Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Busy Time of Year

Fall is usually a busy time of year at our household, but man, I don't quite remember it being this busy and out of control.  Productivity levels feel like they are plummeting and I'm having a hard time remembering what I need to do.  So I started a list.  It actually only had like five items on it, but as the day went on I just kept adding to it as things came to me.  Slowly, I'm crossing things off.

The one thing crossed off the list may seem silly, it's small.  I usually do not use the no waste flying geese method.  I like the accuracy I get with the good ol' rectangle, square, square one at a time method.  However, I'm currently writing a pattern, that I believe will turn into a QAL here on the blog next year and thought I might like to include this method.  After figuring out the math behind the method, I wanted to test it before I just wrote it up.  I got it figured out, but I think I will include instructions for both methods in the pattern.

Monday night was our monthly guild meeting.  In the pictures above, I'm talking about David's recent log cabin finish and my Scrambled Plus finish.  I also learned that the guild's block exchange is at our next meeting in November, not December.  Oops, time to bump that up on the list a bit.

I have everything neatly bagged up, they just need to be sewed.  I have two sets of five blocks completed.  Only five more sets of five to go...or 25 blocks.  Five sets of five sounds easier doesn't it?

The next "get on it item," is a teaching class sample of the Star Blossom Quilt Block.  I don't think I've mentioned it before on here, but on October 21st, David and I are traveling to Bolts and Quarters Quilt Shop in Parkersburg, WV to teach a class on constructing our super sized block.  Public speaking terrifies me, though I'm getting better.  I've never taught a quilting class before, so this should be a learning experienced for everyone involved.  I'm glad David wanted to help teach the class, he's a much better speaker than I. 

I have started cutting fabric and sewing some of the bits and pieces up.  I am hoping to have this finished before the end of the week...fingers crossed.

And the YOU MUST FINISH THIS NOW...LIKE REALLY TWO WEEKS AGO project is the Butterfly Meadow Mystery Quilt.  I'm so close!

This was a sketch I did to get myself back on track.  I drew out several different options in some of the blocks to figure out what I liked best.  I am loving how it is turning out.

I am praying the customer will forgive me for taking so long to finish this quilt.  It is quite possible I have gotten carried away.  Blame the quilt, this is what it wanted.

So why is all of this taking so long??  Well, we've had work, birthday festivities, football games, band spectaculars, and guild meetings.

Plus all the little things that slow you down, like cats that refuse to move.
So, I will keep plugging along.  It will all get done, or most of it.  The important stuff at least.  Hope your list is shorter than mine and feel free to jump in and help...joking. 
Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social and Mid Week Makers.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sewing Nowhere

Caroline Kitty Cat, little creeper that she is, can tell you that as far as this weekend went, my sewing went no where.  Absolutely, no where.  It wasn't for a lack of trying, it's just adulting and working had to take top priority.  It happens.

I was however, thanks to her watchful eyes, able to finish piecing the Scrambled Plus Sign Quilt from Angela Walters Midnight Quilt Show last week.  All of that stripping really paid off.

Don't worry, little quilt, you'll be come a finished quilt one day.  Now go join the other quilt tops and wait for your number to be called.  Insert evil laughter.

I also got in a teeny tiny bit of quilting accomplished on the butterfly quilt.  The cross hatching is almost finished.  I am loving the way it is looking.  I'm praying this will be almost finished by the weekend.  It needs to be heading to its new home.

The only other quilting that happened on my end was discussions on how to fix Jenny's birthday Christmas Quilt.  Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilt's Unicorn Quilt.

This is the completed center.  I want to add some borders to it to make it bigger.  The problem?  It's not square, meaning the top is off from the bottom. UGH!  It's not horribly unsquared, but enough to make borders a challenge.  I'm not looking for perfection.  I'm just looking for a quick solution.  This quilt will never be a show quilt.  It will be cuddled by a teenager and three dogs.

My first thought for borders went something like this.

I'm not sure what I didn't like about it, but it wasn't quite what I was going for.  So what about adding a small white border before the colorful blocks?

Better, but still wasn't sold.  Plus the whole thing needs to be as square as possible to look right and make the borders work.

After ironing out the finished middle, David and I spent some time walking around the quilt talking.  I guess we thought if we made enough laps around it, it would fix itself or we would find the right answer if we stood at just the right angle (do you ever do that?).  Then David had an idea, "What if you do it like that Midnight Quilter lady in that one episode we watched?  You know the one with the strips."  It took me a minute, but I figured out he was talking about Angela's Shattered Frames Quilt.

Hmmm...I think he was on to something.  So I played around in EQ7 to see what this new idea would look like.  

Yes!  I think I like this one.  It's different.  Maybe a bit more mature?  Of course this is just a rough mock up.  It will look much different and I can play with the strips.  The dark blue around the edge represents the binding.  I have to say I'm a bit more motivated to work on it now.

Time to get my head back in the game and try again.  Today starts a new week.  All these projects will definitely not finish themselves.  Here's to hoping that we all have a productive quilting week!

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday.

Monday, September 25, 2017

QAL-Getting Back into the Groove

I totally needed this weekend.  It was the first one in several that I haven't spent all weekend running around doing errands.  I hate super buys weekends packed full of "have to do's" with very little "want to do's" accomplished.  Since I had dedicated machine time, I decided to catch up on QAL's.    First up was the block above, the Aurifil BOM.  This month's block was called Sunflower Power and was by Vanessa Goertzen (you can read more about her in Pat Sloan's interview here.)  All those bright sunny yellows sure did start the weekend off right.

Next up was the 9th block in Cindy at Stitchin At Home's Medallion BOM.  Last month I introduced black into the color palette of my blocks by pairing it with green.  This month, I went for it again, but with purple.  It may be one of my favorite blocks in the quilt so far.

I still have a block to make for The Children's Library BOM, but will make it next month when the last block comes out.  Then I can piece the entire quilt together.

I've decided to play along with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl's Wayward Transparency QAL.  Last weekend I picked out fabrics for the smaller version.  I ended up with some lovely Kaufman Quilter's Linens in blue.

I admit I was a bit worried about the contrast between the light and medium tones.  The dark blue on the bottom was for binding.  Yvonne published a wonderful post last week about evaluating fabric contrast.  Following her advice, I added a black and white filter to my picture to evaluate it.

As I feared, the light and medium fabrics basically read the same value wise.  So I made a quick trip to my local quilt shop to see if I could find a fabric that would work.  After auditioning a few different fabrics I finally settled on one.

Though not a Kaufman Quilter's Linen, it still has a linen feel to its print.  I'm not sure this picture does it justice, but I believe it will work wonderfully in this quilt.

I spent the rest of my weekend working on the strip quilt from last weekend and I am happy to say that I am officially a little over 2/3 finished with it.

I brought out the design wall for a little bit of help.  I'm trying to keep things looking random and scrappy with these 10 patch blocks.  Why does random take so much planning???  I have to say I'm happy with the way the blocks are turning out.  I have two more of these super sized blocks to finish and then I can show you my finished top.  Then it will join all the other unfinished tops.  Is there a Guinness World Record for most completed quilt tops laying around?

What's that you ask?  Did David join me in another weekend of stripping?  Sadly no, he is too busy building houses.  Well, okay, log cabins.  Log cabin blocks anyway.  He finished up his strip quilt Friday,

pieced a small wall hanging for me

and then cut into some beautiful civil war reproduction fabrics he picked up last weekend to start a log cabin wall hanging.

So lots of thread flying off the spool this weekend at our house.  Hopefully, even more will be flying this week.  I'm grounded!  I have to finish quilting the butterfly quilt.  It needs to be finished by October.  So I'm going to say good bye for now.  If I catch myself writing this post, I will probably be in trouble.

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Let Me See You Jelly Roll

Last weekend was all about the jelly roll and making something with them.  I pulled out all the jelly rolls in our stash and snapped a quick picture.  I needed to do a bit of inventory before I decided which one to cut open.  Funny enough, the two half rolls and the roll they are setting on in the far right of the picture where the lucky winners.

David decided to break into his jelly roll quilt kit using Hop, Skip and Jump by American Jane and I broke up to very old rolls that I believe came from Joann Fabrics.  The pattern I used also called for a jelly roll in solids.  Nope do not see any of those in my picture, so off to the store to quickly pick up enough of a solid fabric to cut strips.

A small confession here...I've had this Go! cutter for almost a year now (David got it for me for Christmas) and I have never used it.  Gasp!  I know.  He's actually used it several times.  I decided to break it out and take advantage of the 2 1/2" strip dye.  Holly cow, did that save time.  I think I cut enough strips for a jelly roll in maybe 15 minutes.  Might have been less time actually.

With everything gathered up and a few more cuts, I was ready to start this quilt.  

Thank goodness our daughter headed off to her homecoming dance, things got pretty hot, hot, hot at our house.  We were spicing things up in a big way.  Stripping.  Yes you read that right.  Stripping.
We decided to make use of our time alone and strip together.

Wait, what where you thinking?  Strip with each other, not for each other.  (Sorry I just had to go there)  As the weekend came to an end, I found myself with some completed strip sets and David almost had a completed quilt top.

I'm continuing to piece on the quilt this week, since having adequate quilting time seems to be a bust.  Maybe it will turn into a completed top by the weekend.  Blocks are starting to form.

I think I'm going to keep the pattern a secret until it starts coming together.  Keep you guessing.

Now on to my next quilting confession...two jelly rolls worth of strips may have started turning into quilts, but what do I do???  Buy two more of course.

While killing time between doctor appoints in Morgantown, we headed on one of our favorite quilt shops, Country Roads Quilt Shop.  Peggy, the owner, has her jelly rolls on sale all week and I just had to handle them.  Who doesn't love fondling fabric??

These lovely pinks, blues and grays with the gold print caught my eye right away.  The line is called Meow or Never by Erin Michael.  I had to have it.  I love puns and buns and this is like both!

I also kept coming back this little Christmas jelly roll.  I think it may actually become a for sale quilt once it's finished, but only time will tell.

So two rolls out two rolls in equals right back to where we started from, but I'm ready for jelly roll day 2018.

Did you strip this weekend?  Is your stash less one roll or did you celebrate by stocking up?  I'd love to hear about it.  

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Roundabout--A Finish

Where to start with this quite unexpected finish?  This little quilt is a UFO from a little ways back, basted and forgotten, until now.  There is a whole bunch of things that leave me scratching my head as to the existence of the quilt at all.  Like why did I buy this charm pack?  A good sale maybe?  I couldn't even remember the name of it.  After an image search of the fabric turned up nothing on google, I turned to Pinterest with the words "Moda Fabric whale tales," and low and behold the third image was from this charm pack.  That lead me to the words Sea Salt.  Then back to google with "Moda Fabric Sea Salt" and bam, this picture and the fabric line name...Salt Air.

How is that for blind luck?  I'm guessing this fabric line came out in 2012 (based on finding a pattern featuring the fabric on Moda Bake Shop).  I probably pieced the quilt top around 2013/2014 after purchasing the book 101 Fabulous Small Quilts by The Patchwork Place.

No clue why, but I decided to piece this little charm pack into a relatively quick and easy pattern called, Roundabout.

There appeared to be some sloppy seams as I quilted it, and I vaguely remember there being some partial seams involved i the quilt's construction.  But hey, we all have to start somewhere.  And so the story of this quilt pretty much goes into a coma after being pieced.

After making a list of UFO's at the end of last year, I was feeling super pumped and decided to baste several quilts in the early spring.  If it's basted you have to quilt it, right?  Wrong.  It's still just been hanging out in a pile waiting.  I have had zero and I mean ZERO quilting inspiration when it comes to this quilt.  Is it bad that I felt nothing...yikes, that sounds harsh. 

Let's skip to last weekend.  David had just enjoyed yet another quilt top finish, while I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by quilting the Butterfly Meadow Mystery quilt.  So as I was stitching, this little fellow popped into my head.  Figuring he could use some practice quilting, why not pawn it off  offer it to him to practice quilting on.  (More like I'm quilting for you, you can quilt for me)

To my surprise on Sunday, he presented me with this drawing as a quilting option.

Well, now, isn't this interesting.  I kind of liked it.  It's different.  He offered to quilt it, pointing out it would take him longer than it would me to accomplish it, but since is was getting late I wanted to think on it.

By the next morning, as much as I loved the drawing (wouldn't this make a great mini quilt too!), I wasn't sold on all those lines with the "o" shapes.  So I messaged Sandra at mmm!quilts with all the information and she had the same reaction I did, it needs curves or swirls or something.  Taking into consideration we share a brain, I had to ask myself, are we right?   I like to preach, "there is no wrong way to quilt a quilt."  So was I being a bit of a hypocrite, even though I wasn't feeling it?

I came up with a second test, Julie at Pink Doxies.  I've found that she and David share similar tastes when it comes to quilting.  I texted the same information to see what her thoughts were.  I decided if she likes it, I'm going for it (I needed a break from the Butterfly Quilt and decided this little project might be a great recharger).  If she said, eh, back to the drawing board.  Guess what?  She loved it.

So Monday evening, quilting commenced.  David's design required absolutely no marking and could easily be achieved using quilting rulers.  My thread choice was Aurifil 2021 Natural White.  I could tell you I chose this thread because, as a white, it is a wonderful neutral and would play nicely across the quilt (which it does), but the fact that my machines (piecing and quilting) where already threaded with this colored helped too.  I could have just as easily chose 2908 Spearmint or even 2405 Oyster.  My point there are always lots of choices.

After a few laps around the quilt with my walking foot I headed to my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen to finish up.  After I had the bottom section finished, I pulled it off to have a look.

Not bad at all, though it's really hard to see some of the details.  Several interruptions later I had a finished quilt top.  A quick trip to the quilt shop at lunch and I was able to find a solid fabric that matched the quilt pretty nicely.  After dragging myself in after the homecoming parade and pep rally, a quick stop at the Dollar General (non quilting related) and five 2 1/2" strips later, I had myself a bound mini quilt and one item crossed off a list of many.

This finish feels GOOD.  I really didn't have any expectations for this little project, but I absolutely love how it turned out.  If you are having trouble figuring out how to quilt something, don't be afraid to ask a quilting buddy for help.  Most importantly, don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone.  Sometimes the vision of someone else isn't as clear to us in the beginning.

This little 20 minute photo shoot happened right after getting off of work and rushing to my friend's house for a little evening out.  Last night she and I went to a live production of The Rocky Horror Picture show performed by our local theater group.  The same group that preformed the musical Quilters two years ago.  Talk about two very different shows, but one AMAZING group of performers.

Needless to say, a good time was had by all.  We knew many of the performers in the show and virgins that were drug to the stage.  If you have ever seen a live performance you will understand that last reference.  Sometimes you just need an evening to let go and have fun.  Thank you Lori for dragging me out of the house and making me be social.  When left to my own devices, I would have chose my sewing machine.

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