Wednesday, August 31, 2011

what I've been up to...

Lately, there hasn't been alot of sewing happening here.  I just can't seem to find my mojo.  Instead, I've been enjoying my cleaning.

Yes, I really did just say that.

Although, it would be more accurate to say I'm enjoying decluttering - which is my way of saying ditching everything in the house that isn't nailed down or absolutely essential to daily life  :) 

Every now and then, the amount of stuff in my house, and the chaos it causes, finally drives me bananas and I set out to purge as much as I can.  My kids are starting to get nervous whenever I walk into their bedrooms :)

Even my stash  has been bothering me lately - or more precisely, the amount of space it takes up.  And since I've been a bit aimless in the sewing department lately, I grabbed two boxes, a stack of scraps and random stash, and my roatery cutter and started cutting.  2.5 inch squares into one box, 5 inch squares into the other. 

After a couple days of cutting, I decided to make two 'tops' out of these bits and pieces - a postagestamp from the 2.5" squares and a disappearing ninepatch from the 5".  These two 'tops' are going to be the front and back of the same quilt, queen size.  Now this project ought to move some stash on out :)

This will be a long-term project, 'cause by the fifth day I had really cut enough 2.5 & 5 inch squares for awhile and put the boxes on a shelf  :)    But after a few days of cutting fabric even when I didn't much feel like it, I think I've found my motivation to tackle that WIP list agian {yay!}

PS - Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I left my camera in my Dad's car the other day {and this is one item definately necesary for daily life}   but you probably don't need to see a box of squares, anyway {even though it really is a pretty box}  :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

a bit about potholders

One of my UFO's on my Finish It Up Already! list was a stack of five orphan blocks.  I decided to make them into potholders, and the first one was finished and gifted in May.

It has a hand pocket on back, and binding that I hand stitched down.
About a week ago, the other four became potholders, too.

Three are without binding and back pockets, because I'm lazy like that  :)
I used a tutorial for machine binding from A Girl In Paradise for one, and loved it! 

Each potholder has insulbright & warm and natural batting between its top and back, and the extra thickness was a bit tricky to squish through my machine.

I quilted each one differently, which {unintentionally} made this a mini study in the best way to quilt extra-puffy potholders  :)   {can you see the quilting patterns in the picture?} 

here is what I learned in a nutshell:
quilt in evenly spaced, but not dense, lines.  too dense = too stiff to bend in your hand while taking your blueberry pie out of the oven.  uneven density = a twisted & warped potholder, still a bit tricky for carrying that steaming blueberry pie.

My boys and I picked blueberries today, and have already eaten most of them, too      
Looks like we are going to have to head back to the farm if there is going to be any pie to carry around with the new potholders  :)

One more WIP crossed off the list, and frankly I'm having a hard time facing my WIP pile right now.  I'm just not inspired to work on any of those old projects at the moment, so I haven't been sewing for a few days.  Do you ever have a hard time getting a sense of direction back after you finish a project? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Still Samplering Along

The block on the right is block #7 of the We Can Do It! Sampler.   The block on the left is my own challenge block for July.  See, in June the fourth week of the Sampler was a catch-up week, but Leila gave us some info on 'quilt math' and a challenge to use our new knowledge to design a block of our own. 

In July, the fourth week was again 'quilt math', but there wasn't a challenge.  So I decided to make a challenge block anyway.  I've always liked Indian Hatchet blocks, but have never made any.  The 'Corner to Corner' math Leila shared was just what I needed to make my own, but I really didn't want a 12 inch Indian Hatchet, so I made two 6 inch blocks and alternated them with two four patches. 

I ended up with what looks like a giant scrappy bowtie, which wasn't what I wanted, but I'm keeping it as is.  Lesson learned: more carefully consider if secondary patterns will be created once your units are joined together.

I've learned so much from this quilt-a-long already, I really am so grateful to Leila for hosting it :)
I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday - head on over to see everyone's unfinished stuff!  :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One More Block

this is my block #5 for the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.   I've already done #4 and #6, so I'm headed over to Sewn to enter the July giveaway as soon as I've clicked publish  :)

I took pictures of my stack of fabrics for this quilt, but haven't posted them.  So, even though it is a bit backwards to share my fabric stack 5 blocks into the quilt, here you go  :)  :
At first, I had planned to do the We Can Do It! Sampler in 1930's prints, but in June our family began to experience some unforeseen difficulties, and I didn't want to go out and buy fabric for a queen sized quilt.  So, I pulled this stack out of my stash.

Way back when I first started quilting, I found a pattern with some pieced hearts that I wanted to make with very femminine, pretty florals, and began collecting fabrics here and there.  When I thought I had enough, I laid them all out together and realized I had been too limited in my value/pattern/scale selections, and they looked very boring as a group.  Of course the solution was to buy more fabric  :)

Well, this stack has been just sitting around slowly growing, so I decided to use it for the sampler.  Maybe someday I'll make that heart quilt.  Maybe I'll just be too caught up in new ideas and inspiration to look back.  But for now, I'm stitching along with a great group of people on a quilt I'm excited about that is stretching my skills as a quilter, and because every bit of fabric is coming out of my stash I don't have to spend a penny.  And right now, that is making pretty darn happy  :)

I'm linkin' up to Fabric Tuesday.  Head on over to see what some fabulous people are working on!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Done! Finished! Crossed off the UFO List!

I'm so happy to have this done!  I originally started it five {?} years ago as a block of the month at a not-so-local quilt shop.  I chose this colorway with the intention of gifting the finished quilt to my MIL.  I kept up with my blocks while the program was running, but when the shop was sold I fell off the bandwagon.  {the first owner gave the kits for the remaining blocks to the BOM participants when the shop sold} 

 Anyway, when I made my UFO list in January, I only had about six of these blocks put together.  This quilt had me doing my first ever set-in seams, as well as my first curved seams and first paper piecing. 

The first time I put the top together, it was so crooked, I had to rip apart the blocks, sashing, and cornerstones so I could better trim the blocks down to the same size.   It was a bloody masacre of points, but it had to be done since the bottom two rows were an inch+ wider than the top rows.  {sigh}  At least the top fits together now.

Here is a shot of the backing.  I thought about using the backing for the front border instead, so a strip of the cheater piecing and floral would frame the piecework, but decided to leave well enough alone, mostly because I would have been in need of new and bigger backing fabric.

I quilted it on my home machine, making a grid of straight lines.  And I am using the word 'straight' loosely. You see, I didn't mark the lines.  Instead, I just eyeballed it.  Sometimes my eyeball got a bit wonky  ;)

Well, it was an interesting challenge to work with fabrics I would never have choosen for myself, but after spending a whole lot of time with this quilt lately, I needed something a bit brighter.

Like this
Ever since my first glimpse of it, I've been determined to get my hands on some Happy Mochi Yum Yum  :)
I don't have any plans for it yet.  I bought one of each print so I could see the scale of the prints for myself, especially those two on the far right.  For some reason I expected them to be larger than they are.  

So, just incase you have been wondering about the scale of the Happy Mochi Yum Yum prints too, here are a couple photos to help you out :)

I hope you can read the tape measures well enough to get the idea anyway.  I'd make the photos bigger, but then they run over my side bar and just make a mess of the place ;)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

Well, the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler started in June, but I had a lot on my plate, so I didn't start until July.  So I'm trying to sew June's blocks while still keeping up with July's.  Its sort of working :)

Here is block #2:
It was a bit challenging choosing fabrics to suit the requirments, but I'm happy with how my block turned out.

and here is block #3:
I only have block #1 & #5 to go, and I'll be caught up on the required blocks.  I'll probably make last month's challenge block when I make July's. 

This quilt is coming out very sweet and girly, so I will probably give it to my goddaughter when it is done.  If I can let it go ;)

I'm really enjoying this sampler and the chance to try new-to-me blocks without committing to a whole quilt of them.  One of my favorite parts of making a quilt is planning and choosing fabrics, and a scrappy sampler means I get to do that for every block.  Yup, this is the perfect quilt for my miniscule attention span  :)

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday, head on over to see what everyone is working on.  :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We Can Do It! Sampler... still chugging along

This is my block 6 for the We Can Do It! Sampler.  I'm not normally fond of using white (I've mention before that our quilts are often used to make bunkers and foxholes to fight off invaders) but I think it makes this block look so crisp and pretty.  :)

This was my first attempt at bowties, and I really loved them.  I can see a bowtie quilt in my future...

This white star print has been hanging around unused for a long time, because the stars look yellowed and 'gunky'.   But a few weeks ago I used some for the inside of my grocery bag holder (where it wouldn't be seen) and in the process realized that from the back the stars look much better.  So I used it wrong side up for my bowtie block, and I couldn't be happier.  Lovely looking star fabric + not wasting what I've already got = :)  In the picture above, I folded over the right corner of the block, so you can see the 'right' side of the fabric next to the 'wrong' side.  Can you see the improvement?

I'm linking up to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.  Come join the party!