Friday, October 12, 2018

Looking for motivation

Hi all!  Just checking in because it's Friday and I haven't posted all week, probably because I've done nothing exciting sewing-wise all week.  I'm in a little bit of a slump, where I just can't get motivated to work on things.  What can I say?  Sometimes you've got it, sometimes it's got you.  I'm sure this will not last too long and I'll be back at it soon.

All I have for now are a few updates on current projects, and just so we have a fun picture at the top of the blog, here is one of the autumn leaves that I actually managed to finish this week:

These leaves will be part of the alternate blocks for the fall flowers quilt that I'm slowly working on.  Here are the flower blocks at this point:

If you remember, I had a couple of orange squash blossom blocks that I ultimately decided didn't work in the quilt, so I took them apart and made the mum block (with some odd accents because I just reused the block parts instead of cutting new) and also another block that is something like an aster.  I'm much happier with these.

I have three more blocks cut out and they will just about use up all of the fat quarter bundle.  To make the quilt big enough to use as a lap quilt, I'm making some leaves to put together into alternate blocks to fill in between the flower blocks.  Got a bit of a way to go yet, but pretty soon it will be ready for  assembly.  And I do really like the leaves with the flowers.  The leaves that have fallen into my flower beds are not nearly as festive and colorful.

I also made a few more of the black blocks:

I have another dozen of these cut out, but I just haven't stitched them up yet.  I was thinking about a pieced sashing, but looking at this I think the cornerstones will be enough.  It will certainly make a nice secondary pattern across the quilt.

I did make a start on quilting the t-shirt quilt, which was no problem at all until I looked on the back:

Apparently the basting came out of this part of the quilt, and I got a big wrinkle in the backing.  Thankfully, it was really close to an edge so I could pick it out, smooth it all down and straight, and then re-baste it.  Not a huge problem, but just plain annoying.  (The rest of the back is fine!)

Finally, last weekend the hubs and I went to the AQS show in Virginia Beach to see my quilt hanging:

It was very exciting and a real thrill for me.  Plus, the very first quilt I saw when I went into the show was Julie's free-pieced barns:

So many great details to look at!  There were so many beautiful quilts that it was a little overwhelming.  It was too hard to pick a favorite, but I really loved this quilt:

Improv Village, by Marva Beaver

This was Improv Village by Marva Beaver of Urbana, Ohio.  It was such a happy-looking quilt in person and had such great colors.  The picture really does not do it justice.  Once I saw all the quilts, I may or may not have purchased some hand-dyed fabrics and a bunch of new brands of thread.  I did get to meet Vicki Welsh, which was also a real thrill.  She had a booth full of gorgeous fabrics and was very, very nice.

After the show, we stayed in Virginia Beach because it was not only a quilt show, but also our anniversary and mid-semester break.  We had great weather and didn't want to leave the beach at all, which was surprising because we're not really "beach people."  It was just a wonderful, perfect short vacation, even if I came away with a small sunburn.  I'll take it, because the sunshine was terrific.  Pretty sure I soaked up enough vitamin D for a month.

Neptune Statue at Virginia Beach

Here's hoping you all have the same kind of weekend this week!  I will be searching for my motivation and cleaning out a closet.  Not the same as relaxing on the beach, but life is all ups and downs, right?

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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Squared Away Block 10

Hello all, and welcome back to the Squared Away quilt project.  This is our last block, can you believe it? This has been a fun project.  It was designed by me and Angela of soscrappy and I think a lot of people have participated and had fun with it.  If you have just discovered this quilt project, it's never too late to start! All of the block instructions will still be available on a tab at the top of this page and on a tab at Angela's page.

Here is our last block:

Dewey Dream block, Orange Judd Farmer magazine, 1899

This is the Dewey Dream block, from the 1899 edition of the Orange Judd Farmer, an agricultural publication.  Quilt blocks show up in the strangest places!  This block is very easy and you should have your last blocks finished off in no time.

For the last time for this project, let's make some blocks!

Cutting for a 10-inch block:

From the background, cut:

2 2-7/8 inch squares*  OR 1 4-1/4 inch square (to make hsts; can oversize)
12 2-1/2 inch squares

From the green, cut:

2 2-7/8 inch squares* OR 1 4-1/4 inch square (to make hsts, can oversize)
5 2-1/2 inch squares
 4  2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch rectangles


First, use 4 of the background 2-1/2 inch squares and all 5 of the green squares to make a 9-patch block by joining the squares into rows and the rows into a small block:

Your 9-patch should measure 6-1/2 inches square.

