Saturday, January 30, 2016

Scrappy Blue Recap

This past week I didn’t work on any further projects with my blue scraps, mostly because there aren’t enough left to do anything with. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?

But I thought I would still link up to our Scrappy Saturday over at Angela’s blog by recapping what I did with my blue scraps in January.

18 Blue Rail Fence 9” Blocks of vintage sheets

8 Blue Twinkler Star Blocks for our 2016 RSC Challenge Quilt

1 Mama cat and 12 Kitten blocks sewn into a 24” square

10 16-patch blocks (8”) of blue with white/black

5 Miscellaneous blocks with 1 vintage dresden (not sewn by me)

3 large Dresdens on 20” blocks with doily and yo-yo centers

10 crumb blocks (8”) for some yet-to-be-determined project
I had planned to sew a quilt block or two with selvages, but didn’t really have enough to get a good start. And truthfully, I have to do more studying of the technique of sewing selvages as well as deciding on (and purchasing) a suitable background fabric/fabrics.  So that one will be put off until 2017.

That still left me with 67 blocks sewn for the month and five different quilts started!  In addition, I finished one quilt (see last post) and two other blocks for the Sugar Block Club. All in all, not a bad month.  And there are still a few days left in which I hope to finish up my Valentine Quilt. No pictures of that, yet.

I am looking forward to working with brown as the color of the month for February. My brown stash is limited, just like my sewing days because of a 10-day vacation we’re taking. The Dresden quilt will not use browns, and I only need to make 3 blocks of brown for the vintage sheet quilt. So even though I haven’t started with brown yet, I feel as though I’m already making inroads, hehe!

Why not join us at So Scrappy to see all the other scrappy goodness?

Quilty hugs,

Friday, January 29, 2016

First Finish of 2016

I actually finished this quilt (which I’ve dubbed Seeing Red) several days ago, but finally gave up on getting some decent weather in which to take a picture.  I’m not particularly thrilled with it - just not my colors or style. It was a quick sew for my brother-in-law whose favorite color is red. We are taking it to him when we visit him in Arizona next month.

The “batting” is just flannel, and there is not too much quilting on it; just ditch quilting, squares outlined and a couple vertical rows of quilting in each square. He just doesn’t like fussy stuff.

The main red and gray fabrics I bought on clearance earlier this month, when our LQS Thimbles and Threads was trying to clear out stuff for their big move into their lovely new building. The rest was just stuff I had on hand. The backing is a navy field with white coffee beans on it, as Dennis looooooves his coffee. So while it will never be anywhere my favorites list, it is so Dennis, and that is what matters.

This is finish #1 on my first quarter list for the 2016 Finish Along.  I’m linking up to my first quarter goal list here.

And how about something cute?

Darla, the girl with the polka dot tummy
Darla (above) loved the old green woven rug I had in front of the refrigerator. Every morning she would lay on it, rolling around back and forth and meowing (the only time she ever vocalizes). Back and forth, back and forth, rolling and meowing. It reminded me of the “Roll in Ze Hay” scene from Young Frankenstein, so we called it her roll-y song. When I finally replaced the hole-y roll-y rug (sorry, couldn’t resist) with this red one, Darla was not happy. She wouldn’t go near it for a couple days. Finally, she relented and began rolling on the new rug! Sometime I’ll have to take a video instead of just pictures .... But the new refrigerator is being delivered next week, so I expect there’ll be some more adjustments for Her Highness.

Meantime, Alfie is being his lovey, looney self. Here is is below, rubbing on my sewing machine to let me know that it’s ready for me to begin.

And that’s about it. I’m currently working on my valentine quilt from old stash fabrics. I would like to finish that one in January as well. We’ll see.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of my Rainbow Scrap January Blue blocks. And the results of my “fabric diet” for the month.

Quilty hugs,

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sewing a Blue Streak

I hate blue. At the beginning of this never-ending month, I loved it. But I have been sewing like the wind. Sidebar: Have you ever seen the movie “Three Amigos”?  Martin Short, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase were in it. They encourage a tiny old-time western town to save itself from the coming bad guy, El Guapo. But the townspeople’s only skill is sewing. So, he has them sew a big phony backdrop of the desert to hide the town behind. And sewed they did! He ran around encouraging them to “Sew Like the Wind!”. You can see the little clip here.

OK, so I really do like blue, but I am just OVER it for this month. However, I have more blocks to show you this week.  Next week I’ll just do a recap of my RSC blocks for the month as well as other sewing projects I hope to have completed. But I digress....

The three Dresden blocks are done.  They were machine-stitched onto a 20.5” pink or yellow background.

But first I had to back the doilies with a solid cotton circle. And because one of the doilies was age-stained in the center (and I had unsuccessfully to completely remove it), I decided to add yo-yos (Suffolk Puffs) to the very center. The yo-yos will match the block color.  I may do a tutorial on how I did all that some time.

I was going to work with my selvages this week, but just couldn’t decide how I wanted to use them. After much online research, I sat down to piece and realized that I really didn’t have enough to work with. That’s OK; I will table that project until next year. There is plenty on my plate without it.

So all that was left for me to do was to sew up the chunks and bits and leftovers.  From them I made 10 - 8.5” (unfinished) blocks.  I still had some blue fabric left over, but not much (probably about a fat quarter’s worth total in 4-5 prints; not enough for any variety).

Then I got this idea to pin up the ten 8.5” crumb slabs with the ten 8.5” 16-patches from last week. CHAOS. It is a certain bet that THEY will not be playing together in any future quilts!!

Once the blue was (finally) done, I turned to Seeing Red, the ugly monstrosity that I have pieced for my brother-in-law (although I didn’t intend for it to be so ugly). My trusty feline supervisors, Alfalfa and Darla were of enormous assistance.

Here is a BEFORE shot, as I had just laid down the quilt backing on the dining area floor:

Then I ran downstairs to my studio to get painters tape and the batting. When I came up, it was very clear that the supervisors had completed their inspection:

But somehow I managed to finish basting it, which was my only sewing goal of the day (I had to clean the floor first, no small feat).

Today I’ll start quilting it. As a break from quilting, I can finish piecing the Valentine Disappearing Nine-Patch (D9P).

I hope to have them both done before the end of the month, so I can get busy with February’s color as soon as it’s announced. We’ll be on vacation for a good part of February, so I need to get right on it!

Looking forward to seeing more scrappy BLUE goodness? Why not join us at So Scrappy for Scrappy Saturday? Participants from all over this blue planet are linking up their projects!!

Until next time,

Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Scrappy Blue Saturday; The Cat Edition

Welcome to Scrap Happy Saturday!  We are continuing with blue for the month of January for our 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Everyone links up over at Angela’s blog, So Scrappy.  We invite you to check out all the great blue eye candy!

First up: cats.  I adore Sally’s kitten pattern, so decided I had to make a litter.  But before they were all even born, they began mewing for a mom. So I drafted a Mama Cat pattern and sewed them up a mom. I didn’t like any of the patterns I found online because they either had weird ears or no tail or no paw or were just otherwise unsatisfactory.

To Sally’s kitten block I added a strip at the top so that the blocks came to an even 6.5 x 6.5” unfinished (6” finished).  Mama cat is 12” finished, so I decided that this setting (above) was perfect. All sewn together it measures 24.5 x 24.5”.  So, nine colors should make a nice 72x72” quilt.  That way I can skip a color if I don’t have enough scraps.

Here are my Mama Cat pieces cut and laid out on my mini design boards.  Yes, one of the boards has a cat fabric border. 

If you like the Mama Cat pattern and would like a copy, let me know. I’ve written it up in pdf format and can email you a copy. Feel free to share. 

I had enough large scraps to do three Dresdens, but they are not yet appliquéd to blocks. It took me forever, auditioning all sorts of background fabrics, to decide what I wanted to do. The point was to use my existing stash. Eventually I decided to stick with Plan A, which is to to use pink and yellow background squares. I’ll make as many Dresdens as each color’s scraps allow and alternate between putting them on pink or yellow backgrounds. I hope to have enough by the end or the year to make two quilts - one pink and one yellow (backgrounds). 


I saw a Dresden quilt on Pinterest where the maker had used old doilies for the centers, so I am going to borrow that idea (see below). 

Each doily will need to be backed first so the centers are solid. I have some white linen I may use for that. Altogether, there are about 18 or so doilies. I'll have to dig deeper to find more. There are bins of linens I need to go through - things that will eventually make it into my Etsy shop.  :-)

In addition to cats and Dresdens, I made 10 scrappy 16-patch blocks using my 2.5” squares. There are 12 squares of color in each, with for black and white patches in the center. I will continue making these and figure out a use for them later in the year.....

I also squared up and pressed over 160 blue and white HST’s for heaven-knows-what. But I will make HSTs every month and throw them in the box with those. 

And last but not least (well, they probably ARE the least) for this week are the miscellaneous blocks I either dredged up or sewed. The top tiny Dresden is a vintage piece I found in with my vintage blocks (more about that some other time). There are three strip blocks; 2- 8.5” blocks that I did straight instead of slanted (what was I thinking?), and one that is slanted strips @ 6.5”. The other two 6.5” blocks are left over from last year. I think I will just throw together miscellaneous 6.5” blocks as I near the end of the scraps every month. Eventually they will find a purpose.  

I’m still continuing with my blue scraps for next week. (Will this month ever end?)  I’ll play with the selvages and make a block or two with those.  And finally, I have the remaining bits and pieces and will make some blue crumb slabs.  So, I will have all that to show next week. Hopefully!

Finally, I did manage to sew something besides blue this week. I pieced a very large block quilt in red and gray for my brother-in-law. It’s his favorite color. Yeah, it’s pretty simple and pretty ugly. I’m calling it “Seeing Red” because I hated working on it. It will get basted tomorrow and quilted over the next couple weeks when I need a change from the blue.  And a spur-of-the-moment Valentine Quilt is waiting in the wings.  

Thanks for dropping by! Until next time,

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 Finish-Along 1st Quarter Goals

The Finish-Along has grown by leaps and bounds with lots of us finding how good it is to set (flexible) goals and reach for them in quarterly segments.

I am linking up with Leanne at She Can Quilt (one of several international hostesses) to declare my goals and hopeful finishes for the first quarter of the year.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

1.   Layers of Charm Quilt or “Seeing Red"

I hate this quilt. It is a Fat Quarter Shop easy pattern, but since I didn’t have the precuts, I just used yardage. And I figured since there was so much waste in cutting the gray 5” squares in half, that I would just cut my own slightly larger and sew them on. What a time-consuming mess. I would have rather had the waste. So, I skipped half of the gray diamonds and called it good. Anyway, the quilt top is done and just needs to be pressed, squared, basted, quilted and bound. Maybe next week when I can stand to look at it again. I`ll be taking it on vacation next month to give to my BIL, who loves red.

2.  Valentine Quilt.

I`ll just use the Disappearing Nine Patch method to whip this one up real quick before the end of the month. Use my stash. Make a Valentine quilt. Win-win.

3.  Birds and Bees Quilt.

I LOVE this fabric line from Tamara Kate, and designed a simple quilt on Pattern Jam to use the yardage I own. That is one of the great things about Pattern Jam (there are lots of others, and it’s free - check it out!) When you design a quilt, it can print out the fabric calculations for you. So, now I know I will have enough without having to do quilty math.  This will be a simple piecing job that I will take along on vacation, because I am taking my sewing machine.  Ten days without sewing is HELL, not a vacation.

4.   Finish the Farm Girl Quilt

All the blocks are done. It is just time to suck it up and sew them together. I learned so much about piecing and corner square triangles, flying geese, following directions, etc, during this Stitch-Along. But my first blocks are not great, and I may have to square them up to a slightly smaller size. Not looking forward to sashing them, either. And cornerstones. Oy. Can you say, “headache”??

5.  Make 2 Farm Girl Pillow Shams.  All I have left to do is piece the tractor block (a large one) for hubby, then construct the cases.  I will probably have the pillow shams done long before the quilt.

6.   Hoffman Digital Cityscape Wall Hangings.

Once I decided not to use this as the backing to Rainbow Orbs (it seemed silly to piece all around a 36x44” print when I needed a 80x96” backing), these fell by the wayside.  There are two of them, and I plan to do one for us and one for my son Shane, who is an artist that paints cityscapes.  I will piece 8” blocks to go around the print to frame it, then quilt and bind. And since I am a crazy-piecer from way back, it should go quickly. Once I start.

7.  Aria (Benartex) Big Braid Quilt.

I have had and loved these fabrics for over a year. Time to use them. Maybe a bedspread; I can alter the pattern as needed. I have yards and yards of this fabric. Probably enough for a front and back. But I can’t think about the back yet.  :-)   I’m thinking I probably won’t get to this during the first quarter, but I better put it on here just in case.

And that is my list. Lots of quilts, which will be a nice change from the 4th quarter of last year when I sewed enough pillowcases and zippy pouches and the like to use up just short of 30 yards of fabric.

 Until next time!!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Blue Kind of Week

Hi all! Here are my eight blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt. January is BLUE, and Angela at So Scrappy gave us this delightful pattern for the first column of the quilt. I have them pinned in a 2x4 layout for the picture, but have since sewn them together in a column.

To see more scrappy blue goodness, why not swing by and check out all the other blues?

Slightly closer up. Imperfections visible, but then I never claimed to sew with robotic precision!  :-)

This week I also made a couple Dresdens, but will show those next week because I may have more. And then I worked with my vintage sheet scraps and made 18 Rail Fence blocks, 9” each.  I’m showing them all together here, even though they will be spread out in a diagonal zig-zag in the final layout.

And I even found a place to store them close to my vintage sheet scraps (not to be confused with my bins of vintage sheets, LOL. I sell them in my Etsy shop). My studio is an absolute mess, and I have decided to begin cleaning up here and there.

This area below will get a refresh. This is the before picture; I did manage to get all the blues (and gray and blacks) on the bottom shelf sorted and wound on vertical cards. The second-to-bottom shelf shows a bunch of cards just hanging out, waiting to be re-used. Ahem.  The scraps are sorted by colors in the bins on the very right.

Today I go back to sewing with blues. I interrupted my progress on Thursday and Friday to whip up a quick red and gray quilt top for my brother-in-law who loves red. We will be going on vacation to Arizona next month and I’ll  take it to him then. Quilts are useful even in southern Arizona. Winter evenings can get quite cold, and 2 years ago in February it even snowed.

Thanks for dropping by!

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sugar Block Club, Submissions Wanted and Fabric Diet

This year I am participating in the Sugar Block Club 3.0 with Amy of Stitchery Dickory Dock. I actually participated a couple years ago, but after the second month it got into territory that my skills (at the time) would not allow me to follow. I just cannot “grock” paper piecing.  But I had completed two blocks (and in time since had created two more). So, I was thrilled this year when I learned they are not paper pieced and that the whole program is FREE.  Check it out here.

This is my block for this month, which is a variation on the classic Churn Dash Block.

The blocks this year will all be variations of classic blocks.  And this is my plan for completing this quilt. Since I had four blocks made and will need 20 (all at 12” finished) for a quilt, I plan to do two blocks per month for January - August (16), which will give me my 20. One will be the SBC block and the second will be another block of my choosing.  This month I already did my personal choice block, a Dutchman’s Puzzle block with Flying Geese. I needed the warm-up with the geese.

The fabric I am using is primarily (but not solely) Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry. I love hot pink and orange together. Always have, always will.  The background fabrics will range from white to cream to print-on-white - just a mix. I need to get more variation going there to make it look intentional (because it wasn’t originally!!).  Anyway, this is what the six blocks look like together pinned on my design board.  

The finished quilt will have sashing of some kind, and I am thinking of doing something outrageous, like a hot pink or orange sashing.  But I may end up just doing white. We will see come August......

