Fresh Sewing Day – February 2015 in Review

1 03 2015

February was a slow month for me. I’m still in the process of figuring out how my days will flow, with the ‘new’ old job. On one hand, I have more time to spend with my husband and son. On the other hand, I have more time to spend with my husband and son.

That might sound weird – I’m simply having a hard time separating out time for myself for sewing. I need to simply schedule this time, better use the ‘free’ time I have to myself, better define what is ‘my’ time.

February 2015 - Fresh Sewing Day1. Lone Star – Complete, 2. Home Treasure – 12″ Block, 3. This and That – 12″ Block, 4. Twin Sisters – 8″ Block, 5. Double X – 8″ Block, 6. Sugar Bowl – 8″ Block, 7. Road to Oklahoma – 6″ Block, 8. Mosaic No. 12 – 6″ Block, 9. Patch Me If You Can – 6″ Block, 10. Scrap Zig Zag – 6″ Block, 11. New Hexagon Rosette 1 – Restart AGAIN, 12. Embers – Front

What I did manage to accomplish, I’m pleased with.

As mentioned previously in this blog, I joined a single round robin for this year. My starter block for my quilt was a lone star block. My contributions for Blue Figs Quilt’s started block were a series of orange and yellow blocks in three sizes: 6″, 8″, and 12″ squares. She’s shooting for a very sunshine-y quilt. Finding fabrics in the right colors was not a hardship in my stash.

I also abandoned my efforts at hand sewing the hexagons for The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt Along. I just couldn’t stay awake while attempting to hand sew the thing. So, I gave up, and started over. I’m machine piecing it now. Obviously, this puts me further behind in keeping up, as I haven’t finished January’s rosette, and February and March’s instructions have released.

I met my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, by finally completing Embers. I’d had the top sitting since November of 2013, and was determined that I’d finish it for this month. I just met the goal – it took me forever to sit down and do the binding once I’d received the backing fabrics in the mail and did the quilting.

I’m looking forward to getting my butt in gear for the month of March – I’ve got a couple of things I’d like to finish, and some projects I’d like to start making progress on.


Embers – Photographs

28 02 2015

I got a chance to take photos of Embers after the end of my shift today.

Embers - Front

Details for this quilt:

Measures: 76.5″ X 76.5″ after washing and drying.

Swoon block was re-sized down to 16″, and no yellow, orange or pink fabrics were repeated in the top. Kona Coal was used in the background.

Embers - Back

I’d ordered three yards each of the same print in two colors for the backing. However, when I opened the package, I discovered that the red print was in two separate cuts. Rather than mess about with matching the pattern, I opted to insert a yard of the Matilda chevron print in orange.

Embers - Detail

I attempted to evoke the idea of flames in the quilting. Halfway into the quilting, I realized that it would have worked better if I tried to do a sort of cartoon candle flame – it would have made traveling easier. Regardless, I think the quilting worked out well, and I’m getting more comfortable with machine quilting on the frame. I might be ready to try something more complicated than the all over designs I’ve been working with.

Embers – Finished!

28 02 2015

Embers - Drying

I spent Sunday the 15th quilting up the Embers top at Sandi’s. I’m mostly pleased – the batting proved problematic, and I’m not thrilled, but resolving it would be more work than I want…

I used Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Black Batting for this top, as I was concerned about bearding through the Kona coal background. One of the first things I noticed about this batting was that it was very clingy. Which wasn’t a problem for the first half of the quilting process…

Then I realized that the batting was pulling more of the backing fabric off the roll than needed. I ended up having to release everything from the bottom rollers and then re-roll the backing fabric to get proper tension again. I thought I managed to avoid any pleats, but I was so, so wrong.

AFTER getting the thing off the frame and back home, I discovered that about two inches of backing fabric had pleated, pretty much in the middle of the quilt.


With the entire thing quilted, I elected to simply call it a learning experience, and attached the binding. I finishing binding the thing three days ago, but finally had a chance to wash it this morning. Very necessary, as the batting is fairly stiff.

It doesn’t seem as if the washer in the building laundry is working properly… The thing came out soaking wet, so I suspect the spin cycle didn’t run for its full time, or didn’t run at all. An hour in the dryer left the quilt still wet, so now it’s hanging over the shower rod in the bathroom until I’m done working today, and can run it through the dryer again.

Proper photos of it tomorrow, I promise!

Linking to a Lovely Year of Finishes, for February!

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Also tracking this for the 2015 Finish Along. This makes three of my five goals for the quarter completed!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

A Lovely Year of Finishes – February Goal

6 02 2015

Last month was an excellent month for finishing thing! I’m determined to keep the momentum up, so with that in mind, my goal for February, for A Lovely Year of Finishes, is to get Embers to a completed quilt:

Swoon Top

Embers has been a completed quilt top for a long time… Since November of 2013, in fact. I’ve got the binding fabric and batting furnished. I need to figure out a backing fabric. The batting I have is a dark batting to prevent white bearding through the top, so I need a backing that is sufficiently dark colored enough to not show the batting.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Swapping Fool

16 03 2013

Because I apparently don’t have enough to sew for myself (ha!), I like to join swaps. I like the fun and challenge of sewing for someone else every now and again. I love that it’s a way for me to break from my project monogamy without committing to another full blown project, at least until it’s my month. And even then, the blocks are done. I can let them percolate until I’m ready to assemble a top and get to quilting.

For most of the last year, I’ve been participating in the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! Swap. This one has been a lot of fun. The vast majority of my fellow swappers are on different continents from me. Getting to see their work is enlightening and inspiring. For the month of March, Debra asked for water-themed blocks, like boats, lighthouses and bridges.

Boat Block

After browsing the internet, and Debra’s inspiration photos, I decided to draw up my own blocks for Debra. This boat block is a spin off several traditional blocks. I decided to give the sails some masts and made the boat itself a little bigger. Still, it was a nice and easy block to put together, with basic shapes throughout. Everything but the white was pulled out of my scraps.


Coming up with the lighthouse was a little more difficult. This is actually a riff off of a machine embroidery image I saw online. With the exception of the two prints making the house attached to the lighthouse, all of the oranges came from my scrap bin.

This past month, I’ve joined two more swaps. The first of the two is the Fat Stash Bee. This one is cool – each month’s queen sends one fat quarter or two fat eighths to the rest of the participants. She then posts to the group her guidelines for what she would like made with these fabrics. For the month of March, Jenny requested flying geese, in blocks ranging from 8″ to 16″. Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to see how many geese I could get in a 16″ block. A Flock in a Block, if you will:

A Flock in a Block

The second swap that I joined this month is the Granny Block Bee. Yes, I finally drank the Granny Block Kool-Aid.

It’s my own darn fault for cutting my scraps down. I now have tons of 2.5″ squares that are just begging to have something done with them. Thus, Granny Blocks. The Granny Block Bee uses the tutorial posted at Blue Elephant Stitches, and there are two queens a month, which means four blocks a month for this bee. I started late, so there was February and March to make for.

Each queen makes specific requests regarding their desired colors, though we’re all using Kona White as the background fabric to provide some uniformity.

Granny Block Bee1. Granny Block Bee 01, 2. Granny Block Bee 02, 3. Granny Block Bee 03,
4. Granny Block Bee 04, 5. Granny Block Bee 05, 6. Granny Block Bee 06,
7. Granny Block Bee 07, 8. Granny Block Bee 08

I’m very pleased with how quickly these go together, and I might start piecing some for myself in between blocks for other projects. Yes, I’ll be receiving some when it’s my month, but I think I’d like to end up with a couple of lap-sized quilts when all is said and done. My mother-in-law is moving to a new apartment at the beginning of April, and I think it would be neat to finally gift her with a quilt. Also, I have some friends that I’d like to give a quilt to.

Apparently self-discipline is a thing in the Grey Cat Quilts household now, because all of the blocks are done and stuffed into envelopes, and arrangements have been made for JohnPaul to ship them out for me. I’m all caught up, which is just crazy.

Fresh Sewing Day, February Edition

1 02 2013
Lily's Quilts

January was a very busy month for me! Lots of swap blocks done, for the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! Swap. A re-purposed floor mat for my kitchen. Major progress on blocks for the Test Your Skills Sampler. A quilt top sandwiched and pinned, ready for quilting – and I even inadvertently named it. A couple of blocks for the Farmer’s Wife Sampler.

Too bad the busy streak won’t continue for a while – my mother-in-law is temporarily in a nursing home, recuperating from her second full knee replacement, so I don’t have even the free Saturdays and Sunday mornings I had before 😦 I’m hoping to eke some time out over the next month, but not holding out much hope. With his schedule being disrupted by not seeing Grandma on a near-daily basis, Zeb is a little more clingy than usual. Poor kid gets totally thrown for a loop when his schedule is messed with.

Month of January

1. OMG, 2. Neutral Cabin 01, 3. Neutral Cabin 02, 4. Neutral Cabin 03, 5. Neutral Cabin 04, 6. Neutral Cabin 05, 7. Neutral Cabin 06, 8. 36_Patch_02, 9. 36_Patch_01, 10. String Web 02, 11. String Web 01, 12. Completed Mat, 13. Filler Blocks II, 14. Filler Blocks I, 15. Filler Blocks III, 16. Snowball & Nine Patch, 17. Bullseye, 18. Basket BOM, 19. Basket BOM Backing, 20. Capital T, 21. Dutchman’s Puzzle, 22. Card Trick, 23. Pinwheel Fillers, 24. Basket, 25. Indian Hatchet

I’d like to complete the Farmer’s Wife top by the end of February. Then, of course, I have to figure out how I will quilt it. I’d like to be able to quilt all of my tops myself, but I’m sort of limited. My quilting table is too small for the quilts I’ve been making. I can use Sandi’s frame and setup, but I’m sort of tied to staying at home most days until my mother-in-law is healed and up to baby-sitting an active five year old. (I’m selfishly hoping that I can figure out a sitter for sewing days.)

My plan is to purchase a sewing table, or have one built, so that I can focus on my FMQ skills. I’m sort of leaning toward purchasing the table, though it’ll be my ONE big quilting purchase for the year that I’m allowing myself. I just don’t need to invest in a lot of fabric again, and I’m honestly more interested in finishing my projects this year. I have gained a lot of skill and accuracy since I started blogging about quilting, and I’m ready to take the step into entering some of my finishes into quilt shows. I may not win anything, but I want to get out there, to challenge myself, to push my creativity and skill.

Other things to accomplish by the end of February? 1.) Design and get some quilt labels printed up via Spoonflower. Some will be specially designed labels for the quilts that I have in production. Others will just have blank spaces that I can embroider the quilt’s information, though they’ll have my ‘branding’. 2.) Design and print the color labels for  my scrap buckets. 3.) Re-organize my sewing area. I now have another unit for storage, and it’s about time I use it! 4.) Get to the gym more. I’d like to go three times a week, minimum. Right now, that means I need to add Saturday mornings to my rotation, as well as ensuring that I go on Monday and Wednesday evenings after work. 5.) Train myself to wake up earlier, so that I can do some exercising before I go to work, since getting to the gym has been a challenge.