New Orleans House Project

Saturday, May 1, 2021

April Digest

 Although I spent a large chunk of April focused on finishing the T-Shirt Quiltathon, I also managed to work on a few other projects.

During one of our recent phone calls, my mom mentioned buying paper napkins.  I realized I had never made her any cloth napkins, so I got busy and pulled some fun prints and started stitching.

Once I got started, I was on a roll and made some for my sister, too.

Dear Hubby and I (and McKenzie, our dog), took a road trip to Florida last weekend to visit family, so I was able to present each set of napkins in person.  Yay for vaccines!

While I was digging through the flamingo fabric stash to find fabric for my t-shirt quilt pillowcase, this 'mingo fabric spoke up and told me it was ready to be in the spotlight.

I used a tote bag pattern I had pinned to a Pinterest board ages ago.  The pattern is free from the All People Quilt website.  You'll have to register with APC if you want to download a printed version of the pattern.   It's a quick project - you may even be able to make it with supplies on hand.  If I were to make the bag again, I'd add some refinements like an interior pocket (or two) and a magnetic or zipper closure.  

A monthly project this year to to make Sugar Loaf blocks following the Rainbow Scrap Challenge monthly color selection.  April's challenge was to use light blue and bright blue scraps.  I went for the low volume look with this light blue block.

And switching over to bright blues, I put this block together based on the tropical fish (outer row) fabric.

Using scraps from various April projects, I put together some Easy Breezy blocks.

Last but not least, I finally got all the parts and pieces assembled for the 25-patch star quilt top.  

My original plan was to add a plain white border with a narrow strip of the turquoise fabric used for the cornerstones.  But last week, I started hearing whisperings that maybe an appliquéd vine, flower, and leaf border would look good.  I guess that will be a project for May!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

T-Shirt Quiltathon Wrap-up

 I'm doing a happy dance because I've finished the T-shirt Quiltathon!

I finished the final t-shirt quilt in mid-April, but nature and other forces prevented picture-taking until recently.  This quilt is for me, and contains lots of great memories.  I love how the quilting (thanks, Diane Knott!) softens everything - kinda like time makes our memories get hazy!

I found the perfect backing fabric in my stash.  It must have been on sale when I bought it, otherwise why would I have five yards of flamingos?

I've also been clearing out stash fabrics by making pillowcases to store each t-shirt quilt.  Yet another flamingo print got used up!

So, to recap:  I made four approximately twin-sized t-shirt quilts between December 31, 2020 and April 15, 2021.  All four quilts were quilted by Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting.  Each quilt was finished with machine-stitched binding, a label, and a storage pillowcase.  

The memories are all stitched and stored, and now my quiltathon is done!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

T-Shirt Quiltathon: Three Down, One to Go!

 The T-Shirt Quiltathon is almost complete!

To recap:  on December 31, 2020, I decided to turn four plastic bins full of t-shirts into the quilts I had procrastinated on making for years.  I opted for a simple plan of stabilized t-shirt designs (cut from the front or back of the shirt) with basic sashing, borders and cornerstones.  It didn't take long to assemble four quilts, and I used up some chunks of fabric from my stash in the process.

Dear Hubby had enough t-shirts for two quilts, so I separated them by theme.  

Thanks goodness Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting agreed to long-arm quilt my creations!  Trying to manipulate these guys on a domestic sewing machine would have been a pain.

Once the quilts were quilted, I started making LOTS of bias binding.  Using the machine binding techniques I had recently practiced, I was able to get the bindings completed in relatively short order.  

Dear Son David's quilt was so big I had to fold it over the gate for a picture.

Dear Hubby's second quilt has t-shirts that celebrate life and vacations in Florida. 

I debated labeling these quilts, since I consider them just a step above utility quilts.  Labels won out, in part because of the memories reflected in all the t-shirts.

I found the perfect size scrap of baseball fabric for my hubby's sports-themed quilt.  The gray and blue zig-zag fabric I used for the backing was also a fortuitous find in the stash.

David is a fan of puns, so I thought he would appreciate this musical name for his quilt.

I haven't finished the label for hubby's vacation quilt, but it will include this last bit of t-shirt remnant.  The backing fabric on this quilt is from Fabric Finders, a regional fabric firm that makes lots of fabrics with Louisiana themes.

There's only one t-shirt quilt left to bind and label - of course I saved mine for last.  We're in for a spate of stormy weather over the next couple of days, so I have the perfect Stay Home and Sew project!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

March Mini

 Over the years, I have accumulated a stash of mini quilt tops that for one reason or another, never got quilted and finished.  I turn to this stash when I need a practice project or just the satisfaction of a quickly finished project.

Since January, I've been working on a batch of t-shirt quilts - a project meant to empty out plastic bins full of t-shirts waiting to "some day" be turned into quilts.  

Thinking about four large t-shirt quilts in need of binding, I decided it was time to perfect my machine binding technique!

After trying out the technique with some practice machine quilting squares and left-over binding scraps, I decided it was time to try binding a "real" project.

From the stash, I chose a mini quilt top in bright spring colors.  After some quick straight-line quilting, I was ready to add the green binding.

The method I use for machine binding is the opposite of traditional binding:  the binding is stitched to the back of the quilt, then folded over and machine-stitched to the top of the quilt.  Appliqué glue is a great way to hold the binding in place prior to stitching.

I use my handy-dandy edge stitch foot to guide the line of top stitching close to the edge of the binding.  For this mini quilt, I used matching thread and a straight stitch, but this binding technique would also lend itself to decorative threads and stitches.

Here's a close-up of the finished, top-stitched binding.

Now I have a cute ~finished~ mini quilt on which to display some vintage flamingos! 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Spring Scraps

Usually, it's quilts and fabric making the loudest clamor at my house.  This month however, other projects have crowded out the quilts.

Circa 1990s kitchen

For example, we've decided to go ahead with last year's plan to update our kitchen with new cabinets.  Turns out, during the pandemic everyone decided to update their kitchen and now there's a looong wait time for supplies and contractors.  We're going to proceed, but with the understanding this project may not come to fruition quickly.  Hmm, sounds like the quilt-making process!

Louisiana Iris in bloom

Then there's gardening.  The unusual hard freeze in February damaged some of our landscaping, so there was that to deal with.  Plus, in our neck of the woods it's now time for planting veggies, so we've been busy with that as well.

Best of all - socializing!!  Good friends and former neighbors from Florida drove over for a long weekend.  We've all been vaccinated and passed the immunity waiting period, so it was a joy to have guests in our home!  Next up:  my mom just got her second vaccine, so a trip to visit her is on the horizon.

I did manage to spend some quality time working on quilts this week, and it was lovely!  I focused on catching up with some Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.

I've been trying to finish this quilt featuring bright prints in rainbow colors.  My original plan was to use random print setting squares at the intersecting sashing points.  However, after getting all the blocks pinned to the design wall I decided they needed something to pull them all together.  I found a dark teal Moda Grunge fabric in my stash that makes a great setting square.  I needed to order more of the fabric online, so while waiting I assembled all the rows.  

One of my year-long projects for 2021 is making Sugar Loaf blocks following the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color order.  Yellow was February's color. 

Yellow Sugar Loaf block #2.  The pattern for these blocks is from American Patchwork & Quilting, October 2015.

And some Easy Peasy Breezy blocks made with 2 inch scraps.

Moving on to green, the March Rainbow Scrap Challenge color.  This pattern uses strip piecing and it's been a challenge to find scrappy chunks and fat quarters to meet the fabric requirements.  Strips need to be at least 20 inches long, so that rules out lots of scrappy bits.

I was determined to use that shamrock fabric in one of the green Sugar Loaf blocks; this is what happened!

More Easy Breezy blocks.  

I'm ready for the April RSC color.  Bring it on!

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.