Monday, January 16, 2017

Make-A-List Monday - Chasing Squirrels, Having Fun!

Hi, all!

Welcome to the end of a long holiday weekend!  My brain tries to forget it's Monday but I'm here now - so let's see how last week's list went!  I have a feeling I chased a few squirrels, but let's check...

1.  Quilt a ministry quilt.
Done!  It felt really good to make a ministry quilt from beginning to end again - I've been doing bindings to keep up with the tons of quilts Rita has been quilting, which is a fair trade of skills, but it's fun to make a whole quilt sometimes!

2.  Quilt the Free Spirit quilt.
Done!  Quilted and bound and ready for a photo shoot this week!  The big reveal is next Monday...

3.  Make final decisions on at least two of the Stunning Stars quilts.
Well, I picked out the fabric and cut the pieces for one - it's a start!

4.  Start piecing at least one of the Stunning Stars quilts.
Done!  But I'm keeping this one under wraps for a little while longer...

5.  Start working on the final assembly of a Dear Jane quilt left partially finished by a member of our quilting group who died last year.
I didn't get to this one yet.  

6.  Try out a smaller (mug-rug size maybe?) of the LLR pattern.
Didn't get to this one, either!  Blasted squirrels!

7.  Press and fold one tub of scraps, or make at least six string blocks, or both!
Oh, but I did do this one!!  Pressed and folded my neutrals tub - woohoo!!!


...and after!

8.  Take care of any quilt ministry needs that come up.
Done!  We gave a few away this week...

This quilt went to a woman who just had surgery for cancer...

...and this one went to a woman diagnosed with an aneurysm. The doctors will be determining how to treat it this week.

And this one went to our pastor's first grandchild, born just this past Saturday!

So I guess it's time to 'fess up and introduce you to the squirrels from last week...

First up is this jelly roll quilt - it kind of happened by accident and turned into a tutorial on the blog last Friday!  It was a good squirrel to chase, though - it kind of got my mojo back on track.

And then yesterday, I decided I needed to make some pretty twirly skirts for my granddaughters to help showcase the Free Spirit fabrics in next Monday's blog post.  So I started on that today...

I think it's safe to say it's going to be a really twirly skirt!!

So that's what I've been working on for the past week - I didn't get to everything on the list, but I did accomplish quite a bit.  I'm comfortable with that!  Here's what I'll be working on this week...

1.  Finish up some items using the Free Spirit fabric.

2.  Set up a photo shoot for next Monday's "big reveal" post.

3.  Piece one of the Stunning Stars quilts.

4.  Pull the fabrics for another Stunning Stars quilt.

5.  Pull out the Dear Jane and set up a plan for completing it.

6.  Look at a repair job and see what will be needed to complete it.

7.  Finalize the details on a new commission quilt.

8.  Do some organizational work on 2017's Christmas in July blog hop!

9.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.

That should keep me out of trouble for the week - and maybe I won't be chasing too many squirrels, either!  A few little projects should help inspire me, and keep my mojo in prime working order. Here's hoping, anyway!  

So now the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Friday, January 13, 2017

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Squirrel - a Tutorial!

Hi, all!

Friday has rolled around once again, and you know what that means - it's time to get our whoop whoop on!!  Are you ready?  Well, then, let's get started!


Last Wednesday night, we were talking at church about a quilt design several of us had seen on Facebook...

The comment that went with the picture said, "Fun jelly roll quilt that I found today and had to share!  Start with 2 1/2" strips.  Sew end to end, then together.  Approximate finished size 44" x 84".  Cut finished piece in half, then once diagonally. Sew four triangles back together and it finished around 60" x 60"."  Sounds simple, and a couple of our ladies went home with fabric and an intention to make one. (FYI - Don't follow those instructions!)

Then this morning, I was putting something away in my studio and opened a drawer and found a jelly roll I had forgotten about.  


Armed with a picture of the quilt and description and a jelly roll, I set out to put one of these lovelies together.  But as I got into putting my jelly roll quilt together, using the traditional jelly roll race method, I realized that my top wasn't going to end up at 44" x 84" at any point in the process.  Oops!  This called for some regrouping. 

When completed, my top finished up at 51" x 69.5".  I did some quick math (actually I texted my math-genius nieces and asked them to figure up the measurement for me) and figured that I could cut two squares about 34.75" square from this piece, which would yield a 48" finished square.  That was a start, and I could add borders to make it larger.

So I folded the quilt top in half with the seams outside, pinned the edges together, and folded the piece over at a 45 degree angle to find the bottom of the square.  (I did it this way because I don't have a straight edge 35" long.)  I then used my straight edge to cut along that folded over edge, yielding two pieces - one approximately 69.5" x 34.75", and the other approximately 69.5" x 16" (the section you can see at the bottom of the picture below).  Set the 16" piece aside for later use.

Take the larger piece and remove the pins.  Unfold the diagonal fold.  Using your trusty seam ripper (I call mine Jack - Jack the Ripper) rip out the seam on the fold, leaving you with two 34.75" squares.  

I can see you now - you're saying, "Why didn't she just stop sewing when the piece was 34" wide by 140" or so?"  Well, I thought about that too - but I wanted that 16" x 69.5" piece that we cut off earlier for a special finishing touch.  So I left it sewn together and picked out part of it afterwards.

Now take the squares and fold them in half diagonally.  Lightly press on the fold (don't iron - just press!  You don't want to stretch the bias.)  Cut the two squares on the fold lines to create four triangles.  

Arrange the four triangles on your design wall (or floor) with the longest edges to the outside of the square.  Be careful not to stretch those edges - they are bias edges.  Stitch them in pairs, then join the pairs matching the center seams.  Stay stitch the outer edge, being very careful not to stretch the edge.  Allow your machine to feed the fabric through, simply holding it enough to feed it straight.  This square should measure about 48" square.  

Next I put a stop border around the center block.  I cut five 2.5"wide WOF strips and sewed them together into one long strip.  Measuring across the center of the piece from top to bottom, I then cut two strips to that measurement and sewed them to either side, pinning from the center to the ends, being careful not to stretch the fabric any more than needed to make it fit.  Press the seams toward the border.  Repeat the process for the other two sides.

Now take that long piece of the original jelly roll quilt that we set aside earlier.  My piece was about 16" wide, so I cut it into four approximately 4" wide pieces, and sewed them together into one long "piano key" piece.  (FYI, this is a great cheater way to make a piano key border for any quilt, and makes it easy to use up a lot of scraps - just sew them together into a jelly roll quilt and cut it into long strips!)  Measuring across the middle of the quilt as you did for the stop border, cut two strips from your "piano key" piece to that measurement and sew them to each side, matching the centers and ends and easing as needed to make it fit.  Repeat the process for the other two sides.

And here's the finished top!  I've got a small piece of the piano key border left that I'll probably work into the back, but even if I didn't, it's just a small amount of waste from that jelly roll.  This quilt finished up right at 60" square - a great lap size!!  One jelly roll, 3/4 yard of a solid for the stop border and binding, and about four hours - not too bad!

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop??


And now it's your turn!  

What are you whooping about this week?

What's got you dancing a little happy dance?

Share - we want to dance right along with you - 
And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight -

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I May Have A Scrap Problem... Starting the New Year Off Right!

Hi, all!

One of the goals I set for myself last week was to sort through my tubs of scraps - and yesterday I did just that!  I had three hours or so before my husband got home from work, and rather than start a new project (and before I could come to my senses!) I grabbed the neutrals tub and put it on the worktable....

Look at that mess!  Stuffed to the brim with all kinds of stuff - strings, tiny bits, big pieces... it took me the entire three hours to press all the wrinkles out and fold it neatly.

But I found such treasures - pieces from the very first quilt I made, some adorable I-Spy pieces that will find their way into my grandkids' My Small World quilts, and this adorable animal print!  I don't know if this was a sheet or just a really cute piece of fabric, but I've got a couple of fairly big pieces, so this will be turning up in a quilt someday soon!

So after three hours, this is what that tub looked like!  It sure felt good, and although my feet hurt (a lot!) I was feeling pretty virtuous, too.

And here's the (midway) result - a tub full of neatly pressed and folded scraps, all ready to be cut into lovely neat squares and sewn into quilts!  

My next step will be to look at the patterns I'm working with for the Stunning Stars quilt along (starting January 29th!) and see what in this tub will work with those quilts.  Once I've decided that, I'll cut the pieces I need from these scraps.  Having all these scraps pressed and folded will make that task so much easier!

So that's what I've been doing with my scraps this week.  I'm happy to say that little scrap monster... starting to look a little better to me!  Domestication appears to agree with him - and just wait until I start using those scraps again to make some lovely quilts!  He'll turn into a pussycat...