Monday, March 29, 2021

Parade of Quilts - Stay at Home Round Robin

I don’t often follow along with quilt-alongs or blog hops. When I occasionally do, however, it’s because the theme or idea is special to me personally. That’s what struck me with the Stay At Home Round Robin (SAHRR). I don’t have what most people would consider a large fabric stash, but I have lots of scraps. And when the stash or scraps get to be “of a certain age” (more than 4-5 years old), it’s time to focus on ways to move them along into finished projects. So the unique idea of this round robin, my old Bonnie and Camille fabrics, and the “seed” block started this whole journey.


The original block, on the left (and the portion inside the skinny green border), was originally intended for a Farm Girl (Lori Holt) sampler quilt. I’d made so many fun blocks for that quilt that this one didn’t make the cut. When I selected it for the SAHRR, I changed out the middle to a dark navy, which was a color/fabric I wanted to use in other places in the quilt (and use up).   

SAHRR has been hosted by Quilting Gail. After selecting our initial blocks, there were seven rounds to add to the quilt during February and March, each called on a weekly basis by one of 7 other hostesses - each a great quilter in her own right.  The pictures above show the block with the first assigned border, piano keys.

The second round was Plus Blocks. I chose to add them only to the top and bottom edges in order to begin transitioning the quilt from a square to my preferred rectangle.


The third round was Flying Geese. I knew that with these bright, bold colors of red, green, and navy, that there would be a need for a place to rest the eye - some negative space. So I designed the flying geese with cornerstones to become the four corners. 


The next round called for checkerboards. When you’re doing a mystery quilt-along like this, it’s a bit of a dance to keep your quilt from growing too fast (or not fast enough). It’s tough to pace yourself and select the appropriate sizes of each border round when you don’t know what’s coming down the line. In this case, I kept my checkerboard small. With the intense colors of the green and navy, it was going to be a prominent round regardless of size.


I was very pleased with it at this point, and if I’d stopped here, I would’ve had a nice wall hanging of 
30.5” x 36.5”.   

Four Rounds down, three to go! Round five was wonky stars (or regular stars as an alternative). I chose Friendship Stars with corner triangles because they create a visually pleasing pattern. Unfortunately, I didn’t choose the best fabric for it. I think it looks rather “mushy” for lack of a better term. But the goal was to use up these particular fabrics, so the stars stayed.


Round Six: Log Cabins. Again, I chose to only do these on the top and bottom to finish out the transition to a rectangular quilt.


All that was left was the last round (#7), and that was announced as pinwheels. With the stars of round 5 playing such a prominent role, I decided to add a plain border and use the pinwheels as the final four cornerstones. I love pinwheels and would’ve made more if a border-full of them wouldn’t have looked so bad on paper!



So, we are all here at the SAHRR Parade to show off our finished quilts. I did specialty quilting in almost every round, but forgot to take pictures of the process. Oh well. Here is my quilt which finished at 52x67”.
I’m going to name it “Stay at Home”, which seems appropriate if not clever.


Sorry about the bright sunlight. The pictures were actually worse in the shade. These are hard colors to capture accurately; the green isn’t as yellow as these pictures make them look.


The pieced back. After this, there were only a few scrappy bits left (thank goodness) and I could finally send them to the small scrap bins!


So, the Stay at Home quilt will indeed stay at home until I find a family member in need of it.  :-)


Please join us for all the wonderful finishes at Gail’s Stay at Home RR Parade. And a big thanks to all the wonderful ladies who participated in this round robin. It was a lot of work and they did such a great job of keeping us organized, motivated and entertained. You’re all the best!! 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Some Fun Quilt Finishes for Quilts for Kids

It seems that all I’ve done this week is layer up finished quilt tops, quilt them and bind/label them. Seriously, we had a lot of wet weather (no complaints about the snow or rain or slush - we need the moisture), so it was the ideal week for me to stay indoors and finish working on my green scraps.

Last weekend, Cousin Kim and I basted three quilts - (1) her Christmas quilt, which I have yet to do the quilting on, (2) my Stay At Home Round Robin quilt, which took For.Ev.Er. to quilt, and will be shown on Monday when I do a special blog post to link up to the finishing post at Quilting Gail’s blog, and (3) the Ballerina quilt (later in this post). And then on Thursday I basted up two more green quilts and got them quilted.  Without further ado, let’s get started.

