Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Modern Rainbow

I was all done with my red sewing for the month of March, so I decided to play with a different rainbow of fabric this week.

These are the Kona Cotton solids that I've been working with during the Play Improv QAL hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts.  Bordeaux, Pomegranate, Citrus, Cactus, Pool, and Oyster.  I love those names!

I've posted quite a bit about this project in the last month or so, mainly because I am having so much fun trying the prompts that Patty gives us each week.  This week's prompt was *Strips and Curves!*

The piece I've been working on has a lot of strip piecing in it.  That's been a fun way to fill in some spaces and use up the scraps that have been generated, for example, in this corner from a few weeks ago.

But... Curves?  Scary!  (For me, anyway!)  Thankfully, Patty always includes a short tutorial with her weekly prompt, and I also found this post by Debbie from A Quilter's Table, and carefully read the section on piecing improv curves.

I started with two strips  - bordeaux and pool - of about 5 x 22, followed the tutorials, and ended up with this section that I added to the bottom of my project.  

Hey, those went together really easily, and they were fun!  Who knew?!  :)

To make this section fit, I cut off two pieces from each part that were about 3 x 6, and I decided to keep going and use those up.  What I found out was that curved piecing is addictive!  I just kept adding another section, and another section, and...

This piece was sewn onto the left side of my project - and here's what it looks like now!

So. Much. Fun!  No wonder this QAL is called "Play!"

Angela at SoScrappy has chosen multi-color fabrics for our April Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, so I'll be heading into my sewing room to see what I've got that fits in with that idea.  Sounds like fun to me!  See you over at the Scrap Happy Saturday link-up tomorrow, too.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I Like Thursday #24 -

Happy Thursday Eve, friends!  I didn't use to like Thursdays, back when I was working.  They seemed like a long day, which needed to be gotten through, in order for Friday to come!  We sometimes referred to Thursday as "Friday Eve."

But now I like Thursdays - it's the day I've chosen to post about things I like, the good things of my life, what gives me pleasure, what I am thankful for.  

This week, I like my daffodils even more than I liked them last week, because they are just blooming like crazy!  I'm really enjoying Spring!

I like discovering books that continue stories and characters that I have enjoyed in the past.  When my dad was alive, we shared a lot of books, and one of our favorite series was written by Tony Hillerman. These books always took place in the Navajo country of New Mexico and Arizona.  The main characters were Navajo Tribal policemen who always had a mystery to solve.  These books also have a lot of Native American culture and beliefs woven into the stories which I always enjoy.  The last book in the series was written in 2006, and Tony Hillerman passed away in 2008.

I just found out that Tony Hillerman's daughter, Anne, has begun writing a new series featuring these same characters, so I checked the first one out from the library last week, and enjoyed every page of it!  It was like meeting up with an old friend.

I quickly finished this one, and now I am on the second book in the series, called Rock with Wings.

I like a freshly painted room!  (Although I have to admit, I don't enjoy the actual painting...)  This week, we decided it was time to get started painting the inside of our house.  We started with the stairway hall, because it really needed some work.  Painting a stairway is not necessarily easy, but oh, it does look so much better!  

I like making small, but useful items, like cloth napkins or drawstring bags.  They are quick to make and fun, plus they make great gifts for friends.  If you're interested in making something like this, you can find a tutorial from In Color Order here.

I made this drawstring bag as a gift for a quilty blogger friend who I got to meet in real life!!!!!  It is LeeAnna from Not Afraid of Color - our muse for I Like Thursdays, as well as many other quilt-related inspirations, who came to Colorado, and got in touch with me about getting together.

We met up at my favorite quilt shop, and enjoyed lots of fabric related conversation, among other things. This was my first opportunity to meet a blogger-friend, but definitely not my last, as it was great fun to find out how much we have in common.

Which brings me to - be sure to check out LeeAnna's blog, Not Afraid of Color, because she is the original I Like Thursday girl, and hosts a blog hop there every Thursday for anyone who writes a similar post.  

Thanks for visiting today, and Happy Thursday!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Improv Sampler - Adding On

The last time I posted about my Improv Sampler, it looked like this -

In the last couple of weeks, I've added some wonky stars - see below -  which were probably the most challenging to improv piece!  To make this row match the top of my quilt, I also added a quarter log cabin and some chunks and strips sewn together. (That was a great way to use up the leftover bits that have been generated when I cut into the fabric for other blocks.)  It was fun trying to figure out how to make that quarter log cabin be really wonky, and I like how it turned out!

Last Monday's prompt from Patty at Elm Street Quilts (my improv guru!) was to use all the leftover bits and pieces to make crumb blocks.  Well, at that point, here is what I had to work with - 

I turned these scraps into a long, narrow crumb block.

Then I added it to the left side of my piece - 

This kind of sewing is good for my brain!  Lots of "Hmmm, how will I make this work?"  :)  

We have two more weeks of Monday prompts, and then it will be time to finish my improv sampler up.  It's very interesting NOT knowing how this will look when it's finished!

To find out more about the Play Improv QAL at Elm Street Quilts, check out this link.  See what other quilters have been trying as they learn more about improv at the Play Improv QAL link-up.

I'll also be joining Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for the Oh Scrap! link-up.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Finished Flimsy and Some Monkey Business!

I was so excited to put the last stitch in the last border of my Scrap Jar Stars quilt top yesterday!  I made these blocks throughout 2016 during the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and I really love how it all turned out.

I've been having a good time looking at it up close and thinking about how I will quilt it.  Digging into my copy of Walk, by Jacquie Gering has given me some ideas!

Meanwhile, the monkeys have not been let out to play all month, and I think they were trying to tell me something!

So I dug through a few scraps and made some red monkeys.

I think they'll be the life of the party!

We're getting toward the end of Red month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Check out tomorrow's link at SoScrappy to see what everyone else has been doing with their red scraps!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Like Thursday #23 - Out in the Yard

This past weekend, the weather was so nice around here that we decided it was time to do some spring clean-up in the yard.  I like this time of year so much!  It wasn't quite spring on the calendar, but it sure felt like it, and there were lots of fun things to discover around the yard.

The dandelions are coming up.  I know they are weeds to most people, but I was happy to see this one, and I think they are actually good for attracting bees to your yard.

Lots more crocuses are blooming!

By Sunday, my first daffodil was blooming, too!  As the week has gone on, more and more have opened.  :)

I like pine cones!  I was running the lawn mower to pick up old leaves while my hubby ran the blower and raked, and I came across these pine cones.  They are from my next door neighbor's tree, but ended up in our yard.  

I like yard "art!"  For example, this little butterfly hangs on one of my barrels where I plant flowers later in the spring.

I really like this rainbow spinner!

Since our yard has lots of bird feeders to attract songbird and woodpeckers, we also have a bird bath to provide water for them.  Sometimes the fresh water attracts a different kind of bird - 

Say hello to Mrs Cooper's Hawk.  We're not sure if it is the same female hawk that we have seen in our neighborhood the last couple of years, but I think it could be.  Last year, we saw the male and female together, then eventually an adult with two babies.  After the babies left home, we saw less of the parents, but she seems to be back.  It's pretty fascinating to watch them in our yard, but unfortunately the songbirds who are their prey stay away when the hawks are near.  

I saw this on Facebook today, and liked it - 

If you're reading this post, then you're part of my tribe, and I thank you for that!  Be sure to join in with the I Like Thursday tribe over at LeeAnna's place - Not Afraid of Color.  It's always fun to see what others have liked in their lives over the last week!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Little Progress and Some Paper Plate Projects

I have become one of those quilters who always has about four different projects going at once.  This doesn't work for everyone, but it does for me, because I work on different things depending on what I'm in the mood for!

This week I decided it was time to finish up the last border around the outside of my Scrap Jar Stars quilt, which was started as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project last year.

The outer borders are made of 2 1/2 inch strips of Kona white, and lots of scrappy 2 inch squares in a rainbow of colors.

After all the bits and pieces are cut, I have to lay them out to make sure I have a good mix of colors and contrast with the fabrics of the first border and the stars.

Once that's figured out, I can sew up the border and attach it to the quilt.  There are three sides left to do.

Meanwhile, there are other ongoing projects that have to be tidied up and set aside to make room for this one.  Not long ago, I figured out that it would be convenient to pile up their components onto paper plates so that I could easily get them out of the way, but also find them again easily.  (I know there are other quilters out there who use plates like this to help with organization, and I'm sure I read about this on someone else's blog.  I appreciate the inspiration I get from bloggers everywhere, in so many ways!)

You can see this year's RSC projects there - string blocks and 6 inch blocks.  Plus I have a pile of fabric for my Improv Sampler, and then the plate full of pieces for the Scrap Jar Stars quilt.  Depending on what I want to work on at any point in time, they can be easily stacked up and set aside without taking up too much room!

While I am by no means an organizational expert, this has been working really well for me!  Now it's time to get back to my SJS border!

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

Friday, March 17, 2017

Maple Leaves and Nines

A little bit of red sewing has been going on in my studio this week.  I made a red maple leaf and a red nine patch to add to my collection of 6.5 inch blocks.  Red is definitely one of my favorite colors!

I've made four different red 6.5 blocks this month - can you tell what my current favorite red scraps are? :) (And that fabric is almost gone - sigh...)

Here's how the maple leaves and nine patches are looking all together.

Although I don't yet have any big plans for these blocks, I'm starting to think that these blocks will go together in one quilt, and I'll be doing other things with the bow ties and the crumb blocks.  After having some quilting deadlines the last couple of weeks, it's just fun to play!

Sharing over at SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Like Thursday #22 - All the Little Things

I realized the other day that I (and probably most of us) have a lot of little things around my house that just fade into the background most of the time, and I don't pay much attention to them.

Until I dust!  :)

My book club group was coming over to my house the other day, and I was cleaning, and it made me pay attention to some little things that I hadn't really looked at for awhile.  (Okay, I will admit that dusting is not my favorite chore!)

I like these little ceramic cows.  They are salt and pepper shakers that my sister gave to me years ago.  They like to hang out on my kitchen counter, but have actually never had any salt or pepper in them!

I like my smiley face mug that a friend gave me when we graduated from high school. (a million years ago!)  I kept it in my classroom for all the years that I was teaching 5th grade, and it was the place for kids to find an extra pencil when they needed one.  Although I got rid of a lot of school things when I retired, I had to keep this mug!

In the mug, I keep 60 little messages that my teaching partner wrote and covered my door with when I turned 60. They are fun to re-read now and then, and make great bookmarks!

I like dalmatians!  This is Perdita, from the movie, 101 Dalmatians.  I got her when our kids were little and we took them to Disneyland for the first time.  At the time, we also had our very own (real) dalmatian, and he looked a lot like Perdita!

I like old family pictures!  This is my grandmother as a young girl.  Look at her, on her toes like that!  Ballet is something I tried as a little girl, but never mastered

I like grapefruit!  My mom lives in Arizona, and has a grapefruit tree in her yard.  Her grapefruit are so tasty, and look what she sent me!  A box of them, right off the tree.  It's a little thing, but it meant a lot to me that she would do this!

And and update:  A few Thursdays back, I wrote about discovering zucchini noodles and how I liked buying them in a package at the store, sauteing them up, and using them instead of regular noodles or spaghetti.  We found ourselves doing that pretty regularly, so we decided it was time to buy a gadget that would enable us to make the noodles ourselves.

I like my Veggetti!  It works great, and since zucchini is really inexpensive to buy whole, I think it will pay for itself in no time.  Here she is, working away for us!  And only a little bit messy to clean up!

I like "I Like Thursday" posts, and look forward to reading about the things our I Like community has thought about this week!  Join me for the weekly blog hop at LeeAnna's place, Not Afraid of Color.

Monday, March 13, 2017

An Improv Sampler

Today is the day to link up my progress on Elm Street Quilts' Play Improv QAL.   I'm calling mine "Improv Sampler" because that is what it is - each week I'm making a different type of block in an improv or wonky style.

We started with a wonky log cabin -

I made this block into the center of my quilt, medallion style, and have been adding on to it with each week's new blocks.

Improv triangles -

Stack, cut, and sew rectangles -

And then, this last week was improv flying geese.  I started by working on three of them, small, medium, and large.  

Just cutting, sewing, and trimming up - very liberating!

I knew I would need some more geese, to make this block fit in with one side of my sampler, so I ended up with a column of five, and used up a few scraps to add in those stripes.

This week's prompt is wonky stars!  I'm excited to give them a try.  It's so fun to mull it all over - what size do I want to make them, what colors, where will they fit on this piece?

Check out the link-up, here, at Elm Street Quilts, to see what other quilters have been trying!