Tuesday, January 30, 2024

SAHRR 24 Border 2

Well, that prompt was a surprise. I'm participating in the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) hosted by Quilting Gail and her friends, who give us a prompt each week to add a border to our initial block or panel. We are on our second week of adding borders, and our prompter this week is Anja of Anja Quilts. Her prompt? "Use 2 colours." (Or in my case, colors, as I'm in the US.) That was it. And then she said we could use whatever design we wanted.

I will admit that at first I was a bit...disappointed, I guess? I had envisioned my quilt as having bits of many colors sprinkled throughout. I really didn't want to pick just two of them, and have those steal the show. What to do, what to do. And then I had it. This is what's great about these prompts. They nudge us to use our creativity in ways we might not have expected. The answer suddenly seemed obvious: black and white backgroundish fabrics to set off whatever colorful bits might come next. And in no time at all, I had this week's finish.

I knew that I wanted to make a 6-inch border on two sides of the quilt. I have some good sized pieces of striped and polka dot fabric leftover from other quilts as well as some long strips of a floral cut off from from a backing. I cut the stripe at 1-1/2 inches wide to finish at 1 inch. The floral was just wide enough to cut 4-1/2 inch wide strips to finish at 4 inches. I cut the polka dot at the same width as the stripe. 

Can I say I'm really tickled with how the miter came out on the stripe? I sewed those striped borders at the corner first, starting about two inches away from the corner and then mitering them before sewing the rest of the length of the strips onto the quilt. It just seemed easier to do that to make sure the stripes would match up. I also basted them before machine sewing to make sure they stayed in place. I'm not mitering my other borders (unless I use the stripe again) but the stripes just look neat that way. 

The whole quilt now measures at 28 inches square (plus seam allowance). Thanks to Anja for a prompt that stretched my thinking! I'm sure the colorful bits will be back in another round, and those black and white prints will also come back into play. (Hmm, striped binding, maybe?)

I'm linking up with Anja at Anja Quilts, where we can all cheer each other's progress this week. You can read about the beginning of the SAHRR at Quilting Gail here, where there are also links to the other hosts who are giving us our weekly prompts. 

(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.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

SAHRR 24 Border 1

This is fun, but what a big mess I have. Why I decided to make two rainbow quilts at once, I don't know. Three rooms in my house are now full of scattered bits of colorful fabric. Anyway, this post is about one of those quilts. I'm participating in the Stay At Home Round Robin (SAHRR) hosted by Quilting Gail. Last week we shared our "center" blocks. I used quotes because my block is not going to be in the center. This week we are adding Border 1. The prompt is by Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts. A signature block. She noted that we had a lot of leeway in how to use the block (which is usually a light color with darker points), so I took as much leeway as I could. Here's my version. 

I knew I wanted the darker part of the block in the middle, but I also needed to think about how I wanted to balance colors, proportions, and the amounts of fabric I have available. My first decision was to add a one-inch border around my original block to make a more manageable size (16 inches instead of 14). Then I planned 4-inch scrap-pieced signature blocks using my Quiltography app.

I used colors from the "center" block to plan the signature blocks. The squares in the blocks are cut at 2-1/2 inches to finish at 2 inches. I cut 3-inch squares of colorful and background fabrics to make two-at-a time HSTs for the rest of each block. I was going to use blacks for the corner block, but when I laid them out, that block stood out more than I would like, so I subbed in a gray print for the squares. 

After sewing everything together, I added a print border (finished at 2 inches) to bring the whole finished border up to 6 inches. 

I'm not sure if I like the gray print in the corner next to the border (iffy contrast; maybe a more solidish gray would have been better), but I think I'll leave it as it is, at least for now. 

So there you have my sort-of signature blocks. Be sure to visit the links to see Gail's introduction, the beginning blocks, Wendy's prompt and the links to everyone's progress. Maybe you'll join in, too?

(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.)

Monday, January 15, 2024

SAHRR 2024

I'm doing it. Joining the SAHRR this year. What is that, you ask? It's the Stay At Home Round Robin that Quilting Gail has hosted for the past several years. Usually in round robins quilters begin a quilt by making a block, and then they pass it around to other members in a group, and each person adds a border before returning it to the originator to finish. But in this round robin, each quilter begins the quilt and then keeps adding borders at home following a different prompt each week from a group of quilters selected by Gail. Check out her introductory post here to find out more about this year's SAHRR. 

I have always enjoyed seeing the resulting variety of quilts. So it's time to join in the fun. Here's my starting block.

This block is from four Bear Paws I made during an online color workshop I took from Rachel Hauser in 2020 to keep myself sane while staying home during the pandemic. You can read the details about them in my blogpost from May 2020.  At the time I tried a layout of this larger block, but I wasn't sure that I'd use it that way in a quilt. When I decided to join SAHRR this year, I knew that I did want to use this layout. I had just enough leftover background fabric in my scrap bin to make the sashing. I also used a square of the black print fabric in the center that I auditioned way back when I made the originals. I did do some surgery to replace the two yellow claws with ones in a slightly darker shade because I didn't want them to fade into the background.

This block is 14 inches square, which might be big for the beginning of a quilt with the potential of six borders, but I'll assess things as I go and make adjustments if needed. I have no plan at this point, which makes me a tad bit nervous. I'd like to use only fabrics I have on hand for the top, but I'm leaving myself open to buying more fabric. I'm eager to see where this quilt is going. 

Thanks to Gail for hosting this fun way to begin a new year. And to her helpers who will inspire us with their blocks and prompts for the borders. I'm linking up to the first linky party here at Quilting Gail.

Hey, how does a SAHRR sound to you? Are you ready to join the fun, too?

(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.) 

Friday, January 5, 2024

A New Baby Quilt

Our new great-nephew is here, so I can finally share my adventure from the last few months. Here's a sneak peek.

And the story:

We knew this baby was coming for quite a few months. He was a major surprise for his parents after a long journey of disappointments and grief and letting go of a dream. From the time I heard that he was on his way to our world, I was excited to make one more baby quilt for a great-nibling (new word to me--I had to look it up). 

Around August I was ready to get started. I checked in with my niece, and she said she might be decorating the nursery around a piece of Australian artwork that her husband had bought years ago. While I was on vacation I saw an Australian line of fabrics and bought a few fat quarters for inspiration. After I got home, I kept fooling around with them, but they just wouldn't tell me what they wanted to be. Meanwhile, my niece sent me a photo of a rug with bold geometric shapes that she was looking at for the nursery. (You can see it here if you want to.) Without a second thought about what the words "looking at" might mean, I pushed aside the uninspiring fabrics and jumped in with both feet (and hands), looked up the rug online, and designed a quilt based on some of the shapes and the colors in the rug. You know how quilters are, of course you do. We have to get making. I was inspired.

I even made the rounds of the local and online fabric stores to gather the fabrics to bring my design to life. And then I got to work. Here are the first blocks I made, and they are still my favorite ones. 

More blocks followed quickly--I was in the zone.

Until I had quite a design wall full of them. (Excuse the blurred photo--we were having a string of dark days, which were not kind to photography.)

I constructed the quilt in batches of like blocks. My original color scheme was taupe, yellow, orange, turquoise, blue, navy, and snow, with a bit of gray. Early on I focused mostly on the blocks with taupe, yellow or orange. This was moving along fast. Until I got a message from my niece. The geometric rug just wasn't working out. Ulp! She had decided to go with a navy blue rug. Well, that would still work. But she had also decided against the artwork.  And she was looking at some wallpaper with sharks and whales in it. Can you hear the screeching tires? Stop the quilt making. My color scheme was wayyyyy off. Two days later I had a new color scheme in place--never mind that my niece was still "looking at" the wallpaper. 

I replaced the orange with dark red (there were some sharks with open mouths in the wallpaper), and the yellows with more blues and gray, and added some blacks to the navies. The taupes would still work. Then I set everything aside and went on vacation for a week.  After I got back, I made myself wait just a little longer, and made some placemats instead of jumping back in on the quilt. Then I unsewed all of the yellow and orange parts of the blocks--not nearly as fiddly a task as it might seem. 

Near the end of October, I checked in with my niece. She had ordered the wallpaper. Yes!! Back to work full steam.  I started by sewing all the reds in place of the oranges. I did make new quarter-circle blocks. That seemed faster than resewing the old curves. 
Another dark photo, I know. You can see the page I printed of the wallpaper. The actual wallpaper has much larger sharks and whales, but I was using it as a reference for colors. I did a little extra shopping locally for more blues and grays, focusing on fabrics with subtle patterns that seemed to me to look sort of like shark or whale skin and water. I know they look solid here.

More block parts up on the wall. It got to be a messy process but moved ahead quickly. 

And just like that, a top, ready to baste.

So, lets look at the finish, shall we, and then I'll talk about the quilting and back...

For the quilting, I decided on wavy lines with my walking foot. I started in the middle and worked toward the top. The waves got wavier and wavier as I went. Yikes. Then I went back to the middle and worked toward the bottom. I tried and tried to get wavier to mimic the upper part of the quilt, but no matter what I did I just couldn't duplicate that design. So instead, I intentionally made the waves flatter and flatter. No sense fighting the quilt. I'm going to call it a design element. There are currents in the water at the bottom of the ocean and waves at the surface, right? That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. 

Here's a bit of a close-up. 

And my initials/date.

And the back.

