Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I May Have A Scrap Problem... February Progress and March Goals!

Hi, all!

How did February fly by so quickly?  Yes, it's a short month, but it still seems like it went by in a flash.  Despite its brevity, though, I managed to make some serious progress on my February Scrap Attack goal!

This was my February goal - to use up the t-shirt scraps to make at least one beach blanket.  You can see the monstrous pile of t-shirt scraps I started with in this post - my first step was to reduce all of them to usable pieces.  I decided to cut them into the same width chunks - in this case, 15" because that was the widest template I had that would fit on most of the shirts - and it cut a bunch of pieces!  I didn't worry about the length of the pieces, just the width.   So now I have a big tub full of cut pieces all ready to go!

Then I got busy sewing those pieces together - no interfacing on these pieces, to keep the expense down and to make it lighter - because this is a heavy picnic blanket!

This picnic blanket is about 75" square, so just the weight of the t-shirt fabric is pretty substantial.  No batting for this one, only a fabric backing - but I had the perfect backing on hand.  I've been saving this fabric for years because I knew it would be perfect for a picnic quilt....

Not quite sure what it is you're seeing?  (And I'm sorry if it gives you the shivers - I've found that people either love it or hate it!)

And of course, because I have grandchildren, and because those grandchildren love to color, I saw those great big color blocks and wondered, "Is there a way the kids can color on those and then it washes out so they can do it again?"

Not wanting to experiment on the quilt (just in case it DIDN'T wash out!) I grabbed a piece of t-shirt (out of the never-empty t-shirt scrap tub) and a new box of Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers.  Had a little fun putting together a test piece, then ran it through the wash and dryer (gentle cycle, regular detergent, hot dryer).

Et voila!  The only thing I could even see a shadow of was the yellow heart in the middle, and I really had to look for that.  So for added fun, I can hand the markers to the kids at the picnic and let them decorate to their hearts content!  How's that for an added bonus?

I also kept up with cutting up scraps - I swear this is addictive!  And it's a good thing I discovered the "small wire basket" technique - because when I drew my goal for March......

Eek!!!  This is a big one, folks - take a look at tub "C" - next to my sewing machine for perspective...

...and look at the mess inside that tub!  This one's gonna take forever, folks - and not only do I need to cut it up, but I need to make a quilt out of it to meet this goal by the end of the month!  

I'm already starting to scope out pattern ideas for this project - it's always exciting, kind of like getting ready for a new baby!  So stay tuned...

And hey, if you need a little inspiration (yes, there's a pun intended there!) take a look at this quilt I saw on Crazy Mom Quilts' blog!

Y'all, those 4-patch blocks are made with 1.5" cut squares and measure 2.5"!  Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts has started on her own, and I'm thinking that this might be a great use for the 1.5" squares I've been cutting.  It might be daunting to figure out exactly how many of those little 4-patch blocks it would take to make a whole quilt, but it would be pretty easy to just start making them, don't you agree?

And one last inspiration shot that really warmed my heart - after posting a tutorial for another 4-patch quilt last Sunday, a reader sent me a picture of the quilt her group made using the pattern.  This one will be going to a senior center at Christmas time!  It really makes my heart happy to see what people make after seeing something they like here...

So now it's time for you to share what you did in February, and what your goal is for March.  I can't wait to see what you've been up to!



Monday, February 26, 2018

Make-A-List Monday - Time For Some Fun!

Hi, all!

I do love a fresh, new week - all kinds of possibilities stretch out in front of you! I finished up some projects last week, so now I get to start some fun stuff!  Let's see how last week's list went first, though...

1.  Quilt the vintage lozenge quilt top for a friend.
Done!  This  came out so much better than I thought it would!

2.  Quilt another vintage top (I'm sensing a trend here...)
Done!  This is the best picture I've got for now - this quilt is huge (it's folded in quarters here) and my yard is too soggy to try to get an outside picture.  Isn't it a beauty, though?

3.  Mail off another box of scraps to a Scrumptious Scraps winner!
Done - and it still has barely made a dent!

4.  Quilt the string-and-nine-patch quilt.
Done!  This turned out even better than I hoped!

5.  Work on the t-shirt beach/picnic blanket.
Not just worked on, but finished!  More pics to come on Wednesday...

6.  Keep cutting up scraps!
Of course!  I think this is addictive...

7.  Write another tutorial for this weekend's Scrumptious Scraps quilt-along...
Done!  You can find the tutorial for this quilt by clicking here.

