Thursday, October 31, 2019

October flew by

My October goals were quite ambitious and it was a very productive month. But not necessarily focused on these exact goals.  That is OK because I'm feeling good about the things I did get finished. 

An example is the reunion signature quilt that is in the binding stage. I was going to make a scrappy binding and spent quite a bit of time fiddling with the binding leftovers I've collected. Then I decided that a single color binding was a better plan. 

The coral cat and flower block was the beginning of a whole week of playing. But that resulted in a finished quilt top that was much more creative than my original plan.  It's being quilted now - with a design chosen that has fireflies in the swirls.  Can't wait to get it back. 

So, my October progress on the goals was mixed. 
  • organize my UFOs & PIGs - a Work in Progress, but at least begun
  • set up new shelving unit in sewing room - YES! Thank you to my hubbie!!
  • October Saturday Sampler blocks - 2 main blocks done, but not the 24" block
  • RSC19 - make some coral blocks (cat, Ohio Star, flowers, string) - YES to coral blocks, quilt top is done and in the hands of the quilter
  • bind Signature quilt from family reunion - sewn onto quilt, but not hand stitched down
  • Halloween bench pillow - NO, not started
  • finish binding the giraffe baby quilt and send it off as gift to coworker - YES!
  • finish paper pieced Pineapple blocks NO, only 1 more made
  • quilt Paris panel quilt (#7 UFO Challenge item) NO, not started

And here are a few things NOT on the goal list that are done anyway: 
  • Finished last year's Saturday Sampler top!! Yay!!
  • made several more Quilts of Valor blocks
  • made 2 Winter Fun blocks - a Pat Sloan pattern and the start of another scrappy quilt
  • made 3 pillowcases - last of my kits, so it's time to "kit up" a few more pillowcases
  • made 23 blocks out of the leftover En Provence parts and pieces. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Quilts of Valor

Our guild has 22 star blocks made so far for a Quilt of Valor.  Three more blocks and we'll have enough for a top.  I think they are striking.  Our guild has a sewing day on Saturday and hopefully we'll be able to put this one together - or at least mostly together.

I have 9 of these star blocks that I made that I've saved to try a layout I saw online.  That is one of my goals for November.

Another task before the sew day on Saturday is to count and organize the patriotic Ritzy Cracker blocks we've gathered.  I'm almost positive we have more than enough for another quilt top.  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Design Wall Monday - a finished top

The second version of last year's Saturday Sampler is a finished top.  The colors in real life are actually very vibrant, but you can get the idea in this photo.

I've had that Kaffe fabric for the border over a month but just hadn't gotten around to working on this quilt again.  OMG - it could have become a UFO!!  But on Sunday as I was organizing some things to put into the new shelves, this project box came to my attention.  So after an hour's work, that project box is empty except for the leftover fabrics from the blocks.  I think there is enough of the pink or aqua to make binding.  I may have to use both colors in the binding even which is OK too.  

What's on YOUR design wall this morning?

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday sewing

So, I’ve made seven of these blocks using more leftover units from En Provence. I wish there had been enough parts for 2 more blocks. But I’ll still be able to figure out some way to use them.  And I made the last 3 pillowcases that I had kitted up.  

My husband put together my shelves on Saturday too, so I’ve been sorting and organizing a few things. I have way more kits hanging out in baskets and bins than I thought I had.  I’ve been making a list, but the list is beginning to scare me.  Time for some “tough love” in that sewing room. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

En Provence leftovers

These blocks look good together and I think they'll be fine without sashing.  It will make a nice child size quilt if I add a border of some kind. However . . . I really need one more of the blocks with the purple corners instead of the star block.  I do have some scraps of those purples left and I think there is enough so that I can make 4 half-square triangles to swap out those neutral corners.  

Another layout option . . . I may like this version even better.  It seems to make the stars twinkle.  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

More patriotic blocks

Two more patriotic fat quarters were used to make the star blocks and the Ritzy Cracker blocks.  There remains a strip about 3" wide of each to be used somewhere else.  I've made 16 of these star blocks now, and some guild members have added 8 more, so I think we have enough to use in a quilt top. But we need to come up with a plan for them.  

We definitely have enough of the Ritzy Cracker blocks for one quilt and maybe will have more next month.  We have a top started with these blocks and I really need to count them and see what exactly we have.  We have a work day planned for the 1st Saturday of November for our guild baby quilt projects and for our Quilts of Valor projects.  

Update: I counted part of the stack of Ritzy Cracker blocks and it appears we have approximately 50 so far.  Now I need to lay them out on the floor and really see what we have.  It's exciting when we reach that goal of having enough for a quilt top. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Blocks are adding up

Both of the Saturday Sampler blocks this month have a slight purple cast to the batiks used. But in some light they almost look brown.  Not my favorite colors, but they will look nice blending in with the other batiks we've used so far.  These are 12" blocks, and I have a 24" block yet to make this month. That one has 2 green batiks in it. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Design Wall Monday - using leftovers

One of my goals for October was to organize and clean up my UFOs, and so far I hadn't spent much time doing that. But Sunday I spent lots of time in my sewing room.  I made more patriotic blocks, and 2 Saturday Sampler blocks.  Then I decided it was time to focus on a little clean-up . . . and pulled out one overflowing project box and decided to focus on clearing it out so I could use it for something else.  And now I have something new on my design wall plus portable design boards are covered with block pieces ready to sew..

The box contained all of the leftover parts and pieces (plus a little yardage) from a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt called En Provence. This mystery was done a couple of years ago, and contained pink, purple, green, yellow, and neutrals - very springy colors. Deep into the weeks of clue releases we added the yellow. And that is when the wheels fell off for me.  My yellows were all very pretty but I really hated it in the actual blocks with the other colors.  So it was set aside to become a UFO.  I have PILES of these units left over: 4-patches, hourglass, half-square triangles, and tri-recs blocks.  Notice the absence of any units with yellow. They are in a different project box in isolation!   

I ended up taking the half dozen blocks I'd made apart, and used some of the parts to make a completely different quilt for my granddaughter Olivia in 2018.  It turned out really cute and she loves it - mostly because it is purple and has unicorns on the backing.  But it hardly put a dent in those leftovers.

So now I've sorted out enough for another quilt using green, pink, and purple.  Some of the pink stars will have purple 4-patch centers and purple HST corners (top photo), while others will have the corner sections replaced by neutral 4-patches.  The green and purple hourglass blocks work nicely with the purple 4-patch centers too, and will have neutral 4-patch corners.  

Once I get the blocks done I can decide how to use them - one large quilt or a couple of smaller ones. But for now I'll keep plugging away getting the blocks made in between working on some of my other goals. 

What is on your design wall this morning?  Check out a few more at:

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A flimsy, ready to quilt

I finally have a flimsy ready to quilt made from some of this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.  I had cut 2 of the sashings 1/2 inch too long and had to make friends with my seam ripper this morning. But I finally got it all back together and added those side borders.  I've decided it is not getting an outer border. This finished about 67 x 80" so it's a decent size.  And I'm loving how whimsical it turned out.  

And I'm toying with calling this quilt "Sammy's Secret Garden".  The bottom left corner has a black cat that I made to represent Sammy, our very ancient tuxedo cat.  He's getting pretty frail in his old age so we worry about how much time we have left with him.  

Once I finished this I cut out the pieces for my 2 October blocks for Saturday Sampler. And I kitted up 2 more Patriotic Stars and 4 patriotic Ritzy Cracker blocks.  I'm hoping tomorrow will give me more sewing time.  I'm done sewing for today however as I'm leaving shortly to babysit 2 of my grandkids.  

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cats & flowers update

I did get a third row of this quilt put together last night, and I'm hoping to finish the final 2 rows later today.  Then I will show it again in my blog.  But I wanted to answer some questions I've gotten about these blocks.  

It's important for everyone to remember - if you ask a question then you should have a way for us to respond.  If your profile is set at "no reply" and don't include an email address it makes it difficult to make sure you see the answer to your question.  

Anyway - these blocks are ALL Lori Holt blocks.  And they are all from either her newest book Farm Girl Vintage 2 or a recent book called Spelling Bee.  I love her blocks.  Her patterns are always easy to follow even if they have small/tiny pieces because she includes lots of pictures.  And all of her blocks have 2 sizes - 6" and 12" finished.  So the cats in this quilt are all 12" blocks.  And the rest of the blocks (flowers, bees, bird, beehive) are all 6" which makes it so easy to mix them into a common project. 

 In the past I made all of the blocks from Farm Girl Vintage 1, plus many of the ones she sold as separate downloads.  The cat block is an example of a download, but now it's in the new book.  My quilt made from all 6" blocks was completed in 2017, but I do have the whole set of 12" done and just waiting for inspiration on how to use them. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Hitting wall . . .

I was on a roll of creative energy for several days, happily working on the cats and flowers project. Then I hit a wall and any creativity came to a screaming halt for the past couple of days.  Instead of sewing I've been running around to doctor appointments, physical therapy, and other errands in between working. I'm still having some issues with the Achilles tendonitis which is minor compared to what many people are going through so I shouldn't whine.  It is getting a little better, although now I have lots of hip pain and possibly a pulled muscle, which I maintain was all caused by wearing a heal lift in just one shoe, throwing off how I walk.  I feel like I am falling apart one piece at a time.   

I did play hookie from work and doctors yesterday and played cards with some girlfriends. We play Hand and Foot whenever possible.  It was just what I needed because I came home last night with leftover pie for my husband and a much better attitude for myself.  

I put one of my new table runners on top of the treadle machine and added my light-up Jack o'lantern for a little bit of Halloween fun.  Where has October gone?  Earlier this week I bought 2 big boxes of treats for upcoming Trick or Treaters, but I've left them in the back of my SUV where they are out of sight. My husband and I have no will power when it comes to Halloween candy. I've even tried only buying things I thought we didn't like.  So now I'm hoping that leaving them in the car until needed will keep us OUT of the treats until the 31st. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What else have I been doing?

Believe it or not, I have been doing some things other than the cat block quilt. 

One of my coworkers and his wife just had a new baby, and luckily I had a baby quilt top made. I quickly had it quilted (thanks Bonnie!) and now it's bound and ready to gift.  This was a really cute panel that was part of a kit that I got several years ago.  I decided I wanted a simpler quilt, so I added the diagonal borders instead of the fussy pieced one in the pattern. 

And last week we attended Grandparents' Day at Jack's preschool.  They had a nice program. The kids sang a song to everyone, then our kiddo got a book and led us to a spot in the commons to read to him.  I was a little afraid I wouldn't be able to get off the floor again, but it was fun.  Grandparents were given some artwork that included the child's hand print, and their name - written by the child.  Then we all had snacks and had our pictures taken.  This is one of the best photos we've ever taken with Jack. He's a "runner" - and is difficult to corral when we've had photos taken. But he was pretty pleased to have us there.  

Monday, October 14, 2019

Design Wall Monday

Design as you go . . . is that a normal process for you?  I often do this when I'm not following a pattern with an exact plan.  Yesterday I added a Lori Holt's beehive block next to the bee.  And I made a longer stem on the Dahlia block. On a side note, I've used the bee from her Spelling Bee book because that one was flying sideways and I liked that look better. 

The top 2 rows are sewn together, but I need to still make 2 more small blocks for the other rows. Right now I'm leaning toward an orange or pink zinnia and a bluebird.  But we'll see what happens.  

What's on your Design Wall/Floor this morning?

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The birds and the bees . . .

I've made the bumble bee block and a bird block so far. Two of the zinnias are also finished with a 3rd one partially done.  Adding them into the mix definitely creates some fun distraction.  I'm thinking at least one more bird, maybe a bluebird, will be good and I'll try to make that one face the other direction.  

The zinnia block is even cuter that the original flowers.  I have a yellow one and a lavender one so far.  And a red one is nearly done.  With the red zinnia and a bluebird added I think I'll still need a couple more flowers.  Or another bee or something else. We'll see what happens.

The sashing will need to be 3 or 4" wide I think.  

Friday, October 11, 2019

Cats & Flowers

I work from home and will readily admit that I'm easily distracted some days.  When I walk through the kitchen it's too easy to snack.  Other times I'm distracted by laundry or other household things needing to be done. But . . . when I lay out quilt blocks on the living room floor they really call to me to "come play" and they become a loud distraction. 

Here is my initial layout idea for the cat and flower blocks.  Can you tell that the natural light is grey again today?  The layout needs some tweaking but it gives me an idea of how it might work. On the right side of the second row, I put a flower block  upside down where I want to place a bumble bee block.  Maybe I'll make that bumble bee block later today.

