Wednesday, May 30, 2018

May Stash Report and Goals Update

I feel like I didn't get anything done this month, and I'm moving backwards because the task of unstitching and fixing the Pickle Dish blocks is hanging over me. Bummer.

I'm also bumming because Blogger no longer allows comments to come into my email where I can reply to the commenter. I feel like I'm losing some of my social connections. I'm sure a lot of others are experiencing the same problem. Anyone found a work-around yet? Are we losing the connected community that we quilt bloggers have created? 

And on top of all that, my favorite local quilt shop is closing. Sigh.

Let's look back at May and see how it went.

May Stash Report:
IN this month: 8-5/8 yards (from Janie Lou shop closing sale)
OUT this month: 8-7/8 yards (N4Nb quilt, numbers print - 2-1/4 yards. Grandson's big boy bed quilt top, 6-1/2 yards.)

IN YTD: 64-1/4 yards
OUT YTD: 66-5/8 yards
YTD Net change: 2-3/8 yards out

Still doing okay with stash management. I bought fabrics for a new baby quilt and some stash enhancemants at the shop closing sale.
For baby quilt for new great-nephew due in Sept.

Stash Neutrals

Stash enhancement, good gender-neutral print

Stash enhancement

Goals Update:

May Recap:
1. Finish piecing grandson's big boy bed quilt top. DONE
2. Piece and/or quilt another Rocking Chair or N4Nb quilt. DONE and turned in.
3. Mail out Hands2Help quilts to Little Lambs Foundation. DONE and received.
4. Make at least one checkerboard and one Dresden block for the red project. DONE
5. Assemble Pickle Dish blocks into quilt center. Not done; I'm in the process of unstitching, re-pressing, and fixing the blocks. 3 rows fixed so far. 
6. Finish prepping Winding Ways for Piecing Group. In progress; kits need to be ready to hand out on June 5.  
7. Start planning baby quilt for new great-nephew due end of September. Yes - Purchased fabric; working on pattern. 
8. Hand sew on WIVSP Piecing Group Project. Not touched. 
9. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE

Okay, maybe my results don't look that bad; I did accomplish something after all. 
May N4Nb quilt

Grandson's big boy bed quilt top

June Goals:
1. If possible, bind and label Snake quilt for potential QOV presentation on June 24. Depends on whether my friend can get it quilted with all the travelling she has going on.
2. Assemble backing for grandson's big boy bed quilt and get quilt layered and basted.
3. Piece and/or quilt another Rocking Chair or N4Nb quilt.
4. Make project for 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop, take photos, draft blog post.
5. Snowball the corners of the Dresden blocks for the red project.
6. Finish fixing the Pickle Dish blocks and assemble them into quilt center.
7. Start working on baby quilt for new great-nephew due end of September.
8. Hand sew on WIVSP Piecing Group Project.
9. Keep up with bee blocks.

Okay, that's a lot - wish me luck!
Snake QOV top made with friends

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, May 28, 2018

Design Wall Monday: Sizing Up Backing

I have a lot of fabric left over from the front of grandson CJ's big boy bed quilt, plus a yard of a similar print given to me by a friend. I'll use all of these to piece a backing.

The quilt top measures 63" x 87" so I need a pretty big backing. I can lay it out on my design wall. Floor to ceiling is 96" so if  I lay the backing pieces out full height, it will be long enough even after the piecing seams are sewn. The panel up the center is WOF minus selvages. The pieces pinned at the left are WOF folded in half. I'll cut them along the fold and add the cut parts to the right side of the center panel. The resulting full width will be about 78-80", a little wider than I need, but that's okay.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my design wall?!!! Sorry for the angled photo, the room is too small and crowded to get all of the design wall into one straight shot.

If you look closely you can see lines on the design wall. These are black thread anchored with pins, and I use them as horizontal and vertical guides. In this case, my backing needs to extend at least to the vertical thread line on the right. The lower of the two horizontal lines is the highest I can reach without the stepladder, and the other horizontal is left from some past project. Very helpful! Do you mark your design wall as needed?

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, May 25, 2018

Grandson's Big Boy Bed Quilt Progress

It's been a month since I posted about any progress - or lack thereof - on my grandson's big boy bed quilt. It stalled out when I was in Paducah, my machine was in the shop for awhile, then I had deadlines for donation quilts, and blah blah blah, you know how it goes.

But now the top is complete, a finished flimsy. Whoo-hoo!

Grandson CJ picked out the focus fabric - construction vehicles with Lego guys - and I selected the rest of the fabrics to go with it. 

The pattern is a scaled down variation of my Big Print Beauty pattern, this time with 9" pieces of the featured prints. I like this scale for these prints. The flimsy is 63 x 87". The size worked out well for CJ's bed with just the right amount of "drop" on the sides and bottom, allowing for some shrinkage in quilting and washing.

I have plenty of these fabrics left over to piece a backing, so that's my next step.

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hands2Help 2018: Little Quilts for Little Lambs

Every year Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict hosts a charity quilt drive called Hands2Help and this is my fourth year to participate. One of this year's charities is called Little Lambs Foundation for Kids. They provide backpacks filled with personal care items and an item of comfort such as a quilt to children in transition to foster care.

As I've mentioned here before, one of my goals for 2018 is to piece and/or quilt one donation quilt a month, shooting for ten finished by the end of the year. I've finished four specifically for Hands2Help so far this year. Here are the quilts I've sent to Little Lambs:

Scrap Scramble

Toddler Boy I Spy

Positively Pink

Aztec Inspired

These quilts have fleece backing and no batting, making them soft and snuggly. It also makes it easier to fold them up to fit into a backpack. 

I photographed them on a bright day so I could get them into the mail right away. Pardon the too-sunny photos. 

These quilts have been received by Little Lambs and I'm hoping they'll be given to kids who will be comforted by them. 

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, May 21, 2018

Mountain View Arkansas

No quilty news today; I've been away for a few days. It was a very nice little get-away.

DH and I went to Mountain View, in the Ozarks of north-central Arkansas. We stayed at a lovely B&B called Country Oaks. I would highly recommend it if you're ever in the area. Owners Jerry and Carole are delightful, very gracious and friendly. Jerry designed the beautiful house and landscaped the picturesque grounds, 70 acres including a lake.
Country Oaks B&B

On Friday we went to the Ozark Fold Center state park. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, it was so un-crowded. Which was great, we got to spend a lot of time talking with the artisans. Their purpose is to keep alive heritage crafts, and the artists enjoy talking about their work. DH is big into blacksmithing so he enjoyed talking with the blacksmith. Other crafts on site include chair caning, broom making, weaving, pottery, stained glass, herbal apothecary and of course quilting. We were having such a good time all day that it didn't even occur to me to take pictures!

The other purpose of the Folk Center is to keep alive traditional folk music. We listened to a matinee performance of thumb-picking guitar by Evan Twitty, a tribute to the music of Merle Travis. Friday night we went back to the Folk Center for a concert featuring Thom Bresh, also in the thumb-picking style which was the theme this weekend.

Speaking of music, the town of Mountain View is known for its music. They have a park off the town square where local musicians gather. Three rules: no alcohol (dry county), no amplifiers, and no panhandling. The musicians are just regular folks who come and go. Everyone knows the traditional bluegrass tunes and old-time gospel tunes. Anyone can come play, and anyone can come listen. The Pickin' Park is strategically located right next to the ice cream shop.
Musicians playing in Pickin' Park

We wrapped up our trip with a visit to Blanchard Spring park. The cavern is fabulous, with stunning formations, really beautiful, and the tour guide was both very enthusiastic and a knowledgeable naturalist. Only the one-hour tour was available; I wish we could have taken the longer tour and seen more of the cave. No photos, I tried to get a couple but they didn't turn out.

We also enjoyed the easy walk to the spring, where the water that formed the cave emerges at the rate of 10,000 gallons per hour.
Blanchard Spring

Downstream, another easy walk to the ruins of the old mill that used to gin cotton and grind grain. This is the mill dam which directed the water toward the old water wheel. Nothing is left of the mill anymore except stone foundations.
Old mill dam in Blanchard Spring park

It was good to get away for a few days; the weather was excellent the whole time and we really enjoyed our trip.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Pressing Problem

Thirty six beautiful blocks.

And they all need to be fixed.

The problem is, when I join the blocks together, there is too much bulk where too many seam allowances come together. See the arrow on the right in this photo? There are already six layers of fabric there. When I join this block to the next one, even if I press the seam allowances open, there will be twelve layers of fabric on each side, big lumps. This happens at all four sides of each block.

So I need to open up the last inch of each of those seams, press the seam allowances in the other direction, and resew the seams. Four per block. 36 blocks. Sigh. Here's one block opened and re-pressed. Not so pretty, now.

This is how UFOs happen. If I don't do this now while this project is still in active progress, I'll never come back to it. So I'm spending some quality time with my seam ripper.

Two blocks unsewn, re-pressed, resewn, and joined together:

OK, this is working. The blocks come together as smooth as possible.

A whole afternoon, and one row to show for it:
Oops, the last block is upside down. More unsewing.

OK, much better:

Another whole afternoon, another row. This is slow and tedious, but worth it.

