Thursday, March 31, 2022

As the medallion grows

 Hello all! Well, here we are at the last day of March. How did that happen? Where did the month go? I don't know, but it's certainly blowing out of here loudly today. The wind is quite something, and tonight we're supposed to get a huge storm. Out like a lion, indeed!

Good thing I got quilty pictures earlier today! I really wanted to get my RSC projects posted before the month is out, so I started with this one:
Yes, the medallion! I think it looks really awesome and is turning out even better than I thought it would. These are simple Birds in the Air blocks arranged in a cool pattern. It almost looks like a big star, doesn't it? At this point, it measures about 26 by 26. It's growing nicely, I think.
I was lucky to get this picture, because it really is windy, and I just managed to catch the top when the wind caught it and nearly blew the whole thing away:

And here's a bit of serendipity:
I didn't know when I did it, but the next color is pink, and there is pink in this golden yellow print. Sometimes you win.
I also, finally, finally, made a yellow scrap basket:

Whew! Those of you who have been here for a little while will remember that I made a bunch of scrap baskets in 2020, one for each color, but somehow I skipped yellow. It didn't get made last year, either, but this year was finally the time. It's more than half full, so hurray for finally having a place to put all those pieces. A tutorial for the baskets is right HERE.
Last thing was the yellow 4-patches for the Rainbow Blues quilt. You thought I forgot, didn't you? Nope, we are making tons of progress for a nice finish late this year.
And that is the yellow report for this month! I have a plan to make the yellow birds and the pink birds this weekend, so they'll make an appearance soon. Birds are more fun when they have friends, after all. 

Everyone have a good, dry weekend, and remember-- flowers are on the way! For proof, here is a flowering pear tree that I saw on one of my walks this week. 

Spring is busting out all over!

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

Sunday, March 27, 2022

H2H Easy patterns party

 Hello all, and welcome to our first link party for Hands2Help!
Today's link party is for easy block or quilt patterns that could be used for a fast and easy donation quilts. Link up your own blog post and share with others. True fact: this is my very first link party ever, so please be patient if there are a few glitches.
You know how this goes-- please link up here: 

Thanks for coming, everyone! Our next link party will be for you to show off your progress, and that will happen on April 17th. Happy stitching until then!

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Dinosaurs on parade

 Hi everyone! How was your week? We are on spring break this week, and I had plans to get a lot done. Spoiler alert-- I did not get a lot of things done. I did do some grading, and I cleaned a bunch of things, but that doesn't really feel like progress, you know? 
Here's one thing I did get done-- I finished up and bound my little quilt for the Stay at Home Round Robin, run by Quilting Gail and other quilty friends. Amazingly, I kept up this year and even finished on time! Here are the dinosaurs:

Colors always look so vibrant in the rain, don't they? I am so pleased with this little quilt, which finished at 40 by 48. I had a lot of fun with this. Look at those dinosaurs! How can anyone be unhappy working on those cuties? As a bonus, I used up that panel, and I also used up a bunch of star fabrics that were quite old but still very cute. 
There were several rounds on this quilt, and my favorite was probably the stars, which look like pinwheel spinners if you're of a certain mind. These really set the quilt apart, I think, and I love how cheerful they are.
Of course, my very favorite part is this little blue dinosaur. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to him when I donate this quilt.

I quilted this in a panto pattern called Seamless, which is very simple and went very fast, and was very fun to quilt. It's a lot of swoops and swirls, and it's good practice, too. I used a pale yellow thread, which blended pretty well with everything.

The backing is actually an Easter print, though you couldn't really tell. I had to look really close to see that those are Easter eggs, not polka dots. It's really colorful, though, and I got it on clearance for $4 a yard, plus it was perfect for this backing. And check out that snappy bright pink binding! I just love it.
This quilt is bound for donation through Hands 2 Help. I think some child will really love it, and it's cheerful and friendly, too. It might be tough to put this one in the box to send off, but better in a child's hands than in a project box, waiting for nothing, right? It's definitely time for this to be loved.

Hope you all have had a lovely and productive week, and have an even better weekend. I think some tea and cookies and relaxing would be great, don't you?

Sharing at Quilting Gail for the SAHRR parade, along with Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

H2H Sign-ups-- start your machines!

 Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Hands2Help Challenge for 2022! Happy first day of spring! It's time to get this party started, and I can't think of a better day for it.
The day is here! It's time to sign up for the Challenge. You can do that by filling out this easy-peasy form. You already know all the answers! Just click below and follow the link:

Hands2Help signup form



Frequently asked questions:


Mari, why do I have to sign up? Can't I just make a quilt?
Yes, you could just make a quilt, but signing up saves me time and trouble. I'll use the signup emails to communicate with you, including sending coupons and discounts offered by vendors and sending you the shipping addresses for our charities. I'll also already have your address when it's time for the prizes, so you'll get a happy surprise in the mail without fuss.

Do I have to have a blog or IG to participate?
No, not at all! Anyone can participate. I do ask you to sign up, though, for the reasons above. 

How is my information handled or shared? 
The only one who will see your address is me, with the possible inclusion of someone who helps with mailing out packages. I'm not selling the list, and the form is public but the responses are not. When the Challenge is over, I will delete the form and all your information.
Is there any way to get reimbursed for postage or shipping?
Sadly, no, though Little Lambs offers a way to send quilts to them with less financial outlay. Information will be in an email sent to those who sign up.
Can I get a tax receipt?
I do not provide tax receipts or advice, but Little Lambs will send a receipt on request. Important disclaimer: consult your own tax advisor for tax questions!

I'm not in this for prizes. What if I just want to make quilts?
I understand! Please sign up and check the box that says "no prizes, please." You will get a thank you note from me, and any coupons or offers that everyone else gets, but not be in the prize drawings.  
Do you have hashtags and other social media stuff?
Thanks for asking! I am on Instagram (@academicquilter), so you can tag me if you'd like. I've been using the hashtags #hands2help2022 and #handstohelp2022, but others are welcome. I don't have a Facebook account for the blog, but you can feel free to share your pretty quilts there and direct people back to the H2H tab on this blog for more information. The sharing code for our button is also on the tab and at the bottom of THIS post.

What if I think of another question?
Email me and I'll be happy to answer! academicquilter AT gmail DOT com

I think that's it for now. Please take a look at the updated prize list-- we've had a number of things come in since last week, and be sure to let the sponsors know how glad you are for their participation. Maybe put a little note of thanks in the message box with your next online order to say thanks? It never hurts!

Schedule reminders

Next week, March 27, is our first linky party! This is an opportunity for you to link up your own very easy quilt pattern, your favorite free donation quilt pattern, and/or your best tips for donation quilts. It doesn't have to be a new post, but if you want to write a new one, please do, and link it up so that we can all see it and learn from it.

Guest bloggers share their own ideas for quick blocks or quilts starting on April 3 with Wendy from Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life.
On April 10, Sandra from mmm quilts is our guest blogger. On April 17, we have a linky party to show off your progress on your donation quilts.

Alycia from Alycia Quilts is our guest blogger on April 24, and Cathy from Crazy By Design takes over on May 1. Preeti from Sew Preeti Quilts wraps up the guest bloggers for us on May 8. 

On May 15 and May 22, I'll have a parade of quilty pictures from any of you who don't have blogs but would like to show off your beautiful creations. Send me your pictures when you finish your quilt, and I'll post them over those two days.

May 29 is our linky party to show off finished quilts! The Challenge ends on June 5, with prizes shipped out that week.

Thanks again to everyone for their support! And now that we're "officially" open: ready? set? stitch!

Friday, March 18, 2022

First flowers of spring

 Hi everyone, and welcome to the weekend spring begins-- hurray! It's been a long winter, and I am glad to see the end of it. At least I hope we've seen the end. Winter never seems to want to leave, and could still surpise us once or twice. But check out what is blooming on our hillside:

Yes, it's first daffodil of spring, and I am very, very happy to see it! And here's something else I'm happy to see-- a finished quilt:

There's a chance that this quilt has been done for a little while and was waiting for a binding, but that's not really relevant, is it? This is a quilt I called Cactus Flower, and was a pattern by Sharon Holland called Saguaro. I made this as a part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge last year. Unbelievably, I finished it last October and now it is a cozy finished quilt!

I really love how this turned out. It looks much better than expected, though it is really different from Sharon Holland's cover quilt. This quilt is all scraps and looks like flowers to me. I do love flowers, you know. It's quilted with Omni thread in a color called Cheesecake, and I'm telling you this because I now want to quilt every quilt with this color! It looked really yellow on the cone, but it blended really well with every color in the quilt. I really do want to use it for everything.

I long armed this quilt with a panto I got from a friend. It's called Loose Leaf from Urban Elements and I have had many quilts finished with this pattern. It always looks great, but there's a twist with this one. My friend wanted the pattern to be a different size, so she ordered it to be 10 inches, thinking that she would get it printed with two 5-inch rows. Well, no. She got one 10-inch row. So this is Loose Leaf in a really big size. But it went really fast and made the quilt nice and cozy!

The backing here is a neutral piece that I got somewhere and used up on this quilt. It's not exciting, but you can see the quilting nicely. I dithered on the binding, but then I just bound it in the same fabric as the border. It makes a nice frame and isn't distracting from the quilt's flowers.

This quilt finished at just about 65 by 65, and I'm donating it to Mercyful quilts for the Hands 2 Help Challenge. I really enjoyed making it, and it finished off light and soft, and I think someone would really find comfort in it. Everyone deserves beauty and comfort, especially at the end of life.

And that's the story of this quilt! Next week is spring break for me (happy dance!) and I have a longarming appointment to finish off the quilt that met with disaster from the messed up tension last month. It took forever to pick out all that bad quilting, and even longer to get all the stupid little bits of thread out of the quilt, but I think I should be able to finish it off this time. And I have another one I hope to finish, too. Just a ton of things happening, and those machines will be churning away!

Everyone have a great weekend. Hope you have warm breezes and some happy flowers coming up where you are, too! And just a note that Hands2Help signups start Sunday, so be sure to come back then!

Look at all those daffodils coming up!

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

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Hands2Help sponsors and prizes

 Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Hands 2 Help Comfort Quilt Challenge for 2022! 

Today's post is about the prizes at the end of the Challenge, but first I want to share these two links about two of our quilt recipients this year:

First, our friend Bernie has written a post about Mercyful Quilts, which you can read right HERE. Remember to contact me for the address when you are ready to send your quilt. Don't send it to Bernie! She's moving and your quilt may be lost.

Second, HERE is a link to a lovely and inspiring article about Victoria's Quilts Canada, which is requesting quilt tops, not completed quilts. Just for reference, HERE is a link to mailing information for Canada. You will need a Customs form, and please remember to mark your package as a gift, not a product. I think this has something to do with taxes due.

Okay, on to the prizes!
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

New for this year

Major thanks to everyone who has already been really supportive of this year's Challenge! For the last several years, Sarah would make sure that she had enough prizes for everyone to get something at the end of the Challenge. The Challenge is now so big (and I started late) that this really isn't possible this year. BUT, please note the following two points:

Everyone who signs up for the Challenge and donates a quilt will receive a small thank you gift in the mail at the end of the Challenge. This way everyone gets something small along with a great big thanks for their hard work and generosity. 

If you are not interested in prizes (even the big ones), there is a box on the sign-up form for you to check for "no prizes, please!" Not everyone is interested, so this insures that people don't get something they don't want. 

In June, at the end of the Challenge, I'll use a random number generator to assign the prizes to those in the prize pool. Again, not everyone will "win," but everyone will have big thanks! And I'll spread the prizes around as much as I can, too.

A partial list of prizes

Those of you who are interested in prizes, here is a partial list of what we have already. I'm still collecting others, and waiting to hear from some companies, so I'll update this list as I know more. Check back if  you're interested in something in particular! And, of course, if you'd like to contribute something, please get in touch!

Quilter's Dream batting has sent a box of different things, but it hasn't arrived yet. You know it will be good, though!
UPDATE: A variety of quilt battings in throw and crib sizes!

A pdf quilt pattern from Emily of Aunt Em's Quilts. Emily is also the force behind Quilty Hugs, one of our quilt recipients this year. She is also offering some handmade soap to another winner.

Edge-to-edge longarm quilting on one baby-sized quilt, including Hobbs 80/20 batting, thread, AND return postage from Stitched by Susan. She does beautiful work, so go check out her site!

Yardage packages from Northcott Fabrics. These haven't arrived yet, but I'll update when they do. You know they will be beauties!

A $35 gift certificate to Plain Janes and Co., a nifty online quilt shop, donated by the shop.

A $15 certificate to Bear Creek Quilt Co,. another online shop, donated by a reader. 

Inspired LED is donating 3 Sewing Machine Lighting Kits with expansion packs. These are really cool and give off a *lot* of light. 

A free digital pattern from Stitchin at Home, a Canadian Etsy shop, donated by Cindy Pieters.
A free digital pattern for 3 different winners from Vicki at Patterns by Vicki.

Four sets of four fat quarters of Frosted Forest from Windham Fabrics.
A nice stack of batik fat quarters, from an anonymous donor.
A free digital pattern for 10 winners from St. Louis Folk Victorian, donated by Kristi Daum. Really cute modern patterns!

Fat Quarter Shop has offered $25 gift certificates for three lucky winners.
Kona cotton yardage, from another anonymous donor.

A Panda Prints jelly roll, by Kim Schaeffer for Andover Fabrics, from another donor.

A free pattern for ten winners from our good friend Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.
 And speaking of friends, a digital pattern from Sew Preeti Quilts.
A class for one lucky person from Christina Cameli.
An Emily Taylor Collage Aviary Quilt pattern that has been discontinued, donated by a generous reader.
Fat quarters, jelly rolls, and charm packs donated by anonymous readers. (Photos coming!)
Okay, I know I forgot someone! Forgive me, and drop me a note and I'll add you in! And if you'd like to contribute something that isn't listed, I won't turn you away! Fabric, digital patterns, and gift certificates are always appreciated.
As I said, I'll update this list as we go along, so check back. People have been really generous so far, so I'm sure there will be a fun mix of prizes by the time we end in May.

Next Steps

Next week our sign ups open! Be sure to come back then and we'll get this party started! Until then, have a good week, and happy stitching!