Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of 2015

Cheryl, over at Meadow Mist Designs, is having a Best of 2015 Linky Party!  After checking out many of the other blogs who have linked up, I was inspired to write up a post for myself.  So here goes!

1.  I've discovered that I love small and useful finishes, like bags and pouches, and have tried several different types this year.  Here are two of my favorites!

A "Two in One" pouch from Sotak Handmade - two zippers and velcro!

A "Pyramid Pouch," pattern by Sandra at Musings 
of a Menopausal Melon - equilateral triangles!

2.  My little blog was featured on Oh Scrap! over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework, back in February, where I showed how I make small, scrappy, table runners and mug rugs.

Thanks, Cynthia, for the opportunity to do that!

3.  I tried something new with English Paper Piecing, and created a new favorite, this Christmas Tree wall-hanging.

4.  My favorite big quilt finish of the year, Into the Woods.

5.  And finally, I completed my Scrap Vortex flimsy, which right now I'm madly working on quilting and finishing it up!  I have long admired AmandaJean of Crazy Mom Quilts, and when she started a Scrap Vortex QAL, I knew I wanted to join in.  This was also my most viewed and commented on post for the year!

As for 2016... what might it bring?  I am still getting the hang of being a retired teacher, and having more time for my favorite activities!  It is wonderful to have hours everyday to sew and create.  Along with quilts and small projects for myself, I am hoping to do more charity quilting.  And I am finally going to take some time to figure out free motion quilting!  A Craftsy class is definitely in my future!

Happy New Year to all of you, and may it be all you hope for!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Scrappy and Small

In between visits with family and friends over the holiday, I've had the chance to work on several small scrappy projects.

Some tiny patchwork pincushions, made out of these fun sewing-themed fat quarters, gifts for some local quilty friends:
These pincushions finish at about 4 1/4 inches!

A zipper pouch for my sister:

I followed this video tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company, and I think I had my most successful zipper experience yet!

Keeping up with my Quilty 365 orange peels:

I've also been working on a scrappy backing for my Scrap Vortex quilt, which has turned out to be somewhat labor intensive! :)  Hope to be posting more about that next week!

Happy Sunday!  Hope you are enjoying a day of sewing or whatever makes you happy!  Linking up to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

There is something about sewing with Christmas fabric at Christmas time that always entices me!  So, I made a couple of mug rugs using Diary of a Quilter's Modern Christmas Tree Quilt Block tutorial.

They are fun and easy to put together, and I love how you make two at one time with opposite fabrics.  I can definitely see myself making something larger out of this pattern in the future.

To all of you who visit my blog, I wish a very happy Christmas, and hope it is filled with the love of family and friends.  You are a gift to me everyday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Scrap Vortex Flimsy

I am so excited this week to have finished up my Scrap Vortex flimsy!  It has actually been quite challenging for me and a good learning experience!

I started it way back in June with these little bits:

And kept going throughout the summer and fall a little at a time:

And now I have this:

It measures about 50 x 62, and will be the perfect size for snuggling up with a good book in my favorite chair!

It has some of my favorite fabrics from other quilts and projects in it, which makes it so fun to look at.  Kind of a grown-up I Spy quilt!

It also has fabrics I don't ever recall buying, but there they were in my scrap basket.  I bet we all have some of those!

When I first started this quilt, I didn't expect it to be as challenging as it was!  I mean, all I was doing was sewing bits and pieces together, and trimming them up so I could sew more bits and pieces together, right? It was really a lot like putting a puzzle together.  Lining up bits and pieces with each other so they could form bigger and bigger blocks, and then rows, and finally become something that is rectangular and "square" and a size that would be useful.  I sewed the blocks I made into four rows about 50 inches wide, but since it still wasn't long enough, I ended up making two narrower rows that I attached to the top and bottom to reach my goal of 60 inches or a bit longer.  And I am so pleased with the result! 

Now to find the perfect backing material and get it ready to quilt!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

This week in orange peels...

For a retired person, I have had the most hectic week!  We spent three days traveling to have a belated Thanksgiving with our sons, and then I had three days of substitute teaching scheduled.  That kind of thing really cuts into my sewing time!  I did manage to keep up with my Quilty 365 orange peels.

Highlights of the week definitely included finally getting to see my boys for a turkey dinner, our favorite games, and good conversation.

Substitute teaching is nothing like having your own class and getting to know the kids, but it does have its moments!

Here is a note I got from a sweet second grader!

One of the days I was gone teaching, I came home to a lovely care package from my friend, Cyndy, and it included a big pile of her Tula scraps, which I just love.  I had to make an orange peel to celebrate that!

My quilt group met Thursday for our annual Christmas gift exchange, which included much stealing and hilarity!  We were the very definition of jolly that evening!

And, for a good end of the week, my husband and I went to one of our favorite local wineries for some wine tasting.  One of our favorite things to do!

Yesterday I was able to spend quite a bit of time on my Scrap Vortex top, and it's ALMOST DONE!  Yay! Hoping to post about that this coming week!  

Linking up to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Go check out all the scrappy goodness!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Almost Done and Starting New

A few weeks ago, I showed a picture of these granny square blocks on my design wall.  This week I am finishing up a baby quilt using those blocks.

These blocks needed something to tie them together (an organizing fabric!) and I found a bunch of 4 inch strips of Kona Maize in my stash which seemed like it would work!  I also noticed that there were a lot of scraps left from the Kate Spain Honey Honey jelly roll I bought a couple years ago in the granny squares, so I used a few more of those for some corner stones in between the blocks.

I backed it with some leftover mint green Into the Woods dots, and used some strips of Hello Sunshine for the binding.  This quilt finished up at about 36" x 36."  All that is left is to finish hand sewing the binding. I may save this sweet quilt for a future baby, or donate it.  I haven't decided yet!

I have also been enjoying seeing the posts about Quilty 365, and decided to join in with my own take on it.  I am making orange peels (using this tutorial) and backing them with charm squares of Modern Backgrounds in Paper by Zen Chic.

The idea is to make one block a day that represents something from that day, such as an activity, a feeling, etc, for a whole year!  I started on December 1st, so the first block has the Number 1 in it.  My husband and I enjoy going to a local coffee shop many mornings to begin our day, little penguins (because... that's me!), and some fun Christmas fabric to remind me of attending a holiday show at the local dinner theater with a friend.  I think this will be quite fun, and hopefully, something I can keep up with!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!  My husband and I are off to see our sons for a belated Thanksgiving. We had to stay home last week because of crummy weather.  Looking forward to some turkey leftovers!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fresh Spools Finish

I have been keeping busy with multiple sewing projects this week, but have several small finishes to show off today.  The spool mini I started last week is complete, as well as a little pincushion I made to go with it.

I did some very simple square spiral quilting and stitch in the ditch around the spools themselves, and bound the mini in one of the blues I used for the blue spool.

I used Crazy Mom Quilts' tutorial for making a tiny pincushion, which I just love.  It has a little bit of fussy cutting - see the "inspire?"  Also the upside down heart which makes me laugh!  This mini and pincushion are going to be a gift for a quilty friend.  Hope she loves it as much as I do!

I made two other spools which I am going to keep for myself.  These are finished off individually and we are using them as mug rugs/coasters for morning coffee every day.  I love the warm golds in these two!

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving!  Today I'm planning some Sunday sewing and checking out all the scrappy projects over at Oh Scrap!  See you there!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fresh Spools

This week, Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts, shared the fifth and final paper pieced spool pattern in her Fresh Spools Series.  So, of course, I had to stitch it up!

Here are all of the spools I have made in the last few weeks:

They have been a fun and enjoyable way to use some scraps and be creative with color choices!  Thanks, Faith, for sharing these sweet spool patterns!

But now, what to do with them?  All along, I have intended to make them into a gift for a quilty friend, but what and how?

Yesterday, I decided to use four of them to make a mini quilt and put them together with some sashing...

Then chose something to back it with...

This comes from a panel that I've had for quite awhile, called Best Friends, by Sandy Gervais for Moda.  Each section has these cute little ladies having fun together!  Can you see what this one says?  I love it!

That leaves me with these two to make something else out of - not sure yet what I will do with them.

Today I'm going to figure out how to quilt the spool mini.  Still mulling that part over.  

Happy Sunday, everyone!  Linking up with Oh Scrap for some scrappy inspiration!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Finish for Friday!

This week, I wanted to try using some hexies I made to create something fun, inspired by Modern Handcraft's tutorial and Ruth at Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner.  Since I only had the large size hexagon paper pieces, which are 1.5 inches, I didn't need very many for my modern Christmas Tree!

I found this fun background in my stash, and thought it looked a little like swirling snow!  I fussy cut a little scrap of some red Jingle that I had leftover from the Christmas Star pillow, and found some green scraps from that same pillow that would make the tree.  A tiny yellow print hexie made the star at the top.

I love this old fashion Santa text fabric for the backing, and of course, some more red stripes for the binding are a perfect way to finish it off!

I don't usually decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but I may have to make an exception to that rule this year!

And today I get the chance to link up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!  Happy Friday, everyone!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Some little finishes

After last week's bout of Quilter's ADD, this week I have been in the mood for some finishes.  First up was my Christmas mini, made from a charm pack of Holly's Tree Farm.

I love the sweet prints in this fabric line, especially the cars carrying home their Christmas trees, and the decorated trees themselves!

I used the remaining charm squares to piece the back, but it wasn't quite big enough so I added a little bit of leftover little penguin fabric from my stash.  

Binding is a fun red and white stripe - my first time ever binding with a stripe, and I know I will do it again! Love how it looks!

