Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Scrappy Life

I will say it again--I love scraps!  Look at the loot I scavenged at the annual rummage sale at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts.  Yards and yards of fabric for borders and backing, and piles of scraps.  There is also a wool quilt batt, not pictured.  I am absolutely gleeful.  I brought it all home from the sale, and my little grandson and I played with it for about an hour.
He has good reasons to love scraps.  Scraps turn into quilts!  This is the newest one, celebrating his love for trains.  (Sorry for the dark photo.  It was a rainy day.)
We've got lots of wonderful sunlight today.  The quilt is made of 12 large 4 patch blocks.  Easy peasy.
Do you hear the song in your head?  (They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight...)  The Thomas the Tank Engine theme song gets in my head and won't get out!  We watch "the Choo-choo show" just about every day.  The Thomas themed squares came from the last sale I went to, at the It's A Stitch Quilt Show.  There wasn't any more fabric, just the 5 in. squares.
I found the border fabric at the local chain store, and substituted it in two blocks.  Not great, but my little buddy doesn't mind.
Here's the back, with the last of the dots fabric and a big strip of the Thomas fabric.  Only scraps are left.
In other news, aqua!  My second Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt is Fly Away Home, and I got these blocks done.  I had more turquoise/aqua/blue-green than I thought.
I'm looking forward to setting this quilt together.  I can't seem to stop making blocks, it's like eating candy.  Also, there is a big placement error in the photo above.  I'm glad they aren't sewn together just yet!
Here's my little guy, playing with his choo-choo on his new quilt.  He's moving so fast, it's hard to take a good photo.
He keeps me hopping, too!
What keeps you hopping?  Hope it's quilting!
Wishing you a wonderful week.
Linking up with Soscrappy, Busy Hands Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Join the party!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Oh Scraps!

Have you seen this book yet?  Of course I'm talking about  Oh, Scrap, by Lissa Alexander.  I just can't get over how much I love it.  I mean, it's scraps!  Colorful, clever projects made of scraps!  So of course I want to make quilts from some (all!) of the patterns in the book.
The first quilt in the book is a plus quilt, which is great fun.  Each block is made of one color and a light background, with a blue square in the center.  All nine squares in the block are different.  I actually followed the directions, which is rare for me, and here is what the top looked like on my flannel wall.
But then this jungle fabric called me from the closet shelf.  So instead of just adding a blue binding, I added a border of hippos, tigers, zebras, alligators, and their friends, and bound with green.
Here's the final result, ready to give away to a child.  Scrap busting fun with a purpose.
And of course the back is a rainbow of paw prints.

Speaking of rainbows, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for June is aqua or teal, which can be a challenge for reproduction 1800s fabrics.  I'm making two repro quilts this year, so when sorting through the fabrics I dragged out anything aqua, teal, turquoise, aquamarine, or greenish-blue.
I ended up with 6 of the Mary's Basket blocks, shown here with my 1890s Minnesota A treadle.
Several of the fabrics are sort of "aqua-ish", but I like them.
This one has Lewis and Clark fabric in the center.
This one's center is from the Dargate book collection, bought years ago from

In other news, I cut the rhubarb, made a pie, and canned a few jars for winter.
And look what came in the mail! 
I won these fat quarters for participating in the Hands2Help charity quilt drive!  Classic blue and white, couldn't be better.  The little card is a thank you from Little Lambs Foundation, where my baby quilts went.
Thanks to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for starting and continuing this great work, and for rounding up all sorts of nice prizes for us. 
I'm wishing sunshine and happy surprises in the mail for you this week.
I'm linking up today with So Scrappy, Busy Hands Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Memories for Memorial Day

This past Monday was Memorial Day, a holiday designed for remembering our soldiers, especially the ones who are no longer with us.  This was the push I needed to finish this top.  I did the last of the sewing on Monday, thinking about the soldiers in my family. 
I started the quilt back in March with a pattern from a book I found on the free table at a quilt group meeting.  This is the simple block for this quilt.
Here's what happens when you set the blocks side by side.  Red, white, and blue stars, woven together like the fabric of our country.  The country my grandfather fought for in World War II.
Sections like the one shown above make up the inner border, and carry the design out beyond the blocks.  It was a challenge getting these going right, but I ripped til I got it.  (That's what we have to do, right?)
When this top is quilted, it will go to a Veteran's Home, to be used on the veteran's bed.  When he or she passes away, the family will get to keep the quilt.

My mother's father spent his last years in what used to be called the Indiana Old Soldiers' Home.  He died and was buried there.  I know from family letters that he was glad to be there, even before he became ill.  He was a soldier in World War II.
Mom remembers being at the movies on Sunday, December 7, 1941.  The movie was suddenly stopped, and a man came out to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor.  On their way home, my mother's parents talked about how my grandfather would eventually have to join the army.  He was 31 years old, with a wife and two children.  Nearly two years later, in 1943, my grandfather enlisted.

No less patriotic, my grandmother worked in a shipyard, where the landing craft used in the D-Day invasion was made.  My grandfather's sister looked after the children while she worked.  Mom remembers everyone working together, and celebrating joyously when the war was finally won.

I like to think of my quilt as a very small thank you to a veteran from a grateful country, for whatever service he or she gave, in honor of the soldiers in my family.
My dog Bella had to help me take this photo.  She's great for moral support, but can't sew a stitch.

In other news, I've been to two flea markets in the past two weeks, but didn't buy any fabric!  Here's what I bought instead.
Braided chair pads for my ladder back chairs.  They are kind of old and worn, but I love them.
And a rag rug for just inside the front door.
Hmm...all of these things are made from fabric scraps!  Could this be why I like them?
I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and are enjoying the lovely summertime.
Linking up with  Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Busy Hands Quilts.
Also linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for her last link up of the summer.  We'll miss you, Amanda Jean, but we know you need time with your family.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dinosaurs Times Two

Roar, roar, dinosaurs!  These two dinosaur quilts will be on their way tomorrow morning to Little Lambs Foundation.  I'm getting the box and the label ready today so it will be quick to do in the morning.
Dinosaur child-sized quilt #1:
Here's a close-up.  Check out the snazzy green binding.  And of course the spaceships.  Hey, creative anachronism.  I originally made this quilt for a different charity, but had trouble contacting them, so it goes with its "sister" quilt to Little Lambs.
The back is a great dino print:
Now for dinosaur quilt #2:
Tilted dinosaur squares.  Blue binding this time.
I had just enough of the light dino print for the back of both little quilts.

Here's hoping these quilts will be fun as well as comforting for kids in a tough situation.  My heart breaks for kids going into foster care, not knowing if things will ever be normal again.  The Little Lambs foundation is doing good work and I am honored to contribute in even a small way.

Thanks so much to Sarah for starting Hands2Help, and keeping it going year after year.
To see all the quilts made this year, go to Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  People will be linking quilts all week.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Tales of a Fabric Scavenger

Spring is a wonderful time of year anywhere.  It's especially great here, because it's quilt show season.  I wait all year for this show, put on by the It's A Stitch Quilt Guild just about two weeks ago.  (BTW, all photos were taken by permission.)
It's not just the friendly faces or the amazing quilts or the variety of vendors that draw me, either.
I admit it, I'm a fabric scavenger!  I look for second hand fabric everywhere, and this is one of my favorite places.
Take a look at this!  This section of the quilt show is called Granny's Attic.  Laid out on all the tables are items donated by guild members.  Most of this stuff is fabric!  The prices are good, averaging about $3 to $4 per yard this year.  The money raised goes to local food pantries.

Here's my pile of loot after I got home.
I love scavenging for fabric.  I make lots of charity quilts, and the less the fabric costs, the more quilts I can make for needy kids and adults.
Plus it's just plain fun to search through piles of fabric.  It's like a treasure hunt!
Are you a fabric scavenger, too?  (I know this is not everybody's cup of tea.)
Before I went, I made a list of what I was looking for.  I am so easily distracted by fabric, I need some sort of guidelines.  This time I was looking for:  a) backing for kid quilts (check out the 4 yards of baseball flannel on the bottom); b) blue fabrics for borders and binding; c) other prints for borders and/or alternate blocks; d) light fabrics (always)
novelty prints, my favorites!
When I come home from a scavenging expedition, the big pieces of fabric go right into the wash, and the smaller ones go to the sewing room to be trimmed and tamed.
This time, one of my items was a UFO.  I didn't wait to take a photo of it, I just opened up the plastic bag and started sewing.
This was the pattern in the package, the popular Take 5 quilt.  Most of the pieces were cut, but quite a few were cut wrong (not square), so I wondered if the person who had this first was maybe new to quilting.  There was enough fabric in the bag to cut more pieces to replace the wrong ones, thank goodness, and sewing the blocks together went very quickly.  I made a small quilt, with only 12 blocks.
Here's the finished quilt, on our fence next to the raspberry canes.
It's supposed to be arranged in a more or less random fashion, but I just couldn't stand it, I had to turn the blocks until they sort of chained across diagonally.  I am not good at random.
The fabrics chosen by the original quilter were great, colorful and fun.  There were over 2 yards of the bright yellow print in the package, which must have been meant for the border, but this fabric is even too bright for me in large doses, so I calmed the quilt down the with blue star print, which I also scavenged at the show.  The binding is the puzzle piece print from the kit.
The back is a school print I've had for ages.  It feels good to finally use it.  The quilt will go to a child who needs it.
I think the original quilter was going to make a much bigger quilt, so there are lots of pieces cut that I didn't use this time.  Never fear, they will go in the bins and will be perfect for something else.  So will the two yards of bright yellow print.
Check out the rhubarb!  The warm weather this week has really brought it around.  I'll probably be cutting it before June.
I'm wishing sunshine and fresh air and quilting for you this week.
 Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Pink Plus

I've never been a big fan of the color pink.  Growing up, I wasn't a girly girl, just a nerdy girl that loved to read.  As soon as they would let us wear pants at school (high school years), I ditched my dresses and skirts and never looked back.
But I LOVE double pink reproduction fabric.  So it was fun to make the blocks for my reproduction quilts from my repro scraps in pink, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.  Above is Eileen Trestain's book Dating Fabrics:  A Color Guide, 1800-1960, open to the 1880-1910 pink pages.  It's a great book for anyone making reproduction quilts, or collecting antique quilts and blocks.
These are my Mary's Basket blocks for this month, posing with an antique Willcox and Gibbs treadle sewing machine.  So far there are only four, but I might add to their number.
My second RSC quilt is made from these Wagon Trail blocks.  Again, only four so far.
If I had to pick a favorite, this one on the right is it!

When it comes to my third RSC quilt (THREE RSC quilts?  Yes, I know, I have a problem!), I chose a different path.
I make lots of children's quilts for charity.  If you put pink fabric into a child's charity quilt, that automatically makes it a girl's quilt.  In my experience, boys and their parents will not choose a quilt with pink in it.  Several charities I give to have said they get many more "girl" quilts than "boy" quilts.
Because of that, I generally make quilts with bright colors and leave out the pink.  A girl can choose a bright colored quilt, and so can a boy.
So I'm not adding any pink to my third RSC quilt, Fly Away Home, since it's eventual destination is as yet unclear.
But I still have lots of pink scraps.  So...
I made a pink baby quilt.  The blocks are 6 in. finished nine patches, with the colors arranged like a plus sign and a purple square in the middle of each one.
The large fabric squares between the nine patches is printed with what looks like models of atoms, that we used in science class back in the days before computers.  I love the idea of a little girl scientist sleeping under this quilt.
The blocks are a mish mash of all sorts of fabrics with any claim to pink.  There are bunnies, fish, flamingos, giraffes, frogs, turtles, bugs, castles, rain boots, hearts, flowers, dots, and so on.  Oh, and don't forget Dora the Explorer.
The back is a dotted print.
So that's a lot of pink!  My pink scraps are seriously diminished.
Thank goodness for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
I hope you're "in the pink" this week, and every week.
Cheers for reading this,
Links to Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.