Next, use the 2-7/8 inch squares of the background and the green to make 4 2-1/2 inch hsts in the "old school" manner: draw a line from corner to corner on the back of each background square, layer it with a green square, then stitch 1/4 inch on both sides of the line.  Cut apart, press, and trim to 2-1/2 inches.  OR use the 4-1/4 inch squares of the green and background to make 4 at a time hsts.  These should measure 2-1/2 inches square.

The last component of the block is a unit made with stitch and flip corners.  Constructing the pieces this way will save you eight seams per block.  (An alternate method follows these directions.)

Take the remaining 8 background squares and draw a line from corner to corner on the back of each one.  Place one marked square at each end of a 2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch rectangle as shown:

Carefully note the directions of the lines.  You want the finished pieces to look like hsts that are oriented in opposite directions.  Stitch on the lines, trim, and press the resulting triangle upward. Make 4.

Alternate method for these units: make 8 green/ background hsts that measure 2-1/2 inches.  Use these and  4 2-1/2 inch green squares to construct a unit that looks like these.

The only real difference in the methods is the seams; either method will look the same in the finished block.


Lay out all of the pieces as shown.  Pay special attention to the orientation of the rectangular pieces:

Join the units into rows and the rows into a finished block.  Give it a good press, stand back, and admire!

As always, I made three blocks for this month:

And here are my 15-inch blocks for a separate project:

And that is our last block for this quilt!  At this point, you can gather your blocks and lay them out any way you choose, with or without sashing.  Angela and I will be giving finishing instructions on Saturdays throughout October so that anyone who wants to be finished for Christmas can get a really good start. I will have complete directions for on-point settings (with and without sashing) on Saturday, October 20.  The directions include all of the measurements and instructions for assembling the quilt, as well as yardages and tips for cutting the setting triangles and finishing.  There is also a piecing diagram for a bonus block, since an on-point layout requires 32 blocks.  Be sure to come back and check that out!  I will show off my finished quilt on November 3.

Thanks so much to all for coming along on this quilty adventure! I'm almost sad that it's finished, but we'll get cozy quilts from it, right?  Hope to see you back here for some fun finishing ideas!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Expecto quiltonum!

Happy Friday, everybody!  Hope you have had a good week.  This week we had something stunning happen-- there was sunshine for four whole days! Okay, it rained at night, but there was some sunshine during the day, which was super-exciting.  It was also really warm and humid, so even though the calendar says it's fall, I'm not sure that the weather got the message.

I have a fun finish this week, right out of the pages of a book.  Here we go-- swish and flick--

Yay!  It's the quilted and bound Harry Potter quilt that I made for my daughter.  She bought me the pattern, which is from Pieces by Polly and is available HERE.  I finished the top in July and just finished off the quilting this week.

This quilt was fairly easy to assemble, though I did deviate from the pattern a bit.  I'm pretty much incapable of following a pattern exactly.  The only hard part was keeping all the lint and threads off the black fabric.  The black is just a solid black Kona, and let me tell you that it attracts every stray bit of thread and lots of fuzz from the batting.

I quilted this myself, mostly using a walking foot to stitch a quarter inch on each side of the squares.  I changed the thread color for each section, which is one of the perks of doing your own quilts, so the quilting pretty much disappears into the background.  It took forever, really, but it looks good.  There are a few wobbles, but not a single tuck or wrinkle.  Yay me!

I free-motion quilted the crest in the center last, again using matching threads and just doing a small meander.  Janine at Quilts From the Little House does a tiny meander all the time, and I am filled with admiration, because that was really tedious.  I also free-motioned loops in the colorful small border and also added a small surprise in the corner:

That's just red thread on the black border, so it kind of blends and you have to look for it. I chalked in the two circles for the glasses and stitched over them, then just connected them with a little arch.  The lightning bolt was also chalked in because I couldn't wrap my mind around free-handing it.  The rest of the border is just a triple pinstripe.  All of the straight stitching gives it a nice texture on the back:

The backing is a Timeless Treasures map of London print, which is great for a Harry Potter quilt, and the thread colors blend on it pretty well.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, and I hope my daughter loves it. 

