Thursday, December 31, 2020

December - and 2020 - in the rear view mirror

I wanted to finish out 2020 on some positive notes so I set some "happy" goals for the month.  No large, complicated projects were on this month's list. And there are plenty of cheerful colors!  Some of these goals will just roll right into the new year. 

  • Saturday Sampler - December sections - DONE
  • Gingerbread wall hanging top assembly - rolling over into 2021
  • Harry Potter pillowcases (3) - rolling over into 2021
  • CLEAN cutting station! - partially done
  • Pick a PIG - Gnome winter table runner - flimsy is done, but needs blanket stitching
  • Quilt, bind & finish the following small projects
    • Boo bench pillow (envelope back & bind) - DONE
    • Pine Tree Point wall hanging - DONE
    • both Winter Moose table runners - rolling over into 2021
    • 2nd Blue Snowflake runner - rolling over into 2021
  • cut out 2 Simple Whatnots projects - rolling over into 2021
  • additional blocks for on-going projects
    • 10 Unity blocks - DONE with Round 3 completely
    • 4 Diamond Tile blocks - only 3 blocks are DONE
    • 5 Wisdom blocks - DONE
    • frame 4 gingham blocks - DONE
    • 4 Blossom Time blocks - 8 blocks DONE 
Like many in 2020 I had a lot more time to sew, and finished more projects -both old and new - than usual during this year.  The photo at the top is some of the quilts I finished this year.  I donated a couple, gifted a few, and kept some.  But it's always nice to finish a quilt. I haven't done an accurate count, but know that I finished more than a dozen quilts this year. 

Lots of small items were completed this year too: bags, pillows, pillow cases, wall hangings, and table runners.  And masks - can't forget the masks!!  

Happy New Year!  What will 2021 bring?  

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A little organizing and a little sewing for the New Year

I'm trying to start the New Year off with a little bit of organizing in my sewing room.  In all honesty, it's been a hot mess for MOST of 2020.  In anticipation of some new storage containers arriving next week I decided I had to start somewhere in taming this mess.  And making room for the new containers.

These drawer units sit inside the huge closet in my sewing room, and they hold a lot of stash fabric.  That bottom drawer very obviously could no longer close, mainly because I kept digging into it and also throwing things on top of it.  So the bottom 2 drawers were removed and completely emptied out.  Every piece of fabric was sorted by color and refolded if necessary.  Right now I've carefully put the color stacks back into the drawer.  I took this photo before doing that second drawer. 

My next step is to pull the other 2 drawers out and do the same thing - sort by color and refold.  Maybe I can maintain that organization for awhile.   

A small step forward . . .

I've also been sewing up some random blocks that were kitted up and waiting.  Blossom Time blocks are beginning to really add up.  I now have 6 of these "quad" sections.  

And I framed 3 more of the gingham blocks from RSC20, leaving only 4 green ones needing frames.  Since I'm making more of these for RSC21, I'll pull some pinks (January color) for 2 new blocks.  But I'll frame them right away now that I have that planned.  

Now that I have a lot of my stash sorted by color or theme it should be easier to find what I need for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge going forward.  That is assuming that I can stay somewhat organized. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Clue 5 - Grassy Creek mystery

It definitely doesn’t take long to make just 1 set of each clue as they come out on Bonnie Hunter’s new mystery.  Lack of confidence in my color changes is the main reason I’m only doing 1 set for now. 

I wanted to play along, but worried that switching out some of the colors would cause me to not like the results.  So far I’m liking my choices.  Purple is my substitution for orange, and navy is replacing red.  Other than those 2 colors I’m following her choices.  

Clue 5 didn’t take long to do.  One set of grey/neutral flying geese, one set of purple/green/neutral 9-patches, and I cut just 8 of each of the navy squares and rectangles.  I’ve resisted - so far - playing with layout to try to guess what the block or blocks will look like. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Design Wall Monday - December 28

It's the last Monday in 2020 - hallelujah!  My mother used to say "don't wish your life away", but I think most folks are ready to welcome 2021.

