Saturday, July 1, 2017

a lot of ground to cover

I've been sewing.  Not as much as I could.  Not always as much as I want, but I've gotten a fair amount done.  And I've been thinking about blogging, but that's REALLY fallen behind.  Again.

So there's a few linkies going on where I want to share my progress.  And I know I should have posted more frequently to keep it simple.  But, you know, life.

So I'm going to try to cover them all in this post!  If you're here for the linkies, hang in there.  For those of you who read my blog more regularly, well, probably nothing is going to be all that different!

First up: UFO Challenge!

My #7 Science Geek Hexie quilt top.  This quilt all started because my quilty friend Linda sent me a message about science geek fabric at a local-ish quilt shop.  All other things were stopped and I drove, in a flying frenzy to beat closing time, to said quilt shop and purchased fabrics.


This was 2014.  Yeah, 2014.

You can see the hexie ruler I purchased for this project in there, too.  I already knew what I was going to do with the fabric.

It took a while to get to the project and cut those hexies (I remember doing some at our quilt show in 2015) and get them layed out on the design floor...


After watching a few tutorials on sewing hexagons (I didn't want those half-hexagons, as that loses the design in the fabric more than I like), I was ready.  I think.


Okay, this is going fairly well.  Onward!


It seems I never posted a photo of this top on the blog, but here it is.  I'm not sure when it was finished to this point, but this photo is from 2015, so there's that.

And then it sat.  I love it.  I want to finish it.  I knew, even, how I was going to quilt it.  Did I quilt it?

Nope.

I put it on the UFO list for this year.

I bought back fabric for it in March - at the same time I bought fabric for the UFO for that month - because I found something so absolutely perfect I couldn't NOT buy it.

Its number came up this month, so I jumped right in and quilted it, right?

Ha ha ha ha.

No.

But last weekend it was cooler and I decided I was going to tackle it.  The lights on my longarm light bar produce a lot of heat, so using it in summer weather isn't always comfortable.  (In winter months, I shed clothing while quilting because it gets warm enough for just a t-shirt...and I'm perpetually cold!)

So I did.


On the longarm, ready for another pass.


I chose a fairly simple overall pattern (simple, ha!), so it went fairly fast.  I still need to decide if I'm going to lop off those angles and make it square or tackle weird-angle binding.  So technically it's not done yet, but again, it's fairly warm and with no whole-house air conditioning, sitting under a quilt to bind isn't exactly high on my list.

A closer look at the quilting (and the back):


The colors are really washed out here, but for a day that's not raining or overly windy, I'll take sunshine for my photo shoot!  The quilted circles are maybe 2" across for the largest.  I love it.  Molecules!  (But my pebbles, as these are at their most basic, aren't perfect.  They got better as I went, though.  Sometimes.)

This quilt is, um, probably about 60"x50" or something.  I didn't measure, but it's a nice couch-size quilt.  If you're not 7 feet tall like my hubby.  (Okay, he's only 6 feet tall, but I feed him well, so he needs his couch quilts to be extra large.)  It's my design, if you can call throwing a bunch of hexagons together at random any sort of design.

And then, while I had the longarm up and running and was feeling good about it and the weather was cooler, why not load and quilt a second?  (This was my plan all along, if we're being honest.)

Sheeeeeeppppppsssss!


This one was started because I'm a fool and thought I had enough green to do this with the rainbow scrap challenge last month (May) when the color was green.


Wanna know how much of my green stash I used to make this quilt?


None.

I also did not use any florals in my stash (because I don't have any because I'm not a girly girl like that and don't buy stuff with flowers unless really I have to).

I did use stash fabrics for the cornerstone blocks and the brown ground strips.

So yeah, not much of a stash-buster.

But so cute!

Load it up! (Sorry, no photos here - story on that soon.)


The colors are a little washed out here again due to sunshine, but you can really see the quilting!


The sheep still need legs and I should probably have done those before quilting, but that epiphany did not happen until I was taking the photos today and realized how much fun it's going to be to try to not embroider legs onto the back of the quilt.


And the back?


Sheeeeeppppppsssss!

When I found this fabric (while shopping for fabric for a baby quilt - more on that soon), I bought it.  Seriously?  When is this NOT the right back fabric for a floral sheep quilt?  It's flannel, but that just means it will be better to snuggle under in the winter.  You know, when I'm actually cold.  Not today.

I still have to figure out what I'm going to bind this with - maybe the leftover florals from the sheep?

The quilt blocks are from the Farm Girl Vintage book by Lori Holt.  And though the blocks are different, it's actually the Picnic Quilt layout from the book.  It's about 70" square.

While I was finishing the science geek quilt, my parents showed up.  We store their boat in the winter and it was about time they retrieved it!  (To be fair, there was a family reunion happening mid-June, hosted at my parent's house, so that sorta took a lot of extra energy and time - now that it's over they can go fishing.)  My mom walked in and handed me a bag of quilt part.  "This is a quilt I made for your dad.  You're going to quilt it." went the conversation.  I'm WHAT?  I don't usually quilt for others.  And when I do, I offer after careful consideration of the quiltmaker and the situation.

Well.

I love my dad and since it's for his birthday (I had a week and a half at drop-off - his b-day is this coming Thursday), I suppose I'll do this.

(And since I was unloading Science Geek and loading Sheep while all this was going on, that's why there's no longarm photos of the sheep quilt.)

I think it's okay to share here, as I don't think he reads my blog.  I'm not even sure he knows I have a blog.  Does he even know what a blog is?  Hmmm...

(Dad, if you've found this and read this far, look away.  Or don't tell mom.)


He's very involved in Boy Scouts.  He wasn't much as a kid, but he saw both of my brothers through earning their Eagle awards and has continued to be very involved as an adult volunteer in his retirement.  He's done a lot of cool stuff (ice climbing anyone?) and seems to have a lot of fun in all his adventures.  I believe my mom told me he was awarded an adult Eagle award not too long ago.  I'm not sure what that's all about, but I did go to the Silver Beaver ceremony (a super-big deal adult volunteer award) a few years back.

So my mom made this for him. It's a panel in the middle with a few borders around it.  She told me to quilt it however I wanted.  So I did flowey-water-like stuff in the borders and stars in the center.  Fairly simple, but getting from one star to the next without overlapping proved harder than I though it would.  Apparently I left my brain at work yesterday?

(I quilted this early today - trying to stay ahead of the heat!)

It's as tall as my clothesline, so probably about 70" long, but not quite square, so maybe 60" wide.

(See how well I measure things?  I do measure before I buy backing, but I never remember what those numbers were later.  And this one I didn't buy any fabric, I just made sure the back was big enough before I started because that's happened when I quilt for others!)

Between all of this nonsense, there's been the rainbow scrap challenge.  (See, I said I'd get there!)

The color this month was yellow.  My yellow stash is fairly pathetic.


But I had plenty enough for the cats!  Just not so much in the variety category.

I thought I used yellow a lot and should have lots of leftovers.  I guess not?


13 more cats!  They don't look too spectacular here on my funky ironing board, but that's okay.  They'll look spectacular in my quilt.

(I also bought about 5 yards of fabric for part (all?) of the back of this quilt, but no photo yet.  I finished the bolt and can't wait to finish the cats so I can use the back!!!!)

There's also been dolly quilt construction:


I was hoping there'd be enough of the sheep flannel to just keep rolling the big quilt and quilt this one on the longarm at the end.

Nope.

I'll have to piece some backing and quilt it later.

These blocks (aside from the 2" squares across the bottom) are also all from the the Farm Girl Vintage book.  It all started with the grey sheep I made to test the sheep quilt pattern and see if grey was going to be okay and then decided they NEEDED to be floral sheep.  This little guy languished a short bit, but he's happy now surrounded by his patchwork garden.

This quilt is 24" square.  Larger than most dolly quilts I've made, but it's SO CUTE!  Part of me wants to keep it.  But what for?  No, some little girl is going to be so excited to get this for Christmas.  It's going to the fire department for their program.

And last but not least is the current baby quilt.  I shared a fabric pull in my last post, but that's been edited a lot.  And a few new fabrics purchased.  Here's the start of sewing to show the final decision:


Lexie helped with the design floor layout:


(She's so cute!)

This quilt doesn't lend itself well to mass-production, so there was quite an argument with not only Lexie, but Emma as well, regarding my use of the design floor and that I should be feeding or petting the cats because this is NOT a design floor, but the place where heavily neglected cats pace when they decide that not having been fed in 4 hours or petted in the last 10 minutes.

So once I could, I picked it up...


(Colors are truer with Lexie.)

It's ready to sew into strips, but this is where it's been since Sunday.  Work has been a little crazy and it's been hot upstairs in my sewing room in the afternoons, but we'll see how the rest of the weekend goes.  I have to work the 3rd (Monday), but do have Tuesday (the 4th), off...

New news?

The UFO for this month is #12.  That's the Whirlygiggle quilt:


I'll need to dig this out and measure so I can buy a back.  (And then promptly forget how large it is so I have to make something up in the blog post where I share it finished.)

And the color for my cats this month is blue.  I have a LOT of blue.  I was just thinking to myself the other night that I need to make a blue quilt to use up some blues.  Perhaps this blue project, if it gets off the ground, will NOT require me to buy most of the blue that will go into the quilt...as the green sheep project did...?

If you've made it all the way through, congratulations.  (I tried to keep it full of photos to at least keep you interested!)


Now I'm going to go figure out what to feed the hubby for lunch.  I've been snacking all morning, knowing he was going to be home around 2:30 and hungry.  This way we can eat together.  Or maybe I'll drag him out quilt back shopping with me?  I'll feed him as his reward!  (And maybe we'll hit Harbor Freight - his favorite tool store - and see if we can find something quirky for my dad for his birthday, since I don't think telling him I quilted his quilt is enough.  And I'm pretty sure my mom would be angry if I gave him the whole quilt from me!  Maybe I'll let the hubby buy a tool, too?  If I tell him just one, it's a game to find the most expensive thing in the store, though...)



Happy quilting!
Katie

Thursday, June 8, 2017

slow progress

I feel like I spend a fair amount of time in my sewing room every day, but never have much to show for it.  Maybe I'm not in there as long as I think?  (maybe I'm distracted by fur-babies?)

Since my last post, I've worked a fair amount on the sheep quilt...getting all the cornerstones made and figuring out how they all look nice together:


...with help, of course.  (...there may or may not have been a bit of catnip spilled in this spot the day before...)

And then on to actual construction of the top!


It got GREEN really fast and it's hard to tell there are two different fabrics in here, but the sashing pieces are a different print than the background and borders.  And the sheep still need legs.  I think I'm going to do that before I quilt it - so soon.

It's about 76" square.

Once this was done and cleaned up, I decided to pull fabrics for the first of three baby quilts.  The former coworker with the little one already here.

My first pull is this:


I have since ditched #1, #2, #9 and the grey.  I've purchased another pink, subbed in another blue and am currently on the lookout for a few more good yellows.  I love #7, but can't get myself to like #8 in this quilt and have another yellow selected, but am not sold on that one either.  We're getting there, but I want to start this project!

Setting this aside, I pulled my stash of yellows, as the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for this month is yellow.


Fairly pathetic, which explains my difficulty in the original fabric pull for the baby quilt.  I'm on board to purchase a few new fabrics for the baby quilt, but just can't seem to find the right shade of yellow.  I'll be visiting a quilt shop or two this weekend, as it's family reunion weekend and having a mom and two aunts who quilt, you know where we'll be!  Maybe I'll have some luck there?

Anyways, I got to work cutting my yellow cat parts.  I've found it works well to cut all 13 cats parts, keeping them separated between pages of a book, and then sewing as I find time.  This way, the mess is all taken care of at once and I can clean off my cutting table and have it for further construction needs.

While I had the yellows out, why not cut for the wonky stars, too?!


I have these little bins (they have a Christmas thing on the side...) that fit the little ziploc bags perfectly.  One has all yellow parts, the other is more random.  This works really nicely, as the bags are a bit slippery and hard to stack in a neat pile.  When I'm ready to sew, just grab one and go!

Yesterday I sewed a few cats and a few stars.  I'm still behind on the stars, but I'll get there.  Forcing myself to make them is going to make me hate the project and abandon it.  With 60+ stars made and a vision of beauty in my head, I don't want it to go away!


Tonight, once I'm done with the blog and paying bills, maybe I'll head back up to the sewing room and make a few more cats and stars...

And one last fun photo - I got some new shoes!


I don't know that they'll be comfortable enough to wear to work all day, but they're definitely fun weekend shoes!  (And even if I do break them in enough to wear all day to work, I'm afraid I'd spill stuff on them and ruin them and don't want to do that!)

Happy quilting,
Katie

Saturday, June 3, 2017

may UFO (nearly done)

Waaaaay back on May 1st I showed you this fabric:


Though I had gone to the store with the intention of buying a black back for my May UFO, once I had seen this fabric, I wasn't going home without it.

And I pieced it into one large piece shortly thereafter.  And ordered pink thread even.

I knew how I wanted to quilt it.

But it sat.

And sat.

And sat.

I looked at it most days as I walked past my longarm - it was hanging on one of the bars, waiting.

I moved it to quilt the 27th birthday quilt.