I had intended this to become the holiday table topper for my dining room table, but it looks more like a doll quilt to me at the moment!  Since I raised two boys, there are not a lot of dolls to be found in our house, but digging deep in our dusty under-the-stairs storage area, I found these two little guys.  Meet Raggedy Andy and his little brother, Kevin, made for my sons by my mom in the early 80's!  They look pretty cozy with their new quilt!

I had also bought a charm pack and some yardage of Kate Spain's Jingle fabric earlier this fall, and saw Blossom Heart Quilt's tutorial earlier this week for her Christmas Star pillow.  I already posted about making the basic star block, but have now finished the pillow, and here it is!  I love it on the red Ikea chair in my living room.  It may not get put away after Christmas is over!

Faith of Fresh Lemons posted her latest Fresh Spool pattern this week, so I made that one up also.  I had a hard time deciding what colors to use for this one, since I am saving my red/pink scraps for the last one which has a heart on it.  For my first try, I decided to go completely off my previous color choices, and came up with this, using a little bit of my Elementary scraps.

I decided this version looks more like a bookshelf than a spool, so I ended up finishing it up as mini mug rug. Then I went back to something that goes better with the previous spools, and made it over again, using some gold/brown scraps for the thread, and my usual cream for the background.  That fits in much better!

Here's the group I've made so far:

I'm looking forward to finishing up the final spool, and then deciding how to put them all together!

Linking up to Oh Scrap! over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework, and planning to go spend some time enjoying the scrappy inspiration this afternoon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Christmas Star Block

Every once in awhile, I come across a new quilt block or tutorial, and I know I just have to make it, right now!  Does that ever happen to you?  Yesterday, it happened.  I was reading the blogs I follow on Bloglovin, and Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts had posted her tutorial for the Christmas Star Quilt Block.  Right away, I knew I wanted to make one, and I even had a charm pack of Kate Spain's Jingle to make it out of!  To make it even more enticing, Alyce included the rest of the directions to make the star block into a pillow cover!  Well, if you read about my Quest, you will know that I need one more pillow cover for the ugly gray pillows I am trying to cover up!  This will be the perfect thing!

Today, I added some dark green borders, and now I'm ready to finish up the pillow front with some 2.5 inch square border pieces according to Alyce's tutorial.  Finally, I'll quilt the front and put the rest of the cover together.  Love a quick and useful finish!

And linking this up to Sew Cute Tuesday!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

This week...

My sewing path, this week, has taken me all over the place!  I started the week working on a new Christmas table topper, out of my Holly's Tree Farm charm pack.  It's up to the quilting phase so far.

The pattern is my own, but inspired by this quilt made by Preeti at Sew Preeti Quilts.   I wanted to feature the fun prints without cutting them up too much.  I used the leftover squares to piece the back.  More on this project later!  

Meanwhile, I also spent some time looking at the October link-ups over at So Scrappy for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and decided I definitely want to join in on that next year.  So, what block would I use?  Maybe a 16 patch?  Rainbow colors with low volume backgrounds would be fun, and easy to make as leaders and enders as well.  That made me want to experiment a little!

I'll definitely keep going with those!

Another thing on my mind this week has been what to do with the Granny Square blocks I've made.  When I first got into the world of quilt blogging I saw the granny square block tutorial over at Blue Elephant Stitches and decided I wanted to make those with my 2.5 inch square scraps.  Over the years, I've made about a dozen of them, used them for various projects like mug rugs, and then put them away when I was distracted by something else.  Here's one of my favorites:

Then, of course, the remaining ones have become orphan blocks, and I have wondered what I could do with them.  I laid them out on my design wall, and looked around for something to sash them with.  Finding a whole bunch of 4 inch strips of Kona Maize in my stash, I decided to try that, and now they look like this:

Looking at this photo, I'm seeing how some of the blocks have too much one darker color forming a center square, which I don't think is what they really should look like! So I think I'll keep going with this plan, including using the Kona Maize for borders as well as the sashing, and turn this into a donation quilt for a baby somewhere. These blocks have been fun to play with, but I think I'm ready to move on!

And, finally, a couple more Fresh Spools have been added to my collection:

This week's block over at Fresh Lemons Quilts is the green log cabin one.  It turned out to be a little bit trickier pattern, and I couldn't quite figure one part of it, so I modified it and did what worked for me.  I still like how it turned out!  The little spool is the pattern Faith used for her pincushion in the Crazy Mom Quilts' pincushion bloghop.  Faith has generously shared that pattern with us, too!  There are two more weeks of spool patterns to go, and then I will have to figure out where I'm going with them.  Should turn into a fun mini! 

If you gotten this far, thank you for following along on my meandering sewing path!  Sometimes, just playing is the best way for awhile!

Linking up with Oh Scrap! like I do every Sunday.