Work-in-Progress Girl


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Bits and Bobs

I had a to-do list this weekend that felt a mile long. It really wasn’t, but it just FELT like it and it’s all because I left all my sewing commitments for October until the Very Last Second, which made it feel like work instead of fun to finish them up. And they should have been fun! Some of what I was working on I won’t be showing for a few more days, but here are some of the blocks I finished up:

Tall Shoo-fly Blocks

I sewed up four Tall Shoo Fly blocks for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. These blocks are quite small (6.5 x 9.5″) so even though we didn’t have to make more than one I’d always planned on doing three or four. I found these hard to photograph, largely because the wall and the background fabric were pretty much the exact same colour. I kept thinking shadows would be a good thing for once since it would help distinguish the blocks a bit. It all looks a bit dingy and underlit, though, doesn’t it? Oh well, I think the blocks came out well, and that’s all I could ask for.

I’m still behind one block for the month for the LJ exchange, but I will get that one done in the next couple days, I hope. But also, I have a quilt I want to get quilted! I’m torn! (Commitments to other people really should come first, though, shouldn’t they?)

Anyway, I also did up my Simply Solids Bee block for October:

Road to Fortune

This is a paper-pieced Road to Fortune block, made for Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork. I don’t know why, but I kind of spaced out the making of this one, doing a unit two days ago and two units yesterday and finally finishing them all up tonight. Somehow I got all discombobulated about where my colours were going to go and it all came out a bit clumped up instead of nicely spread around. Oh well, I think it came out okay and it should blend in with the rest of the blocks by the time it’s all done anyway.

I also finished up my needlebook for the Sweet & Simple Scrappy Swap on Flickr. I’ve shown a lot of pictures of this already, but here are my finally finished shots. And if any of you can find my opps! error, the first one to get it right in the comments will get sent a Fat Quarter in the colour of your choosing. (Things which don’t count: the shoddy stitching on the snap, the not quite round felt, the not quite centred felt, the not quite straightly stitched felt.)

026

I said before that this is a taco shaped needlebook, and here it is snapped shut and holding its taco shape all on its own. Yay! The pattern for the needlebook came from Suzuko Koseki’s Playful Patchwork book, but I wound up making it a bit larger than the pattern suggests. You’re supposed to shrink the daisy pattern down to 80%, but I wound up preferring it at full-size. It’s about 8-inches in diametre, I think, but the larger size made it easier to modify the interior a little bit.

028

In any case, the exterior is kind of paean to Japanese design because not only is a pattern by a Japanese designer, but the green fabric is a Japanese print, from a Yuwa Kei line, which might or might not be called Newsprint and Roses. The stitching was done with Sashiko thread that I had in with my embroidery supplies. It’s nice and thick so it leaves a lovely line around the petals. Of which, the yellow fabric is a Lakehouse print, from the Annie’s Seed Catalog line and the off-white is actually a Moda Grunge fabric, though I forget the colour name of it. It’s a kind of off-white or winter white with very pale strokes of green and red brushed through in the grunge pattern.

030

The interior has two leaves of wool for storing pins and needles. The green came from a local fabric shop, Traditional Pastimes, and the off-white wool was a gift to me from Jennifer Ofenstein, when she passed off a collection of mostly hand-dyed wool pieces.

033

I modified the interior a little by adding this zipper pocket on one side (and if I’d had a second matching zipper, I’d have probably added a pocket on the other side as well). It wasn’t a complicated change, but I do think it made the needle-case a little more useful since otherwise scissors or a skein of thread would just slide out and possibly get lost.

So that’s my needlebook that I sent away for the swap. I was pretty happy in the end with how everything came together, and I really hope my swap partner will like it as lot as well.

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A day late and a Doctor short…

Well, I’m officially behind on the Doctor Who Stitch-A-Long. I tried! But last week was a bit of a bad week at the WIPGirl House and then it was immediately followed up by house guests for four days, while I was working every day, on the hottest days of the year (so far, and Universe? Please don’t get hotter). Nothing like a too hot house, featuring 46% humidity indoors, with an extra three bodies in it, right? Ever since the flood, it’s been really humid here and, as it’s usually fairly dry, the heat feels much worse than we’re used to having it feel. Anyway, I finally broke down and bought a window AC unit because I barely slept all weekend. (ACs make me feel weirdly guilty because they do nothing good for the environment and I live in a part of the world where you only really need it for a week or two a year, but once you’ve got one and once it’s blocking a window, you’re pretty much guaranteed to start using it on all those days you might normally have just used an open window with a nice breeze to keep you cool. By and large I feel like I should be able to get by without it because what’s a week or two of being a little hotter than you’d like? Anyway, please realize this isn’t a judgement on people who live in places where ACs really are necessary. In a typical July, we’ll get three days that are hotter than 28C. Should I buy an AC or just, you know, hang out at the mall for the afternoon? Because that seems like a valid solution to three days of hotter weather.)

Anyway, here’s a peak at where my Eighth Doctor is at:

Eighth Doc-in-progress

I’ve mainly just got clothing left to stitch – the left side (our left, not his) of his coat, his cravat, and the sleeve on the right. So close! But what’s the saying? Close is only good with horseshoes and hand grenades? Anyway, I’m hoping to get it finished today/tonight at work (if I manage to take any breaks, it’s my first night solo since my dept. head quit and I’m going to be simultaneously doing his job (which is now my job) and training two new people to do what I used to do) so that tomorrow I can do a proper post about it. Or maybe Saturday, we’ll see.

In the meantime, I have two finished things to show you. I’d like to blame the recipients of these blocks for my not getting Eight finished (;D) but you know… I could have sewn them up a couple weeks ago instead of putting them off. First up is my block for Aalia at Joy of Stitches (and one of the DWSAL designers – she designed One, Three, and next week’s Nine) for the Livejournal Birthday Blocks exchange.

Aalia's Hufflepuff Themed Block

Aalia’s request was for a 10″ block in yellow and black, for a Hufflepuff quilt. The photo she linked for colour/inspiration is this Hufflepuff house crest, and that’s where my idea for the block came from. I do have some fabric with tiny fleur de lis on it, but it’s certainly not in black and yellow, so instead I bought a 6″ fleur de lis pattern from Jennifer Ofenstein (from her Craftsy shop), shrunk down the pattern a little so that it could be a 5″ square, and made two for the corners. The striped bit I actually paper-pieced as well, though I just drew out a 5″ square and then drew lines every half inch to make the stripe. As I was making this, I got REALLY tempted to just make a giant yellow and black bull’s eye for a block (I did the striped units first), but I’m really glad I went with the fleur de lis in the end, I think they’re really pretty. (Even IF I did get the bottom unit askew on BOTH quarters.) I mentioned this is a ten inch block, well… true facts: I used a fat quarter of the yellow and ALMOST RAN OUT. I don’t KNOW where all that fabric went to! (It’s probably all trimmings in my garbage bin – I’m not too good with angles and not wasting fabric.)

In any case, the next finished thing was just finished yesterday. It was due last week, but the aforementioned bad week really threw me for a loop. And it was an improv block, and I have a mental block about improv, so I put it off for a long time before starting it. This was my June block for the Flickr Simply Solids group:

Simply Solids June Blck

The idea behind Carly’s block was flowers and stems/twigs tumbling over a waterfall, you can see more on the idea here at her blog. I think it’s going to be an AMAZING looking quilt, even though a lot of us were a little wary of the whole… improv thing. I drew out six sample blocks before I wound up sewing my first stitch, and while I started out following my plan, I accidentally sewed a triangle on backwards and the whole thing went awry! I think it came out okay in the end, which I suppose is the good bit about improv, but it was still a bit nerve-wracking in the moment.

So next up… a paper pieced block for July’s Simply Solids block and… a mug rug for the Flickr Modern Scrappy Bits Swap and more and more stitched Doctors, but otherwise, I’m a free woman. (Well, I’m going to make a pillow case for my little sister and I think I’ve found my next project to work on – finishing up quilt-as-you-go thing I started working on a long while ago. Only four or five of 20 blocks are finished. Lots go to, but they’re pretty easy to do, since I’m just doing straight-line stuff.)


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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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WIP-Wednesday

The U.S. Postal Service has just done for my bank account what countless resolutions and notes to self has not be able to do: put a stop to my constant fabric buying. Well, I don’t know yet that that will be the case, but the cost for flat rate shipping from the US to Canada is about to go up from $12.99 to $19.99. Which, holy christ on a cracker. See, I’ve bought a lot of fabric from the US because it’s been cheaper, even including shipping, to buy it online than to buy it up here. But the cheaper part of the equation is not going to hold any longer. I could just shift more of my fabric buying to Canadian fabric shops (I already buy a fair bit from Mad About Patchwork), but I’ve never found the same variety from Canadian sellers as you find from American ones. And that’s mainly just because there are less Canadians, thus a smaller market, thus fewer people selling to us, but also because many of these shops are quite small, they only bring in a handful of the fabric lines that are out there at any given moment.

So, sorry American fabric sellers! But if I’m going to be spending more, I might as well spend more on the fabric and less on the shipping, and get it in one week rather than two. So, uh, know any good Canadian online fabric sellers? (Other than the aforementioned Mad About Patchwork.) I don’t need the links, or maybe my bank account doesn’t need them, but I wouldn’t mind to have a bigger pool to work from, anyway!

Anyway, this is meant to be a work-in-progress report.

I’d like to report that nothing is in progress because I’d finished everything I’d planned over the holidays, but ahahahahahaahaha. No.

I haven’t finished my Vintage Modern Wonky Stars quilt yet.

Vintage Modern Wonky Star

It looks exactly like it looks in this picture, except that it’s folded up and sitting on the futon, waiting for me to get around to finishing it. What needs finishing? I need to finish quilting the borders, the weird bit between the star points and some kind of fill for the centres of the stars. If I could focus, I could get the quilting done in a day. (I work nights this weekend, though, so probably I won’t work on it until next week. Hopefully I’ll find some time on Sunday afternoon though.) After that, I just need to cut out, stitch on, and sew down my binding. I enjoy binding, so I look forward to getting that far along…

Otherwise, the only things I needed to finish over the last week were two blocks for various exchanges. I’ve done that! Go me!

This block was for my Simply Solids bee, of which I’m a member of the Aeneous group:

Asterisk block

LethargicLass requested this asterisk block, for which she sent out a fairly random selection of four squares and four thin strips, which I could put together any which way I pleased. It was a really fun block to put together, and it turned out really fantastically, I thought.

This second block was for my Birthday Blocks group on Livejournal:

Maple Leaf Block

Amanda (or APhoenixRain) requested leaf blocks (Maple Leaf in this case) in autumn colours. I chose this kind of fantastic feather print which I wish I had more of (but don’t even have a selvage so can’t track down to see if there were other colours…). (Wait. Did I say something about buying less fabric?) This was a simple but fun block to pull together.

After that, I also made two blocks for myself, kind of sample blocks, I guess, for my Birthday Blocks and Simply Solids bee groups to see.

Churn Dash blocks

In both groups I’m requesting Churn Dash blocks in solids. For the bee, I’ll be sending away pairings of fabric, but for the BB group, the others can make blocks in whatever solid colours they want. With hopefully a preference toward brighter colours. I say that, though, but I made these blocks specifically to show that not have “bright” solids doesn’t mean having a dour looking block – this is a kind of celery, almost pastel green with a charcoal, but I think they elevate one another to make the colours pop. If that celery had been paired with a another dusty or muted colour, the whole thing would have fallen flat, I think.

Anyway, the plan for next week is just to get back to the finishing the Vintage Modern quilt. I’m not due to get anything else made before early February (another Birthday Blocks block or two, but I’m waiting on fabrics for those), so it’s just that quilt that needs to be finished!

Linking up to:

The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced


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Birthday Blocks Livejournal Exchange

It’s getting to be a ridiculously long while since my last post again, but here’s a collection of stuff I’ve worked on this year – blocks for an exchange on livejournal. In some ways I suppose this group is a little bit like a bee, though we’ve never described it that way and having never participated in any of the bees that run on Flickr and similar places, I’m not sure how it compares to how those are run. The way this group works is that each person selects a block they’d like to have made and what colours they’d like to have used, and then we make a block for each person in their birthday month. Sometimes birthdays will stack up in one month and then there might be a gap for several months until the next birthday. I’ve been a part of this group several times in the past, and have never made anything with any of the blocks I’ve received. One day, though…

Anyway, the nice thing about this group is that you really get a chance to work on a lot of different things, sometimes things you would never work on otherwise, and with colours or fabrics you mightn’t have chosen otherwise. That can also be a curse – if someone asks for pink (as I did one year, and not a lot of pink fans in the group) or for improv blocks or paper-pieced or high-difficulty blocks – but generally speaking it’s a lot of fun. I finished my last two blocks for the year, so here’s the run-down:

Birthday block for Aphoenixrain

This first block, a Bear’s Paw, scrappy in navy or dark blues with a cream background. The recipient, A Phoenix Rain, has already pieced a top from her blocks, viewable here.

Birthday block for Carilea

This was a quilter’s choice block, in any combination of red, white, and black. This block was created for Sew Mama Sew’s Modern Block of the Month. I love how this one came out. It might be my favourite that I made for the year.

Birthday Blocks for Mkissa

This was a quilter’s choice in a Nautical theme block, in aqua, red, and white. The pattern for this came from a book, the title of which I can’t recall. Every other big-name blogger had a block or five in it though. I can picture the cover, but not the title off-hand. I was a bit unhappy with the water/sky in this one, so I sent along a couple extra strips of different blues for the water, so that the recipient could swap it out if necessary. (I loved the print on the water fabric, and I wish I had more because I’ve used nearly all I had, but it blended too much with the sky.)

Birthday Block for Blueskyeyez

This was a quilter’s choice block, in blue and white. The pattern for this came from the same book as the previous block.

Birthday Block for kissmary (1)

Birthday Block for kissmary (2)

The request here was for a Shooting Star block in novelty prints with black corners. I made the Heather Ross block first and it came out slightly askew, so I made the second block as an Oops! It’s not quite square! Forgive Me! block. The second one came out pretty perfectly, but there’s a lot less novelty involved.

From Kristel

This was a Strips and Squares block, with green on a black background. (I’d forgotten to photograph this one, so this picture is from the recipient, Aalia.)

LJ Birthday Block - Beach House

A quilter’s choice block, with any beach house pattern, in “tropical” colours with sand and sky. I… am not completely happy with this one. I Google image searched beach houses, and this is a much simplified version of an existing house on a beach (which is more steel and glass than tropical purples), but I think it’s not going to fit in with the rest of the beach houses, which are much more exuberant and… fun.

LJ Birthday blocks - Eight Pointed Star Variation

Dreadful photo. This is an Eight Pointed Star Variation, which was to be in a saturated solid or print with a cream on cream background.

LJ Birthday block - Framed Block

This block I finished today. It’s a Framed Block, done in dark chocolate brown with tan, cream, crimson, and a novelty coffee-themed print for the centre square. I was dreading making this one, just a little, but it came together beautifully.

LJ Birthday block - Goose Creek block

And the last block for the year, the Goose Creek block, which was requested to be scrappy in boy colours. I don’t love how this one has turned out, but I think/hope it’ll work well with all the rest of the blocks once they’re put together.

So what’s left, then, are the blocks I received this year. I am still waiting on two of them (my birthday was at the end of August) and I’d like to make a few more so that the quilt will be a bit larger, but later this week I’ll write a post about those blocks.


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Talk to Me Tuesday (on a Wednesday) 81: Stuff, stuff, stuff

In which I show blocks I’ve received in the mail from my Birthday Blocks group on Livejournal, crochet from my mom, and embroidery from my Grandma. And also two pouches that I made for my Modern Scrappy Bits swap on Flickr, one from this pattern (The Elise Pouch at IThinkSew.com) and one from this tutorial (the Wide-Zippered Pouch from Noodle-Head.com), and a needle book, which features crewel embroidery using a Katherine Shaunessey pattern (which can be found via this article).


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Talk to Me Tuesday #71

In which I show off a Star Trek fabric postcard (pattern from Fandom in Stitches, from here), four new Birthday blocks for the Livejournal group (photos here, with patterns from Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favourite Designers and Quilter’s Cache, found here), and two new Modern Block of the Month blocks (photos here from Sew Mama Sew‘s Modern Block of the Month).

I should have a post tomorrow, possibly, with some photos of some of these things I’ve been working on.


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Talk to Me Tuesday #66: *crinkle crinkle*

In which I show some embroidery, some sashiko, a quilt block, some quilting, and a small quilt hanger.

Places mentioned
Sublime Stitching, with transfers from Tara McPherson. The kit referenced is the Ultimate Embroidery Kit
KimonoMomo: a purveyor of sashiko kits, thread, etc.
TaDaaStudioStitch: another purveyor of sashiko kits, thread, etc.
Robinson’s Woodcrafts

The Birthday Block is in reference to the livejournal group. And the Fabric Postcards are in reference to my livejournal group.

I can’t be certain, but I think the pattern for the Double Wedding Ring tablerunner came from the Eleanor Burns book Egg Money Quilts. I learned to make it in a class, but the teacher didn’t make us buy the book the pattern came from, but I feel like the book was called something to do with Egg Money, so I’m pretty sure this is the book. (Interestingly, several years ago, my mom was given a quilt made by my great-grandmother and traded for eggs. The woman who received it had given it to her daughter and when she died the family cleaning out her house figured out that it had come from my great-grandma and returned it, believing rightly that it would have more value to our family than to theirs.)


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Talk to me Tuesday #65: Blocks Galore

In which I show the five quilt blocks I sewed this past week and the bit of embroidery I’m working on.

Places mentioned:
Fabric Postcard Swap
Birthday Blocks group
Modern Block of the Month

See better photos of the blocks in question at my flickr:
Modern BOM blocks
Birthday Blocks blocks

One day I will even write a post using the keyboard and some photos instead of a video camera and my word vomit… 😀