WIP Wednesday – Sewing for Sanity

9 07 2014

It’s shortly after 1:00 AM – I was awakened by a call from my father’s night nurse in the ICU. It is suspected that he is experiencing a bleed unrelated to his surgery yesterday – since being admitted, his blood pressure has been low, and not responding to medication. Tonight, they are doing an emergency CT scan of his abdomen to try to determine where the bleed is occurring.

I have suspected an ulcer – hopefully after tonight, we’ll have an answer.

In the meantime, to distract myself and hopefully quiet my mind enough that I can return to sleep, I will share what I’ve been working on this week. As mentioned in my earlier post of what feels like today yet, but is actually Tuesday… I’ve been sewing myself into a sense of peace, to keep myself from fretting myself into a state over the events of the last couple of weeks, since I had to have my father taken to an emergency room in Milwaukee.

Winged Square - Top in Progress

I completed the twelve pink and green blocks necessary for the Winged Square quilt top. My piles of HSTs are dwindling, slowly. Next up, pink and aqua blocks for the next ring. I haven’t been able to bring myself to start these. Yesterday, there proved to be too much repetition and stringent adherence to pattern for my tired, tired brain.

Completed Top - From an Unquiet Mind I

The need for a change in fabric scenery resulted in pulling out the scraps of solids leftover from my Farmer’s Wife Sampler setting. I made a huge error back when I was cutting the pieces for the setting, and couldn’t bring myself to throw away the too-small pieces.

This proved fortuitous – I was able to open the plastic shoe box of scraps and just start sewing. Over the course of an evening, I had most of a crib-sized quilt top done. Today, I added 5″ (finished) borders. I’ve settled on the fabric that I would like to use for the backing. I just need to determine how to quilt this. I’m still thinking of zigzags – I want the quilting to reflect the often jagged nature of my thoughts over the last few weeks.

Likely, this will be one of the few quilts I seek to sell or otherwise move out of my home. I am not sure that I want to retain these particular quilted memories.

Tomorrow, I will either baste and start quilting this particular top, or I will start another, using the same pool of scraps. I have plenty left, and plenty of reason to seek escapism in stitches. I suspect that the next quilt top to come out of these will be far less structured.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.


Patchwork Star Top

17 05 2014

I didn’t get to show many in progress shots of this top… there wasn’t much to it, though there was a sneak peek in last post. Inspired by Charmed, I’m Sure, which was worked up from the Sarah Fielke Made in Cherry pattern:

Charmed, I'm Sure

I decided to do a smaller patchwork star top. Instead of charm squares, I used 3″ squares from my pre-cut scraps. Squares in yellows, oranges, pinks, reds, and purples were added to the pile. After some  debate on what to use, I pulled a large scale Tracy Porter print:

Porter Print

I’ve had a soft spot for this fabric (and its coordinating prints) since I picked them up at Joann’s on a clearance sale. They’ve a lovely hand to them, almost a flannel finish. Beautiful stuff, and ideal for a baby quilt.

Patchwork Star Baby Quilt

It took a few evenings’ worth of piecing and ironing to get this together. Mostly in ironing, really. This pattern benefits wonderfully from nesting your seams. Honestly, it’s so simple, it really doesn’t need a pattern, just some basic math.

The photo doesn’t really do this quilt top justice… It was bright out when I took this photo, so it’s hard to tell just how beautifully the mix of scrap squares glows against the background fabric.

I’m picking up batting today for this – I only have large batts on hand, and I don’t want to cut into a package already earmarked for a larger project. My plan is to have this quilted this weekend, and then I’ll start quilting on something else. I have too many tops sitting around here.

Burning the Candle…

20 11 2013

I stayed up last night, way too late…

I finished those Swoon blocks on Monday, and nothing would do until I finished the top! So, I stayed up until about 2:30 AM last night, and sewed, and sewed, and sewed.

Swoon Top
I’m calling this quilt ‘Embers’, when it’s done.

As you know, I reduced these blocks to 16″ finished. I then used 3″ sashing between them, bringing the finished size of the top to 79″ X 79″. Each fabric in pink, orange and yellow are unique. I don’t need to buy any of these three colors for a very, very long time. My background and sashing are done in Kona Charcoal.

I’m pondering quilting already, but I’m definitely planning on doing part of it in a fuschia-colored thread, because of the way it just glows against that deep gray.

