Such a “follower”

Saturday morning I was browsing through email, and saw a new picture FROM MY CAROLINA HOME’s blog  and she was talking about fabric requirements for another mystery quilt along (From my Carolina Home )  .  I am such a follower, I had to save the info, comment and take the survey, then run out to the sewing room over the garage and PULL fabrics!! Yes, all this before I had to be at my card making class at 10 am at the local public library!  Got me, hook line and sinker.  But, hey, it all came out of the scrap storage system…Yes, every bit….  I will post some pictures once I get it organized a little.   Meanwhile…………

I’m sure I have mentioned before those “nationally known” quilters I follow, and have identified them in posts when I have followed one or more of their patterns.  Last week we chatted  about Bonnie Hunter, and the new  “Quiltville Winter Mystery, 2015! Allietare!”                 ( Quiltville Winter Mystery Quilt details )  In that post, ( Another Mystery Quilt ) I talked about getting my paint chips and pulling fabric.  Well, mission accomplished!! Take a look at what I choose to use!    (If you click on the photo’s, you will get a nice close up view)

I was at Hancock Fabric and found that lovely fabric under the gold paint chip.  It is WINE BOTTLE LABELS!!  Going to do Italy, there will be wine!  I had purchased on Monday the grey indicated but I wasn’t feeling the warmth of it or the black.  So, I made a few adjustments; swapping chocolate brown with a black undertone for the black.  When I got to the grey, I knew it “had to go”, and I chose the green.  It will substitute fairly well.  I had some visions in my head of Tuscany and knew that green was a necessity!.  I think the red’s I chose work, except I wanted to go a bit more “merlot” than the top red that matches the card, so will no doubt use the 2nd fabric in the pile of the red.  The grey goes into the stash, and maybe that top red too.  So, not everything came from the stash on hand, I did do some more “fabric acquisition”.  Just what I needed to round out the selections.  I am going to let my neutrals be scrappy, but the rest will be constant fabrics.   This week will be enough time to get them pre-washed and ironed.  First clue is presented on  “Black Friday”….a great day to stay home & sew!

Now, about my other “follows”….I am a big fan of Pat Sloan and am excited to be signed up for a 2 day workshop this  week.  The workshop on Monday is called Wild & Free, where we focus on making the background piece for future applique.  The pattern is Mama’s Garden.  The advance workshop information was to “fill a laundry basket” with fabrics that you would like to play with to build this background piece.  This is where having a stash is handy.  I filled 4 rubber maid bins with fabrics! (I am reminded of how heavy fabric can be!).  The second day, we will be doing “The Magic of EASY Machine Appliqué”. In this workshop, we were to prepare the background BEFORE the class, which I did this afternoon.  Honestly glad that I spent part of Friday and Saturday pulling fabric to take to this class.  Check out Pat Sloan’s website and see if you can find these two workshops and what I will be up to !  ( Pat Sloan Workshops ).

I’m sure you don’t remember, but back when I started this blog in 2012, I had taken 2 classes at Serendipity Quilt shop that used Pat Sloan’s books.  In those classes we made a lot of projects. Something new every week for 10 or 12 weeks.  I have some “works-in-progress” left from those classes 2 or more years ago. I do have 2 official “finishes”; the Cupcakes and the Friendship Star.The “big star” is still a “work in progress”.  I had to search for a photo of it.  If you notice , the Big Star is on top of 2 other quilts on the design wall, and has one next to it.  No wonder I didn’t get anything finished!!  My goal this winter is to wrap some of these “WIP’s” up.  Get them done and out of the project boxes.  Get to the point got stalled during the quilting. Since I started, I have gotten a new machine, and I hope my FMQ has improved somewhat.  Hey, these classes were “Beginning Quilting”, so I am giving myself a break!  Enjoy these vintage 2012 & 2013 (yikes) projects !

Time to finish this glass of Merlot and call the day finished.  Updates later in the week!  If you are doing the Quiltville Mystery Quilt or the From My Carolina Home Mystery/Quilt along, what do your fabrics look like???


