Friday, July 31, 2020

July in the rear view mirror

Summer always goes by way too fast, and July flashed by like always.  My July goals were very ambitious - but I did pretty well - considering!!  The first half of the month I hardly worked any hours at all meaning I had lots of sewing time, but the second half my work hours mushroomed dramatically.  I just keep reminding myself that working part time brings me money to spend on my hobbies. LOL

  • 2 Saturday Sampler blocks - DONE
    • begin sewing sections for Saturday Sampler quilt - didn't happen!
  • cut sashing for Patriotic Stars quilt -DONE & at quilter 
  • finish binding Oh My Stars (UFO) DONE
  • quilt at least 1 of the 60 degree runners I made in June DONE
  • make 1 of the Quick Strippee quilt tops (kits put together in June) - didn't happen!
  • make last 3 blocks for the Lori Holt sew-along - didn't happen!
  • Pick a PIG - Simple Whatnots project called Potting Shed - applique in progress
  • put together the bright Ritzy Cracker blocks into a child size quilt (forgotten UFO) 
    • - sewing blocks into pairs is in progress
  • Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks - bright blue
    • Ohio Star -  DONE
    • Diamond Tile - didn't happen!
    • Twinkle Star - didn't happen!
    • String block - didn't happen!
    • Gingham - DONE
    • teal/aqua Gingham block from previous month (1) DONE

And then there were things that didn't appear on my goal list that required sewing.  Like masks for my grandchildren to wear to school. And masks for a friend's kids. And masks for family.  Lots and lots of masks, and then more masks. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Jackrabbit blue


My latest Ohio Star is Jackrabbit blue - royal blue.  The brighter and darker blues for Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month are not very abundant in my stash.  I'm not sure why either, because it's one of my favorite colors.  Jackrabbit blue and gold - I have lots of shirts in my closet in those colors for when I go cheer on my alma mater teams.  And royal blue and orange were the school colors where I taught and my kids went to school.  

There are 23 of these blocks now in my collection.  Some have white stars, but most have a white background and colored stars.  I plan to mix them in the quilt when I've made enough.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Need some advise

I've had a request for one more mask made from this fish fabric - for an avid fisherman.  My remaining fabric strip is only 4" wide, so I would need to piece it.  I think I'll use more of a tan for piecing and put this subtle green stripe on the back so it will be reversible.

But my question is this - should I add the extra both above and below the fish?  Or just add one extra piece on the bottom?  Either way the seam will probably end up in a pleat.  Which would look better?

Monday, July 27, 2020

Design Wall Monday - July 27

How did it get to be the last week in July already?  Part of me wants time to slow down - and the other part of me wants to zip forward to summer 2021 and hoping that life has returned to normal by then.

What's on my Design Wall this morning?  Pieces and parts for masks are cluttering up my design wall, and my cutting station, and even the ironing board.  So my goal this week is to get those all made and in the mail to the various households.  

One of the things I've been searching for this month is a UFO that I wanted to focus on in August.  This is a Rail Fence, but the blocks are 20" square.  This is an OLD project that I maybe even started in the previous house, making it at least 14 years old.  There are 8 of them and I knew they were "somewhere" in my sewing room along with a dark brown that I had planned to use as sashing and borders.  But until last night, I hadn't found any of it. 

The whole project was folded together but not in a project box or bag.  It was sitting on the back of a shelf in my cutting station cabinet. And the really amazing thing is I had sketched a plan for this quilt, and that little piece of paper was also folded in with the blocks. 

So, this project will go onto my August goal list and it needs to be a priority before it gets any older. 

Check out a few more design walls today:

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Weekend sewing

Saturday was spent mostly making masks.  I made a set of 6 masks using this Minnesota Shop Hop fabric (I think) from a few years ago.  They will go in the mail this next week for some of my Minnesota family members and the ones visiting from Virginia.  What could be more Minnesota than mosquitoes?  I also made 10 masks for a friend and her kids.  And I cut out a dozen more for my grandkids.  I waited to see how the first ones fit before making any more, and it's good that I did because the first ones were too big for a couple of them.  

It's still really humid outside, and I don't feel well in the humidity, so I'll be staying indoors again today. I'm working on binding a quilt.  All Roads Lead to the Middle (formerly called 6th Grade which made no sense) has a familiar backing.  I've used this backing before on a Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt.  It's ideal for something multi-colored because . . . well, because it's multi-colored too.  I just think it's so cheerful and was very glad the shop still had this backing.  I'm using orange binding, not from the same fabric line but it is the right color orange.  I'll show off the finished quilt when it's all bound.

I can't wait for next weekend, because our guild plans to meet for the first time since March.  The plan is to meet in a park, bringing our own lawn chairs and lunch.  And bringing show n tell.  I'm guessing some of our members could fill a grain wagon with the quilts they've finished during this pandemic. Show n Tell should be amazing!! 

I actually missed both the February and March meetings because I was out of town, so I can't wait to see some of these gals again.  Sadly, we did lose one long-time member while in quarantine.  She passed from cancer, and will definitely be missed by the group as she always had something interesting to share.  

Friday, July 24, 2020

This n That

Very little time has been spent in my sewing room this week as I've worked a lot more hours than usual. But . . . a girl has to take a break sometime, and it was Crazy Days in town today.  There wasn't really anything I needed, except for some time petting fabric.  So my main stop was The Pin Cushion where I treated myself to a kit for a Quilt of Valor. I've been admiring - and coveting - this one since they hung it up as a display.  This will be fun to make.

And I returned home just in time to meet my mail delivery, and I had 2 packages.  One package was some football themed fabric I ordered for boys' masks. But the other was from Mari and came all the way from the state of Maryland.  We are both educators and quilters, and have discussed online that we've both been doing lots of puzzles during the pandemic.  Mari offered to send me a puzzle, and I think a trade is in order.  She also sent me a couple of cute pieces of fabric for more mask making.  Thank you Mari - and sometime next week I'll be sending a box in your direction.   

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Clever readers

I'm so grateful for the clever readers who suggest ideas.  Thank you Nancy!!

Grandson Jonah had requested PLAIN masks because he didn't want to look goofy.  He's only 7 but concerned about looking good.  Nancy suggested making the masks reversible - what a great idea!!!
So, I had a bunch of this grey concrete-looking fabric leftover from a quilt back.  It's about as plain as possible, right?

Now the plain concrete grey masks are reversible with spiders and fish.  Neither of these fabrics are childish prints, so hopefully these will fit the bill.  I'll do the same with the golf print, and I can make the rest of the girl masks reversible too.  The previous ones all had plain white inside, but there is no reason not to use grey, or tan, navy, pink, etc.  Duh!! Why didn't I think of this earlier?

I also did more research online and found that a more simple rectangle works with no extra side pieces.  I just left an opening on the bottom to turn it, sewed in the elastic while sewing around the outside the first time.  Then I turned the rectangles, and top-stitched all around.  Pressed in the pleats and then another line of top-stitching down each side to hold the pleats - VOILA!!  Much faster. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Mask fabrics

Just when I thought I had the fabrics figured out for the other kids' masks . . . 

Jonah (age 7) has decided he wants plain masks.  Now I'm trying to pull some choices together to send them photos.  I can definitely do plain, but I'm hoping he likes the spiders in the back because they are kind of fun.  The fishing and golf ones may be too "wild" for him.  The pink in the front I'll do for both girls.  And I have KC Chiefs fabric on order, so hopefully that family will want some of those.  

