Work-in-Progress Girl


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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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30/30 Sewing Challenge: Month End

You know, I keep thinking I should have more to show because I’ve spent SO MUCH time crafting this month, but so much of it was absorbed in the beginning of the month with the Radiant Orchid challenge mini-quilt, that once I was finished with that, nearly all my time went into making things I had to make – bee blocks and swap projects. Which, hey, nothing wrong with that, but I still have so much more I wanted to finish this month!

It’s the last day of March, for example, [or the first day of April, even… I fell asleep before I could finished editing this post yesterday] and I didn’t even touch my Gypsy Wife booklet! Not a single Gypsy Wife block sewn in March! But if I get them done by the weekend, I’m still linking up with Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day.

Beginnings of two #quilts -- lowish volume and loud for the #gypsywifequiltalong

This (rather dreadful Instagram photo in a too-dark room) is where both my Gypsy Wife quilts are at. I’m really, really wanting to get working on these, but that Pershing block is really kind of scaring me – I’ve been having issues with details lately and none of my blocks lately have been working out quite like I hope. Pershing is not a good one for when you’re feeling wibbly about your sewing skills.

I’m also six blocks behind on the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong! Six blocks!

Layer Cake Sampler QAL... so far...

This is where I’m at though! Loving how this is coming together, although I do feel a little bit like it’s too pink. I’ll have to wait till I have more blocks together, but maybe I’ll need to sash it in a dark purple or burgundy or something. I think I have a bunch of yardage from this line (Eva by Basic Grey), which was meant to be used as backing for a different Eva quilt-in-progress, but depending what the fabrics are, maybe I’ll be able to use it for finishing the quilt.

So what have I gotten done since finishing my Orchid quilt? Well… a couple bee blocks:

Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block

Neither one of them turned out exactly as I’d hoped – I don’t know… the first one came together pretty well, but that second one is a mess of bad points and it’s a little too small and I was really not happy with it. But I kind of love the colours – that domino dot was a great match for that centre print, although I think it’s a lot more green than the recipient was looking for. In any case, I had changed the needle (and thread) in between sewing the first block and the second and it was just a fight to get anything to work properly. I’m not sure what’s the culprit – maybe the bobbin is wound crookedly, maybe the needle has a bad point or it’s slightly misshapen or the wrong size or maybe I’m a poor craftsman who is blaming her tools. In any case, I’m going to start swapping things out and see if something helps.

I also finished a few things for the 4S swap on Flickr… I don’t want to write a full post about those yet, but here is a shot of the drawstring bag I created and the pincushion I tucked in along with some other treats (fabric and candy and chocolate…):

mosaic5574cfc68196e492b4700c6faf416cc886004dc2

I feel like there must be more, but I’m drawing a blank on it, so I guess that’s what I’ve been up to with all my 30 minutes (and more) of crafting every day for the last while! Truly, the majority of the month was taken up with this guy, time hog that it was:

Radiant Orchid mini quilt

Linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge. In general I was pretty successful with the 30 minutes a day thing, I think I only missed once on a weekend when I was unexpectedly working nights (but had expected to have time off). It feels like not very much stuff, considering the time I put into it, but crafting really can be a huge time suck. I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but it is not a speedy thing, even when something moves along quickly.

Berry Barn Designs

Linking up also to WIP Wednesday at Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts


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Radiant Orchid Mini-Quilt

It took me a long time to warm up to making a project for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge – I didn’t have many purples in my stash, even fewer of them in that sort of reddish-pinky-purple that Radiant Orchid seems to be, and I just didn’t have any ideas. But then I read a blog post at Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread that introduced me to the hand over-dyed threads produced by Colour Complements. Mary was running a giveaway for threads from their Etsy shop and I got sucked into thread heaven, a place filled with pretty, pretty cotton and rayon, and I forgot the giveaway entirely: I just had to buy some thread immediately.

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge...

