New Orleans House Project

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dear Husband's Log Cabin Quilt

In the summer of 2014, I started working on a Log Cabin quilt for my Dear Husband.  

It was his first request for a quilt, and he chose the colors and general layout scheme.  He has always had a thing for log cabins (the structures), and this may be as close as he ever gets to having a log cabin of his own!

By the end of November 2015, I was stitching down the binding.  The quilt was finally finished in time for Dear Husband's early December birthday, but I didn't get an opportunity for photographs until last weekend.

Once again, my LAQ Cindy Braiwick did an amazing job on the quilting.  There are several different designs throughout the quilt, but these pinecones are one of my favorites.  And how lucky was I to find a backing fabric with log cabins?

This block has a wreath of oak leaves surrounding a dog's face.  Hard to see, despite my best attempts at photographing.  Dear Husband is a dog lover, so Cindy was sure to include Man's Best Friend in her quilting designs.

Dog bone in the quilting!

The full quilt, hanging from the balcony at our camp (the white diagonal strip on the bottom left corner is just the stairway railing).  Dear Husband has been enjoying the quilt for weeks, and judging by the amount of dog hair it has already accumulated, so have our dogs!


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Brown Stars in the Rainbow Scrap Universe?

Today is the last day for playing with brown scraps as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I didn't use up a lot of brown scraps this month - not because brown doesn't inspire me, but because my current RSC projects aren't calling out for more brown fabric.  Still, I made some Sawtooth Star blocks and used a lot of brown fabrics in my Quilty 365 circles.  I'm saving the brown circles for the monthly Quilty 365 link-up, but the Sawtooth Stars are twinkling here today.

This batch of stars has a mix of brown & pink scraps plus some of the brown paisley from an estate sale men's shirt.

These darker brown scraps are left-over from a Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt from years ago.  I did a different colorway than Bonnie and wound up calling my version the Ice Cream Quilt.
I have a general plan in mind for all these Sawtooth Stars, but for now I'm just going to keep making them every month and enjoying the scrappy fabric play.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Memory quilts.  I'm not sure there is an "official" definition, but I use the term to describe quilts made to memorialize departed loved ones.  I have been making memory quilts (in my typical s l o w fashion) in honor of my father, using fabrics re-purposed from his large wardrobe of plaid and striped shirts.  Another memory quilt was completed yesterday.

After making two earlier memory quilts, I realized I needed to streamline the process a little if I ever wanted to finish making 7 quilts - one each for the children and grandchildren.  This was the first quilt in the streamlined design - HSTs in the center, then a border, then a zig-zag border and finished with an appropriate novelty fabric border.  Not so obvious in the picture, but the novelty border here is fish, as my dad loved fishing. 

Again, I turned to my LAQ, Cindy, who quilted jumping fish over the entire quilt top.

I added a label (personal info obscured here) to keep track of pertinent details. 

I put the last stitches into the binding yesterday afternoon while enjoying a beautiful, almost-Spring day at our camp.  My goal was to finish the quilt by the intended recipient's birthday - today!



Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Scrappy Finish

As I mentioned earlier this month, I don't need much in the way of brown scrappy blocks for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.  That being said, I did find two great brown print 100% cotton men's shirts at an estate sale last weekend. 

I love paisley fabrics and I have an even greater appreciation for them after learning more about the fabric style during Barbara Brackman's Stars in a Time Warp series.

This shirt not only has a great paisley design, it also has a fancy machine ground - the very small background dots - known as picotage.

Once I get the shirts "deboned", I'll use some of the fabric for my collection of 4" Sawtooth Star blocks.

Despite my lack of brown scrappy blocks, I have finished a Rainbow Scrap project from a few years ago.  
I started this scrappy, green Trip Around the World quilt in April of 2013.  I was determined to bust through a huge stash of green scraps and old (ugly!) yardage.  At the time, bloggers everywhere seemed to be making scrappy Trips using Bonnie Hunter's process.  I jumped in with enthusiasm! 

After finishing the top, I pieced together the backing using more fabrics in my stash.  I then handed it off to Cindy Braiwick, my LAQ, to work her magic.  She used a wonderful leafy frond design for the body of the quilt.
In the border, she quilted frogs, turtles, alligators and lily pads! 

I even found a piece of yardage in my stash to use for the bias binding.  The quilt will live on one of the beds at our camp, where the color green and the wildlife in the borders will fit in perfectly!

If you have been on the fence about making a scrappy Trip Around the World quilt, I highly recommend it.  It's a great scrap buster and Bonnie Hunter's technique is fun and easy.  I'm definitely thinking of making another one, this time in an attempt to bust through more blue scraps.

There's lots more scrappy inspiration at this week's link-up for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mardi Gras Circles

I have long admired antique quilts with lots of little appliqued circles (berries, cherries, dots) as part of the quilt design.  I wondered if I would ever have the patience and skill to add such an element to one of my quilts.  Since I have been appliqueing circles for Quilty 365, I've gotten fairly proficient at Perfect Circles, using Karen Kay Buckley's templates.  I decided to try making some very small circles for my Quilty 365 block as a way to celebrate Mardi Gras 2016 (February 9th).

Beads are a big component of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Float riders toss thousands of bead necklaces to enthusiastic spectators, allowing everyone to join the celebration by bedecking themselves in purple, green and gold "finery".
I decided to make Mardi Gras "beads" for my Quilty 365 block.  I used the smallest Perfect Circles template and chose some vivid purple, green and gold fabrics.   

I discovered there is a thin line between a "just right" and too large seam allowance on these little circles.  A quarter inch seam allowance is way too big, but if you cut the seam allowance too small, the fabric will fray when you gather the circle around the template.  I found a generous 1/8" seam allowance worked best. 
The scissors in the picture (also by KKB) were extremely helpful in cutting out the circles - they have finely serrated edges that help hold the fabric steady during cutting.   

Since my seam allowance was so small, I wanted to use a fine gauge thread for the running stitch used to gather the circles around the template.  I use Aurifil 50 wt. thread for all my sewing, and it worked great for the running stitches.  

I used a water-soluble marker to mark the outer "bead" circle and then just eye-balled the inner circle.  I held all the beads in place with a dot of fabric glue.  

I started stitching the beads early Mardi Gras morning, so I needed some New Orleans coffee to get me going!
I used matching thread to applique all the beads.  I didn't realize the inner circle was a little wonky until I was almost finished, but Mardi Gras isn't all straight and organized, so I didn't mind.  

I found I did have the skill to make circles this small, but I'm not sure about the patience.  Making lots of circles this size is probably a project one wants to take in small bites - not as part of a marathon!  

PS - no affiliation with Karen Kay Buckley, I just find her products to be very useful!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Purple & Gold String Spiderweb Flimsy

I added the last border to this string spiderweb quilt this morning.  I'm definitely doing a little happy dance to have this top finished, as I have been working on the blocks (on and off) since 2012!  I used Bonnie Hunter's Spiderweb quilt instructions as a general guideline.  My goal was to use up as many purple and gold scraps as possible.  The size came out to 66" x 76", although that will shrink a little after quilting and washing.  It probably won't get quilted until later this year, but I think there's an excellent chance the quilt will be completed before the end of the year.

So another project is off the design wall and I'm ready to move on to the next WIP in the queue!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Scrap Bin

It's a new month and a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This time our fearless leader Angela has chosen the color brown and encouraged us to use up the scraps in the brown bin.  She added an accent color of pink, so the combo of pink and brown scraps should lead to some fun inspiration!

For my part, even though I have a healthy brown scrap bin, I won't be adding a lot of new blocks this month.  Since my 2016 RSC plans involve finishing some projects carried over from 2015, I just don't need a lot of brown for my current projects.  I do have a few UFO's that prominently feature brown, which may come out to play, but only if I finish a few other things first.

One RSC project that does need more brown are the Sawtooth Stars.   I've prepped several more stars, including several in pink and brown.  Once these are prepped, it's easy to use them as leader-enders while stitching other blocks.

I finished one star already (bottom) and added it to the pile from last year.  

Since my brown scrappy playtime will be somewhat limited this month, I'm looking forward to the Saturday RSC linky parties to see what everyone else is creating!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Quilty 365 Runs Rings Around January

Quilty 365 is still in full swing at my house.  I'm really enjoying marking each day in fabric - using holidays, birthdays, moods, weather or just whimsy to inspire the day's circle.  Yesterday marked Day 87 of this fabric journey.
Here are my latest blocks, laid out following January's calendar page.  If they look a little dark, that's because many were chosen to reflect the January weather, which is often dark, dreary and rainy here.

Starting on January 7th - the Feast of the Epiphany - New Orleans moves into Carnival mode.  I chose to recognize the Carnival season by working in some  circles in the colors of Mardi Gras: purple, green and gold.

A few of my fabric selections wanted to play a little.

A couple of fabrics marked special occasions - like the blue on the lower right, which I chose for the passing of Winter Storm Jonas.

I'm still enjoying the moments of serenity each day when I pick my fabric and sit down to do some hand stitching.  It's a soothing process that is great for my mental health!  I may add machine applique to my repertoire, if only to ease some of the strain I've been putting on my wrists with other hand-stitching projects.
For more Quilt 365 circles, visit the linky party at Quilty Folk.  Maybe you'll be inspired to stitch some circles of your own!