August OMG Complete!

This past week has been full of hurry up and wait moments.  We've had many appointments.  Driving to and from the appointments has taken longer than the appointments themselves, but collectively I've  spent quite a few hours in transit.  I am thankful that the majority of the long waiting room waits have been eliminated during this pandemic.  I hope that change continues when we are finally past this.

We are still getting into our new school routine.  Both kids are online right now.  There have been a few technology hiccups.  My daughter's first college class ever was unable to meet due to Zoom being down Monday morning.  It looks like the local school district is changing things again after Labor Day.  We want our son safe at home for the first semester, so I hope that will still be an option. Masks are so necessary, but I also feel like asking kids to wear them all day is asking a lot.  Mask breaks defeat the purpose of wearing the masks. As a trained teacher, I know that the best place for them is in the classroom, but I also feel that we are experimenting with our teachers and kids.  I don't want my children to be experiments. This has just been such an exhausting year.  

I have managed to get the central portion of my For the love of geese quilt finished.  I ran a few inches short of fabric and luckily found some more--the line I am using is an older one and most of the fabrics are no longer available.  In hindsight, I wish I would have used one of the teal shades for this round instead, but I did not have enough fabric left and haven't seen more in my hunt for more of this line.  The color I did use is various shades of deep purple and pink, kind of into the maroon shades.  It is reading more brown to me after piecing.  Maybe I can quilt over it with bright pink to lighten it up.
I have just the outer ring left to piece.  I am looking forward to seeing the quilt in its entirety, but most definitely not looking forward to removing all the papers!!!!  Any tips for that?

Progress is being made in my Water Drop quilt (pattern by Maeberry Square).  I have all of the half-square triangles pieced and trimmed.  I wish I could get a nice picture of my colors.  They are so much more rich and vivid in person.
My daughter is sewing along in the Water Drop QAL as well.  She tried to work ahead a little since she knew she'd have classes and homework.  Here is her progress so far.
I'm still waiting for my IntelliQuilter to show up.  I'm trying to be patient, but it is so hard.  I have quilts piling up again.  Don't get me wrong, I'm totally thankful for the work and the ability to purchase the system. Just the waiting on top of everything else is really starting to wear.  I'm in week eight of waiting.  My last estimated delivery date was changed to the second week of September, about a month after the best case scenario wait.  I know it will be worth the wait, but still.

Now that all my fabric is organized, it is time to use it!  I'm seriously considering sewing with Fat Quarter Shop's Sewcialites program that starts in a few weeks.  I will probably make the blocks but make my own setting.  I think I want to mix the block sizes.  Here is what I've pulled so far.  I feel like it needs a little something, but I don't know what.  And I need a background fabric to pull it all together.  Suggestions are completely welcome and encouraged.
My garden is still producing like crazy.  I made hamburger dills at my husband's request.  We are running out of small jars (because I have canned so much this year), lids, and mustard seed.  I found reasonably priced mustard seed on Amazon, but the lid prices are ridiculous online and I refuse to pay that much.  Not sure what I'm going to do with the remaining produce.  I might start forcing the extra produce on my neighbors!
I'm having a hard time being positive this week (I have a serious case of the grumpies), so I'm trying to look for things to be positive about.  One big one is that all our defective windows have now been replaced.  We finished the last two over the weekend.  I'm looking forward to the day when all the inside trim is replaced on them.  Another thing to be thankful for is that the new washing machine is functioning well so far.  No more endless loop in the rebalance/refill cycle.  Maybe my water bill will be lower next month.

I am looking forward to the next clue in the Morewood Mystery.  It will release next Thursday I believe.  I think it's time to sew some of this!
I also finished a huge, not very pleasant, behind the scenes task last night.  Woo hoo!

What things are bringing you joy this week?

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

Food & Fabric Prep

I had big plans for sewing.  Life has had other plans.  First, it seems like everything has ripened at once in the garden.  I made another seven jars of sweet relish and four of pickled banana peppers.  I made another batch of eight containers of freezer pickles as well, but for once did not photograph them.
Then the tomatoes finally started ripening.  I am the only one in my house who eats raw tomatoes (or cooked, unless they are well-disguised in sauce form) and we only have one plant, but it has tons of tomatoes growing on it. We had some more banana peppers ripen as well, so we thought we'd try making Zesty Salsa from the Ball Guide to Preserving book.  Well, even though we'd decided on a half-batch, our peppers were not enough.  Plus we needed jalapeños and more onions. Off to the grocery store we went.

