Saturday, April 30, 2016

Orange for the Win !!

Welcome back, friends. Today is just a recap of my orange scrappy adventures for the month of April.  Can you believe that tomorrow is MAY already??

I keep track of my various blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge as I seem to be working on several quilts at once: the RSC2016 Sampler, Cats & Kittens (will become 2 quilts), Dresdens (will become 2 quilts), 16-patches with black & white centers, vintage sheets rail fence (not shown) and also just 8.5” scrappy blocks that have no particular purpose. Yet.

So, this month’s total orange blocks numbered 79, my busiest month yet. I also did 2 - 12” blocks for my Notting Hill quilt, 10 - 6” blocks for the Splendid Sampler, and cut over 140 orange lozenges (5”x 2.5”) for a future quilt (to add to the 40 that were given to my in an Instagram giveaway). And, I finished my Cityscape quilt, which you can read about in my previous post. All in all, a great sewing month.

May promises better weather, and I plan to be outdoors and in the garden more. That will probably be reflected in my productivity, but that’s just fine.

Why not join us at So Scrappy for Scrappy Saturday??

Cathy maroon

Thursday, April 28, 2016

First Finish of the Quarter

I finally finished the Cityscape quilt after spending waaaaaaay too much time quilting.  Not to mention too much time watching Netflix, LOL.  And errands, appointments and having our alarm system upgraded.

This is the first finish of this second quarter of the year, and was #1 on my Finish Along Goals, Quarter 2.

It’s been rainy and gloomy here, so my only finished picture is with the quilt pinned (not very evenly) on my design board.  I will try to get better pictures outdoors when the sun decides to shine again.

I outline quilted most of the buildings.  While the rays of light were done a few weeks ago in white (on the light upper background), the buildings were quilted in black. The quilting on the front and back really just disappears. I don’t intend to wash the quilt at this point as it will be a wall hanging for my son. I did add a hanging sleeve to the back.

The first black border, as I mentioned in a previous post, was quilted in the ditch. Then the outer colored border was just given simple straight line stitching, using my walking foot as a guide (but still not very straight...)

When I do the next one (yes, I have another identical panel), I am going to do the same light ray quilting, but it will morph into a simple quilted grid. But I don’t need to worry about that one until fall; it will be a charity quilt.

Meantime, I found an afternoon to catch up on the Splendid Sampler blocks I’ve chosen to do. There are six, and I believe one may be an alternate block. And two were changed by me (the Measure Twice and the house). We are encouraged to do our own thing. I modify designs I want to and ignore the embroidered and paper pieced blocks.

I have 20 6.5” blocks so far. I’m not sure how long I will continue to do these - I should sit down and do some math. I think eventually I would like to add some plain blocks and sashing to extend these. When we get to the months of green, yellow and pink, I will see what the stash says, although I could probably finish a nice sized quilt with just the fabrics I’ve already pulled for this thing.  :-)

And that’s it for this week’s finishes. Tomorrow I plan to cut into some fabric for my next quilt. If I can get it cut out before the May rainbow color is announced (I am betting on red), then it will be ready to start piecing when my colored blocks are done.....

See you on Saturday with my Orange Scrappy Update.

Cathy maroon

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Holy Orange, Batman!

Most of the last week has been spent finishing up my orange blocks. The result has been a sizable dent in my orange scraps, although I did add in a few new ones from my sewing from last blog post (the 2 12” blocks for my Notting Hill quilt).

I did get the whirligig blocks done, or buzz saws or whatever they are called. I found them really fun to work on! Originally I cut them all out of the orange dotty fabric, but decided instead to swap out half of them for other oranges. Hence, there are plenty of the orange dot scraps in my improv blocks, which you’ll see later in the post.

After taking the above picture, I sewed them into a column and hung them up on clothes hangers on a makeshift shelf in my Other Sewing Room. This is actually just an old bedroom off my basement studio that I redecorated a couple years ago (see the orange walls?) It also has the full spectrum fluorescent lights and is where I keep my books, threads, laces, beads, etc.  I do my hand stitching in here in a comfy wing chair.

But anyway, don’t the four columns look great together? I can hardly wait for next month’s blocks!! Angela at So Scrappy has been doing a great job of leading us along on this year’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge and this sampler!

My improv blocks, above, number 20 this month (usually it is 10). I just have so much orange because I love it. I also incorporated all the waste HSTs left over from other projects. And then there was the first whirligig block I did with the orange dots and a too-busy background that I didn’t like. Someday these will all find a home in a quilt.....

Yesterday I took a break from sewing and instead repainted all our outdoor wrought iron railings plus a wicker chair and footrest for the patio.  It’s supposed to rain this weekend, so I won`t finish setting up and cleaning all the patio furniture and cushions until next week.  Then, since my hands and arms were killing me, I spent the afternoon vegetating binge-watching watching the first 4 episodes of one of my all-time favorite PBS series, House of Elliot. Dressmaker sisters in 1920’s London that rise from destitution to a heads of a couture house. Some luscious fabrics, sewing machines, styles, etc. Just what I needed to get me fired up to return to the sewing machine today and finish up 4-5 Splendid Sampler blocks.

Why not join us at So Scrappy for Scrappy Saturday? We are happy to share our orange (eye) candy with you!
Also linking up to Oh Scrap! 

Cathy maroon

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Catching up with Other Sewing

Now that the month is more than half way over (how did THAT happen?), I have other sewing progress to report - sewing that is not related to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I mean, I do have stuff to show for the RSC, but that will be on Saturday.  But for now, as the Eagles serenade me in the studio, I would like to show you my two Notting Hill blocks for April.

I started making 12” blocks for the 2013 (yes, 3 years ago) Sugar Block Club in the lovely Notting Hill Fabric by Joel Dewberry.  About the 3rd or 4th month we got to paper piecing, and although I tried valiantly, I gave up. If you don’t remember how I feel about paper piecing, scroll back a few posts.  Anyway, that project got put on hold until this year.

I started the year with 4 blocks (one pieced in the intervening 3 years) and decided it was time to finish it, two blocks per month. As I am and always have been a big fan of Amy Gibson’s, I’m participating in the 2016 Sugar Block Club and making her block every month (at least so far).
Here is this month’s block:

I really enjoyed making this block, but wish I had chosen a fabric with better contrast for the small triangles in the inner part of the corner patches and that snowball the center patch. Live and learn. As they say, finished is better than perfect.

Along with my SBC block, I select another one of my choosing to sew up. This month’s is High Tide by Kate Spain. You should see her version in blues, here. Scroll down about 2/3 of the way to find a downloadable pattern link. Here is my block:

That brings my total blocks to 12, of 20 needed to finish a quilt that will be (with sashing) about 60  x 72” or so.

And speaking of fabric (I know, my segue leaves a bit to be desired),  I got some new goodies in earlier in the month, thanks to the bad influence of some internet friends who shall remain nameless.

I think that fabric on the left will make a good backing for the second Cityscape quilt I will make later this year (as a donation to a cancer organization). The middle fabric is another Tamara Kate print; I just love everything she does. The other one - the pins.... *sigh* ... who can resist a sewing-related low volume print?   And I am looking for several yards of a cute cat fabric to back the two in-process cat quilts I’m making.....

What about my fabric diet, you ask?? To which I reply... what fabric diet?  I did that in November - February, which is enough. Time to bring in some fresh fabric! I did get lots sewn and despite several fabric winnings, I managed to use, sell or give away over 50 yards net.

And one final thing that I have not officially shown here. One day, on a whim, I replaced my fugly ironing board cover with this fabric I bought a couple years ago. The good news is that it uses a narrow length, so I have enough to re-do it yet again.  :-)

Until Saturday,

Cathy maroon

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Orange Caturday

This was the week of the cat for me in my sewing studio. I love orange and have lots and lots of it in my fabric stash. One of my real cats is also orange - that would be Alfie (short for Alfalfa), left. His sister is - you guessed it - Darla. They are our Little Rascals.

Back to the fabric cats, the mama cats and kittens will become two quilts (of six “litters” each),  so orange seemed like a natural color to do include in both quilts, which meant two mamas and two litters. Luckily, that will not be every month. But Alfie insisted that orange be one of those special colors. As a staff member only, who am I to argue with him?

The orange cats

Litter One

Litter Two

11 out of the 12 kittens are the same in each litter, but one mama has a matching kitten and the other has a dark red-orange kitten instead. These things happen.

Last week I showed one of my Dresdens. I mentioned that the other one was done except for the center. So now, here they are together. Remember, I only added the center to one; I did NOT sew them this week (the kittens just about wore me out!)

Finally, I did sew the last four of my 16-patch blocks (I already had 6 done). I wanted to hold them to show together.

16-Patch blocks

I love the cute little fox in the square below. This was left over from a baby quilt I made a couple years ago.

And that concludes my orange madness for this week. I do have the pieces cut out for our Rainbow Scrappy Challenge blocks, and will sew those up in the coming week. I also have lots of scraps to combine into some improv blocks before month-end.

Join us over at Scrappy Saturday for some wonderful scrappy orange goodness.

Cathy maroon

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Finish-Along Goals for 2nd Quarter 2016

As the deadline looms, I better get my rear in gear and list my Finish-Along Goals for Q2 of this year.  Because they are all quilts, I am going to keep the list short and realistic.  Here we go.

1.   Cityscape Quilt.  This one is a digital cityscape print from Hoffman Fabrics that I have bordered with black. A second border in graduated colors surrounds that. It is currently in the process of being quilted by me on my Bernina 550QE.  So far I have completed the rays of sun and light.  I hope to finish this one later in the month.

2.   This is Shane’s Magic Carpet.  I made another quilt for my son Shane last year here, but it was rather small. He would love something bed-sized. He is an artist and picked these colors (THAT was a process) and I bought them at end-of-year Kona Cotton sales. I will gift it to him on his birthday, June 30, which also happens to be the end of the quarter....

3.   Aria (by Benartex) Quilt.  Yes, if you have seen any of my past lists, you will see that this one has been on it for several quarters.  But this is the quarter I will actually work on it. In fact, after I finish the Cityscape quilt, this one is actually next up before Shane’s quilt, above.  I enlisted hubby’s help to select a pattern, as this will be a bed quilt for us.  Our bedroom is decorated totally in neutrals, so I can switch up the bedcovers as I please. So fun!!

4.  Finally, a log cabin quilt. This one is actually a pie-in-the-sky wish for this quarter and will likely not happen unless I develop insomnia or they invent a 28 hour day. It seems I usually spend the first two weeks of every month stitching my blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, the Sugar Block Club and the Splendid Sampler. But I love the `I Love Log Cabins` book, and fell in love with the cover quilt. In fact, I had so many of the same fabrics in my stash, and have been dying to do another Log Cabin since I finished up Rainbow Orbs. So, this one is in the queue.

Collage of my Quarter 2 Project Goals:

It’s not too late - you have until the 16th (Saturday) at 11pm EST to link up if you would like to join us. Regardless, why not check it out - lots of great plans and eye candy to rev you up!  The link in the sidebar is clickable. There are several hosts this year and I vary between She Can Quilt and Clover and Violet.

Cathy maroon

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Orange You Glad it’s Saturday??

Yeah, I know. Juvenile humor. But that’s fitting since I’ve had my 6 ("and a half, Grammy!") year old granddaughter over for the last couple days. Lots of fun and cuddles, but no sewing time. This week I also had a dentist appointment (perfect checkup) and meeting with a couple contractors for work we’ll be having done on the house. New windows and rain gutter repairs; it’s nice to get them done, but not really exciting. The fireplace and living room re-do will have to wait until next year.

So, I did get some orange sewing done; the operative word being SOME.

I really thought I had tons of orange vintage sheets, but I must have sold most of them. So, from what I had reserved for my stash, I was able to only get 7 orange rail fence blocks.

Then I decided to pin up all the blocks done so far on the design board, and that picture is below. I am totally underwhelmed. But it’s still early days, and we have the fun colors of pink, green and yellow yet to come - and I have plenty of those colors.  Plus I have so many mixed-color and pastel-mix sheets, so I may have to see where those take me. Maybe this will not end up as a chevron/zig-zag rainbow pattern in the end.

I decided to do the Dresdens early in the month this time. I have sewn two, but the one below is the only finished one. The other one needs to be appliqu├ęd onto the background block and then have all the fussy middle stuff done.

This one is on the pale yellow and I couldn’t get a decent picture. The other one will be on a pink background. The orange does not lend itself to a vintage-y feel. So, I’m just going to continue along with pale pink and yellow (and maybe other) backgrounds as we visit all the colors this year. In the end, we will see how many blocks there are and what they can become. Previous plans aborted. There is a lot of that going on around here.

No progress on the Cityscape this week, so nothing new to show there. Hopefully this coming week will be quieter.  I’m linking up to Angela at Scrappy Saturday. Why not join us and check out all the orange eye candy...

