Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A Scrappy Rabbit Hole

 In a post from last week, I said, "Theoretically, all of these various strips and squares are separated into dedicated storage tubs or baskets. Truthfully, a lot of them are more-or-less stacked and simply corralled in a corner of my room." Click here to read the full post.

As I went about my day after tapping the 'publish' button, I found myself thinking about that corner with all my so-called organized squares and strips. I wondered just what kind of order I would find in that particular corner of the quilting room. As I said, theoretically, things were sorted - perhaps not neatly, but somewhat.

Oh gosh. What a rabbit hole. I had more of a mess on my hands than anything resembling order. You know how a simple task becomes an overwhelming JOB and you feel as though you've lost control? That's where this simple look-see took me. Golly.

The two containers in the picture above represent some of the corner's goodies. At the bottom of the picture a long bread basket contains 2.5 inch strips. That looks pretty neat, and besides the fact that the strips are toppling over the basket's sides, the organization is working pretty well.  Here's another view of the basket. 

That plastic tub, however, is an entirely different story. It contained stacks and piles of all manner of scraps. Maybe I toss things into it just to get it out of my sight? Like I would never have to deal with it if it couldn't be seen in my immediate line of sight? Ahem...

I know you want to investigate what all I found in this tub. I am not too proud to show you the mess - yes, I will share. 

These interesting blocks were among the buried treasures in that tub. I had to search back to 2017 to find the approximate date on which these were made. Claudia, my student from several years ago, had asked to learn about curved piecing, and this is from that day's lesson. 

Rather than just set them aside, I sewed some together, and now I need to figure out what I will do with them.

Three blocks with round centers. I have no idea how to proceed. So they join a ga-zillion other orphan blocks. I will show you that collection another day.

Moving on, this collection of related fabrics appeared. Check this post from last summer for details on the fabric and beginning the project. Check this post to see the finish. Shown in the picture was what was left over. Always the dilemma - what to do with leftovers!

I have a bunch of squares paired up for additional HSTs, and I really ought to go ahead and make them. I have no idea how they'd end up being used, but that would be a step in the direction of some sort of finish, right? 

For now, they are put aside while I think on it. Next up is a grouping of remaining orphan blocks and leftover bits from previous projects.

Besides these random blocks, I found a wide assortment of scrap fabric which I cut down into the prescribed sizes I have been cutting for weeks - strips and squares - and added them to the various tubs that are now actually pretty well organized by size, still in the corner of the sewing room.

I have talked a lot about scraps and controlling them, and when I read comments from followers, I see that I am not alone in realizing that controlling scraps is an ongoing concern for many a quilter. I love reading tips for managing the accumulation of scraps. Keep 'em coming!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Gorgeous October

Most of us here in the Midwest US have had the most mild, warm and beautiful October. The days through the first half of the month were warmer than normal - almost hot, by my standards. Now, here just past month's midpoint, we are finally having what I would term "normal" October weather. Cool, crisp nights in the 40s and clear, sparkly days in the 70s. Perfect.

Here are some nature pictures (sorry, not quilts!) from our part of Ohio.

These two pictures were taken on a particularly warm late afternoon from our front porch. Note that the trees really haven't dropped too many leaves at this point. Our fall color seems delayed, and the leaves are now finally dropping - about 10 days since these pics were taken.

This past weekend we had our 4th annual Hocking Hills getaway with the kids. This has been such a fantastic way to spend family time - it is becoming a tradition we all look forward to! Here's a shot from our morning hike from Ash Cave to the fire tower - about 4 miles total.

Still not seeing much color here in Ohio, are we? But the Saturday morning was cool and the hike was refreshing. Those are my two daughters in the foreground; DH and SIL are further up the trail.

Last evening we drove into town for a couple of errands and admired this beautiful harvest sunset. Farmers are combining beans and corn, and the hazy dust stirred up by their machinery makes for a magical picture, despite our dirty windshield.

While we were away at Hocking Hills, neighbors in our home area were hit Friday night by a tornado. Our property was out of the path of the storm, but three miles away, several homes and outbuildings were damaged or destroyed. It wasn't a big tornado, but even small ones do damage. There was no loss of life or injuries, thankfully; rebuilding and inconvenience are the only lasting effects. 

I am expecting Sharon here in a little bit. What will we work on? Heaven only knows. We both are in that indecisive stage, I fear. I have at least three ideas brewing; we shall see what pans out.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Three Finishes For Sharon


It always feels good to have a finish to share, and today I am sharing three recent finishes from Sharon. We have had our usual weekly sewing day the past three weeks, and on each of those days Sharon has finished a quilt. They are beautiful, of course, and I think you will be quite impressed.

The most recent finish is this gorgeous blue beauty. It is the Turning Twenty pattern which is a super-fast finish. Sharon had started it earlier and brought it to finish on Tuesday. Is this some dreamy loveliness or what!?!

The week before Turning Twenty, Sharon finished her version of Scrappy Irish Chain. You may recall that we worked on this pattern together - mine with bright yellow and hers with soft peach. Here is Sharon's finished quilt top.

