New Orleans House Project

Monday, December 30, 2019

Missing in Action

As usual, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s were a blogging break for me.  I don’t necessarily plan it that way, but time and desire to blog seem to disappear during that time frame.  Lucky for me, my quilting mojo didn’t disappear, so I have a few things to report on before we turn the page to a new year.

Our oldest son (Andrew) moved to Denver, Colorado at the beginning of September.  When he left, he only took the stuff he could fit in his car, and left his remaining belongings and dog with us until he could retrieve them later in the year.  He flew home for Thanksgiving, and by Saturday morning we had packed his stuff into Dear Husband’s pick-up truck and headed for Denver (dog included).

I won’t bore you will all of our adventures, but I will say I look forward to flying to Denver next time around!  We came back to New Orleans using a different route in an attempt to avoid some bad traffic congestion along the Texas/New Mexico route.  All told, we traveled 2700 miles and passed through seven states!

Just as we returned, our youngest son (David) flew in from Dallas.  It just so happened to be the perfect time to celebrate David and Dear Husband's December birthdays.  David is also a huge fan of his alma mater's football team - LSU - so his Dallas friends surprised him with an LSU football-themed birthday cake. 

Dear Husband and Bailey
Right before Christmas, our dog Bailey, a black lab mix, succumbed to a rapidly spreading form of cancer.  Bailey came to us as a puppy twelve years ago.  She was left on our front door-step in a basket with pink toys and a pink blanket.  Since she arrived just before my husband’s birthday, he considered her the Best Birthday Present Ever, and they were bonded at the hip.  The house feels pretty empty now, since Andrew’s dog is gone, too.  Our sweetheart yellow lab, McKenzie, doesn’t quite know what to do with herself.

In between all that, I managed to do some stitching here and there.

Project Numero Uno was to finish the black and gold Endless Chain quilt I started for Andrew.  I completed the piecing before Thanksgiving, and Diane Knott (Butterfly Threads Quilting) was able to long-arm quilt it for me while I was adventuring out west.  I’ve been trying to get the binding stitched and label attached so I can send it to Andrew as soon as possible.

I also made some blocks for Barb Vedder’s Oh My Stars swap.  Oops!  I didn’t take any pictures before I sent the finished blocks to Barb.  I did the Modern swap this time, and I’m looking forward to playing with my blocks later in January!

Thinking toward 2020, I knew there were a couple of Rainbow Scrap projects that needed some attention.  I made a batch of yellow Ring of Stars blocks, but I still need red blocks before I can assemble my RSC efforts on this quilt.

I also cut up lots of scraps for Carolina Chain leader-ender blocks.  Some Christmas fabric scraps made it into the latest batch of blocks.

There’s more to share, but I’ll stop here for now.  I’m not in much of a mind to do a retrospective of the quilts of 2019, but I have been giving a lot of thought to what stitching projects will be under the needle in 2020.  Let’s hope it’s a great year for quilting!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Last Look at Treadle On Origami Bow-Tie Blocks

I've posted several times about my Origami Bow-Tie quilt.  The quilt was made with 3-D, or Origami Bow-Tie blocks in an exchange with members of the Treadle On vintage and antique sewing machine group.  The guidelines for the exchange required making the bow-tie blocks using a pre-1900 sewing machine.

My blocks were made on a Singer VS 3 hand-cranked sewing machine from around 1894.  The machine makes a great, smooth straight stitch.  I call her Bertha in honor of my maternal great-grandmother.
The VS in the machine's name stands for Vibrating Shuttle. 

The bullet-shaped shuttle holds the bobbin, and "vibrates" back and forth, catching the thread loop created by the needle and creating the stitches.  

Once I finished machine appliquéing the borders (not on a vintage or antique sewing machine!), I sent the quilt off to my local long-arm quilter, Cindy Braiwick.  I didn't give her a lot of specific instructions on the quilting, so she could get as inspired as she wanted.

I may have already mentioned the emotional attachment I have to this quilt.  The block exchange took place just prior to Hurricane Katrina, and I received my exchanged blocks just as I was about to move back home to New Orleans after being evacuated for about six weeks.

When I picked up the quilt from Cindy after she finished the quilting, I may have gotten a little verklempt.  I was just blown away by what she had done with the quilt!

