New Orleans House Project

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thinkin' About RSC 2018: A Quarter Log Cabin Tutorial

As the year comes to a close, I find myself looking back at the year's quilting projects and also looking ahead and planning my quilty priorities for the coming year.  I'll save the year-end wrap-up for another post, because for the past few days I have been playing with scraps for a 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.

I find that some of my favorite RSC projects have involved fairly simple piecing - something that can be completed in just an hour or so of fabric play time.  It's very satisfying to be able to complete a block while I'm waiting for Dear Hubby to come home from work, or even on my lunch break - working from home has its perks!

With that in mind, I thought I might like to make a version of the "cross" quilts that have been popular for the last few years.  After looking at lots of quilts online and on Instagram, I chose the cover quilt from Modern Log Cabin Quilting as my inspiration.

After reading through the author's instructions, I knew I would need to make modifications in order to utilize my scraps.  I also decided to use reproduction/traditional fabric scraps, so I guess my version won't really be "modern".  No worries, the pattern is actually based on our age-old favorite, the log cabin block.

I grabbed some red and green scraps (c'mon - it's Christmas!) and a variety of background fabrics, and started measuring and cutting.  Since many of my scraps are already cut into 2.5 inch strips and squares, I used that as my starting point.

Each cross block requires:
4 - 2.5 inch squares of the focus (dark) fabric
4 - 2.5 inch squares of background (light) fabric
4 - 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch rectangles of focus (dark) fabric
4 - 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch rectangles of background (light) fabric
4 - 2.5 inch x 6.5 inch rectangles of background (light) fabric

Start with 4 2.5 inch squares of the focus (dark) and background (light) fabrics.  Stitch one dark and one light square together and press the seam toward the darker fabric.

Next up, add the dark 2.5 inch by 4.5 inch rectangles to each set of squares, keeping the dark fabric square on the right (see above).  Press the seams to the dark side.

Now add the 2.5 inch by 4.5 inch light rectangle as illustrated.  Press the seam to the outside.

The final rectangle (2.5 inches by 6.5 inches) is added to the top of the block. 

This time, press the seam toward the inside of the block - this will allow the quarter log units to align smoothly (nestle) when stitched together.

The completed quarter log units should look like this.

Arrange the quarter log units into a cross shape.  Stitch two units together to make the left half of the cross, then the other two units for the right half of the cross.  Finally, stitch the right and left sides together with one long seam down the middle.  I pressed the final seam open instead of to one side or the other.  

Finished block!

The finished blocks measure 12 inches.  Since I never seem to be able to make small quilts, I figure I'll aim for at least a twin bed sized quilt: possibly 6 x7 blocks.  These are kind of like potato chips - once you get started, you just want to keep making them!  I've already picked out more red and green scraps for the next round of blocks.

More scrappy inspiration to be found at Angela's Soscrappy blog this morning.  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Slow Wrap-Up

I'm still trying to wrap up some Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects before the end of the year.  Between work-related travel and other holiday-related activities this week, not much sewing took place.  Still, little bits of stitching here and there help get the projects completed and provide soothing fabric therapy when life gets stressful!

I did manage to stitch the binding to the front of the Carpenter's Wheel quilt.  Before attaching the binding, I decided to add a hanging sleeve (the lighter strip of white fabric in the middle of the picture).  I'd like to enter this quilt in a local quilt show this spring, so having a sleeve already attached will make life easier.  The quilt sleeve can be made of the same fabric as the quilt backing, or something that coordinates with the quilt - or whatever fabric you fancy.

My method for making a quilt-hanging sleeve is to cut a strip 10 inches wide and 4-5 inches shorter than the length of the top of the quilt.  On the short edges of the fabric strip, fold a quarter of an inch of fabric to the wrong side and stitch in place to create a hem.  Next, press the strip, right sides together, so the long raw edges are together.  Baste the long, raw edges of the strip to the top of the quilt with a scant quarter inch seam.  When you stitch the binding to the quilt, the regular seam will hold the sleeve in place - be careful not to catch any other part of the sleeve in the binding seam.  Now you only need to hand stitch the bottom edge of the sleeve to the quilt backing!

Another project waiting for end-of-year wrap up is the blue and white sawtooth star quilt.  I've been waiting for some fabric samples to audition for a final outer border.  The fabrics arrived this week, so I taped them up next to the quilt to try to make a decision.
Here's fabric choice #1.  Maybe a little too dark?

Choice #2.  I love the birds, but maybe they are a distraction?

Choice #3.  In person, I thought this fabric might be too light in color, but the photograph makes it look pretty good.  What do you think about the 3 choices?

I've been out running the roads all day, wrapping up various Christmas preparations.  I'm looking forward to a cup of hot tea and checking out more Rainbow Scrap project wrap-ups.  Maybe I'll even do some stitching on the Carpenter's Wheel binding...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Sneaux Day Quilting

You may have heard that parts of the Deep South experienced a little snowfall yesterday.  
At our house, all we had was cold rain and sleet, although a few places around town reported seeing fat, wet flakes falling from the sky.  Just north of the city there was enough snow to accumulate, which caused snowman building and snowball fights, not to mention vehicles slipping and sliding all over the roads.  Apparently Mike the Tiger, LSU's mascot, enjoyed his sneaux day, too!

You'd think the inclement weather would be a perfect excuse to stay home and quilt, but it didn't really work out that way.  Dear Hubby and I had planned on taking vacation days in honor of his birthday, so neither of us had to work.  Since the weather wasn't great for driving, our plans to go to the camp and/or do some antiquing got scrapped, and we wound up baking (bread and cookies) and doing Christmas decorating.   I tried to sneak in a little quilt-related activity, but didn't get far.

I started to trim the excess backing and batting from my Carpenter's Wheel quilt, but only finished one side.  I made the binding (all 300+ inches of it) last weekend, so once the quilt is trimmed and squared up, I will stitch the binding in place.  This quilt was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project in 2014; it's been hanging around, waiting for binding for over a year, so I'd really like to put in the finishing stitches before the end of 2017!

I made this mini 9-patch several years ago, using up scraps from Bento Box quilts I had made for my nieces.  
Bento Box quilt under construction, circa 2009.  Pattern by Tracey Brookshier.

The mini 9-patch sat around for a long time, waiting to be quilted.  Last week I decided this quilt needed to be DONE and set to work layering and pinning.  I found the just the right shade of orange thread in my stash and started by quilting in the ditch, because that was the easiest thing to do.  Next I did some quilting a quarter inch from the seams in the setting triangles.  I decided I liked the quarter inch quilting much better than quilting in the ditch and vowed never to use ditch quilting again unless absolutely necessary!  I finished up with more quarter inch quilting around the center of each 9-patch.  
I've almost finished hand-stitching the binding to the back of the quilt.  I love this orange bandana print backing!  

One more Finish 'Er Up project has been on the front burner over the past few weeks.  This quilt was inspired by a month of blue scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I've been working on it in fits and starts since the end of 2013, so I think it's time for this one to be DONE, too!

The quilt measures about 80 inches square right now, but I want it to fit on a queen-sized bed, so it needs to be at least 10 inches larger all around.  I want a blue and white fabric for an outer border, but haven't found The Right Thing at my local quilt shops.  I think I found a couple of candidates online, so I'm waiting for samples to arrive before I order yardage.  

Those are the projects I hope to wrap up for the end of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  I still have plenty of RSC UFOs, but they will have to wait a bit longer to get finished.  In the meantime, I will be checking out how other RSC quilters are wrapping up their projects for the year!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Enjoying My Calorie-Free Chocolates

Today's entry for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge involves the monthly challenge color - brown - and the "finish it up" aspect of the challenge.

This quilt started life as a challenge/swap to create 9-patch blocks with brown and another color inspired by chocolate candy.  The swap took place between some chocoholics who were members of the Treadle On mail list - a group devoted to sewing with vintage and antique, non-electric sewing machines.  

The swap took place in 2007, but I didn't start playing with my blocks until 2012!  I made a few more chocolate 9-patch blocks and added snowball blocks made with chocolate candy fabrics.

Once the quilt top was finished, I handed it off to my local longarm quilter, Cindy Braiwick.  She had already done some fun, food-related quilting on my Ice Cream quilt, so I knew she'd come up with great ideas for this quilt, too.

She incorporated "I 💜 Chocolate" into the quilting around the borders.  

The 9-patch blocks are quilted with different types of candy, while the snowball blocks feature decorative hearts.

I didn't notice this quilting design until I was snapping pictures.  I guess those are supposed to be chocolate martinis!

This quilt has been languishing in the "needs binding" pile for a couple of years.  I finished the binding this week, washed and dried it and now have a the perfect guilt-free chocolate treat!

There will be more quilty treats at this week's RSC link-up - guaranteed to be good for you!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rainbow Scraps Transformed

The happy result of playing along with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge every month is having a pile of colorful blocks to assemble into a quilt at the end of the year.  Sometimes it takes a little more than a year to finish up the quilt(s), but it's still a fun process.

Inspired by all the colorful houses in New Orleans, I started making Bonnie Hunter's Happy Scrappy House blocks in 2013.  It took some time to get these assembled because I kept changing my mind on what the final quilt should look like.  I thought I wanted to applique some words in the outer borders, but after experimenting, it just wasn't working out.  Eventually, I decided it was time to stop dithering and finish this quilt top!

For 2015's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I used reproduction fabric scraps to make a Scrap Jar Stars quilt.  I finished hand-stitching the binding on this quilt recently and recruited my son to hold it up for photography.  Compared with an earlier Scrap Jar Stars quilt in bright colors, I love the softer, more subdued look of this quilt.

My local long-arm quilter, Cindy Braiwick, did a great job on the quilting design.   She used a multi-color thread that really added some pop to the background fabric.  I'd love to keep this for myself, but I planned it to be a gift it from the beginning, so off it goes!

There are still several more unfinished Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects in my UFO pile, but the year isn't over yet, so they may get transformed, too!

Check out more Rainbow Scrap transformations at the weekly scrappy link-up!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Dark Side of Burgoyne

This week's Rainbow Scrap project was to make some Burgoyne Surrounded blocks using dark scraps.  I started with scraps, but added fabrics from the stash to make everything work.  

The monarch butterfly and black fabrics were scraps, but the other two fabrics came from the stash.  I'm always happy to cut up stash and make more scraps!

The starting point for this Burgoyne was the brown floral fabric.  The scraps have been in my stash for years.  I love the print, but it's kind of a strange shade of brown and not easy to pair with other fabrics.  I was tickled to find other fabrics in my stash that pulled the block together.

After I assembled the block, I wasn't super happy with the red and cream print.  I thought it kind of overwhelmed the block.  I wondered if tea dyeing might help calm the red and cream fabric down a little.

I brewed up a small amount of strong black tea and did some experimenting.  Once I was happy with the process, I used a small paintbrush to apply the tea just were I wanted it.  I wasn't worried if the result looked a little streaky, I thought that just added to the effect I was looking for.  When the fabric was dry, I set the color using a hot iron.  I think the block looks much happier!

After stitching up a few 4-patches for the Parts Department, I'm done with my brown and black scraps.  Now I can turn my attention to finishing a few things here and there - if I can avoid starting any new projects along the way!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Wrapping Up the Scrappy Blocks

November signals a new month of scraps to use for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The scrappy assignment this month is to use dark scraps: think black and brown.  I don't plan to add black or brown scrappy blocks to all of my RSC projects, so I won't be making a lot of blocks this month.  Maybe that will give me some time to start assembling some of this year's blocks into flimsies!

After using up lots of pink scraps last month, I still had a few bits left over to make 4 patch blocks.  These will be added to the Parts Department, for use in a future quilt (to be determined).

I've been making pinwheel blocks all year, following the RSC color challenges.  I had some brown and black scraps in the 2 inch strip bin, so it was easy to make more pinwheels for the collection.

I found some brown and black scraps and chunks that might work well in Burgoyne Surrounded blocks, so I'll give those a try before I wrap up my scrappy piecing this month.  After that, I've got plenty of unfinished Rainbow Scrap business to keep me busy through the end of the year!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday with Flamingos

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of work-related travel.  I'm still trying to get back into my usual routine and get some sewing mojo going again.  There are quilting projects clamoring for attention, but I just haven't had the time or energy to devote to them.

I did manage to do some fussy cutting yesterday so I would have some flamingo hexies to sew up today.  These are easy to pick up and stitch when time is short or your energy level isn't up to using the sewing machine.

I did manage to stitch some hexies during my travels.  These were fun to cut, especially the mini flamingoes with the pink and green swirls!  

This project was inspired by a Hex Vex kit I bought from Barb Vedder of Fun with Barb.  She no longer sells the kit, but it wouldn't be hard to get started without it.  This link will take you to a page where she discusses her original Hex Vex quilt and shares some other examples.  It's a fun project and great opportunity to play with fussy cutting and combining fabrics.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Disappearing Pink Scraps

The color for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge is pink.  I didn't find a lot of pink scraps in my stash, but I managed to use them in creative ways (I think).  I'm not finished working on my round of RSC projects, but the scraps have decreased to the point where I may have to make some new ones!

I completed two Windblown Wishes blocks this afternoon.  Pink wraps up all the blocks I plan to make for this quilt, so the next step is getting a flimsy assembled.  Maybe that will happen by the end of the year?

All kinds of random scraps got turned into pinwheel blocks.  I've accumulated quite a stack of pinwheel blocks, but I'm going to keep making them through the end of this year's RSC.  I do have a plan for them, but I'm not ready to start assembling them yet.

The scant amount of pink scraps led me to try strip piecing a pink 49-patch block.  I used Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trip Around the World piecing technique, but modified it for my needs.  I think this might be my favorite 49-patch block so far!  Since these are only 7" blocks, I'll be making more of them for next year's RSC.

For more pink scrappy fun, check out today's link-up at Angela's Soscrappy blog.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

This Week in Fabric Therapy

My sewing room has been in need of some serious re-organizing for several months.  All the flat surfaces were so piled with fabric and projects and storage containers there was barely room to do any work.  I started to tackle the mess last weekend, and have at least made some progress in tidying up a few areas.

One of the main things I wanted to do was get this Spring Clean* string quilt project set up in an organized fashion, so I could whip out a string-pieced block whenever I had a small window of stitching time.  Now I've got baskets and bags of light and dark strings, plus a stack of ready-cut foundation squares.  This quilt requires 144 string-pieced blocks (I'm almost halfway there), so I need to stay focused if I'm ever going to finish it!

I started this Pumpkin Table Mat (Primitive Gatherings) several years ago in a class at The Quilted Owl.  I finished everything but the embroidered embellishments.  I found the storage container when I was re-organizing the sewing room.  I realized this might be my only taste of Fall this year, so I decided to get the embroidery finished and enjoy it.  I've been using a white chalk pencil to help with the stitching lines - I just haven't brushed all the chalk marks off yet.  The light-colored thread is actually gold - not sure why it looks white in the picture.

Another storage container re-discovery:  my hexagon creations from Barb Vedder's Hex Vex pattern.

I'll be traveling for work in the near future, so I decided to cut as many hexie parts as possible to give me something to work on while away from home.  I need to find a small Ott lite so I can see my stitches in the hotel room at night.  True confession:  I've been working on cutting these parts and pieces longer than just the past week!

Last but not least, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for October is pink.  The re-organizing project kept me from digging out any pink scraps until yesterday.  I pulled some 2 inch strips to make squares and HSTs for some Windblown Wishes blocks, but I haven't had time to finish them.  I'm not finding a lot of pink scraps in my bins, so I may have to make some new scraps!

As you can imagine, all this Fabric Therapy was an antidote for stress this week.  Whenever a hurricane threatens the Gulf Coast, we all use our favorite coping mechanisms.  I'm glad Fabric Therapy works so well for me!  Hurricane Nate was pretty much a no-show for New Orleans, and although there was weather-related damage to other parts of the coast, it wasn't as bad as predicted.  I will be glad when hurricane season is over!

*The Spring Clean Quilt is a pattern by Brioni Greenburg in Issue 8 of Fat Quarterly Ezine.  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Done With Orange Fun

How quickly we've arrived at the end of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge month of orange scrappy stitching!  I've definitely made a dent in my orange scraps, especially the scraps in the bin of 2 inch strips and squares.

I had a big stack of 2 inch squares in the bin, so I trimmed them down to 1.5 inches and made a 49-patch block.  I'll only have 8 of these blocks at the end of the year, so I think this project will carry over for at least another year.  The next round of blocks will use the same design, but I'm going to resort to using scrappy strips instead of individual squares.

I also had enough orange scrappy pieces to make some 4-patch blocks.  For now, these are for the "parts department", as Cathy calls it.  On the other hand, I was intrigued by a quilt in the latest issue of Quiltmania (121) called Four Patch Trip Around the World.  Unfortunately, there isn't a picture of the quilt on their website, so you'll have to get your hands on a copy of the magazine to see what I'm talking about.  No affiliation with Quiltmania, other than it being my favorite quilting magazine!

I enjoyed reading everyone's responses last week about their favorite pumpkin spice-flavored treats.  Since I had pumpkin spice on the brain, I did a search to look for treats that were new and different to me.  I had a huge fit of the giggles when I discovered this unexpected pumpkin spice product.  Go ahead & click on it - it's part of a Pinterest board I set up just to catalog pumpkin spice products!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Orange You Glad It's Pumpkin Spice Season?

When the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color is orange, it's hard to resist making puns based on that hue!

I like pumpkin spice flavoring, but its use does seem to have gotten a bit out of hand in the last couple of years.  I try to have at least one Pumpkin Spice Latte' before they disappear for the season, but other pumpkin spice treats seem to elude me.  What's your favorite specialty pumpkin spice treat?

I whipped up this little pumpkin spice Burgoyne Surrounded this week.  

The happy, scrappy house blocks continued to call my name this week, too.  
I made four new house blocks to bring my total to 49.  Last night I started sewing all the blocks together, so it won't be long until I'm on to the next step on this quilt journey: a border full of words.

We're hanging out at our camp this weekend.  The weather is not at all autumnal, so the dogs are still enjoying their doggie pool.
Here's Bailey, cooling off after a hard morning of Chase the Tennis Ball.

I'm linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge today - looking forward to seeing more pumpkin spice er, orange inspiration!