Thursday, January 30, 2020

January in review . . .

It's always easy to be enthusiastic about goals at the beginning of the year, and this January was not different.  My goals were reasonable I think, which made them easier to reach. 

Frugal Farm Wife Bonus Project - 16" pillow

1.  keep up with Saturday Sampler - YES!!
2.  Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2020 - lots of green blocks were made
3.  finish top for Fourth of July QOV - quilt is DONE and ready to be presented!!
4.  make 2 more paper pieced Pineapple blocks - all 9 DONE and flimsy made
5.  sandwich and mark French General project - completely quilted and bound!!  DONE!!
6.  finish top for Harvest Road project - Not touched this month
7.  work on sashing Batik Stars UFO - it's a flimsy and ready to quilt
8.  find all the parts for the Gingerbread project - it's all found and gathered together

I did work on a few other things in January that were not on my goal list.

** made a Simple Whatnots mini quilt into a pillow (photo above)
** made a pinwheel pillow top from scraps of QOV fabrics
** created my list of 12 priority projects for PHD Challenge at Pin Cushion (Projects Half Done)
** made 2 Quilt of Valor presentation pillowcases
** put labels on 5 Quilts of Valor for our QOV group and washed them

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Small projects galore

None of these small projects are actually 100% finished, but they are all a bit closer to that finish line than before.  A completed top always feels like a win.  And I completed 3 small tops this morning.

The paper pieced pineapple wall hanging is now a completed top.  It's about 24" square so it will make a nice wall hanging or even a table topper.  I have no idea yet how I want this quilted, but it's ready for that step. Yay!!

This little Kim Diehl quilt is a bonus project from the Frugal Farm Wife pattern.  It was supposed to be pieced from leftovers of the main pattern, but I skipped over that main pattern and just made this one.  I really didn't care for the design of Frugal Farm Wife, so I gave myself permission to NOT make it.  This bonus project was mostly from scraps but I did have to cut a few new (small) pieces.  This is about 16" square and is going to be a pillow top.  

Corner triangle trimmings have been collecting for months as I worked on Quilts of Valor projects.  Well, now some of those trimmings became pinwheels and the pinwheels have become another pillow top.  I think this one will just get some simple quilting.  It's also about 16" square. 

And finally - this is what I found in the project box with my collection of Valentine fabrics.  This was pieced a year ago - maybe two - from charm squares.  The fabrics are all pretty, but the design leaves something to be desired.  A bit plain, but I think this could become a pillow too.  

Monday, January 27, 2020

Design Wall Monday - January 27

Finally, all 9 of the paper pieced pineapple blocks is finished and the paper has been removed.  These are just so cute in the bright colors.  The next step is adding some sashing and borders and the deciding how I want to quilt it.  

Sunday sewing started with that last pineapple block, but then I made some blocks for Quilts of Valor.  One more Bento Box block to add to the stack from our group, and two more Patriotic Stars.

I haven't counted but I'm pretty sure we have enough for a quilt top of these star blocks.  It's time to get another sewing day organized to put it together.  We also have a couple of QOV to bind. 

 I spent part of the afternoon working on the binding for a Quilt of Valor that I'm going to be giving to someone in my own family.  I picked it up from the quilter on Saturday and am so excited to finish it up and show it off.  

What's on YOUR design wall this morning?
I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday for more:

Friday, January 24, 2020

EPP Hearts

Some days I hate social media and other days I really love it.  This week I'm loving it because of all of the wonderful creative Valentine ideas for quilting that I've been finding.  I saw these English paper pieced hearts on Facebook the other day and hopefully my friend won't mind that I've hijacked her photo.  It was posted by my friend Moneik in a small closed Facebook group that I follow.  Aren't these little hearts adorable?  

Picture borrowed from my friend Moneik's Facebook page.
I decided I wanted to try some of these out, and got online last night looking for the paper templates.  Then I realized that I already HAVE the paper templates for the heart shaped hexies.  The template papers that I had downloaded from long ago for hexies had the perfect extra shape.  These are 1" (sides) templates.

Look at the colored in section - that is the shape used in the hearts and there it was in front of me all the time.  Card stock paper is always in my paper stash because it's so handy to use for lots of things.  I've printed 3 sheets of these and can get 20 of these half heart sections per sheet.  

So now I'm excited to play with them - another perfect hand stitching project while watching TV.  Is this another example of my brain being distracted by something new? Of course - and that is half the fun of my quilting obsession.  

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Farm Girl Vintage 2

This is the Sewing Baskets block from Lori Holt's book Farm Girl Vintage 2.  It was our challenge for the Sew Vintage group this month.  Such a cute and very traditional block. 

I think I'm going to mix some of these blocks in with the 12" blocks I have from the first Farm Girl Vintage book.  For those blocks I made both sizes (6" and 12") and my quilt with all of the 6" blocks is already made.  But I still have all of those bigger blocks and just couldn't decide what to do with them.  Now I think if I add some of these new blocks I'll have enough for 2 big quilts.  

This block was my therapy today and it didn't turn out as well as I want.  It's OK and will be fine once it's in a quilt, but just doesn't quite pass quality control for me.  But - I needed a break from drama, drama, drama - and only had an hour to play hooky from work.  This is the slightly crooked result. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Valentine ideas

I had the morning off today, and I was in major need of a "pick me up".   My brain said it wanted to surf for some bright and cheery Valentine's Day ideas.  Let me be honest here . . . Pinterest and Google are both Black Holes where I can get lost for hours sometimes. 

I don't know for sure where this actually came from, so I can't give credit to the quilter who made it.  But I traced the pattern back to . The picture was on Google when I searched for "heart blocks".  Isn't this one fun?  I didn't see a link for a pattern but it's basically quarter square triangles made into hourglass units and half hourglass units.  Or it could be done with lots of half square triangles too.  I did pull out the project box that was filled with Valentine fabrics - and in that box were some surprises.  I'll share some of that another day. 

I want to do the math and figure out this pattern for myself before I cut into any of those fabrics.  But I think this is something I want to make.  However - I promised myself that the final 2 paper-pieced pineapple blocks MUST be done before I start anything new.  I made one of them before emails from work projects interrupted me.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

7 little pineapple blocks

There are now 7 of these little 6.5" pineapple blocks made.  Two more to go!  These are paper pieced using charm packs of the colors, and leftover white jelly roll strips. 

The pattern calls for 12 but I'm making 9 so the project will be square.  A pillow or a wall hanging?  Either would be cute and I'll decide once this is all put together. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Design Wall Monday - French General

It’s always good to check off a finish.  This is a Disappearing 4-patch wall hanging made with a charm pack of French General fabrics.  And the really exciting thing - to me anyway - is that I quilted it myself. Yay!!  The batting and backing were all from the stash but I did end up buying a little more of that border print to bind it.  The colors look a bit washed out in this photo, but they are nice soft reds, creams, and blues very typical of French General. 

Check out more Design Walls at:

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Snowed in sewing

 I have a serious case of cabin fever going on. It was a bitter cold windy day here on Saturday, but the sun was shining finally.  And even here in town there was still a LOT of snow moving.  Our street wasn't plowed out until afternoon.  But with a NEGATIVE 20 degree wind chill, it did seem like a smart thing to stay home yesterday and sew - which is what I did.

First off, two more green RSC20 blocks were added to the collection.  So now I have 2 each of the Twinkle Star and Gingham blocks.   At least 2 or 3 of each color should make a reasonable size quilt.  I'm loosely thinking 20 total blocks of each of these will be my goal. 

I also finished the top for Batik Stars.  It turned out fine, but the colors here just don't appeal to me.  However, it's a nice size - about 50" x 60" so it will make a good donation quilt.  And it feels really good to have this one finally put together after sitting around as just blocks since 2007.  And I have an empty project box waiting to be filled with something new and interesting. 

Last but not least is the French General wall hanging.  I added the quilting in the colored squares and was very pleased with the results - until I laid it out to photograph.  That's when I saw the 2 whole sections that I missed quilting.  So that will be one of my projects today.  

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Pineapple blocks

One more pineapple block has been done and I’ve taken the paper off of all six that are completed.  The pattern calls for 12 blocks but I’m going to only do 9 because I want this piece to be square.  

Friday, January 17, 2020

Batik Stars progress

Oops!!  I think I remember why this particular quilt became a UFO in the first place.  Do you see the difference in the length of the block and length of the sashing?  What was I thinking when I cut these sashing strips?

This quilt was actually a Saturday Sampler from 2007 called Shivery Snowmen.  There is an applique snowman block that goes with each of the pieced star blocks. But I didn't make the snowmen blocks but I do have the patterns - somewhere.  This has been on my UFO list for several years now.  I believe I did pull these blocks out a couple of years ago and bought the sashing and border fabrics.  That's also probably when I cut those sashings at 12" instead of 12.5".  And probably why it became a UFO all over again.  

Since I cut those sashing strips 1/2" too short - sometime in the past - I decided now to just piece them and I think once this is quilted it won't be very noticeable.  What IS noticeable however, is the quality of my sewing back in 2007.  I've gotten much better at cutting and sewing accurately since then.  I've been making quilts since the 1980s, but really only started really focusing on accuracy a few years ago.  I still learn something new all the time, which is great.  

So, here are the 12 blocks with the (pieced) sashing strips added.  I may rearrange a couple of these before sewing them into rows.  I have plenty of navy blue left to finish the sashing but am hoping there is enough for binding too.  And the border fabric in the project box is a Kaffe print with lots of brown and other colors.  It will be fine I think.  

I'm setting a goal of finishing the top of this by Sunday evening - while watching it snow again.  Actually a couple of focused hours should be all I need.  But it's so easy to become distracted in my sewing room by other pretty projects that aren't so old.  

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Next UFO tasks

The binding on French General is ready to hand stitch down.  I used the same fabric as the outer border.  I still may decide to add more quilting to this after it's bound, but we'll see what it looks like once the binding is done.  

Batik Stars is my next UFO project to work on.  This was a Saturday Sampler many years ago and all of the blocks were made and in a plastic project box.  And surprise - when I opened the box I found all of the sashing pieces were there and already cut.  So they are ready to sew.  And a bonus - there is border fabric there too, although I'm not sure I will like it until the top is put together.  The star blocks are all different, and have lots of different colors of batiks.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Saturday Sampler block #7

Block 7 has been completed, but not without some issues.  The center of this burgundy/gold block was actually a lighter tan batik with kind of an open pattern swirling through it.  But I had started this block with this particular background, and that center just faded away.  So I replace the center with this gold.  And I like the result plus it was less work than replacing all the background pieces. 

The blue version is my favorite however. I just love these colors.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

French General - quilting progress on a UFO

It isn't fancy, but so far the quilting is turning out fairly well.  I did a straight diagonal grid over the whole quilt, and then went back and added the "orange peel" in all of the neutral squares.  I like it, but think I will add the same orange peel in the colored squares too.  Maybe I'll have this done by the end of January after all and can check it off my UFO list.  

There wasn't enough of the border fabric left to make binding so I'm going to stop at The Pin Cushion after I get my hair cut today and look for a binding fabric. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Machine quilting - outside my comfort zone

Machine quilting is really outside of my comfort zone but I'm determined to become more skilled at this so I can quilt more of my small projects.  This is my French General wall hanging, and I'm starting with a simple diagonal grid.  Then my plan is to add a more curvy and decorative design in the neutral sections.  Wish me luck!!  

And yes - I do know that I needed more batting extending past the quilt border.  But I'm planning to make this border slightly narrower, so once it's trimmed it will be fine.  And it's only too small in this one area because I'm using leftover batting.  

My husband left about 10:30 this morning to drive to eastern Iowa for work.  However he called me twice in the first hour to ask me to get online and check road conditions on a couple of routes.  And then he started seeing cars in the ditches on both sides of the interstate so he called me again to say he was turning around and coming home.  Those interruptions cut into my limited sewing time today, but I'm glad he decided not to risk that drive.  And he brought me some lunch when he got back - Taco John's apple grande!  So I'll forgive him.  

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday projects

The grand-kids all headed home after lunch today and I pulled out a couple of the Quilts of Valor that our group has finished.  I've been adding the labels, and one of them is in the washing machine currently.  I'm washing them in cold water and some Retayne to set the colors.  Then those quilts will be ready to present, hopefully in February.  We've only received 4 nominations for recipients so far but hope to have a couple more. 

Two more presentation pillow-cases are also on my agenda to finish today.  These have had the cuffs sewn on but now need the bottom and side seams sewn.  The "sausage roll" method keeps all of the raw edges inside the cuff.  And we do French seams for the side and bottom so that no raw edges are exposed.   

Granddaughter Sophia helped me take the ornaments off the Christmas tree this morning.  That was a big help.  And both families went home with "treasure" from my basement.  Mostly the 2 girls went home with tons of Barbie stuff - some that had been mine (circa 1960) and most that had been their own mothers' stuff (circa 1980-90s).  A lot of the doll clothes were things my mother made in the 1960s when I was playing with Barbies.  

Two big tubs of Barbie clothes, some dolls, furniture, and so much more have now left my house.  I've heard Olivia has already spent hours today "organizing" her new Barbie treasure.  I'm just glad they wanted it.  The only Barbie things left at my house now are the very vintage original dolls and some of the vintage clothes that came with those early dolls.  