I've had this Joel Dewberry woodgrain print for quite awhile. I had bought 4 yards of it thinking it would make a good back someday. Well, here's someday. I was thinking "boardwalk" for this quilt, because my niece's family lives on the west coast near the ocean where there is a long boardwalk. Never mind that the boardwalk where they live is cement. I was hoping that maybe there was a wooden pier. (It turns out their pier is wood. Yay! I found that out after I sent the quilt.) It needed some pepping up, so leftover water colors worked just right for a band across the top. For the binding I combined leftover navy prints. 

Here's a close up of the back.  

And here are the stats: 

Pattern: My own, inspired by a geometric patterned rug, and designed with the Quiltography app.

Block size and piecing: 8 inches finished. No-tear paper foundation piecing wherever possible.  

Size: 56 1/2 inches square before quilting. 55 3/4 by 56 inches after quilting. (I trimmed the quilt about 1/8 inch bigger before binding to try to keep the block points intact as much as possible with 3/8 inch binding.)  52 3/4 by 53 inches after washing.

Fabrics: Wide variety of subtle prints and a bit of Kona snow.

Batting: Fairfield 80/20

Thread: Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; Coats and Clark quilting cotton in Nugrey for quilting and machine part of binding; Superior Treasure in Antique for hand binding.

Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer 115 Treadle for quilting and first seam of binding.

 After I washed the quilt, the light was good in the guest room to see the prints, quilting, and texture. So here are the glamour shots. It's too grubby outside this time of year to go on location anyway.

This quilt sure came a long way from first idea (busy Australian prints that I didn't show you but are now stash enhancers) to yellow and orange brights (also now stash enhancers) to moody ocean colors (mostly used up). Perhaps it is a lesson in "look before you leap," but honestly, the whole experience was fun. And I'm just a bit tickled that the design worked by just tweaking the colors. And it's kind of funny that it was inspired by a rug that is no longer relevant. I hope Baby J and his parents (and big sister) will enjoy it for a long time. 

I hope you have or have had the opportunity to make a baby quilt for someone. It's such a joyful gift to make. And whether you look before you leap or not, I hope all of your quilting adventures are as much fun as this one.

(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.)

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

2023 Wrap-up

Happy New Year! I almost skipped doing this post because I posted a grand total of 9 times in 2023. I don't really have much of a reason. Just doing other things I guess. I sort of got in a habit of only posting when I had a finish, and there weren't many of those this year. But I do like having everything together in one post, so here goes. I thought I might do a countdown like in the Twelve Days of Christmas song. My finishes don't quite fit, but we'll imagine they do. So lets sing together:

Four bags of groceries 

These were a fun and much needed project made from scrap strips I made in 2022. Every bit of the bags are scraps, including the batting made from an old blanket. They are about the size of a standard paper grocery bag, and we use them all the time. And I love that I can throw them in the wash occasionally. My bagger really likes using them at the self check-out lane because they stand up nicely and take any amount of weight he throws at them. You can read about them here

Three placemats

These are part of a group of placemats I am making to donate to Meals on Wheels. I didn't make as many as last year, but I have until the end of March for the yearly collection. These are made from my multicolored scrap bin along with a supply of blocks and other scraps or pieces as needed. The battings are also pieced from scraps. Hopefully you will see more of these kinds of placemats soon. If you want to read about these, read here and here.

Three Giving Quilts  (See, this is where the song analogy falls apart.)


The first quilt (Turquorangellow) is actually a finish, as the top was made in 2022. It's from a pattern by Sew Katie Did. 

The second one (Rainbow Bear Paws) began with one block made way back during the pandemic in 2020, and then expanded in 2022 with blocks made during the Rainbow Scrap Challenge hosted by Angela at SoScrappy

And the third (Positivity Blooms) was made from a pattern/tutorial by Preeti at Sew Preeti Quilts (I can't find the original post, so I am linking to her year-end wrap up post where you can see her other version of this quilt) during a challenge by Preeti and Bernie of Needle and Foot (l'm linking to Bernie's finish) to make quilts for donation. 

Hopefully, all of these quilts will bring comfort and joy to whoever receives them. You can read more about them here, here, and here.

Two Baby Quilts

The first quilt was for my great-niece born in February of this year. It's my own design with Flower blocks inspired by Cluck Cluck Sew. You can read more about it here.

The second quilt was for my great-nephew born just a week and a half ago. No, you haven't seen a post about this quilt yet. You'll be able to read its story in my next post in a day or so. 

Now all together now...

And an Ipad Case (in a pear tree?)

This was a little squirrely project I made when I bought a new Ipad so it would have  something cushy and protective when I traveled. I made an extra big flap to close it, and it has worked just as I thought it would. You can read about how I made this little less-than-an-hour project with scraps here.

So there we have it, 2023 in a nutshell (or pear tree). No big goals for 2024. Just more making as the notion strikes me. I am almost done de-decorating from the holidays, and that always inspires me to make a quilty mess. I hope you had excellent holidays and are now well on your way to a Happy Quilty New Year.