Saturday, October 30, 2021

Mixing scraps and new yardage

 This has been a good year for making things with scraps or with things already in my stash.  I'm pleased that I have been using things up, but am also being realistic enough to recognize that the size of my stash hasn't decreased much and the scrap bins appear just as full as ever.  I've decided that's OK because I've been having lots of scrappy fun this year. 

My spreadsheet as of Friday morning indicated I've made 998 blocks so far this year, and have finished 66 different projects.  Not everything was scrappy, but MOST of those blocks definitely were.  Some of the finished projects used LOTS of those scrappy blocks.  There are currently 3 quilt tops waiting to be quilted that are totally scrappy, and there are blocks sets growing for several future quilts.  Many thanks to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again this year for challenging us to use our scraps.  I get a lot of pleasure from this type of sewing. 

Even though I've tried the last few years to be more careful with purchases of new fabric, it still happens.  I have cut back on just buying fabric because I like it, but what fun would there be if I didn't do some deliberate stash enhancement?  And this fall I've enhanced the stash quite a bit.

Granddaughter Olivia wants a bag for her piano books, and when I saw this new digital music print I bought enough to make her a bag and a pillowcase for Christmas.  The front of the bag even made use of some of those scraps I mentioned to add some flying geese and the black frames.  I'm hoping to finish assembling this 14 x 20" bag over the weekend.   

And I bought this great purple Tula Pink yardage for the bag lining and handles.  Plus there is enough for the top of the pillowcase.  Excellent purchases in my opinion! 

Another mix of scraps and new yardage happening here is this fun little gnome project.  I bought a panel called Gnome-antics (Wilmington Prints) because it was just too cute to resist.  This one section is trying to become a holiday wall hanging, and I'm using up more scraps for borders.  Since there is a lot more of this cute panel I'm playing with ideas for using some of the rest of it.  

I've decided that as long as I have scraps to play with, I'm a rich woman!!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Christmas runner progress

All 3 runners are ready to quilt, and I do plan to do that myself, in spite of having limited skills and being awfully slow.  But hopefully I'll keep getting better at that machine quilting.  Luckily these are not terribly large.  My "main" sewing machine is in the shop for a good cleaning and tune-up so I think I'll wait until I have it back to do the actual quilting on these. 

 The snowman runner may be my favorite of the 3 at this point.  I chose the fabrics for each of these based on the friends they will be gifted to when finished.  I have enough of the sashing fabrics for binding, except for that dark red.  But the red is a batik and I found a similar one at the quilt shop on Tuesday, along with backing for these. 

Now, I will just work on something else until my machine is home again. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The view from my desk

 I have a really pretty tree right outside my home office window, and it doesn't shed its leaves very quickly like most of the others.  This one turns gold and then holds the leaves well into winter.  It's so nice to have a pretty view when I'm working at my desk.  When I took this picture Wednesday morning it had been raining all morning.  

Usually there is a bird feeder hanging there too, but I took it down the other day to clean out.  I kept wondering why no birds - or even squirrels - were hanging around the feeder lately.  Turns out the seed had gotten wet and was moldy. So once I get it cleaned up I'll refill it and hang it again.  

When we bought this house almost 16 years ago, the previous owner was so pleased to tell us he had planted over 60 trees on the 1.5 acre lot.  I've never actually counted them, but considering the amount of leaves we bag every fall I certainly believe it.  There are 2 double rows of pine trees along both sides of the lot, creating a real privacy "wall".  But there are also lots of big ash and maple trees, so this time of year we get plenty of color and lovely shade.  And in front of my window is this little birch. 

We cleaned leaves out of the gutters on Monday and my husband ran the mower around to bag the leaves that had fallen.  That was about the 6th time this month.  However - that last ash tree in the front yard shed all of it's leaves in the past 2 days so he'll have to do it again.  And the maples are just starting to turn color so there will be several more bagging opportunities before winter arrives.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Lots of blocks

Another grey rainy day around here, but I'm not complaining because we certainly need the moisture.  Dave got up at 4:00 am today to go out and put the gutter extensions back on.  He took them off on Monday when we cleaned the leaves out of the gutters, and forgot to put them back on.  Without at least the one next to my sewing room window, one corner of my sewing room will get damp.  I'm afraid to go down there and check.   

