Friday, May 31, 2019

A Very Small Finish

My kitchen pot holders are looking pretty sad. I usually have four of them. Last month I dropped one onto the heating element in the oven, and it got burned. I'm lucky it didn't start a fire, but I was able to grab it quickly. Then last week DH used one when he was smoking brisket, and got a lot of heavy black grease from the smoker on it.

Two down, and the remaining two look like this. Still usable, but not pretty. I should be ashamed to even post this picture, but hey, just keeping it real here.

Time for some new ones. Voila, my very small finish for this week.

I need to make a couple more and get rid of those old ones, but in the meantime I have four I can use.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Sunday, May 26, 2019

DrEAMi - in Black and WHite

When I heard about the two-color challenge over at Color Girl Quilts, I just had to Drop Everything And Make it.  Sharon is hosting a sew along / challenge to use just two colors. If you use black and white, the project could be eligible for a future issue of Curated Quilts.

So naturally my colors are black and white. I started with a big fabric pull from stash: 

Lots of possibilities there! I added some solid black and white, too, and I came up with a pattern. It's a flowering snowball variation. 

It's a very challenging block, with lots of cutting with templates. The block will finish at 9" so those corner curves are 3" radius. The layout will be off-set with lots of partial seams and Y-seams. 

This design allows for a little bit of a transparency effect where fabrics appear to cross each other. Choosing just the right values is critical to making it work in black and white.

I created this design in 2001 for a Piecing Group project. My friends made blocks for me using my hand-dyed background fabric and commercial batiks. I'm machine piecing the new black and white version; no time for hand piecing and my hands can't handle it anyway. 

Linking up with DrEAMi at MMM Quilts 
and with Monday Link Ups: 
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, May 24, 2019

Mineral Plus Flimsy

A finished flimsy, about 58" x 77". 

The palette reminds me of the colors of minerals and metals.
Although it looks mostly grey, there are subtle shades of
bronze and copper, iron, aluminum, amber, marble, 
granite, alabaster, obsidian, onyx, and pewter.  

Nice and masculine. 

This will eventually get quilted and finished for a donation quilt, 
although it won't make the deadline for Hands2Help

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Black and White

Have you heard about the two-color challenge over at Color Girl Quilts? Sharon is hosting a sew along / challenge to use just two colors. If you use black and white, the project could be eligible for a future issue of Curated Quilts.

Since I'm not happy with the stark black and white bits in my Yellow-Green BOM project (scroll down), maybe I can repurpose them. And add a few fabrics from stash. I seem to have a few black and white prints. Here's the palette I've pulled for the black and white challenge.

Of course I'll add solid black and white or white-on-white as well. I may not use all of these prints, but at least I have plenty to choose from.

I have no idea yet what I'll make, but the pattern link up is next week so I 'd better figure out something pretty quickly. The top is due end of June and the finished quilt (image) is due August 1st for Curated Quilts. Minimum size is not less than 150" around the perimeter. If I make a 40 x 40" top that's 160" so that should qualify.

Since I finished Pickle Dish and the Red Project is stalled, I've been wanting a new project to work on. The Yellow-Green BOM has to wait for the monthly block assignments, so I can work on this black and white challenge in the meantime.

It's kind of ironic that someone who calls herself the Colorful Fabriholic wants to work exclusively in black and white, and has the stash to do so, don't you think??? Wish me luck that I can pull something off!

Monday, May 20, 2019

What's on my Design Wall: Yellow-Green Blocks

As I've mentioned before, STLMQG has an ongoing BOM in which we each use only one spoke of the color wheel, and make blocks according to the theme or skill announced each month. My color is Yellow-Green.

You know how sometimes leader-enders take on a life of their own and become a full-blown project? Yeah, my color BOM project is starting to do that, too. Each month in addition to the featured block(s) I've been making some filler units. The whole thing will end up like a puzzle quilt, a la Jen Kingwell.

Here are all the blocks and parts I have so far, just stuck on the wall, definitely not the actual placement.

A total eyesore so far, but there's at least 5 more months to go of monthly block assignments so we'll see how this ends up.

