Sunday, February 27, 2022

A Hands2Help quick quilt

 Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge! 

To those of you who are new here, I'm happy to welcome you to the Challenge. You can read all about what this involves, our comfort quilt recipients, and the calendar on the kickoff post right HERE. For those of you who have been here before, thanks for stopping by for today's quilt tutorial! I know a lot of people have already started quilts for the Challenge, and this might be one you would consider as well, especially if you have a lot of scraps to use up.
Today, as promised, I'm showing a quick quilt that will be great for a number of recipients, plus it uses a bunch of scraps and pieces together quickly. Here are the two blocks we're using:

And here is a mock-up of the finished quilt (no, of course I haven't finished one yet!):

If you're anything like me, you have a bunch of leftovers from other projects, including 2-1/2 inch squares and hsts. I have literally hundreds of both of these, so this is what I'm using to create this quilt. 

This quilt finishes up at 50 by 60 without any borders, which makes it a great medium size. You can always expand it to make it bigger, and the math is very easy because the blocks finish at 10 inches each. A border or two would also bring up the size. 

To make the quilt as shown (without borders), you will need:
  • 195 multicolored 2-1/2 inch squares (unfinished, to finish at 2 inches in the quilt)
  • 60 2-1/2 inch (unfinished) half-square triangles
  • 180 white, white on white, or other neutral 2-1/2 inch squares
  • about 1-1/4 yards of a neutral or a small print for the alternate blocks
  • If you want to make the quilt in one color, you'll need about 1-1/2 yards of fabric for the primary blocks. 
Okay, let's get started with the alternate blocks:
The alternate blocks are just snowballs, made with 60 of the multicolored 2-1/2 inch squares, one at each corner.  Cut 15 10-1/2 inch squares from the yardage. If you're careful with removing the selvages and have 42 usable inches, you should be able to get 4 squares out of a 10-1/2 inch width of fabric cut. 
 Add a 2-1/2 inch square to each corner of a 10-1/2 inch square. Stitch diagonally, then trim and press. You can draw lines if you want to, but I used the Diagonal Seam Tape from Cluck Cluck Sew, which works great. Do what works for you, and make 15 snowball blocks.

Next are the primary blocks:
The primary blocks are actually a block that was featured in the Squared Away BOM that I did with Angela at soscrappy in 2018. They're called Around the Corner and are a Nancy Page pattern from 1920. If you want to make your blocks all one color, I have strip piecing instructions for the block right HERE. If you want a multicolored block, they are still very easy!

First, use any method to make 60  2-1/2 inch half-square triangles in different colors. If you are doing the eight-at-a-time method, you'll start with 6-inch squares for slightly oversized hsts to trim down.
Then use 4 of the hsts, 9 multicolored squares, and 12 of the white or other neutral squares and lay them out as shown above. Remember that the darker part of the hsts point in, toward the center, not out towards the edges. 

Join the squares into rows and the rows into a finished block. Press well and admire! Make 15 of these blocks, which should measure 10-1/2 inches to finsh at 10 inches in the quilt.

Finish the top:

Now it's just a matter of following the diagram in the mockup and laying out the blocks and alternate blocks. Here is how my quilt top looks so far:

Yeah, I only had time to get a little bit finished, but at least you can see how it will look. The blocks did go together really quickly, and I think that cutting will be the most time-consuming part. Well, cutting, and then deciding where all the colors go, of course!

That wraps up this quilt tutorial! I hope some of you will give it a try, if for no other reason than it will really clear out your scrap bins, and it will make a really colorful quilt that's sure to be appreciated and loved.

Schedule reminders:

Next Sunday, on March 6, I'll be back with another quick tutorial, then we will have an opportunity for you to link up your own original tutorials or free patterns on March 27. After that, on April 3, April 10, April 24, May 1, and May 8, there will be guest bloggers sharing their own tutorials and patterns. That's a lot of good quilt ideas!

Just to answer a few questions that I've had:

When do signups start? Official signups to be eligible for prizes start March 20, but you can certainly start sewing now.

Can I send a quilt now, or do I have to wait for signups? Yes, you can send a quilt now if you have one finished! I'm sure they'll all be thrilled to get it. 

If I donate to another organization, will my quilt still count for the challenge? Yes! At the end, there will be a form to fill out so that we can count the quilts, and you can list your quilt and organization there. It will definitely count!

Where can I get the Hands2Help button?  Scroll all the way down on the kickoff post. You will find the button code there. Thanks!

