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.





Finally Catching Up

20 02 2014

I promised this post a  bit ago, but then everyone in my house started falling ill. I’m sick for the second time in two weeks, but I don’t want to miss more work, because I have so much to do!

Sewing has been slow, mostly because sitting up without being feverish or dizzy has been a challenge 😛

I did manage a few things last month, though…

I made up a mini-quilt, for Doll Quilt Swap 14:

Sweet Little Dream House
Paper-pieced, obviously. Those log cabin blocks finish at 2″ each, and the house was a 6″ block. My partner was amber_crawley, and I sent along a bunch of charm squares from my scraps stash. I didn’t think to photograph that.

I tried some new things with this mini-quilt: double layer of batting for some loft, and free motion quilting on my home machine. I used the Fabulous Fabric Glide (mentioned in my last post), and it made a huge difference! I’m excited to try FMQ with the Fabulous Fabric Glide and my new SewSlip.

I even remembered to piece in a label:

DQS14 Back
You can see how shaky the FMQ is from the backside, but I’m still pleased that it worked as well as it did.

I also managed to finished something that had been languishing a couple of months:

Plastic Bag Dispenser
Yeah, it’s a quilted plastic bag dispenser. I got really tired of the bag of bags we had, and how nasty it looked hanging in our hall, so I whipped up what was essentially a mini-quilt from my three-inch square scraps, added some fabric I hated to make the elasticized ends and handle, threw on a button, and was done. It could have been one of those ‘done in a day’ things, but I stopped before I put the handle and button on.

It sat for three months, just waiting for that handle and button.

Yes, I do know how sad that is.

Since I was sort of on a roll with finishing things, I decided that I’m not starting anything new until I wrap up all the WIPs I have all around my sewing area. The quilt tops count, too. I will probably spend the next year doing nothing but revisiting projects, but that’s all right.

As part of my new found resolution, I got out the paper-piecing foundations for Swirling Sea of Stars, and started working on blocks. I only actually finished one, but that’s okay. I’ve at least six in progress. They’re not really that slow to come together. I’m just trying to vary the prints used in each star.

Scrappy Star 20
So, one down, and I don’t know how many more to go. I’m going until it’s the ‘right’ size, whatever that is, or I run out of scraps. I’m thinking that it’ll get to the right size first.





Fun Little Finish

7 06 2013

There are days when I just amaze myself with the ways I can find to procrastinate and avoid finishing something – and not for lack of desire for a finish.

My problem is that I suffer from crafty ADD. There’s always a newer, shinier project on the horizon. I can easily abandon something nearly completed to chase the vision of that new project…

I finally went back to one of those older, languishing projects – I first mentioned it here on October 12, 2012. So, yes, it’s been sitting, nearly finished for at least six months. So closed to finished, in fact, that it only took five hours of hand-quilting this week to complete.

I don’t even have a proper title for it – I’m calling it Modern Mini for now:

Modern Mini

Modern Mini Back

The quilt measures 27.5″ X 37″, and is made entirely from scraps and stash, with the exception of the Presencia thread purchased for the hand-quilting. I did a combination of machine and hand-quilting on this project. All the machine quilting was in the ditch. Obviously, I went with a scrappy binding – though I only used fabrics that were represented in the scrappy squares in the top. I love the backing fabric – it’s a favorite print from Joann’s. I love those large polka dots!

Hand-quilting was accomplished after the machine quilting was done, and after I’d already affixed the binding. By doing it this way, I was able to hand-quilt in the car to and from work, without wrestling with a hoop. Overall, quite pleased, and this would have been a project that could have been turned around in a couple of weekends, had I stuck with it.

Linking up to crazy mom quilts Finish It Up Friday.

Also linking up to i have to say…’s Show and Tell Tuesday.





Frankenstein – Done Stitching

24 05 2013

On Monday evening, I put the last hand-stitches into Frankenstein’s binding! I cannot tell you how psyched I am to finally have a finish in this year. So much of my time has been spent on starts and things in progress – and I know that this is the natural progression of things, in order to get to the finish – but sometimes one just needs to complete something.

Of note – I’m ridiculously pleased with my binding on this baby. It’s nicely full, uses a striped fabric effectively, and in three of the four corners, the mitering is kick-ass. The fourth one just wasn’t happening unless I backtracked and ripped out my stitches and redid about four hours of work. I decided that one slightly less than perfect corner was an acceptable trade-off for retaining that four hours for something else.

Frankenstein CompleteFrankenstein

55″ X 55″ – 1.5 yards of solid fabrics, 1 to 1.5 yards of scraps in top

Frankenstein Backing
Approximately 2 yards in backing, and 1/4 yard of binding

I went with minimalist quilting on this, choosing to use my walking foot to stitch along the seams. I wanted it to be softer and more snuggly than my usual quilt jobs. As I quilted this one up, I noticed that Bessie isn’t operating optimally with the table – I think I’m moving too fast, and defying the speed at which the walking foot moves. On the other hand, Bessie was NOT happy with trying FMQ – I think I need to reduce drag a bit more yet, and get a Supreme Slider. If Bessie still doesn’t handle FMQ well, I may have to retire her and switch to use my Janome for piecing and quilting.

Now that I’ve had a few years with Bessie, I’m seeing that she was definitely built for garment making, and I wish I’d made a different choice when picking a new machine. However, I don’t have a ton of extra money to drop on a new machine, so I’ll make her work if she can. If she can’t, I at least have an option to try. In the end, honestly, I think that my Janome will be the machine that I use from now on, once I’ve made the adjustment to that machine. I’m reluctant, because I hate the bobbin feed mechanism. It’s side loading, not drop in, and URGH.

But I digress…. My hope is that Frankenstein will be a gift for friends expecting their first little one – if the little one is a boy. If not then, Zebediah is enthralled by it, having already claimed it to sleep under Thursday evening. If the little one proves to be a girl, well then, I’ve an excuse to make another quilt.