Friday, June 23, 2017

I Spy more rain

Hi everyone!  I have a little quilt top to show you today, but getting pictures of it was a bear.  I took some pictures yesterday but they were not great, so I thought I'd take a few this morning and post them then.  This morning there was more rain!  This has been the hardest adaptation of our big move--the weather.  Seriously, the amount of precipitation here makes the Midwest look like an absolute desert.  I finally got out there in between the raindrops, so if you see some spots, that's rain, not dirt.

Remember how I was supposed to finish my paper this week?  I did not finish my paper.  This is a cause for sadness, because it means I have to keep working on it and I am sick of it.  Plus, it's boring. But I did finish my little I Spy quilt top, so there is also great happiness!  Here's the quilt top:

That's a pretty happy little top, isn't it?  I was planning to use a black polka dot for the setting triangles, but it was too overwhelming.  I switched to a gray and white polka dot instead.  I know--gray!  I can't believe it either, but it looks good.  And I have a stripe for the binding, so I think the gray will set that off nicely, too.

This little top was so fun to make.  I do love the square in a square block.  They're easy and fast to make and they turn out looking really good, too.  The inner square is 5 inches, and the sides are 4-inch squares cut in half once.  If you don't care about round numbers, these are really nice-sized pieces to work with--just big enough not to be too fussy, and small enough to make an interesting fussy-cut center.  This makes a block that finishes at about 6-3/8 inches square,  but is just about 9-1/8 on the diagonal.  This top is about 46 inches square.

If I had any sense, I would have used some solid alternate blocks, but instead I matched all those points.  The best way I know to do this is to put a pin straight through both of the points-- and then stitch right over the pin.  I know, I know, but it worked for me.  Also, I am not really an advocate of oversizing things and then cutting them down to the right size, but setting triangles are the exception to that rule.  Oversizing those makes everything so much better when it comes to squaring up the quilt.

Once it dries out, I plan to quilt this with a walking foot so that I can have it ready to take when we go visit our grandson (and his parents) in a few weeks.  There's so much pattern and color in here already that I think just some lines to emphasize the blocks will be enough.  Maybe some meandering to make it cuddly.  We'll see how I feel when I sit down with it.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.  I might finish that paper!  Or maybe I'll paint the hallway instead.  Pretty sad that those are equally appealing!

And just to mention this, this is my 300th post!  Who would have thought?

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy little projects

Hi everyone, and welcome to another scorcher.  I know some of you are in far worse straits than I am--Phoenix, I'm looking at you with deep sympathy!--but, gosh, it's a sauna out there.  Thank goodness that I've been spending a lot of time in an air-conditioned library.  And drinking lots of cold beverages.  But not at the same time, because that's not allowed.

Because I have to finish this paper I'm working on, I've just been plugging away at the current projects, little by little.  They're pretty happy projects, though, so it's fun to work on them, especially after spending most of the day with books and papers.  The first one is the I Spy quilt:

Bernie and I traded some of our I Spy pieces, so now I've got a lot more variety.  See that cute bird on the left? I'm almost done with the blocks for this size (some blocks aren't on the wall), but I think I'm going to add one more vertical row to make this a bit bigger.  According to my figuring, that will make it about 45 inches wide, which is a good size for a toddler.  I'm auditioning the black polka dots for setting triangles, but I'm not too sure.  I might want something brighter. With any luck, I can finish this top up this week.

I also worked some more on the June quilt from Amanda at crazymomquilts.  I've got all the pieces cut now, and just a few of the string sections left to do:

I think it's going to look lovely, don't you?  I'll be really, really happy to finish off those string sections, though, because they're getting just a tiny bit tedious.

Finally, I couldn't resist taking a picture of the latest block for the Sewcial Bee Sampler outside among the wild daylilies:

These lilies are such a happy surprise.  They grow along the creek on the edge of our property, and they look pretty good there.  I wan't sure they were going to flower, but all of a sudden they're covered in buds.

So that's what I'm up to, besides trying not to get burned on the car door handles every time I go to get in it.  I really am hoping to have that I Spy top finished this week.  If it's a choice between finishing the top or the paper, which one should I go for?  Tough choice!

Everyone stay cool!  Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Small update

Hi all!  Another week is in the books, can you believe it?  Where did it go?  Well, I kind of know where mine went.  I spent a lot of time in the library this week, which was nice because it was all air conditioned, but since it was an academic library, there were very few people around.  I got a lot of work done, but not a lot of sewing done.  It's a trade-off, but it worked out for me this time around.

Here's pretty much all the stitching I got finished:

These are some of the sections for the June quilt quilt along at crazymomquilts.  I got about half the sections finished and cut up a bunch more fabric into strings so that I can finish the rest of them.  I'm hoping to get all 48 sections done by the next step.

I think these are going to look good with the polka dot background fabric:

I'm thinking of using the lavender squares as cornerstones, but I also thought about an apple green.  Any opinions?

I initially started with just the pink and green and a few yellows, but I had to add in some florals with a white background to temper a little bit of the sweetness of the quilt.  Plus it uses up those florals, which I am happy to get rid of. 

Strings make a mess, but they turn out great.  My one tip for making these sections is to put wide strings at the top and the bottom because that will give some "wiggle room" to trim up the section to the correct length.  It worked well for me and too some of the pressure off getting the sections exactly right.

The only other fabric-related thing I did this week was to make some fabric stacks for the 30 days of fabric stacks challenge from Stitched in Color, being run on Instagram.  Here's my latest, for the color orange:

Carrot and mango smoothies, the breakfast of champions!  The next prompt is "new fabric," though, so I may have to go shopping.  Come on over to Instagram and play along, or just look at all the great pictures.

So that was it, if you don't count the research notes!  I hope you got in a bit more stitching than I did, and I hope you have a great weekend!

And for those of you keeping track, I now have 7 tomatoes growing.  I am ecstatic!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and Oh Scrap!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Two new projects

Hi everyone!  Are you melting?  We sure are!  It's been in the 90s the last several days, and it's not supposed to end for a couple more days. The first day was nice, but I'm totally over it now.  Although the sunshine is very nice!  On a completely unrelated note, has anyone ever used the films that you put over the windows to block out some of the heat?  No reason, just wondering if they work.

So, with it being so hot and all, gardening and outdoor painting is out of the question.  Instead, I started two new projects.  Of course!  What else is there to do?  Remodel the kitchen?  Write a paper?  Work on my next book?  No, I think playing with some fabric wins out over those every time. 

Here's the first thing I've started:

This is the beginning of an I Spy quilt!  I think it's going to be darling. I mean, just look at those fabrics! Most of them came from friends,who all have much nicer fabric than I do, though I did have a few myself.  I thought about a number of different ways to use them, but I settled on a simple square in a square block to use up some scraps and showcase the fabrics.  I plan to set these on point with some fun setting triangles, though I don't have the specific fabric yet.

The centers of these blocks are 5 inch squares, and the sides are made from 4-inch squares cut in half.  This will make the finished blocks 6-3/8 inches square.  Since this is going to be a kid's quilt, I'll probably only need 35 blocks or so for a decent size. 

So, there's one project, and it's a lot of fun to work on, so I'm thinking it will go fast.  The fabric is fun, of course, but it also makes me happy that this little quilt will likely end up either with my tiny grandson or in my "grandma stash" for when little ones visit here.  Actually, I think my grandson would love this, and we'll be visiting him later this summer, so I have lots of incentive to work on it.

The other project that I'm starting is the June quilt along with Amanda at crazymomquilts.  She's running the quilt along for a throw-sized string quilt on her blog this month and I decided to go ahead and join in!  Here are the fabrics I'll be using:

I know I just made a string quilt, but I do have a ton of pink and green fat quarters and pieces, and I'll throw some yellow in, too.  The background is a cream with a pale pink polka dot.  They look pretty pale in this picture, but I'm sure they'll look great in the quilt together.  And for those of you who know me, you know that I didn't forget these, too:

Yep, tiny little skinny strings.  I just can't resist them, but I swore to myself that I'd try to avoid the smallest ones this time.  We'll see how that works out.

Finally, there's one thing the hot weather has been very good for (warning, this is a terrible picture):

Tomatoes!  My lone tomato plant already has 4 tomatoes on it.  I can hardly believe it.  The thought of fresh tomatoes before August has really warmed my Midwestern heart.  I can't wait!

I hope the heat breaks soon for all of us.  I've planted 4 trees so far this year and I'm worried about one of them, and the heat isn't helping.  Until it cools off, I'll be alternating between the sewing room and the library.  Good thing both of them are air conditioned!  

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social.