Saturday, April 30, 2016

Marginalia: A Quilty 365 Project

I've been making daily circles (and HSTs) since November 4. 
This month I have fallen woefully behind although I do have circles prepped through today, April 30. 

We've planted lots of seeds inside under lights (tomatoes, peppers, brassicas, flowers) and they have been transplanted and are hardening off.  Lots of flowers (tulips, lilacs, bleeding heart, bluebells) are blooming.  Spinach, lettuce, sugarsnap peas, potatoes and radishes are planted outside and have sprouted. 

My daughter-in-law had hernia surgery so I've been helping her out. My husband has an infection in his mouth where a tooth was pulled a couple of months ago that will not heal because he had so much radiation in the past when he had cancer. He's miserable but doesn't want to go through daily hyperbaric treatments again like he did last year.  So I've been doing a lot of the chores (like make dinner and do laundry) that he usually does (he's retired, I'm not) because he doesn't feel well. 

 I finished reading "The Pecan Man"  (good book) by Cassie Dandridge.  

And we finally replaced our pop up camper with a new one complete with bathroom.  The grandkids have already slept out in it in our backyard and had fun. 

And I finished a couple of quilts. 

Luckily I keep track of daily events to portray in fabric on pieces of scrap paper.  Hopefully I will find time to play catch up in May. 

I need to start putting circles together soon because I want to keep them in order. I will lay them out 18 x 21.  But first I need to make some circles with letters. 

Every month it's fun to see everyone's circles. I love the variety. 

Orange Chains and One Other Thing

This is the last day for orange as the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The only RSC project I had left to make was a pair of orange Interlocking Chains. 

And I have a few orange tulips blooming in the flower gardens. I have a difficult time growing tulips because the squirrels like to dig up my bulbs.  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thoughts on Improv

I don't have what I would consider any particular quilting style.  But if I'm going to go hook up with a bunch of improv quilters I feel compelled to explain why my post covers improv. 

I have not been doing much of what I think is improv.  And that's because I think improv quilting requires more thinking than I'm willing to give it right now.  I am dealing with a great deal of job-related stress right now and sew primarily to relieve that stress. I'm a zombie chain piecer. 

I think improv requires somewhere to lay out blocks; somewhere where you can keep them laid out; somewhere where you can arrange, rearrange and rearrange again.  I don't have a design wall. I don't have a big space to leave blocks laid out for any period of time.  That makes it difficult to see how the parts fit into the big picture. Of course I could sketch something out. But, I'm not a sketcher...even my stick figures stink. 

I think my improv requires a seam ripper a lot of the time. 

And I think that's why I have a lot of improv UFOs. 

Case in point above. I started a tea towel challenge a few years ago and I have gone nowhere with it. I made up some letters for some words last year and this month put them together. I don't like how I assembled them. There's too much space between letters. I used the same fabric between letters and rows and wish I hadn't.  Time to rip...I hate ripping. 

I think free-piecing (like the letters) is improv. 


I have a lot of different elements made for my tea towel quilt.  I just don't have much room to lay everything out that I want to add to...

...the middle tea towel, etc section. 

I think Crazy Quilting is improv quilting. 
This is my Valentine bed runner UFO.  I haven't worked on it in ages. I wanted to make it to go over the bottom of a ...

...Valentine Hanky quilt I made ages ago. 

I used to participate in a lot of crazy quilt round robins and several times chose valentines as my theme. I have a lot of blocks embellished and lots waiting to be embellished. I couldn't figure out what size to make a bed runner or how I wanted to assemble all of the blocks so everything has been collecting dust since about 2010. 

I've gotten the blocks out several times to work on them again but each time put them back away because how to embellish each seam of each block will require too much thinking from me right now. 

Meanwhile Valentines are always on my mind. When I find embellishments I think will be perfect for a Valentine bed runner on sale or at the thrift store...into the box they go for whenever I'm able to spend a lot of time thinking while I'm stitching.  (No, that's not where I hide my drugs...I've found prescription containers make a good place to store tiny beads). 

Another crazy quilt/improv UFO I pulled out of the fairy garden at midnight glow in the dark wall hanging.  First of all...I have a LOT of fairies from coloring books saved for use in this wall hanging but found it difficult to transfer to the black background so decided difficult was not something I wanted to deal with anymore.  I have a bunch of glow in the dark threads and black background fabrics in the box with 7 12 inch blocks. I don't even know how many blocks I want to make.   But, you know, I sure love whimsy so this looks pretty inviting to me right now. Maybe this summer when I'm not hand quilting (because I don't have A/C and hate sweating under a big quilt while hand quilting) I will pick this up and start working on it again. Otherwise I think it will stay in its box a little longer...until I retire next year. 

And here's even more craziness...Crazy Farm blocks.  I started making a third Crazy quilt (first was Crazy Basket Case and second was Crazy Cravings) called Crazy Farm but, again, I haven't worked on it in a long time.  I just don't feel like thinking when I get home from work.  Like I said...improv/crazy quilting takes a lot of brain energy I don't have right now. 

BUT...I came up with a brilliant idea (brilliant for me anyway)...I will combine improv/crazy quilting with some improv/free-piecing and Build-A-Barn as the center for my Crazy Farm.  I know I can do that since I already made one following tips from Julie.  (And I didn't rip a single seam or have to think too darned much to make it...I used the barn in my own backyard for inspiration). 

(To order your own copy of Build-A-Barn see Build-A-Barn, the blog). 

Ok. So now that you know that I think crazy quilting and free-piecing can also be considered improv I'll tell you what I don't consider an improv project although others might think so. 

I've seen these types of units that are actually, to me, a form of "stack and whack" blocks laid out in various ways to make a quilt. 

It doesn't take much thought to make these...they are pretty mindless and one of my projects these days to use up fabrics left over from Pickle Dish and Petunias that I've been too lazy to put back on the shelf. 

So, since they involve no thinking...doesn't follow my definitions of improv. 

But then of the blocks did involve a little improv (as in improvise) when I found out I didn't have enough fabric for all nine units. 

Other than that...if I make a blocks A,B,C,D (no matter how cut or sewn together)...

...and I follow the author's layout (Fractured, by Kathy Doughty) to make the quilt then I don't think I actually did any improv. 

Just my 2 cents about my improv style. 
Like I said...who needs labels? (except the kind you put on the back of the quilt).  
Crazy Quilting, Free-Piecing, Wonky, Stack and Whack, Traditional, Modern, Improv (your definition, my definition)'s all good. 

AdHoc  Improv Quilting with Kaja and Ann and others. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy Butterflies

Happy Butterflies
50 x 50

I have a box of Happy Blocks (I call it a Happy Place) of various sizes and themes. I used to use my scraps that way (bordering a central square) and when I got enough of them in any particular theme that might look good together I'd sew them into a quilt.  It's nice to have a happy place whenever you need to assemble a quilt quickly. 

I found enough 10 inch butterfly themed blocks bordered in blues, purples and oranges to make this quilt for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge. I will send it for Happy Chemo.

I added some pieced batting and quilted it with some very free form five-petaled flowers on my DSM. 

I had enough of this flowery fabric in my stash for the back and binding. 

for the 

Linking up to:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Orange Snakes

Orange Snakes
I used 2.5 inch orange scraps and the pattern Snake Trails from 
Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration

Orange you glad they aren't real snakes?  Yep, me too!

Other orange scrappy projects can be found at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge weekly linkup, ScrapHappy Saturday

Friday, April 22, 2016

You Never Know Until You Try - This Month's PP Escapades

I joined a Birthday Club yet again this year. You pick a block you'd like to receive from the members for your birthday.  And the other members pick a block they would like to receive for their birthday.  This was the Feb. birthday girl's block in her choice of colors and fabrics (batik for pink, blue and lime green if you have it).  Feb. birthday girl joined late so I just made her block and sent it off this month. 

I've tried paper piecing in the past. And I've always decided I don't really like it. Other people can sure make some beautiful and precise blocks with paper piecing but not me. 

First of all, I hate cutting odd sized pieces of fabric - sometimes itty-bitty pieces of fabric. I often cut them going the wrong way or the wrong side up. 

