Monday, July 16, 2018

July UFO done!

I'm still not sewing much.  It's still hot and I'm procrastinating my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks, as usual...

But there HAS been some sewing...

I cut pieces for my July UFO (block 12 of Arcadia Avenue).

And forced myself to sit down and sew some here and there.  I thought it would take longer for each set of pieces (16 sets total), but they're smaller pieces, so at least shorter seams for many of them made sewing time less!

Or this way...

The day I was working most on this was an actual day off work, but between the hubby having a half day to go to the dentist and the septic sucker guy making requests to water the ground where he had to dig and the hubby texting, it was slow going.  I was happy to at least get them this far!

But then, a few days later, I took a few deep breaths...and...

Not perfect, as paper piecing aficionados try to promise, but good enough.  Two more to go and then I get to put them together.  And pick out all the paper bits.  Ugh.  (But I bought a super pointy tweezers a while back, so that will be at least easier for that!)

In other news, there were two quilt shows near me this weekend.  One was Friday and Saturday and the other was Saturday and Sunday.  Between work shifts, I managed to do both!  Friday I went with a friend who recently moved away, but was back for a few days, to one of the shows.  The quilts were wonderful, but we had way more fun at the "garage sale"...great stuff, great prices!

I got these lovelies, ranging from fat quarters up to three yard cuts:

The grey and lime green I'm hoping to use for quilt backgrounds.  The remaining pieces were just fun, though that one Civil War pink went directly to my mom, who uses such fabrics.

Then I found these...

I think these are Cherrywood fabrics.  And most are at least a fat quarter.  I haven't opened them all up yet (it's been a busy weekend!), but I got this big stack for $7.  Yep, $7.  I kinda have an idea for these, but we'll see where the squirrels take me.  Worst case, they end up in my stash or shared with a friend somewhere along the way.

The second show didn't have as great of a garage sale (of course, getting there on day two didn't help!), but there were a few quilts that caught my eye and I remembered to take photos.  My mom went with me and being a more traditional quilter who likes Civil War fabrics, these mostly got the thumbs down, but that's okay.  We both enjoy quilting and realize we don't like the same things, but can appreciate the techniques involved and understand what is good workmanship, so it's all good.

I should have taken photos of the tags, but, well, I didn't...

This one is just fun.  But the closer you get, the less you see the secondary pattern of a circle of circles.

This one has amazing quilting that continues out from the green diamonds.  Very much an inspiration for me when I have too much negative space!

I've seen this pattern before, but it's even more striking in person.  And just fun.

And last, this one caught my eye for the pattern, but the colors weren't just doing it for me.  I stepped back to take a photo (because I really do like the pattern) and the quilt really took on a new life through the lens of my camera.  It's still a little darker and less-contrasty than I might have done, but I do like it a lot more this way.

After the show, we headed to the quilt shop that's not only near this show, but open on Sundays!  I picked up a set of TriRecs rulers for a project squirrel I might be starting soon and my mom picked up a few pieces of fabrics.

Then we headed to a little larger town a few miles over and got lunch at a good Mexican place and then headed into JoAnn's, as they have a good sale on calicos and I had an extra 25% off coupon that came special, separate from the usual mailer, in the mail last week.

I got this fabric for the back of my Rows of Cats quilt:

And this one for my Tula Pink Tabby Road plus quilt:

I'm pretty excited about both and they're in the process of being washed right now.  It's hot out, but I'm doing it anyways.

And then there's that squirrel...  There's this blog hop/quilt along going on over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict's blog.  I'm really tempted to make this quilt with the leftovers from the quilt I made for the hubby's aunt and donate it for one of the charity groups my guild helps...  We'll see how today goes...I hurt my back Friday night, so the weekend was kind of a wash.  Today it feels better, but I've got to play catch up on all the chores that were neglected over the weekend.  I'm nearly there, but the day is passing quickly, I have a mess in my sewing room from my new purchases, I have to work later and it's hot upstairs!  (We'll see how loudly the squirrel is hollering when I'm done blogging and finish the remaining putting the sheets back on my bed that are currently in the dryer...)

So that's it for my fun lately.  It seems like a lot here, but doesn't seem like much in real life...

Oh, and let's leave you with a photo of now 1-year-old kitten, Gabby, practicing that teenager selfie look I see so often on social media...

(totally candid...she and the other grey kitty were both on the cat tree, so I thought it would be a cute photo...then I realized what she had done...little brat!)

Happy quilting,

Monday, July 9, 2018

not much sewing and a winner!

After that last post, I feel like I've been a slacker, but that's how it goes.  Some weeks you have more motivation and time and others you just roll with it...

I did try, on Friday, to make my Summer Fun quilt larger.  I had great plans for another checkerboard border on the sides and some other minor alterations.  And then realized I didn't have enough red.  And I couldn't get more - it had been a Christmas print...

(With a little time allowed for exploring alternate possibilities as I sew mindlessly later...)

Saturday just kinda disappeared.  Between work and going to the drive-in restraunt about 30 minutes from here for a greasy gut-bomb (delicious) dinner, there went my day.

Yesterday, however, I rallied, and before I had to be to work at noon, I not only got groceries, but also cut all the pieces for this months' UFO!

It doesn't look like much, but with 16 pieces in each of 12 sections to make a giant paper pieced hexagon, this is progress.  It takes about an hour per piece for all 12 sections to place, sew, trim and press.  So this will be a more time-consuming block than some others, but this quilt WILL be done...well, the blocks, at the end of this year!

Also, at guild on Thursday (yay for a day off work!), a friend gave me this:

It's from both her and her sister, but her sister is in an assisted living home now, tied down by an oxygen tank and very frail.  Her sister is the reason I joined the guild - she was so friendly when I went to a show a few years back I decided the group must be worth joining.  And the mug sits on a mug rug that the sister also gave all of us as a "quilt fairy" gift at retreat a few years back.  There are so many things in my sewing room that have come from quilty friends, it's wonderful to spend time in there and feel the presence of my friends, even if I am quilting alone.  Well, alone is a relative term.  I have five cats...and a hubby, but he avoids the sewing room like the plague!

And finally, on to the giveaway.  

A few of you commented but said no thanks.  I get it - I don't really need any more scraps either, but sometimes you just gotta!  And I have a whopping two contenders.  So to make it truly fair, I wrote each on a slip of paper and drew one from a hat.  Well, let's be honest.  I didn't really need a hat.  I just set them on the desk a while and chose one with my eyes closed...

Congrats to Frog Quilter!  I'll be sending you an e-mail shortly.  And if you get back to me early enough with your mailing address, they just might make it into the mail today!  (If not, probably Wednesday because I have the dreaded 8-4 shift on Tuesday - all the hours (and more) that my little Post Office is open!)

Time for me to go get sewing on those pieces I shared above!

Happy quilting,

Friday, July 6, 2018

squirrel poop and summer fun

The heat has finally broken.  It's 64 here this morning as I type.  I have many windows open and am enjoying the cool breezes blowing through my house.  Maybe it won't heat up so much I don't want to turn on the iron today?

Yesterday was enjoyable, also, but because my sister-in-law and her mom invited me to join them to quilt.  My sister-in-law has central air conditioning, so we were able to sew with irons on and still remain comfortable.  (In fact, her basement was so cool, that if I was just sitting around, I'd have been cold!)

What did I accomplish?

Well, instead of working on my monthly assignments (I did take one of them...), I worked on a squirrel and squirrel poop project.

First up on the blog (second up in project order yesterday), I finished the Summer Fun quilt top.  The last row was to be machine appliqued "Summer".  I decided that I would substitute blocks.  Not because I don't do machine applique (which I don't), but because I plan to donate this quilt and thought it would be smarter to choose something that would allow this bright quilt to be given and used any time of the year.

I debated between a row of hearts and a row of friendship stars.  I drew them out on some graph paper to make sure I had the dimensions right (and right in front of me!) and decided on the stars.  No photos of in-progress here, but here's the top!

I am thinking of donating this one to Jack's Basket and they request the quilts to be 36" square.  This is a little shy of that, so I'm going to be thinking about how to add a little bit of borders to bring it up a little in size.  I don't think it will be too hard, I just have to decide what to do!

But this was a super fun pattern.  Julie, the woman behind the quilt along, did a wonderful job of writing very detailed instructions that even a beginner could have followed.  I've been doing this a long time, but some of her tips and tricks were helpful to me, too!  I hope she does more quilt alongs!

Oh yes, I also should mention that my sunflowers are not her pattern.  The three options she offered weren't do-able for me, considering my plan for this quilts' future.  So I chose to use the sunflower pattern from Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage book.  I think they fit in nicely!

Next up, but first on the list yesterday, is my squirrel poop quilt.  In my last post, I shared with you the completion of my Swoon quilt top - a squirrel project for sure.  But I had a fair amount of leftovers, including a lot of "lost corner" half square triangles.  I knew I needed to use them, but started giggling at myself when I realized they were "squirrel poop" - the leftovers from a squirrel!

I pressed, trimmed and tamed them and cut a few more pieces from the little remaining of the fat quarters I started with.  I modified the original pattern plan to accommodate the lack of enough larger pieces to make the blocks I wanted to make and all was well...

I sewed diligently in my hot sewing room on  Tuesday and Wednesday (between shifts at work), but couldn't bring myself to turn the iron on.  So I showed up at my sister-in-law's house (also house of my brother) with stuff to be ironed and dug in.

Soon I had the blocks together...

I used their design floor, which does not include help from a cat like mine (they have a cat, but she's still getting used to them, so strangers are an even bigger reason to hide!), so the layout went a little faster and photo ops were much more pleasant...

And then I sewed stuff together!

This measures 36" without borders, so it's going to stand as-is and also go to Jack's Basket.

But guess what?

I still have a little bit of fabric left over...

...and I do mean a little bit...

...but I am going to give it to one lucky blog reader!  I'm done messing with this, but can't bear to throw such cuteness out.  So if anyone out there reading would enjoy working with these scraps, leave a comment telling me so and I'll choose a winner at random on my next day off - Monday.  No other hoops to jump through.  Well, I'll have to have a way to contact you, so make sure if you're a no-reply commenter to leave your email address in the comment...

And with that, I'm off to try to get some sewing done before it gets too hot and before the hubby decides we need to go see the Ant Man movie...I guess at least the theater is air conditioned?

Happy quilting!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

squirrel: Swoon

Back in May, a squirrel visited me.  It's not the only squirrel that's been to my house lately, but it's the one I finished (the top) a few days ago.  Just in time for the DrEAMi! link-up.  How fortunate!

It all started out because my "assignments" for the few challenges I'm participating in were complete.  Way early.  And I woke up one morning and knew what I was going to work on the rest of the month.  (We're not going to talk about the opportunity to work ahead, okay?)

After a quick trip to get background fabric and a deep breath to untie the beautiful bundle of fat quarters, I was ready to start cutting!

Another deep breath and start cutting.  With this pattern, there is no room for error and I had just enough fabric!

With the first block done, I was ready to start cutting all the blocks and making "kits" for the other fabric combinations.

I worked on it at my guild's monthly weekend sew-in and got a a few blocks done, but there was a lot of cutting - careful, mindful cutting - to be done, so that took a bit.  Plus chatting...and lunch...

Working slowly here and there, by early June I had all the blocks complete.

And this photo shows how the same camera in the same room (aside from the first one) can vary shades.  The grey is the same throughout!  But I promised a whole-top shot and you'll get that soon!

Next up were sashings and the dreaded long seams.  This quilt finishes at 84" square, so yikes!  

But, since it spilled into June, I had my new monthly "assignments" to work on first.  I completed those just a few days ago and, despite the warmer weather, pushed myself to work on getting these together.  The house is cooler in the morning and if I turn the fan on behind me, blowing at me, it's tolerable.  (But I do try to minimize the time the iron is on!)

Today, I decided to try to get a photo...

...waited a while...

...well, in a pinch that would be good, but let's go with plan B...

(note the clothespin on the right side towards the bottom? even on the fence, it was blowing pretty wildly!)

But there you have it.  Swoon squirrel is a top!

As I was folding it after the photo shoot, I noticed one of the borders had frayed more than 1/4" in at the corner.  I'll need to remove and replace that section before I quilt it, but it's only about 6 inches, so it shouldn't be too hard.  (Just frustrating, but I suppose I should have known better when it was blowing sideways!)

And then, as I was tidying up, I realized I had squirrel poop.  What is squirrel poop?  Well, it's normally what folks would call "lost corners" from flying geese construction.  But since this project was a squirrel and these bits are leftovers, they're squirrel poop.

Yesterday I dragged my small ironing board and iron downstairs and set it up closer to the window air conditioning unit.  I started taming the poop.

This is as far as I've gotten and today, instead of trimming them to a uniform size, I'm writing this post before I have to head into work.

Tomorrow it's supposed to be a bit cooler and I don't have to work.  It's very tempting to continue to work on these, but I do have my "assignments" for July and should probably focus on those first.  But I do have an idea how to use them, but have to assess what else I have left over for larger chunks.  I do have some, but am not sure how much.  Stay tuned for more updates on the squirrel poop quilt.

I don't have plans to quilt Swoon just yet.  I don't have a backing either.  But I will eventually get it done.  Those fabrics are just too darn cute to let sit around too long (and they already did that in the form of fat quarters for quite a while).  I keep telling myself when the weather cools down I'll quilt a few squirrels.  There are three that I can see from here already...maybe I shouldn't complain about the extra hours the boss is giving me and count that as funds for quilt squirrel backs?!

Happy quilting,