Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A fresh start in coral

Hi everyone!  I hope you're having a good week!  I am super-duper busy because I don't know if you've noticed, but it's about to be May.  May! We are racing toward the end of the semester and it's just getting away from me.  So many things to finish, so little time!

The only logical response to all of this is to start a new quilt, right? Over the last few days I started making the blocks for my quilt inspired by the Pantone Quilt Challenge.  Here is the first of my blocks:

It's a little more yellow than anticipated, but otherwise I like it! And look-- I planted some geraniums and petunias out on the deck.  This is very exciting!  The weather has been fairly decent so far this week and I've been enjoying some time out there.

I made a couple of changes in the fabrics for this quilt.  First, I switched out the Kona Butter that I had originally chosen as a background for one that has a very subtle crosshatched print.  Butter is a beautiful color, but I think pairing solids with prints just makes the solids look really flat, which was certainly the case here.  I also added in that really pretty apple green in the center.  It really needed a little zip to add something to the aqua and yellow. 

I've made this block before (you can find it HERE) and so of course now I'm second-guessing myself.  In that previous block, I used a red center which coordinated with the red hsts and geese, so that it looked more like a star.  Here I used the background for the center, which gives it a more open, lacy look.  I like it, but I'm wondering if I wouldn't like a bit more of the coral in the quilt.  Any opinions?

I went a little crazy and cut out enough pieces for 20 blocks, so those are ready to stitch up, though so far I've only made up these four so far.  I think these blocks are just screaming for a pieced sashing and maybe even a pieced border, too.  I don't have any fancy software, so I'll be pulling out the graph paper.  I'm thinking a square in a square has to be in there somewhere, with plenty of the aqua. 

So there's a start to a new project! New projects are so much fun, aren't they?  So much better than those ones hibernating in the closet.  I'm pretty sure I hear one of those calling me, though, so I'd better go see what that's about.  Hope the rest of your week goes well!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Letting an old project go

(This is a giveaway post!)

Hi everyone! How was your week?  It has been a busy, busy time around here! There are big changes coming at the AQ household, none of which I'm prepared to share with the interwebs just yet, but all of which mean that there is a great deal to do and not enough hours to do it.

With all of the busy-ness around here this week, along with some of our obligations associated with Easter, I have barely sewn a single stitch. And I missed something important, too-- two weeks ago this blog turned five years old! Really, five years. Who knew? Apparently not me, because I just noticed it yesterday.  Later this year I'll have to do something to celebrate, don't you think?

For today, though, remember a few weeks ago I said that I always miss the quilty adoption event that Cynthia hosts twice a year at Quilting is more fun than Housework? Well, I decided not to wait any more and go ahead and give away the project I've been wanting to give away for at least three adoption cycles now.  (You know I'd miss the next one, too, don't you?) Here is the project:

The giveaway includes everything you see here: the book (in like-new condition), the already made 4-patches, the remaining 2-1/2 inch strips (some of which have been cut to make 4-patches), and about 1-1/3 yards of coordinating fabric that I think was supposed to be for an additional border and binding.  I can't remember exactly, but it's fabric from the same line.  That's a big giveaway!

I started to make the cover quilt from this book a couple of years ago, but never went beyond making some of the 4-patches. The quilt is really cute, but I just have no enthusiasm for making it any more.  The fabric here is a line called Victorian Modern by Andover Fabrics and has a 2012 date on the selvage. It's beyond time for this fabric to be used.  The strips do not have pinked edges and I think they were cut by the quilt shop, not by the manufacturer.

The book contains 18 patterns for different precuts, and the quilts finish in a variety of different sizes. I'm not sure that you can read all the pattern titles, but they represent a number of different styles, and the instructions are well written.

This project is getting zero love sitting in my closet, and I'm ready to let it go.  This entire project could be yours!  I really want it to go to someone who will make something with it and not just add it to the stash.  You don't have to make this project, but make something, and send me a picture when you do.  That's all!

I have no other pictures of the project, but here is a happy magnolia blossom!

So, if you would like to have this project and make something from it, and you agree to send me a picture when you do, just leave a comment on this post! I will send you this entire project at no cost (via parcel post because wow! postage has gotten really expensive).  I'm sorry to say that I can only send this in the US because shipping is remarkably expensive. I really am sorry.  Since Sunday is Easter Sunday and I doubt I'll be looking at the Internet at all, I will choose a winner using the random number generator Monday around lunchtime (between noon and 1pm on the East coast).  Please, please be sure that I can contact you!  If I can't get in touch with you, you can't win!

 This giveaway is now closed!  Thanks everyone!

I feel like this post is rambling, but you get the idea!  A blessed Easter to everyone who celebrates, and chag Pesach samech to everyone celebrating Passover this week, too.  And a happy spring weekend to all!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tiny Tuesday Spinner block

Hi everyone! Today it's my turn for another Tiny Tuesday block, a part of the RSC sampler hosted by Angela at soscrappy. You can find all the instructions for this fun sampler and links to the previous blocks HERE. There are also setting instructions and everything you need to jump in to this project.

Here is our Spinner block, a pinwheel variation that is so appropriate for this very windy week:

A couple of notes before we start-- this block ends up best if the seams are pressed open. It's a little fussy to do, but it makes the center turn out a lot better.  Also, none of the pieces are oversized unless indicated.  Use your own judgment if you want to oversize anything. And be sure your 1/4 inch seam is good before you start, of course!


For this block you'll need a small bit of background and two aquas, one lighter and one darker.  You could use just one aqua, but it does change the effect of the block a bit.

From the lighter aqua, cut:

1 3-1/2 inch square

From the darker aqua, cut:

2 2-1/2 inch squares

From the background, cut:

1 3-1/2 inch square
4  1-1/4 by 3-1/4 inch rectangles*
(*these pieces are oversized)


Cut the 3-1/2 inch lighter aqua and background squares from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles. Position the triangles as shown and stitch:

Make 4 of these units. Half the block is done!

Next, cut the darker squares in half from corner to corner once.  Position these and the 1-1/4 by 3-1/4 inch rectangles as shown:

The background rectangle will be quite a bit longer than the triangle, but don't trim it.  Stitch the triangle to the rectangle, then open out and press as best you can. Don't worry about turning under the seam allowance on the part of the rectangle that extends past the triangle.

Take the triangle/rectangle units you just made and trim them by placing a ruler so that it follows the angle of the triangle and continues over the rectangle, as shown:

Carefully trim the rectangle to the angle of the triangle.  Make 4.

Now take these units and trim the background piece to 7/8 inch wide. You'll be cutting off just 1/8 inch, so be extra careful.


Join one of each of the triangle/rectangle units and the unit made with two triangles along the long edges, as shown:

If you're a little nervous about the bias edges, give your pieces a shot of Magic Sizing or starch, or whatever you use, before stitching. Make 4 and press well.

These units should be 2-3/4 inches each. 

All that's left to do is arrange the four squares as shown and stitch!

Join into rows and then into a finished block.  Press well, stand back, and admire!

Your block should measure 5 inches to finish at 4-1/2 inches in the quilt.  Be careful to keep 1/4 inch beyond the triangle points if you trim the block at all.

Now that you've made this block, be sure to visit Angela's on Saturday to link up and to see the blocks that others have made. Happy tiny stitching!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A forest of comfort

Hi all, and welcome to another spring weekend.  We have reached the point in the season where I wake up every morning with my eyes glued shut because there is pollen covering literally every surface in the whole world.  Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration of how much pollen there is currently floating around, but definitely not an exaggeration of my reaction to it.  I think all the rain we had last year has kicked all the plants into overdrive on the pollen front.

So, I kind of have an allergy fog right now, so much so that I forgot today was Friday.  Sigh.  Thankfully, I do have a completed project to show, and I even braved the outdoors to get some fun pictures of it:

Oh, yay! This happy forest is the last top I'm making this year for the Hands to Help challenge at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I did not make the blocks in this top. Those were adopted from Jennifer and I got them through Cynthia's quilty adoption event.  I received a bunch of blocks and chose 20 for this top.

The trees are made of colorful, happy fabrics, and I tied them all together with a gray-green sashing.  The dark green stop border is a piece I've had for a while, and the outer border is a green print that has a 2012 date on the selvage.  Time to use it! It does pretty well tie the colors of the trees together, while the sashing gives it just enough calmness.

This little top went together really quickly. Since I didn't have to make blocks, I had a serious head start! The top finished at just about 48 by 65, which will be a decent lap quilt size.  I'm thinking that this one should go to Happy Chemo, but I'm going to wait until everything is quilted to decide for sure.

Since this is all about trees, I want to show a happy tree picture from our property:

This is a little cherry tree that we planted last fall.  We got it on clearance for $5! This spring it is blooming beautifully and is about 5 feet tall.  That's a pretty great return on our $5, I think!

I hope everyone has a good weekend.  I'm going to try to stay inside and out of the allergens, and maybe--maybe-- start work on those quilts I have basted.  I have to wait for my head to clear a bit, though, because right now I don't think I can be trusted near a sewing machine. I did forget that it's Friday, after all!

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

Friday, April 5, 2019

Ripped and restitched

Hello everyone!  I hope you've all had a great week.  There was a lot of sunshine this week, so it was a good one for me.  The ground is even starting to dry out, if you can believe it!  Pretty soon it will be time to plant some fun things, like two different kinds of tomatoes and some geraniums. Gosh, that sounds so great, doesn't it?

Today's post is subtitled "how I learned to stop stressing and love my walking foot."  My friend Bernie over at Needle and Foot is having an event where we celebrate our quilty blunders and mistakes.  Boy, is that me! I make mistakes all the time. Points get cut off or don't match, or seams are too wide, or I go wild with the rotary cutter and cut all my pieces the wrong size.  Let's not even talk about the color errors. This week, though, in honor of Bernie's event, I decided to erase a really big mistake I made with a cute little quilt.  Here it is:

Anyone recognize this?  I made the top in 2015 and then I finally quilted it up in 2017.  It looked really nice in photos, but I have to confess that the quilting was atrocious.  I mean really bad.  Take a look:

That's just one part.  Look at this:

Tucks on the front!  I didn't even notice these at first, and only saw them after I had washed it.

I don't really know what happened here.  I can do some simple free motion stuff and have it look good, but this time the quilt kept dragging and the machine hated the thread and I hurried too much.  Also, I used the white thread on the red areas, which made everything look worse.  I really like it when the thread all blends with the fabric. I did see that the quilting didn't look too great when I was doing it, but then I thought that it would look better after I washed it.

It did not look better.  If anything, it looked worse. It got to the point where just looking at it made me sad, so I left it in the closet and did nothing with it. This is even sadder! Bernie's event was just the kick in the pants I needed to do something to fix this little quilt.


How do you fix quilting that bad? There's only one way-- you rip it out.  Really.  So that's what I did!

It took forever to take the stitches out (and made a crazy mess) but it was absolutely the right call.  I gave the top a new backing and batting (because the others just were not usable after all that ripping) and then pulled out the walking foot.

So much better!

It worked so great, and I feel so much better about this little quilt. There are still plenty of mistakes this time around, but I'm not going to point them out.  Instead, I'm going to enjoy the fact that I have saved this quilt and can be happy to use it again.

New backing, reused binding

I did reuse the binding, which is that fun green that I think gives the quilt a little zip.  For anyone who's curious, I did reopen the seam that finished the binding to make it easier to put on, and then I sewed the new seam at the end.  It was just a bit too long for the restitched quilt, so that was a good choice.  I meant to do a machine binding, but I stitched it to the front by mistake, so it got hand stitched to the back.

Crosshatching in the border

Some of you may be wondering why I put so much effort into a small quilt that's just going to get used on my table and isn't really very important.  All I can say is that it made me sad and I sort of felt sorry for it, plus I was really embarrassed by the poor quilting.  I should have stopped when I was quilting it the first time, but I didn't, and that was a failing on my part.  In its new form, this quilt no longer feels like failure, and isn't that the worst part about the mistakes we make?

So, that's the last chapter in the story of this little quilt! I hope the story was encouraging to some of you, or at least amusing. It's a happy ending, both for this little quilt and for me, and I could not be more pleased. Hurray for that walking foot, right?

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.  I'll be working outside until the rain comes, erasing some gardening errors out there.  There are things to be torn out and dirt to be shoveled.  This is a good thing!

Sharing at Bernie's linkup, and also at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished or Not Friday.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Trees on the design wall

Hi all!  Has anyone else noticed that it's now April? Holy cow! I know I say this all the time, but this is just going way too fast.  Wasn't Valentine's Day last week? Then again, I still think 2014 was last year or so. Impossible that it was five years ago now.

Here is the happiest thing about the fact that it's now April:

Yes! The daffodils are blooming in Delaware! I saw these as I left the house, and it was such a nice start to the day.  Some of the day lilies are a couple of inches high, too.

So, what are you making now that it's spring?  This week I started a new donation quilt for the Hands to Help challenge.  I'm pretty sure that this will be my last one for this year's challenge. Here's the beginning of it:

Trees!  I did not make any of these blocks. I adopted them from Jennifer, who blogs at life's little adventures, through Cynthia's quilty adoption event at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.  I have been meaning and meaning to give up a project for adoption to someone who would finish it, but I always get too busy and miss the event.  Maybe I should just do it here? What do you think?

I received 26 of these blocks in some kind of nifty fabrics, including this one:

A quilting cotton that I would swear is a sweater! It's so realistic that I keep having to look twice.  Jennifer intended this as a Christmas quilt, so I took out six blocks that were very Christmassy and was left with 20 blocks that are somewhat wintery but don't really read as Christmas.  I chose a soft sage green polka dot to use as a sashing:

Green goes with everything, and I think this fabric is pretty and also calms down some of the colors in the quilt.  I'll add a border too, and that should make a decent- sized donation quilt top.  I even have a plan for those leftover six blocks, but not in this quilt.

So, there's one thing I'm working on this week, but I'm also thinking that I'm going to make a quilt for the Pantone Challenge from Bryan House Quilts and No Hats in the House.  I have the sampler that I've been working on, of course, and there are a lot of different corals in there, but check out this fabric:

It's hard to capture with this camera (I'm shopping for a new one, I swear!), but this fabric is pretty much the exact color of Living Coral! I have a couple yards of it, and I thought I might put it with a pale aqua.  I was thinking about a Kona solid, but then I pulled out a print and I'm thinking I might use that instead:

With a green of some kind and a white background, it could be pretty snappy! I have no pattern for this, but I'm trying to come up with something. It's pretty fun to page through the block books and dream, at least for me.  I guess I'll see what I find before I decide for sure. It's pretty fabric, though, and even without the challenge it will make a lovely quilt.

So that's the update from here. I hope you're all having a good week with lots of color and sewing.  And spring flowers, too!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.