Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scraps: Green Light!

More cool cold spring weather this week. It even snowed! Luckily, it didn’t last long and I had protected the flowers I had already planted. The long range forecast shows a slow but gradual warming trend. Maybe we will have summer this year. At least I’ve been able to play with my green scraps to satisfy the green itch!

First up, my green Friendship Star variation blocks. I absolutely adore these! I made 25 green blocks this month, which puts my total number of these blocks at 67 so far. I will need a total of 172. This project is likely to carry over into next year.

And then here are the happy little 4.5” bow tie blocks. I made 30 of those. Only half a bazillion to go on these. This is definitely a multi-year project.

Right now I’m working on my scraps and my kitty quilts (small kennel quilts) for the Best Friends animal shelter; I’ll have those to show next week. And speaking of kitties, aren’t these flowers the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? My daughter Megan sent them to me for Mother’s Day. She is a cat lover like me and is owned by two female cats, Lola and Iggy. 

I also finished a crocheted rug that I started on Christmas Day. I totally had forgotten about it  until Bruce and I switched our favorite chairs back to their usual positions. We had traded places because his right arm was out of commission during all those surgeries, so we wanted him to be able to access a side table with his left arm. If that makes sense. Anyway, once we moved everything back, I found this nearly-done rug and finished up the last 3 rows. It’s made from wonky strips of leftover cotton single crocheted with a huge hook.

If it looks wonky, that’s only because.... it is. I haven’t yet blocked it, washed it or tucked in any of the ends. What you see as the length of it was actually going to be the width, but enough is enough. It eats up fabric at the rate of about a half yard - maybe slightly less -  per row. And that was it for my cheap and/or scrap strips. But it was fun and it’s done.

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Scraps are Always Greener in May

I’ve been cutting green scraps like a madwoman, and I have the dead/numb right arm to prove it. Thank goodness for ibuprofen! I have a lot to show this week, and am linking up to Scrappy Saturday over at Angela’s blog. If you are craving green, that is the place to go!

So let’s get started. This week, I made the green shelf of books for my bookcase quilt. Normally, a row consists of 5 twelve-inch finished size blocks. This time, since the row was going to be all green instead of a combination of two colors (like the blue/teal row), my goal was just to sew a continuous line of books that was all green, 60.5” across, with seam allowance. The number of blocks, per se, didn’t matter.

This is what it all looks like as a finished unit. Sorry for the bad picture and the odd coloring/shadows of my design board. That orange coffee mug is a big question mark; more about that in a moment.

Here are some closer shots, from left to right....

First, my favorite area, with a fishbowl.  Kim and I were sewing together when I came up with this. And since we had just been talking about Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn getting their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I had to name them Kurt and Goldie.

In the next section the books definitely seem to be listing to port. I was going to say the section is straight-up books, but they’re definitely looking tipsy. In double checking the actual section, it’s just the way they are pinned to the design board in the picture. Yikes!

OK, here is where I need an opinion. The orange coffee mug is temporarily positioned there. Should the mug stay, or should we vote it off the island?? Or keep it in a different color perhaps? If it stays, I will naturally trim out the handle area before fusing it on.

Moving along, here is the rightmost section.

Once again, I have filled the bookcase with such well known and best-selling titles as  A Walk in the Park, Downton Abbey and (my favorite), Turtle Parade!!  Selecting titles is my favorite part of this process. Yep, I still have some growing up to do!

But wait, there’s more.  Oh my, that sounds like an infomercial. But I digress. I also knocked out my 6” Plus blocks, 16 of them. I have no idea yet if these will become a quilt on their own, or if they will be filler blocks for something else.

This next week will see me sewing on green bowtie blocks, green friendship stars, and finishing the Stars and Stripes quilt top sashing. The blue fabric for the sashing arrived and it looks good, so time to get that moving along.

I spent a good deal of time in the yard this week. First I cleaned up my potting bench and surrounding area to allow our garden service people easier access to the back yard with their huge mower. Our back grass is postage stamp sized (we have more garden, patio and flower beds), but they want to use the big mower. One circle around it will get all the grass. Seriously. Up to now they’ve just been using a weed whacker. But whatever..... Anyway, I also got most of my flowers purchased so that I can begin planting and setting out all my lovely Talavera pots on the front porch area. The irises are just opening up and I plan to make a point of getting some pictures this week. Any green thumbing should fit right in with our color scheme this month!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, May 6, 2017

Green May

Here in the Salt Lake Valley, May is always green. Beautiful, saturated, achingly beautiful green. Most of the trees and foliage are as happy as I am (they told me so) that we are now having warm weather. Last week it snowed; this week it’s been as high as 84 degrees. The outdoors matches perfectly with our Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for May, which Angela at So Scrappy selected as green. I’m linking up to our weekly Scrappy Saturday, and I hope you’ll join us there for some fresh spring scrappy sewing!

This week I did two crayons, since the crayon quilt calls for both a light and a dark green.  Also, the selvage quilt I’m doing needs a green column and a light green (or grellow) column, so I did two of those as well.

The two green crayons are already sewn together but the two green columns are just pinned for now.

Then I worked on my green strips, and did 4 blocks (8.5” unfinished) each of dark greens and light greens.

Next week I plan to work on the green “shelf” of the bookcase, which will be five 12.5” blocks of green books. And after that all the rest, as the scraps decrease in size.

I’ve also been working on a flag quilt (Stars and Stripes by Camille Roskelley) that I started last year at a Lori Holt retreat. We all did a signature block for Lori, one for ourselves and one for Cathy from Tasmania who visited the US for six weeks. Anyway, I finished up all the blocks - a snap with chain piecing.

They’re all on my design board for now, but not yet trimmed or arranged as I want. I’m waiting for some blue sashing fabric that I ordered to arrive. I did go to a local quilt store and bought two yards, but it was too aqua (like is shown in the pattern), and I didn’t like it. The blue I ordered online is a more blue-blue, if that makes sense. It’s a Kona from my color card, so I hope the real fabric will look alright once it’s sashed. Hard to envision from a small swatch.

My favorite flag block of the bunch
This week I managed to get a lot of outdoor chores done, like sweeping the garage, setting up the patio furniture and hanging some flower pots in front. Bruce went back to work, and while I do miss him during the day, it’s rather nice to do what I want when I want. And the cats are good company, when they’re awake.

Darla and Alfalfa

Another local quilt store had a Kaffe Fassett fabric sale this week in conjunction with the UQSM show - Utah Quilting and Sewing Marketplace - the only AQS quilt show in Utah. Not sure if I’m going to the quilt show this year, but I definitely scooped up some great cuts of Kaffe fabrics. I will not show them here yet. You’re welcome.  Paula B has been a bad influence on me with her lovely summer Kaffe quilt she’s making. And Sally, you too!  I might show them sometime, but at least I’m giving you a warning!!

Cathy maroon
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Quilt Finished and Gifted

Our son-in-law Chad has returned home for a month from a USAF assignment overseas. He will have to go back for 6 weeks at the end of the month, but for now we are all enjoying seeing him once again. Especially his wife Emily (Bruce’s daughter) and their three kids - our sweet grandkids Deacon, Abbie and Gunner. Although they were able to FaceTime daily while Chad was gone, there is no substitute for hugs in person!

Bruce and I were thrilled that they came over yesterday, Bruce’s last day home before returning to work today. Tomorrow is Bruce’s birthday - the big 70. Or as he likes to say, his dyslexic 7th birthday. Naturally, my card to him is going to be a “Happy Birthday 7-year old” card, with an “0” added in. He’s got it coming, ya know? hehe

So, I have no pictures of the happy visit. They gave Bruce a birthday present, we gave Chad his 2016 Christmas present (the quilt below). We played with the kids and then went out to dinner. Bruce and Chad had a lot to talk about. Both are/were in counter intelligence in the military with respective secret clearances and both are engineers. In fact, if you think of “Q” in the James Bond movies, that is what Chad does. Naturally, their talk was very general, but they had fun comparing places and equipment (1970’s vs today). And it was fun for us to hear about the lifestyle and foods of the place where Chad is stationed.

Anyway, here is a picture of the quilt that I whipped up in record time. Remember, it was a pre-printed panel from Pattern Jam, although I did get to pick out the fabrics before printing.

Look! We took the picture outside! The quilt finished at 62x75” and was quilted with straight (but squiggly) lines.  Chad loved it, and as they are moving to the greater Denver area later this summer, it will come in handy during the winter months.

This quilt is my third of my Finish-Along Second Quarter Goals. It is #7 on the list.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Wrapping up the Rainbow

As I write this (Friday evening), it’s snowing. Now that is not necessarily unusual here in the Salt Lake Valley at the end of April, but I’m just a bit paranoid; did we miss summer? It’s been raining and slushing all week. I’m sure that if my garden could talk, it would be saying (and here I paraphrase...) "What the Heck?!" The cats have stopped shedding (for now), the furnace is still running, soup is sounding good for dinner, and quilts - well, they always sound good. To console ourselves, we’ve been watching a BBC series on Netflix about the South Pacific. Bonus: it’s narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. (If you don’t know who he is, it’s time to sell that rock you’re living under, LOL).

We have come to the end of our multi-colored/rainbow scraps for the month of April. Our intrepid leader, Angela of So Scrappy, is again hosting another linky lineup of scrappy fabric goodness. It’s so much fun to see what our online quilting friends have been up to!

So this was my creative week. First, I finished up the pastel rainbow baby quilt from my vintage sheet scraps. It finished at 42x42”. It’s hard to get a good picture of a pastel quilt. I quilted it with simple straight line cross hatch. Well, MOSTLY straight lines, hehe. This will be a donation quilt.

Next I took an afternoon to work in some bright, multi-colored cat-themed scraps and quilted up 6 cat quilts (roughly placemat sized) for Best Friends Animal Shelter. The picture includes one I made from the leftover fabric of my bee-themed baby quilt, so there are 7 kitty quilts altogether.  Most of them are from my precious Laurel Burch scraps.

My Flower Market quilt finally came together, and much more easily than I thought it would. The borders worked out perfectly! I actually like the finished quilt.  It measures 61x72”.

Sorry I have to keep taking pictures of finished quilts up on my design board. I`d sure love a sunny day so we could get outside. Anyway, the back is a yummy black print with white and pink flowers and little white polka dots. It is my favorite print of the line. And the binding is a diagonal black and white stripes because Stripes.Are.The.Best.

This is also my Goal #1 for my Finish Along Goals for Second Quarter, list HERE.

Now, let’s take a look at what got done in April in the name of Rainbow Scrap Challenge, shall we?

Surprisingly to me, I completed 72 multi-colored blocks. Of those, 43 went into the Scrap X+plosion quilt (42 on the front and one on the back), then there were 16 quarter log cabins (upper right in collage), and 13 4.5” bowties blocks (center bottom). I also did one rainbow baby quilt, 7 rainbow kitty quilts and 2 rainbow doggie beds. (Had to correct myself there; I first typed doggie bags).  So, it was a very productive month, which proves how crappy our weather has been because everything happened INDOORS.

And finally, I finished the top (only had to trim and add borders) of the Big Game Quilt that I’m making for our DSIL (daughter Emily’s husband) who has returned temporarily from his overseas assignment for the USAF. He has a month leave of absence, during which he is taking a special class and setting up for his new posting and training beginning in July (in nearby Colorado!!) He will go back overseas for about six weeks and then be stateside for good. So, I wanted to give him his Christmas present for 2016 since he was overseas) while he`s here. We’ll finally get to spend some time with the whole sweet family next week!!

This quilt is a printed design panel from Pattern Jam, just like the one I did at Christmas for my other DSIL, only a different color way. This time I was able to pick out the fabrics and colors. The printing has improved dramatically - I can’t believe how crisp and bright the colors are! The two borders were added by me yesterday, and the backing is the same navy blue and green plaid fabric of the outer border. I think even the binding will be the same. That was a great purchase at Connecting Threads for $2.96 per yard.

Not much else is new around here. Bruce may go back to work next week part-time. We’ll see; he will need to pull his nose out of a book long enough to call and arrange it!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Workin’ on a Scrap Gang....

Do you remember the sixties song “Workin’ on a Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke?? He was so awesome! Listen here or just remember..... you’re welcome for the ear worm.  Anyway, that’s been my theme song while sewing this week. The more we sew - and I sew a lot - the more scraps we seem to accumulate. I also spent lots of time this week (but not nearly enough) outside pulling weeds, working on the Weed Gang. But it’s all good. That is, the sewing is good. The weeds, well, I’m hoping I can bribe some high schooler to come pull weeds for $$$ this summer.

So what did I get done this week on my Scrap Gang Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects? A lot, actually. After finishing Scrap X+plosion last week, I continued working on my quarter log cabins until I was nearly out of multi-colored scraps.

I made 16 blocks. There are no current plans for them; they’ll just reside in the Parts Department until a use comes along. The blocks measure 6.5” each and all have a purple starting square. I have no idea why I picked purple. Anyway, the few scraps that remain were either thrown into the stuffing bag (if they were small) or returned to the scrap basket, which is now an echo chamber of near-nothingness.

And I had so much stuffing in my stuffing bag, (scraps of fabric and batting that would normally go into the trashcan) that I decided to make a couple doggie beds from the pattern by Vickie Welsh. It used all the stuffing that I’ve saved for the last couple months. The fabric is some that I still had in my home dec fabric tub from which I used to make purses and aprons. They rather fit the multi-colored theme this month, don’t they? I guarantee their stuffing contents certainly do! These doggie beds will be added to the cat and small dog quilts I make every month for the Best Friends animal shelter.

And then I made a quick baby quilt from the fabrics left over from a previous baby quilt made a couple years ago. Nothing particularly exciting, but it was fun to get the bits together into some kind of cohesive design.

Another fun part for me was using the quilt to practice quilting free motion flowers. I also did random loops to imitate the bee flight paths shown in the yellow bee fabric.  I can now safely add flowers to my quilting “repertoire”, such as it is.

But there was still more week left....... so I put on my thinking cap and realized I still had a bag of multi-colored scraps left over from my last vintage sheet quilt, Rainbow Rails.  I sorted them out and there were enough multi-colored pastel florals and stripes to make another baby quilt.  So, I cut them into 6” squares and used 42 to make a quilt top.

The picture doesn’t do justice to the soft colors. I was also able to cut out 42 squares of blue-purple-green vintage sheet fabrics for my cousin Kim, who needs to do a quick boy baby quilt.. And, I believe there are enough pink and orange and yellow scraps to get one or possibly even two more baby quilts cut. I`ll deal with those when we get to either one of those colors in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Bruce and I went to JoAnn Fabrics this week. He is finally driving again, and it is so nice! I got some sewing machine needles with a 50% off coupon, some American Girl doll clothes patterns (on sale for $1.99 each) to make some more cute doll clothes for my DGD Abbie, and I also bought a cheap poly batt for the donation baby quilt. It was, like $5, so it convinced me that I shouldn’t cut into my good, wide roll of batting.

And then I couldn’t put it off any longer. It was time to get back to my Flower Market quilt and making the borders. I got all the flying geese made and trimmed and there are just enough to make the border around the quilt -  IF I use cornerstones. I checked through my scraps and there were 4 black floral print squares already cut and waiting. Meant to be!

So, I hope to have two quilt finishes this coming week, and then I can start on the cat quilts for the shelter. I’d like to make about eleventy thousand of them; enough to justify another trip to the shelter to unload them and the two doggie beds. Yep, this is life in the fast lane, I tell ya.......

Have a great week!
Linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, April 15, 2017

Scrap X+plosion Quilt Finished

Hi Friends, and Happy Scrappy Saturday and Easter weekend!

This week was a busy one for Bruce and I, full of doctor visits (Bruce’s arm is doing well; stitches removed next week), family birthday parties, our kids, grandkids and friends visiting, dining out, yard work, errands, and all the stuff of life that makes it fun and interesting. Even the weather has kept us on our toes - cloudy and rainy one day, sunny and warm the next. Typical spring. It’s been a great week overall. And I got lots of fun sewing and quilting in too!

First, as a break from the Scrap X+plosion quilt, I sewed up 13 multi-colored 4” bowtie blocks. Although I’m not crazy about the weak contrast with some of them, I’ll keep them until the time that I begin assembly (likely a year or two before I have enough). They may have a place in the overall design scheme.

And then I whipped up four cactus blocks for Block Lotto.  Each block we sew is an entry into the monthly drawing, winner take all. I have yet to win, but then this is only my fourth month, so it’s all good. I have fun and learn a new block in the process.

And then it was time to finish up the X+ quilt. Alfie, who says that anything Molly or Buddy can do, he can do too, decided to prove it by redesigning the blocks that wouldn’t fit on the design wall.

So here is the finished 42-block Scrap X+plosion quilt. This is my April multi-colored Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt and the first finish for my Quarter 2 Finish Along goals (#6 on the list). And Angela is hosting our regular Saturday Rainbow Scrap linky party over at her blog.  As you can see, I decided to leave out the sashing, and I’m so happy I did. The ombre orange is on the back, and the mustard-colored fabric (after being cut into 1.5” strips) will await another project.

This was such a fun quilt, and a breeze from start to finish. Bruce went wild over it, voicing my feelings exactly that you can never tell how happy and fun a bunch of random scraps can be! It’ll never win any design awards, but it sure has won our hearts. There are so many fabric memories sewn into it. And as soon as I laid it down, guess who claimed it?

HRH Alfalfa on his new throne
Sooner or later he`ll get up and I can throw it in the washer for its first launder. In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at the back.  I used a full (not franken-pieced) batting, but did use a couple near-empty spools of thread for quilting. And then cut up some random pieces and FQs for the back. There is also the one extra X+ block and the last of my orange ombre fabric from a bolt of it I found at the thrift store a year or two ago.

As usual, my quilting is a bit ADHD, and I added random flowers, hearts and other things here and there among the loops.

This block was so bright that it stuck out like a sore thumb with all the others. So, it go placed on the back instead. Works for me!

Have a great week!

Cathy maroon