Sunday, February 10, 2019

Wintry Mix

Wintry mix is a term that accurately describes our weather lately, here in southeastern Wisconsin.  We have had rain, snow, below zero temps, sleet, ice, oh, and sunshine, all just this week.
So of course I'm not venturing outside much, which leaves lots of time for sewing when my Little Buddy goes home for the day.  As you can see above, I finished my little Kings Crown quilt, which I started back in November (click HERE for the post).  The centers of the blocks are crumb squares.
Here's the back.  The binding is a green I've had a long time, probably because it is so ugly (at least I think so!).  It's the right shade of green, so I can finally use some of it up.
I'm planning to send this one to Quilts for Kids.  I hope it brightens up a hospital room for a child and his/her parents.
This whole post is a wintry mix, just a mish-mash of things I've been working on lately.
I got 3 yellow stars done for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt made from reproduction scraps.  Here I'm laying them out on the ironing board, trying to decide what I'll eventually use for sashing fabric.  What do you think of the green?
Yellow can be a hard color for 1800s repro quilts.  It is so bright! which is great, but it tends to draw attention to itself, maybe a little too much.  So I made the star points in yellows and the centers in a contrasting fabric to calm things down a little.
I only made 3 yellow blocks, mostly for the same reason.  A little yellow goes a long way with these post-Civil War reproduction quilts. JMHO.
At last, I got around to straightening up my sewing room bookcase.  It took half a day to take everything off, dust like mad, put stuff in the basement and/or the Goodwill pile, and decide what I really needed on here.  I even weeded out the project bins on the bottom, and only kept things upstairs that I seriously plan to work on this year.  Progress!
Here's where I am on my OMG--one monthly goal--for February.  I'm hand quilting the sashing on the little redwork quilt.  There are a total of 31 sashes, and I only have 13 more to go.  But then I have to figure out what to quilt in the border.  Any ideas?
More yellow!  I'm sewing the triangles for my second RSC project, a zigzag quilt in bright colors.  I get a few done just about every morning before my grandson gets here.
So that's where I am today, ready to go up to the sewing room to do my favorite kind of "work".

I'm hoping your work this week is interesting, challenging, and fun.
Cheers for reading,
Linking up today with:
Cynthia at Oh Scrap
Angela at So scrappy
Myra at Busy Hands Quilts
Sarah at Can I Get a Whoop Whoop 

Check out all the wonderful quilty goodness!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

New Month, New Goals, Still Red

Welcome to February!  Around here, we're really glad to see the end of January with its terrible cold.  Thursday morning it was -24 degrees (minus 24!) when I got up.  Right now it's 36 degrees ABOVE ZERO, and it seems like a heat wave.
My goal for the OMG this month is hand quilting this little quilt.  It's made of redwork squares I bought at the Cedarburg Maxwell Street Days flea market several years ago.
I started quilting it in January of 2016 (one hundred years after this block was made!), and kind of ran out of steam.  I have a little arthritis in my hands, which was my excuse for stopping work on it, but I have found that using my hands more actually helps them work better.
Maybe making this my goal will push me to finally get it done.  These little squares deserve to be finished, not just languishing in my closet for another year or two.
In other news, we got a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge--yellow!  That should brighten up the sewing room this month!  While I was waiting for the next color to be announced, I quilted last month's blocks (seen above).
I'm doing these quilt-as-you-go style.  It's really easy to quilt one block at a time.  I still need to decide on/find a sashing fabric, but I can do that closer to the end of the year.  The batting is cut from my giant bin of batting scraps.  There will be some hand work on the back to finish the quilt, but I find that kind of pleasant.
Here's the back.  I bought the whole 6 yard bolt of this neutral, and I'm hoping it will be enough.  If not, I'll just make fewer blocks or smaller borders or something.  Yeah, I'm kind of winging it here.
One consequence of the cold weather was less babysitting for me, since my daughter and son-in-law got some days off.  So I finished quilting this top, a small version of Bonnie Hunter's Happily Scrappily Irish.  Bella the dog loves it.
This is the year of trying new things!  My new thing here is hanging diamonds quilting.  Hanging diamonds is a sort of grid, with one set of lines going straight up and down, and a second set of lines going diagonally.  It's a very old style, often seen on antique quilts.  And now on my quilt!
BTW, there are little squares of yellow in almost all the blocks.
I'm not as happy with the border quilting.  I didn't do the best job marking it (ran out of Golden Threads paper and just marked with soap) so it's a tad wobbly.  It's another old fashioned design, a six-strand cable.
Neutral repro back, and red binding, and that's it.  I made the top in the first place to use up my 2 in. wide strips of repro/traditional scraps.  And are they used up?  Well, at least I can close the drawer now.

In 2018, I kept lots of lists of my quilting, just to try to keep my projects on track.  One list was Tops Made, with a place to add the date the top was quilted.  Three twin-sized tops were turned in to the charity committee at my local quilt group to be long arm quilted for folks in need.  The rest were quilted by me, on my lovely Mrs. Pfaff.
This Irish Chain top was the last one to be quilted from that list.  This means that every top I finished last year is now a finished, useful quilt.
Now, what about the backlog?  Maybe there will be some snow days in our future?  (Just kidding, I'm not really wishing for more snow.)
Having thoroughly used red in January, I am looking forward to digging into the yellow scraps this month.
I'm wishing bright scraps and bright thoughts for you this week.
Cheers for reading,

Linking up with
Angela at Soscrappy
Patty at Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal
Myra at Busy Hands Quilts 
Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop 
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Friday, January 25, 2019

OMG--Buckeye Beauty Finish

Hello from the deep freeze!  It was -7 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, which is the first time we've been this cold this winter.  Since it's our last red day for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I'm posting this cheerful picture of my geranium blooming on the window sill just before Christmas.  The blooms are gone now, but the cheerfulness remains.
Here's more cheer--a finished Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt!  This is my Buckeye Beauty.  In 2017, I pieced the blocks for this quilt, one color at a time, as a Rainbow Scrap quilt.  It was so much fun, scrounging around in my scraps for feedsacks or 1930s reproductions in the right colors.  The block was really easy to make, too, which doesn't hurt.
In January of 2018, I completed the top.  I arranged the blocks like this to get a secondary design, and added a feedsack border.  Luckily, I had two feedsacks in the same print.

Once I finished the top, I set it aside to work on other things.  It waited for a whole year, stuck in the closet with all the other "ladies in waiting".
This year, I'm leaving dithering behind.  I'm making decisions, setting goals, and finishing quilts.  At least, that's the idea.
So I got started quilting, and finished the center.  When it was time to quilt the border, dithering started to happen again.  How should I quilt it?  Fancy quilting would be lost in the print.  But I needed fairly dense quilting to match the rest of the quilt and fit the vintage look.
That's when the OMG helped.  OMG=One Monthly Goal.  It's a program run by Patty of Elm Street Quilts.  I made it my goal for January to decide on a design, quilt the border, and bind the quilt.  It worked!  I quilted double diagonal lines, evenly spaced to match the divisions in the quilt blocks.
And I was right, you really can't see the quilting in the border unless you get up close, but that's okay, I know it's there.
Want to see the back?

This is the back of the Buckeye Beauty quilt.  It is (mostly) 6 feedsacks sewn together.  I bought it in an antique shop years ago, as a duvet cover.  I had to mend it and add a strip or two of another feedsack to make it big enough.
One of my favorite prints is this one--blue raspberries!  I don't think such a thing occurs in nature, but it's fun to have it on the backing.

So that's one OMG done.  And that's about how my New Year's resolutions usually go.  I might do well in January, but it's more of a challenge to keep going after that.  I can't even tell you how many journals/diaries I have that only have entries for the first 4 weeks of the year.  (It's very sad.)  I have to hope this time it will be different, if only for the sake of all the UFOs stuck in the closet.
In other news, new potholders!  Most of my potholders are not fit to be seen--holes, stains, etc.  Plus I forget to throw them in the laundry half the time, so who knows what awful spills are on them.  These orphan blocks are really outclassing the rest of the potholders in the drawer.  I took a picture so I'll know what they looked like before they got to work in my messy kitchen.
I have some time off from babysitting this week.  Little Buddy and his family are at a wedding, so I'll have extra time to sew (oh, and maybe clean a little?).  He posed for me earlier this week with a panel I got for free from a nice quilter at quilt group.  We have a panel challenge for next month, and I'm thinking about using this one.
I don't know though, I'm feeling kind of dither-y about it.
Stay warm, and keep quilting!
Linking up with:
Patty at Elm Street Quilts for January's OMG
Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop 
Angela at Soscrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap
Myra at Busy Hands Quilts 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Spiky Red Stars

Welcome to the blog!  Is there a snowstorm where you live?  Here's the view out my sewing room window this morning.  It has stopped snowing now, and it looks like we got only 3-4 inches.  Oddly, Milwaukee and Kenosha, which are south of us, got lots more.
It's a good day to stay inside and sew.  (Isn't it always?)

