Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Three Kinds of Progress

Last week on Instagram I noticed some neat blocks being made by quilters for Leanne of Devoted Quilter. She had reported that the senior citizen residence across the street from her home had burned down resulting in the loss of everything for 21 people. You can read her post about it here. Wanting to make a quilt for each of the residents, she put a call out for donations of the 882 blocks she needed. That's a lot of blocks! I figured it would take her awhile to collect that many. I made up my mind to make some and planned to start working on them the day after Easter. They seemed like a perfect DrEAMi project. 

After rummaging in my fabrics Monday morning, I decided to check with her about what types of blocks she still needed. I had some gender-neutral fabrics, but also some that might be more appealing to men or to women. Imagine my surprise when I went to her blog and found that she had updated it to say that except for some backing and batting, all she needed had been pledged!!! I was bummed! My little contribution wouldn't be needed after all. I spent the next hour at loose ends. What would I do that day? Then it came to me. I shouldn't be disappointed at all. In just a few days' time, quilters from all over had responded to reach what seemed like a daunting goal. Isn't that awesome? 

So now I'm back working on my Deconstructed Coins quilt aka my improv quilt. You can read more about it here and here. Since my last post, I added some little vertical strips along the right side of each little block. I needed to do something to increase the total width of the quilt, and that seemed like a fun solution. In a comment to my last post, Louise from My Quilt Odyssey suggested trying some navy blue to set off the prints. I just happened to have a good-sized piece of Kona Prussian, so I started playing with it. Well, first I played with my Quiltography app.
Then I tried a version with my fabrics. 

I like it. I'll wait to figure out exactly how to do the solid bits between the print rows, but I've been sewing navy pieces on to each of the printed bits. Here's how they look so far:

I've got the third row almost done. There will be five print rows in all. The quilt will actually be a rectangle--wider than it is long as it is meant to be a sort of shawl worn during therapy sessions at a counseling center. 

This quilt may look more planned than improv, but I'm not using a pattern. I have used a ruler to cut the thin solid strips (1 inch unfinished), but placement of the strips in the middle of the blocks and the distance of displacement of the blocks to make the jagged navy edge is random. To add the navy, I lined up and sewed the top and bottom edges of printed blocks along width-of-fabric navy strips, and then cut them apart and staggered them when I sewed them back together. Sorry, no picture of that. Maybe I can include one in the next post. 

Thanks to Louise for the idea of using navy to calm down the "mess" I was working with when I last posted. I liked the pastel nature of what I had been working with, but it was too muddled, and the navy brings some order to it all. The virtual layout really helped me visualize how this might look, even though the actual quilt won't be as uniform in design. 

So that is the progress I've made in quilting this week. But here's some other progress that I'm excited to share:

After 7 1/2 months of recovery and rehab for my broken shoulder, I'm back on my bike!! I had to buy a new bike because during a spring tune-up, our bike mechanic discovered a crack in the frame of my old one that happened during the accident. It couldn't be fixed. I decided to get a "step through" bike. (I'm not getting any younger, and this makes me feel a little more secure.) I'm still working on rotator cuff issues in therapy, but I can ride again. (Rotator doesn't seem to be much required for bike riding--at least I hope so.) So far, I've just been riding around the neighborhood building up stamina and confidence, but it's going well. And I'm being very careful to not ride distracted. 

And one more sign of progress--spring! Here are some quick photos around the yard this week:
"Nature's first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold..." One of my favorite poems by Robert Frost. Our trees are waking up.

There is some de-grassing to be done...but the flowers are so cute!!

I'm linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts this week for Let's Bee Social. And I'm going to keep my eye on Devoted Quilter over the next few weeks to see all of those wonderful donated blocks come together for her special quilt project. She may still need some backing and batting, but you might want to contact her to be sure if you're thinking you might like to contribute.


Bernie Kringel said...

Well, I was thinking the same thing, that I would make a few blocks for Leanne. I saw her postings on IG last week while I was busy staring at my grand baby. I figured I would get to it this week when I got home. I should have known she would have more than she needed by now. Lots of generous quilters out there.
I am so happy to see you back on your bike. Your quilt is coming along nicely and your spring blooms are lovely. :-)

Linda said...

Yay on your bike! I like step-through bikes also - always have. My kids call it the Mom bike - lol. Well it's what I grew up on, and it's comfortable!
Your improv quilt looks wonderful - love the navy!

Louise said...

I'm so glad the navy blue worked for your coin quilt! I love it with those softer colors in the coins. And I'm curious to see how you join the rows together.

Congrats on getting back on your bike! That must feel really good. I admit I haven't ridden mine since my rotator cuff problems, but not because of my shoulder. We just haven't been anywhere that we offloaded the bikes in a long time. I'm glad to hear that your shoulder isn't bothered by riding, that's encouraging to me, too.

I agree that it's really amazing and wonderful how quickly Leanne got the blocks she needed. And it's really rather touching that folks are a bit disappointed that they didn't get a chance to help. That's the sign of how big hearted quilters are!

Tish Stemple said...

The navy blue was a wonderful suggestion for you project, it gives a nice balance and a place for the eye to land. Congrats on getting back on your bike!

KaHolly said...

A step-through ingenious! Glad you're back to cycling....I know you'll be extra careful. We don't bounce anymore when we fall. It's been 10-12 weeks since I took a massive blow to the rib cage still healing. At least I can sneeze, now! Your flowers are gorgeous! Ours are just little green sprouts that you'd miss if you weren't looking for them. It's still pretty cold up here. It will be summer before spring finally arrives! XO

ckrut said...

Did not realize you'd had a broken shoulder. Broke mine last week. Got tripped up by my sewing machine cord. Any advice for speeding recovery time? Would have e-mailed privately but wasn't sure how. Thanks!

Pam said...

What interesting prints you choose for your strip quilt. Very nice! I see in your header that you are machine quilting with an old singer. I have one similar that my mother bought about 1950. Do you like it for machine quilting? Are able to lower the feed dogs or did you just remove them?
Pretty flowers!
You got right back in the saddle!

PaulaB quilts said...

It's terrific to see you back on the bike, the safest kind, and doing so well. Thanks for the flower pics. I love the tiny blue-white ones, forgot the name. They are like tiny stars. Your solution with the navy pieced strips is great. It unifies the lovely soft colors, but is not garish. A fascinating pattern. I don't believe that improv has to be haphazard, just unique, your own unique creation. Keep up the good work!

Preeti said...

Calm down the mess??? What a preposterous idea? LOL. But kidding aside.
I love what you have done with those gorgeous Art Gallery Fabrics. The touch of navy is just perfect. So glad to see you are biking again. I have to do the same. May be this weekend, if it is not raining :-)

Valerie Reynolds said...

Okay first of all...whoot woo!!! You are back on the bike!! COngrats!!!!! ENJOY!!!!Second, girl you need to update your profile pic....I always want to grow my hair out....but after two inches I'm back at the hairdresser begging for my pixie congrats on THAT growth too! LOL!!!

Kaja said...

I'm really happy to see that you have made such great progress with your shoulder. Your quilt is coming along well too: the dark blue is a clever addition. You're not using a pattern, you're working things out as you go along so that's improv, even if it looks like it could have been planned.

Jayne said...

Good for you getting back on your bike! I applaud your courage! And...I love you quilt. I think it's going to be amazing. I love the addition of the dark blue! Cant wait to see more!!