Monday, May 22, 2017

projects projects projects

So where did I leave off?  I've been too busy sewing and such to blog, but I'm making time tonight.  The longer I go, the longer it takes, so it's time!

In my last post, I was making wonky stars, but knew I needed some sort of organization system.  To remember what fabrics I'd used.  Because eventually it's going to be tough to sort through stacks of hundreds of blocks.

I came up with this:

I bought a notebook and punched holes in cardstock pages, labelled pages with colors and am gluing bits of fabrics onto appropriate pages as the blocks are made.  I also purchased some tiny zipper bags to keep the 8 squares of each color together.  This way, I don't have to make all the reds at once (I realized that might be a bad idea if I change background colors and all the reds are the might look odd...of course, it also might not be noticeable with all the other stuff going on!), but have a cheap, easy, reusable system for storing them.  That doesn't require my pins!

I'm currently 6 blocks behind, but there's good reason.

But here's a sampling of some of the more recent ones...ones that I remembered to photograph...

You can see my big stack in that last photo, as well as bits from the next project...


I still have to make the cornerstone blocks - that's up tonight - but I'm pretty sure I made the right choice with the florals.  Some of these I like a lot more than others, but I think as a whole, they're what I was looking for.

In the middle of all this, Mother's Day to be exact, my hubby's mom told us her niece (hubby's cousin) was turning 40 on the 20th of this month.  Cousin's hubby was throwing a surprise party Saturday and we were invited.  On the way home, a discussion of giving her a quilt happened.  I have the Closet of Shame, so I knew I at least had a top.  And I was willing to rise to the challenge.

A top was chosen Sunday.

Backing fabric was purchased and sewn together Monday.  Also Monday - I don't have any longarm thread that even comes close to looking good with this quilt.

Tuesday I raided the stash of a local longarmer and got some thread that was perfect.  A boring, drab color, and nothing I'd just buy, but one of those that goes with a lot of more traditional quilt colors.

Tuesday and Wednesday quilt.

Wednesday machine-sew binding.

Thursday guild meeting and squeeze in an hour of hand-binding.

Friday finish hand-binding.

Saturday, at guild sew-in, make and sew on label.  Saturday night, give gift.

I don't have much in the way of photos (Sunday I realized that despite my intentions of taking photos, I didn't!)...

So this is mostly it - starting on the longarm:

You may remember this quilt from the 2012 UFO challenge, where I blogged about it here.  It wasn't one that I ever saw myself using and the hubby thought it a good choice for her, so I was game.

She loved it.

And we were actually celebrating her 27th birthday.  (Perhaps for the 13th time, but that's okay.)

I promise a full story and photos eventually.  Her house is between here and the hubby's work, so he's promised to get photos for me, but he's got the week off work this week to go fishing, so it's gonna take a bit longer than I'd like.

So due to the 27th birthday quilt, I got behind on the mini wonky stars.  I'm only behind by 6, so I'm not worried.  They don't take that long and I've made quite a few as leader-enders with the sheep, so I'm doing okay.

But then there was the e-mail from a former coworker.  My e-mail program at work has his birthday saved in it, so it pops up every year.  I sent him a quick e-mail wishing him a happy birthday, figuring I wouldn't hear back.  He was a good guy, but I know how these things go.  He e-mailed back about a week later, not only thanking me and sounding happy to have heard from me, but sharing a photo of his new baby girl!

You may remember the hedgehog quilt?  I made that for his oldest, as a big sister quilt (and I never have posted about the baby quilt...) a few years back.  Well, turns out, he's got another little girl.  So what does a quilter do?  Well, decide to make another quilt of course.

I've decided on a quilt called Boomerang by Crazy Old Ladies.  I haven't decided on colors yet, but I think that will happen tonight, as I shop the stash for fabrics for my sheep cornerstones (those cornerstones are actually whole blocks!).  I did buy some white fabric this weekend, but plan to make the rest of the quilt from my stash.  I hope!

I hope to get this one finished sooner than later, and ordered/downloaded the pattern already, so it's just a matter of getting other things taken care sheep!

And then there's the 5-year-old niece who got a big girl bed a few weeks ago.  (The hubby and I may have had something to do with that.)  And all she has is her baby quilt.  And a comforter her grandma bought her after she got the bed.  No offence to grandma, but a quilt is much better and her big sister has a quilt on her bed - in the room they share.

I'd chosen the pattern Twisted Blossom by Sew Kind of Wonderful a few weeks ago.  I have the quick curve ruler and love the pattern, so it's time I put that expensive purchase (those rulers - how can they be so expensive!) to use.

The pattern was free...with a catch.  You had to buy the Metro Twist pattern to get the instruction to make the curved pieces of the block.  So I did.  Again, a download, so I have it in my hands already.

This time, though, I wanted to buy the fabrics.  Mom had painted the girl's room hot pink and turquoise, so that seems like a good way to go.  I'm not sure of favorite colors, but I'm afraid to ask.  It's likely to be "Frozen" or "Wonder Woman"...which aren't really colors...

Anyways, I got some fabrics yesterday and they, along with the white (more white for this one - I might be making a mistake with that color choice...) - in a different load, of course - have been washed.  Awaiting pressing, but I'll get there.

(boy, I went a while there without a photo!)

I'm not sure if I'll make the blocks scrappier, like the original pattern, or each block one print.  I suppose I'll have to make the same number of blocks parts either way, so I can try it both ways.  I'm aiming for Christmas for this one, so it will probably get procrastinated a while.

And then there's the projects that are nearly done.

Two of the projects I worked on back at the retreat in January at to the stage of tops and need borders.  So at my guild's Saturday sew-in (where it was just me and one other member!), I worked on that.

I didn't take photos, but I did make progress.  I also bought a little more fabric for one for a second, solid (well, grunge) border before a pieced one.  And for that quilt's binding.  I hope to have these tops done soon so I can get them out of the nearly-finished pile.

And then there's the Hunter's Star I'd like to make for my nephew, Hunter.  I bought the ruler for it, but that's as far as the idea has gotten. I've seen so many ways of placing colors, I think I'm just on overload with it.  Or maybe nothing has really spoken to me yet.  But that's slated for another Christmas gift (as my original plan of his late-March birthday failed miserably...), so another one to procrastinate.

Oh, wait, there's one more!  No photos again (I really need to get better about this!), but we traded our block boxes again Thursday night.  The one I have this month has some fairly complicated 6" blocks, but after my tiny 36-patches, my wonky stars and the 6" blocks for the Vintage Farm Girl quilt, I'm confident I can handle this.  I'll try to remember to take photos of what she's doing!

And how could I forget the UFO for the month.  I have the backing pieced.  I've got the longarm thread.  I even bought more batting (since I used my last big one on the birthday quilt), so no excuses.  Maybe this weekend?  It will be a 3-day weekend...

So I think that's it.

Is it enough?

Probably.  (ha ha ha ha ha)

Happy quilting,

PS I'm hoping June doesn't get here too fast, since that will bring a whole new batch of projects with the UFO challenge and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

no scrap is safe

I caved.

I dumped out and re-sorted my scraps bags.  I saved anything that might be large enough for a wonky star.

No scrap is safe any more.  Not at my house.

There many not be any more string quilts.

But there will be wonky stars.

That sticky note?  My Monday goofing off at work math project.

1080 blocks to make a queen size quilt.  No sashing.

I'm up to 14.  I haven't made it into the sewing room least not to sew.

I made a little calendar counter today.  My goofing off for today.

(These goof offs take about 4 minutes, so no real lost work time.  We'll call that my "cigarette break for a non-smoker" okay?)

If I make 3 blocks a day, I'll be done by the middle of May 2018.

Can I go the distance?

We'll see.

In other news...other news of caving...  I bought some florals for my sheep.

They were harder to find than you'd think.

But I got the 9 I need on Monday.  And I washed them on Monday.

While they were washing, I auditioned borders for my May UFO.

In the photo here, I like the black better than I did up close.  But it turns out the black I thought I could get more of isn't the same.  And there's not enough of any other color left over either.  Not even for binding.  So this quilt won't have borders.  I don't think it will look bad, I just liked the idea of stabilizing it a bit more with borders, as it's set on point.

I also made a few wonky star blocks.

No, wait, those two were made on Sunday.

These six fabric combos were selected and cut on Monday.

And sewn all up.

I also go happy mail!

I had entered a stash-reduction giveaway over at The Objects of Design where helpers Molly and Buddy were helping Staff by giving away some of the fabric.  Bundles to be selected by whichever cat the entrant felt would do a better job.

I asked that Molly choose fabrics for me, mentioning I have a dot problem.  I think Molly did a fantastic job.  She even threw in some cat-themed fabrics.

This is my favorite:

Many thanks Molly and Sally!  I'm so excited about my new fabrics, but I'm going to try to hold onto them in full-piece form for at least a little while before chopping into them for my latest harebrained idea of making over 1000 3" wonky star blocks.

Tuesday, I couldn't wait to get home from work and make more wonky stars.  But I forced myself to make a floral sheep first.  The wonky stars will be my reward, though I was excited about the floral sheep, .  A little apprehensive, as florals are definitely not my thing, but once the fabric had been bought, there's nothing left to do but dig in, right?

Now I know some of you will probably still prefer the grey, but if you see this through my eyes, you'll know that I absolutely adore my floral sheep.  The grey one is cute, yes, but the purple flowered little guy?  I'm in love!

And my reward?

It's hard to see because of the size of the pieces, but that white one on the far right is a script/postmark type print that I used for the background of my guild paint chip challenge.  I love the fabric and am so excited to have it here.  Even if I'm the only one who knows what it looked like before wonkification.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to put in a bunch of ugly fabrics (at least not yet - I might get desperate!), but there are definitely some that I love and others that I merely like.

So that puts me at 14.  By my tally, I need to have 21 by Sunday.  I'm doing well!  But I know there will be weeks where I fall off the wagon for one reason or another, so I might as well keep going while I'm excited.

As this project goes, I'm developing a plan.  I've been sewing these with thread that matches the star points.  That means a lot of thread changes.  So I could either buy a spool of dark grey (I'm thinking all my backgrounds will be a medium to dark grey - hopefully all from my stash) or I could just sew a batch of like-colored stars.  Since I'm not planning to make a trip out just for thread, I'm going to do the like-colored batches.  At least for now.

Tonight is going to be a red night.

Unless I pass out from exhaustion before I make it to the sewing room.

Today was a trying day at work.  My boss is out for the week and she has a few duties that, over the course of time, have become mostly just hers.  So bits and pieces are here and there and assigned to others when she's not there and it's just a headache.  We'll all be glad when she's back.  But it's a lot the same for me and my job - everyone is happy when I come back, too!

But that means today is REALLY a day I need to spend some time playing with fabric.

So off I go.

Happy quilting,

Sunday, May 7, 2017

i was on track for a half a day!

Friday, after providing you with a fairly sarcastic post, I headed to my sewing room.  I still had a few hours to spare before the hubby returned home, so I could listen to music OUT LOUD (the kind that I like) and talk to myself with no help from the peanut gallery.

I started unsewing the pink leftovers seen at the end of my last post:

...and started sewing them together again - in the other direction.  Turns out I had a few extra yellow strips that had gotten into my actual stash, which helped this along, as they were about 10" and most of these are more like 4".

By the time I'd sewn them all together, I had a small mountain.  I wondered if this was going to make another throw-sized quilt?  It seemed like a LOT, but I kept going.  Remember I have the extra pink I purchased in case things go awry.

I was really looking forward to the seams getting longer, though, by this time.  I know I whine and moan about sewing the long seams to put quilts together, but after about 4,000 2.5" seams, I was ready for a change.

Sew, press, cut, sew, press, cut, sew, press, cut...

I got to a point where the strip set was about 17" wide and realized if I just cut it in half, I'd have two nearly-square dolly quilt tops!  And 16x17" is a pretty darn good size.  I've decided that these will be quilted on the longarm while I have the larger quilt loaded - there should be a fair amount of extra backing so why not!

I also made another tiny pincushion...

...and sewed together most of the green and yellow leftover pieces to make binding for the true-square dolly quilt.

And with these projects finally coming to a close, this is what I have left:

Yep, three pieces of green.  I feel pretty good about this small amount going back into my stash.

But wait, the rainbow scrap challenge color of the month is GREEN...maybe they won't go back in the stash after all?

Before bed, I pulled my entire stash of greens...

(pardon the lint roller and assorted junk on that window ledge/shelf behind there...)

What an assortment of shades.  Previous months, the colors have been a little more limited.  I worried in March that I didn't have enough contrast in my reds.  My selection of purples was fairly limited and none were super dark.  I've got the whole range here - everything from pale, pale green to nearly black.  But green is a good color.  It can go in baby quilts, grown-up quilts, flower's so versatile, yet this is exactly what made this set of cats hard.

It's time for bed anyways, so maybe sleeping in it will help?

Saturday morning dawned and I woke up excited to sew.  The hubby was at work and I knew I had at least until 10am with a quiet (turned noisy by the radio again) house.  Emma made sure I was up early, though not early enough for her.

First up - get that dolly quilt of true squares quilted.  Done.  Machine sew on binding.  Done.

Shower.  Just in case the hubby comes home sooner than expected.  (He doesn't really care, but gives me a hard time if I'm still in my pajamas too late into the day!)

Still having trouble pondering those cats.  I don't remember any other month giving me this much trouble.

But oh, look, there's some now-too-large scraps in my recycle-the-fabric bin.  Hmmm...those grey and peach scraps trimmed from Arcadia Avenue blocks would make a really pretty tiny pincushion...

Seriously, though, this is the first of these that I have truly made in procrastination of another project.  (And sadly, I'm procrastinating a project I'm excited about...what the heck?)

And then there's those two pink quilt backs I bought that aren't going to sew themselves together, right?  So let's sew those together.  Another task I dislike, but, well, when procrastinating, any project will do...

About this time, the hubby returned home.  Just about on time for his original prediction, but I know how his job goes...he's usually hours later than anticipated for these special weekend projects, but thankfully, this time everything went smoothly and he came home on time.

He took me to lunch.  At a place just a few doors down from a JoAnn Fabrics store.  After lunch, sitting in the car while he screws around with whatever it is he does before driving (he takes forever to get going in the's not the seatbelt, mirrors, and starting the's the sunglasses and getting crap out of his pockets and I don't know what all...I'm in the car and moving in about four seconds!) we have this conversation:

Hubby: "Do you need to go to JoAnns?
Me: "Nope."
Hubby: "Are you sure?"
Me: "I don't need anything."
Hubby: "Are you sure."
Me: "Yes, I'm sure.  I could probably find something, but I don't need anything."
Hubby: "I can take you there.  I don't want to drive up here again tomorrow."  (It's about a 20 minute drive.)
Me: "No, I'm good."
Hubby: "I don't mind taking you over there."
Me: "Okay, fine.  Take me there."


What I didn't tell him is that I've been wanting to make this quilt for a while now.  It's the sheep from my Farm Girl quilt.  The pattern for the setting is in the book, as are the corner stone blocks.  The actual quilt in the book using the setting is very different, but it's all there.  But I knew I had other projects I should be working on, so I was trying to be good.

When I saw the quilt, I thought I'd do it with the green Rainbow Scrap Challenge month.  So when green was called, I went after this photo again.  And looked closer.  That green?  It's all the same green for the sashing.  And all the same green for the background.  I don't have that much of any one green.

So what did I buy at JoAnn's?  (I bet you can guess!)

The floral is for the sashing (it's a gingham-like print in the original, but I couldn't find any and thought this read, from a bit of a distance, similarly).  The green dot is for background.  Sadly, I don't much care for pin-dot dots.  I know, I have a dot problem, but this particular version just doesn't appeal to me.  But I wanted a matchy green and this was the only one that read solid enough to be a background the way I wanted it to be AND matched.  So I'll survive.

This fabric went into the washing machine before I even had my coat off upon returning home!

While it was washing, I dug into the greens to make cats.  I needed to just get started and hoped that would get me over my troubles.  I did sort the greens into a pile that I wasn't likely to use (too dark), so that helped some.

But just dig in, right?

Before I knew it, I had made 13 cats!

See what I mean about the variety?  But I think I managed to get enough variety in there that no one color is really sticking out too much.

But what's that in there with the cats?

Another mini wonky star.

At this point, I'm having fun (though there is a strong urge to dig through the recycle-scrap bags and cut as many 1.5" squares from those before I really recycle them (into paper maybe?...wherever the recycle place sends them) and I'm fighting it) and wondering if maybe these could become a block-a-day project that will become a quilt.

Last night, laying in bed before I passed out from exhaustion, I did a little math.  A queen-size quilt is about 90" square.  These blocks finish 3".  So that means about 30x30.

900 blocks.

900 blocks?

Maybe a throw quilt will be better.

You know, one that will be done before the next millennium gets here.

So by now the hubby wants dinner.  He doesn't want leftover chili.  He rolls his eyes when I suggest chips and cheese (it started out as a serious suggestion on a night we weren't particularly hungry, but knew we should at least eat something better for us than half a bag of mini Snickers and now it's just a thing).  So we ran to McDonald's.  Healthy, right?

And then it was time for SHEEP!

I know, I could have been figuring out borders for my UFO quilt.  Because that's technically an assignment this month, but it's only the 6th, right?

I DID clean up my greens and put them back.  Mostly because they were taking up half my cutting mat and to do much of anything (other than teeny blocks), I'd need that space.

So I pulled greys for the sheep.  The original has them in cute florals (another type of fabric I never thought I'd find myself wanting...), but I thought maybe my greys would work.  I have a variety of shades and thought some light with dark faces and some dark with light faces might be cute.

I cut a few sheep parts and then stopped myself.  I want to be sure I LIKE the grey before committing so much fabric to it.


He'll get some little spindly legs embroidered and needs a strip of "grass" under his feet, but for now, it serves the purpose of trying it out.

I do like it, but I also know what the original looks like and worry that those cute florals are what truly drew me to the quilt and I'm going to hate this quilt because I know what else it could have been.

So I'll sleep on it.  Share it with quilty friends for opinions and see what happens.

(And this guy saw a fair amount of reverse sewing, as it was getting late and I clearly wasn't paying enough attention to what I was doing.)

So what do you think?  (You'll have to click the link above to see the original, as I don't have permission to copy it here.)

Today I haven't gone back to the sewing room.  We have a birthday party for a niece later today and I've been busy making her a Wonder Woman cake (photos to come later, as it will require some assembly at the party) and getting groceries to feed the hubby this week.

I'm hoping after the party I can find some time to sew, but we'll see.  Rumor has it the birthday girl is getting a tablet and since we have unlimited internet at our house, guess who gets to host the after party?  (She's 5.  What did you all have when you turned 5?  I'm sure I had NOTHING as fancy as a tablet at 5.  Honestly, I don't remember having anything that fancy until I bought a laptop computer in college - a used laptop, with my own money - but this tablet is likely far more sophisticated than that laptop I purchased in 1994!)

In the meantime, I'm going to contemplate purchasing florals and whether my UFO for this month truly needs dark purple/blue borders.

Happy quilting,

Friday, May 5, 2017

squirrels! squirrels everywhere!

So in my last post, I shared the backing fabrics I purchased for my UFO and bonus UFO quilts, right?  Do you think I did the responsible thing and quilted those?  Or sewed borders on the true UFO that probably needs them?  Or maybe even dug out the fabric for said borders and looked into the need?


(I did order more pink thread, as I'll be needing that.  Pity points?)

First, I pulled fabrics for my May dolly quilt.  At least this one is on the actual to-do list.

It kinda looks like my yellow, green and orange fabric bins threw up.  Not that they're actually in bins (because I have a nice cupboard/closet arrangement), but you get the idea.

I started cutting pieces based on a quilt I'd seen on Pinterest.  Of course, it linked to one you could have bought at one point online, not a pattern.  No worries.  I got this.

Some fabrics made the cut, a second yellow center did not.  Pieces were just getting too small.

(ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - you'll understand this in a minute)

Spray baste yellow background to back fabric.  Pin shapes.  Raw-edge applique freestyle.  Just pins.

Rename "walking foot": "smash, wrestle, fight, swear and dislocate your shoulder foot".

(Perhaps the freestyle was a bad choice?)

In the process of cutting all these lovely circles, I saw a squirrel.

After being a good girl and getting this quilt to the point of needing hand-sewing of binding...

...I chased down that squirrel...

...a mini wonky star pincushion!

What possessed me to make this?  Squirrels, I tell ya.

But I'd seen another one as I was cutting the binding...

...yeah, two squirrels in one day.

At this point, it was pretty much bedtime and though I didn't want to go to bed, I knew I had to go to work in the morning and probably should get enough sleep to be functional and not Angry Katie.

In the morning, I still didn't want to go to work.  But I did.  Because I am also Responsible Katie.  (And Needs Money to Support Quilting Problem Katie.)

But all I could think about all day Thursday was quilting.  I already had plans.  Plans for the leftovers from the Bonus April UFO quilt.

A bonus dolly quilt for May!

Yep, already.

This might also qualify as a squirrel, as it's not exactly on the to-do list for the month.

When you sew strip sets, you end up with shorter bits at the end, right?  So I cut those into skinnier strips than the big quilt and made an 18x20 square dolly quilt.  It sounds harder than it was - I was starting with strips sets of 5x1.  The hardest part (aside from pressing seams the right direction...) was getting all the pieces layed out so there weren't matchy-touchy pieces.  Doesn't seem that it should be that hard, but it was.  I promise.

So here's the top.  Maybe I'll quilt it tonight?

But while this squirrel was being attended to, another damn squirrel showed up...

...can you see my 6.5" square ruler under there?

Yeah.  That's gonna finish 3".

I've seriously LOST MY MIND.

Let's see all three (with one out of focus - thank you camera)

I'm pretty proud of myself with that 36-patch.  There's just ONE point/seam that doesn't match perfectly.  Why the he** can't I do that with larger pieces?  I mean, really...

And I still have this pile squirrel calling to me...

I'm thinking of sewing these together end-to-end and seeing about making a short-strip version of the 1600 quilt?  I have a bit of un-sewing to do before I can use all the strips, but how happy does this make anyone that I've gotten two quilts and a pincushion out of this leftover jelly roll...and likely a third quilt to come.  (I've got plenty of the pink, too, and have an idea how to stretch the remaining bits if needed.  But that wasn't part of the original fabric selection.)

The hubby took two nieces to a movie tonight (apparently I wasn't invited?), so I have the evening to myself.  Once laundry is done, I'm home free!  And he has to work tomorrow morning, too, so if I don't decide to sleep till noon (it's happened, folks), I have that time, too.  I could be responsible and, you know, like, wash dishes or vacuum, but seriously?


I should probably eat dinner at some point, too.  I have leftover chili and found some hot dogs in the freezer.  (They're fine.  No, they are.  I'm a microbiologist, you can trust me.  Really, I am.)  Know what that means?  Chili dogs with homemade chili.  One of my seriously favorite uses of homemade chili.  Plain?  Good.  Chili dogs?  Heck yeah!!!!

Off to chase some squirrels.

( many squirrels...)

Happy quilting,

PS  I also have a squirrel brewing for another mini pincushion using more of the pink leftovers above.  Yep.  Mind gone.

PPS Blogger is being fiesty today and doesn't like to format stuff like normal.  Please ignore the highlighting everywhere.  ACK!