Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Still organizing and still finding things

 One step at a time, but I'm slowly trying to get my fabric and tools under control.  It hasn't been easy, but it has been interesting - because I keep finding things that I didn't remember having.


Recently I made a bag using a Laurel Burch cat fabric that had been hiding in a drawer. Well, now I've found a dog fabric from Laurel Burch.  This fat quarter was in a shopping bag, in the bottom of a drawer - with other forgotten fabrics.  This little fat quarter went right into the basket with my bag kits because I think it needs to become a bag at some point.  I love her whimsical prints!

And what other forgotten fabrics were in that bag, you ask?  


This "collection" was in the bag.  Five fat quarters and some yardage - but no pattern!!  What did I plan to make with this?  I have no idea.  How long ago did I buy this?  Again, I have no idea.

The large floral on the bottom is an Eleanor Burns print and there are 2 yards.  The others appear to be Moda, and some of the selvages say "Sweet Romance".  There is only 1 yard of the next pink floral in the stack.  I definitely need some ideas of what to make with these and I'm open to suggestions.  Maybe I need to just find a new home for the whole collection.  

This is WHY I found this bag of forgotten fabric . . . I'm reorganizing this drawer unit to hold my batiks.  The fabrics above were in the second drawer along with some other odds and ends of fabric.  


Now that second drawer has been cleaned out and designated for yellow, gold, and brown batiks.  The third drawer down is going to hold reds and orange.  Currently there are a lot of pink in there too. But once I move the Kim Diehl scraps out of the top drawer, then pink and purple will go there, leaving the bottom drawer for blue and green.  Notice how that blue and green drawer will no longer close.  

Those Kim Diehl scraps will move into a different drawer unit but also needs some organization before that happens.  One drawer at a time, right?  

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

More Gingham progress

 Over the weekend I made a new green Gingham block for RSC since the March color was green, and the end of the month is near. Since I'm getting close to having enough blocks to finish the quilt top, I decided to see what colors would be good choices for those final additions.  There were already 2 dark green Gingham blocks and 2 lime green ones, so this one is made with some medium greens.  Here it is laying on top of the 2 bunches of previous blocks.


So, now what other colors would fit in?  I think I'm going to deviate from the colors chosen for RSC the next couple of months and just get this one finished.  Light and bright blue is the April color but I think there is enough blue already.  


I did make 2 more blocks on Sunday - one is aqua and the other is made with a variety of purples.  Those 2 colors fit in nicely as it needed some lighter blocks.  Now I am leaning toward making one more yellow, another red, and an orangy-coral block to finish this out.  This won't be the final layout, but it helped guide some last color ideas.  


I feel like I'm on a roll with trying to finish up some quilt tops that have been either UFOs, WIPs, or even PIGs.  They obviously won't all get quilted right away, but at least the block sets will have become something instead of just hanging in my sewing room closet clipped to skirt hangers.   

Monday, March 29, 2021

Design Wall Monday - March 29 - Roll On blocks

 What is on your design wall this morning?  I'm linking up - https://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

My design wall is full of Roll On blocks, ready for sewing into rows.  I may have to "live" with this layout for a couple of days while I redistribute colors for a better balance. 


I love this pattern and need to keep it in mind for more future quick projects.  The unfinished blocks are 7.5", so this one with 30 blocks is perfect for a child or crib size.  But it looks great in any size and any colors.  A group of friends and I made a large sized one for donation to a breast cancer raffle back in about 2009.  It was to support a teacher coworker of one of the group.  Several of us made these blocks in pinks, greys, and blacks and then we got together and sewed the top together as a team. 


There are 80 blocks in this one, plus a couple of borders.  See our quilt in progress, and get more of the story of the quilt - at this blog post - made the first month I was blogging.  Time sure flies!! The little boy in the post is a senior in college already!!

EDITED:  I also found a picture of another Roll On quilt I made.  This one was for another cancer fundraiser, made in 2011.  It had a more masculine look to it.  This may have to be a color combination I try again - reds, gold, and grey. 


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Quick Strippee with sheep

 Another UFO bites the dust!  This Quick Strippee baby quilt is all bound.  It will most likely be a donation quilt.  So cute!  And so easy!!


This is a free pattern from Mary Quilts.  Just scroll down the list on the right side for a WEALTH of instructions for quilts of all kinds.  Mary is a generous quilter who mostly makes donation quilts and shares her simple instructions with the quilting community.  This particular pattern is one I've made many times, and I have another one ready to bind.


Quick Strippees are ideal for showcasing a fun novelty print.  This sheep print has the most interesting shade of pink.  It made me think of those pink peppermint candies.  However - trying to find a pink fabric to blend with it - not so easy.  So I went with grey and black.  But it turned out cute.  

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Just a bit of sewing

 I didn't spend much time in my sewing room yesterday at all, but I did get some stitching done.  The most recent 4 Tulip Time (Blossom Time) blocks were sewn into a "quad" section.  This is number 13. 


In the afternoon, this blue binding . . .


. . . was attached to this Ohio Star UFO quilt, and the hand stitching has begun.


Other good things took place yesterday.  I had a hair appointment in the morning, and I'm another step closer to my dark brown hair being its natural white color.  Yikes - that is scary, and I hope it looks good on me.  But I've decided if I don't like it then I'll just go back to dying it brown again.

I made a quick stop at The Pin Cushion to look for a backing for Urban Cabin. Success was had, and the quilt top along with a rich golden brown wide backing are now waiting in line to be quilted.  A couple of fat quarters came home with me too, for some possible future Country Bunny blocks.

When I got home my son-in-law was at our house with grandson Jack.  He had an appointment in town with a client, so Jack rode along and played at our house while dad visited the client.  They had lunch with us and hung out a while before heading home in time to pick up Sophia at school.  

My coffee is ready, so it's time to go play in the sewing room while it rains more this morning.  Today my goal is finishing the Roll On blocks and getting the quilt top laid out and ready to sew into rows.  Next up is a green Gingham block for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and a little end of the month organizing that needs to be done again to be ready for some April goals.  Then there is binding to continue with while watching some NCAA basketball on TV later. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Spring decorating

 The big round coffee table in my living room has had a puzzle going on it continuously since last March. Not the same puzzle of course, but lots and lots of different ones in succession. There is a huge stack of puzzle boxes on a shelf in the basement storage area.  They helped keep me sane!!


The most recent puzzle was completed over the weekend, so it seemed like a perfect time to turn it back into a coffee table instead of a puzzle table.  A spring quilt and a little Easter d├ęcor looks better than the puzzle pieces.


My dining room table has one of my favorite Easter mini quilts on it.  This was a project at The Pin Cushion many years ago.  I do need to take the big snowflake quilt off the wall in the dining room and put up something more spring-like.  That will require corralling my tall husband to help.


The bunny applique is even fuzzy,  and the bow by his ears is 3-D.  


The Easter table runner that has the Ombre background and the black silhouette is hanging from the quilt rack in the living room this year.  That silhouette is repeated at both ends, and the simple black quilting lines radiate out from the large cross.  I made 3 of these and gave one to each of my girls too. 

There are a couple of things still hanging around in places like fireplace mantles (we have 2) that have a wintery vibe to them, and I'm promising myself to put those items away by the weekend.  It's time for spring around here!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Random stuff

 Yesterday was a strange day - grey, cold, and rainy.  And I woke up extra early, which is so unlike me.  After nearly 3 hours catching up with my online students, it was time to do something else besides sitting at the computer screen.  I felt very restless and couldn't seem to finish anything I started the rest of the day.  

For example, I sorted out 3 loads of laundry - but didn't do any of it after getting distracted in my sewing room when I took something downstairs to put away.  I made 8 more Roll On blocks before boredom set in.  Ten blocks left to make for the baby quilt.  

Boredom caused me to start day dreaming, and that made me remember that I had another UFO that needed binding.  So, I made binding for the Ohio Star quilt, but then didn't actually attach it to the quilt.  Maybe that will happen over the weekend.


Once that binding was prepped I set it aside and that's when I saw my Farmers' Wife Sampler book laying there.  The blocks for this week had been posted on Monday.  Another PIVOT, and I managed to get Broken Sugar Bowl and Calico Puzzle done.  


Still feeling restless - I worked on binding a baby quilt for a little while, but still have the final side to finish.  Decided to switch some decor items to look more like Spring - but only got one table runner switched out before I was distracted again sorting out the over abundance of runners I own.    

My mother would have asked if I "had ants in my pants" yesterday.  Today I'm trying to focus on getting that laundry done and putting away the mess I made around the house yesterday.  Taking a break to sit at my computer to blog, check Facebook, and read my favorite blogs - does that mean I'm distracted again?   Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Just a little stitching

 After a week with lots of time in my sewing room, this week has begun very slowly in terms of any stitching.  But that is OK.  The only sewing that happened at all yesterday was a little binding.  I'm about halfway around the third side of this baby quilt. The silver grey polka dot from the quilt front is also being used as the binding.  


What I did accomplish yesterday was long overdue but not very interesting - cleaning out the large, extra deep linen closet in our bathroom.  I pulled every single thing out of that closet, scrubbed, sorted, and then only put back the things that should be on those 5 shelves.  So . . . one closet done, and many more to go - but not today.  

Monday, March 22, 2021

Design Wall Monday - March 22

On my design wall this morning is another PIG project - Roll On.   


This one starts with 5" squares (charms) of a color and a background - 2 of each for a 7.5" finished block.  I had 2 matching charm packs of a 30s reproduction line called Darlene's Favorites.  I think they were a Daily Deal from Missouri Star that I was not able to resist.  


The charms are cut into wedges, sewn into 4 identical small sections which are then squared up, and finally those 4 sections are put into a block that has kind of a pinwheel look.  Most of these charm squares are colors that will be paired up with the white background, but there are a few that are very light colored prints.  I'm pairing those up with solid colors.  There will only be a few of those scattered in with the other blocks.  

My goal is to finish making the blocks this week.  I have about a third of the blocks sewn so far but they go pretty quickly.  Currently the plan is to donate this either as a top or a finished quilt, but that is to be determined as I finish the top.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

What is next?

Just yesterday I posted about NOT getting carried away with something new. And here I am planning something new already.

On Friday I picked up 2 quilts from the quilter, and have begun binding the first one.  Both of these are UFO projects that I'll happily check off the list.  And both are probably destined to be given away as gifts within the next couple of months.  Yay!

And I also finished the tops for 2 more neglected projects this week.  That means I have earned something new, right?  So, what's next?  I'm going to keep plugging along with the other items on my goal list - like blocks for RSC and some Simple Whatnot projects.  But I've also pulled out another PIG - a Project in a Grocery Sack.  


Actually this one is in a project box, not a sack.  It's called Roll On.  This is a pattern I've done before, but not for several years.  It's really easy and works great with charm squares and that is what I'm going to use. I bought a background for it about a month ago so it's ready to at least cut that background into the 5" squares to pair up with the colors.  

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Bunny friends

 It's green month for RSC, so how could I resist making a green friend for my lavender bunny?


Isn't he cute?  I just love the County Bunny block.  Check out the fun designs at The Pattern Basket for the bunny and lots more.  I treated myself to more than just the bunny pattern, but this is the only one of the patterns that I've played with yet.  


And while I was playing, a coral bunny was also born.  So now there are 3 bunnies.  I was actually thinking that I could use the 3 in a new bench pillow, but now I'm thinking that I should just keep making them in the RSC colors and make a quilt.  So now I need a pink one and a yellow one to catch up.  We'll see if that happens right away or not because I really need to finish up some other Works in Progress before getting too carried away with a something new. 


But they are such cute blocks that I'm sure I'll make more.  For now, I'm linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge page for more GREEN fun.  
https://superscrappy.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 19, 2021

Borders and backings


I went shopping on Wednesday and found a perfect charcoal grey for borders on Urban Cabin.  It is a batik that has a very geometric design and I really like how it turned out.  This is the 3rd quilt top that I've finished in March.  Two were UFOs (Ritzy Cracker & Urban Cabin), and one was a PIG (Jelly Belly Bars).  That will make 3 project boxes emptied out and ready for new project parts and pieces.
 

The other fabric I bought on Wednesday was a wide backing for Jelly Belly Bars.  The backing is a Tula Pink fabric, so it goes very nicely with all of the Tula Pink fabrics in the blocks.  It has a subtle greenish grid and then the black and white drawings. The skunk is adorable!


Jelly Belly Bars was such an easy pattern and I love how it turned out.  I have enough of the solid looking prints to use as a scrappy binding.  The quilt itself is about 55 x 60, so just a good kid sized cuddle up quilt.  I'm pretty sure I will make this pattern again, but will make sure I have a full jelly roll next time around.  


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Knowing better is doing better

 I'm feeling extremely happy that I had only made 2 blocks of Urban Cabin before putting it away.  I hadn't even cut any additional parts, which is lucky for me.  I was sewing along on Monday morning and feeling optimistic that I would get the whole top (except for borders) done before lunch.  And then I hit a brick wall . . .


