Saturday, March 30, 2019

Going Out Like a Green Lion

March came in like a lion and was supposed to go out like a lamb, but we’ve had snow and rain the last couple days. And it’s forecast for the remainder of the weekend. *Sigh*. At least the grass is beginning to green up, even as we say goodbye to the March color of the month, green, this weekend at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Scrappy Saturday link-up.

I have no new green blocks to share this week, but I always like to do a summary of the blocks made during the month.

This month I made:
12     Garlic Knot 8.5” blocks
16     9-Patch Variation blocks, 6.5”
4       Crumb blocks, which I combined with last year’s blocks to sew into 5
                Crumbcakes blocks at 13.5”
8       Anvil blocks, 8.5”
12     Cracker blocks, 7.75”
8       String blocks, 9.5”
4       Selvage 4-Patches, 8.5”
1       Row of Green selvage and fabric tumblers
2       Bitcoin blocks, which I forgot to photograph!!
Total:  67 blocks/rows. A good, productive sewing month.

This week I finished quilting and binding another donation quilt for Hands2Help. I showed you the flimsy of Place Your Bet (a stacked coins quilt) last week. Here is the finished quilt.

Again, not a glamorous finish, but a serviceable masculine donation quilt. Place Your Bet measures 55x66” and I used a quick and simple stipple to quilt it.

That brought my total quilts finished for March to 6. The two elephant quilts were already tops, the Blues quilt in the upper right of the collage came from the parts department, and Birds in the Lattice was professionally quilted. So I had a good, early start. Since I had zero finishes in February, it sort of evens out. And the finishes for the first quarter total 9 quilts, averaging about 3 per month.

I’ve got 3 little blanket/quilt-type finishes that I’ll show next month. I’ve been making them for Jack’s Basket, one of the Hands2Help charities. I have one more that I may make, so once I decide to do it or not, I’ll show the 3-4 finishes. One of the finishes is just double flannel blanket (no batting), two are cotton and flannel whole-cloth baby quilts with batting, and the fourth will be a cotton fabric whole-cloth baby quilt. These top out at 36” square, so I’m not even counting them in my quilt make totals. So it’s been a lot of sewing.

Now, picture me here drumming my fingers, waiting for spring to return. Bruce is ready to get our bicycles all fixed up (tires lined and pumped, bikes oiled and cleaned, etc) if it will stop raining and snowing. He did get to spend all of one afternoon outside, weeding the vegetable garden beds. We’re anxious to get out and do some yard clean-up and dead bush removal. Our snowball bush on the east side yard died over the winter. It was looking pretty bad last year, so we suspected we’d lose it. I’m thinking I might find a nice rose bush to replace it with, because roses are always the answer with me, LOL. Hurry up, Spring!!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Another Finish and Some Pillowcases

Earlier this week I finished a tumbler wall hanging that I put on my To Be Finished list for the first quarter of the 2019 Finish-Along calendar.

The link for all our finishes will be open on April 1st, but I need to get this shared and blogged first! I’ve had these Bonnie and Camille fabrics for a couple years at least, and have almost given them away a couple times. But I forced myself to add this make to my list, and using my tumbler die (and Go! Baby cutter) cut the pieces out last December. This week I sewed them together, and in no time it was done. Why did I wait so long?

It’s now hanging in our mostly-gray living room, on a hanger that is probably too big for it. But oh well. I like to add bits of color here and there in the decor for a little punch. In the following pictures, you’ll see that I already have some teal blues and reds here and there. The Talavera vase in the picture below is normally by the fireplace. I just moved it to include in this picture (which was dumb, because it’s not in the bigger picture below, where it should be). 

This is goal #8 on my Finish-Along (2019 First Quarter) list, which you can see HERE. The finished wall hanging measures 26x32”. I quilted it simply by just doing a straight stitch 1/4” on each side of the seam lines. 

Yeah, that hanger is too big for the wall hanging, but the size of the wall hanging itself is good for the room. I have to go on the hunt for some alternate hangers for different-sized wall hangings as I make them (I do have on on my list to make next quarter that is more summer themed). 

And Cousin Kim was over to hang out and sew again today (our second time this week because our schedules allowed it! YAY!). On Sunday we decided we’d make pillowcases today. So we picked out some fabrics we loved (or that I wanted to get rid of, hehehe), and I had them all cut up for us and ready to sew.  

Kim took hers home (no picture), but I did snap pictures of the ones I made. First, we have the four that will go to some sort of charity (Million Pillowcase Challenge? One of the H2H charities? I have to do some research...)

I was about an inch short on the Joel Dewberry fabric (the large print), so the cuff of the pillowcase second from left ended an inch shorter than the rest. Otherwise, they’re identically sized (but may not look like it because of how they’re folded or photographed). They are so easy and quick to make and have wonderful finished seams inside and out.

And of course, I had to make a couple to keep. The right one, below, will be for me to sleep on. The cuff is the same fabric from Birds in the Lattice, which is on the bed. I wish there had been enough blue fabric left over to do two matching pillowcases - I would have loved to use it for the body of the case. The other yellow, gray and white one will go on the guest bed. I will be making a new quilt for that come next quarter. But first we have some painting and carpet cleaning to do in there (which I’ve been putting off for six months). 

So, I’ve gotten a lot of little odds and ends sewn this week as I wait for the new color for April to be announced for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Yesterday I basted the stacked coins donation quilt I’m making. If I can get that quilted and bound tomorrow and Saturday I may have one more finish for the month. We’ll see!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Got Green? Place Your Bet!

We are not gambling here at Crazy by Design! The green refers to green fabric scraps, which is the color of the month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. And “Place Your Bet” is the name that Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict gave to one of the quilts she designed for her Rockin’ Rectangles series earlier in the year. I’m making one for the donation quilt pile, but we’ll get into that later in the post.

For now, let’s talk about the green blocks that have come together in the sewing room this week. First, since I have so many green strings, there are 8 string blocks. They measure 9.5” each.

This year I am taking the 6.5” crumb blocks I made last year and sewing them with black sashing into 13.5” blocks that I call Crumbcakes. I had 16 dark and light green 6.5” blocks that made 4 Crumbcakes. But I sewed 4 more 6.5” crumb blocks, which is what I’m counting in my tally of made blocks, and that got made into another block for a total of 5 Crumbcakes.

The green scraps have been put away for this year, but you can see more fun green blocks at Angela’s Scrappy Saturday linkup.

So now it’s time to Place Your Bet!  As I’ve mentioned before, this year I’m trying to focus a little more (not exclusively, but more) on charity quilts that are either gender neutral or for boys. I realize that in this day and age, the traditional pink for girls and blue for boys isn’t always a hard rule. But what 10-year old boy is going to want something pink and flowery? When Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict introduced her cute Place Your Bet quilt as an idea for a quick donation quilt for Hands 2 Help, I was smitten. I have had way too many car-themed scraps left over from the Hot Rod quilt I made for my brother last year.

I began sewing small strips together with white on either short end. Stacking them this way is called a coin quilt, hence Sarah’s name of Place Your Bet.  I used two constants to tie the myriad pieces together. The first was a dark navy swirly print (in both of the next pictures) and lighter blue-gray with reddish dots (thanks for the scraps, Mari!).

I went through my bin of multi-colored scraps - those that don’t neatly fit into one color category - and added anything with blue, green, red, gold, gray or black. And every single transportation-themed thing I could get rid of find.

It was easy sewing, and by the second afternoon, I had a flimsy. Now, I know it’s not the most exciting quilt, but I think it will be a good addition to the donation pile. The white is Kona White and the gray is also Kona, but I can’t remember which one and I’m not going to go pull out my color card to check.  :-)

I still have to piece the back, but most of it will be this leftover Joel Dewberry print. The rest will be more gray. It’s just pinned over the top for now on the design board. That’s how I make sure my quilt backs are big enough.

I did manage to finish something this week, too. One of my Finish-Along goals for the first quarter of the year is to get at least 4 kennel quilts made using leftover parts (blocks, squares, etc) from the Parts Department. This is goal #11 on my list, which is HERE.

These kennel quilts measure between 12-15” on one side and between 15-20” on the other side. They are scrappy, combining the cat fabric parts with other scrappy leftovers from my stash. Kennel quilts are sewn simply (right sides together with batting, then turned and stitched closed. They’re topstitched around the perimeter (reduces bulk of the turned batting, gives it a finished look, and doubly secures the edges).

Then I quilt them very simply with a walking foot and a wavy stitch. These aren’t washed yet, but they will be before sending them off. The backings are pictured below. These four will get mailed off next week to one of the Nebraska pet shelters that is asking for help because of all the flooding. Must keep the rescued fur babies warm and comfortable!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to this week. What are you sewing? Will you be participating with Hands 2 Help? Do you do other charity sewing? I’d love to hear what you do!

Oh, one more thing..... I had the best day yesterday. One of our local quilt shops, Quilts, Etc., is having their annual March Madness sale yesterday and today. I have been looking forward to this since last year - it is absolutely the best sale of the year of any of our local quilt shops (and there are plenty). I got there 15 minutes before opening yesterday, and there was a line a block long already. Seriously. They had a room of $4.49/yard fabric and even a table of $2.99 fabric for charity quilts (I got some blue elephant fabric from that table). My treasures also included a couple dozen other pieces including a couple large cuts for backing, lots of basics, some pirate fabric and some giraffe fabric for donation quilts, AND the last of a bolt (less than 3 yards) of an ombre fabric (blue-green-yellow) from which I’d like to try some sort of forest or jungle or under-the-sea type quilt. I’ll have to think on that one!

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Blues - a Quilt Finish

For lack of a better name, I’ve been calling this quilt The Blues. It doesn’t give me the blues - in fact, it makes me rather happy - but it is mostly from leftover blue quilt blocks that have been sitting in the Parts Department for far too long.

It was my Goal #10 for the 1st Quarter 2019 Finish-Along, which you can see HERE.

You can see I had to add in 4 green blocks (corners) and some other multi-colored blocks in the center column, but it did knock out most of the blue blocks I had as well as some other blue “parts”. I love how the blue pieces came together in the center row, third block down, to make what looks to me like a necktie! Kind of a bow tie and necktie together, hehe.

I used all the leftover gray swiss dot I had to do the sashing, but ran out before I was able to do sashes across the top or bottom. But that’s OK - it measures a cozy 44x54” (before I washed it; it shrank a couple inches in each direction after). The batting was Franken-pieced Warm and Plush.

The backing was a 2-yard piece I’d won in a contest last year, and even the binding was pieced from leftover bits of other projects.

The quilting was simple loops, using the remains of two different blue spools. A true scrappy project through and through. This child-sized quilt will be donated to one of the Hands 2 Help charities this spring. The donation stack is growing!!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Lots of Green Scraps Tamed

This week just flew by! The weather changed about every other day from rain to warm to snow to warm again. “Warm” is relative - in the forties (Fahrenheit). Nice enough to actually feel the sun and believe that spring is coming. There are a few spring bulbs poking their heads up, so I’m hopeful that Old Man Winter is on his last legs. Serves the old buzzard right!

It was fun to sew with green this week, and that’s about all I did in the studio. Cut scraps, press, sew. First up were the Anvil blocks. That third one down on the right looks like aqua, but it really is green. It’s much more clear when it’s up against blue. I haven’t decided about how to set them yet, but if the blocks are set in 4’s, I’ll have to see how that block plays. If the blocks are set randomly, it won’t matter. 

Next up was the nine-patch variation blocks. I am leaning toward sewing them together as they are shown here, although these are not sewn, just hanging around on the design board. I love these blocks!

And I’ve added a new block to the rotation - garlic knots. I’m using the same 2.5” squares as in the above blocks.  I made 12 of them. 

My Crumbcake blocks - those will be sewn next week - are almost finished. After green, there are only 7 little 6” blocks to sew. I’m thinking I’ll wrap that one up in April, so adding in the green garlic knots this week is good because I was drowning in green scraps. But I’ve got a couple ideas up my sleeve to whip the green scraps into submission! 

Also, I fixed the wonky patch in last week’s selvage block.  Much better 

Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day! Do you cook anything special or celebrate in any way? We don’t (but Bruce loves that Guinness beer is always on sale in March!!)

Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Lattice Birds - It’s a Finish!

It’s like having a baby. I know I’ve said that before, but sometimes finishing a quilt (especially one that takes more than 9 months to make) feels like having a baby. And my new baby is Lattice Birds.

First, let me apologize for the less-than-stellar photos. Well heck, all my photos are less than stellar. But I am hoping that when the weather warms up (and the damp grass and mud, etc) disappear, perhaps we can take this out for some nice photos. We’ll see.

This project was started at the very beginning of 2018, although I had planned it out during the fall of 2017. I wanted birds alternating with Irish Chain to mimic the effect of lattice. We have grape vines that grow in our backyard along a lattice wall that protects the patio from the afternoon sun. Every few years we’ll get bluebirds in there who build nests and raise a clutch or two of hatchlings. So, that’s where the idea for the quilt came from.

As I have occasionally mentioned (more often when I first started this project), I first purchased the Feathers pattern from The Pattern Basket (Margot Langedouc). I found the
directions confusing and cumbersome (probably a little bit her and a little bit me, LOL), and anyway it made a 8” finished block. I needed a 10” block to alternate with the Irish Chain. So, I found a free picture/pattern online at, but that site doesn’t seem to be online anymore. But it’s in my Pinterest board under Tutorials.

Anyway, it showed a basic picture for a nearly identical bird to Margot’s, and I don’t know whose bird was first. Regardless, I didn’t use either pattern exactly, but altered them for my needs. The main differences are that: (1) the bird is set in a 10” square, (2) the wing has a flip corner in front (thanks, Sally) to round it, (3) the tail is shorter and (4) there is no fussy micro-piecing for the beak. I made it as a prairie point and inserted it into the seam near the head, then stitched it down.

So please excuse me if I refer to these as “my birds” and “my quilt design”. I own the quilt; it’s a derivative design for personal use, and I have made the proper attributions in the previous paragraph. I only mention it because I had an anonymous reaming last year by someone who took exception to me calling them mine.

Lattice Birds used primarily Kona White and Kona Ocean (blue), but the colors were inspired by the floral fabric I used in the center patches of the Irish Chains, the border, the back and in some of the blue birds. The feature fabric is called Maggie, and it’s from Tamara Kate’s line called Frolic from a couple years ago. 

The quilting was done by Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting. Diane is the author of two books, Scrap Quilt Secrets and Strip Quilt Secrets, which I’ve mentioned here on my blog before. Strip Quilt Secrets is a great book and I’ve already picked out several of her quilts I want to do!  Diane quilted it in a pattern called Tweet Tweet with light blue thread. Below you can see not only the flowers and swirls, but the hint of a bird, beak and wing just in front of the yellow/pink bird below. 

Diane did a lovely job (thank you!), is very reasonably priced, and it was a really quick turnaround. I guess I lucked out with the timing!! I highly recommend her quilting services (and book!)

Lattice Birds measures about 88x108”.  It’s huge on our queen-sized bed, but I’m expecting it to shrink a couple inches in each direction when laundered.  :-)

And Darla approves, so what more could you ask?? She did say that now that I’m done sewing birds, I should start on a FISH quilt....

