New Orleans House Project

Sunday, February 18, 2018

String Star Memory Quilt Update

For the past 8 years I've been using my late father's collection of plaid and striped shirts to make memory quilts for family members.  I've managed to use up a good bit of the shirt fabric over the years, but lots of strips and strings remained.  To use up those scraps, I chose to make a version of the Spring Clean Quilt, which features stars made from strings.

Earlier this year, I finished making all the string blocks needed for the quilt - 144 blocks, to be exact.  Since my design wall was empty this week, I decided it was time to start assembling the star blocks.  The 144 individual blocks get assembled in sets of 16 to form a star.  So far I've completed 4 blocks - leaving 5 to go!

Each star block is 32 inches, making it difficult to photograph them on the design wall.  Instead, I spread them out on my dining room floor.  BTW, not every fabric in my string blocks is shirt fabric - I also used some novelty fabrics related to my dad's hobbies, etc.

Of course, once you put quilts on the floor, the dogs have to come and help out!  My golden retriever/English lab mix McKenzie was the best helper; Bailey, the black lab mix, was a little less enthusiastic about helping!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Purple Repro Crosses and an RSC Finish

I'm still focused on the color purple for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

A horrible picture (it's so hard to photograph dark purple fabrics!) of quarter-square log cabin blocks in purple reproduction fabrics.  These blocks are quick and fun to make; I already did the math for the finished quilt, so I'm looking forward to making 5 blocks in each RSC color this year.

In other news, I was finally able to get pictures of a finished RSC quilt.
The Carpenter's Wheel (some call it Carpenter's Star) block had been on my bucket list for years.  I decided to use it for a Rainbow Scrap project in 2014.  After experimenting with different methods of block construction, I settled on a plan to use HSTs for the blocks - thereby avoiding the dreaded set-in seams.  

I made eight blocks in the bright rainbow hues, and finished with a ninth, multi-color block.

As usual, my longarm quilter, Cindy Braiwick, did a fantastic job.  

I have gifted many of my RSC quilts - but I think I'll keep this one for myself!

More Rainbow Scrap inspiration can be found at the weekly RSC link-up.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Burgoyne Goes Purple

After seeing all the mistakes I had made in previous Burgoyne Surrounded blocks, I wanted to take my time with the next block and make sure I put all the parts together correctly!  I worked slowly and deliberately on this block today and managed to assemble all the parts without having to rip.  Yay!

I've been trying to incorporate at least 2 colors into my Burgoyne blocks, but the purple fabrics for this version practically jumped out of the stash at me.  I'm sure there will be other purple-themed blocks in the finished quilt, but I'm happy with this one for now.

In other news, I also made some scrappy HSTs for the border on my Windblown Wishes quilt.  Whatever doesn't get used in the border can go into the Parts Department basket.

That's the limit of my scrappy stitching today.  I'm looking forward to checking out the RSC link-up for lots of wonderful purple scrappy ideas!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Finished Flimsy: Treadle On Origami Bow-Tie Blocks

I finished machine-stitching the appliqué border on my Origami Bow-Tie blocks this week.  Once I started the machine stitching, I kind of got into a rhythm and just kept working at it until it was finished.  I don't have any solid plans for the quilting yet; I'm just happy to have the finished flimsy!

I used Soft Fuse to hold the appliqué shapes in place (fabric glue for the vines), then machine-stitched a blanket stitch edging on all the shapes.  The border design is from Fons and Porter's Quick Quilts from the Heart.  The stitching was not difficult, but I did find I needed to be careful to use good posture, remember to breathe (!) and take frequent breaks to stretch and rest my wrists and hands.

The Origami or 3-D Bow-Tie blocks were from an exchange among antique and vintage sewing machine users from the Treadle On mail list.  The exchange requirements included using reproduction quilting fabric and stitching the blocks on a pre-1900 people-powered sewing machine.  

