Monday, May 22, 2023

Scrappy Celebration, Coming Along

With several people working on blocks for Scrappy Celebration, we decided to combine what we have so far on the design wall and see where we're at. We didn't arrange them, just put them up. 

photo credit Linda L

Each of us started by making blocks according to the color combos in the pattern. But then we all went rogue, using the patterns in other color combos of our own choosing, still within our general palette. After seeing the blocks on the wall, which obviously need to be rearranged a bit, we determined that we need more yellow, periwinkle blue, and light green. 

I made a couple more blocks:

Linda made a few more also; here are her new ones and mine together:
photo credit Linda L

We like that some of the fabrics are low volume prints and some are white-on-white, so there are some busy backgrounds and some restful ones. Very scrappy, just as the quilt's name suggests. 

We're making enough blocks for at least one twin size quilt because the charities we support have requested quilts for twin beds. The pattern as written is 72" square. A twin size will need one more row of blocks than the pattern calls for in order to be long enough, but I don't think we'll have any problem coming up with enough blocks. 

Making individual blocks one at a time is a lot different than making enough of the same block for an entire quilt, so it's really holding our interest. And as I've said before, making these 9" scrappy blocks with a lot of small pieces is forcing me to up my game so my blocks will fit together with everyone else's. So far so good. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Mineral Plus for Hands2Help

Hands2Help is a comfort quilt drive hosted by Sarah Craig of Confessions of a Fabric Addict, which takes place in the spring every year. I've been participating since the early 20-teens. I make a lot of donation quilts now, but this one is specifically for Hands2Help. 

Back in 2019 I pieced a Plus top but I didn't get it quilted in time for Hands2Help that year because of its size and the difficulty of basting it and quilting it on my domestic machine So, it has sat as a UFO ever since. 

2019 Flimsy

I called it Mineral Plus based on the colors in it, as described in the original post.

I recently had the opportunity to quilt and finish it, and it has now been donated to our local Hospice of the Valley. I'm dedicating it to Hands2Help this year, just a few years later than planned. 

The palette was inspired by the greys and golden yellow in this floral print. But overall the quilt reads masculine, and I don't think the inclusion of one small scale floral takes away from that in any way. 

As you can see, it's quilted with an allover meander, the limit of my free motion skills on PCQ's long arm. I even found a suitable stripe for the binding. 

In addition to the Hands2Help designated charities, Sarah encourages donating locally, especially as shipping is so expensive. Since a hospice is one of her designated charities, I'm sure donating locally to Hospice of the Valley is fine. I hope this quilt brings a measure of comfort to someone. 

Link Ups: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Alycia Quilts

Monday, May 15, 2023

PCQ Spinner Quilt

For the April PCQ Community Service sew day, we worked on Spinner quilts. I had developed the pattern to use PCQ's stash last year, but we didn't get to it then. You can find the pattern in the Free Charity Quilt Patterns tab above. 

Originally the pattern was for a large throw size, 64 x 80", but this year we're focusing on twin bed size because that's what so many of the charities we support need. So I added light borders all the way around and top and bottom borders to bring the size to 68 x 92", wide enough and long enough for a bedspread. 

The Community Service committee members made kits prior to the April sew day. We had 15 or 16 kits with patterns and strips ready to go. We had an excellent turnout. Members will continue to sew on their Spinner quilts at the May sew day.

You can see my sample folded and pinned to the design wall for reference. I had made it last year but added the borders this year. I also updated the pattern with the border info. 

I had a lot of blocks left over from the top I made last year, so instead of taking a new kit to work on at the sew day, I planned to continue with what I had. When we packed up the kits, I pulled only the number of strips I'd need to finish. 

I was able to get the rest of my blocks sewn, and I put them up on the design wall at home to lay them out. 

Four of the 8" blocks make a large Spinner block, so I sewed them in four patches to make the big blocks. And then I discovered that I had two of the same 8" block in the upper left Spinner block, so I took it apart and fixed it. 

Much better. I went on to finish all the Spinner blocks, then packed them up to assemble into rows at social sewing. Since the blocks are so big, it went very quickly, and I was also able to get the light borders added. At home I added the scrappy borders, and now I have a finished top. 

