31 March 2022

Teal Shadows

My quilting goal for 2022 is to finish at least one WIP list project each month. February got away from me. But heck, it's a short month, right??? I've made up for it in March. Teal Shadows is my second finish for the month.

I remembered buying a sealed plastic bag of teal fabric squares many years ago, but I did not remember that I bought them because my dear friend Shonna was battling ovarian cancer until I looked up the story behind this quilt. I also didn't remember that some of the blocks in the package were hiddeous. Or not even teal. It's a good thing we write down our quilt stories. So much would be lost if we didn't.

I DID remember that when I later bought teal charm packs to go along with my teal squares, I had squares in two different sizes. I'd always wanted my 3D illusion quilt to be different from all the others I'd seen. I remember being very pleased with how my alternating four- and five-inch squares looked when I finished this flimsy back in 2016. I think Shonna would have loved it.

Now that the simply imperfect quilting is done, too, I feel like Shonna might have been looking over my shoulder while I was taking photos. I think she might have been smiling.

I wanted the shadows to look as if they were truly behind the blocks, so I quilted them very densely in a solid teal that almost perfectly matched. I wanted the teal squares to look puffy, so I didn't do much stitching in them with the last of my King Tut Arabian Nights. I ran out of YLI Alaskan Twilight while I was quilting the background so went in-person thread shopping for the first time in more than two years, to no avail. So I finished up the quilting in a pastel ocean mist solid that beautifully matches the background fabric. I used a solid turquoise thead that matches the Cosmos backing on the entire back. My solid thread colors are Signature and Gutermann.

Then came the *fun* full three nights of weaving in all 404 thread ends. No, I didn't count them, other than the background threads. I multiplied the number of illusion blocks (49) by eight, which is how many thread ends I had to weave in on each one, then added in the 12 background thread ends. Gosh, no wonder it took so long!!! Not my favorite part of the quilting process, but it's gotta be done.

This quilt top is so old, I no longer have any of the Toscana I used for the background and shadows, and I used up all the Cosmos backing leftovers as backing for one of the butterfly quilts I made for my grand nieces a few years ago. I didn't want to buy more fabric for the binding, and I wasn't in the mood to hunt through my stash for something that might work. I momentarily considered assembling all my teal scraps and probably would have taken on that challenge if I wasn't trying to make up for not finishing a quilt in February.

I placed the quilt on the floor to begin trimming off the edges when I suddenly realized there MIGHT be enough Cosmos backing all the way around to fold it over into a self-bind. Intrigued, I immediately began pinning, and a swarm of memories of the quilting bees I used to attend in the church basement with my grandmother when I was a child came flooding back.

We used to get together almost every weekend to make a baby blanket for an expectant mother. Someone had the layers all set up on a wooden frame, and we'd sit around the quilt to stitch by hand from the outside in, rolling it up as we went and becoming more tightly packed against each other as the stitchable portion of the quilt shrank. If we didn't have the packaged (nylon or satin?) blanket binding, we'd roll the edges over and stitch by hand. I didn't know anything about strip binding until the last 20 or so years, and I never machine-stitched a fabric strip binding until Crazy Mom Quilts published her wonderful tutorial.

I think I still have a package of that vintage blanket binding somewhere in the basement. I remember learning how to zigzag Wright's satin-finish binding onto a baby quilt back before the turn of the century. I confess: I prefer today's binding methods! But, oh, what a joy it was to self-bind Teal Shadows!

I probably would have finished the quilt in an hour or so if I'd machine-stitched the edges. But my mitered corners turned out so perfect, I decided to hand-stitch them. Then I decided to begin hand-stitching the binding, just to see how it looked. I liked it so much, I spent the next four nights hand-stitching all the way around the quilt. I might have been able to finish another quilt that is ready for the longarm by the end of this month if I hadn't squandered my time with a hand-binding. But I enjoyed going back to my roots, and I absolutely love the way this quilt turned out, mistakes and all.

deep shadows

Linking up with Alycia Quilts.

29 March 2022


Tomorrow marks a solid year of us walking every single day. Thursday begins a new year. I haven't decided yet whether to continue keeping track. Sometimes it feels pretty neat to look forward to each new milestone, like 500 days, 1,000 days... But sometimes it feels like one more thing I have to do. And this year I've been trying to pare down unnecessary tasks.

Many of the walks the past three months have been indoors due to weather/ice. I can't afford risking Lizard falling.

Many of our walks the last month have been the length of our house because his non-bionic knee (his humorous term) is acting up again. We visited the ortho specialists again, and thankfully, surgery is not recommended. Literally, thank heavens.

Now we wait to see if insurance will pay for joint lubrication. If not, we may have to pay out of pocket. Whatever happens, we have to keep walking. Activity is the key to slowing the progression of Parkinson's. Both of us are determined to beat this monster back with every ouce of strength and resolve we can muster.

28 March 2022

No Flake Monday

Once again, I didn't get a pattern written, and for that, I apologize. There are nearly 700 snowflake patterns available on my website, so I hope there is something to keep you busy while I am too busy to write another pattern. I hope you enjoy these collages I created a while back. It's fun to play with snowflake photos.

24 March 2022

Big and Done

Because our driveway still has a bit of snow, I thought we might be able to get a full-view photo of my finished Lizard Toes at a nearby playground. Gale-force winds carried the quilt down from the jungle gymn and right into a collection of goose poop. So, I didn't have to wait for heavy use to throw this giant baby in the wash.

The only other place I could think of for a photo was the inside of our garage door. I clipped it up there, snapped the photos, then threw it in the wash again. So now it's a bit softer on my bed, and I love it more each and every day!

I had forgotten I still use the pillowcases that match the sheet I used for a quarter of Lizard Toes' backing. I'd used most of the sheet as backing for grandkid quilts a few years ago. The sheets had been designated for the recycle stash thanks to a few worn-out spots caused by Lizard's restless legs... back when he could actually sleep in the bed. The pillowcases that match four sheets I've used as quilt backings still get regular rotation on the bed, and I was rather thrilled to see the purple pillowcases shout out in harmony when I decided to use the backside of the quilt as the top this time around.

Now I just need to finish putting the grommets in the rest of the leftover fabric so my bedroom curtains will match the back of the quilt, too!

Linking up with Alycia Quilts.

22 March 2022

The Next Best Thing

I used to be so anxious for March so we could journey to Monte Vista for the annual sandhill crane festival. With Parkinson's making such a huge impact on our lives, we don't get to watch and listen to those amazing birds anymore. Well, not in person, anyway. Over the weekend I discovered a migration live cam. (Best in the early morning and very late afternoon.) I could listen to this for hours!!!

For three consecutive winters now, I've heard Barr Lake, quite a bit north of me, has been a temporary rest site for up to 26 bald eagles. And I have always wanted to visit Farmington Bay and Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in February. I guess I waited too long. I'm not sure we can make a trip like that now. Fortunately, I've been able to see a bald eagle or two in person every once in a while in my neck of the woods. When I can't get out even for a short photography hunting trip, I can enjoy the heck out of the St. Vrain live came, the Decorah eagle cam and the Big Bear eagle nest.

Very near our home, we've been able to see owls nesting this time of year in three different nests. This year, not a single one of those nests is occupied. I haven't been able to get out to hunt for new locations yet, so I'm loving every minute I get to spend with the Savannah mama.

Of course, I'm ready for any raptors, woodpeckers, bluejays, redwinged blackbirds, meadowlarks, orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and hummingbirds, as well as any other photographic winged species, that visit my backyard. I've even been treated to a sandhill flyover!

It just seems the only wildlife I get to see in my backyard these days are the ones I wish would stay away from my birdfeeder!!!

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