New Orleans House Project

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Aqua Bits

It seems this may be my year for really using up small scraps.  Two Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects this week involved finding uses for some of the smaller scraps in the scrap boxes.*

I have a lot of two inch strips and squares left over from various projects or just cutting up scraps into usable pieces following Bonnie Hunter's Scrap-Users System.  Last month I pulled a lot of purple squares and started piecing 4-patch blocks.  I did the same for aqua squares this month.  I don't have definitive plans for these right now, but 4-patches are a versatile quilt building block and I'm sure they will find a happy use eventually. 

This is a small portion of my very large collection of 1.5 inch strips.  Several years ago, I decided to start piecing 1.5 inch strips in anticipation of making a "Lego" quilt (tutorial by Tonya Ricucci).

Piecing bits of 1.5 inch strips into longer sections is great mindless sewing, and before long I had a laundry basket full of pieced strips ready to be assembled into blocks.

I finally stitched up some blocks last summer.  I came to the conclusion this was going to be a very long-term project, because assembling the blocks was just not that much fun.  Those pieced strips are going to age for awhile longer.  And in while they're aging, I'm going to attempt to use  up some of the un-pieced stash of 1.5 inch parts and pieces.

I pulled the shortest bits of aqua 1.5 inch strips I could find, sliced them into squares and arranged a 49-patch block with white squares on the diagonal.  Despite the number and size of squares, the block went together quickly.  I decided to go back and repeat the process for last month's RSC color.  Once I use up the short bits of 1.5 inch strips, I can do some speedier piecing by sewing longer strips together and slicing them up.  

For more scrappy aqua inspiration, check out the link-up at Soscrappy.

*Disclaimer:  I don't really like working with scraps smaller than 1.5 inches, so my version of "small" may not be the same as yours!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Aqua Wishes

I managed to do some serious depleting of my aqua and teal colored scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week.  I don't have a big collection of blue-green fabrics in my stash, despite several years of stash enhancement for the RSC.  That sounds a little backwards, but you gotta have stash in order to make scraps, right?

This week's scrappy block was Windblown Wishes from Diane Knott's Scrap Quilt Secrets.  These are fun blocks to make and I look forward to having a pile of rainbow-colored Wishes at the end of the year!

In other news, I have been assembling my Quilty 365 blocks more rapidly than I thought possible.  I started assembling on Monday evening and I'm halfway through already!
I decided to set them in chronological order in sets of 30 - kind of like a calendar page.  The RSC color of the month often influenced which fabric got chosen on any given day, although apparently not often enough you'd be able to guess that month's color by looking at my blocks!

My plan is for narrow, neutral sashing between the 30 block sets.  Right now I'm auditioning 2 different gray fabrics.  The one on the right is a Riley Blake Blender and it's a bit on the taupe-y side.  The gray on the left is a Grunge fabric from Moda and definitely reads as more of a true gray.  I'm leaning more toward the Riley Blake right now...

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Little Aquamarine to Soothe the Soul

It's Rainbow Scrap Challenge check-in day, and I have a few modest efforts to show.  Angela, our fearless RSC leader, used the word aquamarine to describe the color she wanted us to aim for this month.  I found that color to be a perfect description of the scraps I pulled to start my blocks. 

I started with the easiest of all projects:  selvedges pieced and cut into Rail Fence blocks.  Sally of The Objects of Design sent me a large box of selvedges last year.  Somehow it must be a magical box, because there never seems to be a dent in the contents! (Thanks, Sally!)

 Next I turned to the pile of Happy, Scrappy Houses I made as an RSC project several years ago.  My goal this year is to make wonky frames for all the house blocks so I can finally assemble them in a quilt.  I don't have a real plan for this, I just look at the blocks each month and try to find some that would look good with that month's RSC color as a frame.  I'm pleased with this month's results AND I got all the houses to go "down hill".  You may recall last month they all went "up hill" and not intentionally.

That's all my aquamarine until next week.  I spent most of today doing some long-neglected chores (yuck!) and now I'm too tired to be playing with sharp objects.  I think maybe a glass of wine and reading about everyone else's RSC adventures this week sounds like a good idea!

