New Orleans House Project

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Scrap Quilt Secrets Blog Hop & Giveaway!

Welcome to Blog Hop day 11 for Scrap Quilt Secrets by Diane Knott!
I have been online friends with Diane for several years.  She is originally from south Louisiana, so we share an appreciation for Louisiana culture as well as all things quilt-related.  When Diane announced her plans to publish a book about scrappy quilts, I was immediately excited to see what insights she would share.
Not only is Diane’s book full of inspiring patterns, she shares her “secrets” for creating or adapting scrappy quilts to the quilter’s unique style and personality.

Using the word SCRAPS as an acronym for components of scrappy quilting, Diane focuses on 6 design factors that help make great scrap quilts.  Being a mostly self-taught quilter, I’ve used many of these factors intuitively.  Diane’s spotlight on these 6 factors has helped me become more mindful about design, in addition to being intuitive.  I think the result will be lots more fun fabric playtime and happy, scrappy quilts!

The last “S” in Diane’s acronym stands for Selvages.  I’ve been saving fabric selvages for years, but never thought of them as a basis for a scrappy quilt.  Duh!  When I saw Diane’s selvage inspiration – Gift Baskets, I knew I had to give it a try.

I was influenced by Easter and the Vernal Equinox to focus on purple for my Palette (there’s that acronym again) and begin constructing some selvage baskets.  I found additional purple fabrics in my stash to pull the theme together.  Once I finish the quilting, it will be the perfect size for a table topper or wall-hanging.

One lucky quilter will win a copy of Diane’s book from today’s blog hop – so leave a comment and tell me about something you’ve made or want to make using selvages.  If you’re a no-reply blogger, be sure to include an email address so I can contact you if you win.  I’ll choose a winner on April 5th, so please leave your comment before then! 

There are multiple stops on the blog hop and therefore more opportunities to win a copy of Scrap Quilt Secrets.  If you haven’t already, do visit the other bloggers, enjoy their reviews of Diane's book and leave a comment for more chances to win a book.
3/21    C&T Blog
3/22    Bonnie Hunter
3/26    Pat Sloan
3/27    Valerie
3/29    Victoria Findlay Wolfe
4/1       Julie
4/2       Barb


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sugar Bowl a la Kaffe

My last purple project for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge was to make some Sugar Bowl blocks using Kaffe Fassett fabrics scraps.  Finding Kaffe scraps that "read" as purple is not all that easy, especially since my collection of Kaffe fabrics is young. 

I guess the block on the right is more periwinkle than purple.  I have some additional scraps in Kaffe's Paperweight fabric in purple, but I already used the Paperweight fabric line for a blue Sugar Bowl.  Maybe I'll go back and add the purple version anyway.

I added the original purple blocks from last year's RSC, as well as the original blue Sugar Bowls and the blue Kaffe Sugar Bowls.  Hmm, I think it needs more purple! 

I totally missed sharing these blocks for Saturday's RSC link-up.  I was out of town visiting family, but planned ahead by taking pictures with my iPad so I could use the Blog Press blogging app.  Everything went as planned, except the pictures wouldn't upload.  I tried another blogging app with the same result.  I'm guessing there is some disconnect with getting the pictures into Blogger/Google, but I sure couldn't figure out how to make it happen.  Live and learn - from now on I will create my posts ahead of time and use Blogger's scheduling feature. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Throwback to the Tropics

It's been a dark and stormy day in the city.  Silly me, I believed the weather prognosticator's claim that rain wouldn't start until late afternoon, and got pretty thoroughly soaked while I was out and about for work this morning.

When I got home, my dogs were huddled under my desk (I work from home) for protection from the thunder...which continued for hours.

So you can imagine that a bright and cheerful throwback memory brought a smile to my face!

This wall hanging dates back to 1993, when I was struggling to use up a lot of scraps from a tropical-themed friendship quilt.   I string-pieced lots of scraps onto a fabric foundation, leaving the narrow, center "neck-tie" section clear.  When the blocks were assembled, they formed a star shape.  I machine-quilted with metallic silver thread to echo the star shapes.  Instead of adding the side and corner triangles, I just bound the blocks in their irregular shape.  I was quite surprised when Dixie Haywood, a member of my quilt guild at the time, asked to include it in a book she was co-authoring on foundation piecing.  (confession time:  the quilt was gifted to a friend long ago and I scanned the picture from the book!)

If you've been following me for awhile, you know scrappy quilts like the starry throwback above are dear to my heart.  I've discovered Diane Knott, of Butterfly Threads Quilting, is also a scrappy quilt lover - so much so, she has written a book about it!
There's a blog hop going on to help kick off Diane's book, and of course, there will be opportunities to win copies of the book.  Here's the menu of blogs to visit - I hope you'll check them out and get inspired by Diane's scrappy ideas!
3/21    C&T Blog
with Diane (that’s me)
3/22    Bonnie Hunter
3/26    Pat Sloan
3/27    Valerie
3/29    Victoria Findlay Wolfe
4/2      Barb

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Piecing Purple Stars

This week's purple piecing project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was 4" Sawtooth Star blocks.  I began making these stars during last year's RSC, but did not have a plan for how to use them.  My plan is to continue making them this year and set them together medallion style when I decide I have made enough stars.

These stars started out as strips in my 2.5" scrap bin (thank you, Bonnie Hunter!).   I try to get all the pieces cut out early in the month and use the block components as leader-enders as I'm doing other piecing.  At this size, the blocks go together quickly!  

Need purple inspiration?  Check out the weekly link-up for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mass Quantities of Half Square Triangles

One of my goals for the first part of 2016 was to finish my Quilt Like An Eagle quilt top.  I was kind of dreading the last step in my design, because it involved making a LOT of half square triangles.  

My plan was to make a dog-tooth style border using HSTs.  After auditioning a couple of different sizes for the HSTs, I settled on 2 1/2" finished blocks.  What the heck - I only needed a little over 100 of them!

Since I usually make HSTs a few at a time using the Easy Angle ruler and scraps, I knew I needed a different technique for this project.

I pulled out one of my handy-dandy quilt reference tools:  All-In-One Quilter's Reference Tool by Harriet Hargrave, Sharyn Craig, Alex Anderson and Liz Aneloski.  The book had a great set of diagrams for making 8 HST units at a time from two fabric squares AND a table listing what size squares to cut based on the finished HST unit needed.  I quickly made a set of HSTs using their instructions and measurements, only to find the blocks were too large and would all need to be trimmed to size.  

So sorry, but I'm from the "measure twice, cut once" school of quilt block piecing.  I really don't like to cut my HSTs over-large and then trim them, especially if I'm making mass quantities of HSTs!

I decided to consult my other favorite reference, Google.  I found Karen Walker's "Magic 8" tutorial for the same HST process, but she included the math for figuring what size squares to cut.  The simple trick is to add 7/8" to your finished HST unit size, then multiply that number by 2.  That calculation will result in HSTs that don't need trimming.  She does note in the tutorial that you can add an extra 1/4" to your cutting measurement if you WANT oversize HSTs.

Once I did the math, I was ready to start making lots of HSTs.  Based on the math calculations, you cut two squares of fabric (in my case, light and dark), and layer them right sides together.  Draw a line from each top corner to each lower corner, forming an X.  Stitch a 1/4" seam on each side of the diagonal lines - there will be a set of parallel seams following the X.  Now cut the block in half from top to bottom.  Without moving anything, cut the block in half again from left to right.   Again, don't move the pieces, but cut along both of the lines forming the X.  You should have 8 triangles showing when you're done cutting. 

Press the triangles open and do a happy dance because you've just made 8 HSTs!  
Do  little more math and figure out how many squares you need to cut to make the remaining 90-something HSTs for the border...
Once the border is finished, I'll post full pictures at Quilt Like An Eagle.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Where Have All The Purples Gone?

Yay!  This month's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is purple!  Purple is my favorite color and I love incorporating it into my quilts.  Good thing I have a decent stash of purple fabric and scraps though, because purple is definitely not a color currently in favor with fabric designers.  I try to add new purple fabrics to my stash on a regular basis, but the pickings are slim.  Purple-themed batiks and blenders are fairly common, but prints are more scarce.  Purple does show up as a combo with orange and lime green in some Halloween prints.  And it shows up in some floral prints - think irises and pansies.  I'll just keep watching and collecting - there are great purple fabrics out there if you look!

A quick dig through the 2.5" scrap box produced enough centers for some white 9 patch variation blocks.  I added them to the purple 9 patch variation blocks from last year's RSC and moved that project along.  

Some scraps from the reproduction fabric scrap box got this Scrap Jar Star going, but I had to make a few new scraps to finish it.   
I added it to last year's Scrap Jar Stars and now that project is a little closer to completion, too. 

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's purple scraps at this week's Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up.  There will be lots of inspiration, I'm sure!


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mardi Gras Birds - Just in Time for Spring

I finally finished all the hand stitching on my Mardi Gras birds applique project.  Mardi Gras has come and gone, but I still finished in time for Spring!

Whenever I think of birds and Spring, I am reminded of a ditty I learned in childhood:

Spring is sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where dem boidies is?
Dem little boids is on da wing...
Ain't dat absoid?  Da wings is on da boid!

  I haven't done much hand quilting lately, so this project was a good exercise.  I didn't do anything fancy, just cross-hatch and outline quilting.  In the border, I just followed the design lines of the border fabric.  As I was stitching the border, it occurred to me I use this lazy pattern of border quilting on a regular basis, so I plan to use a fancy border stencil or pattern on my next hand quilting project!

Here's my "lazy" border quilting from the back. 

I just need to add some picture hanging strips to the back.  I learned this technique for hanging small quilts years ago from somewhere in blogland, but I couldn't tell you where.  The Command Picture Hanging Strips are a little like Velcro - you can feel when the two strips have made solid contact because they click together.  One set of strips is stitched to the quilt and one set applied to the wall.  The strips on the wall can theoretically be removed - your mileage may vary.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quilty 365 Loves Mardi Gras...and stuff

It's time for another report on my Quilty 365 progress.  Here are February's blocks, laid out to mimic the calendar page.  I'm still hand-appliqueing each of my blocks, but it might be time to try some machine applique.  Although hand-stitching is soothing, time constraints and wrist strain can be negative influences on the process. 

Mardi Gras influenced a lot of my fabric choices this month.  Purple, green and gold are the traditional colors of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so I had fun playing with some favorites from the stash!  I don't really care for most commercial Mardi Gras fabrics (you can only toss beads, masks and confetti on a black background a certain number of ways before it gets boring), but I had at least one bit of scrap that became a Quilty 365 block.  The other fabrics are all things I've collected over the years just because they feature purple, green and gold.  On Fat Tuesday itself, I practiced appliqueing tiny circles to represent Mardi Gras beads. 

Another color that featured prominently in February was brown, as that was the color choice for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I realized that after blue, brown may be the next most populous color in my stash.  Some of the fabrics are fairly new, others are more vintage, and the brown paisley on the bottom is from a man's shirt I found at an estate sale.

February also had several birthdays.  My oldest son, who loves hiking and camping, got the bears and canoe.  The Tula Pink raindrops are in honor of the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas (one of her signature songs is "It's Raining").  I have a friend who's nickname is "Grotto"; how often do you find fabric mentioning a friend's name?  And the seashells are for my friend Karen, who celebrated her  birthday on February 29th - only her 16th birthday - imagine that! 

Last but not least, I got to play with some Valentine's Day fabrics.  The tiny red hearts on the bottom right might be one of the oldest fabrics in my stash; I still have bits of this print that dates from the late 1980s.  The Victorian collage fabric on the bottom left is another oldie.  I've had it for years, but never used it because it was too pretty to cut! 

That's my circular tale of fabric love for February - 117 blocks to date.  I haven't attempted any block assembly yet.  I think I'd like to set the blocks on point.  If I at least start stitching them up in groups of four, it will speed up the top assembly a little.  I don't want to end the year with a daunting pile of 366 individual blocks to assemble!

Quilty 365 instigator Audrey is hosting a monthly link-up for other circle-loving quilters.  If you think stitching circles sounds boring, check out the link-up to see all the different ways quilters are interpreting the challenge!