Saturday, November 18, 2017

Using 2.5 Inch Scraps and Then Some

I used up some 2.5 inch scraps this week and made three 10 inch Crazy Ladies of the Lake blocks. 
I use scrap chunks to make the centers. 

I'm aiming for a large quilt  with no sashing so this Rainbow Scrap Challenge project will continue into next year. 

I also made a brown 8 inch Depression Block from 2.5 inch scraps.  And I finally finished the yellow one I found in pieces in with the finished blocks.  I've been making these for years but still don't have enough for a BIG quilt so this, too, will continue into next year as a RSC project. 

Speaking of Rainbow Scrap can find an array of Rainbows each ScrapHappy Saturday.  And who doesn't need a rainbow each week? 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Moocher Invasion

I need some brown scraps in order to move forward on my Plain Brown Wrapper quilt so I decided to make some Brown Cows not to be confused with Black Cows which is one of my favorite summer drinks. 

I put them out to pasture and they clearly think the grass is greener on the other side. 

(Live and learn: these would probably be a lot easier to make if you print the instructions in color instead of black and white. I'm stingy with my colored ink. It would also be a lot easier to make one, not five,  first to see how they go together. It's easy to forget which fabrics go with which block if you cut all pieces for all cows all at one time.) 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Tale of Birds in the Air - Chapter V - Winging It

A few months ago I started a new Birds in the Air block using my pansy fabrics.  Then I felt a little guilty about that because I already had two different Birds in the Air UFOs.  So I decided to move both UFOs forward and then reward myself with some new start blocks. 

Old Birds (above) is now a top. Or I thought it was. My inspiration came from a quilt in a magazine that was inspired by a vintage quilt. And so this came out at 71 inches square. That's not a very useful size so I'm thinking I'll add a hand-dyed 2 inch border and then a navy 4 inch border - nothing fancy but that will take it up to 83 inches square and although I'm not really fond of square quilts I can live with it and find it more useful than a 71 inch square quilt.  Problem is that I don't think I have enough navy fabric but I haven't really looked. I guess I'll need close to a yard. 

White Bird is also a top now waiting for borders.  This will get a flying geese border. 

While my sewing machine was out for repair I cut a lot of pieces for the Flying Geese and now that I have my machine back I sewed up enough of them for the top border. 

And I now have four more Birds in the Air from pansy themed fabrics to add to the pile for this third quilt.  I don't have a name for it yet but I'm leaning toward something without bird in the title like Thoughts or Remembrance since that is the flower meaning for pansies. Evidently "pansy" comes from the french word "pensee". 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Weekly Pickles


I don't have too many more to go. 

These are pieced pickles not foundation pieced pickles. 

I'm trying to balance time spent on old UFOs vs new starts. 

This was a new start several months ago. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Finish! Churns and Spools

Chunky Churns and Spools
30s reproductions meet calicoes
68 x 86
Machine quilted on my DSM

I can mark two UFOs off the list with this one.  I combined blocks from a calico on muslin Spool swap in 2010 and a Chunky Churn swap in 30s reproductions and a solid from 2015. 

There's no design wall here. It's usually my practice to randomly sew blocks together. That's what I did this time but of course alternated a spool and a churn.  I think if I did have a design wall I would spend too much time arranging and rearranging and rearranging and rearranging and never be satisfied.  How do I know?  That has happened when I have tried to lay out blocks on the floor.  Anyway...I'm usually satisfied with my random method and I've managed to skip the step that gives me grief. 

I usually don't add borders because I never know what kind of border to add. Plus I like piecing blocks so piece and piece until I have enough for a nice sized top which means I'm ready to sew a quilt top together. At that point I don't want to make a different block for a border. And I rarely buy large pieces of yardage to have enough on hand for a non-pieced border of fabric(s) and so I usually make quilts without borders.   

HOWEVER this time I did not want to make more Churns or Spools to make the quilt a little larger  so I decided to challenge myself to add a border.  I decided to try an easy zig zag or rick racky looking border.    And all went okay on the first corner BUT...

 ... only too late did I find out at the second corner that those rick racky ends did not meet up so nicely no matter how hard I tried. Maybe if I had laid out the border on the floor ahead of time I would have seen the problem but I didn't so I had to improvise what to do on opposite corners. It doesn't affect the warmth the quilt will bring someone so I'm all right with that. 
 I didn't take a picture of the backing because it was cold outside yesterday when I took these pics but it is a plain white 100% old muslin sheet that I found new in the package at the thrift store with a J.C. Penney logo on the front.   With the quilting I did the back looks like a mattress pad.   

You can kind of see the quilting on that black calico spool - a pattern of up and down loops using each 2 inch square as a guide (most of the time).  This was the first time I tried this. I found it pretty easy to do on these blocks laid out on a grid and may try it again.  This time I got a little confused every once in awhile when I hit the blank space on the spools. 

I participated in four different Chunky Churn Dash swaps with different themes - patriotic, 30s, fall, spring.  I decided to challenge myself with different alternate block layouts for each theme.  So far I finished the patriotic themed one - a Quilt of Valor for my brother-in-law and this one. 

This will go into the twin sized donation quilt pile. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017


 This is day 10 of my sewing machine in the shop.  I have been cutting, cutting, cutting and doing hand work instead.  I finally got out my old Kenny Kenmore (nice plain guy who has been around since the 70s) and did some sewing to ease those sewing withdrawal pains I've been experiencing.  I used to make all of our clothes with Kenny. I'm not sure why I quit using him and thought I needed anything else. 

Anyway...I made 3 brown Whatchamacallit (21 patch) blocks from my 1.5 inch scraps.  Scraps are cut 1.5 x 2.5 and then sewn together with a neutral 1.5 x 2.5 scrap for a little block that measures 2.5 square.  Twenty one of those little squares are sewn into blocks of 3 x 7.  Finished size of the block is 6 x 14.    

And here's how they will look together with other colors someday in a big quilt. 

This will continue into 2018.  Instead of using 1.5 scraps next year I think I'll cut a 1.5 piece off the end of  2.5 inch scraps for variety. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Little Things


I finished a couple of hot pads or potholders to go with dishtowels I embroidered and dishcloths I crocheted.  I use Insulbrite inside my hot pads along with either a piece of 100% cotton batting, and old towel or cotton flannel.    I used some leftover bits of rickrack for the hanger. I usually make myself a set every year to replace the ones my husband seems to burn up. 

And here's the reverse side. 

I made a bunch of other hot pads for gift giving but I need to finish the dishtowels for the sets before I blog about them. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hooping It Up!

When the sewing machine is away the hands will play. 

Just because my machine is in for repair doesn't mean I'm bored. I always have a variety of hand work projects I can work on.  I'll just list here the projects in the hoops.  I also have a pile of socks that need darning and I've been crocheting dishrags and scrubbies to go with hotpads and embellished dishtowels for gift giving.  I finished two crocheted dishrags this morning on the drive up to my husband's dr. appt.   He has to go to Iowa City, an hour away, to a specialist for follow up after that surgery where they removed his fibula and made it into a jawbone.  

The Gwennie Medallion (above)  is in the hoop for hand quilting.  I'm hoping to finish it by month's end so will make it my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for November.  This is lap quilt sized. 

A few weeks ago I was digging through a box of thrift store items I've had tucked away for a rainy day.   I found this 45 inch square stamped embroidery tablecloth.    

 It cost me 95 cents.   It didn't come with embroidery thread but I have a lot of that.  The brief instruction sheet that was attached said to embroider with two strands of black and to use chain stitch on the flowers so that's what I did.   One motif is finished and I have 7 more to go.  At 45 inches square it is probably for a card table.  I'm thinking I might use it as part of a quilt backing instead. 
  And in another hoop I have my chicken scratch sashing.   Each one of those strips of chicken scratch embroidery is one sashing piece.   I think I need 36 strips but don't really remember how many for sure. 

This is a little stitchery I picked up for a couple of dollars on clearance. I'll make a pillow out of it if I ever get it finished.  I keep it in a tote and grab it if I get notice I have to pick up grandkids from school.  My grandson gets out of elementary school one hour earlier than my granddaughter who is in junior high so I wait for about 45 minutes between pick-ups at my daughter's house and work on this.  I don't have to pick them up very often - just when my daughter is at work and my son-in-law has to go to an Iowa City specialist for his leukemia/bone marrow transplant follow up. 

These two six inch blocks just came out of the hoops.   They are blocks 7 (left) and 8 (right)of the 2020 Crazy Quilt Challenge. 

Previous total of items used toward goal of 2020 unique items by 2020 = 73

Block 7 statistics: 
Fabric: 0 (counted in block 5)
Lace/trims: 1 (big piece of lace with rose motif that I buttonhole stitched around) = 1
Motif: 3D Butterfly with bullion knot center = 1
Stitches/seam treatments: buttonhole wheels/feather stitch, 3 rows wiggly chain stitches.= 2
Beads, buttons, charms: 0
Threads: variegated prism craft thread, dark brown perle #8, DMC 4145, DMC 829 = 4

Grand total = 81

Block 8 statistics: 
Fabric: 0
Lace/trims: 1/4" 100% polyester ribbon used in woven ribbon roses, lace trim laced with perle thread = 2
Motifs: bead spider (see it in the web? I won't count the two different beads for this block as separate items since I'll use more of them later), spider web, woven ribbon roses = 3
Stitches/seam treatments: chain circles with lazy daisy flowers in center = 1 (I counted herringbone stitch along seam previously).
Beads, buttons, charms: 1 in flower centers (micro mini round griege) = 1
Threads: DMC 783, 435, 452, 739.  Antique effects E436, DMC variegated #5 and #8 = 7

Grand total = 95

 Here are all the blocks together so far. I'm not really sure how I'm going to put them all together. I may mix and match, keep some as circles but use some as partial circles...who knows at this point. 
Right now I'm just having fun with the project. 

I like to work on a variety of projects because I think they use different finger/wrist movements and help keep my hand from getting stiff and painful.   But then again it might just be my imagination. Whatever works!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Finish! Old MacDonald Mystery Sampler

 Old MacDonald Mystery Sampler
54 x 66
Hand quilted

This sampler had a variety of different blocks - some paper pieced, some traditional, some improv. I tried them all and ended up with this sampler.  

I knew I didn't want any edge to edge  quilting pattern on it. That left me with hand quilting - kind of free motion hand quilting.  I'm no expert at hand quilting but I'm really terrible at quilting on my DSM especially if it's not an edge to edge design.   

In the sky I kind of free motion quilted some "clouds" that kind of mimicked those circular improv blocks in the sky.  

The barn got some straight line quilting for some boards. 

Flowers, improv grass, snail trails, hens, chicks...I let the needle lead the way. I used a lot of different colors of hand quilting thread. Although it may look like it this was not big stitch quilting. 

The sunflowers didn't have stems so I made some with some green bias binding I had on hand from one of my thrift store visits. 

 I did some straight line quilting here and there in different directions on the purple mountain majesties.  I wanted them to look "rocky"  but not sure I succeeded. But I'm okay with how things ended up. 

I added a light gray binding so it wouldn't stand out and detract from the rest of the quilt.  If it was going to be a wall quilt I would have faced it. But it's not. It's a lap quilt. My lap quilt.  I love barns. 

And here's the back. 

I have another quilt in the hoop now so later this evening I'll do some 

And needless to say...I used lots of scrap chunks in the making of this quilt so 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Plain Brown Wrapper

Before my sewing machine went in to Mr. Arrogant Sewing Machine Repair Guy on Wednesday I made a few brown (I group cream into brown too. It's very light brown to me. ) 36 and 49 patch blocks from 1.5 inch scraps. 

I've been working on Plain Brown Wrapper since 2015.  I'm working toward a 50 inch center made of 1.5 inch scraps.   I now need about 13 more 49 patches to reach that goal. I could just cut 1.5 pieces, strip pieces and cut to size but I'm not looking for a quick and easy look or make, I'm not in any hurry to finish this quilt, and I want to use scraps.    It may be another couple of years before I have the center finished but...

...that doesn't mean I can't move forward with some borders while I'm waiting for some brown 1.5 inch scraps to magically appear.   The next border is made of 2.5 inch scraps.   So, again before my machine went in for repair, I looked through the 2.5 inch scraps and cut squares enough for four 50 inch borders and sewed them together.  I'm ready with first border!

I figured I would use some brown four patches that have been lingering in the Parts Department for awhile for the next border.  These are made from 2.5 inch pieces.    I need to count how many I have, make a few more and then I can move ahead with second border.   Third border is another row of 2.5 inch squares.  That should then take the quilt up to 66 inches square. 

The fourth border will be 3.5 inch squares and the fifth border will be 4.5 inch squares.  Since my machine is gone I decided to do some cutting of those sizes of scraps. (Yes, it's probably time for a new cutting mat since it appears the "self-healing" feature no longer works.)

After all is said and done Plain Brown Wrapper should measure 80 inches square. 

And while I was in the 3.5 inch scraps I cut some pieces for Snowballs, Bow Ties and Glitter blocks. 

If you need a color to work with this month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge then it's brown or black you want to use.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Blue Collar Work

This month I added 20 more eight inch kaleidoscope blocks to the pile. And now there are 73.  I might stop at 100.  I still have lots of shirt pieces. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Weekly Pickles

Two More Pickles

I've been reading up on making single fold bias tape. That's what gets sewn around the pickles before they are appliqued to the background.  I've never made bias tape but want to give it a try.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? 

Speaking of tricks this fine Halloween morn - 
 Happy Birthday to my oldest granddaughter, Isabelle,  who celebrates her 13th birthday today.
  Time flies. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Tale of Birds in the Air - Chapter IV - White Birds Must Fly

I've been making weekly goals to move a couple of different UFOs forward. Both of them are Birds in the Air blocks but the quilts will look entirely different. 

This week I got the top of this version assembled. It measures 60 x 60.  But now I need to make some different birds - Flying Geese - for the borders.  They will be white with blue corners. 

Birds in the Air, Flying Geese . Finally I have a name for the quilt. White Bird. Remember the old song White Bird?  It was recorded in 1969 when I was 17 years old by It's a Beautiful Day. 

My goal for next week is to get a few Flying Geese made for the borders. 

I finished all the half Bird in the Air blocks from hand dyed scraps for this other version.  I needed 8 green and...

...3 red/orange.   And now I can finish assembling this top.  Hopefully I'll have that done next week. I have most of the navy blue fabric pieces cut and the center medallion made. 

I'm naming this one Old Birds. It's an old UFO based on an old/vintage quilt made by an old bird. 

And now at this point my reward is that I can now make a few Birds in the Air blocks from my pansy themed fabrics. That's what started all this in case you didn't know. 

The ending hasn't been written yet so not sure how many chapters there will be. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pink Fluff

Streak of Lightning 

After I made the Wandering Geese quilt top from bright 4.5 inch scraps in primary and secondary colors I still had scraps left in colors not used in the quilt top.  I dug into the pink and turquoise scraps to see how many Streak of Lightning blocks I could come up with.  So far I have six and I probably have enough scraps for 4 more blocks in pink and turquoise.   Then I'll decide what to do with them - add blocks in different colors?, cut fabrics from chunks of pink and turquoise to make enough blocks for a small quilt?, add borders in different blocks from pink/turquoise scraps in different sizes?  It's not a priority right now so time will tell.  I'm just trying to use up my box of 4.5 inch scraps.  Scraps in blocks are better than scraps in box. 

After I made the Streak of Lightning blocks if there was a 4.5 inch square left of the fabric I cut that and put it into a bag for later use. If there wasn't a square I put it into another bag.  I used to sew like colors together into a strip every once in awhile but I think from now on I'll just put them all together into a bag for later use. If I'm looking for pieces for a 4.5 inch border I'll go to that bag and have my pieces ready cut. 

Last week I made Lady of the Lake blocks and mentioned I didn't think the orange/pink block fit in with the others.  I was thinking it was because I used light pink scraps. 

I don't use the seam ripper very often but I just wanted to see if I liked that pink/orange Lady a little better with bright pink scraps in the HSTs.  I do. 

Those little HSTs weren't wasted, though. I made an 8 inch Depression block (middle) with them.  And then I made a block with bright pink scraps and one with light pink scraps.  I really do need to count how many Depression blocks I have now. I've been making them for years from my 2.5 inch scraps.