New Orleans House Project

Saturday, July 25, 2015

RSC 15: Taming the Scraps in Red, White & Blue

I already finished my red scrappy projects for the month, so this week I went digging through the drawers and baskets full of WIPs, looking for a red project that needed attention.  I found a large collection of red, white and blue scraps that had been languishing since I made a Twister quilt several years ago.  I've been wanting to make a RWB Scrap Jar Star quilt, so I spent some time today taming scraps and getting ready for another SJS project.

These scrappy left-overs from a Twister quilt have bias edges on the outside, so I had to do some fancy slicing and dicing to get strips and squares on the straight of grain. 

I cut 2" squares in the RWB fabrics plus white, so I can get started on the 16 patch centers of the Scrap Jar Stars.  I also wound up with a stack of 1.5" strips and squares that will find their way into another project some day.  As you can see, I've still got a lot of RWB scraps, plus some untouched fat quarters.  I should be able to complete the quilt top using just scraps, but I'll hang on to the FQs just in case! 

I haven't had time yet to look at all the other scrappy stitching taking place at Angela's Soscrappy blog today.  I believe I will make myself a large glass of sweet tea and go see what all the other RSC quilters have been up to this week!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursdays: T-shirt Quilts

I made my first t-shirt quilt in 1996.  It was something of a collaborative effort, as a group of online friends donated t-shirts and the finished quilt was raffled off as a fund-raiser.  This is the quilt top before quilting.  I'm amused to see I used a multi-color, pieced inner border - a technique I'm still using today!

This quilt also traveled to Key West, Florida with our group and the lucky winner got to take it home.  I don't remember what group received the money raised by the raffle.  For a closer look at the t-shirts, click on the picture.

I so enjoyed the t-shirt quilt process - I made another one almost immediately!  This one features an assortment of Caribbean Soul Jimmy Buffett t-shirts.  

I pieced together some of the smaller designs to make a block that would fit in with the other, larger t-shirt designs.

One of my favorite Caribbean Soul designs - I don't have to worry about the t-shirt being worn to shreds, it will always be a part of my quilt!  You can't see it real well, but the background fabric was an early batik featuring multi-colored fish.

I also used the pocket designs as border cornerstones. 

Five years ago, I dug into the collectible t-shirt bin to make a quilt for our camp.  Most of these shirts are from the mid-1990s and commemorate music and road trips between Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

Another favorite shirt, from Mi Tierra's Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas.
(Ha!  I just looked at their website and they still have the same t-shirt!)

It seems using the pocket designs for cornerstones is one of my signature techniques!

I still have a LARGE basket full of already cut t-shirt fronts & backs, plus drawers full of my kids' t-shirts.   I need to get busy and make more t-shirt quilts!!



Saturday, July 18, 2015

RSC 15: A Little More Red

Sawtooth Stars made me really happy this week.  After playing with the few I had made this year during the mid-year progress report, I decided it was time to start making more stars every month.  Since they are only 4" when finished, it will take a few of them to make a quilt.  A few of these red fabrics are really ancient, but I can't seem to every use up every scrap!

I also went back to June's color and pulled some light blue scraps.  The 4" size Sawtooth Star is great for small amounts of scrap fabric.  The main color only requires a 2 1/2" center block and 4 squares cut to 1 7/8".  I use Marcia Hohn's Flying Geese Speed Piecing method B and the measurements here.

That may wrap up my red scraps for this month, but there's lots more scrappy red inspiration at Angela's Soscrappy blog today!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Leaders or Enders?

I was a relative late-comer to the concept of using leader-ender projects to increase one's quilt-making output.  I never used the leader-ender practice when piecing, mostly because I never saw the need for it.  But when Bonnie Hunter promoted the idea of working on two quilts at the same time - one as the "main" quilting project, the other as a leader-ender project - I was sold!  Now I feel guilty if I do any stitching and don't use leader-enders as part of the process.

The Queen of Leader-Endering - Bonnie Hunter - has announced this year's L-E quilt along will be Tumblers.  I didn't really want to jump on the bandwagon because I have other quilty ideas in mind that will work just as well as leader-enders.  But Diane of Butterfly Threads blogged about her Tumblers AND her great Tumbler templates and I started weakening.

I rationalized that I already had some Tumbler pieces cut and ready to go. 

Inspired by Karen at Nana Girl Quilts, I had cut a stack of Tumbler pieces several months ago.  I had finished making memory quilts from my late father's shirt collection, but I had way too much shirt fabric left over to just toss the remainders (the fabric is mostly poly-cotton blends, so I didn't want to mix the left-overs into my regular fabric stash).  Karen inspired me to make a Tumbler quilt to use up more of the shirt fabrics; I had started cutting pieces, but hadn't progressed any farther.

I've done some tentative piecing of the Tumbler parts, but I'm not sure there's enough color variety in my shirt fabrics for a successful quilt.  I'm trying to decide if I want to throw in some random scraps of cotton quilting fabrics that were also used in the memory quilts.  I don't have any of the scraps cut in Tumbler shapes yet, so I guess my next step is to do some more cutting.  BTW, I'm using a Fons & Porter Wedge Template because it was the only ruler I could find at Hancock's when I first started cutting Tumbler pieces several months ago.

I'm still undecided about whether I'll use this as a leader-ender project, but I think a little more experimentation will be a good thing!  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

RSC 15: All Reds Together

In last Saturday's RSC post, I mentioned the dearth of true red fabrics to be found in today's quilting marketplace.  Many commenters agreed with my observation, but their comments stirred a memory for me.

Back in the day, a fellow member of the Pensacola Quilters' Guild entered a quilt in our bi-annual quilt show entitled "Mary Ellen Hopkins Was Right!"  The inspiration for the quilt was a quote by quilter and author Mary Ellen Hopkins, who claimed all red fabrics worked together.  The quilt in question featured 154 different red prints, string-pieced and sashed with black fabric with a scrappy 9 patch border.  Just in case you're thinking this sounds like something you'd see in a "modern" quilt show - the quilt was made in 1993!

So perhaps I shouldn't whine about the lack of true red fabrics and just play with my red scraps and see what develops!

Some reproduction red scraps were used to make Scrap Jar Stars.  Since taking stock during Wednesday's RSC progress report, I'm thinking I may need to go back and make an additional star in each monthly color in order to have enough for a decent size quilt.  Still thinking about this.

Some red Maverick Stars were also added to the collection.  I'm planning to set these with alternate blocks, so I think I will have enough of these for a quilt at the end of the year.

Red Sugar Bowl blocks.  No definite plans for these yet.

That's the extent of my red scrappiness for the month.  I need to concentrate on my 4 block eagle quilt, so that will probably be most of my focus for the rest of July.  Unless I give in to the siren song of all the red strips and strings that are patiently waiting in various tubs and baskets to see if all reds go together!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

RSC 15: Where Are They Now?

To observe the passing of half the year, Angela has invited all the Rainbow Scrap Challenge participants to share their Rainbow Scrap progress to date.  As usual, I've got more projects underway than I planned at the start of the year!

All the 9-patch variation blocks so far.  It appears I'm missing a green 9-patch.  I think I deconstructed it because it was too dark;  I'll have to look for some additional green scraps.  The blocks on the left are remnants from last year.  I plan to make additional orange and aqua blocks, but I'm not sure about the brown.

The Maverick Stars are also waiting for some aqua and orange blocks.  I have a plan for setting these together, but I need to do the math and decide if the quilt will be big enough to make me happy.

I will definitely add orange (cheddar!) to my Scrap Jar Stars in reproduction fabrics.  There are a lot of brown repro scraps in the box, so if brown is an RSC color, there will probably be some brown SJS, too.

I did not plan on making Sugar Bowl blocks at the beginning of the year.  Sometimes you just have to listen to the creative muse, though.  Not sure what I will do with these - they may carry over to next year.

These 4" sawtooth star blocks were inspired by the stars I'm making for Barbara Brackman's Stars in a Time Warp BOW.  I was just inspired to make little stars in each month's rainbow color.  These will probably carry over to next year, too.

Here's my proudest RSC accomplishment so far this year:  my 2014 Rainbow Scrap Sampler is completely pieced.  I'm so happy with how this turned out!  Even more, I love all the happy memories stitched into the blocks: eagerly awaiting Angela's sampler patterns throughout the month, playing with scraps and piecing, and the sharing of everyone's progress through Angela's weekly linky parties.  Many thanks to Angela for creating and sharing this project with all of us!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

RSC 15: Celebrating Red!

Yesterday's Independence Day observation had a major effect on my Rainbow Scrap sewing:  nothing got done!  I had plans for lots of red scrappy stitching yesterday, but life had different plans - good plans, but different!

Fortunately, I was able to sneak in some sewing and photographing this morning, so I'm going ahead with a Rainbow Scrap Challenge post for the first week of the color red.  I've already been drooling over everyone's RSC blocks at this week's linky party, so take a look if you need some scrappy inspiration!

Inspired by my Stars in a Time Warp blocks, I've also been making 4" Sawtooth Stars using modern fabrics.  I've just about used up all the scraps of this yummy chocolate on red novelty print.

These 9 patch variation blocks have quite a timeline of scraps.  Some are new and some are well-aged.  I find it difficult to find good, true reds among the current crop of fabrics on offer.  

That being said, I'm looking forward to playing with my reproduction red scraps this week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp: Fabriholic!

I have been faithfully keeping up with the weekly Stars in a Time Warp blocks.  Barbara Brackman's weekly lessons on fabric history have really encouraged my already fervent love of fabric!  My stash of reproduction quilting fabrics is growing, and I'm going to need more storage space.  I see many more reproduction-style quilts in my future!

These eccentric prints are made by creating wavy or eccentric lines on the printing cylinders.  I have had eccentrics in my stash in the past, but came up empty when it was time to make these blocks.  Oh horrors - another trip to my LQS!  The two prints featured in my stars are from Moda's Collections for a Cause 2015, which benefits the Texas Quilt Museum.

Next up, we have some neat stripes.  Since my blocks are only 4 inches, I had to find stripes of a suitable scale.

Now the Stars in a Time Warp blocks are focusing on one of my favorite types of fabric:  chintz.  These blocks represent white ground chintz, a style of fabric with multicolored figures on a white ground.

Blotch ground chintzes reflect a trend away from the light backgrounds of earlier chintz fabrics.  The fabric printing processes of the time often resulted in poor registration between the multicolored figures and the dark background, hence the term blotch ground.

Fancy machine ground chintz fabric has finely printed designs in the background instead of solid color.  The small background dots are called picotage.  (click on the picture for a larger version)

I now have a stack of 48 blocks and I've been daydreaming about how I will eventually assemble them.  This is a year-long BOW, so there are still plenty of fabric styles to learn about and drool over!