Thursday, August 31, 2023

UFO Challenge & more

 The UFO Challenge number drawn for September is 10, and my list has 3 items, as always, to choose from.  Except - 2 of those are already done. I finished the Country Bunnies wall hanging in June and the Bricks quilt was finished in February. 

That leaves the Pick a PIG option or working on a UFO from elsewhere on the list.  There are so many PIGs in the stash to choose from.  Lots of kits purchased but not started yet. And there are lots of UFOs waiting in the wings to be finished too.  Decisions, decisions . . . 

A blogging friend reminded me this week that starting something new is good for our motivation. The trick for me is not letting that new project become another UFO.  I think my PIG for September needs to be a small project such as a pillow, table runner, etc.  Today I'll look through the kits in the drawers and see what excites me the most.  The best option might be a project I can make and then gift to someone to be used. 

I'm easily distracted by something new but one quick way to satisfy that need is to test new block patterns.  This one happened yesterday.  It was another free block pattern on this website, which has a huge variety of block patterns, and well organized. 

The block is just identified on the site as a Friendship Star (intermediate) but I'm going to call it a 4-Square Star just to keep it separate from a traditional Friendship Star in my own mind. I'm thinking this could be a good option for Quilts of Valor and also for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  And the pattern actually has 3 different sizes.  I made the 12" version here, but may test an RSC version in a different size.  I also have cut out a more traditional Friendship Star block, along with a couple of other blocks I want to test.  

You know - just making blocks and tackling small organizing projects this week may have been just what my motivation needed.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Drowning in scraps

 Scrappy quilts are the most common kind I make, and I do love them.  Anyone who has read my blog very long knows that I use a lot of white-on-white, neutral prints, or cream backgrounds for the scrappy blocks I make.  Those are so easy to mix into a scrappy quilt.

What happens to those neutral background types of scraps?  Well, they go into the beige canvas cube - which is/was definitely overflowing.  It needed attention desperately.

Time to sort and cut - and ultimately USE some of this.  What a mess when I dumped it all out on the sewing room floor!  But there were some interesting finds in there. 

Several strip sets - all folded neatly together.  These were all leftover sashing strips from old projects, and they may get used for that purpose in some new project. The cute dog bone print was something I had totally forgotten about.  Those 1.5" white strips were also a surprise find, and I'm not even sure what they were originally from.  None of these went back into the bin. 

From a variety of the neutral scraps I've cut about 60 of the 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles to use in future Potato Chip blocks.  These did NOT go back into the bin either, but they did go into the Potato Chip block bin.

I sorted out a LOT of white-on-white pieces big enough to use in the paper pieced Morning Glory blocks. There may be an aqua Morning Glory block on the horizon.  There were also several interesting print pieces that were too big to stay in with these scraps and those were cut into useful sizes - 2.5" and 3.5" squares, and 5" charms for example. Bicycles, fishing lures, dots, and leaves . . .

I used some of those charm squares in 4 new scrappy Windmill blocks.  

Most of the really narrow strips and strings went into a gallon zipper bag to use in future string blocks. And the rest went back into that scrap bin - which is quite full, but no longer overflowing thankfully.  And yes - I even threw away some scraps.  That felt so good!!

Maybe the big blue/aqua/purple bin will be next. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Entwined Star

Today is my orthopedic appointment.  I'm hoping that we'll come up with a plan for the second new hip before it gets any worse.  I'll admit that I should not have put this off so long.

Since I've used up a lot of block sets for Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts this year, I've been playing with a few new block ideas for 2024.  And what better way to test out a new pattern than using some of the patriotic fabrics in my stash?

This is Entwined Star, and the pattern actually has 3 different sizes (12", 9", 6").  I made it in the 12" finished size because I can use the block in a Quilt of Valor sampler.  The FREE pattern is linked here.

I really like to have a mix of blocks to make for RSC each month - some quick and easy, and some more complicated.  This one looks complicated but is actually very easy.  One reminder to myself is to make sure to have enough contrast in the 3 main fabrics.  The second red/white/blue version shows off the design more clearly.

One sample was also made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge collection.  I used yellow (August) and aqua (September) along with a pinkish red.  Entwined Star is definitely a keeper. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Design Wall Monday - Aug. 28

The design wall in my brain currently has about 10 different projects on it - all clamoring for attention.  But the design wall in real life needs to be less cluttered before I can explore some of those new projects, and I'm optimistic that is about to happen.  

 The only thing remaining to be added to the Scrappiness Is Happiness top is an outer border.  Before borders it's 74 long x 77 wide.  The pattern has 5" borders on the top and bottom, and 3" borders on the sides. That evens it up to be square.  But I'm not a big fan of square quilts, so I'm considering just doing wide borders on the top and bottom and nothing else on the sides. 

Since all of the various sashing pieces and backgrounds have been scrappy, I'm thinking a totally scrappy outer border would be fun.  And it would use up more of the fabric in the project box. 

Other than some Quilts of Valor block sets, this is the last set of blocks just handing in the closet that will become a quilt top for at least a little while.  

What is on your design wall today?  Check out a few more at:

Saturday, August 26, 2023

RSC23 - Week #34

 Really? It's the end of August already?  Where did my summer go?  I love fall, but it's hard to let go of summer this year. I haven't had nearly enough summer fun yet.  We have the annual Corn Palace Festival going on here.  Today is not expected to be very hot, so I imagine the crowds will be better than the past couple days.  There is a car show going on this afternoon, carnival and food trucks, and lots of music events.  Check out the live camera of the Corn Palace itself.  This is the time of year when they update the murals - 100% covered with colored corn and grasses grown especially for it.

There was one more RSC flimsy finish this week, as the rows were finally assembled for the Framed Friendship Squares.  This has been an ongoing RSC project using the 6" friendship squares shared by the local guild.  It will make another good donation quilt.  The squares still in the project box are becoming star blocks going forward.  

These blocks are great for scraps.  The backgrounds are scrappy and range from solid white to a light grey, with prints as well - as long as they read quite neutral.  The block pattern was a Pat Sloan block from her Winter Fun sew-along a few years ago.  

A yellow binding was finished this week.  Falling In Love - the block pattern was from The Pattern Basket, and became one of my main RSC monthly projects in 2022.  I made 5 blocks each month in the color for that month.  The quilter used a peachy-orange thread so the stitching design shows up nicely.  The bonus?  This is the 12th and final finish on my 2023 PHD list for the local quilt shop challenge.  Projects Half Done is a terrific challenge to encourage more finishes.

My current yellow scrappy blocks are done, and since several RSC block sets have become quilt tops in the past few weeks, I've been giving some thought to what other UFOs with lots of yellow might be still packed away.  And look what I found - another Sew Together bag - and it's all ready for assembly.  The front was quilted to the batting already, and the interfacing pieces are even ironed on.  

Look - the inside lining pieces are a yellow batik.  The 3 pockets with zippers are sewn in and the next step is to trim that lining/pocket section to match the quilted front section.  The striped end pieces need top stitching too.  The Sew Together bag is really fun to make - except for one step - sewing through a zillion layers to get the ends, lining, pockets, and front all combined.  The plan is to finish this bag except for the hand stitching this week.  Here's a confession - there are still a couple more of these bags all kitted up in a basket.  

I may need to start collecting some hand stitching projects to do if my second hip replacement gets scheduled for the near future.  I meet with the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday morning. 

What else is happening in the RSC world?

Friday, August 25, 2023

TGIF - the week flew by

I can only speak for myself, but when I have been struggling with difficult - or just fussy - projects, then it becomes time to just play with something simple.   

This summer's difficult project was obviously the cruise quilt, and it's in the hands of a quilter now.  Then I focused on taking the block sets that were piling up and assembling them into quilt tops.  Now it's time to just play with easy, fun, and random things for a few days.  And I have a couple of new projects that have been waiting in the wings that are tempting me.

One more 12.5" Potato Chip block, bringing the total so far to 6 of them.  These are random scrappy, and can be done with a variety of sizes, layouts and color placement.  Just Google "potato chip blocks" or search for Conquering Mount Scrapmore.  

So far I'm using 2.5" by 4.5" rectangles and doing them with light/dark reversed. Easy mindless sewing.  These blocks will eventually go into another donation quilt.   

You know I never get tired of star blocks. The project box for the Framed Friendship Squares has been collecting my guild squares for years.  Members share a 6" square when they have traveled somewhere if they want to.  The first quilt I used them in was a queen size Sawtooth Star with the squares in the center, and colored star points.  I obviously had extras all ready to sew when I made that quilt because there were several sets pinned together in the bottom of the box.  No point in wasting them, so I've gotten a start in sewing up the ones already matched up.

In the project box there are still 13 more of these star blocks all pinned into sets.  And lots more squares are just waiting to become something.  

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Saturday Sampler & more

Saturday Sampler is beginning to really take shape.

The August block is finished, except for a little bit of embroidery connecting it to the block below it.  That will happen as the top gets assembled.  Scissors, a hanger, and a big needle.  The sewing theme of this quilt is carried out with the applique blocks.

Poor lighting doesn't do any favors to these blocks - but they are roughly in place.  So far we've done 4 pieced blocks and 4 applique.  I haven't trimmed the applique blocks to size yet.  There are more of each type yet to come, with the large focal block (applique) in the center. 

While I had the black thread out, and was in the mood for more blanket stitching this block was randomly chosen.  Remember the Humble Homes quilt with all the applique trees and houses?  The original house pieces in the kit had been laser cut - but from fabrics that didn't blend well and had no fusible on them.  This is one of those original houses.  It will finish 12x17, although for now I have no idea what it might become.  

Wednesday morning sewing also involved assembling the rows to the Framed Friendship Square quilt top which I'll show on Saturday since the blocks were a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  I also sorted out some of those squares in the project box already matched up with cut pieces that are ready to become star blocks.  I can sew some of them this week.  

I've decided that I'm tired of turning block sets into tops - for now anyway, so once that Friendship Square top was finished I played with other things.  The pink Morning Glory block quickly joined the yellow one since the paper pieced sections were ready to go with the paper removed.  Binding for another Quilt of Valor was cut, as well as the parts for a couple more QOV blocks.  And I sewed a couple of Potato Chip blocks just for fun.  I do believe more random fun sewing will occur today.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Small steps forward

 I spent most of the morning at my desk trying to make a spreadsheet match up with invoices.  It was a mostly unsuccessful task - until I finally figured out the spreadsheet I received was for August work, and the invoices were for July work. Hmm . . . fresh start as soon as I get the right data.

That left me with about an hour to sew before I left to get my hair cut.  The applique parts for the August block for Saturday Sampler are all prepped and the background piece is ready for them to be ironed on, and blanket stitched.  This month the applique is a hanger, a scissors, and a big needle. 

The other task during that hour was to remove all the paper from the next Morning Glories block sections - a pink one this time.  Hopefully these 2 projects will be revisited after work today.  

It was 104 when I stepped out of the hair salon yesterday, and we expect similar temps again today, followed by cooler days through the weekend.  The Corn Palace Festival begins today, and I felt so bad for those carnival workers yesterday as they set up those rides for the midway. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Quilt of Valor presentation

Sunday afternoon I was honored to be involved in another Quilt of Valor presentation. He told me 3 times he sure wished he had this "blanket" in 1951 because it was really cold in Korea.  

The family arranged for this presentation to be held at his 95th birthday party at the local VFW building in his hometown.   The American Legion commander also presented him with a plaque for 59 continuous years of membership.  He had joined the Legion when he returned home from the Korean War, and has been an active member ever since.

Thank you for your service!!

Monday, August 21, 2023

Design Wall Monday - what's next?

One more set of blocks is destined to be a finished quilt top fairly soon. 

The Framed Friendship Squares were layed out on the Design Floor early on Saturday morning, with the plan to start sewing rows together.  Guess what?  They are still on the floor this morning.  I will need to pick them up before tomorrow morning however because my cleaning angel arrives at 8:30 and shouldn't have to vacuum around them just because I got distracted.

Hmmm - just when I thought I was focused on finishing some projects, a new distraction popped up and I spent most of the day Saturday playing with scraps. It was FUN!

I really had absolutely NO intentions of doing any more paper piecing in the near future.  And then Bonnie Hunter released her pattern for Morning Glories.   Yes - I was weak and did purchase (and download) that pattern on Friday and then made one block on Saturday.  That was one distraction.

It needs a good pressing yet, but this is a fun block.  Every single piece came from the scrap bins for this one.  Morning Glories might become a new Rainbow Scrap Challenge block. 

While I was pawing through the scrap bins, another distraction got my attention.  Last weekend our Sew Vintage group got a demo of the Potato Chip blocks that have gone viral online lately.  These lend themselves to different sizes and different layouts.  I chose to make my pieces 2.5 x 4.5, mostly because there are already a whole box full of them that I've been using for the Small Hearts.  There are 5 blocks now hanging in the closet clipped to one of the recently emptied hangers. Distraction #2.

And then there was Distraction #3 - the Crumb Challenge for our guild's upcoming quilt show in October.  I played with a couple of ideas for the challenge, which must include some element of crumb quilting.  I've decided it's not my favorite thing, but I do like what I've come up with so far.  It must remain a mystery until after the quilt show. 

Sunday was a travel day to present a Quilt of Valor about 90 miles from here. More on that later this week.  Maybe today I'll get some rows assembled on the Framed Friendship Squares.  Or maybe another row for Scrappiness Is Happiness. 

What is on your design wall today?

Saturday, August 19, 2023

RSC23 - Week #33

 What's going on around the Rainbow Scrap Challenge world for mid August?

On the sewing front, it appears that I've gotten a lot done. That is a bit deceptive however.  It really helps when the blocks are already done, and sometimes even rows are already done.  It doesn't take long to turn those into a finished quilt top.  Three tops were completed in the past week - Batik Floating Stars (top left), Batik Saturday Sampler (bottom left) and Painted Horses (bottom right).  The other 2 flimsies saw forward progress - Small Hearts got 2 new vertical rows, and the Scrappiness Is Happiness project has 2 rows complete.  I'm gradually making use of block sets.

LOTS of yellow shows up in that top row of pictures.  Floating Stars and Small Hearts are both RSC projects.  I need to make at least 3 more vertical rows of the small heart blocks, and I know there will be some yellow ones in coming weeks.  The Scrappiness blocks are all done and just need assembly.

Up next for quilt tops?  I think it will be another Framed Friendship Square top. Back in January I pulled out 20 of the blocks that had more of a "boy" vibe to them and made a top. There were 15 more completed blocks and that project box is FULL of more Friendship Squares (6" squares shared by guild members when they travel).  I need 20 of them for a good size top, so 4 more were made on Thursday after work, and 1 more is cut out and ready to sew.  That project box has a few other "sample" blocks made with the squares for future quilt ideas, and there are dozens more squares to be used.  Years ago I made a queen sized quilt using those squares in the center of stars; that quilt is on the bed in the basement bedroom. 

My final RSC sewing for this week was a couple of Windmill blocks added to that collection.  Several more sets of blades are cut and in the project box - ready to go.  These will be an on-going set of blocks into the next year.  

I'm really happy to pare down some of the block sets, and have them set into tops, but now the assembled tops are adding up quickly.  I love having a variety of blocks to sew each month.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  Now it's time to decide which ones will get quilted first.  I've done several kid/lap sized tops this year to donate, so those will probably be first in line. 

Happy sewing!  

Friday, August 18, 2023

This 'n That

ColorCatchers have to be one of the best inventions ever - at least for quilters.

First of all, I never ever wash a quilt in warm or hot water.  Cold water is always my choice, especially when washing Quilts of Valor because they usually have lots of reds and dark blue.  I use 2 or 3 per quilt, depending on the size and the colors in the quilt.  This was how 3 of them looked after washing a recent QOV with a red backing and mostly blue and white on the front. No bleeding into the white, and it's obvious the ColorCatchers did their job.  

One more flimsy finished this week.  This is another child sized or lap sized quilt, and is made using triangles trimmed from other projects plus yardage.

That horse print looks like cave paintings, and was a purchase on our New Mexico road trip last February.  There is still enough of it left to make a pillowcase or use in something else. 

Remember all the paper piecing for the quilt from the cruise?  I used one of the block patterns and made it in patriotic fabrics.  This is much more my style.  

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Progress on Small Hearts

Two more vertical rows of Small Hearts have been added to this project. 

I also added a Falling In Love (open heart) block for just a little something special to break up the endless rows of little hearts.  I'm thinking 3 more vertical rows on the right side will make this one just the right size.  There are plenty of parts for more heart blocks in the box.   

This has been a scrappy Rainbow Scrap Challenge project this year.  The Small Hearts pattern was shared at our Sew Vintage group as a scrappy quilt idea, and I ran with it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Doggy Quick Strippee is done

 Another kid sized quilt can be checked off the list as a FINISH! Yay!

When I took this photo, it was cool, windy, and very overcast outside so the colors look quite muted of course.  The lighting indoors was even worse. LOL  But I'm thankful that we aren't sweltering in endless 100+ degree heat like some places this summer.

I love this quilt pattern as it is fast, easy and really allows a fun focus fabric to be the star of the show.  It's a free pattern from MaryQuilts.  She has instructions for loads of wonderful quilts on her website. I've made over a dozen of these as they make a perfect baby quilt for gifts or donations.  There are still 2 more kitted up in the project box. I'm guessing at some point this fall I'll make another.  Once the cutting is done with all Width of Fabric (WOF) strips this quilt top can be sewn in an afternoon. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

More quilt tops

It's a work day today so very little will happen in my sewing room, but progress was definitely made on Monday morning.  It's quick when the rows are already sewn together. 

My closet is getting quite full with completed quilt tops waiting to be quilted. Some are big and some are small.  And this doesn't count table runners or small wall hangings. I enjoy piecing the most, so these do tend to add up quickly.  

Finished quilt top #1 - This was my 3rd version of the 2022 Saturday Sampler.  This first 2 versions are completed quilts already.  This layout with the pieced sashings was how the original pattern was, except it had a very wide 10" outer border.  I did use that for the first version I made with Christmas fabrics.  The second version had just simple sashing and no borders.  But for this one I just added 6" borders, making it finish at 72 x 90, which is still a pretty big quilt.  

Finished quilt top #2 - Floating Star has been a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project this year.  The blocks are all done with batiks, except for the white stars themselves.  Again, I didn't want this quilt to be too large, so only the colors from January through August are included.  It's 54 x 60 as is.  

Nearly finished quilt top #3 for this week . . . only 4 more rows need to be sewn onto the Horse quilt.  I've been using the hourglass blocks made from the triangles trimmed from the Saturday Sampler quilt.  There were other batik hourglass blocks too, so I've combined them with bricks cut from the brown horse print (from New Mexico last winter).  This will be a child size quilt when finished, and I'm hoping that will happen after work this afternoon.  

Monday, August 14, 2023

Design Wall Monday - rows and rows

The batik Floating Stars quilt has reached the Assembled Rows stage.

There are 4 of the 12" finished star blocks, and one 6 x 12" spacer with a miniature star in each of the 5 rows on this one. Hopefully by the end of the day today it will be a complete flimsy.  This was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project this year but only used the colors from January through August.

One final border strip needs to be added to the Saturday Sampler, and then that one will also be a completed flimsy.  The bonus triangles trimmed from that quilt have been sewn into blocks, and now into rows as well.  About 2/3 of the rows are sewn together so far.  Possibly a complete child size flimsy by the end of the week?  Maybe.

One row of Happiness Is Scrappiness is complete.  

I'm really determined to push these block sets into assembled rows, and then into completed quilt tops.  The scary thing is that there are already 13 flimsies hanging in the closet waiting to be quilted - not counting wall hangings or table runners.   

The hand stitching goal for this week is to finish binding the 2 quilts I'm working on - one big quilt and one small quilt.  

What's on YOUR design wall today?

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Binding keeps me busy

The binding strips have been cut and waiting . . .  

They finally were sewn together and pressed, and the red binding is attached to a kid sized quilt.  The yellow binding will go onto the Falling In Love quilt which is fairly large.  

The Dog Quick Strippee quilt should be checked off the list as a finish by the end of this week. Unless I have too many interruptions.  Binding tends to be my evening task while watching TV. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

RSC23 - Week #32, more yellow

 Digging through my yellow stash and scraps the past couple of weeks showed me that when I buy yellow it tends to be a blender type of fabric - tone-on-tone or small very subtle prints.  Or it's polka dots, or a big floral. How predictable am I?

So about the first of August I stopped into the local fabric shop to look for a yellow print that didn't read subtle/boring or have polka dots on it, because my RSC blocks need some fun added.  The lemon print brings a big smile to my face.  First thing was to make a couple of the Churn Dash blocks for the baby quilt collection I have on-going this year in 12" and a few 6". 

Then the lemons went into a Pyramid block, and a Windmill block. So cute and whimsical, and I still have about a fat quarter left so I know it will show up again somewhere.

The only other yellow that happened this week was a final yellow Floating Star block for that project.  And I made 2 little Hourglass blocks with the trimmed triangles.  

A couple of small mug rugs were dropped into the mail on Thursday. My daughter wanted a small one for her desk. She works from home 4 days a week, and has a big old desk that belonged to her husband's grandfather.  They refinished it, so she wants to protect that desk.  The dark one used another leftover Sewcialites blocks and is 6" square. The Halloween hexagon shaped one is all from the scrap bins.  I may have to make more of these because that one was really fun!

This has NOT been a good week for sewing time, as my "semi-retired" status was put to the test every day.  I had more hours logged by Wednesday than I had the whole month of July.  On the fun side of life - there was a Quilt of Valor presentation event on Wednesday evening, and some socializing with friends on Friday afternoon. 

Lots more RSC fun was likely going on elsewhere this week . . .