Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August in review

July and August were both mostly productive months, with a sewing frenzy happening every week.  It has been enjoyable sewing.  But that frenzy has begun to slow down which doesn't surprise me a whole lot.  And I strayed a lot from my original list of goals for August and worked on some other fun things that came along.  

  • Monthly sew-along projects
    • Saturday Sampler sections - whole quilt top is DONE
    • weekly Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks - So Far - I'm caught up
    • weekly Summer Soiree blocks - So Far - I'm caught up
    • Simple Whatnots - NEW - NOT TOUCHED
  • Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC21) in AQUA
    • Sew set of Wisdom blocks into rows - just a little progress
    • House block - DONE
    • Bunny block - DONE
    • Tulip Time blocks - DONE
    • Bitcoin strips (new scrappy project) - NOT TOUCHED
  • UFO and WIP projects - make some progress
    • make more pillowcases - DONE
      • 4 pillowcases for my cousin
      • 2 Halloween pillowcases for grandkids 
    • bind Hexie Snowman table runner - DONE
    • bind purple zinnia table runner - DONE
    • more blocks for Checkered Stars - NOT TOUCHED
    • navy blue Sew Together bag - just a little progress
  • Cleaning and Organizing my sewing space
    • clean off my cutting space - NOT TOUCHED
    • organize the patriotic fabrics - NOT TOUCHED

Pretty much on a daily basis I'm annoyed by the scraps that have collected on my cutting table space, but still I can't seem to get it cleaned off because I keep PLAYING in those lovely scraps.  So I'm just going to enjoy the process and at some point I'll get that space cleaned up again for awhile.  

Monday, August 30, 2021

Design Wall Monday - planning a block drive

 The last Monday in August already?  Summer flew by as always!  And with the beginning of fall, I volunteered to lead the September/October charity block drive in a small private Facebook group I belong to.  Every couple of months one member chooses a charity and a block pattern.  Our members have the option to join in and make a block (or several) or not.  We've done a couple of fun sets of blocks for children's charity quilts, so I've decided to switch it up and go patriotic for a new Quilt of Valor - and chose a block I've already used in a QOV.  I'll be posting the info for the group today. 

The Jelly Belly Bar - made with centers that "read" solid, and patriotic prints in the frames, is a really easy block to use for any group when you have a mixture of skill levels and lots of different sewing machines being used.  It can be laid out vertically or horizontally and both look great.  I also made a "girly" version using Tula Pink fabrics for a graduation gift.  It's so quick to make.

Fat Quarter Shop has published some really great free projects, and this is one I know I'll use over and over again.  I shared this block pattern last month at guild for future QOV projects there too.  I'm really hoping that between the guild blocks and the Facebook group blocks we'll have enough to make at least 2 new quilts.  

I also think this block would be fabulous done with fun children's novelty prints in that center and frames that read solid.  That may be another to put on my bucket list.  A layer cake is perfect to use for the centers, because you can get 2 of the 5 x 10" bars from each piece.  But it lends itself to just plain scrappy too.  

I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday:

And to Monday Making:

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sunday reflections

 Yesterday I saw a new acronym that I just have to share and adopt.  Thank you to MMM Quilts (Musing of a Menopausal Melon) for introducing me to DrEAMI - Drop Everything and Make It.  Check out her post. 

Obviously, my DrEAMI object this week was that aqua baby quilt I posted about yesterday.  And the Bats & Boos mystery quilt the week before.  I frequently "drop everything" to explore some new idea. Isn't that the fun part of a craft - plus finally having the time to do it?

Summer Soiree block #8 is made in both colorways - bright and patriotic.  I'm still doing a bit of planning for more block #7 options for a new project, but that may have to be a post for another day. 

I've made several new Tulip Time blocks this month, and had enough for 3 additional "quad" units.  That brings the total of the quads to 30 so far.   Since these are 13" blocks . . . well, I'll just admit that I need a lot more.  The current plan is to sash these blocks, but may or may not use a really narrow sashing like in Bonnie Hunter's original pattern.  But I love the play of color in these, and hope to have a finished quilt on my bed by the time the real tulips are blooming around here. 

And I'm working on my September list of goals.  A subscription to a Pillow of the Month project adds a couple of options to that goal list.  Both the September and October pillow kits came in at the same time, so now I need to choose which one to make next.  I'm kind of leaning toward that Halloween themed one, but I think the apples would be quicker to sew.  Decisions, decisions . . .   

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Just a little aqua to finish the month

 Everything in this little baby quilt was pulled from my stash.  Without the border this was only 30” square, so it just required a bit more stash shopping to find something big enough to cut 4 border strips.

Now it's a nice 38" square and ready to quilt.  I think this is one that I can quilt myself - hopefully.  I have a pretty light grey that might work for a backing, unless something better pops out of that stash.

This fits the RSC color challenge of aqua as well as making something with my scraps (Sew Vintage group challenge).  Now, on to some other scrap sewing.  I have Tulip blocks kitted up that need to be sewn together.  

I'm linking up with RSC today:

Friday, August 27, 2021

Saturday Sampler - framed in red

Red is the winning border color!!  I'm so glad I went with this one instead of the blue print. It makes this whole quilt look better. 

The final border is 6" wide, so the quilt ended up being about 67" square.  And I bought enough of the blue print from the pieced border to bind this quilt.  I have no idea yet how I want it quilted or what I'll use for the backing, but I'm very happy to have this flimsy done.  

I tried to get a good photo out on the lawn but our South Dakota wind kept making that impossible, so it's laying on the front porch floor in the shade.  The colors are really much more bright and vibrant.  It's one of my favorite Saturday Samplers ever!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Binding Rectangles

 Rectangles - a large child-sized quilt is bound and ready to be gifted or donated.  This was a free pattern from Mary Quilts, and was one of my August goals.  This was a jelly roll and background that had been tucked away with a pattern for a couple of years.

However, I didn’t have quite enough to make that pattern, so a new plan was devised that could be made without any new purchases.  I had just enough left for a doll quilt too, which is already finished.  

 The binding is a striped purple/black batik. I love a striped binding.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Hump Day

 OK - the eye laser procedure was amazing!  It was painless and only took about 30 seconds to break up that cloudy area - after about 45 minutes of prep with numbing eye drops and the examination.  I was home again before 10:30, and by 2:00 pm I could tell that my eye sight is already much clearer.  How crazy is that?  She warned me it would "stir up" some floaters for a couple of days and that is the only problem I have so far.  I have a follow up appointment Monday morning.   

Summer Soiree blocks for last week are done, but this week's block pattern was posted this morning so I guess technically I'm still behind.  Hopefully I'll get them done this week too. 

Still on my "to do" list for this week -

* Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks (2)
* Summer Soiree blocks #8 (2)
* add final RED border to Saturday Sampler

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Bats & Boos

No sewing this morning, as I'll be getting my right eye lasered to remove a "cloud" that has formed since my cataracts were removed a few years ago.  I'm really hoping it improves my eye sight again.

Over the weekend I found myself sewing almost frantically.  Guess I was on a roll just in case I end up taking a day or two to get my eyes working properly again.  So, this one was my first task on Sunday and it didn't take long to finish up, at least to the point of quilting.  

Bats & Boos was a free mystery project from The Fat Quarter Shop, and actually went together very quickly - in 4 short weeks.  Week 1 was bat blocks, week 2 was pumpkin blocks, week 3 was the center star, and week 4 was adding a simple 4" border.  It's about 40" square so should make a good wall hanging.  I'm so glad I allowed myself to be distracted with this little project.  

I chose a fun Halloween print for that border with orange spiders on lacy spider webs.  Once it's quilted I think an orange binding will finish it off. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Design Wall Monday - border choices

The first 3 borders are on the Saturday Sampler quilt, and I really love that pieced border in between the 2 narrow background strips.  But now I need to make a decision about that last border.  

That pieced border is a blue with a tiny white flower on it.   My initial thought was to carry that blue into the final border.  So I bought 1.5 yards of  what I thought would be just perfect.  It looks OK, but . . . when standing further away from it, this choice looks pretty boring.  It is kind of "one note".  


So, I've decided that I want to make that final border a color that will provide more contrast, like maybe a red or a bright green.  It needs to make a statement.  I'll have to buy yardage because I don't have enough of anything I auditioned to put 6" borders all the way around.  But I really think it needs that extra pop of color on the outside.  

And while I'm there I may need to buy more of that blue for binding because I think it will make a perfect binding choice no matter what color that border ends up being.     

What's on your design wall this morning?

Sunday, August 22, 2021

A much faster Friendship block tutorial

 The Friendship block is going into my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for sure - now that I've figured out a fast and easy way to make them without using templates.  The first ones I made were done using the paper templates from the Farmers Wife Sampler book.  Here is my FWS block, with points matching up well along the white strip, but not all went well.

Notice the slightly raggedy outer edges.  No matter how carefully I cut the pieces using the templates I ended up with that issue and some of my colorful blocks were worse than others.  The templates are OK when you only make one block, but I did some measuring and decided there is a MUCH easier way to make a lot of these quickly.

I cut 4 different squares at 3.5" inches, and stacked them with right sides up.  Then - using the Easy Angle ruler - I made ONE diagonal cut.  I also made sure to always keep that larger triangle at the left side so that I didn't mix them up. 

Next step was cutting 4 strips - 1.5 x 5".  If you are worried about centering the triangles onto it, then cut it 5.25" instead so you have a bit of wiggle room.  Lay the smaller triangles on the other side of the strip.  And again - I'm careful to always lay them out like this so they don't get mixed up.

I sew the strip onto the larger triangle first, just centering them.  I was able to just "eye ball" that, but you can mark the centers if needed.  Press to the triangle.  Then add the small triangle to the other side of the strip - again centering it.  Press to the triangle again.

Then I just use my ruler to square it up to a perfect 3.5".  Make sure your large triangle is on the left side again for all of them.  This creates very accurate quarter sections to sew together into a new block that is 6.5" inches unfinished, without those raggedy edges.  Point all of the smaller triangles toward the center so the strips form a diamond.   

Fast and easy!!!  This block is definitely going to be one of my GO TO blocks for Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Three more purple, 3 green, and another pink - these blocks will join the ones I've already made.  Then I can see what other colors I want.  

Saturday, August 21, 2021

This n that on Saturday

 Our Sew Vintage group was challenged to use our scraps.  So I pulled out some aqua scraps for RSC's monthly color, and played with them a little.  Since I sew a LOT from my scrap bins, you would think that I would have made a dent in them by now, but NO . . . they seem to just multiply as I sew.  However, I'm really grateful for having those scraps - and the stash - to "shop" in when I feel like it.  

I'm linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

One aqua Twinkle Star block joins the others hanging in the closet.  I had 17 of them made, but hadn't added any new ones since winter.  I need to continue with these until I have enough for a quilt, but there really is no rush. 

This is the Friendship block pattern that I made earlier in the week for Farmer's Wife Sampler.  I kept thinking how cute these blocks would be done with a theme, like Halloween or Christmas.  Or patriotic.  While the aqua scraps were out I made just one, and it turned out pretty cute.  Both colored triangles can be cut from a single 3.5" square, and the white strip is 1.5" wide.  So . . . lots of scraps to choose from. I have a whole box full of 3.5" squares. 

And one aqua block became 5 aqua blocks, and then an orange one happened, and a pink one, etc. I haven't sewn these together yet because I really haven't decided whether or not to keep making them.  It's an easy block to make, so it just may join the "regular" RSC blocks until I have enough for something worthwhile.  These would make a pretty cute baby quilt - someday.   