We will be delivering this quilt to our daughter on our way home this Sunday. This weekend we are heading out to the AQS show in Virginia Beach to see my Misfit Toys quilt hanging.  I'm very excited!  If anyone else is going to  the show on Saturday and would like to meet up for some lunch or just to walk around, drop me an email and we can get together!

Everyone have a great weekend! Hope it's restful, sunny, and dry!

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

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Quilty blue persuasion

(For anyone interested, there are TWO scrap giveaways at the end of this post!)

Holy cow, it's the end of September! Pretty soon it will be Halloween, and then 2018 will be gone before we know it.  I am not ready for this!  As it is, we're up to that part of the year when I'm ready to wind up my RSC projects and get some quilt tops made.  And we're also to the part of the year where we hit the colors that I seldom use and therefore have few scraps to work with.  Kind of a good problem to have, though.

Since I put the galaxy stars into a top already, all I have left are the patchwork scrap stars and the hollow 9-patches.  Let's look at those first:

Only three! These were the squares that I had cut already.  I could have cut some more, but that would defeat the purpose of using scraps.

I also made some black hollow 9-patches:

Confession:  these were the only things in the black scrap bin.  Really.  I have something like four black squares left.  Pathetic, I know.  I like the color variations in these, and now I think I have almost enough hollow 9-patch blocks for the two quilts I want to make.  I'll have to count and make sure that I have enough of them next month.

For the patchwork scrap stars, I did not make dark blue ones, both because I didn't want a dark blue block in the quilt and because I was just too lazy to cut up any of the blues.  Instead I have these:

Yes, it was raining, so we get indoor pictures today.

Okay, that one on the right is a little wild, but I think it works okay with the rest of the blocks.  I really love the little penguin peeking out.  This block was just leftover bits and pieces with a red print star, and the other is obviously a lime green block.  Still have plenty of those pieces left over, too.  I do like the fussy-cut purple star, too.

So those are my remaining RSC projects!  Next month I should be able to start putting these together into some tops.  That's the hope, anyway!

As I have each month this year, I'm giving away what's left in my dark blue scrap bin this month.  These giveaways have helped me so much and I'm so grateful to all of you who have taken these old, unloved scraps off my hands.  The empty bins have opened up a whole new world of ideas for me, so thanks!

Here are the dark blue scraps:

There was more there than I thought there would be! Since I seldom use dark blue, these are pretty old, but they also include the (very few) leftovers from my blue-background projects this year, including a few small pieces of the Kona solid I've used for the larger Squared Away blocks.  There are also a handful each of the 2-inch and 1-1/2 inch squares.

But wait, there's more!  Take a look at these florals:

This is the entire contents of the floral scrap bin, which was so full that I had to use rubber bands to keep the lid on it.  I doubt that I will ever use most of these.  There is a piece in there that I know is from 2012 and others that might be older. (Eep!)  There are newer ones, too, of course.  I would also like to give these away to someone who will swear on a stack of quilt books to love them and use them.  They are very pretty, and there is quite a bit of fabric here.  I didn't weigh it, but really, I could not get that bin closed any more!

This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks all, and congratulations to Lori and Liz.

If you would like to have one of these sets of fabric, delivered to you in the US or Canada free of charge, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post!  Really! Tell me which you would like, the blues or the florals, and I will separate the comments and use the random number generator on Monday evening, October first, to choose two winners.  Please, please, if you are no-reply, leave an email so that I can contact you.  If I can't reach you, you can't win!

Hope you are having a great weekend with lots of cool temperatures and low humidity.  If that ever happens here, I'll be sure to let you know!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Block by block

Hi everyone!  Well, the leaves have officially started to turn, so it must be fall.  I can see yellow leaves on my neighbor's trees, though ours are still all green.  Plus I noticed that it's definitely getting dark earlier in the evening.  Thankfully, I have those great lights in my sewing room now so I can still see everything no matter how bleak it is outside.

Right now I'm working on blocks for two quilts.  First up is this new one:

One of the colors for the rainbow scrap challenge this month is dark neutrals, so I pulled out the bin of black fabrics.  It was almost comically empty, just a few small squares.  It happens, though, that I have a bunch of fabrics with black backgrounds that I have never used. 

Aren't those pretty ? They really deserve to be used, but I've never found a way to incorporate them into my quilts.  I should totally work on that, but until then, I decided to use them in a quilt all their own.  Sounds fair, right?  Plus it will get them off the shelves and into something cozy.

