Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Scrappy dilemma

Hello everyone!  How are you today?  It is raining and wet here, and quite gloomy.  Plus, I have to compose an exam this afternoon, and that can make anybody a little cranky.  On the upside, can't go out walking, so I might as well sew.  Or do laundry, but who would rather do that?

Today I have to share a little problem I'm having.  First, though, a pretty picture for the top of the blog:

Okay, maybe not so pretty but at least it's not a mess.  It was raining when I took this, but I think that makes it look extra bright and happy.  This is the first row of a new quilt, and here's how I got to it.  It all started with this mess:

This is not even close to being all of my scraps, most of which made it to the condo with us.  I have at least one more big white bag and a smaller clear bag, also stuffed full.  When we had the house, I had these all nicely sorted by color and type--solids over here, batiks here, prints there--in their very own boxes, all nicely stacked.  It didn't look like quite so much then. Well, that system wouldn't work here because there is just not enough storage space. (Really, I'll be thankful for closets forever.) So the boxes are in storage, but I pulled out the fabrics and brought them with me.

Folks, this is just overwhelming me.  I have too much!  All the space that is taken up by the scraps means that I have no room for yardage.  And I really want some yardage!

Anyway, I have to use these up and clear them out, so I've started cutting them up into manageable pieces and I have a couple of patterns in mind for them.  First, there is this one:

This is a pattern by mamaCJT, and I got it at Patched Works a long time ago. (Pretty sure they still have some in stock.)  She shows it all in a single solid, but why does it have to be done that way?  It doesn't!  So I've pulled out some of the bigger pieces to make rows and put them together into a cute little quilt.

I've also been cutting pieces into 1-1/2, 2-inch, and 2-1/2 inch squares.  There are tons of patterns for squares this size.  There may be a Bonnie Hunter quilt in my near future, but for now I've chosen this one from Wedding Dress Blue.

It looks simple enough that even I can't mess it up, and the directions are really good, so I grabbed some 2-inch squares and started putting them together:

So far it's mainly stress-free, but we'll see as we go on.  I have a couple of other ideas, and I even thought about cutting some of the bigger pieces into triangles and making an all-triangle quilt, but after working on the Roman Floors quilt for a while now I'm pretty tired of triangles.

Put them all in a bowl and toss like a salad!

That's it from here!  Let's see how much progress I make this week.  Pretty sure I'll be cutting like a crazy person. And if anyone has any good suggestions for patterns for using up those scraps (or the vast majority of them), be sure to let me know!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, and  WIP Wednesday.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Brown family

Hi everyone!  Are you ready for a lovely fall weekend? I sure am.  The last couple of weeks have been really busy and I am ready to settle down and enjoy some down time this weekend.  Here is the happiest part of renting the condo: the leaves are falling and we don't have to rake them!  Let's hear it for landscapers!

This week I spent some time with the girls, making up the brown dolls.  Here's the family:

Aren't they adorable?  I had my doubts about the browns, because I personally don't own very many brown clothes, but I think they turned out great.

And can I just say that they have an amazing sense of color?  I couldn't wear those dresses nearly as well as they do!

There is one more member of this family to show off, although she is quite shy:

Yep, she's the sister who joined the convent and became a Carmelite nun!  If you don't know (or care) what that means, just know that it made me really, really happy to make this one.  It took a while because the dress is fairly complicated (lots of layers) and I really wanted to get it right, but I think she turned out really well.  And she'll certainly fit in to what is turning out to be a global sisterhood.

Now that we're nearing the end of the rainbow scrap challenge for this year, I think I have come up with a setting for the dolls.  I'm really getting impatient to put it together because I really think it's going to be great.  I'm also trying decide if I should put eyes on the dolls, and if so, just how I should do that.  I know they aren't getting full faces, because there's no way that I could do that without really messing it up, but eyes might add something nice.  I know I don't want to use beads or French knots, but I'm not sure how else to do it.  Any good suggestions?

