Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fiber finishes!

I've been plodding along hand quilting my green & neutral stars quilt for my bed.  With a task that big, one needs some immediate gratification thrown into the mix, don't you think?  So, in between times, I've finished off some of my knitting WIPs.  After all, the cold weather will be here before we know it, and I can't just walk around wearing a quilt!

I see myself wearing this A LOT this winter.  How wonderful will it be to be wrapped in an airy, soft alpaca/bamboo blend rainbow on cold, dreary days?
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/self-fringing-wildflower-shawl for the pattern
I used 6 skeins of Classic Elite's Chateau yarn

self fringing, so no ends to weave in - BONUS!!

I also finished this cotton/silk/rayon blend scarf.  Another lightweight accessory to ward off the chill.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/seafoam-scarf--wrap for the pattern
I used 2 skeins of Noro's Tokonatsu yarn

No more progress on baby quilts, so I need to get on that this weekend.  One baby is due in October, which doesn't leave me a whole lot of time!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Going public to hold myself accountable

I'm putting it out there publicly in every possible way - I'm going to finish hand quilting this quilt for my bed by December 31, 2015!

I made this quilt top TEN YEARS AGO and keep putting off finishing the quilting.  Meanwhile, I finish projects to give to everyone else.  It's time to finish something for ME!  So, instead of always knitting at home in the evenings, I'm going to spend some time hand quilting as well.  As the evenings get cooler, this prospect becomes more and more appealing.  Help keep me accountable, people.  If you see me starting something new, remind me of my vow.

And if you're interested, I posted a challenge to others to finish something they've been working on forever over on my shop's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/stitchinpostva).  Feel free to share for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to The Stitchin' Post!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What would YOU do?

My sewing spree continues!  I finished putting my blue & white chevron quilt top together, and now it just needs sandwiching and quilting.  I have a recipient in mind, so I think I'll do that right away.
The colors look awful in this photo!  I guess that's what I get for taking photos near midnight.
I've also got most of the HSTs made and cut for my new Carpenter's Wheel quilt - I just need to do some pressing and squaring up.  One block is up on the design wall (not yet sewn together), and while I like it, I'm not sure I can see doing the whole quilt with just those 8 prints and the white.  I'd love feedback - will this work, or should I introduce more fabrics and give in to my scrappy nature?  What would YOU do?
Only 8 prints and white - not sure I can do a whole quilt like this...

Friday, August 14, 2015

New to me!

Perhaps it's because I've been sewing with the kids during Embroidery Camp this week, but whatever the reason, my quilting mojo is BACK!  I've been exhausted when I get home each day, often in the shop from 8 AM til 7 PM, but no matter - once dinner is done, I've been heading down to my sewing room to work on quilts!  I've made some progress on the sashing and cornerstone blocks for my plaid string quilt and I've got the top half of my blue and white chevron joined into one piece, but that's not all.

First of all, I really want to make this quilt for a friend's new baby.  I happened upon some red and white anchor fabric and wham!  I was inspired to pull and cut fabrics for the whole quilt.  Which, for me, is so far from normal!  I never cut out a whole quilt in advance!  Since I'm usually so scrappy, I just go along piece by piece until a quilt is done.  With the whole thing cut out, it shouldn't take much time at all to get it all pieced together.

EXCEPT...

A friend gave me a bunch of magazines and I fell in love with this Carpenter's Wheel quilt from Spring/Summer 2008 Quilt Sampler.
Love, love, LOVE!!
I love it in all its scrappy and 30s repro glory, but I don't have enough 30s repro fabrics to make it...yet.  I also don't have enough bright white.  But what I DO have is lots of natural/cream muslin and a bunch of civil war repro scraps, all somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 yard.  My brain kicked into gear - what if I made something that WASN'T scrappy?  What if I just picked 8 print fabrics to make the star points and went from there?  Not all the fabrics are actually repros, but close enough.
Can I stand to make a quilt with only 9 fabrics?  Will it hold my interest while piecing?  Will it hold my interest as a finished quilt?  We shall soon find out!
And not only am I using a limited number of fabrics, but I also used the grid method for making HSTs, so I cut all the fabric for the quilt before taking a single stitch.  Again, this is so new to me!  But, I can see how "less scrappy" can also mean "more efficient" when it comes to piecing.  I can't believe how many HSTs I have already done with so little effort!

I've never used this method before, but then, I've never made a quilt that would use so many of the same fabric combo HSTs.  I love how quick and easy this is!

32 HSTs pieced in about 5 minutes?  I love it!  There's no way I could make as many scrappy ones in the same amount of time.
Who knows, I may not like the look once I get all the pieces ready to make a block, and then I'll have a quilt's worth of HSTs left over.  But even so, I guarantee I'll find a use for them somewhere.

I see a lot of piecing ahead in my weekend plans.  How about you?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Jackpot!

I have a wonderful, talented quilting friend who is doing a bit of de-stashing.  She came into my shop yesterday and bestowed upon me the greatest of gifts for a scrap quilter like me - precut squares!!  A bin of 2.5" squares, one of 3" squares and a 2 gallon Baggie of 5" squares. Jackpot!!
I precut all my scraps into squares, but mine are NEVER this NEAT!  How does she do it??
I was inspired to sew when I got home from work, but my cutting table was completely buried in knitting paraphernalia and my ironing board was lost under UFOs, patterns and fabric scraps. I spent about an hour tidying up (why do I let it get like that?) and then treated myself to an hour of sewing. I restrained myself and kept away from my new precuts, forcing myself instead to tackle a UFO. I chose a scrappy plaid project that I had all the material collected for but for which I had done very little sewing. My inspiration is Julie K's quilt in her header. I have a LONG way yet to go!

It's good to get some quilting done.  Lately it has all been class and shop samples:
Corner Bookmarks as samples for my afterschool program

A newborn crown hat to highlight a yarn in the shop
That's the trouble with doing so many different things - it seems like there's never enough time!!  May you all find the time you need to do the things you WANT!  Be well!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Kid quilts

While the only quilt I've personally finished lately was my Scrappy Spirals, I've been working with kids quite a bit this summer with their own quilts.  This week, I taught a group of 5 kids at Summer FAIR (a young artist's camp) how to make a quilt from t-shirts.  We only had 4.5 hours total, and none of them had ever used a sewing machine, so I'm quite impressed with what they were able to accomplish.  This quilt top is made entirely from extra Summer FAIR camp t-shirts from previous years.  It measures about 47" square.  I'm going to sandwich it and quilt it up for them and it will become part of the camp's display and promotional materials.
collaborative kid quilt from t-shirts

In June, I had 6 kids here for 4 hours a day for a week to work on their own faux cathedral window quilts from denim and fabric scraps.  I love what they did with them - makes me want to make another one for myself! Somehow I didn't manage to get photos of them all before they left, though.

My sample quilt

kid quilt - 16 fabrics used 4 times each

kid quilt - All black and white prints

kid quilt - She had to leave a day early so her quilt is a bit smaller, but still plenty big enough.

But first, I've got two more baby quilts to finish for this fall.  Back to the sewing machine!

Monday, July 20, 2015

County Fair Time!

It was close, but I got a quilt finished for the county fair.  The quilts were due by noon on a Monday, and I finished stitching on the sleeve at about 11:45 am.  In truth, it I wasn't as done as I had hoped - there is no quilting in one of the inner borders - but it was done enough.  Turns out, it was done enough to win a second place ribbon in the small/medium hand quilted category.  Woo hoo!
I enter a quilt every year in part for the objective, impartial feedback.  For years, I've been "dinged" for my binding not having square enough corners or plump enough or whatever.  This year I got highest marks for my binding, with "Binding is well executed" underlined twice.  That made me so happy!!  The devil is in the details! 
Thank goodness for the fair, it gives me a hard and fast deadline to help me with my finishes.  This quilt is the one I chose to give to a friend of mine's baby, and even though the baby was born in April, I was still struggling to finish.  I swear, the closer I get to finishing a quilt, the slower I move.  Anyway, I sent a photo of the finished quilt to my friend, and she and her family went to visit it at the fair this week.  She sent back this wonderful photo of her husband and her baby checking it out.  I love giving quilts to people who will both appreciate and use them!
This baby has the most wonderful parents!  I'm so glad to have them all in my life.
 I also love going to quilt shows.  The talent is so inspiring!  But I noticed that what draws me to a quilt is rarely that which makes it a ribbon winner.  I took photos of some of my favorites, and most have no ribbons, and those that do aren't the blue ribbon winners.  It is pretty obvious what attracts me when you look through these photos - lots of colors and fabrics.
Rarely am I drawn to batiks, but this little quilt SINGS to me!

Scrapalicious!!

This quilt is ENORMOUS!  So simple, yet so striking.

This was one of our retreat projects.  I love these blocks set on point.

Not my usual quilt preference, but this little beauty called out to me.

I feel like I am underwater with those fish!

I could happily while away the afternoon on that porch, quilting or knitting with that view!

Again, not my usual style, but just neat!

I love miniatures.  And scraps. Again, simple, but I love it!

Stunning, right? I see a colorwash quilt in my future.

Whimsy makes me happy.  The fact that she pieced and appliqued the back also makes me happy.

Just looking at these makes me want to run down to the sewing room and start creating.  But first things first.  I've been commissioned to make 2 pair of baby booties for a woman's grandsons who are about to be christened.

One down, three to go.