Saturday, April 29, 2017

Wrapping up the Rainbow

As I write this (Friday evening), it’s snowing. Now that is not necessarily unusual here in the Salt Lake Valley at the end of April, but I’m just a bit paranoid; did we miss summer? It’s been raining and slushing all week. I’m sure that if my garden could talk, it would be saying (and here I paraphrase...) "What the Heck?!" The cats have stopped shedding (for now), the furnace is still running, soup is sounding good for dinner, and quilts - well, they always sound good. To console ourselves, we’ve been watching a BBC series on Netflix about the South Pacific. Bonus: it’s narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. (If you don’t know who he is, it’s time to sell that rock you’re living under, LOL).

We have come to the end of our multi-colored/rainbow scraps for the month of April. Our intrepid leader, Angela of So Scrappy, is again hosting another linky lineup of scrappy fabric goodness. It’s so much fun to see what our online quilting friends have been up to!

So this was my creative week. First, I finished up the pastel rainbow baby quilt from my vintage sheet scraps. It finished at 42x42”. It’s hard to get a good picture of a pastel quilt. I quilted it with simple straight line cross hatch. Well, MOSTLY straight lines, hehe. This will be a donation quilt.

Next I took an afternoon to work in some bright, multi-colored cat-themed scraps and quilted up 6 cat quilts (roughly placemat sized) for Best Friends Animal Shelter. The picture includes one I made from the leftover fabric of my bee-themed baby quilt, so there are 7 kitty quilts altogether.  Most of them are from my precious Laurel Burch scraps.

My Flower Market quilt finally came together, and much more easily than I thought it would. The borders worked out perfectly! I actually like the finished quilt.  It measures 61x72”.

Sorry I have to keep taking pictures of finished quilts up on my design board. I`d sure love a sunny day so we could get outside. Anyway, the back is a yummy black print with white and pink flowers and little white polka dots. It is my favorite print of the line. And the binding is a diagonal black and white stripes because Stripes.Are.The.Best.

This is also my Goal #1 for my Finish Along Goals for Second Quarter, list HERE.

Now, let’s take a look at what got done in April in the name of Rainbow Scrap Challenge, shall we?

Surprisingly to me, I completed 72 multi-colored blocks. Of those, 43 went into the Scrap X+plosion quilt (42 on the front and one on the back), then there were 16 quarter log cabins (upper right in collage), and 13 4.5” bowties blocks (center bottom). I also did one rainbow baby quilt, 7 rainbow kitty quilts and 2 rainbow doggie beds. (Had to correct myself there; I first typed doggie bags).  So, it was a very productive month, which proves how crappy our weather has been because everything happened INDOORS.

And finally, I finished the top (only had to trim and add borders) of the Big Game Quilt that I’m making for our DSIL (daughter Emily’s husband) who has returned temporarily from his overseas assignment for the USAF. He has a month leave of absence, during which he is taking a special class and setting up for his new posting and training beginning in July (in nearby Colorado!!) He will go back overseas for about six weeks and then be stateside for good. So, I wanted to give him his Christmas present for 2016 since he was overseas) while he`s here. We’ll finally get to spend some time with the whole sweet family next week!!

This quilt is a printed design panel from Pattern Jam, just like the one I did at Christmas for my other DSIL, only a different color way. This time I was able to pick out the fabrics and colors. The printing has improved dramatically - I can’t believe how crisp and bright the colors are! The two borders were added by me yesterday, and the backing is the same navy blue and green plaid fabric of the outer border. I think even the binding will be the same. That was a great purchase at Connecting Threads for $2.96 per yard.

Not much else is new around here. Bruce may go back to work next week part-time. We’ll see; he will need to pull his nose out of a book long enough to call and arrange it!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Workin’ on a Scrap Gang....

Do you remember the sixties song “Workin’ on a Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke?? He was so awesome! Listen here or just remember..... you’re welcome for the ear worm.  Anyway, that’s been my theme song while sewing this week. The more we sew - and I sew a lot - the more scraps we seem to accumulate. I also spent lots of time this week (but not nearly enough) outside pulling weeds, working on the Weed Gang. But it’s all good. That is, the sewing is good. The weeds, well, I’m hoping I can bribe some high schooler to come pull weeds for $$$ this summer.

So what did I get done this week on my Scrap Gang Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects? A lot, actually. After finishing Scrap X+plosion last week, I continued working on my quarter log cabins until I was nearly out of multi-colored scraps.

I made 16 blocks. There are no current plans for them; they’ll just reside in the Parts Department until a use comes along. The blocks measure 6.5” each and all have a purple starting square. I have no idea why I picked purple. Anyway, the few scraps that remain were either thrown into the stuffing bag (if they were small) or returned to the scrap basket, which is now an echo chamber of near-nothingness.

And I had so much stuffing in my stuffing bag, (scraps of fabric and batting that would normally go into the trashcan) that I decided to make a couple doggie beds from the pattern by Vickie Welsh. It used all the stuffing that I’ve saved for the last couple months. The fabric is some that I still had in my home dec fabric tub from which I used to make purses and aprons. They rather fit the multi-colored theme this month, don’t they? I guarantee their stuffing contents certainly do! These doggie beds will be added to the cat and small dog quilts I make every month for the Best Friends animal shelter.

And then I made a quick baby quilt from the fabrics left over from a previous baby quilt made a couple years ago. Nothing particularly exciting, but it was fun to get the bits together into some kind of cohesive design.

Another fun part for me was using the quilt to practice quilting free motion flowers. I also did random loops to imitate the bee flight paths shown in the yellow bee fabric.  I can now safely add flowers to my quilting “repertoire”, such as it is.

But there was still more week left....... so I put on my thinking cap and realized I still had a bag of multi-colored scraps left over from my last vintage sheet quilt, Rainbow Rails.  I sorted them out and there were enough multi-colored pastel florals and stripes to make another baby quilt.  So, I cut them into 6” squares and used 42 to make a quilt top.

The picture doesn’t do justice to the soft colors. I was also able to cut out 42 squares of blue-purple-green vintage sheet fabrics for my cousin Kim, who needs to do a quick boy baby quilt.. And, I believe there are enough pink and orange and yellow scraps to get one or possibly even two more baby quilts cut. I`ll deal with those when we get to either one of those colors in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Bruce and I went to JoAnn Fabrics this week. He is finally driving again, and it is so nice! I got some sewing machine needles with a 50% off coupon, some American Girl doll clothes patterns (on sale for $1.99 each) to make some more cute doll clothes for my DGD Abbie, and I also bought a cheap poly batt for the donation baby quilt. It was, like $5, so it convinced me that I shouldn’t cut into my good, wide roll of batting.

And then I couldn’t put it off any longer. It was time to get back to my Flower Market quilt and making the borders. I got all the flying geese made and trimmed and there are just enough to make the border around the quilt -  IF I use cornerstones. I checked through my scraps and there were 4 black floral print squares already cut and waiting. Meant to be!

So, I hope to have two quilt finishes this coming week, and then I can start on the cat quilts for the shelter. I’d like to make about eleventy thousand of them; enough to justify another trip to the shelter to unload them and the two doggie beds. Yep, this is life in the fast lane, I tell ya.......

Have a great week!
Linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Cathy maroon

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Scrap X+plosion Quilt Finished

Hi Friends, and Happy Scrappy Saturday and Easter weekend!

This week was a busy one for Bruce and I, full of doctor visits (Bruce’s arm is doing well; stitches removed next week), family birthday parties, our kids, grandkids and friends visiting, dining out, yard work, errands, and all the stuff of life that makes it fun and interesting. Even the weather has kept us on our toes - cloudy and rainy one day, sunny and warm the next. Typical spring. It’s been a great week overall. And I got lots of fun sewing and quilting in too!

First, as a break from the Scrap X+plosion quilt, I sewed up 13 multi-colored 4” bowtie blocks. Although I’m not crazy about the weak contrast with some of them, I’ll keep them until the time that I begin assembly (likely a year or two before I have enough). They may have a place in the overall design scheme.

And then I whipped up four cactus blocks for Block Lotto.  Each block we sew is an entry into the monthly drawing, winner take all. I have yet to win, but then this is only my fourth month, so it’s all good. I have fun and learn a new block in the process.

And then it was time to finish up the X+ quilt. Alfie, who says that anything Molly or Buddy can do, he can do too, decided to prove it by redesigning the blocks that wouldn’t fit on the design wall.

So here is the finished 42-block Scrap X+plosion quilt. This is my April multi-colored Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt and the first finish for my Quarter 2 Finish Along goals (#6 on the list). And Angela is hosting our regular Saturday Rainbow Scrap linky party over at her blog.  As you can see, I decided to leave out the sashing, and I’m so happy I did. The ombre orange is on the back, and the mustard-colored fabric (after being cut into 1.5” strips) will await another project.

This was such a fun quilt, and a breeze from start to finish. Bruce went wild over it, voicing my feelings exactly that you can never tell how happy and fun a bunch of random scraps can be! It’ll never win any design awards, but it sure has won our hearts. There are so many fabric memories sewn into it. And as soon as I laid it down, guess who claimed it?

HRH Alfalfa on his new throne
Sooner or later he`ll get up and I can throw it in the washer for its first launder. In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at the back.  I used a full (not franken-pieced) batting, but did use a couple near-empty spools of thread for quilting. And then cut up some random pieces and FQs for the back. There is also the one extra X+ block and the last of my orange ombre fabric from a bolt of it I found at the thrift store a year or two ago.

As usual, my quilting is a bit ADHD, and I added random flowers, hearts and other things here and there among the loops.

This block was so bright that it stuck out like a sore thumb with all the others. So, it go placed on the back instead. Works for me!

Have a great week!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rainbow Scrap Explosion

You’ve probably heard of the terms assigned to scrappy quilts- quilts that use anything and everything in your stash. “Scrap vomit” and “scrap vortex” are two terms that have been popularized (by Katy Jones of I’m a Ginger Monkey and Amanda Jean Nyberg from Crazy Mom Quilts, respectively). Although my work with multi-colored scraps this week leans more along the lines of the former rather than the latter, I’m going to call it a scrap explosion. In fact, that is the tentative name for the quilt. At any rate, I guarantee you will find some more endearing uses of multi-colored scraps if you hop on over to Angela’s blog to visit our weekly Scrappy Saturday roundup for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. We are all trying to use our our many-colored scraps in April.  Also linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday.

As for my work, please sit down and take an aspirin or ibuprofen, or whatever anti-nausea medicine works best for you. Grab a pillow and some coffee or cocoa, and make sure you are well rested. Ok. Ready?

These were my first 13 blocks (10”). I used this first pic in my last post because I’ve listed this X+ quilt as a goal for my 2017 Quarter 2 Finish-Along.  There are many considerations when selecting fabrics as you make these blocks, such as value, scale, color-matching, etc. And I ignored every single one of them.

But that’s not to say I didn’t think about fabric placement, it’s just that my first criterion was to find scrap fabrics large enough from which to cut (4) 4.5” squares - they become the X part for each block. And you can see below that I eventually threw that out the window, too. You can find a few blocks that have different fabrics in the X. Oh well.

So, long story short, in my experimentation I learned that some fabrics are just ugly no matter how small you cut them (sorry, dear Bonnie Hunter, but it’s true). And similar values placed in close proximity create visual mush.

But on the other hand, there is so much to like! This pattern is really fun, for starters. And some fabrics just shine (see the red fabric with the bright yellow daisies in the upper left, or the bright stripes in the center right?). Some blocks turned out great, despite myself.  The six blocks below are among my favorites.

The next group are the ones I like the least.  The fabrics are either too ugly, or there is mush (bad contrast) or both. Or they are just plain nausea-inducing.

The six below are somewhere in between, but I point them out because they either have some fun, whimsical fabrics in them or just somehow struck my fancy.

So, I've completed 36 blocks, and have enough for 6 more (total of 42 blocks). I`m undecided about the setting - should I do a 5x6 setting (30 blocks) or a 6x7 setting (42 blocks)? I’ve pretty much decided that they look better with sashing, and that will most likely be the determining factor. I would like to use what I have in my stash, and really don’t want to use black or white or cream (which I always have in the form of jelly rolls). Instead, I’d like to find either a colored solid or tone-on-tone that reads as a solid for the sashing and outer border.

Below I’ve pinned up some of the blocks with a piece of mustard Kona that I have. There is only enough of this color to do a 5x6 quilt with 2” sashing.

Then I have a large piece of this ombre orange sashing which is large enough to do a 6x7 block setting. That’s below with some sample blocks.

Which do you like better? Or maybe the question is better phrased as Which do you hate least?  LOL. There are no rights and wrongs here - just about any color will do.

And next week I should have a finished quilt top, although I would love to have the whole thing done, but we’ll see.  Then I have multi-colored strips to work with, so I'm researching ideas for those.

Before leaving, it’s only fair that I give you some restful eye candy if you’ve made it this far through the post.  My cousin Kim finished a baby quilt about a week ago - a baby quilt that she started back in the 1970s (!!!) and sewed entirely by hand (except adding on the binding, but even that part she finished by hand). I quilted it for her.

Aren’t those old ginghams glorious? They are Drunkard’s Path blocks in the barn-raising setting. I don’t remember the size, but it wins the prize as the oldest (former) UFO in our family!

DH is doing well after his (hopefully final) surgery last Monday. He is healing nicely in all surgical sites and is using his arm somewhat. There is a lot of healing, physical therapy and likely some radiation treatments in the future. We will know more after the next couple weeks of appointments. Once again, thank you all for your kindness and good wishes. They really helped us get through the tough times! Spring is coming, in more than one way.

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Goals for Quarter 2 Finish-Along

It’s time to post and link our list of proposed UFO finishes for the 2nd quarter of the year. I love setting my quarterly goals with the 2017 Finish Along ladies! There is nothing more satisfying than finishing a goal (UFO - unfinished object - sewing or crafting goal) and crossing it off the list. Plus, each finish is an opportunity to be included in fantastic prize drawings. There are no real quilt police making us work on these, just a fun group that lets us set up possible goals - as many or as few as we want.

And now, here are my second quarter goals. I’ve got 7 of them this quarter, just like last quarter. I finished 6 out of 7 last quarter, and am carrying over the Flower Market quilt. So let’s start with that.

1.  Flower Market

All I have left to sew on this one are two borders, but one is a chevron border made of waste HSTs from cutting the main blocks.  Once that’s done, it just needs to be quilted and bound.

2.  Crayon Quilt.

EDITED TO ADD: FINISHED and blogged about HERE.

I have several ongoing Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, and this Crayon Quilt (Color Me by Emily Herrick) was one I started last year. Because I don’t want to finish all my RSC projects in the same month, I am choosing to finish this one early. Currently I have about 5 blocks (crayons) made and need 6-7 or so more.

3.  Flag Quilt


I made one extra block last year as a signature block for a Lori Holt Retreat. And now I have all the pieces cut out for the rest of the quilt It would be great to finish up this patriotic quilt this quarter so I can have it ready to use on the 4th of July!!

4.  Let it Snow

This is a cute pattern by Heather Mulder Peterson. I got it to about the halfway point last Christmas season, but had to put it aside to finish all my Christmas quilting obligations. I would like to finish this early this year, because I have at least one more Christmas quilt I’d like to make later on in the year as well as a tree skirt. (Note: I am still using my first-ever patchwork piece, a red, green and gold patched and yarn-tied tree skirt that I made in 1980. We have used it every single year since then. It has a big red ruffle around it and was vintage two decades ago, LOL!!  I really need a new one).

I will probably add an extra border or two to this, or more trees, as the pattern makes it more of a large wall hanging and I would rather have a quilt.

5.  Farm Girl Quilt.

All the blocks - and then some - are made. Gee, I must have 55 or more twelve-inch blocks. Yes, I’ll probably have to do some streamlining. Maybe make 2 Farm Girl quilts??  They need to be sashed and sewn into a flimsy, then quilted and bound. But the hardest part will be selecting and placing the blocks.

