Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Cleared Off My Desk and...

The scraps were piling  up so high on the desk where I have my sewing machine so that I could hardly see my little old Janome.  And there was certainly no room to do any machine quilting. So, it was time to sort and use some scraps. I didn't want to throw them in a box. I have too many of those scrap boxes right now. 

So, first up...I sorted out some short string scraps.  Then I used the pile of 5 inch b/w "charms" I swapped ages and ages ago and used them as the centers of my blocks with strings all around for some 9.5 inch blocks...because that's the size of one of my rulers I used to square them up.  More to come...I just sewed some up until I was tired of them.  They are kind of like the Happy Block quilts I've made in the past (central square, 2.5 inch sides).   I guess they are Happy Wonkies or Wonky Happies.  I probably have enough for a lap quilt. 

I used only bright string scraps and put the neutral ones in another pile for a different project I haven't gotten to yet.  (String hearts, maybe?) 

I swapped some patriotic chunky churn dashes several months ago and still had some patriotic and red/white/blue 2.5 inch strips on my desk so I cut them further into 2.5 squares, cut some white/cream 1.5 inch pieces and made a few Twinklers...an alternate six inch block to go with those patriotic chunky churn dashes.    I want to make at least three Quilts of Valor in 2016 for a couple of bros-in-laws and a nephew.   This will be one of them. 

Some blue tone on tone scraps were cut into 2.5 inch pieces and some waste triangles used for some little 4 inch butterfly blocks.  When I cut off waste triangles I just eyeball the 1/4 inch seam allowance so sometimes the wings are uneven.  

Some 2.5 inch scraps went toward four patches. I have a box of different four inch units/blocks that will make several donation quilts of some type or other in 2016. 

And speaking of waste triangles...I have a bunch of them left over from that butterfly garden quilt top  I made a few months ago.  There's a lot of them. I haven't sewn them all together yet but...

...I think I see a quilt using these in my future. Again, when I cut off the waste triangles I just eyeballed the seam allowances so these waste triangles do not measure all the same size and I'm not going to square them up.  I might leave some as HSTs, make some into pinwheels and/or broken dishes blocks.   I might add some fairies and more butterflies and mushrooms and other insects and fantasy creatures.  MIGHT, I say. MIGHT. We shall see what comes of this. 

When I have scraps...I improvise. Sometimes I improve my skills. Two improvs. 
And speaking of improv...why not check out some other improv quilters this month.

Ad Hoc Improv Quilting with:

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Some Stuff for Slow Stitching on Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday...

Today I finished up the final five of forty-nine Dresdens and need to applique them to the gray background.  I made these all year as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. I will have one big quilt if I ever get it finished. The background squares are 13 inches.  The Dresden spokes are 4.5 inches. 

I'm also behind on getting my circles appliqued to their backgrounds. I have Dec 7 (Kayla's Birthday) through Dec 25 made and ready to have the buttonhole stitching around them completed. I have the fabrics pulled for yesterday and today but no circles made yet.  I may take these to work and work on them during my lunch break. 

And I still have 11 more blocks to quilt on my Vintage Spin.  I just accidentally sliced into the callous on my underneath finger so we shall see if I can still quilt without pain. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I Topped It!

Lozenges (aka Suppositories)
76 x90
It's a top made from 2 x 4.5 lozenges - 760 of them. 
It's too long for the clothesline and it is very wet outside so...

...here it is turned on it's side. 
I think I have a piece of wide muslin for the back and I think I will machine quilt it on my plain Jane DSM with some straight lines. 

I started working on these late in 2014 and all through 2015 as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. 

I have jokingly been referring to these as suppositories because they are kind of a pain in the patooty to make....well, they are not all that difficult to make but they are sooo boring with those little 1.5 inch corners that need to be sewn and trimmed - four of them on each of those 760 units.   Good thing I only made a few of the color of the month each month or I never would have seen these through to a top. I'm not a leader/ender sort of gal so don't make any quilts using that method. 

Holidays are rather stressful for  me. I'm not really a people person even if the people are my family and friends...I prefer to spend time by myself.  These suppositories were just the right mindless kick-in-the-booty type of cure that could see me through the holidays, the people, the stress.  You can't top that! (Er, I guess I did...top it).  

Monday, December 14, 2015

How Some Projects Get Started Around Here

I started cutting some triangles for a String Star because...

...I still had some string pieces left over from making...
...my Feather quilt top which was made out of leftover strings cut from the side of quilt backs over the years.

I still have lots of strings and have always wanted to make a String Star quilt.  I've been inspired by a couple of beauties out there in blog land. Now is the time. So I sewed a whole bunch of strings together this weekend and cut 41 triangles so far.   I think the pattern I'm using said I needed 248 of them.  I'll be cutting more triangles this weekend.  I think I will have enough string scraps and won't have to cut into any fabric for the star triangles.  I'm pretty sure I have enough indigo fabric for the background.  

