Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Lap Quilt

Well, I'm one step closer to meeting my 4th quarter finish-along goals.  The Christmas fabric that I won from  Gail (Hand Quilter) has progressed from this

to this.

I added some Snow and  some cute little reindeer from Riley Blake to make this little lap quilt. 

Straight line quilting on either side of each seam adds to the clean crisp look, as does the cheery red binding.  It adds the perfect Christmas touch to a chair in the corner of my living room.   

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Fraternal twin quilts

I really should start recording more of the process rather than just saying what I've done.  The odd thing is, I'm really a process person--I'm just not someone who documents that process.  Maybe that should be my 2013 resolution.

At any rate, I have a finish.  Actually, it's two finishes, and also actually, I really finished these at least two weeks ago, but it's been impossible to photograph them. With the leaden grey sky that forces me to keep the lights on throughout the day, I wasn't able to get in indoor shot at all.  And the endless rain prevented me from taking them outside.  But the weather finally cleared long enough to take some pictures.

These I-spy/matching game quilts were on my 4th quarter finish-along list.   The centers of the framed squares include (among other things) butterflies, chairs, pink pigs, grey elephants, balloons, scissors, sail boats, owls (both happy and scowly), fairies, mushrooms, bicycles, swings, kites, doll carriages, dresses, and many birds.  All that fussy cutting really ate through the stash, but now I'm left with a huge stack of scraps.  The frames are made from pastel Kona solid jelly rolls.

The backs use up the jelly roll strip leftovers as well as some Kona snow and polka dots from the stash.  Binding is a pink and white Lecien stripe. 

While not identical, the two quilts are similar enough to cause some confusion over ownership.  To forestall any potential disagreements, I foundation pieced their initials in two corners (to keep with the matching theme).

Quilting was a simple swirly loop--easy to do, and it crinkles so nicely.  These are quilted closely enough for durability, but they're still beautifully soft.  I hope the girls like them as much as I do. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Fourth quarter plans

Well, it's time to link up for the fourth quarter of Rhonda's finish along.  So far, my track record hasn't been great.  No finishes the first quarter, only one in the second, and two in the third.  But maybe, if the trend continues, I'll be able to finish three this quarter.  But which three?

I'm still working on the dresden quilt I started back in the 80's.  It's a fairly large quilt and all the hand quilting is taking a fair bit of time.  I'm about half done.

Then there's Sheila's Mystery Quilt along that I'm completing after the fact.  It's taken a couple of sideways turns and I'm not sure that Sheila would recognize it any more.  But I'm making slow progress. This is where I was in July ...

and I've since added the ET Phone home block created by Lynne.  There are 84 pieces in this block!  84!  If I'd stopped to count first, I might have selected something a bit less challenging, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

I also have two little girls who would like quilts for their beds.  I've started on eye spy type quilts. Each square is duplicated so they can also play matching games with them.  I've cut out most of the charm squares and this is the last of the lot.  Then I'll sash them with pastel strips from a couple of jelly rolls that have been sitting here long enough. I'd really like to get these done before Christmas. 

And, speaking of Christmas, a while ago I won some very pretty Christmas fabric from  Gail, who blogs at Hand Quilter, and I've started to make it into a lap quilt.  Nothing fancy--just something to add to the seasonal decor.  So it would be nice to have it done before the season passes.

So, all in all, I'd say this is pretty well impossible, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

2012 Finish-A-Long

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Third quarter finishes!

Yes, that's a plural.  As in, I managed to finish more than one project from my quarter three list for Rhonda's finish along. Naturally, they're not the two that have been in the queue the longest--those would be the Mystery quilt (although I've nearly finished another block) and the Dresden quilt that I included in my to do list for the first, second and third quarters of   No, these project were new ones that I added for quarter three. 

My first finish, early in the quarter, was sundresses for the girls.  I blogged about it here.

The second was much more recent.  I blogged the entire saga (loved it, didn't love it, loved it, didn't love it, et cetera, ad nausem) here.

So, all in all, I'm pretty pleased with myself.  It's the most I've managed to accomplish yet.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

I Won!

Last month Gail, who blogs at Hand Quilter, offered this gorgeous giveaway as part of Quilting Gallery's blog hop.
(photo from Gail's blog)

And I won it!  As I told Gail, I don't have a single Christmassy quilted item in the house, so it's going to be a priority this year.  I'm thinking of the Lady's First lap quilt from the Back to Charm School book.  The tree skirt version is shown on the book's Martingale web page.  It would look great with this fabric line, and it's simple enough that I should be able to finish it in time for the holidays.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A BIG Finish

Back in April I signed on to the My Precious Quilt along.  I had a couple of Lily and Will jelly rolls that I wanted to use to make a queen-sized quilt for myself, but I couldn't bring myself to cut into the fabric.  It was so perfect, and I wanted the quilt to be perfect too.  My Precious was the perfect motivator to get started, but it was including it in my third quarter to do list as part of Rhonda's finish along that motivated me to finish.

A bit of history is needed here.  Quite some time ago I bought a Lily and Will charm pack and fell in love with the colours--the sunny yellow and cheery blue seemed just the ticket to counter our very grey winters.  So, I decided to buy two jelly rolls, but when they arrived I was feeling pretty awful, so I just put them up on the shelf for another day.  But I kept that charm pack on my table just to keep me thinking about what I might do. I knew that I wanted to make a quilt that would leave the fabric in relatively large pieces so as to really show it off.  I just couldn't decide what pattern to use.

After signing on to the quilt along, I unrolled the fabric only to find that it wasn't what I expected!  There was no cheery blue.  Yes there was sunny yellow, but without the blue, the brown just seemed to overpower the yellow.  I decided that far from being precious, I didn't really like it, and I didn't want to have it continue to take up space on my shelf or in my head, so I'd just quilt it and get it over with.  I added some white to lighten it up and sewed the strips together.  The white made a huge difference, and I found that I wasn't hating it any more.

Then I cut the strips into 6.5 inch squares and started sewing them together only to find that my quarter inch seam marker had shifted and none of the squares were actually square.  Definitely not loving it again.  After giving it some thought, I decided that I had a couple of options: 1) trim the blocks so that they were square (tedious and time-consuming) or 2) just live with it.  Since I no longer loved the stuff, I decided to live with it, and as a result, not a single block lines up exactly with it's neighbour.  Okay, maybe two line up in the entire top.

Oddly enough, this was somewhat liberating. I decided to clear out some other fabric that I wasn't loving in order to piece the back.  I'd bought this fabric for a specific project, but by the time it arrived, the parameters had changed and I really didn't need this much brown.   

And, since it was essentially rubbish now, I decided that I was going to use it as a playground--appropriate, since it was likely to be used as a picnic quilt.  I definitely wasn't going to take the time to hand-quilt it, nor would I lay out the cash to have it quilted, so I free-motion quilted it in sections.  My machine only has about 4-5" harp space, which means that they weren't very big sections.  So, I did my very first all-over meandering stipple, and I tried a variety of methods for joining the 12 sections.  And I also sewed the binding by machine for the first time.  I used Sharon Schamber's washable Elmer's school glue method instead of pins to sew on the binding and it worked great.  Not a single puncture wound.

As for the back, cut down into smaller pieces, all that brown doesn't actually look that bad.  Each fabric is used three times, although that isn't evident in the photo because I had to fold it over the line to keep it from dragging on the ground.  When you can see all of them, that solid brown square doesn't jump out so much.  I've decided that I like that Honey Vine print enough that I'm going to order some more.

So, what do I think of it now that it's done?  It's okay.  I'm pleased that it's finished.  The FMQing turned out fine, and I'll definitely do more of that in the future.  Same with the binding.  I learned a lot from this, and in the end, it looks nice and sunny on my bed.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Measure twice?

As I noted previously, I decided to think of Sheila's Mystery Quilt ( a skill building activity.  Becoming proficient at foundation piecing was incredibly satisfying, so I figured that I'd also incorporate some English paper piecing.  But where to put it?  In the spirit of "go big or go home", I decided to replace block 1, the big 18 incher...

 with this...

The sharp angles were challenging, but in general, I was quilt pleased.  Until, I tested it in the layout and discovered it was too big.  By a full inch.  And, it's not the type of block where there is a wide border that could be trimmed.  The points of those deep blue triangles are pretty much essential.  So, back to the drawing board.  Maybe I'll stick with the original block one, and try EPP in a smaller section instead.

On the plus side, though, I've definitely built that skill.  And I really like this block.  I'll have to think of something that I can use it for.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Finish! and just in time too...

...since the sun has finally decided to come out.  Touch wood, but summer appears to have arrived at long last.  The third quarter of  Rhonda's Finish Along inspired me to finish these sundresses for the girls.  Cute or what?

The Oliver & S Seashore Sundress is made with Flea Market Fancy, and the Brooke dress is made with Pear Tree. 

I have to say that both of these patterns were very nice to work with.  As were the fabrics.  And both girls seemed happy enough with them to have made the effort worthwhile.  Mind you, they are pink, and a potato sack would probably have been sufficient if it were pink.

I'm going to have to figure out how to link to flickr photos, but I haven't been successful so far.  I don't know why perfectly clear photos look so awful when they're uploaded directly into blogger.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Quarter 3--Big Plans!

Or, at least, biggish plans.

I'm carrying a couple of these projects forward from the last quarter.  These would be the Mystery Quilt (or my amended version of it).  This is where is was the last time I posted about it...

...and although I've added a couple of blocks during the last quarter...

...I still have a way to go.

And, then there's the Dresden Plate.  

I'm making steady progress on this one.  At a generous estimate, I'm about half done with the quilting.  Okay, maybe a third.  

 I should probably stop there, but in a moment of delusion enthusiasm, I jumped on the small projects bandwagon in May, and started a couple of sundresses for the kidlets.  The fabric for the Brooke pattern is Pear Tree

and although it's not clear from this picture, the fabric for the Oliver & S Seashore Sundress is the pink eyelet pattern from the Flea Market Fancy collection.

To be fair, when I decided to do this we were having a mini-heatwave.  In May.  Then we had June-uary.  Seriously--it's mid-July and I had to take a hot water bottle to bed last night.  And a down duvet. It really hasn't been sundress weather, but if I don't finish them soon, they won't be ready to enjoy summer when and if it arrives.

Finally, for some reason, I also thought it would be a good idea to participate in the My Precious QAL.  It did motivate me to cut into some fabric that I'd been saving.  There is a bit of a story to this, but I'll leave that until I actually finish the thing.  Yes, it's gone from being precious to something less than wonderful.

So that's it.  I wonder how many of these I'll be able to cross off my list at the end of this quarter.  I hope that I do a bit better than I did in the second quarter. 

2012 Finish-A-Long

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Quarter 2 Finish Along

I've decided that I'm going to look on the bright side and be extremely pleased that I completed one-third of the projects that I'd planned to finish in the last quarter rather than disappointed that I didn't manage to complete the other two-thirds. The posting where I made the rash promise to complete three quilts is here.

The big finish was my Stained Quilt that I made--and completed!--as part of Sarah's Stained Pink Quilt Along.  And, not only did I finish it, but I finished it in mid May, so it wasn't even a last minute finish.  I'll only post one picture here, since I went a bit overboard in my Finish! posting

Progress on the 40+-year old dresden is steady, but slow.  I should probably have used perle cotton. It would have been faster, but I'm really liking the variegated Aurafil 28.

And my Mystery Quilt has taken a sideways shift.  Sheila encouraged us to substitute blocks to make the quilt our own.  And she also introduced me to foundation piecing and it turns out that I love it.  I've decided to replace the huge pieced block with a huge foundation-pieced one.  And, even though I already finished the 18-inch one, it's possible that I may replace it with another foundation-pieced block.  I don't know where this is going to take me, but I'm enjoying the trip.

So, one down, two to go.  Maybe next quarter.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Small project sew along progress...or lack thereof

This hasn't exactly been my most productive week--wait--make that two weeks! 

I did manage to complete one of the projects that was on my small projects sew along list.  A coaster for my night table so that I don't thunk down my water glass in the middle of the night and wake up my husband.  This is much prettier than what I was using, and it's completely thunkless.

I made it from some of the Stained leftovers.  At least, that was the plan.  There are at least 3 colours in there that had to be cut from fresh fabric to get the colours to move the way I wanted them.  Not exactly eating up the scrap pile.

As for the other supposedly realistic project--a cover for my e-reader made from the green flora and fauna hummingbird fabric--I'm not sure that's ever going to happen.  I just can't bring myself to cut into it.  If I really want that cover--and I do--I think that I'd better pick another fabric that isn't quite so scissor resistant.

Then there were the three unrealistic items on the list:  2 sundresses for the girls, and a Tova tunic for moi.  I haven't done a thing there.  Strictly speaking, that's not true.  I did buy the fabric.  And the patterns.  And since these weren't realistic small project goals in the first place, I'm not going to feel too terrible about not getting them done.  On the other hand, summer isn't that long, and if I want the girls to actually be able to wear their sundresses, I should probably get the lead out.

Friday, 18 May 2012

A finish!

I've finally finished my Stained quilt that I made as part of Sarah's quilt-along.  And I'm absolutely delighted.  Here's a picture of it over the railing. This one has the best colour.  I've found it really difficult to capture the vibrancy of the yellow.  It either fades to cream, or else can't be distinguished from the ochre squares. Mind you, now the jade and turquoise look alike, which is far from the case when you see the real thing.

Now, here's one of it on the lawn.  Show's how small my patch of grass is. The uneven colour is actually dappled shade from an oak tree.

And finally, a hike up the rise to take a quilt over rustic bench shot.  More dappled shade. 

The quilting is invisible, being black on black.  I tried quilting in the coloured sections, but I really preferred  the clean look of the unquilted squares, so I took it out.

And, as if finishing the quilt weren't enough, as a bonus, this will count toward the 2nd quarter finish-a-long.  Yayy!!  One down.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Small Project Sew Along

Amanda Jean has instigated a small project sew along.

crazy mom quilts

Step 1.  make a list of all the small projects that I'd like to complete during the month of May, and post it on my blog.

She has 20 items on her list.  Twenty.  And some of her small items are dresses.

I think that I have two that I'd consider small.
  1. a coaster for my night table so that my glass of water doesn't thunk when I put it down in the middle of the night; and
  2. a cover for my ereader.  This one also counts toward the My Precious QAL, so if I manage to finish it, I'll be able to cross it off two lists.  Bonus!

That's the realistic list.  If I want to move into the realm of wishful thinking, I'd add
  1. a dress for Miss E.;
  2. a dress for Miss K.; and
  3. a Tova tunic for me.

This would be in addition to the 4 big projects.

Let's see if writing them in an official list helps me to get them done.  Maybe I need to take some vacation time.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Progress? Not so much.

Here it is, the end of April, and what do I have to show for it?  Not a whole heck of a lot.

Well, now that I think about it, that's not entirely true.  My Stained quilt is coming along fairly well, after overcoming the hurdle that is my sewing machine.  After some thought, I decided to use black perle cotton to hand quilt in the sashing.  This went surprisingly quickly once I got started.  And while it wasn't my first choice for quilting, it turns out that I really like it.  Now, I'm thinking about what else I can hand quilt this way.

No progress at all on my Mystery quilt, and even with the external motivation provided by the My Precious QAL, I haven't made even the tiniest snip into that hoarded fabric.

On the other hand, I have managed to turn this raw cashmere ...

into this.

You can only imagine the amount of picking, teasing, and combing it takes to get this far.  But processing cashmere is a  a very pleasant way to pass the time.  The cashmere was a birthday gift from my son, and he's made it even better by sitting with me and helping to dehair it.  He got it from Treesong Farm in Duncan and it really is lovely.   And having it so close to home means that when I get this lot done, I'll know where to turn for more.  The spindle was made by Lisa Chan at Gripping Yarn and it's amazing.  There's no other word for it.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

My Precious QAL

This must be my week for joining things.  I've just signed up for Kelly's My Precious Quilt Along
We're supposed to cut into fabric that we've been hoarding because it's too precious to cut into. 

That would definitely describe my lovely bit of Patty Young's hummingbird Flora and Fauna. 
I don't have a lot of it, but I know exactly what I want to do with it--I need a cover for my ereader.  The problem is that I'm pretty sure it has some kind of force field around it that prevents me from cutting into it. 

The second project will be a quilt top that uses my yellow and brown Lily & Will jelly roll.  This is the fabric that I think about at night when I can't sleep.  I have no idea what pattern I'm going to use--that's part of the problem--I just know that I have to get it cut and pieced so that I can sleep again.  It will also be nice to have a sunny yellow quilt to help me get through another long grey winter.

So that's the plan.  Let's see if the extrinsic motivation helps.