Monday, January 30, 2017

17 UFOs in 2017 Report

Is it already the end of January?  The month has been crazy and I'm glad I had plenty of quilty therapy to help keep me sane!  I've given attention to a good number of my 2017 UFO projects, but most don't have a great deal of visible progress, so I'll just pick a few to focus on.

My Bind-A-Thon has slowed a little this month.  This is quilt #5 of 5 that started the Bind-A-Thon back in late November.  I'm about to turn the corner and start hand stitching the 3rd side of this quilt.  When this one is finished, there are 4 additional quilts in need of binding by the end of 2017.

I need to get started on assembling the Quilty 365 blocks if I'm to have anything to show for Audrey's final linky party in May!  I originally thought I would set the blocks on point, but after doing some math, I realized I didn't want a quilt that large (over 100" x 100").  Back to the design wall.  I'll be thinking about this one for the next little while...

I did enough knitting on the Nae shawl to convince myself I need to purchase more yarn in order to finish.  Usually I over-purchase yarn for a project, but not this time.  Fortunately, the yarn and colorway are still available online, so getting more shouldn't be a problem.  I'll wait for the new yarn before I continue, so I can mix the two yarns and avoid an obvious demarcation between skeins.

Close to a finish here!  I've got all the parts and pieces done for the Fig Tree Feed Sack bag, just need to stitch everything together. 

Last, but not least - a completed flimsy.  This was kind of a cheat, because I only needed to add the final border.  Adding this top to the UFO project inspired me to "get 'er done!"  The Maverick Stars were a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  I was inspired by Julie Sefton's "Just Wing It" quilt to use some string pieced alternate blocks.  And the selvage Square in a Square blocks were inspired by Diane Knott's book, Scrap Quilt Secrets.  After all that piecing, the quilt was a little short on size, so I looked for some great fabric to add a final border.  The picture doesn't do it justice - it's a gorgeous magenta batik!  This one isn't high on the priority list for quilting, so I'm calling it finished for now.

That wraps up my January 17 UFOs in 2017 progress report.  I'm glad I joined the project - it's really motivating me to stay focused on finishing! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Plethora of Purple Piecing

Over the past two weeks I've spent a large amount of my sewing time playing with scraps and experimenting with ideas for projects I've had in mind.  Not everything I tried was successful, but that's OK - it was a learning experience!  On the other hand, I did make a serious dent in my collection of purple scraps (the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for January) and purple selvages.

I wanted to do another selvage project and used up most of my purple selvages on an experiment that didn't quite work out.  I salvaged the last of the selvages for these Rail Fence blocks.  I'll keep making these in the RSC colors through the year and see how many I have at the end.   

I really hadn't planned to start this project, but somehow I found myself making pinwheel blocks and I couldn't stop.  These finish at 3 inches.  I have a definite plan in mind for them, and will use the RSC as an opportunity to make more blocks as the year goes on.

After all that scrap cutting, I had quite a batch of purple 2 inch squares, so I threw them in a basket and began pairing them up as 4 patch block components.  Not sure where that will lead, but at least I have a good supply of leader-enders.

When I give quilts as gifts, I usually like to make a pillowcase for the recipient to store the quilt in.   For the recent t-shirt quilt I made, I wanted to try making a large drawstring bag for the quilt instead.  I found a pattern online for a lined drawstring bag, and decided to make a practice version using some purple scraps.  The bag went together easily and I loved the finished version!  I was able to adapt the bag "recipe" for a large version and gave it away with the quilt.

I spent a chunk of time this morning putting the finishing touches on an unfinished RSC project, but I'll save that for Tuesday's link-up.  Now it's time for tea and some time perusing other RSC projects at today's link-up.

Monday, January 16, 2017

String Star Progress

One of my goals for the 17 UFOs in 2017 challenge is to make significant progress on a string quilt that's been hanging around for awhile. 

My quilt was inspired by Brioni Greenburg's Spring Clean Quilt*.  I love string quilts and was quite taken with this block arrangement that created stars.  I purchased the pattern and decided to use fabric scraps and strings leftover from making memory quilts from my late father's shirts.  I knew my quilt wouldn't be as bright and colorful as the inspiration, but it would be full of memories.

I can't say for sure when I started constructing blocks for the quilt - definitely over a year ago.  I decided to use white cotton fabric as foundation for the blocks instead of paper.  Once I got the foundation blocks cut, I dug through the shirting scraps and started slicing pieces into strings.  I didn't think I'd have enough fabric variety, so I threw in some sliced up novelty fabrics I had also purchased with my dad in mind. 

All the string components and blocks are at our weekend camp, so I only get to work on construction occasionally.  This weekend was one of those occasions.  I finally finished enough blocks to lay out my first star.  Only 8 stars left to complete!   

As I worked on the individual blocks (light blocks, dark blocks and half & half blocks), I was concerned that some of my "light" fabrics weren't light enough.  I think I will have to be careful in how I use some of the lights, but when the quilt is done and quilted, I don't think it will matter all that much.  I'm looking forward to making more string blocks next weekend!

*The Spring Clean Quilt was published in Issue 8 of the online sewing magazine Fat Quarterly.  I've tried to find an active link for the magazine, or a stand-alone publication of the pattern, but so far I haven't been successful.  Apparently there are some issues with Fat Quarterly's website, and it's currently inaccessible.  I'll keep checking so I can add an active link to the pattern in case anyone is interested in making the quilt.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Scrappy Houses: Adding Wonky Borders

One of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects in 2013 was making house blocks using Bonnie Hunter's Happy, Scrappy Houses pattern.  I called my efforts the New Orleans House Project, and as I made my blocks, I tried to find New Orleans houses in the monthly challenge colors.  At the end of the year, I wasn't ready to assemble the blocks into a quilt top, so I put them away while I thought about how I wanted my New Orleans quilt to look.

These are my purple houses from 2013.  As you can see, I did not add the wonky borders Bonnie used on her blocks.  I finally decided those wonky borders were in keeping with how I wanted my finished New Orleans House Project quilt to look - so that's one of my RSC projects for this year. 

I don't want the wonky borders to be the same color as the house block, so I'll be picking the borders based on each month's RSC challenge color.  I looked through my purple scraps and matched scraps to houses.  I cut rectangles 3 inches by 12 inches for the borders.

The rectangles are cut diagonally lengthwise to create the border pieces.  The direction the lengthwise cut is made determines if the house runs "uphill" or "downhill".  The straight of grain side of each triangle gets sewn to the block.  

Plainly I need to be more careful about how I cut the border triangles if I want my houses to go uphill AND downhill!

There is more scrappy inspiration at the RSC weekly link-up.  I haven't had a chance to check out what everyone is working on, so I've got my evening's entertainment planned!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Rainbow Scrap Challenge: Beginnings and Endings

It's the beginning of another year for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The RSC has had a great deal of staying power, thanks to hostess Angela and the scrap-loving participants.  This year's challenge will continue the theme of using up scraps following a monthly color dedication. 

Since I've vowed to try to finish a flock of UFOs (or at least make progress on them) this year, I'm keeping my RSC plans on the simple side.  I'll definitely be working on finishing some RSC projects from previous years.  However, I can't stay out of the boxes of scrappy strips and squares, so there will be at least one new RSC project, too!

I knew I wanted to use 2 inch squares for this year's RSC project, as I have a large box full of 2 inch squares and strips (see Bonnie Hunter's Scrap Users System).  I originally thought I'd do postage stamp blocks, but I wasn't happy with lack of variety of light and dark fabrics in the stash box.  Next I tried white/light fabrics mixed with the purple squares and liked the result much better.  

Then I remembered Diane Knott had a fun pattern based on squares and HSTs in her book Scrap Quilt Secrets.  The quilt is called "Windblown Wishes".  Diane uses strip-piecing to make her 25 patch block centers, but the same look can be accomplished with scrappy squares.  I used my scrappy 2 inch strips and the Easy Angle ruler to make the HSTs.   

I was so pleased with the outcome I was ready to start making more "Windblown" blocks in other colors, so I think this project will be a keeper.

This week Angela has also invited RSC participants to share previous scrappy rainbow projects.  

I have posted about unfinished RSC projects in the past, but I've not taken a look back at completed projects.  I counted up seven quilts that were a direct result of RSC inspiration.  All but one of these quilts (the green Trip Around the World) were gifted to family or friends.

I also counted up six flimsies that were created as a result of the RSC.  I hope to have the Scrap Jar Star in reproduction fabrics (top left), the RSC Sampler (top right) and the Carpenter's Wheel (bottom left) quilted and complete by the end of 2017.

I worked on the New Orleans House Project in 2013.  The blocks have been waiting for attention since then.  One of my 2017 goals is to get these blocks moving toward a finished quilt.

These 4 inch Sawtooth Star blocks were an RSC project from 2015-2016.  I want to set the blocks medallion-style with an appliqued piece in the center.  The applique center has yet to be started, so this probably won't get finished any time soon. 

There are a few other RSC-inspired projects floating around in my studio, but I don't have up-to-date pictures OR plans for finishing them right now.  

As always on Saturday, it's Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up day.  I can't wait to see all of this week's RSC inspiration!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 UFO Goals

For the past two years, I've created a quilting focus list to help me remember which projects need attention in the coming year.  The list is not about new projects I want to try, just unfinished projects that have accumulated.  Some of the unfinished projects have been languishing for years, others are more recent.  It's been a successful plan - as long as I don't get too distracted by new projects!

This year I'm planning to join in with 17 UFOs in 2017, sponsored by Meredithe at pomegranate and chintz.  The goal is to make substantial progress on at least 17 UFOs.  The UFOs don't have to be quilting-related.  Meredithe mentioned knitting and crochet, but I imagine any hand-work project would count.  There will be a monthly linky party for everyone to share their progress.  Finishing projects is not required, but is a happy side effect, if achieved.

My list has quilts in various states of UFO-ism.  Some only lack binding, others need design planning as well as assembly.  I even have a knitting project that needs to get off the needles.  I may add or remove projects as things evolve - I have plenty of UFOs that need attention.

1. Purple and gold string quilt - complete binding & label
2. Austen Family Album straight set - binding & label
3. Repro Scrap Jar Star - binding & label
4. Chocolate TOBE - binding & label
5. Carpenter's Wheel - binding & label

   6. Red, White & Blue Scrappy - complete piecing 
                                               7. Maverick Star Scrappy - complete flimsy
8. Origami Bow Tie - fuse applique' border design and do machine blanket stitch
9. New Orleans Houses - add wonky borders (RSC project?)
10. Blue Sawtooth Stars & Uneven 9-patch - assemble blocks
11. Fun w/Barb 9-Patch swap blocks -  assemble blocks (Tanganoxie 9-patch setting)
12. Grandmother's Choice BOW - plan block arrangement, acquire fabrics PRN, begin block assembly
13. Quilty 365 - start assembling blocks

14. Mark, baste & hand quilt 4 block eagle quilt

  15. Fig Tree Feed Sack bag(s) - make at least 1 size 

 16. Finish knitting Nae shawl

17. String stars made w/Dad's shirts and novelty fabric - keep making blocks during weekends at the camp.  I don't have any pictures of ~my~ string blocks, so I'm using a picture of the pattern - Spring Clean Quilt by Brioni Greenberg - to give you an idea of what's in progress.  

Focusing on 17 UFOs sounds a little intimidating, but many of these projects just need a little work to get them to the completed stage.  Others will require more intensive attention, but that's OK, as long as they get at least a little TLC this year!  I look forward to blogging about each individual project during the coming year.  

I'll be adding my list to the 17 UFOs in 2017 linky party as soon as it's published.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's projects and progress.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

One More 2016 Finish: Ole Miss T-Shirt Quilt

Chalk up one more quilting finish for 2016!

I finished hand-stitching the binding and label on this quilt earlier this week.  It's a t-shirt quilt commissioned by my good friend for her daughter and son-in-law.  The t-shirts represent memories of their school days and courtship at the University of Mississippi, better known as Ole Miss.

The quilt's recipient requested all the t-shirts be the same size, and she selected the sashing fabric (Kaffe Fassett's Paperweight in cobalt blue).  BTW, "Hotty Toddy" refers to a famous cheer at Ole Miss, not a warm alcoholic beverage! 

I made a small label, commemorating the wedding - which followed graduation (names covered for their privacy).  It's hard to believe they've been married almost 20 years - it seems like the wedding was only yesterday!  I saw their oldest daughter two weeks ago - she'll be a college freshman this coming fall.  Her parents aren't too happy - she's going to Louisiana State University, not Ole Miss!