Friday, November 28, 2014

Into the woods

Hi folks! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are not too stuffed to sew! The hubs and I are having Thanksgiving at our daughter's house, which is great for me because it means very little cooking! I didn't bring my sewing machine, but I do have these to show you:

Don't they look festive? These are the next couple of blocks for the winter quilt BOM from Cindy at Quilt Doodle Doodles that I am working on for the next few weeks. This is a very easy quilt and is very relaxing to work on. Seriously, you can grab a few minutes here and there and make great progress. (You can buy the patterns HERE or HERE).

Here are the three blocks I've done for this quilt all together:

I almost have the major center row done! I am considering "quilting as I go," which is why I'm doing them in this order. I've never done that with a whole quilt before, but why not try it on this one?

Since this was a holiday week, that's all the sewing I got finished! Hey, I'm happy I got anything done. Hope you finished something too! I'm going shopping later for a backing for this. I'm thinking flannel. Sounds cozy and fitting for a winter quilt, doesn't it?

Back to our regularly scheduled projects next week, with some of this thrown in for fun. Enjoy the weekend! Happy sewing!

Linking to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Amanda Jean at crazy mom quilts. Stop by and get inspired!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cabin in the snow

Hi all! With this being a holiday week and many, many of us in a cooking frenzy, it's a good time to take a small time out and share my year-end project. I have been looking forward to starting this for weeks!

The end of October until the first of the new year is the most stressful time of the year for me. Really, everything is due all at once, plus there's this major winter holiday that is a lot of fun but requires TONS of preparation. A lot of it is fun, and much of what I have to do is very rewarding, but it's also very stressful. Since the sewing keeps me sane even in the worst of times I need a year-end project that I can work on that won't add to the problem. I know a lot of people will be doing Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, but that is just too stressful for me to take on right now. Instead, I've chosen to work on this quilt by Cindy at Quilt Doodle Doodles:

This is Cindy's quilt and her picture! Isn't it adorable?
This is such a cute quilt, and it looks pretty stress-free to assemble. Cindy has run it as a quilt-along on her blog all year. I had every intention of working along, but never did. So now that it's all finished, I'm going to do it all at once! You can buy her patterns HERE or HERE, and she has many other patterns that are very easy as well. (Go buy the pattern! You know you want to!)

This pattern generally uses same-sized squares, so I've been cutting some different dark blues to use for the backgrounds for a couple of weeks (a little at a time, you know?):

I cut up several quarter yards of dark blues with stars that I had in my stash, though most of the fabric comes from this:

Let's just call that photo "artsy," okay? This was a multi-purpose Halloween costume--witch, wizard, Merlin, etc.-- from years ago.  I know for sure it's made from quilting cotton because the selvages were still on the thing. I guess it was an emergency costume. Anyway, there were nearly 3 yards of fabric here, which got cut up and is being used as the main background fabric in this quilt. (Let's hear it for recycling!)

 And heaven knows I have a bunch of scraps for all the other colors and parts as well. No shortage of those around here!

So, I started with the cabin block, which is in the center of the quilt. Here it is:

I certainly would be happy to sit in that cabin and sew for a while, wouldn't you? It didn't come through too well in the photo, but the window there is actually yellow. Winter sunshine bleached it out pretty well. The pattern shows a brown cabin with a black roof, but I chose to use red and brown. It's cheerful, and what I had.

Cabin in the snow!
I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving! I say we all lock ourselves in the sewing room and make someone else stress out over the food. If you're not in the US, I hope your week is also full of food, family, and friends! And maybe a little American football and some shopping, too.

Linking to Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Across the Drunkard's Path

Hi folks! We are still in a deep freeze here, and I know a lot of you are too. It feels like January, not November! Maybe a really early winter means a really early spring? A little optimism can't hurt, especially if it gets us through the winter.

I thought for sure I would have a finished Drunkard's Path quilt to show today. Instead, I have an almost finished Drunkard's Path quilt:

Check out the snow behind the fence!
Funny story about this quilt. See the lovely pink print that is the background for these blocks? That fabric was left over from the backing of another quilt. I thought there would be just enough for 9 blocks plus a narrow border. I was so confident that I cut the border before I finished the blocks.

What was I thinking? Because you know what happened--I had enough for 8 1/2 blocks. I need 4 more of the large pieces to finish the last block. I'm going to have to eke them out by joining some scrap pieces together and then cutting the template. Yeah, I feel stupid.

Even with all that, I think it looks great!  I love the colors and I'm happy with the layout. I plan to grind out those last pieces whatever it takes and then have it quilted so I'll get it back for a nice shot of spring in January. It's been so cold and gross here already that I know we'll really need it by then.

I discovered while making these that I really like the Drunkard's Path pattern. Yep, making another one. Jo, who has been reading along {waving--hi Jo!}, was kind enough to send me a few alternate layouts for Drunkard's Path quilts. There are literally dozens of ways to put these blocks together, especially if you use different colors. I chose this one for my next project:

Doesn't that look like fun? This is what the Frozen fabrics are for. I pasted them up on the "design wall" to see what it would look like in real fabric:

I am not sure about that purple Fairy Frost, but otherwise I like it! The Fairy Frost is not so bad in person, but it looks pretty lousy in this picture. I'll think about replacing it. I'll probably only make a quilt with 5 of the purple medallions because otherwise it will be gigantic. These templates make 4 inch finished blocks, after all.

That's it from the sewing room this week! Hope everyone stays warm this weekend. It's a good time to hand-stitch some binding so you can wrap up in the quilt at the same time. Just saying.

Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazy mom quilts, and Vicki Welsh's Drunkard's Path Quilt Along. Be sure to stop by!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Deep freeze

Well, friends, what has happened to fall? I would swear it was here just a minute ago. Instead the temperatures are in the single digits--with wind! Good thing I have some quilts laying around here, or we'd all be Popsicles.

In addition to getting my chattering teeth under control, I have been working on the rainbow triangle quilt diligently. Okay, only semi-diligently, but I am making progress:

Indoor picture! Too cold for outside!

Did you ever have a situation where you "forgot" how to do something that you've known how to do forever? That seems to be a theme with this quilt. First, I was working on making some more blocks to fill out the quilt center when I discovered (halfway through a block) that I had used the wrong size triangle paper. So now I have three lovely 4 1/2 inch 9-patches instead of 6 inch ones.

Adorable! And an inch and a half too small.

Then I kind of had a brain freeze about the sashing. For some reason, I kept getting the pieces mixed up and at one point ended up having to make Y-seams to add in the setting triangles. What? I Knew THAT was wrong! I finally went back to the way I almost always do the sashing-- block by block. I hate having to sew on long, skinny strips.

I think that somehow I started putting the sashing on the wrong sides of the blocks so that they wouldn't fit easily with the others and that messed everything else up. I have it straightened out now, though!

So, now I'm looking at possible border fabrics. These are my current choices:

Hmmm. I don't think I like any of them with the sashing. Any of them would have worked with a white sashing, but the black and white has me thrown. The stripes are definitely out, but they might make a nice binding. If I had enough of the black and white fabric I would just use that and be "modern," but I'm almost out. I may have to use a black, but I'm afraid that would be too heavy. I guess the ending will be a surprise--even to me!

I also did a bunch of cutting for a new quilt. Check it out:

I think you can guess what this will be! (The file name for this picture is "frozen parts." Ha! It certainly fits today!) I'm almost done with the pink and green Drunkard's Path (come back Friday to see) and want to start a new one. They are addictive!

That's it from here in the frozen north. Everybody stay warm! Happy sewing!

Linking to Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social, and also the awesome Angela at soscrappy for RSC14.

(Bonus blogging tip: when scheduling a post, make sure you click "am" and not "pm" for the time! Sorry to be late!)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Winter is coming

So, how is everyone doing with the polar vortex, part two? Got the shivering under control? Me either.  When I went out walking this morning it was 19 degrees. I was warm enough, but I really could have used a scarf because my face was very cold. At least we aren't shoveling yet. (Fingers crossed!) My condolences to all of you who are buried in snow. It's coming for us, I know.

This was kind of a slow week for me, sewing-wise. I did do some on the Drunkard's Path blocks and put together some more sashing for the triangle quilt, but didn't take any pictures. I'm kind of trying to wrap up a few things before Thanksgiving, you know?

One thing I did get (almost) done was this little wallhanging/ banner:

Don't worry, that's an applique spider, not a real one. This piece needs a binding, but I really loved this fabric. It's so natural-looking and calm. This is Field Guide by Moda. One of my cousins is an herbalist, so this will probably go to her. I kept thinking of her while I made it, so I guess it's meant to be! I made this from a fat eighth pack and a half-yard piece of coordinated linen fabric. There is a bunch of the fabric left over, so  think I can get a binding out of it too.

This little banner is about 19 wide by 30 high. It was adapted from the "Hearty Good Wishes" free pattern by Moda. The strips are just random widths joined together, and the applique at the top is motifs cut from the fabric and raw-edge appliqued on at random. The quilting is just some big, loose leaves. I wanted the whole thing to look really organic, and I think it does.

So, except for some more DP blocks, that was pretty much the sum total of my sewing week! Pathetic, I know. And check out our plans for the weekend:

Yep, all the leaves from the maple fell off at once! I think they froze off, actually. So I will be raking this weekend before the snow shows up. It's supposed to get here Saturday, so it will be a race to see if we can get the leaves done before the flakes fall.

Hope you all have something better planned! Stay warm!

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and crazy mom quilts. Stop over and get inspired!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Patriotic Tuesday

Hi folks! Today (Tuesday, November 11) is Veteran's Day in the US, so on this chilly, blustery day let me just start with a huge thank you to all of you out there who have served our country in any capacity. Many members of my family were drafted and my godson is serving now, along with several of our children's friends. Know that we appreciate all of you!

Over the last few days I made this patriotic medallion:

I think that this will become the center of a Quilts of Valor donation quilt. It's 32 by 32 right now, so it shouldn't be too hard to add some borders and layers to make a nice-sized lap quilt for a deserving veteran. This medallion was made from the Moda Love pattern, which is available HERE in 3 sizes (pdf). HERE is more information about Quilts of Valor, in case you feel inspired to make something cozy for a veteran yourself. They have a lot of free patterns, too.

I have started putting together the 9-patch quilt for RSC14.  Nobody laugh at this photo:

This is what we mean by "work in progress."  Actually, I put this corner together to test out the black and white fabric. I actually used a different black and white than I showed before. This one is a little more dense than the first one. I decided to use the black and white for sashing as well as the setting triangles, and I think it makes the 9-patches look like they're floating.

Also, what do you think  of the "cornerstones"? I'm still on the fence (ha,ha!) about the half-square triangles as cornerstones. Maybe when they're all together it will look better and I'll feel better about it. I've already made the hsts and I'm using them, darn it! (And yes, I cut the corner triangle too small. I know. I forgot to include the sashing strips when I figured the cut size. I promise to replace it in the finished quilt.)

Finally, in case you think I forgot, I finished the 4-patches for the Jitterbug quilt:

Since there are so many pieces individually cut from the jelly roll strips I decided to do a lot of the parts leader and ender style. It's just boring to sew 400 half-square triangles one at a time, but this gets the job done with minimal boredom. And now those 4-patches are done! With hardly any effort on my part!

That's what I'm doing this week, along with some more Drunkard's Path blocks. The more blocks I make, the better I like that quilt! We are in for some nasty, frigid weather, so it's just good sense to stay in and sew! Stay warm, everyone!

Linking to Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social, and also the awesome Angela at soscrappy for RSC14. Stop over and have a look at all the great stuff others are doing this week!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pink and green

Hi all! It's Friday again! I am happy that this week is over and soooo looking forward to relaxing this weekend. Maybe I will even sleep 8 hours at one stretch. I hear some people do that on a regular basis, but I don't think I've ever met any of them.

It happens that both of today's quilts are pink and green. I guess it was a theme. Take a look at this one:

Yes! Celtic Solstice is now all finished, quilted, AND bound!

I could not be happier. It turned out well! This is not exactly how I originally envisioned the colors coming together, but they turned out okay! The back is a print I got on at a super-sale price and it works well with this quilt:

It started raining right after I took these pictures, so they came out a little gray. The colors are brighter in person. Really, really happy this is done! I plan to wrap up in it tonight to watch TV, maybe along with a nice mug of hot chocolate.

On another note, here is the current state of the Drunkard's Path quilt. Mr. AQ has pronounced this one "kinda girly." Okay, note for next year: try to lay off the pink and green. Thanks honey, you've been very helpful.

Yeah, not as much progress as I had hoped. I have everything cut, but I've had little time this week to put the blocks together. Also, I'm wondering about borders. I think that Drunkard's Path quilts generally have no borders or else very narrow borders because the block pattern is the star of this quilt. Trying to think ahead about what I might use for a border.

Both of these have been bright spots in otherwise drab days this week. The forecast for this weekend calls for "light snow showers," so I plan to clean out the machines, change rotary cutter blades, and do other boring things. Then maybe I'll get to sew some more Drunkard's Path blocks. After a nap, of course!

Here's to everyone having a great weekend with lots of sleep and lots of sewing! It's chilly, so be sure to grab a quilt to wrap up in!

Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazy mom quilts, and Vicki Welsh's Drunkard's Path Quilt Along. Be sure to stop by!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chasing the rainbow

Hi folks! How is everyone today? Hope you're all doing really well. So far this week, it's been great around here. We had our first snow on Friday, but it's warmed up a bit since then, so there is none on the ground now, though there probably will be some later this week. I really felt bad for the trick or treaters, but we had a record number this year, so I guess candy trumps cold. I'm pretty sure it would for me if I were a kid.

I have a few things to show you today. I'm getting excited about finishing up this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts. Coming down to the wire on finishing the blocks, so these are close to the last ones! First up are two light blue 9-patches for RSC14:

Okay, the one on the right is more of a medium blue, but it is definitely blue, even though it looks a little greenish.

Next, I made three multi-colored blocks from the leftover HSTs from the single-color blocks:

These don't have quite the same effect as the single-color blocks, but I think they'll be fine in the quilt.

I've been thinking of using this black and white for the setting triangles:

I'm not really sure about it any more. Going with white would be the super-easy choice, but I'm tired of white and want to do something different. I'll have to think on this one. There are a few more blocks to make before I'm done, so there's a little time.

Other than that. I'm still working on the Drunkard's Path blocks. Not sure how big this quilt is going to be. They are 16-inch blocks. I'm hoping to have 12 done this week.  I'm using the 4-inch templates and am finding this tiny rotary cutter very useful:

The one on the right is a 45 mm cutter, and on the left is an 18 mm one. It's so teeny, but it cuts those curves really, really well. So far I've only been able to cut two layers at a time with it, but it's still way better than scissors. 

That seems like a little, but there's really a lot going on here. At least it feels like a lot to me. And of course I went fabric shopping this weekend and planned another project using these fabrics:

What am I going to do with those? Well, here's a clue--do you want to build a snowman? (Some came from my stash--I didn't buy all of that, though it would be nice to be able to!)

Happy sewing everyone!

Linking to Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social, and also the awesome Angela at soscrappy for RSC14.