Sunday, December 25, 2011

Orca Bay, step 6

Step #6 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery are Ohio Stars --- They are so cute!
They use the hourglasses from step #1, and newly cut red, light & black squares. I have 12 completed so far, with many other blocks partially completed.

The close-up shows fabric from my precious stash of reproduction fabrics, combined with a fair amount of recycled shirts.

There will be 27 blocks with black corners and 27 with light corners, for a total of 54, so I'll be sewing away on it all week. I'm looking forward to seeing how this puzzle will work itself out!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Orca Bay, steps 4 & 5

I'm almost finished with step #4 of Bonnie's mystery, which are string triangles (produced by cutting string squares in half). I'm happy with how all the reds are working together. With 1900-era being my guide, I used all kinds of reds from double-pinks to light burgundy.

Step #5 is completely done. Wings were added to the HST units from step #3 to make triangle-shaped units, shown below. These took several hours, sewn over a few days. I don't understand how some of the quilters get these steps done in one day!

My cat Tiger found the quilt pieces in no time flat!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Huswife needlecases

A huswife (or housewife) is a small kit for sewing supplies, made & used by women in the 18th & 19th centuries. Civil War soldiers were given these kits to store mending supplies as they went to war. (source: Remembering Adelia, by Kathleen Tracy)

I just finished making several of these to give to friends, using Kathleen Tracy's pattern from her quilt book Remembering Adelia. It was fun to play in my Civil War repro stash! Below are the huswifes, showing the front and the back (I made them in pairs). I made one pair in 1930 repro fabrics because a few of the women prefer those over Civil War fabrics.

I made them slightly different from Kathleen Tracy's pattern: I blanket-stitched down the wool needle holder, and I used a loop & button as a closure instead of ribbon.

I really enjoyed this project! I learned that I could felt my own wool, and I learned how to do a blanket stitch. And....I finished them in time for Christmas!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Orca Bay, step #3...and my inspiration!

Step #3 consists of 350 HST (Half square triangle) units, 2" square. These took quite some time to sew. I started out with 2.5" squares, drew a diagonal line on each, and sewed 1/4" on either side of the line. Then, I cut on the diagonal, pressed each open, and squared each down to 2" square.
Next time I have to make lots of these, I should explore another method...there's so many different ways to make these little blocks.

LinkAgain, I used 1900 reproduction fabrics, including some recycled shirts that fit right in. I especially love the little conversation prints!

While picking fabric for this quilt, I keep some actual 1900-era fabric close-at-hand to help me choose the right shades and patterns. The photo below shows an old apron and an old quilt piece, along with some of my completed blocks.

Eventually (maybe Friday??) we'll be using the red scraps....lots of red scraps! I'll be using clear reds, clarets, and some darker double-pinks, using these old pieces as a guide.

One reason I love the 1900-era quilts is because the colors are so simple and clear, and the patterns are usually uncomplicated. They just have a certain charm to them.

Orca Bay, step #2

Step #2 consists of 72 string blocks, 3.5 inches square. These were fun to make, and very addictive! I used up lots of blue scraps, and dug into my stash of reproduction 1900 fabrics.

The blocks photographed lighter than in reality. I really tried to use only fabrics that could be from 1900, and this photo doesn't convey that.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Orca Bay, step #1

I just couldn't resist starting Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt "Orca Bay". Step #1 is to make 224 tiny hourglasses, each being 2.5 inches square. I love 1900-era quilts, so I'm mostly using reproduction fabrics which are abundant in my inventory! Most of the hourglasses are done, some pictured below.

I'm also using scraps from recycled shirts, which with their many plaids, stripes & homespun fabrics are perfect for replicating 1900-era quilts. In the photo below, the black fabric with the small boxes inside the bigger boxes (2nd one from the left) came from a's perfect! I also love the black mourning prints, which were very common in 1900.

I love mystery quilts and I'm so curious to discover how all these little pieces will eventually go together!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Challenge blocks

I made some blocks for a challenge over at the Sunshine Yahoo group. Ann sent 2 small pieces of "ugly" fabric to me and I sewed some quilt blocks using those fabrics, which I'll be returning to Ann. She'll be making Sunshine quilts with all the blocks she gets back, which will eventually go to kids who can use a bright & cheerful quilt.

In the top group below, the light fabric was the "ugly" fabric. In the bottom group, the gray was. Personally, I didn't think the fabrics were that ugly!

The cute bunny above is a Debbie Mumm pattern. I never made it before & wanted to try it out. I'll definitely be making more of those bunnies...they would be perfect in 1930's reproductions!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A charming gift

I was the lucky recipient of Nancy's blog giveaway. She sent me these beautiful charm packs! Thank you, Nancy, for your generosity! It's time I start thinking about a giveaway.

The Christmas pack is Nature's Gift, by Moda. The other is an assortment of rich solids.

I recently took a Pat Speth (Nickel Quilts) workshop & it opened my eyes to all the possibilities of these sweet little charm squares. Pat is such a nice person & the workshop was great. She taught all kinds of techniques and tricks. I highly recommend her workshops and lecture, especially if you love scrap quilts.


August Lotto blocks

I finished the August Lotto blocks for the Sunshine group & will mail them off in a day or so. I really like doing these blocks. It was fun to play with purple & yellow, which I don't usually use. As a bonus, I used up some scraps! Tammy (of Sunshine) will incorporate these blocks into donation quilts for kids.
September's theme is "bright colors".....and another opportunity to use up scraps!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday design wall.....UFO progress!

Today I was in the mood to dig through a bin of older UFOs.
I pulled out this project. This morning all it was were the animal panels & small squares. My progress so far today:

I had an almost identical top in the box that, except for borders, is already done.

These two are destined to be donation quilts. I think some child will like the animals. In fact, I think that I have some animal print fabric that would make great backs! Use up that stash!

Periodically, I consider all my UFOs and feel so overwhelmed! It'll take me years to finish them all, I'm sure. I've decided to try to at least get them all to the "top" stage, with backings and bindings all set to go. That way, I can pull out all the related scraps and fabric pieces and either donate them or file them back into my stash, so they're readily available for something else. Small scraps will be chopped up into blocks or strips.

For years I've accumulated many styles of fabric: kids, brights, reproductions, batiks....anything that I "just had to have" at the time! My tastes are changing and my quilting time is limited, so I've decided to just sew what I really love - Reproduction fabrics, especially 1900 or before. As I sort through UFOs and stash, I will cull fabric and donate it. I don't feel guilty anymore about how much I paid for it all. I really just want to pare down my stash to the stuff that I really love working with! The donated fabric will be useful to someone else, and will benefit my favorite non-profit thrift store.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Quiltmaker mystery, step #2

I finished this step today, in the current Quiltmaker magazine. It involves making 48 of these little blocks:

The instructions are to either use the template in the magazine, or to paper piece. I wasn't looking forward to doing either!
I remembered that I had these nifty tri-recs tools & found that they worked great! Why didn't the magazine recommend these rulers??!!

Here is the 2nd part of step #2 - 17 & 14 of these blocks. I'm thinking maybe they're for some kind of border? The dark is really a dark purple.

This is how all the blocks look together. I can't imagine what the result will be. There are still 4 more fabrics that haven't been used yet.

I have to admit that when I make mystery quilts, I never use fabric that I am really in love with. That way, if I don't like the design I haven't "wasted" any fabric. These purples look pretty together, but they are older fabrics and I'm happy to use them up!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Quiltmaker mystery - step #1

Despite my large repertoire of UFOs, I succumbed to temptation and started another one! It's the Mystery Quilt in the May/June 2011 Quiltmaker magazine, designed by Debbie Caffrey. The good thing is that the fabric is all from my stash, so I didn't have to buy more! Some of this fabric is very well aged!

These are the fabrics I'm using - all purples & greens.

Here are the finished blocks from step #1. So far, it's an easy quilt & I like the way the colors are playing together.
A few years back I let all my quilt magazine subscriptions expire. I just had too many & all the patterns started looking alike. I like this magazine, though, so I may end up subscribing, especially now that Bonnie Hunter, one of my favorite quilt celebrities, is a contributor.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lotto blocks for May & June

I made these blocks for Sunshine and mailed them off today. These 7 are "flower" blocks for May.

Here is a close-up of one block - Cats in the garden, just where they want to be!

These 5 are pink & green, for June.

I love making these blocks because I can use up my scraps & try different blocks. These blocks will be blended with other blocks to make child & baby quilts.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Polka-dot dress

I absolutely love old photos, especially those from 1900 or before. They're usually not very expensive & I'll buy one if it catches my eye. I especially look for unusual or beautiful clothing, probably because I love fabric!

I found this one recently, which I would guess is from around 1890-1900. The unique polka-dot dress caught my attention! Most of the dresses I see in photos are much plainer.

The woman in the photo looks like a serious and proper Victorian-era lady, but does the dress reflect a hidden playful and daring streak? I'll never know!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lime-green string challenge

I've been working on these lime-green string blocks for a Heartstring challenge, and mailed them off today. They certainly didn't seem to put a dent in my string bin, though!

Here is a close-up. I tried to use bright fabrics that would appeal to kids.

These were fun to make and gave me a feeling of accomplishment.

Now........back to the UFOs!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Green lotto blocks

I'm ashamed that I don't have any completed UFOs to report, but I did finish some green lotto blocks to send off to Tammy, a Sunshine group member who makes the blocks up into baby and kids quilts. I've opted out of the drawing - I don't need any new projects!

The first set has cow & bug fabric. Doesn't the green just shout out "Spring"!

This 2nd set has some purple map fabric in it, with moon, star & sun faces.
All the fabric was pulled from my stash, which I strive for! These 9 blocks will be enroute tomorrow.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Two more UFOs done!

These are the 2nd & 3rd UFOs completed, in January, so I've reached my goal for the first month! I used a completed Sudoku puzzle to create the 9-patches.

The back is pieced.....dragons and dinosaurs!

This one was based on a Sudoku puzzle also, with a piano key border. The back was not pieced, so I didn't include a photo.

These two quilts are destined to be donation quilts. They are bright and colorful, suitable for a child.

I've improved my sewn-on binding on these. By keeping the binding taut and gathering the quilt just a smidge, the binding doesn't ruffle.

So now I must decide on 3 more UFOs to try to complete in February!


One UFO done!

This is my first completed UFO this year...a disappearing 9-patch. (The streak on the corner is sunlight.) These is a fun pattern to make, and each one I've seen is different from the rest of the pack!
The back is scrappy, all different purples. I especially love the busy purple animal print - it really makes me smile. I found it at a thrift store & it's possibly from the 1970's or 1980's. (click on photo to see close-up)
This one will be a donation quilt, so I hope it finds its way to some child who really loves purple!

It may sound ambitious, but my UFO goal is 3 completed quilts each month. Many, many of my UFOs are already quilt tops, so most of my work is already done. I am drowning in UFOs so it's time to really start chipping away!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Charms in the mail

Earlier this month, I visited Donna at her Quilting Bear Gal blog and entered her birthday giveaway. I was the lucky winner, and today I received these lovely charms!
I love the colors and design of this fabric, which has a vintage Southwest look to it. I'm thinking these would make a great bag.
Donna made beautiful quilt from some of these fabrics, which can be seen here.

Thank you so much, Donna, for your generosity! Your blog is interesting and well worth visiting.