Sunday, April 30, 2023

Quilts of Valor

Our little QOV group had the honor of presenting a quilt on Saturday morning.  The state DAR (Daughters of American Revolution) group nominated this veteran because for the 40 plus years he has organized and volunteered in honor guards for military funerals and parades all over the state.

Four of us were part of this ceremony, held in Chamberlain which is about 60 miles from here.  The audience was all of the participants at the state DAR convention, plus the state American Legion commander, and some of his family and friends.  He received a standing ovation.  

Since we were in Chamberlain and had to drive right by coming and going . . . we stopped to pay our respects to the Dignity statue on the eastern bluffs of the Missouri River.  I never get tired of stopping here, as this is such a beautiful location and beautiful piece of art. 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Week #17 Rainbow Scrap Challenge

One last week with purple yielded just a few new things . . . some purple, and some in a variety of other colors.  It has been a productive week. 

Because a couple RSC projects have become finished tops recently, I've been playing with ideas for new blocks to make with the monthly colors.  This is a 12" finished block that I'm going to call Floating Star because that center star floats.  This is a Quilt of Valor pattern that our group has been making for a couple of years now but obviously in patriotic fabrics.  I've decided it will be a good one for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge too.  So, a pretty purple batik was my choice for this first one.  FYI - There are 8 purple 4.5" squares, 1 white 4.5" square (center), and 3 squares cut at 3.5" for the star points.  

Here is the same block done in patriotic fabrics.  Usually we've made these with white stars, but I'm going to add some with colored stars for variety.  

Actually, this morning there are 3 of us going to make a Quilt of Valor presentation in Chamberlain (SD).  The quilt we're presenting is made with 30 of those Floating Star blocks.  We're planning to stop by the Dignity statue on our way home.  We've all been there before but since we'll be driving right by it seems fitting.

These are Rainbow Connection blocks.  Basically it's a string block with corners added.  I made these 3 to add to the stack that is nearly enough for a quilt top.  I have 25 so far, and am aiming for 30.  They are squared up at 11.5".

And 4 more of the Pineapple Hexies were made this week too.  There are now 6 of them, but I have no idea what they will become.  

The background pieces and the dark star points have been cut and stitched for the 9" Sewcialites block set.  This layout will be 72" square, before any borders get added.  I'm going to "live with" this on the floor for a couple of days and possibly rearrange a few of those green blocks for a better balance of colors.  I have enough of the background and the green to add some borders IF I decide it needs some, and to cut the binding from the green. It will be good to have this one done.  

What fun things are happening in the RSC world?

Friday, April 28, 2023

It's Friday, right?

This has been one of those weeks where I lost track of what day it actually is.  Yesterday I didn't even post anything, but I did spend lots of time sewing.  My husband was playing golf with his usual Wednesday group so I had peace and quiet.

One small project was to sew the daisy buttons onto this little May Basket.  This tiny little container was made using 2 leftover layer cake squares.  It looks pretty wonky in my photo, but is actually nicely square.  Once it's filled with some treats it will be ready for a May Basket exchange coming up.

The secret project I've been working on has been delivered to the next person.  One friend made the blocks, I sashed them and assembled the quilt top, and the next friend will quilt it.  This will be a really fun surprise once it's done. 

Some retail therapy happened on Thursday too.  I've been making a list this week of supplies needed to finish a bunch of small projects that really need to be finished, and background needed for a couple of Works In Progress (WIPs).  I picked up InsulBright for some hotpads.  Light green yardage to finish a pillowcase, and rich cream for the background of the green/cream Sewcialites quilt to go with the darker green already chosen for the accents.  More on that another day.

Today's projects include kitting up these pillowcases, working on some BIG half-square triangles for the Sewcialites quilt, and finishing up some RSC blocks I've been working on. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A little misc. fun sewing

The 3D pinwheels (squirrel) are still distracting me.  Pink ones joined the purple ones.  There are 4 of each, with the colors reversed in half.

Again I pulled out some fat quarters for these.  The pink ones made me think of bubblegum or cotton cancy.  Or maybe Pepto Bismol.  LOL

Then some lime green ones happened too, although none of my pictures captured the color well.  That lighter green print is lime and white.  But the greens either came out like sage or had too much yellow.  And speaking of yellow . . . 

In between the pinwheels and the "secret project" sewing, a couple of other things have come about as well. 

There was a Quilt of Valor pillowcase kit in the QOV box, so it was a quick finish.  We need some pillowcases again for upcoming presentations, so I'm planning to kit up a couple more from some of the fabric in our donation box. 

And as a Leader/Ender project I've been working on this.  

My first attempt had just random colors everywhere, but with these 2 hexies I kept those colored 1 inch strips the same color each round.  There is currently no plan for these but they do make a good Leader/Ender project as I'm working on more important things. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Scrappy Irish Chain is a flimsy

Those 3 extra blocks for Irish Chain were quickly added to the stack on Sunday afternoon, and the additional row has been added to the quilt top.

I just know I'll keep making these blocks for RSC because they are such quick and easy ways to use 2.5" strips and squares.  And leftover charms can be trimmed down to the 4.5" bigger square.  They make a really cute quilt.

This quilt top is now a better size - 56 x 64.  It will be a donation  quilt.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Design Wall Monday - Purple pinwheels

 A squirrel crossed my path on Friday.  And yes, I just had to follow it.

 My friend Becki posted a link to Facebook for a 3D pinwheel tutorial.  I have the link below for your convenience, and because I'm guessing someone may want to follow this particular squirrel too.

This is a 3D Pinwheel block.  The tutorial uses charm squares cut into 4 2.5" squares, but you know - this could use any size squares you want to.  I cut my sets at 4"  because I wanted 7" finished blocks.  Wouldn't this be fun using a layer cake making great BIG pinwheels?

There are 2 key steps to making these lie flat - spinning that center seam open.  And pressing well at each step.

That pressing step didn't happen on Saturday morning when I was playing with these because my iron died.  I had noticed on Friday while pressing some fabric to cut strips for the "Secret Project" that I just wasn't getting a crisp press, but didn't give it much further thought.  Well, turns out my 1 year old iron was only heating up to luke warm.  I tried a different outlet, tried a different setting - nope, that iron was NOT heating up.  I went shopping for a new iron on my way to a bridal shower Saturday afternoon.  

They look much nicer, now that they are pressed.  And because these were such fun, I've kitted up a set of pink ones, and a set of green ones to make this week.  I'm kind of thinking these pinwheels will become part of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and make enough for a baby quilt. 

Somewhere in my pattern basket is a tablerunner pattern that uses basically the same 3D Pinwheel.  I made the table runner as a wedding gift for someone several years ago.  

What's on YOUR design wall this morning?

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Quick Strippee - Gone to the Dogs!

I love these Quick Strippee quilts for kids!!  It's a free pattern from Mary Quilts, with a terrific way to showcase fun novelty prints.  I've made several of these over the years as they are quick and easy to make.  They're a perfect baby quilt size (approx. 41 x 56).

This one has 2 cute doggie prints mixed in with a red.  It's so cute!! 

The frog version of this quilt is still not sandwiched or quilted, but I think I finally found quilting stencils that will work for this one.  

Saturday, April 22, 2023

RSC Week #16 - purple and more

Only a few purple blocks were made this week, mostly in between other projects.  I've been busy, and work hours cut into my sewing time.

Two Stashbuster blocks were added.  There are only 8 of these on the hanger so far.  I've been using a variety of neutral backgrounds, with white, cream, grey - prints and solids.  And the parts ALL came from the scrap bins.   

Two purple Brighten blocks happened too.  This was a Sewcialites 2 block from earlier this year that I felt would work well for both RSC and also for Quilts of Valor blocks.  There were only 6 of these on the hanger, but this is month 4.  What?  There are 2 pink ones, 2 blue ones, and now the 2 purple.  I obviously forgot to make any green ones that month.  

That was an easy fix since the green scrap bin is still overflowing.