I have a half-yard of a bold black and white stripe that I'm thinking of using for some filler strips. Or maybe I should save it for the binding? I'll also add filler strips of some of the prints used in the blocks.

Since the beginning, I've planned on having some black and white parts for fillers, so I've made some four patches for checkerboard strips and some flying geese. But as I look at this, I wonder if the contrast is too stark? Some of Jen Kingwell's quilts seem to feature less contrast. Or maybe I just need more B+W parts, and need to space out the other stuff more so it's not all crowded together. What do you think? Comments and input welcome.

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

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Hands2Help - Mercyful Plus

My second quilt for Hands2Help this year is Mercyful Plus.

This quilt was inspired by a blogger bundle from Bernie at Needle and Foot, the sponsor of Mercyful Quilts. It's fitting that this quilt should go back to them.  Story here.

Linking up with Hands2Help at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Hands2Help - Bricks and Mortar

Today is the final link-up day at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Hands2Help
This quilt is going to Mercyful Quilts.

I'm calling this one Bricks and Mortar. 
It was a UFO for the longest time, but now it's finished.
Story here - scroll down. 

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Snake Quilt

Updated to include link to tutorial for making the snake blocks.

Remember a couple of years ago, some friends and I got together to make a snake quilt?
Cherie, Kevin, and Dar, with me in front

It's now quilted, bound, labeled, and finished.

This whole project started when Cherie spotted a vintage snake quilt in the window of an antique shop in Paducah in April 2016. I drafted the pattern for her. One thing led to another, and it grew into a group project with Kevin and Dar; we all got together at Kevin's Quilt Cave a few times to piece the blocks and make the top. It was always intended to be a Quilt of Valor, and we used a scrappy combination of fabrics from all our stashes. It was a challenging project for all of us.

Fast forward, and Cherie was able to quilt it. She quilted stars into it in keeping with its purpose as a QOV.

I found the perfect star spangled backing fabric for it. And someone had a nice navy print with red and white in it, perfect for the binding.

We have a veteran in mind to present this QOV to, my SIL's father-in-law who served in the Navy. We're hoping to present it in June. He's in his late 80's so it's about time he gets a QOV.

This has been such an enjoyable and satisfying project in so many ways. The challenge of creating the pattern and the templates, learning to paper piece the arcs, sewing the curved seams in the blocks. But the very best thing about this whole project has been collaborating with friends and getting together for sew days with them. I'm beyond pleased with how it turned out.
Snake Quilt, QOV, 60" x 80"

Link ups:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Wendy's Quilts and More
My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, May 13, 2019

Paper Piecing and More

At the STLMQG meeting on Saturday they announced the color spoke BOM skill for this month: paper piecing. Since this is an ongoing BOM, I'm making varied blocks in 12", 9" and 6" sizes with 3" filler blocks and I'll puzzle them all together later. My color is Yellow-Green. 

I've always admired Pineapple blocks but never wanted to commit to making enough for a whole quilt. This would be a great project to try a Pineapple block and get it out of my system. 

I printed off a foundation for a 6" block from EQ7. I made one test block, and it turned out pretty well. Then I decided to make three more. It's actually easier to chain piece more than one at a time. 

Fold. Align. Sew. Press. Trim. Repeat, around and around. 

In other STLMQG news, we had a huge turnout for the "No Excuses" challenge. Some of the quilts were amazing! Mine (see previous post below) was accepted for our quilt show in July, so I turned it in to the show coordinator. 

The Mineral Plus quilt is still on my design wall. I have about four more row seams to go until it's a finished flimsy. But row seams are boring and it was much more interesting to spend my time in the sewing room yesterday playing with Pineapple blocks. I'll get Mineral Plus finished to a flimsy this week. 

Also this week I'll bind the snake quilt. I hope to have it finished to show here Friday, and I'll take it to the CSQ meeting next week. 

Link ups: 

Friday, May 10, 2019

No Excuses

Tomorrow the entries in STLMQG's "No Excuses" challenge are due. My entry is finished and ready to go.

Each member of STLMQG was given a mini charm pack, and the challenge is to use at lease one piece in any quilted item. Pretty simple, therefore there's no excuse not to participate, right?

