Monday, June 30, 2014

July projects

Hello all, and welcome to July! (gulp!)  And a happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!

There's this project that I have been putting off for literally years, and I think this July is the perfect time to pull it out of the basket and do something with it. The project is this mess:

Okay, it doesn't look very messy, but it sure feels messy. This is an abandoned red and white Burgoyne Surrounded quilt that I started in 1998--I think. Maybe it was 1999, but I don't think so. Why was it abandoned, and why haven't I finished it since? Well, there's the story.

I started this as a class at a local quilt shop. It was a small class--I think there were 5 of us. As a mark of how much things have changed in the last 16 years, here are the instructions, typed on a typewriter, with hand-drawn illustrations:

The class was two sessions, but the teacher got sick and the second session was postponed, which was okay. These things happen.

And then the quilt shop CLOSED. For good. I wish I was kidding.

I tried to contact the teacher several times, but I never was able to get a hold of her. That's when this went into the drawer. I probably could have figured out how to finish it, but the instructions seem to require more details that I think the teacher would have provided. I've taken it out a couple of times since, but I've not been serious enough about it, or motivated enough, to finish it. Also, it makes me a little angry and a little sad every time I look at it. It's time to move on, although I doubt it's going to be a Burgoyne Surrounded quilt.

I have the parts all nicely separated and labelled:

And some leftover strips that aren't cut yet:

What I don't have is any yardage left. Not sure what happened to it.

I guess my first step is to assemble some 9 patches and other pieces, and then go from there.  I think I'm waiting for the quilt to tell me what it wants to be. I don't think it wants to be Burgoyne Surrounded. We'll see what happens!

The other projects I really want to finish up in July are all the HST projects. I'm really happy to get them out of the closet. This is the one I was trying to decide about this weekend:

I have a pretty good idea about using these HSTs, but it requires adding some fabric. I can't decide which way they look better, with the yellow or the blue. What do you think?

That's what's happening around here! It's a holiday week, so I doubt there will be much time for sewing. My husband is taking a few days off, so who knows what he has planned.  Probably not a trip to the quilt shop! Then comes the 4th of July, always a good party. Hope you all enjoy your celebrations!

Linking up with Freemotion by the River and probably also Freshly Pieced.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Half-square dancing

Hi all, and welcome to another summer Friday. Isn't it great? We have lots of sunshine today, but more rain is coming, so we all better get out and enjoy it while we can.

So, I did a little productive sewing this week. The brown triangles mini is now done, with borders:

The final measurement of this little quilt is 21 by 23. Not sure if those borders are too wide or not, but I like them. I have a little of the brown left, but it was a real downer as a border, so I'll use it as the binding. All of these fabrics are from Fig Tree and are probably four years old? Maybe less. I can't remember. The best part is that those bonus triangles are now used and out of the plastic bag that was their home since forever.

I've also started putting some of the blue fields and furrows together:

Oops. Drooped a little into the bush there. More triangles out of the bag. It's nice so far, but a little heavy. There are a LOT of seams. I have 20 blocks, but I already know I'm going to want one more row across and down, so I'll actually be making more HSTs. I went back and forth on whether the blue or the white should be the center, but I think the white was a good choice. I have a decent idea for a border, too, so I'm feeling good about this one.

Next up on my list are these turquoise triangles.

I'm keeping this layout, but I did see a post online of a similar layout that had the triangles oriented the same way but with sashing between them. I think I want to try that and see what it looks like. Believe it or not, I actually have a whole bunch of leftover pale blue strips that might work. If I use those, that would be even more scraps out of the closet and into a quilt to be used and loved. There's a win if ever there was one!

Finally, the yellow Odd Fellow's are done! In time for the last weekend in June!

Pretty soon I'll have to take a "family picture" of all the Odd Fellow's blocks together. They're looking good.

I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but the white on white fabric in these blocks is little dragonflies. Mr. Academic Quilter saw the fabric and asked if I was intentionally using mosquito fabric in my project. He really needs to get out more. All that time with computers is frying his brain.

Linking up with Vicki Welsh's HST quilt along, the awesome Sarah, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Scrappy Saturday. Wonder what July's color will be?

Have a great weekend everyone! Happy sewing!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Messy work in progress

It has been a few days of upheaval here. We've had a new shower installed (and you know what a mess that is), plus had some less-exciting home improvements done and some new furniture delivered. The place is a wreck! Plus, we're still waiting for the tree-trimmer to come back. He was up in our big locust tree and saw some lightning, so he wisely got right down and said he'd be back. Lightning every work day since. And pieces of tree still laying in the yard.

