Friday, June 25, 2021

Purple Has Left the Building

It’s not even the end of the month yet, and I’m totally done with my purple scraps. There are a few strips and bits left to use as “seeds” for accumulating more purple scraps for next year. In the meantime, I have two more quilt finishes to show you and a patriotic Squirrel! project in the form of a table runner.  

But before that, typing the preceding sentence (squirrel!) reminded me of a story from when I was a little girl, about age 4. My parents were both born in the US (New York) of immigrant parents - all from Hungary. While everyone spoke English, if the grandparents didn’t want us grandkids to know what they were saying, they’d speak in Hungarian. My mom and my aunt spoke basic Hungarian. My grandparents also spoke German, so if they didn’t want anyone to know what they were talking about, they spoke German. I loved languages. My little girlfriend Phyllis and I had our own made-up language we spoke (as if we really knew what we were saying....). But I digress... When I played with my dolls, I had them speak in different languages. One day I was playing with my dolls in my room and my mom came in and asked me to repeat something. I said the word “mo-kush”. She told me it was the Hungarian word for squirrel (mokus, with an accent mark over the ‘o’). So, “squirrel" was my first Hungarian word!  

Without further ado, here were the last of the purple scraps that I sewed this week.

14 four-patch blocks from 2.5” squares (above) and 9 crumb blocks, 6.5” unfinished size (below)

That brought my total purple blocks for June to 89. I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Early in the week I basted the two quilts I had finished tops for. These will go to Quilts for Kids, as usual. Once they were quilted and bound, I added them to the ever-growing pile of quilts to be delivered. First is this cute little pink and purple scrappy number that finished at 37x43.5”

The pictures don’t do justice to this sweet little quilt! I had the perfect backing (a 1-yard cut that my friend Angie sent me last year) and to that I added this leftover purple Twin Sisters block and some darker purple strips as they seemed a bit strong for the front.

The fabric is adorable!

Next up was the dark purple donation quilt that I could not bring myself to name (and why bother with a donation quilt after all?). There were sure some great suggestions in the reader comments last week, though! I just hope it doesn’t give any kid nightmares!

This one finished at 38.5x43.5”. The backing (a questionable choice, but I thought the gray was more purplish....) is a piece from Connecting Threads that I bought six yards of - enough for four quilts. So you’ll be seeing it again.

And it was about this time, Wednesday, that The Squirrel Struck!!  I have been separating patriotic scraps from my Quilts for Kids scraps, because they really try to avoid holidays and patriotic in their little quilts. I ended up with lots of strings and a few chunks and 8 navy and white HSTs.  I thought doing a few stars would be nice - and remembered the leftover red HSTs from this project (where I cut a block wrong) one. So from there it was easy to come up with three sawtooth star blocks with string centers.

I did make a mistake and use a non-Kona white in some pieces around the center red star and it bugs me. How did they get into my Kona White Scraps drawer, anyway? But oh well.  Another oops - I meant to alternate the direction of the star stripes, but that got all futzed up too. Leave it to Cathy! Anyway, there was a 2.5” navy strip of star fabric that was just enough for a border if I added cornerstones. So I did. And then it was finished off with the perfect red and white striped binding.

It’s not the best of pictures, but I wanted to take it upstairs and put it on our dining room table. Maybe I’ll get another picture later in situ. Anyway, my favorite part (besides the binding) is the cute fabric I’ve had a couple years to use as a backing. I consider this totally reversible!

I’ll be joining in with the monthly Table Scraps linkup with Joyful Quilter and company. 

I’ve been working on my latest iteration of the Zipper Quilt (so addictive!) - this one to use as a sample for a scrappy workshop this fall for our local Quilts for Kids chapter. The bottom four rows have been sewn, the last two are still pinned on top of one another on the design board. Usually I work bottom to top in order to keep my color order while growing a quilt. It’s easier to let sewn parts hang down below the board.... (does that make sense?)

I would love to finish this before the end of the month to give me 39 quilt finishes in the first half of the year. I was shooting for 40, but I won’t make that. 

Finally, I’ll be joining the linkup on Sunday with Bernie and Preeti for the Positivity Quilt Along progress link-up. Here are my first 24 blocks - exactly half of what I need. I wish these looked a little more orderly and more nicely pressed. But I love the gender-neutral blues, purples (not pink!) and turquoise. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be alternating the light-dark backgrounds or creating a dark frame like the picture below.  I have a few weeks and lots more sewing to do before I have to decide.

And with that, I’m off to order another small iron for my workshop. My current little iron died after only 9 months. I’ve tried just about every brand and none has lasted me more than a year and a half. I use my irons every day in my studio, so they need to be sturdy little workhorses. They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.....