These blocks will always have a special place in my heart because I received them during my exile from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  My son and I were living with my sister's family in Florida so my son could continue to attend high school - his school had taken on over 12 feet of water and was in no shape for classes.  My husband had gone back to New Orleans to work, because his hospital was one of the only functioning hospitals in the metro area.  I looked for a job in Florida, but although folks were sympathetic, they weren't interested in hiring a temporary employee.  I didn't have any access to Fabric Therapy, so I spent my days reading and trying not to watch television coverage about the flooding in New Orleans.  When my package of blocks arrived in the mail, it was a harbinger that life might eventually return to "normal".  Not long after that, we learned electricity had been restored to our neighborhood, my son's school had arranged for classes to be held at an alternate location and we would be able to go home!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Purple is for Mardi Gras!

This month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color is purple.  Yay!  My favorite color and perfect for February, as Mardi Gras is February 13th and New Orleans Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold!

I dug around in the 1.5 inch strip bin and found enough purple strips to make some 49-patch blocks.  I guess I could call these Trip Around the World blocks, or Postage Stamp blocks - but to me they are just humble one-patch blocks.

Inspired by a photo of a table runner on Diane Knott's Instagram feed, I pulled some green blocks and started dreaming about Mardi Gras decorations of my own.  I don't think I'll have time to make a table runner this month, but it's fun to think about!

We're at our camp this weekend.  Our hot water heater at home is dead, and the plumber can't replace it until Monday.  The weather forecast calls for clouds and rain - perfect weather for hand-stitching quilt bindings.  And at least I can take a hot shower!

Linking up with the RSC Saturday linky - lots of scrappy purple inspiration!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Blue Burgoyne and Boo-Boos

One of today's projects was to stitch up a light blue Burgoyne Surrounded block to wrap up this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge goals.  I had cut the pieces back at the beginning of the month, but got side-tracked by other projects.
I didn't realize the error of my ways until I looked at the picture just now.  The bottom right 9-patch block is upside down.  Time for the seam ripper!

Since the design wall was empty, I decided to pin up the other Burgoyne blocks so I could admire them.  More errors!  I always think I'm being so careful when I stitch these blocks together, but apparently I'm not careful enough!  Check out the beige block, the yellow/brown block, and the orange block.  I only need to make 16 more blocks - I hope I don't keep repeating this mistake!

I hope the other Rainbow Scrap Challenge participants didn't need their seam ripper this week!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018: The Year of Machine Applique?

One of my life-long quilting goals has been to become accomplished at the art of appliqué.  In my early years as a quilter, I did plenty of fused appliqué outlined with machine satin stitch, but the fusibles of 20+ years ago made for stiff and not very snuggly quilts.  I also learned the basics of hand appliqué, but never practiced much.  

Over the past 2 or 3 years, I've challenged myself to learn hand appliqué all over again.  I'm starting to feel somewhat competent at it, but there's still lots of room for improvement.  Besides perfecting the appliqué stitch, there are different techniques to learn for appliqué shape preparation, not to mention learning new ways to coordinate color and fabric styles.

Then there's the time requirement for all that hand-stitching.  I do enjoy the stitching process, but setting aside time for it is always a struggle.  With that in mind, I wondered if machine appliqué would be a way to create traditional-look appliqué in a more timely fashion.

Along came a BOM (Gathered Harvest) at my local quilt store, the Quilted Owl.  I knew a quilt from Blackbird Designs would be a good project to attempt machine appliqué due to the relatively simple appliqué shapes.  

The first block kit became available earlier this month.  I'm using freezer paper and starch to create my appliqué shapes.  So far, I'm just prepping the pieces - there are LOTS of leaves and berries still to prep!  For stitching, I'll be using invisible thread and a very small zig-zag stitch.  I've done a few practice pieces, and the look of the stitching is very much like hand appliqué!

At the same time, I'll be working on a quilt that's been in the UFO pile for far too long!
I started assembling these 3-D or Origami Bow-Tie blocks back in 2012, but they got set aside for some reason or other.  The blocks are from an exchange that happened in 2005, so they've waited long enough!

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I finally started to attach the appliqué shapes to the border!  I had prepped all the shapes in 2012, so now I just need to get everything in place and stitched.  The border is from the cover of Quick Quilts from the Heart by Liz Porter and Marianne Fons.

The shapes have been applied using SoftFuse, which is softer and more flexible than the fusibles from days gone by.  Instead of using the invisible thread technique, these shapes will be stitched using Aurifil 50 weight thread and a machine blanket stitch.  It will take some time to stitch everything, but it's still faster than hand appliqué!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Windblown Wishes Gets An RSC Update

During last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I used the monthly color challenge to make Windblown Wishes quilt blocks.  Once all the rainbow-hued blocks were done, I planned to assemble them much like Diane Knott's version in her Scrap Quilt Secrets book.  

Diane's pattern uses sashing and cornerstones to create secondary 9-patches between the blocks.  I liked the effect in Diane's quilt, but decided it just looked like random Starburst candies sprinkled on my quilt.  I think the difference is Diane's blocks contain random colors and mine are specific colors.  I tried organizing the cornerstones in a more color-specific way, but still didn't like the effect.

In the end, I opted for a traditional sashing and cornerstone layout. 

Now that I've changed direction from Diane's pattern, I plan to do my own border treatment as well.  There will be a 2-3 inch solid white border, followed by a border of RSC-themed HSTs to mimic the HSTs in the quilt blocks.  I'll probably add a final white fabric border outside the HSTs to stabilize them.  

The HSTs can be part of my monthly RSC projects.  I'll need around 15 of each rainbow color; that should be pretty easy to do using my already-cut strips and the handy-dandy Easy Angle Ruler.  

So, not much scrappy blue stitching here today, but if you check out today's RSC link-up, I'm sure you'll find plenty of inspiration!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Week of Scraps

A lot of scrappy stitching happened this week.  Not all of it was Rainbow Scrap Challenge related, but scraps got used and goals were reached.

The RSC color for January is light blue.  I pulled several 1.5 inch strips to make a 49-patch block using Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trip Around the World technique.  

I also stitched up 2 quarter log cabin blocks using repro light blue fabrics.  

Best of all, I finished stitching all the string blocks needed for my memory quilt version of the Spring Clean Quilt.  I needed to make 144 blocks for this version of a string star.  Earlier this week, I decided I was tired of the stringy mess on the sewing table and pushed myself to finish stitching the remaining blocks.  If you've ever stitched a long-term string project, you know how messy all those strings and bits can get!  As soon as I finished the blocks, I tidied up and snapped a picture of my milestone.  Now I need to assemble the blocks, but that won't come until a little later this year - there are other projects clamoring for the space on the design wall.

I haven't had a chance to look at this week's Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up yet, so I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone was stitching up this week!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Rainbow Scrap 2018 Kick-Off

So it looks like much of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge activity this year will involve pushing ongoing projects toward the finish line.  I plan to continue working on some previously started RSC blocks, but I'll also add at least one new project.

From the Wrapping Things Up Department:  assembling last year's Windblown Wishes blocks into a flimsy.  I'll be adding sashing and rainbow-hued cornerstones, followed by at least one fabric-only (not pieced) border.  The pattern can be found in Diane Knott's Scrap Quilt Secrets book.

Another ongoing RSC project will be to make more of these 49-patch blocks.  I started making them last year with random, 1.5 inch squares.  When I had used up all the squares, I started using Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trip Around the World technique for piecing the blocks - as evidenced by the pink block.  These finish at 7 inches, so I'll just keep making them until I decide I have enough for a wall hanging or small quilt.

Another carryover project from last year:  scrappy pinwheels.  The plan is to assemble the pinwheels into 9-patch blocks, with a neutral background.  I guess I'll try to assemble a few blocks each month as an RSC activity.  I haven't done any math on this project, so I may wind up needing more pinwheels...time will tell.

One more ongoing project:  scrappy selvage blocks.   I'm still not sure how I want to use these blocks, but I plan to continue working on them this year.

I plan to keep making Burgoyne Surrounded blocks in 2018, also.  I picked out these scrappy chunks for a light blue block, but haven't gotten the parts and pieces cut yet.

Last, but not least, I've added a quarter log cabin block to my Rainbow Scrap Challenge repertoire.  I only chose 2 light blue scrappy fabrics for this month; I figure I'll use lots more darker blue scraps when we get to that monthly color choice.

Wow.  Now that I've put all that in writing, it sounds like a lot of work, fabric therapy!  I think there's plenty here to keep me happily stitching for the coming year.

For more scrappy inspiration, be sure to check out the weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up page.