Scratching That Itch

In Dec of 2019 I started work on the 365 Quilt Block Challenge which is offered yearly by Katherine Kerr. It is a skill builder. Not only do you figure out volume and value, you really get good at piecing those tiny pieces. If I compare my first blocks to my last one I did, there is no comparison. You can definitely tell I am a better piecer because of this challenge.

The 365 Quilt Block Challenge was the PERFECT quilt to work on during the pandemic. And work I did. But I also churned out other projects in the midst, and I am almost back to the 365.

First Blocks:

And some of my latest during my Christmas break:

These are certainly more accurate, and a whole lot more complicated to build, with a nice variety of scrappiness, less loud.

And some of these combined:

I estimated on my goals for the year I would be done with this already. And because this project is for the long haul, I think I got the 7 year itch or something??? I do not know what it is called, but I have this sudden urge throughout its build to do something else.

Let me count the quilts done while I was doing this challenge:

So, in summary, this past year and 4 months, I have made 10 quilts(*disclaimer 3 of these are tiny), plus got 3/4 of the way done with the 365 Quilt Block Challenge.

No wonder I have put the brakes on this lovely project! More on this in a bit….

This week I got two bound, and by golly the migraine thing happened again. So the 3rd of 4 is still on my table.

I have one side done. Three more sides to bind. Amazingly enough, this layer cake I used to make this quilt (church ladies) was an exact match to fabric of 2006 and a line by Eleanor Burns which I acquired in the past couple of years at the thrift store. The pinks, the reds, the oranges, and the blues all match this print, whoa. Shop the stash ladies, you will surprise yourself!

A few years back, I made this:

And I stalled. This is from the Millefiori book by Hammerstein. This pattern in particular is La Passacaglia. These papers I had to cut by hand for the english paper piecing pattern, and it deterred me from progressing. I hate cutting fabric, let alone the paper to construct it. So, it has been a dream of mine for quite sometime. This is an all by hand project. Recently I made this one:

This was hand stitched with the same papers, but again, I did not want to cut out all these papers. So I managed a pot holder out of it. I was scratching that itch.

And when I work the 365 quilt block challenge, I get the urge to do different color! I crave something other than red! I am an adult, and suppose I am spoiling my inner child who is begging for color and fun/whimzy/shifting of gears. So, that being said, I have taken the plunge on my next big project before this one is even done! My logic, I can have one at the sewing machine and one in the hand. On the evenings I am too tired to stand and sew, I can stitch by hand these small shapes and make the Millefiori quilt.

Be looking for posts of this project coming in the next few weeks. I am excited! I hope I have the stamina for this hand project. Any La Passacaglia piecers out there can give any advice at all, I will certainly take it! I feel the need to scratch that itch, I have a dream!

And on a lively note, I have pictures of the kittens! They are getting to the cuttoff date of being kicked outside, but gosh they are so cute!

And how about a video? Their mews are so cute! Not all cats personalities are tolerable to this cat lover. Certain ones will grow on me. One of these tiger stripe babies is so quiet, and not the cry baby like most. A couple of these babies are quite adventurous! Their little personalities are forming, and we are all getting attached to them. The future quilters’ cat(s)!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

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Puss in Boots and Button Bin Digging

So yesterday I was kitting up all kits for the workshop I am getting ready for.  I am helping a group of ladies make an iron caddy tote.  I have made many of these.  Number four is in the works.

The difference between the bags before and the bag now, I actually drew out the pattern on paper vs drawing my lines on the fabric.  My latest iron caddy tote, will now be called a purse or my lunch bag.

It has been more than a year since I made my last few bags.  I wanted to refresh and get re-acquainted in making this for a smoother teaching experience.  I also wanted to make sure the clean newsprint I used would not tear with the walking foot, and would tear off easily when you need to remove it.

I did learn that I had to make my bag sandwich with another layer.  I had to use tissue paper because I am using oil cloth.  For those of you who do not know what oil cloth is, it is an older technology that made cotton fabric water resistant.  Can water penetrate the cloth, you bet.  Many of you will think back to a family member who had a table cloth on their table that would wipe clean.  It had a shiny surface, and may have had a fuzzy back.  This also protected the table from rings from sweaty glasses and any messes made.

When sewing oil cloth, if you use a metal foot, it will stick to the cloth, grab it something fierce and not allow movement.  My walking foot is part plastic and part metal.  My base plate of my machine is metal.  So adding this layer of tissue prevented it from sticking.  I had a hard time cutting this fabric with my rotary cutter and ruler.  I could not just scoot the ruler on top as normal fabric, it would stick!

So I can now pass on even more info in case someone makes a lunch sack instead of the iron caddy tote.  I am re-familiarized,  Yesterday was a good sewing day.

I am to the point of installing the buttons.  On my previous caddy totes I opted for hook and eye closure so I will not have to iron over a large button under my pressing surface.  So yesterday me and the girls got out my 6 gallons of buttons.  Six gallons?  Yup that is right, six!  One can never have too many buttons.  I have not bought a button at the store in years.  I am amazed at the things I find in there.  One of my button bins was my Grandmothers.  Her being from the depression era she saved everything.  If a garment wore out, the buttons were cut off and then the garment was used as a rag or trashed.  It is possible the button bin that was hers came from another estate.  My Grandparents frequented auctions to snatch up unwanted items for dirt cheap. My Grandmother went to these sales because Grandpa went.  She would complain about going all the time.  And the stuff she brought home usually was a rug for the floor or other utilitarian items (I suppose I am like her in that regard).

So we were digging around in the bins, and I had my ipad handy and decided to look up buttons on the internet by searching a simple description of the button.  I found a very important button.  Is it hers or one from another estate?   That is the question.

My grandfather was in the Navy.  Shortly after WWII my father came into this world.  My grandmother took my grandfathers navy woolen coat and made a coat for my father.  I am now on the search for this photograph and will enjoy digging through old photos.  I will be in search of that particular photo.  I am looking for visual proof that beyond a reasonable doubt the button I found was once on my grandfathers jacket, and on my fathers jacket.  I hope I find my proof.  Regardless, this button will go onto my lunch bag.

navypeacoat

Above is a navy pea-coat button made from Bakelite.  The red button is going on the opposite side.  I could not find a second black button that would match.  So scrappy and mismatched it will be!

ironcaddytotelunch

I did find a GAR civil war button.  I cannot make out what the button says on the back.  I will be taking that to work and looking at it under a microscope to see if it is a reproduction or the real thing.  Either way it is probably worth the same.  When I read it was a civil war button, I thought I had struck it rich.  I only have one.  If I had many, perhaps, but right now the going price for this is $2.  To me, priceless, as many generations have handled this button.  Oh the stories it could tell, even if it is a reproduction.

And then I came across this button:

crownbutton

This button is heavy and untarnished.  Most buttons if brass is present will get dirty.  This one has not.  I looked up this in an internet search and came up with nothing.  I think it is a coronation button from the 50s.  I think it is a brittish commonwealth symbol.  Australia kept coming up in my searches, but no other button pictured was anything like it.  Perhaps it is my retirement.  Perhaps it is a conversation piece.  Perhaps it will rest in the tin for the rest of my life.  Perhaps someone will inherit my tin, and other generations will fondle my buttons.  Hmmmm that rather sounds perverse!  If you have any information on this button please leave a note in the comments section.

Lastly, there is puss in boots.  All of the kittens from this batch all have four white feet with some white on their bellies.  One is black and white, one is tabby, and three are mackrel tabby.  A hodge podge group.  Three of the kittens have a perfect M on their forehead which means they are tabby cats.  The one that is a true tabby has the prettiest facial markings, with lights and darks, mask, and whiskers.  This cat is very branded.  This is the first cat I have named in over 10 years….most just end up being called kitty.  So when you say kitty kitty at my house at feeding time, they all show up.  🙂

I thought long and hard on the name.  I used to watch the Simpsons on TV.  I grew up with them.  They have been on air for almost 30 years.  They epitomize the American way.  For those of you who watch, you are familiar with Cletus.  He is the slack jawed yokel.  Basically he is a hillbilly.  Thinking of his voice, it makes me smile.  Hank Azaria sounding like a hillbilly, he does an outstanding job.  Cletus is not married, but has a girlfriend who is the mother to all 16 of his kids.  Her name……BRANDEAN.

So I know this kitten will have many babies and never be married.  She will live up to this name nicely!  Say hi to Brandean.  This is her internet debut.

brandean

I am glad she does not have an “L” on her forehead, that would be messed up!

Happy Father’s Day!

Riding the Kitten Express

In Texas, our summer has been almost non-existant.  We had a very long spring, with lots of rain in the summer months.  Normally in August you pray for rain and are done mowing the grass in late June because everything turns brown and dries up from lack of water.  You can easily twist an ankle with the crevices that open up, but not this year.  Spring lasted and lasted and lasted.  Temperature low, dewy grass, an uncharacteristic summer for my region of Texas.

This past week things have finally dried up and the grasses have turned to straw.  So what comes with a long spring?  Lots of the bird and the bees.  I have three female cats that I keep around because they are good mousers and there are known rats in this neighborhood and they have even been known to kill and squirrel, very good little huntresses.  This long spring, cause much ruckus in August, as I have three batches of kittens born, one batch on the second (the numbers are unknown as they are living outside in the hollowed out tree, I think there are two or three), and then the oldest cat had one.  Previously we thought she had stolen one from the other mama cat, but that kitten was hers.  We brought her in with the litter of one.  And then after these kittens were born our third female had 7 one died.  These kittens are so tiny, but full of vim and vigor.  They are three weeks old and fight and play, very advanced in their kitten wisdom.  Usually this does not happen until week 4.

So, this week, could not find one kitten in the house and as small as they are, there are oodles of places to hide.  We finally found them all in a priority mail box.  I dumped them out, 7 were cozy inside, all “dog” piled in.  Moments like these are what it is all about.  Slowing down to get a good inhale of our long spring.  Anyone want a kitten?

I told my mom just yesterday I know the perfect place for them.  I would have to travel more than 600 miles to deliver them and the drive would be long.  I know my Aunt loves kitties, my uncle would be happy for my aunt and laugh at whatever demise they would suffer from (the kittens that is).  So Aunt (and Uncle), would you like some Kitten Express.  When they are old enough I can feed them peanut butter and put them in a box and drive and take a mini vacation, just me, showing up at your door with a breath of Texas spring!  Whadya say?

expressexpress2

Every quilter should have a cat.  A great companion at the ironing board, or at the foot pedal, just waiting for a piece of string to move or not move for the attack to ensue.  Cat’s are perfect beings and are low maintenance.  If you have a high maintenance cat, you are doing something wrong, LOL.

The weekend is upon us.  And in store for my other blog, I will be making baked apples.  So please check back soon for a recipe on apples.  Have a great weekend!