New Orleans House Project

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Starting with Scraps

 My sewing priorities for the beginning of the year included finishing up two Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects from 2021.

I finished making all the blocks for the Flashes of Brillance/Sugar Loaf quilt.  Here they are assembled, and waiting to be trimmed according to the pattern.  I really had to steel myself to cut those blocks in half!

Aye-yi-yi - and what am I going to do with these sliced up half blocks?!


Anyway, here is the finished quilt top.  
As I was making the original Sugar Loaf blocks, I thought it would be fun to make another version of the quilt in reproduction fabrics.  I still like that idea, but after working with all the bias edges on the blocks and sashing, I'm not in a hurry to do it any time soon! 

Once Flashes of Brillance was down from my design wall, I immediately started laying out another scrappy quilt top.

I've been making Bonnie Hunter's Easy Breezy blocks as a leader-ender project since July, 2020.  I decided it was finally time to assemble a quilt top.  The framed squares were added to boost the quilt size, as the blocks only measure six inches. 

I have some dedicated sewing ahead of me to get them all stitched together!

I haven't decided on a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for 2022.  Last week I made a Blackford's Beauty block in modern fabrics, then followed up by making another block in reproduction style fabrics.  
I love how the repro fabrics look in this block, but since the blocks finish at twelve inches, I'd feel compelled to make more than one block each month.  That would entail a good bit of cutting/prep work (i.e. making scraps), so I'm not sure I want to commit to the project.

In the meantime, Gayle (mangofeet) showed one of her new RSC blocks - framed stars - which I've always wanted to try.  I haven't tried my own version yet, but that's on tap for this week.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Off to a Stitching Start!

 Here we are, starting a new year of stitching!

I have been working on my list(s) of projects to finish and projects to start.  My plans seem a little ambitious, but I'm excited about trying some new things and attempting to use up my fabric stash.

Starstruck by Gyleen Fitzgerald

On top of that, I'm supposed to be attending an in-person quilt workshop next week.  My small guild has scheduled a class with quilter Gyleen Fitzgerald.  We'll be making her Star Struck table runner, and learning some new piecing and cutting skills.  Plans include mask-wearing and social distancing (and everyone must be vaccinated), but since our state is experiencing a spike in Covid/omicron infections, plans could change on dime.

This will be my first quilting workshop since 2005!  I'm feeling a little intimidated by all the paraphernalia one takes to a quilting workshop.  

My everyday sewing machine is too big to drag to a class, so I thought I'd take my vintage Singer 503A (aka Rocketeer).  It's lightweight and sews a beautiful straight stitch.  Of course quarter-inch feet were not issued with these machines, but there are a number of modern quarter-inch feet that fit.

Unfortunately, the machine operator could not stitch consistent quarter inch seams despite trying several different feet and adding a seam guide hack.  I think maybe one of those portable extension tables would help, but there's no time to order one.


I made this Blackford's Beauty block as a practice piece on the Rocketeer.  The block was inspired by Angela at Soscrappy, who plans to use it for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The block doesn't look too bad, but I had to trim all the 4-patches to get them to fit correctly, and the finished block is still a quarter inch too large.

Change of plans.  Out came my trusty Pfaff 7550 - my primary sewing machine until a few years ago.  Fortunately, getting a consistent quarter-inch seam with this machine was much easier. 

I didn't have enough 2 inch squares prepped for another Blackford's Beauty block, but I did have the pieces ready for an Antique Tile block.  I think I have found my quilting workshop machine!

In other "start the year off right" news - I finally broke down and bought a new cutting mat!  My old mat (on the left) is so worn the cutting lines are barely visible.  Those white marks are not just discoloration, they're grooves worn in the cutting surface!  Happily, I made use of a JoAnn 50% off coupon and saved a little money, too.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

The Solstice is Almost Here

 I have been counting down the days to the Winter Solstice, looking forward to the days starting to get longer.  

Dear Hubby and I have been walking early in the morning since June.  Since DH has to leave for work no later than 6:30 am, our walks usually take place before sunrise, especially since the end of Daylight Saving Time.  You can see why I'd be paying attention to the length of the days!

The change in the season also heralds a change in my quilting activities: wrapping up projects from 2021 and contemplating the quilty fun ahead in 2022.  There are more projects to wrap up than time will allow, but it's given me goals to work toward.


I got a late start on the Two and Four QAL, but did manage to finish the flimsy shortly after Thanksgiving.  The design wall was taken up with another project, so I just spread out the top on the guest room bed for a quick picture.  This was a fun scrap-buster: quick and easy!


I started working on this quilt just a few days before Halloween.  The kit (from Fig Tree & Co.) had been kicking around in my stash for several years and was calling out to get made.  It's based on Joanna Figueroa's Navajo Stars pattern, but uses orange, black, and tan fabrics for a Halloween theme.  



The whole palette has less contrast and color than my usual, but it's good to try new things.  The background fabric is cream with light brown dots.  It doesn't show up well in the photos, but it's a really lovely fabric and I wish I had more of it!

The example from the pattern instructions (here) was heavily quilted, which really adds interest to the quilt.  Something to contemplate for 2022.


Once the Navajo Stars were off the design wall,  I pulled out the Sugar Loaf blocks that were a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project in 2021.  The pattern calls for five additional blocks, which will be cut in half.  A half block is to be placed in each of the open areas at the top or bottom of the rows.  I'm still not happy about cutting the blocks in half, but I haven't come up with any better design options. 

I'll be away with my Florida family for a few days, but maybe I can finish the blocks before the end of the year.

Warm holiday wishes to all - whatever holiday you may celebrate!



Thursday, December 9, 2021

Gifty Mode Continues

I'm still in gift making mode, although I'm trying to wrap things up and get back to some quilts that need my attention!

Last night was my small quilt guild's Christmas party.  We met at a local restaurant and had a fun time celebrating the fact we could gather together to enjoy food and quilting fellowship.  Everyone brought a sewing/quilting related gift to share and we went through a series of silly swaps before everyone could open their gift.


I had recently seen a YouTube video about this stitching kit and wanted to try making one.  I decided this would make a great gift for the guild swap.  My version is based on the Simple Sewing Kit video by Sherri McConnell.

Sherri's Simple Sewing Kit is based on the Goody Goody Binding Kit by Vanessa Goertzen.  Sherri liked the kit but wanted to make it slightly larger.  Her version is a couple of inches taller.



I even had some Vanessa Goertzen fabric marinating in my stash (Farmer's Daughter from 2017).  

Everything went together pretty smoothly, and I was happy with the result.  There's still plenty of Vanessa's fabric left over, so I plan to make a kit for myself and another for a friend.


Vanessa designed the kit to hold quilt binding necessities.  She used the pocket on the right side to hold candy bars - hence the name "Goody Goody Binding Kit"!

Sherri McConnell asked for Vanessa's permission to enlarge the kit, as she wanted to use it for toting around paper piecing projects.  Either way - it's a cute project and makes a great gift!


When last we spoke I was about to take off for Thanksgiving adventures...

Our boys both have to work through Christmas this year, so we decided to get together as a family for Thanksgiving.  We all met up in Dallas, where younger son David had to work on Thanksgiving day.  Our Thanksgiving meal was a tailgating party prior to a Dallas Cowboys football game.  Nothing like new traditions!

David's friends Megan and Kelsey loved their Dallas Cowboys pillows!  Kelsey tried to convince me I should sell similar items on Etsy.  Hahahaha - NO!


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Still Feelin' Gifty

 In my last post, I shared some projects inspired by the upcoming gift-giving season.  I'm still in gift-making mode, but taking a short break for American Thanksgiving.  I've finished a few projects, but I'm still contemplating others.

I used an AccuQuilt die to cut the bear and moose appliques for these pillows.  I ironed Soft-Fuse to the fabrics before cutting the shapes, then fused them to the background fabric.  The raw edges are finished with machine blanket stitching.  I need to insert the pillow form into the black one and stitch the opening closed. 

I finished up three Merry & Bright Cushion Cover pillows to gift to some football-loving friends.

I admit, I got a little burned out on the hand embroidery, but I'm really pleased with the results!

