Gorgeous Grays

Yikes. I think it has been a week since I wrote a post. My routine got all turned around and all of a sudden a week passed by. (Were you sitting and waiting anxiously for another amazing read on Needle and Foot? My apologies for the wait!)

As things often do, one project led right into another. I have been making blocks for the eighth row of the Classic Stitches BOM (led by Mari over at Academic Quilter). The color for this month is either indigo blue or gray. I went with gray. We have already done two rows in shades of blue and I didn’t want to add a third. I am loving this gray row. For August, Mari wrote a tutorial for a quick block called “True Blue”. She explained that it was a block which dated back to the Civil War years (on the Union side, hence the name True Blue.) It is a really simple block utlizing four patch squares and HST’s. I chose to make the blocks in the 7 1/2″ size. This is the second row of 7 1/2″ blocks for the quilt, the rest are 6″ blocks.

I don’t know how everyone else does it but I am sort of ADD when I am making blocks. I cut for a while, piece a whole block, cut some more, piece a few more. It is really inefficient and makes me crazy. I end up cutting more than I need of one fabric and not enough of another. (I know, It is so silly. I highly doubt that my methodology is taught in any of the billions of quilting books out there, due to the inefficiency of it.) I vowed to make a change with this project! For these eight blocks, I cut the pieces for all of the blocks, stacking them in nice orderly piles. Then I made the four patch blocks. (I used strip piecing, sewing long strips and sub-cutting them into pairs, which were then joined into four patch blocks.) Next came the HST’s. Doing it in this amazingly organized manner, I had my HST’s all prepared. It was so much better – the best part of piecing is putting the actual block together, right? Once all of the tedium was done, those blocks went together in  a snap. It was much better than my usual “a little of this, a little of that” method.

Plus, when I had that stack of HST’s, I started playing with them. I spent some time laying them out in different patterns, which is pretty fun with HST’s. (It’s kind of like playing with Tangrams.) I found a design that I really liked and decided that is what I would use for my New Blogger Block Hop project. (Remember, I posted last week about having to make a block with a tutorial for the project sponsored by Fabri-Quilt?) This made me so happy. I have been playing with fabric and mocking up blocks (a version of a Herringbone block and a version of a Plus block, neither of which I liked.) Seeing this simple little pattern (which, as far as I know, isn’t some really common pattern?) was the perfect inspiration.

Back to the row of True Blue blocks. Take a look. Here they are before sewing them into the row. I enjoy playing with them and getting an idea of how the blocks would look as a quilt of their own. These blocks are fairly busy. I don’t think I would do a whole quilt with only these. It makes my eyes go a little crazy. 😉

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And now a row of True Blue blocks (that are gray instead of blue!)  The pasture behind the blocks is looking a might dry, right?

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I hung a few of the other rows with this newest member of the family. They all look great together.

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It is amazing that eight rows of this project are complete. Summer is ending, fall is on its way.  This is very apparent in our garden these days. The squirrels are making a huge mess each day, eating the pinecones and dropping the pieces all over the deck. The apples on our tree are growing and it looks like, for the first time, we will have apples. The tree is about three or four years old and hasn’t really produced any apples yet. These look great though.

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I have mentioned before that we didn’t put in a vegetable garden this year due to the drought in California. We had a volunteer plant come up though and Ray couldn’t resist watering it just a little. We were very negligent and only gave it a drink every now and then. The foilage looked like squash and it was in a bin where we had spaghetti squash last year. We figured that was what it would be. What a surprise to see these growing on it.

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In the next bin over, we had planted decorative gourds last year. They were so much fun and we had tons of them. Apparently there was some cross-pollination going on and we now have a plant bearing some weird combination of spaghetti squash and decorative gourd. They are hard, bumpy and dry, like a gourd, They have that cool coloring of a gourd, but the shape and larger size of the spaghetti squash.  We had so much fun trying to figure out what they would be. (Doesn’t take much to amuse us.) I am fairly sure they are not edible but they look pretty.

IMG_20150810_3670Finally, I leave you with this gorgeous picture of our front lawn in all of its droughty glory. (I know… I made that word up.) It is criminal to waste water on growing green grass so we are only giving it enough that it doesn’t totally die on us. This is the year though, right? Rain all winter long. (Please?)

 

Linking to a new linky party over at What a Hoot as well as Freemotion by the River, Let’s Bee Social, and Crazy Mom Quilts. Links to the last three sites are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

22 thoughts on “Gorgeous Grays

  1. Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

    Oh that is super exciting that you figured out your block for the blog hop through play and fun exploration; I love that! I am a person that needs to cut all my fabric up front or a project will languish. I *hate* cutting the fabric, so if I do a little it is hard to convince myself to start back over at the cutting stage.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I also hate cutting… It is the only bad part of such a fun process. Plus if I am working with scraps, I don’t truly know if I have enough to finish that portion of the project. So, enough of that already! Time to go cut some squares and start making HST’s. Have a great day Yvonne.

      Reply
  2. Cindy

    Those grey blocks look great. I had fun playing with some HST’s the other day and made a mini. You can see it on my blog. The block reveals are getting closer.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Yes, that date is just looming ahead of me. I need to get busy with my block and writing the tutorial (which is so simple that it won’t be a problem.)

      Take care,
      B.

      Reply
  3. Diana @ Red Delicious Life

    I think you made the right choice with the gray given the other blue rows. I love those odd gourds! Just last week we found some weird fruit growing in the empty house lots in our neighborhood. At first they looked like watermelons, but then a few days later they looked more like a cross between honeydew and pumpkins. Most were rotting and we’re not sure what they were but it was odd to find them in random places where our housing developer pushed around some dirt and then just left it.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Isn’t it funny how that happens? I wonder how many of the things we eat were just morphed by accident? Plus, I understand cross pollination if both plants exist in the garden, but for a volunteer to come up like this doesn’t make sense to me. Pretty odd.

