Saturday’s Sewing

24 01 2013

This past Saturday, I got together with Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts for another sewing day. My goal has been to catch up on the Test Your Skills Sampler, so that I can move on to writing the next tutorials with a clear conscience, and so that I have a top ready to go when all is said and done.

Pinwheel Fillers

Pinwheel filler blocks.. Nice and easy HSTs. The nearly mindless piecing of these was kind of nice.

Card Trick

Card Trick didn’t come out exactly as I’d intended… I’d planned for it to match the color placement from the ‘bright and white’ color plan for the TTYS Sampler. I was not, however, going to pick it apart.

I have to say that I absolutely love this block, and the motion that using that particular print in four different colors gives it.

Dutchman's Puzzle

I really like how Dutchman’s Puzzle came out. I was a tad bit persnickety about ensuring that the directional print flowed the same direction in all four quadrants.

Capital T

Capital T – I like the contrast between the two prints here, in nearly every way. Stripe vs. circles. Purples vs. olive green.

As I make these blocks, I’m happier and happier that I went with the Kona cotton Lake for the background fabric. It’s atypical, and leads to a low-volume appearance in a good number of these blocks. I can’t wait to see these all together.

I’d been hoping to get completely caught up on the sampler blocks, but between hubby and kiddo on Monday, I didn’t get much sewing time. Not a big deal – I’ve four days of vacation time from banked from last year to use. I’m just debating on when to use them, though I’m thinking early February would be good. I’m ready for some time off since I didn’t take any through the holidays.

My productivity continues, though, and it’s spreading! I’ve been cooking – a lot. Yesterday, it was several quarts of chili so that I could freeze some and have some fairly quick meals ready. Tomorrow, I’m cooking down a bunch of chicken, shredding it and freezing it, so that I can do chicken tacos and enchiladas with less hassle. I’ll do the same with some pork this weekend I think. I’ll probably also make

Dieting is going okay – I cut a bunch of vegetables for last Stitch ‘N’ Bitch for salads. What we didn’t eat that Saturday, I’ve been working my way through in salads and snacks. The upside is that I’ve nearly killed the tendency to snack on unhealthful, additive-ridden foods. The downside is that I feel constantly hungry right now. I have to re-learn to eat several small meals throughout the day again.

Total diet failure was my attempt to substitute in some shrimp in place of my normal chicken or pork. I made a shrimp stir fry, using a bunch of my pre-cut vegetables. You’d think that was a win, right?

Not so much.

I don’t like the taste of shrimp. It tastes like beach. Dirty beach. Unless it’s in sushi. No offense to those of you who like shrimp, but I’ll be avoiding that particular food from now on.

I am determined, however, to hit the Asian grocery in town. They sell whole Tilapia, and I love that particular fish. I grew up eating it freshly caught, and I have no qualms about preparing it. I have been craving other shellfish though. Crab sounds amazing right about now, but that might just be the fact that my stomach is reminding me that it’s been four hours since I ate, and I’m due for a snack before I try to hit the hay.

I also tried hummus, for the second time. My first time was considerably less than delicious. I attempted to make it at home, from what I now realize is a sub-par recipe. This time around, I tried a commercial hummus, a spicy red pepper version, and it was… not bad. Definitely an acquired taste, and I preferred it when it had been in a very cold fridge for a few hours. I’m planning to try a more garlicky flavored one, and I’ve heard that there’s a black olive one out there. Mwahahaha.

I have to get back on the workout horse – I’m hoping to do that tomorrow. I need to make it a habit. What I do have going for me there is that I’ve been helping to motivate my best friend and work mate, Adam. He’s also not happy with his weight, and has a membership at the same gym I do. I’m our conscience for the moment – and I’m okay with that. I’m intensely driven to do this for myself, especially as my mother-in-law in the hospital having undergone her second complete knee replacement.

Still, in all of this, I got back into a size 16 pair of jeans this weekend. Despite the lack of actual weight loss, this means that the weight is re-distributing, exchanging fat out for muscle. I’m okay with that. Being a smaller size is a nice side-benefit of this dieting and exercise thing. I’ll be healthier, and that’s the important thing.

Okay, enough rambling… time to find a lo-cal snack before bed.


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…


…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.

TYSS Fabrics Selected

1 10 2011

My Kona Lake arrived on Thursday of this past week. Yes, in fact, I had ordered it two weeks ago. mistakenly sent me a truly hideous six yards of some slate blue print that had different pairs of ice skates all over it. Actually, there really aren’t words for me to describe this stuff, so a photo will have to suffice:

Needless to say, I was pretty well horrified. Any person that I’ve sewn with or has seen my stash knows that I’m just not a novelty fabric person. Thankfully, switched out the fabrics with no fuss, but I was delayed in picking out my fabrics as a result.

Now, I was going to work on my Kona Solids Challenge today. Upon sitting down to actually sew some of it, I realized that I just didn’t feel like I had enough different fabrics to produce the right number of gradients.

So, yes, I did go and order two more Kona Cotton Charm packs, and the Kona Color Card, thank you very much. Yes, I know that my self-control sucks. What do you expect? I’m a quilter, which means that I and a serious fabric addiction go hand in hand. Needless to say, that particular challenge project is being put on the back burner until my goodies arrive.

Moving on…

Using the highly scientific method of draping fabric over the back of my couch, I first auditioned the blocks I’d made for the Skill Builder Series tutorials. I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that I really liked how the majority of them worked. The fabric on the far right is my binding fabric.

I converted the photo to black and white, so that I could judge values. I was surprised to find that I liked having the yellow fabric. My eyes had deceived me, and it’s actually lighter in value than the Kona Lake. Not by a lot, but enough to make a difference. This made me decide against the fabrics in the far left block. That salmon color just gets lost against the Kona Lake.

I played a little more, a process which I did not document in photos, but should have… I ended up discarding the yellow floral entirely, and switching in another yellow. With the exception of the brown background dots fabric, all of my selections are tone on tone, or nearly so. (Gee, what a surprise, right?)

I knew right away that I wanted to keep the three fabrics on the left. Despite the similarity in color to the background, I opted for the teal on the far right. I needed something other than that spruce green to bring some balance to the otherwise very warm tones I’m using. The yellow floral got switched, as I’d mentioned before, but mainly because I like the idea of having three prints that have a circular motif to them. I played with a couple of different shades of wine red (I have a lot to pick from), but ultimately went with the print shown above because of the lack of gray in the color. I needed something fairly pure in tone to foil against the very vibrant orange.

It’s serendipitous that the fabric that I picked for the binding coordinates so well, especially considering that I didn’t have any of my blocks with me at the WI Quilt Expo. And I totally winged picking the color of my background, just praying that the Kona Lake was close enough to the very pale aqua in the striped fabric that I wouldn’t notice a difference. I got really lucky.

And now, maybe I can actually go sew something!