Monday, February 1, 2016

January Blues for Quilty 365

It's time once again to party with the Quilty 365 quilt along.  I'm linking up with my first month's worth of circles.  Thirty-one days' worth of blues.

I decided to do one color a month for my circles.  It was really fun to poke through the stash and scraps to find blue fabrics that caught my fancy.

Admittedly, I didn't make just one circle a day.  I did several at a time when the mood struck, and that turned out to be a good way of working for me.

A couple of my favorites from the month were the fussy cut house block...

And the bluebird.


But honestly, I like each and every one of them.  There is part of a repurposed '80s dress my sister gave me, a thrifted shirt or two, fabric from friends, and others with their own special story.

February's colors will be red and pink.  I haven't made one yet today so I better get busy.

Pop over to Audrey's blog, Quilty Folk, to explore the links.  It's fascinating to see the creative variations on the Quilty 365 theme.

Of course, when I think of the blues, I think of some great music.  I recently saw the band Lake Street Dive on Stephen Colbert's late night show.  Here's an earlier bluesy song by their amazing lead singer, Rachael Price.  Ooh, I'm telling you, that girl can sing! 


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Sundry 1-31-16

Well, I ran out of thread last night while quilting the Joy in the Evening quilt, and none of the same was to be found at the local Jo-Ann or Walmart today.  So here I am in front of the screen, because the next job on my task list was organizing some of the paper piles that are encroaching upon every available flat space in my office area.

Do you know what happens when your spouse retires?  Paperwork.  Among other things, for sure, but, oy, the papers.  About the pension, about the Social Security, about the changes to the Social Security, about the retiree health insurance, about the COBRA benefits, about the 401K, about the company to which you may roll the 401K.  

And then there are my notes about the papers and my notes about telephone conversations with representatives about the papers, and to-do lists scribbled on notes mixed in with the papers.

I'm going to need a snow shovel up in here if I don't handle the papers.  But here I am, pecking out a post, not dealing with the papers.  Hi!

This is "discrastination" in progress.

But about the thread I ran out of, I had a full spool of Coats and Clark multicolor machine quilting thread that seemed perfect for the Joy quilt.  Who knows how old it was, but I wanted to use it up.  I don't use a lot of CC thread for quilting anymore, preferring other brands instead.  So use it up, I figured.  

And I did.  It got me exactly halfway through the quilt.

Fine.  I'll go to the store and buy more of the thread I don't use much anymore.  This spool was 275 yards (a regular sewing spool size), and one more ought to do the trick.  

But what's this?  They don't carry that same 50#, multicolor, 275-yard spool of mercerized (what does that even mean?), 100% Egyptian cotton, machine quilting thread anymore?


Fine. I'll go online and find it.  Okay, found it, but what's this?  It's only available in 1,250 yards?

Fine.  I'll buy 1,250 yards more of the thread I don't use much anymore.  Just so I can finish the remaining half of this project and then have 1,000 yards left to...not use much anymore...some more.

Ever see that Subaru car commercial where the kid is driving his dad's car?  (See it HERE)  And it's one thing after another and he's stuck in traffic and says, "Move it...killin' me..."   

I feel your frustration, little buddy.

* * * * *
Moving on, and talking turkey, I just had to check the skin grafts on my breast.  Let me explain.

I am cooking a turkey breast.  The kind that comes without wings and drumsticks for those who dislike eating said appendages.  Which makes them kind of tricky to prop up in the roaster, but I digress.

So this particular turkey breast was missing a significant amount of skin on its—what is it called, a belly?  The part at the bottom of the breast right above the hole where all the innards were yanked out.  

Mm, that was appetizing.  Hungry?

Anyway, there was no skin over a very meaty part of the turkey, and I was afraid roasting it without anything to cover the meat would make it dry out. 

Now I've heard of people putting bacon on a turkey breast and that's what I reached for, but all the bacon we had was frozen.  And I had to get this bird started cooking, so what to do?

Well, you know all that loose skin they leave at the neck hole for no apparent reason other than to hide the bag of innards—what are those called, giblets?  You know, the heart, gizzard, spleen or what-have-you that you're supposed to maybe cook or, if you're like me, throw away?  

(Aside:  Do you think you get the actual innards that were in the bird you buy?  Or is there an innard sorting line at the plant for livers and such, and then another job is to pick out one heart, one liver, one spleen and bag it up.  Like the Brach's Pick-A-Mix candy stand of innards?)


Lookie there!  Candy!  Not innards!  Because if you have read this far, you need a palate cleanser.  Have a butterscotch disk, won't you?

Anyway, skin graft:  I cut that loose neck skin off and placed it over the breast where the meat was exposed.  The end.

Not really, because it's still in the oven. And I just basted said turkey breast, and half of the graft shriveled up and fell off.  Ah well, it seemed like a great idea at the time.

Good thing there's aluminum foil.

* * * * *

I've taken some non-quilty pictures the past week or two, which I have yet to share here until now.


A hawk swooped past the kitchen window and then perched in a tree off the deck.  I grabbed my camera and sat taking pictures of him through the sliding door.  

He could see me as well as I could see him.  I think we shared a moment.


It was a juvenile red-tailed hawk.  I am happy to see him in the neighborhood, where the squirrels and rabbits are plentiful, and moles and voles too.  

It's a smorgasbord!  Knock yourself out, little hawk!

And we had some snow last week, which should not be news for the Upper Midwest, but it's been a mild winter so far.


The snow was the kind wet enough and with the right wind behind it to stick to the trees, making them looked flocked.  It was really pretty. 

We're looking at a winter storm in a day or two, but predicted snowfall amounts vary.  It was maybe 16 inches, then changed to maybe half that—or it could be rain.  We will see!

Well, the turkey smells like it's done, and the papers are still here to be sorted.  Time to go!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Little Bits of Beautiful

I had a "Squirrel!" moment this past week—and it's so compelling to chase those squirrels when you're busy procrastinating, isn't it?

I think there needs to be a word that combines procrastinating + distraction.  Protraction?  Discrastinating?  I like the sound of the last one.

So as I procrastinated on quilting (some things never change...much) two basted (basted!) flimsies, I spied this baggie of little bits from Marei, part of a scrap swap we did last year.  By little bits, I mean about 2.5" pieced squares.

When I first got them, I may have fiddled around a little but nothing really struck me.  This time within a minute, I was like, DUH, red pinwheels!  And I was off chasing that squirrel. 

It all came together pretty smoothly from there.  Tried a few borders...

And soon I had a mini quilt!

It has a Valentine's Day kind of feel, I think, so it will go up on the wall for the season once it's quilted.  

With three projects now basted together and ready to quilt—and my basting pins bowl completely empty—it's time to "just do it."  I started quilting the Joy in the Evening quilt last night.

Linking to:  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Friday, January 22, 2016

String Diamond Quilt Top

I set off on a tangent this week, stringing together a little string diamond quilt top.  

Bright strips pieced on rectangular phone book pages, slightly trimmed to 6.5 x 8.5 inches.  

I started with a black and white strip centered on the diagonal of each block.

Thirty-six blocks made this little flimsy, which measures roughly 36.5 x 48.5.

An alternate way of putting this together could be like so:

Norm wasn't keen on that layout, though, for this particular quilt, and I agreed that the original idea of a central diamond with the blocks radiating was my preference as well.

Kind of trippy, no?

Trippy and happy, just the way I like it!

Linking to:  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?  Hop on over and see what Sarah and others are sharing!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Joy in the Evening

"Joy in the Evening" is my version of the "Joy in the Morning" quilt pattern by Gayle Bong, which featured yellow as the background for the bright squares.  I went with a deep teal/almost navy blue instead. 

Interestingly, it's what I used in one of my earliest quilts, a Bonnie Hunter Chunky Churndash, which remains one of my favorites.  I was happy to find that fabric was still available at Jo-Ann.

The flimsy measures about 51-1/2 x 61-1/2.  It'll be a happy little quilt! 

On the Quilty 365 project, I've found it difficult to make one circle a day—as in just one.  

They're kind of like potato chips in that way.  So much fun!

I've decided to do all the circles in one color per month.  January is blue (or mostly blue).

There may be a month (or two) of "multi" as the color, or "anything goes."


In scrounging around for light backgrounds, I took some light squares out of part of a charm pack Marei had included in her fabulous scrappy treasure box.  Since the rest of my backgrounds had been prewashed, I hand-washed and dried the dozen or so charm squares as well.

Interesting to note the amount of shrinkage.  The prewashed squares are on the left for comparison.  

They lost on average about 1/4 inch in length along the grain line and 1/8 inch in width.

Now I wouldn't prewash a whole pack of charm squares if I was making something with them all, but I'm glad I did it for the handful of charm squares I'll use in this project, to hopefully minimize puckering around the appliqued circles.

Have you ever prewashed your precuts?  Feel free to 'fess up!

Linking to:  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Jumping Into Quilty 365

First of the year, why not jump in on the Quilty 365 project?

Why not indeed!

I've watched along long enough.  It's been fun seeing the daily circles folks are making.  With the start of the new year, I started my own Quilty 365!


For the circle, it just so happened the inside of the painter's tape was about the right size.  I traced the interior and made a little cardboard circle template.

I'm using the technique where you layer a piece of lightweight non-fusible interfacing on your fabric scrap, sew around the circle, trim the seam to 1/8 inch, slash the fusible layer and turn the whole circle through the slash and press it flat.  

Doing it this way, you don't have to cut out two circles.  You just trace your circle onto the interfacing, rough-cut it out, and pin it on top of your scrap (which is right side up).  Then sew right on the traced line.  All the trimming/cutting happens after you've done the sewing.

I machine appliqued the circle onto the square, flipped it over and trimmed away the fabric backing inside the circle as well as the lightweight fusible, to a 1/4-inch seam.

I'm intending to machine applique the circles onto neutral or low-volume 4.5-inch squares.  I had to piece the first neutral square together, because the scrap of leftover binding was too narrow otherwise.  But those diagonal stripes were too sweet to pass up!  As for the circle, it's a cold winter day here, and the icy blue seemed appropriate, plus the whole circle (spiral) theme.

Linking to Quilty Folk for the January Quilty 365 Linkup.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Turning the Page

I experimented with background fabric possibilities for the Joy in the Morning quilt, which is looking more like it will be Joy in the Evening.  The pattern in the book has the brights against a sunny yellow background.  I'm going to go the other way.  I'm kind of a night owl anyway.



First I tried scrappy dark blues and greens, above.  By the way, this is just a portion of the quilt as fit on my small design board.  Just trying to get an idea of what might work.

Of course, I was hoping to use what I had on hand, but wasn't going to rule out a trip to the fabric store if need be.

Didn't have enough of this paisley blender, but I liked it.  Of course it's out of stock now, so...hmm.

The only black I had enough yardage of was this one, but the gray swirl really jumped out in the photo.  Ix-nay on that one.

So a trip to the store was in order this morning, and of course I couldn't decide so I bought a couple options.  They're in the washer right now.  Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Today is Norm's last day of work, after 30 years of making cheese.  One hour from now, he's officially retired!

Hope you all have a very Happy New Year!