Monday, October 24, 2016

challenge reveal

Oh dear, here we go again...Katie hasn't been blogging in forever and now she's back to apologize...

But I come with photos and a reveal!

You may remember a while back when I told you of a paint chip challenge with my guild?

I shared with you my fabrics:

But because it was supposed to be secret, I couldn't share more.  I wondered if even this was too much?

My guild had a retreat at the beginning of August and I didn't get my act together to get my money turned in, so I didn't end up going.  (The gal organizing things assured me she'd fit me in last-minute, but I didn't want to be THAT person, so I declined her offer to fix it for me.  I'm a big girl.  I'm okay with accepting my own errors.)  I stayed home and sewed the entire top for my challenge that weekend instead.  Before you're too awed, it's not that big...about 27" square.  But here are some in-progress and reveal photos!

Messy fabrics when cutting for paper piecing!  (What is missing is my very helpful black cat, Luka, laying in the middle of this and me having to move him for every single piece - because every piece was cut individually as I needed it.)

Paper piecing and trimming

All the parts - it took forever to decide which section to put where to keep the same fabrics apart from each other.  You'd think with 7 different fabrics this wouldn't be hard, but you'd be wrong!

Reverse applique to get the circle into the back.  Draw the circle and take a deep breath because there's not enough extra of this fabric to do it again!

Pin like mad to make sure it stays where it should!

That didn't take so long to sew in there.  Thank goodness I'm experienced with applique, or this would have been even scarier and harder.  It wasn't too bad after all and the hole was just right!

I pieced strips of the leftover fabrics from the front to make the back.

I also scanned the instructions, printed them on fabric and set that into the quilt back.  Now everyone for the rest of eternity who sees this quilt will know the whole story!

And outside today for a little photo shoot.  I had one without the dappled sunlight, but I like this one better.  (I just wish it hadn't been folded for a few weeks and gained some wrinkles already!)

And the back so you can see the quilting and that my label doubles as a pocket for the actual paint chip.  Me and that circle template didn't do so well, but we got better the more circles I made.  I'm still not so good with the templates on my longarm, but better than I was before I quilted this project!

Now for the pattern details...

A while back, I'd seen a gal making these gemstones on her blog.  Her use of printed calicoes with this pattern just didn't strike me, but I did remember the pattern!  When I was hunting around the internet for inspiration for this project, I remembered this one and knew solids would be absolutely perfect for both the pattern and my challenge.

The pattern?  It's called "Birthstone Block: Round Cut" and the designer, Sarah at {no} hats in the house, had a link to the pattern on her blog.  Easy, right?


The pattern is not on her etsy or craftsy store.  What to do?  E-mail Sarah, of course, asking how to purchase said pattern.

Turns out it's in rewrite, so not available in her stores, but I was able to get a copy anyways!!!!!  Yay Sarah!  You rock!


So I procrastinated a while and then finally sewed it all up in one weekend.  Then procrastinated some more and quilted it in about an hour.  So, as you may have guessed, the pattern was much simpler than anticipated (even for the dreaded paper piecing kind of sewing) and the quilting was just me getting my behind in gear.  Having a deadline always helps!

I made it in time for the guild challenge reveal, the first Thursday in October.  We had 32 people take paint chips and 23 projects turned in.  Not all were finished quilts.  Some were just tops, but there was a stuffed turtle made out of hexagons, a really cute tote bag and a fabric box to name a few non-quilt entries.  It was super fun to see all the entries and hear the stories from members about their quilt.  I think at least 5 people said they HATED their colors (what do people have against yellow?) and a few commented how hard it was to match their paint chip colors, but I think the challenge did us all a lot of good to stretch our imaginations.

I didn't win, but that's okay.  I like my quilt and that's all that matters.

But I won't be making any more of these blocks, thankyouverymuch.

Other than this, I've been doing some quilting on and off.  I seem to go in spurts and it's often motivated by things needing to be done.  I have a quilt finished, waiting to be turned in for a charity silent auction that will be held in a few weeks.  I'll get a photo of that soon - before I give it away for sure - and share.  

I'm also slowly getting the binding sewn on to my purple and grey quilt.  Since it's for me it gets put on the back burner a lot.  And I'm a little afraid to use it because Emma - I love her so much - gets upset and coughs and then throws frequently.  Like in the middle of the night when you won't wake up and feed her/pet her/let her under the covers/roll over and give her your warm spot/make the other cat move so she can have his warm I'm a little scared this will be "initiated" on it's inaugural night...

