Friday, July 30, 2021

The best-laid plans

 Hi everyone! Here we are at the last weekend in July. How is that even possible? This was a very productive week for us here at the AQ household. Last weekend we decided to take down the enormous mirror that took up an entire wall in our bathroom. Seriously, it was about 8 feet by 6 feet. Huge! If you've ever wanted to watch yourself shower, this was the mirror for you! We managed to get it down, in many, many pieces, only to discover that there really wasn't a wall behind it. They had put the mirror over some plywood and the very old built-in medicine cabinets.

Those of you who have done home improvements know where I'm going with this. One thing lead to another, and now we have completely re-done the bathroom. Yeah, we had a "good" time with wallboard and new lights, and new mirrors and rugs, and a shower surround, and everything else. I wish I could say that it was fun, but at least it's now over. It took forever!

All of this is leading up to this week's small finish, which I had planned to quilt this week, but did not get a chance to, what with all the scraping and sanding and whatnot. Here is my project:

Ah, it's luminous, is it not? I love these colors individually, and together they look even better! I started this project quite a while ago, and intended to make a full quilt from it, so I had plenty of fabric for the small borders. After it's quilted, I'll use the green that's in those little squares for the binding. I think that will be just right and really make the whole piece.
I did intend for this to be a full-size quilt, but, alas, it was not to be. The project went into a box when we moved, and it's only now come out. I still had dreams of a nice lap-sized quilt, but it was either make a smaller project, or keep it in the box. I made the (really hard) decision to make it into this small table topper or wall hanging instead of shutting it up in the box again. I've done a lot of repurposing this year, and I don't regret any of it, even though giving up on the bigger quilt was really difficult in this case.
I love this whole thing-- the blocks, the sashing, the colors, the fabrics-- and now at least I'll get to look at it every day, even if it isn't a full-size quilt. If you want to make the block yourself, the instructions are HERE. (It doesn't look like the same block, but it is! Color placement is everything.) I wish there was a pattern for the sashing, but I just made that up myself. You could try a piece from a Storm at Sea block, though, to get the same effect.

But I do regret not getting to quilt this piece this week! I really should have known better-- a mirror that size had to be covering up something. I do plan to quilt this little topper really soon, and I already have a quilting plan all drawn out, which is really unlike me. It might not be a big quilt, but it certainly will be a pretty one!

Hope you all have a really good weekend as we move into August. (August!) I know for sure we're not doing any home improvements this weekend because my niece will be here, and we will be showing her and her hubby all of the wonders of Baltimore. It should be fun! 

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

Saturday, July 24, 2021

A challenge in blue and purple

 Hello everyone, and welcome to another summer weekend. Aren't they great? This week I've seen people (okay, mainly fabric companies) busting out fall-themed projects, and I've wanted very much to tell them to stop it. Summer is short enough-- don't rush toward fall! I still have tons of ice cream to eat!

It's time for another check-in for my projects for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and I've done okay with the darker blue this month. Turns out I have a few that are actually kinda cute, which is a surprise to me. Here are my Saguaro blocks in darker blues:
Definitely not navy, but not too bad. I really like the floral. Also, are blueberries blue or purple? I couldn't decide, but I put them with the blues. Either way, they fit nicely into this quilt. You might notice that the "leaves" on the blueberry block are kind of brownish, but that's a batik that has a lot of green in it, and that's just the way those hsts turned out. Sometimes fabric is like that.

I also made the last of the purples, so here are those three blocks:
I like them! Where else could I have used that grape fabric? I have no idea where I got it, but it has been kicking around here for quite a while.

