New Orleans House Project

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!


Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Vintage Montage of 2016

I find most types of traditional shopping tedious:  groceries, clothes, shoes, home decor - all boring!
 On the other hand, antique malls, flea markets, thrift stores, estate sales...and fabric stores - I'm in shopping heaven!  Dear Husband and I enjoy the hunt for treasures in all these places (he's not crazy about fabric stores - probably just as well!) and have had some good finds lately.
This log cabin cream and sugar set in cobalt blue glass caught our eye in an antique mall near my mom's house in Florida. 

More cobalt blue glass - a calf on a lidded dish.

Vintage sewing items always catch my eye.  The needle packages are from an estate sale.  The Clover sewing tin was an unexpected surprise.  Clover makes all kinds of sewing, knitting and crochet notions, but their modernist take on design made me think the company was a twenty-first century production.

Apparently not - as the interior of the sewing kit is definitely mid-century modern!  That sassy, sewing cat is a hoot!

Also tucked into the sewing kit was this store guide to a Japanese department store.  It's a little surprising the guide is in English - were Westerners common visitors to Japan in the 1950s?  Was the kit purchased by an American visiting Japan at that time?   

Lots of vintage linens have come home with me in the past few weeks.  These Scotties are my favorite!

I found this fabulous sewing machine cabinet and chair at an estate sale in my own back yard!

The sewing machine is one I've had for a number of years.  It's a Model 201k from the 1950s.  Unlike the traditional black cast iron models, this one is made of aluminum, so it's not quite as heavy.  It still sews like a dream and can sew through just about anything.  I look forward to using this machine on a regular basis now that it has a permanent cabinet!   


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Spools & Binding & Scrap Jar Stars

I'm sure by now most of you are sick of hearing me talk about The Bind-A-Thon.  I'm kind of sick of it, too, but I persevere!  The T-Shirt quilt is almost finished - one long side to complete - and then I can start binding the next quilt in the pile. 

I did take a little break from binding this week to make some Spool blocks.  I pulled strips from my 1 1/2" strip bin and got the components cut early in the week.

It didn't take much time at all to stitch up the blocks using speed piecing.

Now I have an even 300 blocks for my RSC Spoolin' Around quilt top.  I don't know when I'll actually get around to piecing all the blocks together, but they're ready and waiting. 

I actually finished this Bind-A-Thon entry a week or so ago, but didn't have an opportunity for photography until today.  

 I started making the 16-patch blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt sometime in 2014.  The 16-patches morphed into Scrap Jar Star blocks, and the entire quilt was finally finished this year.   

I really enjoyed this pattern - what a fun way to use up lots of scrappy parts and pieces!  My only regret was that I ran out of the background fabric (I was working from my stash) and didn't have enough to add a final, outer border.  It would've stabilized the edges of the quilt and added a little extra width & length.  

As usual, my LAQ Cindy Braiwick, did a fantastic job with the quilting!  I suggested something with circles, and this is what she came up with.  The heart-shaped flowers line up with the 16-patch blocks and the circles fall into line in the sashing and cornerstones.

It's difficult to see the binding, but the fabric looks like it has water droplets on it.  I've washed and dried it so it's nice and soft, but even with color catchers, I see a little bit of red bled through from one of the red scraps on the front.  This is going to my mom - she has several quilts I've made for her, but all of them are hanging on the wall.  I wanted to give her something she could wrap up in and think of me! 

I'm writing this on Friday, anticipating lots of activity tomorrow - the RSC link-up AND Christmas Eve!  Wishing everyone happiness and plenty of time with family and friends as we all enjoy this special time of year!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Breaking from Binding . . . For Spools

Folks, the bind-a-thon continues, but I took a break today to play with some spool blocks.  After seeing Kathy's wonderful top, I was inspired to dig out my spool blocks.

I used Bonnie Hunter's Spoolin' Around block in 2013 as a leader-ender project.   I didn't plan or color-coordinate anything, just tried to use up small scraps.  I finished up 270 blocks.  Not sure why I stopped, but I could use more yellow, aqua and brown blocks to make an even 300.

Since the blocks are so random, I think I'll use a random layout for them.   And I'll definitely set them on point, even though the assembly is a little more time consuming.  These are only 3 inch blocks, so the quilt top won't be huge - once I get it assembled I can decide if more blocks or some borders are needed.

The bind-a-thon has not made much progress in the past two weeks.  I needed to finish the Scrap Jar Star binding so I could give the quilt to my mom in person last week.  I didn't finish the binding before leaving for Florida and I didn't have many opportunities to work on it while visiting family.  It came back home with me and I'll have to ship it to her when it's finished.

I did finish binding the memory quilts I made for my nieces.

My local long-arm quilter, Cindy Braiwick, did a fantastic job with the quilting.

I especially love how she quilted the gold borders.   The girls loved their quilts and immediately wrapped up in them, even if it was a balmy 75 degrees outside!

I'm linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge one more time this year, as the spool blocks were inspired by the RSC.  And now I'm done spoolin' around - it's time to get back to binding!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Bind-A-Thon Continues

Over the past few months I have accumulated quite a pile of quilts in need of binding .  It's hard to get motivated to hand stitch binding when the weather is warm.  Even if the air conditioning is running, it's uncomfortable to have a quilt draped on your lap for hours on end.

Now that our Gu'f Coast weather has cooled off, I don't have any excuses to keep procrastinating on finishing these quilts!  I've completed hand-stitching the binding and labels for the two memory quilts on the top right; next up is the Scrap Jar Star quilt on the upper left.  Dear Husband and I have planned a driving trip to Florida to visit family, so my goal is to finish those top three quilts by Wednesday so I can deliver them to their new owners. 

Since I'm not working on any new quilting projects, I thought I'd share my latest sewing machine project.  I had been looking for a Singer sewing machine cabinet to house one of my favorite vintage machines.  I found this cabinet AND Singer sewing chair recently, and even though delightfully shabby, it came home with me.  My plan is to remove the veneer and stain the top, then paint the rest of the cabinet.  The chair cushions just need new fabric.  It should be a pretty easy project, right?

The cabinet will eventually hold this machine - a Singer 503A, sometimes called a Rocketeer by sewing machine enthusiasts.  It's a machine that can handle heavy-duty stitching and do zig-zag.  I haven't played with this machine much, so I'm looking forward to getting everything set up for some sewing fun.


Friday, November 18, 2016

A Tale of Broken Dishes

I recently participated in Barb's (Fun with Barb) Broken Dishes block swap.  I chose the red reproduction fabric group and wound up with 80 fantastic red and white blocks.  My design wall was empty this week, so I pinned up a batch of them to see how my setting idea would work.

I was hoping I would have a red and white toile fabric in my stash that would work for the alternate blocks.  I have a lot of toile fabric, but alas, not one that played nicely with the Dishes.  I auditioned this foulard print, but the background is too yellow.

This is more the idea I have in mind.  Unfortunately, I only have a fat quarter of this fabric and haven't had any luck finding more online.  I'm sure I'll be able to find something similar at my LQS, which specializes in reproduction fabrics.  There's no rush - I won't be able to do any assembly on this quilt until the first of the year.  Until then, I think I'll leave the blocks hanging for now, so I can enjoy all the different red fabrics!

Many thanks to Barb and all the swap participants for such a fun project!