Saturday, January 29, 2022

Red Roundup

We’re just about ready to turn the calendar page over to February and a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC).  It was a busy sewing week in my studio, although the rest of the week was quiet and uneventful. Bruce and I have finally beaten back our respective colds. Whew - we should’ve had stock in some tissue manufacturer!

Without further ado, let’s get started with what came out from under the needle. Last Saturday I attended my Quilts for Kids workshop and sewed up the warm colored blocks of split nine-patches that were one of my projects for last year’s RSC. Later in the week I quilted and bound it, and I’m pleased to show you this very cheerful quilt, Rainbow Candy.

I LOVE this little quilt! It finished at 42x48” and was quilted with small loops on vines. It was a total delight from start to finish. I still have some older cute Tamara Kate dragonfly yardage, and it was perfect for the backing. 

And there is still a yard of that cute print left for me to fondle use in something else! Then I used the cool-colored split nine blocks to lay out the other quilt, which I’ll finish up in the next week. These blocks are just slapped up wonkily on the design wall.

I did work on my Ribbons quilt on Sunday, and got the inner portion finished. Here it is just pinned over other blocks on the design board. It hasn’t been pressed or trimmed yet because I totally forgot to do that before grabbing a last-minute progress shot.

Hopefully, I’ll have time this next week to trim, add the inner stop border and begin the Seminole-pieced second border. As this is a personal quilt, I don’t feel any pressure to get it done in Red January. But it would be nice to finish it as a Valentine gift for myself!

Now let’s talk about the red sewing I did get done this week. 

I finally came up with a small workable plan for bear paw blocks, so I pieced just one at 12.5” and one at 6.5”. As we get to other colors I may do more or less of each size. but that was the only 12” block I could get out of my scraps because the center square was 8.5” and that’s all I had. Cutting into yardage was not an option! The tumblers were made from my Ruby Red Mt. Scrapmore, plus some chunks. I alternated whole tumblers with crumb-pieced tumblers to make two rows - one dark reds and the other bright reds. 

My last foray into the red scraps meant dealing with some of the strings. Here are 13 blocks at 6.5”. *sigh* I can’t help it. I think of one-colored string blocks as a basic to have when working with all the QFK remnants and scraps. 

They look a bit stiff because I haven’t removed the papers yet. 

I tried to do my usual collage of red blocks, but Befunky (my collage site - any recommendations for a better one?) started acting up. I did get a collage made of my red “Before and After” photos from the beginning of the month through today. 

That was a lot more work than it looks like! 

In addition to joining Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s blog, I’ll be joining Joy for the January Table Scraps parade. Here are the four placemats I made this week in red. They each measure 12x18” and are made from crumbs.

And if you didn’t see my mid-week blogpost about the progress on my Stay at Home Round Robin quilt, check out my last post. Here it is after adding diamonds this week. The SAHRR linky party is at Emily’s blog this week and there are some really fun things going on!

And now I’m going to put the red scraps away and wait for Angela to announce February’s scrap color. I can’t wait!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Stay at Home Round Robin - Second Round

It took me a couple days, but I finished my second round for the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). 

Our hostess this week is Emily from The Darling Dogwood, and she called diamonds for this second round. Now, I’ve never done diamonds before in quilts, and there are many ways to attempt them. That’s why it took me two days (well, two afternoons) to finally get them - I had to play with the possibilities, explore, cut and sew fabric and see what worked and what didn’t. 

This is how my block began for this week, before diamonds. 

First I tried wonky diamonds like dear Wonky Wendy. As I recall, last year she called wonky stars and I couldn’t do them. So I tried wonky diamonds this year and couldn’t do those either. My brain can’t seem to grasp how to cut pieces large enough to fit their spot when reversed. I’m spatially challenged, I guess. I can do expert-level Sudoku, but I can do wonk. 

So next I tried economy blocks (square in a square) with half-square triangles and various fabrics from my pull. They were underwhelming. So I tried them in a single color and it still lacked punch. By then, I was getting punchy. So I worked on other projects.

On the next afternoon, I had a brilliant idea to use my Accuquilt dies. First I pulled the half rectangle triangle die and cut up some more fabric. *Cough* With four pieced black/color rectangles placed together, the diamond ended up being humongous. I thought of cutting triangles (die cut or with rulers), but they were also too large. One more look through the dies - OH!! I have a diamond die. DUH. I bought my original Go! Cutter used from a quilter and it came with a lot of dies, many of which I’ve never used. 

