Tuesday, September 20, 2016

WIP--The list

I'm having one of those weeks that feels like the only thing I'm getting done is tail chasing, so I decided to do something I hadn't done in a while...make a list.  I've had several projects going on and I needed to get myself back on track to make sure I'm successful in getting them completed.

So after a day or two of working...where am I at?

I'm so close to a finish on this one, it's not funny.  The only thing left to do is finish up some applique, baste and quilt.  I even know how I'm going to quilt it.  Unfortunately, that's really all I can say about this one right now...actually you might hear that more than once in today's post...lot's of secretish (secreTish...get it :p) sewing going on.

I managed to baste three small quilting projects; a charity baby quilt, mini round robin and a block I recently pattern tested.  The only thing holding me back is figuring out how exactly to quilt them.  

I've managed to set aside some time to do a bit of pattern writing for a pattern I hope to release and for a hop that will be coming up soon (more details on that shortly).  Now I just need to get to cutting.

Speaking of cutting, I now have everything completely cut for Lorna's MOD Bear Paw QAL over at Sew Fresh Quilts.  Now I'm on the task of making quite a few bear paw blocks in a lovely shade of blue.  I figure if I can make a few each evening, I should keep up just fine.

I really love this white on white fabric I'm using for the background...it makes me very happy.

So back to the grind stone for me.  And on a side note before I sign off, the Blogger's Quilt Festival kicked off this week over at Amy's Creative Side.  There are many categories to choose from and you can enter up to two quilts.  So if you get a chance, write up a post about two of your favorite quilts (even if you've wrote about them before) and enter into the show.  I'm not sure I'll get a post written, but I definitely plan on browsing all of the categories to check out all the quilts...even if I didn't write it on my list.

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social and MOD Bear Paw QAL.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Craftsy Stash

So I may have gotten a bit carried away last month when Craftsy had their monthly sale.  Again I said "may have."  I'm hoping there will be several of you that say, nope, all of those purchases were perfectly rational, Tish.  And I will thank you in advance for those words. :)

So what did I pick up?  Well, let me show you.

I actually picked up this wonderful box of C+S Fat Quarters's during a Craftsy sale a few months ago.  I was in love with all those beautiful colors and the price.  During the early Black Friday sale last month the prices on the FQ box was reduced even more, so of course I had to pick up it's little friend.

If one box is good and two boxes are better, then three boxes must be over the moon, right?  The next deal I jumped on was a Free Spirit 1 Yard Cut Fabric Box.

Look at all those pretties!  The box contained 14 1 yard cuts of Free Spirit fabric.  I was a bit nervous because I was at the mercy of the Craftsy Gods when it came to the prints (it's a mystery box), but I think they came through for me.  I have no idea what I will be doing with these, but until then I will stare at their yummy goodness.

The next two items I jumped on were quilt kits.  You know, just in case I ever run out of projects to work on.

 And the second is Arrow Heads using Tonga Treasures in Topez

With Old Man Winter right around the corner, I'm glad I will have all these new friends to keep me company.  So why do I bring up all these fun purchases?  This weekend, Craftsy is having their Farewell to Summer Sale (September 16th through the 18th).

What a great way to prepare for the cozy months of inside play by taking advantage of all the great clearance items they have marked down, and you can never be too prepared for that unexpected gift that you need to whip up.  Also, I will mention that I am a Craftsy affiliate, so most links in this post contain affiliate links.

And on a completely different note, do you remember the small kitten we rescued about 3 weeks ago?

Good news, as much as we enjoyed having him (especially Caroline, who became quite attached) last weekend he found his way to his fur-ever home.  He is now happily playing with a sweet 10 year old girl and proudly sporting the name Turbo.  Which left one feral kitten left at David's work.  His co-worker was finally able to catch the little baby, and as you would guess it, my lover of cats husband brought it home.

Meet nugget #2.  I'm pretty sure it's a girl, but she was a bit jittery by the time we got her home last night, so no bath yet and no lifting of the little tail to check.  She's a bit more feisty and definitely healthier than her brother was, but I have no doubt that after 24 hrs of loving care she will be mush in our hands.  So as always, if anyone knows anyone that would love to give this beauty a good home, please let me know, or if you could send some positive vibes this way that we can find her a home soon that would be great.

Today I'm linking up with Can I Get A Whoop! Whoop!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Stash To Dye For

 A couple weeks ago, I posed the question of possibly of attending a fabric dyeing class to Dave the Quilt Engineer.  The class would be a several hour class on simple immersion fabric dyeing.  At first he was a bit reluctant, but with minimal begging (actually none at all) he agreed to attend the class with me.  Hey, who can turn down the possibility of walking away with 6 yards of fabric each.

So Saturday, we drug our butts out of bed and headed to town to try our hands at creating our own personal fabrics.

The class would consist of our instructor, Suzan, ourselves and a lady from my quilt guild.  We would each be dyeing twelve 1/2 yard cuts of white fabric.  Six would be a gradient color change and the second would be six going from one color to the next on the color wheel.  Both David and I chose to do our gradient color dye using a deep blue.  For my color change I would go from magenta to turquoise and David would go from yellow to magenta.

We made sure we had our masks for safety.

 And we kept everything neat and organized by using zip lock bags and plastic tubs.   

I didn't take a bunch of pictures once we really got into what we were doing.  I didn't want to spill anything, plus playing on your phone with gloves on isn't the easiest thing to do.

After our fabrics had set in their dye baths, we rinsed them to remove the soda ash (the ingredient that makes the magic happen) then headed home to finish the process by boiling them on the stove to remove all the excess dyes.

Much applause to David for taking over this process.  It took many 10 minute boilings before the water started to leave the kettles empty.  But the results from all the hot baths totally paid off!

Fabrics 1-6 (left to right) are my blue gradient fabrics and the the last six are my color change from magenta to turquoise.

One of the most exciting parts of the process, was opening the zip lock bags so see exactly what the fabrics looked like. Did they marble?  Did you create a super cool design?  For my gradient blues, I had one corner of the fabric in each hand and kind of pulled it up like you would a mini blind.  Then when all the fabric was in my hand I would give the tube a twist, then fold it in half, put it in the bag and massage the dye into the fabric before sealing the bag up.  Above is the design that was created.

For the color change fabric, I simply wadded the fabric up into a ball and placed it into each bag.  This created a great marbling effect.

I cannot put into words how much fun this class was.  I think David had an even better time than I did.  You can read more about his view of the experience here.  We've been in contact with the instructor and she was excited to hear that we would both love to do a follow up class to learn more about printing and stamping (David's idea).  Hopefully, we will be able to make that happen in the next few weeks.

And to change the subject just a bit, I was finally able to grab a few more pictures of my Snowflake Shimmer quilt...minus the wind.

And just for giggles, how about my version next to David's version?

I hear there is a post coming soon on Dave the Quilt Engineer talking about creating his version of Yvonne's Snowflake Shimmer Quilt.  There was some extra planning that had to be considered, but I think it totally paid off in his finished top.  Boy, I'm glad 1/2 of his stuff is legally mine :)

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday and Sunday Stash with the marvelous Molli Sparkles.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Snowflake Shimmer

I'm done! I'm done!  I was so excited to be finished I had to snap a few pictures to share.  First off let me apologize for the quality of these pictures.  I had a very small window frame to snap them in between work and fetch the teenager from band practice.  When I got it outside the wind was blowing much harder than I expected.  Funny how quickly you can gauge wind speed once you are trying to pin a flimsy to a clothes line.  After it was done flying over my head, I wrangled it down from the line, I spread it out on the ground.  Battle won!  Once I pulled out my camera to snap a few shots, I realized I forgot to put the card back in...ARRRRR.  So out came the phone and I made due. .Battle lost.

Why was I so excited to snap pictures?  I wanted to celebrate my Friday finish and party on with everyone over at Yvonne's Snowflake Shimmer QAL.  It's been so much fun to post along with everyone else and celebrate our progress.  So I will leave you with one more sub-par photograph and a promise for better ones later, when I have myself together a little better...and a second set of hands.

Hey,  think this is the shortest post I've ever written.

Today I'm linking up with the Snowflake Shimmer QAL.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What's one more gonna hurt?

So, what do you do when you feel like you may have possibly bitten off more than you can chew project wise?  You join yet another QAL of course.  Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts, released her next quilt along on Friday, the MOD Bear Paw.

I've been excited for this one to start, but with a few secret projects going on and two other quilt alongs as well, would I really have time?  You never know till you give it a try...so with that being said, I picked out some fabrics and am happily waiting for the cutting instructions to be released this week.  I decided to go with the baby quilt size.

Not quite what you were expecting, huh?  Trust me, it all works out in my head.  I cannot do anything the easy way.  I have to mix things up a bit.

As for the other QAL's I'm participating in...Meadow Mystery is up to date.  Cheryl released the first set of piecing instructions last Thursday and I used this weekend to keep caught up on it.

I wasn't sure about the orange and blue together, until I pieced the blocks...I'm in love.

Next up is the Snowflake Shimmer QAL with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl.  I don't actually have any pictures of my progress, but let's just say I'm pretty close to a pieced top.  Maybe it will be a Friday finish?  I'm feeling pretty optimistic about that.

Now for a sort of secret sewing project.  My cousin contacted me a few weeks ago about making a quilt for her MIL for Christmas.  We discussed a possible pattern and both agreed on one.  I told her I would need a Jellyroll of fabric and if she would pick one out and have it mailed to me, I would get started on it.  I hadn't heard from her since, so I thought maybe, I was off the hook.  Then the other day, this showed up in my mailbox.

Looks like I need to get cracking.  How many more days till the jolly ol' fat man comes to town?  I'm kind of excited because it is a quilt I've wanted to make for a while now, but didn't really have a reason to.

Also arriving in my mailbox on the same day, was a surprise package from a very sweet quilting friend, Lisa from Sunlight in Winter Quilts.  I met Lisa last year during the New Bloggers Blog Hop.  We were even in the same hive together.  I've enjoyed getting to know her for over a year now and hope that someday I can meet her.  I cannot thank her enough for the sweet card and FQ's she randomly sent to me.  

The FQ's are from a LQS in her area.  I had commented on how beautiful they were when she had wrote about acquiring some for her stash.  She remembered that I commented on loving the lace look of the fabric and decided to send me some!  She even included a little something for Dave the Quilt Engineer as well.  She is the best.

And I would like to give one other shout out before I wrap things up.  This weekend concluded Lily Pad Quilting's 2016 Pets on Quilts party.

I look forward to his party every year.  I love seeing all the different animals striking poses on all the beautiful quilts.  I spend the entire year bribing my fur kids to do cute things.  While, Miss Caroline Kitty Cat Meow Meow, Princess of the Fuzzy Butts (her name seems to be getting longer every time I post) didn't win in her category (though I may have fibbed and lead her to believe she did), I was one of the randomly selected winners.  Thanks to Snoodles, Padsworth, DragonDrop and Fat Quarter Shop (not an affiliate link) for the wonderful gift certificate.  Make sure you watch for Pets on Quilts for next year.  Start taking pictures now!

And finally how about I close with an OMG for the month.  My OMG is to simply quilt something.  My poor Sweet Sixteen has been sitting idle since I finished my Heart Quilt for Pulse.  She desperately wants to be used.  I'm thinking it will be my round robin mini as soon as it makes it's way home.  Honestly, though, I just want to quilt something.  So hopefully that's not too vague of a goal.

I should probably stop writing and start sewing if I want to see some progress happening.  Please tell me I'm not the only one that likes to do this to themselves.  

Today I'm linking up with OMGMOD Bear Paw and Sunday Stash.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mini Round Robin--Last Round

It's hard to believe but, Cindy, Julie, Sandra and I have entered the last rounds of our Mini Round Robin.  I have mixed feelings about this day.  On one hand I'm super sad.  It has been exciting to see what each of these other artists have created, poof! out of thin air. (I have to say I'm a humbled to be included in this group of amazing quilters).  On the other hand, I'm kind of glad it's over, because, each round the bar was set higher and higher and with it the anxiety level of creating also rose.  At least for me.

Not to sound cocky, but as I was finishing up Cindy's block, I kind of had what I was going to do for Julie's block in the back of my mind and didn't feel panicked at all.  Then on the first day of August we did our big reveals for the July round.

Photo courtesy of mmm!quilts
I had to laugh like a mad woman (on the verge of tears) when I saw a wonky width piano key border...almost the same thing I was thinking.  (Sandra and I laugh and say we share a brain cell, I'm beginning to think it's true)  I loved everything she did in her round.  She started off by making the block "spin" by adding a border of white Moda Grunge then cutting it to off set the block.  Then she framed the block with the multi colored and width piano key border.  Looks like it's perfect and finished to me!  Oh, wait, I still have to add to it...this is where the panic started.

So it was back to the drawing board.  Julie mentioned a wonderful book by Joen Wolfrom called The Visual Dance in her last round robin post.  I decided to take her advice and purchased a copy of the book.  I've only read the small section on round robins as of right now but it has been incredibly helpful even with this last round.  According to Joen, the duty of the last round is to try to tie everything together.  So before I started designing or picking out fabric, I spent some time truly thinking about what has made the block up to this point.

I loved how both Cindy and Sandra added the "spinning" effect with the whitish fabric in their rounds.  It has given the block nice movement.  And the over all theme of the block was a scrapiness of bright colors with a feeling of improve piecing.  Julie started us off with an improv log cabin and Sandra continued the improv with her wonky width piano keys.  Now to decide how to tie these elements together.

So what where my thoughts?  First, to spin the block again using white grunge and again creating some sort of border.  But let's remember technically we had to stay within the rule of only adding 3" to each side.  Three inches sounds like a lot, until you are actually working with it.  When I was working on Cindy's block in EQ7, I ran across a section of Crazy paper pieced blocks.

I thought these blocks had great potential for a border for this mini.  They still had an improv log cabin feel, but with angles instead of vertical and horizontal lines.  So feeling pretty confident about my choices I moved forward and started off by adding a 3.5" border of the white to the block and played with spinning the block.

So to spin or not spin was the question?  I'll be honest, trying to figure out the measurements was starting to hurt my head.  So I regrouped.  What if I just did a small plain border of the white?  This sounded promicing as well, but I felt I needed to justify it and prove to myself I wan't just taking the easy way out.  Since it was the last round, just doing a simple border of the white would help to let the eye know things where starting to level out.  I could still have movement with my improv block border.  This was sounding better.

And so this, is where Tish decides to go rogue and break the 3" to each side rule.  We all knew I was going to do this at some point and quite frankly I'm impressed I waited until the last round.

I trimmed the border to 1.75" which would bring the block to 21.5" and allow me to paper piece my blocks at 3.5" for a nice even number.  I would need a total of 32 blocks.  This sounded easy...until I actually started on it.

I think I used a total of 7-8 different Crazy blocks found in EQ7 to create my border.  I sorted through my stash (and ended up purchasing a few more) for fabrics that would work with the block. One thing I noticed is there was not much blue fabric (actually none) in the block so far.  When I did my fabric pull I made sure I steered clear of this color.  I think introducing a new color at this point would have stuck out a bit.

With 32 blocks each made up of 7 to 11 pieces of fabric, I needed variety to pull off the look I was going for.   So I sorted my fabric into piles and tried to grab randomly as I pieced the blocks.

So a day of on and off sewing found me with only half of the blocks I needed.  I completely underestimated how long piecing these tiny blocks would take.  The next evening I spent cutting out fabrics for the other 18 blocks.  Then the next evening, I sewed the rest together.

Knowing that the clock was ticking down on time, I started chain piecing and not paying attention to what I was doing.

It only took two sessions of picking out these tiny 1.0 stitches to slow my butt down and make sure fabrics where not folded over.  That's a mistake you do not want to repeat.  Yikes!

Several hours later, I've never been so happy to see a pile of blocks in my life!!

The next step was to sew the blocks into rows.  They contained so many bias edges, for stability, I decided to leave the paper on the blocks until the rows were attached to the block itself.

As soon as a row was sewed together it was time to say a prayer and see if indeed it was the correct length.

And it was!!!  After a crazy happy dance with a dog it was time to attach the rows to the block and pick all of the paper off.  

And I could not be happier with the the result of my round.  It turned out just as I imagined.

I can't wait to hear what Julie thinks of my round.  I have much respect for her as a designer and  I've always enjoyed reading about her design process.  I tried very hard to channel my "inner Julie" when working with this block.  Improv is not something that comes easily to me (heck I still used a paper pieced block), but I wanted to do her block justice and try to make everything come together in this round.  I don't feel bad in saying, I think I got it right.  The lesson:  don't be afraid to challenge yourself, you just might be surprised at what you can do.  If you get a chance to participate in a project of this type, go for it!  Don't be afraid to trust your instincts and try new things.  And don't be afraid to allow yourself to feel good about the work you've done.

Please take a moment to check out my fellow bloggers and see how they have wrapped up the minis for their rounds.

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