The Ballerina quilt, made with fabric sent to me by Angie (almost every last inch of which was used on the quilt top) measures 40x45.5”. I knew that if I cut up the pieces, I’d have to supplement them with something and nothing in my stash worked. So, simple it is!


It was backed with a perfect chunk I had in my stash - a piece I won in a giveaway a few years ago. I quilted it with a basic stipple. 


Next were the two quilts that I called Outer Limits (-Vertical and -Horizontal) last week. First up is Outer Limits - Horizontal.


This one finished at 40.5x46.5” and was quilted with a small loopy design. The back was pieced from the width-of-fabric remains of three green chunks I’ve been using throughout the month.


Finally, we come to Outer Limits - Vertical. This one actually turned out better than I’d hoped. It measures 42” across and 49” down.  By this time, I could see the real progress I made in clearing out my green scrap bin!


To “reward” myself for finishing, I actually used a piece of green yardage that’s been in my stash for a couple years - no piecing! Another quick stipple, and this one was done, too. 


So that brings the total of March’s green quilts finished (all small quilts for the local Quilts for Kids chapter) to six. I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s final March progress posting.


And here is a quick roundup of the green RSC blocks I did this month.  If my count is correct (and it is because I have to keep track on a spreadsheet), there were 94 green blocks made this month. Yeah, I have no life outside of sewing in these Covid times. I admit it, LOL!!


But wait, there’s more!  This may be the last link-up of the month for the RSC, but I have another top sewn for QFK that I may finish before month-end. We’ll see. Here it is in all its stringy glory. I decided to combine green and yellow string blocks with the multi-colored blocks to spice up the colors a bit. I have so many string blocks (Linda - I promise to do a count and let you know how many, LOL) that I figured I’d better get busy and make a string quilt. I even prepped a backing for this, so it’s ready to be basted/quilted/bound - a process that takes me about 2 hours or so.


My multi-colored string bin has filled up again. It’s not overstuffed, but it is near the top. Time to make more multi-colored string blocks. But first I’ll wait to see what color Angela calls for April for the RSC. If it’s a color that I don’t have a lot of scraps and QFK projects for, I can add in a few of my own projects, like the string blocks or assembling another RSC quilt top or my Wishing Rings. So many projects and never enough time.

This week I won some plaid scraps from Linda at Cynthia’s Spring 2021 Quilty Orphan Adoption Event.  And then Erin at My Patchwork Life had lots of blocks she was giving away, and I won lots of 9-patch blocks there too. Thank you, ladies! All the scraps and blocks will go towards jump-starting future kids quilts for Quilts for Kids. 

I have to show you this t-shirt I ordered for Bruce that arrived this week. We love it!  (If the Bruce on the t-shirt had one less arm, it would match my Bruce perfectly. It really is an eerie likeness!)

Bruce said to tell you that Alfie doesn’t really drink coffee - unless it’s when we’re not looking.

This weekend I’ll be working on quilting Kim’s Christmas quilt and sewing together this wall hanging for Harambe Humanitarian. The purple fabric (African) was given to me by Sally a couple years ago. I’ve used lots of it to make International Sister dresses and there was enough to do setting triangles for this wall hanging and two more.


Eventually, whenever I can focus a week of time, there will be a total of 8 of these wall hangings. This is just #3.  Each wall hanging is slightly different, using various African (or African-esque) fabrics for dresses. The complexions and setting triangles will vary and the backings are/will be one of two styles of large African mandala panels. I’ll show more detail on this one as I complete it in the next week or two.

And don’t forget to come back on Monday for the final post of the Stay at Home Round Robin, where we will all share our finished quilts! See you then.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

A Finish - Beachcomber !!

Welcome Spring! And to all of you visiting my blog. Oh my goodness, my joints are sure loving the sunshine and warmer weather. I’m still a creaky old broad, but it’s nice to get out and walk and not have everything hurt. Heck, it’s nice to just get out of bed and not have everything hurt! LOL

So, as the title mentions, I finally finished Beachcomber. This is a Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) quilt that I began in March 2019 and finished the blocks and flimsy in October 2020. I basted it earlier this month (finally) and got it quilted this week. I am so happy to have this off my plate.  

I quilted this tighter than I usually do with lots of close, medium-sized loops. I wanted to add a lot of texture since there is so much white area (more than I generally like). I don’t have pictures from after laundering it, but it is yummy and texture-ful. If that’s not a word, it should be.


