Monday, December 26, 2016

Sweet Sixteen

I have most of my little 2-1/2" bow ties sorted into 48 stacks to be sewn into 16-patch blocks. Even though it's the same amount of work, it seems less daunting to face the task of sewing 48 blocks into a quilt top instead of 768 individual blocks!



So far I've made 16 of the blocks, which will finish at approximately 8" each. I'm anxious to get this done, but my mind is already getting in my way. I'm trying to decide if I want to put a border on it to make it a little bigger. The way it is now it should be about 48" x 56" which is just a little small for a lap quilt (especially if it needs to cover my lap!)  :) :) :)

I'll probably adjust my current layout to 6 across and start sewing a few rows together. I want to see how those corners look when they're sewn together.

I'd really like a cool way to do some dots in a border so I could call the quilt "buttons and bows", but that's just not panning out.

So now my thoughts have turned to some kind of fabulous applique. Something kind of like this:

This is a border from Piece O' Cake Designs. Unfortunately, the pattern is now out of print.

I guess I still have some time to think about it....

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Is This a New Me?

I really had no business starting as many quilt-alongs this year as I did, but that didn't stop me. So when life's blessings and challenges took priority, I fell behind.  I would wander into my sewing room occasionally to work on something, but most projects just gathered dust. Generally, once I get too far behind I lose interest and don't finish. I don't actually quit the project - I just stuff it in a bag or container to finish later (ha ha)!

Luckily (?), I have no space left in my sewing room to start another project so I'm trying to finish a few starts from earlier this year.

I have actually finished all my little blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and now I'm sewing them into larger blocks for the piecing portion of my quilt. Yay!



That is such a good feeling. I definitely want more of it! The Meadow Mystery is still in progress, so yesterday I got busy finishing what I could. And now I think I'm caught up on that one too!



I'm really liking this. Maybe this is a whole new me.....like version 2.0.  Or Vicki2017...or....hey! does anyone remember the old Commodore Vic-20 computers? Is that what they were called? Wait. Where was I? How did I get so far off-track?

**sigh**  I guess the old me is still alive and well!!


Friday, December 16, 2016

Quick Bow Tie Cutting

To be honest, I didn't really think I'd get 800 little bow tie blocks finished by year end (80 blocks each month of the assigned color) back in April when I started the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I wanted to make a scrappy mini bow tie quilt and I was already behind as the quilt along had started in January. My plan was to make a big lap size quilt with 2" finished bow tie blocks. I would sew the 2" bow ties into 16-patch blocks (finishing at 8" square) to make the construction easier. A layout of 6 blocks across by 8 blocks down meant I would need 768 bow ties. I rounded up to 800 because it's such a nice even number divisible by 10 months! And I could do something cute with the leftovers. So that's how I decided I needed to make 80 of each color.

All excited, I pulled out a big bin of orange scraps and started cutting. For each block, I cut (2) 1-1/2" squares and (2) 1" squares of an orange scrap. I was cutting them one scrap at a time, trying to use up as many little pieces as possible. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

Each month, this process took a little longer and was a bit less enjoyable.

As I was cutting the blocks for my 8th color, I figured out a super fast way to cut these pieces. I decided to document one month's cutting and share it in a tutorial just in case someone else might want to make one. (These instructions don't include the white blocks because I used a solid white and just stacked the fabric, cutting tons of 1-1/2" squares at a time, so you might want to cut a few hundred of those first.)

Anyway, here's what I came up with to make 80 quick blocks from one color:

Select 10 scraps of one color - each needs to be big enough to cut (6) 3" squares.



From each fabric pile, create 2 stacks - 1 with 4 pieces and the other with 2 pieces.  Cut the stack of 4 in half both vertically and horizontally.  Cut the stack of 2 into thirds both vertically and horizontally. Discard 2 of the 18 one-inch squares.


Gather (16) 1-1/2" white squares and the remaining 16 one-inch yellow squares. Place a yellow square right side down on any corner of the white square and stitch diagonally across the yellow square.  Repeat to make 16 like this - these can be chain-stitched in about 2 or 3 minutes!


Clip the corners off, leaving about 1/4" seam allowance.



Press the yellow piece out toward the corner with the seam allowance going toward the yellow fabric.




Place the freshly pressed squares, with the yellow corner in the lower right hand side on your table and set the 1-1/2" yellow squares next to them as shown below.



To sew these together, flip the yellow square over on to the white/yellow square and sew the edge - always make sure the yellow triangle corner stays in the lower right hand position.  (Good grief there's a lot of lint on that shaft!)


Take 2 identical blocks and finger press the seam toward the yellow piece.


