refrigerated food. If it had gone on longer than it did, we would have just put the food in the garage. So that was our excitement for the week. It made me feel so bad for people in other parts of the country who have gone much, much longer without electricity or water and who now have damaged homes and businesses to repair. 

Our other excitement this month has been getting our first vaccination doses. My husband got his a few weeks ago and I got mine on Thursday. We are really happy with the way our county has been working hard to get essential workers and people in our age group vaccinated. There were so many volunteers working cheerfully and efficiently in the clinic that was set up. I'm dreaming of a bit more freedom in coming weeks, although we will continue to follow guidelines for keeping others safe.

I've been deep in my blue fabrics during the past couple of weeks. I was sure I could use up all my blues on a fairly good sized lap quilt. Ha! As if that would ever happen. I just finished the top a few minutes ago. Now to figure out a backing and how to quilt such an unusual top.

I hope you have had time to sew scraps or otherwise this month. I also hope you have been free from weather-related disasters or have been able to recover from them, and that you are seeing a reason for optimism in vaccination roll-outs. 


Stay safe!

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Valued Bear Paws

This year, in addition to making any quilts that choose me (you never know what's going to come up), I'm planning to supplement all those Bear Paw blocks I made as part of the Quilters Color Quest last year. If you recall, there were lots of versions of blocks in many styles/colors of fabric according to various prompts over the course of the workshop. They were all fun to make, but didn't all mesh well with each other, at least in my eyes. So this year I'm making more (yes, making Bear Paws is like eating potato chips--you can't stop at just one) to fill out the blocks for a variety of quilts. At least that's the plan at this moment. 
Because it was easy, I started with a simple plan of a quilt using two values of one color in each block. I had a few blocks as seeds for the quilt, and then it was just a matter of dragging out every tone-on-tone fabric in my drawers and pairing things up. Oh, and dragging out all the low-volumes/whitish solids I could find. What a mess!! A fun mess, though. I completely forgot to take photos of just which blocks I started with (probably only about four), and in the end I wasn't paying so much attention to whether there was a lot of contrast in the values of each block. I was just having fun pairing things up. Because I wanted to focus on color and value, I tried to leave out highly figured fabrics as much as possible. To each of the six-inch blocks, I added two strips of very low volume fabric to make 8-inch blocks. This makes a small lap size quilt that is preferred by my favorite agency for quilt donations. The most interesting thing to me is how those low volumes that looked pretty much alike while I was sewing them cast different subtle value changes across the quilt when viewed in sunlight.
I did need to buy some fabric for the backing. I have really enjoyed making pieced backings from leftovers/scraps over the years, but recently, that requires a lot of work because my available pieces are getting smaller and smaller. So I have been purchasing either wide backings or sale yardage. And even more recently, I've been purchasing them online for local pickup. For this quilt I browsed through the available sale fabrics at my chosen website until I saw that cute floral print on the right. It reminded me of a Liberty print, minus the luscious feel, of course, but still, so lovely and cheerful. I thought I was done looking, but then I had second thoughts. What if it didn't look the same in person? I kept scrolling through available choices. Oh, my! That fabric on the left. It took me right back to high school. I just had to have it, even though I knew there would be a dilemma over which one to use. 

I spend a lot of time laying my options over the quilt top. Dither, dither. One fabric picked up on the lighter fabrics of the top.

The other picked up on jewel-toned blocks.

In the end, I trusted my first impulse and went with the floral. I have all kinds of ideas running through my head for the 70's style print. I'm thinking pairing it with bright solids would be fun. 
Isn't it interesting how the repeat in a pattern causes a grid when you view the fabric from far? It's just a little off from square, but no one sees that when the quilt is in use. I did manage to piece a seam to match the pattern.

I knew when I pieced the quilt that I wanted it to be quick and easy. To me that means meandering in the background. Few stops and starts and fewer threads to bury. Plus, it's relaxing for me. Everything went well for a bit. Then my machine started to skip stitches about every three or four inches. I had just given it a spa treatment, so I couldn't figure out the problem. I put in a fresh needle (twice), rethreaded, found a little chunk of lint in my feed dogs, reset the bobbin, changed the bobbin, tried again and again, and...still skipping. So much for having few threads to bury. There were lots of stops and starts to pick out stitches. Then I noticed that the problem happened mostly when I was sewing over one kind of low volume strip. It was a prepared-for-dying fabric that was a little heftier than my other fabrics. I had used that fabric in another quilt last year and had no problem with the quilting, but I was using a walking foot that time, not FMQ. So I replaced my usual 90/14 topstitch needle with a denim needle, and voila! Problem solved! The needle made quite a racket puncturing the quilt, but I was so happy that it was sewing well again, I didn't mind. In no time at all the background quilting was finished. 

