Friday, September 22, 2023

Fast, fun, and bright

 Hi all! How was your week? I've had yet another doozy of a time. It's pretty obvious that we have some serious family stuff going on, but I keep trying to stitch a few things when I can. And this week one of the administrative people at school became a grandma for the first time, so how could I not stitch her up something really cute? Want to see? Here it is:

Isn't that adorable for a first time grandma? This is a variation of the Quick Strippie from Mary Quilts, a super fast and cute pattern that is suitable for any occasion. I just couldn't cut the fun alphabet print into smaller pieces. I wanted to keep as much of the alphabet together as I could and not cut the pieces too small. It's not the pattern, but I think it works.

I did not think to look at the selvage, and I'm too lazy to go downstairs and dig it out of the trash, but I've had this fun print for a while. Come to think of it, I've had all of my fabric for a while, including the lime green and the last bits of the purple that are also in the quilt.

This quilt is about 40 by 48, the perfect "play on the floor" size.  I used the last of the Hobbs Poly Down batting that I had and quilted it with the serpentine stitch. The Poly Down is really quite nice, very light and not at all like the old poly batting. I think it works pretty well for this type of quilt, too. Easy to wash when someone spits up on it.

The backing is also a fabric that I had for quite a while, from the Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric. I'm so happy to use this up, and it works as a nice backing here. And check out that striped binding! You know how you have a fabric for a while and you just get tired of seeing it in your stash? That's how I felt about these, and now I can forget about them because they are used up and happy in a quilt!

That's about all I've been able to accomplish lately. Things are weird, and my regular machine still isn't back from the repair person. I miss it, even though the backup machine is doing great. Should be finished this next week. I think they had to get a repair part from the moon or something. I hope the shipping isn't too much.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Tomorrow is my birthday and Mother Nature is giving me a tropical rainstorm. Won't that be fun? I hope it comes with pie. Brownies would be nice, too.

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

Friday, September 8, 2023

Peace and plenty of color

 Hi all! How has your week been? We have moved on from hot and dry to extremely hot and just about to storm like crazy. We broke temperature records four days in a row this week. Try to imagine college students in a classroom in a building built in the 1890s when it's 100 degrees outside. Zero fun, do not recommend.

I have a fun finsh to show off today, though-- I have finished the top of the Peace and Plenty quilt! Take a look and see if you think it's as gorgeous as I do:

Wow, that's a lot of color! This was one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects for this year. We're finishing off with aqua for this year, and after I made those blocks it was only a short step to completing  the top. That idea of making a few blocks a month really works out!

Above are the aqua blocks by themselves. Aren't they pretty? Aqua is such a great color and I tried to choose one that was 'greener' and one that was 'bluer' and one I just liked. The truth is I love them all, of course. And that pink rose is a lovely contrast!

I love how this turned out, but I do recognize that all the colors kind of break up the pattern and the movement in the top. If all of the blocks were in one color there would be a lot more secondary patterns across the quilt top. There are plenty of secondary patterns in here, though, and all the color is definitely more fun. If you'd like to make some blocks yourself, the directions and cutting sizes are right HERE. I made my blocks in the 12-inch size.

I wasn't going to add a border, but I added the very colorful one just to finish off all those raw edges. Why not? It was all the perfect colors and finished everything off nicely. I think I have enough for the binding in that same fabric, too. My top finished at just about 66 by 78, a nice cozy size.

Now that this top is done I've started getting last year's projects ready to send out for quilting. I love long arming, but it would work so much better for me if I could load a quilt one day and stitch it over the next few days instead of having to get two quilts done in the space of less than 6 hours, including loading. It's time to admit I'm not going to do that and get these tops sent out so a real longarmer can finish them up.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I am going to try not to get too wet in the storms and I also have to take my main machine to the machine-fixer-people. I was stitching away happily and hit a pin, which broke the needle, which then fell into the machine. I couldn't get it out, and the timing is off now too, so time to call in the pros. Hope that never happens to you! I'll close with a picture of a volunteer coleus that sprung up in one of my pots. It's so pretty-- and it kind of goes with the quilt!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23 and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Friday, September 1, 2023

This way and that way

 Hello all! Well, that was a long and unexpected blogging break! Not to worry, I am fine. It was all for good reasons. My Dad and my sister came to visit, and when that happens, you drop everything and spend time with them. Which of course meant that I didn't finsih off any of the projects that I planned to before we had approximately 300 meetings. So I'm behind on everything, but this is pretty much my normal state, so it's all good!
We had a great time showing them around Baltimore and just hanging out, so no machine time for a couple weeks, but after they left I did finally manage to finish off the second Positivity top for the Positivity quilt along sponsored by our friends Preeti and Bernie:

I really meant to have both Positivity quilts quilted by now, but you can blame my Dad if you want. Or my sister, though she really deserves a medal for driving Dad all the way here.

Check out all those leaves on the ground! These are coming off the neighborhood trees because of all the heat this summer. It is odd and no fun. As you can tell, I did not follow the pattern exactly for this quilt either. I just have to be different, you know? If you look back at what Preeti now calls "the pot quilt" you'll see that I really never follow directions. I think this one turned out great, plus it used up a bunch of my fall-like scraps, too.

You may not be able to tell, but there is a lot of variety in those leaves. Anything I could get a 2-1/2 inch piece that was long enough and looked vaguely fall-like went into the top. There are a bunch od golds, some purples, various greens, and even a couple of turquoises. And I love the background fabric, too! It looks perfect with those scraps.

Because I rearranged the layout of the vines, my quilt is a little smaller, about 56 by 72. I think it's going to be a fine size, though, and I plan to send it along just the same. I think I'll quilt it in just straight lines going across. That will accent the vine movement, don't you think?

So, there we are! A second Positivity top, done before Labor Day. I can't believe the summer is over, can you? I just realized today is the first of September! Yikes!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend! It's supposed to be 98 degrees here, so this would be a good weekend to clean up the mess that is my sewing room, but I'll probably just take a nap. The last few weeks have been fun, but exhausting! Did I mention that classes started, too? No wonder I'm tired!

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

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Sunny yellow weekend

 Hi all! We are back from our vacation, which was so, so nice. We got to see our friends and relax a lot. I even read five books in a week. It was heavenly. I didn't take a computer with me, so I got a chance to (mostly) unplug. I highly recommend it! And if you are looking for a good vacation spot to do this, I also highly recommend the Great Lakes. Nice cool water, lovely views, lots to do in town, light late into the evening, and nature all around. You cannot beat it. Did I mention how relaxing it was?

Anyway, we've only been home a couple of days, so I have not had a lot of sewing room time. I'm okay with this! Still feeling that relaxation vibe. The only thing I've done is make the yellow Peace and Plenty blocks:

Are those not bright and happy? The flowers flourished in our absence, though the tomato plant looks a bit worse for the wear. Good thing there are plenty of farm stands right now.

I also threw together two 6-inch yellow blocks:

You can see that a little yellow leaf sneaked in there, too. Falling from the heat, I think, not from the change of season yet! These were super fast to make, and I just had a great time working with the yellows. Might be my favorite color. There are some other colors in contention, but it's a tough choice.

That's it for me this week! Still doing mountains of laundry and getting ready to start school in a couple of weeks. I'll leave you with this photo of the lake from the patio of our rental house:

Have a great weekend, all!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Friday, July 28, 2023

A new building project

 Hello all! Hot enough for you? Ha, ha, ha, I crack myself up. I know we're all sweltering. I think my plants are taking the worst of it. This may cook all my tomatoes, and I think the peppers may be done. The petunias, however, are loving it. 

So this week, sitting in my basement sewing room, I decided to get a start on making a pretty quilt for myself. Like all quilts, this has a backstory, but first, look at some pretty blocks:

Scrappy log cabins! Don't they look fresh and clean? I love log cabin quilts but I seldom make them because I get distracted by all the other fun stuff, plus most people I give quilts to want something more modern. Log cabins just scream 'old fashioned.' Plus they can be quite labor intensive to construct, but you know what? I don't care, because I am making this quilt for me. About time, right?

The fabric I'm using here is all Fig Tree fabric, which I love. It happens that I accidentally signed up for a block of the month from Fig Tree, and this is some of that fabric. I thought I was buying a quilt kit, but I may not have been paying attention when I ordered. Probably trying to do four things at once. To be fair, there was a *lot* of fabric every month, and there were also several patterns beyond the primary pattern included. I didn't make the primary quilt, but I may make one or two of the secondary patterns at some point.

One thing I love about log cabins is that there are a ton of different ways to arrange the blocks, almost as many as there are with half square triangles. I'm not sure how I'm going to lay it out yet, but it's fun playing with the blocks.
These are 8-inch blocks and I cut them all with an Accuquilt die that I bought from a friend a while ago and have been looking to use ever since. It made things almost painless, but I still got confused about how to construct the block. It looks simple but it can get confusing! I had to watch a video to wrap my mind around it. Right now I have about 20 blocks, and I'm just going to keep making more blocks until I run out of the fabrics I chose. There's more fabric, but it's different from these and I like these colors together. I'm hoping to end up with at least 48 blocks, and I think I'll make it.
Yikes! Ignore the tiny threads!
All of that will have to wait, though, because we are off for the next ten days or so, heading for the lakes and some cooler weather and old friends. Gosh, do I ever need this! It has been a rougher summer than I ever expected, but here's to some relaxation before everything gears back up again. 

