New Orleans House Project

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Big Blue Monster

One of the projects I am aiming to finish this year is a blue and white scrap quilt I planned with my guest room bed in mind.  The guest room never seems to have a decorating scheme or quilts of its own - maybe because my kids keep moving home and setting up camp in there!

Back in 2014, the guest room was vacant, so I decided to make a quilt for that room.  The room is painted blue, so I knew a blue and white quilt would be perfect.  I decided to make Sawtooth Star and Uneven 9-patch blocks, inspired by a quilt on Barbara Brackman's website.  I cut parts and pieces from my very large collection of blue fabrics and used a white on white fabric for the background.

My original plan was for 100 eight inch blocks.  When I reached that goal, I decided the quilt wasn't big enough and added more blocks until I had enough for 11 rows by 11 rows.

Last weekend I started pinning the blocks to the design wall.  I chose an uneven number of rows so there would be a Sawtooth Star block in each corner.  

Once I had all the blocks pinned up, I did the math and decided the quilt STILL wasn't big enough for a queen-sized bed.

Fortunately, I still had my cutting instructions, so I quickly cut and pieced another row of blocks, making the quilt 12 x 11, or 96 inches by 88 inches.

I've dubbed the quilt the Big Blue Monster because it fills the design wall and I'm feeling overwhelmed about stitching all those 8 inch blocks together!  I didn't even add the new row to the design wall because I'd have to climb up and down the step-stool or crawl on my knees to get it pinned up.

If I were staying home this weekend (Memorial Day observance in the United States), I could probably get lots of stitching done.  I'm off to Florida to visit family, though, so all those blocks will just have to chill until I get back.  This project has been underway since 2014, so I guess it can wait a little longer!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Green Scrap Therapy

A little more green scrap therapy happened this week.

These Rail Fence selvage blocks barely made a dent in the green selvages.  I may have to make more!

Some Happy Scrappy House blocks got green wonky borders.  This project is starting to speak very loudly about being finished, so I might have to move ahead and make more wonky borders without waiting for RSC inspiration.

I hand-pieced a few green scrappy pieces, too.  These are for my Hex Vex project.  One trick I learned for piecing hexies is to use tape to hold the hexie parts together for flat back-stitching - note the tape on the flamingo block.

This also happened:
I had admired and been inspired by Cathy's Burgoyne Surrounded blocks for several months.  Then Gayle acted on her inspiration, so I decided to challenge myself to try making a block.  I like the kind of low volume way my block turned out, but what I really like are Cathy's bright color schemes.  I don't think my stash will support that look, so I'm not sure I will keep making these blocks.  I left this one pinned to the design wall to see what inspiration will flow from it!

For more green, scrappy inspiration, check out the link-up at Soscrappy today!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Green Scrappy Bits

I'm off to a slow start on Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects this month.  There was this little distraction called the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest for short) which was entertaining, but exhausting.  We had friends visiting from out of town, so prepping for that took time away from sewing, too.  It felt good to have some fabric therapy time today, as I dug through all the green scrap bins to make up some RSC blocks.

First up were some Windblown Wishes blocks from Diane Knott's book, Scrap Quilt Secrets.  These made a pretty good dent in all the lighter varieties of green in the scrap bins.

I also made some pinwheel blocks.  I need 15 of these, but I ran out of workable combos.  Time to make more scraps!

This 49-patch took every little green scrap in the bin.  I wasn't sure I could get all the different shades of green to play well together, but it's not too bad.

I've only made 4 of these blocks so far.  I'm not sure what the final plan for them will be.  They only finish at 7 inches, so I'll need a lot more of them if I want a quilt.

I also had enough bits of green to make some 4 patch blocks.  Again, there's no specific plan for these, I'm just trying to use up scraps.  I've started a notebook (in Evernote) of 4 patch quilt designs.

I still have some other Rainbow Scrap projects in need of green scraps.  I hope I'll have time for more fabric therapy this week so all my RSC projects get their infusion of green.  There's more green inspiration at the RSC link-up today.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Quilty 365 Loves Full Circle

I really wanted to have a great outdoor picture of my Quilty 365 flimsy hanging from the railing of our deck in all its circular glory.  Unfortunately, for two weekends in a row the weather was uncooperative and I missed my chance for a full-length picture.  I guess now I'll wait until the flimsy is quilted and try for another beauty shot!

Undaunted, here's an indoor shot of my year's worth of circles.  There's not enough room in my studio to get a straight-on picture, hence my reliance on the deck railing.  The blocks are made up of 30 circles and the sashing is a gray cross-hatch fabric.  The final flimsy measures 77 inches by 90 inches.  I have no plans for quilting just yet, but all those circles definitely send subliminal messages about circular quilting!

Since the last time I blogged about the quilt, I added a final row with the last seven (I added one extra) circles.  

My son David suggested the name after he heard the story of our year-long quilting project and my written journal describing each fabric choice.  I used my computer and printer to get the letters to the size I wanted, then used freezer paper to cut the shapes.  A few dots of fabric glue held the letters in place while I hand appliqu├ęd them.

I folded the quilt on itself so I could get a better shot of the bottom.  Every time I take this quilt out to work with it, I tend to get lost in the memories stitched into each circle.  It was an amazing and fun project and I'm tickled pink to have stuck with it for the entire year!  Sharing the project with a diverse group of people made it special too.  Seeing the breadth of interpretations each month was always inspiring!  Many thanks to Audrey for providing the spark and to all the stitchers who played along!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Little More Flamingo Hexie Playtime

I've had a lot of fun playing with my Post Card quilt scraps this week.  I've been cutting and stitching different hexagon shapes, inspired by Barb Vedder's Hex Vex quilt pattern.

I think this will be my go-to travel project for the next several months, so I'm trying to get plenty of blocks prepped.  Barb's Hex Vex pattern/kit included a number of pre-cut shapes from Paper Pieces.  The pre-cut shapes require basting stitches to hold the fabric in place for stitching.  I've been experimenting with that EPP technique, as well as a few others.

Another EPP technique is using freezer paper shapes and fabric glue instead of basting stitches.  These diamonds were cut using freezer paper.  Fabric glue will hold the seam allowances in place while the diamonds are stitched together.

I haven't decided if I like one technique better than the other.  I think it's always useful to have a repertoire of stitching techniques, so you can use the one that works best in a given situation.

I went ahead and cut some large, un-pieced hexagons while I still had large chunks of fabric available.  Fussy cutting all those different diamonds makes holey fabric pretty quickly.  Not to mention, fat quarters are not very useful for fussy cutting - at least not at this size (the hexagon sides are 3 inches).  I quickly found I needed a trip to the "modern" LQS in town (Mes Amis Quilt Shop) for more fabric!

And wouldn't you know I found a few new fabrics - completely unrelated to flamingos - that I NEEDED?  These two Robert Kaufman prints were too cute to pass up!  

Or how about this retro-style cocktail recipe fabric?  

And a new text fabric - this might even become the backing for my flamingo Hex Vex! 

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my Dear Husband was cooking Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk for dinner.  I don't have a picture of our finished chicken, but you can check out the one in the link.  The resulting chicken was delicious - and even better the next day in sandwiches.  We liked it so much we're having it again this evening - and serving it to guests!

If you're looking for more scrappy inspiration, check out the links at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Flamingo-Inspired Multi-Color Fun

Keeping up the multi-color fabric theme for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I pulled out a pile of flamingo fabrics I started cutting last year with the intention of making a Postcard Quilt.

These flamingos were my first postcard inspiration.  The remaining postcards came from the stash or from stash-enhancement.

At first, I wasn't going to use the flamingo print on the bottom left, but the more I played with it, the more I was entranced by the colors.  After arranging and re-arranging all the different postcard fabric possibilities multiple times I came up with my final arrangement. 

I finished assembling all the blocks last night.  The finished size is approximately 30 inches by 30 inches, so it will be easy enough to machine quilt.

I even had a piece of striped fabric in the stash that turned out to be perfect for the binding! 

Of course, cutting all those postcards created a pile of scraps.  Not to mention all the fabrics that got pulled but not used.  The more I looked at everything, the more I realized I wasn't finished playing with these fabrics and colors.  It dawned on me I had a great start on fabrics for a flamingo-inspired version of Barb Vedder's Hex Vex pattern.  
I've only got one hexie partially pieced, but I've got lots of inspiration for block combos! 

Looking for more multi-color scrap inspiration?  Check out the Rainbow Scrap Challenge linky party for today!



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Multi-color Moves

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month is to use up multi-colored scraps.  Multi-color scraps can be difficult to use in "rainbow" projects, because they don't always have one prominent color.  I've made multi-color blocks for some of my past RSC projects, but this year's blocks don't really lend themselves to the multi-color theme.  No worries, I've got several ideas for finishing multi-color projects that are already underway.

There was not much time for sewing this week, but I was able to get in some fabric therapy last night.  I pulled some multi-color brights from the selvage box and made Rail Fence blocks.  I had to add one not-bright block to make my design wall layout work...

Today we're hanging at our camp.  It's been a perfect spring day - probably one of the last days of wonderful weather before we start with the high temps and high humidity of summer.  All these great multi-color strips were also hanging out at the camp, so I assembled some more lego quilt blocks.  

Tonight my Dear Husband is making Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk for dinner.  It's a new recipe for us - I'll report back.  A little Radio Margaritaville and a bottle of bubbly - celebrating the first week of April is a long-standing tradition!

While dinner is cooking I'll be reviewing all the multi-color inspiration at Angela's Soscrappy link-up.

Friday, March 31, 2017

March: 17ufosin2017 Progress

My Quilting Muse must have taken a Caribbean vacation this month.  I have not had much motivation to work on any quilting projects, be they new or old.  I did make a little progress on my 17ufosin2017, so maybe seeing that progress laid out here will help inspire me!

My Quilty 365 circles are almost a flimsy.  I stitched all the 30 circle sets together with a narrow, light gray sashing.  I have 7 circles that didn't fit into the block scheme.  My plan is to add another row of sashing on the bottom, then a narrow row of the 7 circles and some words.  The gray sashing will get repeated on all the outer edges of the quilt.  I'm not sure if that will complete the flimsy - the quilt hasn't spoken yet.

I made the continuous bias binding for my Austen Family Album quilt and attached it.  However, I have yet to pick up a needle and start stitching the binding to the back of the quilt.  

March also found me stitching up another batch of string blocks for the Spring Clean quilt.  I now have 2 completed blocks - only 7 left to go!  I've been working on the string blocks on the weekends we go to our camp.  In the interest of speeding things up, I brought home all the strings so I could make blocks on weekday evenings after work - great therapy!  

Having the 17ufosin2017 challenge has helped with the quilting motivation, even if that doggone Muse went on vacation!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Last of the Red Hot Scraps

I had fun digging through the last of the red scraps (and a few fabric chunks) to finish up my Rainbow Scrap projects for the month.

One of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects is making pinwheel blocks.  I have a specific plan for them, but I need to have all the colors completed before I start putting them together.  

Some red selvages got sliced and diced into Rail Fence blocks.

Just for fun, I added some purple and aqua blocks from earlier RSC months.

I had to go digging through the fabric bins to find large enough red chunks to make the wonky borders for my New Orleans houses.  As I was choosing the fabrics, I was really pleased with how the reds "worked" with the house blocks.  But after looking at the bordered blocks on my design wall all week, I was a little worried about the border fabrics being too dark.

Last night, I pulled out some of the already bordered blocks to see if everyone would play well together.  I decided my worries were pointless.  I'm looking forward to the finish on this project!

That's the end of my red scrappiness for March.  Red was fun, but I'm looking forward to a new color and new scrappy challenges.  There's more red scrappiness on view at Angela's SoScrappy blog.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Old School Block Building with Red Scraps

It's not all that visually exciting to show this "old school" scrappy block-building, but I'm enjoying the process of using up lots of small scrappy bits.

There's nothing more basic than simple 4-patch blocks, but they are a great way to use scraps.  And the design possibilities are endless!  These 4-patches were a good way to use up leftovers from the Windblown Wishes blocks I made last week.

These 49-patch blocks are using up some of the smallest scraps in my stash - 1.5 inch squares.  So far, the blocks have used up most of the already-cut square bits in the 1.5 inch scrap bin, so if I'm going to make more of these, I'll have to make more squares or do some strip and slice piecing.  For now, I'm just going to keep making blocks and decide how to use them later.

I'm linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge today:  lots of scrappy red inspiration to be seen there!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Red, Red March

It's been kind of a slow start for scrappy March sewing.  I'm still not functioning at 100% after a bout with the flu, so everything seems to be happening in slow motion.  After spending the morning getting long-deferred car maintenance taken care of, I managed to spend a few hours playing with the scrap bins.

Working on the red & pink fabric drawer
The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for March is red.  I generally prefer using clear reds as much as possible for my RSC projects, and I found a lot of brownish red and maroon in the scrap bin.  That meant I needed to sort through the red yardage for some "new" scraps.  Sorting was a fun project, as the drawer of red and pink fabric has not been straightened in some time.   

After cutting some new scrappy 2 inch strips, I was able to assemble 2 Windblown Wishes blocks.  It was good to go digging through the red yardage and scraps; some of the fabric bits still floating around my stash are from my earliest days as a quilter!

Linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge party and enjoying everyone's red inspiration...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February: 17ufosin2017 Progress

First item to report:  A Finish!  
All I needed for this finish was to complete the hand stitching on the binding.  Completed that today while recuperating from the flu and watching Mardi Gras festivities on TV.

The quilt was an attempt to use up a large portion of my purple and gold fabric scraps.  I still have a lot of purple and gold fabric (scraps and yardage), but that's OK, purple and gold are the school colors for Louisiana State University and there will probably be other school quilts in my future.

The back of the quilt features a purple bandana print.  Now that it's finished, it will go to my youngest son.  He asked for the first LSU quilt when he was in college - even designed it - so it's only fitting he gets a quilt made from some of the scraps from his quilt.

Now it's on to binding the next quilt in the pile/on the 17ufosin2017 list!

Next up:  Another Finish!
I have had this Joanna Figueroa pattern for over a year, and the fabrics (not hers) longer than that.  I put this project high on my 2017 UFO list hoping I would get motivated to finally turn the fabrics into a tote bag.

I was able to finish the medium-sized Feed Sack in early February.  The result is as cute as I expected, but for the next bag I think I'll make a few changes.  The outer pocket is too small to hold much (see the top picture of my iPod peeping out of the pocket).  The pattern included directions for a matching (half-round) inner pocket, but I didn't make that.   The next bag will have a deeper outside pocket and one or two inside pockets as well.  I already have the fabrics cut for the large version of the bag, so maybe I'll have that to show next month.

OK, that's enough with the Finishes.  
I've been working on assembling my Quilty 365 blocks.  I grouped the blocks into sets of 30, so they resemble calendar pages.  The last seven blocks (I made a few more than 365) will get spread out across the "bottom" of the quilt.  

I can't fit all the sets of 30 on my design wall at one time - here are the other 6 sets.  I'd like to get this to the completed flimsy stage by the end of March - wish me luck!

I'm still finding Meredithe's challenge inspirational and I'm excited to see what progress the other participants have made!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Last of the Aqua?

It's the last Rainbow Scrap Challenge Saturday for talking about aqua scrap projects.  I feel I've gone a long way toward emptying the aqua scrap bins - at least for now! 

As I was digging through the aqua scraps,  I found some chunks of this Natural Effects collection by Michele D'Amore.  I used the collection for the above RSC project in March of 2014 (still unquilted, BTW).  I really wanted to finish off the scraps, but I needed something that called for fairly large pieces of fabric to make the most of the designs.

I finally settled on a tote bag.  I wanted to keep a big piece of the multi-color floral intact, so I cut large strips for the top of the bag.  The body of the bag is made of 3 inch squares and the bottom and lining were made from a piece of Grunge (by Moda) yardage.

I used both fusible fleece and fusible interfacing on the body of the bag, then added straight line quilting to hold everything together. 

There was enough fabric to add a good-sized interior pocket.

I like long handles on my tote bags so I can sling them over my shoulder.   The finished bag measures 14.5 inches high and 16 inches wide.  This could become a go-to gift project, especially using slightly smaller dimensions.

I also made some aqua pinwheel blocks this week.  Here they are laid out with last month's purple blocks.  My ultimate plan is to mix up all the colors, but since I only have two colors so far, I just color-blocked them. 

I'm ready for the next round of color, but in the meantime I'll be checking everyone's Rainbow Scrap Challenge entries for today!