Wednesday evening, May 31st, I decided to quilt it.  While the hubby and I were out to dinner.

We got home around 7:30pm.  After oiling, loading and watching a video on the quilt motif I wanted to do, I was ready to start quilting.  At 8:30pm.

At 9:45, I had made three full passes.  Two more would be needed, but I had to be to work at 6am Thursday, so I called it quits.

Thursday I flew out of work, knowing I wanted this quilted before my guild meeting that evening.  The first Thursday of the month is a UFO reveal (it has been for a long time, but this year they're doing a formal UFO challenge) and I wanted to share.

At 5pm Thursday, June 1st, this came off the longarm.

It's not bound.  I don't even have fabric for binding yet.  But we'll get there.

Oh, you want to see a photo?


I took about 23 photos, and even got a few where the quilt was hanging flat, but this one had the best color and does show off my hostas that I completely ignore every year, but keep coming back beautifully!

I also got to meet a neighbor and his dog.  She likes to wander and I guess he hadn't been paying enough attention and she ended up in my yard.  He's a nice guy and the dog isn't large or scary - and now I know who to call if she comes to visit again.

What I didn't take a photo of is the quilting.  Hmmm...the quilt is sitting nearly within reach, I just have to get up...


This is my first go at the swirl hook and some are far better than others, but there you go.  My quilting.  It went fast, but took about 4 bobbins!

And for those of you who don't remember, the story of this quilt...

Way back in 2013, Quiltmaker magazine published this pattern.  It was done in similar colors, but with a white background.  They had their Scrap Squad going at the time and one of the gals did this quilt in batiks with a black background and set it on point.  I was smitten!  It's actually one of the first things in pinned on Pinterest!

In June of 2013, I bought fabrics.  (Thanks blog for recording that!)  Gradually, I worked on this.  I remember a quilt retreat where I made all the pointy pink triangles - paper pieced - as well as working on a few other parts of the block construction.

And then later I put it together not-on-point and couldn't figure out what was wrong.  I didn't have the photo with me, so just sewed away.  I decided to put on a blue border and that would fix it.  It did not.  I remember a full day spent sitting under a tree on Drummond Island literally tearing this quilt apart.  Row by row, block by block.  But hey, I was outside!

I remember a guild sewing weekend where I layed it all out on the floor - I'd left some rows together to avoid re-sewing where I could - and figured out what needed to be sewn, what else needed to be ripped and constructed the extra alternate blocks I needed but didn't calculate for because, again, I wasn't looking at the right instructions.

This quilt has had a rough road and by the time I had to quilt it for the May UFO, I wasn't sure if I liked it any more.  But like happens so often when I actually get to the quilting part (and get past that first pass where I'm white-knuckling the handles because I'm SURE something is going to go horribly wrong!), I fall back in love with the quilt.

It's about 70x90", but I haven't taken an official, final measurement.  If it's large enough, it may go to the niece with the new twin bed, instead of the Twisted Blossoms quilt I had planned.  But we'll see.  It might also look good on my couch...

Also finished this month - actually finished, not just nearly finished like another one or two - is one dolly quilt:


I took this out and pinned it up on my barn.  It's about 17x17" and is my own design, inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

But I loved the contrast of the modern quilt on my old paint-peeling barn that I ran back inside and grabbed another quilt and some extra pins:


I AM going to hang this quilt in my bedroom.  The hubby knows quilts are going up on the walls (also considering my paint chip challenge and my Xylem ASQ challenge that went nowhere) - in addition to returning a few of the pieces that were there originally.  (And a few aren't going back up...)

So there you have my UFO for May.  Not quite finished, but much closer than before.  And more likely to be actually finished than before it was quilted.

Now we're on #7 for the month of June.  That's my Science Geek hexie quilt.  I have the backing already.  I know how I'm going to quilt it.  I even have the orange thread!  Maybe I'll start on this before the last day of June?

And yellow had been chosen for the rainbow scrap challenge color.  I don't have a ton of color, but it's such a bright, happy color, I know I'll enjoy making my cats.

I'm way behind on my tiny wonky stars and have no inspiration just yet for the June dolly quilt, but the hubby has to work this weekend, so once I'm done here on the computer and run a quick errand, I'll be able to sew a bunch.  I still have my ridiculous list of projects, but I'm getting there.  I'm not going to let it overwhelm me - it's going to INSPIRE me!

Happy quilting!
Katie

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

more projects than promised but I got sidetracked

So after listing all the projects in my last post, I realized there were a few more I forgot to account for.

What were they?

Well, the cats for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, of course.  I kinda mentioned them, but for now I'm caught up.  For another whole day I'll be caught up.

Then there's another former coworker who is pregnant.  Her twin girls got quilts about 4 years ago.  Well, she did when she was still pregnant.  She's due in November with another girl, so I'm probably going to make her another quilt for that little bundle of joy.  I'm really feeling "Spin Cycle" by Cluck, Cluck Sew right now...

And my boss is also pregnant, due in November.  I'm not sure if she knows the sex or will find out, but you can't not give her another quilt.  (Her son got one when she was pregnant, plus there was the housewarming quilt before that.)  No ideas on a pattern for that one yet, but since she might read the blog, I'm not going to give anything more away!

So we're up to like 11 projects now.  No biggie.

I did snag a photo of the block exchange box this month.  No work on that yet, but here's what I'll be doing:


And I promise I did spend some of my long holiday weekend sewing!

I've finished 15 of the 16 Welcome blocks I'll need for cornerstones in my sheep quilt (I know this is only 12):


They're all different but similar.  I cut all the pieces at once, but can only sew them one at a time.  This is how I keep them straight:


Only one block to go - so far so good!

And I've been making wonky stars as leaders and enders...well, both blocks have kinda played that role with each other - I make a Welcome block (that's what Lori Holt named it, but I'm pretty sure it's also called Weathervane) and then I make a wonky star.

I don't think I got ahead this weekend, but I also didn't get any further behind!


But I did get REALLY sidetracked Saturday morning.

We moved into this house just over 15 years ago.  We put on a new roof that first Memorial Day weekend.  We've put on vinyl siding.  We've replaced something like 27 windows (yeah, lots of windows).  We replaced two of the three doors and storm doors.  And then decided to start paying off some of the things we took out loans to do to make the house more economical.

The interior?  Lots of country blue and tan downstairs.  Lots of wacky stuff upstairs.

Like my bedroom.


I didn't think to take photos until after we'd moved furniture around a lot and the quilt on the bed was moved VERY far away from anything dangerous.  But this is the trim that I've been looking at for 15 years.  It's beautiful pine under there, but some fool painted it this vomit-mauve color.  I'm sorry if any of you out there like it, but not only is it a crime to have ruined the woodwork (I tried to strip some and that was a disaster - dings filled with spackle and all sorts of nonsense) but this color is not anything I'd choose for room decor.  I've hated it since day one.  But we bought the house for its bones, not its decor.

Saturday afternoon we bought paint.

Saturday evening we sanded rough spots and filled nail holes.

Sunday we sanded and I put two coats of off-white paint on the trim.  And the closet door.  And the furnace vent.  And just one coat on the ceiling - previously off-white of a slightly yellower shade.  The hubby did the ceiling.  He's tall like that.

Not enough for the trim.

Monday I got up early and put a third coat on.  It's not getting any more.  It's starting to look terrible.  But it's still not covering great.  We also painted the walls.  Let it dry a while, put the closet door back on, put the furnace register back on, buy new switch plates and install, put the furniture back where it goes, put the mirror back on the closet door, vacuum about 4 times.  Make the bed.

Tuesday buy 3 of the needed 4 curtains on lunch break.  Also a new nightstand and a covered litterbox to replace the non-covered one that's up there (better safe than sorry!).  Also, the snickers and sweetened condensed milk needed to make the cheesecake I have to take to work tomorrow.  (That's why I went to the store in the first place.)

Tuesday after work go to three other stores to purchase the fourth curtain, curtain rods (because the store with curtains didn't have rods I liked and the second store we tried they cost way too much) and - oh there's a lamp that would be so cute on the night stand!

Make the bed for photos:


I think the pink bunny sheets really do a great job setting off my amazing quilt.  (I want to get a set of grey or lighter purple ones, but did I remember that today?  Noooo...)

The walls are a light grey - I brought home every grey-looking color card they had at the store and made sure this grey would look good with the quilt.  (It's amazing how varied greys can be!)  It does look a touch bluer than I expected, but I don't think it's a bad match with the quilt.

I'm pretty excited about this whole project.  It took way longer than I wanted and there are still a number of things to be done (like paint the other side of the closet door...), but it's definitely progress and I'm so happy with not having to see that terrible pinkish trim any longer.

So now do I go sew a few wonky stars so as to not get any further behind, or should I just go snuggle into my freshly made bed under my beautiful quilt and enjoy my new lamp and read a book and let my kitties join me?  Hmmm...

Happy quilting!
Katie