Friday, January 28, 2022

Time for some stars

 Hi everyone, and happy last weekend of January! Didn't we just start January? Holy cow, I just don't know where the time goes. All I know is that it is never long enough when I'm trying to sleep, or when I'm trying to work on something really important with a deadline. Maybe the deadlines are why I can't sleep. What do you think?

So many questions! How about a pretty little finished quilt to break it up a bit? It was pretty cold this week, but we had more than one clear day so I took this bright little quilt outside and took some pictures:
Okay, that's cheerful and it isn't asking any questions! This is the completely finished Beothuk Star quilt, by Sandra of mmmquilts. I made the top in 2019, which I absolutely have to mention was now three whole years ago. It was the last little quilt top that I finished at our house in Delaware before we moved to Baltimore. It got packed away immediately and came out of the box here in Baltimore when I was looking for UFOs to repurpose and projects to be finished with. 

As you can see, it is much nicer all quilted up than it was in the box! I quilted this myself at the last quilting appointment I had, and then it hung around here for a little bit while I tried to figure out what color to bind it with. I couldn't decide, and then I actually looked at the scraps and found that I only had enough of the turquoise. I guess that decided things!

I bound this by machine, which is now my first choice for binding. Yes, I am surprised, because I never thought this would happen. I've had enough practice now that it is much easier than it was at the beginning, and I have to tell you-- it is so much faster! The key to success (for me) is to press the binding well after stitching it to the back. It makes a huge difference in how easy it is to flip it to the front and stitch it down.

The quilting pattern here is Daisy Swirl by Clothwerx and is the most complex pattern that I've quilted yet. It turned out great, so I am feeling much more confident about the whole longarming thing. I wish I could afford a machine of my own, because it would be really nice to load the machine one afternoon then actually do the quilting the next day, but even used ones are pretty much beyond me, so I'll be making another rental appointment soon.

So there's another happy quilt finish! This week I also finished piecing the Gridlock quilt top, but I'm planning to have it jump the line and get quilted next, so it can have some beauty shots then. I also may have started a new quilt, but that will have to wait, too!

Everyone have a great weekend! We're apparently going to have some snow, wind, and other weather, and maybe a *lot* of snow (they can't decide), so it looks like a good time to hole up and sort scraps. Maybe I'll even vacuum, but I wouldn't hold my breath for that! 
(Also, for anyone concerned about the brown bat we have here at the house, he's still hanging out under the eaves and seems to be just fine. It hasn't been warm enough for him to move, but he looks just the same!)

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Diamond tries

 Hello everyone. How is your week going? We are in full swing at school now and it's going okay, I must say. Everyone has their masks and we're all being careful. I just wish it was a little warmer so we could open the windows. It's been quite cold, at least by East coast standards, and overcast, though not actually snowing. I'm okay with that, but I do want some natural ventilation in that room.

I'm just popping in for a little bit today to share the next round of the Stay at Home Round Robin project. Here is where my project stands right now:
The prompt for this round was diamonds, and if you look, there is a white diamond in the top right corner and the bottom left corner.  Yes, there are only two diamonds. But it definitely works for this little quilt top, so I am totally okay with it. I made the diamonds with a Tri Rex ruler, just cutting the triangle on a small piece of folded fabric. I forgot to account for the seam allowance between the two triangles, so they're a little long, but they work.

This was not my first try at diamonds. I tried to make a diamond chain using Seminole piecing, but I messed it up. It's been too long since I tried Seminole piecing! Take a look:

Yep, that's a fail. There isn't enough blue fabric on the sides to keep the diamond points after trimming. It was quite frustrating. I went back after I finished the yellow border and realized that I had mixed up the cutting sizes for the diamonds and the side pieces. Ah, well. It turned out better with the single diamonds, I think.

Depending on the next prompt, I think it's time to turn the quilt into a rectangle by putting the next borders on the top and bottom only. I think it's also time to bring in some hot pink or lime green, too.I guess we'll see!

Hope you are having a good week and staying nice and warm. On that note, we have a small visitor:

I didn't want to get really close for a picture, so it's a little grainy, but that is a brown bat, tucked up close to the eaves on our front walkway. It kind of creeped me out, so I called the wildlife center, and they said that he probably took refuge there when a front came through. It's literally too cold for him to fly, and he's kind of in suspended animation, so he'll probably stay there until it gets warm enough for him to wake up and fly away. I can't decide if this is cool or creepy, but I'll decide that after he leaves!

