Double Hourglass Quilt

This post has been a long time coming, but I didn’t like my photos when I first took them threeish weeks ago, and then kept putting off taking more.

Hourglass Quilt

Not that this is such a great photo, stuffed into the bannister of the stairs, but it seemed like the light was going to be good for once (and then it turned out kind of weirdly overlit anyway!). Winter in Canada. A whole season of everything being underlit or overlit via light bouncing off snow. Yay.

Anyway, I finished this one around Thanksgiving, maybe October 14 or 15. It’s a baby quilt, about 36″ x 43″. I didn’t follow a pattern, but this is a very jelly roll-friendly quilt, and a very easy one to make. (If anyone wants to know how, ask and I’ll let you know, but the gist is “sew two strips of fabric together, cut into triangles, rotate to create hourglasses, sew together into a square.”) This quilt was all tailored for an old friend who hadn’t been super into baby themed items for babies (you know, little teddy bears and… I don’t know, whatever), but I didn’t wind up sending it to her in the end. (And when she sent me a picture of her baby, he was wrapped up in something with cute child themed prints anyway – maybe she’s loosened up in the intervening years on the subject. It has been 6 or more years since we’ve seen one another!) I let my mom talk me into sending her the Star Surround quilt instead, so this one will get donated to a Linus group, which is a great way to use it regardless.

Hourglass Quilt

I talked a lot in the past about the fabric selection process for this quilt (here and here) and still wound up changing things a little (I took out one of the fabrics and swapped in a different one), but generally speaking it fits the colour scheme and the type of prints I was aiming for: orange, green, blue, and red using stripes, dots, and other geometric prints. The rope text print doesn’t quite fit, but I let it slide on the basis of it’s a baby quilt. The two Stof prints are certainly more organic than geometric, but they both created a striped effect so I thought that was okay too.

002

The fabrics I had the most difficulties with were the off-white ones. As a general rule, I don’t ever put an off-white print together with a pure white print, because the off-white one comes out looking dingy and dirty in comparison. But I bought the fabric online and some of them were more off-white than I was expecting. I even added in the blue/off-white loop print to try to tie in the three existing off-whites. I kept telling myself that all colours go with white and thus off-white also should go with white. It’ll be fine, Kristel. Don’t worry about it so much and nobody will even notice! But it does bother me if I spend too much time looking at those particular prints. (Colours pop so beautifully against pure white, it seems a crime not to use it!)

Hourglass Backing & Binding

I used my favourite print for the binding – that green and navy print from Emily Herrick’s Technicolor line – but it really wasn’t a great choice for a binding (seriously – scroll up to a picture of the entire quilt!) because the look varies so much from one part of the print to another. Still, I love having that green around the edges (and my different coloured corner, of course, in the red and white stripe). The backing you can see is a flannel version of one of the chevrons I used on the front of the quilt – it’s also a larger size chevron. (I think that is a medium size, where the front has a small size on regular quilting cotton. All three of the chevron fabrics I used are from Riley Blake, anyway.) This picture also shows the quilting. I went pretty minimalist with this one and only quilted on the diagonal, a little more than a quarter inch away on either side of the seams. (The foot I use has a marking on the inside of the foot at the quarter inch, but I lined it up with the outside of the foot, so there’s probably an extra 1/8-inch.) I had thought about adding something more, maybe on the white parts of each block, but didn’t want to overkill it, and anyway I find quilts more comfortable when they’re not quilted too densely (though it sure does look good!).

I always have a list of things I’d like to change about the quilts I make – there’s always something in retrospect I wish I’d done better – and in this case, I wish I’d pressed all my seams open. I’m pretty back and forth on that one, but in this case, all those dark edges of fabric that got pushed toward the white (this happened when joining the rows, generally I press toward the dark if I don’t open my seams) show through. When I first took it out of the wash, I was terrified that it had bled because I could see all these kind of streaky bits of colour, but when you get up close, it’s just the fabric pressed under in those particular places. Sigh. Oh well, as far as things I’d like to change go, I’m happy that that’s my only real complaint. I’m usually pretty good at picking apart my flaws, so that one little thing isn’t so bad at all. (Okay. That and those off-white prints. I mean, seriously, designer types: why the off-whites? Do you want dingy looking fabric, because I don’t!)

