Saturday, January 13, 2018

Squares to make more squares

What do you do with your fabric leftovers at the end of a project?  Most of the time I just stuff mine into their respective boxes and jam the lids on, but sometimes I cut the smaller pieces up into standard-sized squares-- 1-1/2 inch, 2-inch, and 2-1/2 inch.  I've been collecting these separately from the other scraps for a long time, and I've traded some with friends for variety.  You would think with the Squared Away project that I would use up a bunch of squares, but I have literally thousands of these babies. This year I'm either using them or losing them-- every square must go! I think you know the feeling!

We all know the best way to clear out fabric is to use it in a project, so as another RSC18 project I'm using some of the bajillion 2-inch squares to make these fun little 9-patches:

These are made from colorful squares surrounding a white center square and will finish at 4-1/2 inches each.  They are super fast to make and would make a good leader/ ender project if I didn't stink at those.  I never can keep the project straight and end up getting all confused.

If you've been around for a while, you know that blue is not my favorite color, so I'm really stunned that I managed to make 10 9-patches with light blue squares:

Since the color of the month also includes light neutrals, I also made some with white-background fabrics:

And a couple with tan backgrounds:

And, amazingly, I managed to eke out two blocks from gray squares:

Who knew I had enough gray squares for TWO blocks? These are fun to work on, if only for the little surprises in the squares.  For example, I came across a cowboy,

some hedgehogs,

and I'm pretty sure that's a mosquito square!

At the end of the year, I'm planning to set the blocks into a dancing 9-patch layout and have one or two donation quilts, depending on how many blocks I can end up with.  I suspect that there will be a lot of yellow and pink blocks, so we'll definitely have to divide those between two quilts.

So that's another of my RSC projects for this year!  I have one more, using the 2-1/2 inch squares, but I haven't really started on that one yet.  It involves sorting the squares by color, and you know how tedious that can be!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  The hubs seems determined to add some insulation to the attic, and since it looks like this outside, I don't know that I'll have any choice but to help:

After a good hot shower, I plan to shut myself in the sewing room and add a border to an unfinished quilt.  Hope you have some stitching fun too!  Or at least some sunny skies!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sixteen times two

How is 2018 starting out for you?  It has hit me with a bang, that's for sure.  It seems like I've picked up all the stress that I finished 2017 with!  That's always the way, isn't it? So, to ease into 2018 sewing, this week I started by playing around with some blocks and block pieces that weren't a part of any current project and were just going to end up in a box.  Always better to do something with them right away, isn't it?  So here's what I did:

Hey, two little mini quilts!  You have to be happy with that.  As it happens, both of them are made from 16 blocks or pieces and both are colorful as all get out.  I really like them both.

The first little mini measures about 25 inches square and was made from the string blocks I made at the end of last year to use up my narrowest strings.  The string blocks are 4 inches square each, so you can tell how narrow some of those strings really are.  I promise that I have stopped saving strings that skinny.  Really! 

Since there were so many seams that would never match, I added a half-inch sashing to these blocks, with the result that it ended up looking like a window.  I really like the effect.  The border is just a multicolored piece that I had, mainly to insure that there were no odd edges to fray or stretch.  This turned out looking good, but those string blocks were super stretchy. I'm planning to quilt this up with a liberated cross hatch but I might actually block it before I layer and baste it.

The second little top is the made from the Drunkard's Path blocks that I had planned to use for a border on an unfinished quilt.  That ship has sailed, but the pieces didn't go to waste.  This one is 16 inches square, and I plan to practice making circles on it when I quilt it, then bind it and use it just as it is. It's pretty modern for me, but I love the colors.

This (and the quilt the pieces were meant for) is made from hand-dyed fabrics from Vicki Welsh.  Her fabric is fantastic and so wonderful to work with and I've never had it run.  Some of the pieces look a little misaligned in these pictures, but they're just right in person.  I'm sure it needs a good press and that should take care of any problems.

While I was outside taking these pictures, I heard a lot of honking in the air, and I looked up and saw a massive gaggle of geese flying over.  I wasn't fast enough to get the point of the V, but I did get this:

It's real flying geese!  And guess what-- they were flying north east! Can spring be far behind?

Hope everyone has a good weekend.  We're adding insulation to the attic, how about you?

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazymomquilts, and Oh, Scrap!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A new old project

Hey, long time no see!  We have had an eventful three weeks around here.  Of course, we had the holidays, we traveled a lot, and we hugged babies! It was so much fun. I already miss them so much! Oh, and we experienced some winter while we were gone, in the form of very low temperatures (-10!) and snow, so I think we can be done with all that now.

So now we're home and getting back to the routine. (And the laundry.) I'm happy to get back to the sewing room and see what kind of trouble I can get into this year.  I meant to do a "planning" post at the end of last year, but the truth is that I have no plans.  I have many, many ideas, but this isn't my job, so if I don't want to have a trajectory, implementation plan, or assessment, I don't have to!  Not to worry, though, I'm sure there will be a lot of quilty fun even without a quilty syllabus.

One general thing that I want to accomplish this year is to get some of the UFOs I have in the closet finished or repurposed or something to get them out and used. I've gone through them and it's amazing how many of them need very little work.  Maybe I just got tired of them? I pulled out this beauty to finish up first:

All stitched and ready for a border!

I'm so embarrassed. This is an RSC 2016 project that only needs a border!  What's wrong with me?  If you recall, I made these blocks as a tribute to my grandmother and great-grandmother. This 80-something-year-old block made by one of them is one of my prized possessions:

I started a Drunkard's Path border for this quilt but never finished it, which I suspect is why it ended up in the closet.  I need 76 Drunkard's Path blocks and twice that many "fill-in" squares.  I have fewer than 20 completed, so I think we all know that a Drunkard's Path border is not going to happen.

I asked for suggestions on Instagram and got a few that I really like, but if anyone has a good suggestion for a border, I'm open to it.  Tell me what you think!

Until I figure out what to do with a border, I'm working on using up some of my scrap squares and small pieces in a couple of projects.  I got this little Bonnie Hunter ruler with something else for Christmas, and I can't believe how handy it is:

No affiliation or financial stake in it, but gosh it's useful!

Hope you're all having a good week and are well into your 2018 projects. Some more laundry is calling to me, so I guess that's what's up for the rest of today for me!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Squared Away Block 1

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first block of the Squared Away quilt!  This is going to be a fun project for this year.  This quilt was designed by me and Angela of soscrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year, but anyone can feel free to join in.  If you haven't read the introductions to this project yet, that post is HERE.  There is also a tab at the top of this page with more information, and Angela also has a lot of helpful information on the sampler HERE and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge HERE

Red Cross

This month's block is called Red Cross, a Clara Stone block that dates to 1906, but we're not making it in red.  Our colors for this month are white and light neutrals and light blue.  For this block, you will need some light blue scraps, some scraps of background fabric, and a small bit of accent fabric.  Your accent can be any color that you like with the light blue, and you only need the equivalent of 5 2-1/2 inch squares of it.  Go monochrome or contrasting--it's up to you!  I used solid-ish fabrics for the main fabrics and prints for the accents. If you are using a dark color as your background, I suggest using the white or light neutrals for a spectacular block.  (Pictures of both colorways are below.)

**Note that there are alternate methods for some parts of the block, so please read all the way through before you start sewing.**

Let's get started!

Cutting for 10-inch blocks:

From the light blue, cut:

2 5-3/4 inch squares

From the background, cut

2 5-3/4 inch squares
1 strip 2-1/2 by 10-1/2

From the accent color, cut:

1 2-1/2 inch square
1 strip 2-1/2 by 10-1/2


First, use the 2 5-3/4 inch squares of the blue and the background to make 16 half-square triangles using the 8-at-a-time method (Magic 8).  You can oversize these squares a bit and trim the resulting hsts to the correct size if that works better for you. Your hsts should measure 2-1/2 inches square to finish at 2 inches in the block.

Arrange your hsts as shown and stitch:

Make 4 of these units. These should measure 4-1/2 inches square.

***Alternate methods: Don't have 5-3/4 inch scraps?  Make 2 at-a-time hsts from 2-7/8 inch squares (or oversize the squares and trim them down).  Make 16 and stitch together as shown above.

Want to use your already-cut 2-1/2 inch squares?  Layer a blue square and a background square, and draw a line from corner to corner on the back.  Stitch right on that line, then trim 1/4 inch away.  Press open for a perfect hst.  (I call these "cheater hsts.")  Make 16 and stitch together as shown above

For our next step, take the 2-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch strips of the accent and the background fabric and stitch them together along the long edge.  Press to the darker fabric.  Cut the strip set you just made into 4 units that are 2-1/2 inches each (there will be a little bit extra for squaring up the end if you need it).

***Alternate method:  If you want to use some 2-1/2 inch squares, you will need 5 of the accent color and 4 of the background. Stitch 4 of the accent squares to the background squares, saving one accent square for the center. ***


Lay out the units you just made as shown, including the 2-1/2 inch accent square, paying attention to the directions of the hsts in the corners:

Stitch the units into rows and the rows into a finished block.

Press well, stand back, and admire!

Congratulations, that's the first block!  If you are making the whole quilt this year, make a total of three blocks this month.  Here are all of the blocks I made this month:

This year, I am making three of the 10-inch blocks each month for a 30-block quilt, plus 2 15-inch blocks, some with dark backgrounds.  These blocks will give me enough for two big-block quilts, one with 12 blocks and one with 9 blocks.  (To make a 15-inch block, see the tab for the Squared Away quilt at the top of this page and also the tab on Angela's page.)

That's a good start to our quilt!  Jump on over to Angela's to see her blocks, some terrific tips, some variations, and other fun extras.  Angela also made us a great button:

How cool is that? You can grab this button at her blog too.

Our next block will be posted on Saturday, February 3.  Meet right back here!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18!