New Orleans House Project

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Is 2020 Really Almost Over?

Here it is, the last day of 2020 - and I think most of us are wondering (anxiously?) what 2021 will hold in store.  I feel optimistic in general, but only time will tell if 2021 turns out to be better than 2020.

On a personal note, Dear Hubby and I have been left unscathed by our brush with the Covid-19 virus.  DH never had more than very minor symptoms, and his second Covid test (at the appropriate interval) was negative.  I never had any symptoms, and since he tested negative both times, it's safe to assume I was never infected.  DH's colleague - who was infected - has recovered enough to return to work, although he's still reporting fatigue.  The best news:  the hospital where my husband works got their shipment of vaccine, and DH has already received his first dose!

After sewing up a batch of 25-patch blocks at the beginning of our quarantine, I didn't have much sewing energy.  I came up with a mindless sewing project that took a few days: 

Yes - seven more Lego quilt blocks - another row!
These went quickly and I added them to the Lego quilt flimsy.  Now the quilt measures 70 inches by 80 inches, and I'm happy with the size.  Time for quilting. 

We had a very quiet Christmas.  Dear Hubby gave me a copy of Barbara Brackman's new edition of The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  I look forward to many hours of study.

Sometime after Christmas, I started having dangerous thoughts about a post-holiday T-shirt Quiltathon.

I had the makings of at least three large t-shirt quilts stored away in various bins and baskets.  

Some of the shirts have been waiting a long time for their day in a quilt.  I decided now was the time to get these UFOs crossed off the list.  This batch of dark/bright shirts were already cut and ready for fusible stabilizer to be ironed on.  I need some sashing fabric and I can start assembling.

The next batch of shirts still need trimming and stabilizing.
Some aren't in great shape, but they have happy memories, so they're going in a quilt anyway!

The third batch of shirts are from my youngest son.  I haven't even looked at them yet. šŸ˜±

I'll be happy when the quilt are finished - and when they're done, I don't plan on making any more t-shirt quilts! 

I decided it would be a good idea to organize my quilting thoughts for the coming year.  Life has a funny way of interfering with our plans, but I'm hoping I'll at least make a dent in the list!

Wishing everyone a healthy and uneventful 2021!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Rainbow Scrap Update

I rifled through my drawer of Kaffe Fassett and tropical bright fabrics last weekend.  I was looking for bright prints to add to my 25-Patch Star quilt.  

Those fabrics and a few others added to the star collection, so I'm getting pretty close to having enough blocks to start assembling a quilt top.

I just need to finish hand-piecing the flamingo hexies together so I can clear off the design wall. 

 I've been hand-stitching the hexies together and binge-watching Netflix shows, although at times there's been more watching than stitching!  

Since I had to create new scraps to make more 25-Patch Star blocks, I went ahead and cut more Easy Breezy leader-ender parts.  I've assembled a few blocks, but there's also a nice big stack of parts sitting next to the sewing machine.

On the Public Health front:  we've had an ironic turn of events at our house.

Last weekend, our youngest son came home to officiate at/attend the wedding of a very good friend.  We were all very nervous about the situation, but he tested negative for Covid-19, guidelines were followed, masks were worn, distances were kept, etc.  

The wedding itself was very small, outdoors, and again, precautions were observed.  

It was wonderful to see our son for the weekend, but we breathed a sigh of relief when he left for home (where his job will require him to quarantine and have negative testing before he can interact in-person with the work environment again).

Imagine our surprise on Tuesday, when my husband's employer informed him a co-worker had just tested positive for Covid-19.  Dear Husband and co-worker had just spent the previous day working in very close proximity.  Fortunately, everyone was protected by masks and face shields at the time, and the employee with Covid was only reporting mild symptoms.

So, we are quarantining through Christmas.  I've moved into the guest bedroom.  Dear Hubby has tested negative and has very mild symptoms.  He'll be retested early next week.  Knock on wood - I'm feeling fine.  What a year!  

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Christmas Flurry and Sports Fan Pillow

 A few quilted gifts were given in the past week.

I call this quilt "Flurry" since it was made from Kate Spain's line of Christmas fabrics with the same name.  I gifted it to my next-door neighbors in Mississippi; they're all-round great folks and have been tremendously helpful this year with hurricane prep.

I'm not sure if there's a specific name for this pattern, but it was quick and easy to make using a jelly roll and some background fabric (Moda Grunge, which I happened to have in my stash).

Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting did the long-arm quilting for me, using a pattern of old-fashioned Christmas tree lights.  The quilt finished up at 58" x 75", perfect for snuggling under on the sofa on a chilly, damp Mississippi afternoon!

Another gift I finished recently was for my youngest son, the football fan.  

Several years ago, we collaborated on a quilt in honor of the football history of his alma mater, Louisiana State University.  Last year, LSU added a new national title to their history, and we discussed the idea of another quilt, but nothing was decided.

In the meantime, I made him a pillow for his upcoming birthday.
The pattern is from Amy Sinabaldi at the Nana Pattern Company.  Her version is for a Christmas pillow (aka the Merry and Bright Cushion Cover).

I used purple and gold fabrics from my stash, along with some snippets of tiger fabric.  The embroidered words refer to an LSU chant beloved by students but banned by the school administration.  I knew my son would appreciate the humor of it.

BTW, I learned something useful while making the pillow:  Google has a huge free font library.  

The pillow calls for using a font called "Sacramento" to do the embroidery.  Amy provided a full-size pattern for the phrases she used on her pillow, but directs users to the free font library in case they want to use their own phrases.

If you're like me and enjoy using different fonts for quilt labels or whatever, it's easy to download and install the fonts on your computer.  

And, if you want to add different fonts to your Blogger posts, you can also download and install the fonts using the Blogger toolbar.  
  • Look for the letter "A" in a dark box on the left side of the toolbar - aka "Font Type".  When you click on the box, you'll get a drop-down of choices - choose Add More Fonts.   
  • A screen of font choices will open; scroll through the fonts to choose one you like, then click the Select button at the bottom of the screen.  The font will be installed for you to use in Blogger.  
  • You can install numerous fonts using the same process for each font.
  • When you're ready to use the font, highlight the text you want to appear in the new font, open the Font Type drop-down box, and select the font you want to use.  Your text will change to the new font.    
I hope I'm not the last one to discover this feature in Blogger.  I never noticed it as an option before the recent "improvements" to the blogging interface.  Now that I know it's there, I'll be having fun playing with different fonts in my blog posts!

Quilting forever, housework for never!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Buffet of Stitching

 My sewing machine has been taking an unintended break from sewing.  Several hand stitching projects have demanded my attention, so the sewing machine has been neglected.

I guess this is one way to neglect your sewing machine.  
(can't you just hear a Disney song in the background?)

For example, there's the new free BOM from Sentimental Stitches - Poppy's Polka Dot Garden.
Poppy's Polka Dot Garden, block 1

Poppy's Polka Dot Garden block 2

I've finished the first two blocks using a combination of freezer paper and back basting techniques.  Blocks 3 and 4 are still in the planning stages.  Block 4 (and the pattern calls for two of these blocks) is an 18 inch block, so I may wind up using machine appliquĆ© to keep from getting too far behind.

Ok, I did use the sewing machine for the Cassandra's Circle Block #10.  Freezer paper and starch for prepping the pieces and invisible machine appliquĆ© made quick work of this block.

Last time I showed this project, there were only two appliquĆ©d sunflower blocks and an idea.  I hand appliquĆ©d another sunflower, then set the blocks together with some fabrics from the stash.  Now it is pinned and waiting for quilting (I'm waiting on some thread).

Last - but certainly not least - the hexie flamingos are being assembled into a quilt top.  I've been hand stitching the hexies into small groups in an attempt to avoid having to stitch long, awkward rows of blocks together.  I figure there will ultimately be some long rows or columns that need to be stitched, but I'm avoiding that for now.  I have to pay attention as I do the assembly - it's too easy to get mixed up and sew a hexie in the wrong position.  I'm keeping the blocks pinned on the design wall and only taking down two or three blocks at a time to avoid errors!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving (and Moo-velous Giveaway Results)


Happy Thanksgiving!

And congratulations to Barb Vedder, who will soon be receiving a package of udder-ly inspiring bovine fabrics and scraps!

Friday, November 20, 2020

A Moo-velous Quilt and Giveaway


I finally finished this "moo-velous" quilt - it's been over 25 years in the making!

My youngest son's kindergarten teacher had a classroom full of kitschy cow decorations.  It all began as a joke, but appreciative parents kept supplying more cow-themed goodies until the cows took over the room!

Of course I planned to make her a cow-themed quilt, but when she got wind of my plans she politely begged off.  I had already begun collecting cow fabrics, so I decided to make a cow medallion quilt for myself.

Initially, I tried to use only fabrics with cow designs, but I wasn't happy with the results - let's just say the seam ripper got a lot of use!  After many years of trying and giving up, I finally decided it was time to finish the quilt and move on.

I experimented with lots of interesting techniques as I worked on the quilt.  One the earliest was fussy-cutting (see the centers of the Ohio Star blocks above), which has turned out to be one of my favorite quilting techniques!

I recently asked Diane Knott of Butterfly Quilting to long-arm quilt the top for me.  I finished up the binding a few weeks ago, but didn't have a good opportunity for picture-taking until recently.

I still haven't added a label, as I'm undecided about the quilt's name.  My best idea is "Life is Moo-velous", but I would love to hear any ideas you all might have.

As I mentioned before, it's time to moo-ve on from the cows, so I'm offering some bovine inspiration to anyone who is interested.  All the fabrics below will be included in this giveaway.

My quilt started with this fabric panel from Joan Kessler for Concord Fabrics.  

There's also another panel of shapes to cut out and appliquƩ, or use for fussy-cutting.

Also included:  scraps, unused blocks, and some additional yardage.

Yes, this is all vintage fabric (mostly from the mid-late 1990s), and no, you won't hurt my feelings if you're not interested!

If you ARE interested, let me know via the comment section.  If multiple folks are interested, I'll draw a name on Wednesday, November 25th and notify the lucky recipient.  If you are a no-reply blogger, make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you!  

Saturday, November 14, 2020

A Little RSC Progress

 I have not had many active Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects this year.  I finished a few RSC projects from previous years, and made lots of leader-ender blocks.  I also started making 25-patch star blocks part-way through the year, and added to that collection as the year went on.

I've been trying to use print fabrics for the 25-patch star blocks.  Here are the results from October's RSC color, yellow.  

And since I'm trying to knock out as many blocks as possible before the end of the year, I went back and made some aqua/teal blocks as well.

I now have all the rainbow colors completed for this project, so next I'll go digging through the black and brown scraps for some useful prints.  I currently have 32 blocks made and would like at least 48 blocks before I start assembling.

I've also been making Bonnie Hunter's latest leader-ender block, Easy Breezy.  I try to keep a stack of leader-ender parts stacked up near the sewing machine, but I've run out and need to replenish my supply.  I'll keep making these through next year, as I don't have nearly enough for a quilt yet.

I leave you with this amazing map from the National Hurricane Center.
It seems like I've talked about hurricane warnings in every post this summer.  Turns out I wasn't far from wrong!  The map illustrates the number of days spent in the dreaded "Cone of Uncertainty" for tropical weather predictions.  This year is definitely one for the record books!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Waiting on Zeta

 Of course it was bound to happen.  Six times this hurricane season, storms have threatened the New Orleans area, only to change course and go elsewhere.  The seventh time is our lucky time! šŸ˜
Hurricane Zeta, now a Category 2 storm, is approaching the coast of Louisiana and will be affecting the New Orleans area by dinner time.  The main threat expected here is 70 - 90 mph winds.  Good news:  the storm is moving quickly, so it should be gone before midnight.

We have made all our preparations and are now in waiting mode.  We've been through hurricanes many times before, so we know what to do and what to expect.  We'll probably lose power, so I may be offline for awhile.

In the meantime, I'm trying to stay focused on some stitching projects.  

I started a practice block from Poppy's Polka Dot Garden.  I'm still an appliquĆ© novice, and I've never attempted a block this small (9 inches finished).  I wanted to see how difficult the appliquĆ© stitching would be with pieces this size.

I decided to try using the back-basting appliquĆ© technique for the practice block.  It turned out to be pretty easy, although I need to be careful not to distort the background fabric too much.  I did try a freezer paper and starch prep for one of the green flower buds, and that worked pretty well, too.  Since this was just for practice, I probably won't finish it, but will start again once I figure out what fabric(s) I want to use for the background.

The background fabric in the practice block goes perfectly with the quilt name!  It's a Thimbleberries fabric from many years ago called "A Gardener's Touch".  I have at least a yard of the fabric, so I may use it for a couple of blocks - if I can find another background fabric that compliments it.

In cleaning out and organizing drawers and bins last week, I came across these sunflower blocks and sunflower fabric.  

The appliquƩ blocks were practice blocks (I like to practice!) from when I made my New Orleans Sunflowers quilt.

The sunflower fabric was purchased years ago just because I love sunflowers.

This morning it occurred to me I could combine the two of them into a project.  Maybe a table runner? 

As luck would have it (better than lucky hurricane number seven), I had enough of the appliquĆ© sunflower fabrics left to make a third block.  I prepped another sunflower and it's just waiting for some hand stitching.

So that's what I'll be doing while waiting for Zeta!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Still Playing With Blocks

 This week found me playing with blocks again.  I don't know if the practice blocks will ever lead to finished quilt projects, but I'm enjoying the process of constructing different star-style blocks!

I decided to keep making the practice blocks using the blue starry fabric I'd used back in July.

This is the six inch version of the Wreath Star block from Moda's Countdown to Christmas BOM from last year.  The six inch size was a little fiddly, but not difficult.  Instructions are also provided for a twelve inch block, which would be great for a table runner or wall quilt project.

The next experimental block comes from 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins.

The instructions for this block use the traditional square-in-a-square piecing:  adding the white triangles to the blue center square, then adding additional blue triangles to the white square.  

I've made lots of square-in-a-square blocks in the past, and I always struggle to get the points to come out evenly.  As you can see above, my points were OK, but not perfect. šŸ˜€

As with everything in quilting these days, there are other options for making this block!
Here's experiment number two, which uses a completely different construction technique.  For this block, I used Hourglass blocks, made with three different fabrics.  For a brush-up on this technique, I used this tutorial.  The Hourglass blocks are then attached to the center square.  The corners of the block are completed with blue and white HSTs and solid blue and white squares.

Both of these blocks finish at twelve inches.  The block has lots of different names, but you'll most commonly find it called Union or Union Square.  

There are lots of design possibilities for this block.  It makes a striking two color quilt, or can be all scrappy, with different fabrics/colors for each element of the block.  I haven't decided for sure on a project using this block, but it's been fun experimenting and thinking about what might be!

Friday, October 23, 2020

AppliquƩ Update


I chose to use reverse appliquƩ for the center heart - because I've never really done reverse appliquƩ on a project. I figured the heart would be an easy intro to the process, thanks to the generous size, easy curves and only one point.

I did do a quick practice piece, just to get the right sequence for using freezer paper to prep for the appliquƩ.

