Saturday, January 25, 2020

Dreaming of Tulips

This is the view out my back door this morning.  It's the usual Wisconsin Winter Wonderland.
I can't say I'm surprised, it is January after all, and from my warm kitchen it looks very pretty.
That doesn't stop me from dreaming about springtime.  Yesterday I finished this spring-filled tulip quilt top, in two colors of pink.
Now, I'm not a real fan of pink, as I have said a time or two before.  (It might be because it reminds me of Pepto Bismol?  Not sure.)  So what am I doing with these colors?
This quilt is what I call a rescue.  A friend of mine, who used to have a quilt store, hand dyed the fabric and packaged it as a kit.  The lady who bought this kit did part of it, then set it aside.  When she passed away, her family gave the kit back to my friend, who brought it to a quilt history meeting as a freebie.  The scraps above are all that's left.
I added the yellow fabric, bought at my local quilt shop, and worked on fixing up the blocks.  The lady had done the project in steps, making all the half square triangles on triangle paper, cutting the strips for the corners, etc., and had only put together 3 or 4 blocks.  That was a blessing, because they were all put together wrong and had to be ripped out.  (Oh, and with a tiny stitch length, too.  Sigh.)  Some of the smaller pieces just couldn't be ripped out without raveling away, so I had to use them as they were.
The original pattern was for a square quilt in a smaller size.  I scraped together enough pieces from the scraps to make 5 more blocks, for a twin sized quilt.  There was plenty of dark green for the border.
I did the best I could with it, but it's not perfect.  There are lots of places where points are cut off, seams don't match, etc.  The hand dyed fabrics are very nice, and the colors (even pink!) brighten up a winter's day.  I plan to finish it as a donation quilt.
In other news, more green!  This is the last Saturday in January, so we will have a new color (orange!) for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge next week.  My green blocks are already made, so I'm going to work on cutting this pile of green scraps into future usefulness.  (I've got an idea for those tractors!)
Look what I got--it's a shoe organizer, but I'm using it for scrap strips.  Each pocket is for a different size and/or category.  I have bright scraps and reproduction fabric scraps separated, and when it comes to the 2.5 in. strips I separate light and dark in both categories.  At the bottom (not shown) is a large pocket which I'm using for strings.  So far, I really like it.  The price was definitely right--$10 at Target.  I can cut scraps, sort them, and then put them away and start over.  Doesn't that sound like a fun day?
It would be even more fun if we had any of this left--chocolate pudding!  My little buddy absolutely loves it, and it's a good way to get more milk into him.  I make a big batch and put it in these little containers.  It's great for portion control, even though there is more pudding in these little cups than in those containers at the store.  But I leave out the artificial flavors and colors and preservatives.
Spring is a long way away here.  Winter often doesn't give up until the middle of April.  It's a good thing we've got bright colors (even pink!) to distract us from all that white snow.

Have a warm, wonderful week, and thanks for reading.

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

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Spiky Stars and Simple Houses

Welcome to Treadlestitches, a blend of old and new.  

It's a snowy day today, but the plows are out, even in our neighborhood, so we're not exactly snowed in.  I'm thinking warm thoughts of rainbows--specifically the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I love the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

If you've been here before, you may have seen these spiky stars.  They were one of my quilts for the RSC last year.  As I made the blocks each month, I layered and quilted them.  Once I made the last blocks, I was ready to start on putting them together.
The whole project suffered from what I call back-burneritis, meaning I kept putting it on the back burner while I worked on something else.  This week I moved it to the front burner, and finally Got It Done.
Above you can see how I quilted the borders.  I often use Golden Threads paper to mark the border quilting design, but when I ran out of it, I remembered I had a roll of this in the basement.
  It's called Borders Made Easy.  (Click HERE to go to their web site.) I have had it for MANY years, and I wasn't sure how it would work.  There were peel and stick strips on the back to stick it to the quilt, and the glue actually hadn't dried out while being stored.
Here it is, stuck to the border.  The pile of paper is the peel part of peel and stick.  Once it's on the quilt, you just sew right through the paper.  This makes it very easy to see the lines.  However, it is NOT fun ripping this paper off.  I definitely should have sewn with smaller stitches.  And I'm going to have to get out the vacuum cleaner to get up all the little pieces of paper.
Here's the whole quilt, laid out flat.
So, that's one done from 2019.
What about 2020?

