Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Squirrels Are Unstoppable

Still finding squirrels!  I had pulled fabrics for this quilt a couple of months ago but never got anything cut, which is why it was still on the cutting table, duh.  

I even labeled this photo Squirrel, which I had forgotten, ha ha.  The cover quilt in the foreground of the APQ April 2017 magazine is called Cross Reference (designer Susan Ache) and my plan is to make a smaller, couch quilt size quilt.  From stash I pulled blue and rusty orange mostly repro prints, and will copy the solid cream background.  Our son may be moving out of a studio to a bigger apartment soon and will need a couch quilt. Well, first he will need a couch, but THEN he will need a couch quilt.  Given the speed at which I finish quilts, I decided to get cutting.  

Blue is a color I don't use much so will have doubles of some of these prints.  I decided to make all the cut blocks before deciding which to add.  I'll dig around the scrap and strip storage for any other suitable blues.  The small cross blocks will be a solid blue of some shade, TBD.   On Friday after work, I was able to get 60% off  my 3 yard cut of Kona Snow at JoAnn's.  Then I took a turn through Hobby Lobby, where they were playing the most depressing music ever and no one was smiling much, least of all the employees.  I didn't buy anything.

Saturday I got the UFO of the month spray basted but couldn't find any enthusiasm to start with the quilting.  I did sketch out a plan, however, and got working on that today.  But more on that tomorrow  when we are to show our progress on Patchwork Times.   I hope no more squirrels show up in the meantime...

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!

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...