Monday, January 31, 2022

Feb One Monthly Goal

I found it difficult to choose my February One Monthly Goal because I have too many projects I want to finish right now so it was hard to narrow it down to just one project.

After a bit of mental debate, I chose Bonnie Hunter's Rhododendron Trail Quilt. I'd really like to finish up this project so I can feel free to start the next mystery quilt/sew along that comes along without feeling guilty for not finishing this one.

I've already finished all of the clues through 7.  All I have left is clue 8, though it is a really labor-intensive step. There are many setting triangles and sashing to assemble then put together all the blocks and put on borders. It will likely take me several days to finish.

I've mostly decided to change the quilt design from Bonnie Hunter's design because several participants posted photos of their completed quilts with sashing using the geese and I really like the way they looked. It is more work to assemble the blocks with pieced sashing, so I may change my mind if I have too difficult a time getting points to line up.

Also, since I would like to add a print border, I may omit some of the blocks to make the overall size a little smaller. 

This is my tentative plan at the moment, but it may change once I start laying it out on my design wall.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Wrapping up Red RSC

As January comes to a close, I thought it would be worth looking back at my progress on my RSC projects. I made quite a lot this month. 

I made 8 "stained glass" blocks.

I made 2 Bloom blocks.
I made 10 Arlington Square quarter blocks. (I need to make at least 9 every month.)
I made 1 Flowers for Nana Girl block + one bonus pink one.
And, finally, I made an awful lot of heart blocks with red and pink scraps. 
I have to be honest,  I'm really looking forward to working on the next color.

Thank you to soscrappy for hosting the monthly RSC linkup.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Spruce Root Basket Flimsies

I originally saw this pattern in Judy Hopkins' Triangle Free Quilts book and it looked like the perfect way to use a large pile of 4" scraps I've had for nearly 20 years. I don't remember why I bought all these squares, but I do remember why I didn't use them up at the time. Many of them weren't actually square. But luckily fabric has ease and they were good enough for this simple pattern.

I actually cut the white one out as a leader-ender project at the beginning of the month and I would feed pieces through between my other projects, but once I got to the point of building the strips I couldn't resist turning my attention to finishing it. 

When I cut out the plaid border I originally planned to use, I decided I didn't like the black plaid fabric with the white squares so I used another fabric from my stash for the border. 

But, I'd already cut out the black plaid so I decided I should make another of the same pattern, but using black squares. This one I cut out and finished in barely more than one day. I didn't use it as a leader-ender project and I was a little more deliberate with my color arrangement on this one. It was quick and easy and was a nice break from my foundation piecing project.

These flimsies will be great to practice on when I take delivery of my long arm.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

One Monthly Goal Wrap Up

My One Monthly Goal for January was to get most, but not necessarily all, of the blocks pieced for my Pieces of My Heart quilt.
I was successful. I didn't finish all the blocks, but I did get most of them done. I probably could have finished all the blocks by the end of the month, but I got distracted by another project but it was nice to have a short break from the hearts.
Thanks to Patty for hosting the monthly link up.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Tuesday ToDo #32

Last week I posted these tasks for my ToDo list:

1. Make significant progress on the Tickled Pink project.

Done. I made all 24 of these Amethyst Blocks. They were a challenge and I'm glad I stuck with it.

2. Make a red block for the Flowers for Nana Girl lap quilt. (It's a wonderful jelly roll quilt designed by Kim Brackett and is available in her Scrap Basket Sensations book.)

Done. I also made a pink block because I still had pink scraps lying around on my cutting table from the Rhododendron Trail quilt. 

While working on these projects, I continued to feed through pieces for my Leader Ender project and it's getting pretty close to being finished. I've started sewing together strips. It's amazing how fast this project has progressed. It feels good to get a quilt from small "squares" I had considered discarding.

Also, I think I figured out how I would like to finish my Rhododendron Trail quilt. Someone on a Bonnie Hunter Facebook group suggested using the geese in the sashing and I liked the way it looked so I played around with how I would do it with my fabrics. I arranged the geese so they make a little pinwheel. I also decided to use fewer blocks so I could add a fabric border. Since the arrangement of the seams wasn't planned out at all, I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to get it assembled, but I'll give it my best shot.
For next week, I am hoping to get these tasks finished:
1.    Sew 4 more heart blocks for the Tickled Pink project.
2.    Finish the Leader Ender lap quilt.
3.    Figure out the next Leader Ender project and start cutting it out.
4.    Make the setting triangles for the Rhododendron Trail no-longer-a-mystery quilt.

Thanks to Linda for hosting the TuesdayToDo Linkup.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Amethyst Blocks

My husband got a new job and he's working from home. Since our basement is currently under construction, my husband has basically set up in our living room so I've been spending a lot of time in the past couple of weeks in my sewing room because I don't want to disturb him. 

I got an early start on the Friday Night Sew In; I guess I was observing Nova Scotia time today. LOL. Today's project was to work on making Amethyst blocks for my Pieces of My Heart quilt. According to BlockBase+, this block design dates from prior to 1895. It was originally published by the Ladies Art Company under the name The Priscilla. It was later published in the Kansas City Star in 1931 under the name Amethyst. Then it was published again in the Needlecraft Magazine in 1932 under the name Star and Diamond.
I cut out 24 of these blocks based on my large quilt design. This afternoon, I spent about 5 hours sewing and got eleven more of them finished. I have eleven more to go.

Sewing these blocks was definitely a challenge when I got started. I would often get ripples or pleats in the fabric and the points didn't match. But, by the sixth block, I got it mostly figured out. I should easily be able to finish them this weekend.

In case anyone is interested, this is the process I figured out to make these blocks.

I sewed the pieces together into three "strips".
Then I would pin on one side, starting on the right third. I would lay out the pieces so the edges aligned and I would sew from the seam to the point.
Then I would lay out the other side so the edges aligned. I wouldn't worry about lining up the center area.
I would sew from the point to the seam and then put the needle down and raise the sewing machine foot.
Then I would pull the fabric straight, align the edges and then sew the center section.
I admit every time I went to the iron, I sort of crossed my fingers the seams were in the right place. Today, I only had to rip one apart to fix it.
I'm also linking up with Finished (or Not) Friday.  Thanks, Alicia for hosting the linkup.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Loving My Cricut

I spent today trying to figure out how to make the alternate blocks on my Tickled Pink project.
Before I cut it out, I printed some paper templates so I could accurately cut out the pieces but they were still a huge pain because the angles didn't match any of my specialty rulers.  

Also, this is one of the most difficult blocks I have ever constructed because of the angled seams. I made a practice block earlier today and it was a challenge, but I think I can do it.
I kept changing my mind about what fabrics to use. I have a bolt of dark purple fabric I bought about 20 years ago and I decided to use that for the points. I also changed the center fabric yet again for the final quilt.
My Cricut made easy work of these very complicated pieces. Now I get to spend several days building all these blocks. It's going to be quite a challenge.

I'm linking up with Midweek Makers.

Update on Thursday: Spent part of the day trying to build these blocks. They are not fun to sew. I tried several methods to build them and have not figured out a good way to make sure all the points line up perfectly. I finally decided done was better. 22 to go.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tuesday ToDo #31

I didn't have the most productive week this past week. A couple months ago my husband ordered me a new computer and it finally came. I battled with it for several days reinstalling programs and moving over files I still want to use. Yesterday I managed a little bit of time in my sewing room. 

This is my list from last week:

1.  Finish Part 8 of the Rhododendron Trail Mystery Quilt.

I didn't do this. I've been considering not finishing the quilt exactly as Bonnie designed. I entered the quilt into Electric Quilt so I could play with different options. These colors are the colors Bonnie designed. I found this Dogwood fabric in my stash that is exactly the same color scheme, but I don't have enough for the backing. I considered adding an additional border, but the quilt is too large for that.

I do like them together though so then I thought about omitting the half-blocks and substituting the fabric. 
I also thought about substituting purple for the aqua. Purple is my favorite color.
Finally, I am thinking about substituting in red sashing. This is my husband's favorite.

I'm going to set this one aside for a week or two until I decide how I want to finish it. It will also give me a chance to see how other participants finished theirs in case I like theirs better and want to copy.

2.  Make 2 more of the Heart blocks.

I did get this one finished but I'm didn't take photos. It appears most folks aren't showing their Tickled Pink projects before their scheduled blog hop post so I guess I should stop showing progress photos as well.

3. Start making the Alternate blocks for the Tickled Pink project.

I didn't make progress on this one either.

For next week I would like to:

1. Make significant progress on the Tickled Pink project.

2. I think I'll add another project for RSC. This lap quilt has been in my queue for a couple of years. I can probably manage one more block a month to get this one done this year too.

I'm linking up with Tuesday ToDo. Feel free to stop by and see what everyone else has been working on.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Leader-Ender Project

In my last post, I briefly mentioned Leaders and Enders and I think it is worth elaborating. I've been sewing for over 20 years and I wish I'd heard of them sooner. 

Leaders and Enders are pieces of pre-cut fabric kept at your machine to begin and end your chain piecing. Using a leader/ender will conserve the use of thread, prevent “bird nests”, save time and can reduce wear and tear on your sewing machine. Bonnie Hunter has a long explanation about why you should use them here at her blog.

When I was working on my "stained glass" blocks, I pulled the pieces out of the machine after every seam. I was wasting a LOT of thread, so when I learned how leader-ender projects worked, I immediately got one started.