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Pam Kellogg, Editor of Crazy Quilting Quarterly is calling for submissions for the SUMMER issue of CQQ.  You can find out about it HERE.  She is looking for crazy quilting work in summer themes like birds, birdhouses, butterflies, dragonflies, fruit (grapes, watermelon, cherries) cottages - anything that has a summer theme.  Pictures and tutorials welcome.  This is a picture of the February SPRING issue, which will be published on February 1. Don’t miss it!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And on a note of unfinished business,  my “fabric diet” totals for December were not nearly as impressive as November's. But in my defense, I had planned  (and even announced) that I wanted to take advantage of year-end sales to stock up on solids. And I did! Total fabric IN was 25 yards, Total fabric out was 24 yards, for a net gain of 1 yard.

Used in 2 quilts, 14.25 (doesn’t include a vintage sheet backing)
Used in 3 pillow shams/covers, 2.5 (doesn’t include scraps)
Sold on Etsy: 6.25
Given to niece: 1 yd

4 yards were for a quilt I will be making my son Shane
4 yards were background fabric for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt,
2 yards were binding (striped) fabrics,
8 yards were colored solids,
4 yards were Christmas fabrics
3 yards were white/black prints and other “must-have”s. You know how THAT goes.

Until next time,

Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Revving up the Sewing Machine

Welcome to 2016! I hope you, like me, are ready to kick off another year of sewing, stitching, quilting and fun.

I am starting with the super-fun Rainbow Scrap Challenge hosted by Angela at So Scrappy. Today, like every Saturday, we all have a linky party to show our progress for using our color-of-the-month scraps. Now, Angela just announced January’s color yesterday. It’s blue, from icy shades to deepest navy. However, we are leaving out the green-blues because they will have their own month down the line.

Needless to say, I don’t have too much progress to report in one day, but I did piece my first block.  It is 9.5” unfinished, and sitting on a design board (it’s NOT framed, LOL). This year we are doing a column-along (optional), and each month will be a new block/color. For the size of quilt I am doing, I will make a total of 8 of these blocks. They will not be matching, but scrappy.  I thought it would be cute to use some of my blue Lori Holt Modern Minis leftover squares for the 3.5” center. Appropriately, I chose the “Just take one stitch at a time”  for the center of my first block.

After I finish those 8 blocks, I will sew some Dresden Plate blocks. Each flower will take 20 petals, and as the pieces are fairly large (for scraps), they are the next to be cut and assembled. I hope to get 2 Dresdens per month, and this will be an ongoing project until I decide I have enough for a quilt. All I know is that the background will be a pale pink cotton (vintage-y looking) that I’ve had sitting around for years. I must have 4-5 yards of it.

I also want to make some of Sally T’s kittens. Alfalfa and Darla are wary of this idea, but I think it will be fun.

This year two of my goals are to make a quilt from my vintage sheet, and a quilt or small wall-hanging from my selvages.  I also have a lot of waste triangles, and I need to begin clearing some of those out.
L-R:  Blue selvages, Blue waste triangles (some with white), Blue vintage sheet fabric
So here is the plan. Every month I will do a block or two from the selvage pieces in the color of the month. I eventually want to assemble each block to look like library shelves. See the quilt here; it’s my inspiration.

With the sheets, I will sew rail fence blocks and eventually assemble them in a zig-zag rainbow patterned quilt.

The waste triangles I will sew up into HSTs and trim, then throw in with the crumbs tiny scraps; I’ll come back to that in a minute.

I really miss working on the wonky log cabins I did last year with color plus black/white. So, any strips of fabric I have in the color of the month will be made into 9” strip blocks, pieced diagonally then with two white/black corner square triangles. Here is an example by Amy Smart, a local quilter that I really admire. I hope to have some in the next week or two to show you.

Finally, I’ll put any 2.5” squares into 16-patch blocks. Anything that is too small to use there will be thrown in with the waste HSTs and I will just improv my way through them, making odd blocks or “slabs”. I have no idea what those will become eventually.

So, is that too much??  Believe me, that is my pared-down list. But still, some thing(s) may have to go. I will give it a try this month and then revise plans accordingly.

Until next time,

Cathy maroon