8.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.
No quilt requests this week, so we had a chance to catch up a little bit.  That's the best kind of week!

So it was a very successful week!  I'm so happy to have those two vintage quilts done - now I have some breathing space to do some fun things!  Here's my list for this week...

1.  Quilt two quilt tops for Heartbuilders.

2.   Work on piecing my new project, a wedge quilt from Christina Cameli's new book.

3.  Continue cutting up scraps and plan a new scrap project using some of what I've cut!

4.  Package up two more sets of scraps for giveaway and get one in the mail.

5.  Time to work on some more administrative stuff for Hands2Help - which starts in just a little less than two weeks!

6.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.

This looks like a pretty simple list, but I'm looking on it as the calm before the storm - things get pretty busy once Hands2Help starts up!

So now the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Scrumptious Scraps Quilt-Along - The Ever-Faithful 4-Patch!

Hi, all!

It's that time again - time for another great scrap quilt tutorial, simple and quick enough for charity quilts.  After all, the idea is to inspire you to make quilts for this year's Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge, right?  I hop you're been enjoying the quilts we've shared so far - today's is one of my favorites, and a great scrap buster!  Enjoy the tutorial, and be sure to hang on until the end, when I'll announce the winner of last week's scrappy giveaway - and since I still have an over-abundance of scraps, there'll be another change at a package of scraps this week!


Thankfully, we were blessed with some beautiful sunny days after I finished this quilt, and I got some good pictures.  This simple quilt is a variation on a four-patch design, and works up quickly and easily!

This was the inspiration shot I started from (no way to attribute it, as it goes to an unconnected link. If it's yours, I'm sorry!)  As I was making my version, I fully intended to run my background strips horizontally, but when it was finished, I found that I preferred them running vertically.  The advantage of a square quilt?  You can change your mind!  So here's how I made it...

The first thing I needed was four-patch blocks.  These are each made using two different fabrics, although I suppose you could use four different fabrics if you preferred.  My friend Lisa helped me out and made the four-patch blocks for me, using some of the over-abundance of 3.5" squares we had on hand at church.  I sorted out 80 four-patch blocks in mostly bright colors for this quilt.

These blocks measured 6.5" unfinished, so I cut 2" x 6.5" strips in one of my favorite grays to act as sashing between them.  I chose to have my sashing strips finish out at 1.5" wide because I felt that width would look good in proportion to the 3" finished squares in the four-patch blocks.

 Isn't chain piecing wonderful?  A stack of sashing strips and a stack of four-patch blocks and an hour, and you've got the building blocks for your quilt top!  I sewed one sashing strip to the right side of each four-patch block, then pressed the seam towards the sashing strip.

Once all the building blocks were complete and pressed, it was time to lay it out on the design wall.  By the way, if you don't have a design wall, I highly recommend the Fons & Porter design wall.  Basically a plastic backed piece of flannel-like material with grommets at the top, it hangs on Command Hooks that I mounted on a wood piece that sits on top of my fabric storage shelves.  When I need it, I hang it up in front of the shelves, when I don't, it folds up and sits in a drawer!  

The picture above was one of many layouts I fiddled around with.  I'm not very good at discerning color values (light to dark) with multiple colors, but I've discovered that my phone has a great tool to help with the process - the "mono" filter will transfer the picture to black and white, and then it's easy to see which blocks read darker or lighter!


You can see just how much easier it is to see in this picture.  The light blocks are easily distinguishable from the dark blocks, and can be moved around as needed.

And once again, here's the finished layout.  I chose to organize my colors on the diagonal, putting the darkest blocks in the lower left and the lightest ones in the upper right, to establish movement across the quilt.  I love the way it draws the eye across the quilt!

Someone last week commented that she hated to hear "quilt as desired" so I'll show you how I quilted mine - a random meander that is quick and easy on my long arm machine.  But it would be equally interesting with a straight line stitch on either side of the background sashing where they meet with the block above, and on either side of each row.  Or if you feel really inspired, I think it would look great with straight line stitching in the same direction as the sashing strips, about 1/4" apart across the whole quilt.  It gives a quilt like this such texture!

I was lucky enough to have a stash of single-sized top sheets in my stash - my grandkids don't like sleeping under a sheet, so my daughter gave me the other half of their sheet sets - and I had one that worked perfectly with the front of this quilt to back it with.

