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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Teal Totaling

As June draws to a close - this is the last Saturday - I have no new teal blocks to show. However, I do have my totals and recap and other things to show as well. So glad you dropped by for a visit!

This month I completed only one teal Dresden block. Then there were the 12 double pinwheels, the 10 sixteen-patch blocks with black and white centers. Can’t forget the Mama Teal cat and her 12 kittens; those 13 blocks were sewn into one litter.  And finally, with the remaining scraps of teal fabrics, HSTs and flying geese that have accumulated over the year, I sewed 13 improv blocks that will finish at 8”.


That was a total of 49 teal blocks, a respectable number.  Now, with six months of RSC sewing done, I have a total of 12 Dresdens (probably will be 19” blocks made into 1-2 quilts), 8 kitten litters (2 pink and 2 red left, then the 2 quilts will be assembled), 58 rail fence blocks from vintage sheets (none done this month), 74 8” improv blocks and 60 16-patch blocks (8” each).  Those improv blocks or 16-patch blocks may be divided into two color stories to make 2 quilts each, depending on how many I end up with after we’ve made through all the colors.

So all my sewing this week related to my Aria quilt. The larger squares start at 5” and are 4.5" when sewn. The sashing is 1”, and the green/blue rows are 2.5x5” (half a charm square) pieces sewn together on end. I am pleased with how it’s going, but I had hoped to be farther along by now.


At least all the rows are sewn together; so now it’s just a matter of sashing and connecting the rows.


And cutting more 1.5” strips because I’ve already used up a whole jelly roll of them.....


Now I don’t think I will be able to finish this by month-end. So, since it is going to finish in the neighborhood of 86x105” when the sashing and borders are done, I think I’ll get it professionally quilted instead of wrestling with it myself. Then I can go on to new things.

And speaking of new things, Angela will be announcing the new July RSC color soon. But in the meantime, why not join us over at So Scrappy to check out everyone’s teal progress?

Have a lovely weekend!

Cathy maroon
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Aria Quilt Course Correction

Thanks for all your input on the colors for my Aria quilt. I was stuck on the idea of keeping this quilt in one fabric line, which I normally don’t do. It limits creativity, and in this case made it impossible to come up with a cohesive color palette.

I love this line by Benartex. But although I had bought yards and yards of fabric, there wasn’t enough of the various coordinating support prints. Maybe I should’ve just made a whole cloth quilt from the feature fabric, which I love. Ha! I will have enough to use on the back, so that may happen after all.


First, I apologize for the bad pictures. The right section of my design board is under a soffit in my studio, so that portion is always darker, even when I try to remove the shadows.

So, doesn’t it look better? Maybe not perfect, but certainly passable. I left in a couple of dark blue pieces above, but added in others in lighter shades. The smaller rows across will be done in blues and greens while the block rows will use the feature print plus several coordinates from the line PLUS a few other golds, oranges and teals pulled from my stash.

closer view, right side

closer view, left side

If the pieces look wonky, it’s just the way they are pinned on the board. So far the piecing is right on the mark. I hope to get it all pieced by Friday so I can begin basting it on Sunday. Saturday is a big family gathering here, so there won’t be any sewing time then. I would really like to finish this by month end, less than 10 days from now, so I can count it as a finish for my 2016 Finish-Along Quarter 2 goals.



Darla thinks I should be cleaning up my fabric stash. Too much fabric is all mixed up. But for now it will stay. We are hoping to begin the living room remodel (and kitchen refresh) in July.

Right now, we are waiting for the final bid for the living room work. We’ll be ripping out the fireplace faux brick, hearth, mirrors (so eighties!) and carpet so we can re-do the fireplace. There will be new tile, a gas insert and mantel for the fireplace.  The fireplace will be flanked by new built-in cabinets and shelves. The TV will go above it and speakers and lighting will be added. Hardwood floors will be laid in the living room, stairs and upstairs hallway to match what is already in the kitchen. I got Bruce a new recliner for Father’s Day, and we have one other newish chair we plan to keep. Other than that, we will get new living room furniture, rugs, etc. And we’ll replace one interior door going down to the basement.  The other doors and closet doors will have to wait until next year to be updated. And we are still waiting for the rain gutter contractor to install heat tapes and do some minor gutter and soffit repairs. With all the rain we’ve had in June, they got way behind in their scheduling.

And finally this summer we will paint the kitchen, add a new fixture over the dining table, and add sliding shutters for the glass doors. We gutted and remodeled the kitchen about 10 years ago, so it only needs some cosmetic refreshes. These planned changes have kept me busy watching remodeling shows, pinning pictures, saving brochures and paint chips and visiting showrooms. On my Pinterest account, I have a board for Living Room Remodel and one for Lighting. Not only am I compiling choices, but building a budget. We are sort of striking while the iron is hot and Bruce is working, before officially re-retiring.  But it has cut into my sewing productivity these last couple weeks!