I paired up my sampler pack of threads (three sizes of perle cotton, a rayon chainette, and another very fine rayon thread) with three shades of Kaffee Fassett shot-cotton – Grape, Granite, and Lilac. I choose very quiet fabrics because I wanted to try out something called Kantha quilting and I wanted the stitching to pop, rather than blend into a busy print background. Kantha is a type of embroidery used in parts of India and Bangladesh to give new life to old saris – women would stack up several layers of old, worn saris and stitch them together using a running stitch which could be done in long straight lines or could used to create patterns or pictures. Most of the newer kantha quilts I’ve seen are done exclusively with the running stitches running across the quilts with little extra decoration, but if you do a Google image search or even go to Wikipedia, you can see pictures of some of the more decorative patterns that can be made with Kantha quilting.

Radiant Orchid mini-quilt

I did a little bit of both types, I suppose, since I did largely just straight lines, but also interrupted myself to include a very literal interpretation of the Radiant Orchid challenge. (So literal that I also brought an orchid home so that I could do a triple orchid take – plant, representation of the plant, colour named after the plant.) Because I was working with a sampler pack of threads, I had a little of a lot of varieties of thread, but not a lot of any of them, so I did five repeating rows of (six) different threads, which I also hoped would give it a nice texture and maybe kind of draw the eye around with the different shades of purple and pink (and little splashes of gold) .

Straight Stitching

I stitched the whole thing without a hoop or pins or anything – it was small enough it didn’t feel like it needed much support to keep it together, though I did start with the rayon thread and stitch it every 1-inch or so to help stabilize it enough that I really really didn’t have to worry. I was surprised by how much (overall) I enjoyed the process of stitching – it felt like it should have been tedious, but I didn’t get tired of it until I was near the end and using the worst of the threads – a 100% polyester (which feels scratchy and horrible) and the very thick perle cottons, which my needle was resistant to threading and which then didn’t want to take more than a single stitch at a time. The sparkle chainette (the one with gold flecks) was also a bit difficult because it was incredibly stretchy: I started with a piece of thread the width of the cloth and somehow managed to stitch TWO full lines without starting another length of the stuff.

Orchids

I free-hand stitched the orchids following a tutorial from Drago Art. For the flowers, I used another variegated perle cotton, this one in a blue-green-purple blend, but I found it sunk back into the background too much, so I outlined a lot of it with a very pale lavender DMC floss. Unlike the rest of the stitches in the piece, that back stitch does NOT travel to the back of the quilt – it’s all on the surface. A third thread was used to stitch the stem – it’s maybe a little too bright, but I like it anyway, so we’ll pretend I didn’t say that.

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Anyway, this project absorbed a lot of my time throughout the first couple weeks in March, so much so that I feel like I should be sick of it now, but I’m pretty proud of how it all came out. It kind of dresses up that weird little nook in the strairwell/kitchen along with that print of one of Rodin’s Cambodian dancers and the actual orchids. My sister will likely hate the purple, so it won’t last there too long, I don’t imagine, but eventually it’ll go dress up my Mum’s house for spring.

This was finished on 17 March 2014 and stitched entirely by hand, by me. The binding was sewn to the front and hand-stitched to the back. The fabrics are all Kaffee Fassett shot cottons: the binding is “Grape,” the front is “Granite” and the back is “Lilac.” The threads are all from Colour Complements, except for one shiny purple one (directly above the gold flecked rayon) and the orchid outline, which are both DMC, though one is cotton and the other a horrible, scratchy Polyester. (Seriously, I don’t recommend it.) The quilt measures 15.5″ x 19″ and it is nameless, as are most of my quilts.

This was also my Lovely Year of Finishes Goal for March (goal post here), so success on all fronts!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge My Button


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30/30 Challenge – Week Two

So the sewing for 30(plus) minutes a day thing is going over pretty well! Unfortunately, I spent most of my time working on the same project, so it’s not a very exciting show and tell for the week:

More Radiant Orchid

It is done now, though, so it should be more interesting from here on out! But yes, this is my Pantone Quilt Challenge project… but I’m still keeping it under-wraps, a bit, because I want to stage my photos a little bit and I need to either do it at work (where I have access to some props, and thus I need to do it in the middle of the night while no one is there to wonder WTF I’m doing and why they’re paying me to do it) or I need to buy one prop in particular and bring it home and do it on a sunny morning. So.. all you get to see still is some rows of stitching and my four finished corners. I love when stitching binding and you round that last corner and there’s just a few more inches of binding to go. Best part of a project.

I also stitched up another two blocks for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I LOVE this block. (I don’t love the wrinkling, though.)

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I had a slightly more frustrating time with this block – it just wanted to wrinkle all over the place and the corners wouldn’t line up and it drove me slightly made in general. But I’m trying to just let it go! It won’t be horrible in the finished quilt, it’ll just be another block.

I’m still two blocks behind and I was going to stitch them up on Monday, but I got distracted by the prospect of making a sample drawstring bag for the 4S Swap (Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap) on Flickr. I had some purple fabric in a heap near my sewing table (rejects from early in the Pantone Quilt Challenge process) and really, really wanted to use that Anna Maria Horner fabric from Dowry:

Drawstring Bag

It’s such an easy little project to make, and I think every single one I’ve seen has looked great. I added a little flange to mine to emphasize some of the blue in the print and to tie it all in to the lining fabric. It might have been a slightly brighter blue than it needed to be — the perils of choosing fabrics in a mostly dark/ill-lit room — but I love it anyway. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this bag, probably I’ll give it away eventually, but making it was all for my enjoyment, and I did.

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts


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Work in Progress Wednesday

I have been working on things, but you wouldn’t know it, following my blog – I’ve been so quiet lately! I’m having time management issues. I’ve been doing so much crafting I haven’t had time for anything else. Seriously: I had over 100 blog posts to catch up on today (I’ve got it down to 87 at the moment), I’ve got several open tabs for things I want to be doing or linking up to or commenting on… but when I don’t spend time on the internet, I get a lot of stuff done! (Sometimes I think I should cancel the internet for a couple months, see if I could blast through some of the piles and piles of unfinished things I’ve been adding to my WIP collection. But I’d probably just spend more time on my phone…)

Berry Barn Designs

For the 30/30 Sewing Challenge, I’ve been working on my Pantone Quilt Challenge project.

Pantone challenge project...

These pictures are quite old – there’s a whole lot more done than I’m showing here, but all the other pictures I’ve got are Instagram photos – and since taking this picture, I’ve made use of all the threads in this picture, as well as one new one that I had to buy because I ran out of a couple of these. (Sampler packs are brilliant for getting some of a lot of different threads, but not so brilliant when you want to make extensive use of them!) All these threads came from Colour Complements and were one of the sampler packs. I’m really enjoying working with these (except for the sparkle chainette, which I have been using stitched through fabric, but which is too stretchy really to be a good stitching choice. I went and checked out Lorraine’s blog today for more information about it and she doesn’t recommend stitching with it, but using for surface decoration, like weaving through other stitches. It doesn’t surprise me!

Pantone challenge project...

I used this green because it was included in the bundle of threads I’d bought (it wasn’t part of the sampler pack, just an extra little bit to play with) and it’s a little too bright, really, but I’m also not going to pick it out and change it for something different! Since taking this photo, most of the bottom half of the quilt has gotten another 3 rows of stitching between each of the rows you see here. It’s taking forever and ever and ever…

…but it’s keeping me going on the 30 minute challenge thing! And in fact, I’d say I’ve spent significantly more than 30 minutes a day working on it. (It’s almost scary to think about just how much time goes into the making of things. And this will eventually be hung on a wall to be occasionally exclaimed over and then someday put in a garage or estate sale for a couple bucks before disappearing into the ether like it never existed.)

I’ve also been working on Material Girl’s Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong, though I’m currently two blocks behind:

Layer Cake Quiltalong

Layer Cake Quiltalong

I’m using a layer cake of Basic Grey’s Eva line, which came out several years ago. I’ve had this layer cake (and a charm pack) sitting around in my sewing room for a long, long time and since I had enough of that white fabric in the background to cut up into 10″ squares for these blocks… I thought Why not? It felt like a good time to use that pretty fabric. Best to do it before I someday stop liking it, right?

Layer Cake Quiltalong

Layer Cake Quiltalong

I’m really enjoying the process of making these blocks. I’m going to get the next set done today or tomorrow and can’t wait to add to the little pile of finished blocks. Love these things!

