Friday, February 26, 2021

End of the Yellow Scrap Road

It’s been a fun and busy month for sewing, but it’s time to wrap up the yellow scraps for February. I had hoped to get more personal sewing done (namely, finishing the Beachcomber Quilt), but that will have to be pushed to March. 

This week I got my first Covid vaccine, and it was a good experience. I had no reaction whatsoever - not even a sore arm. And while getting checked in at the site, I met a lovely young girl whose name was Naserian. I asked her where she was from and she said “Africa”. I laughed and said I knew that, but what country? She replied “Kenya”. My eyes opened wide and I told her I’d visited Kenya (mostly the Narok area) and LOVED it.  Well, she was born in Narok! “I am Maasai!” she exclaimed. We nearly hugged each other, then remembered where we were and just giggled instead. It turns out she knows my friends Marilyn S and OD (Samuel Ole Dere). We kept laughing about what a small world it is. Needless to say, she and I exchanged info and will be keeping in touch. It made a good day (vaccine) into a GREAT day!! Anyway, I go back in mid-March for my second dose.

This week I finished up the final two February yellow/gold kid quilts for the Salt Lake chapter of Quilts for Kids. This first one is Wild Thing. Remember these quilts are from scraps donated by various ladies (including my own scraps), and are the trimmings and cast-offs from other projects. That is why there is rarely much of any one fabric. I just do what I can to make some sort of semi-cohesive (and sometimes underwhelming) quilt out of them.

Wild Thing was quilted in a loopy design and finished at 39.5”x42”.  The last yellow quilt for the month I’m just calling Yellow Thang because - well, do donation quilts really need names?  It finished at 40.5x44.5” and was also quilted with loops.

Here’s a closeup of the front and part of the back.

All four of the yellow February QFK quilts can be seen at my 2021 Quilts page link, above under the header.

Here is a recap of the yellow Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks I sewed for February. Sewing those yellow 
Wishing Ring blocks (middle left, below) completes the blocks I need for the Wishing Ring Around the Roses quilt. Fingers crossed that I’ll have time in March to assemble it! 

When I started last month to sew along with the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR), I thought of it as a harmless little squirrel - a small side project. Each round only took a little bit of planning and an hour (ish) to sew. Easy peasy. Well, just like kids, chicks, saplings and other things that grow, this little squirrel is now a MONSTER. This latest round took two afternoons of measuring, planning, cutting, sewing, cussing, ripping, recutting, rethinking, more cussing, more sewing - you get the picture.

But this round is done! This week’s hostess is Susan, and she called log cabins. I decided to add little 4” log cabins only to the top and bottom to make the quilt more rectangular. I dislike the navy print I used, but want so badly to use it up. You can see it also on the small plus signs from an earlier round. It’s also a rather visually “mushy” print. 

The bottom row IS straight, even though it is hanging wonky (wonkily?). The top currently measures 42.5” across and 56.5” long.  I’m linking up to Susan’s linky party for this week. Whatever block is called for next week’s final round will likely be done with the red and bolder green prints I have remaining. 

I decided it was high time to get working on my piece(s) for the February Table Scraps monthly challenge at Joy’s blog. I had been tossing around ideas and colors all month. One night, just as I was drifting off to sleep, some fabric popped into my head, and I knew what I wanted to do. The fabric? Some Mardi Gras fat quarters that my friend Angie had sent me a couple years ago. They have cute little masks and fleur de lis on them in purple, yellow/gold and green.

Cousin Kim and I cut the fabric in 4.5” squares and then surrounded them with a 1.5” frame. From the colored “solids” (the yellows weren’t exactly solid, but was what we had) we cut 6.5” squares. 

Our plan was to alternate the solid and framed blocks somehow, but nothing seemed to work quite right. We didn’t want single colored placemats, so this is what we ended up with. We just sandwiched the top and back right sides together and added the same size batting to the back. Then we stitched around, leaving a small hole for turning right sides out and stitched the opening closed as we topstitched the perimeter. Just the same way I make kennel quilts! Anyway, then we took 3.25 minutes to quilt them (hehe). They aren’t the most stylish placemats ever, but they really look nice with my yellow plates sitting on them! Do I have a picture of that? Of course not! That would’ve taken some forethought. 

My last picture is of a possible maybe might happen glacially slow idea that could be a project down the road. Possibly. Definitely not a Squirrel. 

It started when Cousin Kim was telling me that she had an old 2004 magazine that she was recently flipping through that had a pieced quilt project using good old-fashioned chenille  “like they used to make bedspreads out of. Too bad we can’t get chenille like that anymore.” Silly me piped up, “Oh! I have a whole tub of chenille bedspreads and fabric I need to use up! Probably enough for 2-3 quilts at least!” (You know where this is going, right?) 

So, we dropped everything, raided the bin, selected our colors and block size and started cutting. Within a half hour my studio looked like it had snowed. Fuzz everywhere. This is not going to be fast, or even necessarily fun. I predict all sorts of issues sewing thick layers. And quilting it? Oh, I don’t even want to think about it. But we’ll tackle another pile of cutting next week. And I’ll be doing a lot of vacuuming.

Friday, February 19, 2021

More Yellow Sewing

Can you tell it’s winter? If you live in the US, of course you can! According to the National Weather Service, there is currently more snow on the ground in the USA (73% of the country) than at any previous time in modern record-keeping. In reading a bit further, however, we learn that they’ve only been tracking that statistic since 2003. But still. I think we can all be grateful if we’re not living in Texas now, eh?

We got our fair share of snow in Salt Lake over a couple days this week - well over a foot here on the valley floor. And the mountains surrounding us got absolutely plastered. It’s wonderful! We’ve got fantastic winter sports conditions for those who participate and lots of water for our reservoirs come spring for those of us who drink water, LOL.

This week in the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR), we were assigned Wonky (or other) Stars by this week’s hostess, Wendy. So, I did try the wonky stars. Really, I tried. But it seems I do wonky best when I’m not intending to, because when I really tried I kept wasting fabric and not covering the area I needed to. Geez, how hard can it be? It’s not rocket science, after all. (And speaking of rocket science, did you get to see NASA’s landing of Perseverance -“Percy” - on Mars?? It was amazing and so much more educational and watcher-friendly than I could have imagined!)

But I digress...

So, getting back to my SAHRR quilt top, I ended up piecing 6” (finished size) Friendship Star variation blocks for my next round. I’m a bit disappointed that the fabric I used (which is the same as in the Broken Wheel block at the very center) turned out looking mushy instead of crisp. I’m trying to use up several cuts of old Bonnie and Camille fabric. I love the print, but.... visual mush. In retrospect, I probably should’ve used the other green print that I used in the cornerstones of the flying geese round. Oh well.

So that brings the quilt measurements up to 42.5” across and 48.5” lengthwise with two rounds left to go. The next round, depending on what it is, may just be applied along the top and bottom to make it more rectangular. I’m thinking it’ll include some navy. I’m linking up to Wendy’s blog where everyone is sharing the progress on their quilts. It’s so interesting to see all the interpretations!

This week in the Yellow Month of February for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I decided it was high time to tackle my yellow strings before they tackled me. You think I’m kidding? When the dust settled, there were THIRTY THREE (yes, 33) yellow string blocks - and a much lighter yellow scrap bin!

If I add these string blocks to the 24 I already had on hand, I could easily make a totally yellow string quilt. But I’m not, at least for now. I’ll talk about that in a moment.  First, here is the little Dancing Zebras donation quilt. It finished at 39.5 x 46”. Quilting was just a simple loopy design. It is labeled and added to the new pile of donation quilts for Quilts for Kids (QFK).

