A Little Catching Up…

4 10 2015

This week and last were both 50-hour work weeks for me. We experienced an onslaught of winter/holiday items arriving to our warehouse, and I’m one of the few individuals cross-trained both to work in the warehouse and in our retail locations. Due to this, I ended up working at the warehouse, hefting boxes. Lots of boxes.

This means that I’m behind on my (admittedly mental) schedule to get my retail location together for winter/holiday displays, but that’s actually a good thing. There remains a slew of open orders due to arrive at the warehouse. I’d rather not set up displays, only to have to reset them again, and again.

That also meant that I fell behind on getting my September commitment for the Traveling Bee-utiful Swap done. Not by much – just a couple of days, but I hate falling behind on deadlines. It makes me grumpy.

This is the top, as I received it, in early September:

Traveling Bee-utiful - September

I knew one thing, as I got this top-in-progress on my wall – I wanted to lighten it up, by adding a border that was comprised heavily of low volume fabrics. I felt like the top needed a ‘breather’ but this point. I turned to EQ7, as I usually do, and modified an existing border treatment in the EQ7 block library. I started with this:

Base Border BlockIt was pretty boring to me, so I decided to alter it. After reading the original quilter’s journal entry regarding the start of her quilt, I knew that I needed to make sure to use scraps. It wasn’t a hard choice. I have plenty of scraps.

It didn’t take long for me to come up with this:

September Border

Plenty scrappy, and I knew I had plenty of low volume fabrics to get me through border. I did, however ultimately decide to stick to just two low volume prints. I didn’t have enough scrappy low volume, and wanted to minimize my time in cutting.

I modified the design to come up with a corner block, so that the design would ‘turn the corners’ of the border:

September Border - Corner Block

That made me happy with the final design:

September Border - Whole

From there, it was just a matter of paper-piecing. This should have been fast, and easy. Problem was, I completely forgot about chain-piecing for some reason. *sighs*

If I’d remembered, I might have been able to get this out on time…

As it was, I remembered halfway through, and managed to make the last two nights of piecing go much more quickly. For all of my non-low volume fabrics needs, I went through my stash of starched and pre-cut scraps. I love using my scraps – it’s like a fabric acquisition memory lane.

So, after being silly, working too much, and making this project take too long, I finally attached the border to the last side on Thursday night.

Traveling Bee-utiful Swap - September AdditionI’m very happy with how this one turned out, and am excited to start October’s contribution. I’ve already received it, though I haven’t opened the package yet.

Finished! Spice Garden, a Mystery Quilt

22 09 2015

Spice Garden - Desert Bloom Quilting Mystery QuiltMeasures Approximately 77″ X 91″

Yes, it’s finished! The mystery quilt I started on 30 August 2015.

Actually, it was finished on 16 September, but I wanted to wash it before I took photos.

For the backing, I used an Art Gallery Rhapsodia print:

Rhapsodia, Tibet Blockprint BlueRhapsodia, Tibet Blockprint Blue

I ran across a sale for yardage in an Etsy shop, and bought six yards of the Tibet Blockprint a few months ago. The background color is actually nearly an exact match for the Cotton & Steel Peacock solid fabric I used in the quilt top.

I even pushed myself to match the print on the backing, so it would be hard to tell that I had two lengths of the fabric for the back.

The instructions for the mystery quilt are available at Desert Bloom Quilting. The top finishes as approximately 56″ X 70″, without borders. In my zeal to use every last bit I could of the Effervescence fabric, I added a 10″ wide border to each size. By the way, a lot of credit goes to the quilters in /r/quilting, for helping me work out my border woes.

The instructions called for the following amounts:

Light/Background      1 ¾ yards
Medium 1                      1 ¼ yards
Medium 2                      1 ½ yards
Dark                               2 ½ yards (This is generous, and should leave enough to do a 2″ border on the quilt top.)

All told, I think I used an additional quarter yard of fabric for the first three fabrics, due to the border treatment I used. I was able to use up a total of four yards of the Effervescence, which was my ‘dark’ fabric. Altogether, I burned through roughly 15 yards of fabric, when adding in the additional Kona Berry I used for the inner border, and for the binding.

It feels good to use the fabric, rather than just accumulate it. It feels better to see my son ask to be wrapped up in a quilt that I made, or to have several quilts on the bed, instead of a mass-produced comforter.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at crazy mom quilts. Also linking with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Mainlining a Mystery…

4 09 2015

Quilt, that is.

After finishing with August’s contribution to the Travel Bee-utiful Swap, I considered my options. I’m very, very close to finishing my Swirling Sea of Stars – so close, I only need to complete three blocks.

Could I find the oomph to finish those blocks?

