Thursday, January 26, 2023

Jazzing up January

 Hi everyone! How are things going for you? We are experiencing the grays of January. You know what I mean-- sometimes it rains, sometimes it's just cloudy, sometimes it snows, but mostly it's just gray. We did have actual rain and a few spits of snow this week, but nothing stuck to the ground. That's totally okay with me! Sometimes I miss it, but I do not miss shoveling.

What with all the January-ness around, and having spent a bunch of time with a non-favorite color, I decided to pull out something bright and happy this week. I ended up quilting up this fun toddler-size quilt:

Doesn't that just raise your spirits? This is a quilt I made to test Preeti's pattern Arabella's Garden, which you can find right HERE. I had fun making it and even more fun quilting it up. It certainly made me feel happier, and I think it adds to the landscaping outside.

As fun as the front of the quilt is, take a look at the back:

I love this so much. This is a piece of an Eric Carle fabric that I got a long time ago, but I didn't realize the animals would be so big so I didn't use it as planned. It works great as a happy backing for this quilt! I might like it better than the front. It's a close call.

I did a couple of experimental things when quilting this quilt. The first is that I used one of those plastic extension tables that you can buy to fit around your machine bed so that you have a larger sewing surface area. It was a disaster. It was made by my machine's manufacturer and came with the machine, but it just didn't work. It kept moving, and the quilt kept getting snagged on the edge or the end of it. If you look at the picture above, you can see the results of the snagging. I only used the table for half of one stitching line, and I left it in because I didn't feel like ripping and I doubt anyone will notice it.

The other experiemnt was using a poly batting instead of cotton. It worked pretty well! I used Hobbs Poly Down. It has a "hand" like 100% wool and quilted just beautifully, and it makes a really nice texture. Nothing like old poly batting! The only thing I would do next time is zigzag the finished edges before binding because it kept puffing at the edge while I was stitching the binding on. It was a little annoying, but the quilt got bound.

So there was this week's cheerful quilty session, which was much needed since classes also started this week. Along with all the January, I needed the cheerful!

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend, and that it is colorful and not gray. If it is gray, I prescribe yellow stars. Almost always makes me cheerful!

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

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Blue scrap obsession

 Hi everyone, and welcome back to another exciting episode of "blue scrap obsession." I have had a very busy week, but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about getting those blue scraps used up. Does that ever happen to you? I think I was just trying to distract myself from some very boring stuff I had to do. Now that the boring stuff is done, maybe I can work on another project. Maybe?

I'm happy to report that all that thinking about the blues also led to stitching up the blues, and believe it or not, most of those blues are used up! Here is the biggest thing I put together this week:

This is about 24 by 28, with 4 inch finished blocks. It was super-easy to put together and went fast. See those happy yellows? They came from the box of 2-inch squares. I think most of them were from when I cut some squares in the wrong size and I'm thrilled to get them used up in a quilt top. I didn't get a chance to quilt this, but I will at some point, maybe after I have another mini to do at the same time.

I also made these two 6-inch blocks:

I made these thinking that I would quilt them and bind them and use them as coasters. This could still happen! We'll see.

Finally, inspired by Julie's awesome crumb projects and Preeti's scrap vortex quilts, I stitched the remaining weird bits into two small scrap slabs:

No idea what will become of these, but they saved those little bits from the trash. 

After all that, here is all that I have left of the dark blue scraps:

Can you see me happy dancing? Honestly, I could have made a whole lap-sized quilt top just from that bin, and I almost wish I had. Whatever! I am so happy they are gone into some useful things, including starter blocks for two new quilts.
So now I'm done with blues! I still have a bunch of lighter and medium blues, but I think those will get used in a different RSC month, and here's hoping it isn't next month because I'm now incredibly tired of blue. Looking forward to a more joyful color next month.

Everyone have a good weekend! I believe it is a small person's birthday, and so we are headed for a birthday party. Looks like cake and ice cream is in my very near future!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Centering a block

 Hi all! How is your week going? I've been getting ready for the start of classes, so I've had a lot of computer time. And today I requested like a dozen books from the library, so I had some fun in there, too. Not all of them are fun books, some are for work, but some are for reading on the sofa on a rainy January day.

For the last couple of years, Quilting Gail and some friends have run a fun project called the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). The idea is a lot like round robins, except you work on your own quilt and don't mail it anywhere. There are different borders to work on each week, and it does require some creativity to interpret the border for that week. I'm not explaining it well, but you get the idea! I wasn't sure I was going to participate this year, but it's fun and interesting, so I am jumping in. Here is my center block:

Wow, it's a big one! It's about 20 inches square, I think. For the last couple of years I've started with a printed block and the quilts turned out great. (Check them out HERE and HERE.) I have had this panel for a long time and it's time to get it used up. This was part of a kit that I never made, though the fabric was quite pretty. I'm going to use this lovely pile of scraps, which coordinate pretty well:

Not my usual colors! But I have the fabric, so I might as well use it, right? The other two quilts were donations, so I hope this one becomes a larger-size donation quilt. There is a big donation event coming up later in the spring, if I remember right.

The other thing I'm working on is is getting that blue bin emptied. This is where my pieces are right now:

I'm almost to the end of that bin! Hurray! Hope you're all having a wonderful week, and getting some stitches in. Classes start pretty soon, so I better go and get my stuff ready! 

Sharing at Quilting Gail for the SAHRR.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Blocks in blues

 Hello quilty friends! How are things today? Today I finished my syllabi for the coming semester while I watched the temperature drop. It was nice and warm (for January) and now it's cold and more January-like again. Complete with rain and the possibility of snow. Yay?

This week, in between planning my classes, I made some progress on starting this year's RSC projects. As I said last week, I am going to clean out those danged bins this year if I have to sew all day and night to do it. To start, here are a few blocks from this week:

Aren't those pretty? I've decided to make a star quilt this year, and these are the first blocks. These are 9-inch blocks, so some of the pieces were very small, but they were all fun to make. And I got to use up this beautiful, long-saved bit of leftover fabric:

But wait, didn't I make a star quilt last year? Yep, but this one is different. I made a list of about 40 star and star-like blocks that look interesting to make, and every month I'll make a few of them in the color of the month. I have no layout yet, just a few ideas, but I think it will be fun and interesting to choose some blocks every month and see what I can come up with. Why make them all the same when I can make them all different?

Nine inch blocks, even 40 of them, won't use up very many scraps, so I'm also making these to use up the bigger pieces:

These are 12-inch blocks called Peace and Plenty, a classic block from the 1870s. The block itself has some neat secondary designs, depending on how long you look at it, but when you put the blocks all together without sashing they make even more fun patterns. I think the final quilt will be really interesting.
I made this block for a row quilt project in 2015 (!!!) and lucky for you, the tutorial for making it is right HERE. No hsts or qsts to make, and much, much faster than it looks. And don't they turn out cool? I think this quilt will finish at a nice size for a donation quilt once all is said and done. I'll aim for three blocks a month, but it all depends on the scraps. Pretty sure there won't be three in dark green as those scraps are almost gone (hurray for that!)
Sad to say that's as far as I got on those scraps. There are a bunch more in that bin, but the pieces are getting smaller and smaller. I may make a bunch of hsts with some of it, and maybe cut the rest into strings. We'll see how desperate I get. 
Have a great weekend everyone! January is the best month of the year to just stay inside, so I hope you make the best of it!
Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

One blue patch, one blue quilt

 Hi everyone, and a happy 2023! I can't believe we're that far into the 21st century, yet here we are, almost a quarter of the way through. Yikes! We had a very exciting holiday without power for three days, but it was festive nonetheless. I hope yours was restful and peaceful.

Before we get too far into today's story, here is a picture of a little blue table topper that I finished this week and am counting as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for this year. (Bonus: it's a Project Quilting project, too!)
Isn't it cute? I am so thrilled with this, not least because it used ALL of my pre-cut blue squares from the 2-1/2 inch bin. Every one of them. I even had to cut a couple extra. There are 144 blue squares in this little topper, which is 24 inches square.
How did I come to make this cutie? I was looking around the sewing room and considering projects for the rainbow scrap challenge for this year when I took a break to look around at blogland and see if anyone had posted their ideas yet. This is when I happened upon Kim at Persimon Dreams and Project Quilting. I've never done Project Quilting because it goes too fast for me, especially at the beginning of a new semester. This week's prompt was "one," and the idea for this little quilt came to me immediately, all at once. It helps that the blue bin was right there, if you know what I mean.
One patch, one color! It works. Once I started putting the squares together this went really fast, and I found just enough time to quilt it and give it a quick machine binding. And did you notice that it's quilted in concentric squares? Fast and easy, my favorite kind of quilting.
As I said, all those blue squares got used up and I could not be happier. My goal for the RSC this year is to finally get some of those bins completely emptied. I know that won't happen in reality, but after seeing what I could pull out of the green scrap bin last year I think I have a good shot at cleaning some things out. Some of those scraps are very old and I am just tired of them, so they may make it to a different kind of bin if they don't get used up.

So, I plan to make a bunch of table toppers or small quilts this year, just to use those bits up. I need to throw out some of the smallest pieces. Why do I save the tiny things? I also have a couple of block projects for the RSC this year, but I haven't finished any of those blocks yet. I was cutting diamonds earlier and making a real mess of it, but I'm going to give it one more shot, I think.

Everyone have a wonderful first full weekend of 2023! I will be off to a conference this weekend, so here's to learning a lot to start the year. Happy stitching, everyone! 

Sharing at the Project Quilting linkup at Persimon Dreams, soscrappy for RSC23 (can you believe it?), Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or not Friday, and the Quilting, Patchwork, Applique.