Friday, October 15, 2021

This n That

 Today is the day for setting up for the quilt show.  I've volunteered to help set up poles and hang quilts, and I'm hoping that my back will handle it.  I've been fighting a strained back all week since trying to move something heavy on Sunday.  

I've had limited sewing time this week but have made some decent progress on bags, which was really my only goal for the week.  But then my new issue of Love of Quilting magazine showed up in the mail.  And I just had to dig into my Christmas fabrics to play with a project from the magazine.

There was a table runner pattern in the magazine that uses this particular block, and I just couldn't resist making with it.  These blocks are paper pieced so the points come out perfectly.  I plan to make 2 of them - one using the red/aqua Christmas fabrics and the other using the red/green below.  It's sure fun to have a whole drawer full of Christmas fabrics to play with. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Bag planning

The front of Sophia's zebra bag is fixed and looks much better.  I have the back and lining pieces cut, and the handles made.  This was a kit I bought, but . . . the pattern called for the handles to be 42" long.  This is for a little girl who is 9.  She doesn't need this bag to drag on the ground when she carries it.  I'm not very tall either, but this bag hung about at my waist with the handles that long.  So, I made ONE handle at 42" and cut it in half.  

The pattern calls for fusible fleece to be fused to the lining and I'm really questioning the logic in that.  So, after chatting with a couple of people about it, I'm thinking I'll fuse it to the outside of the bag and do a few simple quilting lines on it for stabilization.  I don't want it too flimsy - or too bulky. 

And here is the "pattern" for granddaughter Olivia's music bag.  She wants a bag just large enough to carry her lesson books to piano lessons, so I'm making it up as I go.  I have a pretty splatter paint music print for the main parts of the bag, and a purple (her favorite color) for handles, plus a top and bottom band.  Those bands will hopefully help keep the music print a bit cleaner since it has a lot of white in it.  And I want to make some batik flying geese in the colors of the music print to run up the front of the bag.  Hot pink, lime green, purple, aqua - all of those colors are in the print.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Two finishes this week - a bag & a wall hanging

The navy blue Sew Together bag was a UFO most of 2021, but now it's checked off my list. Yay!!

This is #17 for this bag pattern.  Guess I really need to learn to make a different type of bag some day.  But I really do like making these little bags!

The other finish is the Bats & Boos wall hanging.  This was actually one of those squirrels that crossed my path and insisted that I drop everything and make it.  And I'm so glad that I did because this was a very fun project.  This one will go to the quilt show this weekend.  And then next Monday morning I will hang it from the quilt rail in the living room for the rest of October. 

I've often said that I'm a nerd who loves a spreadsheet.  Projects are so easy to track with a very simple spreadsheet.  I have a tab for my UFO Challenge list, a tab for random blocks made, and a tab for project finishes.  When I start working on a project I list it on that sheet, and then when it's finished it gets a date and category selected from a drop down menu I created.  That way I know how many of anything I've actually finished.  My finished total for 2021 wouldn't look very impressive without so many pillowcases added in.  

It's fun to see how many things actually did get completed this year.  And those items started but not finished show up highlighted in yellow until they are done, which is a good reminder to keep working on them.   

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Not all progress is forward

 The navy blue Sew Together bag is all done except for the handwork around the handles and zipper.  At some point this week I plan to have it all finished. 

The tote bags for my granddaughters have also been started.  The parts for the front of Sophia's bag were cut and sewn on Monday morning.  But I couldn't figure out why the borders on this panel section didn't fit.  I measured them twice, and even pieced the top and bottom to make it fit.

And then I looked at the pattern again.  Oops!!!  Two mistakes on my part due to not reading the instructions closely enough.  

Mistake #1 - I didn't trim to size after adding the the blue borders.  Mistake #2 - I put the narrow flowered sections on the sides (because they fit since I didn't trim the blue), and the wider border on the top and bottom.  I ended up piecing those because they were too short.  Duh!! GRRRR!  This was a careless mistake on my part!!

So, I do believe my seam ripper is coming out again.  And once I trim that blue, then the flowered pieces should fit IF I put them on correctly.   

Monday, October 11, 2021

Design Wall Monday - bag progress

There has been significant progress on this bag, which is another of the Sew Together bags.  This is #17 that I've made from this pattern.  I'm wishing however that I had sewn that license plate another inch higher.  But I had already quilted that front section when I realized it should have been higher.  

The handles and final zipper are remaining, so I'm feeling optimistic that I can finish it this week.  The hardest part is sewing that lining, with pockets and side sections onto the front as there are so many layers of fabric to sew through.  

But before I could sew those sections together I had to correct my big mistake.  I had one zippered pocket all sewn and even top stitched, when I realized that I had left out the pocket lining.  Oops!!  My seam ripper is always close at hand luckily. 

The lining, pockets, and side sections were finally successfully added.  Now, on to the next step.

What is on your design wall today? 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

What is the plan for the week?

 On Friday as I hung up lots of new blocks on the skirt hangers in neat collections, I had to look around my sewing room to see what was waiting for some attention.  Believe me, there are so many projects waiting for attention.  Too many!!  Some specific goals for this week need to focus on things stacked on the end of the ironing board and taking up space.

This bag was kitted up about a year ago, and has been neglected for too long.  I pulled it out this summer and quilted the front. Then I put it away.  A couple of months later it came out again and I sewed the end sections together. And then it was set aside again.  Well, it's time to finish it.  

Both granddaughters are getting tote bags for Christmas.  The music fabric will make Olivia a bag for her piano lesson books plus a pillowcase.  I'm not 100% sure about using that purple with the music fabric, but I'm thinking it will be good for the bag lining and maybe the handles.  The zebra fabric will become a tote bag for Sophia.  She loves animals, and this bag kit was something I bought while shopping with her mom last spring.  I should be able to finalize what size to make them, and cut the pieces this week.  Maybe a little sewing will happen on them too, depending on time. 

Friday this week will be completely taken up with the set up process for our guild Quilt Show.  The show itself is Saturday and Sunday.  It takes most of the day to set up poles and hang quilts, and then do a bit of decorating.  I plan to take only 6 or 7 projects to show this year, including this Halloween themed One Block Wonder.  It was finished in 2019 - but we can show anything we've made since the previous quilt show, which was 2018.  

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Neutral and lime green

 For October our color for RSC is lime green or neutral.  I love lime green and have a pretty good selection of it to choose from in the scrap bin.  But . . . this happened instead.

There was already a green bunny, so this Country Bunny isn't green; it's kind of a grey/brown color.  He looks a bit boring all by himself, but when he joins his friends he fits right in.  I deliberately chose colors that are less saturated than usual, so they all have a softer feel.  Not quite pastel but not bright either.

But I did play a little bit with lime green.  A couple of green Ohio Star blocks and a couple of green Twinkle Star blocks have joined the collections.  And 8 new tulips were made and sewn into 2 quad sections.  There is a touch of lime in those leaves and stems.  

I'm linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge today:

Friday, October 8, 2021

Y-seams & HSTs & Squares - - Oh My!

Y-seams are not my favorite thing!  Grrr!  Notice the blue pin near the top of this block?  It's holding that Y-seam in place until I can sew it by hand with a needle and thread.

This was Garden Path from the Farmers Wife Sampler book.  It's only 6.5" square, so all of the pieces are very very small.  Working on these blocks has been an excellent way to improve my accuracy and skills, but occasionally one of them gets the best of me. Happily all of those little HST are getting better and better. My points are even looking pretty good on this block. But that pesky Y-seam drove me nuts!  I almost took those blue strips off and pieced them with regular strips and then squared up.  But the pattern had them pieced like this and I want to stay as true to the pattern as possible.  The last one of those Y-seams will need to be stitched by hand.  Enough said on that topic!!

The other block for this week was Gentleman's Fancy.  It was easy - thank goodness! It started with that center square, and then cream triangles were added to all 4 sides.  And then a round of pink triangles, followed by bigger cream triangles, and finally the larger pink ones.  Square-in-a-square times 4.

And finally, I got the HSTs made for the Halloween pillow.  This 20" pillow front is ready to quilt, but I have no idea what I want that quilting to look like.  

Additionally - 5 new tulip blocks were also pieced, and 2 side of Bats and Boos wall hanging was bound.  Hopefully I'll finish that binding today.  

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Circa 16-21

Circa 2016-21 was begun in 2016, and finished in 2021.  This has been on my UFO list basically since 2017.  I kept up with the weekly block posts for several month - and then set it aside.  I maybe got tired of making teeny 3.5" blocks.   

It really wasn't difficult or very time consuming to finish it up this summer.  And I'm so tickled to have it done.  This one may get hung in my stairway where I can enjoy it daily, but first it's going to our guild's quilt show in 10 days.  

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Counted cross stitch

 Is it just my imagination or is counted cross stich making a big revival lately?

Over 40 years ago I did a LOT of counted cross stitch.  It all started when I was the project "engineer" on a job site in Iowa and we got rained out one day.  I wandered around the Main Street area of the small town we were working in, and ended up walking into a yarn shop.  They also had lots of kits for small counted cross stitch and I bought one to take back to my motel room for something to do.  The next week I went back and bought more.  It was such fun, and it gave me something to do in the evenings in my motel rooms because I traveled a lot for work at the time. That first project was this farm scene plus the 4 seasons pieces that went with it.  I had them framed.  

