Thursday, November 21, 2019

A jump start

Hi all! Long time no see! I don't know what's wrong with me lately, but I seem to be in a bit of a creative slump. This doesn't happen to me all that often, and it is definitely no fun. Do you think it's related to moving and having all kinds of personal upheaval in my life right now? Hmmmm. . .

Whatever it is, I need to get out of this, so I decided to do the only thing that I know for sure will perk me up-- start a new project. Sure, I have a ton of projects in various stages of completion on the shelves in my sewing room closet, but none of those are exciting me at the moment.  Since this new project really should be something simple because I just want it to jump start some creativity, I decided to go with Alycia's Winter Quilt Along (which you can find HERE).  She promises just one hour per clue, and it's entirely possible that I can handle that.

I needed two darks and a light, so I decided to clean out the dark blue and dark green scrap bins, because you know I'll never use those anywhere else, and I paired them with some toned-down yellows:

That makes a pretty pile, doesn't it? Those blue pieces are literally all the darker blue pieces I could find without cutting into yardage. I think we can say that blue is not my favorite color. But yay for getting those babies used!

After a bit of cutting, and a little stitching, here's the end of clue one:

Notice that I said "clue one," not "hour one." Alycia definitely sews faster than me!

So now I've started another project that should go quickly, and it's already kick-started my mojo a bit. I already feel a little more energized about some older projects. I even worked on the En Provence quilt a bit! I'm feeling pretty good about that, and I hope to have the top for it finished soon.

Here's one more thing that's getting me more excited to sew things, though it's really difficult to get a good picture:

I told you it wasn't a good picture! But we've finally gotten most of my new design wall installed. I decided to go with the wall on this side of the room even though the design wall has to be a bit shorter because of the ledge.  The light from the window shines on this side, plus I can use the whole wall without a lot of obstructions. I have one more 4 by 8 panel to install, but I needed to get some more flannel to cover it with.  I used the panels from Lowe's found HERE, and wrapped them in THIS white flannel from (no sales affiliations here!) Caution-- the flannel shrinks quite a bit, but it does wash up nice and soft, and everything seems to stick to it pretty well. Also, get plenty of duct tape to tape it to the back of the panels.

I could just weep looking at this, and I think I had something in my eye a bit earlier when I started sticking things on the walls. I remember sewing on the dining room table for a very long time, then I was so thrilled to be able to have a piece of flannel on the wall for a design wall, and now I have 24 whole feet of design wall (plus the little bit under the TV there).  My heart is bursting with gratitude.

Anyway! I think I'm getting a little bit of excitement back, and I'll be stitching things up. If you need me, I'll be downstairs!

Sharing at Finished or not Friday with Alycia with more gratitude!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Tiny blocks on Tuesday

Hi all! Has the arctic cold hit your area yet? We're supposed to get hit with it starting today, so it's time to hunker down and get out all of the quilts so we can be ready. Some of them are still in boxes, but I promise that I'll be pulling them out this afternoon. Wouldn't want to be cold in the morning, after all!

Today I want to show the last of my tiny Tuesday blocks:

Yahoo! I know these usually get shown on Saturdays, but I thought it was appropriate to finish up the Tiny Tuesday blocks on a Tuesday.  Also, I really tried to get outdoor photos, but many of them didn't turn out this time because the days are getting so much shorter and there's no light. It's indoor picture season, folks.  I'll try to be creative with that.  Updated to add: I managed to go out this morning and get a couple outside.  These are better, believe me.

None of these were blocks that Angela presented, because I needed to add some blocks to make 56 for the layout I want.  These are all traditional blocks, but in a smaller size. Surprisingly, none of them was especially difficult, though I did have one that came out 1/2 inch too big:

I was sure I had done the math correctly, but it's too big, so I'll have to take it apart and trim the pieces down. Amazingly, through this whole project I only had problems with a couple of blocks, and not necessarily the ones you would think, either.

Because I made a black block earlier, I made a couple more black blocks this past week.  You know, so the block I already had wouldn't be lonely:

I really didn't think that I would make any black blocks, but these are colorful enough that they really don't seem like holes in the quilt, which is what I was afraid of.  That one at the top is made from some really treasured Mary Engelbreit scraps, so you know that I'm quite fond of that one.  For the others I just used some scraps that I liked and had in the correct sizes, but I think they turned out lovely.

I do have to make one more block, though, because included in my 56 are these two:

Yes, I somehow made the same block twice. Which one would you keep and which would you remake?  Any suggestions for a final block?

I've decided to go ahead and use the striped layout from Tula Pink (see the example HERE) and I'm trying to choose the two stripe colors.  Here are my current choices:

I'm leaning towards the white with the tiny dots, and I've seriously thought about using the blue for the darker stripe.  This blue might be too dark, though, so I may look for a different one. I know I don't really want the beige or the gray. Hmmm. . .here's a thought--what about a pale yellow?  Would that be too much?

I guess I'll have to experiment some! Good thing the weather is going to be crummy so I won't feel guilty for being inside. Everybody stay warm and dry this week!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Try, try again

Hello all! Here we are in November and it's definitely started living up to its name. It's gotten cold and windy, but of course I love it when its dark outside at 4 pm. It makes driving home even more exciting. At least most cars have their lights on now. The deer, not so much.

As you may know, Bonnie Hunter has released the colors and yardage for her yearly mystery quilt. (You can find that info HERE if you're interested.) I love Bonnie, and her quilts, but I have not had a lot of luck with the mystery quilts. I made Easy Street with no problems, then got hung up on Celtic Solstice. I tried again with En Provence, but I have once again failed miserably.  I think it's the Tri-Recs pieces. I just really dislike cutting them and making them, and they are crucial to those two quilts. Of course I didn't do the ones with no Tri-Recs, which now seems like a dumb move on my part.

Indoor pictures! Because outdoor pictures don't work in November.

I did finally finish Celtic Solstice (and I'm almost over the trauma-- just kidding! I actually like it now), but what I have now for En Provence are some blocks, a ton of pieces, and absolutely zero desire to make any more of either one.  I thought I might use the mystery time this year to finally get this baby out of the closet and off the UFO list.  So, here was my thought-- how can I put this together without stitching even one more unit, but still use up most of what I have?

The first thing I did was pull out all of these pink/ magenta pieces. I feel like I made a billion of them and it turns out that a billion is enough to make a completely separate quilt.  I plan to make some stars from them and do something else for an alternate block. Maybe in yellow? But that's a problem for another time.

I have enough of the purple and green units made to completely finish up 14 blocks, so I thought I would round that down to a nice dozen blocks and set them 3 by 4.  I played around with the other pieces for a sashing and came up with this:

I kind of like this, because of the secondary stars and the circle effect, and also because it does not require any more pieces to be stitched, just the quilt top assembled. Still a lot of pieces, but completely doable. It will not have as much color or vibrancy as the one Bonnie designed, or be as big, but it will be done and out of my closet.  And-- I can't stress this enough-- I will not have to make any more pieces!

I have no real idea what to do for a border yet, but I have these to work with:

I think I should be able to create a border from those, don't you? It may not look like much, but there are a *lot* of 4-patches there.

That's my plan for "mystery season." If you are making this year's mystery, I'll be cheering you on from here. Cheer me on, too, and maybe we'll both have quilts at the end of this!

Hope you're all having a good week!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Almost enough blocks

Hi everyone! How is your weekend going? After massive storms the night before, I woke up yesterday to temperatures in the 40s, and there is a freeze warning for tonight, so now I'm really facing the reality that it's fall and winter can't be far behind.  But it can't be yet, because I have too much to do before winter! So top of my list for today is a new winter coat.  But first. . .

I made a few more of the tiny blocks this week!  This brings me to 49, which means I have only seven more to go.  Here's the latest installment:

In January, when we started, I did not know that I would like these so much, but I really do! Do you think it's because they're so small, or because they're so quick to make, or what? All I know is that these are fun to make and go pretty fast, though I had to do some fancy math for one of them this week.

Check out those colorful leaves in that picture! I was sure I wasn't going to make any dark or black blocks, but right there in the string jar was a long piece of the strawberries fabric, and it was enough to make the Bullseye block that Angela posted earlier:

I think that turned out ok. It's the right size, and I like the strawberries. The red block there is also one from Angela.

Since we started the orange blocks, I've wanted to make a Dutchman's Puzzle block, but since the tiny blocks are something of an odd size, I never sat down to do the math for the flying geese until just now, but I finally figured it out:

Okay, I turned the pieces and ended up with a star in the center, but overall this looks pretty good, doesn't it? For anyone who wants to know, the geese are 1-5/8 by 2-3/4 unfinished. To make 4 at a time, I used a 3-3/4 inch square and 4 2-1/8 inch squares, then had to trim them down a bit. But it worked!

My other orange block is a smaller version of the State of Georgia block from the Squared Away sampler:

You can make any of the Squared Away blocks by cutting the squares at 1-3/8 inch each.  Little, but they work!
And then I also made a raspberry colored Anvil-style block:

And then I was done for now!  The raspberry block is strobing a little, but it's not that bright in person. It's just against those dark trees, so it looks really bright.

Hope you're all nice and warm and dry and are getting in some stitching time this weekend. If we all think warm thoughts, do you think can we stave off that winter thing? I'm pretty sure I feel like skipping it this year. We can try, right?

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.