Sunday, August 17, 2014

Last Day of Summer Vacation

School starts tomorrow!  Supplies have been bought, backpacks have been stuffed and lunches have been packed.
 In what has become my bizarre end of summer tradition, I went out in the woods behind our house and gathered termites.  I've gotten much better at finding them than last year.  Look at all those little guys!  I do a lab with my AP class and we talk about emergent properties and levels of organization.  Did you know that termites will follow ink trails left by certain brands of pens but not others?  Fun fact of the day, and you thought this blog was all about quilting.
 I also washed a bucket of rocks for my other bio kids.  I used to do this really cool lesson with a peanut on the first day of school.  Everyone grabs one on the way in and then studies it while I talk dramatically about observation and the scientific method.  Then they all put their peanuts back in a bowl where they get mixed up and then they have to find them again.  About 10 years ago, I brought up observation again about halfway through the year, and Susie remarked that it was just like the peanuts from the first day.  I got very emotional that she had made such a meaningful connection when she pulled her peanut out of her backpack.  Just as I was about really to loose it, several other kids all pulled out their peanuts while the rest told me where they kept theirs at home.  Those are the moments that make you remember why you teach.
Well, peanuts are now totally taboo.  I have one student who will react so strongly to peanuts that I can't touch them and then grade papers.  I tried it with apples one year, and that was nice, but expensive.  So this time I'm going to try rocks.  Maybe they will want to have a pet rock when we are done?
I just took the last stitch in the periodic table quilt so that I can get it hung up for the first day.  Kurt bought a big long piece on conduit for a hanging rod and some hooks.  So I guess those are odd preparations for the first day of school, but it looks like I'm are just about ready for students.  

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler - Ticker Tape

Full disclosure first. This block is totally NOT original. I saw a tutorial on on Crazy Mom Quilts. She did a whole quilt though, and it was a quilt as you go technique.   I was thinking about this block for next years Rainbow Scrap Challenge and thought I would try it out.
You will need a 7 inch square of background fabric and a stack of scraps. This will give you a little wiggle room to square up in case your block gets frayed during the sewing process.  Use a water erasable marker to draw a 6 inch square inside.  This will give you a framework to make sure your scraps will all fit inside the seam allowance of the finished block.     I always seem to have a stack of leftovers after a trimming session.  These tiny scraps are too small to be cut into useable sizes, but too cute to throw away.  They are just perfect for this block.
Starting in one corner of your block, making sure to stay inside your marked line, start puzzling your scraps together.  Feel free to trim pieces down to fit in empty spaces. Play with your scraps, leaving a little border around the scraps about a quarter of an inch or so.  Arrange them until you are happy with the finished look.  Now go grab a glue stick.  I like the disappearing purple school glue and use it all the time for quilting projects.  Just put a little dab on the back of each scrap to hold it in place until the sewing is done.  If you don't like the idea of using glue, you could also pin these, but I really do try never to use pins unless it is absolutely necessary.
Starting in one corner, and using the eighth inch mark on the inside of your quarter inch foot, sew just inside one edge of your first scrap.  Using the needle down position in the corner, pivot and continue around all four sides.  Use two back stitches to secure your stitches when you get back to where you started and neatly trim your threads.  Move to the next square and continue to sew just inside the edge of each little square of fabric.
Look how cute that it!  At this point you may gently rinse your block to remove the glue residue and erase the water soluble marker.  Press and square up to 6.5 inches unfinished.  I really could see a whole quilt of these in all the colors of the rainbow.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

ScrapHappy Saturday -- Green Grass of Home

This is where I decided to head with the tiny nine patches that started as an Omigosh quilt.  Instead of the shoofly blocks with little on point four patches, I'm going with my own personal variation -- little churn dash variants.  There are a few little bits sitting next to the machine waiting for their turn, but this hasn't been my best week for sewing.  With school starting Monday there is lots to get done this weekend.  I hope you are all sewing though, and I hope to check in on everyone soon.
Use Mr. Linky below to share what you have accomplished so far with your greens.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Back to School Sewing

I bought some periodic table fabric from Spoonflower ages ago.  I got intimidated though, when I realized that most of the rare earth elements (the yellow ones at the bottom) needed to be individually pieced together.  I didn't have any wall space to hang it in my classroom anyway, and so it got saved.  After moving a few things around at the end of last year, I found some space that might work and thought about giving the periodic table quilt a try again.
So I took a deep breath and started cutting the elements out with a quarter in seam allowance.  I still need a small white border on the right and bottom.  Maybe I can get it quilted this weekend.
The first two days of preplanning went well.  They are trying hard to give us more planning time this year.  After losing a planning period last year, everyone is desperate for more time to get things done.  Maybe someone is finally hearing us, because so far we've only had two hours of meetings each day.  Unheard of!  Usually it is at least 4 hours of sitting in meeting each day while making a list of all the things you are hoping to get done before the kids show up bright and shiny.  Monday is the big day for the kids.  Registration is tomorrow, so we'll start seeing their happy faces again soon.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Slowdown

I was ready to settle down on the couch and do absolutely nothing this evening.   Then I saw a Downton Abbey special on PBS and had an urge to stitch a bit of binding to say goodbye to the weekend.  It didn't take long to get the binding sewn on to the front of Jamestown Landing.  
Everything is scrappy about this quilt, even the binding, but somehow it all goes together because everything is green.  I've got all my supplies handy in a purple zipper case that I sewed up earlier this summer.  With that, I'm off to stitch a bit of binding.  I hope you are all finding a reason to sit with a bit of handwork today.  Be sure to visit Kathy and see what everyone is up to.  

So Close

I thought I was done with the flimsy and backing for Strings and Crumbs.

I did the inner border, and the crumb border and even the wide calming outer border.  Borders are my nemesis, so I was doing pretty well I thought.
I almost had just enough for the backing.  Just need about three more inches, of course I don't have three more inches.  I might add a stripe of the inner border fabric to the middle.  Not today though.  I am ready to start cleaning up some of the chaos and settle in for the evening.  I'll write a note and put it with the top so that I remember what I'm supposed to do next time I pull this guy out.  

Out of Chaos?

Out of chaos comes order?  Right now I'm not too sure about the order part, but I am creating quite a bit of chaos with my strings and crumbs.
Taking the paper off of string blocks is always fun.  There are bits of paper everywhere in a little path of confetti leading from the sewing machine to the iron to the floor.  I only needed 6 more crumb blocks for the border, but it isn't easy to make just 6 crumb blocks.  I've got the inner border sewn on, and I think I'l extend it out into the outer border.  It is some sort of very stretchy homespun fabric -- spray starch has been my friend today.  Then the outer border should be pretty easy and this little guy will hang for quilting at a later date.  The quilting machine isn't set up right now, I'll wait until there is a nice little stack of quilts and a chunk of free time.  Christmas break maybe?  Starting to get anxious about heading back to school.  Change is hard.  I had a dream last night where I was passing back papers, but didn't have enough.  I couldn't figure out where all of my papers had gone.  Sigh.  I'm off to sew the crumbs together to make a border.  Happy last day of summer vacation.  

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler - Northwinds

 The large corner triangles for this block were cut from dark and light squares of fabric that were 4 7/8 inches.  You could use 4.5 inch strips and the easy angle ruler, but for just one block, it isn't much easier.  I always seem to have extra 5 inch "nickel" squares hanging out, so this seemed like a nice way to put them to use.  Take one square of light and one square of dark and cut them both in half from corner to corner along the diagonal.
 The smaller triangles I did cut from 2.5 inch strips.  Place your dark and light strips together and cut 5 HST units.
 I puzzled for a while about how to match up the triangle points, and finally decided to remove all the dog ears ahead of time.  Just use one of the easy angle corners as a template and trim away the extra dog ear from each of the triangles.
 See how much easier everything lines up now?  Lay out your block with a large triangle in each corner.  Next line up the hypotenuse of the light triangle up next to the dark square and reverse for the light triangle.  Fill in with the opposite colors.  Refer back to the picture to make sure you get everything placed just right.  I was trying to figure out how to assemble this from half square triangle blocks, but eventually decided it would be easier to assemble diagonal rows.
 Start with the dark HST units and fold them over the light triangles.  Sew along the matched leg of each pair of triangles.
 Press carefully.  Remember that the long side of the triangle is exposed bias.  Try to keep the iron over the short sides when you press toward the dark fabric.
 Match up your pairs of triangles and repeat the sewing and pressing process.  Continue to bring your subunits back to the original layout to make sure the pieces are facing the right way.
 Now that you have four triangles sewn together, you just need to add one more triangle to the end of each block.  

 Sew, press and check your layout again.  Light touches dark and dark touches light.
 Sew a center row to each triangle.  Mind your bias -- it can get out of hand.
 Here is your block in two halves.  I hardly ever pin, but I did pin these together to make sure the points all lined up just right.
There you go!  Consider pressing the center seam open, I tried it both ways to see which helped the points lie down the best.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sidetracked Again

 So I dug out some batting scraps last night.
 And turned them into some quilt-as-you-go fabric
 Which ended up in the crumb box, where I found these crumb and string blocks from my men's shirt phase.
That's as far as I've gotten though, because the morning was our garage sale/lemonade stand.  Until it got too hot.  Then it was swimming pool time.  Which has just ended in favor of a late lunch.  I think we have a turn with a rented pressure washer next, but someday I'll get back to my fabric and scraps.  

ScrapHappy Saturday - Bright and Light Green

First let me announce the winner of the hand dyed fabric giveaway sponsored by Vicki Welsh.  Thanks to the highly scientific number generator at, the lucky winner this month will be Edith at Inch by Inch Quilting.  Congratulations Edith, if you will send me your mailing address I will pop your fabric in the mail.
Playing with light and bright green has been fun this week.  I'm back to work again on Monday, so trying to enjoy every last minute is high on my list right now.  So far I've made lots of postage stamp blocks along with some leader and enders blocks that aren't quite nine patches yet.  I've been trying to get a head start on sampler blocks too, just in case things get carried away after the start of school.  I am enjoying the scheduling feature of blogger quite a bit right now.
The kids wanted to have a garage sale this weekend.  It is an excellent excuse to get rid of things, but boy is it hot outside right now!  Hopefully Dad will take a shift this morning for a bit before football practice.  I'm not out of green quite yet, a little more sewing time sure would be handy.

How are your green scraps coming along?  Use mister linky below to share your progress so far.