I said I might use this piece...

...and I did.

Want to see the rest of what I did with it? Here it is:

Okay, I used more than one of the mini-charms. That's fine, no rule against that. In fact, pretty much no rules. I raided my low volume scraps and stash and combined as many as I could into a layout featuring a lot of negative space.

Then I added a lot of quilting, straight lines about 1/2" apart and strategically placed spirals.

The backing is a low volume black and white print. While making the top, I found that some high contrast prints with a lot of black in them, even if they're on pale grounds, didn't play nicely so I had to leave them out. This one was borderline, but I used it in the top anyway. 

This quilt measures about 42 by 54 inches and will become a donation quilt later. Meanwhile it'll be shown in STLMQG's quilt show in July in the "No Excuses" category.

The guild announced that the prizes for the challenge participants will be awarded by raffle, not by voting or viewer's choice, so it doesn't matter if I share today rather than wait until after the meeting tomorrow. So, I'm whooping today for a finish, my "No Excuses" challenge quilt.

Link ups:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Wendy's Quilts and More
My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, May 6, 2019

Miscellaneous STLMQG and Other Quilty Stuff

I got my STLMQG monthly color block done. My color is Yellow-Green and this month's theme is Half Square Triangles. It's due Saturday. 

Also due Saturday, my entry into STLMQG's " No Excuses" challenge using at least one piece from the mini-charm pack provided. Done and ready to go, but I can't show the whole thing yet. 

In addition to the color BOM and the "No Excuses" challenge, entries for the quilt show we'll be having in July are due. (Show info here if you're interested.) I'm entering in the Bee category and the "No Excuses" Challenge category, so I had to put sleeves on the quilts that I'm entering. I had some narrow strips of muslin so I cobbled them together for sleeves, 

Remember the Snake quilt QOV my friends and I pieced awhile back? Cherie got it quilted and passed it to me over the weekend. I'll bind it so we can present it to our veteran in June. 

She quilted stars in it! I'll take pics of the whole thing after it's bound and finished. 

My design wall is still filled with my Mineral Plus donation quilt in progress. The patches are sewn into rows and the bottom seven rows have been joined together. I don't know whether I'll make the deadline for Hands2Help with this one or not, but I have two others to send so I'll finish this one and send it later if I have to. 

My deadline stuff due Saturday is done, so I need to figure out what to work on this week. My sewing room is such a mess with so many WIPs, fabric purchases, project bags, etc. that it's stressing me out. I think the first thing I need to do is put away what I don't need right now, and clean up so it doesn't look like piles of chaos in there. Sounds like a good starting point! Then I can prioritize what's most important or urgent, and focus on that. 

Link ups: 

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Red Project

I have a dilemma. My goal for The Red Project for April was to find border fabric in Paducah. Although I found something, I'm not sure it's exactly what I want, and I'm debating compromises.

If you recall, my Red Project was inspired by a Chippewa Nine Patch quilt I saw hanging in the Spring AQS show three years ago. It was made in the same fabrics as shown in the pattern cover. What I really want for the border of my quilt is that exact large scale paisley used in the snowball blocks.

I thought I had found a similar paisley. Here it is in my EQ rendering and fabric laid out with the quilt top. 
Paisley EQ Rendering

Paisley Fabric

I'm concerned that it's too brownish. It has a lot of dark brown and cheddar in it, no blue at all. 

While in Paducah I searched for a better option, and the only thing I could find was a William Morris print. The individual colors in the print are better, but the overall look is quite different, more blurry and it definitely reads lighter in value. 
Morris EQ Rendering

Morris Fabric

I'm concerned that the print is out of character with the rest of the quilt. 

Another option would be to go with a red Civil War-inspired print for the border, which would read darker and be in keeping with the character of the rest of the prints. I can probably find a red CW print fairly easily. One of the ones used in the top is shown below. 
RCW EQ Rendering

RCW Fabric

I'm concerned that it'll be boring. 

I have a lot invested emotionally in this project. And financially, but that's beside the point; I'll happily spend more for the perfect border print. 

Thoughts going around in my head are: 

 - If I compromise on one of these options, will I always regret it? 

 - What if I overdye the brownish paisey with a diluted blue? Might it cool down the overall cast and neutralize the cheddar a bit? Worth a try. 

 - I could continue to search for the right print, on line and in shops. Meanwhile, this project becomes a UFO. I really hoped to get it finished this year. I already have a quilter in mind to quilt it. 

 - Another option would be to remove the narrow blue border and continue the checkerboard border to seven patches wide like the blocks in the center, and replace the blue border around the outside edges. I'll have to work on that in EQ. 

I'd love to hear your input. Thanks for any comments and suggestions you can share. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

April Stash Report and Goals Update

Let's just call April a not-much-sewing and non-blogging month, okay? I had lots of other stuff going on and didn't spend much time in the sewing room. And the time I did spend in there was mostly spent working on projects I can't show here yet.

On the other hand, April was a big stash acquisition month, as I knew it would be, with the Paducah quilt show and related adventures. I had a specific list of things I was looking for, and with only a couple of exceptions, I stuck to my list.

April Stash Report: 
IN this month: 34-7/8 yards (STLMQG - 1 yard.  Paducah shopping, 33-7/8 yards)
OUT this month: 4-7/8 yards (No Excuses top, 2-3/4 yards; Backing, 1-3/4 yards; Binding, 3/8 yard)

IN YTD: 56-3/4 yards
OUT YTD: 45-3/4 yards
YTD Net change: 11 yards IN

Among my purchases in Paducah were additional fabrics for the Color Wheel Spoke BOM project at STLMQG. My color is Yellow-Green, and I can use any shade from palest Chartreuse to deepest Olive, as long as they're all on the same "spoke" of the color wheel.

A collaborative project with friends will need some corals as the accent color, and we agreed on a shade that's not too pink, not too orange. I found some to add variety.

Mostly what I was shopping for was border and backing fabric for my Red Project. I really wanted a large paisley on a deep red ground. I didn't find what I was looking for. After hours of scouring the shops, I settled on a William Morris border print. Still 19th century-inspired, right? I don't know if I like it or if I want to keep searching. I bought extra length so I can miter the corners and hopefully match the pattern. The things I don't like about it are that it reads lighter than I intended, and it has an overall "blurry" quality, whereas all the other fabrics in this project have crisply defined prints.

For backing I wanted a red toile print on a tan background. No luck. I found something at Hancock's that could work and is in keeping with the style of prints used in the top. 10 yards.

Then at a different shop later I found something slightly more toile-like. By then I had purchased the Wm Morris print for the border, and I knew this print would better complement that. Another 10 yards.

I also picked up a couple of remnants for donation quilt backs, and then my shopping budget was done.

The only outgoing yardage this month was used for my "No Excuses" challenge project for STLMQG. The reveal is on May 11, so I can't show it until then. Soon! Suffice it to say, I'm pleased with how it turned out, it's very modern for me, and I had fun with it.

Goals Update: 
April Goals Recap:
1. Work on STLMQG challenge project, "No Excuses!"  DONE, quilt is finished.
2. Work on confidential collaboration project. Yes, Spent several hours working on it but still have more to go until it's ready for the next group meeting. My part is drafting the pattern.
3. Quilt and finish the 2nd Pup Print quilt. Not done.
4. Make shopping list with swatches for Paducah, and have fun in Paducah. YES!!!
5. Work on hand stitching WIGSP Piecing Group project. Not touched.
6. Keep up with Bee blocks and BOMs. DONE

Other: Pulled fabrics and cut a Plus donation quilt and started piecing.

The only finish I have to show now for April is my Color Spoke BOM block. Hopefully May will be a more productive month.

May Goals:
1. Put hanging sleeves on the two quilts I'm entering in STLMQG's show and turn them in at the meeting on the 11th.
2. Work on the collaboration project to the point where we can get together again.
3. Mail out Hands2Help quilts.
4. Finish a donation quilt, either Pup 2 or Mineral Plus.
5. Decide what to do about borders for the Red Project.
6. Keep up with bee blocks and BOMs.
7. Work on hand stitching WIGSP Piecing Group project.

I hope I can get back to focusing on my sewing projects and making progress on them this month.