Monday, August 31, 2020

Design Wall Monday - August 31

What's on your design wall today? Mine is full of projects.  Check out a few more at:

Sunday sewing saw some progress on a few things and was so relaxing. I didn’t make a dent in the mess, but I sure enjoyed the sewing time.

Bringing Home the Tree (Lori Holt pattern) is a completed flimsy.  It's 37" wide and 24" high.  At this point I haven't decided for sure if it's going to be a pillow or a wall hanging. It would be cute as either.  Don't you love the green plaid border?  I was looking for a Christmas-y print, but the plaid really spoke to me at the shop. 

My scrappy Patriotic Pinwheels is done and paired up with a backing, ready to quilt.  This is 24" square and mad entirely from scraps left after making Quilts of Valor blocks.  The pinwheels were corners trimmed off of star blocks.  

And I finished the binding on the geranium table runner.  This is another of the 60 degree runners made from border prints that I've had in my stash.  I purchased this one as part of a kit in a shop in Iowa on the guild bus trip in 2019.  The quilting on this is a flower with lots of swirls - done in a variegated green thread on the front and a grey on the plain grey backing.  I love how it turned out.  

Now I still have those new border prints to turn into more runners.  I believe I'll need to give a few away as gifts because I've made quite a few table runners during the pandemic - and before.   

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Small projects

 I've had a miserable end to the week - between allergies knocking me down, and missing my buddy Sammy.  So I was glad that Friday I had a couple of binding projects to work on so I didn't leave the house and breathe the outside pollen-laden air.  

Maybe binding a black cat table runner was a good tribute to Sammy.  This was a border print that was purchased a couple of years ago and had been languishing in a drawer.  I absolutely LOVE the spider web quilting design.  I added an orange binding and it has a light grey plain backing.  

The square Halloween table topper was a UFO, but the black cats are similar to the other.  Those cat eyes glow in the dark.  The center square was shared with us by a member of the Sew Vintage group and it was too cute to cut up.  This is a simple square-in-a-square in another square, then finished with a border.  Everything was from my stash and I quilted it myself.  Check off another UFO from the long, long list.  

Saturday morning sewing demanded something simple after a restless night.  My husband even got up and went into another bedroom to sleep.  A couple of months ago I kitted up 3 Quick Strippee children's quilts: flamingos, sheep, and Scottie dogs.  The pattern is a freebie from Mary and I've made several.

The sheep were calling to me!!  This quilt is so, so simple because it's just cut into width of fabric strips.  The only thing that was even slightly tricky - my sheep fabric needed to be turned so no sheep were standing on their woolly little heads.  Since the strips were all cut and ready in my kit, this took me less than 90 minutes to sew the whole top.  

On a side note, the station wagon/Christmas tree block is done, but I want to find a border and backing fabric for this to become a pillow top.  I am picturing something that has a vintage feel with plenty of red and green.  But we'll see what I find.  I think I have just enough left of that background to put a very narrow strip on each end, so the car "floats" in the block.   

Friday, August 28, 2020

Some fun quilting

 I stopped to pick up 2 table runners and a quilt from the long arm quilter.  Both table runners had this grey backing, and both show off the quilting design beautifully on the back especially.  

This is the Halloween 60 degree runner and the quilting does show up nicely on the front too.  I have some orange for binding for this one.  I made a good decision by sending these to be quilted professionally because both runners look so much better with fun quilting designs than they would have looked with my simple attempts.  

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A very sad decision


I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life on Wednesday morning and call the veterinarian to make an appointment to euthanize my buddy Sammy.  Sadly I feel that we waited too long anyway, because he was obviously suffering.  He was about a week short of turning 19 years old.  Needless to say we will certainly miss the old guy!  He was pampered and loved these many years.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Two steps forward, one step back

My station wagon/Christmas tree block is on the home stretch.  I have one more wheel area and the very back of the car to piece yet.  It's surprising what an hour in my sewing room can allow me to do.

However - what I am not doing in these short bursts of sewing is clean up my work space.  I just keep pushing the leftovers to the side on my cutting surface.  Some of the bottom stuff is from mask making a month ago.  Then you can see some purple scraps peeking out from under the reds.  Shame on me!!


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Frustration-relief sewing

Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages.  This morning I'm appreciating the advantages, because I spent at least 90 minutes trying - unsuccessfully, mind you - to manipulate thousands of numbers in a spreadsheet AND THEN discovered that nothing had worked because the engineer had "locked and protected" that spreadsheet and then sent it to me to work on.  My frustration level was pretty high.  So - I sent it back to him and went down to my sewing room for some stress release.  Very handy to be able to walk from my office to my happy place in 1 minute.  

I had the background all cut for that Sew Vintage challenge project, and it didn't take long to cut the tree pieces.  The background has tiny colored squares sprinkled on white.  It's looking very cute with the tree fabrics, and should look great with the red car too.  This is an adorable Lori Holt pattern, and I'm excited about working on it.

I also finished that second purple Twinkle Star block for RSC20.  I used mostly the same bunch of scraps for both blocks, so they do look a lot alike.  Some of the other color blocks have lots of variety of scraps in them.  But I just used the purples that were already pulled out for the other RSC blocks. 

Now I'm back at my desk and waiting for the engineer to send me the spreadsheet back - unlocked, so I can do what he asked with the data.  So far he has responded once to say he didn't think it was locked, so I just directed him to the correct spot and pointed out the yellow padlock icons.  Maybe I'll just have to go back downstairs and work on that challenge project some more if he can't figure out how to unlock the data.  HEE HEE!!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Design Wall Monday - August 24

 August 24 - my mother would have been 96 today!  I can credit her with instilling a love of sewing into me - her only daughter.  Thanks Mom!

The "heat dome" has been hovering over us for several days now, and it came with humidity.  I never left the house on Sunday except to water my flower pots on the porch - in the shade.  We had planned to meet the younger daughter's family in Sioux Falls at the zoo in the morning, but I texted her last night and said I really felt it would be too hot for me, and for any animals to be out and active.  She texted right back and said "thank God, because I didn't want to either".  So, I suddenly had my Sunday to spend some time in my sewing room.

First task was to finish putting my big Saturday Sampler top together.  Done!!  But I'll save that post for another day.

Then I worked on some purple blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The second Twinkle Star block is still partially constructed and laying next to my machine.  But one Twinkle Star and one Rainbow String block were added to the collection.  

From those border prints I showed a couple of weeks ago, I now have 2 table runners sewn and ready to quilt.  These 60-degree runners only take about 15 minutes to sew once you have the parts cut.  

I added the binding onto that little Halloween table topper I "found", and will post that once I finish the hand stitching. 

And finally I pulled fabrics for a Sew Vintage group challenge project.  Cindy challenged us to pick any Lori Holt block, from any of the books we've worked with, and make something.  Anything - big or small.  The plan for this is to make a pillow, but you never know.  

What is on YOUR design wall this morning?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A little fun

 Sometimes a person just needs to treat themselves.  My treat on Saturday was double - some of our Simple Whatnots class met outside in a park picnic shelter.  And I bought a new quilting book. I love most any star block and this new Kim Diehl book has some very interesting star blocks.  I just couldn’t resist.

One of the fun things from our Simple Whatnots groups was seeing how our leader Gwen displays her small quilts.  She has done a whole “trunk show” at several guilds and even at the state fair. But we are lucky to have her sharing clever ideas each month at our class.  She had set up this little display for today using some doll furniture and other little treasures - with quilts tucked in for color.

Not everyone was able to attend, but it was sure good to see the gals who did make it.  We have a small group but it’s a fun group of ladies.  Gwen walked us through the pattern for this month’s small quilt project, and also showed us what next month’s quilt will look like.  We did Show n Tell, and chatted.  By the time we all headed home it had become hot and miserable outside and everyone was probably glad to go home to sew in air conditioned comfort.  

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Sewing therapy

I desperately needed some fabric therapy this morning - rather than focusing on work tasks for both of my part time jobs.  So I took the morning off.  The left half of my Saturday Sampler quilt is all put together.  Building a quilt in vertical columns instead of horizontal rows is kind of strange.  And notice how dark it is in my sewing room.  Thunder, lights blinking - and so rain so far. What strange weather.

Once that half quilt top was done I decided to work on something else before tackling the other half.  So that Halloween table topper I found a couple of weeks ago is now quilted.  Just simple rows of diagonal quilting 2" apart.  The backing is out of my stash.  But I didn't find anything for binding that looked good with those vintage oranges on the front, except for black.  And I don't want black binding on this because the outer border and backing are already black.  So I may need to take this to The Pin Cushion as see what I can find in a more vintage orange color.  

Now that I've had some sewing time today I feel like I can tackle online classes and invoices.

I'm teaching 3 online classes this semester and classes started officially yesterday for most of the region's school districts.  But not all of them.  A few will start next week, and most of my online students - so far - are from districts starting next week.  We always have additional enrollments come in during that first week of school, so we'll see how many I end up with.

And for my other part time job, I have been neglecting contractor invoices the past couple of weeks because our focus has been on putting together "closeout" packets for several projects that are done.  As I type this I see that I just got an email from a contractor with the final set of signatures needed.  So - I'll be very busy the rest of the day with that job.  My mantra is "hours worked = $$ for quilting".  Keeps me motivated some days.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Finally - some Saturday Sampler progress


Over my lunch break on Tuesday I managed to finish building the very last big block for the Saturday Sampler quilt.  The big blocks are 24”, and all the rest are 12”.  In the poor light you can’t see the subtle color contrast in the center of this block, but it is navy and dark green.  Or black and dark green - I can’t tell the difference for sure. 

This is going to be a large quilt if I add the borders on that the pattern calls for.  I haven’t really made a decision about those borders yet.  While I contemplate the borders, I have it laid out on the living room floor so I can take my time arranging the colors a bit.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Little frustrations

 Angry Emoji [Free Download iPhone Emojis in PNG] | Emoji Island

Why do people waste so much time posting comments to blogs like mine?  I have a limited readership, so it's not like 1,000s of people will see the comment and follow the links.   

For a couple of years now, every couple of months I would get a flood of comments on really old posts - most likely computer generated - supposedly selling weird "knock off" sunglasses, shoes, etc.  I never followed the links to see if that was really what they were selling.  Maybe the links would have installed malware on my computer to steal my data.  Who knows!!  But I would see the email notifications of the comments and just delete them.  I changed the settings on my blog so any comments on posts over a week old would need approval by me.  That seems to have mostly taken care of those.

Now lately I've been getting pornographic comments - with links to follow of course - showing up the same way.  And I see each week I get new followers through Bloglovin who have no real identity that I'm sure are not interested in quilting.  I'm so tired of people with bad intentions.  And it wastes my precious time!!  

OK - my rant is done!!  I need to finish prepping my online class materials today, as classes begin tomorrow with students (for Job #1).  Then I have 4 telecom project budgets and about 25 contractor invoices to process (Job #2) - before I can go sew.  

Monday, August 17, 2020

Design Wall Monday - August 17

I never saw my sewing room at all this weekend and that is OK because I had other fun, which I will explain later. But I was able to spend an hour in there this morning before work, and got a great start on the final block for Saturday Sampler.  This is a 24" block, with a border surrounding a 12" star block that looks kind of like a Carpenter's Star. 

All of the parts and pieces are cut and organized.  I've begun sewing those half square triangles making up the center star.  The contrast with the dark green and navy (I think) batiks is very subtle, but I've seen the block finished and am confident that it works just fine.  The benefit of working from home - I might get more sewing done over my lunch break.  

What is on your design wall this morning?

And this is the reason I didn't do any sewing this weekend.  GOLF!!  We had a gorgeous weekend - mid 80s, no wind howling across the prairie, and tolerable humidity levels.  So Saturday my husband and I played golf, and yesterday we met our older daughter's family at a small town golf course midway between our homes.  

The kids have all been taking golf lessons for a couple of years now, so everyone golfed 9 holes.  Then the guys played another quick 9 while Jerilyn and I hung out with the kids eating pizza on the clubhouse deck.  When the kids were little we could rent 2 carts and get the little ones tucked in with us. But now that they are all getting bigger and have clubs themselves, we had to do 3 carts.  Jonah told me as soon as he got out of the car, that he was riding with Grandpa because he figured Grandpa would let him drive the golf cart.  He was right - but all 3 got to drive on some holes.  

It is wonderful that we can feel reasonably safe, keep social distancing and still get out and do some fun things with the family.  We avoided them completely for a couple of months mostly because our daughter is a respiratory therapist in a big hospital, and worked with Covid patients daily.  But their staff has remained healthy this summer as proof that the steps their hospital took is keeping them safe at work.  And at home they are a family that prefers to hike, kayak, and golf rather than go out into crowded spaces.  With school starting for them in about 10 days however, that may all change.  In the meantime we got to enjoy some fun family time together. 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

A squirrel trying to get my attention

Lots of extra work hours lately have kept me from spending much time actually sewing, except in short bursts.  But as I'm tired in the evenings I do spend time online with my iPad getting inspiration from quilt blogs and pattern sites.  And as my regular readers know I have a weakness for border prints. 