For years this was one of my favorite stitching hobbies. I even did counted cross stitch on the front of a cute little outfit I made for my first baby.  But then in my 30s I discovered quilting.  And my eye sight required bifocals.  So you can imagine that counted cross stitch mostly fell by the wayside.  I did a few Christmas ornaments and small things, but that was pretty much all. But now I'm really wanting to do a couple of projects.  I'm not giving up quilting however!!

While in the little stitchery shop on Monday afternoon I purchased 1 chart, ordered another, and bought a few supplies for the chart I ordered.  This Christmas tree made of thread spools may be the project I work on first.  I think I have just the right piece of Aida cloth waiting, and most of the floss colors.  

Note to self - don't forget about the half-done cross stitch project aging on top of the dresser in the guest bedroom.  This was a travel project for a few years, but I haven't been traveling since Covid, so there hasn’t been much progress lately.  That is my story and I'm sticking to it.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A change of scenery

 We all need an occasional change of scenery, even if it’s just for an afternoon and evening.  My husband had a meeting yesterday afternoon and was then going to stop in Sioux Falls to watch our 4th grade grandson play flag football at 6:30.  And I decided to ride along.

I took handwork along with to work on while he was in his meeting.  So from 2-4 in the afternoon I sat in his vehicle with the windows down, stitched and listened to the radio, and enjoyed a beautiful October day. I did take a little walk along the Main Street and stopped into an interesting little shop as well.  All-in-all it was a relaxing afternoon.  And a great evening watching flag football and getting hugs from from a couple of grandkids.

Hand quilting was finished and the binding is nearly done on the little guild challenge project.  

Monday, October 4, 2021

Design Wall Monday - small Halloween projects

 A couple of small Halloween projects are on my design wall. One of them was on my October goals list, and the other one should have been on that list.

Our guild quilt show is in 2 weeks, and I’ve been working on my entry for the Challenge project. We received a charm square (5”) of a Halloween fabric (black with grey and orange bats) that we must use in the project - and it has to be recognizable.  The project can be anything, as long as it isn’t larger than 100” circumference.  I’m working on using that piece in some appliqué, but I’ll have to wait until after the show to post a picture of the finished product.

The project that was on my list, was the Pillow of the Month that had a Halloween theme.  All of the appliqué pieces are fused onto the center, but I’ve only begun to do the blanket stitching on the edges.  Then there will be some half squares triangles framing this center section.  And I have no clue yet how I want to quilt this pillow front.  This series of 20” pillows come in kit form, so I can’t take any credit for the design or fabric choices.  This one is pretty cute. 

What is on your design wall today? 

I'm also linking up with Monday Making:

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Absence of color

OK, it’s not really an absence of color, but considering my love of bright colors it’s pretty close.  

This 32” square wall hanging is all black, grey, and several shades of beige/tan. It was a pattern and mini charm pack that I picked up on the shop hop I did a couple of weeks ago.  It’s basically a 36 block center - set on point - made with a mini charm pack.  Then it’s turned into a square-in-a-square using triangles.  And the whole thing is used as the center of a big churn dash. 

This was a 2 hour project including the cutting and sewing. The cream background and the black churn dash fabrics were in the stash. The black print has bees or maybe flies on it.  I'm not sure what kind of bug these are.  But is more cute than creepy.  And that little touch of yellowish beige picks up the "color" of that center block.    

Saturday, October 2, 2021

A last focus on orange

 The final week of September hasn't involved a whole lot of orange, but I had touches here and there.  And I'm ready to make the switch to the new color for October.

I made 8 individual Tulip Time blocks this month and sewed them into 2 "quad" sections of 4 tulips each.  And both sections had a bit of orange - by accident.  I have 32 of these sections made, and am currently aiming for 42.  

My final Summer Soiree block has a little orange.  All 12 blocks in this series have bright batiks and summery floral prints.  I think this will make a great cheerful donation quilt.  

While hanging up a quilt top with the backing I had just pieced, I realized that my sewing room closet holds a LOT of bright colored projects. There are currently 5 flimsies hanging here waiting to be quilted, and every one of them contains orange, along with other bright happy colors - thanks to this Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I also have 4 Quilt of Valor tops I've made the past few months that still need quilting too, but I have them with our other QOV projects.  

The left side of the closet holds WIPS - lots of block sets.  And most of these are also things that are part of the RSC and were free block patterns.  Just in this photo I see the summery set of 12 Summer Soiree blocks (Pat Sloan), some Diamond Tile (Bonnie Hunter pattern), Twinkle Star, Wisdom (Fat Quarter Shop), Tulip Time (Bonnie Hunter), more Wisdom, some string blocks, and hiding behind are some Churn Dash blocks.  This represents lots of fun sewing over several years.  

In the background of both photos, you can see the shelving units I put into both ends of this huge closet.  Those shelves have sure helped me organize supplies (left side) and projects (right side).  

Friday, October 1, 2021

October goals

A new month and a clean set of goals to play with!!  And my head has been spinning lately with ideas for new projects.  I couldn't possibly live long enough to make everything I want to make.

One main thing that I want to happen is to quilt and bind the Fish School quilt.  I searched high and low for a "fishy" print to use on the back of this one, and finally found this one called Aquarium - Under the Sea by Timeless Treasures.  It even has the same pale aqua in the background that is in the fish row of the quilt - and most of the bright colors from the strips show up too.  My plan is to quilt this one myself and I have a plan already.  Wish me luck!!!

What else is on my October list?  Lots of ongoing things and I'm sure a squirrel or 2 will cross my path before the end of the month. There is always some new sew-along online that tempts me, or some new project I see in a quilt shop.  And lately I've spent almost as much time dreaming up new projects as I have sewing the actual projects. 

And our guild quilt show is in the middle of October, so there will be more inspiration for new projects going on there I'm sure.  I just know I'll see something I want to make either from one of the trunk shows or from the vendors there.  But here is my very basic list to get started:

  • Monthly sew-along projects
    • choose fabric for NEW Saturday Sampler 
    • weekly Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks 
    • Pillow of the Month (Halloween pillow) 
    • Simple Whatnots - I've fallen behind in Club 10
  • Squirrels & PIGS & other new things
    • cut out the tote bags for Olivia (music) and Sophia (animals) for Christmas
    • Block drive (patriotic Jelly Belly Bar )
    • Pick a PIG - ???? 
  • Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC21) in Neutrals or Lime Green 
    • Home Is . . . - choose a final layout for the quilt
    • Bunny block  
    • Twinkle Star blocks
    • Ohio Star blocks  
    • Tulip Time blocks  
    • sew Wisdom block into rows
  • UFO and WIP projects - make some progress
    • APQ UFO Challenge #8 
    • make more pillowcases
    • more blocks for Checkered Stars  
    • navy blue Sew Together bag  
    • Fish School quilt - quilt and bind 
    • Quilt the little Lori Holt Bee Patriotic project  
  • Cleaning and Organizing my sewing space
    • clean off my cutting space
    • organize the patriotic fabrics

Thursday, September 30, 2021

September in review

September has been a very busy month, will lots of blocks made, and I definitely added to the "flimsy" numbers hanging in my closet.  But I did actually quilt one of those flimsies myself as well.  The Rainbow Friendship baby quilt is completely done.

Finished tops for this month included a Quilt of Valor made from the Summer Soiree blocks, the UFO project Circa 2016 (tons of tiny blocks), and a baby quilt using the Fish School row from an old Row By Row kit.  I have to admit it's kind of fun to look in the closet and see these tops hanging there.  The Circa 2016 quilt is in the hands of a quilter, so I'm anxiously waiting to see what she does with it.

Halloween Party is "kind of" a flimsy - and it's because I can't decide if I'm going to leave it as is or add some borders to make it bigger. I have enough of the background print to add at least one border, but I can't decide.  If I add a light border, then I feel like it will need a final darker border and that might involve making another purchase. 

Plenty of progress on block sets for other projects was made - Farmer's Wife Sampler (over half), Checkered Stars (not quite half), second set of Summer Soiree (all made), Tulip Time (8 more Tulips), and more.  I even managed to make and send 4 blocks to a charity block drive.  

I'm always happy when I see mostly blue notes in my goal list. And it's OK to keep moving those red notes into the new month.  

  • Monthly sew-along projects
    • choose fabric for NEW Saturday Sampler - delayed one month
    • weekly Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks - kept up and we're over halfway!!
    • weekly Summer Soiree blocks - all blocks made
    • Pillow of the Month - NO
    • Simple Whatnots  - NO 
  • Squirrels & PIGS & other new things
    • Block drive - patriotic Jelly Belly Bar - parts cut for a few blocks
    • Halloween blocks (new project) - it is now a flimsy
    • who knows what Squirrels may cross my path this month??
    • Pick a PIG - Queen's Garden runner - not started
  • Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC21) in ORANGE 
    • House block - - DONE
    • Bunny block - already had a coral one, so no orange needed
    • Twinkle Star blocks - made 1 in orange
    • Tulip Time blocks - 4 new Tulip blocks were made
    • sandwich & quilt - Scrappy bright Friendship block baby quilt - DONE
  • UFO and WIP projects - make some progress
    • APQ UFO Challenge #1 (Temecula Circa 2016) - in hands of quilter
    • Sew all of the Wisdom blocks into rows - NO Progress
    • make more pillowcases
      • 2 pillowcases for Quilts of Valor - NO
      • 3 Halloween pillowcases for grandkids - DONE & delivered + 2 extras
    • more blocks for Checkered Stars - 4 more blocks made
    • navy blue Sew Together bag - NO Progress
    • Fish School quilt - flimsy stage
    • Quilt the little Lori Holt Bee Patriotic project - NO Progress
  • Cleaning and Organizing my sewing space
    • clean off my cutting space
    • organize the patriotic fabrics

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Summer Soiree in summery colors

Yesterday wasn't much of a sewing day, but it was a fun day.   

One block to show - the final Summer Soiree block in the second set of blocks.  I made this set in bright batiks and summery florals. These blocks will hang in the closet for awhile because I have not decided how I want to put them together.  But there are 12 of them ready to become a new quilt.  

Mostly in the morning I did a bit of organizing again.  During the month I had made 4 new Tulip Time blocks, and I cut the sashing to sew them into a new "quad" section, plus kitted up another 4 of the little blocks.  And I've put away all of the Halloween fabrics that I had scattered around as I made the pillowcases for the grandkids and the Halloween quilt.  

And in the afternoon my husband and I played golf with some friends.  We all played the front 9 holes, but on the back 9 we ladies just rode in our cart and followed them.  It was hot and neither of us gals really wanted to play all 18.  But it was actually fun to just follow them in our golf cart, park in the shade, enjoy the breeze, and sip a cold beverage while watching the guys finish the round.  And there was almost a hole-in-one to witness, as one of the guys had a ball stop just 1 inch from the cup on #17.  That would have been exciting!

The trees are beginning to put on their fall colors.  We were kind of struck by the streak of gold leaves dusting the fairway on this hole.  It was like someone had spilled a big jar of golf glitter in just that spot.  I took this from the ladies tee box on #4. 

And today I get to present a Quilt of Valor to a veteran here in town.  More on that another day. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Home Is . . . final block

 The "mystery" block to finish off my house collection is complete. Although . . . it might need a little heart in that center.  Maybe. 

The Home Is sew-along from Pat Sloan included this Courthouse Steps block with a cat or a dog silhouette.  We no longer have our kitty, but his memory is still a big part of our lives as we had him for 19 years.  So it seemed perfect to include this block with the houses. In the steps, I used one strip of each color of house made over the course of the year.  

I love how these blocks play together.  My plan is still to use a Circle of Nine layout, but haven't decided on anything yet.  I need to find something colorful to use as the sashing or spacers and that might help me decide. Ironically when I layed them out on the kitchen floor for the photo I realized that just sewing them together like this would work too.  So . . . these blocks will hang in the closet and marinate a bit while a plan is developed.  

Monday, September 27, 2021

Design Wall Monday - another QOV

 Another flimsy is complete and ready for quilting.  This Quilt of Valor was made with the red/white/blue Summer Soiree blocks (Pat Sloan), plus a couple of simple borders.  Sampler quilts really make me happy.

The only thing purchased for this one was that navy outer border print. I had some of it already, but not enough for a border.  Everything else was in the stash.  Counts as another scrappy quilt right?

I have another set of these blocks to play with, but in summery bright fabrics. I haven't decided yet what I want to do with that set. 

What is on your design wall today? 

I'm also linking up with Monday Making:

Sunday, September 26, 2021

A good reminder

 Saturday morning I went to the funeral for a friend who will be missed by everyone who knew her.  Her brother-in-law was the pastor and he gave us all some good advice.

Life is too short.

Take the trip, eat the cupcake, read the book, laugh more, hug those you love every chance you get.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Orange is in the house

 The orange house block brings the total to 8, and I have a plan for something different for the 9th (final) block in this RSC project.  This block is "Home Is" from Pat Sloan.  My plan is to use one of the designs from the Circle of Nine book for these blocks, but I haven't made a final decision yet on which one to go with.  The center of the circle however will be the "mystery" 9th block. 

I chose all bright saturated colors for these blocks.  If you've followed me very long then you know bright colors are my happy place.  

I took all 8 blocks out to the deck and layed them out in the dappled sunlight.  I really love all these bright colors together.  That final block will NOT be a house, and it will have all 8 of these colors in it.  

I'm linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge today: