Thursday, March 31, 2022

Leaders & Enders - an unusual choice

 There is always the danger of my short attention span getting in the way of focused sewing, because we all know there are so many exciting NEW projects calling to me.

So . . . to give myself a break between Farmers Wife Sampler sewing, I have to work on some bright colors and other things.  I had a stack of 10 pillowcases kitted up, and decided to pull a couple of them off the top to prep for a Leader/Ender option.  

The easy thing about these is that to finish a pillowcase (using the sausage roll system) only requires 5 seams.  Seam ONE sews all of the edges of the base, the cuff, and the trim together, and when you turn it right side out there are zero raw edges there.  Seams 2 and 3 create a clean French seam across the bottom, and seams 4 and 5 do the same along the long sides.  Absolutely no raw edges anywhere, and in only 5 simple seams. 

This pink and green frog pillowcase was quickly created in between sewing all of the blocks together for one diagonal row of FWS.  And the blue one with chickadees on the cuff is done too. 

  I always have a big stack of pillowcases for gifts, and typically donate 30 or more to various charities every year.  And the bonus is that they work as a little distraction so I don't get bored sewing on just one thing for too many days in a row.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Farmers Wife Sampler - Progress

 Edited:  wet snow is falling this morning. It's sticking to the lawn, but melting on the street and sidewalk.  I'm trying not to whine about it because we need that moisture so desperately. 

You may get very tired of watching this one go together slowly on my living room floor.  Actually - I might get tired of it too.  This quilt is going to be huge!

A couple more diagonal rows are now sewn together.  The only place I really have that is large enough to lay this out is my living room floor. That means I'm very carefully picking up one row at a time, keeping them in order, and carrying them downstairs to sew.  Then I bring that row back upstairs.  I'm telling myself I need the exercise.  

I had missed 3 blocks when I counted things last week.  One of the missing was Ribbons, which is now completed and added to the "Design Floor". 

Star Gardener is all cut out and hopefully will be sewn together today.  And that leaves just one more block to make - Tulip.  

If I follow the photo in the book, this quilt will have 7 on-point blocks across and 9 down.  Floor space will run out before I get all 9 rows down, so at some point I'll have to begin doing a bit of folding.  And I won't make final block location decisions until the last 2 blocks are in the mix.  

I promise to NOT post about this one every day!  

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Saturday Sampler block #5

This year's Saturday Sampler has been an interesting project.  The blocks themselves are 12.5", and tend to be very simple traditional blocks.   I've actually been doing 3 different versions because the block itself will take maybe a half hour total (cutting & sewing) and then you have to wait a whole month for the next block, right?

My main block has been the Christmas version, which is pulling new and old Christmas prints from the stash along with scrappy white-on-white backgrounds.  But what really makes these blocks fun is the interesting pieced sashing for the blocks.  

This sashing changes the whole look of these blocks, and then when multiple blocks are set together they create a secondary design.  This is block #5, but blocks 1-4 below really give a glimpse of what this will look like when done.

My other 2 versions are more aligned to my love of bright colors.  One version has this black background fabric and uses bright prints in the blocks. 

The other version is using some of my brighter batiks with a soft grey background.  As an
 nod to the April choice of pink for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I used pink in both of these.  The pink and green below are much brighter in person.  

So, I'm caught up with Saturday Sampler for now. The second Saturday in April we'll get block #6 patterns.  That will be halfway with this sampler group.  

Monday, March 28, 2022

Design Wall Monday - trying to focus

Farmer's Wife Sampler is finally in the assembly phase after over a year making the blocks, 2 each week.  The original plan was using a lighter tan print for the side setting triangles.  But the more I looked at them, the less I liked that lighter color.  And these first 4 were cut the wrong size anyway.  

Saturday I took some blocks into The Pin Cushion to look for a better color.  The little cornerstones had a creamy tone, as do most of the Kim Diehl prints that are in the quilt. So I found a similar print with that creamy color.  This is a HUGE improvement - and I cut the pieces the right size this time.  

Three diagonal rows are sewn together now, and I'll lay out the rest of the blocks to get a decent color distribution.  Adding at least one row each week is a reasonable goal to set for this one.  The Design Wall for this one will be my Design Floor where there is more room.

Block #5 for the Saturday Sampler is my second priority this week.  The pattern and fabrics for the Christmas version are what's on my cutting table this morning.  Once that is done, then I'll choose colors for the other 2 colorways I'm making (without the fancy sashing).  

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for April is pink, and I have a drawer full of pinks to play with.  Of course that didn't stop me from buying a couple of new pieces while I was in the shop on Saturday.  That pink poking out from the bottom (top of photo) is a half yard of a new one.  But I did pull a few pink options out of the stash to consider for the Falling in Love blocks.  Those heart blocks are definitely ready for pink to join the rainbow.  These are not my final choices, so we'll see what else is in that drawer. 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday: 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Hmmm - working on weekly goals

 Some weeks it's easy to focus on goals I've set and some weeks - not so much. This past week was a mix, but I had plenty of forward progress in spite of some detours.  I put away the yellow fabrics, and will turn my eye to a new RSC color for April.  And I also need to keep working on finishing up some on-going projects to make room for some new ones.  

Beads Quilt of Valor is a finished top.  I plugged away on doing the diagonal rows, and then added a 3.5" red border around it.  It took me longer to get this into the flimsy stage than I originally planned, but there isn't a deadline so it's just fine.  I have enough of the blue remaining for the binding once it's quilted. I'm very pleased with this one, and can't wait to get it quilted.  

I had set a goal of finishing the last 3 Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks, but decided a little detour was needed.  (Note: I did get sashing on ALL of the 108 completed FWS blocks this week.)  Some other Quilt of Valor blocks were easy to finish up while the red/white/blue fabrics were still out.  The colored pieces were all cut and just needed the white star sections cut. 

Those kits are for the Patriotic Star blocks that our QOV group has been making.  It's such an easy block to make and go together quickly.  Now I'm trying to figure out how I could maybe combine them with the panel sections that Connie gifted to me this winter.  I think I can come up with something, and the fun will be in the planning, right?

So, my cutting table and ironing board are now cleared off and ready for the next projects.  That means my plans for this next week will have plenty of things to play with:

** quilt & bind a Kim Diehl mini quilt
**prep binding for 30s Roll On baby quilt
** make & sash the last 3 Farmer's Wife blocks
** work on Saturday Sampler blocks for this month

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Last week of yellow

The end of March is in sight, and so is the end of playing with sunshine yellow for RSC.

These 2 little yellow squares were pulled for centers in the Friendship Squares blocks.  I had already made one block with yellow frames, and will probably do yellow frames with more of these in the future.  But yellow centers seemed to call to me last week. 

A green frame worked nicely with the floral print.

And the purple frame picked up on the purple touches in the sewing print.  

What color might be next for RSC?  And what yellow projects have other RSC fans been working on this week?

Friday, March 25, 2022

It's Friday already

 Hmmmm - where did this week go?  

Yesterday was a busy day around here.  It was my 68th birthday plus I had a doctor appointment and we went to a college basketball game - again.  And today is our 45th wedding anniversary. My question really should be where did all of the YEARS go?

I felt quite spoiled with flowers yesterday. The Anthurium on the left is for our anniversary from my husband, and the red roses are for my birthday from him.  The yellow arrangement is from some of the grandkids. My kitchen counter looks like a flower shop. And I love them all. 

The basketball game was a fun outing for my birthday and it was a WIN for the Jackrabbit women!  They are now in the semi-finals (8 teams) on Sunday, and will host Alabama.  There were over 3,000 loud fans in the arena to cheer them on. What a fun and exciting game.

And there was the doctor appointment that produced no real surprises.  The hip pain I have is really in the trochanter area and I got a cortisone shot on each side to see if that helps. But both of my hip joints will need replacing, probably in the next couple of years.  And the doctor suggested other pain reducing steps I can take.  For right now the focus will be on pain reduction, and keeping an eye on deteriorating joints as well.  Ughhh!!! 

But - I remind myself each day that my life is pretty good.  I'm not living in a country being shelled and bombed.  We have a comfortable home, loving family, and relatively good health - for old folks!

And I have the day off to sew today.  Plus I'm hoping to go to a movie with my husband tonight to celebrate our anniversary.  

Thursday, March 24, 2022

RBD Challenge block #10

Windblown, by Amy Smart . . . is block #10 in the Riley Blake Designs challenge.

I really like this one, and there were so many really unique variations posted to the Facebook group.  I'm glad I waited most of the day before making it so I could see how folks arranged the lights, darks, and mediums for this block.  The blocks are released on Tuesday mornings, and you know those go-getters start posting them within a couple of hours.  I made mine in the evening after I had seen a lot of the variations.

No sewing at all on Wednesday or today.  One of the engineers needed me to work on a project, so I have lots of hours in and hope to meet my deadline today of 1 PM.  Then I have a long awaited doctor appointment to discuss the hip pain I've had all winter.  When I get home from that it will most likely be time to head back to Brookings for Round #3 of the WNIT - Jackrabbit women vs. Drake.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A silly question

 My husband walked into my office on Monday morning - and asked a silly question.  "Do you have any baby quilts?"  My response was "are you kidding me?".  And then I made him follow me into the guest bedroom to sort through a crib full of quilts. 

I guess there really is such a thing as a silly question.  Here is the evidence!

Three of his staff have welcomed new babies in the past week, and during their partners' meeting on Monday they decided that giving them baby quilts from the company would be a great idea.  They have even offered to pay me for the quilts, which is great because that money will go back into my "budget" for future quilting projects.  

This stack of 7 baby/child quilts was what we pulled out of the old baby crib I use to store quilts. I know there are a couple more down in the bottom but he chose 3 from here.  Now I need to put labels on them that has their company logo and whatever else the guys decide.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Farmer's Wife Sampler

Yesterday I made 2 of the final blocks for the Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt that I've been working on all year.  I thought I had 4 blocks left to make.  

Temperance Tree and Silver Lane were 2 of them.  I've been checking them off each week on a spreadsheet, so I really thought I had these tracked well.  That meant the last 2 "un-checked" blocks should now be the final ones to make.  Wrong!!!

First I noticed that one of the un-checked blocks on my spreadsheet just happened to be the last one I made a couple of weeks ago. It was even on top of the stack in my basket.  So obviously I didn't check it off the spreadsheet.  And then I counted all of the blocks in the stack - and only came up with 108 instead of 109.  The final count needs to be 111 blocks total.

That means I actually have 3 blocks left to make, but now I'm only confident about 1 of those, a block called Star Gardener.  It could take me days to figure out which other blocks I still need to make. 

What are my next steps on this project?  I have about 25 of the blocks still needing sashing, so that might be what I tackle along with making the Star Gardener block. Then I'll need to go through the book and figure out which 2 blocks that I'm really missing.  

Monday, March 21, 2022

Design Wall Monday -

 Wow!  I actually have a Monday at home for a change.  I've whined about never going anywhere the past couple of years, but for the last 3 weeks all we've done is go somewhere.  So it's great to be home and playing in my sewing room today.

The 9th block for the Riley Blake Design block challenge is currently on my design wall, along with the other 8 blocks introduced so far.  I believe there are 7 more to go in this series. 

This month's Saturday Sampler blocks are in my plan for the week too.  This will be block #5 of 12.  I'm making 3 versions of each block, but only the Christmas version will have the extra fancy pieced sashing. I don't even have fabrics pulled for these yet, except for that sashing.

The batiks I plan to use for this month’s Nanci’s Stars are laying on my ironing board, just waiting for their turn this week.  I’m using a golden yellow, plus 3 dark brown batiks for them.

I still have some rows to finish up on the Beads Quilt of Valor.  The final blocks for Farmers Wife Sampler are on my radar this week too.  The templates are ready but I haven't chosen fabrics for them yet.  
And I picked up 2 quilts from the quilter on Friday, so I have some binding to prep for those.  

Obviously - I have WAY MORE on my To Do List for this week than I could possibly accomplish.  

What is on your design wall this morning?

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Switching back to red & setting some new goals

 OK - On Friday afternoon I just had to make a quick switch back to red from all of the yellow sewing I've done lately.  

The Falling in Love blocks have been my #1 RSC project so far in 2022.  I made only 4 red ones for January, but made 5 of the aqua/teal blocks in February, and 5 of the yellow ones this month.  So I decided I really needed to make a 5th red one.  Going forward I plan to do 5 each month. 

And while that red drawer was open I also made a red Ohio Star block.  There were a couple of red ones with white background in the collection, but now this reversed color version joins in.  

The goals for next week are important, and I'll be deviating from RSC sewing.

#1 - make last week's Riley Blake challenge block (blue/white)
#2 - make my last 4 Farmers Wife Sampler blocks
#3 - make this month's Saturday Sampler blocks

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Yellow bits and pieces

Friday was the first day I was able to sew anything since last week Friday.  It's been a very busy week, but spending a couple of hours in my sewing room was the perfect way to relax and unwind.  One yellow Twinkle Star was high on my priority list for RSC, and it's a cute one.

I did add another Friendship Square block, with yellow frames.  This square was shared by a guild member who must have visited Sturgis - maybe even during the big motorcycle rally.  I just know this square was in the box with the other guild exchange blocks. 

And I pulled out a couple more yellow centers from that same box. These will be yellow centers, with purple or green frames.  These Friendship Square blocks will be a variation on an Eye Spy quilt I think.

Tulip Time block #40 is also done.  Now I need to lay out these blocks and make a decision on how to sash them, and whether to set them on-point or straight. Bonnie's original pattern used a green sashing and a green piano key outer border.  Maybe that will happen . . . and maybe not.  This will require some experimenting I think.

Not much sewing will happen this weekend either.  Grandchildren activities to attend will take precedence today, and we are attending another WNIT college basketball game on Sunday afternoon.  Note to self:  I'm about overdosed on basketball for this season!

Let's see what RSC fans are working on this week -

Friday, March 18, 2022

Sew much fun

 I still haven't had any sewing time since we've been home, but I have to show off some goodies from the Sew Vintage group.  This is my favorite "quilt-y" group, and that is mostly because the ladies in this small group are just so nice and they are fun.  Our little group has such fun each month as we share our love of all things vintage. 

We decided a few months ago to do a signature block exchange, and chose this little 4.5" heart block.  We were missing about 3 ladies last Saturday, but this is the heart collection so far. Aren't they cute? I'm not sure yet exactly what I'll make with these.  

One group member (Sandy) brought everyone a gift - these jar openers that she made. OMG - the pigs are just so cute!!!  

The front was sewn onto a piece of shelf liner to grip a jar lid. This is one of the most clever ideas I've seen lately. She did mention they were tricky to sew because of that texture, so she sewed them onto a sheet of paper to keep that shelf liner from gripping the machine.  I know this will get a LOT of use in my house.  

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Taking the long way home

When we left the Twin Cities area yesterday we expected an uneventful 5 hour drive home.  Well . . . that was nearly the case.  No accidents, but we did end up with an extra 50 miles.  Dave was on the phone with a coworker talking about a work project, and I was reading a book on my phone as we drove - and neither of us noticed when we got to the junction of I-35 south and I-90 west at Albert Lea, where we should have turned.  I looked up at one point and saw a road sign that caught my eye, and asked Dave why we were in Iowa.  We were actually 25 miles SOUTH of I-90.  We turned around at the next exit and headed back north. I can't believe neither of us noticed we had missed our turn!!!

