The final chapter of my April travel adventures (and a FINISHED Quilt!)

PHOTO INTENSE POST – fair warning…..

If you have been hanging around reading over the last 2 months, you are aware that I took a lovely cruise for 10 days in April along Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.  This cruise returned to the Port of San Pedro California.  My next adventure began when my brother Rich and his lovely wife, Carolyn (AKA – http://www.OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com) picked me up at the port and transported me (and all my luggage) North of Los Angeles to their lovely home in Monterey County California for a brief stay.  

There are a few different routes to take but my brother chose I-5 North out of Los Angeles.  Boy was I glad he did that!  We got to see the hills ablaze with California Poppies.  Disclaimer – I grew up in the Los Angeles area, and I vaguely remember seeing the poppies as a child traveling to see my grandmother.  Well, did we have a great show on the ride North.  Get ready – some of the photo’s appear a little hazy, because we were moving along at 65+ mph, and I was shooting thru the windshield from the back seat or the side window, so I apologize ahead of time.  Too pretty not to share!

Bright orange poppies

Poppies on the Grapevine

Can you believe the various colors in the hillsides?   All that orange and gold and (GULP) GREEN!!!

swaths of poppies

Golden hillside

Poppies and green hills

It is not vary often you see the hillsides in California SO green.  Spring must have been kind with the rains.

Hills ablaze in poppies

I remember when I lived other places, my mother would go on and on during phone calls about the poppies.  I honestly don’t think I have ever seen them until now.  I really timed my visit “just right”.

Now, if you are a “travel person” reading my blog, I am about to change lanes and return to my normal activities….and that is QUILTING.  I invite you to hang around, you might enjoy the rest of the photos or the story.

Those regular readers who have followed for any length of time might be aware that earlier in the year, I finished a rather LARGE quilt and planned to visit by brother and his wife and work on quilting it on her long arm quilting machine.  This is WHY they picked me up.  (Sweet of them to drive 4 hours to get me and 4 hours to take me home! )  California is a very big state!  I offered a night in a hotel so they didn’t do all the driving in one day….after all, Rich is my OLDER brother…giggle…..I booked them a room on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I figured they should enjoy a night “on board a ship” since they were picking me up from a ship.  There cabin on the QM was MUCH nicer than a modern cruise ship cabin.( Oh to go back to the old days on ships!!) If Carolyn (aka oneblockwonderwoman) ever posts her photo’s, I will link to them.

Now, back to the story – I packed up my quilt top, and the backing (see the post – In Betweens – for that story) and shipped it to California before my cruise, so it was waiting on my arrival. Dear Carolyn had thoughtfully taken it out of the package and hung both parts to “relax” when she got the package.  Since we arrived late Tuesday afternoon, and I was flying home on Sunday, our time together was very short.  We got busy and loaded a practice piece to quilt .  I learned a lot about loading a quilt, and using the leaders and basting the top and sides, and floating the quilt, and how to use the size clamps.  By 10 am the next day we were set up to stitch on Greta, her new Gammill long arm quilting machine.  I had LOTS of practice before we loaded my quilt.

Greta the Gammill

This is her dining room, with windows on 3 sides.  The sun is so bright that she has heavy drapes to block the glare.

Time to practice

Greta the Gammill has great LED lights.

Practice on plain muslin

Carolyn taught me some of her favorite stitching elements.  I wanted to tackle each block independently and I had fun learning to operate the machine, and not drive it like a drunken sailor. Thank goodness for a great stitch regulator!  She even taught me how to work with a ruler –

Practice and planning

I decided I needed to “draw” a couple of quilt blocks so I could get a better handle on exactly where the needle was stopping and planning out some layouts for various blocks.

Since time was short, after 2 practice pieces (and lunch), we loaded my quilt on Greta’s frame.  That took us over an hour, getting everything “just right”.

Quilting at Carolyn's on Greta the Gammill

This is not a small quilt and nearly fills her frame.  I can see why my brother is often referred to as the “Quilters Assistant”.  It really seems like a 2 person job getting the quilt, the batting and the backing all set up right.  Because I had a pieced backing, I was extremely careful about the placement of the backing on the machine so the quilt top would be centered.

I won’t bore you with all the close up photo’s of the quilting.  Let me just say, if you really want to see them, they are in an album all together with the quilt construction photos, and you are welcome to browse through them.  Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks  .  There are lots of notes in the album about the various names of the blocks etc.  I quilted each block taking into consideration the elements of the block.  99% was done free motion with no stencils, drawings, markings.  2 blocks were done with ruler work.  We spent a lot of time working on the quilt.  I took a shot of the screen on Saturday –

LOTS of stitches

Even though we had been working since Wednesday, the machine said we had an actual 6 hours of stitching time, with over 152,000 stitches in the quilting. The “timer” only clocks when the needle is going up & down, not when the machine is on. (Has something to do with time for oil and cleaning if I remember correctly). There is a lot of “in between time” that happens.  Advancing the quilt, taking practice stitches along the side, and the distractions of where I was in California.  Their home is on several acres with gardens and meadows and the weather was perfect.  The home was constructed in the manor of a California Adobe, with tiled roof, walled garden area and arches.  The view out the windows is amazing.  What a great place for a break and a stretch!

In the courtyard

The sound of the fountain was so relaxing –

View from the window while quilting

Those of you who follow Carolyn on her blog – https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com know about what lies in wait on the other side of the gate in the grape arbor, just outside the courtyard wall.

Grape Arbor

And of course, in between times, we had to eat breakfast lunch, dinner, drink wine and go for walks.   Check out the great area they live in – quietly nestled in a little valley down a dirt lane.  There are vineyards and cattle and farmers all around. It was good to get out, stretch my legs and enjoy the beautiful Central Coastal California.

Enjoying a walk

My sister-in-law is well known among her neighbors and has several quilting friends that stopped over to meet me. It was so fun to visit with the people I had heard so much about who get to share time with Carolyn all the time!  (Thanks for sharing Mona!!)

We ran out of time on Saturday when all of a sudden the top tension went nuts when we changed bobbins, and nothing Carolyn adjusted could make the machine sew right. There were big loops on the bottom (thankfully I had an extra 6″ of backing all around and she had a place to test stitch.) Many phone calls to her dealer tech rep, and to a friend with a Gammill still left us unable to stitch.  So, we stopped, left the quilt on the frame and the next day, I had to fly home.

After 2 weeks of “adjustments, and a visit by her friends with a Gammill; she was able to finally get things working again, and she finished up my quilt.  Carolyn did the center of one block, and finished the last 2 blocks and quilted the border for me.  I was very thankful that she was able to do this and ship it home.    She trimmed the quilt for me and saved the cutaway backing pieces. She knew I was planning to use them for the binding.

 I spent a couple of evenings with the seam ripper removing the stray stitches on those saved pieces and made my “Susie’s Magic Binding”.  I got the quilt bound just in time to put it on the guest room bed!  I had family coming and I want them to be cozy under a new quilt!  I finally got to show it at the Material Girls Quilt Bee this week.  Still needs a label, but the hanging pocket is on already. I will enter it in our next  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show April 2019

My quilting is a novice attempt, so I will enter in the non-judged category.  Overall, I love the outcome, and I declare the project FINISHED!!!

Grandma's Kitchen - queen size

                            GRANDMA’S KITCHEN by Mary Deeter

Note – Pattern is by Pat Sloan, block of the week quilt along (Jun-Dec 2017).

Hope you enjoy the pictures included in this post and take time to check out the link to the FLICKR photo album.

Have you had any fun travel or quilting adventures lately?

Advertisements

My Border is Secure – Grandma’s Wrap-Up

My border is SECURELY attached to Grandma’s Kitchen that is! 

Since the bus company cancelled our trip to the AQS Show in Lancaster on Wednesday, I spent my “Toby – the big Nor’Easter ” afternoon and evening sewing.  (That storm was a belly-flop in my area where we got only an inch or so of snow…..)

