Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Basting away again

Hi everyone! Well, it's still January, the longest month ever. It looks like today is starting out very gray, but I was definitely promised sunshine later. We'll see how that works out.

I am basting away again, but alas, not in Margaritaville.  I am trying very hard to make progress on the many unquilted tops I have in the closet. I have recently sent out four of them to be quilted, and then I have some smaller ones and more personal ones that I am quilting up myself.  First up is this one:

This is a quilt top that I made back in "the dark times" when we had first moved to the East Coast and were living in that tiny condo while searching for a house. You can read the post about the top HERE. All of these blocks came from a swap that I did with some friends. (That's also the last swap I did. Hmmm. . .)

I'm just walking foot quilting this in straight lines following the ribbons. It's not imaginative, but it will get the job done.  After this one is finished, I have another quilt ready, with the back all made. I just need to cut some batting to baste it:

Yes, it's past time for this one, too. This was promised to Bernie for Mercyful Quilts and I made the top but didn't ever quilt it. I'm so embarrassed by this that I'm planning to send both of these quilts to Bernie. This one will be walking foot quilted, too, but I'm not quite sure how. Diagonal lines, probably. My main goal is to get this one quilted and off to the promised recipient so it can do its job of giving some comfort to someone in need.

If I get bored with quilting straight lines, you know I have plenty of piecing to do, and my daughter called a few days ago and said, "Did you know there are still some of your boxes in our basement?" So we retrieved those, and here's one of them:

A box of fabric pieces and fat quarters! It's like I have new fabric all over again. So I'll be sorting those out and playing with them-- and getting one more box out of my house. Have I mentioned that I'm never moving again?

That's the dispatch from here! Hope you are all having a good week. Happy Wednesday!

Sharing at the Midweek Makers link party.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

A twice stitched basket

Hi everyone, and happy Saturday! It's pouring rain right now, but I don't even care because the week is over.  That was a rough one for sure. But now it's over, and on we go.

I did spend a little stitching time this week working with some of the many, many bright green scraps that I have. I love this color and I have lots of bits of it. Here is what I made, but there's a story along with it:

A nice happy green scrap basket! I decided a little while ago that I should make some of these and stop using the plastic bins. I need the room for all my larger chunks, and then I can find some use for the other bins.  Lots of people have made these fun scrap baskets, and I used the tutorial from Fiona found HERE, except that I didn't do it quilt-as-you-go. I just made a slab and quilted it and then trimmed it up.

Except. . .

Stress has weird effects on your brain! Once I got it all trimmed up and ready, I could not for the life of me figure out how to stitch it so that it would be square and basket-like.  I read and read that tutorial and couldn't figure it out.  I stitched it a few different ways and just blew it. It was not basket-like at all. I finally gave up and ended up with this:

I was okay with that, and it was going to work okay in the kitchen, but then literally yesterday I figured out what I did wrong. So I ripped off the binding, pulled out the stitches again, folded it and stitched it the way it should be. I almost cried when it turned out square. I didn't even mind having to redo the binding.

And that's the story! It took me days to get there, but I'm happy to have this little basket. It holds all the pieces just great and there's even room for more. Every bit of this little basket is scrap, including the batting and the binding. I save the ends of binding in a jar, and these came from the jar. I won't have every color, but I'm hoping the jar will be mostly empty by the time we get to the end of this year.

For those of you who are keeping count, this is my 500th post! To celebrate, here is my new favorite winter picture, which I took outside our house on a cold, clear day last week:

Enjoy the weekend, and happy stitching!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC20.

Friday, January 24, 2020


Hi all! How are you? It has been a very, very stressful week for me. Mostly work stuff, but also we're gearing up for some home remodelling, and you know how that goes. I have to tell you, we haven't even started and I'm already tired of it.  At least the gray will be entirely gone and there will be a lot of satisfaction in that. And there will be an actual closet, which will be a huge bonus.  You don't really think about closets until you don't have a place to put your coat, and then you really need one.

I was so stressed this week that my husband said, "don't you have anything to sew?" and pretty much forced me into the sewing room.  The one thing I finished was all done by hand, though:

Yep, it's the little Prickles stuffie that I got from Bernie's shop.  I had thought that I could make it for my granddaughter, but it's really not a children's toy.  It was super easy to make, though, and was pretty relaxing.  It will make a nice "look at" toy for Grandma's house. 

This is really designed to be made by hand, and that's the only way that I could find to make it. It's been a long time since I made anything entirely by hand, and it was not a bad experience.  The one thing I would do differently is baste a bit before stitching, and go get my own thread that matches the dark brown a bit better.  I don't like the way that the floss that was provided doesn't really blend.  Just too lazy to go get my own, though!

I did finish up a couple of blocks, too: 

These are the first blocks for the Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen. These are much, much cuter in person, but it's hard to get a good picture in the brown that is January right now.

Ok, back to the grind! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and get some stitching in. I'll be working on some RSC projects today, so maybe those will be done tomorrow.  We live in hope!

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Partially pieced

Hi everyone! How is your week going? I don't mind telling you that it's been fairly good here for the past little while. It has been unseasonably warm and mostly just lovely outside. I spent last weekend at an academic conference in Washington DC without a coat. In January. It was so nice that a couple of us skipped out on the afternoon session and went sightseeing-- and we walked. It was awesome. The conference might have been okay, too. At least my paper was!

So now I'm home and I have a ton of work to do, and the temperatures are about to plunge, just in time for the first day of class. I might even get to wear the new coat that I bought just because it reminded me of the coats I wore in Wisconsin. While I'm waiting for that, though, I've been working on a couple of things.  First up are these:

These are half the 4-patches I need for the January blocks for the Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen. A friend and I decided to make these together, but I read the directions wrong so I only have half as many parts as I needed. Yeah, I know they wouldn't have taken long to finish, but in my defense, it was very, very nice outside.

The other thing I'm working on is this little stuffie:

This is a very cute little kit that I got from Bernie's shop that I've been wanting to make for my tiniest granddaughter.  She turns one year old really soon and I thought this would be a cute little gift. The kit really does come with everything, including stuffing, a sewing needle, and straight pins.  Because she's just a tiny girl, I'll have to embroider the eyes and nose instead of using the buttons that came in the kit, but I think I don't mind that.

The only other thing I'm doing is continuing to put all the new fabric I bought over the last couple of weeks on boards and put them away. I really should not have shopped quite as much, but it's just so easy, you know? I got these pretties from Shabby Fabrics:

I have a plan for the one on the right edge, but the others are just because I had no blues at all and these were a good price.  And these lovely batik pieces came from Jinny Beyer's shop:

I'm planning to use these lovely batiks (plus plenty of others) to finally make a (gigantic) quilt for my own bed. Somehow I've forgotten to do that for all these years.

That's what's up around here for now, along with waaayyy too much computer time.  When I became a professor it was all about the books.  Now it's all about the course website. The world has changed and we must change with it, but I never thought it would involve this much typing!

Happy stitching, friends!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Sending off some cheer

Good morning, everyone. How was your week? Usually I start here with something fun or happy, but this time I want to talk about the terrible things that are happening with our friends in Australia. There are terrible fires ravaging the country and many people have lost their homes, at least 25 people have lost their lives, and entire towns have been destroyed. You may have heard that half a billion animals have been killed as well. (If you need some more information, HERE is a link to a CNN story.) I saw one extremely frightening story that showed people being forced into the ocean by the fires. If you start looking around, you'll be overwhelmed by the scope of the disasters happening there.

Last week I saw Jo's post where she shared a very heartfelt request from a fellow Australian quilt blogger, Jan. Jan has begun a drive for quilt blocks that she can stitch up and distribute to people who have lost everything when the appropriate time arrives. It's summer in Australia right now, but we all know that winter will come, right? In her post, Jan also said she was accepting quilt tops and backing that she can quilt up and distribute.

Well. I have those. Far too many, too.  So. . . these three tops are headed for Australia:

Some of you might remember that my brother lost literally everything in a house fire less than a year ago.  It's hard, folks. It's hard to lose everything and rebuild.  It seems like it would be fun to shop for all new things, but it isn't. And there are things that are lost that can never be replaced.

I chose these three quilt tops because they're each a good size and they're all quite cheerful, and I figure that some people will really need some cheerfulness.  Check out this happy block:

Wouldn't that cheer you up just a tiny bit? This quilt is my Sewcial Bee Sampler from a quilt along by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland. I just love it, and I hope someone else will really love it too, and get some comfort from it.

The block above is from my 100 patch scrap quilt. I love this quilt, too!  I actually hope this one goes to a teenager or a child, so they can look through all of the blocks and find some favorite patches of their own.

The final quilt is one that I named Garden Path. It has floral blocks and a lot of green. I thought that all of the green would make a nice quilt for someone who had had to watch so many things burn. I hope someone really, really enjoys it.

I love all of these quilts and am happy to send off the best from my closet to people who deserve a bit of cheer. I wish I could send more, but the postage to Australia is astoundingly expensive.  I put these tops into bags and squeezed out all the air I could, then packed them into a box. (There will be wrinkles--sorry!) The box weighs about 6 pounds and the cheapest rate I could find was DHL, for about $67.  The post office wanted nearly $100, so this is a bargain.  It's a lot to spend to send these off, but much, much less than I would have paid to have them quilted.  And where else could I buy relief for people who have lost so much so cheaply?

This was a downer of a post! Sorry about that, but I do really encourage you to go over and have a look at Jan's page and see if there is something you can contribute as well. She's already quilted up a several quilts! And if you want to make some financial contributions or help in other ways, I'll bet some of our Australian bloggers could help point you in the right direction on that, too.

Hope everyone around the world has a good and safe weekend.  Australian friends, we are all with you! Stay safe, and let us know what else we can do to help!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

A bright green beginning

Hi all, and welcome to 2020! Time marches on, and somehow it always surprises me. How on earth did we get one-fifth of the way through the twenty-first century? Wasn't it just Y2K a few years ago? This year is going to bring a lot of good things for us, including a new granddaughter, and I'm happy to get it started!

Somehow time marches on but the scraps never seem to! I still have a ton of scraps, even after many scrap quilts. It's time to just accept that a good bit of my fabric stash is small pieces. The good news is that that gives me a lot to do for the RSC this year. I'm trying to hold myself back and I've only planned three scrap projects for this year. But you know that I'll probably add in another as we go along, right?

Here is my first project for this year:

Ohio Stars in two sizes and opposite colorways! I've long admired Bonnie Hunter quilts, and I know (in my head) that they would be a good way to use a lot of scraps, but I can never really tackle the whole quilt. Last year Maggie broke up Bonnie's Sand Castles pattern to fit the RSC, and that has inspired me to pick a Bonnie pattern and do the same thing. I have a separate personal resolution for this year to be more gentle with myself, so I chose this Random Ohio Stars pattern from her free patterns tab to make this year. I think I can make three blocks a month. Maybe. We'll see.

My second project includes a whole lot of these blocks:

I had two yards of Kona Snow that I knew I wouldn't use, and I also have tubs full of squares that I've already cut from scraps. Why not put them together? I cut the Kona into 5-inch squares and then used 2-1/2 inch squares to snowball the opposite corners. They don't look exciting, but they can be put together into some exciting different patterns.

If you have a whole bunch you can make a really interesting quilt. In my unfettered optimism, I cut up all of the Kona and have enough for 120 blocks. I don't know how many RSC colors we'll have this year, so 10-12 blocks a month is a good goal. These are really easy and I made all of the green ones in about 20 minutes.  And then I have these left over:

Tiny 1-1/2 inch hsts! These are the offcuts from snowballing the blocks above. I know I really shouldn't keep these, and I have no plan for them, but I can't resist!

That's a good start to the year, don't you think? Hope you have some lovely projects in progress and are finding 2020 to be a good year so far. I know we're only a few days in, but it's looking good from here!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC20.