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Spring Sewing

Last night, I heard from our backyard the first spring peeper peeping.  He sounded a little slow and lonely with no one answering him, but he made me feel hopeful.  Signs of spring are popping up and this long winter will soon be behind us.

I haven’t been doing a lot of sewing the past few months, but I’m on the schedule for my do.good.stitches charity quilting group to plan the quilts for April and May.  So, this week, I thought I should probably get working on some plans!  Naturally, I started with the last quilt that I organized, way back in October!  At some point, I had pieced all the blocks together to get a top, but it needed a back.  I had a few extra blocks that I decided to try to incorporate into the back, which meant that I needed to piece the back.  It took awhile, and lots of pieces, but I did manage to get it done and sandwiched with some batting.

I am very pleased with the front.  As for the back…well, I’m not so happy with that.  I think the quilt blocks kind of get lost in all the different fabrics I used, but I’m going to leave it alone.

I didn’t have time to quilt it this week, but I hope to get to it in April sometime.  It would be good to finish because I’ve got two more charity quilts that will be coming in for me to assemble in the next couple of months.  I really needed to get those planned first.

The first block I planned was inspired by the book, No Scrap Left Behind by Amanda Jean Nyberg of the blog CrazyMomQuilts.  In the book, she makes a scrappy rail fence quilt that I thought would be a great way to use up some of those strip scraps that everyone has in their scrap bins.  I pulled out a bunch and cut up strips that were 5 inches long and anywhere from 1 to 1.5 inches wide.  As it turns out, most of them were blue or pink, so I decided to go with that for my color scheme.

Once sewn randomly together, I trimmed them down to 4.5 inches by 12.5 inches long.  Then, I paired two of them with a white print of the same size to get this.

For my quilt group, I am asking for three of these 12.5 square blocks.

For my next quilt block, I really wanted to used up some scrap half square triangles that I have been collecting for awhile.  Whenever I have a block that calls for sewing two squares together and then trimming them, I always sew another line a half inch from the original line.

Then, after trimming,  I get a lot of these little half square triangles.

This is just a small sampling.  I actually have a bin half full of them.  Many are small, like this, made from sewing 2.5 inch squares.  Some are larger, though.   I picked out some that I had in sets of 8 and decided to sew up some sawtooth stars.  For the center, I also pulled from my scrap bin.

These little stars measure 5.5 inches, finished.  I have long been inspired by Lynn Carson Harris, who also wrote an incredible quilt book about using scraps called Every Last Piece.  Her Stardust quilt has always captivated me.  For my second quilt block, I thought we could do something similar, but on a different scale and more improv-like.  I had been looking for ways to use up some low volume scraps, and I thought it would be fun to combine those scraps log cabin style with these scrappy sawtooth stars.

I just started pulling out strips of those low volume scraps and started sewing without much of a plan, not really bothering if the strip was too long or if it was a true rectangle.  It helps to iron and trim after sewing on each strip.  This resulted in some slantiness, but I decided that I liked that.  Halfway through, I also decided they would probably be more visually interesting if the stars were offset from the center.

I trimmed these blocks to be 14.5 inches square.  I found from my Trip Around the Garden quilt that 24 of those sized blocks make a nice twin size quilt.

I’m asking everyone in my group to make at least two.   The stars can be any size, as long as it is not bigger than 6 inches.  I want there to be a lot of negative space between the stars.  I kinda went a little crazy and made four because they were just that much fun.  With the number of half square triangles in my bin, I could make a lot more, but I ran out of low volume scraps.

Well, I hope everyone in my group enjoys making these blocks.  I can’t wait to see all the blocks I get and how they look together.

Have a blessed Easter, everyone!




Weathering the Storm

Happy Monday!

We had a fun-filled weekend here.  We started on Friday with a long, but fun day at Hershey Park.  We were two Jolly Ranchers, a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar,

and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

This is Hershey’s way of letting everyone know which rides they can go on.  Happily, the Hershey’s Chocolate Bar in the family was allowed to go on all but a few of the most dangerous looking rides.  This is the one who once said that he wished he could spend his entire life on a roller coaster.  The Peanut Butter Cup rode a variety of kiddie rides throughout the day, interspersed with a few more “exciting” rides.  By the end of the day, he was admitting that even though the more exciting rides were scary, they were at least not boring, like some of the kiddie rides.  As for me, I learned that I dislike crowds and heat (actually, I knew that already) and water playgrounds are not my cup of tea.  I do, however, have a new love for freshly fried kettle potato chips. Yum!  Good thing I have limited access to those.

Anyway, we returned home to a city in full blown hurricane-readiness mode.  This is only slightly less crazy than snow-is coming mode.  The stores were already a mess from back-to-school shoppers so it was crazy busy everywhere, even at the roadside produce stand!  Irene sure did push the panic button in a lot of people.  I never get all that concerned about stormy weather–maybe because I love storms or maybe because we’ve done enough camping to not be phased by lack of electricity and running water.   We seem to live in a magical pocket of the area.  Even during the fiercest storms, we do not lost power for more than a few minutes and since we live at the top of a hill, we do not have water issues.  In fact, I’m not sure our sump pump even works because I’ve never heard it turn on!  However, in the spirit of “just in case”, we did go out early on Saturday to gather food supplies for the week and then hunkered down in the house for the rest of the weekend.

Here’s what we did to pass the time.

We made Hurricane Irene Cookies.

With the leftover scraps of cookie dough, we made Hurricane Debris Cookies.

I worked on my Red Cross Quilt.

I finished a pair of socks

and started a new Scarf.

We lost power for an unknown amount of time in the early hours of Sunday and the rest of the time, we read, watched movies, napped, and played.  We are really blessed.  Seriously, I hope that Irene treated you as gently as she did us.  I know there are some out there who have some serious damage.  My house is open for anyone who still doesn’t have power.  Plus, we have lots of food and jam to share.  How did you weather the storm?