New Orleans House Project

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Austen Family Album: Wrapping Up The Story

I have been working on Barbara Brackman's Jane Austen-themed BOW since last April.  I had fallen behind in completing the weekly blocks (which concluded in early December), so one of my January goals was to finish the remaining blocks and at least get started on setting the blocks into a quilt top.

I chose to use a fabric line from several years ago called "Curio" by the Moda designers Basic Grey.  Most of the fabrics in the line were lovely, but there were some drawbacks to the choice.  There wasn't a lot of contrast in the fabrics, so I added several light neutral fabrics to bring some spark to the blocks.  The sampler blocks often called for a central print to be highlighted, and the fabric group only had one large floral print (in several colorways) that was suitable.  So, I wound up purchasing some traditional floral fabrics to mix in with the Curio fabrics.  Finally, the colors crossed a broad spectrum, including pink, yellow, green, brown and pumpkin.  I went ahead and used all the colors, but perhaps I should've narrowed the field a little.
The blocks are all complete, so now I'm deciding how to set them.  I have a large piece of a neutral Moda Grunge fabric that would work for sashing.  I also have a fabric in mind for an outer border, if I can still purchase enough of it.  That would be a fairly quick and painless proposition.

On the other hand, now that I have the blocks arranged on the wall, some of the darker blocks really stand out.  I'm wondering if I should split the blocks into two piles, one light and one dark.  I'd need to make two additional blocks to get a 4 x 5 setting for each separate quilt.  I could even set the blocks on point, which is what I originally wanted to do - but 36 blocks on point would make a huge quilt.  By making two quilts, I'd have one for myself and one for my English major sister!

Either way, I really enjoyed participating in this BOW.  Barbara Brackman provided a treasure trove of historical information about Jane Austen and her life and times.  I stretched out and played with fabric and color choices, which was a great experience for me.  I think I'm done with sampler quilts for awhile (this is my third one in as many years), but I'm glad I pushed myself to try new things.

I have an unexpected day off from work tomorrow, so I'm hoping to have some time to play with arranging these blocks some more.  I definitely DON'T want to put them away for awhile, since my goal for 2015 is to finish Works In Progress!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

RSC-15: Still Playing with 9 Patches and Flamingos

It's another blue Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. 
I didn't have much scrappy playtime this week, but I did make an additional batch of 9 patch blocks -  meeting my goal of 8 blocks per month.
The blocks will eventually be arranged in a pattern like this, only the colors will be random.  I can't wait to see what next month's RSC color will be so I have more blocks to play with!
I never did find a happy group of fabrics to make a "modern" quilt using the bottom flamingo fabric in this stack.  That's OK, I have lots of flamingo fabrics (this is a small sample!), so maybe a different RSC monthly color will bring about the right fabrics and inspiration.  Or, maybe I should make a Postcard Quilt featuring several different flamingo fabrics.   I think I need to keep bringing out these fabrics and keep the inspiration muse on her toes!

There's plenty more colorful inspiration over at Angela's Soscrappy blog, where all the Rainbow Scrappers are linking  up today!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

RSC-15: Cleaning Up Drywall Dust Blues

I'm so happy I got to play with my scrappy blues earlier this week, because there was no sewing time today.  I spent the day cleaning drywall dust caused by some recent repairs/renovations instead of indulging in my favorite obsession pastime.  I still have a big plateful of cleaning to do tomorrow, but I think the worst is behind me.

This week I played with the blue strings and crumbs, finding enough goodies to create two Maverick Star blocks.  They are laid out on a piece of Moda Grunge fabric I am auditioning for another project.  I love Moda Grunge - it's such a neat fabric for adding color and texture!

I do have a blue project to focus on tonight - if I can stay awake long enough to do some stitching.  This is Minick & Simpson's Paisley Parade quilt.  It has been patiently waiting for the binding to be stitched down, so I'm anticipating a nice stitching session in my new recliner!

I haven't even looked at today's Scrappy Saturday link-up, but that's on the agenda too.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hand Stitching to Stay Sane!

My house has been torn up for the past two weeks while some long-postponed repairs and remodeling were done.  We needed to update the lighting in our kitchen, which necessitated some drywall installation.  While the contractor was working with drywall, we also needed to have some repairs done in the great room where water leaking around the chimney damaged the ceiling and wall.  On top of that, the shower plumbing in our bathroom also needed repair/upgrading.  Since the bathroom was going to be torn up anyway, we pulled out the bathtub and had a walk-in shower installed, along with new cabinets and counter top. Between the drywall dust and construction noise, it's been a long two weeks!

Fortunately, I was able to use some hand stitching to help me keep my sanity. 

I started this mini eagle quilt last July, as a kick-off to the Quilt Like An Eagle Quilt Along.   I thought it would be a quick project, but it wound up taking more time than I ever expected.  This week gave me the opportunity to finish the quilting and binding.  The fabrics are all scraps from Minick & Simpson's Paisley Parade.  The Paisley Parade quilt also needs some hand-stitching love - the binding is attached and just needs to be stitched to the back - it's definitely next in the queue!

Tomorrow I have lots of cleaning to do - there's drywall dust inside my kitchen cabinets! - but tonight I think I'll relax and enjoy some more hand stitching time.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

RSC-15: Repro Blue Stars and Blue Flamingo Playtime

It's Saturday, which means scrappy playtime for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This year I wanted to try using some reproduction fabric scraps for one of my RSC projects. 
It's my old friend, Scrap Jar Stars!  This is such a great block for using up scraps, I figured I'd use it again and enjoy the challenge of using reproduction fabrics.  I found a big chunk of off-white tone on tone in my stash, so I decided to use it for the 16 patch blocks as well as the remaining background pieces (the fabric is not quite as bright as it appears in the picture).
I think I will have to do some experimenting to get good photographs of these repro blocks.  The sun is shining here, but it's too cold and windy for outdoor photography today!

