Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday Funday..

I have had a good few days getting into my sewing room every day and pursuing new ideas.  I seem to be out of my black and white phase and into the "January Blues" phase.  I decided to use my AccuQuilt GO! cutter to thin out some of my blue scraps  (I have boxes and boxes of blue "scraps"). Using 7-1/2 inch scraps, I cut these 6 1/2-inch triangles.




I'm happy with the result. 50 x 64 inches. This will be a nice nap quilt. I found a back for it and it's ready for Guy to put on the quilter. (By the way, about 6 months ago, I spent an afternoon sorting and measuring potential fabric backings and actually WROTE DOWN the measurements and pinned them on the yardage.  Boy, does that making searching for the right size easy.......!)



I've also revisited my Summer Breeze blue/yellow/green collection. Using a disappearing hourglass pattern from Jennie Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Company, I started working on these blocks.  They are started with 10-inch layer cakes and a matching 10-inch neutral.  Jenny has some great video tutorials with some truly interesting block constructions.  I've got a way to go to figure out just how much contrast I can get away with in these blocks, but I'm enjoying the construction process; the pieces fit together so nicely.  I love making what looks like a very complex block from a relatively simple sew/cut/sew/cut/sew process.  Each block takes about 7 minutes and you end up with a 12-inch block....that works for me!  Those are 9 blocks below; not 36.....


I've been trying to finish each day sorting through various boxes and cutting scraps into manageable pieces for future projects.  I'm enjoying the cutter, and my wrist is definitely enjoying a break from rotary cutter pressure. My friend Nancy and I have a "manage your scraps" day planned for Super Bowl Sunday......it's always fun to play with a friend in my sewing room.

Just around sunset last night, there was an awesome rainbow that just "appeared"....there must have been some moisture in the air somewhere.  It's the first rainbow that I can remember where I could see the entire arc.  Unfortunately, my "phone" camera wasn't quite up to the photography challenge, but still, here's an idea of what it looked like...what a pretty end to an enjoyable day.  



Hope you had a good weekend; it's a quiet day out today; not too cold, and sunny.  A perfect day to do some more sewing.  Talk to you soon...

Kathy

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quilted Solutions: Playing Around.....on a Snow Day....

Quilted Solutions: Playing Around.....on a Snow Day....: I have spent the last few weeks giving myself permission to "play" in my quilt room.  Once I finished some Christmas gifts, and be...

Playing Around.....on a Snow Day....

I have spent the last few weeks giving myself permission to "play" in my quilt room.  Once I finished some Christmas gifts, and before I tackled a few big projects, I decided to play with "found objects" that showed up as a result of cleaning.

One thing I discovered was a bag of teal/white/turquoise scraps.  My friend, Nancy, had loaned me her book, 15 Minutes of Play a year or so ago.  While I didn't do any of the book exercises, I did spend a good bit of time absorbing the philosophy of "letting go" to allow some creative side to take over...without being hypercritical about it.

I decided to just do some improvisational blocks with these scraps.  I don't know where this will go; maybe in the trash, or maybe into some future larger enterprise.  But I didn't care. My only "rule" was to make 6 1/2-inch squares.....

This was the result:



This week, I found a bag of 1 3/4-inch strips that I have used for various black/white log cabin blocks.  I am always inspired by the "Strip Twist Quilt" using scraps on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville page..so I decided to change the block size (5 1-/2 inch vs. 8 1/2-inch) and do a "mini-scrap twist" substituting one solid color for either a dark or a light in each strip set.

I'm pretty happy with the results.  Here's how far I got today:


Now I'm arguing with myself about borders.  Lazy Kathy says "one big white border all around".  Critical Kathy says, "alternating borders of white print, solid color segments, another black, and a white print for finish"..keep them all narrow, keep this look clean and elegant. I suspect Critical Kathy will win, but after 3 hours, I was ready to quit today.

The fun part of all of this is a:  it's from scraps, I have nothing to lose.  b:  I love working with small designs so I can find my "sweet spot". c: Repeat a:  I have nothing to lose....this quilt top makes me happy.  The solids juxtaposed against the black and white prints just sing to me.

Do you give yourself permission to play with your fabric?  Do you just give yourself permission to play, period?  Nobody needed this, nobody wants this, and I'm not looking to sell it.  I just made myself a little piece of "quilt art" that makes me happy.  I think that is a good product for a day's work.

What do you think?  I'm glad to be back among my quilt blog friends.  And, here's a photo I took of the sunset last night.  We do live in an incredibly beautiful spot in Virginia.




That could be an improvisational quilt right there.  Don't you just love all the complementary colors?  Talk to you soon.

Chatty Kathy

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Year's Resolution.......For 2015

Well, it's been an entire year since I posted on my blog.  Why?  I can't really explain it.  I had a "fallow season" the first part of 2014, in terms of quilting and sewing.  I couldn't get the creative juices flowing very well, and didn't feel like I had anything to share.

We spent a good part of the first three months traveling.....new experiences, a lot of miles logged on the car, and, of course, good food. Once I got home, I just sort of languished into a period of inactivity on the quilting scene.

A week or so ago, we hosted a good friend and her children for Christmas Eve.  Her younger son expressed a desire to become a writer, to which I chimed in, "Well, start a journal or a blog, and try to write every day."  A warning bell went off in my head when I said that...."hypocrite, when was the last time you sat down and actually wrote something longer than a four-line Facebook post?"

I guess I've let my Facebook connections taken over for my more descriptive expressions of interest, one's that I have shared in the past on my blog.

This is changing.  A 2015 New Year's Resolution.....sit down, take time to think, take some photos, get a point of few, and share it.  It's not really important whether anyone reads it, it's just important to get thoughts organized and let some experiences take bigger shape on the page.

I sat down and reviewed my blogs from 2013 this morning; I had a pretty good time then, getting involved with the larger quilting community, with my inner creative self, and with inputs from "blog" friends.  So...off we go into 2015.  Here are a few pictures from the last few months....the onset of the holidays got my "mojo" working......

This is a paper-pieced stocking, with, of course, the hanging loop on the wrong side!


 Another paper-pieced stocking; these are from Cindie Edgerton's designs, and the "canning jars" quilt is named "Patrick's Garden Bounty".  The fabrics were a gift from a friend right after Patrick died....he was a chef and loved to participate in our garden activities out here on the "farm"....he mostly loved my pickles, salsa, and pickled jalapenos.


 This is another scrap quilt from my "Christmas" box; the pattern is from Bonnie Hunter's great site, Quiltville...it's a scrappy trip around the world....I "controlled" the design by making sure that every red square fell diagonally from left to right.  Just a fun quilt to make....and fast!

The table runner was for a friend's request.  "Autumn colors, six feet long".....I loved using the striped fall fabric, and just bordered it with a few coordinating strips on the end.  She loved it.

And what would New Year's be without another Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.  Started this in November, the day after Thanksgiving, and got all the individual "clue" pieces finished by January 1st.  The will be "Grand Illusion"......I still have half of the blocks to piece and assemble, and then borders to do, but this will definitely be a January finish. This pattern is also available on Bonnie's Quiltville site......


Now here's a photo to just make you smile.  In the cold of winter, isn't it nice to see the summer geraniums blooming?  I actually managed to get these inside before frost and have kept them thriving.......Have a great day!  Have a wonderful New Year! Talk to you soon.



Kathy

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday....Discovering Forgotten Treasures

I'm marching on in my quilt room; I'm determined to reduce my stash and eliminate things that will never see the light of day again.  Today I tackled the basket that held all of my small, unfinished projects.  I discovered a bag full of yellow/blue half-square triangles.  I know that these date from about 2002 when I was working on a yellow and blue sampler quilt.

What can you do with a bag of triangles?  I decided to make a small baby quilt of out mine.  It measures 34 x 46 and is a perfect "infant" quilt.  I love the soft blues and yellows in this (yes, I'm a sucker for blue and yellow).



It took me about three hours, but I finished off the diamonds, cut remaining squares that were in the bag for the first border, and found a cute striped print for the outer border.  I also found a great backing in my "kiddie quilt fabric" box, and Guy is going to get this quilted for me in the morning.

I also threw out several patterns that were never going to see completion.  I reorganized all my small embroidery projects (so that's where they went), and was able to put all my batting strips big enough to be sewn together in one spot so I can access them when I need them.

It helps that this was my view from the window this afternoon:


Nothing like doing a little sewing on a "snowing" day....hope you had a good one.  If you're up in the Northeast or Midwest, stay warm and indoors.  It's going to be a nasty day tomorrow.

I had a great January 2nd....I'm working on keeping positive and moving forward in 2014.

From snowy Virginia,

Kathy


Monday, December 30, 2013

Struggling with Design....How to Finish a Top that Didn't Quite Live up to Expectations....


I've been back in my sewing room, continuing my work with "found blocks."  This morning, I decided to concentrate on this:




These blocks were started last August.....as you can see from the photo above, I was struggling with whether or not to sash them and what color to use.  The pinks, all of which actually look OK together when you just stack them up next to each other, were just fighting each other and the greys on my design wall.  I just couldn't seem to get a layout that I liked.  I tried it without sashing, but this time I alternated the center brown blocks so there was at least some symmetry to the layout. I swear those browns looked almost identical in value when I was using them, but obviously one of them is significantly darker than the other.

 
Today I bit the bullet and decided that a rich, small-print brown with white would serve for the sashing strips.  Now I'm contemplating whether to add a gray border or not; I'm looking to make this a tad larger; right now it's 49 x 64; I'll probably take it up to 60 x 74, which will make a nice lap-sized quilt.
 
 


Have you ever started a quilt with pretty concrete notions and a good sense of confidence as to what you wanted, and had it "go south" on you?  I was determined to make this quilt from my stash, and use grey, brown and pink variations.    I found fat quarters, a few solids, some scraps, and some minimal yardage.  The block pattern is from Creative Sewlutions; it's Dee Moore's "Dupont Circle". 

I keep trying to push my boundaries away from "safe" and "matchy-matchy".....I guess this is an example of an exercise that turned out "all right" but doesn't necessarily have me overwhelmed with delight......but I'm happy I was able to rescue it and it will make a nice lap napping quilt for someone.

Have a good day....sometimes you just have to keep on keeping on.....these blocks aren't sitting in a drawer anymore!  That's a good thing....

Kathy

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Some Post-Christmas Projects

Yesterday was such a quiet day, I decided it would be nice to sew a little before I started in on dinner for Guy and me.  I was able to finish up two projects that are gifts (these didn't require wrapping or mailing).

I had made a Christmas block for our quilt guild exchange, but got sick and didn't go.  Instead, I turned it into a pillow for my neighbor, Vickie.  The colors match the quilt I made for her last Christmas.  I think it's a pretty cheerful little house decoration:

 
I had some scraps left from Tracey's Christmas tree skirt, so I did a disappearing nine-patch table topper.  I think this is going to be another gift for her.....it will go perfectly on her coffee table and match her new d├ęcor.
 
 


I started putting together some scrappy "little monkeys" and snowball blocks early last year.  I just kept plugging away at them and finally got a 7 x 7 baby quilt finished.  My baby quilt supply is sadly lacking right now (well, I'm happy that so many new babies got quilts this year---7 in all), but I always like to keep a supply on hand.  This was made from dress scraps from the 40s and 50s, mixed in with some of my 30s/40s reproduction fabrics.  It's pretty cheerful, don't you think?


I so rarely use plain white anymore....I love the crispness of it.  This will make a sweet addition to my
"new baby" collection for future gift-giving.

It feels good to accomplish something concrete so soon after Christmas; what with my cold and just the anticipation of the holidays, I found it hard to concentrate on much in my quilt room over the last few weeks.  Now I'm sort of on a roll to see what other UFOs I can finish before the New Year. 

Hope you all had a blessed holiday with family and friends.  Stay warm.......and just for fun, here's a photo of the sweet baby girl who has captured our hearts this year...our newest granddaughter, Paije.



Kathy