As with my last Cassandra's Circle block, I used machine appliquĆ© with monofilament thread to stitch everything in place.  I've been doing plenty of hand stitching on flamingo hexies and quilt bindings, so I didn't want to add more strain to my wrists by doing hand appliquĆ©.

I've been giving some thought to my next appliquĆ© project, and looking for inspiration online and in my quilt book library.  Last week, Lori from Humble Quilts mentioned a new (free) BOM from Sentimental Stitches:  Poppy's Polka Dot Garden.  
I went ahead and downloaded the fabric requirements and setting plan, along with blocks one and two.  I'm still in thinking mode though, as the blocks are only nine inches in size - smaller than what I've been stitching lately.  I do love all the designs in the quilt, so maybe I'll take the plunge - I'm always up for a quilting challenge!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Twister Give-Away Announcement


Cheryl of Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting is the lucky winner of the Twister Tool and red, white, and blue fabrics!  

Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest!
Stay tuned, I'm cleaning out the fabric closet - there may be more give-aways in the future.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Twisted Discovery and Giveaway!

I was digging through the closet last week - trying to make room for new stash enhancement acquisitions - and this quilt top reappeared! 

I made the top in 2012 using a stash of red, white, and blue fabrics, and the Twister Tool.  I was excited to use the RWB fabrics, but disappointed in how the quilt turned out.  It just didn't have the zing I remembered from the quilt shop example.  I put the top away, figuring I'd get back to it some day.

I guess I laid my hands on the quilt top on just the right "some day", as I was inspired to add two borders and call it a finished flimsy.  Both border fabrics were already in my stash, so it was quick work to wrap things up.  The inner border is a white on white featuring scattered stars, and the outer border is a medium blue Moda Grunge.

Once the top is quilted, it can function as a wall-hanging or a lap quilt, as it measures about 66 inches square.

Now that I've had the experience of making a Twister quilt, I don't really want to make another one.  It's not a difficult design to assemble, and the tool works as advertised, but one quilt is enough for me!

With that thought in mind, I'm offering my Twister Tool free to anyone who is interested. 

This version of the tool works with 10 inch squares of fabric (aka Layer Cakes), but of course, you can also cut the 10 inch squares from fat quarters or yardage.  

To provide some inspiration, I'll also include ten 10 inch squares of red, white, and blue fabric with the tool. 

Let me know in the comments (include your email address!!) that you are interested in the Twister Tool package, and I'll draw a name and announce the winner next Monday (October 19th).  United States residents only - sorry!  Postage and the postal system are just too crazy these days!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Finished Lone Star Pillow & LePavot Table Topper

 Slowly but surely, projects do get finished up around here!

I made this Lone Star block earlier in the summer as an experiment for potential quilted Christmas gifts.  I decided against using Lone Star blocks as a jumping off point for gifts, but I did turn the block into a pillow.  I think McKenzie approves, but she'll never get to lay her head on it, so who knows?!

The pillow worked out great on the sofa at our camp!  To my eye, the pillow would look better with a larger border around the LS block, but I was using a pillow form I had on hand (16"), so I had to trim the border to fit the pillow.   Note to self: for pillows, choose a quilt block size several inches smaller than the desired pillow form, to allow for a larger border around the block.

This table runner was inspired by a blog post and a mini charm pack of LePavot fabrics.  I later learned this block setting is also called Patience Corners.

I used fabric from my stash for the blocks and backing.  Some straight-line quilting added the right amount of crinkly texture.  Binding also from the stash.

Dear Hubby made the oak ice box many years ago.  It's a great place for seasonal decorations!

Speaking of seasonal - I did not expect to be making hurricane preparations again in October!  Current predictions call for New Orleans to be on the outer edge of the storm, but we are told not to be complacent, as the forecast could change once the storm gets into the Gulf of Mexico.  The area where the storm is forecast to go ashore is still recovering from Hurricane Laura, so this is a double whammy.  December 1st (the end of hurricane season) can't get here soon enough!