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Two Quilt Finishes

There was a lot of time for sewing this week because it was absolutely too hot to be out in the yard or running errands. Not that we didn’t do *some* of that, but mostly we stayed indoors with the air conditioning. I finally made a doctor appointment and got cortisone shots in my right shoulder and left knee. My patella (kneecap) on my left knee is beginning to slip now and then owing to my knock-knees. The leg muscles want to pull the patella toward the outer thigh, so I’m now wearing a knee brace whenever I’ve got to do any amount of outside walking or walking in dodgy areas, like Wheeler Farm, where the ground isn’t smooth. It’s not a perfect solution, but nothing is close to needing surgical intervention, so that’s OK with me. Aging isn’t for sissies! 

Luckily, I’m lean and mean when it comes to scrappy sewing! HA! This week I was busting’ scraps left and right! First, I knocked out 27 purple string blocks at 6.5”. June is purple month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and I was determined to lay waste to my purple strings.

They were still snickering at me, however, so I gave them the final one-two punch by sewing 8 blocks of half purple and half white and black strings. Same size. That’ll show ‘em! They weren’t laughing anymore!

The next RSC blocks in line for me were the 4.5”  chips, which start out as 2.5” center squares and get surrounded by blacks and whites. I made 10 each with white and black.

Last week I started putting together a girly quilt top, pulling scraps from Quilts for Kids with purple and pink in them. I’ve decided I like confining pink to quilts for girls. With the colors and themes of these fabric scraps, I felt it might be possible to come up with a workable whole for a donation quilt.

For scrappy “quilt soup”, this little one turned out alright. I alternated bright and tame fabrics, block sizes, throwing in coping strips as needed. That center print rather reminds me of a tornado. I must have the weather on my mind!

Most of the width-of-fabric strips were able to be used. I tried to keep the whole blend light and light-hearted.

The backing is pieced and ready to go, so it will be sandwiched and quilted and finished in the coming week. I’ve already moved on to the darker purple scraps. 

I had some old selvage blocks, and decided it was time for another purple Creature Quilt. So, I called upon the “string section”  to help round out the purple “orchestra”. Those string blocks kinda look like eyes, and now that I’ve said that, you can’t un-see it, right? 

Any name ideas for this half-pinned/half stitched flimsy? Creature from the Purple Orchestra? Phantom of the String Opera? Creature from the String Section? 

So hopefully those two tops will be next week’s finishes. Then I can make more headway on my next Zipper quilt. Here are some of the blocks I’ve been sewing here and there as a change of pace from the purple. 

Oh wait! I was about to sign off, and I realized I hadn’t shown the two quilts I DID finish this week. (Slaps self upside the head)…

Remember the ugly 9-patches that I added Kona Snow to and turned into Double Disappearing Nine-Patches? Here is the finished quilt. It’s roughly 48x56”, but I’m just guessing on that for now. I quilted it with a serpentine stitch between the blocks and then diagonally too. 

The backing is a piece of pink yardage I bought when one of our local quilt shops closed a couple years ago. I had a few extra DD9P blocks that I used on the back to give it a little interest. 

And the String Stars donation quilt finished at 42x48”.

The backing and binding are the last of the blue chambray-look cotton.

Last month I mentioned being contacted by a “new” brother through Ancestry DNA testing. My full brother Steve and I have both been getting to know our half-brother Bryan over the last few weeks. Bryan and I correspond a lot, and all three of us have talked by phone a few times. It is an interesting process and still blows my mind. What amazes me the most, however, is how much alike Bryan and Steve are. Their personalities, work histories, even their builds are similar (except Bryan is about 8” taller). Bryan is still working part-time because of the pandemic, but will go back to full time in July. Steve, like me, is retired. We would all like to get together for a sibling reunion, but that may not be in the cards for a year or two. 

Stay cool and safe, friends. Life is good.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Purple Pastimes

Sometimes when Saturday rolls around, my head is so full of thoughts and words and stories to tell that I have to rein myself in to avoid writing a novella-length blog post. This is not one of those weeks. I agonized for ten minutes over that lackluster title, and I’m really fighting to stay awake! So if this post is as blah as I feel (not sick, just tired), please excuse me…

The purple blocks I sewed for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week were waffle blocks. I make four of them at 5.5”, sew them together then end up with a block that measures 10” when finished. I made three of those this week.

I also finished sewing the blocks for a Scrappy Star quilt. The 12 blocks have been sewn into a flimsy. In this String Star iteration, the strings are sewn onto a 6.5” base. Four of them make a 12” finished Star. 

The star solids aren’t necessarily pretty colors or nice fabrics. In fact, some of these pieces have been laying around for three years, waiting to be used. Several are just cheap solids donated to Quilts for Kids or me. At any rate, I used the last of those solids to make this flimsy, so from here on I can concentrate on more traditional string blocks which use up strings faster. 

