Saturday, July 31, 2021

Dark blue includes pillowcases

 This is the end of July, and I've done a lot of sewing with medium to dark blue this month but most of it was with patriotic fabrics.  This week while moving things around in the sewing room, I noticed other things lurking in the project boxes that were dark blue.

Christmas pillowcases!!  This was a fabric line I purchased a few years ago, called Snow Village (Moda).  It made me think of Blue Delft dishes, and I bought a couple of yards specifically to make pillowcases.  Well, they are finally done!  Woot woot!!  And according to my spreadsheet tracking finishes, this makes 22 pillowcases made so far in 2021.  

Doesn't this look like a Blue Delft dish?  It really reminded me of my friend Sylvia's kitchen here in Mitchell - before she moved to Iowa.  She collected these dishes and had them hung above her cabinets where they looked so pretty all year long.  I sure miss socializing in her cozy kitchen! 

OK - What else did I find in dark blue?  This Sew Together bag front, and most of its parts, were in the front of my basket of bag projects.  The pockets, the lining, the ends, and the zippers were all tucked in with the quilted front.  After doing a little inventory I realized that I needed fusible interfacing for the lining pieces, and also needed to find something suitable for the binding and handles.  This should be something I can easily finish in August. 

This is the second Sew Together bag where I've used a license plate from the Row By Row experiences held annually for several years.  I have dozens - yes, dozens - of these fabric license plates.  I picked some up myself during shop hops, and others were shared with me by friends and family who bought them on trips.  I have a couple of other UFO projects hiding away that include these license plates. 

I'm linking up with RSC21 today - check it out.

Friday, July 30, 2021


Other than stepping out onto my porch to water 3 flower pots, I haven't left the house at all since Tuesday noon.  Too hot, too humid, and now it's just too hazy with wildfire smoke in the air!  Thank goodness for hobbies that allow me to stay indoors.  But I'm beginning to feel that same cabin fever as when we're snowed in after a prairie blizzard.  

Yesterday was spent mostly in my sewing room.  I quilted the mini that I've been working on, and have it nearly bound.  I cleaned the second half of the big closet - and pitched more junk.  I sorted out some fabric to donate to the church quilting group.  And I reorganized the overflowing fat quarter bin.  The reward for working on the cleaning was to sew 8 new tulip blocks.  

There are now 24 of these "quad" sections done, and there are enough additional tulips kitted up for a couple more of these sections.  

I still have a ways to go in that cleaning and reorganizing - and got plenty of new motivation about supper time.  My phone rang, and I recognized the name on the caller ID so I took a chance and actually answered it.  The caller was the sister of a lady, who used to belong to a couple of the small quilting groups I belong to.  She stopped coming a few years ago, and we missed her.  The sister was calling to ask me to pass along the news to our guild that all of her sister's quilting "stuff" would be going to auction in late August.

Turns out that her sister (who went to high school with my husband) has had to go into long term care.  It made me so sad!  She never married or had children, so her siblings are now the ones to have to go through her house.  And they are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of sewing supplies and fabric she had from many years of enjoying her hobby.  It made me think about how much my 2 daughters are dreading that process in MY house.  Sewing, books, genealogy materials, and more stuff!!  I really need to keep cleaning out that sewing room!!

The sister of my caller is a very private person, so I never felt I got to know her very well, but we definitely missed her when she quit coming to our group.  

So - after another cup of coffee this morning I plan to return to some cleaning in that sewing room, and also some sewing.  I have a LOT of fabric to use up!  

Thursday, July 29, 2021

40 pinwheels later

 Esther’s Garden Box is ready to quilt.  It’s only 14” square, so it shouldn’t take long.  But there are a LOT of seams to cross.  I’ve pressed most of them open to help reduce bulk, but it will still require slow going when crossing some of those seams.  

But I haven’t decided yet how I want this quilted.  All of those tiny pinwheels make for a busy look, so I think the quilting needs to be fairly simple.  And I need to figure out if I’m going to do any kind of applique stitching in the center, or just allow the quilting to “hold down” those little pieces that are ironed on with fusible web. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Pinwheel progress

 It was a good afternoon to sew.  The “real” temperature was only 99, but the “feels like” temp reached 111 degrees!  The humidity was miserable.  Guess where I spent my afternoon?  Over half of the pinwheels are now completed for Esther’s Garden Box. 

And the ones not sewn yet are at least cut out and ready to go.  Since it is supposed to be even HOTTER today, I may hide in the basement again today and sew.  

Plus the 2nd Farmer’s Wife Sampler block for this week is done.  But don’t look too closely as the outer edge is NOT very even.  For some reason those little triangles on either side of the dark brown points just didn’t some out quite right.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

2nd scrappy Roll On quilt top

 The weekend was hot, and humid . . . and my husband was gone both days playing in a golf tournament.  So that means I hardly left the house, and spent lots of time in my sewing room.  

I've been doing more cleaning and organizing in the sewing room closet, but also finished 2 quilt tops over the weekend.  This Roll On quilt is the second version of this that I've made recently.  The previous one was 5 blocks by 6 blocks, and this one is just slightly bigger.  Both should work nicely for donation quilts for kids once they've been quilted.  

The other quilt top I finished over the weekend was the Boxed Squares Quilt of Valor that I posted about on Sunday.  Both quilts were quick to finish because I had nearly enough blocks already made for them.  It was a matter of making a few more blocks, and then setting them together.  Now I can look through the block sets hanging in the closet and see which one I should focus on next.

Or maybe I need to just pull out another UFO to work on next.  Choices, choices!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Design Wall Monday - another Kim Diehl project

Since I finished 2 quilt tops over the weekend, I’m rewarding myself with a new project. 

Our Simple Whatnots group was supposed to meet this past Saturday, but was postponed until next Saturday due to Crazy Days going on downtown.  Since I had this month’s project already done, I pulled out another from last year that I want to finish.  I’m hoping to have the top of this one done before our group meets next weekend.  Then I can get some input from the group on how to quilt it. 

Esther’s Garden Box has a 6.5” center made from a pinwheel using all 8 of the neutral prints in the Club 9 fabric line.  On top of that pinwheel is a floral appliqué.  It’s ironed on but I haven’t done any stitching yet to hold it down.  I’m not really sure what technique I’ll use for that.

Pinwheels rule in this project, because that center is surrounded by 40 pinwheels made with the colored prints and the neutrals.  Each of those pinwheels is 2.5” unfinished.  Kind of tiny again, but I’ve experimented with a couple of pressing directions and they are laying pretty flat.  

This week's goals will also include making a couple more of the Checkered Stars blocks, and to make the next 2 Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks.  

I’m linking up to Design Wall Monday:

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Boxed Squares - ready to quilt

 I followed the majority of the feedback provided here on my blog and on Facebook, and chose to use the navy fabric with stars for the border on Boxed Squares.  It's nice to get a fresh set of eyes to look at a project sometimes.  Thank you to those who responded.  

The navy star print looks good as a border, and I’m happy with the results.  This is the 3rd Quilt of Valor top I’ve made this summer.  But it might not be the last one.

One of the other sewing projects I worked on Saturday morning was another 4 of the tulip blocks that I had kitted up.  There were 12 tulips on the paper plates ready to sew.  

And I finished up this week’s Farmer Wife Sampler blocks.  The Checkerboard block was very simple, but the other block used all odd shaped templates, and I was a bit worried about getting that one made correctly.  And I'm stumped about the asymmetrical color placement, but I followed the picture in the book precisely.  

I do have to admit that the little angles cut onto the tips of each piece does make it much easier to get these pieces to fit together.  But I’m going to take the middle seam apart and press them open to help reduce the bulk in the very center, and to help match up those center points.  It should be a quick fix.

I've been thinking about what color sashing to use between these blocks.  Any thoughts are certainly welcome, as we're getting close to having half of the blocks done.  

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Dark blue borders on Boxed Squares

 I need some input on which dark blue border to use on the Boxed Squares quilt. Help, please!!  And a big Thank You for any input you might have.

Border choice #1 is a batik with a very subtle stripe.  

Border choice #2 is a navy blue with stars.  

This quilt definitely needs some borders to make it larger, and I've decided on a single wide border on all sides.  But I can't decide between these 2 options. What do YOU think?

One other project yesterday that is done - 2 sets of pillowcases for my cousin. We went shopping together when she visited, and she bought the fabrics to make these 2 sets of pillowcases for her as gifts she plans to give.  Chickadees and dog bones!!  They both made cute pillowcases. 

I'm linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Boxed Squares - almost done

It's pretty as is, but just a bit smaller than ideal for a Quilt of Valor.  At this point, Boxed Squares is only 54 x 60, so I'm going to add some simple borders to bring it up to a better size.  

The 6" (finished) blocks are set in 10 rows of 9 blocks.  I think making it 13 rows of 10 blocks would be just perfect if I make this again and want it to NOT have a border.  

Notice my red geranium in the big turquoise pot?  It loaded with blooms and greenery when I bought it, but then we had a couple of weeks of extreme heat.  It sits on my front porch where it gets shade during the hottest part of the day, but it hadn't put out any new buds in nearly a month.  Now all of a sudden it has buds and blooms again - just as we are getting extreme heat again.  Hope I can keep it going because it really is pretty.  

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Digging into the basket

The basket is about 12” high and about 16” across, and was packed full (packed down) of leftover bits and pieces.  Originally there were several containers that held scraps, but I sorted and emptied the other containers quite a long time ago.   This basket however was passed over because I didn’t want to deal with it.  Hmmmm . . . I may never become really organized with that attitude.

I’ve emptied about half of the basket so far, although now that the scraps are fluffed up again it doesn't look like I've made that much progress.  Plenty of really small bits have been thrown away.  That is part of my problem - I keep thinking every little scrap could possibly be used. Some day.  That just contributes to the clutter.  I really do want my sewing space to be neat and clean again. 

One interesting thing that I found . . . dozens of bonus triangles trimmed from a variety of projects over multiple years.  There is a whole pile of 30s prints and white triangles.  There is a zip lock bag with coral and blue triangles leftover from a past Saturday Sampler.  There is a pile of batik triangles. And there are a few patriotic red, white, and blue triangles.  A few half square triangles already sewn were tucked in with them all, probably to remind me what I was saving them for. 

The bad news about finding all those triangles is that it is making me want to play with them right away.  I didn't need another "squirrel" project to mess with my focus. 

There is a significant amount of this fabric now sorted by color, or seasonal theme, and put into my color sorted drawers if the pieces were a decent size.  Some smaller pieces will go into the color sorted scrap bins.  And I will keep working on emptying the rest of that basket.  

Pushing forward

 Other than some appointments this week, I've had plenty of time to sew.  One appointment yesterday afternoon was having a long overdue eye appointment.  It was way too easy to postpone this type of thing during the worst of the pandemic.  Four years ago I had cataracts removed from both eyes, but my right eye has significant "clouding" built up, so now I have an appointment to have that eye lasered in late August.     

Boxed Squares is now a completed flimsy - except for a simple wide border, has been pressed, and is ready for a much better photo opportunity.  Stay tuned for a better look at it on another day.

All 7 rows of Roll On are assembled, and the first 3 rows are sewn together.  This will be a donation quilt most likely.  Hopefully I'll have the flimsy done by the end of this week.  

Now that my ironing board is no longer covered with pinned (and numbered) stacks of blocks for 2 quilts, it was time to pull out some other WIPs needing progress.  This is Checkered Stars, and I made 4 more blocks for this one, bringing the total up to 10 finished blocks.  I have all the background and grey pieces cut for all 36 blocks, but only have the colored pieces cut for another 6.  So I have plenty more cutting that needs to happen to get this one finished.  This project lives on my large design board so it's very easy to just move it around as I work on it a little at a time.  

I also cut all the petals and leaves for 12 more tulips.  These are layed out on paper plates in sets.  I'll add background pieces as I cut them, which will most likely happen just a few at a time.  The weird thing was I woke up in the middle of the night after dreaming about cutting lots and lots of tulip parts.  So, I did that very thing once I got up.    

The next NEW item on my To Do list is to make a couple of the pillowcases I kitted up recently.  I'm going to start with the 2 chickadee pillowcases.  These fit in nicely with the dark blue chosen for RSC this month, plus they were on top of the pillowcase kit stack.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Focus makes a difference

 Yesterday turned out to be a good day to focus, and I managed to get a LOT of things done.  Dave was gone shortly after 9:00 am to play in a golf tournament and I headed downstairs to sew.  Quiet, uninterrupted time paid off.

I made 8 more tulips to add to the 4 that were finished on Monday.  All 12 of them are now sewn into "quad" sections, making 22 of them total.  For right now I'm thinking I will need nearly double that number to make a queen sized quilt for my bed, which is the current plan.  But we'll see how it goes.

All 10 rows of the Boxed Squares blocks are assembled, and the top 5 rows are sewn together.  Next step is sewing the bottom 5 rows together and then combine the 2 halves.  I'm confident that I can finish that yet this week.  

Five of the 7 rows for the Roll On quilt are also assembled, with 2 more rows pinned into order in stacks.  I alternated the Roll On blocks with the Boxed Square blocks when assembling the rows.  It worked great and kept me from accidently pulling a block from the wrong stack.  

With all of the scrappy sewing I've done lately, I also have a mess again on my cutting station.  So it's time to clean this up - again.  I did really well keeping this area clean for several months, but then I got lazy about putting things away!  However, when I see 2 new quilt tops nearly done thanks to all that scrappy block creation, then the mess becomes worth it. 

There is also a BIG basket of odds and ends that has been moved upstairs with the hope of organizing that while watching evening TV later this week.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Sew many little bits of progress

 I must admit to having a personality problem - when I'm told a contractor would arrive "first thing Monday morning", then I expect that to be around 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning.  Is it too much trouble for them to let us know they were not going to get here in the morning or at all?  A good share of my Monday morning was wasted just hanging around upstairs watching for that contractor, since I can't always hear the doorbell from my basement sewing room.    

By 10:30 am I was totally annoyed and went downstairs to sew anyway.  I got Row 3 and Row 4 added onto the Boxed Squares Quilt of Valor.  Row 5 is assembled, and there are 5 more rows to be assembled before I can add them to the quilt.  But then I went upstairs to make sure I hadn't missed the contractor showing up.  Nope!  Still no sign of him.

So I went back downstairs and pulled out the paper plates holding Tulip Time parts.  There were enough background, leaves, petals, etc. already cut to make 9 tulips.  I managed to get 4 of those sewn before lunch.  Now that I see that purple block in the upper right corner, that background is awfully dark.  So this group of 4 will not necessarily end up together as it stands out too much against the whiter backgrounds. 

The next 5 were all layed out on my ironing board, ready to sew.  I may change out the dull dusty pink petal sections for a brighter color, like red.  And that dark one on the far right is actually purple with hot pink splashes, but sure doesn't look very colorful in the photo.  Chalk it up to poor lighting. 

These make good leader/ender tasks in between those Boxed Squares sections.  So maybe I'll get another row or two onto that QOV at the same time this week.  Little bits of progress every day, right? 

Oh - and at 12:45 pm I finally got a call to tell me the contractor wouldn't make it on Monday at all and that we would have to reschedule.   

Monday, July 19, 2021

Design Wall Monday - Kick the Can

 I have a finished project - Yay!!  Kick the Can is a Simple Whatnots pattern from Kim Diehl.  It's only 19" square, but like all of her projects it's full of tiny pieces.

There are typically 6 miniature quilts in each year's "club".  This is project #1 for our group from the Club 10 program.  I'm really excited about the fabrics for this year's program because there are fewer "brownish" tones, and have some greys and lighter greens and yellows.  Kind of a fun change.  

I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday . . .

Sunday, July 18, 2021

This 'n That

 Some days there just isn't much to say, and this is one of those days.  

The twin fawns have spent lots of time in our backyard lately. It's a good spot to nap evidently - quiet and safe.  That ocean of green was mostly brown and brittle a week ago, but last week's rain made a lot of difference.  We have a sprinkler system, but it doesn't cover that far back.  And we have watering restrictions (due to the drought) of watering only on odd days.

It's rodeo week here in Mitchell and I had mentioned the night before that I was planning to go downtown to watch the parade on Saturday morning.  And much to my surprise my husband decided to come along.  Lots of horses, lots of local organizations, lots of candy thrown to the kids lining the street - a very typical parade.  I've only been to ONE actual rodeo event - years ago - but spectators and participants alike must be happy this year because the weather has been perfect for it. No scorching heat for a change.  

The rest of the day was pretty quiet, which was good.  We stopped for a quick visit with friends who moved from their house to a smaller townhouse and took them some dessert and a bottle of wine to celebrate their new home.  And we went to Menards to buy a bird bath and some shelving for the basement store room.

But hopefully today I'll actually get some sewing done.  

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Checking off some goals

One of my main goals every month is to keep up with the Saturday Sampler.  Some years we do a block or two each month, but this sampler is being done in sections.  And although each section is a different size, all are from the Lori Holt book Quilty Fun.  They are kind of like puzzle pieces, and it's still a mystery as to how they will fit together.  This month we did sections 17 and 18.

I can't wait to start putting the puzzle pieces together into the final layout.  The 30s prints make this such a cheerful quilt, but I've seen a few other fabric choices and those are beautiful too.  It's always interesting how unique each person's Saturday Sampler turns out. 

Something I had NOT planned to do was join in on any new Sew-Along, but here I am . . . joining in on Pat Sloan's Summer Soiree.  So far I've made 2 versions of the first 2 block patterns.  One is going to be bright summery colors, possibly adding a floral into each block in some way.  The second is going to be a red, white, and blue version.  I believe I may switch out those red corners on the bottom right to white corners so there is more contrast. 

Another goal for the month is to keep making progress with the Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots club projects.  I got very hung up on the Laundry Line project, and it still isn't completely done.  But our new club started at the end of June, and the mini quilt is a much easier one called Kick the Can.   The new fabric line for this year is so pretty, with quite a few lighter colors than usual which I really like. I've gotten a good start on the 25 little (4.5") blocks so far.  

The little blocks make a good "leader/ender" kind of task between sewing together the long rows of Boxed Squares.   The first 2 rows are pinned and ready to combine.  

Floor layouts

 I have a design wall in my sewing room, but it only holds small projects.  When it's time to lay out whole quilts for block arrangement, then I use the floor in my living room.  And I'm finally understanding why my mother quit making quilts - crawling around on the floor gets painful as we get older.  My knees are complaining today after laying out the blocks for 2 quilt tops yesterday.  However, I'm not ready to give up quilting any time soon.  

All 90 blocks for the RW&B Boxed Squares quilt are now stacked and pinned into 10 rows, and I've begun by sewing rows 1 and 2 together.  It took much longer than expected to rearrange these 6.5" blocks until I was happy with the block positions.  I think this will be a more modern looking Quilt of Valor.

The scrappy Roll On blocks were a lot quicker to rearrange.  I did notice that more green blocks would have been nice, but I'll keep that in mind for next time.  Because these are made using charm squares, I'm planning to keep this pattern as one of my "go to" scrappy RSC projects.  The baby quilt made with 30s prints in this pattern is hanging in the closet, waiting to be quilted.  There are only 30 blocks in the baby quilt, but 42 in this one so it's just a bit bigger and should work nicely for an older child. 

Getting these 2 quilt tops pinned into rows was a major accomplishment for this week.  Once I have the tops completely assembled, I need to take inventory of the finished tops currently hanging in my closet.  More piecing than finishing has been happening around here lately.  Piecing is my favorite thing, so there has been lots of happy sewing going on.   

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

To Do Tuesday - Red, white, and blue domination

The final blocks needed for the Boxed Squares (Quilt of Valor) are done, and the 90 blocks are ready to lay out on the floor.  I like having quilt blocks on the floor for a couple of days, or sometimes only hours, while I walk by occasionally and make changes to block locations.  It gives me a chance to "live with" the colors and do any rearranging needed before pinning rows together.  

And while I had the red, white, and blue fabrics scattered around my work space, I couldn't resist making a patriotic version of the Summer Soiree block that I made last week with bright batiks and prints.  This is block #1 of a Pat Sloan sew-along project with one block released each Wednesday.  I have no idea whether or not both versions will continue to happen for me, but it was fun to play with the second color combination.    

Check out To Do Tuesday at:

Monday, July 12, 2021

Design Wall Monday - July 12 - Blocks GALORE!

I’ve set a couple of mini goals for myself this week, including making enough blocks to finish what is needed for a couple of projects that are in the works.  And I got a good start on Sunday - sewing while watching Minnesota Twins baseball on TV.  And this morning I’m linking up with Design Wall Monday:

These 4 blocks are made for our guild’s baby quilt project.  We present a baby quilt for the first New Year’s baby at the local hospital each year.  This year the committee provided the cream rectangles, and asked us to create any 6.5” unfinished block using soft pastels with that 2.5” by 6.5” rectangle.  We could sign up for how many blocks we would make.  I think this new quilt will turn out very sweet. 

I got 9 more Boxed Square blocks made for a new Quilt of Valor.  That brings my total to 84 of the 90 I need for a quilt top.  I’m really anxious to get this top put together to see how these 6.5" blocks look together.  That is more motivation to get those last 6 blocks done today or tomorrow.  

Enough Roll On blocks for another quilt is actually a moving target.  I’m not sure how many I want to use, because it depends on how big I want this quilt.  I had 30 already, and added 4 new ones last week.  There are 5 more ready to put together this week - so far.  This is another one of those projects that is easy to kit up for mindless sewing. 

Two more quad sections of Tulip Time are also done, with 5 of the individual tulip blocks sewn on Sunday too.  The quad is made up of 4 tulip blocks and 1" sashing strips.  There are now 19 quad sections and the parts for the tulip blocks for #20 are laid out on paper plates, ready to sew.  This is a long term project as I don't know how big I want this quilt or even how I want to lay it out.  There are lots of options to consider.