Work-in-Progress Girl


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Talk to Me Tuesday: 23 May 2017

Well, I haven’t updated in a while, but I’m well past due. I don’t get around to it all that often these days, but occasionally I make craft videos along with a group of friends who post weekly craft videos as a part of Talk to Me Tuesday. We started out on Livejournal here and now some of us are cross-posting our videos at a new WordPress location here.

 
In which I show an improv sewing machine cover-to-be and some quilt blocks.

The Antique Tile blocks are made using Trinket fabric (and some Basics) from Cotton + Steel. The red and white blocks are my three more of my Paper Piecing Vintage blocks – I’ll try to post about this one of these days! The pattern and quilt-along can be found at SewHooked.com

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WIP Wednesday: Cushion covers

So I’ve been working on cushion covers lately. Quite a while ago, like months ago, I’d cut out all the pieces for a 16″ quilt block that exactly matched one I’d sent away for the Stash Bee and then it sat around for a long, long time without me doing anything with it. And then I got bit by the free motion quilting bug because I was working on that baby quilt I just posted about the other day and I started watching Craftsy videos about free motion quilting – I’ve got several, two with Leah Day, one with Elizabeth Dackson, one with Angela Walters, and one I haven’t watched with… Wendy Butler Berns – and that got me wanting to do some more practise. But I hate just using random fat quarters (and I hate wasting my “good” fabric for it, but I don’t have all that much ugly fabric any more either) so I made up that quilt block and turned it into a quilted cushion. Which is the one on the right, here:

WIP and a finish

Once I get it washed up, I’ll write a proper post about it with some decent pictures, but for now it’ll do. Part of the process with that one involved my (weak) attempts to FMQ smooth curves, and that got me watching another Craftsy class, that one Jacquie Gering’s class about quilting with a walking foot. (I’m feeling lazy: I’m not sure I spelled her name right and I can’t recall the exact name of the class, but it seems like too much work to look it up!) And so there’s a little bit of walking foot quilting in that finished pillow, and then a little more on the pillow-in-progress on the left. It’s so very sweet and pretty, isn’t it? That’s so not my usual wheelhouse and I’m not at all certain what I’ll wind up doing with it, but there it is.

I’ve been thinking for the last little while about what my “style” is as a quilter (or as an artist if you want to take it in that route – I’m talking less about the mechanics of it and more about the look of the finished things I make) and I don’t really think I’ve got one. My brain sort of flits around from this to that and I like to try a little of everything, but I don’t think anyone would ever, in a random line-up of stuff, be able to point to the thing I made and feel certain it was mine. I think that’s true of a lot of quilters I know, that we haven’t really found our niche in a way, but then some people you really do recognize straight away. I suppose it just takes time to find that place that belongs to you and the flitting around is just part of the process.

Linking up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social, The Needle and Thread Network, and finally Work in Progress Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Sew Fresh Quilts wipwednesdayneedleandthreadnetwork WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And a belated Talk to Me Tuesday. The later half of this video is directed at the other video makers/posters at the Livejournal TTMT community who posted videos in September.


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Gypsy Wife: September Blocks

Well, I’m just barely squeaking these ones in for September, but I just finished up my last Square in Square blocks for the month… So so so many square in square blocks in this quilt!

Seven more for September:

Square in Square blocks

I keep thinking I should put all my blocks up on the wall and see how the colours are coming out because I haven’t been planning anything. But maybe they’ll turn out okay without planning. I keep hoping that’ll be the secret to a good scrappy look.

Also not planned?

Lost her head

Chopping off Bicycle Girl’s head.

The other two blocks for September were two Puss in the Corner blocks.

Gypsy Wife blocks: Puss in the Corner

Like Hydee Ann at Splish Splash Stash – Hydee Ann is running the linky for this month and has some great tips for sewing up those million and one square in square blocks – I’ve got to wonder where the heck that block name came from. Maybe I should have found a cat fabric to put in the middle. (But then it would have had to be a tiny little cat because that centre square is only an inch, finished.)

Gypsy Wife September blocks

Anyway, that’s September in blocks… And only two more months worth of blocks left to go, then it’s time to start putting it all together.

As mentioned, this month’s linky is being held by Hydee Ann and the prize will be a gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop, so if you’re sewing along, don’t forget to stop by and link up! (I know it’s the end of September, but it looks like she just wrote her post today too, so hopefully that means the actual link-up will run this week!)

GypsyWifeQAL fatquartershop-200x200-green


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Gypsy Wife Quiltalong – August!

So I’m still ticking along with the Gypsy Wife Quiltalong. Sort of… I’m still months behind on my low volume version, but I am all caught up with the brights version. First up, a block I forgot to photograph last month. Not the most exciting block in the world, which could be why I forgot it…

Gyspy Wife

And then all my August blocks. Which are more of the not-very exciting same.

Gypsy Wife QAL August Blocks

Yawn. Eight square in square blocks, and then the central block is made up for four incomplete square in square blocks. Not so very exciting. But there’s a lot of square in square blocks to go into this quilt, so I guess it’s a good thing any time we get to knock a pile of them off the list. Maybe next month will be more interesting?

I’d really like to get back into things with the low volume version, but I think it might be left on the back burner a while. I’ve got a lot of other things I want to keep working on. Quilts to quilts, swap projects to swap, etc.

If you’re sewing along with us, come link up with Rachel at Farm Gal Designs. The prize this month is a Fat Eighth bundle of Netorious from Cotton + Steel basics and a hexagons pack of Figures from Zen Chic.

In other news, I’m out of town for the weekend, but when I’m back, I hope to get more comments answered from my birthday giveaway post. I forgot my cell phone at home, so I’ve only got internet access while I’m at the hotel (and we’re not here for too much longer). Yesterday the Tyrrell Museum and the HooDoos and Horseshoe Canyon, today… I don’t know. Atlas Coal Mine, anyway, but we’ll probably head back to Calgary before it gets too late. (I’ve been reminded this trip that my dad is getting old – we hiked down to the bottom of Horseshoe Canyon and back up and for the first time in my life, he needed more breaks than me.)

Horseshoe Canyon, Alberta
Horseshoe Canyon

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ClumsyKristel

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ClumsyPapa


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Saturday Surprise Sunday Stash

I lived in Saskatoon when I first started sewing and I didn’t have a sewing machine to begin with, so I stitched everything by hand. Then for my birthday one year I asked for a sewing machine, and I mostly wanted one so that I could participate in a block swap in a Livejournal group. It turned out I was basically terrible at sewing, even with a sewing machine. I didn’t know the first (or last!) thing about accuracy or how piecing worked and I didn’t know basic sewing terms, so when the swap group said we’d make 9.5″ blocks, I thought that meant the finished size was supposed to be 9.5″ and did you know there aren’t any blocks out there that come out to 9.5″… (strangely enough), so I sized up a shoo fly pattern with an extra half inch in the centre units. (No lie.) And I also didn’t have any money, so I was using cheap and (worse) ugly fabrics from Walmart. The blocks I sent out were appalling.

So I learned to paper piece, but I still wanted to learn to piece properly and I let myself get sucked into buying Saturday Surprise Sampler blocks from Periwinkle Quilting. In 2005/2006, the Saturday Surprise Sampler was done using primarily Robert Kaufman’s A Thousand Flowers line. It was 20 blocks and they were really tough, but I learned A LOT about accurate piecing (all of which I think I’ve forgotten since):

A very old UFO...

I kind of forgot about this project, but I was down in the basement the other day and decided to empty some drawers of crap I have down there, and what should I find but my 20 pieced blocks, all the setting squares and triangles to put the main part of the top together, and fabric that I think I intended to be borders.

A Thousand Flowers

There is about a metre of the orange fabric, but only 2 fat quarters of the purple. I also found a bunch of notes and a drawing of the border treatment I intended to use, but man are they some nonsensical notes! (Seriously: my notes on block placement included things like, “really hard mostly green one”.) All this fabric was from 2005 or so, so I doubt I’d be able to find any more. Here’s hoping 2 FQs and a metre of fabric will be enough to finish the job…

I also fished up the beginnings of the next year of Saturday Surprise Sampler blocks, of which I only bought 9 (and never made any) before stopping:

002

The patterns look just as complicated – yikes! But the worse problem was that the fabric wasn’t remotely to my tastes. I bought these first nine block kits and had thought to make something for my Grandma, whose house was (still is) decorated in avocados and golds.

003

I just don’t foresee myself ever making these blocks, though. They’re just… too much not what I like to make. If anyone out here would like these block kits, please just leave a comment below and I’ll mail them out to whoever asks for them first. The patterns all come with just enough fabric to cut out all the pieces for one block, so if you mess up your cutting, you’d have to swap in something with a similar colour palette, but it’s pretty well just autumn colours, so I don’t think it’d be a terribly difficult thing to do!

Linking up with Molli Sparkles:

Molli Sparkles


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Gypsy Wife Quiltalong: July blocks and Giveaway

Edited to add: The winner of the July Gypsy Wife Quiltalong giveaway was Crafty Kat, who is doing a very lovely blue and orange and grey version of the quilt that I’m really liking a lot! Go check out her blocks, they look pretty amazing!

So I’ve been AWOL for a while now, but not for reasons of not crafting (though a couple of weeks of too hot weather did put a bit of a damper on my desire to sew this month), just for reasons of not feeling like updating. I guess I needed a break! I could probably spend most of August just catching up on things I’ve been not writing about since April, but instead I’ll knock out three months worth of Gypsy Wife blocks right now. (Well, my brights version, anyway. I’m still three months behind on my low volume version…)

May Blocks
Gypsy Wife QAL - May

I’m pretty much in love with my Hope from Hartford block. I rarely love florals and I don’t even really love the one I used, but I love how it looks in this block. I loved how it looked with that teal Je Vous en Prie fabric and even though I don’t love the background fabric for the block, I think it’ll all work out in the end anyway; that background is hardly going to stand out in the face of all the bright and crazy mish-mash of prints and colours that this quilt is going to use. There’s a lot of blue Anna Maria Horner fabric going on in this little collection – you can always tell what’s near the top of the scrap pile with these blocks! – but there’s even more Heather Bailey, which I had been cutting into at the time for a different project that I’ve stalled on.

June Blocks
Gypsy Wife QAL  - June

I count another four Heather Bailey prints in this collection of blocks – definitely the scraps on top of the pile… I went a bit less crazy with my Crazy Anne block than was recommended and just maintained the same four prints around the outside of the block, rather than swapping in something different for each quadrant. This is another one where I was really pleased with the final look – I was so afraid of those half-rectangle triangles, but they came out almost perfectly (maybe 2-3 millimetres short). I’m not sure I love all these bordered square in square blocks, but I’m trying to remind myself that most of them will kind of disappear into the quilt and won’t be so noticeably off or awful.

July Blocks
Wind blown
Windblown!

Gypsy Wife QAL - July Blocks

I felt like I went too pink/purple and blue in the two previous months, so I tried to be really conscious about using other colours in this month’s blocks. But jeez… what was I thinking putting that same dark red-orange on the outside of two different blocks? These blocks won’t be too close together in the quilt (they’re in sections 2 and 8), but if they seem like too much, then I’ll probably pull off the straight borders and swap in something else (although that particular block features the only time I’ve sewn with that Corsage print and actually had a pair of scissors not get half-swallowed up in a seam allowance). Also, you’ll note, I stuck ANOTHER square of that blue Anna Maria Horner print into a square-in-square block. I’m definitely going to have to make sure those blocks all wind up spread out.

Normally I post a photo of my design wall with all my blocks up on it, but I’ve run out of design wall space, so they’re not up there at all. I think I’m going to take down my low volume blocks and start grouping all these brights blocks into sections on the design wall. I know some people are also working on this by section, rather than by the blocks Michelle set out for the month and if you’re having a hard time figuring out what goes where, I’ve made a spreadsheet that breaks down which blocks go into which section. (I took all the data from my previous spreadsheet, which breaks down which blocks we’re making each month. There may be mistakes in either or both documents, but please let me know if you find one!)

Now for the fun bit! Please link up your July blocks (Star block, three Square in Square blocks, and one bordered Square in Square block) and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate provided by our lovely sponsor Fat Quarter Shop. (A name will be chosen by Random.org on August 1st, but the linky closes late on July 31st.)

gypsy-fatquartershop

If you are working ahead to put your quilt together in sections, just pull together photos of the July blocks and you can still enter to win:

Because I’m a WordPress blog, you’ll go away to another site to enter the linky. Best of luck!


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Bits and Bobs (June Goals)

I’m feeling very talky today, so naturally I’m home alone all weekend AND I don’t have to work till Monday. No one to talk to! GAH. I’m going to go crazy. A little bit.

Anyway… I spent so much of May not sewing that I got way behind on my just-for-me sewing plans – I didn’t even look at my May A Lovely Year of Finishes goal (which was my Layer Cake HST Quiltalong) and I didn’t touch my Gypsy Wife blocks at all. So I’m behind by all of May and now need to get June done for two quilts… so that’s going to be my goal for the month, getting all those sets of blocks finished!

My Button

Here’s where I’m at:

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By the time I’m caught up, I won’t be able to fit all my blocks on the design wall any more! (And so probably I’ll wind up taking down the low volume ones and leaving the brights up instead.)

I’ve only got five more blocks to sew for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

002

which means I could finish them by the end of the day if I’d just focus on them. But I’m too distracted! Too distracted by sewing up a block of the Infatuation quilt:

Infatuation block

I went and fished another solid out of my bin of solids, one which I fortunately had about three-quarters of a yard of (it takes 5/8s I think to make a single block). I really like this blue, but I think I need to learn to label my solids when they come in the door because I have no idea what colour it is. I’m pretty sure it’s a Kona cotton, but when I compare it to my colour card (which is out of date), I can’t decide what colour it is. I thought at a glance that it was Midnight or Nightfall, but when I put the fabric up closer it looks more like Navy or Indigo. I tend not to find the colour card all that useful in that way… the swatches are two small and I often think I have a match, then when I get it in yardage I discover that it’s really not at all what I thought. Anyway, I actually really like how it looks with a selection of fabrics from Lottie Da and True Colours (crappy Instagram photo):

Lottie Da, True Colors, and an indeterminate blue...

But whether I love it or not, I don’t know what it is to order more anyway! How much would it suck to make a guess, order 6 yards, and then find out I’d got something a shade or two off?

I’m starting to think that’s what’s going to happen is I’ll make four of these blocks, with four different backgrounds and I’ll either crap out and decide that a 60″ x 60″ throw is enough (or I could slap a border on it so that it’d be big enough to be useful… I’m short, but I like a quilt to wrap under my feet and over my shoulders) or I’ll find something much more neutral and make four coloured background blocks and five neutral ones so that I could mix them all into one quilt. (But then I’d probably not find it that aesthetically pleasing, so. I don’t know.)

Anyway, I also have five or six small things to make, a couple pouches and some hot pads (and I need to find my Insulbrite for those… I know I’ve got two opened packages of the stuff, so I really do need to look) and some other little bits and pieces. None of it sounds like so much when I lay it out like this, but I never seem to sew half as much as I want to, so I never can tell if these ideas of what I should do are realistic. In any case, these are only the things I hope to get done this month… and the Gypsy Wife stuff is the actual proper goal.


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A Lovely Year of Finishes May Goal

So I’m still way behind on posts that I started to write in mid-April, but I decided to scrap one of those draft posts and rework it into my May Goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes: my unfinished Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong blocks/quilt top. While I was on vacation, I got seven more blocks done and I’ve done two more since then, but I think I still have five more to go. Here’s the newest finishes:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

(Yikes! I forgot to take pictures of the last two blocks! I’ll add them in tomorrow or you can probably see them in my Instagram feed thing on the right. Unless I’ve taken pictures since then, but I don’t think so!)

Maybe I should say more about these blocks, but there’s just too many to really talk about them all! But to say what I’ve said in the past: the prints are all from Basic Grey’s Eva line of fabrics and the off-white is a Moda Bella solid.

I’m pretty sure I’ve got five left to sew up in order to finish all 20 blocks, so my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to get those blocks done and to get the quilt top pieced… So I still need to cut out the sashing and figure out what to do for cornerstones (it isn’t easy to find more of this fabric and I’m not sure how much Eva fabric I’ve got left in my stash). And of course piecing all of it. It’s going to be quite a big quilt top, really, so it’s the kind of thing I love to put off and never finish…

Linking up to WIP Wednesday with Lee of Freshly Pieced, WIP Wednesday with Needle and Thread Network, Let’s Bee Social with Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, and finally Sew Bittersweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts A Lovely Year of Finishes


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April Gypsy Wife blocks

So my A Lovely Year of Finishes goal for April was to catch up on all my blocks for the Gypsy Wife quilts, both low and higher volume versions. And hey – I managed it! (Largely because I was on holiday in the middle of the month, so I did a whole lot of block sewing…)

Since I was most caught up on the Brights version, I’ll start there. Here are all my blocks so far – February, March, and April:

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

I like having all the blocks up on the design wall because it does help a bit to see where I need more or less of a particular colour… but they are not easy to photograph like this!

For April we were sewing seven blocks (see a chart with all the blocks and when to sew them here), mostly Courthouse Steps blocks, but also a Square in a Square and a heart-shaped block, which I totally swapped out for something without a heart on it because ugh.

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

There are a lot of small bits of fabrics in these blocks and I keep digging through my scrap baskets looking for stuff to use, rather than using the fabric I bought for it. Which is fine, even kind of great, but sort of makes me laugh because I probably could have gotten away without buying anything at all.

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

This Granny Square block is the one I made instead of the heart block. I just needed a 6.5″ quilt block, and there it was! I’m pretty sure it’ll fit in perfectly with the aesthetic of the quilt, and it saves me from having a block I don’t like taking up space in a pretty awesome quilt. I used a tutorial from Why Not Sew, if you want to try out making one too.

So after that was all the catch-up for the lower volume version – I had to do all of the March blocks and the April ones because I fell behind! Here are all the blocks – February through April – so far:

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

So here are my March blocks:

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

The slightly scary Pershing block! As with my brights version, this block came out about 1/8″ too small. Which isn’t bad, but I still wish the pattern had a little more detail about what size the central units should be as you go along, so that I could have measured and saved myself losing that bit of size. I think I pressed this one with a little too much steam and Best Press because I pressed some wrinkles into it. I’ll have to wash it to get those out at this point, I think.

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

I really love the fabrics on the outsides of both of these blocks. That red one surprises me because it doesn’t feel like a print I’d usually go for, but I just like what it’s adding to these blocks, with the bits of red but lots of neutral. The blue is such an interesting and strange print – I have a feeling it’ll pop up again before this quilt is through…

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

I question every decision that went into the making of these two blocks. Every single one. I mostly like the prints involved (I don’t like the star print, but I almost never like star prints), but I don’t understand at all why I paired those two blues and those two… whatever those other ones are. From a distance they just sort of blend into a block of nothing.

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

For my April blocks I did do the stupid heart block. I thought that since I was making two versions of the quilt, maybe I should make one of them properly. I reserve the right to change my mind eventually a swap this out for something else entirely… A note about this one: you’ll be left with a spare hourglass from the construction process, which will be useful in one of the blocks next month – if you save it, you can trim it down to the required size and save yourself a little time.

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

By and large I’m happy with these, although that peach number is another one that kind of blurs into nothing because the fabrics are two samey. (Also, I need to trim the borders on that one on the bottom left – I cut the outside ring too big.)

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

This block gives me some troubles. I keep trying to push myself a include bits that I don’t think are necessarily lower volume, because I’m afraid of the quilt falling flat if I don’t play around the the volume a little bit, but I’m not sure this was a successful experiment. I think it might just be too bright, regardless of how quiet they are compared to, say, a burgundy or a navy blue.

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

This one I think I pretty much got right, though. That blue is fairly dark, but somehow (in the group photo above) I think it just adds a little punctuation, without being such a misstep.

Anyway, next up is the Hope from Hartford block, 3 hourglass based blocks, and more square in square blocks! In the meantime, if you’re quilting along, come link up with Megan at Jaffa Quilts. Our prize this month is sponsored by the wonder Fat Quarter Shop:

gypsy-fatquartershop

Don’t forget to visit all our amazing sponsors who can be found here at Michelle’s blog, Factotum of Arts and check out the schedule to see where we are at! This is a very easy quiltalong to keep up with because there are only a few, often small blocks per month and usually only one slightly more complicated, intense or larger block to complement it. We’d love to have you, so just start sewing along and start linking up! (I don’t think anyone’s double checking to be sure you’re all caught up, so you know… dive in where we’re at and then backtrack through the previous blocks!)

So this is still my project because it’s very nearly May now, so I want to get started on my May blocks right away, before I have a chance to get distracted by all the other wonderful distracting things out there!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday with Lee of Freshly Pieced, WIP Wednesday with Needle and Thread Network, Let’s Bee Social with Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, and finally Sew Bittersweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts A Lovely Year of Finishes