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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tulips and Rhubarb

It's springtime in Wisconsin!  The tulips aren't blooming yet, but the buds are ready.  The green leaves around it are on the raspberry canes.  I'm hoping for a good crop this year.
And here's the rhubarb!  The leaves are opening out, reaching for the sun.
As you can see, I've got a lot of outside work to do, raking and clearing up.
It's been a slow week for quilting, but I did get some piecing done.  Here are all my Flower Girl blocks, all laid out in my husband's office.
Nearly all of the blocks are made with fabric I bought second hand.
All the fabrics are florals, except for one.  See that purplish block in the center?  Those are grapes.  BTW, the brown is just the carpet.  I'm thinking about either white sashing, or a soft green.  What would you choose?

My ten month old grandson is taking his naps upstairs now, which makes it easier to sew in my upstairs sewing room while still listening for him.  Quilting is too noisy, so I save that for days when he's not here.  Meanwhile, I can catch up on my piecing, with the treadle just ticking away.
I'm making the Children's Library Quilt from Pat Sloan.  Above is my adaptation of Block #1.  I was an elementary school library media specialist for 13 years, so I was very excited to see a mystery quilt with this theme.  I always bought fabric with book characters whenever I could, so now I'm using my "collection" in the blocks.  Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite children's authors, silly and fun.  This block stars the Cat in the Hat.
Here's block #2.  The center is Eric Carle fabric from the book Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?

Block #3 has Clifford the Big Red Dog in the center.  He looks kind of squished!  Poor Clifford!
For block #4, I went back to Dr. Seuss for Sam I Am from Green Eggs and Ham.

Pat's design has only nine blocks.  I want my quilt to have 12 blocks, so I'm adding a few.

Here's block #2 again, this time with Curious George in the middle and the colors in different spots.

I also added in two more blocks from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks, Vol. 14.  I chose them because they had large center squares.  They are:
Gadabout, designed by Carolyn Beam, which I made with Berenstain Bears prints,
and Cross Ties, designed by Diane Nagle, with the Reluctant Dragon in the center of my block.

It's funny, but I make more mess making one block than I often do for a whole quilt!
I'm linking up with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts 
today.  Check out their wonderful work, and all the other links!

Happy Easter for those who celebrate, and happy quilting to all.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Big Half, Little Half

Sharing is hard when you're a kid.  Especially when you have to share something extra special, like the last candy bar.  My younger sister and brother started a family saying by always shouting "I want the BIG half!!"
Of course there is no such thing as the BIG half.  Half means equal.  Most of us always want to be MORE equal, like those animals in Animal Farm.
How on earth does this relate to quilts?  In the photo above, I'm getting ready to quilt the BIG half of my quilt.
This is the LITTLE half, all quilted.  I'm quilting this one in two pieces.
The star blocks were made from leftovers from Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt.  I changed the size of the quilt, and didn't end up making the pieced border.
(I first wrote about this in Nov. 2015, that post is HERE.)
I'm outline quilting the star blocks.  I may add more diagonal lines in the border.

I'm doing a loop design in the alternate blocks.
How am I doing this without using free-motion quilting?  I'm TURNING THE QUILT.  Yes, really.
The process is a little tedious, but it gets the job done.  And I like outline quilting on a reproduction quilt like this.
Here's the BIG half:
The little half has three rows of five blocks, and the big half has four rows.
When I finish quilting this half, I'll join the sections, quilt over the seam, and all the quilting will be done.
This square in the border is one of my favorites.

In other news, it is starting to feel like spring here.  I'm not counting winter out yet, but the robins and cardinals are back and my tulips are coming up.
I'm still sewing the Flower Girl blocks.
Only 10 more to go!
Are you working on spring projects, or finishing the UFOs, or both?
I hope you're enjoying the weather, wherever you live.
P.S.  I'm linking up with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.  Check out all the great stuff!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lost in the Scraps

The scraps are taking over my sewing room.  And my life.  At least the quilting part of it.
I've been using Bonnie Hunter's Scrap Users System for years, and it does work, but I need to do something will all these bigger scraps.

I had this fantasy that I could trim them to useful sizes and control them.  And I did that, for some of them.  The suitcase holds 5 in. squares for charity quilts.
This box holds 5 in. squares of reproduction 1800s fabrics, sorted into lights and darks.  There are still more lights to cut.
I got a little distracted, and started making these blocks with floral 5 in. squares.  The pattern is called Flower Girl, and is a free pattern from the Moda Bakeshop.  You can find it HERE.
These are the ones with the bonus triangles, that I made into pincushions (see last week's blog).  They're piling up again.
I made 20 of these blocks this week.  Don't they make you think of spring?

But 20 blocks was not enough, even for a twin sized quilt.  Back to the scraps!
To get enough solid yellow 1.5 in. squares for the centers, I dumped out baskets and rooted around on the floor.  There is some really fun stuff in these baskets.
There, 22 more cut!  The yellow centers are not all the same, but that's not a problem.

While I was at it, I cut out some kits for our quilt group to use to make donation quilts.  Each one has a sample block already sewn.
First, this one, made with 4 patches and alternate blocks. I used novelty fabric printed with band-aids in the 4 patches and teddy bear doctor fabric for the alternate plain blocks.  This one will be crib sized.

Next, another novelty baby quilt.  This time we're making hearts, each one with a different fun fabric.  I still need to add borders to the package.

Lastly, a twin-sized quilt, made from some of those good old cottons from the 90s.
I guess the kits are my finishes this week.
How is it that I'm still knee deep in scraps?

Have a great week, and check out all the links at Busy Hands Quilts and Crazy Mom Quilts.