And last week my guild had a UFO auction.  The first one I went to, about 4 years ago, there were a lot of actual unfinished projects and cool stuff and a lot of money was raised (which we've used to purchase stuff to make our quilt show better).  But folks have gotten the idea that having more, close together, is a great idea.  Not so much because all the good UFOs are gone now and we're digging deeper and deeper into our closets for stuff to donate.  So what is donated is now stuff like bags of old scraps, hand quilting frames (the small, plastic variety) and yards of lace.

But I did come home with a bag of scraps!

This was donated by a lady who makes doll clothes, so the scraps are a little wonky in shape and not all 100% cotton.  But my plans for these don't matter!

Doll quilts!

These were all made (the one on the far right isn't done yet) this weekend.  The two on the left and one on the right all use some of the bag of scraps, but I've supplemented with my stash.  The other two (with half-square triangles) are all my scraps - in digging through my stash, I found these "squirrels" and added them to the pile.  They're all 12"-18" on a side, but not all are square.  I still have to quilt and bind them, but I'll get them done.  Hopefully in time to donate to the fire department for their annual Christmas toy giveaway for needy kids - one gal coordinates dolls, quilts and outfits to be donated for the cause and my guild helps with the quilt portion.  And those little girls are not going to mind if there's a poly-blend fabric in there.  In fact, it might wear better!

I have a few more in mind and the bag of scraps isn't diminishing much, but at least I FEEL like sewing lately, so I'm going to hang onto that with small projects that give me a more instant gratification.  And I'll get back to the bigger stuff eventually.

Now I'm off to comment on all the blog posts I read last night on my phone (that likes to make all words proper nouns if it's not a text and drives me bananas).

Happy quilting!

PS  If you're not sure what a "squirrel" is, this video says it all:

Monday, August 1, 2016

maddie's quilt - pink hazel hedgehogs

So I started this quilt a long time ago.  I also gave it away a long time ago.  I'm finally getting around to blogging about it.

Maybe two years ago a coworker told me his wife was pregnant.  They'd been trying - recently married - and were thrilled to be bringing a little girl into this world.  That little girl was going to have a big half-sister when she arrived.  And while I knew for sure the new baby would get a quilt from me, I thought the big sister needed something, too.

I found Hazel Hedgehog and knew it was THE quilt for Maddie.  She was 10.

I teased you with a variety of posts regarding my progress in 2015, but instead of linking to those, I'll just do a review...

PINK hedgehog parts!
I cut and cut and cut pieces.  Pink hedgehogs for a girly girl!

Pieces labelled up to the letter "S"!
There are a lot of pieces per hedgehog.  Every hedgehog is different.

Lots of hedgehogs!
They took a lot of time - chain-piecing wasn't really an option.  But I loved each one as it came to life.

The layout took a bit of doing - I wanted the wild ones scattered around - you never know what those crazier hedgehogs might talk the tamer ones into doing!

...the weather never cooperates...
Deep breaths!
It took a bit for me to decide HOW to quilt this.  I still struggle with what designs the quilt needs, but I think I'm getting better.  This one, each hedgehog got her own hairdo!

...a flower headband... overall floral 'do...


...and what might be a bad hair day to some!

And eventually, I had a finished quilt!  There's still snow on the ground, but that's spring 2015 snow.

Though the friend no longer works with me, nor did he by the time the quilts were finished, we met up for lunch last summer and I handed over two bags.  He was surprised...he shouldn't have been!

Maddie LOVED the quilt.  He texted me a photo of her...well, her hiding...under it, reading a book that night.  I was so glad she loved it and her dad (and step-mom) let her use it.

I don't think I've shared the baby quilt either - at least not finished - so perhaps another day when I have little else to share in the way of quilting, I'll be motivated to share that one.  (I love it, too!)

Happy quilting,

Monday, July 25, 2016

feng shui in purple and grey

I know I promised a reveal and should have done this sooner, but, well...

First the thread took more than a week to get here.  I ran out of thread on the 4th of July.  I got notification the following Thursday that it was FINALLY shipped.  It didn't arrive until Monday, July 11th!  The delay I'm sure was in part due to a sale on the thread I'd ordered - I'm sure they were swamped and placing my order on the last day of the sale didn't help matters...okay, well, the sale ended on the 5th, but I'm fairly certain they were not open on the 4th.

