Saturday, July 28, 2018

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Boy, these little 40" x 50" quilts stitch up fast! Especially when you start with a panel with big blocks like this. I actually started with three panels, all in the same design but three slightly different colorways. They were sales samples from a Robert Kaufman line, I think. 

The panels were raggedly cut on the edges, so I trimmed off any blocks that didn't contain a complete vehicle. Then I bordered each panel with a black and white stripe and sewed them into rows. Red sashing and binding picked up one of the colors used in each panel.

All the partial panels got pieced together willy-nilly improv style and trimmed into two long strips that I put on the back with a chunk of orange stripe fabric. The quilting is just simple wavy lines in bright orange thread, running the same direction as the vehicles. They kind of look like those motion lines you see in cartoons.

This close up of the back shows the partial panels and the color variations. One bike has a white background and the other has off white, for instance. The third colorway uses a pale gray. When all mixed together, though, it seems to work as a single piece. That's good, because I needed all the fabric to make a complete quilt!

The colors are so vibrant, but I can't seem to capture them in today's high overcast light. But the blue matches our chair cushions nicely and the orange goes with our safety line bag. It's the little things that count.

Many of my quilting friends don't know that before we lived on the boat, we lived for nine years in a bus. So when I showed this quilt to Sean, he immediately pointed at the buses in the bottom left corner. Once a bus guy, always a bus guy! So I named this little quilt Buses Etc. I hope it will comfort a little person through Wrap a Smile.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


That's what I'm calling this quilt top, Delighted. I followed the daily instructions on Confessions of a Fabric Addict over the last 2 weeks or so to make it. Sarah's original design, called "Rejoice," was created using holiday fabrics for her 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop. 

I wanted to make "Rejoice," but I have enough Christmas quilts, including two UFOs hanging in the closet. So I decided to try something different. All my red scraps were still sitting out from working on this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

And I had plenty of light neutral fabrics to cut up using my Tri-Recs rulers.

By simply switching in turquoises, teals and aquas for the green in Sarah's pattern, the colors shifted away from Christmas and toward a fresh palette. Coincidentally, all those bluish greenish scraps were still sitting out from June's RSC blocks, so the need to clean up my studio might have influenced my color choices. Ahem. 

In this close up, you can see some of the scrappy fabrics that I used. The lighting is funky because it was hanging in front of a closed yet still brightly backlit set of blinds. I find going completely scrappy with a pattern to be a real exercise in trusting the process. Is this dark teal too dark? This red looks kinda orange. Breathe in, sew blocks, breath out. It's just fabric! Each individual block looked pretty mish-mashy, keep breathing...

In the end, Sarah's cool design and its secondary patterns all appeared like magic in the final layout. I may have actually squealed a little when I finished the final borders. Rejoice! I'm Delighted with the results! I'll share more photos once I get it quilted.

Meanwhile, back in the land of charity quilts, I whipped up this little number. The Sunshine online quilt guild has a monthly block lotto, and the colors for July are pink and green. I don't really care for pink, but I dutifully pieced up some blocks (Karen, I put pink and green postage stamp borders on those applique flowers you sent, worked great. Forgot to take photos, dang it!)

As I worked away with the lotto colors, I thought, "I have a lot of pink fabric for someone who doesn't like pink. Maybe I should sew it ALL up with some green and get rid of it." So I picked a dozen friendly fat quarters and whipped out some offset square-in-a-square blocks (Sunshine calls 'em Mendota blocks.) A few bigger chunks of pink quickly became a back and I found a piece of batting just the right size.

Inspired by this feathery print on the back, I quilted it with floppy feathers in pink thread. Hot pink in the bobbin, light pink on top. I tried the hot pink on top, but the thread broke many many times and I just gave up. Pink doesn't like me, either I guess!

When I brought it upstairs after quilting, I showed Sean the backing first. He said, "Huh. That's a weird one with all that pink and one green stripe." So now I think of this little quilt as "The Weird One With The Green Stripe." And even though it contains much pink, it hardly made a dent in my pink stash. However, the piece slowly grew on me and now I actually really like it. I might make more pink quilts, who knows! 

TWOWTGS will go to Wrap-A-Smile, where hopefully a small child won't think it's weird at all, just soft and warm and cuddly.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Christmas in July in the Big Apple

Hello, hello! Since the flurry of finishes in my last post, I haven't had too much to blog about. We moved the boat all the way from Palm Beach to New York City in one long hop. The seas were very calm and I was able to sew a little bit each day. I also straightened things up in the studio and did some ironing with all the extra power the boat engine puts out while we're moving.

We arrived in New York in time for Independence Day, some nice fireworks, and the announcement of red as the RSC color of the month. Since then, I've been puttering away in the studio, doing little projects. I worked on my red blocks, made a couple secret project blocks, a whole bunch of miscellaneous crumb blocks, and some red, white and blue star blocks for Kat's latest Covered in Love drive. It's all felt rather patriotic.

We also had a major medical crisis with this little nubbin. After months of being away from any kind of veterinary care, she wisely waited until she was in The City That Never Sleeps to get sick. After two nights in an emergency animal hospital, she's recovering slowly from triaditis. Poor Angel, they shaved her belly for an ultrasound and she gets nasty medicines twice a day. But she hasn't used up all nine lives yet!

We are finally in a place where I can receive mail, so I had all our accumulated packages sent at once. I won a gift certificate to Stitch Stash Diva from Sandra's Playtime Plus QAL and bought these nice basics. At the top of the stack are two yards of black with subtle metallic polka dots, very fancy! Thank you so much to SSD and MMM for my PrizePrizePrize!

I also finally got to see my prize for participating in the Hands2Help charity challenge. This is a bundle of 30 super cute fat quarters from Moda. The fabric line is Hometown Christmas. Thank you so much, Sarah and Moda! All of Sarah's sponsors were so generous this year.

Karen of KaHolly sent me some orphan blocks, left behind after one of her friends passed away. They are about a half dozen machine appliqued flowers with beading details. Most of the charities I support ask that our quilts have no beads, buttons or other loose embellishments. So I'll remove the beads on these, clean them up a bit with some thread painting, and find a new home for them. They may end up with Quilts Beyond Borders. Thanks, Karen!

In addition to my freebies, two big boxes of fabric that I bought on eBay also arrived. This batch is all fun food themed pieces, including fruits, tea cups and silverware. Another box contained over 20 yards of bright blenders. After almost five months without fabric shopping, it was great to recharge the ol' stash. And it might be the season to celebrate the 4th of July, but it sure feels like Christmas here when all the boxes arrive!

Speaking of Christmas, Sarah is running her annual 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop and quilt along. The quilt she designed for the QAL really spoke to me, so I decided to join in. She shows it in several colorways, including classic green and red, patriotic RWB, and frosty winter blues. My pile of red scraps were already sitting out for RSC, so I decided to do an all scrappy version.

The pattern uses the Tri-Recs rulers that I already own. Here are the side triangles cut for the scrappy neutral background.

I decided to make my third color turquoise/teal/aqua. I don't really need another Christmas quilt, and while I really like the patriotic/QOV look of red, white, and blue, something about aqua and red together is just so bright and fresh. This was last month's color for RSC, so all my scraps were already neatly pressed and organized. After a few happy hours of trimming, I'm all ready for the next steps of the QAL.