Thursday, February 21, 2019

Sharing my Good Fortune

This year for the first time, I participated in Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt along, Good Fortune. I knew her quilts usually end up quite large, so I decided at the start to only make about two thirds of the blocks at each step.

I stuck with her proposed color scheme of red, orange, blue and green, with light neutral background. The blocks were fun to make and used up a lot of scraps! The full pattern calls for another fancy pieced border, but I decided to stop after the green triangles. The size was just right for one of my preferred charities.

The busy fabrics and dense blocks called for simple quilting, and I used my go-to stipple. The backing is a soft green plaid given to me by my DH's aunt. An inset piece of a green blender made it easy to sew in the required label for Quilts Beyond Borders. That's where this quilt has been donated, and other volunteers will make sure it gets into the hands of someone who needs a quilty hug.

This little wheelchair quilt has also been finished and donated. It will be given to someone in a nursing home in Alabama, where my friend Doris' guild does their charitable giving. The train panels were given to me by Kathleen of the Sunshine Online Quilt Guild, and all the other blocks were made as part of Sunshine's monthly block lotto.

So all I had to do was put the pieces together, find these gray and red chunks in my stash for a backing, and quilt it up. The combination of panels and prefinished blocks makes for a fast little quilt. 

I'm so fortunate to have access to so many generous friends who help me create and distribute these quilts. And how great that Bonnie Hunter shares her design talents for free each year with her mystery QALs. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Long distance gifting

Another gifted finish to share today! This one was made for my dear friend M, who recently redecorated her family room. She asked for a medallion style quilt, and I made this 60" x 60" lap size to toss over the back of her sofa.

The design is based on a photo I found using a Google image search, which I printed out and pondered. I think it is an original design by Quiltmekiwi since she doesn't specify a pattern name or other designer. Hers is completely scrappy, which I love too!

The design is made entirely of HSTs and is quite symmetric, so once I decided on the color scheme, it was pretty straightforward. Just lots and lots and lots of HSTs in the aqua, burgundy, dusty pink and creams of M's room.

So how do you get just the right color mix to go with a room 3,000 miles away? With paint chips! While I was visiting M over Christmas, she and her daughter carefully matched paint chip strips to the rug and furniture. I took the chips back to Florida and dove into my stash. I think I got pretty close compared to the chips at the top of this photo. And as an added bonus, many of the fabrics that matched had a cat motif, and they are a kitty-loving family.

The backing is a big autumnal print with apples and flowers. I had used some of this same fabric on the back of some placemats I gave her last year, so I knew that she liked it. I didn't realized how much I had left!

The fabrics are fairly busy, so the quilting doesn't show much. I did big feathers
around the dark outer border, and a fairly tight stipple in the scrappy creams. Each aqua and dusty pink block has a geometric dot-to-dot motif stitched in variegated thread.

The overall effect is lots of nice texture, and I'm pleased with how it softened and crinkled in the wash. Most importantly, M reports that it matches perfectly and she loves it!

In other news, I was a guest blogger on the Wrap-A-Smile blog this week. Many thanks to Ann for inviting me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Rainbow scrap challenge

This year for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC), I'm trying some different blocks. First up are crumbs or slabs. Anything goes with these, just stitch similarly sized pieces together and trim to a nice, neat final square. Very satisfying! I had a LOT of little pieces of red for January, and ended up with nine 8.5" square crumb blocks. This is really mindless sewing and great to use as leaders/enders. I have a few chunks of yellow pieced together for Febuary, too.

These blocks are a pretty simple rail fence variety. Three strips cut at 2.5" x 8.5" and two at 1.5" x 8.5". For RSC, I decided to cut the larger strips in the monthly color, with the skinny accent strips in the adjacent hue on the color wheel. So for yellow, some blocks have orange accents, and some have yellow-green accents.

Here are the red blocks from January, with purple or orange accents. I'm hoping that the resulting quilt will have a really nice transition from color to color. So far it's really striking to me how those accent strips really change the look of the blocks. And it really burns through my stash of strings!

For my more elaborate RSC block, I've decided to do Bonnie Hunter's Scrap Crystals. The background will be dark blue for each block, and the star points will be the monthly color. The star centers will be one third of the way around the color wheel. So for yellow, blue is the center color. Light blue allows some contract with the background.

Here is the red star points block, with yellow as the center color. I'll end up cutting from two colors each month instead of just the one RSC color, but that's OK.

I'm glad that yellow was chosen for February because I already had my yellow scraps pulled out. The block lotto for the Sunshine Online Guild calls for blue and yellow block in January. I had a few orphans lingering from other projects and was able to add borders to bring them all up to 12.5". These are leftover blocks from two different mystery QALs.

In other scrap news, I received this super fun stack of fabric from Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. It's all fish and fishing themed: trout, fishing poles and hats, water, etc. She was ready to pass it along to someone in exchange for some aqua scraps, so it worked out nicely for both of us. I have a small collection of other angling fabrics, and I'll use them to make a wheelchair quilt or two. Thanks, Cynthia!

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Blue and the Gray

I have a finish to share today. This lap quilt is a gift for my Dad. I asked him what his favorite colors are, and he said blue and gray. We then talked about his love of history and his knowledge of the Civil War. 

I kept thinking about Ulysses S. Grant as I was stitching the blue and gray fabrics. Did he nap? Surely he must have, and possibly under a quilt in his favorite colors? Naming this one Ulysses' Nap Blankie seemed just a tad undignified, so I settled on General Grant Takes A Nap instead. 

The pattern is called "Buttercream Twist," and is available for free here. All the small accent squares are a fun fabric with math and chemistry scribbles on it. The contrast was great on the scrappy blue fabrics, but a few of the grays were more subtle. I couldn't resist using this neat world map fabric with silver metallic accents, though.

My favorite block is this one with the dragonflies and other insects on it. The quilting is simple wavy lines that alternate direction in each block. Lots of texture without too many hours under the needle.

I had a couple of extra blocks, so I put the ones with the least amount of contrast on the back with a chunk of fabric that has bamboo leaves on it. The quilt ended up about 50"x70" which is a good size for a quick snooze. I'm happy to say that Dad really likes it, and I think Ulysses might have, too.