I hope your summer is going well.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, June 18, 2016

(More) Teal Reveal

This week I was able to finish up my teal blocks for this month. Yay!  Here is what's new:

First, the 16-patch blocks. They are just hanging on the flannel-covered design walls, not even pinned. So excuse their wonkiness. They have been trimmed to 8.5x8.5 inches, but it doesn’t look like it!


And I finished the teal Dresden.  Got it all sewn down and a teal yo-yo made for the center.


And my last thing is always the improv blocks done with the leftovers bits and bobs (including countless HSTs). This is one of my very favorite things to do each month. This time I had enough teal (and white or white/teal) to make 15 8.5” square blocks. Again, they are just hanging on the design wall. I really want to find a cool layout for these improv blocks (that number 74 total so far this year) when the time comes to sew them together.


So now I am back to working on my Aria Quilt. I cannot seem to come up with a good layout. You’d think that was something I would have figured out long ago. But nooooo.... So, here is my dilemma (and its history).

I have this beautiful fabric, most of which is pictured directly below; yards and yards of the main print, 2 yards of the blue, a FQ of the next, 2 yards of orange and a half yard of the leaves on white. You will see the pattern I originally was going to use (along with added white). I did my daughter’s quilt in this pattern.  (BTW, that post also show’s Alfie and Darla’s official  shelter kitten portraits).


And then, months later I switched to the pattern below that I did my Helen’s Garden quilt in.


Moving forward another few months, DH Bruce said he would like it made into a bed quilt in the pattern I used for my son’s wedding quilt (minus the octopus and other motifs I added). So, I began cutting out blocks, using 1.5” white strips instead of the 2.5” strips.



And here I am this week, using trial and error on the design board to weed out the looks I don’t like, which is pretty much everything so far.

        1. Boring placement            2. Not enough contrast           3. Blue matches, but screams

I am ALMOST ready to go back to one of the first two patterns.  I have lots of yardage and could still get more of the light blue floral in pic #2 and the orange ikat-like print (XXX) in #3. Or better yet, I could just add in several other matching fabrics from my stash. The solid blue needs to be softer. This is a perfect case of what matches does not look good.

What would YOU do??? Help!

And while you ponder on that, why not join us at So Scrappy for Scrappy Teal Saturday?!

Cathy maroon
Thursday, June 16, 2016

Notting Hill Quilt Progress

My Notting Hill Quilt, named for the fabric line by Joel Dewberry that inspired it, is nearing completion. At least the top is.  This month I finished up two more 12” blocks for a total of 16. Only four more to go.

The first block I did this month was a Celtic Knot.  It was easy and fun. I needed another block or two with more background and less color as a contrast to some of the other really busy blocks.

The second block is called either a Ribbon Star or a Spring Star, depending on whose pattern you use. Somehow, I managed to get all the little birdies in the background right side up and marching in the same direction!


And here are all 16 of the blocks so far.  They are pinned on the design board in random order. I won’t play with actual arrangement until all 20 are done. There will be white sashing between blocks to separate them. I think that should look OK because I have purposely tried to use white, cream and various print backgrounds. And there will likely not be a border, so I expect it will finish at about 58x72”, a good lap quilt.


I am done with all my teal blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and will be showing them on Saturday for the So Scrappy link-up.  Now I’m free to sew on my Aria orange, white and blue quilt. My goal is to finish that before month-end so I can call it my second finish of the quarter for the 2016 Finish Along.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, June 11, 2016

Teal Appeal

For the month of June, the color is TEAL (aqua, turquoise, etc.) over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Like every other Saturday, you can visit Angela’s blog So Scrappy to see all the colorful goodness.

I love teal, but it’s not a color that I have drawers of (a) thank goodness and (b) like some other colors. But I have enough to do plenty, and have been working on them for the last 10 days or so.  Last week, I didn’t participate in the RSC linky because all I had done was cut out the teal cats to sew.



This week, the first thing I had to do was stitch them up because....... well, impatient supervisors. Enough said.

Alfie and Darla (tapping their fingers paws whatever)
The sewn kittens with Mama Cat.



This litter will be matched with the other 7 I have for a total of 8.  My goal is to have 12 of these litters. They will be split into two quilts of six litters each. Each quilt will have a red, blue or teal, pink, green and orange litter. The sixth color in one quilt will be purple and in the other will be brown. So, all I have left now is to make two pink litters and two red litters when we get to those colors.

I have no vintage sheet rail fence blocks to make this month because I don’t have any teals/aquas - any color remotely resembling teal was used in the blue month. So that quilt will just have to go from green to blue to purple, etc.... Here is a picture I snapped of what some of the blocks look like together so far. There will be yellow and pink blocks eventually (when we get to those months in the RSC).

Feline Imperative: See blocks on floor, must walk across.

But I do have a Dresden block this month, even though it needs the finish work.  Here it is pinned up on the design board.



This makes a total of 12 Dresden blocks to date. Still no idea what these will become; either one or two quilts eventually....

Next up are my Scrappy Sampler Blocks. Although Angela hadn’t officially posted a new tutorial, she did say that the block was a double pinwheel and had a 2015 tutorial for it. I had a couple false starts because I don’t have the Companion Angle ruler (and haven’t memorized the formula for figuring out various sizes HSTs and QSTs). But it came together rather quickly after that. I may still fiddle with some of the contrast pieces on these before finally sewing them together into a column.


Finally, this is the other project I am working on. I hope to finish up all my other teal blocks this week so that I can spend the second half of June finishing up this quilt. I’ve been waiting to sew this fabric up for well over a year....


The fabric line is Aria by Benartex (not to be confused with Aria by Kate Spain). The line is a couple years old. I’ve gone back and forth over several patterns over the last year, and finally decided to just sew it. No specific pattern in mind, but I did see a quilt on our recent Utah Shop Hop with a block arrangement I liked, so I`m going to do something like that. I also have a lot more white and that lovely, rich blue to add into the mix. We’ll see how this goes.....

That’s it for now. I’m off to check out the other RSC stitchers and then prepare for a family dinner party tonight. Good times.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, May 28, 2016

Putting Green Out to Pasture

The end of May has rolled around, and it’s time to put a lid on frolicking in the green scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  I hope to join So Scrappy for the green wrap-up, where all sorts of green goodness abounds.


Above is my collage of green blocks for May. I did 3 Dresdens, 2 large cat blocks consisting of one mama and 12 kittens each, 12 double Flying Geese blocks for our Rainbow Scrap Sampler, 10 16-patch blocks with black and white centers, 16 vintage sheet rail fence blocks and 26 improv blocks, using up scraps, HSTs, strips, etc.  That is a total of 92 blocks of green in May. A new record. Not that I’m trying to set personal records - I’m not. I just had so much green as it’s one of my favorite colors.

I also made two Notting Hill Sampler blocks and a few blocks for my Splendid Sampler. Those Splendid Sampler blocks were made into a flimsy and stored away for an undetermined future use.  And I even spent some time cutting out pieces for the Aria quilt I would like to finish by the end of June (can you say Pipe Dream?) 

I will be back on Monday to link up to Scrappy Saturday as I`ll be traveling.

Cathy maroon
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Notting Hill Splendid Dresdens

I’m whacked, I know. In thinking of what to name this post (something I hate doing), it occurred to me that it’s a review of what I’ve accomplished this week so far. That would be: finishing up the three green Dresdens for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge, my monthly two blocks for my Notting Hill quilt and sewing together all the blocks for my abbreviated Splendid Sampler. Hence, the title.

Last weekend my cousins (really nieces) were all over to sew, and Jenny finished a red and black quilt. Alfie decided to perform the Cozy Test on it before Jenny finished the binding. He rated it two paws up.


Alfie is rarely still (especially when I get out the camera), so please excuse the blurs.


Below are my three Dresden blocks. Using a blue background is a first. Also, because I machine-gathered the center yo-yos instead of hand gathering, there were raw edges. So I finished them off with center buttons. One thing you can say about me is that I am consistently inconsistent.


Once the Dresdens were out of my hair done, I quickly whipped up two more 12” blocks for my Notting Hill sampler quilt. The block immediately below is called Crosses and Losses.


This block is called Origami Box, but I think that the design gets lost with these busy prints. Heck, the whole line (Notting Hill) is very busy, but I should have added some solids as I have in other blocks.... You’ll also see some Architextures in there....


There are now 14 of 20 blocks done, and I have already started cutting out the two for June. I know at some point in June or July I`m going to whip through and just GET IT DONE. At present, there are no plans for this quilt, but I am hoping my DIL will like it enough to select it as her Christmas Quilt. It will have white sashing (or maybe hot pink?). As usual, I haven’t decided yet.


And finally, my happiest semi-completion of the week: my A.S.S. - Abbreviated Splendid Sampler.  The official Splendid Sampler (OSS) calls for 100 blocks. My attention span is not that long, and I was just not feeling the love on this project. So, after completing about 20-something blocks, I added a few blocks of my own (notice the kitten?), added filler blocks and now it’s a finished flimsy.



At this point, with (7) 6” blocks across and (8) 6” blocks down, it should measure 42.5” x 48.5” (with outer unfinished quarter-inch seams). Mine measures 43x49. Yep, it always happens to me. I`m so afraid of not making the blocks large enough that my seams are just a hair too narrow. Oh well.... my piecing is a bit off. I don’t care. It will make a cute (baby?) quilt (except that “Measure Twice Cut Once” block). For now, it will be hung nicely on a hanger in my stitching room awaiting its final destination.

So, I am off to Seattle on Saturday morning to visit my daughter and will be back on Monday afternoon. Short visit. Bruce is stocked up with oatmeal raisin cookies, pizza, a strawberry-rhubarb pie, chicken strips, peanut butter and coffee. He`s good to stay behind and eat.

Cathy maroon