Friday, April 30, 2021

Focus on finishes

 My focus this year has been on finishing what I start.  April has been very productive and I'm hoping that continues in May.  The APQ 2021 UFO Challenge announced the number drawn for the month of May, and it's #9.  I have 3 items listed for #9, but the most important one is my batik Saturday Sampler quilt from 2019-2020.  Here is a glimpse of that quilt top which is hanging in the closet, just waiting.  

It's a large quilt already, and all it needs are the final borders.  The pattern calls for 100+ tiny flying geese in one of the borders.  I keep flipping from wanting to make those and not wanting to make those.  My major goal for May is to make a decision on those borders and get it done.

Rectangles will be a flimsy by the end of the weekend, as the rows are sewn together already.  I just need to join the rows together and give it a good pressing.  

What else will I focus on in May?  Well, there were still 3 pillowcases pinned and ready to sew.  Jack's Spiderman pillowcase is now done and ready for his birthday in a month.  There are still 2 more frog pillowcases, and 1 more road pillowcase pinned and waiting to be sewn.  

The Kim Diehl Laundry Line project is going to stay near the top of my project list as well.  Three of the 9 blocks are done, and I've begun 2 more.  That project keeps stalling out as I've had some issues keeping those blocks laying flat which has frustrated me.  But I WILL conquer it.  

The "Pick a PIG" for this month is kitted up and ready to be a finished quilt top.  Four of the blocks are actually sewn as I wanted to test out this pattern that I haven't made before.  It's called Brick Street, from the book Fast and Fun 3-Yard Quilts.  These pinks look so blah in my picture but are actually much prettier in person.  This should be a quick top to make, and one I'll probably do again. 

I'm sure there will be plenty of other things distracting me this month too, but I want forward progress on all of these, even if they aren't all completely finished.   

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Not really a UFO

I posted over the weekend about these blocks and fabric that I found in the stash.  I thought at the time that it was a UFO, but while moving some old photos from one computer to another this week, I discovered this is actually the leftovers from a baby quilt I made in 2011.  Now I don't feel so bad about this little discovery. 

I looked through my blog but evidently didn't post about who I might have given this to. I found this photo of the top and one closeup of the quilting on the back.  But no photo of the finished quilt front after quilting and binding was in my files.  Hmmm . . . wonder why that happened.

The original quilt has just under 50 of the layer cake quarters, with white sashing on 2 sides.  I haven't counted the remaining layer cake squares yet or measured the yardage.  But if there is enough of everything to repeat this pattern I think I'll just remove the existing white sashing on those leftover blocks and replace it with something of a better quality.  It is kind of thin, and it's unlikely that I would find the exact same white fabric anyway. 

This would be another great scrap challenge block as it would just use 5" squares and 2.5" sashing on 2 sides of the block.   Or the squares could be larger and I think it would still work well.  It's the same block but a different layout that our guild used for some baby quilts we made last year. Very versatile.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

This n That

 My brain seems to be on overdrive lately - planning, scheming, and dreaming. That's a good thing, I think, except for maybe getting distracted with new ideas.  Squirrels are everywhere!!!

Saturday morning we got up early and drove to Canton SD to watch 2 of the grandkids play soccer.  It was cold but sunny and the kids had fun.  After soccer, we had lunch with them, and then my daughter and I took a little detour without the guys or the kids.  Our first stop was Our Timeless Day - a quilt shop.  They had given me a gift certificate for my birthday and it was time to spend it.  

Canton's downtown area has some very interesting old architecture, including a quilt retreat building that looks like a castle.  The quilt shop is just one of many neat old buildings.  Notice the antique sewing machine being used as a door stop?  And how about the gorgeous detail on that inside doorway?  We really enjoyed shopping there!

Sunday was cold and windy, and I spent a good share of the day sewing. I got all of the blocks made for Rectangles, made with brights and black.  The next step on this one is to sew the rows together.  

Monday was much warmer and finally NOT windy.  I spent the morning working - walking that cemetery again with my maps and clipboard.  I was able to verify all of the grave locations and added some missing info from my first pass through there.  I was able to hand over all of the data and maps to the drafting guys this morning so they can put together that directory for the client.  

Tuesday morning I woke up really early, which is highly unusual for me.  I'm not generally a morning person.  But the benefit of being up early was quiet time to sew before sitting down at my computer for work tasks I needed to finish.  

I finished the last couple of Wisdom blocks for a charity project.   These 12 blocks will be in the mail today.  The host of this block drive asked for this block done with light backgrounds and bright primary colors for children's quilts.  I used a lot of scraps from my stash for these.  Ironically the colors are much brighter in person than in these photos.

