Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Crunch time

Nobody panic, but it's the end of July. Soon it will be August, and you know what that means, don't you? That's right--school. So it's time to buckle down and get all my summer projects done. (I say that like it will really happen. A woman can dream, can't she?)

Seriously, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and need to get some of these projects done so I can feel like I've actually accomplished something. I do this to myself all the time. I may need help.

First up is the blue fields and furrows quilt. If you recall, this came from Vicki Welsh's HSTeria quilt challenge. I really had no intention to start a new quilt, but all these HSTs were already made, so it should have gone fast, right? And it has gone reasonably quickly. I've finished the center:

I like the center, and I think the darker stop border is good. I think I have enough of that for a binding too. I have a ton of blue squares left, so I'm thinking of an inner border of blue and white squares.

 Maybe I'll cut them into rectangles.

Hmmm. I think I like the rectangles. Or maybe smaller squares. We'll see how it works out. Anyone with an opinion, please let me know. Since this started out as another quilt, I also have border fabric all cut and ready to add. Maybe this can get finished this week. While I didn't plan to make this quilt, I am grateful to have had an excuse to use those HSTs and get one more project out of the closet.

Aaah! Those are the only pictures I really have! The red and white dancing nines continues to grow, and the other triangle quilt center is almost finished. I'm also working on a top-secret project which is a gift for a friend, and I made a lot of progress on that, but I can't show it here until it's gifted. There will be pictures once it's sent off, I promise!

Hope everyone else is getting more sewing done.  Too bad life keeps interfering with quilting, isn't it?

Linking with Vicki's last HST linkup, Linky Tuesday, and Let's Bee Social. I always love seeing what everyone else is doing, so go on over and check out some new ideas!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Friday

How is your summer going? We are having the weirdest possible season ever. It was rainy for a long time, then it was hot very briefly, and now we are having fall-like weather with lows in the 50s. It's been beautiful, which is my official explanation for being behind on everything that I was planning to do this summer (including actual work that I MUST finish). You can't waste weather like this when you have winters like ours!

I have been getting a few things done. First up is one of the red Odd Fellow's blocks:

I think this is my favorite one so far. It's really striking up close. I wish I had more of that fabric, but I used up every scrap of it in this block.

I've also made a bunch of the Dancing Nines blocks, and I'm so impatient to see it done that I started putting them together!
Looks wonky, but really just needs pressing!
See why they're called "dancing" nines? I think it looks great so far. The best part of this pattern is that while there are a lot of seams, very few of them have to be matched! It's a very, very easy pattern. (Available HERE, free!) I also found some fabric with larger cherries for an outer border when I'm ready for one. First I have to figure out what to do with all those 4-patches for an inner border. Actually, the first thing I have to do is finish the center, but that's going very quickly. I'm optimistic.

In a huge fit of productivity, I also quilted up the triangle mini that I made earlier this month:

I straight-line quilted this following the diagonals of the triangles. Sometimes a walking foot can be your best friend because this went really quickly.

 I even put the binding on it! It's completely done by machine, which I don't do very often, but it's just not exactly an heirloom, so I'm okay with it.

 Finally, check out these nifty quilt labels my friend Leanne made for me:

Obviously untrimmed.
How great are those? She has a personal embroidery business, The Sewcial Life, and I'll bet she'd make some for you too, for a very reasonable price. There's a link right here, and she's on Facebook too, so go visit and drop her an email if you want to chat about some labels. (Just giving kudos to a friend here! I get no kickbacks! But I am very, very happy with these.)

Hope you are also having great weather where you are. Get outside this weekend and enjoy it!

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazy mom quilts, and SoScrappy. Check them out for more quilty goodness!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bits and pieces

Wow, where has the day gone? Don't know, but it's 88 degrees and I'm blaming the heat for the time getting away from me.

There is a lot going on in the sewing room here, but little of it is fit for pictures. Everything is in pieces, some of them on the floor, and other things are in piles. The only thing that is really done are a few more blocks for the Loyal Union Sampler:

These were hard to photograph! I like them, though. Only one more block and I'm done with the February blocks. At this rate, this quilt will be done sometime in the next two years or so. They're only 6 inch blocks, so the pieces are small and some of them are very fiddly (if you know what I mean).

I'm also working on the triangle quilts. The center of the fields and furrows is done and now I have to work out some borders. Thankfully, there's a lot of fabric left for that. Then there is this one:

I keep calling this 'exploding triangles,' so the first thing to do is come up with a better name. I like the orange cornerstones with the aqua triangles, and I need to add another color, but I'm not sure what to add. I was thinking of lime green, or maybe yellow. I better decide soon, because I want to be done with this.

The other thing I'm working on (when I get bored with the triangles) is adding the sashing to the Dancing Nines blocks. They go quickly, so I already have a nice stack.

I'm already trying to figure out borders for this one too. I think there is a print with larger cherries, so I'm planning to look for that.

That's what's happening here! Lots of mess, and lots of progress, but not a lot that can be photographed  easily.

Finally, the red daylily has bloomed at last!

It's a good month late. I think even the plants are confused by our weird weather.

Happy sewing to everyone this week! Linking up with Linky Tuesday and Fabric Tuesday. Go check them out!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Red blocks

It has been a disappointing week for finishes here, folks. Probably because I keep sitting on the sofa watching movies and eating Lemon Oreos instead of actually working on anything.

Ha,ha! Of course I'm kidding. I'm really cleaning the basement and garage. Fun times.

I did manage to finish a couple of things. First, there were these babies:

These are the triangle blocks for my RSC14 quilt. Red and white always look so happy together, don't you think? I also did the cutting for the Odd Fellow's blocks, but haven't assembled them yet. I'm not sure I'll keep the polka dotted block on the left. Looks a little too "Raggedy Ann" to me.

I also made up one test block for the Dancing Nines quilt:

This block is much straighter than it looks in pictures!
I think I like it. I chose the more open cherry fabric as the sashing. The more packed cherry fabric is very nice, but I like the look of this better. Not to worry! I'm sure the rejected fabric will get used somewhere. I was worried about the width of the sashing because my blocks are smaller than those in the pattern, and I ultimately cut the sashing 1 1/4 rather than 1 1/2 inches. It's a little bit, but it made a big difference to me. I have enough 9 patches for 20 of these blocks, and plenty of leftover cuts if I decide to make more for a few more blocks.

Finally, our cool and wet summer has had some good side effects:

This astilbe hasn't bloomed in years (literally), but has tons of flowers right now. I forgot how pretty the blooms are! I think I even forgot what color it was supposed to be, but I'm loving it right now.

I want to take just a second here at the end of the post to say how much I appreciate all the comments people have been leaving on this little blog. It's very gratifying! I try to answer every one (sometimes a couple of days later because life gets in the way).  If you are a no-reply blogger, please know that I appreciate your comments too, but sometimes can't find you online to reply.

Thanks for stopping by, and everyone enjoy your summer weekend!

Linking to Sarah, Amanda Jean, and Angela -- stop by their link-ups for lots of happy inspiration! (Or some fun time-wasting. Either way!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Home again, home again

It is good to be home!  What is it about travelling that makes you appreciate your own home more? We arrived home to find that it no longer feels like July here. It's 60 degrees! Should be 85 or so. I'm liking it, but it sure is weird not to be sweating.

Perfect place to think up quilting ideas! (Presque Isle State Park in Pa.)
 While we were gone, I had a lot of time to consider possible patterns for those red and white 9 patches. I'm going to use Bonnie Hunter's Dancing Nines pattern (found HERE, free!). I think they'll make a good center, and then the 4 patches and other parts can be incorporated into a pieced border.

The problem has been finding a fabric to use with the red and white. The red is an older Jinny Beyer fabric in a real rose red, which is impossible to match. (She still has the same basic fabric print, but in very different colors.) I thought about green, but I don't want it to look Christmassy. Joy at the Calico Patch Quilt Shop in North East, Pa., was VERY helpful and we chose these great cherry prints:

Print A, more open

Print B, more packed
I can't decide which one to use! I like print A much better, because it is more open, but the sashing strips will finish at 1 inch, so the print may get lost. Print B is a little busy, but will probably cut better. (If you have an opinion, let me know!) Either way, I think it will turn out nicely. Thanks again Joy! Her shop was really nice, with a lot of fabrics and some original patterns and samples. It's not hard to find from Interstate 90, so stop by if you're passing through.

While we were travelling I convinced the Mister to stop at several other quilt shops, where I got some more  nice goodies:

Don't know why, but the oranges and corals really attracted me this time. I'm ready if the next RSC fabric is orange, that's for sure! And wait until you see that bird panel made up--it's very cute!

I also picked up some Row by Row patterns, and some shops had little giveaways with their patterns, like 4 2- inch squares or a button. I collected some of these patterns, but right now making them is definitely on the back burner.

Anyway, I feel like I made progress even though I haven't sewn a stitch, except for the bindings I stitched down while we were in the car. Hope you made some progress too!

Made some new friends on vacation!
 Happy sewing everyone! Linking to Linky Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, and WIP Wednesday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Another finish!

So, we are off visiting my parents, but I did manage to get one more thing done before we left--

 Vin du Jour is now a completely finished quilt!

This turned out so well and is destined to hang on the wall of my office this fall.  It measures 48 by 48 (or so) and will fill the wall nicely.

The quilting on this turned out so well.  Diane did a beautiful job, as usual. It was a good decision to take it to her.  This is a quilting design called Simple Feather, which I use a lot, and is quilted in a pale yellow thread. Here's some detail:

Loving how this turned out!

On a different topic, have you all heard about the Row by Row Experience shop hop? It's a "hop" that involves 1250 shops, each of which has a free pattern for one row of a row quilt. While we are travelling we are stopping at several quilt shops, and many of them are participating. Go HERE for more information. At the very least, the website is a really good list of quilt shops across the US (which is how I originally found out about it). And I did remember to bring those white and red 4 patches to look for some coordinating fabric, so I have a mission in each shop.  No way we're getting to all 1250 though.

Have a good and relaxing weekend everyone!

If I have some Internet access, I will link up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Catching up

Hi there! Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Miracle of miracles, it only rained once here, but not on the parade or the fireworks, though we were nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes at the fireworks. I think they were actually snacking on the bug spray. We spent almost the entire weekend outside, except for the few hours we spent in an actual movie theater watching the new Tom Cruise movie. It was. . .hmmm. . .LOUD. But the hubster enjoyed it, and the popcorn was good.

As for sewing, I did a lot of those boring things that must be done but have no entertainment value at all, like putting on bindings, piecing together a backing for Fiesta Pinwheels and delivering it to the quilter, and stitching together batting for the same quilt. I call this "Frankenstein" batting because of the big zigzag stitches, so I guess I was "Frankensteining." I also cut and marked for some more Pleated Patchwork blocks, but I didn't actually sew them.

One thing I did do was stitch these babies together:

These are the 4 patches and 9 patches from the abandoned Burgoyne Surrounded quilt. Surprise--they're white with red, not red with white.

It was a surprise to me, anyway. I looked at the directions, and sure enough--I did the cutting and piecing for dark with a light trail. Well, that would have been stunning in red and white. If only I'd finished it then. And the pieces are much smaller than I expected. The 4 patches are 2 1/2 inches (finishing at 2 inches) and the 9 patches are 3 1/2 ( finishing at 3).  I have 68 of the 4 patches and 85 of the 9 patches. I'm obsessively searching block books for a setting for these, but I haven't found anything I really like yet.  Since they're white with red, I'll probably have to add another color, but I don't know what that will be yet either. Maybe I need to go to some quilt shops and look around. Gosh, won't that be awful? Anyone with a good idea, let me know!

And then there's this:

Aaaah! There are 5 different projects here! I definitely need to focus, but maybe I should clean off the ironing board first.

That's what's going on here! Lots of getting back on track with everything after the holiday, and lots of work in progress.  We are getting ready for a vacation, too, so it's extra hard to focus. I get more absent-minded the closer I get to vacation, so I'm going to tuck a couple of those 9 patches in my suitcase right now, just in case I run across any quilt shops in our travels.

Have a great week! Hope you make lots of progress! In the meantime, hop on over to Freemotion by the River and Freshly Pieced for some inspiration. And if it's Saturday, be sure to check out So Scrappy too!

And watch out for those mosquitoes. They bite.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Halfway to the rainbow

Nobody freak out or anything, but the 4th of July is Friday. THIS Friday.

Yikes! How did that happen? This means we are halfway through 2014. Double yikes!

It also means that we are halfway through the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for this year, and Angela is hosting a linkup so that everyone can show off their progress so far. (Thanks Angela!) So, here are the "family portraits" of my RSC14 blocks so far:

First up are the triangle blocks. These are simple 9-patch half-square triangles that I plan to set on point. I've been using the brighter/more whimsical scraps for these blocks. They finish at 6 inches square, so 36 of them (3 in each color) should make a happy quilt. These are fast and easy and use up some of the weird strips I have saved. The two in the middle of the bottom row look very light in the picture, but are okay in real life. Every quilt needs variety, right?

Since I'm using triangle paper to make these, I end up with ten HSTs in each color, which means I have one of each left over. I'm thinking of adding some "mixed" blocks to the quilt also, using these triangles.  I would have enough for four multicolor blocks. I could also use them as cornerstones or something in the border. What do you think?

Face it, we need a new fence.
This is my other RSC14 project, 12 inch Odd Fellow's Chain blocks. These are a traditional pattern with lots of pieces and are simple enough, but time consuming.  I've been using the more "sober" colors for these blocks, with one light (ish) and one dark (ish) in each color. Sometimes it doesn't really work out that way, but I like them all together anyway. My plan for these is to make the monthly blocks and then make one more in either mixed colors, a multicolored print, or reversed values (right now I'm thinking of a black and white block). This would give me 25 blocks to set 5 by 5  for a very nice-sized quilt. I think it's sparkling so far.

Those are my projects! I think they look great so far, and can't wait to see everyone else's.

Happy sewing everyone, and Happy Independence Day! Have a safe and happy holiday weekend. And a happy weekend to non-Americans as well!

Linking to the awesome Angela at So Scrappy, of course!