Wednesday, December 12, 2018

retreat prep

Last week at guild, my friend Barb mentioned about the retreat she and I and two other friends are attending in early January.  I couldn't believe it, but she was right - just a month away!  What was I going to work on, she asked.  Ummmmm....

Well, there are design walls, so maybe the graduation quilt for my niece?  So I decided to cut parts for that first.  It has a deadline, so this makes sense.  I didn't take a photo of the parts (oops!), but I do have this comparison of the front and back of the blue...I think I like the back better!

It's kinda hard to tell, but the back looks more like a mottled woven texture - I wish they'd have printed it on that side!  But it's okay.  Only you and I will know the difference!

With those cut, I had no other projects in the works that would travel well.  I mean, there's the Bird Seeds quilt, but that's at a point that it's prep and handwork and not the easiest for a retreat project...

...but I am at least working on it some.  But when I ironed the fabrics, they smelled like stink bugs!  There were no stink bugs in the bin or nestled in the fabrics that I could find, but ewww!  (And I may or may not have been listening to a new CD while this was happening...)

I also have the tiny stars project, but only have about a dozen fabrics cut to sew and need to raid my mom's stash for more.  So I decided to set that up for Friday.  It's my guild's sew-in day Friday (and Saturday too, but I have to work), but I think cutting for tiny stars makes more sense.  Even if I will miss sewing with my friends.  And I plan to use tonight and tomorrow (after chores and such, of course) to sew the remaining fabrics I have cut currently.  This way I have maximum bags to store sets of squares from mom!  And this will make a nice backup project for retreat, but I need another major project...

So what now?

Oh, Pinterest, you never disappoint.  I have a board with a lot of quilts saved.  Some are just color or setting inspiration.  Some I want to duplicate exactly because I love them so much.  Most are somewhere in the middle there.

But this X-Plus pattern has been catching my attention lately.  First as a wild and crazy, all-brights with a few black/dark greys in it.  But then...I saw the green one...and it was over.  So I decided that I would raid my stash and cut and kit these blocks for retreat.  My green stash is the biggest, so it was perfect.  And though my greens range from very, very dark to very, very light, I knew I would still have enough in that middle ground where the quilt lives.

My stash of greens was fairly tidy, thanks to the rainbow scrap challenge.  The black and grey were okay, but not as tidy.  The white and off-white...ugh!

That's okay, right?  I can sort through these and tidy them up as I go!

First I cut greens.  I knew I wanted the quilt to be green-heavy, so I cut all I could, using each fabric only once.

No, wait, first I raided my stash of 2.5" squares.  At some point long ago, I decided I would go through my scrap bins and cut these squares from anything I could and leave the rest for strings or discard them.  And then what?  I don't know what to do with these!  This was a great opportunity to sort them (thanks to feline assistance, they were in a bit of a jumble) and use a bunch!

There were quite a few that I had enough of...and a few I was able to just cut a few more from the larger piece in the stash to make it work.  So happy for stash reduction!

Okay, then I cut the greens.  And then on to the white and off-white stacks.  I didn't want the quilt to get too dark with the black and greys, so it seemed to make the most sense to cut these lighter colors next.  Even though my brain was screaming that it likes greys and blacks better!

After this, my white and off-white stash is so nice!  I sorted out the solids from the prints, so there is a stack of each that will be much easier to raid for future projects.  And I hope to keep my stash more tidy in the future...

Finally I made it to the darker colors!  It seemed to take forever, but I was cutting 36 sets for a 6x6 setting of blocks.  So I made 36 piles of each of the four sets of pieces and planned to mix and match them after they were all cut.

I had help in this endeavor, of course...amazingly, she didn't mess up much!

It is at this point, the mixing and matching of pieces that are on your floor, I highly recommend some stretching exercises first.  Like as if you were going to go jump hurdles and perform a high jump.  Because today, day two after my mixing and matching, I am struggling to get up from a seated position (let me tell you how fun it is to try to sit down on a toilet...) and even walking is painful at times.  I am NOT that old!!!  But doggone it, I guess I am out of shape!

But I did not know I had pulled a muscle in my thigh until that night.  So I was happily crawling around the floor with my beautiful fabrics!  And at the end of the day, had this:

I have clipped these all together and they are ready for retreat.  First, I used up all my Clover binding clips.  But since I only have 25, I supplemented with binder clips.  They aren't as cute, but they work just as well!

Yesterday I had to work, so this quilt simmered.  The original pattern calls for this 6x6 arrangement and a HUGE (by my standards!) border.  But when you get to quilting, what do you do with a border that large?  That almost always stumps me.  So I thought some and decided I would make it bigger by a row, for a 7x7 setting.  This will make a nicer sized throw quilt and, if I decide to put a border on, will not require a very wide one to help the quilt along.

So, yep, gimpy Katie pulled out ALL the fabrics again this morning.  There were a number of greys and blacks that did not get used the first time, so I decided, the first batch feeling very white-heavy, I would start there.  And use the fabrics I hadn't used before...mostly!  And then use my favorite greens to round things out...

I am happy to report that the second set (13 of them) are all cut and ready to be matched.  I even found a green I hadn't used yet hiding in a separate pile!  Later tonight I will match these up, but I have to acquire a few more binder clips...thank goodness the dollar store stocks them.

I am also going to be very careful in my efforts so I don't pull a muscle in the other leg!

Before all these antics could start, I made sure to accomplish my "assignment" for the week - the next five Christmas blocks.  Only 7 more to go, but due to my plans to visit my mom Friday and having to work Saturday and Sunday, next week will be delayed.  It's okay, though.  Life happens.

The toy soldiers have something like 70 pieces in them, but they did turn out cute and my points match better than I imagined they would, so I'm not complaining.

And yes, my train has a bra in it.  I'm okay with it, so you should be, too.

Finally, we are to the part of the post where the cats shine...

Earlier today Lexie was not helping.  She may look like it here, but she was demanding ALL the PETS, RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!

She's so pretty in the sunshine (that I am loving!), but what you don't see is her grabbing my hands, standing on my cutting tools and fabrics and, when I gently put her on the floor, her burrowing into my fabric cupboards (which were open because I was putting things back as I worked - they are usually closed because of her) and dumping things onto the floor because she has apparently forgotten how to jump.  The best part is that she is deaf, so you can turn around and see her doing these naughty things and holler at her and she just keeps going.  Not because she's ignoring you, but because she can't hear you.  (But to be honest, if she could hear, she would pause, look at me, and then continue whatever she was doing.)

And then there's sister Emma.  Usually Emma is being naughty, but I don't think she's been feeling great lately.  Lots of coughing and picky eating.  If she doesn't perk up in a few more days, she'll be seeing her "favorite person" after a little jaunt in the car...hoping for this to just pass, as I'm sure all of you cat owners can understand!  But that's not the photo story...we bought a new couch like a year ago or something.  I don't remember when exactly.  Not important.  What is important is that it came with throw pillows.  My husband hates them.  He throws them on the floor or on my half of couch or anywhere he doesn't have to touch them.  So there is often one sitting in the middle of the couch.  I have learned to call that the Princess Pillow.  Here is why...

You have no idea how rowdy and annoying she is when hungry in this photo.  You just see this beautiful kitten taking an adorable nap.  And while her crazy has diminished with the adoption of Spazarella, her hungries have not, and her efforts to fit her whiskers into my nose and nuzzling me with a cold, wet nose while I (try to) sleep have intensified in an effort to convince me that her hungries are important NOW!!

And with that, the funner parts of my week have been shared.  Now I will go finish baking bread and get ready to take dinner to my mother-in-law for her birthday.

Happy quilting,

PS My kitchen may or may not look like a bag of flour was dropped in it right now...


---"Love" said...

Oh my goodness! If I had that many small squares of fabric all over my floor, I'd just have to tell everyone that's my new carpet! I could never get them all picked up! But when you get home from retreat, you'll probably have a finished flimsy, and it will be pretty. ---"Love"

Carol R. said...

Well, I'm definitely going to need a nap after reading all of that. You've been busy!! What!?!??! you're not coming to sew in on Friday!?!? but... but.... but.... sigh :(.

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Busy, busy!! Lots of pretty greens - and cute fur babies - ;))

Laura T said...

That's exactly what my cat will look like, all nice a sweet and then pow! I'm hungry!!!! I can also sympathize with the bag of flour, between Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations, my kitchen has been seeing a fair bit of baking (yay for freezing stuff!). Love the greens and thanks for sharing!

Marsha B said...

You have been so busy! Hope your retreat time is lots of fun and you accomplish all you want to get done. Love the Christmas blocks, they are still all adorable! Love the kitty pictures and their antics. They are great company and keep you entertained for sure. You have lots of pretty projects, have fun!