Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Friday, January 29, 2016

Welcome, February!

I have never been a big fan of January.  There's something about the dark days right after Christmas that makes me long for the month to pass.  And it does, because here we are at the end of it!  Already the days are longer, and even though we have lots more winter ahead of us, Colorado has had some mild days with just a hint of spring in the air.

It was time to get some color back into my home, too, so this week I finished up a February table runner I had been working on.

It's made from the scraps of a fat quarter bundle of Gleeful from Art Gallery Fabrics that I got back in 2014. I really like the mixture of pink, blue, and yellow that are included in these fabrics, especially the solid yellow that I used for the binding.  It's like a little bit of sunshine peeking through!  The center heart block is made from this tutorial by Diary of a Quilter.

I thought I was done making blue blocks for the January Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2016 until I was poking around quilting blogs earlier this week, and came across this quilt at Em's Scrapbag. It's called Free Four All, and is made up of many different sizes of four patch blocks.  So, what did I do?  Looked in my collection of 2 1/2 inch blocks, pulled out the blues and low volumes, and started stitching!  So far, here is what I have:

I think this will be one of those projects that evolves over a very long time!  Can't wait to add more colors to this collection!

I'll be linking up with Scrap Happy Saturday at SoScrappy and Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Join me there this weekend for lots of scrappy inspiration!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

An idea for layer cake squares

Not long ago, I came across this tutorial from Noodlehead for using up 10 inch squares.  I had quite a few stored away that I had bought from Connecting Threads last summer.  (Mostly because I wanted to bring my total up to what I needed for free shipping!) The squares I have are a mixture of bright solids, some tone on tone brights, and a set of prints called Saltwater, that have cute little creatures on them like mermaids and whales.  I decided to give this a try!  The tutorial I linked to has great directions, but I also took a bunch of photos to show how you make a block.  Something I really like about these blocks is that you get four 9 inch blocks out of four 10 inch squares!

You start by making HSTs out of two of your squares, using the method where a line is drawn from corner to corner and you sew 1/4 inch on either side of the line.

Before cutting these HSTs apart on the drawn line, turn the squares the other direction and cut across the sewn line.

Then you cut each of those pieces in half, and you will end up with four units like these below.

After pressing, they should look like these.

Using two of the four above units, lay them out on a third square as shown below.

At this point, the tutorial emphasizes that you should pin carefully because you are working with the bias edge of the fabric, and it will stretch easily.  After pinning, stitch a 1/4 inch seam across both sides where you have pinned.

Then cut from corner to corner across the square.

After pressing, your new block will look like these.  Remember, you get four of these out of four 10 inch squares.  They do need to be trimmed, and will end up to be 9 inches, unfinished.

I made 36 of these blocks, and here's one way they could be laid out.  Depending on the colors you are using (mine is pretty bright and uncontrolled!), you could end up with a variety of fun designs!

I'm thinking this one will make a great donation quilt, so after I trim up the blocks, I'll get busy sewing the rows together and finish it up!

Linking up with Oh Scrap! over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework today!

Friday, January 22, 2016

A little bit more with blue...

I have been playing with all kinds of scrappy blues this week! At the beginning of the week, I finished Prince Charming's Pillow, blogged about in more detail here.

I also added one more 16 patch to my collection, the lightest one in the upper left corner.  Originally, when I was thinking about joining in with RSC16, I envisioned this quilt being all darker value fabrics with low volume backgrounds, but now that I've added a wider variety of values, I like these blocks a lot more!

I also pulled out my scraps of Gleeful, and started a Valentine table runner for my dining room table.  I got a fat quarter bundle of this fabric back in 2014, and have used it for more than one project.  It came with several fun prints, with pink, yellow, blue, and lime green in them, and a few coordinating solids.  I decided to focus on the pink and blue for this table runner,  to give it a little bit of a nontraditional look.

I even pulled out an older knitting project and took it along with me to a get together with friends.  I started this scarf a couple of years ago, and it's one of those things I get out and put away, and then get out again months later.  It was fun to knit with friends while we visited, and simple enough for my knitting skills that I didn't get confused about what I was doing while we chatted!

Maybe one of these days, I will actually finish it!

Looking forward to Scrap Happy Saturday, where I will link up with Angela at So Scrappy and see what everyone else has been up to with their RSC 16 blocks!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Prince Charming's Pillow

Last week, I spent some time sorting the Tula Pink Prince Charming scraps that Cynthia sent me back in December.  Just playing with them and inspecting them up close was fun because I've never owned any Tula Pink fabric before, and it is gorgeous and full of lots of fun details.  I noticed that she had sent me a lot of strings, and decided I wanted to play with some string blocks.

After I had made four of them, I could see they would make the perfect pillow for my living room couch, so I sashed and bordered them in some Kona Navy that I had, and went to work quilting .

I decided this would be a good project to practice some of the different kinds of quilting designs that I can do with my walking foot, so I stitched something different in each square, using the spool of medium teal Aurifil that came in my lovely care package from Cynthia.  It is perfect with this fabric!  So pretty!

A square spiral...


and Half circles... 

were three of the designs I tried.

To make the back of the pillow, I always use Crazy Mom Quilts' Envelope Backing tutorial, and this time I even made my own pillow form to stuff it with!  So simple... I cut a piece of muslin that was the same width as my pillow, plus a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and twice as wide.  I folded it over and stitched up all the open sides leaving about a 5 inch opening for turning, and then I stuffed it with fiberfill (which I have a big bag of from another project where I only needed a little!) until it felt just right.  Very scientific!  It turned out to be perfect and much less expensive than buying a ready-made pillow form!

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday today!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Scrappy Bits and Pieces

This has been a good week for sewing with little scrappy strips and bits.  Sometimes that's all your brain can handle, and that has been me this week!  But, look!  My design wall (such as it is!) is filling up!

I added a couple of 16 patch blocks to my collection.  Last week I wasn't happy with what I had so far for these blocks, but they are growing on me, especially looking at the grouping (above) from a distance!  Lol!

And one more:

I love this one especially because I pulled two pieces of binding out of my scrap basket, ironed them open, and used them for the two strips needed to make the 16 patch.  Thank you to Cynthia for this idea!  Her Scrap-a-Palooza 16 patch quilt from September of 2014 is my inspiration for these blocks.

I also made two blue Scrap Jar Stars - one in lighter blues and the other in darker:

I can tell already that I am going to love this quilt.  Those stars are becoming one of my favorite blocks. They go together pretty quickly, and are a good way to practice making my HSTs more exact.

I'll be linking up to Scrap Happy Saturday and Oh Scrap! on Sunday for lots more scrappy inspiration!  See you there!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Happy Mail!

Monday afternoon I received a sweet package in the mail all the way from Texas!  Lucky me to be the winner of the giveaway from my friend, Linda, who blogs at The Road to Oklahoma!

The package was full of beautiful fat quarters of  Sweet as Honey, a mini charm pack of Prairie, and a fascinating new book!  I have been petting this fabric all week, and thinking about what I might do with it!

What Linda doesn't know is that I spent a large part of my day on Tuesday waiting for my husband to have some surgery, and so reading Modern Rainbow was just what the doctor ordered!  The perfect way to spend my time.  Thank you, Linda!  You are so generous, and I loved winning your giveaway!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stash Busting!

I don't have a huge stash of fabric, so it's fun to add to it now and then.  One of my favorite ways to add fabric to my stash is with precuts like fat quarters, charm packs, and layer cakes.  Then, when inspiration strikes, I can pull something out and get right to work.  

While also working on a few blocks for RSC 16 and Quilty 365 this week, I decided I wanted to make us some new placemats with matching napkins.  Something new for the new year!  Back in October when we were on our fall trip in upstate New York, I visited every quilt shop I could find, and came home with a few small additions to my stash.  Among them were these fat quarters:

Since then I've been trying to figure out something to do with them, and I finally decided that a couple of quilted placemats and coordinating napkins would be fun to have for our January table.  I was inspired by this tutorial on the Sew Fresh Quilts blog.  I followed Lorna's directions, but made my placemats quite a bit bigger.  Instead of cutting my strips 3 x 10 inches, I cut them 3 x 14, and used 7 strips rather than 5.  Although I didn't make mine with scraps, they would make a great scrappy project!

I used the blue fat quarter, plus a couple from my stash for the backing, for the napkins.  I love this pattern for napkins because they are reversible, and you make two napkins out of two fat quarters. They are great for gifts, too! I've blogged about them before,  here and here.

I'm enjoying how they look on our table!  Plus, now I have a few more scraps to use in another project!

Happy Sunday, everyone!  I am headed over to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework to link up and check out lots more scrappy inspiration!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Scrappy Blues

I've been pulling out some blues this week and experimenting with 2 1/2 inch squares and strips, making another 16 patch block and a couple framed four patches, resulting in these blocks.

To be honest, I'm not really liking this combination yet, but it's early, and I bet they need some help from other colors, so I'll keep experimenting!  It's fun to play!

I'm linking up with Scrap Happy Saturday and looking forward to checking out what everyone else has been working on this week!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

I did it!

I am so excited to have finished my Scrap Vortex quilt, just last night!  It feels like a big accomplishment for the end of 2015, and the beginning of 2016.  This quilt occupied my mind, my design wall, and my sewing space for a large part of the past year!

I decided to go big on the scrappy for this finish.  A scrappy backing:

 And a scrappy binding:

The only rules were that any fabrics included in the backing or binding had to also be in the quilt flimsy!  All I ended up buying for this quilt were the batting and thread (and I stock up on that kind of thing pretty often)! 

I quilted it in a spiral as AmandaJean suggested in her QAL last summer.  

Although this kind of quilting takes me awhile (and several spools of thread!), it was such a pleasure because I revisited every piece of fabric I used!  I have scraps from one of the first quilts I ever made (an all blue Irish Chain quilt for my MIL in 2000) all the way up to scraps from quilts and other projects completed in 2015. 

This quilt is not without its quirks!  One of which is that it isn't entirely square.  Even though I squared up the blocks and chunks I made as I sewed them together, and then tried my best to square up the whole quilt when it was completed, it still is a little out of whack on one side.  Is that because the quilting distorted it a little bit?  I'm not sure!  It is something I didn't notice until the binding was completely finished, so it is something I'm going to love and laugh at about this quilt as I am cuddling under it with a good book later on today!

Linking up with Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework today, because I can never get too much scrappy inspiration!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

RSC 2016

I love scrappy...

And rainbows...

So when I learned about the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at SoScrappy, I knew I needed to join in for 2016.  I started experimenting with blocks for it a month ago or so, and came up with two ideas.

I've been wanting to try 16 patch blocks, so I've made a few of those:

And I am also planning to make at least one Scrap Jar Star in the color of the month as well.  To experiment with this block, I made one in yellow, so a blue one, for January, is still in the works!

The great thing about working with these two different blocks is that the 16 patches piece quickly and easily with strips of fabric, but the stars use smaller pieces, so I can use up different sizes and shapes of scraps this way.  I think I will enjoy making both and seeing what I end up with later this year.  It's fun to have a plan, and a new group to link up with each month.  Definitely a Scrappy New Year for me!

I'll see you over there , today Scrap Happy Saturday and tomorrow at Oh Scrap!, at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.