A couple hours of cutting and sewing and trimming and Voila! 

So now I’m back to a square piece of about 20-ish inches instead of a rectangle, but there are still four rounds to go, so it’s all good. And the good thing is that I got to play and experiment and learn more than I ever wanted to know about diamonds!  And I’ve probably got enough scrappy fabric off-cuts to do an entire round of crumb piecing if someone call that for a future round. 

Anyway, come check out all the fun variations at this week’s link-up here (everyone has through the weekend to link up, so check back often!)

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Scrappy Saturday in Red

My Saturday is going to be very scrappy indeed! After I post this blog post to join Angela and the other Rainbow Scrapettes at Scrappy Saturday (come see all the delightful blocks and quilts at Angela’s So Scrappy blog), I’ll be heading off to a Quilts for Kids workshop. There we’ll spend three delightful hours stitching, gabbing and snacking. I’ve got eleven quilts to turn in! Naturally, we’ll be masked and socially distanced, but there is sure to be plenty of laughing and scrap sharing as well!

I was able, finally, to finish quilting the sailboat quilt that was giving my machine fits last week. First I had to rip out a lot of the quilting because of the poor tension. After a couple quick trips to the dealer to have them look at my machine, they adjusted the bobbin tension and that helped somewhat. It was still not what it should have been, but I got the quilt done. Then I trimmed and bound it. Here is this cutie pie quilt all finished.

It was quilted with swirls (what was I thinking?). The finished size is 42.5x50”.

Once I got past this quilt, my Bernina was back to purring along perfectly like her old self. The red scrap donation quilt was next.

With small loopy quilting, this finished up in no time at 42x45.5”. And finally I quilted the one I’m calling “red cats” because of the old maroon-red fabric in it. Sorta looks like the Nineties threw up all over it.  Actually, I love this little quilt!

And look at the wild backing! It was sent to me for QFK by my friend Sally.

It was good to get those three little quilts done early in the week so I could take them to the QFKids workshop today. Anyway, then it was time to get back to the red scraps.

I made two more elephant blocks, for a total of six this month.

And two Antique Tile blocks (12.5”, unfinished size)..

That’s all the finished blocks this week, but I’ve been working with my crumbs too. I divided them up into bright reds and maroons (cranberry, mahogany, etc). I made 12 crumb blocks of each color set measuring 6.5” each. They’ll be sewn into two placemats of each color, but that will be unveiled next week. I also made crumb tumblers and cut some regular fabric tumblers and will sew up the first two rows of a rainbow tumbler quilt. That, too, will be for next week. 

I still have a lot (a LOT) of red scraps and am debating as to whether or not I want to keep the Bear Paw blocks in my RSC lineup, or whether I want to spend next week working on a personal red quilt that I started last August, my Ribbons quilt. 

Maybe I can do both? HA! There’s also the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) that I (and many others) are participating in. The first round was given to us: curves. You can see all the wonderful progress here. This is my block, with the curves added in the form of drunkard’s path blocks on the top and bottom. I’m going to build this as a rectangular quilt.

So…. Decisions, decisions. But right now I’m deciding I’d better get my rear in gear and get going to the QFK workshop! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Adding Curves to the Round Robin Block

This week, our weekly hostess Anja called CURVES for the first round of our Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). As long as it was curved - free-form, Drunkard’s Path, orange peel shapes - it was “on the table”. Decisions, decisions!

I have the Quick Curves rulers (regular and mini) as well as a drunkard’s path die set for my Accuquilt cutter. I decided to go with the latter. 

Here is my center block, “before”

I added a little black border around it first. I needed to stabilize this old block and see if I could preserve the points (about 95% successful!). Then I added curves to the top and bottom only to begin the transformation to a rectangle shape. 

It measures about 14x20” at this point, which I’m worried is a bit large for this stage of the round robin. I may take out the top and bottom 1” strips between the center block and the curves. We’ll see. I definitely do need to get more Kona black. I’ll be continuing with bright greens, aquas, blues and maybe even purple - and I have plenty of those to choose from. 

Join is HERE to see everyone’s progress so far!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Red Delicious Scraps

January is red scraps month in the online Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Now that I’ve been working on them for a couple weeks, I feel as though I’m finally gaining some control over them. 

I did lose an entire afternoon of sewing on Thursday when we had our furnace guys out to do a tune-up. Between Bruce and them, we realized our humidifier wasn’t working (itchy skin in this dry winter climate is a clue), so we had a new one installed to replace the 25+-year old one. It took them over 3 hours and we were on-and off without heat or power. And the cats were, of course, deep in hiding. Anyway, it’s all good now, but ouch! That hurt the ol’ pocketbook. There was an extra zero at the end of what I had guessed it would cost. 

So I settled in to quilt the sailboat quilt on Friday, and my machine was giving me fits. It sounded like a clackety-clack bicycle with trading cards clothespinned to the spokes! I took it back to the dealer, and it worked just fine for them. Of course it did. Back at home, it was back to clacking (with poor tension on the quilt back), so I gave up about 70% of the way through. I’ve replaced the needle, cleaned and oiled the machine (even though I’ve only had it back for a couple weeks from its annual service), and tried to adjust the tension. Nothing helps. Tomorrow I’m going to get tough. I figure I can threaten to throw it outside or buy a replacement. That machine will be scared straight, I’m sure of it…..anyway… all that to say that the sailboat quilt isn’t finished yet. But there are other things to share.

The green string cats donation quilt finished at 42x48” and will go to - where else? - Quilts for Kids.  The backing used the last of the cat squares.

But I got lots of red sewing done too. First came the courthouse steps blocks in the bullseye setting that Angela, our RSC hostess, did a tutorial on. I had so many red strings that I made 10 blocks with a final red border and 10 with a final neutral border. I don’t intend to make that many every month, but I let the red scraps dictate the quantity this month.

Aren’t they fun? They measure 7.5” and will finish at 7” in a quilt. Next I worked on framing the four-patches I made last year (plus I added a few more to the mix). 

Again, the outer borders are alternated dark/light. These blocks will finish at 8”. 

Some of the red scraps I have are so cute!!

The following two photos are of little quilts in process. This first one is actually a top waiting to be pin basted. It’s all from the Quilts for Kids scrap stash (although the cat fabric may have been a friend donation - I can’t remember. 

The next one is just strips and blocks up on the design wall and needs to be sewn together. That will happen this week along with the quilting of these two and Sailboats. Fingers crossed that my machine will see the error of her ways and cooperate!

The Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) has started, and I’m joining in again this year. You can read about it on my last post, but I’ll show my starting block here. We’ll be building our quilts medallion-style around the centers.

Alfalfa and Darla have been ignoring their new huge scratching post, so I guess I’m going to have to buy some ‘nip and rub it on the sisal. But at least they each have their own heated beds now so they don’t have to argue about that. In fact, here’s a picture of them getting along very well - and not sleeping in their own beds. Because why would you when you can sleep in the humans’ bed?

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

SAHRR - Stay at Home Round Robin

This year once again I’ll be participating in the Stay at Home Round Robin. What is a SAHRR? It’s a six-week challenge hosted by Gail at Quilting Gail in Canada. This week we are showing our center blocks, and for the next several weeks, a block or quilting unit (like triangles or flying geese) will be called. We get to just sew those units in the comfort of our homes and link up our weekly progress. I participated last year, had a ball, and ended up with a great quilt that I gifted at Christmas to a family member. 

In searching for a potential center block, I rejected the few orphan blocks I had because most of them were wonky or will best serve a purpose on the back of a quilt. We all know how that goes, right? Anyway, I have lots of blocks that were donated to me through Quilts for Kids.  I’m the scrap lady, but sometimes I get single blocks as well. This one intrigued me and didn’t go with any other blocks in my stash or donations.

I’ve been itching to work on a quilt with a black background, and this 12” block will make a great start. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to preserve all the points, but I’m not going to let a little thing like perfection stand in my way of a good time!

Come on over to visit our kick-off event to see the wide variety of styles and colors of the many participants! 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Starting Slowly

Well, we all made it to 2022. Bruce and I are just getting over (finally) our Christmas colds. Some days, naps just seemed like a good idea, even when there were plenty of things to do. Laundry and housework and errands had to wait. Even sewing was tabled for awhile. But eventually this week we got caught up and even got the Christmas decorations put away for another year. I finally feel as though I’ll be able to hit the ground running this weekend. 

Back in December I started playing with one of the fabrics I bought from Wanda at Exuberant Color in her pop-up shop last fall. I bought a lovely grouping of bright animal fabric remnants. Since most of these bright, bold remnants are about a half yard or less, I knew they’d need to be paired with other blocks. Naturally, my horde of string blocks came to mind. 

In hopes that maybe green would be called as the January RSC color, I started with a green fabric with aqua, orange and purple cats. The fabric was cut into 6.5” blocks to match the string blocks. First, I started with all greens. Before I got even half of them up on the design wall, I knew it was too overwhelmingly GREEN (and I love green....).  So I experimented with adding in some other colored string blocks to pick up the colors of the cats in the print. Much better. 

Here’s a close-up showing better detail of the fabric.

So anyway, this little flimsy is ready to be basted up for quilting. And obviously I was wrong in guessing January’s color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, which is red. So, once Angela announced it, I pulled out my red scraps.

Oh dear, I’m in trouble. I have So.Many.Red.Scraps. Just that pile of stacked squares under the scissors handle is enough to almost complete a full quilt. Then there are other squares of varying sizes, four-patches, orphan blocks, strips enough to circle the Earth and chunks and.... oy.  In addition, I have a couple projects for Quilts for Kids, more like self-made “kits” from similar scraps, that lean toward one certain color. Like last year, I’ll focus on finishing a couple of those as we visit each color. 

So the next thing I did was pull out a donated quilt kit, Sailing Sailing, that I had assigned to Red Month. The kit included the original instructions, and the donor’s fabric pull, plus one partially completed block. 

She had apparently decided to do away with the zig-zags under the boats, as she had a navy “ocean” print attached to her block. And the pinwheels had been scratched out too. Fine with me. I like fast and simple when it comes to kid quilts. This kit was originally for 12 blocks, but she had fabric enough for more, so I made 20.  Here is what I came up with.

Honestly, it’s just *looks* wonky hanging there, but I promise, it’s square!

The red vertical sashing and the checkered border were from my stash. See..... red! I’m calling it Sail Away, which is what I wish I could do. You know, warm weather, ocean breezes, umbrella’ed drinks while lounging on a beach..... *ahem*.  Back to the reality of snowy cold January in the Salt Lake Valley.

Sail Away is ready for basting, too, and I expect both these little quilts will be finished next week.  I’ll share all the details then. In the meantime, I was NOT enthusiastic about tackling that pile of red. I thought I had all my blocks planned out for RSC22, but I just wasn’t sure. And certainly there was going to be plenty more scraps to warrant an additional almost-all-red quilt or two. Or four. Ugh. But I’ll talk about those plans next week.

In the meantime, I was SURE that I was continuing with the elephant blocks (Stomping Ground by Wendy Shepard), so I pulled out large enough red chunks and got to work. The red floral elephant is my favorite so far.

The next two Ellies were pieced with some red scrap fabric that was part of the donation stuff. I loved it until I pressed the elephant blocks, and you can already see that it’s bleeding. (click to enlarge). These will be getting soaked with color catchers before and after being sewn into a quilt.

Four elephants down and more to go, depending on how many I feel like doing.  I could easily do another dozen, but I may save some of the larger chunks for other things. We’ll see how the month pans out. 

Some of my planned blocks for the RSC this year are Bear Paws in three sizes. This was my inspiration picture, from Wombat Quilts. Her quilt has four block sizes, but I'll probably omit the largest size.

And once Angela showed her bullseye setting for Courthouse Steps blocks, I knew that was the perfect solution to using many of the red strips (paired with low volume background strips) I have. I should get a quilts’-worth of blocks just from those. I’m taking a break from my usual 6.5” string blocks this year because I have hundreds to use up. And I will, dang it! But I may do a few Rectangle String blocks with a center contrast of black to see how I like those. I’ll try them in any color except red. 

I’ll also be doing Antique Tile blocks, framed four-patches (which may morph into Puss in the Corner blocks), crumb placemats, and tumblers. I have also set a goal to use the half-hexie blocks I made in 2020 (or was it earlier?) from selvages. Lots of those crumbs, tumblers, four-patches and half hexies may be incorporated into single-color quilts along the way. Again, it’s all rather up in the air. Sheesh, no wonder I feel overwhelmed. 

Where’s that Fairy Godmother when you need her?