Thanks for coming along today, and for all the support you've already shown for this year's challenge. Be sure to look back at the kickoff post for our quilt recipients and the sizes they are requesting, then dig in to your scraps and get started. Happy stitching!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Finished fooling around

 Hello all, and a very damp happy weekend! It feels strange to say that with all that is going on in the world right now, but I'm still glad to have made it through the week. This was a much better week, except for the epic fail that appears later in this post, and I did get some stitching done. Which reminds me-- the first of the easy tutorials for a Hands2Help is coming up this Sunday. Be sure to tune in!

For this week, I finished up the top for the Stay at Home Round Robin. Yay me! I actually pretty much kept up this year. It was a fun project and I started with a fun panel. Here's how I ended up:
This has been one difficult top to photograph, but at least I got a couple shots! Yester day it rained, and this morning we had sleet and freezing rain:

I tried to get a few shots this morning, but the top got wet and soggy. Thankfully, when I got home it was quite sunny, but also quite windy:

 I love how this top turned out. It's cheerful and happy, and it's sure to be comforting for a child. And how do you not love those dinosaurs? I did all of the rounds this year except applique. Honestly, the fabrics were so busy that I couldn't find a place for applique, and I didn't want to add it just to add it. 
I did make the last round, though. Chris chose Shoo Fly blocks, and you can see that the tiny blocks in the corners of the last border are mini Shoo Fly blocks. These are 3 inch finished blocks, and I think they're adorable. I also love the different colors of the final border. You know I did that because of the fabric that I had (which is used up!), but I still love how it looks.

So that was my happy finish for this week. Here is the epic fail:

At least this is not my fail, but a machine fail! I had an appointment to longarm, and as you can see, I got partway through the quilt and then the tension failed. No, I didn't notice until I rolled the quilt! 
Friends, I cried. 
I wasted three hours, and now I have to pick out all that quilting and go back and do it again. And I couldn't do my second quilt, either, because someone else was using the other machine. It was not a good drive home.

I couldn't look at the quilt for a couple of days, but I started on the ripping last night. There's nothing else to be done, unless I wanted to throw out the quilt. And who wants that? I know it will be lovely once I'm finished, right? Good thing fabric is so fun to play with, or I'd give up!

Ah, well. Hope you all are staying safe, warm, and dry, and are not in any kind of a war zone. It's a crazy world we live in right now, isn't it? Enjoy the weekend any way you can, and be sure to come back on Sunday for a much more successful project!

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

Friday, February 18, 2022

All the aqua birdies

 Hello all! First, thanks to everyone who sent their good thoughts about Hands2Help after the last post. I'm excited about what's happening this year. If you want to check it out, look back to the post right HERE. Also, if you scroll all the way down, Roseanne was kind enough to make a clickable button, and you can get the code right there. Thanks Roseanne!

But more on that later! This was yet another hard week, but the situation causing all of the stress should be coming to a happy resolution soon. Yahoo! I'm looking forward to amuch nicer March, that's for sure.

This week I managed to make some fun aqua birds for the rainbow scrap challenge. I love aqua, so I love all of these birds:
It was quite windy, but I managed to get a few useable pictures. Aren't they adorable? I made five, but I had to make myself stop, because these babies are really addictive. You could make your own using Lynne's tutorial, which you can get right HERE.
I need to make more right-facing birds. I don't necessarily want an equal number, but a few more would be nice. Plus, how adorable is the bird on the left? Half the fun of making the birds is trying out all the different color combinations, especially the beaks and the legs. I know I should have just made a "legs" panel and cut them off there, the same for all the birds, but what fun is that?

The purple beak and legs are my favorite! A kind of drab aqua turned out super colorful and fun.

And the final pair, chasing each other. I think that might be my last piece of the yellow dots on turquoise. I'm sorry to see it go. It makes a great bird, though.

When I got home yesterday, I had to make one more bird, just for Lynne:

Obviously, this is a catbird and will occupy the catbird seat in my quilt. I think it will blend nicely with some blue sashing, and keep watch over all the other birds.

That was my whole accomplishment for this week. Not a lot, but moving forward is always good! Hope you all are moving forward, too, and that everyone has a great weekend. Spring is on the horizon, so I'm going to start garden planning. That sounds happy, doesn't it? Bring on the flowers!

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

Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Hands 2 Help kickoff!

 Hello everyone, and welcome to the temporary home of the Hands 2 Help Challenge for 2022! For those of you who are here for the first time, double welcome! Today's post is an overview of what the challenge is, how it works, and a calendar for the challenge. Read on for lots more information!
UPDATE: Roseanne has been kind enough to create an actual button for sharing on blog sidebars. See the bottom of this post to grab the code and add it to share the button. And thanks Roseanne!
What is Hands2Help?

Hands2Help is a comfort quilt challenge started by Sarah at her blog, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, where quilters from all corners of the country, and many from other countries, make and donate comfort quilts in various sizes. This will be the twelfth year of the challenge! You can make as many quilts as you like, but the challenge only asks for you to make and donate one quilt in any size by June 1, 2022. 

Who do I donate to?

We have several great organizations for the challenge this year, and most of them will be familiar to long-time participants. Here is the list of organizations, with preferred quilt sizes:

Little Lambs Foundation for Kids

Quilt size requested: Baby quilts, from 36 by 40 to 40 by 45 

Little Lambs Foundation is a favorite of many H2H quilt makers, and this year they are requesting baby quilts. Little Lambs is a 501(c)3 organization that provides backpacks full of comfort items for children from newborn to 17 who are transitioning into foster care, emergency shelters, or hospitalization. Often these backpacks are the only things that children can call their own, as they may have only the clothes they are wearing. A little comfort quilt can go a long way! Bonus-- there is a special way to ship quilts to Little Lambs that will significantly cut your cost, especially if you donate more than one quilt.

Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo

Quilt sizes: Any size from 48 inches square to about 60 by 80

 Emily is once again collecting quilts for Quilty Hugs, an organization that gives quilts to chemo patients through hospitals and infusion labs. This has been a favorite H2H quilt recipient for a long time, and accepts quilts in many different sizes. 



Mercyful Quilts

Quilt size: lap size, from about 50 by 50 up to about 60 by 80
Mercyful Quilts was started a few years ago by Bernie at Needle and Foot, and collects quilts for the palliative care unit at Mercy Hospital in Sacramento. These quilts comfort dying patients and then become a memory quilt for the family when their loved one passes away. They need quilts in a good lap size, to cover patients while in bed, and I know that they appreciate quilts that would be appropriate for men and also some for veterans. IMPORTANT: many of you know Bernie, but please do not mail your quilts to her! She is in the middle of moving across states, so I have an alternate address to send the quilts.



Victoria's Quilts Canada

Quilt Size: 50 by 70 inches, TOPS ONLY

Victoria's Quilts Canada provides handmade quilts to people living with cancer in Canada, providing both physical and spiritual comfort. Victoria's Quilts asks for quilt tops only, in 100% cotton fabric. Though they are in Canada, they are happy to take quilt tops from people anywhere in the world. If you're in the US, sending a quilt top is significantly cheaper to send than a finished quilt!

Your own favorite hometown organization

Quilt size varies

While the organizations above are specifically for this challenge, you may find that an organization in your own area is particularly in need of some quilty comfort. This is especially true for anyone who might be joining us from outside the US. Make and donate a quilt for them! It's sure to be loved and appreciated.

Okay, those look like some great and very deserving organizations! They're asking for quilts in different sizes and styles, so there is sure to be something there that you would enjoy making. Try out a new design or color combination, and donate it with love! This would also be a great place to use some of the fabric that's been hanging around your sewing area too long. Put it in a quilt and let it get some love! Or use up some of those orphans or leftover blocks. They deserve a quilt, too, and you don't need many to make a cheerful baby quilt.

The schedule!

Of course, there is more to the challenge than just sitting alone in our sewing rooms and turning out quilts! This is a community event, and there will be some friends sharing patterns, some link parties to share your own easy patterns and your progress in the challenge, and a final link party to show off your creations. And of course there will be some prizes, too. Here is our schedule for the challenge:

Everyone likes to try a new pattern, and this year we'll be sharing our patterns/ tutorials for easy and stress-free quilts that turn out looking great and are perfect for donations. I'll be sharing a couple of patterns on February 27 and March 6. 
Meet back here on March 13 for information about prizes and giveaways!

Signups "officially" start on March 20, with a signup giveaway on March 27. That's also the day of our first linky party, where you can share your own original easy and stress-free donation patterns.

Guest bloggers will share their own easy, stress free patterns and advice on April 3, April 10, April 24, May 1, and May 8.  

On April 17, we'll start a linky party so you can share your progress on your quilts!

May 29 will be our final linky party to show off all your beautiful donations. This is Memorial Day weekend in the US, and your quilts should all be sent by the end of that week.

The challenge will end on June 5 with the announcement of the prize winners.

That is quite the schedule, but I'm sure we'll all be able to make it and donate a large pile of quilts! 

