Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday Sundry 5-21-23

It's been awhile since I did a Sunday Sundry post, a smorgasbord of this and that.  I have been sewing, too, so let's start with what I'm currently working on.

This four-patch quilt is coming along nicely.  It started with a pull of some fat quarter remnants and similar scraps I've accumulated over time.  These muted colors don't typically resonate with me when I'm fabric shopping, but somehow, by gift or thrift, I've ended up with enough of them such that they can all now live their best life together in a quilt.  I'm happy to do the honors.

When I saw this pattern on Mary Quilts, I decided it would work well for this project.  It's called Four Patches on the Diagonal. 

I actually have the top mostly together now except for the outer border, so you'll see it soon.  The more I work on it, the more I like it!

Happy Mail!

A few weeks ago, I got a happy mail package from The Joyful Quilter!  She sent me some nice John Deere themed fabric, as well as a couple bags chock full of blue and green scraps.  I was oohing and aahing over the green ones here.

I may be putting these to good use soon, as Jo's Country Junction is doing a YouTube tutorial series on a scrappy star block quilt she is calling Picadilly Circus.  It looks like fun!

Joyful also included a fun mug rug.  The happy colors make me smile! :)

Like Another Hole in the Head

I had my ears re-pierced a few weeks ago.  Yay!  Since I quit in-office work a dozen or so years ago and thus didn't wear earrings regularly, one of them had completely closed and the other needed way too much effort to shove a post through.  So I met my daughter at the tattoo and piercing salon and we made an afternoon of it, shopping and having lunch after the deed was done.

We even stopped at the thrift store and made a pretty good clothing haul.  Dear daughter spotted this colorful shirt on the rack and waved it as I was getting ready to check out, and I gave it an enthusiastic nod (under $4, I think it was).  It's a Lands End rash guard with UPF 50. 

I tried it on at home and it fit perfectly (always an iffy proposition with my long arms).  Having had my first skin check in February this year (and the scars to prove it; nothing cancerous, thankfully), I probably need to get serious about protecting my skin.

Suddenly Spring!

It took forever for spring to arrive—or feel like it was sticking around, anyway—but it finally seems to have made up its mind.  I planted flowers this past week, mostly in pots scattered here and there around the house.  

Lily of the Valley always reminds me of my grandma.  She had a patch of it in one of her gardens, but she also had some kind of scented powder that smelled like it.  

I did battle with it in the flower bed on the north side of my house, but it persists in finding a way through the cracks.  Ah, well.  I pinch off a sprig and inhale and am transported back to Grandma's house on Hubbard Street all those years ago.

Today was also my first bike ride of the season.  We did a respectable 15 miles with a couple rests stops along the way to give my knees a break.  The idea of an e-bike is looking better every year, but I'd like to keep pedaling under my own power as long as I can.  We tend to bike fairly flat trails so it's still doable for now. 

It was about as perfect a day for biking as there could be!

It's rhubarb season, and I picked a fresh batch a couple days ago.  Earlier this month, I used up the last of the frozen rhubarb and some mulberries from last summer in a rhubarb-berry crisp.  Delicious!


Monday, May 8, 2023

Hands2Help Check-In

I finished this little baby quilt over the weekend.  It's from a few crumb block pinwheels I made sometime last year.

They were just right for a quick little baby quilt when sashed and bordered.  It measures 38 inches square.

The backing is pieced, as is the binding.  There were a lot of smaller strips pieced together for that binding, which I was happy to use up.  Incredibly, none of the seams fell exactly in the corners, so that was a plus. :)

This will be sent to Little Lambs as part of the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge.

And in case you missed the previous post, this Trip Around the World quilt top was sent to MCC last week.

I'll leave you with a glimpse of my African Violet, which is going blooming crazy...

...and some fresh new additions to the flock!

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict for the Week 8 H2H Check-In.


Saturday, May 6, 2023

Blue Sampler and H2H Quilt Tops Done

I finished a couple donation quilt tops and mailed them out this week.

You may recall from my last post that I was making a blue sampler quilt with the intention of donating it as part of the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge.  There were a few hitches in the pattern, but I worked them out.  

Around the time I was finishing that top, I read a blog post on Jo's Country Junction where one of her charity quilt finishers, Ray in Florida, mentioned a Veterans Day church dinner this coming fall that he was involved in.  He requested if anyone had any patriotic quilt tops they wanted to donate for the event, to send them his way.

It just so happened that I had been thinking the blue sampler would make a nice quilt for a veteran as I was working on it.  So I decided to send it to Ray and then make a different quilt for Hands2Help.

Ray also noted in the comments section of Jo's post, "I could also use some red/white/blue UFO blocks that will finish at 12 inches. I can put some blocks together and make a sampler quilt out of the blocks." 

It sounded like a great use for some of the scraps left over from the blue quilt, so I made a few RWB blocks to send along with the quilt top.