Aren't these fun border prints?  The wine print may have a new life as another Sew Together bag, and all of them will make some cute 60 degree table runners.  I just can't resist a really interesting border print.  And these squirrels are trying lure me away from my desk to play.  Maybe over the weekend I'll take some time to cut into at least one of them.   

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Saturday Sampler progress

Saturday Sampler is one of my favorite activities at The Pin Cushion - partially because we make just a block or two at a time and often learn new techniques, and partially because we get to enjoy the social aspects.  We meet the second Saturday morning each month, but of course that all ended in March.  Now we just pick up our block patterns and basic fabrics each month, without getting to enjoy Show n Tell or chat with the other gals in the group.  I really miss that part.  

This Saturday Sampler included a mix of 12" blocks and 24" blocks.  We made 2 of the smaller blocks each month, and then made the bigger blocks every couple of months.  Most were pieced and a few had some applique.  These are the final 12" blocks.  The purple is actually a much brighter color but the light was very grey due to rain when I finished this early yesterday morning.  Now I just need to make the last 24" block, and make the remaining little flying geese blocks for the border.  I have 16 out of 120 of those done.  

The big and little blocks will go together in sections.  I only have one section done so far.  My fabric choice was batiks and my backgrounds are all different light batiks.  The other fabric choice was 30s reproduction fabrics, which I adore.  So I've been a bit remorseful that I didn't choose the 30s instead because I've been seeing how pretty those blocks are too.  Not that I couldn't have just made a second set of blocks from my 30s stash.  I certainly have plenty to choose from.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Farmers market and zoo

Early Saturday morning I headed east to spend the day with my older daughter and the kids, while her husband and mine played in a golf tournament.  Our plan was to go to the farmers market at Falls Park, and then to the zoo.   I really love flowers, even though I have very poor skills in growing them myself.  If we hadn't been headed to the zoo after the farmers market Saturday, I would have purchased a big bunch of flowers - and artisan bread, and oyster mushrooms, and maybe more goodies.  

Aren't these sunflowers spectacular?  The biggest vendor at the market was selling flowers and sweet corn. Crazy combination, but they were very busy because their flowers were really amazing. My daughter came specifically for that sweet corn, and the kids enjoyed cinnamon rolls at another booth. 

How about these gladiola?  Every color imaginable!  This flower always makes me think of my mom's flower garden because she grew a lot of gladiolas.  They are such an elegant flower. 

The kids were really intrigued by the different colors of carrots.  The sheer variety of produce was fun to explore.  We have a small farmers market here, but without this much variety.  

My purchase was pretty small - cinnamon rolls for the kids, and this little jar of Corn Cob Jelly.  I haven't had this since I was a kid.  An elderly lady who lived near my grandmother made things like this and Dandelion Wine that she shared with her friends and neighbors.  Crackers and homemade jelly was usually the snack she served with tea or the dandelion wine.  She even let me taste that wine from a tiny little aperitif glass at her kitchen table. 

It was cool and overcast yet as we arrived at the zoo so the animals were pretty active. We had a good time, especially at the bear exhibit watching the bears chasing each other around.  

With the Covid situation we haven't spent as much time with the kids and grandkids as usual.  I did worry a little about going to the farmers market and zoo, but was pleasantly surprised.  At the market masks were very prevalent.  All of the vendors wore them, and a good percentage of the shoppers. Plus people were very polite about keeping social distancing.  At the zoo we didn't see many masks (except for on zoo staff), but social distancing was pretty easy to maintain.  We didn't ride the train or eat at the snack bar, and we took advantage of the numerous hand sanitizer stations everywhere.   

Monday, August 10, 2020

Design Wall Monday - August 10, 2020

 Purple gingham blocks are all done.  I ended up using all the same scraps in both, except for the frames.  I auditioned a lot of purple pieces, but too many of the options would not have had enough contrast to look good.  As it is, the bottom one looks really good, and the top one has almost no contrast in that middle section.  
What's on your design wall today? 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Finally - All Roads Lead to the Middle is done

 Putting that last stitch into the binding of a quilt always feels so good.  It only took me 3 weeks to actually finish binding this one.  It was a PIG (project in grocery sack) that I pulled out of a drawer back in May, and I'm very pleased it never got a chance to be a UFO. 
This quilt was a pattern in a book called Precut Primer from Me & My Sister, and the colors are all part of a jelly roll called Mirage (RJR Fabrics).  The pattern name is actually 6th Grade, but it's my quilt and I've renamed it.  The background is a light silvery grey, and I used an orange - not from the same fabric line - for the binding.  It's about 78" square, so a decent size. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Ohio Stars collection

 There are 24 of the Ohio blocks so far.  The colors are much brighter than my photo, and I do like the mix of blocks that have the colors reversed.  There are only 6 of the reversed blocks, but they do look good mixed in with the others.  I know I want this quilt much bigger, so I'll just keep making them.
This is only 1 of several sets of Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks that I have going this year, and actually I started them last year for RSC.  Definitely, the Ohio Star is one of my favorite blocks.  When my sewing time is limited or my attention span is short, sewing a block or two provides just what I need. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Dipping my toes into purple


I stopped at The Pin Cushion to pick up my last Saturday Sampler block pattern the other day, and just had to browse.  A little retail therapy is always good, right?  One of the things that caught my eye and came home with me was a purple fat quarter.  

This month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color is purple so I guess it was on my mind. But this yummy batik is such a pretty color - more orchid rather than a deep saturated purple.  I had to have it.  And it made a gorgeous Ohio Star block to add to the collection.  It will also appear in at least one of the Gingham blocks for sure.  

Can't wait to lay all of these blocks out to see what they are looking like.  Maybe after work today I'll have a chance to do that. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

More lost and found

I was folding up a couple of fat quarters to put back into the FQ bin, and realized that this wasn't actually a fat quarter.  It's a 26" square table topper or pillow top that I obviously pieced at some point.  But when???  I looked back at the blog briefly, but realized it would take me a long time to go through posts to figure it out.
So, I have a "bonus project" for August.  It's a very simple square-in-a-square, with an outer border.  I love the cat fabric and am willing to bet those eyes glow in the dark.  And the center piece has a vintage look to it.  I think that came from someone in the Sew Vintage group perhaps.  I think I'll have to turn this into a table topper with some simple quilting.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Not much progress

Olivia's masks are made, along with a couple of her brothers' masks.  The bicycles and zebras are my favorites.  These are all reversible with something plainer on the backs. I had 15 of them cut out and started on Sunday.  I'll keep plugging away at these in the evenings after work, but I need them done so I can take them with me on Saturday when I go see the kids.  

New pieces of Velcro was put onto a Barbie dress for Olivia.  There is also her favorite furry critter backpack to repair.  The zipper came loose from the fake fur outside.   

And one corner of my Rail Fence quilt is sewn together, with the hope of sewing another diagonal row during my lunch break today.  

Today I really really want to sew, but I have some work deadlines taking priority this week just like the past 2 weeks.  It's "closeout" time for some projects, and after staring at a computer all day I haven't felt like sewing.  

Monday, August 3, 2020

Design Wall Monday - an old UFO

This Rail Fence quilt is an old, old UFO and I've been looking for it off and on this summer.  It's been on my UFO list for more than a couple of years.  I finally found it last week and this is what is on my design wall today.  I mentioned in a post last week that the blocks, the background, and even a sketch of my planned layout was all folded together and shoved onto a shelf.  And there it lay, totally forgotten except for being on my UFO list.  It is time to get this finished and out the door. 

My original sketch from many years ago had 4" sashing between each of the 20" rail fence blocks.  But as I've played with the layout, I like it much better without that sashing.  Here it is - before rearranging some of the blocks for color balance.  I do think that I'll add another dark brown border around the outside.  I have plenty of the brown left so I can make the outer border any size I choose. 

After lying around in neglect for years, this project could end up being an easy finish.  And I like how it will look, even though the colors are NOT my favorites.  So, this is my main UFO project goal for the month of August.  I want to see this become a finished top, ready to quilt. 

What is on your design wall today?

Saturday, August 1, 2020

August goals - more realistic, maybe

I seem to walk a wobbly line between crazy ambitious goals and goals that are more realistic. July was a bit ambitious because I wasn't working much at the beginning of the month and had plenty of time to sew. But then I worked a LOT of hours the second half of the month and had lots less time to sew.  Plus the mask making took over my sewing as well.

Here is my less crazy list of goals for the month of August:
  • Clean up my sewing room!!!
  • Finish binding quilt - All Roads Lead to the Middle
  • Finish the masks for the grandkids
  • Make final 3 Saturday Sampler blocks
  • sew the Saturday Sampler blocks into a flimsy
  • UFO focus - Big Rail Fence quilt - sew into a flimsy
  • finish applique on Potting Shed (Kim Diehl)
  • Make RSC blocks for month (color??? red?? yellow?? purple??)
    • Ohio Star
    • Gingham (2)
    • Twinkle Star (2)
    • Rainbow String
    • Diamond Tile