Monday, March 24, 2014

Off On A Tangent -- In a Good Way

Late last week, while on a mission to catch up on things that have gotten out of control, I decided to clean out the mending basket that I had stashed in my sewing armoire. Hand sew hooks on a couple of bras (those front load washers have a way of mangling bra hooks--maybe if I hooked them together before I threw them in the wash I wouldn't need to run out and buy pkgs of hooks and eyes every time JoAnn has notions on sale) button on husband's corduroys from last winter....see if I can mend the little tiny holes in one of my favorite Coldwater Creek shirts that Paco inevitably puts in every one of my knit shirts when he jumps on me with his razor sharp talons (he'd have to be sedated to clip his claws, so we live with it).....

After I sewed on the hooks and returned the bras to their rightful place on top of their matching panties in my lingerie drawer, I found a suitable 'manly' button for the hubs' cords (trust me, I did consider how funny it would be if he went to put on his pants and found a butterfly or an elephant or a frog where the manly steel stud used to be). And then I tossed my favorite Coldwater Creek 'swiss cheese' shirt into the trash can in my studio and sat back, pleased with myself that I had cleaned out the mending basket.

But wait......there was something else inside.

Yep, it was the table quilt I began making for my daughter's basement coffee table, only to have her tell me that the colors were wrong, and that she did not like the backing, once I had sandwiched the sucker. So I guess I must have let out a heavy sigh, folded it up, and tossed it in the mending basket.

That would have been in June.......2010!

So out it came, and I spent the weekend (and about 8 solid hours over 2 days) quilting death.

And now I'm halfway around it working on a 'show quality binding'...perfect mitered corners, totally straight, no gaps, edges tight to the sandwich. 

I'm calling this one 'Learning Curve'. Sounds better than 'Quilt That Lived In The Mending Basket For Four Years'.


Friday, March 21, 2014

How Did You Spend the FIrst Day of Spring?

I spent my day working on a CHRISTMAS quilt. Seriously, I figure if I work on it in March it's got a better chance of being ready come December. This was the very last small applique block. All that's left in the applique department is the large center medallion which I'll start on the next time I'm looking for handwork.

I was able to knock out 3 of the 4 remaining pieced blocks before dinner. It helped that I had cut out the basic squares and 'kitted' everything in Ziplocs months ago.

And here is the final pieced block. Done!

Before I stashed it all in a plastic bag to hibernate for a time, while I work on the center, I laid them out on the floor to get an idea of how well they will play together.
Not bad. Lots of red and green setting triangles and a border or two (and maybe some prairie points) and I really should be able to finish this up in time for Christmas 2014.

Don't you love it when a quilt comes together?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Has Sprung

Happy Spring! (Today, my needlebook is the perfect accessory)

Where does the time go? And why do I never seem to have time to blog? (Or sew, or craft, or order lampshades, or call the appliance repair guy......)

While I did finish the Drunken Irishman St. Patrick's Day table quilt the day before St. Patrick's Day
I'm not thrilled with it. It was an experiment in 'made fabric', and in order to get it on the table before the 17th, the binding is machine sewn (oh, the horror!). No stellar quilting (shamrocks on the blocks and ditch-stitched), but it got finished, so that's one for the plus side.

And as soon as that puppy hit the washing machine, I began
DEAR JANE!!!!!!! Now, I'm especially pleased with those blocks because I dusted off my math skills and measured everything out of the book, down to the 1/8".

And, as usual, there was a red-headed stepchild among the bunch
HATE IT! Not sure if redoing the center applique square-edged circle will help it,  or if I shouldn't waste my time and sacrifice this one to the Gods of Lost Cause and start over with a different print (and a better job of appliqueing). I've got 2 years to figure it out, so it just got tossed into the box.

I was able to score a reasonably priced copy of this
off of the Sew Its For Sale Yahoo Group. The lovely lady who sold it to me also went to the trouble to transfer the registration to me with EQ. It's a little daunting (but you know how I have this fear of my EQ7 software), but I think I'll be able to quickly figure out how to print out paper piecing templates and the cutting instructions for the more complicated blocks. If not, there's a lesson plan in the book that I will just have to slog through (after I call to have the icemaker fixed, and order the shades for the kitchen pendant lights).

I also used that group (Sew Its For Sale) to put out a call for more Kaffe Fassett fabrics to supplement my dwindling stash
I was hoping I could get a lot done with that jelly roll of 40 different prints, but I've quickly learned that a lot of the cutting for these 4.5" blocks requires pieces that measure 2-3/4" wide (aarrggh!!!). In the meantime, I've won a couple of eBay auctions for FQs and we'll see what I turn up from my ISO ad.

And, as always, because of my short attention span, I've managed to work on a couple other 'rogue' projects since the weekend.
I caught up on Pat Sloan's Globetrotter BOMs. Pictured are February and March. This finished quilt will be my first Quilt of Valor, hence the patriotic theme. Not that I've got a lot of patriotic fabrics, but I'll muddle through (and my sister offered a raid on her red/white/blue stash since it's going to Quilts of Valor--thanks Sandy!)