There is another flower block in Lori Holt's books that is called Zinnia - just a slightly different flower shape.  There is also a little bird block that looks like a bird standing on the ground.  I'm thinking maybe I need to make 5 rows and scatter some Zinnias and maybe a bird or two among the other flowers and spread out the cats into 5 rows.  That would produce a better shape and size for the quilt.  I'm definitely having fun with this design process. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Surprises in the mail

A couple of days ago a soft squishy package turned up in my mailbox.  A fat quarter of Canadian maple leaf flag fabric and a very cute pattern.  All gifts from my cousin, who had just returned from a wonderful vacation to Canada. The pattern calls for a layer cake, but I think it would be perfect for a scrappy project too. Love these gifts!! Thank you for thinking of me, cousin Julie!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Almost periwinkle - and a plan

My cousin suggested periwinkle for the final cat block, and I dug around until I found a "kind of" periwinkle fabric.  The bright pink heart and lime green collar seemed to fit perfectly.  

And when I laid these out to photograph them, I had a light bulb moment. What if I lay out these cats AND the flowers together, mixed within the rows?  And just for fun, maybe I need to add a couple of the  6.5" bumble bee blocks (also from Lori Holt) to the mix.  That would make a fun whimsical quilt.  This will require some more thought - and some more play time.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Design Wall Monday - Baby steps

I had a whole day yesterday when I could have been sewing, but I watched football on TV, looked at quilt magazines, and read a good book instead.  And that is OK too.  One more pineapple block and a little binding did happen, but I didn't spend much time in my sewing room.  I really think it was because we finally had a sunny day and I needed to be upstairs where I could see that sunshine. My sewing room is in the basement and doesn't get enough light.  

What's on your design wall today?

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Rainbow cats

I have a coral cat to add to the group, which now includes 11 cat blocks.  These are 12" blocks so 12 would make a decent size quilt if I add sashing and a border.  That would mean I need one more.  But maybe I'll keep making more in other colors to make it larger.  

I've also had a crazy idea of putting the rows across as 4, and then add a row of the little Rainbow flower blocks across the top and bottom.  There are lots of possibilities and no rush to decide how to end this.  But for sure at least one more colorful cat block needs to be made.  What color should I use for that last one?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Just an hour to play

I had an hour to play this morning so I worked on 3 blocks that all used scraps.  The Ohio Star is one to add to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This month's color is actually brown/black/grey but I don't think I'm going to use those colors with the other Ohio Star blocks.  Maybe I'll find a nice grey or brown but we'll see.  I want to keep making these in other colors until I have enough for a quilt.

The other 2 blocks use the just published Winter Fun block #1 from Pat Sloan. Just go to her blog to find her free patterns. This will be part of a Sew-Along, but I think it lends itself to scrap sewing beautifully.  I have a LOT of 6" squares from guild members who travel, and the center of this block is 5.5", so those squares should work perfectly with just a tiny trim.  The frame and backgrounds in the 2 blocks I made are just out of the scrap bins.  I can picture a whole lot of these combining for a fun scrappy quilt. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October goals

September was a very productive month, mainly because my work hours were fewer due to computer issues. Now that my computer has been replaced I need to catch up with work tasks again so my quilting time may reflect that.

My October goals include getting some of my patterns and UFOs, WIPs, and PIGs better organized again.  I've been digging around in those baskets and made a mess.  But I believe I've found all of the Kimberbell patterns and kits.  Actually there is only 1 kit and that is for the Halloween bench pillow, which I want to work on this month.  There are patterns for the Christmas and winter Snowmen bench pillows. And there is a pattern for a watermelon table runner that could easily become a bench pillow. I need to keep these patterns together and also find the Kimberbell pattern book that I know is hiding somewhere in my book shelf.

October Goals . . .
  • organize my UFOs & PIGs
  • set up new shelving unit in sewing room
  • October Saturday Sampler blocks
  • RSC19 - make some coral blocks (cat, Ohio Star, flowers, string)
  • bind Signature quilt from family reunion
  • Halloween bench pillow
  • finish binding the giraffe baby quilt and send it off as gift to coworker
  • finish paper pieced Pineapple blocks
  • quilt Paris panel quilt (#7 UFO Challenge item)

These goals should be more than enough to keep me busy for the next month.  I really do want to keep a better balance of working on new projects, along with finishing up some old ones and getting those out of my house.