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Lots of green blocks

So far this month I've had some fun with green scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  

* 4 Bead/Chandelier blocks
* 1 string block
* 1 Twinkle Star block
* 1 Ohio Star block
* 1 Gingham block
* 1 Diamond Tile block

I know I'll probably make at least one more green version of the Gingham, Diamond Tile, and Twinkle Star blocks.  These are so bright and cheery. 

Check out what other RSC20 projects are happening:

But no sewing today because I have 5 grandchildren arriving sometime this morning with their moms for a quick overnight.  Unfortunately both dads have to work today but maybe they plan to enjoy the peace and quiet at their own homes.    

Friday, January 10, 2020

Twinkle in green

One more green block - a 9" Twinkle Star block.  This is one I pulled out of my pattern collection. It was a block from the RSC16 Sampler and I really love a good star block so I kept it in my "make again" binder.  Do you have some of those favorites curated somewhere? 

The block uses the Tri-Recs rulers to make that large point with the side "wings".  Then you add the smaller squares to the bottom corners to put the twinkle in the star.  Can't you picture a whole quilt made of these stars?  I'll need more than one in each color so I can just keep digging into those scraps.  But for now it's maybe time to leave behind the green fun and work on those UFOs again. 

I've included a link to the block pattern below. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

More green blocks

It's hard to mess up a string block, so this seemed to be a safe project for distracted sewing.  

I have some other ideas for some Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks too.  They have to be something I can do quickly in short bursts of time.  That way I can make them in between other more important projects.  They make a good change up when I'm bored with sewing on the same old thing.  

One of the Diamond Tile blocks is repaired and trimmed to the correct size - 7.5".  And I experimented with a Gingham block that I saw online.  Gingham is using 2.5" squares from the huge pile of 2.5" squares I've cut from scraps over the years.  And it ends up 10.5" so these blocks won't require a huge number to make a quilt.  

I added the repaired block in with the 5 I had made previously.  Ironically 3 of those used green.  These should make a fun kid quilt.  I will try to keep these nice and bright, which will be fairly easy considering what my scrap bins look like.  Bright colors tend to be my preferred color palette. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

De-cluttering and distracted sewing

Yesterday I posted about cleaning out an old box of cookbooks - and I'm happy to say it is done!!  I saved 4 books that I thought my girls might find interesting, mailed a church cookbook to a friend in my hometown who attended that church, boxed up all the rest that were in good shape and threw away a few that were very dirty.  The back seat of my car is full of miscellaneous stuff to donate and those are going to be dropped off after lunch today.

I also started shredding some old receipts and bank records found in the file cabinet.  My shredder gets overheated and quits after about 10 minutes, so it is slow going. But I'm halfway through a very deep stack.  Two garbage bags of other old paperwork are now in the trash.  Yay!!

And that gets me to the "distracted sewing" part of yesterday.  I decided I would spend an hour in my sewing room while waiting for that shredder to cool off.  Do you see my mistake on the block with the green bars and yellow corners?  Yup - no seam allowance!!  I had made 5 of these Diamond Tile blocks (Bonnie Hunter) last year when she published the pattern in Quiltmaker magazine.  I was thinking this would be a great addition to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  So I made 2 new blocks and when I was ready to square them up I just glanced at the pattern and saw 7".  But that was the finished size!  I should have trimmed them to 7.5" so there would have been a seam allowance at the tips of those yellow squares. And at the tips of the red squares in the ladybug square to the right of it. 

Now I've written in LARGE LETTERS on the pattern to Trim to 7.5" so I don't repeat that mistake. I'm going to pick out the stitches to rescue the center squares and use them again.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

A real need to "let go" . . .

It isn't going to happen any time soon, but I really need to go through EVERY box and closet in my house and get rid of STUFF.  What is it about a new year that makes me want to de-clutter?  And then that urge fades, and it doesn't happen. 

I took something down to the basement this morning to put on a shelf in my storage room.  In front of me was a small open box with old cookbooks.  These were cookbooks belonging to my parents who died 30 years ago!!  This box has been moved twice, and never dealt with.  Shame on me!  I had started going through that box last summer and then set it aside when I ran out of time - or maybe the heart to throw things away.  I don't remember now.  

But sitting near the top of that small box of cookbooks was this - a Burpee Seed catalog.  From 1989 - unbelievable!!  So today is the day.  I'm going to go through that box and make some decisions about what to keep, what to give away and what to donate.  It's only ONE small box, but it's time.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Design Wall Monday - a QOV flimsy

What's on your design wall today?  Check out a few others at:

This is just coming OFF my design wall because it's ready to quilt.  This Quilt of Valor flimsy is a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter called Fourth of July.  Her version is scrappy and mine used up some yardage, but either version works really well.  This was a really easy pattern and uses no tiny pieces.  See what free patterns are available from Bonnie's blog. 

Do you notice the golf club to the right of my quilt?  I laid this out on the floor of my husband's office which is next door to my sewing room in our basement.  He has a 25' putting green on the floor and since he had just vacuumed it I thought it would be a nice clean spot to lay this out.  LOL

On my desk (not my design wall) is a lovely gift I received from LeeAnna at  She has been making these beautiful hexie mug rugs as gifts for friends.  It's right next to my laptop where I see it every morning as I sit down to work. 

Isn't it pretty?  Red is my favorite color and she used a gold metallic thread to stitch around the edges. The backing is felt.  Pretty and purposeful - the best kind of gift.  I feel lucky to be considered a friend!!  Thank you so much!!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Working on UFOs

I set a goal of FINDING all of the parts of the Gingerbread blocks.  Well - I've reached that goal because I did find all of the parts.  The patterns, the fabric kits that came with them, and the zillions of buttons that I must have purchased at the time.  These were part of a Christmas themed Saturday Sampler we did a couple of years ago.  I made the quilt without the Gingerbread blocks.  It had a mix of 12" blocks, 6" blocks, some pieced and some with elaborate applique.  The original pattern also had Christmas-y words/phrases but I didn't do those at all either.  

Two of the Gingerbread characters have been fused and the blanket stitching was begun.  There is another one that was fused but had no stitching at all.  And there were two more not started, but the fabric was tucked in with the patterns.  Each of the 5 characters has a different backgrounds fabric but the gingerbread shape is always a brown.  And there was a lot of aqua, red, lime green, and pink as touches of color in the original quilt and in these guys.  

I got really carried away with buying buttons for these, but since each one uses several I may use up a fair amount. I hope I do anyway.  

This is the gingerbread guy that was fused to the background, but had no stitching done.  He has bites out of his legs and crumbs flying as he runs away.  So cute!!

So . . . what am I going to do with these 5 blocks now that the pieces are all gathered?   It would make a cute wall hanging or a table runner.  But I think the first task might be to fuse the other two bodies to their backgrounds and then I can do all of the brown blanket stitching at once.  Then I can work on the embellishments.  

I'm just happy that I was able to find all of the patterns and parts.  That makes it much more likely that this project will get finished in 2020.  Yay! 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Keeping up with Saturday Sampler

While looking for one of my UFO projects in my sewing room, I saw the plastic project box containing the current Saturday Sampler - and realized I hadn't made the December blocks yet.  Not a problem now because I got focused and finished them quickly.

Every other month we have the option to purchase a 24" block to add to our regular 12" blocks.  I've chosen to make these.  December's block is pink and a dark raspberry.  Very pretty with a churn dash framing the center block.  

This is the "regular" block for December.  It definitely went together quickly once the little HST were made.  I'm not sure which I like better, the green or the purple.  Both are pretty and mixed in with all of the other blocks we've made so far they look great.  I'm choosing to do a scrappy batik background in these blocks, so the backgrounds vary a lot from block to block.  

Friday, January 3, 2020

Starting a new year for Rainbow Scrap Challenge

January's color for RSC20 is GREEN and I have a plan.  I also have lots of green so I've gotten a start on my RSC blocks for this year.  The photo above shows 4 Bead (or Chandelier) blocks.  I saw these on 3 different blogs last year and really loved how they look.  Set on point they look like a beaded curtain or the crystals hanging from a chandelier. 

My plan is to make these from charms because I had 2 charm packs of the Mama's Cottage fabric line and there are 4-5 of each color in the packs.  So, since these blocks use a 5" charm, plus a couple of 2.5" squares, I can make good use of these charm packs.  Whatever color is selected for the month will be the color charms I pull out.  I'm doing a scrappy white on white background because there is a lot of white in this fabric line.  And I'll have 2 leftover 2.5" colored squares from each block.

I'm also continuing with the Ohio Star blocks I started last year.  I want enough to make a good sized quilt, so I'm just going to keep making these until I have enough.  Usually I only did one block from each fabric but I got carried away cutting and ended up making 2 of these green Ohio Star blocks. 

The other block that I'm continuing from last year is the Rainbow String blocks.  I haven't made a new green block yet but it won't take long to do.  

And I may play with some other blocks using the monthly colors just to use up more scraps.  And maybe a bag or two will happen in the colors chosen.  After all, that is the whole idea - using up what I have already.

Check out the Rainbow Scrap Challenge: