Friday, September 23, 2022

Radiating stars

 Hello everyone, and happy first real day of fall. The high today is supposed to be below 70 degrees, so I guess someone remembered to flip the switch to make things cooler. I noticed on my way home the other day that there are some trees that are definitely changing color already. Can raking be far behind? 

The family crisis continues, and so does my heavy heart, but it has motivated me to clean the sewing room and pull out a few things. The hubster wishes it would motivate me to install a new mantel for the fireplace, but I'm not that desperate yet. I was poking around in the sewing room closet and found a container of blocks, so I put them together really quick:

It was very windy when I was taking pictures! I tried to get a full picture with everything straight, but it was not happening. I made these blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge in 2020, but somehow never put them together. I think I intended to make more, or add some colors or something, but it was 2020, the nightmare year, and it didn't get done. But now they're saved, so yay!

There are a lot of ways to put these blocks together, and I played around and finally put them in this radiating design. I like it, and when it comes time to quilt it I think a spiral will work really nicely. I could change my mind, and probably will, but it's nice to have a plan for now. 
These are very simple blocks, just a colored square placed on a plain square and stitched into a flip triangle, but they make such a nice statement, don't they? And there are so many fun fabrics in here, even the darker ones that I don't usually use. I put all the blocks I had together, then added a bright aqua small border and a wider multicolored border. I think they work nicely with the blocks. 

This little quilt finished up at just about 43 by 53, which will be a nice toddler size. I should have made bigger blocks or many more of them, but I'm happy with the toddler size and the empty block box. I now have three empty block boxes or project boxes, so I really should take my temperature or something. Or maybe find a new project to fill them up?

Hope everyone is doing well and has a nice weekend planned. It's my birthday this weekend, so the hubs and I are planning to go hiking and spend the day in nature. Afterward there will be chocolate cake, so that's a happy day, right? Have a good weekend, all!

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique, and soscrappy for RSC22.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

A comfort quilt

 Hi all! Long time no see. Yes, the family crisis continues. It weighs heavily on my heart, but a friend reminded me that art can be therapeutic. I've really had no interest in anything fun, but I took her advice and found a project to work on, and darned if I didn't feel better afterward. Let's take a look, shall we?

After searching through and rejecting every project I had in progress (isn't it odd how that works?) I settled on quilting the easy donation quilt that I made for this year's Hands2Help. I did a crosshatch, which was simple and soothing. Here is the finished quilt:
Okay, that turned out a little better than expected. It's a weird time of year to take pictures, isn't it? The sun is in all the wrong places, and it's definitely getting dark a bit earlier every day. Time to find some new areas for photos, because my usual trees are too dark right now. And did you see that there are tons of leaves already on the ground? Yikes!

I quilted this in a simple crosshatch, which really is mindless and always looks good. I was going to add some more lines, but I had trouble with the little bar that fits on the walking foot, so I just didn't. The quilting lines are close enough for the batting, and it makes the quilt extra cozy and soft.

I used a variegated blue from Aurifil for the quilting, and it blended a lot better than I thought it would. The backing is some of the leftover gray polka dot that I used for the last quilt I did, and it turned out well, too. I have another baby quilt- sized piece of that backing left, so I'm sure it will end up in a quilt soon. 

This was a free pattern that I offered for Hands2Help, and you can find the pattern HERE. You'll notice that I added a small border around the whole quilt, which was really helpful when I put on the binding. You can see I didn't take as much care as I usually do, but after washing I think it will still be okay. I can always re-stitch it if I want to. Right now I feel like I need to let go of perfectionism, so it will probably stay.

This quilt actually gave me a lot of comfort while I was quilting it, so I plan to donate it to pass that comfort on. I'm sure someone will be happy to receive it, don't you think?

So, there we are! Everyone have a wonderful weekend, and hug your family when you can. I wonder what else I can find in the sewing room that would cheer me up? Maybe I'll see! Either way, I'll be visiting some blogs and enjoying your creations. I don't have the mental energy to comment, but I do love seeing everything!

Lego sunflowers in my office. The plant is fake, but cheery in a pot one of my kids painted many years ago.

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The end of summer

 Hi everyone. I hope you are all doing well. I kind of fell off the grid a bit, didn't I? We have been having a family crisis, so I haven't had much time to stitch lately, especially on top of classes starting, but I did want to pop in and show off the last of the quilts I finished this summer. I have been able to escape from the drama just a bit and stitch a few things, and I finally finished the binding on this cutie:
Well, I'm pretty down right now, but seeing this quilt finished is definitely cheery!  All along while I was quilting it and finishing it, I thought of it as "the end of summer quilt," but its real name is Synergy, a pattern from our friend Preeti at Sew Preeti Quilts.It's a fun and easy pattern, and you can get it right HERE.

I quilted this on my quilty "playdate" with a Baltimore friend, and I used a panto called Seamless from Urban Elementz to finish it off. This panto is really easy and a lot of fun to quilt. It's very swoopy and swirly. I love the texture that it makes, and the exercise I got while quilting it. It's a real arm workout!

For the backing, I used a nice quiet gray with white polka dots. The front has so much color that I couldn't see using something bright on the back as well. The binding was done by machine and is the same fabric as the pink background. I think it looks good! If you have sharp eyes, you'll also notice that I added a small border all around the quilt, mainly to keep all the seams from popping. It helped a lot when quilting it.

If you look at the background of the pictures, you'll see a bunch of fallen leaves already on the ground. Yikes! I think it's been such a hot and wet summer that the trees around here are stressed and losing their leaves already. There isn't a bunch of color yet, but a lot of the trees are starting to turn. Doesn't that seem pretty early to you? I could do with some cooler weather, but all these leaves are falling waaaay too early for me.

So, there is another cheerful quilt to wind up the summer. It's Labor Day weekend here in the US, so everybody take some time to hug your family and maybe have a barbecue or something, okay? I will be doing the same!

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Positively handsome

 Hi all! Every year I forget just how exhausting it is to get ready for a new academic year. How is this possible? I've done this a lot of times, so I should know by now, but somehow, I always leave things for the last minute. This is what I've been doing all week instead of sewing or literally any other fun stuff. I know you'll all understand when I say that I really need more summer. Come back, summer! We need more rest in the sunshine!

Ah, well. I've been trying to finish up the summer quilts, and today is the day for the beauty shots of this year's Positivity quilt. Here is the handsome fellow himself:

Pretty good looking, huh? I quilted this one in a nice meander in a medium beige thread and it is so, so soft. The very definition of a comfort quilt, really.

The hidden quilt holder in these pictures is Preeti, who came over one afternoon and held the quilt so I didn't have to pin it to a tree. The fabric is from an old line called Woodroses in Winter by Holly Taylor. (I think) Years ago, I fell into that spell that comes over you when you're with friends and you buy fabric you would never buy otherwise, so I had a bunch of it. I've been trying to use it up ever since. I'm happy to finally see it go into a quilt that will bring someone comfort at a hard time. 

The backing for this quilt is a vintage sheet, which is 100% cotton and very soft. It was perfect for this quilt, and it quilted up really nicely. The binding is just more of the red. Unbelievably, I still have about half a yard of the red left over! I think it was the right choice for binding this quilt.

I like how the twisty blocks turned out, with the secondary pattern, and I am really happy with how the panel pieces worked, too. I was afraid it would look weird, but now I think they really enhance the whole quilt.

Some of you may be wondering about the red and whether it would bleed. I actually washed it before I stitched it at all, and then I washed the quilt before I sent it off. It had dragged on the ground, after all. Miracle of miracles, there was no bleeding in the finished quilt! 

So it's off to Mercyful Quilts for this quilt, with a prayer for the eventual recipient. I hope someone finds this very red and very soft quilt very cozy and comforting. 

Hope you all have a great weekend. I'm going to try to work on some rainbow scrap challenge projects this weekend and rest my brain a bit. My niece is also stopping by on her way home from vacation, so that will be fun too. I'm thinking there will be ice cream, which is always good, isn't it? And I've finished up more of the summer quilts, too, so more fun finishes are coming!