Two pillowcases from the 6 I had kitted up have now been completed.  There was enough fabric for 3 of those frog ones.  The other 2 are pinned and ready to sew.  There was enough fabric for 2 of the road pillowcases, plus just enough for the cuff of another.  

One of the 2 Farmers Wife Sampler blocks for this week is completed.  This one is Whirlpool, number #102 in the book.  Seeing the photo now, I see it needs to be pressed better.  

And now for the squirrels . . . which are a product of lots of quiet windshield time on Monday.  My brain was busy dreaming up new projects while I was driving.  

After finishing that Jelly Belly Bars quilt recently I realized that the pattern would make a lovely Quilt of Valor too.  So I made a couple of sample blocks on Tuesday morning.  It might even be a future block drive for our QOV group to make as they are quick and easy.

And while the patriotic fabrics were on my mind . . . here is another squirrel.  I'm taking inspiration from another blogger I follow who has been posting some wonderful table runners lately.  I even created a set of instructions for myself combining her idea and links to the Missouri Star video tutorial, and it is all tucked into a project box so I can find them when I want to make this.  Sooner rather than later, hopefully.  I'll explain more on this one another day.

OK, this post just kept growing didn't it?  Just like the project list has been growing lately.   

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

To Do Tuesday

My "to do" list this week has a lot of variety to keep me from getting bored.  As the weather gets nicer finally, I know that I'll be easily distracted by spending more time outdoors.

So, there is a lot of variety, and mostly quick things to do.    

  • 2 new Farmers Wife Sampler blocks 
  • 4 Wisdom blocks for Moneik's block drive
  • make 2 of the 6 pillowcases currently kitted up and ready
  • finish 1 additional Laundry Line block
  • sew the blocks into rows for Rectangles
  • Rectangles doll quilt - finish the flimsy

Monday, April 26, 2021

Design Wall Monday - April 26

 What is on your design wall this morning?  I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday -

Mine is holding the blocks I made on Sunday for Rectangles.  This is another free pattern from Mary Quilts.  This one used 18 of the 20 strips from a bright colored half jelly roll, and 18 strips cut from a black-on-black yardage.  I paired them up to make 18 strip sets.  And once I saw this photo, I realized that some rearranging of colors needs to happen, on the left side in particular.  

Each strip set yields 9 sections cut 4.5" wide.  8 of them are used to make 2 blocks each for the quilt and the extra section is going into a doll quilt.  I ended up with 2 of these little sections left over.  I'll turn those into 4-patches and add them to my "orphan block" drawer.   

One of my goals this week is to sew these into rows.  And if I'm really ambitious I might even get the quilt top all put together.  This was a project that I cut and kitted up a couple of weeks ago from a PIG that was in the stash.  I had this Project in a Grocery Sack paired with a different pattern.  I ditched the other pattern as it had way too much black for my current taste, and decided to use the fabric for this quick and easy project.  Only half of the black was used for this so the rest is in with my other black yardage, and will get used for something else. 

Once the top is done I'll have an empty project box again and can refill it with something else pulled from the stash.  One more example of being able to "use it up".  

Sunday, April 25, 2021

More UFOs

In my sewing room, tucked under a table, has been a big grey tub.  I knew it held a couple of quilts needing to be finished, but really hadn't looked in it lately.  Since I had a cleaning and organizing mojo going this past week, I decided it was time to open it up and see what I might have been putting off. 

Near the top was a gallon zip lock bag holding about 8 blocks, a partial layer cake, and about a yard of fabric.  No pattern and none of that white background - which is kind of thin anyway.  There was a sticky note in it that said "Bliss", which I think is the fabric line and not the pattern.  Obviously I cut the layer cake pieces into 5" squares and was framing them on 2 sides with 2.5" strips.  Very simple.  And after making a few blocks I stopped.  Was it because I wasn't happy with the quality of that white sashing?  Bored?  Distracted?  Who knows - but it's time to add this to my UFO list and finish it.  I think it would make a sweet baby quilt. 

What I knew was in this tub was one of the very first quilts I ever made, and it was why I decided to dig into it in the first place.  It's the Eleanor Burns Diamond Log Cabin, and I made it in a class in the mid 1980s.  Originally my binding was cream colored with an attached lace ruffle.  So 1980s, and so ugly!!  That binding, not the quilt.  I actually still like the pattern and the teal color scheme I used.  Several years ago I cut that binding off and planned to just put new binding on.  Well . . . obviously that didn't happen.  It's time.  

And folded up under that log cabin quilt was something else that screams 1980s.  If the colors don't give it away, then the nasty polyester batting poking out will.  Yikes!!  There is a quilt and a matching table runner - both are sandwiched and pin basted.   I believe this is a Jack in the Box block. 

The quilt is actually partially hand quilted, with really big stitches that look pretty bad.  Plus, it's been pinned and folded up for over 30 years!  I'll start with the table runner.  The pins are coming out and that nasty batting is going to be thrown away.  After a good pressing I'll decide if it can be salvaged.  The pins I used are pretty big, so maybe the holes are permanent after 30+ years.  I didn't see any rust however so that is good.  The quilt may or may not meet a similar fate.  

In the interest of being honest with myself . . . there is plenty more in that big grey tub that needs to be dealt with, but some other time.  I think this enough to add to the UFO list for now.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

It's not new, but it's blue

 This week I donated 3 quilts to various charities that are collecting quilts for causes such as chemo patients and foster children programs.  I forgot to take a picture of one quilt, but these are the others.

This pinwheel baby quilt was something I made a couple of years ago. I like to have some baby quilts put away for last minute gift needs.  I really liked this simple pinwheel pattern because it works perfectly with scraps, even a scrappy background.  This one had yardage for the background however. It's very good to finally give it a home.  Since it's blue, I'm posting this one with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge group today:

This purple and yellow Dresden Plate quilt was one I made several years ago but just had quilted last year.  This was made entirely from stash, including the purple backing I used.  I love the texture that the quilting gave in that yellow area.  This one went to a chemo patient group.  It's a lap size quilt which is the size they wanted.  

It feels so good to share a quilt with a program that pays it forward.  We can't keep them all, even though it sometimes seems like I keep too many.  

Friday, April 23, 2021

Jelly Belly Bars

 It's done!  Yay!  This is Jelly Belly Bars.  I cut the kit from a jelly roll and background to take to a retreat in late February.  

Most of the blocks were made at the retreat, but that is also when I realized that my jelly roll had only been a half jelly roll.  But between a gift of leftovers from my friend Moneik, plus a little purchased yardage, I was able to finish it up.  It's a great cuddle up size, and I plan to gift it. 

Carol quilted this one for me.  She used a beautiful aqua thread to stitch a swirly flower design all over.  I love how it turned out.  And I do believe this is a pattern I'll use again.  I can picture this pattern as a Quilt of Valor done with red and blue strips around a patriotic print.  Hmmm - that may have to be a plan to pursue!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Prepping leads to organizing

 I've prepped a dozen blocks for a charity block drive, and it led to another organizing and cleaning effort.  Although first it led to a mess.  A friend is collecting blocks to make one (or more) children's quilts for a local charity where she lives.  Her block choice was one of my favorites - Wisdom, from Fat Quarter Shop's Sewcialites sew-along.  I've made a ton of these for myself, and now I have an excuse to make more to send to Moneik.  I love, love this block so much.  

The paper plates came in handy again.  These will get neutral backgrounds, and will most likely be made in between other projects.  I have until late June to get these made and in the mail so there is no rush.  But I couldn't resist doing the prepping for the blocks right away.  

Five pillowcases have also been kitted up from those kid prints.  Won't that road fabric make a great pillowcase?  There was enough for 2 of them and I may have to set one of them aside for Jack for next Christmas.  There was enough of the frog fabric for 3 pillowcases.  I love having a pile of pillowcases ready for gifts and donations.

Now - about that mess.  I knew most of my child themed prints were in a couple of canvas cubes but I had no idea just what a mess I actually had in those cubes until I decided to dump one onto the floor.

These are not the best photos, but that might be a good thing.  What a mess of scraps and yardage from a lot of kids' quilts, aprons, burb clothes, and pillowcases made over the years.  This is the picture I took after sorting out just the yardage and bindings .  The blue cube now holds child themed novelty print yardage.  And the red cube is now the location of panels and border print yardage.  Note to self - stop buying border prints!!  I have a ton of them, but just can't resist them.   

The other thing discovered was yards and yards of binding leftovers, in every imaginable color and quantity.  Years worth of binding leftovers!!  These are now folded neatly and put in 2 shallow drawers, rather than mixed in with scraps and yardage.  Looks like I'll have scrappy binding for more than one future scrappy quilt.  This wasn't on my organization list, but I'm really happy it's all done. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Binding progress

The binding on Jelly Belly Bars is halfway done. Yay!!  Because I didn't want to buy any additional fabric to finish this I made a scrappy binding using 3 of the Tula Pink fabrics I had left from the quilt blocks.  There are pink, purple, and aqua sections to that binding and yes, I am switching thread color as I get to each section. 

The blocks were all made from Tula Pink fabrics so I couldn't resist putting a backing on this quilt that comes from Tula Pink.  This one is so sweet. The whole piece looks like an artist's sketchbook.  It has a very subtle grid with black "sketches" over it - words and phrases, animals, hearts, stars, and more.  It's almost too cute to hide on the back of a quilt.  

I'm hoping that my evening hand stitching sessions will have this done by the weekend.  

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

To Do Tuesday

 I'm still trying to focus this week on finishing those tasks first that are the easiest to accomplish.  That included making this week's challenge blocks for the online Farmers Wife Sampler I'm doing.  Whirlwind and Wrench - it couldn't get much easier than these 2 blocks.  Our host hinted that next week's blocks will be more complicated. Since these are 6" finished blocks, I know that means lots of small pieces or odd shaped templates.  But it has been fun so far.

All 6 rows of Gingham are sewn together.  Next step is to press those seams, and assemble the rows into a finished top.  The 2 skirt hangers holding these blocks in the closet are now empty, and ready for new block sets.  I love organizing my RSC block sets clipped to skirt hangers.  

I finished that gold block for Laundry Line.  That is block 3 of the 9 for that Kim Diehl project.  One block at a time is slow going, but I'll eventually get them all done.  The pieces are all cut and organized on my design boards, so it is easy enough to move a board back over to my table when I want to work on these.  

My cutting station needed to be tidied up again, so I kitted up 8 more Tulip Time blocks from the scraps I had laying around.  Because my 3 design boards are all in use right now, I layed those little sets on paper plates.  I have a whole stack of them after using them to organize my One Block Wonder quilts.  These are ready to sew as Leaders and Enders whenever I need them.  And better yet - my cutting station is clean again. Yay!!

I also kitted up a Spiderman pillowcase for Jack's 6th birthday in early June.  I've had the fabric laying around for ages.  Again - it's something I can grab to quickly finish up.  

Forward steps on several projects - and it's only Tuesday!  It's amazing to me how much more sewing I am getting in now that my work hours are shrinking a little bit. 

I'm linking up with Chris' To Do Tuesday because writing these down helps me stay accountable to what I want to accomplish :

Monday, April 19, 2021

Design Wall Monday - April 19

 My design wall/floor today is holding all of the blocks for a Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt made from a block called Gingham.

I posted on Sunday about using the Dave Ramsey financial advice to "pay off the smallest debts first", and so I looked at my goals for the month.  This one was so close to being done, that it made sense to just dig in and finish putting that top together.

The photo above was taken before I rearranged a couple of blocks, but you get the idea of it.  I plan to get the top sewn together by the end of the week.  The gingham blocks are made entirely of 2.5" squares, then framed with 1.5" strips to make it a 12" finished block in the quilt.  

What is on your design wall today?  I'm linking up with:

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Pay off the smallest debt first

 This weekend I'm using the Dave Ramsey method to plan my sewing project - paying off the smallest debt first.  So, what project or projects were closest to being finished? 

I have 2 quilts ready for binding.  So I made that binding for the smaller of the 2.  I'll get that attached today I hope, and work on that during the week.   

And then I remembered that Rainbow Scrap Challenge Gingham project only needed 3 more blocks to become a flimsy.  Those 3 blocks are now made and I plan to lay them out on the floor and plan the block arrangement later today too.  

Paying off those smallest debts first might be the quickest road to more finishes.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Playing with light blue - Week 2

One random light blue scrappy block made just for fun a couple weeks ago - became "seed" for a bunch more - 16 so far.  This is the Roll On block, just like the quilt top I finished a week ago.  I couldn't resist playing with the scraps to make one just for fun after I finished the top.  Since this one is so easy I know there will be more of these made from scraps. 

The string blocks with half color, and half neutral are interesting because they cause me to dig through those scrap bins.  Unfortunately, that digging just "fluffs up" the scraps and makes the bins look more full than before.  So I can unequivocally say that these string blocks do NOT seem to decrease the quantity of scraps.  The combined blocks are 18" square, and pieced on muslin. 

The house block from Pat Sloan's "Home Is . . ." sew-along has a good variety of blues in it.  And again, it's from the scraps except for that bright blue on the house side.  That was a strip from a fat quarter I recently picked up, and I was worried that it was too bright.  But after laying this house block with the first 3, it really does look fine.   

The houses have turned out to be one of my favorite RSC block choices for this year.  I love them even more as I get new colors added.  I will note that I took this photo on the floor, in the evening, so the colors are really much brighter in normal lighting.  

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

Friday, April 16, 2021

Second post today - more RSC blocks

 After making that baby quilt using the Roll On blocks from charm packs recently, I realized this block design would be ideal for quickly adding scrappy blocks to the collection for future RSC projects.   And to be honest, I needed a break from sewing tiny pieces.  I had already made a couple of "just for fun" blocks, one being the monkey print below.  So I dug in, pulled more light blue charms, and started sewing.  I'm using a mixture of white-on-white backgrounds for these, but a neutral print would be fun in the future.  They are 7.5" unfinished. 

It was easy to find pink, yellow, and green to represent the previous 2021 RSC colors.  

And while I was picking out colors and prints, these random colors selected themselves as well.  The cat print on the bottom left was the other block I made a couple of weeks ago just for fun.  The baby quilt I made had 30 blocks made of 30s prints, layed out 5 x 6.  So far I have 16 blocks and I think these can continue to collect in 2021 for a larger quilt but still probably for a child because I have a LOT of leftover kid prints from previous projects.  

The block is so quick and easy, and I have a small container full of 5" squares, plus lots and lots of other fabric - obviously.  Some of the 5" squares are left over from other projects, and others were cut from scraps over the years of trying to be more organized. 

If I've learned anything the past couple of months while emptying fabric drawers, sorting and trying to reorganize that stash, it's that I could sew for many many years mostly from the stash and the scraps. It's time to dig into them more often.  And these will make a great change when I'm struggling with tiny pieces and need a break.  

Life activities BC

 Do you often think about what you miss the most from BC days - Before Covid? What have you missed doing the most, besides spending time with your loved ones?

My list would be long, but yesterday I feel as if another step toward normalcy occurred.  I played cards with friends - indoors without masks or hand sanitizer bottles!!  

I loved getting together every week or two with a small group of ladies to play cards for an afternoon or an evening.  Our favorite game has been Hand and Foot, which is fun and simple enough to play and talk at the same time.  Everyone brought snacks or something to contribute to a meal, and we just played cards and visited.  But because of fragile immune systems and our ages we quit playing in March.  Once summer weather arrived we did play a few times outdoors with masks and hand sanitizer, but SD wind wasn't the best for playing cards outside.  And it's been along, cold winter.  

But yesterday we got together, celebrated a couple of birthdays, and played cards indoors.  Now that we're all vaccinated, and the Covid numbers are dropping again around here we felt we could begin playing again.  We played Five Crowns and enjoyed an afternoon chat.  It was wonderful and I can't wait to do it again.  It was good for the soul. 

And on Saturday evening we are getting together with 2 other couples at one house to grill burgers and catch up.  We haven't seen each other in person for over a year!  Another sign of getting close to normal life again.  

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Catching up

Catching up on my sleep might be my first priority today.  I rarely have insomnia, but for 2 nights in a row now I've seen every hour go by, plus had weird dreams in between.  This morning I got up at 4:00 am and went out to the living room rather than toss and turn and wake up my husband.  Falling asleep on the sofa sometime after 5:30 gave me a short nap at least. 

Laundry Line is one of the Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots projects from this year, and after making one block it was set aside to focus on other projects.  It's time to get back to it and finish it.

 I made that green block at least a month ago.  Now there is a red block and a gold block is well on its way to being done.  There are 9 of these blocks total in the project so I still have a ways to go, but I'll keep plugging away on it because I love this one.  The blocks however have an interesting - but easy - process of construction in order to arrive at that Churn Dash.  

Farmer's Wife Sampler is an online challenge I'm working on this spring, and I was in danger of falling behind.  Every Monday, 2 blocks are posted to the Facebook group.  Last week I only got 1 of the 2 blocks done because I couldn't decide whether or not to follow the original design of the other block.

Cut Glass Dish is an old traditional block with 24 little HSTs - all facing the same direction.  I prefer symmetry and balance, so I just cringed over that right side with the red HSTs touching the bigger red squares.  It didn't feel right - off balance.  So this week, after making the 2 new blocks for the week, I went back to this block.  Just changing the colors didn't help, so I turned those HSTs.  

Notice the change I made - those HST now all face outward.  I'm much happier with this block now.  The challenge is in its 7th week, with all 14 blocks made.  This week's blocks were Economy (red/cream) and Flock (teal).  And now I'm all caught up.