Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Another quilt on the wall

Hi all! The spring semester starts today, and I don't know about where you are, but it still feels like winter around here.  It's not super-cold, but just cold enough to bother a person.  They really need to change the terminology for the semesters, don't you think?

So, I'm continuing in my quest to clear out some unfinished projects and free up some physical--and mental--space.  I feel like I get this impulse every January and I figure I'd better act on it before it goes away. Some of these projects I must've gotten tired of working on, some didn't work out like I wanted, and some of them have needed a time out.  I finished the border on the last project I pulled out so it's time to pull out another before I lose momentum. (Yay me! Details and pictures coming Friday!) This time, I chose this one:


I know, it isn't Christmastime any more, but it's time to deal with this problem child.  I've tried to finish this one several times, but I just haven't.  It's come in and out of the closet several times. There's a lot of reasons for this, but nothing I really want to talk about.  I've had a lot of plans for it, but now I just want it done. 


I didn't make a single one of these blocks.  These are from a swap that I participated in a few years back with some friends.  (The pattern is available free from Victoriana Quilt Designs, which can be found HERE.)  There are a lot of fun fabrics in the blocks and some of them are really nice. The pattern is pretty tricky and each of the blocks took a long time to make, so it just seems wrong to let it linger or throw them out.

So, here's the new plan for this quilt:  I'm planning to put it together just as it is on the design wall, then quilt it very simply with some organic lines or maybe a crosshatch.  I even have the backing fabric already:


Isn't that a cool fabric?  I must've gotten it on sale at some point, because I wouldn't ordinarily buy Christmas fabric.  I plan to use these red scrap ends (and maybe the black if I have to fill it out) for the binding:


That is pretty much my entire stash of Christmas fabric. Why am I quilting it myself?  Well, there's a snag in the pattern-- it calls for 3-D flying geese:


We all made the blocks just as the pattern called for, so every block has loose edges. All of those edges would snag on a longarm and I'm not taking the time to applique them all down.  I just want this done, so I'm giving myself two weeks to get it together and at least start quilting it.  After that, I'm either giving it away or throwing it out.  (We all know I won't throw it out, right?) 

Okay, so now that I have a plan, I'd better get on it!  Hope you all are having a good week.  And if you are like me and get in the mood to clean out every now and then, last year I did a series on cleaning out the sewing room and sorting stuff, which you can find on a tab at the top of the page (or HERE if you can't get to the tabs.)  Hope it's helpful!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Squares to make more squares

What do you do with your fabric leftovers at the end of a project?  Most of the time I just stuff mine into their respective boxes and jam the lids on, but sometimes I cut the smaller pieces up into standard-sized squares-- 1-1/2 inch, 2-inch, and 2-1/2 inch.  I've been collecting these separately from the other scraps for a long time, and I've traded some with friends for variety.  You would think with the Squared Away project that I would use up a bunch of squares, but I have literally thousands of these babies. This year I'm either using them or losing them-- every square must go! I think you know the feeling!

We all know the best way to clear out fabric is to use it in a project, so as another RSC18 project I'm using some of the bajillion 2-inch squares to make these fun little 9-patches:


These are made from colorful squares surrounding a white center square and will finish at 4-1/2 inches each.  They are super fast to make and would make a good leader/ ender project if I didn't stink at those.  I never can keep the project straight and end up getting all confused.

If you've been around for a while, you know that blue is not my favorite color, so I'm really stunned that I managed to make 10 9-patches with light blue squares:


Since the color of the month also includes light neutrals, I also made some with white-background fabrics:


And a couple with tan backgrounds:


And, amazingly, I managed to eke out two blocks from gray squares:


Who knew I had enough gray squares for TWO blocks? These are fun to work on, if only for the little surprises in the squares.  For example, I came across a cowboy,


some hedgehogs,


and I'm pretty sure that's a mosquito square!


At the end of the year, I'm planning to set the blocks into a dancing 9-patch layout and have one or two donation quilts, depending on how many blocks I can end up with.  I suspect that there will be a lot of yellow and pink blocks, so we'll definitely have to divide those between two quilts.

So that's another of my RSC projects for this year!  I have one more, using the 2-1/2 inch squares, but I haven't really started on that one yet.  It involves sorting the squares by color, and you know how tedious that can be!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  The hubs seems determined to add some insulation to the attic, and since it looks like this outside, I don't know that I'll have any choice but to help:


After a good hot shower, I plan to shut myself in the sewing room and add a border to an unfinished quilt.  Hope you have some stitching fun too!  Or at least some sunny skies!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC18.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sixteen times two

How is 2018 starting out for you?  It has hit me with a bang, that's for sure.  It seems like I've picked up all the stress that I finished 2017 with!  That's always the way, isn't it? So, to ease into 2018 sewing, this week I started by playing around with some blocks and block pieces that weren't a part of any current project and were just going to end up in a box.  Always better to do something with them right away, isn't it?  So here's what I did:


Hey, two little mini quilts!  You have to be happy with that.  As it happens, both of them are made from 16 blocks or pieces and both are colorful as all get out.  I really like them both.


The first little mini measures about 25 inches square and was made from the string blocks I made at the end of last year to use up my narrowest strings.  The string blocks are 4 inches square each, so you can tell how narrow some of those strings really are.  I promise that I have stopped saving strings that skinny.  Really! 


Since there were so many seams that would never match, I added a half-inch sashing to these blocks, with the result that it ended up looking like a window.  I really like the effect.  The border is just a multicolored piece that I had, mainly to insure that there were no odd edges to fray or stretch.  This turned out looking good, but those string blocks were super stretchy. I'm planning to quilt this up with a liberated cross hatch but I might actually block it before I layer and baste it.


The second little top is the made from the Drunkard's Path blocks that I had planned to use for a border on an unfinished quilt.  That ship has sailed, but the pieces didn't go to waste.  This one is 16 inches square, and I plan to practice making circles on it when I quilt it, then bind it and use it just as it is. It's pretty modern for me, but I love the colors.


This (and the quilt the pieces were meant for) is made from hand-dyed fabrics from Vicki Welsh.  Her fabric is fantastic and so wonderful to work with and I've never had it run.  Some of the pieces look a little misaligned in these pictures, but they're just right in person.  I'm sure it needs a good press and that should take care of any problems.

While I was outside taking these pictures, I heard a lot of honking in the air, and I looked up and saw a massive gaggle of geese flying over.  I wasn't fast enough to get the point of the V, but I did get this:


It's real flying geese!  And guess what-- they were flying north east! Can spring be far behind?

Hope everyone has a good weekend.  We're adding insulation to the attic, how about you?

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazymomquilts, and Oh, Scrap!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A new old project

Hey, long time no see!  We have had an eventful three weeks around here.  Of course, we had the holidays, we traveled a lot, and we hugged babies! It was so much fun. I already miss them so much! Oh, and we experienced some winter while we were gone, in the form of very low temperatures (-10!) and snow, so I think we can be done with all that now.

So now we're home and getting back to the routine. (And the laundry.) I'm happy to get back to the sewing room and see what kind of trouble I can get into this year.  I meant to do a "planning" post at the end of last year, but the truth is that I have no plans.  I have many, many ideas, but this isn't my job, so if I don't want to have a trajectory, implementation plan, or assessment, I don't have to!  Not to worry, though, I'm sure there will be a lot of quilty fun even without a quilty syllabus.

One general thing that I want to accomplish this year is to get some of the UFOs I have in the closet finished or repurposed or something to get them out and used. I've gone through them and it's amazing how many of them need very little work.  Maybe I just got tired of them? I pulled out this beauty to finish up first:

All stitched and ready for a border!

I'm so embarrassed. This is an RSC 2016 project that only needs a border!  What's wrong with me?  If you recall, I made these blocks as a tribute to my grandmother and great-grandmother. This 80-something-year-old block made by one of them is one of my prized possessions:


I started a Drunkard's Path border for this quilt but never finished it, which I suspect is why it ended up in the closet.  I need 76 Drunkard's Path blocks and twice that many "fill-in" squares.  I have fewer than 20 completed, so I think we all know that a Drunkard's Path border is not going to happen.


I asked for suggestions on Instagram and got a few that I really like, but if anyone has a good suggestion for a border, I'm open to it.  Tell me what you think!

Until I figure out what to do with a border, I'm working on using up some of my scrap squares and small pieces in a couple of projects.  I got this little Bonnie Hunter ruler with something else for Christmas, and I can't believe how handy it is:


No affiliation or financial stake in it, but gosh it's useful!

Hope you're all having a good week and are well into your 2018 projects. Some more laundry is calling to me, so I guess that's what's up for the rest of today for me!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.