And since I am ADDICTED to all things missing Malaysian 'Triple 7'--I watch CNN until 3 am, and have also been known to scan satellite images on Tomnod until the wee hours--I've picked up my Jingle Applique quilt (that did not make it to a finish for Christmas 2013). Hoping I have it done for this Christmas.
This is the last small applique block. I just need to do the bird heads. Then the huge center medallion applique and 4 pieced blocks and it's ready to put together. Another project for my spare time.

I'll be back working on some more 'Jane' this weekend, so check in on me to see how I'm doing.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Friday, March 7, 2014

And she's off!

On yet another adventure. This one's self-imposed.

Four years ago I ordered a book and a set of rulers and had the crazy idea (I had only been quilting for 6 months) that I would make a Dear Jane quilt. Well, a look through the book, and a little exercise in multiplication was all it took to convince me that I was far from ready for this task, so I put the book back on the shelf.

Yesterday I decided that I was ready to take this on. I got out the calculator and divided 225 (the number of blocks in the quilt) by 3. Okay, if I set a goal to do 3 blocks a month I could have this quilt finished in ...... 7-1/2 years. Not exactly what I had in mind.

4 blocks a month? ......4-1/2 years

Okay, so we just jumped right up to 10 blocks a month, and we'll finish it in 2 years. Sure, I can do that.

I spent a few hours with a roll of freezer paper and traced out everything I thought could be constructed as applique, and I taped these templates to the pages in the book. (I'm into freezer paper on top applique at the moment.)

And then I went online to find someone who might want to sell their Dear Jane software (because if I have to measure and cut  all of these pieces myself, or figure out which order to paper piece something, it's all over). Software seller located, mission accomplished!

All that was left to do was order a bolt of Moda Bella Solid in bleached white. Done! It should be here early next week.

I even made myself an inspirational little icon ... No pain, no Jane.

If you're feeling crazy, then feel free to jump on the bus with me to begin this journey. I'll be blogging the trials and tribulations (of which I expect there to be many). Seriously, how hard can it be to make 10 little 4-1/2" blocks a month?

(I guess we're gonna find out, aren't we?)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Floats Like a Butterfly

Still flitting from one project to the next to avoid finishing anything :)

I'm caught up now on the Aurifil Designer of the Month blocks (I'm making 2 each month in similar fabrics). The latest ones were the square in a square in a square in a square in a square. Knocked those out tonight, but I'm not really thrilled with my pattern choice. I thought about color, and I thought about light and dark, but I just didn't take pattern into consideration. I'm not certain that I have enough fabric to start over, so they're going to have to stay the way they are. I'm blaming my lack of concentration on a bad afternoon at work Tuesday-something (someone) upset me and I wasn't able to completely shake it off before taking rotary cutter in hand last night. Live and learn. New mantra....What happens at work, stays at work!

Apparently my 'lucky little elephant' wasn't pulling his weight in the studio last night or he'd have noticed my not-so-great pattern choices and stopped me from cutting the wrong fabrics. (Keep it up elephant! You can be replaced with a troll doll, my friend.)

At least it's Wednesday and the weekend is only 3 days away. Keep calm and stitch on.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Quelle heure est-il?"

How do you like my Kaffe Fassett wall clock? I've been wanting to make one of these ever since I saw the idea in Pinterest last summer, but I never had the opportunity to go to Ikea to pick up the Smycke Hexagon clock. Well, we passed an Ikea on our way home from the quilt show in Hampton, VA yesterday, so I finally got my clock. Of course, I ran right out today and picked up some double sided adhesive paper to use with some of the strips from my Kaffe Fassett jelly roll. I channeled my inner 8 year old Lego builder and put it together, and took it apart, and put it together and took it apart and put it together one more time before deciding that 'third time's a charm'. Now all I've got to do is hang it in the morning. (Oh wait, it IS morning now, isn't it? Not sure the hubs would appreciate me pounding nails into walls at 3 a.m.. I'll wait.)


And this is my little divided basket that went along on the 7 hour drive and back to the quilt show in Hampton Thursday. It's got the applique block I'm working on inside.

The pattern is Carolyn Friedlander's Social Tote, and let me tell you, it's one of the worst patterns I've dealt with. The instructions are far from comprehensive, there are no pictures/diagrams for the hard stuff, and the one picture showing the inside of the basket is referred to as the 'schematic'. (Seriously?)

After much swearing and threatening to just throw it all in the trash bin, I got smart and tossed the instructions aside after step 2 and worked it out myself. Every once in a while I scanned the actual pattern to be sure I was on the right track. If I were a glutton for punishment and wanted to make this again, there's quite a few things I'd do differently,the main one being to use fusible fleece between the lining and the outer shell of the basket, and I'd use a much sturdier interfacing than was called for in the dividers...they're a bit on the 'floppy' side.

Well, I'd best let the dogs out now while it's not too cold (it's 16 degrees right now--come morning it will be 12 degrees), and then I'm jumping into my nice cozy bed that the hubs and the dogs have pre-warmed for me.

Enjoy your Saturday!