Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Valentine Quit Finish

Between sneezing my lungs out and sleeping from the cold meds I’m taking, I managed to finish my Valentine Quilt.  This is Goal #2 (and my second quilt finish of 2016) on my 2016 Quarter 1 Finish Along goals.

Everything I used in this quilt, which finished at about 62x62” is OLD stock from my stash, with the exception of the border fabric, which I purchased on sale from Fabric Depot at the end of the year.  I used a total of 8 yards in this quilt. The red heart fabrics, which form the spinners in front and comprise most of the back, was 54” cotton fabric. That was an oldie but a goodie. It also contained fabric from JoAnn and Makower.

Here’s the back. I kept cutting blocks until I ran out of fabric, then had to sew all the pieces back together in improv slabs. I used nearly every single bit. What a good feeling!  This quilt will be for us to use in the car during road trips, the first of which begins later this week. We are heading for the sunny blue skies of southern Arizona on our annual family visit to the Kizerian HQ (LOL) in Tubac, Arizona.

I have sewn up lots of brown blocks this month, too, as I work through my brown scrap stash for Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Here is a sampling of some.

But as I will not be around to link up to their Saturday Scrap Party, I will save them for the next time. I have brown cats and kittens sewn, too, and all sorts of other goodies in the works.

Finally, I’m taking Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE sewing machine) on vacation with me, along with the Birds and Bees quilt I have cut out. I will return home with a pieced quilt top and lots more brown scrappy blocks.

See you on the flip side!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, February 6, 2016

Brown Mama Cat

Our color for February over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is brown. Like just about every other color of the rainbow, I have more brown scraps than I should.  :-)  But this month I decided to pace myself a bit better than I did in January with blue. Last month it was foot pedal to the metal until I ran out of scraps. This month the brown is being worked around my other sewing.

So, this week I only have a couple things to share. First off is my brown Mama Cat. You may recall that I am doing this 12” mama cat and surrounding her with a litter of 6” kittens (pattern by Sally T)  in the same color. Well, Mama cat is done. And, she is pregnant! Expect the kittens to arrive in the next couple weeks or so.  I am leaving on vacation in a few days and will have very little if any internet access. The kittens may not arrive until closer to the end of the month.

And for those of you who requested and received my free Mama Cat pattern, I have two corrections to make (so sorry!).  (1)  For piece M in background fabric, you only need to cut ONE, not two, and (2) Pieces O should be two 1.5” squares (not 1”).   Any future patterns will go out with the corrections incorporated; just write if you’d like a copy.

I also sewed my brown rail fence blocks in vintage sheets. The setting I am using only calls for three brown blocks, thankfully, because even these required a strip of regular fabric.

This week I attended a genealogy conference for a couple days. I’ve also been sewing on my Valentine quilt. Right now it is about 90% quilted and I plan to finish quilting and binding it today. I’ll post pictures here and on Instagram when it’s finished.

Later in the week I’ll begin cutting out the things I want to take along on vacation to sew; 12 kittens and a simple patchwork quilt of Birds and Bees fabric. I may take my brown scraps along, too.

Come join us for some scrappy goodness over at So Scrappy!!

Until next time,

Cathy maroon
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Crazy Quilting and Fabric “Diet” Results

Hello there! Thanks for joining me on this snowy (at least here in Salt Lake Valley) Tuesday morning.   Let’s get caught up on some happenings!

First is the official release of the Spring 2016 issue of Crazy Quilt Quarterly!  As usual, it is packed with great eye candy, patterns and tutorials.

And although, as a creative consultant for the magazine I am always excited, this issue has me tripley triple triply THREE TIMES as excited!!  Remember the Black Needlepoint Crazy Quilt Wallhanging I finished last fall??  It is featured in the magazine with its story. (Yes, the content is blurred out - you must buy the magazine to read it).

I also contributed a tutorial to this issue on the making of (fiber) nests for your crazy quilt or art quilt blocks.
Background fabric: Feathered Flock by Tamara Kate
The issue also includes a pattern for a cute bunny (this picture is not the best angle to show off its cuteness!) Three of us staff members made samples to show, but the complete directions and pattern are in the issue.
Background fabric: The Stars Shine Bright by Tamara Kate
You can buy Crazy Quilt Quarterly at Magcloud, link is here.  You have your choice of a digital download or a printed issue (my preference!). The printed issue is a higher price, but comes with a free digital download.

Also, Pam just released another one of her very popular books. This one is called Crazy Quilt Inspiration, and it is full of her beautiful work.  Pam has always been a very prolific and detail-oriented crazy quilter. Her work is a rich treasure trove of stitching and beading, and this book provides enough eye candy to overload your peepers!!  The book is divided into categories (birds, nature, etc) and each section shows clear photos of Pam’s beautiful projects spanning years of creativity.

If you are a crazy quilter, embroiderer or art quilter, this is one you don’t want to miss.  Use the same Magcloud link to order your copy!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A bank of lights in my studio went out on Saturday, leaving me working in half darkness until I called it quilts. DH, being the handyman and electrical engineer he is, fixed it on Sunday afternoon after having to visit Home Depot (they didn’t have the right ballast) and finally Lowe’s. I missed nearly a full day of sewing, and therefore did not get my Valentine Quilt done before the end of January.  I will quilt and bind it today and/or tomorrow and post it in a day or two when I get pictures. However, I am counting the fabric used for this quilt in my January fabric totals.

Fabric In:
1.  Thimbles & Threads Mega Clearance  + 18 yards
(prices deeply discounted before moving to their new digs)
2.  +3.5 yards - won from Pattern Jam in a Christmas design contest
3.  + 9 yards - ordered fabric from new Tamara Kate line, Nature Walk
4.  +5.5 yds - white and other basics at Thimbles & Threads’ new shop!
Total In:  36 yards

Fabric Out:
1.  Seeing Red quilt: -8.25 yards
2.  Misc blue blocks for the month: -3
3.  Sold on Etsy: -9.25
4.  Valentine Quilt: -8 yards
5.  Gift to cousin (some cotton, mostly flannel) -11 yards
Total Out: 39.5 yards

Net: -3.5 yards

In the process, although I bought a lot of fabric, I got rid of fabrics I won’t use (flannel small cuts and sales), used lots of odd FQs, and made two quilts. It is like pruning a plant; some dead growth has been pruned and new leaves are ready to grow! And with that spring-like analogy, I will sign out.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, January 30, 2016

Scrappy Blue Recap

This past week I didn’t work on any further projects with my blue scraps, mostly because there aren’t enough left to do anything with. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?

But I thought I would still link up to our Scrappy Saturday over at Angela’s blog by recapping what I did with my blue scraps in January.

18 Blue Rail Fence 9” Blocks of vintage sheets

8 Blue Twinkler Star Blocks for our 2016 RSC Challenge Quilt

1 Mama cat and 12 Kitten blocks sewn into a 24” square

10 16-patch blocks (8”) of blue with white/black

5 Miscellaneous blocks with 1 vintage dresden (not sewn by me)

3 large Dresdens on 20” blocks with doily and yo-yo centers

10 crumb blocks (8”) for some yet-to-be-determined project
I had planned to sew a quilt block or two with selvages, but didn’t really have enough to get a good start. And truthfully, I have to do more studying of the technique of sewing selvages as well as deciding on (and purchasing) a suitable background fabric/fabrics.  So that one will be put off until 2017.

That still left me with 67 blocks sewn for the month and five different quilts started!  In addition, I finished one quilt (see last post) and two other blocks for the Sugar Block Club. All in all, not a bad month.  And there are still a few days left in which I hope to finish up my Valentine Quilt. No pictures of that, yet.

I am looking forward to working with brown as the color of the month for February. My brown stash is limited, just like my sewing days because of a 10-day vacation we’re taking. The Dresden quilt will not use browns, and I only need to make 3 blocks of brown for the vintage sheet quilt. So even though I haven’t started with brown yet, I feel as though I’m already making inroads, hehe!

Why not join us at So Scrappy to see all the other scrappy goodness?

Quilty hugs,
Friday, January 29, 2016

First Finish of 2016

I actually finished this quilt (which I’ve dubbed Seeing Red) several days ago, but finally gave up on getting some decent weather in which to take a picture.  I’m not particularly thrilled with it - just not my colors or style. It was a quick sew for my brother-in-law whose favorite color is red. We are taking it to him when we visit him in Arizona next month.

