Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday Sewing - easily distracted again

Not much time spent in my cluttered, messy sewing room this morning but I did accomplish a couple of things.  The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for March is teal and I didn't find much on my first little search.  But I'm guessing more will surface when I dig deeper.  I didn't look yet in my scrap bins or in the piles of scrap squares.  I found these in the fat quarter bin.  And then I was distracted by other projects.  

I cut some binding strips for the pineapple block wall hanging.  The backing is this fun Lori Holt floral that reflects a lot of the colors in the pineapple blocks.  Bonnie quilted little flowers into this project and I'm loving how it's coming together. The aqua blends with the backing and picks up aqua in the front as well, so after auditioning several fabrics this was my final choice. I want to have a couple of binding projects to take with me next weekend to work on in the hotel. (college basketball tournament time)

And finally I assembled the final block for Harvest Road.  These are 15" blocks and will have pieced sashing to separate them before adding a final border.  This is outside of my comfort zone due to the "dusty" color palette, and the busy pieced star blocks.  But maybe once the final plain border goes on this will look a little less busy.  This was a project from the Sew Sampler boxes by Fat Quarter Shop.  I used a subtle dotted background from my stash and it's working color-wise with the Harvest Road fabric line in this.     

And here it is past 11:30 on a Saturday morning and I'm still in my PJs.  Time to get dressed and get something done around here. One MAJOR important task today is to go to the hardware store to shop for a new coffee pot since mine died yesterday.  A girl must keep her priorities straight. 

I've linked up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge today:

Thursday, February 27, 2020

A distraction from sewing . . .

We find inspiration in so many ways, but bloggers have been one of the most inspirational sources for me of ideas and tasks.  Recently a blogger I read daily has been talking about carefully going through diaries kept by family prior to the Great Depression.  Thank you for giving me this idea to dig into my own family memories.

My mother was a "scrapbooker" long before all the fancy papers and die cut accessories were ever dreamed up.  I inherited a couple of big tubs of her scrapbooks when she passed away in 1991.  Over the years I've glanced at a few, but it's time to go through them more carefully for hidden treasure.  These scrapbooks are an eclectic mix of personal and family memories, and newspaper or magazine clippings that she found interesting.  I can't wait to see what I might find. 

One of the first little treasures I found was this letter written to her by a little brother in 1942.  Mom and one of her sisters had moved to Mississippi to live with their aunt and work in the war effort and her "kid brother" (as she always called him) still lived in their Minnesota hometown.  I got such a kick out of this short but sweet communication from a 12 year old kid to his big sister.  I plan to carefully remove the envelope and letter from the page and send it to one of my cousins, who is a daughter of the kid brother. 

I also found a story hand written by the 5th grade little sister in 1945.  That will go to one of her daughters if she wants it.  And those treasures are just the tip of the ice berg as I've only read through a few pages so far.  A few pages at a time is my goal.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

One Saturday Sampler block

I have one of the 2 blocks done for Saturday Sampler. The second one is more pink but the same design.  It’s a simple applique.  It’s ready to fuse down and stitch.  And I noticed that I have a 24” block to make for this month too.  I had totally forgotten about that big block. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Last chances for February goals

As productive as January was, February has been just the opposite.  There just hasn't been much time to sew, and when I did have time I didn't have the motivation.  But there is one last week in February to accomplish some things on my list.  

I did get backs for these 3 UFO projects and take them to be quilted. No actual sewing involved but progress on UFOs.  Eventually I'll have lots of things to bind. The Batik Stars quilt (far right) is fairly large and the purple/yellow one is about crib sized. And the pineapple block one is just a wall hanging.  I'm pretty slow at binding so it may take me until spring to get them all done.  

This morning I attached the binding to La Caribe, so I'll begin hand stitching it down in the evenings while watching TV.  This was one of my goals for the month to complete, but knowing what my week looks like I'm not going to count on finishing it.  But progress is progress, right?

My big goal for this week (besides binding) is to make my Saturday Sampler blocks, and to make more orange RSC blocks.  This month we have some simple applique for our Saturday Sampler.  It shouldn't take long to do if I would just get to it.  

I took some hand work with me this weekend, thinking I could get some of it done in the car and in the hotel.  Good plan - but not well executed.  I brought the EPP hearts to work on.  I had plenty of supplies with me - except for the paper templates to make those hearts.  I had enough for 4 hearts so that is how many I made.  

Goals for the final week of February:

** make 2 applique Saturday Sampler blocks
**  RSC - 2 orange Twinkle Star blocks
**  RSC - some (?) orange Diamond Tile blocks
** hand stitch at least one side of La Caribe binding

Sunday, February 23, 2020

College basketball

We had a fun weekend of family and college basketball.  The big rivalry between South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota are always the biggest events of the year. The Jackrabbit (SDSU) fans almost always outnumber the Coyote fans (USD) even when the game is at the U.  But this weekend's games were both at our home Frost Arena.  Unfortunately the Jackrabbit women lost to the Coyotes on Saturday, but the Jackrabbit men won today over the Coyotes in tight exciting game.  

Go Big!! Go Blue!! Go Jacks!!!

It was a fun weekend with family too because there are LOTS of Jackrabbit alumni in the family and a few Coyote alum, along with a couple of current students at both.  Saturday before the women's game we enjoyed lunch with my sister-in-law and her husband (both Jacks alum), one of their daughters (Jackrabbit), and two of their grandsons (a Jackrabbit and a Coyote) plus one girlfriend.  We stayed over in Brookings last night and so did our niece, so supper and lunch today were also a great way to catch up.

Next up - the Summit League basketball tournament in Sioux Falls in a couple of weeks.  It's our annual opportunity for all of the family rivals to come together, wear our colors - Go Big Blue! -, cheer on our favorite teams - and indulge in plenty of "trash talk" about college basketball.  A fun time of year!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Quilts of Valor sewing day

A good sized crew met yesterday at The Pin Cushion classroom for a VERY productive sewing day for Quilts of Valor.  Four of us sewed pretty much steadily from 10 am to 3 pm - with a break for lunch of pizza provided by The Pin Cushion.  Thank you Brenda!!

Another 4 ladies cut more block parts, pressed as the sewers needed, hand stitched a label, marked diagonal sewing lines and more.  And we had a lot of fun.  Thank you to Deb, Pam, Alice, Louise, Karen, ruby, and Janice.  Many hands made light work. 

And what did those many hands accomplish, in between the conversation? 
  • put together 1 complete quilt top (above) from 30 Patriotic Star blocks
  • labeled one completed quilt
  • bound another complete quilt (Louise took it home to do the hand stitching and the label)
  • prepped another long length of binding for a future quilt
  • cut the parts for LOTS more blocks after using up my few kits
  • made 16 more Bento Box blocks
  • made 12 or 14 more Patriotic Star blocks
So we are very close to having enough blocks for 2 more quilt tops.  

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Block kits for Quilts of Valor

No real time to sew this week, but I did manage to make some block kits for a Quilts of Valor sewing day tomorrow.  Early morning insomnia hit me yesterday and I made use of some of that time.  There are now 9 block kits for the Bento Box blocks.  We have 8 already, and I have a note on the stack that we'll need 22 more to make a quilt top. So 9 - gets us partway there.

We have one full set of the Patriotic Star blocks ready to set into a top.  But like the Bento Box block, we have 8 more to start another quilt.  I made kits for 3 blocks.  Again, it's a good start. 

I'll take some of my fabric stash with me to the sewing day tomorrow and maybe I can make more kits while other ladies sew.  I'm hoping we get at least 4 or 5 ladies to come so that we get plenty accomplished.  We have 1 quilt ready to bind, and 2 labels to sew on as well.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Harvest Road progress

Two of the four blocks are now made.  Then there is a pieced sashing to add before the borders.  It's an interesting star block and I'm thinking that I should have pressed the seams open on the hourglass blocks.  Some of those intersections are not happy no matter which direction I press them. 

But at least I'm making a little progress on this one.  Not much sewing time in February so far and I need to pull out my Saturday Sampler blocks as they are a main priority for this year.  So this will be one of those slow-going projects. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Time to sew - finally

There were more choices in orange than I originally thought, but I had to dig deeply to find them.  

I was gone last week from Monday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, so there wasn't any time at all for sewing.  Training and "annual" staff meetings were on the calendar, followed by the annual employee party on Saturday night.  The party was pizza and bowling, and staff was encouraged to bring their family.  Our kids and grand-kids came and had some fun.  But I was going through a bit of withdrawal from sewing. 

So - it was extra nice to have Monday off yesterday after an especially busy week.  I finally got to spend a couple of hours sewing after the hubbie left on a road trip for work.   Two new orange gingham blocks were added to my RSC collection.  And I also managed to make 2 blocks for Harvest Road, which I'll show off tomorrow.  

Now it's time to go get a much overdue haircut and color. Then back to work this afternoon again. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Minus 25 degree wind chill

I’m wishing I had a quilt to wrap up in today - in this meeting room.  The outside temp is still below zero with a negative 25 wind chill. The thermostat on the wall in this room says it’s 64 degrees in here in spite of turning it up. I should have brought my latest binding project with me. It might have kept me warm. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Training week

I “retired” from a full time education job about 3 years ago and took on 2 part time jobs. I still teach 3  high school courses online and do the tech support for our web-based course platform. And I work for my husband’s telecom engineering firm tracking budgets and working with contracts and invoices.  Well, this week is the annual training and meeting week for all of the engineering staff.

