Sunday, May 30, 2021

Hands2Help Quilts 2021

These are the two quilts I finished for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge 2021 hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

First up is a red and white quilt featuring the beautiful embroidery of Evelyn in California.  She sent me the sweet, animal-themed embroidered blocks and fabric to finish up this darling little quilt.  I talked about it at more length in a previous post HERE.  Click the link to see more pictures and closeups.

This quilt was sent off this week to Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo.

The second is a baby quilt I finished and sent to Little Lambs Foundation.  This came together from some 2-1/2 inch squares left over from a previous project, which I sewed into nine-patches and then added  sashing and borders around it to bring it up to baby quilt size.

I'm working on finishing up more quilts for donation in the coming months, but that's the wrap for my Hands2Help quilts for this year's challenge!

Linking to:  Confessions of a Fabric Addict: Hands2Help - Time to Show off Your Quilts!

Friday, May 28, 2021

May Table Scraps Challenge - Red White and Blue Serendipity

For May's Table Scraps Challenge, I had Memorial Day in mind.  There were some interesting red, white, and blue fabrics in the bags given to me recently, as well as some Wizard of Oz themed fabric, including a fat quarter of a poppy print.  I think of the Buddy Poppy around Memorial Day.  The ones I remember were made of red crepe paper on a wire stem, but they're slightly different looking now.  

As it turned out, I didn't use the poppy print fabric after all (the colors were a little too orange-red for this runner, and there was yellow in the background). 

But what kind of runner to make with the red, white, and blue?  As I looked off to the right of the cutting table, I saw my Serendipity table runner that I made several years ago.  It's where I usually plunk down my scissors or rotary cutter when I'm working.

Perfect!  I'll whip up another one of those.  I revisited the tutorial I had written when I made the first one.  You can find that HERE.  I had used charm squares then, but this time I just cut the pieces I needed in the correct dimensions from the red, white, and blue scraps.

The fun of this runner, for me, is playing with the pieces to get a combination that looks balanced but not too perfect.  Especially if there are string-pieced elements, I want a bit of random.  Do you know what I mean?

I was really down to the dregs of batting scraps.  There are quite a few little pieces of Frankenstein-stitched batting in this one.  I don't know why that makes me happy, but it does.

For the quilting, I went with a wavy stitch on my Brother sewing machine.  I like the effect of the lengthwise parallel waves.

And that's it, my RWB Serendipity table runner!  

It's sitting in the kitchen garden window now with my grandmother's blue pressed glass footed bowl.

I hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend!

Linking to:  The Joyful Quilter - Table Scraps Challenge

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Project County Fair Quilt

When I was a kid, sometime during my preteen years, my mom subscribed to a craft-of-the-month club.  Every few weeks, a kit arrived in the mail with everything to make a crafty do-dad.  I don't know my mother's motivation for signing up for the club.  She was already busy with knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, Artex (anyone remember that?), embroidery, and sewing.  There already didn't seem to be enough hours in the day for all that, along with work and family stuff.

Anyway, it seemed like it was me who was always the most excited about these monthly surprises by mail.  My mom sat down and looked through the first couple kits that arrived, but I got the impression they were a little simplistic for her skill level.  So my sister and I happily shared in the most of the kit crafting together.

While I don't remember the majority of the projects, I do remember the Christmas ornaments we made from one kit.  We had to assemble and place these little holiday themed figurines inside a clear plastic tube, along with some with fake snow, and then cap either end with a styrofoam ball cut in half and trim it with gold ribbon.  They actually turned out pretty nicely and hung on our Christmas tree for many years.

I really liked those kits, but the subscription was short-lived.  I continued doing crafty things on my own, like learn to decoupage, make things from paper mache, sew Barbie and doll clothes from mom's scraps, and learn to knit and embroider.  My sister got more into drawing and painting, first with acrylics and eventually oils.  I was content with paint-by-number, myself, but occasionally dabbled with her art supplies.

All of that to say that I am once again enjoying a fun kit that came in the mail.  This was via Jo of Jo's Country Junction, from a reader who sent it to her.  (If anyone happens to recognize it as their UFO, please let me know in the comments.)  Jo was looking for someone to finish and donate some of the things that had been sent her way, and I volunteered.

