Friday, June 9, 2023

Starry, starry haze

 Hi everyone, and happy smoky Friday! If you are on the East coast, you probably know what I mean. It has been very hazy here from the drifting smoke from wildfires in Quebec, Canada. Today might be a little better, but the last few days have been surreal. Very hazy, the sun looked orange, and the air has been like breathing mud. Oh, and I was out watering the plants and it seems like everything is coated in a sticky film, like a soda exploded and sprayed everything. Just all kinds of fun.

This week I was getting ready to go to a conference, so that was work, but I also made time to crank out a few stars for the rainbow scrap challenge. The color for this month is pastel blues and greens. I don't have a lot of pastels, but I do have a few lighter and brighter greens, so I mananged to make three green stars:

How do you not fall in love with that star on the left? These are 9-inch blocks, so some of those pieces are quite small. It was very fun to make. The others will be fine in the quilt, but they aren't nearly as festive, or as fun to make.

Since this month is about light blues and light greens, I also made one light blue star:

Okay, it's more medium than light blue. Truth be told, there are not that many light blues hanging around here. I think I may be able to find a couple more, and I might make a couple more blue stars, though there's already a lot of blue for this quilt. 

One thing I do have in a very pale (and hard to photograph) blue are these little hourglasses:

I have 32 of these, all untrimmed, and I don't know what to do with them. I thought I might make something small with an alternate block, but I don't know what that block should be or what color it should be. I could also combine these into some blocks, but again, don't know what block that would be. Any good suggestions out there?

And speaking of good suggestions. . .

I showed this block as a failed block last month. Here was the original block:

A couple of readers suggested turning the hourglasses to make an orange star instead of the hard-to-see white star, and it worked! Thanks guys! It doesn't look as first intended, but it will work well as a fixed block. And really, all I did was turn the hourglasses the other direction. What a difference!

And with that, we're off to my conference! I hope to find some more breathable air there, because one of the side effects of this haze has been that I've almost lost my voice from hoarseness. I sound awful, so some better air is a must. Wish me luck with my presentation, and everyone have a great weekend!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Another dose of Mercy

Hi all, and happy weekend! It has been a warm week here, and today it is supposed to be about 95 degrees. Yikes! It's only early June! We might get some rain, too, which is great because the grass is already turning brown. Thankfully, I have not yet shriveled in the heat, but I'm eating popsicles and drinking iced tea just in case. Wouldn't want to take chances!
You know what's a good place to be when it's very warm outside and you really can't be out there planting anything? In a basement sewing room, that's where. So you know where I hid out for much of this week. And look what happened while I was down there:

Yes, another finish! Happiness abounds, especially because this quilt gave me a few fits in the quilting process. It may not look like it, but this was a beast. And it took three bobbins to finish!

Some of you may remember this quilt from earlier this year, when I made the top during the Stay at Home Round Robin, a quilt along by Quilting Gail and friends. It was a fun project and I got a great top out of it. I knew all along it would be a donation quilt, and I'm quite pleased now that it's all finished and ready to send off.

Because there was so much going on in this quilt top, I decided to quilt it in straight lines so that the piecing could be the star. Truth be told, I also thought it would be the easiest for me to do because the quilt is about 62 by 72 and that's a bit big for me to wrestle with. Lines across the width of the quilt was probably the easiest way to go, but that was still a lot of quilt.

The problem, of course, is that this quilt did not have a grid of any kind that I could follow across the quilt, and that made everything extra hard for me, because my brain is very strange and just kept wanting to slide over and follow some seam lines. I ended up marking the first line across the quilt and then using the space bar attached to the walking foot. I still had to wrestle, and I still had to pay really close attention. I did rip out a couple of partial lines and start over. In the end, it did get finished, though. Hallelujah!

The backing for this quilt is a wideback piece with a pale beige leaf, and the binding is the same blue that is in the quilt. Every part of this quilt is a scrap or a leftover, except the binding, which comes from a saved half yard. I washed the quilt and it came out very soft and cuddly and overall worth the trouble to quilt it. 

Oooh, artsy!

This quilt is bound for Mercyful Quilts, which benefits a palliative care unit. Our friends Bernie and Preeti have just started the Positivity quilt along, which also benefits Mercy, and you can find all the details and links right HERE. It's a very cool and easy pattern, and you should definitely join in!

So, another quilt is in the books! Hope everyone has a great weekend and doesn't melt out there! I may wrestle yet another quilt through the machine. I've got it basted and everything threaded up, but there are some chores I have to get to as well. And those popsicles won't eat themselves, either!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or not Friday, and the Quilting, Patchwork, Applique linkup.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Squeezing a few oranges

 Hi all, and welcome to the last day of May! How did this even happen? Where did the month go? I can't explain it either, except that it looks like June is on the horizon and then summer will be in full swing. Before May is completely over with, I thought I should probably post the last of my orange stars and other orange blocks. These oranges haven't been particularly juicy, but they are certainly bright! 

I did not have a lot of orange, but I did manage to squeeze out a few blocks. Let's start with the two 6-inch blocks for this month:

I made these from the very dregs of the orange scraps, and I'm happy with how they turned out. Look at those tiny flying geese on the right! Don't they just make you happy?

Then I have two more 9-inch blocks for the star quilt:

These turned out nicely, too, I think. I was trying to choose stars that used the fabric fairly judiciously, and I think I succeeded.  I had to lay these in the tree because my favorite branch to hang quilty things from got trimmed away so that the grass could actually get some sunlight. Who needs that? I need my quilt display branch!

The block above has several prints, and I'm not sure how it works, but I'm keeping it. Do you all know about the Sewcialites QAL patterns from Fat Quarter Shop? They had a block a week for free, in three different sizes, and this was one of those blocks. You can still get all of the patterns from this year and last year for free from FQS right HERE. Scroll through and choose the ones you want, or download the whole set. There are tons of goodies in there!
The second orange star is much simpler and definitely a star, but it wanted a solo picture, too. And why not take it with the tomato plants instead of flowers? Can you see that there are already some tiny tomatoes? Very exciting!!

Okay, now I have a problem. I made a third block that I swear looked like a star on paper, but in fabric I am not so sure. Does this look like a star to you?

Yeah, I don't know. I was thinking that I could save it by replacing the center with a solid piece of the fabric instead of the pieced center, but generally I think this is a loss. Maybe I could repurpose some of the parts for a different block, but this is not looking very starry to me.

Oh, well! That's the end of orange for me, and I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. I'm not sure about blue, but I'm happy to change colors.

Hope you are all doing well and heading into June in a good mood. Over the holiday the hubs and I went hiking in the Catoctin Mountains, and we came upon this lovely vista:

That should carry me through the heat that's coming this week! Take care and enjoy the rest of the week, friends!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23

Friday, May 26, 2023

Crossing off two more

 Hi everyone! We got everyone safely graduated this week, I cleaned up my office and shut down the work computer, then I pulled the blinds and locked the door. See that place again in August! It feels great. This was a long year, but every time I think it was a hard one I remember 2020-2021 when we were trying to teach all those students over Zoom. No teaching challenge will ever be as hard as that!

Back at home, I tried to finish up another of the bigger quilts this week, but I didn't get all the way through. Oh, well! I did, however, finish off two smaller pieces that have been kicking around here for a while:

Those don't look very familiar, do they? Well, once again, they are repurposed pieces. In 2017 and again in 2019 I started to make temperature quilts. I did not get all that far, maybe to part of April. Turns out I fail at even stitching a 3-inch seam every day. I also fail at throwing things out, or ripping them apart, which is what I should have done long ago. Instead, they have become a doll quilt and a table runner. Now that they're quilted, they may actually be useful!

Hey look, flowers! The bigger piece is the one from 2019, and is becoming a table runner since it's about 21 by 54. I think the tiny blocks in there are for family birthdays, based on where I think they fell in the calendar. I didn't get pictures of the backs of the pieces, but they are the same blue that was left over from  another backing. More repurposing!

Oh, wow, roses too! The smaller piece is the one from 2017, and it looks like it was a colder year! It looks like I cut this one into two pieces and joined them to make a rectangle. This one is 24 by 27 and will make a lovely doll quilt, or maybe the top of a nightstand. We'll let the small person decide.

The smaller piece was quilted using the ever- trustworthy cross hatch in a pale yellow thread. I bound it in a blue binding from the basket o' leftover bindings and various other things, and it turned out great. It went really fast, too.

I got a little tired of cross hatching, so the bigger piece is quilted in random lines across the width of the piece in a pale green thread. Sometimes they cross, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they're straight, sometimes they wobble. It will look good on a table no matter what. I bound it in another leftover piece of green. So, that's two more pieces out of the closet and another piece half-finished. Not bad for the week! 

This is Memorial Day weekend here in the US, the unofficial start of summer, and I am so ready for it. Bring on the picnics! Hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. And just to wind this up, I'll leave you with a picture of the wild strawberries in our backyard. This is why we don't spray the yard for weeds or anything-- these feed the deer and the foxes!
Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or not Friday, and the Quilting, Patchwork, Applique linkup.