Take care, everyone, and I'll see you when we get back! Let the relaxing commence!

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

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Positively green

 Hello all! Bet you thought I forgot about the blog, didn't you? I didn't, but I did have quite the week. I am getting a little tired of the rain, but we had a good bit of it this week, and it was very hot, and I still had to go out and have some more fun medical tests. I think I passed, because I don't have to go back until the end of September, but who can really tell at this point? Also, I am walking out on the next doctor who says, "you know, you're getting older. . ." as though that's an excuse to ignore how I feel.

Yikes! Did not mean to rant! Today is a day for positivity, after all, because I have finished the green quilt top for the Positivity quilt along offered by our friends Preeti and Bernie! Take a look:

Yes, that is very green! And, as you can tell, I did not follow the pattern offered by Preeti exactly. I made one row with just the leaves, but it looked so bland that I had to add some zing. As you can see, I added pots for the leaves to grow out of. I think they added just enough zing and some nice depth, too.

The leaves of these plants were made from neutral scraps, which paired well with the green background. All those neutrals were hard to photograph in the outside light, but I promise that there is a nice variety. And do you like my "tree farm" on the balcony? They'll have to get planted in the ground soon, because those pots are not going to hold them for much longer.

The quilt was easy to make, and mine turned out a little smaller than Preeti's, at about 55 by 68. I think this size will still work for a Mercy quilt, and I do think someone will really like this one. The green is one of the tonals from Connecting Threads, and I got it a while ago for a backing. It turned out to be much too bright for the quilt I bought it for, but it worked well as a background here. I have a backing for this and I plan to quilt it in a nice crosshatch. What can I say? It always works and always looks good.

Oooh! Accidentally artsy!

So there is one quilt top finished! The second one is still in progress, but I had to put it aside for a while while I finished off the wedding quilt top that I've been working on. That quilt will be a bit late, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Hope you all are having a great weekend, and if you want to, you can still jump in on the quilt along. Just hop over to Preeti's blog and check out all the details!

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

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Firecracker reds

 Hello all! I am waving wildly, even if you can't see me. Welcome to mid-July! Yep, summer is going away super fast. A month from today we'll be ramping up for the fall semester. Yikes! I think I just had a moment of panic. Here's hoping it passes quickly, because I just don't have time for that right now.

What better color for a hot and wet July than red? As you may know, red is not my favorite color, and I haven't historically had a lot of red. But I do have some, and some of them are quite nice! Take a look at my four 9-inch blocks:

Okay, that is not the best picture. It's not entirely my fault-- the grass was too wet to lay the blocks out there. The stone patio was actually not wet, even though it looks it. Still, those reds really stand out, don't they?

Thankfully, I got some better pictures separately:

See? Cute reds. The red on the right is very old and I'm glad to see the last of it. And in my Judy Hopkins block book the block on the left is called Foxy Grandpa. Who could resist? 

And a closeup of the other two as well:

These red blocks were really easy and went together fast. I love the one on the right, with the red print. Such a great block. Jusy Hopkins calls it Christmas Star, but its historical name is Best of All.

Astonishingly, that's not the end of the reds! I also made two red 6-inch blocks for a separate project:

Or maybe I'll combine the two sizes of blocks! Not really sure at this point, just making blocks to make myself  happy. You know, it's the little things. (I swear that block on the left is made properly! It's just hanging weirdly on the flower pot.)

Finally for today, I never showed the green and light blue little blocks:

Last month I was very confused about the color, so I went with both pastel blue and lime green. If lime comes around again I'll sub in black or brown or something. Variety is good, right?

So that was a lot of blocks, but that's what I could manage after wrestling (literally) with some very active grandchildren. Where do they get all that energy? As my hubby always says, youth is wasted on the young. They eat like birds, too, so I really don't know where it comes from.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm working on my Positivity quilts while it rains. I think there's also laundry to do, but that can always wait, right? 

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Puzzle on the front, party on the back

 Hi all! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. Ours was good, but every time we tried to go outside for a while it rained. And so we went inside, and the sun came out. And of course that meant we went back out, and that meant a short but loud thunderstorm. It was a wild weather weekend, and very warm. But it's July, so you have to expect that, really.

Have you ever had a quilt that you wanted to name "This Took Forever?" That is the quilt I'm showing today, though it does include a fun surprise. Have a look:

Almost all green, finished, quilted, and bound! Hurray! I started calling this the puzzle quilt, which is way better than what I had called it before ("stupid green thing" just doesn't have a good ring to it) and I'm so happy it's all done, even if it took a whole year. Things have to marinate, you know? 

Is the surprise that I finished it almost exactly a year after it was pieced? Nope, it's this:

Definitely a party on the back! I couldn't resist these fun sunflowers. They're a nice contrast to all the dark greens, plus they give it a nice shot of color. And you can use it as a mood indicator, too-- sunflowers up means "let's chat," while green side up means "leave me alone." It's a multi-talented quilt!

If you recall, I made this quilt from a picture in a quilting magazine I saw in the library, using every bit of dark green I could come up with, plus a few blues and blacks thrown in for variation. It just about cleaned out that scrap bin, which is all I can ask for from a scrap quilt. 
What about "this took forever?" Well, I decided not to take it to the quilt shop and use a panto on the rented longarm and instead used a walking foot to follow all the zigzags in the quilt. It took forever, and was seriously boring, but it worked! The border is a set of straight lines, which also was boring but it got the job done.

I used a dark olive thread on the green parts, which blended with almost everything, and white on the text print parts, and then bound it in yet another dark green. The backing thread is a muslin color-- I think Aurifil actually calls it 'muslin'-- and it blended okay. I wish I'd used one shade darker, but what's done is done. I'm happy enough with it.

So there we are-- another finished quilt! I think I may send this to Quilty Hugs. Can't you see someone being cheered by this? And the 'mood' part could come in handy, too. Here's one last picture, with the tree that is about to come down. It's old and hollow, and it might fall any time, so time for it to go:

Hope everyone has a great weekend. We are seeing the grandchildren this weekend! Hurray! Gee, you have one little life-threatening incident and suddenly everyone wants to show up. . .but I'll definitely take it!

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

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Hot and smoky

 Hi everyone, from my safe perch inside and away from the smoky air outside. Yes, it has rolled in again, though not as bad as last time around. While I like barbeque that is hot and smoky, I can't say I care for it in the air. Canadian friends who are feeling the brunt of the wildfires, I really feel your pain! I hope those fires are under control soon.
So here we are at the first of July, and I already have some red blocks to show off. Warning, I took all of these pictures just as it started to rain, so the colors are a bit off. The haze and smoke did not help, either, though these pretty blocks shine right through:
Yes, the red Peace and Plenty blocks. And look at those great red fabrics! I have no idea where those prints came from. I'm guessing they were something I got in a fat quarter sale somewhere, but they look great in these blocks. I don't have much red, but these are making me happy!

I also finished off June by making these fun lime green blocks:

And then, just because the blue basket was right there, I also made three light blue blocks:

You can see that I ran out of time and it had definitely started to rain by the time I got the blue blocks out. Those are raindrops on the blocks, not dirt! Plus, light blue is always hard to photograph, but I think you can see them okay against the grass.

Because it's the start of July and we're now more than halfway through the year, I also pulled out all the Peace and Plenty blocks and laid them out:

Somehow I have ended up with 24 blocks, but this is going to be a spectacular quilt. I only count yellow and aqua after this in terms of colors, but I must be missing one. Any thoughts?

And there we are! A good finish to June and a nice start to July. You can get the pattern and cutting directions for these blocks right HERE, if you're inclined to make a few. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend with breathable air, and a very nice holiday on the 4th. And happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north, too!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Positive progress

 Hi all! How are things going for you? I'm just hanging out, watching it rain and getting over that stupid embolism. I am feeling MUCH better, plus I'm glad to see the rain, even though it's been going on for a while now. Unbelievably, we still haven't made up for all the rain we didn't get for weeks, and we're still way below average for the year. It hardly seems possible given the amount of water that has fallen from the sky over the last week.

While I'm lazing around, I'm working on several projects, including this year's Positivity quilts, but first, here's one that I just recently started:

This is the very beginning of what will be a gift for the wedding of a friend and colleague. I love this center part because it's so hard to get gradations in yellows. I'm very proud of myself for this! It's not a hard pattern, so I'm hoping to have all the blocks made this week, so that I can get a longarm rental appointment and get this quilted up and sent off in time for the wedding at the end of July.

Then I have the two Positivity quilts. First are some of the blocks that have the green background:

I just love how these have turned out. You know how sometimes you get an idea in your head and you're not sure how it will work out? That's how I felt about these, but they are turning out okay.

And then I have the fall-themed Positivity quilt:

I have a bunch more of these blocks in pieces, but not together yet. The scrap thing is working out pretty well, though. I'm liking the half-drop in this layout, too, so that might make its way into the finished quilt.

So that's what I'm up to, other than re-doing some travel plans. I can't fly for a while, so it looks like we'll be driving to various places around the country. Not California, though! Still too far for me to drive. Hope things are going well for you. We're expecting more smoke from wildfires, so that will be fun, won't it? I understand it was quite smoky in the Midwest over the last few days, so believe me, we feel your pain. Ick.

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Sharing at Midweek Makers and Wednesday Wait Loss.