Friday, July 26, 2019

Fun with voiles

Hi everyone!  Well, the heat has finally broken, at least where we are, and it's much more comfortable now, though those were some powerful storms that ended it.  Good thing it's done for now, because the anxiety is definitely on the rise as we get closer and closer to moving.  There are too many details, and I'm getting pretty tense.  It all goes okay in the end,  I know, but getting there can be no fun at all.

From time to time I make things that are not quilts, and this is one of those times.  I'm starting a new teaching position in a couple of weeks, and that calls for something new and festive for those first few days. And face it, it's just fun to have new things sometimes too.  Here's what I made:

Yep, a couple of pretty scarves! I made these from two pieces of the cotton voiles that are everywhere now.  The fabrics are really pretty, but they're definitely too thin to use in a quilt. They make really nice, soft scarves, though!

I made the blue infinity scarf from a very pretty piece of voile from Bari J called Birds and Branches that I got from my friend Bernie's shop. This scarf was super easy, using THIS tutorial from Melly Sews.  The length and the width turned out to be very big, at least to me, so I ended up cutting about 10 inches off the length and about five inches from the width to make it fit me a lot better.  Even with the adjustments, this literally took me about an hour to stitch, plus maybe 10 minutes of hand sewing to close up the final seam.

You would think that the infinity scarf would be more complicated and take longer than a simple straight scarf, but no, the orange one took longer, mainly because I hemmed the sides.  This voile is called Firefly Tang by Jeni Baker and the photos don't do it justice.  It's a lovely orange that's not really bright or flashy and the fabric itself is very soft.  I had thought about making a tank top from it because it's so pretty, but it's just too sheer for me to be comfortable wearing it.  Perfect for scarves, though!

I cut the orange scarf 12 inches wide and made it about 72 inches long.  I hemmed the sides with a very narrow hem and then did a small zigzag about an inch from the ends and pulled threads to fray the ends just a bit.  This was actually the hardest part because it just didn't want to fray, which is a good thing in fabric but not great when you actually want it to come apart. 

The dresses are identical styles from Lands End. I have this dress in five colors and wear it all the time. Super comfortable!

And just like that, I now have two new festive accessories to wear this fall! They were easy to make and will dress up my plain solid boring clothes.  I love the fabrics, too, and I'm glad I got to use those thin fabrics for something useful.  So a very successful small project, I'd say!

Hope everyone has a good weekend, and that it's not too terribly hot where you are.  Ice cream always cools me off-- just sayin'!

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

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Five little blocks

Hi everyone!  Are you all enjoying the heat dome so far?  Yeah, me neither.  I'm seriously fantasizing about snowstorms right now.  We had a minor bit of panic yesterday when we thought the AC had gone out, but it turned out that the batteries in the thermostat had died.  Whew-- easy fix! It did get up to 87 in the house before we figured it out, though. I've never been so relieved to have dead batteries. 

It's been a busy, hot week, but I managed to make a few of the Tiny Tuesday blocks:

Doesn't that Bear's Paw block look enormous?  It's the same 5 inches as the others.  I've said it before, but these blocks are so darned cute and most of them are fun to make.  I can't wait to see how the whole quilt turns out.

I didn't make very many blue blocks during the blue month, so I went ahead and made a really simple blue one, just to have a bit more blue in the quilt.  If you're interested in making one of these, I just used 2 inch squares from the 2-inch bin.  Super easy and quite cute!

I also made the fish in orange, because they must be goldfish, you know?  And the orange tabby cat got a gray basket.  My fabric is kind of limited now and that's the piece I could find, in the string jar, of all places.  The cat was really easy to make and I like how he turned out.

Finally, there is a pink polka dot pig!  Good thing this little lady is cute, because she was a bear to put together.  I had a hard time following and kept doing things backwards, plus I cut a lot of things the wrong size.  Must have been the heat. Miraculously, she turned out the right size and reasonably pig-shaped. And she's covered in pink polka dots-- what could be better?

