Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Wrap up

There are just two more circles to applique down for the January block of my leap year quilt.  So handy that February will start on a Monday.  There is something nice about a new week and a new month at the same time.
The circle and the binding to this postage stamp quilt should be plenty to keep my hands busy during Downton Abbey tonight.  First though, Sydney is out of shorts that fit and I promised her we could go shopping today.  She is almost as tall as Ryan and her feet are already bigger than Anna's.  They do grow up so fast.
Be sure to keep scrolling down to the last post to enter the February fabric giveaway.

February Color Announcement and Fabric Giveaway

The color for February will be brown, and just to mix things up a bit, I am encouraging the addition of pink accents.  With the help of Vicki Welsh, I designed this palette called sheep which I am ready 
to use for my column along blocks for February.  I have a nice simple pattern planned for this month, which should create a great secondary design. Hopefully the tutorial will be ready soon.  
Thanks to Vicki, I also have a hand dyed bundle of fabric ready to give away to one lucky blog reader.  You will notice that it is not the same as the inspiration palette for the month.  A funny thing happened while Vicki was dying the Rainbow Scrap Challenge fabric for this year.  She had just finished dyeing all of the necessary fabrics, along with one for the giveaway and one for her to keep when she found two more orders hiding in the line.  So the giveaway fabric is inspired by the colors, but not the same.  This gradient is called Harvest Moon and has brown in it along with orange and black.  To enter the random drawing for this fabric bundle, just leave a comment on this post with the name of your favorite kind of chocolate.  I just love junior mints.  They are my favorite movie time treat.    


Sunday Funday

After the Dear Jane was finished last week, it was time to start a new hand quilting project.  These bonus HST squares made tiny little Broken Dishes Stars and they were ready to go next.  After reading Kathy's post about marking quilts earlier this week, I was ready to give my Frixion pens a try.  I like to wash my quilts anyway, and I'm not too worried about the temperatures getting below freezing here in Florida.  So I marked some simple diamonds in the lattice strips and orange peel shapes in the star points.  I even found a border stencil that was just the right size.  I think that will do it.  Simple and to the point.  
I also got the binding on the postage stamp quilt and then went to find the wonder clips.  Someone has been playing with them apparently. Maybe they didn't want any to get lost?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Backing Bonanza

The little blue extras quilt was hanging out on the dining room table patiently waiting.  
So I dug into the scrap bin and found a Noah's Ark panel which didn't have a home.  There was also a long strip of dark blue which must have been leftover from another backing.   I used that as a frame to make the panel large enough.  This one should be ready to go whenever I am in a quilting mood again.
Theres was a star quilt also waiting to have a backing prepared.  I found some teal fish.  Maybe this extra bit of teal and purple with stretch it out enough?
 I got the binding machine sewn onto the postage stamp quilt.  I'll save the handwork for tomorrow of course.
 Also, look at the blue scrap basket that I made to go with the green one from last year.  I am hoping to get the scrap stash down enough that each color will fit in its own basket.  I'm not quite there yet though.  Maybe if I make a light blue basket as well it will work out.
Now I have to decide if I am done for today or ready to press on.

Last Blue Saturday!

Blue is just one of those colors that doesn't end.  After a full month of making lots of great blocks, the drawer seems to still be full.  Somehow it is the magic of scraps that new blocks can keep coming out year after year. 
There are still some larger bits to use on a few more Dear Jane blocks, I think that will be the plan for today.  How about you?  Technically there are still two more days to try to finish up the last of the blues before a brand new color is announced.  I'll do the big reveal post tomorrow along with the fabric giveaway for February. Be sure to check back.  Today though, share the last of your blue blocks with us all.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Quick Finish

Did you know that a group of geese on land is a gaggle, but in flight they are called a skein, team or wedge?  These postage stamp stamp blocks are arranged into a V formation that reminds me of a group of geese in flight, and I was searching for names.  I'll have to ponder that while I work on the binding.
After training today I had a little burst of energy and finished off the quilting while the girls were at Lacrosse.  It is almost time to pick Ryan up from robotics, so the timing is just about perfect.

Leap Year Progress

Oh what a week it has been.  Kurt was out of town, leaving me as a temporary single parent. So much time in the car driving around in circles!  Thankfully, he is home again safe and sound.  I was at tech training today, using the new chrome books, so that was much fun of course.  I'll be regretting it on Monday when I come back to school with a huge stack of waiting tests.  Such is the way of the world though.

I did take time in the evenings, to catch up on my Leap Year quilt.  Just 2 more days left in January!  I am looking forward to having a new color to play with.  I wonder what it will be?  OK, so I already know what it will be.  Silly me.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Relax and Enjoy

I can't be sure when I started these blocks.  It was after we moved to this house 10 years ago, but well before I started this blog 5 years ago.  I remember taking blocks along to hand sew when Sydney was taking karate at age 3 and when Ryan was going to chess tournaments at age 6.  The last blocks were finished in August of 2010.  It was going to be a full quilt, but I got sidetracked with Midgets before starting a rainbow version of Jane.  The center blocks are all done for that one and I am actively working on the border blocks again after a break during the rainbow sampler quilts of 2014 and 2015. 
 Jane is hand quilted of course, with individual designs chosen to accent each block.
 It took a bit longer than I expected, and she was taken along on many long car trips and family outings.
After all that time, she needed a good wash, which I did in the bathtub this week.
 The border doesn't show up all that well, I guess the thread matched a little better than I thought.
 I spent yesterday working on the OMG Churn Dash quilt.  I had pinned all the blocks together in groups of 10.  The quilt top is all sketched out of graph paper and I did a count of how many of each color it will need.
So all the blue blocks are officially done! I needed 20 of the O blocks and 22 of the X blocks.  I worked on a few other colors as well in a marathon session of sewing that went into the wee hours this morning.  Much digging through the scrap bins occurred as I had to find more 1 inch strips to add to the nine patch pile along with 2 inch strips for the churn dash blocks.  Today will be a nice calm day of catching up on my circles and grading some essays for school.  I will link up with Kathy for Slow Stitching Sunday as well as Cynthia for Oh Scrap!.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

ScrapHappy Saturday - Still Singing the Blues

I made a quilt out of random leftovers.  There are three in line to quilt, but this one is in there somewhere.  There is still more than a week left in January though, which means one more blue Saturday after today.  It works out well to have a long blue month, hopefully that means you have more time to dig to the bottom of your blue scrap bin.  I think for most of us on the east coast of the United States, home in the sewing room will be a very good place to be this weekend.  I can see the palm trees swaying in the bridge and we have already seen our high temperature for the day.  Hot tea and scraps of fabric sounds like a great plan to me.  Misterlinky is below, please share your own scrappy blue progress with us all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hit a Wall

 All of my handwork time for the last few days has been spent on finishing up Jane.  So here is some handwork to keep me happy tonight while I am snuggled under a quilt sipping hot cocoa.  It is COLD here today.  It is 47 right now with a high for the day of 54.  I know that doesn't seem cold to normal people, but for Florida kids who don't own long pants, cold it is.  There is a snowman from some Christmas fabric for today's circle.
I was on a great roll yesterday, getting lots accomplished, when suddenly, I was just DONE.  So the Chevron postage stamps will wait patiently, probably for a weekend to get some more attention. Circles and binding should be plenty to keep me out of trouble until then.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Design Floor on Monday January 18, 2016

Blue quilts and blocks have taken over my floor.  On the right are the square root of nine blocks in dark and light blue.  On the left is a leftover pinwheel quilt with a border of extra star points from an abandoned mystery quilt.  
I got up first thing this morning and put the binding on Dear Jane.  She has been in the hand quilting process for many a year.  
This one just needs backing fabric.  Fortunately I have an entire extra day to work on whatever my heart desires.  Now I just have to figure out what that is.  


It only took 4 years to hand quilt this little Dear Jane quilt.  I took the last stitches just a few minutes ago after catching up on Downton Abbey, Madame Secretary and The Good Wife.  I'll sew the binding on first thing in the morning.  Now though, I think I'll call it a night.  Good thing it is a school holiday tomorrow!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Happy and Scrappy on Sunday

It is a Sunday, but also a Saturday as I get to stay home tomorrow in my pajamas and sew some more.  Ah happy day!
So in celebration of an extra day at home, I sewed these blocks together.  They were all done as part of RSC15, but needed to be sewn together.  Maybe a nice wide border and a soft snugly flannel backing?
The extra blue pinwheels got a narrow white border before the extra blue spikes.  I found a big piece of dark blue in the scrap bin, but it might be too dark.  Maybe something lighter or brighter?  
These are the rest of the geese from crumbs.  I'd better do some math and figure out how long they should be.  Perhaps a narrow white strip between each row of geese.  I am thinking of an up down  arrangement, maybe with a transition to look like the geese are flying around the corners?  I'd better get out the graph paper and start some planning.  

Sunday Scraps and Stitches

I took my Dear Jane with me to Science Olympiad yesterday.  Even though the kids are all running around madly most of the day, once they are in their events, it gets very quiet.  So I moved the hoop twice during the day.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  A perfect day to sit outside and hand quilt.  Just three more moves of the hoop should get me back to the begining!  While cleaning out the blue scrap bin, I even found the binding that I had made from the same fabric as the inner border.  
Knowing that Jane is almost done, I pulled out the broken dishes stars and got two new spools of hand quilting thread.  I had wanted to try pearl cotton with some big stitch quilting, but I couldn't find just the right combination of sizes and colors.  I think that regular quilting will work better with the scale of the blocks on this one.  
I was going to do the Bonnie Hunter Mystery last year and cut out the first step before I changed my mind.  That left a lot of pointy spikes which I sewed together into a long strip.  I think that I will use them as a border for these bonus triangles which have been hanging out for many years.  They could also go as stripes into a Chinese Coin type quilt.  I think there are enough of them that I could do both.
Finally, I will use today to catch up on my Leap Year quilt.  I've chosen the fabrics and rough cut circle to hold the days toward the end of the week.  Tuesday has stars from the state of the union.  Friday has tiny buckets for all the rain.  Saturday is a rocket ship for science and today I chose little ice skaters in winter coats for the cold front that moved in last night.  Monday is a school holiday which means an extra day to sew!  Looking forward to every minute of that!  I'm linking up with Kathy for Slow Stitching Sunday as well as Cynthia for Oh Scrap!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

ScrapHappy Saturday - Blue Bliss

This is the midpoint of the blue month.  Two blue Saturdays have elapsed, but two more remain, even after today.  Hopefully, 5 weekends will give everyone a chance to start making a dent in all those blue scraps.
I've been having way too much fun with blue geese.  The ones on the top row are crumb geese from all the random leftovers.  I used the GO cutter to cut the pieces, but it would work with any flying geese ruler.  The bottom row were leftover flying geese that were hanging out waiting for inspiration.  Hopefully blue inspiration has found you.  Misterlinky is below so that everyone can come and see your blue projects starting to take shape.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Design Wall Monday January 11, 2016

My design wall is slowly turning blue.  The first two weeks of my Leap Year quilt are finished.  It isn't just blue, but that is the color I play with most days right now.  I found a string star that might turn into a potholder.  I sure could use some more of those.  Check out those crumb geese!  So many odd little bits all sewn together in there.  I used a GO die to cut out the triangles and it is such an easy way to put crumb fabric to great use.  I'm thinking about a crumb tumbler quilt for next year.  So many scraps!  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wrangling Scraps

 So I still have three drawers of blue scraps, because last year, blue got three months.  It is just one of those colors.  A lot of the blues are already sewn into crumb chunks from earlier years.
So I started pulling out scraps, and ironing and sorting.  
 Then running some scraps through the GO, focusing on Kites, and Geese and Drunkard's Path units.  I was going to use the kites to cut up crumb blocks, but they are smaller than I imagined when I ordered the die.  Maybe I'll use crumb blocks for the geese?  I think there are almost enough of the Drunkard's Path for a quilt.  Maybe I should start sewing those?   I took the girls to see the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie this morning, and I'm not feeling super motivated.  I think I ate too much popcorn.  We got the carpets cleaned earlier this week, and I still haven't managed to get everything put back quite yet.  Maybe I'll do that while I ponder what to do with all these scraps.   If you are feeling scrappy today too, be sure to head over to Oh Scrap!

Sunday Puttering

 I have a little basket for handwork sitting next to my spot in the family room.  It is calling my name.  There are some little circles in there waiting to be appliqu├ęd down.  When keeping up with a daily project, it seems to help to have everything in one place.
So far, I have not been able to resist the urge to applique the background fabric cutaway from behind the applique circles.  The original blocks are 4.5 inches.  The light squares are on a 3.5 inch background, and the little guys on the bottom are 2.5 inch squares.  That is where I will stop.  After that, the circles get really small!  
 I had asked Kurt quite while ago to make an extension table for my ironing board.  He got to that yesterday and then helped me to staple batting and a fabric cover over the top of the wood that he screwed onto the old ironing board.  It will be nice to have a big surface when ironing freshly washed yardage and finished quilt tops.  I think that I can also put a cutting mat on top as a larger cutting surface.
Then I took some time to update the quilt rack with some of my recent finishes.
Yesterday  I was at school all day with Science Olympiad.  Our big qualifying competition is next weekend and we are really not ready yet.  While they worked on their projects, I hot glued binding to the edges of these mini design boards.  They are made from leftover science fair boards that kids didn't want to take home in year's past.  I used a tutorial at Bee in my Bonnet to make them.  They should be handy for laying out block bits while I am sewing them together.
Today I am home all day!  I am hoping to work on some more circles, and then finish a triangle or two for Dear Jane.  Tonight during Downton Abbey, I am going to pull out my little blue Dear Jane and work on finishing up the border.  It really is SO close.  I think I am down to the last side now.

If you are in a mood for slow stitching on Sunday, be sure to head over to Kathy's Quilts for her weekly link up.  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

ScrapHappy Saturday - Blizzard of Blues

I got these two Missouri Puzzle blocks made.  One in dark and one in light.  I did a tutorial a while back while deciding on blocks for the year.  I hope all of you are making good progress on your blue projects. Thanks to those who shared links to block tutorials and patterns last week.  I hope it was plenty of inspiration for those who haven't settled on a block yet.  I know I'm all set for ideas for the next few decades of RSC.
Use the linky below to keep us updated on your progress so far.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nine Patch in a Square Tutorial

So I had all these extra nine patches leftover from last year.  First I used them for Mai Tai Sunrise, then they made their way into 9 Carat Diamonds.  Still, I can't seem to stop making nine patches leader and ender style from leftover 2 inch squares.  I saw a great quilt last year on Quilting is More Fun than Housework though, and was inspired for another year of nine patches.  She made her quilt with extra 2.5 inch squares and used 6 inch squares cut in half for the frame.  Since I was using 2 inch squares, I needed a slightly smaller version.  
Cutting a 5 inch square in half would certainly do the job, but I had my easy angle ruler handy and wanted to try it out.  So, to use the easy angle method of making a square in a square, start with 4 inch strips of fabric in black and white.  You will need 2 pairs of triangle units for each block.  I'm making 10 blocks of each color, but trying to use lots of different black and white prints.  You will also need 9 patch blocks made from 2 inch squares.  You can use strips or squares to make these. They are handy to have on hand for so many great projects.  I found 10 in light blue and 10 in dark blue to start the year.  They were mostly ready to go in my 2 inch bin and only needed a bit of finishing.
Take the HST and center it along one side of the nine patch.  To get it centered, you can fold the triangle and nine patch in half and match the crease, or just visually find the center of the center square in your nine patch.  Notice that there is extra fabric hanging off of each end.  These pieces are slightly oversized and will squared up at the end.  This is really helpful with diagonal blocks like these, as things can get a little wonky, even with careful sewing.
 Repeat for the opposite side and the press the seams away from the center square.  trim away the extra black dog ears hanging off of the edges.
 Next, you will repeat the centering and sewing for the left and right sides.  Notice that the triangles almost reach the edges of the center block now.  Press your block with the seams going away from the center square and you are ready for squaring up.
 Your block is now just over 7 inches.  You need to decide on the size to which you want to square up your block.  If you square it up to 7 inches, your center block will "float" slightly as the seam allowances at the corners will be a bit larger than a quarter of an inch.
I chose instead, to square my blocks up to 6 7/8 inches (six and seven eighths)  I know this is an odd measurement, but it is a necessary evil when working with diagonally set blocks.  The other option would have been to cut the center square to an odd size, but obviously, that doesn't work with a pieced center square.
 So, to square up your block, find a ruler with a quarter inch mark on two perpendicular sides.  I have a bias square ruler that I used.  Line the quarter inch line along the right and top sides with the point where the center square and black fabric meet.  Trim the top and right sides.
 Rotate the block 90 degrees and find the 6 7/8 inch mark on your ruler.  I know that sounds silly, but it is just inside of the 7 inch line.  Trim the remaining two sides.
Here are my first 4 blocks.  I am alternating white and black background fabrics so they make an hourglass unit where the blocks meet.  The extra fabric at the points will all get taken up by the seam allowance, and all the nine patches will meet at nice sharp points when the blocks are sewn together.  I think I'll do 10 of each color and assemble them in rainbow rows at the end of the year.  I think I'm going to call this quilt "The Square Root of 9".
There is a printable PDF of this tutorial HERE, Or as a link on the RSC16 tab.  I am trying to make them as I go along.  As soon as things are calm, I will work backwards some more.