Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Photographs

Here are my favorite photos from the month of February.

I liked the color of the leaves next to the color of the bricks, and the snow next to the shutters.

A pretty sky day.

A cloudy sun.

It was a rainy day and I liked the color and texture of Zeus' fur against the Zoysia grass.

 I found Zeus watching the door. He doesn't normally do that.

Colorful flowers to brighten the winter.

Linked to:
Wandering Camera

Monday, February 25, 2019

Uncommon and Unexpected

When I had looked at the book Uncommon and Unexpected several years ago, I said to myself  "Self, you can make that" after looking at several of them.  I say that to myself a lot.  It is genetically programmed.  Then I said "self, how about you finish something first?"

Fast forward to this year, Sujata Shah offered a quilt challenge to make something from this book.  I said to myself "Self, you can make that, and look, there are even directions so you don't have to figure out which quilt to make or how to make it." Then I said "goodness, how many quilts do you want to start this year?"

Fast forward to this weekend, I made some space on my table so I could help my mother with her taxes.  When she left, I looked at that empty space on the table and realized it was the perfect opportunity to start this quilt. Otherwise, it would be a waste of perfectly good space.

I knew I wanted to use the red, white and blue colorway of the original quilt and that the fabric is already in one spot. It is in the Sweet Land of Liberty quilt box, but I'm sure it is willing to share. I decided to make a mini quilt for March.

Then I started cutting and making the blocks before I changed my mind.  The big squares are the "blocks" and the quarter square triangles are the cornerstones. I will have to trim the cornerstones, but am trying to decide whether to cut it to proper size or to add them in a more improv fashion.  I just have to do the scrappy sashing and I will be able to put it together.

Winner for Old Quilt Book Blog Hop

On Tuesday, when I posted my blog hop post, I offered a drawing for some old books I had.  Today, I announce that the winner is Anita from Domestic Felicity. I have contacted her and will be sending her package off this week.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Fourth Rail Fence Progress

I have been working on a rail fence quilt as a leader / ender project, and yesterday, I pressed the blocks I had made so far. The Fourth Rail is a dark one, hence its name, and the rest are scrappy. I haven't decided on the layout for this quilt, but the dark rail will help show off the layout.

I am really happy with this is how this is turning out, and I really like being able to feed these blocks through while I am making something else. It somehow motivates me to keep quilting because I don't get to that "good stopping place" as often when I am working on these as well.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

This Week's Quilting Progress

Circle Block 264

I sat down to watch a show (Frontline) and thought I should be stitching something, and since I had talked about the Stitch Meditations, I thought some handwork would fit the bill.  I made a circle block instead of a separate Stitch Meditations to make more progress on that quilt. It reminds me of a shirt I had a long time ago.

Jeans Quilt

I was going through my bedroom, using the Konmari method, ala Marie Kondo, and found this quilt in the bench/chest. This quilt is one of my oldest, if not THE oldest UFO I have. It looks like I stuffed a couple of big unfinished quilts in the chest to get them out of the way.  Way back in the early 90's, I had sewed some jeans together, improv style, and planned to applique and embroider designs on it. It has an eye, a fish, a house, and a tree already appliqued on it. All of these were made out of jeans as well.  I remember asking my family members for stuff to add to this quilt, and my mother had given me some patches, but I hadn't added them to the quilt.

Anyway, I also found, in a separate place, some fireman embroidery patches my mother had given me and  I thought I should add them before they got lost and make more progress on this quilt. They have numbers embroidered on the stabilizer EQ0173, EQ0174, and EQ0179. I looked them up just for fun, and you can still buy them for $10 each. Now, my quilt's value just went up by $30.

If I ever make a quilt like this again, I would applique first, before joining the pieces. It is difficult to comfortably add applique in the middle of the quilt. I will try a hoop next time I add anything to the quilt.

I'm not planning on picking up this quilt to finish just yet. I am already feeling overwhelmed with the current Works in Process and the new quilts I want to start!

 15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 8

This week I made six circle blocks, and appliqued some patches on an old jeans quilt.  I also worked on joining the Butterfly Wreath blocks. It looks like I missed reporting a week, but I sewed almost every day so far this year, and for those days I missed, I more than made up for it during the week.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  55 out of 55 sessions
Success Rate: 100%

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Thursday, February 21, 2019

More Circle Blocks

It is a quilty lottery for you to come visit my blog. You never know what you are going to get. Is it going to be an improv quilt or a traditional quilt. Bright funky colors or calm subdued colors?  Neatness or casual?  Let's spin the wheel, shall we?

Here are a few more circles I made for my circle 365 project.

Circle Block 259

As you may know, I've been working on cutting up my shoe-box of scraps. One of the scraps I found was this little circle, and knew immediately that I had cut it into a circular shape for the Quilty 365 project.  It is a long term project where I am making 365 or thereabouts blocks that look like circles if you squint at them long enough. I would say something about a block a day or something like that, but you and I both know that would be a lie. I don't know if the original intention was to add something else to this block or not, but the new intention is to leave it small and simple.

Circle Block 260

While I was at it, I figured I might as well make a few more, and before long, I had to make five to make them blog worthy. I saw a quilt that had these kinds of open circles yesterday on my blog travels. A normal person would call them rings. I'm sure they were better arranged than these, but I don't use fusible for these so the sewing machine tends to overrule my decisions about where the circles are placed.

Circle Block 261

The red and green scraps are from the Islamic Tile quilt.  This background and the gold is in the Butterfly Wreath and probably also in Life of Plenty.


Circle Block 262

These oranges are in Ringo Lake (now known as Sorrento) and the scraps are cut up for Fourth Rail (formerly known as Four Rails). This  idea is from a free quilt pattern I found yesterday in my blog travels. I've done suns before on this quilt, but I needed to do the sun dance yesterday because it was so cloudy and dreary, and it worked! It is sunny today.


Circle Block 263

This one is clearly from Butterfly Wreath. I had some extra HSTs and thought they would be perfect for this quilt. I was going to piece the sashing, but since the circle is applique, I figure the whole block could be applique.

My elementary school teacher friends celebrate 100 days, but I am pretty sure it is 100 days into the school year and not 100 days left.  I am so close to having only 100 "days" left!

Linked to: WIP Linky Party
  Can I get a Whoop Whoop! It's a big deal to get started on these blocks again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Dust Off an Old Book: Cultural Fusion

Welcome! It is my time to dust off an old book for the blog hop.  Today, I am featuring Cultural Fusion Quilts by Sujata Shah. The subtitle is A Melting Pot of Piecing Traditions.  It shows you how to make 15 free-form block projects and has a lot of inspirational photos and ideas.

When I cleaned off all the dust, I discovered that it came with a project that I had already started.

Shasta Matova's Cultural Fusion Rail Fence blocks

I started this quilt way back in 2015.  In November 2015, I showed I was making the blocks.  I had already made one improv quilt based on Sherri Lynn Wood pattern and I was intrigued by Sujata's book because the blocks are improv, but once you trim them up, they are easy to sew together in a traditional fashion. It is an easier way to step into the world of improv without becoming overwhelmed.

By December 31, 2015, it was a complete quilt top.  I had a lot of fun making the blocks and the hardest part was choosing the fabric and the layout. I had another quilt that was ahead of it in line to be quilted so it was folded and put on the hanger.  And there it sat until it was time to dust off the book this year. I figured I could just quilt it in time for blog hop day.

When I laid it out again, though, I decided that the quilt was too small, which may have been another reason why it wasn't quilted yet.  I decided might as well play with some more free form design. The leftover fabric had already been put away or used, and I think I had tried to use up as much as I could for this quilt, so I had to get creative in the borders. I decided I could carry on with different fabrics that would go with the original fabrics.

I decided I wanted to add two borders, a rail fence border and triangles. After lots of thinking and auditioning, I decided the rail fence would go first.  Instead of making the rows into same size blocks, I cut them random sizes. I like how some of the skinnier rails look like they are folded. All this decision making took time, but I decided it was better to take my time so I would be happy with the outcome, even if it meant the quilt might not get finished by blog hop day.

After debating yet again about whether it still needed the triangle borders, I went ahead and added them. I only trimmed the part where they would be added to the quilt because I will need to trim after quilting anyway. I figure I can save myself the trouble of doing that twice.

The pictures so far make it look rectangular, but it really is more of a square quilt. 

For my efforts as a part of this blog hop, I offer you two additional borders. It gives you more insight to the ideas in this book than if I had just quilted it. I think this is now plenty big enough and is ready for quilting. I need to piece the backing and the batting as well as finish another quilt that is ahead of this one in line, so unfortunately, am not able to show you a finished quilt today.

This post is a part of the Dust Off a Quilt Book Blog Hop hosted by Beaquilter.  To celebrate, I am going to draw a name from all of the people who comment on this post and send them these two books of quilt patterns. I got them both from a library book sale. They offer a variety of patterns for the beginner and intermediate quilter. Let me know if you want them in the comments, and I will  I will draw a winner on Monday the 25th to give people time to find this post.

Thank you for visiting me, Shasta Matova, here at High Road Quilter. I've enjoyed our visit and you are welcome back anytime.

Here's a list of the other participants so you can continue your hop.

Monday Feb 18th
Turid at densyendehimmel
Pamela at Pamelaquilts
Selina at Selinaquilts
Kathleen at Kathleenmcmusing

Tuesday Feb 19th
Jennifer at curlicuecreations
Stephanie at stephjacobsondesigns
Kathy at Kathysquilts
Shasta at High Road Quilter (that's me!)
Theresa at bumbleberrystitches

Wednesday Feb 20th
Suzy at Websterquilt
Nancy at patchworkbreeze
Brenda at songbirddesigns
Denise at craftraditions

Thursday Feb 21st
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Jennifer at Dizzyquilter
Lee Anne at Podunk Pretties
Lyndsey at Sew Many Yarns

Friday Feb 22nd
Bea at Beaquilter
Barbara at Bejweledquilts
Marian at seams to be sew

Also linked with:
My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, February 18, 2019

Crazy Seasons Mystery Quilt

When I was making this Life of Plenty quilt, or thereabouts, I learned about a quilt called Wool Crazy which is a primitive quilt made with wool applique. It is so beautiful and so tempting.  I didn't get the pattern because I had so many other quilts I needed to make first, like finishing Life of Plenty.

Now, a bunch of quilt shops are offering a crazy quilt with wool applique, and they are offering the pattern for free!  Go to Farmhouse Threads for the link to these shops and the schedule. It started on January 15 but the patterns are still available, so get them while you can! There is also a lovely blog post that shows Stitch Meditations that is very tempting as well.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

I Can Stop Anytime I Want

When I started making the butterfly wreath blocks, I decided to just make a few and when I get bored, put whatever I have together into a quilt and call it done. Each set of fabrics make 8 HSTs and there are two HSTs from each set in each block, so each set of three fabrics make four blocks. Some of the HSTs do have to get rejected for size, especially ones that use charm squares.  Charm squares are sometimes slightly bigger or smaller than 5 inches so they don't play well with the others.

I made a few, and a few more.  Yesterday, I laid them out to see how they would look in a quilt and get an estimate of the size.  [I even counted them and safety pinned them in sets of ten to be all organized, but had to take out the safety pins to recreate the picture for you.]

It is a good size and I could easily put them together and get a quilt about the size of a bread box. I would work great as my mini for the month of March. But I am having fun with making these blocks so I made a couple more sets. They are like potato chips. You gotta have more. I don't want to use bright blues for this quilt, so the blues from On Ringo Lake won't go in here.  Since I am having a hard time finding the right tone of blues in the scraps, these blues came from the stash.

The decision making for this quilt has been surprisingly easy.  It is strange when I am looking for blue and green fabrics and the Cave of Wonders delivers a red fabric. I think it is a mood and not a color it is delivering.


Week 7 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

There was no work this week, so I had plenty of unexpected time.  I spent it doing household chores and getting appointments in and otherwise generally whittling down the to-do list on my calendar. I got my blog  post ready for the Dust Off a Quilt Book Blog Hop and scheduled it to post on Tuesday morning.