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique, and the Positivity linkup at Needle and Foot.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Accidentally modern

 Hi all! Well, the summer travel is over for us. Sadness! We did have some great trips, and we have now seen both ends of US1, but the good times are over for now and it's back to the grind. I will say that nothing makes you appreciate your own home quite like traveling. Especially your own bed. Good-smelling sheets!

If you've been around the blog for a bit, you know that "modern" is not really my thing. All that empty space! Most modern quilts look unfinished to me, though I do admire many of them. What can I say? I love piecing. If you don't, you do you! 
A few years ago, I attempted to make a temperature quilt. I failed miserably. It felt so much like a chore, making a small block every day, no matter how simple it was. And then life happened and I put it off for a few days, and then another, and another. . .you get it. I had made a temperature scale, though, and I kept it after I abandoned the project. It has turned into this:

Okay, it's a little odd, but I like it! This is long and skinny, something like 42 by 60, so it isn't really a lap quilt. I think it's just an art piece that I'm planning to hang in my hallway. That's why it has such a cute quilting design.

That it turned out at all and didn't get thrown away was completely accidental, of course. I think I intended to cut it up and at least save the Kona white from the sides. I never did, and when I was prepping some other quilts for the longarm, I also saw this and decided to quilt it up. The quilting pattern turned out perfect for this piece, I think. It's Daisy Swirl from Clothwerx and I love how it turned out.

The backing is just a leftover piece from another backing. If you look really closely, you can see that it has a very pale pattern on the back so it won't show through to the front.  The binding was surprisingly hard to choose. It took quite some time before I settled on this multicolored polka dot fabric, which is subtle enough that it doesn't give the quilt a hard edge.

So there we are! An old mistake turned into a nice piece for my hallway. I should say that the ceilings in there are 9 feet high, so this will look like just the right size in the space.

Hope everyone has a really good weekend. I'm doing laundry and getting my big stack of books ready to carry back to school. Meetings start this coming week. Oh, boy-- aren't meetings everyone's favorite part?

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Orange and purple flock

 Hello all! So here we are at August, which means that the end of summer is coming faster than we think. In honor of that, while you are reading this, the hubster and I are off on our last summer adventure, to a place where the chances of rain are much lower than they are at home, so I'm hoping for blue skies and cool breezes.
Before we left I finished up the orange and purple birds for the rainbow scrap challenge, so here they all are together:

Yes, it is not a great picture! One of the poor birds is so embarrassed that she's hiding in the back. I tried to get a picture all together out in the tree, but that takes time to arrange, and it was about to rain, so I hurried a bit. The sky opened up right after this, so here is an indoor picture where you can see all the birds:

Birds in the house! A little boring, but at least you can see everyone. I love these birds, and I've had fun making them. I think I've got just about enough to put them together by now. I'll have to put them all up on the wall to see for sure, but it's very close.

The orange birds certainly look like a happy bunch, don't they? I made a mistake and made three of them facing the same way instead of only two, but I think they'll forgive me for it. I love the bright red beak on the one on the right! The beaks really give them some personality, don't you think?

Since we live in Baltimore, I had to make an orange bird that looked at least a little bit like a Baltimore oriole, too. Come to think of it, I should make a raven, too, shouldn't I? Strangely, I have not yet seen an oriole in person in Maryland, though I have seen some interesting birds, including the herons that like the stream that runs near our house. I think they're green herons, but I haven't looked them up yet. 

The purple birds are left over from last month, but they are a fairly festive bunch as well. Look at that wild plumage! These are not purple martins, that's for sure. A couple of these turned out smaller than intended because I cut them wrong, but I won't tell them that they're short if you don't.

And there are the birds! Hope you all are having a lovely last couple of weeks of summer and packing in all the fun you can. Hope you're in the sunshine with a nice cool drink, or at least in some air conditioning!
Oops! Updated to add that the birds are made using Lynne's Liberated Birds tutorial, which you can find right HERE. An excellent purchase for these very addictive birds!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC22.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Little finishes

 Hi everyone! Has it been a good week for you? It has been okay here. I had a "playdate" of sorts with a quilty friend where we both rented longarm time at the same time and quilted away. It was fun-- and air conditioned, which we all know is vitally important right now. As I say every year, God bless Willis Carrier, and all his fellow engineers. Where would we be without him?

So, how many of you have small pieced bits of things kicking around the sewing room, just waiting to be quilted, but they never get there because there is always something better to work on? I see a lot of hands out there! I think we all have these, and this week I managed to get three of them quilted up at last:

Raining and gross again, so the pictures are a little off. Oh, well! Truth be told, these little things were very annoying to me, because I intended to quilt them for ages. I had quilty plans for all of them. They did not get done. I wanted to try new things with the walking foot on them. I did not do that. Then I took them to the longarmer with me, intending to stick them on the end of a quilt. This did not happen either.

Finally I just got tired of looking at them and spent a couple of hours using the walking foot and finishing them very simply, with cross hatching and straight lines. As always happens, this made me fall in love with them all over again. And now they're usable and cute and not annoying things I keep moving around and feeling bad about.

The smallest one might be my favorite, and I might hang it on the wall in my granddaughter's room. I'm hoping to turn her into a quilter, you know. The others will get used on tables, I think, and the largest of them might become a doll quilt. All better than laying around unloved.

So, crummy porch pictures, but three little finishes to celebrate noneltheless. Mostly scrappy, mostly useful, and prettier than their pictures. Plus a couple of pleasant hours finishing them off, so I'm counting that as three wins.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! If you are on Twitter, be sure to check out #clearthelist. It's wishlists for school supplies from teachers all over the country. It's crazy how very basic some of their wishlists are, for things like crayons, pencils, and scissors, so if you can, drop a few things in the cart for a teacher. You can do a lot of good for $10! 

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Steamy stars

 Hi everyone! I would ask how you all are doing, but I'm pretty sure everyone is hot right now. Good golly, this is crazy! It's supposed to be 100 degrees (37.8 C) here on Sunday. Pretty sure I'll be staying inside, as long as the air conditioning holds out. Even the birds are not flying right now, and I haven't seen the deer all week.

It has not been a great week for me, with lots of medical appointments. You know how much time and frustration those can take! But I did manage to sew a bit and I finished off the purple twinkle stars for the rainbow scrap challenge. I started on some purple birds, but lost some momentum somewhere. Probably in a waiting room. Anyway, here are the stars:

I don't know why, but I just love these things. They look kind of lacy and delicate. I don't have a lot of purple scraps, but I did have a nice selection of different values of purple. Anyone else ever have an art teacher who terrorized them about mixing certain colors together? Pretty sure that purple and yellow together were a no-go. I've always been kind of a rule-breaker, you know.

Believe it or not, there really are purple stars in the sky, but apparently we can't really see them as purple, because they also emit blue light, which is easier for us to see. The more you know! If we could see them, though, I like to think they'd look like the one above. I just love that fabric and am glad one of the last bits of it is going into this quilt.

And there is the sum total of my progress for this week. Next week will be better, though still hot, I'm sure. I'm not pining for fall yet, though, and winter can stay away, too, so I'm sure I'll get through another hot week. And hey--it means more ice cream and less yard work for me!

Everyone have a lovely weekend. Feet up and cool drinks all around, with lots of ice, too!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC22.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Clearing out more color

 Hi all! How's it going? Are you just baking in the heat? We had some spectacular storms recently, and it has been quite hot. I think the two have something to do with each other. At least we didn't lose any trees, though there are several down around the neighborhood. The wind got a little scary, but we mostly came through okay.

What's a quilter to do, stuck in the house? I'll bet you can guess. After the success of cleaning out all the dark greens from the scrap bin (HERE), I decided to have a look at some other bins. The blue bin has been a problem for me. I know a lot of people love blue, but for some reason I rarely use it, so there are a ton of scraps in the bin. I was pretty successful using the darker blues (HERE), so now I'm trying to use up the light to medium blues. Check it out:

A hunter's star as a test for a light blue quilt. I'm not sure it works, but it's kind of pretty. A whole quilt might look somewhat like old china or something. I think I need to pay more attention to where the lights and mediums fall in the block so that the edges don't fade away. The beige there is leftover from a backing, and I'd love to use it up as well.

The blue experiment may be successful, so what else can I use up? Can I throw some other color in there? Well, no, but how about a different scrap quilt?

Crossed canoes, using pinks and oranges, plus a couple of yellows thrown in for sparkle. You might not think that the pink and orange would work out, but it completely does! I got the idea for a crossed canoes quilt from Deb, who is doing this block for the rainbow scrap challenge. It looks awesome, and you can see her post HERE. I used Accuquilt dies to cut both the blue and the pink and orange sets of these blocks, and they turned out great and piece together beautifully. Hey, I have the dies, so why not use them?

My plan is to make blocks until I run out of scraps in the right sizes, then cut up everything left into squares for the square boxes. The more scraps used the merrier, but I really have no idea how many I will make of either block. Whatever I get is good, because then they are out of those bins and into something useful. Plus, then I can get some new fabric guilt-free, too!

So, there's some more colors and pieces to play with! Hope you have some, too. This last picture is the gorgeous sunset after our latest storms. Pictures never do sunsets justice, but it was a nice reward after all that upheaval! 

Sharing at Midweek Makers and Oh Scrap!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Handsome in red

 Hi everyone! How was your week? I'm happy to tell you that my head is a bit better. It helps to stay indoors, away from the nasty allergens outside. Thankfully, it is plenty warm and humid, so I don't mind it so much. But I do hate the treadmill! It's much better to walk outside. 
So, I would have shown off this quilt top much sooner today, but Google was acting very strange. It didn't want to upload photos or save things, which seem to be among its primary functions. Anybody else have that happen? Maybe it was messed up by our recent storms. It was frustrating, but I finally got everything put together correctly, just to show off this handsome red and twisty quilt top:
Hurray, it's together! This is the quilt I'm making for Preeti's Positivity quilt along, which benefits Mercyful Quilts. There is still time to jump in, and Preeti has a very easy and genius method for making the blocks. They go really fast, and even I could not mess them up.

I wanted to make my quilt gender neutral and good for anyone, and I also wanted to use up these fabrics that are not really my style. I think I succeeded on both counts. I think it looks kind of woodsy and cozy and good for people who like many different things. This quilt top finishes up at just about 60 by 76, which makes for a nice generous size.

You'll notice that I didn't make 80 blocks, as directed in the pattern. Yeah, I kind of ran out of the tan fabric. I made as many blocks as I could, then dug through a couple of bins and found these pieces that I had cut from a panel. Thank goodness I save everything, because I was able to piece them together into two large blocks to fill out the quilt top. I like how they look like puzzle pieces, too. I also added a narrow border all around the top just to corral all those seams and bring up the size a little bit.

I had to piece together the final three blocks from the leftover bits and pieces of the tan fabric. It wasn't that difficult, but I did sweat it out a bit. I did have a backup plan if I needed it, but thank goodness I didn't. As it turns out, the fabric in the picture above is literally all that's left of the tan fabric. I can't even say how happy it makes me to use all of that up. Unloved fabric turned into something cozy to comfort someone? Yes, please!

So, there is my finished quilt top! I was thinking about how to quilt this, and I think it's just going to get straight lines. I like cross hatching, so I might do that instead, but I think the straight lines would work really well for this. Open to other suggestions! I have enough of the red left for a binding, and I'm thinking about just a plain tan for the back. We'll see what I can find lurking in the stash. Before anybody asks, I did wash the red fabric before I used it, so I'm hoping it doesn't bleed. I'll wash it again before I send it off, too.

And there we are! It seems that Google is behaving now, so I'll get this posted. This weekend we are going to see my parents, which is always a treat. They now use their oven to store cookies, and have discovered the joys of takeout. I think that's the makings of a great visit! Everyone enjoy your weekend!

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique, and the Positivity linkup at Needle and Foot.