Members who started their Spinner kits at the April sew day will be able to continue working on them  - or any other unfinished charity quilt - at the May sew day. The May sew day is scheduled for Saturday the 20th, but I won't be able to participate because I have another commitment. 

So now I've made two twin size Spinner tops. One will remain a flimsy to be used as a teaching sample for future kits and sew days. The other will go to the committee members who prep backs and batting, and then someone will long arm the quilt, someone else will bind it, and it will be donated to one of our charities. 

If you would like a PDF version of the Spinner quilt pattern, or any of the other patterns in the Free Charity Quilt Patterns tab above, leave a comment and be sure to include your email address in the actual text of your comment. 

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, May 12, 2023

Red Round Robin UFO

When we found out we were moving from St Louis to Phoenix back in 2020, I was in the middle of piecing a round robin style project. It was during Covid, so it was a self-directed stay-at-home round robin. With a definite move date locked in, the project was no longer a priority, so it got packed up and put away. 

I pulled it out to work on at retreat in April. It took a bit of figuring out to remember where I was at with it and what it still needed. Fortunately I had an outline drawing of the concept, and some partial pieces. 

It started with an orphan block. The block was supposed to be "a la Jen Kingwell," but I didn't like the color choices nor the value placement and contrast, so it sat in the orphan block drawer for awhile. Here's the block with the first border added. 

I had inherited a funky no-name set of templates for piecing curved blocks, an odd size and I had never used them, so I wanted to do something with them. I used them to make corner blocks for the second border. The border was actually constructed in strata to match the corner blocks. 

The next border involved points that echoed the angle of the wedge shapes in the center block. The pointed strips had been pieced, and were packed up along with the center as shown above. The rest of the fabrics were packed in the same project box. 

When I started working on the project again at retreat, I added the pointed borders. 

The next part of the plan, according to the drawing and some cut pieces in the box, was another curved-corner border like the earlier one. It involved remembering and re-figuring how to make the corner blocks. I wanted the black strip to be wider in this border than it was in the earlier one. 

The black print is actually directional, with stripes in it. In the first round of the curved corner border, I had made mitered squares for the corner units, so I had to recreate them for this border. 

Finally it was ready for the outer border, a repeat of the very first border, again slightly wider. 

Now it's a finished top. In all, there are six borders, and the size is 54" square. It's big enough for a comfort quilt for a tween or teen girl so I'll donate it to the local family services agency when it's finished. Meanwhile, it feels good to have moved a UFO along toward a finish. 

To further move it along, I have a plan for a pieced backing. Stay tuned! 

Link Ups: Confessions of a Fabric AddictAlycia QuiltsWendy's Quilts and More,  My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, May 8, 2023

Scrappy Celebration Blocks

I've made a couple more Scrappy Celebration blocks; now I'm up to 11. Here's the latest in progress: 

Since several of us are making this project together, using our own scraps and stash, we'll have lots of variety in the featured colors and the low volume prints. 

Here are my blocks so far: 

Since this is a group project and consistent sizing of blocks is important, I've been really careful about accuracy when making these blocks. The smallest pieces here are 1" finished. I haven't tackled the block that uses even smaller pieces yet. 

I like all the blocks here except the solid yellow one. Too much yellow! Also too much of the same color. As shown, the block was made exactly per the instructions, but I don't like it. I think I'll take it apart down to the double-four-patch quadrants, and combine two of the quadrants with two low volume squares, similar to the plus block above it. Two new blocks from this one that bugs me, and both will have cute low volume prints.

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, May 5, 2023

Flying Geese Top

Sorry, indoor photos only. It's been much too windy lately for outdoor photos, although I've tried several times. 

This is the Flying Geese top I was working on at retreat in early April. It's now a finished top, 60" square. 

There are similar Flying Geese quilts all over Pinterest, made with columns of geese flying north and south. Many use a bohemian mix of prints, often with low contrast. 

I started with these fabrics. The multi-color floral drove the palette, although I avoided including the blue. The multi-color floral, orange stripe, and mint green solid were purchased together at one of the pop-up shops in Paducah last year. I thought I might be able to use them together in something. Then I pulled a few friends from stash. 

I have trouble with contrast and I often err on the side of too much contrast, so this project was an exercise to push me to work with more subtle combos. I made Flying Geese units in combos of the fabrics above. But when I put them all together, to my eyes they just ran together in a mushy medium mess with only the occasional pop of darker orange. So I needed to add some contrast. Low volumes to the rescue. The white perked everything up, and the other low volumes helped add definition. Now there's enough contrast for interest combined with the more subtle units. 

In the photo above, the orange and white units at the lower right are high contrast. The multi floral and orange geometric units in the top row and the green print units at the lower left are low contrast. Squint at the image and the difference in value disappears in those units. Everything is relative; in another project, that orange and white geometric would read as a "light" when combined with all medium and dark prints, and the orange stripe could be a medium. 

I didn't really succeed in my quest to use all low contrast combos in this project; instead I reverted to my own aesthetic and added more contrast for interest. But at least I pushed myself to think about it and work with the concept. I'm satisfied with the result. 

Monday, May 1, 2023

April Stash Report and Goals Update

April was a productive month! And even though I added a few yards to the stash, my usage more than offset the acquisitions. So what did I accomplish? 

Flying Geese blocks

At retreat I got the rest of the blocks made for my Flying Geese project. Since I've been home from retreat, I've finished the top, which will get its own post later. Also at retreat I finished a UFO from 2020, which will also get its own separate post later.  I haven't figured up the yardage used for the UFO yet so I'll count it in next month's stash report. 

Red Round Robin UFO from 2020

Other finishes include a tote for my SIL, a pieced backing for Chisel Star, and a jumbo Friendship Star prototype top for PCQ's next charity pattern. 
Tote for SIL

All that used up a lot of fabric! 

April Stash Report

IN this month: 5 yards (Ritter, 3 yards. Quilter's Sale, 2 yards.)
OUT this month: 18-1/2 yards (Flying Geese top, 5-1/2 yards. Chisel Star backing, my fabrics, 1-1/2 yards. Low Volume Squares and Scrappy Celebration fabrics donated to group projects, 3  yards. Bag for Jackie, 2 yards. Friendship Star top, 6-1/2 yards.)

IN YTD: 15 yards
OUT YTD: 55-1/2 yards
YTD Net Change: 40-1/2 yards OUT 
Backing for Chisel Star

In addition to working on projects at retreat, I had a lot of time this month to work on projects at home, too, One was the Friendship Star prototype for the next PCQ charity quilt. I made it all from my own batik stash, but now a pattern tester is working on a version using the club's stash. I wrote up the pattern so we can make kits for a future community service sew day. It took longer to write the pattern than it did to make the top! 

Friendship Star prototype

So with all that, how did I do on my goals for the month? 

Goals Update:

April Recap:

1. Finish prepping and packing for retreat and have fun there.  YES and  YES!!!

2. Plan a backing for something for Kelly Young's upcoming book promotion. Yes, project is planned, fabrics pulled, to go with the red round robin. 

3. Quilt something on PCQ's long arm. Book time slots for May and June. Yes, quilted a UFO from 2019, Mineral Plus. Long arm time is booked for late May and Late June. 

4. Make tote bag for Jackie. Yes, finished and sent. 

5. Finish at least one of the tops I'm taking to work on at retreat. Yes, finished the red round robin top at retreat and subsequently finished the Flying Geese top.

6. Make blocks for Scrappy Celebration small group project. Yes, 7 blocks made so far. 

Other:  Made Friendship Star backing for the Chisel Star top. 
            Made prototype and wrote pattern for Friendship Star charity quilt for upcoming PCQ sew days. 

Scrappy Celebration Blocks

Whew! Can I top that in May? No, I have some family time booked on the calendar, so I will definitely not be able to accomplish as much in May. 

May Goals: 

1. Sew a backing for the red round robin top for Kelly Young's upcoming book promotion. 

2. Make blocks for Scrappy Celebration small group project. 

3. Quilt something on PCQ's long arm. 

4. Plan and cut a new project to piece at Social Sewing.

5. Bind Mineral Plus

That's enough.... Plus, I have to clean up the sewing room. All those projects are piled up in such a big mess on my cutting table, I can't work in there! 

Link Up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts