Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Hands 2 Help 2020 link up

This is the final week for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge, where we link up our finishes that will be donated to the H2H charities. I fell behind a bit on my goals this year, but did manage to finish a few by the deadline.

One of the charities chosen this year is the Little Lambs Foundation, which provides comfort kits to children in the foster care system, hospitals, or emergency shelters. I really like this group, and want to support their important work. I know that they often need receiving blankets for newborns, so I stitched up six.

My friend Stephanie gave me a big batch of really nice quality flannels and minky, and I used it all up in these. In the top photo, you can see that there were two "Tree of Life" flannel panels. I added flannel sides to bring them to about 40" square, and backed them with regular quilting cotton. I think this combo of flannel on one side and smooth on the other makes for a really great weight for a receiving blanket. I do a very small amount of quilting, mostly hidden along lines in the printed designs, to keep the layers from shifting in the wash.

The pastel piece on the far right is made of the minky. The pieces were smallish, so I trimmed them up as big as possible and made this simple patchwork. The backing is a cute railroad print of regular cotton. Minky is sooooo soft and cuddly, and sooooooo big a pain in the butt to work with. It's best if you can use a single, unpieced chunk as a backing. Otherwise the little fur bits get everywhere. 

These next three are all made with panels I had in my stash, and backed with Stephanie's flannels. 

The little owls are super cute, especially the upside down one! There's one in every family, isn't there? I'm happy they will find a home here in the US since some of my international charities prefer we not use owl motifs. 

The ABC animals panel is the most classically "baby" themed, but I have to say: that is one GIANT frog.

The final panel is another "Tree of Life." Or maybe "9 Partridges in a Pear Tree." It has kind of a folk-art vibe. 

This quilt, which I wrote about previously, is also for H2H, and will be donated to Quilts of Compassion. I also have three or four more pieces in progress and I'll tell you about them when they are done. Even though H2H has a deadline each year in June, I know that all these fine groups have an ongoing need for quilty comfort and comforting quilts. So anything in the pipeline will still find a way to go to work.

Many, many thanks to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for putting together this fun and useful challenge each year!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Remembering Paula

Today I am participating in a blog hop to honor Paula Budinger, a beloved member of our online quilting community. Paula passed away in early February of this year and is sorely missed. Paula blogged at Paula B Quilts, where she shared her bright, happy quilts. She loved color and improv and antique quilts, and was never afraid to try new techniques and join quilting challenges. More importantly, she was sweet and supportive, always offering words of praise and kindness to fellow quilters.

To remember her "can do" spirit, I'd like to share with you my first ever Jelly Roll Race quilt. I made a small change from the standard Race technique, so this is also a tutorial about what I did. I started with this pretty red and white roll, called "So Ruby," by Riley Blake.

There was a nice mix of designs, ranging mostly red to mostly white, with just a few evenly mixed red/white patterns. However, I wanted just a little pop of something else, so I decided to swap out two of the strips for blue fabrics I had in my stash. I removed 2 of the less contrast-y jelly strips and put them into my scrap string bins.

To add a some whimsy, I chose a blue with tiny kitties on it, and another with a bazillion little mice. So cute! From the jelly roll, I pulled out three very white whites and three very red reds. With the two blues, I now had 8 strips.

I sewed these eight fabrics into two strip sets. Each set had four fabrics. One alternated white/red/blue/red and the other was white/blue/white/red. I wanted each strip set to have white at the top and red at the bottom.

Then I sliced the strip sets into 2.5" wide pieces. This yielded 16 rectangles from each strip set, for a total of 32 of these alternating blocks. Since the jelly roll started with 40 strips and I pulled out 8 at the beginning, I now had 32 of the original strips plus 32 of these smaller blocks.

Now I started the jelly roll race part of the program. But instead of just sewing all the long pieces together end to end, I inserted one of the shorter blocks in between each long one.

The key to this part was alternating the colors. So at the end of a long red strip, I sewed the white end of a smaller block. That would leave the red end available for the next seam.

Then I sewed a white long strip to that short red end. At the other end of the long white strip, I sewed the red end of  a shorter strip. I continued like that, alternating long uncut jelly roll strips with the shorter blocks, always sewing red to white or white to red.

And like all jelly roll races, I ended up with one, loooooong strip. I'm sure you know how it goes from there, but if you aren't familiar with how race quilts are put together, here is a nice tutorial.

As the top got closer and closer to being finished, I noticed that a lot of the whites ended up clumped together. Same with the reds. Hm, I didn't expect that. I'm not sure if that often happens with two color races, or if adding my little squares in between caused that. My quilt brain is usually pretty good with math, but right now I have Quarantine Brain. So, I decided to just embrace however it turned out.

And here is the finished quilt. It does indeed have a red side and a white side, but I like it! Kind of an unintended, surprise ombre effect.

The part that I saw in my head from the beginning turned out just right: the little groups of four squares look like they are truckin' across the quilt, and the blues pop nicely. Here they are in a whiter section.

And here they are in a redder section.

For the back, I used up the rest of the mice and kitties, plus a chunk of red, white and blue anchors. Because, you know, I live on a boat and my job is Boatswain. Anchors are my thing! More mice scamper around the binding and a big stipple keeps it soft and snuggly. 

I'll be donating this quilt to the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge by sending it to Quilts of Compassion. As a long time Red Cross volunteer working in disaster relief, their work calls me.

This memorial blog hop was put together by Janice of Color, Creating and Quilting, and Kate of Smiles From Kate. Thank you, ladies! Please visit the other "hoppers" below to see how they are honoring Paula's memory. And there are fabulous prizes! Every comment you leave on any of the blogs earns you a chance at these fun giveaways: (The deadline for winning prizes was May 15th, but feel free to visit these fine blogs if you are interested!)

Lorna, Sew Fresh Quilts, is giving away a $50 gift certificate for her pattern shop. Super fun animal designs!

Yvonne, Quilting Jetgirl, is offering 2 PDF patterns of choice. Bold and modern!

Bernie Needle and Foot, wants you to have a $25 certificate for her shop. So many pretty fabrics!

A lovely fat quarter bundle from Figo Fabrics could be yours!

A set of super cute quilty gift cards from Initial Thought by DMF  (Note cards set 1) will be given away!

A pattern of choice from Karen, Sugar Free Quilts, might end up in your studio. Some really fun ones there!

A $30 gift certificate is being offered by Doris, Cactus Queen Quilt Co. You'll love her pattern selection!

A PDF pattern of choice from Joanne, www.etsy.com/shop/CanuckQuilterDesigns. I love Joanne's patterns!

$25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop could buy some sweet loot!

In addition to these, I am also offering a prize to one of my readers. It is a jelly roll by Boundless Fabrics, their Ombre Sunset selection. These are beautiful solids ranging from dark purple to sunny yellow. All you have to do is leave a comment below. If you want, tell me if you've ever made a Jelly Roll Race! I will ship this prize internationally, because couldn't we all use a little happy mail right now? The deadline for my giveaway is midnight, March 15, 2020. (Please note this giveaway is now closed. The random number generator chose #28. Congratulation to winner JanineMarie!)

Here are all the folks remembering Paula. I hope you'll visit with them and join in the spirit of giving and learning that is the strength of our quilty community. It's what Paula would have done!

Wednesday, May 6 

Thursday, May 7

Friday, May 8

Monday, May 4, 2020

A very sad day

Our sweet little kitty, Angel, passed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. She was 19 years old and in failing health. My heart is bruised and broken and empty. Words are hard to find, so I'll just share some photos of her inspecting my quilts. 

Rest in peace, sweet girl. We love you.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Farewell to the islands

Greetings from Jacksonville, Florida! Last time I blogged, we were in the Bahamas, but things have changed. Like the rest of the world, cases of COVID-19 started to show up in the Bahamas, a country with limited medical resources. Their government put more and more restrictions in place to limit the spread, and it was time for us to return to the United States.

While we were very sad to leave, it was the right thing to do to cruise back to Florida. We are grateful for our health and that we can still access the resources we need to continue to live safely and comfortably on our boat. 

Meanwhile, like so many others, we are "sheltering in place" by spending the vast majority of our time on the boat, with only a few trips to grocery and hardware stores, a daily walk for exercise, and an occasional take out meal. We keep an appropriate social distance from the few other boaters we encounter. DH has been working on boat maintenance and repair, and I've been quilting.

The quilts in this post were all finished before we left the Bahamas a few weeks ago, as you can tell by the beautiful turquoise waters in the background. 

This quilt is the twin of one I finished in December, made from a giant batch of flying geese donated to Covered in Love. The other one had a yellow background, and this one is more mellow. 

I was able to use a bunch of miscellaneous navy blue fabrics for the binding and backing, plus the rest of the geese. The quilting is Unitarian fans.

This quilt came to me as a batch of blocks. They were also donated to Covered in Love, and each block was a rectangular four patch of one plaid fabric plus the solid spring green. There was enough extra green for me to add another column using my own plaid fabrics. (I just found out in the comments that these blocks were made by Quilt Diva Julie. Thanks, Julie!)

The back is also all plaid fabrics, using up some nice big chunks. That funky shadow in the photo is a string of patio lights. And the group of clips in the lower left corner are weighting the quilt down in the strong breeze! 

This next one is also made from Covered in Love blocks. These fun spinning stars/flowers are left over from a block drive last year. It was a simple task to add some sashing and cornerstones to get this bright and happy quilt finished.

The back uses a few remaining blocks and more of that plaid green. I tend to use fabrics in batches like this. Once I had the plaid pulled out and ironed for one quilt, I start looking at my UFOs to see if it works for another one. Why fold it up and put it away when I can just sew it? Do you do ever do that?

In this photo, you can see a little bit of the scrappy binding and stipple quilting. It also shows how I had to clip the quilts to part of the boat in the wind. It was relentless in the Bahamas! But that's a big part of why it is so lovely there. The trade winds keep the temperatures from getting too hot, and they blow all the bugs away, too.

Finally, this quilt was made from a mixed batch of orphan blocks donated to Covered in Love. This is one my favorites! I just love the combination of these citrus colors. The "pickle dish" corners are such fun blocks, too. Two were completed blocks and I had to puzzle the other two together myself. It was quite the challenge! I'm in awe that the donor made an entire quilt out of those tricky pickles!

The center medallion is four large log cabin blocks. (Just found out in the comments that they were made by Rebecca for her kids' Christmas quilts last year. Thanks, Rebecca!) Each of the surrounding smaller blocks is set vertically with three stripes of green that were also donated. I'm not sure what to call that. Is it sashing when used in that way? It gives the piece a more up-and-down feel, like the blocks are hanging on strings.

The back of this one is a real mishmash of more blocks and this large scale poppy print. Floppy feather quilting gives it a nice, comfy texture. You can see a fifth log cabin block here. Five is a hard number to work into a quilt, isn't it? That's often how very nice blocks end up on the back!

And as I promised in my last post, here's a quick lesson on how to tell how deep the water is in the Bahamas by color:

This water is about 15 feet deep. We can safely pass over this color in our boat, and it is a good depth for anchoring, too.

This water is between 3,000 and 4,000 feet deep. I love this dark, marine blue. It is crystal clear and looks infinite. Deep water is no problem for travel, but obviously our anchor won't reach the bottom here.

See that strip of very pale turquoise in near the island? That water is about 2 feet deep. Our boat has a draft of 6 feet, so that color is a no-go for us! This is a sand bar near the inlet to Staniel Cay. You can see the very deep water of Exuma Sound in the far distance and the comfortable depths close in. To travel between them, we needed to go around the bar way off to the right of this photo. 

We miss the islands very much, and we're sad that we never got to visit the friends we were going to meet there. Here's hoping that can happen next year.