Sunday, June 12, 2022

New York Beauty Blog Hop with Island Batik

Welcome to my day on the Island Batik Ambassador's New York Beauty blog hop. 

What a wonderful challenge!  Last January, we received a box of fabric, including a Surprise bundle.  I couldn't show it then, but I received Pumpkin Spice, a collection of greens, golds, creams, and a touch of purple, using pumpkins, swirls, crows, a little spider web design, and ovals.  
 I also got 2 yards of Eggplant, a Basic, and a lighter green, which I didn't use.  I added some Sprinkles for background.  

I've had a New York Beauty quilt on my bucket list for a while, and know it's a challenge to create.  I looked online and used EQ8 to find inspiration.  I printed out a possible design, and kept it next to my computer for a while, but when I looked at it again, it was going to be too time consuming to create, so I went back to the drawing board in EQ8.  I imported the fabric SKUs from Island Batik to the program, and played with possibilities.  My final draft was this. 

Have I mentioned that final drafts actually are not final??  That happened again.  
I made a test block, but the spike band didn't have enough contrast, with the golds and greens in the spikes.  I ended up using the cream fabrics in the collection, and then a friend suggested I use a background border first, instead of the purple border, before the pieced triangle border.  

I had already cut many of the pieces for the spikes, and was happy to realize I could still use them within the checkerboard round, as well as the spikes.  

Since I'm not afraid of curves, I pieced the whole block.  I didn't use applique for the center quarter circle, or for the purple outer band and the final outer to make it square.  I don't really pin the arcs, either, except for the beginning and middle, and end if needed.  

It's a challenge to do it with only one hand, as the other was holding the camera, but you get the idea.  My machine has a setting to lift the foot a bit when I stop, and I use the 1/4" foot with guide.  As you can see at the end, the curve is smooth without puckers.  It takes a little practice, but I think it's much faster than sewing with a million pins in it, and gives a better result.  

So, here are the details.  I used every fabric in the Pumpkin Spice collection.  The darkest teal greens were only in the pieced border and I used both for the binding, as I didn't have enough of the Eggplant left for that.  The inner purple arcs used a lot of fabric, so I needed the 1 darkest purple half yard piece, plus some of Eggplant.  
Quilt measures 73" square, made with 16 12" pieced blocks, and then the pieced border.  I should have adjusted the cream border's size to make the pieced border fit better, but it still looks good to me. 
I used EQ8 software and printed the Checkerboard NY Beauty block on Carol Doak's foundation paper, and pieced each block.  The sections needed to be taped together to make it work.  I used the center arc, the purple arc and the outer section as a pattern to cut the sections needed.  All centers are the same fabric.  4 of the outer sections were the green with gold pumpkins, and the other 12 were Sprinkles background.  Blocks were arranged to make the purple circle, with the other circles "behind".  

I used the Studio 180 Designs Corner Beam tool for the 4 1/2" corner blocks in the pieced border, and Jaybird Quilts Super Sidekick to cut the 4 1/2" equilateral triangles for the border.  A 6" border of Eggplant was added, and the binding is the darkest teals.  I alternated the leaf print with the crow print, but don't think there's enough showing for it to matter.  

Machine stitching used Aurifil 50wt in 2310, one of my favorites for piecing.  It's a great neutral tan color.  I used a Schmetz needle, and changed it after I was done sewing on paper.  Both were size 12, Microtex.  I also cleaned out the machine after sewing on the paper.  

Backing is a wide back 100% cotton sateen I have, in cream, and batting is Warm & Natural.  The Pantograph is Leaves in the Wind from My Creative Stitches.  Thread is Aurifil 40-3 in 2326, Sand, a perfect color to blend over the fabrics, but show on the Eggplant border.  I wanted the piecing to star in this one.  I finished it with an embroidered label using Almond and 40wt Aurifil black thread.  

Photos were shot in my back yard, as well as Eisenhower Park, near the 911 Memorial structure (the steel towers behind the photo) and the Veterans Memorial building.  I wish I had a place nearby where I could safely park and see the New York City skyline, to get photos of the New York Beauty in New York City, but the timing and rain didn't cooperate.  I figured the best location was in memory of the World Trade Towers.  

Here are more photos, including one with Heather, who is now 6 months old, and hopped right on the chair for the photo.  She's already learning how to model my quilts!!  

Outtake!  It was windy!  My friend is a good sport to help with the photos.  

I picked this panto because I felt it was the most elegant for the quilt, and the swirls were similar to some in the fabric tjaps.  

Island Batik has a give away, so please use the Rafflecopter link for that.  

I appreciate all your comments, so please let me know what you think of Pumpkin Spice, and if you want to make a NY Beauty quilt, and I'll choose a random comment to win something from me.  I'm not sure what it will be yet, so it's a surprise.  Thanks so much for commenting and following my blog.  

And visit Jennifer's blog for her inspiring NY Beauty in the same collection.  This week's schedule is below. 

June 13:

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations
Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

June 14:

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts
Anorina Morris, Samelia’s Mum

June 15:

Michelle Roberts, Creative Blonde Gifts
Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

June 16:

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese
Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs

June 17:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 2 and Giveaway

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

After the storm

 Back in November, 2021, Island Batik asked the Ambassadors to use a specific collection to make a Storm at Sea quilt.  My collection was the stunning Petals Provence, shades of yellow from pale to cornmeal, and blues from light sky to deep navy.  The prints are gorgeous, and you may still be able to find some of the fabrics or precuts in shops.  

At the time, I was unable to finish my quilt because I was having health issues.  Earlier this month, my brother John and his wife, one of my bffs, visited from Colorado, and we took a sight-seeing and quilt photo day to Fire Island and Robert Moses State Park.  They have a great boardwalk from the parking lot to the lighthouse.  Arlene made it to the lighthouse, but with the 3 quilts I was carrying, and John's limited walking ability, and Heather's little puppy legs, we went almost all the way, but I was able to get the photos I wanted.  

The issues are not completely resolved, but I did want to document the finished quilt and give a little info about my issues.  

I had mentioned I needed a cornea transplant, and it was scheduled for September, 2021.  The procedure was done as an outpatient at the hospital, instead of the eye surgery center, and was not a good experience.  I did what I was supposed to, laid on my back for 2 days (except for bathroom and eating) and the graft failed.  My eye never cleared.  Another in-office procedure a week later was tried to remedy that, and another 24 hours of laying on my back, and it didn't work.  I've been unable to see out of my left eye since then.  
At the same time I was having spotting issues, and then had a full period.  I thought I was in menopause for the last 3 years, and was surprised.  I contacted my Dr, who referred me to a gynecologist, and was given an appointment the next day.  A suction biopsy was recommended, and done at that appointment, and the diagnosis came back positive for Endometrial Cancer.  After an internal sonogram confirmed it, I was scheduled for a complete hysterectomy via the DaVinci robot, which happened in December.  Although the robot made the surgery easier, it was still a major issue and took a while to recover.  After that, based on the results of the tests, it was recommended I also undergo brachytherapy radiation, to make sure that any cells that flaked off would not be able to develop cancer in the vaginal wall.  I was lucky that it was only stage 1, and only a little through the endometrial wall into the uterus.  I had 3 brachytherapy treatments that finished in March.  I'm still recovering from that, but getting stronger every day.  

Here's my warning to others.  Pap tests do NOT detect endometrial cancer.  There's no specific test that does.  It's fairly common in larger women who have had few or no pregnancies.  So, please contact your Dr. if you have unusual bleeding or spotting after menopause, or just don't feel right.  I had been tired and couldn't explain it, for most of last year.  My body didn't seem to be working right, and I wasn't sleeping well.  Stress was building about my eye issues, and those are all symptoms that I should have had checked.  Luckily, I questioned the spotting and got treatment early.  It had not spread to my ovaries, fallopian tubes, or cervix.  I was lucky.  The recurrence rate is about 4% after the brachytherapy.

The quilt was named After the Storm because of the storm of heath issues.  I wanted it to represent the sun and clear blue skies after the storms.  I was happy to finally have a chance to get the lighthouse photos and share my story.  The issues caused by the storm of medical challenges are not over, but I can see the light.  

Panto is Whitney's Pearls by My Creative Stiches.  I used light blue Aurifil 40-3 for quilting.

The quilt was actually finished by December 6, 2021, but I waited to tell my story, and hopefully help another woman with my experience.  
Details:  About 72" square, using the Accuquilt GO! BOB Storm at Sea, and EQ8 for the inspiration for the layout.  I used a royal blue Minkee backing, and Hobb's Heirloom bleached cotton batting.  I used a Faux Piped binding for the edge, and added square in a square blocks for the corners.  

2 other quilts that were ready for photos that day include the December 2020 challenge, Medallion Quilt.  I chose the Radiant Star pattern book by Eleanor Burns and Quilt in a Day.  I had made good progress on the top and getting it quilted, but got stalled when I needed to take it off the Long Arm frame to turn it to do the side borders.  I put other quilts on the frame and got tons done during 2021, but this became a UFO.  It's now done!  
Details:  Strip Collection is Sweet Hearts, and the border is a Basics, I think Tourmaline.  I used a floral wide back for the backing and Hobb's Heirloom cotton batting.  I always use Aurifil thread for piecing and quilting, and Schmetz needles for piecing.  I did lots of custom quilting on this.  Prostitcher for the borders and smaller star blocks, ruler work for stitch-in-the ditch and some of the designs, and free motion curls in the larger star.  It also measures about 72" square.  

The third finish, or almost finish, was the Sew by Row top using Sew Fine for Missouri Star.  I lead a focus group on Zoom for my quilt guild over the last few months, and got this done to share at show and tell earlier in May.  I still need to add the button accents, but it's bound and has a label.  Buttons are used for the joint in the scissors, as pin heads, and buttons on the sewing machine head, as well as the knot on the fat quarter bundles.  I'll machine sew them on soon.  

I changed the borders, so it finished about 78 by 90".  I used the Sewing Time panto from Urban Elementz.  

I've also finished some customer quilts, too.  It's been a busy few months, but I think this catches me up on my blog details.  

Thanks for reading this far, for joining me on this journey, and for hopefully taking my warning about getting medical treatments when you notice something wrong in your body.  Don't shrug it off, and don't let your doctor shrug it off.  Push for the tests and answers, and then find the best team of oncologists for treatment, if needed.  But I hope you don't need an oncologist.