 While we were getting buckets of rain, I sat in the kitchen and removed the papers from the back of the pieces I showed in my post yesterday (  Building Borders and Collaborating on Quilts  ).  They came off very easily because I had shortened the stitch length down from 2.0 to 1.5.

Sad daffodils

My daffodils are very sad, and it looks like I will be power washing and painting that fence this year!

I wandered out in the rain yesterday afternoon to the sewing room over the garage, and got busy with the border.  Hubby went to his train club so I had all afternoon and evening to sew.  (And it was after 3 in the afternoon before it really started to snow !) (I know….other people around the state got anywhere from 1″ to 8″….and Lancaster PA got a bunch!) 

Grandma’s Kitchen border is on, and this quilt is now massive!  91″ wide x 110″ long.  So long, that it won’t fit on the design wall or in one photo…..

Pieced border on Grandma's Kitchen

The Bottom Half

(I suppose I could have hung it sideways, but that wouldn’t be any fun…the flower and phone and heart would have been sideways)

I even remembered to stay stitch the edges before I called it “done”.   I stopped about 10:30 pm and took the picture.  The lighting wasn’t the greatest, but you have seen these blocks in better light in the past.  (I really should set a timer and come inside to eat dinner before 10:30 at night!)

Time to think about how to solve the backing issue.  You might remember I got excited and ordered the backing BEFORE I decided on just how much drop I needed and what my final border was going to be, so I only ordered 3 yards of wide backing. I did pre-wash it to, and have still got to press it with some starch and re-measure.  LESSON IN LIFE — wait until the last border is on BEFORE ordering the backing fabric!  Now I have to piece it anyway!

108″ wide backing for Grandma’s Kitchen Quilt project

I have a plan formulating, and I think it will incorporate some of the extra string blocks and a few of my OOPS blocks and that wonderful “clothesline” fabric that was just too large a print to cut up into any of the blocks for the front of the quilt.  ( I did use one piece of a fat eighth I had in Block # 6 – Wash Day for the very center of the block  below)

Block #6 - Wash Day

(If you want a better close up of any of the blocks in this project, I have an entire album dedicated to the Grandma’s Kitchen pattern – click Grandma’s Kitchen albumThis album is located on FLICKR.) 

Of course, per the norm….my quilts tend to “hang around” waiting to be quilted, so this one won’t be any different. 

(Maybe after that trip to California and my visit to OneBlockWonderWoman I will be more inspired to finish a few things!)

Final note – Grandma’s Kitchen pattern is by Pat Sloan; and the free pattern information can be found here

How did you spend your day?  Do you leave quilt tops “hanging around” too?

Building borders and collaborating on quilts

I am building QUILT borders!  No politics here folks…sorry~~!!~~  If you came to read about a border between our country and another, you came to the WRONG place.

I have spent the last couple of afternoons working on border pieces for my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt.

I decided to use a pieced “string” border after I saw a couple on Pat Sloan’s Facebook group Quilt Along with Pat Sloan  several months ago.  I am a confirmed scrappy quilter, and I have LOTS of leftover fabric from this project.  I planned out how much wider I needed the quilt to be and cut my “foundation pieces” (aka phone book pages).  I also did a little “quilt math” to figure out just how “many” of those phone book pages I would need.  The quilt is currently 73 1/2 wide x 92 1/2 long with the 2 borders that are currently on it. You probably remember this photo if you have been following for at least the last 3 months.

Borders on Grandma's Kitchen

I want to add about 18″ overall, so I cut my pages at 9.5 x 6.5.  I will attach them to make the 9.5 the width.  I need about 62 phone book pages, depending on what I do in the corners.  Before my quilt retreat in early February, I cut the pages and a lot of strips.  I had them all set out in big baskets and
I got busy with them the last few days.  My goal is to get a lot of variety as I select pieces to add to the block.  This turns into what I call “mindless sewing”, while I listen to an audio book, chain piece 6 or 8 blocks, press and chain piece some more.  (My hubby can not understand how I can pay attention to the sewing AND the murder mystery.  You will often find him sitting in a chair near my ironing station trying to solve the crime while I am stitching away!) (Current series is by J.A. Jance, featuring a detective working for the Washington State Attorney General on the Special Homicide Investigation Team.…aka the S.H.I.T. Squad) (Don’t take offense…imagine if that was on YOUR business card…..)

Back to sewing…..So far, I have about 50 units done, and I can’t wait to brave the current “nor-Easter – Toby” and get out to my sewing room over the garage this afternoon!

6.5 x 9.5 string border blocks

These border pieces are a bit “wider” than the last one I did –

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt  Along.

You might remember my Scrap Dance Two Step (Pattern by Carole at From My Carolina Home). This was a twin 58.5″ x 82.5″ – The pieced scrappy border was cut at 4″, finish at 3.5 once the quilt binding goes on.  (Still waiting to be quilted!)

Maybe I should send this one to California for my project in April?  I am going to visit One Block Wonder Woman  and play with her new long arm quilting machine!  (She is retrieving me from the ship when I dock in San Pedro and taking me home for a few days to her beautiful home in the central coast of California.  I bet she and my big brother will wine and dine me too…..)

One lesson I have learned about working with scrappy borders is they need to be “stay stitched” on the outer edge.  I will have to check the Scrap Dance Two Step before I put it in the mail to One Block Woman.

Seriously excited about my visit in April.  I enjoy having a family member who loves this hobby as much (or more) than I do, and we try to see each other every few years.  Last visit was when she came out from California to go to the retreat with Cheryl Lynch and we worked on our Pet Mosaic Projects. Go check out her Fannie – Pet Mosaic Project   She had the BEST viewing position in the show I think……

We have also gotten together here in Delaware when she taught me how to do a One Block Wonder (of course) back in 2012.  Mine is below .And then there was the first quilt show/classes I ever went to…at IQF Houston in 2013.  Gosh that was FUN!!  It really opened my eyes to the world of quilting.

Do you collaborate with a family member on your quilt projects???  I enjoy our conversations, cross – country!

Are you in the path of the current Nor-Easter – Toby?  We will either get 1″ of snow or a foot…depending on which way it tracks.  We are waiting to find out if our bus trip to the AQS show in Lancaster PA is on or off for tomorrow.  Fingers crossed BUMMER – Bus trip is cancelled.  The bus company has cancelled all it’s trips for Wednesday.  We better get a foot of snow!!!!!!

 

Retreat and UFO

Every year, since I have been a member of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, there has been a retreat in early February.  I’ve attended many of these retreats and always enjoy the time spent with so many creative, talented people. As in the past, we meet at a lovely beach front hotel in Ocean City Maryland, where we are greeted most mornings with spectacular sunrises in our ocean front rooms. 

640 Dawn's early light - Ocean City MD Sunrise

There are 9 more photo’s in this sunrise series you can see hereOcean City Sunrise photo’s

It is inspiring to wake up early at this retreat, so you don’t miss the glorious sunrise.  Breakfast is at 7:30, and we are sewing by 9 am !

I took with me many items to work on at the retreat.  Turns out, only ONE project captured most of my time and energy.  I dug out one of my oldest UFO’s and brought it along, with the intent of quilting.  Just how old is it?   You can read about it back in 2012 here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unfinished-projects-starting-to-bug-me/

and here https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/crossroads-pattern/

and here-  https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/playing-with-borders/

About a year ago, I came across a bit of fabric that was in the same deep red/brown tones and I tucked it into the box for backing of this project.  So, when I pulled it out to take to retreat, I just needed a bit of batting.  This project was about 44″ square.  I am happy to say I finished all the quilting during the retreat. I cut the backing and batting and pin basted in our hotel suite on Tuesday night, so I was ready to start stitching when the classroom opened on Wednesday morning.  I worked two solid days quilting this, and thought it is small, there were TONS of starts and stops, and turning constantly. I decided right away I was going to “pull up” the bobbin thread, and use my lock stitch on my Janome for my start & stops, and not burying all those threads. It’s a wall hanging and a 6 year old UFO !  (I’m not putting it in a show, so hush you quilt police)  (Oh, and by the way, I KNOW there are a few crappy HST and a few geese that lost their points in this project….they jumped out at me while quilting….hey it was before I knew what I was doing…..)