Tuesday morning was a busy sewing time, but I had to work in the afternoon.  I took advantage of that morning to myself and got lots of blocks made.  Today won't involve any sewing most likely.  I plan to play cards with friends in the afternoon until it's time to leave for a college basketball game.  This is the first women's game (SDSU vs St. Cloud) of the season.  Although it's only an exhibition game, it's always fun to get the season started.  Go Jacks!!

This week's Farmers Wife Sampler blocks are Maple Leaf and Kitchen Wood Box.  Maple Leaf is such a common old traditional block.  Kitchen Wood Box was so quick and easy that I may have to make more of them as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge block.  Hmmmm . . .

My Simple Whatnots UFO is coming along. I have 4 of the 9 blocks made for "In and Out".  This one is pretty small, so I'm hopeful that I can get it finished by the end of the week. 

I promised myself that I would continue working on RSC scrappy blocks this week - as Leaders/Enders between the tiny pieces of the Kim Diehl project.  And so far I've made 4 of the Windmill blocks in bright happy colors.  

I also had a pile of Tulip Time blocks kitted up as well, and managed to add 4 of them this week.  They need to be sashed and sewn into a "quad" section yet.  I think this will make 35 quads, so I'm getting closer to having enough for a quilt - maybe by spring?  

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

To Do Tuesday

 Hmmm - making a "To Do" list for the week may have been a good idea last week, as several new projects have been tempting me.  So much temptation is out there!  But I'm happy to say I can check off most items on last week's list. This week's list needs to be a bit shorter, but I have so many things I want to work on. 

All of the items on my list this week are small, including this little Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots project.  It's called "In And Out", probably because those flying geese point both in and out. There are 9 of these tiny blocks (4.5"), and I am beginning the week with just 1 of them made so far.  If I can get this little one done, then I plan to go back to the one (Laundry Line) that caused me lots of headaches. It is in a project box hiding out - but really needs to get finished finally and off my UFO list.  I really fell behind on these Simple Whatnots mini quilts this year. 
  • Farmers Wife Sampler blocks (2 blocks)
  • choose backing for the 3 Christmas runners
  • Finish Olivia's music bag
  • progress on Checkered Stars
  • make at least 5 RSC blocks
  • progress on at least one Simple Whatnots project 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Design Wall Monday - bag progress

Sophia's zebra bag is all finished.  I think it turned out pretty cute.  It's about 17 x 21, and the shorter handles were a good decision.  

Olivia's music bag is coming along nicely.  I'm making flying geese for the front of the bag, and have a couple more left to do (aqua & green).  Then I'll sew them in a vertical strip, with the music fabric on both sides. My plan is to have the geese slightly off-center.  

I want the pianos to be the main focus on the front since she wants this to carry her books to piano lessons each week.  I have a purple print for the lining and handles, and possibly a strip around the bottom of the bag.

I dropped off my main sewing machine on Saturday afternoon for a long overdue tune-up and cleaning.  For a couple of weeks I’ll have to use my smaller machine that I usually take to classes and retreats.  I’ll miss a couple of handy features not on this smaller machine, but it will be nice to have my big machine all tuned up again.

What is on your design wall today? 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Pillow of the Month - October

 The Scaredy Cat pillow is all finished and sitting on my sofa for Halloween.

This is the latest in the Pillow of the Month (Riley Blake) kits.  So I can't take any credit for fabric or design choices because it all comes in a cute little box.  The only thing we have to add is the pillow form to stuff it.  I quilted this one with double diagonal lines following the HSTs.  The envelope back is simply black, but I really love that orange and white striped binding.

It looks good on the sofa along with the bench pillow I made last year.  

While thinking about how I decorate with quilts . . . in my dining room I hung up an older Halloween quilt that has been packed away for a couple of years.  The blocks in this one were from a block swap I participated in.  It is such fun to be able to change out the quilts on this wall whenever the mood hits me. 


