Monday, July 6, 2020

Easy Pieces

Here's another multicolored scrap quilt made from my stash box of 2½” squares. Quick work, since all I had to cut were the cream/white pieces. I designed the basic layout in EQ8.

Sewing straight seams in batches was a breeze. I tried to keep the colors balanced but didn't fuss too much. Perfection can be stressful and I only wanted to play.

I quilted with white thread in straight lines on the strip sections and in a crosshatch pattern on the eight and sixteen patch blocks. Easy Pieces is 42” square.

I really enjoyed those three mornings stitching away in the sewing room with smooth jazz playing in the background. The thing is, I hardly made a dent in that scrap box, plus I have more remnants to cut. Don't worry, I've already designed another fun project for those.

Accuquilt dies used:
55017 2½” strip
55059 2½” square multiple


Some days 
are simply meant 
for playing 





Monday, June 29, 2020

Fresh Start

The soft shades of this quilt are fresh and relaxing.  I found peach, pale green and aqua fabric in my stash that matched the diamond print to create four 18” quatrefoil blocks.


Using larger pieces makes for quick work.  I quilted using peach thread in a decorative stitch along seam lines. Backing and binding are the same peach print. Fresh Start is 37” square.



Accuquilt dies used:
55000 square 6 ½”
55005 rectangle 3 ½” x 6 ½”
55006 square 3 ½”
55456 flying geese 3 ½” x 6 ½”

Side note: During this COVID pandemic, I have had an opportunity to reflect, evaluate, and make positive changes in my daily life. I don't mind staying at home; I like a simple life. I enjoy the peace and quiet of my cozy house. It's ironic that I don't really like grocery shopping, yet that's one of the few places I've been since March. I do miss eating out, especially breakfast omelets and catfish.

I wear a mask when I venture out for supplies – for my own health as well as those around me. Apparently most people that I see do not, so I'll choose to stay in a while longer since cases and deaths are still rising.

I don't like negativity. I turn off the news and avoid the endless sensationalized blather about the virus, politics, and other inflammatory topics. A lot of things are happening that I don't think are right or even make sense. If something or someone offends me, I will not watch, listen, or support their efforts. I've got better things to do.

Do what you can, 
with what you have, 
where you are. 
Theodore Roosevelt 








Monday, June 22, 2020

Southbound


If you need some inspiration for a quick 4th of July quilt project and have some red, white and blue fabric, this one should make you happy. My ever-growing remnant baskets provided plenty of scraps for this baby. 

I've been experimenting: mixing die elements to create different designs. Today's quilt uses half square triangles and the trapezoid section of the spool die. I sewed the triangle to the trapezoid, then sewed two together to form a 4½” square. Four of those create an eight inch finished block. 

Southbound
 
I added a 4” border of navy and white stars to frame it. Quilting in free motion with white thread moves from block to block across the diagonal lines. A double serpentine stitch on the border was added using a quilting ruler. 

Southbound is 41” square, but it could be made as large or small as you wish. I could see this vintage block in place mats, pot holders, or a tablecloth.


Accuquilt dies used:
55018 Small Value
55180 Spool

Some people done lost 
their ever-lovin' minds 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Granny's Wash Day


Memories of sheets and housedresses hanging on the line at granny's house prompted 
me to design this adorable quilt. Some of the fabrics are 1950's vintage, from Granny Rose's collection of sugar and flour sack remnants. I added new pieces that would complement them, along with white muslin. 

Each four patch block is made up of chisel sections and triangles turned to create the design. This one didn't take long at all, since most of the colored triangles were already cut. I think it looks a bit like the dasher in an old time washing machine. 


A simple quilting pattern of even squares finishes off the vintage look. I used light yellow thread for the straight stitches. The backing is an old sheet of pale yellow with pink, blue, and yellow flowers.

I am lucky to have sweet childhood memories of summer days on the Tennessee farms of both sets of grandparents. And, luckier still to have Jerold's grandmother's fabric to use in my quilts. For more of my posts about Granny Rose, Granny Hill, and sugar sack fabric, click on those labels below.


Accuquilt dies used:
55735 Chisel 2¼” x 4½” finished
55147 Half square triangle 2¼” finished


Remember when
life was simpler,
and we didn't have a
care in the world?



Monday, June 8, 2020

Harmony

Basic nine-patch squares and churn dash blocks work well 
together. For this lap quilt I chose an aqua blender, paired with two black and white prints and a multicolored dot on black. I designed the layout in Electric Quilt 8. 

After sewing and arranging the blocks, I added a 3” inner border. The outer border is made up of half rectangle triangles separated by a small strip to make the design come out eve
nly. 

Harmony is 48” square. I quilted the center section with a triple serpentine stitch in aqua thread, and used edge stitching to accent the first border. On the outer border I free motion quilted in the aqua sections and the four corners. Cool and refreshing with great contrast, this one's another favorite of mine. 

I am really enjoying my sewing time this summer. After completing the quilt, I put everything away and thoroughly cleaned my sewing room. It's been so nice to come into a peaceful, neat space every morning. Don't worry, it won't last long...I've already started my next quilt and the scrap baskets need managing.


Accuquilt dies used:
55339 Churn Dash 9” finished
55006 3 ½” square
55411 Half rectangle triangle 3” x 6” finished
55032 3 ½” strip
55017 2 ½” strip


Without balance 
there is no 
H A R M O N Y

Monday, June 1, 2020

Full Sun

It's a perfect sunny day for a bright and cheerful quilt like Full Sun. Evidently I'm still on a beach theme.

Bright orange, melon, and yellow prints cut into isosc
eles triangles sew into octagon shaped beach umbrellas. Corner triangles of white on white swirls complete the squares, making a kaleidoscope block. Narrow sashing between them gives just enough space for the umbrellas to float on a bed of white sand. 


Just right for the beach, which is where I'd love to be. Curved free motion quilting in white thread on the blocks accents the triangles. A small serpentine stitch along the center of the sashing frames each one. Finished size is 46” square.

Dies used:

Blue Wren
6015 1 ½” strip
6396 Isosceles Triangle 5” x 6”

Accuquilt
55017 2 ½” strip
55009 3 ½” HST

I found me
under an umbrella
by the sea





Monday, May 25, 2020

Starfish Key


I found this beautiful starfish batik fabric last fall in Pensacola. The soft muted colors of lavender and blue on a sandy background make me wish for the beach!

Starfish Key is 40” square. It was very quick to sew with the large pieces. I quilted in an overall clamshell design using the Squiggy ruler by Angela Walters. Cream thread shows up just enough to emphasize the pattern.



This one's hanging on the wall in my spare bedroom, which is currently decorated in shades of purple, lavender, and lilac. It's a sweet retreat where I can read and relax.

Dies used:
Accuquilt 55058 8” square
Accuquilt 55399 8” quarter square triangle
Blue Wren 6522 8” half square triangle


On this Memorial Day,
I salute the brave Americans
who fought and died
for our freedom



Monday, May 18, 2020

Fire and Water

Fire and Water
The Hunter Star quilt block is beautiful done in red and aqua. These bright simple prints direct your focus to the overall design instead of the fabric.

These pieces sew together precisely so it was easy to match the points. After sewing the blocks together, I added a 1” border in a white and red mini dot. The 3” outer border is the same aqua as the blocks. Backing is a geometric print of white, aqua, red and black.

Fire and Water is 44” x 56” in size. I quilted with white cotton thread, using the Elvira ruler to create a curvy design vertically and horizontally across the blocks. The outer borders are also stitched with Elvira, this time in two parallel serpentine lines.

I love how it turned out! One more quilt to add to my ever growing collection. This time fire and water mix very well indeed.

Dies used:
Accuquilt
55032 3 ½” strip
55166 Hunter Star

Blue Wren
6015 1 ½” strip

B A L A N C E
Like fire, be alive
Like water, feel peaceful



Monday, May 11, 2020

Bits and Pieces

This colorful quilt uses some of the smallest pieces I've ever sewn into blocks. Talk about saving scraps...women of the 1930's would be proud.

When I got the spider web die for my birthday, I started cutting fabric remnants. Selecting different colors, I randomly stitched them together. Because of the tiny pieces and many seams, it took several days.

I used a natural muslin for contrast to showcase the web shapes. I chose a meandering stitch to quilt in free motion, with cream thread. Bits and Pieces is 36” x 48” in size.

I love the final product! The die is awesome for using up the smallest of remnants. It looks like an old fashioned quilt that my grandmothers would have made. I can't wait to make other versions with different background colors.

Bits and Pieces

It seemed like a perfect project to sew around Mother's Day. I thought about how women during the Depression years would have spent their time. They'd cut up old curtains, housedresses, shirts, and feed sacks to create a warm quilt for next to nothing, using faded blankets for batting.

Thankfully, I don't have to worry about saving every cent, although I do get a certain satisfaction out of using leftovers to make a bonus quilt or two. It must be my rural Southern thrifty dirt farmer roots showing.

Accuquilt die
55487 Spider Web 6"

Monday, May 4, 2020

Glorious Day


Aqua, lime and hot pink combined with white and gray make me think of blue skied summer days. For this beauty, I dipped into my scrap baskets and cut with the Glorious Nine Patch die from Blue Wren.

Sixteen blocks, bordered by 3½” strips make a 46” square quilt called Glorious Day. I quilted with light gray thread around the circles, across the centers, and over the block seams. The backing is a gray and white medium floral print.

Glorious Day

On a side note, even though some businesses in Tennessee are reopening, we are still taking precautions and isolating at home. The only exception was Saturday, when we picked up an order of fresh strawberries and bedding plants from a local farm.

The upside to staying home is taking time to enjoy being here, relaxing and just living. I did get a bit too close to nature on my walk the other day, though. I stepped on a big ole snake that was snoozing in a pile of leaves! Scared me to death, but it wasn't poisonous and didn't bite me. I'll stick to walking in the driveway for a while.


Dies used:
Blue Wren 6562 Glorious 9 Patch
Accuquilt 55032 3 ½” strip

Wake up in the morning
with a positive mindset
and a joyful heart.
Be determined
that it will be
a glorious day. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Points of View

My remnant baskets are overflowing, again. To keep my sewing room neat and use up some fabric, I designed a scrap quilt in EQ8 software. It's similar to the Christmas tree quilt from last December.

Points of View
Using the Hattie's Choice die, I cut only the diamonds and triangles from a wide variety of colors. I sewed them together into large triangles, combining rows of similar and contrasting colors. Then I cut light gray fabric into half rectangle triangles, and added one on each side to form a 5½” x 6” triangle in a rectangle block.

The result is Points of View, a 38” x 48” lap quilt. The points turned out very precise because of the die cuts and my Janome 1/4” professional piecing foot. Backing is white and light gray chevron fabric. I quilted using white thread, diagonally along the diamond rows with a straight stitch.

The binding is made from scraps as well, multicolored 2 ½” strips of varying lengths sewn together.

It's a such a happy quilt with all those colors, don't you think?  It reminds me of vintage feed sack quilts from the 1930's.  At least I am happy because (for the time being) my fabric isn't tumbling out of the remnant baskets.

Accuquilt dies used:
55220 Hattie's Choice
55411 Half Rectangle Triangle

I am grateful for 
my fabric stash!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Cabin Fever


I haven't made a log cabin quilt in a while, and I was ready for a quick project with straight seams. Cabin Fever features navy, cream and watermelon prints from my scrap boxes, cut into 1 ½” strips.

The six large 14” blocks are framed with 2 ½” sashing, then I added a 3 ½” navy paisley border. Starting in the center of each block, I quilted down the center of the strip with a straight stitch, turning at each corner. For the sashing and borders, I used a small serpentine stitch in the same thread.  It's 42" x 57" lap quilt size.  
Cabin Fever

I really don't have cabin fever yet, but it seemed like a perfect name since I am staying at home. I've only been out twice (grocery, oh goody) in five weeks. 

We should be at the campground right now, but I am enjoying nature by taking walks around our property and reading on the porch on warm days.  

I thought I'd be cleaning out closets, washing windows, and doing other spring cleaning chores from my list.  I'll get to it...maybe next week...right now I'm happy to be in I-SEW-lation.


Dies used:


Accuquilt
55032 3 ½” strip
55017 2 ½” strip

Blue Wren
1 ½” strip 6015

Monday, April 13, 2020

Sunflower Morning

Sunflower Morning
Here's a cheerful quilt for a rainy spring Monday.

Bright yellow fabric complements this beautiful orange and yellow sunflower batik print. I used an isosceles triangle die from Blue Wren to create one large Morningstar block.  Corners are 6 ½” HST and it's framed with 3 ½” strips. Sunflower Morning finished out at 26 ½” square.

I am still practicing my ruler quilting skills, this time with the Elvira ruler from Angela Walters. Smaller projects are easy to maneuver, so I outlined each triangle with scallops in bright yellow thread. Borders feature parallel serpentine lines.


I really enjoyed the creative process with this quilt that I finished in late March. Being isolated at home isn't so bad when you have a wonderful hobby like sewing and a huge stash of fabric.

Dies used:
Blue Wren 6396 Isosceles Triangle 5” x 6”
Accuquilt 55001 6 ½” Half Square Triangle
Accuquilt 55032 3 ½” strip

"Home should be an anchor, 
a port in a storm, a refuge, 
a happy place in which to dwell, 
a place where we are loved 
and where we can love." 
Marvin J. Ashton



Monday, April 6, 2020

Spring Sewing Ideas


I love spring sunshine, and despite this crazy pandemic, I am enjoying myself at home. With windows open and a glass of sweet tea at hand, sewing is right at the top of my daily to do list.

I've finished up several small projects. The first is a dust cover for Rockette, my Singer 500 Rocketeer machine. I found an embroidery sample of sewing notions that I had set aside several years ago. With it as a focal point, I pulled out coordinating fabrics in grape and white, and whipped up a quickie tie-on cover. No pattern, I just used what I had to make it fit the machine.

The flower block on the back is a test block for a quilt currently under construction. I played with several decorative stitches to quilt in purple thread. After adding binding and ties, Rockette is now dust free.

Another day I stitched this wildly colorful Boho style bag called Feelin' Sassy. It's made from a test piece that I used to practice free motion quilting with the Squiggy ruler. 

No pattern, just fold in half, seam up the sides, add a band at the top, and a strap. The hot pink tab is the same fabric as the lining. I can't go anywhere yet to use it; maybe by summer it will be safe to go out! 

Now you see why I named my blog Useful Remnants. I love fabric so much I just can't let any of it go to waste unless it is too tiny to sew.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Down In Mississippi

This week's quilt is made with a vintage block called Mississippi. I used light fabrics in lime, aqua, lavender and cream. The large 13” blocks were easy to cut with AccuQuilt dies. I used a Blue Wren strip cutter die for the narrow sashing.

Down In Mississippi finished out at 45” x 60” size. I quilted with cream thread, using Angela Walters' Elvira ruler to free motion stitch wavy lines. It was great practice and so enjoyable.

Down In Mississippi
I've had plenty of time to quilt the past two weeks, since we haven't left the house because of that nasty virus. It isn't a hardship to stay in because my home is a refuge, a place where I'm comfortable and happy.

I like puttering around, sitting on the porch, hanging out with my husband. I can always find something to do. So far, we have enough supplies and food. I really don't like grocery shopping anyway, so I haven't missed that a bit.  My fabric inventory would probably sustain me for a year.  

I wish more people would take this pandemic seriously and just stay at home. Sure, I miss breakfast at our favorite diner, our April camping trip was canceled, I'd like to shop for spring flowers, and I won't get my hair cut on schedule. But I don't think any of that is more important than our health or our lives.

The number of cases, and sadly, the death toll is rising quickly.  STAY HOME, PEOPLE!!



Accuquilt dies used:
55010 5” Square charm
55147 Half square triangle 2 ¼” finished
55731 Signature 4 ½” finished

Blue Wren die used:
6015 1 ½” strip cutter



Monday, March 23, 2020

Sweet Music Man


My all time favorite singer is gone. The distinctive voice of Kenny Rogers caught my attention back when he was with The First Edition. But I fell in love with him at a concert in 1978 when he sang Sweet Music Man, She Believes In Me and I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again.

So many memories made with his music. I spent the night on a sidewalk outside TicketMaster to score front row seats on several occasions. We never sat further back than the 6th row, at all his Nashville area concerts.

Kenny used to toss signed tambourines to the audience and I'm lucky enough to have several. I knocked over a good friend to catch my first...I gave her the next one I caught the following year.

My favorite memory is a Christmas concert at the Grand Ole Opry House. He asked for volunteers from the audience and I popped up like a red headed jack-in-the-box. We were to help him sing The Twelve Days of Christmas. And I do not sing well at all. 

Being first, I had partridge in a pear tree, so I got to sing with him twelve times. On the Opry stage. With his arm around me!  My feet didn't touch the ground for days.

He had much better luck with some of his duet partners: Dottie West, Dolly Parton, Ronnie Milsap, Lionel Richie, Gladys Knight, Sheena Easton, and Kim Carnes.

His music is timeless in several genres: jazz, folk, pop, rock, and country. He kept his signature style but tried new ideas over his six decade career. I love his many hits but the album cuts are some of his best. If I had to choose my top five, they are Lady, Through The Years, Anyone Who Isn't Me Tonight, Crazy, and Sweet Music Man.

I will truly miss this wonderful, talented man. He always made me feel like he was singing just for me, even at a packed concert. I have photos, memories, and music to heal my broken heart.

"Nobody sings a love song quite like you do"



Monday, March 16, 2020

Little Green Apples


Wearin' of the green for St. Patrick's Day...it's a natural at our house!

