Wednesday, July 27, 2016

the beauty of scraps -- July quilt 2

I pushed through over the weekend and Monday, finishing my scrap quilt for our guest room.


It is the first bed sized quilt I have made for our family that didn't seem too small when I was finished, probably because I laid it out on the bed itself as I pieced it.



I thought about a scrappy binding to use up more of them, but in the end decided on the black and white. The scrappy binding and a couple of other choices I considered got lost against the rest of the quilt. My design assistant (daughter) agreed.

The backing was two fabrics I had on hand, and you can kind of see them here. I wanted something that did not require a lot of piecing to avoid competing seams on the front and back. One was a white stripe and one was a floral, both gifts.


I chose a loopy daisy for the quilting and that did not go so well. Some, like the daisy on the left below look ok, but others ended up more like the "daisy" below on the right. It was difficult maneuvering so much weight!


Today I visited a camp for foster kids and a Salvation Army Getting Ahead class graduation. As I think back on the day and am looking at this quilt, it was a day centered on hope given to those in the low times of life. Being at the camp was depressing on a lot of levels, yet for those children the camp is a huge blessing and provides hope through the love poured on them by the adults there. The hope that the Getting Ahead class has instilled in their graduates--that getting out of poverty is possible and that regardless of what mess they have had to work through in their lives, they now have more tools for a better future--that was powerful. As I look at this quilt now, it is one more example of this hope, that regardless of the bits and pieces and mess of our lives, we can still hope. God can put those bits and pieces back together and help us make something amazing, unique, joyful and useful out of our lives to be a blessing to others, as others were a blessing to us.

Friday, July 15, 2016

a quilt for the birthday boy

One of my friends is caring for a little boy. As he is a foster child, I didn't make a quilt at first like I often do with new little ones since I wasn't sure how long he would be with them, but as his first birthday approached, I started thinking more and more about it and then got to work.


It is a simple patchwork with some fun prints worked in. I was also able to add in a few leftover squares from other quilts, just to mix up the options a bit. I backed it with flannel since it is way more snuggly that way.


When I make these patchwork quilts I tend to end up with squares leftover since I sort of randomly cut them out of a good mix of fabrics and hope for the best. I'm sure at one point I had a better guideline. This time, instead of adding these leftover squares to the scrap bins again, I grabbed some of them and made a matching patchwork top.



There were a few glitches while quilting that I hope were resolved for awhile by oiling the bobbin case and the walking foot. I was so happy I was able to finish the quilting at home last night, and had made at least two back up plans so that I could finish in time for the birthday party this weekend. So grateful for this on-time finish and for families who are able to share their lives and homes with children in need of one!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

quilt Q3 finishalong goals

Last year I participated in a Finishalong with Adrienne of On The Windy Side. It was a little extra incentive for me to finish some project, especially some that I had stuck in a bin and avoided to work on newer ideas. As January came around and I took a look at my schedule, I knew I could not commit to one more thing. The spring was crazy. It is now time to signup for Q3 projects for the 2016 Finishalong and now, at least for the next quarter, I think I can do this. Not one of those epic lists but a few finishes at least, including two stacked on my table ready to quilt.

1. Full size scrap quilt. I finished up the backing the other day so this one just needs me to dedicate a few hours and get it back on this bed.


2. Birthday quilt for E. The party is Saturday so I need to get it done quick.

3. Candy pinwheels. I plan to make this one larger than the pattern to have less leftovers.

4. Another half square triangle pattern.

5. A black and white checkerboard for an August birthday.

6. A charity patchwork out of these leftover blocks I found while working on the scrap quilt (plus a bit more thrown in)

Six quilts. Two per month, and with two ready to quilt. This I can do--as long as I don't get distracted by some other great new project!


2016 FAL

Friday, July 8, 2016

in the zone

Working on the scrap quilt was a bit addictive and meditative, at least up until the final 7 to 10 blocks. Then I just wanted to be done so I could stop digging around in the bin of scraps that was always in my way. I pushed through off and on today and finished the top.

I made blocks a little bit larger 12 1/2" square so I could square them up to that size, just matching up pieces to other pieces until it all worked out. As I started laying out the rows, I decided I didn't want the line down the bed from the block. I made a few blocks 13" wide and split them in half. The odd rows were seven full blocks while the even rows were six blocks with a half block on each end to off set the block seam. I also added a half row along the bottom end to give it the same drop length as the sides.



So many scraps -- and yet I still have some left. I was definitely getting down to odd sized pieces that were harder to work with "as is." I was also able to work in some leftover blocks, which was an added bonus.

This top will likely rest here on this bed for a bit as I recover from the scrap mess but I still hope to quilt it this month. I have a baby quilt--a tiny little thing in neat orderly squares--to tackle first for a breather and then I should be ready.

Friday, July 1, 2016

little projects

After spending a week in a very tidy, decluttered rental for vacation and then the next week in a equally tidy and clean motel room, I came home ready to tackle my house. The spring was crazy busy, so any cleaning that happened was the bare minimum. Leftovers from soccer, school, vacation, and just everyday life were starting to pile up. This week I started cleaning and sorting and updating a couple of rooms. It sort of mushroomed so some piles have now shifted to new piles by the door to go to Goodwill or wherever, but I made some progress. And I finished up a few sewing projects in the process!

I hemmed the vintage quilt top and made the drapery pocket on the end with the damaged patch. It's still there but now hidden.


On a trip to Target to buy shampoo, I ended up with some slipcovers for our couch and loveseat. With the yellow gold chair I had moved into the living room from the guest room area, now we have this whole gray and yellow color scheme. So I recovered a lamp shade to coordinate

and had enough left over to make a throw pillow. Amazingly I was able to get a free pillow insert from a friend, just the perfect size.

I have an Ikea pillow (that I have had for a year or so) and a couple of little pillows my daughter made on the couch. And right now, my son.

I also sewed together a pillow top from leftover squares from the baby quilt that I still need to piece together, and will have a pillow to go with the quilt soon. Definitely before I finish the quilt!

I don't think I finished up anymore squares for my scrap quilt for the guest room, but did get the finished squares up on the design board.
This looks a bit blurry. Probably should've adjusted something on my camera differently? Anyway, the quilt will be 7 blocks wide by 8 long, so I'm making progress, I think about halfway. The scrap bin is still SO full, it's like eating pasta at a restaurant. You keep eating and eating and then look down--and the bowl looks like you haven't even started!

Time to go convince my kids that it's time to put away the stuff on their floor--and then give up and go sew something.


Friday, June 24, 2016

a June quilt, finally

I've been away from home for most of June, and had no quilt projects that could tag along on the trips. Right before I left for the family trip, I took on a commissioned quilt project. It seems that the t-shirt quilt I made in May has inspired at least one more.


With the more patriotic color scheme of this one, I was able to find a fun polka dot in the holiday options at Joann, and chose a candy cane stripe binding to finish it off.


I'm not sure if I will finish another this month, given that it is almost July. I did spend a bit of time this week repairing a vintage quilt I found at an antique shop while in Watonga. It need a bit of binding re-sewing, and a few of the blocks needed to be reconnected. I ended up zigzag stitching those to make it a bit stronger. Some of the fabric was deteriorating. I also needed to cut part of a corner off. It was shredded. I was able to wrap the backing over (it was also the binding) and finish it off to look like the rest of the quilt. And it needed washing badly. Now it's almost as good as new.

Last year when I was in Watonga I found a vintage flower garden quilt top at the same store. It has taken me a year, but I have finally decided to hem the edges and use it as a curtain in our guest room. We shall see how long that takes me, but it will be much quicker than repairing the damaged hexagons along the top and hand quilting the whole thing!

If I decide to finish another quilt in the upcoming week, it will be this baby quilt, all ready to go.

My "little bit at a time while I am waiting on the kids (or need a break)" project is my scrap quilt for our guest room. I've finished about 20 blocks and have about 36 to go. Still have tons of scraps and it is great to put them all to use! It will probably get finished next month unless I get distracted by other projects around the house.

That's plenty of sewing projects for now, especially with a few more non-sewing ones getting added to the list while I have a bit of extra free time. Maybe we will even finally finish painting my daughter's desk.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mission Watonga

When we got home from our family trip, we unloaded our suitcases--and then my daughter and I repacked ours. We left the next afternoon with a small group from our church to host a four day camp for kids in Watonga. My son went to youth camp that week so he got an extra day to repack.

Our welcome crew!

It was a week filled with games . . .
 

Bible time . . .
 

art . . .

and science exploration.

There were lots of smiling faces from both the volunteers and the kids!

After a bit of a lunch break each day, we were able to spend some time at the nearby Roman Nose State Park.
 
 

I enjoyed getting to spend some extra one on one time that week with my daughter and she loved having all the extra new buddies to play with when she was tired of me! We have been on this trip twice now, each a little different. We also learned a few things to take back with us next year if we return (like serve breakfast!). I loved serving alongside this group, working and playing together to make a positive difference in the lives of these children, and sharing the love of Christ in both word and deed.