While sorting my scraps last fall, I rediscovered a several-inch tall pile of 4-inch squares. I vaguely remembered buying them off eBay more than 20 years ago before I knew any better. I never used them because after I received them I discovered the "squares" were very badly cut, but I couldn't bring myself to discard them. I thought it would be nice to finally find a use for them. 

I decided to make Judy Hopkin's Spruce Root Basket pattern from her Triangle-Free Quilts book because it is really quick and easy to cut out. But I am not following the actual directions; I am just copying the layout. My pieces are smaller than the original pattern. The fabrics will vary quite a lot more too than the below Electric Quilt image; there is no way I am going to take the time to scan scraps and import them into EQ.

I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Northwest Quilter's Virtual Retreat

I have so much to report for this week's Tuesday ToDo. I attended the Northwest Quilter's Guild virtual retreat this past weekend and I sewed the entire time + more outside of the scheduled hours. I quite enjoyed it and I learned a few new things, for instance, I had never heard of leaders and enders before...

Anyway, I mostly focused on making blocks for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, starting with the Bloom quilt.
Two red blocks for the Bloom quilt
Then I worked on nine patches for the Arlington Square quilt. I need to make a total of 96 of these blocks so I'm planning to make nine or ten of each color throughout the year. I made the first block with just reds: a dark red and a bright red but I decided I didn't really like that color scheme so I started using different colors for the squares. I had a nice big stack of 2½"-squares leftover from when I was making quilted ball ornaments and they're the perfect size.
10 red Arlington Square blocks plus one sneaky pink one.
Then I gave the stained glass blocks a try. I made them using the advice in this Youtube video. I finished four during the weekend and then the other four on Monday. They are really quite fun and I'm getting better at it. I decided to leave off the black sashing on the outer edge because I'm not sure of the final block size I'll be using in the quilt. I may want to make them bigger or cut them down a bit.

I am using scraps for these projects. I'm drawing heavily from my tub of pre-cut squares and adding pieces from some of the larger scraps. So far, I haven't needed to cut any red from yardage but I've certainly got less variety at this point, so I may decide to cut some pieces off yardage for my Tickled Pink project.

My goals for this next week are: 
  1.  Finish Part 8 of the Rhododendron Trail Mystery Quilt.
  2.  Make 2 more of the Heart blocks
  3.  Start making the Alternate blocks for the Tickled Pink project.
Amethyst/Diamond Star Block.
This block dates from the 1930s.
I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday and Tuesday ToDo. Drop on by to see what everyone else has been working on.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Jan Friday Night w/Friends

I lucked out for this month's FNWF because the Northwest Quilter's Guild had scheduled a Virtual Quilting Retreat at the same time so I spent a lot of time on Friday sewing.

I spent all day making the blocks for Part 7 of the Rhododendron Trail Mystery Quilt. I got started at about 1PM and sewed all the way through to 1AM because I wanted to finish.
I'm all caught up with the Mystery quilt and I'm ready for next Friday's clue.
I've been enjoying this sew along. I'm glad I've joined it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Tuesday To Do #29

I've been having a good time working on projects this past week. We didn't have any visits with friends or family due to the pandemic so we had a pretty quiet week at home which gave me a fair amount of time to work on projects.

Last week I hoped to finish Parts 5 and 6 of the Rhododendron Trail Mystery Quilt. I finished, just in the nick of time.

I wanted to get started on the first color for RSC 2022. The first color just got posted yesterday and it's red. I did get started on a scrappy project that uses red, but it was not one of the quilts that I'm making specifically for RSC. Now that I'm caught up with the Rhododendron Trail Mystery Quilt, I'll start making some of the blocks.

I joined the Prairie Moon Quilts for the Studio Organizing Challenge. They were pretty simple tasks and I appreciated the little bit of tidying I got finished.

Finally, I planned to figure out what I'm making next and I chose my heart quilt for my one monthly goal so that is the one. I started making blocks in the past week and am having fun with it.

For this coming week, I would like to:
  1.  Finish Part 7 of the Rhododendron Trail Mystery Quilt.
  2.  Start making red blocks for my RSC quilt(s).
  3.  Make at least 4 of the pieced hearts for my Tickled Pink project.
Thanks to Linda for hosting the weekly linky party over at Texas Quilt Gal.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

January One Monthly Goal

Since I decided to participate in the Tickled Pink Blog Hop, I think I'd better choose that project as my January One Monthly Goal. I'd like to get most, but not necessarily all, of the blocks pieced so I can finish assembly by the middle of February.

I am trying to make a quilt with a variety of heart blocks. Some of them are regular pieced and some will be foundation pieced and they are all different. I'll be making it primarily with scraps.

It will look something like this when it's finished.