Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ritzy Cracker blocks & March goals

These are the last 2 of the Ritzy Cracker blocks that I made in February. They weren't purple, but they are certainly cute.  I'm anxious to see what new color comes up this week for March for RSC18.

The FREE pattern is from Moda Bake Shop at the link below.

March will be quite busy, so I'm setting some small goals:
  • 3 RSC Sampler blocks
  • 2 Saturday Sampler blocks
  • 12 Ritzy Cracker blocks
  • finish top of Christmas Grand Adventure
  • bind ABC kid quilt
  • 10 blocks for Christmas jelly roll quilt
The last item on my list - the Christmas jelly roll quilt, is the #3 UFO Challenge item.  I have half of the blocks done.  This started with 1 jelly roll plus red and green solids, but I ended up buying a second jelly roll so it could be large enough to be a good throw quilt. It's ironic that both of these Christmas quilts have been the February and March UFO Challenge projects.

February in the rear view mirror

I set some pretty lofty goals for February, and did fairly well on them. Plus I worked on other projects too.  There was enough variety that I didn't get a chance to get bored working on just one thing. 

February Goals:
  • Grand Adventure blocks - blocks are done and 2/3 of top is put together
  • Saturday Sampler blocks - done!
  • 20 cracker blocks for RSC18 - done!
  • 3 new sampler blocks for RSC18 - done!
  • Progress on Ringo Lake units - No
  • Finish binding Friendship Exchange quilt - done!
  • Quilt my pink pineapple mini - No
An extra project was finishing the top to another Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots mini quilt (Raspberry Cocoa).  Plus I made a yellow pineapple mini quilt, using a different pattern that the pink one. And I made a Valentine table runner. The yellow pineapple, the table runner, and 2 kid sized quilts (Pinwheels & ABCs) are at the long arm quilter, so those are almost done.

The ABC kid quilt that is at the long arm is actually one of my American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge projects for February.  So all-in-all it has been a productive month.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Leaders and Enders

What do you use as "leaders and enders" when you sew?  A lot of the time I just use a little leftover scrap to run through between other piecing to save thread and to help avoid my machine "swallowing" those little tips and corners of triangles.

In the past year or so I've been trying to be more deliberate about it - mostly using my postage stamp pieces or using string blocks as my leader/ender. I have 3 small cookie tins full of 1.5" squares cut from scraps and so I've been playing with them lately as leader/ender pieces - ending up with little 4-patches that are 2.5".

Last week I saw a quilt online somewhere that was made entirely of these postage stamp 4-patches, separated by solid cream squares.  Well, I also have a lot of 2.5" squares from scraps, and there are plenty of white ones. So now I'm adding the squares to the 4-patches.  I'm thinking it won't take long to make a doll quilt from these units.  And it's making a tiny dent in those postage stamp pieces.

Another thing I do as leaders/enders sometimes - a string block. I have a TON of scraps and need to make better use of them.  I've done 3 donation quilts using string blocks, so it's time to make another.  I had a few 10" muslin foundation squares already cut and ready to use.  And I also saw several scappy log cabin variations online recently. But maybe I need to focus on just one leader/ender project at a time.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Keeping the pieces organized

Like most quilters, I have processes in place to keep pieces and rows organized while I sew. Today I'm working on the Christmas Grand Adventure quilt.

I used to pin numbered sticky notes to the left side block of each row.  But now I use these numbered pins.  And I always put them in the upper left corner of the left side block.  Then I stack the blocks across that row so the right side block is on the bottom.  The numbered pin stays in that left side block until the row is together so I know which side to keep adding blocks.  This works for me.
As I start to add more rows to #1, this is my marker - a big safety pin with a bright button.  It always goes into the upper left corner of row 1. That way I keep track of where the top row is, and don't get any section turned upside down.  What processed do you use to keep things organized as you sew?

Check out Design Wall Monday at:

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Design decisions 

The blocks are all made and now I need to keep it laid out to decide if any more blocks need rearranging before I sew the rows together.  And of course I now see an upside down block in the lower right. That is why I like to “live” with the layout for a while. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Grand Adventure is taking shape

Six rows are complete.  Row 7 is started, and the parts are ready to finish row 7 and do row 8. Getting the blocks all made was one of my February goals.  I might make it.  We're expecting a snowy weekend, so what else do I have to do, right?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Patchwork of the Crosses

Yesterday I dropped off some items to be quilted, and I just didn't have the mental energy to sit down at my sewing machine to work on more Grand Adventure blocks or to make binding for the projects being quilted.

So instead I settled onto my sofa with some hand work and watched the Olympics. This is my second Patchwork of the Crosses block. Three more navy sections, and then another round of 8 in a contrasting color. I haven't decided yet what color I'll use on those outer pieces but I have a lot of Civil War type prints in my stash to choose from.

My first block was finished around Thanksgiving, and I had forgotten that I had the pieces cut to do another one. Actually I have pieces cut for 2 more after this, except for the final 8 of each.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Quilting fiasco

I had this picture in my mind of how nice it would look to do a simple outline around each pinwheel. I even bought a pretty thread that has the blues and greens in the blocks.
So - first mistake was not using white thread since I was stitching out in the white background. I switched to a stitch-in-the-ditch instead. One whole vertical row is done. Looks much better - until I flipped it over. Awful!!!
So I think my seam ripper and I will spend some time together. So much for planning.

And then I laid my blue binding strips over that blue/green back. Yuck! I need to rethink that backing completely. I can use this to back something else I’m sure. Epic fail on all counts.

Check out more successful projects at Design Wall Monday:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

It's ready to quilt

It's finally a flimsy!  It's really pretty and this photo doesn't show the pink/rose colors in true tones. The name Raspberry Cocoa is very fitting as the 2 pink fabrics are a raspberry color. I really like this one.

I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to make this because it isn't very big, and wasn't really difficult.  I think it was just the thought of making all of those tiny HST sections. But having an afternoon off and spending it in my sewing room was just what I must have needed. Now to decide how to quilt this - by hand, by machine, or by credit card. 

The items I have that are ready for quilting is beginning to pile up. I have 4 quilt tops plus several small projects, such as this wall hanging and my 2 pineapple (pink one and yellow one) mini quilts. Getting the tops done is often the easy part for me and then I get bogged down in trying to figure out how I wanted something quilted. 

More Raspberry Cocoa

I've made a lot more progress on the Kim Diehl kit.  Are you tired of seeing this yet?  All 4 of the pieced borders are done, as are the corner HSTs for that border.  I love these borders, but they were very slow for me to put together in the correct order.  One of the 4 bears' paw blocks is done, and I have half of another done. 

My design board is still full of pieces, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Plus I have some sewing time this afternoon, so more progress might be reported tomorrow.  I'm excited to have an afternoon to spend in my sewing room instead of working.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Saturday Sampler in blue

Treasure Hunt is the name of this block for Saturday Sampler this month. My blocks are all made from stash so far, and the color scheme is black and white, with brights mixed in.  I pulled some blues for these blocks.  Both blocks are really the same block, but with the colors moved around. Obviously the first one has more contrast based on color placement but I like both.

I really didn't intend to put the white sections in the same place for both blocks, but it worked out that way after I cut the pieces needed.  So this is how they ended up. I like both blocks, but still may make one more and move the colors around more since I still have scraps left, except for the white.

There are now 10 of these Saturday Sampler blocks and we have a few more months to go. This will be a very BUSY quilt.  The pattern actually has pieced blocks to alternate with these, but I may just set them together with a plain sashing. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Pineapple Party

Our Sew Vintage group met yesterday afternoon, and instead of doing a Valentine party we had a Pineapple Party. Everyone brought yellow 5" charms to share and we had several pineapple goodies to eat.  The was an old fashioned pineapple upside down cake, pineapple salsa and chips, pineapple fudge, dried pineapple, and pineapple punch. Yum!!

Everyone received a fat eighth of the cutest pineapple print as a party favor. And of course we talked about pineapple quilt blocks of all kinds.  We looked at some really beautiful paper pieced traditional pineapple blocks in a beautiful quilt. And Cindy shared a fun modern pattern for a block with a pieced pineapple that we could use the yellow charms to make. 

I couldn't resist pushing aside everything else and making my own pineapples.  There is a big one and a little one. All of the greens, backgrounds, and a few more yellows came out of the scrap bin.  This could be done with any size square you want to play with. These blocks used 2" and 1.5" blocks. The tall one is a 12.5 x 6.5" block. 

This is a perfect size for a pillow or a mini wall hanging at 15" square. Too cute!  Thanks for the inspiration Cindy!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Raspberry Cocoa 

The rest of the pieces are cut and organized. And one 4.5” block is made. It’s a start. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Time to sew

This week I've actually had some good time in my sewing room, and I've played with several things.  This morning I made 6 more purple Ritzy Cracker blocks. That is the correct name of the these blocks from Moda Bake Shop.  Then I finished 3 more blocks for Grand Adventure, and stitched 6 more of the big HST from the remaining 10" squares. Those are ready to slice up and sewn into the blocks.

Next, I added the last border on a Valentine table runner that is turning out a lot bigger than I originally planned.  I won 5 blocks from a Saturday Sampler about a year ago. Last month I set 3 of them together with a fun pink Kaffe print. Now this is ready to quilt and bind.

And last I began the cutting process for the most recent Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots project.  I don't have all of the pieces cut and ready to go, but have a good start.  I like to label the pieces for these projects especially when the size is similar to another piece. Raspberry Cocoa is in shades of brown, cream, and rose. It will be very pretty.

There are 2 more browns, a cream, and a lighter rose remaining to be cut. This is a small project, so I'm hoping to have the top done before the next class in 2 weeks. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


I'm thinking it was a waste of time putting a Valentine table runner and flowers on my dining room table. What do you think?
For the past couple of weeks my husband has been researching his father's WWII military unit. We knew we had a few old photos from that time period and we knew we had a copy of his discharge papers. So this mess on the table started small and has gradually grown as we've been digging into the unorganized boxes of photos and paperwork. 
And the fun thing about digging through old photos - the surprise treasures you find. Like this 1961 photo of my husband at age 7 with his dad and a favorite horse. My father-in-law was a horse lover, who trained and worked with many horses over the years. This one was Rex.  I'm sure most farm kids would agree that growing up on a farm was a great adventure, mixed with hard work. My husband has fond memories of having lots of colts around when he was a kid. And he looks pretty happy here.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A little progress

I made a few more blocks this afternoon after work, and cut background squares for 12 more. That will let me add 3 more rows to the mix. One of my February goals is to make all of the blocks needed for this quilt. Maybe I can actually accomplish that. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Design Wall Monday - Grand Adventure

Grand Adventure has a bit of progress to show after the weekend. I managed to get 5 more blocks made, and the background squares cut to make 8 more.
This is a Missouri Star Quilt Company pattern, but is really a variation on several other traditional and modern quilts. I like the process used for this version, which uses a layer cake plus background squares of the same 10" size. They are sewn into big half square triangles and then sub-cut into strips. Very easy!
One variation has the peaks and valleys lined up, but I think I'm going with this staggered variation, which will give the quilt a chevron look. 
Check out Design Wall Monday at:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Enough purple for this weekend

Enough purple to last me for the week maybe.  But it's the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for February and I've been playing with the purple scraps.  First I made 1 of the Wishing Ring blocks for the RSC18 Sampler. Cute and fun.  Nice block choice ladies!

The I pulled some purple leftovers from En Provence to use as the background for Olivia's name.  I had bought this pink and the unicorn print with the idea of making her a pillowcase for her birthday in April. But now I'm going to make her a big floor pillow instead. The alphabet patterns are from Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book and are so easy to put together.  Next week I'll go see what size pillow forms I can choose from before I go any further. So far it is 21" x 16".  I had promised to make a big pillow for grandson Jack, and now I'm thinking I'll just work on them for each of the kids. We'll see if that really happens.

Next up was making the other 2 Wishing Ring blocks, since the sampler instructions suggest making 3 of each block. These are 10" blocks, and the plan is to have 30 of them in a rainbow of colors made by the end of the year.

I think this last one is actually my favorite of the purple RSC18 blocks.  The batik is so cheerful, plus I love this shade of purple.

And last but not least I made 8 more cracker blocks and 5 more Grand Adventure blocks. 5 of those cracker blocks are also purple.  And the Grand Adventure blocks are Christmas fabrics.  I will share some of those another time.  Not much opportunity to get bored this morning since I just kept switching up what I was working on. But progress made on all of it.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Friendship Exchange quilt

One more UFO to mark off my list and this one is very special, because it has blocks made by friends near and far. Three of the ladies now live in Rapid City, one has moved to Texas, one has moved to Kansas City, and one has moved to Iowa. So half of the group has moved away but I still have a little piece of them to hold near.

My block is the house block on the top row. We each got 1 yard of the brown floral and could choose whatever blending colors we wanted to use, so from the floral print you can see some folks pulled out the lighter pinks, greens, and aquas. And others went with the deeper colors from the print. But every block works beautifully with the others.  I love this one!  And I wish the colors showed up more true in these photos because it's very rich and warm.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February goals

The APQ UFO Challenge number for this month is 9. I have 3 items listed under 9 but the first one I’m going to tackle is Grand Adventure. 

I’m doing this in Christmas fabrics. I thought there were 4 blocks done but I only found 3. So my goal is to finish the blocks this month. 

February should provide me with plenty of sewing time and I have some lofty goals:

  • Grand Adventure blocks
  • Saturday Sampler blocks
  • 20 cracker blocks for RSC18
  • 3 new sampler blocks for RSC18
  • Progress on Ringo Lake units
  • Finish binding Friendship Exchange quilt
  • Quilt my pineapple mini 

A little stash busting for RSC18

Looking through my stash and scrap bins for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge has been an eye opener, in particular for things I had forgotten that I even had. There is a shallow drawer in a rolling craft unit that holds nothing but charm packs. And in the very bottom of that drawer was a small (32) charm pack of "classic Kaffe" and it was all in shades of blue and purple.  And - even more exciting - there were 2 of each charm.  Perfect for those cracker blocks!! 

So, that charm pack has now been cut into sections for more cracker blocks. I will note that this charm pack was cut slightly undersized, and some were a bit crooked. But it worked out. And while I was thinking about blue (January RSC18 color), and purple (February RSC18 color) I kept cutting more purple scraps too.  And then I just had to sew some purple blocks.

These blocks are SO ADDICTIVE!  And now I can keep sewing on these all month to add to the pile of finished blocks.  There are 33 more sets of various colors, cut and ready to go any time I want to work on a few more.