I mailed out the top and blocks to Ray earlier this week, along with some red strips for the binding.  Ray intends to quilt it in red thread.  I think that's going to look great!

If you have any patriotic quilt tops or red/white/blue blocks that will finish at 12 inches, you might consider sending them to Ray.  His contact information can be found on this page of Jo's Country Junction blog, where he is number 18 in the list.

Having decided to pivot and send the blue sampler quilt elsewhere, I then did a fabric pull for a Trip Around the World top for the Hands2Help Challenge.  

All of these were either thrifted or gifted, not that I intended it that way, but it's the way it worked out.  It felt good to be finally giving these fabrics the opportunity to realize their full potential. Check out this selvage!

As it came together, I was digging the old-timey vibe the muted color combination was giving me.  There is a softness to it that I hope someone will find comforting. 

The top has now been sent off to MCC, one of the H2H 2023 partners, where it will be tied and sent to either Turkey or Ukraine, where the need is greatest right now.

That's the update from my sewing room.  What are you working on?

Linking to:  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Finished or Not Friday


Monday, April 17, 2023

Mistakes Were Made

Nobody's perfect.  As quilters, we can tolerate certain imperfections.  Sometimes they're what makes a quilt uniquely beautiful.

However, this sampler quilt that I've been working on has had me shaking my head on more than one occasion over the pattern directions.  That's it above on the design wall earlier today, partially sewn together, before I fixed the big star block on the lower right.

Granted it was a freebie pattern I found online and I appreciate that, but I'm also glad to have the wherewithal to notice the boo-boos and fix them.  Someone else may have given up in frustration.

It was possible I had goofed in constructing the half-rectangular units such that the points would be blunted once the top was sewn together (see red circled areas below).  In fact, I considered leaving it as is.  So what if the points of the stars didn't end where they should have?  Would the recipient notice and/or care?  Maybe, maybe not. 

But since I had leftover fabric and the willingness to investigate the error, I went back to the drawing board.  I remade a test half-rectangle unit per the cutting instructions and trimmed it to size per the instructions.  The result was... exactly the same.  Ugh.

It seemed to me I needed to cut the triangular pieces longer, but by how much?  I continued to make two more test samples before finally hitting upon the dimensions that seemed to work.  Turns out I needed to add 1.5 inches to the length.  That's not an insignificant "fudge factor."

My recalculations may not be perfect, but it's definitely looking better.  I may lose a tiny bit of the point in the seam allowance, but I can accept that.

Cutting directions were wrong for the pinwheel block, too.  It had me cutting fabric squares at 4.5 inches to make HSTs, but that was, in fact, the trimmed HST size.  I questioned it when I cut the squares, but I sewed it up per the instructions anyway...only to have to recut the pieces and do it again correctly.  Sometimes I can work against my better judgment just to prove a point, ha!

There were other pattern errors in the dimensions of finished blocks, and more.  You get the idea.

But these blocks turned out fine.  I used a light blue thrifted shirt fabric in the lower block.  The other large plaid in the quilt is yardage, not a shirt.

These wavy blocks are okay.  If I were to do them over (which I'm not), I'd pay closer attention to trimming them.  Hopefully, the minor jags will disappear with the quilting.

Anyway, I'm on track to finish the top after a few more minutes with the seam ripper. Yahoo! 

Linking to:  Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Check-In and Design Wall Monday


Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Cutting, Committing, and Cuffs

Sometimes what I do in the sewing room seems hardly worth mentioning.  Cleaning up, refolding fabric, making frankenbatting...those are the kinds of things I've been up to.  Necessary, but mostly background stuff.  Eventually, it leads somewhere.  

I picked up a few shirts at the thrift stores last week.  It used to be (and not long ago) that I could buy a decent shirt for $3.99, but now they're almost double that in price and then some if it's a name they associate with a premium brand, which seems weird to me because brand name doesn't always correlate to quality.  Wow, I sound like such an old person.  

Anyway, when I shop for shirts now, I take note of the tag colors that are 50% off and hone in on those.  I came home with a good armful of them, and a few other items.

(Thrifted zippers for bag making and some thread.)

(I think this thrifted shirt and striped fabric will become a bag.)

Over the next few days, I cut up shirts.  There ended up being a nice pile to add to the stash.

I usually toss the cuffs and collars, but I played around with them first.  The thought occurred to me that perhaps I could join the cuffs together for a table runner.  

After removing the buttons and giving them a good pressing, I butted together the cut ends and zigzagged them, then joined them all in a row.  At that point, I couldn't tell if the idea was "cool" or "crap."

Should I trim them off evenly and use the button plackets as an edging and finish it that way?  I mulled it over for a few hours and then decided to toss it in the orphan box to marinate and move on.  But as I started to do that, I passed the bookshelf in the sewing room and decided to try the piece out on top of it in place of the vintage fruit-themed dresser scarf that was there.

Well, well, well...  I liked it there!  A humble little runner under the old toy tractor my dad used to have for his grandkids to play with.  It'll do just fine, as is.

Now what's next? I pondered.  A few ideas were floating around in my head, but I needed to focus.  One way to help me do that is to make a commitment, so I went and signed up for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge.  

With that in mind, I started cutting out a sampler-type quilt from a free pattern I downloaded from JOANN and bought fabric for a few months back.  I really like those big wavy curves.  It's something a little different for a sampler.

I originally thought it would be a baby quilt, but it's more like lap quilt size. So I'm going to make it up for H2H.  At least, that's my thought at the moment.

Here's the first block on the design wall.  Turns out the fabric wasn't as bright blue as the pattern seemed to indicate, but that's okay.  It is a little brighter looking than the photo in real life, but more a muted navy than medium blue in any case.

What are you working on?


Monday, April 3, 2023

Sewing Machine Fun Facts

I happened across this YouTube video on the history of the sewing machine that I thought was pretty funny.  Also informative, as in I had no idea!  

You'd think it would have been pretty straightforward:  Some bright star invents the beloved machine, which is met all around with, "Hey, what a great idea!"; the gizmos sell like hotcakes and the rest is, well, history.  Right?  

Not exactly!

The real story is full of twists and turns, litigants and lawyers, murky maneuvers and mass marketing. 

Abby Cox does a brilliant job in the video.  It's always a plus when you can laugh while you learn!

* * * * *

Several months ago, I was sorting through and organizing some papers for genealogical purposes when I came across this insurance policy from 1892.

Do I really need to keep this?
I wondered, as my eye scanned down the page.  My great-great-grandfather had insured his farmstead, itemizing its contents on the front page.

Do you see what I see?  Listed among the buildings and livestock was another valuable piece of equipment:  A sewing machine valued at $25.00 (about $800.00 in today's dollars).

Worth half as much as the barn and less than the onions*, but still an important item to enumerate and insure.  I thought that was pretty cool!  And yes, I do need to keep this!

*He was a fruit and vegetable farmer who marketed his produce, so I assume the onions on hand in January were his stock to be planted for the upcoming season.


Friday, March 17, 2023

Two Small Quilts Finished

Last week I finished two small quilts that a friend had requested.  Along with the Wonky Log Cabin quilt, she wanted two more of a similar size so each of her grandchildren could have a picnic quilt.  Isn’t that a neat idea?

She left it up to me, whatever kind of scrap quilt I wanted to make.  Size-wise, I was aiming for around 48 inches square.

The idea for this first one came to me one evening as I finished a Sudoku puzzle—honestly, the first one I had ever finished.

I had made two Sudoku quilts a dozen or so years ago.  At that time, Sarah had shared her Sudoku pattern with me, so I didn’t have to solve a puzzle to know how to lay it out (thankfully).  I had gifted one of the quilts and used the other as a throw for a while, but now that one was safely stacked deep in the quilt closet.  Out of sight, out of mind.

But one night a few weeks ago, I grabbed a Sudoku puzzle book another friend had given me last year.  I had never done an entire Sudoku puzzle before; truth be told, it never seemed to click with me and felt like an exercise in frustration (at least my attempts at the ones printed in the newspaper).  That night, however, I needed something to do before bed that would make my brain tired and give me something to focus on besides the fretful thoughts in my head.  So I started on the first page of the book, presumably the easiest of the easy.  An hour later, I had solved my first puzzle—and remembered the Sudoku quilts.

The next morning, with that puzzle as a reference, I pulled nine fabrics from the stash and assigned each one a number.  I cut nine 4-1/2 inch squares from each fabric and then laid out this quilt.

I used a bright green Grunge fabric for the sashing between blocks, cut 2 inches, finished it with a light purple tone-on-tone, cut 4-1/4 inches, for the border.

That was not the border I initially thought I’d use, which was this brown floral.  Too dark.  Cute fabric, though.  I saved it for the next quilt, as you’ll see.

After quilting, the Sudoku quilt came in around 48-1/2 inches square. Can't you just imagine a sweet little tea party happening on this quilt?

I liked that brown floral, so for the next quilt, I started pulling fabrics to pick up on the colors of the flowers in the print.  I cut those into strips and sewed them together into columns, stacked coin style.

The columns were trimmed to 6-1/2 inches wide.  The vertical sashing between columns was cut into 3-1/2 inch wide strips, with an outer border cut 4-1/4 inches wide.

A peek at the pieced backing, above.  After quilting, the stacked coins quilt measured 47 x 48-1/2 inches. I know her granddaughters are going to love these!

Then I made a cute mug rug with the leftovers.  :)

Linking to:

Can I Get a Whoop-Whoop?

Finished or Not Friday