I started looking at this project in more detail a few days ago.  It's a Debbie Mumm block-of-the-month quilt called County Fair.  How sweet is that!

Everything was there to make the entire quilt—all the Debbie Mumm fabric and instructions.  Wow!  A few of the blocks had been started and/or fabric cut for them.  I began with Block 1, a big 24-1/2 inch red barn.  It was already about a third of the way pieced by the original owner, so it was easy enough to finish up.  Block one completed!

Now I'm on to Block 2.  I cut all the pieces for it this afternoon.  Pretty sunflowers!  

In looking through some of the other block instructions, I can see a couple changes I'll be making as far as technique, especially when it comes to the beehive block, which is largely appliqued.

It'll be fun to work on this quilt!  It's supposed to finish at 89 x 89 inches, so the actual quilting of it may need to go to someone with a longarm, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.  I'll keep you posted on its progress.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Fabric and Finishes

As mentioned in the previous post, my daughter recently brought me two big bags full to the brim with fabric from her coworker.  Here it is on my cutting table after I took it out of the bags and grouped it by colors and thus loads that I could prewash together.

I am allergic to cats and dust (not that you'd know it by the usual state of my housekeeping), so I  prewash everything before incorporating it on my shelves.  Time consuming, yes, but I actually enjoy the opportunity to pet each fabric individually as I take it out of the washing machine (and cut apart the mess of strings), dry the load, and then press each piece one by one.

It took about 10 days to get all of this new-to-me fabric sorted.  Here is everything afterwards, stacked on the cutting table.  There's some great fabric here!  The biggest piece is 3 yards of a Christmas print, but many yard and half-yard cuts, and a whole lot of fat quarter sized pieces.

I am so grateful to this person who wondered what to do with the fabric left from mask making in 2020 and passed it along my way.  I will certainly use it!  

Now for the finishes.  Several months ago, Jo of Jo's Country Junction connected me with a woman named Evelyn in California, who had a flannel quilt kit and a some other UFOs to be finished.  I agreed to finish them for donation.  You may have seen this pretty flannel quilt finish recently on Jo's blog (HERE and HERE).  

After I had pieced it, I sent it to Ray in Florida, a longarm quilter who finishes many donation quilts that come to him through Jo.  It was larger in size than I normally feel able to handle quilting on my regular sewing machine, so I asked Ray if he would be willing to longarm quilt it, and he agreed.  He did a beautiful job!  You can read more about this quilt in the links above, but here is a closeup he sent me of the quilting.

Then this weekend, I finally finished the second UFO from Evelyn.  She had sent some beautiful, neat-as-a-pin redwork embroidery blocks of cute animals, along with the instruction sheet to complete the red and white quilt and fabric to do so.  

Her blocks were so well done!  I really wanted to do her handiwork justice in finishing this quilt.  Here it is pieced together and on the design wall in mid-March.

I did use a different "white" when piecing the borders of the quilt (Kona Snow), as it matched the background of the redwork better than a true white did.  I pieced the backing from some of the other red and white fabric she'd sent, plus added a bit of my own to make the backing big enough.

Then it was time for me to quilt it.  The size was ideal for me to handle, at about 45 x 55, but how was I going to quilt the embroidered blocks?  I had a couple vague ideas, but no concrete plan, so I put the basted quilt aside for several weeks to allow my trepidation to settle.

Last week, having procrastinated long enough, I started in on the ditch quilting.  I still didn't really know what I was going to do around the embroidery, but I know that when I finally get over myself and take the first baby steps, momentum usually takes over. 

And so it did.  Ultimately, I just went with the flow and let the spirit and needle lead the way, block by block.  Over the course of a couple days, it was quilted!

Some blocks may be a little more inspired than others, quilting-wise, but overall I think it turned out well.

I used some red fabric from the new influx of scraps mentioned above in binding the quilt.  There was a long red scrap on the lengthwise straight of grain, which was perfect for this quilt.  

Having quilted more densely in the center than the borders, they threatened to become a bit wavy.  The lengthwise-cut binding helped corral it and made for a nice straight edge.

I will be donating this quilt to Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo as part of the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge 2021.  I hope whoever receives it will be uplifted by the playful, whimsical critters in this pretty red and white quilt.  Thanks again to Evelyn for entrusting a few of her projects to me to be finished, and to Jo and Sarah for connecting a community of charitable quilters!