Monday, 14 October 2013

Quarter 4--the wish list

Well, this post should be easy enough to write--I could practically cut and past my quarter three goal list, and barely have to make any changes, since I only managed one finish.  Oh, well.  This quarter will be more productive.  But, I think that I'll also be a bit more realistic, so that should help as well.

I'm going to carry forward two projects big from last quarter, and add two new small ones.

1)  I've made a bit of progress with the Anita's Arrowhead quilt.  I've gone from this

to this.

Actually, that only about half the blocks I've finished.  Which is about a third of the number I need.  They're taking a while because I'm being really picky about making sure the points match.  And they are.  This one's going to be beautiful when it's done--how can it not be with so many truly lovely fabrics.  And I'm really looking forward to quilting it.  After the minimalist straight-line approach on my last quilt, I'm really craving lots of dense swirls and curves and loops. 

2)  The Christmas star quilt (Oh My Stars! designed by Sheila at Thought and Found.) is exactly where it was in July.  I haven't made a single cut or stitched a single stitch.  And, if I intend to use it this year, there's a built-in deadline.  So, I'd better get hopping.

3)  The first new project is a wall hanging.  And, dare I say it, it's an Art Quilt.  It's the second time that my friend Anne and I have come away from an exhibit and challenged ourselves to create something that reflects what we've seen.  Last time it was a single technique.  This time, it was a very eclectic show put on by the Vancouver Island Surface Design Association, so we decided to incorporate a number of elements--including something that sparkles.  So far, I've just made the foundation from a variety of different neutral cottons and muslins, but I've been thinking about it a lot.  And,  I've pulled a selection of possible embellishments--beads, ribbons, threads, and other fabrics.

This is so far out of my comfort range that I can't believe that I'm doing it, let alone posting about it.

4)  Also, I need new cushion covers.  I posted this last time in a vague sort of way, but this time I'm serious.  I need to replace the shattered fabric on the back of one, and finish this one started in September 2012 as my traveling project and needlepoint wool scrap-busting activity. I don't expect to do any more traveling in the near future, and I just want it done.

And those four items are the only projects that I'm going to set as concrete goals. I learned in the last quarter that a lot of time can be taken up with what you might call "off-list" projects. For example, the fall edition of Kid's Clothes Week is coming up, and while the timing doesn't coincide to allow that sewing to be included on this list, it will still take a solid chunk of time in addition to the actual sewing week (especially since I haven't yet decided what I'm going to make the kidlets, let alone bought any fabric).  And I'm doing a complete sewing room overhaul now that I've sold my huge loom (we didn't call it the loom room for nothing). And even if I may have started Christmas gifts, they can't be included in the quarterly list because unlike last year, this year's recipients are old enough to read about them.  And so on and so on. 

Keeping my fingers crossed that this quarter is more productive than last, and linking to Leanne's post.

she can quilt

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Not my most productive quarter.

I managed to finish one--yes, one--of the items on my third quarter list of goals.  I'm not even going to address all of the things I didn't manage to accomplish, but instead focus on my one finish--my version of Kirsty's baby chevron

Grown-up Chevron Quilt

...and back.
Loving that beautiful orange.

I love it, and more important, my son loves it.  I really should make more stuff for him--his appreciation is so gratifying.  The ta-da post is here.

Well at least I'm not giving Leanne too much to read this time.  Now to link this up and start thinking about my next quarter wish list--I mean goal list.

she can quilt

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

One Down!

I've finally finished mt version of  the Baby Chevron.   This was one of my Third Quarter Finish Along Goals.  I made it a bit larger than the original, so it's more a lap size than a cot quilt.  I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out.

Because the contrast between the fore and background was in hue rather than in value, I had to be very careful about my fabric choices.  I ended up removing a large number of both grey and orange pieces because they had too much white in them, and this tended to blur the crisp outlines between the chevrons.

I pieced the backing  using a variety of smaller grey squares, some sketch and solid orange.  The binding is sketch as well.  I'm starting to really appreciate the versatility of that nearly solid fabric.

I did a minimal amount of straight line quilting using Auriful 50--a solid grey top thread on the grey chevrons, and a variegated orange on the orange chevrons and in the bobbin throughout.  Straight line quilting is always a bit risky when you have a pieced backing.  You really have to be careful to ensure that both top and backing are squarely aligned.  Fortunately, it worked out for me this time.

While my initial thought was to quilt it more heavily, the recipient, my son, prefers minimal, so minimal it was.  He actually gave me quite a bit of input while I was making it, but he didn't know it was for him.  As a result, he's happy with it, and so am I.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Finish Along 3rd quarter goals

It's time to put together our list of goals for the 3rd quarter.  I'd like to use the same strategy as I did last quarter--that is, seriously over commit so that I don't waste so much time dithering about which project to start next.  Deciding is such a painful process.  The problem is that having been out of commission for the last month, I don't actually have that many projects started that require finishing.

The first project I want to finish is a summer dress.  It's been years since I made a dress for myself, but it's time for me to start sewing again.  There are just so many beautiful fabrics out there.  The plan is to make this dress...
Photo from Sewing
...from this beautiful Kaufmann Essex linen/cotton blend designed by Melissa Crowley.
Essex Linen Blend La Femme Blossoms Spa
Photo from

I've made the muslin...

(no, I never sew in both the sleeves) and I think that I've worked through all of the fitting issues, so now I just have to sew it up. Should be a piece of cake, right?

The second project is the modified Baby Chevron.  It was on the list for last quarter, but life had other plans.  I'm really looking forward to working on this again. The strips are ready to be sewn together.

Pieces for the Baby Chevron sewn into strips

Third, is an arrowhead quilt.  I recently signed up for a Craftsy course on making traditional blocks--Traditional Blocks Made Simple.  It was an accident--I'm not really a traditional block type of person, but as it turns out, I loved the course. The instructor--Anita Grossman Solomon--was a delight. And, while this may be a traditional block, it looks modern to me.

Anita's Arrowhead Block

Fourth, I'm going with the Christmas in July theme, and getting an early start so that I can make at least one quilt, and perhaps a couple of runners and wall hangings by December.  For now, though, I'm going to make a Christmasy version of Oh My Stars! designed by Sheila at Thought and Found. Yes, I realize that the quilt along has been over for a long time, but it really is the perfect Christmas Quilt. This is the first block, and I need to make six more of them. Then on to the other 14 variations.

Sawtooth Star Blocks

And fifth, I'm going to deal with this leftover block from my Mystery Stars Quilt.  I made a slight miscalculation and the block ended up being too large.  But I love the block and I think that it would make the perfect centre for a medallion quilt.  What looks like very noticeable seam allowances on the white pieces are actually strips of paper that make it easier to whip stitch those sections to the paper pieced star.

English Paper Pieced Centre of the Medallion quilt

And, there are a few more projects I need to get started--some big and some tiny.  For example, there is the summer edition of Kid's Clothes Week.  I want to make some pretty summer things for the girls. I have the patterns and the fabrics ready to go, but I haven't started cutting yet.  That will have to wait for the launch on the 15th. The backs of my cushions have worn out--it was one of those fabrics that, while lovely, just tend to shatter with age and exposure to light. And there are the bench cushions that need recovering.  But I'll be happy to finish up the five projects I've identified as priorities for this quarter. 

I keep saying that I need a start-along more than I need a finish-along, but I think that this finish-along is helping me get out of project monogamy rut. It encourages me to start things so that I can add them to my quarterly list.  I need to thank Leanne (and Rhonda before her) for their help with this.

Now, I'll link this list up to Leanne's 3rd quarter page to make it official.   


Friday, 5 July 2013

2nd quarter wrap up

Well, I was on a roll, and then I wasn't.  I just blasted along in May, then I spent June out of commission.  Of the seven projects on my finish-along 2nd-quarter goal list I finished five.

First, the successes.
 1)  The red and white quilt.  Finished and delivered.  I think that this is the first time I've given someone a quilt that they didn't know was coming.  It was a complete surprise.  I definitely have to do that more often.  I love this one, and so did the recipients.  And it was definitely worth the challenges.

2)  Dresses for the kidlets--I'm counting these two as a single finish because just finishing one was not an option.   Completed and loved.  I'm glad that they're still little enough to like dressing the same-ish.  I have to use this fabric again--it's so soft.  Blogged here.
 3) The vintage dresden.  Yay for this one!!  I've blogged about this one a lot over the last year, but this will be the last time!  It's done!! Can you tell that I'm happy about this?

4)  The tool case.  This was intended for a conference/workshop that I'd planned to attend in June.  I didn't make it to the workshop, but I do have a very cute little folding case, that will still likely see a lot of use.   I blogged about it here.

 5)  Tova Tunic.  Rather than make a muslin first, I decided to use some voile that I had on hand.  I didn't get a nice photo of this immediately after I finished it, so I'd been wearing it for a while when this snap was taken in the garden.  Still, finished is finished.  I just blogged about this a few minutes ago.  Talk about getting it in just under the wire.

That leaves the two projects I didn't finish.
1) I didn't make any progress at all on the tote bag.

This was a complete fail, and since I really wanted it for that conference I didn't get to, I don't know when I'll finish it.  I'm lacking motivation.

2) The modified Baby Chevron quilt.  It's well beyond this stage now.

The pieces have all been cut out, arranged, mixed up, rearranged, sewn into strips, been partially unsewn, had all of the squares made from two of the fabrics removed and replaced, and is now back in strips just waiting to be sewn together.  This one, I'll definitely carry over to the next quarter.  I'm still motivated.

So, that's it.  Not a perfect score, but not bad at all.

Now, I just have to link this up on Leanne's page, and check out what everyone else had made in the last three months. 

2nd quarter finish number 5

I actually finished this the first week of June, but blogging hasn't been in the cards for the last few weeks.  Now that I'm back on my feet, I'll have to make it official quick if I want to check it off my 2nd quarter finish along list of goals.

The jury is still out on whether I like it or not.  My husband thinks that the top is nice, but the fabric is frumpy, and he may be right.  Still, if I' make it again, at least if I make it out of voile, I think that I'll interface the placket and the collar.  Or maybe I'll make it out of linen.  That has enough body on it's own.  It's a comfortable top, and it's nice to have something cool and lightweight that also provides some protection from the sun. 

And, it was certainly easy enough to make, although I don't quite understand why the pattern tells you to insert the sleeves after you've made them up and sewn up the side seams.  It's so much easier to sew them in while all of the pieces are flat, then just run a single seam up from the hem to the sleeve cuffs.  Oh well, to each their own, and my own tends to be whatever is easiest!

she can quilt

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Just for a change...

I'm posting a finish that wasn't on my list of finish along goals.  It was a last minute thing that started with a phrase along the lines of "I sure hope I don't scratch the front of this e-reader while I'm travelling?" 

It turns out the the new Aura is just a smidgeon too big to fit in the Kobo Touch case.  And, since said trip was only a few hours away, there wasn't really time to go buy one of the flashy cases that are built for the Aura.  The only alternative was to make a cover.

So, after a quick rummage through my fabric collection (See, there is a reason why I just don't go out and buy fabric as I need it, I said.  I need a small stockpile for emergencies such as this.) and some time with a tape measure, and iron and my trusty sewing machine, I presented him with this.

I think that he was a bit worried that when I said I'd make him a case, it might look a bit girly, but he was pleased with this.  And he got some compliments on it, so I guess it's not too shabby after all.  These spontaneous projects can be so satisfying. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

2nd quarter finish number 4

I'm definitely on a roll here.  I can tick another project off my 2nd quarter list of goals.   This little tool kit is so cheery.  I just love the bright yellow and the pekako print. 

It's equally cheery on the inside, and there are lots of pockets of a variety of sizes on the inside--pleated ones on the left side and on the right side there are smaller pockets and a full-size one that I can use to keep notes. 

I'm looking forward to using this.

she can quilt

Sunday, 19 May 2013

2nd quarter finish number 3

This must be one of the oldest UFOs in existence.  It was on every finish along list in 2012, and while I left it off the first quarter list of 2013, I added it back on to my 2nd quarter list of goals.  I finished the quilt top some time in the late 1970s or early 80s.  Then it got lost in one of many moves and resurfaced last year.  It's not a brilliant piece of workmanship, so I was tempted to leave it "lost" but I just couldn't do it.

The large proportion of these fabric scraps came from my ex-husbands grandmother.  When she moved into a seniors facility at the age of 95, she gave me her giant bag of scraps.  I made a lot of things from these scraps, but sadly, very few remain.  They went into soft toys, bibs, place mats, pot holders, rag rugs, and the other assorted items a young mother needs.  I made two other scrap quilts in addition to this top.  The first is a double wedding ring quilt, entirely hand stitched and traditionally quilted in dense tiny stitches.  This was used so much that it is now in tatters.  The second quilt was taken by someone whose need must have been great, so hope that it is serving its purpose of keeping them warm.

That left this top.  I had to finish what is essentially a mini fabric museum. I had thought to take apart the blocks and add sashing, or even take the plates off the background since I really couldn't remember what I had used for background fabric.  Given my financial situation at the time, it won't have been anything special--probably a poly/cotton blend.  Then, I decided to finish as it was.  The first level of quilting lines were already marked.  I couldn't see myself quilting this in the same way as the double wedding ring, so I decided to keep the quilting to a minimum and make it colourful.  I used a variegated Auriful 30.  I would have liked to use a no 8 perle, but it was just too difficult to pull the thread through the fabric, so I went with the thinner Aurifil.  It looks very pretty on the white background fabric and on the lighter-coloured solid spokes, but not so much on the darker or patterned ones.

One of  my favourite parts of the quilt is the binding.  I think that I pulled out every fabric I had to find one that would work with this riot of relatively saturated fabrics, and I even cut and prepared one, but it just didn't work.  Finally, I settled on several fat quarters that I received in a grab bag and made a pieced binding that works with scraps in the quilt.

With its generous wool batting, it's perfect for these nights when a duvet is too warm, but a quilt isn't warm enough.  I'm using this as an extra layer on top of the quilt, and it's just right.  I'm very happy to have this one done.

she can quilt

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

2nd quarter Finish number 2

Well, these weren't done in time for Kid's Clothes Week, but I did finish them in this quarter, which was the primary goal.  There's no good reason for not finishing them sooner, since I already had the pattern pieces cut out when I added them to my list of planned 2nd quarter finishes
The pattern is Simplicity 5489, and the fabric is a very soft fine wale stretch corduroy.  A bit warm for the day we took the pictures, but we're back to our normal chilly damp, so the girls will still be able to get some wear out of them this spring.  And I expect that they'll still fit in the fall, since I planned a bit of "grow room".  Especially for Keira.  I'm expecting a growth spurt out of her any day now.  Elyse seems to have stopped growing quite so quickly. (Those are stickers she's slapped on all over, by the way, although she'd really like a real tattoo, or twenty. )  I wasn't sure about the yo-yo flowers, but the girls love them along with the binding "grass" and the perle cotton stems.  I could see making these with embroidered or appliqued birds running around the bias hem band.  Maybe next time. 

So, two down and a couple--well several--more to go

she can quilt

Saturday, 11 May 2013

2nd quarter finish number 1

When I started the second quarter of the finish-along, this is the progress that I had made on this quilt.  I thought that since the blocks were already sewn, it would be a quick finish.

It turned out that this was about half the number of blocks I needed to make a decent throw-sized  quilt.  The recipient is recuperating, and I wanted it to be large enough to cover him and ward off chills.  So, I made the extra blocks and arranged them all again, and it still wasn't right.  I wanted a rectangular quilt to accommodate his height, but it looked odd--as if the sides had been cut off.  I'm not fond of square quilts, but there wasn't an option here.  I needed those white pieces to meet on all four sides.  So, I made more blocks.

I used my walking foot to quilt around  the edges and through the center of each white section, then did some loopy free-motion quilting through the red sections.  Lots of turning and lots of thread ends to sew in, but it looked nice.  The binding didn't.  It disappeared against the red and made the white sections look oddly truncated.  Since I'd already trimmed off the excess backing and batting in order to sew on the binding, I used a quilt as you go technique to add white borders even though I prefer borderless quilts.  So, I ended up with a square, bordered quilt, and I have to admit that I really like it.

 I used a pieced backing and even though the quilt is square, from the back is appears to be rectangular.

I have to say that this is one of the cheeriest quilts that I've ever made.  I hope it helps the recipient to feel the same way.

So that's my first finish for the second quarter.  More on the way.

she can quilt

Friday, 12 April 2013

Finish along 2nd quarter goals

This quarter I'm going to try a different strategy.  The reality is that finishing isn't really a problem for me.  It's starting that's a problem--a serious problem.  After I finish a project, it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to more than a month to start another.  I'm essentially paralyzed by indecision.  So, this time I decided not to decide.  Rather than pick one project from the list of things I want to make, I said yes to everything.  Well, not quite everything, but quite a lot.  Then, I just pulled fabric and started cutting. I'll work on whatever takes my fancy on any given day.  This is totally different from my usual serially monogamous behaviour.

None of the project are very large and some are quite small.  I'm going to attend a conference in June and I need some type of tool case to hold all the odds and ends that I'll need for classes.  I spent a bit of time sketching out what I needed and picked some fabric that makes me smile.  Those little blue birds with their red beaks and spindly legs remind me of pukekoes, and there's no way you can see a pukeko running along and not smile.

For the same conference, I'm also going to need a tote, but it's going to have to be a purpose built one.  I need pockets of particular sizes and shapes.  I've sketched out the pattern and pulled the fabric.  The pattern is a hybrid of several existing totes that I use for grocery shopping.  I like the shape and weight of one, the pocket placement of the other, the way the end pockets are invisible on another, and the straps of a fourth. I also want interior pockets, which none of my totes has, and I'll need a much more rigid bottom panel than I would want for a grocery tote.  It probably took longer to make up the pattern that it will to sew it.  I might even make a tutorial of the process since I haven't seen anything like it in my searching for the perfect bag.  Assuming it turns out, that is.  

I'm also going to make dresses for the girls--pink and purple of course, although I think that this will be the last time for that combination.  Elyse has decided that she loves turquoise--a definite sign that she's growing up.  Since these will be made from (beautifully soft) fine wale corduroy, I'll have to get to them fairly soon while it's still cool enough to wear them. But Kid's Clothes Week is coming up, so that shouldn't be a problem.

And, keeping in the garment sewing vein, I'm finally going to make myself a Tova tunic.  This voile doesn't photograph very well, but it's pretty in person and very soft. I can see wearing this a lot when it gets warmer.

There are three quilts on the list as well.

The first of them is a red and white one that I'm making for a good friend who could use some cheering up.  I haven't completely decided how I will arrange the Arkansas Crossroads blocks yet.  I like the medallion arrangement, but the concentric circle layout is also attractive and so is the wavy version.  I won't decide on that until I have the blocks finished.  So far I have half of the 4-patches sewn, and half of the white squares done.  Two of each make up a block.  I made little 1-inch hsts from the corner trimmings, and I might use them to add interest to the back of the quilt.

The second is a modified version of the Baby Chevron quilt.  I want a larger quilt and I also want to change the balance of the elements to make it a bit more symmetrical.  I'm also replacing the beige fabrics with greys.  I'd actually started this one before the red and white one, but the red and white one has now taken precedence.

The third quilt is the Dresden that I started in the late 70s/early80s that was lost for so long and that I'd put on the list last year before I realized how long it would take.  I've been making steady progress with the hand quilting, although I sometimes wish that I'd used perle to quilt it rather than the  variegated Aurafil.  It would have made more of a statement.  But then, the Auriful is so pretty and the colour changes keep me interested, so I think that there might be a good chance that I'll finish it this quarter.

And I think that I'll call it quits there.  I have some non-sewing projects to complete as well within the same time frame.  I need to weave off a set of dinner napkins so that the table loom is ready to warp for the conference.  This would be a breeze on the big floor loom, but it's fairly tedious on the table loom, and I have to pay close attention, so I can't even listen to an audio book to pass the time.  And there is fringe to twist on a couple of scarves.  And I really need to finish spinning up the cashmere silk blend (one ply of each) so that the yarn is ready to work with when the weather turns cooler again. That's more of an ongoing project than a quarterly one though.

Now, I'll link this list up to Leanne's 2nd quarter page to make it official.

she can quilt