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sampler Update and Why I Hate Paper Piecing (A Rant)

I have been following along with the Splendid Sampler, a sew-along with Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson and Moda Fabrics. It started on Valentine’s Day and will run well into next year. It will contain 100 blocks by 80-some designers, with lots of bonus blocks along the way. Extra blocks are provided so we can either work ourselves to death or to swap out an official block we don’t care for with one we do.

I remember going into this sew-along thinking I would do as Pat suggested. Try it all, she said. Be a good sport, she said. We’ll have tutorials along the way. We’re all in this together! Ok, so there I was, just rarin’ to go.

For the first several blocks, everything was hunky dory. Before I go any further, let me insert a picture here of the 3 most recent blocks I’ve done. They bring my total to 14.  They all turned out well and I had a lot of fun.

There were some blocks with embroidery that I chose to skip. Not because I can’t embroider; I can, and very well thank you. (See some of my old crazy quilted blocks, quilts, etc from earlier years of this blog). But I want to quilt, not embroider. So, I skipped those blocks. No harm done.

And then, last Sunday the first Paper Pieced block was introduced. It is absolutely gorgeous and despite my better judgment, I wanted to try it.

Now, we all know full well that paper piecing was invented by the Devil’s Spawn. But I decided I was going to master the technique and do this block regardless of how many times I’ve tried and failed paper piecing in the past. After all, I thought, it couldn’t be as bad as that other thing - the T word (Tatting) that was invented by the Devil himself. But I digress.

So, I chose my fabrics, carefully measured and cut and read the scanty directions. I even watched a couple tutorials on You Tube (because my buddy Pat failed me in that regard, bless her heart). And speaking of those tutorials, why on earth would anyone teach paper piecing using the Economy Block as an example? You can do that block easier and better without paper piecing!!! But I digress again.

I went to my sewing machine with high hopes. Thirty minutes later I was in tears, a ranting, raving lunatic. What a disgraceful mess! That pile of scraps under the scissors might or might not have been shredded to bits by, um... someone.

Needless to say I have, since this picture, put away the surviving scraps and scissors. The rest has been thrown away after being gustily cut or torn to bits. Thank goodness the Quilting Police aren’t involved in the Splendid Sampler.

I will never try paper piecing again. My brain isn’t wired for such nonsense. It’s bass ackwards. It’s stupid and dumb and f*ing frustrating; (you can insert that f-word that our moms would’ve washed out our mouths for). Seriously? We can’t find a better way to piece than using paper backwards? And what about not using our sewing scissors for paper? I don’t even want to go there!

A better use for paper piecing would be at Guantanamo. We could just make terrorists do some paper piecing - they’d give up all their secrets in a heartbeat if faced with it. Trust me.

And just in case the message wasn’t clear in all the above diatribe wasn’t clear; I HATE PAPER PIECING!!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Scrappy Orange Saturday and March Roundup

Happy Scrappy Saturday! Angela at So Scrappy just announced the color of the month for April (orange) on Thursday evening, but I haven’t had a chance to do anything yet except gather my orange piles together: orange cotton scraps, orange vintage sheet pieces, orange waste triangles and orange strips. I will be sewing like a madwoman this month..... I’m sure there are others who have already whipped up some great orange eye candy, so why not hop over to Scrappy Saturday and check it out?!

March was a good month for my RSC purple blocks; I finished:

12 blocks for the scrappy sampler,
2 Dresdens,
1 Mama cat with 12 kittens,
12 rail fence blocks,
10 16-patch blocks and
6 - 8” crumb blocks,
1 miscellaneous block of tiny HSTs.

That’s a total of 56 blocks, which was better than February (39) but not as good as January (67).  Yes, I am keeping track. I have a color-coded spreadsheet on my desktop with what I’m working on, my goals in total numbers of blocks, and what I accomplish each month I just cannot keep it all in my head....  :-)

I am almost done with Cityscape, but it is in the process of some detailed quilting, which for this quilting hack is pretty tedious. Here is a picture of some of the progress.

I used a light gray on the front for the sky part (top 25 percent). Now I’m on to the other 75% (about halfway done) and am using black for that. Basically, I’m just tracing the major building shapes. The black border has been ditch stitched. I have no idea yet how the outer colored border will be quilted. but I’m thinking something angular and simple, like just quilting 1/4” inside each block. Any ideas??

Thanks for stopping by!

Cathy maroon