Saturday, October 19, 2019

Stringing in the Rain

I had hoped to finish my dark neutral-colored string quilt this week, but too many other projects and responsibilities prevented that. However, I was able to play with the rest of my strings and eke out enough more squares to total 42 (7.5" unfinished). Here they are set horizontally on the design board.


After the blocks were done, I had three quilts to quilt (two for Quilts for Kids and one for Cousin Kim's daughter). But then I came back to the strings and decided it needed a better name than its working title, November Strings. The colors reminded me of a quilt that I made for my son Ryan about 3 years ago, which we called November Rain (a reference to a Guns 'n Roses song that Ryan has always liked. So do I, come to think of it). And somehow, with all that swirling around in my brain, the name Stringing in the Rain came to be.


The flimsy has a 2" inner border and a black outer border that measures 4" on the sides and 6" on the top and bottom. Although it looks wonky on the design board because the top is pinned and the bottom is just hanging (the design board isn't long enough), it is perfectly rectangular at 54.5 x 65.5". I will get it layered, quilted and bound in the coming week.

This is the first of two quilts that I plan to make from my dark neutral scrap stash for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Today I'm linking up with Scrappy Saturday, where many of us are beginning to finish up and share our rainbow scrappy projects for this year.

I also managed to sew up eight cute blocks (6.5" each, unfinished) for the second step in the Seeing Stars Sew Along, hosted by Diane Knott at Butterfly Threads Quilting.  Check it out! I've really enjoyed it, and there is so much room for variety and personal interpretation - a super sew-along that's just getting started.


Alfie had a dental appointment this week, and came through just fine. Just a cleaning with no cavities extractions or other work needed. My pocketbook is grateful for that. But Himself was a bit put out that the bandage they put on his foreleg (the IV site) was PINK. Sheesh. But he recovered his dignity soon enough. And when Bruce turned on the fireplace that evening, the cats curled up in spots to contrast their furs to best advantage, and took a nice evening nap.


Life is good.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Gumdrops and Strings

With the vegetable garden put to bed for the winter (wish I could say the same about all the weeds and yard clean-up yet to do before the snow flies), there is a substantial increase in my leisure time (sewing) this month! YAY!

This week, in addition to finish Gumdrops (later in the post) and basting several kids quilts in preparation for quilting them next week for Quilts for Kids, I got to play in my scraps. Our Rainbow Scrap color(s) for October is dark neutrals, which for me includes my drawer of grays and blacks as well as my drawer of browns and beiges. This week my focus has been strings.


So far I've stitched 24 string blocks. They measure 7.5" (7" finished), and I probably have enough strings to get another 12-24 blocks, depending on how large I want to make the eventual quilt. Each block has a black strip in the center diagonal, although not overtly pronounced. These have been a blast!! My goal is to get this one finished (and quilted) during this coming week so I can turn my attention to the dark neutral patchwork quilt I'd like to make of squares and half-square triangles (HST's) in the latter half of the month.

But I have just finished up a Rainbow Scrap quilt and am sharing it over at Angela's blog for Rainbow Scrap Saturday. Here is Gumdrops (perfect name courtesy of Mari), hot off the press. Or machine. Whatever. 


Gumdrops measures 40.5" x 47" and was quilted with a tight stipple to give additional security to the selvages (something I always do).  

Here are some detail shots so you can see some of the fun fabrics and selvages.


That purple paisley fabric below dates from the 1980's.


The oldest fabric in the quilt, however is the green-orange-yellow paisley fabric (1960's) in the picture below.


My friend Diann will recognize these Little Penguins!  The blue fabric is the backing and binding.


This quilt was #1 on my Finish-Along 4th Quarter goal list. You can see that list HERE.  Gumdrops will go to Quilts for Kids. Our next meeting (next Saturday) is a special one to teach some scrappy quilting techniques.  I will be demonstrating the String Stars and showing Gumdrops for selvage use ideas.  

Friday, October 11, 2019

4th Quarter Goals for 2019 Finish-Along

It's time to declare my goals for the 4th Quarter of this year's Finish-Along quilter's event. Last quarter I managed to complete 6 of my 12 goals, all quilts. I'm pleased with that number because naturally we all list more than we can (most likely) finish, and the extras give us some room to pick and choose what we're in the mood to work on.  :-)

This quarter I've got a lot of finishes planned, and a lot of time in which to do them. No garden work. Hopefully no unforeseen health issues for either Bruce or myself. And definitely lots of cold weather which will make for great sewing time!  So here we go.

1.    Gumdrops
FINISHED AND BLOGGED ABOUT HERE.

This one is a basted top that is partially quilted. I expect to finish it in the next day or so. It will go to Quilts for Kids. It was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) project for this year.


2.  Rainbow Anvils

This is another RSC block that I worked on all this year. The blocks are done and ready to be assembled. It is also my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for October.


3.  Newport

This project has been on my list for over a year. I want to make Cousin Kim a quilt. Her birthday is in November, so this will either be a birthday or Christmas present for her this year.  But I have selected a different pattern than shown.


 4.  Donation Dogwoods

This was a quilt top that I purchased at that maaaaaahvelous estate sale last month. Along with the quilt top came yards and yards of additional matching fabric for backing, borders, etc. This should be a snap to finish.


5.  Rainbow Crackers

Here's another Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for this year. Blocks are done (not all are shown in this picture) and ready to be assembled.


6.  Lemon-Lime

Another longtime resident of my Finish-Along list. Maybe this quarter will be the one to finish it. It will eventually be a quilt for the day bed in the guest bedroom.


7.   Nine-Patch Madness (need a real name)

These blocks (only blue shown, but there 122 in all colors) was yet another RSC block I made throughout the year. They are six-inch (finished size) blocks, so I may be able to make one large or two smaller kid-sized donation quilts from these.


8.   Rainbow Selvage 16-patch

Another RSC project for 2019. I had a lot of selvages to work through, obviously. I just plan to sash and border this, making a square donation quilt.


9-10.  On Ringo Lake

This, too, has been on my Finish-Along list since the days of the dinosaurs (or thereabouts). I'm going to unstitch the blocks shown and convert from an on-point to a traditional square set. By doing that and adding simpler sashing, I can eke out two donation quilts for Quilts for Kids. I love these colors and had always intended this to be a living room quilt for us, but we've got more than enough of those!


11.  Winter Strings

Winter Strings is a currently in-progress project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I'm using all my dark neutral strings (along with some lighter neutral strings) to use up some of my gray, black and brown scraps that were threatening to overtake my bins.


12.  Winter Patchwork (no picture)

I also have some black, brown and gray (and assorted lighter neutrals) cut into squares and HSTs to make a basic patchwork quilt from these scraps.

13.  Rainbow Strings - Warm

Yes, another RSC 2019 project that I'd like to finish into a donation quilt this calendar year. These are the warm blocks.


14.  Rainbow Strings - Cool

This is the final RSC project for this year. I think, LOL. These are the cool colored string blocks that I'll finish into a donation quilt.


15.   Kitty Quilt for the Grandcats

My grandcats, two male kittens named Carl and Xbox (they kept the names given by the shelter) need a snuggly quilt! This will be their Christmas present from Grammy and Gramps, lol. It will be bigger than a kennel quilt, possibly about the size of a baby quilt.


And that's my list. It should keep me busy, that's for sure!  Linking up to the 4th Quarter Finish-Along goal-setting post at Marci Girl Quilts.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Punkin' Patch Finished

This little wall hanging was churned out in record time. Mostly it was because it was so fun and easy, but also because I wanted to get it up on the wall in the living room. I wasn't going to let myself do the fall decorating without it! And I was really jonesing for some bright autumn colors and feels.


Punkin' Patch finished at 28" x 36", which is just perfect for where it hangs (pix below). I did something really dumb with the hanging sleeve, however (and NO, I will not go into it here). But I will have to redo that after the season.


However, I was really pleased with the quilting I did, which was rather unplanned until about 5 minutes before I started it. Basically I just free-motion quilted curlicues, vines and leaves. The thread is a variegated gray thread, Aurifil 50-weight in bobbin and top. Done on my Bernina 550QE.


After it was hung up, I realized that I'd never cut the gray squares to sew to the stems to give them points. That's what happens when you're so into the groove that you just wing it after cutting out (most of) the pieces!!


If the quilt police come visiting, perhaps I can just offer them some Halloween treats.....


It's been beautiful and sunny both yesterday and today, so I got some decent pictures of the light autumn decorating I did yesterday. Mostly it's just the little pumpkins from our garden and a few other things thrown in here and there. The downsizing of STUFF continues, and seasonal decorations is part of that.

This decoration is a keeper, though. It's a crazy quilt pillow I made for a contest (won an Honorable Mention, I believe) way back in 2008. I blogged about it here.  The squirrel has a mink tail, the pumpkin in the lower left is felted wool, plus I tried lots of new stitches and beading and flower techniques. It was really fun, and the pillow comes out every autumn.


Here's a view of the east end of the living room. See what a few pops of color (in this case, orange), will do for a neutral decor?


Darla must have overheard me saying that. I was wearing an orange blouse, and she jumped up on me for some loving and kneading. Then she said, "See what an orange Mommy will do for a neutral cat?"


Saturday, October 5, 2019

October in the Scrap Patch

Our pumpkins are all picked, sorted and most of them have been given to family. I think we'll make a quick weekend trip up to Idaho in the next week or two to visit daughter Emily and family who moved there from Colorado just before school started.  Our garden has nothing left in it but three tomato bushes who haven't read the memo yet that autumn is here. They're still producing, and so we'll keep picking tomatoes until we can't. But the patio furniture is going into hibernation this weekend. I'm ready.

I also plan to decorate the house for autumn this weekend. First, however, I want to finish the pumpkin wall hanging I'm working on. (Punkin' Patch from String Frenzy by Bonnie Hunter).  The pumpkin blocks are all sewn and in formation. I used lots of gray scraps for the background. The green patchwork border is all sewn together, and the top border is attached to the quilt. The sides and bottom are just pinned. Finishing up the border won't take long, then I can sandwich the whole thing up and quilt it. Oh, and then bind it and add a hanging sleeve. I'm pretty sure I can finish today. It should measure about 28x42".


The backing will be one of these three orange fabrics. The center one is my favorite, and the one on the right is next favorite. That's why I probably won't use them. The method to that madness is that I'll save them for the front of a gender-neutral kids quilt. So I'll probably use the one on the left. I'd like to have some bright orange binding, but I'll check to see what I have for that. It may end up green or gray.

For October, the colors selected for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are dark neutrals; black, gray, brown. I dug in my scraps to get the gray backgrounds for the Punkin' Patch quilt above, but otherwise haven't sewn any of my ongoing RSC blocks yet. I've got the rest of the large drawerful of  black and gray scraps roughly sorted by value, with the strings in separate piles. Next, I'll tackle my brown drawer and combine the two. I think I'll have enough to do at least two, possibly three quilts. But in the meantime, we can all hop over to the Scrappy Saturday post because there's always lots of good scrappy inspiration there!


From these scraps, I'll first do the tumbler blocks for my Gumdrops rainbow tumbler quilt of fabric and selvages. That'll give me time to select a quilt pattern or two for these scraps. I'm thinking of a Jacob's Ladder-type quilt (HSTs and 4-patches) with dark/light values for one of the quilts and some sort of string quilt for the other. After that, I may just make crumb blocks and alternate them with some wild colors or multi-colored prints and play on the design board. A lot of creative possibilities to look forward to!

Cousin Kim and I joined a Block of the Month class at one of our local quilt stores. I don't think I've shown my first block(s).  The purple one is for the class (their fabrics) and the multi-and-blue one is a second block I made for a potential kids quilt. I have a lot of that print fabric and will just follow along with the BOM blocks and add a second one for this quilt.


Have a beautiful autumn weekend everyone! Unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere (Jenny, I know YOU are) - then have a nice spring weekend!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Setting a Goal for October


It's time to set my one monthly goal (OMG) for October.  This month, if things go according to plan, I'll be finishing up several quilts that have been in the works all year. Every month I've been sewing with one color along with the ladies of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. After nine months, many of those blocks are ready to be assembled and put to use!


Although I'm close to a finish on a pumpkin-themed wall hanging (more about that in tomorrow's post), it wouldn't be fair for me to make that my goal for the month. Instead, I'll choose one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts - there are at least 6 - to finish up. But which one??

Well, the one calling the loudest to me is the Rainbow Anvils.  Here's a picture I took last month sometime. It shows about 30 (of the 72) anvil blocks slapped up on the design board.  With an 8x9 setting, it will end up at 64x72", a nice size lap quilt.


But I've been quilting and sewing so many small quilts for Quilts for Kids lately, to say nothing of the wall hangings I've finished (and am about to finish if you count the Pumpkins wall hanging), that a quilt of this size is probably going to feel giant! But it's autumn and definitely time to get back in the quilt saddle again!

Linking up to the Elm Street Quilts October OMG goal-setting post, where Patty hosts and keeps us all moving our projects along!

Monday, September 30, 2019

September Monthly Goal Finished

I'm thrilled that I've finished my September project for OMG - One Monthly Goal. YAY! That means I get to link up to Patty at Elm Street Quilt's finished goal link-up post. This makes the ninth month running that I've completed my goal.

My September goal was to finish up the two-sided wall hanging made of African fabrics. It will go to Harambe Humanitarian as a fundraising item. We're working toward getting the books we've collected over the last 2 years in the US send over to Kenya. They are going specifically to Tenkes, where we are building a library in the Mau Forest region of the Maasai highlands. 

Anyway, here is one side of the wall hanging. It is made with African fabrics (except the white background and complexion fabrics) using the International Sisters pattern adaptation by my friend Preeti.  Because the blocks finish at 10" and are set on point, it only takes 8 of them with setting triangles to make up one side.  The quilt measures 28.5" x 42x5".


Here is a close-up of some of the quilting. I wanted the Sisters and their dresses to pop, so the quilting was basic stitch in the ditch, some outline quilting in the setting triangles (fabric courtesy of my friend Sally), and then some micro-stippling in the white background areas.


The hanging sleeve was made to come out on top so that the quilt could be hung from either direction. The second side is an African mandala-style panel. Sorry it looks wonky; you can see it is just pinned up to my design board for these pictures.


And a close-up of some of the quilting as it shows up on this side.


Over the course of the next year, I plan to make another half dozen of these 2-sided wall hangings. All will have an African mandala fabric side and an International Sisters/African Queen size. However, the dresses of the ladies may not all be authentic African fabric. We'll see how that plays out.  This wall hanging was also Goal #10 on my Finish-Along List, which you can see HERE.

I've got most of the cutting done for Punkin' Patch, using Bonnie Hunter's pattern from her book String Frenzy.  I'm only doing 16 pumpkins (a 4x4 setting with a green postage stamp border) so it will be a fall wall hanging instead of a quilt.  I'd like to get this one done and hung up within the next week or so. I'm itching to get out all my autumn decorations!




Saturday, September 28, 2019

Wrapping up Purple

Once again it's time to recap my scrappy sewing for the month. We worked on purple for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and if you visit Angela's Scrappy Saturday post today, you can see some of the other wonderful things that have arisen from our purple scrap bins. But for now, you're stuck with mine, hehe!

The collage shows most but not all of my purple sewing. Not shown are the selvage tumblers (one purple row) and the selvage 4-patches. They just aren't very photogenic. However in addition to those, we have 2 Beachcomber scrappy blocks, a row of purple bitcoins, 10 cracker blocks (upper right; one is cut off the picture), six string blocks, 12 9-patch variations, 8 anvil blocks, 8 garlic knot blocks, and 6 purple International Sisters. That amounted to 56 blocks.

In October we will be working with our dark neutrals (black, gray, brown) and I will only have a few blocks to do. But that will give me time to begin assembly, basting and quilting of the 6 Rainbow Scrap projects that are waiting patiently for their Fairy Sewmother to turn them from mere blocks into real quilts.

The only real sewing I did this week was to begin an autumn wall hanging project (no pictures yet because I'm lazy) and to quilt 2 quilts for Quilts for Kids. I have one more QFK quilt basted that Cousin Kim sewed. I've also basted the International Sisters wall hanging for Harambe Humanitarian. That will get sewn this weekend so I can make my finish goal by month-end. I'll plan to get pictures of all of these for my end-of-month post.

Cousin Kim, Sarah (her daughter) and I went to see the Downton Abbey movie on Wednesday. It was so lovely to hear the opening music again and to see everything and everyone on the big screen. The plot of the movie is simple (the King and Queen are coming for a visit!) and enjoyable. The costumes! The scenery! Maggie Smith! We laughed, cried, and agreed it was everything we’d hoped the movie would be. Afterwards, we went to lunch together before heading to our respective homes.

For the rest of the week I spent more time out in the garden harvesting vegetables and fruit than I have for weeks. And time spent outside harvesting means triple the time working in the kitchen to sort, clean, preserve, cook and/or distribute the goods. I snapped some pictures of what I harvested on Monday and took to Weight Watchers on Tuesday.  Then there were two more batches of veggies and fruit harvested on Wednesday and Friday. After this week, all that's left are some Anaheim chiles, cucumbers, tomatoes and pumpkins. Oh, and some grapes in the upper reaches of the arbor that I may just leave for the birds.

Armenian cucumbers

Spaghetti Squash
Some of these carrots look like science experiments. But that's the real world of carrots.


A bag of Concord grapes. This was the second of three bagsful of the Concords. We probably had ten times this many of the regular green grapes (seedless varieties). Cousin Kim made juice, I shared lots with friends and neighbors, we've been eating tons (maybe a slight exaggeration), plus I've made raisins. Yummy!


And just when you though Alfie couldn't get weirder cuter, here he is with Bruce again one evening this week....


Saturday, September 21, 2019

A Fabric Bomb Went Off...

On Monday morning, I was able to return to the estate sale mentioned in last week's post. The sale was over, the family had given their blessing to donating all the remaining fabric to Quilts for Kids, and I had a clean, empty vehicle to haul it all away with.  If I'm being honest, I was hoping there would be more of the Vast Fabulousness of Unbelievable Quantities of Quilting Cottons left. But beggars can't be choosers, as they say, and there ended up being more there than I initially thought. Luckily, after struggling up the stairs from the basement sewing room at the estate sale with my first hand-truck full of bags and bins, I had help from some kind gentlemen with the last two loads.  

When I got home, I had to cart it all downstairs to sort because Bruce is still under doctor's orders not to lift more than 10 pounds.  I wish I'd gotten better pictures, but this was the beginning of some of the sorting - dividing things by fabric type and by color.


QFK doesn't use holiday fabrics (Christmas, patriotic), nor do they use flannels for backs. Those were sorted out. Also, as I was packing up while still at the estate sale, I tried to filter out obvious pieces of clothing (possibly to be robbed for fabric?) and knits and bottom-weight cottons (canvas, duck). But there were still some of those in there as well. So, besides the keeper fabric, I had a thrift store pile and a pile for others (friends and other charities) to go through.


That was a happy occupation for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday was our sewing day (me, Cousin Kim and Bonnae). After they were done with the flannels and holiday stuff, the remainders went into my thrift store pile or the QFK pile (flannel bolts for some members to take to other charities).  Anyway, after all was sorted, there were over 100 yards of usable cotton fabric (that's where I stopped counting) for QFK. Plus there was a box of large batting pieces to frankensew together, a large box into which I'd sorted just fabric strips, and a bagful of cut or cut/sewn quilt blocks that could make an additional four quilts.  A great haul at a great price - FREE!  I dropped it all off at my friend Sandy's house on Friday. She's the president of the Salt Lake Quilts for Kids, and the wife of my former boss Fred from back in the day when we both worked for the same health insurance company. Small world!

Now my back is out after all that lifting, and my right shoulder is just dead sore. I'm living on Advil and trying to take it easy. My annual mammogram was this week, too, and now I need to make an appointment for my annual physical. My guess is that I won't be scheduled in until October, but at that time I hope to see what can be done about my hands and arms and shoulder (carpal tunnel surgery? more arthritis meds? body transplant?)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I did manage to get some sewing done on the rest of my purple Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks so that I could share them this morning with Angela's Scrappy Saturday linky party.

Six strip blocks; three at 9" and three at 6".


Two beachcomber crumb blocks (will finish at 11" each) and a row of purple bitcoins.


This coming week I plan to work on an International Sisters quilt/wall hanging for Harambe Humanitarian. It's my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for September. I've also been cutting out some orange and gray scraps to make an autumn wall hanging. More about that next week.

Finally, just to show you that some things never change....


Alfie appears to be resting up for the Big Party, but really he's just depressed. He heard that Smitty and Sadie would be passing through town. And since Alfie and Darla got some fresh new catnip this week, the cats had been planning a party together along with Molly and Buddy flying out from Oregon to join the festivities. However, it appears that Molly and Buddy have been put on the TSA no-fly list due to an unfortunate incident the last time they flew. No, the incident didn't go viral or even get widely reported, but there are TSA agents who may be scarred for life. The party is in dire jeopardy.