My design wall (floor) is focused on Unity today.  Bonnie Hunter released this pattern as a sew-along mystery earlier in 2020.  Her followers needed this mid-year project to bring some hope and cheer in dark times.  Her original design was in patriotic colors but I had just finished a Quilt of Valor and changed it up - a LOT. 

This one was done in "rounds" and I stopped after Round 2 - thinking I liked it as is and would make it a wall hanging.  But then I kept seeing other people's finished quilts and decided to add Round 3 with all of those tiny 4.5" blocks with 17 pieces in each one.  I'm lucky it didn't become a UFO in the middle of making those blocks. 

And now I dove into adding Round 4 but with my own twist.  My blocks for Round 4 are much quicker to make than those Round 3 blocks.

Bonnie's pattern called for 6.5" Pinwheel Stars with the colors all in the same locations throughout the round.  I changed mine to simple Friendship Stars, and played with colors until I decided to make them all have aqua centers, but alternate pink points and  lime green points.  I think this change in Round 4 will give the eye a bit of a rest after a whole round of tiny pieces.  And I definitely needed to bring the green back into play.  

The pink, green, and aqua pieces are all cut and organized, but I do need to cut more black background pieces to finish these up this week - hopefully.  Then I'll decide if Round 5 will happen or not. 

What is on your design wall today? I'm linking up:

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Contemplating next moves

Round 3 is finally complete on Unity.  And now that I've had a chance to really look at it, I know that Round 4 MUST happen.  The lack of lime green in Round 3 gives the eye a little rest, but it looks "unfinished" to me as is.  So . . . Round 4 is in the planning phase. 

Bonnie Hunter's pattern calls for a Pinwheel Star block - 6.5" unfinished.  She did hers in patriotic colors, so obviously I need to figure out how I will lay out my colors.

Just a glimpse of what I've been playing with.  Green needs to come back to life in this round, but I definitely don't like the green center with the pinwheel.  The aqua center is an improvement - maybe.  And then I got to thinking . . . what if I ditch the pinwheel and just make it a simple friendship star block instead?  

Here is what I'm thinking right now.  Half of the 36 blocks in Round 4 with green points and the other half with pink points.  Aqua centers seemed to be the best choice too.  So far only 3 blocks are sewn with the black background cut for 14 more.  And while I was cutting those backgrounds it became obvious that it was time to organize the tub of black and white prints so I could find what I wanted.

The tub itself was such a mess that the lid didn't come close to going on and everything was a jumbled mess.  There are lots of prints that read more "white with black", and prints with a mostly "grey" look to them when you step back.  Those are all choices that I don't want much of in this quilt.  But I found plenty of "just right" black and whites to use.  Those are on the top now so as I cut more background pieces for this quilt I won't have to dig very deep. Plus now everything is refolded neatly, sorted, and it all fits back into the tub, although the lid is still not on.  Yay!! 

Now I need to sort and organize the pink, green, and aqua fabrics because they are a mess too. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2020 in review

Rainbow Scrap Challenge provided me with some major fun again this year.  I made a big variety of blocks, and mostly played with color.  Lots of bright colors!

I did have a couple of complete quilt finishes this year with my RSC blocks - Rainbow Strings and Beads.  See top left quilt, and the one below it.  

Ohio Stars is a completed flimsy (top center photo), but is hanging in the closet for now until I decide whether or not to make it bigger with more blocks.  The Ohio Star is one of my very favorite star blocks, so if I decide to make more it won't be a hardship. 

There are only 20 of the Gingham blocks (bottom right photo) so far - and I will make a few more in 2021 so the quilt can be bigger.  This one will not have any sashing so I'll need quite a few for a good sized quilt. 

The Ritzy Cracker blocks (bottom middle) are sewn into sets of 2 - and waiting for me to finish the flimsy.  I can't remember if there are enough for just a small quilt or a medium sized one.  These need to get back onto my radar to finish. 

Diamond Tile, Wisdom, Twinkle Star, and Blossom Time all need lots more blocks and will all continue into the new year as well.  Wisdom blocks have become my new obsession, and I especially love them made with bigger prints.  

There are only 14 of the Twinkle Star blocks made so far, as I forgot about them the last half of the year - mostly due to playing with some other blocks.  

The 12 blocks made earlier in the year, plus the yellow/gold versions made on Christmas Eve . . . kind of look like the Christmas Star.