Of course not.

Instead, I started another new project. Desert Bloom Quilting, for whom I’d tested a baby quilt that hasn’t posted to this block, has been posting instructions for a mystery quilt for the last few months. The instructions have been posted at the rate of about one clue per week, since about May. The final clue was to be posted today.

This past Sunday, August 30, I decided to start this mystery quilt. I started pulling fabrics:

DBQ Mystery - Fabric Picks

I used the ‘dark’ fabric as my inspiration for the other fabrics. It’s actually more of a medium value, in comparison to the three solid fabrics. I went with it as the ‘dark’ anyway, as it’s the only print in the batch.

For those who are curious:

Light Fabric – Connecting Threads solid. No longer sure which color.
Medium 1 Fabric – Kona Cotton Berry
Medium 2 Fabric – Cotton & Steel Solid in Peacock
Dark Fabric: Effervescence Bubbles in Bright, by Amanda Caruso for Robert Kaufman

And, yes, everything was already in my stash. Well, except for being short NINE INCHES of the Kona Berry. I ended up ordering some online, and then got impatient and bought a yard at Joann’s for the ridiculous price of $8.99 a yard. I call that price ‘highway robbery’.

I’m quite pleased that I shopped my stash. I ended up using everything I had of the Connecting Threads solid, have enough Kona Berry left to bind the quilt, and only have about 3/4 of a yard of the Effervescence left. So, fabrics pulled, I then proceeded to make the entire quilt top, per the clues. I ended up finishing the top on Wednesday night:

DBQ Mystery - Quilt TopI then had to decide on a border. I don’t normally feel the need to add a border to a quilt top, but I definitely thought this top needed it. Per the fabric instructions, I had more than enough of the Effervescence to simply add a 2″ to 4″ border, but I didn’t feel like that was an effective use of the fabric.

The reason for that is that the Effervescence print actually includes a 9″ border print along the length of the yardage. This single border is why I bought the fabric, and so much of it. I’d thought I might make a skirt out of it.

I posted a few options to the subreddit /r/quilting, and got some wonderful feedback. Based on these suggestions, I ended up deciding to add a thin (1″ wide) Kona Berry border, and then to add another, more complex 9″ wide one:

DBQ Mystery Quilt Top - Bordered II

The border was added Thursday night, after I’d had a nap. My body decided I’d shorted it on sleep too often, in order to sew.

I did make a mistake when piecing the border. If you look at the bottom of the photo, the border print is actually cut at the wrong direction… I cut a trapezoid, rather than a parallelogram. Honestly, I’m not going to change it. I’m happy with the quilt as it is, and these things happen. At least the quilt top is finished, and is flat and square.

Desert Bloom Quilting named her quilt top ‘Secret Garden.’ I think I’m going to name mine Secret Spice Garden, as a nod to her design and to my color choices.

Traveling Bee-utiful – August

4 09 2015

For the month of August, a top-in-progress that I’d already worked on cycled back to me. When I last saw it, this is what I had, a collection of individual blocks:

Traveling Bee-utiful - February Round

This time, there were more individual blocks:

Traveling Bee-utiful - August

My challenge this month was to start pulling a modern sampler together out of the individual blocks.

I stared at the blocks for a while, feeling like there was something missing. I referred back to the inspiration quilt, which is the Moda Building Blocks Sampler. I realized that what I felt that another, large-ish block needed to be in the quilt top.

So, I made an 18″ Windmill block:

August - Windmill

I went with this block because I felt it was visually distinct from the several variations of star blocks already present in the blocks. In the end, this was my only new addition.

I then began putzing around with the blocks, looking to start forming the actual top, to get the blocks into a sampler. I ended up with three distinct sections, as pictured below, along with a handful of additional blocks.

Something Like Progress

I left the top-in-progress as it was, and sent it to the next person to work on it. I figure this way, there’s some structure, but there’s also room to add more.


2015 Finish-Along – Q3 Goals

11 07 2015

It’s time to plan out what I’d like to accomplish for the third quarter of the year. At least for the 2015 Finish-Along. I’d like to finish quite a few of my projects, but I’ve still got to figure out what I can handle with my new schedule.

That said, some of these things just shouldn’t wait anymore:

Charmed, I'm Sure

My backing is pieced, the top is done. I have batting. I just need to use the tables at work to pin baste it, because there is no way that I’m going through that ordeal on the floor. Nope. No. Nothin’ doin’. Of course, that means I need time at work, when I’m not working…

Seven More Blocks

As the time of taking this photo, I only needed seven more blocks to complete the top. I know I’m now down to less than that. In fact, I think I’ve pieced too many of one star color way. Oh, well. Such is life. The extras can go into the backing.

Regardless, I think I can get this to a completed quilt in the next three months. Right?

Botanical BOM 2012 Top

Garden Party’s Quadrille makes a reappearance. The challenge here is that I really would love to do some outstanding quilting on this one. I want to emphasize the shapes presented by the setting of the blocks. I do have the backing fabric purchased, though I’ll need to add to it. Wide backs aren’t wide enough for this quilt.

Sunsets and White Beaches

Sunsets and White Beaches makes yet another appearance on this list. *sighs* I am SO sick of putting this one on my list. For my own sanity, I need to get it off my list. By finishing it, of course. Sometimes, though, the hand-quilting makes me want to set fire to the thing. I’ve been working on it again, so that’s something. But, UGH, hand-quilting.

So, those are my goals for this next quarter. I’m probably reaching for too much again, but I want more quilts in my house!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

2015 Finish-Along Q2 Round Up

3 07 2015

The second quarter of the year, and the 2015 Finish-Along, proved to be a bit of a bust for me. For those of you that haven’t followed along, the 2015 Finish-Along is a year-long, linky party, where each participant works to complete as many projects as possible.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Technically, I finished two projects, but am not allowed to blog about one of them. Thus, for the purposes of the 2015 Finish-Along, I only finished one:

High Tea Quilt Front

I’d had plans to finish two more projects that have been waiting a while, but I’m now working six days a week. I’m still figuring out how to balance having a life, sewing, and managing a household. I *could* work two eleven hour shifts per week, to get back to only working five days a week. Honestly, though, I’m not sure that I want to.

Especially since I’m sure that my hours will only increase more as we move toward the holiday season. Seriously, I have to think about this. I work in retail. I have to be holiday ready in four months, and will be constantly flexing my store to accommodate my stock levels as merchandise moves.

Anyway, enough about the holidays. Back to quilting…

I can’t wait to share the other project I finished. I can tell you it’s a baby quilt, and that I’m going to be sending it to a friend in Minnesota who just had her first baby. I attempted free-motion quilting on my new machine. I’m… okay with the efforts, but want to improve my technique. I’m not sure it’s possible, as I have this huge mental disconnect with FMQ. I have, however, purchased two Craftsy courses on FMQ, to try to leap over this hump.

In addition to these two quilts, I’ve kept up with my Traveling Bee-utiful obligations. Last month’s farm quilt was fun, but I’ve been looking forward to this month’s arrival for a while. It still hasn’t shown up, and, with the 4th of July, now will not arrive until early next week at the earliest. I’m still excited. I can’t wait to work on this one. It’s not in my usual colors, so it’ll push me out of my comfort zone a little.

Photos when I get it, I promise.

Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Bee – June

30 06 2015

June was a fun month for the Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Bee. I received 16muddyfeet‘s top-in-progress. She requested a farm theme to her quilt. 16muddyfeet said she wasn’t afraid of color, and encouraged us to be free with our additions. I needed no further encouragement.

I immediately knew I wanted to add more animals – it was just a matter of what animals to add. I ended up buying several patterns from an independent designer, BubbleStitch, on Etsy. I highly recommend the patterns available through this shop. I’ve made three of them now, after having purchased quite a few. I think I own nine of the patterns available through BubbleStitch.

The quilt top arrived to me at an odd-size: 52.75″ X 53.75″ or so. I ended up narrowing my animals (from the patterns I’d purchased), to the Piglet, Chick, and Rabbit. I elected to re-draw the patterns in EQ7, in order to get them as large as I’d need (about 15″ each).

From there, it was a matter of piecing, which I ended up not wanting to do. Not because I didn’t want to contribute, but because it’s so flaming hot in my apartment right now! Our AC is not working optimally, and we have terrible air flow. Every time I sat down to sew, I started sweating like crazy.

Piglet Block

Chick Block

Bunny Block

From there, it was a matter of adding the blocks to the top-in-progress. I’d known I needed to sash it, and already had the idea that I wanted a black and white print to space them out. It didn’t take much auditioning – I needed something simpler and more stark than the blocks to make it work.

Since the quilt measured such an odd size, I made the sashing between the blocks finish at 2″ wide. The sashing at each end of the quilt was cut wider, so that I could simply trim it down once I’d sewn my blocks to the greater whole.

Farm Quilt Top

The entire quilt top-in-progress was almost too large for my design wall, so I had to take a photo at an awkward angle. I tried to take a better picture, on the floor at work:

Farm Quilt IIOverall, I’m very happy with my additions, though I feel like they might be too heavy right now. We’ll see how I feel as others add to the top. After all, we’ve another six or so months to go!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 138 other followers