Friday, April 29, 2022

Suddenly spring

 Holy cow, folks, it's the end of April. On Sunday it will be May! How in the world did that happen? Plus, one day this week I got up and suddenly the whole world looked green. The leaves have popped on the trees and we have all kinds of shade again. Many of the trees are flowering now, too. Spring has definitely sprung.

If it's the end of April, you know it's also the end of the academic year, which means I've been really busy this week. All those meetings, all that grading. . .not nearly enough stitching, but I did manage to add the pink round to my medallion quilt for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Have a look:
I am really, really pleased with this! Who doesn't love pink polka dot fabrics? Plus, if you squint a little, it looks almost like a white ribbon waving around the quilt top.

All of the blocks in this quilt top so far are different sizes, and this block is 3 inches. For reference, the yellow round blocks are 4 inches, and the aqua are 2 inches. The actual pink block is above, for anyone who would like to make it themselves. I strip pieced everything and it was super easy, which is not always true with 3-inch blocks!

As you can see from the artsy-looking picture above, the azaleas are also blooming in the yard! I forgot about these, really. They're in a part of the yard that we are planning to clear out, and we just didn't get to it last year. I really did mean to cut them down, but it just didn't happen. Oh, well! Maybe this year? In the meantime, we'll enjoy the pretty flowers.

So, that's it for my current RSC progress. I have some of the pink stars cut out, so I'm a little behind, but I'll do those with the next color. Just as soon as I finish this grading. . .

Everyone have a great weekend. I'll be chained to my desk, but I hope that you all have some nice weather and some pretty flowers to enjoy! Here's another beauty from my forgotten garden!

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday and soscrappy for RSC22.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Hands2Help Guest Blogger Alycia!

 Hi everyone, and welcome back to another exciting episode of Hands2Help, the Guest Blogger Edition!

Today we are lucky to have Alycia, of Alycia Quilts, as our guest blogger.  Here is a quick look at her project:

Classic and cute! Hop on over to her post, right HERE, to get more fun pictures and a tutorial for this easy project. Be sure to leave her a nice note while you are there!

Announcements, reminders, and questions


Okay, a small announcement: I am closing the sign-ups for this year on May 1. This will let me have a good count for allocating prizes and make my life much easier. Thanks for understanding!

Also on May 1, I'll open up the form for counting the quilts from this year. You don't need to be done by then, of course! But when you do finish, you'll have the form all ready to be filled out. This is only for counting how many quilts we've donated through the Challenge. No hard questions!

Reminder: the quilt sizes requested by our primary organizations are all found on the tab at the top of the blog, along with tons of other information and links to all the H2H posts. Click right HERE or look for the Hands2Help tab at the top. 

Another reminder: I am happy to answer your questions, but please, please leave an email address so I can get in touch with you. I feel awful when people have questions and I have no way to contact them.

A couple of questions:

Can I just send my quilts to you? Oh, no. Not only would I have to send them out again to our organizations, but here's what would likely happen: my hubby would open the box, think one of the donation quilts looked cozy, and curl up on the sofa with it for a nice nap. And then what would we do? Poke the sleeping bear? So save us all the trouble and send it directly to one of our very deserving organizations.

Can I get a tax receipt? A very common question! No, I don't give those receipts. Some organizations will do it upon request, but your best bet is to ask a tax advisor how to document your charitable donations. Having just finished my own taxes a few weeks ago, I can promise that you'll want to talk to someone other than me about it!

Can I have some fabric so I can make a donation quilt? Sorry, any fabric I would send would have to come from my own stash, and you know I have plans for every bit, right? 😊 The fabrics donated for prizes will be distributed randomly, and I'm committed to fairness in this, so I can't send them to people who just request them. Thanks for understanding.

That's all for now! Hope you are all having fun making your donations, and that you will give some of the patterns from our guest bloggers a try. Happy spring, and happy stitching!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Bold choices for the Synergy Blog Hop

 Hi everyone! How has your week been? I've had a very busy, action-packed week. Okay, the action was really just a bunch of grading and reading and stuff, but it felt like action in my head. I also managed to sneak in a few stitches and finish up something pretty and bold and not really like my usual at all. I hope you are in the mood for some color today, because I have something really colorful to show off. 

Are you ready? Here she is:

I told you it was not my usual thing at all! This is a quilt top made for my friend Preeti's Synergy Blog Hop. If you recall, back in January, Preeti showed off her Synergy quilt, which she published in Make Modern magazine. Well, Synergy is now a stand alone pattern, and you can get it in her Etsy shop right HERE. Bonus-- it is 25% off until April 27th!

When Preeti asked me to join the blog hop, I thought I would make a rainbow quilt, but then I was looking at her blog post about Synergy and I saw her quilt in teals with a yellow background. What if I didn't make a rainbow quilt, but used a bold print as a background instead? As you can see, it was a short hop to the lively pink print, with blues and golds to complement the flowers and leaves in the print.

This quilt was super-easy to make and went really fast. The pattern is easy to understand, and everything is really well explained. I followed the pattern exactly-- which you know I never do, but I needed to do it to test the pattern-- and everything came together really quickly. Even I could not mess it up. The great color graphics helped. Really, the hardest part for me was choosing the colors from my scrap stash. Even the cutting went really fast.

I actually considered making this quilt in just two colors, the pink and a pale green. I was making this for the blog hop, though, so I abandoned that idea, but there isn't a colorway that wouldn't look good in the pattern. Imagine it in green and white, or gray and yellow, or maybe red, white, and blue . . .

So there is my take on the Synergy pattern! I would absolutely make this quilt again, and I'm not really "modern." Bigger pieces, easy piecing, minimal seam matching, and it looks great in any color. What's not to love about it?

As I said above, this is a blog hop, and here is the schedule for the hop:

 Mari of Academic Quilter - Thursday, April 21, 2022-- YOU ARE HERE!
Alycia of Alycia Quilts - Friday, April 22, 2022
Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts - Saturday, April 23, 2022
Bonnie of Institches with Bonnie - Sunday, April 24, 2022
Roseanne of Home Sewn By Us - Monday, April 25, 2022
Since this is a hop for the pattern release, you have the opportunity to win a Synergy pattern of your very own. Leave a comment on this post, and just for fun, let us all know what colors you might use for the quilt. Pop over to Preeti's post today if you need some more inspiration, and be sure to visit everyone in the hop, because we all have a pattern to give away. I'll pull the winner using a random number magic thingy on Tuesday, April 26th. IMPORTANT: If you are no-reply, remember to leave your email address so that I have a way to contact you!

This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Rochelle, and thanks to all for reading along!

Of course, if you just can't wait, hop over to Preeti's shop to get the pattern and get started on a fabulous quilt of your own right away!

Thanks for stopping by, and everyone have a grand weekend!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

H2H Progress Party

 Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge! 
Today is a link party for you to share your progress on your donation quilts. I am really looking forward to seeing everything that you all are creating! Here is how I am doing with my donation quilt:

Yep, it's a finished quilt top! The only thing that I added to the pattern in THIS post was a narrow, 2-inch border to stablize all the edges and to use up the rest of the turquoise fabric. I think it looks great and I'm really happy with it.

Now it's your turn! Link up your post and show off your quilty progress. Remember to link directly to your post, and to visit some other posts and leave them nice notes. Everyone loves encouraging comments!

Thanks everyone! It's Easter Sunday and Passover, so Happy Easter and/or Chag Sameach and/or happy Sunday, whichever applies! If you are celebrating or doing other family stuff, the party will be open until next Saturday, so have your feast, then come back and link your post!

Link up here:

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Catastrophe averted

 Hi everyone! Spring is busting out all over around here, and I have the watery eyes and itchy nose to prove it. I don't mind though! It's nice to be back outside. I even dug in the dirt for a little bit this week. It was to bury a drainpipe, but hey-- it counts as working outside!

So, I have a rescue of sorts to show off today. I know you'll remember this and the tragedy that it almost was:
Yes! The Snail's Trail quilt, all finished and cuddly! Honestly, I didn't think it would really happen.

