Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Quilting and Daydreaming

I've been slowly quilting Happy Birds this week -

I say slowly because it's a pretty good sized quilt (for me) and those long lines of stitching take awhile to complete.  But I'm plugging away, and it's moving along!

This quilt is my first time using minky for the backing.  It is so soft and I knew my husband would love it, if I could successfully quilt with it.

So far, so good!

As I quilt along, I daydream about what I'd like to be trying, and finally took a break the other day to do some string piecing.  I'd been wanting to try a rectangular block, using phone book pages as the foundations, so that's what I decided to play with.

After about an hour, just playing with my red scraps, I ended up with these - 

The individual string blocks are trimmed to 6.5 x 9.5 inches, and my plan is to always have a dark string running through the middle, so that every set of four blocks creates a diamond shape.  Four of these together should make a nice big finished block - 12.5 x 18.5.  Of the four in the photo, I like the top two best because of the contrast, so I'll have to make some more of those!

Looks like these will become a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for 2019 - something to work on throughout the year!

Wishing all of you a happy and safe New Year, filled with all your favorite things!

Sharing at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Best of 2018

I thought it would be fun to join in with the Best of 2018 linky party at Meadow Mist Designs.  Thank you, Cheryl, for hosting us again this year!

I've had a busy year in my sewing room, and have made lots of fun things, but here are a few of my favorite sewing experiences of 2018.

I loved having my son ask me to make him a new quilt, and of course, could never say no to a request like that!  His only design idea for it was "earthy colors," so I chose a selection of Grunge fat quarters and made a "Yellow Brick Road" quilt for him.

He liked it and reports that with its flannel backing, it is nice and warm!

Also this year, I was really honored to be asked by Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation to help launch her new book, Stash Statement.

I chose her quilt, "Louvered," for my project, and made a rainbow of placemats for my dining room table from her pattern.

You can read my full post about this project HERE.

I love, love, love making mini quilts, and sewed up quite a few again in 2018.  A favorite of this year was this one that I never named, but my post about it says I was "In a green mood!"

This mini quilt was inspired by the quilt, "Leaves and Vine," from the book Sunday Morning Quilts, by AmandaJean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison.

I've really enjoyed doing more hand-stitching recently, experimenting with hexies and embroidery in particular.  I was really happy to be able to give my mom this little 12 inch pillow for Christmas.

Probably my favorite finish of 2018 is "String Star," a quilt I designed myself and created from string blocks sewn monthly throughout 2017, while participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

After looking at lots of ideas online, I drew this design out on graph paper and carefully counted out exactly how many blocks I needed in each color.  It was so exciting to see it come together in real life and fabric, just how my vision on paper looked!  I love seeing this quilt everyday as it hangs on the wall in my dining room.

Thanks for joining me as I thought through my "Best of 2018!"  There's lots more posts over at Meadow Mist Designs.

Also sharing at SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

I Like Thursday #114 - the last of 2018!

Happy Thursday, friends!  Hope you enjoyed the long Christmas weekend!  Ours was nice - just the right combination of busy and relaxing.

I've been enjoying my morning coffee in a new mug, a gift from a quilty friend.

I liked having some time to sew up these last minute Christmas gifts - potholders - made from orphan blocks!  Although I don't exchange gifts with my siblings anymore, I liked having a small gift to take to my sister and BIL to thank them for hosting us for dinner on Christmas Day.

I liked having some time on Sunday afternoon to baste my Happy Birds quilt.  Basting is my least favorite step of the quilting process, but it's always a good feeling to get that done and get the actual quilting started.

I liked making "Just a Dozen Sugar Cookies" this week.  The recipe comes from Carole at From My Carolina Home.  I'd resisted the baking urge right up until the last minute, but it just didn't seem right to not have a few cut-out cookies on Christmas!

And for a laugh this week, I just have to share this...  

"Bullheaded"  is a sculpture in the park near our house.  Every Christmas, someone dresses him up for the season!  

Here he is from another angle!

Ahem!  :)

Joining in with the fun over at Not Afraid of Color!  Thanks, LeeAnna, for hosting our weekly celebration of all things positive!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The last bit of redwork

This week I finished the last two embroidery designs that I traced from Gail Pan's Christmas Patchwork Loves Embroidery

I decided to set them together, using the scraps from the pillow I made for my mom earlier this month.

A little bit of quilting, both by hand and machine, holds the layers together.

This afternoon I'll be hand-stitching the binding down.

These redwork embroidery projects have been such an enjoyable way to do some slow stitching every evening during the holiday season!  I'm really glad I found Gail Pan's book!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Sharing at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!
and at Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Changing my mind...

The last time I showed my Squared Away quilt top, I was planning to use this blue found in my stash for the larger border.

Them, while visiting my mom the first week of December, I went to a favorite quilt shop where she lives thinking I might find fabric for backing and binding.

What I came across was this pretty floral from Garden Variety by Lella Boutique for Moda.

After I got home, I started to think that it was way too pretty to end up on the back of the quilt!  So... this happened!

It was hard to get a good picture that shows the true color of the border after it was sewn onto the quilt, so I took a few close-ups.

I like the light blue and white flowers in it.

The greens and peachy/pink/oranges appealed to me, too!

I even ended up with enough of the border print to make the backing, too - the best of both worlds!   The gray sashing fabric will become the binding now.   This quilt is going to measure just about 50 x 60.

Sharing at SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday.  Hope you're finding some time to sew during this busy holiday weekend!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

I Like Thursday #113 - Twas the Lull Before Christmas

Happy Thursday, friends!  It's an in-between week for me - our kids were home for Christmas this past weekend, and we'll be getting together with extended family this coming weekend.  We had a great time with our kids home - lots of games, good conversation, and good food - my favorite part of every time the four of us are together.  Although no pictures were taken...  here's one from last year - and I had the same view again this year - my kids' cars in the driveway!

After they left to go home, I had fun trying a little DIY project.  Years ago, a friend's mom gave us travel pillows that she had made, and we've used them until they couldn't be used anymore, and now need to be replaced.

After googling "DIY travel neck pillows," I found this pattern/tutorial on Pinterest from a website called

You print out four copies of the pattern - 

Cut the pieces out and tape them together to make the basic pillow shape - 

And then cut 3 of those pieces out of your fabric to sew together.  They make a sort of 3-D triangle shape.

That shape becomes this pillow, after sewing and stuffing!

Mike picked this plaid minky for his pillow - so soft!  There's enough fabric left to make one for me, too.

I like this fabric basket that was part of my gift from the gift exchange that my quilt group had.

That cardinal fabric is my favorite!

I know just what to keep in this basket!

I like that Book 3 in the Inspector Gamache mystery series by Louise Penny was ready for me to download on my Nook reader the other day.

My book club read one of these books for our discussion last year, and I liked it so much that I decided to go back and read the whole series from the beginning.  These stories take place in small village in Quebec and in Montreal.

And I liked this - in her recent giveaway, Vicki from Vicki's Crafts and Quilting chose me to get one of her patterns, and here's the one I decided on.

Aren't those snowmen cute?  I don't think it will be long before I make them.  
Thank you, Vicki!

Hope you're having a great week, and that the busy holiday season doesn't have you in too much of a frenzy!  I'm wishing you time to enjoy your favorite people and activities! ❤

And don't forget to check out all of the other I Like Thursday posts at Not Afraid of Color.

2019 Planning Party

Yvonne, at Quilting Jetgirl, is holding a 2019 Planning Party for all of us to link up and share our goals and plans for the new year.  Thanks, Yvonne!  I admit to not being much of a planner or goal-setter when it comes to my quilting, but this time of year I do get the urge to reorganize and rethink what I really want to work on in the coming year!

Since retiring from teaching full-time in mid-2015, I've pretty much been able to sew regularly every day, and that time has become an important part of my days!  I'm definitely planning to continue that practice throughout 2019.  Sometimes all I can manage is a little hand-stitching in the evening, like this redwork embroidery that has kept me busy the last month or so.

With that in mind, and also with the goal of learning a new skill, I'm going to sew along with Hand-Pieced, the QAL starting in January, sponsored by Patty of Elm Street Quilts and Kristin of Simple Handmade Everyday.

Just a little practice, so far!

I have several WiPs that need to be finished up, and those projects will take priority early in the year!

Happy Birds is ready to quilt, as soon as the backing and batting are purchased.

Squared Away, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler project for 2018, is in the "working on the borders" stage!  It should be ready for quilting shortly.

Two other RSC 2018 projects are next on the list - Scrappy Sprouts and Sawtooth Stars.

I'll again be participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2019, but I won't be starting anything new... Yet.  :)

One of my goals in retirement was contribute more quilts to charity groups, and I will continue that in 2019.   I have two WiPs started from precuts that will become donation quilts this year.

Finally, I'm giving myself permission to Play with fabric and thread all year long!

Those squirrel-y projects that come out of nowhere and just have to be made are my very favorite things to spend time on!

You just never know what you can dream up!

Be sure to check out the 2019 Planning Party link-up at Quilting Jetgirl - there's lots of inspiration to be found there for the coming year!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Tomte Village

My local quilt group - not a guild, just a group of quilty good friends - has a December tradition of having a gift exchange.  The kind where everyone brings something, and we choose a gift to unwrap or we steal something from someone else who has unwrapped it first.  I'm sure you have a name for this kind of gift exchange - I'm not sure what to call it - but it is fun and there is always lots of laughter involved!

I decided I would sew up my little tomte blocks from the Moss and Lotus Tomte SAL into a pillow to give in our gift exchange.

I turned each of the blocks I had made into a 6.5 inch block, and then added some coordinating fabric to make a giant 9 patch.

I've followed Crazy Mom Quilts' tutorial for making an envelope backed pillow ever since I started making them a few years back, and I did the same this time.

I quilted the top to a piece of batting - 

Made the envelope backing out of a yard I had left of Crazy Mom's Good Neighbors fabric - because it reminds me of candy canes!

Here is the finished pillow, and a friend I found to go along with it!

The pillow was popular at our gift exchange, and even got stolen once!  The best question I was asked about it was, "Did you really make this completely out of your stash?"  Yes I did!  :)

Sharing at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!

Also sharing at mmmquilts for Sandra's December DrEAMi link-up - because this was a squirrel project that turned into a gift, which made me happy to do!