Saturday, June 23, 2018

At the halfway point

Hi friends!  How was your week?  It has been an interesting one around here, and it won't surprise anyone to know that it's raining again.  It's been almost three years since we moved to the East coast from the Midwest, and by far the hardest thing to adjust to has been the frequent rain.  The grocery stores, too, but the precipitation has been the big thing. I never realized how much rain affected me, either.  I'm thinking of buying a full-spectrum light for the rainy days.  Anyone have a recommendation?

Good thing there are nice, happy colors in fabrics, right? Today I'm showing off my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects at the halfway mark.  There are ten colors for this year and halfway was really May, not June.  I meant to do this at the beginning of the month but was so exhausted that I forgot.  Oh, well!  They're just as pretty now.

Let's start with the patchwork scrap stars:

Well, those look festive, don't they? This quilt will be really cute and full of nice bright colors.  I've promised this one to a friend and I hope she's following along and likes what she sees.

If you look closely at the stars, you'll see that in addition to being colorful and fun, they're also a bit damp.  It's been raining, and I was fooled when the sun came out in patches for a bit.  Sadly, there was a sunshower when I was taking these photos, and then the clouds opened up, so the rest of the photos are indoors.  Here are my 10-inch Squared Away blocks up to this point:

This is going to be a great quilt!  I think they all fit together pretty well.  The purples stand out as kind of dark, but they'll blend a lot better after we add some more of the darker colors this fall.  If you recall, I'm also making 15-inch blocks this year, with dark blue backgrounds.  Here's where they stand right now:

One of the quilts I'm planning for these blocks is a layout just like this, so this makes a nice preview of the final quilt.

Last up is the hollow 9-patches:

I love these little blocks so much that I might just keep making them after the RSC is over for this year.  They're fast and use up a bunch of 2-inch squares, and we can always find a use for some 9-patches, can't we?  I have more than enough for one donation quilt right now, but I know I'll be able to make enough for two quilts with a lot of color variety by the end.

So there are my projects halfway through the challenge! I'm pretty happy with how they stand right now.  All that's missing here are the galaxy stars, but I'll show those next week.  Some of them may have fallen into a small puddle when I was rushing to get everything else inside and away from the rain.  Yeah, those are going to need washing...

Hope your projects are going well! How about showing us all a halfway picture?  If nothing else, they all look so pretty together, and I think it's motivating to see how far along the project is.  And it encourages other people too!

Have a lovely, dry weekend!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Back home again

Hello all! (waving wildly)  How have you been?  I am doing great.  It's amazing what a couple of weeks away can do for your brain and your energy.  The fact that I spent some of that time with the world's cutest babies has nothing at all to do with it, I'm sure.  The conference went well, I saw a lot of friends, I learned some stuff, and didn't cook for a long time, which is always a win in my book.  Did I mention that my son is a chef? It was yummy and I didn't have to make anything!

So now I've cleaned up some of the sewing room (what was I doing, leaving it such a mess?) and cleaned the machine plus wound a bunch of bobbins and I'm ready to get going on the projects again.  Thank goodness, too, because it's way too hot to even think about going outside. 

The first thing I want to do is make up a fast quilt from 16-patches:

Doesn't that look fun and colorful?  It's really easy, too. One of my daughters gave me this package of strips from Island Batiks for Mother's Day:

We all know I'm not a big fan of precuts, but it was a lovely gift, wasn't it?  So now I want to use them as quickly as I can so they don't just sit on the shelf forever, because that's no way to treat a present.  Besides, the colors are happy and these blocks are really easy, so I'm making progress quickly, which we all know is very gratifying.  Since there are two strips of each fabric, I'm just matching up 4 strips in roughly the same order that they're in the package, then cutting 2-1/2 inch sections for 8-inch finished blocks.  From each set of 4 strips, I get 4 blocks.  This will give me 40 blocks, and I figure that I'll add a couple more strips so that I end up with 42 blocks, for a quilt set 6 by 7.  It won't be huge, but it will be festive.  And hopefully finished quickly.

The second project I started working on is putting together my Community Sampler quilt.  I've started adding the setting triangles and I've gotten this far:

Sun splotches are festive.  They don't ruin pictures at all!

I'm using up several half yards of light blues that I bought as possibilities for sky fabrics for various projects as the setting triangles.  They're close enough in color and value that I don't think it will look bad that they're different fabrics.  I still have to make the border pieces, but I should be able to get this together pretty quickly.

The last thing that I'm working on right now is gathering fabrics for a Harry Potter quilt. 

This was not on my list to make, but you can't say no when your child asks for one and even finds you the pattern they want *and* gets it for you, can you?  Okay, an adult child, but I'm a soft touch.  The pattern is really, really easy, but you can see that I need to add some fabrics.  I knew I would need to get some more grays (silver), but I also need some more dark greens and a couple of black pieces.  I thought the blacks I have would work, but now that I look at them in the picture the prints look too gray for what I want.  So I guess I'll have to shop, darn it.  I hate it when that happens!

That's the story from here!  Pretty happy to be home, though I miss those grandkids like nothing else, and I'm looking forward to some productivity in several areas.  Because of the very wet spring we had, our massive landscaping project has been delayed by an entire month, but I have some veggies growing in containers on the deck.  Look what greeted me when we got home:

Tomatoes!  They taste like fresh air and sunshine, and I'm eating them like candy. 

Hope you're having a great week! 

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Small stuffies

Hi everyone! How is your summer going so far?  Ours has been remarkably wet--of course--and remarkably busy.  After today's post, I am taking a small hiatus to go to a professional conference and then we are going to see our grandbabies!  And what kind of a grandma would I be if I didn't have a small present for the grandkids?  Here is one of the things I am taking for the little ones:

Aren't those adorable?  This is a panel from a line called Woof Woof Meow.  My friend Nancy sent me this cute panel of the puppies. (Thanks Nancy!) There is also a kittens panel, which Nancy made when we had a sew day together, so I can attest that it is equally cute.

I know these are supposed to be a mama dog and a papa dog and their kiddos, but I'm choosing to think of them as twins who each have twins!  That way each of our twins can have their own dog with twin puppies.  Don't worry, we have something else for big brother, so no one will be left out.

The panel was super-easy to make, and all of the stuffies took about 3/4s of a 16-ounce bag of stuffing.   If you stuff them too firmly the puppies won't fit into the pockets, so these are nice and squishy. 

That's pretty much all the sewing I've done this week.  I need a little "off" time, so I am so looking forward to spending time with the grandkids.  I have to get through the conference first, of course, but I finished my paper and I'm ready for it.  Plus I always get to see friends at these things, and it also means no cooking for me, which we all know is my favorite thing.  And on top of that I'm hoping there will be sunshine somewhere along the way.  For sunshine I might even be persuaded to play hooky from the conference!

Everyone have a great week, and I'll see you in a bit!  Hope you get a lot accomplished!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished or Not Friday.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Squared Away Block 6

Hi all, and welcome to the next block in the Squared Away quilt project!  This project is a free quilt along designed by me and Angela of soscrappy.  If you've just found us, it's not too late to start, and if you've been sewing right along, grab some more scraps and let's add a few more blocks.  You can find links to all the previous blocks on a tab at the top of this page and also on a tab at Angela's blog, soscrappy.

This month marks the start of the second half of our quilt!  The colors for this month range from cool aquas to teals and turquoises, and the block is quick and easy.  This will give us some good progress really fast.  Here is our block:

Country Lanes, Mountain Mist, 1935

This is Country Lanes, a 1935 block from Mountain Mist, the batting company.  I remember them printing some block patterns on their batting wrappers way back in the 1980s.  I don't know if they still do this, but apparently they did for a very long time, since the 1920s, and even put out several pamphlets of the patterns.

I made the sample block in just two aquas and a background  to show the contrast, but seriously consider adding a third as the background.  If you skip to the end of this post, you can see the two blocks I made using three different prints.

On to the block!

Cutting for a 10- inch block:

As always, if you want to use your already-cut squares instead of cutting larger pieces, feel free!

From the background fabric, cut:

2 2-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch strips

From the first aqua, cut:

2 2-1/2 inch by 10-1/2 inch strips
1 2-1/2 inch square

From the second aqua, cut:

4 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch rectangles


Unlike the blocks up until this point, this block does not have any half-square triangles!

Take all of the 2-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch strips and pair them up, aqua with the background fabrics.  Stitch along the long edges, then press to the aqua. Cut each of these into 4 2-1/2 inch sections.

Use 2 of the sections to make a checkerboard 4-patch.  You can press these seams any way that they work best because they are not attached to other pieced units.

Make 4 of these units.  These should measure 4-1/2 inches square.


The assembly of this block could not be easier.  Gather the units that you just made plus all the remaining pieces and lay them out as shown:

Join the units into rows and the rows into a finished block.  Press well and admire how talented you are!

These blocks go very quickly, so you should be back out enjoying the June sunshine in no time.  Here are the blocks I made for this month:

We are now 60% finished with our quilt!  Wahoo!  As always, hop on over to Angela's to see some more blocks and some of her variations.  If you are so inclined, remember that Angela has a linkup at her blog every Saturday, and we would all love to see your blocks.  You can also link up Instagram posts there, and be sure to tag me (@academicquilter) and/or use #squaredawaybom or #squaredawayquilt so I won't miss seeing your pretty blocks.

Our next block will be posted July 7th, after the holiday on the 4th (or the 1st if you're in Canada), so you can go ahead and finish your picnics before meeting back here for the next step.  See you then!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.