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,

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!

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!

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!