But what to do for the paws? For some reason, I wanted to do something different. When I made the blocks I pressed the claw seams open. I'm not sure why I did that, but it sort of eliminated in-the-ditch quilting for me as i don't like to sew in the seamline on open seams. I don't like in-the-ditch anyway, as I find it boring. So I decided to quilt about a 1/4-inch away around the blocks. With a walking foot because I don't do straight line FMQ well. Kind of a dumb idea. You can imagine how many times I had to spin the quilt to do that. I did figure out a way to do the whole block without breaking thread because, you know, I was trying to do this quick and easy. And it really didn't take all that long after all. But then, the middle of the paw. I had to do something there. I looked at gorgeous quilting by talented quilters online and must have drawn a zillion designs with pencil and paper. I was over with walking foot quilting. I still wanted something quick with few thread breaks. I finally came up with a stylized leaf. I wasn't happy with it, but by now, the quilt was no longer quick, so I just went with it. I'm okay with the overall look, but if quick and easy was my top priority, I should have just meandered the whole quilt and been done. Will I remember this next time? Who knows. But I've recorded it here as a reminder to my future self. 

So, here's how it all turned out. It's really fine, and definitely doesn't take itself too seriously. 

And I love the texture of the back.

I sneaked my initials and the year into the bottom right corner, using my washout marker. (After washing, it just becomes part of the texture unless you know where to look for it.)

Here are some close-ups.


And some with a glimpse of the scrappy binding. I cut lengths of about 8 inches (about 10 inches for the ones at the corners) from leftover paw fabrics in an attempt to reduce my scrap fabrics even more.


After years of binding with 2-1/2 inch strips, I had more recently been trying to make more modern narrow bindings, but my corners always looked rounded and "thick." Lately, I have realized that 2-1/2 inches is the sweet spot for me to get sharp corners, so that's my habit now. On quilts that have block points at the edge of the quilt, I cut my backing and batting about 1/8 inch outside of the top, and then I sew my binding with a scant 3/8-inch seam allowance. This keeps most block points intact, or close to it.

February has been a cold and snowy month for us. But yesterday, we had brilliant sunshine with no wind. So of course, I had to brave the cold not only for my usual garage photos, but a glamour session in the snow. Our front yard was pristine--not even marred by bunny tracks. So I tried. I really tried. I thought I could fling the quilt smoothly onto the snow. Except. One corner folded over. So those holes you see are my tracks from galumphing around to adjust things. Oh well. We'll celebrate snowy glamour shots anyway.



Here are the stats:
Pattern: Bear Paws; layout was based on a quilt pattern at Generations Quilt Patterns
Fabrics: Scraps from many years of quilt-making; backing is a Keepsake Calico (I think) from Joann. 
Batting: Hobbs Premium 80/20
Thread: Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; Superior King Tut in White Linen for quilting; A heavy glace finish hand quilting thread that's no longer made (sigh) for hand sewing the binding.
Binding: 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back. 
Size: 48 1/2 by 56 1/2 inches before quilting; 47 1/2 by 55 1/4 inches after quilting; 44 5/8 by 51 5/8 inches after washing on cold and machine drying on low.
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for free motion and walking foot quilting and the machine work on the binding.

Indoors, after washing


This quilt will join two others I made in the last months for donation. 

Now I'm taking a little break from Bear Paws. Today I'm cutting up blue fabric that will put a big dent in the scraps. My pattern is one I got in a giveaway last year. It is the quilt that has chosen me this month. Stay tuned...


How are your scraps doing? 

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 







 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Pinkish

Happy new year of projects. I'm not really sure where I'm going, but I am pressing on. I'm starting with some small projects, one of which will continue little by little all year.

I did not participate in Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) at So Scrappy last year, choosing instead to focus on the Rachel's Quilter's Color Quest. This year, I'm going to sorta, kinda participate in RSC. I plan to make a Year of Scrappy Triangles, a tutorial by Leila Gardunia from 2017. These are 6-inch (finished) foundation paper pieced patterns, one block each week for 52 weeks. Here are my blocks for January (not trimmed down all the way):


The RSC color for this month is pink. Now, you can see that many of my scraps in these blocks are not pink. But look closer. Every patch has pink in it. My plan is to try to use up some of my multi-colored fabric scraps from my overflowing bin. The bin holds not only single scraps but some cut-off bits of blocks with more than one fabric. That's the bin on the upper left. The plastic punch bowl has a subgroup of those scraps that have pink in them. 