Last week I shared my bright Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for 2019.
 This week, it's RSC project #2, spiky stars made from my reproduction/traditional scraps.
This project also uses 4.5 in. strips.  I've cleaned out the drawer (finally) and rolled up the strips in colors, just waiting for the word from our fearless leader.

I'm making the blocks with a ruler set I've had for years, but seldom used--the Tri-Recs tools by Darlene Zimmerman.
The tools are great for cutting these particular triangles from strips.  The skinnier triangles are cut from the red strips, and the larger triangle is cut from the light strips.
If there is enough of the light left, I cut the 4 corner squares from the same light.  If not, I just use another light.  It's a scrap quilt.  Made out of real scraps.

Many years ago, an intrepid quilter from Wisconsin made these triangles famous.  She called them Peaky and Spike, and taught lots of us to make them with templates.
Of course I'm talking about the late Doreen Speckmann.
This is a photo of Ms. Speckmann, taken from her book Travels with Peaky and Spike.
I never got to see her in person before her untimely death in 1999, but I saw her on TV a couple of times, and she was a riot.  She put the fun back in fundamentals of quilting.
Here are her creations, Peaky (the smaller triangle, quite feminine and petite) and good old clodhopping Spike.  I can't ever see these quilt patterns without thinking of Doreen, and I'm sure that's true for lots of quilters my age.
Want to know something weird?  I had already made these blocks when I went to our local quilt group on Wednesday night.  Guess what was on the free table!
Travels with Peaky and Spike!  I think it must be meant to be.  It was worth taking it home just to read Doreen's directions on trying on bathing suits.

So this year, as I make Spiky Star blocks in all our rainbow colors, I'll be grateful to two quilters:  Darlene Zimmerman, for her awesome rulers, and Doreen Speckmann, for her inspiration.  I'll work hard to be more accurate sewing and cutting, but I'll remember to have fun along the way.
Here's what I'm having fun with today--heart blocks with solid frames.
Have fun this week!

Linking up with
Angela at Soscrappy
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Myra at Busy Hands Quilts
(BTW, check out Myra's link up!  No photos, just text links.  An interesting experiment!)
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Start With the Scraps

I really believe it.  The best quilts start with scraps.  So of course I LOVE the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  But I got a little off track when deciding what to make this year.  And that was because I DIDN'T start with the scraps.
Here's the block I was planning on making.  It's a cute block, nothing wrong with it at all.  Except I was just thinking about the cuteness and not about using up my overflowing scraps.

This block uses only 2.5 in. strips.  Which is great if you haven't been using 2.5 in. strips for literally years, and neglecting all the other sizes of scraps.
This is my small overflowing bin of 4.5 in. strips, in bright colors.  (It was a lot messier before I decided I needed to take a picture of it.)  Do you think maybe I should use some of these scraps to make a quilt?  I think it's their turn.  And taking turns is nice, as I say to my Little Buddy every day.
So here's the block for my bright RSC quilt for this year.
Red is a wonderful color for January.  It's such a bright contrast with the gloomy days we've had lately.
I'm making the blocks into rows of 8 blocks across.
I don't know exactly how I'll set the rows together at the end.  I do know that it will be easy to quilt on my home machine.
One bonus of this block--I'm using up scraps of light fabrics also.

More red!  We went antiquing a couple of weeks ago.  There are amazing antique quilts hanging from the ceiling at the Roscoe Antique Mall in Beloit, Wisconsin.
I loved this Feathered Star, but the photo is more or less spoiled by the light fixture in front of it.

Scrap quilting always seems like recycling to me, which is another reason to love it.  I am very into recycling.
Speaking of recycling, check out these socks I got for Christmas!
They are made in part from recycled plastic bottles!!!
Warm, cute, and recycled.  That's my kind of stuff.

I'm wishing the coming week is filled with your kind of stuff, whatever that may be.
Cheers for reading,

Linking up with:
Angela at Soscrappy
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Myra at Busy Hands Quilts
Cynthia at Oh Scrap