Saturday, April 30, 2022

RSC Pinks...and more!

Ooh, lots of bits to share this month. The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for April was pink. I didn't think I had that many pinks, but...well, here we go. 

First, as usual, the extra blocks to extend my 52 Weeks of Scrappy Triangles project from last year.

I really had to scrounge in the multi-colored scrap bin to find bits of fabric with pink in them  that looked okay together. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. 

Then it was time for a quilt-as-you-go placemat. 

I had some skinny short pink strings left over from a previous RSC project. I sewed them end to end, but there weren't enough to cover a placemat. I did have some bigger strips (the kind that you cut off when trimming a quilt back) in a pink/coral on white, so with some careful planning and cutting, I was able to alternate them. I thought I had the darker pinks pretty well distributed, but after the placemat was done, I realized that I sewed the strip with the longest piece of the pearl bracelet print in the wrong direction. Oh well. I'm sure it won't bother anyone as much as it bothers me. 

The back of the placemat is from a fabric that was gifted to me awhile ago by Mari of the Academic Quilter. (Thanks, again, Mari!) I think, with the Grunge binding, this makes a really attractive back and makes the placemat nicely reversible. 

Next, I made my pink adding machine tape strips. 

I was sure there would only be a few feet, but I kept sewing and sewing, and ended up with 16 ft 8 inches!

Having used up all but a tiny handful of pink prints, it was time to make my Bear Paw blocks for the month. I wasn't really crazy about the assortment of solid pinks I had, but I made them work.

I'm getting better at doing that partial seam with the tiny yellow square. It's a bit fiddly, but strangely enjoyable. 

After having all of our windows replaced a few weeks ago, we are in the middle of a big wood-finishing project now (when the weather cooperates), so small, quick projects that don't spread themselves around the house are better than starting a new quilt. I was bothered by the amount of yellow scraps I had left at the end of last month, so I set out to reduce those. I had another sunflower Bear Paw block from the Quilters Color Quest of a couple of years ago. I also had some of the sunflower fabric left that had never made it into a quilt. So that, with yellow scraps, became another QAYG placemat. 

When I first laid out the fabrics, the claws of the Bear Paw block sort of faded away, so I framed it with some green scraps (with flies) before adding the yellow strips. I had enough yellow scraps to piece the back and make a scrappy binding.

The back has bees, honeycombs, and a few more flowers, so there is quite the nature theme going on here, purely by accident. Both placemats are about 18 by 14 inches and will eventually go to Meals on  Wheels.

Making the placemat generated smaller scraps of the yellows I had left, so why not more adding machine tape? 

I made 3 1/2 feet before I ran out of variety. So now I have nearly 30 feet of yellow adding machine tape and a very small amount of yellow left. Some of it is already finding it's way into my last projects to share this month. 

I have now officially left the RSC habit for my extra 52 Weeks of ScrappyTriangles and have been happily mixing whatever scraps catch my eye--mostly from the multi-colored scrap bin, but I've also mixed in prints that read more as solids that were leftover from the Confetti quilts (and those last yellows). I am amazed at how much less time it takes to make these blocks when I'm not trying to follow a particular color scheme from just the multi-color scrap bin. I managed to make 12 more blocks. I still do focus on colors (like "mostly blues"), but I'm much freer to just throw something together. 

I now have 80 out of the 90 blocks I need to make a quilt, and it just occurred to me that this might be a Hands 2 Help quilt. (Please click on that link to find out more about H2H if you don't know already; you'll be glad you did, and so will Mari who is hosting this year for Sarah.) I can't guarantee that it will be done "on time," but that's okay. It's something to shoot for.

I'm linking up this week with Angela at So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap (Sunday).

I hope you have had fun with your scraps this month, and that you've made a dent in them, if that was your goal. 

Friday, April 1, 2022

RSC Yellows and an Urge

I knew March would be monumental for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. My bin of yellow scraps overflowed. Notice the past tense. I worked hard at it, and was pretty successful in using up the scraps. So let's get started:

First up, were the multi-colored scraps with yellow in them for Leila Gardunia's 52 Weeks of Scrappy Triangles. Not as easy as I thought they'd be as the scraps with yellow in are getting down to the odd sized/shaped pieces. In fact, I de-sewed parts of old pieced scraps just to get some of the yellow bits. And you'll notice that some of the fabrics are really mostly yellow. But here are the triangle blocks for this month, and I'm pretty pleased with what I was able to cobble together.

From now on, I hope to work more consistently on the blocks to finish this project quickly. I need to count them up. I think I need 26 more blocks.

Next, I made a quilt-as-you-go placemat--and then another one! It turns out that my yellow bin had way too many strings leftover from another project. The yellows in these placemats are a bit more vibrant than seen here, but the camera just couldn't capture them. I was trying to photograph outside between thin sun and snowflakes. Yes, snowflakes! Nature's April Fools joke.

For the back of this mat, I chose a sunflower print that had languished in my fabric drawer for many years. I had bought it for this quilt, but it didn't fit in. I did make a Bear Paw block with it during Rachel Hauser's 2020 Quilter's Color Quest (more on that block in a minute), but it was just the right size to back this mat with one seam down the middle. I guess you can tell what was on my mind when I chose this. Perhaps somewhere there is a potential recipient (I hope to donate these mats to Meals on Wheels) who has a Ukrainian background or connection. 

There were so many strings left, I kept going.

The back is not as exciting, but it may suit someone who doesn't care for flowers. I see the light is showing some old creases from the fabric being folded for so long. They aren't as big as they seem here, but I guess it's time to get the iron out. 

I quilted both of these with some leftover yellow Aurifil thread. They are 17 1/2 by 13 1/2 inches.

After that bit of fun, it was time to tackle all the little pieces for my adding machine tape project. I managed to fill more than 26 feet of tape. 

That indoor photo is a bit washed out. Here's a sunnier view of all that adding machine tape fun.

If you've been following this blog this year, you will know that I've also been working on some Bear Paw blocks in solid RSC colors. The centers of the paws are yellow, so I decided to skip making them this month. Stay tuned for pink ones in a few weeks. 

After these projects, I still had some biggish scraps left, so I put them in a zip-close bag and set them aside. They bothered me though. There were still too many scraps left from the bin to suit me. And there was also a scrap of sunflower fabric left. I could probably say that what happened next was a DrEAMi (Drop Everything And Make it) or a squirrel, but it didn't feel dreamy in the whimsical sense, and it certainly wasn't a squirrel in the humorous sense. It was more of an urge that I couldn't deny. I just had to make a quilt for my front door with a message to the world. Remember that Bear Paw block I mentioned a few paragraphs ago? 

It became a seed for the quilt. I made another similar block

and then worked in a haze of obsession, until I had this:

The quilt went from more abstract/improv to more planned as I worked, partly due to some missteps. (I don't know: can you have missteps in an improv quilt?)  I was thinking of placing the two sunflower blocks next to each other with a flag below them based on this pattern. But the position of the sunflowers reminded me of an abstract nude--not the look I was going for. Then I drafted some foundation paper pieced letters to put along the sides and top of the quilt. I wasn't sure exactly how big the strips of letters would be, but I figured there would need to be some filler squares in the corners, so I cut the small squares of sunflowers (never mind that I forgot seam allowance) and then hoped I would have enough of the rest of the print to make the letters. I had almost enough print, but ended up having to borrow sunflowers from another completely different fabric to make up the shortfall. I'm pretty sure you'd be hard pressed to identify the alternate fabric. I had to add a bit of blue fabric to the corner sunflowers to make up for my cutting error. I made another Bear Paw block with the mottled gold fabric. I still thought I could put a flag in there for the fourth quadrant, but it just didn't work out, so I made one more gold Bear Paw. I had run out of the background fabric with little green dots, but found one with some blue print that worked fine.  I added in bits of white and blue fabric to fill out the main part of the quilt to match the size of the word strips. I forgot to add extra seam allowance to the right side and bottom blue strips, so there are some irregularities, and why everything is a bit wonky along the right edge I have no idea. The final result is more traditional than I had in mind, but I think it works for a front door where big contrasts are important for visibility from the street.  

Remember the bag of biggish scraps? The lightest ones became the back of the quilt.

If you look close, you will see lots of half square triangles sewn into rows. For the quilting, I did in-the-ditch work, scribble-quilting on the sunflowers, and meandering in the background using off-white, gold and blue threads. The binding is more scraps (lots of little ones) in medium yellow. 

Here are the stats: 

Pattern: My own foundation paper pieced letters, drafted on graph paper to finish at 3 inches square per letter. I had to squeeze them to keep the quilt size small, so they ended up as rhombus shapes with the short sides a little over two inches. Traditional Bear Paw blocks finishing at 6 inches. 
Fabrics: Years of scraps
Batting: Frankenbatting made from a narrow strip of Warm and White.
Thread: Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; Superior King Tut in White Linen, Aurifil 40 wt. in Tarnished Gold and Mettler 50 wt in Smoky Blue for quilting; non-decript yellow hand quilting thread (Coats and Clark?) for hand sewing binding.
Size: 17 1/2 by 20 inches
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for walking foot and free motion quilting and for machine work on the binding.

I signed my initials, but forgot the date. I suppose I could still add it in, but I really don't care for embroidering 2s, so maybe that's why I forgot. 

Overall, I'm pleased with the project. It's not perfect, but then neither is our world. In fact, it's a downright mess right now. As an individual, I feel helpless and sometimes hopeless. I give to my favorite charitable organization to support refugees, but beyond that, what? So I sew my feelings out and share a bit of them with whoever passes by. And pray. 

Most of the yellow scraps are gone now, but I might be able to eke out one more placemat. Maybe with that other sunflower fabric I mentioned. In fact, I have a Quilter's Color Quest sunflower Bear Paw block made with it, too, that could go into a placemat. This month's RSC color is pink. I don't think I have a lot of pink scraps, so maybe I can fit a little more yellow sewing this month. We'll see.

I hope you are having fun with scraps this month, and if an urge has prompted you to abandon your usual sewing, just go with it. 

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