Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Quilting as I go

Hi everyone!  How is your week going? We are having another cold snap and woke up to snow yesterday.  Really, I am ready to be done with this.  But in keeping with the weather, I finished quilting up the Christmas quilt and only have a bit of the binding left to stitch. More on that quilt on Friday, but for now I'm working on using up the old jelly roll of solids.

If you recall, I decided to use that old solids jelly roll to make two versions of the Regatta quilt by Daniela at Block M, one in blues and greens and one in the warmer colors. It occurred to me that these were the perfect quilt-as-you-go projects, so I started with this backing for the blue and green version:

I want these quilts to end up about 40 by 50, so I cut the backing about 60 inches long, then basted on some leftover batting.  Then I just started stitching on some of the prepared strips:

This is super-easy so far.  I may go back when I'm done and add in some more straight lines, but for now it's going pretty fast. 

Because the quilts I'm making are smaller than the original pattern, I'm only using three "steps" instead of four, at 10, 14, and 18 inches.  I think it's going to work just fine.  For my size, I'm planning on 25 strips, 12 of the pattern and 13 of the solids. 

I'm hoping to have the blue and green quilt pieced this week, then work on the warm-colored one.  I have this backing for that version:

Isn't that fun? I happened to look at Sarah's plan for the Hands to Help Challenge this year (check HERE), and it looks like these quilts will be perfect for donating to the Challenge.  I guess that's where they'll be headed then!

Hope you are all having a good week and staying warm.  It's the last day of January, so can spring be far behind?

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Patchwork scrap stars

Hello scrappy friends! Today I am showing my latest RSC project, but I wanted to alert you that there is a small giveaway at the end of this post! 

A few weeks ago, which by total coincidence was the beginning of the new year, I decided that this is the year that I finally move out some of the scraps that have been hanging on here forever.  Some of them I have had for years and years and they haven't been used.  Many of them I can't believe I moved across the country, and some of them I just don't like any more.  So, to use up as many of those scrap bits as possible, this year I have three-- yes, three-- projects for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  There's the Squared Away quilt, of course, and the little 9-patches, and here is the third project:

Light blue is hard to photograph!

Patchwork scrap stars!  I"m sticking with that name, though I've seen these called a lot of different things.  I chose to make mine using 3-inch squares that I cut from the leftover hunks and chunks in the light blue scrap bin.  Some of the ones I've seen are 25-patches, but I've stuck with the 16-patch because those finish at 12 inches square, which is a really nice, easy size to fit into lots of different layouts.

Check out those happy yellow stars! I know most people use white for the stars, but I decided to go ahead and just use any contrasting scraps for the stars.  So at the end of the year I'll have a bunch of multicolored stars on the solid-ish 16-patches.  This quilt definitely won't look like any of the others!

I also managed to eke out a few more of the blue and the light neutral 4-1/2 inch 9-patches.

These go really fast and are super easy to make, which is probably why I managed to make about 25 of them in light blue, white neutral prints, and light beige neutrals.  And two grays, which still surprises me.

And now for the giveaway! Since I really want to clean out those scrap bins, at the end of each month this year I'll be giving away whatever is left in the bin.  That way I get an empty bin and someone else gets a new infusion of scraps! Here is what is in this month's giveaway:

Since I didn't have a lot of light blue to begin with, the pile was pathetically small, so I added in some of the whites and light neutrals, and also the grays.  Also included is a generous handful of both 2-inch squares and 1-1/2 inch squares (In those little bags).  I have no hope of fully cleaning out the bins full of those squares, but this will help spread the wealth around.

I feel that I have to warn you that these are generally hunks and chunks of fabric, mostly leftover from other projects.  There are no fat quarters here, but no tiny pieces either.  All told there is almost 2 pounds of fabric to be had.  I'd really like this to go to someone who will use it.  Some of it is several years old, but it deserves to be in a quilt and not stuck in a box.

To enter, just leave a comment letting me know that you'd like this fabric.  Really, that's all! (You can also leave a comment if you don't want it, just tell me to leave you out!) I would be thrilled to stuff this all into a flat-rate envelope and send it off to you.  I'll do a random number thing on Sunday night (January 28) and get the fabric sent right away.

