Saturday, May 12, 2018

Every little bit

The end of the school year is like riding a panicky, runaway horse with no reins or saddle; all you can do is entwine your hands into the mane, hold on tightly, and try to enjoy the ride.

In the meantime, I've been trying to make sure to carve out moments of quiet sanity for myself, time to sew.  It hasn't been much, but as we all know, every little bit adds up to a lot eventually.

My temperature quilt is moving along well - I enjoy having just one block to make each day.  On Ringo Lake is sitting silently, willing me to notice it again.  The trouble is, despite the fact that the fabrics are scrappy, they are all in the same four color families, and for me, that makes it just a bit too predictable to compel me to work on it.  One day...

The Flutterby blocks are the ones that excite me the most.  I have 67 of the 140 blocks that I plan to make done, with about 11 more partially done.  As you can see, I've been making the borders as I go.  I really want this quilt to end up on my bed!

I miss my design wall!  The floor just isn't the same.
The Sister's Choice quilt's final size will be determined by the amount of blue and neutral fabric I have for the the alternate blocks.  I've started to make border blocks for that, too, so I can figure out how many more blocks I need to make.
A couple of rows are sewn together, as are the outside borders.  I'm hoping I'll have enough to make this lap sized, but it might end up being a baby quilt.
Both of these quilts have enjoyed an infusion of new scrappy fabric after I received a box of scraps from a a friend back in Virginia.
Is there anything better than someone else's scraps?
So far, I've only made it through one baggie of scraps from the box, but what fun to discover them all while cutting them down into my precut scrap sizes.

Hmm, I need better light in my sewing room!
And when I'm not home, I've been diligent about bringing some handwork along, making more hexie blooms during meetings and sewing them on while attending campus sporting events.
Enjoying softball in the sunshine while putting in a few stitches.
In one month, I'll be on summer vacation.  I am so excited about all I should be able to do over the summer - sewing to my heart's content!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Crafting on the road

I'm on the road again, this time visiting Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  While waiting for today's programming to start, I had to wander over to see the Parthenon replica and read about why it is here.
Turns out, it was built for Tennessee's Centennial celebration.  Cool, but seems pretty random to be plopped down here in the middle of Nashville
I doubt I'll be stranded here for two extra days like I was during my trip to Washington University in St. Louis last month (knock on wood), but I'm prepared, just in case.  In addition to more hexies to stitch together,
I only brought 5 flowers worth of hexies to stitch together.  I should be able to finish that in a mere evening of watching Heartland on Netflix.
I brought my current mindless knitting project,
Based on the Dourado pattern, but I'm altering it to work with the Katia Ombre yarn that I have.
as well as three paperback books and three audiobooks.  One of them, of course, is a crafty cozy mystery:
I've read the first in this series, and was waiting to read this third installation until I had read the second, but it was the smallest paperback on my shelf that I hadn't read, perfect for travel, so the second will have to wait.
Back home, I've been plugging away at my myriad current projects - hand quilting the quilt for my new niece who arrived on Friday,
I still have a long way to go.  Not marking, just quilting organically concentric echoes to fill the white spaces.  Not sure yet what I'll do with the colored spaces.
My new niece with her older sister and brother.  Love fest!

I spent most of Saturday doing just this.
making more 3" nine patches for my 5" Sister's Choice project,

Nine patches are so simple but make me so happy!

Why, oh why, do I love tiny piecing so much???  It's going to take A LOT of blocks to make a useable quilt out of 5" blocks, but I'm not going to think of it that way, just gonna enjoy the process.
On Ringo Lake has been on the back burner, as has my Flutterby project, but I'm still up to date on my Temperature Quilt.  I do like having a choice about what I want to work on every time I sit down at my machine.

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Temperature quilt progress

Regardless of how I flit from quilt to quilt - from On Ringo Lake to Flutterby to Sister's Choice to hand quilting the Starburst quilt - my Temperature Quilt is a constant.  Each day, I complete another simple block.
This block represents March 31, 2018 with Kona Daffodil representing the high temperature of 55 and Kona Cabbage representing the low of 33.
The two bars in each block represent the high and low temperature of a day here in Deerfield, Massachusetts, with the seams pressed towards the low temperature.  When assembled, I alternate the orientation of the blocks: vertical seam, horizontal seam, vertical seam, horizontal seam.
This segment represents January 1 through March 22, 2018.
My final quilt will be 18 blocks wide and 21 blocks long.  Each block is 3.5" square (finished), so the final quilt will be by 63" wide and 73.5" long.  I imagine I'll probably add some type of border to make the quilt bigger and to try to tie together all the various colors.  In addition to blocks representing each day of the year, there is also a block representing each monthly average and one final block representing the the yearly average high and low.  I'm getting my daily data from Weather Underground.

I like the unpredictability of what colors will show up next, reflecting the unpredictability of the weather.  Look how out of place the little rectangles of Kona Cheddar and Kona Amber are in this segment, representing February 20 and 21 which boasted daily highs of 61 and 73 degrees respectively.  I'm mighty thankful that there isn't so much dark blue in there - the darker the blue, the colder the temperatures.

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Then, by Brad Paisley

I love the song, Then, by Brad Paisley.  It encapsulates how I feel about my husband so well.  Turns out, it also speaks to how I feel about this Flutterby quilt!  I loved my first block, then loved it more once I had a number of blocks laid out together, then this weekend I laid it out with some border strips and some pieced border, and, I tell ya, I love it even more now!

Then I did the math and realized I need 140 blocks to make it the size I want.  Oh well, they go together quickly.  50 down, 90 to go!

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Fickle me

Sometimes I lament how long it takes me to finish a project.  I can't help but compare myself to the amazing quilters whose blogs I follow who seem to be able to crank out a new project every few weeks.  I have to remind myself that my process is different, and that we aren't here to compare ourselves to each other.  And when I take stock of everything I AM doing, it's actually quite a bit; it's just spread out across several projects.  What can I say - I'm fickle.  What I feel like working on today isn't necessarily what I'll feel like working on tomorrow.

The project that received most of my attention today is my Sister's Choice quilt.  It's simple and fun and since I already have so many precut scraps, the blocks go together quickly.
I've decided to keep the alternate blocks constant, as several of you suggested.
I also managed two more On Ringo Lake blocks, bringing my total up to 30, and three more Flutterby blocks, bringing that total up to 39 blocks.  My temperature quilt is also up to date.  It was a satisfying day at the sewing machine, which is good because I also took my kids bowling today, and my 7 year old nephew kicked my butt!

Yesterday was mostly spent hand quilting my new niece/nephew's quilt.  I bought a wide backing from my LQS rather than piece a backing,
In addition to the Judie Rothermel backing, I picked up a few WoW remnants - can never have enough of those.
and I've enjoyed watching Heartland while I work on it.  My niece calls the show "a TV version of a country song," and I guess she's right.  But I love country music, have always daydreamed about being a cowgirl, and the scenery is breathtaking, so it works for me!
Yesterday, there was actually SUN so I could quilt with natural light.  Spring, I am ready for you to arrive!
I've also been working on a new knitting project, loosely following a pattern, but modifying it to use up all of the yarn I've designated for the project.  I played yarn chicken, hoping to get to the end of the row before a color change, and I won!  Whew!  I made it with just inches to spare!
The pattern is Dourado on Ravelry, but I am modifying it to use up my mini skeins of Katia Ombre yarn
And look!  I've continued to unpack from our move in August, and came across this pixellated heart that I had forgotten I had pieced!  I think it needs some other hearts to keep it company so it can be made into a useable sized quilt, don't you think?  But I'll save that project for another day - I have plenty to keep me busy these days.
Made with 2" squares from my scrap bins
In the meantime, all my quilty adoption items were shipped out on Tuesday, and I've started to hear that they've made it to their new homes.  I hope to see what they become in someone else's hands.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Forward motion on FOUR projects!

My kids had a half day of school on Friday, so I picked them up and took them snowboarding for the afternoon, and then out to dinner with my mom, brother, and younger sister and her family.  It was a fun day, but I didn't get a lick of sewing done.  I had prepped some hexies to work on at the ski lodge, but my 2 year old niece was there, so I spent the time hanging with her.

In light of my family-heavy Friday, I had no qualms about sequestering myself in my sewing room this weekend.  Not only did I do a major re-organization and cleaning in there (my brother is spending the night tonight, and since my sewing room is also my home office and my guest room, it needed attention before it was ready for a guest), but I was also able to move four projects forward.

On Ringo Lake now has 28 completed blocks:
22 left to go.  They go together quickly since I've already made all the components, but the monotony of the color scheme slows me down.  Yes, it is scrappy, but I'm used to scrappy with all colors of the rainbow, not just four colors.
Flutterby now has 36 completed blocks:
I am LOVING this!  Definitely making it big enough for me to use!
I've finished 4 Sister's Choice blocks:
5" blocks - I LOVE small blocks!  They are just so cute to me!
But in doing so, I got to thinking how many 5" blocks it would take to make a useable sized quilt - A LOT!!  That's what alternate blocks are for, right?  I've always wanted to make a quilt with QST blocks/hourglass blocks as the alternate block, so I made four alternate blocks to see if I like the look - I do!

My question, though, is this: Since the blocks are so scrappy, should the QST blocks be scrappy, too?  I mean, instead of using one constant neutral and one constant navy blue (although it looks black in the photo, doesn't it?), should I use a variety of neutrals and blues for the alternate blocks?  If you have an opinion, please chime in!

And finally, today I rearranged my Starburst quilt a bit so I can start to quilt it.  When I finished the flimsy in October 2016, I noticed in my photograph that the yellow and green blocks in the bottom right corner should probably be swapped, but ugh!  Unstitching?  Yuck! 

So I just let it sit.  And sit.  And sit.  But the baby I've decided to give it to is due in less than two weeks, so it is time to stop sitting and start quilting.  So I swapped the green and yellow blocks (in the lower left corner in this photo). 
It's been packed up for months - excuse the wrinkles.
Does it make a big difference?  No, but it isn't niggling at the back of my mind now.  My goal is to piece a backing and have it basted no later than the end of the day Tuesday.

Tuesday is also the day that I'll be choosing recipients for my 5 quilt projects that are up for adoption.  If you haven't checked out the quilt adoption items at Cynthia's blog, be sure to hop over there - there's some fun stuff up for grabs for free!

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Adopt me, please!!

EDITED 3/20/18: My adoption event is now closed.

I am a starter.  I get ideas, and I can't wait to start playing around with fabric to see where the idea will go.  Unfortunately, rarely do I finish.  I run out of steam, or the idea doesn't pan out the way I had hoped, or my attention is diverted to my next great idea.  My pile of UFOs is embarrassing.  Shameful, even.

Which is where YOU come in.  By adopting my unfinished projects, you can help me alleviate my guilt over my Quilter's ADD.  This time around, I have 5 projects up for grabs.  If you are interested in adopting a project, leave a comment with that project's letter (A, B, C, etc), and if more than one person is interested, I'll throw names in a hat and have my kids pull winners.  If you are interested in more than one, let me know any and all that interest you in your comment.  Be sure to include your email address if you are a no-reply blogger so I can contact you for your mailing address.  I have no restrictions on how you use these - make a quilt for yourself, for a loved one or for charity; as long as it is being used, I am happy.  I am also happy to pay shipping so there is no cost to you.  Truly, I have no space and any little bit that I can move out, the better.  I will select the new "parents" on the morning of Tuesday, March 20, and ship out as soon as I receive mailing addresses.  I am located in Massachusetts, and am happy to ship to the US and Canada (so sorry if you are visiting from elsewhere).  My home is smoke-free, but I do have a dog (although he doesn't quilt).

OK, here we go!

Back in September 2013, I came into possession of a white-on-white fabric with dots and circles on it.  That's all it took to get me to pull any and all 5" squares with dots or circles from my pre-cut scraps bins and start throwing something together.  I love the idea and the fabrics, but I just couldn't get excited about a layout.  Here are some of the things I tried:

I give up.  Here's what you would receive:

  •  Eighteen pieced blocks that measure 5" (unfinished)
  • Twenty-eight 5" squares of assorted dot/circle fabric
  • Thirty-two 2" x 5" WoW background strips
  • Four 2" squares of WoW background squares
  • Fifty-nine 2" squares of assorted dot/circle fabric
  • 24" x 14" piece of WoW background fabric plus a couple smaller scraps of same fabric
  • Plus the random blocks below

Not sure what I was doing here, making kites, maybe?  These block quadrants are 4.5" unfinished.

Seeing as my boys are now teenagers, this project is AT LEAST ten years old.  I remember thinking I'd make a "Love Bug" quilt, making heart blocks out of fabrics with bugs on them.  I made one heart and moved on to something else.  Story of my quilting life.  Here's what you would receive:

  • One 6.5" pieced heart block
  • Seven assorted bug fabrics, ranging in size from 6.5" squares to a quarter yard
  • Thirty-seven 4" squares of WoW fabric

Way back when my boys still thought I was smart and pretty and cool, they wanted to quilt with me.  My youngest started a farmer/tractor quilt, and lost interest after just one sewing session. (OMG!  Is Quilter's ADD hereditary???)  Anyway, he was fine with me letting go of the material he had picked out for his quilt.  Some of it has been repurposed, but we are left with three adorable tractor panels and some other random tractor/farm fabric.  Here's what you'd receive:

  • Three tractor panels that measure about 9.5" 
  • Four approx. 11" square tractor/farm squares of fabric

I gravitate towards small panels, thinking that I'll use them for the center of blocks.  Earlier this year, I tried this with some small seed packet panels that I'd been hoarding for years, and it turns out I didn't like the result at all.  Probably just the setting I chose, but now I'm reluctant to use these little panels.  They are lovely, but I just don't know what to do with them.  If you have an idea, throw your hat into the ring for a chance to own them.  Here's what you'll receive:

  • Two WOF pieces of Botanica by Judith Baker Montana for Robert Kaufman; one piece measures 22", the other measures 18".  There are 81 little approx 4" flower blocks total on the two pieces together.

I have been working on a scrappy Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagon quilt for well over a decade.  My quilter friends back in Virginia were great about giving me their leftovers and cast-offs, and one baggie that I received contained pre-cut hexies.  BONUS!  I've put those hexies to use, but then there were these elongated hexagons as well.  They don't work for my current project (believe me, I tried!), and I am NOT starting another hexagon quilt, so these are just sitting around collecting dust.  Anyone want to make a hexie quilt with these?  They are primarily reproduction fabrics.  Here's what you'd receive:

  • 325 pre-cut elongated hexies that measure approx 2.25" x 3.25".  The one basted hexie in the bunch measures 1.5" x 2.5".

Be sure to check out the other items up for adoption from others at Cynthia's blog.

And if you are new to my blog, I recently sold my yarn and fabric shop and moved to a new state, so I am in a rather constant state of de-stashing as I try to fit into my new home.  My ETSY shop has destash fabric from my personal stash as well as "direct from my recently closed yarn shop" yarn at very reasonable prices.  New items are added nearly every week.