Happy New Year – Christmas Gifts revealed

Wow, it’s been over a month since I have written a blog post.  Sometimes I have “gaps” because I have not been making much or travelling. The past two months I was “getting ready” for Christmas.

Show & Tell – since all the gifts have been given, I can share now.  Most of what I have done in November and December has been with my embroidery machine I bought LAST January. I got it back from the service center in late October and have enjoyed learning to use it. It is a Janome 11000 and has an 8×8 hoop along with a bunch of others. There is a mega hoop, but I still need to learn how to play with software to “split” designs, and my brain isn’t ready for that yet.

My # 1 “big gift” that I made was from a pattern I purchased from Sweet Pea Designs . In September, Sweet Pea had a stitch along in their Facebook group, and I fell in love with the design.  I think this is what got me moving to get my big embroidery machine serviced.  I bought the pattern while it was on special for the stitch along, and it was the FIRST thing I made when I got the machine back in October.

It is an “In the Hoop” project. All 12 blocks were made on the embroidery machine, then I used my sewing machine for making the handles, inside pockets, and putting the bag together. There is batting in each block.  Picking the fabrics and thread colors was fun.  I made the bag using the 6×6 block.  The pattern includes 5×5 and 4×4.

Finished Knitting bag

Button Side

This was a gift for my daughter who knits.  (You should see what she made for me!!! Another post….)

She shared a photo on her knitting group on Facebook and it got some great comments. She was even asked if her “mom would make one to sell”.  I said sure, for $500 and 30 day turn around!  (I’m actually working on a 2nd bag now, just to time out how long it takes to make…..). We joke all the time about the cost of crafting. You get a crafted item as a gift because you are loved.  I’m not “in the business” to sell things, so my price has to be “high enough to discourage”….basically saying “YOU CAN’T AFFORD ME”…  That is a topic for another blog on another day!

A friend of mine, also a quilter & knitter, knew I was making this and alerted me to a fabric at our favorite quilt shop. “Knit N’ Purl” by Whistler Studios from Windham Fabrics  . (If you are a knitter and are looking for some cute fabric, check the link out!)  I used the green cable knit and the animals…..

Now, all that said, I used all SCRAPS from my bins for the blocks, handles, bottom of the bag.  I put bosal-in-r-form in the inside of the bag. Beside the lining and pocket fabric, that was the only “new out of the package” product I used.  I picked a lot of batik and tone on tone prints for the bag. There are a few other prints just to brighten things up. The marching band fabric was something to make the bag “unique” to her without putting her name on the outside. I tried to repeat fabrics on both sides of the bag but baking each block different.

Once this bag was finished, it was on to In The Hoop (ITH) zip bags – I primarily used patterns from In the Hoop by Sher.  These bags are fully lined and were done in the 5×7 hoop.  (Note – Sher often offers a free pattern, so take a look!)

fully lined

This one went with the knitting bag! (Sorry for the upside down pix)

The next one went to my 9 year old granddaughter.

5x7 zip bag

A girl can always use a place to tuck away her money or her bits & pieces like tissue or chapstick.

One of the granddaughters is a Brownie Girl Scout, and just got her “First Aid Badge”. Mom reported she was a bit uneasy during the earning of the badge, and when I saw the next pattern (from Sher’s website), I thought that this might help her feel more confident with her band aid skills.  Of course, I filled it with band aides and an ace wrap!  Just what every 7 year old needs.  I did buy some FUN bandaids.

First Aid bag

I have a daughter who has been encouraging me to ride my bike, and I found this sweet fabric. Of course there was a great pattern by Sher and I used it for her zip bag.  The pattern called for a bike to be embroidered, but I thought the print was perfect.

Just me and my bike zip bag

This pattern was also a 5×7, but I used a bigger hoop and scaled it up to 116%, praying the whole time I didn’t screw it up; as I only had a “scrap” of this fabric.  It worked well.  Check out the size difference. The green is the backside of the first aid bag.

Comparing sizes

I am really pleased that I learned how to enlarge things “in the hoop”.  The 5×7 hoop size zip bag is just a little small for my big phone, but by increasing the size and using the next size hoop, my phone fits in perfectly.   My grandson got a phone for Christmas, and I was waiting to see how big it was before making him this – pattern by Sher too.

Techie Stuff

Of course he can use it for cords, USB’s, change, tissues or other gadgets, but I thought he would like the “techie stuff”.  I scaled this design from Sher up to 116% . My phone fit easily (3.5″ x 6.5″ phone), so i knew his would too.  I had a bit of fun with his Techie Stuff and used a scrap of Star Wars fabric on the inside lining.  That Wookie might make him smile!

Star Wars fabric inside

I had another pattern to try for techie stuff, which was a cord wrap, pattern by Embroidery Garden. This is a free pattern and comes in multiple sizes.  I used fabric fused to felt.  You can use vinyl if you have it.  I used the small design, and learned to “duplicate it” in my 8×8 hoop.  I was able to stitch out a bunch! I included one in his Techie Stuff bag, and kept the others for cord containment around the house. (Hubby is always complaining about the long phone cord in the car!)

I have to clean up the stabilizer on these, but they are functional and FAST to make. I have thoughts of making more.  (Next time I will read the directions too…..maybe use some vinyl…..)

Cord Wraps Pattern by Embroidery Garden

Overall; I am thrilled with the purchase of the used Janome 11000.  I think I have learned a lot about enlarging, duplicating, reducing; repeating, skipping over sections etc.  I finally used some of those colorful snaps I bought last summer.  Other than my time, my costs were “minimal” making everything above. I have been digging through the fat quarters I have, and the scrap bins, the “felt stash” and the handful of zippers my friend Susan shared with me last spring. I did have to order stabilizer for the big hoop though and went for the 50 yard roll of cutaway and tearaway. I have ordered wash away too, so I am well supplied for a while.

So, that is it for now.  Next post I will share the “paper dolls” I made “in the hoop” for my youngest granddaughter.

Happy stitching and Happy New Year!

Emerging from the haze

I’ve been in a big slump since surgery on my finger last Thursday.  The long finger had joint fusion surgery (also called “arthrodesis”).  (((NOT A ROTARY CUTTER INCIDENT)))

I am hoping to shake off the anesthesia haze and get back to having fun!

On Friday, the day after surgery, I ventured out in a haze to the garage where a few guild members worked very hard on 2nd Time Around fabric prep while I looked on and cheered them on and answered questions.  I was able to work through an entire box of “bundles”, counting pieces and getting them tagged and priced.  In my post anesthesia haze I honestly had trouble with losing count, and devised a little “paper marker” for groups of 10’s.  That worked and I was able to stop recounting, and move the bundles into the box!

On Saturday one of my bee buddies came by for a visit and a cup of tea. Pam brought me 3 containers of wonderful homemade soups.  That boosted me up too.  Afterwards I wandered across the street to say hello to another guild member who had a cardio cath a few days earlier. I saw that she had her daughter and great grandson for a visit so did not stay but a minute. Since the weather was decent and I was “already across the road” I took advantage of her development’s quiet streets and had a nice long walk.  By going up and down each street in the neighborhood I was able to get a mile walk in before heading home.

On Monday my friend Nancy B. (also my co chair for 2nd Time Around) came over and she worked on organizing a bunch of the donations while I fiddled with some of the kits and got them priced up.  Nancy is a great sorter, and cleared out a bunch of donations that will be moved along to the thrift shop.  She has a good eye for things that won’t sell at the guild meeting and might do better elsewhere.    Our stack of boxes ready for the April quilt show is growing quickly with beautiful fabrics to sell.

I also had a visit from my “other friend” Nancy L, who delivered a wonderful ziti casserole on Monday afternoon.  My hubby was pleased that he wouldn’t have to figure out dinner!  We had gone to the supermarket on Sunday afternoon, and neither of us could even think of what we wanted to eat, so I grabbed a couple of “lean cuisine” style frozen meals and more fresh fruit.  Gosh I am enjoying the ziti, and the big pan has lasted us several days.  I have managed to make a b.l.t. sandwich once, so kitchen skills are coming.

Tuesday I had a mid day appointment with the physical therapist. The surgeon had sent an order for a different splint. That visit was quite something. I didn’t realize she was going to completely remove the bandage and do wound care as well as making a customized splint.  The area on my finger where the incisions were made is quite spectacular looking…..no photos as it was pretty unsettling if you aren’t used to seeing that sort of thing.  Of course, I am curious by nature so I had to inspect the surgeons fine sewing!!  My #1 complaint about the splint the surgeon put on is it did not protect the end of the finger and I had banged that end about once a day. There are stitches there where a screw was placed in my finger and it shrieks with pain if you bang it.   I banged it about 20 minutes before leaving for the therapist, so I was at a 12 on a scale of 1-10.  She offered to make a splint that would protect the end, and that made me very happy!  She did a lot of measuring and checking range of motion and swelling and assigned me home work for the next 2 days.  Thankfully, just the end joint is now immobilized, and I can bend at the knuckle.  Gone is the huge dressing and wrap, but I still have to keep it dry for another week and a half.  Apparently when I   go twice a week to see the therapist, she will remove the bandaging and clean and redress it.  I can feel that the swelling has gone down, and my new splint is much smaller.  No more banging the end of the finger on stuff which is a huge improvement!

smaller splint day 6

The new splint  has a velcro closure and I can actually tighten it if needed.  My hand looks terrible with bruising down to the middle of the back of the hand, below the purple marker.  At least I can use the wet wipes and clean the orange goo off the rest of my hands and nails.  (At this point I still have to put it in a plastic bag when I shower.  This is MUCH easier though.  ) I go back in the morning for another round and hope she sees it has improved.

After the visit to the therapist, hubby and I had a nice 1 1/2 mile walk and that really got my lungs cleared out and my brain fuzz and haze cleared up.  Of course, I was invigorated by the walk and exhausted at the end.  Seems that napping is still the daily priority.

Hubby spent the day working in the garage and I hung out in the house. I really have been in a haze. We had a “snow storm” planned for the day, but it fizzled out and drizzled freezing rain for hours. When it finally stopped this evening, I was ready to get up and get moving!   After he left for the train club tonight, I put on my shoes and went out to the sewing room.  I didn’t have any plan but I was sick of hanging out in the house.

I took my cutting instructions out with me for the new From My Carolina Home mystery quilt.  Nancy B. had given me some of the pieces already cut, and I got out my basket of 2.5″ squares and pulled a bunch more out.  I reached into the scrap basket and pulled a bunch more bits of fabric out and tried my hand at the rotary cutter.  Guess what?  I CAN CUT!  I use a FISKARS loop cutter, and I was able to hold it and cut my pieces.  Because my splint is a hard molded plastic, I had no concerns about hurting my long finger, and it didn’t interfere with using the rotary cutter.  Now, I don’t think i will be doing much cutting for a while, but I was pleased with getting all the pieces cut for the throw size project!  I added to what Nancy B. had cut for me, and got the neutrals cut as well.

Cutting for new quilt

I am now officially “playing along” with the new Scrap Dance Minuet Mystery Quilt

It is not too late to join in.  February instructions at the above link are all cutting.  Very easy…even in my situation.  Next set of instructions comes on the 2nd Friday of March, so still plenty of time to break out the scraps.  Getting out there and just playing around a bit in my sewing room has helped me perk up.  Now I am wondering if I can do any sewing?  I have some binding made and a few placemats left to bind!

Feeling better for having done something fun!  The haze is blowing away. Now if the weather improves, maybe I can sneak out for another walk!!!  My hubby said the anesthesia haze and the pain haze are helping me to rest but honestly….I would much rather go play!  It takes me days to get that stuff out of my system. Tomorrow is a full week, and since I am not taking anything stronger than Ibuprofen, you can’t blame the drugs!  Sewing will help!!  So will more exercise!  I also have some much loved “grandma time” scheduled for tomorrow, and that has to help!  Everyday is an improvement and for that I am thankful.

Are you playing along and doing the Scrap Dance ?  How do you get out of a wintertime slump?

Carolina Hurricane Quilts and Scraps

I mentioned in a post in late September ( Carolina Hurricane Quilts )  about the Carolina Hurricane Quilts project being spearheaded by Carole  Carter on her blog – From My Carolina Home  

I made a few blocks right after that post, and gathered up supplies and made up “kits” to make more blocks.  I have a few scraps and squares and leftover half-square triangles, so it was quick to assemble those kits.  I usually don’t “save’ 4.5″ blocks, but I had LOTS of 5” squares in my Scrap storage system.  More about that in a minute…..

My wonderful bee – the Queen Bee’s took on the challenge of making blocks during our bee gathering last Tuesday.  They came armed with scraps and sewed for about 3 hours.

Queen Bees Carolina Hurricane Blocks

During the bee gathering I snapped some photos and sent them off to Carole!  It was fun to get a group photo.  Here are a couple of pictures of the members, hard at work.

Sharon Oct 2018

Marta and Nancy Oct 2018

(Sorry for the blur ladies….)

Tracy and Mary Oct 2018

(Imagine…I am actually there in a photo….that usually never happens.  Thanks Marta!)

I came home from the bee with a stack of blocks, and still a handful of the kits I made for myself.  I didn’t seem to get as much sewing done there as I had planned, so I spent the week working on more blocks.  My method for working on these has been to make “2 at a time”.  I use those  great little foam core design boards to lay out 2 blocks and move them to the iron and back to the machine, and I can “keep the angles” right fairly easily.  Look back at my blog here – Foam Core Design Boards to get info on the boards and how to construct them.

I keep making blocks, as my hand is continuing to improve following surgery.  Carole asked me if I wanted to put the blocks together into a top, and at the time, I wasn’t sure if I could manage. I think I have about 20  blocks done, and the bee had about 15 done, with more promised.  I planned to “send” them to Carole the 2nd week of November. My Queen Bees who are still making blocks are planning to bring them to me the first Monday of November.  We have such a great variety of fabrics in these blocks.  This afternoon, when the light is better I will put them all up on the design wall for a photo.  Now I am wondering if I am “able” to assemble them.  I will have to get specifics from Carole on size if I decide to do the assembly. (She reads my blog, so I am sure she will write! )

During this bee, it was fun to chat with my “bee mates”, and to learn which ones are following along with Carole on her “Autumn Jubilee 2018”, and who have enjoyed making her mystery quilts. I love that they found her through my blog posts.  I also love that Carole linked to my blog post last week.  The day she did that, I had 82 new visitors.  So, if you are a new reader, and came to find my blog because of Carole, I thank you for reading and coming back for another visit. Be sure to “follow” in your favorite method.  I love reading everyone’s comments too.

At my “next Queen Bee” gathering, I plan to work with one member  and help her come up with a plan for controlling & managing her scraps.  Bonnie Hunter   is one of my FAVORITE well known quilters and in her blog post today she talks about having “variety” in your scrappy quilts and about how to achieve that variety.  (Every January I tend to “clean up” my sewing room and cut my scraps into predetermined sizes. )  Thanks to the lessons I have learned from other bloggers, like Bonnie, and others, such as Joan Ford who has written books about working with scraps too.  I attribute my “scrap storage system” to the inspiration I have found on Bonnie’s blog.  My sizes I save, and my method for storage are unique to me, as it must be for everyone.  I will, no doubt, write about my methods in a future post.  If your curious, you can check out this post- Scrap Storage Containment System

My sister-in-law, Carolyn, wrote about her method on her blog here  One Block Wonder Woman and Scrap Overload .  If you are a “scrappy quilter” how do you “contain” the chaos of scraps?

Priorities and projects

I often wonder if I am the odd quilter. I find myself with more projects than time, then easily distracted by something “new and interesting” to work on.   I have SO many UFO’s that I can not bring myself to start on anything “big”, so I trick myself into working on “new little things” if I feel like I can knock them out in a couple of days.  My last big finish was my “Grandma’s Kitchen” in June, and since then, I have dabbled around with little projects.  This week was no exception.

Tuesday was our Queen Bees gathering, and I took my bin with my “parts” for another cardinal block.  I had lots of 2.5″ half square triangles made that needed trimming and enough cut to make an entire flock of birds.  I got all set up to sew, and somehow pulled the end of the power cord right out of the plug.

Broken plug for my featherweight

No sewing for me!  I spent the time at the Bee trimming and squaring up all those HST I had made the night before!  Time well spent, and lots of fun conversations. Hubby fixed the cord as soon as I got home so my Bessie the Featherweight is ready to stitch the next time I need her.

On Thursday, I got a “heads up” about some UNICORN fabric at one of the local quilt shops, and I stopped by on my way home from the Assisted Living Sewing group.  I found 2 different unicorn fabrics, and my hubby chose the one on the darker background.  We picked out a fun fabric to pair up with it from the sale room, and yesterday afternoon I got busy sewing. My youngest granddaughter will be getting a pillow soon in her little toddler bed, and her mother asked for a special pillowcase.  I had fun stitching these 2 up, using the “burrito pillowcase” method featured on Missouri Star’s you tube video’s.  (I always have to watch the part about layering and pinning!)

Unicorn pillowcases

The fun thing with this set is the little green piece. That fabric was in the quilt I made for my granddaughter almost 2 years ago. I hope there is “enough” coral and gray to please her mother with the room decor.  I still have about 1 yard left of the stripe and I have a plan for it down the road. Just another “small” project!

The last week was busy with 4 days committed to sorting and dealing with Second Time Around stuff for the quilt guild. We have a meeting on Monday morning, and are featuring NOTIONS.  My co-chair and I spent a couple of days just working on those items.  I picked up more donations on Tuesday, and it was loaded with great fabrics and notions.  I have enough buttons from another donation to keep me sorting for a month or 2.  Only a few from the latest batch made the sort for this coming meeting.

I did manage to get in 3 nice bike rides with my daughter and young granddaughter after nearly 3 weeks off.  We rode 7.8 miles on Wednesday evening, 7.6 miles on Thursday morning, and 8.8 miles this morning.   It felt great to get some exercise again.  I know I will be hindered from riding for at least a week or more following my first hand surgery this coming week.  The weather was PERFECT  and I enjoyed each of these rides.

When I got home from today’s ride, I packed up the SUV with all the stuff we have to sell on Monday. It is “packed to the rafters”, and we have items in storage at the church, so keep your fingers crossed for great sales for the guild!

Last blog post was Carolina Hurricane Quilts  .  Since that post, I got busy and set up enough pieces to make 14 blocks.  I made 5 blocks today, and the other 9 are kitted up, ready for the next gathering of the Queen Bees.  Those blocks will be our project as a bee, and I hope we get a lot made.  From my standpoint, it was easy to make up some kits. I keep 5, 5.5 and 6″ squares in a container, so I pulled them out and sorted out the dark and medium blocks, and trimmed a bunch down to 4.5″ squares.  I also had a stack of already made half – square triangles in a bin.  These were leftovers from Addison’s Quilt I made in 2016. (Yes same granddaughter).  I had that bin of leftovers out when I picked out the pillowcase trim, so I dug through it and pulled some of the half – square triangles that might work with the fabrics I had pulled out of my scrap storage.  The only yardage I cut was some tone on tone white for the “light”.

Carolina Hurricane Quilt blocks

Thankfully those HST had a variety of whites when they were made, so it makes my lights look a little more scrappy.  I wanted to be sure and get a few made “just in case” I am not able to sew right away.  I’m trying to decide if those turquoise HST look “too bright” . What do you think?   The squares that look almost black are really a dark green with black print. I took the photo at night with no flash, and up close they are not so dark.

I feel as though a lot was accomplished this past  week, though no UFO’s came off the list.  I have a couple of other things I am anxious to work on before the middle of the week.  One thing that can NOT wait is that darn garden.  I have ignored it all summer because of the rain, the bugs, the heat and the total lack of interest!  If I don’t do it tomorrow afternoon, it won’t get touched until February or March.  Right now, it is knee high with weeds, so maybe tomorrow afternoon I might do a little digging in the dirt!  I would much “rather’ work in my sewing room tho!   I have a Christmas project left from a class last September ,Squareagonals project , that just needs quilting in the outer borders, and binding.

Priorities….and projects….decisions to make!  oh look….fabric…………………….

 

 

 

Bee Skep Pin Cushion FUN !!

A friend of mine sent me a link to the cutest pin cushion pattern she had come across, and thought that it would be a great project for the members of the Queen Bee’s quilt bee.  As the bee leader, she thought that I could entice the members into making something quite cute and fun.  The pattern is by Lea Anne Brummett , on a blog called Podunk Pretties – https://podunkpretties.blogspot.com/2018/07/bee-skep-pin-cushion.html  .

If you want the pattern, go to Lea Anne Brummett’s blog, and at the bottom of the page is a link to the whole pattern.  The link will take you to her CRAFTSY store.  This is a free pattern!

Once I got my pattern printed out, I debated about cutting those circles.  I messaged another guild member who has an accu-quilt dye cutting machine. She had 2, 3, and 5″ circles.  I needed more sizes than that. So, I bit the bullet, got out some carbon paper, and traced over the circles onto a manilla file folder. I cut those circles out and marked them with the sizes.

The pattern calls for assorted yellow prints.  I decided to use my yellow/gold/orange scrap box, and started pulling out pieces, and getting them starched and ironed.  I doubled the fabric so I could cut 2 pieces at once.  I used a fine point sharpie to outline my templates. I put a pin in the center of each circle to prevent shifting when I got ready to cut.  I had so much fun cutting out the first set, I decided to cut a few more.  I did all the cutting with my Fiskars scissors.  It went quickly!  (The secret is the heavy starch!)  (People who know me KNOW that I hate using scissors….I always look for a way to use a rotary cutter….)

3 Pin cushions ready to sew

Before long, I had 12 sets cut out, one for each member of my Queen Bees Quilt Bee.  I played around with the circles, and arranged them in pleasing groups and bagged them up.  Then, it was time to sew my Bea Skep!!

In no time at all, I had all 5 layers of the  pin cushion stitched, clipped, turned and stuffed. Took me longer to hand stitch all of them closed after they were stuffed!  I put ground English walnut shells in the largest circle to give weight to the Bee Skep.  The rest were filled with poly batting that I shredded into fine pieces as I stuffed.

Completed project Bee Skep Pin Cushion

I decided to use a metal shank button on the top instead of a yellow flat button. I like the dimension it gives.  I made 2 or 3 extra passes through the bottom cushion with my needle to make sure the knot doesn’t pull out. When I finished, I glued a circle of rubber shelf liner to the bottom of the pin cushion.  I used that thick Elmers craft glue, and made sure I had good coverage on the rubber shelf liner.  I used a plastic sandwich bag over my hand to press on the rubber circle to make sure it stuck well.  I let it rest on it’s side for a few minutes to dry, and made sure to only set it on the plastic bag until I was certain the glue was dry and would not stick to my table etc.

Rubber gripper on bottom of pin cushion

I like the way it turned out.  It is only about 3.5″ tall.

Bee Skep Pin Cushion

Looks cute with my flower headed pins and butterfly pin in it.  (I don’t have any of those fancy pins that Lea  Anne has….yet….)  It stands about 3 1/2 inches tall.

Take away – I would use a different needle next time when I am doing the stitching with the crochet thread.  The needle I used was too big to pass thru the holes in a standard button, and I wanted to put a flat button on the bottom to give extra security to the threads on the bottom.  Since the needle was too broad, I made those extra stitches.  Check the needle size through the holes in the buttons before you get started!

Cost – $0 — everything came from stash, scraps, the button box and items already on hand like crushed walnut shells, pieces of poly bat (from an old pillow), and crochet thread.  Thanks Lea Anne for the free pattern!

This is a fun fast project.  I hope you go to the blog “Podunk Pretties” and download your free pattern and make this cute Bee Skep pin cushion.

After I finished my own set, I decided to add some bits to the  kits I am gifting to my Bee buddies.  I opened up the sets I made for my Queen Bees and added 2 buttons, and a round circle of shelf gripper, and a length of yellow crochet thread.  Then I bagged up some ground English walnut shells for each of them to use in the bottom round or 2 of the cushion. They can use either poly bat or wool in the top sections.   I will take an extra bag of metal shank and flat buttons with me to the next Queen Bee gathering and they can select any additional buttons for their own projects.  All they need to do is download the pattern and start sewing!

Thanks LeeAnne of Podunk Pretties for the great fun, free project.  And thanks to my friend Pat for sharing the link to Lee Anne’s blog.  I had fun with this fast and easy project.

Have you found a quick and easy project that is worth sharing?

Batik fun

I continue to play around with those bits of batik that were donated by my friend at church to me.  Sewing to keep things out of the scrap storage system makes perfect sense to me.   The squares all need trimmed anyway, and I had lots of strips to trim.

Last post ( Small Projects and Small Bits )  I shared the basic blocks and the table runner I constructed and pondered what else to make.

My friend, Nancy B. gave me a link to a pattern for “log cabin” placemats as a suggestion.  I decided that would work quite nicely and gathered up strips of batiks and the blocks and quickly made 8 placemat blocks.  I intended to stop the placemats at the blue strip, but hubby thought they need to be just a tad wider, so I put the red strips on to gain some extra width. Oh darn, there goes the log cabin pattern out the window. Oh well, not using a pattern anyway.  (FYI – center block was 7.5″, strips are 2″)

playing with placemats

(Of course, as is my usual behavior, they aren’t finished yet).

I decided I might want to do 4 more placemats.  12 is a nice number. Usually there are 10 at the table for a family gathering, but it’s always nice to have a spare or 2 in the drawer.

Now, I need to brave the torrential rain we have this afternoon and venture back out to the sewing room. I have my desk and machine covered in batik strips, I just need WANT to sew!

(The colors make me smile on this rainy wet grey day)

Sewing to keep things out of the scrap storage system makes perfect sense to me.

I will STILL have a bunch of batik blocks left and am already thinking of a plan for those bits!

What are you doing to have fun today??

Scrap Dance Square Dance Assembly Complete

Yes, I sometimes talk about my own quilts on this blog….  Yesterday I posted about a quilt show I visited.  Today, I am changing directions.

I’ve been playing along with the mystery quilt shared by Carole – http://frommycarolinahome.com// and earlier in June she published the finally pattern layout.  The pattern is currently free on her blog until the end of June, when she will pull it down for commercial publication.

I really enjoy Carole’s patterns, and I especially like her mysteries.  One of her rules is not to try to “guess the layout” before the final pattern setting is given.  Her other rule is to not share the specifics of the pattern, but to ask people to find it on her page. If you are following my blog using a computer, you should see a button off to the side for the Scrap Dance Square Dance Mystery quilt.  If you want the pattern for free you must hurry!

A quick recap -Each step of the dance had a fun name associated with the activity. I posted about each step as it was occuring, but I will share a photo from each month.  If you want more info, you can do a quick search for “Scrap Dance Square Dance” on my blog to read all the posts.

January the yardage requirements and cutting instructions came out. It was called “Bow to Your Partner, Bow to Your Corner” .  ALL my fabric except the background fabric came from my scrap baskets!  I decided that I could easily make a twin with all the scraps I have collected, so I got busy during my scrap clean up setting aside bigger pieces for the rectangles.  I knew I had enough squares of the required size in my scrap storage system, so I didn’t cut any squares.

February we made 9 patches – and the lesson was called “Do-Si-Do”.

9 patches

March had us working with our rectangle pieces of 2 different sizes and she called that “Come Down the Middle”.  In the photo below you can see ALL my pieces up on my design wall.

Scrap Dance Square Dance parts constructed

April was working with our rotary cutters and it was called “Allemande Left”.  You can see the result in the May photo where we made those nice triangular cuts of color and white.

May was again working with our rectangle pieces and she called that step “Promenade”.

Square Dance - Promenade

June was the final layout and it was called “Shoot the Star!”. The construction method had us “spinning our partner blocks” and the result was fantastic –

Scrap Dance Square Dance

             SCRAP DANCE SQUARE DANCE by Mary Deeter

In April, Carole gave us “unfinished sizes”.  The sizes she gave were “without borders”.  I must have glossed over those dimensions.  Once on my design wall, I thought it was too narrow and too short for MY typical twin.   I decided, I wanted to go larger…..of course!  I added an extra row of blocks all the way around to bump the size up to 61×85.  I didn’t want to add borders as much as I wanted the star to be complete all the way around. So, before I could finish the assembly I dug back in the scrap boxes and tried to find scraps that were similar in tone and color to what I had already included in the quilt so it wouldn’t be to obvious that I added those blocks “at the end” of the assembly.  I was pretty happy with the color placement and the final outcome.  I loved the spinning stars.

This has been a great project and as always, a lot of fun to follow along each month.  My method has been to “set aside the clue day” if possible and dedicate it to working just on the mystery project. It seems to work out well for me except when travel or other commitments get in the way.  Carole gives such good clear instructions her patterns are easy to follow.  If you like what you see you have a chance to download the pattern for free before the end of June.

On my blog, I have talked about many of the other projects I have made using Carole’s patterns. She has free patterns on her blog as well as some for sale.  Go take a look and enjoy the fun.

I will be linking up to “Oh Scrap” when the link up comes on line and I will post that link here. early next week.

Happy sewing!  (Go sew with some scraps!!)