So, we are a little bit disheveled, but that does not get in the way of sewing! (Too much.) First, I started a new quilt, because all my old projects are finished. Ha! Just kidding. This is the quilt I started:

Pleated Patchwork, from this book by Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side:**

I really like this book. Seriously, I think I have a plan for every quilt in this book except one, and none of them are in neutral fabrics. Oh, well. Here are some of the fabrics that I chose for the Pleated Patchwork quilt:

This was a fat quarter set that I got a while ago from Shabby Fabrics. I've lost the little card with the fabric collection name, but they are very nice florals. The quilt calls for 42 blocks and this set will give me enough for 20, so I need to add some others. May need to shop again. Darn. Here is one of the pleated blocks:

Super easy blocks, and they turn out well. The hardest part is finding the half-inch mark on my machine to stitch the pleats. I've got 1/4 inch well-marked, and 5/8ths is pretty much branded into the machine, but I had to mark the 1/2 inch line with tape.

I also worked some more on the HST projects. I'm still making the blue and white fields and furrows blocks for one quilt, but I finished the center for the brown HST mini quilt:

I can't decide if these are beige triangles pointing up or brown triangles pointing down, but I like it a lot. Plus, it used up all my bonus triangles! I miscounted and thought I had 69, but I actually had 73, so this used up 72 with one lonely little one left over. Yay! I have a small bit of the original fabric left over, so I want to put some borders on this by the end of this week. Right now this is 16 by 18.

So, some sewing is going on amid all the hammering, sawing, and people walking on the roof. I also did get a little fabric shopping done:

Wonder what I'll do with those?

Hope everyone is having a productive week and that things are less messy where you are. Or at least that you don't have branches and other pieces of trees laying all over your yard.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced and Let's Bee Social. And Needle and Thread Thursday if I remember. Come on over and get inspired!

**Just wanted to make clear that I don't know Amy Ellis (though she has a nice blog and I'm sure she is a lovely person) and I'm not paid to promote her book. I'm using it because I'm really enjoying making quilts from it. No sponsors here! I bought the book myself!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Pinwheels is now a finished top! Check it out:

It's not scrappy, but it sure is yellow!

I love, love, love this quilt. It was so cheerful to work on, especially when I was assembling the final top and it was raining like crazy.  It was simple sewing, with big pieces and easy shapes. If I were in a real hurry and had some time, I could easily have finished the top in a weekend. The original quilt pattern was made in neutrals, but you could seriously make this in any colors and have it look fantastic.  As a commenter helpfully pointed out, it's the value that does all the work, while color gets the credit. I am seriously considering making another one with rainbow scraps. Because, you know, I don't have enough projects. (The initial post on this quilt is HERE.)

Here's one little tip I learned about batiks: if you like the fabric, buy a big enough piece to use in a project, a yard or more. I didn't have quite enough of the green, so I went back to get another piece. Turns out the color variations between bolts of batiks can be huge, even if they're the same color from the same manufacturer. I like the variation it gives across this quilt, but if things like that bother you, buy enough from one bolt so you won't need to get more that could be a lot different. So, that's my tip--spend more money.

Green variations in one block. See what I mean?

That was the big finish for this week, but I also found some more yellows to  make a couple more triangle blocks for RSC14:

The palest yellow there is a bit of a Kona solid called Butter. This is one of my favorites. I've used it for backgrounds in several quilts. I keep thinking it's a little too light for the triangle quilt, but every quilt needs variety, so I'm keeping it for now.

It has been raining here all week, so the photos are a little gray this week. I know as soon as I post this the sun will come out, so I'd best get to it!

Even the daylilies are tired of the rain!

Have a great weekend everyone! Hope you get to do something fun!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, the awesome Sarah, and So Scrappy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Hello friends! Hope you are having some good quilting time already this week. Or at least shopping time! This weekend I checked out a new quilt shop near here. Quilt-agious is a very cute shop with some really nice fabrics. Plus she wants to start a Quilt of Valor chapter! So if you are anywhere near, go check it out.

Here's what I'm working on for this week:

Fiesta Pinwheel blocks! That will brighten anyone's day, won't it?  I certainly have been enjoying working on this very happy quilt. Hope to finish putting the blocks together by the end of the week! Exciting, no?

I am also working on making some fields and furrows blocks from my abandoned half-square triangles.

(What looks like a misalignment there is just a shadow. I checked!)
These are easy blocks, but I keep having to stop and check that I'm putting them together properly. Believe it or don't, I've never made fields and furrows before. Learn something new every day. Also, I was sure that I had at least 100 of these HSTs. Turns out I have more than 200, plus a bunch of left-over fabric. So I'll make 20 of these blocks and then see where I want to go from there.

Other than that, I've been making bindings. You know the big pieces of backing that are left after you have a quilt quilted? Like these big hunks:

I just cut those up into strips and make bindings. Usually I can get a bunch of 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inch strips from these chunks.

 Then I have a nice basket o' bindings to use! Saves me a lot of time. If I have a 60 by 80 quilt, I can usually get at least 300 inches of binding from the backing scraps, which coincidentally is enough to bind a 60 by 80 quilt! Win, win.

Have a great week everyone!  Happy sewing!

Linking up with Connie and Lee and Let's Bee Social again. Come on over and get inspired!

Also, check out the blog roll! Some of the gadgets may FINALLY be working!I'll be adding more now that it works, so check back if you're looking for someone specific.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday the 13th

Hey there, and happy Friday the 13th! One of my nieces was born on Friday the 13th, so around here we generally think of it as a lucky day. It certainly has started out well. Lots of sunshine today, and a full moon tonight.

Afternoon on the Porch is now a finished quilt! Check it out:

Okay, there are some odd shadows, but I got a picture of the whole thing. That's hard to do around here. I told my husband we need a deck with railings so that I can take quilt pictures a bit more easily, and he just looked at me. So I guess we're not getting a deck any time soon. Here's a picture that's a little more "artsy":

This one shows the quilting texture really well. It's a new pattern that my quilter just got, called "Bauhaus." I love how it looks on this quilt! And Diane did such a great job! I really appreciate her work. She makes me look good. (The original post on this quilt, including where to find the pattern, is HERE.)

The binding is a dark orange that doesn't appear anywhere in the quilt, but I think it really sets it off. Also, it's what I had on hand. It has definitely been chilly here (in the 50s! in June!), so it was a good time to curl up and stitch that binding. This finished at just about 60 by 70 and will go to my older daughter when we visit her later this summer. She originally gave me the fabric, so that's only fair. And this quilt suits her personality so well.

The other thing I have to show for this week is just this one green Odd Fellow's block for RSC14:

One more block and I am all caught up! I need to find a yellow that I like for this month's. I must use up all my yellows, because I really don't have a lot of yellow scraps, at least not enough to make a 12 inch block.

That was what I finished this week! This weekend I really have to go fabric shopping. Such a chore, I know. Seriously, I have been using fabric up at an alarming rate, and I need to replenish the batiks and get some backings.  Plus, I hear that there's a new quilt shop around here and it's only right that I go and support a local business. You should go out and do the same this weekend!

Happy Father's Day and lots of love to all the dads out there. I won't get to see my dad, but I will get to talk to him, and I'm pretty sure we'll have a conversation about home improvement projects. He's always up to something. Which I guess is a dad's job, after all.

Linking to the awesome Sarah and Amanda, and also to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

HST overload

Hello again! I am back from my conference, which was very good, and ready to hit the sewing room again. I came home to this:

The peonies are finally blooming! Happy dance!

I've learned not to take any sewing with me to conferences because I never have time to work on it and when I finally get back to the hotel room I'm exhausted, so I haven't sewn in a while. Let's see what kind of mischief we can get into today. . .

Half-square triangles have been all over quilting blogs recently, mostly because Vicki Welsh is hosting an HST quilt along over at Field Trips in Fiber. I happen to be the personal owner of literally hundreds (maybe a thousand) half-square triangles that I have saved from various projects. Let's pull some of them out, shall we?

First, I have these:

These are big leftover HSTs from the original Portugal quilt. (a picture of it is HERE) These are about 4 inches square, and I have 24 of them. No real clue what to do with them, but I should probably put them with these from the same fabrics:

Can you tell I really liked that fabric and didn't want to waste a single bit? I didn't bother pasting these up on the design wall because they are only 1 1/2 inches square. Plus, there are 384 of them. I am not making this up. 384. I'm going to have to really play around to put these two together.

Then there are these HSTs:

These are made from a couple of Fig Tree fabrics and were made from the cut-off parts of larger HSTs. (Clearly, I can't bear to throw away any usable fabric!) There are 69 of these babies, each of them currently measuring 2 inches. I kind of like the way they're pasted up here, so again, I'll play with that and see what I can come up with. I also think I can manage to scrounge up another couple of scraps of the same fabric to finish with an even number.

I also have 54 of these lovely 3 inch turquoise HSTs:

I like this layout! It looks like the beginning of a happy quilt.

There are also these HSTs, leftover from another project:

These are also 3 inch squares, and I have 32 of them. Potholders? I do love the broken dishes block.

