New Orleans House Project

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Last Stitches of 2018

Oh December!  How quickly you passed - and how gloomy has been your weather!  Between rain and fog, I feel like I haven't seen the sun all month!

December is always a busy month at my house.  My husband and youngest son both have December birthdays, so we have celebrations beyond the usual.  Stitching takes a back seat to everything else, at least until after Christmas.  I did manage to get the binding finished on two quilts, but stitching binding is not particularly blog-worthy!

After seeing multiple Christmas-themed Burgoyne Surrounded quilts (a Secret Santa Sew Along from Temecula Quilt Company), I was inspired to make a Christmas-y BS block of my own.  Most of the fabrics are vintage prints from the late 1990s - I was so happy to use them!  This will get included in my on-going Burgoyne Surrounded RSC quilt.

I also took some time to take stock of finished and unfinished projects, as well as new quilting ideas that are clamoring for attention.  More on that in a future post.

For the last quarter of 2018, it seemed all I blogged about was finishing stalled projects.  That focus on finishing helped me wrap up lots of quilts.  I need to go back and take pictures of some of these FOs - I'm hopeful we'll have a sunny day soon so I can go outside for a photo shoot.
  1. 1.  String Star Memory Quilt.  I used the Spring Clean quilt pattern to make a memory quilt using my late father's shirts and novelty fabrics that reflected his interests and hobbies.  The finished quilt measured 90 inches x 90 inches and was long-arm quilted by Diane D. Knott.  I finished up the binding about a week before Christmas and immediately shipped it off to my mom so she could open it on Christmas Day.
  2. A Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt begun in 2016.  Also long-arm quilted by Diane Knott.  I finished hand stitching the binding and label yesterday; I also added a hanging sleeve.
  3. Feed Sack Bags - a tote bag pattern by Joanna Figueroa.
  4. Pensacola Sailboats.  Wall-hanging size quilt made with souvenir blocks from the Pensacola Quilters' Guild Show in 1993.  Hand quilted.
  5. Red, white, and blue scrappy 16-patch and pinwheels.  Started as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project, inspired by a Bonnie Hunter pattern.  Gifted to my uncle, a U.S. Air Force veteran.
  6. Austen Family Album, a Barbara Brackman BOW dedicated to Jane Austen.  Long-arm quilted by Cindy Braiwick.  Another large quilt, 88 inches x 88 inches.  Also needs better pictures!
The focus on finishing also got me several completed quilt tops, which will move to the "Quilting Needed" queue for 2019.
  1. Tonganoxie Nine Patch.  The nine patch blocks were from a swap sponsored by Barb Vedder at Fun with Barb.  Barb's swap included a great tutorial on making speedy nine patch blocks.
  2. (Not) Modern Crosses.  A Rainbow Scrap Challenge project, inspired by a pattern in Modern Log Cabin Quilting.  My quilt is not modern because I used reproduction fabrics.
  3. The Cow Quilt.  An on-again, off-again project started years and years ago.  The top is finished, but I haven't begun to think about how to quilt it.
  4. Flutter Wheel.  Another Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  
  5. Grandmother's Choice, a Barbara Brackman BOW in honor of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Maybe it's a good thing we have been having gloomy weather!  What better activity for a rainy day than binge-watching a new show, or listening to an audiobook while hand-stitching binding on a quilt?  All of these are in the pile of quilts needing binding.
  1. Windblown Wishes.  Inspired by a pattern from Diane D Knott's Scrap Quilt Secrets AND long-arm quilted by Diane!
  2. English Garden.  Pattern by Kaye England from the booklet Vintage Gathering.  Quilt started in a class with Kaye, 2005.
  3. Origami Bow-Ties.  3-D Bow-Tie pattern with machine-appliqued border.
  4. Rainbow Scrap Sampler 2014.

I'm sure the last day of the year will have some stitching opportunities - there are plenty of projects to choose from!  We don't do much to celebrate New Year's Eve - a fun meal and a bottle of champagne will suffice.  Our dogs hate the noise of fireworks, so we'll probably be up at midnight to try to calm them down.  Here's to lots of fun stitching in 2019!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Focus on the Finish!

Folks who read my blog blather on a regular basis know I have been trying to stay focused on finishing projects that have been in the WIP and UFO stage for too long.  I got started on this Finish Focus when the commotion made by all the stalled projects overwhelmed me every time I entered my sewing room.  

I've made good progress over the last few months, but when I sat down this week to make a list of projects to focus on for 2019, I found the list was still heavy with UFOs.  At the same time, the list of projects I want to attempt doesn't get any shorter, either.  All I can say is, "So many quilts, so little time!"

One recent project was to finish binding this large (88" x 88") quilt.  I'm happy to report the binding is finished, as is the label.  I haven't had an opportunity to do some really good photos of this quilt; maybe before year's end that will happen.

Autumn decorating season reminded me this candle mat was still unfinished, so I got busy and completed the embroidered details.  Once that was done, I stitched on the backing and pronounced it Finished!  This was a wool project started at a workshop at my LQS, Quilted Owl.  Pattern by Primitive Gatherings.

Another UFO was this knit shawl I started at least 4 years ago - probably longer, but the exact date is lost in the mists of time.  About three-quarters of the way through, I realized I needed more yarn to finish the project.  Although it was easy to obtain more yarn and the colorway matched fine, the texture of the second skein was a little different and the second side of the shawl came out a bit looser than the original.  Or maybe that's because my knitting became looser over all the years it took to complete the shawl?!

Pattern:  Nae Shawl by Anat Rodan.  Yarn:  Fino by Manos del Uruguay.  I finished the final stitches on this last night and popped it over my shoulders as Dear Son and I were binge-watching "The Last Kingdom" on Netflix.  It was the perfect amount of warmth for one of our cool, but not cold, fall evenings!

Another Finish Focus is to complete the binding for several quilts.  This Nine-Patch variation quilt started out as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project in 2016.  The backing fabric has been in my stash for years and I thought it would make a fun back for this particular quilt.  Having a printed backing seemed to dictate using a solid for the binding, although I like to use bright prints for the bindings on these RSC quilts.  Fortunately, I found the perfect light purple cross-weave fabric in my stash - I love it when that happens!

Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting did the long-arm quilting for me.  This picture doesn't do it justice, but it's the perfect amount of swirly softness to complement all those squares.  Diane did a fabulous job and I can't wait to take some glamour shots to show off her work!

Still more Finishing:  Fun with Barb's Nine Patch swap blocks (2014).  I had seen this setting years ago in a quilt magazine (remember when we got our inspiration from quilt magazines?), clipped the picture and added it to my quilting bucket list.  Barb's Nine Patch swap was the perfect opportunity to use this setting.  Some sources call it Tonganoxie Nine Patch, but if you Google that, you'll get all kinds of variations.  Yes, the background fabric is supposed to look kinda washed-out and splotchy - it's from a Betsy Chutchian line called Rachel Remembered.  

I'm still debating whether the quilt needs a border/borders.  While I was rummaging shopping in my stash for potential border fabrics, I came across this chunk of Mark Twain-themed fabric that will be perfect for the backing.

One of my focus quilts for 2019 will be Burgoyne Surrounded - another Rainbow Scrap Challenge project that has gotten stalled.  I need 25 BS blocks for the quilt (current count: 15) and 30 nine-patch (3 inch) blocks for the setting.  I pulled scraps from my 1.5 inch strip bin and cut lots of nine-patch parts to use as leader-enders over the next couple of weeks.  Here are a few that got finished as I stitched up the Tonganoxie/Fun with Barb Nine-Patches.

My big focus for the rest of this year is going to be working on the blocks for the Gathered Harvest appliqué quilt.  This was a BOM from the Quilted Owl.  My goal was to perfect my machine appliqué skills on this project.  All the pieces are ready to be stitched for this block, so I just need some un-interrupted machine stitching time.

Sorry for the long re-cap!  It looks like I've accomplished a lot over the past few weeks, but honestly, most of these projects just needed a few hours of attention to get them Finished.  It makes me happy to see the progress, and the noise from UFOs has abated somewhat.  I think it's almost time to reward myself with a new project!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Cheating on the No New Project Diet

I've been on a (No) New Project Diet for several weeks now.  My goal has been to finish up some long-standing projects before I start anything new.  

The diet has been working pretty well, but sometimes it's hard to resist the urge to have some creative fabric play.  Inspiration struck this week when I decided it was OK to indulge in fabric play - for a project that was already under way.

I started making Burgoyne Surrounded blocks last year as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I hadn't made any for several months, but the need for some fabric therapy got me going again.  The RSC color(s) for this month are dark green and sage.  The starting fabric for this block was the small green floral.  The scraps didn't lead in exactly the dark green direction I intended, but I like the result. 

This block started with the dark green batik.  I haven't sewn all the parts together yet, but you can see how I handle all the little pieces.  First, sew the different block units (9 patches, 4 patches, etc.) together, then assemble all the parts into rows.

We are having glorious Autumn weather here in our neck of the Gu'f Coast.  Dear Hubby and I both took Friday off from work (gotta use those vacation days, they disappear at the end of the year!) and have been chillin' at our camp.  Of course being at the camp means I get to sew on my Singer 15K treadle.  I enjoyed many happy hours of stitching this weekend!

And what was I stitching?  Some 9-patches from a swap organized by Barb at Fun With Barb.  This project has been on my Finish It list for over a year.  I'm so happy to finally be assembling these into a quilt top!  This picture is a tease, because the final block arrangement will be very different.

And since we're enjoying the camp, I decided it was time to hang my New Orleans Sunflowers quilt.  This was my first hand appliqué quilt.  My inspiration was a pattern by Anita Shackleford.  Dear Hubby made the quilt hanger for me.

I haven't given up on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so I'm linking up with them this week.  It's always great to see all the colorful inspiration on display!  

Sunday, October 21, 2018

October Potpourri (No Pumpkin Spice!)

When your current goal is to finish a bunch of outstanding projects, it's hard to come up with compelling blog topics.  Right now I'm in the process of hand-stitching the binding on a queen-size quilt.  I'm not one of those people who can stitch down a binding in one long session (carpal tunnel issues), so I try to do a little bit of stitching every day.  I'll get this one finished eventually, but there are three more waiting in the binding queue!

This is the quilt being bound:  Austen Family Album - a BOW by Barbara Brackman.  I divided up my completed blocks and made two quilts with them.  The colors are a little washed out here, but I love the soft look of the pink, yellow, and turquoise fabrics.

The first Austen Family Album quilt contained orange, green and brown fabrics.  I gifted the finished quilt to my sister.

We're finally getting some cooler fall weather here in South Louisiana.  I was inspired to do a little decorating.  I purchased the turkey platter on the left at an antique mall almost exactly 4 years ago.  After that first purchase, my Dear Hubby and I seemed to stumble across vintage turkey platters every time we went antiquing.  Pretty soon we had a collection.  My favorites are the ones with advertising for local furniture stores.  They must have been premiums for folks who purchased furniture around the holidays.

We couldn't stop with just turkey platters, we had to start adding turkey figures, too.  

My Halloween decorating is minimal compared to what I did when my kids were small.  There's a closet full of Halloween decorations, waiting for grandkids or a garage sale, whichever comes first!  I made this little quilt from brown and orange scraps and a great jack-o-lantern fabric.  It's perfect for displaying some Halloween push puppets and wind-up toys.

And now it's time to go stitch some more binding!  I hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Still on the Finish It Train!

I have not been blogging much recently, because most of my quilting activity has involved hand-stitching bindings.  I've finished the binding on one quilt and started another, but there are still FOUR more in the pile of un-bound quilts!  

And why have I been focused on all this binding?  Because I'm still on a kick to finish up some UFOs!

This quilt got finished up earlier this week.  It's had a final trip through the washer and dryer and I'm more than happy with how it softened up and got crinkly.

The weather is not conducive to outdoor pictures today, but I wanted to document the quilt before mailing it off to a family member.  This quilt started out as an effort to use up a big stock of red, white and blue scraps from a previous quilt.  First I made the 16-patch blocks, then added the pinwheels (inspired by a Bonnie Hunter quilt).  Next, a red border followed by an HST zig-zag border (maybe my favorite type of border?!) and another dark blue border to frame everything.

My local long-arm quilter, Cindy Braiwick, had fun adding some patriotic quilting elements.

She added lots of stars, some words, and other patriotic symbols.  The quilt is a gift for my uncle, who is retired from the US Air Force.

The quilting showed up better on the back of the quilt, although I had to tweak the color to improve the visual.

And yup - I remembered to add a label!

Another quilt on the Finish It! list is Modern Crosses.  I should probably call this Not Modern Crosses, as I used reproduction fabrics instead of modern fabrics.  These are blue blocks for September's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color.

I needed five more blocks to complete the setting, so I chose some multi-color florals.

I wasn't in love with just arranging the blocks in a straight set, so I looked online to see if anyone else was making the pattern and how they were setting the blocks.

When I saw several versions of the quilt using this half-drop setting, I knew I had a winner.  Now to cut some half-size pieces for the side blocks and stitch everything together!

I also did a little experimental sewing.  I needed a clear vinyl bag of some sort to carry necessities to an upcoming American football game.  Any bags being carried into American sports stadiums need to conform to a specific size and be see-through.  I knew I could probably make something from materials I had on hand, so I went looking for inspiration online.  Diane Knott at Butterfly Threads had recently made a bag of her own, and I also found this tutorial which got me started.

I didn't want my bag to be team-specific, so I chose some stash fabric with fall colors.  I already had some vinyl on hand, and some lightweight fusible interfacing for the handles.  Not bad for an afternoon's sewing!  Now I'll have something to tote my wallet, sunglasses, reading glasses and lip balm - all things I hate to be without!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Carpenter's Wheel - Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2018

I thought I would join the fun and share a quilt for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.
I started this quilt in 2014, making one block each month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.   I had wanted to make a Carpenter's Wheel quilt (also known as Carpenter's Star) since my earliest days as a quilter, and I figured one block per month was a good way to accomplish the dream.  I drafted my own pattern using half-square triangles so I could avoid the dreaded Y seam in my blocks.

After completing eight blocks, I needed one more for a nine-block quilt.  Going back to my scrappy inspiration, I made the final block using all the previous colors.

I have a great working relationship with my local long-arm quilter, Cindy Braiwick.  She did a great job of adding more spark to the quilt with her quilting.

I finally put the final stitch in the binding and pronounced the quilt FINISHED early in 2018.  Right now it's hanging on the wall in my dining room where I can enjoy it every day!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Flamingos and Football

It's football season again in the U.S.  

I was never a huge football fan, until my sons got old enough to appreciate the sport.  They both played football for a few years in school, and developed a love of the game that persists to this day.  My hubby was a life-long fan, so I had to learn to love the game in self-defense.  

Now it's a given that my family will gather together for any opportunity to watch football on television - be it college or professional.  That means I need stitching projects to keep my hands busy during the games!

Just as the season was getting started I realized I had run out of flamingo hexies to hand-stitch.

I started making these hexies about a year and a half ago, using Barb Vedder's Hex Vex pattern.  It's been a great adventure in fussy cutting!  Just when I think I've run out of ideas for fussy cut blocks, I'll get a new inspiration.

I've been taking stock of my completed blocks and thinking about what styles and colors I need to make a nicely balanced finished quilt.  These hexies are all created from three 60º diamond shapes.

Inspired by Cathy's All Creatures Great and Small, I added some hexies made from equilateral triangles.

It helps to have some plain (not pieced) hexies in the mix, too.

The hexie stars are probably the most satisfying block for fabric play.  They've got the most pieces/seams, but they're so much fun!

I've been doing a lot of cutting and playing this weekend, so now I've got a stack of block components that should keep me busy for at least part of football season!  (Haha - if I run out of hexies, I've always got quilt bindings that need to be hand-stitched!)

Are you still reading?  You must like flamingos!  I've been collecting them for many years, so I'm attuned to all things flamingo.
You can imagine how tickled I was to receive this picture from my youngest son this week.  I'm glad to see he doesn't fall far from the tree!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

In Praise of Dark Blue Scraps

There's a new page on the calendar and a new color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This month's challenge is to use the dark blue and dark neutral scraps in the bin.  I have a never-ending stash of blue scraps, so it was short work to pull some strips for a 49-patch block.

With this block completed, I now have 24 of these seven inch beauties.  

I think this may be my favorite block arrangement so far!  I love the effect the white squares create.  A large quilt in this style, made in rainbow colors, would be wonderful.  Unfortunately, I don't want to make any more seven inch blocks, so this will be the extent of this project.  Maybe I'll tackle a larger version - with larger blocks - at some point in the future.

These sailboat blocks were a souvenir from the Pensacola Quilter's Guild Show of 1993.  They sat around in a drawer until 2016, when I decided to assemble them as part of the blue Rainbow Scrap Challenge month.  All the assembly fabrics came from my scrap stash.  

After the sailboats were assembled, they languished some more because I couldn't decide how to quilt them.  Finally I decided to just "get 'er done" and added batting and backing and started hand quilting.  The quilting isn't fancy, but it holds the layers together and was good practice.  

The backing is scraps of lobster fabric from another quilt.  I even added a hanging sleeve!

I'm adding my blue scraps to the RSC link-up - always fun and always inspirational!