3xS Top Completed

7 12 2014

Once again, I sewed until late on Friday night, hoping to finish a top in time to take advantage of the early morning light. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite meet my goal, but I did get up early yesterday to finish the top, called 3xS (Scraps, Stars and Squares).

3xS (Scraps, Stars & Squares) Full Top

I don’t think the picture does the quilt top justice. I took the photo in the middle of the day, and though the winter light seemed weak, it was enough to bleach out some of the colors.

Since I have so many scraps precut now, I’ve already designed another top to take use up some of the scraps and some of the solids that I have sitting around:

Scrappy Project II

Getting to the starching, ironing and cutting of the fabrics is going to be a bit longer, though I still predict that I’ll have this top done by the end of the year. Another, more urgent project is taking priority…

I’m rearranging my sewing space once more. We’re still trapped in our two bedroom apartment, and will be for another year while I recover our savings and get us to where we want to be – having another adult in the house over the summer hit us more than I like financially.

Due to being here longer than I planned, I’ve determined to set my quilting frame back up. It’s a Little Gracie II, and will handle up to a queen sized top. Not as big as my largest projects, but enough to allow me to finish at least half of the tops that I have sitting.

If I plan well, I might even be able to do king-sized projects. I just need to do them in segments, and then join the segments. I’ll figure that out later, after I’ve had a chance to play with the setup, and get my confidence up. I’d try to master FMQ on my domestic machine, but the Brother PC210 just doesn’t handle FMQ well and I spent the money on the frame and the Janome that came with it. I ought to be getting my money’s worth out of them.

So, starting yesterday, I began moving my stuff from the former dining room, and into the living room. Most everything is moved, I just need to figure out a bit of storage space. Right now I’m using an all metal filing cabinet for my fabric. The fabric might have to move back to a bookshelf. Not a big deal, except for figuring out how the hell I’m getting the cabinet OUT of the apartment.

Anyway, back to the trenches! This project isn’t getting done while I’m blogging!





Progress!

17 11 2014

Night Sky Quilt Top

I finished putting the Night Sky quilt top together on Friday evening. By then, due to our shorter days, there was no light to take photos. I had some time before leaving for work today, so I quickly threw the quilt down onto the snow and ran back upstairs to take a photo over the balcony.

My neighbors must think I’m insane.

Granny Square Swap Top Start

In other news, I did manage some progress on the Granny Block top, using the swap blocks I’d received. I still have a lot more blocks to make, but I didn’t feel like digging through my stash last night for aquas, greens and greys. Instead, I dug out of my scrap bucket.

Because the blocks didn’t all trim down to the same size, I’m using the setting triangles to equalize them. The blocks are finishing at 12.5″.

I’m using greys and creams from the scrap bucket, or smaller yardage stash to do the setting – I don’t want to cut into larger pieces for this project until I’ve exhausted my supply of smaller pieces of fabric.

This is also the reason I haven’t yet pieced all of the blocks I need to make up the difference between what I have and what I need. I want to go through the scrap bucket first.

I have a lot of scraps, though.

Because I’ve been lazy, and not cutting them down immediately. Usually, I cut my scraps into 5″, 3″, and 2.5″ squares, and then into strips for quick strip-piecing.

I haven’t done that in a while, so I have a bucket full of pieces that need to be ironed and then cut down, and not just in the required colors. I’m going to buckle down over this evening and next, and focus on that.

And not just for this project. I like to have a scrap project or two going, to use up what I’m generating in scraps.

Yes, that means I started another project.

Another Scrappy Project

I’ve had this EQ7 project for ages, intended to use up the 5″ and 2.5″ squares that I have pre-cut. Since I’m going through my scraps anyway, and starching this batch of scraps (such a difference in how nicely it all cuts down!), I decided I ought to use up some of the solids yardage I have hanging around from deciding to NOT do a Dear Jane.

I bought 20 yards of an ecru colored solid, which I don’t regret. The fabric is a neutral color. I can use it in everything! I just need to use it.

Another Scrap Project

So, it’s become the background solid for blocks like this. Pictured above are actually two halves – I’m attempting to ensure that a fabric is not repeated in the same block. I’m also not letting myself fret too much over the inclusion of creams, and how they kind of disappear into the background fabric. It’s a scrap quilt!

I need to starch and iron a lot more yardage of this solid fabric, so I can start on the alternate blocks, which should use up a lot of what I have sitting around in scraps.





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.





The Sum of Its Parts…

28 06 2014

Almost 1600 HSTs pieced and ironed later (though trimming is now taking place on an as needed basis), I’ve started piecing Winged Square Blocks. Despite the number of sub-units and the need to be careful of how I press my seams, these go pretty quickly. I’m estimating about twenty minutes per block.

Winged Square 01

Winged Square II

Winged Square 06

Winged Square 05

Winged Square 04

Winged Square 03

Six blocks in, and I’m feeling very good about how this is turning out so far. Too keep myself on track, I’m working from the center out, and taking breaks to flirt with the different color combinations.

WS Top in Progress 01

This morning, I said down and put the center together. I’m eager to keep building on this, and to get started on the scrap zigzag.





Holy HSTs, Batman!

14 06 2014

HST Attack 01

Today was Stitch ‘N’ Bitch. Unfortunately I didn’t do much sewing at all. My rotary cutter and cutting mat were my friends today. And no, what you see above is not today’s work. It would be awesome if that was today’s work, but no, I’m not that skilled and awesome.

What you see above are the 600 HSTs I chain pieced, cut, ironed and trimmed over the last week.

Today, I spent Stitch ‘N’ Bitch doing this:

Box of Work

That’s approximately 800 HSTs that now need to be ironed and then trimmed to 2.5″, for a 2″ finished subunit. I say approximately, because I’m still debating trying to find six more aqua fabrics or just making up the rest of the needed HSTs from the aquas I already have on hand. It’s much easier to use what I have, and I know I’ve got the extra strips cut.

I think I’m going to spend the rest of today on these remain HSTs. I might even get ambitious and cut and piece the rest of the HSTs  and 2.5″ squares for the scrap zigzag quilt top. Tomorrow can be spent piecing then.

Should be a lot more fun than trimming 😉





Finally, a Finish

23 05 2014

My first completed quilt for this year… I really need to get my tush in gear.

Patchwork Star - Finished

Done almost completely from items in my stash, with the exception of the batting. It was super satisfying to do, though ultimately, I’m not sure this will end up being given as a gift.

All told, I came close to using five yards of yardage between four different fabrics (one background, two in the backing, and one in the binding). This was incredibly satisfying, because it’s so easy to keep adding to the stash, regardless of how much I actually use.

I love that this is a pretty quilt, without being drenched in pastels. It finished up at about 50″ X 50″ inches, almost a lap-sized quilt. This one is so easy to put together – I’d probably make it  again in the future because it came together so quickly.

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





Quilted Goodness

18 05 2014

I woke up this morning, and I was raring to go. The alarm went off at 7:00 AM. By 7:30, I was sitting at the sewing machine, pedal to the floor.

It took five hours of straight line stitching, but by 2:00 PM, I had a completely quilted top:

Patchwork Star - Quilted

I used my walking foot, marching the edge of the foot along the seams. The thread is a lovely 100% cotton, variegated thread that runs from dark red to pastel pink. I thought it was a good addition to this quilt. I really like the contrast of the straight line quilting against the soft edges of the large scale print.

Patchwork Star - Quilting Back

I really love the way the quilting looks on the backside of the quilt. I do find myself wishing I’d had more of the cream and pink print to use for the backing, as the quilting is so striking against it. Ah, well, I used up three pieces of yardage that I had absolutely no plan for. I’ll take that as a win.

All that’s left to do is to make the binding and add it. I grabbed a stack of red prints – for some reason I’m certain it has to be a red binding – and draped them against the top:

Testing Binding Fabrics

I think the middle print of the five is my winner for the binding. If I’m lucky, making the binding will use up all I have of that print. Then, I’ll have used up four prints, and a bunch of scraps. So far, I’ve used four and a half yards, not including the scraps.

But, for now, I’m off to go see Godzilla. When I get back tonight, I’ll have make up the binding, and then I can finish this quilt up while going to and from work the next couple of days.





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.





Sampler Shenanigans and Other Sewing

20 04 2014

Piracy Warninghttp://greycatquilts.com

In a bout of ‘darn it, I want to do this!’, I finally broke down and bought twenty yards of gray solid fabric from Connecting Threads.

Yes, you read that right. TWENTY YARDS.

It arrived on Thursday, and I managed to ignore it for most of the evening after work. I couldn’t take it, though, and at about 11:00 PM, I decided that I would sew instead of sleep. Three hours later, I had two complete Dear Jane blocks.

A-1 Pinwheel Gone Awry

A-2 One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

They’re not perfect, but pretty good for 5″ finished blocks. Regardless, I’m thrilled with the way the orange and purple glow off the grey.

Continuing the mood to be making something other than scrap blocks, I then decided that I wanted to make another sampler. So, I started going through my quilting books, pretty sure I’d purchased a Jennifer Chiaverini sampler book at some point. I had, but as I was looking through it, I was distinctly not thrilled with it. (I keep looking at the Gypsy Wife Sampler by Jennifer Kingwell, though.)

So, I decided to just make 6″ blocks until I’m happy with the number, and then figure out a setting when I get there. I have enough quilt block reference books that choosing blocks shouldn’t be a problem. I started with Jinny Beyer’s The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns and made the following three blocks through Saturday. I’m just picking fabrics from my stash. The only consistency that I want is that each block have a grey or black neutral fabric in it.

Sampler Shenanigans 01 - Arrowhead Puzzle

Sampler Shenanigans 02 - Cheyenne

Sampler Shenanigans 03 - Windmill

I also completed another 12″ X 18″ scrappy panel, for a future place mat. These go quickly when they’re my leader/ender sewing.

Placemat 02

My big project for Saturday was the reorganization of my sewing area. I’d added a wireless printer to my setup with the new year, and due to the way my cutting/iron/stuff table was situated, I lost half the table to wasted space. The ‘stuff’ was also taking over.

So, I got tired of it, and when I woke up on Saturday morning, I started reorganizing my space. It took a good part of the day, especially when it came time to put all of my fabric back in the cabinet it had come out of (there was no way I was moving the cabinet while it was full – fabric’s HEAVY!)

Sewing Space Redone

When all was said and done, my sewing space feels a lot more open, and is a lot more useful. I can just swivel on my stool to access cutting station, ironing station and sewing machine. My printer is in arm’s reach, but isn’t wasting space. I added a thread rack to the wall, on which I’m only storing my Connecting Threads spools. I don’t use anything else for piecing, and it’s rare that I use something else for quilting. The bottom row of the spool rack is reserved for bobbins at the moment, though I might add a smaller rack for that purpose.

Regardless, I’m very pleased with my progress for the weekend. I plan to do more sewing today, though. It feels good to just being sewing.