28 July 2017

Friday Funny


We recently were awakened by an unusual alarm clock. Guess I'm not going to leave the birdfeeder out overnight anymore...





27 July 2017

Scrappy Blue Block-a-Day


That was my scrap collection two years ago, when I got serious about using up my scraps instead of buying new fabric.

This is my scrap collection now...


Much of the collection is due to finishing existing WIP projects. Good thing, right??? Little did I know when I started trying to finish what I've started that my scrap collection was going to exponentially multiply and replenish our home!

At the beginning of the year, I began yet another Block a Day goal, using selected patterns from this year's calendar.


My only rule was scraps only. I could not purchase new fabrics for this project. The largest portion of my scraps is blue, so I decided to do scrappy blue blocks.






When the calendar featured block designs I didn't care to make, I used up existing blue scraps in whatever manner suited the shapes already cut - many triangles, even more strips and strings, and a few squares here and there.




This block was so overgrown, I ended up using it in the backing of Peacock Blues back in March.

As the weeks progressed, I was astounded that I might be able to create an entire quilt of scraps that actually work together using block patterns that were not necessarily designed to work together. As the blocks multiplied, I thought this might be appropriate for a grandchild or grandchild sibling. (Adoptions involved.) I'm trying to finish 15 quilts by Christmas. So far, I've finished 4 quilts and 7 more quilt tops. This is the 7th flimsy.


When I began incorporating my own blocks into this top, I didn't realize not all 12-inch blocks are created equal. One was 11.5 inches, a couple were 12 inches, a couple were 12.5 inches, and the blocks I created using the shapes of the remnants I used were 14 inches.

This same thing happened last year when I finished piecing Blue Floral Nostalgia, which includes some of the same fabrics as Scrappy Blue Block-a-Day. I'd started that quilt at least two decades ago, before I had proper tools, and the old blocks ranged from 11.5 to 12.5 inches. The templates I used to make the finishing blocks last year resulted in 13-inch squares.


For that top, which probably won't be a kid gift, I evened out the blocks by adding various sized sashing to each of the old blocks.

I repeated that process with Scrappy Blue Block a Day, trying to make the sashing look like it was part of the block and not sashing (math required!!!) except for the center block and two of the four corner blocks. Two of the corner blocks were already the right size, 14 inches, and I added darker corners to just two sides of the other two to create an outer-edge photo album-like frame around the four corners. Remember the photo corners we used to insert new photos in our big, heavy albums before cling pages came around?

I'm thrilled with the scrappy composition of this new top! If it wasn't going to a grandkid, I'm not so sure I'd be able to give this one away.

I still haven't made a dent in my scrap boxes, but if I can keep creating quilt tops that look this good with just scraps, I don't mind having plenty of scraps to last a while!


Oh, and somewhere between blocks for this project, I used fabric purchased in Durango during Ride the Rockies to make another bandana for Lizard. I owed him a birthday present. To bad he couldn't wear this one during Ride the Rockies! Maybe next year...


Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.

25 July 2017

Terrible Twosday


I stayed up late last Tuesday night trying to finish up a couple of blog posts. I thought I was all done for a couple of weeks.

Apparently, I shouldn't schedule blog posts when I'm tired, which I was. We'd just returned from an out-of-state wedding that was half flight and half road, and the flight leg of our trip turned out to be not the kind of non-stop we thought we'd be getting. Our two-hour flight turned into a six-hour ordeal each way when the airline apparently couldn't sell enough seats for the short flight and ended up triangulating a detour through a major city about 1,200 miles away from where we intended to go.

At least we didn't have to change planes.


Sunrise Aboard a 737

The four-hour road trip after getting off the plane on Day One and then again 38 hours later for the return trip back to the airport to fly home (via the big out-of-the way city again), left me just a little off kilter, I suppose. And well, the Wordless Wednesday I scheduled for tomorrow ended up posting the same day as another Wordless Wednesday that had already been scheduled. Yuppers, twofer the price of one. A double dip.

So does that mean I don't have to run another Wordless Wednesday tomorrow? Since I'm sort of one ahead???


My brother got wrangled into carrying all the purses while the female members of the wedding party got ready.

I didn't think so. Good thing I always have plenty of other photos, even though they might not all be recent.

One of the highlights not wedding-related was our first visit to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. It wasn't a national monument when I lived there, and I wasn't a mountain climber back then.

Needless to say, our time was VERY limited, so we didn't get to explore, but we were serenaded (or scolded) by a curved-bill thrasher. This is not my movie, but I wanted to hear the song again because it was so spectacular. (A commenter on the video says the bill of this bird is not curved and therefor not a curved-bill. But the songs remains the same. Yeah, someone else made that phrase famous.)


I hadn't planned to write about the wedding, but there were moments that shouldn't be wordless. So perhaps all's well that ends well.


My brother frightened and shocked the bridesmaid by pretending she poked him when pinning on his boutonnière.

Another humorous wedding moment in need of words is the room service tray we found outside the groom's and best man's room the day of the wedding. Another wedding had just taken place, and the bridal suite down the hall had a room service tray outside the door that strongly contrasted what the boys devoured for lunch.


The hotel spelled my brother's and the bride's surname wrong.


The cute two-year-old flower girl was the center of attention most of the time. She often refused to cooperate with the photographer (which was not me, for this particular occasion). (But she didn't always pose for me, either...)


She was supposed to deliver the Unity Ring (a decorated hula hoop) to the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony, which was supposed to be outside, but rain poured and poured and poured. The flower girl wailed and wailed and wailed when the wedding officiator tried to take her hula hoop. So the bride and groom skipped that part of the ceremony.


I'd decided not to take the big camera and all the associated lenses because I wasn't the official photographer this time around, and I wanted to go light.

The smaller (all automatic) point-and-shoot camera is like a two-year-old wedding party member who doesn't always cooperate. It doesn't always know where to focus and doesn't care.




Yes, even photographers like me produce mistakes like that!!!

Nevertheless, the wedding was beautiful, the bride and groom are happy as can be, and I'm so thrilled to be home!

24 July 2017

Snowflake Monday


I've been collecting snowflake fabric almost as long as I've been sewing – nearly 44 years. (What?!? They made snowflake fabric back then?!? They made sewing machines back then?!?) Most of those earliest yard cuts are long gone now, but the stash has never stopped growing.


a third of the collection in 2011

I've fashioned and shared snowflake quilts in the past:


Spindrift


Snowflake Heartburn (still not finished...)


pin quilt, with my own Spoonflower fabric design


Tickled Pink, with my own Spoonflower fabric on the front


Snowdyed, with my Spoonflower snowflake fabric on the back


Pink Wave Pin Quilt with my Spoonflower fabric on the front


Snowbike, with NO snowflake fabric but plenty of crocheted snowflakes hand-appliqued!!!


Snowflake Race Quilt, a team project by both me AND Lizard, featuring
my Spoonflower fabric on both the front and the back



Blue Christmas last April


Lavender Christmas last April

And then there is one more kind of secret snowflake WIP on my quarterly Ravelry challenge list...


Snowflake Strip Bar
Creativity happens when you get tired of working with jelly roll strips.

Back in 2015 when I first began teaching The Lizard to sew and quilt, I cut out two sets of snowflake charm squares so we could work on matching quilts together.


I can't remember what distracted us, but the project never got done. Now that I'm not crocheting as much due to elbow pain, I've been focusing quite a bit more on quilting. I recently dug out our twin charm square projects, and I thought this might be a fun way to keep Snowflake Monday going. I hope you will join in and use up some of your scraps, too!


Although Lizard and I both will be working on a snowflake-themed quilt for this quiltalong, you are by no means limited to snowflakes. Although both of us will be using mostly charm squares, you also are not restricted to 5-inch blocks or even just squares. Any kind of fabric is welcome! We love to drool over projects others are doing!


Specifically for this project, I picked out a cool frost fabric when it went clearance a while back. I initially planned to sash all my charm squares with this fabric.


When I began preparing to piece this quilt top, I realized some of the squares were disappearing in what looks like the windshield frost, plus, I like the frost design so much, I want it to be bigger than sashing. I want the design to really stand out but not completely hide the blizzard of snowflake fabrics.

I played around with a few design options.


wide sashing


lost in the storm


alternating darker blocks, larger blocks of focus fabric


sashed alternating darker blocks, even larger blocks of focus fabric

Lizard didn't care much for some of these ideas. While he was stewing on how to break that news to me, I got another wild idea. Cut the focus fabric into even more charm squares!

all charm, on point
All Charm, On Point

So, once again, I've taken a completely different direction than what I initially planned, but I really like this new layout.

I bought two yards of this fabric just a couple of weeks ago for the quilt backing. If there isn't enough, I'll fill in with stash snowflake leftovers.


Thousands of Bolts has a pretty good selection of snowflake fabrics for reasonable prices. No, I do not receive anything for sharing that; I'm just passing along what I think is a great bargain.

For the quilt along, if you would like to make a charm square quilt, you will need:

approximately 49 charm squares of various fabrics (depending upon desired finished size)
two yards of sashing or focus fabric to cut into 2.5-inch to 3-inch strips or 5-inch charm squares
approximately two yards of backing fabric (depending upon finished size)
 OR pieced leftovers big enough to cover the back of the quilt
approximately one yard of contrast fabric for binding, depending upon desired finished size
 OR pieced leftovers to make a binding
thread

Here is a helpful blog post describing how to calculate how much fabric you will need for a quilt, just in case this particular project is not your cup of snowflake tea.

I also plan to applique at least one crocheted snowflake to a dark non-snowflake fabric charm square, probably a batik or gradient. If you'd like to include that in your project, too, you'll need a shaped but not stiffened snowflake, and a charm square suitable for applique. I'll share how I applique my crocheted snowflakes onto fabric when we get to that leg of the journey.

Next week, I plan to have my focus fabric cut into charm squares, and I'll begin piecing. I'll also share my method of sashing, just in case you'd rather sash your blocks.

Lizard's quilt will be a rag quilt, and we'll share photos of that process as well. First off, he has to decide if he wants to use the snowflake flannel or one of our two snowflake fleeces as the quilt back.


If anyone would like to trade some of my existing 5x5-inch snowflake charm squares for charm squares or suitably sized leftovers of predominately blue young-but-not-baby boy fabric, please show me what you've got at snowcatcher at att dot net. Also, if anyone would like to purchase a bundle of snowflake charm squares through my Etsy shop, please let me know at snowcatcher at att dot net, and I will do my best to try to get them sliced up, listed and mailed in time for the official quiltalong start next week.

In case you're wondering what I'm doing with the little boy charm squares, I've almost finished all the girl quilt tops (and even a few complete quilts) for my goal to finish 15 grandchild and grandchild sibling quilts by Christmas. I'm ready to start making boy quilts. I stocked up on some boy fabrics late last year and early this year, but I noticed while winding up this week's flimsy that I've got a lot of blue remnants that would be look great in a little boy's quilt. Yet not quite enough for a whole quilt. So I'm looking to expand the existing blue boy fabric collection without expanding my overflowing fabric stash, if that makes sense... I'm not in an austerity challenge - yet - but the available fabric storage space in our home is saying it's time.

See you next week!


Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.
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