Monday, April 24, 2017

Design Wall Monday--Progress plus Another Squirrel

On this DWM, I'm still getting sucked into projects I didn't mean to start, simply in the process of cleaning my sewing room!    I had some leftovers from the Cross My Heart runner from last post, so stitched them up quickly into this small runner or table mat (from Kim Brackett's Scrap Basket Beauties book). Squirrel!

There is another pile of leftover squares still on the cutting table, so they may turn into borders or another mini quilt, we shall see :) 

 I sewed up the Twilight Hopscotch block (Kim Diehl's Simple Comfort's Lap Quilts book).  I really want to make the whole quilt now, and will be ordering from Connecting Threads' Oh My Darling Line.  I tried to order fabric but the website was not cooperating with me on Saturday. 

Then another project jumped out from the cutting table, from a 10" square stack also from Connecting Threads.  I saw a pattern called Sliced Cake  HERE and pulled fabrics from my stash with plans to make a mini version of this pattern, for a baby quilt. 

Unfortunately I had a miscut accident and won't have three pieces of one set I was cutting :( .  There will be some shopping to add to this bin and quilt project as my stash lacked any appropriate yellow, turquoise blue or mint green to pull.  

Saturday it was beautiful out and I set up a tray with hand stitching supplies for finishing up the doll quilt for the Humble Quilts Swap.

Though I had to wear a visor and move my chair around the patio table to stay in the shade as the sun moved, I really enjoyed watching the birds, planes, palm trees, and butterflies as I stitched down the binding and added hand quilting.  On this end of town there is a tiny post office--which is very inconviently closed at lunchtime--so I have to wait until my morning off to send it on its way East.  

What is NOT getting worked on is the UFO pick of the month.  I made the backing the first weekend the number was picked but am stalled at the usual stage, basting and quilting.   

A friend called all the other projects I've been doing instead "Procraftination".  Love that!

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Design Wall Monday--Squirrel

On my design surface today is a squirrel project--there I was, minding my own business late Saturday night, cleaning up the sewing room, when I came across Scrap Basket Beauties, one of Kim Brackett's books.  I had several quilts bookmarked, including Cross My Heart.  Those familiar with Kim's designs know they are based on 2.5" strips primarily.  This particular pattern has pretty small pieces so I drew up a cutting plan for 5" charms, just to see if it would work.  Well, then, I just had to try it! I rummaged in my precuts for a well-aged charm pack of Prayer Flag by April Cornell.  A matching cream did not seem to exist in my stash, but I had a sweet celery green solid that worked wonderfully.  Cutting and stitching commenced.  

The first few crosses whetted my appetite for more and before I finally gave in at 1:00 am and went to bed, I had all the pieces cut.

 Love these prints and colors.

The solid is truly a light green though it is looking pretty yellow in some of these photos.  I selected 35 of the charms (I used 33) to make a tablerunner, since the book's pattern is for a throw size quilt and I only had one charm pack. 

Cleverly, Kim's design and pressing instructions mean all the seams nest making the rows easy-peasy to assemble. 
The top was completed a few hours later.  It fits nicely on my coffee table and I love its spring/summer colors and  the cute chunky crosses.  Now to find a backing and get it quilted.  This is the fourth quilt I have made from Kim's books and one more is on the UFO list for this year.  I just love her designs!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Playing with Squares

Work in the sewing room continues.  To paraphrase a character from Game of Thrones, "That's what I do, I sew, and I play with squares."  First up, triangle squares; the doll quilt top is finished. Also the backing, but I didn't take a photo yet.  

Pardon my feline assistant's plaything, she was taking a break.  Some machine and hand quilting will finish this off.  I even incorporated a label into the backing, yay me. 

For the past two years my leader-enders have been 4 patches made into square in squares.  I have made hundreds from my scrap bins.

These were inspired by the Go Four It sew along challenge from APQ magazine, April 2015.  I was taken by the "scrappy everything" fabric mix of Edyta Sitar's design but not her teeny tiny pieces, which didn't work with my precut system--the smallest size I cut is 1.5".  So I upsized her design to use my precuts, thrilled to have a place to use all the smaller strips and squares at last. My square in squares finish at 3.5". I recently spent an evening drawing up an alternate setting, after noting that I had made many more light than medium/dark squares.  I played with that layout today:

My beige carpet notwithstanding, I like the diagonal chains the lights and dark blocks create; I'd probably use a solid or tone on tone color for the background, and sew up the squares in diagonal rows to avoid the bazillion setting triangles making blocks requires.  Love all the scrappiness! 

Then I laid out the squares as Edyta designed:

More complex and rich braided look, which I love.  But this layout uses fewer lights, and I have a lot more of those.  What about this?

Edyta used columns of a print banded with narrow borders between her braids but I haven't decided if I would set this layout block to block. It would depend on number and length of the chains I could get from my squares, obviously.  So I will sew, and play with squares, that's what I do.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Design Wall Monday--V blocks and Flower blocks

This month is going by too quickly, though I did slow it down by getting a head cold that made me dizzy and required a lot of rest on Friday and Saturday.  Some stitching did get done, including finishing a cross-stitch (see last post) and making a bunch of Tri-Recs for the Humble Quilts Doll Quilt Swap project.

At the Road to California show I purchased a V-block Trimmer by Deb Tucker, which I used to construct these 2.5" finished triangle-rectangles all exactly alike by making them slightly oversized and then trimming down.  The same tool is used to cut the necessary pieces and then trim after sewing.  I love that!  In playing with the layout, the center row just wanted to be all light backgrounds. 

The center row also wanted to point the opposite direction--I didn't argue!  My intention was to use the red striped fabric in the center and the brown on the edges, but it didn't look great to me.  

I like this much better.  A dark binding of some sort will finish it off.  

Also under the sewing needle were some improv flower blocks for the guild's next Opportunity Quilt, based on a tutorial at  of her Impracticality quilt.

 They were supposed to be monochromatic but this one refused. 

The red one pretty much behaved itself.   Nothing like working on totally disparate projects!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Finish and A Treasure

I have put the final stitches into the Lizzie Kate May Stamp cross-stitch!  This little pattern has been in my library for 12 years, unbelievably, but is still in print. 

Luckily I had a very fine quilting needle that fit through the teeny holes in the tiny buttons.  Didn't the birdies turn out cute?  My floss choices strayed from the pattern for the birdhouse trim and the leaves on the tree, which I wanted lighter than the pattern.  I'm happy with how it turned out.

Currently I'm suffering with a spring cold, but on Thursday received a gift to raise my spirits.  I'm participating in Lori of Humble Quilts' doll quilt swap, and this beauty was made by Lucy Dufendach.  

Lucy had posted a photo of the quilt on the Facebook page and I thought the recipient would be very lucky to have it, never dreaming it was me!  All different fabrics, in my favorite reds and greens.

Sweet hand quilting  and a printed label. I'll treasure this doll quilt with many thanks to Lucy and Lori. This the 4th year I've joined in and each one I received was exquisitely made.  The swap mail-out deadline is May 1; my doll quilt is in progress as it took me a long time to settle down to a design, too many ideas kept popping up!  I've drawn out my plan and got a bunch of cutting done, while pondering finishing details as I work.

P.S.: About my profile photo--for my life, I cannot get it to look right.  I'm not that blurry in person...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Design Wall Monday April 3

On my design surface is a new block.  I have had the Simple Comforts book by Kim Diehl for a number of years and love all the lap quilt designs in it. 

I bought the book because of the cover quilt, High Cotton, which I did make and finally finished last year.  Another quilt that intrigued me was Twilight Hopscotch, a star pattern with sashing that cleverly creates a secondary block design.  I pulled some cheddar scraps to play with and a favorite neutral yesterday.
 It's a start, liking it so far.
Okay, but something is off.  Good thing I checked the book again before stitching this up because the 4 patches were turned wrong, yikes.

That's better!  I love the little chains leading away from the star points and then the larger squares carrying out the design.  This section makes a 16" block but construction is different for the whole quilt, and of course now I want to make one.  A box arrived from Connecting Threads today...

This is a sampler fat quarter stack of the Oh My Darling line--isn't it yummy? I had to have it!   I will play with the green prints and may be ordering yardage to make the quilt.  Some clearance fabric also jumped in the cart, somehow :)

 Good Neighbors yardage, so fresh and bright, and very very inexpensive.

A stack of 10" squares in a fun line called Macrame.  My girls and I will be taking a macrame class together next week, taught by a friend of my older daughter.  That will be fun. 

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  Happy Stitching!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Stitching and Sizing

Despite previous prediction, my current cross-stitch project did not get finished this week.  However, progress was made on the Lizzie Kate May Stamp.
All that's left are the little birdies--I saved them for last since they are my favorite, and will spend some time doing so today.  There is also some button detail to sew onto the birdhouse.  The stitched area is about 3.5".  I love it.  Linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching.

Judy of Patchwork Times drew the next UFO project we will work on, #1, which on my list is the Medallion Star Rescue.  It has been waiting for a finish for about 30 years, but I only participated in the last 5 or so, as this top was given to me.  
I added the pieced borders after cutting off a lot of the background blue ditsy (from 1987!), making the top about 45 x 70.  It was surprisingly difficult to find prints in the berry color to match the star.  I used two different ones to create my border.

I'm cobbling together a backing from the leftovers and a couple of additions from stash.  So that's the start of this UFO.  Since I didn't manage to get the quilting done on a couple of previous picks, it looks like I'll be busy doing a lot of that this month!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Design Wall Monday--UFO #5 again

The last DWM of March is here already.  On my design floor is the same thing all month--my UFO Challenge pick #5, Metro Twist.  All the block piecing was completed a couple of days ago, and today I sewed all the rows together.  There was a lot of seam matching and curved edges to pair up.  It is not perfect, but looks just fine.  I then set about adding more of the Kona Silver to make the Twist blocks float and ran into this:

Dye lot difference that was too noticeable to remain--naturally I didn't notice until after I'd added two sides (cough).  Luckily I found the remainder of yardage from the lighter batch in the Solids bin.  

Much better!  My goal was to make the top about 45" square, a nice size baby quilt.  Next, a back was cobbled together out of a bunch of leftovers and some additions from the fat quarter dresser. 

I feel like I sewed all day to get to this point--which I practically did--but wanted to have the top and back all ready to spray baste after work tomorrow.  I'm thinking simple channel quilting in gray thread. I'll use more of the Kona Silver for the binding to keep the front minimal and modern looking.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

My week is pretty light except for a Chinese ballet show outing with my mom, sister, daughter and niece one night, and a funeral on Friday.  It is sad when your parents' friends of 40-50 years begin to go.  We just attended another funeral last Friday for a dear family friend.  Meanwhile, my 98 year old mother in law is getting some hospice assistance, which should give her more attention and hopefully prevent any more ER visits from falls.  She's still quite mobile and talkative, but things do happen to old people in Memory Care. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Design Wall Monday--UFO #5 Progress

On my design floor is the #5 pick of the month for the UFO 2017 Challenge.  After struggling with MATH when I found there was not enough background material to do what I wanted, I pressed on with my new layout design and got many more Metro Twist pieces made (Pattern from Sew Kind of Wonderful, with the Quick Curve Ruler). 
Additional prints were added to the mix in the same colors.  For my 3x3 layout, I had just barely enough of the orange solid background.  After completely confusing myself with one go at laying out all the completed and half-done parts, I pulled them all back up and started over, separating the rows.  Finally I was able to work out what additional prints and parts were necessary and get them all cut and pieced.

I used Kona Silver for the outer edge and am considering insetting the whole thing into a larger Silver background negative space.  It would be appropriate, since this whole project started with my modern quilt guild's challenge to use a neon color.  There are only 12 days left of the month and I aimed for a completed quilt for this project pick. While this project is not large, the blocks are about 11" when completely sewn--I have that yet to do! Sketching and MATH are in my future.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Keeping needle and thread handy at the dining room table means I took a few stitches multiple days during my lunch break.  Today I completed the "stamp" edge outline during some Slow Sunday Stitching.  This Lizzie Kate cross-stitch's details are filling in--now there are birdie feet and a tree branch added today too. 

This week's lunch stitching should complete this little project as the leaf and birdie details won't take long, and after I add the month name in the bottom the fill-in will be fairly mindless.  I'll try not to jump ahead in thinking of What To Stitch Next, though I have in mind to make a black-work monogram initial for my younger grandson's Hunter's room. His older brother Cove has this Fox that I stitched for his room when he was born:

Hunter, who turned one several weeks ago, is now taking a few steps.  I visited those precious boys on Friday and Hunter took a bunch of steps to get to me--his Mama said it was the best he had walked yet!  Loved that.  Then we all played in the backyard for awhile and I chased Cove around, and hefted Hunter on the slide and swing.  My arms sure were sore later.  Here's Hunter ready for the beach on a recent warm day.

Linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March UFO Update 'n Stuff

The month is half over and I've not gotten very far with my project #5 from Judy's UFO challenge over at Patchwork Times. There was some MATH that needed to be figured out since I don't have any more of the background fabric but wanted to maximize all I had.  My poor brain was all twisted, like the Metro Twist blocks I'm making.  I sketched and erased, added and subtracted, counted and recounted.  Finally I resorted to laying out all the pieces I've sewn so far. 

Well someone's big fluffy duff is covering up a lot of the layout!

That's better!  The plan for this small wall quilt is a 3x3 setting of the Metro Twist Blocks.  I have enough orange background to complete the remaining 20+ sections I have sketched out.  For the left and right edges I will add a different background, probably a solid light gray, but that's to be decided once I have all the orange sections done.  I've got many more prints to throw into this color mix, and a bit of green because it's my favorite color.  Green and white have been under my needle a lot lately making the some of the Modern Quilt Guild's December Block of the Month, the ModZ Block. 

The pattern downloads are only available to MQG members.  I liked this one a lot because of the oversized simple to piece shapes--it makes a 12.5" block.
When pressing the Tri-Recs blocks, I found myself saying a mnemonic to help me with neatly pressing to one side: Toward on Top.  I lay the block I'm pressing with the side that I will pressing TOWARD on TOP.  In this case I wanted to press toward the white triangle so it is on top.  (Sometimes I don't listen and have to do it over :)

 It's a fun block to move around into different layouts.

I couldn't bring myself to donate them to our Guild philanthropy table this month but am sure I'll be making more of the MQG blocks.

Meanwhile, cross-stitching is also progressing on the Lizzie Kate May Stamp project.

I have been adding some stitches during my lunch hour and am really enjoying that.  I've nearly completed the outline and can't wait to stitch the cute birdies next to the birdhouse.  There are a whole series of Lizzie Kate month stamps and I may just have to order a few...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday's Orts--March version

Tuesday's Orts--bits and pieces of thoughts and events that land here occasionally.
  • Our family recently wrapped up four straight weeks of birthdays for five people.  Oh, and our wedding anniversary was in there too. Whew, that was a lot of eating!
  • In our medical office my least favorite patient is a WALK IN.  Especially when they ask for five or six things other than the "emergency" reason they thought couldn't wait for an appointment.  Grrrr!
  • Does this happen to anyone else?  All my shoes seem to have worn out at once. And I can't find new ones I like.
  • Traffic Rant:  I approached a four way stop in a neighborhood recently only to sit there dumbfounded when a large pickup truck's driver blew through it at a high rate of speed from the opposite direction,  not even looking at all.  Scary!  
  • Perusing the Help Wanted ads in the newspaper today, I came across the job title "Open Area Technician" for the Parks and Recreation department.  I can't decide if that means picking up trash or policing picnickers.  
  • I love the Reader View for websites, don't you?  I can barely wait for the web page to load enough so I can hit that option.
  • Saint Patrick's Day is almost here and I dressed up my living room for the occasion--actually I did it last week when I hosted Bunco.  
Well, they have bunnies in Ireland, surely?  I couldn't resist this adorably alert carrot-packing guy at Michael's.  He was ridiculously overpriced but I had a coupon.  He'll hang around through Easter.

Here's a more traditional display on the lawyer's bookcase.  The Oxalis stand-in for shamrocks was also overpriced but I wanted something live.  Not that my black thumb will mean it lasts very long.  I pieced the shamrock mini quilt some years ago and still love it.

A closer look at a very old family picture.  This is my paternal great-grandfather Logan, on the left, and his fraternal twin brother Grant, in their Irish tartans and sporrans.  My dad has a fraternal twin too and there is a photo of them as infants being held by their twin grandfather and great uncle that I want to get a copy of and enlarge, so special.  The twins and their three brothers were all named after  Civil War Union Generals--I had an Uncle Sherman too!