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The Latest Accomplishments

I am having a hard time believing how fast this year is going. One might think that time would seem to slow down during a pandemic but that has certainly not been the case. When COVID-19 began to shut everything down we thought we would be dealing with it for a couple of weeks - maybe even a month - and now it has been almost seven months. In order to keep myself sane and positive I have tried to set goals and keep myself busy in the sewing room. Here is what I have accomplished the last three months —

I was able to check off a major project from my UFO list when I finished 18 towels appliquéd with seasonal designs. Most of the patterns were found in the Art To Heart series of books that includes holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, the Fourth of July, and Halloween. These books have patterns for quilts, pillows, banners and table runners, as well as towels. I used a fusible interfacing called Wonder Under to fuse the appliqué shapes to the towels and then used a blanket stitch on my Bernina to finish the edges. Many of the towels were then embellished with buttons in fun shapes such as stars, pine cones, and carrots. I also used some small round buttons for holly berries and noses. In addition I made a few towels in which I attached a narrow panel with a blanket stitch. These will make nice gifts throughout the year or I can donate them for charitable raffles.

Although I did not finish any other projects that I could check off my UFO list I did at least make some progress on a few projects. The first was my latest English Paper-Piecing (EPP) quilt. These 1” hexagons have been fun to work with. After basting black, red, and brown fabric to the paper hexagons I sorted them into full and partial shapes that resemble Grandmother’s Flower Garden blocks. The hexagons were then whip-stitched together and are ready for the connecting hexagons to be attached.

I also made a little progress on a pattern that I purchased several years ago called Flowers for my Wedding Ring by Judi Niemeyer. I get the pattern out every so often and look at. Then I fold it up and put it away. A few weeks ago, however, I read through the pattern again and cut out the foundation and paper pieces that I will need for the size of quilt that I intend to make.

The third project on which I worked was a cute fall wall hanging kit that I purchased from the Sew Blessed quilt shop in McCook when they did a program for the Panama Quilt Guild last year. It is made entirely out of wool - something I enjoy working with when the weather turns cooler. The appliqué shapes were fused to the background and the top and bottom borders stitched to the center. I also embroidered the words “Be Thankful” to the bottom of the piece. One advantage to using wool is that the edges don’t ravel. Even so I used the blanket stitch on my Bernina to give each of the appliqués a finishing touch. I completed this project by quilting it on my long arm with a variety of stitches including stipple, loops, echo, and veins in the leaves. The binding was done with the wool fabric used for the foundation. I treated it just like I would cotton fabric and it worked great. Plus it was so soft to stitch!

I also started on the paper-pieced kit that I purchased at a garage sale a few years ago. I have the paper pieces and fabrics cut out for section A and even started stitching them. This pattern is unlike any paper-piecing project that I have ever done and I’m not really sure that I am going to finish it. I just love the picture and thought it would be fun to hang in my sewing room. But the pieces are so tiny and I’m finding it next to impossible to work with. I hate to give up on it but I’m just not sure it is worth my time and effort.

I have also completed the Mystery Quilt that was sponsored by Quilt Stitches in Beatrice. You can check out my last two blogs to see my progress on that project. I have also made 45 more masks. Six of them were made from Halloween fabric requested by my niece Blaine. I also made four Iowa masks for Lindsay’s fiancé Dustin, as well as four Iowa State masks for her roommate Emily and four Nebraska masks for Lindsay. In addition I completed 17 customer quilts and six Quilts of Valor on my long arm. Maybe that is why time seems to be flying - I am keeping myself plenty busy!

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