Saturday, October 30, 2021

Cactus Flower in the rain

 Hello all! So, I tried and tried and tried to get pictures of today's quilt so that I could post it on Friday, but would the weather cooperate? No, it would not. It has been raining for days, and yesterday was incredibly wet. It just would not stop, and it's still drippy and gloomy this morning. Nothing you want to take a quilt outside in. Some coastal areas in Maryland flooded, and you should have seen the little stream at the back of our property. It turned into a lake!
So, I didn't get pictures until just now, and they're damp. Ah, well, it's still a good-looking quilt top, however damp it is:
Hurray, it's a picture! This is the completed top made from the Saguaro blocks (pattern HERE) that I've been working on for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at soscrappy, and I am so, so happy to have it finished. This means that I have finished off two whole quilt tops from the RSC this year!

You might notice that this top does not contain all of the colors in the RSC. Here's the thing-- I pulled the blocks out and put them up on the wall, fully intending to make some orange blocks and then maybe a few others to fill out the quilt top, and then suddenly, I just didn't want to. I love stitching, and I love when a quilt is finished, but I just didn't want to make any more blocks. Do you ever feel that way? I think it turned out well even without a few of the colors, and I like the overall vibe.

Anyway, I counted and I had 25 blocks, which would make a nice quilt in a good size. I don't really go for square quilts, but I didn't want to either make more blocks or leave one out, so a square quilt it was. This finished at just about 66 by 66, which is bigger than I thought it would be, so I'm happy. And really, does this look like a rainbow quilt?
One pattern change that I made was to add some more of my scraps to the big blank areas. Putting the blocks together left big empty white spaces, so I used some of my prints-on-white scraps to make stitch and flip corners that came together in the centers. This broke up the big spaces and used more scraps. Hurray for that, because I never know what to do with those prints.
The pattern doesn't call for a border, but I felt that the quilt looked unfinished without one, so I auditioned a bunch of different fabrics and landed on this one. Are you surprised? I was! I would not have picked this in a hundred years, but I think it looks great with this quilt, kind of like a frame.

So, one more quilt top in the win column! I finished two RSC quilt tops this year, and I feel like that's a good RSC year. I still have far too many scraps, but I do have a plan for next year, and it involves very complex calculations, lots of math, and drawings. . .just kidding, of course! Still thinking about next year.

I admit I took this picture just to show the trees in the background. It's raining, but that makes them look so good!

Everyone have a wonderful weekend! I hope it is drier where you are than where I am! 

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC21, and also Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup on Sunday.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Quilted violets

 Hi everyone! Has fall come to your house yet? Astoundingly, most of our trees are still green, though there do seem to be a lot of leaves on the ground. No really pretty colors, though. We're having some landscaping done, and the landscaper tells me there is still time this year to grow new grass. I'm quite skeptical, because it's almost November, for heaven's sake. How can it still be 80 degrees?

Ah, well. I suppose it will get here when it gets here, right? Kind of like quilts-- sometimes they have to age just right before they can be finished. I've been making really good progress on getting my older quilt tops quilted up and out of the closet, and some of them have been there for quite a while. Thankfully, this one aged a little bit faster, and I finished it off this week. Here she is:
Hurray, hurray! This is my version of a Bonnie Hunter quilt called En Provence (you can get the real pattern HERE.) I call mine Violettes because it's definitely not the quilt Bonnie designed, and because the greens and purples bring some pretty flowers to mind. I finished the top (after almost 3-1/2 years) back in May, and I quilted it a little bit ago. 

I actually used this quilt top to learn to use pantos on the longarm, and I think I did okay with it. I had to use their teaching panto, which I really didn't like, but I used a dusty green thread so it blended really well. And now I can use my own choice of pantos, so it turned out well!

I love the backing on this quilt and would really like to use it again, I got it from Connecting Threads, which always has a load of wide backings, though this one seems to be sold out at the moment. I love how the green complements the front piecing. I intended to use the bright pink for a binding, but I didn't have enough of it, so I used an old green that has touches of bright pink. It's not what I intended, but I think it works just fine.

This quilt finished at about 60 by 70 and it already has a special destination. Two days before Christmas last year, my aunt Phyllis died in hospice, amd I'm donating this quilt to Mercyful quilts in her memory. She was 86, a cancer survivor, and quite ill. Hospice meant she didn't have to suffer more than necessary, and our whole family is grateful. The people at the quilt shop were amazed that this is a "donation quilt," but everyone deserves beauty and comfort, especially at the end. 

So, that was a downer, but the quilt is not, and I hope it brings someone comfort. I hope you all have a lovely weekend with some comfort, too! Do you think it's too soon to break out the hot chocolate, or should I stick with some brownies until it's colder? Decisions, decisions!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About your Beauties, Finished or not Friday, and the Patchwork and Quilts party on Sunday.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Twisting and turning

 Hi everyone! How are you all? Thanks so much for your good wishes about my foot last week. It is doing much, much better, thanks. Turns out that if you actually sit down and put your feet up like you're supposed to, your foot gets better. Who knew?

So I was able to get down to the sewing room this week, and while I was down there, I finished piecing together the Snail's Trail quilt top. Yay me! Here she is:
Yahoo! If you recall, this top is made entirely of scraps from my very full blue and neutral scrap bins. Unbelievably, even with all the fabric that this top took to make, the scrap bins seem to be just as full as ever. I used a whole bunch of different neutrals, and I used the dark and medium-ish blues. I still have a bunch of light blues to use up and am going to need a few good ideas for that project.

The Snail's Trail blocks look really intricate, but they are very easy to piece. I borrowed an Accuquilt die from a friend to do most of the cutting, then added a last round to make the blocks bigger with some more cutting. The die cutting made things really easy, and it all went together really well. The borders are strings left over from cutting the block pieces. Hey, it worked and it used up a bunch more scraps! The final outer border is the leftover pieces from trimming the backing on another quilt. They were long and skinny and found a good home here. I plan to use a scrappy blue binding to finish everything off.

I thought I was super lucky while I was making the blocks, because there is no matching to be done. Then I started stitching them together into rows and holy cow, those points are zero fun to match. Don't look too closely, because a lot of them don't match up. I gave up after a while, and it's a scrap quilt anyway, so there's a few places where I should have gone back and ripped out the seam and restitched it, but I just didn't.
For this quilt, my only real concern in assembling both the blocks and the final quilt top is that I didn't want any of the same fabrics touching each other. Amazingly, I think I managed that, which I think means that each of the blocks has scraps of at least 20 different fabrics in it. I was able to use up a bunch of little pieces, and the only trouble I really had was the larger outside pieces. Most of my scraps are actually small, so finding big enough scraps for the outer pieces was a bit difficult. There are a couple where the grainlines aren't what they should be, but I won't tell if you won't.

So there we are, another finished top, and a bunch of scraps turned into a quilt. Hurray! Now, what should I do with those light blues? 

Have a wonderful weekend, and if you have any good ideas for the lights, let me know! I'll be resting my foot again this weekend, which is just my way of saying that I'll be reading on the sofa. It's a good excuse!


Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, Oh Scrap! and the Patchwork and Quilts party.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Masala baby

 (There is a giveaway at the bottom of this post for those who are interested!) 

Hi everyone! Odd to hear from me on a Monday, I know, but my friend Preeti has a new pattern that I tested for her, and it's my pleasure to share it with you today. The pattern is called Masala Box, and it makes a very fast and easy quilt that turns out to be striking no matter what colors you make it in. I made the baby size, because I knew it would be a donation quilt, and had a good time creating it. Take a look:

I told you it was striking! It's kind of modern and kind of traditional, with no difficult piecing. I like to think it looks vaguely Caribbean in my colors, with some bright colors of the ocean, sky and sun. This bright little baby quilt measures about 40 by 40. For this size, you need less than a yard of the background and some colorful scraps, so it's a very economical quilt to make as well. You could easily dig every bit out of your scraps if you had some bigger pieces.

I backed this fun little quilt with a bright green polka dot, then quilted it with bright green thread using my walking foot. It's bound by machine with a bright turquoise solid. I goofed around and half watched a movie while I made this, and it still only took me an afternoon, with quilting the next afternoon. Not bad for a whole little quilt.

I made my quilt with individual squares, which cleaned out a lot of them, but the pattern is strip pieced, so it's much easier than the one I made. As I said above, the quilt looks great in almost any colors, and I bet it would look terrific with a really wild background print and solid squares, or in all neutrals. The centers could also be used for embroidery or thread painting, or you could have people write messages there, for a wedding, graduation, or quinceanera quilt. (Why can't I get a tilde so that's spelled correctly? Anyone know how to insert those letters on Blogger?)

You can purchase the pattern in Preeti's Etsy shop and start making your quilt right away, but here's your chance to win a pattern, with no effort other than leaving me a comment! Leave a comment below, and just for fun, let me know what color combo you think would look good in this pattern. What colors would you make it in, or for what occasion? I will use the random number generator thingy to choose a random winner the morning of  Saturday, October 16th. 
The giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Connie, and thanks to all!

Hope you all have a good week, with lots of sewing time and some other kinds of relaxation. I'll be teaching all week, and finishing the border on another quilt. Come back Friday for another exciting episode!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Positively finished

 Hello everyone, and happy weekend! So, late last week I was walking across campus, along a new sidewalk, when I kind of fell off the sidewalk. There was a trench of sorts next to the concrete, where they hadn't filled in with dirt yet, and my ankle turned right to the side, exactly the wrong way. Funnily enough, it didn't hurt right away, but later it ballooned up, and it hurt like crazy. The good news is-- soft tissue injury, like a bad sprain. Not broken! The bad news is that it still hurts like crazy.

So, could I make my way down to my sewing room? No, I could not. Luckily, I only had to trim and bind the second quilt that I quilted up last time, so I could give good directions for bringing up an old machine and locating my already-made binding. Best hubby ever, really, even if he has no idea how a sewing machine works. (Hint: you must have the foot pedal for the machine to work.)

But once everything was set up in the dining room, success! Here's that finished quilt:
Hurray, hurray! This is the second Positivity quilt, all quilted and even bound and ready to go off to Bernie. (Pictures by me, quilt positioning by my weird helper. Teamwork makes the dream work!)
I made this top as part of the Positivity quilt along, then missed the deadline because I wanted to quilt this on the longarm. It was so much easier! I just made somewhat wavy lines across the quilt with a deep tan thread. Lorna is the master of this, and I keep trying to make mine look good, but these look okay, and the quilt is quite cuddly. The design of the quilt is the star, after all. Right?
The backing is a lovely warm tan with a small paisley print, which I got from Bernie's shop. It turned out to be a fantastic backing which doesn't compete with the front. You can see in this photo that I ran out of the main background print, so I used a different print for the four corners. I think it works fine, and it doesn't compete, either.
I wanted this quilt to be neutral, for a man or for someone non-binary, or for any outdoorsy kind of person. I think I accomplished that and that it turned out great. It will be a nice comfort to someone who likes the colors. I've been calling this quilt "Woodsy" in my head, but I don't want to officially give it a name. I wouldn't want to get attached!

The quilt came out of the washer and dryer looking terrific and is now packed and ready to send off to Bernie for Mercyful quilts. It used up all of those old fabrics clogging my stash, and will get sent as soon as I can hobble off to UPS. That could take a few days, but it will get there.

As luck would have it, this weekend is our anniversary, so I'm looking forward to lazing around and resting my ankle, and also having some very tasty takeout while we watch a movie. Sounds awesome to me! Hope your weekend is just as fun and relaxing! 

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Brag About your Beauties, TGIFF, and the Patchwork and Quilts party.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Circling the squares

Hi everyone! I can't believe it's October, can you? The weather has definitely taken a cooler turn, which is nice, but we have no turning leaves yet.  We do have leaves all over, though, because our neighbors had some gigantic trees taken down over the last couple of days. When I say gigantic, I mean really, really tall. They brought in cranes and everything. It was quite the project.
I had a project, too, though it did not involve cranes or leaves, and only a tiny bit of drama. And it turned out much prettier than a pile of branches and sticks! Here she is:
Like I said, prettier than a pile of sticks! This is my second hollow 9-patches quilt, made from scrap squares for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I made the top in the "before times," in 2019, which seems like so long ago, doesn't it? If only we had known what was coming. . .
I am so happy with this quilt, and not just because it's so bright and cheerful. I rented free time (not lessons) on the longarm and quilted this up myself. (I also quilted another one at the same time, but that will have to wait just a bit for its debut.) As always, it was more fun than a box full of scraps, and I came home with a finished quilt, which is just the best.
Look at those great colors! I tried to quilt this all over with circles in various sizes, but some of them are more circle-ish or only suggestions of circles, more like ovals, really. Some of them overlap a bit, but most of them are separate. I had a little trouble in a couple of spots, since I quilted myself into a corner, so to speak, and had to make some very, very small circles to back myself out of it. But that's why we use blendy thread colors, right? Since this was my first shot at making circles, I feel pretty okay about how they turned out. If nothing else, it makes a nice texture.
When I was quilting this, there was another quilter using the other machine, and we spent some time admiring each other's quilts and encouraging each other. It was great! When I was feeling bad about my flat circles, she picked me up, and when she had to rip some backing that had folded over and gotten quilted in, I commiserated. I can't even tell you how good it felt to be with a kindred spirit. Plus, it helps to know that I'm not the only one who screws up when stitching. 
Every bit of this quilt except the backing is a scrap, including the binding. The backing is a really pretty gray and white print that I bought for something else, but that didn't work out too well, so it was available for this quilt. I know, I actually bought gray and white fabric, but like I said, it didn't work out!  
I am thrilled to have this one quilted up and out of the closet, and I am so, so pleased that I'm making so much progress in that area. I might be trying to make up for last year, when it feels like I got nothing done. Anyone else have that feeling? 
Hope you all have a lovely fall weekend, filled with fall-themed goodies. Is it cool enough for hot apple cider, or should I wait? How about pumpkin pie?  Maybe pumpkin donuts! Thoughts?
Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap, and soscrappy for RSC21.