Anyway, done is good. And that’s another finish for the year. I’m not a terribly prolific quilter (like some bloggers are) and I tend never to finish things, so every finished piece is a bit of a victory.

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Pushme Pullme quilt top

Back in September, Michelle of Factotum of Arts and Squeek Crafts debuted a new pattern she’d created for a block that used nested arrows. Then called This Way That Way, the block plays with value and kind of tessellating pattern to create a really neat design that’s almost like an optical illusion: if you look at it one way, the In arrow stands out and the rest fades into the background, but if you refocus your eye, the opposite occurs and the Out arrow stands out. When Michelle was looking for pattern testers, I was only too happy to help!

Push Me Pull Me quilt top

Michelle has made several blocks in a (mostly) monochromatic colour scheme, using dark and light value blues with white and grey borders, so I wanted to try something a little bit different, to see how it would work out using fabrics with varying colours (not that I went so wild with that, sticking primarily to shades of blue and green, all from the same line). So I made four Pushme Pullme blocks using 8 prints from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence line of fabrics and five different shades of Kona cotton for the borders. (The darkest blue is Nightfall, but the other four were pulled out of a design roll of “New Colours” from… several years ago. I don’t know what their colour names are.)

001

I did all the blocks one at a time (rather than chain piecing the units of multiple blocks) and they took me a little longer than an hour per block – I’m a pretty slow sewist, though, and was also watching a new-to-me movie at the time (“Highway 61”), which was a bit more distracting than I prefer when I’m sewing. Still, they come together very easily. I had been a little concerned about matching up the cross in the centre of the blocks, but that didn’t give me any trouble either.

The blocks are a bit larger than standard – 15 inches finished – which is nice for quilt making because it sizes up a quilt nicely without having to add sashing or borders. My blocks came out a touch small – about 15.25″ rather than 15.5″ unfinished. The centre unit was the correct size in every case, but I didn’t measure anything after that, so I think I ate up an eighth of an inch with each of my borders. I rarely sew with a scant seam, but I think I probably should have in this case!

Push Me Pull Me

Regardless, I love the finished top! (And my obligatory wind-blown shot, since I can’t seem to manage a photo shoot in my backyard without it!) I think it turned out as well with my (controlled) blend of colours and prints as it did in Michelle’s monochromatic version, and I think it’d work also with a more chaotic blend of colours as well. I’m imagining a child’s quilt with rainbow blocks, for instance. As long as you maintain the value differences, I think it’ll work out with nearly anything.

I was really hoping to have this quilt entirely finished in time for the mini-blog hop for this pattern, but I got held up making the backing for the quilt. I’m using four more prints from Florence for the back and was going to have a blue cross through the centre to break it all up and to mimic the sashing a little bit, but I went and cut my Florence prints an inch too small all around and so I need to re-cut the blue cross to be a little larger, so that it’ll still be big enough. Anyway, hopefully I’ll finish it up soon. I’m thinking about putting hanging tabs on the back and putting this one up on an empty wall in my bedroom.

In any case, definitely head over to Factotum of Arts, where Michelle is hosting a giveaway and then go check out the posts of my fellow testers. I haven’t seen what they’ve made yet, but I’m willing to bet they all look amazing!

Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day
Mara at Secretly Stitching
Sarah at Sarah Quilts

WIP Wednesday: Needlebooks and Quilt Blocks

Well, I don’t think my busy job of catching up on old Doctor Who episodes counts as a Work in Progress (and I have seen it all before, I’ve just been in the mood to watch the David Tennant years because *swoon*), so I guess I can talk a bit about the things I’ve been doing this week.

First up is a needlebook. It’s for the Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap group on Flickr. It looks pretty well finished in these photos, and really it’s just like… 3% away from being finished:

Outside of the Needlebook

No photos of the inside, but it’s a taco-shaped needlebook from Suzuko Koseki’s Playful Patchwork book.

Taco-shaped Needlebook

This is how it’ll look if I ever get that last 3% done – it’s just a snap closure that I need to add, but I need to find some to buy! I’ll show off the inside, anyway, if I ever get this thing finished! (It’s due out by next week, so I had better get to it!) I keep posting pictures at the swap group in hopes that the recipient will show up and comment, but so far no dice!

Anyway, since I haven’t got any snaps and can’t finish things up just yet, instead I’m working on a different project. This will likely wind up a mini quilt, which I may hang on my wall:

Block in Progess

Well, it doesn’t look like much right now, but I’m really loving these Denyse Schmidt Florence prints and the blocks I’m using them in are coming together really well. I’ll be talking more about the pattern at a later date, but it’s been really good so far and I’m excited to see the finished mini-quilt. What I want is to do is four blocks and then I’ll get it all sewn up and quilted and everything else as quickly as possible. Right now, the block in the photo is actually finished and I’ve got another one just steps away from being completely. Hopefully I’ll manage to get two more done tomorrow, and then it’ll just be the finishing work left. I think it’s going to be pretty sharp looking in these limes and blues.

Stuff and Things

I keep putting off writing a post – I’ll do it tomorrow, sort of thing – because most of what I’m going to post about is a little too light to bother about, so today can be a bit of a Random Thursday post, though it’s not really all that random: it’s sewing/fabric related, by and large.

On Wednesday, I received this really incredible swap package for the Flickr Fat Quarter Blender Swap:

FQ Blender Swap Received!

Love, love, love every bit of it. My swap partner really nailed it with this one – you might recall my saying the other day that I’ve been having a Pink moment? Yeah. These will fit right into the mix. I really love Painter’s Canvas (that’s the navy one), and would have it in every colour if I had the money to spend on it. The paper clips are just FUN and that aqua is really lovely.

I also received my swap package for a Livejournal swap, the Talk to Me Tuesday Pound of Love/Crafty Goodness swap, but I didn’t take pictures because I recorded a video. Just have to get the video off my phone and onto YouTube.

I recently mailed off stuff for that Livejournal swap and while I didn’t take pictures of most of what I sent, I did photograph the handmade bit, which was three pot holders:

Patchwork Potholders

I don’t know what sorts of colours my swap partner loves or what types of prints, so I pretty much just let myself go crazy with the scrap bags. I wanted to make something useful, but also beautiful, and hopefully I managed to accomplish that!

Pink Patchwork Potholder

I made this pink one first, more or less following the pattern in the book Zakka Style, which was compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale (I hope I got her name right, I’m too lazy to go look it up…). The book uses the linen as the binding, which I should have done as it really ties the whole look together, but I didn’t want to cut a big old bias cut right through the middle of my Essex linen. So dark pink instead.

Patchwork Pot-holders

The pattern is for the kind of pot-holders that you can put your hand inside to pick things up, so they’re all done in that style. But I quilted the crap out of these things and even though they function as pot-holders (I tested them!), I was too scared to try holding a hot dish with them. I feel a bit like the super tight quilting clamped all the inner layers together so closely that it holds the heat too close to your hand (even though it does reflect it back up). I don’t know. There are 3 layers of fabric, a layer of cotton batting, and a layer of Insulbrite in each of these, but I was still nervous about it.

This teal one is probably my favourite, but I’m a big fan of teal/aqua. That extra bit of patchwork in the middle was in the scrap bag just like that – it was an off-cut from a quilt top I finished last year (but have never quilted…). Love it.

Chartreuse (I guess?) Patchwork Potholder

This chartreuse one was the last one I made. You can tell I haven’t really made much use of chartreuse in my sewing because I didn’t have too many options in my scrap bins – I had to slip in some other shades of green as well. This features my least favourite binding (I should have chosen a darker coloured print) and I think it knew I wasn’t happy with it, because it gave me all kinds of trouble. There are a couple little puckers, I had to sew the joining seam THREE times. Ridiculous.

Anyway, those are all en route to their new owner, who I hope will love them.

And finally – I need to go blow-dry my hair and get ready for work (I work midnight to 8:30 AM tonight!) – here’s the first block of my next project:

First block

It’s a shame my ironing board shows through, but I’m loving how this is looking. I’ve only got the one block finished, but I’m going to make 30 for the quilt top (it’s going to be a baby top) and hope to get it all together very quickly.

Baby quilt fabrics

These are all the print fabrics I’m going to use, but today I got them all sewed up into strip sets to cut into the block components. All pressed and ready to cut, and then I’ll start sewing them into blocks. I’m using 2.5″ wide strips (the white is a jelly roll), and the blocks come out to just a little bigger than 8.25″ square, though I’m trimming them down to 8 1/4. It’s a bit of an unusual size, but it’s convenient to start with the jelly roll strips, so there it is.

Oh, and finally, here is my September block for the Flickr Simply Solids group:

Simply Solids Aenous Sept. block

More churn dashes! They’re having a moment in the blogosphere.

Star Surround Finish

I stayed up last night until nearly midnight so that I could finish and submit my Star Surround quilt for the SSQAL Parade at Happy Quilting. It might have been a dumb idea, I don’t know, but I had to get up at 4:30 AM, so dumb feels like an appropriate word. But FINISHED is another, and finished is a very, very sweet word indeed, because I never finish much of anything.

Star Surround

This quilt might be my fastest finish ever – I started it in mid-July and it’s just now mid-September and the entire thing is done and dusted. Well, I haven’t washed it yet, that’s the next step, but I’m pretty confident it’s not going to fall apart in the wash (which is my usual unfounded fear with quilting). Anyway, as a rule, the only things I ever finish in a timely fashion are small items, like pouches and pillows and pin-cushions. (Well, maybe not pin-cushions – I don’t think I’ve ever made one! Just wanted a third ‘P’ because things sound better in threes.)

On Saturday, I pieced the backing, basted the quilt, and got the straight-line quilting done on the top. Then on Sunday I spent most of an hour practising some free motion loopy quilting so that I could add that as well. And then I trimmed, made and machine sewed on the binding, and then stitched it down on the back. I was planning to try machine sewing the binding (and watched about six different videos on the subject) but got scared at the last second and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Star Surround

Anyway, quilting. If you look closely at that photo, you should be able to see that in two quadrants I stitched north/south in the ditch (every 3 inches) and in the other two quadrants I stitched east/west in the ditch. In between those stitches, I FMQed the loopy lines, which are all kind of variable in stitch length and sometimes a tiny bit choppy, but largely came out pretty well. I’ve always been pretty terrified of FMQ and it feels a little bit like cheating to have chosen a method that didn’t just let me cross my own lines, but actively required it. But I’m really kind of ridiculously proud of myself anyway. I only had to pick out stitches once (where I kind of jerked and wound up with a toe-catcher), and that seems like a pretty big victory. I guess I unpicked a few more times, but that was always only because the thread snapped as I was sewing, so I had to unpick enough so that I could bury the threads and get back to it. I quilted it with Aurifil thread, 40 wt. 4663, which is Baby Blue Eyes Variegated. I had about 6 or 7 thread breaks, well, I say thread breaks, but it was more like it sort of shredded apart, and you could pull of loose tufty bits when it broke like that. I’ve never had that happen with other thread before, but I also have never really done FMQ before, just bits and pieces to practise in the past, so I don’t know that it wouldn’t have happened with other thread.

The fabrics, if you’re curious, are from two different Riley Blake lines, One for the Boys and Boy Crazy. (Two prints each – in the photo above, the dashed stripe and the stars are from one line, the cars and the spiral stripe are from the other.) The background fabric is Kona Robin Egg, which is a gorgeous blue, and the red binding is Kona Coral. The quilt backing is a random no-name flannel that was in my stash.

Star Surround

I didn’t take any particular good photos of the backing, but it’s not a great match for the front – it’s a slightly greener aqua than the Robin Egg, but I thought it worked well enough. Especially since it’s on the back. When I bought fabric for the backing, I accidentally bought enough for the length, but not for the width and so I had planned to piece the backing with… something that wouldn’t look terrible, but didn’t find anything that seemed like it would work. So I dug this aqua with white dots out of my (rather small) flannel stash.

Anyway, that’s that quilt done. Now I kind of want to make another one, but in fabrics I love, and large enough for my bed. But probably I should finish some things… Maybe quilt some of the tops I’ve got laying around. Especially now that I’ve lost my FMQ virginity ;D

First Time Ever

I haven’t done any sewing at all in several days – I worked nights over the weekend and I’ve been all STRESSCASE at work (which, let me say, is getting really old) and have just collapsed in a heap at home the last couple days. I did make the effort twice this week to cook, though, so I guess that’s something! Might not be much, but it’s something. In any case, I haven’t done any sewing for such-and-such reasons, but I’m posting anyway because one of the bloggers I read, Melissa at My Fabric Relish, decided to do a linky for First Quilts Ever.

Link party button

I’ve kind of sort of talked about the my first quilt in the past – my navy and off-white nine patch was the first quilt top I ever worked on, but it’s still not finished! The top is finished, but that’s as far as I’ve ever gotten. I did buy a lot of fabric for the backing last year, but I didn’t end up liking the fabric enough – it was too royal and not navy enough of a blue. So I’m still sitting on that one for now.

But if we’re going to get technical and require a first finish to mean an actually usable finished quilt, then my first finish ever was a baby quilt for an online friend of mine:

quilt-hourglasscomplete

I wish I had a better photo of it, but this is all I’ve got from back in the day (c. 2004 or 2005, I think). It’s all made with flannel, with hourglass blocks and it was quilted in the ditch diagonally and around the borders. I seem to recall having started with larger borders, but then trimming it down to this narrow size so that I wouldn’t have to figure out how to quilt them! I also imagine my mom did most of the quilting herself, because I was using her sewing machine and it always hated me – I’d get tangles and birds’ nests just for looking at that machine the wrong way and EVERY way was the wrong way. All of the fabric was bought at WalMart and I backed it in solid yellow flannel. I’m not in contact with Mandy (the friend in question) any more, but if I were, I’d love to know how the quilt held up! I can easily imagine it having fallen apart in the wash, though of course I hope it didn’t!

My next finished quilt after that was also a baby quilt, also done entirely in flannels. By that point, I’d bought/been given my sewing machine, and was living on my own in Saskatoon. I was in university and had no money (seriously, I grocery shopped with a calculator and kept track of the pennies and tax to be sure I’d have enough food to last out the month!), but a friend of mine was having a baby and at the time I didn’t have a fabric stash, so when I got some of my student loan funding, I went and spent a bunch of it on flannel at a fabric store I can’t remember the name of, but which was close to Midtown mall (if there are any Saskatoonians around to tell me the name, feel free, it was/is? right across the street at the Sears end).

quilt-trianglebabyquilt

I was never quite certain how the Mum in question felt about this quilt – it was garish and bright, but soft and cushy. I tied it with black embroidery floss and backed it with a kind of crazy print flannel:

quilt-trianglebabycloseback

I wasn’t totally sold on that fabric, but I let the shop owner talk me into it (it DID contain all the colours from the front, so…) and while I’m still not crazy about it, I suppose it does work for a child’s quilt. At the time I did this, I was terrified to try properly binding a quilt (I don’t know why! It’s so easy!) so both this quilt and the previous one had roll-over bindings. On the first, I rolled the yellow from the back over to the front and stitched it down, and on this one, the border fabric from the front (the plaid) was rolled over the back and stitched down. I’m not sure that’s the most secure method of binding a quilt, but it felt less terrifying somehow and I was always able to get my mom to help me start it out. (I was confident enough to sew it down, but never confident enough to START sewing it, so I’d have to get her to do the first couple inches and then I’d take over, until I got to a corner, at which point I’d enlist her help again.)

Neither of these are particularly embarrassing first attempts at quilting, but to begin with, I started out with the hand-pieced nine-patch (which would be hard to mess up completely) and then dove into these, which were both VERY simple. Most of my embarrassing early attempts were related to block swaps. The first swap I participated in, I used cheap and (I have to say…) ugly fabric to make really piss-poor Shoo Fly blocks. I’m pretty sure all the blocks were the wrong size and that all the people in the swap wanted to refuse to swap with me again! The next time we swapped, though, I made paper-pieced stars and they turned out pretty spectacular 😀 (That one would be the red and white star closest to the front in this quilt.)

Anyway, that was a bit of a twofer “first time” but it didn’t feel like there was much to say about the actual first finished one, and having not seen it in so many years, I don’t have any insight on how good a job I did (or didn’t!) do with any of it. I can imagine the binding coming unstitched or maybe the cheap fabric kind of wearing through with use. But I don’t mind if that’s what happened with it, so long as those quilts DID get used. Whenever I give quilts to parents these days, I tell them that they’re meant to be used, to be thrown on the grass in the backyard or used as a beach blanket and rolled around and ground into dirt and puked and spilled on and just… used. They can be machine washed and they’re not delicate heirloom quality, so give them a work-out because I’d be more offended to learn they sat on a shelf to keep them pristine for…. what?

