Monday, February 29, 2016

Marginalia: A Quilty 365 Project

February Circles

Since Nov 4, 2015 I have been making a circle a day. That's 118 circles if I counted right.  I choose fabric that kind of highlights something from the day, match muslin with fabric for a HST background then buttonhole stitch by hand around each circle. 

In February I:
  •  finished four quilts that were UFOS - Which Way to the Chocolate (hand quilted), Fireworks on the Rails, Wonky Logs and Pentland Crackers 
  • read two books - What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman and The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
  • celebrated three birthdays - son -in-law, dau.-in-law and grandson
  • experienced unusually high winds and unusually high temps
  • celebrated Ground Hog Day, Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day and National Drink a Glass of Wine Day
  • had a sick computer, a sick sewing machine and a sick body
  • enjoyed flock of cardinals for several days and almost ran over 5 deer in the road out front on my way to work at 4:30 a.m
  • gas was down to $1.42 per gallon (I've been keeping track monthly for posterity)
  • gave myself some advice to "stay calm and eat bacon".

On March 1 she will have a Quilty 365 linkup where you can enjoy quite a variety of interpretations of the year long journey. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pentland Crackers Finished

Pentland Crackers
72 x 84

We are probably going to trade in our ancient pop-up camper that sleeps 5 and has no toilet with a brand new one that sleeps 9 and has a toilet.  Since I will retire next year we will be able to take the grandkids camping in style and more often.  Anyway, I decided I needed a couple more light weight quilts for the new camper.  So there it will go. 

These six inch crackers started out as a swap.  Then last year I used my 2.5 inch scraps and made a few each month as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.    When I was ready to assemble I couldn't decide on a layout right away so just decided to see what they looked like sewn together into groups of four of the same color.   After I had enough four unit blocks I just randomly sewed them all together because I don't have a design wall and didn't really want to muss and fuss a lot with them anyway. I kind of like random. 

Since they looked a lot like flowers in a garden I machine quilted on my DSM with some really, really free motion flowers in each section - no marking and sometimes there were some shaky hands. Before I did that, though, I did some straight line quilting 1/4 inch on each side of the 12 inch blocks (of four crackers) with my walking foot.  

I just used wide muslin for the backing and some really lightweight batting since it's a summer quilt. 
I used two color catchers in the washer but it looks like there might be a little bleeding from some reds. Or since it's so lightweight it might just be the red peeking through from the front. Either way, it really doesn't bother me.  It's going in the new camper.  It serves the same purpose whether or not the bleeding is there or not. 

I used more scrappy binding. I think my leftover binding box is getting pretty low now and I'll probably have to start cutting bindings again. On scrap quilts I like the scrappy binding. 

Broke my sewing machine again while quilting this- bobbin stop broke off.  So while Jane Janome  is out I'll be going back to Kenny Kenmore.   For now I'm off to grandson's birthday party. 

Linking to:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Brown Twinklers

The fuzzy pic represents my fuzzy headed feeling the last few days.

The only thing I made this week was some brown six inch Twinklers with my scraps. If I make about ten next month I will have 130 - enough for a layout 10 x 13 and a quilt 60 x 78.  I've been making these from scraps each month for the last couple of years as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Crooked; Off-Center; Askew = Wonky

Wonky Happies? Wonky Logs? Just Wonky? 
45 x 54

I used a pile of 5 inch (or were they 6.5 inch?) black & white squares I swapped quite some time ago...

...and framed them with some bright short strings 

I pieced together some leftover batting pieces and some leftover binding pieces...

...and pieced together a nice piece of cotton gingham I found at the thrift store long ago. 

I quilted it on my plain Jane Janome DSM with some free motion squares and rectangles. 

The quilting made it all poofy and cuddly. 

I improvised - used what I had on hand - leftover fabric strings, leftover batting, leftover binding, thrift store backing.    I get a good feeling using up what some others might give away or (gasp!) throw away. 

This quilt will go into the donation pile. I like to have a pile of donation quilts handy for any occasions that arise and at the end of the year I send any left off to their destinations.  This year I'm making some emergency car kits for Christmas gifts and including a small quilt along with some other survival items. So, some of these smaller quilts might go into those boxes.

Some Thoughts on Improv

 I'm afraid you will only see me doing what some others define as "improv" with scraps. Improv to me is short for improvise - use what you have on hand. (Well, on second thought...with that definition of improv alone most of my quilts then would be considered improv since I rarely buy any fabric these days and am using what I have on hand). I really have no desire to cut willy-nilly into my"good stash" paid for with hard earned money, to do without all the rulers and other tools I have at my disposal, to not do my best to match points or seams . I started out like that but now I love piecing - actually I'm starting to enjoy the more challenging blocks to piece more and more -  and have no need to go back to my old ways. I already feel "free" whenever I sew anything or work out in my garden or take off my bra and shoes and socks so no need to get liberated doing any specific type of quilting .  I'm happy just doing my own thing whatever that may be for the day.  But when there's scraps left over from doing what I want to do - then I might get a little wonky or do a little free piecing or some crazy quilting and I might even have some mismatched points.  I like it all. 

If you want to see some other improv interpretations and some Ad Hoc Improv Quilters you just have to visit Kaja's Sew Slowly blog  and Ann's Fret Not Yourself blog.  

Please note: I haven't gotten around to visiting my usual blog list lately to see what everyone has been working on or returned a thank you for each lovely comment because I have been feeling like the walking dead since Monday (as you can see from my Quilty 365 circle ) .  I'm hoping to be around to visit soon. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Playing in the Rose Garden

12 inch

I had hoped to get more made this weekend but played lots of board games with the grandkids instead.  We had fun. 

And now I have 20 blocks. I want 49. 
I started this quilt in March of 2014. I feel it is time to work on it again.  I wonder how many more different rose themed fabrics I have in my box of roses now. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jack's Chain

Jack's Chain is still in the hoop and probably will be for awhile. It's a large quilt. 

Right now I'm  using navy thread and just quilting x through the little 3 inch nine patches and quilting 1/4 (eyeballed) inside the triangles and quilting in the ditch around the hexagons.

Later I will quilt this motif in all of the hexagons in different colored threads. 

Since there's a whole lot of slow stitching going on in this thing I'm linking up to:

And since there's a whole lot of scraps in this quilt I'm linking up to:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Brownies with Pink Icing

Brown is the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. We can also use pink for accent.  Here are this month's 14 inch interlocking chain blocks - one in brown and pink and one in all browns. 

Here's some miscellaneous brown scraps - two 8 inch Depression Blocks to add to the pile I've been making for a couple of years, two 4 inch Broken Dishes blocks for the four inch Kitchen Sink pile and a bunch of 4 inch chocolate hearts with some chocolate pieces left over from Which Way to the Chocolate?  Not sure what I'll do with them...but they were quick and easy and used up some scraps. 

That concludes this week's brown scraps. I think I might have enough leftover for some blocks next week. 

There's always an open invitation to anyone with scraps! Be there!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Second Verse Same as the First; A Little Bit Louder; A Little Bit Worse

I was trying to decide which of my many, many UFOs to work on and happened upon my old Floribunda quilt in a shoebox.  These are 9 inch Jacob's Ladder blocks with yellow TOT backgrounds plus a floral fabric.  I have about 25 blocks in the box plus I had these fabrics already cut for blocks so made these up to move this quilt along.  I'm not even sure how big I want to make it but I'm going to think about it so I can finish this up and move it out of here. 

And since I was working on Jacob's Ladder blocks I decided to work on some more Wild Kingdom 12 inch Jacob's Ladder blocks.  I was making these out of my huge scrappy four inch HST and four patch piles using blocks with anything that might be found in a wild kingdom.  (Remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins? ) Not sure I like this Jacob's Ladder layout - in fact it kind of gives me a headache because the colors and values are all over the place.  I have about 16 blocks and am going to try to make these work (sans headache) together somehow probably for a donation quilt.   I'll start by laying out the blocks like my Floribunda quilt to see how that looks. 

So since I'm  trying to move  forward two different Jacob's Ladder UFOs I think I'll link up this fine Monday evening to Moving it Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fireworks on the Rails

Rail Fence with Fireworks
63 x 84

Long ago I made some rail fence blocks to use up some blue, gray and white 2.5 inch scraps but then thought it too blah to even work on any further so the blocks stayed a UFO for quite awhile. When I finally did work on it again I started sewing the blocks together incorrectly so it then sat awhile waiting for the seam ripper.  Then I decided to make 5 Quilts of Valor this year for family members (nephew, husband's brother, sister's husband, husbands of two nieces)  and thought if I livened this up a bit with some Dresdens in fireworks fabrics it might make a nice QOV.  The center of the biggest Dresden says "celebrate". 

I quilted it with some free motion stars and spirals in light gray on my plain Jane Janome. Quilting was interrupted when Jane had to be taken into the shop because she quit working (evidently because, according to fix-it guy, I do too much sewing on this machine).  She's back now and so I was able to finish quilting Friday night.   I don't have the best eye/hand coordination so the spirals are wobbly and the stars are rather wonky but you can't really tell from near or far.  It gives  such a nice soft texture that you just want to wrap up in it and read a book and not look for quilting imperfections. 

I used some gray I had in my backings stash that looked kind of like it matched the fireworks theme.  And I used scrappy blue and gray pieces of binding from my leftover bindings so I didn't have to cut any fabric at all for binding. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Brown Scraps

Brown is this month's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This year Angela also gives an accent color we can use if we wish.  This month the accent is pink.   So, here you have my scrappy brown Triangle Star on hot pink background. 

Block size is 18 3/4 inches and if you feel so inclined to make some the pattern can be found at

And here's some scrappy brown 3 inch spools. 

Got brown scraps?
Use them and join us for ScrapHappy Saturday

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

There's Scraps and Then There's Scraps

Lately I've been trying to use up my box of waste triangles. One of the blocks I've been using them in is a vintage one called Ocean Waves.  

It's pretty easy to sew a waste triangle to the corners of 2.5 inch red squares. 

On the other hand when you use 2.5 inch 30s repro scraps and actually mix with muslin and make HSTs for an Ocean Waves block there's a whole lot of points to match.  

And then there's the 1.5 inch scraps. Some of them go into Spider Web blocks like these...

...with spider web centers.

While other 1.5 inch scraps like those 30s repros do their own thing in a different type of Spider Web block. 

Of course you have to actually make a bunch of quilts in order to have a bunch of scraps so sometimes things get stalled. 

Hey, it's Scraptastic Tuesday! What are you working on? Are you using up those scraps?
Other people are. I dare you to go look. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jack's Chain - Let the Stitching Begin!

After I finished "Which Way to the Chocolate" which took me months of Sundays to big stitch I got down on the floor and prepped Jack's Chain for hand quilting. 

This is another wedding quilt for the hope chest.  This one is for my grandson, Jacob, who will turn 7 on Feb 28.   Since it's a wedding quilt I am using a  stencil with four hearts,  tracing with chalk in the hexagons and stitching with different colored hand quilting threads - so far red, green, yellow.  I stitched in the ditch around the outside of the hexagons in navy blue. 

I stitched an X through the 3 inch 9 patches in navy threads.  I am also using navy thread to stitch 1/4 inside the hexagons. Most of the seams are pressed toward the hexagons so I kind of feel my way along the seam to stitch.  Since I was big stitching on "Which Way to the Chocolate" I'm finding it difficult to keep my stitches small and even while stitching on this quilt.  

I was thinking I might rip out all the stitching I've done in the triangles and stitch in the ditch around them instead because my stitching is very uneven in those triangles plus the seam line kind of poofs up between the 39P and the triangles.  But then again who wants to hand stitch in ditches where the hand stitching doesn't show?  And I keep looking at the intersection of the hearts here - the stitches don't meet up perfectly there and it bothers me.  Maybe I should just stop taking pictures, move on, and keep trying my best.  I might not be able to make a quilt at all by the time my grandson decides to get married and, heaven forbid, I might not even be alive. 

What pattern did I use? 

Since it's Sunday and I'll be slow stitching I'm linking up to:
since there's a heck of a lot of scraps in those 39Ps I'm linking up to:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Light and Dark Chocolate

My sewing machine is in for repair so I got out my old Kenmore from the attic.  My 1/4 foot doesn't fit on old Ken and I'm not real accurate without that foot because I tend to sometimes veer off course sometimes. So, I sewed up a few blocks this week that don't take much precision like these wonky log cabins.  They are nine inch blocks and I think I might have enough brown strings to make 30 blocks for a donation quilt.   And if there's not enough browns for 30 blocks I could probably mix in some black ones and dark blue ones.  We shall see where the scraps take me. 

And I made four 49 patches from 1.5 inch scraps.  I think cream colored fabric is just light light brown so usually mix it in with my brown 49Ps but this time I had enough brown scraps and didn't need to mix in very many cream pieces so they became a block all their own.  I have a bunch of brown 49Ps I've been collecting for a Plain Brown Wrapper quilt.  I think the cream one will go into the low volume pile. 

And finally, I took all of  the shorter pieces of brown 2.5 inch scraps that could make at least one pyramid cut, sewed those pieces together end to end to make a couple of long strips and then followed the pyramid quilt tutorial on the Molly Flanders blog. 

The long 2.5 inch pieces will be made into HSTs and then Depression blocks.  I'm saving the HSTs for when I get my plain Jane Janome back from the shop. 

The really short 2.5 inch pieces I just sewed end to end to get that strip on the end.  Not sure what those strips will become.  And I found the makings of one four patch in my scraps I will throw in the four inch kitchen sink pile of blocks. 

Everyone will be cooking up brownies with their scraps this month. Some might even have pink icing.  Go check for yourself.  You never know what you might see each ScrapHappy Saturday. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Which Way To The Chocolate?

Which Way to the Chocolate?
63 x 78

Machine pieced and hand quilted

I quilted with big stitching in a variety of threads from my stash -variegated brown perle #5 and perle #8, light brown 20 wt. 

I didn't mark any quilting lines. I just eyeballed about 1/4 inch inside each geese and then stitched in the ditch around the sashing and then stitched lines about 1/4 inch away from each other inside the sashing. 

I used a chocolaty brown muslin for the backing and it's kind of fun that you can see all of the stitching echoed on the back. 

It's been cold in these here parts lately so I'm ready now to cover myself in chocolate! 

I'm going over today to:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Marginalia (aka The Circle Game)

My January Circles. 
I finished a couple of books, we ate the last of our homegrown onions, my cousin's husband died, my oldest son turned 42, I looked through seed  catalogs, ordered seeds and received seeds.  I finished a quilt, I remarked on grandkids shoe skating on ice in the cornfield on a frigid day, played games with the grandkids...

...I suffered some very stressful days at work...

...felt crabby and blue...

...and I'm sick of robocalls.  Iowa caucuses are tonight so hopefully the calls will end. 

I've been making circles since Nov 4, 2015. I guess I now have 89 circles.  I need to start sewing them together. I want to keep them in order sequentially and think I have a layout in mind. 

Whose crazy idea was this?
Audrey of Quilty Folk
I can't believe the variety of circles being made out there in blog land. Oh what fun!