So . . . I was lucky he was willing to still let me stop further along I-90 in Sherburn Minnesota at a quilt shop.  The Old Alley shop is actually in an old bowling alley building.

This is a shop I've visited several times over the years, and it is so cute.  I picked up some fat quarters, plus a "chunk" of what may be a former Minnesota Shop Hop print with words and pictures of winter fun in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. 

It was wonderful to finally get home yesterday and sleep in my own bed. I'm not unpacked yet, and haven't replenished the food in the fridge.  But I'm glued to my desk this morning trying to catch up with some work things.  I needed a break, so I'm dashing off this quick blog post.

My stops into a couple of quilt shops while in Minneapolis resulted in a few purchases.  That top fabric has fireflies with their butts lit up! So cute and made me think of childhood summer nights growing up in small town Minnesota.  That piece will be cut into 6" squares to share at guild next month.

I also picked up 2 patriotic prints for QOV blocks, a silvery batik with snowflakes, and a cute snowman print.  There is no plan for those, but they called my name.

Now - I guess I need to get back to work and finish updating some budgets.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

City explorations

 Yesterday was my day to play while back here in Minneapolis, and I had an excellent day My cousin picked me up at the downtown hotel we are staying in, and we headed back to NE MPLS to one of her favorite restaurants to have a late breakfast/early lunch.  The Buttered Tin - a cute neighborhood stop with amazing food.  I love going out for breakfast! I ordered the “Damn Good Breakfast Sandwich” - egg, bacon, tomatoes, aioli, slivers of onion - all on toasted white bread.  And it came with a salad!! 

We tried stopping at one of her favorite bakeries to pick up bread but it was closed on Mondays, unfortunately. I had to take a picture of the sign at least, since it was Sarah Jane’s Bakery.  My name is Sara Jane too, but without the H.  

We ventured over to the suburb White Bear Lake for some fun shopping. Affinity For Quilts is definitely a stop I hope to make again.  The quilt shop is in a cute area full of interesting little shops. We walked all around a couple of blocks, exploring several shops.  My cousin even got the bread she needed at a bakery across from the quilt shop.

The afternoon ended up at her house briefly to visit with her husband and then it was back to the hotel for me.  We’ve stayed at this downtown hotel many times over the years as my husband has been coming to this conference for a long time.  But this year I am less than impressed. Yikes!!  It could be a poster child for staff shortages.

Like many hotels, they don’t provide daily room cleaning, which really is OK as long as we can get clean towels.  But this pile of linens was piled outside a room down our hallway on Sunday when we checked in.  Still sitting there!!  And last night when we returned to our room there was a vacuum cleaner and a bag of trash in the hallway between our room and the elevators.  

Our room appears clean, but you can tell in the photo that the hallway probably hasn’t be vacuumed in a while.  I heard yesterday that the conference committee is considering moving this conference to a different hotel after decades in this location. Might be time!!


Monday, March 14, 2022

AWOL for a couple of days

I’m away from my sewing room for a couple of days - actually the furthest from home that I’ve been in 2 years.   This skyline may even be familiar with some of you.

If things go as planned I am getting together with my favorite cousin, for a quick visit.  Tomorrow I have to spend some time working the booth for my hubbie at this conference.  But today is mine.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

A little hand stitching on the road

 I needed a bit of hand stitching for a road trip today.

Yup!!  I have more hexies laying around.  These are just a few of the ones made from a Moda Candies pack.  Actually there were 2 matching packs, and I have no clue what the original plan was for them.  I used about 2/3 of one pack for hexies and the rest were in the bag yet - untouched.

I now have a plan for these, so stay tuned.