Something new for me:  I used (pre-washed) cotton flannel in the quilt sandwich on these.  The pattern instructions call for embroidering through the batting, and the flannel worked great for that.  After completing the embroidery, I added white cotton fabric backing to the pillow top and did straight line machine quilting across the rows. 

I tried to use up the special fabrics I had ordered, so each pillow has a different back.
The Dallas Cowboys licensed fabric did not work for the scrappy squares on the pillow covers - the designs were too large.  Plus, the fabric was not a nice quality quilting fabric - more like a broadcloth.  It softened up after washing, but still, not something I'd want to put in a quilt.

That being said, I still had scraps to use up.  I got one zipper pouch made, but ran out of time before my self-imposed Thanksgiving break deadline.  I think this one needs to be fancied up a little with a dressy zipper pull.  (Sotak Handmade Essential Pouch - Large)
I also attempted a scrappy placemat idea.  This is resting on top of a piece of flannel, ready to be quilted after Thanksgiving.
I'm off on some Thanksgiving adventures, so I'll see you on the flip side.
For all who celebrate Thanksgiving, may you make lots of great new memories this year!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Gifty Inspiration Strikes

 I never seem to plan ahead when it comes to making gifty items - I just wait until inspiration strikes.

We are planning to see friends and family during the holiday season, and I'm happy to say that inspiration has struck!

I'm not sure all the items I've been stitching up will become gifts, but I'm sure they will eventually find new homes.  My quilt guild will have a "boutique" table at our show in April 2022, so some of the gifty goodies may wind up there.

I recently came across a couple pieces of this chocolate candy print in my stash - yummy scraps I was saving from a chocolate-themed quilt.  I decided they would work great as the focus fabric for a zipper bag or two.  I had all the necessary materials on hand, so it was easy to put my inspiration to work.
Two finished zipper bags!  The pattern is Svetlana Sotak's Essential Pouch.  The pattern includes measurements for different size bags, as well clear instructions with lots of pictures.  Fun and easy to make!
While I was making bags, I decided to try my hand at making a vinyl crossbody bag.  We will be attending a football game during the holidays, and American football stadiums require see-through handbags.  I made a see-through tote bag several years ago for this reason, but after using it, I thought a bag that was wearable at all times might be a better idea.
My inspiration was to make a zipper pouch with a shoulder strap.  The shoulder strap (currently inside the bag) is waiting for a slider buckle from Etsy.  Once I have the slider, the shoulder strap will be adjustable.
My next inspiration was to try this Moda pattern - Stripes and Three Stars Pillow - with Christmas fabrics.

This is the finished pillow top.  I'm not loving it. Maybe quilting will change my mind?  The pattern fits a 14" x 20" pillow form, which will have to be ordered through Amazon.  This is not a high priority for finishing right now.  On the other hand, I think a smaller version (with 4" stars) might just work.

Another pillow inspiration called to me, so I'm working on three versions of the Merry & Bright Cushion Cover by Amy Sinibaldi.

I made a school-themed version of the pillow for my youngest son last year, so I knew it was a quick and fun project. 

I've got the first pillow cover pieced and ready for embroidery.  All three of the pillows will be gifted to friends who are fans of the Dallas Cowboys football team.  The fabrics reflect the team colors and each embroidered message will reflect the recipient's favorite team cheer or saying.  

It's been good to have so much inspiration - now to have some timely finishes!


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Still Not a Mini

 Every month, Wendy at The Constant Quilter encourages quilters to make mini quilts.  I always have good intentions to make small quilts, especially using my reproduction fabric stash.  But, good intentions don't always equal finished projects - no surprise to anyone who makes quilts!

I did however, dig out an unfinished table runner and finish it up this month.

The appliqu├ęd sunflower blocks started as a practice project.  I made two blocks and set them aside to be used as pillows or something.  Last fall I rediscovered the blocks and decided to make a table runner using some ancient sunflower fabric I also rediscovered in the stash. 

I found enough matching fabric to make a third sunflower block, then added some orange Grunge and yellow batik sashing and cornerstones before finishing with a border of the sunflower print.

That sunflower print has been marinating in my stash a good long time.  There's no date on the selvedge, but the fabric was made by Cranston VIP Print Works.  I believe the company stopped using that name when they ceased printing fabric in the US in 2009.  I think this fabric is even older, probably from the mid to late 1990s. 

I had prepped the top for quilting last fall, but stalled out because I didn't have the right color threads for quilting it.  I pulled out the project last week, added some simple quilting and bound the whole thing with the sunflower fabric.  

Here's the finished runner, actually on a table.  I gave it a quick trip through the washer and dryer, so now it has that lovely crinkly look.

It's nice to have a UFO crossed off the list!


Friday, October 29, 2021

Life in the Scrap Pile

 Time spent with scraps is never wasted!

I added four more Easy Breezy blocks to my stack, bringing the total to 90.  I've been making these since last year, so I think it's probably time to start assembling them.
Framed squares are a new block project.  My 3.5 inch strip bin is over-flowing, so it was easy to pull some scraps and start making these.
These two fabrics had been tossed back in a drawer and were adjacent to each other - they looked like a good possibility for an Antique Tile block.  I'm not sure I love it now that it's made, but scraps are all about playing with new ideas!

On the other hand, I'm very happy with how this lime green Sugar Loaf block turned out!   The center seam is not sewn up, but I'll finish that in a minute.  
I still need five more blocks to complete the Flashes of Brilliance pattern as written.  I'm dreading the final quilt assembly on this one, as the directions call for cutting five of the blocks in half!  And not in half along the final seam line, but through the half-way point of the hexagon shape.  Yikes!
Remember earlier I mentioned my 3.5 inch strip bin was overflowing?  When I read about the Two and Four Quilt-Along on Wendy's blog, (The Constant Quilter) I thought it would be a great way to thin out more scraps.  I got off to a late start, so didn't really participate with the QAL as it was happening, but it hasn't taken long to work through the steps of the project.
The Two and Four quilt uses 3.5 inch squares and 3.5 x 6.5 inch strips to create columns of Rail Fence and Four Patch blocks.  The instructions are provided by Katy Quilts - the QAL starts here, but you can get a list of all the related posts by looking down the Archives of her blog for Two and Four QAL.
My next step is to assemble the Four Patches into columns, then sew all the columns together.  I can't say that I made all that big a dent in the strip bin, but I'm happy to have a fun and easy way to use up scraps!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Flying Mimosas?

 About a month ago, I shared a picture of some blocks for an HST Flying Geese quilt I was working on.

The quilt was inspired by a Triple Play video from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Jenny Doan called her quilt "Every Which Way But Goose" - which I guess was a reference to a Clint Eastwood movie from 1978.  I'm old enough to remember the movie, but I had to look up the date!

As I worked on the quilt, I tried to come up with a different name.  The quilt will eventually be gifted, and I thought it should have a more original name.  

Since the fabric line is called Mimosa and the quilt is made of Flying Geese blocks, the name "Flying Mimosas" popped in my head.  That's been my working name for the quilt, but I don't think it will be the final choice. 

As I was listening to WWOZ, our local community access radio station, I did hear what might be the perfect name for just about any quilt.  It's an old chestnut of a song (first recorded in 1931), but it has fun lyrics and a great sentiment:  "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (and Dream Your Troubles Away).

Since this is a Crescent City blog, I'll leave you with a link to a version of the song by native son, Louis Armstrong!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Never-Ending Scraps

 The Rainbow Scrap Challenge trick or treats into October with a call to use lime green scraps.

I have already been digging through some lime green scraps for my flamingo fabric string piecing project, so it didn't take long to make some scrappy lime green blocks.

The top Antique Tile block contains some Tula Pink scraps I'm trying to use up.  The lime green is a bit different, but I went with it anyway.

The second block was inspired by some Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass fabric.  

I think I have some more Antique Tile blocks up my sleeve - the month isn't over yet!

When you have leftover flamingo fabrics, of course you try to incorporate them into as many scrap quilts as possible!

In fact, all of these fabrics are leftover from the Flamboyant Flamingos quilt. 
I've cut and prepped the strips for another Sugar Loaf block.  The strip sections are sub-cut at a 60 degree angle into 2-inch wide strips.  The strips all get background (white) triangles added to the outside edge, then all the pieces are assembled into the familiar star shape.  This process is best done when one is rested and energized for careful piecing!