6.  Mad Scraps X+ Quilt.

I just started this one a couple days ago using my basket of multi-colored scraps. Well, to be honest, I have thrown in a single-colored chunk here and there for variety.  These are 10-inch blocks, and I’m not yet sure if I want 30 blocks (for a 5x6 setting) or 42 blocks (for a 6x7 setting). We’ll see what the scraps have to say about it.

7.  Big Game Quilt.

This is another pattern by Emily Herrick, and the custom top was made for me by Pattern Jam. I did one of these for one of my sons-in-law last Christmas, and the other SIL then wanted one too!  So, this is for Chad, and I will give it to him in June since he was stationed out of the country for last Christmas.

And that is my list. I am continuing to make about 6-7 monthly small kennel quilts (I call them quilt-lets) for the Best Friends no-kill animal shelter here in Salt Lake City. They are for the cats and small dog who are adopted out. The quiltlets are small, ranging from 12x18” up to 20x24”. I think of them as big placemats, LOL! And once the assembly line is set up, I can whip them all out in a matter of a couple hours. Last Monday I delivered 21 quilts that I made in the first quarter, and it made my day!!

Cathy maroon

For more details on the 2017 Quilt Along, or to see all the lovely projects that others are working on, click on the Finish Along button in my right sidebar or go HERE.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Putting the RAINBOW in Rainbow Scrap Challenge

TGIA. Thank God it’s April!!  Although I usually love March (spring starts and it's my birthday month), this year it was hard. Regular readers know about DH’s latest medical issue, and  I`m pleased to say that on Tuesday the 4th he will have his final surgery to detach his right forearm from his abdomen (sounds weird, I know). Then he can finally heal and start physical therapy to regain the use he’s lost in his arm and hand over the last six weeks of operations. But he has his arm and full function! YAY!!! They will monitor him closely every couple months for signs of cancer recurrence. I mean really, who gets cancer in their FOREARM? We know there is a chance that some cancer may remain - and they’ll radiate the questionable area just in case. So it’s all good for now.

But let’s talk about fabric and quilting and sewing. This month, Angela who heads up our Rainbow Scrap Challenge and hosts the weekly linkup (join us HERE), has chosen RAINBOW (multicolor) for the April color. What that means is that we get to use all those fabric scraps we have that don’t fit into a specific color category; mixed fabrics that contain this and that and defy classification. I have a lot of those prints - florals, Asian-inspired fabrics, multi-colored chevron or plaid or stripes. Novelty fabrics. Whew. This is what my basketful looked like:

Starting the sort by value:

Since rainbow blocks don’t fit my usual ongoing 2017 projects, I decided to make a scrappy quilt (or 2 if there’s enough fabric) of these babies. But what to do? First I decided the quilt needed to meet a few criteria:

1.  No HSTs.  I do enough of those darn things in my regular blocks. I need a break!
2.  Must use all values; bright, dark, light, pastel
3.  Pattern must allow all fabrics to play together yet provide contrast and interest.

That was a tall order, but I keep a lot of quilt idea boards on my Pinterest, and found the perfect quilt that I had pinned from Wanda at Exuberant Color.  (March, 2013).

These are 10-inch blocks and each one uses four fabrics/values and flip triangles instead of HSTs, although there is no reason that it can’t use even more in a given block. I am so stoked!!!  So, I hope to have several blocks or a half quilt to show you next week!  And speaking of quilts to show, since last month was red and I had some old red and white fabric, I made a little donation baby quilt. I the flimsy last week, but here it is done and quilted in all its relative blandness (and pinned badly to my design board):

I fixed up the wonky border on the left after I took the picture, so it’s nice and neat now. It finished at 42x38”, and my friend Terri has a charity she donates baby quilts to, so she will take this one off my hands. Oh, the binding? Some old Christmas fabric (see below) because..... why not?

I’ve also been working on a couple other things. If you haven’t seen my finished Rainbow Dresdens, visit the last post (click “older post”, below, or visit my Quilt Gallery page, link above).  Once Rainbow Dresdens and the red baby quilt were done, it was back to working on Flower Market, where I am still trimming up HSTs for a border. These are the two possibilities - a chevron style or diamonds. Excuse their wonkiness; I’m still trimming...

Which one do you like better??

Have a great week!

Cathy maroon