The string stars and last week’s double disappearing 9-patch in pinks and blues will both be basted, quilted and bound in the coming week, so stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, I’m starting the process of throwing purple (and mauve, pink, lilac, lavender, etc) scraps onto the design wall to see if I can eke out a little purple (with pink accents) quilt. I can already see from this picture that those chevron pieces are going to need some work…

I’ve got more scraps to choose from, luckily.

I’ve also made a few blocks for the Positivity Quilt-Along that Preeti is hosting. I have all my colors selected and all the background pieces cut out. This week I’ll finish cutting out the plus pieces and sew up more blocks. But these four should give you an idea of the range of colors.

I will probably do a simple layout, like the dark backgrounds as a border. We’ll see as things move along.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a couple pictures of some of our glorious roses. 

It’s too bad I caught the neighbor’s camper in this picture. But regardless, you can see how this bush is just covered in blooms! This is my Daybreak rose.

The climbing rose tree below (I don’t remember its name) is along the back garden wall. We’ve spent a lot of time out on the back patio this week, visiting with family or just reading and enjoying the pleasant weather.  I love summer (before it gets too hot to stay outdoors). 

Have a lovely week, friends!

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Summer Arrives and Easton Leaves

Summer has arrived with a vengeance here in the Salt Lake Valley. Yesterday, it got up to 99 degrees F (37.2C), with more of the same expected today and over the next few days. We are  currently in a severe drought. But have the Powers That Be banned fireworks in the county this year? Of course not! At least, not yet. Fingers crossed. I’m petrified about the fire danger here in the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley and in the state in general. We all know what can happen when drought, heat, humans, lightening and other incendiaries combine. But I guess I should just go back to worrying about something else like the pandemic  politics my sewing. 

It was just a regular old week in the sewing room. That is, it was once I linked up on Monday to the Hands2Help final Linky Party. You can see my Hands2Help post here. I finished Tic Tac Toe (formerly “Dog’s Breakfast”) and the yellow and green 9-patch donation quilts before month end. 

Angela, our Rainbow Scrap Challenge leader, has called purple for the month of June. I’m linking up with the other “scrapettes” to Scrappy Saturday, where we are showing off our first week’s efforts. I started off with Spring Stars; one in a blue-purple and one in a reddish-purple.

Next was the purple litter of kittens and their Mom-cat. The mama cat will finish at 12” and the kittens (Sally’s pattern) at 6”.  

Here they are with their other “friends”. Six litters down, three to go; one each in aqua, dark blue and orange. I haven’t decided yet on possible sashing, etc.

And then I finished the flimsy for the Double Disappearing Nine-Patch, which was made from those pink and blue nine-patches that I won back in March.

I sewed the backing for this yesterday and pressed everything well. So now it’s hanging and waiting for another flimsy to be finished. I prefer to baste quilts in pairs. The next donation quilt I’m working on is another string quilt - I figure I could do one string quilt per month for the rest of the year and STILL have strings left over. 

The working string project for June is String Stars. There are one full block and one half block of the 12 needed blocks up on the design board. The huge beach tote is full of strings, and the solid background blocks are cut out in front of the tote. (Angie, did you notice the flamingo?)

I’ve also started cutting out my pieces for The Positivity Quilt-Along being hosted by my friend Preeti. I’ll talk more about that next week.

Last night we attended the Farewell Party for our grandson Easton, who graduated from Utah State University in Logan and is leaving this weekend for New Hampshire, where he will begin his officer training in the US Navy’s Nuclear Engineering program. Here are some pictures of the party.

Easton (extreme right) and some of his friends

My son barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone. Here is Ryan and his wife Kim, the proud parents.

Granddaughter Lauren and her boyfriend Graham

L-R: Marilyn (great-grandma to Easton and Lauren), Paula and Bill (Kim’s parents)

You may remember that Paula and Bill are the extended family members that I made quilts for last fall (Tyrol and Bear Tracks; see 2020 Quilts tab, above). Bill told me that he loves his quilt and that is was the best quilt he’s ever owned! I was so tickled!

Granddaughter London (son Shane’s daughter). 

London just finished fifth grade and is going into sixth. My ex-husband Scott and his wife Callie were there; Scott says London reminds him of me at her age and of our daughter Megan at her age. 

Scott, Callie, Kim

And a final picture of Bruce and me with grandson Easton. There were so many tears as we all said goodbye. But we all know he will do just fine. The Navy will be lucky to have this fine young man!

P.S. Yes, I’m finally showing a picture of myself with the 20 pandemic pounds I gained. I could only bring myself to do this because I’ve started back on WW (formerly Weight Watchers). 

Have a good week, friends. Life is good.