Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Quilting mom vs sane mom

As I was working my way through green scraps, my daughter sauntered into my quilting corner asking if I had a runner she could use on her dresser.  Apparently, contact lens solution occasionally splatters onto the dresser when she opens the packaging and she would like something to protect the dresser surface.

What's a mom to do?

Sane mom:  Suggest that she could simply take 5 seconds to wipe up the splatter when it happens.

Quilting mom: Root through the scraps for leftovers from daughter's bed quilt and whip up a little matching, improv, quilt as you go runner.


What can I say?  It was an excuse to use up more scraps in my ongoing scrap mitigation project.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Thinking outside the pattern

As you know if you have been reading along these last few weeks, my plans for this year include making a temperature quilt and reducing my stash of scraps.  Just look at what Amy, who blogs at A Quilting Sheep,  has done with my free temperature quilt pattern and scraps.


I had been wondering how to use up my small scraps, and a perfect design was sitting right there on my design wall as my tempearature quilt takes shape.  I can start a whole new quilt, skipping the temperature part for this one but using the block design and layout to use up scraps! The wheels in my head are turning...

Amy has written a great blog post with suggestions for using my free pattern for quilts other than a temperature quilt, and even shares her measurements for larger blocks.  I encourage you to hop over there for inspiration.  Thanks for reaching out to me, Amy, and for thinking outside the pattern!

I might have started a valentine project using my red scraps and Amy's creative nudge...


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Scrap Mitigation

I previously stated that one of my quilty goals this year was scrap busting.  Having now assessed the state of my scrap bin, I think that may be an unrealistic name for what I might accomplish.  These are just the little bits.  I also have plastic  shoe boxes of larger scraps sorted by color.


A word to the wise:  never, ever take the lid completely off the scrap bin!  All I wanted were the greens, as that is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge's color this month, but everything else made a break for the floor when the lid came off.

While everything was on the floor I figured I might as well sort it. I bagged each color in two-gallon ziplock bags to keep them sorted and put all except the bag of green scraps back in the bin.  I happily went to work making 16-patch blocks to deplete the pile of green.


I made more after I took this picture.  The count stands at 35 now. I tried very hard to just sew strips together without too much planning.  The color placement is very random and it's making me a little bit nervous about the final product.  Maybe those olive green bits should have been left out, but they are not coming out now!

As these were coming together, I felt very industrious. Just watch me use up those scraps! That feeling lasted until I looked at the supply of green scraps at the end of the day and found that I had hardly made a dent.  This led me to a few decisions:

1.  I won't be busting my scraps this year.  The best I can hope for is scrap mitigation, making the scrap problem a little less daunting.  It is by no means going away! I may have added a few new green scraps already...

2. I do not have the patience to make crumb blocks out of little itty-bitty scraps.  Just slapping strips together to strip piece these 16-patches taxed my patience.

3.  I give myself permission to toss some scraps.  I may toss them into a pillowcase to make a pet bed for the local shelter, but not every scrap needs to be saved.  That mostly applies to small bits (see #2 above), but also to slightly larger bits in fabrics that I just don't like.  I'm not sure how they snuck into the scraps.  Presumably, they came from a project, but I just can't imagine why I would have put them in a project in the first place.  I guess my tastes must have changed.

4. I really don't work well without a plan.  Halfway through making these blocks I just couldn't stand it anymore.  I had to sit down with EQ8 and figure out what I was going to do with them before I kept going!


I might tweak this a little, but I have a direction.  I also have white on white scraps, enough of one grey from trimming backings, and small bits of red/orange/yellow.  I can make this whole top without buying and cutting yardage and thereby adding to the scraps.  I might possibly manage an all-scraps pieced back too.  This might just be a net reduction in total scraps.  Fingers crossed!



Oh dear, those 3 dark greens in a row in the block above are going to bother me now.  How did I not notice before?

Linking up with

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Temp Quilt Tuesday 01/13/2020

When I am enthusiastic about a quilt design, I want to sew it up right now to see if it turns out as well as what I see in my mind's eye.  I thoroughly enjoyed designing my temperature quilt, picking out the colours, organizing and labeling the fabric and cutting into my Grunge fabrics to get started.  Here's where the quilt stands so far.


The strip is up to date up to yesterday's temperatures.  The end with the safety pin in January 1st. The high temperature for each day is on top, the low is on the bottom.  The wavy pattern means nothing.  I just looks pleasing to my eye. :)

This was fun to sew.  It was not fun to come to a screeching halt because I have to wait for daily data!  I had some excitement and momentum built up!

This will be an exercise in patience, but in a good way.  It will make me slow down and savour the process of sewing. I look forward to adding a new colors as the temperature drops and rises.  I get a kick out of the little outliers, like that nice warm yellow popping up on January 9th, when we enjoyed an unusually warm day for January (too bad I spent the mild part of the day inside at work!)


I have made a slight change to my color key.  When the fabric was cut down to 2" squares, it was hard to tell Turquoise and Sapphire apart, despite what the names suggest.  I think the purple "distressed" print on both may have been what caused the problem.  I removed the Sapphire, bumped Bright Sky and Royal up one temperature range each and added a different color (whose name and number I forgot to note) between Royal and Navy.  I think I'm all set now.

In an effort to stay motivated and caught up with this year-long project, I plan to post a progress picture every Tuesday.  If you are sewing a temperature quilt, using my free pattern or any other design, I'd love to follow your progress as well.  I'll see if I can sort out a linky party option for next time.  For now, lease leave a link to your temperature quilt post in the comments.

If you're on Instagram, use the hashtags #tempquilttuesday,  #temperaturequilt2020, or #CQDtempquilt and I will find you.  Also, @Twiddletails has been using #tempquilt2020 and #tempquiltalong for her temperature quilt quilt along. There is a lot of inspiration there, and she shares tips and where to get daily weather data on her blog.

Happy quilting and weather watching!

Linking up with

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Temperature Quilt 2020

You may have seen Temperature Quilt projects popping up on blogs and social media feeds over the last few years.  The idea is to represent temperatures with colours and to document the temperature each day by making a quilt block with the corresponding colour.  At the end of the year, you have a quilt documenting temperature variations through the year.  If you google "temperature quilt", or do a search on Pinterest or Instagram, you'll see lots of cool quilts.  Some even manage to work precipitation data into their daily block!

Temperature Quilt 2020 fabrics and plan
Fabric selection and quilt plan for 2020 Temperature Quilt

This year I gave in and decided too join in, but I had trouble choosing a design.  I liked the idea of HST, with one half representing the daily maximum temperature, and the other the daily minimum.  However, I also liked the idea of having one row or column per month, so I could easily process the data in the quilt (because I'm nerdy that way).  Using squares in a quilt like that ended up with a weird aspect ratio, either long and skinny, or short and fat.  I also decided I needed a little bit of blank space to rest my eyes.

Temperature Quilt 2020 plan, 53" x 70"

I couldn't find any design online that ticked all the boxes for me, so I played in EQ8 and came up with this design:  one row per month, daily high temp on top, daily low on the bottom, and blank space for the eyes.  The daily temperatures through the year will determine color placement, but I couldn't let go of design control quite enough to jump in without knowing generally how things might look. I used Weather Underground data for 2019 to color in my design in EQ8.

Tuesday I headed off to the quilt shop for fabric. Choosing a "basics" line seemed like a good idea, since I can only estimate how much of each color I'll need.  Mother Nature will have the final say on temperature distribution! I chose Moda Grunge because my local shop stocks all the available colors, so I had a good selection to choose from.  Last night after work I made a colour key so I would know what fabric to use each day, and added a bit of information to help me identify the exact colour if I need to buy more later in the year.




I was all set to cut, then it occurred to me that labeling each fabric with its corresponding temperature range might also speed things up a bit on a daily basis, instead of having to compare my fabrics to the swatches every day.


As I cut strips for the temperatures so far this year,  I realized I would only cut one square at a time as needed, and I wouldn't want to have to compare the strips to the swatches either, so the strips acquired labels as well.  What can I say, I like labels!


Just a note about the temperatures you can see in my pictures: I'm recording temperatures in Celcius, because after 16 years in the US, I still only have a general idea of what Farenheit numbers feel like. I'm much more at ease conversing in Celcius.  It's odd.  Pounds, feet, inches give me no trouble, but I just haven't been able to adjust my temperature units!

So, I'm all set to start my Temperature Quilt.  I only have a little over a week to catch up on, then I can just keep up with a few seams a day.

(Update 03/18/2020:  I have an update here with tips on getting even more organised for when you need to get caught up on missed days.)

If you would like to join me, google "temperature quilt" and see if any of the designs that pop up appeal to you, or you can use mine.  I wrote instructions to share - and they include a Farenheit scale as well as Celcius.  You can download them here.  Feel free to use them, but if you wish to share them with friends, I ask that you send them here to download their own copy, please and thank you.

If you join in, I'd love to see your quilts come together through the year. Sharing this was a rather impromptu affair, so I haven't worked out the details of how we can all share our progress with each other.  I just wanted to get the instructions posted before too much of the year had passed so there wouldn't be too much catching up required.  I'll post again with my progress and some suggestions about how to share yours...maybe an instagram hashtag, or a FB group, or a linky here on the blog...or some combination.  Ideas are welcome!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I hope you all enjoyed the Holidays and are refreshed for a brand new quilting year with no seam ripping in it yet!

I gave myself permission to stay away from the computer over the last few weeks so I could enjoy time with family, and recharge my batteries in the process. I'm afraid that means I haven't been very prompt at replying to comments, but I very much appreciate your visits in my absence!

I also missed the ritual review of the year's quilting, so I took some time today to assess what I  accomplished last year.


I think I have blogged about all of these, though I think this is the first look at the finished quilt in the lower right corner.  All of these except the black and red Sparkling Trail were started and finished in 2019.  That's unusual for me! Clockwise from top left we have:

Tic Tac Meow - February
Sparkling Trail mini - finished top January 2015, quilted February 2019
Leftovers - May 
Triple Sunset - October
Sprinkled - December
Starlight Plaid- November
Mostly Clear -  September

In the center:
Simply Snow - July

I'm astonished that I do not have a better full photo of Simply Snow, as I was very excited for that finish. I will definitely take better ones when I figure out how to wrestle the pattern into a manageable size.  In the meantime, all the snowflake block patterns without a setting are still available in my Etsy shop.

In the pattern department, I was more productive than in the previous year!


Leftovers, Mostly Clear and Starlight Plaid are available in my Etsy shop.  Triple Sunset is still currently exclusive to The International Association of Quilters, but will be available more widely soon!  Connecting Threads is offering Connecting Geese as a pattern download as well as a kit.

I have four unquilted quilt tops and one unquilted table runner left over from previous years, and I only added two new ones to the unfinished pile in 2019. I think that's a pretty decent showing.


I'm not sure when I'll get to Connecting Geese, on the right.  It's a rich fall color scheme so perhaps I'll squeeze the quilting in for next fall.  Topiaries, on the left, is already about 1/3 quilted.  It is taking longer to quilt than I anticipated, because I'm quilting it more densely than I had planned.  The quilt had better plans than I did.  Quilting pictures of that one coming soon!

Dare I list what I plan for this year?  Let's just call this list inspiration.  I'm sure there will be some distracting squirrels and life in general thrown in here as well, so I won't promise everything will get done, but I can check back here when I don't know what to work on next.

Patterns to write:
  • Sprinkled
  • Topiaries
  • Matt's Kaleidoscope or a variation on it
  • Simply Snow - I will make this work!!!!
  • Another couple of ideas already simmering
Tops to quilt
  • Topiaries - 1/3 quilted at the moment, with a plan for the rest
  • HST quilt - I plan to hand quilt this, so don't expect a finish in 2020!
  • RSC Butterflies quilt - it's basted, but the quilting inspiration has yet to strike
  • Connecting Geese
  • Tiles

Scrap busting (do I really think I'll make a dent in my scrap pile?)

Well, this look perfectly manageable, I think.  It will be interesting to look back at this list in December and see how much of it got done, what was deferred, and what surprises were added. What are you planning for this year?






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