Beachcomber finished at 55.5 x 66.5”.  It will go into my pile of Quilts to Gift (to family and friends). It’s a rare Not-Donation quilt.  I’d love to start a new RSC crumb project, but will probably wait until calendar 2022 when I won’t have so many scrappy quilts to sew (or will I?) for Quilts for Kids. Regardless, I can now turn my sights to finishing up another RSC quilt or two in the second quarter of the year. I’m thinking that my Twin Sisters blocks are next in line. 

Speaking of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I finished off the last of my green blocks for March. Here are my chips which were started awhile ago but only finished this week. There are 12 each of white and black with green centers. They measure 4.5” each, unfinished.


And then I did all my waffle blocks. Again, I don’t know whether there are twelve 5.5” blocks here or three 10.5” blocks. I’m sewing them into fours like this (not yet trimmed), so I’ll probably count them as three blocks. I do know that there are others sewing these waffle blocks who are planning a different setting (scattered colors) so they are counting each 5.5” block as one. The four-blocks-as-one style will be easier to assemble in the long run, and more mindless, so it’s more my style, hehe. Probably not as pretty as the rainbow settings will be, though. 

And I quilted Dancing Seahorses too. Not well, mind you, but it is quilted. I used a serpentine stitch and lost my bearings “in the ocean”. So the lines are not straight (straight serpentines? you know what I mean). Do I care? NO. (Should I care? Probably, but oh well. If some kid objects to the quilting, I’ll get back to you....)


I will say, however, that I did a da** good job of machine appliquĂ©ing the two seahorses down. Don’t want them floating off where they don’t belong. So, this little donation quilt finished at 39x45”.


Like last week’s seahorse quilt, this one is backed with that same yummy fabric given to me by Sally that has the perfect colors in it. (Cathy waves goodbye to it, dabbing her eyes....)


So after those finishes, it was time to dig into more green fabric chunks and scraps. The ballerina fabrics in the little quilt top below were sent to me last fall by Angie. You are seeing every inch of what was there, with the exception of a 2” strip I cut off one of the cream fabrics to even them out.  I had a cute green and pink backing fabric in my stash for the back, so this little gem will be basted and quilted in the coming week. It’s about as simple as it gets, but some little girl will love it, I’m sure.


All that was left at this point (and I say “all” with tongue in cheek, because my green scrap bin was still overflowing) was to use up scraps and bits to make a scrappy green quilt or two. 

I’m calling these my Outer Limits green donation quilt tops. Those of us who are of a certain age *cough* may remember the opening monologue of the sixties’ TV show, The Outer Limits:

 There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission.  We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image; make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits.


Outer Limits - Horizontal. Some of my scrappy strips called for a horizontal orientation because of the print or the words. So I grouped those together along with the 4,361 (or so) 2.5” green chevrons (fabric scraps of Riley Blake fabrics donated to Quilts for Kids) I cut out with my Accuquilt cutter. Some were made into seizure-inducing 16-patch blocks, or 4-patch blocks, or left as strips. There are 3 cute animal  strips left over from a jelly roll that I gave Cousin Kim last year - she didn’t use the green. 


Below is Outer Limits - Vertical. This is still a work in progress. The overall length will be 48” as determined by the eight 6” strip blocks. The columns, while sewn together by color, are not yet adjusted (trimmed or added to) for length. 

I’ll get it all finished up during the week for presentation next week (you have been warned!) Cousin Kim is coming over on Sunday for a Basting Fest. We’re going to baste (sandwich) one of her 4-year-old UFO’s - a Christmas quilt top that she sewed together last week. And then we’ll do my Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) quilt, and any green quilt tops (2 or 3) that are ready. My goal is to get my four quilts quilted before month-end, and Kim’s shortly thereafter.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Seahorse With No Name

... Do you see what I did with the post title? A play on the song “Horse With No Name” ?!?  I guess if I  have to explain it then it isn’t that clever. But I’ve been working on seahorse-themed quilts for Quilts for Kids (QFK) all week, and that song has been going through my brain. 

In the fall of 2019 I found a great estate sale and bought a lot of fabric, which I talked about in this post.  After giving some to Cousin Kim and a lot to QFK, I only had 40” left of the cute seahorse border print, and I was determined to get two quilts out of it.  Since the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for March is green, the seahorses were a top priority! 

