Friday, October 13, 2017

Apples, Cats, and Quilts

Here's one of the best things about fall--apples!  We got a bushel of Macintosh apples from the orchard yesterday.  I take my husband along to do the heavy lifting, and I usually pick out what are called "seconds" to save money.  Seconds are still good, but not perfect, so they are cheaper.  Since I fall into that category myself, I don't mind "not perfect" at all.
I peeled and sliced a batch of them, and canned some quarts for pies and crisps this winter.
The cores are stuffed into this old crock to make vinegar.  For this particular crock, I add 2 quarts of water and half a cup of sugar.  The ratio is one quarter cup sugar to each quart of water.  You want the water to cover the cores.
Then you put a piece of cheesecloth over the top and secure it with a rubber band.  It will sit on the shelf in my kitchen cupboard for a few weeks, until it smells like vinegar.  Then I'll strain it and put it in glass bottles.  The  resulting apple vinegar is good in baking, and my oldest daughter takes it to ward off a cold.
I still have to make applesauce (on the stove now as I type) and do another small batch of pie apples.  The house smells great.
This week's finishes are lap quilts.
Imagine you are an elderly person.  (If you're lucky, you'll get to be one someday.)  Now imagine it's winter, your knees are cold, and you'd like to cover up with a quilt but it's a problem with your wheelchair.  You would need a lap robe.
That's what I made this week.
The first one is flannel, top and back.  I got the pieces for the top a few weeks ago at a flea market.  There was a nice big stack of flannel rectangles, cut 2.5 in. x 3.5 in., in a bag of scraps I bought for $2.  I made 4 patches out of them, and added the light colored fabric from my stash, plus a few flannel rectangles to make 30 blocks.  Flannel borders top and bottom made the quilt square and just about the right size.
The nursing home we give these to asked for quilts about a yard square.  You can see from the yardstick I fell a little short with this one.  Not perfect.  I think it will be okay anyway.
The back is more of that cozy plaid flannel.
Here's the second quilt, made of regular cotton on the front and flannel on the back. 
The cat fabric was donated to our quilt group.  There were yards and yards of different prints.  Our leaders divided it up into half yard pieces, and handed them out as a challenge, to make a quilt for charity.  I cut all these cats out of the half yard Colleen gave me, and framed them with 2.5 in. strips from the scrap bins and baskets.
Success!  This one is a yard square!  I hope the recipient likes cats, because ...
the back is a flannel cat print from my stash.  There's no way to get away from cats with this quilt.
I'm linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Can I Get A Whoop Whoop this week.  It is so inspiring seeing what other people are making.
Well, back to the applesauce.  Happy fall!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Christmas is Coming

Is anybody ever really ready for Christmas?  We know it's coming, all year long, so how does it manage to sneak up on us? 
At least I've got something done, although this isn't for me.  This is my charity quilt homework from our quilt group.  Nancy P., our fearless leader, made up this kit with directions, and I took it home.
Check out the corners!  There were only 3 fabrics, but Nancy made the most of them by turning the stripes the other direction.
Here's her diagram, liberally scribbled on by me.
It was hard to get a good photo today, it's so dark and gloomy outside.  We had a thunder storm last night and it looks like it could rain any minute.
Here's the back, a Christmas print I bought at an antique store.  The binding is two different prints of a maroon color to go with the red/maroon in the green snowman print.
This quilt finishes at a good size, about 49 x 58, and will probably go to a child as a Christmas gift.  We donate to our local Volunteer Center, and they do the distributions.
So that's got me thinking about Christmas.  I promised my youngest daughter I'd make her a Christmas quilt to replace the one I made for her as a child, which finally wore out.
I got these scrap bags at quilt sales last spring/summer.  The price was right ($1 each!) so let's see what we've got.
Cowabunga!  This is a real big mess. 
I brought down the Christmas yardage too, to help me get ideas.  It's stacked in the background.
Sorting this took forever.  I was actually thinking of leaving it for a while and cleaning the bathrooms instead.  Nevertheless, I persisted.
Here it is, sorted out into something that might be manageable.  The strips on the left are narrow, and I set them aside for string blocks.  There is a long strip of green binding, sewn from several fabrics, plus some commercial binding in the center of the table.  If the strips were a regular size (like 2.5 in., 3.5 in, etc.) I stacked them (on the right).  If not, they went into the wooden bread tray to be pressed and cut.  The bigger pieces got their own pile.
There were LOTS of triangles in several sizes, and a nice stack of 2.5 in. squares.
Now, what am I going to do with this?
What would YOU do?  I would love to know! 
Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Join me at the link ups at
Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Stars and Orange

Happy Friday!  It's a crisp fall day here, but mostly sunny.  This is my Stars in a Time Warp quilt, #1.
I wrote about piecing it HERE.
How new/old does something have to be before it's a UFO?  If it's less than a year, does it still count as a UFO?
I finished this top last February, and it just waited patiently to be quilted.  My friend Joey did the quilting on her long arm.  She did a wonderful Baptist Fan all over design, which she does freehand.  (Joey is amazing.)  All I had to do was make the binding and sew it on.
The backing came from my stash, a nice repro I bought on sale at J. J. Stitches in Sun Prairie.
I really wanted to bind it in red, but I'm trying to give other colors a chance.  This binding is a brown/red paisley print.
Look--orange!  This block has cheddar corners!  I am having a real love affair with orange.
It just so happens orange is the color for September for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
Here's what I've been making for that.
First, the house blocks.
There are 9 of these this month.
Candy corn house, made with fabric given to me by a friend (thanks, Mary Z!)
School bus house.   I think a crazy bus lady lives here, driven nutty by noisy kids.
Party house!
Can you see the sky above this house?  It's from a scrap of Route 66 fabric I got at a flea market.  On the right it says Chicago in orange letters, and on the left is Oklahoma City (mostly caught in the seam allowance).  We live near Chicago, and my mom lives in Oklahoma City, so I just had to use these pieces.
The rest of the houses are tropical, with lots of yummy orange.
Now for the Buckeye Beauty blocks.  I got carried away, and made 11 of them.
This group of 6 fabrics didn't want to play nicely with others, so they are just paired with white.
I think these animals are dogs?  Maybe Corgis?
Halloween fun!
These 5 were more friendly, so I could use 2 prints and white.
Orange fish from a feed sack!
Autumn leaves from a feed sack scrap, plus odd orange shapes in the 4 patches.
I think orange is my new favorite color.
Whatever color is your favorite, I hope you get to sew with it this week.

Today's link ups are:
Busy Hands Quilts
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Friday, September 22, 2017

Scrappy Chevrons

Hello!  Welcome to my blog!  Fall is in the air here in Wisconsin, so I'm taking some pictures outside before the snow starts to fly.
Today's finish is a scrappy chevron quilt.  I just can't resist chevrons.  It must be something about the cheerful ups and downs.  This quilt will be donated to a local family in need.
I got started on this completely by accident.  It's really the fault of Angela at soscrappy for hosting the fabulous Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
One set of my blocks for the challenge this year are little houses.  I'm cutting the roof pieces for the houses from 3.5 in. strips, like this:
I use my Companion Angle ruler, as you can see.
Just one problem...
There's a triangle left over on the left, and the strip now has an angle.  Not to worry, I can fix that!
Using my Easy Angle ruler, I cut a triangle from the strip, and made sure the first triangle is perfect.  Now I've got a roof for my house block, a straight strip to go back in the 3.5 in. box, and 2 extra triangles.
What can I do with the extra triangles?
How about this?  I can sew a dark print to a light print to make a square.  Then I can add two more dark triangles to make a larger triangle.  Adding a plain white triangle makes this a 6.5 in. (6 in. finished) block.  So each block uses 3 scrappy dark triangles and 1 light one.  Since the roof pieces for my houses are all dark, this worked out.  I just had to cut mostly light pieces.
I was thinking about setting them like this, but then the Chevron juju took over.
Here are all the blocks, 99 of them, to go 9 across and 11 down.
And here's the finished quilt, laid out on the floor.
If you'd like to make one of these, here's the recipe.
For each block, cut 1 light and 3 dark triangles from a 3.5 in. strip with the Easy Angle ruler (or any other ruler that works).
Sew a light triangle to a dark triangle to make a square.
Add a dark triangle to the top of the square. It should be touching the light triangle, and the right angle should be on the right.
Add a dark triangle to the left side of the square.  It should also be touching the light triangle, and the right angle should be on the right.
Cut white triangles from a 6.5 in. strip with the Easy Angle or other ruler.
Add the pieced triangles to the white triangles to make a 6.5 in. square.
(It works best to press after each of these steps.)
Make 99 blocks.
There are two kinds of rows that make up the quilt, row A and row B.  For row A, arrange the blocks so that the white triangles form a larger triangle, like the bottom row on the quilt above.
For row B, arrange the pieced triangles to form larger triangles across the row.
Alternate the rows in the quilt.  You can start with either one.  I started with an A row, so I made 6 A rows and 5 B rows.  If you start with a B row, make 6 B rows and 5 A rows.
I added 3.5 in. wide borders (because that was all I had of that wonderful fabric!).
The finished quilt should be roughly twin-sized, about 60 in. wide x 72 in. long.
I quilted it simply, up and down across the quilt, with the presser foot against the seams.  I added a row of quilting in the plain white areas using the quilting guide attachment to keep it straight.  Well, mostly straight.  The binding is red bandana print, just for fun.

BTW, here's the house block I was making:

 Why on earth didn't I buy more of that gorgeous orange?
 Have a lovely pieceful week!
Linking up today with
Busy Hands Quilts
Crazy Mom Quilts
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Quilts, Free Patterns

Thank goodness the recent hurricanes are over, and people can start putting their lives back together.  All my family members in Florida are okay, although my brother and his girlfriend in Key West are still struggling with lack of running water and electricity.  Thanks for the prayers on their behalf.
Three more quilts are ready to go to Texas, for kids who have been through Hurricane Harvey and the Houston flooding.  I had hoped to get these done last week, but you know how it goes.
All of these are made from simple patterns, and can easily be used by groups or individuals.
Up first is a Scrappy Bricks quilt.  I made this using a pattern from the Austin, Texas Linus Connection web site.  Apparently this is one they use a lot.  All of the pieces are 4.5 in. wide.  The rectangles are 4.5 x 8.5, and the squares are of course 4.5 x 4.5.  I made the baby quilt size, which finishes 40 in. x 40 in.  Other sizes are listed on the pattern, and are mostly just adding more rows.  Click HERE to go to the one page PDF.  This is a great scrap buster.
The other two quilts are Trip Around the World.  Here's the pink and purple one...

And here's the blue and green one.
I have made several of these quilts for different causes, and I always use the same method.  I know these can be strip pieced, but I make them from squares.  I have used 4.5 in. squares, which makes a quilt 36 in. x 36 in., but both of these were made with 5 in. squares, so they measure roughly 40 in. x 40 in.  It's convenient if you have scraps cut in this size, but you may have to dig into yardage for some of the fabrics.  I find it easiest to use two colors for each quilt (in this case blue and green), and I look for fabrics with both colors in them to help blend the prints together.
When I work on these I lay them out on the floor, and place them in "rounds".  The first square is the center, in this case a medium blue print.  I'll use the same print for the four outer corners, so I need 5 squares in this fabric.
The second round needs 4 squares, in this case the blue chameleons.  I like something eye-catching in this round.  The pink quilt has castles in this spot.
Round three uses 8 squares, which are a turtle print here.
The fourth round uses 12 squares, a sort of crackled print in this quilt.
The next two rounds use 16 squares each, and are the largest in the quilt.  My quilt has a Go Diego Go print for the 5th round.  I bought it years ago to make something for my oldest grandson.  He's 12 now, (did I mention I procrastinate somewhat?) so this is a good use for the fabric.  My 6th round, also 16 squares, is a blue print with swirls.

Round seven needs 12 squares, in this case a jungle print.  I often include something lighter, like prints with a cream background, in one or two rounds, to brighten things up.
Round 8 takes 8 (that's easy to remember!).  I know you can't see it, but my fabric for this round is a green print with numbers on it.
And that takes us to the corners, which are 4 blue squares in the same print as the center.

So that's a total of 81 squares, set in 9 rows of 9 squares each.  This is easy, especially if you already have squares cut, and makes a nice sized quilt.

I've got my eye on another free pattern to make.  It's by Bonnie Hunter, so you know it's terrific, plus it uses 5 in. squares.  I've never seen this one on her free pages or in any of her books.  The pattern makes a quilt 60 in. x 70 in. Click HERE to go to Bonnie Hunter's Sticks and Stones.  It's a 3 page PDF.

I am absolutely in awe of all the people across the country (and even the world!) sending help to the hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.  All of us working together in our own small ways can make a real difference.
Wishing you joy and peace,
Today's Link Ups:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop
Busy Hands Quilts