We all work from home so it’s nice to see folks and interact.  But the training sessions might make my brain explode. LOL a little sewing time would help me decompress 
But that will wait for the weekend. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Design Wall Monday - Harvest Road

Working on a UFO for just a little while produced blocks in 3 stages of completion.  Of the 32 hourglass blocks needed for this project, I have 12 completely done.  

There are 8 more sewn but not trimmed or pressed. And the rest are partially sewn and pinned together in sets. These are even marked with the diagonal line to sew on either side making the hourglass.  Ready to finish up later in the week.  Check out a few more Design Walls at:

I keep calling this project Harvest Road which is really the name of the fabric line. The actual pattern is called Acorn Caps.  But I think I'll just keep calling it Harvest Road.  It was a PIG (project in grocery sack) that I pulled out and started right before Christmas. I even blogged about using my new ruler to start it.  Then it was set aside - in danger of being forgotten, so I added it to my UFO list to get it finished.  The charm squares and pattern were part of a Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop.  And ironically that new ruler is the one I was using when I cut my finger last week - which is why I'm waiting to trim these hourglass blocks. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Favorite pincushions

Do you have favorite pincushions or do you use just one? 

 I actually have several, and they get used for different purposes or in different locations. This one is very special. It was made by my friend Sylvia out of one of her mother's china cup and saucer sets.  I love this and it sits on my sewing table.  It makes me think of Sylvia - who moved away - but also my own mother because violets were her favorite flower.  It was a very special gift. This one holds my big darning needle and several "hat pin" size pins. I often use the saucer section to hold bobbins I'm using, or buttons.

This one was made by Carma - a former quilt shop owner and former guild member.  She made one of these for each guild member a few years ago.  They are made to look like donuts with icing and sprinkles.  Isn't it adorable?  My pins live in this one - next to my sewing machine.  It gets used all the time.  

This one lives upstairs in my family room.  It's the one that gets used most for hand work in front of the TV.  I noticed it currently has a mix of curved safety pins for basting, flower head pins and needles.  This one was a surprise from a fellow blogger. She had a "giveaway" for a cute appliqued block, and I won. When the package arrived with the block, this pin cushion was in the box too.  Counted cross stitch - and just the right size. 

This one I bought on a shop hop a few years ago.  It travels all over the house with me and holds a little everything.  

And last but not least (and not used much anymore) is my mother's pin cushion.  This is the pin cushion I remember her using all of the time.  My mom did all kinds of sewing - clothing, quilts, curtains, upholstery, etc.  She was a very skilled seamstress and even worked in a garment factory making uniforms during World War II.  

And I think - but don't know for sure - that it is actually a very old red "tomato" pin cushion that she recovered with green.  Notice the hand stitching on that bottom.  Being a child of the depression she certainly would have just fixed it up rather than throwing it away and buying a new one.  This one lives in a drawer of my sewing table these days.  There are lots of needles buried inside of it and it does still hold mom's curved upholstery needle.  I can still picture her using that curved needle to sew big buttons onto cushions.  

Quilts of Valor

Our local Quilts of Valor group is fairly new and I'm finding it's more work than I thought trying to be organized.  That's OK because it is a good cause, but I just hope we can be successful.  So, as the unofficial leader, I need to get my act together.  We are still trying to make arrangements for our first presentations but there have been a couple of bumps in the road for that event.  

We have a Sew Day scheduled at The Pin Cushion's classroom on Friday Feb. 21.  There are enough of these star blocks to make one top, plus there are 8 more to begin another one.  I may try to "kit up" more of these blocks since I still have a lot of red and blue fabric to play with.  

We have 2 quilts ready to bind.  One of those will go to a gal who can't be at the Sew Day but volunteered to do one of them.  I'll bring the other to the Sew Day.   

And I've gone through the other blocks we have collected to date to see what we have.  There are only 8 of the Bento Box blocks so far.  More of these will be needed, so maybe some kits for these blocks could be cut and organized on our Sew Day. 

And we still have small collections of Garlic Knots blocks and Ritzy Cracker blocks.  There are enough of both for a good start on more quilts.  Maybe we'll need to come up with some sashings to extend a smaller number of blocks.  But we should have enough to do to keep a few people busy on our Sew Day.  

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Orange Ohio Star

It's not much progress, but I did find a couple of more orange fabrics in my stash after some deep digging.  The Ohio Star block brings the total of these to 13.  I think I'll need at least 20 for a good sized quilt - maybe 24.  I'll just keep plugging along on these.  There is no rush.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

February UFO Challenge

The number drawn for February for the UFO Challenge was #9 and this is what I have on my list for that number.  HMMMM - this will take some thinking.

