Friday, March 17, 2023

Blue times two

 Hello everyone, and happy St. Patrick's Day! Is there green beer in your near future? I can't stand the stuff, but it's my brother's birthday, and he's always loved it. When he was a kid, he thought everyone celebrated his birthday with a fun party. I guess that's a reasonable conclusion. This year, though, I'm feeling a little under the weather so I'll just wave to all you revelers from over here on the sofa.

I have nothing green to show today, but I did finish a couple of fun blue things. I have this pile of quilt tops, see, and it really needs to get smaller. It was easy to quilt some straight lines on smaller things, so that's what I did this week. Check it out:

Well, those look fresh and fun, don't they? This all started with the four blocks in the center of the smaller quilt. I had started another quilt with those blocks, but I got bored and put all the cut pieces away. I pulled it out and repurposed many of the cut pieces into these two quilts.

Let's start with the bigger quilt, shall we? It's not very big at about 44 by 56, but it used up a bunch of those blue print and white squares. It may not be very large, but it is quite cuddly!

For the quilting, I just stitched straight lines on each side of the piecing lines in both directions in a pale blue thread with a walking foot. I have really grown to love that thing. It's simple quilting, but I think it really works.

The front of this quilt may be calming, but there's a party on the back! Check out those happy bees. The fabric is actually a bit brighter than it appears in the picture, and it makes a really fun contrast with the blues on the front. 

The smaller quilt is just about 36 by 36, so a table topper size. It got quilted in a cross hatch, and if you look closely you'll see that I made a measuring error with the lines. Not wanting to rip out quilting, I went ahead and repeated the mistake so that it looks intentional. I marked the lines with a Hera marker, which was pretty unsatisfying. I don't know why, but it was hard to see the lines and made me a bit frustrated. Probably operator error there, don't you think?

This little quilt also has a happy backing! It's a bright green with blue swirls and it works really well with the front.

So hurray! Two more finished pieces out of that pile, done with some pretty simple quilting that was easy to do and fairly relaxing. It feels like a victory to get every piece moved out of there and into the finished pile, that's for sure!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Good thing St. Patrick's is a Friday this year, isn't it? I'm going to try to figure out what to do with the last remaining pieces from the original quilt, dozens of blue prints hsts. Any suggestions?

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

Friday, March 10, 2023

Scraps all around

 Hi everyone! I hope you have had a good week. I am starting to see some leaf buds on our trees, and I am happy dancing like crazy over that. Soon there will be leaves! That means there will be shade over the balcony and the deck again, and at some point it might get warm enough to have breakfast outside again. Won't that be glorious?
If you have been following along, you'll know that I started the Stay at Home Round Robin, a project hosted by Quilting Gail and featuring several of my favorite bloggers. (waving wildly to Roseanne and Sue, Wendy, Anja, Emily, and Chris!) Astoundingly, I have finished the round robin quilt top! Take a look:

You know, I had my doubts, but I think I like it! The center block is a panel that I have had for a long time, and the final border is a coordinating print, which I cut lengthwise for the side borders. I had folded the receipt in with that yard of fabric, and it appears that I bought the panel and coordinating yard in 2008. Yeah, time to use them up.

In addition to the round robin challenge, I challenged myself to use up a specific set of scraps that I had saved that went pretty well with the center block. I used up a whole lot of them and only have a few squares left, which is a huge win in my book.

Because I only had small pieces left by the time I got to the end, I made the final pinwheel round as spinners instead of pinwheels made with hsts. I only had big enough pieces to make a few, but I think they work scattered in with the bird fabric. I also used up a ton of leftover 4-patches, and man am I happy to see those used up!

This quilt measures just about 60 by 70, which is perfect because I wanted a top big enough to donate. Because there is so much going on in this quilt, I'm thinking of just quilting it with straight lines across. Or do you think a serpentine stitch would look better? Or meandering? Now I'm confused. . .let me know what you think!

So yay me for finishing this, using up those scraps, and having something that I'll be able to donate, too. I feel very accomplished about this. Before I sign off for the weekend, I have to show you one more thing:

An entire herd of deer in a field near us where an old house was torn down! It was quite the majestic sight!

Hope you all have a great weekend! They're predicting rain for us, mixed with snow. I guess winter isn't done with us quite yet!

Sharing at the SAHRR linkup at Quilting Gail's blog, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or not Friday, and the Quilting, Patchwork, Applique linkup.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Greens with a side of pink

 Hi everyone! It's the second week of March and we're about to have a "cold spell." You know it's been a wild winter when highs in the 50s in March count as "cold." I'm super-thrilled about the noticeably longer days now, though. The sun is now setting after 6 pm! Hooray!

Over the weekend I started looking at and playing with my green scraps for the rainbow scrap challenge. I have a good supply of green scraps, but I used a bunch of the dark green ones last year, and most of the mediums and lighter greens are in small pieces. I managed to get together enough pieces of the same fabrics to make these two star blocks:

Darker greens are hard to photograph, but I think you can see them okay. These are 9-inch blocks, and I think they turned out all right. I wanted to have two darker green blocks and two lighter ones, so I also eked out this block:

Not a bad start, but I'm not sure I'm going to get another light green star out of these scraps. I'll have to wait until I make the Peace and Plenty blocks to see if I have large enough pieces left over.

Last month I was using up the last of the pinks and I squeezed out two random 6-inch pink blocks:

The one on the left did not turn out as expected! Probably not the best fabric for that block, but it does look better in person. Not sure what I'm going to do with the 6-inch blocks, but they're festive and could turn into something fun. They're a good size and easy to make.

Also hiding in that basket were a bunch of long strips of a pretty white fabric with pink flowers. I cut them all to the same width and joined them together and ended up with this:

Just about seven yards of quilt binding! I am a happy camper. Those fabric strips didn't turn into quilt blocks, but they became something useful nonetheless.

And there we have it! A good start on greens and some cleanup of the pinks. Still working on the pink pieces, but I'm sure we'll get there eventually. Meanwhile, I'm looking for a pattern or idea to use up all those little green bits. I'll leave you for today with some pink and green together:

The hellebores are blooming! Spring is on the way, cold spells notwithstanding. Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Scraps all day, flowers coming soon

 Hello everyone! So, have you noticed that it's March now? March! How did that happen? Truth be told, though, our weather is about a month ahead of that. Spring is popping out all over, and bringing with it lots of pollen. Can't even tell you how many times I've sneezed in the last few days, and my eyes are very itchy. But at least it's warm!

I have somehow accumulated quite a pile of tops of various sizes that are waiting to be quilted. I'm embarrassed about what's still at the bottom of that pile, but this week I started tackling some of the smaller pieces in that pile. Happily, I finished two this week. Hey, they're small! Here is one you might remember from last September:

A cute starburst made of scraps! The squares were a rainbow scrap challenge project, then finally got put into a quilt top, and today they have finally graduated to a finished quilt!

I quilted this with a walking foot in a pale yellow thread. and just quilted lines that meet in the center and radiate off in all directions. It was fast and fun, which is the best thing when you're quilting.  The lines aren't evenly spaced or anything, so let's call them organic. Yep, like the lettuce.

The backing for this little quilt is a piece that I bought from someone's destash sale, and the binding came from a half-yard of a snappy coral that I had on the shelf. I'm kind of disappointed in the coral binding, but it's done and it will have to do.

Taking pictures of this was a bear, but above is one last one I was able to get through the gloom. Yes, we're having more rain! But this little quilt is done and ready to donate. Quilt number two is much smaller, and somewhat less cheery, but equally scrappy:

Yes, it's one of the little quilts I made in January to clean out the blue scrap basket. Hey, it was on the top of the pile! 

You can see how puffy this is. I used a scrap of the Hobbs Poly-Down batting, which made it extra puffy. I used a dark blue thread to quilt it in a simple cross hatch and a bit of leftover dark blue binding to finish it off. I think it turned out okay, but the important thing is that it isn't in the "waiting" pile anymore.

I have a few more small quilts basted and ready to tackle, so I may start that this weekend. Otherwise, I'll just be over here, sneezing and planning the garden for this year. And look what's coming up on that front:

A hillside full of daffodils coming soon! Have a great weekend!

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

Saturday, February 25, 2023

A taste of spring

 Hello quilty friends! How was your week? Mine was more of the same, except for that one day where it hit 80 degrees. Not joking! It was a taste of spring that didn't last very long, because although today has dawned nice and sunny, it may snow this afternoon. Again, not joking! It's going to be a good day to read and sew.

The weather was not the real taste of spring for this week, though. It was this happy and fun pink quilt top that I finished just yesterday:

A little washed out by morning light, but is that not very springy? This is the quilt top I made to use up some leftover pink parts from another quilt. Since this is the pink month at the rainbow scrap challenge, I pulled them out and hoped to make something from them. And I did, so I win!

The leftover pieces in question were the triangle in a square parts. After many good suggestions, I turned them into some spinny flowers, then strip-pieced the single Irish chain blocks to fill out the top. It was easy and went fast. The border is a long-stashed half yard that gave the quilt a little zip and protected the seams at the edges. I have just enough of the pink fabric left to make a binding. It's smaller than it looks at just about 48 by 54.

I'm amazed that there were enough pink parts to make all those flower blocks. I didn't know there were so many! I even had a few left-- and I threw them away. Okay, it was two triangle squares, plus a bunch of cut triangles, but no pink "wings." I just couldn't see keeping them, and I didn't want to make more squares so I could make a bigger quilt. I think I put in enough work to use up those leftovers.

So now those pieces are used, and I've almost met all my goals for the pink scraps. I'm still working on the crossed canoes quilt, but a good bit of the pink scraps will be all used up by the end of next week. It's likely that I never would have made this quilt top or used up so many pink scraps without the RSC, so I am thrilled to bits. But not little bits, because that would be more scraps.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. I have amassed a number of small projects and quilt tops that need to be quilted, so I think I had better start with the basting. Looks like a good day for that, too!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Playing a round

 Hello all! I hope your week is going well. I've had a bunch of tests in the last couple of days so I'm a little worn out, but it has been quite warm for February, so that's a small compensation. While out walking I've seen things already starting to grow and a bunch of trees that are starting to leaf out. That also means that allergies are already growing, but I'll take it in exchange for some flowers any day.

Today I have an update on my Stay at Home Round Robin quilt. This is a fun project, but I'm always behind, so I haven't had a chance to show my work yet.  Here we go:

Okay, I think I like it so far! I'd make those spools a different color, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with it so far. Because I started with a big center block and wanted a lap-sized quilt that I could donate, this quilt now measures about 44 by 52.

This is my quilt through round 4, and round 5 is currently in progress. By far the hardest round for me was the stars round, mainly because I decided to make those complicated stars. They were paper pieced and then put on point, making that border 6 inches wide. They look great, but they took a while to make.

I've made some of the square in a square blocks for the next round, using the biggest pieces I have left of the scrap fabrics I'm using. These will finish at 3 inches square. I chose this size because I'm hoping to combine these units with these other leftovers:

These are leftovers from the same quilt as the pink triangle in a square parts that I'm using for the rainbow scrap challenge this month. I have at least 80 of these, and probably more if I look in all the nooks, crannies, and bins around here. I swear I really did make a quilt that used a whole bunch of pieces, just not the quilt I started. You can see that quilt HERE.

So I'm still a bit behind, but at least I have a plan to catch up, and I'll use those pieces up, too. Hurray for that! I'm hoping for a very easy final border so that I can find a way to use up the rest of those scraps, too. I'll leave you with this very encouraging picture:

Daffodil shoots! There will be flowers soon! Enjoy the rest of the week!

Sharing at the SAHRR linkup at the Darling Dogwood.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Comfort twice over

 Hi all! Is this the weirdest winter ever or what? I don't know about you, but the weather here has been really wild. So far, we've had only a trace of snow, lots of rain, and some extremely strange temperatures. Today it was 67 degrees! Which is great, but very odd in February. Do you think this means we'll have a snow storm in April? Gotta happen, right?

Today I'm showing off a finished quilt! Saints be praised, as my grandmother used to say. Here it is:

Totally not my usual thing, but I love it! This was a quilt I made in the depths of grief after my mother died. It's the Solstice Sampler, a sewalong organized by Alderwood Studio (patterns no longer available, sadly.) It brought me back and was comforting when I really needed it. I'm forever grateful.

It happens that I posted a picture on Instagram, and a friend fell in love. Could she buy it from me to give to her sister? Of course not!  I told her she could have it when it was quilted. But could it be quilted quickly? Sure! Not by me, but sure!

I fully intended to rent time and quilt this myself, but there was just no time. I have a whole stack of tops that I'm ready to quilt, and I keep trying to find the time, but there is a lot on my plate right now. So I sent this off to Alycia, who did an amazing job with the direction I wanted to go, and even did it in record time. The main pattern is very swirly, with "rays" around the center star. It turned out so great!

The backing for this quilt is a very pale blue batik, and I bound it in the very last of the bright blue that is in the quilt blocks. I had to piece scraps together and even finagle a couple of things to get enough binding, but I made it with about an inch to spare. 

The designer of the center star actually had a much more complex design, and I ended up making the block twice. Since I was sending this one off to my friend, I finished that block with the applique and quilted it up into a table mat and sent that along, too.

