Friday, August 30, 2019

Woven Stars is ready to quilt

The color is a bit off with this photo, but it does show that my Woven Stars mini quilt is a flimsy and ready to quilt.  The amazing thing to me is that my borders fit PERFECTLY - in spite of how small some of these pieces actually are.  The little squares in the center of the stars started at 1.5", so they finished at 1".  And the same with the 2 narrow borders - 1".  No distortion was a big surprise to me when I put on the first side of the wider border.  A perfect fit. That is a testament to how cutting accurately, sewing accurately, and pressing carefully really does improve with practice. 

I also quilted the Hen House Stars quilt and attached the binding. Once I have that binding stitched down I'll show the finished project.  It turned out better than I expected.  A drizzly grey morning was a good time to sew - after a couple of conference calls for work.   

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Two thirds of the stars

Six of the nine blocks are done and put together with the pieced sashing. That left border isn't actually sewn on but it gives an idea of what will happen after I get that last row of stars made. There are three pieced borders - two very narrow ones and one wider border.

I'm getting excited to have this one done because I love this particular design. I did substitute a different orange for an orange plaid because I'm not very fond of that plaid. 

And since I hobbled down those stairs (with my walking boot) to sew, I also made the light blue string block. Light blue was the August color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and this was the only block I hadn't made yet.  This gives me 15 rainbow string blocks so far. I will need to make more of certain colors in order to make this large enough for a kid-size quilt.  We'll see what color we get for September and then I can decide which colors need more blocks for a good balance. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Small goals

I'm setting some very small goals for this week since this walking boot is going to hamper my ability to even get to my sewing room in the basement. Stairs are a slow and clumsy experience so far.  I have 2 weeks of this boot to hopefully help calm down the Achilles tendonitis that I've been struggling with again.  Physical therapy will start again this week too, along with a couple of meds aiming to reduce the inflammation.  Hope it solves the problem once and for all.

My goals will mostly be to finish the binding on my Halloween quilt and maybe venture downstairs to work on those star blocks. We'll see if that happens. 

I did get plenty of sewing time over the weekend as my husband was playing in the state Seniors golf tournament both days.  I sewed both days, then on Saturday afternoon I joined one daughter and 3 grandkids on the midway of the Corn Palace Festival, and then attended the 3 concerts held with the festival.  The kids rode some rides and played a couple of games. And they had corn dogs - what could be more typical for going to a fair. 

One project was the 2 pillowcases below full of all kinds of trucks and construction machines, plus 1 with frogs, and another with yellow ducks.  I can add these to the finished pile of pillowcases I have for gifts and donations.  There are still 3 pillowcase kits left to sew.   I do love to kit these up for some quick mindless sewing.  

Monday, August 26, 2019

Design Wall Monday - Woven Stars

There will be 9 of these 5" stars in Woven Stars - another Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots pattern.  This one was from last year but I really wanted to get it finished before starting the new one we got at Saturday's class.  I had begun cutting the pieces for it and then set it aside last year.  Shame on me, because this is one that I was excited to make! 

During class on Saturday one of the ladies talked about "giving herself permission" to throw away tiny scraps.  I kept thinking about that phrase and I may have to give myself permission to NOT make every single one of Kim Diehl's patterns. There were a couple of mini quilts in past years that are still in kit form because I just wanted a fan. Maybe it's OK if I don't make all of them. 

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

One border for Hen House Stars

The first side border is ready to attach to Hen House Stars.  Being a little bit anal about things, these partial stars are bothering me somewhat.  I'm not sure how I feel about missing the one set of star points on these.  

Friday, August 23, 2019

1st day of school

Thursday was the first day of school for 4 of my 5 grandkids, who are enrolled in 2 different elementary schools in their hometown.

Sophia is in second grade and little brother Jack is in preschool.  Mom said she even did her own hair this morning.  

Mason is also in second grade this year but in a different school across town from cousin Sophia. Jonah and Olivia are both starting kindergarten. This particular school has split the twins into different classrooms this year.  No more daycare for this household except for going to the after-school program.  

I hope they all have a wonderful school year!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hen House Stars - progress

Yesterday evening I sewed the center section of Hen House Stars.  It was simple 4-patches - with 1.5" squares - and then 2.5" squares, so there was nothing tricky and it went together surprisingly fast.  This center section is 10" across and only 18" long.  The border has gold stars all around and those pieces are all organized and ready to go. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Version 2 of Saturday Sampler

The light wasn't very good when I took this photo on Sunday afternoon, but this is how my Saturday Sampler version 2 looks.  These are the same blocks as the Halloween version (below), but just arranged differently and without sashing.  The color contrast is better in this second version.  

There were 11 different layouts in the final pattern we received so the possibilities are nearly endless.  I have enough of the black left to put a small border all around, but I keep thinking it needs at least one more wide border after that to make it a good size.  I'm going to keep an eye out for something interesting for an outer border.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tuesday squirrels

I took the morning off and planned to just sew the binding onto my Halloween Saturday Sampler quilt and then go back to work.  Lots of invoices are piling up on my desk. However - once I got that binding on I was distracted by something new.  And before I knew it the morning was gone. 

Last month's Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots pattern was for Hen House Stars and I had not even started it yet.  This Saturday is our next class already, and I want to at least be able to say I've got it started.  So I spent another 90 minutes cutting all the pieces for Hen House Stars.  Typical Simple Whatnots project - lots and lots of small pieces!  

This will be a busy week with work (both part time jobs) and other appointments, but maybe I'll at least have it started before we get the next pattern on Saturday. It's good to have a goal, right? 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Happy Blocks - now a flimsy

I managed to put these blocks together and it is now ready to quilt.  I may try quilting this one myself with simple diagonal straight lines.  But for now it’s going to hang in the closet until I find a suitable backing.

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Choosing a layout

I finished the last 10 Happy Blocks on Thursday evening and this morning I laid them all out on the floor.  As I read the Sunday paper and drank my coffee this grey morning I rearranged them to try to keep similar colors separated.  I do have one "dark" area in the upper left that still needs some change. But I'm nearly ready to sew these into a finished top.

One of the best purchases over the years have been numbered pins.  When I gather up these blocks into rows, I just pin them with the row number.  I always keep the left side of the row on top and work my way to the right side at the bottom of the pile. The numbered pin goes into the top edges of the pile.  And usually I work on 2 rows at a time.  What kinds of "habits" or processes do you use to keep your rows in order? 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Saturday Sampler blocks - 2 months

My original plan was to do all grey batik backgrounds for this Saturday Sampler, but in digging further into my stash I found some very pretty pale batiks with a hint of other colors. So I'm going to make the backgrounds REALLY scrappy.  And my second month blocks are all caught up now.

The top one has a grey background with a touch of green in those subtle swirls. It worked perfectly with the green batiks.  The one below - that looks green but isn't - actually has a touch of purple in the background.  I laid these 2 blocks in the same place under my Ott light on my cutting table, minutes apart. And one is looking quite true to color and the other is very washed out. 

This morning I laid out month 1 blocks (top 2) along with month 2 blocks (bottom 2) and the big block.  There is quite a bit of purple and green in the blocks so far, so I'm excited to see what other colors of batiks will be pulled into this.  And I do know there is an applique block coming up soon.  

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Big block #1

The new Saturday Sampler program has a mixture of block sizes that is optional.  Each person can opt to buy a "big block" every other month that will be added into the mix with the regular blocks. Of course, I couldn't pass that up, right?

Big Block #1 is done, although I still haven't tackled the 2 regular Saturday Sampler blocks yet.  And actually the center of this 24" block is very similar to the regular 12" block.  

I must confess that I messed up with this block a bit.  The rust color is supposed to be in the center where I have the greenish-brown. But I cut those rust strips only to realize that I didn't have enough to make the pinwheels too - because that border was supposed to be the greenish-brown. Oops!!  But the block still looks OK.  Now I need to get the 2 regular blocks cut out and sewn.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Charm squares come in handy

Happy Blocks!  This was a free pattern from Mary Quilts and I had made 2 of them just to try out the block.  So fast and easy!!  So with charms that I sorted out of the "kid" fabrics on Monday I made 18 more blocks.  I have more charms set aside for this and just need to add the frames to them.  These blocks are 9" square, so I think if I make 10 more blocks (2 rows) this quilt will be big enough for a good cuddle up quilt for a child.  It will be a donation quilt.  

And I also cut charms for 12 more Ritzy Cracker blocks that are now in kits ready to sew as I have time.  Some of these will get a cream background and go to the guild baby quilt project.  And a few will get white backgrounds to add to my baby quilt project. 

It always feels good to get some things organized and cleaned up.  Two 12" square storage cubes are now cleaned up, several pillowcases are kitted up and ready to sew, a dozen Ritzy Cracker blocks are kitted up, and the Happy Blocks are kitted up.  By the end of August I'm hoping to have the pillowcases and the Happy Blocks all made.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A bit of organizing

Once I dug into my cubes of "kid" themed fabric looking for pillowcase options, I knew I couldn't leave the mess as is.  There were 2 cubes in this bookcase with novelty fabrics in them, and I couldn't even push one of them back into the shelf because it was such a mess.

One of the drawers I just dumped on the floor to start sorting.  From both of the cubes I pulled out more pieces big enough for pillowcases, and set those aside.  Then I folded up anything that was about fat quarter size and put them back neatly into the empty cube - ready to be used for some future projects.  I cut lots of charm squares from some of the scraps for a couple of on-going projects which I'll show another day.  What is left on the floor now is mostly "strings" and I just need to sort them into the scrap bins by color. 

The other treasure found in those cubes - leftover binding.  This is absolutely crazy!! There is enough of a few of these to bind a runner or a small wall hanging. And then for others there is maybe just 24" or so.  Some may become part of a scrappy binding for a scrappy quilt.  These all went into a gallon size zip-lock bag and are with the kid fabrics in the top cube.  That cube is only half full now. Yay!! That is progress.

The second cube is not quite as full as it was, but I'll have to organize that another day.  But the best thing is that I can easily slide both cubes back into their shelves.  And I had plenty of time to do a little sewing along with kitting up some blocks.  

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Making kits & cleaning out drawers

I decided to pull out all of the "kid" fabrics in one drawer that had enough for a pillowcase - either a cuff or the large bottom section.  And I came up with fabric for 6 pillowcases.  There is still more, but it was a good start.  Yesterday I bought yardage for plain bottoms to some fun cuff fabrics.

I purchased kind of a medium denim blue for the bottoms of 2 monkey pillowcases.  A yellow fit in with the race cars, and a tan works for the frogs.  There was already enough of the "truck" themed fabric to use on the bottoms of 2 more, and I dug into the stash for the blue and red solids for the cuffs.  I had already made some pillowcases out of the trucks so I have no idea why I had about 4 yards of it.  

Under my needle already is the last of the kits I had made before, which is light blue with yellow rubber duckies.  

Pillowcases are such a fun and easy bit of sewing, even when I don't have a lot of time.  I recently donated 7 to a children's project in Cincinnati that a friend is working on.  And then last week I took 2 pillowcase kits to the Abbott House for the girls to sew. Both were used and the little bonus is that those 2 bicycle themed pillowcases can be struck from my UFO Challenge list because they are done.  Even though I didn't make them, I did help teach the girls to sew them. 

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Kitty, kitty

For some time now I've been considering adding a black cat block to the collection - because I have a black and white tuxedo cat of my own. Poor Sammy is getting old (18 on Labor Day) and is pretty frail anymore, but he's still my cuddly buddy.  So this morning I finally made a black cat block at the same time I was making my light blue one.  There are a total of 9 cats now, and I believe black is one of the monthly colors yet to come in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge so I'm just ahead of the game.

For some reason, the photos with the light blue both look like I have a cream background. But these background are all white.  And the heart is really kind of a dark pinkish red.  Must be the grey overcast day we have again that effects the light and how the colors look.  

Two light blue flower blocks are now added to my little garden of blooms too.  I had just enough of that blue batik to do one 10" Ohio Star, one 12.5" cat, and one 6.5" flower.  There was only a tiny strip left and that went into my bin for string blocks.  The other blue was a leftover from a baby quilt I made as a gift for someone many years ago.  It's always fun to dig out pieces from the scrap bins for things and remember what they were originally used for.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Service projects

Our guild took on a new service project last year - teaching young girls at a local agency to sew pillowcases.  The Abbott House houses young girls ages 7-23 who have suffered trauma and abuse.  

The pillowcase project was so well received by the girls last time that we have 3 more sessions scheduled this week with today being the last one.  This will be a whole new group of girls. Today will be my first volunteer session with this project and I'm looking forward to it. 

We provide the fabric, and bring a sewing machine along with very minimal supplies.  Due to safety and security issues it was suggested that we bring Wonder clips rather than pins. Small scissors and a seam ripper are the only other things I'm bringing.  And before leaving I better check my bobbin thread on the machine.

Speaking of machines - I mentioned to my husband that I'm saving up to buy a better small machine to take to classes and activities like this.  My old Singer is lighter than my new Pfaff, but is still kind of heavy. And it's about 30 years old and getting kind of cranky.  He thought that was a great idea since he usually ends up carrying it upstairs for me.  Sounds like I need to start shopping doesn't it?  He bought a new vehicle this week, so I'm thinking that buying another sewing machine is looking like a very small investment.   

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

RSC19 - a touch of light blue

Light blue seemed like it would be an easy color to find in my stash.  Not so much however. I have lots of medium blue, but had to dig a lot to find much light blue.  The Ohio Star came together quickly and joins the other 7 that I have made so far following the Rainbow Scrap Challenge monthly colors. 

I laid them all out in the shade on my back deck. Maybe I should have put them in the sun to really show off the pretty colors.  

The pieces are cut for a light blue cat block and I may get that sewn later tonight after work.  Then I'll look for just a few more small pieces of light blue to make a couple of the flower blocks.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

More Patriot Stars

I had a little sewing time yesterday and made 3 more 12.5" Patriot Stars and 3 more ritzy cracker blocks using the same fabrics.  One fat quarter of a print will easily make 1 of each, with a little leftover.  

Our guild had a sewing "morning" last Saturday to work on some group projects. One of the ladies pieced a backing for a finished QOV top. And a second top was finished, so 2 Quilts of Valor are in the hands of long arm quilters.  Another gal attached a binding to a QOV.  And a couple more ladies worked on our guild baby quilts that morning. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Blast from the past

Do you or your kids have favorite toys from their childhoods that bring back great memories? And maybe even cause some big kid play time?

My girls both loved Lego blocks as kids, and also still love playing with Legos with their own children.  I never had Legos as a kid but really enjoyed building with them with one of my younger cousins at his house.  In fact when he turned 40 several years ago I sent him a big Lego set as a birthday present.

At my house, ALL of the Legos from their childhood are in a couple of big containers. The grandkids (5 of them all 8 and under) pull those out almost immediately when they are here.  And I have a huge round coffee table in the family room that makes a perfect building site.  

We had some elaborate sets when my girls were kids, but never kept the instruction books unfortunately, so once they were taken apart that was it. My younger daughter's family was here over the weekend and we found the instructions online for a Lego castle the kids were finding parts for. So a fairly simple Google search happened and we found exactly what we needed. Note: I've now had to start a file folder to keep the instructions we printed. 

Next thing I knew my daughter and her 2 kids were sitting on the floor sorting ALL of those Legos by color.  And the next step was building the castle.  Piles of red, yellow, blue, white, brown, black were joined by piles of "people" pieces and odd things like swords or tiny little pizzas. 

Once that was done, we found instructions for a couple of other things that we built as well. The funny thing about the castle is that this was a set that I bought for myself (in my mid 30s) and it sat on a shelf for years. My girls always laugh about the fact that I didn't let them play with it - but that they did anyway. They just made sure to put it back together so I wouldn't get mad.  This morning this castle is sitting on the fireplace mantel. 

We definitely have 3 generations of Lego lovers in the family. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Marking quilting lines

How do you mark your quilting lines?

A purple marking pen that disappears in the air after an hour or so is my favorite "go to" marking tool.  But it doesn't show up well on dark fabrics and I needed to mark 4 dark red triangles in this Simple Whatknots project.  I had a couple of white tools - a pen and a pencil.  The pen is a Bohin brand called Iron Marker. The marks it makes wipe off easily with a damp cloth.  But it was just about empty, so I had to pull out the white pencil to finish.  The pencil marks also just brush off with a damp cloth. 

Do I have a preference between these tools?  Not really, but I will probably buy another of these pens because they are a bit neater than the pencil.