Thanks everyone!  This giveaway is now closed!

That's it for today!  Hope you are having a lovely, relaxing Saturday and getting to the end of those light blue scraps!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Frozen waves

Wow, that weather thing changes fast!  Earlier in the week it was quite nice, and now it's suddenly quite cold again.  It has been really up and down--50s one day and 20s the next.  Just enough to make people a little crazy and a little sick. This weekend will be cold and so will also be the first real test of our attic insulation project, so I really hope we did it right.  (We did. It's really hard to mess up!)  I always associate the cold with the color blue for some reason, so this week's finish fits right in with the temperatures.

Today I'm showing off another quilt that finally got finished after being in time-out in the closet two separate times:

That's a lot of blue!  I started this Ocean Waves variation a few years ago, and then got a little bored with all the repetition.  It was in the closet for a while, then finally made it to the finished top stage last year.  And now it's quilted! This is made from a pattern by Joan Ford in her book Scraps Plus One.  Mine is substantially smaller than the pattern, which is a bed size in the book.  My version finished up at just about 48 by 66.

I'm pretty happy that I finally pulled this one out of the closet and got it quilted!  It certainly wasn't doing anyone any good on the shelf.  This was expertly quilted by my friend Diane Minkley, who does amazing work and would be thrilled to help you out with your project.  This is quilted in an edge to edge pattern with light blue thread, which I was afraid would be a problem on the dark blue, but it isn't at all.

I'm pretty sure this little quilt has every blue I've ever had in it in some form or another.  Blue is not my favorite color and I don't really use it very much, but I'm trying to expand my horizons.  I do admit that the blue and white is quite striking, though.  I'm also glad that I decided to use the same fabric as the border for the binding.  I think it looks great that way.

The backing for this quilt is this odd blue and white print that I found on a clearance table somewhere.  It's mostly squiggles that sometimes look like letters or numbers, but not quite.  There's something interesting about it and I don't think it would look good cut up, plus I'm a real sucker for a good bargain.  It's a strange print, but it makes a great backing for this little quilt. 

So there's another one in the finished column!  The shelf of unfinished tops is getting smaller and smaller, which feels pretty good.  It's nice to see my work actually done and being used instead of folded up on a closet shelf.  I really envy the people who have the wherewithal to completely finish one quilt before they move on to another.  I get bored with a project and usually have to let it rest for a while before it gets finished. 

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!  I don't know what I'm doing yet, beyond cleaning the bathroom and shivering (two separate things!)  I also have a bunch of reading-type research I'm hoping to get to, so we'll see how it goes!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and crazymomquilts.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Strips and spam

For those of you who are working at getting UFOs cleaned out, how's it going?  Over the weekend I decided that I needed a new project in addition to pulling another UFO out to finish.  I did pull out another UFO, an old unquilted top that I sent off to be quilted, plus I have the Christmas blocks all together and basted, but not quilted. I figure those are points in my favor and I get to start something new.  Because you can't always work on old projects, right?  I did start with some old fabric, though:

I had this ancient jelly roll of Kona colors that I never used.  It's so old that the price tag was $22.  It's been pretty to look at on the shelf, but I'm ready for it to be out of here.  So I decided to use it to make a couple of Regatta quilts, a free pattern from Block M Quilts that can be found HERE

The pattern calls for white or another solid with the strips of color, but I thought I might try it with strips of patterned fabric and the solids.  I think I have it narrowed down to these two possibilities:

Here's a better picture of the print fabrics:

 The background of the dotted fabric is an off-white while the little triangles are on a true white ground. I'm planning to make two smaller quilts with the strips I have, so I could use both of them, which would just mean more cutting.  It occurs to me (just now!) that that I could use blues and greens on one background and reds, oranges, and yellows on the other.  Hmm, which would be which?

So that's one new project!  I also have these for another new project:

These are some fun flannels to make a few baby blankets for a dear friend who's going to be a first-time grandma!  It's a boy due in March! I also started a baby quilt, but that's going to stay under wraps for now.

There's another thing to talk about today: spam.  Did you know that *you* (yes, you!) could be branded a spammer by Blogger even if you aren't posting about real estate on every blog you see AND you have been a blogger for years?  It's true! A very nice person that I met through the blog is having a problem with this right now.  Her comments are flagged as spam and not published to any blog she comments on. This means her comment doesn't appear on the post, but the blog owner still gets notified. Then the poor blog owner is left puzzled because the comment isn't on the actual post. I know personally that if you are the blog owner, you will still get the notification of the comment, so you may not realize that it's been flagged, even if you answer it.

There appears to be only one way around this-- checking the spam folder and marking comments from "real" people as "not spam." You can check at Danice's post HERE to see how to check your spam folder on Blogger.  I was amazed at what I found, because there were several comments in there from people who are definitely not spammers. (Somehow the real spam always gets published and has to be deleted.) I really encourage you to read the whole story over at Danice's and check your own spam folders.  And if you have any good insights or suggestions, please share!

Just a pretty picture! Soon, soon. . .

Now that we've dealt with that heavy subject, I'm going to go sort those Kona strips some more and start cutting!  Hope everyone is having a good week, and that your spam folders are completely empty!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Windy, cold, and colorful

Windy, cold, and colorful certainly describes the finished quilt top I have to show today!  It has been a bear in terms of the weather around here this week. It finally let up a bit so I could get a few outdoor pictures, which I am pretty happy about. Plus I have a really funny story to tell you about the quilt top, too. At least I think it's funny now.  I wasn't so sure when it happened. First we should get to the pictures, though, don't you think?  It was very windy, and there is snow on the ground, which always gives everything a bluish cast, but I managed to get a few shots that are acceptable.  Here's the best picture of the whole top:

If you recall, I pulled this neglected top out of the closet last week to get a border on it in order to turn it into a real quilt.  This was made as an RSC16 project, using the block I call "Grandma's block" in a 12-inch size.  (If you're interested, a tutorial for the block is HERE.)  Pretty happy that I actually did it and got the border on.

Thanks to everyone who offered an opinion on the border options, both here and on Instagram.  I used a 2-inch white border, a colorful border made of 1-1/2 by 2-inch rectangles (because I cut them wrong), and then a final 3-inch white border.  I think it looks awesome!

This quilt top is about 75 by 87, a good bed size.  I didn't start out intending to make a quilt that big, but here we are. The fabrics are all hand dyes from Vicki Welsh, except for the white, which is all a basic Kona white.  The fabrics look really rich and interesting in person, though they always look more like solids in pictures. 

So here's my funny story: I was pressing the finished top so I could measure it and get a backing together when the hubs came into the sewing room.  He rarely comes in there and even more rarely makes comments on the quilts. (Though he is generally very supportive!)  Here's our conversation:

Him (looking closely at the quilt top):  "I really like this one."

Me: "Thanks! I like it too."

Him: "It would be better if it had more pastels, though."

Me: "Ummm. . .pastels?"

Him: "You know, more traditional quilt colors."

Me:  (mouth hanging open)

Him: "Maybe all one color, like a light blue. Or green. That would be nice."

Me: "I'm holding an iron here."

Is it me?  Actually, since I really own no pastels, I'm choosing to think that he was telling me to go buy more fabric.  Isn't that how you would take it?

Eek! Snow on my quilt top!

So there's my finished quilt top! I am so happy to have this one finished off.  I have a great backing for it and this weekend I'll stitch some white batting remnants together so I can send it off to Diane to be longarmed.  The one thing that I don't have is a name for this quilt.  The whole time I was working on it I kept thinking of it as "Grandma's quilt," but I think it deserves a better name.  Any suggestions?

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  I'll be searching for "pastels," how about you?

It was very windy!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, crazymomquilts, and soscrappy for RSC18.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Another quilt on the wall

Hi all! The spring semester starts today, and I don't know about where you are, but it still feels like winter around here.  It's not super-cold, but just cold enough to bother a person.  They really need to change the terminology for the semesters, don't you think?

So, I'm continuing in my quest to clear out some unfinished projects and free up some physical--and mental--space.  I feel like I get this impulse every January and I figure I'd better act on it before it goes away. Some of these projects I must've gotten tired of working on, some didn't work out like I wanted, and some of them have needed a time out.  I finished the border on the last project I pulled out so it's time to pull out another before I lose momentum. (Yay me! Details and pictures coming Friday!) This time, I chose this one:

I know, it isn't Christmastime any more, but it's time to deal with this problem child.  I've tried to finish this one several times, but I just haven't.  It's come in and out of the closet several times. There's a lot of reasons for this, but nothing I really want to talk about.  I've had a lot of plans for it, but now I just want it done. 

I didn't make a single one of these blocks.  These are from a swap that I participated in a few years back with some friends.  (The pattern is available free from Victoriana Quilt Designs, which can be found HERE.)  There are a lot of fun fabrics in the blocks and some of them are really nice. The pattern is pretty tricky and each of the blocks took a long time to make, so it just seems wrong to let it linger or throw them out.

So, here's the new plan for this quilt:  I'm planning to put it together just as it is on the design wall, then quilt it very simply with some organic lines or maybe a crosshatch.  I even have the backing fabric already:

Isn't that a cool fabric?  I must've gotten it on sale at some point, because I wouldn't ordinarily buy Christmas fabric.  I plan to use these red scrap ends (and maybe the black if I have to fill it out) for the binding:

That is pretty much my entire stash of Christmas fabric. Why am I quilting it myself?  Well, there's a snag in the pattern-- it calls for 3-D flying geese:

We all made the blocks just as the pattern called for, so every block has loose edges. All of those edges would snag on a longarm and I'm not taking the time to applique them all down.  I just want this done, so I'm giving myself two weeks to get it together and at least start quilting it.  After that, I'm either giving it away or throwing it out.  (We all know I won't throw it out, right?) 

Okay, so now that I have a plan, I'd better get on it!  Hope you all are having a good week.  And if you are like me and get in the mood to clean out every now and then, last year I did a series on cleaning out the sewing room and sorting stuff, which you can find on a tab at the top of the page (or HERE if you can't get to the tabs.)  Hope it's helpful!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Squares to make more squares

What do you do with your fabric leftovers at the end of a project?  Most of the time I just stuff mine into their respective boxes and jam the lids on, but sometimes I cut the smaller pieces up into standard-sized squares-- 1-1/2 inch, 2-inch, and 2-1/2 inch.  I've been collecting these separately from the other scraps for a long time, and I've traded some with friends for variety.  You would think with the Squared Away project that I would use up a bunch of squares, but I have literally thousands of these babies. This year I'm either using them or losing them-- every square must go! I think you know the feeling!

We all know the best way to clear out fabric is to use it in a project, so as another RSC18 project I'm using some of the bajillion 2-inch squares to make these fun little 9-patches:

These are made from colorful squares surrounding a white center square and will finish at 4-1/2 inches each.  They are super fast to make and would make a good leader/ ender project if I didn't stink at those.  I never can keep the project straight and end up getting all confused.

If you've been around for a while, you know that blue is not my favorite color, so I'm really stunned that I managed to make 10 9-patches with light blue squares:

Since the color of the month also includes light neutrals, I also made some with white-background fabrics:

And a couple with tan backgrounds:

And, amazingly, I managed to eke out two blocks from gray squares:

Who knew I had enough gray squares for TWO blocks? These are fun to work on, if only for the little surprises in the squares.  For example, I came across a cowboy,

some hedgehogs,

and I'm pretty sure that's a mosquito square!

At the end of the year, I'm planning to set the blocks into a dancing 9-patch layout and have one or two donation quilts, depending on how many blocks I can end up with.  I suspect that there will be a lot of yellow and pink blocks, so we'll definitely have to divide those between two quilts.

So that's another of my RSC projects for this year!  I have one more, using the 2-1/2 inch squares, but I haven't really started on that one yet.  It involves sorting the squares by color, and you know how tedious that can be!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  The hubs seems determined to add some insulation to the attic, and since it looks like this outside, I don't know that I'll have any choice but to help:

After a good hot shower, I plan to shut myself in the sewing room and add a border to an unfinished quilt.  Hope you have some stitching fun too!  Or at least some sunny skies!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sixteen times two

How is 2018 starting out for you?  It has hit me with a bang, that's for sure.  It seems like I've picked up all the stress that I finished 2017 with!  That's always the way, isn't it? So, to ease into 2018 sewing, this week I started by playing around with some blocks and block pieces that weren't a part of any current project and were just going to end up in a box.  Always better to do something with them right away, isn't it?  So here's what I did:

Hey, two little mini quilts!  You have to be happy with that.  As it happens, both of them are made from 16 blocks or pieces and both are colorful as all get out.  I really like them both.

The first little mini measures about 25 inches square and was made from the string blocks I made at the end of last year to use up my narrowest strings.  The string blocks are 4 inches square each, so you can tell how narrow some of those strings really are.  I promise that I have stopped saving strings that skinny.  Really! 

Since there were so many seams that would never match, I added a half-inch sashing to these blocks, with the result that it ended up looking like a window.  I really like the effect.  The border is just a multicolored piece that I had, mainly to insure that there were no odd edges to fray or stretch.  This turned out looking good, but those string blocks were super stretchy. I'm planning to quilt this up with a liberated cross hatch but I might actually block it before I layer and baste it.

The second little top is the made from the Drunkard's Path blocks that I had planned to use for a border on an unfinished quilt.  That ship has sailed, but the pieces didn't go to waste.  This one is 16 inches square, and I plan to practice making circles on it when I quilt it, then bind it and use it just as it is. It's pretty modern for me, but I love the colors.

This (and the quilt the pieces were meant for) is made from hand-dyed fabrics from Vicki Welsh.  Her fabric is fantastic and so wonderful to work with and I've never had it run.  Some of the pieces look a little misaligned in these pictures, but they're just right in person.  I'm sure it needs a good press and that should take care of any problems.

While I was outside taking these pictures, I heard a lot of honking in the air, and I looked up and saw a massive gaggle of geese flying over.  I wasn't fast enough to get the point of the V, but I did get this:

It's real flying geese!  And guess what-- they were flying north east! Can spring be far behind?

Hope everyone has a good weekend.  We're adding insulation to the attic, how about you?

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazymomquilts, and Oh, Scrap!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A new old project

Hey, long time no see!  We have had an eventful three weeks around here.  Of course, we had the holidays, we traveled a lot, and we hugged babies! It was so much fun. I already miss them so much! Oh, and we experienced some winter while we were gone, in the form of very low temperatures (-10!) and snow, so I think we can be done with all that now.

So now we're home and getting back to the routine. (And the laundry.) I'm happy to get back to the sewing room and see what kind of trouble I can get into this year.  I meant to do a "planning" post at the end of last year, but the truth is that I have no plans.  I have many, many ideas, but this isn't my job, so if I don't want to have a trajectory, implementation plan, or assessment, I don't have to!  Not to worry, though, I'm sure there will be a lot of quilty fun even without a quilty syllabus.

One general thing that I want to accomplish this year is to get some of the UFOs I have in the closet finished or repurposed or something to get them out and used. I've gone through them and it's amazing how many of them need very little work.  Maybe I just got tired of them? I pulled out this beauty to finish up first:

All stitched and ready for a border!

I'm so embarrassed. This is an RSC 2016 project that only needs a border!  What's wrong with me?  If you recall, I made these blocks as a tribute to my grandmother and great-grandmother. This 80-something-year-old block made by one of them is one of my prized possessions:

I started a Drunkard's Path border for this quilt but never finished it, which I suspect is why it ended up in the closet.  I need 76 Drunkard's Path blocks and twice that many "fill-in" squares.  I have fewer than 20 completed, so I think we all know that a Drunkard's Path border is not going to happen.

I asked for suggestions on Instagram and got a few that I really like, but if anyone has a good suggestion for a border, I'm open to it.  Tell me what you think!

Until I figure out what to do with a border, I'm working on using up some of my scrap squares and small pieces in a couple of projects.  I got this little Bonnie Hunter ruler with something else for Christmas, and I can't believe how handy it is:

No affiliation or financial stake in it, but gosh it's useful!

Hope you're all having a good week and are well into your 2018 projects. Some more laundry is calling to me, so I guess that's what's up for the rest of today for me!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.