Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hot Rod Quilt Finished

My goal was to finish this hot-rod themed quilt for my brother before we left on vacation this week, and I did. Yay!!  The picture isn’t the best, but it was threatening rain and getting dark, so we just did it. Steve is thrilled.

The quilt includes several fabrics with different color schemes, scale, etc. There is even a cut up shirt in there (the blue backgrounds). The only thing I could think of to do to unify (somewhat) all the disparate pieces was to use colored sashing in various sizes and bright colors (green, blue, red, black and some gold). It worked out pretty well.

The back is just leftover fabrics and/or other stuff that didn’t quite go with the rest.... The batting is Warm & Plush, and the quilting was a large stipple, which he seemed to think was “rad”.  I’m just glad he’s happy. And that it’s done. This is my February goal for OMG - One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts. I’ll be linking up at the end of the month when the linky party opens.

This is also a finish for me for my Quarter One goals for the 2018 Finish-Along. It was #5 on my list and is my third finish so far this year. You can visit my list HERE.

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And I made four blocks for February’s Block Lotto.  We were to start with a piece 3.5” or smaller from the Parts Department or leftovers from a quilt and then make a 9.5” scrappy block with it. As you can see, I had lots of HSTs, flying geese and tiny four-patches. I also added in some favorite bird fabric samples from Spoonflower and a little Lori Holt mini-charm, “Keep it Cool”. Yep, they’re pretty funky, but they’re supposed to be. I think. :-)

I made several more purple blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge that I can hopefully post on Saturday. It’ll be easy to prepare the post ahead of time; I’ll just have to figure out if/when I can link up when the time comes.  Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

February is Purple!

Participants in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are playing with our purple scraps for the month of February. Our intrepid leader, Angela, has assigned purple and lavender as our focus this month. It never ceases to amaze me how I can pretty much clear out my scraps one year, but by the time that color rolls around the following year, there are so many bits and bobs to play with. This year I’ve been adding in large chunks and fat quarters that have sat unloved or unused in my stash for many, many years. Cue the theme music for Rawhide here as I paraphrase:

“Move ‘em on, Cut ‘em up, 
Ride ‘em in, Head ‘em out...... RAWHIDE!  Our Scraps!

Ye-haw!  Ok. I’m over it now. 

So, purple.

First up were my Linked Squares Blocks. I did three of them this month, using the entire range of purples from red-purples to blue-purples. These blocks finish at 16.

I wasn’t sure how I was liking these until I put all my blocks together. There are the three purples, plus last month’s two blues. What’s with the one green one, you ask? It was the very first test block that I made to see if my pattern was correct. I’ll make more green ones when that color month rolls around. But this gives us an idea of what they will all look like together. I will need 20 total.  

And next I made four 8.5” (unfinished) string blocks for my Never-ending String Quilt that I started back in 2016.
All I have left to do with this string quilt is to make 2 orange blocks (to finish the orange foursome) and then one other large 4-part block in red or green.  This is so close that I may turn it into a monthly goal in March.  

Bruce and I are leaving Thursday to vacation in Arizona with family for a week or two. Our return is rather open-ended because we don’t have to rush home for anything. My brother is staying at the house to take care of the cats. Anyway, I won’t be around for the next couple Saturday link-ups unless I can borrow a relative’s computer. The iPad I’m taking is notoriously useless in Blogger edit mode (it won’t scroll, which they’ve known about for years but have never deigned to fix). So it’s unlikely I will post while I’m gone. But I always take lots of pictures, so I’ll catch you up when I get back.

Happy February!!
Friday, February 2, 2018

One Monthly Goal for February

Once again I’ll be participating with Patty at Elm Street Quilts in her great motivational link-up, One Monthly Goal (OMG).

I participated last month and finished up my Starry, Starry Day quilt in January. And now I’m working furiously on my brother Steve’s Hot Rod Quilt.

These fabrics have been hard to put together because they come from so many sources. Several of the pieces with blue backgrounds (dragsters) came from a shirt that Steve bought years ago at a swap meet. It appealed to him because it showed scenes of dragsters from some of the California venues he used to frequent when we were young. In fact, the (now-defunct) Irwindale Raceway was a few cities over in Southern California, and we could hear the races every now and then.

Steve is into anything “cars” - vintage cars, hot rods, etc. He bought his first car - a 1947 Chevy - when he was 15. Couldn’t even drive yet. But guess who had to drive it? Moi. Yep, I had to learn how to drive a stick shift (in 1970) on this 1947 with a starter button, a huge clutch that looked like a ..... well, never mind. Oh, and it did have a horn - an oooga horn. I learned while having to drive Steve to his dentist appointment after school in it. Stalled it about a half dozen times, with Steve yelling at me and his two friends (along for the ride) laughing and hooting. Once I got the hang of driving a stick shift it was a fun car to drive. But  the next year Steve got his license and that was that.  But I digress......

I have finished piecing the quilt front and back (lots of leftover pieces), and basted it yesterday. The quilting will begin this weekend.  I want to get it done before we leave on vacation next week.  :-)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Light Blue Scrap Recap and Another Quilt Finish

Here we are near the end of January. It’s been a long, cold month, but at least it didn’t seem as long as last year. Maybe getting out more often (to the mall three times a week to go walking), along with my other activities and errands, helps the yucky winter days to pass more quickly.  

This is the last week to post our blue scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge before Angela assigns the February color.  I usually do a collage to sum up my progress, and I will continue that this year. So here we go. I had a total of 51 blocks this month.

Top:  2 Squared Away Blocks, 10 - 6.5” selvage blocks, 2 Linked Squares Blocks
Middle:  2 blue string blocks, 2 birds, 12 crumb blocks
Bottom: 10 - 6.5” quarter log cabins, 1 Geese Migration block, 10 bow ties

I am ready for a new color!

Last week I realized that I’d never given a weight loss / health progress report (it keeps me accountable) in my end of the year/end of December recap. So, I’ll combine two months into one. December went well, eating-wise, until the neighbors started bring over treats and we decided to a family cooking bake-along. Long story short, I lost, then gained, then lost most of that. Bottom line was that I ended December weighing .2 LESS than I started. I was happy with that.

For Christmas I got a Fitbit. I’ve been working to increase my daily steps. I’ve always been a relatively sedentary person. I worked in an office and had sedentary hobbies (sewing, reading), with the exception of gardening. But that’s not an option in Utah in winter. So, Bruce and I began mall walking three times per week, and it has noticeably strengthened my legs, helped me feel so much stronger (and younger), and helped the pounds peel off. I have to remember that I’m losing pounds, not years! So far in January I’ve lost 5 pounds. My next weigh-in is Tuesday, so it could be a bit more or less before the actual month end. Anyway, total loss to date is 34.2, and I am close to moving into the next size down again in pants. Yay! My goal is to do that before we leave for Arizona on the 8th without having to lay on the bed to get the zipper zipped! Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to do THAT!   Yeah, Diann, I see you with your hand down. You’re naturally thin, LOL!! 

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And as the title says, I did have a quilt finish this week. It was rather unplanned. You see, DH Bruce sort of backed into the neighbor’s car when he left for work the other morning (it was dark and as the mirror says, “objects may be closer than they appear”). No damage to neighbors car, thankfully,  but it broke his truck’s rear tail light. Our neighbor, who is a prince and a gentleman, even ordered the part for us because he gets a discount. Anyway, Bruce and Steve will replace the tail light  this weekend, but I’ve been bummed out about it for reasons that aren’t really important (and that I can’t even put my finger on anyway). I felt I needed to find a happy place, and for me that was doing some zen-like sewing or quilting. So I pulled out my basted Autumn Quilt and spent two 2-hour sessions quilting it in a loopy, leafy, and whatever-floated-my-boat-type of motif. The border orange cornerstones even got big spirals. Because I could.

I quilted it with a 50-weight Aurifil in a golden color. I usually use 40-weight, but I still have a couple spools left over from a 50-weight set I bought a few years ago, and this golden yellow seemed perfect for the Autumn Sampler. The binding is my usual Warm and Plush. The quilt finishes at 64x79”. 

The back is a piece of yummy flannel that I picked up on sale last year during the Utah Shop Hop. It is actually a bit darker than the picture shows. Anyway, all in all a comfy fall quilt which will is late for last year or early for this year. Take your pick! 

This quilt was Goal #2 on my first quarter 2018 Finish-Along list, here.

Have a great week!
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Blue Birds of Happiness

I am so loving these pieced birds for a new quilt I’ve started. And since this month’s color for our scraps is blue, these are blue birds. Of happiness, naturally. They do make me so happy! But first ....

My dear fur daughter/sewing supervisor Darla got an email from Molly (Sally’s supervisor) suggesting a minor modification to the bird wing to make it, um, more “tasty”.  Well, I knew I’d get no peace from Darla until I tried it. And I LOVED it! Thanks, Molly!

Left:  Before                                                  Right:  After

With the new wing more visually pleasing TASTY, I decided to make one bird in the reverse direction. We will have another blue month later in the year, and I will another two blue birds then, but I have to show off the “mate” of the new bird (left, below) that I finished this weekend. 

Again, these are 10.5” blocks.  I have had a couple questions about how I did the beak. You will notice that there aren’t any seams around them. For such a tiny piece, I figured why bother? So, I took a 1.5” brown square and folded it diagonally, twice. The raw edge is sewn into the seam to align with the head. Think of a prairie point. When the block is done, I just topstitch the beak with brown thread and a very short (1.5) stitch length. Blurry closeup below (sorry, it’s the best my old camera can do....)

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Over the weekend I also stitched up four 10.5” scrappy string blocks for Covered in Love over at Kat and Cat’s blog.

They will be winging their way (sorry, couldn’t resist) to Kat this week.  And I’ve continued to work on my brother’s Hot Rod quilt. The top is slightly past the halfway point, thank goodness. I hope to have that top wrapped up by the weekend. But first, I’m going to quilt my Autumn Sampler quilt so I will have enough safety pins, because I’m too lazy to go out and buy more today. More pictures on the weekend.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Sewing a Blue Streak

While the snow is gently falling outside (may I say.... FINALLY!!!), I’ve gathered up my sewing progress pictures for the week and am ready to blog! My supervisor Darla is deftly pacing back and forth here in front of the big computer screen, raising an occasional paw to catch  the cursor. When she tires of it, she will perch on the back of the chair to read over my shoulder. I’m so lucky to have such great support!

Starry, Starry Day is now a completed quilt. YAY!!  

It finished at 72x78”. The batting is Warm and Plush cotton, and the quilting is just simple wavy lines. I did wash it before photographing. I just love how it has a lit-from-within look radiating out from the yellow center.

The binding was a simple orange and white print, and the backing was pieced from random fat quarters and pieces that have aged well (and too long) in my stash. This was a Rainbow Scrap project from 2017 and is my first finish of this year.

I will be sharing this finish and post with Rainbow Scrap Saturday, Oh Scrap!, OMG - One Monthly Goal, and the 2018 Finish Along as the link-ups come online.

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Once Starry, Starry Day was done, it was back to sewing blue scraps.  I made two blocks for the 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler, Squared Away. 

The next block is the beginning of a new quilt for me, and it will combine two blocks; the birds  plus an Irish Chain block. Irish Chains have been on my bucket list for a long time, and I will start off with a single chain in this quilt to create a lattice effect. The background of the quilt is Kona White, and the lattice will be Kona Ocean, the deep blue in the fabric of the body of the bird.

In fact, it is that fabric that I fell in love with. I ordered yards and yards of it last spring to be the inspiration for this quilt. It’s called Maggie Jean and is from the Frolic line by one of my very favorite fabric designers, Tamara Kate. The birds will all be made in coordinating rich blues, greens, pinks, and warm orange-yellows. I found a free bird pattern at Quilting Support, and also ordered the Feathers pattern from The Scrap Basket. I looked at both, but used neither. The Feathers pattern was poorly written and made an 8” finished block. The Quilting Support pattern made a 12” finished block. I needed a 10” block to work with the 10” Irish Chain alternate block, so I drafted my own in a similar style. Half the birds will face right, the other half left. I will show more detail as I complete more birds and chain blocks.  This quilt will definitely be for me. I originally drafted my pattern to be 50x70” plus borders (probably 60x80”), but I may go larger and turn it into a queen bed size. Time will tell.

And then all my blue scraps got sewn into these 12 miscellaneous 6.5” (unfinished) blocks; three nine-patches, one block of half-square triangles, and the others being crumb blocks. They will join all the other 6.5” blocks in the Parts Departments for eventual inclusion into either kennel quilts, baby quilts or who knows what....

And next up on the design board is Hot Rods, a quilt for my brother Steve. The fabrics are all here and I am playing around with them and letting ideas percolate. Lots of accent colors are being auditioned. The larger motifs have been cut up and will be trimmed and framed. This one is going to have to lead me instead of me leading it. 

The only part I am not enjoying is that my dear brother is hovering too much and weighing in on every.little.thing. I know he’s excited, but geez. I know what I’m doing (for the most part, LOL). Anyway, this project may end up going on vacation with me next month just so I can think in peace. 

Speaking of thinking, I think that wraps it up for this past week. Oh! Just one more thing. I often get questions from No-Reply bloggers. Often I am slow to reply, but I do get there. So if you don’t hear back from me, it’s because I have no way to contact you. So be sure to either include your email address in your comment, or update your account. Bonnie Hunter has full information on how to correct your No Reply status HERE.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Blue Saturday

It’s been a good week of seeing family visiting from out of town and getting things done.    The weather has been mild (for a mountain valley winter), with highs averaging in the high forties and no snow.

Bruce and I have taken to mall-walking. We love it! Fashion Place Mall is about a mile from our house, and any time between 7am - 10am when the mall opens, you can find lots of people walking. The mall plays great music and there are two coffee shops that are open and a lot of old-timers congregate there afterwards. There are even parents and grandparents walking babes in strollers. And I love when we run into (metaphorically speaking) someone we know! Once the weather is nice, we’ll switch to walking in the neighborhood and at Wheeler Farm, a block from our house.

Anyway, there was also a lot of sewing happening this week. I have linked up to the Scrappy Saturday blog party and you can see lots of great blue happenings there. January is for our light-to-mid range blue scraps. 

These are my two Linked Squares blocks for January. I saw a quilt with these blocks in it on Pinterest, but there was no linked site or instructions, so I just figured it out on my own. The finished blocks will measure 16” and be set 4x5 in a rainbow quilt. I won’t use sashing, so it  should measure 64x80” when done. I’m thinking it will be a great 2018 start and finish for a donation purposes.

Next I tackled my selvages. Selvages reproduce in the dark, you know. They grow like mint in your garden. You can’t get rid of them. So, I made ten 6.5” squares of light blue selvages. The rest are going into a baggie, and at the end of the year I’ll give them away with my other color selvage leftovers.  

And finally I began some 6.5” quarter square log cabins. I had done several of these last year in mixed colors, trying to alternate light and dark colors. It was a failed experiment, and they reside in the parts department where they will eventually find a home in a donation quilt. In the meantime, here are my ten light blue (with some medium blue) quarter logs:

And since the logs and the selvages are the same size, I had to mix them just to see what that looked like. Hmmmm..... Well, they’re not really meant to go together, and this is still just January. My guess is that I’ll have plenty of both blocks by fall to make separate quilts. 

And then this happened this week...... Starry, Starry Day is a finished flimsy that is sandwiched and ready to be quilted. 
I’ll do that on Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE, returned from her annual “spa” treatment) this week. I haven’t decided on a quilting pattern yet, but I’m leaning toward simple lines or even ditch quilting. I think the only thing that would actually ruin it would be too too much (like matchstick) quilting. 

I’m so excited to have this one nearly complete and am planning on the reveal next weekend.