Glad to see the backside of 2020 leaving out the door, for sure. What a horrible, loathsome year. Of course, blessings here and there and one does good to remember and be grateful for them, but overall, a very difficult time for the country.
Got thru Thanksgiving. I got lucky, Raymond went home to the ranch to spend Thanksgiving with his Dad as he always does, but he decided instead of driving 6.5 hrs straight home via the more direct route, he’d swing up our way; do 4 hrs to us, 4 hrs the next day back to his place. He woke up the next morning and called into work to take a vacation day to stay an extra day with us. It was a blessing from heaven to spend a couple of days with him then. Our tradition is he comes home for Christmas every year. We got 6 days together over the holiday this year. Very sweet, a blessing I was most grateful for. RD & Raymond have their own separate tradition of waking up and going out to breakfast. They do it every morning Raymond is home. RD gets excited about his coming home just for the breakfast out. I don’t go, that’s their thing. Again, because this year has been so hard, I surely needed connecting with him, for family’s sake. Raymond & I were even able to take one day and get out in the hills. It’s not really RD’s jam, he is gracious enough to tell me to go and spend the day with “my boy”, he’ll have supper waiting for us when we get back. That was probably the most meaningful mental health day I’ve ever had and I am still damned grateful for it. Christmas Dinner wa a Prime Rib done up on the Traeger. This year, our traditions, albeit what they are compared to other families, were that much more meaningful to me. To all of us. It was wonderful.
2020 Coping Strategy in Sewing continues. This time, I’m making 2 quilts side by side, one for my brother, the 2nd for a cousin. I’ll have to give this cousin an “online” name I guess, I think I’ll call her “Ava” when writing about her here. She’ll get the inside joke!!
This is the quilt I’m making my brother. He showed Raymond & I such a nice time this summer when Raymond & I drove down to visit. Also, he was finally able to wrap up our father’s estate and made a generous gift to me in closing the estate business that I decided one of the quilts I’m making up should go to him as a Christmas gift in return. He loves old fashioned pieced quilts, said he would be very happy to get it. It’s a beautiful Irish Chain pattern called “Latimer Farms”. I have about half the blocks made up so far:
Now, once again, here’s the thing about taking pics. You see things more clearly. Lower left, 2 blocks that each have a block unit turned wrong way round. A Half Square Triangle and right next to it, the blue/brown border…right side middle. The brown points on the cream rectangle are turned wrong way round. Can I live with it? No. No, I cannot.
This is the big problem I’ve had with this this quilt. The block pattern itself is only 6” inside the 2 separate borders, so a little small, with the individual units only being 1.5” wide. I don’t see that I’ve turned a unit around until it’s finished and I stand back to admire. Once I see it, I can’t unsee it. OCD and all, I have to go back in and fix it.
I really love this pattern. I learned about it when a friend on the East Coast sent me a pic of the one she did. She won 1st Prize in her local county fair with it. As soon as I saw her pic, I flipped out~in a good way. I mean…look at it! It’s gorgeous!! I searched hi and lo on the interwebs trying to find the pattern. It wasn’t really a pattern for sale, it had been a Block Of the Month kit a few years ago. No joy after no joy in being able to locate just the pattern, I finally found one full kit for sale on EBay. God love EBay, right?? In all of the quilt making world, I could only find one full kit for sale. The colors are just gorgeous but not my color scheme. This is what the finished quilt will look like with the sashings and cornerstones: (the frame/border looks black here but it’s really a dark Navy blue). I have to make all the blocks up first, the sashings, cornerstones and borders are in Month 11 or 12.
What a magnificent pattern!! I could not get it out of my head! Decided to make it in colors that are in my color wheel, but from the very beginning, this 2nd making of the quilt grew legs and took on a life of it’s own. I went to my quilt shop, these gorgeous fabrics…which I loved to pieces…(see what I did there??)…practically jumped off the shelves and into my arms. I couldn’t not buy them, if you know what I mean. But when I got them home, the colors weren’t really “my” colors at all and I had to wonder just what was I thinking?? The colors are just off enough…and…how does that even happen?…when you’re the one shopping for “your” colors…I mean…I could understand if I had sent RD in with “Go get me some browns and greens. You know me, you know what I like. Off you go.” But I chose these colors!!!
But no matter, I thought, it’ll be fine and will still be a beautiful quilt. I already decided to add Ava to the list of people to make a quilt for, but she was the last person I added to the list. I wasn’t even thinking about her when I bought these fabrics. Two days ago, I was mindlessly going thru the pictures on my iPad when I stumbled on a video she sent back in August 2019 to show me her Tiny House (which, let me just say, is totes adorable!! VERY cute Tiny House & I’m jealous!) and there in her bedroom she had a store bought spread on her bed…in pretty much these same colors!! Can you believe it??? So this quilt belongs to her!! And I’m thrilled about that! Just thrilled. I truly love when that happen!
In the BOM kit, the fabric choices are made for you. I don’t even have to think about it. In the 2nd one, I’m making the choice of what fabric goes where and which fabric goes next to it. The lesson from the kit block is to pay close attention & make sure all the units are sewed the right way to make the pattern they’re supposed to be making. I can’t remember taking a block apart from the 2nd fabrics to correct anything like that~but I’m very sure that I have~it’s just the more important thing that stands out to me is I’ve picked blocks apart many times because the color choices were bad, the color balance was wrong. Just for laughs…in the beginning, early trials of trying to decide which fabrics go with each other…look at this monstrosity!! DO NOT PANIC, PEOPLE! REMAIN CALM!! I killed it with fire. It was the right thing to do.
Then there was this guy, before & after. Turns out, a lot of planning and thought goes into color balance. I’ve since cracked the code and now make sure there is plenty of light background in each block.
In both quilts, of course, there is the unpicking and sewing again because the fabric shifts and the points wouldn’t line up. Of course. Always futzing with the points, me.
I had sorta offered to give the Latimer Farms kit quilt to Raymond when I first started it. He was gracious enough to say “Ok. Sounds good.” but I picked up on that he really wasn’t over the moon. Not in a rude way, just didn’t catch his attention all that much. You know, like a guy will do. So much expense (fabric can be spendy) and labor (piecing quilts together beautifully is super labor-intensive), I want the people I’m making them for to be in love with them. Since I then turned around and gave it to my Brother (because he REALLY loved it the way a homemade quilt should be loved), I drug Raymond into the quilt store to look at other fabrics. Raymond has an artistic side and a real appreciation for art. He’s fun to take along to look at artistic things with. I knew once he saw all the beautiful fabrics, since he has a great eye for color, he’d find something to fall in love with. He picked out the blue with tan vines on the far left and we matched the other blues/tans. He loves these colors. I already had the fabric underneath the new purchases. I thought it worked well but now I’ve changed my mind. I do like the colors he chose. I went thru my quilt patterns, he liked this Civil War Reproduction pattern the best.
Now what I have to problem solve is the quilting itself. My machine isn’t large enough to get an entire quilt under it to quilt the top, batting & backing together. I looked into buying a smaller footprint longarm quilter, I think the genre is called “handi-quilters”, but some of these are actually named ”Handi-Quilters” ~like all tissues are Kleenexes, but Lord Have Mercy!…expensive!! I think that once I’ve made up all these quilts I’ve promised to my people, get them out the door, then make new quilts for ours and the guest bed…I think I’ll be quite done with quilting for a while and will go back to making garments. So buying a machine that is in the good-quality-4 year old-used-car price up to the brand-spanking-new-entry-level-automobile is completely out of the question.
So, problem solving. I think about this while I’m constructing the blocks:
- I could do bite sized sections, maybe 1 block at a time: top~complete with a side of sashing and cornerstone where appropriate, batting, backing and then machine stitch the front together, hand sew the back. I could even do this in 4 block sections at a time.
- Bite the bullet and just take them into my local quilt shop and get these quilts into the que for longarm quilting. Maybe things will slow down after Christmas. I took my SIL’s quilt in before Thanksgiving and its still sitting in a cubby hole waiting to be quilted. I saw it when Raymond & I went in. To be fair: I was told it wouldn’t be done till February.
- When we headed out to the hinterlands last week, we passed by a farmhouse with a sign out front advertising longarm quilting services. Probably the farmer’s wife bought a longarm quilter and thought “I should put this to good use & hire it out!” Good for her. But what is her skill level?
If I decide to do it myself here on my machine in manageable smaller pieces, I could do something to make the backing interesting, too. Like…for example…us a small stripe…ticking??…and then alternate the stripes from horizontal to vertical. I think this would be more interesting on smaller individual blocks rather than 4 block segments. We’ll see. I’m still working this out in my head.
So that’s it. Glad & relieved 2020 is gone and we survived, even though 2020 took its toll on me mentally. I’m just tired of it all and the tension in our country is very high. I don’t see anyone in leadership recognizing how tightly the rubber band is wound and actively working to lower the temperature. When it snaps… I’m very wary of 2021, I’ll just say that. Fun Fact: the Mad Max movies take place in 2021.
Till then, I’ll keep working to have a good thought. Hard as it may be at times.