Then rotate the top piece and fold it down onto the bottom piece. Stitch along edge, interlocking the seam. These can be chain-pieced.


Clip the blocks apart and "pinwheel" the center intersecting seams on the back and press.




Turn it over and give it a final, finishing press!

Now breeze through the rest of your scrap piles!

This may not be quite as scrappy as if I had cut them one at a time. But even if they're all done with this method, I'd still have 80 different fabrics in the quilt!


Monday, December 12, 2016

800 Quilt Blocks!!

What does 800 quilt blocks look like?



Full disclosure -  these blocks are very small; it's not like piecing a 12" block. Right now they're unfinished 2-1/2" squares.

These are the blocks for my first ever Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Each month for 10 months we make one or more blocks of our own choosing from scraps of a designated color. I'm really excited to finish this one, so hopefully I can have a completed quilt to show soon.

I'm working on a tutorial for making a ton of these little blocks very quickly. Sadly, it was sometime during month 8 that I figured out how to cut out 80 of these in about a half hour. That's compared to the first color I worked on, which took me 3 or 4 evenings - working a few hours each night! So if you have a lot of smaller scraps you'd like to use up, this might be a scrappy quilt to consider making.



I should have the tutorial with my super speedy method for cutting the pieces for a bow tie block posted sometime this week.

Linking up with the RSC16 ScrapHappy Saturday.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thanksgiving to Christmas Pot Holders

I was standing in my kitchen the other day when the towels hanging on my stove caught my eye and I thought, "hmmm, those don't really say Thanksgiving!".  ;)
So I figured I needed to change them.


There's only about a week until Thanksgiving and then I'll need Christmas stuff. Making new pot holders and towels for just one holiday seemed like a lot of work, so I decided I should come up with something that would carry me through Christmas. I ran a list of applique ideas like Pilgrims and Santas through my head until I landed on a Gingerbread Man (well - metaphorically landed!).

And, I took some photos as I went so I could do this quick pot holder tutorial.

I started with a cookie cutter to help draw out a simple g-man shape for the pot holders. The supplies for one pot holder (I made 2) are listed below this photo:


Clockwise from upper left
~ dark brown thread that would be darker than the gingerbread fabric
~ rust fabric scrap for gingerbread man
~ g-man traced on fusible web
~ 2-1/4" by width of fabric for binding
~ 7" square for backing
~ 7" square for background
~ rick rack
~ 7" square Insul-bright batting
~ 7" square regular batting



Iron the fusible webbing to the wrong side of rust fabric according to package directions. Cut gingerbread man out with sharp scissors (note: I always lift a small section of paper before I cut the shape out to make it easier to remove the paper).



Fold the background fabric on the diagonal and press to create a line to help center the applique (I put the applique on the diagonal because it makes it easier to add the binding and hanger). Iron to fuse the applique to the background.



Add rick rack pieces. Cut them a little larger than needed. Stitch along edges.


Trim after stitching.This will help prevent raveling.



Stitch around the outside of the gingerbread man with a small blanket stitch (or narrow zigzag).



Stack layers as follows: backing (wrong side up), battings, front of pot holder.



Line up all edges and pin.



Straight stitch around the outer edge of the gingerbread man with the same color of thread as the blanket stitch, through all 4 layers. Press and trim to 6-1/2" square.



Fold binding in half lengthwise and press. Place one end of binding at the corner above the head, lining up raw edges as shown in photo above. Begin stitching at the edge and stitch around the first three sides 1/4" from outside edge.



Stop at your regular pivot spot after 3 sides. Leave the needle down to hold everything in place. Go back to where you started and wrap the binding over the edge and pin (like you would if you were hand-sewing it down).



Continue sewing the binding down on the last side. Stitch right over the folded binding - be careful not to bunch up the binding on the underneath side and remove the pin when you get close to it.



It should look something like this when you're finished stitching.


Fold the binding to the wrong side and hand-stitch all the way around. Continue hand-stitching the binding closed for about 5"- 6" past the edge of the pot holder. You'll have a little binding "tail" at the top of your pot holder.Top-stitch all the way around the binding and to the end of the tail.


Loop the binding around and tack it to the back of the pot holder with a narrow zigzag stitch. And that's it - all finished!


I also made a couple of kitchen towels (well, I haven't quite finished the second one). Anyway, pictured below are both pot holders (front and back view) and the towel.




I'll be linking up with Oh Scrap! at quilting is more fun than housework and Linky Tuesday at freemotion by the river.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Didn't Quite Catch Up

I started the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in April, so I was already behind when I chose a quilt with a lot of blocks. October is the last month that we're given a color - November and December are designated as the time to complete our quilt.