      Have a good week Diana!
      B.

      Reply
  4. Lynette

    Hi, Bernie! Looks like fun surprises in your garden. I sure hope you guys get a good, WET winter!!! Your rows are so pretty – love your fabric choices, and thanks for linking up at BOMs Away. I really love watching projects move along – keeps me motivated on mine!!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Oh Lynette, you and me both. Hope the rain finally comes this year. Thanks for hosting the link up. I didn’t know about yours until this week. I’ll be back!

      Regards,
      Bernie

      Reply
  5. Linda

    I love your posts and look forward to every single one. I was actually just this morning thinking about you and decided you were busy getting your daughter ready for school! Oh I love your gray blocks – they look so good against the other colors – great choice.
    This morning I was cutting tiny squares for my Farm Girl Vintage blocks and thinking how tedious it is, especially to cut background fabric for each of these little blocks. Since this is a sampler, in a way it is similar to what you talked about – doing a little of this and a little of that. I thought I would enjoy it more than a “regular” quilt, but I find myself wishing for the rhythm I get into when I’m cutting the same thing over and over. I don’t necessarily enjoy the cutting, but I feel accomplished when I finish it and can start piecing. I really haven’t ever been bored in any phase of the quilt process, but I’m not enjoying the sampler as much as I thought I would. :-/
    I hate that you are having a drought. My Mom moved to Riverside CA when she was in her 80s and often talked about the drought there. Since she lived most of her life in Missouri and Oklahoma, she longed for thunderstorms. When she moved in with us in 2002, she was thrilled when she heard thunder again! I hope you get rain soon.
    Your apples look great! How about some green apple pie? 🙂 Lol on your mystery squash! That is hysterical. Do you really think they aren’t edible? They almost look like acorn squash. Fun times!
    Your yard/property is so pretty. Is that looking from your house or toward your house?

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Keep going with that Farm Girl Vintage. I am loving it and quilting along with you vicariously. It is adorable. I get the whole lack of rhythm thing though.
      As far as a good thunderstorm, yes, I love those. We get them now and then but not like you. I lived in PA for a while in the early 90’s and the thunder and lightening was so dramatic. It was awesome.
      I hope we have enough for eating and maybe one or two baking projects. We get so excited when we finally get fruit off of a tree. We have a pear tree that should give fruit next year. So, that will givse us peaches, apples and pears. Yum.
      The lawn runs parallel to the side of our house. Our house is sort of narrow and very deep. Lots of mowin for Ray in the spring time.
      I will probably cut into one of the squash but it doesn’t “feel” edible, you know? Do you have those little decorative gourds in the store in the fall? How they feel hard and are so glossy? That is how these mystery squash feel. We shall see!

      Have a great day Linda.
      B.

      Reply
  6. Debbie

    I LOVE this quilt!! I love the greys and blues, but I also love the pinky/purple hearts, just beautiful!
    I am with you in the ADD department, I think bc I too hate cutting- so I just do enough to get by as I need it or my attention span has maxed out with it :). I do know things flow smoother/faster if I will just bite the bullet and cut the whole quilt in one swoop! Can’t wait to see the finished quilt- it’s a beauty!!!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Debbie. Glad to know I am not the only ADD quilter out there. It is so silly because I know it it better to get it over with and have my pieces ready to go. Jeez, I’m only making it harder on myself! Take care and thanks for stopping by!

      Bernie

      Reply
  7. Mari

    Your row looks great! Plus, “mystery gourds” would be a great name for a yellow and green quilt. Can’t wait to see your block and try a few!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Mari. How is the move going? Are you getting settled in? I am sure you have been going crazy with the transition and trying to get as much done before school starts. Hope all is well.

      B.

      Reply
  8. Allison

    As a quilt on thier own, I agree that they don’t work as well on thier own, but in a row with your other combinations, they are just lovely.

    Fun story with the gourds… must be pretty tough to hang in there whithout any rain.

    Greetings from Germany!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Allison,

      Greetings to you in Germany! Hope you are enjoying the last of summer. We are weary of the whole drought thing in California. This is the fourth year of no rain. We obsess on it all the time. 😉 Hope this year is the year for change and we get a good soak.

      I agree with you on those “True Blue” blocks. They are busy and would make for a crazy quilt on their own.

      So glad you stopped by.
      Bernie

      Reply
  9. JanineMarie

    I love how you can hang quilt rows on the fence wires. It’s such a neat setting. Your rows look great! I also love the smooth greenness of your apples (definitely “apple green”). What variety are they? You’ll have to show the color change as they ripen (unless they’re Granny Smiths?). You have me wondering just how I cut out quilts. Funny I haven’t really thought of it before. I guess it depends on what kind of quilt it is. I do know that I’m always afraid I’ll run out of fabric because I tend to either change patterns or make up my own, and I don’t make much of a cutting plan.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Janine,
      Happy Friday! I can’t honestly remember what variety the apples are. Maybe Fuji? They get a tinge of red but not much. It is just fun to finally have the tree bear fruit. It takes a while, especially when you plant a “tiny” tree. I think this one was bare root when we got it.

      I just found out that if I clear my kitchen counters (not always an easy task) it is so much more comfortable to cut. I was using the dining room table which isn’t high enough. This is a great discovery because much of the time, I stop cutting because my back and neck get all cranky. Maybe this will help with my cutting issues! I wish the counter space was bigger but whatever. I am pretty sure Ray won’t add more counter tops in the kitchen for me to use as a cutting space. My sewing tends to migrate throughout the house as it is. 🙂

      Reply

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