Saturday, February 16, 2019

Eternal Sunshine of the Never-ending Scrap Drawer....

Are your scraps like mine, breeding on their own when left alone in drawers and shelves and baskets and bins? Have you EVER known ANYONE who has used up all their scraps? Me neither.

Well, we are back from vacation as I post this, but we haven’t even left as I write this. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing? That means I’ll save the vacation recap for another post. See how nice I am? You can get all the yellow scrappy goodness here without having to sit through a vacation narrative with pictures. You’re most welcome.

I’m adding these fun and bright yellow sunshine-y blocks to the Rainbow Scrap Saturday linkup. I know that we’re all appreciating these little bits of fabric sunshine so much during this long and dreary winter.

First up are 12 little 9-patch blocks. I’ve heard them called Lover’s Knots, but when I look that block up, this is not what I see. Regardless, it has a lot of possibilities. These little blocks are untrimmed. Why trim them now when they’ll sit around for months on their shelf, growing more stray threads. Scraps are just like that. So, I’ll trim them when I decide on a layout.

And here are some 9.5” yellow string blocks. String blocks make me so happy, it’s just ridiculous. Especially yellow ones, because they’re so happy too. Here are my six string blocks, smiling away.

Well, in keeping with the time-traveling nature of this post, I’m off to finish packing (as I write this) and off to finish unpacking (as I post this). It’s so wonderful to be home!!
Sunday, February 3, 2019

Setting my OMG for February

It’s time to set my One Monthly Goal for February, and I am linking up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts. I find that the challenge to complete one particular project each month (even when I’m not successful in finishing) helps me to focus on something that has perhaps been languishing too long. I like moving everything along with no fabric left behind!

For this month, I’ve selected my Lattice Birds quilt. My goal is to finish the top during February. All 63 blocks are stitched and I’m beginning the assembly now. But this is not a slam dunk goal for several reasons.

First, there are some who may remember that while I was sewing these birds along with the Rainbow Scrap color of the month last year, I bought a pattern from The Pattern Basket and altered it to fit my needs. I wanted a 10” block to alternate with the Irish Chain blocks instead of the pattern’s 8” block. Also, as suggested by my friend Sally, I added a flip corner to the upper part of the front wing to round it. Also, I didn’t like all the tiny fiddly seams for sewing in a beak, so I made prairie points and inserted them in the seam instead. I also shortened the tail to accommodate the scale of the lattice.

So here is a typical bird with those changes made. What I had to before I began assembly  was to go back and stitch down the prairie point beaks with brown thread so that the quilt could eventually be machine quilted! That’s what I worked on today. Then I began the process of laying out the rows and figuring out who goes where. My design board isn’t large enough to accommodate all 9 rows, so the other four are in piles on the ironing board for now.

I also had a lot of quilty math to do to figure out if I had enough of the feature fabric (see the breast of the bird, above) to make a 6” border around the quilt AND do the back. I had to order two more yards. That will be a total of 10 yards that I’ve bought, but I love it so much that I should have just bought every.single.yard.still.available.

And finally, there is a lot of block trimming, seam spinning/pressing and thread cutting to do on these blocks as it will be critical to have flat seams and no dark showing through the white background.

So that’s my OMG - finish sewing the quilt top by the end of February. And did I mention that we’d be gone on vacation for a couple weeks? Yeah, it’s going to be a challenge!
Saturday, February 2, 2019

Welcome Yellow February!

January is over for another year - yay!  February is one step closer to spring, and I’ve been happily celebrating with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month, yellow. We can generate the warmth and brightness of the sun right in our own studios! Come see what we’re all doing at our weekly Rainbow Scrap Saturday linkup.

I got a lot done with my yellow scraps in the last few days, primarily because we will be on vacation for a nice chunk of February. It seems I always tackle my selvages first, and once again it was so. First are the selvage 4-patches. The selvage patches are 4.5” unfinished. They’re paired with 4.5” patches of a low volume neutral to make 8.5” inch four-patch blocks. I made four blocks in yellow.

And I finished a row (14 blocks; 7 selvage tumblers, 7 colored fabric tumblers) for my selvage tumbler quilt. That’s not a very enticing name, but it’s just a working title for now.

I do plan to alternate the orientation of the tumblers every row, but yellow will be two rows away from red, so is cut the same way. As this will eventually be assembled in rainbow order, a row of orange tumblers (starting with an upside down orange fabric tumbler, then alternating) will go between these two rows. Come assembly time, I may have to make some additional tumblers or else trim the edges, not sure which yet. The row width as it is now measures about 43”. The height per row (after joining) will be 4”, so I’m figuring I’ll need about a dozen rows, and then a border to surround it all and get it to a good size for a donation quilt.

Next up were the Cracker blocks - seven of them.  My yellows are ranging from very pale to very gold, almost golden brown with some fabrics (which you’ll see when I post my string blocks later in the month). The Crackers are 7.75” unfinished.

