Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beam Me Up

Sewing is my sanity. What a week! Is anyone else ready for a vacation from winter? Until a vacation can happen, I am so grateful (should be spelled GREATful) for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and my sewing machine!  Come take a mini-vacation and join us over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog for the weekly roundup of colorful goodness!

This week I sewed 13 teal Friendship Star variation blocks. I absolutely love how these play together!

And to finish off my teal scraps, I made two nine-patch blocks, one 6,5” novelty block with the telephone center, and three miscellaneous crumb slabs, which will count as one slab block in my final tally. I think that they are more versatile when kept to sizes that can either be sewn together or cut down later.  Gotta love scraps! Linking up to Oh Scrap!

I was also able to finally finish my brother-in-law’s quilt, the boring disappearing 9-patch. I’ve got a couple close-ups here, mainly to show my (honest but) mediocre and wobbly quilting. I am hoping that once the quilt is washed, it will be less noticeable.

The quilting is stippling in the body, loops in the two vertical bands, and a vine and leaf pattern along the border. I should’ve probably picked another situation (instead of white thread on a black border) to practice this new-to-me motif. But oh well. I`m nuts like that.....

Here it is with its black and white binding, in a heap (that’s how I feel about it), ready to go into the laundry for its washing and crinkle-production. I will get a final picture and do a separate reveal post about it later in the week, because it’s another Finish-Along goal for the first quarter.

And finally, I bought a large separating zipper and was able to finish the sleeping bag for my DGD Abbie’s American Girl doll. While I was at it, I sewed up a flannel nightgown for the doll, too. Just in time. The kids have Monday (Presidents Day) off school and are coming over to play with me and Grandpa.

And speaking of Grandpa (DH), the news on his forearm is not good. The MRI showed enough to warrant biopsies, done last Tuesday or Wednesday (it’s all a blur). Yesterday the doc called to tell us she`d assembled a team review (oncologist, radiologist, her as surgeon, etc.) for Tuesday morning. We meet with her on Tuesday at 1:00 to go over the results and surgery/treatment plan. We’ve been here before and done that. But one wonders just how much tissue is left to take before it begins impairing the use of his (right, dominant) arm and hand. Needless to say, he’s had to bow out of his folk music trio’s gig for this week.... We are being stoic for now, but reserving the right to panic later if warranted (insert inappropriate LOL here....)

Wishing you a good week, with lots of sunshine for everyone!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, February 11, 2017

Feeling the Teal

This was another productive week with teal (aqua, sea green, green-blue, turquoise, etc) me as I follow along with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s monthly color. It’s really a great way for me to systematically clean out my scrap stash, although it seems scraps have some unusual reproductive properties, don’t you agree?

My first project for the week was to get my two teal/aqua bookcase blocks done. They will be on a blue shelf, so the remaining three blocks on that shelf are reserved for regular blues ranging from dark (navy) to light (sky) blues.

You might notice some repeat titles from last month, but that’s how it goes with scraps and selvages, LOL!  I need to do some clean-up stitching (or thread picking) around the owl. But I love that he selected the most appropriate book on which to land!

And the “Treasures of the East” title is a nod to the system of Arabic numbers we use. Clever, eh? You will note there are several titles by Tamara Kate - Nature Walk, Birds and the Bees and Helen’s Garden. I love, love, love her fabrics for Michael Miller.

Next up are the two Geese Migration blocks from the pattern by Cynthia Brunz. This time I put more effort into the shading from light to dark.

And this month there were 20 4” bow-tie blocks, although I’m not ruling out the possibility of more until I have finished everything except my crumb slab(s). Bow-Ties are very addicting!

Next are the 13 Plus blocks I finished. They measure 6.5” unfinished.

And I finally got the top for my brother-in-law’s quilt sewn into a flimsy.  May have a 2” black border all the way around. The backing is the bright blue and sashing will be blue (if there is enough left over; I haven’t measured yet) or black. No rush on this right now because our Arizona trip is postponed for awhile.

My hubby had the MRI done on his right forearm, site of the previous cancer and surgeries. They will give him the results and a surgery date next week. Then we will have a better idea of what we are facing. If there is a week or two before surgery, we may scoot out for a week’s vacation to see the family in Arizona. Otherwise, we may be postponing it until after surgery/radiation/whatever.

This week I was also able to stitch these columns of my 2016 RSC 16-patches together into a 72x80” flimsy. I am in love with this bright quilt!  I`m hoping that I might have the time/inclination to baste both of these flimsies this week and perhaps begin quilting one of them.

My only Supervisor of late has been Darla. She just prefers to hang out with me and sleep wherever she can find a comfortable place, as long as it’s nearby. Alfie prefers to sleep in Bruce’s recliner during the day.  At night, however, they will sleep anywhere - they are Equal Opportunity Nappers.

A few nights ago, we were drifting off to sleep around midnight (yep, we were up late that night) and we heard the cats running and playing. Then it turned into hissing and yowling and lots of anger and screaming.  I found them in the study and Alfie had Darla pinned under the desk (which is a first; she ALWAYS “cleans his clock”). It is the first time they have ever fought with each other (beyond just hissing or play fighting), and it really bothered me. I took them each one by one (when I could outsmart them and finally catch them) and clipped their nails. They didn’t get any verbal reprimands, because...... well, they are cats. All they would hear is “blahblahblah Alfie” and “blahblahblah Darla”.  Anyway, they calmed down right away, and darned if this wasn’t the scene five minutes later:

In the morning, they were curled up together in our bed, and harmony was restored. But I had lots of fur to sweep up!!  Kids.......

Cathy maroon
Saturday, February 4, 2017

First Week of Scrappy Aqua

This is the first week of aqua (turquoise, teal, sea green) for February for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge participants. New colors are always a refreshing change, aren’t they?? Even if the outdoors is still gloomy and gray, we quilters get to play in glorious color! There are always lots of fun things to see over at our hostess Angela’s blog for Scrappy Saturday.

My sewing this week had me whipping out the strips, strings and selvages.  First up are my four 8.5” blocks of aqua strings.

Then I worked with my selvages and 4.5x8.5” chunks of solids to sew up another column for my Rainbow Selvages quilt. Last month I did two purple columns; one in red-purple and one in standard or blue-purple. This month I only needed to do the one aqua.

And I did an aqua crayon, too. Here it is pinned next to the aqua selvage column (draped so I could get closer and show more).

I also got 3/4 of the top done to my brother-in-law’s black, white and blue disappearing 9-patch quilt (had to force myself; boring sewing). No picture, no rush. We are not leaving for Arizona this week as originally planned. Something medical has come up with DH that needs to be taken care of first, so at this point we’re not sure if we will go next week or next month.

For Block Lotto this month, we were asked to sew Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks using the Pantone Color of the Year, Greenery, as “inspiration” for the green geese. Background was to be light tan (mine are NOT white, although it looks like it) or pink. The other remaining geese were our choice.

I forgot to mention in my sewing recap for January (last week) that I also sewed some small kennel quilts for a local Best Friends shelter in January. One of my personal goals this year is to sew six small (12x18” to crib size) quilts per month to donate. I only got 5 done in January, but I hope to maybe catch up and get 7 done in February. Regardless, I will donate what I have at the end of February. Since I need to deliver them myself, I figured every 2 months (roughly a dozen quilts each time) is about right. I know there will be lots of cute kitties and puppies there tempting me, so I have to be strong! I’ll get a picture of them all (the quilts, not the cute animals) at the end of the month, although there’s really nothing exciting about them. I`m using donated fabric (pretty ugly) for the time being, although there is lots of cute fabric waiting in the wings.

Have a great week!

Cathy maroon
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Rainbow Quilt Recap

Today, the last day of January (who else is cheering?!?), we are holding a celebration of Rainbow Quilt goodness over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog.  Everyone who has finished a Rainbow Scrap Quilt this month, regardless of when it was started, is invited to show it to the world! We are hoping to inspire newbies and those who might be teetering on the brink of joining us in our goals of monthly scrap-busting, color by beautiful color.

This month I finished up three of my 2016 rainbow quilts, all of which were flimsies before the month began. All (ha!) I had to do was baste, quilt and bind.

Rainbow Rails
This quilt was made from vintage sheets (except 4 lonely strips I had to fill in; one in orange and 3 in brown). It finished at 72x81". The “batting” was merely white flannel as this is meant to be a summer-weight throw, and the quilting was a large meandering stipple.

Cool Scrappy Improv
All during 2016 I made improv blocks (8.5” unfinished) with the bits and bobs left over from all my other planned blocks. These bits included experiments, half square triangles, flying geese, and just about any scrap over 1.5”.  I had so many at the end of the year (over 90), that I divided them into warm and cool color groups. This is the cool colorway. It is sashed with 2.5” (2” finished) black strips and set 7x7. It measures 72x72” and is batted with Warm and Plush. The quilting was a simple vertical large zig-zag.

Warm Scrappy Improv
This quilt used the scrappy blocks of the warm colors from my 2016 rainbow adventures. The colors are yellow, orange, red and pink. Again, they are sashed with 2.5” strips, in this case Kona Cream. The blocks are set 6x8 in this quilt, resulting in a quilt that measures 62x82”. The batting is the same Warm and Plush, which I love because it gives a slightly higher loft than the Warm and Natural. I buy it in 25-yard rolls from JoAnn online (when they either have a good sale or free shipping, or both). The quilting is a free-form loopy design that I do on my Bernina.

I was pleased to finish these three in January. There are still 2 quilts left to do from my 2016 Rainbow piecing; the Rainbow Dresdens and my Rainbow 16-patches. I have started sewing the patches into columns. There will be 9 columns (colors) of 10 blocks each.

As I will be on vacation for about 10 days in February, I’m not sure if I will finish either of them. My first priority is finishing a quilt for my brother-in-law that I can deliver when we get to Arizona.  But I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, I thought I would just throw in a Gratuitous Cute Kitty Picture. Because, why not?
Alfalfa (“Alfie”, in orange) and his sister Darla are best friends and partners in crime. They look so innocent, don’t they? HA! You should’ve heard them running around last night about midnight. They could wake up the dead.

Holding Paws
Have a great week, everyone!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, January 28, 2017

As January (Finally) Comes to a Close...

Is it just me, or does it seem as though January has been going on for three months already? I am so OVER it already! But today was really nice - there was a big ball of yellow fire in the sky that created shadows and made everything light. I think it’s called the sun, but that is from rumor and certainly not from previous experience this month.

So, I finally pretty much wiped out my purple scraps this month. I played with my 1.5” this week. Oh, but before that I finished up my Friendship Star variation blocks that weren’t quite ready last Saturday.

They’re kind of a pain in the butt because there are so many HSTs to trim, but I love the look, so OH WELL.  And speaking of pains in the posterior, the 1.5” squares and HSTs got cleaned up and made into 2 36-patch blocks alternating solids and HSTs. Yeah, my piecing leaves a lot to be desired.

With all the leftover bits and bobs, I made these three slabs. I am counting them as ONE block in my tally because they could be sewn together.... or not.

So here is my summary of PURPLE blocks for this month:

Top:  4 string blocks, 4 Bookcase blocks (12” each, sewn together)
Left: 1 Crayon block (the light one was from last year)
Middle Row: 2 Geese Migration Blocks, 11 Plus blocks, 2 columns of Selvage blocks
Bottom: 13 Friendship Star, 38 Bowties, 1 Crumb slab
Not Shown in collage: 2   36-patch blocks.
Total RSC Blocks:  76.

Linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at Angela’s So Scrappy Blog. Why not join us and see what everyone else has done too??

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I had another finish this week - my warm-colored Rainbow Improv from 2016. I had to baste it first, then quilt and bind it. I really love how it turned out!!!

These 8” improv blocks are what I did last year with the miscellaneous crumbs and such of each color. The first quilt (shown a couple weeks ago) was done in blue, teal, purple and green. This quilt is the warm part of the spectrum; yellow, orange, red and pink.  This one was set 6x8 and sashed with Kona Cream. It looks like a pale peachy yellow, but it’s called Cream. Anyway, I like it.  The batting is Warm & Plush and it finished at 62x82”.

The quilting was a basic freeform loop, and I used Aurifil thread (1135) in 40 wt because that is what I had. I wasn’t crazy about the gold thread on the red (above), but I loved it on the rest of the quilt (below).

And when washed up, it was just fine. The backing I bought at Connecting Threads during their year-end clearance. I’d had my eye on it for awhile for this quilt - perfect colors. The binding was strips left over from other backings.

This was #4 on my Quarter 1 Finish Along Goals - my third finish in January. But that’s because the tops were done last year.

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Finally, I made a bit of progress on the D9P quilt for my brother-in-law.  This picture doesn’t show the entire width of the quilt, but it will be sashed in black on all 4 sides. Then there will be three sections divided by vertical strips of blue/black/blue as shown. The center column will be three blocks wide and each side column will be four blocks wide. I think. If I don’t like that, it might become 3-4-3.  And there may be some horizontal stripes, too.

I’ll be playing with this for a few days and want to get it sewn up this coming week. Preferably before Angela announces the February color!

Most of this post was prepared on Friday evening, so I slept in this morning. But Alfie never really lets me sleep late. I was awakened by a gentle paw pulling back the covers over my head. The time? 8:00 straight up. It’s like he KNOWS, because it’s never later than that.

Alfie: Yes, human. The King is all-seeing.
See you on Tuesday for a Rainbow Scrap finished quilt round-up.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, January 21, 2017

Purple Scraps and a Finish. And a Start.

Is it February yet?

Just kidding! I’m not done with my purple scraps yet for January, but I think they have just about done me. The problem is that I have so many solid and batik purples left over from the Magic Carpet quilt and the Cityscape quilt that the sameness is getting to me. But I am persevering!

This is what I got done this week, purple-wise. To see other purple-y goodness, join us at Angela’s So Scrappy blog for Rainbow Scrap Saturday.

First up, Cynthia Brunz’ lovely block pattern, Geese Migration. Using simple squares and flying geese, I couldn’t resist making two. These weren’t in my original plans, but plans are meant to be changed, right?

Then, to dig a bit further into the 2.5” scraps, I made 11 plus blocks.

And another unplanned block (SQUIRREL!!) was this foray into bow-ties, thanks to seemingly half the RSC ladies who are doing (or have done) these. I had never made bow-tie blocks before, and oh my are these fun! I finally stopped at 38.

Because of getting side-tracked, I didn’t finish all my Friendship Star variation blocks. But they will be done by next week, and I will show them then. I also hope to use my purple  crumbs and 1.5” pieces to sew up a purple slab or two for future use.

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This week I also quilted the Cool Blue Green Improv block quilt, which was one of my many 2016 Rainbow Scrap projects.

This was comprised of my blue, teal, green and purple (cool colors) improv blocks from last year. The blocks finished at 8” and are set 7x7. With the sashing, it finishes at 72x72”.  The backing is a hodgepodge of blue and green fat quarters and large scraps.  The batting was Frankenpieced from strips of leftover Warm and Plush, my go-to batting that I buy by the 25-yard roll.

The quilting was very simple; wavy lines using my walking foot. I used the long wavy stitch on my Bernina, setting it to maximum length and width.  They are NOT supposed to be equal distant apart, but rather four vertical lines per column and then one in each of the sashes. The waves got off here and there as my foot pedal cord kept shorting out. I am taking it to be repaired or replaced this week.

This was my First Quarter Finish Along Goal #3 and my second finish of the quarter.

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For those of you who just visit on Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I wrote a post yesterday about our recent living room remodel. It shows the before and after photos. I know some of you may be interested and some not, so I decided to do it in a separate post. If you are interested, the post is HERE.

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Darla has been my constant companion lately, especially in the studio. These were taken on Wednesday or Thursday, when she felt it was time to really step up her game.

Mom, that ruler isn’t lined up correctly!

Wait! You need to sew another line and then trim in between to get 2 HSTs.

What kind of thread are you using? I’d better check this out. 

Sewing time is over! It’s Kitty Loving Time now!

Later, when I was back in the studio without The Supervisor, I got to sewing on the quilt I will make to take to one of my BILs in AZ next month. Yep, a simple Disappearing 9-patch.  All the big blocks are sewn, trimmed and pressed. About half are cut up and shown below.

The original plan was to have some sort of pattern, but it became obvious as I used random pieces and fat quarters from my stash, that a pattern was not going to develop. I still don`t know what the final layout will be, but I should be able to find something a bit more exciting than the hodgepodge above. But it will be the 11 blocks across as shown and then 13 rows down. Also, the blue is really more of a teal, but that doesn’t translate well with the camera.

And there you have it - my sewing adventures for the week. I can’t wait to see what everyone else has been doing!

Cathy maroon