So my parents came to town this weekend and decided that we should go take a road trip to southern Alberta – I wanted to see Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump:
So we did that, and we went Frank Slide, in the Crowsnest Pass of the Rocky Mountains:
And we went to Lethbridge, to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden:
We also, ahem, went to a couple quilting stores in Lethbridge. We had a little time in the evening where the things we wanted to see were closed, but the quilt stores were open, so I got to drop in on The Quilt Addict and Village Quilts. I rather prefered Village Quilts – the woman working there was super friendly and their selection was a little closer to my own tastes. They had a lot of Moda fabrics and precuts of fun lines that I like a lot. But I couldn’t leave either of them without buying a little something.
From The Quilt Addict:
A mini-quilt kit.
A pattern for Amy Butler’s Birdie Sling. I’ve wanted to make that one for a long time, but always avoiding it because I’m scared of Amy Butler’s patterns. Still, the package says this one is suitable for beginners, unlike some of her more notorious patterns. I guess we’ll see how it goes…
And finally, a fat quarter pack. This was written up as an Amy Butler FQ pack, but there’s at least one Heather Bailey FQ in there. Oh well!
And then, from Village Quilts, I picked up these pre-cuts and some flannel:
I can’t recall (and it’s not on the same floor as I currently am…) but think that the flannel is a Riley Blake print. I was a real genius and bought enough for the length of the quilt back, but not for the width. Oops. I’m hoping I’ll have some more flannel at home that’ll cover that bit of extra that I’m going to need. It’s really not a huge amount of fabric, but just enough to be annoying. I didn’t buy the pre-cuts for anything in particular – I just always liked Lucy’s Crab Shack and never bought any. The mini-charm pack was just because those little charm packs are so cute. Who resist?
Other things no one can resist? Waterfalls. So pretty!
And here’s some mountains off in the distance, with ranch and/or farm land in the foreground:
Some of you might know that I live in southern Alberta, in Calgary, which is one of several areas in the province that has been hit by some pretty bad, very damaging flooding. We’re expecting rain for several more days, so it’s possible it might still get worse before it gets better. I live in the ‘hood in Calgary and this might be the one time people will wish they lived in the North-East because none of the damage has affected us (beyond people panic shopping and clearing out the grocery stores of water and fresh food items). They’ve had to evacuate some 75,000+ people from parts of the city (and more from surrounding towns); they had to evacuate animals from the zoo. The Saddledome (the arena where the Calgary Flames play hockey) is apparently flooded to the 10th row of seating. It’s pretty crazy, and if anyone has any money to spare, the Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations (though their website is currently running very, very slowly) towards recovery.
I haven’t seen any blog updates from any of my southern Alberta friends who might be in the path of all of this, but I’ll be thinking of you and hoping for the best for you and yours. (And if there are any of you in the area that are in need of some help, let me know! I don’t have a car, so I’m pretty useless in a lot of respects, but I’d be happy to help out any way I could.)
I’ve made a couple of wonky star quilts in the past, which I’ve donated to Project Linus in Austin, Texas, but I’ve never made one to keep or to give to someone I know. This one is going to be for my Grandma, if I can get it made in time for Christmas. (Well, even if I don’t get it made in time for Christmas, really.) I started working on it quite a while ago and then the light bulb of my sewing machine burned out and it was surprisingly difficult to sew without the extra bit of light. No matter how I shone project lights over my shoulder or across the table or whatever, it was just too dark and shadowy to sew with any degree of comfort. It took a while to find a light bulb that fit (I finally bought one that is longer than the original but has the right watts and whatever and also the same size base – it seems to fit okay in the machine even though it is bigger than the original), and then I seemed to lose my sewing mojo. (Either that or I just got distracted by embroidery.)
(Please excuse the wildly varying light in this photos. They were all taken after it was too dark outside to use any natural light, but the ones on the ironing board are much closer to the project light I use to light my sewing table and they got a really different colour cast over them than the ones taken a little further away. I tried to fix it using flickr’s photo editor but did a very poor job of it and probably made it look worse.)
The last couple days though I’ve sat myself down and got myself back to work on it. I’m on vacation from work this coming week and really wish I could spend the time sewing, but I’m heading to Saskatchewan to visit family for most of the week, where I won’t have access to a sewing machine. (Well, I suppose I could work on my mom’s machine, but that thing always hated me. No matter what I did, I’d get a tangled wad of thread on the back of whatever I was sewing, and then my mom would try and it would work perfectly. I don’t even know.) My goal right now is to get all the blocks done before I leave, and then hopefully I’ll be able to get the top pieced once I’m back. After that it’ll be quilting… well, acquiring backing and then quilting. Which is always where I get hung up. I’m just afraid of quilting, though I’ve been trying to get myself to do a little more of it. I always seem to wind up with wrinkles in the back, no matter how I try pinning it.
Anyway, the two photos up above show what’s left to be done with the blocks. The block up top is of course nearly finished – I just need to get all those pieces sewn together. The stack in the second photo is the last five blocks, plus all the leftover bits of white I’ve got for making the star points. When I started this, I pulled a piece of white-on-white fabric off my shelves and decided to use it, without measuring or anything, and so I didn’t know if there would be enough to make the whole quilt top. And this close to the end… I still don’t know! I’m really hoping I’ve got enough squares and triangles left to do those last five blocks, but I might have to substitute some other white-on-white print for the last block or two, depending how far I can make it stretch without making the star points really small.
So far I’ve got 15 blocks pieced – 11 of them look more or less like this. The Vintage Modern fabric line also has 5 or 6 prints that are just grey on white and I was worried when I started that the white stars wouldn’t pop well enough with those greys mixed in, so I pulled all the grey fabrics (I started with a layer cake) and made four blocks that are just greys with red stars.
I’m going to have 21 blocks in the end, though I only need 20, so I’m not quite sure how I’ll decide which to use. I don’t know why, but I always feel like when you add a contrasting element like those blocks with the red stars, then you should do so in uneven numbers, so it’s a pretty good bet that I’ll only use three of them and leave out the fourth. (Mini quilt? Cushion? Piece it into the back?) On the other hand, if I run out of the white for star points, maybe I’ll not make that 21st block and just use all the grey ones. Anyway, it’s obviously not going to be a bed-sized quilt – 4×5 blocks means 48″ x 60″. I did buy fabric for a border, for which I chose the print on the bottom right of the block in the very first photo (that grey/blue circular one), but it just occurred to me now that I probably should have chosen a red-based print for the border, so that those red stars don’t stand out too weirdly. Hmm. Maybe I should buy something with more red, just in case I don’t like the blue. I’m leaning towards buying one of the prints in flannel for the back (so it’ll be cosy), but I’m waiting to hear back from an Etsy seller to see if she’s got enough yardage in one of the red on grey prints for that.
In any case, my goals are thus:
1. Finish the blocks by November 5
2. Piece the top by November 13
3, 4, 5. Baste & quilt & bind by ??? (Have to get the backing fabric for that…)
I know there are a lot of Work-in-Progress Girls out there, and Guys too, probably, but lately I’ve been feeling a bit like my identity as a crafter is entirely caught up in the things undone rather than the things that I’ve finished. (It’s possible I read too many blogs written by people who never seem to start anything, but always miraculously are finishing something.) I have finished a few things, a handful of baby quilts and a lot a lot of small projects, but I haven’t ever finished a quilt that was big enough for an adult. I haven’t finished any of the quilts I’ve set out to make for myself. I haven’t hardly put a dent in the pile of fabric known as my stash.
In my dream world, I wouldn’t have a stash. Or anyway, not much of one. I’d like to be able to buy what I want, when I want it, and actually use it, but instead I have a small mountain or three of gorgeous fabrics that I won’t probably like any more by the time I finally get around to using them.
I’m not a very good blog writer. I get bored too quickly or forget to update or can’t decide what to say, and eventually just sort of peter out, but my goal is to write once a week about an In-Progress Project (or an I-Wish-It-Were-in-Progress Project that I’ve got fabric and plans for). And then hopefully once also a week about the progress I’ve made on… something. (Hopefully those “somethings” will more often than not be my WiPs rather than anything new, but a girl’s gotta have some variety, so…)
I hope, eventually, to get my hand-drawn header of WiP Girl put up, but, well… it’s in progress. And I’m not a very good drawer. One of these days, anyway…