Saturday, February 29, 2020

18 purple Ohio stars (OMG)

After a bit of a false start in January, I made my goal and then some for February!  I'm using the monthly motivation linky party hosted by Patty of Elm Street Quilts to move along a UFO that is a gift for my best friend.  I've been planning it forever but it's been in various stages of unfinished for just as long.  For February, I set the goal of 12 completed blocks.  I finished 18!  Hooray!

I cut the pieces for this out years ago--so many years ago that I don't remember when it was!  I have the pieces for 16 more blocks cut out.  Completing those 16 will be my OMG for March.  At that point, I'll count them all and get out my scribbled notes, see what I was planning in terms of layout and total number, and figure out from there what is my next step. 

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts and will use this post as both my completion for February (hooray for the extra day!) and my goal-setting for March.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Preppy (Awesome Ocean)

WooHoo, I'm caught up on the Awesome Ocean sew along hosted by Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing and using Elizabeth Hartman's pattern!  Now, I'll only be caught up until morning, when Kathleen posts her tips for the next block, but let me have my moment!  🙂

These are my Preppy the Whales.  Preppy is my favorite block!  He's part of the reason I decided to do the QAL, so I'd have the pattern.  I'm not sure if an entire quilt of Preppy is in my future, but I do really enjoy this quartet.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

I Spy Leader & Ender

I enjoy using leader and ender projects as I'm piecing.  Sometimes I use them to advance projects I need push to work on, but most of the time I choose scraps and just go to town.  This particular quilt is made with 3 1/2" squares of I Spy scraps.  I limited how many of each fabric I used but other than that, whatever I had that was already cut is what went into the pile for piecing.

Yes, that's our really pathetic dusting of snow from last weekend that you see there.  No pretty "quilt on a blanket of snow" pictures here!  (And it's not dirt under the quilt, it's that playground mulch made from old tires.)

A scrappy quilt needs a scrappy binding!  I love using up my leftovers!  I finished off eight different binding scraps and used a portion of a ninth!

I did straight line quilting just inside the edge from each seam--it's a look I really like for quilts that are all squares.  This will be donated to the local children's hospital.


This was on my list of projects to earn my PhD (projects half done) with Gail of Quilting Gail.  My first finish toward my 2020 PhD!  Slow start, but I'm hopeful I can build momentum. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Chuckles (Awesome Ocean)

I'm almost caught up with the Awesome Ocean sew along hosted by Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing using Elizabeth Hartman's pattern. Here are my four clown fish.  They don't have names, but I think of them collectively as Chuckles, since that's the name of the block in the pattern.

As with Angelica, I mixed the two color families.  I don't think they necessarily look like clown fish, but they are clearly fish and I like how they turned out.  That's a lot of piecing for a small block, though!

Now if I can get Preppy the Whale pieced before Mr. Manatee comes out next Saturday, I'll be caught up!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Orange: Rainbow Scrap Challenge

My goal for the 2020 Rainbow Scrap Challenge, hosted by Angela of So Scrappy, is to use my strings. I chose a loose log cabin block and am letting my strings dictate how many to make of each color.

I started by making five blocks.  Thing is, I realized fairly far into the process that I didn't have enough for five, so I chopped one of them up and used it to supplement the others.  I'm trimming these to 8 1/2" unfinished.  So that's why there some of the center white & black polka dot fabric on the edges of two of these.  I don't think it matters, but we'll see at the end of the year when I'm assembling the final project.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Tony the Turtle (Awesome Ocean)

I'm having a great time sewing along with Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing in making Awesome Ocean using Elizabeth Hartman's pattern. Today I'm pleased to guest host for the Tony the Turtle block and offer my tips and ticks, which really means tell you where I had problems so that you don't make the same mistakes I did. 🙂

One of the trademarks of Elizabeth Hartman's patterns is lots of tiny pieces, many with very similar measurements to each other.  I use a notion that is new to me to keep my pieces straight: Quilt Block Markers by Purple Hobbies.  They are letters (& numbers) with a small hole in them so you can string them through a pin.  I start each block by figuring out which letters are in that block, then I lay them all out and put the rest away.  This acts kind of like a checklist--as long as I have letters still out, I know I haven't cut those pieces.

Quilt Block Markers by Purple Hobbies
I didn't get a full count of how long it took me to do the cutting.  I know I did it in two sessions; I frequently only get a few minutes at a time in the sewing room.

pieces cut out
Tip #1: pieces B & D are the same.  You need a total of 5 for each turtle.  I'm not sure why they aren't under one letter in the pattern.

Over the winter holiday, my family spent two days in Charleston. One of the things we did there was visit the South Carolina Aquarium.  I enjoyed watching Coretta, their sea turtle.  I noticed that Coretta's shell was pretty much all one color, so I decided to try some turtles without the pieced shell.  The pattern tells you how big the pieced section should be; if you want to try a solid shell, just cut a piece that size and don't cut pieces F & G.  I spent 25 minutes piecing the shells for two turtles (time includes ripping and re-sewing one seam).  Honestly, 25 minutes in the scheme of things for this pattern probably isn't a lot of time.  I might top-stitch a pattern onto the shell before constructing the top; I haven't decided yet.

Tip #2: The legs are easy to sew on wrong.  The background pieces are longer on the top than on the bottom, and I didn't notice and did it wrong the first time.  I also had some trouble with the legs on one of my pieced-shell turtles.  I didn't have trouble with the other three, so I think it was user error, but for me, those were the trickiest units to get the correct size (mine were too short).

Enjoy your Tony the Turtle blocks!  And enjoy the rest of the Sew Along with Kathleen!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Mountain Cabin, Island Batik Log Cabin Blog Hop + giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Island Batik Log Cabin Blog Hop!  Each Island Batik Ambassador was given a half yard bundle of one of the Fall 2019 collections and tasked to make whatever variation of a log cabin quilt they desired.  I was given the beautiful Catching Dreams collection, designed by Kathy Engle for Kari Nichols of Mountainpeek Creations.  The colors in Catching Dreams make me think of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so I wanted to create mountains with my log cabin. I named it Mountain Cabin.

To get the mountain look, I first thought of a Streak of Lightning setting.  I wanted to use my new gift of EQ8 to design my mountains but my skills with the program are not good enough yet and I had a deadline.  I found a printable coloring sheet and got to work trying to turn the sideways streaks of lightning into mountains.  My husband saw me with the coloring sheet and coloring pencils.  He had a better idea for getting the look of the mountains--I quickly abandoned my sketch and switched to his.  And then he even helped me figure out the orientation of each block so that I would get the lines the way I wanted them. I keep saying if you give me 20 years I can turn that man into a quilter--it may not take me that long!

The bundle I received, plus 2 different 2 yard cuts
Materials used in this project were given to me by Island Batik, Aurifil, Hobbs, Accuquilt, and Schmetz.

I used my Accuquilt Go! to cut 2 1/2" strips for the log cabin blocks.  I chose 10" blocks in a 6 x 6 layout for quilt that is 60" x 60".  That turned out to be the the perfect size for the Hobbs Tuscany 100% wool batting that I had from an ambassador box last year.  This was my first time working with 100% wool batting and I loved it!  It is much fluffier (higher loft) than I expected.  I've been sleeping with this as my second quilt and it's the perfect weight!  I think this may become my couch/snuggle quilt.

I used 18 of the 20 fabrics in the collection and I added 4 fabrics from the foundations line.  Foundations are basics and blenders (and now solids!) that are always available and coordinate beautifully with the seasonal collections.

I really wanted the quilting to mimic the mountain peaks, so I did straight line quilting using my machine's stitch guide for parallel lines. I did a slightly different interval for each color family/mountain range, though I'm not sure the different widths are particularly visible.  For the sky, I quilted organic wavy lines.  My husband thinks it looks like winds passing over the mountains.

I started with a brand new Schmetz microtex chrome needle, 80/20.  I used four different colors of Aurifil thread in the quilting--2735 (medium blue), 2770 (light blue), both from the Como blue color builder, 2520 (medium pink), and 2465 (darkish purple).  The purple was 28 weight just because that's all I had in the correct color; all the others were 50 weight, which is what I use the most. 

Mountain Peak Quilting
You can see the effects of the mountain peak quilting pretty well from the back.  In addition to the half yard bundle, Island Batik sent me 2 yards each of a dark and a light from the collection.  I used those for the backing. The blue print is Sun in Shark and the white-ish print is Beads in Thistle.  I used Aurifil 2735 in the bobbin for the mountains and Aurifil 2770 in the bobbin for the sky--so the bobbin thread isn't completely matched to the backing fabric, but it is close.  I had enough of the Sun fabric to use it in the binding as well.

As much as I love the look of the mountains, my favorite part of this is actually the sky!  The light blues in the collection plus some of the lighter neutrals and blenders from the foundations collection come together to make a perfect sky.

I've said before that the Island Batik ambassador challenges really push me creatively.  This challenge really pushed me technically.  I don't typically care for complicated layouts; if each block that looks similar has only one correct place in the layout, I'm usually not interested.  My husband helped a lot in helping me figure out the correct color placement and orientation of each block, something my brain struggles with.  Then when I pieced my blocks, I used a small piece of painter's tape to mark the center of my log cabin, since the first piece added to the block is exactly the same size.  Later, I used a sharpie to mark the row and column combination so I would piece the rows together correctly.  It worked!  I didn't have to rip any of the blocks or rows!

Want a chance to win some Catching Dreams fabric?  I used my Accuquilt Go! to cut out 2 1/2" strips of the fabric I had left, and I have 30 of those strips for a giveaway. There are two ways to enter: a comment on the blog (make sure you are not a no-reply blogger!) or visit The Darling Dogwood on Facebook--or do both for 2 entries.  If you need a prompt for a comment, tell me: if you owned a log cabin, where would you want it to be?  Mine would be in the Blue Ridge Mountains that inspired this quilt, either in North Carolina or Virginia.

30 strips of Catching Dreams
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit my fellow ambassador Mania to see what she made with this collection!  And you can find the full blog hop schedule here.

Mountain Cabin is my second finish of 2020.  My goal is 52 finishes by the end of the year.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Angelica (Awesome Ocean)

I'm behind on the Awesome Ocean sew along hosted by Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing and using Elizabeth Hartman's pattern, but I'm starting to catch up.  Here are my Angelica blocks.

This is the first time I've mixed my two color families and I think I like it.  If you are familiar with the block, you may have noticed that mine are missing something. I really don't like that Angelica is the only one with air bubbles and they are so fiddly, I decided to just skip them.  I'm probably doing a different layout, so I didn't even add in a background piece to make up for it, though I may add that in later.

I realize that the name of the block is "Angelica," but I had Harry Belafonte's Angelina in my head the entire time I was making these! 

I am now only two blocks behind.  Next block is this Saturday and I'm hosting along with Kathleen, so I'll be ready with the Tony the Turtle blocks and my suggestions for avoiding the mistakes I made. 

Island Batik Log Cabin Blog Hop

The Island Batik Log Cabin Blog Hop starts today!  Each Ambassador was given one of the Fall 2019 collections and tasked with making a quilt using whichever variation of the log cabin they desired.  I've seen a few sneak peaks and these projects are stunning!

My day is Wednesday, so be sure and come back to see what I created.  A log cabin quilt has long been on my quilty bucket list and I'm glad to be able to check it off!  My collection is Catching Dreams, designed by Kathy Engle for Kari Nichols of Mountainpeek Creations.  Catching Dreams is available in stores now, as are all the Fall 2019 collections.

Catching Dreams designed by Kathy Engle for Kari Nichols of Mountainpeek Creations
If seeing all the beautiful projects isn't enough fun to chase away the winter blues, Blog Hop = giveaways!  Island Batik is doing a different giveaway each week and many of the Ambassadors will have their own giveaway as well. I will be offering a chance to win some of the lovely Catching Dreams fabrics--stop back on Wednesday!  The Island Batik giveaway this week is for a precut bundle of Ancient Etchings, designed by Jackie Kunkle.

Ancient Etchings by Jackie Kunkle
Ancient Etchings is a beautiful rainbow collection with a few black prints for fun contrast.  Enter here to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find the full Blog Hop schedule here.  Happy Hopping!

Friday, February 7, 2020

February OMG

My long-term goal for the first half of 2020 is to finish the Ohio Star quilt of purple stars I'm making for my best friend in time to give it to her when I see her in person at our college reunion in May.  In January, I set my One Monthly Goal to finish 16 stars in hopes of doubling the number I have made.  I fell short and finished only 7, though several more are in partial assembly.

My One Monthly Goal for February is to complete an even dozen blocks to add to the count.  I'm linking up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts.