Friday, May 31, 2019

May accomplishments

The month of May is definitely lacking in finishes, but I did get plenty of random sewing done.  I did make a pillow, 5 pillowcases, and managed to bind a couple of small things.  I made a bunch of blocks for Quilts of Valor and Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  And I worked on 3 different quilt tops, all of which are still in a state of partial completion.  No big finishes however.

I finished this table runner and have no idea what will become of it.  I'm not happy with the results of my own quilting efforts on this one.  It seemed like a good idea but the final result is just not making me happy.  Guess it will go into my donation pile. 

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt from 2018 is back from the quilter and needs binding.  It's on my UFO list so it would be a good thing to finish up.  Hopefully I'll get that binding ready to go over the weekend.  And I bought backing today for another UFO, so it's ready to be quilted - a Christmas Mountain Majesties quilt top made last fall. 

The May UFO Challenge number was 4, and my list had a Valentine bench pillow for that number.  It didn't even come out of the project box unfortunately. It needs blanket stitching around the applique.  The June UFO Challenge number was drawn today and it's 10.  My list shows 3 options: a Simple Whatknots project, a Row by Row project from 2 years ago, and a rail fence quilt I began about 10 years ago. The blocks are done for the rail fence, so maybe that is what I need to tackle.  

I'm also anxious to see what color is chosen tomorrow for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for June.  I'm so ready to make another cat block and more flower blocks and string blocks.

And I'm hoping to dig into this fat quarter bundle (Stonehenge Stars & Stripes VI) from Northcott for more of the patriotic stars blocks. 

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Auditioning a border

I'm almost afraid to cut into this border print because it's so cute.  Ghosts dance through the orange section and skeletons dance through the purple section.  The print has the colors of my blocks: lime green, orange, black, and purple.

My green print in the blocks is nearly the same as the green in the border print.  Plus the blocks have a little orange and a little purple in the witch's hats in the green areas, so I'm hoping this print will pull those colors more forward.

So I'm going to finish up the last 2 rows of blocks and sashing and then move on to adding the borders.  I'm planning mitered corners, so hopefully I have enough fabric. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day

It's that time of year when I love getting out the red, white and blue table runners.  The Lone Star table topper/wall hanging is a favorite.  I made this about a year ago. 

The smaller square topper on my kitchen counter is from several years ago.  It's about 16" square and is another ones of my favorites.  

No sewing done this weekend, except for a little binding. Saturday was spent doing yard work after a week of rain.  Then Sunday we had impromptu visitors. Granddaughter Sophia told her dad she wanted to go play golf with grandpa.  So they spent Sunday with us. We golfed, the kids played, we had supper, and Sophia helped make cupcakes for dessert.  The turtle statues sit just off the #12 tee at the golf course we were on. The back 9 holes are closed due to the wet conditions, but we did drive the cart path down to #12 to see the water just inches under the walking bridge.  

Friday, May 24, 2019

Results don't always match the plan

A good plan doesn't always work out as well as you hope does it?  I really felt these Saturday Sampler blocks needed orange sashing to "pull out" the bits of orange in the green print and the black print.  Black sashing just made it way too dark, so orange it is. 

Now that 4 of the 6 rows are sashed, and I have a chance to really look at it I'm not so sure I like it.  Up close and personal, the orange looks pretty good, but laying it out on the floor and stepping away gave me a whole different perspective. That orange really overpowers the blocks.  

However - I'm NOT going to take this all apart and waste that fabric. So I'll finish the last 2 rows, and then looks for an outer border fabric that might tie it together better.  

And then I can get to work on my other version of this Saturday Sampler, with the pink, black and turquoise.  I'm doing a layout with no sashing for that one.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

More patriotic star blocks

There were 3 of these, and now there are 6.  This is the pattern that the Quilts of Valor Foundation is currently doing for a block drive, but I also want to keep some of these for either personal use or for our local QOV group.  I am really loving this 12" star block and I can picture it in any kind of fabric, not just patriotic prints.  

You'll find this pattern near the bottom of the QOV website home page.

And now - enough random block sewing.  I want to get back to actually finishing something.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Blossom Time blocks

Designer and teacher Bonnie Hunter has a column in Quiltmaker magazine each issue called Addicted to Scraps, where she introduces a scrap-friendly block.  In a recent issue her block was this one - called Blossom Time. While my husband was watching the finale of Game of Thrones Sunday night, I was diving into the scraps to make a couple of these. 

One slight problem with the pattern?  The magazine printed it saying the block would finish at 9" instead of the real measurement of 6".  Once I got past my initial panic about the block size, then making the second block was actually fun.  

Bonnie does a live online event called Quilt Cam about once each month and Saturday's was all about this block.  I watched the video later that afternoon and was definitely inspired to go play in the scrap bins.  Check out this video and many, many more on Bonnie's blog.   

Monday, May 20, 2019

Design Wall Monday - layout options

I thought I knew exactly which of the ELEVEN layout options I was going to choose for this version of my Saturday Sampler. And then I began playing with the blocks on the floor yesterday - and now I'm not so sure.  The top photo was option 1 but you have to pretend there is an orange sashing between those blocks.  

Here is another option and this one would only get borders, but no sashing.  And below is the same layout as the first (needs sashing) but with the colors reversed.  Right now, this is my favorite one. But there are 8 more layout options in the pattern.  And do I really want sashing?  How will I ever decide?

Check out more Design Walls on this Monday:

Saturday, May 18, 2019

UFO finish - Minion pillowcases

The 3 Minion pillowcases were on my UFO Challenge list for April, so I'm only a month late finishing these.  That's not too bad at all considering how un-focused I've been lately.  So I'm checking off one more UFO from the list.

If you haven't tried the "sausage roll" method of making pillowcases, you really have to.  Just a simple search online will yield a LOT of tutorials.  I especially love the fact that there are absolutely no raw edge exposed seams in these when you finish them.  

A few other things happened in the sewing room this morning.  I finished the last 12 Saturday Sampler blocks for the Halloween version.  And I put the binding onto a small table runner. And I made the other 3 patriotic star blocks I had kitted up. Time to play with those Saturday Sampler blocks and see which layout I like best. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Quilts of Valor

A sub-group of us from the local guild formed a Quilts of Valor group  (Prairie Winds Quilters) last winter, and we've been working on quilts made from blocks donated by members of the whole guild.  We've done a couple of quilts already made from the Garlic Knot blocks but knew we had enough to make at least one more.  A couple of weeks ago we tried to have a "sew day" in the morning before our guild meeting. But no one was able to come.  Last Friday was another attempt to sew during an open classroom day at The Pin Cushion.  But I was the only person able to come.  So I worked on putting together this top myself, and got this much done (top photo).  

To finish this I needed 5 sections with 2 red and 1 blue block.  But I was short a few red blocks - until this morning.  I dug out all of the blocks we had left, and finally decided I needed to make just 4 more red blocks.  I actually made 5, and used 4 of them.  Those right side rows aren't sewn together yet, but maybe later this week it will happen.  In making a bigger effort to NOT leave half finished things lying around, I just felt that I needed to get this top done even though it isn't my "personal" project.  But it was sitting in my house waiting to be done, so I'll keep plugging away at it. 

Our guild members have made lots and lots of blocks for Quilts of Valor so far.  They are a generous and giving group of ladies, but not all of the blocks made the grade.  For example, here are the first 3 blocks I made this morning.  See that bottom one?  It reads PINK when you step away, even though it's a red/white dot.  I discarded it into my orphan blocks where it may get used in something else some day. 

And this is an example of another discarded block.  Not thrown away - just set aside for now.  There were 3 red blocks that had seams so poorly aligned that the blocks were crooked.  These 3 might be salvaged if taken apart and remade.  

We have another dozen blocks that are too small by at least half an inch.  I think those could become some nice patriotic table runners or something.  The blocks are too nice to not use somewhere. 

I'm really hoping that as we go along we'll be able to get more people together to sew these Quilts of Valor, because I know the ladies want to do that.  We have a large bag full of patriotic Ritzy Cracker blocks to start on next.      

Monday, May 13, 2019

Design Wall Monday

The mystery quilt is no longer a mystery!  I have chosen one of the 11 layouts for this version of my Saturday Sampler project. Four blocks put together like this will form a 4-patch in the middle and kind of a "bow tie" effect with the turquoise and the black.  No sashing will used with this one, but I do plan to add some outer borders.  There are a total of 24 blocks, so there will be 6 of these sections.  

The Halloween version will have a different layout and will look completely different.

Check out more Design Wall Monday posts at:

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Saturday Sampler - final blocks

We can see the finish line of another Saturday Sampler.  This one has been a mystery quilt.  Yesterday we got the final clues to finish our blocks and also got the layout options. There were 11 different layouts in this pattern!!  Since I'm working on 2 different color combinations I'll end up with 2 quilts and I'm thinking right now that I need to choose different layouts for each. 

My Halloween fabrics are so fun, and both the green and the black have a touch of orange, so I'm thinking orange sashing might be perfect for this. We'll see.  I have 5 blocks done, and the other 19 just need one last triangle sewn onto a corner.  Then I can start to play with the layouts before making a decision.

I have 4 blocks made with the pink, turquoise, and black version and I'm choosing to go with no sashing on that one. I'll show you those blocks another day. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Quilts of Valor blocks

A grey, cold, rainy morning is ideal for sewing and that happened yesterday.  I pulled out 6 of the fabrics from a patriotic fat quarter bundle to use for Quilts of Valor blocks.  There are still 4 more fabrics left in the bundle, but a couple have stripes and I'm not sure they will work well.  UPDATE: The fabric line is called American Valor by Wilmington Prints. I love it.

First up were 2 star blocks from the Block Drive pattern on the Quilts of Valor Foundation website. It is a really simple star block to make.  Check it out. 

From the scraps left over, I made 2 each of the Ritzy Cracker blocks to add to our guild blocks.  And there are still some small scraps leftover that are back in the drawer with the patriotic fabrics.  I figured out when I cut the next group that if I cut those fat quarters from the other direction, then I could get more Ritzy Cracker sections.  

Four more fat quarters are cut and ready to make 1 each of the star blocks and 3 each of the Ritzy Crackers.  See the note saying "short side"?  I found that I could cut 4 of the 4.5" squares from a strip, but the last one would be 1/8" short.  However, the white star points are over-sized so as long as I line those up with a bit of "hang over" on that short side, then they will still work perfectly.  Notice in the finished blocks in the first photo how those points overlap. 

I still need to cut all of the white pieces for these blocks, but these might be good to take along with me to the open classroom day at The Pin Cushion on Friday.  They open their classroom up to anyone wanting to come in and have a "social" sew day instead of sitting home alone sewing.  I'm hoping a few ladies wanting to work on Quilts of Valor will join me on Friday this week to sew. 

Again - the light is terrible in my sewing room, and you can also see how bad my ironing board cover is looking.  It has a big scorch mark in the middle, but also has become very discolored all over. It isn't really dirty - just showing it's age.  Maybe I should give in and buy a new cover.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

More small projects

Two firefly pillowcases are now done and ready to donate or gift. I had almost 3 yards of this firefly fabric in the stash for several years with no plan for its use.  I still have about a half yard left to use for something else. The pink dot was purchased last week to finish these off.  

I also finished sewing these Ritzy Cracker blocks (Moda Bakeshop pattern) to add to the guild baby quilt block collection.  Actually I'm donating most of these blocks to guild, but keeping some to be the start of a baby quilt for myself to make for donation or gifting.  After I took this photo I actually made 2 more blocks using the firefly fabric from the pillowcases.  And you can really tell how shadowy my sewing room is when the sun isn't shining. 

Next up - 3 blue and yellow Minion pillowcases and some patriotic Ritzy Cracker blocks.  The pillowcases are all pinned and ready to sew. And they are on my UFO Challenge list, so finishing them up will give me something to check off the list. 

The Ritzy Cracker blocks will be quick to cut and make ready to sew.  I have been hoarding a fat quarter bundle of patriotic fabrics, and plan to cut into them.  I also plan to use those fat quarters to make some star blocks for the Quilts of Valor block drive.  

It is cold and raining again today, so I'm thinking a couple of hours in my sewing room before work will be good for the soul. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Waterwheel - a finish

I've finished the wall hanging quilt that was the class project on the cruise I took in January.  Waterwheel is a Judy Niemeyer design and paper pieced.

Pinks, orange, and black are the dominant colors in this wall hanging. I plan to hang it at the bottom of my steps down to my basement sewing room to replace the quilt that has been there for several years. That spot needs something bright and cheerful and this fits the bill.

The second class project was a table topper and it's ready to quilt as soon as I find the backing again.  I know it's folded up neatly - somewhere in my sewing room.  

Monday, May 6, 2019

Design Wall Monday - orange flower

On my design wall today was this 6.5" orange Flower block from Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book.  These are another of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks I've been making in 2019. I had it all cut out last week, but just got back to it this morning.  I now have a total of 7 of these blocks.  Check out some other quilters' design walls here:

I did some other things this morning in my sewing room, but didn't think to take photos of most of it.  Next to my cutting table is a narrow drawer unit with shallow drawers. On top of that sits another of the baskets made from magazine pages.  That basket has been holding odds and ends of orphan blocks and leftover pieces from projects.  And piled on top of that was a mish-mash of UFOs and more odds and ends.  Another mess that needed to be cleared up.  

The basket isn't totally empty yet, but it's a lot closer. One UFO project (family reunion signature blocks) is all back in it's project box and ready to sew together.  I've put away all of the scraps and other fabric in the appropriate drawers and bins.  Two small UFOs that were in the pile on top of the box are still there - because they would not take long to finish and I'm determined to do that.  One is a towel with a fabric strip and the other is a Halloween 60 degree runner.  In the messy pile - that is no longer on top - I found 2 more patriotic Garlic Knot block kits, and 9 more Ritzy Cracker block kits that I had forgotten all about.  
The patriotic blocks are now done and in the QOV project box with the rest collected from guild.  A few of us may meet on Friday to work on the next couple of Quilts of Valor, so there are 2 more blocks in that collection.  

Three of the 9 Ritzy Cracker blocks are now sewn and ready to donate to our guild baby quilt project. I'll get the other 6 done this week I hope.  Monkeys and sheep - aren't they cute?

And  the next surface to face some cleaning and organizing is my big sewing desk.  There is a whole stack of pillowcase kits that I have prepped over the winter, with a couple of new ones added last week.  So I pinned together 3 of those pillowcase kits that were stacked on the back of my sewing table.  Those are draped over my sewing machine and ready to sew.  It appears that there are about 6 or 8 more still in that stack.  

Gradually I may get all of the clutter cleared up so that my creative space is really a place to enjoy.  Baby steps so far.   

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - orange

The RSC color for May is orange, and I discovered more orange in the stash than I expected. There are now 5 kitties in my collection, with the addition of this 12" orange one.  I love, love, love these Lori Holt cat blocks!  I found a good sized scrap of this orange with the funky stars and it was enough to make the cat, and the Ohio Star, and the 6" flower block.    

These Ohio Star blocks are so cheerful and make me think of a summer flower bed.  

The 6" flower block is all cut and laid out on my ironing board, ready to sew on Friday.  I'm guessing an orange string block will happen too.  And then we'll see what else might happen with orange this month.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A pillow from scraps

I used leftover half square triangles to make this scrappy star a month ago (or more).  It was just the right size to turn into a pillow cover.  A little simple straight line quilting seemed to be all it needed, plus a fat quarter from the stash became the envelope back.  It’s not much, but it does finish something else that was sitting around on the ironing board.  I need to purchase a 16” pillow form for it.