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Green is leading me to Christmas

 With this month's color being green, I started thinking about Christmas projects, even though lime green may not be the shade normally be associated with that holiday.  Then I saw this project in a magazine, and you know how easily distracted I am.  So, Christmas table runner #2 is ready to quilt and this one has a touch of lime green. This runner looks kind of busy.  Maybe I should have put a solid red border on it.   Hmmmm . . .

Runner #1 used aqua with pink and red, and again I used the busy print as the border.  It's also ready to quilt.  But I probably won't decide how to quilt these until all 3 are ready.

Runner #3 just needs the border and my plan is to use the snowman print.  Since I used up most of that dark red fat quarter, I guess the decision was made for me.  All 3 runners will use the print from the Crossed Canoes blocks as the border.  

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

Friday, October 22, 2021

Enter at your own risk

 Parts of my sewing room have been recently cleaned and reorganized. And other parts are still a mess! 

So . . . this little machine embroidered door hanger is perfectly appropriate.  I purchased this at the quilt show last weekend to hand on the door to my sewing room.  Sew Storm Quilting is in Alcester SD, and they were one of the fun vendors who came to the show.  They had a lot of fun embroidered items for sale, in addition to the fabric and notions they brought. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Still distracted

Wednesday was a chilly rainy day - perfect for sewing or playing cards.  Actually it probably was a perfect day for baking or making soup, but that didn't happen. LOL  The sewing and the cards did.

And yes, I'm still distracted from finishing the bags or the table runners.  But making more Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks was actually on my weekly goal list, so it's OK.  There are now a dozen of these Windmill (or Roll On) blocks made using leftover charm squares.  This would really make a fun I Spy quilt, so that may be the direction I'll keep going with it.  So far there are monkeys, bugs, cats, hearts, oranges, flowers, and Christmas ornaments. There is even a super hero in that top left corner.  In better light these are bright and cheery.  

We actually got 2" of rain yesterday and then it turned to snow for a couple of hours. By bedtime that snow had melted again.  We needed that moisture so much!  I'll take it, even in the form of snow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A little bit of sewing

 Just a little bit of sewing happened yesterday morning, but I did get almost caught up with chores and errands the rest of the day.  Grocery shopping, laundry, decluttering . . . all are things that I DIDN'T do last week.  And I also did a bit of cross stitching as a reward when I finished.

The center of the second Crossed Canoes runner is all assembled.  That snowman fabric makes me smile.  And I made a few new RSC blocks - 2 Twinkle Stars and 3 Windmill (Roll On) blocks.  I think I have 26 of the Twinkle Stars, but since they are only 9" blocks I'll need more.  

I'll have to share the windmill blocks another day as I have a few cut out, and will take a photo when there are several to group together.  

And I need to get back to working on those bags for the granddaughters!!!  

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

To Do Tuesday

 Yesterday I went back to my October list of goals and was shocked at how little from that list I've actually worked on.  Wow - that was an overly ambitious list of goals!  Last week I set a weekly goal of working on bags.  One is done - Yay!!, a second is partially done, and the third is planned out. The zebra bag is ready to fuse the fleece lining and do a little bit of quilting.  There are no zippers on this one so it really shouldn't take too long. 

And then I got distracted with some Christmas table runners last week.  I think these will make good gifts if I can actually finish them.  One is a complete top and the other 2 are cut out.  So I'm adding these to this week's goals so I can focus on those bags again. 

The pattern called for 4 of the paper pieced Crossed Canoe blocks, but that would be a huge table runner and that doesn't work for everyone.  I ended up doing just 2 blocks because with the sashing and border it's a decent size even if your table is small. 

That first one is a very modern Christmas fabric in aqua, and pink with a touch of red.  The peppermint candy print and the green snowman are both a lot more traditional. I think each one will be very cute.  

So for this week I've tried to set some reasonable goals for myself:

  • FIRST - put away all of the Quilt Show "stuff" that I unloaded from my car!!
  • Finish 1 of the 2 Christmas runners (flimsies)
  • Farmers Wife Sampler blocks
    • make this week's 2 new blocks
    • sash at least 10 more
  • Make at least 5 various RSC blocks
  • Progress on Sophia's zebra bag
  • Progress on Olivia's music bag
  • Halloween black cat pillow (quilt front & cut back pieces)
  • prep a possible charity stitching project with friends - maybe they will be interested
I'm linking up with To Do Tuesday.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Design Wall Monday - Farmers Wife Sampler blocks

Last week's Farmers Wife Sampler blocks were Hovering Birds, and Windblown Square.  This makes 66 of the 111 finished.  I have about half of them sashed as well.  

