Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Cold, with something sunny

Hi all, and welcome to a very, very cold Wednesday.  I need another layer today, how about you?  It's actually not too bad here, but our friends and family in Wisconsin are really freezing.  One year when our kids were small (so at least 20 years ago) the actual temperature-- not the wind chill-- fell to about 20 below zero.  We hung blankets over the windows and everything because the furnace could not keep up.  It's a fond memory now, because we snuggled under quilts and played games and drank hot chocolate and such, but back then it was really pretty scary (for the adults, at least). 

Here's a somewhat commemorative block that I made just for the cold this week:

I call this a "polar vortex" block.  It's actually only 3 inches square and is going into my temperature quilt for the day my new granddaughter was born.  As you can tell, it was quite chilly that day, though the baby did not seem to care.  By the way, I am happy to report that she is absolutely adorable and a very happy tiny girl so far, not that we expected anything else.

There has not been a lot of other stitching going on the last few days, both because of the new little one and because I have a very big project due February 15 and I've had to be working on that.  I did figure out what I'm going to do with the little 4-patches I've been making, though.  I decided to put them together into these blocks:

This is a Sunny Lanes block, which is a Nancy Page block from sometime in the 1920s-1940s.  You can see that I decided to go with a green solid as an accent for the four patches.  I like how it turned out!  The green is Kona Cabbage, which is one of my favorite Kona colors because it's so nice and fresh.

Sunny Lanes doesn't look like a very exciting block until you start to put some of them together, which is when the magic happens.  Here are two of the secondary designs formed by multiple blocks:

Radiating squares

Stars and stripes

There are a lot of other designs that you can make with these blocks, including diagonal stripes, depending on how you turn them, so I think these will be fun to play with and will make a lovely quilt once it's done.

The blocks finish at 8 inches square, so I'll need at least 56 blocks for a decent sized quilt, depending on what I want for a border.  I don't seem to have made a dent in the 1-1/2 inch squares yet, though, so it's a safe bet that there are more than enough in the bin for at least one quilt.  We all know they're multiplying in there, too, so I'm pretty sure I'm safe.

Other than the shivering, that's about it from here! I'm hoping to have a spring-like top finished this week and I'll show it off if there is a chance for me to take it outside and get a few pictures.  Hope all of you stay warm and safe in the cold. Think warm thoughts! 

Sharing at Let's Bee Social and Oh Scrap!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Old meets new

Hi everyone! I hope you have begun to thaw out from the major storm that hit most of the US this past weekend.  Amazingly, we did not get snow, just lots of rain followed by rapidly falling temps.  The high on Sunday was 48, with a low of 16.  It was crazy!

Since we couldn't really go anywhere or do anything, and I didn't want to work on a paper, I spent two days in the sewing room and got a lot accomplished while the hubs was in the other room screaming about sports.  Something about pass interference.  Anyway, I went through the UFOs and discovered that I only have eight that need some piecing work.  I tossed one and repurposed the fabrics set aside for it, and made an actual paper list of the others.  We'll see if that helps get them done.

After that, I felt so virtuous that I went ahead and started another project!  Hey, I also worked some on a UFO, which should be done soon, so I felt entitled. Here are the first three blocks for that new project:

I guess I officially have another work in progress!  These blocks use some of the coral fabrics I pulled last week, and a few other fabrics, too:

I decided to go ahead and add some olive-y greens and some happy yellows to the corals, and then threw in a few aquas for a little zing.  Some of these are small scrap pieces, but mostly these are fat quarters and half yards.  More than enough for the blocks I am making.

When I was making those two mug rugs for my sister's birthday, I was looking through the Tula Pink 100 Modern Blocks book and really liking some of the blocks in there.  Since all of those blocks finish at six inches, I decided to combine the old with the new and make a sampler using half modern Tula Pink blocks and half older traditional blocks.  It happens that I made a Sylvia's Bridal Sampler before I started blogging, and I still have the book, and all those blocks finish at six inches, so that was an easy way to pick out some traditional six inch blocks.  I think the "old" and "new" blocks will blend together just fine.

I've chosen 48 blocks for a sampler quilt that should end up a nice lap size.  I have no time line for this, but it should make a nice project to work on when I feel like it.  You know I chose traditional blocks with lots of little pieces, right?  Should keep me busy for a bit.

Finally, in the spirit of "old meets new," last night our daughter safely delivered a baby girl, so we are grandparents again! Just as thrilling as the first time.  Of course, she is absolutely beautiful and I can already tell that she is very smart, just like her mom and dad.  Lots of baby snuggles in my very near future!

Hope everyone is having as great a week as I am, and that you're staying warm!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Red squares and strings

Hi everyone! It has been a very busy week here, though we are still waiting for the arrival of our new granddaughter, so I'm just popping by today to share the start of two more rainbow scrap challenge projects. I got to work on these a little this week, but didn't have time for much else. If you recall, one of my RSC projects is the cut glass dish blocks, but I have two others I'll be working on this year as well.

Today's post has to start with this photo of some lovely flowers, because all the rest of the photos today are extremely boring:

I needed some spring this week, so I stopped and got myself some flowers. Carnations from the grocery store, not a florist, but still lovely.  They certainly have brightened the place up and made me just a bit happier amidst all the gray here in January.

One of my RSC projects for this year will be a Boston Common quilt.  Boston Common is a lot like Trip Around the  World, but it starts with a rectangular center, not a square.  Here's my beginning:

I told you the pictures were boring! As I've said before, I save squares in three small sizes, and I'm going to make the Boston Common quilt from the 2-1/2 inch squares.  Even with last year's Squared Away project, I still have tons of these squares.  The plan is to make a "round" every month, with a white round thrown in when necessary.  I added the whites here because I think the red is likely to conflict with whatever color comes next.  This wasn't all of my red squares, but it was close!

My last RSC project for the year involves strings.  Apparently it's the year of the string quilt, because they are everywhere!  My plan is to make a Scrap Happy Rails quilt from Amanda Jean Nyberg's book No Scrap Left Behind.  I made one of these last year and it was super easy and turned out great.  Here are my red string sections:

Another dull photo! String quilts are so appealing because every fabric will work for them.  Funny story-- last year I cleaned out all of my old scraps, so this year I had no red to work with (I do have just about every other color, though.)  I asked friends for some red strings, and they were all very generous, so almost none of the strings in these sections is from my own fabric.  They still look great, though, don't they?  I have a lot of strings left over, so I'll have to think of a project to use those up, too.  I'm thinking donation quilt.

Those are my starts on the two remaining projects! They'll look a lot more exciting as we go along and add to them, I think.  I did one more RSC-related thing this week, though it isn't red:

This is the kitten block from Tiny Tuesday.  Isn't it adorable?  I could see a whole litter of these, in many colors.  It happens that my daughter has a gray cat, so of course my cat has to be gray.  (She also has a white cat, but that would not have worked so well.)  I'm weighing doing this quilt, too.  The blocks will be fast and we all know tiny things are so cute, even in geometrics.

We are expecting a nasty weekend with rain and snow, and then a deep freeze and ice.  Sounds like a good time to make progress on some quilty projects! Hope you all stay warm and get some stitching time too.  Stay in the sewing room with all that nice cozy fabric!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Needing some spring

Hi everyone! How is your week going?  We had a small snowstorm last weekend, which gave many students a bad excuse for missing the first day of classes.  I can't really blame them-- because who likes trudging through melty, gross snow?-- but really, they live a block away in the dorms.  It's not that hard!

I don't know about you, but as soon as the holidays are over I'm ready for spring.  Snow is great in December, but not so lovely in January.  Since I can't do anything about the weather, I've pulled out an unfinished project that uses pretty spring-like fabrics:

Yeah, the springy colors look a little odd against the snow, but don't they look happy?  This is the last block I had to make to finish off the Community Sampler, which was a summer project from Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell.  I have no real idea why I didn't finish this, except that I hit that wall where you have only a little bit left to do but it just seems impossible.  Does that ever happen to anyone else?

So, I've been working on the sampler, which is actually all cut out, so I have high hopes of finishing the top soon, plus I've been adding to these:

Yes, the blocks are in the snow, which is why everything looks a little blue. These are blocks for a quilt like Bonnie Hunter's Tulip Fields quilt.  My blocks are much bigger than hers, though, because I made these string blocks as an RSC project a couple of years ago and I wanted to use them up.  And yes, I cut mine across the strings instead of down the middle and I'm not sorry at all.  My quilt won't be exactly the same, but it will be equally cheerful and spring-like!

 That's pretty much all I've been working on since it's been a pretty busy week so far, but I do have a question.  I have a bunch of fabrics that I would call corals.  You know what I mean by coral-- not red, not orange, not pink:

I have a project in mind to use these fabrics, but I'm not sure what colors to put with them.  What colors would you use?  I'm thinking green, but maybe yellow as well, like in that small print piece?  Or would you stick with the cooler side and add in some blues?  I really don't know, but I do want to get started on the project. (Because I have no others to work on, don't you know.)

Thanks for any help you have to offer with those colors.  I hope you're all having a good week, and that you're not facing down another snow event. There haven't been many for us this year, but I'm already done with it!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Tiny foursomes

Hi everyone, and thank goodness it's Friday!  I could not wait for this week to be over.  I spent a good bit of it with a really terrible migraine, the kind where all you can really do is lie down in a dark room and whimper.  Sadly, few people can take that option for very long, so I actually had to try to *do things.*  I was unsuccessful at most of it.

Thankfully, my head is mostly better now, and it's the weekend, so I can just kind of rest and try to catch up.  Obviously I got no real sewing done, so now I'm behind where I wanted to be.  I swore that this year I would stop feeling like I was "behind" on sewing, but that lasted all of ten days.  I will try to work on that some more.

One thing that I can talk about today is this four-patch project that I've started as a leader-ender scrap project:

Aren't those cheerful? Leaders and enders are little bits that you stitch together in between parts of another project, and you can read more about them HERE if you want.  I've thought this was a great idea, but mostly I've failed at it.  These little four-patches might turn the tide, and they build up amazingly fast (or maybe I just sew too much.)

These little bits will finish at only 2 inches square.  When I'm saving scraps, I save the pieces as chunks until it's time to use them, then cut what I need.  When the scrap gets pretty small, I cut it up into 2-1/2, 2 inch, and 1-1/2 inch squares so I can squeeze every last bit of value out of those pieces.  I've been saving these in bins separated by size:

This is the 1-1/2 inch bin, and I think it's time to use these up.  There are thousands of squares in there! And I just keep adding to it as I cut more scraps.  I saw THIS quilt project from Amanda Nyberg (now retired!), called Lost in the Crowd, and was seriously inspired.  This would make a great use for thousands of squares, don't you think?

I've been keeping this container filled with squares next to the machine and grabbing pieces when I remember, then tossing them into a basket. 

Believe it or not, this container is a repurposed produce container.  Our grocery store sells cut fruit in these, with one kind of fruit per compartment, for a ridiculously expensive price.  Sometimes I get some, though, because stress is a real thing and it's better to eat fruit than chips. 

I want to stitch these into double 4-patches when I get a chance, to make blocks that are a little easier to handle, so I tried out some alternate block possibilities:

These are Kona Butter, Bahama Blue, and Cabbage.  I'm really drawn toward the green, which is also what Amanda used.  What do you think?  Maybe I should make up a couple as an experiment.  I think the Butter is definitely out, but I do love both the others.

That's about all I accomplished this week.  For the weekend, I'll be resting my head and checking my phone obsessively as our daughter should be having her baby any day.  A new granddaughter-- I can't wait!  Hope your weekend is good!

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

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Red cut glass

Hi everyone, and happy weekend! The first week of the year is always so weird, isn't it?  I always feel disoriented.  I usually go to a conference in early January, but this year the conference fell this weekend, and I knew there was no way that I could get myself together enough to go, so I didn't.  I feel kind of bad about it, but not bad enough to get on an airplane.  There's always next year!

Since I stayed home, I went ahead and started one of this year's rainbow scrap challenge projects.  Yay me!  Here are my first RSC blocks for this year:

We're stuck with indoor pictures for now, but this block is an old one called Cut Glass Dish, a Ladies' Art Company block from before 1895.  These will finish at 12 inches.  My plan is to make 30 blocks, 3 for every color, and then have a nice-sized quilt at the end.  I've done this with a few quilts and they turn out great.

If you count, each of these blocks has 24 half square triangles.  I used some of my massive stock of Triangle Paper to make 72 perfect triangles really fast:

I really do have a bunch of this paper in various sizes, enough to make literally thousands of triangles.  I'll definitely have enough to make this quilt!  I don't know why I have so much, except that I probably bought it on sale, and I did use it often before I discovered the Magic 8 method.  The hsts really did turn out just great, and quick.  No lines to draw and pulling off the paper is therapeutic.

These were the only red blocks I managed to make so far. I've had a rocky relationship with the color red. It was always going to be a difficult color for me because I don't use it very often at all, so I don't have very many scraps, and last year I gave away all of my old scraps.  (Thanks again to everyone who took them!) Over the break I sorted out the big basket where I throw scraps while I'm cutting things, so I do have a very few reds:

I thought that I could build up the red supply this year by the time that color rolled around, but it's first, so I ended up cutting up some fat quarters.  I'm pretty happy with that, and I've asked some friends for some of their red scraps, so I probably will be able to scrounge up enough to get the rest of my projects started.  And I do have lots of ideas!

Another weird indoor picture.  Sorry.

Hope you got a good start to your RSC projects and are enjoying the first weekend of 2019.  We're de-Christmassing the house, and I'll bet that means I can talk the hubs into some takeout.  Better than a conference for sure!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New year, new old project

Hi everyone, and welcome to 2019! How is it possible that it's been 19 years since the turn of the century? Even writing that freaks me out!  Not long ago a student wrote in a paper about "the late 1900s." That really did freak me out, as a mid-1900s person myself.

So, did you accomplish everything you planned to over the break?  I did not. I had great plans, but I was so, so burned out on everything that mostly I just watched a ton of movies, read books, wrapped presents, and tried a lot of baking experiments.  In the sewing room, I deep cleaned.  What?  Yep, I even moved all the furniture and vacuumed behind it. There was a lot of lint and dust, and I found a few pieces of fabric back there, too.

I only sewed a couple of things in the last couple of weeks, including these:

These are a couple of mug rugs that I made for my sister's Christmas birthday.  (She got her master's at Penn State.) If you don't recognize the blocks, these are Tula Pink modern blocks. I made a couple of quilts using the Tula Pink blocks when they first came out, and I was just looking through the book again. Some of those are really nice, easy blocks. There might be another quilt hiding in that book, you never know.

I also did some English paper piecing on these pretties:

These are some Bridal Bouquet blocks that I've been working on very slowly.  I've liked stitching them in the evenings, so I'd like to keep going a little more consistently.  I've got the next one all cut out and basted:

We all know that the basting is the worst part, right? I'll need a dozen of these for a decent sized piece, so this should keep me occupied for a while.

For one of my projects this year, I've decided to resurrect a failed project from 2017.  Okay, I'm resurrecting the idea, but I'll definitely be doing something else with this piece:

I started a temperature quilt in 2017, but then couldn't keep up, for one reason or another.  I'm always so drawn to those "365 day" projects where you make a block a day, but I couldn't manage to do one 3-inch square a day.  Tells you something about my life, doesn't it?  The piece above is as far as I got, up until about March.  It's about 12 by 55, so I think I could turn it into a table runner, or pick it apart and rearrange it into a small topper for the deck table.

So, let's try this again!  I redistributed all of the fabrics from the previous quilt attempt, so I started over with a new temperature scale, in 5-degree increments:

Let's hope that I don't have to use the colors at those extremes very much!  The brown is for 100 degrees and up, while the grays are well below freezing.  I much prefer the yellow zone!

So, here are my first two days worth of piecing:

This means I'm not behind yet!  I don't know how I'm going to set these yet, but I'll give it some thought.  I like the graphic quality of the first try, but the days and months kind of get lost.  I'll have to look around for some other settings pretty quickly so I can do them as I go.

I hope everyone had a very restful break and that your stitching year is off to a good start.  It's going to be a good one, I just know it!

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