Saturday, September 24, 2016

Roses are Red, So Are My Quilt Blocks

It’s been two weeks since I posted. As I had mentioned, I flew to Kansas City and spent a week in Missouri at a Crazy Quilting retreat. Yes, we did get a couple hours to visit Missouri Star Quilt Company, but the weather was terrible. The clouds were dark and ominous and It was pouring rain. We got drenched going from car to storefront and back.

However, we did manage to visit the newly-remodeled main store and then a couple of the specialty stores. My haul included three lengths of fabrics that I'll use for backings (2) and borders (1). The Doans have done a great job of moving the shops so that many are together and connected to each other (side by side) or on the first or second floor with stairs/elevator access between floors. The town of Hamilton got some new sidewalks and looks better than ever.

It was great to see my friends again at the retreat; we make it a point to get together at least yearly. Here is a picture of (L-R: Colleen Anderson, Carol Kramer and me).  Colleen lives in Nebraska. Her husband Mark went to high school with (and knew)  my husband Bruce in Bountiful, UT. It was a total coinkydink that we discovered about 6 years ago! Carol and I met ten years ago when she and her hubby Woody attended the John Campbell School in NC at the same time Bruce and I did. Carol and I shared a CQ class, and we became fast friends. Carol and Woody have visited us in UT and we have visited them in Florida - or at retreats in between.

So, in the intervening two weeks since my last blog post, I’ve done a lot of stitching for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks/quilts.  I finished all three red litters of cats; one mama and 12 kittens each.  Two red litters are still just blocks.....


...but one has been pieced into a quilt top. A Kitty Flimsy (or a Kitten Kaboodle) (or whatever) has been born!  It needs an ironing terribly, as it somehow went from hanging on the design board to decorating the floor in a rumpled heap while I was gone. Alfie and Darla aren’t talking....


And then there are the ten monthly 16-patch blocks. They are just randomly adhered to the design board - not pinned nor even trimmed..... I think after doing the gold/yellow blocks next month (which will total 90 blocks), they will be used as alternate blocks with some other style block that I`ll do next year. After that there will be enough to separate the blocks into color stories (like blue-green-purple or orange-yellow-brown) and make 2-3 quilts.


I made one red Dresden on a pink background this month, as seen below. I have not been feeling the love with these blocks all year. But when I finished this one yesterday, I trimmed all the blocks down to 19” and began pinning them up on the design board.


And surprisingly, I loved it! The final block will be stitched next month; a yellow-gold wheel on a pink background.  The quilt will finish at about 74x74”. I decided against flip corner triangles, sashing or borders. But that may change, too. Right now I think there is enough color and interest going on as it is, but.....  Not sure if this is the final layout.


And I have managed to keep up the pace with the Cozy Christmas Sew-Along. The first six (of 12) blocks are done and sashed. They look a bit wonky pinned up on the design board, but they’re actually pretty accurate.  :-)


The living room remodel has begun, with some demolition scheduled for this weekend. We were not able to match the exact shade of engineered wood from our kitchen floor, so we went a couple shades darker and found a gorgeous hardwood (not engineered, just regular ol’ hardwood) for the living room. We are also carrying the hardwood up the short stairs (3 half risers) down the hallway and into the back bedroom, which serves as our library/music room/exercise room/guest room. It will be ordered next week so it can get here and acclimatize itself for a couple weeks before installation.

The fireplace insert contractor is coming out later this week to do the firebox measurements once the existing brick hearth and facia is demolished. The placement of the new, smaller box will not utilize all the existing firebox space in order to finally make it centered on the wall (don’t know if that description makes sense). Installation will be two weeks after measurements/ordering. In the meantime, the carpenter will be out to take measurements and begin the design drawing of the shelving units, mantel, etc.. The projection is that it all will be done mid-Novemberish. As long as it’s done by early December, I’ll be happy. It appears I won’t be decorating for fall this year, but I definitely want to decorate (and have new furniture) by Christmas!!

Join us over at So Scrappy for a wonderful stroll through some creative uses of red scraps!!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, September 10, 2016

In the Red . . . Scraps. And a Finish!!

The highlight of my week was on Monday when our daughter Emily (actually, she’s Bruce’s daughter from his previous marriage, but now she’s mine too!) brought her 3 kids over on Labor Day. Her hubby Chad in in the US Air Force and is stationed overseas for a year. So, since her son Deacon (age 8) needed help with a Cub Scout balsa flyer project, Grandpa (DH) was happy to step in.

That means that Emily and I, along with Abbie (7) and Gunner (3) got to hang out. We picked veggies (that is always great fun for little kids) and grapes, played, made pizza for lunch and talked and talked. And one thing I found out is that granddaughter Abbie is now bonkers over CATS. I knew that two of my other DGDs, Remi and London, were crazy for cats, but this was a new infatuation for Abbie and news to me. So, that means I now have THREE cat quilts to make for Christmas.

You know the cat quilts; each consists of a mama cat and 12 kittens per litter, like the red one on the right that I made this week. Six litters per quilt. I would have been finished with sewing felines after this month. And then..... dear Abbie. Needless to say, I will be sewing an additional six mama cats and 72 kittens in the next two months.

Anyway, I ran out right away and bought another couple yards of Kona white for cat and kitten backgrounds and so far I have made two more red mama cats for this month. Can you see them at the left? They are pregnant! LOL. But their litters are not due for another couple weeks because I will be on vacation in Missouri at a quilt retreat next week. Yes, we will be making a trip to Missouri Star Quilt Company. I went last year, too, but it will be nice to see the newly-remodeled store.

And I hope to get the rest of the mama cats (not to be confused with Mama Cass) cut out and sewn this month; one each in green, pink, blue and purple. Then next month I will do three yellow cats and kittens.  And somewhere over October and November the kittens for Mama Green, Blue, Pink and Purple will be stitched. But that is OK!  It’s not like I have anything else to do..... oh wait.....

Now I'm hoping we might be able to hold off on the living room remodel until after the Holidays. I have my RSC quilt to finish, these 3 cat quilts, plus four more quilts for DS1, DS2, DDIL, and DSIL2 (one started/shown last week) The vintage sheet quilt will wait until January, and when Aria comes back from the quilter, I'll only have to bind it.

The RSC blocks for this month were a breeze, and not only did I finish them, but I sewed them to the gray blocks from last month. In fact, although I don’t have a picture of it, everything is sewn together now except the yellow column.....


That was yesterday, and Alfalfa was feeling either very needy or very bossy, because he was with me in the studio supervising everything I did. And he is sitting on my lap this morning as I type this.


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This week I finished quilting Notting Hill, which will be one of the quilts that goes into the pile of 4 quilts that Emily and her sister Stacy will get to choose from for their Christmas present quilt: Notting Hill, Valentine, Birds & Bees and the RSC Sampler quilt). The other two I’ll keep.

Notting Hill done!
Notting Hill was also #3 on my 3rd Quarter Finish-Along goals.  I used the sampler format to practice old free-motion quilting skills and try out new ones. Overall, I am pleased enough with how it went. The sashing was all done in a line pattern. Stippling was used in 2-3 of the blocks.


In one block I used the zig-zag style. It was easier than I thought once I wrapped my brain around it, but it does need practice.  You can also see the border where I did free-form flowers and leaves.


Some blocks had hearts, spirals, waves, or loops. This wavy line quilting, below, turned out to be one of my favorites.


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This week I also finished another block in the Cozy Christmas Sew Along;  Cozy Tree.


I have started on next week’s block so that I won’t get behind while I’m away for a week. Next time I report on these I should have 2 more to show. Yes, Cozy Christmas is another quilt I would like to finish before Christmas.

And yes, I plan on moving into my studio/sewing room and forsaking all housekeeping, cooking (have a month’s worth of meals already made and frozen) and other “extra-curricular” activities. 

Linking up to:  So Scrappy Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Cathy maroon
Saturday, September 3, 2016

Roll Out the RED Carpet!

Roll out the red carpet, because it’s red month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!  Woo-hoo! I’ve been waiting for red for months because my red stash keeps growing and growing.

Last month was a sort of “color rest” month for me, and it gave me a chance to finish up or greatly advance a lot of the projects that I want to have done by year-end. But before I get to those, let me show you my start on Red. It’s not much, as the announcement was just made last night. But it is a good start, and I`m excited (did I say that already?)


My Dresden and Mama cats are already cut out (in the foreground). The rest of the scraps have been sorted by HSTs, strips, and size of scrap. No, that is not all of them - that is just one tub. I have almost another dozen partial FQs or F8s.

There will be no red vintage sheets this month, because I have never seen or collected them. The Vintage Sheet Rail Fence quilt I am making is mostly pastels, so I took last month as an opportunity to sew up the last color - yellow - into 11 rail fence blocks. And then, before I knew it, the top of the quilt was pieced.


I’ve also pieced a back out of miscellaneous pastel floral fabrics, and it is waiting its turn in line to be basted and quilted.

I finished my Aria quilt top and backing. Here is a picture of it lying on the floor before the borders were added. It’s a monster; 86x103”


This one was delivered to the long-armer last week to be quilted. The binding is made and waiting for the quilt to return, which may or may not be before the end of the month. We’ll see. There was no way I was going to attempt this one on my Bernina.

But I am quilting the Notting Hill quilt. I decided that, being a sampler, an overall quilting design would probably not be the best choice. So, I am quilting each block individually, even though many of those individual designs may be simple and repeats (like stippling, loops, etc). Here is a portion of what I have done so far.


Now, if it seems like I’ve done a lot, please remember that this is just the time of year when things start coming together. Most of the actual sewing work has been done month after month. In fact, I only have 5 finishes year-to-date through August. So the three above that are so close will bring me to the one finish per month average.

And this week I also did another block for the Cozy Christmas sew-along hosted by Lori Holt. This week was the Cozy Tree Block. I have sewn my three blocks together, added the sashing, and here is the first row.


And finally, I cut out two new quilts that will be Christmas presents this year. The first is Magic Carpet for son Shane (see info here in my 3rd Quarter Finish-Along goals) and the second is for my DDIL Kim (who is married to my other son, Ryan).  


This will go quickly, because they will be machine appliquéd to the background, not hand appliquéd. And cutting out those orange peels gave me lots more red scraps, too.  :-)  There will be a quilt for my son Ryan, too, but I won’t start that until October.  And I hope to do another Christmas quilt and a Christmas tree skirt, but those are likely just pipe dreams for this year. As you can tell, I am banking on having a lot more sewing time once the garden and outdoor work are done and indoor weather returns.

I’m linking up today to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Why not hop over and check out some other great eye candy?

Cathy maroon
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

2017 Crazy Quilting Calendar Available!

It’s my pleasure to announce that the 2017 Crazy Quilt Calendar is now ready for ordering!  This is the first time we (the magazine staff) named a theme and accepted entries from around the world. There were so many talented fabric artists and crazy quilters who entered, and it was hard to judge the entries. But the result is a gorgeous calendar of 12 months and a fabulous cover (cover by talented artist Connie Eyeberg).


Click this link to purchase your copy: Calendar
or go to: http://www.magcloud.com/user/kitty-and-me

Cathy maroon