First, she chose a perfect design for the blow-tie blocks.  Every part of the block was quilted except for the bow tie "knot" - the 3-D part.  

Even better, she really filled in around the appliqué shapes with lots of different designs.

One of my favorites - the feather and heart design shown here.

It took a little while, but I finally finished the binding, sleeve and label for this quilt.  It's hanging on my hallway quilt rack so I can admire it every day!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

October's Five (tiny) Tuesdays

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge for October was to use up dark scraps like browns, blacks, and grays.  I found lots of great scraps to use for Tiny Tuesday blocks - and there were FIVE Tuesdays in October!

Tiny Tuesday block one:  Walking in the Dark 
I had some scraps from the black and gold quilt I'm making for my son Andrew, so I put them to good use!

Week two:  Geese Circle
I used some scraps from a recent Halloween quilt for the second Tiny Tuesday block.  The center square is supposed to be light gray, but there was a perfect skull begging for fussy cutting, so that became the center instead.

Week three:  Jacob's Ladder
This is the base pattern for my son's quilt, so just for fun I made a Tiny Tuesday version.  The pepper fabric has been in my stash for years, and I enjoy using the scraps as often as possible.

Week three:  I Love Chocolate!
I forget the name of this block, but I used some scraps of chocolate bar fabric.  The block was kind of boring with a blank center, so I cut out a chocolate-dipped strawberry and appliquéd it.

Week five:  Cornerstones
Happy Halloween!  These scraps were from a baby quilt I made for my niece, who was born in October.  That "baby" just turned 16 and got her driver's license!

My other Rainbow Scrap projects are on hold for the time being.  I need to focus on getting the black and gold quilt finished so I can give it to my son as soon as possible.  Once that is finished, there are RSC projects calling out to be completed!

Linking up with other scrap lovers at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Hospital Sketches BOM: Hand Appliqué

For the past two years or so, I've been trying to perfect my machine appliqué skills.  I wanted to become proficient with machine appliqué because I believed using the sewing machine would help me finish projects more quickly.

My favorite method of machine appliqué is to prep the pieces using the freezer paper and starch method, then stitch the pieces in place using a small zig-zag stitch and fine monofilament or polyester thread.  I relied on a couple of resources to learn this technique:  Barbara Brackman's Quilter's Guide to Fine Machine Appliqué, Kim Diehl's Simple Appliqué, and the classic Mastering Machine Appliqué by Harriet Hargrave.

So there I was, happily stitching down lots of Mountain Laurel leaves for one of the Hospital Sketches BOM blocks, when my sewing machine developed a problem.  I knew I wouldn't be able to take the machine in to get checked out until the following week, so I decided to finish appliquéing the laurel leaves by hand.  

I quickly fell under the spell of hand stitching the appliqué pieces to the background fabric.  I also realized I could easily stitch a piece or two every morning before work - all I needed to do was sit down, thread a needle and stitch.  Somehow it seemed easier than prepping the sewing machine and doing the machine appliqué.  

Once I started to appreciate the soothing effects of hand appliqué, I figured I should try hand stitching another block in the Hospital Sketches BOM.  Tennessee Rose went together easily, especially since I was still using the freezer paper/starch prep method.

This morning I finished the eighth block in the series, Triple Tulips.  Only one more block left to finish for the Hospital Sketches BOM - and I guess I'll be using hand appliqué for that block, too.

Gathered Harvest block from 2018 BOM
Now that I've discovered how much I enjoy the hand appliqué process, I'm already thinking about future hand appliqué projects.  There's 2018's Gathered Harvest BOM that got set aside when Hospital Sketches started, and an Oak Leaf and Reel table runner pattern I've had on my wish list for some time...
This new-found love of hand appliqué seems like it will be a fun and satisfying enterprise.  My only concern is when will I find time for other hand stitching projects - like quilt binding and hand quilting?!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Few More Purple Scraps

September's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color was purple.  After finishing my planned purple scrap blocks, I didn't have a lot of scraps to stitch up blocks for the Parts Department.  Usually, having a month-long focus on a color pushes me to pull bits and pieces from the fabric stash and slice them up into useful sized strips and squares for the scrap bins.  That didn't happen with purple, because I got focused on some other projects.

I did have some two inch squares and strips to turn into 4-patch blocks and Carolina Chain blocks.

I also kept up with making Tiny Tuesday blocks, although I veered off course for two of my blocks.   The top left block is Crow's Foot and the top right block is London Roads - both from Judy Hopkins' 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks.  
The bottom two blocks were provided via Angela's Tiny Tuesday blocks:  Card Trick and Bright Hopes.  

The theme for October scraps is to use dark fabrics like black and brown.  That fits in nicely with one of my non-RSC projects: a black and gold Endless Chain quilt.
My oldest son recently moved to Denver, Colorado.  He requested a black and gold quilt to remind him of home (black and gold being the colors of the New Orleans Saints football team).  This will be a planned scrappy quilt, so I spent some time experimenting with different fabric combinations to see what would work.  I knew my son would not be a huge fan of metallic fabrics, so I stuck with several variations of gold-colored fabric instead.  It reads more like brown in the photograph, but it looks more gold in person.  Instead of cotton batting, I'm planning to use wool - I figure he'll need the warmth!

For more inspiration on using black and brown scraps, be sure to visit the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Quilty Halloween Fun

On a recent trip to my local quilt shop, Mes Amis, I spied some fun Halloween fabric.  
I knew some of the fabric needed to come home with me, but it was such a large print, I wasn't sure how I would use it in a quilt.  

And really, who could resist this Halloween kitty?!

Of course my quilt shop pals came to my rescue, recommending a pattern called "Awry" by Mountain Peak Creations.  Not exactly the type of pattern I usually want to try, but perfect for the large prints in this group.

Here are a few of the prints from the same group

Yes, those are skulls on the fabric selvedge!

Not quite a quilt in a day project, but definitely a quilt in a weekend.  I stitched on the outer borders this afternoon in between NFL football games.  At this rate, I might actually have the quilt finished in time for Halloween!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Purple Patchwork

We're already half-way through the month of September, and I'm just getting around to playing with this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color:  purple!

Two purple Sugar Bowls wrapped up the design plan for using these blocks in a quilt.  I won't be able to start assembling the blocks any time soon, but but I have a plan.  

I've really enjoyed this block style - I think I'll try a different basket-style block for a future RSC project!

Ring of Stars has been another fun block project.  I'm making this quilt for a friend, but I like the pattern so much, I might have to make another one for myself!

I'm always amazed by the varieties of the color purple.  Both of these fabrics are purple, but they look completely different!  

And...purples are hard to photograph!  This fabric is dark purple, but not as dark as the photo.

I'll save all my purple Tiny Tuesday blocks for a post later this month.  In the meantime, there's more purple inspiration at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up for today.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Dog Days of Summer, Chapter 2019

The Dog Days of Summer usually end in late August, but my dog days continue a little longer.
These four fur-children are my summer companions.  The black lab mix and light yellow lab mix (foreground) are my dogs, Bailey and McKenzie.  The dog with black spots is my son Andrew's dog, Moose.  The darker yellow lab is my son David's dog, Jozy.  Moose and Andrew have been living with us for the past two years while Andrew went back to school.  Jozy visits for about six weeks every summer while David is in California for work.  I call my house Doggy Day Care!

Tomorrow I get to drive to Natchitoches, Louisiana to meet up with David and hand over his dog.  Natchitoches (pronounced "Nack-a-tish") is about half-way between New Orleans and Dallas, where David and Jozy usually live.

In another week, Andrew will be taking off for Denver, Colorado and a new career since graduating from school (second time's the charm).  The plan is to leave Moose with us for a little while until he gets settled.  Then I guess another dog-delivery trip will be in order!

In spite of all the four-legged assistants, I did manage to do some Rainbow Scrap Challenge stitching this month.
For example, some Tiny Tuesday blocks with light blue or bright blue scraps.

Random 4-patch blocks that go to the Parts Department.

These Carolina Chain blocks look a bit chaotic, but they should be fine when all the scrappy colors are done and put together.

Linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week.  Thinking of friends and family in Florida as Hurricane Dorian churns offshore, waiting for the forces of Mother Nature to figure out where the storm will land.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Hospital Sketches BOM: Never Give Up!

No surprise - I'm still trying to catch up with my appliqué blocks for Barbara Brackman's Hospital Sketches BOM.

The June block was Pineapple.  The pattern introduction also featured a great story about Walt Whitman visiting Civil War hospitals in Washington, DC.  Highly recommended reading!

My fabric choices don't look so great in the photograph, but the blue print on a white background does show up better in person.  If I were doing the block over, I think I'd choose a different fabric, maybe a with a light blue background.  Learning about appliqué fabric choices was one of my goals for this project, and I've already learned lots!

The July block was Mountain Laurel.  I finished prepping all the leaves yesterday.  I just need to make the bias stems for each batch of leaves and I'll be ready to stitch everything in place.  

The next block in the series is Tennessee Rose.  I doubt I'll finish Mountain Laurel and get a good start on the rose before a new block is introduced this coming Wednesday.  It's OK, I'll just keep working through at my own speed!  It's all about the process, not the result - right?

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Scrappy Times

I never get tired of making scrappy quilts!  I added a new project to my Rainbow Scrap Challenge list last month in an effort to use up more of the strips filling my 2 inch scrap bin.

Carolina Chain is a Bonnie Hunter pattern.  It's a variation on a 9-patch block which results in light and dark chains criss-crossing the quilt.  This makes a great leader-ender project, as the cutting and piecing are quick and easy.  I'll keep making these for the next year or so until there are enough for a quilt.  Hopefully, they will put a dent in the 2 inch strip bin!

I also paired up some random 2 inch scraps into 4-patch blocks.  These go into the Parts Department and will eventually become part of another scrappy quilt.

Tiny Tuesday blocks are great for using up small scraps.  I'm glad I tried my hand at intense flip triangles for Sally's pink piglet.  I chose the pink and brown fabric for the piggy body as it reminded me of chocolate-covered bacon!

No pink scraps were harmed for another Burgoyne Surrounded block.  I only need three more blocks for the BS quilt, so I'm looking through scrappy chunks of multi-colored prints on white backgrounds for block inspiration.  I love these little birds, so decided to give them their own block.

Ditto for this multi-colored fish print.   It is now part of the Burgoyne scrappiness.  Only one block left to make, and I'm having trouble deciding on colors and fabrics.  It probably won't be this month's RSC color, light blue, but who knows where inspiration will lead?!

More scrappy goodies to be seen at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Little More Pink

It was a fun Saturday!  My company sponsors health fairs around the state to help kids get back-to-school check-ups.  Today's health fair was here in New Orleans, so our local office team helped out.  We had a great turn-out, and lots of kids got check-ups.  I was on my feet for a big chunk of the day, so I was happy to get home, have a cup of tea, and then do a little sewing!

I'm still making blocks for a Ring of Stars quilt.  They go together quickly and use up lots of scrappy chunks.  
I didn't start making these blocks until March of this year, so I missed a few Rainbow Scrap colors.  I'll have to go back and catch them later.

I found enough pink chunks to make another pink Burgoyne Surrounded block.  I only need three more Burgoyne blocks, so I think I'll just go ahead and finish them.  Maybe I won't make any mistakes if I do them all at the same time!

The days of pink for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are winding down, but there's still plenty of inspiration at the weekly link-up.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Making More Pink Scraps

Pink is the color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month.  As I looked through my fabric bins, I realized my scrappy pink choices were getting a little thin.  That meant I needed to make some more scraps, i.e. indulge in a little stash enhancement.  Fortunately, I found some great pink fat quarters and have sliced most of them up into usable strips and chunks to feed the RSC fun!

Before I started on the pink scraps though, I was inspired by the Fourth of July to make a red, white, and blue Burgoyne Surrounded block.
I wanted to use that red, white, and blue print that looks like fireworks as the central fabric for the block.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

I had already cut out this pink and green block last year, but never got around to stitching it.  It went together quickly, although I just now spotted two errors.  Just when I think I can finally make these blocks without mistakes, I mess up!

I used some of my new pink scraps and chunks for two Sugar Bowl blocks.

They will join previous Sugar Bowl blocks.  I think I only need two more colors to finish out all the blocks for this quilt.

There are still some more pink projects to work on this month, but first I need to go fix that &*@! Burgoyne block.  Go enjoy some pink scrappy projects at the RSC link-up while I practice my seam ripping!