So now we're getting to the stage where I'm starting to think about putting some blocks together and what the final quilt is going to look like. I threw some of the blocks into the design wall, just to see:
I like them and think they'll make a great quilt, but does anyone else think there is a lot of white space there? In the pattern there are a lot of different backgrounds, so it's not as noticeable, but mine are all white and I think it might look a little bland. I thought about using stitch and flip corners on the the blocks to mitigate some of the white space:
What do you think? Is it too distracting? Does it look too much like a bullseye? I think I like it, but do I want all green, like the "leaves," or multicolors? Or maybe I want a sashing and cornerstones instead! That could make an alternate block on it's own if I do it correctly. Decisions, decisions. . .

Fun things to ponder! Hope you have a lovely summer weekend with lots of sunshine and ice cream. We are going to try to take down a massive (8 feet by 6 feet) mirror in the bathroom. I'm tired of watching myself shower. Wish us luck! 

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC 21.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

A very pink week

 Hi all! How's it going? We are hot and humid, but, you know, it's July. Have to expect that, right?  Break out the popsicles and ice cream, because hot food is out of the question right now.

I've been working on a couple of things this week, and it turns out there's kind of a pink theme happening right now. First up are the latest of the "old and new" blocks:
I didn't set out to make three coral blocks, but that's how it worked out. Sometimes it's like that, right? I love these blocks, and now I understand why the modern blocks are so popular. They are so much faster to make than the traditional blocks. I think the traditional blocks are worth it, though, especially when they turn out so pretty.  The block on the left is actually a block from a Civil War sampler, if you can believe it. So much prettier in coral and green than gray and blue!

While I'm thinking of it, if you happen to know the fabric line or designer of the fabric above, could you please let me know?  I messed up and used that fabric for a different quilt, and now I only have a few scraps and I need some more of it. I know it's a long shot, but maybe one of you will recognize it. 

In other pink news. . .Lynne over at Patchery Menagerie has been making herself a luscious pink quilt, and that inspired me to pull out these leftover magenta pieces:

These are left over from a Bonnie Hunter quilt that I finished in a different way from the pattern. If I use four of these per block, I have enough already assembled for 16 blocks, and enough pieces cut for a total of 24 blocks. My real dilemma is how to put them together. As I see it, there are two options:

I like them both, which makes it difficult to choose. The four patches are also leftovers, so I thought I might go ahead and use them here, too. It feels like there are hundreds of them, and they have to get used somewhere! For the stars, I'm leaning to the ones on the right, if only because they'll fit better with some kind of alternate block. I haven't chosen that yet, but I feel like I have to figure the stars out first. One thing at a time! (Which doesn't seem to happen around here, actually. . .)

So, it's been a very pink week so far! I love pink, so that makes me plenty happy. Plus, here is a sneak peek of a non-pink project that I'm trying to finish up:
Yikes! There is embroidery involved with this one, and it's a bit too warm to hold on my lap, so it's going slowly. But it's thrilling to have it at this stage!

Hope you're all having a good week, with lots of air conditioning. Try not to melt, and pass those popsicles!

Sharing at Midweek Makers.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Peaceful blue vibes

 Hi all! How have you been, besides really hot? I had a great week, mainly because we spent most of it with family, including both my parents and my grandkids. It was my dad's Covid-postponed big birthday bash, and it was a blast! A lot of us in this now-extended family were able to get there, and it was just great to be together. There may have been some tears, and not just from the teething one-year-old. The best part for me was getting to see my grandkids interacting with my parents, and listening to the five-year-old tell my dad all about his trip to the haircut store (which he loves.) We all had the best time.

We got home to find a pile of mail that was postmarked in December. (I am not joking.) Thanks for the Christmas cards, folks! I also got back to today's finished quilt top. I meant to take pictures before we left, but it didn't happen. Oh, well! That's what Friday mornings are for, right?  Here is a nice cool blue quilt top for those of you who are really warm right now:
Yahoo! This is my first quilt top for the Positivity Quilt Along, and this quilt is destined for Mercyful Quilts. You know I had to do something different from everyone else, so I set mine with alternate blocks and added borders. I kept it all monochrome so that it would feel peaceful and calm, and I'm happy with how it looks.
To tell the truth, I think the borders really make this quilt. When I finished the quilt center I was really in despair because it was just so bland. Not peaceful and calm, just blah. I added a pale blue narrow inner border and a wider outer border in a deeper blue and it came alive. I was so relieved!
This quilt used up a couple of pieces that have been kicking around here for a really long time. Every last bit of the primary beige in the quilt top got used, and I even had to piece the very last large square. All of the beige in the alternate blocks also got used up, and if you look really closely you'll see that there are four alternate blocks that use a different beige. I ran out of the first fabric and had to improvise. Nothing to be done, and it still looks good. Most of the two blues were also used up.

I've ordered a pale blue backing for this quilt, and I really need to have it finished before mid-August if I have any hope of making Preeti's deadline. I think the only way to quilt this is with a crosshatch that follows the chains in the alternate blocks. Thank goodness, because I am pretty sure I can handle that!

Hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to a great weekend. It's nice to be home, but I have more laundry to do,  and I'd better hit the grocery store because I'm pretty sure we'll want to eat sometime in the next 24 hours. Then there is that second Mercy quilt, which is calling my name, along with sixty more things. . .it never ends. Not that I want it to! Happy stitching, and I hope you all are having happy reunions, too.

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

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Chain links

Hi everyone, and happy weekend! I hope you all had a lovely week. I was mostly inside, because it is hot and rainy, but I did get a lot of things done. After almost two years, the house is finally starting to feel like home. Once I get the hallway done, I think I'll be finished with home improvements for a while. Until I get sick of something else and absolutely have to change it or paint it, that is.

Since I wanted desperately to stay in the air conditioning, I made some progress on the Color Chain quilt that I'm working on for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This month's color is a darker blue, which we all know is not my favorite color. How about some medium-ish blues instead? Here we go:

These blocks are super easy to make, but my real surprise was how many blue bits I actually have.  Since I cleaned up and sorted out the scraps that were in various baskets, I discovered quite a bit of blue. I'm going to need a plan for that, but for now these blocks will have to do.
For last month, I had made two lonely purples:
I don't know why there are only two instead of three, but I must have gotten distracted. That's easy to fix, though. I have a whole bunch of purple to use up.

Finally, I also finished up the red chain blocks that I also got too distracted to finish:
Very cheery, aren't they? Red is a perfect color for midsummer, and none of the flowers have dried up yet. I love having the pots up on the railing. I can see them from inside and they always make me happy.

In a crazy moment between rain showers, I took all of the blocks out to the rustic stone patio we have and laid them out:

It was very sweaty, but worth it. They look so great! It will be a cheerful quilt for sure. I only need ten more blocks to finish this up.. Not sure how I'll lay them out yet, but it will definitely emphasize the chain. (If you'd like to make these blocks, there are instructions right HERE.)

So, there is my progress for a colorful chain quilt! I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the weekend. Today (Saturday) is my dad's 81st birthday, so there are some shenanigans sure to ensue, involving everyone, including great grandchildren. Looking forward to quite the time!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC21.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Blocks and flowers

Hello from the very warm East coast! I know it's July, and I know it's warmer in other places, but holy cow it's been warm here. I've been getting some things done in the house in order to stay out of the heat, like cleaning the kitchen cabinets, and ordering wallpaper for the hallway, and hanging up some more photos. Oh, and I did some sewing, too. A lot of it was boring stuff, like hemming pants and taking in a dress, but I did manage to move a couple of projects along. It always feels good to do that, doesn't it?

The main thing I've stitched away on was the old and new quilt. Here are some more blocks:
Sorry, I just love the flowers and had to get them into the picture! I do love samplers. Every block is a new challenge, and it's hard to get really bored because they're all different. These blocks will finish at six inches square, and are a mixture of modern blocks and traditional blocks from the many block books that I own. Eventually there will be at least 48 blocks, half modern and half traditional, and I'm nearly finished with the modern ones, as you can see:
I love these colors all together and I think it's going to be a really cool quilt. I have no idea what the layout will be, but it will be interesting to figure out! 

Other than the clothes I altered, which no one wants to see (really), I also made myself a small treat:

I think the context with my messy desk there tells you that this is a bulletin board! I spared you most of the mess by cropping out the teetering pile of paper on the side there, but this is my new "home office." I taught classes from this bedroom for a year, and now I've decided to keep it as a home workspace, though I sincerely pray that I'll never have to teach from here again. If I'm going to work here, it might as well be nice, right? I covered a piece of foam board with quilt batting, then covered that with a pretty but non-distracting piece of fabric. This is a piece of Spring Brook by Corey Yoder. I also got some of the yellows, but why use them on the wall?
I hope all of you are doing well and not melting or anything else in the weather extremes. I have a binding to put on a finished quilt, but I just can't bring myself to do it! Before I finish up, you all know that my friend Bernie is retiring and closing up her online fabric shop. She's now marked things down even more, so hop over and see if there isn't a treasure there that you can't live without. I'll bet you can!

Sharing at Midweek Makers. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Damp but full of joy

 Hi all! Has it cooled off where you are at all? We had several very hot days, including one where it reached 99 degrees, then we had a really big thunderstorm yesterday and it really cooled off. My husband and I call those "red storms" because of how they look on the radar, but this time red was our lucky color since it really is much nicer outside now. My brother, however, lives in Portland, Oregon, and he is baking, so I really do empathize with everyone in the heat. 

A good place to be in the heat is a nice cool sewing room, right? It was so hot that I went downstairs just to clean up that room. I sorted a whole bunch of scraps and felt very virtuous. And then I put a binding on another finished quilt. Yay me! Here is a new finished beauty:

 I love this quilt! I called it Joyful, because just look at it! Doesn't it scream "joy?" I'm sorry to say that I made this fun and happy quilt in 2017, and it has hung in the closet ever since. This is a shame, because it's just the kind of quilt you want to have around to look at and pick you up when you're a little down. I could have used this a few months ago.

I took the photos of this quilt this morning because I just finished the binding yesterday, and it rained and rained. This morning it was still really drippy in the trees where I usually take pictures, so I moved to the other side of our property, where there are fewer trees and we have the swingset. Why haven't I done this before? It was perfect for hanging the quilt and getting some really interesting pictures, plus I got to see some baby bunnies before they became hawk food. 

In my ongoing quest to clear out the unquilted tops in the closet, I finally sent this off to my friend Diane, who worked her magic using a stitching design called Cloud Nine. I love the design and think it really works on this square quilt. It gives it such great texture:
Every bit of this quilt is scraps, including, to my great surprise, the binding. I auditioned several bindings, including turquoise, pink, orange, and yellow, but none of them worked. 
What can I say? The quilt wants what the quilt wants, and this one wanted a scrappy binding. Thankfully, I have a jar where I keep all the binding ends from my quilts, and I used quite a few of those pieces in the binding here. I actually really like how it turned out, and now I have six yards of a really nice turquoise binding ready to go for some other lucky quilt. 
While we're looking, check out that backing! I bought this specifically for this quilt, which is something I seldom do, but who could resist? It's perfect for the quilt and makes the front of the quilt really shine. And it's also quite joyful!

When I made this quilt top, I started with the orphan block in the center and just kept adding rounds until I felt like it was done. The only goal was to use up scraps. Some of the rounds are things I hadn't done before, like the triangles and the arrangement of the geese. I learned something from each of the rounds, but I still like the geese the best. I think they turned out really cool-looking, and they were fun to make (not the case with most geese!)

So there is some reason for joy in my morning! I hope you all have lots of reasons to be joyful this weekend, and that everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day celebration. It feels so normal to say that! Happy Fourth of July, and I hope everyone overseas has a great weekend, too!
Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and Oh Scrap!