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





Making Stars

22 04 2013

I finally got a chance to start piecing my string quilt.

Okay, the other string quilt.

Yes, I now have two currently on the go. One will use fairly typical blocks – a simple 6″ square, with a strip of white down the middle to provide some rest. The other – Swirling Sea of Stars is officially underway! I got two blocks done – one was actually finished in the few minutes I had before I left for work this morning.

So far, my star points meet up reasonably well. I unfortunately had to print on 20# copy paper, due to the size of these quadrants, so I was kind of stressing whether or not that paper was too thick.

Scrappy Star 01

Scrappy Star 02

Once again, I find myself preferring the more narrow strips, but I refuse to go back and split those wider strings. The variety is needed, and they aid greatly in completing these string blocks.

I am eager to see how the darker solids look in this pattern, so I am going to do a set tonight with the purple and orange in the stars tonight. If I can keep to a set a day, I should be able to get this top done.





Swirling Sea of Stars

24 03 2013

Spinning Spider Web

I know! Another quilt design, and yet one more intended to help me do away with my scraps and stash. I have to admit that this particular idea has been swimming around in my brain for about six months, gestating until it was ready to spring forth fully formed, like Athena from the cranium of Zeus.

In cleaning my sewing space and reorganizing my fabric stash, I came across fabrics that had been purchased with the intention of becoming an Ironworks quilt. I generally try to make each pattern that Sandi makes public, because I think she’s awesomely creative with designing quilts, and because her designs allow me to try new things. Such was the intent with Ironworks – a purely solid quilt, something that I haven’t yet done.

It’s been a while, though, since I bought these fabrics, and I find that I’d really rather not make Ironworks, at least for now. Rather, I’m very much of a mind to continue the pursuit of eliminating my scraps and using what I have on hand.

The design above allows me to do both of these things. Approximately two yards of each solid will be needed, which is what I have on hand. Another 1.25 yards will be needed for the binding, according to EQ7. This too, is easily accomplished. Five fabrics were purchased for Ironworks, and four of them will be used in the body of the quilt top. I’ll simply use the fifth fabric for binding.

For the sake of accuracy, I’ll paper-piece these. I’ll also use these as a leaders and enders project, to keep from getting burned out on these, as I have with the scrappy blocks for Frankenstein.