And notice the elastic - 100 yards.  I had ordered this online ages ago when elastic was not to be found around anywhere.  The first masks I made had strings to tie, so the elastic was totally forgotten.  I had recently purchased 10 yards locally for the kids' masks, and knew I could buy more as needed.  Now - look what appeared in yesterday!!  My lost and forgotten elastic order from April.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Design Wall Monday

I've decided it is dangerous to search too deeply for something, because most likely I'll find OTHER things needing attention.  This isn't necessarily going up on the Design Wall right now, but it does need to be back on my radar.

Found in a long forgotten project box - this collection of red, black, and white blocks plus the black yardage I was using as sashing.  There are 3 "Hearts & Stars" blocks from an old Buggy Barn pattern.  Added to those are some other somewhat random blocks, most of them Saturday Sampler blocks from many years ago. I sometimes would make a test block and used red, black, and white scraps for the test. They ended up in the box together. There are also some odd sized units mixed in there.  It will make an interesting quilt - eventually.

So . . . what is REALLY on my Design Wall this morning?  Binding is going onto All Roads Lead to the Middle, formerly called "6th Grade".  It needs to be trimmed and then the hand stitching will begin.  It's a bit hot right now to spend much time with a quilt in my lap, so we'll see if it gets done.

And I have about half of my bright Ritzy Cracker blocks sewn into pairs.  There are 30 blocks in this layout which would finish at about 35 x 42.  That would make a baby quilt, or I could just keep going and use them all in one bigger quilt which is probably what I'll do.  There are lots of kid prints in here and most are bright so it will be most likely a donation quilt for a child.  

Check out more Design Walls today at:

Saturday, July 18, 2020

A "no-sewing" Saturday

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for July is blue, but the only blue thing I've sewn this week is a mask for my granddaughter Sophia - navy blue with hot pink and teal unicorns.  And my sewing time is probably done for the weekend as I have grandkids here to spend time with.

It's a good thing that is the only one I had made for her, because she informed me that she was getting too old for some of the fabrics I had chosen. No monkeys or pigs. No flowers.  LOL  So I pulled a whole bunch of options from my fat quarter bin and stash, and let her select what she wanted.  I have 4 masks made for her with a couple more cut out.  Black with bright stars, black and white zebras, lavender, and I found a swirly pink and black print she liked.  I need to make a couple more for little brother Jack as well.  And I made a new one for her mom and her other grandma - zebras and gardening.  

I mailed a couple of masks to my other daughter so she could see if they fit her 3 kiddos before I do any sewing.  Then I better let them pick some fabrics too.  At least if they like the fabrics maybe they will actually wear them when needed.

Check out the Rainbow Scrap Challenge today:

Friday, July 17, 2020

It's Friday already!

Early spring at the Corn Palace - photo "borrowed" from their Facebook page.

I'm not sure where my week has gone and I'm not really ready for a hot steamy weekend.  I stole the photo above from our local tourist attraction's Facebook page.  We only live a few blocks from the Corn Palace.  It is an interesting place - technically a city auditorium hosting concerts, sports, graduations, etc.  But it's also a celebration of agriculture.  And the murals outside and inside are made using locally grown corn and grasses.  And it sees 10s of thousands of visitors each year.

Yesterday afternoon I was stopped at the pedestrian crosswalk in front and noticed nearly every person out on the sidewalk or sitting in the plaza, or visiting the little shops across the way - was wearing a mask.  Nearly everyone!!  I was amazed and pleased to see that.  Wish I had thought to take some pictures. 

But there was this one kid - looked about 12 and he was wearing bright green, full length, FUZZY footie pajamas!!! It was 90 degrees outside but he strutted down the sidewalk looking happy.  There must be story there.  

Not sure I'll have time to post this weekend as I have 2 grandkids arriving this afternoon to stay for the weekend.  Their parents and other grandma will be working on her house in another town, getting it ready to sell.  So we are keeping the kids out of their hair.  And this morning I need to get a few more adult masks made - and prep some kid ones to finish.  I need to make sure the one I made for Sophia actually fits before finishing any more for her. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

This 'n That

In between work hours this week, I'm back to making masks. Most schools are going to require them so I'm making masks for my 5 elementary school grandchildren and for a friend's high school age kids.  I had been just making the ones with ties, but with younger kids, like Jack in preschool, those ties will be difficult.  So I got some elastic and will convert those to having the elastic loops instead of the ties.  Not a huge problem.  Picking out fabrics for the little kids has been fun especially the little girls.  These tie masks will get loops of elastic replacing the ties, but I want to do some "fitting" on 2 grandkids this weekend. 

I decided to finally try the flatter shaped masks too, and discovered that size really matters more with those.  The brown one in the back used one pattern identified for men.  It's too big for my husband's face but might fit one of my sons-in-law who is a bigger guy.  The black one with stars is too small for him but fits me.  It's a different pattern but tweaked a bit to add some width.  The blue one might fit a middle school kid.  And I put elastic on a brown pleated mask too.  That one does fit my husband.  He has decided he might actually have to start wearing his occasionally.  

I can't speak for anyone but me - but I prefer the fit of the pleated masks because I feel like it allows a bit more air flow.  The others fit so close that they make me feel somewhat claustrophobic.  But I'm sure I would get used to it.  Anyone comparing opening Walmart to opening schools has obviously never been in a high school hallway between classes!  I'll admit I'm kind of relieved that the classes I'm still teaching were already 100% online.  Going back to school is so critical, but yet very scary.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

One runner is done

The first one of the 60 degree runners done.  I quilted it myself with a mix of straight lines and serpentine stitching.  After worrying about using plain muslin backing I ending up choosing a fun backing instead.  It's almost psychedelic!!  

I did pick up some plain grey backing for the other 2 runners, but haven't decided yet if I'm going to try to quilt them myself, or have them done by someone with more skill.  I think spider webs would be a great design on that Halloween runner. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Design Wall Monday

I always hope the designer will forgive me when I "re-design" a pattern.  That is where I'm at with my latest PIG (project in grocery bag) project.  I've been taking part in Kim Diehl's Simple Whatnots clubs for a few years. Mostly I love her designs, but every once in a while there is one that I decide not to do.  Potting Shed is from Club 8 and I just had to makes some changes for my own version.

This particular pattern had elements that I really liked, along with some I didn't. So I set it aside until I could decide what I want it to look like.  I love the big appliqued flowers and leaves, but just feel it's too cluttered with all of those baskets in the original design.  I finally decided to do only the one big basket in the lower left, and then add all of the applique.  Except for the star, which seems out of place completely.    

 The center is surrounded by a 4" piano key border, and hourglass blocks in the corners.  I'm planning to add those elements to whatever my center ends up being.  But first I need to get that applique done.

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

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Quilts of Valor

First of all, the borders are now attached to the QOV that I was working on for one of my own family members.  I absolutely adore!! this layout.  I mentioned before that it's a Pat Sloan pattern called Winter Fun.  It's about 52" by 67", so a nice size. I really love those red/white bars in between the navy blue.  I'm thinking that our QOV group might need to use this layout at some point too, and it only uses 9 blocks. 

And second - or maybe it should have been first - our Prairie Winds Quilters finally got one of our Quilts of Valor presented to a veteran.  I borrowed (stole) this photo from the local newspaper website.  The quilt was presented at a very small town July 4th celebration which was also the 75th anniversary of that Legion group's beginning.  I've pasted the link to the whole story below.  Louise (one of our QOV members) went and presented the quilt, all while wearing a mask most of the day. 

I was very disappointed that this story has ONLY appeared in the online addition of the paper. The print copies only come out on Wednesday and Saturday since this whole Covid thing, so I understand the limitations.  But it's so important to recognize these veterans.  We're hoping to see if it appears in the Saturday edition which has more pages.  The young man wrote a very nice story.  Hopefully we'll be able to present some of the other quilts soon as well.  

And last, but not least, I picked up the Quilt of Valor top that Louise had just put together using blocks from our block drive.  We now have 2 tops ready to quilt made from these star blocks.  These are the exact same blocks as my own QOV at the top of this post, but put together with no sashing.  Our group had a sew day back in February and put together the first one.  Then Louise took the blocks for this one home with her when she came to pick up the certificate for the presentation, and finished this top. 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Gingham ideas

Another goal for July was getting the second teal/aqua Gingham block made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Somehow I only made 1 block for that month.  Maybe that was March - when the world kind of blew up in our faces.  This was an easy goal once I actually found some appropriate scraps in the bin.  Now that there are 14 of these blocks (10" square), I started to think about how to lay them out and nothing I came up with made me happy. 

I see too much white next to white when just laying them out next to each other.  And even if I stagger them, there will still be white sections touching white sections.  That definitely didn't look good to me.

Thursday morning I visited a quilting friend for coffee on her porch and I took the blocks with me to get her opinion.  Louise has been quilting much longer than me, and has a wonderful eye for color and design, so I knew she would have some ideas.  And I was right!!!  Louise suggested I frame each block.  So when I got home I added 1.5" frames to 2 of the blocks, and VOILA - it solves that problem of too much white space.  Now to get the other 12 blocks framed out. And the bonus is that now these blocks are 12" square instead the odd 10".   I love how the quilting community comes up with such good feedback when asked for help.  


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Oh My Stars - finished

Oh My Stars is a free Pat Sloan pattern that went viral online a year or so ago, and I finally got my version made.  I absolutely LOVE it.  The pattern is based upon 2 charm packs along with the star fabric of choice.  I added the wide border because I wanted it bigger and it makes the squares and stars float on a snowbank.  Note: My blue charms have a snowman theme. 

I have to thank my readers for all of the great suggestions for colors to make my stars pop - a huge improvement from my original plan of dark blue stars - so boring.  The stars needed to be more special and this dark gold was perfect to fit in with the dusty blues.  I would never have thought of using the gold on my own, but I'm sure glad Nancy suggested it. 

My binding is gold as well.  And the quilting that Bonnie did is exquisite with snowflakes and swirls!!  She used a dark gold thread so it is really showcased on the front, but also looks fabulous on the navy blue back.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Patriotic Stars - ready for final border

One of the goals I had set for July was to cut all the sashing pieces for a Quilt of Valor.  Well, the sashing is cut . . . and the top is all assembled except for the final outer border.  I had the morning off yesterday and no interruptions, so I just kept working on this.  

The layout - which I am loving - is a pattern by Pat Sloan for her Winter Fun quilt-along.  It was fast to cut and simple to put together.  I'm guessing I'll use this layout again.

Late afternoon I also went shopping (wearing my mask) and found a red print for the outer border of this quilt.  Maybe I'll get that border cut and sewn on tomorrow after work because I'm excited to have this top done and ready to quilt.  I also picked up some sale priced fabric for the backing of another quilt, and bought backing for all 3 of the 60 degree runners so I can get them quilted.  All in all, it was a productive day.  Even the geriatric cat approved.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Ambitious July goals

My work hours are down right now so I'm hoping to take advantage of the extra time to sew.  That causes my brain to go crazy thinking of all the projects I could start . . . or finish.  Last month I focused on kitting up several projects, but I still have more cutting I want to get done.

I made a set of these Patriotic Star blocks for myself when our Quilt of Valor group began making them for our group quilts.  I finally found a pretty navy blue to use for the sashing, so that is one of my July goals - getting all the sashing pieces cut.  I plan to use a layout with an unusual sashing pattern by Pat Sloan for her Winter Fun quilt-along.  The navy will be the main sections but I also have a red for accent, and some small pops of white like the stars.

The plan for this Quilt of Valor is for another of my cousins who made a career of the Navy.  I want to have it done by early November because he often comes back "home" to Minnesota for deer hunting with his brother.  I could go visit in Minnesota and deliver it if that happens.  Gotta have a plan, right?

My July goals are ambitious - but I have a good start on them!!
  • 2 Saturday Sampler blocks - DONE
    • begin sewing sections for Saturday Sampler quilt
  • cut sashing for Patriotic Stars quilt
  • finish binding Oh My Stars (UFO)
  • quilt at least 1 of the 60 degree runners I made in June
  • make 1 of the Quick Strippee quilt tops (kits put together in June)
  • make last 3 blocks for the Lori Holt sew-along
  • Pick a PIG - a Simple Whatnots project called Potting Shed
    • I've changed this pattern to make it look different from the original
  • put together the bright Ritzy Cracker blocks into a child size quilt (forgotten UFO) 
  • Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks - bright blue 
    • Diamond Tile
    • String blocks
    • Gingham - DONE
    • teal or aqua Gingham block (1)

Monday, July 6, 2020

Design Wall Monday

What is on your design wall today?  My design wall today is full of random blocks for various projects.  I've linked up to:

I'm late posting this because we had an electrician here this morning replacing some things and the power was off. That meant, no wireless network, no Internet connection, no lights - you get the picture.  But everything is back on now, so here goes . . .

These top 2 blocks are the July blocks for Saturday Sampler.  We are nearly done, so I am planning to look over the final layout and maybe put some of the sections together.  

Another block for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is now done.  It's a reverse block and the color is kind of peachy.  The color for July is actually bright blue, but I already have bright blue Ohio Star blocks, so I decided to just add in a reverse star or two this month in whatever color I want.

I do make 2 bright blue blocks in the Gingham pattern this morning.  I have 13 of these so far - with a second teal (or aqua) block still missing.  These gingham blocks are so fun and I may need to lay them all out to see how they will look together. There really isn't a solid plan yet for them. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

New 60 degree runners

I had cut the pieces for 3 new 60 degree runners, which are one of my favorite quick projects.  And I have a real weakness for border prints.  I can't resist when I see a fun border print.  

Today I sewed them up while waiting for the electricians and AC installers to arrive - while I still have electricity.  Two of the 3 of these are PIGS because the fabrics were in a bag in a drawer waiting.  The patriotic one is totally new - of fabric I bought yesterday.  As I said, I just can't resist a great border print. 

The geranium runner is my favorite of the 3 because the fabric is just gorgeous. I bought it last summer on the guild bus trip.  My friend Sylvia picked me up at the Amana Colonies and we made a side trip to Kalona Iowa.  This kits was wrapped up so cute.  There is a geranium print intended for the backing but it's too pretty to hide on a back.  And look at the tiny watering cans on the selvage!   

Each of these runners are about the same length, but the width really depended upon the width of the border print itself.  This one is about 24" wide.  

The patriotic print is the one I just bought yesterday, and it's the reason I just had to sew these all up today.  Seeing that print at The Pin Cushion just put me in the mood to make the 60 degree runners right away.  

And finally, the other PIG runner - Scaredy Cats.  Both the patriotic and cat runner are only about 21" wide.  And I had a grey spider web backing and orange binding folded up with this, but I think I'll save that spider web - again why hide a cute print on the back of something where it will never be seen.  So I believe all 3 of these runners will get a plain backing of some kind, like muslin maybe. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Simple Whatnots - Breezy is done

My kitchen table looks very good today, with Breezy occupying the middle.  It won't stay this way for long however . . . because it just never does.  But I'm enjoying this for now. 

Breezy (by Kim Diehl) is only 18" square.  I quilted it with a greenish-tan thread that is almost the same color as the aqua/green shirting print in the borders.  A simple serpentine stitch on the diagonal, both directions.  That stitch is very forgiving for someone like me who tends to have trouble with straight line quilting.  The back is pieced from leftovers of another project; it's just a simple beige swirly tone-on-tone.  I can't take credit for any of the fabric choices as I used exactly what her pattern called for.