Among all the boxes and bags of scraps that our QFK chapter gave me to make quilts with were lots of fugly scraps - blah colors, single strips, trimmings, etc.  As I sorted them, the wide strip of animal print fabric below declared that it would like some gold and brown and oddball scraps to join it for a party. (Hey, don’t look at me like that. I’m just relaying the message).  So I obliged.  Here’s the top half:

And here’s the bottom half. It sure did eat up a lot of junk scraps. And I don’t think there are any two strips of the same width. I’ll get a single picture of the quilt top next week after it’s basted and quilted. 

Finally, I’ve started on what I hope will be the 4th and final donation quilt from the yellow/gold scraps. The photo below is NOT A LAYOUT. It’s just the first step in my design (and I do use that word loosely) process which allows me to see if/when I have enough strips, blocks, scraps and bits to cover an area sufficiently sized for a kid quilt. 

This is where some of those string blocks may come into play. I also made several yellow 9-patch blocks. I can still make crumb blocks or Happy blocks, or use the one-of-a-kind novelty strips or whatever to fill it out. This is just the beginning. The scraps themselves will tell me where to go. Wait. Oh heck, you know what I mean. 

Stay warm, stay safe and stay healthy. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Yellow Scrappy Progress, Vaccine and Batch Cooking

I hate to cook. Well, maybe that’s not 100% accurate. Most of the time I don’t want to cook, so I hate that I have to. Thirty-five years of working full time and then coming home to cook dinners just burned me out.  My ex-husband’s idea of fixing dinner (bless his heart) was cooking hamburger meat for tacos or spaghetti. After a couple times of him “getting gourmet” on us (to him that just meant slicing onions  in very large pieces, LOL), we switched up our shared chores. He got the floors and I kept the cooking. All three of my kids (Ryan, Shane and Megan) are all wonderful and adventurous cooks as adults. But back in the day, they were ravenous when they got home from school, so their “snacks” were frozen pizzas or nachos. I never had to worry about whether they would eat their dinner! But I digress....

So this week I did a lot of batch cooking. If I can make (for example) enchiladas in two large pans or a meatloaf that will divide into 5 meals, I’m all for it. Defrosting things and working the microwave are easy enough for me (or a one-armed Bruce) to do! So this week I got through three of the six batch-cooking dishes I usually do. Over the next week or two I still have to make chili, lasagne, and chicken tortilla casserole. For just Bruce and me, we’ll get 4-6 meals out of each. I love it when my freezers are stocked!!

The cooking took a couple afternoons of sewing away from me. Well, that and doing our taxes. But they were simple and I filed on the first possible day and we’re good for another year. Now we will just wait for the refunds to magically appear in our account!

The first thing I did this week was to add the next border - checkerboards - to my in-progress medallion quilt for the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). This week’s hostess was Roseanne at Home Sewn by Us, and I’m linking up to her sharing post. 

I had intended to add a colored stop border after the last round of red flying geese, but realized I could just do the checkerboard in navy and green and accomplish the same thing. So, this top now measures 30.5” across and 36.5” down, which is a great jumping-off size for the next round. We have three more rounds to go.

And then it was time to work on some yellow scraps, since Angela called yellow for February in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  First, I made three large (or 12 small, depending on how you want to count them) waffle blocks. Each quadrant measures 5.5”, so when 4 are sewn together, the unfinished block measures 10.5” square.  

And I sewed some more Wishing Ring blocks for my pink and yellow floral quilt.  This week I concentrated on getting some yellow ones done to add to the floral print blocks.  I have lots more floral blocks that aren’t pictured.  There are two shades of yellow. The yellow block in the bottom right may or may not make the final cut. Ditto that pink block. I’m just going to happily sew away until I’ve tried all possibilities. Then I’ll put my favorites on the front and the “rejects” on the back!

I was able to find a great print for the eventual border for this quilt - a lovely pink Grunge fabric with yellow accents. 

Last Saturday we had our first Quilts for Kids workshop of the year. There were less than a dozen of us in a large vaulted ceiling workshop studio, and we were all masked. I only stayed about a half an hour so I could drop off 18 quilts. Four of the quilts were sewn by others and quilted/bound by me. The other 14 are all kid-sized scrap quilts that I’ve been been making since October. It was nice to get them out of the house! The string quilts and the Scraptastic Stars were the favorites, of course. Now that we have enough members with longarm quilting machines, I don’t need to quilt the baby quilts for others. I am the designated scrap maven, so I can just play in the scraps to my heart’s content!

Here is a collage of some of the quilts I turned in. You may recognize some of them.

So then it was time to start putting together some yellow quilts from the scraps given to me by QFK, or from my own stash. Last week I showed the flimsy of Duck, Duck Goose. I think it turned out ugly, but I was limited in placement by the sizes of the scraps. My working title for this quilt was.... well, it wasn’t the word “duck”, which is all I’ll say.

Duck Duck Goose finished at 38.5” x 46”. I quilted it with a simple stipple. On the back I used the extra “Duck Duck Goose” name strip and the green fabrics (and some of the leftover blue pieces). If I’m being honest, I think it’s cuter than the front. 

Here is a close-up of my messy design board the quilting and back piecing. 

The only other thing I did in the way of yellow quilts this week was to piece a quick flimsy from some cute zebra fabric I’ve had for a few years.  I know there a lot more ideas that would’ve served this cute fabric better, but as I’ve said before, the name of the game for these donation quilts is quick and simple. When you’re trying to churn out 4-6 little quilts per month to use up the never-ending scraps of dozens of other quilting women, simple is best. 

The backing is more of the same, with a plain yellow cotton sheet extender piece for the last 18” or so. I’ll show it finished next week, and will hopefully have another flimsy (yellows and browns) to show as well.  I’m also getting ready to assemble these 4-patch posy blocks into a sashed flimsy. This week I auditioned two background fabrics. I’m leaning toward the lavender. Neither the lavender nor the blue are as dark and saturated as the camera shows - but most quilters understand how badly blues and purples photograph.

Which one do you prefer? Purple or blue?

Today (I’m writing this on Friday evening) Bruce got his first Covid vaccine shot! I am so relieved that it has finally started. He goes back for his second dose on March 12. I’m hoping that it won’t belong until they lower the age requirement because right now, I’m not old enough. *snort* I haven’t said that for a few decades!!

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Sunshine on My Scrap Pile

We have finally been getting lots of snow time here in the Salt Lake Valley. The snow itself doesn’t seem to accumulate or stick around long here in the valley, but hopefully it is more copious in the mountains surrounding us. Like I said, it’s snow TIME - days of the white stuff (or rain) coming down, clearing up, clouding up, rinse and repeat. I just wish there was more white (snow) and less gray (clouds, wet streets, moods). 

And so, as usual, I turn to my sewing studio where it’s Yellow February for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This week I decided to start off with these two Spring Stars. I’m doing two per month (they’ll finish at 12” each) so that I’ll have 20 to assemble into a quilt come the end of the year. 

Uh-oh. I just saw my mistake!! REALLY?!? How could I not see it when I sewed it? When I pressed the block then slapped it up on the design board? When I edited the picture?? Sheesh. It’s an easy fix, though, so I guess that’ll be the first thing on my sewing agenda today. 

Unlike the blocks above, the 20 small little square-in-square blocks below are supposed to go this way and that. Ten are bordered in whites and ten in black. They’re only 4.5” each so far. Many, many more to go over the year.

I also did one other yellow block which I showed on my mid-week post. It isn’t really for an RSC project, but for a Block-of-the-Month quilt that I abandoned last year (due to Covid lockdowns at the local quilt shop). I needed three more blocks, and since I had yellows out, that’s what I made. Oh, on that post you can also see my progress for this week on the Stay At Home Round Robin. 

After that I decided it was time to tackle the first yellow scraps quilt for Quilts for Kids. Among the scraps I was given to play with was a Duck, Duck Goose partial panel with the words and 12 little printed squares. There were six “Duck, Duck” blocks with Orange and blue borders and six “Goose” blocks with yellow and Orange borders. And other scraps. This is what I was able to cobble together.

It would’ve looked better if I could’ve switched the blue Duck print in the center with the yellow used for the wide sides, but the cut of the pieces I had to work with didn’t allow it. There was a lot of small piecing and “making do” with what I had, but that’s the fun and challenge of it! In the end, there’ll be a serviceable quilt that some kid will love, design aesthetics aside.

Duck, Duck Goose is about 38x46. The backing was pieced together with some of the same fabrics (different color way) and it’s all sandwiched together now, waiting for me to quilt it this weekend. 

A few days ago I got a call from Laura, who is my granddaughter London’s other grandma (London’s mom’s mom). We’ve been friends since before London was born (in fact, we planned and hosted the baby shower together all those years ago). Anyway, in our conversation, Laura told me how much everyone loves the kitty quilt I made for London. Apparently Londy brings it to Laura’s house when she sleeps over, and Laura’s six-year-old grandson Xander always cries when London takes it back home with her. So I offered to make Xander a quilt, which then meant I also have to make one for his three-year-old brother Brody. Xander’s HAS to be a kitty quilt, but Brody’s can be anything. I have 2 matching dinosaur panels that will be perfect; I’ll make them both this summer - one for Brody and one for Quilts for Kids. But back to the kitty quilt...

I decided there was no time like the present to start on the first “litter” of kittens.

This arrangement of a Mom-cat (my own pattern) and the kittens (Sally’s pattern) is different than the litters of kittens I made for three quilts for my granddaughters back in 2016, which you can see HERE. Instead of having a mom and 12 kittens per litter (too much work for her AND for me, hehe), these litters will only number five along with the mom.  I can make a nice-sized kid quilt out of nine cat families if I sash each 18” litter and add a nice border. I’ve already got another yellow cat family cut out and ready to sew. I’ll also add a couple blue families, a couple green families, and three other colors (I’m thinking orange, purple and brown or red). These quilts aren’t promised until summer, so I can follow along with the monthly RSC colors.

And finally, I got the next ten blocks cut out for my Wishing Ring quilt. 

Since I was sewing on kitty blocks and doing a lot of cutting, my Sewing Supervisor of the Day was Darla.  She was curious to see how kittens are made. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Quick Mid-Week Update: Stay at Home Round Robin

Hello! I’m popping in quickly to show you my progress on the next round of the SAHRR (Stay at Home Round Robin).  This week’s hostess, Anja, called flying geese blocks. So I got right to work and figured I’d join the link-up early this week.

All the colors are intense (which I love), so I figure a little bit of background “breathing room”, which in this case is Kona Snow, would be in order. I will probably begin next week’s round with a small, plain stop border to frame it. Currently, however, it measures 26.5” x 32.5”. So far, I really like it. 

I also sewed 20 blocks for the next 4-Patch Posy quilt I’m doing for Quilts for Kids, but no pictures of that yet. I also did a yellow block for a sampler quilt that I need to finish up. It was started as a Block of the Month quilt at a local quilting shop, but when the pandemic hit last year, I quit the class and the blocks have languished. It’s all done in solids, so I figured that since this month is Yellow February for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I’d add a much-needed yellow block (and then only 2 blocks left).

The problem is that I forgot I was making 12” blocks (duh) and this one was only 10”. So, I had to add a 1” border all around. The other issue is that I was OUT of the yellow tonal fabric for the squares, so had to piece two little bits together to get the final 2.5” square. See if you can spot it.

Naturally, I was looking through my stash (not the scraps, but the larger yardage) and found another piece of the yellow (half yard or more) once the block was done. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

This morning Bruce and I went for a nice walk in the neighborhood and even got to visit with some friends outdoors. It’s a bit breezy, so we’re hoping that means that maybe a snow storm is coming. Gotta check the forecast. We desperately need the moisture.

Stay safe, friends, and see you on Saturday!