I'm linking up to the host site of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

What fun will she have in store for us in 2021?  I'm looking forward to a fresh start with some new blocks to play with, and to make more of the ones I have been making.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

A couple of Twinkle Star blocks have just been added to the collection.  They made me think of the Christmas Star just a little bit.  

It will be a quiet holiday around here with just the 2 of us.  Merry Christmas!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Blizzard Day

 We had plans for today that didn't involve staying home all day.  Well . . . things change.

The view from my kitchen shows the couple of inches of snow that has fallen, and more still falling.  It was almost 60 degrees here yesterday!!  

If it was just snowing, that would be no problem.  But the 40 mph winds are whipping that snow into a good old fashioned blizzard today.  This is the view from my desk looking north across the street.  That bird feeder has been swinging and swaying in the wind.  The visibility is pretty low even here in town.  

I have to work this morning, but plan to do some sewing this afternoon since my original plans went down the tubes.    

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Framing the Gingham blocks

Gingham was one of the sets of blocks that were part of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2020.  I have 20 of them made so far, and I'm pretty sure I will make more for RSC21 so that the quilt will be larger.

Originally these were 10.5" blocks, but then I decided to frame each one to make them 12.5" instead.  I don't want a sashing between these, but if I butted them up against each other then I had all the white sections meeting.  So the frames solve that problem.  I cut 1.5" strips for the frames in a similar color to match each block.  There are mostly blue and green blocks left to frame.

There are only 7 left to frame now and hopefully that will be done before New Years.  

Monday, December 21, 2020

Design Wall Monday - December 21

 What's on your design wall this morning?  Mine is holding 3 projects: Unity (black, aqua, pink, and lime green), Gingham blocks, and Blossom Time.   My sewing time will be split this week between finishing the final side of Round 3 in Unity and framing the last of the Gingham blocks.  Blossom Time saw some progress on Sunday as a break from tiny black flying geese.  LOL

One of my December goals had been to make 4 more Blossom Time blocks.  But I actually got 6 more made, and set 4 of them into a "quad" or set of 4 with the stems pointing in.  These have a very narrow sashing - cut 1" wide and finishing to 1/2".   I really love how these look together.

There are now 5 quad sections, plus 2 additional blocks ready for the next quad.  They are bright and happy and all made from scraps.  Some of the backgrounds are just white and others are neutral prints, so the quilt should have lots of depth of color.  

I'm linking up to:

Friday, December 18, 2020

Progress in small amounts

 I had a small part of the morning to sew, and made good use of the time for a change.  

I finished 5 more star blocks for Unity, plus made the flying geese sections for 5 more.  The final 10 are still laying on the design board in pieces but organized and ready to sew.  The light at the end of the tunnel has arrived for Round 3 of Unity.  Yay!  I also went through my bin of black and white prints to choose something for the sashing that will be added after the stars.  But nothing I had was big enough without lots of piecing, or it read too "grey" due to lots more white in the prints.  So . . . you know what that means.  Yup - fabric shopping.  

Clue 4 for Grassy Creek came out this morning.  It was a very simple addition of neutral and grey triangles onto the sides of the Clue 3 unit.  These triangles took me about 15 minutes to add to my 1 set.  I've chosen to only make 1 set of each clue to begin with.  That will allow me to play along, but not waste a lot of fabric or time if I don't like my result since I changed a couple of the colors from the mystery instructions.

And that fabric shopping I mentioned - well I found an excellent black print for Unity. But I also couldn't pass up the sale on Christmas fabrics and "end of bolt" at The Pin Cushion.  A couple of other fabric choices were made for future projects as well.  Retail therapy with a little impulse buying!!  Merry Christmas to me!!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

This n That

Happy Thursday!  That means it's almost the end of another week of survival, right?

I have another 8 star blocks made and ready to attach to the opposite side of Unity from the first group. And I think I finally have enough little kits cut to make the stars for the remaining 2 sides, except for 4 sets of black background pieces.  Because these blocks are only 4.5" square, they all contain some very tiny flying geese sections to make the star points.  And I'm trying to make sure the pink star points all go to the right and the aqua ones go to the left.  Plus those are a LOT of 1.5" squares to deal with, so I'm taking it slow. 

Some of the star blocks are partially sewn.  I think there is a pretty good variety of fabrics for this scrappy set of blocks.  Getting this round of Unity done was one of my main December goals. 

December 17 . . . it's my baby's birthday today.  My youngest daughter turned 37.  Boy that makes me feel old and decrepit.  I sent her flowers this year.  The vase has a reindeer face and there are felt antlers sticking out among the flowers.  Kind of a blend of holiday and birthday cheer.  It's not a very practical gift but sometimes a person needs to give something cheerful instead of just practical.  The kids like the flowers - red roses and white lilies, and a little greenery.  

Their 11th wedding anniversary is this Saturday.  But since they are still recovering from Covid at their house I'm guessing they won't be going out to celebrate.  She is back at work as of Tuesday but now is broken out with hives and swelling.  Her husband is still in that "getting well" stage.  However the kiddos are home quarantining per school district guidelines. 

The older daughter is scheduled to receive her first Covid vaccine at work today.  Her hospital didn't get enough to do ALL staff yet (same as everywhere), but has begun the process.  First up was the staff working in the Covid units full time - doctors, nurses, housekeeping, etc. Now they are moving on to staff who work in the Covid units as needed.  That includes her.  She is a respiratory therapist, mostly working in pulmonary rehab areas.  I'm quite relieved that she is getting the vaccine early.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2020


Yesterday I mentioned the project box that had held the parts for En Provence still had a few leftover units.  OK, maybe more than just a few units.  I made most of the units for En Provence (2016-17) but then ended up not liking the end result so I did not make the actual quilt.  Instead I used a bunch of the units and made 2 quilts for little girls with lots of pinks and purples.  But I didn't realize just how much was still left over.   Yikes!  There is enough for another kid sized quilt I think, which is very exciting. 

There are 107 neutral 4-patch units.  That's right - 107 of them!!  I even see the Christmas words print that I just used in Grassy Creek this week.  These were even pinned together in sets of 10.   

Purple and neutral Tri-Recs units - the same size as the 4-patches - were also in the box.  Some are sewn together but most of them are just cut and ready to sew, or have one wing sewn on and the other waiting.  I have no idea just how many of these there are. 

And there were 32 of these purple 4-patch units, also the same size.  I think these need to become something in 2021 instead of laying around in a box.  So these orphan blocks are going onto my UFO challenge list.   

This was the 2020 Unicorn quilt I made using a lot of the leftovers.  I guess I pulled out all of the pink Tri-Recs units to use in these 2 quilts, because there was just 1 left in the box.  The bottom quilt is the one I gave to granddaughter Olivia in 2018.  It does make me feel good that I've not totally wasted all of those units even though they didn't end up as the original planned quilt.  Olivia loves her unicorn quilt. 

There were also a few units left over with green and yellow in them and those were the ones I didn't like in En Provence.  I chose poorly when I pulled yellows because they didn't look good together with the pinks I had, so I made some small blocks using those green and yellow units back when I made Olivia's quilt.  Those blocks are still hanging in the closet waiting to become something too.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

I've surrendered . . .

 It's Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt season and my original intent was to save and print the clues for Grassy Creek, then decided later on whether to make it or not.  Let's face it - I do NOT need another project.  But it's so tempting when you see the pretty blocks online.  So I have surrendered to that temptation.  I admit that I'm weak. 

I really wasn't "feeling" the autumn colors in Bonnie's mystery this year, so I am playing with something different.  I saw lots of beautiful color combinations in her Facebook group.  But I'm just not sure what I want to use.  So I'm making ONE SET of each clue, rather than the number of sets she has planned.  Clue #1 is a set of 8 gold and grey Half Square Triangles, and I kept those original colors.  So far, so good - and all out of scraps.  

Gold, neutral and green Hourglass units were identified in Clue #2 in a set of 4.  Again - her original colors.  These are a bit smaller than the Clue #1 HST units.  But they were together in a jiffy. 

Clue #3 is where I changed up the colors.  I switched to navy blue instead of red, and purple instead of orange.  Again - this is a set of 4 units.  I think I'll like these colors together.  So I'm all caught up but with only 1 set of everything until I make that decision to make more.  

