Friday, July 21, 2017

Like a wave out on the ocean

Hi everyone!  Hot enough for you?  I know, it's not funny, but it was 100 degrees today with about 95 percent humidity, so my brain may be a bit foggy. These are the days when all there is to do is stay inside and have a bunch of nice cool drinks, and maybe do something non-stressful. So you don't get all sweaty, you know?

Seems like a good time for some cool blues!  This week I finished off the Ocean Waves quilt top, which I am super-happy about:


It did kind of go all limp and wrinkly when I took it out in the humidity!  I started this quilt top back in 2014, and pulled it out again recently.  To be honest, it was in a ziplock bag and I forgot all about it.  All the parts and pieces were already made,  and I already had 8 of the blocks assembled and put together into quilt sections.  I had enough pieces for a much larger quilt, but I didn't use all of them and made this smaller one instead. 


This turned out to be 46 by 66 inches, which is a nice cuddle size.  Unless the hubs falls in love with it (or one of my kids claims it) this little quilt is destined for charity after it gets quilted.  I'm amassing quite a pile of things to be quilted, so there may be a bit of a quilting marathon coming on sometime soon.


I like the way this quilt looks, but I wouldn't say that making it was fun.  There's definitely a reason why it became a UFO! There has to be a good way to make an Ocean Waves quilt, but this is not it.  Don't look too closely because there are a *lot* of missing points.  The central parts, which are made of the smaller triangles, kept stretching out and becoming distorted, especially when I pressed them, so I used a ton of Magic Sizing on them.  I used so much that I think I may want to gently hand wash this top before I quilt it because some parts of it are as stiff as paper.


Even though it wasn't especially fun, I'm glad I finished off this quilt top! One more thing out of the closet and turned into something useful.  And it is pretty, isn't it?  I have a lot of pieces left over, but I don't know what I'm going to do with all those yet.  It's possible that I'll get another small quilt out of the leftover pieces, but it won't be another one like this.

Hope everyone is staying cool!  It's a little odd to be making quilts when it's 100 degrees, isn't it?  Must be all that air conditioning going to our heads.  And where better to be when it's so hot than in a cool, happy sewing room?

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, crazymomquilts, and Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Work progresses

Hi everyone!  How's it going with you? Is it super hot and really humid where you are, so hot and humid that it's delaying important contracting work on your house?  Because that's how we are here.  When I was a kid and it was hot and steamy like this we used to try to go to the movies because that was the only place that had air conditioning, which is why I saw so many movies.  Now we all have AC and we just stay inside and stream movies to the sofa.  It's not even close to the same.

Anyway, here's one thing that loves the weather--


The tomatoes!  I think I'll be having a very tasty salad by the end of the week, don't you?

Speaking of red things, this week I'm working on updating my temperature quilt.  It's been a few weeks since I did this, so I'm a bit behind.  The rows in the quilt are 18 days each, and there are no breaks between the months.  Look at which colors I'm using almost exclusively for this row:


Yep, all the reds that are for the 85 to 100 degree range.  And so far I've used one of the browns for 100 plus degrees, too.  I was hoping to avoid that one, but there isn't a cool blue in sight right now.

That's because all of the cool blues are in a different quilt.  I have only 8 blocks to go for the Ocean Waves quilt. This will give me a quilt about 40 by 60, plus the borders.  Since I'll have a bunch of hsts left over, I was thinking of a border something like this:


Yeah, I don't know if I like it either.  It's a little small for the size of the quilt.  So maybe I'll just use some of the chunks of blue fabrics that were also in the bag with the other pieces.  I guess I'll have to see how it goes.

So that's a small update from here!  I'm hoping to get a small finish this week, one of the many, many that are in progress.  I guess we'll see which one makes it to the finish line first!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bag full of blues

Hi everyone!  Man, am I tired of remodeling.  Really, really tired.  The end is in sight, but that means that they'll be doing the floors, and that means that there is now furniture in my sewing room.  Big furniture, things that don't belong in a sewing room.  I know it's temporary, but it's it's in the way!

