Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Squared away

Hi all!  So, the last few days I've gone out to go in to work and my car has been covered in this awful yellow stuff called tree pollen.  It's like my white car turns yellow overnight.  Anyone who knows how to stop this stuff, I'd like to know, because apparently it's what's making my nose and eyes go haywire.  This is our first spring in the East and I'm just not used to the allergens yet, so they're making me miserable.

Best stay inside and sew!  I've been playing with the 1-1/2 inch squares that I'm putting together into 100-patches.  Here's the latest one:

Green things are growing!  I hope they turn into flowers.

Orange!  I think it's turned out well.  I was a little surprised that I had enough orange squares to make this one, but it turns out that I had a few left over.  I've also made a light blue one since I last posted about this project:

I've also got a brown one, but I'm not really sure where I put it, so no picture.  I also somehow managed to get another medium to dark blue block out of the scraps, which surprises the heck out of me.  I haven't stitched the seams yet, but here it is ready to go:

Hard to believe these come out of those little tiny bits, isn't it?  Next up is aqua, with pink on deck:

The next step is to sort out the greens, I think.  Still not sure how many blocks I'll have, but I've started thinking about how to set them, and here's one idea I have:

I have a lot of squares that won't fit in with the single-color blocks, so I'm thinking of stringing them together into a kind of border around each block.  Then I could put some white sashing in between the blocks and the borders would "float."  I don't know, I'm still thinking.

So that's what I'm playing with right now!  Why is it that when I have a lot of stress I like to play with tiny pieces?  Anybody else have a problem like that?

One more thing before I go--I want to thank everyone who is a no reply commenter for the lovely comments you have left here.  It seems to me that there have been way more recently than ever, so there's probably something going on again, but if you've left any comment and haven't heard from me, it's probably because you're no-reply.  You can fix this, but if you don't want to, just know that I appreciate you.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wouldn't the colors of these trees make an awesome quilt?

Hope every one has a great week!  Please pass the Kleenex as you go!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, soscrappy, and Oh Scrap!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tag, you're it!

Hello all!  How was your week?  Mine was as busy as can be. Lots and lots of work to be done!  On top of that, spring has definitely arrived.  I love the flowers, and all of a sudden some of the trees have leaves, and it's been pretty warm and nice.  That also means the pollen is popping and the eyes are running, along with the nose.  Add it all up and I could use a three-day nap.

Of course, there's always time for a little sewing, at least around here!  This week, I made this little tag blanket for little Otis:

Cool beans, huh?  I think it looks like something a little one will enjoy.  Do you know that they sell these for upwards of $25?  Really, look it up!  I was amazed, since I put mine together from a couple of  small pieces and some scrap ribbons.  Since these were all leftovers, I'm going to say that it didn't cost me anything but thread.  And even that was already on the machine.

Here are the two fabrics that I used:

The top one is flannel and the bottom is a lovely print.  These were leftover half yards.  Actually I think the flannel was an end-of-bolt situation, where you get the extra for half price. I cut these squares 17 inches each and then used half-inch seams all around.  Why such deep seams?  Hello, it's for a baby!  I fully expect him to pull on the tags and I don't want him pulling the blankie apart.

I cut a bunch of ribbons of different colors and textures to 5-inch lengths:

These are all from scrap ribbons.  Most of these are leftovers and pieces from ribbons that were used to tie up bundles of fat quarters.  See those twill ones?  They say 'Moda' on them.  I don't think Otis will mind, do you?  There's also a random piece of really big rickrack.  I really have no idea where that came from, except I know I didn't buy it.  It's got a different texture, so I just folded it in half and stuck it in there with the ribbons.

After all the cutting, it's just a matter of pinning the ribbons to one square, stitching right sides together around the two squares, turning, and pressing.  I also stitched on the outside just to better anchor the ribbons.  All in all, I think it turned out nifty.

So, there it is!  I really like how it came out and I'm pretty sure that tiny Otis will enjoy it.  It's literally made to be drooled on!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  I am going to a conference and then I plan to come home and do laundry.  What an exciting life I lead.  If I'm lucky, though, there may be a stop off at a quilt shop, which is reason enough to travel to this conference!

(Hey, this is my 200th post!  Yay me!)

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Let's build some barns

Hi everyone, and thanks for all your kind thoughts on the blog anniversary!  I'm happy just to still be around. 

Today I have something a little different to share--a book review!  Quiltdiva Julie has written a lovely, lovely book about her free-pieced barn quilt See Rock City called Build A Barn, No Pattern Construction.  This is a fantastic book that also includes instructions on how to make your own free-pieced barns. It even has it's own blog HERE.

Where to start with this review?  Well, the book is just beautiful.  Many quilt books are beautiful, but this one has heavy pages, rich color, and really good pictures.

This book is more than a "pattern book."  A lot of it is taken up with the very engaging saga of Julie's own barn quilt.  It went through a bunch of stages, including being sent off to the longarmer, only to be 'recalled' by Julie because she wasn't pleased with it.  I've sometimes had fantasies of doing that, but I've never felt strongly enough to actually do it!

I was really interested and pleased to read the story of all the troubles she had with the quilt and how she got to the finished product.  Who among us hasn't had a "problem child" quilt?  I usually give up on mine, so I really appreciate knowing how she worked through it and ended up with a much better product than anticipated.

After taking us through the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of her own quilt, Julie offers instructions and guidance on how to build your own barn quilt.  There are a LOT of great, detailed instructions, supplemented by very helpful drawings and soothing words for those who are afraid to try free piecing.  It's like having your very own teacher at your elbow.  I really appreciate this, because I am one of those scared people.

All in all, Julie has produced a wonderful book.  It was a joy just to read! The story of See Rock City is very entertaining and the book is worth it for that story alone.  The instructions on free piecing are a bonus.

So what did I do after being inspired by this book?  Well:

Hey, I'm good at quilting, not drawing!

This is supposed to be an old farmhouse near our first house in Wisconsin. I may or may not build a barn, but I am sure to build some more houses!  The great part is that the barn-building techniques translate fairly easily to other types of free piecing.  The section on roof lines was very helpful to me.

For the record, Julie didn't ask me to write this post, and I'm not being compensated in any way, but I am very inspired!  If this sounds like something for you, you can buy the book on Amazon HERE.

Enjoy the rest of your week, and I hope you're inspired to build your own barns--or houses, or skyscrapers, or chicken coops!

Sharing at  Let's Bee Social.

Friday, April 15, 2016

So much to celebrate!

Hi everyone, and thanks for stopping by today!  It's a great day here, and we have much to celebrate.  First, our daughter's wedding was amazing.  It snowed, it rained, it snowed some more and no one cared because it was such a great day.  There may or may not be a picture at the end of the post--you'll have to look and see! Thanks so much to everyone who sent good wishes.  They are much appreciated!

The second thing we're celebrating is my blogiversary!  Last Friday was actually the anniversary of this blog, but I was a little busy with other things.

[All quilts in this post are from this year! Some of them I forgot about!]

I can't believe it's been two years!  This has been a challenging year, and it shows in the quilts.  We moved 900 miles, sold our house, started a new job, and settled in to a new area.

I really miss having my sewing room so I can leave all the mess out, but I think I've made the best of it.  I'm still sewing!

There have been some lovely things this year, and I continue to learn new things.  Just wait until you see what's coming up!

I am grateful to all of you who have visited, left comments, quilted along with the BOMs, sent pictures of your quilts, and generally been extra encouraging through the tough times.  You've been amazing, and I appreciate you so much!

One of my goals for the next year is to try even more new things and to do more of my own quilting.  I'm already planning a sewing room where I can leave at least 2 machines up all the time.  Three would be even better!

One really good thing about moving was that I got to meet some blogging friends:

Believe it or not, I'm already planning a couple of meet ups with others as well.  So looking forward to it!

I feel optimistic about the future and I look forward to sharing it with you!

The giveaway is now closed!  Congratulations to Elaine M!

As a small thank you for everything that you've given me this year, I'm offering a small giveaway:

These are 6 Kona fat quarters and a half yard of Kona white, along with some fun cotton thread.  To enter, just leave a comment on this post.  You can live anywhere, and you don't have to be a follower or anything.  I'll pick on Sunday night, using the random number generator.

Thanks so much again, and now here's the picture everyone has been waiting for:

Their photographer was Photography by Brea in Maryland.

Aren't they sweet?  It was a beautiful, happy day.

Have a wonderful weekend, and here's to another fun year covered in thread.

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

Friday, April 8, 2016

Sentimental sewing

Hi all!  Tomorrow (Saturday) is a very big day--our younger daughter is getting married!  In celebration of this great event for our family, I thought I would show you one of the things that I made for the wedding.  I made a few things from her grandmother's wedding dress, and this little purse is one of them:

Just big enough to hold a lipstick and a couple tissues!  Believe it or not, this is made from the sleeve cuffs of the dress.

They were beautifully done with a hand-stitched self facing, so the two sleeve ends together made a lovely little self-lined purse in very little time.  On the one end of the purse, I kept the buttons that closed up the sleeves.  There were more than 50 of these buttons on the dress, including all the way down the back.  I'm sure they were hand-covered! Imagine all that work!  The button loops were also handmade. I also used a section of them to make a bouquet wrap, but didn't get a picture of that.