Linking to:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

In The Hoop

I finished up my hand quilting on Flowering Snowball and now Vintage Spin has sneaked into the hoop.  I hope to work on it a little this evening. I really need to catch up on some blog reading and answer some of the lovely comments left on my blog. If I don't do it on the weekend I don't really find much time after work to do it these days.  I've been trying to get files moved over from my old XP laptop to my new one...I didn't realize I have so photos and genealogy files and other documents.  And, of course there's Christmas.  Thankfully my granddaughters were out this weekend and decorated my tree for me since I really hate decorating.  They invited themselves and my grandson back next weekend to make cookies.  So, I guess I need to add that to my plans. 

There's always some hand quilting (and some eggnog and a little Christmas music) to make one feel relaxed at the end of a day.   I'm quilting concentric circles and using the tiniest needle I've ever used yet for hand quilting. I can hardly see to thread the needle -  I usually do big stitching but decided to practice small stitches on this quilt. I'm putting a little spin on things... I thought the concentric circles would give Vintage Spin some  movement.

I'm using regular hand quilting thread in green, navy, and orange.  I need practice...practice...

...practice.  I'm hoping the tiny stitch practice will help me with some hand piecing I want to do some day on those Daisy-do Jen Kingwell flowers. 

There's a whole lot of hand stitching going on today in blog land...go find out for yourself...

Friday, December 11, 2015

I Finished Off The Cherry Pie!

I Love Cherry Pie
(aka Flowering Snowball)
91 x 101
Hand quilted

Lots of different red and cherry themed fabrics were harmed in the making of this quilt. 

I started it in 2014 when Mary at Molly Flanders Blog hosted a quilt along. I used her templates but somehow ended up with a 10 inch block. 

I found a mistake while I was quilting it...see how the "flowers" are all red like above? 

Well, I Spy a white "flower". 

I hand quilted it with some red perle #8...

...there are some cherry blossoms in the snowball sections and I just quilted 1/4 inch inside the seam on the red flower sections. 

I used homespun on the back with CHERRIES! I made the quilt a little larger than intended so had to piece some other red checked homespun on to one side.  It sure is easy to hand quilt through homespun with the loose weave. 

Today I will link up with:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

No, I'm Not Going to Waste Waste Triangles

It's time to clean off part of my sewing desk so....
1.  I cut some 2.5 inch red squares
2. gathered up some waste triangles from the edge of my desk and sewed them to the corners of some of those red squares
3. ironed
4. trimmed even with the background red squares (no I didn't cut off the background because that would then make another waste triangle for the corner of my desk and we are trying to avoid that)
5. sew them together along with some red 2.5 inch squares without triangles into the Ocean Waves configuration for a large 16 inch block. 

6. Repeat
7. Admire your work on Ocean   Confetti Waves and wonder how big a quilt you will make.

Then cut some 2.5 inch blue squares  and attach waste triangles as you see above for some little butterflies or, if set on point I suppose they could be little bow ties.  I like butterflies.  I don't like to waste.  Waste not, want not.  Ok, I have to admit there are still a few things I want. 

Since these blocks used up my smallest of scraps and since it is Scraptastic Tuesday I will be linking up for Scraptastic Tuesday. 

Scraptastic Tuesday

Monday, December 7, 2015

So Sue Me!

Sunbonnet Sues
63 x 78

These blocks were swapped in 2009. They were my first attempt at fusible applique and I really didn't like them after I made them but swapped anyway.  We could use any Sunbonnet Sue pattern and white on white background. We were supposed to use fusible applique and then machine stitch around the shapes.   

Luckily after the swap I had the same amount of them facing different directions so I could alternate blocks.   A couple of years ago I sashed them with some 30s reproductions and "that green".  I had some 3 inch 9 patches in 30s from another swap so I threw some of those in too.  And so the top has been sitting around for another couple of years.  I really don't like the stiffness of the fused interfacing but figured a quilt is better than wasted blocks. 

So, I quilted it on my plain Jane DSM with some three petaled flowers and on the dress and bonnet I quilted some really tiny 3 petaled flowers...really tiny. 

I didn't quilt into the arm and shoes so they sort of stand out as 3D.  All that quilting in Sue kind of softened the fusible interfacing.  

I used a vintage sheet on the back. 

My husband and I are from large families and our siblings are all becoming grandparents many times over so I'm sure there will be a girl baby coming along soon that will need a quilt that's perfect for crawling around on. 

I can cross another UFO off my list. 

Linking up today to:
and a new one

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Handwork Odds and Ends

It's Sunday and you know what that means...time for Slow Stitching Sunday! - Join up with everyone at Kathy's Quilts for a virtual sewing bee  I have my choice of projects.  

Totally finishing this quilt is my December goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. 

 So today can finish appliqueing fireworks on the scrappy rail fence...

...I can finish up hand quilting on "I Love Cherry Pie".  I only have four more cherry blossoms to quilt and then I can work on the binding for this monstrosity. 

I have eight more redwork  nursery rhymes that I need to trace and then embroider. 

And there's always circles that need some blanket stitches.   This one commemorates yesterday. The grandkids were over for the annual "Making of the Ornaments".    When my kids were little we made some type of ornaments every year from the time they were about 2 years old.  When they grew older and had their own Christmas trees I gave them most of the ornaments they had painted through the years.  And now I carry on the tradition with the grandkids. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ten Pillowcases

10 Pillowcases

I  give some family members pillowcases for Christmas. 
You may think spiders and webs would not be very conducive to a good night's sleep. My daughter wanted me to make her a different set of pillowcases for each month of the year. Last year I gave her snowmen for January and some lovey-dovey valentines for Feb.   I skipped forward to October for this year's gift and spiders/webs is what she gets. 
Now I can throw in the washer and dryer and wrap or use them for gift wrap. 

This was my goal #14 for Q4 Finish Along with     

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Circle Game

And the seasons they go round and round 

And the painted ponies go up and down 
We're captive on the carousel of time 
We can't return we can only look 
Behind from where we came 
And go round and round and round 
In the circle game  - Joni Mitchell

Audrey of the blog Quilty Folk had a brilliant idea to applique a circle a day for a year that  she called Quilty 365.      I decided to play along starting on Nov 4. I had been thinking of making some type of journal quilt so decided to choose my fabrics based on some highlight of the day. I also add a little handwriting describing the highlight.  Reminds me of the old Joni Mitchell song Circle Game so I'm calling my quilt Circle Game.

I'm showing my circles Nov 4 - Nov 29.   I have fabrics chosen for Nov 30 and today but don't have those circles cut yet. (It's been a long couple of days at work).

And, in case you are curious about some of those highlights -
In health news I found out lumps in my breast were cysts, my granddaughter needs to carry epi-pen since she had a severe allergic reaction to fresh pineapple and my health insurance premium will go up 127 % next year...Affordable Health Care, my ass.In other news,  I experienced an awesome sunrise, saw Venus every morning on my way to work and we had a record 9.9 inches of snow.  I finished a book, celebrated 29 years on the job, thought I heard a mouse under my bed, bought a new laptop with Windows 10 to replace my antique Windows XP.  Gas was 1.99 a gallon, we ate the last of our fresh tomatoes and I started a Peacock quilt.  Can't wait to see what December brings...one day at a time. 

Join in if you haven't already.  There are so many awesome interpretations of Quilty 365 out there. Don't believe me? Then you need to check out the Quilty 365 linky party.  I'm hopefully going to visit all the links this weekend.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Testing, Testing...

Last summer I was working on my 1718 Coverlet and discovered there is a lot of hand piecing involved with some very weird shapes. I quickly found out that I need more (since I don't have any at all)   hand piecing experience before I can go any further on it. 

I thought a project where I repetitively piece the same pieces over and over again might give me some experience.   This was my first attempt at a Jen Kingwell pattern and, as you can see, my flower needs a little work.  I'm going to keep it but give another one a try. 

This is the book I'm using and this is how the flowers are supposed to look. 

For this first attempt I just used paper templates. I did not add the 1/4 seam allowance to the template. I traced around it on the back of the fabric in pencil and just eyeballed the 1/4 seam allowance when I cut out the shapes. Then I attempted to line up the pencil lines and stitch together on the lines.  I found my eyeballs don't know what 1/4 seam allowance looks like and that it was too difficult to keep those curved pencil lines matched up.    

So, I'm going to make two sets of cardboard templates. One set will be the template without the seam allowance and the other set will be with the seam allowance so when I draw on the back of the fabric I will have two pencil lines and maybe those curves will match up a little better. 

If that works out then I will have a new project to work on during my lunch break. I normally like to go out for lunch but not during the winter when it is cold and there is snow on the ground. So, a portable project is in order.    

And I've always got my circles to work on.  I blanket stitch around the edges. I usually catch up on them on Sundays. I've been making them faithfully since Nov. 4  I write in the white space something to do with the day.   This is my Black Friday circle.. "No Black Friday deals for me. I hate shopping and I especially hate shopping when there are crowds." If you want to know more about the circles project see the Quilty 365 link on the sidebar. 

I've been screwing around with my new laptop all day (windows 10 to replace old XP) and the graphics card is giving me fits otherwise I'd have a lot of Slow Sunday Stitching completed by now. But I guess I have the rest of the day.