New Orleans House Project

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Hand Quilting the Eagles

It looks like 2021 will be a year of hand quilting.

I started this four block eagle quilt in 2014.  Once the quilt top was complete, I procrastinated on the quilting because I was intimidated by all the hand stitching needed.  I knew I wanted to hand quilt the top, I just didn't trust my hand quilting skills.

I decided 2021 was the year to finish this project, so with a little inspiration from some dedicated hand quilters like Barb and Deb, I jumped in and got started.

First, I finished marking the cross-hatch design for the quilt's background.  I don't know where I read about this marking pencil - General's Sketch & Wash - but I've been pleased with it so far.  I tested the markings on some fabric scraps, and they wash out easily.   Some of the marked lines have gotten lighter as the quilt is handled, but I just lightly re-pencil them before stitching.

It took a few days to hand-baste the quilt - perfect for the Polar Vortex weather we had earlier this month.  The hand basting reminded me of fun afternoons spent with members of the Pensacola Quilter's Guild in my early days as a quilter.  Frame basting was a service provided by guild volunteers.  After the monthly guild meeting, basting frames were set up and members shared bag lunches and quilting fellowship while basting quilts.  It was a great learning experience!

I started with the background quilting this past Tuesday.  I've finished about half of the background around the center crowns.  I know there's a LOT of quilting ahead, but I'm really enjoying it!  In fact, I've neglected other stitching projects this week and focused almost exclusively on hand quilting.  I'm still working on having consistent and straight quilting stitches, but practice makes perfect (or so I'm told). 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Quilt Whatcha Wanna

There's a popular song in New Orleans - performed by the ReBirth Brass Band - called "Do Whatcha Wanna".  It's about getting ready to hit the streets on Mardi Gras, where the day holds the promise of all sorts of fun.  The rhythm of the music gets your feet moving and your spirit soaring.  I always wind up dancing and singing along whenever I hear it.

Since we're not celebrating Mardi Gras this year (well, almost - more on that in a minute), I turned my Carnival energy to quilting what I wanna!

Final t-shirt quilt.  Just needs outer borders and cornerstones.  I'm procrastinating - can you blame me?

Finished hand-stitching the binding on Ring of Stars (pattern by Nancy Rink).  It's too cold for outdoor photographs right now, so this one will have to wait for warmer weather before I take some glamour shots. 

We had to do some weather prep at our camp in Mississippi, as a hard freeze was predicted beginning Sunday night.  Dear Husband wanted to spend the night, so I knew I needed something to work on while we were there.   I prepped block #5 from Poppy's Polka Dot Garden to work on during the evening.  After spending the morning taking precautions to protect the plants and pipes at the camp, DH decided we should head back to our warm(er) house in New Orleans!

The weather has been so rainy, cold, and nasty I wanted a bright and colorful quilt to cheer things up.  I hung the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Sampler quilt on my dining room quilt hanger, and now I smile every time I walk through the room!

I made some more 25-Patch Star blocks.  I haven't decided on a final layout, but I know I need a dozen or so more blocks to have a decent-sized quilt.   More block parts are cut and ready for stitching.

OK, there's more quilty stuff to talk about, but I'll save it for another post.

In the meantime, it's Mardi Gras y'all!
I need to make more Mardi Gras quilts.  This wall-hanging is all I've got so far!  Purple, green, and gold are the colors of Mardi Gras, so it's not even difficult to come up with a quilt color scheme.

This year's Mardi Gras celebrations (at least in New Orleans) were all cancelled long ago due to the pandemic.  It's hard to keep New Orleanians from observing one of their favorite holidays though, and enterprising and socially-distant alternatives started popping up all over.

One of my favorites is the idea of House Floats.  Instead of having parades with floats and marching bands and hordes of participants (Mardi Gras parades are not for genteel observing - you have to participate in them!), folks took to decorating their houses like parade floats.

One of my favorites is Saint Dolly - Dolly Parton as the patron saint of Covid-19 vaccines.  It's hard to see in the picture, but she's holding a vaccine syringe in her right hand.  The sign on the left side of the yard, "Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine, Vacciiiine!" is sung to the tune of her song, "Jolene".

Another favorite is the Mystic Krewe of Unicorns.  I don't think there is an actual Krewe of Unicorns, but if there is, I want to be a member!

If you have a few spare minutes, do a Google search for New Orleans House Floats and click on the Images option - guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

T-Shirt Quiltathon Update

 The end of the T-shirt Quiltathon is in sight!

Back on New Year's Eve, I decided to tackle several bins full of t-shirts that had been waiting to be made into quilts.  I had saved enough t-shirts to make four quilts:  one for me, one for my youngest son, and two for my Dear Husband.

Fortunately, most of the t-shirts for my quilt were already cut apart and backed with fusible stabilizer.  I also found some fabric in my stash that worked great for sashing the t-shirts.  This got the quiltathon off to a good start. 

Here's my t-shirt flimsy.  The sashing fabric looks a little washed out in the picture - it's a little more vibrant than what you see here.
I even found backing fabric in my stash.  It's pink flamingos on a black background - what could be more perfect?!

Dear Son's flimsy is also finished.  His sashing is the same as mine, just a different colorway - Kaffe Fassett Paperweight.  Sigh - no backing fabric in the stash for this one.

One more completed flimsy - DH's sports-themed quilt.  

My stash supplied the light blue sashing fabric, and I had a big chunk of the darker blue (Grunge-Navy), so I knew it would work for the borders.  I had to order additional fabric to have enough for the borders, but it arrived last week and I was able to get the borders done yesterday.
The fabrics remind me of a comfortable, well-worn pair of blue jeans, which is perfect for my hubby!

I don't have any full-size Valentine-y quilts to decorate with for February, but I did pull out this mini (15 inches square) heart quilt I made in 2013.  

I didn't have any pink vintage tableware to display with the mini, so I pulled together some vintage sewing items instead.  I miss being able to hit up the flea markets and antique malls on the eternal quest for treasures!

In honor of Super (Something) Sunday, DH and I decided to have our own Super (Something) Party!  We'll be the only guests, but that's how things roll right now. 
We don't really care who wins the Big Game because both teams feature players from New Orleans.
Reminiscing back to times we actually could entertain at home, I pulled out a big flamingo platter and filled it with veggies.  Instead of ranch dip/dressing, we've got Avocado-Cilantro dip - yum!

Also on the menu:  chicken wings cooked in the crockpot (lots of garlic and ginger) and Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos.  Since it's just the two of us, I reckon I'll have leftovers to last for a couple of days!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Still Rainbow Scrappin'!

 It's a new year for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, hosted by Angela at Soscrappy.  The challenge is all about using scraps, and making scrappy quilts.  I never get tired of scrappy quilts, so I've had fun playing along with the challenge for the past nine years!

Each month, Angela announces a color to focus on while using our scraps.  January's color has been pink.  Despite being distracted by some other quilting projects, I managed to also work on two pink scrappy projects.

Last year, Cathy at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting started making these Sugar Loaf blocks.  She was inspired by an American Patchwork and Quilting pattern by Pam Buda, "Flashes of Brilliance".  The lightbulb went off in my head, reminding me I had that magazine issue and that quilt was on my bucket list.  I knew it was time to start that quilt.

Unfortunately, 2020 went by and the quilt didn't get started.  I was determined to make the quilt in 2021, and following the Rainbow Scrap Challenge monthly schedule seemed like a good way to work through the blocks.

I wasn't sure I would get two blocks made in January, but after making the first block, the process was less intimidating and went quickly.  

I look forward to playing with lots of scrappy chunks trying to come up with good fabric combos for the blocks!

I started making Bonnie Hunter's Easy Breezy (aka Easy Peasy) blocks last year, but didn't make much progress.  I plan to keep making them this year and managed to knock out a few with new and old pink scraps.

There's a weekly link-up for anyone playing along with the RSC, so if you like scrappy, colorful quilts, stop by and see what everyone else is making.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Fine and Fancy Flock of Flamingos

 First Flimsy Finish of 2021!

I finally finished assembling all my hand-pieced flamingo hexagons.  I made over 100 pieced hexagons, and threw in a number of plain hexies to even things out.

The flamingo hexie quilt began in April, 2017 - inspired by Barb Vedder's Hex Vex quilt and pattern kit.  I prioritized finishing the project in 2020 and focused lots of hand-stitching time on the individual hexies and then stitching them all together as a flimsy.

This week involved a lengthy session of removing the paper pieces behind all the hexie parts, and starching/pressing the top in preparation for quilting.

I also prepped the quilt backing, which includes another chunk of flamingo fabric that didn't get used in the hexies.

In other news -
You may remember I was contemplating a t-shirt quilt marathon to use up a large collection of vintage t-shirts.
I found a chunk of Kaffe Fassett Paperweight (in gray) fabric in my stash that worked perfectly for sashing these shirts together.  I had to order additional fabric (Glorious Color; no affiliation, but they shipped the fabric the same day I ordered it!) for borders, so I'm waiting on that.