Scrap Storage Containment System

We all have scraps….some save them, some throw them, some gift them.  Thanks to 2 of my quilting friends, I am often the recipient of a nice bag  of scraps.wpid-20151017_125044-1_0.jpg

So – what do you do with it.??   I dump it all out on the cutting table and look at it all!!!   I’ve seen some of these pieces before in other bundles this particular person has gifted to me.  I sort it a bit in sizes, and “scrappiness” . Big pieces, little pieces, strips and others.

Then it is “off to the iron”!!  I press a pile, starch it like crazy and take it back to my cutting table.  I cut the scraps into the largest piece I can.  Square it up, and “file it away”.  I pulled a piece 11″ x 44″  out of this bag. That got folded, marked with the size and put in my bin of “STASH” for the primary color. I try to keep pieces that large intact. They could be used for many things, and cut up later if need.

I cut to the following sizes –wpid-20151017_131032_0.jpg

And then I store them away for future use!

So, when you are ready to make a project, you pull out the bin and start there before cutting yardage.  Bonnie Hunter (QUILTVILLE) has a great chart Patterns by strip size on her website. So, if you have an abundance of a particular size (for me it is 2″ squares and 1.5″ strips), you find a pattern on that chart and work with it to reduce your overflowing box.

I’ve done lots of scrap projects this year, using what I had on hand to make two  Grand Illusion  Mystery quilts, the Scrap Happy Little Wishes  quilt and the latest baby quilt pattern Scrap Dance.  And if you have read the blog in the last week you will have seen some other items on my design wall too.

It seems every project creates scraps and I am working hard to contain and control them.  I can be satisfied with one little basket that needs “management”.  I enjoy the cutting so, it keeps me busy. Right now, it is a bit distracting, as I have other projects in the line-up; but I must control the chaos before I begin again.  And NO, I don’t sew 24 hours a day….I’ve hardly sewn at all this week.

And, no, I won’t get this all cut today or tomorrow.  I don’t worry about putting back into the basket what I haven’t gotten cut.  It does help to sub-sort in the beginning, and decide to work on a particular “group”.  If I iron it, I will get it cut on the same day.  (Don’t tell anyone I vacuumed the quilt room before I began cutting the scraps today.  )

One last thing – Scrap Quilter Joan Ford ( Joan’s website ) said to us at our guild in October that “It’s ok to throw it away” when the piece is just too small.  Bonnie Hunter (Bonnie’s blog) says “If it’s still ugly, you haven’t cut it small enough”.   Check out both of their scrap storage systems and books they have written, patterns for using the scraps.  And don’t forget to check out Pat Sloan (Pat’s website ).  Pat also has a collection of “scrappy patterns” and will encourage you to work on your projects even if you only have “just 10 minutes” every day!

What are you working on that is filled with scraps?

note: Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt was a pattern by Bonnie Hunter; Scrap Happy Little Wishes is a pattern by Pat Sloan, and Scrap Dance is a pattern FROM MY CAROLINA HOME blog on WordPress.

Scrap Dance Reveal QAL

I think I started this quilt along (QAL) in April or May.  Carole at My Carolina Home gave out one set of directions every month.  As the months passed, my little “basket of parts” grew.  The final reveal came out on Sept 9th, and it took me until tonight to “get round to it”.  You see, after the Aug directions, I got distracted by Pat Sloan and her Happy Scrappy Little Wishes Stars Challenge! (more about that here: Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge  )

Today I had a chance to print out the directions for the Scrap Dance QAL reveal and sit down to put the rows together to make 9 blocks.

9 blocks assembled for the Scrap Dance Mystery

9 blocks assembled for the Scrap Dance Mystery

The blocks are made, now I need to “arrange them” and get them assembled.  This has been a fun process in “using my scraps”.  I paid no attention to color, other than neutral or color, and as I was doing the various steps, I just “pulled” from the scrap bin.  This project did require me to cut into some neutrals to make the half square triangles and have enough for the neutral blocks.  I think I will like it better once I get a border on.  How do I know? Well I peaked in on the Flickr group posts, and saw one that convinced me all is well.  Check this out:  Susan in Dublin’s version ‘s  .    I love hers.  So, my goal is a 42×42 baby quilt.  I do like the pattern and the way the neutrals make interesting pathways.

Thank you Carol at MyCarolinaHome for the pattern and the challenge to cut into the scraps.  I can see using this pattern again!!

Pattern information My Carolina Home – Scrap Dance Reveal

I will post a final picture when I get the top assembled and finished.

Happy stitching….ps…if you recognize your fabrics that you “gifted to me” in the form of scraps, leave me a comment!  No yardage was injured in the pursuit of this scrap project….fat quarters for neutrals do NOT count.  🙂

Presidents Quilt Top Presented

Oh, I have been keeping secrets!!  Now I can reveal what I worked on the last 2 weeks of August!

My guild, Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes Delaware, has a tradition of presenting a quilt top or a stack of quilt blocks to the outgoing guild president.  As one of the outgoing vice-presidents, I volunteered to coordinate. With the help of another board member, Cheryl, we came up with a plan.  We asked the board members to contribute 3 – 4 patches made from 5″ squares in modern prints, focusing on the colors of yellow, lime and grey.  (Oh, yes, in the midst of our quilt show prep, these board members stepped up and followed through!).  Cheryl took the blocks and snowballed the outside corners of the 4 patches.  She delivered them to me with a plan to set them on point. She had even arranged them in the order they were to go in each row. (check out the cool little stickers with the arrow points-they were all numbered!)  So, I didn’t have to do a lot of thinking, I cut the sashing and posts and assembled the quilt top.

Setting on point

Setting on point

Ok, I did have to do some thinking….those darn setting triangles made me think! I had my Pat Sloan “I can’t believe I’m Quilting” book out, and my Robert Kaufman Quilt Calc app on my phone to “figure out” the sizes that I should cut.  Between Pat’s book and the app, I got it done.  Layed it out on the floor to get an idea what it would look like if she added a charcoal grey border.

Quilt Top for Outgoing President

Quilt Top for Outgoing President

Yesterday at our September 2015 guild meeting, the new officer’s were installed, and the quilt top was presented to Kathi, our outgoing president. Cheryl and Lana held it up for all to see.  Cheryl also presented her with the label for the back of the quilt.  I know Kathi will have fun playing with it on her new Bernina machine.  I hope it doesn’t become one of those “UFO’s” we all seem to have.  The pressure is on her to get it layered up and quilted to show at a future guild meeting!

Presenting the President's quilt top

Lana and Cheryl – Presenting the President’s quilt top

So, that was my secret project from August. Oh, I took my Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge stars quilt top to show at quilt guild “show & tell”. There was lots of interest from the members in that challenge and pattern. I will post the link to the challenge one last time: Scrap Happy Little Wishes pattern

If you didn’t see my version of the Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge block – I had photos of  – my version of scrap happy . Just click that link to look at yesterday’s post.

Today, I have plans to work on another log cabin cross banner.  What are you working on??

Happy stitching!

PS – if you are looking at this on a mobile device, are the photo’s loading faster?  I reduced the size and want to know if it has made a difference.  If you are viewing on a lap top/desktop computer – has it diminished the photo quality?  Let me know.

Just a border or 2

Just a few days ago I reported I had 30 blocks made and was starting to sash them. Well, we had a power outage right after that, so what was I to do….left and went shopping for more fabric…but that’s another story for another day.

With power restored, I worked on the Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge stars yesterday and today.

I have sashed all my blocks and put them together.  Now it is time to think about a border or 2.  What would you do??  Remember now, everything came from the scrap basket except 2 fat quarters of a neutral that I needed for the contrast on the star points. Even the posts came from the scrap baskets. I admit,  I pulled 1 yard of black for the sashing from my stash.  The sashing and posts are not part of Pat Sloans Pattern for the Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge stars. (Click here for the pattern:  Little Wishes pattern  ).    They are my “contribution to the creative endeavor”!  The sashing and posts are cut at 1.5″, finish at 1″.

Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge 68.5" x 78"

Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge 68.5″ x 78″

I give hubby all the credit for the sashing. He said it frames the block better, and with the narrow sashing, you still see the secondary pattern of the 4 patches and diamonds coming together.

I really liked this challenge, because it made cleaning up the scraps feel like I had a purpose. Now, I must admit…there are still more in the basket and they need to be dealt with! But, not tonight!  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting in the morning, and my Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge is going for show & tell!  Maybe my guild buddies will give me some border suggestions…and no, it can’t be more black, all I have left is a 6″ x 40″ scrap….  Thanks Pat Sloan for the great challenge!  I had fun!

Scrap Happy Little Wishes – 30 Blocks

I have really been on a Scrap Happy workout!  My basket of scraps is still full, but I have made such great progress.  I am up to 30 Scrap Happy Little Wishes blocks.  I am using the pattern that Pat Sloan posted on her blog last week Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge .  I decided that I will sash the blocks, with 1.5″ sashing and 1.5″ posts.  I think the sashing gives a small bit of separation between the blocks and a place to rest your eyes.

30 Scrap Happy blocks

30 Scrap Happy blocks

Back to the scraps — As I am pulling fabrics from the scrap basket, I have been pressing, folding and cutting away.  Anything that is “fat quarter” or bigger is getting folded and put back in the storage tubs sorted by color.  Anything smaller than a fat quarter has been cut.  I needed LOTS of 4″ squares to make the half-square triangles.  I had LOTS of patterned 4″ squares for the star points, but needed something a bit more “solid” or neutral.  I broke down and used some neutral fat quarters.  So, now I can’t claim the blocks are all scraps.

If I can’t get 4″ squares from a scrap, I try for 3.5″, 2.5″, 2″ or 1.5″.  This pattern is not using 2″ or 1.5″, so my storage box of those sizes is getting full. (Note – some of those 1.5″ squares are going into this quilt for sashing posts!)

I am also cutting strips of 2.5″, 2″ and 1.5 and 1″.  I have a storage box for those sizes too.  I even have a box for “strings” …pieces that are really not long enough to consider a “strip”, but might work out later in a string quilt.  And then there are the “chunks” that are just to big to toss, but might be usable at some other point in time.

I finally took my project box from the Bonnie Hunter – Grand Illusion Mystery quilt and dumped it out.  I had done 2 twin sized GIMQ’s, and figured it is time to put the rest of the fabrics away.  I had a whole box of “bonus triangles” in that box and played with them a bit,stitching them into half square triangles and trimming.

1.5" Bonus HST

1.5″ Bonus HST

Those bonus triangles were too distracting tho, so I am planning to put them all in a box for “later”. I really needed more star points for the Scrap Happy Little Wishes block, and I built a bunch of them yesterday.

4" squares made into 3.5" HST

4″ squares made into 3.5″ HST

I think the trimming is what really takes the time, but it is worth it.
I also have 20 more 9 patches made. Of course, I have enough 2.5″ squares to LOTS more, but I think I need to just put those in the storage for another scrappy moment. With the 9 patches I have finished, I will put them away for another quilt.   This quilt will take some time to finish, but it has been fun!

Today there was no sewing, as we had a lengthy power outage while the utility company was replacing poles on our road.  Nice of them to give us an hours notice before they cut the power.  Gave us time to shut off the computers and get the car out of the garage and make a plan.  When the power goes out, I go fabric shopping!  I grabbed my coupons and enjoyed my 2nd fabric outing for the week!  I have stockpiled fabrics for our church quilts and some wonderful flannel for children’s bathrobes.  I even found some great fabric for a batman cape!.  The quilt project will go on hiatus while I work on some other projects.  I will enjoy looking at it on the design wall while I get on to other things.  I might be able to get some sashing done at the same time!

Hope you got to sew today!


Still buried in scraps

A bit of an update on my “Scrap Happy Little Wishes star project” (Scrap Happy Stars ) –   20 blocks completeall out of the scrap basket and the scrap storage system.  I have been pressing scraps and cutting into usable sizes (2.5″, 3.5″ and 4″) for the Scrap Happy Little Wishes challenge blocks.  When I get a good amount cut, I stop and do some sewing.

The basket is still overflowing.  If a piece of scrap won’t work in these sizes, it may get sorted into the “string box”, cut to a 1.5″ or 2″ strip, or into the “chunks” box.  I have some really  odd pieces hanging around.  And, I even put some odd pieces into the “hexi” box.  I don’t feel like I have made much of a dent, but it has been fun playing around.  Toughest to get 4″ squares light and dark for the HST star points in these blocks out of the scrap box.  Not enough contrast for the points always to show well when going totally scrappy.  I have about 15 more 9 patches made, just waiting for me to create more star points.  And of course, making the HST is the time consuming part.  Each block has 8 HST, and my objective was to make the all the same in a given block, but that plan  went out the window quickly.

I think I will lay these blocks out with black sashing, so the bright colors sparkle, and the black gives your eye a place to rest.  I am not sure how wide I want to go. The cornerstones on these blocks are 3.5″, so I am thinking going 1.5″.  I tried white sashing and it didn’t excite me.  I had just over 3/4 of a yard of a nice black that I pinned up on the wall to test the idea.  I like it.   I also like the blocks where there is greater contrast between the star points and the other colors.  I may have to “dump out” the entire basket and “dig for pieces” that will give me that contrast.  I do believe the basket is growing in volume, not reducing.

Tomorrow is my “last day” for cleaning up scraps, because the whole quilt room needs to be cleaned up.  So, I will focus on getting things cut, and will hold out the sizes I need to continue this project.  A shopping trip for black fabric for sashing will be one of my objectives later this month.

What are you working on?  Controlled chaos?  Have a great holiday weekend.

Greeting September with scraps

Hard to believe it has been a month since I have had a blog post! September is here and August is long gone, but full of fun family memories.  I spent 2 weeks with the grandkids and their family, sightseeing and playing, and celebrating a birthday.

When I got home I set to work immediately on assembling a quilt for the outgoing president of our guild.  I will show you pictures in a couple of weeks once it is presented.  More details when I share the photos. It was fun to work on and took me about 4 days to get my part done.  After that I took about 4 days to work (gasp) in the garden.  The weeds were as tall as me, the weather was decent 80-85 degrees and LOW humidity, so I tackled the job.  Poor garden had not been touched since May.  (Hey, don’t judge, I was busy sewing)  .  The hosta’s have bloomed, the lirope is blooming, and the sedum is in bloom.  The bugs are in the garden too.  Boy did I disturb the bugs who were just having a field day under the leaves!

After all that gardening, the call to the sewing room was loud!  I decided I better get busy and “catch up” with the July & August blocks for the Carolina Home Scrap Dance Mystery quilt.  That took me about an hour and they are done!  Sept is the last month where we get the setting for all our parts.  I will post some pictures later this weekend. (I forgot to take any during the last 2 steps.)  There is a button on the sidebar of the blog if you are interested in joining in.  Not too late to join in.

Once I finished with those blocks, I was looking at the leftovers in the basket, trying to decide if I should make “more blocks” and do a bigger quilt, or  move on.  I decided to move on and tackle a scrap challenge that Pat Sloan published on her blog – Scrap Happy Little Wishes challenge .  I was excited to make a stack of 9 patches out of 2.5″ squares (I have LOTS of them in my scrap storage system and lots left over from the Caroline Home Scrap Dance Mystery).  That part went quickly.  Then I dug into the basket of scraps that lives on the back of my cutting table.  The basket my friends contribute to was getting beyond full.  Here are the results thus far, and only a dent made in the scrap basket!  This was from 2 days of sewing, and as most know, the half square triangles that make the star points are the time consuming part, especially when working with scraps.

I am determined to make more blocks, and even more determined to tackle that scrap basket, which is now “over turned” on my ironing table.  I was digging for neutrals that would work well for background of the star points.   I think this afternoon, I will do some sorting, pressing and cutting into appropriate sizes.  Anything that is the size of a “fat 8th” won’t get cut smaller, but stored in the large pieces box. It always amazes me what people “get rid of”, and I have several large batik pieces that were gifted in the last scrap bag from a friend.  Not quite fat quarters, but darn close!!  If you want to know more about “scrap storage”, I wrote a couple of blog posts last year about how I “store” and which systems I follow.  Check out these posts – Scrap Storage and using up the scraps  and here A Different Storage System .  My systems are a combination of what Bonnie Hunter – uses, and some others that I have mentioned in those posts.

I am looking forward to the October speaker, Joan Ford, at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting.  She is a “scrappy” person and her blog and website are interesting.  She has several books out, one titled Cut the Scraps.   Check out her blog – Scrap therapy blog  .

Gosh, I have so many pictures and things to share, but it will have to wait for another day!  Tomorrow, I will post some photos of my trip to the DAR Museum in Washington DC and the “Eye on Elegance” display of quilts.

Happy sewing!!