Saturday, September 21, 2019

Purple Butterflies

Well, I whipped these littles out this week--sort of. I was wavering between doing red and purple butterflies, and purple won out. I remember I struggled with purple during Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) last year because I don't have many purples--and some are pretty ugly. But my butterfly bits are small, so I still had enough to use for them. 

I was rolling along with the foundation paper piecing, and then it was time to put the dotted background bits in. Uh, oh. They were not in my butterfly bin. Somewhere along the way with this project, I cut all my background pieces out so that they'd be ready to quickly sew each month. But also, somewhere along the way, I decided to make 56 butterflies instead of 48. Never thought about cutting more backgrounds. So that slowed me down a bit. Luckily, I did have enough of the background fabric left to cut the rest. 

Now I have all 56 sets of wings finished, 8 of each color. Here are some of my favorites:

Don't you love all those little frowsies? They'll get cleaned up eventually. I'm really glad I made purple instead of red butterflies--the color balance seems better to me. I think red would have been overwhelming. Next month I'll get the brown bodies attached, and then the fun begins of adding the outer triangles and sewing up the top. Just as a reminder, this pattern is Butterfly Dance (the mini version) by ellis and higgs. The string piecing on foundation papers is my twist on it. It's a super fun pattern which I have made SEW much use of. I don't often repeat patterns, but this is my third quilt, and actually many more if you think of it that the pattern is for a mini quilt with only four butterflies in it, and my quilts are all throw quilts. I have some ideas for another, too...

No RSC crumb blocks this month. I just do not have enough purples to make them in the low contrast way I'm making this project. I do need one more set of blocks, and I'm leaning heavily toward black prints. Maybe I could even sneak in some really dark purples with those. 

I'm linking up this week with Angela, the wonderful host of RSC19, for ScrapHappy Saturday at So Scrappy and with Cynthia, also a wonderful scrappy host, for Oh Scrap at Quilting is more fun than Housework.

I hope you have had some fun in the scraps this month!

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Few More Quilts

Two quick quilts today for Throwback Thursday. I don't have much information about the first one. I think it might have been a kit quilt. 

Sometime in the 1980's, my sister-in-law asked if I could quilt it. I'm not sure if she made the top or if a relative of hers did or if they both worked on it. I just remember that I jumped at the chance to do the quilting. At that time I was a hand quilter. In fact, it was my favorite part of making a quilt, and I thought of making a top as a way to get to the quilting. So this was the perfect project for me. I do not remember whether I marked the designs or if the top was pre-marked. I've enlarged a bit of the photo so you can see it better. I know it's fuzzy,  but it does show the sort of spirograph style flowers, circles and outlining. Does anyone remember these kinds of quilts and any details about them?
And now, I don't even remember whether I did the binding or not. If so, it was my first (only?) scallop binding. Wow, for a Throwback Thursday quilt, this sure is short on memory. We'll just blame it on young motherhood and the fact that I didn't need to keep track of my work since it was for a family member, not for hire. I gave my quilting as a gift to my SIL that year, (Christmas? Birthday? I don't know). She put it on her oldest daughter's bed, which is the one in the photo. 

I was "hired" by my mother-in-law to make this second quilt. 

The churn dash pattern is one I made (or quilted) often during my tiny quilting career (which you can read about if you click on the "my tiny career" label on the right sidebar). This quilt was to be an anniversary gift for friends of my in-laws. My MIL wanted Delft colors to celebrate the couple's Dutch heritage. While I was making it, I decided to pep it up just a little bit with one red churn dash block, which led to the name of the quilt: Tulip in the Delft--one of the rare times I named my early quilts.The quilting is outlining in all the background fabrics except the red block so that one would poof out a bit. And then I did my signature leafy vine pattern in the border. Here's the back:

I made this quilt in September 1988. It measures 13 1/4 by 11 1/2 inches. 

Well, since this post is short on content, I'll include just one more quilt--one I made for our family room. It still hangs there. 

I've shown lots of mini quilts on my blog over the years, but aside from a couple of tiny pictorial quilts, I've never made a really tiny quilt for us except for this one. It's from a pattern I bought. The folder says it's from Mary Herschleb Designs in Hudson, Wisconsin. The copyright date is 1995, which makes sense, because that is the year we moved to a new house, and my daughter and I set to work painting birdhouses for decoration. It was a fun little quilt to make--paper foundation pieced, with tiny black buttons used to "quilt" it. I used all scraps. Even the background is a variety of prints. I used black embroidery thread to attach the buttons and tied it in bows on the back. Not sure why I did it that way, but there you have it.

Now that I look at it more closely, I guess I did a bit of actual quilting around the yellow border. The birdhouses have long since been packed away (first step toward donation), but the little quilt still hangs on the side of an antique china cabinet in our family room. The quilt measures 13 1/4 by 11 1/4 inches.

Well, that's almost it for my Throwback Thursday posts of my pre-blog quilts. I guess you can tell I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for content about these last ones, but it is good to have them all documented. I have just one more quilt (as far as I can tell) to post about, but I don't have a photo of it, which seems really odd to me, because it's a big quilt. Since the quilt is owned by my daughter and son-in-law, it will not be a problem to remedy that. 

I'm linking up today with Sandra at mmm! quilts for Throwback Thursday. Go there to read her always interesting and delightful post about her own pre-blog quilts and post some of your own if you have any.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Worthwhile Squirrels

A few weeks ago I started a quilt--a runner--for our bed. I shared a photo on Instagram when I was halfway done putting it together. The quilt is basted now and ready to quilt. This post is not about that quilt. Eventually it will get its own post. There's no big hurry to finish it as we don't need it until the weather turns cold. So I set it aside, and spent a couple of days working on my RSC19 blocks, intending to get back to the quilt after that. This post is not about those blocks either. You can read about them in last week's post

I took some time out from sewing to read a few blogs, and came across a post by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict about the need for tiny quilts and pillowcases for the Socorro Foundation. She was sharing the brainchild of another Sarah who posted the need on Lazy Cozy Quilts and is hosting the drive to collect these items. By providing shelter, supplies and support with communication and educational resources, the Foundation serves families seeking asylum that have been released from federal agencies and are awaiting arrangements with family/sponsors . The quilts will be used at the shelter and washed everyday. When children arrive at the shelter, they will be given the pillowcases to keep. The need is great as there may be more than 100 people served every 3 to 5 days.

That bed quilt can wait. This is the project I've been searching for for a long time, even though I didn't know it. For months, I've been trying to think of a way to tangibly show love and support for asylum seekers, but it seemed there was nothing I could do. And then...this opportunity. Now I can do something.

And that is how I came to chase these squirrels. 

I did not have any suitable fabric--the kinds of pieces that you can cut WOF (Width of Fabric) strips from--so a shopping trip was in order. I usually like to shop at my local independent fabric shops, but a ping on my phone let me know that there was a huge sale (70 % off of some fabrics) at the big box fabric store, so of course, I had to check that out.

My first mission was to find fabric for pillowcases. I checked out those ultra cheap fabrics ($1.79 a yard). I loved the patterns and colors, but the fabrics felt coarse and grainy--not like premium cottons that make pillowcases so silky to the touch. So, despite the deal, I ruled them out and found softer cottons, still on sale, but a bit more pricey. 

The first fabrics I chose were the seahorse and "scales" (mermaid?) prints. I liked the seahorse fabric because of its all-over non-directional print. 
Picking out the fabrics was so much fun!! A sales associate suggested the teal strip. (I have never had a sales associate do that in that particular store!) It's perfect, isn't it?
The next fabrics that caught my eye were the floral fabric and a coordinating dot print.
And how about that little spark of orange red stripe!
I was uncertain about the third set of fabrics. Early in my search, I had seen the dolphin/whale print. I loved it, but it was a directional print and I wasn't comfortable with how it would look if I cut the strips for the case across the WOF. (I know that's weird. Lots of people make pillowcases with the design going parallel to the cuff. Just an idiosyncrasy--idiosyncrazy--on my part.) But I couldn't let it go, so I decided to buy extra fabric so that I could cut the strip for the main fabric with the straight grain instead of the WOF.
When I cut the main fabric, I also cut the strip in half and turned one piece 180 degrees. By putting seams on both sides of the case, the sea creatures were in the position I wanted them to be whether the cuff was on the right or the left.
I love that crosshatch trim strip.
I thoroughly enjoyed making the pillowcases. I'm not sure what I liked more, pairing the main and cuff fabrics or picking out that little bright strip. Because I cut the dolphin print parallel with the selvedge, I could have saved a bit of money by also cutting the cuff from that fabric, but I like using three different fabrics. This is the first time I've made pillowcases. It will not be my last because I loved making them. I looked at the numerous patterns online to figure out how to make them. I won't mention any websites here because they are everywhere, but they are the ones that some call "burrito" cases because of how they are made. It blows my mind how it all works out with such simple sewing. And now that I know how easy it is to adjust the pattern for a directional print, I'll be sure to look for more fun novelty prints.

My second mission was finding fabric for two little quilts. I needed this to be a quick project, so I decided to make wholecloth quilts with fun prints. The first one I found was a dinosaur print, which I paired with a diagonal crosshatch fabric for the back. 

For the quilting, I used my walking foot to follow lines in the landscape. Some of the lines were gently curved and some had volcanoes in them, which made a little bump in the quilting. 
Easy peasy. No marking, just enough quilting to hold it securely but softly with some interesting lines.
Because these quilts will get washed a lot, I attached the binding by machine--not my skill, but it's secure, and a little kid won't mind the wobbles.
While I was looking around for fabric for one more quilt, the same sales associate asked if I had looked at the fabric that was on super sale. (She was so helpful!) I told her I wasn't crazy about how it felt. She said that it had lots of sizing in it and would soften up when washed. I took another look. The thread count seemed a bit light, but I decided to take a chance on it. After all, $1.79 a yard!! There were so many fun florals and coordinating prints.
For this quilt I did a large (humongous, for me) stipple. I had a bit of mint thread that I had used in other projects, probably not enough for a whole quilt, so I used it in the middle third and then finished with white. So much fun! I had prewashed the fabric, and by the time I was finished quilting, it was delightfully soft and silky. 
I love the paisley back, and the tiny floral print on the binding.
Now, of course, I wish I had bought a whole cartload of that fabric. I still wonder a bit how it will wear, but really, it's very much like the fabric I sewed with in my youth, and that lasted well. I will watch for sales and buy this again, for sure. Even not on sale, it's a good deal at only $5.99. 

So here are some stats:
--The pillowcases are about 20 by 31 inches. I cut my WOF strips at 27 inches for the main fabric, 11 (I think) for the cuff and 2 for the trim strip. For the directional case, I bought 45 inches of fabric (I love how you can by fabric by the inch, instead of by an eighth or quarter yard at the big box store) and then prewashed it before cutting. 

--I bought lengths of 45 inches for the fabrics in the quilts. and 45 inches of batting (Heirloom 80/20) off a 96 inch bolt for the two. I prewashed the fabrics and then determined the sizes by the WOF size and slightly longer for the length. The dinosaur quilt was about  40 1/2 by 41 3/8 inches before washing and 39 by 40 1/4 after. The floral quilt was 39 3/8 by 41 before washing and 37 by 39 after. 
If you are moved to join the effort, I encourage you to do so. The quilt and pillowcase drive will end this weekend, I think (UPDATE: I just found out that the drive has been extended for two more weeks!), but the donations can go on and on. This project is easy, inexpensive, and fun, and the opportunity to give a quilty hug and a soft place for children to lay their heads is one of the most worthwhile squirrels I can think of. Check out the links near the beginning of this post for full information, and if you can spread the word on your own blogs, Instagram posts or by mouth, I'm sure the results will be a blessing beyond measure. And remember, chase those squirrels. You'll be glad you did.

I'm linking up this weekend with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Sandra at mmm! quilts for Drop Everything And Make it (DrEAMi)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Sew Much Blue

Oh, hey. Yeah, I'm still here. But it's summer. Sewing is sporadic and writing about it even more inconsistent. But I do have projects in process, and I even got to my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blues this week. In keeping with my attempt to create sort of low contrast crumb blocks, I divided my light and bright blues into three groups--well, four, but the lightest ones were left out of my project. Here's what I ended up with:

The lightest blocks are slightly washed out here due to light from a window, but you get the idea. I wasn't real sure about the middle pair. I'm not fond of gray-blue these days, but I have a ton, so I'm using them. 

Here some of them are with representatives of my other crumbs and the (very wrinkled) background fabric that I'll use eventually:
I now have 42 crumb blocks in all. I'm not sure if I have enough variety of the kind of purple I want to use, so I just might use blacks for the last set, as that is the other color in the background fabric. I'll figure that out when the next color is announced. 

My other RSC project was the upper wings of my butterfly blocks. I started them during dark blue month, so finishing them up this month was a snap. There's more contrast between the upper and lower wings in real life.
Here's one with reps of the other colors on the (also very wrinkled) background fabric:

They look better on the bare table until I press that fabric:
I now have 48 butterflies, with one set to go for 56--either purple or red. Again, I'll decide later based on how I feel about my purples. I'll use brown for the bodies. 

So that's it for the month. Be sure to come back next week to see a wonderful squirrel project I've been obsessed with this week. I realized that I also missed a Throwback Thursday post this month, so I'll try to get something going on that, too. 

I'm linking up with Angela at So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh, Scrap! I hope you are finding bits and pieces of time to sew with bits and pieces. And if you live in my part of the world, I hope you are enjoying the last few days of summer. I know there are really a few weeks left, but there's definitely a hint of autumn in the air. Today, it's been cool enough with the windows open that I was able to treadle all afternoon without breaking a sweat. I'm sure it will heat up again, but I love the tease.  

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Pink, I Think

As this month began, I was sure the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color was light/medium blue. You see, I had misread Angela's post last month when she said that blue is such a big color that it would take up two months. In my mind I read two consecutive months. So imagine my surprise to find that, no, this month's color is pink. I had planned to make both pink crumbs and pink butterfly parts, so I got right to work. It was a little challenging. I have a lot of old pinks. If you are roughly my age, you know that means dusty pink/mauve. I am so over those pinks. I like clear pinks now. But--and I just figured this out--I don't have many clear pinks because in my most recent quilts, I have cut my yardage so close, I have almost no modern scraps. I will admit that I had thought of buying some "scraps." But I didn't. And now that the blocks are done, they're not so bad. And I'm also thinking that to replenish my scraps with more modern bits, I should purposely buy a smidge more fabric than I need when I buy something new.

Here are my crumbs for the month:
I kept the contrast fairly low again, leaving out pale pinks and really dark ones. Here is one of the blocks with representatives from the other crumb colors.

And, of course, the butterflies. I had more flexibility with these, so lighter colors and clear prints showed up. Those pink and white prints are some of my favorites. As I was laying these out, I realized I could have sewed the upper and lower wings together. I'll catch them up next time the machine is out. I keep hoping for brown to make its appearance as the RSC color so I can stitch up those bodies. (Hint, hint, Angela)
And here they are with reps from the other colors. 

Those little blue wings are a bit lonely, but eventually they'll get their lighter blue partners.

So my July RSC is done! I didn't wait until the last day. Yippee! There is a reason. I wanted to get on to my next project. This one is for our bed. I've meant to make a runner since we painted our room a few years ago. We have green walls about the color of the greens below and a plain ivory bedspread. It needs a little color as well as a bit of extra weight when the weather's cooler (definitely not right now). I went out fabric shopping the other day, and whipped around the store grabbing whatever caught my fancy in the coral, yellow, green and teal ranges. (Unfortunately, my epiphany about buying a little extra did not occur to me until later, so there is low scrap potential from this one.)

I tried to vary the scale, but as usual, I ended up with a lot of smaller, tone-on-tone prints, but I think there's enough variation for what I'm making--Gently Down the Stream by Christina Cameli. I've made two of these before (you can see them here). Two of my fabrics are souvenirs from a trip I took up north a few years ago, and the two darker teals are from one of my grandson's baby quilts. I also bought a piece of Kona Bone for the accent strips. That's a new Kona for me. I needed something just slightly yellower than my usual Snow.

I can't wait to get started. But really I can. I have little kiddies visiting this weekend, so the sewing rooms are now the guest/play rooms. 

Okay, I'll be linking up with Angela at So Scrappy for Scrap Happy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap

I hope you are having fun with projects old and new this month! Catch you later...

Thursday, July 4, 2019

TBT: More Wedding Gifts

I was looking through some old quilt photos for Throwback Thursday and came across this one, and then as I was searching for some notes about it, I found a printout of an email exchange dated July 1 and July 5 of the year I made it. So, of course, 18 years later, I have to share it.
Breezy, not crooked quilt!
This is a quilt I made for my niece K and her husband C for their wedding at the end of July 2001. As you can see from the dates of the emails, I was really cutting it close. I had just finished up a school year. The emails were between my sister-in-law and me about whether a quilt was a good idea, and colors, style, etc. According to the emails, the couple had registered for a particular bedspread, and my SIL thought a blue and white wall quilt to go with it would be a good idea. The only problem was that I could not find a photo of the bedspread, so I had to just go with my gut and make something I thought they might like. I had made a quilt for myself in 1996 (you can see it here) that I enjoyed, so I decided to make something with a similar design. I still have the graph paper plan, but it's kind of a mess, so I'll spare you the sight of it. But thanks to that, I know that the quilt is about 29 by 34 inches. I had to mess with the sizes of the sashes to make the on-point squares fit as a border.

I recall that it was fun collecting the blues, although I'm embarrassed to say that there are still snippets (and even a bit of yardage) left after all these years. In fact, some of them recently found themselves in my June blue crumb and butterfly blocks for Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I can't find a photo of the back, but it is an interesting medium blue with a large navy floral design. It showed up again in this heating pad and on the back of this quilt here. Back when I made this quilt I was still hand quilting, which explains why it is a small wall quilt. If it was larger, they might still be waiting for it.) I outline quilted the geese and other patches, and then because I had centered the floral motif in the borders, I quilted around all of the flowers and leaves, which was a whole lot easier than marking and quilting something else. I do not think I finished this in time to send for the wedding (we were not able to go), but I'm pretty sure I sent it by the time they got back from their honeymoon. Here's the funny thing: they did not get the bedspread they had registered for. It was no longer available. So, they ended up designing their room around the quilt I had sent. I always wonder what that bedspread would have looked like. 

Since, I'm on the subject of wedding gift quilts, here are a couple more. I made this first one for my cousin and her husband for their wedding in September 1984. And yes, I still have snippets of some of these fabrics, too. 

This one is about 30 inches square.The Kaleidoscope blocks are 6 inches square set 3 by 3 with a wedge inner border. I still have some scribbled notes in a file. As usual, they are almost completely incomprehensible. 

You can see that I tried to carefully plan for how much fabric I needed of each color. I still do that. So, why do I always have so many scraps??

Templates! I still wasn't rotary cutting when I made this. Looks like I needed to work on my spelling skills, too.

A quilting plan.

And a more detailed quilting plan, along with more notes on cutting fabrics. As you can see, I "named" fabrics to help me keep them separate. I still do that. 

Here's the back, with one of my favorite low volume prints ever. I don't think I have any of that one left.
I'm not sure why I laid it sideways on the ground. 

And one more quilt. This one was for my niece J and her husband S in June 2003. I had made a different colorway of that quilt earlier that year for the wedding of a nephew and his wife. You can see that one here.
This one was also to match a bedspread. As with the other quilt of the same design, I have no notes. It is probably about 30 inches square. Again, hand quilted with outlining and my own vine design zigzagging in the stripped triangles and straight around the borders. I must have really enjoyed making it if I made two in one year. I'm sure it went together very fast, which was probably a factor. 

These quilts all have something in common. I wanted to make quilts for family as gifts, but I had to work within the time constraints at that time of my life. So they are all wall quilts, planned to fit the decor of the homes of the recipients. I still like to make quilts to complement decor when I can. My quilts don't have a lot of symbolism, although I do like to make them to fit the tastes of recipients. But in recent years, I like to make quilts for the cuddle quality--mostly throw quilts, and occasionally, bed quilts. I can do that because of machine quilting and a lot more flexibility in my time, and for that, I am grateful.. 

These quilts were all pieced on my Singer Featherweight, layered with polyester batting for ease of quilting, and quilted with several different fairly hefty cotton hand quilting threads. 

I'm linking up with Sandra at mmm! quilts for Throwback Thursday. Please go there and see the fun quilts from our quilty past. And add some yourself if you have them. 

Now it's time to celebrate a certain birthday. I hear there will be fireworks. My celebration will be muted this year. I love my country, but not the current state of affairs, which is a big cause for concern. 


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Scraps and Squirrels

Through much of June, I hemmed and hawed about what to do about dark blue for Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC19). I have tons of dark blue in my stash, but I wasn't sure I wanted to use it. I had fallen for the candy colored blocks I had already made and thought dark blue might weigh them down. So I did what I always do when I can't make up my mind--avoided the decision. Instead, I went shopping for the background fabric for my butterfly blocks. As is my habit this year, I limited myself to one local shop (saves on time and gasoline, and makes sure I spread the quilty love around the local small businesses). I had a preconceived notion of what the background should be, but there wasn't any of that kind of fabric available that fit my notion (retro floral print). Well there was, but not the colors I needed. So I went with something I wouldn't have thought of: a simple white with random yellow-green dots. 
I busied myself with cutting out all the background I needed for my butterflies, and I even  marked the diagonals to make future piecing this year go faster. I added the backgrounds to the partial blocks I had already made. That was a real sense of accomplishment. 

Without realizing it, I was making a decision while I sewed. I would make blue crumb blocks, and I would make the bottom wings of blue butterflies (the top wings will wait for July, which is light blue).

So, on to the crumb blocks, again with low-ish contrast. They still need to be trimmed to size, but that will come later.

Here they are with some of the other blocks mixed it. Love 'em!
I really wanted to lay out all of the blocks so far, but I was doing this on my deck and it was a gazillion degrees with high humidity and a bajillion mosquitoes, so I only had time for these few blocks. I suffer for my art, but I do have my limits.

I was pumped up about the dark blues and was all ready to make butterfly bits, but then on Wednesday, I was scrolling through some linky parties and came across a post from Carole at From My Carolina Home. It was her annual request for cosmetic bags and sunglass cases for the Safelight Project. These are collected and then used in gift bags along with other personal care items to give to the residents at a shelter for those fleeing domestic violence. I made two bags last year (You can see them here, if you'd like), and recalled that they were easy and fun to make, even for someone who does not enjoy (or is particularly talented at) three-dimensional sewing projects. Well, Squirrel!! I knew immediately what I wanted to do. I had Wonderlust (Paula Naderstern for Benartex) fabric in my "For Donation Quilts" bin that I had won in a giveaway from Sandra (yes, DrEAMi Sandra) last year. I had used the print for one of last year's bags, but had an assortment of marbled solidish fabrics just waiting for the right project. I picked six colors, and because I can't leave a basic pattern alone, made bags with an inserted color strip. I quilted a few lines in each bag with Aurifil threads I won in another giveaway a few years ago (little spools just right for small projects) and in no time, I had two sets of bags for Safelight.

Oh, and here they are again with the linings showing.

Sorry about the wrinkled lining. These were folded close overnight. They look okay in person.
The fabric is so smooth and silky. I just want to pet it. I have bits left over, so I think another set of bags someday will be improv pieced.

So, back to the RSC scrap sewing. I did get those butterfly bits finished last night. 

Eventually there will be light blue upper wings to go with them. And brown bodies, too. Here they are with some of their friends. Only some. Mosquitoes, you know.

I love the little green dots dancing around them.

So my scraps and squirrels are done! (For now, anyway,)

I'm linking up with Sandra at mmm! quilts for DrEAMi (Drop Everything And Make it!). And with Angela at So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday. And (tomorrow) with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap! 

I hope you are having fun with your scraps and squirrels. (And if you have an urge for a fun, quick, caring project, do check out Carole's post to make a few bags for Safelight. There are also some other neat ways to help out)

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)