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Saturday, February 24, 2018

End of second month of the year - how time flies!

Very cool here in Arizona...winter weather has arrived in late February.  Crazy! But, I get to dig out some sweaters and warmer clothes to wear though I must admit that wearing long pants feels strange.  However, it is more like quilting weather than hot temperatures are, so that is a good thing and the mountains are getting some much needed snow in northern Arizona.

I finished pressing my brown half square (Cornerstone pattern from Etsy) quilt top and you can compare it to the quilt in my last post that was blues and yellows that I didn't stitch together the way the pattern intended.
Quite a different effect!This might need a border to get to the correct size for Quilts of Valour but a great way to use a package of 10" squares.  Sews up quickly and if you have a package of squares on hand, an excellent way to make a donation quilt. (hmmm... I see an error in block placement that I can easily fix - how did that happen?)

I dug out my blue bag of scraps and made some blocks.  Blue was the colour for January for Oh Scrap and I cut some 3" strips from odd fat quarters that were good for rail fence blocks and then I used my strings for some really scrappy blocks.

My 7 - L quilt blocks are still the same on the design wall but the strips are getting sewn together as leaders and enders and I do have a bunch of blocks to take to the next step.

Then I dug into my lavender and purple scraps and it didn't seem like I had many?

So, I took out my scrap bin that "was" crammed full of odds and ends of fabrics and started sorting the fabric by colour.  At first, I was just looking for purples but figured if I was making a mess, I might as well sort.
The small pile of purple went from small to much larger! There were a few that I moved into the red bag but otherwise, had a decent amount to choose from. 

And then I went through a bin of 3.5" strips and found some lavender in there so had enough to cut strips for rail fence blocks and did use up some strange fat quarters that probably arrived here in a Free Spirit fat quarter surprise box from Etsy a few years ago.  I had more than enough to make rail fence blocks and then a large pile of strips for foundation piecing some scrappy blocks. Working on the blocks created total chaos and a bit of a disaster zone but in the end, I used up a lot of fabric.

I ended up with almost 50 rail fence blocks so a few more and I will be able to  make a donation quilt or may mix them up with other colours to create a rainbow effect.
I also got my Pow Wow quilt put together and added the outer borders.
Now, I am determined to cut fabric for two projects.  The plus block quilt has been waiting for me since this time last year and the Moda stars block is a new project resulting from a picture on Instagram that I just loved when I saw it.  So, off to cut and to work on my L 7 blocks. Less than a month left to get projects finished that are on my to-do list. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Olympics and quilting

It amazes me how some bloggers find the time to blog daily?  I find it takes me at least 20 -30 minutes to post a blog including uploading my pictures.  Today, blogger is really slow at uploading? 

This is my current design wall.  I am, as always, working on three projects at once.  The Pow Wow quilt by Cluck Sew now has all the blocks made and am stitching on a sashing between the vertical rows and, hopefully, by this evening, the top will be a finished flimsy, ready to send back to my summer home.
I have made 40 eye spy happy blocks from a set of 10" squares plus some of my own fabrics added in.  When I get back 'home', I have a lot of kids fabrics that are perfect for adding to these blocks.
The L-7 blocks are my leaders and enders for the other projects!
I have my stack of finished happy blocks... 50 of them!
And I have cut some blue 3.5" strips for the Scrap Happy blocks for February.  I am thinking that some rail fence blocks will work.  I haven't made January's blocks yet.  The colour is lavender and purple and I do have the fat quarters and scraps pulled for those.  My vague plan is to make rail fence blocks and create some diagonal rows sort of like a rainbow?  Will see what actually happens at the end of the year! I was surprised that I don't have many purple scraps and fat quarters or small pieces of yardage here... IF I was home, that would be a different story!
Last week, I finished up my leftover daisy fabric into the Colour weave blocks but those will get put together into a top later this spring or summer.

My blue/yellow blocks got assembled, totally incorrectly but I carried on and put the blocks together into a top.  How did I  misread the directions?  So, the result is totally scrappy which is ok but not what the pattern intended.
Since I wanted to make the block correctly, I chose another stack of 10' squares and cut them up as per the pattern, (which I did with the above quilt) but took the time to read the instructions and assembled the pieces in the order which the pattern instructed me to do.
This top is put together but needs pressing so you will have to wait for the next post to see the finished project.  Looks very different and a lot more organized than the chaotic blue one!

So, have been busy with tennis and quilting and watching the Olympics.  I try to save my ripping out, drawing lines on the back of squares for half square triangles or snow ball corners for my tv time.  And can also trim blocks with my portable cutting board on my lap. 

Rooting for Canada of course but it is hard when watching US television!  The CBC Olympics app on my phone helps a bit but we are at the mercy of NBC here as to what they choose to televise. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

New Month: February projects

Even though it was a crummy start to 2018, I spent quite a few hours in my sewing room and managed to complete a short list of projects.
1. Flannel squares are now a quilt top
2. Quilter's planner block one completed
3. Happy blocks made (70+) and 5 preemie quilt tops ready plus more blocks left over
4. Blocks for California fire victims completed (enough for a quilt top)
5. Field day (surrounded 16 patches) quilt top made.
6. Daisy prints split 9 patch 10" squares top completed.

I have the Field Day quilt ready to take home and finish:
And the happy blocks got sorted into those suitable for preemie quilts.  I had to do a wee bit of math.  A finished preemie is 30" x 36" but my blocks were going to finish at 10" which would have meant quilts measuring 30 x 40 - ooops!  So I put the blocks on the design wall and took ¼" off the top and bottom edges of each block making them 9.5" finished in one direction and still 10" in the other direction.  Problem solved!
And 5 of them ready for the next step:
Under the ironing board are some surrounded 16 patches but they were too dull to include in the kit I made, my plus block and fabric and pattern for a star block quilt.  Lots of ideas, not enough time!

This is the split 9 patch made from 10" squares.
Block for January from the Quilter's Planner and even better, a block also completed for February!

I started a project from 10" squares called L7 - are they L's or 7's?  Well, sad to say, I stitched a bunch of blocks incorrectly.
So, will be unstitching or frogstitching during tv time.  They are supposed to look like this!
My kit from Connecting Threads fall sale is almost ready to put the blocks together.
And I though that the leftover daisy fabrics could be used in a color block quilt - pattern from Moda Bake shop.

And I pulled this project out from the UFO stack - two years old so time to start cutting.
And, there are still the projects from January that I didn't get started on or started but never finished!
- 9 patch surrounded
- plus quilt
- Sunland stitchers mystery Xmas quilt
- batik table runner that needs quilting
- Welcome hangings from Patchabilities need finishing.. blanket stitch and binding

But, off to decorate for Valentine's day.  

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Four days remaining for January goals

It is really hard to get a great picture of the night sky.  The colours are brilliant pink and fuschia and it looks glorious.  Plus, so nice for the evening to stay light, longer and must be the same for here and back home?

I have been stitching away on too many projects at once.  I have a routine of filling between 8 and 10 bobbins at once and when they are empty, I stop and give my machine some TLC, fill bobbins, change needle and clean out the lint.  I love my Janome 6600 - a true workhorse but the the lint always amazes me.

I huge thank you to my friend Marge... she told me about these tiny sticks with a bit of cotton on the end that are perfect for digging out lint.  She learned about them from another guild member, Debbie and they are available from Harbor Freight.
One thing I did do is throw away my old bottle of oil.  I compared the colour of the oil to the new bottle and it was definitely yellow which means it has deteriorated.

As for finishes... or completed blocks, I am plugging away - but I do have my flannel squares put together and the top is ready to take home in March and get it layered, quilted and bound. It is a a very old ufo of a package of flannel squares with more added from my stash.
I have finished making 'happy blocks' which have 6.5" centers and I have a large variety.  I ended up  making over 70 of them.  And am now sorting them into those suitable for preemie quilts and those that would work for Quilts of Valour.

And I have made enough of the Perkimon Valley quilt blocks for the fire victims in California to be able to mail 30 which is enough for a decent size quilt and have enough left over to take home and work on adding more for a Quilt of Valour.  This is a great use of scraps.

And I have a Craftsy kit that was on sale that I bought to go with the surrounded 16 patches that I started a few weeks earlier.  This kit uses a jelly roll and I added in a few more fabrics but this seems to be fairly juvenile oriented prints and the blocks I made earlier are much darker and more adult oriented. 

There are a few more 9 patches from 10" squares being stitched and am hoping to work diligently for the next few days to be able to show a more finished stage of all these projects by the end of the month.  Oops... that is only 5 days away. 
Off to put the pedal to metal... or to the floor!  Too many ideas, not nearly enough time!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Third post in January.. wow!

My "happy" blocks are growing ... there is a nice stack of them on the ironing board and I have a stack ready to stitch on my sewing machine table.

I also have more of my 9 patch surrounded blocks made... am using these as leaders and enders for my flannel squares project.
Of course, I can't limit myself to 3 projects and have been playing with a pattern I found online yesterday for huge split 9 patches.  The blocks are 10" squares sewn into a 9 patch and split in half in each direction.  I love big blocks and fast and easy is great for donation quilts.  This was such a happy fabric, I thought it would be fun to see how the block would look when stitched and cut.

And my flannel squares are progressing towards a finished quilt top.  Can you tell that I am not enthusiastic about this project?  But, one day at a time and making myself work on it along with these other projects. The larger flannel squares all got trimmed down to make them 5". 

I was at tennis practice at 7am and then hung around the courts for awhile, chatting... I know, hard to believe that I would stand around visiting with other players but that is what I do best!  Home to catch up on emails and now, a little bit of housework and a free afternoon to play in my sewing room.  My hubby is playing ball so no one to distract me and if he does come home, he will be heading to bed since he has the "man cold".  I tried to keep him from catching it from me but no luck.. strange though how it took a full two weeks before he showed any signs of having caught it... but he has all the signs now of a full fledged cold.  Yuck. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Finally, some stitching happened!

I made a few 'happy blocks' from the Heartstrings group on Yahoo and some framed nine patches using fat quarters.  Not a lot of sewing but it is a start and felt good!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A New Year but not such a new me!

This has been a crummy beginning to 2018. It is the first time in my life that I was not organized to end the year and begin a new one with enthusiasm. 
I had to fly home for a week at Christmas in December and that was the worst Christmas that I can remember in my long life of 70 years.  My husband was having health issues and he was cranky.  I didn't feel in control of my daily activities and the weather was brutal and I felt lost.  There were some great moments in all of that.  In my cedar chest, I found some awesome winter sweaters and at the back of the closet, I found my fur coat and a super warm winter jacket.  But no sewing got done at all!
We returned to our sunny and warm home on Boxing day and I was immediately involved in a tennis tournament but sadly, my partner had been ill with a lousy cold for a week and I didn't realize just how ill he still was.  We didn't play well and a few days later, guess who had a sore throat?
I hustled to get my Xmas tree taken down and the house cleaned up knowing that I was going to potentially get the inevitable cold.  A trip to the local drugstore helped with lots of Zicam (to lessen or reduce the symptoms of a cold) plus a few boxes of super soft kleenex.
And then, bingo, the cold arrived full force on Jan 3rd and that was the end of regular routine and the beginning of life on the sofa!
I keep reading blogs where everyone is organizing for the new year.  I love the eighteen in 2018.  I enjoy reading about how many projects got accomplished last year and how many quilts were donated to charity.  None of that has happened here! 
But... in December, I made this quilt top and I have to say, it was the best use of fat quarters since I discovered Atkinson's yellow brick road!

But, where are the instructions?  I 'think' I might have taken them home?  I have no idea.  But I know each fat quarter was cut up into a square for the center and then strips and all mixed and matched. 
Today was the first day I ventured into my sewing room since mid December and I really am not sure where to start.
So, I began with cutting up Christmas fabric for pillowcases.  I cut the body, accent and cuff from fabrics that I have been buying on sale and want to make these for gifts for next year.  I realized when I was home that I had no small gifts to hand out to neighbours and friends.  These are ready to stitch when I get home as I prefer to use my serger.
I have a plus quilt ready to cut and stitch.
I have put some flannel squares onto my design wall.  Surprise, the kit of squares I had were 5.5" and the ones I cut were 5".  That was enough to make me walk away in annoyance.
I have projects stacked on my desk.
I have a pile of kits and layer cakes and jelly rolls, with patterns in a container (well, there is more elsewhere but these ones appeal to me).
And more in my walk in closet.

I am very organized!  But no sewing is happening.  And not much else either! So, I walked outside and took a few pictures in our backyard.
The oranges and grapefruit are ripening and I have been craving grapefruit.  I decided to listen to  my body and have been eating one a day even though they are still not quite sweet enough.  However, they are juicy and my cravings are getting satisfied.

Our pomegranate tree is losing all its leaves... seems funny here in Arizona but that is the nature of that tree.  New leaves will grow before the last ones have been shed.
My sister gave me a journal system for Christmas.  I have other journals as well.  I did organize them all into one basket.  The best idea I have heard that might just be my method of choice is to start every Monday with a list of projects for the week.  Things you want to get done.  It is referred to as the 'task master' and am going to try that and see if it gives me the required 'kick in the butt'. 
Happy New Year and hopefully you are healthy, happy and stitching up a storm! 
Otherwise, I am tempted to make a cup of hot lemon and honey and curl with another book!