New Orleans House Project

Monday, August 30, 2021

Hurricane Ida Update and August Sort-of Mini

Hi Fellow Quilters!  I wrote the post below several days ago and planned to use the auto-post feature to publish it today.  That was before we evacuated ahead of Hurricane Ida.  

After securing our home in New Orleans and our camp in Mississippi, we loaded our vehicles with the usual evacuation goodies and headed for my mom's house in Florida.  We left in the very early hours of Saturday morning, so we missed all the traffic jams you may have seen on TV.

Several friends opted to stay behind and ride out the storm in the New Orleans area.  We have been in constant touch with them through text messages and social media.  Everyone we know has weathered the storm OK, although they're a little shell-shocked by the length and intensity of the storm.  As the roads get cleared of debris and downed power lines, we're hopeful someone will be able to check on our house.

Per the electric company outage map, our camp in Mississippi apparently still has power.  We know from our neighbor's outdoor camera that water came up under the house, but since the water is still rising, we don't know the extent of the flood damage.  Our camp is elevated about 17 feet off the ground on pilings, and our whole yard is about 7 feet above the river.  Probably only a couple of feet of flooding, but it will be a mess to clean up!

As of this morning, almost the entire state is doing damage assessment.  The areas passed over by the eye of the hurricane will be heavily damaged; I'm hopeful there will not be great loss of life as well.  New Orleans had "catastrophic" damage to major power lines, so the entire city is without power (except for those with generators).  It's going to be a long road to recovery, but thank goodness the levees didn't fail (at least that we know of!) and the city won't have post-Katrina type flooding.  

We are still in watchful waiting mode.  Without power it will be difficult to live in our New Orleans home, but we may be able to live at our camp.  Time will tell.

For anyone interested, I'm sure there will soon be lots of information coming through on how you can help with storm recovery efforts.  I'll be happy to share that information as it becomes available.

And on a happier note, one of our family friends has a front-page byline in the New York Times this morning!  I don't know if the Times is dropping their paywall for coverage of Hurricane Ida, but here's the link if you're interested.  

OK, yes, there's some fabric-related content here.  I didn't actually finish an August mini this month, but I did stitch up two bags.  Not exactly quilt-related, but it's all I got!

I have a small stash of Tula Pink's Hushabye fabrics.  I originally used them to make a baby quilt, and wound up with a fair number of scrappy chunks.  They don't really play well with other fabrics, so the scraps haven't gotten used up.

I had cut and prepped the fabrics for Sotak Handmade's Devon Pouch last fall, but came to a screeching halt when I didn't have the right size zippers on hand.  While I waited for zippers to arrive from Zipit, the project got pushed aside.  

One day this week provided the perfect opportunity to assemble the pouch, and following the great pattern instructions I quickly finished the project.

I love the owl figure in the pink and brown fabric!  This will go into the gift-giving bin.  
Just playing with the Hushabye scraps gave me some new ideas for using them up - hopefully it won't take me a year to cut into them.  

I've mentioned before I have a large bin full of worn and raggedy denim jeans.  I recently cut up some of them to make Rail Fence blocks, but there's still quite a bit of denim waiting to be used.
I had some big chunks of khaki and black denim, so I used them to make a large tote bag.  The finished bag measures approximately 19" x 16".  No pattern, I just looked at a favorite tote bag and used what I know about bag construction to make my own design.

I only used supplies on hand, so the handles are denim (as opposed to webbing) and the thread is 40wt cotton/poly.  I'd go with a heavier thread next time so the topstitching shows up better.

I didn't want a lining in the bag, so that meant no fusible interfacing on the denim.  The bag turned out soft and kinda floppy, which is great for folding and stashing it when empty.  

I also didn't want to wrestle with hemming the top opening of the bag, so I used bias fabric strips as a hem facing.  

Now I've got a sturdy tote bag for taking quilting projects on the road!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Don't Forget the Scraps!

 I've been focused on other quilting projects this month, but I still found some time to work on Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.

The RSC color for August was teal/aqua.  I found lots of scraps and chunks to use, but I also cut into some yardage and made new scraps.

Taking inspiration from Gayle at Mangofeet and Cathy at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting, I started making some Antique Tile blocks.  These are great scrap busters!  You can find instructions and more inspiration at Generations Quilt Patterns.

I'm still making Sugar Loaf blocks using the instructions from American Patchwork and Quilting October 2015.

I used some previously uncut Bonnie and Camille yardage for this block.  It felt good to cut into some fabric that had been marinating for a long time!

Talk about fortuitous use of scraps - the outer print in this block is leftovers from a pillowcase I had just made to hold a gifted quilt.  It's a neat print of tropical birds and foliage, but with a watercolor painting-like feel.

Looking through my stack of Easy Breezy blocks, I noticed there were almost no aqua/teal blocks.  That was quickly remedied.

Two other scrappy projects crossed my path this month - lotto blocks from a newly joined local quilting group.  

New Orleans doesn't really have a city-wide quilting guild.  Instead, we have the region-wide Gulf States Quilting Association, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida (mostly just the panhandle area).  The group sponsors quilt shows, quilting education, and meets quarterly in different locations throughout the Gulf Coast.

Under the Association's umbrella, different localities have their own quilting organizations.  Some are large, traditional quilt guilds, others are smaller, informal gatherings.  New Orleans and the surrounding area has multiple small gatherings/groups.  I was recently invited to join one of these groups; they keep the membership around 20 members due to meeting place size constraints.  I attended my first meeting at the end of July.  I look forward to getting to know the group better!

They do lotto blocks every month.  Each month, a different member chooses the lotto block and provides instructions and background fabric.
The July block was this spool pattern.  I made mine retro-actively.

For August, the lotto blocks had a New Orleans twist.  

The lotto leader wanted to decrease her large stash of New Orleans-themed fabric scraps, so she chose the Jenny Lane house blocks pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  

The leader provided all the pre-cut fabrics instead of just the background fabric.  My fabrics included illustrations of New Orleans shotgun houses and a plate of Cafe du Monde beignets.  The winner of the lotto blocks will receive everyone's house blocks, plus a copy of the Jenny Lane pattern, so they can assemble the entire quilt.  

We are in hurricane prep mode.  The National Hurricane Center says Ida has the potential to be a Category 3 storm at landfall.  Whatever happens, we're probably in for some rough weather over the next couple of days.  As our governor says, we plan for the worst and hope for the best!

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Pyramids on the Crescent

 I spent some of this week's stitching time trying to finish a long-term project.  

Back in 2013, I purchased some New Orleans-inspired reproduction fabrics.  The line was called "New Orleans 1850" and was designed by Jean Ann Wright for Newcastle Fabrics.  I loved the fabrics, but wasn't sure how I would use them in a quilt.

Fortunately, the staff at the Quilted Owl (local quilt store, now closed) came up with a plan using the 1850s fabric and a quilt pattern from Traditional Fat Quarter Quilts by Monique Dillard.  They kitted up the necessary yardage for the Pyramid quilt and I succumbed.

Eight years later, I finally got around to making the quilt.

I really love the look of these blocks, but they were aggravating to make.  The pattern instructions called for using the flip and sew technique to make the Flying Geese blocks.  That's my least favorite method of FG construction, but I was afraid to switch to the no-waste method for fear I'd run short of fabric.  It seemed like it took forever to make all the FGs (160) and trim and press them into submission!

The pattern made good use of the gorgeous border stripe fabric.  As I was cutting the borders, I noticed a fun typo on the selvedge.

I cut and attached the borders last night, so I now have a New Orleans 1850 Pyramid quilt.  I'm not sure if that's what I'll name the quilt, but it got me thinking about pyramids in New Orleans.

I knew there was one relatively famous (infamous?) pyramid in our fair city, but a little research turned up a couple more.

New Orleans has a long tradition of above-ground burials.  Two general theories are given for this practice: our swampy, flood-prone land is unsuitable for in-ground burials, and/or ancestral residents were just following the customs popular in their home countries (France and Spain).  Whatever the reason, New Orleans cemeteries contain all sorts of unique tombs.

The oldest pyramid tomb is located in St. Louis Cemetery #1.  It was constructed in 1814 for two children.  
The tomb has been renovated, but still looks essentially the same.

In 1892, Lucien Napoleon Brunswig had this tomb built for his namesake son who died at the age of ten.  His wife was buried here about a year later.  The elder Brunswig was not interred until his death in 1943.  The tomb is located in Metairie Cemetery, which is just on the outskirts of New Orleans.

And that brings us to the most famous pyramid, a tomb built in 2010 by actor Nicolas Cage, also in St. Louis Cemetery #1.   Mr. Cage has a colorful history with the city (he once owned an infamous "haunted" house in the French Quarter) and presumably plans to enjoy New Orleans eternally.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

August for Appliqué?

 When I went to Florida last month, I took along an appliqué project that was long-neglected.

I started making the blocks for Blackbird Designs' Gathered Harvest quilt in January of 2018.  The project was a BOM from my local quilt shop, Quilted Owl (sadly, now closed).
Most of the blocks were machine appliquéd with invisible thread, but I stitched this one by hand (no sewing machine at my mom's house).

BTW, the project can be found in the book Fresh Picked in case you're looking for a Blackbird Designs project to make in honor of Barb Adams.

With this block complete, I only need to make four Grapevine Wreath blocks.
Grapevine Wreath by Barb Adams

Shouldn't take too long to make four of these blocks, right? 
You'll notice each block has 20 appliquéd circles.  In contemplating the best method for making all those circles, I considered Karen Kaye Buckley's Perfect Circles and the Applipops tool.  I finally decided the best method for me would be to order some 1 inch circle templates from Paper Pieces and prep all the circles at once.

I also ordered an acrylic circle template which includes a 1/4 inch seam allowance (Paper Pieces).  I used it last night to trace and prep a few circles, but found the 1/4 inch seam allowance to be a little generous for the circle size.  I may be better off just using one of the card stock circle templates to trace the circle shape and cut my own (less generous) seam allowance.

Taking a glance at the calendar, I see we're already half-way through August.  If August is for appliqué, I need to get busy!

Friday, August 6, 2021

Back in the String of Things!

 We spent some time at our camp last weekend, and during an afternoon thunderstorm I pulled out some denim strips I had started stitching for a utility quilt. 
The plan was to make a Rail Fence quilt using fabric from cut-up jeans.  
I'm pretty sure the project has been untouched since last August!

Even though I enjoyed the mindless sewing therapy, I was pretty bored with the lack of fabric variation.  I decided it was time to bring a new string-piecing project to the camp to alternate with stitching up the denim Rail Fence blocks.

After making the flamingo hexagon quilt (Flamboyant Flamingos), I had plenty of pink and green fabric scraps.  
A lot of the fabric was in pretty hole-y condition, thanks to fussy-cutting.  I thought a pink and green string quilt might be a good way to use up the leftovers.

My first thought was to make quarter Log Cabin blocks.  I wasn't crazy about the light pink centers, but the dark pink centers had some pizzaz!

I wasn't sure my scrap supply had the right variety of fabrics for successful Log Cabin blocks though.  Maybe I needed to do something more random.

Maybe some string-y diamonds will do the trick?

I still haven't decided for sure, but I've got a bunch of paper diamonds cut, and a box full of pink and green strings.  I’m looking forward to stitching up some pink and green along with the denim!