Friday, February 25, 2022

Ready For a New Color

It’s only a few days until the new color for March is announced by Angela, our Rainbow Scrap Challenge hostess. I can’t wait! I’ve sewed almost my aqua scraps and even made cuts into fat quarters, using two for placemat backs - I’ll show you later in this post. 

One day this week we took a load of stuff to the thrift store. I also wanted to go in to see if I could find any decent fabric or sheets to use as quilt backings. I did OK - found a denim-look queen top sheet and a pale green queen top sheet. The store had most of the fabric pieces bagged and hanging on hooks in the Domestics. I found one package for $2.99 (less a 20% senior discount and less another 20% discount for donating). It had 3 pieces of cute aqua cotton fabrics measuring roughly 21” by WOF (width of fabric). The second pack I picked up was $3.99 less those same two discounts, and had two cute prints (navy/pinks and gray/pink/green) that measured over 1.5 yards. Good score!

First, let me show you how the quilt top for the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) finished up. Here is the flimsy before starting this week’s round. It measured 40.5 x 48.5"

This week’s hostess, Chris, called the classic Shoofly block for this final round. I was very happy with that because I’ve only ever done a handful of those, and I’d be hard pressed to tell you when. Anyway, I first added a small stop border on the outside of last week’s appliqué border. That made the top dimensions all wonky for 6” shoofly blocks on the long sides.  Also, I over-estimated how much the color would separate the individual shoofly blocks from each other. Some look like they run together color-wise. I should’ve made fewer blocks and used spacers between them. It would’ve been more dramatic with the black and then they could’ve gone all the way around. But I am NOT ripping them out and re-doing it. 

Bruce loves it, and that’s what’s important. I’m totally disappointed in myself for blowing the finish when up to now it was going so (forgive the pun) “swimmingly”.  On the positive side, I learned a lesson about spacing these blocks AND I had mostly excellent points on the blocks. Some of those points will get eaten up by the black binding, but I’m done. I’m not going to sew another little black border on it just to preserve the points that no one will notice anyway. So, this quilt now measures 55x62”, which is a good size for Bruce to sit under in his recliner. I was going to have it custom quilted, but I’m throwing in the towel on that, too. I’ll just hack my way through it. *sigh*

I’m linking up to the SAHRR weekly post for this final sixth round at ChrisKnits. I invite you to drop by and see all the lovely quilt tops that have been created! We will have a final finished quilt parade on March 21 (ish), but I’ll link up to show you when the time comes. 

I still had some aqua blocks to finish up for the RSC this week.  These bow tie blocks are a new start for me this month. When you have lots of 2.5” squares, make bow ties!

I also sewed up all my aqua/teal crumbs and made them into 6.5” blocks. I made 10 of those and then added two aqua orphan blocks. They made two delightful placemats at 12x18” each. 

Two placemats - front

Two placemats - back

I’m linking up with Joy and friends for the Table Scraps monthly linkup. Come check it out!

And to round out the month, I finished up the last two little Quilts for Kids for February. These are always made from donated scraps. This first one I’m calling Eighties Throwback because of the colors. It measures 40x46”. The backing is the last (thank goodness!) of a text print I had.

And then I had to put together my monthly strings quilt in hopes of beating that pile of string blocks down. I did sew up any aqua strings I had on hand into blocks, so there were 7 of them added this month. But this quilt used 56 blocks, so I’m down by a net of 49 string blocks. If I keep doing that this year, I may use up all or most of them!

This cutie measures 42x48, the usual size I make the string quilts. Here’s the back.

And that’s it for this week! I have a whole weekend to sew before starting in on the March RSC color. Saturday is our monthly Quilts for Kids workshop, where we’ll be working with crumbs and teaching the ladies to sew crumbs together. I’m bringing my Accuquilt cutter and lots of idea pictures.  

And the best news is that I’ve got dinner already prepped for tonight and Saturday, so no cooking! YAY! Have a great week everyone!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Nothing Going on Here Except Sewing

It’s been a really busy sewing week. It was a nice week overall, too, with Valentine’s Day (we don’t do anything special), some snow that quickly melted, getting our Federal tax refund and just the usual errands and play time. 

I got serious about sewing some of my aqua/teal blocks for this month’s scrappy color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I’m linking up to Scrappy Saturday.

First I made four Bear Paw blocks; one each in 12” and 9”, and two in 6”:

Next up, 12 bullseye courthouse steps blocks:

I sewed seven 6” string blocks, but didn’t get a photograph. I will need to use them to round out this stringy quilt top that’s just pinned up to the design board for now.

As it is, it’s only set 6 across by 7 down, but I’ll add another column and row so it will end up 7x8, or 42x48”.  Oh, I also sewed a row of tumbler blocks. They’re hanging vertically on the right of the string blocks, but each tumbler row will sit horizontally in the rainbow tumbler quilt. Half the tumblers are a single piece of fabric and half are cut from crumb-pieced chunks. You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it to see that detail.

I hope to get the aqua strings quilt sewn and quilted this week and also the little quilt I made from the bits and chunks I showed last week. Here is that top, ready for pin basting:

The border isn’t as dark/stark in person as the camera makes it look. Some colors just can’t be captured correctly. It measures 40x44”.

I had a great package in the mail yesterday from Jo at Jo’s Country Junction. I volunteered to sew kids quilt tops into finished quilts for her Community Quilts program. I can finish them off and donate locally, directly to our Salt Lake City Quilts for Kids chapter, of which I’m an active member. The package contained 22 quilt tops! One was so large (72x54), that I separated it into two quilts measuring 36x54”. I’ll likely add side borders to bring them up to 38-40” in width. So, 23 quilts in all.

Anyway, I got backings pulled for every one of them from my stash. Whew! That made a dent in my backings. No, let me rephrase that. That made a giant hole in my backings! So I didn’t feel the least bit guilty when I found a good sale and ordered 17 yards of fabric for more backings!!  Watch for those quilts to finish up over the next few months. 

And as usual, I’ll close with an update on my Stay at Home Round Robin challenge quilt for this week. Gail, the SAHRR coordinator and this week’s hostess, called for appliqué this week, with an alternate of rail fence blocks for those who preferred that. Here is my progress quilt after this round.

If you didn’t see my post about it (design decisions and process), that’s HERE. And this week’s SAHRR linkup is here at Gail’s blog where you can see all the wonderful creativity of all the participants.

Have a good week, friends! If you need me, I’ll be in my sewing studio…..

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

A Whale of a Good Time!

No, we’re not out partying like college kids on spring break. I mean, really. It’s winter in Utah and it snowed today. We’re old fogies, there’s a pandemic going on (but the tide seems to be turning to use yet another seaside idiom), and who’s got that kind of energy? No, my idea of a good time the last couple of days has been working on the next round of the Stay at Home Round Robin. So let’s get to it, shall we?

This is where my project finished last week after Round 4:

On Monday, our Round Five hostess (and brainchild behind the SAHRR), Gail of Quilting Gail, called Appliqué for the next round. An alternate of rail fence blocks was given for those not crazy, er, daring enough to do appliqué. Or in my case, to do MORE appliqué.  Yes, I decided on appliqué so I could insert more ocean motifs.

First I had to decide how wide to make the next border and what color. I found a nice ocean blue in my stash. Then came the images - how many? Which ones? Since this quilt is for my husband Bruce, I let him help me pick designs. I searched for some copyright-free line drawings and/or silhouettes online, and we picked our favorites. Then I drew them on paper a few times until I got the scale and proportions right. 

From there I sewed on the blue fabric border, fused Steam-a-Seam Lite to the back of black and green fabrics, and traced the shapes on. Then I cut them out, fused them on and topstitched them down. It. Took. Forever.  Here’s the back side and then the front side of the first motif, a sea turtle. 

Continuing on, I eventually had it finished.

I knew I wanted long-ish motifs on the sides. When Bruce said he didn’t want jellyfish, I switched to seaweed/grasses with seahorses. The anchors were extras that we just decided to throw in because why not? You can see they are slightly different because my drawing skills are limited,

So, that’s it for this round. The quilt now measures 40.5” x 48.5”. Depending on what the next round will be, I may add a thin stop border around the blue before proceeding. I sure hope next week’s round isn’t as time-intensive! But I know it will be just as fun!

I invite you to come check out what the other participants are doing. You can find the link-up quilt parade at Quilting Gail’s blog.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Moving out Those Scraps!

Happy Weekend! Even as a retiree, there is something about the weekend that says RELAX. If I’m being honest, the rest of the week is often that way too. No surprise there. But something about the weekend, when you know that most of your family and friends are off too, makes it special. It’s when we try to get together with family but avoid errands and public places.

