June Swap Blocks, Part 1

11 06 2013

June got off to a very strong start, in getting my swap blocks out of the way. Then, of course, distractions occurred, so I ended up behind, at least to my mental calendar.

As usual, I started off by producing the blocks for my Granny Block Bee, as those are super quick to go together. Lisa requested blocks to be made into a quilt for her daughter, to include shades of grey (including black) and coral. Grey isn’t a problem in my stash. Coral was… interesting. However, I did persevere, and found two fabrics that I thought worked well as coral. In her second block, I used a favorite plaid.

Granny Block Bee 17

Granny Block Bee 18
Also for the Granny Block Bee, Celine requested blocks with specific color combinations with a solid grey background fabric. I selected Green/Orange and Yellow/Aqua, and went about my blocks, happily:

Granny Block Bee 20

Granny Block Bee 19
Why, yes, those would be WHITE backgrounds.

*headdesk*

I managed to completely skip the word ‘grey’ the first time round. Ah, well. Round two:

Granny Block Bee 21

Granny Block Bee 21-001

That all ironed out, literally and figuratively, I moved on to my Fat Stash Bee block for the month of June. Shelia sent me a strawberry print, C3142 of Sweetcakes by Doodlebug Design Inc., for Riley Blake. She requested tea timed themed blocks. I went looking for a pattern, and Shelia had made a number of the available paper-piecing patterns out there as an illustration of what she was looking for. I didn’t want to overlap, and didn’t find much else out there, so I drew my own block up in EQ7:

The Jammy Dodger Block

I’m a Doctor Who fan, and was introduced to jammy dodgers through that television series. I had to include jammy dodgers in my block. It took me about two hours to draw the block in EQ7. Little did I know that this would be the QUICK part.

The Jammy Dodger Block
It took me about five hours of piecing to get this block together. And, silly me, I didn’t think about how many seams there would be in the jammy dodger leaning on its stacked brethren. I’m a little amazed that it’s laying as flat as it is. Thank goodness for irons and steam. I also managed to make a mistake in my own pattern, so the handle sits higher than I planned. However, NOT going back.

Still, I’ve still a bunch of Shelia’s fabric left over, so I’m thinking about making a second block for her. I purchased a PDF pattern, and just need to print it tomorrow.

That leaves only the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! block to make for the month of June. I also need to print the templates for that, and then I will be done for the month of June. Then, it’s back to scrappy stars!

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Scrappy Star Madness

8 06 2013

I spent Stitch ‘n’ Bitch today working on Swirling Sea of Stars. I was determined to see what it would look like, should I start putting rows together – so I put rows together. I had 16 blocks made today when I went in. When I finished today, I had 17 blocks done, and one more started. I also had put rows 1 and 2 together, getting a good start on the top.

I got home, and got ready to document my progress, when I realized that I’d managed to skip taking photos of several of the completed blocks… My last posted Scrappy Star to Flicker was #12. So I went back and got caught up on documentation.

Scrappy Star 13#13

Scrappy Star 14#14

Scrappy Star 15#15

Scrappy Star 16#16

Scrappy Star 17#17

Sadly (for myself) I actually had to refer to Flickr to determine which blocks I’d already taken pics of, and then do a lot of editing. Because, you know, they were already stitched into the top in progress.

Swirling Sea of Stars - In Progress 01

Swirling Sea of Stars - In Progress 02

Hubby came home and looked at this project, and made note of the fact that it’s very ‘loud’. I apparently don’t have a ‘color volume control’ in this hobby.





More Scrappy Stars

15 05 2013

I did manage to make some progress on the scrappy stars at Stitch ‘N’ Bitch on Saturday. I got a decent start on sixteen quadrants, or four stars. In order to add some variety to the string pool, I decided that whenever I cut from my yardage for another purpose, I need to cut a few strings for these blocks. It was a good call – I had very little in the way of lighter strings that weren’t a variation of acid green.

Gee, what do I buy a lot of? Yeah, acid green. Oh, and bright orange. And, weirdly, lately – pink. I’m not understanding that one, though it might be the prevalence of strong, fuschia-leaning pinks in the market right now. I’m very much about the stronger, purer tones.

Last night, I sat down and completed the sixteen quadrants, after having taken kiddo to the park for two hours. So, despite him not being the only one tired, I took advantage of his solid slumber and communed with Bessie. I finished up the quadrants, and got a solid start on sewing them together. Finally, it hit about 2:00 AM, and I had to admit defeat and head to bed myself.

The alarm went off at 6:00 AM this morning, and I decided to finish assembling those stars this morning. I managed to finish just as I had to leave for work, so I have four more scrappy star blocks, bringing me to twelve!

Scrappy Star 11

Scrappy Star 10

Scrappy Star 09

Scrappy Star 12





May Swap Blocks

12 05 2013

I got home on Friday evening, with the intention of making all of my swap blocks. I didn’t quite get all of my blocks done that evening.

First up were Granny Blocks:

Granny Block Bee 13

Granny Block Bee 14

Christina requested blocks using reclaimed vintage bedsheets. I had nothing on hand, so I ended up ordering a fat quarter bundle on Etsy. After having gone through and made blocks with these fabrics, I honestly can’t say that I see the appeal. It was very like working with voiles, the fabrics were so soft and and thin. They’re pretty, but I much prefer the consistency of quilting cottons.

Granny Block Bee 15

Granny Block Bee 16

Ginger requested red, white and blue blocks. I had red, I had blue – I didn’t have much that would bridge the gap between the two. So I went shopping once more, buying the flag-themed fabrics. I suppose into each quilter’s life a few flag themed fabrics must fall. The remainder of these fabrics are going to get buried in the back of the stash, on the off chance that someone else make a similar request. They’re far too novelty for my taste.

Once those were done, I moved onto My Fat Stash Bee obligation. Deidra sent a fat quarter of a brown background Christmas fabric and requested wonky log cabin blocks. Accompanying the fabric was a small square of purple, which was to be incorporated into the block.

Christmas Wonky Log Cabin 02

Christmas Wonky Log Cabin 01

I made the first block, including a darker red in the block. Stepping back from it, I wasn’t very happy because of that red. Since I still had so much of the Christmas fabric left, I whipped up a second wonky log cabin block.

I decided that I would spend Stitch ‘N’ Bitch working on my string star blocks, so I made my Scrappy? Sew Bee It! blocks Sunday morning… It would have been Saturday evening, but I ended up going to bed early. What I had taken for allergies turned out to be the beginning of a cold. Since finals weeks is this coming week, I decided that nipping the cold in the bud was the best plan.

For her month, Jess requested Winged Square blocks with low volume prints in the background, and red, yellow or orange for one ‘wing’, and grey, charcoal and black for other ‘wing’. I ended up needing to purchase the low volume prints, since I don’t purchase these normally.

Winged Square 01

Winged Square 02 Corrected

Now that my sewing obligations are out of the way, it’s time for me to get myself and the house cleaned up. We’re hosting my mother-in-law to dinner for Mother’s Day.





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.





And Then There Were Three…

8 05 2013

… Three more blocks to make for Frankenstein, that is.

An Evening of Scrappiness

1. Frankenstein Block 32, 2. Frankenstein Block 33, 3. Frankenstein Block 34, 4. Frankenstein Block 35, 5. Frankenstein Block 36, 6. Frankenstein Block 37

I forgot that these blocks go together so simply, if not quickly. It is the essence of mindless sewing. I simply need to sit in front of my machine armed with iron, cutting mat, rotary cutter, snips, and scraps. A concentrated block of a few hours and I am much closer to completion of this top than I expected to be.

This is not without its advantages. Once I have Frankenstein in being a completed top, I can use the scraps of batting I’ve hung onto, to make a sandwich. I think I already know which fabrics I will use as a backing, as well. Theoretically, I might have a nearly complete quilt by the end of the week. LOL – I won’t make the mistake of assuming I can quilt and bind this thing by the end of the day on Friday. That’s just crazy talk.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.

Because I want a finish this year, dammit.

Scrappy Star 07

Scrappy Star 08

I also got two more scrappy stars done for Swirling Sea of Stars this past weekend, clearly. I’m really enjoying these blocks, and wish they would go together just a touch faster. Since I have eight blocks now, I’m desperately tempted to start sewing them together.

Just because I can.

I’m resisting – I would like to complete two more sets of four before starting to piece these blocks together. I want to arrange for maximum scrappiness, as well as to get a real idea of how many of these blocks I will need to make. I had enough foundations printed to make 32 of these. I don’t honestly know if this is too many or too few, as of yet. I am hoping that it will be just right, though I will not be surprised if I need to go back and get more foundations printed.

As noted previously, I have difficulty working small – see the last three quilt tops I’ve completed ‘recently’: Charmed, I’m Sure, The Garden Party’s Quadrille, Technicolor Fields. Each one of these measures at least 100″ square. I’m more than a little terrified by the idea of quilting up any of these, but will persevere, and soon.

Regardless, I want A Swirling Sea of Stars to use a good chunk of my scraps, which means large is the way to go, unless I manage get moving on the other string top…





The Swirl of Life

26 04 2013

I’ve been stealing some time to sew this week. It’s my sanity saver, especially as the semester winds down and final exams draw near.

I don’t typically talk about The Job here – I manage a technology support desk at a local college. It’s incredibly fun, but tends to get a little more stressful as each semester draws to a close, for obvious reasons. Teaching staff and faculty are working to ensure they give all their lessons, students are working to complete all of their projects, and, of course, exams loom on the horizon.

This past year, I’ve been exceedingly privileged in having a truly top notch student staff. About one third of them are graduating with the end of the semester. This both saddens and elates me. Elates me, because I’ve been able to be an integral part of these students’ college experience, helping to provide them invaluable work experience and knowledge that I hope they will carry through their careers. Saddens me, because they have been such a joy to work with. They’re bright, driven, and wonderful people – I have no doubt that they will succeed in their chosen arenas. Saddened also because I am losing so much knowledge and experience, and needing to replace these bright young people with newer, younger staff.

Interviewing prospective applicants has taken over much of my work days – I am hoping to bring six to eight individuals into my staff, to train them over the summer. I would like them to have some experience in the call center before the fall semester begins, with its influx of tech issues that need to be resolved so that life on campus can move forward smoothly. I’ve made offers to five individuals, but most of them aren’t looking to take a ton of hours. I have a feeling that I’ll actually end up bringing on board ten to twelve individuals, so that I can have staff coverage in the event of absences. This means that I’ll conceivably be interviewing through the rest of the spring semester.

There have been other irritations and stressors, of course. I’m not going to dive too deeply into them, just because I don’t want to dwell too much on some of them. I’m working on getting over them, and ranting about them won’t help that.

Clearly, the sewing has been a welcome escape. My creativity is a creature that is rarely satisfied with meager meals of fifteen and twenty minutes of sewing here and there. I sew as regularly as possible, with the intent to get an hour a day in. I’ve been dragging a quilt back and forth to work, to work on hand-stitching the binding down on the thirty minute commute. I’ve also made some progress on Swirling Sea of Stars:

Spinning Star 04

Another star ready. This makes four. Practice is making this process faster, which is good. I’d really like to have this top done by the end of May. With four done, I decided to lay them out and see if they matched my vision:

Starting to Swirl 01

I was not so very impressed with the movement of the stars when I laid them out this way. It didn’t sparkle the way I wanted. So, I then laid them out according to my EQ7 illustration:

Starting to Swirl 02

Much better! Of course, I won’t be sure of this until I get a few more blocks in, but I feel like my initial plan was the way to go. Here’s hoping kiddo runs himself ragged at the park tonight ūüôā