Saturday, May 30, 2009

Week 5 nine patches one. I tossed in a Neptune square as I was cleaning up. I really like this group - the pink and green ones and that bird peaking out turned out just as I wanted.

I went back and forth on the green Bijoux square a bunch of times before I decided it would be good. Then when I uploaded the photo, I finally saw how little contrast it really has. Thumbnails can be very helpful - kind of like the squinty eye technique. (You know, where you kind of squint and blur your eyes a bit to make sure all the colors are evenly distributed. I used to do this when I was little at Christmas time...when the strings of tree lights were those large screw-in bulbs. If there was too much of one color clumped together after the squint-test, I would swap bulbs around to fix it!)

This was a surprise favorite for me! I've had them cut and been looking for a good pair for those crazy orange, pink and yellow circles for a couple of weeks. I was starting to think they weren't going to work with anything. Once I turned over the final, ironed square I couldn't believe how much I liked it!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Road to addiction

As I've mentioned before, I'm generally crafty, and have always been. Having discovered the craft world on the Internet, my links of blog favorites grew quickly. The problem for a craft addict lies in how easily suggestive they are!

A most wonderful Nom - from a little dear pattern

Ravelry and knitting blogs led to craft sewing, led to embroidery, led to modern softies, led to paper crafting, led to.....

And so, to help push others into new crafty addictions, I thought I would show a couple of embroidery projects I did recently.

I used an Urban Threads design on this super cute t-shirt for my nephew. My husband lucked out and caught that huge drool - perfect for 'Where's me Grog?'!

This is a viking design I made from a picture a friend sent me. Sorry I don't know it's origin, but I thought it was so cool and translated it to an embroidery for Becket's shirt. Of course, he now refuses to wear it (what is up with that?!) So I may try to put some stabilizer on it and use it in a future quilt or pillow for myself.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Improv Pears done!

This was the second quilt I pieced and finally got it quilted and bound in time to Spring to Finish! It is 51" square.
I used 6" square piece of three different Kaufman pear prints at the center of each wonky log cabin block. They were a lot of fun to piece! After it was all done, I realized the green really wasn't as spring-y as I had pictured. I saw more of the dots than the overall, but I was not going to change it!
I pieced a leftover strip for the back.
I had great karma the day I joined all my binding - you can hardly see a single seam. There's one of them on the right of the top row. Even the point where the final join is made falls perfectly!

When it is cold and dreary next winter, I think this is be a fun quilt to warm-up under.

I washed that quilt with the Neptune coin quilt and did have a minor issue. I didn't pre-wash the linen and probably should have. While working with it, the 100% linen was so slippery and tended to unravel. That a led to square-ness issues overall and some edges that were less than 1/4" under the binding seam. This little section pulled out during the wash.

I ended up tucking it against the binding, then machine stitching a tight, narrow zig-zag along that area. You can hardly see the repair on either front or back - it blended into the texture of the linen. Hopefully I have stopped the pulling and fraying.

As a side note, the quilt went from 51x64 before washing to 49x62.5 All linen will be pre-washed going forward.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quilt nightmare

My oldest and youngest sons were both confirmed positive for type A flu yesterday. So I've been laying on the floor with the youngest in his fever the last two nights. I covered up with my Neptune coin quilt - it was so nice and cozy (but could be a touch wider and longer). During one snippet of sleep, I dreamed that the quilt did not survive the night, with many areas of binding coming off and the quilting unraveling! In Becket's words, "Mama, this is a bad day."

It looks like the fevers have since broke and with the help of five Tamiflu precriptions, one for each of us, things will continue to improve. My quilt survived and I was able to finish the binding on another during nap time. Both are going into the wash. Hopefully the clouds clear tomorrow and I can get some good pictures of the newly crinkled quilt.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quick nine patch update

Before I have to post two week's worth, I better show my week 4 nine patch blocks! I actually have a full yard of that yellow Michael Miller with the appliances and jello - I'm strangely drawn to it and hope to find a good use.
The long weekend was busy, but I wanted to share what a 6th grader looks like when his parents are yelling and cheering as he marches past in a parade. It's hard to hide behind a trumpet!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Injury is good?

STILL doing yard work. The neighbor jokingly commented that it is like watching the slaves build the pyramid. We finally finished re-planting most of the beds, now we're moving 15 cubic yards of mulch from our driveway to all those beds. For those that haven't had the horror of mulch dumped into their driveway - 15 cubic yards looks like a small mountain after the dump truck leaves. What a way to spend the long holiday weekend, eh!?
I did get a break yesterday as I was forced to sit and ice my knee. It seems that I've been bending too much and now it is terribly swollen. Hurray for injury (I'm telling myself!) as I had time to work on stitching down my binding. Just a couple more breaks like that and then I can finally show the finished quilt!

And just for fun, here are a few whirlygiggle blocks. I'm addicted and will share some more of this picnic quilt next week. We're off to grill and watch Caleb march in the parade.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Busy as a bee

I decided what to do with the two Neptune layer cakes that came in the quilt kit I bought. I'll make a Bento Box for Becket's room (B Cubed). The layer cake squares will work wonderfully for this. I can get 3 light and 3 dark blocks out of each pair of matching 10x10 squares.

I'm going to use only the blues, blacks, and greens - the lights are all going to be Kona's premium 200ct muslin. It feels like a soft, cool bed sheet. Should be perfect for his room! I only have those two test blocks done so far, as I have been more busy FOR the BEES than sewing.

Yesterday we were out from 8am until 8pm planting and moving stuff. I started counting it up, and stopped at 100 things: perennials, shrubs, grasses, and a few annual pots.

I still have to do the vegetable garden, and add some irrigation.

But first I'll take a break and make some more 2.5" squares for my nine patch blocks before I'm too far behind!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So close

I had all the blocks quickly pieced for this wall-hanging quilt and laid them out for joining. Guess I was too quick - that center, left block is wrong. I'll be unpicking it tonight.
I don't know which is worse, frogging my knitting or unpicking seams?!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ending and Starting

Motivated to get in another Spring to Finish quilt, last night I stippled an improv top that has been sitting for a while. The binding is cut and ready, so I just had to pull a pile for a small hanging quilt.
I'm getting the hang of cutting my fabric - hurray!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Week three 9 patch

My third week's nine patch blocks. It is getting harder to decide how to create them, and I was even more worried when I realized we have seven more weeks to go!
As I wonder if all the blocks will 'go together', I think I will have to start trusting more in the magic of the white sashing.
I've also started my Aviary quilt. Those are honey bun strips in sets of three. I must say I was quite proud of myself when I measured the center strips and they were actually 1" wide! I think my seams are getting better.

Liz, over at Teeny Tiny Quilts, asked what we listen to while quilting. Becket took a kid-sized view of my spot in the front room that shows my iHome back there.

I usually listen to various NPR podcasts (This American Life, Planet Money) and The Moth podcast. Nothing I'm doing right now is rocket science, so it's fun to let my mind wander. It actually seems to help when I'm free motion quilting - the result is more organic and prettier if I don't over think it. I have to use the earbuds when actually quilting a top, though. Otherwise you miss all the funny stuff to the hum of the needle. What do you listen to?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Honu kala pa'a - finished!

I have been dieing to share my finished coin quilt - had to wait for some sun to get good pictures.
Honu kala pa'a - roughly Hawaiian turtle coins. I made it to remind me of the wonderful trips we've taken to Maui and Kauai.

I love it! Tula Pink's Neptune line - three charm packs and a bit of yardage for back and binding. It is sashed with 100% white linen, also on the back.

The other solid on the back is cotton oxford shirting. It was a substitute when I realized I forgot to buy enough linen for the back. A happy accident, it was wonderful to work with and I'll certainly look for more to use again. I got that piece for a huge bargain at JoAnn's, but it is considered a fall fabric, so I have to wait just a bit to find it again. I decided to feature some of my favorite charm squares on the back, and I like this the best with the sea turtles.

The black print is perfect for the binding.

Neptune really is amazing, so when I saw that Hancocks of Paducah had the quilt kit on sale for nearly 50% off, I had to have it. The kit came with two layer cakes, nine fat quarters, and finally 5/8 yd and 1 1/2 yd cuts. Ooooh, pretty.....

(tossed in 3 yards of Bijoux - on sale, already paying for shipping and all)

We decided to do Becket's room in a kind of Hawaiian sea-theme with underwater and waterfall photos we've taken. I'll probably use just the blues, blacks and greens. I just have to choose what pattern to make.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pressing Issues

I had a little experiment going yesterday while working on my 9-patch squares. I usually press all my seems open - I like how neat and flat the blocks turn out. But, being pretty new to the exactness of quilting, I often get corners like this:

Lame, shifty squares. I pin, follow the presser foot, try to rotary cut perfectly - nothing seems to help 100% of the time if I have to match up more than one seam across. But see how nice and smooth those seams are? So I tried a couple of blocks pressing the seams to one side or the other, then nested them.

Ooohh, pretty corner. But look at that huge cliff on top of the orange dots!

That awesome dotty fabric was sent to me by my new internet-friend, Chen. Happy, Fun mail!

I did a few more pressing to the side and all ended up nicely aligned, but lumpy. Sitting back and thinking on which thing would annoy me less, as well as what would show less once quilted.

I decided to go with side pressing - but opening up the final seam, since they are all going to be sashed and not directly joined. As I go along with more experience, I may change my mind, but this seams (couldn't resist the pun) best for now.

And also, thanks for all the nice comments about my finally-hung quilt! I think I may make a few specifically for hanging. They make the wall look so happy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Week two 9-patches

My second week of 9-patch blocks were a Free Spirit fest. I have been hording Park Slope - I'm strangely drawn to it. It was fun to actually use it! The pebbles are my favorites, though, and I have them in all three colorways.

I also tossed in some cute Heather Ross fish to add to the fun!

I was going to do a block with the solid pink and Mendocino mermaids, but I didn't think the scale was going to work.

I finally hung my first quilt, and I'm so happy with how it looks on the wall. I was motivated to do it one morning, and it was just me and the 3 yr old. I had him take a picture while I held it on the wall so I could decided on placement. That actually worked out really well. I only had to mount the holders to the wall once!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy {stash} Mother's Day.... me - from Fabric Shack! I ordered late Wednesday afternoon. The soft, wonderful package arrived Saturday afternoon.


Kaufman Flowers and solids

Fun Stuff

A couple of pre-cuts

And a fun free gift of some machine needles! They always include some kind of treat (including yummy root beer barrels once). Happy folded-stash Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Finishing is good

I was indecisive yesterday - nothing seemed right. So I went to flicker and opened this - I really love her color sense - then made an online visit to the Fabric Shack. I'll be sure to share that nice package when it arrives!

Motivation finally moved me last night and I got the binding sewn on the Neptune quilt. Becket declared it 'Beautiful, it sure is'.

Big up side to actually getting things done, is I now have a tidy little pile of the black tone-on-tone left over from the binding ends! Since I cut my binding strips 2.5" wide, I was able to quickly chop it into squares for my 9-patch blocks.

Speaking of which, I'm having a FreeSpirit fest with them this week. These are some more of my favorite fabrics that I had not been able to cut.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tool Tuesday

I just had to share how awesome this Sewline fabric pencil is! It was part of the cool prize package I won from Moda before Christmas.

I must say I was a tad skeptical that the Sewline pencil would be any different than the 5 other marking tools I already had - none of which work all that well.
I think my mouth dropped open then first time I used it. That is my black binding fabric for the Neptune coin quilt I'm working on. [yes, I have to draw the line]

The white ceramic lead draws an amazingly smooth, clear, crisp line. One pass! And it comes off with a dab of water or the eraser attached to the other end! Just like a regular mechanical pencil, it holds 6 leads and the package came with a 6-lead refill. There are also other colors for light fabric. Since I totally lucked out and got it for free, I don't even know how much thing runs. But whatever it is, it's worth every cent!
You need it. You'll love it. Go get one now!

I thought I would give a little peak of the freshly quilted Neptune this binding will go on, but you get Becket, too. He grabbed the other digital camera for the photo shoot....

And got some better pictures than I did, I think!

While downloading, I found one of me setting up the pencil shot - not long before he has his own blog!