Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Leftovers transformed

Hello all! I hope you all are doing well and staying healthy. It's weird and stressful out there! We are now under a "stay at home" order, so we are staying home and making the best of it. I even cooked! Not brownies, actual food! So you know just how weird it really is right now.

It's weird and stressful out there, but in here we have fun and interesting fabrics, cool projects, and happiness. And orange. Today we have some oranges that were left over from the last month.  I've been working like crazy, and sometimes taking breaks, and I've crossed a couple of things off my many lists.  Here is the March block for the Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen:

Normally I dislike blocks with big pieces, but this time it felt pretty good. Non-stressful, you know? These were made with some of the many leftover oranges I have. I have a plan to use up some of the other oranges, too, but I haven't started in on that yet. Maybe next week.

One other thing I started in on was on an adopted project. Apparently that's what I do now, adopt projects. I actually really love it, so I'm not complaining.  Cathy at Crazy by Design made some lovely blocks from selvages:

See? Perfectly beautiful blocks, suitable for many different quilty layouts. However, she was at a standstill with them, so she generously sent them to me. I didn't know what to do with them exactly, but as soon as I opened the package I saw this:

Threads! Of course these should be spool blocks. (That bottom block is curling up, not cut wonky.) I had actually not made spool blocks before, but these pretty much have to be spools, don't you think? I ripped Cathy's blocks apart and trimmed the selvage bits down a bit so that they're taller than they are wide, then experimented with different sizes for the tops and bottoms. If anyone wants to suggest a really good formula, I'd like to hear it.

I think the spools worked out great, and I have a bunch more to make, but I also had to add in some more modern spools, too:

Of course! How could I leave out my favorite thread? I might attempt a couple other types too, but I love these.

For the rainbow scrap challenge at soscrappy, I've pretty much missed this whole month, which was aqua, one of my favorites. I'll catch up, but for now I made this from a leftover block:

This is a leftover 100-patch block made into a nice little zip bag. It was super easy and very relaxing to quilt up, and it makes me happy.

So that was all the leftovers I transformed this week. I think I did okay, considering. I love the 21st century, but I think I hate teaching online. It takes so much time! And I want to actually talk to students again! Meetings can stay online. Those I don't miss.

Finally, I'm making myself go outside every day, so I saw these happy sundrops:

These also make me happy! I hope they give you a smile as well. Stay safe out there, friends. Stay home and enjoy the flowers outside, and stay healthy. If all else fails, make some nice brownies. They'll make you smile and be happy to be home!

Sharing at Patterns by Jen and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The stars at night

Hello everyone! I hope you are all feeling well and healthy, and that no one is going too stir crazy yet. This is a weird and challenging time, isn't it? It's like a slow-motion science fiction movie right now. Lots of stress and lots of strange things happening. Who ever thought we would live through a time when half our country is locked down? I hope you're all coping okay.

Well, I'll bet you can figure out my coping strategy! I've made myself a schedule since I'm teaching all online now and I want to be sure I get outside and eat enough and take breaks and such, and one thing on my schedule is "go to sewing room." Somehow I always find something to do there!  Here is what I've already finished up this week:

What? It's the completely finished and bound Constellations quilt! At long last! The sunshine is washing out the colors a bit, but it's finished and is bright and happy in spite of the dark background.

I made this quilt top as a quilt along project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2017. I know I'm way behind getting it quilted, but a little while ago I sent it off to Alycia, and she quilted some stars into it for me. Since I made the binding two years ago, it wasn't that hard to trim it up and put the binding on it, then de-stress by hand stitching the binding down.

This turned out to be a very cute lap size, as it's about 56 by 66.  I love this picture of the backing, mostly because it's a great color, but also because you can see the fun stars. The back looks almost as good as the front!

I like this little quilt, and I'm happy it's finished, but I'm not sure what's going to happen to it. Sometimes it's fun just to make something without a real plan. I'm sure that something will come up. Most likely one of my kids will make off with it. That seems to happen a lot around here.

I hope all of you are safe and are getting some stress-free stitching time. Or really stressed stitching time! Either way.  Stay healthy and take care of each other. We're going to come out of this, sooner or later, though I'm not sure things will ever be "the same" again. But they'll be better, I know that!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag about your Beauties, and Finished or not Friday.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Spring in spite of it all

Hello from a socially safe distance, everyone! It has been a weird and stressful week here, but in spite of that, I've been outside walking (alone, I swear) and it turns out that spring is making a valiant effort to break through. This makes me super-happy. There are some things the virus can't change, after all.  No daffodils on my property yet, but there is a lot of periwinkle and some smaller bulbs.

I know this isn't a quilty picture to start with, but I think we all need something pretty:

Pink magnolias from my neighbor's tree! I miss our property in Delaware, and everything that we had done outside. I know we'll get there with this property, but I am so ready for flowers! I think I will plant myself a nice magnolia tree when it's finally time. All of our remodeling and landscaping has been postponed for now. Darn those communicable diseases, you know?

This week I forced myself to sew every day for stress relief, and I finally got the binding put on a finished quilt. Yay me! Want to see the quilt? Here she is:

Yahoo! This is a ribbon star quilt that I put together from blocks that I swapped with friends in a quilt group that I used to belong to.  I didn't make any of the blocks, but they are lovely together, aren't they? It's nice to think that the blocks I made are in other people's quilts, too.

