Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Another squirrel has crossed my path

Just when I’m trying to establish some focus to my sewing, something new snags my attention.  And this really demanded some play time. I’m calling this block Pyramid. 

I’ve been seeing so many creative uses of triangles lately on various social media.  And it caused me to pull out a book I purchased last winter that was all about triangles. The book has some great directions for use of various rulers and for making triangle blocks of different sizes - without any paper piecing.  Cutting from strips is so much quicker and easier.  So I did a little math to make this block.

I decided to start with 3.5” strips to cut the small triangles, and used my 60 degree ruler. I needed 9 background triangles, and 3 colorful ones from the 3.5” strips.  Once those were sewn together into a pieced triangle, then I could measure for the size of the big section which ended up being 6.5” high.

My finished Pyramid block is 12.5” tall.  I’m not sure exactly how many of these would be needed to make a decent sized quilt, but I do think they will be a fun addition to my RSC block sets going forward.  Playing with triangles will provide some relief from the more traditional blocks I’m usually working on.  And making a couple of these each month will add up quickly.

After all, there is no rush.  I just want to ENJOY THE PROCESS.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Home Sweet Home - a QOV finish

Home Sweet Home is finally finished.  It's a Quilt of Valor that I made this summer. The binding was finally finished on Sunday while I watched golf on TV.

This is one of the 5 quilts I had prepped and ready for hand stitching binding before getting my hip replaced on August 8.  I wanted to make sure I had plenty of hand work to keep me occupied until I could navigate the stairs down to my sewing room.  It took me almost 2 weeks to get this binding done.  My husband commented over the weekend that because I took a lot of naps the first couple of weeks that time really didn't count. Maybe he's right. LOL.  And I’ll admit that once I started going down to my sewing room this past week, it was easy to just forget about binding.  

The pattern and fabric for this quilt was part of one of The Fat Quarter Shop's Sew Sampler boxes.  I had the background and grey sashing in my stash, so it was a quick project.  The blocks were fun and I've saved the pattern for possible future QOV projects.  I'm donating this one to our QOV group for presentations coming up this fall. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Design Wall Monday - how to finish it?

 What's on my design wall this morning?  It's project that definitely needs some ideas and inspiration for finishing.

Early this summer I visited a quilt shop with my daughter and granddaughter to use the gift certificate they had given me for my birthday.  One of the things I purchased was a kit for 2 hot pads.  The kit included the cute bee fabric, along with everything needed except the batting or insulbright - even fabric for backing and binding the hot pads.  I also bought one extra fat quarter of that main bee print - just because it was so cute.  

Once I had those 2 blocks made for the hot pads, I realized that I had enough of nearly all of the fabrics remaining to make one more of these blocks.  I just needed a little bit of a black print for the star points and that was easily pulled from my scraps.  So now there are 3 blocks.

Here's where I need some inspiration - do I use all 3 blocks to make hot pads, using the kit fabrics for backing?  I always feel like putting pretty fabrics onto the backs of things is a waste of the pretty.  Or do I use that pretty fabric to sash and border these blocks to make them bigger and possibly into pillows?  Or how about using all 3 in a table runner?  

I just can't decide what these want to grow up to be.  Recommendations and ideas are certainly welcome. For now these will just hang out until a plan presents itself.

And the other project on the design wall?  Well that is a table runner kit that has been waiting patiently for some attention.  The Autumn Garden kit came in the cutest box, and it has been sitting on the corner of my cutting table most of the summer - tempting me.  Its turn has come, and I began the cutting process over the weekend.  

We'll see how far I get on it this week before I leave on Friday for a family reunion.  FYI - there are LOTS of little pieces in those flowers and pumpkins.   

What's on your design wall today?

Saturday, August 27, 2022

One final orange week

 One orange Birdie block had to happen to celebrate the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.  And I also made an aqua one because that's the color for August in our Sew Vintage group.  I've been making these using my overflowing collection of 30s reproduction prints.  No new fat quarters were harmed in the making of these bird blocks - just scraps.

My final focus on orange for August is on Nanci's Star blocks.  These are all batik blocks, and I have no clue yet just what they will become.  I've been making 3 blocks in each of the colorways so far.  With the orange and black, these have quite a Halloween vibe. 

Check out more RSC fun . . .

Thursday, August 25, 2022

More Saturday Sampler sewing

Block #10 now has its pieced sashing attached.  Only 2 more monthly blocks remain for the current Saturday Sampler program. I'm so tempted to sew finished blocks into rows already, but since the blocks inside the sashing are all scrappy I'm trying to hold off so that I can distribute the colors as best I can.  Maybe just ONE row wouldn't hurt . . .

I also have frames added onto 2 more of the blocks with the dark backgrounds.  So 5 of the 10 blocks are framed now.  A pink frame was added to one block.

And a bright blue now frames another block.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Saturday Sampler progress

Some major progress has been made on my Saturday Sampler for this month.  This morning I cut all of the red and grey parts for the pieced sashing for the final 3 months' blocks.  At some point this week I'll sash this month's block (#10).  Maybe tomorrow.  

The bonus versions of my Block #10 are done with batiks and with brights.  The batik blocks have a pale grey background, and the bright ones have a black print background with swirls and splashes of bright colors.  No fancy sashing will go onto these however.  

Sometimes ideas just pop up in my head when least expected.  I've been thinking about how I want to set together the 2 extra sets of Saturday Sampler blocks since I'm not doing that pieced sashing with those. Nothing creative had come to mind so far.  And then I was moving some precuts around and realized this jelly roll has all of the bright colors that those blocks have.  And there are 2 strips of each color.   How about simple 2.5" frames around each of the blocks?  

After doing some auditioning of colors, I framed 3 of the 10 finished blocks using strips from the jelly roll, making each block now 16.5" square.  I think this was a very successful "A HA" moment.  Once all of the blocks are done and framed I can play with the color arrangement more, and the frames keep that black background from dominating the whole thing, which I was getting concerned about. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Back in my happy place

 It was only for about 45 minutes yesterday, but I was able to spend some time at my sewing machine again after 2 weeks.  The stair navigation is pain free - just slow and careful.  Sitting at my machine, with leaning forward slightly was more uncomfortable.  But it was so good to be there for a little while.

Block #10 for Saturday Sampler is a really quick and easy block.  The Christmas version block is done, except for the pieced sashing.  I'll get that sashing done this week I'm sure.

I also cut the pieces for the batik version block.  This one will hopefully be sewn later today when I get home from my first follow-up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon.  

Baby steps!  But they are all FORWARD, so I feel blessed.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Design Wall Monday - return to sewing

 I’m exactly 2 weeks out from hip replacement surgery and today I’m going to sit down at my sewing machine for the first time since the surgery. I know I won’t spend a long time in my sewing room today, but even a half hour will be fun.

My goal for today is to cut the pieces for the new Saturday Sampler block in the Christmas fabrics, and maybe get it sewn.  I'll save that pieced border to add another day, as well as the other 2 color ways.  Even if I only get this block cut out today I'll be happy to spend a little time in my happy place.

I still have plenty of binding to finish, so that will still be a focus this week, as I continue to recuperate.  And I picked up Tulip Time from the quilter this weekend, so now I have to cut the binding strips and get this one ready for binding too.  

 My husband was playing in the state seniors golf tournament, so I was home alone all weekend.  Lunch with a couple of friends on Saturday was the highlight, but for most of the weekend I immersed myself in a really good book. 

Over the past few months I've been working my way through the Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell.  I absolutely HATE thriller-type movies and refuse to see them. But I read this type of book all the time.  Cornwell's series about medical examiner Kay Scarpetta is a good one, and Dust might have been one of my favorites in the series so far.  

So - what is on YOUR design wall this morning?

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Just a little more orange

 Again, no NEW orange sewing, but I can share the last of the orange blocks I made the first week or August - BS (before surgery).  I told you I was sewing frantically that week, and it was true.  I'm definitely hoping to make my way downstairs soon to do a little NEW sewing. 

One last Ohio Star block happened.  I love the paisley white-on-white background, and wish I still had yards and yards of it.  But this was nearly the last of it out of the scrap bin.  

And finally - I did a couple more churn dash blocks using the pattern from our guild baby quilt project.  I've already made and turned it several of these churn dash blocks for our baby quilts but couldn't resist using the pattern to make at least one more baby quilt for my own donation or gifting purposes.  If you zoom in, the grey print has tiny mouse faces.  So cute!

On the recovery scene - each day gets a little better for the most part.  Stairs are getting easier to navigate, so I think I'm nearly ready to make my way down to my basement sewing room.  I will temporarily replace my rolling chair that moves too easily, with a less dangerous chair.  I know that sitting down at my sewing machine again will be good for my soul. 

Check out more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects:

Friday, August 19, 2022

More binding

After a relatively sleepless night, I’m spending the morning in my recliner with an ice pack on the new hip and some binding in my hands.

Sleep was very elusive last night - a combination of not being able to get comfortable, and a husband with seasonal allergies snoring loud enough to wake the neighbors.  And this morning I notice that I have more swelling on that hip.  Hence the ice pack - which gives me an excuse to sit and do some slow hand stitching.  Like I needed an excuse.  

Yesterday I left the house for the first time since surgery.  Getting a haircut and a manicure was definitely good for some attitude adjustment. And my husband also took me out for Chinese food for supper. I have leftovers to reheat for lunch today - while he is playing in a golf tournament out of town. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Thoughtful friends

Mail is fun when it’s something that reminds you that you have people who have been thinking of you, right?  I’ve mentioned the Sew Vintage group that meets monthly.  It’s my favorite Saturday of the month - really!! 

Well, those sweet thoughtful gals sent me a get well card, and even included a cute summer lemonade fabric tucked in with the well wishes.  Thank you, thank you ladies!  You have no idea how much this is appreciated.  

A few other cards from friends - mostly quilting friends - have brightened my days too.  And one friend from our former hometown sent me a card with a gift certificate for pizza!  Fun!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Another UFO can be checked off my list. 

Home Is Where the Heart Is - a Pat Sloan pattern from the past.  I chose the house block from her "Home Is . . ." sew-along to do as monthly Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks, plus the courthouse steps block with the cat silhouette.  I did NOT do the rest of the blocks from this sew-along.

She offered both a cat silhouette and a dog silhouette, but of course since we had just lost Sammy (black & white tuxedo cat) after 19 years, it seemed appropriate to choose the cat.  Also note the lovely quilting texture.  The ladies at The Pin Cushion always choose quilting designs and thread perfectly.  I absolutely LOVE the hearts swirling through this one. 

Binding is a green and blue print from the stash, and the backing was a grey and white wide backing that I've used before. 

I haven't added a hanging sleeve to this one yet, so the clothespins are holding this wall hanging onto another one behind it.  I'm thinking it will look good hanging at the bottom of the basement steps, over my old trunk, next to my sewing room doorway.  

So - "recuperation" binding project #2 (of 5) is done.  I worked on project budgets for about an hour this morning, paid bills, and now it's time to sit with my leg up again, and an ice pack over the incision.  Binding project #3 will begin. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Design Wall Monday - Checkered Stars

My actual design wall is empty, but I did manage to get something accomplished.  The binding is done on this baby quilt, which was the first of 5 waiting for binding.

Checkered Stars was a project originating in a Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop.  The name was different, and so was the project layout.  It had lots more of the star blocks, but I decided to make it somewhat different.  I have fewer stars and more border.  It makes a good baby quilt.  The colors are actually a bit softer, but look quite bright under the lights of the family room. 

My recuperation is going fine so far. Today marks one week post-op on this left hip.  I’m still using my walker for stability most of the time, but am trying to get by with just a cane occasionally - at least in the house.  With the right hip already a bit unstable as well, I’m pretty nervous about falling yet.  But the pain has been very manageable, and I’ve switched to just taking the Tylenol in place of the stronger pain drugs. 

Thank you to so many readers who’ve left thoughtful comments and emails. I really have appreciated the healing thoughts coming my way.

What’s on your design wall this morning?


Saturday, August 13, 2022

More orange progress

 These orange blocks are NOT the product of this week as I haven't been in the sewing room.  Instead I'm recuperating from hip replacement #1.  But I saved some of the orange blocks made at the end of last week to show today.  

Falling In Love orange blocks #3-5 - and their matching 4" hourglass friends . . .

I hadn't added any new Ohio Star blocks since June, so it was time.  While I had the orange chunks out, I chose this coral fabric for the Ohio Star.  This makes 28 in the collection, and there already were some more vibrant orange ones, so going with the coral side seemed like a good choice.

This elephant actually IS orange, unlike the other one I made this month that is more peachy-pinky-orange.  An actual pink elephant may have to happen in the future.

And using up some leftover pieces worked out perfectly for these 4.5" hearts.  I have a zip lock bag full of these in a whole rainbow of colors.  Eventually there will be enough for a baby quilt. 

Daughter #2 is here for 3 days. She is an Occupational Therapist so has been extremely helpful.  Plus she has been cleaning out my fridge, my cupboards, etc. and tossing anything she finds expired.  And she did laundry, and cooked.  Thursday evening we had swordfish and roasted glazed carrots. Yum!!  And she and the kids have waited on me hand and foot.

Check out more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects:

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Home to recuperate - and the 50th class reunion

The trip home from the hospital was brutal, but it’s good to be home.  Each day will get better I’m sure.  Once I was settled in yesterday I took the pain pills and slept most of the afternoon. At least at home no one will wake me at 4:30 AM to take my blood pressure.  

 A bit over half of my high school graduation class made it to our 50th class reunion last Friday.  It was a really fun evening chatting and laughing.  That's me - front row, left side, in blue and white.

I had to pull out a yearbook to double check, but we had 51 people in our class at graduation.  Yes, I attended a small school in a small town in Minnesota.  Over the years we've lost 7 of those.  Some of these people were classmates from kindergarten through graduation.  Two were classmates even through college - one of those has died, and the other one couldn't be at the reunion due to a conflict.  A couple of the people in this picture I hadn't seen in more than 40 years.  And some I see whenever I visit my home town. 

On Saturday my husband and I spent quite a bit of time just driving around my hometown.  I haven't been back there for 5 years.  The school doesn't look much different than it did when my mother attended.  There are some new additions, but the main building is the same.  I've never been back inside that building since I graduated in 1972.  

We drove past the house I grew up in, which has sat empty for a couple of decades and looks like it will fall down at any time.  My grandmother's tiny house is still there, but it's obvious that it's used as a storage shed now.  It's very sad to see those old houses totally neglected.  

We also made a swing through the cemetery to visit my parents' graves.  It's been over 30 years since they passed away, only months apart.  And we spent part of the day visiting my cousin and his wife - the only relatives I still have in my hometown.  

All-in-all it was a delightful couple of days.  

Monday, August 8, 2022

Design Wall Monday - Rainbow Connection

 A bit of frantic last minute sewing just had to happen last week - and yesterday - before I'm unable to get down the stairs to my sewing room for the unknown future.  As you read this I'm most likely in surgery getting the first new hip.  I'm guessing there will be a few days this week before I begin to catch up with the blogs I read, and most likely won't post for a few days either. 

I did add this blue version of the Rainbow Connection block, and now there are 4 of them hanging in the closet.   These strips and strings were easy to pull out of the scrap bin.  

What's on your design wall today?

Saturday, August 6, 2022

First orange week in the books

As you read this, I'm definitely NOT in my sewing room.  Instead I'm hanging out in my home state of Minnesota - visiting family I haven't seen since "before Covid" and attending my 50th class reunion.  A fun-filled weekend and I'll try to share more next week.

As this was the first week of August with a new RSC color, my thoughts turned from purple to orange.  I had pulled out a whole stack of orange chunks from the stash, and one of the first things I made was this elephant.  You know how sometimes it's difficult to place a fabric into a really specific color category.  This floral print in the orange drawer is one of those.  Is it orange? Is it peach or coral? Is it pink?  Well, apparently I can't decide.  

And apparently I had thought it was PINK a few months ago, because I made an elephant in May with this same fabric thinking it was pink.  And why did I put the leftover chunk back into the orange drawer instead of the pink one?  Anyway, now there are 2 of them - fraternal twins.  The only thing different is the background.  

The first 2 (of 5) Falling in Love blocks in orange are done.  Maybe I'll get the other 3 sewn tomorrow, or maybe they'll have to wait until later in the month.  Since they are cut out already it shouldn't take long to sew them.   

Check out more RSC fun . . .

Friday, August 5, 2022

Quilt of Valor blocks

 This is the weekend of my 50th class reunion!  How did I get so old?  We're on the road to my hometown in Minnesota.  I grew up in a "Leave It To Beaver/Father Knows Best" kind of small town - in the 50s and 60s and 70s.  And I attended school from kindergarten through graduation with some of the same people I'll see this weekend. 

Last weekend, I cut the parts for 18 of these Beads blocks for our Quilt of Valor group's newest block drive.  I sewed them easily this week, because block takes about 5 minutes to make.  And then I cut out and sewed 2 more for an even 20.  

Our QOV group will hopefully end up with enough of these blocks for 2 or 3 quilt tops. It takes 41 for each quilt in the layout we plan to use, which is on-point in vertical rows like a string of beads.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Planning ahead

We had a HOT, HOT, HOT day on Tuesday!  Thankful for air conditioning!!  

I'm trying to think about some projects that I can work on while recuperating from hip replacement next week.  Hand stitching is definitely something I can do, and I need to get binding onto a couple of quilts so I can actually do that hand stitching.  OK - it's more than a couple - it's 5 quilts.  One is queen sized, and there is a Quilt of Valor, a baby quilt, a wall hanging, and the Shooting Stars quilt.  That should keep me busy!

Some hand quilting might happen too.  This little star project was the UFO I adopted from a guild challenge.  It's all sandwiched and ready to hand quilt. 

There are also a couple of cross stitch UFO projects lying around that I should finish - before I manage to misplace the patterns or the floss for them.  Both are partially done. 

 I'm sounding a bit frantic, right?  There are only a few days remaining of "freedom" to do anything I want and I do feel a bit frantic to have things ready for post-surgery. Tomorrow morning we'll leave for my 50th class reunion, and when we get home again on Sunday it will be time to finish any last minute prep for my Monday morning (August 8) hip replacement surgery.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Halloween Party borders

Since those border strips were already cut and hanging with the quilt top, Halloween Party needed very little time this week.  The borders are on.  I just had to look back in the blog to see how long this one has been waiting for borders - and it was fall of 2021.  

It is in the hands of the quilter now, and I'll add a dark binding once I get it back.

The block used in this quilt was Block #7 of Pat Sloan's Summer Soiree sew-along.  She called it Beautiful Tunes.  I had this fun background with stars splashed all over in Halloween colors.  And I had several Halloween fat quarters and yardage. There were so many cute Halloween prints released last year and I couldn't resist buying several different ones. So each block has a medium scale print, and one that reads more solid from a distance.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Tulip Time is a flimsy

 After auditioning quite a few border options, both from my stash and at the quilt shop, I chose a really lush green batik.  It had the "leafy" feel to it that I was looking for, and the colors work well.  It isn't actual leaf shapes but had the feel of a botanical.  This quilt is turning out just as nicely as I have been hoping as I gradually made blocks each month the past couple of years.

Adding borders - or binding - to a really BIG quilt is not my favorite thing to do.  I really need more table space to the left of my sewing machine to hold the weight of the quilt.  So I end up pulling my ironing board over to add more space, and it works.  

This flimsy is 96" square and should look great on my queen size bed all spring and summer.  Hopefully it won't take me until next spring to get this one quilted and bound.  

Next step is to find something pretty for the backing.  I had a backing fabric purchased well over a year ago for this one, but it isn't enough and I just don't want to piece a back.  So that fabric is going into the drawer holding yardage for backs and backgrounds. It will get used for something fun in the future.