Saturday, May 29, 2021

Rainy and red

 Hello all, and a good Memorial Day weekend to you! It's very damp here and smells a bit musty because it's been raining quite a bit, but I'm happy to see the weekend arrive. I've just about completed my transition to summer mode, where I work on stuff until I get bored, then move on to something else-- and no one cares or tells me I should finish something else. It's pretty great, and it comes with more sleep.

One of the things that I worked on this week was my quest to catch up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge by making red blocks. These are the blocks for the quilt I am making from Sharon Holland's Saguaro pattern, which is really well suited to the RSC. Here are my red blocks:
It is very wet here today! It's been raining for days, which is okay because we really need it. As you may remember, I don't have a lot of red, and what I do have doesn't get used very often. It's just not my color. I only have these scraps because I've been cutting for another quilt, though I do have some scraps of darker reds. These are brighter and happier reds, though, and I like them for this quilt. 
A few months ago the RSC color was the darker end of the green spectrum, but as you can see, I'm using greens for "leaves" on each of the blocks because it seemed like a good idea when I started. To fill in for the darker greens, I made some blocks using black prints:
I admit this is an out of the box choice, but just look at those blocks. I think they turned out amazingly well. Look at the cute strawberry block! I was unsure about these, and then after I made them I wanted to ditch all the other blocks and finish making the quilt with all black prints. I didn't do that of course, but it was tempting.
I wish I could say that I caught up on all the rest of the RSC projects, but I haven't yet. I'm finishing off the last of the Hands to Help donation quilts, and then tomorrow starts Preeti's Positivity Quilt Along, and I'm still working on the Edyta Sitar quilt, which is going pretty quickly. Pretty sure those scraps in the bins will wait for me.

Hope you all have a good start-of-summer weekend and Memorial Day on Monday. In addition to stitching a few things, I'll be dodging some raindrops and putting in the plants at long last. I'm ready for flowers, how about you? 

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC21.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A new project and an old one

 Hi everyone! Well, the cicadas are still with us, and now they are making very loud noises. Also, I swear they wait for me to come out the door and then decide to fly all around. Several of them have now landed on me and I managed not to kill either them or myself. I did freak out, though, and I am taking joy in watching the birds have a feast. Can it be schadenfreude if we're talking about insects? I promise to stop complaining about them now!

Anyway-- I started a new quilt project. Yahoo! Now that I've had some sleep, all of a sudden I have about a thousand quilt ideas, so of course I decided to make a quilt from a pattern. I don't even have great pictures yet, but here is one that shows some of the colors and fabrics:

Yeah, not a great picture, but it gives you an idea. Believe it or not, this is a mystery quilt that ran for the last couple of weeks at Laundry Basket Quilts, which is the company and blog for Edyta Sitar. She does lovely fabrics in soft, nostalgic colors, and on her blog she gives away a lot of patterns. This pattern ran as a mystery quilt over 14 days. You know how well I get along with mysteries, so I watched the project take shape, then got pretty excited about it as it got closer to the end. After I saw the final quilt, I decided to make my own.

Of course, I had to do my own thing, so I'm making mine using scraps, and hoping to use up some of the gray bits I have hanging around here. If you look at the photos, you can see a couple of different grays. I got so excited about this project that I even laid out the grid that Edyta has in her pattern on my design wall, using pins. That is the picture above, and I'm filling in the blocks as I go. (Oops, I see I have to move one.) That's not too bizarre, is it? Might as well make use of that design wall now that it's finally empty. I'm following the pattern in order and red blocks are next. I am irrationally excited about this.

So, there's that project! It's actually really easy and I'm liking it a lot. The only rule I made for myself is that I can't use any new fabric. Sadly, I don't think that will be a problem. . .really sure that I'll have a ton of scraps left, too.

The other project I've pulled out to work on is an older project that combined traditional 6-inch blocks with more modern 6-inch blocks. I love these colors and I'm so happy to be working on this project again. Don't those colors just make you feel happy and summery?

That's just a small update from here. I'm actually thrilled to be able to spend some time in the sewing room again, and there are nice windows in there that almost shut out the sounds of the cicadas singing. I'll leave you with a picture of one of the little buggers (yes, those are eyes):

Hope you are all getting in some stitching time this week, too! I have several other things to work on, too, so I'm glad we're looking at some thunderstorms tomorrow!

Sharing at Midweek Makers.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Lost and Found

 Hi everyone! How has your week been? For us, it has gotten quite warm and the cicadas have finally emerged. Many people are very excited about this. Me, not so much. Imagine flies with bodies the size of your thumb. Now imagine stepping out your front door into a pile of them. That's why they only come out every 17 years-- it takes that long to recover from bug-related nightmares.

So, I'm staying inside until they go back underground, which is completely fine with me. I have plenty to keep me amused. I do have a finish to show off today, though, and it has quite the backstory.  It almost didn't make it to the finish line! Here she is:

Yahoo! Some of you will recognize this as the Phoenix quilt by Sharon Holland. I pieced it last year when the pattern came out, then, like everything, it sat for a while, waiting to be quilted. In due time, when it had aged properly, I sent the top and backing off to my friend Diane, who worked her magic on it and put it back in a priority mail box and sent it home. 
Only it never arrived. 
The tracking stopped somewhere in between distribution centers, like it got on a plane and never got off. It stayed stalled for weeks, with no tracking updates.

I was only semi-frantic at first, because our mail has been super s-l-o-w. It improved a little, then slowed down again. I have no idea what is happening, and apparently, neither does anyone else. After 4 weeks, though, I was pretty worried. Diane was worried, too. Anxiety rose. She filed a form to find the box. I filed a form to find the box. They sent me a message that the box was on "extended delivery" (what the he** is that?) and that the issue was "resolved." More anxiety, but still no quilt. Calls to the postmaster and another form. No box. Plenty of anxiety.
Finally, I got in touch with my Congressman's office. The staff was extremely nice and very helpful, and they took all my information and made nice noises. I did not have much hope in spite of the sympathy, which was more than I had gotten from the Post Office. And then-- the box with this quilt suddenly showed up one day, with no warning or tracking movement. Do you think that's a coincidence? Who cares? After almost two months, the quilt was finally home! Tragedy averted. Relief all around.
(I should say right here that I don't blame the people who work the lines and deliver the letters. The Post Office is pretty obviously broken right now, and it's not the fault of the majority of people who work there. They're probably more frustrated than we are. So, if you're a letter carrier or sorter or any other person directly involved with handling the mail, please know that you are appreciated!)

I was so happy to see this quilt! As always, Diane did a great job on the quilting, in a pattern called Popcorn. It's kind of curvy and cloud-like and worked great for the star/ floral shapes in this quilt. I had made the binding, a soft but zippy coral fabric, before I sent it out to be quilted, so as soon as it showed up, I tossed aside the project I was working on, sat right down, and put that binding right on. Even though it's quite warm now, I even hand stitched the binding over a couple of evenings. I guess I really was happy!
With all the drama, this one turned out very nice and I'm really pleased with it. It feels kind of modern, but also traditional, and it used some pretty fabrics. I also love the backing, which is a white with some modern stars. This one turned out to be a good size, too, so I may actually hang it on a wall, probably in the hallway. We'll see.  The only thing I'm sure of is how happy I am to see it finally finished!

So that's the story of the almost-lost quilt! Thankfully, it's a story with a happy ending, though I'll never know what happened in the middle there. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend that is relaxing with no lost packages and no cicadas. I'll try to get a picture for those of you who haven't seen one in person (you lucky people!) If one lands on me, though, I'm pretty sure you'll hear the scream from wherever you are!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and Brag About Your Beauties.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Violettes fini

 Hi everyone! By the time you read this, I should be happy dancing all around the house, because I should have finished all of the research papers I have to read and the worst semester ever will have come to an end. Yahoo! I don't know why spring was so much worse than the fall, but I think canceling Spring Break had a lot to do with it. Let's never do that again, okay?

Speaking of things never to do again. . .okay, that was meant to be funny, but maybe not too funny, because I have finally finished a quilt top from 2017. This particular top had approximately a billion pieces, (that's only a small exaggeration!) and for some reason I grew to dislike it intensely. The blocks have been hanging on the design wall since I put the design wall up, and I finally got so sick of them (with a little prodding from Preeti) that I finished the top. Here she is:

For some reason, the shade and light make this look blue, but I swear that it's purples and lavenders! Perceptive readers will notice that this looks familiar, like a pattern or something. That's because it began life as one of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts, En Provence. (You can get the digital pattern for that quilt right HERE.) I started it with enthusiasm, but then lost interest around the 80 millionth piece. I guess I have no stamina. It's been waiting to be finished ever since.
In the interest of finishing this into something usable, and of using up as many of the pieces I had already made as possible, I finished half of the blocks, eliminated the alternate blocks, and pieced a sashing to bring it together into some kind of a design. I actually think it turned out okay! Of course, I have approximately 50 million pieces left over, but most of them are purple 4-patches, and I'm sure I'll think of something to do with those eventually.

 For those of you who have not made a "Bonnie" quilt, she is a genius at using all kinds of little pieces to make complicated designs. I also love complex blocks, but the plethora of scrap pieces required and the sheer anount of work involved with this quilt just overwhelmed me. Also, I don't have nearly a big enough stash to get a real variety, and I really dislike matching all of those seams! 

I've decided to call my version Violettes, French for violets, because the purples and greens certainly bring those pretty flowers to mind. Now that it's pieced, I am planning to quilt it up myself. I want to try using the walking foot to make Baptist fans, and I think this is the perfect quilt for it. It's so busy that the piecing will hide any mistakes. I need to find a nice plain neutral for the backing because the top itself is so busy. Pretty sure I have something like that around here somewhere. . .
Sighhh. I'm so relieved and happy that this is finished, that the semester is finished, and that we have some pretty spring flowers like those above (another azalea growing loose on the property) that I just might find a minute or two to relax. I'm not really sure I remember what that feels like!

Hope you all have a relaxing weekend! If anyone needs me, I'll be on the sofa, staring at the TV and letting my brain reboot. I think there's a few shows that should help with that. (Bridgerton, anyone?) Right after I finish this happy dance!

Updated to add that I'm sharing this at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and Michelle's Beauties Pageant. Thanks to all the hosts!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Color chains

 Hi everyone! The wind is about to blow me off my chair today. How about you? Holy cow, the wind is really strong out there. On the upside, the temperature got over 80 degrees one day this week, but then it fell back to a more normal temperature. I can feel the summer coming on already, can't you?

Today I am showing off my new RSC project. I know what you're thinking-- do you really *need* a new project, Mari? Well, yes, yes I do! I have sooo many scraps. Sometimes they make me tense because they seem like a mountain to climb, so I needed another project to use up a few more of them. I landed on this one because it's easy, it's fast, it uses a good size scrap, and I think it will look great all put together. Here is the block I chose:

Some of you may recognize this as a variation on a block from the Squared Away sewalong that Angela and I did in 2018. (Was it really that long ago? Wow.)  I love almost all the blocks in that sampler, and I've been meaning to make some quilts using them, so here's my opportunity. 


These blocks are very easy to make, so it didn't take long for me to catch up on the colors. I even managed to make one red one yesterday after work:



I've decided to call this the Color Chain project, and I plan to make three blocks each month for a total of 30 blocks, which will give me a lot of flexibility with the layout at the end. These are 10-inch blocks, so any way that I set them the final quilt will end up a decent size. 

 So there we are, a new project! Yesterday when I went outside to take pictures, I startled these three, who just stood there and looked at me accusingly. 

I went back inside pretty fast, though, because the blocks blew all over everywhere and I couldn't get any decent pictures. I'll bet they think they chased me off! I don't know why we have so many deer around this year. We have seen so many, but they usually hang out a few miles away, where it's much more wooded. I wonder what has chased them this way?

Anyway, I hope you all are having a lovely weekend and making lots of stitching progress. Enjoy!