As an added bonus, I had changed my mind about the colors in one of the blocks, but of course I saved the corner pieces that I ripped out. Doesn't everyone? I quilted those up, too, and they became mug-size coasters. Of course those went in the box, too. 

So hurray! This quilt gave me a lot of comfort when I needed it, and now my friend's sister has a warm and cozy comfort quilt to wrap up in when needed. Comfort times two, and awfully pretty to boot.

Hope everyone has a warm and cozy weekend. I think we're getting rain, which we all know will be wonderful for some flowers. I wonder if any are sprouting yet? I better go check, don't you think?

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

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Pink scrap energy

 Hi all! Welcome to the weekend. I don't know about you, but boy do I need this one. I'm exhausted from the bureaucracy and meetings, plus I'm trying to get a Big Important Thing done. It's a little much. I've been cheered, though, by some seriously strange weather we've had-- it was 66 degrees yesterday! No way it lasts, but it sure smelled nice outside!
You know what else is cheerful? Pretty pink blocks made from scraps! I did get a chance to make some scrappy things this week, in very short bursts. Here is the first block:

How could I resist making a pink star block with a heart in February? This is a block called Hearty by Corey Yoder and it was part of Fat Quarter Shop's Sewcialites sew along last year. You can still get the free pattern (and all the others) HERE.

I also made this block:
Can you tell I had breakfast on the balcony? This one came from one of my Judy Hopkins block books. I love those books, even after all this time. Very useful!
The Peace and Plenty blocks also got finished:
Check out those metallic stripes! The fabrics for these blocks were chosen entirely based on the size of the scrap. I didn't have a lot of pink scraps that were big enough to cut for the 12-inch blocks, but I think these were good choices.

Finally, thanks to everyone for your suggestions about what to do with the unused triangle in a square blocks. Here's what I chose to do with them:

These look like flowers, do they not? I appreciated all the suggestions for star blocks, and they would have made awesome stars, but the thought of all that cutting and piecing just made me tired. I just wanted to be done with them. Lynne suggested a one-block quilt, and Kathleen sent some layouts, and I kind of combined those ideas into these blocks. I put them together mostly as leaders and enders between the other pink blocks, so it really worked out.

I think I'll set these with some alternate blocks, made with these units:

Unbelievably, these are from the same quilt project, and I have dozens of them. There might be enough for 16-patches, but I'll probably end up making double 4-patches. And then they'll be used and out of my closet!

Okay, the rest of that pink scrap basket is getting cut up into crossed canoes blocks, and then it will be largely used up! That's coming next week, though, because for the rest of the weekend I'm going to read books and watch movies. Hope you are all doing something similar!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Pieces of pink

 Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely week, though it was quite cold, wasn't it? We probably should expect that in February, but somehow it always feels like a slap in the face when I step out the door. We're expecting it to be 60 in the middle of next week, though, so it's like the weather has mood swings.
By now you know that February's color for the rainbow scrap challenge is pink. I love pink and have a whole bunch of it, in pieces, in scraps, in yardage-- and in unfinished projects. But before we get to that, you know I had to dive right in and make a block:
But wait, there's more! Yesterday I was able to finish putting this one together, too:
For those of you who are new here, I have one of these blocks that was made by my great grandmother and it's one of my prize possessions. The light makes both of these look a little wrinkly, but isn't the pink fun? Polka dots always look festive, and I just love the raspberry in the second block. I don't know that it's really a star, but it's close enough.
Now to those unfinished projects. . . if you recall, my plan is to make as many things as I can each month from the scrap bins in the hope of emptying those babies out. I have a project in progress that will use the pink scraps and is probably finishable this month. Here's where it is right now:
This is a crossed canoes quilt top that I started last summer. I cut a whole bunch of pieces and made a few blocks, then put it away for a while. I pulled it out this week, ripped apart the blocks I'd made so that I could distribute the patterns and such a little better, and then started stitching some more parts together. Then I stopped before I could cut more pieces so that I could use the bigger pieces for some blocks. When I'm done with those, I'll use up as much as I can of the scrappy pieces that are left. I only made a few of the orange parts for a little sparkle in the quilt, but I'll probably take them out at the end.
There's one more pink sort-of project that I'd be thrilled to tackle this month:
Not a great picture, but all of these parts are leftovers from the last time I tried to make a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. I redid the final quilt layout in a much smaller fashion with many fewer pieces, and all of these were left.  They're all the same, triangles in a square, and there are dozens of them. Any good ideas out there?
That's all my pink progress so far! How is yours coming along? It's certainly fun to play with this happy color while it's nasty outside, isn't it? 
Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.