Sharing at the Darling Dogwood for the SAHRR.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Red red robins

 Hi all! Busy, busy week around here-- how about you? Also, it has been quite chilly. It's almost like it's winter or something. I was hoping to have a finish this week, but no such luck. There was just too much to do, and I spent all day Wednesday on Zoom in different meetings. I'm already tired of Zoom. Thankfully, I get to teach in person starting Monday, which accounts for the busyness and the Zooming.

So, I didn't have a finish, but I did make some bits for my remaining RSC projects for this year. Hurray! If you recall, I had two projects that I started earlier, and today I'm showing off my remaining two projects. Yes, four projects for this year! I'm as surprised as you are. Here is the first one:

Are those birds adorable, or what? I made these free-pieced style, using Lynne's tutorial, which you can get HERE. There are no templates or paper piecing, and they are super fun to make. I stopped at four birds, but I could easily have made a ton more. I want a multi-colored quilt, though, so I had to make myself stop. Look at those cool legs:

Those just make me happy! And the cool bright blue beak, too:

The birds are around 8-1/2 inches square apiece right now, and I'll either trim them (including the legs-- some are very tall!) or add to them when I decide how to put them all together. Or maybe they'll all get colorful frames or something. We'll see!

This next block is the start of my last RSC project: 

Excuse the pressing marks there. The winter light was all weird. I'm planning to make a medallion quilt in the RSC colors this year, and this block is the center. I have the various other "rounds" planned out and I just have to wait for the correct colors to make each one. It doesn't look like much right now, but it's going to look great once it's done.

And speaking of rounds, how about a look at my stay at home round robin project? I meant to write a post about it, but you know what happened there. Take a look:

I love the dinosaur at the bottom right! The prompt this week was "curves," and I think we all could have guessed that that wasn't going to happen. So how about the illusion of curves instead? A ribbon border seemed to fit the bill and turned out looking pretty good. I should have had an even number of blocks for the corners to turn out correctly, but I didn't, so there are plain squares in the corners instead. I think it still looks good!

And that's the update from here! I hope your weekend is nice and warm and dry, with plenty of fun things to do. I'm going to cook! I'm making a bunch of meals in advance and freezing them in order to make the next couple of weeks less stressful. Seems like a good idea-- we'll see how it goes!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC22 and at Anja's for the SAHRR.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Fall color amid winter gray

 Hi everyone, and happy weekend! Hope you have had a really good week. I finished getting ready for the new semester this week, and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself for it. And hey, did you notice that I redecorated? Some of the settings have changed since last time I did this, and I'm not sure what they all do, but I managed to get a nice pretty picture up at the top, and that's what matters, right?

I finished up another quilt top this week in between class prep, and before I show it to you, you'll have to cast your mind back to last fall, which is when this quilt top really should have been finished. But it wasn't, so just try to remember the pretty leaves and how awesome they were. And didn't it smell great?
Doesn't that seem like a quilt top fit for fall? It certainly looks good and colorful against all the gray in the landscape these days. I know there really weren't any pink leaves, but it needed a little zing, so I threw in some pink scraps, too. I started putting this together last fall, and it's been hanging around here for way too long, just taking up a big space on the design wall. This is the Sunshine pattern by Myra at Busy Hands Quilts, and you can get the pattern right HERE.

This quilt was pretty easy, except that I made it hard. It made my brain confused, and it's my own fault. You can see that it is mainly squares and half square triangles, and the pattern shows the quilt made in scraps of just two colors. This would have been so much easier! I decided to use up a number of orange scraps that I had left over from my nephew's quilt, and I threw in a bunch of other scraps that looked like fall leaves, with the second color coming from some golds that a friend gave me. 

This was not my best idea ever. Sure, it turned out looking great, but the road there was arduous. I kept turning the hsts in the wrong direction, and putting the wrong color in the wrong place, and then I also had to be sure not to put the same color too close to another piece with same color, you know? For some reason, I just couldn't make sense of how it should go. If you can see the pinwheels in the top, I kept stumbling over those and putting them in the wrong place. This was entirely my own fault for trying to be creative with a pattern I didn't create myself.

I sat down this week and made myself figure it out, and it did turn out well, I think. Look at all the variety in those scraps! (Of course there's a stray thread, too, because I couldn't make something that's not covered in thread. I always think I get them all, but there are always more.) If you decide to make this quilt, I highly recommend putting it together in columns. That would be so much easier than rows! Plus I think it might be easier to get into a rhythm and spot mistakes, too.

This quilt top finished up at about 56 by 72, a nice lap size. I'm pretty sure it's going to become a donation quilt, but it will have to wait its turn to get quilted up because there are several things in line ahead of it. I just ordered a bunch of backings, so I'm pretty excited to get some more things quilted up and moved out.

So there we are-- off the design wall and ready to finish! It was a long road, but it feels good to have gotten this far. Hope you have gotten pretty far along on a project or two as well. And if you know what "custom robot tags" are in Blogger, and what I should do with them, be sure to let me know! This weekend I'm planning to stitch some leftover battings together because the weather looks nasty, and I hope you all have something more fun planned than that! Have a great weekend!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Going around again

 Hi everyone! Is it cold where you are? I'm sorry to tell you that our snow is gone, but we have somehow entered the deep freeze. It was 19 degrees when I got up this morning, but very sunny. It was lovely. I waited until noon to go walking, but my neighbors still stared at me. Maybe I should get a dog so it looks like I have an excuse to be outside. Do you think that would make up for the dog allergy?

Many of you may have heard about the Stay at Home Round Robin, a fun quilt along of sorts, hosted by Gail of Quilting Gail. You can read all about it right HERE. Last year, I made a cute child's quilt that I donated to the Little Lambs Foundation through Sarah's Hands to Help Challenge. I decided to jump in again and make another child's donation quilt.

Since it worked so well last year, I'm starting this year with another panel block:

That is a nice, bright block that will make a great child's quilt, don't you think? This is a panel that had been in my stash forever and ever. Check it out:

This means I moved this panel several times, including across the country! I think it's past time to make good use of it. The block measures 18 1/2 inches square right now, which means that a couple of my rounds are going to have to be small. I think I can deal with that. A while ago I got these star fabrics from one of Wanda's pop-up shops:

I think those pieces will be really nice with the panel and make a happy quilt. Unless I have some pieces already made from other things, which might get used here too. We'll see!

There are some other things happening in the sewing room, too. This week I'm working hard on getting the black blocks finished up and assembled into a top:

Yep, it's a mess. But-- it turns out that "past me" was being considerate of "future me" and cut and labelled the pieces for several more blocks. This made it easy to just sit and stitch some blocks together, which was super nice. "Current me" is hoping to get this top together really soon, so I can have yet another empty project box. What will I do with those empty boxes?

I'm also working on the neutral Gridlock quilt, which is in pieces on the design wall, and finishing up another top which is has been hanging out on the design wall way too long. It confuses my brain, though, so I've been putting it together quite slowly. 

Hope all of your projects are going well, they are not confusing at all to you, and that you're enjoying whatever your weather is right now. It's just good to see the sunshine, you know? Enjoy it!

Sharing at the SAHRR linkup and Midweek Makers.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Twinkling in the snow

 Hi everyone, and happy weekend! I know last weekend was the first weekend of the year, but this really feels like the first one for me, maybe because I worked all week. As you'll see in today's pictures, it snowed and was cold here this week, with a couple of days that were cold and clear. No huge traffic backups, thankfully, so the snow and cold made me unreasonably happy. Something about the sunshine and the crisp air just made me feel good. What can I say? I am a Midwesterner at heart, and January needs some snow and cold. (But only the happy kind, please!)
Anyway. . .it's the beginning of another year of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge at soscrappy, and this year I have four projects I want to work on. Heaven knows there are enough scraps for all of them, you know? I only got a chance to work on two of them this week, but here is the first one:

Look how cute those stars are! These are Twinkle Stars from one of Angela's tutorials, and I have admired them for years. Why haven't I made them before now?

These stars are fast and easy to make, and I followed Angela's instructions, except that I used 3-1/2 inch units instead of 2-1/2, so that my blocks finish at 9 inches. For my quilt, I'm going to keep all the stars yellow and change the colors of the star points each month. I plan to make 42 total stars, which is four a month, with something else substituted when we get to yellow. I haven't figured out what color that will be yet, but I'm sure the stars will look great.

The second project I actually tried to start last year, but this year I actually have a plan, so I think it's going to go a lot better. I thought I would make Bonnie Hunter's Winter Blues in multicolors, but I just kind of randomly made some blocks for a few months and petered out. So, to restart:

Yes, having a plan helps! These are the red blocks for my unnamed rainbow quilt. This time, I sat down and drew everything out and figured out just how many blocks of each color I need, and how many connector units, and alternate blocks. (Raise your hand if you think all quilt patterns should have a coloring page. It would make planning so much easier!) These are all the reds I need, so I'm calling that a restart!

As I said, I have four total projects, but the other two are still in pieces, so they will have to wait for now. I hope to get them ready before the end of this month. I hope all of your new projects are going well, and I'm really looking forward to following them all this year. Happy stitching, all!

An incredibly beautiful day!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC22 (gulp!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Fresh new year, fresh new quilt

 Hi everyone, and welcome to 2022! How is the new year treating you so far? I had a lovely break and the week between Christmas and New Year's-- hereafter known as National Slacking-off Week-- was a nice respite from all the usual stuff. I read some books, visited my parents, and I may have even cooked a thing or two. I think that feeling I had was called "relaxing," but I'm not very familiar with that term anymore. And hey-- I sewed, too!

Which brings us to today's finish, which is not really the first quilt of 2022. Back in November, I made a queen sized quilt to give for Christmas, and then I quilted it myself and-- miracle of miracles-- it was finished in time for the holiday. I almost never make Christmas presents because they just add stress to my life when I'm also trying to do grades, but this was a special case. Here is the finished quilt:
There's a moose on my quilt! Better than a mouse, and much bigger. This is the Moose Buffalo Plaid quilt from Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts, and you can get a pattern right HERE. She has the same kind of quilt with a bear and one with wolves, too, if you'd rather have that.

If you've ever seen a moose in person, you know they are enormous. Sure, they look great in the zoo, but they're pretty far away behind walls and moats and such. In the wild, they are as big as your car. The quilt isn't quite that big, but it is a queen size that I expanded by several rows and added a border to so that it will actually fit the bed it's intended for. Have you noticed that many quilts that are marked for a particular bed size will actually usually cover the top of the bed and not the sides? This ended up at just about 92 by 84. (Yes, a bit wider than it is long. To fit the bed, you know.)

I quilted this myself on the (rental) longarm, and it took up most of the setup there. Officially you can do quilts up to about 112 inches wide, but I wouldn't want to try it. I used a panto called Cotton, and it went really fast. I'm not sure it suits the quilt, necessarily, but at that point a more involved panto was not in my skill set, so it worked. I used a cotton and wool blend batting, so it's fairly light but really warm and cozy.

I actually only took the center part to the quilt shop with me and quilted it on the longarm, then brought the quilted piece home and added the borders, which I quilted on my own machine with straight lines. Why did I do this? Because this was a special gift and I only wanted the panto on the large center part, including the moose, with the borders different. It was extra work, but really worth it to me. I don't have the skills yet not to run the panto into the border, so it worked.

Amazingly, the moose is not paper pieced, but Lorna has very clear and ingenious directions for making the moose really realistic. There are a lot of pieces, but they go together pretty easily. And you can't really argue with the result. I've also done the bear from her patterns, and it is the same way, so no need to be afraid to jump in.

Those of you with sharp eyes probably noticed the upper right corner of the quilt, and I'll bet you can guess what happened there. There is more of the medium fabric in the quilt than any other, and I forgot to compensate for the extra rows I added, so I ended up a bit short. Oh well! I put some leftover pieces together and I'm calling it a design element. It didn't effect the coziness of the quilt, and the recipient didn't even blink.
I didn't get a picture of the quilt with the recipient (at least not one I can post), but I promise that it was received with a great deal of thanks, and immediately put to use right there on the sofa. I can attest that it's quite warm and guaranteed to see them through a cold winter, which is all we can ask for, right?
Hope all of you are enjoying the start to a new year and all that brings with it, and getting some stitching time in as well. I'm working on getting ready for the new semester, and still cleaning out all kinds of stuff. I finally unpacked the last box from the old house over the break, so I'm feeling quite virtuous!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.