While these scraps were laying there I also cut a few Tulip petal pieces to add to what is already cut and ready to sew.  Oops - I haven't sewn any Tulip Time blocks in a couple of weeks.

I really haven't abandoned my Saturday Sampler project while playing with the scraps.  Those Friendship blocks were the leaders/enders in between working on the border for the Saturday Sampler quilt.  I have 24 of the 48 rectangles pieced and the other 24 are in progress. Each one will have 2 tiny (1.5") squares sewn and flipped on corners.  And I'll admit that I got bored with them so the bright Friendship blocks made an excellent distraction between sets of these.  I'm hoping to finish this pieced border tomorrow.  It's pretty quiet around here since my husband is playing in the state Seniors golf tournament, so no one cares if I sew right through lunch time.  LOL

And finally, I just have to stray from the whole topic of sewing briefly . . . to share a back-to-school picture.  My husband's older brother has been a rural county sheriff for about 30 years, and we often joke about him being our local Andy Taylor (Mayberry?).  School started this past week for some districts, and the courthouse is across the street from one K-12 building - also on a busy highway, so he took a lawn chair out and sat on the sidewalk to watch traffic that morning.  He knew a law enforcement presence would slow down most speeders, plus he got to chat with any kids crossing there. He is one of the Good Guys!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Back to my Saturday Sampler

 There has been progress this week on the Saturday Sampler quilt.  But since there are 4 borders on this quilt, I still have a long ways to go.  Border #1 is a simple 2" strip of the background and that is done.

Border #2 contains 48 rectangles, with 1.5" squares on 2 corners and a similar corner stone on each corner.  I chose a medium blue with a tiny white flower for those border rectangles.  The pieces for these are all cut and one side is actually ready to attach. 

Border #3 will be another 2" strip of background.   And then . . . I'll have to make a final decision on what to use for the final wide outer border and also for the binding.  

I'm so glad I chose 30s prints for this one!  

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Hocus Pocus Focus

Yesterday morning I worked on Farmer’s Wife Sampler blocks, but the afternoon was all about Halloween.  

The Bats & Boos star block posted for this week was easy to put together, in spite of the large number of pieces in it.  It has a basic sawtooth star in the center and then a more elaborate star surrounding it.  The block is 12” finished.

And then I couldn’t resist setting all 9 blocks together.  I am assuming that next week will be some kind of border treatment.  But I could be totally wrong too.  So far this is so cute!!

Once Bats & Boos was done I sewed the 2 pillowcases from the fabrics that Jack and Sophia picked out last weekend.  The little green monster fabric cracks me up - so funny and cute.  Just right for a 6 year old boy.  And the fancy pumpkins are just a bit more sophisticated for a 9 year old.  

I sent my other daughter some pictures of the fabrics I have left for her 3 kids to choose from, so I can make pillowcases for them too. 

And now I feel like I can get back to work on Summer Soiree blocks for this week, and make some additional progress on Saturday Sampler.  Unless I hear differently, I'll have all day today to sew.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks

 I had last week's blocks, and this week's blocks to make in order to keep up.  And since I have the day off today, I'm playing in my sewing room.

And my morning was productive enough to get this FWS blocks all done.  These are Friendship - which is just a "hair" small, and Flower Basket on the top row.  On the bottom are Farmer's Puzzle and Flower Garden Path.  

This makes 50 blocks out of 111 complete.  We're almost halfway.  Since these blocks are only 6.5" unfinished, it takes a LOT of them to make a full size quilt.  It will be a real accomplishment if I manage to get them all done. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Halloween pillowcases

 When the grandkids were here the past couple of days I showed them the Halloween pillowcase options I had kitted up and let them choose which one they each wanted.

Jack liked the purple and green glow-in-the-dark monsters.  But Sophia saw this pumpkin fabric that I just recently bought and liked that better than any of the ones I already had cut.  This print really is a fun one, so I can't blame her for choosing it.

Guess that means I should give the other 3 grandkids some choice too.  

I have to work again today - prepping 45 certified letters to be mailed out for an upcoming project.  That means I may not get much sewing done again today.  In fact I'm even writing this post while taking a break from the computer.  Better get back to the work that pays!  LOL

Monday, August 16, 2021

Design Wall Monday

Two weeks down and 8 blocks made for Bats & Boos - a Fat Quarter Shop Mystery sew-along.   

Week 2 was a pumpkin block with a cute little star in the middle.  I made 2 of them using the black cat print, and the other 2 using a candy corn print.  The cats were in my stash, but the candy corn print was part of a new fat quarter bundle purchased very recently.  This year's Halloween fabrics are the cutest I've seen in years!!

Week 1 was the bat blocks.  I made them all the same, using the glow-in-the dark print for the bat wings and ears.  The background looks white in these photos, but I actually dug out a soft cream from the stash to use for this project.  

The Week #3 block was posted Sunday, but there was no time to work on it or even chose fabrics. The block is a single intricate  star, and the 4 bats and 4 pumpkins will fit around it.  

The other thing that happens on Mondays, is the next 2 Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks posted.  A friend and I are doing this together via Facebook.  I have to admit that I didn't get last week's blocks done.  I only got as far as printing a couple of new templates I needed.  But I'll get caught up this week with all 4 blocks - last week's and this week's.  I refuse to fall any further behind because we still have a LOT of blocks to make and they are turning out so nicely.  This is a picture in the book of one of last week's blocks.  Mine all use leftover scraps from Kim Diehl projects.  

Also this week I plan to get the 3 vertical sections of my Saturday Sampler sewn together.  I had planned to do it last week, but got sidetracked.  And last but not least there will be a new block for Pat Sloan's Summer Soiree posted on Wednesday.  

None of this will happen today however as I have 2 of the grandkids here for the day, and then will be delivering them to mom after work so they can go to their back-to-school open house.  And I’m fitting a pedicure into the day as well.

I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday:

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sunday sewing and planning

 In reflection today, I've decided that last week was really a GOOD week.  Monday my husband and I spent the day in a beautiful setting with some old friends.  That doesn't happen often enough.

Tuesday I sewed all day long, which was really fun.  Wednesday through Friday I had to work, but I did a little sewing at the end of each day.  

Saturday morning I met a friend for coffee and had a good catch-up with her.  And the afternoon was spent meeting with the Sew Vintage group. Yay!!!  Every single one of us who attended expressed how happy we were to finally be meeting again. We missed a couple or regulars, but hopefully they will be back with us the next time.  It's a small group but we definitely enjoy each other's company.  

Remember this selvage I showed recently?  Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without . . . the mantra of our mothers and grandmothers most likely.  Well, our Sew Vintage group leader has challenged us to focus on making something with scraps, and shared some great ideas.  

This is the main scrap project I've been working on this year, and have 24 of these sections made.  Now after Sew Vintage I have some additional ideas of things I may want to do with the abundant scraps living at my house.  The possibilities are endless, and don't always have to result in a big quilt.  

I finished a set of flannel pillowcases for my cousin.  She brought me the flannel to use.  Normally I do all French seams in pillowcases, but quickly realized flannel ended up with a big hard seam line when I did a French seam.  So, I did a simple double stitching line, and hopefully that will work.  Because flannel stretches so much I prewashed and dried this in the dryer before cutting and sewing. They are very, very soft.  

Some other Sunday sewing will have to wait to be shown for Design Wall Monday, tomorrow. But now it's time to go back to some planning for the week ahead while we wait for daughter #2's family to stop in on their way home from their Black Hills mini-vacation.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Catching up on Summer Soiree

 Staying caught up on weekly block challenges was easier when I wasn't working very many hours, but this week I've had a lot more hours logged into work projects.  Plus we weren't home at all on Monday.  I've had to remind myself that working more hours means more disposable income to spend on quilting, right?  

