Saturday, September 26, 2020

End of the Red, Red Road

 Hi all. I hope you’re all recovering from the sad news of the week. We are still reeling and feeling all the emotions - sad, angry, hopeless, determined. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an icon and champion for equal rights for women. There are so many adjectives to describe her life, her work and her spirit. She will be sorely missed and greatly mourned. I don’t have the words to even begin to describe what her loss means to women and girls and open-minded and fair people of all genders. So I won’t even try.  Yesterday I went through my collection of vintage lace collars and pulled a half dozen that are good RBG reminders. In addition to wearing one often between now and the election (especially in public in this red state), I’m going to offer them to my family and friends who have a daughter or granddaughter who may want to dress up as RBG.

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This past week I finished up my red Creature quilt, Creature With the Ruby Shades. See those cracker blocks, two in each corner? They rather look like sunglasses to me. Yes, I know I have an overactive imagination.

This quilt polished off all my red scraps, including those two red squares with a surfer and shark that Sally sent me. In fact, this quilt was almost named Creature From the Red Surf. Also, I should point out that I see the misssssnake I made with the placement of the bottom right corner strings block. I noticed it when I had laid out the pieces in last week’s picture, and I thought I had fixed it. But noooooo..... Alas, it will remain misssnaken for life.  Creature finished at 42.5 x 50” and was quilted with a simple stipple.

The background and binding is this delightful red gingham print. I have lots more of that and look forward to working with it again.

At month-end I usually do my roundup of Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks in the color of the month. I know it’s not month-end yet, but this is the last Scrappy Saturday of the month, so here goes.

Top Row: Scrap Basket, 7 International Sisters blocks, 1 Waffle test block for 2021 RSC
Middle Row: 19 selvage half hexies (I don’t count the solid pieces), 24 strings blocks, 13 Twin Sisters
Bottom Row: 14 Split Nines, 1 Scraptastic Star and 2 Beachcomber blocks

That’s 82 blocks, plus the red Creature quilt. Oh! and I’ve finished all the Tyrol blocks too. Here are the last four. They now total 20.

I will try to finish sewing the top before the end of the month (four more days!) I have all the sashing and cornerstones cut, so it’ll be pedal to the metal time for the few days. This is a sample - just pinned up on the design board - of what the blocks will look like with the sashing and cornerstones.

My daughter-in-law and I went shopping yesterday and picked up some nice orange print fabric for the backing. So this quilt will be entering the Serious Construction phase soon! And that’s good, because there are three more Christmas quilts waiting in the wings for their turn under the needle.

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On Thursday morning as scheduled, we drew the name of the winner of my Quilty Orphan Adoption giveaway. (The event coordinator was Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework). The winner is NIKKI. I have sent her two emails at the email address she gave, but have not heard back from her yet. I’ll give her until Sunday evening to contact me. If I don’t hear from her by then, we will draw another name. Nikki, if you’re reading this, check your spam folder and contact me immediately! Thanks! 

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Finally, how about a cute cat picture? Because cute cats make everything better. At least that’s what Alfie says!

Linking to Oh Scrap! At Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Cats and Red Scraps

Another busy week here, how about with you? If you have kids in school (online or in person), you’re probably way busier than you want to be. For us retirees, that’s not a factor. But this week did have us running errands (as usual), picking and processing garden vegetables (as usual, but the end is in sight), and going to appointments. Bruce’s myo-electric arm needed some adjustments, and they’ll have it for four days next week to work on an issue.

The highlight of the week, sarcastically speaking, was the annual visit to the vets for Alfalfa and Darla. Bruce and I dread it from the moment we make the appointment; the cats only dread it from the moment the cat carrier comes out a day or two beforehand. Darla is a cagey one, no pun intended. If you even look her in the eye while the carrier is out, she’ll run and hide under the bed. Alfie isn’t as spooked by it. But on the day of their appointment, I couldn’t find either one at lunchtime, and their appointment was at 4:00.  So at about 2-ish I laid down for a nap on the bed, and sure enough, my feline napping companions joined me. And they were still zonked out at 3:40 when Bruce and I each grabbed one and lowered them into their carrier. We turn the carrier upright so we can just lower them into it, using gravity to our advantage. We took the Little Rascals to a new vet clinic because the old vet we went to for years moved away and we’re not going to hoof it across town to follow them. And I didn’t care for one of the doctors at the old place, so it was time to make a change. We’re really glad we did.  The people at the new clinic were wonderful and friendly. Alfie has gained over a pound in the last year, though, so I had to have a talk with him about not wanting to grow into a pony, like Buddy. Alfie pointed out the irony of me telling him to lose weight. Both kitties got their feline leukemia shots and a clean bill of health. 

After we returned home, Alfie decided he liked the new rug at the front door, which was also a purchase on one of my errands this week.  The wind storm of last week tore apart the back door mat, so I needed to replace that. While there, a few little rugs jumped into my cart to replace some of the older worn ones in the house. It’s a nice little refresh for autumn. 

Darla decided to take a nap.  That girl can sleep... and snore. I got the cutest video of her sleeping and snoring, but I’ve been unable to upload it to Blogger. *sigh*

This week in my red sewing, I first tackled the International Sisters blocks. My friend Preeti had sent me several blocks that she’d sewn with a dark gray background. We both agreed that the color and the angles of the background pieces were distracting from the Sisters. So, she sent me the blocks as a gift and I frogged them, replacing the dark gray with Kona Snow which is the background color I’m using for all my International Sister blocks.  

The red sister on the left, below, was made from African fabric sent to me by my hilarious friend (Hurricane) Sally . The fussy cut dress turned out so cool. The Sister on the right was made from my red scrap stash. 

The next three Sisters were all made from African fabric remnants brought over to me from Kenya by my Kenyan friend Marilyn, who runs Harambe Humanitarian

I’m particularly pleased at how the following block’s fabric placement worked out.

And here are all seven Sisters for this month.

I have dozens and dozens of these blocks made, so I need to start assembling some of the wall hangings if I can spare time away from Christmas sewing.

But I did take time this week to try out the waffle blocks that I saw on Nann’s blog.  These aren’t even trimmed yet, but I think they’ll work nicely as one of my Rainbow Scrap projects for 2021.

Each 5.5” quadrant is made with three 1.5x5.5” strips and ten 1.5” squares. I have a ton (well, maybe only a half ton) of those 1.5” squares, so this will be a great way to use them up. Obviously, the four quadrants need to be sewn together to yield one 10.5” (unfinished size) block.

And here are the four Tyrol blocks I sewed during the week. 

That brings my total to 16 of the 20 blocks needed. I want to get those done in the coming week and begin the sashing process. My daughter-in-law Kim and I will be shopping next week for the backing fabric. 

Last but not least is my progress on the red Creature quilt. I always save these quilts until I’ve done all my regular block sewing so I know what scraps and orphan blocks I have to play with. Most of this is just pinned or slapped up on the design wall at this point. There are a few blank spots to be filled in and at least a couple more horizontal strips to add some length. All I know at this point is that the width will be 42 inches. 

I ended up making one more cracker block for a total of 8. That gave me two of them for each corner, so I played with them and came up with this (below). I had to add 1” strips to the corner strip blocks to bring them up to size, but I love the serendipitous play of the angles and colors in this top right corner. 

That's it for this week, but I would like to remind you that the Fall 2020 Quilty Orphan Adoption event is going on over at Cynthia’s blog, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. I have an orphan up for adoption which you can see there (or in my last blog post). I also have a large batch of selvages to give away, and we’ve added those to Cynthia’s selvage giveaway. She’ll be selecting TWO adopters, so if you’re interested in those, please check out her blog post there and leave a comment on her post. 

I think that just about wraps it up for this week. Please stay safe and remain vigilant about masking up, washing hands and keeping your distance from others while in public. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Quilty Orphan Adoption

It’s time for the Fall 2020 Quilty Orphan Adoption event! What is that, you ask? The purpose of the Quilty Orphan Adoption is to allow some of us to offer up unfinished projects to potential adopters to finish. As most quilters can attest, there are projects we all have in our works-in-process that we’ve just fallen out of love with. It happens. Tastes change. Needs change. Sometimes it’s just a case of  “what was I thinking?” 

So, Cynthia Brunz at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework started the Quilty Orphan Adoption event. You can visit the link to see what projects have been put up for adoption. Is there something there that you might fall in love with? With Christmas and gift-giving season coming, the thought of a started and partially-finished project can be enticing. Sort of like a head start! Anyway, these projects are FREE to the adopters, so you can’t beat that. 

So, here is the project I’m putting up for adoption.  I guess I’d better explain.  

The fabric above (shown mostly wrong side up because the pile of 10” squares are sewn right sides together) is this Pepper and Flax fabric line. 

I bought yardage and fat quarters. The project I had intended to make was this Disappearing Pinwheel quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  You can check their site for the video if you’re interested, or I can send the pattern with the fabric. Whatever. 

What I have pictured above are 21 pairs of 10-inch squares sewn right sides together. The next step would be to cut them diagonally both ways to yield four half-square triangles each.  Then they’re squared to 6.5”. That gives you (21x4) 84 HSTs of Kona White plus a color. In addition, I have already cut 12 HSTs and have four more cut out, ready to be sewn.  That will give you a total of (84 + 12 + 4) 100 six-inch HSTs in the above palette to play with. You can set them any way you’d like, use the pattern above, or whatever.  

There are no stipulations on the adoption. Whatever you choose to make you can keep it for yourself, use it as a gift, or donate it to charity. All I ask is that it is not just added to an endless queue that you may already have of unfinished projects. I’d really love to see this quilt come to fruition in the next year or so.   

To win, just leave a comment on this post.  If you are a no-reply blogger, be sure to leave an email address in your comment. You can’t win if we can’t contact you! This adoption will be open until Wednesday, September 23 at midnight MST. On Thursday morning I’ll have DH draw a name from the potential adoptees out of his overly-worn garden hat. LOL. 

And be sure to visit the Quilty Orphan Adoption link-up to see what other goodies are on offer. And a big thanks to Cynthia Brunz for bringing quilters together in this wonderful way. Good luck!

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OH!!! PS - I have contacted Cynthia and added a package of selvages to her Quilty Orphan Adoption offering. So, she is going to pick TWO winners of selvages from those who have expressed an interest ON HER LISTING.  If you’re interested in those, sign up on her blog. This blog post is just for my HSTs. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Red September Sewing

Another week has flown by and all I have to show for it are a bunch of vegetables in the freezer (and in our tummies) and some quilt blocks. But it was really an interesting week. 

The hot Labor Day long weekend (during which we had some family and grandkids visits) gave ‘way to cold temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday. Our temperature variation wasn’t as drastic as Colorado’s, but we did go from mid-nineties (F) down to the low forties within 24 hours. Horrendous winds (up to 100 mph) on Tuesday left thousands without power in Salt Lake City and areas north. Hundreds of trees were torn from the ground and branches snapped. We had a little damage in our neighborhood (not us personally; thankfully we’d just had all the trees pruned), but Cousin Kim in SLC lost a huge tree and a major branch on her apricot tree. Her whole yard, front and back, was littered knee-deep in branches blown in from all over the neighborhood. We had friends without power for a couple days as well. 

As scary as all that wind was, it’s nothing compared to what is happening in California, Oregon and the entire West with all the devastating fires. I grew up in Southern California and remember some scary fire seasons (1962 and 1977), and even remember, as a child, seeing the mountains north of us in the San Gabriel Valley - the foothill cities of Azusa, Monrovia, Arcadia, Sierra Madre and others - glowing red in the dark. Now some of those same areas are on fire again - and, unfortunately, many more. Those fires of decades past, however, were nothing compared to the devastation of 2018 and now 2020. Every year grows hotter and deadlier. Currently California is dealing with huge and deadly infernos, which include three of the four largest fires in California history. And prime fire season in Cali goes through October because of the warm autumns and the Santa Ana winds. My heart goes out to those who are dealing with the fires in the West, even if it is “only” the smoke and orange skies. Be safe, people, and know that the rest of us will do whatever we can to aid you in getting through this.

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Ok, so after that, having a counter-ful of tomatoes to make into sauce seems like a breeze! I don’t have any pictures, but there was also a lot of yellow squash, spaghetti squash, green beens, carrots, onions and grapes to deal with. I think the neighbors draw the blinds when they see me coming, LOL. Seriously, I’m so glad that one of our neighbors has rabbits - because we grew enough carrots to feed all the humans AND rabbits on the block!

But there was plenty of sewing, too. It’s my sanity. I just dug into those red scraps and didn’t come up for air until I had made lots of progress this week. I’ll be linking up to Angela’s blog for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s Scrappy Saturday

Fourteen Split Nine blocks (6.5”):

Two (11.5”) Beachcomber blocks:

And one red Scrap Bucket:

That was going to be all, but then I got going on my red strings and just couldn’t stop.

Twenty-four red string blocks at 6.5” (to finish at 6”). Some of these will probably get used in my red Creature Quilt (single-color quilt that I’ve been making every month). I don’t have that much red in my block orphanage, so this is what the makings of the Red Creature quilt is starting with:

There’s an 8.5” string block from last year that may get cut down. We’ll see. I also have a few more scraps that I’ll be cutting into more 3.5” squares to take up some area. So with that, the additional string blocks and possibly some of the red selvage half hexie blocks, I should have enough to do a small donation quilt. I’ve got a couple weeks to work on it. I also have some red International Sister blocks to sew. 

Darla wanted to help me with the red scraps, but she was too busy watching Kitten Academy on You Tube. We are really big fans of little Bessie, the wobbly kitten. Here’s Darla engrossed in the kitten tunnel antics. Notice that the tunnel is red! 

Finally, I didn’t forget my Tyrol blocks. I’ve been challenging myself to finish four of these every week so that once I get all 20 sewn, I can stitch up the flimsy (with sashing and cornerstones and borders) by month-end. Here are my four for this week.

Yep, they’re starting to look like repeats because, well, that’s the idea. But I can prove to you that I’ve now sewn 12 of the 20 needed.

Of the remaining 8 blocks, all are repeats of the above colors with the exception of one block in dark pink. 

We had a visit to the prosthetist for Bruce to get his arm adjusted. It sounds funny to say that, but most of you know by now that I mean his prosthetic arm. Tweaks and adjustments. It’s a process that will continue until his stump is done stabilizing (shrinking). And I got a fun fabric order from Connecting Threads for a quilt for my son Ryan for Christmas. I’ll show that in a couple months when I start on it - I have three other Christmas quilts to finish first. 

This morning I’ll be preparing the meat and marinade for fajitas tonight. I also bought strawberries at the store yesterday so I can use them with the last of my frozen rhubarb chunks to make strawberry-rhubarb compote. We’ll have that with the fajitas tonight because the freezer is already filled with gobs (technical term) of compote. And I’ll also be prepping a batch of six Egg McMuffins (English muffins, Canadian bacon, eggs, cheese) to freeze for Bruce’s lunches as needed. I like having them on hand for him. And I’m getting a real hankering for baked apples and some zucchini bread so I’m sure they are in the weekend cooking forecast, too.  All that plus some sewing on Sunday should keep me out of trouble. Ha! We’ll see.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Red (Scrap) Alert

This week felt *almost* like old times - normal. If it weren’t for wearing masks on errands and using a lot of hand sanitizer, I could have almost believed there was no pandemic. We visited the grocery store and Costco together, and I stopped off at the thrift store (to drop off donations in the drive-through), Dillard’s (bought something underthings), and paid a socially-distanced visit to Cousin Carrie’s (Cousin Kim’s sister) to give her all my old beading magazines. Oh! We also went to the Best Friends Animal Shelter to drop off some kennel quilts. I forgot to show them last week. Back in May, our friend Terri dropped off four kennel quilts to us to pass on. 

That put me in the mood to make another batch myself, and I may have shown a half dozen or so before. But last week I finished all 19, and here they are.

So all told, we dropped off 23 kennel quilts. 

Here in the Salt Lake Valley, we had some cooler temperatures for a couple days (seventies) and it was glorious to feel so energetic again instead of moping around like an overheated slug. Summer has taken ‘hold again, but its days are numbered. Autumn is just around the corner!!! Let’s all pause for a moment of dancing and rejoicing!!  .......   ........  ........

OK, time to get back to the Blogpost.

OF COURSE I sewed this week. Cousin Kim and I are back to our sewing days of Sunday and Wednesday, which usually run from about 9:30 or 10 in the morning until 3-3:30-ish. I fix a simple lunch on Sundays and we do our Del Taco run on Wednesdays. Also, we start our sewing mornings with a quick exchange of veggies or a trip out to the garden. Kim brings me zucchini and cherry tomatoes and she gets onions and carrots and Armenian cucumbers from us. We’ll probably be picking the Concord grapes this week. I used to pick them and used my juicer to make grape juice. But then Bruce and I both admitted we really don’t care for grape juice, so I gave Kim the juicer and she gets all the grapes, too! And all the work, LOL. 

Today is the first Scrappy Saturday of September. Our color for this month is red. It’s been a year and a half (since January 2019) since red has been the monthly color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. And I am more than ready to whip those scraps into shape! First, I attacked the selvages. As usual, I sewed them into strips and then used my Accuquilt Go! Baby to turn them into half hexagons. I also cut some red fabric pieces to go along with them. 

Some of them may end up in the red Creature quilt at the end of the month; we’ll see.  Next up were the Twin Sisters blocks - thirteen.

Normally that’s all I seem to get accomplished during the first week, but I was a sewing fool this week, so there is also the red Scraptastic Star that I made.

After all that red, I got to work on some blocks for the Tyrol quilt I’m making. My goal is to sew four per week, and this week I sewed numbers 5-8 out of twenty needed. 

The quilt is from a free pattern called Florabelle Bloom, but I’ll be changing it up a little. :-)

And here are the first eight blocks, although there will be sashing when they’re actually sewn together. 

So, that just about brings things up to date from our little corner of the world. We are going to see Bruce’s daughter Stacy and her family over the long Labor Day weekend. Yay! (Muahahaha... another group to foist carrots and onions and grapes and tomatoes on!)