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts


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March 30/30 Sewing Challenge and A Lovely Year of Finishes

So, Sarah at Berry Barn Designs is running this 30/30 Sewing Challenge, which is a challenge to spend at least 30 minutes a day for 30 days sewing. I’ve seen this kind of challenge before and I’ve thought about joining them before, but I typically run into problems when I work night shifts – I’m basically a zombie for those three days and spend a lot of time sitting or lying around not doing much. I don’t like it, but it’s really hard to change your schedule that much for just three days and then to switch back to the day shift again immediately. But I’m going to try it anyway. I’m not sure what I’ll get done – I don’t think I’ve ever dedicated that much of my time to sewing (typically I do most of my sewing on my weekends off and then spend most of the day at it) – so I’m going to have a few different projects I’d like to work on, but I expect this will evolve a little as time goes by.

1. 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge...

I haven’t started this one and you can probably guess from all that thread that it’s going to be a lot of hand-work involved. This is due Mid-March, so this is going to be top of my pile and also my Lovely Year of Finishes project for March. (I didn’t even start on my February goal – the entire month was pretty much a loss as far as crafting goes.) I don’t want to give away too much with this project, so you probably won’t see more than this until it’s actually finished and ready to submit.

2. The Acacia Quilt

Super Simple Acacia Patchwork Quilt

I need to piece the backing for this and then get it basted and quilted. I was going to tie it, but the more I think about it, the more I want to quilt it instead. And kind of free motiony. Even though that scares me. But this is a quilt for me, so I shouldn’t be so scared of making mistakes – I don’t need to let anyone see it up close! Also, getting this done will fill one of my 2014 goals of actually making something from a Craftsy class! (It was a free Craftsy class, but it still counts. And eventually I’ll work on something from one of my paid classes. I’m thinking about one the quilts from Camille Roskelley’s Pre-cut Piecing Made Simple.

3. Continue on with the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

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I think it’s just every two weeks that these blocks are released, so it’s not a huge time commitment for March, but I’m just going to put it up here. I don’t want to crap out on (yet another) quiltalong/block of the month type project. I’ve had this layer cake of Basic Grey’s Eva fabric sitting around for a very, very long time, so it’s nice to finally settle on a use for it. (I’m using Moda Bella yardage for the white and… I don’t really like it. You can see a lot more slubs in the fabric than in Kona cotton and it feels and looks thinner.)

4. Mini Quilt Made from Spare Stash Bee block

Smallish Badly Sewn Swoon block

This was my first attempt at the Dutch Rose/Swoon block for my Hive #12 Bee-mate at Stash Bee. It doesn’t show so much in this photo, but it’s slightly too small in some areas, slightly too large in others, has an unbelievable amount of wrinkles (seriously, if you lay it out flat on a table, you can slid your finger under some of the units without it making a noticeable difference elsewhere). It was a mess and so I had to remake it for the Bee, but now I have this big 16-inch quilt block, so I think I’m going to use it as a free motion quilting experiment. It’s a mess, so I shouldn’t get too upset if I mess it up further, right? I want to try just a basic stipple with it, something I’ve never really done successfully, but I’ve only tried on really small samples, so maybe having something a bit bigger to work on will be useful.

I could probably come up with other things, but I’ll leave it here! It’s definitely enough to get started with. I think I’ll probably expand my definition of this particular challenge to include all the parts of crafting – by which I really mean to say that I’m going to include basting, because that’s going to take a lot of time and I probably won’t want to do that AND 30 minutes of sewing in the same day, unless I happen to do it on a weekend day off – but I like to play fast and loose with rules like that. (Much like I’m playing fast and loose with the Fabriholic Anonymous rules by very seriously contemplating trading fabric for giftcards instead of selling the fabric directly because giftcards I can spend on fabric and cash I can’t…..) (Talk me out of this one, won’t you?)

Berry Barn Designs My Button

By the by, sorry for all the Instagram photos. I couldn’t find my proper camera this morning, so I IGed everything instead. I had to do a little creative editing with a couple of them to try to get the colours the right shades, but I don’t think I’ve been terribly successful. Oh well.

Speaking of Instagram, you can follow me there @clumsykristel. And I’m hoping to post a daily update there on my 30 in 30 goals along (of course) with my weekly updates for the challenge.