Monday, January 27, 2014

Luke's Quilt

In November 2013 I hosted a book giveaway, and showed this finished quilt top, intended for grandson #4. Said grandson #4, Luke John, arrived January 6, so it was time to get 'er done!

He's three weeks old today, and seemed okay with letting me take pictures of him on his quilt. I'm so glad I could spend time with him, for the past ten days!

About making his quilt... Spray basting is my new favorite sandwiching method. After moving vehicles from the garage, and laying down an old sheet, I sprayed the backing, and then the batting, that I brought back into the house  for sandwiching. 

Batting is Hobbs 80/20 because it's versatile, and very washable. Because the spray baste isn't a permanent fuse, I pin-baste along the edges so they don't flip back while I'm quilting.

I like to trim away the bulk of the excess backing and batting, to about an inch or so from all sides.

Because I sprayed all the batting, the excess stuck together. I won't recycle this as I usually do with batting, fabric and thread scraps - to be used as stuffing for animal beds at a Ocala rescue facility. It also occurred to me that I don't want to leave the chemical spray in the quilt, for my grandson to inhale. A good reason to wash a quilt when it's finished!

Here's some of the quilting. I fussy quilted around the center shapes, and then used several different designs to fill in each block.

A Michael Miller print is on the back. 

As always, I finished the quilt with mitered, machine-sewn corner binding. 

I named Luke's quilt, "By the Sea." It's 42" X 58", a size that should grow with him for a several years. 

Luke is a very easy-going little man who doesn't really cry. He just fusses when he's hungry, or as we learned, when he doesn't want to be held. 

I'm missing him very much (and big brother, Austin, too), especially as I think Luke was getting to know me - the sound of my voice - because I often sang to him. I even made up a little L-U-K-E song to spell out his name.

Babies are precious for such a short amount of time - or so it seems to me. Maybe not so much to the parents though! Oh, and I'm happy to say this is quilt finish #2 for 2014. Linda

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bee Blocks and The Word

Just a couple of bee blocks needed to be sewn this month. The month has turned out to be very busy - full of commitments - so I'm glad to start 2014 by keeping up.

This 12-1/2" String Star is a block for my BAM BOM begun at the beginning of 2013. The BOM has been hosted by the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild. Though they offered 12 blocks, I won't make the last one, a Pine Tree block that I don't care for. So, I'm done with this BOM and with a little finagling will get it put together. Now I have two BOMs that need to be assembled, the other being the 2011-2012 Blogger's BOM

This 12-1/2" house block is for Linda, one of the 13 quilters in our Mid-Century Modern Bee. Linda lives in Texas, and experienced the horrible tragedy, last October, of her house burning to the ground. Linda invited us to help her build a quilt with house blocks. Naturally, the one I made had to be all Florida-y citrus-y... and a little on the punk side.  

Another something I've recently been noodling is a word-of-the-year. It seems that instead of setting goals, a lots of friends have adopted a word as a reminder of a way they'd like to live, or a point of view to appreciate. Some of my friends have adopted these words: priorities, savour, courage, and relax.

With my Bible in hand, and after giving it lots of thought, I chose

I selected "perspective" because of the health challenges I faced in 2013. I found that my sometimes, out-of control feelings were compounded by anxiety over small commitments I'd made. I didn't give proper value to the things that were most important, and let go of those that were not.

So in 2014, no matter what unexpectedly lands in my lap, I'm determined to keep the proper perspective on all of it!
An ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance.

When life gets out of hand, I'll focus on what's most important. God. I'll let go of small things - overlook the details - that are insignificant when compared to the big picture - a life lived and appreciated in the fullness of God.

I'll find a way to include the word in a quilt finish this year. Let's see how that works out! Linda

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Riley Blake Challenge, Start to Finish

My Riley Blake Challenge quilt....

After receiving these Riley Blake Challenge fabrics from The Modern Quilt Guild, back in September, I started working on my piece. We could use these, or any Riley Blake fabrics, and add any solids.
Inspired by another Riley Blake fabric with circular motifs that sorta-look like circles, and being a big fan of circles (but not dots),  I used my nested acrylic rings to begin cutting and sewing circles.

I drew each circle on a piece of white cotton broadcloth and then machine-sewed completely around the circles.

I often listen to an audiobook while doing routine sewing and quilting.

Every circle was notched like this before cutting a slit in the broadcloth to turn it right-side out.

Teeny trimmings.

Because, for the background, I wanted the Riley Blake "Shuffle" print to directionally radiate outward from the center, it's comprised of four, large, bias-sewn squares.

After making all the circles I thought I'd need, I tried different arrangements. Hubby even got in his play time.


I didn't like any of them, finally deciding that the aqua prints didn't fit.

So, I went back to machine-sewing more circles, this time with the color green. Lots more teeny trimmings piled up! 

During the design process, I put this picture on Instagram: #MQGRileyBlakeChallenge. The picture was picked up by the national MQG and used in the December e-newsletter, so you may have seen it.

Once I'd settled on an arrangement, hand-appliqué began in earnest. This technique was my best option for car travel time, going to and from visiting our kids in Kansas and Texas. 

Knowing my finish, but perfectly symmetrical, design needing something more...