Anyway, I’ve got the weekend off work, so I’ve got plans! Plans to make something for my last giveaway (there are two somethings in mind, and they’re both useless but hopefully will turn out beautiful!), plans to piece together the quilt back for my Star Surround quilt, and possibly maybe plans to quilt that quilt. (I’m thinking just plain jane straight-line quilting, just kind of… 1 or 1-ish inches apart, with hopefully a bit of an organic wave to them. I wanted to do free motion, but I’m recalling just how much difficulty I’ve had in the past when trying to do it, and I want to build some more practise sandwiches to work on before trying it on the Real Deal.) I also have a very loose plan to Clean The Fuck Up. (Pardon the language, I try to keep my potty mouth in check around here, but much like the book Go The F*ck to Sleep, sometimes the swears just make the title of the thing what they need to be.) I need to Clean The Fuck Up. And I’ll try to make a post about that. A before and after post, hopefully, but it’s going to be a big, embarrassing job. So we’ll see how that goes… 😀

Star Surround Top

So I’ve gotten my Star Surround quilt top finished!

Star Surround Quilt Top

Looks pretty good, I think, though I wish I had a slightly better balance in the darks and lights. Still, for using four fabrics I really didn’t like very much, I think it’s come out pretty well.

I really want to get this thing done by the end of September, so I need to figure out a backing material and decide how to quilt it. I’d like to learn free motion quilting, so maybe I’ll make this a practise piece. I don’t know.

Next up this week is finishing up my Doctor Who quilt top:

009

So that means sashing on these unfinished blocks. (And maybe changing the blue digit on my eighth block to a green one.) And then cutting out and putting on the inner border. And then deciding once and for all if I’m putting words (and maybe a sonic screwdriver) into the outer border and getting all of that done. I wanted it finished by the end of the week, but I’m not sure that’ll happen at all. We’ll see, I guess.

Eleventy One Giveaway/More Batiky Goodness

Well, I forgot to mention it, but a few weeks back I had my 100th post here at this blog. I totally missed it when it happened, but I’d planned to do a giveaway for that 100th post. Anyway, fail. So then I thought, well, I’ll do 101. But I forgot. So then I thought 111. Why not my eleventy-first entry? So it was a super secret giveaway because I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it, and 111 was actually my last entry, which was my last work in progress post. So the super secret part is that I figured I’d just enter everyone who happened to leave a comment, and so that’s what I did!

111 posts giveaway

Everyone’s name was put into my awesome possum TARDIS fabric basket, given a good shake through time and space, and I drew a name:

Winner Winner

So I’ve sent an email to Carly (Citric Sugar) and she’ll be the lucky recipient of something kind of silly fun, which has not yet been made, and which I won’t post pictures of until she’s received it. I will only say this: I REALLY REALLY hope her favourite colour will be red, pink, yellow, or green. Which doesn’t matter so much anyway, but it’d make it kinda meta. And also, it’s a project from a book I recently bought, even though I swore I was going to quit buying project books without borrowing them from the library first, using materials I don’t currently have, even though I swore I was going to quit buying more crafting stuff.

Anyway, other than that, I’ve mainly been working on Super Secret Stuff for Fandom in Stitches (more on that later!), of which you can catch a sneak peak of a sample (that’s not going to be used or even finished!) in the first photo in this post. My last post though was largely about making use of my unwanted batik fabrics, and I made more than what I showed you, I was just lazy last week and didn’t post about it.

I also finished this second, not-quite-trip-around-the-world quilt top:

Batik Not-Quite Trip Around the World

This one had a super planned colour scheme and I kind of constructed it in a way that made it a bit like a bargello quilt, although I still made it the same way that the Scrappy Trip Around the World quilts are made, I just rotated the blocks out of any round-trip notions. There are eight different fabrics in this quilt – two different blues and two different purples – but all the fabrics are so very close in value and shade that you only really notice the different fabrics if you’re looking at it up close. (If you compare the first and second blocks in the top row, you can see the blues are a mottled print and one with leaves, and the purples are one with dots and the other with leaves.) That pale minty green was one of my favourite batiks, one of the hardest to cut up, but I had no thoughts on its use, so it was time for it to go! I like that so much of it ended up in this quilt top. Just like the previous batik trip around the world, this quilt is going to be donated to charity.

WIP Wednesday

I’m on vacation this week, so I feel like I’ve been spending all my time sewing. That isn’t quite true, but it’s true enough as far as that goes – I’ve sewn 15 quilt blocks and cut out somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300 strips of fabric to turn into baby quilts. (Twelve of those quilt blocks were made with strips from that pile.) It doesn’t seem like very much, spread over four days, but I’m not very good at sitting still and getting to work. Every day I try to go for a walk, and I’m trying to clean part of my bedroom each day as well, so I usually try to do those extra things in between bouts of sewing, whenever I start to get to restless.

Batiks

Anyway, I was mentioning the other day that I’m tired of all my batiks and so I sorted them all out of my stash into their own little pile so that I could do something with them to get rid of them. The general plan was to turn them into Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks and to make charity quilts out of them. After that little sorting expedition, I went on a much more arduous, harder on the back expedition and cut the entire pile into a nice, neat stack of 2.5 x 16-inch strips of fabric.

Batiks

I was able to break it down into six colour units of approximately the same number of strips: purple, orange, blue, yellow (which also has red, burgundy, and some other random bits and bobs), green, and brown. There are enough strips to make four baby quilts, plus I have enough uncut fabric left to add a border to each of them with hopefully plenty left-over to send along for binding. And then there are all the off-cuts. I have two fabric baskets stuffed full of my off-cuts, which… I don’t even know. I can think of nothing in particular I want to do with them, but maybe I’ll sort through and cut them into strips 5 inches long and then start making strips like a coin quilt. Or maybe I’ll find someone who wants a bag of mixed scraps (nothing longer than 16 inches unless it’s narrower than 2.5 inches). Who knows? I’ll be so sick of batiks by the time I’m done four small quilts with them, I probably won’t want to see them again, in any case.

Batik Trip Around the World

Still, there’s one mostly finished quilt. I’m still planning to put a border around it – probably a four inch border and it’ll be something blue based, since I’ve got mostly blue background pieces left over. (I also have a fair bit of a kind of beige one, but it doesn’t seem like it’d work for a border, so I don’t know what I’ll do with that yet.)

Anyway, to take a break from that, and to get some of my other responsibilities taken care of, I also made 3 blocks for exchanges. The first two are for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks exchange, both March birthdays. One was the dreaded Best of All block, which came together… fairly well, though my points are NOT exact.

Best of All block

The request, beyond being that very difficult block, was for batik fabrics, with medium and dark mauve where I have purple and a mauve floral for the centre. I think I really only managed to get the centre in the mauve range, but I couldn’t find any batiks that worked. I just really hope the recipient will like it. I have a feeling she’s going to get a whole range of colours beyond what she asked for, but sometimes a nice range comes together better than something really planned. I guess we’ll see.

Ship at Sea

This second block requested a ship at sea, with no other real directions (beyond, you know, sky coloured sky, water coloured water). I used a block from Modern Blocks compiled by Susanne Woods, which I actually also made last year for a different recipient. There are some things I like better about this year’s block – the water has a better contrast and although both are good water prints, I prefer the motion that this year’s block has – but it does look bare with plain white sails, and it really needs that flag blowing in the wind. I couldn’t find any fusible so I skipped over it, but I should have sent along the cut out flag (it’s in my garbage bin!) just in case the recipient had some and wanted to fuse it down herself.

Square in square

Anyway, the last block I made was for my Simply Solids group on Flickr, where the recipient mailed the pre-cut fabric and we just assembled it. (Precut but without direction of which colour to put where – we could have put the rings in any order because there was enough fabric for any of them to go around the outside.) I’ve had those fabrics sitting around waiting on me for nearly a month, so I’m glad to have it done. Somewhat frustrated to find that it was almost harder to put together than that Best of All block up above – I think I just don’t sew long straight lines very compentently because I do fine on weird triangles and corners, but this little 12 seam block gave me fits.

Anyway, I’ve also been working on pattern making, super secret pattern making, for Fandom in Stitches, and I’d really like to have this done by the end of the week, but I can’t figure out how to clean up my lines and make them LOOK like a pattern. I mean, it’s one thing to have scratchy pencil marks in patterns I use for myself, but you can’t exactly give that to other people, you know? And I don’t have any software on my computer any more for editing things like that.

All of this also represents HOURS of tv watching. I got through most of season 3 of Justified, two seasons of Slings and Arrows (short seasons: they only have 6 episodes each), and I’ve started in on season 1 of due South, which I never watched when it was originally on the air. (Well, actually I never watched any of this when it was originally on the air. I haven’t seen any of Season 4 of Justified, which I think hasn’t quite finished up yet. I’ll have to wait till its out on DVD and I can borrow it from the library.) I don’t tend to pay a huge amount of attention to the tv when I’m sewing, it’s more background noise, but I do watch parts of it at least, so I wonder how much more I could get done if I, I don’t know… listened to audio books instead.

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WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced

WIP: The Mendocino Baby Quilt

Do please ignore the multitude of creases that need to be pressed out of this top. And the piles of crafting crap surrounding it. Just squint your eyes a little, maybe unfocus a bit, and pretend nothing is there but that swathe of purple surrounding some gold and pink mermaids and seahorses.

Mendocino Posh Tot quilt top

Rumour has it that I’m working on finishing this project in February. Rumour might be wrong. Or exaggerated, possibly. Just a little bit. If I had, say, pressed the top, I might consider that evidence that work is being done, progress is being made, but no. I didn’t do that. I did drape it over something in hopes that the wrinkles might sort of drift out a little bit, but if I really want that, I should go hang it in my bathroom. I’m not really a super-hot shower kind of person, though, so it probably wouldn’t help much – not enough steam.

Today, I went looking for the quilt pattern – this is Posh Tot by Blue Underground Studios – so that I could see what size quilt backing it thought I should have, but no dice. Somehow in the last two years, that pattern has gone missing. So I had to do the much more difficult work of actually measuring the top and, you know, figuring out for myself how much fabric I’d need for the back. I also drew out a sample quilt back, and figured out approximate sizes for everything.

Planning

Like my four-limbed octopus?

I also dug around in the bin of fabric with my solids (if you look in the top photo, there is a stack of three plastic bins on the lower right hand side of the photo, kinda sorta just barely visible in that heap of crap you’re squinting your eyes to avoid seeing, one of those three is over-filled with solids) and found my Kona Mulberry yardage, which is the primary fabric in the quilt top, and also the Kona Daffodil, which is the yellow in the centre of the block squares. And then I hauled out my stack of Mendocino fabric, so that I could have a long and difficult debate with myself about the likelihood of my cutting into my last remaining fat quarter of the pink Swimming Sisters for piecing something interesting into the back.

A quilt back?

But that heap of Mendocino fabrics (top left – it contains one fat quarter of every print in the line EXCEPT the giant octopus with the gold background, plus assorted yardage and smaller pieces of several prints) also has a collection of smaller scrappy bits, and I found that scrap with the octopus on it. That print isn’t on the front of the quilt, but it fits right in. AND it saved me from having to decide whether or not to chop into my swimming sisters fabric.

I should really get working on this today – pressing EVERYTHING, because my god! the wrinkles. But somehow every time I think about it, my brain drifts away to other things. Wondering if someone on Flickr will bite, as regards this fabric I’d like to trade away:

Monaluna's Circa 60

Wondering what the heck I did with the last package of fabric that arrived. (Two yards of texty goodness – one in an old-timey script, the other like a hand-writing workbook I might have filled out in first grade, before I figured out that half-printing, half-cursive was a much faster way of writing. And also some Yuwa text fabrics, more of the olive Je Vous En Prie fabric, and a couple rose prints with a newsprint underly. I’d show a photo, but I don’t remember what I did with it!) Debating whether or not to bake a potato and make some roasted vegetable sauce to put on top of it – it’s after 11, I should really decide now if that’s the route I’m going. Or maybe just Havarti cheese on toast, because I broke down and bought some cheese the other day.

I don’t know. I have a pathological aversion to crafting when I try to give myself a deadline, anyway. I enjoy crafting, but finishing things? Ugh. I think I need to get rich quick so that I can hire an assistant to finish everything I start, once I get bored of the project. Can you imagine, just starting everything you ever wanted to start, but not having to worry about the tedious detail of finishing 100 bitty little blocks or putting together rows of finished blocks?