Thursday, January 29, 2015

Personal Volunteer Week

Since this is the week that I have my Quilts of Valor meetings (last Fri and Monday), I usually designate this week as my personal volunteering-locally week.

I attend the QOV meetings, which are always fun and we get a lot done.  These are some of the quilts made or quilted by others that were turned in this week:
made by Lize

made by Sandy

compiled from donated blocks and quilted by Sandy

Sandy quilted this.  These are blocks that volunteers made - I don't know who assembled it

quilted by Marilyn

pieced by Ginger

quilted by Sandy (left) and pieced by Ginger (right)

This is the quilt top and back that I picked up at the meeting to quilt and return next month:

And I always pick up a few quilt tops/backs at the shop while I am there to quilt up for Project Linus.  These were waiting for me:

They look like fun to quilt!

And just before the QOV meeting, I finished up quilting this one for Sunshine On-line Quilt Guild member, Beth in NJ.  It is quilted in a panto called Square Dance and turned out looking great with lots of texture!

There is a quilt show tomorrow, so I am anticipating a lot of walking … I'm counting it as Exercise!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Easing into Scrappy - Part 2

Yesterday I described my current stash and scrap system (such as it is).  I expect it will not change all that much, but I am devising some ways of actually seeing what I have and some ideas for how to move forward.  If you didn't read it, catch that post here.

I had received some wonderful 2.5 inch squares from several members of my Sunshine On-line Quilt Guild (thank you, thank you going out to Beth, Joann and Cathy L!).  Those will be my starting point.  I know I can work with these and find some sustainable ways to work with this size leftovers from my work.
just some of the squares next to my sewing machine
I don’t want to make her blush, but I have found Cynthia Brunz’ website Quilting is More Fun Than Housework to be so inspirational for how to use scraps/yardage and have the quilts come out looking beautifully pulled together.  I recently went to her page for the Scrap-a-Palooza Quilt Gallery where she shows the step-by-step progress of some scrap projects and found the Zig-Zag Quilt (May 2014).  Please follow the links above to her site if you are looking for some great ideas.

Since I wasn’t sure if I had enough squares to make Cynthia’s Zig-Zags right off the bat, I switched over to this pattern that has smaller centers:
Pattern called Field Day
It is from the book "Seemingly Scrappy" by Rebecca Silbaugh:
I will go back and make Cynthia’s pattern after I have cut all of my own leftover binding pieces and created a special place for 2.5 inch squares.  Then I know I’ll have enough and the colorful squares will look wonderful in her design!

And this is the work in progress while I was auditioning for the big squares:
the blue in the background wasn't right and the yellow was too washed out
but the black with multi-color was just right!
I still have to rearrange some blocks to distribute the logs that were slightly lighter (I used everything from my stash after all) – but, I’m in love with it!  And they look way better after quilting...

Linking up to Oh Scrap!  on Sunday.  Check out what ideas others are coming up with for using their scraps (see the button on my sidebar).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Easing into Scrappy - Part 1

I have had trouble in the past with actually using my stash and scraps (yardage and small pieces) because I am so controlling.  No, I don’t mean I am an aggressive woman!  Just trying to be so matchy-matchy with fabrics and not knowing how to use bits of “this and that” has been my mental stumbling block.  Not that my quilts aren’t pretty, I just want to make more donation quilts (the need is so great) and maximize use of what I have.

I don’t have much of an organized system for scraps.  I have:

  •     The Box:  this is where I throw leftovers after I finish piecing a top or quilting it.


      The Dream:  doing away with the box and putting pieces away in the right place the first time … lol.

  •     The Bucket:  this is where I throw tail ends of bindings – all strips are 2.5 inches wide but are still ironed in half when I throw them in here.

      The Dream:  cutting these into useable 2.5 inch squares

  •    The Basket:  this is where I throw pieces that are less than 2.5 inches but more that 1 inch wide.

      The Dream:  making string quilts from these, but in actuality I usually end up donating these to true scrap quilters when this gets full.

  •   The Drawers:  this is the yardage, the fat quarters, the collections, the panels, the misc

      The Dream:  to make this ALL useful and make lots and lots of donation quilts for children and Veterans.

  •   The What-in-the-World??  yes, it’s true I have lost control over this mess.  No, I don’t really know what-all is in there.  It is the first dumping place if I don’t walk around to get to The Box that is behind the longarm (an arduous trip of at least 6 steps)

      The Dream:  this has GOT TO GO – it’s in the way (I have said this for months years)

The saga will continue tomorrow as I  s-l-o-w-l-y  ease into the scrap thing – and yes, you'll see tomorrow that there is a method to my madness!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Finally got around to tackling that stack of tops to quilt.  Finished this one last night - made by a fellow member of the Sunshine On-line Quilt Guild:
Beth has the cutest novelty prints in her blocks:

The panto is Jig Saw Puzzle and it will go to Wrap-a-Smile.

And another one made by Beth is up next - here it is when I was measuring to make the backing this morning:

OOPS:  I meant to schedule this for Wed a.m.  -  if you're reading this on Tuesday, pretend it's Wednesday ... dratted computers.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Continuing the Scrap Pursuit

I finished up the two tops that I was working on using scraps and fabrics from my stash today.  This is the top using bug fabrics (see this post for close-ups of the bug fabrics):
And I added the end borders and the corner pieces to finish up the monkeys top (posted about here):
These are now in the ever-growing and about to be over-whelming to-be-quilted pile.  I’m going to have to quilt next week for Project Linus (I try to do two a month for them), so I’ll get a few of these tops done then.

And this is the source for the next project on the drawing board (I think this issue was Jan/Feb 2013):

I often put post-it flags on pages of quilt magazines for projects that I want to work on in the future and literally have hundreds of pages marked.  Well, 2015 is the Year to get going on those!  So I selected this Quiltmaker magazine baby quilt – the ongoing series at the time was to take a block from a previously published quilt and enlarge it to make an easy Big Block Baby Quilt.

These are the fabrics I have pulled from my stash.  Cutting and sewing begins tomorrow … drum roll, please!

Check out what others are doing with their scraps!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nuts About Bugs!

Wednesday’s Work in Progress is a small Trip Around the World quilt featuring bug fabrics from my stash.



I sewed the squares together Monday night and then the rows together on Tuesday night, so I expect the borders to go on tonight and another UFO will have been created.  Looking at the photo, I might change my mind about the orange border and make it blue ... hmmm ... or maybe a thin border of both ... still thinking ... have to check the stash.

Time to get some of these UFOs on the frame and quilted up (I seem to say that a lot!).

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Just Monkeying Around!

One of our local quilt shops was having a pre-inventory sale with good prices for end-of-the bolt sales, so I ended up with an extra large piece of this cute monkey fabric.

In my recent efforts to use what is in my stash, I pulled out this fabric and began the hunt for bits and pieces that might go with it.  I wanted to use a pattern called Anthony’s Star from an older Quiltmaker magazine, and I found a few fabrics I liked and I auditioned them as I went:

And this is the design as it grew (not sewn together yet).

I think it will end up 40 inches wide, but I didn’t want it square so I am still adding to the top and bottom.  So what I’ve really created is another UFO!

Oh, and we did have an early cold snap in FL last November – this is the proof in the Fall Foliage!

Usually, we don’t get many red leaves, just faded green and yellow, but this one looks pretty in the back yard.  And it did get cold last week:
not frost on the windows, but condensation!
But the cold is gone now and rain is expected.  The poor tourists can't catch a break!

Edited:  I linked up with Oh, Scrap! at
I always seem to be at least a day late - maybe I'll get the hang of the Friday update soon!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday

My inspiration pattern was a fabric line called “Emma Grace” by Kathy Brown for Red Rooster Fabrics:

And this is the progress I have made on my blocks using 1930s reproduction fabrics:

Still pulling from my scraps and stash, but I am not that good at totally scrappy.  I’d have to identify with the group that calls themselves “controlled” scrappies!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Let the “Oh Scrap!” Begin!

I have been wanting to use up my smallish stash of 1930s reproduction fabrics and 2015 is the…

I saw an advertisement in a magazine of a pattern to come in 2015 and decided that I liked the look so much that I would just wing it with the dimensions.  This is my starting stash of 30s:

And these are the blocks that I have begun making for the Oh Scrap linky party over at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.
framed 9-patches
I would have made a few more this morning, but somebody who shall remain nameless was insisting that it was time for lunch.

She is not allowed up in the sewing room – not because she is too furry (which she is) but because I drop too many pins and she likes to roll around on the Berber carpet – must feel good.

But I will be back at making more 30s blocks this evening and should have enough for a reasonable size kid’s quilt soon.  Thanks for the chance to link, Cynthia!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Finish of 2015

Another quilt using that Tropical Fish printed fabric and the Warm Wishes pattern.  I have one more to go and that fabric will finally be used up.  It’s nice and colorful, but it’s getting old!

I used a panto I hadn’t tried before called Bubbles (different sizes of circles) and I’m not sure I like how it looks on the quilt, but done and bound is always good …

This one qualifies as my first finish for the Stashbusters Yahoo Group.  It was No. 8 on my list and that was the first number they pulled.  Now on to squaring up that No. 35!

Did You Know?

Today is the Birthday of Louis Braille.  Braille?  That name sounds familiar …

Louis  Braille was a teacher and advocate of the blind in France in the early 1800s.  He was blinded himself at the age of 3 by an accident in his father’s leather shop, but despite this handicap, he excelled when his father sent him to school with sighted children.  He was also a gifted musician, learning to play the cello and organ at an early age.  While attending the National Institute of Blind Youth, he was inspired by a lecture he heard about a new system of embossed symbols, called sonography, invented by Captain Charles Barbier [although some say that Braille learned about the Barbier system in a newspaper account].  Barbier’s system was a method for soldiers to communicate silently during wartime field operations using dots and dashes embossed on leather.

Braille’s experiments and refinements of an embossing technique resulted in a six-dot code based on the letters of the alphabet that could be felt with the finger-tips.  After working with the number and placement of the dots, Braille was able to code not only letters, but also common words, symbols, and mathematical and musical notations that could be quickly read, stored compactly and useful for both reading and writing.

Braille was only twenty when he published his coding system.  His second expanded system was demonstrated at the Paris Exposition of Industry in 1834 and received praise of the French King, Louis Philippe.  The system was not well-received though by sighted instructors of the blind and school board members who feared the loss of their jobs to a well-educated blind populace and continued to advocate for the existing embossed-letter system.  That embossed-letter system used heavy paper with raised Latin letters that students found to be cumbersome and slow to read and was in no way suitable for writing.

Braille was an admired and respected musician and teacher at the National Institute of Blind Youth when he fell seriously ill with tuberculosis.  One of his former students, a blind musician, let the audience know after her performance in Paris that she had learned using the Braille system.  Renewed interest in the system grew and persistent advocating by blind students resulted in a revival of the system, but it was still not fully accepted until 1854, two years after Braille’s death.

Braille’s revolutionary invention has now been adapted for a multitude of languages and is now in use world-wide.  It has been modified periodically and the newest innovations include Braille computer terminals, a Braille email delivery service and further developments in mathematical and scientific notations.
Braille's childhood home in Coupvray  
Because he was a very young man when he developed his system, Braille is often hailed as a children’s hero.  Let us celebrate the life of Louis Braille today on the anniversary of his birth - this incredible innovator remains a creative inspiration to young and old alike, no matter their abilities.
For additional citations, see: