Sunday, March 31, 2024

My Slow Progress: Scrappy Tilda Celebration, Scandi Deco, New Sewing Room + Kitchen Update

Hello from sunny Naples, Florida, my lovelies!  Happy Spring and Happy Easter to all who are celebrating!  Son the Younger went off to spend the weekend with a friend in North Carolina, but Son the Elder, Bernie and I will be having Easter dinner with Bernie's dad and sister.  Alas, no little ones hunting eggs or keeping their eyes peeled to spot an Easter bunny.  Those years sure went by fast!

I haven't written a blog post in a LONG time, so fair warning -- I have lots to say.  ;-)

My Tilda Scrappy Celebration

On to the eye candy, because I know that's what you're here for.  My most recent accomplishment was cutting out all of the pieces for six of these double nine patch blocks, for my Scrappy Celebration quilt project.  The small scale green floral is Tilda Farm Flowers in Green (available here on Etsy).  This fabric is also included in the Tilda's Jubilee Mega Blenders Bundle if, like me, you are crushing on Tilda prints lately and want to add a whole coordinated assortment of these sweet Norwegian prints to your current projects (or to your stash -- no judgement!).  And now, for that icky but necessary disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links, I might be compensated at no additional cost to you.  I feel so dirty now.  Moving on...  

The rose pink solid in the center of my little 9-patch blocks is from a Tilda Solids fat eighths bundle (not sure which shade), the little white squares were cut from my bolt of Moda Bella Solids Off White, and that low volume print with diagonal blue stripes and tiny red dots was pulled from my stash of Who Knows What Purchased Who Knows When.  I'm looking forward to piecing these blocks!

Yummy Tilda Fabrics Cut and Laid Out, Ready to Sew

I'm sure that, if I was following Lissa Alexander's pattern for my Scrappy Celebration-inspired quilt, the instructions probably involve time-saving strip piecing techniques.  However, when I began this project my rotary cutters and rulers were still packed in boxes somewhere, and they are still packed in boxes somewhere since we need to make modifications (amputations!) to my ginormous worktable before it will fit in the much smaller sewing room of our new house in Florida.  So instead of cutting strips for my nine patch blocks, I cut out all of my squares individually with my AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutting dies.  

I just rough cut my fabric with a pair of scissors into pieces that would cover the die shapes adequately and cranked out all of these cute little squares on my kitchen counter using my 1 1/2" Squares and my 3 1/2" Squares die.  Sewing these blocks together from individual patches might not be the fastest way to piece them, but cutting the patches out with a die cutter at the rate of 36 identical 1 1/2" squares every two seconds is so fast and easy that it feels like cheating.  No chance of your ruler slipping and getting those miscut wasted strips, either.

Planning and Die Cutting Individual Patches

You know what else felt satisfying?  Having access to my fabric stash to pick out that low volume  diagonal stripe fabric!  Previously I was limited to using just the bolt of Bella Solid Off White and the bundles of fat eighths and fat quarters of current Tilda collection fabrics that I bought from my new LQS (Local Quilt Shop) Flash Sew and Quilt when I got down to Naples.  Although I'm really enjoying working with the Tilda prints, I am going to like this project even better now that I can mix in other fabrics that I've collected over the years for the more authentically (fake) scrappy look that I prefer.

I've made six of these blocks already:

Six of These 9 Inch Tilda Blocks Finished Already

That bold, Jacobean-inspired red floral print is Late Bloomer in Tomato from Tilda's Bloomsville collection.  Bella Solid Off White was cut from my bolt, and the pink and lavender solids came out of the Tilda Solids Fat Eighths bundle.  I like those blocks, but I would have liked them even more if I could have mixed in something from my stash!

I have a few more blocks for this project planned already using fabric combinations from the new Tilda collection bundles:

Planned Double 4-Patch Blocks in Pink and Blue

That floral print on the ivory background is Tilda Elodie Blue from the Jubilee collection.  Now that I have stash access restored, I might try to find a substitute for one of the solids to make that block more interesting.

Planned 4 Patch Variation in Raspberry, Blue and Aqua

That gorgeous floral print above is one of my favorites, Tilda Autumnbloom in Eggplant from the Hibernation collection.  It feels very William Morris-inspired, but the mix of aqua, pink and raspberry against the blues and purples is so lush and dreamy!  

Side note/Design Detour: There is a good chance that the 4-patch variation blocks I'm planning to make from those fabrics will not get pieced per my little diagram.  This block is traditionally sewn with two mirrored chisel-shaped patches  attached to the small squares with diagonal Y-seams at the corners of the blocks, like so:

Traditional Y-Seam Block Construction

I don't think I have a die for cutting those chisel patches in the correct size, but I do love me a good Y-seam block.  Even if I still have no cutting table and no rotary cutting tools, I can easily print templates for those patches onto heavy cardstock from my EQ8 quilt design software, trace them onto my fabric with pencil, and cut them out with scissors!  I am only making six of these, so a few extra minutes of fussing and fiddling with the Y-seams won't slow me down too much.  Look how easy it is to print templates from EQ8.  This is a screen shot from the program.  I have chosen not to include templates for the square patches that I can either rotary cut or cut with my square AccuQuilt dies, just the chisel shapes, and I've chosen to include the seam lines on my templates on purpose as well.  I'll use my tiny hole punch right on those Y-seam intersection points that I've circled in red, just big enough for the point of my pencil to mark dots on the back of each fabric patch to indicate exactly where to stop stitching for a perfect Y-seam.  Traditional quilt blocks that are "updated for simplified construction" make me sad, and there will only be happy blocks in my celebration quilt!  

Printing Templates for Traditional Y-Seam Construction in EQ8

By the way, if printing templates, rotary cutting charts, or foundation paper piecing patterns for over 4,000 quilt blocks appeals to you but you have no interest in exploring the other design features of EQ8 software, check out this demo of the Electric Quilt Company's standalone BlockBase+ program.   

BlockBase+ works on both Mac and Windows platforms and you can either use it alone if all you want to do is print block patterns, or if you do own the full EQ8 software, you can import all of the 4,264 blocks from BlockBase+ into the EQ8 Block Library and use those blocks in your own quilt designs.  I love that BlockBase+ includes Barbara Brackman's historical research for every block, identifying the earliest known publication date and the various names each block has gone by over the years.  

I didn't mean to go off on an EQ8 infomercial but I couldn't help myself.  I'm a total software evangelist!  I love having the freedom to "unsimplify" the blocks in modern quilt patterns, having options for piecing them differently from pattern instructions for whatever reason, in infinite sizes with no constraints whatsoever.  Even if I decided to become a 100% Old School hand piecer, hand quilter with no sewing machines and no other technology, my EQ software is the one modern quilting innovation that I would not want to give up.  I am not the Quilt Police dictating that everyone needs to go back to the old way of doing things.  You could just as easily use EQ8 software to come up with your own simplified versions of traditional quilt blocks if that's your thing.  I like having so many options and so much information just a mouse-click away.  End of commercial, and back to my fabric picks for this quilt!

The red floral print for the block I've planned above is Tilda's Persimmon Flowertangle from the Bloomsville collection, and I've paired it with a lavender and a sort of cactus green from my Tilda Solids fat eighths bundle.  I might use my Bella Solids white for the background corner squares of the plus sign sections, or I might look for something suitable in my stash or even in my (overflowing, long-neglected) scrap bins instead.  To be determined...

And Now, Back to the Scandi Deco Blocks In Progress

I'm currently alternating piecing blocks for my Tilda Scrappy Celebration project with the monotonous piecing of blocks for my Scandi Deco Quilt project.  Check that out in this earlier blog post if you're new here or if you've forgotten what that one looks like.  Although I did purchase the Deco Quilt pattern from Lo & Behold Stitchery (available here on Etsy as an instant PDF download), I'm not following the directions for that quilt, either, for various reasons.  Mostly because I just don't like following directions -- my kindergarten teacher had her hands full.  ;-). Anyway, I'm making the Queen bed size version of Deco so I need to make 36 blocks exactly like this one and then 18 more that have a lavender fabric in place of the green.  I'm looking forward to quilting this quilt but piecing so many identical blocks over and over again is tedious, so taking a break to play with the Tilda prints from time to time is helping to prevent my sewjo from petering out.  I've got 18 of these Indigo/Green blocks completed and 18 more to go:

18 of These Deco Blocks Completed, 18 More to Go

You know what I'm missing for motivation with my Deco quilt?  My design wall!  When making lots and lots of identical blocks, it was so encouraging to be able to add each finished block to my design wall in my old studio and watch the quilt gradually take shape as more and more blocks were completed.  Currently the finished blocks just get piled up and organized into ziplock bags inside of a project box so I don't lose them.  It's way less satisfying than arranging them on the wall.  So, do you want to see my new sewing room?

Rebecca's New Sewing Room Isn't Purple Anymore

This is what my sewing room looked like when we first moved into this house.  See those purple walls?  Every single wall in this home, including the walls inside the closets, was painted purple by the previous homeowners.  I know some of you would love this (Paula, I'm thinking of you!), but for our family painting over all of the purple has been Priority Numero Uno.  Especially in my sewing room, I want neutral walls so I can focus on the colors I'm working with in my project fabrics.

My Sewing Room on March 3, 2024

Same room after my husband repainted the walls with Sherwin Williams 7570 Egret White:

My Sewing Room on March 23, 2024: Repainted Sherwin Williams 7570 Egret White

My sewing room in the new house is a spare bedroom measuring 11'10" x 11'.  My embroidery machine and my long arm machine will both be set up in a separate studio space at my father-in-law's property, about 15 minutes away from here, so this sewing room in my house only needs to accommodate my main sewing machine (Bernina 790 Plus), my serger (BabyLock Acclaim), and my coverstitch machine (BabyLock Euphoria).  Plus a cutting table, ironing board, and oh yeah -- all of that FABRIC and interfacing and notions and gadgets and a mildly obscene amount of thread...  I'm hoping that a physical separation between the place where I am long arm quilting for clients versus the private creative space where I can work on my own projects will help with my tendency to be a workaholic on clients' projects while neglecting my own.  I mean, in all of 2023 I finished ONE skirt and ONE quilt for myself.  That's not a healthy balance!

So the giant butcher block worktable surface from my Charlotte studio needs to be cut down to fit a smaller worktable made up of just those three white cubby units that house my wire baskets full of quilting fabric.  My lighting in this room needs to be upgraded with some additional can lights and Bernie will probably put in a dedicated outlet for my iron so the lights don't dim every time the heating element cycles on and off.  In addition to the boxes you see in the room, I have boxes and boxes of supplies and projects in progress piled in the hallway that I need to figure out how to store in the closet, and I want to come up with some kind of table/cabinet solution along the window wall that will allow me to have my sewing machine, serger and cover stitch machine out and ready to use all the time.  I think I will put Headless Helena, my dress form, in the shower of the powder bath, because my sons think she's creepy and no one will shower in that bathroom anyway.

Purple Kitchen, Yellow Cabinets, and Mirrored Disco Backsplash

Behold, my purple kitchen!  You know, it's not that the purple was a bad color, but the house was built in 2015 and the finishes throughout are all the warm "Tuscan" trend that was so popular at that time.  The cool purple clashes with the brown glazed, yellow-cream cabinets in the kitchen and it is/was (not finished repainting yet!) so awful that it made me ill.  The pantry door and its surrounding molding were painted the same color as the cabinets, and now that Bernie started cutting in and repainting them in a pure white you can really see how purple the walls are, and how yellow the cabinets and door still are:

Painting In Progress: Goodbye, Purple Walls, Yellow Pantry and Yellow Cabinets!

Then my other favorite design feature (not!) was the beveled mirror backsplash tile that was reflecting the black Uba Tuba granite countertops to amplify the gloom.  It turns out they weren't even regular tiles professionally installed, but some kind of DIY mirror tile with super-strong sticker adhesive backing, like Lee Press-On Nails on steroids.  It's amazing how much lighter and brighter the kitchen looks now that the mirror tile has been ripped off!

True Love Looks Like Bernie Prying Off the Disco Mirror Tiles of Doom and Despair

You might be wondering why we bought a house that needed so much updating and that doesn't fit my long arm studio.  These are the reasons:

  • Naples is super expensive, and we didn't see any homes in our price point that had giant bonus rooms to fit a 13' long arm frame
  • The entire state of Florida apparently has a "dangerous dogs" phobia and this home is in one of only TWO subdivisions our realtor could find where the HOA will allow our Rottweiler to live with us!!  We are talking about Samwise Snuggleupagus Kissy-Face!!  Even for this neighborhood, we had to provide the HOA Board with a notarized affidavit swearing that our dog has never attacked anyone before they would approve our application to purchase the home!  
  • This home is conveniently located close to Bernie's dad and not too much farther from his sister's condo, with easy access to I-75 when Bernie needs to travel for work
  • As a recovering former interior designer, I enjoy reimagining what a home can be with some light remodeling updates and a fresh coat of paint.  My handy husband likes rolling up his sleeves and getting paint all over his clothes.  This house will feel so much more like our home once we've personalized it with a little makeover, in the same way that a handmade quilt feels better than a blanket you just bought at a store and threw on your bed!

Well, I've blathered on about all of this for much longer than I'd intended!  For those of you who are patiently waiting for me to start accepting quilt tops for quilting again, now you know that the purple paint and the mirror tile have been delaying the setup of my longarm machine, because my Tile Demo Guy, my Painter, and my Long Arm Assembly Man are all the same man you see pictured above, and he is still working full time and traveling a lot with his new role in Florida.  Even Superman can only be in one place at a time.  

I'm linking up today's post with all of my favorite linky parties, and I hope to have more progress to share soon!  Happy stitching, everyone!


Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  


To-Do Tuesday at Quilt Schmilt  


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

Beauty Pageant at From Bolt to Beauty

 TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here: TGIF Friday


Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


chrisknits said...

Girl, you are in the middle of it aren't you! Hope you get things settled soon! I have that Autumnbloom in Old Rose, love that print.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

This is a whole new adventure, and it looks like you are going to be busy for a few more days ;) Cute floral prints and blocks, it's nice to have access to your stash again!
Thank you for sharing your new place!

Kathy R. said...

This has been quite a move. I give you credit for getting this far and not pulling out your hair. I like purple, but every room is a bit much. White does brighten up a room. Cute blocks and can't wait to see more progress on the Deco quilt.

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

I'm so glad you have been able to keep sewing a bit, and the remodeling work looks like it is really starting to pay off!!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I was going to say why in heavens name did you buy a house that needed so much work and didn't accommodate your long arm - but right there at the end you answered the question - of course you needed a house where your beloved dogs could be with you. I had forgotten the breed of your cute sweet kissy face dogs (they always looks sweet to me)
I think it is good having the longarm separate actually as you can set yourself up more with business hours and have your stuff separate. Now you will need to stick yourself more to a schedule and play at home?

The Colorful Fabriholic said...

Congrats on your new home and your amazing progress in making it your own! The painting alone is a huge job but the result is so worth it. I'm loving your Scrappy Celebration blocks in Tilda fabrics. Pattern and fabrics are so right for each other! Have fun with them - they can be addictive.

Sara said...

Congratulations on the new home. It could end up being very smart to have your professional space separate from your personal creative space. Have fun making the new house into a place you love.

Gretchen Weaver said...

I love the Tilda fabrics you're using! You're going to have a beautiful quilt! I agree, everything purple is too much purple! I can't even imagine that! Bernie's a true sweetie, enjoy your new home when you have the time, happy stitching! said...

While I do like purple--it was my grandmother's favorite color--that shade makes me ill and to think the whole house was that color. . .YUK! Your Bernie is the man. . .to balance all those projects with work too! You will get the house organized and soon you will be enjoying your work and home studios. I was glad to read that you have managed to keep making progress on your two projects.

Nancy Ringering said...

So good to hear from you, Rebecca! Hang in there - your new home will be beautifully decorated in your style and taste, before you know it!

Maxine Reisenleiter said...

Holy Cow! I didn't even know you moved! I must have missed the blog entries telling us about that. On the other hand, it may have been my brain going on hiatus as we also had a cross-country move in the last year. In fact, the light fixture in your quilting room looks exactly like the fixture in my new sewing room in the house we bought (minus the purple). We are at other end of the country from you....the Pacific NW. I think these builders must buy stock house plans and then go to town constructing them. Downsizing is for the birds! I miss my big sewing room. So glad you found a way to cut those squares and get back to our favorite hobby. Soon you'll be asking your clients to mail you quilt tops again and just like that you'll be back in business.

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

I love purple but not on every wall of a house! Yech. But I'm sure Bernie will soon have things back in order for you. Meanwhile you've made great strides on your sewing room and that will soon be in working order too I'm sure. I wish you nothing but happiness in your new home! Thanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday Wait Loss.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Oh boy, all that purple and mirrored tiles, too! Sounds like you'll have fun making this house your own. Did your boys move with you? I think I remember that they're in college? Have fun getting back into the sewing studio - you've got some pretty projects going on there!

dq said...

I am enjoying the read about your journey to Florida. Purple walls everywhere? Wowzer. Not a fan. Your new sewing room does look small, but honestly, I think it looks close to the size of mine. It works.

I love all he neatly organized colors of fabric stash in your white wire bins. If I could keep things orderly like that, I would consider that type of organization. Instead, I prefer to throw my fabric in a pretty bin that I cannot see through. One negative, however, is I have to label and actually read the labels of what is in the bins.

I enjoyed reading about how you are improvising without rotary cutter and ruler. Thank goodness you have the die cutter. Paper piecing would work out for you, though (hint, hint about Vest).

I cannot imagine sewing any project without the assistance of my stash. It is like it is a "must" to use it.

Have a great week! I am glad things are working out with your move and remodel job.

Barb said...

wow - that's a lot of purple. My nana had a neighbor who had the same thing. she even painted her gargage cans purple.
It was fun to see your handwritten quilt plans/notes.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Wow, a purple house?!! I'm with you, Rebecca--neutrals!!! Great your new home is close to family! I had to look up Naples--waaaay down there! Wonderful that your DH is so handy and on board with your interior design ideas!

Leanne Parsons said...

Your Tilda blocks will be so pretty! I agree, the sewing room looks much better without the purple. I can't imagine a whole house painted purple, yikes!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Love your blathering haha!!! This is a beautiful house - I love all the changes you are making. And what a cool sewing room - go you!!!

Preeti said...

So glad that you were reunited with your stash. May you two make magic together. I too keep a notebook with notes, lots of calculations and diagrams. Bernie is a vision - I love men at work :-)

Karin said...

OMG…we just renovated our kitchen…took about 6 weeks which does not sound that long, but felt like forever! I actually like that purple colour in the room but maybe not the kitchen. Off white is always nice…can’t go wrong with that.