One of my goals this month is to get these blocks all pieced together into the top. It's taking longer than I thought it would, so wish me luck!

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, May 14, 2018

Design Wall Monday: Sports Plus

While my sewing machine was in the shop, I took advantage of the time to cut into the new sports themed FQs I got in Paducah featuring baseballs and footballs.

I added soccer balls, basketballs, and bicycles from stash. I pulled other stash fabrics that harmonize, and cut enough squares for a Plus quilt.

This will eventually become another donation quilt. Agencies who serve kids in crisis always need quilts suitable for older boys. That's what I had in mind for these sports-themed prints.

By mixing in a variety of other prints, I was able to stretch the sports print FQs further. I have enough of the sports prints left for another quilt like this someday.

I have a lot of other projects in work right now, so I'll kit this up to work on at a sew day or a retreat sometime.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt
Em's Scrapbag

Friday, May 11, 2018

Little Quilts for Nurses for Newborns

STLMQG meets tomorrow and our charity this year is Nurses for Newborns. We can turn in quilts tomorrow and again at the November meeting.

The nurses asked for small quilts, about two feet by three feet. They can easily carry that size along with all their other stuff to their first appointment with a new family. They put the quilt on the floor, put the baby on the quilt and demonstrate baby care, then leave the quilt with the new family.

I've been making one a month since February. This small size is fun to make and easily manageable to quilt. This week - now that my sewing machine is fixed and home, yay - I made this one, simply quilted with a diagonal grid.

The big numbers print is on the back, but the strips I had weren't wide enough so I pieced in a coordinating green. And check out that binding stripe - how perfect is that?! It's one of my Paducah finds.

I'm turning in these five quilts tomorrow:

February with black & bright geometric print
March greens

April's yellow quilt uses blocks from Libby's Magical Mystery. Unfortunately I chose fabrics with not enough value contrast but I don't want the quilt to go to waste.

Below, May's quilt with the big numbers print.
And one extra, a quilt from a 2013 Ohio Star challenge (story here, scroll down) that's been hanging in the closet ever since. It's the right size so I'm passing it along.

All the backs:

 And another pic, just because

So that's what I'm whooping about this week. Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop-Whoop Friday and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Another Nurses for Newborns Quilt

I have my sewing machine back from the repair shop and it's running nicely. Whoo-hoo!!!

While it was out, I pulled fabrics for one more Nurses for Newborns quilt.

The large print with numbers is actually off-cuts from a backing for a quilt I made several years ago. The pieces I have are not wide enough for a N4Nb backing, but I could splice in a strip of something and make it work. Another small piece of the numbers print would yield six 6-1/2" squares.

I found some coordinating colors in my stash and cut some squares. Now that my machine is home, it took only a short time to piece a top together.

I'll get this quilted and bound this week. On Saturday I'll have an opportunity to turn in all the N4Nb quilts I've made so far.

At 24" x 36", these small quilts are quick, and very satisfying when I get the urge to pull fabrics and play with them. STLMQG will collect N4Nb quilts again in November, so I'll make a few more before then.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Sunday, May 6, 2018


Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict is once again spearheading a charity quilt drive called Hands2Help, and I'm participating again this year. This time I'm sending some of my Rocking Chair Quilts to Little Lambs Foundation for Kids. They provide backpacks containing personal essentials and comfort items to kids in transition to foster care, etc.
Scrap Scramble, 40" x 44"

Positively Pink, 44" x 44"

Little Boy I-Spy, 40" x 54"

Aztec Inspired, 42' x 54"

My Rocking Chair Quilts are backed with fleece and have no batting, making them soft and snuggly and they'll fold up smaller to fit in the backpacks Little Lambs provides for their clients. 

Today is progress report day over on Sarah's blog, so I'm linking up with Hands2Help at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Donna's Scrappy Nine-Patch Stars

My sewing machine is still in the shop. Sigh.

So today I'm whooping instead for Donna. She sent me a photo, and in her email she said:
Hi Jan, 
I just finished sewing your “Scrappy Nine Patch Stars QOV" pattern! It was a fun, easy quilt top to make and I really enjoyed using up some scraps! It will eventually be quilted and donated to QOV! Thank you for sharing the pattern! I enjoy reading your blog.

Thanks again, 
Donna's Scrappy Nine-Patch Stars QOV
(photo credit Donna T.)

Thank you so much, Donna! And congrats on your finished flimsy. I really like the variety of prints - some are even star-spangled! Thank you for using my pattern.

If anyone else would like the tutorial, you can find it here. Or, if you'd like a PDF version of the pattern, leave a comment with your email address.
60" x 84" Scrappy Nine-Patch Stars QOV

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday