Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Squeezing a few oranges

 Hi all, and welcome to the last day of May! How did this even happen? Where did the month go? I can't explain it either, except that it looks like June is on the horizon and then summer will be in full swing. Before May is completely over with, I thought I should probably post the last of my orange stars and other orange blocks. These oranges haven't been particularly juicy, but they are certainly bright! 

I did not have a lot of orange, but I did manage to squeeze out a few blocks. Let's start with the two 6-inch blocks for this month:

I made these from the very dregs of the orange scraps, and I'm happy with how they turned out. Look at those tiny flying geese on the right! Don't they just make you happy?

Then I have two more 9-inch blocks for the star quilt:

These turned out nicely, too, I think. I was trying to choose stars that used the fabric fairly judiciously, and I think I succeeded.  I had to lay these in the tree because my favorite branch to hang quilty things from got trimmed away so that the grass could actually get some sunlight. Who needs that? I need my quilt display branch!

The block above has several prints, and I'm not sure how it works, but I'm keeping it. Do you all know about the Sewcialites QAL patterns from Fat Quarter Shop? They had a block a week for free, in three different sizes, and this was one of those blocks. You can still get all of the patterns from this year and last year for free from FQS right HERE. Scroll through and choose the ones you want, or download the whole set. There are tons of goodies in there!
The second orange star is much simpler and definitely a star, but it wanted a solo picture, too. And why not take it with the tomato plants instead of flowers? Can you see that there are already some tiny tomatoes? Very exciting!!

Okay, now I have a problem. I made a third block that I swear looked like a star on paper, but in fabric I am not so sure. Does this look like a star to you?

Yeah, I don't know. I was thinking that I could save it by replacing the center with a solid piece of the fabric instead of the pieced center, but generally I think this is a loss. Maybe I could repurpose some of the parts for a different block, but this is not looking very starry to me.

Oh, well! That's the end of orange for me, and I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. I'm not sure about blue, but I'm happy to change colors.

Hope you are all doing well and heading into June in a good mood. Over the holiday the hubs and I went hiking in the Catoctin Mountains, and we came upon this lovely vista:

That should carry me through the heat that's coming this week! Take care and enjoy the rest of the week, friends!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC23

Friday, May 26, 2023

Crossing off two more

 Hi everyone! We got everyone safely graduated this week, I cleaned up my office and shut down the work computer, then I pulled the blinds and locked the door. See that place again in August! It feels great. This was a long year, but every time I think it was a hard one I remember 2020-2021 when we were trying to teach all those students over Zoom. No teaching challenge will ever be as hard as that!

Back at home, I tried to finish up another of the bigger quilts this week, but I didn't get all the way through. Oh, well! I did, however, finish off two smaller pieces that have been kicking around here for a while:

Those don't look very familiar, do they? Well, once again, they are repurposed pieces. In 2017 and again in 2019 I started to make temperature quilts. I did not get all that far, maybe to part of April. Turns out I fail at even stitching a 3-inch seam every day. I also fail at throwing things out, or ripping them apart, which is what I should have done long ago. Instead, they have become a doll quilt and a table runner. Now that they're quilted, they may actually be useful!

Hey look, flowers! The bigger piece is the one from 2019, and is becoming a table runner since it's about 21 by 54. I think the tiny blocks in there are for family birthdays, based on where I think they fell in the calendar. I didn't get pictures of the backs of the pieces, but they are the same blue that was left over from  another backing. More repurposing!

Oh, wow, roses too! The smaller piece is the one from 2017, and it looks like it was a colder year! It looks like I cut this one into two pieces and joined them to make a rectangle. This one is 24 by 27 and will make a lovely doll quilt, or maybe the top of a nightstand. We'll let the small person decide.

The smaller piece was quilted using the ever- trustworthy cross hatch in a pale yellow thread. I bound it in a blue binding from the basket o' leftover bindings and various other things, and it turned out great. It went really fast, too.

I got a little tired of cross hatching, so the bigger piece is quilted in random lines across the width of the piece in a pale green thread. Sometimes they cross, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they're straight, sometimes they wobble. It will look good on a table no matter what. I bound it in another leftover piece of green. So, that's two more pieces out of the closet and another piece half-finished. Not bad for the week! 

This is Memorial Day weekend here in the US, the unofficial start of summer, and I am so ready for it. Bring on the picnics! Hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. And just to wind this up, I'll leave you with a picture of the wild strawberries in our backyard. This is why we don't spray the yard for weeds or anything-- these feed the deer and the foxes!
Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or not Friday, and the Quilting, Patchwork, Applique linkup.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Black and blue and quilted too

 Hello everyone! Well, the grading is over and I am experiencing this odd thing called "relaxation." So far I like it, but it's kind of weird. I still have a couple of meetings before this year is in the archives, but it's mostly done. I have a very full summer schedule, but I did plan for a couple of weeks of doing nothing, so I have a little time before I have to buckle down again.

I decided to start my vacation by tackling some of the many (too many) unquilted tops I have hanging. Some of them will require a long arm quilting reservation, but I've decided to tackle most of them with the walking foot. So, here is the first one:

It may not look like complex quilting, but this is a win in my book! Just about a year ago, I challenged myself to put together the black blocks I had without making any more of them. And I did it. And now I've finally quilted it!

Really, I'm surprised I persevered, because this was a bear to wrangle around. It's about 60 by 75, and that's pretty big for me to work on using just my machine. I quilted it in quadrants radiating out from the center where the four black blocks come together. Honestly, I did it this way because I thought that would be the easiest way to wrestle it through the machine, and it did work out pretty well. I used a pale blue Aurifil thread, which blends well with almost everything.

Instead of usng the straight stitch I used the serpentine stitch and I think it turned out really well. The only problem was the turning to make the radiating lines, but the only one who will worry about that is me. It just wasn't possible to make it flow perfectly, so there are a few wonky transitions. Oh, well. There are also a few places where the quilt dragged enough to make the serpentine lines a little straighter than they should be, but I'm going to give myself a pass on that. Quilts can be heavy!

The backing is a fabric from Fig Tree that I got on clearance a little while ago. I don't usually like the taupes and such, but they make great backings. With this particular one, you can barely see the stitches. There are two very tiny tucks in the backing, but I didn't even worry about them because they're so small. Once the quilt is washed, I don't think even I will be able to see them. The binding looks like a stripe but it's actually a very tiny text print.

Now that it's finally finished, this quilt is bound for Mercyful Quilts, which benefits a palliative care unit. I also have another quilt that I haven't quite finished quilting yet. I need some bigger backings! If you are interested in Mercyful Quilts, our friends Preeti and Bernie are running a free quilt along to benefit the palliative care unit. You can find more information and a lot of different mockups of the quilt right HERE.

So, one quilt down, about a dozen more to go! Good thing I like quilting, right? Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. And if you are wrestling a big quilt on a small machine, my sympathies!

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

Saturday, May 13, 2023

A taste of orange

 Hi everyone! How was your week? I have graded approximately a bajillion exams and papers at this point, and I have a few more to go, but I took a few breaks, too. Ice cream is the lifeblood of the grading professor. Just saying.

On a couple of my breaks, I managed to squeeze out a few orange blocks. Without ice cream marks on them! So that's a win, right?

This is my lone 9-inch star block for the week. I'm not sure I like it, but I do like those flowers! They appeared out of nowhere in a spot where they have not been before. It's possible that they got eaten in previous years, but I don't know why they would not have been eaten this year, too. Our neighbors across the little stream that runs through the yards have been clearing everything, so maybe they just got a little more sun this year.

The only other sewing I did was make the orange Peace and Plenty blocks:

I just love these and I really can't wait to put this quilt together. I'd make all the other colors now, but that would be cheating, right? If you want to make some of these blocks, you can find the directions right HERE.

So, yeah, that was it for the sewing. Oh well. The time is coming. Instead of more block pictures, here's a picture of a creature I met while I was photographing the Peace and Plenty blocks:

This is a Fowler's Toad, and I don't know who was more startled, him or me. He's not very big, so I'm glad I didn't step on him!

Short post today, but I want to close with a plug for the Positivity Quilt Along, being run by our friends Preeti and Bernie:

You can find more information HERE. I have seen this year's quilt, and you will definitely want to make one!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I'm planting flowers this weekend and hoping not to run into more toads!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC 23.

Friday, May 5, 2023

A small riot of color

 Hello everyone! Guess what? It isn't raining, for the first time in days, literally. Holy cow, it has been gray here. But I'm looking out the window right now and it looks like the sun is out and nothing is falling from the sky. And wonder of wonders, the grass got cut yesterday. I'd say it was knee-high, which would be an exaggeration, but it certainly felt that way.

This is our last week of class, so I haven't had a lot of time, but I did put together a small quilt top from some leftover blocks, and all the rain we've had gave me a couple of really good pictures:

Okay, I don't know whether to look at the flowers or the quilt top! I so wanted to take a picture of last week's purple quilt with these azaleas, but it just didn't happen because of the rain. But just look at them now!

I had these churn dash blocks made, but I never really figured out what to do with them. Do you ever just make something because they're fun to make, but you don't have a plan? That's what happened with these blocks.They're so colorful, and I have been in a "use it up" mode, so I stuck them together into a little top. It's actually about 40 by 45, so it's a decent size and will make a nice donation quilt.

I had no idea I had this very cute border fabric until I started looking through things for a border. When did I get this? Who knows, but it worked out really well with all the bright colors in this quilt top.

I so, so wanted to quilt this up, too, and I have a backing all ready for it, but alas! I had things to grade. With all of the tops that I have piled up, it looks like it's time to have a quilting marathon, too. Just as soon as I finish reading these research papers. . .

I'll leave you with another picture of those beautiful purple azaleas. They're as big as my hand! If you look carefully near the top, you'll find one very happy honeybee, too.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

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