Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Back home again

Hello all! (waving wildly)  How have you been?  I am doing great.  It's amazing what a couple of weeks away can do for your brain and your energy.  The fact that I spent some of that time with the world's cutest babies has nothing at all to do with it, I'm sure.  The conference went well, I saw a lot of friends, I learned some stuff, and didn't cook for a long time, which is always a win in my book.  Did I mention that my son is a chef? It was yummy and I didn't have to make anything!

So now I've cleaned up some of the sewing room (what was I doing, leaving it such a mess?) and cleaned the machine plus wound a bunch of bobbins and I'm ready to get going on the projects again.  Thank goodness, too, because it's way too hot to even think about going outside. 

The first thing I want to do is make up a fast quilt from 16-patches:

Doesn't that look fun and colorful?  It's really easy, too. One of my daughters gave me this package of strips from Island Batiks for Mother's Day:

We all know I'm not a big fan of precuts, but it was a lovely gift, wasn't it?  So now I want to use them as quickly as I can so they don't just sit on the shelf forever, because that's no way to treat a present.  Besides, the colors are happy and these blocks are really easy, so I'm making progress quickly, which we all know is very gratifying.  Since there are two strips of each fabric, I'm just matching up 4 strips in roughly the same order that they're in the package, then cutting 2-1/2 inch sections for 8-inch finished blocks.  From each set of 4 strips, I get 4 blocks.  This will give me 40 blocks, and I figure that I'll add a couple more strips so that I end up with 42 blocks, for a quilt set 6 by 7.  It won't be huge, but it will be festive.  And hopefully finished quickly.

The second project I started working on is putting together my Community Sampler quilt.  I've started adding the setting triangles and I've gotten this far:

Sun splotches are festive.  They don't ruin pictures at all!

I'm using up several half yards of light blues that I bought as possibilities for sky fabrics for various projects as the setting triangles.  They're close enough in color and value that I don't think it will look bad that they're different fabrics.  I still have to make the border pieces, but I should be able to get this together pretty quickly.

The last thing that I'm working on right now is gathering fabrics for a Harry Potter quilt. 

This was not on my list to make, but you can't say no when your child asks for one and even finds you the pattern they want *and* gets it for you, can you?  Okay, an adult child, but I'm a soft touch.  The pattern is really, really easy, but you can see that I need to add some fabrics.  I knew I would need to get some more grays (silver), but I also need some more dark greens and a couple of black pieces.  I thought the blacks I have would work, but now that I look at them in the picture the prints look too gray for what I want.  So I guess I'll have to shop, darn it.  I hate it when that happens!

That's the story from here!  Pretty happy to be home, though I miss those grandkids like nothing else, and I'm looking forward to some productivity in several areas.  Because of the very wet spring we had, our massive landscaping project has been delayed by an entire month, but I have some veggies growing in containers on the deck.  Look what greeted me when we got home:

Tomatoes!  They taste like fresh air and sunshine, and I'm eating them like candy. 

Hope you're having a great week! 

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Small stuffies

Hi everyone! How is your summer going so far?  Ours has been remarkably wet--of course--and remarkably busy.  After today's post, I am taking a small hiatus to go to a professional conference and then we are going to see our grandbabies!  And what kind of a grandma would I be if I didn't have a small present for the grandkids?  Here is one of the things I am taking for the little ones:

Aren't those adorable?  This is a panel from a line called Woof Woof Meow.  My friend Nancy sent me this cute panel of the puppies. (Thanks Nancy!) There is also a kittens panel, which Nancy made when we had a sew day together, so I can attest that it is equally cute.

I know these are supposed to be a mama dog and a papa dog and their kiddos, but I'm choosing to think of them as twins who each have twins!  That way each of our twins can have their own dog with twin puppies.  Don't worry, we have something else for big brother, so no one will be left out.

The panel was super-easy to make, and all of the stuffies took about 3/4s of a 16-ounce bag of stuffing.   If you stuff them too firmly the puppies won't fit into the pockets, so these are nice and squishy. 

That's pretty much all the sewing I've done this week.  I need a little "off" time, so I am so looking forward to spending time with the grandkids.  I have to get through the conference first, of course, but I finished my paper and I'm ready for it.  Plus I always get to see friends at these things, and it also means no cooking for me, which we all know is my favorite thing.  And on top of that I'm hoping there will be sunshine somewhere along the way.  For sunshine I might even be persuaded to play hooky from the conference!

Everyone have a great week, and I'll see you in a bit!  Hope you get a lot accomplished!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished or Not Friday.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Squared Away Block 6

Hi all, and welcome to the next block in the Squared Away quilt project!  This project is a free quilt along designed by me and Angela of soscrappy.  If you've just found us, it's not too late to start, and if you've been sewing right along, grab some more scraps and let's add a few more blocks.  You can find links to all the previous blocks on a tab at the top of this page and also on a tab at Angela's blog, soscrappy.

This month marks the start of the second half of our quilt!  The colors for this month range from cool aquas to teals and turquoises, and the block is quick and easy.  This will give us some good progress really fast.  Here is our block:

Country Lanes, Mountain Mist, 1935

This is Country Lanes, a 1935 block from Mountain Mist, the batting company.  I remember them printing some block patterns on their batting wrappers way back in the 1980s.  I don't know if they still do this, but apparently they did for a very long time, since the 1920s, and even put out several pamphlets of the patterns.

I made the sample block in just two aquas and a background  to show the contrast, but seriously consider adding a third as the background.  If you skip to the end of this post, you can see the two blocks I made using three different prints.

On to the block!

Cutting for a 10- inch block:

As always, if you want to use your already-cut squares instead of cutting larger pieces, feel free!

From the background fabric, cut:

2 2-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch strips

From the first aqua, cut:

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

From the second aqua, cut:

4 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch rectangles


Unlike the blocks up until this point, this block does not have any half-square triangles!

Take all of the 2-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch strips and pair them up, aqua with the background fabrics.  Stitch along the long edges, then press to the aqua. Cut each of these into 4 2-1/2 inch sections.

Use 2 of the sections to make a checkerboard 4-patch.  You can press these seams any way that they work best because they are not attached to other pieced units.

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


The assembly of this block could not be easier.  Gather the units that you just made plus all the remaining pieces and lay them out as shown:

Join the units into rows and the rows into a finished block.  Press well and admire how talented you are!

These blocks go very quickly, so you should be back out enjoying the June sunshine in no time.  Here are the blocks I made for this month:

We are now 60% finished with our quilt!  Wahoo!  As always, hop on over to Angela's to see some more blocks and some of her variations.  If you are so inclined, remember that Angela has a linkup at her blog every Saturday, and we would all love to see your blocks.  You can also link up Instagram posts there, and be sure to tag me (@academicquilter) and/or use #squaredawaybom or #squaredawayquilt so I won't miss seeing your pretty blocks.

Our next block will be posted July 7th, after the holiday on the 4th (or the 1st if you're in Canada), so you can go ahead and finish your picnics before meeting back here for the next step.  See you then!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Friday, June 1, 2018

A little more practice

Hi everyone, and welcome to another weekend.  A summer weekend! It's been quite the week around here, but first I want to say a great big THANKS to everyone for their comments on my post last Friday, about the finish of the Grandma's Quilt.  Apparently, the day before I posted about it, Blogger decided to stop emailing comments made on the blogs, making it hard to respond individually.  But know that I read all of your comments and appreciate them all so much.

I want to know how all of you are planning to deal with responding to comments from now on, because I was having a conversation with a friend and she doesn't think that the emailed comments are coming back.  I got an email from an online friend that said the same thing, and then I talked to a couple of other people, and none of them think we'll get comments mailed again without some kind of opt-in process from commenters allowing their email to be shared.  I'm sad to say that they might be right.  We didn't get any notification from Blogger, but I think they intended to eliminate that feature.  (Some communication would be nice, wouldn't it?)  The fact that they seem to be "working on it" now only shows how much they over looked the anticipated response. So, I'm not certain it's coming back and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with comment responses from now on.  I do know that I treasure the relationships I've made through this blog and not being able to respond privately and individually will have an impact on future friendships.  So, yes, I really want to have a discussion about this and what everyone plans to do.  Let us all know!

(Diann came up with a work around that seems to work for her! I'll give it a try on this post.)

Wow, boring way to start a post, huh?  Let's have a picture to lighten this up:

I haven't had much time to stitch this week because I'm getting ready for a professional conference next week, but I did finish off these two little practice pieces.  Both are small but functional since they both have a layer of Insul-brite in the middle (plus a layer of thin batting) so they can be used out by the grill or on a table.

This little one was quilted with orange peels, which were surprisingly easy.  The big accomplishment here is that this was all quilted without breaking thread.  One pass--yahoo!

Those are raindrops, not stains!

The little blue piece was quilted in diamonds.  They seem simple-- and they are-- but they gave me fits, mostly because I was too stubborn to actually mark anything.  Since it's all blue and white hsts I kept getting confused about which intersection I was aiming for.  A small sticker would have made it much easier!  Things like this are one of the reasons I want to practice on useful pieces, not samples.  Real-world learning is always better!  For me, anyway.

I'm happy with how these turned out.  I'm going to do one more baby-sized quilt, this time in an all0ver pattern, and then I'll move on to something larger, just to keep practicing and improving.

That's it from here for now!  Hope everyone has a good weekend.  I have to do some more work on my paper, then I'm going to a quilt show with a friend!  That will be a super-nice break.  It will be raining all weekend, so it's a good thing they're holding it indoors!

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