I still need to do the gray blocks and the yellow blocks. However, they should go pretty fast because I've finally got this down to a science! 

I've come up with a super fast way to cut the pieces needed to make the 80 blocks. What a shame that it took me so long! And I also have a good methodical chain-piecing and pressing routine. But that got me thinking how great it would've been to know these "speed tricks" when I started. So I'm going to take some pics as I cut and sew the last two colors and then put together a tutorial (just in case anyone wants to make a similar quilt during the next RSC). 

Until then, here's what I have so far - 80 blocks of each of the first eight colors. These little cuties will finish at 2" square! 


I'm linking up with Angela at ScrapHappy.





Monday, July 25, 2016

Pink Rainbow Scrap Challenge

I got all my hot(ish) pink squares cut, but I haven't sewn them into blocks yet. I'm linking these up with soscrappy for RSC16.


Earlier this month, I finished the brown bow ties so they got added to the box. There are now 400 little bow ties ready and waiting. I still need to get the blue ones from January (?I think?) done. I just fell behind a bit on everything this month.



Sometimes I fantasize about wearing a cute little micro-mini quilt block on a chain around my neck that has a button I could press and say "help - I've fallen behind and can't get caught up"! The dispatcher would come on, calm me down and say help is on the way. Then my front door would burst open and a fun group of super-quilters would rush in and start cutting and pressing and organizing. Most importantly, organizing.

  **sigh**  :)

12 Days of Christmas in July

I finished this quilt top in record time, thanks to the creativity and pattern writing genius of Sarah Craig who blogs at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. She ran a Christmas quilt tutorial for 12 days, after which you have a completed 76" x 76" quilt top!



The way this pattern is written is just fantastic. If you're thinking about making this quilt, let me tell you: do it! It's so fun to follow her directions and have all the seams nest together so smoothly....even with all those half square triangles going every direction!

I have quite a few Christmas quilts, so I decided to do more of a snowy winter's night take on it. I have white snowflakes on a scrappy dark batik background. And even with reversing the color scheme, it was a breeze!

I'll be linking up on Sarah's blog, where you can find lots of other quilty Christmas inspiration.

One final comment on the beauty of this pattern: today was day 12 (the final day) - I started on day 9!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Solstice & Summer Fun

I'm getting caught up on a number of projects over the next few days. I finished these flying geese blocks just before the next step in this quilt along is released tomorrow. Phew!


I love this Summer Solstice quilt by Melissa Corry. Click here for more information. 

I fell behind a little bit for the best possible reason. I've been having all kinds of fun with these little sweethearts.



In addition to the indoor playgrounds, we've been swimming to escape the 105+ degree heat...well, if you can call 90 degree water an escape! 

Anyway, it's been a blast having them all together - I miss the noise and commotion already! 






Summer Solstice

When I first saw Melissa Corry's blog post about her Summer Solstice quilt along, I thought about whether or not to join for approximately 7/10 of a second. This is such a cool quilt - actually, it has more of a hot, blistering sun kind of vibe and I love it!

She has numerous block and quilt sizes, so you can make this in any size from a small baby quilt to a king size bed quilt. She also posted a nice variety of fabric and color options. You can purchase the bundles or be inspired to select your own. After pulling out nearly every fabric I own, I came back to her original color scheme. Those colors are all sunshine and heat. 

These are the fabrics I selected. My background fabric is a white on white cross hatch.


And here are all the cut pieces, ready to go!



For more information on Summer Solstice, click here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Maggie's First Dance

I've been joining quilt alongs right and left these days! I have a need for variety in quilting - I think that could be why I have so many UFOs. I start a new quilt and part way through, I'm bored with it or something new and exciting has caught my eye.

But with a bunch of quilt alongs, I'm always working on something different. And, since I only make one block or do a little bit of cutting, I don't have a chance to get bored with it and I'm always excited for the next set of instructions to be released.

Maggie's First Dance is one of the new quilt alongs I've joined. Here is my first block:



More information on this project can be found at jacquelynnesteves.com. You need to sign up to receive the pattern and instructions by email. Her version is just darling!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thread Journey quilt along

I've joined the Thread Journey Quilt Along with Wendy Sheppard on the Aurifil blog. Here's my center section which we prepared in part 1:



After the strips were sewn together, the branches, leaves, birds, nest and birdhouse were appliqued onto the background:


We'll be working on this every two weeks. Since this was actually posted June 16, I only have to wait a little more than a week to get the next step!

This gorgeous quilt along looks like a lot of fun and I hope to improve my quilting beyond the jerky meander stitch I do now! :)

For more information or to join, click here to go to the Aurifil blog.