And here's another picture, just because it's pretty!!  It really is a simple quilt to make, and can easily be adjusted to fit whatever size squares you may already have cut.  Here's how to do just that...

First of all, find out what you have on hand.  For my quilt, I had access to an abundance of  3.5" cut squares, so that's what I used. I needed 320 of them, 160 pairs, to make the 80 blocks I needed for this quilt.  To figure out how many blocks I needed, I used the formula for quilt math from this post.  I wanted my quilt to be around 60" square, and these blocks measured 6" x 7.5" finished, which meant I needed 8 columns across and 10 rows down.  You may find you have more 2.5" squares, 2" squares, or 5" squares on hand that you want to use, so just adjust the directions to get the size quilt you want.  

Now, for your sashing.  First of all, be sure that you measure your four-patch blocks to see how long to make your sashing pieces.  You'll be happier with the finished quilt if you have all the same size sashing pieces, instead of sewing the four-patch blocks to a long strip of sashing and trimming it off.  One piece of sashing for each four-patch block.  For my quilt, I needed 3/4 of a yard for the sashing, which I cut 2" x 6.5".  You may want to fiddle with different widths of sashing if you change the four-patch block size, finding the perfect width sashing for your block.  I usually try to make my sashing half the width of one finished square in the four-patch, but not to the point of weird fractions!  Just lay it out and see what looks good.  


And now for the winner of last week's scrap bundle...

Congratulations, Joan!  I'll be emailing you for your snail mail address so I can get that package out to you this week!

And I have another package to give away this week!  Leave a comment below to be in the drawing (if you aren't interested in scraps, leave a comment anyway and just say so - comments make me happy!)  I'll announce another winner next Sunday!



Friday, February 23, 2018

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Using Up Those Scraps!

Hi, all!

It's finally Friday again, and we all know what that means - it's time for us to get our whoop whoop on!  Let's get started!


 A little less than a week ago, I came across thirty string blocks in a ZipLoc bag and pulled them out.  Putting them up on the design wall, I arranged them over and over until I came up with a chevron design that I liked. 

Each block had a narrow black strip across the center, separating light from dark, so it seemed like a natural way to lay them out.  But it was still small - about 32.5" by 39".  (And I really didn't want to make any more blocks! So lazy....)  

But wait!  All that scrap cutting I've been doing meant that I have a LOT of 2.5" squares on hand!  So I decided to make a 9-patch border using black squares in the center to echo the black stripe in the string blocks.  But placed right next to the string blocks, it was too busy, so I added a narrow black stop border around the string blocks to separate them and give them their own individual part to sing!

I finished it off with a black border and black binding, and voila!  A  lovely scrappy finish!

This beauty will be added to our stash of ministry quilts, destined to become comfort and a quilt-y hug for someone in need.

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you do a little happy dance?

Share!  We want to dance right along with you!

And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight.

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I May Have A Scrap Problem... Vintage Scrappiness Saved!

Hi, all!

I have something wonderful to share with you this week - a fabulous vintage scrap top that I was given the honor of quilting for the owner.  It was made by the mother of a very nice older gentleman in my church, and his wife asked if I could quilt it for him.  I adore vintage tops, and told her I'd be happy to take a look at it - because even though I love them, not all of them are able to be finished, depending on their condition.

I was a little worried about this one, because it was hand pieced, with lots of bias edges and stretchiness and ripples, hills and valleys.  But I loaded it on the frame, got a good night's sleep, and started the next morning quilting the heck out of it!

Isn't it gorgeous?  This is a truly scrappy quilt - the print pieces are pieced together from various sizes of scraps cut any which way.

I love the way the colors seem to glow in this picture. There was an amazing variety of fabrics - some feed sack, old shirts, what must have come from old dresses - nothing was wasted!

You can see in this picture how heavily I had to quilt it.  There were two places where I had to re-stitch a seam, and many pieces had tiny overlaps where the seams met, which called for careful quilting!

A beautiful quilt on a (very) windy spring morning - I was so grateful the sun made an appearance so I could get good pictures!

And finally, a picture from underneath the back of the quilt - I think this is very interesting, rather like looking at fields from an airplane!


And not to be forgotten, the scrap progress - the new "small basketful" project is proving to be a success, as I cut up all of these this week, and actually started on a new basketful!

Happy scrappy sewing!