Friday, March 22, 2019

Finished paneling

Hi everyone, and welcome to another weekend! I don't know about you, but I sure could use it.  It's been a very busy week around here.  Lots and lots going on behind the scenes!  Nothing quilt-related, just family and work stuff, and some of it not fun, but it certainly kept me running. Thankfully, I did have a major distraction that turned into this week's finished quilt top.  It's nice when that happens, isn't it?

Do you ever get a project in your head and for some reason it just captures your imagination and you just have to work on it, even when you have much more pressing things to do?  That's what happened to me with this project.  Sandra over at mmmquilts calls these projects "squirrels" that cause Dreami moments-- when you just have to drop everything and make it.  (You can find out more at Sandra's blog HERE.) Here is my squirrel:

Yay, a finished quilt top! This top started out as a panel that I pulled out to make into a donation quilt.  I had some yardage from the same line of fabric and now I've used up the panel, the coordinating yardage, a small brown piece, and some beige that's in the hourglass blocks.  Let's hear it for moving out old fabrics and making room for some new stuff!

This quilt looks so simple, and it is, but I'll tell you-- I could not stop thinking about it all week.  I even doodled some block layouts and alternate blocks when I should not have been doodling.  Then I went into the sewing room and tried a bunch of things.  Given the way it turned out, I think that was okay, but it was a little weird that it was taking up so much mental space. In the end it went together pretty easily.  You save a lot of time if you're not piecing blocks!

I cut the panel into 9-1/2 inch blocks, then added 1-inch red frames that finished at just a half inch around each of those.  The alternate blocks are simple hourglass blocks that are turned every row to make faux frames for the panel blocks.  Each of the blocks finishes at 10 inches, and the top is about 58 by 68. I had just enough of the green in the hourglass blocks to squeak those out, and I also used up all but about an 8 inch strip of the red border.  I divided the length of red I had to determine the width of the final border, so it ended up at about 3 inches wide, which feels a little narrow to me, but it did use up that red fabric.

In case you haven't noticed, we are stuck with indoor pictures.  This week was mostly sunny and warmish, and then I went to take pictures. Yeah, it rained and rained. I was going to brave it when it was only drizzling, but the ground was really saturated.  It's very wet out there! The indoor pictures didn't turn out toooo badly, but maybe I can get some outside on Friday and replace these. UPDATED TO ADD-- I did get some new pictures and have replaced some of them. Still very squishy outside!

Now that it's out of my head, this quilt is destined for donation to Mercy Hospital through Hands to Help. I was hoping that this would be fairly gender neutral, and looking at it now I'm not so sure.  It's feels pretty woodsy, but there are a lot of flowers in it. Perhaps I'll have to try again with another quilt. I don't have one in my head yet, but I'm pretty sure if I look around I'll find a few doodled ideas!

Finally, here's a picture that I took on campus on one of our sunny days this week:

Tulips blooming! Doesn't that just make your heart sing?

Hope everyone has a good weekend filled with signs of spring! I have lots on the agenda, including a date with some lemon bars and maybe a bit of painting.  If it rains, I guess I'm stuck with just the lemon bars, so I'm not sure whether I'm hoping for rain or not!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Brag about Your Beauties, and probably Sandra's Dreami link party.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Spring greens

Hi everyone, and happy Saturday! Well, I had big plans for this week, but it didn't quite work out like I expected.  We had a turn in the weather and I was lured outside for a bit, and then I actually did some yard work! Mostly it was picking up sticks (where do they all come from?) and raking some leaves, but it felt *great.*  Then when I came inside I looked around and realized that the house needed some serious cleaning, so I opened the windows and scrubbed some baseboards and touched up some paint.  Do you ever get that feeling in the spring? It definitely feels much cleaner and nicer now.

All of this meant that I did not finish quilting a quilt this week, and in fact I only finished the green Cut Glass Dish blocks:

If you recall, these blocks are one of my projects for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  I love how they look, especially the zippy green one on the left.  Next month I promise to take a picture of all the blocks I've made so far because all of the colors look great together.

And that was it!  I did one other thing using green fabric, though it isn't as much a scrap project as a "using things up" project.  I made some test blocks to use as alternate blocks for a panel I cut apart:

These are actually simple hourglass blocks, using a dark green print and a beige print.  I'm going back and forth on whether the green is too dark or not, and also whether the green print is too busy.  I have just enough of the green to make the alternate blocks, and then I thought about using a small beige border and maybe a red binding.  I actually might have another little bit of dark green for a binding if I like that better.  This would use up the panel, the dark green, the beige, and maybe another bit of dark green or red.  Plus it makes a nice comfort quilt to donate, too!

That's all for my green projects this week, but there is one more green thing to share:

Daffodil shoots!  This makes me so happy.  Spring will really be coming soon!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! The temperatures will be falling again, but I plan to enjoy it while it lasts!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Block updates

Hi everyone!  First, thanks so much to everyone who had kind words about my brother's house fire.  They are all fine and we are all grateful that things have gone as well as they can in the aftermath.  I really appreciate your thoughts, your kind words, and your prayers. And yes, I did make my own video, and I also put a smoke alarm in my attic.  Can't be too careful!

This week is spring break, and I have three quilts basted and ready to quilt up! Yay me! But you know I couldn't leave the piecing aside, right?  So I've also been making some random blocks to add to projects that are already in progress, just whatever I feel like making at the moment.  The first ones to show today are these:

These are all the blocks I currently have for the old and new sampler I'm making. I just love sampler quilts, don't you?  Making copy after copy of the same block can get dull, but samplers give you something different to make every time.  Since I have no schedule for this, I only have nine blocks so far:

These are 6-inch blocks, and most of the ones I've made so far are the Tula Pink blocks. These ones have been really fast, but some of the others I've chosen have more pieces and will take more time.

I also made the first green block for the Tiny Tuesday sampler at soscrappy:

This block is called Multiply and was designed by Jo.  You can find the block instructions HERE.

I also did a few more of the Sunny Lanes blocks:

I've cut a bunch of green and white squares to make the hsts when I feel like it, and I've got a small tub full of hsts now, so whenever I finish enough 4 patches I can make up a block.  I'm thinking of putting them all together into a top as I go, too.  Is there a downside to this? It's all scrappy, so it's not like the colors would have to be balanced or anything.

I've also caught up on my temperature quilt:

As you can see, it's been pretty chilly! The blues are 20s and 30s, and the purples and grays are below that.  I'm really looking forward to adding in some more yellows and greens very soon!

Finally, I pulled out this panel this week and hung it up to think hard about it.

I know it's not really blocks, but if I cut it apart and added in some alternate blocks, I bet it would make a nice comfort quilt for Hands to Help.  What would you do with it?  Here's a closeup of the design:

I'll look at it and think about it while I'm quilting up these quilts.  Maybe I'll get to open the windows while I'm quilting? I can dream!

Hope you're all having a good week.  As of today, spring is officially only seven days away!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Twelve hundred and more

Hi everyone!  Here we are at the end of another week, and that means we're another week closer to spring.  Can you tell I am counting down? 

Today I have a finish to share, but this has been a very dramatic week for our family and there is some public service information at the bottom of this post, so if you are just looking at the fun pictures, please at least read the last paragraph.  We'll get to the drama in a minute, but first, here is this week's finish:

This is another finished UFO from the closet.  Whoo-hoo! And it's all scrap pieces, too, which is a double whoo-hoo! More scraps actually used, not just sitting in the bins.  The white sashing is plain old Kona white, though there are some pieces of Kona Snow in there as well.  Not by design, really, just that they got stuck in with the white pieces.  It all worked!

The blocks in this quilt are 100-patches made from scrap 1-1/2 inch squares.  I started this way back in 2016 when we had just moved to the east coast and were living in a tiny condo.  (I still think of this as "the dark times.")  We bought our house and moved and this got moved into a closet  and was left unfinished.  It happens all the time, doesn't it? 

I made the 100-patches using a very light fusible interfacing to get all the squares aligned and make the rows easier to stitch.  You can see how I did that HERE.  It worked pretty well, and I would make blocks that way again.  I have lots and lots of 1-1/2 inch squares, so I'm thinking of making some up into 25 patches.  Not soon, but I'm thinking about it!

If I had to pick a favorite block, it would be the black one.  Surprise! I was really surprised at how much color there actually is in this block.  I didn't know I had that many black pieces in the bin, but they look great together.  The white block is similar and was another surprise.  Of course, all of the blocks have a lot of color variation, but most of them don't have quite as many prints.

This quilt is destined to become a charity quilt for Sarah's Hands to Help challenge, which is why I only used 12 blocks.  The quilt is a nice lap size, about 48 by 65.  I have four more finished 100-patch blocks that will become a baby quilt a little later this spring, though I can already say that I won't be using the same sashing and cornerstones for that quilt.  All of these little squares made for a *lot* of seams and the top is already a bit heavy, plus they were a bit maddening to keep track of.  There are currently little squares all over the floor in the sewing room, which you know is making me crazy. I will definitely be cleaning up this weekend.

So, there is my finish for the week!  One more out of the closet and soon to become a comfort quilt, which makes me feel super happy that I finally finished it.  I am making serious progress on my piecing UFOs, which also makes me really happy.

And now for something completely non-quilt related:

On Tuesday morning, my brother (who works nights, so it was about 9:30 am) heard a weird noise, so he got up to investigate.  Turned out that the house was on fire and it was moving rapidly.  He and his partner managed to get out with the dogs and were unharmed, and my nephew was already at school, so he was unharmed as well.  The house, however, was a total loss.  They lost literally everything except what they were wearing.  The roof ended up in the dining room. Not to worry--they will be okay. There is insurance and they will be able to rebuild their possessions, so it will turn out.  And no one was hurt, which is the best possible news! So here's the public service announcement-- grab your phone and make a video right now, walking around every room of your house, opening every drawer and closet, and showing everything you own.  Narrate this as you go, as in "here's the antique dresser we got from Aunt Phyllis" and "those shelves hold about 300 yards of fabric" and "this is the Viking sewing machine that I bought in 2018."  Email the video to yourself or otherwise store it somewhere online. Your house doesn't have to be clean! It just has to show what you own.  If the worst ever happens, you won't remember or be able to make a list of everything you've lost, from the number of forks you own to how many towels you have, and sometimes insurance companies want proof that you actually had a new refrigerator instead of a 20-year-old Kenmore.  So do yourself a favor and make the video.  If you're worried about how the house looks, you can always make another video after you clean up!

Okay, end of lecture. Hope everyone has a great weekend.  Next week is spring break and I plan to spend it doing some outdoor work if the weather cooperates, and sewing if it doesn't.  I'm really looking forward to both!

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

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Gray with spots of sunshine

Hi everyone, and welcome to March! March is the month that spring finally moves in, though you couldn't tell by the weather we're having now.  Today's pictures were all taken outside in the snow and gray, and we're expecting even more of the same this weekend.  We're all tired of it, but we know spring is coming, because now it's March and the first day of spring is less than three weeks away.  Three weeks!

We spent last weekend at our grandson's third birthday, which was really fun, but I did leave with a cold as a lovely parting gift.  You forget how much little kids cough, sneeze, and drool!  It was completely worth it, but just about all I worked on this week was finishing my yellow projects for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I'm happy to say that I finished them off, so I'm not behind in the RSC yet this year. Whoo-hoo!

First up are the string sections for my rainbow Scrap Happy Rails quilt, just because I took a semi-cool picture:

I took this on top of the snow that was on our deck table, which should still be in the garage, but optimism runs high.  Don't those yellows look really happy against the snow?  I'm so pleased with all the variety in these strips.  Amazingly, I didn't have to cut any yardage for these, and I still have some strings left over.

Next up are the Cut Glass Dish blocks in yellow:

I've thought about making this quilt for several years and I'm so happy that I'm finally doing it.  I just love how these blocks are turning out.  I wasn't really sure until I took this picture that the block on the left was yellow enough, but I think it definitely reads yellow, don't you?

Finally, here are all of the tiny yellow blocks for this year's sampler:

I skipped the regular 9-patch block, but I'm thrilled with how the others turned out, especially the Ohio Star and the Shoo Fly.  They just look so cute in miniature!  Also, I didn't want to make an orange peel applique block, but I still wanted an applique to replace it, so I went with the hexagon.  I put it on a pale blue floral just for fun, since I used some gray backgrounds last month.  I'm planning to make a larger quilt, so I added in a double 4-patch as well.  Those tiny 4-patches had weird measurements (hello sixteenths!) but I think they turned out okay.

So there's some progress! So far I love all of these projects and I'm still excited about them.  And I have some nice yellow scraps left over, so I'm feeling pretty good about the ones I've used up this month.

Hope all of you have a good weekend. Apparently we're going to have some more snow, or maybe rain. Or both!  Good time to stay inside and get some things done, don't you think?

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Dancing Stars

Hi everyone!  Here we are at another Friday, three-fourths of the way through February.  Holy cow! I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, the year is already going so fast and 2019 needs to slow it down a bit. On the other, every day brings spring a lot closer, and I'm so ready!  It snowed *and* rained this week, and for a little while, it was doing both at the same time.  It was a very gray week, then when I went to take quilt pictures, the sun came out and everything looked pretty cheerful again.

I'm no weather person, but I think the sun came out just for the fun, colorful finish I have to show today. Here she is:

I call this quilt top Dancing Stars, because the blocks are dancing all across it.  I love how they're dancing and floating at the same time.  The sashing is the dots fabric that I had originally chosen, then changed my mind about.  Then I changed my mind again because the dots were busy enough to blend together and make it seem that the blocks were floating.  If you look very carefully, you can see the seams, but they all seem to melt together unless you're really inspecting it.

I made these blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge last year, and all of the fabrics except the sashing are legitimately scraps.  The blocks finish at 12 inches and were fairly fun to make.  When I've seen other quilts made like this, the stars are usually white, but I decided to have multicolor stars instead. I'm not sure about it now, but it certainly did add a lot of color.

A twisted sashing is the key to making the stars dance.  First I added sashing all around the block, then trimmed the sashing on a diagonal, like so:

Okay, I enhanced that line a bit so that we can actually see it. To get the angle I wanted, I started with two-inch sashing all around, then trimmed, tapering from 1/2 inch to 1-3/4 inches.  You can control the degree of tilt by the angle that you cut, and I've seen pictures of some quilts with multiple twisted sashings.  I added a very narrow border all around the quilt, mainly so that I could add the binding after quilting without worrying about losing points.

This quilt is going to a friend, and I have a colorful backing all ready for it.  What I don't have is batting! Somehow I have run out of large pieces of batting, and I don't have enough smaller pieces to stitch together.  I guess I have some shopping to do.  Isn't that tragic?

Hope everyone has a lovely, colorful weekend.  I am banishing the gray and have very colorful plans for my own weekend.  There may be balloons, and I'm pretty sure there will be birthday cake.  We'll see!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap! and soscrappy for RSC19.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tiny yellow flower block

Hi everyone!  Today is my turn to share a tutorial for a fun Tiny Tuesday block!  This little block is a part of the sampler that is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for this year over at soscrappy.  Today's block is a lovely yellow flower that will put a hint of spring into the quilt.

Here is the block we'll be making:

This little touch of spring looks complicated but is easy to piece and doesn't have any odd angles or strange measurements.  Since the block finishes at just 4-1/2 inches, you may want to shorten your stitch length, but all of the seams remain the standard 1/4 inch.

One note before we start-- I made my block with a pieced center, but you can choose to simply use a solid square of any color if you don't want to piece it.  The resulting block still looks great!

With the unpieced pink center.


Important note: Pieces marked with a * are already purposely oversized for trimming during construction.  Because the pieces here are so small, this gives us the best shot at having the block turn out the proper size.  No need to oversize them again!

From the green, cut:

    1 3-3/4 inch square*
   4 1-1/4 inch squares

From the yellow:

    4 2-1/4 squares*
    4 1-1/2 inch squares*

From the pink:

    4 1-1/2 inch squares*   OR
    1 2-inch square

From the background:

    1 3-3/4 inch square*
    4 1-1/4 inch squares
    8 1-1/2 inch squares*


First, make the corners. Use the two 3-3/4-inch squares to make eight half-square triangles using the Magic 8 method.  Trim these hsts to 1-1/4 inch square.  Yes, there will be a little bit of waste, but this avoids cutting things in odd inch increments.