This will be shirt #1 for Dear Husband.  Some of these shirts are pretty stained, and there are some holes, but I couldn't convince DH to swap them out for shirts in better condition.  They all have happy memories for him, so I'm happy to help preserve the memories.  The fabrics being auditioned above probably won't get used in this quilt, as I found a big chunk of light blue and gray scrap that will be perfect for sashing, and some blue Grunge that will work for the borders.  Yay for shopping in the stash!

I'm contemplating how to approach this stash of Dear Son's shirts.  There are 22 shirts here, and not all of them have large designs, so I may do some cutting and piecing of the t-shirt designs to keep the quilt from being a monstrous size. 

Time to stop procrastinating and get back to the t-shirt quiltathon!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Is 2020 Really Almost Over?

Here it is, the last day of 2020 - and I think most of us are wondering (anxiously?) what 2021 will hold in store.  I feel optimistic in general, but only time will tell if 2021 turns out to be better than 2020.

On a personal note, Dear Hubby and I have been left unscathed by our brush with the Covid-19 virus.  DH never had more than very minor symptoms, and his second Covid test (at the appropriate interval) was negative.  I never had any symptoms, and since he tested negative both times, it's safe to assume I was never infected.  DH's colleague - who was infected - has recovered enough to return to work, although he's still reporting fatigue.  The best news:  the hospital where my husband works got their shipment of vaccine, and DH has already received his first dose!

After sewing up a batch of 25-patch blocks at the beginning of our quarantine, I didn't have much sewing energy.  I came up with a mindless sewing project that took a few days: 

Yes - seven more Lego quilt blocks - another row!
These went quickly and I added them to the Lego quilt flimsy.  Now the quilt measures 70 inches by 80 inches, and I'm happy with the size.  Time for quilting. 

We had a very quiet Christmas.  Dear Hubby gave me a copy of Barbara Brackman's new edition of The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  I look forward to many hours of study.

Sometime after Christmas, I started having dangerous thoughts about a post-holiday T-shirt Quiltathon.

I had the makings of at least three large t-shirt quilts stored away in various bins and baskets.  

Some of the shirts have been waiting a long time for their day in a quilt.  I decided now was the time to get these UFOs crossed off the list.  This batch of dark/bright shirts were already cut and ready for fusible stabilizer to be ironed on.  I need some sashing fabric and I can start assembling.

The next batch of shirts still need trimming and stabilizing.
Some aren't in great shape, but they have happy memories, so they're going in a quilt anyway!

The third batch of shirts are from my youngest son.  I haven't even looked at them yet. šŸ˜±

I'll be happy when the quilt are finished - and when they're done, I don't plan on making any more t-shirt quilts! 

I decided it would be a good idea to organize my quilting thoughts for the coming year.  Life has a funny way of interfering with our plans, but I'm hoping I'll at least make a dent in the list!

Wishing everyone a healthy and uneventful 2021!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Rainbow Scrap Update

I rifled through my drawer of Kaffe Fassett and tropical bright fabrics last weekend.  I was looking for bright prints to add to my 25-Patch Star quilt.  

Those fabrics and a few others added to the star collection, so I'm getting pretty close to having enough blocks to start assembling a quilt top.

I just need to finish hand-piecing the flamingo hexies together so I can clear off the design wall. 

 I've been hand-stitching the hexies together and binge-watching Netflix shows, although at times there's been more watching than stitching!  

Since I had to create new scraps to make more 25-Patch Star blocks, I went ahead and cut more Easy Breezy leader-ender parts.  I've assembled a few blocks, but there's also a nice big stack of parts sitting next to the sewing machine.

On the Public Health front:  we've had an ironic turn of events at our house.

Last weekend, our youngest son came home to officiate at/attend the wedding of a very good friend.  We were all very nervous about the situation, but he tested negative for Covid-19, guidelines were followed, masks were worn, distances were kept, etc.  

The wedding itself was very small, outdoors, and again, precautions were observed.  

It was wonderful to see our son for the weekend, but we breathed a sigh of relief when he left for home (where his job will require him to quarantine and have negative testing before he can interact in-person with the work environment again).

Imagine our surprise on Tuesday, when my husband's employer informed him a co-worker had just tested positive for Covid-19.  Dear Husband and co-worker had just spent the previous day working in very close proximity.  Fortunately, everyone was protected by masks and face shields at the time, and the employee with Covid was only reporting mild symptoms.

So, we are quarantining through Christmas.  I've moved into the guest bedroom.  Dear Hubby has tested negative and has very mild symptoms.  He'll be retested early next week.  Knock on wood - I'm feeling fine.  What a year!  

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Christmas Flurry and Sports Fan Pillow

 A few quilted gifts were given in the past week.

I call this quilt "Flurry" since it was made from Kate Spain's line of Christmas fabrics with the same name.  I gifted it to my next-door neighbors in Mississippi; they're all-round great folks and have been tremendously helpful this year with hurricane prep.

I'm not sure if there's a specific name for this pattern, but it was quick and easy to make using a jelly roll and some background fabric (Moda Grunge, which I happened to have in my stash).

Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting did the long-arm quilting for me, using a pattern of old-fashioned Christmas tree lights.  The quilt finished up at 58" x 75", perfect for snuggling under on the sofa on a chilly, damp Mississippi afternoon!

Another gift I finished recently was for my youngest son, the football fan.  

Several years ago, we collaborated on a quilt in honor of the football history of his alma mater, Louisiana State University.  Last year, LSU added a new national title to their history, and we discussed the idea of another quilt, but nothing was decided.

In the meantime, I made him a pillow for his upcoming birthday.
The pattern is from Amy Sinabaldi at the Nana Pattern Company.  Her version is for a Christmas pillow (aka the Merry and Bright Cushion Cover).

I used purple and gold fabrics from my stash, along with some snippets of tiger fabric.  The embroidered words refer to an LSU chant beloved by students but banned by the school administration.  I knew my son would appreciate the humor of it.

BTW, I learned something useful while making the pillow:  Google has a huge free font library.  

The pillow calls for using a font called "Sacramento" to do the embroidery.  Amy provided a full-size pattern for the phrases she used on her pillow, but directs users to the free font library in case they want to use their own phrases.

If you're like me and enjoy using different fonts for quilt labels or whatever, it's easy to download and install the fonts on your computer.  

And, if you want to add different fonts to your Blogger posts, you can also download and install the fonts using the Blogger toolbar.  
  • Look for the letter "A" in a dark box on the left side of the toolbar - aka "Font Type".  When you click on the box, you'll get a drop-down of choices - choose Add More Fonts.   
  • A screen of font choices will open; scroll through the fonts to choose one you like, then click the Select button at the bottom of the screen.  The font will be installed for you to use in Blogger.  
  • You can install numerous fonts using the same process for each font.
  • When you're ready to use the font, highlight the text you want to appear in the new font, open the Font Type drop-down box, and select the font you want to use.  Your text will change to the new font.    
I hope I'm not the last one to discover this feature in Blogger.  I never noticed it as an option before the recent "improvements" to the blogging interface.  Now that I know it's there, I'll be having fun playing with different fonts in my blog posts!

Quilting forever, housework for never!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Buffet of Stitching

 My sewing machine has been taking an unintended break from sewing.  Several hand stitching projects have demanded my attention, so the sewing machine has been neglected.

I guess this is one way to neglect your sewing machine.  
(can't you just hear a Disney song in the background?)

For example, there's the new free BOM from Sentimental Stitches - Poppy's Polka Dot Garden.
Poppy's Polka Dot Garden, block 1

Poppy's Polka Dot Garden block 2

I've finished the first two blocks using a combination of freezer paper and back basting techniques.  Blocks 3 and 4 are still in the planning stages.  Block 4 (and the pattern calls for two of these blocks) is an 18 inch block, so I may wind up using machine appliquĆ© to keep from getting too far behind.

Ok, I did use the sewing machine for the Cassandra's Circle Block #10.  Freezer paper and starch for prepping the pieces and invisible machine appliquĆ© made quick work of this block.

Last time I showed this project, there were only two appliquĆ©d sunflower blocks and an idea.  I hand appliquĆ©d another sunflower, then set the blocks together with some fabrics from the stash.  Now it is pinned and waiting for quilting (I'm waiting on some thread).

Last - but certainly not least - the hexie flamingos are being assembled into a quilt top.  I've been hand stitching the hexies into small groups in an attempt to avoid having to stitch long, awkward rows of blocks together.  I figure there will ultimately be some long rows or columns that need to be stitched, but I'm avoiding that for now.  I have to pay attention as I do the assembly - it's too easy to get mixed up and sew a hexie in the wrong position.  I'm keeping the blocks pinned on the design wall and only taking down two or three blocks at a time to avoid errors!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving (and Moo-velous Giveaway Results)


Happy Thanksgiving!

And congratulations to Barb Vedder, who will soon be receiving a package of udder-ly inspiring bovine fabrics and scraps!