I’m tickled by how different this top is from Sunsets and White Beaches. Even though they use the same colors (pink, yellow, and orange), and even a good number of the same fabrics – they’re such strong contrasts!

Sunsets and White Beaches
It’s about time I get to quilting, instead of piecing, don’t you think?

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

And Then There was One…

10 05 2013

ONE quilt top!

I finished the last three blocks for Frankenstein on Wednesday evening. My intention was to actually get the top put together Thursday morning… I didn’t bother getting out of bed early enough, because it was so comfy!

The Last Three

1. Frankenstein Block 38, 2. Frankenstein Block 39, 3. Frankenstein Block 40

Thursday evening, I hit the sewing machine running! After a couple hours, I had a completed top, and had even done up the backing!

Frankenstein - The Patchwork Monster

Pardon the slightly terrible, late night photo. I plan on taking a better picture once I have Frankenstein quilted up.

I’m super happy with this project at the moment. Everything is from scraps or stash, right down to the batting. I’m using batting leftover from other projects rather than buy new batting for this. There are 1.5″ yards of solids in the top. About 2.5 yards of fabric went into the backing, which even uses some fabrics I wasn’t sure how I’d use (that’s what I get for impulse buying rocket fabric).

The only piece still waiting is a decision on what to use for the binding – I’m thinking that it will be a scrappy binding, to fit with the origins of this project.

Charmed, I’m Sure

25 03 2013

Almost a year ago, I stumbled across the pins and bobbins Made in Cherry Quilt-Along, and decided that the project was a great way to use the charms I was receiving from a swap. It was also a great way to stay motivated in managing my scraps.

Made in Cherry

Being who I am, I of course had to draw the design up in EQ7.

The original pattern by Sarah Fielke didn’t include any borders, but I liked the look with borders.

If you look closely at the illustration to the left, you can actually tell that I did my quilt-y math wrong. The black, inner border isn’t wide enough. It needs to be twice as wide.

But no matter. I realized my mistake well before I actually added the border. I actually finished the center of the top months ago, in June 0f 2012. I also recognized some issues that had taken place in the cutting, causing some major waving in the big triangles.

I then folded it away, to await my participation in a second charm swap, to get enough for the border. Unfortunately, real life conspired against me, and I wasn’t able to join in.

So, the top sat, unfinished. For quite a while.

Until I decided that I had gotten through enough of my scraps to do the border. Ha! I ended up needing to cut 51 charms my stash, which I accomplished yesterday. This was after spending a day picking apart the major seams of the top, to fix the wavering issues.

Very late last night (or very early this morning, depending on your definition), at around 1:30 AM, I finished adding the second border. It was entirely too big to photograph in my apartment, so I took it to work, thinking I could have a couple of students hold it over a railing. That didn’t happen, since I spent work working on a report and catching up on tasks. Plus, I have a sinus cold going on, and staying away from Kleenex for too long was not an option.

So, once I got home, I took advantage of my balcony once again, and caught a photo.

I present to you, Charmed, I’m Sure:

Charmed, I'm Sure

Overall, I’m pretty happy. I was very worried, as I pieced the final border, that I would have too much pink, yellow and green in it. I have very little blue in my stash, and by the time I got toward the end, my charms were definitely leaning toward the warmer side of things.

Cool beans for me – the inner border used up the remainder of a fabric in my stash. The backing and the binding will also come from my stash. Happiness.

Early Morning Photos

2 03 2013

Completed Farmer's Wife Top

I woke up this morning and just needed to photograph the Farmer’s Wife Sampler top, henceforth known as Technicolor Fields – now that it is a top, hehe. I grabbed shoes, coat, top, and camera, then headed into the frigid morning to document the awesome. Thankfully, I have no neighbors in this building that have dogs – no unfriendly surprises in the snow in front of my building!

It’s freaking cold at 6:00 AM in Wisconsin in winter, never mind that we’re supposedly heading into spring this month.

I took the above photo, and a couple more, trying to find higher ground, to no avail. I’m only 5’4″, and the snow piles weren’t giving me much height.

Then I remembered that we have access to the balcony that overlooks the front lawn! I dashed upstairs, opened the door to the closet leading to the balcony, and about gave up. I forgot that hubby has been using it for storage.

Still, I was determined. With some strategic shuffling, and some sucking in of the gut, I achieved my goal and was above Technicolor Fields!

Behold! In all its glory:

A View From Above

*happy shuffle* *happy shuffle*

It’s done! It’s done!

Now I’m going to start the Dear Jane Sampler again.

A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Lime & Cherry Baskets

13 01 2013

I totally understand if someone wants to tell me to STFU by now… I’m on an unprecedented roll of productivity that has held out for nearly two weeks. My energy levels are still high and I’m still feeling good.

As part of this roll, I dug out the basket blocks top from the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch BOM from 2010.

It’s been a while since I looked at it. Urgh. Okay, longer than a little while. I last touched this top on 12/07/2010.

I’m a lot ashamed.

Somehow, I thought it was a lot bigger than it actually is. I’d estimate it to measure about 64″ X 64″. In my mind, it was somehow at least 80″ X 80″. At its actual size, it’ll make a nice lap quilt, though I think I’d prefer it to become a wall hanging, with all the white in it.

Basket BOM

I’m still happy with it, though I wish I’d taken a little more care in piecing here and there. No matter – I’d rather just get it done. Picking it apart to fix mistakes that are at least a year old just isn’t happening.

Basket BOM Backing

I pieced the backing this afternoon, using some yardage that I’d purchased specifically for this top. Realizing that I’d have to splice some yardage together, I decided to throw in the remaining half yard of a green print that was leftover from this top and my double wedding ring cutting. I wanted to avoid a seam right down the middle of the backing.

I have to figure out how to quilt it yet… I spent some time today debating designs. Nothing has made me want to commit yet, though I know that I need to do a lot of outline stitching. I’ll get that much started, at least, and decide on more decorative designs this week.

Grabbing 2013 by the Horns

1 01 2013

So, as is my wont, I disappeared for while. My oh-so-fickle sewing mojo took an extended holiday, and decided to return only this past Sunday evening… I’ve been stymied not only creatively, but by supplies, particularly on those projects that I wanted to finish.

For instance, the Botanical BOM, which I left off on 11/4/2012, having finished off the fourth and final tree block. I tried twice, to finish the thing, but discovered that I had misplaced or used the ‘extra’ yardage for the white on white print that is used in the majority of this particular project. Sunday, in a serendipitous trip to Joann’s, I found that they had that print back in stock.

Needless to say, I bought three yards.

This spurred a yen – nay, a need to be productive. By the time we wrapped our annual Nilbog New Year’s Get Together – yes, we watch Troll 2, eat green food, and drink alcohol – I had gotten this far:

Getting There...

Well, obviously, I couldn’t leave it half done, could I? Especially with having today off? Of course not!

In a marathon of sewing this afternoon, during which I stabbed myself with pins five freaking times, I got the top done:

OMGYes, that is my living room floor…

I had to stand on the couch to get this shot, and as you can see from the upper left corner, I couldn’t even spread it out all the way.

But, hot damn, it’s done! At least this stage of it.

Now I just have to figure out how to quilt 110″ X 110″ inches of fabric.

This Christmas Eve…

24 12 2011

I can’t believe that tomorrow is Christmas, and that we are just a week away from a New Year. Happy Holidays, everyone, and thank you for sticking around while I figure out sewing around my schedule.

So, anyway, today is Christmas Eve. Guess what I was doing?

Cheating on the Farmer's Wife

That’s right 😉 I finished a quilt top!

Actually, I finished this last week Saturday, along with the binding. I even got a portion of the backing done. It was an AWESOME sewing day.

The Backing

Everything in this quilt is from my stash – I’m starting to see a desperate need to start stockpiling again. My Double Wedding Ring top denuded my stash of oranges and lime green. This Bento Box quilt top has eliminated most of my aquas and purples.

Backing, View 2

I used some of my absolutely favorite fabric in the backing – Alexander Henry’s “flora de los muertos” from 2004. (Yeah, I’ve stashed fabric for seven years. Haven’t you??) I don’t know if you can tell from this photo, but there are skulls interspersed through the fabric.

I bought almost a full bolt of this stuff. I wanted to quilt with it, and my husband wanted a Hawaiian shirt made of it… I can tell you which one actually happened 😉

So, anyway, the stats on this quilt.. the top measures 64″ X 64″, with sixteen 16″ finished blocks. I couldn’t tell you how many different fabrics are actually in this thing. I just cut until I thought I had enough strips. I spent two and a half hours this morning pinning the hell out the quilt sandwich. My goal is to be done quilting this by Monday evening, and, yes, I do have a plan for quilting it.

I’m determined to have a finish this year!