Sunday, June 27, 2021

Positive progress

 Hi everyone! Yes, it's a very rare Sunday post! I'm usually busy doing family stuff-- or scrubbing something-- on the weekends, but I took some pictures of the progress I've made on my Positivity quilts to share today, so that's what I'm doing. Always good to have a plan, isn't it?

 You probably know by now that my friend Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts is running the Positivity Quilt Along to benefit Mercyful Quilts, which is overseen by my friend Bernie.  How could I not jump in and support some friends and contribute to a good cause? And I get to make a quilt, too, which is one of my favorite things to do.

You may recall that I had a problem with the first quilt I started, so I started a second one in case I couldn't figure out the first one. Doesn't everyone do that? Here is a small section of the second quilt:
It doesn't photograph really well because the colors are so soft (and I'm not a great photographer), but I think you get the idea. Here's a little bit better picture without so many shadows-- or flowers:
I've started to call this the Whisper quilt, because it's so quiet. I have all of the plus blocks made, and many of the alternate blocks. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that I changed the alternate blocks. I had planned to use this block in the first quilt, but am not using it now, so why not use it here? I like the trail it makes better than the first alternate block I showed. 

As for the second quilt, which is the first one I started, I think I've worked out what to do with that problem child. Here is a small section of that quilt:

For this one, I abandoned the idea of alternate blocks and used a sashing and cornerstone instead. This meant I had to make more plus blocks, and that meant that I really had to squeeze the fabric and get every little bit out of it. I just have a few more blocks to stitch together, and I think we're going to make it-- but only by a little bit!

I really like the "block" formed by the corners of the blocks and the cornerstones, and I think it makes a nice overall look for the quilt.

If you'd like to make this layout, you'll need to make 30 blocks and then sash them with 20 cornerstones, then also add a border to make it the proper size. In my diagram above, all of the grid squares equal 2 inches finished, so I think you can figure out the rest of the cutting and whatnot from there.

So, that's the progress I've made so far on my Positivity quilts. The blocks are really easy, and there is plenty of time to jump in, so consider making a quilt and joining in the quilt along. There is a lot of information--including something like a dozen possible layouts-- over on Preeti's blog, so you can get started right away. And did I mention that there are prizes? Yep, Preeti has lined up some great sponsors, so you may get something more than a warm feeling from making this quilt!

Hope you all are making progress on your quilts,  and thanks to Preeti and Bernie for the fun quiltalong. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Sharing with the Positivity linkup at Needle and Foot.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Block building

 Hello all! How is your life going this week? We went on a small trip last weekend, which was fantastic, and we came back just in time for some thunderstorms that brought a lot of cooler weather with them. It feels so great outside! Plus, the cicadas are almost all gone. They left quite some mess behind, but at least they aren't dive-bombing me any more.

With all of that, I did make some progress on projects so far this week. A little while ago I pulled out an old project that I called "old and new" and I've started working on it again. Here are some of the blocks I made over the last few days:
I'm not so sure about the colors for that block on the left, but it's staying. These blocks all finish at 6 inches, so yep, those hsts are only one inch square.  They took some time, but they really were fun to work on. I always think, "oh, that won't take long," and it takes forever to make. You would think a mini block would be quick, but no. Obviously these are all traditional blocks, just in a small size. I love the middle one, which is called Broken Windows.
Here are all the blocks for the project so far:

I really like it and think it's going to be lovely when finished. I have one problem, though-- I need more fabric. I don't know about you, but somehow I went through a *lot* of fabric over the last few months. My stash is looking really pathetic right now. I do like that it's small, but not this small. I guess I'll have to go shopping or something, don't you think?

I also made the next step for the Laundry Basket "mystery" quilt that I've been working on:

It happens that I overbought flowers, and now I need to find a place for those yellow ones. I wonder if deer eat them? The blue blocks are really pretty, though, aren't they? I didn't get a progress picture, but I only have three steps left to go on the mystery before I decide what to do about borders.
Also waiting for me when we got home was my gift from Sarah for the Hands to Help challenge:
This is great-- another block book! Thanks so much! More things to drool over and dream about.
Finally for today-- I've added a widget to the sidebar for you to sign up to get posts by email. >>>>> Just about everyone knows by now that the one we've been using for emailing posts is going away, and a lot of people have already stopped getting emails. I was shocked and humbled to find that there were almost 1500 people signed up through that service to get emails from this blog! Thanks! I didn't feel comfortable importing your email addresses into a new service, so please take a moment and do that yourselves.

The new widget is, and Sarah has a whole post about it HERE. I'll just second everything she said. The ads are not my fault. I did sign up for a couple of different services to test them out (because I got posts by email, too) and the one I liked best was Bloglovin'. I found somewhat difficult to figure out, long on flashy graphics and short on details. Feedly I didn't really like at all, mainly because I would like to filter my own content, thank you very much. I don't want artificial intelligence doing it for me. Bloglovin' was much "quieter," though it does have ads, and I signed up to get everything in just one email a day, so sometimes I will not see a post until the next day if it posts later. So, I've deleted everything else and kept Bloglovin' and it's actually turning out pretty well.

Probably more than you wanted to know! I actually could have written a whole post about this, but try them out yourselves and choose what works for you. And thanks for following along on my misadventures, too!

Sharing at Midweek Makers.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Purple morning

 Hello, all, and happy weekend! How was your week? I had a really productive week, and we got our furnace and ductwork cleaned on top of that. The furnace people said that the ductwork had never been cleaned, and the house is more than 60 years old, plus we've had a bunch of work done, so I expect it to be much less dusty now. If that means less cleaning for me, I am all for it.

Last year I started making fabric baskets to hold my scraps as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project, but I got sidetracked when everything got so stressful (for some odd reason), so this year I'm trying to catch up with the colors I missed. I skipped purple, and those poor scraps have had to hang out in a plastic bin with the lid coming off ever since. It's purple's turn in the RSC again, so I made up that scrap basket this week:
The fact that this year's petunias are purple is a complete coincidence! I think the basket is cute, with all those strange angles and whatnot. This basket started with a leftover triangle, so much of it turned out to be diagonal after everything was folded and stitched and everything. I put it together quilt as you go, and I think it turned out just fine. And it's half full of scraps already! I've never measured the finished basket, but the scrap slab that becomes the basket measures about 18 by 24.
I also made some of the little 16-patches for a different RSC project:

Why do mini blocks also look so cute? These look a little washed out, but they really are lavender. I may not make any darker purples. I haven't decided yet. I haven't kept up with this one very well, which is too bad because they are so easy and turn out well. These are made from 1-1/2 inch squares, which I have a large bin full of, so I really should get on that.

And that's the purple report from here! There are still plenty of purple scraps, so stay tuned for more purple goodness. Hope you all are having a good weekend with something fun planned. We're having more rain, but I do have some fun planned, right after I do all those fun errands we all have. Always more exciting in the rain! 

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC21.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A second dose of positivity

 Hi everyone! How is your week going? I am happy to tell you that the noise from the cicadas is fading. It's fading because they're all done with their life cycle and are now dying in droves. The front walk looks like the site of a massacre. We keep using the leaf blower to clear it because the crunchiness when you go out to the mailbox is really disconcerting, and using a broom is just icky.

Other than that. . .well, I started another quilt, and it turned out to be another positivity quilt for Preeti's quilt along. I had some trouble with the first one, so it had to go into time out for a little bit while I figured out what to do with it, and in the mean time, I cut out another quilt. Here are the blocks for the second quilt:

Okay, that's only two, but I've now made 10 of the plusses and some of the alternate blocks, too. I wanted a very calm quilt, so I chose this piece of pale blue and paired it with some very old, but still pretty, beige. I think it's very serene and will be a nice, calming quilt for a palliative care patient. 

Looking at it, I thought the blue with the beige would be a *lot* of beige, and the plusses would kind of get lost, so I decided to add an alternate block in a slightly different blue as well:
An alternate block was always my plan, and I chose this one just because it adds more color into the quilt but still keeps everything very calm, with nothing really jarring. When I look at the pictures, the alternate block looks much larger than the plus block, but that's some kind of photographic trick, because they are exactly the same size. 

Fun fact: if you want to use an alternate block, you only need to make half the number of each block. If you check out my diagram, you'll see that I'm making 18 plus blocks and 17 alternate blocks. This fits my fabric really well, and I'll add borders to bring it up to the right size. Fun fact number 2: all of the blocks from the Squared Away sampler finish at 10 inches, the exact size needed for alternate blocks. Check them out!

As for the first quilt, I had to abandon the brown. I really liked how the blocks looked individually, but once I put them together with the alternate blocks, it was waaaay too dark. And somewhat depressing. A failed idea! The only thing to do was start over, but I really wanted to use the red fabric and others I chose, so out came the seam ripper. I'm ending up with these for the plus blocks:

Not sure what to do about the alternate blocks right now. I still want it to be "woodsy," but some of my original fabric won't work with the new background. So, the plus blocks are getting made, but the alternate blocks are still in time out. A little bit of a problem child, this one!

Hope you all are having a really good week and coming along on the quilt along, or your other projects. There are many other irons in the fire here, but for now I think I'll make some lunch and get back to stitching. I have a lot more blocks to make! And work to do, but that's a different story. . .

Sharing at Midweek Makers.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Sunshine in the rain

 Hi everyone! I don't know about you, but we have started to get out and about some more, but not quite normal yet, and this week we traveled to our nephew's high school graduation. They held it in person! In a cicada-free area of the country, too. It was a bit like a family reunion, and most of us spent some time sobbing over lost time. It was so great to see my sister and niece and nephew, and my parents were there, and some siblings, too. And J. got safely graduated and is off to college soon, which was our whole reason for getting together. A great time was had by all. And did I mention the absence of big ugly bugs?

On the home front, I have been making really good progress on the quilt tops that are hanging in the closet, and today there is another one finished. Hurray! I have four others in various stages, but here is today's:
I've tried taking pictures during what they call "the golden hour," but it is so, so not working for me. Too many weird shadows. Plus we have had rain, so it's quite damp and I have to run between the raindrops to get decent photos. Can you see those threatening clouds at the top of the picture? Here is the quilt with fewer shadows:

That's a bit better. If you look closely, you can see some of the different blues in the setting triangles. This quilt was made in 2018 and 2019 and is from the Community Sampler offered by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. The flimsy was done in February of 2019, so I think it has aged properly. I just checked and the patterns are all still available, and there are a few other free quilt alongs still listed, too, so you could make this quilt yourself.
The centerpiece of this quilt for me is the yellow fabric with roses, which is in several of the blocks. This might be my favorite fabric ever, and I only had a fat quarter of it, which was all used up in this quilt. There might be one tiny square left, but the rest of it was used up, which makes this a special quilt for me. I named it Hope for Spring, and I think the name still fits, even if it is summertime now.

As much as I love the front of the quilt, I also love the back! The backing is a bird print in a perfect blue color, which Diane the quilter was kind enough to run vertically. I know that sometimes this doesn't work, and I would have been okay if the birds had gone sideways, but this time it worked out. I auditioned several different colors for the binding, but went with this bright (but not too bright) green. I think it worked out, too.

The shadows make the quilting really apparent, but just for the record, this was quilted up in a pattern called loose leaf. I love this pattern because it's curvy and loose, which makes the quilt extra cuddly. This is important, because I am keeping this quilt for me. Yep, it's mine! I have plenty of other quilts, but this one is sure to become a favorite once the gray and cold makes its inevitable return.

So there is another bright and happy quilt, all done and out of the closet. Hurray! Speaking of getting quilts out of the closet. . .did you know that our friend Preeti has launched an Etsy shop with some real beauties for sale? You can find it HERE. Even if you aren't buying anything, it will certainly bring a smile to your face!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. After the excitement of the last week, I think we're going to hang out here and do housekeeping-type things. That bathroom floor isn't going to scrub itself, after all. I went back and read my post about the flimsy, too, which mentions brownies, so I think I also feel inspired to make a pan of those. Maybe lemon ones! Perfect for a rainy weekend. Hope you enjoy your weekend, too!

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

Friday, June 4, 2021

Small comforts

 Hello all! If you are familiar with the Hands to Help challenge over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, you know that this year's challenge is ending. I think this is the first time in a while that I have all the donation quilts finished by the end of the challenge. Yay me! I showed the two smaller quilts that I made for the challenge HERE, and today I have two (slightly) larger quilts that I've also finished:

The light has been really weird because we've had so much rain lately, and please ignore the fact that the deck floor still needs staining. It rained again before I could get to it! These two quilts are going off to Little Lambs for this year's challenge. Quilting these was super easy and I think they turned out great. 

I made the hippo quilt as part of the Stay at Home Round Robin, hosted by Quilting Gail, earlier this year. I straight-line quilted it in four different directions, with lines that are just about equal distance apart. There may be a few bobbles, but no one but me will notice. The happy hippo got a fun, bright, and busy backing, too, which should hide any mistakes:

Quilting your own quilts does make you confront the mistakes you make in piecing, and sometimes you-- or I, really-- make mistakes in the quilting, too. I decided to quilt the hippo center in a cross hatch, and this was a mistake, I think. It's too dense and makes the hippo a little flatter than the rest of the quilt:

I might take out a few lines of quilting there, but I'm afraid to ruin it with the seam ripper. We'll see how it looks when it comes out of the wash. After quilting, this little quilt turned out about 37 by 40, which is perfect for a child.

The second quilt is a double nine-patch that was made last year and just quilted up for donation now.  I quilted this with the walking foot as well, in a cross hatch with a bright green thread that turned out to be perfect for the quilt. It is so soft and cuddly!

Since the animal print on the front is so dark, this little quilt got a bright and happy polka dot backing and a snappy green binding. That makes it pretty green, but I think it works. And who could resist a quilt that includes this adorable sloth?
This quilt finished off at just about 43 by 43, another perfect size. These two comfort quilts will be off as soon as they come out of the dryer. I never know whether to wash donation quilts, but I took these outside and it was pretty wet, so it seems like the best idea. Who wants to give a child a quilt that might be dirty? Not me!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Looks like it will be sunny and hot here, so it's indoor stuff for us. Hey, restaurants are indoors, aren't they? Maybe time to check those out again!

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

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Brown plus red plus progress

 Hi everyone! How is the beginning of summer around your place? This weekend I stained the small deck off my bedroom. Only two cicadas landed on me, which means I only got huge wipes of stain where I screamed and swatted them away with the brush on one arm. I didn't even spill the stain, as freaked out as I was. This is a major win for me. I still have to do the floor, but the new planters have been screwed into the deck and there are flowers in there! It's very exciting.

You may have heard that my friend Preeti is hosting the Positivity Quilt Along, which is a nice and relaxed QAL that doesn't end until just before Labor Day. It is completely free and Preeti has already shared the patterns and more than a dozen different layouts and the fabric requirements for each. The goal is to create charity quilts, many of which will go to Mercyful Quilts, but all worthy causes are fine. (Jump over to Preeti's for more information and inspiration!) You knew I would jump in, so here are my starter blocks:
Why is that photo so weird? The blocks are brown, with a red print plus sign. I wanted to make a quilt that felt more neutral, for a man or for someone non-binary, or really anyone who would like something with some darker colors. I had some fabric that I wanted to use, but (as usual) I didn't have enough to make a whole quilt just from that fabric. I added the brown and drew myself up a new layout, moving some of the colors around, and I'm pretty happy with how it's starting to look. Here are the fabrics I'm using for the quilt:
I know what you're thinking-- those are too many fabrics for the quilt! Not to worry! I have a plan, and it's going to turn out pretty great. 

To make my blocks, I've been strip piecing, which has made it all go really quickly. If you're not using scraps, you can save yourself quite a lot of time by strip piecing:
The colors in the picture above are much closer to the real colors of the blocks. I think the green grass in the top picture threw everything off. I would have hung them on a tree for a better shot, but you know-- big ugly bugs.

So there's the beginning of my Positivity quilt! It doesn't look like much now, but it will soon. And in that same vein, here is my progress on the Edyta Sitar mystery quilt

I'm up to step 7 of 12, and it's starting to look like a real quilt top. I've really enjoyed working on this, and I hope to finish off the piecing really soon. Laying out the grid as it is in the pattern and filling it in as I go has been really motivating. I may do this with other patterns, because it really does keep me going to see all the progress. 
One last thing before I wrap this up: my friend Bernie is retiring and closing her Etsy fabric shop. Sadness for us, but great for Bernie, who will get a lot more Grammy-time. She is having a big sale on everything, so hop on over if you need some fabric, and who doesn't? 
Hope you all are having a wonderful and positive week and making lots of progress, and that you find some treasures over at Bernie's shop. Happy stitching!

Sharing at Midweek Makers.