Friday, November 30, 2018

Vintage Thingamajigs Monthly Update

 I've been calling these blocks Vintage Thingamajigs for lack of a better name. They are inspired by blocks in a picture at Flickr.  My version appears like it might be an Ohio Star variation and has 29 pieces in each six inch block. 

I made 15 blocks this month. 

 I've been working on them for 20 minutes each day since July 1. If I miss a day of 20 minute work for some reason like a broken sewing machine then I make sure to make up those days by sewing longer on other days.  I thought it would be fun to see how long it takes to make a quilt by working on these blocks for just 20 minutes each day.  The 20 minutes includes cutting pieces, cutting dog ears, winding bobbins, seam ripping, etc and not just sewing. 
The shoe box now has 103 blocks. I'm trying to decide if I should make it 10 x 12 blocks (60 x 72) or 12 x 14 blocks (72 x 84).  I'm thinking a twin sized quilt is probably the better way to go. Then that means I need 65 more blocks and will be sewing on this for several more months.  And that's okay. It's slowly moving forward and I'm not bored with it and it has become my routine now to work on it first thing each day. 

I sew a few blocks at a time in stages and am in the middle of 10 blocks to start out December so December may see more blocks than usual made. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Secret Santa Sew Along - It's a Flimsy!

It's a flimsy!
Secret Santa
43 x 56

 Do you recognize the block as Burgoyne Surrounded? 

I really don't like to do sew alongs or mysteries any more but this one struck my fancy -- little pieces and I could use some of my Christmas fabrics and have a little fun. You know I want to empty all those holiday fabric bins! 

I wish I had some smaller print light Christmas fabrics but I didn't so used what I had. Most of my Christmas light prints are used up now. I used a variety of snowflake fabrics when I got to the sashings.  I have a couple of large prints I can piece together for the back. 

It's kind of small but when finished might look nice on the back of a chair, on a table or on my lap. Or I'll give it to my daughter who loves all holidays and holiday decorating. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

It's a Finish! Blind Man's Fancy

 Blind Man's Fancy
90 x 90
Hand quilted

of my Q4 Finish-Along goals. 

Baby, it's cold outside! 

I had my heart set on hand quilting Baptist Fans which was kind of a dumb idea considering all those seams in all those small pieces but I persisted. My first problem was marking. I tried a variety of ways to mark the Baptist Fan. Finally I settled on an Around the Block stencil I used a couple of times to quilt circles. And I have had a pounce pad for a long time but never used it but I tried it after trying a variety of other marking tools and it seemed the perfect solution.  

 At least I could see the marks. But I could only mark one fan at a time because if I tried more the chalk would wear off before I could get to it.  I didn't use a hoop because for some reason it wasn't working for me. It kept popping out of the square PVC hoop and the bigger wooden hoop just was not working for me.  I was totally frustrated between all the seams, marking, hoops but kept going.  And now I love the texture that it added that doesn't show up in the pictures but it kind of matches my vision for this quilt. 
I used muslin on the back. Sometimes I missed going through the backing all together an it appears there are skipped stitches. Sometimes I had to stab stitch through the seams. Sometimes my lines of stitching (or rather curves) are crooked or not evenly spaced. I try for small and consistently spaced stitches but sometimes I fall short of that goal.   But I still enjoy hand quilting (most of the time).

This was goal #1
Q4 Finish-Along

Monday, November 26, 2018

Plans For The Two Inch Scrap Bin

 This time of year I look at my scrap bins that are sorted by size and decide what I will do with them in the following year.  I never used to have a two inch scrap bin but this year I seemed to accumulate one because I cut some scrap chunks into 2 inch pieces to make Fractured Rainbows

As new projects I've decided to make 7 inch Wedding Ring blocks and 16 patches. I already have Wonky Stars and Ticky Tacky Houses in the works. 

A lot of times I consult The Ladies' Art Company Block Tool for ideas. I won it several years ago and it sure comes in handy. The block I called Wedding Ring was from this Block Tool. It has a similar block called Odd Scraps Patchwork - the left and right of center piece is just made a little differently from the Wedding Ring; however, the end result looks the same to me.  I preferred the Wedding Ring method of construction. 

A couple of years ago I made some Wonky Stars with waste triangles and 2 inch squares. I used all the 2 inch scraps I had at that time and the project stalled. Now it seems I have plenty of 2 inch scraps and waste triangles. These finish at 4.5 inches so it will take lots of blocks for a twin sized quilt. 

 So that's the plan for two inch scraps. I hope this bin of scraps will be gone at the end of 2019 and I have four quilt tops instead. These will be Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects and I'll make just a few of each block every month in the color of the month. 
Speaking of quilt tops...I have a flimsy finished and I also just finished a quilt; however, it's too snowy and cold for me to go out today to take any pictures of them on the clothesline. This is the view from my sewing room (dirty) window.  We received about 14.5 inches of snow overnight.

Sunday, November 25, 2018


I issued myself a Holiday Cheer challenge to use my holiday fabrics this year.  That includes patriotic fabrics.  I made two quilts this year that need finishing that used patriotic fabrics but still have quite a bit of fabric left in the box. I'm short on light prints but have lots of reds and blues.  I've had a Triangles Galore tutorial bookmarked for quite awhile so thought I would give it a try. I didn't use the measurements or template in the tutorial - I used my kaleidoscope ruler instead and 4 inch strips of fabric.  They went together easily so I will make more. I haven't decided on what to use for corner fabrics. I'll decide after I make more blocks. They finish at around 14 inches so I won't need many. 

8-12 inches of snow predicted for today from Winter Storm Bruce and it's snowing snowballs right now. Guess I'll go sew. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Sunflowers #11, #12 and #13

Only five more left to go. 

My One Monthly Goal (OMG) was to make two Sunflower blocks this month.  I've made five - these three and Sunflowers #9 and #10. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

WIPs to UFOs to WIPs Again

 I have several boxes and bins of UFOs. They are UFOs for a variety of reasons.  Periodically I dig through to see if there's anything I feel like actually finishing.  I feel like finishing Wagon Wheels so made four this week and moved them out of the UFO box and into their own project box.  That makes 16 blocks total now out of 63 required. 
I started these nine inch Wagon Wheel blocks in July 2013 and worked on them a little in 2015.  The pattern is from a McCall's DVD I think I've misplaced now so good thing the instructions and templates were with the blocks.  I found these difficult to make when I started them. But since then I've made a lot of quilts with curves so they seem pretty easy to make now as long as I remember to cut the pieces correctly. 

Now that it is in it's own project box and out where I can see it I hope to make a few blocks each week out of 30s reproduction fabrics and solids although I don't have many solids to choose from. 

 And speaking of 30s reproductions...this is another UFO that recently got it's own project box - little five inch string blocks.  It looks like I started these in 2014 to use my 1.5 inch 30s reproduction scraps.  The reason this became a UFO is because I ran low on scraps and didn't want to cut any fabric specifically for these String Stars.  The stars are Kona Spring and I had a piece of it folded around the blocks I had made. The Kona Spring reminds me of the green Grandma used in her quilts in the 30s so that's why I picked that color.  I used a tutorial at the Molly Flanders blog. 

 Over the years I've been accumulating 1.5 inch 30s scraps for this project. 

I've been working on about ten blocks a day. I have all the foundation squares cut and I'll be darned if that piece of Kona was exactly enough fabric to give me the size quilt I want. Weird since I didn't really know what size quilt I was making until I recently dug out this UFO. 

 Now this UFO turned WIP has a project box all to itself too. 
After I'm finished with those 1.5 inch 30s scraps they will go into the project box with the general population of 1.5 inch scraps I've been accumulating to move forward on my Spider Web quilt using the tutorial at Quiltville.  I previously used the Quiltville tutorial to make a Spider Web quilt in 2012. That one used different sized strings. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Holey Moley! It's a Finish!

 It's a finish! 
Holey Moley
54 x 72

I'm calling it Holey Moley because after I put the top together I lamented that the white on white Snowball blocks made it look like the quilt had big holes in it.  
 I usually don't use a design wall or floor or bed and just sew blocks together randomly -- just like grandma used to do.  Let the scraps fall as they may!  In 2017 when I made light cornered Snowballs I must have had a lot of light/neutral scraps. Now that the quilt is all finished it doesn't look so "holey", thank goodness. 
This was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC)  project started in 2017.  I used scraps from the 3.5 inch scrap bin to make the Snowballs.  In 2017 I used whatever was in the scrap bin in the RSC color of the month to make Snowballs with light corners.  This year I made Snowballs with dark corners. I fully intended at the end of this year to just mix up all the Snowballs and sew them together alternating dark and light corners. But somewhere along the line this year I decided to make nine patch blocks instead. 
 I pieced together about eight batting scraps. Then I couldn't figure out the color of thread to use or how to quilt it. I tried a couple of different things and ended up with skipped stitches and a seam ripper and cuss words.  I love hand quilting but most of the time I don't consider machine quilting on my DSM a lot of fun.  Finally I changed to a microtex needle after trying a topstitch and quilting needle. That fixed the skipped stitches.  I decided on gray thread since that seemed to blend and I had enough of it on hand.  And I decided I would just relax, take it easy and breathe and try to have a little fun and not be so uptight.  It's a comfort just needs to be comforting. 

