Saturday, April 15, 2017

this and that

In my last post, I promised updates on the other things I've been sewing.  Today was a fun day sewing with guild members and I got another Arcadia Avenue block done.  Just one, but there was a lot of talking, eating and shopping to do, too, so it's a miracle I got even one done!

This is #7 and the pieces were cut for #8 a few months back.  This was a good project to take today because I had uninterrupted time to sew.  Well, sort of...better than at home...

This one came out rather well and gave me no trouble.  Compared to some of the other blocks for this quilt, this was an easy one!

Moving back a little bit, I have finished a dolly quilt for April!

Before trimming, the zig zag pattern made the top a little irregular, but never fear, a little trimming and it became a nice, square quilt!

And for whatever reason, despite my efforts, this quilt turned out about 15" square, too.  Seems I can't manage to make any dolly quilts bigger this year.  I keep trying, but I guess my math is bad?

Moving back a little further yet, the block swap box this month contained this beauty of a block:

Cindy included a jelly roll of the prints (what looks light blue on first glance is actually a print, also) and cut strips of the grey.  I made two more blocks for her, but don't want to show them.  Though she knows exactly what was in the box when she handed it over, just exactly how we combined the fabrics will remain a mystery until she gets it back in a few more months!

And last but not least, I fell off the wagon for fabric purchases about a week ago.  I'd been loving the Bird Seed quilt by Tula Pink for quite a while.  Every time I see it come up on Pinterest, I drool a little.  I'd looked for kits a while back with no luck.  I finally did enough digging to find out why - the pattern is free...and the fabric is out of print.  But I got a bonus last week, so why not spend a little on myself?

This is Moon Shine, also by Tula Pink.  I found it on Etsy and paid a little higher price for the fact that you can't get a whole fat quarter bundle hardly anywhere, but I love every bit of it and can't wait to start on the quilt.  But I'm being good for now and trying to finish up a few other projects first (ahem, Arcadia Avenue, ahem).

But while I was shopping, Tabby Road (also by Tula Pink) fell into my cart...

Some of these prints...I couldn't not have these...

I have no idea what I'm going to make with these fabrics...hence the falling off the "no more buying precuts without a plan" wagon, but really?  Polkadotted cats?  Cans of cat food?  Who can resist!

And then I went to a local quilt shop last Saturday and had to buy a little of this.  Because ninjas.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with this, but ninjas.

I think that's all I haven't caught you up on, but I'm sure as soon as I hit "post" and shut down the computer, I'll think of something.  In the meantime, I've got to get back into the kitchen.  My assignment for Easter dinner is dessert.  And my mom's birthday is Monday, so instead of my traditional cheesecake, I'm making a German chocolate cake, which I believe is my mom's favorite.  I also bought candles shaped like numbers to add to the cake.  I'm not sure she'll be impressed, but I'm fairly certain my brothers and dad will get a good kick out of her sparkly orange fire holders!

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

march ufo - better late than never

Today I present for you the March UFO in finished form!!!

This all started with a swap among blogging friends in 2010.  Yes, 2010.

Really, it even started before then, so let's go back a little further...let's say August 2008!

Way back then, American Patchwork and Quilting hosted a sort of mini-blog on their website.  Somehow or other, I found these and started reading them.  There was a group of ladies who blogged regularly and I started reading about their adventures.  One of them, though I don't remember who, shared about a quilt-along at Patchwork Times - an amazingly beautiful star quilt - and Judy, the host, was doing a linky party so those making the quilt could share their progress.  I think I want to do this!  I'd never done much online sharing outside of e-mailing people I knew, so this was a little bit of a leap of faith for me, but I wanted to join!

As it turned out, that little blog couldn't be linked to externally.  Even Judy tried to help.  But I made the quilt.  And all I can find of photos are this one of the fabrics I chose:

...and a few of the blocks... you'll just have to trust me.

I made this quilt and gave it to my friend, Penny, for her 40th birthday.  This is the one I put a Pepto Bismol pink print on the back.  She's a girly girl, but this was likely going on the bed she shares with her hubby, so I kept the colors tamer on the front.

Anyways, the quilt got made and that was a big squirrel.

So we blogged there for a while, but near the end of 2009, APQ decided they were going to change the blogs.  It was going to be more like a chat forum than a blog and many of us didn't like the changes, so we struck out on our own - to get "grown up" blogs of our own.  Some went to Blogger, some went to Word Press, but many of us stayed in touch and kept blogging.  We were each others first followers!

Unfortunately, everything we posted on the APQ site was not saved or archived.  I probably could have done it, but didn't.  I still have my photos...

And then somewhere along the the line, the idea of an APQ blogging buddies block swap came up.  I jumped right in!  We each had to make a bunch of blocks and send two to each participant.  We split up the list so 2 people would be getting their blocks each month, but if you know me, you might guess I made all the blocks right away!

And if you know me even better, you'll know I can't find the photo of all the blocks...ack!  But I know I posted to search the blog...

Oh look, there it is!  Complete with Emma and baby boy who is sadly no longer with us.  (We still have Luka, who to the untrained eye looks a lot like Tucker!  But Tucker very much liked to pose on ANY quilt I was working on.)

My name was one of the first on the list, so instead of sending these beauties out, I got my sets of blocks first!  I was scheduled for March of 2010 and had a blast getting the mail that month!  (I almost didn't mind the bills mixed in!)

For many months after this, I got to send boxes.  I chose to include little goodies with my blocks and had fun watching the blogs to see what blocks my friends received from others as well as their reaction to what I sent.  It was a fun time.

And I got busy.  This quilt is a treasure (each block is signed) and I wanted it made into something SOON!  Well...  I got the top done fairly early...

Well, I think I did, but can I find THAT photo either?  What the heck is going on?

Another blog search turned up this photo from May of 2009, so maybe I didn't get it together as fast as I thought?

I know I don't have any photos of the quilt after I put borders on and before I put it on the longarm a few weeks ago, so I'm not even gonna TRY to find those!

Anyways, the top got some fun, floral borders and then it sat.  For almost 8 years.  What a shame.  Some of my blog buddies finished theirs and I celebrated with them.  And scratched my head over what I wanted to do.  And promised myself I'd get mine done SOON!  I didn't have my longarm quite that long ago, so I'm not sure what my problem was sending it out, but maybe the borders took a while?  (I can't hardly remember yesterday, so please don't ask me to remember 2009, okay?)

So when Judy, still of Patchwork Times, decided to do her UFO challenge again this year, I jumped in with finishing quilts because (since I let the cat out of the bag in December last year) you all now know I have TOO MANY tops.  This one went on the list fairly quickly, though my numbering scheme doesn't exactly reflect that.  I just kinda assigned them randomly, knowing Judy would choose numbers randomly anyways.  Double random?!

I procrastinated a lot on quilting this one last month.  I just couldn't decide how I wanted to quilt it.  I was terrified I'd ruin it.  I felt I wanted something show quality done to it, but couldn't figure out how to work around all the names and such signed on the blocks.

Finally I got over going around the signatures.  The thread isn't going to distort it that much, right?  (It didn't.)  And then I dug through books and online ideas and stuff and finally came up with an idea.  At about 9pm on a Saturday night.  Too late to start, but at least an idea!  But not too late to do a little doodling, right?

Have I gone mad?

I procrastinated more on Sunday so I got a late start on this, but at least I got it started.  The first pass went splendidly.  Even my pebbles felt okay.  (I'm not very good at echoing or tracing patterns, but figured this was a good way to get better!)  This just might turn out okay!

The second pass...WHAT?  My BORDER is WAVY?  No.  I know how to not do that.  I'm better than that.  I didn't do that.  Really?  I did that?  (Insert naughty words.)  Now what?

I decided to take tucks as needed and get it back to square-ish as I went.  The "top" and "right side" were better than the "left side" (quotes because this quilt is square and blocks and signatures go all directions, so it was relative to the loading, nothing more)...  The "bottom" wasn't awful, but the top is the only side without any tucks.  Even with all the pebbles, it STILL has problems.

But here's a shot of it on the longarm.  Before I discovered the problems.

Nope, I lied.  It's after I finished quilting it.  (I think there's a photo somewhere on facebook earlier in the process and that's what I thought I had on my computer, not phone, but you get the idea.)

This took two days to complete.  It was getting late Sunday, and I was discouraged, so I went to bed.  At least I think I did.  Maybe I quilted the whole thing on Sunday?  (See, I can't remember anything!)

Oh yes, I shared my back fabrics in an earlier post, but I'll share those again, too, to make sure this post is even longer and includes every possible detail.  (Are you bored yet?)  This also gives me an extra opportunity to add a photo.  Photos are good.

I love the stamps and postmarks from all over the world (and I have a dot problem) and feel it fits because these blocks came from not only all over the US, but Australia and England as well.

I had already made the binding (at least I did THAT right), so I sewed the machine side on and then procrastinated some more.  I hand sewed a little, but put it down for a few weeks.  Finally this week I forced myself to sit down, get Netflix going, and finish it.  It took two nights, but it's DONE!

You're not gonna get any closeups.  Sorry.  I took this just this afternoon and stood there in my yard trying to find a block that the quilting looked good and you could see it well, but couldn't find one that fit my criteria.  So you get to use your imagination with the doodles I shared earlier.

My pebbles never got much better.  My bracket-like motifs in the blocks maybe got worse.  My motivation to finish this decreased with each pass and every tuck I had to take.  I still love the quilt and all it represents, but I am so mad at myself for my stupid mistake with the borders.  And even madder still that I didn't realize it until it was pretty much too late.  (I'm not a stitch picker, so don't tell me to do that, okay?)

Now I know there's a label somewhere (thanks, Ann!), but where did I put that?  So technically, it's not complete, as it doesn't have any label yet, but it's going to get one.  With probably more information than what is on the one Ann sent to all of us participants.

So that's it.  That's the whole story.  Unless I forgot something, which I probably did.  But I probably won't remember that I forgot it for long, so there's that.

Happy quilting,

PS  My April UFO is quilted and has the machine side of the binding attached already!  A night or two of Netflix and it will be done.  And my April dolly quilt is also done, but we'll save those for another post or two.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

the rainbow cats

I was so excited about my rainbow cats, I sewed them all on April 1st!

This will be a long post, but I'm going to introduce each one individually and show the quilt the fabrics came from...assuming I can find a photo of it...  I'll also link to any blog posts that tell the whole quilt story.

This is from the back of a quilt I made for my niece, Alora.  Her quilt:

This fabric was also used in the top of a charity quilt - the back of that quilt is used later, so you'll see the green flowers again!

This is the border fabric for my APQ blog buddies swap quilt.  Other than on-the-longarm photos, I don't have a photo of this fabric in the quilt yet.  And the quilt...well that was last month's UFO and it's still waiting for me to sew down the binding!  But here's a sneak peek of the quilt!

This fabric was on the back of my PFGE quilt - one of the AQS guild challenges I participated in.  Unfortunately, though this batch of quilts got entered, this batch did not get chosen to be hung.

This fabric is just a tidbit leftover - I think I used it on the back of a dolly quilt years ago.  Blogging buddy Beth sent me a package of cute fabrics to use for dolly quilts and this is one of the few scraps I have left.  It makes me smile and think of Beth, though she hasn't blogged in a long time!

This fabric was purchased along with a jelly roll of Bliss fabric to make the French Kiss pattern.  The borders came out wavy, but it's on my UFO list to fix those borders and get it quilted.  I absolutely love this fabric and it was one of the earliest red and aqua combos I'd seen.

This fabric was put on the back of my niece Hailey's baby quilt.  The front is rather serious and I love the whimsy of this back.  It matched pretty well, too!

This fabric was used on the back of a graduation quilt for my niece Jade.  She loved it and this fabric makes me happy to think of her!  The photo isn't great - thank you sunshine!

This is the back of a quilt I made for a coworker and his wife and their baby, Luciana.  I'm not sure I've blogged about this quilt, but I did share the story of the big sister quilt I made for his other daughter.  I need to blog about the baby quilt, but I'll share the photo here!

Apparently I haven't blogged about this top at all...or I can't find it.  It started out with a charm pack that I won (I think I won it?) and I wanted to make something cool.  I'm not entirely sold on what I ended up with, though my right brain tells me all that white space will be filled with fantastic quilting.  My left brain says "yeah, right, you can't quilt that well"...we'll see.  Anyways, this was border fabric and I love it!  I love fabric with words.  It's probably as much of a problem for me as fabric with dots!

This is the only fabric that does not have a quilt to go with it.  It was a pristine, uncut fat quarter, but I thought it would make a super fun cat.  So I cut into that fabric with no regrets.  And hey, look, dots!

This fabric, though I have no photos to prove it, is one side of a reversible purse/bag I sewed for myself a while ago.  I remember carrying it to my current job when I started back in 2011, so it's been a while.  The bag has since been retired, but I still have scraps of both fabrics!  The other is purple and what is reading as grey here is actually a light greyish purple that coordinates.

This is from my science geek hexie quilt top.  It, too, is on my UFO list for this year!

This was the back of a charity quilt that was donated to the local VA Hospital.  You'll see the green flowers from the first cat in the quilt, too.  That fabric is one of those that plagues my know, the one you THINK you've used it all and then, oh, look, more!

And last, but not least, is another cat with words on it.  I purchased a jelly roll of this fabric as well as some yardage for borders at the same time as the Bliss fabric, along with a book to make the quilt, Winterberry.  Though it was finished and given to a friend for her 65th birthday a few years ago, I have no photo of the finished quilt.  Nor have I blogged about it, but there's a little blurb about the pattern and book on my "Parade of Tops" page...

So there you have it.  14 cats in all sorts of fun, rainbow-ey, multi-colored fun prints.  Wanna see 'em all together?  Of course you do!

And I was done on April 1st with my color of the month.  Probably a record for me, but I'm okay with that.  I have other stuff to work binding on last month's UFO quilt?  Or maybe quilting this month's UFO?  Or my personal dolly quilt challenge dolly quilt?  Yeah...I think I'd better go sit on the couch and snuggle kitties, I'm so exhausted just thinking about these ideas!

Happy quilting,


Saturday, April 1, 2017

off the wagon

After weeks of pondering (*ahem*procrastinating*) my APQ swap quilt, helping run a quilt show and a lot of other weekend commitments, I've fallen off the rainbow scrap challenge AND UFO wagon.

But not too far off!

And I'm climbing back on today!

The UFO challenge is quilted.  And binding sewn on.  I still have to do the hand-sewn side and label it (this one is FOR SURE!!! getting a label).  So MUCH closer than it has been for the past, um, 7 years.  And the hardest part is done.  Quilting it gave me a bigger challenge than any of my other quilts have.  (Quilts for others, not so much, but the problems I encountered with this one are exactly why I don't want to quilt for others.)

I'll save the whole saga of the UFO challenge for its own post when it's finished.  I have high hopes to work on it a bunch later today and tomorrow.  We'll see...

The red cats for the rainbow scrap challenge were nearly done.  They would have been done two weeks ago if I hadn't cut a few pieces wrong and created a need for cat surgery.  Minor, but would you think that made me do it sooner?  Nope.

Today was the day.

13 red cats.  Though unless you know they're cats, you might not see them.  I've had to explain to guild members about 10,000 times that they ARE cats.  So don't worry if you don't see them.  I do and that's all that matters.

Since I had/found a lot of red strips in my bin-o-crazy and stash, I decided to be a good girl and work on a few string blocks.  I mean, I had red thread in the machine, so why not, right?

One was started before today.  Three more were started and three finished.  I'm out of non-matchy strips to finish that fourth block, but that's okay.  If I do the rainbow scrap challenge next year, I'm sure I'll have created a few more red scraps to use.

Don't ask me what I'm going to do with the string blocks.  I'm not much of a string block fan, though I've seen a few pretty layouts on Pinterest.  These will probably end up as a charity quilt, but we'll worry about that later, okay?

These took a lot longer than they might, as I was sharing my chair with Emma.  No photos, but she thought the WHOLE chair should be hers.  And got mad when I tried to sit on a corner and sat on her head instead.  (Okay, that only happened once and I did it on purpose and gently...)

Then I got to tackle the color of the month - RAINBOW!

After seeing this early today, I thought "how am I going to do that? those pieces in the cats are about 2" on average"...big prints, stuff that can't be categorized as anything else...yikes!

But I do some of my best thinking in the shower.  Please don't visualize that, just trust me, okay?  Just know I took a shower today.

I thought "why not do the cat face as one big piece instead of a bunch of little ones?"  The original is just one piece and the modified cats are the little bits.  Of course, the ears are 2" squares (minus a corner, of course), so maybe do those as coordinating fabrics?

Let's pull out the stash of "doesn't fit elsewhere" with a little bit of "leftover backs that are larger pieces so I'm going to stash them with the elsewhere piles"

This is where an expletive flew out of my mouth.  (Preceded by an "OH!")

I have a lot of stuff in this category.  To be fair, some of that could go with color piles, but some of them are yard or more cuts and I kinda want to keep them out because they're special that way.  Or they have, like, sock monkeys on them or something.

Let's narrow the pile.  Choose only the ones I really like.  The ones I think will make good cats.  The ones with a history that will make me think happy thoughts when I see that cat.

We're down to 23.  I want to make 14.  Usually it's 13, but I'll need one month of 14 and this seems like the best month to do that.

Okay, narrow some more.

And we have a stack of winners.  (well, one got swapped, but I won't tell if you won't)

On to cutting the pieces.  Most of these are smaller scale, so 2" ears should be okay.  You might not get the whole design, but with a 4" x 4.5" piece as the face (minus chin corners, of course), I think it's okay.

About this time Green Day came onto my iPod.  ROCK ON!!!

This seems like it took almost NO time.  But rocking out while you work makes everything go faster.  Even if you do have to stop every so often to break out some pathetically ridiculous dance moves because you can't just STAND there when that stuff is playing!)

14 sets of cat pieces cut!!!

The grey ear and chin pieces are also cut - I cut strips and subcut those every time I run out, but I cut in bulk, so I have quite a few left from the last cutting session.

Every one of these fabrics has a good memory.  All but one are leftovers from something else.  Most are backs from other quilts.  I think these represent ME so much more than any other fabric selections.  I allow myself to shine when I choose backing fabrics.  So much more so than when choosing fabrics for the gotta make things matchy and consider the pattern and recipient and all I go a little crazy with backs and give a little more of myself with the quilt that way.  (Like the one time I put a candy pink back on a quilt that was dark blue, dark green, country red and gold on the front...the gal I gave it to is a girly girl, okay?)

Maybe when the cats are done I'll introduce each one?  (Better go sew 'em, then!!!)

Oh, and UFO #1 was chosen for April.  That's Vintage Farm Girl.  Another UGH, but another I want done, so off to the shower for thinking-time!  Just kidding, I'm gonna go sew cats.  Or make dinner?  Nah, I'll sew cats.

Happy quilting,