Wednesday, January 30, 2019

I May Have a Scrap Problem... What a Month!

Hi, all!

We are in the final days of January, and so it's time to review the month, scrap-wise.  Even though my scraps still seem to be replicating themselves while I sleep, I did make some progress this month.  

At the beginning of January, I decided to work on my "String Hamper of Shame" and also to work with my solids scraps to cut 7.5" squares for a QuiltCon class.  

This tub is full of 8.5" wide pieces of strings, which I created after pressing a bunch of strings from my hamper.  And no, it didn't empty the hamper - and I swear the hamper gets fuller every day!  But it's a start.  Then I took those 8.5" pieces and made a quilt top!

Isn't it pretty?  This will be part of the Rockin' Rectangles tutorial series running right now - probably close to the end - so start cutting up your strings and join in!  

I also did a lot of sewing out of my stash, with an eye to designs that could be made scrappy as well.  The tutorial for the quilt above appeared last Sunday, and the quilt below will be featured this coming Sunday.  

I also did manage to cut a few 7.5" squares from solid scraps, but not nearly enough...

...which means that this project will carry over into the first few weeks of February.  After all, QuiltCon is this month!!!!!!  (Can you tell I'm excited?)

So all in all, I think January went rather well in the scrap- and stash-sewing area.  In February, I will be working on reducing this mess...

....a collection of batting remnants from the last couple of years!   I think I need to spend a day or two making "frankenbattings" so they will be easier to use - and sorting out the pieces that are just too narrow to use for anything but wiping up oil spills or dusting.  If I can use these up, I'll have three empty cubbies on one of my storage shelves, which I can use to organize something else - wouldn't that be nice?

And while I'm cutting up those 7.5" solid squares for QuiltCon, I may cut pieces for this beautiful quilt...

Isn't that wonderful?  And just imagine how many solid scraps it would use up.....

So that's my plan for February.  What are you hoping to do with your little scrap monster this month?  Link up below and share, or just tell us in the comments.  After all, we're all in this together!



Monday, January 28, 2019

Make-A-List Monday - Snow Day? Maybe!

Hi, all!

Welcome to Monday!  I'm guessing that you may be prepping for some serious winter weather this week, as it seems to be hitting most of the country.  Here in the Nashville area, we never know what we'll get, but we don't let that stop us from closing or delaying schools the night before just in case!  I made sure that I had plenty of projects to sew on in the unlikely chance that we get snowed or iced in - because I'd hate to run out of things to do!

Let's check and see how last week's list went...

1.  Find backings for the last two Rockin' Rectangles quilts.
2.  Quilt at least two of the Rockin' Rectangles quilts.
Done!  Two cute backs, and two quilts finished!  The one with the flamingo back was featured in this past Sunday's tutorial.

3.  Quilt a ministry quilt for an adoption.
Done!  And it's been given to the adoptive parents, who will be heading to China sometime in February to pick up their new son!

4. Quilt two additional ministry quilts.
Done!  Slowly but surely, we're rebuilding our stash of finished quilts...

5.  Write at least one Rockin' Rectangles tutorial.
One down, five to go!

6.  Cut pieces for the memory quilt.
This project jumped to the back burner temporarily; I'll explain why below.

7.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.
We gave away several quilts this week; the adoption quilt shown above is one of them.

This beautiful (and very large) quilt went to an elderly couple who are both experiencing serious health issues.

This quilt went to a woman who was just diagnosed with colon cancer.

Now, as to what I was working on instead of the memory quilt.  I got a request for a special ministry quilt that was needed in a hurry. Some collaboration on colors and fabrics by phone, and this fabric pull was the result...

Some quick cutting and sewing, then trimming up one hundred half square triangles....

...and today I finished this top, a version of the Supernova pattern!

I also spent a little time on organization this week, finding a final place for my new scrap storage cart...

It now fits at the end of my sewing table, and the shelf that was in that spot (on the right in the picture below) is now in front of the table.  That spot used to be filled with a tub of t-shirt scraps and a big pile of "stuff" - batting, tops that needed work, etc. - and was a ridiculous looking mess.  Now the shelf has ministry quilts that need to be quilted, along with a few that need some TLC, and a couple of storage boxes (feedback fabrics and binding scraps).  It looks so much nicer now!

And can you see my quilt ladder in the background?  I decided it would be a good place to hang quilt tops in need of quilting!  This way they can be decorative and still remind me they are "quilts-in-waiting"!

OK - enough about last week!  Here's what's on my radar for this week...

1.  Finish the Supernova ministry quilt.

2.  Write at least one Rockin' Rectangles tutorial.

3.  Quilt two ministry quilts.

4.  Quilt one more Rockin' Rectangles quilt.

5.  Cut out the memory quilt pieces.

6.  Work on cleaning up my office.

7.  Meet with a client about a t-shirt quilt.

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

So definitely enough to keep me busy, and if it's too cold to go outside, then I'll be happy as can be to stay inside and sew!  

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



Sunday, January 27, 2019

Rockin' Rectangles Begins! Place Your Bet...

Hi, all!

Welcome to the very first week of the Rockin' Rectangles Quilt-Along!  Now, this is not your typical quilt-along.  Rather than working on one quilt design over the next six weeks, I will be sharing six tutorials for simple quilt designs that you may choose to use for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge, which starts immediately after the quilt-along.  All the quilts fit into the theme of Rockin' Rectangles, involving rectangle shapes or rectangle-shaped blocks in their construction.  There being nothing new under the sun, these designs were inspired by beautiful quilts seen out and about, but the tutorials are my own.  

So let's get started with our first quilt design!


"Place Your Bet"

I have to credit my husband with the name for this quilt.  I originally started out with the idea of staggered coins - boring!  But they do look like stacks of coins to me, like when you are counting out your - - - loose change!  But then he piped in with "Place Your Bet" - much more interesting, right??  And so it was named.  Like stacks of chips on a poker table, this quilt will be a winner!

This quilt can be a great scrap busting quilt if you choose to do that.  For mine, I used some charm packs that had been gathering dust in my stash.  If you're like me, you like to buy charm packs to get a little bit of each fabric in a collection - but you don't really have a purpose for that charm pack when you buy it.  However, you probably tend to pick the same types of colors, as I found when I was digging through my stash.  I had a charm pack of Kate Spain's Grand Canal and another of Hey Dot by  Brigitte Heiland for Zen Chic.  The colors in each worked well together, so I pulled them out for this quilt.

Quilt Size:  Approximately 62" x 64"

Block Size:  Thirty blocks, approximately 10 1/2" square

Fabric Requirements:

Coins:  2 charm packs or 75 five inch squares, cut into 2.5" x 5" rectangles

Block background: 1 5/8 yards.  Cut into 2.5" width-of-fabric (WOF) strips, then crosscut into:

       150    2.5" x 2.75" rectangles
       150    2.5" x 3.75" rectangles

Quilt background:  1 1/4 yards.  Cutting directions will be given later in the tutorial.

Binding:  1/2 yard

Backing:  3 2/3 yards

Block Assembly:

This is a fast quilt because it lends itself to chain piecing very well!  Take your print pieces and your 2.5 x 2.75 background pieces, and sew a background piece to the side of each print piece.  CAUTION:  Be sure you are sewing the 2.5" side to your prints - there's not much difference visually and it's easy to do the wrong side. (Don't ask me how I know!)  Chain piece as you go, which if you're new to this means that you don't cut the thread between blocks, but just keep on sewing one after the other.  You'll end up with a long string of blocks sewn together - like a chain!

Once you've sewn all the smaller background pieces to one side of the print pieces, take the chain and turn it around, then sew the larger background pieces to the other end, also chain piecing.

Congratulations!  You now have a very large pile of "building blocks" for your quilt!  

Cut the threads between each unit, and press the seams towards the print pieces.  Then lay out a group of five, alternating short end with long end on each side of the block.  Mix those prints up good! If you used two different lines of fabric, like I did, you may want to be sure to mix the two lines in each block.

Sew each set of strips together, pressing all the seams in the same direction.  And don't worry if your blocks aren't exactly 10.5" square - mine weren't - because your columns will end up the same length, or near enough.

Once you have a nice stack of blocks, start laying them out on your design wall (or floor, as the case may be) so you can see how pretty they will look together.  Your top block should have the small background piece in the upper left corner; then flip the next block upside down so that the larger background piece is in the upper left corner.  That will keep the pattern consistent all the way down.  

Each column has six blocks, and there are five columns of blocks, as you can see below.  Be sure that all your columns start with the smaller background piece in the upper left hand corner. Once you are happy with your layout, sew each column of blocks together.

Now it's time to measure for your quilt background strips.  Take all of your columns and measure them down the middle, through the print blocks, from top to bottom.  Take the average of all five measurements, then multiply by six.  This is how many inches of background sashing you will need.  Now cut enough 2.5" x WOF strips from your background fabric to make your six sashing strips. Cut them all to the same length.

This is something you will seldom hear me say, but it's time to pin pin pin!  I usually fold my block column in half and mark halfway from top to bottom, then fold my sashing strip and do the same.  Pin the sashing strip to each end and match the middles, then pin the strip and column together at intervals, easing the fabric to make them match up.  By doing this, you will ensure that your quilt top ends up square and not wavy!  Sew sashing strips between the five columns and on the outside edges of the top.  

Now measure the width of your top.  Do this by matching up the top and bottom edges of your quilt and measuring across the middle (long edge) of the quilt. Using that measurement, create two 2.5" wide border strips for the top and bottom of the quilt.  Pin and attach in the same manner as you did for the sashing between the columns.

Now you're ready to "quilt as desired", add a little binding, and you'll have a finished quilt!   As you can see, I used a random meandering loop on my quilt, quilting it on my long arm.  You could just as easily do straight line quilting with a walking foot on your domestic machine, or even free motion quilting if that's in your repertoire.  

Don't you just love those flamingos?


And thus ends our first tutorial.  Simple, fast, and a great way to use up random charm packs or those five inch squares of scraps you've been cutting up!  

If you'd like to save or print the tutorial for this quilt, here's the easiest way to do it.  Scroll to the bottom of this post and look for this little green box:

Don't see the green "Print PDF" box?  That's easy to fix. Go to the top of the post, and click on the post title (in this case, "Rockin' Rectangles Begins! Place Your Bet...").  That will open up this post with the comments, and you will see this between the body of the post and the beginning of the comments.

Click on the green button, and a printer-friendly page will open so you can print and save the tutorial!  Voila! And the best part?  It won't print out page after page of comments and sidebar stuff.  Hooray!

Don't want to print it out?  This tutorial will remain here as long as the internet is alive, so you could just bookmark the post and create a group in your bookmarks for Tutorials!  That way you can find it any time.

Be sure to come back next week for another fun quilt in the Rockin' Rectangles series.  Oh, and if you want to get a head start on a later quilt, grab your string "hamper of shame" or whatever you keep them in, press them and cut them into 8.5" lengths.  It's hard to say how many you'll need - I seriously over-cut, so I'll be making a bunch of these quilts - but it does take time, so start early!



PS Are you getting excited about Hands2Help 2019?  I am!!!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? A Week of Finishes!

Hi, all!

It seems like most of the country has been in the grips of a cold snap this week, and we all know what that means - more time for sewing!  And since it's Friday, that means it's time for us to get our whoop whoop on!  Are you ready?  Let's get started!


I'm not very fond of cold weather, so staying snugged up in my nice warm studio is my idea of fun!  And I had a lot of fun this week, finishing up some projects both old and new.  

quilted these two tops, both part of the Rockin' Rectangles series of tutorials, which starts this coming Sunday.   Don't you just love that flamingo fabric?

Then I added some charm squares to the sides of this pretty top and quilted it for the quilt ministry. I love the bright, cheerful colors!

I also had some happy mail - a new storage cart for my cut scraps!  I've started filling it up with the pieces I've cut, and there's still room!  I can't wait to fill it up....

And then today, I decided I needed a finish just for me... I found the piece of sashiko I finished in Hawaii, and turned it into a pretty pillow cover!  

If you've never tried sashiko, I highly recommend it - it's relaxing, fun, and goes pretty quickly!

And of course, putting an envelope back on the pillow cover and binding on the edges makes for a very quick finish and a snazzy looking pillow!

And then my evening was topped off when I opened up my Dove chocolate (an event in itself!) and found this saying on the wrapper...

As a messy creative person, I find a lot of validation in this saying!  And see the fortune cookie fortune on the bottom?  I found that a couple of years ago in my fortune cookie, and found it to be just perfect for me!  After all, shouldn't a quilter spend her years in comfort and "material" wealth?

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, January 23, 2019

I May Have a Scrap Problem... Inspiration!

Hi, all!

I have been doing a lot of scrap and stash sewing in the last two weeks, but I'm going to hold off on showing those until the Rockin' Rectangles quilt-along starts this Sunday.  In the meantime, I've been amazed at all the beautiful scrappy goodness that's been flooding Instagram!  I guess everyone starts their year with a resolution to use their scraps.  So here's a little bit of inspiration to jumpstart your year...

What a great way to use up those bonus HSTs!  And I've got a pile of them just waiting to find a purpose....

If you missed out on the Scrappy Trips Around The World craze, I think this would be enough to make you want to take a trip!  You can find a tutorial for this block by clicking here.

I've made a couple of quilts by this pattern, and it's so easy to make - I highly recommend it if you have lots of strings!

Take a look at Tish's beautiful two-color star!  This makes my heart happy - and I'm sure I could find sufficient scraps in my stash to make something like this...

I love the simplicity of this quilt - and if you're not into curved piecing, you can always appliqué your circles on to a charm quilt!  Here's a handy tutorial to making appliqué circles using fusible web.

And FYI, Valentine's day is just around the corner - here's a couple of great pillows you could make with the contents of your red scrap tub!  I really love the one with the words embroidered on it - so sweet!  

Are you feeling inspired yet?  I definitely want to make some of the pillows - a quick and easy finish is always so satisfying!  I have two grandgirls who would love these - I think it would make a great Valentine's Day gift for them.  Time to raid the scrap tubs! 

Let's do some scrappy sewing!