Saturday, May 9, 2015

Honestly, sometimes I think if it weren't for the weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge link parties I wouldn't be blogging at all! Between migraines knocking me down, and then sewing when I feel better, there doesn't seem to be much time (or energy!) left over for sharing my work online.

I managed to find some dark green remnants to cut up for 12" Ohio Stars this past week. After I'd cut the green patches I discovered that I really didn't want to pair most of them up with the white-on-white prints I've been using as background in my other star blocks. So I went hunting for scraps and remnants in other colors to use instead. This is what I made:

My, but those yellows are bold in the photograph! The blocks that look like they have white in them actually feature ivory toned prints. I found a few teal patches to use up too.

Here, piggy piggy!

I seem to be on a low contrast kick lately. Maybe because of the headaches. I pulled out the African print stars I'd sewn up a few weeks ago and finally made sashing strips to go between them. So this...

Became this:

All it needs now is borders to make it a bit longer. At this stage it would finish 60" wide and 72" long. I like to make my comfort quilts 60" x 80" whenever I can so even a tall person can use them. This will be one of the quilts to fulfill my commitment for Hands2Help. This top needs to be finished so it can get to the quilter and back again before the June 12 deadline (which is not as far away as it used to be!).

You can see what everyone else is doing with their scraps this month by clicking over to the link party on SoScrappy's blog.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Finishing Up Purple

I found a couple more remnants in purple to cut up and make into 12" Ohio Stars.

There are some scraps of the prints that went into the two Rusty Stars quilt tops to use up so I made a 9" Ohio Star too.

Here are the six inch blocks I made out of the smallest purple scraps:

They will go into the Parts Department for the time being. But! I came across a few other six inch blocks I'd made a long time ago that, for some reason, didn't make it into the Parts Dept.

These had been stashed with the rest of my collection of Depression-era reproduction prints. Participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year prompted to get them out and use them up.

Last Saturday I saw a Quilt in a Day episode in which Eleanor Burns demonstrates a technique for making pairs of 9 Patch blocks. I've never been a particular fan of making 9 Patch blocks. Inevitably I end up with too many of the X blocks and not enough O blocks to create a checkerboard effect. With the technique Eleanor demonstrated you're able to make one of each all in one go. Perfect! Look what I did with the purple (lavender) prints in that short stack of fabrics:

That's 20 blocks. I've made 70 blocks this week using this method. My left arm is complaining loudly but I'm thrilled to have a healthy start on a new quilt top. It will be fun to figure out how to combine the 9 Patch blocks with the other miscellaneous 6" blocks I've made up in the Depression-era prints.

I'm linking up with the other RSC players over at SoScrappy today. Now that we're in May our focus will be on green. Angela suggests dividing our green prints into dark and light groups and working with the dark greens this month. I have mixed feelings about this. There are not a lot of dark greens in my stash. The dark greens I prefer don't seem to be available currently so I'm reluctant to use up what I have. I may have to split my greens into yellow-greens vs blue greens instead of light and dark. We'll see what I turn up next Saturday in the Scrappy Saturday post!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stars in the Nest

I'm happy to report that things are better here in the Magpie's Nest. So much so that I've been able to turn that mess of Ohio Stars (previous post) into a flimsy!

The first step was to stack the 12" stars in three columns:

My thinking at this point was to then stack the 9" stars between these columns. I knew the lengths would differ but that's a small barrier to get over. Then it dawned on me that the 9" columns could function as outer borders instead, and likely be more effective that way.

After I'd sewn the blocks into their respective columns (some a lot of rearranging of the stars was required!) I could see that this would be a better approach.

It boiled down to finding something appropriate to use for the sashing.

Now I had an almost-square flimsy. I really prefer rectangular quilts for wrapping up in or napping under so the next question was, which dimension to make bigger, width or height?

I went with width. It was a simple decision really. Another vertical sash on each end and then border strips would do the job.

71" wide x 60" high
The print I used for the outer borders also appears in several of the blocks. It was necessary to do some piecing to get the length I needed for both sides. I was able to line up the stripe in the print on the right side but couldn't manage it on the left end. Out of the yardage I began with I have only two little patches of that print left. One is about 3.5" x 5" and the other is about three inches square!

Now the challenge will be to come up with a back for this future quilt. I think I've about used up the biggest pieces of yardage in my stash from this era. If a good sale comes up in the near future I may take the easy way out and just buy what's required in something neutral.

Now, what next? ;- )

Monday, April 20, 2015

Helping Hands

It's time to check in with Hands2Help. To be honest, I haven't been working on my latest quilt for that specific challenge. I sewed the blocks into columns but didn't have the wherewithal to deal with creating the vertical sashes.

I thought I had a more recent picture too! Oh well. Since completing the Rusty Stars top (see previous post) I've been playing with the leftovers from that project.

There were a few blocks that didn't make it into the final flimsy.There was also more fabric leftover than I would have thought there could be. I started cutting patches for Ohio Stars, almost without thinking about it.

I was so preoccupied with these prints that I didn't make any new purple blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week.

That white on purple Shoo-fly you see on the lower right side of my design wall is a friendship block I received from a member of my local guild. Back in October it was my turn to put in my request. I handed out batik patches for the members to use as background, asking them to simply use a white-on-white print for a six inch Shoo-fly or Friendship Star block. They have until October of this year to fulfill my request, then I get to put the blocks together. :- )

So now I have a whole new set of rusty stars on my design wall. I'm thinking they will become a sister quilt to the quilt in the previous post. I tried to keep the blocks in that first top more masculine in tone. With this set I've allowed the floral prints to take over. It would be lovely to get the blocks set into a top this week. I have a mix of 12" and 9" blocks though, and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to make them all play together in one top (without traditional sashing). The last few days have been pretty challenging, mentally and emotionally. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary bad, just the cumulative effect of ongoing health issues. I'd appreciate any good thoughts, vibrations, or prayers you care to send my way. With your help I'll have something spectacular to show later this week!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rusty Stars

Two weeks ago I started turning a set of scrappy 6" blocks from my Parts Department into 12" Sawtooth stars for a new quilt for a child in foster care. You can see the blocks I started with in this post. Late last week I finished the flimsy ~ hurray! Let's see if I can give you a succinct recap of the process...

In that first post there were only three 12" blocks. My goal was 20. I'd started with about a dozen 6" blocks to turn into stars, and over the course of making the remaining 17 blocks I also created new 6" blocks to turn into stars. It wasn't long before I had this on the design wall:

By this time I had become worried about the top being boring with such a tightly controlled palette, thus the infusion of a few select blues.

Once I had 20 blocks on the wall in a layout I was happy with I had to decide whether or not to add borders. By themselves the blocks only measured 48" x 60." That felt just a tad small so I auditioned a couple of potential border prints.

My first option was to frame the top with one of the light background prints before putting on a rusty border.

The second option was to eliminate the frame and just go with a single border.

I played with various border widths while I had the yardage pieces up there too. I really wasn't sure which option would win out until I put the potential border fabrics on the wall with the blocks. Then it became an easy choice. And a fairly easy finish!

These are the Parts Dept. blocks I had leftover:

The blue Hole in the Barn Door block was made during construction of the flimsy. The Broken Dishes block next to it may have been as well, I don't precisely remember now.

I used a handful of prints from my early quilt making days to make a back for this top. Didn't get a picture of it though. Guess you'll have to wait and see that when I get the sandwich back from being quilted!