Monday, January 11, 2016

what a week!

After finishing the first top of 2016 so early, I feel like the momentum is still going.  Of course, going on a quilt retreat this past weekend definitely helped keep up the pace.

Before I share about the retreat, I'm so excited about what my brother and his wife, via gift card, got me for Christmas.  I went to Hobby Lobby looking for fabrics to maybe start the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt (once I saw the reveal, I went and got the instructions because it's amazing!), but was disappointed (they have good basics and some great funky prints, but nothing screamed to be bought for that project...) so I wandered around and picked up a few things I might need for retreat...more pins, sewing machine needles, etc...and then wandered over to yarn.  I'd bought my niece a knitting loom for Christmas and a book with lots of projects and saw that socks ARE possible.  Socks that don't just look like tubes tied at the ends.  So I decided I'd get myself a sock loom and some yarn.

I wandered around the aisles a while before figuring out the yarn selection (I've never knitted or crocheted before!), but I think this is very pretty.  And the loom comes with a DVD of instructions, plus there's a lot out there on YouTube (I've watched quite a few videos already).  I haven't started yet, but I had to get ready for retreat!

What to pack?!

I spent a Saturday with guild friends sewing in November and got my Vintage Farm Girl blocks sewn into rows before heading out into the only snow we'd have for a month (and it was a fairly big storm).  And then did nothing.  I mean nothing.  Everything was still packed a month later when the December sew day came around.  So that went into the suitcase.  Yes, suitcase.  I have a big one that my sewing machine fits into the bottom and then I can pack my iron and projects around it so nothing moves and everything (cutting mat, ironing board, projects...) all roll with me!  Yes, it weighs a ton, but it has wheels!

It was the first project out of the suitcase, too.

I'm going to hang this (I think) on the landing of my stairs, so I don't think it's going to need borders.  I need to finish unpacking the suitcase to measure.  But it's a top, and we can call this #2 for 2016!

Next out was one of two kits I purchased at the AQS show in Grand Rapids this past August.  I can't find any photos of what I bought, so I'm guessing I didn't take any.  (This would not surprise me.)  There was a booth with a lot of modern quilts and kits to go with them and I liked a lot of them.  I bought a's the cover quilt from Modern Quilts Illustrated #7.  Same fabrics and everything and I LOVE every one of them, though many are not fabrics I would buy simply because I wouldn't know what to do with them...

The pattern calls for templates, but I have a 60 degree ruler, so I measured and made notes (on my hand, thankyouverymuch, until a friend unearthed a pad of sticky notes) and cut using the ruler.  MUCH faster I'm sure.  By bedtime, which was far later than normal, I had this:

You can see there the name of the pattern is "Retro".  We did some quick math and found there are 600 pieces in this quilt.  For my quilting friend Bill, this is not very many, but he will be happy I know the count.

Friday morning I was back at it and got this far:

It doesn't look much different, but there are little triangles framed by the olive green and large triangles that will alternate.  There are 240 triangles there and though there were design walls around the room, I didn't feel the urge to lay out so many among 17 other quilters.  I think this will be a Saturday sew project, or perhaps take over my living room one day.  But for now, much progress has been made and I can move on.

Next up is the other kit I purchased at the AQS show this past year.  I was naughty and bought two and spent a lot, but this one is super cute and I couldn't pass it up.  It's called "Elephant Walk" and again features modern prints.  And again, some that are beautiful, but I wouldn't have the nerve to buy it and cut it up for this quilt.  But someone else made that choice for me and now I have cut it up and sewn it together!

I forgot to take a photo of in-progress, but this one was a lot of cutting.  22 large elephants, but 8 hat/blanket fabrics, 7 elephant grays and 7 different backgrounds to cut a variety of pieces and mix and match so things aren't too organized.  I had a table and a half of piles - one pile per elephant - to get everything organized.  And then had to keep focused when sewing so pieces stayed together properly. This is where a chair on rollers came in VERY handy!

This is a photo of packing it up because I, again, got to a point where I need to do stuff at home.  This time, there is a pom-pom trim that goes at the bottom of hats and blankets and since my zipper foot is less than ideal, I'm going to have to do it by hand.  Not only did I not have proper thread colors, there was not really a good place to do hand-sewing.  (There were a few couches, but lighting there wasn't great and there was still one more project in the suitcase!)  (And I am glad I found out about my zipper foot so I can try to remedy that situation before I take a class making what my friend calls the "zipper bag"!)

But this is one of the elephants on the design wall as far as all 22 got before being packed up:

The colorful strings are the trim - a friend said it looked like we hit the design wall with silly string from a few feet away and I think she might be right!  (And the way two of my friends and I were behaving, it probably would not have surprised anyone if we had brought and used silly string...we laughed A LOT!)

There are also three smaller elephants in the pattern, but until I have these made and have decided on a layout, I'm not going to cut those - I want to make sure the fabric selections continue the random/scrappy look.

Oh, and the elephants get tails, but they're paper pieced, so I needed to make copies of the pattern first.  Not at camp...

So there was still about a half a day left and one more project in the suitcase.  I really never thought I'd get through more than one project, aside from the Farm Girl rows becoming a top, but I got a lot done.  (Even with all the crazy silliness going on!)

Arcadia Avenue was in there.  I'd worked on block #3 at my guild retreat in July and put the 12 wedges together awkwardly and ended up with a bubble in the center.  I can handle a not-quite matchy center because for this block (and many others in this quilt), the center pieces are all the same fabric - in this case, solid white.  So once it's quilted and you step back, it won't be obvious.  But this bubble bothered me.  So I kinda put it away.  Guess it's time to get it back out!

I worried over the center for a bit, but eventually decided to press on.  I'll think on it more (not sure if tearing it apart will help because this is paper pieced and CRAZY...)  But I found that I'd sewn the 12 wedges for block #4.  I guess at the July retreat?  I don't even remember it, but that meant I had just enough time to get block #4 together and onto the design wall!

Block #3 is on the right, #4 on the left.

Then it was lunchtime and we packed up, scraped 4 inches of snow off the car, and headed home.  (We actually didn't have to scrape much off the cars, as the camp staff did a lot of it for us - what sweet guys!)  There is much less snow at home (a few hours south), and that's okay with me.  It made driving better and better as we got closer to home.

And though it's Monday, I'm still not back at work yet.  I took today off to recover!  And since I was gone Thursday through Sunday, I kinda needed a day to get stuff done at home, too.  But I'm plugging away at chores and should be ready to go back to work tomorrow.  (Though I'd rather stay home and quilt and snuggle kitties and generally avoid that cold white stuff outside my door.)

I think this afternoon, I'll fire up Netflix and sew some trim on my elephants.  Or perhaps work on sewing down appliques for the Merry Merry Snowman quilt?  (At my December Saturday sewing day, I sewed the remaining four backgrounds - they're scrappy and laying all the blocks out to make sure I didn't have too much of any color next to itself was needed - and cut some of the applique pieces.)  Something the kitties can "help" me do because they've missed me.  (The hubby said so and based on their behavior since my return, I think he's right.)

Or maybe I'll take a nap.

Happy quilting,


---"Love" said...

Girl, you are leading a whirlwind life! I'm exhausted! I'd never be able to keep up with that many projects at one time! But you always do a great job, and I'm sure you will with all those too! Glad you had such a fun time, and I hope you get a good night's rest before returning to work. ---"Love"

a good yarn said...

I marvel at how well you manage to keep track of all the projects you have on the go - and they are all so different. Vintage Farm Girls looks great - fab colours; looking forward to seeing the Modern Triangle quilt top pieced; the elephants are adorable (silly string indeed) and those complex pieced blocks are fantastic. So glad you had a fun time at retreat. Is there any chance you can send a little snow? We are officially in a heat wave - 41 degC to come later in the week. Harrrumpphh!

Ruth said...

What a post! And so many projects! I don't know where to begin. But, the knitting loom intrigues me because I have been knitting socks (low ones). I finished one pair without too much problem and then started another pair (this is knitting the regular way - with 4 double point needles). There is a knitting/hand work group at church that I go to and the leader has helped me a lot, since I hadn't knitted for years. On the second pair, I finished the first sock with no problem, but now I'm having a fit with the second sock and I think I've started it over at least 5 times and am ready to quit. I've seen the loom on pinterest and it didn't seem like it would be possible to knit socks that way. Hopefully, you will report on how you like it! Today is my knitting meeting, so we shall see if I continue with this sock or just throw in the towel on it. I just love the elephant block! That is just adorable and will be a great quilt - is it a baby quilt? I have never been one to buy kits, so I can't believe you bought 2 of the same one!

Marsha B said...

Wow, you have been busy! Everything looks great. The elephants are darling. I have done a little crocheting and knitting, a long time ago. It was fun, but sewing gets done faster and I always go back to working with fabric. It will be interesting to see how the loom works out. Please let us know. Have fun with all your projects!