A couple of new purple Irish Chain blocks were added to the stack last week, and that meant there were enough blocks to finish this quilt top.  Five blocks are leftover if I go with this layout, but if I make just 3 more then I can add one more side column.  It's 48 x 64 right now, without the extra row on the side. 
What is happening around the RSC world this week?

Friday, April 21, 2023

Friday already?

I set some ambitious goals for this week.  There are a couple of things with deadlines, and the other goals are just things I want off my plate.  There has been no opportunity for boredom to set in the past few days, as most of these goals involved small tasks, and then I could move onto something else. 

I had to work yesterday morning, but then met some girlfriends for a late lunch.  We lingered for almost 3 hours in the restaurant, which was a terrific way to spend the afternoon.  Working again this morning, but then I hope to spend this afternoon sewing. 

1 - Scrappiness Is Happiness blocks 23-24 - DONE
2 - secret project - plan developed to frame the blocks, 1 block done as sample
3 - Frog Quick Strippee needs to be sandwiched - not yet
4 - Dog Quick Strippee assembled - half assembled
5 - plan demo for Sew Vintage group - yes, just need to print my instructions
6 - make some purple RSC blocks - 4 made
7 - Saturday Samper applique fused - YES, ready to blanket stitch

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Managing my tools

I've lost hope that I'll ever get my scraps and my stash of fabric under control, but I'm working on the tools a little bit at a time.  On Wednesday morning it all started with this . . .

The parts and pieces for the April block for Saturday Sampler were all cut out and ready to fuse onto the background.  Since I wanted to fuse the different units together before putting them onto the background, I went in search of the nice big silicone pressing mat that I knew I owned.

My cutting station is a section of kitchen cabinet with a butcher block top.  It is the perfect height for me, and holds a 24" cutting mat, leaving room for tools, etc.  I knew the pressing mat was in that long drawer, along with a zillion specialty rulers I don't use often (or at all) and a gazillion templates for marking quilting designs.  Hmmm - I also found a few different marking tools for quilting - chalk, pencils, and more.  Good to know where those are too!

I'm happy to say that the drawer is now cleaned and organized, my Saturday Sampler block has the pieces attached (ready for stitching), and I've put the discarded objects into a donate box I've begun.  The specialty rulers that I'm keeping include some for cutting circles, tumblers, scallops, kaleidoscopes, wonky log cabins, wedges, and twisters.  The silicone pressing mat and the quilting templates are back in the drawer as well - except for a couple of options I will audition for the Quick Strippee quilt that I plan to do mayself.  

The scrap bins . . . still out of control.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Wednesday checking in

 In between appointments and work, I've still managed to chip away at my goals for this week.  The pieces for April's Saturday Sampler block have been traced onto fusible so the next step with that will be ironing them onto the fabric and cutting them out.  Maybe by tomorrow . . .

Our Sew Vintage group is going to spend a bit of time looking at ideas for old traditional blocks, and making them fun and interesting.  I volunteered to do a demo in May.  I knew in my "orphan block" drawer was an unfinished Dresden Plate block from the 80s or 90s.  My demo will use pieces from this old block - but I can't share any additional details here quite yet.

In that same drawer was an envelope containing these 6 little hand stitched hexie blocks.  The hexie "flowers" were hand appliqued to the brown background squares.  These are only about 5" square.

I had even gone so far as to trim away the bulk behind the hexie flower.  Now the important question is what was I planning to do with these?  I have no clue, but if I put them up on the design wall maybe some inspiration will strike.  

There were a few other surprises in that orphan block drawer, but those will have to stay in there for now.  No more squirrels allowed!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

To Do Tuesday

 Now that I feel mostly caught up with the Sewcialites blocks, it's time to play catch up with a couple of other on-going block projects.  And yes, my reward is to work on something new.

Goal #1 was to make the Scrappiness Is Happiness blocks for last week and this week.  There are 31 blocks total in this project from Bee In My Bonnet (Lori Holt).  If you've read my blog for very long, you know I have a fondness for house blocks and for star blocks - and #23 is Neighborhood (12.5 x 14.5"), and #24 (16.5") is called Patchwork Star.  The blocks are done (Monday sewing), and I even made 4 bonus hourglass blocks from the triangles trimmed off that star because I couldn't bear to throw away big triangles. 

Goal #2 for this week is a SECRET project.  I'm setting together blocks made by one quilt-y friend, then will pass it along to another quilt-y friend to be quilted.  

Goal #3 is to work on 2 Quick Strippee quilts.  The first one (Frogs) is already a flimsy and it just needs to be "sandwiched", so that I can work on quilting it myself.  A plan for the quilting needs to happen too. I pieced a bright polka dot backing for it last week and found a left over batting chunk big enough.  It's important to me to improve my quilting skills on these small projects.  Plus this Frog version is on my UFO list.  I most likely won't begin quilting it yet, but coming up with a plan, and getting it pin-basted this week is my goal.

And the second Quick Strippee will be sewing one of the 3 kits I cut last month, although I'm not sure which one it will be. I'm leaning toward the dogs, but we'll see.  These are such quick quilts to assemble, and very easy.  

Finally, Goal #4 has 3 small parts - planning a demo for an upcoming Sew Vintage group session, making a few purple blocks for Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and prepping the pieces for this month's Saturday Sampler block.  The Saturday Sampler program this year is a mix of pieced blocks and applique blocks.  This month it's applique.  The shapes need to be traced onto fusible and ironed onto the fabric.  That's the goal. 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Design Wall Monday - Sewcialites2 progress

 I kept my focus on the Sewcialites blocks this weekend, and it has paid off.

Sewcialites 2 offered each of the 24 blocks in 3 different sizes, 3", 6", and 9" finished.  Silly me - I just HAD to make them all.  Actually I made 2 versions of the tiny 3" blocks.  My 6" blocks were done with bright batiks.  This photo is a bit washed out, as that yellow background is really a golden yellow, and the other colors are very saturated jewel tones of green, blue, purple, red, and orange.  I chose one of the alternate settings I saw online, and ended up with this 50 x 60 inch butterfly.  I may look for a multi-color batik for a final outer border. Something with all of these colors in it.

The final 2 tiny blocks were actually a relief to have finished.  I do not plan to make any more 3" blocks in the near future!  Remind me of that please.

My original plan with the bright and black blocks had involved pairing them up with a pretty floral with all of these bright colors and a black background.  But I remembered that there were lots of other bright/black fabrics in the drawer, and decided to look one more time before committing to the floral.  I auditioned 3 different options but decided that this Laurel Burch cat print was just the thing.  And I ended up only using 14 of the Sewcialites blocks in this wall hanging.  The rest of this set can be used in something else, possibly a mug rug or two.  This is 23 x 27 inches. 

All 24 of the 9" blocks are made with various shades of green and cream.  Currently, they are laying on the floor, waiting for some inspiration.  I'm considering making more blocks to make it larger, or possibly even setting them on point.  

The red and white 3" blocks are also finished, but my layout plan has stalled as I worked on the black and bright wall hanging.  This was where I left off, but with all of the blocks done now, the final plan may very well change.  

What's on your design wall today?

Saturday, April 15, 2023

RSC - Week #15

 Is it really the 15th week of 2023 already?  And where did my purple go?

Sewing this week was productive for the first couple of days, and then came to a screeching halt for the second half of the week as I got busy with some other things around here.  The only purple that happened were the small sections in this final Sewcialites block.  This is Energize (6" finished) by Lisa Bongean.   

The 9" (finished) green block is also done.  The 3" versions are going to wait until I get those bright batik blocks all assembled into a quilt top.  

This is the basic layout - with the gap waiting for that final block.  Today's goal is to get the rest of the rows sewn together, and maybe the first border on.  

One of my distractions was doing a bit of spring de-cluttering in my office.  This old photo from 1981 was one of the treasures I unearthed.  About 8 months pregnant with our first baby, I was on bed rest already due to some complications, so I probably wasn't supposed to be standing outside on the steps for a picture.  LOL  That sweet dog was a collie we called Harry.  We were so young, just 27.  I had forgotten that old farmhouse we lived in was green, and I had also forgotten how cute my husband was with that Robert Redford mustache. 

What is happening around the RSC world this week?