New Orleans House Project

Friday, July 30, 2021

The July Report

 We are well and truly into the dog days of summer!  

That means not only is the weather hot and steamy, but it's also Doggie Daycare time!
This year it's just our son David's dog, Jozy (rear).  He's from the same litter as our dog, McKenzie, so it's a family reunion of sorts.  David has a month-long job assignment in California every summer, so he brings Jozy to stay with us.

I missed David's visit/Jozy's arrival, as I was in Florida with my mom.  She wound up in the hospital over July 4th weekend with a nasty case of bronchitis (thank goodness, not Covid!).  I stayed with her after the hospitalization to make sure she was following doctor's orders and to get her to all her follow-up appointments.  

Of course I packed some stitching projects to work on, but I got distracted by Mom's library.  
She has saved copies of lots of the good ol' books we both enjoyed back in the day.  I got caught up in re-reading some favorites.  Indeed, I've embarked on a bit of a Georgette Heyer binge.  Yay for summertime reading!

Before I left for Florida, I had started playing with an idea for a July mini quilt.  I guess this will become an August mini quilt!

This Rainbow Scrap Challenge project got finished up during July.  Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads did the quilting and I hand-stitched the binding, label, and hanging sleeve.  It's been shipped off to it's intended recipient with the less-than-original name "Scraphappy Stars". 

Another July finish: I love how the fan quilting (again, Butterfly Threads Quilting) looks in this quilt!  I made this quilt top several years ago and never proceeded to the quilting stage.  In February, a visiting friend fell in love with the un-quilted top, so I finished the quilt and gave it to her.  I'm glad the quilt found a happy home!

I was also able to finish a Sugar Loaf block for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color:  dark blue.  I already have two blue blocks in light blues and bright blues, so I figured one more blue block was plenty.  

And since the Sugar Loaf blocks make scraps in just the right sizes, I made two Easy Breezy blocks.  

And now I'm off to watch the dogs frolic in their wading pool!  Stay cool, stay hydrated, stay safe, and have a fun August!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Flamboyant Flamingos

 The flamingo hexagon quilt is finally finished!

It currently has pride of place on the quilt hanger in my dining room.  I think I need a life-size wire flamingo sculpture to go with it - right?!

I was originally inspired by Barb Vedder's Hex Vex quilt.
At the time, Barb sold a pattern that included instructions and starter paper pieces for the different shapes needed for the quilt.  

As much as I loved Barb's Halloween theme, I already had a stash of fabrics that I thought would make a great interpretation: flamingos!  I pieced my first blocks in April of 2017.

Barb's Hex Vex description mentioned being inspired by Kim McLean's hexagon quilt from Quilter's Newletter Magazine, March 2005.  As luck would have it, I still had a copy of that very issue.  I immediately made a copy of the cover and consulted it repeatedly for inspiration.

It took several years to accumulate enough pieced hexies for a quilt.  The finished quilt has over 100 pieced blocks, as well as plain blocks.  It measures 60 inches by 52 inches.

I had a blast fussy-cutting all the different print fabrics I picked for the quilt!  I cut several "viewing windows" from card stock to help me visualize how different motifs would look as part of a block.  Later, I bought acrylic templates from Paper Pieces so I could cut block pieces using my 18 mm rotary cutter.

After experimenting with different fabric prep methods, I settled on using pre-cut card stock shapes from Paper Pieces.  The purchased shapes were much more accurate than shapes I could make on my own.  I also used a fabric glue stick to attach the fabric to the card stock shapes.

Once the quilt top was assembled, I sent it to Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads for quilting.  
The simple swirl design of the quilting was a good compliment to all the movement in the quilt top!

I had a big piece of flamingo fabric that didn't make it into the quilt top, but looked great on the back.  The yellow stripe in the sleeve matched the yellow in the flamingo print, so that was an easy choice.

And what does one call a group of flamingos?  
A flamboyance, of course!

Many thanks to Barb for the inspiration and Diane for the quilting!
I think I will be entering Flamboyant Flamingos in my local quilt show next year!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Cassandra's Tale

 Apologies if you came here looking for a June mini quilt.  I attempted two different mini quilts this month and flamed out on both of them.  I think maybe the UFOs in my sewing room were making too much noise!

Instead, I can report I have finished assembling the flimsy for Cassandra's Circle - Barbara Brackman's appliqué BOM from 2020.

The BOM started in January with Washington's Plume as a center medallion block.

I managed to keep up with the monthly blocks using a combination of hand appliqué and invisible stitch machine appliqué.
Here are the completed blocks, trimmed and ready for assembly.  The blocks measure 18 inches, so the quilt was already pretty good-sized.

The quilt pattern came with instructions for an appliquéd border treatment.  I swear I purchased enough fabric to make the borders, but when it came time for cutting the fabric I realized I didn't have enough.

Decisions, decisions.  Do I hunt down more background fabric and proceed with the borders or add plain borders and call it a day?  Que background noise from the host of UFOs in the room...

Answer is:  add simple sashing and borders.  
Press carefully and start thinking about how to quilt.  
Now measuring 84 inches by 84 inches, it's going to have lots of quilty memories when it's finally complete!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Purple Flashes of Brilliance

 I did a little playing with purple scraps this month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  My initial thought when I looked through my purple scrap/yardage drawer was that it was time to make a mostly purple scrap quilt.  There are lots of chunks of purple fabric just waiting to get used up.  Unfortunately, the thought didn't evolve into a plan, so no purple scrap quilt has gotten started.  

On the other hand, I did manage to make two Sugar Loaf blocks using purple scrap chunks.

One lavender Sugar Loaf block.

And one darker purple block. 

The Flashes of Brilliance quilt calls for 25 blocks.  I've completed 12 so far, using the RSC monthly colors.  

The scraps from cutting the Sugar Loaf blocks are great for making Easy Breezy blocks.  

While I had purple on the brain, I remembered a quilt kit I had purchased from the Quilted Owl (alas, now closed) several years ago.  
Photo courtesy of the Quilted Owl.

The quilt pattern, Pyramid, is from the book Traditional Fat Quarter Quilts by Monique Dillard.
The fabrics are from a collection called New Orleans 1850 by Newcastle Fabrics.

I got all the quilt parts and pieces cut out this week.  So I guess instead of making a purple scrap quilt, I'll be making a purple-by-design quilt.  I love the color purple, so I'm a happy camper either way!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Summer's Here

Summer has descended on New Orleans in classic fashion:  daytime high temperatures in the mid-90s with corresponding high humidity.  Cooling afternoon thunderstorms that may or may not reach your neighborhood.  Tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tomato season (see previous post) comes to an end when the weather gets too hot for the tomato plants to flourish.  Unfortunately for us, this year's tomato season has been a bust - and I haven't had a single tomato sandwich!

In less than 24 hours, Tomato Hornworms devoured the tomato plants we grow in pots here in town.  I had never heard of these guys until I spied them on the tomato plant remains and Googled them.  Not only did they eat the best tomatoes we had going, but they stripped the plants of all leaves, too.  Dear Hubby was so upset, he picked off every one of them and took great pleasure in squishing them underfoot!

A few days later, I found these guys eating my parsley - again, stripping the plants down to the nubs!  Turns out, these are Parsley Worms or Caterpillars.  They eventually turn into Swallowtail Butterflies, but I didn't want to see all my parsley destroyed just to meet their needs (there were about a half dozen of them).  Into a tin of soapy water they went.  I still have a little parsley left - hopefully it will grow back.

We also grow tomatoes at our camp in Mississippi.  Unfortunately, the mockingbirds made a fine feast of most of the tomatoes there!  

Even the Creole tomatoes from the Farmer's Market weren't all that good this year - too mushy and not much flavor.  Sigh.

Fortunately, there is always plenty of quilty stuff around the house to keep me happy.  A UFO had been calling out to me, so I pulled out the parts and pieces and proceeded to play.

I started making four inch Sawtooth Star blocks back in 2015 as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  After a year or so of making the blocks, I had a good-sized stash and a plan to use them in a medallion-style quilt with an appliqué center.  It took a few more years (!) to come up with a plan for the appliqué block, but I finally had my plan ready.

Fabric selection was fun...and messy!

Here's the final arrangement pinned in place.  The block is from the book Friendship's Garden, by Alma Allen and Cherie Ralston.

Now everything is all stitched up and I'm contemplating the next step.  I used machine appliqué for the center block.  The quilt measures 44 inches square at this point.  The quilt is telling me another border (maybe two?) is needed, but it's not saying what that border should be.  Back to playing with fabrics and scraps, I guess!


Sunday, May 30, 2021

May Mini: It's Tomato Season!

 This month's mini quilt was inspired by two of Barb Vedder's (Fun with Barb) recent mini quilts:  Quarantini and Eggsotica.  Both feature the use of simple shapes as a fun way to play with design, color, and quilting technique.

After reading Barb's Eggsotica blog post, I got to musing about what simple shape would be meaningful to me in a similar mini quilt experiment.  Since tomato season was just getting started here in South Louisiana, tomatoes seemed like a fun idea for experimentation.

New Orleanians love their Creole Tomatoes.  Creole doesn't refer to a tomato breed, but instead is a reference to where the tomatoes are grown.  The rich, alluvial soil of the lower Mississippi delta produces richly flavored, juicy tomatoes.  

After playing with tomato shapes for awhile, I realized my tomatoes wanted to tell a story.  Specifically, a tomato sandwich story.  

I didn't learn to appreciate tomato sandwiches until I was a young adult.  A friend from Alabama introduced me to them one summer day, and I became an instant fan.  A traditional tomato sandwich is nothing but juicy, ripe tomato slices, soft white bread, mayonnaise, and a little salt and pepper seasoning.   Like everything, there are lots of variations, but that's the original recipe.

By now my mini quilt experiment had strayed a bit from the original simple shapes, but I was off and running.  Raw-edge appliqué was the best choice for all the shapes I wanted to use.  The appliqué edges were zig-zag stitched with invisible thread.  I even added a bit of machine embroidery to my mayonnaise jar, because a tomato sandwich really needs to "bring out the best"!  😃

I had wanted to experiment with Barb's matchstick-style quilting, but after trying it on some practice blocks, it just didn't do anything for the quilt.  I wound up doing outline quilting around the blocks and the appliqué shapes, using Aurifil 28wt thread.  The finished quilt measures 14 inches x 14 inches.

I had a perfect piece of backing fabric in the stash, an ode to tomatoes by Hoodie Crescent.

And a perfect location for a label!

Many thanks to Barb for the inspiration and to Wendy (The Constant Quilter) for encouraging monthly mini playtime!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Rainbow Scrappy Red

  I have not been doing much new Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing this year.  I have been trying to make at least two Sugar Loaf blocks (aka Flashes of Brilliance/APQ October 2915) each month using the RSC colors.  This month's color was red, so I had fun trying to put together light and dark scrappy strips for the blocks.

I guess this selection of fabrics didn't provide high contrast, but I like the result anyway.

When I look at this block out of the corner of my eye, I'm reminded of Pizza Margherita!

And with the leftover bits, I made some Easy Breezy blocks.

Looking forward to a new color challenge for next month's blocks!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Scrappy 4 Life!

 My favorite kind of quilts are scrappy quilts - and I have a new favorite quilt to share with you!

I present my version of Tonya Ricucci's Lego quilt, which I call Scrappy 4 Life!

Scrappy is made from 1.5 inch scraps of various lengths, stitched together into rows and then blocks.  I spent many soothing hours piecing scraps together with my trusty Singer Model 15 treadle.  

I'm not sure when I started assembling these rows of scraps, but I believe it was in 2015.  There are years and years of scraps in this quilt, and every time I examine the fabrics I get a smile on my face!

Last year I decided the quilt was at a good stopping point, measuring about 70 inches x 80 inches.

I sent it off to Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting for some long-arm magic.

The quilting is gentle swirls, which softens all the lines and angles in the piecing.

The blue binding with gold stars was made years ago for some other project and then never used.  Thanks to my newfound skill at machine binding, the quilt was finished in record time!  I did do a little hand stitching to add a label  to commemorate the quilt's inspiration and construction.

This is no quilt to hang on the wall and admire.  I plan to use it heavily (and maybe even let the dog sleep on it), and enjoy all the quilting memories!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Quilt Memories

 I'm lucky to have several family quilts, although my family disagrees about who made the quilts!

My mom insists the quilts were made by her maternal grandmother, Bertha Juliana Hoffman Sommerfield.  My mom's family lived with Grandmother Sommerfield for many years during her childhood, but she doesn't remember quilting being done during those years.  Mom thinks the quilts were made later, when Grandmother Sommerfield (my great-grandmother) was living on her own.

My mom's sister insists all the quilts were made by their mother, Norma Gerke Sommerfield.  Their mom worked full time most of her life, not retiring until the early 1970s.  

As a child, I was lucky to be able to spend plenty of time with both my great-grandmother and grandmother, but I don't remember either of them sewing, quilting, or even having quilts on display.  OK, I was only two in this picture, but my Great-grandmother Sommerfield was around for many more years.  The lady on the right is another great-grandmother, Myrtle Ludeking Gerke.

All the quilts passed on to me contain mostly feed sack-type fabrics, and use the patterns and colors typical of quilts from the 1930s and 1940s.  I blogged about two of them here and here.

I've always wondered if the quilts were made from kits, as I don't think either grandmother would have had a scrap basket with so many different fabrics.

The remaining two quilts have seen heavy use. 

Yes, this Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt ~is~ that faded!

I had this quilt on my bed during my teenage years, and dragged it off to nursing school when I left home.  It was washed regularly.  Some of the fabrics are beginning to shred, and the binding is coming loose, but otherwise, the quilt is in pretty good shape.

I have always enjoyed examining all the different fabrics in the quilt!

The backing is solid pink.  The long edges of the quilt were turned in following the scallops and slip-stitched; the short edges have applied binding.  The quilt measures approximately 82 inches by 74 inches.  Hand quilted inside each hexagon.

I rescued this Dresden Plate quilt from the back of my dad's truck.  Prior to that, it had spent years on my sister's bed.  

The fabrics are quite faded, and in some cases, shredded.

Regular washing and hanging to dry in the Florida sunshine will definitely fade fabrics over time!

The quilt back is a soft blue and white print.  This one was also hand quilted.  Approximate size: 75 inches by 68 inches.

I love having these tangible memories of my grandmothers, regardless of who made the quilts!