Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sometimes You Have to Take a Break

    Sometimes I just need to take a break from quilting. As much as I love it, I like other crafts too! Before Christmas this year I got inspired to knit again. The Christmas before, I made my daughter a Doctor Who scarf. For the uninitiated, one of the doctors wore a scarf like this.
Image result for doctor who scarf

Check out that map! A friend decided not to make hers and gave me the beautiful yarn! Thanks Julie!
Believe it or not I knit it between Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas! Here's Emma in hers! By the way, it's 12 feet long!
No automatic alt text available.

       Anyway.....This Christmas I decided I wanted to knit again. I started with cowl scarves which I gave for Christmas gifts (and didn't take pictures of). I also made several dishcloths which are fun to play around with. These are a couple extra scarves and cloths which will be gifted in the future.

Now I am knitting lots and lots of hats for cancer patients. I started with my leftover yarns, then bought  a couple skeins to stretch them out and then Mom gave me a couple skeins of her leftover yarn for Christmas and then just yesterday I was given 2 HUGE bags of Mom's leftover yarn. Good grief! I'll be at this forever! I enjoy playing with the colors and making up designs as I go along. 
These are just a few that have already been donated.

      My latest project was inspired by my friend Susie Long. She showed me the rug she crocheted and I thought about that for over a year before  decided which fabrics to use. All of a sudden it hit me that it would be a great way to use up all those panel fabrics which I had inherited from my friend Rochelle Ash (she never met a panel she didn't love). I hated to waste them and have no intention of ever using them so they got cut up into strips and crocheted into a new rug for my bathroom. I love it!
I've also prepped for another one in darker colors, but can't decide between oval and rectangle. It's a really quick project--just a couple hours!
     I'm rejuvenated!

Scrap Happy 3 Triangle Time!

      Well, I covered the strips and squares in my stash. Now it's time to tackle my personal favorite, the half-square triangle. I'm fully aware that most people don't really enjoy the triangles with all that cutting and squaring up. There are all sorts of "shortcut" techniques but I've tried them and as far as I'm concerned if you have to draw on the fabric, sew, cut apart, press, and probably STILL have to square up it is just as much work. That's just my opinion, for what it's worth.
       My stash boxes are 2 sizes of triangles, 2 1/2" and 3". They certainly don't have to be cut perfectly since they end up being squared up anyway.
       When I sew 2 triangles together, I always chain piece with the dark consistently on either the bottom or top. That makes it easy for pressing. When pressing I put the long chain down with the dark on top, press to set, then flip and press one after another, usually using sizing. THEN I cut apart. \
       Next is the squaring up. I dearly love my square-up rulers. I love the Quilter's Rule one because the markings are raised in the back and the diagonal nests right in the seam. In fact I have gone through several because after time, the markings wear off and the corner shaves off.
I have this square ruler also in blue for dark fabric and love my 12 1/2 " also.
       I honestly don't mind squaring up. I'd do that for an hour gladly compared to sewing on borders for an hour! It is absolutely essential that all pieces are squared up, by the way! Here are a few examples of quilts I've done using triangles. As you can see, I've done a LOT of triangles!

Churn Dash is a fun square/triangle block

Jacob's Ladder
Jewel Box--Good for squares and triangles
Ocean Waves

Ocean Waves
Mom and Dad's Anniversary quilt

Wedding memory quilt

Gosh I love stars!

I love stars!

Spinning Stars

Monday, April 3, 2017

Scrap Happy Part 2--Crazy for strips

     Imagine you have a collection of strips of all colors and widths. I don't have to imagine. I have lots and so many ideas for how to use them. To begin with I have my strips organized by size and in a couple instances by lights and darks. I think in this post I will just show pictures of some of my examples of Strippy quilts.  
      There are Jelly Rolls which I covered in a previous post.
 There are strippy Roman Stripes. How about variations on the Log Cabin? How about Railroad tracks. They make great borders. Strip units cut into other shapes, Strip sashings, deconstructed strip blocks, and the list can go on and on.  So enjoy and be inspired!

A Basic Jelly-Roll Idea

Amish Roman Stripe
Roman Stripe

Roman Stripe

 Deconstructed Strip Units

Each unit was made of strip sets

Log Cabin Traditional
Courthouse Steps

Log Cabin Border


Railroad Tracks

Autograph blocks

Cut up strip sashing

Scrap Happy! Part 1 The 9-patch and 4-Patch

2 Color 9-Patch Irish Chain
     Have too many scraps lying around? Don't know what to do with them?  You've come to the right place. Or maybe the wrong place--I could go on and on for hours with ideas so I'll try to organize my thoughts and give as many ideas as I can.

This is my "overflow" trash can
full of pieces that haven't been
cut down yet or too small. Perfect
for crazy quilt projects.

     First of all, what is a scrap? Is it that fat quarter you bought because you liked it? Those leftover pieces from a project? That leftover strip you cut off when you finish the quilting? The oops? Or in my case, other people's scraps? 

       I have found that it is good to organize the scraps into strips, squares, and triangles of different sizes. I started years ago by picking a project I liked and cutting the sizes I needed for that one. Let's start by picking a basic 9-patch or 4-patch or combination of both. Just strips or squares.
Basic 9-patch with 4-patch
9-patch w/alternating squares
Diagonal set

9-patch diagonal set

9-Patch Diagonal Set
First in a series of Blue-Green-Purple Quilts
2nd BGP Scrappy Scrappy
 I cut my blue/green/
purples into a 2 1/2" and
4 1/2" strip of each fabric.
 I ended up making 4 or 5 tops and the level of the fabric didn't go down! There are so many settings you can do with this block!
3rd BGB Scrappy Scrappy
4-Patch 9-Patch

Decide what size you want to cut your strips. 2, 2 1/2, or 3" are good.  You can start with a specific color group or just go crazy with them all! You can make the 9-patches matchy matchy or scrappy scrappy. Up to you. Then play around with settings. Simple, complicated, deconstructed, whatever you like. You can go crazy and make 9-patches with 4-patch blocks in the corners or even a double 9-patch. 
Deconstructed 9-patch
Add triangles to put a square in a square or diagonal sets. Put a 9-patch in the center square of a Sawtooth Star or a Log Cabin.  Obviously I can go on and on!
Double 9-patch
Once you have gone crazy cutting strips, squares, and triangles you should organize them for later. I use clear plastic shoe boxes. As you can see, as the projects multiply, so do the boxes!