The Windblown Square blocks is really the same as the block called Whirlpool, except it used 3 colors instead of just 2 colors. They are made from all Half Square Triangles.  

Today needs to be spent getting organized again after the quilt show.  All of the things from our Quilt of Valor display table are in one pile in the living room.  My own quilts that I displayed at the show are in another pile.  I need to unpin the paper labels, and fold them all up.  The few little purchases I made at the quilt show vendors are in a bag on the loveseat.

And my brother-in-law dropped off several boxes of old photos he would like scanned and organized. Those boxes are in a stack in my kitchen - waiting.

Yikes!!  Will I actually get to sew today? 

I'm linking up with DWM:

I'm also linking up with Monday Making:

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Quilt Show

 We have a small quilt guild with fewer than 50 members, but our quilt show this year is BIG!  Probably the best quilt show we’ve had since I’ve been a member. The theme was Spellbound, and a lot of Halloween projects were shown along with everything else imaginable.  The committee can be very proud of what they accomplished with all of their hard work planning. And members can be proud of the quality of the quilt in the show.  So much talent on display. 

There was a good crowd all day, and I heard such good comments from people. There were too many beautiful things to photograph and post at once but I will show a few highlights.

One of the Past President’s quilts. This quilt actually represents 2 years, as this gal was president 2 years in a row.  We made the house blocks for her after the first year and told her to “hold onto them” because the blocks for the second year "might" blend nicely.  She received the trees to go with the houses, and she did such a lovely creative job of designing a layout. 

One of our members has won ‘Viewer’s Choice” several times, and that award has been well deserved each time because she is SO talented.  Two of her quilts caught my eye immediately this year.

One because of the amazing use of color, and the other because of the spectacular quilting.  

And our Featured Quilter had so many beautiful things I don’t know where to start.  But this darling small quilt had 3-D dresses on each doll.  She mentioned that she has a real love of paper dolls, and this quilt sure represents that love.   She also said her first loves are embroidery and applique, and her quilts very definitely reflect some major skills in those areas. 

And how about 24 FEET of Bargello beauty?  One of our members challenged herself to accomplish this amazing quilt.  She assembled the top between April of this year and June.  Incredible!  Then found a young man who agreed to quilt it on his long arm.  Gorgeous!!!

I’ll share a few more pictures this week.  

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Rainbow of colors

One of the things I love the most about making a big variety of blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is just that - VARIETY.   I love being able to make a block or a few as a "change up" from working on bigger on-going projects.  It keeps the boredom away.  The block sets hang in my sewing room closet using skirt hangers, and before I know it there are enough to make a whole quilt top.  

 Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

These blocks are not lime green, but they are definitely cute!  I still need more of these Twinkle Star blocks, so I cut 5 sets of block pieces in different colors.  There is a little bonus, and that is cutting tulip pieces from these same scraps while they were on the cutting table.  These 3 blocks were sewn in between other projects this week. 

The other 2 sets are next in line, sitting next to my sewing machine ready to go.  And look - there is a lime green one!  By the way - my nerdy spreadsheet is also tracking individual blocks.  That number is growing much higher than I ever expected.  More on that some other day.

And more rainbow scrap play time this week yielded these 2 blocks.  I cut that first one from the leftovers laying on my table after cutting out that Christmas runner I'm making.  The other used one of the florals from the recent Summer Soiree blocks.  All leftovers. 

Mary blogged about a great scrap quilt made with lots of fun bright colors the other day.  The link to her post is below.  In another later post she shows the template she used, called Windmill.  It's basically the same as the Roll On blocks that I've used several times over the years.  But I like the name Windmill much better. 
The big difference between Mary's quilt and the two I made this summer is not using a white or neutral background - just lots and lots of color.  I love that idea!  My readers are well aware that I lean toward neutral backgrounds so much of the time.  Neutrals are safe.  But these will make great RSC blocks going forward with a new rule I've made for these - no white or cream backgrounds, only colors!!  And I have a whole box full of scrappy charm squares to get me started. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

This n That

 Today is the day for setting up for the quilt show.  I've volunteered to help set up poles and hang quilts, and I'm hoping that my back will handle it.  I've been fighting a strained back all week since trying to move something heavy on Sunday.  

