Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lemons to lemonade

Well, I don't know about you, but I could certainly use a nice glass of lemonade!  The hubs and I went away for the weekend, to a place that is generally not warm in February, and it was over 60 degrees!  Not saying it wasn't wonderful, but it was quite odd. 

If you recall, last week I started making some blocks that can only be made with templates.  One turned out well and the other was a failure, mostly because of the set-in seams.  I've worked on it some, and there's a picture later, but mainly it served as inspiration for a Dresden Plate quilt.  Take a look:

I love turquoise and yellow together, don't you?  Looks like I have to reposition the center circle here.  Oh, well.  One of my goals for this year is to make a Dresden Plate quilt, but I initially didn't know what type of Dresden quilt to make.  I think I've found it.  In fact, I'm so sure I made two of these lovelies:

Okay, I'll straighten that one up, too. Not sure what happened when I was appliqueing these down.  I wanted 12-inch blocks, but miscalculated a bit and ended up with 10-inch blocks.  I'm actually okay with that and I'm pretty sure that I can come up with a layout that incorporates a few different sizes.  Not sure if this is an RSC project or not, but the turquoise was a good place to start.

As for the Gardener's Prize block which started the whole thing, this is the mess it was last week:

And this is the block now:

The center still needs to be stitched down, obviously.  I ended up stitching the diamonds to the backgrounds and the sides of the yellow sections, then appliqueing the yellow peaks to the background pieces.  There just wasn't a better way to make it work.  I'm still pretty sure that no one ever used those templates.  It would make so much more sense to make it like a Dresden Plate and then applique it to a background.  I gotta learn to go with my instincts!

So there's my "lemons to lemonade" idea.  I think the Dresdens will work out, and the template block will be finished and I will not have to make another.  Hope you are having a lovely and productive week, and all the lemonade you want.

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Oh Scrap! and soscrappy for RSC17.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thrifty finish

Hi everyone!  Someone told me this week that I shouldn't start a blog post that way, but I can't help it, I just want to start by saying hello!  It just feels polite, you know?

This was a very, very busy week for me, but I did finish something I started a few weeks ago.  You may remember that I got some 12-inch blocks in a scrap bag shortly after Christmas.  This week I finished assembling those blocks into a top, ready to be quilted up and donated.  Here's how it ended up:

I think it's cute, especially for cobbling together some thrifted blocks and a piece of yardage from my stash.  This top is about 40 by 60 and will have some great space for quilty practice.  The center blocks look huge but they're the same size as the pieced blocks, 14 inches with the sashing included.  It was very windy when I was taking pictures, so if this reminds you of a sheet on a clothesline, that's why!

I didn't make these blocks, so I want to show you a problem I had with one of them.  I don't know if you can see the shadows behind the light colors in this block, but they are definitely there:

This is the back of the block, which shows why those shadows are there:

The block maker didn't trim off the connector corners after folding up the triangle pieces on the flying geese and some other pieces, which means that they showed through the lighter fabrics.  Keeping these pieces on also made the block very heavy, so I ended up snipping all of those connectors out with a very sharp small scissors.  It was tedious, but it made for a much better block. 

Soon to be a backing!

So, now that that's finished, I plan to quilt this one up for practice and donate it, most likely to the Hands to Help Challenge when that comes around.  Since it was so inexpensive and quick to make, I've been calling this the Thrifty quilt.  If only all thrift was this cute!

When I was outside to take pictures of this quilt, it was cold and windy, but look what's coming up in the front garden:

I think those are daffodil shoots!  And look--some sunshine!  It only lasted a few minutes, but it was very welcome!  Can spring be far behind?

Hope you all have a great weekend.  The hubs and I are off on a small adventure, so here's hoping we have some decent weather.  I feel like it's been gray for weeks, so some more sunshine would be awesome.

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and crazymomquilts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New project

Hi everyone!  Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day and time with your significant other.  We got takeout--it was amazing.  Takeout is my favorite thing ever.  Also, I made brownies, so you know, pretty much perfect.

I decided to start a new project this week.  Because, you know, I need a new project because I don't have enough already. You all know that I love old blocks, especially the ones that don't get used a lot, mostly because they have a lot of pieces or steps.  I like taking these apart and figuring out how to make them using modern methods.  Usually that works, but there are a lot of vintage blocks that still can only be made using templates.  I've decided to make some of these and put them in a quilt.  Here's the first one I tried:

Letha's Electric Fan

This is Letha's Electric Fan, a Kansas City Star block from 1938.  Isn't this a great block?  I think I'm going to redo the center circle in a solid, though, because it looks off (and it does need better pressing) but it isn't.  The fussy cutting wasn't fussy enough, so that make it all look like it's the wrong size.