My focus in the studio this week was to finish up three little quilts for Quilts for Kids. I accomplished that, but there was a reason for doing them early in the month. I’m really light on aqua and teal scraps for this month’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I knew some scraps in those colorways (or close to those colorways) were squirreled away in some of the scrappy quilt “kits” I make up to assemble into future quilts. 

But let me back up a minute. Whenever I get a batch of scraps, I sort them into groups that go well together, then put them in a gallon-size (or larger) baggie. For every month of the RSC, I pull out baggie kits that contain that month’s color and work to make those into quilts. So this month I made the quilts early on so that I could funnel any leftover teal or aqua scraps into my RSC block-making. See? A method to my madness!

So let’s start with the two blocks that I did sew first - the elephants.

Aren’t they cute?!?  I was actually hoping to have more in this range of colors, so I may resort to cutting up something larger, like a fat quarter or (gasp!) half yard. We’ll see. Shhhhhh!

Last week I gave you a sneak peek of two of the three quilts, so let’s start with those. First up is Dinos.

Dinos finished at 42x48 and was quilted in a cross-hatch pattern with a serpentine stitch. The back is a plain light blue cotton sheet. I had this kit sitting in my stash last year, but didn’t have enough of the polka dot fabric to make it. But then last October when I taught that scrappy workshop at our QFK meeting, someone gave me another hunk of it. Yay! It was enough to complete the original plan I’d drawn.

The next quilt is Mermaids, and again was cobbled together from matching scraps donated to me over the last couple years.

Mermaids measures 38.5x43.5”, was quilted with loops (my go-to pattern; I just zone out!) and the backing is the second half of the same huge blue sheet used on Dinos. 

The final quilt was made from leftover jelly roll strips. Some were width-of-fabric strips and some were not. But I needed to use them all to get a decent length. So I added in solid blocks of color - also from scraps - to extend strips where needed. Bonus - it added a lot of interest to what would have been a pretty plain quilt. 

That center purple block isn’t as bold as the photo makes it look. Each color block got its own quilting treatment. Of course, the purple shows up the most and it’s the worst one. I was practicing my ribbon candy quilting and it definitely needs work! But other motifs turned out better. That yellow block? It was the only scrap that was wide and long enough, but it was too bright. So I turned it over and used the back. Perfect!

This little quilt finished at 38 x 45”.

I’m still participating in the Stay at Home Round Robin, and was able to finish the fourth round. This week, hostess Wendy chose the Signautre Block (aka Indian Hatchet). Here is my quilt with this round included. It currently measures 32.5x40” with two rounds to go. 

The last photo I’m including is the scrappy contents of the “scrap kit” I’ll be assembling into a quilt this week. I thought there was more aqua in it, but it’s really more of a Seafoam green (and the Eighties called and wants their Seafoam and dusty pinks back!)

Some of these scraps literally did not make the cut, like the skinny strips and the patterned green. The rest are cut and ready to be sewn. Stay tuned! I’ll also be focusing on my now-meatier pile of aqua scraps to make some Bullseye Log Cabins, some Bear Paws and some crumb tumblers and blocks.

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Round 4: Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR)

Welcome to my mid-week update on my progress in the SAHRR! This is Week Four, and our hostess is Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts. She called the classic Signature Block, also known as the Indian Hatchet, for us to add to our quilts.

This is what my quilt looked like at the beginning of this week before starting the new round.

This was an easy round foe me this week because I knew exactly how I wanted to do it. And I decided to pull in all the colors at this point - because I could! But first I added a 1.5” stop border in black to bring the center up to 24.5” x 32.5”. That was a good springboard size from which to launch a round of 4” signature blocks. The rest was just straight sewing, and before I knew it, I was done.

The quilt now measures 32.5” x 40.5”, with two rounds to go. I’m on track for a nice-sized lap quilt.

As I pinned it back up on the design board, DH came downstairs and stopped to admire it. He has made an official claim on it already! I can’t wait for the next round!

Thanks for stopping by. If you’d like to see some other creative SAHRR quilts, pop over to the Week 4linkup at Wendy’s Blog

Friday, February 4, 2022

Cold Ouside, Warm Inside

It’s been freezing cold here in the valley. Below freezing actually, in the 20’s (F). We had an inch of snow one morning this week, but mostly it’s just been clear and cold. The highlight of the week was a coffee date to Barnes & Noble. Otherwise, it’s just been talking with family, grocery shopping, a mammogram, and a couple short, brisk walks in the neighborhood. And sewing. Always sewing. Oh, and always laundry, too - I call it the biggest ball and chain of the household. 

But I got a lot of sewing done. Having a rotating color palette with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) helps, as does making lots of smaller quilts for Quilts for Kids. There’s plenty to show you.

I finished the cool-colored quilt made from last year’s RSC split nine-patch blocks. Like the Rainbow Candy warm-colored version I showed last week, this one finished at 42x48”.  I don’t know why some colors have plain white backgrounds and others have low-volume white print backgrounds. I must’ve forgotten about those somewhere along the way! The backing was this aqua piece from my stash.

The second quilt I finished was a leftover from Red January. Several red scraps were combined with navy and white scraps, some from my stash and some from Quilts for Kids (QFK) to make this little quilt.

This one finished at 40x45”.  I was able to work in more of those &*@% selvage half hexies. I’ve got plans for the rest of them as well throughout the year. Good riddance! That navy print fabric on the back? The date on the selvage is 1993. I’m sure many of you will recognize “the” rosebud print of that era!

I finished Round Three of my Stay at Home Round Tobin (SAHRR). My post about it, which includes the backstory on the design choices made, is here.  This is the piece after Round Three.

After all that, it was time to move on to my RSC blocks for February. The color(s) this month are Aqua/teal/turquoise; basically the blue/green range.  First up, two Antique Tile blocks that finish at 12”.

And then 10 Framed Four-Patch blocks that will finish at 8”.

I’ve started, and actually made good progress on, the two little quilts I hope to finish in the coming week. The first one is aqua and pink scraps centered (mostly) around this mermaid scrap.

It’s actually ready to pin baste, so watch for that one next week. The second quilt, which was also pulled from my QFK projects for aqua February, is these aqua, blue and gray dinosaurs. I had cut the blocks out last year but never started sewing. However, it worked out for the best because in the meantime I was given more scraps from QFK which included more of the polka dot fabric. 

This will be a quilt of Happy Blocks, but right now only the two in the top left are sewn. This should be a fun afternoon of chain piecing today or tomorrow. 

Finally, I have a cute photo to show you which came to me from an extended family member. I hope your inner squirrel isn’t offended . . .

Just add squirrel!! 

See you mid-week for a Stay at Home Round Robin update! Linking to:

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

SAHRR: Do These Wonky Stars Make My Quilt Look Big?

Aaaaaaaaand…. We’re OFF and running with Round 3 of the Stay at Home Round Robin! 

This week, it was Roseanne at Home Sewn by Us who called the round’s theme. She called my old nemesis Wonky Stars. Last year Wendy called Wonky Stars. I tried, but couldn’t wonk. So I made friendship stars instead. This year, I tried again. I actually got two stars made! But let me back up just a bit

This is how my block/future quilt looked at the end of Round Two.

So when I read we were to do the Wonky Stars, I slept on it. I actually woke up in the middle of the night with a brilliant (to my sleepy mind) idea! I would first add a bright stop border of color, then do the wonky stars in black! I could not wait to get started.

The first star was pieced in a 5” (ish) square, which would be sewn into the border. Unimpressive. They’re shown here with last week’s equally unimpressive first attempt at diamonds. Maybe a lighter background color? But I really wanted to get the purple introduced before things got too far along. Larger stars? 

By then, I knew Plan A was a bust, and I started just throwing ideas and colors up on the design wall. 

That Kaffe fabric…. Yum. But not here, not now. But I rather like that (hand drawn and traced to fabric) starfish. Hey, STARfish! They’re wonky, right?!? And this was always going to be developed into a sea-feeling quilt. So I had my plan and just needed to experiment with fabrics and colors some more.

In the end, this is where I’m at after round three. The purple stop border is a bit wider on the top and bottom than it is on the sides. Coupled with the Kaffe fabric on the top and bottom, I was able to get wide enough borders for effectively-sized starfish AND convert the block back into a rectangle.

Regular readers may remember that Kaffe fabric from my Seahorse With No Name quilt from last year. I found another use for it here, and there is still some left over. 

Anyway, the starfish were traced onto Heat ‘n Bond and steam pressed on. Then I machine zig-zagged around them to permanently secure them. I love them!! The quilt measures about 22.5” wide by 30.5” tall at this stage.

I’m linking up to the SAHRR at Roseanne’s blog. I hope you’ll drop by and visit all the creativity there!