Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Taming of the Scraps

I love scrap quilts.  In fact, I just plain love scraps.   I love them so much that I actually buy other people's scraps.
For example, here's a bag I bought at a recent quilt show.  As you can see, it cost a whole $2.00.
This is what it looked like, dumped out on the floor.
Then I laid out the pieces...
and gloated over all the great stuff in here.  I might be a little cracked when it comes to scraps.

There's only one problem with accumulating scraps.  Somehow or another they have to go from this
to quilts.  They have to be tamed, and shaped into parts to be further cut and sewn.
So that's what I've been doing this week.
I started by straightening up a bit, and doing a little organizing by categories.  For instance, I sorted them into bright colored scraps, the reproduction 1930s, the 1800s repros, the plaids, etc.
Then I put a subset of the scraps into a small basket.  Whenever I had time, I pressed and cut what was in the basket, until it was empty.  I started with bright colors.  Shown above are the plaids, which I will work on this coming week.
I've tried other systems, like working for 15 min. at a time, etc., but this seemed to work better for me.
Here's what I got done:
These are strips ranging from 5 in. wide on the left to 1.5 in. wide on the far right.  In between are 4.5 in., 3.5 in., and 2 in.
So where are the 2.5 in. strips?
Here they are, two big stacks.  Another bag I bought at the quilt show was full of 3 in. cut strips.  I trimmed those down to 2.5 because I know I'll use them if they're that size.
I almost filled up a shoebox.
When I'm cutting strips, I also cut squares if the scraps are small.  These are 5 in., 4.5 in., 3.5 in., 2.5 in., and 2 in.  The rectangles are 2.5 x 4.5.  I've got a project in mind for them.
So now I've got parts to sew with, and this is what I'm doing with some of them.  There are pieces here of 3 different quilts.
Now I need a strategy for focusing on my projects.  Any suggestions?
Have a great week, everybody.
I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Busy Hands Quilts this week.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

It's a Green World

Rainbow Scrap Challenge time!  Just in time for (nearly) the end of the month, I've finished my blocks for May, in scraps of green.  First, the little houses.

Some of the blocks are kind of plain, although this one does have dinosaurs in the sky...
And this one is sweet enough to give you a cavity.
Two of the houses have frogs, like this one who is waving and saying hi...
and this house is totally made up of frogs staring at you.  Not creepy at all.
Still on the reptiles/amphibians theme, here's the turtle house.

My favorite this month is the ladybug house.
After all the cats in the other houses I've made, I needed to have some dog fabric in here somewhere.  There are rabbits in the sky, and the door is a cat print without any visible cats.
Last but not least, I had to work the Packers in.  I think there's some kind of law in Wisconsin about respect for the Packers.  It has nothing to do with how well they're playing, the Pack is beloved always.
I really had to hunt to find green 1930s repro fabrics and/or feedsacks for the Buckeye Beauty blocks  Here they are:
Some of these greens are very pale, but I think they'll contrast well with some of the brighter blocks in other colors.  At least, I hope so.
This is my favorite block using the repro fabrics.
My all-time favorite feedsack is in the large triangles in this block.  It has a Hawaiian theme.  Can you see where it spells out Waikiki? 
Here's a bad closeup of another part of this feedsack, pieced into a different block.  This time there's a surfer! 
For years I just hoarded this feedsack, thinking it was too precious to use.  Finally, I'm over that!  I have moved on to Cut It Up and Use It Now.
Once I got my RSC blocks done for the month, something came over me, and I started piecing scrap triangles into these blocks.  I don't have a pattern, and I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but it's fun using up scraps.  I always need to have something to piece during my baby grandson's naps.
How are you RSC projects coming along?  I have loved reading about them in the weekly linky parties.  Does anybody ever end up with too many blocks?  I'm kind of thinking that could happen to me.
Cheers to all this week,

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Choose Happy

I'm taking today's title from words printed on fabric.  It's not even grammatically correct, as my English-major daughter would point out.  It should probably say, "Choose happiness", or Choose to be happy."  But the grammar doesn't really matter (don't tell my daughter I said that!).  It's the sentiment that counts.  I used the choose happy fabric as sashing in this quilt.
The pattern for the quilt came from this magazine, American Patchwork & Quilting, June 2017 issue.  I don't know if you've noticed, but they are including a quilt pattern specifically meant for charity/donation quilts in each issue so far this year. 
The column is called Sew Giving, and is hidden in the back of the magazine, after the stapled-in pattern sheets.  The pattern I used is called Positive Effect, and was designed by Amanda Niederhauser (
Here's the original quilt from the article. 
As soon as I saw this pattern, I decided I had to make it.  (Does this ever happen to you?)  No matter what else I had going on in the sewing room, this was gonna get pieced.

I liked this quilt because:
1.  I could use 5 in. squares, which I had been cutting from some of my scraps, and 3.5 in strips, which seem to be multiplying in their shoebox.
2.  The blocks were big (12 in. finished), so I wouldn't need very many to make a good sized quilt.
3.  It was easy as pie.  Or actually easier.

Some of my favorite blocks are:
Cats!!!  Cat is my baby grandson's favorite word.  He says it all day long.  ALL DAY LONG.
My grandmother used to recite a poem about a purple cow.  This reminds me of that poem, even though the background of the center square, and not the cow, is purple.
"I've never seen a purple cow,
I never hope to see one.
But this I can say anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one."
I looked it up (thank you, Wikipedia!).  The author was Gelett Burgess, and it was published in 1895.  I changed it slightly to the version my Gran taught us.
Here's a glimpse of two blocks.  The one in the foreground is so insane I had to lie down after making it.

I sewed these blocks up during my grandson's naptimes, and it didn't take long to get 20 of them. 

The directions were good, and I liked the pattern, but I always have to change at least a few things.
Here's what I changed:
1.  I used bright colored prints and novelty fabrics to make the blocks.
2.  The original used the sashing fabric in the center of each block.  I used the centers to add another print.
3.  I added cornerstones in the sashing to give the top a punch of color.  Doing so used up some 2.5 in. squares from my "collection".  (Don't worry, I have LOTS more.)
4.  I added a 4 in. finished border on the outside.
I took this photo while auditioning border fabrics.  This wild Southwest fabric won!
So here's the top, all done and ready to go to our volunteer long-arm quilters.  With the added border, it measures roughly 66 in. x 80 in., and fits nicely on a twin bed.

So thanks to APQ for including patterns for those of us who sew for donation.  As far as I can tell from a short search of their web site ( these patterns are only available in the physical magazine.  If I'm wrong about that, let me know.

This week, I'm going to do all my usual things, like laundry and grocery shopping and babysitting and cleaning, and, of course, quilting.  And I'm going to choose happy in all the things I do.
I'm doing this because attitude really is everything, and being open to happiness really does encourage joy.  And not just because some fabric told me to.
I hope you can choose happy this week too.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Joy in the Little Things

The tulips are open!  They close at night, or on cloudy days, but at last they are full-blown tulips.  And of course they remind me of quilts!
Click HERE to go to an article by Barbara Brackman on the Full Blown Tulip quilt block.
I finally finished the top to the Flower Girl quilt this week.  Thank goodness my sweet grandbaby takes naps, so I can get some sewing done.
Here's the whole thing, laid out in hubby's office.  As you might remember, this is a free pattern from the Moda Bakeshop.  You can find it HERE.
After input from readers and lots of thought, I decided to separate the blocks with white sashing, the same width as the white rectangles used in the block, as the original designer had done.  It makes an overall grid that keeps things orderly.  I didn't use yellow cornerstones because frankly I was out of that particular yellow.  I think I like it this way.
Now it's ready for the wonderful volunteer long-arm quilters at my quilt group, who will quilt it up so we can donate it.  It will probably go to a formerly homeless family for their new apartment.
Mr. Biddy is quite particular, but even he gave it a nod of approval.  No thumbs up, of course, since he doesn't actually have thumbs.
In other news, it was a red-letter day around here on Tuesday, when my package came from Connecting Threads.
Fabric, and a box!
This is great, Grandma!
Look what I can do!
I'll keep the box, you keep the fabric.
Here's what Grandma got--a stack of gorgeous clearance fabric, and best of all, a book!  No Scrap Left Behind, by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts.  This book is full of terrific ideas.  I already love it.
Hurray!  Look out, scraps, here I come.
Well, after I go to the grocery, Target, and the library.

I'm wishing you joy in the little things (and people) this week.
This week's link ups are to Crazy Mom Quilts and Busy Hands Quilts.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happily Scrapily Rainbow

Rainbow Scrap Challenge time!  April's fabric "color" is multicolor.  You know, those fabrics you look at and can't decide what pile they go in.  There might be lots of color, but no one color stands out.
Here's my village of houses for this month.
This one was obvious, with its stripes of green, pink, orange, black, blue, etc.  And at last I can use my black-with-pink-dots.
This house is not made of Easter fabric, despite the obvious bunnies.  These happy little animals are supposedly going to school.  Does that make this a schoolhouse?
Here's a golden oldie fabric, with tulips and a big red goose.  It reminds me of a house in my neighborhood.  The homeowners keep a concrete goose by the front porch, and change out its "clothes" with the season. 
This one is a quilter's home.  (Every neighborhood needs one, right?)  Three different quilts make up the house.  I finally managed to get the hearts going right in the "sky".  You can tell this is a happy place.
Here's the before picture for this block.  Kind of dull, in spite of the wacky prism fabric of the house.
So I did a little remodeling.  I replaced the roof with scissors fabric, and the sky with spools of thread.  Not very calm anymore, but less boring.

Speaking of boring, I'm afraid my second set of rainbow challenge quilt blocks is a little on the sedate side.
It was hard to find multicolor fabrics in my 1930s repros or my feedsacks. 
It seems like the only multicolor ones had white backgrounds, and just wouldn't play nice with any other prints.
This is the wackiest one.  Do you see the pineapples?
The other two are florals:

The Buckeye Beauty quilt will be more subdued than the house quilt, and that's okay. 
Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

Happy Earth Day!  Wishing you sunshine and rainbows this week,

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts,
So Scrappy 
and Busy Hands Quilts