I think that catches me up until next Tuesday.  Hope everyone stays nice and cool and safe during this awful heat.  Have lots of Popsicles and lemonade.  We are going to the movies because we have several house showings, then I might dive into some ice cream and wait for the heat to break.  Don't forget to check your thermostat batteries!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fresh new oranges

Hi everyone! When I went out walking this morning at 6:30, it was already 74 degrees.  I know it's July, but holy cow, that was unusual.  And icky, too!

I just wanted to drop in with a short post today because I've started something new.  I can hear you now--what? Don't you have enough stress?  Yes, but this is not stressful.  This is making me feel really good and giving me a small challenge and something to do.  Because I don't have enough to do, you know?  We're kind of in a holding pattern, waiting to close on the new house and still showing the old house.  I've packed most of the kitchen, most of the towels, most of my clothes, and all of the decorative stuff in our house, so it's weird here.  Also, most of the fabric is packed, so why not do something that isn't a regular project? That's my rationalization and I'm sticking to it.

Before we go any further, here's the beginning of the new project:

This is the start of a summer scrap quilt designed by Kevin the Quilter, and you can find the intro post HERE.  It doesn't have a name yet, but my version does have a decent story behind it.

You might remember that a couple of years ago I made two string quilts for my nieces, who loved them.  I didn't make one for their brother, my nephew, because I didn't really think he'd enjoy a floral quilt.  But now he's 20 and no longer living with the folks, so I told him I'd make him a couch-size quilt for this winter.  Then I asked him what color he would like, thinking he'd say "blue" or "green," which is what I'd expect from a 20 year old guy.  He said "orange," which I completely did not expect.  Orange! 

My nephew happens to be about 6'4'' and about 300, so a couch size quilt for him needs to be a bit bigger than his sisters' quilts.  Enter Kevin's scrap quilt, which should finish around 70 by 80.  This should be a good size for my nephew, don't you think?  And it uses just two colors, plus Kevin swears it's very easy, with only three clues. Sold!

I don't have a lot of orange, and the yardage is packed, so these first 4-patches are just from the scraps I had in the bin.  I did go ahead and order some fat quarters from The Old Country Store, and I might have added a couple other things to the order, too.  So that will be very exciting to get delivered, won't it? I don't know yet what color to put with the orange, but I know it won't be white.  What color would you put with orange for a 20-year-old nephew who's studying to be a gunsmith? 

That's all I have for now.  This morning I was out walking and got a full face of pollen from the tree shown above.  It has weird flowers, and I've since learned that it's a silk tree, which can be an invasive species.  There are a couple of these in the park and just as I was coming past it a stray breeze picked up and blew a whole bunch of crud right at me.  I really hope it was pollen.  It may have been that or maybe the heat, but I've had a headache all day.  So now I think it's nap time for me. 

Hope you're all having a good week and staying plenty cool.  Stay away from the weird trees and be sure to have lots of cool drinks!  We're going to be over 100 for the next few days here, so I'll be doing the same. Right after my nap.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Seeing Beothuk stars

Hi everyone! It's been yet another hot and rainy week here, and really, it's starting to get old.  I wish it would pick one-- hot or rainy, but not both.  I know that some of you are rolling your eyes right now, but this has been one wet summer so far.  If I had a north side, it would be growing moss. 

Anyway. . .I have had some trouble focusing lately (can't think why that would be) but I did manage to put together the rest of the Beothuk Star quilt top, and I really like it!  See what you think:

I think it turned out great! This was a free quiltalong from Sandra at mmmquilts, though I am way past the quiltalong finish date.  Big surprise there.  The quilt was designed by Sandra and is named after the Beothuk people, one of the indigenous peoples of Newfoundland.  The touching story of the last of the Beothuks is HERE.  Worth a read, really.

This was a fun little quilt to make, and it went together really quickly.  Once you get all the hsts made, it's really just an organization issue.  I put mine together in a little different order than Sandra recommends because it made a little more sense to me to make the yellow star first and then construct the rest around it. 

I really like the colors in this little quilt, but I bought the kit from Bernie's shop, I didn't choose them myself.  I was worried about the print background, and while I was working with it it was fine.  It's a really pretty fabric, but now that the top is finished it makes me feel a little twitchy.  I'm having a small problem with the fact that everything doesn't match up.  This is why I don't use patterned backgrounds very often.

When I was dodging the raindrops to take these pictures I realized that these might be the last photos I take of a finished quilt top on this property.  This makes me a little bit melancholy, but I promise that there are many great places to take quilty pictures at the new house, including not one but *two* decks that just scream to have quilts hanging from the rails.  I'll miss this property, though.

So, yay, another top done!  Since we're moving, it's going right into a box to go to the new house.  I'll have to have a quilting marathon once we get there, because there are a *lot* of things stacked up now. 

I have one last thing before I go.  I wrote a small guest column for the Craft Industry Alliance blog about the decline of one of my favorite places, Nancy's Notions.  If you're interested, you can check it out HERE.  While you're there, there are a lot of other great articles to read, so stay a bit and check those out, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  And to those of you out there in Louisiana, I'm thinking of you and hoping that you all come through the storms just fine.  Stay as dry as you can!

Sharing at the fun places listed over to the right>>>

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Piecing a sashing

Hi all!  Well, it's still hot and sticky and rainy, our house still hasn't sold, and I'm still stressed.  We have a moving date, though, so maybe things are looking up!  I'm meeting with my new colleagues this week and making good progress on getting ready for this fall, plus I've packed up most of the kitchen, so it's takeout city around here-- my favorite thing!

Over the last few days I was trying to figure out the sashing and cornerstones for my coral quilt.  If you recall, I am making these blocks for a quilt, and I got the idea from the Pantone quilt challenge from Bryan House Quilts and no hats in the house. I know, I missed the challenge deadline, but that was not my motivation anyway, especially once I made a few blocks.  After several tries, here's what I came up with for the sashing:

What do you think?  It took a little while but I think I finally hit on the right thing for this quilt.  I love these blocks and I really wanted a pieced sashing that would complement the blocks without taking away from them.  The cornerstones will be the coral square in a square pieces. 

To make these sashing pieces, I started out by drawing them out, intending to paper piece them.  That worked okay, but I did eventually just cut the pattern up and use it as a template instead.  It worked out better for me that way.

When I drew out the sashing, I forgot that I would need to put the pieces under the paper before stitching to make it work.  The way it was drawn wouldn't allow for that,  which is why I'm not a paper piecing designer.  But it worked great as a template!

I'm thinking of putting some of the green in a pieced border, though I haven't sketched any of that out yet.  I definitely think it's going to need a pieced border, though.  Maybe with some flying geese?  Or maybe the green should be the binding?  Hmmm. . .

Anyway, that was a kind of a nice exercise for me, and now the quilt is all designed, so it's time to finish making those blocks.  I'm still having to do this in short bursts, so maybe one or two at a time will work out.  I'll definitely finish this quilt this fall (she said!  We know that's a long shot, right?)

Hope everyone is having a good week!  People keep trooping through the house, and one of them is bound to buy it, right?

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Blocks among the flowers

Hi everyone, and welcome to yet another hot, sticky day.  Gosh, it has been sooo hot and sooo humid all week.  The fourth was so bad that there were a few times I started to think that it was getting hard to breathe, so we skipped the fireworks and watched some of them on TV.  Not the same, but apparently the humidity made it so that the smoke just kind of hung around instead of drifting away, which made everything really unpleasant.  Best to be in the air conditioning, I think!

We did have some house showings on the holiday, but I was able to get in a little bit of time with the machine.  I decided to catch up on the tiny blocks for the RSC19 sampler:

The flowers are loving the heat and humidity, can you tell?  I was too lazy to get down off the deck and take pictures elsewhere, so they're all with the plants today.  Oh, well!

If you recall, these blocks will finish at 4-1/2 inches, so the pieces are really small.  I've been trying to use as many pieces as possible from the square bins, and it's worked out pretty well.  Since these pieces are so small, I can usually trim down the squares to fit, and that gives me a lot more variety, too.  The squares for this checkerboard (which is my own block, not one that Angela gave a pattern for) were cut from the 1-1/2 inch squares, down to 1-3/8 so the block would be the right size.

All of the pieces for the blue blocks also came from the bins, including the accent pieces in the block on the left.  The block on the right is all from the 2-1/2 inch squares.  I made "cheater" hsts for the corners and then cut up a couple other squares for the side pieces.  It worked!  Good thing, too, because I don't have very much blue to begin with and it was just lucky to find matching squares in the bins.

The butterfly had to be cut from a bigger scrap piece, but that worked out okay, too.  This guy gave me some trouble, and there may or may not have been some butterfly parts laying all over.  In the end I gave up and ended up with an imperfect butterfly.  But at least he's still pretty good looking!  What he doesn't know is that he may get remade yet again, if I can figure out where I went wrong to begin with.

I'm so happy that pink is the July color, not just because it's one of my favorites, but also because I haven't packed that scrap bin yet.  It wouldn't fit in the box with the others, so I guess I got lucky there.  The first pink block was so easy that I finished it in just about 10 minutes.  At that rate, I could make a whole quilt from these!  But probably not at 4-1/2 inches each, though.

So, there is the result of a couple of happy hours over the holiday! It was a nice time in the AC, watching the clouds roll in and drop a little more rain, then get plenty hot again right afterward.  I can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon, can't you?

Hope you're having a good weekend and staying nice and cool! Ice cream and Popsicles highly recommended!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Triangle party

Hi everyone!  First, I have very good news-- we have found a house, and they have accepted our offer.  Yahoo! We will have a place to live in Baltimore.  Our house hasn't sold yet, so right now I'm going back and forth between being really happy about the new house and being really panicky about owning two houses.  Finding a house is a huge relief for us, though, even though we may have to eat pretzels for supper for a few months. 

How should I celebrate finding a house? Well, by sewing something, of course, and to heck with the mess. The problem with pulling things out to stitch isn't having to pull things out and put it all away, but having to be super careful about the threads and the little snippets and the dust caused by the fabrics.  And it *is* annoying to have to put it all away now that I've had an actual sewing room.  But anyway. . .

I decided to finally, finally get started on the Beothuk Star quilt from Sandra at mmmquilts.  Yes, the quilt along ended in June, but I've been a little busy.  Here's as far as I got:

Piles of untrimmed hsts in the mulch!  Hey, I didn't say I got far! I just started with the cutting yesterday.  Thankfully, this is a really easy quilt and I have high hopes that mine will turn out as pretty as some of those I've seen online.

I think these colors are really pretty and they were doing a pretty good job of making me happy.  I bought the kit from Bernie's shop, and it looks like she has just one kit left, so you could hop right over there and get it.  She does have yardage, though, so you could make your own kit.  I was a little nervous about using a patterned background, but it turns out that the fabrics look great together and the print fabric looks good.  I did switch out the lighter pink in the kit for a pink fat quarter from my stash, mostly because I liked my pink a lot and I really want to use it.

That's it for the stitching time I've had so far this week, but I do plan to work on this over the 4th since I can probably leave the mess out there on the table.  I doubt that anyone is going to want a house tour on Independence Day-- but I'm willing to be wrong!

On a completely unrelated topic, I noticed this week that I have peppers and tomatoes!  Have I mentioned that it's been remarkably hot and wet here?  It was something like 92 degrees when I took these pictures.  It's certainly been great for the plants.  This year I got some pre-planted pots from the garden center and I didn't have high hopes, but it looks like I could be making salsa pretty soon!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe 4th. I'll be taking it easy and sewing, then we'll probably do some food outside and maybe go to the fireworks.  Depends on whether it's raining or not!  Happy Independence Day, and enjoy your celebration of our great country!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.