Friday, February 26, 2016

Best week ever

Hi everyone!  I hope you have had a wonderful week.  This week I became a grandma! Isn't that fabulous? Our son and his wife had a baby boy!   His mom and dad won't let me tell you his real name, so I'm going to call him Otis (not even close to his real name!) here on the blog.  He was a big baby (1 ounce shy of 9 pounds) but he is so tiny.  And adorable! With a full head of hair, believe it or not. When his parents give me permission, I'll share a fun picture of him, I promise.

All of which makes this week's finish a bit anti-climactic, doesn't it?  Well, here's the quilt:

Yep, Serendipity is a finished quilt!  It has been raining and windy here all week, and it was hard to get pictures.  Then it got dirty when it blew away once and I was mad at myself for taking it outside at all.

I didn't really intend to make this quilt, but I ended up really liking it.  It's quilted in a gray thread in a flower pattern that almost matches the flowers in the sashing.  I never thought I'd like gray thread, but I am totally using it again because it blended so well and all I can really see is the texture, even on the white fabric, and on the brown, too.

For the binding I used Susie's magic binding with a 4th gray and a bright yellow flange. (I wonder how many times a day quilters everywhere bless Susie's name?)  I have now used some of every gray that I had in my tiny little condo stash, and I'm really surprised at how much I like how they play together.  (Now that I think about it, that may be every gray I've ever owned.)

Serendipity finished at just about 55 by 72, perfect for warming up chilly legs.  The backing is almost as much fun as the front, too.  It's a Windham print called 8 Days a Week.

Finally, here is how cuddly the quilt turned out:

Yep, that's the hubs, getting cozy on the sofa.  They all get used around here, even when they're brand new.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  As if this wasn't already a great week, this weekend is a bridal shower for my daughter.  How much happiness can one family handle?  We'll see!

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

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mini snapshots

Hi everyone!  It's the weekend--how happy are you?  I am extremely happy because it's going to be a good one.  And boy do we deserve a good weekend!

My finish today is another tiny one:

Mini snapshots!  I love the yellow-green color and all the little pictures.   (The true color shows best in the indoor picture at the bottom of the post.)  Remember this gigantic pile of 1-1/2 inch squares?

Well, when I was sorting them I kept finding fun little ones that were fussy cut or almost fussy cut and I kept putting them aside because I thought they would get "lost" in a bigger quilt.  I mixed most of them back in, but kept out these few because they were just so cute.

I was going for the "Polaroid" style squares, but I'm not sure how well that comes through.  There's not a lot of room for the frames, but at least the little squares stand out.  I think this little one is my favorite:

He looks askew, but he's not.  I just can't take decent pictures.  I'm also in love with this little flower:

Actually, I can't pick a favorite, because I also love that little bear's face, and the snowflake, and all the rest. This cheerful little piece is about 12 by 16,  just big enough to finish up and hang by my desk.  I could use a shot of happy color in there.  I also have a little secret square that I'm fusing to the back, because stitching it to the front would have eaten up all the words in the seam allowance:

Be a warrior!  How great is that?  Plus, it's a shout-out to all my Marquette friends--we will always be Warriors!

Everybody have a great weekend!  The weatherman claims we'll be sunny and 60 degrees.  Maybe we'll get to wash the car.  I think I remember what color it is supposed to be, but I'm not really sure. Also, I hear a rumor that there's a blessed event happening--we'll see!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finish it up Friday and Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Getting our hair done

Hi all! How are you today?  Is it wet or is it snowy where you are?  Or maybe it's really warm?  We've had all three over the last three days.  Not joking! Snow, then rain, then 55 degrees.  No wonder all my students are sick.  And they make sure to cough all over their papers when they hand them in, believe me.

Good thing one of the things I find most relaxing is sewing. The last few days I've been working on the Paper Dolls, mostly stitching in their hair and some of the details on their dresses.  Here's one group:

I think it's really adding to their personalities.  Is it weird that I think of them as individuals?

There's always one sister. . .

Their hair is just raw edge applique, which I'm almost never happy with because the edges ravel, but I think it will be okay because it's hair, which is supposed to be a little bit messy. 

I started playing with layouts, but they have to wait for a few more friends to show up.  I need just a couple more with black or white dresses so that the layout will work.  It's kind of silly, but I want it so that every one of the girls will be holding hands with another.  Nobody goes alone, right?

One other thing that I did this weekend was to meet up with these lovely ladies:

On the left is Nancy from Pug Mom Quilts, in the center is Leeanna from Not Afraid of Color, and I'm the weirdo on the right. (Feel free to ignore me.)  We had lunch and went to the Kaffe Fassett exhibit at the Michener Museum, which was a fascinating museum, if a bit small.  I'm not a big fan of Kaffe, but it was a nice shot of color and a chance to meet up with some great people.  They even got to meet the hubs, very briefly, which is very, very rare as he's generally anti-social.

On top of being a great Pugmom, Nancy is a very sweet and giving person.  Look at this great fleece and flannel blankie she made for my new grandson (no, he's not here yet):

How sweet is that? You can never have too many blankies, and this one has that great satin binding that kids love.  And Leeanna made us both great pincushions.  Here's mine:

Thank you so much, ladies, for the fun and for the lovelies.  Both are much appreciated!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC15 because I have no brown left!  At least some of their hair is brown.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A small bite of chocolate

Hi everyone!  How was your week?  I am still feeling pretty run down from the demon flu, but carrying on.  What are the options, really?

The one thing I accomplished this week was making up the brown Grandma's blocks:

I'll tell you what, I am loving these hand dyes.  They are so beautiful and they sew up so nicely.  Plus I almost never think that brown fabric looks like chocolate, but these totally do! In this case, a nice creamy milk chocolate.  Yum.

So, here's my scrappy confession:  remember all of those scraps I was cutting into usable pieces because they were bringing me down and crushing my creativity? 

Well, I finished cutting them up and then. . .I gave most of them away.

What?!  Yep, they were all nice and pretty in stacks and I put most of them into boxes and envelopes and sent them to various places, including some friends who quilt for charity, where I'm sure they'll be put to good use.  It just made me tired to look at them, and it seemed like a good idea to clear the decks and get them out of here. I feel like I lost 10 pounds! 

I didn't get rid of everything, of course!  I kept enough 2-inch squares to finish a scrappy quilt that I started but is still in pieces, plus all of the 5 inch squares and the bigger chunks.  And I kept all of these:

One and a half inch squares!  I have about 12,000 of these babies, which I've been saving for years. ( No, I didn't count them!  I counted out 500 of them, weighed the pile, then weighed the rest and divided.)  I even traded some with friends not long ago, and it didn't really make a dent. So then I did this (with inspiration from Angela's lovely projects):

Postage stamps!  I finished the dark blue one above and started a light blue one and a brown one. I don't think this is an RSC project but I could change my mind.  I keep finding the last little bits of fabrics that I loved, so it's been fun so far. When I'm done with this quilt I may give the rest of these away too, depending on how I feel about them.  Little bitty seams could make me crazy.

Hope you all have some chocolate or at least some fun this weekend!  It's going to be quite cold here, but our daughter is coming from Maine to visit, so I'm sure we'll be out and about.  And I have to get started on creating some more scraps since most of mine are now gone! Wonder what will happen there?

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, soscrappy for RSC16, and Oh Scrap!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Baby blankets

Hi all!  I hope everyone out there is feeling well, because this week I was hit with the demon flu.  I had a flu shot (of course) but this one just felt like some heavy animal has been sitting on my chest.  It was exhausting!  If only it was possible to stay home and read blogs all day, but I still had to work my way through the week.  I'm glad the weekend is finally here.

While I was taking meds by the handful and sipping hot tea, I did some simple sewing.  I finished hemming up these baby blankets for our new grandson, who is coming this month: 

I can't even tell you how great these turned out.  Have you bought baby blankets recently?  They're awful--tiny and thin!  So instead of buying those I spent some money at the fabric store and got some heavier flannel.  I bought a yard and a half of each of these and washed them twice in hot water.  Then after I removed the selvages, squared them, and hemmed them, these finished about 42 inches square with only a couple inches of waste.  They're way prettier than what I found in stores and I think they'll last a lot longer than the thin ones, too.

I hemmed these using this foot for my machine:

Hard to get a picture of a shiny metal foot!  This is a rolled hem foot that came with my machine.  I used to use this when I made dresses for my girls, which means I haven't used it in a while!  It gives a beautiful narrow hem:

Isn't that great?  It's a little tricky to get the fabric started through the foot, but after those first few stitches it turns out great.

The foot folds the fabric and stitches it.  No need for pressing tiny little hems!  Once it gets started it goes pretty fast.  All five of these blankets took only a couple of hours from start to finish.  Of course, I broke that up so that it took all week, but if your head wasn't throbbing it would only take a little while.

That was it for this week!  Hey, every little bit of progress counts.  And I finally did get a package with some more brown in it, so I can finish those last couple of blocks for the Forest Friends quilt.  Hope to have that done next week.  Cannot wait to meet the little guy!

Everyone have a great weekend.  Not sure what I'm going to be up to yet, but pretty sure there will be some fabric involved, even if it's just cleaning up those flannel threads!

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Brown

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Intricate Stitches quilt!  This month's color is brown.  Brown is not my favorite color, and I don't have a lot of it, but I chose to use it along with pink in this month's block:

I like it! This is a block called Steps to the Garden, a Nancy Cabot block from the 1930s. Do you think there's just enough brown to qualify it for a brown block?  I like the liberal dose of pink, and I  thought about switching the colors but decided that I like it better this way.  It would also work with any other colors as long as there is enough contrast.  A light green instead of pink would look fantastic.

This block is deceptively simple. All of the squares and strips finish to 1 inch wide.  The challenge comes in the precision piecing of the little bits to end up with a 12 inch block.  I tried to make it as easy as possible using one main strip set.  I used a shorter stitch length for making this block and also moved the speed control on my machine to half speed.  I think it really helped with controlling the narrow pieces.

Okay, let's make a pretty block!


From the brown, cut:

     8 1-1/2 inch strips at least 9-1/2 inches long (see note below)


     8 1-1/2 inch squares
     8  1-1/2 inch by 2-1/2 inch rectangles


     4 2-1/2 inch strips at least 9-1/2 inches long (see note below)
     8 1-1/2 inch squares
     8 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 inch rectangles

Note:  I used 9-1/2 inch strips because they fit my fabric.  You will need to cut 1-1/2 inch sections, so use any lengths that will allow you to cut 24 1-1/2 inch sections from the pink and brown strips.

That's it for the cutting!


Stitch one of the brown strips to the top and bottom of each of the 2-1/2 inch pink strips:

Mmmm, strawberry ice cream sandwiches!

Either press the seams open or toward the brown.

Cut each of the pink and brown sections into 1-1/2 inch pieces.  You will need 24 1-1/2 inch pieces total.

Anybody else remember a licorice-type candy that looked like this?

Next, take all of the white rectangles and stitch them to the brown/pink pieces as shown.  Make 8 total:

Do the same with the 8 pink rectangles and 8 separate pink and brown sections:

Take the pink and white squares and the remaining pink and brown pieces.  Stitch a white square to one end and a pink square to the other end of each strip.  You should have 8 of these pieces.


All the pieces are made!  Arrange two of each of the units as shown to make one "left-side" block section:

Make 2 of these sections.  Fuss with the block sections and your seam allowances as much as you have to to make them 6-1/2 inches square without any trimming.  (Don't trim! Really!  It will make your block the wrong size.)

Take two more of each of the units and arrange them as shown to make two "right side" block sections.  Notice that these are the mirror image of first two block sections. Fuss with these until they are the right size. Make two of these sections as well.

Once you have all four sections made, press well and arrange the sections as shown and stitch. Some starch or Magic Sizing helps keep all the seams from stretching out.

Most of the block sections have very few seams to match, but the final assembly of the block requires matching all 11 seams.  Use lots of pins, and make sure that you have each half of the block oriented correctly.  It's very helpful to mark which seam the block sections should be stitched along so that everything turns out correctly in the final block.

Congratulations--you have a fabulous block! Your block should measure 12-1/2 inches square to finish at 12 inches in the quilt.

Now that this second block is finished, gather up your scraps and save them with the blocks for the center block at the end, then be sure to come back March 1 for another exciting block.  Happy sewing!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday,  Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC16.