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

Friday, January 20, 2017

Living Remodel Done - Before and After Pix

Usually if I blog mid-week, I prefer to do it more Wednesday-ish. But here it is Friday, and I decided to just go ahead and blog today even though I will have my weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge post tomorrow. Besides, the remodel may not interest a lot of the quilters, so they can come see this or not, as they choose.

We have lived in this house for about 14 years, and this remodel of the living room was the last really major thing we have attacked. I do still want to update the laundry room, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle ourselves in a weekend. But the living room...... that was a major project.

When we moved in, the living room (and indeed the house) was immaculate, but very dated.  It was built in 1963. The sage green carpet was almost everywhere in the house except for the bathroom and kitchen. But the kitchen had blue and pink indoor/outdoor carpet, so that was even worse! We gutted and remodeled the kitchen in 2006, and refreshed it last summer with white paint, a new light fixture and some sliding shutters for our sliding glass doors. Major improvement - and you will see parts of that in one of the pictures.

Here is a living room BEFORE photo, taken just before demolition began. Underwhelming. Obviously, a lot of the knick-knacks, etc. are already removed. In previous years, we had already replaced the large living room window with double pane windows (that open on the sides), insulated the ceiling, and added shutters. Infrastructure/basics first.

When the demo began, we removed the bench hearth and had intended to remove the brick and mirror as well, but the brick was mortared to the exterior brick, so we brought the wall out in front of it by a few inches instead. That gave us the room and opportunity to insulate the wall. And as an engineer, DH was able to add in all the specialty wiring for electricity and media. Note that the 2x4’s around the fireplace are metal to meet code for a fireplace.

The former wood-burning fireplace had a gas line, so we converted to a gas-burning fireplace insert so we could enjoy the clean-burning fireplace often (due to environmental regs, we rarely ever burned wood). We were also able to make it smaller, shifting it to the right a bit so it would not be as noticeably off-center. It still is off center, but much better.

And here is the “after”! We didn’t get the leather couch and ottoman until the second week of January, but we were patient. The custom bookcases were painted white by the builder, and we (meaning me) painted the walls Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams. The cabinets on the right side (as you look at it) house all our media stuff, from DVD player, turntable, etc etc. They are remote controlled (as is the TV and fireplace) by DH when he sits in his leather recliner. The left cabinet contains grandkid toys for now, but eventually (as they grow up) it will be for extra quilts and seasonal pillows, etc.

The dark hardwood floors are a really elegant-looking contrast to the white and gray. The rug covers the seating area.  Sometimes I use the ottoman as a coffee table, and sometimes I drag it a couple feet over to my chair and use it as .... an ottoman!!

The cats prefer the cloth couch, which is no surprise. At least, they prefer it if our laps aren’t available, LOL. I still need to get something for the wall on either side of the clock (that I can finally SEE when I am in my chair!!) I’m thinking of a couple wall plants or sconces or something. Something that will contrast texturally with the hardness of the wall and clock. But that’s the decorator in me talking. 

This is the view looking back towards the entry (which would be behind my striped chair) and the dining area (through the left opening). The door (replaced last summer when we refreshed the kitchen) goes down to the basement. You can see how the dark of the new hardwood floors ends at the top of the stairs. We were pleasantly surprised to find the original hardwood - in excellent shape - throughout the upstairs, so we kept it. That meant we had extra dark hardwood, but our contractor really wanted it for his house. So we traded for labor and other expenses, and it was a win-win. The only repair on the floor was filling a few tiny carpet nail holes area across the threshold into the bedroom. Then it was swept and buffed. Done and done! The hallway and bedroom still got their new baseboards, though.

We are still looking for the perfect coat rack or shelf with hooks for the wall above and to the right of the vintage radio. All things in time. The above pic looks down the hall (this is just a small tract home) and into the library/study.

The plain floor of the bedroom required a rug, of course, and we opted for this sisal-type mat to go with the African theme (most of which you cannot see) in this room. To make it non-slippery, I Googled for an answer and Martha Stewart came to the rescue.

Here is Alfie showing how I used the leftover caulking to apply strips to the back of the rug. Let it dry for a few hours, and voila!  I may have to add a few more strips later - we’ll see.

And, that’s the end of the tour. I’m so thrilled that it’s finally done! It will be awhile before we tackle anything else, that’s for sure. Thanks for dropping by!

Until tomorrow,
Cathy maroon

Saturday, January 14, 2017

First Finish of the Year

How has your week been? Here in the Salt Lake Valley it’s been cold and wet. The sun made a brief appearance yesterday but is back in hiding today. We’ve had rain and snow (mostly rain) all week. Great sewing weather!

In my last post (if you didn’t see it) I listed out my goals for the first quarter of this year’s Finish-Along. I have a finish to show later on in this post (a Rainbow Scrap finish!), so let’s move on to Rainbow Scrap Challenge matters. This month is purple, and this week I focused on working with strips.

First up are my four 8.5” strip blocks. I’m still on the fence about adding the lighter colors, but there you have them. These are really the dregs of my scraps, as the best pieces went into the bookcase project.

The bookcase project, you ask? Yep, a rainbow bookcase. Here are my four purple 12” blocks for 80% of the “bottom shelf”. The last block will be made of dark neutrals (black/gray) when we get to those....

I’ve got more pictures, close up, to show you while I talk about this FUN project. You can click on the pictures to see them better. And all my imperfections. What a learning experience! My favorite part is picking out the book titles from my selvages.

The names of fabric lines make good titles for books (or songs, come to think of it). I just cut them out of the tightly-woven selvage and stitched around them with a tiny stitch. Do you see the book Fairy Frost? Dover Hill? Between Friends? And of course, Prince Charming!

As you can see , the books aren’t perfectly rectangular. I just eyeballed rather than measured everything (and with my vision issues, I should know better). But look at those titles...... Jazz (with music notes!) Anything Goes. Architextures (on the wood-grain print).

The small leaning books on top were problematic; from now on I’ll stick to the stacked books (like in the Anything Goes and Quilters Candy group).  My favorite? Helen’s Garden, on the right.  The names do not match the fabrics - I was more concerned about which titles fit. And I want to explore doing a book series (like the gold banded books above). I can do better.

Why not join us over at So Scrappy for some more purple Rainbow Scrap “reading”????

And this was my first finish of the year - my Rainbow Rails.  It was a 2016 Rainbow Scrap project made of vintage sheets in the Rail Fence pattern. It is now quilted, bound and ready to use. As it was always intended to be summer weight, the batting is merely flannel. It finished at 72”x81”.  This was #1 on my list of Q1 goals, which you can see here.

I’m not sure if you can see it, but the binding is scrappy and roughly matches the colors it borders (orange-green-pink-blue).

Right now I’m in the process of quilting another Rainbow Scrap quilt (blue-green Improv) and will have that for next time.

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In remodeling news, we had a great surprise. When the carpet was ripped up from the hallway and back bedroom/study, we found the original hardwood floors. They were in beautiful condition, although there was one tiny patch to be filled, then the whole thing was buffed. It is generally not recommended to lay hardwood on hardwood unless you run it in different directions, but why would we want to? So yeah, we have three different types of hardwood in the house now. The upstairs hardwood is everywhere (except the 2 bathrooms, which are tile) - three bedrooms and the hall. We left the master bedroom and the girly guest room carpeted for now.

So the hall (and closets) and study are now restored to their original lovely sixties-era hardwood. The new baseboards still need touching up and caulking, and the stair treads will go on today. In fact, it will all be done today and tomorrow. Then we can move everything back into the bedroom and hall closets. And the last of our furniture (couch and ottoman) are being delivered today. YAY!!  If the sun ever shines again, I should be able to finally get some pictures this week!

The remodel feels like it’s been going on forever - and indeed, we started the kitchen refresh in August. But the whole thing is within inches of being done. I love FINISHES of any kind!

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Quarter I Finish-Along Goals

It’s time to list and link up my 2017 Finish-Along goals for the first quarter of the year. This list is so helpful to me, being the organized sort of person I am. I love being able to set goals and check things off.

Loving a checklist is a holdover habit from my working days. DH says I always tell him what I got done every day (not what I did, but what I got done) like I have to prove I was doing something instead of eating bonbons on the couch while watching TV. Yep, sounds like me. Come to think of it, it may have more to do with justifying my summer days to my mother when I was a kid (she worked). Good grief!

Oh well. Regardless, here is my list:

1.  Rainbow Rails.  This is a quilt top pieced for the 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. It’s made with vintage sheets and is currently basted and ready for quilting and binding.

EDITED TO ADD:  FINISHED and blogged about here.


2.  Rainbow Dresdens.  Another RSC 2016 quilt top. Centers are doilies and yo-yos, backgrounds are solid pastels in blue, yellow pink. Needs to be basted, quilted and bound.

EDITED TO ADD:  Finished and blogged about HERE.

3.   Scrappy Improv (RSC 2016) in Cool Tones.  Needs basting, quilting, binding.
EDITED TO ADD:  FINISHED and blogged about here.

4.  Scrappy Improv (RSC 2016) in Warms. Needs basting, quilting, binding.
Edited to add:  Finished and blogged about HERE

5.  Quilt for Brother-in-law.  This will be a simple Disappearing 9-patch in black, white, gray and turquoise. An easy make that I need to have done in about a month.

EDITED TO ADD: FINISHED and blogged about HERE.

6.  Rose Cottage Quilt in Olive’s Flower Market. I just love the fabrics and have probably bought enough to do three quilts, but this one is for MOI.

7.  Rainbow 16-Patch Quilt (RSC 2016).
FINISHED!  Photographed and blogged about HERE.

I actually thought I had sewn these together already as a flimsy until I discovered them in on a WIP shelf. My bad. This needs to be done this quarter to make room for other WIPs!

I was going to add an eighth quilt (my Farm Girl Vintage quilt, which is in blocks still), but I know that there is no way on God’s green earth that I will realistically get to it this quarter. But it will be on the second quarter list, because I am going to put my sewing machine foot pedal to the metal and SEW.

Speaking of pedals, my foot pedal cord keeps cutting out. I just had Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE) in for her annual spa treatment, and they said the connection was just fine. I think they misunderstood what was happening, and I should have been more clear that it was the pedal cord, not the connection. But we are getting by for now, and I don`t want to take it back again until I have to.

Linking up to the 1st Quarter Finish-Along linky party. Why not join us?

Cathy maroon