New Orleans House Project

Monday, January 31, 2022

January Minis

I've had my "Calorie-Free Chocolates" quilt on the dining room display hanger since the holidays.   Looking at those chocolate Nine Patch and Snowball blocks every day inspired me to try some mini snowballs and nine patches this month.

I had just enough chocolate fabric scraps and some chocolate-y brown fabric to make two six-inch mug rugs.  I used Barb Vedder's Nine Patch tutorial to make two sets of Nine Patch blocks.  

I even had some chocolate-dipped strawberry fabric scraps to use for the backs.  

I had designs on making at least one additional Snowball-themed project, but got distracted by other ideas!


For example, as I was digging through the drawers looking for French General fabrics, I came across a group of scraps I had saved in a plastic bag.  

The leftovers were from a fabric collection called "Alice's Washday Blues" by Blue Hill Fabrics.  I had used the collection to make blocks for Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice BOW.  

I kept all the scraps together in hopes of using them up in another project, but forgot about them until discovering them earlier this month.  Thinking about Janet's "baggie challenge", I decided it was time to put those scraps to work!

I had a new-to-me 3.5 inch tumbler die for the Accuquilt cutter, and I decided tumbler blocks would be a great scrap-buster.  I thought the Alice scraps might be a little bland on their own, so I found a hunk of red to spice things up a little.  Since my goal was to use up as many scraps as possible, I just kept adding blocks until I ran out of tumblers.

A different red fabric for the binding...and I used a single binding this time.  I don't know why I never tried single binding before, but it works great, especially if you follow another of Barb's tutorials

A final row of tumblers on the back, two slices of backing left from a previous project, and outline quilting finish the project.
 I wasn't going to add a label, but inspiration struck today and I had a name: Alice's Last Washday.  I also found this sliced piece of selvedge, so I'm trying to come up with a way to incorporate it into the label.

And so goes my monthly mini tale!  Many thanks to Wendy (The Constant Quilter) for encouraging mini madness for another year!

Saturday, January 29, 2022

January Ends & Odds

 I don't want to jinx myself for the rest of the year, but if I can keep up the sewing pace I set in January, I'll get all my goals accomplished!   Hahaha - who am I fooling?!

I experimented with a couple of potential new Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks, but in the end decided this was not the time to start a new RSC project.  That may change as the year goes on, but for now I'm going to attempt to finish some RSC UFOs before I tackle something new.

The Antique Tiles block is a carry-over from 2021.  These three blocks feature January's RSC color:  red.  I don't have an entire rainbow's worth of these blocks yet, so I'll keep adding to the collection as the year goes on.

While we're talking Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

I just finished stitching this RSC project which features Bonnie Hunter's Easy Breezy block.  I put an audiobook on my phone and plowed through the stitching in about three days.  That's 143 blocks; finished size 66" x 78".  I'll definitely be sending this to the "spa" (Pat Sloan's term for sending a quilt to the longarm quilter), and ultimately gifting it.

And since we all need to have the hope of Spring, I offer a Mary Engelbreit garden-themed panel quilt kit.  Forgive the crazy indoor picture - this is another Dear Hubby-made quilt hanger in our hallway.  It's a great location for displaying quilts, but not great for taking pictures.  I finished hand-stitching the binding on this, but was afraid to wash the quilt.  So - the edges are a little wavy.  I'll have to figure out what I want to do about that.

Leave it to Mary Engelbreit to layer color and shape and texture!  I follow her on Instagram and I'm always amazed by the creative work she shares.

 Happiness Must Be Grown In One's Own Garden.  

I love the quilting on this!  At first, I didn't think all-over quilting would work, but I decided to jump in and see how I liked it.  Quilting by Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting.  
I'm looking forward to February's quilting endeavors!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Of French Generals and Patchwork Divas

I have been a fan of sunflower-themed quilts since my earliest days as a quilter.

Although I've made several sunflower projects, my Bucket List plan was to make a traditional sunflower (or Russian Sunflower) quilt.

After seeing Cathy's Sunflowers quilt and later, Pat's Diamond Jubilee Sunflowers, I knew it was my turn to give this pattern a whirl.

I had planned to start making Sunflower blocks in January of 2021, but I got side-tracked by a batch of t-shirt quilts.  Determined to get started in early 2022, I made time earlier this week to begin the process.

 The pattern can be found in the 19th Century Patchwork Divas' Treasury of Quilts.

The pattern calls for 18 blocks set on point, which results in a 74" x 98" quilt.  I don't need a quilt that large, so I'm only going to make 13 blocks.
The Patchwork Divas recommend using Marti Michell's Sunburst acrylic template set for accurate piecing.

 I actually ordered the templates and made a practice block in December of 2020.  Then the templates and practice block sat in the sewing room giving me pleading looks for a year!

I have been hoarding collecting French General fabrics for several years, so it seemed like a good idea to do a fabric pull from the stash.

 This initial pull really makes me smile - it will be so much fun to cut into all these fabrics!

Last, but not least, I finished the first block! All the diamond and triangle shapes are machine-pieced, but the center circle is appliquéd using the back-basting technique.

The circle will eventually be appliquéd to a background square.  This particular background looks great in person, but not so wonderful through the camera lens.   I'll probably make all the circles first, then decide on different backgrounds for each.



Sunday, January 16, 2022

Starting with Scraps

 My sewing priorities for the beginning of the year included finishing up two Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects from 2021.

I finished making all the blocks for the Flashes of Brillance/Sugar Loaf quilt.  Here they are assembled, and waiting to be trimmed according to the pattern.  I really had to steel myself to cut those blocks in half!

Aye-yi-yi - and what am I going to do with these sliced up half blocks?!


Anyway, here is the finished quilt top.  
As I was making the original Sugar Loaf blocks, I thought it would be fun to make another version of the quilt in reproduction fabrics.  I still like that idea, but after working with all the bias edges on the blocks and sashing, I'm not in a hurry to do it any time soon! 

Once Flashes of Brillance was down from my design wall, I immediately started laying out another scrappy quilt top.

I've been making Bonnie Hunter's Easy Breezy blocks as a leader-ender project since July, 2020.  I decided it was finally time to assemble a quilt top.  The framed squares were added to boost the quilt size, as the blocks only measure six inches. 

I have some dedicated sewing ahead of me to get them all stitched together!

I haven't decided on a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for 2022.  Last week I made a Blackford's Beauty block in modern fabrics, then followed up by making another block in reproduction style fabrics.  
I love how the repro fabrics look in this block, but since the blocks finish at twelve inches, I'd feel compelled to make more than one block each month.  That would entail a good bit of cutting/prep work (i.e. making scraps), so I'm not sure I want to commit to the project.

In the meantime, Gayle (mangofeet) showed one of her new RSC blocks - framed stars - which I've always wanted to try.  I haven't tried my own version yet, but that's on tap for this week.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Off to a Stitching Start!

 Here we are, starting a new year of stitching!

I have been working on my list(s) of projects to finish and projects to start.  My plans seem a little ambitious, but I'm excited about trying some new things and attempting to use up my fabric stash.

Starstruck by Gyleen Fitzgerald

On top of that, I'm supposed to be attending an in-person quilt workshop next week.  My small guild has scheduled a class with quilter Gyleen Fitzgerald.  We'll be making her Star Struck table runner, and learning some new piecing and cutting skills.  Plans include mask-wearing and social distancing (and everyone must be vaccinated), but since our state is experiencing a spike in Covid/omicron infections, plans could change on dime.

This will be my first quilting workshop since 2005!  I'm feeling a little intimidated by all the paraphernalia one takes to a quilting workshop.  

My everyday sewing machine is too big to drag to a class, so I thought I'd take my vintage Singer 503A (aka Rocketeer).  It's lightweight and sews a beautiful straight stitch.  Of course quarter-inch feet were not issued with these machines, but there are a number of modern quarter-inch feet that fit.

Unfortunately, the machine operator could not stitch consistent quarter inch seams despite trying several different feet and adding a seam guide hack.  I think maybe one of those portable extension tables would help, but there's no time to order one.


I made this Blackford's Beauty block as a practice piece on the Rocketeer.  The block was inspired by Angela at Soscrappy, who plans to use it for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The block doesn't look too bad, but I had to trim all the 4-patches to get them to fit correctly, and the finished block is still a quarter inch too large.

Change of plans.  Out came my trusty Pfaff 7550 - my primary sewing machine until a few years ago.  Fortunately, getting a consistent quarter-inch seam with this machine was much easier. 

I didn't have enough 2 inch squares prepped for another Blackford's Beauty block, but I did have the pieces ready for an Antique Tile block.  I think I have found my quilting workshop machine!

In other "start the year off right" news - I finally broke down and bought a new cutting mat!  My old mat (on the left) is so worn the cutting lines are barely visible.  Those white marks are not just discoloration, they're grooves worn in the cutting surface!  Happily, I made use of a JoAnn 50% off coupon and saved a little money, too.