I pulled out a project box from the cupboard under my cutting station that I had used for En Provence mystery quilt a few years ago.   It had a few "leftovers" from that mystery still hiding in there, but that is a story for another day.  Now it's holding the Grassy Creek mystery instructions plus the parts and pieces.  I'm ready for Clue #4 on Friday.  

Monday, December 14, 2020

Design Wall Monday - December 14

 What's on your Design Wall today? 

Having set Unity aside for several months, thinking I would just leave it small, now I’ve made the commitment to add at least Round 3 to it.  So, a bunch of 4.5" star blocks are on my design wall this morning. 

These Round 3 star blocks are attached to one side of the quilt so far.  I have 3 more made, and several more kitted up.  I mentioned that I was running out of hot pink scraps.  So I dove into the 3 cookie tins of postage stamp (1.5” squares) squares to see if I could find more hot pink and aqua pieces to use.  I’m also going to be more careful with how those black and white prints “read” before cutting into more scraps for the background. Some definitely have too much white in them and I need to keep those to a minimum because they look a little washed out.  A few are OK scattered about, but not too many. 

I'm linking up with:

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Prepping more blocks for Unity

Round 3 of Unity needs 36 of these 4.5" star blocks.  I set a goal for December of adding at least 10 more blocks to the 6 I had already made.   So, 10 little block kits were cut on Saturday to sew today.  

I'm running very low on the hot pink scraps needed for some of the star points.  Guess it will be time to look for some fat quarters or yardage to supplement what I have.  

Round 1 was not scrappy.  I used the same black print as the background of that whole center medallion section, plus just one pink, one aqua, and one green fabric.   Round 2 was just a little bit scrappy, with a little bit of variety in the background and the colors.  Round 3 is shaping up to be very scrappy.  

Maybe by the end of January I'll have enough to finish Round 3.  Maybe . . .

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Saturday Sampler month #2

This would have been Saturday Sampler and Sew Vintage day - in a normal year.  Obviously our Sampler group hasn't been able to meet.  But Cindy has been doing a bang up job of creating little videos on Facebook to demonstrate the new month's blocks, and to show fun new things at the shop.  However, I'm guessing what we all miss the most is the Show n Tell and socializing part of Saturday Sampler.  Maybe by summer we can get back to normal again.  Fingers crossed. 

Saturday Sampler month #2 sections were my main sewing project this morning, and have now been added to the little collection of parts.  Lori Holt's book Quilty Fun is our basis, and this month we did 3 of the little Sewing Basket blocks, and 2 Courthouse Steps blocks.  Each of these little individual blocks are 6.5" square but then set together with specific size of background strips. 

So far none of the 4 sections we've sewn are the same length or width, so most likely they won't sit near each other in the finished quilt.  It's so fun when the layout is a bit of a mystery. 

Month #1 had Apple blocks and Friendship Stars.  I'm really pleased with my choice of 30s reproduction prints with a print background.  That background is just white with little navy blue open squares sprinkled randomly.  

Friday, December 11, 2020

Red hats

The dismal lighting does no justice to how bright red those hats really are!   

Three gnomes sit at each end of the table runner, which is about 40" long.  And I'm guessing once I get everything stitched down and outlined with a blanket stitch, the gnomes will pop even more.  The blanket stitching may be a weekend project when I have more time.  

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Ready for some applique

 I had the morning off today, and settled into my sewing room with coffee to just enjoy some fabric play.  The pinwheel background for my gnome table runner is all done.  There are 12 pinwheels and then a long strip sewn just along one side, so the pinwheels will be off center.  The Twister ruler is the tool called for in this pattern and I already had a couple of sizes. 

Due to the poor lighting in my sewing room, these greys look so dreary.  But really they are not. The light one is kind of a silvery grey.  Once that background was completely sewn together, I traced all of the applique pieces onto the fusible, and then ironed them onto my fabrics.

Red sparkly gnome hats will hopefully be the perfect choice.  White beards, beige noses, and then the bodies are from that same dark grey in the pinwheels.  I'm hoping to cut out all of those little applique pieces this evening while watching some TV.