Finally, there are these:

These are the result of a colossal mistake I made when attempting to make a quilt from a pattern. These are 2 1/2 inch HSTs, unfinished, which will make them 2 inches finished. I was supposed to make them 3 inches so that they finished at 2 1/2 inches. I think you can imagine what happened when I realized my mistake. They've been in a bag for a while. But just putting them up here on the wall makes me feel better, and I'm really liking the fields and furrows layout. There are plenty of these to make a nice quilt center, at least 100, probably more. Plus I have a bunch of the original fabric left to fill out the borders and such. We'll see how it comes together.

That's what I'll be playing with this week.  Well, in addition to this:

Could that be pieces of Fiesta Pinwheels ready to be made into blocks? It just might be!

Everybody have a great week, and come back Friday for another exciting episode! I'm pretty sure there will be a quilt finish to show off!

Linking up with Connie and Lee again, and the awesome Vicki Welsh. Come check out everyone's projects!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Block week

I love summer, don't you? There is so much to DO and see, and it's so good to be outside. Couple the great weather with travel to a professional conference, and for me that means not a lot of time in the sewing room this week.  Since I knew that I'd be travelling (and I still had to finish my paper!) I just concentrated on getting some blocks finished this week.

First, there are these Odd Fellow's blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

These are not yellow, which is June's color, but I am behind. Sigh. These are great blocks, but they are not quick, I'll tell you. Each of these takes me at least an hour and a half. Lots of pieces! I wish I had a couple of good tips for them, but the only thing I can think of is to use a point trimmer on the white triangles so that they fit correctly. (THIS is the one I use.)

Next up are a couple of extra small triangle blocks, also for RSC14. These ARE quick. I realized that I need three of each color for the triangle quilt, and I only had two of these. So here are an extra blue and an extra purple:

The purple has sparkly metallic dots. Who can argue with sparkly?

I also made one lonely yellow triangle block:

Turns out I don't have a lot of yellow scraps, which is weird because I love yellow and use it all the time. I didn't know it was so hard to photograph, though. Could not get a decent picture except in the deep shade.

The last blocks I made this week were a part of the Loyal Union Sampler quilt-along that I'm doing with my local quilt shop, Patched Works. They are going through 10 blocks a month to get all 121 finished in one year. It's now June, and I'm on. . .February. Sighhh. But it's not a race, right?

All of the blocks in this quilt-along are cute, and I've seen them in so many different fabrics and they all look great and like different quilts all together. Mine are made from a fabric line called Dogwood Trail by Moda fabrics. Most of these are paper pieced, a technique I love. If you did the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler, these are much, much easier.

That was my quilting week! Hope you got some stuff done too. I am at a professional conference, so I expect to have a great time and learn a lot this weekend. If I remember and have some time, I will link up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Scrap Happy Saturday.

If you have some time, jump over and check out this post at Freshly Pieced, where Lee gets to write about our terrific state of Wisconsin for the AMB Blog Tour.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kick blocks complete

Hello again! Happy Tuesday! Remember these blocks?

These were extra pieces from a border I'm not going to use with Celtic Solstice. I called them "kick blocks" because they looked to me like they were kicking.  Well, I have finished those into a cute baby quilt.

I thought at first that I was going to make a baby girl quilt, but I decided to make it more generic when our neighbor told us that they are expecting not one but TWO new grandchildren later this year. Extra happiness! One of their children is expecting a boy and the other wants to be surprised, so they are not finding out the baby's gender beforehand. (Apparently, that's a big thing now.) I now have a small stash of baby and children's quilts, so I think I will let my neighbor choose a couple before I donate the rest to Children's Hospital.

I really like how this one came together. I'm especially happy that the extra pieces got used and aren't cluttering up the sewing room. I have a few extra blocks that I will use on the back--no waste! That is always the happiest part. The border is a fabric by Kim Schafer, who has really fun, interesting patterns and fabrics. Since it is half-inch squares, I cut it on the line (with scissors!) old-school style, like you would cut a plaid. I think the results were worth the extra time. You can see it a little better here:

Very sunny and windy today, so hard to get a good picture in the sunshine! The wind has been blowing branches down all over the neighborhood, so there is definitely a front coming through.

Everyone have a great week. Now that it's June (how did THAT happen?) I am back to putting in 40 hours a week, mostly in library and writing work and prep for next year. Loving the work, but I have got to find a way to bring my office outside for the summer. It's too nice to stay indoors, and in this area our summers are short, so we have to make the most of them.

Linking up with Connie at Freemotion by the River and Patchwork Times, and WIP Wednesday if I remember. Also, those of you who are familiar with Sarah's blog at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and her awesome Whoop Whoop Fridays, she has a small fundraiser going on HERE for one of her grandchildren. Worth taking a look!

See you all on Friday! Happy sewing!