I'm sewing with green, too.  Little Green Apples is a lovely baby quilt in shades of green and white. These prints are old fashioned, just like the pattern. The curved seams in the Apple Core die went together perfectly on my Janome 9400 machine.

I quilted in white thread, using straight stitch and following the curves. The outside borders were stitched in straight lines. This little beauty was a delight to sew, and finished out at 42” square.


I have several projects cut and ready in case of quarantine due to the current pandemic. In fact, I'm thinking about staying home anyway. Who wants to risk getting sick? I need to spring clean, and I'll use ANY excuse to sew all day.


Accuquilt dies used:
55036 Apple Core
55017 2 ½” strip


Sláinte!


Monday, March 9, 2020

Dreamtime


Dreamtime
As many quilts as I make, fabric scraps multiply quickly. Every few weeks I have a cutting session to keep the remnant baskets from overflowing. 

Using Accuquilt dies, I cut my most used sizes of squares, triangles, strips, and tumblers.  I sort them into inexpensive kitchen storage boxes, then label and stack in my cabinets. With all these pieces organized, my sewing room is neater and I'm able to sew a quick quilt anytime.

Today's project is made up of 4 ½” hourglass blocks in bright, cheerful colors and cool white/cream/gray neutrals pulled from my stash. It's an adorable 40” square baby quilt called Dreamtime. After piecing the blocks, I arranged them on my design wall to balance the colors before sewing them together.

I quilted it on Rockette, my latest Singer machine (see last week's post for that story). I used white thread in a straight stitch 3/8” from each horizontal and vertical seam line.  Perfect, neat and simple.  Love that Slant-O-Matic!

Accuquilt dies used:
55398  4 ½” finished Quarter Square Triangles
55017 2 ½” Strips

Come with me,
where dreams are born,
and time is never planned.
~ Peter Pan



Monday, March 2, 2020

Singer Slant-O-Matic 500 Rocketeer

Singer Slant-O-Matic 500
Rocketeer
Do you know what sometimes happens when you're just browsing around, not intending to buy anything? Yep, that item catches your eye and you are hooked.

I've been bad. I certainly didn't need another sewing machine, especially a vintage one from the early 1960's. But this Singer Slant-O-Matic 500 is so cool looking, so space age and interesting that it is commonly known as the Rocketeer. Price was only $49, including the original manual and accessory box, so I figured why not.




My sweet husband and I cleaned, degunked lint and grease out of the gears, replaced a worn bobbin winder tire, broken spring, and a few other parts. We polished this well built gem to a shine. I love working on projects with my guy.

She sewed beautifully, even before we cleaned her up. But now, what lovely stitches! I had attachments from my Athena 2000 that fit, but ordered some cams and bobbins. My investment is around $100 so far; I call that a bargain!

Rockette won't be my primary machine, but I will use her often enough to keep everything running smoothly. I tested her out by quilting and binding a small project and she sewed a dream.

Rockette at work
I've got to stay away from antique malls, thrift stores, yard sales, and online marketplaces. I'm too easily tempted! I don't have space or funds to go crazy collecting sewing machines. But, if I win the lottery...




Monday, February 24, 2020

Aussie Stars


This gorgeous block has been on my to do list for a while. The Arkansas Traveler die is currently only available if you attend a class at an Accuquilt dealer. Unfortunately, there are no dealers or classes near me.

Thankfully, I found the Traveler's Star 12” die (same design) by Blue Wren from A1 Craft and Quilting in Australia. I also ordered a 1” finished strip die, and both came with free mats. Including international shipping to the USA, the total cost was only $106. Not bad for 2 dies and 2 mats. The dies work perfectly on my Go cutter.

Aussie Stars
Aussie Stars is 43” square, made up of nine blocks in teal and bright green with black bandana print and cream prints. I've had the teal and green leaf print for a while; it gives a modern look as sashing and borders.

It takes precise stitching, pressing, and alignment to get a perfectly flat block. I'll admit to using the seam ripper on the first two, but my practice blocks went in the quilt after I got them right. The rest were a breeze.


The back is an extra block that I framed off center with leftover wide strips of teal, green, and black. I quilted with a dark cream thread in long serpentine patterns with a walking foot.

I'll be making more of this classic design, and I'll definitely order more Blue Wren dies.  Good customer service from Norma by email.  My order took a little over 3 weeks to arrive, but it sat in customs here for days.  


Blue Wren dies used:
Traveler's Star 6361
1 ½” strip 6015

Leap day is this Saturday



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