Saturday, August 29, 2015

Scrappy Serendipity

This week I've been sewing my 2" scrap strips together end to end and then using the Jelly Roll Race method to turn them into 12.5" blocks.

This is six blocks.

It occurred to me that I could set these in a nine patch setting with one of my Ohio Stars. Happily, one with an indigo print background looked really good in the middle of all that scrappiness.

36" x 36"

And now I was well on my way to building a new quilt top out of my Parts Department!

It took a while to come up with the next step. Eventually I decided on 6" heart blocks for cornerstones. That left me puzzling over how to connect the hearts. More six inch blocks seemed too big, too much. But! All along I've been making 4.5" Broken Dishes blocks out of the triangles that get cut off my flying geese units They've been piling up to an alarming quantity actually. So I dug them out and strung some between the hearts.

So far, so good. How to fill in that 1.5" gap though? I debated over whether to use more scrap strips or to use a single piece of fabric. In the end I went with a single print. It was a fat quarter, just the right amount of fabric and just the right amount of visual interest. :- )

48" x 48"

Time for another border, something to give the eye a place to rest.

A 3" border all the way around makes it 54" square.

It's sort of a busy print but it's only two colors (white on dark blue) and really works in person. I'm thinking the next round of blocks will be more 12" Ohio Stars. I'm shooting for a big square quilt at this point, something that could fit a double bed. That means working on one side at a time, and a lot of pinning and repinning of the flimsy to my design wall. Quilt building is not for the faint of heart!

If you want to see more scrappy goodness check out the link party over at SoScrappy. :- )

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sparkling Stars

Remember when I told you I won the hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh via the Rainbow Scrap Challenge? I showed you a 16 patch Sawtooth Star I made featuring some of those pretty blues. Well, those fat eighths set off a chain reaction - in a good way. I don't have a lot of hand dyed fabrics in my collection but I have managed to acquire a few pieces over the years. Making that star featuring Vicki's fabrics inspired me to get out the rest of my very special hand dyed prints to see whether they would play nicely with those I won.

Some of the pieces I've bought over the years have too many colors in them, or the wrong colors, or they're too bright. I've found plenty that do work though!

I rediscovered a hand marbled piece:

All of the points on this star came from one piece of hand dyed fabric. It's been fun to cut out squares and strips from one piece of fabric so that they don't necessarily look like they all came from the same place. 

Because my collection of hand-dyes is limited I've been supplementing them with batiks.

And trying to use up even the smallest scraps!

Before long I had this on my design wall:

Since then I've made even more. I now have a plan for the complete quilt top and I'm pretty excited about it. This one will be staying with me. :- )

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Polychromatic Saturday

Indigo is the official color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I used up a lot of my indigo remnants in July with my reds in patriotic blocks. Or earlier in the year perhaps. I just didn't find much to play with in that color so I turned to other dark hues. Particularly black. First we have this black and white print 12" Ohio Star:

Then I looked at my polychrome prints on black:

Next I branched out into other blocks. First, a 12" Sawtooth Star:

And then I tried out a Color Wheel block. I'm really happy with it!

The center patch is from a Project Runway print. Are you watching the new season? I've been hooked since season one.

I'm linking up with the other RSC bloggers over at SoScrappy.By the way, Jean over at Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 has put out a call for quilts for those whose homes have burned to the ground in central Washington. It will be a while before quilts can be delivered so you've got time to begin putting one together if you are so inclined. The need will no doubt be for adult size quilts. She seems to generally have a surplus of children's quilts. Anything from a comfort quilt (about 60 x 80") to one that will cover a bed will be welcome. Knitters and those who crochet are also invited to make and donate afghans. Money is always a welcome donation! Jean and her family support this effort out of their own pockets for the most part. We even have a fire threatening two small communities on our side of the mountains. I've had to close my windows due to poor air quality. I don't know whether the fires are at fault but it's a possibility. Fortunately our temps have come down somewhat so I'm not terribly uncomfortable. I may be trapped in the house but I can still make blocks and quilts!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Surprise, Surprise!

I haven't actually been to our little county fair in recent years but I have been entering quilts every year. I was afraid I wouldn't have anything to enter at all this year. Then I remembered two quilts I finished shortly after last year's fair that hadn't been given away. One I kept for myself:

Grandma's Box of Crayons

And the other I meant to give away but my husband decided it had to be his!

Autumn Forest

Unfortunately both quilts fit into the exactly the same category and you're only allowed one quilt per category. Of the two I thought Mr. Magpie's quilt would be the most interesting or out of the ordinary for the fair-going public to see so that's the one I entered.

When my husband brought it home from the fair the following weekend he had three ribbons to bring home with it! One was a regular blue ribbon, and with it was...

the Best in Class rosette! There was another rosette too, a pink one:

Not a Reserve winner but Judge's Choice!!!! I've never had such an accolade before! This almost means more to me than the Best in Show ribbon I received a couple of years ago. {happy sigh} There were no negative comments on the critique sheet either. I feel I have successfully climbed Mt. Everest. Of course, up against a larger pool of quilts mine would probably have slid right under the radar. So maybe a better analogy would be Mt. Ranier. It's shorter and closer. ;- )

Saturday, August 15, 2015

ScrapHappy August

Last month, when I saw that Kate (at talltalesfrromchiconia) and Gun (from Rutigt) were making a push to use up their scraps, I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to spend at least one day a month nibbling away at the collection of fabric crumbs that are the result of my block-making efforts. I work with what I consider to be scraps most of the time. Scraps are my favorite medium if you will. But those tiny or odd shaped pieces that won't be part of a traditional block need to be dealt with somehow. (Throw them away? Perish the thought!)

At various times I've sorted my crumbs by color into separate containers or dumped them all together in one large basket. Eventually I got to the point where I was putting the odd shaped pieces in one place and keeping the strings or narrow strips separate. Every once in a while I donate some strings to my friend Christina who loves to make string blocks and quilts. But the crumbs keep adding up.

I've tried "made fabric" and crazy piecing and liberated log cabin blocks at various times in my quilt making career. I enjoy crazy piecing for a specific purpose but have found that "making fabric" isn't really my cup of tea. So most of my odd bits end up in what amount to liberated log cabin blocks. Those 6" or 8" blocks go into my Parts Dept. until I have a use for them. Sometimes the crumbs only become patches, 3.5" or 4.5" square, that I will then use in a traditional block. Which I guess is really just "made fabric" after all!

I decided to sew crumbs together between seams (a la Bonnie Hunter's leaders and enders) for a few days instead of assembling units for 6" Shoo-fly or Hole in the Barn Door blocks like I normally do. This is the result:

I have one 4.5" patch, another that lacks a string on either side to become a 4.5" patch, and a piece that might become an 8" block eventually. I guess the challenge for August is to complete that potential 4.5" patch and bring the larger piece up to a usable size. For now it's enough that at least these few crumbs have a more secure home than they had previously. ;- )