30 09 2013

Can I tell you all something?

Of all the blocks in the world that I could make, i would probably do just about anything to avoid making log cabins. I find them so tedious!

Inevitably, though, log cabins are requested at least once in each swap. Sometimes, multiple times.

And so I make them, because I want my swap partners to be happy, and to enjoy what I send them.

Log Cabin 01

Log Cabin 02
Lisa was actually the queen for August in the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! Swap, but I fell behind, and then just avoided making these. But I got my stuff together tonight, finally. Mostly because fabric from the October queen in the Fat Stash Bee arrived, and I realized that I would be perilously close to being two months behind. And that just wasn’t acceptable – I’d been up to date until the beginning of the fall semester.

Anyway, I got my tush in gear, and made two. Lisa requested these in any colors we wanted. I decided to return to my favorite standbys of gray and chartreuse, and then to make one in my new favorites of raspberry and tangerine. Of course, having made that chartreuse and gray block, I have this urge to run and buy as much fabric as I can in this color – it’s desperately low in my stash. It was actually kind of a challenge to come up with enough fabrics in that particular shade.

Tomorrow, it’s time to make some more of October’s blocks, and then I can return to Swoon blocks.


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 🙂 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.


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 First Sewing Session

4 04 2013

Yesterday, I had an evening without kiddo – he’s at Grandma’s through tomorrow because Daddy’s going on another business trip and someone needs to be able to shuttle kiddo to and from school while I’m at work. So, obviously, I sewed.

Because that’s what I do.

Last night was a swap block night. I needed to make two more granny blocks for April, and at least two blocks for the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! swap. I ended up making the two granny blocks, and four blocks for the other swap.

Granny Bee Block 12

Granny Bee Block 11

Liz requested blocks in which the center-most square and the outer blocks were comprised of solids or read-as-solids fabrics. They should coordinate with the print used for the middle ring.

I worked slightly backwards, and pulled my solids first, using some of what I have leftover from Technicolor Fields. Then I found multi-color prints that coordinated with those solids.

Nicky Block 01

Nicky Block 02

Nicky Block 03

Nicky Block 04

Nicky requested blocks based on instructions that she posted on her blog. Since I cut from yardage, I didn’t follow her instructions. She also requested brights fabrics, a total no-brainer for me. I decided to go half and half with these, as to how the values laid out.

I still have one more block to make for the month of April. I’m hoping to get that churned out tonight, and then get more progress made on Frankenstein.

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.

February Swap Blocks

2 02 2013

February is Helen’s month. She requested Patchwork Square in a Square Blocks from The Sometimes Crafter blog. This is a nice simple block, especially since I’ve a bunch of my scraps pre-cut into 2.5″ squares, so I was determined to finish this early this month. I want to get all of my blocks sent out, since I’m woefully behind on that.

Helen asked us to pick at least one 2.5″ square of fabric that we felt symbolized us, and to tell the rest of the group why we chose the square and what the fabric meant to us.

Patchwork Square in a Square 1

In this block, I included a couple of very favorite fabrics that I just had to have. The pink and white fabric in the top row is a Day of the Dead print by Alexander Henry. The fabric in the lower right corner of the inner square  is another fabric that I couldn’t live without.

Patchwork Square in a Square 2

Here, I added a couple of patches from the Eclipse line by Exclusively Quilters. This was the first (and last) fabric line that made me buy nearly all of the fabrics in it. This was a major learning experience for me, as I sat on the fabric for the better part of two years, because I just didn’t know what to do with it. I would look at the fabrics together, and just feel my creativity so limited by the matchy-matchiness of the fabrics. It was only by collecting several grey and yellow fabrics for the Botanical BOM that I was able to break free of my mental block.

It’s a good start to February, to be able to check off an item of my to-do list. Tonight, I’ll package all of the swap blocks to be sent out, and that’ll be another item off the list. I’m also hoping to plan the next row in the Farmer’s Wife sampler, or perhaps work on the Test Your Skills Sampler. It all depends on kiddo and how easily he hits the hay at bedtime.

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.)



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.