The “batting” is just flannel, and there is not too much quilting on it; just ditch quilting, squares outlined and a couple vertical rows of quilting in each square. He just doesn’t like fussy stuff.

The main red and gray fabrics I bought on clearance earlier this month, when our LQS Thimbles and Threads was trying to clear out stuff for their big move into their lovely new building. The rest was just stuff I had on hand. The backing is a navy field with white coffee beans on it, as Dennis looooooves his coffee. So while it will never be anywhere my favorites list, it is so Dennis, and that is what matters.

This is finish #1 on my first quarter list for the 2016 Finish Along.  I’m linking up to my first quarter goal list here.

And how about something cute?

Darla, the girl with the polka dot tummy
Darla (above) loved the old green woven rug I had in front of the refrigerator. Every morning she would lay on it, rolling around back and forth and meowing (the only time she ever vocalizes). Back and forth, back and forth, rolling and meowing. It reminded me of the “Roll in Ze Hay” scene from Young Frankenstein, so we called it her roll-y song. When I finally replaced the hole-y roll-y rug (sorry, couldn’t resist) with this red one, Darla was not happy. She wouldn’t go near it for a couple days. Finally, she relented and began rolling on the new rug! Sometime I’ll have to take a video instead of just pictures .... But the new refrigerator is being delivered next week, so I expect there’ll be some more adjustments for Her Highness.

Meantime, Alfie is being his lovey, looney self. Here is is below, rubbing on my sewing machine to let me know that it’s ready for me to begin.

And that’s about it. I’m currently working on my valentine quilt from old stash fabrics. I would like to finish that one in January as well. We’ll see.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of my Rainbow Scrap January Blue blocks. And the results of my “fabric diet” for the month.

Quilty hugs,
Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sewing a Blue Streak

I hate blue. At the beginning of this never-ending month, I loved it. But I have been sewing like the wind. Sidebar: Have you ever seen the movie “Three Amigos”?  Martin Short, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase were in it. They encourage a tiny old-time western town to save itself from the coming bad guy, El Guapo. But the townspeople’s only skill is sewing. So, he has them sew a big phony backdrop of the desert to hide the town behind. And sewed they did! He ran around encouraging them to “Sew Like the Wind!”. You can see the little clip here.

OK, so I really do like blue, but I am just OVER it for this month. However, I have more blocks to show you this week.  Next week I’ll just do a recap of my RSC blocks for the month as well as other sewing projects I hope to have completed. But I digress....

The three Dresden blocks are done.  They were machine-stitched onto a 20.5” pink or yellow background.

But first I had to back the doilies with a solid cotton circle. And because one of the doilies was age-stained in the center (and I had unsuccessfully to completely remove it), I decided to add yo-yos (Suffolk Puffs) to the very center. The yo-yos will match the block color.  I may do a tutorial on how I did all that some time.

I was going to work with my selvages this week, but just couldn’t decide how I wanted to use them. After much online research, I sat down to piece and realized that I really didn’t have enough to work with. That’s OK; I will table that project until next year. There is plenty on my plate without it.

So all that was left for me to do was to sew up the chunks and bits and leftovers.  From them I made 10 - 8.5” (unfinished) blocks.  I still had some blue fabric left over, but not much (probably about a fat quarter’s worth total in 4-5 prints; not enough for any variety).

Then I got this idea to pin up the ten 8.5” crumb slabs with the ten 8.5” 16-patches from last week. CHAOS. It is a certain bet that THEY will not be playing together in any future quilts!!

Once the blue was (finally) done, I turned to Seeing Red, the ugly monstrosity that I have pieced for my brother-in-law (although I didn’t intend for it to be so ugly). My trusty feline supervisors, Alfalfa and Darla were of enormous assistance.

Here is a BEFORE shot, as I had just laid down the quilt backing on the dining area floor:

Then I ran downstairs to my studio to get painters tape and the batting. When I came up, it was very clear that the supervisors had completed their inspection:

But somehow I managed to finish basting it, which was my only sewing goal of the day (I had to clean the floor first, no small feat).

Today I’ll start quilting it. As a break from quilting, I can finish piecing the Valentine Disappearing Nine-Patch (D9P).

I hope to have them both done before the end of the month, so I can get busy with February’s color as soon as it’s announced. We’ll be on vacation for a good part of February, so I need to get right on it!

Looking forward to seeing more scrappy BLUE goodness? Why not join us at So Scrappy for Scrappy Saturday? Participants from all over this blue planet are linking up their projects!!

Until next time,

Cathy maroon
Saturday, January 16, 2016

Scrappy Blue Saturday; The Cat Edition

Welcome to Scrap Happy Saturday!  We are continuing with blue for the month of January for our 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Everyone links up over at Angela’s blog, So Scrappy.  We invite you to check out all the great blue eye candy!

First up: cats.  I adore Sally’s kitten pattern, so decided I had to make a litter.  But before they were all even born, they began mewing for a mom. So I drafted a Mama Cat pattern and sewed them up a mom. I didn’t like any of the patterns I found online because they either had weird ears or no tail or no paw or were just otherwise unsatisfactory.

To Sally’s kitten block I added a strip at the top so that the blocks came to an even 6.5 x 6.5” unfinished (6” finished).  Mama cat is 12” finished, so I decided that this setting (above) was perfect. All sewn together it measures 24.5 x 24.5”.  So, nine colors should make a nice 72x72” quilt.  That way I can skip a color if I don’t have enough scraps.

Here are my Mama Cat pieces cut and laid out on my mini design boards.  Yes, one of the boards has a cat fabric border. 

If you like the Mama Cat pattern and would like a copy, let me know. I’ve written it up in pdf format and can email you a copy. Feel free to share. 

I had enough large scraps to do three Dresdens, but they are not yet appliqu├ęd to blocks. It took me forever, auditioning all sorts of background fabrics, to decide what I wanted to do. The point was to use my existing stash. Eventually I decided to stick with Plan A, which is to to use pink and yellow background squares. I’ll make as many Dresdens as each color’s scraps allow and alternate between putting them on pink or yellow backgrounds. I hope to have enough by the end or the year to make two quilts - one pink and one yellow (backgrounds). 


I saw a Dresden quilt on Pinterest where the maker had used old doilies for the centers, so I am going to borrow that idea (see below). 

Each doily will need to be backed first so the centers are solid. I have some white linen I may use for that. Altogether, there are about 18 or so doilies. I'll have to dig deeper to find more. There are bins of linens I need to go through - things that will eventually make it into my Etsy shop.  :-)

In addition to cats and Dresdens, I made 10 scrappy 16-patch blocks using my 2.5” squares. There are 12 squares of color in each, with for black and white patches in the center. I will continue making these and figure out a use for them later in the year.....

I also squared up and pressed over 160 blue and white HST’s for heaven-knows-what. But I will make HSTs every month and throw them in the box with those. 

And last but not least (well, they probably ARE the least) for this week are the miscellaneous blocks I either dredged up or sewed. The top tiny Dresden is a vintage piece I found in with my vintage blocks (more about that some other time). There are three strip blocks; 2- 8.5” blocks that I did straight instead of slanted (what was I thinking?), and one that is slanted strips @ 6.5”. The other two 6.5” blocks are left over from last year. I think I will just throw together miscellaneous 6.5” blocks as I near the end of the scraps every month. Eventually they will find a purpose.  

I’m still continuing with my blue scraps for next week. (Will this month ever end?)  I’ll play with the selvages and make a block or two with those.  And finally, I have the remaining bits and pieces and will make some blue crumb slabs.  So, I will have all that to show next week. Hopefully!

Finally, I did manage to sew something besides blue this week. I pieced a very large block quilt in red and gray for my brother-in-law. It’s his favorite color. Yeah, it’s pretty simple and pretty ugly. I’m calling it “Seeing Red” because I hated working on it. It will get basted tomorrow and quilted over the next couple weeks when I need a change from the blue.  And a spur-of-the-moment Valentine Quilt is waiting in the wings.  

Thanks for dropping by! Until next time,

Cathy maroon