Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A BIG finish - Saturday Sampler

 I love, love, love participating in our local Saturday Sampler and have done it for many years now.  Thank you to The Pin Cushion for hosting this program even through the pandemic.  We're currently about 2/3 of the way through a new Saturday Sampler program, but I finally finished the previous one.

 My photo is in the morning shadows in our back yard so the colors look a bit muted, and my 6' tall husband was struggling to hold up this quilt without the corners flopping around.  It's huge - queen sized - and all done in batiks during 2019 and finished mid-2020.  The colors of batiks are always very rich and I love sewing on batiks as they are so smooth and don't stretch much.  

This particular sampler gave us a 12" (finished) block pattern each month and the main fabrics to make 2 blocks.  We added our own backgrounds and could choose between batiks or 30s prints when we signed up. I had a very hard time choosing because I love both.  Every couple of months we could also choose the option of adding an oversized 24" block.  I really liked how those big blocks changed the whole look. 

The original pattern had a narrow border of tiny flying geese where my dark blue border is.  I waffled back and forth for months trying to decide whether or not to do those geese.  In the end I opted to make it a simple narrow dark border and I like it just as well.  

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Sloppy sewing

Some days it's just hard to get things right.  This is how my Monday sewing on the Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks was going . . . or NOT going.

This is a flying goose unit that should measure 3.5 x 2", and was actually cut with templates.  The wing on the right side went on just perfectly, but the left side wing wasn't lined up even close to where it should have been.  And yes - I took it apart and fixed it.  

But then the finished block is 1/4 inch too small on 2 sides.  GRRRR!  Since all of the pieces here were cut using the same FWS templates that I've been using, then my best guess is that I didn't sew a very accurate quarter inch seam in some places.  I'm going to play with this one a bit and see if I can do scant seams and make this work.  But it frustrated me enough that I had to turn off my machine and walk away.  

Ironically, we had just talked at the Simple Whatnots class about how much better our accuracy has become since working with the small pieces in the Kim Diehl projects, and the Lori Holt projects.  Obviously I need to focus better!!

Monday, June 28, 2021

Design Wall Monday - June 28

 Another Quilt of Valor top is complete and ready to quilt.

This isn't the best quality photo, but it gives you the general idea.  The block is a free one from Moda called Jelly Belly Bar, and I've now made 3 quilts using it.  For this QOV I decided to try turning the blocks vertically, and I think it changes the whole look.  I like the result.  

This was the first Jelly Belly Bar Quilt of Valor I made last month, with the blocks placed horizontally like the original pattern showed.  

There is an interesting leftover with these quilt tops resulting from the partial blocks used on the edges.  I now have 14 of the leftover partials, that are cut from full blocks.  In the future I may do the math to just make them the right size from the get-go, rather than waste fabric.  And they are NOT an exact half block either which is strange.  But for now I have those partial blocks to play with.  They want to become something but I'm just not sure what yet. 

I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday today:

Sunday, June 27, 2021

A new beginning

 Another little hint that life is beginning to return to normal - our Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots group met yesterday.  In person, in the classroom at The Pin Cushion, without masks.

We are starting the Club 10 sessions and it was sure good to see these ladies again.  It's a small group with only about a dozen members.  These cute little baskets full of this year's fabrics waited for each of us, along with some other goodies.  We received a notebook, highlighter, pen, pencil, candy, and a scented candle to welcome us to the new season.  And I LOVE the new colors for the Club 10 miniature quilts.  This first quilt will have a much lighter brighter look than usual.  

We all agreed that during the pandemic we got lots of sewing done, but also agreed that we missed the social aspect of getting together.  No one seemed in a hurry to stop visiting and go home. LOL  I'm hoping this is just the beginning and that the other groups I miss (Sew Vintage small group/Saturday Sampler large group) will be able to start meeting again soon.  

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Roll On progress

 It has been a very strange week for me, as Monday I ended 38 years of being a teacher when I turned in my final set of grades.  That was my identity for almost 4 decades, so now I'm feeling . . . I'm not sure what I am feeling I guess. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were very un-focused but gave me lots of time to make blocks, and now it appears that I have enough of the Roll On blocks for another child size or lap quilt.

Purple, purple, purple and some additional colors.  I have a small box full of leftover 5" squares, and the pink ones and multi-colored ones came out of that box.  The orange was cut from a scrap laying on the cutting table.   I really love how the white background pinwheels show up as this quilt top comes together. Hmmm . . . maybe I need to keep making more so this quilt top is larger than child size. 

These blocks are a new favorite for RSC sewing because they only take 2 charm squares of a color and 2 from a background.  Because the wedges are sewn together and then squared up they are pretty forgiving and great scrap busters.  And if you don't have 5" charms, you can cut the pieces from a 3.5" strip because that is the size of the wide end.  The wedges are 5" long, and 1.5" wide at the top and 3.5" wide at the bottom.  Just make sure to cut them ALL with the right side up so that the angle is identical on them all.  

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

Friday, June 25, 2021

A new technique

 I've mentioned before that I take my inspiration from many sources, but other quilters are the BEST sources of inspiration I can think of.  One of those quilters is an artist who explores many different techniques, and she has been the push I needed to try out something new to me - fabric painting.  We have Zoomed a couple of times now, and I am ready to try explore something new.

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color is that artist and she does a lot of mixing of the media she loves - paint, fabric, beading, etc.  The art quilts she creates are unique and make me smile because they tend to be so bright and cheerful.  Her blog name defines her style - and she plays so successfully with color.  I'm always blown away with how she blends and shades, etc.  Well, I'm not quite that brave YET, but want to try out just a little painting on fabric. 

My plan is to start with some snowflakes for a table runner idea I saw online.  The design had appliqued snowflakes, but I'm going to try painting them using this stencil.  I ordered the paint and stencil online and got very lucky because those snowflakes are just the size I wanted.  Now, let the playing begin! 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Progress on lots of fronts

There are 20 of the blocks made now, and I've begun laying them out to see how many I'll need in each vertical row.  I think 5 down will work nicely.  And maybe 6 across will be OK.  I'll need to do a lot of rearranging these once I have enough made so the red and blue centers are scattered more evenly.  

On the technology front - my new computer is set up after a couple of weeks of procrastinating.  My plan had been to move files to flash drives while I still had the old computer set up, THEN unplug all the pieces to move.  But my husband has a couple of days off this week and decided to set up the new one . . . in the middle of my dining room table yesterday afternoon, so it forced me to just move the old one to make room for the new one on my office desk.  I still need to move files over from the old one, and hopefully I won't waste too much time doing that as the old computer is now sitting in pieces in my dining room.  And there were all kinds of extra cables laying around that now need to be disposed of. 

And another technology task is closer to being done - finally.  In April I gave my husband a set of outdoor cameras for his birthday so he could see what the deer, turkeys, and other wildlife are up to in our yard.  I thought he would enjoy them. However, the gift bag with the cameras and mountings sat on a chair at the kitchen table for over a month without him ever mentioning them, or moving them.  After 5 weeks I put the bag in his closet.  Yesterday he was grumbling because the deer keep pulling the bird feeders out of the tree he has them hanging in.  I said "too bad you don't have a way of SEEING how they are reaching them".  HaHaHa  He didn't respond, but today he is working on setting them up finally.  I'm staying out of the way.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

More blocks

 Right now I’m finding it so satisfying to make blocks - just blocks, and more blocks.  Blocks for a group project, blocks for another Quilt of Valor, and blocks for some of my current ongoing projects.  

Tuesday sewing time resulted in 3 new Ohio Star blocks.  Two of them are purple for this month's RSC color, and the other is orange - just because it was laying near my cutting mat.  More purple is in my plan for this week, with Roll On and Ohio Star blocks partially cut out. 

Originally I was going to just make 4 of the Virtue blocks for my friend Linda in Ohio.  But then I kept finding other novelty type prints that would make a cute block for a child's I Spy quilt.  So I’ve made 8 of them.  I hope to get them mailed to her this week.  She plans to make one or more quilts for a children’s charity program in her community with the blocks she collects from our group.  

Another set of Jelly Belly Bar blocks is under construction for a new Quilt of Valor.  I already made one QOV quilt top using those blocks, but I have a layer cake that would work perfectly for a second one.  I have made 11 so far.  The pattern has these laid out horizontally, but they would also work nicely in vertical rows, like this.  I'm using cream, plus red and blue for the center "bar" part of these blocks.  The first one I made had all white centers.  I think adding some reds and blues will work well since there are a lot of the lighter colored prints in this layer cake.  I'll need 36 blocks if I make it the same size as the first one, and there are 42 squares in the layer cake, so should work out well. 

The blocks require 4 frame pieces 2.5” wide - 2 of them 10” long and 2 of them 9” long.  So a layer cake piece is perfect to cut the frames for 1 block with very little waste.  And I'm comfortable cutting 4 layers at once so it is a quick process. 

Monday, June 21, 2021

Design Wall Monday - June 21

 I quilted and bound my Cocktail table runner last week.  It's slightly smaller than the first one I made because of the size of pieces I had left over from that adorable border print.  But both are really good sizes for a table.  I have enough fabric left for a couple of small bags.

What is on your design wall today?

No sewing happened over this past weekend but lots of other things happened.  Friday was mostly spent cleaning out a closet in a guest bedroom.  That closet contained junk (electronics, posters, hats) my youngest child left here after college - 15 years ago!  It was full of my clothes - out of season, out of style, and some definitely not a size I will ever wear again.  Seasonal decorations, and bags of "stuff" that had belonged to my mother-in-law who passed away 10 years ago.  I even found 4 big rolls of maps from engineering projects my husband finished years ago.  What those maps were doing with the out of season clothes - I have no idea!!

All of the electronics, 2/3 of the clothes, and a big box of other odds and ends are all GONE!!  It took me most of the day, and one trip to a donation site, but this closet is much more organized.  I even added a hanging closet organizer to hold rolled up table runners.  Hey - I can actually see the floor!!

Saturday was a fun day, with a coffee date in the morning with 4 dear friends.  And the afternoon was a college graduation celebration for my great-nephew.  Lots of family to see and hug!!  

Sunday my husband and I played in a veteran's fundraiser golf tournament.  The wind howled at about 30 mph all day, but we had a good time anyway.  And we shot 1 over par (73) to take 3rd place in the mixed couples flight.  We were beat by 2 couples in their early 20s, so we felt pretty good about how well we played considering we were only beat by "kids" 40 years younger than us.  And over $11,000 was raised for 3 different veteran's projects locally which was wonderful.  

This morning I've turned in the final grade for my LAST online high school student, and will be officially retired from teaching as soon as I turn in a little paperwork today.  It's bittersweet to end that chapter of my professional life, but I'll have more time to have some fun.  

Happy Monday!!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Creativity in a past life

 I'm guessing that many of us who quilt, also have a history of doing lots of different arts, crafts, and other creative outlets.  I think that NEED to create is strong.

In a "past life" I did a lot of drawing and sketching.  And following a fabulous art course I took as an elective in college, I did a lot of pen and ink work. Pointillism was the technique I really loved - meaning my whole drawing was basically done with tiny dots of ink.  This is one of very few surviving pieces that I did in the mid-70s and it hangs in my daughter's living room. I'm glad she enjoys it.  If you zoom into the picture you can see the dot details.  

I learned to sew - doll clothes - sitting on the floor next to my mom while she sewed at her machine.  She would give me fabric scraps, needle and thread, and a scissors and just let me do whatever.  But she gradually taught me the best techniques.  And I spent hours and hours as a kid with colored pencils "designing" clothes.  I filled notebooks with my designs. LOL

My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet, and tried to teach me to tat lace.  None of those skills caught my attention like sewing however.

What other creative things have you been doing over the years?  How about paint-by-number?  Painting on wooden shapes?  Etching glass?  Making flower arrangements?  I even dabbled in making artificial flowers from some kind of wood fiber "paper" years ago.   

Friday, June 18, 2021

One thing leads to another

 A search for something to back my cocktail table runner lead to random block construction, which then lead to more digging in the stash, which lead to . . . Well, you know how it is.

There was more than enough of this yellow for the back of the table runner.  I got it quilted and trimmed in short order, and even put a lime green binding on it.  There is still almost a half yard of the yellow folded neatly and placed back into the yellow stash drawer.  With the chunks I trimmed off, I made an Ohio Star block.  

But while I was cutting white background pieces for 1 Ohio Star, it made sense to keep cutting on the strips and ended up with pieces for 3 blocks.  So I pulled out a pretty purple (RSC color) and an equally pretty aqua to pair with that background.  Voila!  3 new Ohio Star blocks added to the collection.

And while I was cutting white background and digging in the stash, I pulled out some fun prints to use for my blocks for a group charity project.  I cut all the pieces for 5 blocks, and got 2 of them sewn up.  This pattern is from the Fat Quarter Shop Sewcialites series.  It’s block #25 that they called Virtue.  These blocks will go into a quilt to be donated to a children’s project.  Red sheep, colorful bugs . . . and for another day there is a dog print in both red and blue, along with a beach pail print.  

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Purple zinnias and cocktails

I just HAD to do it - work on a couple of table runners, that is.  

I keep seeing fun projects online (blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.) that I really, really, really want to make.  So this week I've given myself permission to play with some new projects.  The purple Zinnia table runner is made with Lori Holt's zinnia block from her Farm Girl Vintage #2 book.  The runner is just 2 of the 12" blocks with a 6" wide strip separating them.  Then simple borders were added.  There are a BUNCH of the blocks in Lori Holt's books that would work great for this simple runner - strawberries, cocoa cups, roosters, and the list could go on and on.  

The zinnia petals are a purple and gold batik, and the outer border is a purple batik with big polka dots.  That gold came from a Tula Pink fat quarter I bought last weekend on my girls' weekend with my cousin.  Kind of Mardi Gras colors!

The cocktail border print is one that has been in my stash for a long time.  There is an entire drawer full of border prints - because I can't resist buying them.  I bought several yards of this one, and have already made one table runner for myself, and a bag that was a gift for a friend.  Now I have another 60 degree runner made - and I've used some of the trimmings to make the outside of another bag.  There is still a little of this left for some future project. 

On Tuesday afternoon I finally wrestled with my HUGE scrappy batik Saturday Sampler quilt from a couple of years ago - and attached the binding.  With some evening stitching time, I've gotten 1/4 of the way around so far.  The backing of this sampler is a crazy batik with a design that looks kind of like ripples in a pond.  A golden tan batik was my binding choice.  

And these crazy temperatures!  At least there was a breeze - about a 25 MPH breeze.  Hot and windy isn't doing any crops or livestock around here any good at all.  This has been such a hot, dry, windy June!  What will the rest of the summer bring? 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Just playing around

After being on a roll with finishing UFOs and other projects, I'm feeling a desire to just play with fabric without working toward a specific goal.  I know I'll get back to focusing on completing tasks, but for right now . . . I'm giving myself permission to PLAY.  It's very satisfying to just relax and enjoy the process, which is why I quilt in the first place.

Purple is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month, so I did some playing with purple.  I'm only showing a glimpse of this little project because it still needs more purple.  

Farmers Wife Sampler blocks keep adding up, with the total reaching 32 so far.  These blocks are Duck and Ducklings, and Butterflies at the Crossroads.  Isn't it interesting how these old traditional blocks have picked up a variety of different names over the decades?  

I got a couple more Tulip Time blocks finished.  There are 6 more "kitted up" and laid out on paper plates for some quick sewing.   I can just grab a paper plate whenever I have just a few minutes to sew, or when I need a change from whatever else I'm working on.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Flag Day sewing

Yesterday was Flag Day, so it seemed appropriate to do a little sewing of red, white, and blue. In my "patriotic" collection is a package of Island Batik strips that was purchased specifically to make either Boxed Squares or more Jelly Belly Bar blocks.   

Out of the 40 strips in the pack, I pulled 2 red, 2 blue, and 1 cream to make some Boxed Squares.  These blocks will be a little less "busy" than many of the other blocks made so far.  So I think the mix of these with the bigger prints will make this Quilt of Valor look really good.

So, these 8 new blocks have joined the 50 I've already made.  The plan right now is to make 90 for this particular Quilt of Valor.  

And I've been doing some planning on how to quilt this 20" flag pillow cover.  A serpentine stitch in the middle of each red and white strip, plus a serpentine stitch along the seams should work nicely for the stripe sections.  But I'm still stumped on how I want to quilt the star section.  Any ideas are welcome!!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Design Wall Monday - more pillowcases

 There are more pillowcases to make - dog bones, chickadees, blue jays, and a geometric flannel.  

I had a very enjoyable "girls" weekend with my cousin, and there was some shopping and eating in restaurants.  We even went to a movie together, wandered through a farmers market, and visited my kids and grandkids.  

Years ago I made them a set of pillowcases for their bed, and it's time to replace them.  The geometric flannel is the fabric she brought along for her new pillowcases.  I'll do some looking for a good color to use on the cuff.  

My cousin is a knitter, so we visited a yarn shop, and then ended up in a quilt shop close by.  That is when the dog bone and bird fabrics happened.  She has specific people in mind for future gifts of pillowcases with dog bones and chickadees.  But the blue jay fabric - that one is for me!!   

What is on your design wall this morning?

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Just a little bit of sewing

 Friday morning (before leaving for a girls weekend) I fit in a little over an hour of sewing while doing some last minute laundry.

I made 4 Jewel Box units for a friendship project.  They went into the mail on my way out of town, so the friend collecting them should have them next week.  

And I added the narrow yellow border to the pillow top I had been working on this week.  Now to get it sandwiched and quilted next week. 

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I plan on it.  I will see a dear cousin after almost 2 years, and will see all of my kids and grandkids as well.  Plus - I won't be cooking any meals!  

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Pausing . . .

I’ll be burning up the highway the next few days, so nothing new is likely to come out of my sewing room until Sunday or Monday.  But it’s all good. 

Today I’m driving a friend to a doctor appointment.  Thursday I have a meeting in Sioux Falls for work.  And Friday I’m meeting up with a cousin for a girls’ weekend.  Doesn’t that feel like life is returning to normal - almost?

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

What is next?

 I like to reward myself with new projects once I finish something.  So what is my next project?  I decided that a small project needed to be next. 

The Riley Blake 20" Pillow of the Month subscription was something I signed up for, but I haven't exactly kept up with the pillows. The April pillow was the one with Raindrops and I got that made right away.  But May and June are still in the boxes.  However - July is now in progress.  

Actually I'm hoping that the top of this one is all done and quilted by the end of the day.  At least sewn together and sandwiched for quilting.  Guess we'll see how ambitious I am.  

Monday, June 7, 2021

Design Wall Monday - June 7

 My design wall this morning holds Farmers Wife Sampler blocks.  The first 26 are complete, and I have the next 4 all planned out.  Hopefully they will be completed this afternoon. 

It's another day of temps in the upper 90s or 100, so it's a good day to just stay indoors and do some sewing.  I just don't do well in the heat.  But I do need to water some flower pots this morning before it gets too hot outside.  I've pulled them into shady areas on the deck and porch so hopefully that will help them survive.  

Yesterday we took a road trip, leaving home at 8:00 am to drive to my nephew's home in Minnesota.  We got to enjoy a delightful visit with extended family to celebrate Jayden's high school graduation.  They held a "brunch" open house for her, with the local Lion's Club serving pancakes.  What a fun idea that was!!  It was wonderful to be able to spend the day talking and laughing with family.  Totally worth the 2.5 hour drive each way!

I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday: 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

It's hot, hot, hot

Saturday was a scorcher, and today isn't expected to be much cooler.  As long as my air conditioning holds up, it seems like a great time to stay in the house and sew.

This month's Saturday Sampler sections are done.  One section had 6 spools of thread, and the other had 3 butterflies.  These didn't take long at all.  

The yellow Country Bunny joins the other 6 bunnies in the project box.  These just make me smile.  I've tried to stick to a medium sized print on all of these.  

Our guild met on Saturday morning and I just had to share one of the items shown by a member.  This is a felt clock using charms and pins as the hour markers.  I've never seen anything quite like this before and just had to share.  

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Dipping my toes into purple

One purple fat quarter came out to play initially.  I was looking for something pretty to use as the roof on this month's house block for RSC, and this one kept saying "pick me!!".  

So while I was cutting into it, a Tulip Time block and 2 Roll On blocks happened first.  The house block required more fabric choices.  It is just as cute as all of the previous houses.

The purple Country Bunny was one of the first ones I made earlier in the year.  But I have a yellow one cut out and ready to sew.  

Last purple effort for this week involved cleaning off the cutting table and using things up by making more Roll On blocks.  One dark purple one is joined by yellow and green made from leftovers of the Barnyard Buddies quilt top from earlier in the week.  There are now 25 of these so I'm getting close to having enough for another quilt top.  

I'm linking up today with the RSC group -