Friday, February 9, 2018

Cool Regatta

This has been an odd week around here, but it's also been a great week for me to get things done. Many of the the things I normally do in a week got cancelled this week, so I had a little bonus time on my hands.  I did a lot!  Let's see. . .I wrote a couple of paper proposals for conferences, worked on learning the ins and outs of graphics software, did a bunch of laundry, and one more thing I can't remember.  Oh, yeah-- and I finished this happy little quilt!

This is one of the smaller versions of the Regatta quilt that I've been making to use up a solid jelly roll that had been hanging around here for far too long.  I'm making two, one in cool colors and one in warm colors.  Obviously this is the one in cool colors, but I had to throw in one red stripe, just because.  Don't worry, the warm one has a blue stripe, too, just because!

I made this quilt in quilt-as-you-go style, which made it very easy and very fast.  The only problem I had was the pinked edges on the jelly roll strips.  Those are a pain in the butt, aren't they?  That's one of the reasons why I don't buy these any more. I've actually started cutting the pinked edges off of the warm strips:

This makes them a little smaller (about 1/4 inch) which will make the warmer quilt a little bit smaller, but it will be a bit easier to construct.  One tip I have for the quilt-as-you-go process is to use a couple of dots from a glue stick on the edges of the strips to hold them still while you stitch the next strip on.  You'll still need pins, but fewer of them.

I like this little quilt and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but I think it could use a little more quilting.  It's not going to come apart or anything, and it's very cuddly, but I think it might look better a little more densely quilted. For the next one I plan to stitch down the centers of the strips as well.  I think that should help a lot, at least to my eye.

This quilt finished up right at 40 by 50, which is exactly where I wanted it to be.  For the binding I used some more of the strips from the jelly roll.  I think that this means that I'll use up all but about two strips, which means that the jelly roll will be gone and almost all the parts will be in a quilt!  Yay!

This little quilt is destined to be donated to Sarah's Hands to Help drive a little later this year, along with its warmer-colored counterpart. I have a couple more ideas for donation quilts, too, but they're going to wait for just a bit.  I'm excited about the Monet's Wedding Ring quilt that I just started and another quilt I'll be starting this coming week.  That one is a free-pieced quilt, which I find quite relaxing.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I'm not sure what we're doing, but I'm hoping it involves something fun and some chocolate, too!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazymomquilts, and Finished or Not Friday.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A new wedding ring

I am having a very weird week, how about you?  It all started when the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and then the entire area lost its mind.  My neighbors were well-prepared with fireworks, and apparently all of Thursday has been cancelled for a parade. Add in some ice and freezing rain and you've really got something!

Thankfully, I have a new project to work on while everyone around me is going crazy.  This project involves the massive bucket full of solids that I still have even after many attempts to use them up.

Why do I have so many?  Because I rarely use them but am still seduced by the awesome colors. All of these are Kona cottons and all are pieces smaller than a fat eighth (9 by 22 inches) with lots of small pieces--some of then really small-- mixed in.

The last time I made a scrap solids quilt it turned out great and is still loved, so this time I chose this pattern to use up a bunch of those solids:

This is the Monet's Wedding Ring pattern from Judy Martin.  It's in her book Scraps, which is from 2006 but you can still find it on Amazon or in the library.  (It's pretty expensive on Amazon, but you can buy an e-book at Judy's site HERE.) Doesn't that look like a cool pattern?  Almost a double wedding ring, but no curved piecing.  Winner!

If you look closely at the pattern, you can see that almost all the pieces in the pattern are squares.  Easy cutting, but super-boring because there are about 11 billion of them in different sizes.  I went ahead and started cutting the solids so that I can start sewing these blocks together:

Of course, that's a tiny fraction of what I need. This is going to take forever.

I'm thinking of using that pale blue for the background instead of a cream or white. (The color is better in the photo with the book above.)  I have enough of this one, but I also thought about a pale yellow. I don't have enough of any yellow for the whole background, but I could shop. White would look good, but white and cream get boring after a while. What do you think? Or do you have another suggestion?

So, I guess I'll be cutting solid squares for a while!  Which is great, because there's no way I'm going anywhere near the city on Thursday.  Imagine the traffic and parking!

I also have the little doll quilts to finish quilting up, and I'm also planning to make a few "hospital gowns" for the dolls to send along.  I found an easy free pattern HERE.  She also has other free patterns for 18 inch dolls and some for sale as well, in case you're in search of another project. 

Everybody have a great week.  Hope it's not too weird!  For those of you keeping track, this is my 350th post!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social and Oh Scrap!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Squared Away Block 2

Welcome back to the Squared Away quilt along!  If you're new here, double welcome!  I really recommend reading the whole tutorial before you start, then hop on over to Angela's blog to see some variations and get some more fun ideas for the blocks. This month we are working with colors from purple to lavender, and we have a great block to show them off.  Here is this month's block:

Wishing Ring, Mrs. Danner's Quilts, 1934

This is Wishing Ring, a 1934 block from Mrs. Danner's Quilts.  I made mine in a single purple fabric, but I know some variations highlight the center ring.  This is a very easy block to construct.  I used strip piecing, but if you have squares already cut, by all means use those. The point is to use the scraps, not make more!

Cutting for a 10-inch block:

Note that this shows an extra white 2-1/2 inch square that doesn't belong.

From the purple, cut:

1 5-3/4 inch square* (for making half-square triangles--can oversize if desired)
2 2-1/2 by 13-1/2 inch strips
2 2-1/2 inch squares

From the background, cut:

1 5-3/4 inch square*
1 2-1/2 by 13-1/2 inch strip


First, take the 2-1/2 by 13-1/2 strips of the purple and the background and stitch them together along the long edges, with the background between the two purples.  Press to the purple (or press the seams open if that's something you do).

Cut this strip into five 2-1/2 inch pieces. (A little bit is included for straightening.)  If you don't have large enough scraps, you can use 2-1/2 inch squares to make 5 of these little units.

Next, take the 5-3/4 inch squares of the purple and the background fabric and use them to make 8 half-square triangles using the Magic 8 method.  Your hsts should measure 2-1/2 inches square to finish at 2 inches in the block. If your scraps aren't large enough to do this, use any other method to make 8 2-1/2 inch hsts.

That's all of our units! On to assembling the block!


First, take the two purple 2-1/2 inch squares and 4 of the hsts.  Lay them out as shown, paying attention to the directions of the hsts:

These are shown in opposite directions, but they are identical, not directional.

Stitch and press to the center squares.

**Alternate method: Want to save some seams?  Skip cutting the 2-1/2 inch purple squares and 4 of the hsts, and instead cut 2 2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch strips of purple and 4 2-1/2 inch squares of the background fabric.  Use the background squares to "snowball" the ends of the strips, making sure the hsts face in the same direction.  Use these as side pieces instead of the pieced units.**

Alternate method for side pieces.

Next, lay out the units you just made and one of the pieces cut from the strip set, with the strip set piece between the two units you just made. Stitch and press. This makes the center ring. 

Finally, layout the remaining hsts, the remaining strip set pieces, and the center ring that you just made as shown:

Pay attention to the directions of the hsts, then stitch the units into rows and the rows into a finished block.  Give it a good press, stand back, and admire!

And that is block 2 for our project this year!  If you are making the whole quilt, make three blocks, or make as many as needed for your own project. Here are my blocks for the month, in both 10 and 15-inch sizes:

Since I used just one purple for each of the blocks, this month I played around with background colors and ended up using a light yellow for one of the block backgrounds and a light green for another:

Have fun making your purple blocks this month!  We are 20% of the way to our 30-block goal! Our next block will be posted on March 3.  See you back here then, and don't forget to linkup your blocks some time this month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge linkup over at soscrappy.  And if you're posting over on Instagram, please use #squaredawayquilt or #squaredawaybom so we don't miss your beautiful blocks!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Christmas in February

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! There is snow on the ground, the wind is blowing hard, and I just finished a Christmas quilt!  Okay, in reality I am searching the ground every day for a tiny sign of spring and planning all the planting that needs to be done, but I really did finish a Christmas quilt.  And Mother Nature has kindly provided us with some snow so that the pictures look wintery.  Wasn't that nice of her?

If you recall, I pulled these poor neglected blocks out of the closet a few weeks ago and gave myself two weeks to get my act together and do something with the blocks.  It took a little longer, but I did get them together into this comfy quilt.  Yay for not going back into the closet!

I did not make any of these blocks.  They were made by friends of mine in an online quilt group for a group swap.  These came from people all over the US and I know for sure one of my blocks is from a friend in Australia.  Of course, I made a ton of these blocks and they got sent on to other friends. 

The pattern for these blocks is HERE.  I can tell you that they are tricky to make and not for beginners.  One issue in both the construction and the quilting is that the rays of the blocks are made with 3D flying geese.  I kept getting hung up on those free edges while I was quilting this.  It was quite frustrating.  My one piece of advice for anyone quilting 3D pieces is to make use of a glue stick.  Seriously, it can tack down those edges just enough so that they can be properly caught in the seams and so that they don't snag your machine foot when you're quilting.

If you look closely, you'll see that this quilt is extra dimensional.  I used two layers of leftover wool batting that I just stitched together, which made the quilt really puffy but also soft and warm.  It needed something special because I wasn't going to spend a lot of time quilting it up. Even the two layers of wool gave me no problems with the quilting.  It moved through the machine just fine and stitched beautifully.  The binding is scraps of three different red Christmas fabrics, which are now all used up.  Double yay for that!

I have to confess that the quilting on this quilt is atrocious. All I did for the quilting was use a walking foot along both the short and long edges of the blocks to stabilize the quilt, then I free-motion quilted along the arcs and a little away from the rays in each block.  I really should have used the walking foot for that part as well, and I would have had better results.  My problem was having to twist and turn the quilt to use the walking foot, and that would not have gone well with my machine. As it is, the lines are quite wobbly. A lot of it gets hidden in the batting, and I'm hoping that it will be much less noticeable once it's washed, too.

All told, though, it came out pretty well, especially since it's just for our family.  The best part is that it's not going back in the closet!  We'll probably cuddle up with it for a little while, then it will get washed and put away until the end of this year.  So that's one more quilt all done!  Getting this out of the closet and finished is a load off my mind.  It's so freeing to get a project moved along. I don't have to look at the box and feel bad any more! 

It happens that I have one block left over from this quilt, because we all made 36 blocks and got 36 blocks back (over the course of several months, not all at once!)  This weekend, I'm going to use the leftover block to make a little doll quilt to support Bernie's Share the Love project, which you can read about in her post HERE. If there's anything that will warm your heart, it's this project, so hop on over there and check it out.  And have a great weekend, too!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and crazymomquilts.