Last week's block and this week's block were on my "to do" list for this week.  The Summer Soiree sew-along is a Pat Sloan project, and she posts the new block each Wednesday.  These are the first 6 blocks done in a bright colorway.  I'm using white background with bright batiks and summery florals.  I even managed to get my aqua into this week's block for RSC.  

I'm also doing these blocks with patriotic fabrics, and I'm really pleased with how these are turning out so far.  Another potential Quilt of Valor!  For these I'm using a mixture of light print backgrounds and white backgrounds, with the red and blue patriotic prints.  

I'm linking up today with Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

Friday, August 13, 2021

Zinnias & watermelon

According to my spreadsheet (yes, I'm a nerd) this is the 12th table runner/topper that I've made this year so far.  Some I've gifted, some I'm keeping for myself, and some are in the pile available to gift to someone at any time.   

The Zinnia runner used 12" zinnia blocks from Farm Girl Vintage 2 book of Lori Holt.  I love the colors in this, although the photo was taken in the shade on my porch.  But the purple and gold and green are all very saturated colors.  However - it is a bit "one note".  I'm thinking that instead of using 2 different purple batiks in the flowers and border, I maybe should have found a border with more of a print or at least more color variations.  

The watermelon runner is something I made almost 20 years ago.  We lived then in an area famous for its tasty watermelons, so it seemed like a perfect choice.  The pattern was in the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  The pattern is still available for free on their All People Quilt website and is called Star Spangled Summer.  My stars are hidden back behind those big candle holders, but they are there.  I even hand quilted this one all those years ago.  

Do you decorate with your quilts?  I have them all over the house, and definitely enjoy them. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

A squirrel crossed my path

 Just when I think I'm being really focused, something pops up to pull me into a new project.  The Fat Quarter Shop has a free Mystery Quilt Along going right now called Bats & Boos.  I just couldn't resist playing along, at least for part of it because it looks like it will be so cute!

Last week was Week 1, and they introduced this adorable bat block.  And it so happened that I was doing some re-folding and organizing of my huge Halloween stash fabrics last week (so that I could close the drawer).  Well, you know what happened next . . . yup, I chose some fabrics and cut those pieces.  The spider webs on those bat wings and ears are glow-in-the-dark.  

The blocks were part of my Tuesday sewing marathon.  The 4 bat blocks are complete, and this week they posted a pumpkin block for Week 2.  I have a lot of orange prints to choose from to make those 4 blocks.    

Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with these each week, but there really is no pressure.  I'm already working on Pat Sloan's weekly Summer Solstice blocks, and the weekly Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks with a Facebook group.  

In the spirit of honesty I have to admit that I haven't made last week's Summer Soiree block yet, and this week's block came out yesterday.  So I know what I'll be working on in between assembling my Saturday Sampler quilt. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Saturday Sampler vertical rows

I spent most of Tuesday in my sewing room, while my husband used our dining room for a planning meeting for work.  My office is right across from the dining room, so those 5 guys would have been very distracting while I tried to work.  But it gave me a great excuse to sew.  However, that means today (Wednesday) I'll be chained to my computer to catch up again.  

The final block for Saturday Sampler was this 12" bee block.  So cute!!  I still need to embroider his little antenna on.  Some of the small sections we pieced earlier that I thought would be spacers turned out to be the frame for this block.  I love how it turned out. 

This sampler is going together in vertical rows.  This is the left side of the quilt. 

Here is the center vertical row with the bee sitting prominently near the middle.

And here is the right side.  Once I get these 3 sections sewn together, then I'll work on cutting the border pieces.  There is a narrow background border, a pieced border, and also a wide outer border to finish it off.  I doubt that I'll have it all done this week, but it will be good progress. 

Speaking of bees - can you see the bee quilted into this table runner?  Bees and flowers - Carol chose the perfect quilting design for my zinnia table runner.  I got the binding prepped and sewn onto this runner yesterday too, so now I have some binding to do in the evenings.