Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stripes in the Wild

My Improv Stripes quilt is finished, and I took it up into the mountains the other day to take a few fun photos of it.

I just love this little quilt - almost to the point of ridiculousness - is that a word?  I was trying to figure out why.

I love that it is made completely of scraps - including the batting, backing, and binding - from other projects. I started with the goal of using up some gray solid yardage that I had, and I mixed it with light prints in pinks, yellows, greens, and blues.  The backing is a lighter gray with tiny white dots and the binding is Kona Daffodil.

I had fun with the quilting.  It is my "modern" version of a Baptist Fan design - curves going one direction for awhile, and then turning and going in another direction.  My Hera marker and walking foot worked great for making this quilting easy.

I loved participating in the QAL sponsored and inspired by Debbie at A Quilter's Table.  It has been a lot of fun to see what other quilters have done with the technique that Debbie showed us - every project was so different and interesting to see!

My improv stripes turned out about 34 x 35 - just a bit more rectangular than square.  It would really make a sweet baby quilt, but I don't have any babies coming along at the moment who need a quilt, so I will set it aside until someone does!

And one more thing!  I love that I know I'm not done with improv stripes.  I want to try it again, with different fabrics, and making my stripes a bit more wonky and uneven for fun, inspired by all of the other Improv Stripes I've seen in the last couple of weeks!

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!  I'm linking up with Cynthia over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for Sunday's Oh Scrap!

Friday, August 18, 2017

I'm not really ready for fall, but...

I started making maple leaf blocks last fall when I joined in with Carole at From My Carolina Home for her Autumn Jubilee QAL and made this mini -

After finishing that one up, I had a maple leaf leftover and decided to play with these blocks in a rainbow of colors!  So - they became one of my block projects for the 2017 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

I started making nine patches to match the maple leaves after awhile, and this week I added some low volume blocks to the collection.  I love the look of these in the golds and light browns!

I had been trying to decide what I wanted to do with these blocks, and finally made a decision this week.  

The cooler and wetter weather we've been experiencing this month has made it feel very fall-like around here, so that got me in the mood to make a new fall table runner for my dining room table.

I started by dividing my maple leaves and nine patches into the fall-like colors and the "others."  

Maybe those others will become a project for next spring, or sometime in the winter when I'm tired of snow and brown grass and need some color!

Meanwhile, I'm taking the fall colors and stitching them together like this - 

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I Like Thursday #43 - Another Kind of Crafter

My husband, Mike, loves the game of golf.  He enjoys playing it, watching it on TV, analyzing it, talking about it.  His enthusiasm is contagious, so I have learned to play, too.  I enjoy playing, but my husband is Joyful about it!

An extension of his love of the game has been learning to make his own golf clubs.  I was thinking about his hobby recently, and comparing it to my hobby of quilting.

There are lots of catalogs and websites with golf components to pour over.  Which brand is better?  Is there free shipping?  What color shaft goes best with this club head?  Who has the best price on grips?

Special tools and a dedicated workspace are needed.  (He said to me, "Don't take a picture of this; it's messy!"  Guess what I replied?!)

Last week, he made me three new clubs, sure they will make a difference in my game!  Lol!  I'm glad I can enable him, since he is always supportive of me when I'm in need of new fabric for a project.

And just like with our quilts, these clubs are made to be used.  My pretty, shiny new clubs are full of grass, dirt, and even a few scratches now that I have used them a couple of times.  

I love them because Mike made them for me, and who knows?  Maybe they really will make a difference in my game! :)

I know this has been another tough and confusing week for many, and a hard one to find things to celebrate. Let's celebrate the people we love, and who love us.  That always helps me.

I'll be heading over to Not Afraid of Color to see what my I Like Thursday friends have been up to. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Scraps and Stripes

A big focus of my sewing this week was to get somewhere with my Improv Stripes blocks.  And I did!

It measures about 35 x 35, a small baby quilt size, and I think that's as far as I will go with it.  I met my goal of using up the gray solid that I started with, and combined it with "sherbert" colored scraps in shades of yellow, pink, green, and blue.

After making the initial few blocks, it was a good challenge to figure out how to fit them all together - the best kind of puzzle! You can see where I added a long stripe here or there, or sliced up a block I had made into smaller pieces to fill in a hole.  I definitely enjoyed this process! 

A little fussy-cutting makes a fun surprise here and there!

Today I pieced a backing for this quilt, and I hope to get the basting done tomorrow, so that quilting can begin.  

Yesterday I went to a garage sale and bought fabric!  I never do that, but this was being held by a local quilt guild which a friend of mine belongs to, and I knew everything there would be sewing related.

I got this gallon-sized Ziploc bag of fat quarters and yardage - anything I could stuff into it - for $10!

Here's what I found - 14 fat quarters - lots of neutrals plus a red and some greens.

Some fun Christmas trees on a light blue background - 

and this really cool piece - not sure what I'll do with it, but it will be fun to contemplate!

I don't have a huge stash, and I especially use up neutral/low volume fabric quickly, so I will enjoy having a few more choices for my next blocks and projects!

Linking up with Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for her Sunday linky, Oh Scrap!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Low Volume Bowties

I've been using a lot of low volume fabrics as background fabrics for the various Rainbow Scrap Challenge
blocks I've been making this year.  I like the detail they add to a scrappy quilt, very different from using one constant background fabric.

So, using a low volume or neutral fabric as the star of the block sounded challenging to me!  What would you use for the background fabric so that there was enough contrast?

This week I pulled out a few low volumes to play with and decided to make some more bow tie blocks.

What seems to work for me is using a brighter white for the background so it stands apart from the neutral of the bow tie pieces.

These were relaxing and enjoyable to work on!  I like them mixed in with the more colorful blocks, too. There are 24 bow ties in my collection now - a long way from a quilt, but I'm not in a hurry.

Looking forward to seeing how other Rainbow Scrap Quilters have used their low volume fabrics this week at ScrapHappy Saturday, over at SoScrappy.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Like Thursday #42 - the sewing edition

This week I've been thinking about how much I like sewing!  I didn't use to like it at all, when I was growing up especially.  That's probably because I learned to make clothes first, and didn't ever enjoy it.  Getting involved in quilting changed all that, and learning how to make bags and pouches and mug rugs and coasters and... You get the picture!  I love all of it!

And the last few years, my sewing has taken me lots of good places.

Sewing even just a few minutes a day got me through my last (and most stressful) year of teaching before I could retire.  I'm thankful for that!

I've made lots of new friends through my quilt blog, and I'm enjoying meeting them, one at a time!

Hi, LeeAnna!
I really like participating in Kat and Cat Quilts' block drives for her charity, Covered in Love.  I don't finish big quilts very quickly, so contributing a few blocks at a time feels good.  If you're interested, here's a link to the July/August block drive details.

I like a challenge in my sewing now and then.  Here's one I've been participating in - the Temecula Quilt Company's Marvelous Monday Mini blocks.  These blocks are 4 inches square, so the center part is tiny! 1/2 inch HSTs can be very fiddly!  But I am sticking with it.  This week's block:

And a peek at my pile of pretty and scrappy tiny blocks!

I like my current Work in Progress, too - Improv Stripes, part of a quilt along with Debbie from A Quilter's Table.  I've posted about it a couple of times - it started with these simple stripey blocks.

Because it is an improv project, it looks different to me everyday, and every time I try a different layout! It is also challenging me because the blocks are all different sizes and require lots of thinking to figure out how they will go together!  I'm still working on that one hole you can see there in the photo below (where the carpet shows through), and then I think I will be ready to make these blocks into a quilt top.

I also wanted to do some embroidery this year, so I started working on this little sampler in April, and have made some progress!  I'm really liking it, and enjoying the slow-stitching process.  One day, it will turn into something, but I'm not in any hurry!

I hope you are finding things that soothe your soul this week (or mend it, if it needs mending)!  Join us at Not Afraid of Color for our Thursday celebration of things we like! 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Improv Stripes

I decided to join in with Debbie at A Quilter's Table for her QAL on Improv Stripes.  I had participated in the Crosscut QAL that Debbie lead last summer, and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to do it again with a new project this summer.  You can follow this QAL on Instagram at #improvstripesqal.

After finishing my Beautiful Blossoms quilt last year, I had a lot of the gray background fabric from Connecting Threads left over.  I thought that might make a good constant fabric paired with lots of lighter colors - pink, yellow, green, and light blue for starters.  Plus I want to use that gray up!  :)

It's a lot of fun to hunt through the scrap bins, deciding if various bits and pieces will work for this project. I made some yellow and pink blocks, then decided to mix them up a bit, too, when I added the green.

I'm not sure yet what size this quilt will end up to be.  I'm definitely going to keep going until the gray is used up though, so that means quite a few more blocks can still be made!

Today I think I'll work on some blue blocks!

Sharing at Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Hello, August!

Like many of you, I'm sure, I can hardly believe it is August already!  Even though I am going on my third school year retired from teaching, I still get that "time to go back" feeling right about now.  The cool and cloudy weather (with a hint of fall in it) doesn't help that!  Thankfully, there is really lots of summer left!

Since this was sort of an in between week for me, sewing-wise, I decided to spend some time working on my Monkey blocks.  This is an RSC project I started in 2016, but have continued into this year to have enough blocks. There are 36 of them now, so I have started adding the sashing and cornerstones to them. Here they are, pinned to my design wall.

The sashing is Kona Maize, which I thought I had a bunch of in my stash.  The cornerstones will be random 2 inch squares from my scrap bins.  Unfortunately I used up all of the Kona Maize that I had, and can't seem to find anymore in the stores that are close by.  I will have to stop by a shop that I know has a large selection of Kona, but can't get there for a few days.

These few blocks have both sides done.  I think this quilt will need a border, too, to make it a little bit larger, but haven't decided what that will be yet.

When Angela announced that the August color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge would be light neutrals such as cream, ivory, and mixed backgrounds, I knew just what I would work on first.  

My String Star quilt needs lots more low volume background blocks, and this will give me a chance to make some progress on those.  This is a sample layout I did in June after finishing the yellow blocks.  I've added the blues, and just need orange left to finish out the plan.  It also needs more background blocks, and I had only made 8 up through July.

Yesterday I pulled out the low volume bin and got a couple of blocks made, so that gives me 10 now, halfway there!

These are fun to make and I love the scrappy look they give the star!  I'll keep working on these through the month.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I'll be joining in with the other Rainbow Scrap Challenge Quilters at the ScrapHappy Saturday link-up at SoScrappy.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I Like Thursday #41 - Ahhh!

Can you tell what this is a picture of?

It is rain... lovely, cool, wet rain!  A wonderful gift after the very hot and dry summer we've had.  My hubby was even watering the grass this afternoon, and all of a sudden we realized it was raining!  

Welcome to "I Like Thursday" hosted by LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color!  Every Thursday we post about the positive things we've experienced in the last week.

I liked going to the Boulder County Farmer's Market in Longmont, Colorado, last Saturday.  Of course I forgot to take any pictures of it, so had to borrow one from their website.

I enjoyed seeing all the fresh vegetables (and bought yummy tomatoes and green beans), tasting various things that people were offering (including wine!), and listening to the musicians who were performing.  It is a 30 minute drive for us, but definitely worth it.

We went for an evening walk a couple of nights ago, and I liked seeing so many sunflowers blooming.  

And the beautiful evening sky just before sunset.

I enjoyed bringing some of my orange marigolds and purple larkspur in for a little bouquet earlier this week. The marigolds last a long time in water, but the larkspur started dropping blossoms right away, so I had to enjoy them quickly!  :)

I like participating in online Quilt Alongs, and there are so many to choose from!  This week I joined in with Debbie from A Quilter's Table to work on Improv Stripes.  Last year I participated in the Crosscut QAL with Debbie, so I knew I would have fun trying something new from her this year.  You can see lots of examples of what people are working on at #improvstripesqal on Instagram.

I really liked this book that I just finished this week:  The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton.  I was so caught up in the story that I couldn't stop reading, even in the car when we were running errands Monday morning, until I finished it!  It is a story about a boy (Kevin) whose family has experienced a terrible tragedy, so he and his mom go to spend the summer with his grandpa in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky.  Kevin's experiences there really help him to get past his family's tragedy and to grow up.

Happy Thursday!  Hope you are having a lovely week!  Please be sure to check out all of the other I Like Thursday bloggers over at LeeAnna's place, every Thursday morning!