New Orleans House Project

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Adieu Bleu

Today is the last day for sharing scrappy blue projects for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This January was blessed with 5 Saturdays, so that meant lots of time for playing with blue scraps.  Although I didn't construct a lot of blue blocks, or finish any blue quilts, I still feel I made good use of lots of blue scraps!
This week I finished a batch of 4" Sawtooth Stars.  These will get added to last year's blocks, which will eventually become a very scrappy rainbow star quilt. 

The sailboat blocks were a souvenir from a quilt show in 1993.  They were all stitched by different hands and were not all the same size  I decided to use the wonky setting technique Bonnie Hunter used on her Happy Scrappy Houses to get the blocks to a uniform size.  The sashing and cornerstone fabrics are all from the scrap stash.  I think I'd like to add another outer border, but it depends on what I can find in my stash.  I'm really happy to have finally put these blocks to use!

Since my stash of blue scraps is endless, I'm sure I'll be returning to scrappy blue piecing throughout the year.  For now though, I'm looking forward to focusing on another color and seeing what inspiration strikes.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Prep Work in Blue

My blue Rainbow Scrap efforts this week have all involved prep work.  
With the design wall finally clear of other projects, I was able to lay out all the Sawtooth Star and 9-patch blocks for the blue and white quilt.  I made the blocks as a leader-ender project and randomly pulled 50 different fabrics to start.  The quilt is destined for the bed in our guest room, and I decided it needed more blocks to achieve the appropriate bed size.
I pulled some more blue fabrics from the stash and started cutting more parts & pieces.  My blue fabric stash (scraps & yardage) is pretty deep, in part because I made a blue and white signature quilt for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.  I know there are several more blue scrap quilts in my future!
And here are all my block parts, organized for piecing.  I've got an additional 22 blocks ready to sew.  Even then, I'll be adding some borders to the quilt to get it to a decent bed size.  Lesson learned:  it takes a lot of 6" blocks to make a bed-sized quilt!

Since I didn't do much blue scrappy sewing this week, I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been concocting with their blue scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Rhythm of Hand Stitching

I find that lately I've been doing a lot more hand-stitching than is typical for me.  It has been very comforting to sit by the fire in the evening and hand-stitch my Quilty 365 block for the day or add some quilting stitches to a wall hanging project.

I've been keeping up with my daily circles for the Quilty 365 project.  Today is my sister's birthday, so I pulled this scrap of fabric in honor of her alma mater.
I've already chosen tomorrow's fabric in honor of Martin Luther King Day here in the U.S.  I'm using Karen K. Buckley's Perfect Circles technique for prepping my applique pieces, so I get the benefit of two different types of hand-stitching on each circle!

I took a class in back-basting from my LQS earlier this year.  I liked the technique so much, I made one of the projects from our textbook, Back-Basting Applique, Step by Step: By Hand or Machine.  I finished the applique last year, but just recently began hand-quilting the project.  I did simple outline and cross-hatch quilting on the applique panels.  For the border, I plan to just follow the geometric designs in the fabric.  Purple, green & gold are the traditional colors for Mardi Gras here in New Orleans, so I'm trying to finish this in time for that celebration - February 9th.  I haven't done much hand quilting in the past few years, and it has been very soothing to get that stitching rhythm back in my fingers!

Since today will definitely be one of those hand-stitching days, I'm linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching.  I'll be checking in there during my stitching breaks to see what hand-stitching everyone else is enjoying.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Blue in Bits & Strips

Blue bits and strips were the story of my life this week.  Some blue bits found their way into Quilty 365 circles, which will be shared during the February link-up.  Other blue bits were incorporated into Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.  And lots of blue strips helped me finish out a t-shirt quilt that has been hogging up my entire design wall for weeks.

I used some medium blue scraps to make up some 4" Sawtooth Star blocks.  This is a carry-over RSC project from last year.  I didn't have a particular plan in mind when I started making these, but they're kind of addictive to make and I just enjoyed playing with them last year.  I'm starting to have an inkling of what I'd like to do with them, but for now I'm just going to keep churning them out.
Scraps prepped for more Sawtooth Stars.  For the Flying Geese portion of the Sawtooth Stars, I like to use a no-waste, speed-piecing method I first saw on Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache website (see Method B).
A batch of scrappy blue stars.

The big story at my house is that I finally finished piecing this t-shirt quilt!  I added lots and lots of blue strips - Kaffe Fassett's Paperweight fabric - for the sashing and borders.  It currently measures about 84" x 90", so it's awkward to handle.  I did a final pressing and thread clean-up, so I can take it to the long-arm quilter as soon as I have the backing prepped.  Yay!!

So after spending most of today wrestling the t-shirt quilt, I'm looking forward to putting my feet up and enjoying a cup of tea and lots of other scrappy projects from the RSC.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Blue Scraps on a Gray Day

Although we've not had much really cold weather this winter, we've still had way too many gray, overcast and foggy days.  Too much gloomy weather can have a dismal effect on one's state of mind, so it's good to have quilty projects on hand for therapy.  I sewed after work yesterday until way past my bedtime and plan to spend most of today engaged in the same activity - a big dose of Vitamin Q!

Making some Sugar Bowl blocks in Kaffe Fassett fabrics was my first project.  I started making Sugar Bowl blocks last year, using essentially solid-color fabrics.  I decided I needed more blocks and wanted to use some bright, vibrant prints.  
So far, I'm pleased with how the blocks blend with their plain blue counterparts.  I doubt I will color-block the Sugar Bowls in the final quilt, but it's fun to at least look at them together for now.

The multi-fabric 9-patch blocks are from last year's RSC.  After playing with last year's blocks on the design wall, I decided more blocks were needed.  A quick dig through the 2 1/2" scrap bin gave me enough blue centers, and it only took a few minutes to cut enough white scraps to complete the blocks.  Again, I doubt I'll use a color-block layout in the final quilt, but it's fun to play!

These red, white and blue 16-patch blocks have been a leader-ender project since last July.  They will be the center sections for more Scrap Jar Stars.  I finally finished all the centers, so I'll need to cut some HSTs to turn these into stars.  I did the math on how many HSTs I need:  200 of them!!  Not sure how I will fit all that cutting into my plans; maybe it's time to buy an Accuquilt cutter! 

My coffee cup is empty, so that means it's time to get to work.  I'm linking up with the other Rainbow Scrappers over at Angela's Soscrappy blog - I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's blue scrappiness on this gray day!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Daily Fabric Therapy: Quilty 365

Fifty-seven days and going strong with Quilty 365!  These are my December circles, laid out to mimic the calendar for the month.  I'm keeping up with the daily circles fairly well; I at least try to choose a fabric every day, even if I don't get the sewing done.  I've gotten pretty quick with the applique prep and stitching, so it doesn't take a lot of time to finish a block.

I had a lot of fun choosing fabrics this month.  We've had a lot of gray, gloomy days weather-wise, so I picked a lot of gray and dark blue fabrics from the stash.  Sometimes I deliberately chose bright and cheerful fabrics to overcome the blahs brought on by the weather!

My husband and youngest son both had birthdays this month.  The wine bottles were perfect for my hubby and the tiger represents my son's alma mater and favorite college football team.

December was also a great excuse to raid the holiday fabric stash.  I pulled several vintage holiday fabrics for circles.  These two are favorites:  Santas for Christmas Eve and bright red cardinals for Christmas Day.

After Christmas, we drove to Dallas to visit our youngest son.  I was even able to pull some appropriate fabrics for each day of our trip!  I prepped the first 3 circles in hopes of stitching while on the road, but found the ride too bumpy for hand applique.  I stitched them all after we returned home yesterday afternoon.

I haven't had a chance to look at all the other Quilty 365 circles via Audrey's linky party, so I think I'll make some tea and go curl up by the fireplace and catch up.  Wishing everyone a wonderful and stitch-filled new year!

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2016 Edition

Angela of Soscrappy has been hosting the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for several years.  It began as a challenge to use up scraps, guided by Angela's monthly color choices.  The challenge was to use up scraps, and the choice of project was completely up to the participant.  Angela has added some sampler blocks to the project, but participation in those has been strictly optional.  The RSC has been a great opportunity to play with fabric and color AND to meet new blogging quilter friends.

This year I have not settled on any specific new RSC projects.  Angela will be providing instructions for a new sampler - a variation on the row quilt samplers so popular over the past year or two.  I will continue making blocks in a few of the patterns I started last year, in hopes of having enough blocks for a quilt at the end of 2016.  I had thought I'd start making a stack of rainbow-hued Ohio Stars this year, but I'm dithering on that idea.  I'm really feeling the need to focus on UFOs this year - at least until inspiration strikes hard enough to dislodge that plan!

The RSC color for the month of January is blue.  This year we'll also have an accent color to use if we wish - this month's accent color is purple.  I love the idea of combining blue and purple in the same block, so maybe an Ohio Star block will get made.  In the meantime, I've got some other projects to play with.

Last year I made Maverick Stars as one of my RS projects.  I have enough stars, but I wanted to alternate the stars with string-pieced "plain" blocks.  I made up a few string-pieced blocks last week, and I'm pleased with the result.  Now I just need to make more string blocks - an ongoing project!

Another of last year's blocks was Sugar Bowl.   I have a nice collection of these blocks, but the rich fabric choices of Maureen at Mystic Quilter inspired me to do another round of blocks in Kaffe Fassett prints.  I've chosen my blue fabrics for January - and the fabric on the far left even has some purple accents in it!

I found these blocks when I was doing some sewing room cleaning last year.  They are souvenir blocks from a quilt show by the Pensacola Quilter's Guild (I lived in Pensacola once upon a time) in 1993.   Since the blocks are blue, I figured January is a good month to at least come up with a plan for setting them.  They are 6" blocks, but not all uniformly pieced, so they might need individual borders to make them work well together.

These scrappy blue blocks have been waiting patiently for their turn to shine.  I wanted a scrappy blue quilt for my guest room and made a plan for Sawtooth Stars and uneven 9 patches.  I stitched the blocks as leader-enders in 2014, but haven't assembled the finished blocks yet.  There are 50 of each 8" block in just about every blue fabric from my stash.  If January lasts long enough, I might just be able to get them assembled! 

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge has always had a weekly linky party and this year is no exception.  I always look forward to Saturdays when I can see what the other Rainbow Scrappers have been creating all week!