If you all recall, I made this from blue and beige scraps, cut using an Accuquilt die I borrowed from a friend. Somehow, it only made a very small dent in my scraps, even after I expanded the size of the blocks with the math help of a very nice woman named Ila. I finished the top last October, and then it aged a bit, until I had a longarming appointment.

And then came the tragic part of our story:

Yep, the tension messed up when I was most of the way through my longarming, after I had quilted almost 3/4s of the way through the quilt. I didn't see it until I advanced the machine to quilt the next section. Two whole rows of quilting, all messed up, and no way to finish the rest of it without fixing the bad section. I cried. I took it off the frame, brought it home, and cried some more. I seriously considered cutting the good part of the quilt and tossing the part that was messed up, plus the remaining unquilted part.

Obviously, I didn't do that. I spent many hours over a few weeks taking out the bad stitching, then took it back, reloaded it on the longarm frame, and finished the quilting. (Pro tip: If you ever need to do this, a seam ripper will not do. Save your sanity and use a very sharp pair of small scissors. Also, keep a lint roller really close by to get all those tiny threads.) I used all the scraps of blue binding that I had to finish it off, so all of it but the backing is scraps.

It took some serious work, but it turned out okay! I really love this quilt. If I look at it carefully, I can see where the quilting stops and starts again, but I don't think that other people can tell. It's really hard to get everything lined up exactly the same if you have to reload things. Once it's washed, I think it will be hard even for me to see it.

So there is the happy ending to this almost-tragic story! I love the quilt and I would totally make it again, and I'm saving my pennies for a Snail's Trail die of my very own. I've seen this pattern in lots of different colors, but I think I like my scrappy one best. It reminds me of sand and water, like a nice relaxing beach.

I hope you all are having a good week. This weekend is both Easter and Passover, so much happiness to all who celebrate these holidays, and a happy weekend to everyone!
Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, Oh Scrap! and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

H2H Guest bloggers Sandra and Kat!

 Hello everyone, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Hands 2 Help Comfort Quilt Challenge!
I hope everyone is stitching away and making serious progress on their quilts. If not, we have TWO guest bloggers today to help you with some new ideas for simple quilts. You may even be inspired to make another! 

First up is Sandra, from mmmquilts. You may know Sandra from one of her quilt alongs, which always turn out really beautiful original designs and quilts. She has a new one that is just starting, for a quilt called Pop Star. Jump over to her blog and check it out, right after you check out her H2H quilt. Speaking of which. . .

Isn't that lovely? All those soft florals and pops of color. I can see this in many different fabrics. But wait, there's more:

Sandra actually made two different scrappy quilts, and she has the directions for both in her post. Another great way to use up your scraps and make a happy quilt for someone. You can find Sandra's H2H post right HERE, and don't forget to check out the quilt along, too.

After you check out Sandra's quilt, pop over to Kat's blog, Scrapbox Quilts, and check out this beauty:

Another great quilt, and much easier than it looks! I can also see this one in many different fabrics, and Kat has also provided diagrams in different colors and a few different layouts so that you can make a unique quilt of your own. For all the (really simple) directions and more pretty pictures, as well as Kat's lovely quilting, hop over to Kat's post HERE. Be sure to leave her a nice note while you're there! 

Many, many thanks to both Sandra and Kat for their guest blogging expertise, and for sharing their patterns with all of us!

Just a reminder that next Sunday, April 17, there will be a link-up for everyone to show off their progress on their quilts. I can't wait to see them all!

Happy stitching!

Friday, April 8, 2022

For the birds

 Hi everyone, and happy (soon to be) Opening Day! This is a true sign of spring and is a big day in our household. It happens that our favorite team is opening here in Baltimore, so guess what we'll be doing next week? I hope we can find parking!

It has been a very busy week here, so all I got done was making some birds for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. They are super cute, though, so they have been hanging out here and cheering me up. Here's the whole flock of pink and yellow birds:

Aren't they cute? It's hard to get them all in one picture because there are so many, and I'm not tall enough to reach higher to get them closer in the tree. But look-- the leaves are beginning!

