Block Attack!

30 11 2013

I tackled my swap blocks last night and today, wanting to get them all out of the way. I’m only in the two block swaps for the moment: Fat Stash Bee and Granny Block Bee.

I’d received Svea P’s fabrics for her Fat Stash block very early this month – I just didn’t really have any drive to get them done. Bad me! So, I forced myself to start with her block, because hers was waiting the longest. Svea requested feathers from Anna Maria Horner’s pattern. I do have to admit that I really love the look of this pattern though I really kind of hate putting it together from templates.

Svea provided a lovely Essex linen for the background and Sketch in Chocolate for the spine of the feathers, and requested scrappy feathers. I have to admit that once I realized what she’d given me to work with, I was super excited. I’ve been wanting to try Essex linen in something, but was afraid to buy yardage in case I hated it. It was a pleasure to work with, and I loved the contrast in textures.

Svea provided enough linen to get through one feather block. I’d been hoping to squeeze enough out of her quarter yard to make two for her:

Feather 01
I sort of got carried away, and made several extra feather halves to contribute to the scrappiness of her quilt:

Feather Halves
Yeah, that was a lot of strip piecing there… Still, these are fun, and feathers might be making an appearance in a project soon.

From there, I moved onto Susan’s blocks for Fat Stash for December. She requested Windwill blocks, from a Moda Bake Shop pattern. I sort of ending up hating this pattern. It’s not that it’s not easy, because it is! It would just be a lot easier to do these blocks with Flying Geese subunits.

Susan requested blocks in “blues, greens, purples, grey, maybe some super mellow yellows”. Super easy for me to do, considering my stash:

Windmill 01
Windmill 02

Next up were Kelli’s blocks for Fat Stash for January. She’d sent her fabrics super early, to prevent any parcels from getting lost in the mail during the Christmas rush. Smart move! She sent us jelly roll strips of Seascapes by Deb Strain for Moda, and asked that we use a gray fabric for the background. She also asked us to follow piecing instructions for Origami Stars. There was enough fabric to do two blocks.

Origami Star 01
Origami Star 02

From there, I turned my attention to the Granny Block, which I was already caught up on. My thought was to see if December’s queens had posted their requests for this month. Then I realized that I was one of the queens for December. D’oh!

So, I quickly decided on my request for this month: chartreuse, aqua and gray blocks, with Kona White for the background. Then I made two blocks as an example:

Granny Block Bee 39
Granny Block Bee 40

So… that’s my last two days of sewing. I figure that’s a good way to wrap the end of November! Now, I’m off to make baked ziti and to celebrate kiddo’s sixth birthday!

That’s right! Six years ago today, Zebediah was born, at 11:50 PM. It’s been amazing to watch him grow and develop. I’m looking forward to many more birthdays to come!

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Slacking

30 09 2013

I’ve been slacking in the sewing department, something fierce. I just haven’t had the urge to sew, so I haven’t.

Buying fabric on the other hand… I’ve done a lot of that, and I really should take photos of this month’s purchases to shame myself into stopping. This retail therapy thing might be a little out of hand. Thank goodness we past the craziness of the start of the fall semester.

Anyway, I realized that it’s nearly the end of September, and that I needed to get moving on swap blocks, so I’m not behind for October. I’d been a little delayed, regardless, because I needed blues, desperately, and had placed an online order. Good thing I did, too, because one of the swap queens for October also requested blues.

Granny Block Bee 29

Granny Block Bee 30
Heather
requested the blue Granny blocks in September that sent me on my initial quest for blues. She wanted blues in lights, mediums and darks to be represented in each block.

Granny Block Bee 32

Granny Block Bee 31For October, Rachael requested blocks done in blue and green, inspired by Heather Bailey’s Nicey Jane fabric line. As I said, I really needed those blues that I ordered.

Maple Leaf

Jacqueline requested Maple Leaf blocks to celebrate the changing of seasons into fall, and provided fat quarters of autumn-ish fabrics. I whipped up the above block with the fabric she provided.

I still owe one block for September, and at least one request for October to fill, now that the the queen for that month has sent her fabrics out. I’m hoping to get through those by the end of this week. We’ll see if I can keep my momentum up, now that I’ve actually sat in front of the sewing machine.





July Swap Blocks

22 07 2013

I’ve been avoiding projects that are already in progress. I know I need to work on them, but I’m just too lazy to remove hundreds of pins from a sandwich to add necessary inches to the backing. So, I hit a brief period of stagnation once again, with the exception of swap blocks.

Granny Bee Block 23

Granny Bee Block 24

Patricia was our sole queen for July in the Granny Block Bee, due to another member needing to leave. She requested Granny Blocks using the colors turquoise, yellow, green and gray. Shortly after I completed my blocks, Patricia, too, needed to leave the Bee. Since my blocks are done, I’m sending them anyway. Hopefully they’ll bring Patricia a little cheer while she deals with everything life has thrown at her recently.

Because Patricia dropped out early enough in July, our August queens in the Granny Block Bee stepped forward with their requests for the month. I’ve finished those blocks already:

Granny Bee Block 26

Granny Block Bee 25

Julianne requested blocks using aqua, teal, mustard, dark orange, chartreuse, navy blue and red, with medium/dark gray as the background. She was inspired the this Granny Square Quilt, which used Malka Dubrawsky fabrics. I dug into my stash, looking for more modern prints to match the inspiration quilt.

Granny Bee Block 27

Granny Block Bee 28

Sara requested yellow, yellow and more yellow! Nice and easy, as I finally got over my stagnation hump and started cutting blocks for a Granny Block top of my own (more on that later).

So that did it for the Granny Block Bee for June and August, which is really nice. I don’t have to worry about that swap next month, unless the September queens are asked to step forward. I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind if they do.

Next up are my blocks for the Fat Stash Bee. This has been a fun swap to be in. I’ve been challenged quite a bit with this swap, to think outside of my comfortable little box. This month I was challenged to work with text print fabrics, not once, but twice! The first time was for Jane, who’d requested wonky cross blocks, using a solid, or read-as-solid, red for the crosses.

Wonky Cross 01

Wonky Cross 02

Wonky Cross 03

Wonky Cross 04

I’ll be honest. I had two challenges here – wonky and text prints. I’ve never really gotten the whole text print thing – I didn’t even own any before this month.

Due to Jane’s distance from the rest of us, being in Australia, it was cheaper for her to order half yard cuts and have them shipping directly to us. She requested two to four blocks from each of us. I made four, because, well, it’s a text print, and I want Jane to get as much of that fabric back as possible. I will probably even send her the leftovers.

Speaking Stars 01

Speaking Stars 02

July’s request for the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! Swap made me squee a little with giddiness, because I’m a total quilt dork ūüôā Janine asked me if she could use my templates for Swirling Sea of Stars – which just made me super excited to see what she wanted to do with it. I’m even more excited now that I’ve seen her take on it – her blocks are so very different from mine! Janine requested text prints, with white and cream solids for the web portion, and solids for the stars.

I had Kona White and Kona Snow on hand, so that was super easy. What I did not have were the text prints… eBay to the rescue! I bought a bundle of fat quarters of text prints. I used what I needed, and now have a bunch leftover. I have to figure out what to do with them. I’m seeing some swaps or give-aways in my future.

Linking up to Plum and June’s Let’s Get Acquainted Monday Link Up.





June Swap Blocks, Part 2

17 06 2013

Once I finished the jammy dodger block, I realized that I still had a lot of the fabric that Shelia sent left over. So I made another block for her:

Elegant Teapot

This particular paper-piecing pattern is by Kristy of Quiet Play, available at Craftsy. It went together fairly easily, but the PDF was created overseas, meaning that A4 paper was the print size. So, the first few times I tried to print the PDF, the document ran off the edges of the paper. Luckily, I have access to document creation and editing software, so I was able to get the pattern to 8.5″ X 11″ paper. There’s a bit of an oopsie in it, on the spout. I’m debating remaking it…

Once that was done, I moved on to the last swap block I needed, for the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! Swap. Jodi requested apple leaf blocks, providing instructions and a PDF here. I finally remember to pick up some Wunder-Under on Friday, and took care of these blocks over the weekend. It was a little nerve-wracking, because I’ve never really doe applique, much less machine applique.
My real concern was using the zig-zag stitch and being able to follow the edges of the leaves.

Apple Leaves Block 01

Apple Blossom Block 02

Overall, I think they turned out okay. I really like the selection of fabrics I picked out. I’m not so sure about the technique, but I’m always leery of things in which the stitches are visible. That’s the traditionalist in me, the person who learned from books published at least a decade before I was born. It is, however, a very pretty block, and I’m excited to see Jodi’s finished quilt.

So, that’s all of June’s swap blocks. Now I just have to get everything mailed out.





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!





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.





April’s Last Swap Block

7 04 2013

I finally forced myself to sit down and power through the last swap block I had to make for April, for the Fat Stash Bee. Every time I pondered making this block, I got this little ball of dread in the pit of my stomach.

Why?

Because the request was pretty open-ended. Rebecca (princessmax) requested blocks based on the themes of love, stories and books. She sent out a fabric based on Scheherazade’s 1001 tales, the candle fabric, with the request that we combine it with other slate blue fabrics.

Give me a solid set of directions, and I’m golden. Tell me to work off a theme, and I’m reduced to a quivering wreck of indecision.

At first, I thought I’d do a book block, but a couple of others in the group beat me to it. So I thought about capturing the words ‘happily ever after’ in a block, but then realized the size constraint of 12″ finished would make that pretty hard.

So, finally, I thought, maybe I’ll free-piece the word ‘love’.

Okay, I could do that…

LOVE Fat Stash Bee Block for April

Honestly, I’m still not sure about this block. I look at it, and wonder if anyone else looking at it can discern the word in it. If I’d had a greater diversity in the fabrics, maybe it would have worked better.

I have thoughts for a second block, just in case this one doesn’t pass Rebecca’s muster. I have a lot of the fabrics left over yet. It might be worth another go-round at another block, just to stop feeling like this one is just not that good.

Maker’s guilt is a bitch.