 
My "rules" for these blocks is to use as many multi-colored scraps as I can to make my blocks and then fill in with other scraps and pieces from my stash (which really could also be called scraps as most of the fabrics are much less than a quarter yard). For these pinkish blocks, I managed to use a different fabric for each patch. (That might not be possible every month.) I don't know yet what I will do for the other half of each block. I think I need to see how these go for the next few months before I decide. I'm also not sure how closely I'll follow the color for each month. I'm going to be flexible--maybe some months I'll check out the Monthly Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen and throw that color in as well or instead of.

But wait. There's more. I'm really, really tired of my old stash, so to perk myself up, I'm going to treat myself to some brand new fabrics in the color of the month, building a collection of some fun modern prints as well as some colorful low volumes, all quarter-yard cuts (unless I see something that I simply must have more of). This month I found these fat quarters at Lark Cottons:


I'm tempted to use them in my scrappy triangles, but I think I'll stick to the fabrics I already had on hand for those. Just going to pet those new ones for a bit.

This month, I also made a bunch of Bear Paw blocks in two-value combinations, and pieced a top from them and others I made last year for the Quilter's Color Quest. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of all the new blocks.) I added in some low volume strips to bring the blocks from 6 inches to 8 inches, and then joined 48 blocks to make a quilt top. Here are a couple pink blocks from that project.



That quilt is basted, and I started quilting it this week. I got slowed down by a pesky stitch-skipping problem. After a lot of trouble-shooting, I finally put in a denim needle, and it worked, although it sure does make a racket munching into the fabric. I'll share more about the quilt when it's finished. 

I'm linking up this week with Angela at So Scrappy for Scrap Happy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap on Sunday.

I'm looking forward to digging in the scraps again next month and checking out some modern new fabrics in the next color. I'm wondering, do you find you need something to perk yourself up this year? If so, what works for you?

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Happy Wholecloth Flowers

Hello, 2021. Can you believe some quilters have new finishes to share already this year? That's amazing. I have a finish to share, but it's really the last finish of last year. I shared one photo of it in my 2020 wrap-up post, but didn't have time to get a post together for it, so here it is again.

Looks wonky; just the breeze
During November I had the thought that I might be able to eek out just one more quilt. I had a two-yard length of fabric I had bought as a souvenir at a Ben Franklin store on vacation in October 2017. I love Ben Franklin (think five and dime store, variety store...much cooler than a dollar store), but they are few and far between in my state now, so shopping there for fabric was high on my list of vacation activities.

I knew immediately how I wanted to quilt this fabric, but it took me this long to get to the quilt. I wanted to make it just a bit wider than the fabric, and when searching around in my bins, I discovered that I had a bunch of solids that were in the same color families as the fabric. And I don't even have that much solid fabric. There must be a connection between those pieces and this print. Are these "my" colors?
I used newsprint (packing) paper to foundation piece 1-inch (finished) piano keys for the borders. I didn't feel like planning corners so I just attached the strips and used a partial seam to finish it all off. 

I am still not real comfortable going into a retail store, but I did not have fabrics on hand that might work for a quick, easy backing. The next best thing was to search online for fabric immediately available for curbside pickup at Joann. My first choice would have been a local independent store, but they don't have a big online presence at this time. (I hope that might improve in the future, but I know that's hard for small stores.) You can not imagine how long it took me to look at (agonize over) every bit of fabric, squinting at or enlarging to try to determine how the colors and prints might look in real life. I fancied a small print multicolored floral, but of course, that was just a fantasy given what was available. I finally settled on a mottled yellow print.
It was described as a floral print, although I couldn't see that on my screen, and the colors sort of vibrated between yellow and orange. I took a leap of faith that that might translate to a goldish, cheddary (not lemon!) yellow. I was thrilled when the fabric was just as I envisioned it when I picked it up. The flowers just show up as texture, but it works well with the front of the quilt.
I knew that I would be tempted to over-quilt this, but I wanted to keep it a soft and not too lengthy project. All of the quilting is following the shapes. I tried to follow as close as I could, but did not obsess about it, so there are lots of wobbles--enough to keep it playful. 
I started with the shapes of the biggest flowers, then the tan leaves, and finally the interiors of the biggest flowers and some of the ladybugs. I was tempted to outline some of the small flowers, but wasn't sure how to keep myself from doing all of them, so I stopped. My freemotion quilting is a little rusty. I don't do it as much as walking foot quilting these days, and my stitches were a bit tiny, but the machine has a great stitch (tension is just perfect), so it still looks good.

I puzzled over the border a bit. I get bored quilting in the ditch, so I did not want to do that. I thought of a vine with leaves, but wanted it to be even simpler. Then I remembered that I had some very old cardstock stencils from back in my hand-quilting-only days. The biggest one just happened to be the width of the border.
I used to carefully measure and plan these kinds of borders to go around corners with symmetry, but not this time. Following the borders in the same style as they were attached was easier and had a more modern vibe. 
I used my hera marker for the lines, which worked well on the solids. And the soft December light by my window was just right to see the lines as I quilted with my walking foot. I left the last bit of border clear for my initials and the date.
(before washing, the washout marker shows)

When planning the size of the quilt, I made sure to allow enough fabric for the binding. I love pieced scrap bindings, but again, in the interest of a quickish finish, a single fabric was preferable, and the big print achieves the same purpose of varied colors. 

I took my time with the piecing and quilting, but it could have been a very quick project. I know that I will keep my eye open for other very large print fabrics to do this again because it was really fun. Minimal piecing, minimal marking, loosey goosey quilting, easy backing, along with a fun print--who doesn't love that?! (The only thing I might have done differently was center the main fabric vertically so those big bottom flowers weren't cut off in an awkward spot.)This quilt is going to be set aside with another similar-sized quilt until I have one more, and then I'll ship them off as a donation. 

Here's a gallery of photos after washing. I tried and tried to get good photos in the sun, but our weather has been fickle. The sun would peep out, I'd run out and get set up and then it snuck back behind the clouds. But I did get a few.




Where's the sun?


I did find some sunshine for a few seconds through the living room window.

Here are the stats for this one: 
Pattern: Wholecloth with piano key border
Fabrics:  Free Mind by Hoodie Crescent for Newcastle Fabrics; various solids, mostly Kona, but some others, too; probably a perennially-available Keepsake Calico fabric from Joann
Batting: Hobbs Premium 80/20
Thread: Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; Superior King Tut in White Linen for quilting; Yellow, hefty hand quilting thread from my drawer (the label is gone, but it's got a nice glace finish)
Binding: 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back. 
Size: 48 1/2 by 60 1/2 inches before quilting; 47 3/4 by 59 3/8 inches after quilting; 44 by 55 3/4 inches after washing on cold and machine drying on low.
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for free motion and walking foot quilting and the machine work on the binding.
So that's a final wrap on 2020. After the week we just had in my country, I truly wonder what awaits us in 2021. Quilting will continue to be needed as a balm, I think. I gave my two machines a spa treatment this week while I was between projects. Then I started a new project, a Year of Scrappy Triangles, 52 patterns by Leila Gardunia. I think (hope) I can handle one block a week. That's all I'm going to say about it right now. I'll tell you about my "rules" for these blocks after I have a few made.  

Have a safe, healthy new year, and keep quilting!


(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Summing Up, Pressing On

Well, you know what kind of year we've had. That makes it all the more fitting to sum up our quilting projects--all those things that brought creativity, color, comfort and light to our lives. I'm joining in with Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs for the Best of 2020 Linky Party


I think we are supposed to link up the best 5 posts by whatever criteria we wish to use, but since this also is a wrap-up of the year for me, I've decided to link up all my finishes. Don't worry, there aren't that many. It just so happens that there were 5 months when I posted finishes, so I'll divide them up that way. 

My year started really slowly, but little by little I did make progress. Finishes didn't happen until July!! But then they came pretty fast. So let's take a quick look. If you'd like to read more about them, you can click on the links, or for all of them at once, click on the Finishes for 2020 label either on the right side bar or at the bottom of this post. I'll include a few attributions here, but for full info, you can see the individual posts. 

July. Whew! I finally finished the quilts from the blocks I made throughout 2019 for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge hosted by Angela at So Scrappy. 

This Crumb block quilt had been a bit of a drag for me. I found out I didn't really like making crumb blocks, but I stuck with it, making blocks in colors to match the background fabric which I had purchased at the beginning of the year. I'm pleased with the end result, but that's probably the end of my crumb-making career. The quilt is destined for donation, but I'm holding on to it a bit longer while I gather together a few more quilts of similar size. 

The other RSC19 quilt was yet another Butterfly Quilt (I can't stop making them) made from Butterfly Dance Mini by Ellis and Higgs. I made it my own by doing the pattern 14 times and string piecing the butterfly wings. I recently gave this quilt to my Dad to give his neighbor for Christmas. She's been really watching out for him this year, bringing him meals and treats and getting his mail for him every day, and he wanted to thank her for her friendship and support. 

September I finished three quilts in September. Two were almost identical quilts. I had picked away at them for much of the year, making the blocks for each simultaneously. One was a very late wedding present, and the other was to be an entry to an art show at our church that was cancelled because of the pandemic.


For these Colorado quilts, I used a columbine pattern from Ruth B. Mc Dowell's Pieced Flowers book. The rest of the patterns were my own paper pieced designs.The wedding quilt  was gifted as a house-warming quilt. I still have the other quilt for now.

During the first part of the year, I participated in the Quilter's Color Quest online workshop by Rachel Hauser to follow her book the Quilter's Field Guide to Color. Each month we made Bear Paw blocks according to some aspect of color. One month we were to base our blocks on an inspiration piece of our own choosing. 

Mine was a photo of coleus plants I had potted in the spring. Before I knew it, my Bear Paw blocks became a squirrel, and I just had to make a wall quilt for my stairway. By the end of September, I had a new Bear Paw Coleus quilt. I like it so much that I still have it displayed (in a different part of my home, now that coleus season is past).

October I try to always have some kind of hand work around to work on. I pieced an old-fashioned hollyhock quilt in 2017 using a pattern from Ruth B. McDowell's Pieced Flowers, and then took it with me to hand quilt whenever I went out of town. 

This quilt has seen a lot of vacations. But not this year. So I made a goal to finish it during our unlimited at-home time. Most of the quilting is visible only as stippled texture. It was a relaxing project. I plan to hang it in my living room in the summer, but for now it is in my quilting room just because I like looking at it, and it didn't seem right to put it in storage after finally completing it.  

November Ah, the month of the wild Jelly Roll Stroll quilt.  

This quilt was a blast to make. I used gifted ombre fabric from Louise who quilts at My Quilt Odyssey and made a variation of the Nines in the Middle pattern by Doris Rice. It was just the infusion of colorful brightness needed near the end of the year no one expected. Due to my wayward disregard for pattern directions, this quilt also gave me just the amount of challenge I needed to keep me enthusiastic about sewing a jelly roll. This quilt is in the donation pile, waiting for a few more companion quilts before it goes on its way. 

December I thought I was done for the year, but a piece of fabric I bought on vacation a few years ago kept calling to me, and this afternoon it became a quilt finish! I'll just include one picture in this post, and give it its own post next week. I love this fabric!!


So, to sum up, 8 quilts finished in 2020. Not bad in a year we'd rather forget for so many reasons.There were other projects: a fun fleece pillow with my granddaughter before the year went all haywire, masks (ugh), a sail-making project for a family-made model sailboat, oodles of Bear Paw blocks during the Quilters Color Quest workshop, and Christmas stocking stuffer ornaments and pillowcases for my Grands. The two most important projects to keep me quilting during the first half of the year when I had little desire or energy for creative projects were the workshop and the two Colorado quilts. As it turned out, creative projects were just what I needed. 

If there's a silver lining to quilting during a pandemic (besides the therapeutic benefits), I did learn some new things. For example, I know now that I can order fabric online and be fairly certain it will look the way I envision it. (Many quilters are already experienced at online shopping, but I have a hard time buying fabric that I can't see and feel, so this was a time-consuming skill for me to learn.) I can also carefully shop online for fabrics that are available at the local big box store and make do even if they aren't exactly what I was looking for, so that I can pick them up curbside and not wait for a mail delivery. I can go into a fabric store, and instead of dithering for an hour or more, I can make up my mind in the 15 minutes I give myself to mix in with other shoppers (in masks). And, of course, I can always make use of what I have on hand. 

This bedroom here: this is what happens when no one sleeps in the guest/quilting room for a whole year. 

The punch bowl is my garbage bowl for tearing foundation papers out.

But there are lots of potential projects here. Some new fabrics acquired over the year, including a bunch of low volumes with perky prints; many, many more Bear Paws to coordinate with all the ones I made this year for scrap quilts; some patterns I've been mulling over. I do need to come up with a hand work project. (Right now I'm trying to knit slippers, but that will fizzle in its attractiveness if I can't make them fit.) I will probably need to make a quilt top to hand quilt at some point so I'll have something to work on if/when we feel safer to vacation again. I'll keep working with these to stay creative no matter what 2021 throws at us. Beyond that, my plans are mushy as usual.  

This was a lighthearted look-back, but really 2020 was heavy in so many ways. It was hard for the whole world, but in my very limited experience, I can only speak from my perspective in my country, which faced unimaginable health, political, social and economic devastation. I fear that we will not learn the right lessons from this year. I look ahead to 2021 with hope, but I think, given the circumstances, we may need to just press on. Things aren't going to be magically rosy simply because the calendar changes. So that's what I intend to do: press on, remembering that quilting is therapeutic, fulfilling and joyful and will make the pressing on doable. I hope you will be able to do the same. Blessings to you in the new year.

 (Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)