The purple dresden plate quilt has been laying around for several years as a flimsy.  The dresden plate blocks were on my 2014 UFO list and again on my 2015 list.  Then in March of 2016 I finished the top.  There was no pattern; it was just a "design as you go" kind of project using up scraps.  

Maybe it's time to get this quilted and given away!  The top and backing were hanging together in my sewing room closet.  Now it's upstairs and I will do something with it.

The Simple Whatnots project Cotton Blossom was a Kim Diehl kit from her club #7 collection a couple of years ago.  Please note the photo below is from the Internet.  Mine has NOT been started yet.  It's only 24" square so the applique isn't very big. But I'll admit it scared me off.  Time to put on my big girl panties and work on this because I really like it.  

As for the "Pick a PIG" - that remains to be seen. Technically the Kim Diehl project is a PIG.  But it might be good to pick another PIG to work on that doesn't require as much cutting or applique - at least until this finger heals.  This gives me more than enough to keep me busy this month.  And if I don't finish something it can just continue on to the next month.  Baby steps!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Pillows and leftovers

I did manage to do the final hand stitching on the 16" Patriotic Pinwheels pillow during the Super Bowl on Sunday.  I'm very pleased with how these re-purposed scraps became a cheerful bright new pillow.  It was slow going, but as long as I don't bump that sliced finger on anything, I can sew and type and do most things I need.  

Now I still have a good sized pile of the triangles trimmings from the Quilt of Valor, even after using some in the pillow, and I just can't make myself throw them away. So what to do with them?

I used just a few to make the 4.5" pinwheels blocks that I used in the pillow.  But I realized that I could also use them for hourglass blocks.  These are 3.5" hourglass blocks.  And they will make good leader/ender parts as I work on other things.  I ran these through between sections of an orange Ohio Star block.  I will just keep making these and collect them until I have enough for something - a doll quilt or a pillow or a table topper.  There are lots more red, white, and blue scraps in the bins too.  

Monday, February 3, 2020

Design Wall Monday - playing with orange

On Friday evening I dug into the orange scraps to see what I had to work with for my February RSC projects.  And there wasn’t much to choose from.  But I did manage to make a couple of string blocks and a couple of the chandelier blocks.  

I really didn’t realize how seldom I use orange, until I looked for scraps.  Even the stash drawers didn’t have much, except for in my Halloween drawer.  I may have to buy a couple of fat quarters to make my other orange blocks.  And that kind of defeats the purpose of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Check out more design walls at:

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Essential tools in the sewing room

It was only a matter of time before needing these!  The Lori Holt band-aids came in one of the recent Sew Sampler monthly boxes, and I just dropped the box in a drawer of my sewing table.  Well, today I needed them.  

I "nicked" my left index finger with the rotary cutter.  OK, not really just a nick but I'm hoping it won't need any additional medical care. It was a dumb and careless accident - and I feel so frustrated that it happened on a day when I could have spent hours sewing.  What a mess!!  I left a blood trail all over but did manage to NOT bleed on any fabric which was miraculous.  There are 2 band-aids on very tight to stop the bleeding for now. 

I had quilted the pinwheel pillow top and sewn the back and flange binding on it.  Then I was working on a Quilt of Valor pillowcase for my cousin's QOV.  And there were enough scraps left to make a couple more star blocks and little pinwheels.  I was trimming the HSTs for that little red and white pinwheel when I cut myself.  Once I got the bleeding under control (and cleaned up the crime scene) I finished the pinwheel. But that finger throbs so much I gave up sewing for the day.  Maybe I'll get the little bit of hand stitching done on the pillow.  The pillowcase will get finished some other day.  And note to self - typing with one finger up in the air makes for lots of typos. 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

February goals

I've been giving these February goals a lot of thought over the past week or so.  What do I really WANT to accomplish - and why?  In some cases I just want to finish something to get it out of the way, but in other cases it's just that desire to be creative and make something pretty.  In January it appears that I focused more on just making something pretty since I made so many green blocks for RSC.  LOL

Some of these goals will be to continue working on things I started in January.  And some are very quick easy things to accomplish like #5 and #6.  And of course some are BOM types of things.  One step at a time will get the job done!
  1. bind La Caribe (Hunter's Star) quilt in the photo above
  2. Saturday Sampler blocks
  3. work on at least one Simple Whatnots project (cut out and maybe sew)
  4. Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks (orange for February)
  5. choose a backing for Batik Stars and take to quilter
  6. choose a backing for paper pieced Pineapples and get it quilted
  7. finish the patriotic pinwheel pillow (quilt and put together)
  8. get the Harvest Road small quilt top done (already on UFO and PHD lists)
  9. Pick a new PIG (project in grocery sack) to work on