I added a zipper that matched the satin very well to the top of the piece, then folded the cuff points over and secured them each with a button.  The buttons are new but they look like they were made for this purse.  The hardest part of the whole thing was convincing myself to cut into my mother-in-law's 68 year old dress.  Here is the happy couple on their wedding day in 1948:

I just love this picture.  They are both gone now, and we miss them so much.  Her dress was handmade from a very nice heavy satin which has held up very well but is now more ivory than white.  The seams were all hand-finished, with just some beautiful construction.  It's also about a modern size 0, because my mother-in-law was very tiny, only about 4'10" at her tallest. (She has heels in this picture!) I think the waist in it was 26 inches.  Not made for a 26-inch waist, actually 26 inches.

We are all so happy about the wedding, and so happy that some part of her grandmother's dress will be a part of it.  Here's hoping it brings them as much happiness as it did her grandparents.

Everyone have a wonderful weekend, and I promise more quilty stuff next week!

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Orange

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Intricate Stitches quilt!  This month's color is orange with black or brown accents, like a Monarch butterfly.  I think I have chosen a block which successfully incorporates the idea of the Monarch, even though it looks nothing like a butterfly.

This one also turned out to be the right size (hurray!).  I'm counting it as an orange block even though there is a lot of black in it.  Just keep thinking "Monarch." 

This is a block called Indian Maze, a Nancy Cabot block from the 1930s.  The very cool thing about this block is that it can change in so many ways depending how you shuffle the colors in it.  You could even make it all in one color and it would look completely different from this one.

Even though this looks complicated--and it does have a lot of pieces-- the block is constructed of common, easily constructed units that all fit together at the end.  Let's get to it!


For this block, I used 4 colors:  white, black, dark orange, and light orange.

From the white, cut:
                2 4-1/4 inch squares
                4 2 by 3-1/2 inch rectangles
                4 2-3/8 inch squares (for hsts, so can oversize)
                8 more 2-3/8 inch squares  (do not oversize)
                12 2 inch squares

From the black, cut:
                3 4-14 inch squares
                4 2 by 3-1/2 inch rectangles

From the orange, cut:
                1 4-1/4 inch square
                4 2-3/8 inch squares (can oversize)

From the light orange, cut:
                4 2-inch squares

On to construction!

Making the units:

First, use 4 of the 2-3/8 inch dark orange and white squares to make half-square triangles that measure 2 inches and will finish at 1-1/2 inches in the block:

Next, take the orange 4-1/4 inch square, 1 of the black 4-1/4 inch squares, and the white 4-1/4 inch squares and cut them corner to corner twice, into 4 pieces, like this:

Take all of the pieces you've just cut and arrange them like this:

Make 4 of these quarter square triangle units.  Yes, there are other ways to make them, but I think this way goes fastest because you only have to cut once and can then chain piece them.  Twirl the seams on the back so that they lie flat:

Put those aside and use the remaining black 4-1/4 inch squares and the white 2-3/8 inch squares to make 8 black and white flying geese using the "heart" method (found HERE):

I kept calling these "pandas" in my head. :)

Now there are two "special" units to make, but neither is hard.  The first is to use the black rectangles, the light orange squares, and 4 of the white 2 inch squares to make flying geese with one orange "wing" and one white using the flip and stitch method (found HERE).  Stitch the orange to the left side and the white to the right.  Make 4.

Almost there!  All that's left is to make what I've been calling flag units.  Take the white rectangles and the remaining 4 orange 2 inch squares.  Draw a line corner to corner on the back of the orange squares, then position the squares on the rectangles so that the line begins in the right corner.  Stitch on the line, then flip, press, and trim to make the flag units.  Make 4.

That is all the units!

You should also have 8 white 2 inch squares left over.  These get used in the next step.


First, use the 4 flag units and the 4 "mixed-wing"  flying geese to construct the center unit:

The center unit should measure 6-1/2 inches square when all stitched together.

Next up are the side pieces.  Use the quarter-square triangle units and the black and white flying geese to make 4 side pieces.  Note that the black and white geese point outward:

Last up are the corner units.  Use the orange and white half-square triangles and the 2 inch white squares to make 4 4-patch units.  Notice how the triangles both point in the same direction:

All the pieces are together. Whoo-hoo! Take these units and lay them out as shown, stitching them together in rows and then joining the rows into a block.  Notice the different orientations of the corner units and that the long sides of the orange parts of the quarter square units are on the inside of the block.

Give it a good press, and then stand back and admire your finished block!

My block finished at 12-1/2 inches square (victory is mine!), and with so many seams, the seam allowance is very important. Use caution!

Here's my collection of blocks for this quilt so far:

Hope your block turns out really well.  Make use of your Magic Sizing, and come back on May 3 for the next block in this awesome quilt!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC16 (if I remember, because Saturday's the wedding!)