The Streak Continues

12 01 2013

Today was Bitch ‘n’ Stitch… A couple of regular attendees were recovering from the flu, making for a fairly quiet day. I buckled down with my sewing machine and made considerable progress on the Test Your Skills Sampler

Test Your Skills Sampler

Those of you who have followed my quilting exploits are now sporting quizzical expressions. “Huh? I thought you’ve been there, done that?”

Not so much, unfortunately. I set the project to the side, as I have with so many projects, and became distracted by other projects that were temporarily more shiny. Once I picked it up again, I discovered that my original fabric selections:

Final Fabric Selections

… wouldn’t quite work. That green print, the one third from the left? I don’t have quite enough of it. and I honestly never really liked the maroon print, though I wanted that color in this top.

So, I started looking for substitutes. I spent an absurd amount of time online looking for fabrics that matched my mental vision. I ended up being obsessed with strongly geometric and angular  tone-on-tone prints:

TYSS Fabric Choices

I went from a bare minimum of fabrics, to a wealth of choices. I’m horribly, desperately in love with these fabrics. I think I might have nearly the perfect storm of tone-on-tone prints here. Funnily enough (or not, if you know my buying habits), not one of these prints is the focus print of a fabric line. They are all the blenders of their respective lines.

From left, prints 1 – 4 are Mackinaw Island by Bernatex. Prints 5 and 6 are Simply Color, by Vanessa Christenson for Moda. Prints 7 and 8 are Blossom by Whistler Studio for Windham Fabrics. Prints 9 – 11 are City Girl by Kitty Yoshida for Benartex.

I think perhaps the only thing I am missing, from this selection, is a black print to add some needed depth. I have some prints in my stash that I think will work, but I need to locate them and audition them.

At any rate, I began piecing today, and kept on piecing:

Snowball & Nine Patch

Filler Blocks III

Filler Blocks I

Filler Blocks II

In addition to Bullseye…

Bullseye

…I’m actually further along with this sampler than I was previously. I’m also feeling driven to finish this, since I love the fabrics so much. We’ll see how much further along I get this weekend. I actually have a Sunday off, and I’m thinking about quilting up a top.





Not-So-Lean, Mean Sewing Machine

5 01 2013

There is the risk of TMI to follow, folks…

Who am I kidding? There is too much info following, but I ain’t deleting. To my male readers, my apologies. To my female readers, we need to create a chocolate support network..

Hubby and I have been seriously discussing attempting to become parents to a second bundle of joy. Thus, this past week, when I had my obligatory exam with the gynecologist, I had my IUD removed, and will be making the transition to the pill while we continue to debate our options and finances.

An unfortunate side effect of having removed the IUD is having my first period in five years. Right now, I crave chocolate like the undead, zombie hordes crave brains. I’d forgotten the joy (ha!) of tampons, though I constantly kept a stash on hand. I’m endlessly hungry, too, which makes me irritable, after getting on the scale at the doctor’s office, and realizing that all of my dieting efforts have resulted in a net gain of five pounds.

Fuck you, anatomy.

However, my menstrual crabbiness is resulting in an explosion of sewing, as I’d much rather spend time with my fabric than people right now. I’ve caught up completely on Scrappy? Sew Bee It! Blocks. This is both a boon and a curse. A boon, because I’m finally caught up. A curse, because I’ll have to ship them all out and pay the mailing fees.

But, I win! (The race against myself.)

36_Patch_01

36_Patch_02

Two thirty-six patch blocks for Deborah, aka MissLuella. These pretty much epitomize my stash. Bold, strong color, which dominates my fabric stash, because color-shy I am not. A smaller portion of my stash is dedicated to neutrals and decidedly elegant prints.

String Web 01

String Web 02

Two unassembled scrappy, string Spiderweb blocks for Christiane, aka Caillean Z. She’s hoping to get 12.5″ spiderweb blocks out of these, and requested that we not assemble the four quadrants, so that she can mix and match upon receipt.

My paper piecing templates came out too large, but I left them over-sized, rather than trim down and make a mistake. I included some pieced strings – I save a lot of scraps, especially if I can easily include them in a string project like this.





A Little Carried Away…

3 01 2013

I took today off because I had a gynecologist’s exam this morning, and I really didn’t want to go in and deal with tech problems after having my bits poked and prodded at. Good news – everything was where it was supposed to be. Just have to wait for the results of the pap smear now.

My goal, this afternoon after the doctor, was to catch up on Scrappy Sew Bee It! Swap blocks. I even picked up a little bit of fabric to extend out what I had on hand in the way of neutrals. I even got home, had some lunch, and got to sewing.

Just like I planned.

I did not plan on getting carried away and making six blocks for one individual. I meant to make two blocks for this individual, and move on, since I’m, oh… four months behind.

At least I got one month out of the way?

Neutral Cabin 01

Neutral Cabin 02

Neutral Cabin 03

Neutral Cabin 04

Neutral Cabin 05

Neutral Cabin 06





On A Roll…

5 11 2012

I got through three and a half blocks this weekend… I’d have had a Partial Seams Tutorial to post as well, but I fell asleep with the kiddo, and didn’t wake up until 11 PM this evening, which was the time I’d mentally slotted to write and photograph it.

Luckily, I’m done with work early on Monday – kiddo’s teacher requested an IEP meeting, so I should have time in the evening after dinner.

Japanese PoppyJapanese Poppy

Japanese Poppy will be the center block in this quilt. Every time I step back and look at it, I wish I’d used a more patterned fabric for the yellow. However, I know that I won’t notice it when I get it in to the quilt top, so I’m refusing to break down and remake it. It was kind of a pain in the rear – I had to paper piece most of it, as the angles in the block weren’t easy to rotary cut.

Prickly PearPrickly Pear, Round 2

I pieced this block once before, but decided that I wasn’t really happy with it. One of the fabrics wasn’t as crisp a printing as I would have liked, especially in comparison to all of the other fabrics that I’ve been using. Also, I needed another block with aqua in it, and this block was a good candidate for adding in a third fabric wihtout having it look too cluttered.

Tree of ParadiseTree of Paradise

The final tree  block! I believe I pulled this particular pattern out of The Quilt I.D. Book by Judy Rehmel as well. I’m actually very tempted to buy a copy of this book off Amazon… I found it incredibly useful.

That leaves one more block to piece for the Botanical BOM, which is the 1/2 block I’ve gotten done this weekend. This one is called Lily Wreath, and was in the EQ7 block library. Once that, and the tutorial are done, I can move on to piecing all of the setting blocks from the BOM’s design layout.





And Yet More Piecing

28 10 2012

I completed two more Botanical BOM blocks yesterday, bringing my total for the weekend to six:

George Washington's Birthday TreeSourced from The Quilt I.D. Book by Judy Rehmel.
This is actually a variation on the block in the book, as the book shows this block with an appliqued base.

Tree of TemptationAlso from The Quilt I.D. Book by Judy Rehmel.

I picked these two tree blocks due to their similarities in design, and emphasized that similarity by using the same fabric for the trunks. Also, I broke down the piecing in the trunks on both, in order to make them more machine piecing friendly.

Re-counting the blocks put me at thirteen, so I’m getting really close to the end of the blocks. After that, tons and tons of chain piecing, as I complete the setting blocks for the quilt top.

Botanical BOM - Final Layout

I selected the final block to make, and finalized my quilt top layout. Due to the previous blocks, I limited myself to selecting blocks that have four quadrants to them, at least for the twelve blocks forming the diamond. I also selectively added aqua to some of the blocks, in order to encourage movement in the top. I chose to go with four tree blocks for the corners.

Time to log off for the evening! I might try to piece another block before I head to bed.





Vacation Piecing

27 10 2012

I’m on day four of five days off of primary job… I requested the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off, to make it a super long weekend. Unfortunately, my request off just happened to coincide with Parent/Teacher conferences, meaning that my son was off school for my extended weekend.

Visions of unimpeded time to commune with my sewing machine… *poof*

At any rate, I’ve managed to complete four more blocks for the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Botanical BOM this weekend. My top design still calls for seventeen blocks. I discarded a couple, due to my perfectionist tendencies, and made four more, bringing my total to ten blocks. Seven more, three of which are tree blocks, and I’ll be all caught up to where I want to be.

I’d really like to have the top done for this November’s Stich ‘n’ Bitch. We’ll see what happens. *shrugs* I’m not trying to rush. I’d like to just put something in the mostly done pile. If the blocks get to a completed top stage, at least I’ll have relieved some of the personal pressure on myself.

Straw FlowerSourced from The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns, page 146, #9.

Posy ChainSourced from http://www.quilterscache.com/P/PosyChainBlock

Magnolia BudI’m actually not sure where I sourced this particular block from at the moment.
It was probably The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns.

Dutch RoseSourced from http://www.mccallsquilting.com/qb/pattern_802/index.html

I’m very happy with my selection of aqua as the zinger fabric for this quilt top. I probably could have included it in a few more blocks, but I’m not going to stress it. There’s four more blocks that the aqua can go into.





October Swap Blocks

19 10 2012

Feather_01Feather_02

October is Lucy’s month in the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! Swap. Lucy requested feather blocks, as featured in Anna Maria Horner’s Feather Bed pattern.

She requested black (or dark grey) be used as the spine. I didn’t have any solid black that wasn’t earmarked for another project, so I pulled an Asian print from my stash with a very minimalist design for both feathers. The scrappy sides of the feathers came out of my scrap baskets, while the single fabric sides came from stash, as did the neutral background fabrics.

Piecing the first feather was a little trying – I attempted to make the template for the large chunks of background, and realized too late that the template plastic was too short to make it a single, contiguous template. I also (foolishly) cut the template for the background fabric just above the tip-top of the feather.

The second time piecing went much more smoothly. I simply cut the background fabric of the block in too-big chunks and trimmed down – made it so much easier. There was a little more waste this way, but I rarely use creams in my quilts anymore and have a fairly large stash of them, so wasn’t not too much of a hardship… I’m happier having used these fabrics, instead of them hiding in my stash for a project that might never materialize.

Lucy also requested a signature block, and I think I have one pre-made for this – I just have to find it. I’m pretty sure I know which drawer it’s in!

Overall, having made a couple of these feathers, it’s a little tempting to make more… It’s a nice, different way to use up more of my smaller scraps, and I find I like the idea of the mixture of low volume neutrals in the background. Still, it won’t be a project that I focus on. I have enough WIPs to keep me busy through at least the end of the year, and that’s just in PIECING tops! I might convince myself to make a couple more feathers for Lucy, though, and go completely scrappy with them this time!





October Stitch ‘N’ Bitch

17 10 2012

October’s Stitch ‘N’ Bitch happened on the thirteenth this month – the weather was pretty ‘meh’, and there was just a small group of us this month.

This actually worked out well for me – I got three blocks done for the Botanical BOM:

Centennial TreeCentennial Tree

I was initially a little intimidated by this block, but then I stopped and really looked at it, breaking it down into its components. This is actually a really easy block to put together. It’s just the lower right hand corner that makes it look complicated.

Corn and BeansCorn and Beans

I love the yellow print I used in this block and the next. I’ll be more than a little sad when it’s all gone…

I’ve made a lot of sampler blocks lately (hello Farmer’s Wife), but I’ve rarely had to make blocks that are duplicated from project to project. Corn and Beans in a duplicate, though this is a slightly different variation from the one used in the Farmer’s Wife.

Jack in the PulpitJack in the Pulpit

This was a super easy block to put together – I haven’t trimmed it down yet, but I’m not going to worry about it just yet.

These three blocks put me at nine – my quilt plan needs seventeen blocks… Yay, halfway there! Now just to increase my production speed. I’m going to have to get lots of batting in the near future…





September Swap Blocks

16 10 2012

Yeah, I’m behind. I just couldn’t get the ‘oomph’ going before this. I was also going to make October’s blocks tonight, but I forgot to print the pattern.

Carla requested x and + blocks, from the tutorial by Amy at Badskirt. I found the tutorial to be very well written and illustrated, and putting the block together was very simple.

Carla_1

Carla_2

I almost freaked out, when pulling fabrics for these. I have lots of gray – that’s never a problem. I knew I’d have to reach a little for enough teals, but I never expected to have a hard time finding oranges! I had to resist the urge to go running for the fabric store, cash in hand, to rectify this problem.

However, I reined myself in, and dug a little deeper. I have oranges, just not the selection that I’m used to. My orange collection of fabrics just hasn’t recovered from the Double Wedding Ring in progress.

It’s getting super late, so I’ll be signing off. However, I do have BOM blocks to share – three of them! I’ve definitely got a groove going on, and it’s awesome! Now, I just need to keep this production level up, and I might actually get something done.