... I forced myself to make it asymmetrical, adding pieced, diagonal borders to two sides.

In early January, I began quilting the center fussy-cut motif. Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Wool, which I love for its loftiness, and being light-weight.

All the top quilting threads are YLI 40/3 cotton. The bobbin thread is Aurifil 50/2. I chose a different quilting design for each round of circles.

 When I reached the space beyond the circles, I free-form quilted spirals.

By the way, the circles and border pieces that appear as solids are not solids. They're Riley Blake ombres. The color gradation shows more clearly in the green circles.

YLI thread colors used are gray, variegated yellow and variegated orange. The yellow and orange don't show up well on the gray Shuffle background, but they look good on the circles.

From the back, the quilting shows up nicely on the yellow and orange solids, the only non-Riley Blake fabrics in the entire piece!
outdoor photo
indoor photo
For binding, I used bias Shuffle on two sides. On the other two sides, the binding is diagonally pieced prints that align with the inner borders.

From the back.

47" X 47"

Since the focal design looks like a dandelion head, I named this Dandelion Clock. What's a dandelion clock, you ask?
The number of puffs needed to blow the filamentous achenes from a dandelion is supposed to tell the time. - Wiktionary.

Thanks to votes cast by CentralFloridaMQGers, my quilt won Viewer's Choice at our January 13 meeting. Our new president, Karen, donated this generous prize - 16 Waterfront Park fat quarters and one yard of Kona! Thank you, Karen! Linda

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What a Week

This week was... what's the word? Interesting? Maybe. Eventful? It was definitely full of good and bad moments.

How about the good news first?! On Monday morning, as scheduled, we were happy to hear of the birth of another grandson, in Texas. He's our fourth baby boy - all of them are four years old and under.

Luke John arrived at 9:26 am weighing 7 pounds 11 ounces. We've seen him only on FaceTime thus far, but I'll be visiting to help take care of both boys. Luke - though he's already been called LJ by his mom - is 3-1/2 year-old Austin's little brother.

As for bad moments, those came Monday afternoon when I had my second (right) leg catheterization. As expected, the femoral artery was 75 percent blocked. It's now opened up with a six inch-long stent. That's the good part! The procedure didn't happen without complications. Unfortunately, the cath balloon nicked the arterial membrane, causing blood to flow into the tissue of my upper thigh... and swell. While in the recovery area I started to pass out and was quickly reconnected to oxygen, an IV with meds, and a blood pressure monitor. The swelling was pretty painful, especially when they put a pressure cuff around my thigh and pumped it up to force the blood out of the tissue. Yeow! I was sent home scripts for pain med and steroids, both of which we filled. The next evening I saw the doc again for a follow-up. Happily, all is improving, and it seems that the right leg will be a less painful recovery than the left leg, which still has soreness in my calf since my December 13 stent insertion.

In consulting with the doc it turns out that the plaque build-up has been going on for "at least two decades." Wow! Years of routine cholesterol tests that showed all as "normal," were completely deceptive. I do have bad cholesterol. A more intense look at my LDL (bad cholesterol) found a couple of nasty, hereditary genes that have been causing all this. We're now insisting that our two children be checked for this hidden menace.

For the first time in my life, I'm on Lipitor so plaque won't build up. I am so fortunate that my oncologist recognized this as a real concern, and referred me to a cardio-vascular doc!  Otherwise, I would likely still be undiagnosed, and would be facing an eventual amputation - so the doc said! I shudder to think of it.

To give me some thoughts to noodle on, my daughter pointed out that if I hadn't had breast cancer, and needed to see an oncologist, this wouldn't have been diagnosed. Blessed to have had breast cancer? Hmm.

But I am... Blessed. Blessed. Blessed!

While I've been taking it easy this week - not permitted to use the foot control of my sewing machine - I hand sewed binding to my Riley Blake Challenge quilt.

The big reveal is at Monday evening's Central Florida MQG meeting. At the meeting everyone gets to vote to select a Viewer's Choice award-winner. A Best Design award-winner will also be chosen by the talented team of Jill and Marny of Modern Quilt Relish.

The other project I've begun - and I know I shouldn't be starting anything new! - is another EPP hand project. I so enjoyed hand piecing hexagons recently (for the pillow top that has yet to be sewn into a pillow!) that another EPP project was in order. I'm tackling the "Flower Ball" wall hanging designed by the uber-talented Geta Grama. Have you seen all her designs? They're exceptional! I managed to pick up a couple patterns, as PDF downloads, during a recent $5/pattern sale. That's a bargain price for the excellent instructions she offers. My friend, Cindy, recently won a bunch of Geta's patterns... the lucky girl!

Flower Ball is only as far along as these piles of cut out card stock pieces.

It took 15 printed pages, taped together, and cut out, to come up with these 199 pieces. Next is cutting fabric for each piece. These are my fabric choices. No surprise here. I'm sticking with my favorite color combo since I'll be working on it for so long.

Yep, this EPP project needs lots of prep work, but it's one of those #savoreachstitch projects that Carolyn Friedlander is such a proponent of.

So much sewing I want to do! Can't wait for health to return to 100 percent! Then watch me take off!

I'll be doing as Big Sam says in Gone With the Wind, "Horse make tracks!" Linda


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