Saturday, April 27, 2019

No-Reply Blogger, Request for Tutorial

To the unknown blogger who requested a PDF of my Scrappy Nine Patch Stars tutorial: You are a no-reply commenter so I can't reply and attach the PDF.
Please leave a comment with your email address on this post so I can send it to you.
Thank you for your interest in my pattern.

Monday, April 22, 2019

A New Project

For me one the most fun parts about quilting is playing with fabric palettes. Recently I've been collecting fat quarters when they're on sale, and I seem to have accumulated a nice palette of masculine prints. Kind of mineral and metal colors.

My plan is to make a simple Plus quilt to let the fabrics do all the work. When using fat quarters, I cut 4-1/2" squares and I can get 16 of them from one FQ.

What's up with fat quarters that measure less than 18" ? Okay, I know you get what you pay for and I bought most of them at the $1.00 FQ sales, but come on, they should at least measure 18".  And they should be cut straight, not like a parallelogram. About a third of the FQs I wanted to use measured too scant or were too crooked to get the full 16 pieces, and would leave a lot of unused scraps left over. Wasteful!

My solution was to cut 4-3/8" squares. I'll still use the standard 1/4" seam allowance, and my quilt will end up measuring about 58 by 77" instead of 60 x 80".  Still a good size for a man's throw quilt.

My 15- by 20-patch layout requires 300 pieces, but I cut about 320 to have a few extra so I could move them around as needed. I put squares up on the design wall, starting in the center, working my way out, mindful of value contrast. First layout:

I see a couple of problems in the photo that weren't as apparent in real life, but that need to be fixed. The problem is not enough value contrast in a couple of places.

Okay, much better:

I see one little change I want to make, then I can start sewing the patches into rows.  It's not critical, but it bugs me so I'll fix it.

A note about the color and light in these photos:
The windows in my sewing room face east, and these photos were taken in the morning when there's good natural light in there. The layout completely fills the design wall from 2" below the ceiling to the baseboard at the floor, but the cutting table gets in the way of the light and shades the lower portion of the wall. To brighten the bottom for photos, I use a small portable LED light placed on the floor. You can see that it casts bluer light than the natural light on the top of the wall. The light yellow Plus motif near the lower left is the same fabric as the one at the upper right near the drawn arrow. See the difference? Not a lot I can do about it; if I don't light the bottom of the wall it's even darker and greyer.

In real life I like these metal and mineral inspired colors together. This is intended as a donation quilt, and since it's such a masculine palette, it will probably go to Mercyful Quilts. I don't know if I'll get it done in time for the Hands2Help deadline, but late is better than not at all.

Linking up with:
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Moving it Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, April 19, 2019

Half Way Whooping

It's Whoop Whoop Friday over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I usually link up finishes over there. Today I have a finish but I can't show it. So I can only half way whoop about it.

Secret sewing - STLMQG is having a challenge called "No Excuses." It's due at the May meeting. They gave every member a mini charm pack.  The challenge is to make any quilted item using at least one piece.  That's so simple, there's no excuse not to participate.

Which color did I choose? Not the purple on top - I'm not fond of purple. Maybe this color?

I can't show what I did with it, but here's a corner of the back:

Generic black and white, not much of a clue...
I'll post pics after the reveal at the May meeting.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Break from Quilting

I haven't been in the sewing room much lately, because I was vacationing in the Florida Keys for a week. Such a nice break from St. Louis's cold wet wintry weather! Since Gary and I are planning on moving West next year, we need to do any Eastern trips before we move, and Key West has always been on our bucket list. April is the perfect time to visit.
Amoray Dive Resort in Key Largo

After staying the first night at a delightful resort in Key Largo, we stopped at a tourist trap on Hwy 1 in Islamorada. Who could resist this lobster?!!!  Among the treasures inside, we fell in love with a life size bronze pellican and debated whether we wanted it....
Tourist Trap

We spent three days enjoying Key West. We stayed at the lovely Duval House inn on Duval Street, centrally located where we could walk everywhere, very comfortable and surprisingly quiet. We started with a narrated trolley tour to get our bearings and give us an overview of Key West. After that we walked everywhere.
Left: the lighthouse viewed from the balcony of the Ernest Hemingway house; 
Right: the end of Highway 1

Of course we checked out the Southernmost Point and the end of Hwy 1. We enjoyed the activity and the sunset at Mallory Square. I'm a wimp, I couldn't look at the sword swallower, but we did watch some jugglers and acrobats before the sun went down.
The Southernmost point of the Continental USA

Sunset view from Mallory Square, Key West

Also in Key West we toured the Hemingway House and saw the six-toed cats. (I had a six-toed pet cat when I was a child.) We also visited the Mel Fisher Museum about the search for and salvaging of the Atocha and the treasures he and his crew found.

We visited the Turtle Hospital on Marathon Key, where they rescue and rehabilitate (if possible) endangered sea turtles that are sick or have been injured. Most of the turtles' problems are in some way connected to pollution caused by people.
Turtle Hospital

On one of the islands - I can't remember which one - there is a state park that used to be a quarry where they mined for fossilized coral. It's protected now, and they no longer use the coral for building blocks, but the Hemingway house was built entirely from limestone coral blocks.
Fossilized coral remaining in the quarry

We took a Sea-Doo tour out of Key West, around the island. (No photos - we don't have a waterproof camera and didn't want to risk damage to our phones.) It wasn't a tour so much as a race; I held on for dear life, afraid I was going to fly off the back of the Sea-Doo somewhere out in the water! A harrowing adventure  for us, but the young guys who wanted to "freestyle" and go fast had a great time.

We went snorkeling in Key Largo. I wasn't sure about that because I previously had a bad snorkeling experience, but we had a small group, with a great guide, and she fitted me with a full-face mask that made all the difference. With that mask I didn't feel claustrophobic and panicky, and was able to enjoy the reef, the corals, and all the fish. It was an unforgettable experience, and I'm glad she had a mask for me that made it possible to enjoy it.

Back in Key Largo we stayed in another resort, the Seafarer Key Largo, a throwback to the 1960's with tiny but nicely renovated rooms. They had a beach area with lounge chairs, picnic tables, etc. We happened to sit in the shade under some palm trees, and when we looked up, we saw a circular rainbow surrounding the sun, silhouetted by the palms. Cool!
Circular rainbow

All in all it was a great vacation, a bucket list trip that we thoroughly enjoyed.

We stopped again at that tourist trap to reconsider the bronze pellican. Turns out it was plastic. Yuck!

Now we're home and I'll be able to get back into the sewing room. It was a nice break but now I feel like playing with fabric again. And getting ready to go to Paducah next week.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Hands2Help Check In

Today over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Sarah is hosting guest blogger Kathy and an opportunity to check in with progress updates on the donation quilts we're making for Hands2Help.

One of this year's Hands2Help charities is Mercyful Quilts, organized by Bernie of Needle and Foot. It's the perfect opportunity for me to finish up a very old UFO and donate it.

This is "Bricks and Mortar" started in about 2009 and recently quilted.
Bricks and Mortar, 58" x 62"

Many of the fabrics were from my late MIL's stash at that time. The dusty pastel colors are kind of dated. Remember Seafoam, Dusty Peach, and Terra Cotta?  Mercyful Quilts are given to Hospice patients, most of whom are elderly and might relate to these colors from the 80's and 90's.

This project sat in UFO status for years because I thought I didn't have the skills to quilt it and didn't have a purpose (deadline) for it. Now I've given it the "organic wavy lines" quilting treatment, finished it, and will be sending it on to Bernie. It feels good to have this UFO busted and going to a good cause.

Check out everyone else's progress on their H2H donation quilts over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Bee Blocks

Since I'm currently working on confidential projects, I don't have anything big to show, so I'll show the bee blocks I've worked on lately. These are the February and March blocks for Sew Bee It.

Flying geese: she provided all the fabrics, with the colors laid out how she wanted them.

X and Plus: she provided a link to a specific tutorial, and asked for girly colors of pink, purple, yellow and teal. This is such a fun block with so many design possibilities; I may have to make an X and Plus quilt someday.

So, not much on my design wall today except for these blocks. Linking up with  Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Em's Scrapbag, and Love Laugh Quilt.

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Red Project... possibly coming down the home stretch as far as piecing the top is concerned. The goal for March was to add the outer dark blue border to all four sides. Done. Since this project is now too large to fit on the design wall, here it is folded in fourths. Since I won't be at April AFS, this post will have to serve as my proof that I worked on this project in March.

And yes, the borders are attached to all four sides.

The goal for April is to find fabric for the final outer border. I want a deep red large-scale paisley and I'll need 3-1/2 yards of it. I have something I thought might work but it's too brown, I don't like it at all. I'll look for something while I'm in Paducah. Wish me luck! And if you have any suggestions, let me know.

I'll also be looking for backing while I'm in Paducah. Maybe a red toile if I can find one that's not too white. Again, suggestions welcome.

Monday, April 1, 2019

March Stash Report and Goals Update

I had a lot on my list for March, but it was a very good month and I got a lot done. Several finishes this month added up to lots of yardage out, so the stash report is looking good. Just in time for Paducah!

March Stash Report:
IN this month: 0 - Yes, ZERO!  No FQ sales to entice me this month.
OUT this month: 13-1/2 yards (Backing for "Goodnight, Darleen!" - 2-1/2 yards.  Binding for GD, 1/2 yard.  Pup baby quilt #1 (Ladder) - Top 1-5/8 yards; Backing 1-3/8 yds; Binding 3/8 yard.  Pup baby quilt #2 - Top: 1-3/8 yards. Backing for Pickle Dish, 5 yards. Binding for Pickle Dish, 3/4 yard.)

IN YTD: 21-7/8 yards
OUT YTD: 40-7/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 19 yards OUT. Whoo-hoo!  I can go crazy in Paducah! ('til the money runs out, there is always that consideration...)

March Goals Recap:
1. Make backing, layer, baste, quilt and bind "Goodnight, Darleen!" DONE
2. Work on STLMQG challenge project, "No Excuses!"  Yes, this project is started. I can't show it on the blog yet until the challenge is over. 
3. Send Mercyful Plus to Bernie at Needle & Foot.  Not done yet, will send it and Bricks and Mortar to her asap for Hands2Help. Gotta find a box...
4. Work on quilting Pickle Dish. DONE - also bound, labeled, and finished!!!
5. Add 3rd border to Red Project, all four sides. DONE
6. Plan and start piecing a new donation quilt. DONE - Pieced two baby quilts using coral pup fabric. Quilted and finished one of them. 
7. Work on hand stitching WIGSP Piecing Group project. Yes, stitched part of one row.
8. Keep up with Bee blocks and BOMs. DONE
9. Look through UFOs and select next project to work on. Not exactly a UFO yet, but I'll work on finishing Pup Quilt 2. 

I have a lot going on in April including some non-quilty stuff and four days in Paducah. Best to keep the list short and get done what I can...

April Goals:
1. Work on STLMQG challenge project, "No Excuses!" 
2. Work on confidential collaboration project. I can't blog about this or show pictures, but I need to spend time on it.
3. Quilt and finish the 2nd Pup Print quilt.
4. Make shopping list for Paducah, and have fun in Paducah.
5. Work on hand stitching WIGSP Piecing Group project.
6. Keep up with Bee blocks and BOMs.

I have two projects I won't be blogging about that will occupy my time, so my posts may be a bit sparse for awhile, or may feature simple stuff like bee blocks. Sorry...