Saturday, January 30, 2021

Pink January Recap, SAHRR, and a Couple New Finishes

This was a fun sewing week, because after finishing all my pink goals for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) and Quilts for Kids (QFK), I got to sew on things for me. But first, let me recap my scrappy pink sewing for January. I’m linking up to the weekly Scrappy Saturday link party.

My square in a square blocks ended up totaling 32 - sixteen pink diamonds framed in black and 16 pink diamonds framed in white. Then there were a mess of string blocks - and all of them went into one of the QFK pink quilts I sewed. They supplemented the 14 or so that I had left over from last year. My favorite blocks are the 12.5” (unfinished size) spring stars, and then to round it out there were 12 small 5.5” waffle blocks that were sewn into three 10.5” square blocks. 

Here are the six pink quilts I sewed from scraps and donated cuts of fabric. The quilts are all finished and labeled for delivery to our local Salt Lake City QFK chapter.

The information about each quilt can be found in my 2021 Quilts tab above under the blog header.

So, what did I do this week, then? First, I finished my table runner for the Table Scraps Challenge. We get “bonus points” (hehe) for including the RSC color of the month. You can see mine does have pink in addition to the red and white heart fabric. My primary goal was to use up this old blue scrap of Pam Kitty fabric that I got once in a grab bag. The blue double wedding ring print was only about 12” by width of fabric and had roses with red and pink in it. So there it is - not overly frou-frou or Valentine-y, but suggestive of it.  I’ll link up to the January Table Scraps link party when it goes live.

And then I sewed together my Beachcomber blocks, but I made a misssssssssnake in the last seam and two yellow blocks ended up smack dab next to each other. So, it has a date with my seam ripper and will have to wait until next week or later for a reveal. It will be a February goal to get that RSC project completed.

Next I finished up this week’s round for the Stay At Home Round Robin (SAHRR). This week’s hostess, Emily of The Darling Dogwood called PLUS blocks for this week’s round. But before sewing that round, I first had to cure something that was bothering me about my block. 

I know that green and red exclusively looks Christmas-y, even when it’s not intended to be. I thought that by adding a color that appeared in one of the prints, salmon, I could give the succeeding rounds more options. Instead, I think it narrowed my options and did little in the way of contrast. So, with the help of my trusty seam ripper, I replaced the central square in the original center block and replaced all the salmon with navy. Much better.  Here is what my starting block looks like after the fix. Before is on the left, after is on the right.

With that completed, I proceeded to the next round, which were those PLUS blocks. Yes, this should work.

Because I’m not a big fan of square quilts, I decided to make mine rectangular. To that end, I only added the plus blocks along the top and bottom.  The quilt now measures 18.5 x 24.5”, and I’m well set up to play with red, navy and green as I move forward.  Excuse the wonkiness - I should’ve paid more attention to pressing or pinning it up on the board before snapping a picture.

And finally, I did have a finish. I love the zipper blocks that Sally introduced me to (original pattern by Lynn Dykstra of Klein Meisje Quilts).  I’m calling my quilt Zipperumpazoo - after one of my favorite (and my kids’ favorite) books by Mercer Mayer

The picture is taken out in the back yard on the lumpy and frozen winter grass. It started raining shortly after I was done, so I’m glad I timed it right! Zipperumpazoo finished at 66x81” and was quilted with serpentine vertical lines. 

The backing came from a duvet cover that Cousin Kim’s daughter Sarah gave her. Kim and I each took one side, so both our zipper quilts have the same backing. I always love a no-seams backing!!

This quilt is for me, and I’ve already started using it to wrap up in while watching TV. Wait, we never (or rarely) watch TV (except currently watching All Creatures Great and Small on Masterpiece) . So, I guess I should say I use it in the evenings when we read, or play/surf on our tablets. 

We’ll see my son Ryan and DIL Kim briefly later today as they stop by to pick up our birthday card and present for their son (our Grandson) Easton. He’s up in Logan, a 2-hour drive, staying at college. Last week he finished all his engineering finals, so he is set to graduate in engineering in May. Then, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, he’ll go directly into the US Navy’s Nuclear Engineering program. We don’t know yet where he’ll be stationed. 

Other than that, nothing else is really new, except that we have started double-masking out of an “abundance of caution”, as they say. Or an abundance of paranoia, since these new more contagious strains of COVID have surfaced in the US. We’re weeks away from getting a vaccine, so I don’t want to blow it now! 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Adiós y Vaya con Dios

I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today, life is good today

From “Toes” by Zac Brown Band (2006) 

Ah yes, that’s been my theme song this week. The mood sums up how I feel about the new Administration, but the title of this blogpost (and the most remembered line of that same song) is probably way more charitable than I’d care to be with the fat orange guy. Anyway, wasn’t Amanda Gorman’s poetic recitation at the Inauguration just amazing? It gives me chills that someone so young can craft words that evoke powerful images and send chills up my spine. 

Well, the new Administration is off to a running start, and I’m about ready to stop running with pink and finish up. It’s all good. This is what I got accomplished this week.

For the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC), I finished up my last two pink quilts that are child donation quilts for Quilts for Kids. That’s makes my total 6 for Pink January, and I am DONE (done, I say!) with pink quilts for this year! 

This quilt of 6” string blocks and other miscellaneous 6” blocks (or pieces of fabric) finished at 42x48”. I quilted it in hooks and swirls.

The backing and binding were from a chunk of yardage that my friend Angie sent me last fall. They are cute little dolls that would’ve made a cute quilt in their own right, but I was well and truly running out of backing fabric!

And the final pink quilt was made from 4” squares (finished) along with some solid pinks for accent. This quilt measures 40x48” and was quilted with vine-y loops. 

As I mentioned, I was running out of backing fabric possibilities, so this was a real hodgepodge of three width-of-fabric bits I had left.

And the other pink sewing was just re-doing some of these square-in-a-square blocks (and adding a few) so that I had 16 edged in white and 16 edged in black. They measure 4.5” in their unfinished state. Originally I had started with 25 white ones. But I have way more black scraps, so after a bit of unpicking and some additional sewing, I feel that these have more potential as I move forward with other colors.

As usual, I’m linking up all my scrappy pinkness to the Scrappy Saturday post at Angela’s blog. Come see how others in the RSC are whipping their pink scraps into shape!

I am working on a table topper to join in the Table Scraps Challenge, which we will reveal next Saturday. But all I’m going to show you is a little peek. It does have a bit of pink shirting in it, as you can see. The full reveal will be next Saturday (after it’s quilted and bound). 

You may recall that last week I showed my center block for the Stay At Home Round Robin (SAHRR). I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate.

Well, the first border was called by Chris and it was piano keys. How could I resist? Yep, I got sucked in. First, I sewed a 1” green stop border around the center block, then added 1.5x2.5” piano keys. I also wanted to add more of the third color (a salmon that you can see in the two green floral prints) so it wouldn’t get lost. They became 2.5” cornerstones. 

The block now measures 18.5”, which may be a little large at this stage of the game. But I can always skip a round or alter/downsize a round, so there’s that. I’m sure this will end up as a gift quilt anyway, because it’s so far a bit too matchy-matchy. But we’ll see where it goes! I’m going to link up to the SAHRR Round 2 Linky Party

And finally, I sewed three more of these Wishing Ring blocks from the floral fabric for a total of four blocks. I’ll just sew these until I run out of fabric, then add soft-colored blocks as well. No plans other than to just enjoy the process.

In the coming week I hope to baste and quilt my Zipper quilt so I can count is as a January finish. And if there’s time, I may do another (NOT PINK) kid quilt for Quilts for Kids. I’ve got to go make a delivery of quilts to them because I have about 14 quilts here that I’ve made (and some that I’ve just quilted for others) and I’m out of labels. 