The scrappy squares are largely leftover bits of various 3 Sisters fabrics which all work so well together, and of course the peachy-pink plays nicely with them, too. This is a simple quilt to make, yet we both felt that it was quite a ginormous undertaking, mostly because of the size. Those blocks are 18 inches and with all the seams in the pieced scrappy blocks, it is quite heavy.

And, if we go back a week before the Scrappy Irish Chain finish, we have Sharon's jelly roll challenge quilt which was finished in a snap. This was a fun quilt to work on (yes, I made one, too) and it broke the labor-intense focus on the Irish Chain. Sharon used more of her 3 Sisters stash to make this very gorgeous - and very simple - 9-patch and snowball quilt. I love the combination of those two blocks together. What a super finish.

We are getting stuff done around here, aren't we??? I love feeling so productive! It's funny how frequently our conversations always drift around to "what will we work on next?" That eagerness to start a new quilt never fades. Thankfully! I suppose all quilters do it to varying degrees.

What fun we have when we sew together, and we are finishing things! This weekly sewing date has worked out well for us.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Dealing With Scraps

Anyone who has quilted for any length of time will soon have a dilemma on her hands with regard to scraps. The situation in my quilting room has become rather a daunting one, and for several years now I have attempted to make some headway with using scraps.

My decision 3-4 years ago to cut leftovers into strips or squares of select predetermined sizes has served me well, and I continue to do this. My strips are cut into 2.5 inches, 2 inches, and 1.5 inches. When leftovers don't lend themselves to strips, then I cut squares. I mostly cut 2.5 inch squares, but also have gone as large as 6 inches and as small as 1.5 inches. Theoretically, all of these various strips and squares are separated into dedicated storage tubs or baskets. Truthfully, a lot of them are more-or-less stacked and simply corralled in a corner of my room.

Lately, I have given particular focus to cutting 2.5-inch squares, as the Frankfort Girls are exchanging these at our next gathering. We are each preparing a zip-lock gallon bag filled with squares for exchanging. So cutting has been underway.

I thought I had a pretty full bag ready to go, but I discovered that I'd sewed a lot of my squares into 4-patches, which can be seen in the photo above. I had forgotten that I'd done all those, so I'm not disappointed that I needed to cut more. Surely, there is more than enough scraps to easily fill a bag in short order.

The picture above illustrates the work of an afternoon recently. I have 3 towering stacks of 2.5-inch squares. The remaining stacks are 2-inch, 1.5-inch, and 5-inch squares. The crumbs at the top are waste. I give up if smaller than 1.5 inches square. 

My ziplock bag is getting full, and I will definitely have it stuffed to capacity by Friday. Even though it is a chore that doesn't immediately result in a block or a quilt, I do find some satisfaction in taking the time to deal with all the scraps in this way. First, I clean a space. That is simply the most satisfying feeling. It is almost freeing in a way, knowing that you've dealt with a task that has needed doing for decades.

Second, I get to revisit past projects. I can come across a fabric from years ago and recall the exact item I was making, or what was going on in my life when I used that fabric. It is remarkable the memories that some fabrics will conjure up. 

Third, if the fabric doesn't remind me of a past project, then it might remind me of a special shop-hop, fabric store, or outing. I have cut fabrics that were purchased on outings years ago when I shopped with Grandma, and more recently, purchased on vacations, or on special trips with the girlfriends.

Last, I dream up new projects to consider for using all these scraps I'm saving. I have a special fondness for scrappy quilts. The "make do" mantra of previous generations of quilters is one I hope to keep alive - remember that our quilting ancestors frequently relied solely on scraps for their quilt-making needs. How lucky are we today to have access to endless designers of top-quality fabrics for making our quilts! So many options! Think of the limitations quilters once faced. It's humbling to think about.

Wanna' see some of my recent scrap quilts? The three shown below have all been made from the scraps I've been cutting in the method described earlier. Of course these quilts have been chronicled in previous posts, but since they are a direct result of all this scrap-cutting work, we should look, right?

Scrappy Irish Chain

Spring Dreams

Scrappy 4-Patch Economy

Even though I have made some progress in my scrap-use efforts, I have a long, long way yet to go. I see many more scrappy quilts in my future, for sure.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Grandma's Pinwheel Quilt

 I have spent about a week trying to figure out what I want to work on. There are all those things I ought to do, but there are also those things I want to do. The latter category generally involves starting something new. With so many projects staring at me from every corner of the sewing room, I just couldn't let myself begin another new project. So Wednesday and Thursday, I did this.

The box containing the parts for this quilt have been moved around the sewing room for a couple of years now. It came to me from Grandma back in 2014 when she sent all her sewing and quilting stuff home with me. This post details that memorable event.

I just didn't know how.

Here is a post in which the pinwheel blocks - and a lot more - are shared. In that post, I wonder why she stopped working on this. It has many elements that appealed to her - patriotic, traditional block, use of her existing stash. After a good deal of study, I think I figured it out. She had made 24 pinwheels going one direction, and 16 pinwheels going the opposite direction. I think that when she tried to put the quilt top together, the differing directions displeased her, so she stopped. 

That's what I would have done, too.

And maybe that is why it has taken me so long to figure out how to proceed with this project. In this post, I describe 'rediscovering' this project box and pledging to finish her quilt. (Ahem.) I didn't quite follow through on that, did I? In this post, I determine that I would get to work on it right away. (Double Ahem.) Still no follow through.

Well, instead of looking back at the history of these pinwheel blocks and all my inactivity, let's move forward!

It took collaboration with a few of my quilting cohorts, and a couple of days of work, but by gosh, I have finished it!

My conundrum was trying to figure out how to deal with pinwheels going in opposite directions. The project box contained extra fabric, so I sorta' guessed I would make additional wheels, but I managed to figure out an alternative that didn't require that. 

Here's the quilt top again; I will draw your attention to the 6 center blocks which are actually 24 pinwheels. All those pinwheels rotate the same direction. I added the sashing strips all around them, and then tried a number of options for the remaining pinwheels. If you study them you can see that they rotate in the opposite direction of the center pinwheels. This was the problem that most likely forced Grandma to halt her work on this quilt. 

Placing 4 pinwheels around each corner seems like a pleasing end result. I do not focus at all on the fact that the directions are opposite - instead, it all looks like it was meant to be arranged in this way. This quilt is suitable for a lap quilt or a couch quilt. It measures approximately 49" x 66". The individual pinwheels are 7" finished.

Because this is one of the very last few things Grandma worked on before she quit quilting, I wanted to document some sweet features. First of course, is her hand stitching. Each of the pinwheels was stitched by hand the way she did for every quilt she ever made.

While cutting the red fabric for the border, I discovered some of the pencil marks she made for cutting out the triangles. She would have had a template and used a pair of scissors to cut the units for each block.

Her project box was neatly packed with all her blocks as well as all her remaining fabric to be used in finishing the quilt. The plain blue fabric folded here was her alternate; the print blue was almost all gone, so she had a back-up plan ready, if necessary. Just like her, for sure.

I will definitely be putting this on the quilt frame soon. I can see this being finished off without delay.

Hope you have a great Friday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

A Totally Finished Pumpkin Quilt

In a total surprise to myself, I have a holiday quilt finished in the season it will be needed! I am not known for being timely, so this is a noteworthy accomplishment. *smiles*

The last quilt I did was the baby quilt for nephew Will's little boy. I knew that I needed to clean, oil, change the needle, and whatever other general maintenance one does on a long arm. I am getting better at knowing what to do.

Then I loaded this small quilt, Harvest Pumpkins, that I made with the Frankfort girls back in June. This loading business is another area in which I am growing more confident. I only had to load, remove, and reload this time. On previous quilts, I have repeated that loading process many, many times. 

Quilting went as well as expected. I think some early stitching is less than stellar, but overall I am happy enough with the results.

I have an entire bolt of that beige polka dot fabric in 108" width. I use it as often as possible for backings. 

For binding, I considered using the cut-away edges of the backing. But I sorta' like the variety in the cheddar options, too. What would you have used?

I went with the cheddars. These are fat quarters, so I have lots of seams in the bindings. But it went on easily enough with the diagonal seams that I have been using lately.  I stitched binding yesterday while we Frankfort Girls met at Becky's house. Click here to see a post of some of the other Harvest Pumpkin quilts.

And here are a few random shots of the binding all stitched on and FINISHED! I just can't believe it's done.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Hello October!


Good gracious! It's October! Can you believe it? It really has come much too fast, in my opinion.

Here we are, though, and I am ready for a new month of quilt making. Plans are coming together for a few finishes, and I can see me approaching that Tin Lizzie quilting machine with more and more confidence.

But before we approach October's projects, let me review September with my monthly collage. My goodness, September was a whirlwind. I had two vacations and still had a couple of quilting finishes, I am proud to report. Let's see the collage.

First Row: I made a mesh bag, then took it for my beach bag to Myrtle Beach when I vacationed with the girlfriends. On the way home, I finally worked on the sewing I took, and stitched a few EPP flowers.

Second Row: On the second vacation, Kevin and I took a scenic tour of New England. We saw Lake Placid, NY, and the bay at Bar Harbor, ME. In the middle, I feature the feline nursery in our garage - the pregnant stray that showed up here in August had 8 kittens. They are being cared for and will hopefully be 're-homed' soon.

Third Row: Moss Glen Falls in Vermont's Green Mountains was a pretty roadside stop to enjoy. Back home, I finished my jelly roll quilt and quilted the pumpkin quilt I made earlier in the summer.

See what I mean about a whirlwind month? Summer vacations have been immense fun. Each month from May through September, we have taken some sort of vacation. From a brief one-night getaway to the big 8-day New England tour, all were so memorable.

I will be back tomorrow with full details on quilting that pumpkin quilt. It was not in my plans to do it, but I sort of had an impulsive moment, and just went for it. I am getting more and more at ease with it, I am happy to report.

Here's to a great October!

Happy Quilting, Friends!