Friday, December 8, 2017

Scrap Scramble Blankie

Back in October STLMQG had their retreat which included the popular Scrap Scramble, in which we dumped our baggies of scraps into a huge pile and scrambled to refill the bags with new-to-us scraps.
I nabbed some cute prints that happened to coordinate with some other scraps, leftovers, and FQs in my own stash. The result was a quick little top for a donation quilt.

The little donation blankie is now quilted and bound and ready to give comfort to a small child.

Instead of batting and backing, I used one layer of polar fleece, and quilted it with serpentine stitching along the seams. The result is soft and snuggly, and it measures 40" x 44". Since it technically doesn't meet the definition of a quilt, I'm calling it a blankie, which is exactly how it'll be used.

I see more of these in my future - a good way to use up scraps and stash, and a quick, easy, and less expensive way to finish a charity project for donation. I may set a goal of making one each month in 2018. Anyone care to join me?

I'll wait until the charity projects of the guilds I belong to are announced for 2018 and see if this blankie can be included. If not, I'll give it to Project Linus.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


I've been deluged with spam lately. I've turned word verification on, but some of the offenders are still getting through. Same message posted as comments to random old blog posts, multiple times a day. I've notified Blogger about the problem, even named the offenders, but so far no reply from Blogger. 

I love legitimate comments. I'm so sorry to have to use word verification; I know no one likes it. I can tell it's cut down on real comments from actual readers. I hope you'll bear with me until the spam problem goes away and I can turn word verification off. I really love to hear from you. 

In much happier news, I'm progressing with paper pieced arcs for my Pickle Dish project. There are four arcs in each clipped batch, and 16 arcs in the banded batch. I have 8 more of yellow #2, 8 more of aqua #2, and 16 green ones to go. Still searching for the right green fabrics. 

I might replace the darkest coral ones (at top) with a lighter coral shade. I only need four of them, so it won't be a problem to remake them. 

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, December 4, 2017

November Stash Report & Goals Update

...a few days late, but I want to recap November for the record. It was a pretty good month.

Stash Report:
November IN: 8-1/8 yards (7-3/8 yds for Pickle Dish project. 3/4 yd aqua stripe from STLMQG)
November OUT: 13-1/2 yards (Original Log Cabin Triangles: 7-1/8 yds for blocks, 2-3/8 yds for border & binding, 1-1/2 yds wide backing plus 1 FQ for back.  Pink donation top, 1-1/4 yds.  Pickle Dish test blocks, est. 1 yd worth of scraps.)

YTD IN: 110-7/8 yards
YTD OUT: 141-3/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 30-1/2 yards OUT.

Whoo-hoo! It's been a good year for using stash, but I'm also purchasing new fabrics when needed. Finding the border print fabric for the original LCT top back in September really helped move that project along to a finish this month, which boosted the yardage out numbers nicely.
Original Log Cabin Triangles

Goals Update:

November Goals Recap:
1. Plan and write tutorial for Sew Bee It block for November, to hand out at Nov. 11 meeting. DONE, Propeller Block
2. Write and post tutorial for Nine Patch Stars QOV. DONE
3. Make one Dresden block and one Checkerboard block for the red project. DONE - actually made two of each.
4. Add borders to Original LCT top. DONE - not only finished the top, but got it layered, basted, spiral quilted, and bound. 
5. Work on WIVSP hand piecing project. Yes - Spent about an hour total over several sessions; accomplished about 2/3 of a row. 
6. Make one scrappy donation top to use up stash. DONE, as leaders/enders while paper piecing
7. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE.
8. Work on improv project from Jean Wells book. No. read through the first chapter again. This is so far outside my comfort zone that I'm not going to pursue it any more. 

Other: Made test blocks, selected fabric palette, and started paper piecing for Pickle Dish project.

December Goals:
1. Continue cutting and making block components for Pickle Dish project
2. Make at least one Dresden Plate and one Checkerboard block for the red project
3. Piece one donation top from stash, as leaders/enders
4. Quilt and finish one donation quilt
5. Work on Roman Road UFO
6. Keep up with bee blocks
7. Work on WIVSP hand piecing project

Pickle Dish Project 

With all the holiday stuff going on this month I won't have much time for sewing, so I want to limit my goals to moving WIPs and UFOs forward. The only planned new project will be a leader/ender donation quilt, because I need leaders and enders as I paper piece the arcs for the Pickle Dish project. Even so, I think I'll have plenty to keep me busy!

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt

Saturday, December 2, 2017

First Saturday Blocks

My "Alternative First Saturday" friends won't be getting together  tomorrow - everyone has stuff going on - but here's proof I have my blocks done! Two Dresdens and two checkerboards completed in November, for a total of five each.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Pickle Dish Palette and Pink Donation Top

After lots of playing in EQ7, I selected a dense floral for the background of my Pickle Dish project, and coral, aqua, olive, and soft gold for the accent colors. Armed with the EQ print-out, I went shopping. The background print is Menagerie from Rifle Paper Co, which has a deep hunter green ground.

Some of the accent colors came from stash, others are new, so my stash report will take a hit this month. The olive is a placeholder, a scrap from stash. It's the perfect shade of Grunge which I bought locally a couple years ago, but none of the local shops have this shade now and I don't know the color number. I'll have to search for something that will work. The black & off-white dotty prints are for the corner squares. I'm also using a variety of low-volume neutrals are from stash.

This is the EQ plan:

This will be a long term project. My plan is to paper piece all the arcs, cut all the background pieces (scissors cut from templates), lay out the parts on the design wall, and confirm the color placement before I actually put blocks together, because once the colors are paired up and sewn into a block, I can't move them around.

So I've been paper piecing arcs, in batches of four so I can chain piece. Four arcs make a ring, so it's working out well so far.

There's 8 seams per arc and I'll need 72 arcs. Even with chain piecing four arcs at a time, that's a lot of starts and stops. When I made the test blocks a couple weeks ago, I was only making one or two arcs at a time, also a lot of starts and stops. That's a lot of leaders and enders.

One of my goals this month is to use up some stash for a donation quilt top. Earlier I had cut squares of a lot of pinks. This helped get rid of some partial FQs and some scraps, and I also cut strips from yardage. After laying out the squares on the design wall, I clipped them together so I could use them for leader/enders.

A few dozen arc seams later, I had all the patches sewn into rows for this little donation top. Then it was simple to just sew the rows together and get it finished. It's 44" square.

It hardly made a dent in my stash, but that's OK. I'll cut some more squares for another donation top and continue to use them as leader/enders as I continue piecing the arcs for the Pickle Dish project.

So since I have this little top finished, I'm linking up with Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts and Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pickle Dish Planning

In my last post I talked about my plans for a Pickle Dish quilt and my concern about the proportions within the block. Now that I'm satisfied with the block pattern, I'm playing around with fabrics and colorings in EQ7. I originally thought I wanted mostly black & white prints with colors for only the eyelashes, but I haven't been happy with anything using that combo so far.

I know I want a small scale print for the background so the seams where the blocks intersect will disappear. After auditioning several options I found the perfect print, from the Menagerie collection by Rifle Paper Co. The background is actually a deep hunter green. (Thanks Jane & Jenny!)

Some more play in EQ7 and here's the plan I'm going with:

This will be a long term project, a challenging one. This is not an easy block to construct; it's actually harder than the snake block. Stay tuned, and I'll keep you posted on progress.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, November 27, 2017

Eye of the Beholder


Ever since my friends and I have been working on the snake quilt* and Cherie taught me how to paper piece the arcs, I've been wanting to make a Pickle Dish quilt. So I played around and drafted a block.

Um, no, I don't think so.
For a 10" block, I started with 2-1/2" squares in the corners which makes the arcs 2-1/2" wide. There's too much "eye" in the center. I might as well just use a standard Double Wedding Ring pattern for an effect like this.

So I looked at pickle dish & similar quilts on Pinterest. Many use Kaffe Fasset's pattern, so I ordered the book.

And made another test block using their pattern.

I have the utmost respect for Kaffe Fasset and his pattern design team. But to my eyes, it looks like too much eyelash and a beady little eye, with big heavy 3-1/2" squares in the corners. In his pastel version with low contrast prints, featuring those prints in large corner squares makes sense. But I'm thinking of using black & white prints for my corners, high contrast, so such large corners feel overwhelming to me, especially for the small size of the eye.

So I tried again, and I drafted a version with 3" finished corners, halfway between my first attempt and the KF pattern. Knowing that some corner squaress will be light and some will be dark, I used light scraps for this test block's corners.

OK, I'm liking the proportion better. Personal taste. No disrespect toward the KF design team intended.

But are the light corners influencing my reaction? Let's look at it with dark corners.

Let's look at them all together on my design wall.

I'm satisfied with the 3rd version, medium eye and medium corner squares.

Next I'll play with colorings in EQ7. All these test blocks were made with scraps from my scrap bins. I'm thinking black & white prints with pops of color for the eyelashes. This ought to keep me busy for awhile....

*About that snake quilt - the blocks are done but we're still trying to coordinate our schedules so we can get together for another sew day to get the top finished.

Linking up with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, November 24, 2017

Original Log Cabin Triangles Finished

Whoo-hoo! No longer a UFO!

The blocks for this were made about a year and a half ago, and the top center was assembled at camp. But it was a not-very-useful size, 54" x 63" and I didn't have any more of the colors to make more blocks. So it sat in UFO status for awhile.

I finally found the perfect fabric for a border to make it larger, while I was in Florida in September.

Perfect! The addition of the borders brought the top up to 66" x 75" which is a better size for a throw. 

Some spiral quilting, around and around...

I used the same border fabric for the binding.

The back is a remnant of grey Wide Screen. It was too long and narrow so I pieced it to the right size along with a piece of another grey print to fill in the corner. 

Nice to be able to add this to the finished pile! And I get to cross it off the UFO list - Whoo-hoo!

If you're interested, the Log Cabin Triangle block pattern is available as a tutorial here

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you and your family a happy turkey day!

We'll be visiting my sister-in-law and her family. By popular request, we're once again bringing party mushrooms* and candied sweet potatoes and wine. The quilt above, Maple Leaf Star, was given to SIL for Christmas last year. Here's another seasonal quilt:

Hoping you'll be enjoying good food and great company -
Happy Thanksgiving!

*No, not that kind of party mushrooms. Recipe for sauteed mushrooms & pearl onions in America's Test Kitchen 2007 cookbook (no affiliation).

Monday, November 20, 2017

Spiraling Around

Last week I mentioned that I want to get my original Log Cabin Triangles quilt finished. It languished in UFO status for over a year until I finally found border fabric for it. I pin basted it last week.

I ran out of pins, but after getting more I finally got the basting finished and started quilting. I'm quilting it in a spiral starting at the center of the motif. 

Around and around and around...  Just keep going...  I do think this style of quilting suits this piecing layout, but it sure is tedious. Music helps!

I used Connecting Threads (no affiliation) 50 wt. cotton thread in a pale grey called Silver. It's nice for quilting but a little thick for piecing. I have a lot of trouble with thread breakage with some types of fine threads on this machine, but much less breakage with CT thread, so for continuous quilting like spiraling around, CT was my preferred choice. 

There are plenty of wobbles and bobbles but overall the quilting looks fine. 

Maybe I'll be able to get it trimmed and bound this week. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

He Likes It

DH really likes his birthday quilt. As he was opening it he saw the back and said "I know where these fabrics came from!" I had to tell him that was the back, then he looked at the front. He really, really  likes it.
He says it's warm. It should be, with flannel front and back, and wool batting.

Murphy likes it too.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Original LCT

About a year and a half ago I worked on this original block and quilt layout resulting in a small top which has remained a UFO. This block is called Log Cabin Triangles, or LCT for short.

The block design, in patriotic colors, became the QOV block for the 2016 block drives hosted by Alycia in Colorado, Dar of QOV-Eastern Missouri, and others. Click on the 2016 QOV block tab above for more on that and a link to the tutorial.

After I sewed the blocks together, I never did much with this top because it isn't a very usable size, 54" x 63".  The dark fabrics were random fat quarters and I used them all up and couldn't get any more. I thought of adding a third color, maybe teal, but by then I had used up most of the extra light "logs" and couldn't replace some of those fabrics either.

I have a trunk show coming up and I no longer have the QOV I made from this block design, so I want to finish up this quilt so I can talk about it. I've been searching for something to use as a border to make it larger, and while I was in Florida in September I found the perfect print.

This week I added the borders, bringing the size up to a more usable throw size, 66" x 75" (here shown sideways on my design wall).

Now I'm in the process of pin basting it. Ran out of pins, need to get more...

I will spiral quilt this the same as I did my QOV verson. But I learned from that one and this time I'm pinning closer together, and facing the pins so I can easily remove them as I spiral around. Here's what the QOV looked like with its spiral quilting:

My goal is to have the original LCT version quilted by the end of the month.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, November 13, 2017

Propeller Block Layouts

I handed out propeller block instructions to my bee mates at guild on Saturday (see Friday's post below) and someone asked me how I plan to lay the blocks out. I'm thinking of staggering them with some negative space in between. This way the darks will create strong diagonal movement.

Here's how this layout would work going both directions (the center would be a pale background similar to the other backgrounds). There would be lots of partial seams if I use this layout.

Or I could stagger them in vertical columns, which still gives me diagonal movement but also creates some interesting shapes in the negative space. No partial seams here, just columns. 

As long as I stay away from a plain boring straight setting, I think I'll like whatever I come up with. I'll figure it out when I get the blocks back from my friends and see how many I have/need and what size it comes out to. This will be a donation quilt and my plan is for it to be suitable for an older boy. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Propeller Block for Sew Bee It

This month is my turn to hand out the block for my bee in STLMQG, called Sew Bee It. I'm posting the instructions here for the girls in the bee, and anyone else who's interested is welcome to use this tutorial to make their own blocks.

I'm asking for Propeller blocks:

Color palette for Sew Bee It:
-        Background: Any pale low volume, as long as it reads neutral. Nothing feminine.
-        Feature color: Any bright hue in the lime/green/teal/turquoise/blue/indigo range, again nothing feminine. Please use the same fabric for all the colored pieces in the block. 

-        Background:
o   cut (2) two 5” squares
o   cut (4) four 2-1/2” squares
-        Feature color:
o   cut (2) two 5” squares
o   cut (2) two 2-1/2” squares
o   cut (1) one 2-1/2” x 6-1/2” piece

-        Mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of each of the 5” background squares.
-        Place 5” background and feature color squares right sides together and sew 1/4” on each side of the marked line.
-        Cut on the marked line, press seams open, and square up the HSTs to 4-1/2”.
-        Sew a 2-1/2” background square to each end of the colored strip. Press seams toward the color.
-        Sew a 2-1/2” background square to each of the small colored squares. If your print is directional, sew the background squares to the top of one and the bottom of the other colored squares.
-        Lay out the parts like the block diagram; note which way the HSTs rotate. Sew the top row together and the bottom row together.  
    -    Sew the three rows together, making sure the seams line up so the center plus shape doesn’t look crooked. Press seams toward the center row. 

Thank you for making blocks for me!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Alternative First Saturday

Some friends and I have been participating in a local quilt shop's BOM series for several years on the first Saturday of each month. We're in the habit of getting together for coffee after the BOM meeting. The next series starts in November but this year we all decided we have too many WIPs and UFOs and we didn't want to start another project.

So instead of starting the new LQS series, we're having our own Alternative First Saturday meet-up for coffee and conversation. Six of us met this past Saturday for the first get-together. We each declared a project that we have to show progress on at the next meeting. Some of the projects include Broken Dishes blocks, Farm Girl Vintage blocks, and log cabin blocks, and all are commitments to finishing WIPs.

My project is the red project, story here and here. My goal is to make one checkerboard block and one Dresden Plate block each month. I started in early September and here are my blocks so far:

The Dresdens still need centers; I'll wait till I have more of them and decide whether I want blue centers or maybe an amber or bronze color. I don't want this to read as a red, white, and blue quilt. The Dresden blocks are oversized; they'll get trimmed down and snowball cornered later.
We're a talkative and eclectic group. The conversation ranged from the Andrew Wyeth museum to class reunions to warts & toenail fungus; chakras & crystals to titanium replacement knees. Oh, and there might have been some talk about our quilting projects, too.

The first Alternative First Saturday get together was very enjoyable - but wait, there's more! Another LQS was having a FQ sale, so some of us adjourned after coffee to go shop for FQs. The sale price has gone up - gasp - to $1.09, but still, how can you beat that?!

So I indulged in a little stash enhancement. No particular purpose, just stuff that I liked.
Corals and pinks

Aquas and greens


No particular need, just pure stash enhancement, but my usage numbers are good this year so no guilt. Sometimes you just need to supplement the stash to have a fresh take on pulling a palette together. I picked up 16 FQs for 4 yards in, and kept it to less than $19 including the tax. 

All in all, I'd say my first Alternative First Saturday was a smashing success, and I'm looking forward to more monthly meet-ups. The girls have asked for a Murphy update, so I'll have to try to get some new pics of him for next time.