Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Community Quilts for August

 In August I’ve finished up five Community Quilts - quilts whose tops have been sewn by others and given to me to finish. I provide the batting, the backing in most cases, and then they are labeled and donated to my local (Salt Lake City) chapter of Quilts for Kids.  I keep these Community Quilts in a separate list on my blog; specifically, under the “Community Quilts” page tab just under the blog header. 

Here are August’s Community Quilts:

Top sewn by Julie K of GA, quilted by me

Top Sewn by Anonymous, quilted by me

3 Quilts pieced by the Cresco, IA Quilters, sent to me by Jo Kramer of IA, quilted by me

Batman quilt (above and below)

Skier Quilt (above and below)

Farm Quilt (above and below)

July Community Quilts (not previously listed in a Community Quilts post)

Sewn by Julie K of GA, Quilted and Finished by me. Donated to Wrap Ukraine with Quilts

Friday, August 26, 2022

Happy Summer Days

It was the best of times. It was the worst … No. It was definitely the best of times!  This past week was just a fun ol’ week that passed by in unassuming perfection. Not too hot, and with delightfully pleasant  evenings. We had calls and visits from (and to) family, friends, neighbors; enjoyable work in the garden, cleaning, dividing and transplanting things; harvesting and sharing tons of veggies. Eating lots of them, too. I’ve lost almost four pounds this month and am within striking distance of my pre-Covid weight. I cooked a couple great meals (tomato pie, shrimp fettuccine), and our tomatoes tasted extra good in our Turkey BLTs! I’ve received generous donations of scraps and quilt tops for Quilts for Kids and spent some happy hours sorting and “filing” them. And I sewed and quilted this week, but more balanced time-wise and not at breakneck pace like last week. It was just a simple, happy week!

The color of the month for August in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge has been orange, and this week I finished up my remaining orange blocks.  First, six Bear Paw blocks that will finish at 9”, 6” and 3”.

I also did lots of crumb sewing, finishing the orange row for my rainbow tumbler quilt top. No picture of that. But I did get a picture of the two scrappy crumb placemats I made - one in bright oranges and one in peachy oranges. 

I usually make these placemats 12x18”, but the peachy one is 13” wide. I had the scraps and didn’t want to cut off a whole inch just for the sake of uniformity. I’ll be linking up to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and also to Joy’s blog for the August Table Scraps link-up

Next week I should have a bunch of finishes to share, but this week I only have two.  The first one is the one I call The Ugly Quilt. It came as a large top (with a slice out of it) in a box of estate sale fabric my friend Ruby gave me. Here it is, trimmed, washed, quilted and bound. It actually feels wonderful and might be deserving of a name change to simply “not so pretty”! 

It was quilted with a simple stipple and finished at 42x49”. And yes, I noticed the little pucker on the back as I edited the photo. I should be able to fix that!

The other finish was the quilt I made from the remnants and chunks of mermaid/octopus fabric (Mendocino and another line or two). 

Again, it was quilted with a stipple. I guess I was in a stipple sort of mood! Yes, I could probably come up with a cuter pattern and cut up the fabric more and sew it back together…. But then it would’ve been smaller. As is, it ended up measuring 41x47.5”.

And that’s it for the sewing! I did receive a wonderful - and I mean GORGEOUS - quilt top from McGill U. in South Carolina. But I haven’t had a chance to press it yet, so that will happen this week. I will blog about it and show a picture next week. I have three little community quilts that are waiting to be quilted, and I hope to do all four before month-end. I also have the salmon-and-sage quilt top done and waiting to be basted and quilted. So there will be some rapid-fire finishes this coming week before I dig in to the September scraps! 

And tonight, as Bruce was prepping the coffee pot for the morning, he looked over at the cats’ bowls and started laughing. Alfie had been playing with this toy mouse while we were eating dinner, but we didn’t think any more about it until we saw this…. What does it mean? LOL!!

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Lots of Orange Sewing

This was a quiet week for us - nothing but a few errands, gardening/harvesting/preparing vegetables, and sewing for me. Bruce is building a software-defined radio in his workshop with a large loop antenna. I have no idea what that means, any more than he would know how to make a pinwheel quilt block. But he’s having fun, so am I, and we play nicely in our respective studios during the afternoon. Alfie and Darla are like little kids. They nap until about 4 in the afternoon, then come downstairs to visit us and see how we’re doing. Bruce’s workshop has lots of toys parts that interest them, but we’re very careful about what they’re allowed to bring out. They have a whole “toy box” (basket) full of toys, and once we turn off the lights and head to bed, the kitties get them out and either playtime begins, or Alfie serenades us with the songs of his people. Or both. We still haven’t gotten them to put their toys back in the basket, so that is one of my first chores in the morning! I guess they have me well trained!

I really did spend a lot of time in the studio this week. One day I basted five quilts, another day or two I sewed string blocks. I assembled five Zipper Quilt Kits for Quilts for Kids, sewed a quilt top, planned another, quilted a quilt and sorted through more fabric donations and purchases. So, it’s time for some pictures. 

Let’s start with the two remaining orange elephants I sewed this week.

That brought the orange herd up to 10. They are destined for five separate quilts, believe it or not!

And speaking of elephants, Nann sent me this adorable Laurel Burch fabric of rainbow tossed elephants. It’s enough to do the borders and backing of another youth quilt! Thanks, Nann!

Next I worked on the 12 orange bullseye courthouse steps blocks I needed.

They will be assembled into a quilt top with the dark blues, reds, dark greens and a couple teal blocks. The fabric in the center is an old Amy Butler fabric and will be the backing and possibly the side borders.

And I was feeling the urge to do some string sewing, so one day (and part of another) was spent on these 30 orange string blocks. They are pinned in batches of 15 and donated to our chapter of Quilts for Kids to make into quilt kits. 

Then I sewed a bunch of my easy blocks for the month; 12 Bowties (will finish at 4” each) 

and 18 of the Little Bricks blocks, which will finish at 6” each. 

Yeah, there’s more. I’m telling you, I don’t have a life these days except pretty much sewing, sleeping, gardening and laundry.

I did finish one quilt. It doesn’t have a name, but it was put together from a couple years’ accumulation of scraps in orange, brown, bright blue and bright green. I’ve noticed that if I load two pictures at once in Blogger, it reverses the order every other time. This time we’re getting the photo of the back and label first.

Now, here’s the front. There is everything in there from Heather Ross fabric, solids, to Riley Blake fabrics, Gumby and Pokey, bugs and more. But it hangs well enough together, finishing at 40x48.5”.

I didn’t get the Mermaids and Octopus quilt finished (the Mendocino fabric I showed last week), but it is one of the ones I pin basted. It’s next up for quilting. The other three will get quilted this week, too, but they’re some secret (for now) sewing.

My next quilt kit bag of scraps is in oranges/salmon and green. Here’s a peek at what I’ll be working with:

I’ve drafted a pattern and will have enough of these scraps for the front and the back. It should be at least to flimsy stage by next weekend. The only RSC sewing I have left for the next week is my crumbs (crumb tumblers and 2 placemats) and the Bear Paw blocks. 

And finally, I assembled five Zipper Quilt Kits. Each kit contains the necessary cut parts for 24 Zipper blocks, the borders and backing, instructions, and a QFK label. Note the orange zipper-print fabric! I don’t generally make five Zipper kits a month (there’s So.Much.Cutting), but I had a lot of fabric donations in the last month and I needed to move them into something useful. If I can’t sew them all myself (and I can’t), it helps QFK just as much if I can assemble kits for others to sew.  

Partially-assembled kits

I did some calculations, and each quilt kit uses 3.5 yards of fabric. So these 5 kits represent 17.5 yards of fabric out. I don’t have the time or inclination to track that kind of thing on a regular basis, but I was curious. As long as I keep the quilts and the kits moving out, I don’t have guilt about receiving fabric donations and/or purchasing fabric. *cough, cough*...... like these 20 yards of fabric from Hancock’s of Paducah....... Their sale fabrics are amazing, and the Kona prices are usually even better than JoAnn’s with a coupon (and a much better color selection!)

I see lots of quilt backings and borders there!! 

That’s it for now, friends. I am totally wiped out from this week and plan to just vegetate for the day. No housework, no gardening, no sewing, no people-ing. Maybe a good book out on the patio (weather permitting - it’s beginning to cool down somewhat) and a cup of iced coffee. How are you spending the waning days of summer? 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Sewing, Vegetables, Cortisone

Sewing, Vegetables and Cortisone - my week in a nutshell. Let’s back up to last Saturday and I’ll bring you along with pictures.

Our August Quilts for Kids meeting was held at a new-to-me shop in Riverton called Forget-me-Not Quilts. I brought in all the quilts donations quilts finished to date, including the three quilts that Julie K and I made for the Wrap Ukraine with Quilts drive. Forget-me-Not Quilts is a collection point, so those three are safely on their way (see the Community Quilts tab at the top of my blog if you need a refresher on those).  I brought my bag of multi-colored strings to sew on. My friend G made a quilt from a kit containing fabric and string blocks that I had previously assembled and donated.

It turned out so cute! Our chapter of QFK is always looking for fabric donations to make quilt kits. I figure I can help out twofold by (1) reducing their string and strip scrap stash by sewing string blocks and then (2) preparing kits for members to sew. I also assemble Zipper blocks and kits with strips and fabrics from my stash or donations. My goal is to donate at least 60-75 string blocks per month (we use them in sets of 15) and at least 3-5 Zipper quilt kits (including backings) per month. That’s in addition to personal quilts I sew for donation or family. 

This last week, starting on Saturday and finishing on Tuesday, I sewed these four 15-block sets of strings. I safety pin them together in sets.

On Sunday we had a family dinner with my son Ryan and DIL Kim. It’s her birthday this month, and we wanted to go out to celebrate. Also, DGD Lauren will be moving up to college in Logan in a couple weeks, so we added her and boyfriend Graham to the celebrations.

On Tuesday, it was Weight Watchers (no weight change, which was great after eating out three times last week and being very careful), and then a trip to my doctor for cortisone shots in my knees (bursitis). I can move again!  We spent a couple mornings out in the yard this week, beating back weeds and harvesting vegetables. The peppers, carrots, green beans and cucumbers are all going strong. The tomatoes have been ripening, too, so we’re loving our turkey bacon BLTs once or twice per week. I have started sharing vegetables again at my WW meetings, and a couple others are starting to bring some garden bounty too! It’s like a free Farmers Market.

And speaking of WW, my friend Ruby invited Bruce and I over last week one evening. You may remember that Ruby was the one that gave me that glorious roll of $400/yard Italian fabric.....  I’ve bought cork to go along with it to make us a couple purses, but I’m still searching for some classy backing fabric.

Well anyway, Ruby used to do sewing for Denton House (very exclusive) and her daughter has taken over the business. But Ruby had lots of fancy fabrics to give away, and gave them to a neighbor who runs a ceramic gifts manufacturing business. In trade, this friend gave Ruby hundreds - and I mean several hundreds (at least five large produce boxes full) of ceramic mushrooms. They are “seconds”, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell. So, Ruby wanted me to have first pick of the mushrooms before she took them to her knitting group or to Weight Watchers to give them out to others. She practically MADE me take a whole boxful so that I could share them with my DIL Kim, Cousin Kim and Cousin Carrie. And neighbors and friends (T - I have some for you). And to use in our own garden. Here’s a picture of a small fraction - these are just the ones that I have left to put out in the back garden and the flower pots.

Another cute Pile of Stuff! OMG, I love color!!!

So, it was a fun week, and I did manage to finally settle down and get some serious sewing done. The first thing I did was baste and finish the purple, pink and green elephant quilt.

As usual, it finished at 40x48” and was quilted in loopy swirls. The only semi-suitable fabric I had for the back was a too-warm pink, but I paired it with some gray and called it good.

I had planned to get all the rest of my orange elephants sewn this week, but I only did two more pair. Here they are. I’ve had some more orange scraps make their way into my stash (rejects from quilt kits I’m sewing up, more on that in a moment), so I will probably have another couple pair to show next week. But for now, here are these ladies:

Last week I showed you a peek of some fabric strips/scraps that I was trying to make some sense out of. You know, from the cast-off donations into a worthy kid quilt. This is the top that I finished, that now moves into the basting pile. It is straight, but looks a bit wonky slapped up on the design board. It will get trimmed after quilting to square it up!

And then I dug into some of the scraps that Ruby gave me a couple weeks ago from her estate saling. In one of the boxes was a quilt top that was quite large but it looked like someone had cut a big semicircle out of one corner. Think of a bite out of a cookie. Anyway, I trimmed it down into the usable part and the remaining size was good for Quilts for Kids. Then I threw it in the wash - which they don’t like us to do as our Board prefers to handle final washings themselves before donationing. But I didn’t know its provenance, and wanted work with clean fabric.

I found a relatively basic brown backing with tiny red and blue squares that will work with it, but I had to insert a row of rectangle blocks down the back to make it wide enough. Now, let me show you the quilt. I’m just calling it The Ugly Quilt. It is seven blocks across and six blocks down.

The fabric is only about 10 years old and the quilt has never been finished. The fabric you see to the right of the quilt (hanging on the hanger) is the backing. I didn’t have identical fabrics in my stash, but I pulled some pieces that were similar in color and type - a blue with white polka dots, a red quatrefoil-like print, solid brown, mint green. they work just fine. The plan is to also baste and quilt the heck out of this thing and see if it becomes Worthy.

And the other quilt top I’m working on now is another “kit quilt” assembled from more of the scraps from Ruby. Some of you may recognize some of these fabrics as being from the Mendocino line by Heather Ross about 8-10 years ago.  There are other fabric chunks in there too that coordinate nicely.

I’ve come up with a very basic design that will fit the scraps. I saw it somewhere online (probably Pinterest, but there is no viable link). But that reveal will have to wait until next week. 

And with that, I’m off to get started on my day. No plans, although a Barnes and Noble date sounds good. I surely don’t want to go to a Farmer’s Market and have to process more vegetables!

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

It Feels Orange This Month!

It’s Orange August for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge! I’ve dug around and pulled out all my orange scraps, my orange orphan blocks, and the quilt “kits” I’ve made out of scraps I’ve gathered over the last couple years. When I can find enough scraps, chunks and pieces that might play well together, they go into a 9x12” (-ish) baggie until their color month comes up. But I’ve got at least five orange “kits” for this month, so some may have to wait their turn!

Before I get into my sewing recap, let me show you the fabrics and scraps that my dear friend Ruby (we met at Weight Watchers) has given to me over the last two weeks. Ruby likes to shop estate sales and yard sales, and she’s been snatching up boxes of fabrics for a song. 

Some of these fabrics go back to the 1970’s.  See that brown fabric on the lower left? The TAN fabric underneath it is the same exact print I made a maternity top out of back in 1977! All of these are clean fabrics in excellent condition. We sifted out all the junky fabrics and “other” fabrics to donate back to a thrift store. There are solids, retro and modern fabrics (Patrick Lose, Amy Butler). I’ve spent way too much time this week sorting and petting and playing with the fabric. My studio storage needs some serious rearranging and organizing.

But naturally I did get back to my sewing machine. The first order of business was to baste another batch of quilts. I only got one of them quilted this week, but it’s a lovely finish, even if I do say so myself! That’s because the quilt in question was a top, backing and binding donated to me by Julie of Quilts and Costumes. It’s an adorable stack ‘n whack quilt of silly aliens with a light confetti-like print for the background.

I selected a bright blue thread and quilted it with parallel vertical lines in a serpentine stitch. As I stitched, the confetti print background was so cheery! It was so delightful!

Julie even provided the binding fabric. The finished quilt measures 47.5x64”. I’m calling it Confetti Aliens, although donation quilts don’t generally get an “official” name. 

Here is the Quilts for Kids label I added.

And just so you can see more of Julie’s meticulous work, here is the backing she pieced. Isn’t it just adorable too?

So, I’ll update my Community Quilts tab this week to include all three quilt tops that Julie donated. Thank you once again, Julie! You’re so appreciated! 

I finally turned to my orange RSC blocks, and don’t you know I had to start off with a couple pair of orange elephants. 

There will be three more pairs coming later this month. This is from the pattern Stomping Ground by WendySheppard. 

Next up, two Antique Tile blocks that will finish at 12”.

And also 8 Framed Four Patch blocks that’ll finish at 8” each. 

So that’s about it for now. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the mess of scraps that constitute one of the quilt tops that I’ll have sewn into a top by next week. Prayers may be in order for this one, LOL!

So this morning I’m off to our August Quilts for Kids workshop. Time to go load up the car! Thanks for dropping by!