I made the Snowballs stand out by doing a liberated- wonky- free motion quilted- figure eight around the Snowballs.  And that was kind of fun. Snowballs, after all, aren't all the same perfectly round shape. 
 I used a nice soft eggplant colored sheet for the back and I had just enough of that gray solid to use for binding. 
I finished Holey Moley last night and funny thing...when I woke up this morning it was snowing.  The snow is perfect for making snowballs. I may have to go out later and build a snowman - my exercise for the day. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Really Crumby Stuff

Five Crumb Quilt Tops

This year I tried to tame my crumbs (itty bitty weirdly shaped scraps). 

I made it a Rainbow Scrap Challenge  (RSC ) project.  Each month I dug through several big boxes of crumbs and sorted out the ones that were the color of the month. Then I sewed them together and made several different blocks.  This week I assembled those blocks into tops that will be donated when finished. 

Slabs with Heart
48 x 60

I first sorted out the biggest crumbs that were straight edged and made a twelve inch slab block around a 3 or 4 inch heart made from red scraps. 

Crumby Yummy Candies
From Cathy's Confectionery 
56 x 64

After the slab blocks were finished I used the rest of the crumbs to make close to 4.5 inch strips of fabric that I later cut and trimmed into 4.5 inch squares.  I had a lot of white/neutral bits and pieces that I used up for the backgrounds of these blocks and I used 2.5 inch scraps to make the HSTs that are the "candy wrapper" ends. 

 Crumb Stars
from a galaxy far, far away.
40 x 56
 The stars are eight inch blocks with 4.5 inch crumb centers. For the background and star points I used scraps in the chunk bin in complementary colors if I had them and if not I cut into yardage.  I have small end pieces and remnants usually less than 1/4 yard of TOTs, solids and blenders set aside for use in donation quilts. 

Holy Mackerel!!'s the legendary Crumb Snatcher fish!...a whole school of them. 
39 x 55

Sometimes the crumb fabric strips were a little shy of 4.5 inches used in the Crumby Yummies and Stars so the fish were made from 4 inch squares of crumbs. 

It was a fun way to use crumbs and it was fun to see how many quilts I would have at year end.  Next year I think I'm going to concentrate on string scraps and selvages but not separated by color. 

I still have small boxes of  black and neutral crumbs I'll use in a couple of different quilts and I'm still sorting through half a box of crumbs and throwing them into bins of warm and cool crumbs.  But I'm trying to avoid adding to the crumb box by making crumb stars if crumbs are left over from any project. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Fat Quarter Challenge Flimsy

Fat Quarter Challenge Flimsy
for Quilts Beyond Borders Challenge 
sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop. 

40 x 58

This was the fat quarter I used. 

 I had to get a little creative to have enough for 12 Sawtooth Stars with 6.5 inch centers. 

I also used almost all of a small piece of gray and a small piece of purple with flowers.  I made flying geese for the star points and the HST pieces in top and bottom borders were cut from the ends of strip used for the Flying Geese. 
A lot of people can't believe I don't precut pieces for a lot of my scrappy quilts.  Here's what scraps I have from this project.  For the 1.5 inch scrap bin there's a couple of small FQ pieces and a purple polka dot piece that I used to border some of the FQs.  For the 2 inch scrap bin there is the very end of the piece of the gray solid I used for the background.  For the 2.5 inch scrap bin there's purple flower pieces left over from the top and bottom border and nine patch used as one of the star centers.  There's lots of bits and pieces of different grays and lime green for the 3.5 inch scrap bin as well as the very last piece of that purple flower fabric.   And there's a couple of strings for the string box and some triangle pieces that would normally go into the crumb box; however,  I've been trying to make crumb stars with the crumbs after each project instead of throwing them into the crumb box. 

I am usually working on a  Rainbow Scrap Challenge project that uses scraps from those scrap bins when I see them getting full. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Sunflowers #9 and #10

Sunflowers #9 and #10

My machine was in the shop because it quit sewing. I picked it up Saturday.  Friction ring, feed dogs and thread guides were replaced.  Then it was cleaned, oiled, tuned up.  Now it's almost like a new machine.  Since the month seems like it's about half over I thought I better work on my One Monthly Goal  (OMG) and make two Sunflowers. Now I can mark that off the list. 

While the machine was in the shop I did a lot of fabric cutting both with scissors and with rotary cutter and also did some hand quilting which seemed to cause some problems with my fine motor skills.  So I laid around and read and browsed seed catalogs. 

My sewing machine and fingers are working now. 
I THINK life is pretty much back to normal.