Even though it's made from templates, this was not a really hard block.  Really, the cutting was the hard part. 

Yay templates!

I used a rotary cutter to cut these pieces, stacking the fabric and cutting through all the pieces.  You know those tiny rotary cutters that look like they would be useless?  For some reason, I have an 18 mm cutter, and it works really well for cutting curved pieces!  After the cutting was done, it only took a few minutes to put this block together.  The curved was pretty gentle, not quite as bad as Drunkard's Path blocks. 

I will be making another Letha's Fan block, but in the interest of honesty, I have to show you the other template block I tried and seriously failed to complete because they're not all that easy:

Yep, that's a hot mess.

This block is Gardener's Prize, an Aunt Martha block from the 1930s.  I just could not make the set-in seams work.  In my defense, look at those pieces!  The diamonds are good, but the corners and side pieces are ridiculous.  Seriously, the Letha's Fan block was so much easier.

I think I'm going to have to baste this by hand and reinforce the seams by machine, or else applique the yellow and blue pieces to a background.  I really can't believe that anyone ever made this block using those corners.

So that's my new project, which I'm calling "the template block project."  Isn't that imaginative?  I have about a dozen blocks picked out, but I am looking for more.  If you have any good ideas, send them along!  Or if you have a good idea about what to do about the Gardener's Prize block, let me know!

Hope you're all having a good week!  Stitch happy!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social and Oh, Scrap!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Stashing from the sofa

Hi everyone!  I don't do a "stash enhancement" post very often, but last week I was plenty sick and spent a couple of days holed up on the sofa watching bad movies and reading waaayyy too much garbage on the Internet.  It also happens that I purchased a number of things from the sofa, a nice perk that the Internet has gifted us with.  It's truly a great time to be alive--you can order almost anything (including this) and it will appear at your door.  I think you can guess what I ordered.  The mailman has been bringing pretty things all week, and I thought I'd share!

First, did you know that there are actual fabric stores on Etsy?  True fact!  I knew that people sold fabric through Etsy but I generally thought they were selling off their own unwanted pieces.  Nope--there are some like that, but there are also many full service, new fabric stores.  I learned this when my friend Bernie at Needle and Foot expanded her shop to carry new lines of fabric.  I got a number of pieces from Bernie's shop, including these:

The houses are Village in neutral from the Maker, Maker line by Sarah Golden for Andover.  It's a linen/cotton blend that feels fairly stiff just off the bolt, so I plan to wash it before I use it.  To coordinate with it I got a piece of Small Letters in gray from the Basically Low line. I think these look good together!  I'm going to use them to make something just for myself.  What an idea, huh?

I also got these from Bernie's shop:

These pieces are Hip to Be Square by Kim Schaefer for Andover fabrics and Color Weave Textured Solid by PB Textiles.  These are both lovely additions to the stash, and Kim Schaefer's fabric feels amazing.  I may go back and get the panel that goes with this because it's very cute, too.

Finally, I got this bundle of Modern Tykes by Kim Diehl:

This is such cute fabric!  The birds and the dots are both bigger than anticipated, but I like them a lot.  There are some other pieces in the line, too, and they are equally nice.  This bundle is for a special project coming up in March.

I visited a couple of other shops, too.  I got these two pieces from The Red Hen Shop:

This is Hungry Animals Alphabet by Quilting Treasures and Colorfully Creative by Riley Blake and Crayola.  These feel great, too!  Plus I got a couple of yards of this:

This is City Life by Quilting Treasures and I don't really have a project for it, but who could resist?

I didn't get a picture, but I do also want to mention that I found a nice piece of the dark green that I'm using in my Steps to the Garden blocks from Auntie B's Quilts Etc. shop, and Barbara was very nice to work with.  And I was grateful that I found what I needed!

The last piece of my sofa  purchases were these 4 panels from Northcott:

These 4 panels are just called "Connector Playmats" by Deborah Edwards and they go together to create a road. The genius part of it is that you can put them together in any order and the roads will connect up!  You also don't need to have all of the panels to make something  good-looking and fun.  There are panels for a railroad and a town, and also a marina and an airport.  And each panel has the most important place--a quilt shop!

These are just darling, and I'll bet you can guess what I'll be doing with them as soon as my tiny grandson gets a bit bigger and stops chewing on cars and starts running them on "roads."

I don't think I'm expecting anything else from the mail carrier, but I think I had enough fun, don't you? (If only I could remember all of it.)  I'll be working on these for a while, I think.

Happy Sunday, everyone!  Hope you get some stitching in!

Sharing at Molli Sparkles's Sunday Stash.