And then the Anvil blocks. These are fun to chain piece and hence they whip up really fast! They will finish at 8” each, and I plan to mix all the colors merrily in the quilt.

If you only catch my blog on Rainbow Scrap Saturdays, you can use these links to check out two finishes I had during the week. Saguaro Sunset is HERE and the Pink Selvage Donation Quilt is HERE. Or you can click the 2019 QUILTS page tab above.

Next week won’t see much, if any, scrap sewing as we’ll be leaving for Arizona and I’m not taking my yellow scraps. I am taking Bob, however, my trusty back-up sewing machine. And I am taking scraps, but they’re multi-colored strings. I plan to get started on a long-planned string quilt inspired by this quilt. It’s called Diamond Frenzy, was sewn by Nancy Messier and it was pinned from Facebook. The best tutorial for these blocks (in my opinion) is from Molly Flanders’ blog, HERE.

Inspiration: Diamond Frenzy by Nancy Messier
Along with the Rainbow Scrap color of the month, I’m trying to get a donation quilt done every month (and more than one if I can) using that color. With yellow, I’ll be focusing on using up a lot of my stray gold fabric chunks (and other colors too) to frame this cute elephant fabric into Happy Blocks. I’ve cut out 50 center blocks of 6.5” blocks (yes, my hands are numb) and the strips. I'll plan to sew up two quilt tops from them.

I’m also bringing along the next Pineapple Quilt to start if there is time.  And if there isn’t, there is always the rest of February to work on it.

But needless to say, sewing will not be my highest priority on vacation, LOL!! This time Cousin Kim is not joining us, so Bruce and I will take two leisurely days to drive down to Tubac. This time, for the first time, we won’t be staying in the Bates Motel family trailer. Instead, we are staying in the second home of Bruce’s sister Annette and her husband Glenn.  We’ll have a whole, beautiful house to ourselves, and it’s up in the hills above the town. There are lots roads and trails for walking. The Tubac Arts Festival will be going on while we’re there, and that will be fun too.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Pink Selvage Quilt Done

Yesterday I finished up the third and final selvage quilt from the selvage blocks I made during 2018 for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Like the other two quilts, this has been added to the pile of donation quilts.

This quilt used the 6.5” (unfinished size) selvage blocks in pale blue, pink, yellow and green. I also used up most of three pink fabric chunks for the sashing. There’s at least a yard left of the lightest pink, but the other two are residing as little scraps in the pink bin. The striped fabric was also used for the binding.

I quilted it in a small loopy design. When I quilt selvage quilts, I always do loops or a stipple so that I can be sure that the ample stitching secures the selvage edges extra well.  

The quilt finished up at 48x56” (before laundering). For the backing, I used a piece of this cute Flower Market fabric by Lella Boutique that was left over from a quilt I made a couple years ago.

This selvage quilt was also a finish that ticked off Goal #6 on my Quarter 1 Finish-Along list, which you can see HERE, for 2019. It is my third finish this month. YAY!

And I just wanted to give a shout out to Cousin Kim. She has always wanted to try a Jelly Roll Race quilt, and after spending months and months on a gift quilt for her son (the lovely Hunter’s Star quilt that I never got a picture of), she wanted a quick project.  Kim made it from a jelly roll she picked up on sale last summer when we were out gallivanting around. The purple border was left over from a quilt she did 2-3 years ago.

And this is the fabric from (half of) the duvet cover that she used for the backing.

Again, it’s been too cold to snap pictures outside, so we’ve just been pinning these up on the design board, hence the wonkiness. Or maybe it’s just the way the lens bends things? Whatever; you get the idea, right?

Stay safe and warm during the horrendous Polar Vortex weather here in the Northern Hemisphere. As for us, we’ve got plenty of quilts, cats, heat, margaritas, and food to keep us warm and safe until we head south to Arizona next month......
Monday, January 28, 2019

OMG! Saguaro Sunset Finished!

Wow, I did it! I finished Saguaro Sunset on schedule and in time to join in the finish link-up for our January OMG (One Monthly Goal). Yes, I’m doing a happy dance here!

Saguaro Sunset is backed with a cactus print and some solid Kona that I picked up at JoAnn’s (no picture). The “batting” is just a piece of flannel, since this its recipients live in Arizona and don’t need heft or warmth. I quilted it with simple vertical wavy lines (maybe we could pretend it’s radiating heat?) It washed up beautifully and crinkly as you can see. The wonkiness is just due to the way we pinned it up on the design board. The finished dimensions are 58x70”. This is my second finish for January.  

You can see lots of other great January OMG finishes over at Elm Street Quilts, where we’re all linking up our finished goals for the month.

Saguaro Sunset was also Goal #3 on my 1st Quarter 2019 Finish-Along list, which is HERE.
Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict Whoop-Whoop Friday HERE.

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Bruce bought himself a new T-shirt this week......

Squirrels truly do run in our family......

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The End of the Red

I say this every year in January, but hasn’t this month dragged on For.Ev.Er? Why is January so dang long, and spring just flits by in an instant? A question for the ages.

But we had a delightfully bright color, RED, to work with this January, and it has Sparked Joy for many of us. Yes, that is yet another reference to Marie Kondo. I think that her Joy Sparking will be the subject of punchlines in no time. Maybe even by the end of this never-ending month.  In the meantime, to spark your own Joy of the color red, why not hop on over to Angela’s blog and check out the Rainbow Scrap goodness??

Here is a recap of what I finished in the Red Department this month:

Top Rows, L-R:
10    Cracker blocks, 7.5” unfinished
12    Lover’s Knot 9-patch blocks, 6.5” unfinished
1      Row of Tumblers (plain and selvages) - about 8 selvage tumblers
5      Anvil blocks, 8.5”
Middle Row:
6      Strip blocks, 9.5” (plus one at 8.5” that ended up in the Parts Department)
1      Scottie Dog Quilt (or scottie god quail, right Louise?) made for donation
Bottom Row:
1      Bitcoin block, 4.5x12.5”
2      Crumb blocks 6.5” sewn, then added to last year’s to make 3 Crumbcakes blocks
4      Selvage 4-patches, 8.5” each

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This week I also finished two flimsies, as shown in my last post. They are Saguaro Sunset and the last of the selvage blocks (from last year’s RSC) that have been sewn into a pink-y flimsy. Both of them are now basted and ready to be quilted. Come hell or high water, I’m going to finish Saguaro Sunset by the end of the month to claim it as my finished January OMG (One Monthly Goal).  Oh look, here is Saguaro Sunset now, just shining away on the basting table, waiting its turn under the needle!

And just for fun, I want to show you part of Cousin Kim’s latest quilt. Lately she’s been finishing the quilt bindings at home, then gifts the the quilt and I never get a finished picture. But I wanted to show you her Jelly Roll Race quilt. When she finished sewing it together, we checked my stash for possible backings and found half of this amazing duvet cover I’d bought last year at a thrift store. It matched the colors perfectly.

The floral is the duvet cover, of course. Every color in the stripes (not all are shown) is represented in the floral print. It was meant to be. I quilted it for her in a simple stipple and snapped this picture before she took it away.

And finally, it’s time for some Gratuitous Cat Pictures. You’re welcome.

Alfalfa (Alfie)
As the picture above shows, Alfie is an alert and energetic cat. He has two speeds; ON and asleep. If he were a person, Bruce and I decided Alfie would be a cross between Robin Williams and Steve Martin. A wild and crazy Little Rascal!

And this is Miss Darla. She is sweet, shy cat with a squeaky voice. I haven’t quite figured out who she would be if she were a person. On one hand paw, she’s very girly and diva-ish and loves to cuddle. On the other, she is very athletic (jumping down 3 stairs in a single bound) and sneaky and can bop Alfie around when they tussle. Any ideas who she is? Do your pets have equatable human personalities?
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A Couple Flimsies

I’ve got two quilt tops to show you today, both of which I hope to have finished into quilts by the end of the month. Saguaro Sunset is my priority of course, since it’s a gift with a deadline. But since I like to have more than one project going on at a time, and since my red scraps for January have been whipped into shape , I decided it was high time to finish the third and final selvage quilt from my 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge selvage blocks.

So, here is the selvage quilt top. Nothing too exciting. And as you can see, I had to sometimes turn the selvages sideways or upside down, but that’s just fine in my book. I’m the boss, not them.  :-)  For the top, I was able to use three different pink pieces for the sashing. One of them - the stripe - will also be the binding. I think I finished up all but the very lightest one. I love clearing things out.

I’ve got a Frankenbatt all ready to go, as well as a backing pieced from two other remnants. This will be basted today. Quilting won’t happen until after Saguaro Sunset is done.

And here is Saguaro Sunset. As much as I loved the deep royal purple border against these colors, I’m not sure the recipients would have appreciated the colors or the size. Or maybe that’s just an excuse to keep it small enough (it’s currently 58x72”) to manage basting it on my own with pins. It’s the dead of winter and way too cold to open the studio door for ventilation (if I use a spray baste).

I’m not crazy about the plain yellow at the bottom, as I’ve said before. But I ran out of the ombre fabric(s) and couldn’t get more. So, plain yellow it is. It’s not horrible, but it could’ve been better. Oh well, it’s still a pretty cool top. It’s certainly a technique I’d like to play with more!

So, that’s my progress in the quilt department so far this week. I’ve also found an old online friend I can gift a lot of my crazy quilting things (well, vintage linens and silk ribbon so far) to.  I’ve spent several days of going through boxes and bins and packing things up to mail to her. As well, I’ve been doing some serious deep cleaning and getting rid of Stuff. No, cleaning guru Marie Kondo has nothing to do with it. It might be just the time of year or even the time of my life, but owning accumulations and collections of Stuff doesn’t hold the appeal it did a couple decades ago. And I know that the more Stuff I get rid of now, the more my kids will appreciate it once I’m gone. What about you? Have you done any recent purging of Stuff?