I know Fridays are for finishes, but I have no finishes right now.  I haven't had a lot of time to sew this week because of the work on the house, (they built my pantry this week!)  but I did do a few things.  I got to move the old cabinet from the kitchen to the sewing room for a cutting table and I loooove it.  I also dug out this bag full of blue pieces and such:


This is a 1-gallon zip bag and it held a *ton* of stuff:

Yes, that's my new cutting table!  Isn't it great?

Triangles, hsts, some big chunks, and some large triangles made from blue 9-patches and white squares.  Some of the hsts are not pressed, but there are plenty of others that are.  There are also plenty of single blue and white triangles, though a lot more blue ones than white ones.

For a clue as to what all these pieces are for, there was this all scrunched up in the bottom of the bag:


I pressed it before I hung this on the wall because it had a *lot* of wrinkles.  This is the beginning of an Ocean Waves quilt that I started back in 2014.  2014!  This is from a pattern by Joan Ford from her book Scraps Plus One.  It's so very pretty, but I put it away a long time ago without ever finishing it.  It looks like I made a dozen blocks and had all the parts ready for at least 30 more.  That's almost enough for the remainder of the quilt, which turns out to be a good size.  I think I may have decided to make fewer blocks to make a smaller quilt.

All the pieces are there--even if they need some more pressing-- so why not jump in and make the rest of the blocks?  Okay, here we go:


And that's when I remembered why this is a UFO.  It's so pretty, but there are a lot of bias edges and I think the blocks are meant to be oversized and trimmed down because they don't come out to be the right size.  It would help if I looked it up in the book, but there is a sofa and a dining table in front of my shelving unit right now.  (I know!)  I think what I'll do is make up enough blocks to make a small child-size quilt, and then do something else with the other pieces.  Maybe they'll make a nice border or something.  Or another small quilt all together.


So that's what I did with my limited stitching time this week!  It's not much, but it's something, and it kept me sane, what with all the hammering and pounding and whatnot going on around here.  But soon I'll have a pantry, and a fun small quilt on top of that!

Hope you all had a great week, and a wonderful weekend.  We are expecting some "get all the animals to the ark" rain, but that's okay because I have plans to stock some shelves! 

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, soscrappy, and Oh Scrap!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Rustic heather

Hi all!  How is it Friday again already?  When they say it's a short week, they really mean that it's a short week!  I hope everyone had a great holiday.  One of the perks of living on the East coast is the Independence celebrations and other historical events.  Is there any better place to celebrate our country than the place where it all began?  We had a fun time and only got rained on once, so a good time was had by all.  And no sunburn, so bonus!

Even though it was a short week with many celebratory events, I did finish something small, a little mini quilt, actually:

Photos in the rain again!

This is a mini quilt that's about 18 inches square, and it's destined to live on the wall in my kitchen if the kitchen is ever finished.  I would show you a picture but it's too depressing.  The kitchen, not the quilt!  But the carpenter has sworn on a stack of cookbooks that he's coming on Monday, so there may be hope.  


This mini is one block, called Scotch Heather, a Nancy Cabot block that dates to 1936.  I've made this block before, for the It's Complicated quilt in 2016.  I managed to make it in a 12-inch block, but it's really not intended to be a 12-inch block.  I've been feeling bad about that ever since.  When I made it this time I made all of the units finish at 2 inches, and it turned out just great.  I'm calling it "rustic heather" because of the block name and the fabric.  The main fabric is a blue-green batik that has some leaves and whatnot in the print and I just love it.  The brighter green is a Color Weave Textured Solid that I got from Bernie (and I know she still has it in her shop, so go take a look).

For the quilting, I'm trying to practice more, and this time I cut some templates out of freezer paper and stitched around them freehand:


This took the "free-motion" pressure off me, and it worked pretty well.  One thing I learned is that you can really only iron on one freezer paper motif at a time, even on a really small quilt like this.  The quilt gets moved around and scrunched and the paper comes off.  Since the templates are reusable a bunch of times, that would also save on cutting. 


The quilting is easier to see on the back, even though it's not really easy to see there, either.  The oak leaf motif turned out okay, which will go well with a rustic-inspired kitchen.  Also, oak leaves are pretty easy to draw, which is the main reason I chose them.  The center square has a little acorn in it.  And I just now realized that I forgot to put a sleeve on the back before I put on the binding.  That shouldn't be too hard to do by hand, though. 

So that's my little finish for the week!  I hope that every one has a great weekend.  I don't know what our plans are yet, but I know they won't be taking place in the kitchen! 


Sharing at crazymomquilts, Finished or Not Friday, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Constellations--Blue

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the next exciting part of the Constellations quilt!  This month's color is blue, which makes up into a lovely, bright block that really stands out in our quilt.  We're also starting the third row of the quilt, which means that we're more than halfway to the finish!

Here is our block:


This block is called Broken Star, another Nancy Cabot block from the 1930's.  This block has nice big pieces, and not too many of them, and is actually pretty quick to make.  The sizes of the units are somewhat uncommon, so be sure to measure carefully and it will come out just fine.  It will help if you read through all of the instructions first, especially if you're interested in some alternate methods for the center square.

If you're using a dark blue background like I am for my quilt, the key to success for this block will be to choose a lighter blue that contrasts nicely with the background.  You'll also need two accent colors that coordinate well with the blue.  I chose a medium yellow (of course) and a lavender.  A pink or green would also look great with the blue in the block.

Cutting:


Pieces marked with a * can be oversized to trim down, if that's something you do.

From the background, cut:

4 3-1/2 inch squares
1 7-1/4 inch square

From the blue, cut:

4 4-1/4 inch squares (*2 can be oversized)

From the first accent color (yellow):

1 3-1/2 inch square  (See directions for alternate methods)
2 3-7/8 inch squares

From the second accent color (purple):

1 4-1/4 inch square*

To complete the quilt section:

Cut from the quilt background fabric:

4 2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch rectangles
2 2-1/2 by 8-1/2 inch strips
2 1-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch strips
3 2-1/2 by 14-1/2 inch strips

Construction:

There are very few units to make for this block-- and they are not tiny pieces! There are a lot of bias edges, though, so you may want to spray your pieces with starch or sizing to keep them from stretching.  Let's start with the center square.  (See below for possible alternate directions.)

Take the purple 4-1/4 inch square and cut it from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles.  Arrange the triangles around the yellow 3-1/2 inch square as shown:


Finger press the centers of the square and the triangles and match the centers to make sure the placement of the triangles is correct.  Stitch to make a square in a square unit.  This unit should measure 4-7/8 inches square, so you need to check carefully to be sure it is the correct size.  You can oversize the purple triangles a bit and trim the resulting square down to the correct size if you need to.  This is actually one place I would recommend oversizing just a bit, because if you're even one thread off the size will be wrong.  I had to fuss with mine quite a bit to make it the correct size. Just be sure that you keep 1/4 inch beyond all the points. Press well and set aside for now.

Alternate methods for the center square:

If you don't want to make this unit, you could simply cut a 4-7/8 inch square of the yellow and eliminate the purple.  The block will look slightly different but will still look good and have a similar effect.

Another alternative to get the square in a square is to use 2  3-3/8 inch squares of both the yellow and the purple to make 4 half square triangles.  Trim these down to 2-3/4 inches, then join them together with the yellow at the center and the purple to the outside.  This should give you an unfinished piece that measures about 5 inches.  Sliver trim this to 4-7/8 inches.  (About 1/16th inch off each side.)

Our next task is to make the flying geese units.  These are fat geese with odd proportions, so they cannot be made using the fast flying geese method.  We'll have to do this the old-fashioned way!  If you're nervous about the sizing, it's okay to oversize the 4-1/4 inch squares a bit and trim the geese to size after stitching.

Take the yellow 3-7/8 inch squares and 2 of the light blue 4-1/4 inch squares.  Cut the yellow squares in half once and the blue squares from corner to corner twice:


Add two of the blue triangles to each of the yellow triangles as shown:


Add one side, press toward the blue, then add the other side and press it toward the blue.  To be sure the alignment is correct, match the points of the triangles at the bottom, allowing the upper tip of the blue triangle to extend over the top of the yellow triangle. These fat geese should measure 2-5/8 by 4-7/8. Trim carefully if necessary.  Make 4.

The final unit is the corners.  Take the remaining light blue 4-1/4 inch squares and cut them from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles.  Finger press to find the centers of the squares and the triangles.  Then take two of these triangles and add them to one of the 3-1/2 inch background squares as shown, matching the finger-pressed centers:


Press carefully and be sure that there is 1/4 inch past the points and the bottom edge is straight. Trim off the dog ears. The bottom straight light blue edge should measure 4-7/8 inches.  Make 4.

That's the end of our units!  On to assembly--

Assembly:

First, take the fat geese and the corner units and join them as shown:


Make sure the geese point the right way. Press toward the geese.  Make 4.

Next, take the 7-1/4 inch background square and cut it in half from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles.  Add two of these triangles to one of the fat goose/corner units you just created, as shown:


To help with alignment, match up the bottom edges of the background triangles with the bottom edge of the geese, allowing the tips of the triangles to extend past the top.  These can be trimmed off after the block is completed. Press towards the background triangles.  Make 2.

All that's left is to put the block together! Lay out the block units as shown:


Join the center into a row, then join the rows into a completed block.  This block should measure 12-1/2 inches square. Mine was initially about 1/8 inch too big, so I had to re-stitch the center seams.  Give it a good press, stand back, and admire!


You have to admit that that is a good-looking block!  Have a nice cool drink, and then let's move on to making the next quilt section.

To complete this quilt section:

Ready to finish off a large section of the quilt?  Let's go--

First, take the block we just made and add the 1-1/2 by 12-1/2 inch background strips to the sides.  Press away from the block. Then add the 2-1/2 by 14-1/2 strip to the bottom of this unit.


Next, gather the remaining four 6-inch stars made in April. Join one of the 2-1/2 by 6-1/2 inch strips to one side of each of the 4 stars:


Turn your stars so that you have 2 stars with the background strip on the left and two with the background strip on the right.  Join one "left-sided" and one "right-sided" star as shown so that the stars are offset:

Why yes, I did do some ripping.  How did you know?

Designate one set of star units for the left and one for the right. Add the 2 2-1/2 by 8-1/2 inch strips to the bottoms of these units.  Press well.


Add the double star units to the sides of the center blue star unit.  Be sure to align the 2-1/2 inch strips that are at the bottom of each unit because they are the sashing for the bottom row.  Finally, add the remaining 2-1/2 inch by 14-1/2 inch strips to the left and right sides of this section.  Press well, stand, back, and admire!


This section should measure 14-1/2 inches by 34-1/2 inches.  Don't worry if it's a little bit off because there will be time for adjustment later.

Progress!

Once you have completed this section, you'll have finished 67% of the quilt!  That sounds like cause for celebration.  I suggest ice cream.  Chocolate or caramel sauce is optional, but definitely recommended.

Thanks for coming along so far!  Come back on August 1 (eep!) for the next installment, including the exciting conclusion to row 3!


Sharing at Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC17.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Walking across the strings

Hi everyone, and welcome to yet another really steamy summer weekend!  And it's a holiday for lots of people, too, which just makes the heat and the rain extra special.  Happy Canada Day (FĂȘte du Canada)  to all our northern friends! And of course, a happy Independence Day to us here in the US!  It's not until Tuesday, but why not start the celebration now?  More time for beer and brats!

Running up to these awesome celebrations, I finished the June quilt top!  This one is so light-colored that it was hard to photograph, but let's give it a try.  This photo shows the colors best:


Does that not remind you of gentle breezes and fresh flowers?  Even though the colors are hard to photograph, I really like them together.  Pink and green is one of my favorite color combinations, and I am happy to use up the strings and the creamy polka dot fabric. 


This quilt top was a part of the June quilt quilt along at crazymomquilts, from her book No Scrap Left Behind.  It was very easy, but making some of those string sections was a bit tedious.  I think if I made it again I would try piecing some longer strip sets and cut the sections from them. It would go a lot faster, but there would be less variety. And I can't help it, I used a bunch of very skinny strings.  They just add so much interest!


Colorwise, mine turned out just about the opposite of Amanda's.  If you look at the link above, hers emphasizes the larger squares and cornerstones, while mine emphasizes the strings.  I've named this quilt Crosswalk because when I look at it it reminds me of an aerial view of city crosswalks.  More colorful, of course!


This is the second string quilt I've made recently!  I really don't know how that's possible, but there it is.  I feel very virtuous, but there still seems to be a lot of fabric around.  Wonder why that is?


I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and a great weekend!  Whether you're celebrating with poutine and beaver tails (or poutine beaver tails?) or burgers and brats,  enjoy!

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, crazymomquilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Oh Scrap!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Plenty of pieces

Hi everyone!  You'll be glad to know that I finished my paper, though it is extremely boring.  Even I'm bored with it, so I am happy that it's finished and out of here.  Still have not painted the hallway, though.  Another boring task that I am putting off!  Not nearly as vital as the paper, though.

With that finished, I've got a bunch of pieces of various projects floating around the sewing room, just waiting for those projects to be finished up. Lots and lots of pieces. Good thing I know where they go!  Let's take a look--

First up is the June quilt quilt along from crazymomquilts.  I've got all the pieces finished and laid out on the design wall and have started putting it together:


You can see that I made a mistake and cut the corners from the cornerstone fabric instead of the background, so this corner is wrong.  The correct fabric is pinned up there so I can fix it later, and the other corners are fine.  I'm hoping to have this all together this week, just so I can take it off the wall and put something else up there.

The second project that I'm working on involves making a *ton* of these units:


These are the last units I have to make for the En Provence quilt that I started making last winter.  This was Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, and it has--as usual--lots and lots of pieces.  I've made all the other units, but I've put off making these ones until the end.  I know these are really useful units, but for some reason I've just been dreading making them.  I just think they're really fussy to cut, and they take a lot of time to cut correctly.  That notch is really important, but somehow I mess it up.  I've got about 200 of these to make in various colors, so I don't see myself finishing them before the end of the summer.  But at least I've started!

Finally (at least for now), I have these pieces for the Steps to the Garden blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge:


Last month's color was green, and since there's so much green in the blocks already, I skipped the green month.  Since I only need 30 blocks, I was going to skip one month anyway.  This month was yellow and I thought for sure I'd have a bunch of yellows.  I was wrong!  What I did have was some pretty greens that won't get lost with the other greens that are already in the block.  I have plenty of yellows, but only one that I really want to use in this quilt, so it looks like I have to go shopping or something, right?

Anyway, I'm going to make the Steps blocks as soon as I finish piecing the June quilt.  Maybe this week?  Maybe not.  I guess we'll see!

Hope you're having a lovely week!  The weather here is beautiful so far this week, so I'm glad I'm no longer trapped in the library.  Paper's still boring, but at least the stitching is not!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Friday, June 23, 2017

I Spy more rain

Hi everyone!  I have a little quilt top to show you today, but getting pictures of it was a bear.  I took some pictures yesterday but they were not great, so I thought I'd take a few this morning and post them then.  This morning there was more rain!  This has been the hardest adaptation of our big move--the weather.  Seriously, the amount of precipitation here makes the Midwest look like an absolute desert.  I finally got out there in between the raindrops, so if you see some spots, that's rain, not dirt.

Remember how I was supposed to finish my paper this week?  I did not finish my paper.  This is a cause for sadness, because it means I have to keep working on it and I am sick of it.  Plus, it's boring. But I did finish my little I Spy quilt top, so there is also great happiness!  Here's the quilt top:


That's a pretty happy little top, isn't it?  I was planning to use a black polka dot for the setting triangles, but it was too overwhelming.  I switched to a gray and white polka dot instead.  I know--gray!  I can't believe it either, but it looks good.  And I have a stripe for the binding, so I think the gray will set that off nicely, too.


This little top was so fun to make.  I do love the square in a square block.  They're easy and fast to make and they turn out looking really good, too.  The inner square is 5 inches, and the sides are 4-inch squares cut in half once.  If you don't care about round numbers, these are really nice-sized pieces to work with--just big enough not to be too fussy, and small enough to make an interesting fussy-cut center.  This makes a block that finishes at about 6-3/8 inches square,  but is just about 9-1/8 on the diagonal.  This top is about 46 inches square.


If I had any sense, I would have used some solid alternate blocks, but instead I matched all those points.  The best way I know to do this is to put a pin straight through both of the points-- and then stitch right over the pin.  I know, I know, but it worked for me.  Also, I am not really an advocate of oversizing things and then cutting them down to the right size, but setting triangles are the exception to that rule.  Oversizing those makes everything so much better when it comes to squaring up the quilt.


Once it dries out, I plan to quilt this with a walking foot so that I can have it ready to take when we go visit our grandson (and his parents) in a few weeks.  There's so much pattern and color in here already that I think just some lines to emphasize the blocks will be enough.  Maybe some meandering to make it cuddly.  We'll see how I feel when I sit down with it.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.  I might finish that paper!  Or maybe I'll paint the hallway instead.  Pretty sad that those are equally appealing!

And just to mention this, this is my 300th post!  Who would have thought?


Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and crazymomquilts.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy little projects

Hi everyone, and welcome to another scorcher.  I know some of you are in far worse straits than I am--Phoenix, I'm looking at you with deep sympathy!--but, gosh, it's a sauna out there.  Thank goodness that I've been spending a lot of time in an air-conditioned library.  And drinking lots of cold beverages.  But not at the same time, because that's not allowed.

Because I have to finish this paper I'm working on, I've just been plugging away at the current projects, little by little.  They're pretty happy projects, though, so it's fun to work on them, especially after spending most of the day with books and papers.  The first one is the I Spy quilt:


Bernie and I traded some of our I Spy pieces, so now I've got a lot more variety.  See that cute bird on the left? I'm almost done with the blocks for this size (some blocks aren't on the wall), but I think I'm going to add one more vertical row to make this a bit bigger.  According to my figuring, that will make it about 45 inches wide, which is a good size for a toddler.  I'm auditioning the black polka dots for setting triangles, but I'm not too sure.  I might want something brighter. With any luck, I can finish this top up this week.

I also worked some more on the June quilt from Amanda at crazymomquilts.  I've got all the pieces cut now, and just a few of the string sections left to do:


I think it's going to look lovely, don't you?  I'll be really, really happy to finish off those string sections, though, because they're getting just a tiny bit tedious.

Finally, I couldn't resist taking a picture of the latest block for the Sewcial Bee Sampler outside among the wild daylilies:


These lilies are such a happy surprise.  They grow along the creek on the edge of our property, and they look pretty good there.  I wan't sure they were going to flower, but all of a sudden they're covered in buds.

So that's what I'm up to, besides trying not to get burned on the car door handles every time I go to get in it.  I really am hoping to have that I Spy top finished this week.  If it's a choice between finishing the top or the paper, which one should I go for?  Tough choice!

Everyone stay cool!  Sharing at Let's Bee Social.