Second of all, I often sew the pieces pointing the wrong direction.  And then I have to rip it and then the paper rips and cuss words spew forth from my mouth.  I was never good at those tests where you saw a flat box with flaps and had to decide how it would look put together.  I'm not even sure what those tests were testing. (Nobody else ever knows what I'm talking about when I talk about this test so maybe I took it one night long ago in a nightmare. I swear it was some test on the ACT. )

Thirdly, I like to chain piece. I don't see an easy way to chain piece most paper pieced blocks (I've found a few exceptions).  

Finally, I hate removing papers. Not only do I hate removing them but I sometimes stretch the block out of shape when I do remove them. Kind of defeats the purpose of paper piecing if you ask me. 

This is the block of the month at Block Lotto.  I made one block for the drawing. I had to give it a try.  I'm never one to decline a challenge or to say "I can't" before I give something a try and really know I can't. Plus, since I'm quilting along and making the Old MacDonald Sampler I needed to make 5 for my sampler.  These are the four with sky background. Later I'll make one with mountain background.

I like the block. I didn't enjoy making them.  I haven't taken the paper off yet. I'm afraid I'll stretch them right out of shape.   I considered making a different butterfly block for my sampler that was not paper pieced but then see the part above about "I can't".   Look! I can! (I can stand on my head too but I don't enjoy walking around like that). 

And finally, I paper pieced some cat parts for a Cat Lady quilt. 

My nephew and wife, both cat lovers, are expecting a baby in October so I thought the Cat Lady quilt would be a nice gift for baby.  I started making it and then realized the size is rather large for a baby quilt (60 x 60).   I'll still make it but probably not as THE baby quilt. 

And this is the type of paper piecing I really don't mind.  I made my Pickle Dish quilt using this type of paper piecing.  You can cut lots of fabric pieces all the same size and you can actually chain piece them.  You still have to remove the papers but the pieces aren't itty-bitty (don't need to get out the tweezers) and you can get a bunch of them made in no time. 

Ok. So I've tried. I do know I don't really like paper piecing. But I don't think I'm ready to say "never again". I still have dreams of a New York Beauty. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden But I Promised Myself One

I LOVE Roses....especially the old fashioned kind that have such a wonderful fragrance and are winter hardy in these parts...the kind of roses the deer and rabbits like to eat down to the ground...the kind that stick to your fingers, hair, clothes...yes, I LOVE the roses in my garden. 

This is one of the ways I chose to use some of the rose fabrics I've been  hoarding  collecting for years.  This is a 12 inch block called Rosebud.  With these 12 blocks I think that brings my total to 42.  I think I want 56 blocks for a 7 x 8 layout...a nice big quilt.   I have used rose themed fabrics for the background and made the rosebud part of the block out of solids in a variety of colors of roses. 

But now that I'm getting close to the number of blocks I think I need I'm not really liking how they all look together - colors and values are all over the place.  Maybe I need a garden path...or an alternate block... or some birds...Hmmm...maybe I'll just continue on and make the other fourteen blocks (fabrics are selected and partially cut) and then think about it. Maybe I'll end up with two big quilts. Maybe I'll...who knows?...combine it with the other rose themed fabric UFO that's really old? 

At any rate...It's Monday and I'm kind of moving this UFO forward so that means I should probably link up to Moving it Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It's Not All Just Non Stop Quilting Around Here

I finished crocheting "Pixie Hood" for one of my granddaughters.  I recently found out she has a fascination for hats so I've started making some for her for Christmas.   I made this with a yarn I've never used before - reflective yarn. Those white splotches reflect light and there's kind of a glow in the dark effect. What fun.  And woe is me... I had to try and try again in order to get that front section of the hood right. Those were some new-to-me stitches. 

When I showed the granddaughters this book this is the one I expected Isabelle to pick as a favorite and she did. A "Pixie Hoood" is totally Isabelle. At age 11 she dresses in a rather Bohemian (artsy-fartsy) way.  And I think that's a good thing. She already has her own style and is not preoccupied with brand names. 

And since I've finished this pixie hood I'm going to start another hat today.
 I work a few rounds of crochet...

... when I take a break from working out in the gardens.  

I guess crochet stitches are hand stitches (no machines involved in this process- just some old fogey hands and a crochet hook and yarn) so I'm linking up today with 

and Monday I'm linking with: 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Orange 2.5 Part I

The color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is orange. This week I worked with my 2.5 inch scraps and ended up with two eight inch Depression Blocks to add to my pile of 41 blocks. 

A couple of orange sprouts.

A few four inch Happy Blocks to add to the pile of Kitchen Sink blocks. 

Lots of pyramids to add to the 1000+ pyramid quilt. 

I haven't used all of my 2.5 inch scraps yet...more to come next week in Part II.

Got Scraps?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Brights Out - A Quilt of Lesser Value

Brights Out
60 x 78
Made of pastel string scraps
A donation quilt

I made the blocks last year as a Heartstrings challenge to make string blocks with light centers. I used a light gray calico with pastel colored flowers. It was fabric left over from a long skirt I made all too long ago. (It was cute too - a maxi skirt with buttons down the front). The rest of the fabrics were from the light colored strings scrap bag. 

I still managed to put some novelties (the smile factor) in the quilt - owls, feathers, butterflies.  In this section.  I must have been smiling when I got there because you can see my quilting swirls kind of went wonky at that point. 

I used another gray calico for the borders - fabric left over from an A line dress I made all so long ago.  (I haven't worn a dress in ages). 

I pieced together batting (with zigzag stitches) and I used a Martha Stewart 100% cotton pink floral sheet from the thrift store for the back. (It's amazing what people take to thrift store. There was not a tear or spot on it.)   I quilted it with spirals on my new little Bro. (Hey, I have arthritis and carpal tunnel so give me a break)! 

And why do I have so many bags of pastel strings I need to use up? They are mostly trimmings from sheet backings. 

I'm linking up to: 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Rainbow of Kaleidoscopes - It's a Top

A Rainbow of Kaleidoscopes
80 x 80

I made 100 of  these 8 inch blocks out of 2.5 inch scraps last year as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. 

I love making quilt blocks but sewing them together into a top is not one of my favorite things to do especially when you can't figure out how they should be sewn together. But the dirty deed is done. (Earworm warning - dirty deeds, done dirt cheap).   Now I just have to figure out what to use for a backing and how to quilt it.  Since it's a bed quilt the backing doesn't have to be anything fancy since I rarely look at the backside of a quilt when I'm in bed snoring. And  I'll probably FMQ some circles after I learn the ABCs of FMQ on my new DSM.  Stay tuned. 

Linking up to:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Finish-A-Long Quarter 2 Goals

It's time to declare some goals for the second quarter of Finish-A-Long.  Last quarter I finished up 6 out of my 14 goals but I did get farther along on some goals I'm carrying over to this quarter.  I probably would have finished more if I did more FMQ instead of hand quilting but I do love hand quilting. 

1.  Rolling Stones (birthday blocks) - have enough blocks for a quilt and I didn't make any of them. I'm thinking I'll add a thin cream sashing.  

2. Dresdens - have enough blocks for a quilt.

3. Twinklers - have enough blocks for a quilt.

4. Kaleidoscopes - have enough blocks for a quilt. 

5. STARZ - have enough blocks for a top.

6. Feathers - it's a top. Needs some hand quilting. 

7. Pale strings - pieced batting and backing ready. Needs pin basting and FMQ.

8. Happy Butterflies - batting and backing is pieced. Needs pin basting and FMQ. 

9. Butterflies - Can't decide whether to hand or machine quilt. 

10. Mystery - really, really, really old mystery quilt needs some quilting so it can be donated. 

11. Velveteen Rabbit.   Ready for some hand quilting. 

12. Butterfly Garden - in the hoop. 

13. Vintage Tulips - It's just waiting for some hand quilting. 

14. String Star - have all star points made. 

15. Wild Kingdom Jacob's Ladder - Need more blocks. 

16.  Fractured - leftover fabric pieces from Petunias leftover from Pickle Dish. Need more blocks. 

17. Flying Geese - leftover fabric pieces from Vintage Spin. Not sure of layout. 

18. Patriotic Chunky Churn Dashes - need more blocks for Quilt of Valor. 

19. One of my granddaughters has an obsession with hats so for Christmas I'm going to crochet her a box of hats. My other granddaughter will probably want the same. 

20. Crochet hat

21.  Crochet hat - reflective yarn! This is the one Isabelle picked out of the book as her fav.  And I guessed it would be her fav.

22. And I still haven't made that darned purse! 

I have high hopes. High apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes. 

2016 button 250 best