Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August Cornucopia


Here's the monthly roundup of links to things I've read or watched or found interesting or useful this August.


Social Justice Sewing Academy - create and sew a memorial block/banner for the SJSA Remembrance Project.


Christa Watson has a bunch of great tutorials on her site, I ran across them when I was looking for spray-basting advice. 


A handy dandy guide of things to try when attempting to fix your sewing machine's automatic needle threader all by yourself. More later on if any of this works for me or not as mine is busted on my new machine­čśö.


Libs Elliot has a Sew-tite using her Watcher imagery. It was a must buy for me.


Finding yourself despairing about climate change? Try reading these:  "Don't Tell Me to Despair" or "Imagine a World of Climate Solutions."


When I need a break from listening to podcasts about politics and current events, I've been enjoying listening to story podcasts, which are basically a new version of old-timey radio dramas. It's very different than listening to audio versions of books. Most of the ones I listen to are supernatural or horror. They vary widely in sound design and story quality, but they've all been engaging enough to stick through to the end.  Several have big name movie or tv actors whose voices you may recognize. Several of them are still ongoing too. I believe they're all available wherever you can listen to podcasts.

Aftershock - follows the aftermath of an enormous California earthquake where a new island emerges off the coast of LA.

Down - a submarine explores a new trench in the Antarctic.

Call of the Void - set in New Orleans, a palm reader and a tour guide try to solve a supernatural mystery.

Edith - a hilarious story of the first female president of the US, Edith Wilson (Woodrow Wilson's wife)

Thirteen - Really mellow short story/novella length stories with sound design that lulls.

The Sheridan Tapes - A detective pieces together what happened to a horror writer using her tapes.

The White Vault - a found footage paranormal story with an international cast, really want to see this one as a movie or tv show.

Unwell - a midwestern gothic mystery, about ghosts, conspiracies, family of blood and choice.

Old Gods of Appalachia - I really love this one, it weaves together epic and small tales of lore and horror.


Monday, August 30, 2021

A First Quilty Box

 Received my first Quilty Box subscription in the mail last week and I'm very pleased. I really love the fabric choices, which are both precuts. These are fabrics I would likely have bought, so---so far so good on that front. The pattern included is very clever, and a raw-edged circle (hello bullseye I missed you so) using the included acrylic circle template. And a pack of Sew-tites, can always use more of those. Also a lovely shade of Aurifil thread that I didn't already have, which is always nice not to get a duplicate. 
There's also a colorful quilt label which has a great phrase on it: 

Some of these quilt subscription boxes have worked out well for me, which is why I keep trying them out. It's always a gamble, especially with the fabrics, but looking back on the past few months of boxes, it seemed like a good fit. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Stepping Up

The first of the courthouse steps blocks is now done. I found that is was a little weird doing it this way on these papers. A little too fiddly for me, and the way the pieces are cut out, you have to be pretty exact with your placement of the fabrics. Not really how I'm used to doing paper piecing.
The pieces cut out and paired up for the blocks to come.
There's something about leftovers when I cut something out. If they're all straight and similarly sized, I just can't bear to throw them out, they're all paired up already...so they sort of demand to be sewn together.

 I don't know if I'll use these with this project for sure or not. Maybe as a border around the edges or on the back?

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Courthouse Steps

I needed a little thing to work on after all those massive seams on the quilt backs. So I got my hands on a project that had been included in one of the Sew Sampler boxes I received last year, a Courthouse Steps pattern. The rolled up selection of 20 Elizabeth Hartman fabrics was easy to cut out all the pieces. 

The pattern is called La Casita and uses foundation papers by It's Sew Emma to make 6" blocks.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Back It Up

I rearranged some of the chunks until I liked the look of it and sewed it together. Still not quite big enough.
There was a little bit of grey left so I stuck it on one end.

So, as you can see, I ended up using a mostly grey on grey print around the edge. Most of this will end up going unquilted and getting chopped off, so I'm not too fussed about it. I think it makes a nice subtle frame. The unprinted side of the fabric was almost exactly the same shade as the solid gray I used in the rest of the back, so it's close enough to work.

 I know, I know, it's been all quilt backs all the time around here. But these things are so big and all-consuming. It doesn't make sense to pack them up halfway through, I need to get them *done*. And so the two I just was working on are done, and that means now it's on to the "fun" of quilt sandwiching. I used that phrase yesterday to my DH and he laughed for a few minutes and then was incredulous when I told him that yes indeed that is the correct terminology for the process. Hey, every human endeavor has its own lingo, right? I might try Christa Watson's table spray basting method.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Nearly There Safe at Home Back

The long strips of color and shape got some grey added on either side and now you can actually see them.

A lot more grey added in around the other blocks, and I'm nearing the end of completing this. I'm liking how relatively calm this is looking compared to the extremely vibrant (vibrating?!) front. I think at this point my plan is to join all these sections into a rectangle and then add the extra inches required around the edges in big pieces, maybe using a gray print or a darker gray solid.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Wandering Wednesday - Mammoth Consolidated

 On one of our days on vacation in Mammoth Lakes, we visited an old gold mine, because why not? 

It was an easy, beautiful and shaded hike to get to the fairly recent remains of the Mammoth Consolidate mine

It was only in operation from 1927-33, producing around $100k worth of gold. I almost convinced my nieces this rock had gold in it.

A lot of the structures were still standing, which is rather impressive given the amount of snowfall this area sees every year.

Some survived better than others. 

This absolutely pancaked building was so weird to see. A giant stack of metal spring beds. 

What I found so interesting about it was how so much was just left behind. 

Whole entire cars left to the elements to rot, all the machinery just sitting there rusting to bits. 

Sure it was all very heavy and hard to move on the no-doubt sketchy roads, but it really stood out to me. 

All of it so disposable.

I really liked this sign at the beginning of the trailhead.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Still Safe At Home

 I realized recently that I'd left the Safe At Home quilt top pinned up to the far left side of my design wall. It was all folded over on itself, so it wasn't taking up much space and was usually mostly hidden behind the door. Not exactly forgettable in these colors, but after so long it'd started to blend in to my eyes.

I'd started in on making the back for it, but had jumped into another 6 projects as per usual. So I'm back to it after clearing off the main part of the design wall from the Kitchen Sink Quilt back and top, there was room. And it makes sense to set up for sandwiching two quilts instead of just the one.

I'd made up some random blocks out of the extras cut out for the Safe At Home quilt, can you see them camouflaged there against the quilt top in the picture up above? There's not a lot of them, and I really don't feel like making more, so here comes the gray.

Just putting grey borders around the blocks has already helped to cover the space, and I'll just continue on with more grey solid I guess. It's nice to work with these bright clear colors once again.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Back to the Back


Okay, now the backing for the kitchen sink quilt is really ready and done and all sewn together. This was the last picture of how it looked before I rearranged the rows. The newest row at the bottom caused all the rearranging. 

Looking at how it turned out, I think my backs are getting more and more complicated as I go. Part of it is disliking the need to leave a bunch of scraps hanging out behind. Also, note that this was not made using keeping in mind many of the things I learned in the kitchen sink quilting class.
And then there's the scraps. There weren't a whole lot of them leftover this time as so many made it into the final strip-pieced section. I suppose this is my version of doodling on the phone.

Now to get this sandwiched and quilted...

Friday, August 20, 2021

Please Vote


After writing Postcards To Voters for a few years now, I finally get the chance to write to voters in my very own state. It's really really easy to jump in and join up in the effort if you're interested or have some time on your hands. I find that it's nice to feel like I'm doing *something* more than following the news or writing and calling my elected reps.

It's also interesting that a lot of the addresses I was given are in little towns we drive through on the way from here to there along highway 5. It's good to be reminded that registered Democratic voters are all over this big state, even in the places you wouldn't necessarily expect them to be.
I really hope the color explosion from the Inktense watercolor pencils is enough to notice these and get the recipients to return their mail-in ballots to vote NO on the ridiculous recall of our governor. He's literally up for re-election **Next Year** and this election is costing us, the taxpayers $276,000,000.  