Here is the finished quilt, which measures 39x46”. I do want to back up, however, and talk a bit about its construction.  So, I had the two border panels allocated for this quilt, as well as a lot of Kona Iced Frappe - a lighter green than these pictures show -  for the background. After hunting my stash, I found a Kaffe Fassett print that looked like swirly ocean depths. 



I wasn’t sure how to do the seahorse. Sally has a great seahorse tutorial here, but I didn’t want to use a .75 inch grid. I found a picture of a cute pieced seahorse in a quilt online and just decided I could do my own. When I graphed it out, it was meant to be pieced with 1.5” squares (a finished 1” grid) with the seahorse measuring 6x12”. Unfortunately, I cut the batik fabric I was using into 2.5” strips by misssssssnake, and I was stuck moving forward with a seahorse that was going to measure 12x24”. In other words, a single seahorse was going to be the focal point instead of 3 smaller motifs swimming around. 

So what to do with all that space to the right of Mr. Seahorse? I pulled blue and green QFK scraps that looked “sea-worthy”, along with plenty from my own green scrap bin, and decided to make a color-wash type coral reef for him. I’ve never really done that before, but the scraps varied in color and intensity enough that they almost helped me place them. It still needed some pizzaz, however, so I took a cue from the border print and just drew a sea-weedy shape on some fusible web backing, applied it to the purple fabric and I had seaweed. Or is it coral? Whatever. Then I placed it in front of the reef and voila! 



Then came the quilting. Obviously it needed a watery effect, but I’d never done that before either. However, for better or worse I just forged ahead. While the results aren’t professional, I think they get the idea across.


The binding and backing fabric is a piece that Sally sent me a couple years ago. I’ve made several International Sisters blocks from it, and still had enough to back and bind the two seahorse quilts. Yes, two. Just hold your seahorses and I’ll show the other one momentarily. Anyway, here’s the fabric. I just totally love it and am sad that after backing these two quilts, there were only a few skinny strings left.

:

It sure was a fun project! I still had two more border panels and scraps for quilt #2. For this one, I had traced a cute seahorse image twice (using the last of my fusible; I guess a trip to JoAnn’s is in order) and they’re included in the second seahorse flimsy.


Seahorse Quilt #2 (needs a name) is now basted and ready for quilting, which will happen this weekend. After the first one, this is totally underwhelming, but it used up the border print, and lots of strips and scraps. Some kid will like it. 

And the pregnant Momcat I showed last week had her kittens. *cough*. I delivered them myself.


My chief mindless sewing for the week was making green string blocks. I knew I had a crap ton of green strings between my stash (I love green) and the gender-neutral green scraps from QFK. The pile I started with was huge (should’ve taken a picture), and I knew I’d get at least 30 blocks from it. But they kept going, and I ended up with 56.  Fifty! Six! 


That’s enough to make a 42x48” green string quilt if I wanted to. But I don’t. So I’ll probably use some of these when I start playing with all the green squares, HSTs, wider strips and little bits to make a “Creature” or “Thang” quilt. And I could use some for a green table runner. Oh! And I’ll definitely mix some with my never-ending pile of multi-colored string blocks. All I need is more time. (*cackles maniacally*).

Bruce got his second Covid vaccine yesterday. YAY! My second one is next week. This weekend is my birthday, and I decided to exercise my shopping finger to buy some stuff I wanted. In addition to the fabric shown below, I got an Accuquilt Go full-size cutter (all I had was the smaller one before). 


The splatter fabric on the left is a wide backing for future quilts (RSC quilts that go to QFK). The orange fabric on the right depicts actual circuits for a crystal radio, so naturally Bruce loves it. It’ll eventually be incorporated into a quilt for him. 

Spring is trying its hardest to spring, and we’ve seen crocuses on our walks. I’m sure tulips and hyacinths will be following shortly. Bruce is non-committal about whether he wants to do a vegetable garden this year. He hasn’t ordered any seeds yet, so if we have one the size will be greatly reduced and we’ll need to buy seeds at a local nursery. I’m pretty sure I can get him to decide on 2-3 growing beds. Fresh tomatoes, spaghetti squash, peas.  

Utah is opening up the Covid vaccinations to everyone as of April 1. Wow! We’ll be “safe” by then (after our last dose waiting period) I’m looking forward to actually visiting a restaurant in April (if Bruce will agree and we feel it’s safe) and then doing some clothes shopping for spring and summer. But the best part is that we have tentative plans for Mother’s Day with my son Ryan, DIL Kim and DGD Lauren. We’re hoping to snag an outdoor table at one of our favorite restaurants, The Bohemian. 

That’s it from here. Talk to you next week! Stay safe! xo

Friday, March 5, 2021

Green, Green Scraps of Home

Well, this week saw some warmer weather across the US, a rocket that blew up after landing, some short-sighted governors opening up their states and ending mask mandates prematurely (have they never heard of Spring Break?), and crocuses popping up all over. The first and last of that list is what we’ve enjoyed the most as we have begun taking longer and more regular walks around the neighborhood. And some evenings we even forget to turn on the gas fireplace. Those are sure signs of spring in my book!

For eyes that are starved for green, many of us are thrilled that Angela chose green for March in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I’ll be working in all my green scraps to make green versions of blocks that will eventually become rainbow (all-color) quilts. So, first I started with blocks left over from last year.

For these half-nine blocks, I only needed two colors of blocks to finish up - green and orange. So, this month I made the eight green blocks. They aren’t sewn into the two big squares, just plopped up on the flannel of the design wall. I haven’t decided on the final setting of these versatile blocks.

 

When we get to orange, I’ll sew those and then the blocks will be ready to sew into a quilt. Next I sewed a mama cat 12” block. You may not be able to tell from this picture (wink), but this Momcat is pregnant! Yep, her five kittens will be delivered sewn by next week, so stay tuned! 


The other green blocks for this week were three green Spring Stars.


Two of them are for my collection of Spring Stars that will go into a 20-block RSC star quilt. The third one (bottom one in picture above) is the 11th of 12 blocks needed to finish this former BOM quilt. I felt it needed a true green. Anyway, I started these blocks in 2019 at a local quilt shop, but the class got cancelled due to Covid and I’m just finishing them up on my own. I’ve got one block left to do, but am undecided between orange or blue for the final block. Here are the 11 blocks up on the design wall (this isn’t the final layout).


So, what color should I use for the final block? 

Orange?


Or Blue?

I’m even open to another color. But right now I’m leaning toward orange. 

This week was also the final week for the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). The hostess Gail called for Pinwheels for the final round. I’m linking up to this week’s Linky party.

There was no way I was going to do pinwheels all the way around this quilt. It would’ve been too busy. What it needed was a border. So first I added a 1” red stop border all the way around, and it then measured 44.5x58.5”. 

Then came the final 4.5” green border and four pinwheel cornerstones. I know it looks wonky, but that’s just the way it’s partially pinned/partially hanging from the design board. The design board doesn’t go down far enough, so I can’t pin the bottom portion into the wall. 

It measures 53x67’. Now we have until March 29 to finish up. There will be a Linky party then for everyone who participated to show their final quilts/wall hangings. I have finished piecing the backing from some leftover red checked fabric and some green and navy scraps from the top. Stay tuned. 

And since I’ve become the creative repository of scraps from our Salt Lake chapter of Quilts for Kids, I’ve been using the RSC color of the month to pick out scraps and projects that match that color and sew up a few quilts. This month after going through everything, I’ve come up with five hopeful kid quilts to make; (1) green/blue frog scraps, (2) green/gold/brown Flower Fairy panels from Angie, (3 & 4) some seahorse border print fabric to make into 2 quilts, and (5) hopefully a miscellaneous scrappy Green Thang.  

The frogs grabbed me first. The focal fabric was a piece measuring about 13” x 22” - not enough for a quilt on its own, but with a little help from scrap “friends", this is what I came up with.

The central frog panel was surrounded by a 1” yellow border to echo the yellow in the frogs’ chests (seen better in the closeup, below). After that came a 3.5” green foliage (“swampy”?) print, then mixed 4.5” squares of remaining frog print, a blue and green batik, more swamp foliage and darker green cornerstones. Next were two side strips to widen the top a bit. These were sewn from 2.5x4.5” scraps, and there were just enough to do those two strips! Finally I added a 4.5” outer border of light blue polka dots. It really is light blue - not as dark as the picture makes it appear.

It was quilted with a basic stipple. The back and binding is this fun leafy green print from my stash. The final quilt measures 39.5 x 47.5"


Next week - seahorses! Green kittens! And more green scrappy goodness. Stay safe, wear your mask and get your vaccine. xo