Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Autumn Jewels

Hi everyone, and welcome to my turn on the Autumn Abundance blog hop!  The temps have fallen dramatically (really! It was 40 degrees last night!) and it's time to think about cuddling up on the sofa, drinking hot chocolate, and buttoning up because winter is coming.  This celebration of the season was organized by Bernie at Needle and Foot and is sponsored by Paintbrush Studio.  We each received some lovely fabrics from Paintbrush, and here is what I managed to do with mine:

An autumn-themed Jewel Box quilt!  Aren't those fabrics really great and rich-looking?  I'm really thrilled with how this turned out.  The fabrics are from the Into the Woods line, and the solids are also Painter's Palette Solids from Paintbrush.  (There are free patterns all over if you follow those links, so check it out and see what you can find!)

This picture is the closest to the true colors of the fabrics. 

I was seriously worried about this background color, which is the solid in Curry.  Jewel Box quilts are traditionally made with either a black background or a white one to showcase the fabrics, so I wasn't sure how the curry color would turn out.  I think it turned out great for a fall quilt!  It's such a nice warm color and complements the others so nicely.

Making this quilt is really easy.  My quilt turned out at about 60 by 68, a nice cuddle size, and used 42 8-inch blocks.   Each of the blocks used 2 4-patches and 2 (gigantic!) half-square triangles.  Use 2-1/2 inch strips to make the 4-patches, which should measure 4-1/2 inches before they're sewn into the block.  If you want to make a quilt the same size as mine, with 42 blocks, you'll need 84 4-patches.  (Strip piece them and they won't take long!) I made the hsts using the Magic 8 method and cut 10-inch squares of each fabric.  You'll also need 84 of these.  Arrange the 4-patches and hsts like this:

Then it's just a matter of turning the blocks in various directions and laying them out to make the pattern in the quilt.  I tried to be as random as possible without having the same colors meet.  Somewhat more difficult than it sounds! Join the blocks into rows, and the rows into a finished quilt center.  For my borders, I cut the curry color at 1-1/2 inches to finish at 1 inch, and the larger leaf border at 5 inches.  Layer, quilt, and bind!

The giveaways are now closed!  Thanks to all who entered, and congratulations to Lori and Mary, who won the fabric sets.

And now for the giveaways!  I am giving away two sets of fabric:

First, there is this set of fabrics that didn't make the cut for the quilt.  They are lovely, though!  I received a fat quarter bundle and just didn't use all of them.  There are fat quarters of the yellow solid and a patterned yellow, neither of which showed up well with the curry, and also fat quarters of the leaf print and a nice brown, both of which have some pretty metallic accents.

For the second fabric set, I followed Bernie's lead and cut these into charm squares, plus added some leftover 2-1/2 inch squares.  I didn't count them, but there are plenty!  These would make up into something nice for Thanksgiving, if you're inclined to do that!

To win either of these fabric bundles, leave a comment on this post with a suggestion for something you like about fall.  I will draw for these on Halloween, Monday, October 31.  This giveaway is open to all, but if you are overseas (outside the US and Canada) I will ask you to pay for the shipping.  These don't weigh much!

Be sure to visit everyone else in the blog hop!  Not only are there some really lovely projects, but there are more giveaways to be had, including at least one brand new stack of fat quarters.  Here is the schedule:

October 24th – Bernie at Needle and Foot
October 25th – Janine at Quilts From the Little House
October 26th – Mari at Academic Quilter  (that's me!)
October 27th – Tish at Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland
October 28th – Sandra at MMM! Quilts


Hope you're enjoying the fall!  Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finish it Up Friday, and Finished or Not Friday.  See you there!  And thanks so much to Bernie and the other hoppers, and to Paintbrush for their generous support of this project.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Grandma has all her blocks

Hi everyone, and welcome to the politics-free part of the Internet.  It's nice here, isn't it?  So many nice people, so many pretty things to look at, and no name-calling.  Ahhh.

This week I managed to finish up the last 6 Grandma's blocks for one of my RSC16 projects!  Here are last month's:

Maroon and red, plus a deep gold.  I think this would be a great color scheme for an entire quilt, especially if you're a Harry Potter fan.  Here are the ones for October:

Sunny yellow and orange!  That gives a lot of life to any quilt.

Now that the blocks are done, you know what I had to do:

Yep, play with the block layout!  This was the most fun I had all week.  I think it's possible that this is the final layout, but I might play with it some more.  That one lighter green one bothers me a little bit, but I think I'll keep it. In the actual quilt it will blend right in, even if it looks like a hole in the quilt in pictures.

So now I need to figure out some border options.  Any ideas?  I'm thinking maybe piano keys, but there is also my recent "modern" favorite of just a small, clean border, maybe with a colorful strip in between two lighter layers.  I guess I'll have to play some more. Won't that be awful?

Doesn't this look peaceful?  Ahhh. . .

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  I had a lot of stress this week, so I'm hoping to relax a bit this weekend.  Next week the asphalt guys are coming to fix the driveway, which won't be stressful at all, I'm sure, and the kitchen guys are also coming back.  Piece of cake, right?

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and soscrappy for RSC16.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A flurry of triangles

Hi everyone, and welcome to the hottest day of fall!  It's supposed to be fall, but right now its something like 77 degrees and the next few days are going to be even warmer.  And here I was just starting to anticipate cooler temperatures and looking forward to the first freeze.  So much for that for now.  Plus it wasn't 77 degrees when I got dressed this morning, so, you know, overly warm all day. 

Since it's not going to be cold around here any time soon, I've been creating my own "flurry" of sorts with hsts:

That, my friends, is 84 4-1/2 inch half-square triangles.  Yes, that many!  They took forever! I am participating in the Autumn Abundance blog hop next week with some friends and these are for my hop project.  (The hop is being hosted by Bernie at Needle and Foot, so be sure to check in with her starting next Monday. Or today, if you want!)

I used the Magic 8 method to make most (80) of these hsts.  I confess that I've always used other methods, and I never used to make hsts larger and cut them down, but now I do both of those things.  To make the hsts using the Magic 8 method, I cut 10-inch squares, stitched, and then trimmed them to the correct size.  What is happening to me? Combine that with the golden background fabric and there is definitely something going on!

Remember the 4-patches I made last week with these same fabrics? (I guess this is a good place to say that these fabrics are from the Into the Woods line from Paintbrush Studio, the sponsors of this blog hop.)

Well, I am combining those with the hsts to make blocks.  Here's a sneak peek:

Can you guess the pattern for this quilt? It's going to be lovely, and maybe by next week it will feel like the fabrics belong in our current weather.  Looking at the forecast, it's not looking good.  But at least the quilt will be pretty!  

(Why do those units look wonky?  I promise that they're not!)

Hope you're all having a lovely week with lots of temperate weather.  Is it weird that I kind of want it to be cold enough to wrap up in this quilt?  My day for the hop is next Tuesday, and there will be a bunch of giveaways, too, so I hope to see you back here then!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Our regularly-scheduled program

Hi everyone!  Does anybody besides me remember when TV announcers would break in to a show in progress with "this is a special report," which was always bad news, and when the report was over they would say something like "we now return to our regularly-scheduled program?"  No, just me?  Really?

Anyway, that's how I'm finally feeling right about now--back to something approaching normalcy.  Almost all of the boxes are unpacked, many rooms are painted, a couple of closets have been painted and converted to more useful configurations (the most thankless jobs in home ownership), and I'm finally having some time to sew or at least play with some fabrics.

As I unpacked boxes, I came across a bunch of projects that I had started more than a year ago, many of which I had forgotten about.  Remember these?

String blocks!  I think it's time to use these babies, so how about if I combine them with some new fabric I have?  Well, I tried it and got these:

I know, that fabric is gray.  Yikes!  But it looks really good with the strings, even with the dark blue ones, so I'm sticking with it.  I feel like there must be something wrong with me or something, because I'm also contemplating a completely different gray for another project.  What is happening?

One other thing I've been working on is for the blog hop I'm in with some friends, coming up at the end of this month.  I already showed off the fabric and I've started making 4-patches for the project:

I generally dislike 4-patches, but these are fun.  That curry yellow is the background color for the whole quilt.  Yes, really!  There is definitely something going on with me, because I don't know where these color combinations are coming from.  

Hope you're having a fun week!  I'm hoping to have more "regularly scheduled programming" now that we're a bit more settled.  Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!  (That's for the nerdy people like me who were hooked pretty early!)

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or not Friday, and soscrappy for RSC16.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Orange renewal

Hi everyone!  Today is the last block for the Intricate Stitches quilt!  The color for the month is orange and yellow, like a sunrise.  I decided to go with the orange end of that spectrum and used blue as an accent color.  Not really sure about these colors because the hubs took one look and said "oh, early Miami Dolphins," but I like the way the block turned out. Besides being the last of the 12-inch blocks for this quilt, this is the first stitching from my new sewing room.  Yay!

Here is this month's beauty of a block:

This is Flying Shuttles, a Nancy Cabot block from 1937.  It's number 1699 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia, and this is something of a magic block because it is much easier than it appears.  There are only 2 units to make for this block and the arrangement of those units is what gives it an intricate look.  It's not that hard to make, though, so let's get to it!


You will need two colors plus a background for this block.  As always, I used plain white Kona cotton for my background, plus a bright, happy orange and a cooler blue.

From the orange, cut:

     3 3-3/8 inch squares
     6 2-7/8 inch squares (can oversize)

From the blue, cut:

      12 2-1/2 inch squares

From the background, cut:

      12 2-7/8 inch squares (can oversize 6 of these)


First, use the 6 orange 2-7/8 inch squares and 6 of the background 2-7/8 inch squares to make 12 orange/white half square triangles.  These should measure 2-1/2 inches to finish at 2 inches in the block.

Next, cut the remaining white 2-7/8 inch squares in half from corner to corner.  Use these triangles and the 3 3-3/8 inch orange squares to make 3 square in a square units by adding the triangles to the squares as shown:

These units should measure 4-1/2 inches to finish at 4 inches in the block.

Take the hsts and the blue squares and arrange them as shown:

Make 6 of these little 4-patch squares.  These should measure 4-1/2 inches to finish at 4 inches in the block.

Amazingly, that's it!  The block is now ready to assemble!  (I told you it was magic.)


Arrange the 6  4-patch sub-blocks and the square in a square units as shown, paying careful attention to the orientation of the triangles in the smaller block units:

Once they're arranged, join the units into rows and the rows into a final block.  Give it a good press, stand back, and admire!

This is the last of the 12-inch blocks for the Intricate Stitches quilt.  If you want to, you can stop here and arrange your blocks, add some sashing, and have a lovely lap quilt.  I've chosen to make a medallion for the center of my quilt, and I'll have instructions for that next month.  (Just wait until you see the awesome medallion block!)

All of my Intricate Stitches blocks so far.  Just waiting for the center!

Enjoy making up this last block, and I'll see you back here on November 8th (good golly, really?) for the medallion instructions.  Happy stitching!

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Stash storage

Hi everyone!  Just a small post today to show off the next step in my new sewing room.  I unpacked the boxes from storage and here is (almost) all my fabric, in one place where I can see it all:

Somewhat anticlimactic for some of you, but this is just the right size for me.  And I am so happy to see it after most of it has been stored for more than a year!  I know I have to refold some things, but I'm totally looking forward to doing that.  I also have to put the scrap bins somewhere, but I think they'll fit behind the fat quarters up on the top shelves.  Then I'll be able to see everything I have and be inspired--either to sew or to go shopping.

Hello pretties!  I'm so glad you're home!

The storage unit is the largest Kallax unit sold by Ikea. (Where do they get these names?)  This was super-easy to put together, but you really do need two people.  I couldn't lift it up by myself and the boxes were really heavy.  It comes in smaller sizes, but I got this size because the closet in here is really small and all of my stuff fits on this one.  Even the books, there on the lower shelves.

The batiks came home, too!

With this put together, I have just one more area to organize, the tables where the sewing machines actually go.  Kind of important.  I have a lot of motivation to get that finished this week, though, because next week the renovation of the rest of the house starts in earnest.  Didn't I mention that?  Our new house was built in 1973 and only had one owner, who never really made any changes to the house.  It was on the market for more than a year before we came along, and I guess we were the only ones crazy enough (or desperate enough) to take on updating it.  Here's an example of what we're facing: harvest gold fiberglass shower.  Original equipment in great shape, but really, really bad just the same.  The electrician has already been here, but next week it's time for demo, so I want the sewing room to be done so I have a happy place to retreat to away from the dust.

Even St. Francis seems to like his new home!

Anyway, wish me luck!  I did cut some fabric today, and the last installment of the Intricate Stitches quilt is up on Tuesday, so I better go finish!  Hope everyone has a wonderful, restful day.

Sharing at Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.