Another idea that's been kicking around in my head this week is to try to use up some of my big chunks of novelty fabric using the RSC color of the month.  As I was re-organizing my fabric closet this past fall, I decided it was time to start using some of the theme fabrics I've collected over the years:  flamingos, dolls, cats, dogs, etc.  There are so many great patterns and ideas for using large print fabrics now, it wouldn't be difficult to find the right inspiration and pull additional yardage from the stash.  That's the idea, anyway. 
Just for fun, I pulled this yard of flamingo fabric with a rich blue background.  I was thinking of using a pattern similar to the Modern Teal quilt I made last year -  largish pieces of fabric with white sashing.  Some of these fabrics work well with the flamingos, but I don't have big pieces of any of the pinks and the Kaffe Fassett is not quite the right shade of green (it's much greener than it appears in the picture, but it just doesn't work that well).  I hate to go shopping for more fabric when I'm supposed to be doing this as a scrap challenge, so maybe this idea will have to go on the back burner for now.  With all the theme fabrics I have stashed, there's bound to be at least one month in the RSC when I can put them to good use!

For more scrappy blue inspiration, do check out the other RSC participants over at Angela's SoScrappy blog.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Memory Quilt #6

I have been making a series of memory quilts using my father's shirts.  When my dad passed away four years ago, I took all of his plaid and striped sport shirts with the intention of making quilts for his children (my sisters and me) and grandchildren (two grandsons & two granddaughters).  It has taken me a few years, but I've made quilts for everyone but myself.  I added the final border to quilt number six today.
The center of the quilt is a Carpenter's Wheel block with a nautical-themed antique map as the neutral fabric.  I used the same arrangement for quilt number five.
After making 4 of these HST zig-zag borders, I've got the process streamlined.  I still love zig-zag borders, I just don't think I want to make any for awhile!
Like quilt number five, this one also has a sand dollar print border, but in a darker shade of blue.  Quilts five and six are for my nieces who live at the beach, so I'm happy the quilt weaves their lives with his.
I love this picture - the girls are helping Poppy with his garden.  I think I will make a photo-transfer of this picture as part of the quilt label. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2015

It's the first Saturday of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so I wanted to start off on a good foot with a post about my first scrappy efforts this year.  The challenge color for January is blue - which is not a problem for me as I have an abundance of blue scraps.

Since my overall quilting plan for the year is to finish projects, I started out by adding some 9 patch blocks to a batch I started during last year's RSC. 
These were made from strips and squares already in my 2 1/2" scrap bin.  The blocks finish at 6" and will be joined together to make 12" blocks.  I think I'll aim for at least 100 of the smaller blocks, so that means I need to make 8 blocks per month.  It's good to have a plan!

That's all the blue scrappiness I have to offer today.  It's been kind of a quilt retreat day, but I've been focused on finishing another quilt top and doing prep work for some other projects I plan to complete this year.  I've been taking a break and checking out this Saturday's RSC Link-Up over at Angela's Soscrappy blog, but now I think I'll try to get some more work done before I get too sleepy!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: It's All About the WIPs!

Many bloggers have shared delightful quilt year retrospectives this week.  I was inspired to look back over my quilting year, and I was surprised to find I had only completed TWO quilts this year!

On the other hand, my collection of WIPs (works in progress) seems to just keep growing.  I did some cleaning and tidying in the sewing room this fall, and decided it was time to focus on finishing projects.  That's my goal for 2015 - to make a serious dent in all the projects in varying states of completion!
Both of this year's completed quilts were started as part of the 2012 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. 

I probably would have finished more quilts in 2014, but I developed a reluctance to begin that last step in quilting:  applying the binding.  Normally, I don't mind the binding process and actually enjoy hand-stitching the binding to the back of the quilt.  For some reason, I just could not get excited about binding for most of this year.  As a result, there are four quilts in the queue that need binding! 

I did manage to get a few flimsies completed this year.  There's also another plaid memory quilt - similar to the quilt top in the upper right corner - in the queue for quilting.

The biggest queue is quilt tops in various stages of piecing.  I'm embarrassed to fully enumerate all of the languishing projects, so I chose a few to really focus on for the first part of the year.  

The birds, flowers and stars are destined to be an applique border for the bowtie blocks below.  

The blue and white blocks were a year long leader-ender project of uneven 9 patches and alternate sawtooth stars.  All the blocks are finished now and need assembling.

Rounding out the projects are two samplers from 2014.  The Rainbow Scrap Sampler was offered by Angela at Soscrappy.  I've been participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for a couple of years, so doing the sampler was a fun project to share with online scrap-loving friends.  I also participated in Barbara Brackman's Austen Family Album, a sampler that focused on author Jane Austen and her friends and relations.  I need to finish another half dozen or so blocks for this project before it will be ready for assembly.
There's still at least one more memory quilt to make.  That will be a total of 6 quilts made from my father's shirts.  I made a good start on the center of the 6th quilt today.

So my goal is to avoid new projects and focus on finishing some of the quilts I've shared today.  It will be hard to resist the siren song of fabric and creativity, but I'll be much happier when some of these projects are off the "To Do" list!