I've got 3 projects going for the 2020 RSC, and this is the third one--simple house blocks in 1930s fabrics.

I'm using both repro prints and vintage prints/feed sacks.

The pattern is fun and easy, and comes from this magazine, still (I think) available in stores.
The pattern quilt is called Home Made, is made from flannel, and has some upside down houses.

I don't think I'll be turning my houses upside down, but we'll see.  A topsy turvy house would just about describe my lifestyle!
I can't thank Angela enough for guiding us through the colors each month, and hosting a linky party for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  It is so much fun using up scraps to make quilts.  You can come, too, you know.  It's never too late to join!
Linking up with
Angela at So Scrappy
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Cynthia at Oh Scrap 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Anything Goes

Welcome to Treadlestitches!  This week I pushed through a rotten cold to finish two little donation quilts.
One of the ladies at my quilt group made the tops from donated fabric.  I quilted and bound them.
They are just the right size to keep someone's lap warm.
I was very happy to use up some of my scrap fabric on the backs and for the binding.  More stuff out the door, and for a good cause.
This backing had a date on the selvedge of 1999!  The quilting is a 2 in. grid, that Mrs. Pfaff and I sewed using her built in walking foot.
Check out some of the variety!  This lizard/snake fabric was in both quilts.  So was the poly/cotton gingham, which reminds me of making dresses for my daughters in the 1980s.
Here we have millennium fabric from 2000, a pheasant print, modern prints, batiks, and a Christmas print.  Truly, anything goes!
These little quilts will probably go to a local nursing home, where they will be warm and comforting.
In other news, still green!
The Rainbow Scrap Challenge has been great for helping me use up scraps of all sorts.  As usual, I have a project just for my 1800s reproduction fabric.  These shoo fly blocks are cut from 3.5 in. strips.
I have more dark strips than light, so I settled on this configuration.  I will use two fabrics (at least) for each color (in this case, green), and two fabrics for each light.
They are simple little blocks, fast and easy to make, which I am going to need this year as my life gets busier.
This was the week that was.  (Anybody remember that show?)
For a while now, I've been enjoying the quilts people make that mark each day in a year, such as temperature quilts, etc.  After some head scratching and scribbling, I decide to record the days in 2020 like this.  Each small block represents a week, and each strip is one day.
New Year's Day was a Wednesday, so the top strip represents the sewing I did that day, especially making green RSC blocks.  The next strip has hearts for visiting family, and Clifford is for my little buddy's new book.  Saturday is a serene aqua, Sunday is a bright yellow, Monday has the dinosaurs we're always playing with, and Tuesday is a books print to represent our weekly trip to the library.

My plan is to keep going all year.  The block for each month will be made of  4 of these weekly blocks, BUT when there are more than 28 days (which is every month this year), I will split the strips in the last block as needed.  It's kind of my own Block of the Month.
There's a ice storm outside today, with snow to follow, so we are happily snowed in.  My DH is watching a ball game, and I'm going to get some more sewing done.  Well, after I take a nap.
Have a lovely week, and watch out for cold germs!
Cheers for reading,

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

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Quiet and Pieceful

Happy New Year!  I hope we're all having a good start to 2020.  And what's a better start than making a quilt?
With the help of a little extra time off (and a seam ripper!)  I got this donation top done.  The ladies in my quilt group make things so easy.  They take fabric that has been donated to our group, and cut up kits.  The rest of us take the kits home, and eventually bring them back as tops.
The notes with this kit called it "Scrap Attack", but I've been unable to find this specific pattern online.  There is definitely a wrong way to put it together, and that's how I did the first 24 blocks--wrong!  Thus the seam ripper.  (Sigh.)
There are 80 small blocks (8 in. finished) set 8 x 10, for a quilt that will measure 64 in. x 80 in.  I'm wondering if I should add a border.  What would you do?

A very happy surprise on New Years Day was the first color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Thank you, Angela!  Click HERE for that post.  The color for January 2020 is green.
Frogs are green! (and other colors, too, of course.) 
So are (some) tractors!  These are kind of low contrast.
Here they are!
And of course there are the Packers.  They're very important around here.
What about dots?
Or bugs?  It's easier to see the pattern on this square.

The pattern is called Text Me A Quilt, and comes from this book, Scrap Basket Bounty by Kim Brackett.  This is the second pattern I'm making from this book in recent months. It's a good book.
These blocks are similar to Garlic Knots, with a few more pieces.
I'm planning on using this layout, but of course I did make some changes.  Ms. Brackett's block is made with 2 in. squares and strips, but I'm making mine with 2.5 in.  That makes my blocks 10 in. finished.  I'm also using two prints of the same color family, instead of two different colors.  She called it Text Me A Quilt because she used text prints as the background, but my backgrounds are just scraps I happen to have handy.
The new year is a good time to organize my sewing room.  It's a daunting task, but I'm going to keep working on it.  Little by little, things get done.
Have a wonderful weekend, and a "pieceful" week ahead.
Cheers for reading,

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

Saturday, December 28, 2019

The End and the Beginning

Hello, and welcome!  I hope everyone who celebrates had a very happy Christmas.  We certainly did, with my favorite things--family, food, and fun.  Oh, and quilts!
Our celebration was on the Saturday before Christmas, due to work schedules and celebrations with in-laws.  On Christmas Day, I walked the dog in 50 degree weather, did some sewing, and in the evening watched the always-wonderful Call the Midwife Christmas special.  A lovely day.

Extra time off during the holidays was perfect for finishing one more donation quilt.
This little quilt uses lots of scraps recently donated to me by a friend in Pennsylvania.
The pattern seems a lot like magic.
Here's how it started--72 squares, cut 5 in. and sewn in 12 rows of 6.  I used a few "real" charm squares, but most of them were just cut from my scraps.
Now the scary part.
My cat Biddy is helping calm my nerves as I follow the directions.

The rectangle is cut into 3 big triangles...

and then rearranged into a square, like this.  There are post-it notes on each section, which helped me orient them correctly.
It just takes two more seams to get this little square top.
I added blue borders.
It's an easy and fun technique, but not as precise as just sewing the squares on point would be.  The seam allowance on the edge is lost, so the points aren't perfect.
I don't think the recipient will notice or care.
The pattern was given out by a local quilt shop, with copyright notices on it, so  I can't share it with you, sorry.  The name of it is Baby Charms.

Pattern Update:  The name of the pattern has been changed to Chock Full O' Charms, and is available in 5 sizes for $10.  Click HERE to view/order it on  Click HERE to see the sizes, fabric requirements, etc.

A butterfly print backing, some simple quilting 1 in. inside each seam, and a light blue binding finish it off.
Ready to donate!  It's 45 in. square, so it's too big for Jack's Basket.  I had thought about donating it to Wrap A Smile, but I inadvertently included holiday fabric (Easter eggs and shamrocks) which is a no-no, so it will probably go to Quilts for Kids.

In other news, handwork.

My spiky stars Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt is getting finished, a little at a time.  Some people dislike quilt as you go because there often is handwork, but I find it kind of peaceful.

I also did something yesterday that I've been wanting to do for a long time.
I cleaned out the pantry!
My pantry is a closet in the laundry room.  Here are the before pictures (cringe).
Right side.
Left side.
In other years, these empty jars would be full of canned tomatoes, apples, pears, and maybe peaches.  Last year was not a good canning year for me, and next year will definitely be the same, since I will be busy babysitting a new grandson.  So lots of these jars were relocated to the garage.
It's amazing how many things migrate into storage spaces.
It took 3 hours, but here's what it looked like afterwards.
Left side after.  The vintage bread box holds plastic bags.  I can't believe how many we had, even though I always take my cloth bags to the grocery store.
Right side after.  Now I can tell how much we have of anything, so I can buy more before we run out.  (What a concept!)
Did you notice this pink bag in the last photo?  It's a stiff cloth bag that once held 10 pounds of basmati rice.  Now it's my clothespin bag.  When I bought it, it was stitched shut (see the line of holes below the zipper?), but the zipper was already (badly) sewn in it.  After we ate all the rice, I fixed the zipper, and it makes a nice sturdy holder for the clothespins.  What an interesting way to sell rice.

A new year starts next week.  As always, it feels like a new beginning, a chance to renew our commitments and change things for the better.  In the year ahead, I wish happiness and peace for you, and for all of us.
Happy New Year!
from Sylvia@Treadlestitches

Linking up with:
Angela at Soscrappy
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop
Cynthia at Oh Scrap