Work-in-Progress Girl


16 Comments

Bee Blocks and a Hexie Quilt

It’s been a while since I did a Work-in-Progress Wednesday post, so I thought it was time I did it again. I’m so tired tonight, though, that I’m not sure I’ll stay awake long enough to get it written and posted! (Sometimes if I write when I’m particularly tired, I’ll start drifting off and find myself with two or three lines of …………………………….. or I’ll start typing the things I’m thinking about, rather than the things I’m trying to write about. (So, I don’t know. There’s a dvd case on the floor in my eye line for the tv show Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays and maybe instead of talking about Exactly What I Think About Hexagons, I’ll switch mid-sentence to something about how disconcerting it is that Carlos is actually Indian. Or whatever. Tired=babbling=random nonsense. Sorry.)

Anyway, first up, things I finished this weekend and haven’t mailed yet, but really should:

My last block for my Birthday Blocks group on Livejournal:

LJ Birthday blocks for Cat

It doesn’t look it, but this is a block for making a Pineapple-style quilt. It feels incomplete without the other three blocks to create the pattern! This was created for Cat, who requested this block with white on white and scrappy blues, greens, and browns. The pattern also lets you create a kind of bonus block, using the off-cut bits, so here is that second block:

LJ Birthday blocks for Cat

I don’t know if Cat actually wants this block, but she’s getting it anyway! If you want to make your own set of these two blocks, you can find the pattern here at Quiltville (and you can see how it looks when you multiply the block across a quilt).

And then my November block for the Simply Solids swap on Flickr:

Aeneous - November block

Man was this not a happy block to make. There are parts of this block I stitched and then picked out, twice, before it finally looked good. And it does look so lovely, but there are 4 layers of fabric in the centre (6 where the lip of the cathedral window is sewn over), so you can imagine just how thick that central patch is. (Especially when you start thinking about how many layers are contained in the seams in the centre!) I like how this looks, but can’t quite imagine it as a block in a quilt. Maybe the recipient will cut out all those extra layers from the background… I don’t know.

Anyway, we got our instructions for December early, so here is my December block as well:

Aeneous - December block

I just don’t know WTF I was thinking when I chose that fluorescent green OR that mint green. I rather think anything would have been a better option than those two colours. My only defence is that the lighting is very bad in my sewing room and if it’s dark outside, the overhead light makes it hard to see what’s what. Anyway, it’s going into a quilt with a mishmash of colours, so I’m hoping it’ll just sort of… blend.

In any case, those things are finished now, so the work-in-progress part of this post is the hexie quilt I’m working on.

Hexagon beginnings

I’m using two honeycomb packs of Bonnie & Camille’s Happy Go Lucky line, and I finally, finally sorted out the issue of how to deal with the hexies. I didn’t want to have to trace a bunch of hexagons onto the roll of freezer paper I’ve got, but when I tried buying papers from… that company that makes pretty much all the English Paper Piecing shapes you’ll stumble over on the Internet, the ones I was sure would fit were actually too small. So I bought some freezer paper sheets, ones that are cut to printer paper size, and then I worked out how to get two of the shapes to fit onto a single sheet of paper. And then I got to work centring and pressing on all those freezer paper hexagons. I think they’re just a hair too large (I should have trimmed off all the black outline of the shape, I think, rather than leaving it on), so before I reuse those papers, I’m going to trim off those little extra bits. There’s a little less than a quarter-inch of fabric in my seam allowances, and I’d hate for any of these to blow out when I wash the finished quilt.

003

And here’s a shot part way through folding over and pressing down all the edges. Bit of a dull job that, but I did get finished five sets of three, which is exactly what I need for the first five blocks of V And Co’s Confetti quilt.

005

Now that I’ve got 5 blocks worth of hexagons dealt with, the next bit will be cutting out the 24.5-inch square blocks that I’ll those hexagons will get stitched to. I haven’t used it before, but I’m planning to sew them down using water soluble thread so that I can quilt it down properly later on without having existing stitching interfering with anything.

Anyway, I was typing about home inspections a few moments ago (what? what?! what!?!), so I think that means I’m too tired to be lucid any longer tonight! Time for bed.

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

Advertisements


10 Comments

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.


10 Comments

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.


8 Comments

Random Thursday

Is this supposed to be a link-up or is it just really… Random Thursday? Well, here’s a few random bits and bobs:

1. Next project

002

I spent an embarrassingly long time sitting and staring at that one hexie yesterday trying to decide which way to go with it. The Paper Pieces package recommends sewing through the paper, but I want to use them multiple times and so I can’t help thinking it MUST be better for the paper not to sew through. The package does say you can keep reusing them anyway, but don’t they get all damaged in the corners where the stitches go? I don’t know. I’ve been planning today to watch a few videos on YouTube to see if I can decide which looks a more likely route for me.

2. Birdie Sling

Birdie Sling fabrics

Not sold on the denim yarn-dyed Essex Linen. I like it, a lot, but it feels too pale compared to the darker blue, maybe? (Special thanks to Michelle for her contribution to these fabrics being in my stash! :D) I thought from photos online that maybe it would be a darker blue than it is. I think a bag looks top-heavy if you put the darker fabric on top, and I could switch it so that the print fabric is on the bottom, but honestly I don’t want that much of the print on display. The bag on the pattern cover has a darker top band, but I think that large print on the bottom (with the smaller print up top) counter-acts the top-heaviness. I’ll have to think about it. I might have some Kona Nightfall fabric that would probably work (maybe?) and would definitely be darker. I don’t want to have to buy more fabric, in any case.

3. Leftover bits from something I’ve been working on.

Liberty Scraps

Liberty scraps. I’m not a big fan of Liberty (by and large I find their prints to be overly fussy, but there are a few I do like, even though they are fussy little florals), but wanted to see what the Tana Lawn was like to work with. I’m not 100% on board with the thing I made that generated these scraps (photos later – I want to be more happy with it before I share) and I wound up putting interfacing on the fabric because it was too light-weight (compared to the linen I paired it with). It also smelled a bit of bug spray – I have to assume that’s the fault of the seller, not the fabric maker, but I’ve been airing it out and can’t smell it any longer. (Also, I could smell bugspray at work the other day where no bug spray existed, so maybe I had some crossed wires in my brain…)

4. The solids Churn Dash.

Churn Dash

Just need a few more… Well, I need one more row’s worth, plus I’m waiting for 2 that will be sent to me. Love how this is coming together.

5. Some of my problem spots with the FMQ on the Star Surround project. If you have suggestions or advice for avoiding, please let me know!

008

There’s lot of little things to nit pick with this one, which I will nit-pick in other photos instead, what I took this photo for was the kind of jerkiness of it. I didn’t get a smooth loop at all on that top one, which was just me needing to stop and get my hands in a better position (but just pushing through anyway). What really bothers me is the stitches just before it goes from a straight(ish) downward line into the loop – you can see a spot where I went from vertical almost immediately to horizontal, and although I mentioned this was a spot where I’d needed to reposition my hands, I ALSO had that same issue in places (sometimes) where I did come to a complete stop, and then started again. Sometimes I could get a smooth restart and then other times I’d go off in a completely different direction than I really “should” have. I KNOW that it’s not going to show much in the grand scheme of things (which is why I didn’t pick out any of my stitches, except where there were thread breaks and the one time I had a toe catcher), but I’d still rather learn to prevent it.

011

Okay. Quarter-inch stitches vs sixteenth of an inch stitches. I know this is about the speed of my hands relative to the speed of the machine, but… how should I sew into a curve to keep my stitches smaller and more uniform? I know, practise. Yay, practise. But should I be giving it a little more gas at the beginning of the curve or easing off…? Move my hands faster as I go into that motion? I don’t know. As with all my other little issues, they seemed to hit intermittently – every time I congratulated myself for a particularly well done bit, I’d wind up doing something dumb 😀 (If I hadn’t used such garish fabrics, I’d show you my practise stitches! My best rows were the first two, before I started paying attention to what I was doing, before I remembered to turn my stitch length to zero even!, then they got progressively worse for a bit while I figured out what to do to improve things, and then they started to get better again. My one practise row of stippling is… appalling. There’s a reason I haven’t done it for realsies yet. Definitely need a whole practise sandwich just for that! But I want to go through Leah Day’s method of practising in stages – u shapes, lobster claw shapes, etc. – before joining it all up in a properly random stipple.)

009

Okay, this doesn’t show super clearly because I could not convince my camera to focus on the problem spot rather than a spot an inch above it. But that particularly long looking stitch kind of in the bottom middle of the lower loop… My machine skipped a stitch. It only happened a couple times in the whole quilt, but I seem to remember reading something somewhere about what that means, but I can’t seem to find any information on the topic now! (I tried googling FMQ skipped stitch, but that didn’t help. It’s possible I just got bored of looking for answers, though, so I should probably search it again now that I’m not so focussed on getting that quilt done done done!) A couple of my skipped stitches, I went in with a needle and thread and couched the skipped bit (didn’t want to unpick, also didn’t want to leave a loop big enough for a kid’s finger to go into), but I didn’t do it every time. (It was awkward! And I don’t know how stable that couching will be, it’s not like with embroidery where you can secure it really easily on the back.)

010

Okay. You can see a bit of this in most of my photos, but the bobbin thread is even more visible in this photo because the darker part of the variegated thread is on the bobbin thread here, with a very pale part on top. I always thought this was a tension issue, but my machine is set at almost the highest tension available. I didn’t adjust it to the higher setting because it didn’t do this all the time I was FMQing, so I wondered if something else was at work?

I don’t know. If any of you do much FMQing and have thoughts or suggestions, let me know! I know it’s not easy to diagnose when you can’t see what I do when I quilt, but I figured someone might have thoughts.

[Also, I’m linking up to Free Motion Quilting Friday at Leah Day’s The Free Motion Quilting Project. If you want to see the finished quilt which has all these flawed bits of stitching on them, you can find it here.]


9 Comments

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.)


18 Comments

May Bee/Exchange Blocks

Do you ever lose random craft supplies? Like, say, your good 12.5″ square ruler instead of your crappy one? When you only sew/cut fabric in one room of your house and it’s only like… a 90 square foot room and half of the floor is covered in furniture? Because I did that. My bad 12.5″ square ruler is still hanging around, so I can get some stuff done, but the numbers and lines are all faded and it’s got a slight inward curve on the side I tended to cut on the most, so I have to remember to use the opposite corner. Annoying. I really wish I could figure out what the heck I did with the good one because it’s so much nicer! I really, kind of desperately, need to clean my sewing space because it’s a gong show. But I’m really bad at organizing, somehow, and also it just seems like a boring way to spend my time. On the other hand, knowing where to find my things would probably save me time down the line. Or tomorrow, even.

Anyway, I got a few bee blocks done, one for my Simply Solids group, which is this block here:

Triangle Block

This block is for Deanna (at Little D and Me). She sent out the pre-cut fabric to make this great big triangle block. I was a little bit scared of putting this one together – so many bias edges! – but then it really just came together fairly easily. Deanna wanted it to be as random as possible, with no patterns to the fabric placement, so when the fabric first arrived, I pulled each layer of fabric out of the bag one at a time and laid it out into the triangle shape in the exact order they were in the bag, only making changes if two of the same colour were beside each other. And it seemed pretty good, but then I when I actually stitched it together yesterday and today I somehow kept managing to flip pieces or to sew the next triangle onto the wrong side, so my unplanned plan went at all out of whack, and all the greens wound up down the left side and across the bottom and all the darkest purple and blues down the right hand side. But it’s probably actually more random this way, even though things somehow seemed to clump up? So says I, anyway.

I really like that bright patch of orange in the middle of all that – I’ll be interested to see how it all ends up in the final quilt, once Deanna has all the blocks!

My second block is for the only May birthday girl in my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. She requested a Card Trick block in forest greens with a trees/leaves theme on off-white or cream:

Card Trick

We have a few really traditional (and very triangle heavy) blocks in this years LJ group, including this Card Trick block. I’d never done a card trick block before, which surprises me a little because I’ve done A LOT of traditional quilt blocks in my ten years of quilting. I wouldn’t say this is one of my particular favourites, as far as traditional goes, nor one of my favourite colour combos. Every now and then I get the urge to cull my fabric stash and these kinds of prints are the things I tend to pull out to give away, because the colour is pretty muted and they can seem dreary if you don’t find a good way to pull them together, but then I wind up leaving them because you never know when you’re going to need something more neutral like this to tone down or pull back something else that’s a little more crazy. Or you just might need to make something for your Grandma and you know she’ll be all over that sort of thing. And it’s just as well because I might have had to buy a new tenth-of-a-metre of something similar if I didn’t have this hanging around. Anyway, for all my don’t-really-like-it, I really do hope that Suri (the recipient) will like it. And I hope it’ll work well with the quilt she’s planning, since I know she’s been collecting blocks for this quilt for a while.

So guess that’s that! Next up will be a very scary improv block for my Simply Solids group – gorgeous, but scary! I’m not good at improv! – and a birthday block for June, for Miss Aalia, in the brightest most Hufflepuff yellow I can find. (I’m pretty sure I’ve got a few things that’ll work, I just need to choose a block!) I’m hoping to get the birthday block done this weekend, so maybe I’ll have something to show early on next week, and the other… well, I still need to wait for the fabric, but once it gets here, I’m pretty sure I’ll hem and haw over it for a week or two before sitting down to work on it, freaking out about how bad it looks, deciding it doesn’t look that bad really and then questioning every life choice that lead me to quilting in general and bee sewing in specific. And then I’ll probably be happy with it in the end, because one not that improv-y block in a whole quilt can’t possibly stand out that much, right? (Because I’ll confess now: I’ve been looking at photos of waterfalls online and bookmarking ones that look like I might be able to work an improvish pattern out of them…)

See you tomorrow for the Doctor Who Stitch-A-Long! I’m even planning to pre-write my post, so it’ll be up sometime during the day tomorrow! (Still after I get home from work – I want to direct link to the ACTUAL Fandom in Stitches post, so I need to wait until it’s posted, and I don’t like doing that crap on my phone just so I can do it at work.) [ETA: You won’t see the DWSAL “tomorrow” because that’s Tuesday and the DWSAL happens on Wednesday. So, you know. See you Wednesday!]

Plum and June
Linking up to the Let’s Get Acquainted blog link-up!


31 Comments

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


22 Comments

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


1 Comment

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.