Quilted and bound

 

I did most of the quilting using my walking foot. The exception is in the wide border of hearts, I used a stitch that is connected hearts, and in the narrow red border I did the same stitch.  On the outer red heart border I did some wavy stitching.  I like to use these built in to the machine stitches if possible.  They make quilting a lot easier.  If you want to see close-ups of the various quilting that I did, look at the photo’s here – UFO Finish  .  (There is also a photo of the back where the techniques I used really show). 

Yesterday,  I trimmed it down to about 40″ square, as I felt the final borders were TOO wide.  I used up a bunch of left over bits of the red to make a scrappy binding, and did the Susie’s Magic Binding technique. (Some call it binding with a flange or piping) If you have never tried this method, check out the tutorial here – Susie’s Magic Binding Tutorial(Watch the video’s too…)

I used the same fabric that is in the area around the flying geese in the flange for the binding. I love that little pop of color along the edge. I added a hanging sleeve while I was doing the binding, and the last thing that needs to be finished is to hand stitch the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve and make a label!

Since this was the “big deal” for me at the retreat, I will stop here and ask – what is the OLDEST UFO you have sitting around, and WHY didn’t you finish what you started?  

I will tell you why this went “in the box”.  We were doing a new project every week in the class and I was overwhelmed.  I also could not figure out how to “finish”.  Our instructor had scaled the pattern in Pat Sloan’s “I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting” down to just a 1 block project instead of a whole quilt, and I didn’t “know” what to do at the time.  Of course, a few years of experience were needed under my belt before I could say, enough is enough and a wall hanging is just “fine”.  🙂

More about the retreat in the next post!

 

Grandma’s Kitchen – Some assembly completed

Grandma’s Kitchen – Some assembly completed!

Some decisions still to make!

before borders Grandma's Kitchen

(before borders)

 

I have gotten the rows assembled and joined, 2 borders on.  The photo below shows the colors of the borders better than the photo’s of the whole top, because of the lighting.  (I seem to be taking these photo’s late at night!)

Border fabrics for Grandma's Kitchen

With the current borders, the top currently measures 73 1/2″ wide x  92 1/2″ long.  I am contemplating one more round of borders so I can use it on my queen size guest bed.  I think I will bring it in from the sewing room today and lay it out on that bed and take a look and see what kind of drop I want.  I think I need to add 10 1/2 inches for a queen on the width.

closeup of borders Grandma's kitchen

Someone on the Quilt Along with Pat Sloan Facebook group yesterday asked me about the fabrics when I posted a photo.  If you have been following along since last summer, you know that primarily I am using 30’s reproduction. Many are Aunt Grace by Marcus Fabrics, like the pink border (Simpler Sampler).  I used the pink from the border in 2 blocks – in  the checkerboard block in the center of row C below –

Rows A - C Grandma's Kitchen

and in block 25 –

Block 25 Grandma's Kitchen

There are several companies doing 30’s fabrics now, and I lost track of all the names.  I used Spring Fling for PB Textiles by Terry Atkinson & Liz Lois, for the white and yellow print that is in many of the “filler pieces, and in some of the blocks (like block 4 below). I liked it because they coordinated nicely.  Some of the whites, like the stripe tone on tone are “just scraps” from my stash.  The medium blue 2.5″ border is VIP by Cranston (2011). It is a nice blender and I had just 1/2 yard in my blue box of stash.  There are several tones of blue in various blocks and it was the best choice with the pink border.

Yesterday, I ordered the backing fabric and it appears to be “on the way”.  I went in search of 30’s reproduction in a wide backing. Marcus Fabrics had one print that I already included in the quilt manufactured in 108″ width.   Way back in block 4 I used the white background multi floral in the 4 patch center of the block.  In the pattern, this block was partially repeated, and I had enough to use again in another 4 patch, and in some of the filler blocks.  I was pleased to find a fabric that would really work with the quilt!

