New Orleans House Project

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rounding Out Stars in a Time Warp

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of projects underway and make plans be inspired for the coming year.  I'd like to devote a post to projects finished in 2015, but that will have to wait until after the first of the year.  We're taking off later today for a short road trip, so I've spent my blogging time prepping projects to work on in the truck.

I do have some pictures of the last of my Stars in a Time Warp blocks.  I've wound up with 88 finished 4" blocks.  I have a plan for setting them, but may need to add a few additional blocks to make the quilt top work out properly. 

These blocks are my versions of Roller Print Clouds & Storms.  There are lots of fun varieties of this style of fabric - I just don't have many of them in my stash.  Yet.

Next, we learned about Coral & Seaweed prints.  I was happy to use some of the green fabric on the left - I think it has been in my stash for over 15 years!

The last episode of Stars in a Time Warp was for Shawl Prints, Stick Prints and Cracked Ice.  I had a great example of a shawl print (left) and some blue cracked ice.

Back in week 41, the theme was Neon Novelty fabrics.  I didn't have any at the time, but in the following weeks managed to find a small print that sort of fit the bill.

I'm happy to have all my Stars in a Time Warp blocks finished before the end of the year.  I wish I was one of those fast-working people who already had their top pieced, but I'll have to wait for 2016 to realize that plan!  

And now Dear Husband is home from the office and it's time to hit the road.  Happy New Year to all and see you on the flip side!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

RSC 15: Contemplating Finishes...or Not

I thought two of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects for 2015 would be ready for finishing by the end of the year.  However, after counting up finished blocks and contemplating quilt layouts, I'm not sure I'm happy with the number of blocks I have ready.

There are 64 of these 9 patch blocks, which finish at 6 inches.  I was planning to color block the 9 patches in groups of 4 and add white sashing between the resulting blocks.  When I did the math for the finished quilt size, I decided I would be happier with a larger quilt.  My plan is to make additional blocks in a reverse pattern - white surrounding one colored piece in the center.  I already have plenty of miscellaneous 2 1/2" squares cut thanks to Bonnie Hunter's Scrap User's System.  I can cut the appropriate sized white scraps and have everything ready to use as a leader-ender project for 2016.

These scrappy Maverick Stars are ready to be turned into a quilt top, although I'd like to do a little playing before I make a final decision on the setting.  My plan is to use a straight set (I don't care for how these look when set on point) with blank squares between each block.  Rather than just using plain fabric squares, I wanted to experiment with string-pieced squares using white and off-white fabrics.  I haven't made the playtime to do that yet, so the stars will have to wait a bit longer for their final assembly.

I never considered these string blocks (or spiderweb blocks) to be an "official" RSC project, but they are definitely scrappy and on their way to being finished!  I have 9 more blocks to stitch together and then I can start laying them all out for final assembly.  I think they'll probably need a little trimming, too, as some of them have slightly concave sides, despite careful pressing.  

So with the prospect of all that fun, scrappy sewing ahead of me - would you believe I am procrastinating?   That's because this t-shirt quilt has to be finished before I can focus on any scrappy quilting.  Chris, the quilt's recipient, finally agreed on this Kaffe Fassett print for the sashing and borders.  I had to order the fabric, but now everything is ready for me to finish cutting and sewing.  My reward will be free fabric playtime, but it's hard to just go get started!

Other Rainbow Scrap quilters are also finishing up their projects and you can see the results at Angela's Soscrappy blog.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Santa Wreath

This post is inspired by Julie at Julie's Quilts and Costumes.  Her Throwback Thursday post for today features a gorgeous Log Cabin quilt with alternate blocks featuring Santa figures.  Julie made her quilt for her husband, who has a large collection of Santa figures and memorabilia.  