I was able to sneak in a lot of quilting time, which I spent cutting up the shoe box of scraps. There weren't a lot of pieces big enough or the right color for Butterfly Wreath, but lots of one and a half inch strips for Four Rails.  I put together the pieces that weren't long enough for Four Rails and made a long chain. While it was tempting to make another Matchstick Mansion, I decided to go with my original plan and cut them into rails. I want Four Rails to be less boring than the traditional rail quilt and if I get lots of these sewed pieces, then it will look like a natural part of the quilt instead of a few making-do-when-I-ran-out-of-fabric pieces.

I read a comment on a blog that said that a shoe box full of scrap fabric makes a queen size quilt. I guess that explains why it took so long for me to get through my box! It was my latest scrap box, and it was full of scraps from On Ringo Lake and other projects I worked on last year.  Since I had made snippet quilts [I Llike you a Llot Llama and the elephant], it included everything, including dog ears, orphan blocks (bonus HSTs mostly), and scraps and bits of fabric. I put the orphan blocks in the orphan blocks box but everything else was cut up for the rails and trash. I didn't generally keep dog ears and selvages and fabric dust so hopefully going through the rest of the scrap boxes will be easier. I do have a huge tote of scraps in addition to little containers which is scary but I am sure I will be able to get them all a little at a time.

The fabric trash can is now full, and the shoe box is empty.  I want to make something out of those little pieces in the trash can before I move on to the next container of scraps.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  41 out of 41 sessions
Success Rate: 100%

Linked to:
Life in Pieces 15 Minutes to Stitch 
Can I get a Whoop Whoop? 
Off the Wall Friday 
Lets Bee Social

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Butterfly Wreath Progress

I have been making some slow progress on Butterfly Wreaths.  Since I am making them with scraps, I have to wait until I come across a scrap that is the right size and color for this quilt.

Since it is made from scraps, I am curious to see how the color combinations look, so the scraps tend to work up into blocks pretty quickly.  The plan is to use as much blue / green as possible with a light and a dark, but maintain a scrappy look.  Since my first block wasn't blue or green, I want to be able to use other fabrics in a way that makes the odd block fit right in as an accent without looking like an oddball that doesn't belong.

Also in the picture is the Sunlight in Winter blocks, which are also being moved forward.  As you can see, the blocks are similar, but not the same.

Linked to:
Silly Mama Quilts Friday Finishes. I finished blocks!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Yo-yo Coverlet

Several people commented about the yo-yo coverlet I showed yesterday. I took a closeup shot of it too, and thought you would want to see it as well.

As you can see, it is made with squares with a row of yo-yos surrounding each square.

Here's the overall picture I showed you already.

Monday, February 11, 2019

My Favorite Photographs from January

It's been a while since I've posted any photos, so I decided to look through my January photos to see if I have any to share. Of course! These were all taken in New Orleans.

It was warmer there, but it was still chillier than I expected. The brickwork was incredible.

I'm not sure what that white spots are, maybe a boat race, but I enjoyed watching from the plane.

A boat on the river.

A polluting boat on the river.

I liked seeing all these locks and beads on this fence.

Anyone want a carriage ride?  It is across the street from Cafe Du Monte where we got our beignets.

These roses bloomed all week.

Lovely brick work in the courtyard.

I love this yo-yo coverlet and may recreate it.

A cemetery.

Linked to Wandering Camera.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Matchstick Mansion Quilt Tutorial

When I showed my finish quilt, Mighty Matchstick Mansion, Joyful Quilter asked if I would mind if she made one too.  Due to popular demand, I have decided to show you how I made this quilt.

 I started with some one and a half inch scraps, sewed end to end to form a long chain. Press them all in one direction. These were actually "borrowed" from another project.

I sewed them together, around and around the yellow, log cabin style. It helps to  have an iron close to you as you sew, so you can press after each seam. In this picture, you can see that the green fabric was cut to match the center, and that the green turned the corner to form the next log. You can also see that I lost track of which way I was turning. You can also see the creams and the white turn the corner in subsequent logs.  Because the white was so short, it looks more like an extension than a turning of the corner.

See that teeny tiny sliver of cream at the top of the block in the picture above? If that sliver had been any smaller, it would have added bulk to the seam for no reason. 

For purposes of this discussion, pretend the left fabric is the current quilt top and the right is the fabric chain.  Before sewing each new row, I placed my fabric chain next to the quilt where it was going to go. It gave me a chance to see what the new addition would look like. If I did not like the match, I could place the chain on another side of the quilt, or I could turn the chain upside down and see if I liked that way better.

This audition also helped me figure out the size.  If the chain had a seam at exactly at the right place where it would have been cut off, I took out that seam.  This happened more often than I thought it would.

If there was going to be a seam at the bottom that would add bulk without adding color, I could adjust the size of the top of the strip so there wouldn't be a seam too close to where the next seam would be at the bottom.To fix that, I could adjust the top of the strip chain. If I cut an inch or so off from the blue scrap, then that would change the placement of the white scrap and I could just add that inch to the bottom of the strip. If the top scrap is too small to cut a whole inch off, I could just cut off a little bit and throw it away.

I cut the chain to the size of the quilt before sewing it on.

I ran out of my chain of fabric pretty soon and had to cut more pieces. Here you can see that I lost my log cabin, and it turned into a mansion.  It seemed like there would be too much orange if I sewed it on the right side so I sewed it to the left side instead.  Then as I added more rows, I just added them wherever side of the block I wanted, sometimes by chance based on which way the quilt was facing and sometimes because I liked the added row in that spot. Sometimes I did it to avoid skewing the quilt. I have heard you are supposed to sew in opposite directions to avoid skewing, so sewing in different ways I think helps keep it square.

Just trimming the quilt helps to keep it square helps too.

When I got to the point in the picture above, I realized I was focusing so much on the orange that I had lost track of light and dark. To me, even though this was a good size for a small quilt, there was too much light on the top right and too much dark on the left side. It could be okay, like sunshine and shadow, but I wasn't going for that look. It just happened that way. In order to fix the balance, I had to keep adding more rows.

As I added more fabric to the chain, it was very tempting to choose fabric more selectively. Is this fabric too bright? Is this one too dark? I decided that all the fabric in the box was fair game for this quilt and I was going to let serendipity take its course, which was the plan all along. It also meant that I was not allowed to selectively place the lights and darks to fix the problem I saw in the picture above this one. As you can see, the problem fixed itself without my help. I think if I had tried to do it, I probably would have over-corrected and added too many darks on the right side.

I was having fun making this quilt and decided to go ahead and make it big enough for the Project Quilting challenge. At some point when I am dead and famous, the curator at my quilt museum is going to decide to display all my quilts in size order, and will be disappointed that there is a gap between my small, bulletin board size, quilts and my above the couch wall hangings, and she will be happy to have a few quilts that fall between these two sizes. You're welcome, future quilt curator.

Since both my cutting board and my ruler were 12 inches square, it became a little more challenging as the quilt grew. Keep adding as many rows as you want until the quilt is the size you want it to be, and save the rest of your fabric scraps for future quilts.

Sandwich, baste, quilt as desired, trim and bind.  I think this ugly step is added so you can really appreciate the final product.

I think this quilt would work better as blocks instead of just one big quilt. If you have more than one of these going at the same time, you could chain piece them. I had to use another quilt as a leader / ender.

I got the idea for this Lego quilt from Tonya Ricucci of Lazy Gal quilting way back in 2011. Her idea sparked by an antique quilt is to sew rows to make a rail fence. She spent a lot of time auditioning and making sure the colors and fabrics balance.  I think for a scrap quilt, the viewer's eye is going to go all over the place anyway so I don't think all that effort is really worth the time. Most issues will work themselves out, like they did in my quilt. Chawne Kimber also made this quilt with a chain like I did, and she added some log cabins to her quilt too instead of just using straight rails.

I hope this tutorial helped, and if you do make this quilt, I would love to see your rendition!

Week 6 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

Since it is Sunday, it is time to recap my stitching this week.  I worked on Mighty Matchstick Mansion most of this week, and thought about the borders for the improv rail fence quilt.  Today, I also worked on my other quilts, Sunlight in Winter and Butterfly Wreath because I had neglected them for so long working on deadline projects.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  41 out of 41 sessions
Success Rate: 100%

Linked to:
Life in Pieces 15 Minutes to Stitch 
Oh Scrap! 
Silly Mama Quilts Works in Progress