Just a few more things

This challenge is pretty impossible to run without a little bit of help, so in addition to making your quilts, here are a few other ways you can help out:

Share information about the challenge far and wide! Feel free to grab the picture at the top of this post and share it on your own blog or other social media. (Unfortunately, I don't know how to make a "jump" button, but if you do, please get in touch!)

Consider sharing and linking up your own simple pattern that you've used for an easy donation quilt. It would be fun to see how others make it, wouldn't it?

If you have a connection to anyone who could donate a prize, please talk to them about it, or consider donating yourself! Digital patterns are really good for donations, and so are gift certificates to online fabric shops. Of course, fabric always works, too!

Offer to help out someone who would like to donate a quilt but can't afford postage, if you are able. Or quilt up a top for someone else so that another quilter can donate a quilt.

Share your own quilts and be sure to mention the challenge on your own blog!


Wrapping up for now

That's all the information I can think of right now. I'm sure there is something that I missed! You can go ahead and ask any questions in the comments and I'll try to answer them. If I don't know, I'll find out!
Finally, I have to ask for some patience and understanding as we go forward. I'm new at this, and I have a complicated life, like everyone else. Sarah made it really easy to step into her shoes temporarily, but I'm still juggling everything and I'm sure I'll make some mistakes. You also need to know that I usually only answer personal email at lunchtime and after work, because I need to give all my attention to my students, so you may not get a response for several hours. Be assured that I will answer you! 

I think that covers it! Warm up your machines, and let's get this party started!

See you again on the 27th with a simple pattern and tutorial!

CODE FOR THE H2H BUTTON: <div style="width:100%;text-align:center;"><span style='margin:5px;padding:5px;border-radius: 5px;border:1px solid lightgrey;display:inline-block;'><a  rel=_nofollow href=''>           <img style='border: 1px solid gray;width:150px;height:150px;' src='' alt='The Academic Quilter'></a></span></div>

Friday, February 11, 2022

Chains and waves

 Here we are at the weekend, thank heavens! It has been another difficult week around here, though the weather has been lovely. It was 52 degrees yesterday, and it might hit 60 today. I went walking in a sweatshirt, not a heavy jacket! It was wonderful. I understand it's supposed to snow on Sunday, but we'll deal with that when we get there. 
I actually have a finish today. You know how you can just start mindlessly pushing a quilt through the machine and it's repetitive and calming?  Yep, that's how I felt when I was quilting up this one. It was a nice respite from the chaos that was the week. Here's a look:
Well, that's fairly colorful and fun, isn't it? I made this quilt from last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks and just quilted it this week. I quilted it on my regular machine, Miss Rosie, and for the first time ever I used the serpentine stitch. Why haven't I ever done that before? It turned out great!

This whole quilt is made from scraps and leftovers, including the batting, backing and binding. The batting was pieced together from leftover batting strips. The backing is made from the leftover wide backing from another quilt, and the binding is also made from leftover backing. When I trim up a quilt, I often make binding from the trimmings. The side trimmings are perfect for this, and the bindings turn out great. And look, it's aqua-- the RSC color for this month. Bonus!

I am so happy that this quilt got finished. It was nice and meditative for me to quilt up, it looks great, and I got a second quilt back out of that leftover backing. That's a win no matter how you look at it. There's a small bit of it left, so it may also go into another quilt backing as well. 

Another thing to be happy about-- this will be one of my donation quilts for this year. As happy as I was to make it, I'll also be happy to give it away to someone who could use a quilt. Can't you just see this wrapped around a teenage girl? I can, and I know for sure it will absorb lots of those teenage tears, too.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and that you get some stitching in, too. I'm hoping for good weather on Saturday so we can go get some takeout (which we all know is my favorite meal) and run some errands, and then it can snow on Sunday if it wants. All the better to enjoy some nice warm cookies and tea, right?

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Building triangles and fences

 Hi everyone! How is your week going? Mine has been okay, but with a couple of very long days already. Or maybe they just felt very long because it's February. Why does the shortest month feel like it's the longest one?

I've been working on a couple of things to keep my sanity. The sewing room has a calming effect, with all that nice, soft fabric. You may know that Sandra at mmmquilts is having a sew along for the Postcards from Sweden quilt, but what you don't know is that I had a kit for it that I purchased a long while ago but never even opened. I gave up on the idea of making the quilt after the kit sat for a while and thought I would just use the fabric in another project somehow. So, yeah, I finally opened the kit and started cutting:

I may be crazy, because there are a *lot* of different hsts to make for this quilt, and I'm sure to get confused, but I'm going to give it a good try. The quilt turns out really fun and happy, and who couldn't use more brightness before the spring finally arrives? (I'm starting to feel ready for spring, how about you?)