The block is from my Intricate Stitches quilt and the pattern can be found HERE.  In a bit of serendipity, one of the names for this block is Black Beauty.  It was meant to be! I've got ten more of these cut out and ready to stitch, and I think I'll probably get 20 blocks out of the pieces I have.  And then I'll also have some black scraps!

The second project is the fall flowers quilt:

If you recall, these are flower blocks that I'm making from the bundle of fabrics that I chose for Bernie's shop.  (There are still a few bundles available HERE, or you can find some other fun stuff you like there.) I've been having fun making a variety of flower blocks using the fat quarters from the bundle.  Some of these I've also done before, but some of them I just drafted for this project.  I'm not sure about the two orange squash blossom blocks so I may yet take one of them apart.  I think I can manage to get 4 or 5 more blocks from the bundle, then I'll figure out some alternate blocks to make the quilt a decent size.  What if I used the adobe-colored scraps to make some fall leaves?  Hmmm. . .

Lots of little pieces in a complicated layout--just what I love!

That's my current progress!  I'll keep working on these, but I've also pulled out the walking foot because I've got several quilts basted and ready to go and I really need to get to them.  I need the room!  Plus, it's getting cooler and it will be cold before you know it, so I'd better finish up at least the quilts for my daughters.  And we all know I have to finish them at the same time, right?

Everyone have a good week!  Hoping to have a binding on something before this week is over!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC18.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Mission San Miguel

Hi everyone, and happy last day of summer! I know it doesn't feel like it everywhere (certainly not here!) but fall officially starts on Saturday.  I am ready for some cooler temperatures, but very unready for the season that follows the fall, which shall go unnamed for now.  So far, we have some dead leaves that have fallen, but nothing colorful yet.  Oh, and the tomato plants have given up, though they did produce really well this year.

This week I'm showing off my second free-pieced church!  Let's take a trip back in time, to last spring, so that we can pretend that I actually made the free-pieced church for the spring panel *in* the spring.  Just use your imagination! 

This is San Miguel Chapel, also known as Mission San Miguel, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It's reportedly the oldest church building in the continental United States, built between 1610 and 1626, long before any church building in New England or Virginia.  You can read much more about the church HERE.  It's an exciting story, really, because the church was originally constructed by the Tlaxcala Indians and it's been destroyed and rebuilt several times.  There are many historical pictures and pictures of the inside online as well.

I made this church using techniques detailed in Julie Sefton's book Build a Barn, No Pattern Construction. There was no pattern or anything, I just used a couple of photos that I had (which are not suitable for publication here since I knew even less about photography years ago) and pieced it in sections.  One thing I found helpful was to print out a photo on plain paper and then fold it to get a sense of the proportions.  Oddly, the church is almost symmetrical, in three parts.  The hardest part of the piecing was figuring out how to show the buttresses.  They're more like wedges than they appear in the quilt panel, but I think I did okay with it.

The main reason that this wasn't finished in the spring was that  I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect fabric to mimic the adobe.  That red-brown is a pretty difficult color to find.  Everything was either too light or too brown.  I had a lot of fun looking, though.  You may notice, too, that there are not a ton of plants around the church.  It is New Mexico, and most of the area around the church is paved, with other buildings very close to the church.  I always expect iconic buildings to be set off somehow by themselves, and then it ends up that they're across the street from a hotel or something, like the Alamo.  This church is in an historic district, but it's right there in a neighborhood, with apartments really close.

This church panel finished at 25 by 33, which is only a tiny bit different from the first panel.  This was a total coincidence, because I purposely didn't measure so that I could give San Miguel the space it deserved.  I was really surprised when I took the first church out of the box to take this picture.  Funny how things work out, isn't it?  I should also add that there are many details that will be quilted in, too, like the branches and leaves for that tree on the left, and the window panes.

So there's church number 2!  I've picked out the church for a summer panel, but I have a few things I have to work out for it first, like how to make the siding.  Maybe I'll make the fall church before the summer one because it's brick, which might be easier. 

Everyone have a great weekend!  There are no bridesmaid's dresses to alter this time around, but this weekend is my birthday and I have some gluten-free cake to enjoy. I have it on good authority that there will also be takeout, which we all know is my favorite thing.

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

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Cloudy with scattered stars

Hi all, and welcome to another wet weekend!  What a surprise, huh?  The weather people said this week that we've had the wettest summer in 50 years, thus confirming what I have suspected all along.  Of course, I can't complain, because we are not currently in the path of a hurricane.  If you are, my sympathies and please stay safe.  I hope it dries out for you very soon!

Since this is the dark blue month for the rainbow scrap challenge, I decided that it was time to put together the galaxy stars quilt top, which I've been making to use up some dark blue half yards that I bought to test out another pattern.  I never use dark blues, so they were just going to sit around here, doing nothing.  Instead, they've become this little quilt:

Oh, gosh, that turned out better than I thought it would!  It's been quite cloudy, so the pictures are a little dark, but that's letting all the colors of the stars shine through.

The pattern for this star is HERE, but I made mine larger, 8 inches finished instead of 6 inches.  They were super-easy to make, and I used all scraps in the color of the month to make the stars.  I tried to mix up all the backgrounds as much as possible each month, and I didn't have a set number of stars that I was aiming for.  This made the quilt a pretty relaxed project for me.

I put the stars up on the wall and played with the layout and the distribution of colors for a couple of days, which was fun.  I didn't want to put them in a plain straight set, so I moved them around a bunch until I liked it, then filled in with leftover blue squares.  I laid this out in rows, but pieced it in columns, adding a piece to the tops and bottoms of the columns to make the stars off set.  This made them look much more scattered, which was exactly what I was going for.

So there's one more scrap project down!  I'm really pleased with it. I didn't put any borders on this top, but I still might.  I have just enough for a small border to go all the way around, and enough scraps for a binding.

Hope everyone is having a nice, dry weekend and you all have something fun planned.   I have to go to my daughter's house and alter a bridesmaid's dress.  Wish me luck!

PS-- There's still time to enter to win a blogger bundle from Bernie!  Check out THIS POST for details.

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A bundle of fall flowers

Hello everyone!  How is your week going?  Many of you know my friend Bernie over at Needle and Foot, and her fabric shop.  This year she has been offering a series of fat quarter or half-yard bundles selected by bloggers.  For this month's bundle, she asked me! Little did she know that I am a September baby, so I really like many of the colors of fall and I certainly like colorful fabric!

Here is an artsy picture of the bundle I chose:

Oh, they look so pretty hanging there.  Here's a more sober picture of the bundle, along with fabric names:

Top, left to right: Lacey Star Cosmos by Sharon Holland, Cat in the Flowers, Bear Essentials 3 in violet purple.  Bottom row: Cottagely Posy, Twinkle in orange, and Woodblock Berry by Sharon Holland.

When I was choosing fabric for this bundle, I was thinking mainly of fall flowers.  Most people think of flowers as a spring thing, and I do love spring flowers, but fall has a beauty all its own.  Goldenrod, asters, chrysanthemums, some roses and lilies, astilbes, and Russian sage are just of few of the fall bloomers that add so much to the season.  There are no dainty springtime pinks or yellows here, but lots of deep saturated colors-- oranges, purples, deep reds, deep greens, and deep yellows.

I've started using the bundle to make some flower blocks for a fall flowers quilt, though I haven't made as much progress as I'd hoped:

Flower blocks are adapted from the Intricate Stitches project.

I'm seriously hoping this quilt will be finished sometime this fall, but there are some projects in line ahead of it, too.  But hope springs eternal!

If you're not into flowers, this bundle is pretty versatile as a base for other projects, since it combines well with other colors.  You could go really warm and put it with some more oranges and yellows:

Or go another direction with pinks and reds, and maybe a few purples:

Or try a little cooler with some blues and greens:

It even looks really good with last month's blogger bundle:

For my project, I chose to add a green and a couple of the fabrics from last month.  I might add another purple, too, to balance the one already in the bundle.  

So that's my bundle and my (incomplete) project, and here is your chance to win one of these bundles for your very own.  Just leave me a comment on this post, and I will choose randomly (using a random number generator thingy) on Sunday night, September 16.  Just to make it interesting, tell me your favorite fall flower.  Mine is actually asters, the bright purple ones, of course!  If you are no-reply, remember to leave a way to contact you or else you can't win.

This giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all, and congratulations to Deb, who won the bundle.

You can find out some more about this bundle at Bernie's post right HERE.  Now is also your chance to hop on over to Bernie's shop  and get this bundle for 20% off until Friday.  To go directly to the bundle listing, click HERE. You might find something else you like, too, if you look around a bit.

Hope there are lots of flowers blooming for you this fall!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.