Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Needing some spring

Hi everyone! How is your week going?  We had a small snowstorm last weekend, which gave many students a bad excuse for missing the first day of classes.  I can't really blame them-- because who likes trudging through melty, gross snow?-- but really, they live a block away in the dorms.  It's not that hard!

I don't know about you, but as soon as the holidays are over I'm ready for spring.  Snow is great in December, but not so lovely in January.  Since I can't do anything about the weather, I've pulled out an unfinished project that uses pretty spring-like fabrics:

Yeah, the springy colors look a little odd against the snow, but don't they look happy?  This is the last block I had to make to finish off the Community Sampler, which was a summer project from Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell.  I have no real idea why I didn't finish this, except that I hit that wall where you have only a little bit left to do but it just seems impossible.  Does that ever happen to anyone else?

So, I've been working on the sampler, which is actually all cut out, so I have high hopes of finishing the top soon, plus I've been adding to these:

Yes, the blocks are in the snow, which is why everything looks a little blue. These are blocks for a quilt like Bonnie Hunter's Tulip Fields quilt.  My blocks are much bigger than hers, though, because I made these string blocks as an RSC project a couple of years ago and I wanted to use them up.  And yes, I cut mine across the strings instead of down the middle and I'm not sorry at all.  My quilt won't be exactly the same, but it will be equally cheerful and spring-like!

 That's pretty much all I've been working on since it's been a pretty busy week so far, but I do have a question.  I have a bunch of fabrics that I would call corals.  You know what I mean by coral-- not red, not orange, not pink:

I have a project in mind to use these fabrics, but I'm not sure what colors to put with them.  What colors would you use?  I'm thinking green, but maybe yellow as well, like in that small print piece?  Or would you stick with the cooler side and add in some blues?  I really don't know, but I do want to get started on the project. (Because I have no others to work on, don't you know.)

Thanks for any help you have to offer with those colors.  I hope you're all having a good week, and that you're not facing down another snow event. There haven't been many for us this year, but I'm already done with it!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Tiny foursomes

Hi everyone, and thank goodness it's Friday!  I could not wait for this week to be over.  I spent a good bit of it with a really terrible migraine, the kind where all you can really do is lie down in a dark room and whimper.  Sadly, few people can take that option for very long, so I actually had to try to *do things.*  I was unsuccessful at most of it.

Thankfully, my head is mostly better now, and it's the weekend, so I can just kind of rest and try to catch up.  Obviously I got no real sewing done, so now I'm behind where I wanted to be.  I swore that this year I would stop feeling like I was "behind" on sewing, but that lasted all of ten days.  I will try to work on that some more.

One thing that I can talk about today is this four-patch project that I've started as a leader-ender scrap project:

Aren't those cheerful? Leaders and enders are little bits that you stitch together in between parts of another project, and you can read more about them HERE if you want.  I've thought this was a great idea, but mostly I've failed at it.  These little four-patches might turn the tide, and they build up amazingly fast (or maybe I just sew too much.)

These little bits will finish at only 2 inches square.  When I'm saving scraps, I save the pieces as chunks until it's time to use them, then cut what I need.  When the scrap gets pretty small, I cut it up into 2-1/2, 2 inch, and 1-1/2 inch squares so I can squeeze every last bit of value out of those pieces.  I've been saving these in bins separated by size:

This is the 1-1/2 inch bin, and I think it's time to use these up.  There are thousands of squares in there! And I just keep adding to it as I cut more scraps.  I saw THIS quilt project from Amanda Nyberg (now retired!), called Lost in the Crowd, and was seriously inspired.  This would make a great use for thousands of squares, don't you think?

I've been keeping this container filled with squares next to the machine and grabbing pieces when I remember, then tossing them into a basket. 

Believe it or not, this container is a repurposed produce container.  Our grocery store sells cut fruit in these, with one kind of fruit per compartment, for a ridiculously expensive price.  Sometimes I get some, though, because stress is a real thing and it's better to eat fruit than chips. 

I want to stitch these into double 4-patches when I get a chance, to make blocks that are a little easier to handle, so I tried out some alternate block possibilities:

These are Kona Butter, Bahama Blue, and Cabbage.  I'm really drawn toward the green, which is also what Amanda used.  What do you think?  Maybe I should make up a couple as an experiment.  I think the Butter is definitely out, but I do love both the others.

That's about all I accomplished this week.  For the weekend, I'll be resting my head and checking my phone obsessively as our daughter should be having her baby any day.  A new granddaughter-- I can't wait!  Hope your weekend is good!

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

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Red cut glass

Hi everyone, and happy weekend! The first week of the year is always so weird, isn't it?  I always feel disoriented.  I usually go to a conference in early January, but this year the conference fell this weekend, and I knew there was no way that I could get myself together enough to go, so I didn't.  I feel kind of bad about it, but not bad enough to get on an airplane.  There's always next year!

Since I stayed home, I went ahead and started one of this year's rainbow scrap challenge projects.  Yay me!  Here are my first RSC blocks for this year:

We're stuck with indoor pictures for now, but this block is an old one called Cut Glass Dish, a Ladies' Art Company block from before 1895.  These will finish at 12 inches.  My plan is to make 30 blocks, 3 for every color, and then have a nice-sized quilt at the end.  I've done this with a few quilts and they turn out great.

If you count, each of these blocks has 24 half square triangles.  I used some of my massive stock of Triangle Paper to make 72 perfect triangles really fast:

I really do have a bunch of this paper in various sizes, enough to make literally thousands of triangles.  I'll definitely have enough to make this quilt!  I don't know why I have so much, except that I probably bought it on sale, and I did use it often before I discovered the Magic 8 method.  The hsts really did turn out just great, and quick.  No lines to draw and pulling off the paper is therapeutic.

These were the only red blocks I managed to make so far. I've had a rocky relationship with the color red. It was always going to be a difficult color for me because I don't use it very often at all, so I don't have very many scraps, and last year I gave away all of my old scraps.  (Thanks again to everyone who took them!) Over the break I sorted out the big basket where I throw scraps while I'm cutting things, so I do have a very few reds:

I thought that I could build up the red supply this year by the time that color rolled around, but it's first, so I ended up cutting up some fat quarters.  I'm pretty happy with that, and I've asked some friends for some of their red scraps, so I probably will be able to scrounge up enough to get the rest of my projects started.  And I do have lots of ideas!

Another weird indoor picture.  Sorry.

Hope you got a good start to your RSC projects and are enjoying the first weekend of 2019.  We're de-Christmassing the house, and I'll bet that means I can talk the hubs into some takeout.  Better than a conference for sure!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New year, new old project

Hi everyone, and welcome to 2019! How is it possible that it's been 19 years since the turn of the century? Even writing that freaks me out!  Not long ago a student wrote in a paper about "the late 1900s." That really did freak me out, as a mid-1900s person myself.

So, did you accomplish everything you planned to over the break?  I did not. I had great plans, but I was so, so burned out on everything that mostly I just watched a ton of movies, read books, wrapped presents, and tried a lot of baking experiments.  In the sewing room, I deep cleaned.  What?  Yep, I even moved all the furniture and vacuumed behind it. There was a lot of lint and dust, and I found a few pieces of fabric back there, too.

I only sewed a couple of things in the last couple of weeks, including these:

These are a couple of mug rugs that I made for my sister's Christmas birthday.  (She got her master's at Penn State.) If you don't recognize the blocks, these are Tula Pink modern blocks. I made a couple of quilts using the Tula Pink blocks when they first came out, and I was just looking through the book again. Some of those are really nice, easy blocks. There might be another quilt hiding in that book, you never know.

I also did some English paper piecing on these pretties:

These are some Bridal Bouquet blocks that I've been working on very slowly.  I've liked stitching them in the evenings, so I'd like to keep going a little more consistently.  I've got the next one all cut out and basted:

We all know that the basting is the worst part, right? I'll need a dozen of these for a decent sized piece, so this should keep me occupied for a while.

For one of my projects this year, I've decided to resurrect a failed project from 2017.  Okay, I'm resurrecting the idea, but I'll definitely be doing something else with this piece:

I started a temperature quilt in 2017, but then couldn't keep up, for one reason or another.  I'm always so drawn to those "365 day" projects where you make a block a day, but I couldn't manage to do one 3-inch square a day.  Tells you something about my life, doesn't it?  The piece above is as far as I got, up until about March.  It's about 12 by 55, so I think I could turn it into a table runner, or pick it apart and rearrange it into a small topper for the deck table.

So, let's try this again!  I redistributed all of the fabrics from the previous quilt attempt, so I started over with a new temperature scale, in 5-degree increments:

Let's hope that I don't have to use the colors at those extremes very much!  The brown is for 100 degrees and up, while the grays are well below freezing.  I much prefer the yellow zone!

So, here are my first two days worth of piecing:

This means I'm not behind yet!  I don't know how I'm going to set these yet, but I'll give it some thought.  I like the graphic quality of the first try, but the days and months kind of get lost.  I'll have to look around for some other settings pretty quickly so I can do them as I go.

I hope everyone had a very restful break and that your stitching year is off to a good start.  It's going to be a good one, I just know it!

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