Take the hsts you just made and the green and background 1-1/4 inch squares and lay them out as shown, making sure that the triangles "kiss" in the middle:

Press to the solid squares. Make 4.  These should measure 2 inches square.

Next, make the center. If you are using a 2-inch solid square for the center, skip this part and go to the petal units.

Use the 1-1/2 inch squares of yellow and pink to make what I call "cheater hsts."  To do this, draw a line from corner to corner on the back of each of the pink squares.  Layer with a yellow square and stitch on the drawn line.

Trim 1/4 inch away from the line, open out and press into a perfect hst.  Trim each of these to 1-1/4 inches square.

Lay out all four of the hsts you just made as shown, with the pink to the middle.  Stitch and press well.  Seams can go whichever way you think best since they won't be joined to other pieced units.  This little unit should measure 2 inches square.

Finally, make the petal units.  Draw a line from corner to corner on the back of each of the 1-1/2 inch  background squares.  Stitch one square to a corner of each of the 2-1/4 inch yellow squares, as shown:

Trim and press, then add another square to the other corner to make a "house" unit, as shown:

Trim the corner and press, then trim the whole unit to 2 inches square.  Make sure you leave 1/4 inch seam allowance past the point of the "house."


Lay out the units you've made as shown:

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

Your block should measure 5 inches to finish at 4-1/2 inches in the quilt.

Now that you've made this block, be sure to visit Angela's page this weekend to see everyone else's blocks.  And if you'd like to jump in for this sampler, it's not too late! You can find all of the information HERE.  Happy stitching!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Pets need quilt love too

Wow, what a wild week!  Snow, freezing rain, melting, sunshine, and then rain again.  Oh, and then Valentine's Day, too.  The hubs and I have been married for so long that we're very low-key about Valentine's, but I did make him some baked goods and we had a nice dinner.  There may have been some wine. And I finished my big work project on time, so even though it's raining again I'm feeling pretty happy.

There's a story behind today's finish, but let's have a pretty picture first:

Pretty cute!  And here's the story--

A few weeks ago, my older daughter, who has two cats and does not sew, emailed me, "Cat quilts are a REAL THING.  Yellow and gray for (white cat), something dark for (gray cat)."  She included a link to THIS page. If you click over to that link, it will take you to Lynne Tyler's blog and the very touching story of how she made literally hundreds of quilts for pets to raise money for treatment for her cat Gizzy.  It all began 11 years ago, but it's what got Lynne back into quilting, which has led to the amazing quilts she makes today.  And if you're a pet lover, the story will definitely touch your heart. (Be sure to click over from Lynne's post and read the rest of the story, too.)

So, I guess I had my marching orders! Actually, I didn't mind making these because a.) they used up a bunch of pieces I had no other use for, and b.) I love my daughter! So, small quilts for the cats it was. 

These are each about 24 inches square and were very simple to make.  I just used 2-1/2 inch strips and did them quilt-as-you-go style.  Sorry that I have no process photos, but they were so easy and went so fast that I didn't think to stop and take pictures.  I used a light Pellon fleece in the middle instead of cotton batting and they stitched just fine. The bindings are scrappy pieces.  Happy to have those all put to good use.

For those of you who have wondered about the effect of pinked edges, they gray pieces were cut from my own scraps, and the strips in the other quilt came from a jelly roll that was gifted to me. A cat jelly roll, so it was perfect! The jelly roll had pinked edges and that quilt finished almost half an inch smaller all around than the gray quilt, even though I stitched from the peaks of the pinking. So you do lose something from the pinked edges, even when you're careful.  It might be better if you were matching a pinked edge to a cut edge, but here I was matching the pinked edges to each other.

And because you'll want to know, the cats loved their Gizzy quilts! I don't know how, but apparently they knew which of the quilts were theirs, though one kitty prefers the back of her quilt to the front:

And a little later, of course:

Oh, to have a life where an afternoon snooze was a regular possibility!  I'm going to say that these little Gizzy quilts were really successful and will be used and loved for a long time.  True fact-- I am allergic to cats (and dogs), so I have to experience pets vicariously through the pictures my kids send me.  This photo definitely warms my heart!

Hope everyone has a weekend as relaxing as my grand-cats daily lives. They certainly seem to have the right idea-- grab a quilt and get nice and cozy!

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