So, sorting out those colors and figuring out which was which, then cutting eleven billion triangles and trying to match up all the different colors kept me pretty busy, but I also managed to get the next round put on my round robin quilt:

Wendy called for signature blocks, and a simple rail fence with a light center makes a great signature block. I'm trying to use a stack of stars and other fun fabrics for this quilt, and this round just about used up the bluish purple piece. About time, too:

Yep, past time that the stars got used. But they work great in this happy quilt, don't they? There are two rounds to go on the round robin, and I'm really looking forward to finishing off this little project and getting it quilted up to donate.

That's what's happening here this week. Here's a brief wildlife update, though: it got warm enough for the brown bat to fly away! At least, that seems to be what happened since he isn't here anymore. I kind of miss checking on him. Also, we have acquired a very large hawk in the trees in the side yard, and an owl also seems to have taken up residence. I've heard the owl but haven't seen him yet. It's practically a zoo around here, you know, in more ways than one. 
Hope your week is going well! I'll be having another long day tomorrow, but I really hope to have a finish this week, so stay tuned! And don't forget that there is information on this upcoming project coming on Sunday, too. See you then!

Sharing at Wendy's blog for SAHRR and at Midweek Makers.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Twice around

 Hi everyone!  Gosh, what a week I have had. If it wasn't one thing, it was ten others. I feel like I've run a marathon every day this week. You ever have a week like that? With rain, to top it off? I am glad to put this one in the archives. The happiest part of my week was the response to the announcement earlier this week about the Hands2Help Challenge. Thanks to everyone who is enthusiastic about participating! I'm looking forward to it as well!

With all that was going on, I only had time to make a little bit of progress on a couple of projects this week. Thankfully, one of them was my medallion quilt for the RSC this year.  Here is the aqua/ teal round:

I love that dark aqua fabric. It's so pretty, and it looks really good next to the red. This is now 16 inches square, but we have eight rounds to go, so it will grow quickly.

The only other thing I worked on was the Stay at Home Round Robin quilt. This round was stars, so I took the opportunity to add stars to the top and bottom to make the quilt into a rectangle:

Gosh, this is a happy quilt, isn't it? The stars are what I call spinners and they remind me of those whirligigs that come on a stick that some people put in their gardens. I guess if you made them in black they could be ninja throwing stars, too. These are much cuter, of course! The stars finish at 4-1/2 inches each, and you can find a tutorial for them right HERE. The quilt now measures about 27-1/2 inches wide and 36 inches long. It's really shaping up!

Okay, that's a short post, but that's all I have in me right now. I hope you all have something really fun planned for this weekend. I'm going to try to read a book and maybe watch the Olympics, or something equally mindless. Do you think brownies go well with that? Let's find out!
(Brown bat update: still hanging out. Hasn't moved. I think he's with us till spring!)

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC22 and Home Sewn By Us for the SAHRR, and Finished or Not Friday, too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

A big announcement

 Hi everyone! Today I have a big announcement: the Hands 2 Help Comfort Quilt Challenge is coming to The Academic Quilter!
 Many of you are very familiar with the Hands 2 Help Challenge from Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I'm going to guess that *very* many of you are familiar with it, because last year there were more than 1000 comfort quilts donated. That's a lot of comfort!

This year, Sarah is unable to run the Challenge, so it has found a temporary home here. Not to worry-- most of the Challenge will still be the same, at a different address. The goal is still to make and donate comfort quilts for several different organizations, or for an organization in your own hometown. And yes-- as always, there will be linky parties, guest bloggers, tutorials, and prizes! 

The Challenge calendar will also follow the usual schedule, beginning with signups in mid-March and ending by Memorial Day in the US, at the end of May, with quilts to be sent for donation by the first week in June. Much more specific information to follow!

So, there's the big announcement! Get your quilty calendars cleared and ready to stitch up some comfort, and come back here on Sunday, February 13, for specific details about dates, this year's comfort quilt organizations, some thoughts about prizes, and information on when to sign up. 

I know this will be an awesome year for Hands 2 Help, and I hope you'll all grant me a little bit of grace and patience while I muddle through. And everyone think good thoughts and direct them towards Sarah! I'm sure we all wish her a fast and complete recovery.

See you on the 13th, when I hope all your questions will be answered!