Saturday, February 25, 2017

Time To Total the Teal (‘Till Tuesday)

I’ve finished with my teal scraps for February for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC). Don’t forget, however, that we will be showing off our Rainbow Scrap quilt finishes (if any) on Tuesday, the last day of this month. In the meantime, however, check out Angela’s So Scrappy blog for the RSC work for this week - always lots of great eye candy.

As always, I make a collage of my blocks to make it easier on me and you. For Teal February, I made 13 Friendship Star variation blocks (big picture). Then, from top right down and around the corner: 2 Geese Migration blocks, 2 bookcase blocks, 13 plus blocks, 1 slab o’ crumbs (actually was 3 blocks, but I count them as one). Also in that picture are 2 nine-patches and a miscellaneous pieced block featuring an old fashioned telephone.
Moving along we have: 4 strip blocks, a crayon block, a teal column of selvages and teal pieces (8 separate little blocks, but I count the column as 1) and finally 20 bow-tie blocks.  That grand total for February is 60 blocks. My teal scraps are history.

Now, you may remember (or not) that I set myself a goal of making 6 kennel quilts (12x18” each, or larger) for our local Best Friends Animal Rescue, which uses them for cats and small dogs. In January I made 5, and I was able this month to make 7, totaling 12. So, I am back on track! One quilt has already been given to my cousin Kim, whose family owns (or is owned by) 3 cats. One of them is a wizened old senior who likes to lay on top of the water heater tank to keep warm. So, he got a quilt to soften his perch and ease his bones. Here is a picture of the remaining 11 quilts (they’re stacked somewhat, so you probably can’t see them all).

The blue fabric was part of a gift of cat fabric given to me by my friend Terri for Christmas. The gold stars (and you’ll be seeing lots more of that, I can promise) was a donation from a local quilt shop. The rest is from my stash; old small blocks and lots of other cat/animal prints. I shouldn’t have to buy any fabric for this project for the rest of the year. Or two.

Some of our grandkids came for a visit on President’s Day since there was no school.  I have a cute wooden wall hanging made by our daughter Emily that says GRANDKIDS, with clothespins below for clipping school pictures. Well, just try to get your adult kids to remember to give you school pix of the grands! Besides, several of the grands aren’t even old enough to be in school yet. So, I snapped some candids while they were here.

TOP (L-R): Deacon, Gunner      BOTTOM (L-R):  Hunter, Abbie  

Hunter is daughter Stacy’s oldest; the rest are Emily’s. Anyway, the picture board isnow well populated with current pictures.

So, time to show what I started this week - a new quilt for me. I fell in love with a relatively new line of fabric, Olive’s Flower Market, and fell into a beginner-type trap; I bought a FQ bundle and lots of yardage to make myself a quilt based on this Rose Cottage pattern.  I like the lattice pattern and the small green inner border, and decided to do my own thing regarding size of squares/quilt, borders, etc.

Once I got piecing it and began putting it up on the design board, it was just not working. I  was trying to use all the colors on the interior of the quilt (left) and didn’t like it. So I pulled out the black (see right pic) and it was much better. The camera doesn’t capture these colors correctly. The green is more yellowish in real life (a la Greenery, the Pantone color of the year) and the pinks are really softer and warmer.  Anyway, it’s better, but still rather matchy-matchy.

Four of these smaller blocks form an X, and I have enough fabric to do five across by six down. But I have opted to go with a 4x6 layout instead. Next will be a small green text inner border with this fabric. The pic below is a more accurate green and is what all the above really looks like. 

The final border will be a medium pink floral. And then there are scores of waste HSTs from making the blocks above. I have sewn them into flying geese or prairie points. I may incorporate these in another inner border, but have to get to that point to see if it will work or not. If not, I will use them, plus the leftover blocks, plus the leftover FQs to make a second quilt which I can donate somewhere.  

So, somehow this quilt isn’t going or looking as planned, and I am surprised that other than sewing full-speed-ahead on the blocks for one day, I am not enjoying this quilt either. But I think the reason is because I used one line of fabric. It occurs to me that I might have grown beyond that - using someone else’s color formula in the form of a single line of fabric. Lesson learned.  I have so been looking forward to Tula Pink’s new line Tabby Road coming out. But I am not going to buy a FQ bundle or any other bundle. I will buy the 2-3 prints in yardage that I really want, and supplement from my stash when it comes time to use it. By the way, the line is very Kaffe-like, in my opinion.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Bruce (DH) is having surgery on his arm on Monday morning at o’dark thirty. The malignant lumps will be removed - and anything else that is involved - until they get “clear margins” (meaning that no cancer cells are found in the immediate adjacent tissues when an on-the-spot biopsy is done). Then the doctors will splint and pack his arm as part of a staged surgery. In other words, they will do no skin grafting or anything until the long-term biopsies come back, 7-10 days.  At that point, if the margins are clear, they can do grafts. That is the result we are hoping for. If not clear..... that’s the elephant in the room, but we aren’t worrying about that for now. Keep a good thought for us!

Have a great week. I will hopefully be back on Tuesday with a quilt finish. Do you think they will let me bring my sewing machine into the waiting room?

Cathy maroon
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Another First Quarter Quilt Finish

This quilt was officially finished about a week ago, and I did mention it. But I wanted to give it its own introductory post so it will qualify as a finish for the 2017 First Quarter Finish Along.  My Quarter I Finish Along Goals are here. This quilt is #5 on the list.

It’s a Disappearing 9-Patch with a couple vertical stripes added for interest. I wanted to do something with black, white (and gray) and a color, and this was it. The binding is a basic stripe and the back is solid teal. It will be gifted to one of my BILs next time we visit Arizona. And because it will be used in a warm climate (but they do have cool winters and cold nights), the batting is merely flannel instead of warmer cotton batting.

The quilting from this relative beginner is mainly stippling and loopy lines. Men don’t care, right?

The news on DH’s arm was not good. Both lumps were malignant, as we suspected. Surgery to remove them will be on Monday morning. There is hopefully enough tissue remaining (from previous surgeries) to remove the cancer. They will keep going until they get “clear margins” in their immediate biopsies. However, because the long-term biopsies (a week or more to get results) are more telling, the surgery itself will be staged. Monday is the first stage. No skin grafts will be done until the long-term biopsies come back clear. If biopsies are not clear, they will go in and take more tissue - or whatever they need to. That is the elephant in the room that we are aware of but choosing to ignore for now.

Please keep a good thought for DH. The irony of the whole arm cancer thing for Bruce is that he used to be a medical engineer, and worked for Symbion and Robert Jarvik (think artificial heart). Bruce also worked on circuits for the Utah artificial arm (a prosthetic) and other medical assist devices.

In a lighter vein (pun intended), I’m working on a fresh new springy quilt for myself while DH is trying to decide which of the several guitar quilt patterns (and then colors) he wants for his new quilt this year.

Cathy maroon
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beam Me Up

Sewing is my sanity. What a week! Is anyone else ready for a vacation from winter? Until a vacation can happen, I am so grateful (should be spelled GREATful) for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and my sewing machine!  Come take a mini-vacation and join us over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog for the weekly roundup of colorful goodness!

This week I sewed 13 teal Friendship Star variation blocks. I absolutely love how these play together!

And to finish off my teal scraps, I made two nine-patch blocks, one 6,5” novelty block with the telephone center, and three miscellaneous crumb slabs, which will count as one slab block in my final tally. I think that they are more versatile when kept to sizes that can either be sewn together or cut down later.  Gotta love scraps! Linking up to Oh Scrap!

I was also able to finally finish my brother-in-law’s quilt, the boring disappearing 9-patch. I’ve got a couple close-ups here, mainly to show my (honest but) mediocre and wobbly quilting. I am hoping that once the quilt is washed, it will be less noticeable.

The quilting is stippling in the body, loops in the two vertical bands, and a vine and leaf pattern along the border. I should’ve probably picked another situation (instead of white thread on a black border) to practice this new-to-me motif. But oh well. I`m nuts like that.....

Here it is with its black and white binding, in a heap (that’s how I feel about it), ready to go into the laundry for its washing and crinkle-production. I will get a final picture and do a separate reveal post about it later in the week, because it’s another Finish-Along goal for the first quarter.

And finally, I bought a large separating zipper and was able to finish the sleeping bag for my DGD Abbie’s American Girl doll. While I was at it, I sewed up a flannel nightgown for the doll, too. Just in time. The kids have Monday (Presidents Day) off school and are coming over to play with me and Grandpa.

And speaking of Grandpa (DH), the news on his forearm is not good. The MRI showed enough to warrant biopsies, done last Tuesday or Wednesday (it’s all a blur). Yesterday the doc called to tell us she`d assembled a team review (oncologist, radiologist, her as surgeon, etc.) for Tuesday morning. We meet with her on Tuesday at 1:00 to go over the results and surgery/treatment plan. We’ve been here before and done that. But one wonders just how much tissue is left to take before it begins impairing the use of his (right, dominant) arm and hand. Needless to say, he’s had to bow out of his folk music trio’s gig for this week.... We are being stoic for now, but reserving the right to panic later if warranted (insert inappropriate LOL here....)

Wishing you a good week, with lots of sunshine for everyone!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, February 11, 2017

Feeling the Teal

This was another productive week with teal (aqua, sea green, green-blue, turquoise, etc) me as I follow along with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s monthly color. It’s really a great way for me to systematically clean out my scrap stash, although it seems scraps have some unusual reproductive properties, don’t you agree?

My first project for the week was to get my two teal/aqua bookcase blocks done. They will be on a blue shelf, so the remaining three blocks on that shelf are reserved for regular blues ranging from dark (navy) to light (sky) blues.

You might notice some repeat titles from last month, but that’s how it goes with scraps and selvages, LOL!  I need to do some clean-up stitching (or thread picking) around the owl. But I love that he selected the most appropriate book on which to land!

And the “Treasures of the East” title is a nod to the system of Arabic numbers we use. Clever, eh? You will note there are several titles by Tamara Kate - Nature Walk, Birds and the Bees and Helen’s Garden. I love, love, love her fabrics for Michael Miller.

Next up are the two Geese Migration blocks from the pattern by Cynthia Brunz. This time I put more effort into the shading from light to dark.

And this month there were 20 4” bow-tie blocks, although I’m not ruling out the possibility of more until I have finished everything except my crumb slab(s). Bow-Ties are very addicting!

Next are the 13 Plus blocks I finished. They measure 6.5” unfinished.

And I finally got the top for my brother-in-law’s quilt sewn into a flimsy.  May have a 2” black border all the way around. The backing is the bright blue and sashing will be blue (if there is enough left over; I haven’t measured yet) or black. No rush on this right now because our Arizona trip is postponed for awhile.

My hubby had the MRI done on his right forearm, site of the previous cancer and surgeries. They will give him the results and a surgery date next week. Then we will have a better idea of what we are facing. If there is a week or two before surgery, we may scoot out for a week’s vacation to see the family in Arizona. Otherwise, we may be postponing it until after surgery/radiation/whatever.

This week I was also able to stitch these columns of my 2016 RSC 16-patches together into a 72x80” flimsy. I am in love with this bright quilt!  I`m hoping that I might have the time/inclination to baste both of these flimsies this week and perhaps begin quilting one of them.

My only Supervisor of late has been Darla. She just prefers to hang out with me and sleep wherever she can find a comfortable place, as long as it’s nearby. Alfie prefers to sleep in Bruce’s recliner during the day.  At night, however, they will sleep anywhere - they are Equal Opportunity Nappers.

A few nights ago, we were drifting off to sleep around midnight (yep, we were up late that night) and we heard the cats running and playing. Then it turned into hissing and yowling and lots of anger and screaming.  I found them in the study and Alfie had Darla pinned under the desk (which is a first; she ALWAYS “cleans his clock”). It is the first time they have ever fought with each other (beyond just hissing or play fighting), and it really bothered me. I took them each one by one (when I could outsmart them and finally catch them) and clipped their nails. They didn’t get any verbal reprimands, because...... well, they are cats. All they would hear is “blahblahblah Alfie” and “blahblahblah Darla”.  Anyway, they calmed down right away, and darned if this wasn’t the scene five minutes later:

In the morning, they were curled up together in our bed, and harmony was restored. But I had lots of fur to sweep up!!  Kids.......

Cathy maroon
Saturday, February 4, 2017

First Week of Scrappy Aqua

This is the first week of aqua (turquoise, teal, sea green) for February for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge participants. New colors are always a refreshing change, aren’t they?? Even if the outdoors is still gloomy and gray, we quilters get to play in glorious color! There are always lots of fun things to see over at our hostess Angela’s blog for Scrappy Saturday.

My sewing this week had me whipping out the strips, strings and selvages.  First up are my four 8.5” blocks of aqua strings.

Then I worked with my selvages and 4.5x8.5” chunks of solids to sew up another column for my Rainbow Selvages quilt. Last month I did two purple columns; one in red-purple and one in standard or blue-purple. This month I only needed to do the one aqua.

And I did an aqua crayon, too. Here it is pinned next to the aqua selvage column (draped so I could get closer and show more).

I also got 3/4 of the top done to my brother-in-law’s black, white and blue disappearing 9-patch quilt (had to force myself; boring sewing). No picture, no rush. We are not leaving for Arizona this week as originally planned. Something medical has come up with DH that needs to be taken care of first, so at this point we’re not sure if we will go next week or next month.

For Block Lotto this month, we were asked to sew Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks using the Pantone Color of the Year, Greenery, as “inspiration” for the green geese. Background was to be light tan (mine are NOT white, although it looks like it) or pink. The other remaining geese were our choice.

I forgot to mention in my sewing recap for January (last week) that I also sewed some small kennel quilts for a local Best Friends shelter in January. One of my personal goals this year is to sew six small (12x18” to crib size) quilts per month to donate. I only got 5 done in January, but I hope to maybe catch up and get 7 done in February. Regardless, I will donate what I have at the end of February. Since I need to deliver them myself, I figured every 2 months (roughly a dozen quilts each time) is about right. I know there will be lots of cute kitties and puppies there tempting me, so I have to be strong! I’ll get a picture of them all (the quilts, not the cute animals) at the end of the month, although there’s really nothing exciting about them. I`m using donated fabric (pretty ugly) for the time being, although there is lots of cute fabric waiting in the wings.

Have a great week!

Cathy maroon
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Rainbow Quilt Recap

Today, the last day of January (who else is cheering?!?), we are holding a celebration of Rainbow Quilt goodness over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog.  Everyone who has finished a Rainbow Scrap Quilt this month, regardless of when it was started, is invited to show it to the world! We are hoping to inspire newbies and those who might be teetering on the brink of joining us in our goals of monthly scrap-busting, color by beautiful color.

This month I finished up three of my 2016 rainbow quilts, all of which were flimsies before the month began. All (ha!) I had to do was baste, quilt and bind.

Rainbow Rails
This quilt was made from vintage sheets (except 4 lonely strips I had to fill in; one in orange and 3 in brown). It finished at 72x81". The “batting” was merely white flannel as this is meant to be a summer-weight throw, and the quilting was a large meandering stipple.

Cool Scrappy Improv
All during 2016 I made improv blocks (8.5” unfinished) with the bits and bobs left over from all my other planned blocks. These bits included experiments, half square triangles, flying geese, and just about any scrap over 1.5”.  I had so many at the end of the year (over 90), that I divided them into warm and cool color groups. This is the cool colorway. It is sashed with 2.5” (2” finished) black strips and set 7x7. It measures 72x72” and is batted with Warm and Plush. The quilting was a simple vertical large zig-zag.

Warm Scrappy Improv
This quilt used the scrappy blocks of the warm colors from my 2016 rainbow adventures. The colors are yellow, orange, red and pink. Again, they are sashed with 2.5” strips, in this case Kona Cream. The blocks are set 6x8 in this quilt, resulting in a quilt that measures 62x82”. The batting is the same Warm and Plush, which I love because it gives a slightly higher loft than the Warm and Natural. I buy it in 25-yard rolls from JoAnn online (when they either have a good sale or free shipping, or both). The quilting is a free-form loopy design that I do on my Bernina.

I was pleased to finish these three in January. There are still 2 quilts left to do from my 2016 Rainbow piecing; the Rainbow Dresdens and my Rainbow 16-patches. I have started sewing the patches into columns. There will be 9 columns (colors) of 10 blocks each.

As I will be on vacation for about 10 days in February, I’m not sure if I will finish either of them. My first priority is finishing a quilt for my brother-in-law that I can deliver when we get to Arizona.  But I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, I thought I would just throw in a Gratuitous Cute Kitty Picture. Because, why not?
Alfalfa (“Alfie”, in orange) and his sister Darla are best friends and partners in crime. They look so innocent, don’t they? HA! You should’ve heard them running around last night about midnight. They could wake up the dead.

Holding Paws
Have a great week, everyone!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, January 28, 2017

As January (Finally) Comes to a Close...

Is it just me, or does it seem as though January has been going on for three months already? I am so OVER it already! But today was really nice - there was a big ball of yellow fire in the sky that created shadows and made everything light. I think it’s called the sun, but that is from rumor and certainly not from previous experience this month.

So, I finally pretty much wiped out my purple scraps this month. I played with my 1.5” this week. Oh, but before that I finished up my Friendship Star variation blocks that weren’t quite ready last Saturday.

They’re kind of a pain in the butt because there are so many HSTs to trim, but I love the look, so OH WELL.  And speaking of pains in the posterior, the 1.5” squares and HSTs got cleaned up and made into 2 36-patch blocks alternating solids and HSTs. Yeah, my piecing leaves a lot to be desired.

With all the leftover bits and bobs, I made these three slabs. I am counting them as ONE block in my tally because they could be sewn together.... or not.

So here is my summary of PURPLE blocks for this month:

Top:  4 string blocks, 4 Bookcase blocks (12” each, sewn together)
Left: 1 Crayon block (the light one was from last year)
Middle Row: 2 Geese Migration Blocks, 11 Plus blocks, 2 columns of Selvage blocks
Bottom: 13 Friendship Star, 38 Bowties, 1 Crumb slab
Not Shown in collage: 2   36-patch blocks.
Total RSC Blocks:  76.

Linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at Angela’s So Scrappy Blog. Why not join us and see what everyone else has done too??

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I had another finish this week - my warm-colored Rainbow Improv from 2016. I had to baste it first, then quilt and bind it. I really love how it turned out!!!

These 8” improv blocks are what I did last year with the miscellaneous crumbs and such of each color. The first quilt (shown a couple weeks ago) was done in blue, teal, purple and green. This quilt is the warm part of the spectrum; yellow, orange, red and pink.  This one was set 6x8 and sashed with Kona Cream. It looks like a pale peachy yellow, but it’s called Cream. Anyway, I like it.  The batting is Warm & Plush and it finished at 62x82”.

The quilting was a basic freeform loop, and I used Aurifil thread (1135) in 40 wt because that is what I had. I wasn’t crazy about the gold thread on the red (above), but I loved it on the rest of the quilt (below).

And when washed up, it was just fine. The backing I bought at Connecting Threads during their year-end clearance. I’d had my eye on it for awhile for this quilt - perfect colors. The binding was strips left over from other backings.

This was #4 on my Quarter 1 Finish Along Goals - my third finish in January. But that’s because the tops were done last year.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Finally, I made a bit of progress on the D9P quilt for my brother-in-law.  This picture doesn’t show the entire width of the quilt, but it will be sashed in black on all 4 sides. Then there will be three sections divided by vertical strips of blue/black/blue as shown. The center column will be three blocks wide and each side column will be four blocks wide. I think. If I don’t like that, it might become 3-4-3.  And there may be some horizontal stripes, too.

I’ll be playing with this for a few days and want to get it sewn up this coming week. Preferably before Angela announces the February color!

Most of this post was prepared on Friday evening, so I slept in this morning. But Alfie never really lets me sleep late. I was awakened by a gentle paw pulling back the covers over my head. The time? 8:00 straight up. It’s like he KNOWS, because it’s never later than that.

Alfie: Yes, human. The King is all-seeing.
See you on Tuesday for a Rainbow Scrap finished quilt round-up.

Cathy maroon