Hope all of you have a great weekend.  I hope to get some sewing in and maybe bake something.  And I'm just now getting back into the full swing of my usual exercise, so I'll definitely get some walking in since it should be cool and perfect for a nice couple of miles.

The last picture from our house!

Happy fall!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addictsoscrappy, and Finish it up Friday.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fall forest

Hi everyone!  How was your week?  Ours was very, very busy.  It was so busy that I was surprised that today is Friday.  If you know where all my time went, let me know, because I definitely need it back!

So this is my big finish for the week:

A "fall forest" table runner!

There is a semi-entertaining story behind this piece.  It was inspired by this post from Amanda at crazy mom quilts. I love the Bright Birch Trees pattern and have been intending to make one for a while.  I had these pieces left over from the bargello table runner I made for my sister-in-law:

These were big pieces!  At first I thought I'd make a pillow out of them, but then I decided to use them in a version of the bright birch trees.

These worked great!  Except for two things: 1) even though they were big pieces, there was only enough for 5 blocks, and 2) there is no pattern so simple that I can't mess it up.  And mess it up I did, friends.  I kept getting the pieces turned around and swapping parts of different blocks.  (This would not have happened if I had used different background colors, like the pattern.) It was a hot mess. At one point I gave up, but I hate to waste fabric, so the next day I picked up the seam ripper and went to town.

Yep, I'm going to have to cut that again!

Eventually I worked it out enough that I could have a long table runner.  The blocks are not trimmed the way they should be, but they were going to be a table runner, so I think that's okay.  I actually didn't measure almost anything and just eyeballed the blocks when I trimmed at the end.  I know this is wrong, but I just couldn't help myself!

At the end, I had one strip left over and I didn't want to let it go to waste, so I made a small block and just attached it like any other block.  I don't think anyone can tell, and I didn't waste that strip!  That always makes me feel like I've won.

Overall, I like how this turned out.  I think it looks like trees with the leaves just turning in the fall.  It was also a good learning experience for me.  Really, there is not a pattern I can't mess up, but I can usually make it turn out okay.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Once again, we will be busy as all get out.  Stitch a few seams for me, because I know I won't be able to!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finish it up Friday.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Classic stitches--Brown

Hello everyone, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Classic Stitches quilt! This month's color is brown, and I've chosen a lovely block that will let you show off all of those lovely brown scraps but not have so much brown that it brings down the quilt. Since October can be a stressful month, what with all those leaves to rake and such, how about a nice, easy block that uses only squares and rectangles but still looks spectacular?

This is the Pennsylvania block, a traditional pattern that dates before 1895 and is #2023 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia. (I swear I chose this before we moved to Pennsylvania!) When set with sashings and cornerstones it resembles a single Irish chain, and can also be known as Criss Cross or Simple Cross.  This block is very easily pieced and would look wonderful done up as a whole quilt.

But we're only making a row! Here we go--6-inch blocks are shown. Instructions for 3-inch,  9-inch, and 12-inch blocks are given at the end.


For each 6-inch block, you will need brown scraps plus scraps of a background color.  Cut one 2-1/2 inch square and 8 1-1/2 inch squares from brown, plus 4 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 rectangles and 4 1-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch rectangles from the background fabric.

That's it for the cutting!


[There are a lot of ways to make these blocks, but I found them easiest to make using this method, mostly because of the sizes of my scraps.  If a different way is easier for you, such as making 4-patches instead of using strips, use that method.]

First, take the 1-1/2 inch brown squares and 2 each of the 1-1/2 inch rectangles.  Stitch a brown square to both ends of the rectangles:

Next, stitch the remaining 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 inch rectangles to two sides of the 2-1/2 inch brown square:

Add the shorter square and rectangle units to the top and bottom, making an uneven 9-patch:

Almost there!  Next, add the remaining 1-1/2 inch rectangles to opposite sides of the 9-patch unit:

Finally, add the remaining square and rectangle units to the top and bottom.  Press and you have a completed block!


Fussy cut the center squares, or use an embroidered square.

Replace the center square with another color. Green would be a nice choice.

Reverse the colors, using brown as the background with light-colored squares.

For a 9-inch block, cut a 2-1/2 inch brown center square and 8 2-inch brown squares, plus 4 2 by 3-1/2 inch white rectangles and 3 2 by 6-1/2 inch rectangles. Piece as above. Six 9-inch blocks with spacers between them will make a 60 inch row. Four 9-inch blocks without spacers make a 36-inch row.

For a 12-inch block, cut a 4-1/2 inch brown center square, plus 8 2-1/2 inch brown squares, 4 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch white rectangles and 4 2-1/2 by 8-1/2 inch white rectangles. Piece as above.  Five 12-inch blocks make a 60-inch row, or three make a 36-inch row.

For a more interesting 12-inch block, make 4 6-inch blocks and join them together to make one larger block. This is how I constructed my 12-inch block:

I swear that these all look aligned in person!

For my row, I chose to make 3-inch blocks.  For this option, cut a 1-1/2 inch square of brown, plus 8 1-inch squares of brown.  From the white, cut 4 1-inch by 1-1/2 inch rectangles and 4 1 inch by 2-1/2 inch rectangles. Construct as above.  I found it easiest to strip piece the units for these blocks instead of using tiny squares. I thought it went faster and were more accurate.

The three-inch blocks are somewhat fiddly, but are very cute and make a nice row.

Hope that this row is very non-stressful! Our last row is coming up in November, so this is a good time to check and be sure all of the rows measure 60-1/2 inches long and adjust if necessary.  Be sure to come back for the last row on Tuesday, November 3.

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee SocialWIP Wednesday, and at soscrappy for RSC15.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Catching up

Hello everyone, and welcome to what promises to be a very wet weekend.  According to the TV weather people, this is a good time to stock up on bottled water and batteries.  Or maybe not.  They can't decide.

So, now that all the excitement surrounding the pope has died down and all the roads are open again, I actually got to sew a little bit.  I feel like I am so behind on everything!  I'm letting myself down, but I've resolved to catch up.  The first thing to catch up on was these crumb blocks for the framed stars quilt:

Indoor picture! Raining!

Okay, the indigo block isn't really a crumb block, but I only had enough indigo (or what passes for indigo around here) for one lonely little string block.  I already decided to carry the string blocks over to next year so that I'll actually have enough for a quilt, so into a framed star it goes.

The orange and brown are actual crumb blocks.  It turns out that I have quite a lot of brown bits left over from the Terrestrial Star quilt, so I had plenty for a crumb block and enough for the row quilt too.  Plenty happy about that!

Then I actually made enough progress that I finished all three stars:

That's a raindrop, not a stain!

Oh, happiness. Slightly damp happiness, but still.

After all this time using up my white on white scraps, it turns out that I don't have enough big leftovers to make the frames from just scraps, so I didn't get to make the frames.  Well, I'd probably have enough if I wasn't so danged picky about how the white tones must match each other, but it will be just a lot more fun to go pick out some yardage.  Easier too!

That was my sewing week!  I'm slowly starting to feel at home here (I must be slow to adapt) and am getting back to a regular schedule for my sewing.  I've had a tough time with the traffic eating up so much of my time, but I'm getting used to it.

Oh, gosh, one last thing!  My kids got me a new camera for my birthday (thanks kids!) and all of the pictures in this post were taken with the new one. Yay!  But I have to show you the last picture taken with the old camera:

 Leeanna from Not Afraid of Color and I met up and got to go to a quilt show last weekend!  It was so fun to meet her and to have a friend to critique the quilts with. We enjoyed a lot of the same ones and had a great time.  Thanks Leeanna!  (I am the weirdo on the left. Leeanna is the sweet and lovely lady on the right.)

Everyone have a great weekend!  Stay dry if possible, and if the rain keeps you inside, I'll bet I can think up something you can do!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addictsoscrappy, and Finish it up Friday.