Sunday, August 11, 2019

My heart in pieces

My pixelated heart quilt is coming along, one scrappy nine-patch at a time.


My own heart is still struggling to come to terms with my friend's illness, but making this quilt gives me lots of time to reflect and process.

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Switching gears

Yesterday, a good friend learned that she has inoperable pancreatic cancer.  I moved away two years ago, so I can't be there with her in person.  My mind and heart are reeling.  So, I'm doing what I always do when I need to re-center myself - I'm making her a quilt.

I'm starting with the little pixelated heart I made several years ago from 2" squares.

I wanted to echo that heart to make the quilt lap-sized.

It will be full speed ahead for the next couple of weeks as I rush to finish this and get it to her.  Everything else is on hold.  Including my breath.  I'm so scared for her that I am finding it hard to breathe.

Fuck cancer.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Plugging away at my Good Fortune

Finishing up my Sew Many Strips top has inspired me to knock out some more UFOs.  First up...Good Fortune!  So far, the center is done and the first of four borders is on.

And as my leaders and enders project, I've decided to give Kevin the Quilter's Simply Sensational Summer Scrap Quilt a try.  Apparently, all it uses is squares in two contrasting colors, so I pulled out my 2.5" squares in those two colors, along with a couple of 5" squares that I plan to quarter.  Is it possible that I'll be able to make the whole quilt with my precut scraps?

A couple twosies done, many, many, many more to go!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Sew Many Strips DONE!

Despite a long day of playing chauffeur and nursemaid to my family before working tonight, I squeezed in just enough sewing time to fix yesterday's goof and finish the Sew Many Strips top.  I love it!  Time for me to find a longarm quilter so I can get it finished and on my bed.

Turns out, I got a little carried away and made too many border units.  No worries - I really like this border, so I may make just a few more and use them to go around a smaller (baby? lap?) quilt.

Maybe I can make a center out of my overflowing HST bin.

But first, I am determined to finish my Good Fortune quilt top.

Just five more blocks to go before I can sew the center together.  I think I've created all the border units already, but I'd have to double check.  My goal is to have this top done before  Labor Day.  Since I have only two working days left before I get three weeks off, I think it is an achievable goal.

Knocking out the UFOs and busting the stash feels so good!

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Bad news, good news

The bad news is that I sewed the first outer border of my Sew Many Strips quilt on upside down.


The good news is that I realized my mistake before I sewed on any more borders.


I'm loving how it looks, and am so excited to have it all sewn together!  It takes an awful lot of 1" x 2" (finished) pieces to make a bed-sized quilt.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Pouches!!

I've been absent from the blog for a month - wow!  It's not that I haven't been creating, it's just that I've been more moved to knit lately than to sew.  The funny thing is, I'm knitting a blanket called the "Excavation Blanket," using up all my bits and bobs of leftover yarn from previous projects.  It appears I go scrappy no matter the medium!

I like to take knitting with me wherever I go.  Coffeeshops are great!
There will be fringe on two ends of the blanket - no hiding ends for me!
The other thing that has been taking up my time - please don't freak out and stop reading - is tarot.  I've always been curious about tarot cards, but never really knew much about them.  Besides, I thought you had to be a psychic in order to use them.  But then, while traveling back from Minnesota earlier this month, a colleague shared her cards with me and told me how she uses them to give her insight into what she should be focusing on in her life.  While I always figured people used them for divination purposes, I saw that they could be used for personal development and reflection, too.  I was intrigued, so I came home and started doing a little research.

I ended up buying a deck for myself, The Wildwood Tarot.  The imagery on the cards really appealed to me, and I liked the nature theme of the cards - there's lots of animals and waterfalls and trees.  I've enjoyed learning the cards, using them to try to tap into my subconscious, to not just go through the daily motions of my life, but to really reflect on what I am doing and why.

Since I've been studying the cards a bit every day, I wanted a way to keep them protected, but something more accessible than the lovely box that they came in.  I have fabric, so naturally, I thought I'd sew something.  I settled on a drawstring pouch.



While I like the pouch I made, the fabric choices and the design - lined with boxed corners - I wasn't able to find any thin cording to fit, so I have a thicker trim for the drawstring.  I wanted a double drawstring, but the trim I have is just not right for that.  Oh well, I still love it.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I've realized that the deck I bought is a bit beyond my novice card reading ability.  The book that accompanied the cards is a bit obscure, so it is hard for me to get a sense of what the cards signify.  I came to the conclusion that I need a more beginner-friendly deck to ease me into tarot card reading.  And what I found was the Everyday Witch Tarot.  True confessions time: as a child, I always wanted to be a witch - a good, friendly, helpful, tuned in to nature witch.  I wanted to make friends with faeries and tree nymphs and whatnot.  I loved the Piers Anthony Xanth series because of all the mystical, magical beings in them (not to mention, all the puns!).  But alas, I am a mere mortal, no special powers here.

But this deck makes me smile, brings back all those whimsical longings of my youth.  The artwork is fun and colorful, very different from the Wildwood deck, but they both appeal to me in different ways.  So, I bought it!  It arrives tomorrow, and in preparation, I've made a pouch for those cards as well.  This time, I found a thinner cording, so I've got the double drawstring that I wanted.  I love it!
I LOVE this dragonfly fabric!

I used the Wildwood deck to guide my construction since the decks are virtually the same size.



And in the meantime, since I am a leaders and enders kind of gal at all times, I squeezed in a couple more blocks on my Sew Many Strips quilt, along with a number of border units.  Bonus!
More than a quarter of the way pieced! 
Border units that don't fit on my design wall (I need a bigger design wall)

Sewing, knitting, reading my cozy mystery books and now tarot cards - I need to not have a job so I can do all the things I love to do!  (Just kidding - it is my job that allows me to afford doing all the things I love to do, and I find my work fulfilling to boot!  But my son was lobbying for 4-day school weeks yesterday, and I can totally get behind that suggestion!)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The beauty of a blog

I was feeling like I hadn't made much progress on my Sew Many Strips quilt until I compared today's photo with last weekend's photo. Even if no one reads my blog, it is useful to me in this way.
I've got a little more than one quarter pieced.
It's slow going, but it's growing!  With all this work, this might have to be a quilt for me!

I'm off in the morning to visit some colleges in Minnesota.  My plan is to take some hexagons to sew by hand, as well as a sock that I would love to finish knitting.
I added this yellow hexi to my GFG quilt last night while binge watching Queer Eye
My 15-year-old has his learner's permit, so I let him drive today while I knitted in an attempt to remain calm.
I'm glad to have finished four quilts already this year; it makes me feel better about working on so many ongoing projects these days.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sew Many Strips is no joke!

I sewed for hours this weekend!  I pressed and cut and sewed and then did it all over again.  I can't believe this is all I have to show for it on the design wall!
My design wall is only big enough to put up one quarter of the quilt at a time, so that is how I am building it.
Granted, I do have a bunch of twosies sewn together, waiting to become four-patches, as well as some longer units sewn for the borders, but sheesh!  When they named this quilt Sew Many Strips, they weren't joking! 

Of course, I love quilts with lots of little pieces (these strips measure 1" x 2" finished in the quilt) so I'm not really complaining.  But I am super impressed with the folks who have already finished this APQQuiltalong

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

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Quilty Adoption Offerings

My husband and I will be celebrating 19 years of marriage this May.  One of the triumphs of our marriage is the level of compromise we have reached when it comes to STUFF.  I am a packrat; he is a minimalist.  We've had a couple battles around this difference in approach, but I've gotta say, mostly it has been me drifting over to his way of doing things.  It turns out, letting go of things lightens me somehow.

My sewing room, however, is the place where I feel no guilt about keeping any and everything I want.  But looking at some of my UFOs lingering in limbo, knowing that I'll never get around to finishing them, saddens me a bit.  What makes me HAPPY is participating in Cynthia's Quilty Adoption Event twice a year!  I am able to give away my UFOs to people who actually finish them! (Really, I've seen pictures!)

This time around, I have three projects I am ready to release into the quilt-iverse.  If you are interested in adopting a project (or two or three!), leave a comment, making sure there is an email address so I can contact you if you are a winner.  I will draw winners using a Random Number Generator on Monday, March 25 with hopes of having everything mailed out by Tuesday, March 26.  I am happy to cover postage in the US and Canada (so sorry to all my other international friends).  There are no restrictions on what you do with your winnings - make something for yourself, for a friend/family or for charity.  I'd love to see a photo of the finished project if you think of it (closure, you know).  OK, here goes!  Ready for some scrappiness?

A.  PLUS Blocks

Back in the fall of 2016, I joined in the Charming Plus Quiltalong.  I enjoyed making these scrappy 6.5' blocks as a leader/ender project for a while, but I've lost interest.  There are 27 of them.


B. VIOLETS Blocks

Back in the spring of 2016, I won a bunch of Violets blocks in Block Lotto.  I love participating in Block Lotto, but I'm terrible about putting the blocks together if I win.  I should just participate without throwing my name in the ring to win.  There are 43 of these 6.5" blocks: blue, purple and pink flowers with yellow centers on black/white/gray backgrounds.  Note that they are made by a bunch of different people, so actual size may vary a bit.


C.  FLANNEL BUZZSAW Blocks

I'm not exactly sure when I started this flannel quilt based on Aunt Betty's Attic in the February 2003 issue of McCall's Quilting, but definitely by 2009.  It is now 2019.  Time to "fish or cut bait", don't you think?  Actually, I wanted every block to be a different pattern, but when you make a block, you actually get pieces for two blocks.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to make a quilt that was twice the size, or if I'd have pieces for two quilts.  I've decided I want to keep one set of blocks, and give one away.  If I am making the smaller size, I am more likely to finish.  Please note that only 31 of the 36 six-inch blocks are pieced, but there is material prepped for six more (an extra for some reason). 
 I'll include the magazine article with the instructions.
Please know that 1) this will only include the blocks, not additional fabric for the borders, 2) I just cut up whatever flannel I had at the time so there is no color scheme or theme and 3) this was early on in my quilting career and I think it was my first time using flannel.  The quality of the materials and my piecing are both questionable...

Be sure to visit Cynthia's blog for more items up for grabs!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Night Owl

It makes no sense.  I'm usually ready for bed by 10 PM.  Sit me in front of a TV screen with nothing in my hands, and I guarantee I won't know how the movie or show ends because I'll be fast asleep.  But set me loose in my sewing room, and I'll look up and discover it is the middle of the night and I'm still going strong.

Today was my first day of sewing after two weeks on the road.  What a treat to just play with fabric after two weeks of constant travel - sleeping in 10 different cities!

I assembled four more pinwheel blocks for my Good Fortune quilt (no photos) as a leader-ender as I worked on pressing, cutting and sewing strips for the Sew Many Strips APQ Quiltalong.  There's a lot of orange in there because I started by cutting up scraps from my Good Fortune quilt.  Once I get more pieces cut and sewn, I'll dilute that orange a bit.

I'm not so good at following directions, so I've jumped around a bit in the quiltalong, sewing together one of the corner border blocks.

This quilt could also be called Sew Many Seams!  With all these little pieces, this is not going to be one I'm going to want to hand quilt!

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

Saturday, March 2, 2019

New life...

Remember how I said that five of my co-workers were having babies this spring?  The shower for baby number 3 is tomorrow, and I am READY!  I pulled out a small top that I finished a couple years ago, thrilled to see that I had also already pieced a backing and stored them together.  Good thinking, Erin!

I pressed and basted on Thursday,

quilted and started binding it on Friday,
Instead of just plain cross-hatching again, I stitched on both sides of painter's tape in a modified cross-hatch.
I don't watch nearly as many shows as I would like, but binding a quilt is the perfect time to watch.  This is Heartland - I absolutely LOVE the scenery!
and finished binding it on Saturday (today)!


It is currently in the wash, and when it comes out, I will sign it, wrap it up and pat myself on the back.

The block is inspired by Melissa of Happy Quilting's Summer Breeze pattern.  The sashing and cornerstones to create the little Shoo Fly blocks in the corners and middle are my own spin on the pattern.  I'm happy to say that I used up every bit of the fabric scraps that I chose for the front by incorporating them in the back. 

The quilt measures 39" square and is destined for a little girl who is due later this month and whose name has yet to be revealed.

That is FOUR finishes for me already this year.  What took me so long to jump on the "simple quilting on the domestic machine" bandwagon?  Yes, I love to hand quilt, and I will likely continue to hand quilt those that I make for my own family, but I'm definitely going to keep machine quilting these tops that I've completed over the years who have been patiently waiting their turn to go under the needle.  Hmmm, which quilt should I do next?

Actually, working on a baby quilt and thinking about new life has been sustaining me during what has been an emotionally trying couple of days.  On Thursday, I learned that a friend with cancer was just told she has no more than 100 days to live.  I want to find a quilt from my stash of tops to finish up and send to her to let her know I'm thinking of her.

And then, this morning I received the phone call that my beloved aunt suffered from a ruptured aneurysm yesterday, and is now in a coma with a CT scan that reveals that she is brain dead.  The doctors say there is no hope for recovery.   They removed the breathing tube and she is breathing on her own now.  They say she doesn't feel any pain, but that it is only a matter of time before she is gone.  I'm alternately numb with shock and weepy with grief.  She is one of the most beautiful, loving, generous, fun and fierce people I know, and I am going to miss her deeply.
This is a happy memory from a visit the boys and I made to her house two and a half years ago.  She was pretending she was going to drive off in our new Jeep.
I will be linking up with Oh, Scrap and Monday Making.

Friday, February 22, 2019

This and that

Both baby quilts were delivered on Thursday.  Getting those done on schedule really motivates me.  I've finished three quilts already in 2019 - that's got to be a record for me!

So when I had a few minutes this evening, I got started pulling fabric for the #apqquiltalong.  But I can't just pull fabric without cutting it.  And I can't cut lots of fabric without sewing it.  So, while the instructions say to pull this week, cut next week, and start assembling the week after, I'm kinda doing it all at once.  Here's me playing around with what the outer border looks like.

I simultaneously made some progress on my Bonnie Hunter mystery Good Fortune quilt.  Slow and steady, and all that.

I'm hoping to get in a few more hours of sewing tomorrow, too.  I'll be out of town, traveling for work, from March 3 - March 17, so it is important to sew while I can.  While I am traveling, I can knit.  Of course, I could also prep some pieces of my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, the one I started almost a decade ago...

So many projects, so little time!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Crushing my goals!

Usually, I set goals that turn out to be too lofty, but this time, I'm getting it done!  I finished piecing the second baby quilt:
I like this one better than the first.  Better balance.
AND both quilted and bound it before the weekend was over, right on schedule.

I will definitely be machine quilting with cross hatching again.  I love the look, and it was so easy! 
I had enough of this super soft yellow to back both quilts.  To bind this quilt, I used up this floral scrap.  I love the feeling of using up all of a fabric.  As much as I hate to see a fabric go, it frees me up to buy more with no guilt!
Today, I basted quilt number two

and I plan to start quilting it tonight, finish quilting it tomorrow, and get it bound by Wednesday so that I can wash and dry them on Wednesday night and deliver both quilts during faculty meeting on Thursday (both dads are back at work already).

It feels so good to finish something, rather than start it and then have it languish.  It helps that they are small baby quilts (both 40" square) and that I machine quilted them.  Whoever suggested cross hatch quilting to me after I stressed over stitch in the ditch for my last quilt - THANK YOU!  I love how it looks, and it was so easy to do!  I was worried that it would detract from the piecing, but, if anything, I think it enhances it.

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

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Quilt in a Day!

Two of my co-workers gave birth this week.  I told myself I wasn't going to start anything new, that I had enough things going on without adding new quilts to the mix, but I couldn't help myself!  Babies need quilts!  Luckily, both new babies have short four letter names (Otto and Liam) so as I sat up sketching possible quick and easy "Welcome to the World" quilt ideas last night, what I did for one would easily work for the other, too.  I've always wanted to make pineapples...

After lunch, I got started picking out fabric and sewing.  Much of the squares came from my pre-cut scrap bins, and the background is a larger scrap from my neutral drawer.  The size of that scrap pretty much dictated how big the quilt would be.  I was thrilled to have very little of that fabric left - it will quickly be cut up and added to the scrap bins.

I'm moderately pleased with the final result.  There seems to be too much white space on the bottom and in the middle, but I'm leaving it.  It measures 40" square. 

I hope to get the second one pieced by Wednesday, and get at least one quilted (by machine, yikes! but there's no time for hand quilting) this weekend.  By next weekend I'd like to have them both ready for delivery.  That's pretty ambitious for me, but I'm gonna give it a go.

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