Lattice Birds was my #1 Goal for the first quarter Finish-Along. You can see my goal list HERE.  I’m also linking up to Sarah’s “Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?” Friday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Here Come the Elephants - Now Where is the Sun??

It’s green March for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, but there is nothing but gray clouds and white snow outside. And rain. Apparently the weather can’t make up its mind, which is a sure sign that spring is almost here. And since nothing is greening up outside yet, it seems a good time to play with our green fabric scraps indoors. Join me and the other RSC scrappy playmates with our green show and tell for the week over at Angela’s Scrappy Saturday

I like to start out my month by working with the selvages. These are my four 4-patch selvage blocks. I do sew them together into one big block, but as you can see, one is turned wrong. Actually, it was pieced wrong. Should I leave it wonky or fix it?? 

And then I did my row of green tumblers, alternating selvage tumblers with a solid piece of fabric in various green prints. Since green follows yellow in the rainbow, these two rows will actually go together in the actual little quilt.

And next I like to get the crackers out of the way, since they take 5” squares. Those are the biggest component parts for all my RSC blocks this year, so I do them before I really start cutting into the chunks for other things.  I had enough green to get 12 cracker blocks. They measure 7.75” unfinished.

And then it was time to knock out those two elephant donation quilts. They are both made from the 10” Happy Blocks I  sewed while on vacation last month. The first quilt, creatively named Elephants I (my imagination is as dull as the weather these days) was quilted with a loopy design. As in all these pictures, the wonkiness is from how I pin these quilts up on the design board. Maybe I should learn to photograph them on the floor.....

Three leftover blocks were sewn into the back. It was fun to put all these random chunks and strips of fabrics together to come up with some sort of  passable backing. Those two horizontal orangey strips are leftovers from the Saguaro Sunset quilt ombre fabric.

And here is Elephants II. The quilting is a simple stipple.

The backing on this also contains, in addition to the blah tan that I can’t wait to be rid of, three more elephant blocks. This completes Goal #5 on my Finish-Along list for the 1st quarter of this year. You can see my list HERE.  The two quilts together were also my March goal for OMG - One Monthly Goal (two monthly goals? LOL)  I’ll link up to that finish post when it goes live at the end of the month. (Edited to add: OK - it’s live now. HERE is the March finish link-up for One Monthly Goal).

The two elephant quilts will both be for donation. Wouldn’t it be great if they went to two siblings who both love elephants? I figure the colors and theme are gender neutral.  My stack of donation quilts is getting pretty big, so I’m glad that Hands2Help and the charity opportunities are just around the corner! 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A Busy Week

If the first week of March is any indication, then it’s going to be a busy month! This was Bruce’s first full week of retirement (or re-retirement as we call it. He retired once about 9 years ago, was home for 3-4 months, began volunteering at The Leonardo Museum, then they hired him part-time, then full-time, etc etc. He worked there for 8 years!)

We ran all sorts of errands this week between continual rain showers. Not complaining about the rain; it’s better than drought. And at least it’s rain and not snow, although I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the snow this season. I’m hoping it warms up for next week, which is my birthday week. Last year I got a bicycle and was out riding it in shirtsleeves.... We did treat ourselves to some cut flowers to brighten things up a bit. I had another pic that was a better view of these tulips and daffodils (bought from Trader Joe’s), but it wouldn’t upload. Oh well. I’m also preparing for a joint birthday party for my older son Ryan and me this weekend, reading two very good books, and just generally enjoying having Bruce home these days!

And another cool thing - I already have my Lattice Birds quilt back from the quilter! I sent it to Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting and apparently caught her at a good time (between Quiltcon and a family vacation) when she had nothing in the pipeline. I sent it off on a Thursday (a week ago today), from Utah to Georgia. She got it Saturday and sent it back to me on Monday. I had it yesterday, Wednesday. How cool is that? But the best part, of course, was the amazing quilting she did.  I will get the binding on in the next couple days, but I’m going to have to wait for some decent weather to take some glamour shots.

In the meantime, though, I do have the two elephant quilts basted. The one on the left is spray basted, the right one is pin basted. I’m not at all happy at how wrinkled the back gets when you spray baste the quilt layer by layer. But we’ll see how the quilting goes. Yesterday I quilted the pin-based one and will start on the spray basted one today. I’ll show completed pictures when they’re done.

And I bought another sewing machine!!  This one has actually been planned for at least 2-3 months. Meet Sofie, the Singer Featherweight!

Sofie was born sometime in 1968-1969 in Kilbowie, Scotland, UK (She is a 221K, with the K referring to Kilbowie).  She has all her parts, a case and foot pedal, a light, and is in excellent condition. I got a screaming deal on her ($350) from a friend at Weight Watchers (yes, I still go - I’ve maintained my current weight for a year after losing 30-35 pounds, and am now gearing up to  lose the next 30). Anyway, this machine is not for me - I bought it for Cousin Kim. Her old Kenmore is dying a slow death, just like my Kenmore is. Both of our Kens still work, but their motors are weary and have lost most of their power. So Kim’s been using my Brother Innova (“Bob”) when she sews here. But I wanted her to have a nice machine for her home, and she prefers solid vintage machines, so Sofie will be hers.

Now, our next sewing machine project is to get my Singer treadle up and running. That is a project for later in the year. Then I can sew if there’s no power! I also have an old 1951 electric (don’t remember the brand offhand) that is a tank that I need to pass on to someone. I don’t think that Bruce or the repair shop are up to the task of fixing it. Have I ever shown that one? I don’t think so.....   but I digress....

And then I got a wild hair this week to piece a quilt from some of the blocks in the Parts Department. This is what I came up with.

I had hoped to get something out of just all the blue blocks, but there weren’t enough. So I added four green ones (quarter log cabins); one in each corner. That still wasn’t quite enough, so the bottom center block is actually 4 multi-colored quarter logs in warmer hues. And the block above that is just made up of random pieces and squares. I love how the upper right part of that, pieced from a couple different things, looks like a men’s tie. Anyway, this one is also basted and will be quilted soon. It’ll finish at about 44x54”. I’ve got a white with gray swiss dot fabric as sashing, also a scrap, but there wasn’t enough to add a final border to the top or bottom.

So that’s what I’ve been up to this week. I’ve also been sewing on my green scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and will be showing some of my green blocks in Saturday’s post and linky party. But between the blue flimsy above, plus the elephants and birds quilts, I will have four finishes in the next week. But I’m not going to think farther ahead than that until I get them done, photographed and blogged.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Setting a Goal for March

Today Angela at So Scrappy quilts announced the March color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - GREEN! I look forward to digging out my large drawerful of scraps and getting started, but that’s not what today’s post is about.

Instead, I’m setting my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for March, and linking up to Patty at Elm Street Quilts. 

Last month, I sewed up a bunch (66 to be exact) 10” Happy Blocks with some cute elephant fabric in the center. I was able to get two flimsies sewn before the end of February, each with 30 blocks. So, the 5x6 setting for each quilt top measures 50x60”, which is a great size for a donation quilt.  My goal for March is to finish these two flimsies into quilts.  I only have a taken a picture of one, so here it is.

I’ve already sewn up the two backs, using three leftover elephant blocks in each, along with lots of yardage pieces that have been in my stash for too long. So, both tops are ready to be layered and quilted. I’ll be doing that myself on Bernadette, my Bernina 550. I have no idea (yet) what the binding will be.  

When they are finished, I will post pictures of both quilts, front and back. :-)  

Since I didn’t have any quilt finishes in February, I will be shooting for 4 finishes in March. Given that I finished an entire flimsy today from the Parts Department (for another post), that the 2 elephant tops are ready to be basted, and that Lattice Birds will only need to have binding sewn on when it gets home from the quilter, I think it should be totally doable!