Saturday, October 19, 2019

Little By Little

Little by little, things get done, right?  Well, at least some things.  Many (many!) other things are waiting, but my second quilt for the Socorro Foundation is finished.  (Click HERE for information on the Socorro Foundation quilt/pillowcase drive.)

It's a very simple quilt.  I just took bright 2 in. strips out of the scrap bag, pressed them, cut them into 6.5 in logs, and sewed a 4-rail fence block.  Thirty blocks plus a 2 in. finished border makes a quilt 34 in. x 40 in., which meets the requirements.
Here's the back, another print I bought from my friend's friend.  You can see the grid quilting here, too.  The lines are 1.5 in. apart.  That should help it hold together in the wash.  I used this same fabric to back my first Socorro quilt.
See the Toucan?  That strip was cut from what was left of the animal fabric after making the first quilt.  Scraps just keep on giving.
So I got to use bright novelty prints, which I love, in that little quilt.
I got to use my black reproduction fabrics, which I also love, in these blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Quilt challenge.  The colors, as we're finishing up the year, are black and brown and gray.  I've already done my brown blocks.
Block 1 has a fancy print center that's been in the 4.5 in. squares box forever.
Block 2 has a humble gingham for its center.  Really more my style than fancy.
So now all my blocks for this quilt are done AND quilted!  I still have to cut sashing plus batting and backing for the sashing, before I can start putting it together.  And then I'll have to decide what to do about the border.
Where did all this fabric come from?  This is what got added to the stash this week.
Wednesday was guild meeting, and this month was our annual silent auction.  Each person can bring up to 3 bundles/boxes/piles of stuff, and we all have a chance to bid on them.  Highest bid at the end wins!  I won these gorgeous plaids, orange, green, and blue, each over a yard.  Woot!
I also won this collection of miscellaneous stuff.  I'm keeping the needles, pins, small scissors, and of course the feedsack scraps.  The interfacing and embroidery transfers will find a new home.
Even better than the stuff I won was getting rid of the stuff I brought!  I might have put some chocolate in the boxes I brought to spark some interest (this is always a good ploy).  The guild made over $400.
A friend found this tractor fabric at a sale, and thought of my Little Buddy, who is obsessed with tractors.  Now I'm thinking about making him a farm quilt.
Like I don't have anything else to make!  Well, we can't control when inspiration strikes, can we?

Have a wonderfully inspiring week ahead!
Linking up with:
Angela at Soscrappy
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Sarah at Can I Get a Whoop Whoop

Saturday, October 12, 2019

For the Children

I love making things for kids, so this was a very good week.  It feels good to finish projects, even small ones, like the dinosaur pillowcase I finally made for my grandson, to go with his dinosaur quilt.
Isn't this cute fabric?  I was pointing out different kinds of dinosaurs in the print to my Little Buddy, but I got the T. Rex wrong.  "No, that's a raptor," he said, and showed me which one really was the T. Rex.  He should know, it's his very favorite dino. 
He also loves Daniel Tiger, so I made this pillowcase to put on when the dino one is in the wash.
At naptime on Monday, I got the finishing touches done on the baby sweater for my daughter's friend's new baby.  The knitting was all done,  I just had to sew on the buttons and the little applique.
I've had this duckie applique in my stash since my own kids were little!  It was a sew-on applique, not an iron-on, and somehow I just never got around to using it.
Click HERE for the sweater pattern.  It's knit from the top down, and is seamless.  I didn't follow the pattern exactly for the number of rows, etc., just used experience and common sense.  My way makes a size 3-6 months.
The baby shower is later today, so that was motivating me to wrap it up (yes, literally).

My last project is this little quilt.
I was inspired to make it by quilts I saw on the Sew Preeti Quilts blog.  (Click HERE for the specific post.)  Preeti made six quilts to send to the Socorro Foundation in Texas, which helps families released from federal agencies.  Her post was very moving.
The quilts will be used at the shelter and washed frequently, so they need to be sturdy.  There is a list of specific requirements and sizes HERE.
Isn't this animal print a hoot?  I had two fat quarters of it, and nearly used up every scrap.  I bought the fat quarters (at a highly discounted price!) from a friend of a friend who was destashing.
The small scraps for the nine patch blocks came from this bag.  It was stuffed full of 2 in. bright strips when I started cutting.  Since it's more efficient to cut several quilts at once, I cut pieces for two more quilts while I was at it.  Do you think there's enough for yet one more?  If not, no worries, there might be more fabric around here somewhere.
Thursday morning we took Little Buddy and went to Holy Hill Basilica and National Shrine, which is in a nearby town.  The church complex overlooks the surrounding woods and farmland, and it's a great place to see the changing colors of the leaves.
The sky was a little overcast, but the view was still amazing.  I took these photos from the tower, which you are allowed to climb in good weather.
Sights like these help me to remember to live my values every day.

Have a wonderful week, and thanks for reading.

Linking up with:
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Angela at So Scrappy
Alycia at Alycia Quilts 
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Thanks to the Squirrels

Once we get to October in Wisconsin, we really can't deny that fall is here.  Sure, there are still green leaves on most of the trees, but we know it won't be that way at the end of the month when little costumed creatures come begging for treats.
I'm trying to stay more "in the moment", and enjoy fall without my usual dread of the coming winter.  This little "squirrel" is helping me--a fall table runner for the dining room.
I saw one like it on the internet (don't lots of quilts start out like that?), but there was no pattern.  So I made up my own, and added the borders on the ends to make it longer and to include a leaf print.  Just about any 8 in. block would do for this kind of runner.  I made 10 blocks and set them side to side.  Many of the pieces are 2.5 in. squares from those little packets you see at quilt shops.  Some, especially the cheddar ones, are from the scrap bag I bought at Quilt Expo last month.
The back was a larger scrap I've had for a while.  I had to piece it Frankenstein style to make it both long enough and wide enough.
We decorated for Halloween this week, with Little Buddy's help. There are plastic skeletons everywhere.

As long as I'm avoiding working on the big Wagon Trail quilt (see last post), I might as well make some spiky stars.  The Rainbow Scrap Challenge colors for October are brown and black.  Here are my brown ones.
Brown is a great color for 1800s reproduction quilts.  Antique quilts with lots of brown in them were generally made before 1900, when brown fell out of fashion.
I have lots of brown repro scraps in my stash, so I made sure to use two colors in each star instead of just one.

Gotta love stripes.

My windowsill garden is still blooming, except for the poor African violet I am trying to resurrect.  Do you see the blunt tips on the aloe plant?  One of my grandsons likes to snip off the tip and drink the juice.  The plant doesn't mind at all, and neither do I.

I hope you have a lovely week ahead, and if any squirrels come to call, tell them I said hi.

Linking up today with:
So scrappy
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia Quilts
Oh Scrap

Saturday, September 28, 2019

In the Middle

I'm happily sewing again this week, working on a Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt from 2018.
Do you see one of my purple blocks from last year?  These were really fun to make.  The blocks are set so that a large plain space occurs where four blocks come together.  I knew I wanted a stencil quilted into that spot.
As a rule, I quilt my own quilts on my Pfaff Select machine (yes, electric, even though the quilts are pieced on a treadle).  In order to quilt something this large, I pieced it in two sections.  This made it possible to quilt the stencil design without screaming my head off.  (We wouldn't want to alarm the neighbors.)
I've always loved the graceful shapes of leaves, so I chose my stencil for this kind of look.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to use a stencil with Golden Threads paper.
You need the stencil, a PERMANENT INK pen, and the paper.  (Do not use anything but permanent ink.  Otherwise, the marks will transfer to the quilt, which defeats the purpose of using the paper.)
Trace the stencil onto the paper.  Note here, the paper comes in several sizes.  I find the 12 in. size the most useful and least wasteful.
Place the stencil on the quilt, and pin.  I use safety pins so I won't be constantly stabbing myself with straight pins.  (Just respecting the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.)  You can see through the paper, which helps in positioning the stencil.
The next step is quilting through the paper.  It really helps to trace the lines with your fingertip before starting, so you can plan where to start and stop.  This design is continuous, at least for the larger leaves, but I quilted each set of smaller leaves separately.
Lastly, tear off the paper.  The quilting will be done, and there will be no marking lines on the quilt.
I used a thread that matches the area to be quilted.  At a distance, the shapes stand out (but not the thread).
In the half blocks at the sides of the quilt, I quilted half the motif.
Two corners ended up like this.  I used one section of the stencil to quilt them.

It's taken quite a while to get this far, but each of the two sections is now quilted, and I have joined the sections, by machine on the top and by hand on the back.

Now what?  I have to quilt the middle!  This will be harder, as I will have the whole bulk of the quilt to maneuver.  If it's too tough, I might hand quilt the stencil motifs.

In other news, we went to a book sale at the West Bend library on Thursday.
Little Buddy didn't want to leave!
Under our feet was this colorful rug.  Isn't it great?  I wish I had fabric like this!

Have a wonderful week!  Can you believe October starts on Tuesday?

Linking up with:
Alycia at Alycia Quilts:  Finished or Not Friday
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

What Do You Do When You Can't Sew?

Most weeks, I spend my free time sewing.  Not this week.  This week, I had other commitments.  The sewing machines barely got warmed up.  The spirit was willing, but the time was just not there.

What do you do when this happens to you?

I just tried to make the best of it.
Most of my time is spent babysitting my Little Buddy, the most adorable 3 year old in the world.  There are many fun things we can do together, like taking pictures of Canadian geese in the park.

We've also been picking green beans and tomatoes in our little garden.  We missed a few beans, that will now only be good for seed for next year, but we've had quite a few for dinner.
I've found a little time to put up some of the fall quilts in the dining room.
I made this one in 1988, after we took a family trip out west. 
Our youngest daughter, who was 4 years old then,  loved the little Native American-made dolls sold in the souvenir shops.  The alternate block replicates a design on a book about Native American textiles that I bought on that trip.  The colors are right for fall decorating.
These little quilts are for Jack's Basket.  There are 13 of them!  The ladies in our quilt group made them (I made one a few weeks ago).  I'm getting ready to mail them out this week.  They are all different, and all amazing.  Little Buddy helped me lay them out and take pictures.
I'm often too tired to sew in the evenings after supper, but I can definitely sit and knit.  I'm making a baby sweater as a shower gift for a friend of my daughter's.
Now here we are, finally at the weekend.  I will have time to sew now, and here's what I'm going to work on first--putting the binding on this donation quilt.
I made this top awhile back, (for details click HERE) and handed it in to the wonderful ladies on the charity committee to be quilted.  Didn't they do a nice job?  Now it's back to me, to be bound.  What do you think of the fabric I've chosen?  In person, it's sort of purple.  It goes okay with the top...
and the back!  Check out these fabulous pink pigs!  And they're flannel!

I'm glad these no-sewing weeks don't come along very often, but when they do, I know eventually I'll have time again to work on my favorite hobby.

This week, I'm hoping you'll have time to do what you really love to do.

Linking up with:
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia at Finished or Not Friday
Angela at Soscrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap