New Orleans House Project

Saturday, April 18, 2015

RSC 15: Spring String Fling

Since purple is the April color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I decided to spend some time this month working on a long-term string quilt project I keep at the camp.

I started making string spiderweb blocks several years ago, using purple and gold scraps from several Louisiana State University-themed quilts.  It was a project I worked on periodically and there was no specific plan for a finished quilt. 

As I counted up my finished spiderweb triangles, I realized I was getting close to having enough blocks for a decent-sized quilt.  I prepped enough paper triangles and center "kite" pieces for a final finish of 30 blocks.

As of today, I only need to make 28 more triangle pieces!  This project may actually become a completed quilt this year. 

Since I was in a stringy kind of mood, I also made some purple Liberated Stars - or Maverick Stars.  I don't know which name came first, but Gwen Marston calls them Liberated and Bonnie Hunter calls them Mavericks.  Whatever you call them, they are fun to make from scraps and strings!

This year's stars and last year's stars.  Finished block size:  6 inches.

And now I have miles to sew before I sleep, but I will be linking up with the other Rainbow Scrappers over at Angela's Soscrappy blog.  


 


Saturday, April 11, 2015

RSC 15: Purple Sugar Bowl

Two purple Sugar Bowl blocks were added to the RSC collection.  I'm thinking of Depression Glass as I make these blocks.
A Depression Glass quilt is probably easier and cheaper than building a Depression Glass collection, right?

I wrote a tutorial for constructing the Sugar Bowl block, if this one is tempting you!

 For more purple scrappy inspiration, Angela's Soscrappy blog will have a host of ideas to tempt you.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp: Playing with Green

I am still trying to catch up with the fabric colors and styles presented in Barbara Brackman's Stars in a Time Warp QAL.  I made some blocks with indigo, madder and double pink prints, but the historic green colors made me pause.  I wasn't sure I had a good sense of what "over-dyed green" should look like and I was pretty sure I didn't have any green calicoes in my stash.
I decided to order one of the examples of over-dyed green fabric Barbara Brackman referenced in her blog.  She considered the Moda Bella solid "Leaf" (9900-192) to be a close approximation of the solid green color found in mid to late 19th century quilts.  
I'm glad I ordered that fabric, because the color is nowhere near what I was picturing in my head.  I immediately went digging through the toile drawer (yes, I have an entire drawer stuffed with toile fabric!), because I knew I had a fabric that would look smashing with Leaf.
I pulled the green toile and a couple of other greens that played well with Leaf.  The colors in the picture don't reflect the true colors at all!  I'll just go ahead make some Sawtooth Star blocks and I bet everything will look great.  Or, maybe to be really authentic, I need to make the blocks with some red or chrome yellow fabric!

I was also concerned about the lack of green calicoes in my stash.  However, I found a wonderful surprise when I was digging through the toile drawer.
This bundle has been marinating in the stash for over 10 years!  It's a collection of FQs by Laurene Sinema entitled "1850's Legacies and Beyond".  Finding this bundle brought back sweet memories of The Quilt Cottage - New Orleans' premiere quilt shop for years and years.  Sadly, the shop closed in 2007 after the death of long-time owner, Carol Schiaffino.  The Quilt Cottage deserves its own blog post - and I'll write that some day.
Look at all those gorgeous reproduction colors!
There are 14 fat quarters in a wide array of 19th century colors and patterns.  No worries about green calicoes now, or chrome yellow.
The collection also includes a stripe...
Some faux applique frames suitable for labels...
And some "cheater" applique blocks!

I think the Stars in a Time Warp blocks are the perfect way to start using this wonderful fabric collection!
 
 
 
 





Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hollywood Enables Stash Enhancement!


We've had some excitement in our neighborhood over the past two weeks - "Hollywood South" came to call!

Thanks to a tax incentive that was approved in 2002, Louisiana has become a hot spot for filming movies and television programs.  The movie business in Louisiana really took off after Hurricane Katrina and has been going big guns for the past few years.  According to some measures, the state is out-producing California when it comes to movie and TV shows, thus the nickname “Hollywood South”.

New Orleans has been a frequent choice as a production location – just think of the HBO series “Treme” and "True Detective" or the current CBS TV show “NCIS New Orleans”.  It’s fairly typical to come across production locations as you drive around town.  And of course, you may run into your favorite movie star at the coffee shop or in the grocery store!

So I wasn’t surprised when there was a knock on my door two weeks ago and a nice young man from a movie production company asked if we would cooperate with a TV production being filmed on our street.  All we were asked to do was keep our modern cars out of sight for a few days and allow the production crew to film the exterior of our house and work in front of our house.  And they would pay us for this!

We had two days of “excitement” when the actual filming occurred.  Our neighbor’s house two doors down was the focus of filming, although most of the action occurred inside the house.  There were vintage cars parked all over the street on the first day of filming.  The second day was much more intense and lasted until well after dark.  Our street is horseshoe-shaped and not very big/long, but there were trucks and equipment of every size and sort packed in and around the horseshoe. 

The number of people on hand for the two days of filming was huge - you know, all the jillions of people listed in the credits at the end of the movie!  I’m sure everyone had a job to perform, but most of the time they were just standing around, waiting for their moment.  At one point, they were filming an outdoor scene involving screeching car tires; I think they shot the scene at least 10 times!

In order to get paid for our participation, we had to sign a contract – so I can’t give you any info about the name of the show or the storyline or anything.  Also – no pictures!  The good news is, I got a nice little check for fabric stash enhancement!

Fortuitously, one of my local quilt shops had an anniversary party last Friday and offered customers 30% off everything in the store!  
I bought backing yardage for my nieces' Memory Quilts.  

Yardage for borders for two of last year's RSC quilts.

Some miscellaneous fat quarters that may or may not work their way into the bins of strips and squares.
And some purple fat quarters just because purple is my favorite color!  The 3 fabrics on the left are from a collection called Linen Cupboard by Ella Blue.

Now just to tie this all together - do you think there's much call for quiltmakers for the movies?  Maybe I can earn some more stash enhancement money!



Saturday, April 4, 2015

RSC 15: Purple On My Mind

A new month means a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The color for April is purple, so I will be having a fine time using up purple scraps this month.  Not only is purple my favorite color, it also plays a big role in Louisiana culture.  Purple is one of the colors of Mardi Gras and also one of the school colors for our flagship institution of higher learning - Louisiana State University.  I have plenty of purple scraps left over from making LSU-themed quilts!
I started off the month by making some purple 9 patch variation blocks.  These were easy, because I already had a big stack of 2.5" squares and strips stashed in my 2.5" scrap bin.

I also was bitten by the 4" Sawtooth Star bug.  I gave up resistance to starting a new project and jumped into Barbara Brackman's Stars in a Time Warp QAL.  Instead of making the stars at 6", mine are 4" - thanks to Barb of Fun with Barb.  The first star was a practice block, so I just grabbed some blue and white scraps.  I liked the result so much I decided to make these blocks for the RSC, too!  I have no idea what these stars will become, but for now they're just fun to make!

Speaking of fun - Gold Brick eggs are a New Orleans tradition at Easter.  They're delicious solid chocolate eggs filled with chopped pecans.  I had no idea they made a dark chocolate version - guess what I will be looking for later today?! 

There will be lots of purple inspiration at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up, so do hop on over!

 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sugar Bowl: A Quilt Block Tutorial

I discovered the Sugar Bowl block when I was searching through Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, looking for quilt blocks that related to Louisiana.  I kept the idea in mind for a few years before I finally decided to make the block for the 2015 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Several folks expressed an interest in making their own Sugar Bowl blocks, so I thought I would try my hand at a tutorial.

The block is easy to construct and great for using up scraps.  It's also easy to adjust the fabric cutting requirements to make different sized blocks.  I'm using measurements for 8" blocks (finished size), but doing some simple math will give you dimensions for a variety of sizes.

You will need two different fabrics for each block.  A traditional interpretation (like mine above) would use a dark fabric and a light fabric.  Use your stash and your imagination to put together interesting combinations!

You'll need:
one 4 1/2" square of light fabric
one 4 1/2" square of dark fabric

one dark strip, 2 1/2" wide and about 18" long
one light strip, 2 1/2" wide and about 26" long

An Easy Angle ruler

Layer your 4 1/2" light and dark fabrics - right sides together - on the cutting table.  I used 4 1/2" wide strips, but 4 1/2" squares will work, too.  Line up all the edges and make sure the left side of the strip set is a straight edge.  (I just have the fabric folded back to show the right sides go together.)
Line up the Easy Angle ruler for a 4 1/2" half square triangle (HST) unit.  Cut along the ruler's diagonal edge using a rotary cutter.  
You now have the large HST unit for the center of the Sugar Bowl. 
Next, you'll be cutting pieces from the 2 1/2" strips.
Again, layer the strips right sides together and make sure the left edge is straight.  Use the Easy Angle ruler to cut 2 1/2" HST units.
Flip the ruler to cut the second unit.  Continue cutting HST units until you have 6 sets.
Cut one 2 1/2" square of dark fabric and FIVE (not 4 as pictured - I can't count!) 2 1/2" squares of light fabric.
Lay out the block pieces in correct locations; stitch all the HSTs together first.  Press the HSTs carefully and trim off the dog ears.  
Next stitch the left and top HST units together.  Also stitch the right and bottom HSTs (which form the base of the sugar bowl) to the light square next to them.  Press the pieced units in whichever direction makes them lie flat.  The goal is to assemble your block pieces into units which can then be stitched together in the same manner as a 9-patch block.
Join all the top row units into one strip, then all the middle units into one strip.  Join all the bottom row units into one strip.  Press the seams so they will nest together when the three strips are sewn together.  Now sew the main three strips together and press the final seams. 
You have just completed your first Sugar Bowl block!

I hope my instructions are clear - let me know if you have any questions.  Go ahead and give the Sugar Bowl block a try - it's quick and fun - and calorie free!

 

 
 
 
 
 






Sunday, March 29, 2015

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

I have succumbed to Barbara Brackman's latest quiltalong:  Stars in a Timewarp.  Every week she shares information about different styles or colors of fabrics and participants make a Sawtooth Star block to reflect the fabric discussed that week.  The QAL started in mid-January and I was able to resist the temptation to join in despite seeing star blocks all over blogland and Instagram every week.

Obviously, resistance is futile!  I especially liked the idea of making 4" stars (instead of the QAL's 6" stars) as shared by Barb of Fun with Barb.  I jumped in and started making blocks yesterday, trying to catch up.  Making these blocks in the 4" size is kind of like eating potato chips - one is not enough!

My first block was a practice block using random scraps.  It turned out so cute I might have to keep making these for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

I like to make my Flying Geese blocks using the no-waste method found on Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache (Speed Piecing Method B).  I needed a practice block to make sure I calculated the right measurements for cutting fabric.  I wound up with this recipe for my 4" Sawtooth Stars:

Main fabric
Block Center:  cut 1  2 1/2" square
Flying Geese Wings:  cut 4  1 7/8" squares
Background fabric
Flying Geese background:  cut 1  3 1/4" square
Corners: cut 4  1 1/2" squares

Use the Flying Geese Speed Piecing Method B to make 4 Flying Geese units.  Press carefully and trim dog ears (also trim units as needed to square up).  Arrange all the block units in order.  Stitch corner units to the top and bottom Flying Geese units.  Stitch side Flying Geese units to center block.  Join all three block units together and press.  Gather scraps and make another one!

Here are my Stars in a Timewarp blocks so far.  The next block calls for using overdyed green fabric, which has me a bit stymied.  I need to play with some fabric combinations and see if I can make it work.  

If you'd like to see more Stars in a Timewarp blocks, check out #starsinatimewarp on Instagram.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

RSC15: Where Sunflowers Go To Work

I was recently issued a new laptop computer for work.  It's the smallest laptop I've ever used, just a little larger than an iPad.  I've grown to really appreciate its portability, since I use my computer as I travel to different medical offices every day.  In the past, I've always used a rather large rolling computer bag to tote all my paraphernalia around, but this laptop is so small the rolling bag seems kind of overblown.  I've been experimenting with just using a large tote bag, and that's working well.  Except the laptop needs a padded cover to help protect it while I'm traveling.
Thanks to Dasha, I was reminded of an iPad sleeve tutorial by Amber of One Shabby Chick.  I made several of these sleeves a few years ago for various tablets and laptops in my household.   Dasha used yellow scraps for her sleeve, but when I started looking through my stash I found a great piece of sunflower fabric and knew I had to use it. 
Who wouldn't want this fabric greeting them on a work day?! "Sunny Side Up" by Rennie Rau Marquez for Hoffman International California Fabrics, 2012.
Amber's excellent instructions required me to make two quilted pieces for the outside of the sleeve.  I started doing just straight line quilting on my first piece, but decided it was too boring and this fabric was perfect for practicing some free motion quilting.
I learned I have a L O N G way to go to get proficient at free motion quilting, but this was fun.  If you really want to see my lack of proficiency, just click on the picture for a larger version.
Here's the finished bag, waiting to see if I adjusted the measurements correctly for my laptop.
Success!  It fits perfectly!
Closed up and ready for work.  I'm almost looking forward to Monday!  

Now I think I need a new tote bag - the one I've been using is my favorite for toting sewing projects.  I'll pass on making a tote bag, though.  For that I'm going to use the services of Cedar Key Canvas, a small Florida business I discovered years ago during a magical trip to Cedar Key.  I've been buying their bags for years and they never disappoint.  This is a perfect excuse for a new bag!

I'm not quite finished wrapping up my yellow Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects for the month.
If the wind ever dies down, I'll be outside spraying adhesive to complete this fabric-covered bulletin board.  I've never used an adhesive spray, so wish me luck!

There's still plenty more yellow Rainbow Scrap goodness to be found at this week's link up.  Hope you're inspired to be scrappy!











Saturday, March 21, 2015

RSC 15: Sugar Bowl Takes the Cake

It hasn't been much of a yellow scrappy week.  There was work, yummy fried chicken for a good cause, more work, stitching on the next eagle block, work and finally an escape to the camp for some R & R.
I did decide to go ahead and keep making more scrappy Sugar Bowl blocks.  I finished two pink blocks and a blue, with another blue block prepped for stitching.  These only finish at 8 inches, so I may go back and make a few more in each color so I have enough for a good size quilt at the end of the year.

That is the extent of my scrappy sewing this week, but I'm still looking forward to seeing what the other Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilters have gotten into this week.  Head over to Angela's SoScrappy blog for plenty of scrappiness!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

RSC 15: Searching for Sunshine

I can't believe the month of March is half-way over already!  It was a long and dreary week here - overcast, foggy and rainy EVERY day, although the sun did manage to appear for a little while yesterday.  The weather is back to dreary and overcast again today - hence the need for sunshine!  Thank goodness the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for March is yellow.

A few yellow Maverick Stars provided a little sunshine.  I have been re-thinking how I want to set these into a quilt.  My original plan was to set them on point with alternating, low-volume string-pieced squares.  I've discovered I don't like the way these stars look when set on point, so I'm contemplating some straight set layouts instead.

I had to create some scraps for this month's Scrap Jar Stars.  I had almost no reproduction yellow fabrics or scraps, but I solved that problem with a trip to my LQS.  I was hoping to be able to use some Chrome Yellow, as described in Barbara Brackman's latest entry in Stars in a Time Warp.  Unfortunately, my LQS only had one fabric that fit the bill, and it stood out too much from the other fabrics.
I'll be watching for more gold & yellow reproduction fabrics in the future - a quilter's gotta have a well-rounded palette, right?

Four additional 9 patch variation blocks were added to the pile.
The pile of blocks is still small enough that it doesn't take long to hang them all together on the design wall.  This is one of those simple, but satisfying quilts!

I'm not ready to give up playing with yellow, so I've been contemplating more Sugar Bowl blocks, as well as some applique flowers.   There will also be lots more yellow inspiration over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up for today, so if you need a little sunshine, go check it out!