Have a good week, and be safe out there! The virus is still raging. Let’s just sew!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Back in the Pink - Three Finishes

So, for all my moping and dark moodiness last week (I figure we’re all allowed that every now and then, especially when there’s been an attempted insurrection on the Capitol), I’m much more cheerful this week. I finally decided that walks in the all-too-rare winter sunshine, plus more fruits and veggies (and less comfort food), along with a good dose of “pull up your Big Girl panties, girlfriend” self talk would do the trick. And it did. Everything isn’t all roses and rainbows, but there sure is a lot of pink and teddy bears, bunnies and happy scraps in this week’s sewing effort. So, I’ll be joining up with the sewists of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s Scrappy Saturday to share my pink progress.

The first thing that happened was the quilting and binding of this pink sock monkey quilt.

Pink Sock Monkeys, like all the quilts I’m showing today, are pink scrap quilts headed to our local chapter (Salt Lake City) of Quilts for Kids. It was quilted in a large stipple, backed with more pink monkey fabric and bound with a pink scrap. It measures 42.5x47”,

Last week I showed the finished flimsy (top) of this teddy bear and bunny top along with some stars. This week it too was quilted and bound.

Bears and Buns (hehe) was quilted with a stipple again and finished at 41x48”. The binding is just folded over from the backing. The backing is a pink and white stripe that looks great as binding at the top and bottom, but not so great on the sides. Oh well.  

Since these are relatively small child-sized quilts I tend to baste, quilt and bind them in groups. The third quilt finished this week was the one below with Raggedy Ann and Andy. I had a bit of a fussy time with the companion fabrics. Everything my stash that “matched” up close did not look good from a few feet away. It’s one of those cool pink prints where I couldn’t pull out the pink floral elements, the blue of Andy’s pants, or the red stripes of their socks. It just looked jarring (making the red in the sock monkey quilt above look tame by comparison). So, I stuck with pinks. I guess that’s why companion prints are so popular.

The whiteish print with large pink polka dots is a Tula Pink fabric from her Tabby Road collection. The problem is that it was printed REALLY off-kilter, which I learned when I cut the fabric for width-of-fabric strips between the darker pink sashing. Um.... it looked nauseating. So, Plan B was to cut them up into 6.5” blocks so I could straighten them up (much better!) and add some unobtrusive yet sorta-matching pinks. It worked well enough. 

This one was backed with the same striped pink fabric and quilted with hearts and loops to echo the hearts in the print.  It finished at 40.5x46.5”.

There are two more quilts that will be made from pink scraps this month. Right now they’re either a flimsy or just pinned on the design board.  Here’s the first one - the flimsy. It consists of 4.5” squares (except the two center blocks which were in the Orphanage and unused in last year’s Creature From the Bubblegum Factory quilt. 

And then finally, I had a lot of 6.5” (unfinished) string blocks and a few other 6” blocks. But I needed a few more, so with all the scraps and strips from the above quilts, I was able to sew up six more string blocks and added them to the mix. This is what I’ve got up on the design board for now.

There are 9 total “other” blocks mixed in - the four corners, then three 4-patches, a square in square of HSTs, and a plain 6” patch. After this, I don’t know if I’ll even have enough crumbs left over to do any crumb blocks! However, I do have some Wishing Ring blocks planned, and I made the first one.

The fabric is a rose print that I’ve had for 15-16 years, and I love it. I’m calling it pink, but it has green, yellow and pale peach areas as well. The cut of fabric that I have will make about 12 of these blocks (made of 2.5” squares, so it will finish at 10”). I’ll need other soft colors to go along with it, so as we get to yellows or peaches or pale greens or whatever, I’ll make companion blocks. No specific plan yet other than to just keep making these and see where it goes....

I still plan to make a couple pink (or pink and red) placemats for Valentine's Day for Bruce and I to go along with Joy’s Table Scraps Challenge.  I’m thinking of participating in the SAHRR (Stay at Home Round Robin), using this old orphan block as my center:

And when I say that I’m thinking about it, it means that in my more lucid moments I will definitely NOT be playing along. But the crazy moments seem to outnumber the rational ones these days, and I’m thinking “why not?”. It’s not like I have anything else to do! hahahahaha.  So, we’ll see. This may be the first and last you hear about it. Or the clue for the first round of blocks may just suck me in even deeper.... and it will be a good way to get rid of some of those red/green/orange Bonnie and Camille cuts I have that don’t play well with too many other things....

And there is one more sew-along having to do with linens and hankies that I’ve started on (very underwhelming start, I might add). I may or may not continue on that at the present time, although it should be a higher priority than the one listed above. But we’ll see how much I can get done of all the other stuff in the second half of the month. Am I getting tired of pink yet? Um, you could say that. But looking on the bright side, I am no longer swimming in pink scraps!!

Have a great (and peaceful and healthy) week, friends!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

What a Week

I think Baby 2021 is an upstart little sh** that is already trying to outdo Old 2020. but all I’m going to say about the Capitol Insurrection on Wednesday is that the perpetrators need to (and will) be brought to justice and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Horrific and shameful. I didn’t find out about it until that evening because I was blissfully sewing away, listening to music. And I cannot tell you how happy that little bit makes me. 

My Bernina 550QE (“Bernadette") went in on December 28 for her annual “spa treatment”. I finally got her back on Wednesday. So, I was happily able to immerse myself in sewing finally. My backup machine did well enough while Bernadette was gone, but it was just slow going and a lot of referring to the manual. This week I also had stitches removed from my back where my doctor had removed a suspicious but benign cyst. And then one of our kids (Bruce’s daughter S) had a bit of a family crisis, so we spent three hours on Friday afternoon talking with her. We were all masked and distanced, but indoors. She’s had her first vaccine, too. So all in all, it wasn’t a very productive week for me. 

I did finish up Unicorn Cats. It turned out really cute.

This first finish of the year will go to Quilts for Kids. it measures 45x54”. The quilting is a simple stipple and the backing and binding were all pieced from the scrap remnants given to me. 

The pink QFK sock monkey flimsy is basted and awaiting its turn to be quilted - I’ll finish that this coming week. Then I had 2 QFK flimsies made by others that I quilted and bound. 

January for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is the color pink. My RSC sewing this week consisted of making more of the little 3.5” (unfinished) square-in-a-square blocks. I made 23 more for a total of 25. 

Since I had pulled all the pink scraps and projects last week, I got started on another quilt for QFK from a 1-yard cut of fabric that Angie sent me last December. This one is pink teddy bears and bunnies.  

For a couple weeks now I’ve been debating what my final pink RSC block should be, and I’ve been torn between doing sixteen-patch blocks, Dakota Farmer blocks, or a Wishing Ring variation.  For this quilt top, I did 5 Dakota Farmer blocks, inspired by Cathy. But I think that going forward I’ll do whatever block or blocks it takes in the color of the month to finish out the QFK quilts I’m working on. 

I have a large piece of pink and white striped fabric that will be used as a back for this one and for the pink Raggedy Ann and Andy quilt that I can hopefully piece together next week. And then there will be a basting and quilting marathon to finish everything up!

That’s it from here. I don’t feel very talkative this week. I think I’ve already used up my weekly quota of words. Besides .... the sewing room is calling!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Time to Update the Calendar

With the turning of the year, my old 2020 Outlander calendar is now outdated. If I were 14, I would save it and drool over the pictures of Jamie the costumes and such, but I’m way older than that. For 2021, the calendar here in my office will be elephants, courtesy of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I fell in love with elephants and the SWT when I visited the elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018. Bruce and I have supported their work by “adopting” (sponsoring) a couple elephants every year, first for our grandkids and then for ourselves. Our current babies are Larro, a female and Roho, a male. But I digress ... 

Ok, so the calendar is updated and I assume the Apple dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The sun came up this morning although we have yucky damp and cold cloud cover so I’m just presuming there is a sun up there somewhere. Good fireplace weather. And excellent sewing weather!!

Our January color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is pink. Before starting in on the monthly blocks I’ll be doing, I decided to knock out a flimsy with the pink and gold (etc) scraps I showed last week. This is Unicorn Cats. The top is now sewn, as is the backing (no picture), all with the scrap/chunk bundle that came from Quilts for Kids. 

I used up most of the scraps - probably 95% - of this group of scraps, and it will even have a matching striped binding when finished. The only additions from my stash were the Kona Snow (inner sashings) and the Kona Flamingo for the stop border. 

Next week I’ll baste and quilt this little quilt along with 2 other QFK quilts (made by others - I just quilt and bind them). If I have time after those, I’ll get working on my Zipper quilt. 

Two fellow RSC friends, Cathy and Gayle, are doing this cute little 3.5” block this year and I just couldn’t resist. It’s made with three 2.5” squares - one in the color of the month and the other two from your background of choice. The two background squares are sliced diagonally then each resulting triangle is sewn to a side of the colored square. These two were just my initial prototypes, so expect to see many more of these later in the month.

Next I worked on waffle blocks (also influenced by two other RSC’ers, Nann and Kathy). It takes four 5.5” (unfinished) blocks to make one 10.5” block. I made three blocks. I love these because they use some of my smaller 1.5” scraps. 

This next block is one I’ve loved since I first did one for a Farm Girl Vintage sew-along a few years ago. Lori Holt calls it a Spring Star, but I’m not sure if that was her name for it or the traditional name for it. Does anyone know? I guess I’ll call it a Spring Star until I learn otherwise. I’m using Kona White as a background, Kona Black as the constant accent squares, and two shades of the Rainbow Scrap color of the month for the arms of the star. The block measures 12.5” unfinished, 12” finished. Making two of these each month for 10 months will give me a total of 20 blocks. That will yield a 48x60” quilt before adding any sashing or borders, so that’s a good range.

And then, since I was drowning in pink strings, I made 26 blocks (6.5”). Adding these to the 15 I made last year and still have on hand, that gives me 41 pink string blocks. My plan is to use these as filler blocks as I work on various Quilts for Kids scrap projects.

Also, I made an Executive Decision to work on QFK quilt projects that coordinate with the RSC color of the month. I had drawn the Unicorn Cats project (above) randomly for January, and loved that it matched the color of the month. It makes sense to pull out all the pink scraps at once, along with any other pink chunks or pink yardage pieces. To that end, I pulled out three more scrap pink fabrics waiting their turn: 
1. Pink Sock Monkeys (I have sock monkey fabric in other colors that will be tackled later), 
2. Pink Bears/Bunnies, and 
3. Pink Raggedy Ann and Andy. 

I started with the Pink Sock Monkeys and pieced this little top yesterday.  Well, it’s not totally pieced yet - it’s still in three sections that need to be sewn together. There is enough of that pink sock monkey fabric for the back too. This will go into the pile to be basted. 

I’m probably the only person in the world who does not like sock monkeys, so I tackled that one first to get it over with *cough* start somewhere.....  Anyway, you can see that I needed to stretch the fabric by using other bits and stripes, etc. I expect there will be a lot of this occurring as I make my way through these scraps and chunks this year. That’s the point - to use up their scraps and mine and turn them into useful quilts.

I can’t decide if this top is cute or Tres Fugly. But oh well. As I said, it will be useful!

Did you have a nice New Year’s Eve? We did. Just like any other - doing our best to stay up until midnight to kiss and then say goodnight. We made it. The only other difference this year  was that a bottle of champagne was killed in the process ...