Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Partially pieced

Hi everyone! How is your week going? I don't mind telling you that it's been fairly good here for the past little while. It has been unseasonably warm and mostly just lovely outside. I spent last weekend at an academic conference in Washington DC without a coat. In January. It was so nice that a couple of us skipped out on the afternoon session and went sightseeing-- and we walked. It was awesome. The conference might have been okay, too. At least my paper was!

So now I'm home and I have a ton of work to do, and the temperatures are about to plunge, just in time for the first day of class. I might even get to wear the new coat that I bought just because it reminded me of the coats I wore in Wisconsin. While I'm waiting for that, though, I've been working on a couple of things.  First up are these:

These are half the 4-patches I need for the January blocks for the Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen. A friend and I decided to make these together, but I read the directions wrong so I only have half as many parts as I needed. Yeah, I know they wouldn't have taken long to finish, but in my defense, it was very, very nice outside.

The other thing I'm working on is this little stuffie:

This is a very cute little kit that I got from Bernie's shop that I've been wanting to make for my tiniest granddaughter.  She turns one year old really soon and I thought this would be a cute little gift. The kit really does come with everything, including stuffing, a sewing needle, and straight pins.  Because she's just a tiny girl, I'll have to embroider the eyes and nose instead of using the buttons that came in the kit, but I think I don't mind that.

The only other thing I'm doing is continuing to put all the new fabric I bought over the last couple of weeks on boards and put them away. I really should not have shopped quite as much, but it's just so easy, you know? I got these pretties from Shabby Fabrics:

I have a plan for the one on the right edge, but the others are just because I had no blues at all and these were a good price.  And these lovely batik pieces came from Jinny Beyer's shop:

I'm planning to use these lovely batiks (plus plenty of others) to finally make a (gigantic) quilt for my own bed. Somehow I've forgotten to do that for all these years.

That's what's up around here for now, along with waaayyy too much computer time.  When I became a professor it was all about the books.  Now it's all about the course website. The world has changed and we must change with it, but I never thought it would involve this much typing!

Happy stitching, friends!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Sending off some cheer

Good morning, everyone. How was your week? Usually I start here with something fun or happy, but this time I want to talk about the terrible things that are happening with our friends in Australia. There are terrible fires ravaging the country and many people have lost their homes, at least 25 people have lost their lives, and entire towns have been destroyed. You may have heard that half a billion animals have been killed as well. (If you need some more information, HERE is a link to a CNN story.) I saw one extremely frightening story that showed people being forced into the ocean by the fires. If you start looking around, you'll be overwhelmed by the scope of the disasters happening there.

Last week I saw Jo's post where she shared a very heartfelt request from a fellow Australian quilt blogger, Jan. Jan has begun a drive for quilt blocks that she can stitch up and distribute to people who have lost everything when the appropriate time arrives. It's summer in Australia right now, but we all know that winter will come, right? In her post, Jan also said she was accepting quilt tops and backing that she can quilt up and distribute.

Well. I have those. Far too many, too.  So. . . these three tops are headed for Australia:

Some of you might remember that my brother lost literally everything in a house fire less than a year ago.  It's hard, folks. It's hard to lose everything and rebuild.  It seems like it would be fun to shop for all new things, but it isn't. And there are things that are lost that can never be replaced.

I chose these three quilt tops because they're each a good size and they're all quite cheerful, and I figure that some people will really need some cheerfulness.  Check out this happy block:

Wouldn't that cheer you up just a tiny bit? This quilt is my Sewcial Bee Sampler from a quilt along by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland. I just love it, and I hope someone else will really love it too, and get some comfort from it.

The block above is from my 100 patch scrap quilt. I love this quilt, too!  I actually hope this one goes to a teenager or a child, so they can look through all of the blocks and find some favorite patches of their own.

The final quilt is one that I named Garden Path. It has floral blocks and a lot of green. I thought that all of the green would make a nice quilt for someone who had had to watch so many things burn. I hope someone really, really enjoys it.

I love all of these quilts and am happy to send off the best from my closet to people who deserve a bit of cheer. I wish I could send more, but the postage to Australia is astoundingly expensive.  I put these tops into bags and squeezed out all the air I could, then packed them into a box. (There will be wrinkles--sorry!) The box weighs about 6 pounds and the cheapest rate I could find was DHL, for about $67.  The post office wanted nearly $100, so this is a bargain.  It's a lot to spend to send these off, but much, much less than I would have paid to have them quilted.  And where else could I buy relief for people who have lost so much so cheaply?

This was a downer of a post! Sorry about that, but I do really encourage you to go over and have a look at Jan's page and see if there is something you can contribute as well. She's already quilted up a several quilts! And if you want to make some financial contributions or help in other ways, I'll bet some of our Australian bloggers could help point you in the right direction on that, too.

Hope everyone around the world has a good and safe weekend.  Australian friends, we are all with you! Stay safe, and let us know what else we can do to help!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

A bright green beginning

Hi all, and welcome to 2020! Time marches on, and somehow it always surprises me. How on earth did we get one-fifth of the way through the twenty-first century? Wasn't it just Y2K a few years ago? This year is going to bring a lot of good things for us, including a new granddaughter, and I'm happy to get it started!

Somehow time marches on but the scraps never seem to! I still have a ton of scraps, even after many scrap quilts. It's time to just accept that a good bit of my fabric stash is small pieces. The good news is that that gives me a lot to do for the RSC this year. I'm trying to hold myself back and I've only planned three scrap projects for this year. But you know that I'll probably add in another as we go along, right?

Here is my first project for this year:

Ohio Stars in two sizes and opposite colorways! I've long admired Bonnie Hunter quilts, and I know (in my head) that they would be a good way to use a lot of scraps, but I can never really tackle the whole quilt. Last year Maggie broke up Bonnie's Sand Castles pattern to fit the RSC, and that has inspired me to pick a Bonnie pattern and do the same thing. I have a separate personal resolution for this year to be more gentle with myself, so I chose this Random Ohio Stars pattern from her free patterns tab to make this year. I think I can make three blocks a month. Maybe. We'll see.

My second project includes a whole lot of these blocks:

I had two yards of Kona Snow that I knew I wouldn't use, and I also have tubs full of squares that I've already cut from scraps. Why not put them together? I cut the Kona into 5-inch squares and then used 2-1/2 inch squares to snowball the opposite corners. They don't look exciting, but they can be put together into some exciting different patterns.

If you have a whole bunch you can make a really interesting quilt. In my unfettered optimism, I cut up all of the Kona and have enough for 120 blocks. I don't know how many RSC colors we'll have this year, so 10-12 blocks a month is a good goal. These are really easy and I made all of the green ones in about 20 minutes.  And then I have these left over:

Tiny 1-1/2 inch hsts! These are the offcuts from snowballing the blocks above. I know I really shouldn't keep these, and I have no plan for them, but I can't resist!

That's a good start to the year, don't you think? Hope you have some lovely projects in progress and are finding 2020 to be a good year so far. I know we're only a few days in, but it's looking good from here!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC20.

Friday, December 27, 2019

A lively, lovely year

Hello quilty friends! It appears that we have reached the end of 2019. Whew--we made it!  When this year began, I had no idea the many changes it would bring, both good and bad, for me and my family, for our country, and for the world. What a lot of changes we've experienced! There was a lot of upheaval, but I'm ending this year with a heart full of gratitude and a lot of optimism.  Let's take a look back and relive some happy quilty moments, then maybe make a few small goals for next year, shall we?  Here we go. . .

According to my handy-dandy quilty records, I finished 18 quilty projects this year.  Yahoo! This seems like a lot to me because of the move and everything that came with it, which derailed many of my plans for the year.  The most popular project this year was this little topper:

Wildflowers topper
(Captions link to the original posts)

Started at the old house, finished at the new one! It surprises me that this was so popular, but it is super cute and now lives on a small table in my living room, where it can be a bright spot in my day. And look-- it's quilted and bound! Kind of different for this year.

I made some other small quilts this year, too, including these two for my daughter's cats:

Pets need quilts too

Hey, our furry friends need love, too!  I also did two small ones for charity:

Jack and Jill

And this one from a quilt along from Sandra:

Beothuk Stars

 You know I do a bunch of scrappy projects every year (because I'm swimming in scraps), and I finished a few tops for those, too.  This was an RSC project that got put together into a top:

Twelve hundred and more

And so was this one (still not quilted!):

Dancing Stars

My RSC  Squared Away top from 2018 got quilted up and is in my living room:

Squared Away

And I pieced two tops for the RSC so far this year, this little beauty:

Hollow 9-patches

And this one too:

Tiny Tuesday top

I did a lot of other things, too. I made a baby book:

Soft signs of love

And some bigger tops:

Okay, the one on the upper left is a finished quilt that now lives in my office, which is either boiling or freezing, depending on the day (or sometimes on the hour.)

And a lot of blocks:

And I even requilted a quilt I had previously finished:

Ripped and restitched

That was quite a lot of stitching! And a lot of fun, too, for the most part. Now that we've looked back some, let's take a look ahead, shall we?

2020 plans

Before I wrote this post, I felt like I had had a "rebuilding" year, one where you fail a lot but set yourself up for future success.  Somehow moving 90 miles was harder than moving 900 miles, and a lot of my plans got derailed. I accomplished *none* of my 2019 goals-- not one!-- because life kept getting in the way, but I think now that it turned out okay anyway. Some of it certainly turned out pretty!

For our next quilty year, I think I'll stick with some smaller goals.  I'll keep working on getting those tops quilted up into cozy, comforting pieces, get back on some kind of posting schedule, and (finally) launch Academic Quilts, the small quilt pattern company I've been planning and working on sporadically.  I'm hung up on the illustrations, but much of it is ready to go, so it's past time to get that going.  I was also thinking of starting a Wednesday "work in progress" link up, but I've done no planning for that at all, and I don't know how it would be received. Wouldn't want to give a party and have no one show! I do like link parties, though, especially ones where you can get to be a regular, so let me know if that's something you'd be interested in, too.

My main goal, though, is to leave more comments, visit more often, and keep on building this wonderful, supportive, and fun community.  This year especially, your comments and suggestions have really buoyed my spirits and your projects have provided so much inspiration.  I am grateful for all of you and for this community. It's good to be among friends!

Hope and kindness

And with that, it's on to 2020! Wishing you nothing but peace, joy, and happiness in the new year.  May this be our best year yet! Let's pledge to fill it with hope, kindness, gratitude, and joy-- and lots of fabric, thread, color, and quilty goodness, too, of course!

Happy new year, all!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Cheryl's Best of 2019 at Meadow Mist Designs, and Yvonne's 2020 Planning Party at Quilting Jetgirl.

grab button for Meadow Mist Designs