New Orleans House Project

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Scrappy Star SAL - Finished!

One of my goals for 2020 is to finish several quilts in the "Needs Binding" queue.  I recently finished hand-stitching the binding and label on this large blue and white quilt and took it to our camp for some photographs.  

I started the quilt in 2017 as part of Diane Knott's Summer Star Sew Along.  I chose the blue, white, and cream color scheme as a way to use up some of my huge blue fabric stash.

I finished the top fairly quickly, but didn't get around to the quilting until last year.  Fortunately, Diane began long-arm quilting during the quilt's hiatus.  It was only appropriate I ask the quilt designer to also do the quilting!  She did a wonderful job of quilting in large, soft swirls.

All that remained was to bind the quilt and add a label.  I found the blue batik binding fabric in my stash, and luckily there was enough to bind the 94 inch x 94 inch quilt!

Now that the quilt is finished, it will have pride of place in my newly-refurbished guest room.  Would you believe I didn't notice the boo-boo in the quilt border until just now as I was reviewing the pictures for this blog entry?!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

A Quilting Time Machine

Now that my oldest son Andrew has moved to Denver, I've been working on returning his bedroom to guest room status.  I started by tackling the walk-in closet, which was in sore need of organizing.  Over the years the closet became a place to stash all manner of stuff - including costumes, clothes, quilts, and keepsakes.  

As I was sorting through the mess, I discovered several quilts I had made for him over the years.  I'm not sure why he left them behind, except maybe he thought they would be safer at our house than with him.  Hmmm.  Anyway, it was a bright, sunny day so I decided to take pictures so I'd have documentation of the quilts.

This is one of the first quilts I made as a beginning quilter, probably in the late 1980s.  I started by making 4-patch blocks, then assembling them in rows.
The layers were machine quilted using gentle curves along the seams.  This was a technique advocated by Robbie Fanning in The Complete Book of Machine Quilting, an early reference for machine quilting. 
In keeping with the animal novelty fabric in the quilt top, I used a leopard print for the back of the quilt.  Interesting to me - I used a wider binding than I typically use now, and I didn't miter the quilt corners!

Another early quilt was this red and green Log Cabin quilt - a Christmas quilt.  Again, not sure on the year it was completed (no label - I'll have to remedy that!), but probably early to mid 1990s.  
I used the services of a local long-arm quilter for this project; I think I wanted to finish it in time for Christmas!
Close-up of the quilting, binding, and backing.  Still using that wide (2.5 inch?) binding.  Amazingly, I still have scraps from this quilt in my stash!

I've shared the story of this quilt before.  Andrew took this quilt with him to Denver, but I'm including it here as it's part of the story.

This memory quilt has also been documented on the blog.  I know Andrew was worried about his dog chewing on this quilt (see the red and black quilt above), so he kept it stashed in the closet where the dog couldn't get at it!

This final quilt was not stashed in the closet, but has been waiting for its photographic opportunity before being shipped off to Denver.  
I remade the Endless Chain pattern in black and gold fabrics to remind Andrew of his New Orleans roots now that he's far from home.  Black and gold are the colors of the New Orleans Saints football team, and most of the fabrics have fleur de lis images (the fleur de lis image is associated with New Orleans - it's even included on the city flag and logo).
I got a little sentimental with the label.  The quote on the quilt is from Hodding Carter, and it's been part of a family history/photography display in our house for years.  I thought it was a good thought to send off with my wandering son!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

A Few Orange Scraps and a Ring of Stars

It's a new month and a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  
This month's challenge is to use up orange scraps.  

So far this year, I'm only piecing one RSC project - Bonnie Hunter's Carolina Chain quilt.  Here are a few blocks I've assembled from orange scraps.

I'm making the blocks leader-ender style, so it's handy to have a stack of pre-cut block parts at the ready.

And I've been putting those leader-enders to good use as I've assembled the Ring of Stars blocks started during the 2019 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I still have one more row to stitch together, but the quilt top is essentially finished.

I really enjoyed making these blocks in rainbow colors, but I'm not sure the visual impact of the quilt is the same as when the blocks are all made from the same color family.  I think the secondary circular design gets a little lost with all the color changes.  Maybe I'll make another version using all one color!

Find more rainbow scrappiness at the weekly RSC link-up.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hospital Sketches BOM: Shift Change

I finished up the last Hospital Sketches appliqué block - Star of the East - earlier this month. 

I used machine appliqué on the last block,  even though I re-discovered the joy of hand appliqué on this project.  Sometimes you just need to get things finished, and machine appliqué definitely speeds the process along.

Now that the blocks are finished, I'm a little stuck.  I need some yardage for sashing and/or borders, but I don't have anything suitable in my stash.  The two quilt stores closest to me don't really carry much selection of reproduction or repro-friendly fabrics, so I may be hunting for awhile.

In the meantime, I'll be contemplating Barbara Brackman's newest Civil War-themed appliqué project, Cassandra's Circle.  The latest BOM will have patterns for a much larger quilt - 97 inches - if one completes all the blocks and borders.  I'm not sure I want to undertake a project that large, so I'm not sure if I'll make all the blocks or pick and choose.  Either way, I know I'll enjoy the history lessons presented with each block!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Scrap Life

Angela of Soscrappy has been hosting the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for quite a few years now.  The challenge behind the project is to use up fabric scraps from prior quilt-making efforts.  Despite several years of RSC participation, my collection of scraps has not diminished.  Honestly, that's OK with me, as I don't participate to use UP scraps, but because scrappy quilts are my favorite type of quilt!  

In fact, this month, I decided some new "scraps" were needed, so I pulled lots of fabric bits (which were clogging up the fabric storage drawers) in the RSC theme for January:  light and bright greens.  I sliced everything into standard scrappy sizes:  3.5 inches, 2.5 inches, 2 inches, and 1.5 inches.  I keep all my scrappy strips in plastic bins, ready to be pulled for future scrappy projects.

While I was digging through the bins, I noticed my 1.5 inch strip bin was getting really full.  
That inspired me to start making new blocks for my Lego quilt.  I put this project aside two years ago because I thought my scraps weren't providing enough variety.  
Maybe the scraps of 2020 will be the boost needed to finish this quilt!  I'll keep slicing up new 1.5 inch strips in each monthly RSC color and working them into the Lego quilt blocks.

I started making Carolina Chain blocks last year as a leader-ender project. 
As I was cutting green strips, I sub-cut pieces for some green blocks.  I'll continue working on these blocks in 2020, too.

These Sugar Bowl blocks have been an ongoing RSC project.  My plan was to set the blocks in groups of four, with narrow sashing and a cornerstone in the center of each block.  I assembled a couple blocks in this manner, only to realize the cornerstone drew the eye and the blocks got completely lost.  Out came the seam ripper!

Instead, I opted for a traditional, on-point setting with alternate plain blocks.  I found the perfect fabric for the plain blocks in my stash - and I had enough of it for the entire quilt!
It's a fun fabric, and I'm so happy I found a great use for it!  Now comes the fun of stitching all those pieces together.  

If you love the Scrap Life, be sure to check out the RSC weekly link-up!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Unearthing Treasures

For the past several years, I've used the end of the year to review my quilting plans - past and future.  After digging through all the drawers and bins of fabric, thinking about patterns on my Quilting Bucket List, and taking a hard look at UFOs, I make a list of projects to focus on in the coming year.  I'm not sure this process improves my creativity, but it does help me focus on projects that need completing!

Before I could do any reviewing and planning for 2020, I needed to do some cleaning and organizing in my sewing room.  It took a couple of days to get the worst of the clutter tamed, but now I can access my fabric stash much more easily, and my main work table has been de-cluttered.

The floor of my fabric closet was so cluttered with tote bags, fabric bundles, and projects, I could barely walk around in the closet, much less open the drawers of fabric.  I found a new home for the tote bags, organized the projects into containers, and filed the fabric bundles in a new location.

Reproduction fabrics are stored in this bureau, so I cleared out some additional room and added the repro fabric bundles that had been stashed willy-nilly around the sewing room.  I re-discovered a couple of fabric bundles that are probably close to 20 years old themselves!  Non-repro bundles got stored in a plastic bin next to the bureau.

To help me keep track of all these treasures, I created a spreadsheet in Evernote where I listed info about the fabric collection, including pictures of the fabrics and any inspiration or pattern ideas related to the collection.  The beauty of Evernote is it works across multiple platforms, so I can access that information from my computer as well as any portable devices, i.e. my phone. (I have no affiliation with Evernote, just a satisfied customer.  The app is free, but if you want to use it on multiple devices, you'll need to pay for the Premium upgrade.  Not expensive and worth the investment.)

As I was cleaning up, I came across a couple of well-aged projects that needed scrutiny.  Both projects had started with good intentions, but gotten side-tracked for one reason or another.  

This Mary Engelbreit panel was the basis of a quilt kit I purchased to make for a friend.  That was in 2007!  I decided it was time to at least finish the flimsy and get it on the list of quilts waiting to be quilted.

It didn't take long to finish up - the green scalloped border was machine-appliquéd, as well as the flowers and "notecard" at the bottom right.

Close up of the appliqué.  I'm not sure when or how this will be quilted, but at least it's a flimsy!

Another buried treasure was this batch of antique Lemoyne Star blocks.  I had originally planned to stitch these blocks into a quilt, but on re-examining them I realized the fabrics were too fragile to support any type of re-stitching or quilting.  

Instead, I think I will use the blocks for inspiration and recreate them using current fabrics.  A quick check of the stash convinced me I already have fabrics that mimic the plaids, checks, and prints, so all I need are some solid background fabrics.  

I'd like to say this will be a project for 2020, but there are still more UFOs that need attention, followed by a new BOM from Barbara Brackman, and Diane Knott's sew-along, and Rainbow Scraps, and - well - you get the picture!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Missing in Action

As usual, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s were a blogging break for me.  I don’t necessarily plan it that way, but time and desire to blog seem to disappear during that time frame.  Lucky for me, my quilting mojo didn’t disappear, so I have a few things to report on before we turn the page to a new year.

Our oldest son (Andrew) moved to Denver, Colorado at the beginning of September.  When he left, he only took the stuff he could fit in his car, and left his remaining belongings and dog with us until he could retrieve them later in the year.  He flew home for Thanksgiving, and by Saturday morning we had packed his stuff into Dear Husband’s pick-up truck and headed for Denver (dog included).

I won’t bore you will all of our adventures, but I will say I look forward to flying to Denver next time around!  We came back to New Orleans using a different route in an attempt to avoid some bad traffic congestion along the Texas/New Mexico route.  All told, we traveled 2700 miles and passed through seven states!

Just as we returned, our youngest son (David) flew in from Dallas.  It just so happened to be the perfect time to celebrate David and Dear Husband's December birthdays.  David is also a huge fan of his alma mater's football team - LSU - so his Dallas friends surprised him with an LSU football-themed birthday cake. 

Dear Husband and Bailey
Right before Christmas, our dog Bailey, a black lab mix, succumbed to a rapidly spreading form of cancer.  Bailey came to us as a puppy twelve years ago.  She was left on our front door-step in a basket with pink toys and a pink blanket.  Since she arrived just before my husband’s birthday, he considered her the Best Birthday Present Ever, and they were bonded at the hip.  The house feels pretty empty now, since Andrew’s dog is gone, too.  Our sweetheart yellow lab, McKenzie, doesn’t quite know what to do with herself.

In between all that, I managed to do some stitching here and there.

Project Numero Uno was to finish the black and gold Endless Chain quilt I started for Andrew.  I completed the piecing before Thanksgiving, and Diane Knott (Butterfly Threads Quilting) was able to long-arm quilt it for me while I was adventuring out west.  I’ve been trying to get the binding stitched and label attached so I can send it to Andrew as soon as possible.

I also made some blocks for Barb Vedder’s Oh My Stars swap.  Oops!  I didn’t take any pictures before I sent the finished blocks to Barb.  I did the Modern swap this time, and I’m looking forward to playing with my blocks later in January!

Thinking toward 2020, I knew there were a couple of Rainbow Scrap projects that needed some attention.  I made a batch of yellow Ring of Stars blocks, but I still need red blocks before I can assemble my RSC efforts on this quilt.

I also cut up lots of scraps for Carolina Chain leader-ender blocks.  Some Christmas fabric scraps made it into the latest batch of blocks.

There’s more to share, but I’ll stop here for now.  I’m not in much of a mind to do a retrospective of the quilts of 2019, but I have been giving a lot of thought to what stitching projects will be under the needle in 2020.  Let’s hope it’s a great year for quilting!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Last Look at Treadle On Origami Bow-Tie Blocks

I've posted several times about my Origami Bow-Tie quilt.  The quilt was made with 3-D, or Origami Bow-Tie blocks in an exchange with members of the Treadle On vintage and antique sewing machine group.  The guidelines for the exchange required making the bow-tie blocks using a pre-1900 sewing machine.

My blocks were made on a Singer VS 3 hand-cranked sewing machine from around 1894.  The machine makes a great, smooth straight stitch.  I call her Bertha in honor of my maternal great-grandmother.
The VS in the machine's name stands for Vibrating Shuttle. 

The bullet-shaped shuttle holds the bobbin, and "vibrates" back and forth, catching the thread loop created by the needle and creating the stitches.  

Once I finished machine appliquéing the borders (not on a vintage or antique sewing machine!), I sent the quilt off to my local long-arm quilter, Cindy Braiwick.  I didn't give her a lot of specific instructions on the quilting, so she could get as inspired as she wanted.

I may have already mentioned the emotional attachment I have to this quilt.  The block exchange took place just prior to Hurricane Katrina, and I received my exchanged blocks just as I was about to move back home to New Orleans after being evacuated for about six weeks.

When I picked up the quilt from Cindy after she finished the quilting, I may have gotten a little verklempt.  I was just blown away by what she had done with the quilt!

First, she chose a perfect design for the blow-tie blocks.  Every part of the block was quilted except for the bow tie "knot" - the 3-D part.  

Even better, she really filled in around the appliqué shapes with lots of different designs.

One of my favorites - the feather and heart design shown here.

It took a little while, but I finally finished the binding, sleeve and label for this quilt.  It's hanging on my hallway quilt rack so I can admire it every day!