I've had limited sewing time this week but have made some decent progress on bags, which was really my only goal for the week.  But then my new issue of Love of Quilting magazine showed up in the mail.  And I just had to dig into my Christmas fabrics to play with a project from the magazine.

There was a table runner pattern in the magazine that uses this particular block, and I just couldn't resist making with it.  These blocks are paper pieced so the points come out perfectly.  I plan to make 2 of them - one using the red/aqua Christmas fabrics and the other using the red/green below.  It's sure fun to have a whole drawer full of Christmas fabrics to play with. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Bag planning

The front of Sophia's zebra bag is fixed and looks much better.  I have the back and lining pieces cut, and the handles made.  This was a kit I bought, but . . . the pattern called for the handles to be 42" long.  This is for a little girl who is 9.  She doesn't need this bag to drag on the ground when she carries it.  I'm not very tall either, but this bag hung about at my waist with the handles that long.  So, I made ONE handle at 42" and cut it in half.  

The pattern calls for fusible fleece to be fused to the lining and I'm really questioning the logic in that.  So, after chatting with a couple of people about it, I'm thinking I'll fuse it to the outside of the bag and do a few simple quilting lines on it for stabilization.  I don't want it too flimsy - or too bulky. 

And here is the "pattern" for granddaughter Olivia's music bag.  She wants a bag just large enough to carry her lesson books to piano lessons, so I'm making it up as I go.  I have a pretty splatter paint music print for the main parts of the bag, and a purple (her favorite color) for handles, plus a top and bottom band.  Those bands will hopefully help keep the music print a bit cleaner since it has a lot of white in it.  And I want to make some batik flying geese in the colors of the music print to run up the front of the bag.  Hot pink, lime green, purple, aqua - all of those colors are in the print.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Two finishes this week - a bag & a wall hanging

The navy blue Sew Together bag was a UFO most of 2021, but now it's checked off my list. Yay!!

This is #17 for this bag pattern.  Guess I really need to learn to make a different type of bag some day.  But I really do like making these little bags!

The other finish is the Bats & Boos wall hanging.  This was actually one of those squirrels that crossed my path and insisted that I drop everything and make it.  And I'm so glad that I did because this was a very fun project.  This one will go to the quilt show this weekend.  And then next Monday morning I will hang it from the quilt rail in the living room for the rest of October. 

I've often said that I'm a nerd who loves a spreadsheet.  Projects are so easy to track with a very simple spreadsheet.  I have a tab for my UFO Challenge list, a tab for random blocks made, and a tab for project finishes.  When I start working on a project I list it on that sheet, and then when it's finished it gets a date and category selected from a drop down menu I created.  That way I know how many of anything I've actually finished.  My finished total for 2021 wouldn't look very impressive without so many pillowcases added in.  

It's fun to see how many things actually did get completed this year.  And those items started but not finished show up highlighted in yellow until they are done, which is a good reminder to keep working on them.   

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Not all progress is forward

 The navy blue Sew Together bag is all done except for the handwork around the handles and zipper.  At some point this week I plan to have it all finished. 

The tote bags for my granddaughters have also been started.  The parts for the front of Sophia's bag were cut and sewn on Monday morning.  But I couldn't figure out why the borders on this panel section didn't fit.  I measured them twice, and even pieced the top and bottom to make it fit.

And then I looked at the pattern again.  Oops!!!  Two mistakes on my part due to not reading the instructions closely enough.  

Mistake #1 - I didn't trim to size after adding the the blue borders.  Mistake #2 - I put the narrow flowered sections on the sides (because they fit since I didn't trim the blue), and the wider border on the top and bottom.  I ended up piecing those because they were too short.  Duh!! GRRRR!  This was a careless mistake on my part!!

So, I do believe my seam ripper is coming out again.  And once I trim that blue, then the flowered pieces should fit IF I put them on correctly.