Block 4 of 25 Grandma's Kitchen Challenge, pattern by Pat Sloan

My challenge turned out to be getting a 3 yard cut, and my first order had to be cancelled when the shop only had 2 2/3 yard….  The fun thing about a group like Quilt Along with Pat Sloan is how helpful people are when you post.  One lady got busy searching and found two other sources, and I communicated with one and verified they had what I wanted and I placed my order, and got confirmation of shipping late last night.  By going to the manufacturers web site, I was able to get a list of shops that had ordered the fabric, and that is how I started my search originally.  I tried to order from shops I had done business with in the past, and I quickly learned the fabric was not going to be easy to find !  Turns out, Marcus did several of the prints in 56″ wide, but only this print in two color options in the 108″ width! R34-5878-0199 by Judie Rothermel

So this is where I am at on the project as of yesterday —

Borders on Grandma's Kitchen

If you have an interest in seeing the blocks “up close”, you can see them all in my Grandma’s Kitchen Flickr Album  

or search back thru the blog posts using the Grandma’s Kitchen tag as a search criteria.

The pattern for this quilt is available for free from Pat Sloan – http://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/grandmas-kitchen-sew-along.html

Pat is doing a “quilting” series for this pattern, so now, I need to go study!

If you were to add 1 more border, what color would you go with? I may have to go out and survey the 30’s yardage I still have, and start making some choices.  (Do you remember that clothesline fabric with the black background?  Oh, how I wanted to use that in this quilt, but it was such a large print, and the scale was just too big!)

What are you working on?

Grandma’s Kitchen Update and Scrap Management

Once I got all those “scraps” put away, I felt free to sew again!  More about scraps in a bit.

I’ve been working on a pattern by Pat Sloan called Grandma’s Kitchen.  This project was a “weekly” block beginning last June and concluding in December.  I’ve been posting periodic updates as my blocks were made.  I am primarily using 30’s reproduction fabrics, but have used some more modern fabrics for the neutrals.

I am now starting to build those blocks up into “rows”.  The pattern has lots of “filler” pieces that were not part of the original block construction.  About October the layout was released and when I saw those “filler” pieces, I decided to wait until all 25 blocks were made and I could make better choices of fabrics.

You might remember if you have been reading my posts that I spent a little time with the printed pattern and my felt tips markers planning.  My choices were made, and even the hubby got involved in the fabric decisions. (He really is a smart guy when it comes to this planning !)

Once I got all those “scraps” put away, I felt free to sew again!

I also have finally beaten the bronchitis that has laid me low for 3 weeks, so hanging out for hours in the sewing room has been a joy!  I worked on Row A on Friday.

Row A Grandma's Kitchen

The yellow strips are those “filler strips”.  I am using the yellow where ever the pattern called for a dark strip.  The white strips around the 2nd block (the candy dish as Pat called it) are a coordinating print.  I chose it for where ever the pattern called for a light strip. I used this white in several blocks during .

The friendship stars (4th block from the left) were “filler blocks”.  I used a bit of that red in another block near the end of the process, so I thought it would be nice to bring it near the top of the quilt. Balancing all these fabrics is kind of fun.  I want the colors not to appear to heavy in one area.

The next photo will show Rows A – C made.  I worked on Rows B & C late Saturday.

Rows A - C Grandma's Kitchen

Row B has more “friendship stars” in the first block, and I was glad the red was spaced out a bit, and glad I did not use the same fabrics for the filler blocks.   Row B has filler blocks (orange and purple checkerboard made with 2″ squares) and strips of white and yellow, and a “repeat” of the last block in the row that I had to create.

Row C had a much larger “checkerboard” that was a full block.  These were made with 2.5″ squares. Following the pattern, it was interesting to work this one, because the bottom row was to be all the “dark” (red)checkers, and it continued on, under the next block as a filler.  I went with it, and find it is interesting. I was surprised, because I would have thought making them the light (yellow) checkers would be more logical. Who am I to argue with the designer!

I’m having fun putting this part of the project together.  There are a lot of decisions yet to be made on fabrics as I approach the remaining stack of blocks.  I know which “colors” I want to use for the upcoming filler blocks, but not which fabric yet. I’ll get there & give you another look as I make further progress.  While I am making these filler blocks, there are scraps being generated! I’m keeping everything together so far, as I don’t know which bits & pieces I may work into the project.

Scrap Storage System – more info!

Speaking of scraps…here are some pictures from my last round!  It never ceases to amaze me how much “good stuff” is left at the end of a quilting project!

Ready to put away

This is the “last” of the pieces out of my yellow stacker.  They are cut and ready to put away!

Someone asked me how I “store” my scraps once they are cut to size.  I like “uniform” containers and am trying to get similar containers for all my scraps.  I like to size the container based on the size of the cut piece. Too big of a container means the little pieces get bounced around and messy.  I’ve already ironed these, and don’t want to do it again. I want to reach in the container and USE the pieces without going back to the iron.  I need to “invest” again in containers and house my 2.5″ squares and my 2″ squares. I have an over abundance of both and have resorted to cardboard boxes and plastic baskets.  (I also have a container the size of the one on the bottom left FULL of 2″ squares in ziplocks…leftover from 2 of those “watercolor” classes. UFO!!!)

Scrap Management Storage containers

I am using “shoeboxes” for strings.  Generally I consider a string anything that is 2″ or smaller.  These tend to be pieces that are not “width of fabric” and are the first thing I grab when I feel like making string blocks.  Mostly they are sorted by color family. The reds and oranges and yellows are together, the blues and purples are together and the neutrals are together. The boxes aren’t labeled yet, but are easy to figure out. I like them in color families because I like my string blocks more “orderly”.  I do have a container of 1.5″ strips in the previous photo and that box gets full rather fast, and when it does, the remainder end up in the string box. String pieces may not be as carefully trimmed to size, as I don’t care if the piece is 1 3/4″ or 1 5/8″…the precision is not necessary.

Shoeboxes for strings

In my previous post, Scrap Decisions , I included a chart with the range of sizes that I cut and store.  Someone commented about the “bricks”…those are the rectangles.  I don’t cut a lot of them, but I do use them from time to time, and find them handy to have on hand.

If you are just starting out with “saving your scraps” – you might not want to keep as many sizes etc as I do.  You have to figure out what you are going to use!  Because I follow Bonnie Hunter, I mirrored my system along the lines of hers, using sizes she typically includes in her patterns.  On her blog, she has a tab called Tips & Techniques, and on it you will find a blog post about her Scrap User’s system – Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User’s System

The link to Bonnie’s system is very lengthy, so get a cup of coffee, and read (after you finished reading my post of course)!  And bookmark her blog, and LOOK AROUND at the wealth of free information she willingly shares with her readers!  She has a tab for FREE PATTERNS and at the top of that page is a handy chart which sorts her patterns by “strip size and block and brick size”.  This might help you chose what to store!  And it might help you decide “how” you want to store your scraps.

I also follow other quilters, like Pat Sloan who offers lots of sew-alongs that include free patterns. (Fore example Grandma’s Kitchen!)  On her website http://www.patsloan.com/  you have to “work a little harder” to find her free patterns.  She has a ton of stuff, so spend some time there as well.

Lastly, I mentioned in other posts, that I used information from Joan Ford as I developed my “Scrap Storage System“.   Joan’s website https://hummingbird-highway.com/ will give you links to books she has written on the topic, and why she saves what she saves as well as freebies and fun stuff.

What ever system you follow or develop for yourself, make sure it is one that will work for you and that you will find yourself USING your scraps!  I also have fun posting my scrap projects periodically and sharing the post with OH SCRAP!  

I find lots of other “like minded” scrap quilters projects on the weekly link-up and enjoy perusing their blog posts!  (In fact…I am linking up today!)  (You might have noticed a button to OH SCRAP on the sidebar!)

I have had a great time making projects using patterns that Carole – https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/ has come up with, and I have USED those scraps from my Scrap Storage System in every one of her “Scrap Dance” projects.  My scrap boxes are full right now, and I am looking forward to the Scrap Dance Square Dance project she has on her blog.  This is a monthly project.  I may “increase” my size from twin to something larger if the mood (and the overflowing boxes) call to me.  (There is a button on my sidebar to Carole’s blog)

Do you save your scraps?  How do you do it? Do you follow other scrap quilters?  Who ??

BOMBOGENESIS and Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks 18-22

I did some “power sewing” yesterday ahead of the snow – or as the Weather Channel calls it the Winter Storm Grayson to Undergo Bombogenesis 

I was not sure what was going to happen overnight, as they have been hyping the storm all day on Wednesday. Honestly, the effort to “scare you to death” is something. Anything to make noise….I mean news.  I just know I am glad I am retired, and not making the 40+ mile commute to work!  Not to bore you with snow photo’s but thought you might appreciate a bit of my morning.

It snowed all night, and the cats were not sure about what was happening as they looked out their window perch. It was pretty early and so I had to use a flash….and got the eerie photo of Smokey with the glowing eyes…..Mittens is busy looking at the birds that are hanging out under the house eaves.  (This is the 1st time I have seen him up that high on the climber!!)

While the were peering out the window, I had to see what was up, and caught site of the oil tank which is only 1/4 full.  (I have “auto-delivery”, and did not like to see it that low with the days of extreme cold that are forecast between now and next week! Our low today is 12, and for Friday it will be 7 with a high of 17 both Friday and Saturday!)  A quick call to the oil company and they put me on the schedule for tomorrow!  (Keeping my fingers crossed….at least they “JUST” filled the propane for the heater in the garage……)

CHUCKY CAT!

There didn’t seem to be much snow piling up out front, and I noticed the winds were whipping from North to South…so I went out to the laundry room for a peak out back.

A little snow

I think that is about 6″ of snow in the foreground on top of the hot tub.  The roof of the porch along the garage has some interesting swirling snow. Note….my sewing room is “out there” on the 2nd floor of the detached garage….I think I am staying in today!

Needless to say, I am VERY glad I power sewed last night!  Since I had ALL the fabric out in stacks on the work table for Grandma’s Kitchen (pattern by Pat Sloan), I dug in and worked on blocks 18 – 22. Hubby went to the train club yesterday afternoon and I sewed from 4 pm until after 11pm when he got back home!  It was funny when he came upstairs in the garage all covered with snow, and asked me if I realized how much had already fallen.  I didn’t have a clue.  I couldn’t really “see out” the window with all the sewing room lights on, but we had already gotten about 3 “.  I’d skipped supper and was oblivious to the weather.  (At least until one daughter decided to send me severe weather warnings!)

I set aside the fabric for Block 18 the last time I was out working in my sewing room.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this block with 4.5” corner squares.

Block 18 Pattern by Pat Sloan Grandmas Kitchen

I had fun with block 18, fussy cutting the yellow fabric.  I have used the pink and the yellow in other blocks previously.

I knew I wanted a stripe with block 19 –

Block 19 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 20 just had to be made with reds!

Block 20 Grandma's Kitchen

For Block 21, I dug in to a bag of scraps for the gray fabric, and actually in the leftovers from Addison’s quilt for the biggest part of the phone.  (Ok, so they are not 30’s reproduction fabrics, but I needed gray!) The dial circles were cut from a piece of “very modern” dot fabric.  Those dots were hard to applique stitch down.

Block 21 Grandma's kitchen

Block 22 wasn’t one that I felt excited about until I pulled the fabric.  Now I am rather pleased.

Block 22 Grandma's Kitchen

Just 3 more “feature blocks” and TONS of filler blocks to make.  A fun project.  I feel like I am catching up a little!  More color balancing to do as I proceed.

Are you on the East Coast of the USA getting hit with the storm?  Don’t you think these silly names they give the storms “over hype” what is just a snow storm???

Working on anything fun today?

edit – note – pattern for Grandma’s Kitchen is by Pat Sloan, and can be found at Grandma’s Kitchen Sew Along