My first quilt

I mentioned recently that I’d lost the photo album with my early quilts in one of our moves but I was going through some photos today and came across this one – it’s a photo of a photo of my first quilt. I had never sewn before, but decided I wanted to make a memory quilt with photographs so I needed to teach myself to quilt. This one was hand pieced and then I went to my sister’s house where she showed me how to use a sewing machine to quilt it in the ditch. The darker blue squares are actually pockets and the pattern was designed to tuck beanie babies in the pockets. I wish I’d gotten a photo of the quilt with the beanies in it.

This one was pieced in August 2000. When did you start quilting and what was your first quilt?!

Squirrel!

Ok, I didn’t set the cameras up to watch the squirrels but at least they’re letting me know the cameras are working!

Today I cut the HSTs for my twisted pinwheel quilt and they’re packed up to take to Big Canoe to piece. That’s one item checked off my list.

Washing sheets and remaking the guest bed, fixing Waldorf Chicken Salad for dinner … also checked off. I’m going to have to add this little UFO to my list when I get back – Mom, Ann, and I all made one of these little ornaments and I was supposed to make the 4th one and give them to the kids last Christmas… and by last … I mean December 2019! I found them when I was searching for a small bin to put the HSTs in.

I was thinking I would not finish the heart blocks before leaving but after working on them today … the last 3 blocks are in progress so I’ll be able to pack them up and assemble them at Big Canoe too. I’ve got my work cut out for me next month … two log cabin quilts to assemble, the pinwheel blocks to make, and this Hopeful Heart log cabin quilt to assemble. Plus, I need to spend time on the trails logging some miles.

Outdoor Cams – part 2

Funny but I never really know what people are going to find interesting. I’ve gotten questions about the outdoor cameras so I thought I’d post the link to them here. Chris just set them up yesterday so I can only give you the benefit of my first 24 hours!

I purchased two Blink Camera kits from Amazon. You can add multiple cameras but there’s a hub and I was afraid that I wouldn’t get good coverage if I tried to run both front and back cameras off the same one. That’s not based on any fact … just that I wanted the best possible signal. There are definitely other camera options out there but I had several recommendations from other Big Canoe residents that were using these for recording wildlife. I put 2 cameras in the front and 3 cameras in the back.

The back cameras seem to be working well and we even caught our first wildlife on camera 😆. They have an infrared feature so they’re supposed to capture video at night too triggered by motion but you can check the “live” view at any time too.

The front cameras may need some adjusting. The Driveway one works well during the day as seen below, but we do not get a good image with the infrared at night so I think that one needs to be moved. The Office camera angle probably needs adjusting too. There’s a little reflection off the ground and it does detect the cars going by – I’m kind of nosy and it’s a dead end street with just 3 houses past us so unless it wears the battery down I’m not going to worry about that. The driveway camera caught this little cutie today!

Dwirling

I always have questions when I show a project that I’ve used Dwirling on. It’s a freehand quilting design from the Pajama Quilter DVD – I quilt a very swirly version of it. Unfortunately, Dawn’s two DVDs are no longer available but if you ever come across them for sale, I highly recommend them. I tend to stick with a few favorites but after viewing the trailers on the website, I need to pull my second one out and watch it again. There are a few designs I haven’t quilted in a while that I really liked doing. Dawn has such an easy going teaching style and gives you permission to relax and have fun! The designs don’t have to be perfect, in fact I think that their lack of perfection is part of what makes them look so good.

I quilted my swirly version of Dwirling on Chris’ camouflage bedspread the other day but rather than showing you the front again where the quilting blends in, here’s a photo of the back.

I quilt this from edge to edge one line at a time. Starting with a wavy line moving from left to right. I come back across the quilt from right to left adding in swirls. From there I alternate wavy lines following the curve of the previous lines, with lines of swirls, offsetting the placement off my swirls. I continue all the way to the bottom of the quilt.

My iPad allows me to record what’s on my screen so I opened up my whiteboard app and drew the pattern out. You can view the video by clicking on the photo below.

I’ve linked to the pages where Dawn has trailers for both videos – go watch them!

The Pajama Quilter DVD – Reloaded by Dawn Ramirez

The Pajama Quilter DVD – Rethreaded by Dawn Ramirez

Thanks to Dawn for giving me permission to share this post. She’s a friend I met through blogging, a member of my HeartStrings group, and such a generous person!

Hearts – again

I spent some time in the sewing room on Saturday, making more Strips and Strings log cabin blocks and more Hopeful Heart blocks. I’m getting a lot of questions so I wrote up some quilt notes that might help explain what I’m doing with these blocks. I am not using a pattern – just modifying my other log cabin blocks a bit but the technique is not unique. The Pink Heart quilt I showed several days is somewhat similar in that the block is trimmed at an angle although those blocks have a narrow frame around the heart too. I also made a heart quilt years ago (maybe in 2001?) from the Sandy Bonsib book I showed the other day but those blocks are all different sizes and have filler strips and filler blocks to make it all go together and while that process makes a great quilt, I want something easier and more uniform. Click here to see my quilt notes.

I’ve got 18 of 35 blocks made and I stitched down 8 more hearts tonight so I’ll get those blocks made tomorrow and then stitch some more hearts. I’m anxious to make some multicolor blocks too and even went so far as to grab some fabric and look to see what color perle cotton I had but I held off for now! I would like to make a couple test blocks before I leave next weekend but we’ll see how the week goes.

Outdoor Cams

I don’t know how much wildlife we’ll capture this time of year but Chris got my cameras set up at a big Canoe today. My main purpose in adding them is just to be able to watch the wildlife that comes to visit both when we’re there and when we’re in Florida but an added benefit is having one focused on the driveway and the walkway. Kind of good to know if someone is coming or going!

Chris spent a long time today setting up the system and 5 cameras! I wanted one out front by Keith’ office window because so many of the deer walk through the yard there but that wall is stone so we’re going to try this location.

Rae walked around the back and checked out the other 3 for me, stopping to say hi at each camera.

Saturday

We had a gorgeous day here in Tampa and got out on the bikes for a 10 mile ride over to Davis Islands. We stay well away from people and found a bench to sit for a bit. The sky looked threatening at one point but it never rained.

We had a beautiful view of the water and marina from our bench.

Seriously, isn’t this a wonderful way to spend the afternoon?!

I like to keep my phone in my pocket and pull it out to snap photos when I’m riding … being careful not to run anyone over or fall off of course! I have LOTS of photos of Keith riding in front of me from our bike rides.

Finishing up

I’ll continue with the strips and strings log cabin blocks and the hearts but I’m starting to pack up for our time at Big Canoe. I’ll have a a couple tops to assemble, some pinwheel blocks to make, and I might get to this little doll quilt so it’s packed too. I feel so good when I’m using my leftovers … the batting, backing, and top are all leftover from other quilts.

I don’t talk about it every day but I’m keeping up with my walking too. I caught a pretty sunset the other evening but I went out too early today. It will be more of a challenge at Big Canoe because I have to drive a short distance to one of the trails. That’s one thing that was very convenient about the Big Canoe townhouse, we could walk out the door, up a hill and were right at one of the trailheads. Overall, I much prefer the house to the condo but I did really like that. Keith and I still share a single car so I have to coordinate with him. Not terribly difficult but not always easy to time a walk between the time in the sewing room and fixing dinner. I could always get up earlier but that’s not likely to happen!

And just because I’m loving this little heart project … I’ve got more blocks up on the design wall and tonight I prepped and appliquéd more hearts. I’m betting my stolen time in the sewing room this weekend will be spent working on this one. It will not go to Big Canoe with me and I’d love to get all 35 blocks done before we leave but we’ll see how it goes. They are quick to stitch once the hearts are done.

Quilted

What made me decide to quilt two large tops in one week?! Chris wanted a bedspread from camouflage fabric for his camper. Size is 80 x 99. Quilting is freehand, dwirling. They did not have a wide fabric so I bought 6 yards and cut the binding and pieced the top in 3 pieces. One width of fabric in the center and half of the other width on either side.

The quilting shows up better on the flannel backing.

Glad to have this one quilted too! In January, I had a goal to quilt everything but my projects … so the donation tops from Sue were finished, Mom’s Hunter Star was quilted and Chris’ camo quilt. Now all I have here is my stuff … of course both Mom’s and Chris’ quilts need to be bound but everything that isn’t mine is quilted!

I have a plan

I thought a lot today about my hopes for our country, that kindness and compassion will replace hate and anger and as I pray for that and work on letting go of my own feelings of anger from the last 4 years, I will be working on my Hopeful Heart quilt. Hand stitched appliqué hearts surround by strips of different shapes, size, and color. The hearts represent my hopes and the strips represent the melting pot that makes up America.

I’ve already cut and fused and started stitching more hearts.

I’m still making my strips and strings log cabin blocks too – can you tell I’m having fun playing in the string bins?! There are 105 blocks made so far.

I’ve got one more week before we head back to Big Canoe and my goals in the sewing room are:

  • Make blocks for the Hopeful Heart Quilt
  • Piece a camouflage bedspread and quilt it
  • Make Strips and Strings log cabin blocks
  • Cut HSTs for my twisted pinwheel quilt
  • Finish the Crochet ripple Afghan.