Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Holiday project

 Hi all, and happy Thanksgiving to everyone here in the US! Okay, I know it's tomorrow, but isn't today the day we all start cooking? And if you didn't remember to take the turkey out of the freezer yet, well, I'm sorry about that. We always get the turkey on Monday so it never goes in the freezer and is nice and defrosted by Thursday morning. This year there were only big ones left, so it looks like we will be having a lot of turkey!

Since I have a little time this week with all of my students having run home or someplace other than campus, I finally started a project that has been on my mind for a while. It's slow going, but a nice diversion. Here is my first block:

Yes, I finally worked up the courage to cut up the saved baby clothes and start a memory quilt. It was not as hard as I thought and it brought back some fun memories. Anyone else make appliques like that for sweatshirts way back when? 

I decided that I needed some structure for this quilt, so I'm using the Scattered pattern from Connie at Freemotion by the River, which you can get right HERE. It has nice sized pieces, though I have been fussy cutting some of the front pieces instead of following the directions. And yes, the pieces all have interfacing, just like T-shirt quilts. It's kind of a pain, but the results are good.

As you can see from the pile above, I have a ways to go, but I'm hoping to have this done by the end of the year. It's nice to take it a little slow, plus I really need to wash some of those dresses. And sometimes I miss the little kids I used to have, so I need to stop for a bit.

The other thing I've been working on is the Solstice Sampler from Alderwood Studio. Amazingly, I have kept up. The block on the left above took forever, and I cannot read directions, so I might remake it. There are supposed to be rays of a different color surrounding the star, but somehow I missed that. Do you think I could just piece those in without having to remake the whole darned thing?

I took a couple of pictures of those blocks outside, but it was very windy. I put one of the not-too-bad one on IG, but if you look closely at the background of the picture above, you might find a couple of our deer friends, wondering just what is going on, and if the blocks might be tasty.

Everyone have a great Thanksgiving, and be safe if you are going over the river or through the woods. I'm off to make pie!

Sharing at Midweek Makers.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Let it go, let it go. . .

 Hi everyone! Hope you have had a really good week. The weather here is about to turn, so the hubs and I spent part of the day outside raking the massive amount of leaves from the front lawn. This is the downside of having trees. It was good work that took my mind off a lot of things, until I had to go inside for another Zoom meeting.

You may remember just a few days ago when I pulled some blue blocks from deep in the closet, and then didn't know what to do with them. I had four blocks and the cut pieces for 16 more. Should I make more blocks, and how many? Or should I just make it into a little table topper and let it go? Well, after getting some really good advice, I decided to let it go:

Yes, that's letting it go! I used a bunch of the cut pieces and made a nice table topper that is about 36 inches square. Since I had the cut pieces from the blocks I didn't make, I was able to put this together in just a couple hours. There was even enough yardage in the project box to squeeze out a border, with enough left for a binding, too. Win!

It happens sometimes that I feel quite enthusiastic about a project, then something makes me put it away, and then I lose all momentum and never pull it out again. Does that ever happen to you? There are so many cool things to make, though, and I just didn't want to spend more time on this one. I'm sure that it would have made a really cute lap quilt, but I have a lot of lap quilts and I have other things to make. So-- let it go! 

Before I had closed this up in a project box, I had cut the pieces for 16 blocks. That's a lot of pieces, and too much fabric to toss, so I am getting a small bonus quilt out of all those pieces, trimmed down to the same size:

A small buffalo plaid! This is only a part of it, and I trimmed all the blues and whites from the project box down to 4-1/2 inches. I added the lighter blue, which I think looks pretty good with the darker blue and will make a nice calming blue buffalo plaid. I'm not sure how big it will be. I'll just keep going until I use up all the pieces I can. 

So, yay for using up the blocks AND the extra pieces, too! But before I go, I have to share this picture that I took at the Baltimore Zoo, because our granddaughter made us go there with her recently:

Actual sign! And a good life motto, too. Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend, everyone!

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

More block progress

 Hi everyone, and welcome to the dark part of fall, transitioning into winter, otherwise known as the season that shall not be named. We turned our clocks back for Daylight Saving Time this past weekend, and it has thrown me all off. I kind of enjoy the light in the morning, but coming home in the dark is a real bummer. Makes me feel like I worked a whole lot longer than I did.

Thankfully, it has been warm and sunny for the most part so far this week, and it made for some pretty pictures of the blocks I've been working on. Here are my blocks for the Solstice Sampler:

I think those are very pretty! Who knew it would turn out so well with those woodsy fabrics? I'm not so sure about the picture of the center fabrics in the block on the right, but it looks really good in person.

This is the block with half-rectangle triangles, and I messed up a bit on the trimming so I lost some points on those big triangles. Nobody criticize, because I'm happy with it. To be fair, the directions were different from anything else I've ever seen, but I think I've done all right. I love the blue, too. I think it belongs in every block.

The other block is a plaid block, and it was super-easy. I might change those skinny center pieces, but it depends on how motivated I feel. Hint: my motivation is currently quite low.

And there are all four of my Solstice blocks. I just got the pattern for the fifth one, and it has paper piecing, but it looks easy enough if I can make a decision about the colors. None of these blocks was as difficult as they look, and if they look fun to you, you can still jump in and get all the patterns right HERE.

I also was digging through the closet (I have to stop doing that) to get ready for my over-Thanksgiving project and I found this bunch of blocks. I have 16 more blocks cut, but not stitched, and I'm torn about making the remaining blocks or just putting these finished blocks into a table topper-size quilt and creating a border of some type with the cut pieces. Maybe I'll make a few more blocks and decide. These are 12-inch blocks, so I could probably put together a few more blocks and make a decent-sized baby quilt if I wanted to. But see above: motivation is low.

So there we are-- making some progress and finding all sorts of weird stuff. Some day there will be nothing in the closet but things I'm currently working on, but today is not that day. And tomorrow won't be, either!

Above is what I think will be the last rose of the season, even though I see a couple more small buds. The weather is supposed to change, and I'm pretty sure this plant will be dormant by next week. But this last rose certainly is cheery, isn't it? Have a good week, everyone!

Sharing at Midweek Makers.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Sparkly stars

 Hi everyone! Somehow, it was 72 degrees here today. Has someone checked to be sure it's November? I know some people have had snow already, but it looks like we're sticking with rain and above average temperatures for the next little bit. Totally okay with me, except for the leaves that keep falling.
I've got a finished top to show off today. It's my stars top from this year's rainbow scrap challenge, and I'm fairly happy with how it turned out. Here she is:
Well, that is different, isn't it? But quite sparkly! Not at all what I thought I would get at the beginning of this year, but this year itself has not been what I thought it would be. Looking at it hanging up like that, I think it needs a narrow border all around, like 3 inches or so, just to make it look more finished.

These are the stars I made all year, plus one more that I made to finish out a row. The stars are 9 inches finished, and you can get Angela's directions for making them right HERE. Mine are, of course, a little different because I used the white square in the center instead of another scrap. I like the open and lacy look, and it sure makes this layout very sparkly.

You may notice that not all the colors are in this quilt top. That's because I sat down to make some orange and some bright green stars (both great colors for stars, by the way) and it just made me tired, so I thought "what if I didn't?" What if I didn't make more stars and just challenged myself to come up with a new layout that used only what I had?
I felt energized right away, and then started laying out the stars in a rough pattern. As I made it, I cleaned things up so that it's actually symetrical, with the bottom section a mirror of the top section, with a different row right there in the middle To finish off that middle row, I had to add in another star, but I'm not telling which one it is. I'm just really, really pleased with the way that it turned out, even though it doesn't have any orange stars.

One RSC project down, two more to complete! I have a very good idea about the birds, and I finished off the orange round on the medallion quilt. The final border for that one is paper pieced, so it's taking a little longer, but it's going to be spectacular.

Hope you all have a spectacular weekend, no matter the weather. It's November, though, so it's probably best to hedge your bets and just stay in and sew. With some chocolate on the side, of course!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC22.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Coming back slowly

 Hi all. I hope you're all doing well! First, thanks so much for all your comments, notes, and emails about my mom's death. It's been a hard couple of weeks, and I didn't have the energy to respond to everyone individually, but I do appreciate you all.

As anyone who has experienced this knows, time takes on a different meaning in the immediate aftermath, but I'm starting to re-engage with the world again. One major step is getting back into the sewing room and starting back on my projects. I worked on a few things, including being a good grandma and making a fleece monkey costume for a certain tiny person, but what's really gotten me back are these blocks:
Wow, they do look good.  I thought I was fooling myself when I made them. Those petals in the block on the left are pieced, not appliqued, just so you know. These are blocks from the Solstice Sampler at Alderwood Studio. They're a little modern, so I wasn't sure about them, but they turned out to be soothing to make. 

The original sampler is shown in fall colors, but I chose to use these woodsy-ish batiks that were just sitting on the shelf. I don't use batiks very much, but I don't know why. They are great fabrics, very stable, and seldom run. And look at those colors! The only thing I don't really like is that some of them can get muddy when it comes to pattern, but I can deal with that. I may have to expand that section of the fabric shelves. (After I use a bunch more fabric, because I'm committed to keeping it small.)
These blocks are fairly complex so far, which I like, and they're soothing for me because they give me something else to think about. I actually have to concentrate on these, which is giving my brain a rest from everything else. I do feel guilty about neglecting other projects, though. But if you don't feel guilty about that, are you really a quilter?
These blocks are a whopping 18 inches, but see all those stripes? They finish at a half inch wide. And those dots are water spots from the grass, not flaws in the fabrics. I'm really enjoying the complex piecing, and I am learning new things, like don't try to piece a WOF section of 1 inch strips, because they will curve all over the place. Next up are some half-rectangle triangles, which should be a challenge. But really, check out these seams:
So there we are, back to the sewing room and making something nice. You can still join in if you're interested! Just jump over HERE and  get started. This week I'm going to try to work some more on my RSC projects, too. The medallion top is so, so close, and it might be a nice feeling to get it done.

Hope you're all doing well, and thanks again for all your support! It really did make a difference to me. 

Sharing at Midweek Makers.