The grocery store only had Hungarian wax peppers, not banana peppers.  Way too hot. I weighed out what we needed for jalapeños using the scale in the produce department.  Got to the check out, found out we had double what we needed.  Found a farmer's market right at closing time and got fresh banana peppers. Went home, started cutting everything.  I learned the hard way why you should wear gloves when handling jalapeños.  About the time I was ready to cook the salsa my hands were starting to burn.  
By the time I was done with the canning process my hands were starting to be quite painful.  I washed with hot water and soap several times, took off my rings, washed some more.  I made a baking soda paste and that helped a little but was really messy. I kept changing that out, but the pain kept growing.  My husband suggested pouring nail polish remover on my hands since that cuts oil.  It worked fairly well, but I still had moments where my hands would feel really hot and numb.  24 hours later it finally subsided.  Lesson learned.  Here's the finished salsa.  The family tells me it's good, but I'm a bit scared to try it.  I can't handle the heat!
One more food thing before I move on to sewing.  I struggle with making yeast bread not made in the bread machine.  I found a recipe for brioche bread that was very detailed and my daughter and I made these loaves.  They turned out!  They were very tasty!  It only took two days, six eggs, and two sticks of butter! 😃

Okay, now on to the sewing.  My daughter and I are participating in Maeberry Square's Water Drop QAL.  I'm also offering 15% off edge-to-edge quilting of Water Drop quilts through the end of November.  We both decided to go with Kona solids. I got the bright idea to cut up my Kona card so we could choose colors more easily.  I neglected to have a plan for what to do with the 365 little chips after I was done cutting.  Oops. Luckily I had this lovely leather tray to store them in temporarily.
Here are our selections with the cover of the pattern.
Here are the fabrics in real life.  I chose Celestial, Cyan, and Cypress with a white background.  K chose Ferndale, Kale, and Emerald with Noble Purple for the background.  We have a fun edge-to-edge pattern selected for her quilting already.  I'm not sure what I'll use on mine.  
K is starting college next week, so we got started on her sewing this week.  She brought her machine to the sewing room so I had company down there.
Meanwhile, I've been working on more pieces of my For the Love of Geese pattern.  I ran a bit short on the color I am using for the second round since I'd already used it in one of the outer rings.  Luckily I found more (it seems to be from an older line?) and it came yesterday.  Crisis averted!
I also did all the cutting for the Morewood Mystery quilt.  I put in a new blade before starting and it was so fast and easy to cut everything.  Why do I always wait way too long to replace the blade??
I was planning to sew all day Sunday.  Instead I went and bought a new washer so that I could continue with my laundry.  The old one made it about eight years.  I was trying to stretch out getting a new one a little while longer, but it wasn't in the cards.  I could handle things having rust on them, but I draw the line at things coming out still dirty.  So far, so good on this one. 
Oh, and I decided it would be nice to slide all the little Kona chips into sleeves so they are easy to see.  I found these coin protector pages on Amazon that I'm going to use.
Let's hope this next week is a little less eventful.

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

Let's Talk Scraps

I gave a presentation to my guild over the weekend about scraps and how to use them.  I think I was originally scheduled to present in March or April, but we all know how 2020 has gone.  Anyway, I did a ton of research and had checked books out of the library back in March that I intended to use in my presentation. Of course they finally sent me messages saying I needed to return the books about a week before our meeting.  After all that time!

So, first we need to consider just what is a scrap.  I think the definition or concept varies from person to person.  Some people consider fat quarters to be scrap-size.  Some people say it's what's left over after you complete a project.  Some say it's only the tiniest little bits.  I have always saved the majority of my trimmings and leftovers.  For years I would fold them into whatever fabric was left after cutting.  I always stored my fabrics by color(s) in Rubbermaid totes because for a long time we moved A LOT.  

It wasn't the greatest system.  While it's very convenient for moving, keeping fabric in deep bins makes it really hard to see what you actually have.  Plus, whenever I'd go digging, all those little trimmings would fall out and make a mess.  Things needed to change.

During my research, I found there are basically two camps for saving scraps.

  1. Cut into certain sizes/shapes, with all colors mixed. 
  2. Sort by color, no size restrictions, no cutting.

I suppose you could add a third option:  don't use the scraps at all.  Find someone who would like them and give them away.

Lori Holt, Bonnie Hunter (Scrap Users system), and Joan Ford (Scrap Therapy) all have methods of sorting based on various sizes.  Amanda Jean Nyberg/Crazy Mom Quilts sorts by color with no cutting. (See linked handout at the bottom of the post for more information.)  All of them have books full of projects that use scraps.

Once you've decided on a method, take the time to get the scraps under control.  If you feel overwhelmed with attempting it all at once, set your timer and work for 15 minutes a day, or 15 minutes a week.  When social distancing is a thing of the past, invite a quilty friend over to help, or at least keep you company while you sort.

I decided to go with the sort by color method. You might have seen the pictures of my newly installed closet shelving over the past few weeks.  I decided to go with short, clear bins for fabric storage.  I refolded and resorted just about every bit of quilting fabric I own.  As I was refolding and sorting, I threw all the smaller cuts and things under 6" into one giant tote.  After the shelving was installed and I was able to put the new bins away I started the giant task of sorting all the scraps into baskets by color.  Some colors I grouped, for example, yellow, orange, and red all fit in one basket.  Blues and aquas had to get separated into two baskets due to how much there was. Here are my pink/purple and white baskets mid-project.
What types of projects can you make with scraps?  The possibilities are endless. Here are some I've made. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to download a free PDF filled with links to lots of great scrap projects.

Start small--make pincushions from tiny scraps.

There are a lot of different string quilt-type projects you can make with scraps.  This is a string star block I made using scraps I won in a giveaway. The remaining scraps are shown in the plastic bag. 
Use 2.5" squares to make really fun rainbow projects.  Trade with friends to get more variety in your stash. Here are some I purchased to get more variety in my scraps.  I'm planning to make blocks of colors alternating with white squares in a rainbow array.
Consider all the bonus half-square triangles you get when quilting. These are some I made while working on a recent project.  Just imagine the possibilities for these.
I made a baby quilt.
This 10.5" block is made with the bonus HST.  Imagine how much you would throw away on a larger quilt.
You can save your selvedges and knit a rug.  Obviously I haven't started yet, but hope to soon.
You can go super crazy tiny and make a Sew Tiny Sampler.  This measures 7.5"!!  While I struggled with lining up my sashing I still enjoyed the challenge of making something so small.  Tip--use fabrics with tiny prints.  I used a batik that didn't look as pretty in minuscule scale as it did when it was a big piece.
The bottom line is, find a system that works for you.  If you don't want to use your scraps, then don't. Find what works for you.  Quilting should be fun!  View scraps as opportunities to stretch your creativity. 

Grab the free PDF download with links to lots of projects.

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

August Goal

My August goal is to finish at least one more round of my For the love of geese quilt.

I will also do all the cutting for the Morewood Mystery quilt.  You can still join in the QAL. Cheryl writes great patterns, there is a very active Facebook community, and best of all, it is free!

Another project I will work on during August and September is Maeberry Square's Water Drop pattern.  This is a great project to join in on if you want to perfect your half-square triangle game and/or try making 32 HST at a time.  The pattern releases tomorrow!  There will be a QAL starting next week as well.  Sign-ups start tomorrow.  

There's a few behind the scenes projects too. Meanwhile, I'll still be quilting as much as possible. I'm really hoping my new robotics shows up SOON. I've been watching all the training classes in preparation.  

Last week I got to quilt Annie's Unity quilt.  As you may recall, the Unity quilt was a quilt along hosted by Bonnie Hunter earlier this year.  Annie and I started at the same time.  She got hers done.  I stalled after the central unit--aka the first block!  Anyway, check out this beauty!  She had me quilt it with Knit One, Purl Two, and it is just beautiful.
My friend had a birthday last week. I made her an ultra-tiny mini, a 6" mini, and included a wooden ruler box and a seam presser my husband made, a charm pack, Wonder Clips, and threw in some food goodies as well. It was so much fun to put together a surprise and sneak it onto her porch, though I wish in-person get-togethers were an option. 
I have my closet mostly under control now.  There's a lot of large bins I need to go through, but all the quilting fabrics are sorted by color and/or projects. The kids and I sorted my scraps into baskets by color. Based on what was there, I use shades of blues and whites the most. We also sorted all the batting scraps into totes by our best guess at type (not pictured, but stacked up on the right side of the closet).  I need to make an effort to seam and use them on smaller projects.
Switching gears, we've had several smaller green bean harvests.  We had a sizable one the other night and I thought this picture was quite attractive.  My husband thinks it's weird that I take pictures of food from our garden. I think the veggie pictures are pretty. 
Finally, in the weird category, I happened to look out the window at just the right time to see this crazy chipmunk.  Chipmunks have been wreaking havoc in the flower gardens this year and now this one has discovered the oriole feeder.

Next week I'll be discussing scrap management, so be sure to stop by and see some of the crazy things I've tried.

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.