WIP Wednesday – Planned Scrappy Fun

11 06 2014

I have a lot of WIPs to get back to, but rather than finish any of them, I decided to start not just one new project, but TWO.

Yup, logic.

Winged Square II

I’ve been slightly obsessed with making this particular top since making a couple of blocks for a swap last year (see this and this). Staring at the fabrics I have in my stash, I decided it was time. I have plenty of each of these four colors. So, I ordered a bunch of Kona white, and I’m in the process of trimming way too many HSTs. I’ve got the total number of HSTs worked out somewhere. Suffice to say, it’s over 1500 HSTs.

Funny thing, I’d planned to cut enough strips to get 24 HSTs of each fabric I’m using… I ended up cutting enough for 48 of everything, though I need a few more aqua prints to keep it to 24 of each fabric. Rather than just throw the other strips into my scrap bins, I decided I ought to do something with them.

Then I saw this posted to Flickr:

Scrappy 2

My brain latched onto the image in the lower right hand corner and I drew up the following:

Scrap Zigzag

It’s pretty simple, but the idea is to use up a bunch of the neutral and low volume fabrics that I’ve collected and have no destination for. It’s time to use them up and get them out of stash!

So I’ve cut a lot of 3″ X width of fabric strips (for both designs), and some 2.5″ squares (for the zigzag design). I have pieced about half of the HSTs I need for the winged square design, though now I’m trimming them. Yay. Actually, I don’t really mind trimming. It’s something fairly mindless that can go quickly as long as I’m doing something like watching a show or listening to an audio book (damn you, Audible, for addicting me!)

You’ll notice that I tend to design my quilts in solids, or in tone on one. This is because I love to work in a planned scrappy format, and I’m just looking to get an idea of how to arrange the fabrics. I’ll let the fabrics in my stash tell the color story on their own, and I’m too damned lazy to scan my fabrics in, edit them to an EQ7 friendly format, and then import them. On top of that, I tend to buy tone on tone fabrics, or blenders, anyway. I’d much rather have a lot of staples to choose from, then a bunch of focus fabrics that I wouldn’t know what to do with.

Anyway, to give you an idea of what I’m working with:

Strips 01

Strips 02

As I said, I need more aquas… between six and eight. I could just double up on the number of strips. We’ll see if I end up going that route. I’m the type who will always lean toward more variety. I still need to photograph my yellow and pinks. Maybe this evening, assuming I get all of my green and aqua HSTs trimmed.

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Chasing a Wild Hare…

8 05 2014

…and catching it!

Since redoing my sewing space, so that it was more friendly to work in:

Sewing Space Redone

I’ve been really happy with my work space. Other than a few quibbles over where stuff was (mostly due to my needing to find new homes for STUFF, or actually putting away said STUFF), it’s been a good space to make in.

However, I’ve been feeling the need for a design wall. At first I thought, ‘Okay, I can put my Fons and Porter design wall back up’. Unfortunately, I was never really happy with that particular item, because it’s essentially a drape. Having the grid on it never meant much to me, so that was a ‘feature’ I could easily do without.

I remembered reading about other quilters making design walls using insulation boards, batting and Command Strips. Since I’d left work early, I decided that there was nothing stopping me from making up a design wall, except maybe cost. So, I took hubby and kiddo out to Menards yesterday, and discovered that I could pick up a pack of six insulation boards for $6.99. Adding in the spray adhesive, duct tape, and Command Strips, covering my wall was about a $25.00 project. (I didn’t count the cost of the batting, since I had some on hand from an old project. Really terrible stuff, too, that I didn’t want to use in a quilt if I could help it.)

Afternoon Project - Design Wall

I had to Frankenstein some batting pieces together to have wide enough strips for all four boards – hence the dark lines you can see in the two panels on the left… I didn’t bother to change out from grey thread in the sewing machine. I just was not about to open a new package of batting for this. And those lines? Not going to bother me when I have blocks up.

As for the blocks already up on the wall… A start on the baby quilt I mentioned needing to make it’s going to be a girl, and the mother has definite ideas of what ‘femininity’ entails. I’m not a girly-girl, so I can’t just make something all out of pastel pinks. So, I’m taking yellow, pink, purple, and red scrap squares and making a quick patchwork. I’m using 3″ squares right now, but I’m starting to think I should have used my 2.5″ scrap squares… We’ll see what I decide tonight.

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.

Almost Done Swooning

19 11 2013

My son was out of school yesterday, thanks to a cold that left him snotty and sneezy, but my husband couldn’t be home with him. My mother-in-law recently had surgery, and needed to be run to several different appointments, as she’s unable to drive herself for the time being. So, I had to call into work, to be home with Snuffles.

Zeb was ridiculously cheerful, for the amount of snot he was producing. Really, he’s always happy when he gets to spend the day with Mommy. Still, he was pretty low key, which was nice. I managed to finish the last four blocks I need for my Swoon quilts. This was only because I’d been able to finish cutting fabric for these blocks on Sunday.

Swoon 13

Swoon 14

Swoon 15

Swoon 16

I debated finishing the top last night, because that probably would have only taken a few hours, but the truth was, I was sick of looking at my sewing machine by that point. This is now my goal for tonight, as long as Zeb is okay tonight.

Finally Swooning

8 08 2013

A little less than a year ago, a pattern by Camille Roskelley took over quilt blogs everywhere, or so it seemed. Quilters everywhere took this pattern for a whirl, making it up in fabrics as diverse as the quilters themselves.

Having just recently finished the Sunsets and White Beaches quilt top, and still being in the piecing mood, I finally jumped on that train.

I’m always the last one to a party…

Swoon 01

Because I had so many 2.5″ squares leftover from Sunsets and White Beaches, and because I’m apparently not over pink, orange, and yellow together, I scaled the block down from 24″ finished to 18″. This is proving to be a good choice, as most of my fabrics tend to be small to medium in scale. I’m combining scraps leftover from Sunsets and White Beaches with Kona Charcoal, since I have something like eight yards of that on hand.

The block above is a little rough – I need to be careful on the next one about which directions I iron the seams. A little more care regarding that matter here would have resulted in a little more crispness in the points.

While I was working on this block, which felt like it took forever, my Sewline Mechanical pencil broke. It’s a total necessity in my toolkit, so I decided to order another one from fabric.com. Of course, while shopping, I looked at fabric.

I stumbled across this:

Afterglow Diamond Medallion in Cream

I ordered six yards for backing Sunsets and White Beaches.


I should probably feel bad, but look at it! This is the Afterglow Diamond Medallion Print in cream, for Dear Stella Designs. I love, love, love it! It’s a HUGE repeat, almost 10″ wide, but that’s why I’d be using it for backing.

Six and Done!

31 07 2013

I sat down tonight while I was prepping dinner, and waiting for hubby to get home with kiddo, and finished up the last six blocks I need for my Granny Block top!


Tomorrow, then, I can settle into trim them all down, and start putting the top itself together.

Granny Blocks for Me 49

Granny Blocks for Me 44

Granny Blocks for Me 45

Granny Blocks for Me 46

Granny Blocks for Me 47

Granny Blocks for Me 48

I’m still hoping to have a top done by the end of this week. I think it would be awesome if I could start quilting it up on Sunday.

Another Five

31 07 2013

Progress on this top proceeds!

I sat down and powered through another five blocks, finishing up the blocks that need orange in the outer ring. If I keep going like this, I’ll have another top to quilt by the end of the week!

Granny Blocks for Me 39

Granny Blocks for Me 40

Granny Blocks for Me 41

Granny Blocks for Me 42

Granny Blocks for Me 43

This leaves me with just another five blocks in the outer ring to complete! I’m hoping to tackle those tonight, and then a few more scrappy stars. I’d like to make some real progress on that project.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday.

Busy Fracking Sewing Day

28 07 2013

I worked at the second job yesterday, and then came home and had a date night with my husband (we had some quality time together, watched Les Miserables, visited a friend at her work, and then got very late night McDonald’s breakfast at 3:00 AM). So, sewing wasn’t happening so much on Saturday.

Before I get into the gritty of the sewing I did today, however, I just need to ponder the recent movie adaptation of Les Miserables, featuring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and other Hollywood notables.

My first introduction to the musical was a PBS airing of the tenth anniversary production of that musical, performed and filmed Royal Albert Hall. Considering that I was living at home, and watched the production with my father, I couldn’t have been over seventeen.

To this day, Les Miserables remains the musical guaranteed to bring me to tears, so long as the performances are by accomplished vocalists.

Unfortunately, of the cast in this recent movie adaptation, the only big name performer to raise goose bumps, and to draw me into their character’s circumstances, was Hugh Jackman. This should be unsurprising, considering his varied experience on stage. Anna Hathaway is talented, and a capable singer, but I was not drawn in by her Fantine. Amanda Seyfried as Cosette made me want to rip her face off. I’ve never appreciated the character – she is a MacGuffin, a plot device to move the stories of Jean Valjean and Marius forward, with no real personality to recommend her, or to explain the bone-deep devotion given to her by both Valjean and Marius. But hearing Seyfried’s (self-admitted) weak soprano voice trilling every word – I wanted to cut her larynx out. I cannot emphasize enough that I wanted to be violent every time Seyfried opened her mouth.

Russell Crowe’s Javert was a disappointment, through and through. Not only is Crowe’s vocal range limited, he was far too flat for the character of Javert. For all of his dramatic talent, he failed at conveying the obsession Javert had with Valjean, fueling his pursuit of Valjean through the years. Part of this was due to the limitations of the adaptation, but much of it was due to how unvaried his performance was. I feel that viewers were wholly unable to comprehend the why of his obsession: to Javert, Valjean was the dark mirror to his strict law-abiding ways and morality. He hated that only a series of decisions separated him from what he saw as Valjean’s inherent criminal nature, and, in order to justify his existence, needed to see Valjean brought back to justice. His inability to reconcile the rigid intolerance of his legal code with the moral rightness of Valjean’s actions are what drive him to throw himself into the Seine. I think that this is not at all conveyed to the viewer, leaving them questioning his suicide.

Also, I’m sick of Helena Bonham Carter being in everything (I blame her marriage to Tim Burton for perpetuating the myth of her employability). Her presence, with that of Sasha Baron Cohen, made the scenes with the Thénardiers thoroughly unwatchable. I do not want to watch Carter play exactly the same character she’s played in practically everything, complete with frizzy, huge hair, in yet another movie. It’s like she simply elected to transplant her extremely poor Mrs. Lovett (from Sweeney Todd) to Les Miserables. A production such as this deserved so much more. At least Cohen attempted a French accent every once in a while.

The character with whom I’d identified with most as a seventeen year old, Eponine (on the strength of On My Own), proved to be another disappointment. Again, I’d cut my teeth on the 10th anniversary production of Les Miserables. Lea Salonga delivered a strong performance that drew me in. Samantha Barks is a talented and beautiful vocalist whom I’ve enjoyed in the past. Unfortunately, I detested the arrangement of On My Own in the movie adaption. My interpretation of the song has always been that as Eponine sings On My Own, she is, perhaps for the first time in her short life, making a decision purely for herself – taking into her own hands her womanhood, by running the gamut of the emotions that Marius evokes in her. By acknowledging the futility of her unrequited love, Eponine makes the choice to be honest with herself, the first step of self-realization. Through the course of the song, Eponine comes to the determination to make as much of her destiny as she can, considering her limited means and hardscrabble upbringing. It makes her death on the barricade a short while later all the more bittersweet, as she sacrifices her life for Marius’ and gives him the note left by Cosette, giving him the hope of there being a tomorrow.

In listening to the arrangement presented in the movie adaptation, I was thoroughly disappointed as the entirety of the scene was designed to wring every drop of utter despair from Eponine, reducing her to a thoughtless chit unable to live without Marius in her life. The pacing was so off, and Eponine rendered so helpless, rather than empowering herself. If I had not been so near the end, I probably would have ceased watching at this point.

I was, however, delighted by the performances of those young men playing the students manning the barricade, drawn in by their charisma and skilled vocalizations. Eddie Redmayne was a treat, a pleasure to listen to, though I was far more drawn to Aaron Tveit’s compelling performance as Enjolras. I look forward to watching the careers of these young men as they develop as performers.

I think, in the end, I will not re-watch the movie adaption of the musical. The delights of this film are far outweighed by the negatives that I found in it. I am more than content to return to viewing recordings of stage performances of Les Miserables.

And, now that I’ve bored you by over-analyzing an adaptation of an adaptation, I bring you my efforts from sewing today. Actually, I bring you my layout first. I finally reinstalled EQ7 today, and decided on how to set out my blocks:

Sunsets and White Beaches

It’s a seven by seven block layout, which should come to 79″ square, with the very traditional sashing. Granny blocks seem very well served by sashing, and I want the space between the blocks. I want the punch of the white between the shocks of color.

Lots o' Blocks1. Granny Blocks for Me 24, 2. Granny Blocks for Me 25, 3. Granny Blocks for Me 26, 4. Granny Blocks for Me 27, 5. Granny Blocks for Me 28, 6. Granny Blocks for Me 29, 7. Granny Blocks for Me 30, 8. Granny Blocks for Me 31, 9. Granny Blocks for Me 32, 10. Granny Blocks for Me 33, 11. Granny Blocks for Me 34, 12. Granny Blocks for Me 35, 13. Granny Blocks for Me 36, 14. Granny Blocks for Me 37, 15. Granny Blocks for Me 3816. Not available

Fifteen blocks later, I’m very close to my goal of forty-nine total blocks. I need to make a few more blocks with orange in the outer ring, and then a batch of blocks with gray in the outer ring. Once those are done (hopefully tomorrow evening), I can begin the process of sashing the blocks together. We’ll see how far I get.

Back to Granny

26 07 2013

Seriously, at some point I will stop inundating you with photos of Granny Blocks, and get back to working on something else. Last night’s batch of six happened while my son was thoroughly entertained by a friend who’d come over for dinner. And, to illustrate what an interesting child my son is – dinner last night was liver and onions, at his request.

He even ate it, and the quinoa salad I made to go with it. The liver was a hit; the quinoa salad, not so much. The recipe I used called for lemon juice. I’m afraid it was too much lemon juice for our taste buds. Still, we ate some, to give it an honest try. I’m still very interested in adding quinoa to our regular meal rotation here, so I’ll keep playing with it.

Granny Blocks for Me 18

Granny Blocks for Me 19

Granny Blocks for Me 20

Granny Blocks for Me 21

Granny Blocks for Me 22

Granny Blocks for Me 23

I figure that I’m about halfway to being done with the blocks. I still haven’t reinstalled EQ7 – last week I switched out my 75GB solid state drive for a 250GB drive. Not solid state, so I sacrificed some in the way of processing speed, but now I’m not fretting about installing too much to the laptop. I suppose I’ll do that tonight, since it’s Friday, and what else am I going to do on a Friday evening.

Other than sew and watch Les Miserables finally?

Especially since kiddo should be tuckered out today. I had a UW System Helpdesk Managers meeting in Madison today. Hubby took that opportunity to take my mother-in-law and kiddo to Madison, and hit up the zoo while I was discussing the ins and outs of managing a tech support desk.

Yes, I am jealous.

On the upside, we got to stop at Half Price Books on the way home. My goal was to find some Spanish-language materials that kiddo would find interesting. He’s been very interested in learning Spanish since PJ4, and I want to encourage that. So I picked a copy of Little Einsteins Mi primer Diccionario Ilustrado (My First Illustrated Dictionary). (Apparently, it’s going for $48.00 on amazon.com – I paid $8. HA!) It’s not a bilingual book – everything is presented in Spanish, but the illustrations eliminate my need for translation. And, if I truly get stuck, I picked up a Spanish/English dictionary. High school Spanish was long enough ago that I need help to remember words and conjugation.

While we were there, though, I decided to look through their quilting books. It was a pretty abysmal selection honestly, but I almost talked myself into a continuous line design book. Then I realized, why am I searching in the quilting section for designs?

I mean, there are just tons of books of designs out there, that typically come with CDs with the images, for ease of re-sizing and editing. Why wasn’t I looking in the graphic design section?!

So, I headed over there, and hit pay dirt in the clip art subsection of the graphic design shelves: Flower Designs Handbook and 1001 Symmetrical Patterns: A complete Resource of Pattern Designs Created by Evolving Symmetrical Shapes. The second book comes with a CD, so editing the images for my purposes will be pretty easy. In order to make the second book more usable, I’ll have to scan and/or re-draw before resizing, but still! I paid $3 for Flower Designs Handbook and $8 for 1001 Symmetrical Patterns.

We’re home from Madison now, obviously, but kiddo is ‘playing’ Train Simulator (as well as a five year old can play a game designed with the intention of replicating the world’s trains and the tracks they run on). Really he’s just watching his train move along the tracks, but it makes him happy, and he’s slowly learning the program, which is funny and terrifying at the same time. So, while he is otherwise occupied, I’m going to participate in this week’s Friday Night Sew In.