See that corner I circled?  One of the 2 original blocks was almost 3/4 of an inch too short.  Yikes!!!  Sometimes we can "fudge" a bit, but this was pretty extreme and obviously needed to be fixed before I could finish the top of the quilt.  So, a lot of measuring of seams had to happen to see what options I had to fix this.  None of my seams were very accurate 1/4" so I decided I could start by restitching scant 1/4" seams in that dark section.  


That helped a lot, and I added the narrow background pieces back on with scants seams as well.  It was obvious as I worked that I didn't cut very accurately either.  I am much more careful with cutting now that I know better.  Those ruler lines need to be ON the fabric, not on the mat.  


The cutting problem became even more obvious when I measured that longer peach section.  It was more than a 1/2" too short?  What was I doing when I cut these however many years ago?  Luckily in the project box was the leftover piece of the peach that was about 6" long.  I sewed it one, and then trimmed the whole thing to the more accurate 9.5" needed.  And it actually fit with that little extra. Yay!!  Turned out the long section of the wide background was way too short too, so I just cut a new pieces and put the original ones in the neutral scraps bin.    


Now that block actually fits with the others.  For some reason the other original block was only 1/4" too short, and it was in a corner so I could fudge that one enough to make it work.  

I've been quilting almost 40 years, but find that I'm always learning new techniques.  But even more important is that I'm always improving my skills.  Cutting accurately, pressing carefully without stretching, and sewing accurate consistent seams - probably these are the most important skills that keep improving.  On this project I saw how poor cutting and sloppy seams made a huge impact on the size of my block.  Lesson re-learned!!!

And the Urban Cabin top is ready for borders.  I bought a beautiful charcoal grey print for those outer borders, and hopefully will finish this top yet this week.  

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Country Bunny block

 A second post today - but this one is quilty rather than snowy.

On January 1 of this year I began keeping track of quilt blocks made, as well as finished projects on a spreadsheet.  There is a tab for blocks, a tab for finishes, a tab for UFOs, etc.  And there is a paper copy in my sewing room that I write on as I make new blocks, and then I can update the spreadsheet itself about once a week. 

With the addition of this lavender bunny block, I've reached 201 blocks so far for 2021 - according to my spreadsheet.  I think my favorite thing is making individual blocks, but I was still surprised at how quickly they've added up in just a couple of months.  Most all of those blocks are parts of "sets" of blocks for on-going projects, and in a couple of cases there are now enough for a quilt top. 


Isn't this Country Bunny just the cutest block?  It is about 11 x 14, and was a pattern I purchased and downloaded as a PDF from https://www.thepatternbasket.com/  I saw this block on another blog recently, but can't remember where or even when exactly.  After downloading the pattern I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the instructions are written.  There are lots of pieces but the designer has made it a very easy pattern to follow.  

The lavender fabric was pulled from the big stack of fat quarters I won at the retreat a couple of weeks ago.  It seemed like a perfect Easter color.  And the cream background was all leftover from the Urban Cabin quilt blocks.  How I'll use this block is yet to be determined, but they would be really cute in a rainbow of colors wouldn't they?  I think this bunny needs friends.

Spring snow and family

 Well . . . I need to preface this by saying lots of folks got WAY more snow than we did, and for that I'm grateful.  But it rained all day Sunday before the snow started in the evening so there is plenty of ice underneath the snow to add to the mess.


We got about 6" of wet, heavy typical spring snow overnight on Sunday.  This kind of snow is so hard on the trees and the livestock, and the people trying to shovel it.  


The delicate birch tree outside my home office window was leaning at about a 45 degree angle and the top is broken.  That makes me so sad.  My husband went out and knocked a lot of the snow off and the tree did straighten up partially, but that top is not going to survive.  I just hope the rest of the tree is OK, but I'm not feeling very optimistic. 


I'm feeling very grateful that my husband was home so he could use the snowblower.  This photo is going across our driveway in front of the doors.  It took a long time to get down the driveway and through the wall of snow left by the city snowplow.  


We spent Sunday afternoon - before the storm arrived - 90 miles from home at a pool party for Sophia's 9th birthday.  They rented the indoor pool at a hunting lodge/event center in their little town.  It was just the 5 cousins plus Sophia's best friend from school who arrived right after I took this picture.  The kids had a blast swimming while the rain came down and the wind howled outside.  Pizza, chicken, and birthday cake filled up those bellies after a couple of hours of swimming.  

We left a little earlier than planned due to the impending weather change predicted, and got home at 7:00 PM just as it was getting dark.  The rain was beginning to "stick" to windshields as we got off the Interstate 3 miles from home, so our timing was perfect.  By 8 PM the ground was white, so we made a good decision to make that 90 mile drive a bit early.  

The highlight of the afternoon for me?  Both granddaughters running over and wrapping me in a hug when they walked in and saying "We missed you Grandma!!".   

Once we've both been vaccinated, then we'll feel more comfortable spending lots more time with them.  On a side note I have to say the schools in South Dakota have done a wonderful job of keeping kids and staff in school and healthy.  Most districts have some type of mask requirements (in spite of our governor), plus have spent lots of time and money to take other social distancing and sanitizing measures in buildings.  And very few schools have had to close completely due to Covid outbreaks.  Staff and students have quarantined as needed, but mostly have maintained in-person school.  High-five to those dedicated school staffs!!!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Design Wall Monday - March 15 Urban Cabin

My design wall (floor) this morning is covered with Urban Cabin, a long-term UFO that just finally saw the light of day last week after years of hiding away.  

All 25 blocks are laid out and the first border sections are also pieced.  My task today will be sewing some rows together, while it snows outside again.  I think I set this aside after the first 2 blocks because I didn't care for the colors.  But now that it has reached this stage it's definitely growing on me.  Plus I like the blocks so much that this pattern will definitely be a keeper.  


Right now it's only 53" x 61" , so adding another 6" on each side will make it a very nice size.  Once all of these pieces are sewn together, I'll most likely need to shop for the fabric for the final outer border which will be 6.5" wide.   I'm leaning toward a grey print, but that could change.  

I'm linking up to:

Design Wall Monday

https://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Monday Making
https://lovelaughquilt.blogspot.com

Oh Scrap!
https://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Urban Cabin progress

Urban Cabin is a UFO that has spent several years hidden in a box, with only 2 blocks made.  And today I'm please to say there are 20 of the 25 blocks made with the other 5 prepped and ready to sew.  Hopefully I can sew those tomorrow morning before heading to our granddaughter's birthday celebration - assuming the winter storm hasn't hit yet.  


I also have the 2.5" cream border cut that will go on 3 of the 4 sides.  The far left side doesn't get a cream border since all 5 blocks already have the background on the edge.  Then the final border will need a possible purchase, because there was nothing in that project box for a wide border.  And I haven't found anything appropriate in my stash for the border either.  However, I think there are enough jelly roll scraps to use for a scrappy binding.  

I've set a goal to finish this top by the end of next weekend.  That is reasonable, right? 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Picking another UFO and progress on a WIP

 I decided it was time to tackle another UFO to make some forward progress.  The APQ UFO Challenge this month drew #11, and one of my projects for that number is Urban Cabin.  


I have no idea what year I started this one, but there were only 2 completed blocks.  There was a jelly roll and all of the backing in the project box along with the pattern.  So it's not a project that should take very long to finish, but you know how that goes.  The one thing not in the box was fabric to use as a border, but I'm sure I can find something that works IF I ever finish the rest of the top. 


Fifteen of the blocks will be similar to this with the background on the bottom and left.  Ten more will be partly reversed, with the background on the top and left.  I have no clue if I have enough fabric to make that many blocks, so we'll see where we end up.  The jelly roll has a lot of browns, grey, black, and a sprinkling of rusty colors.  Not the colors I usually would choose, that is for sure.  Maybe that is why I lost interest, and put it away. 


Yesterday I laid out more of the strips to put into sets for more blocks.  And I read through the pattern to reacquaint myself with how it goes together.  I think this will be one my main focus for a few days, and see how much progress I can make.  

As for the WIP - that Work in Progress has been put on pause again.  Jelly Belly Bars was a project I started at the retreat a couple of weeks ago, but ran out of the fabric I was using to frame these blocks.  It was a jelly roll that turned out to be a HALF jelly roll of Tula Pink Pinkville prints.  


A very generous friend shared some leftover pieces of that fabric line that she had, and I've ordered half yard cuts of a couple Tula Pink colors that read almost solid and should blend with these perfectly.  Once those arrive I should have plenty to finish the blocks plus have enough for binding, which I had totally forgotten about. 


I made 7 additional blocks with Moneik's fabrics on Thursday, so now there are 25 total blocks out of the 31 needed to finish the top.  I offered to make a trade, so there is a little package of blue and yellow fabrics going into the mail today and headed west.  


These are really fast to sew as it is just a simple 2.5" frame around a 5 x 10" bar.  And using a jelly roll makes it extra fast.  Hence the name of the pattern - Jelly Belly Bars.