Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting it Done January report, February goals

January's four Getting it Done challenge goals were reached, with a couple of tweaks:

1.  Finish chevron tablerunner.  The quilting was done today and the binding attached--but I'm calling it DONE.  I used Heather Mulder Peterson's tutorial for the odd angles on the runner and think they will turn out nice; I'm going to try her fast hand stitching method for sewing down the binding on the back. 




2.  Make heart block tablerunners for Shoppe sales.  I changed from tablerunners to mug mats instead, but this job is DONE.
3.  Trace at least 4 designs for Greenpiece wool applique blocks and cut out of wool. I ended up tracing 18 designs and beginning the stitching on the wool appliques, so am calling this DONE.
4.  Do unsewing on Mystery quilt back and repair to correct length. Despite a couple of missteps along the quilt backing is now the correct size, so this job is DONE.

Four for Four and feeling great about that!  

Now for February: 
1.   Complete custom quilting on Caramel Blues quilt.   (This poor quilt has been on the UFO list for two years and is 2/3 finished.)
2.  Sandwich, quilt and bind Garden Pinwheels quilt for Shoppe sale.  (I made the flannel backing last week and have the binding picked out already.)
3.  Complete 10 wool applique blocks.  ( I plan to stitch away while working my shifts at the Shoppe--it is a very slow time of year for gift shops.)
4.  Lay out Picnic blocks and assemble top.  

These four things should keep me busy but still allow plenty of other stitching to be fit in. Setting these goals down in writing gives me focus on moving these projects along.  Deadlines, even self imposed, helps a lot!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ongoing GID

Although yesterday was supposed to include a trip to the Getty Center with my mom and visiting Cousin Florence, somehow I tweaked my back/hip and had to cancel.  I think it happened the night before, when I was simultaneously trying to lift and lower a  heavy pillow to the floor while twisting, balanced on my other elbow, and scooting back under the covers.  Bad idea.  As sitting and bending were painful and I didn't want to spend the day in bed, standing was all that was left if I wanted to get anything done.  So I set up the light box on my raised cutting table and got to tracing the wool applique blocks for the Greenpiece BOM that is on the Getting it Done challenge list.

On the GID list I wanted to get at least four designs traced, but since I was already doing the job, I finished the remaining 18 blocks' worth of tracing onto freezer paper.  Some of these pieces are tiny!  I'm doing the simpler ones first to build up my skills. 

I proceeded with the buttonhole stitching on the poor lonely butterfly block that has been prepped for awhile, followed by prep of the second block with Roxanne's glue.

I got as far last night as the background flower and two leaves on the second block.  I do enjoy this simple embroidery work! These pics were taken with my new smartphone since my dumbphone stopped working suddenly and had to be replaced.  The camera is very good and I'll enjoy using it, especially for the closeups that my regular point-and-shoot did poorly.  That will also mean one less thing to carry in my purse!  Today my back/hip is better and I plan to attack my sewing room redo.  I'm hoping for a less cluttered look and better organization at the end of the next few days. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Design Wall Monday--Jan 28, 2013

On my design surface today is the backing for Judy's Mystery Quilt, one of the projects on my Getting it Done list.  Last week I shared the mistaken removal of the side border instead of the bottom border, which is what needed to be removed in order to add additional length to this poor, chopped up mess of a backing! Anyway, after yet another session of unsewing and resewing I have this to show:

This is the ugliest corner with all the multiple seams.  I had to add 13" in length to the previously miscut backing, and that required piecing three sections together so that the motif was the right orientation.  This fabric is "Indonesia" by April Cornell.  Thank goodness I bought plenty of extra fabric!

Seen from a galloping horse, the print is seemingly busy enough to hide all that extra seaming nonsense on this backing.

The final test was double checking that the backing is indeed longer than the front, and yes, the test was passed.  I sure cut it close on the width, however, so will have to be extra careful when pinning the layers.  Glad I can cross this repair off the list now!  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ups and Downer

Flitting from project to project results in a mixed bag of things to share.  First, I got the inner borders attached to the modern pinwheel quilt.


 
Inspector Mini approved this stage of the assembly without comment.  I'll be hunting for an outer border fabric tomorrow at the Road to California show.  I'm thinking a larger print of some sort.

It was very slow at the Shoppe today so I got the binding all stitched down on one project.  I settled on  "Toy Sink" as the name for this wall hanging made from leftovers of my Kitchen Sink quilt.  

 
Today I also finished the buttonhole stitching on all the pieces for this wool table mat that has been making the trip to the Shoppe for several weeks.
 
I purchased the Primitive Gatherings kit while in Cincinnati at the International Quilt Festival nearly two years ago.  There were supposed to be small dark squares as a third layer to this design, but when I was working on the buttonhole stitching on the plane ride home, it was so turbulent that I put away the small squares in a baggie and quickly made these giant cross-stitches through each remaining pair of squares.  I used DMC Perle cotton in size 8 in two different greens.  At first I was removing the cross-stitch but then decided I liked how it was even more primitive looking, so let it be.


 
This homespun from the kit has been ironed on and fray-checked per the instructions, then black thread will be added in a buttonhole stitch all the way around.  Nearly done!
 

However, for the Getting it Done challenge, as another downer in the ongoing saga of mistakes with the quilt backing for Judy's Mystery Quilt, I removed the SIDE border instead of the BOTTOM border.  This is what happens when you don't unfold the quilt but instead leave it on the hanger, thinking you have it folded LENGTHWISE, when instead you have it folded CROSSWISE.  Sigh.  But, while there will be some resewing happening, I fortunately didn't cut anything! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I'm Working On Wednesday

Yesterday my sole errand was taking my mom to LAX airport.  Afterwards I was free to do as I pleased, and that included a trip to Homegoods and a large Joann's store in a nearby city.  Wow, those big stores have way more to look at.  I spent a pleasant near hour wandering around Homegoods, a decor store with everything you never knew you wanted to put in your home :)  There was no "have to have it now" item so I left with my wallet no lighter.  However, it was a bit of a different story at Joann's.

 Cute button knobs to replace the plain Jane brass ones on my sewing desk.  These were on sale.

Rack for my GO! cutter dies and mats, on clearance for under $10.  I also got another length of flannel for a quilt back, a couple of remnants, some adorable little embroidery kits I neglected to take a photo of, and some much needed machine needles. 

 Later I stitched together all the remaining leader-ender four patch pairs by my machine and played with a layout.

 I thought this was a bit more interesting than single square chains.  Above is a rectangular layout. 

But I think I prefer this symmetrical one.  I am short one four patch but that will easily be remedied.  This would end up about 32" square before borders, which seems a good size to start with for a square table topper.  Opinions?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Design Wall Monday-Jan 21, 2013

On my design surface today is a top in progress. These modern pinwheels came from some leftover 2 x 5 bricks I cut for this quilt in about, oh, 2005!

 Layout before sewing the rows...
...and with an option for an inner border.  This will be a lap sized quilt but needs to be a bit wider.  I played with putting the lined up little squares between the vertical rows but preferred the block to block setting of the pinwheels.  I have nothing suitable for an outer border in my stash, unfortunately, so will have to shop.  Poor me :)  I'm going to the Road to CA show this weekend so surely can find something there.

All the Picnic blocks are finished.  There are 109 blocks here; I need 108 for my desired 9x12 block quilt.  During the layout I may switch out a few of the brown blocks for more gold ones, as I wanted gold as my secondary color to the green.  Those striped blocks may have to go if they are too distracting!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Forward

Forward is a destination I'm aiming for this year, in more ways than one.  In that vein, several quilt projects in play are getting due attention in rounds:

On the Getting it Done challenge, the four items of the month were:
1.  Finish Chevron tablerunner.  Not yet completely done, but well on its way.  Today I pieced batting and got the backing cut, sandwiched and pin basted, and quilted in the cream chevrons.  I consulted with the recipient (DD Elaine) a few days ago for a quilting plan and we both decided to keep the colored chevrons unquilted.  I will attempt stippling in the red border with cream thread as she requested, but may not like it very much--we shall see if it stays or if I go buy red thread!


2.  Make heart block tablerunners for shoppe.  Done.  I opted for mug mats instead and have a small pile for sale at the Shoppe; however, none have yet sold.  January is a very slow month for sales everywhere, though, so I'm not particularly concerned.

3.  Trace at least 4 designs for Greenpiece BOM applique and cut out of wool.  Not done.  Tracing is on the agenda for tonight.

4.  Do unsewing on Judy's Mystery quilt backing and repair to correct length.  Not done.  The project did get pulled out of the closet and given a once over review.  I sure wish I had made notes for myself as to the repair process!  As I recall, the backing is about a foot short, which will make for some unattractive repairs since it is a pieced border with cornerstones, but hey, this quilt is for ME, who can overlook those things!

So one item is complete, one is 2/3 complete, two others incomplete, and it is 11 days from the end of the month.  Doing okay so far but need to step it up this week to make the deadline for this challenge.

Other progress was made on the Picnic quilt.  The remaining block pieces had been cut and stacked to the side of my sewing machine at least six weeks ago.  As of this post, only nine more blocks are waiting to be sewn.

Since this photo double the number are now complete.  Next will come layout and stitcheroo, yay!

Binding had been attached to the mini Kitchen Sink quilt but I forgot to add triangle corners for hanging, so that was done today as well.

All ready to stitch down the binding, then I can call it a finish.  I bought a small package of the Clover binding clips and do like them.  Maybe I should call this "Toy Sink" or "Bar Sink" for its mini status :).  Any votes?

Task List making on a daily basis is a habit I need to return to--it really helps me with that forward motion.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Toys and Packing

A very generous blogfriend offered me a chance to purchase some Accuquilt GO! dies she was selling.  I jumped at the chance and chose a few from her listing.  Since we live on opposite sides of the country and the dies needed to be mailed, she said she would add some odds and ends as packing around the dies.  The mailman was eagerly anticipated and the package not only did not disappoint, it was quilter fun with a cherry on top!

The dies I bought included Winding Ways, squares in 3.5 and 5", and 3.5 x 6.5 rectangle.  Looking forward to playing with those in the future. Stuffed around the dies were several lovely Fall panels with extra matching fabric, an adorable pile of completed basket blocks with many more cut and ready to assemble, bias cut handles and all...

 ...AND more fabric, 3 spools of thread, stitching papers, a stack of batik precut strips and MORE finished blocks.

These bullseye blocks have some of my favorite reds and greens and lots of repro prints.  Many thanks to Mary of Quilt Hollow for the best package filler I ever received!  All will be well used and loved :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday's Orts--Jan 15, 2013

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and happenings that land here semi-regularly.
  • Grant's employer has an annual awards banquet and that took place this past weekend at a fine hotel/resort in Newport Beach.  The invitation listed the event as semi-formal and I wore a knee length silk dress and Grant a suit and tie.  Looking around the ballroom, that clothing description escaped a number of the people who attended.  In what way are tight, shiny, pseudo leather leggings semi-formal?  Maybe in a biker bar, I guess, accompanied by the dude who could not bother to change out of his puffer down jacket and jeans.
  • I had a good laugh at the first menu item listed on the cards on the table: Assorted Dinner Rolls.   That seemed sort of unnecessary, coupled with the fact that the dinner rolls were, in fact, all the same.
  • There were some technical difficulties during the sales award presentations, with winners' names being displayed onscreen before the finalists had even been called to the front of the room.  I'm guessing there was a heated exchange with the audio-visual crew afterwards.
  • Traffic Rant:  Aggressive drivers in the HOV lane, who tailgate and threaten at high speeds, in a lane where it is illegal for cars to cross the double yellow line to get out of their way. 
  •  In preparing for the short trip, I was rummaging around in my semi-messy closet and suddenly slid into a cleaning/sorting binge.  One of the items unearthed was the first cross-stitch project I ever did.
My godmother bought me several embroidery kits over the years, and this is one of them.  I'd characterize this as Pennsylvania Dutch style.  It was a stamped piece of linen and took me a long time to finish.  Almost immediately afterwards I switched to counted cross-stitch because I didn't like the way the printing was off grain.  Under the crossbar of T in "without" you might be able to see where I went off the printing to keep the word straight.  I do still like the sentiment expressed in this stitchery.

Despite the date stamp of 1972, I'm sure I had this for a good while before I stitched it, since I recall doing it when I was living in Ojai sometime after high school.  One of those sticky boards and some masking tape were my cheap framing aids. The stitchery is stained and aged and I wonder if I should try to peel it off and wash it in Oxy.  Any opinions on the folly or sense in that?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Design Wall Monday--Jan 14, 2013

There is nothing on my design wall, but still some stitching has taken place.  Mostly quilting.

Mug mats for the craft shoppe quilted with a spiral and some zigzags, ready to be priced and sold.  Maybe I should sell them as a package deal? 

More mug mats for the craft shoppe in the heart mode, all quilted and bound. Since there are no actual Valentine fabrics, I hope these appeal to a broader range of folks who just like hearts.  I work this afternoon at the shoppe so will see if the ones I previously made were selling.  I have many more pieces cut and ready to make more.

Leader-enders from 2.5" squares are turning from twosies to four patches.  I did a rough count and will have about 80 four patches when this pile is sewn.  That will make a nice sized mini quilt, don't you think? See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday's Report

Boring post title--I'm in a hurry!   A friend is on her way here.

Hey, thanks for all the blue dot love.  As I replied to most of you, the blue dot was always in the lead but I was mourning its impending end, since I barely have enough to make the binding and then that beloved fabric will be gone.  But it was well used, so no real regrets! 

My sewing area once again looks like a bomb went off in there, I have been working on so many different things and getting distracted with ideas for my scraps, but there has been some sewing going on.

Trust me, there is another point on the end of that runner, I just couldn't seem to get it in the camera shot.  I let the amazing Bonnie of quiltville.com do the MATH--her tip sheets have saved me often.  This time to get the proportions for the triangle ends, I used her formula for on point settings, figuring that the end of the runner was like a corner block in an on point setting.   It worked perfectly and I am ready to go on to the backing and quilting.  Sigh of relief!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday's Orts--Jan 8, 2013

Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events of my week that land here semi-regularly.
  • I've had a crock pot for ten years and only used it about three times all those years.  Now I've used it twice in two weeks.  Tonight we had chicken tortilla soup. Yummm.  Except the title of the recipe was misleading since there were no tortillas in it; we ate them on the side.
  • Putting away all the Christmas decorations takes way longer than you think it will and there are always a few stragglers that get left out.  I found two today.
  • On New Year's Eve Grant and I went to see a movie that I highly recommend.  "Argo" is a story about six Americans who escaped from the American Embassy in 1979 when the Iranians took it over and held so many others hostage. They were protected by the Canadian Ambassadors who took them into their homes.  "Argo" is the scheme used to by the CIA agent played by Ben Affleck (who also directed) to try to get them out of Iran.  Amazing true story that no one knew anything about for many years.  And very entertaining!  There's a bit of cussing and some disturbing images.
  • Traffic rant:  Drivers who speed up when you are trying to merge onto the freeway, assuming WRONGLY that they have the right of way.  Nope! 
  • Who thought this was a good idea?

Spotted on the Christmas clearance aisle at Big Lots.  Can you imagine what it looks like when open?  Sadly, it was the only one on the shelf.  Which means that all the others must have sold. Eesh.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Design Wall Monday--Jan 7, 2013

First DWM of 2013--glad I have something to show for it, and thanks to Judy for continuing this well-loved feature.  On my design surface are a multitude of projects.  I've been sewing a LOT.

The pinwheels from scraps are laid out in tablerunner fashion.  The blocks are about 9 inches and a 4 x 3 block layout was just too small to do anything with.  Pondering if I want to make more blocks to play with or call this done and make it a real tablerunner. 

After dragging my feet for a few days--I needed TWO more HSTs of the red and white to complete the center--and had enough of the cream to do so, thankfully.  It will end up being about 40 inches long, I believe, so will be a table mat more than a runner.  I'll use the red for the borders, end triangles, backing and binding.  DD Elaine will get this and is excited about it. 

More scrap fun with red and green.  These will be mug mats for the Shoppe.  I'll do a stitch and turn on these, and use up some batting scraps in the process. 

More scrappy mug mats for the Shoppe.  Heart block pattern is from About.com.  The green calico I'm using for the backing has been in my stash for ages.  It once covered the walls in my daughters' room.  I've used it in so many quilts and will be happy to see the end of it finally!

Since this photo I quilted these four mug mats and bound them with leftover binding from my scrap bin.  I'll hand stitch them down this afternoon while I work at the Shoppe and put them out for sale.  I have a bunch more already cut in pink, and if popular, will make some in red.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Piecing and Posing

Once the holidays were concluded and some necessary tasks taken care of (i.e., holiday greetings finally mailed and the tree taken down), I could comfortably return to my regular programming in the sewing room.  So nice to return to piecing again.

A few rows for the chevron tablerunner are complete.  Next time I use the triangle-square cutting die, I think I will use the cut pieces as flying geese wings since this many HSTs was a lot to deal with in 2" finished size.  Of course, that would mean cutting a separate shape for the geese, which sort of defeats the purpose of the HST die cutter, but overall time would still be saved in not having to match quite so many seams while piecing. And I could use the 2.5" die to cut the geese bodies' length anyway! Ha. 

And here we see that quilt MATH has flattened me again.  I should have gone with my first instinct and cut the background shapes at 3.5" wide for these pinwheels, and not 3.25".  However, I did make this sample block first before cutting the rest of my rectangles, so only have to redo ONE block, and not 12. Take THAT, quilt MATH. Ha again.

The Posing part of this post is all Mini.  She walked in from the back door when Erica let her in the other day and promptly hopped in the laundry basket.  Photography was tolerated and she stayed in the basket for at least ten minutes.  Silly cat!

 Last night she came in after dinner and hopped in the basket we throw the used newspapers into.  Again photography was tolerated and she spent about ten minutes in the basket...

...followed by another ten or fifteen minutes in the shirt box.  It was a little more difficult for her to fit in there, but the tissue paper rustled enticingly.  And now, back to sewing!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

December UFO update

Well, it appears I jumped the gun and posted a year's end update of the entire UFO Challenge 2012 before Judy requested the December one!  Consider this a rollback, but with a new photo :)

The Greenpiece BOM was December's project, after being shuffled around from previous months' picks.  I managed to finish all the remaining five months' worth of pieced blocks, and prep one lonely wool applique block. 

Aren't they pretty all together?  The BOM is on my list for January's Getting it Done challenge, with plans to work on the wool blocks.  I would like to have this quilt top complete in the next three months. See more December finishes on Judy's Patchwork Times.