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?


  1. A lot of projects to keep you busy 😉 Lovely red elephants!

  2. Love Sail Away! The gingham is a great way to get the same look without extra piecing. As for the bleeding elephant, do you know Vicki Welsh's solution with dish soap? It's here: For the rest of the reds, you might try adding a little yellow to make it more fun and give it some variety. Can't wait to see those other RSC projects. Looks like you'll be busy! :)

  3. Those elephant blocks are great. Looks like you've been busy!

  4. Goodness me, you have had a busy week sewing. All those red scraps, amazing. The Sailing Sailing quilt is so jolly, love the ocean fabric, ideal for those sailing boat blocks. Like your idea of pairing the cat fabric with the one-colour string blocks, it’s made a great flimsy. And all those ideas for other RSC blocks made my head spin!

  5. Sail Away turned out really cute. As did the Elephants. You're off and running in 2022!

  6. Yikes you do have a lot planned--all super stuff though; so far I have naught, nil, nada, no thing planned...but, once I find out what has been going on with me I will begin to plan...I keep on seeing tons and tons of blocks I want to make, but having had to wait, they fly away somehow...
    I just think those Sailing Boats are too adorable ;D so sweet!! (hmm, I had a boat thing going sometime, didn't I?) And the Elephants are beautiful (my little son used to say "Efalants" har har--and now he's a Dad of two--time does fly).
    Anyway, I will be watching to see how you come along.
    Love that GREEN piece--strings make my old heart flutter for sure...
    Glad to hear you are feeling better...stay safe and healthy this New Year
    Hugs, Julierose

  7. Your string quilt with the cat fabric is so fun, Cathy! Cute fabric to base the center string block colors on, too. I love how you have made so many string blocks in all the colors that you can just pull a few out to make a quilt whenever inspiration strikes. Such a great idea!

  8. Great projects...cute red elephants!

  9. Love how you used the cat fabric with different colored strings. You always come up with great string-y ideas! The sailboats are too cute - another great improvisation! And the Ellies are adorable! I don't think I'll be making those this year, but I'm going to love seeing yours.

  10. I think that's one of the cutest Sailboat patterns I've seen, Cathy. Best of luck working your way through that HUGE pile of RED scraps for the RSC!!

  11. You've done a lot of work to get the Sailing quilt top finished, it looks great. And those elephants, I've always liked them. Just reading through your proposed list of possible projects made me feel faint!

  12. You know I love the string blocks. The setting you chose ie wonderful! And Sail Away is fab. Kim feeling like a slacker. Still away from my sewing space, so nothing done. Lots of scribbled notes in my notebook though. I’ll have lots of catching up to do!

  13. The sailboat quilt turned out especially cute. It's bright and happy!! Some kiddo will love it a lot.

  14. That squiggly white-on-navy print is perfect for the ocean waves. Your scrappy ingenuity is an inspiration. Glad you & B are feeling better!

  15. How fun to see what you're working on! I can't decide if I like the ellies or the sailboats the best. The wild cats on the green background are super fun, too :)

  16. Sorry to hear you've been under the weather. Hope all is behind you and you (both) will have a wonderful year. Love your two new quilts. Awesome job on the kit quilt. Too bad that red fabric bleeds. I don't buy colour catchers anymore because Dawn (the blue dish soap, yes) is even better. You can read my adventure with a bleeding red here
    Enjoy! ;^)

  17. There you are with those cute elephants, and the other Cathy was tempting us with cows. Now I can't choose which to make - maybe a combination? Cowaphants? Elemoos?

  18. Love the strings with the kitty fabric. I love green too! The wavy fabric you used for the boat "water" is perfect. You always get so much accomplished. Glad you & Bruce are feeling better. Let's keep it that way! Lol!

  19. What I need is the mice from Tailor of Glouster, and Cinderella to come finish a bunch of UFOs!


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