Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Orphan Stars and Geese in a Night Sky

I'm feeling stressed.  Sewing is calming ... but it can't be anything too complex or for which creative decisions must be made.   So I sewed together the second round of orphan blocks on my design wall. 

Orphan Stars and Geese - Assembled

It currently measures 56 by 66 inches.  I will likely add a 2 inch border for a finished size of 60 x 70.  I may not finish in time for the H2H deadline, but either way, both of the orphan blocks quilts will find their way to the charity Happy Chemo. 

I'm joining the lists for Mrs Sew and Sow's Scraptastic Tuesday–be sure to check out the fantastic quilt she made, starting with some orphans–and WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.

Friday, May 08, 2015

So ...

DSCN8560I haven't made much progress finishing the orphan block quilt.  I have pieced a back and made some scrappy pink binding. The scrappy pink binding is for the orphan block quilt and the red paisley is for the liberated wedding ring with the red background.

Even though I have made next-to-no progress on much of anything this week,  because I had so much fun playing with those orphan blocks, that I found some more blocks (with black backgrounds) and some time to put them on the wall to see if there were enough for another H2H quilt.

More Orphans

I only made a few of these.  Most are from an orphan block swap from a few years ago.   I think it's time to use them up.

I am joining the lists for QuiltShop Gal's Creative Goodness and Angie's WIPs Be Gone.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Playing with (orphan) Blocks

I went to bed last night thinking I would get up and rip out part of the progress I made yesterday.  I woke up this morning and kind of liked it ... and so left it and kept going.   It measures 51 by 65-inches which I think is a nice size for a lap quilt to use during chemo treatments or blood transfusions.

Orphan Block Quilt

I think it will be able to brighten up any institutional setting. 

It is made from 2-inch, 3-inch, 5-inch. 6-inch. 9-inch and 10-inch blocks in addition to the 24 inch Hawaiian appliqué which I stitched down with buttonhole stitch on the machine.  Everything except the half-square triangles and a few of the heart blocks came out of my big ziplock of orphan blocks.  I expected that the blocks would be more randomly arranged, but since the blocks I had worked in this almost log cabin arrangement, I followed that path. 

The backing will be pieced because I have ALMOST enough of a pink/cream/green print.  I haven't yet decided how it will be quilted, I know the binding will be scrappy pinks.  In the meantime, it is pinned to my design wall for me to think about. (Follow the link to see what others have on their design walls in the link list on Patchwork Times).

When it's finished, I will be sending it on to Happy Chemo as part of the H2H challenge. 

While it hasn't been a WIP very long, some of those orphan blocks have been around forever, so I'm joining Angie's WIPS be Gone list. 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

May Goal for a Lovely Finish

I didn't meet my goal in April (though I made a start at it and expect to finish it soon).  I was, in part, overwhelmed by commitments and ... life.

My goal for a lovely finish in May is a bit of a challenge within a challenge.   It will start with this large, in-progress Hawaiian-style appliqué block.

May Goal for #aLYoFThis project came from the estate of a quilter, donated to the local guild and sold, along with some other work-in-progress and lots of fabrics as a fundraiser for the guild at the retreat.

The appliqué was prepared by sewing it to fusible interfacing and turning it to turn under the edges.  It hasn't been stitched down, the interfacing shows in spots.   I suspect the craftsmanship and the choice of fabrics–that really is an in-your-face bright pink background–were the reasons it languished on the table unwanted while quilters scrambled to pick up more conventional (and more complete) projects.  I adopted it at the end of the third day and thought it could become the focus of a Plan B quilt that might be donated to Happy Chemo through the Hands2Help challenge which also has a deadline this month.

Updated to add that it's approximately 25 inches square.

Last night, I pulled out my collection of orphan blocks and chose some that I thought might play together nicely.

May Goal for #aLYoF

Now comes the fun of making some more elements, deciding what's in and what's out, arranging, re-arranging and putting it all together. I think it has possibilities ...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Little Bits of Improvisation

I played with purples and a little improvisation this weekend.  This morning, all trimmed square, here's what's on my design wall, this Monday.

Improvised Purple Squares

(It's a cold, gray, Monday morning and so the colors in this photo are less than accurate)

Some of these may be used in one of the Cotton Robin quilts at my house which I plan to finish and send on it's way this week.

I am also joining the lists for the Rainbow Scraps Challenge and Monday Making.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pumpkin Seeds?

This block design seems to go by many names: pumpkin seed, melon, orange peel.  What do you call them?

First Steps

I think I first learned it as orange peel and in Barbara Brackman's book, Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, the pieced version has been called Orange Peel, Melon Patch and Flower Petals ... but it looks so much like a pumpkin seed, that's my favorite name for this shape.  I am making mine by using needle-turned appliqué.

Each time I see them on a blog (or in a quilt), I want to make some ... the scrap bag challenge presented an opportunity.  I am using any of the scrap in the ziplock I received that are at least 4 1/2 inches wide for the backgrounds–I was a little surprised to find that there are only a couple.  I'll be making a few more later, as my Slow Sunday (night) Stitching project.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Challenged by Challenges

I love challenges, but may have over-challenged myself a bit this year ... to give you an idea, here are some of the things on my plate.

I have previously participated in one of C&T Publishing's Creative Troupe challenges - to use their paper-based kraft•tex™  product in some new colors.  I received a sample of the new light gray called stone.  I wanted to take advantage of the leather-like stiff nature of the product and designed this cell phone wallet.

Cell Phone Wallet - Outside Cell Phone Wallet - Inside

You can see all the other projects made on C&T's kraft•tex™ Pinterest Board. 

For me, it was fun, functional and I always intended to make another for myself adding some fabric for my version ... but procrastinated while I thought about buying a new phone.  I mention it because that experience led me to sign up for another Creative Troupe callout–to use their TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) product in an interesting way ... the deadline is approaching and I am still creatively stuck.

I know that sometimes I am a little frozen by fear.  I've blogged about my scaredy cat ways in the past and you would think that by now I would have just gotten over it.

Another example is the current round of the Cotton Robin (which I cannot share until after the round robin quilts are finished and home again).  I love the idea I have for the quilt at my house, but ... I am afraid that I will not be able to accomplish it. That deadline is also coming soon ... so I will be forced to face that particular fear soon.

Preparing for the MQG Spring Fabric ChallengeI am curiously drawn to the Modern Quilt Guild's fabric challenges ... probably because making a quilt from a single fabric line is not the way I usually work and it is challenging for me to do so. I can't resist trying ...

I missed the announcement about the spring challenge, but when Marie offered to send me a package of the fat eighths of the challenge fabrics, I said yes, please.

Unfortunately, when I went to my local quilt shop, they had none of the Riley Blake Cottage Garden fabrics, nor coordinating solids ... fortunately, I found a layer cake and some yardage at fabric.com. Part of the challenge is to try something new ... I am planning to include some sashiko stitching–something I've long wanted to try, but never have.

The deadline for this one isn't until July, but some quilters already have finished quilts and a lot of others are much further than gathering fabrics.  You can find photos on instagram with the hashtag #mqgfabricchallenge

You'd think I have enough on plate ... but I have also signed up for the Poster mini-group at the guild (you create a piece of 6 quilts based on posters, with deadlines every 6 weeks).  I am also committed for the H2H challenge and haven't made much progress on that front ... and when Bridget sent email out last month about a scrap bag challenge for the Chicken River Modern Quilters and I had a conflict for that day, I promptly turned around and suggested it to our local Modern-ish mini-group.   The challenge comes from Victoria Findley Wolf's 15 minutes of Play.  The basics are you fill a quart-size ziplock bag with scraps, swap them, then make a quilt using ALL the fabrics in the bag you receive.

Here are the fabrics I pulled from my scraps.

The fabrics I put togetherIt's probably because I have packaged up and mailed fabrics, blocks and quilts so many times over the years, that I neatly pressed and stacked the fabrics in the ziplock I created.

It also helped me see the mix of fabrics that would be someone else's challenge.

The result was that my bag looked neat and flat (on the left) and most of the others looked like the one I received (on the right).

The bag of scraps I created The bag of scraps I received for the challenge

I came home Monday night with the idea of making some liberated basket blocks, probably because it's on my someday list, but woke up yesterday with a new idea.  I unpacked the fabrics, considered each one, pressed them, and lined them up on the table ... asking myself if they could work in a quilt now in my head.  So far, so good ... just have to meet a few other deadlines first so I can dive in.

All the fabrics I received

Add to the pile a couple of personal challenges–I heard last week that the owners of the house I rent will be putting it on the market and terminating our lease early–which will mean a lot of downsizing (I'll never find a sewing space like this one) and packing and moving a lot earlier than I planned–and well,  I am definitely feeling challenged by challenges–in quilting and in life–right now.

I am joining the lists for WIP Wednesday and Ester's WOW ... even though most of the projects listed here are just barely in-progresss ... the good news is that I should have lots of progress to share going forward ;-)
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