As it happens, my Dear Husband also collects Santa figures.  His birthday is in December, Christmas is his favorite holiday, and somehow the collection started and grew and grew.  When I saw a quilt kit using the Santa panel in 2006, I knew I had to make the quilt for my husband.  The quilt kit was on offer at Bright Hopes Quilting - a favorite stop when I traveled across Lake Pontchartrain to visit friends.
The Santa blocks are arranged to form a wreath with a center star.  I liked the simple, but effective arrangement and I knew I could finish the piecing quickly (although not in time for Christmas that year).
The Santa panels were framed in a purple metallic print.
I sent the finished top to my friend Annie Kusilek for quilting.  The main quilting theme is snowflakes, but there are swirls and holly and stipple quilting as well.  
 Annie does all her FMQ on a treadle sewing machine.  Yes - you can do amazing FMQ using an antique or vintage machine and people-power!
I didn't really notice this until I was taking pictures at lunchtime, but the center red star is reflected again in the center gold "star".  
And now the quilt is hung on display for the Christmas season; if only the rest of my holiday decorating was so easy!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Quilty 365 - Daily Fabric Therapy Meditations

Audrey - the Pied Piper behind Quilty 365 - is sponsoring a link-up for those of us who are following her circular lead.  It's a fun opportunity to share one's circular logic and be inspired by the circular fascination of others.  Are you getting dizzy thinking about all those circles?
I started stitching circles on November 4th, and I've circled through 27 days now.  Not all of my circles are stitched, but they're prepped and ready to go.  I laid mine out using Audrey's suggested Monday through Sunday grid, but I'm not sure I see any patterns in my fabric choices.  Yet.  I have such a large toile fabric collection I considered "Toile on Tuesdays", but after looking at the fabrics, I decided most of them were not the right scale for 3" circles.  

I have general ideas for some things I want to try with my circles, but I haven't gotten a round tuit yet.  I really enjoy hand-appliqueing the circles to their respective backgrounds, but I also think using one of my hand-cranked sewing machines for the applique would be fun.

As for Daily Fabric Therapy Meditation - let's just say that there have already been many days where the act of choosing fabric and/or hand-stitching it have done wonders for my mood and general outlook on life!   I'm looking forward to this year-long journey, no matter how circular!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Circling the Log Cabins

Although I may not have lots of stitching time in December, I do have some slow stitching projects to turn to keep my hands occupied and sanity intact!

It's been over a year since my Dear Husband asked me to make him a Log Cabin quilt.  He had never asked for a quilt before, so of course I had to make it for him!  He chose the color scheme and block size; I laid everything out in the barn-raising pattern and found a backing fabric with log cabins.  My LAQ did a fantastic job adding pine cones, pine boughs, acorns and oak leaves.  Now I just need to stitch down the binding.  It may take all winter, as the quilt wound up being 90" x 90"!

When I need break from hand stitching the binding, I can work on making Quilty 365 circles.   
These two are from the last couple of days; prepped and ready to stitch. looks like I might need to tweak the blue one a little!
Sometimes I pick fabric for the color & pattern, sometimes for the subject matter.
Some circles are cut from favorite, hoarded fabrics.  And yup, I decided to vary my background color just a little. <g>
Have I mentioned I love toile fabrics?  I expect there will be lots of toile in my final quilt.
I didn't have an turkey fabrics in my stash, but I found this great Riley Blake print that seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving's block!

And now I'm off to my comfy chair for some hand stitching.  When my wrist needs a break, I'll be perusing all the other projects being lovingly hand-stitched at the Slow Sunday Stitching link-up.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

RSC 15: Aqua Sugar Bowls

Once again, I'm substituting aqua for lime as this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color. 
I'll finish up the year with 16 Sugar Bowl blocks.  These are 8" blocks and even if I set them on point, not enough for a quilt - yet.  I plan to carry them over to next year's RSC as they are a quick and easy block. 

I don't know how much sewing I'll get to do in December.  My husband and youngest son both have December birthdays, so we have lots of festive activities at this time of year.  The t-shirt quilt I'm making for a friend hasn't made any significant progress, so it's still hogging the design wall.  It's a good time to contemplate colorful plans for next year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

There's still plenty of scrappy inspiration at the Rainbow Scrap linky party - I'm going to have a nice cup of tea and go see what everyone else has been up to this week.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Quilty 365 - Fabric Mojo

I've been keeping up with my Quilty 365 circles on pretty much a daily basis.  So far, I've been keeping it simple - stitching fabric circles without piecing or other embellishment.  Some of my fabric choices reflect current events (Paris, Veteran's Day in the US and the death of New Orleans musical icon Allen Toussaint) and others are personal reflections or memories.

I was somewhat surprised to find this exercise has been a source of powerful fabric therapy.  The act of choosing fabrics from my stash, prepping the circles and hand-stitching them has improved my mood and physical well-being on more than one occasion.  I think this quilt will have some wonderful mojo when it's finished!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

RSC 15: Counting Up the Scrap Jar Stars

I've been making Scrap Jar Star blocks as part of this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I made a SJS quilt for last year's challenge using bright colors, so this year I decided to try using reproduction fabrics.  The RSC color for this month is lime green, not exactly a reproduction style color, so I substituted blue-green shades.

My design wall is still covered with t-shirt quilt blocks, so I laid all the Scrap Jar Stars on the floor.  Based on experience with last year's quilt, I knew I wanted to have a 5 x 5 block layout so the final quilt would be a decent size.
I've got 19 blocks, so I need to make 6 more blocks before I can start assembling.  I don't know if I'll have time to make the blocks during December, so I may carry the SJS blocks over to next year's RSC.

Other RSC quilters are working with lime green or otherwise finishing up their Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects and you can see all their results over at Angela's Soscrappy blog.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp: Approaching the End

In this week's Stars in a Time Warp post, Barbara Brackman mentioned there were only 3 more weeks left in the star-a-thon.  I will miss the weekly fabric history lessons, but it will be fun to get the final quilt assembled.  For those who haven't been participating in Stars in a Time Warp, you may be intrigued by BB's next stitch-along:  the Morris Hexathon.

I finally got a new SD card for my camera, so I can finish documenting my Stars in a Time Warp blocks.  These are my representatives for Chocolate Blue

Black and gray fabric dyes were not reliable until the end of the end of the 19th century.  

Again, related to improvements in fabric dyes, wine-colored reds - claret reds - became fashionable in the late 19th century. 

Another late 19th century fashion color was cadet blue

Skipping backward in time, sprigged muslins were all the rage in the early 1800s. 

And from the same time period come provincial prints

I'm still debating how I'll put all these blocks together.  I think I'll save it for the dark, dreary weeks of January and February, when all these colors and fabrics will help keep me smiling!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

RSC 15: Are the 9 Patches Done Yet?

Although the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month is lime green, I've fulfilled the lime green needs in all my scrappy projects.  Instead, I'm filling in the palette with varieties of aqua.

I've been piecing together these color-themed 9 patches for over a year.  I think there are finally enough blocks for a quilt.  I'd like to get them laid out on the design wall so I can start assembling them - but - there's a t-shirt quilt muscling everything else aside right now.

A dear friend asked me to make a t-shirt quilt for her daughter and son-in-law.  The shirts are from their college days and courtship.   Daughter Chris had very specific instructions on the quilt layout, so I have felt limited in terms of creativity.  I spent most of last weekend cutting shirts and adding stabilizer.  I still need to create a block from smaller t-shirt designs that didn't make it to the full-block size.  There's also a big stack of 5 inch size logos/designs that could be used to add two small, narrow rows on the top and bottom of the quilt.  I'm auditioning some fabrics for sashing and once I decide on the right fabric, I can get the quilt assembled and off the design wall.

Whatever the color, I'm looking forward to seeing lots of creativity over at Angela's Soscrappy linky party. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Quilty the Crescent

My blogging buddy Audrey has started a new project and I find myself unable to resist the temptation to join in.  She is making a fabric journal of sorts, picking different fabrics every day and appliqueing circles of each fabric choice.  She recommends choosing fabric each day based on mood, whim, availability of scraps - whatever!  The only "rule" is not to work ahead.

I like the idea of a small, daily project.  I know I won't be able to applique a circle every day, but I can choose the fabric and maybe do the prep work.  I know this project won't do anything to decrease my stash, but it will be fun to have an excuse to fondle fabric every day!

I made my first two blocks using back basting to prep the circles.  I found the process to be too slow for daily use, so resorted to templates and starch to prep the circles.  I found the top of a 3" Yankee Candles small tumbler candle was the perfect size template.  I could use Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles templates, but I figured they would not hold up to such intense use.  I'm going to use plain cardstock for now and see how it goes. 

I haven't stitched today's circle, but I picked this fabric to reflect my mood and because it's been in the stash since 2001 and never been cut.  It's one of those blue fabrics that just doesn't play well with others, but is still a charming fabric that needs to be used (it's more blue than the picture reflects).

Here are my other blocks to date.  My camera is still on the disabled list.  I need to get it back in operation, 'cuz the cell phone just doesn't take great pictures.  Hope to check in next week with lots more blocks!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

RSC 15: Stars in Lime & Aqua

It's a new month and a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This month's color is one I always enjoy using:  lime green.  In fact, I've already made about as many lime green blocks as I think I need for my ongoing scrappy projects.  What I do need are aqua-colored blocks, as I avoided those scraps when we focused on green and blue earlier in the year.  I've been digging in both the lime green scraps and the aqua scraps to round out the color wheel for this year's projects.

Four inch Sawtooth Stars are a fun way to use up scraps.  These will get added to my collection of RSC Sawtooth Stars, an ongoing project. 

Maverick Stars (or Liberated Stars) are another great way to use up scraps.  
Added to last year's aqua stars, I think my collection of Mavericks is ready to be assembled into a quilt.  I have some ideas for quilt layouts, so I guess I just need some play time to see what works best.   I see a finished flimsy in the stars!

I agreed to make a t-shirt quilt for a friend, so I'm off to start slicing and dicing t-shirts.  The weather forecast calls for lots of rain today, so it's another great day to stay home and play with fabric.  And when I need a break from the rotary cutter, I'll be checking out Angela's Soscrappy blog to see what the other Rainbow Scrappers are up to!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Stars In A Time Warp: What To Do With All These Blocks?

I haven't been documenting my Stars in a Time Warp progress in a timely fashion.  Picking out fabrics for the blocks each week is always fun, but I never remember to share what I've made.  I've skipped a week or two due to lack of appropriate fabrics, but the stack of star blocks still manages to keep growing.

Going back to the end of August, we learned about "newer" Turkey Red prints, which reflected changes in the dyeing processes and resulted in more affordable red fabrics.

September started out with Bronze Style prints, a fashion for new brown prints with a greenish or golden tinge rather than the earlier red tinge. 

Cretonne prints were designed as furnishing fabrics, but found their way into quilts.  Since my blocks are only 4", I had to choose prints with a smaller scale.

Blue fabrics with a touch of violet, known as Lancaster Blue, were popular in the late 19th century.  I'm not sure my blues are completely correct, but they serve the purpose.

The memory card for my camera is now telling me it's "full", so I need to go get a new memory card before I can share any more photos.  

Meanwhile, I'm contemplating how I want to set all my Stars in a Time Warp blocks.   Barbara Brackman has been sharing setting ideas with each week's fabric history.  My first idea was to set the blocks strippy style with zig-zags between the blocks instead of striped fabric.  BB calls this setting Rail Fence style (scroll to the end of the post for examples).  On the other hand, BB has presented a virtual encyclopedia of setting styles, so I don't know what I'll finally be inspired to do!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

RSC 15: Putting the Binding on Brown

Today is the final day of sharing brown scrappy inspiration for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I wanted to put the finishing touches on my little brown and orange Halloween quilt, so today I spent some time machine quilting and adding the binding.  
I might even make a big dent in hand stitching the binding as we watch the World Series in a few minutes.  Dear Husband is originally from Kansas City and is thrilled to see his hometown team in the Series again after 30 years.  

In honor of Halloween, I'll leave you with a couple of links featuring New Orleans All Hallows decorations.  The first link is to an elaborate and punny skeleton party.  The second features a myriad of spookier decorations.  Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rainy Sunday Stitching

I've missed linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching for a few weeks.  It's not that I've not been enjoying any slow stitching, it's that I haven't been doing much of it on Sundays.  Today is a perfect slow stitching day though, it's raining and the forecast is for rain for the next two or three days.  I'm about to plant myself in front of the TV and stitch to my heart's content.
First up is completing the binding on this Trip Around the World quilt.  I've been hand-stitching the binding on this baby f o r e v e r - 10 yards of binding!  I'm excited about finishing this quilt, for sure.

Once the binding is finished, I can get back to making and stitching hexies on this quilt.   It's a great go-to project for rainy Sunday stitching.

I hope everyone else has a great Slow Sunday Stitching day!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

ATA: Alternative Textile Acquisition

As we all know, quilters never have enough fabric.  There's nothing better for the spirit and the stash than a trip to the Local Quilt Store or perusing fabrics online.  Those are pretty traditional methods for stash enhancement, but I've got another method that can be just as satisfying - maybe more so!  I'm talking about Alternative Textile Acquisition - the technique of sniffing out bargains and amazing finds at garage and estate sales, thrift shops, flea markets and even antique stores.

I recently went to a local estate sale and walked away with multiple yards of fun cotton fabric.

Plaids and stripes in 100% cotton are always useful.  Several of these shirts were still in the original packaging - never worn!  And, as they're mostly size 3 Extra Large, I walked away with yards of fabric for less than $10!

I always wash my estate sale finds in hot water before adding them to the plaids and stripes shirt stash.

The same estate sale also had a large selection of 100% cotton Hawaiian shirts.  Often this style of shirt is only found in blends (usually rayon), so I was pretty excited to find cotton.  Again, several of them were in unopened packages and all were size 3 Extra Large.

I've been saving ideas for quilts using Hawaiian-themed fabrics, as well as ideas for Hawaiian shirt memory quilts, so these were a great find for my stash.  If you want to see the prints a little closer, click on the picture for a better view.

I also had a lucky run with finding some vintage calendar and tea towels when I visited my mom in Florida last week.
The flower power calendar towel in the center was just too much fun to pass up!  I can see the dogs as the center of a medallion quilt with lots of bright curved piecing and maybe some orange peels for the borders.  No specific plans for the others - I just couldn't leave them behind after finding them.  The Holly Hobbie calendar on the top right is from 1976 - the American Bicentennial.  The bottom right towel is a Waverly print.  The chicks and bird houses on the bottom left look like they could've been printed last week.  And the blueberries on the top left are full of saturated color.

I think the joy of the hunt is what makes these so special.  It's not difficult to find vintage textiles via eBay & Etsy these days, but it's a lot more fun to track them down for yourself!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

RSC 15: Variations on 2 Inch Squares

Two inch squares and strips are great building blocks for scrappy quilts.  I have a box full of 2 inch parts that I use as a starting point for all kinds of scrappy projects, including RSC quilts.  I did some digging in the 2 inch scrap box last week to start a 4-patch mini quilt.  I was able to finish that up this week with a variety of 2 inch squares and strips in orange, brown and cream fabrics.  I even found a perfect border fabric in my stash - I just need to cut the borders and attach them.

I also went digging in the brown 2 inch squares to assemble 2 Scrap Jar Star blocks.  These came from my burgeoning supply of reproduction scraps.

I'll be digging in my scrap boxes looking for more brown RSC inspiration, as the month is only half over.   In the meantime, check out Angela's Soscrappy blog for more Rainbow Scrap ideas.