Work-in-Progress Girl


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Sunday Stash, Old and New

I feel like I’ve been posting too often for someone who hasn’t actually accomplished a whole lot of anything in the last couple weeks. But there was the year end wrap up and various year ahead type things and I couldn’t not talk about Gypsy Wife and and and… hopefully my next post will actually have something to look at besides unused fabric. But in the meantime, here’s a bit of old and a bit of new.

My second to last 2013 purchase finally arrived (and I’m still waiting on Craftsy for my last 2013 purchase to arrive – I don’t know how they ship things, but both times I’ve ordered from them it’s been a brutally long wait) with a couple random bits and pieces that I picked up to round out a purchase of cat fabric:

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Oh god. It practically gives me nightmares! (Actually, it doesn’t. But years ago I swore – swore! – I would never again own cat fabric and now I do again and so I’m haunted by the ghost of a quilt block cat I made OUT OF CATS. Much like feeding ground up cow bones to cows just seems wrong, so too does making a cat out of cats.) (It was for an exchange and the recipient requested cat fabric. I tracked down some Laurel Burch cats and my mind has never quite shaken the horror.) (Also, sorry if you find it offensive that I don’t like Laurel Burch. I got an email notification the other day from someone who thought it was terribly rude of me to talk about not liking Liberty fabrics, as if I think there’s something wrong with people who do like it. Well, the world is large and there’s room for a lot of opinions. Mine is that I hate Laurel Burch prints and am pretty iffy about Liberty. But you’re welcome to like what you like and while I might find it weird, I hope you’ll forgive me for having an inordinate love of paisley and the colour brown.)

Anyway, that’s Here Kitty Kitty in Jewel, from Michael Miller and it’s destined to be the backing of my Catvent quilt, should I ever finish making the blocks.

Since I was there, which is to say here at Bobbie Lou Fabric, I also picked up some of this stupid gorgeous Art Gallery print:

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Flora’s Oasis in Naranja from Leah Duncan’s Tule line. Lovely. I want to buy enough to back a quilt, but since I don’t have a specific quilt to back with it, I probably shouldn’t… It’s just so pretty!

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Pattern Dancers in Yellow from Michael Miller. I often find it hard to find yellows I like, and I thought I was going to like this one, but now that I have it… I don’t really like it much at all. I’m hoping it’ll be improved by chopping it up into bits.

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And finally, another one of Joel Dewberry’s surprisingly large prints. I LOVE this print; it’s gorgeous. Just surprisingly large. (It’s Primrose in Aquamarine from Notting Hill.) It didn’t photograph particularly well, but I wish I’d bought more from this colour grouping of Notting Hill, as it’s spectacular.

Anyway, in the old side of things, I was cleaning up some stuff in my sewing room and making a pile of stuff to get rid of – unwanted orphan blocks, some fabrics I don’t want to keep – and I found the very, very last of my batiks. I had cut enough strips out of all my batiks to make 4 baby quilts of the Scrappy Trip-Along, but after making two, I crapped out on it and eventually gave away every single bit of batiks I had left to one of my coworkers who loves batik fabric. Except for one print, which I haven’t been able to talk myself into giving away or using because it’s just that gorgeous:

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Yeah, there are a lot of muddy looking batiks out there, but then there are ones like this, which are just stunning, with rich, vivid colours, and simple, but striking prints. Who couldn’t love a print like this?

Here’s some more old stuff, also unearthed in my attempts to organize my sewing room:

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Feel free to gasp in horror, I know I am. Thing is, when I first started sewing I had practically no money and only one place to buy fabric, Fabricland. I’m not sure if it’s a Canadian company or not, but it’s a chain scattered across Canada and sells all sorts of fabrics, home decor, clothing, quilting, etc. It’s relatively cheap (with quality to match) and it’s found even in small towns like the one I grew up in, where it’s the only option you’ve got (unless you shop online, which wasn’t so much of a thing 10 years ago). When you’ve only got, say, 50 bolts to choose from, and you just had to go and choose an orange and yellow asterisk print… sometimes you just wind up with ugly. Affordable. But ugly.

When I wrote up my WIP list, the quilt blocks I have made out of these four fabrics were described as stupendously ugly:

mosaic0bb860a895160bcceb0df9d2e227552ee72f5055

And ugh, they really, really are. I’ve got 8 of them (it was a BOM that I quit part way through) and there is an incredible temptation to just throw it all in the trash, fabric, blocks, and all. People keep telling me I should donate the things I don’t want to somewhere that can make use of them, but I just can’t imagine a scenario in which these blocks create a quilt someone will want. I don’t think the asterisk fabric is 100% horrifying, but just generally, ugh. (Haha… I just went way back in time and space to the BOM boards on Livejournal where I had this to say about these fabrics: “So do you ever filter through your fabric stash and find things that you actually despise and wonder how on earth it appeared there and why on earth you’d have ever bought it? Yeah, well, it’s time for me to use some of that fabric.” Did I ever like this stuff?)

Linking up to Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles — check the sparkly button in the column at the right. And hopefully next week I’ll have the last of my 2013 stashstravaganza to show off. Something more beautiful than the bottom half of this entry, anyway!

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WIP Wednesday: Little Things

Naturally because I have a bit of a goal list for the month, I’ve so far only worked on completely different things. Two of them totally new!

The simplest thing on my ginormous To-Do list was to add borders to two finished baby sized tops and send them away for a Linus group to quilt and gift to a child in need. I even had the borders cut.

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Sure, the lighting is horrible. But so are the borders! I don’t hate all borders on sight (like some capital-m Modern Quilters seem to), but there’s a time and a place for all things, and these two quilts were not the place for borders, apparently.

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Thing was, they weren’t very square and if you have a not-very-square quilt, adding properly sized borders can really help fix a multitude of sins. But they’re just so awful looking! I couldn’t decide if I should take them off or leave them on, and I left them in the end. I figure if the Linus group that gets them really hates them as much as me, they can trim off 2.25″ width to use as binding fabric (and be left with a skinnier border, that maybe wouldn’t look so bad?) or they can rip them off entirely or they can leave them on because maybe some kid somewhere will appreciate it anyway.

Anyway, after I got that done, I went digging through my drawers looking for a needle. I can’t remember what got me looking for one – I don’t think I had anything that needed hand-sewing – but I did and then I found a little embroidery project that I bought a while ago and never got around to making:

Mr Monkey Man

An embroidered monkey stuffie from Kiriki Press. They sell a sweet little collection of embroidered stuffie kits. This is one of the simplest ones – you only need to know chain stitch and running or back stitch to do the embroidery. I picked it up because I thought it was cute and because Kiriki is an independant Canadian company (and I want to support Canadian talent) and did I mention it’s cute? I’ve only been working on it a little here and there while watching tv, but then I haven’t watched anything in a few days now, so I’ve set him aside again. I’m determined to finish him this month, though, so to that end, I’m going to link up to &Stitches January finish-along. I have lots of other embroidery projects I could try to finish instead, but I’m feeling this one instead.

Potholders in Progress

I’m also working on some pot-holders out of that Christmas fabric I mentioned a couple days ago. I started out following a pot holder/hot pad tutorial, but I got distracted somewhere along the line and sort of did my own thing and then I thought how very boring it was (just this floral fabric on the front/heat reflective side, all that brown background fabric on the back side) so my brain went back to that original tutorial and thought I’d better add some kind of embellishment to break up the front a little.

So today I headed over to Fabricland and picked up a half metre each of those two crochet lace edgings – grand total of $1.13 – to test against the fabric. Neither matches quite exactly – in brighter lighting, the white is a much purer white than the fabric, which is a creamy yellow-based white and the beige is much too dark. (The beige does match the twill tape loops quite well.) But I have enough to do four hot pads, so I think I might just do two with the white and two with the beige and be done with it whether they match precisely or not.

So that’s what I’m working on! And then I need to get working on my bee blocks and some cat-faces…

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


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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.


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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.

Linking up to:

The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced


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Scrappy Trip Around the World

I’ve kind of disappeared off into the ether the last little while, which wasn’t really intentional, but… life. I seem to be having a hard time this year with balancing everything, I’m just doing bits of everything in fits and starts and not really accomplishing much at all. Hopefully once it really hits spring I’ll settle down a little bit and get my equilibrium back.

Anyway, last night I sat down to watch The Hunger Games movie and spent my time sorting through all my fabric pulling out all my batiks.

Batiks

I think a lot of people go through a stage of loving batiks and some people never come out the other side, but I did. So all these fabrics have just been sitting around getting by-passed every time I need a fabric for anything (because they’re harder to blend into a block, you almost need to go all or nothing on the batiks) and I decided it was silly to have them sitting around but to do nothing with them. So I dragged my mind all the way back to the beginning of the year when everyone and his or her dog in the quilting blogosphere was making Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks. I found it interesting at the time, but was determined not to pick up another new project. But… I guess I’ve got a bug up my butt about making use of these fabrics. So I also pressed everything and sorted all the pieces that are too small into my TARDIS bucket and made a nice big pile of fabric to start cutting.

I’ve borrowed a season of Robin Hood from the library (I’ve never seen it before and picked it up on a whim, I bet it’s going to be TERRIBLE), so maybe today I’ll watch that and start in on cutting all my strips.