If you happen to be in California, please vote no on the recall and make sure your friends and family do as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Back of The Sink


I'm almost done with assembling the backing for the back of the kitchen sink quilt. I started out with these eleven orphan blocks that didn't make it into the front of the quilt. These have several rounds of strips on them and I'm noticing how all the prints mush the elements of the block into something indistinct. 

It's kind of cool that you really have to search out to find the edges of the blocks I started out with. As you can tell I didn't take as much time with the placement of things. I like how unstructured/structured it ended up looking, sure it's all "a bit much" but that works for me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Wandering Wednesday - More Mammoth

 As I haven't gone anywhere in quite a while, I'm spreading out the pics from our trip to Mammoth Lakes over a few Wednesdays. These are all from our early evening jaunt out to see Devils Postpile.

It was a fairly short hike out to get our first view of the 400' basalt columns that were formed by a lava flow ~80,000 years ago.
That swirly bit on the left makes it much easier to imagine lava flowing and curving.
There was a big pile of the hexagonal columns all around the bottom of it, it was really fun to sit on them. They honestly look so man-made and finished along the edges. According to one of the historical signs, this whole thing was nearly dynamited to make room for a hydroelectric dam. Thank goodness John Muir and others prevailed and the place was designated as a national monument in 1911.

We hiked straight up the side of the structure and it was amazing to see how far the columns really go, with the occasional tree growing up out of them.

It was really worth the climb to get up and see the top of this geologic marvel.

A close-up for those hexie lovers out there.
It's all fitted together like an utterly perfect tile floor. And polished so nicely by the passing glacier way back when.
The Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River was lovely at twilight, almost made it possible to ignore the onslaught of mosquitoes.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

To The Back We Go

I was tidying up after finishing the kitchen sink quilt and came upon the group of orphan blocks that didn’t make it into the top. Re-orphaned? Double orphaned? I decided to put them in the backing that I’m assembling.

First step was squaring up everything and then finding a roll of really random fabric strips a Cqfa friend gave me ages ago. It’s gonna get wild!


Friday, August 13, 2021

Kitchen Sink - Top Done

 And just like that, I've finished off the top of my Kitchen Sink Quilt. It took a little bit of extra "bit" sewing, the column of squares on the far left, and the pink on pink checkerboard. I'm very pleased with how it turned out and can't believe I made all those very disparate blocks work together. It's busy and colorful and a tad chaotic, which I suppose I should just admit, is my jam.

I was casting around for a title and I've decided to call it "We're All Rectangles". This is a quote from teacher, Maria Shell during the Kitchen Sink Quilting class, which absolutely cracked me up when she said it, so I wrote it down. And she's right of course. We are. 

Even some of the stars on this quilt are comprised of rectangles. I think the rectangles theme works because all of the "bits" I made to pull this quilt top together were rectangles.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Kitchen Sink-Blue Border


I don't remember when (or why?!) I made these wonky log cabin-is blue blocks with the yellow centers. But I liked expanding them and making them into a blue border. 

They were all very very different sizes ranging from 6" to 9", so that was a bit challenging. I started by squaring up two sides of each block, and then adding the solid light blue on the two opposite sides. That made it easier to be able to whittle down and up to make them work.

 Because they were still visually quite variable, I decided to break up the stacked up look and vary their position within the column with the two blue prints that I used in the three pink/blue blocks in the rest of the quilt top. I tried a couple different arrangements until I found one that I liked the most.
I like how it turned out, and now I know how large the remaining bottom section needs to be. So close to done!

Kitchen Sink - Getting There

Back to working on the Kitchen Sink Quilt. Pulling it together and making all the things fit together. I'm finding that it's a very fun challenge to "make it work".
I've been spray-starching as I go and it was so nice to sew the pieces together, all crisp and easy.

Right-hand side and bottom section is all that's left to do. You'll notice that I sliced up that big blue-green/grey rectangle into three pieces. I think it works out to be more balanced.

 A closer-up shot of one of the assembled sections.