I quilted this myself with a walking foot. I just quilted straight lines along the ribbons in the piecing, all across the quilt. This was not very creative and was a little boring to do, but it made a nice cross-hatch design on the quilt. It also kept things nice and cozy. This quilt is about 62 by 70 and is at the upper limit of the size I can actually handle myself. Someday I will get myself a longarm, but today is not that day.

Hand stitching this binding to the back of the quilt kept me sane this week, that's for sure. The binding is a pale blue batik from the basket o' bindings that I make from the backing trimmings of a quilted quilt. It was just about a foot short, but I stripped in another piece that matched it so nicely that I couldn't get a picture.

This quilt is a donation, bound for Bernie's Mercyful quilts project. I have another one for her, too, but it's not bound yet. I should have gotten to these long ago, but I think we all know that the actual quilting part is not my favorite part of making a quilt. Still, I'm embarrassed that it's taken so long.

My favorite block

I hope you all are hanging in there with our current crisis and are staying healthy. It's a challenging time, that's for sure. I hope everyone has something fun to do this weekend, too. Go outside! It's nice there. I'll be working some more, then going for a walk around the neighborhood and video chatting with the grandkids. I miss being with humans, but I have the hubster, and thankfully I like him and we get along. I'm keeping good thoughts for everyone!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag about your Beauties, and Finished or not Friday.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Stitching out the stress

Hello all, and happy Friday the 13th!  Just what we need, right? Gosh, I hope you all are having a much better time than I am right now. I want to keep this light, so I'll just say that my university has shut down, like many many others, and we are moving all of our classes online. This is *much* harder than it sounds. It's Thursday night as I write this, and I've already put in about 55 hours this week, with more to come. Why cancel meetings when you can have them all online? Why not do some meetings on Friday since we won't have classes? No good reason!

Whew! Because of all the stress, I had a small "quilter's tantrum" where I took a bunch of stuff off the design wall (none too gently) because I'm tired of looking at it, then dumped out a project box and tried to find something to stress-sew that I wouldn't ruin if I didn't care too much about points, and straightness, and such. Lo and behold, look what happened:

Even I'm surprised by this finished top! Not at all what I started with! The squares are all 6 inches finished, so this top measures just about 48 by 60. Every bit is a scrap, too!

The pieces for this quilt top are the ones I made for Alycia's winter quilt along, which you can find HERE.  I had started to put things together but needed to make more pieces to get to the pattern Alycia had. Instead, I ripped (very therapeutic!) what I had and rearranged the pieces into something else.

Once I got into it, I challenged myself to use just the pieces I had and to make something that I would be proud to donate once I quilted it. I managed to use all the pieces and ended up cutting just six more yellow squares and making just two more blue and yellow hsts. For the pattern, I just played with things on the design wall until I had something I liked. If I thought about it some more I would have probably changed the direction of some of the hsts, but I'm happy enough with this. 

After a few hours in the sewing room, I felt much better! Its amazing what a little stitching can do for you. I really needed that mental break. Still stressed, but at least now I have something to show for it. This top will get quilted later this spring and be donated for Hands to Help, which certainly makes it worth the small fit I threw (in the privacy of the sewing room, of course!)

Sorry for all the whining today! I know a lot of you are having many of the same problems, and I know I'm lucky to have a job that I love and can still do even in the face of our current crisis. And I'm lucky not to be sick! The hubs and I are hunkering down and staying home for the duration.  We have food, tea, and Netflix, so I think we'll be fine.

I hope all of you are weathering this coronavirus situation well. Everyone take care of themselves and stay healthy, and I hope all your loved ones are healthy as well.  We're Americans-- we're strong, we're determined, we can do anything, and we'll get through this together.

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or not Friday, and Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Square dancing

Hi everyone, and happy Saturday! Life continues here, in all its craziness.  The painting is done and we now have a much, much nicer place to live. Almost all of the gray and brown are gone, replaced by a gorgeous blue-green called Rainwashed and a beautiful warm white called Honied White.  It is so much nicer! Everything else is crazy, but at least the walls look good.

It happens that I am thisclose to finishing a bunch of things. Seriously, this weekend I might put on a binding! In the meantime, here is a fun, happy quilt top that I finished this week:

I told you it was fun and happy! I call this little quilt Square Dance, because look at it-- what else could I call it?

This is the second quilt top I've made from the hollow 9-patches that I made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge at soscrappy. (The first top is HERE.)  These little hollow 9-patches were made from 2-inch squares and finish at 4-1/2 inches each. The sashing was cut at 1-1/2 inches, and I just randomly pulled the cornerstones from my always-full bin of 1-1/2 inch squares.

I am so pleased with how this turned out. It's colorful and fun, and was fun to work on. I got the sashing and border fabric on a shopping trip with Preeti, so there were all kinds of happy thoughts in there, too.

This quilt top will become a donation quilt sometime later this spring, when I actually have time to think about quilting it up. I'm making good progress on the big quilts that I've been working on, so I should be finishing up a bunch of stuff in the next few weeks. ("She said!"  Sometimes things work out, sometimes not so much!)

Hope you all have a great weekend. I had a conference to go to this weekend, but it was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, and one of my regional conferences was cancelled, too, though apparently we're supposed to send in our papers and they'll have them online somewhere. Not nearly as enriching! Maybe I really will get that binding sewn on, though!

Everybody remember to wash your hands, and stay healthy out there!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC20.