So Monday night, after work, making dinner, washing dishes and all that nonsense, I fired up the longarm and finished that last pass.  It didn't take long, but it sure did take a long time to get there!

Let's take the journey again!

layout on the living room floor - room not big enough!

ready to longarm - deep breaths!
(and no stitch regulator again!)
first motif in a block - and some border work!
(oh look - starting to reveal things!)
out of thread?!?!
after the final pass was FINALLY completed!
(I never did use the extra bobbin...)
let's go outside for photos - first with the sun at my back
and now with the sun in my face (ooch! - bright!)
a little closeup of the quilting
(thanks for the inspiration Angela Walters!)
and some borders while looking into the bright, hot sun
(probably not the best of them, but I couldn't see what I was photographing!)
quilting from the back
(looks a little pokey, but really, it's just sunlight coming through the needle holes!)
fabric is a purple and black herringbone flannel
it really pops and I love it!
back inside - ready for binding!
So my new quilt for my bed is done.

about 86"x100"
weight: 8 lbs (yes, I weighed it)
front: Cherrywood
back: garment flannel (heavier and fluffier than quilting flannel)
quilting: freemotion, no stitch regulator, done by me!
thread: Smoke, SoFine from Superior Threads - 1 spool plus some

It's rather hot lately and very humid and though the air conditioner is running like mad in the window, I'm fairly certain the binding part of this quilt can wait a few more weeks.  It's not like I need it on my bed to keep me warm any time soon!  (And truly, I'm a little worried about my Emma who regurgitates me presents quite regularly on the bed while I sleep...her white fur is okay, the regurgitated kind, not so much...)

In my last post, I neglected to mention that part of the family time involved the annual book sale.  I decided not to go so early this year and maybe be there late enough for the "bag sale".  (You purchase a paper grocery sack for whatever their deemed cost and can take home anything you can fit in there - let me tell you how packed you can get one of those sacks if you just take the time!)  My dad and I headed out - no one else wanted to go - and we got there just in time for the bag sale!  (Now this is a game - some years they don't even have the sale because they feel enough has been sold already, other years it's really late...just depends on who volunteered to be in charge that year, so you shop a bit and see how things are looking - sometimes you have to pay full price ($1 per paperback!), sometimes you hit it right...)  We hit it just right!  The bag was $10 this year - up from $5 last year, but seriously, look at the cost of a SINGLE paperback and with just ONE book you've done well - and my dad and I shared it.  We could both probably have filled a bag on our own, but we didn't.

It looks fuller than it would if packed properly - my dad pulled his out and then the bag fell over on the way home - maybe should have seatbelted it in the back seat instead of heaving it in the trunk?

Fun times.  I got a little sun (it was hot and sunny and a perfect day for the local 4th celebrations) and a pile of books.  Now I just have to read through the stack left from years before.

But I did work on that some this past week!  It was our annual trip to Drummond Island.  Where the hubby fishes all day and I quilt and read all day!  It was hot there, too, but not as hot as at home.  We had rain a few days, but the hubby managed to fish every single day but Friday (boat problems - his ran out of juice, so he planned to fish with a buddy the last day, then the starter on his buddy's boat decided it was ready for the 4th and started sparking everywhere...a little late, but also a little dangerous!).  I sewed every single day, but forgot my camera and my phone takes lousy photos, so not so many photos of what I did accomplish.

I took four projects, I worked on one.

Remember these fabrics that I bought for the Bonnie Hunter 2015 mystery quilt?  These were my final choices and they stayed that way, though that pink...I hope it tones down a bit in the final project because those blocks with pink in them got REALLY pink REALLY fast when I started sewing units together!

The pattern is no longer available (at least I don't think so?), but I'd printed and saved it way back last year when she had it up and just waited.

I came home with all 50 blocks completed!

30 of the blocks on the left, 20 of the blocks on the right.  They alternate.  I have to finish putting together the setting triangles, as this quilt is on point.  And I sure hope when it's all together they look better.  Right now it looks to me like they're two different projects!

This took a LOT of work.  The first step is something like 294 half square triangles.  Yeah.

I tried a few new rulers to make the "headless geese" units as well as the half square triangles.  I'm not sure I'll ever make a "headless goose" unit again, but I'm not fond of the ruler technique to make the half square triangles.  I know it takes longer to make and square them with a more traditional method, but I had a lot of trouble with accuracy using the rulers (probably partly me being new to them), but I think it's worth the trouble to do it the way I have been for years.  But I TRIED it!  There are a LOT of missing points here - not just the intentional ones.  But from a distance, it's not too bad and I have no idea where this quilt is going to end up, but it's sure not going to be a judged show!

So that's what I've been up to.  My suitcase of quilting stuff is still only halfway unpacked, but you know how it is when you come home from vacation...laundry, dishes, groceries all take up your time.  I took today off work to have a little extra to catch up and the hubby has the rest of the week off, so while he's out fishing, I'm relaxing a bit - and catching up on the stuff he rolls his eyes at - like blogging!

Happy quilting,

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

leftovers and no thread

What I planned to share today (or yesterday) is not what I will be sharing...but I'll tell you the story and the why...

A few years ago you may remember me sharing my purchase of a purple and grey kit...  (Okay, okay, it was 2013.)  And then I didn't really share much more...perhaps this blurry gem...

...and then a while later, I shared with my guild via facebook this poorly lit gem...

...with the comment that it was going to be a lap quilt, then I decided to keep sewing and make it fit my bed, but instead it didn't fit in my living room (which I really didn't think was that small!)...

I have been in love with this quilt since the moment I saw it.  And I'm over the moon excited it's now big enough (with a $36 purchase of additional fabric) to fit my queen size bed and replace the current quilt that, after 21 years of use, is literally falling apart.

It took a while to get it together.  I had to be in the right mood.  It's Cherrywood fabric.  Pricey.  And I wanted to do this when I WANTED to do it.  It's an easy pattern, but I want to climb into bed every night and snuggle under something I love - not resent for all the work I HAD to put into it.

So for a while it sat as pieces.  Then as blocks.  Then as a top.  Then as a top I knew needed borders.  Then as a top waiting for me to not be afraid to cut up the extra fabric I bought for borders.  Somewhere in there as a top waiting for the exact perfect right back.  While the top had no borders, it was also a quilt that I wasn't sure how to quilt.

Finally, last week it all came together.  I knew how to quilt it.  I had the back.  I had the border fabric.  I took a deep breath and cut into the fabric.  I did it right!  I even made the binding while I was making borders.  I sewed the borders on.  I loaded the longarm.

I quilted for 4 hours.  5 bobbins.  Longarm bobbins.
I went to bed.
I quilted 1.5 hours.  2 bobbins.  Longarm bobbins.
I went to celebrate the 4th with family.
I quilted 2 hours.  3 bobbins.  Longarm bobbins.
I rewound 3 bobbins and saw I was getting low on longarm thread.  A 3,280 yard spool - new 10 bobbins ago.  I'll be okay, I thought.
I quilted 1 hour.  1.5 bobbins.  Longarm bobbins.
One more pass!  6 more blocks/motifs!
My machine threw a fit.
I looked up and over.


Yes.  Empty.

I've never done that before.  Not on my longarm.  I quilted more than 3000 yards of thread into a single quilt!  And I'm not done!

More is on order.  2-5 business days.

But I really, really, really, really, really wanted to show you the quilt finished.  Well, quilted at least.  But I'm not going to.  Because it's not finished.  I LOVE it.  LOVE.

(If I hadn't wound that third bobbin, I might have made it.  Probably not...)

So instead I will share with you what I've nearly finished using the "lost" triangles from the heart blocks!

I had a plan in my head to use these as pinwheels - the big mixed with the little - but with 7 colors and pinwheels, how does one properly set that?  I thought and thought and then one night in bed (why do my best ideas come to me when I'm supposed to be sleeping?), I thought "A HEART!" and it all came together quickly.  Well sort of...

If you look close, you can see how I fixed some rookie mistakes.  Somehow I forgot how to work seam allowances, so my heart is 1/2" too big for the pinwheels.  And the teeny pinwheels (each HSQ unit measured 1.25" unfinished) aren't framed exactly'd think I'd been quilting 20 days, not 20 years with the mistakes I kept making.  But I was determined this was NOT adding to the UFO pile.  No more!  The pile cries "UNCLE!"

And here it is quilted (with the binding pinned down - I should be sewing that right now):

I love this one, too.  I hope this makes some young girl happy to wrap her dolly in it.

And with that, I am off to wait for the mailman to deliver my much-awaited (already) smoke-colored thread!  Tomorrow?  (Ha ha ha, I ordered it Monday!)

Happy quilting,