Here's a closer look at the pink birds:

I had a great time making this group, and I remembered to make some facing in each direction. And since I was making pink birds, I had to make the most famous of the pink birds, a flamingo:
Yes, she knows she's gorgeous. She could use a better pressing, but she still turned out great. The legs took a bunch of trial and error, but I think I came close to making those resemble a flamingo's stick legs.
And now for the yellow birds:

More fun color combinations! The yellow with turquoise markings on the left is the last of that fabric I had left, and it worked great for this happy bird. The bench they're on came from our daughter, who got a new bench rather than paint this one. It may have a few dings, but it made a great backdrop.

I'm so glad I chose this as one of my RSC projects this year. Half the fun of the birds is picking out all the different color and fabric combinations. All of these birds are made from little bits of stuff that I saved, so they are all truly scrappy. And all different!
These birds are not paper pieced and are made using a tutorial by Lynne, which you can get right HERE. It's totally worth it, because these little guys are addictive and you'll find yourself making a ton of them. And they bring such happiness!
Here's another little bit of happiness from in front of one of my neighbor's houses:
Bright pink hyacinths! I don't think I've seen that color in hyacinths before, but it certainly is cheerful.  

Have a good weekend, everyone, and happy spring!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC22

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Hands2Help Guest blogger Wendy!

 Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge! 
Thanks so much to everyone who linked up with their easy patterns and block tutorials last week! There were a lot of fun new ideas to try, and I appreciate everyone sharing them. If you haven't checked them out, you can find the linkup right HERE. You can also find all of the past posts conveniently linked at the tab at the top of the page or HERE.
Today we are lucky enough to have Wendy from Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life as our first guest blogger. Here is Wendy's project:

Doesn't that look pretty cool? You can find her post right HERE. Go on over and check out the project, and be sure to leave Wendy a nice note, too. Thanks so much, Wendy!

After you've checked out Wendy's project, come back here because we've had some questions, including some from no-reply bloggers, and I'll answer them below. 

You've got questions, I've got answers

I just found out about this. Can I still sign up?  Yes, absolutely! Just fill in the sign-up form at the sign-up post, HERE, and get started stitching.

I'm pretty new at quilting. Can I still participate?  Yes you can! All skill levels are welcome. Make something simple or something really intricate, it's up to you.
I don't want to sign up. Can you please just post the charity addresses? No, sorry. The addresses are being sent to participants. At least two of our charities have quilts sent to private homes, and I'm not posting their addresses openly. Sign up, or ask a friend to do it for you.

Is there a way to get my tops quilted if I can't do it myself? No, I'm sorry, I can't coordinate that. You could ask around at a quilt guild or a shop, or you can go ahead and give the quilting a go yourself. There are a lot of tutorials online, and the quilting doesn't need to be anything fancy. Straight-line walking foot quilting works just fine!

I'm not in the US. Can I participate? Yes, you can! Find a deserving charity to donate to close to home, and be sure that you follow their donation rules. When it's time to count the quilts, be sure to list your quilt and the charity where you donated. That's all there is to it! There are already 21 non-US participants, so come on along and join us!

Is there a way to link up my pictures if I don't have a blog or Instagram? Sorry, but I don't know of any other way. I'm not that techy about these things, but I really don't know another way. You can, however, send your pictures to me and I'll include them in the quilt parade on May 15 and 22. 

Do I have to follow you to be eligible for the prizes? No, you don't! But I do hope you'll stick around and check out my projects after the Challenge is over.

Am I guaranteed a prize if I make a quilt? No, sorry. I'm thankful for all of you, but I can't guarantee everyone a prize. All I can promise is that the drawing will be fair and random.

Can I send you some cash to cover expenses? No, but thank you for offering! I'm working on a way to raise some money to cover my expenses and you all will be the first to know about it. Stay tuned!

So many questions! I hope that answered some of the ones that you've had. If you have a question that I haven't answered yet, go ahead and ask and I'll answer if I can. If you're a no-reply commenter, please leave your email address. I have no way to answer you if you don't!

Thanks everyone, and happy stitching! See you next week for another fun project with a guest blogger!