New Orleans House Project

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Big Batch of Blue

I'm pretending it's late on Saturday evening as I write this post.  I was just too tired to actually write it last night, so I'm playing catch-up this morning.  All in all, it was a good week for the scraps, that is!

I indulged in more creative playtime this week, and came away with a smaller wonky star block.  The four patch center works great for using up additional scraps, but allows for a down-sized block.
Size comparison:  the bottom block was made with 3" squares to accommodate a crumb-pieced center.  I found the finished 9" block to be too large, so I scaled down to 2" squares for a 6" finished block.  I've got another idea for crumb blocks, so all the crumbs will still get used - eventually!

More creative playtime!  Angela posted the instructions for a 54-40 or Fight block for the Rainbow Scrap Sampler.  The instructions call for using the Tri-Recs ruler, a tool I owned, but had never used.  That ruler is now one of my favorites, and I can't wait to try some more blocks constructed in this manner.
Another of this week's Rainbow Sampler blocks.  I changed the orientation of the fabrics to feature the blue & white print that looks like transferware plates.
Another RSC Sampler block:  Happy Squares.  Indeed!

Blue sampler blocks to date.  It's been fun keeping up with these blocks - most of them seldom take more than an hour to complete, so it's not difficult to finish one in the evening before end of the day fatigue really sets in!

Here is the reason I didn't get my RSC post written on Saturday.  I was determined to finish piecing my first Carpenter's Wheel block - my challenge to myself for this year's RSC.  This version of Carpenter's Wheel uses diamonds and machine piecing.  The finished block is 18 inches.  The drawback is the diamonds are pieced one seam at a time, essentially using the machine in the same manner as hand-piecing.  Slightly faster than hand-piecing, but tedious!  I'm sure if I kept playing with the process, I'd come up with ways to speed things up, but I don't think I'm going to keep playing with this process.

My plan for this week is to try making the CW block using HSTs.  There are lots of instructions to be found online; Quilter's Cache has a good example.  

I enjoy hand-piecing a great deal, but I don't really want to hand-piece 12 of these blocks.  Maybe I'll make just one giant block, but probably not as part of the RSC.

Anyway, there's no lack of inspiration when it comes to fabric and quilt blocks.  I'm going to go link up with the other Rainbow Scrap Challenge stitchers at SoScrappy, so do check out their inspiration as well!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wrangling the Blues

It's Saturday, and that means it's time to talk about Rainbow Scrap progress!
Angela posted two blocks this week for the Rainbow Sampler:  Tic Tac Toe (left) and Monkey Wrench.  Or Churn Dash, the name I usually associate with this block.  Churn Dash is one of my favorite quilt blocks; I could easily get carried away and decide to make an entire Churn Dash rainbow quilt!  I must resist....I must resist...
I have a huge collection of 2" square scraps, so it was a no-brainer to make a 16 patch block.  The 16 patch is a great scrap-buster and building block for a variety of quilts, so I'll keep adding these in all the rainbow colors.
I was inspired to try my first wonky star this week.  There are lots of names for this technique: Liberated Stars (Gwen Marston) or Maverick Starts (Bonnie Hunter), and just as many tutorials.  My star has a crumb-pieced center and I used triangle shaped scraps for the star points.  Everything in this block came from the crumb jar or scrap bin, so I'm a happy camper.  
This will finish as a 9 inch block.  I think I'd be happier with a slightly smaller size block, but I thought the crumb center needed to be at least 3 inches to avoid too many seams and teeny-tiny pieces.  Maybe my next attempt will have a 4 patch center instead of crumbs.
Last but not least, I have been working on marking the sewing lines for the Carpenter's Wheel block.  Even though the pieces for the block are rotary cut, it's necessary to mark the intersecting seam lines to assist in sewing the dreaded "Y" seams.  I want to try to have the block all pieced by next Saturday; then I'll have a better idea of how the whole process will work.

There's lots more blue scrappy goodness to be seen at today's Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up, so I hope you'll check out the inspiration there!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Little Late....But Finished!

I pulled out this quilt top at the beginning of October, with the goal to get it quilted and bound by Halloween.  Hahaha!
The top started as a creative playtime exercise in using the 4 patch posie technique.  The fabrics were scraps leftover from a baby quilt I made for my niece.  My kaleidoscope blocks were a little limited due to the scraps I had available, and the small repeat design of the fabric.  Still, I had fun with the process!
I finally finished stitching the binding down last week.  Now it will be ready for next Halloween!
I wanted the quilting to reflect the zig-zag pattern of the orange background fabric.  Straight line quilting with my walking foot - nothing fancy.
Quilted diamonds in the borders.
Kinda hard to see, but there are concentric stars inside the blocks.
One of my favorite blocks.

I think I've done enough with the 4 patch posie idea (how about some 4 patch parrots?), now I need to tackle a different kaleidoscope shape!

Monday, January 13, 2014


You know those days where you just can't seem to stay focused on one project?  I call it creative distraction.  Or maybe it's just Creative Attention Deficit Disorder!

I started yesterday morning catching up on some blog reading, and was inspired by Amy's Maverick Stars and Angela's comment/suggestion to make the star centers from crumbs.  The little lightbulb in my head started flashin'!  
Off to the sewing room to start some blue crumbs.  

It didn't take me long to feel guilty, though, because I knew I should be working on these lovely circles: 
This is an interesting technique for flower petals.  I need to stitch 27 circles using the green dot fabric.  The circles are then cut in half and turned right side out to make 54 petals.
The petals are the next border on this Mary Engelbreit wallhanging; they'll be stitched on similar to prairie points.  This will be a gift for a dear friend who loves Mary Engelbreit.  I really need to get 'er done - this kit has been hanging around since 2007!

These little distractions have been sitting on the cutting table all week.  I found them hiding in a drawer, and remembered Bonnie Hunter had posted instructions for a spool pin doily.  My brain was saying, "perfect Slow Sunday Stitching project - if only you can find the right size crochet hook - I know there's one around here somewhere!"

And then there were further distractions, although they weren't all that creative:  laundry, groceries, making dinner.  Sunday is family dinner night - our oldest son usually comes for dinner - so that was another distraction.  After dinner we watched "Sherlock" via Netflix using my new Chromecast gadget.  Good distractions, but no sewing or crocheting was accomplished.

Some days you just have to roll with the distractions and take your creative satisfaction where 'ye may!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler: Off & Running

This year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge has a new feature:  sampler blocks!  Angela, the challenge hostess, has been preparing a series of 6" (finished) sampler blocks to be completed in the monthly rainbow shades.  So far, they haven't been difficult blocks to complete and are a great way to use up a variety of scraps.  I'm a happy camper that I've been able to keep up with this week's blocks!  

Many thanks to Angela for taking the time to put the sampler block instructions together!

Now to head for my quilting chair with my laptop to look at all the other Rainbow Scrap link-ups from today.  I'll be multi-tasking, since the NFL football playoffs will also be on television and I MUST root for my home team!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Pinspiration": Vinyl Zipper Bags

I've written before about my Pinterest-inspired craft projects.  There's lots of crafty inspiration to be found there - probably more than I'll ever be able to attempt in my lifetime!

Pinspiration struck again when I was visiting my family over the holidays, and I noticed my sister stashed all her cosmetics in generic plastic zipper bags.  She said she didn't see the point in spending money on fancy bags to carry cosmetics, when plastic bags worked just as well.  I thought I could at least make her some custom vinyl zippered bags - and I already had a tutorial pinned to a Pinterest board!

I made a practice bag first to test everything out.  I followed the instructions as written in the tutorial, but added gussets to the bottom of the bag for a little more versatility.  The vinyl came from my local Hancock Fabrics store - I went with a fairly thick vinyl for durability.  The vinyl was about 60" wide, and I bought at least a yard - I'll have enough vinyl to make bags for a long time!

I thought my sister would get a kick out of having custom zipper bags with fabric from her alma mater, so out came the University of Florida scraps.  I used matching regular sewing weight thread for all the seams.  This used a 7" zipper and finished at about 7x6".

This one also has a 7" zipper, but is taller and has deeper gussets.

Some tips for sewing with vinyl:  increase your stitch length up a click or two (sew a test seam to see what stitch length works best).  I used a #14 leather needle, which punched through the vinyl nicely.  If you have a walking foot - use it!  Also, it really helps to put a piece of scotch tape on the bottom of your presser foot.  The tape helps the vinyl feed over the feed dogs more easily.  Above all, don't hurry!  The vinyl is sticky and wants to adhere to itself, so just work slowly and deliberately to avoid problems.  Using tissue paper in between the pieces of vinyl might be helpful, but I didn't want to pick pieces of paper out of my seams!

A handy travel set for my sister!
I need to get some more zippers - I've got plenty of vinyl and plenty of fabric scraps - I can see using these for all kinds of storage!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Feelin' Scrappy: Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014

Happy Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014 Saturday!   The RSC is sponsored by Angela of Soscrappy; every Saturday she hosts a link-up for challenge participants to share their projects.  It's a fun challenge that leads to all kinds of creative inspiration and new blogging friendships!  This year, Angela has added two new elements for participants:  a scrappy quilt block sampler and a monthly give-away of hand-dyed fabrics from Vicki Welsh.  Check out today's Soscrappy blog for more information and lots of inspiring scrappy quilting!

In addition to general tidying in my sewing room, I've been doing lots of prep work for scrappy quilt projects I hope to complete this year.  It was a happy coincidence Angela chose blue as this month's RSC color, as I had already planned to make a big dent in my blue scraps (and yardage) with a new leader-ender project.
I'll be making uneven 9 patch blocks and sawtooth stars in an attempt to use up some of my vast hoard stash of blue fabric.  
I recycled some bakery containers to hold the various components of each block.  I'll park these next to the sewing machine and use the components as a leader-ender project.

Since my earliest days as a quilter, I've wanted to make a Carpenter's Wheel quilt.  I decided it was time to tackle that item on my quilting bucket list, and use the RSC as a means to keep me focused.  I figure I should be able to complete one block per month, right?!  I'm using the instructions found at Bloomin' Workshop.  The diamonds are all cut, so now I just need to cut the background fabric (white) and start sewing.  The blocks will finish at 19 inches, so I should have a nice size rainbow quilt at the end of the year.

I also thought I would do some type of 9 patch or 16 patch rainbow blocks again this year, as they are such great building blocks for scrappy quilts.  Then Angela announced she would be sharing tutorials for 6 inch scrappy blocks as part of this year's RSC, and I knew I would have to join in.  I'm looking forward to her block surprises throughout the year - I'm thinking most of the blocks will be fairly quick to complete and therefore instant gratification!

Now I'm off to do a little more sewing before being pulled into NFL football playoff games!