Bits and Bobs (June Goals)

I’m feeling very talky today, so naturally I’m home alone all weekend AND I don’t have to work till Monday. No one to talk to! GAH. I’m going to go crazy. A little bit.

Anyway… I spent so much of May not sewing that I got way behind on my just-for-me sewing plans – I didn’t even look at my May A Lovely Year of Finishes goal (which was my Layer Cake HST Quiltalong) and I didn’t touch my Gypsy Wife blocks at all. So I’m behind by all of May and now need to get June done for two quilts… so that’s going to be my goal for the month, getting all those sets of blocks finished!

My Button

Here’s where I’m at:

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By the time I’m caught up, I won’t be able to fit all my blocks on the design wall any more! (And so probably I’ll wind up taking down the low volume ones and leaving the brights up instead.)

I’ve only got five more blocks to sew for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

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which means I could finish them by the end of the day if I’d just focus on them. But I’m too distracted! Too distracted by sewing up a block of the Infatuation quilt:

Infatuation block

I went and fished another solid out of my bin of solids, one which I fortunately had about three-quarters of a yard of (it takes 5/8s I think to make a single block). I really like this blue, but I think I need to learn to label my solids when they come in the door because I have no idea what colour it is. I’m pretty sure it’s a Kona cotton, but when I compare it to my colour card (which is out of date), I can’t decide what colour it is. I thought at a glance that it was Midnight or Nightfall, but when I put the fabric up closer it looks more like Navy or Indigo. I tend not to find the colour card all that useful in that way… the swatches are two small and I often think I have a match, then when I get it in yardage I discover that it’s really not at all what I thought. Anyway, I actually really like how it looks with a selection of fabrics from Lottie Da and True Colours (crappy Instagram photo):

Lottie Da, True Colors, and an indeterminate blue...

But whether I love it or not, I don’t know what it is to order more anyway! How much would it suck to make a guess, order 6 yards, and then find out I’d got something a shade or two off?

I’m starting to think that’s what’s going to happen is I’ll make four of these blocks, with four different backgrounds and I’ll either crap out and decide that a 60″ x 60″ throw is enough (or I could slap a border on it so that it’d be big enough to be useful… I’m short, but I like a quilt to wrap under my feet and over my shoulders) or I’ll find something much more neutral and make four coloured background blocks and five neutral ones so that I could mix them all into one quilt. (But then I’d probably not find it that aesthetically pleasing, so. I don’t know.)

Anyway, I also have five or six small things to make, a couple pouches and some hot pads (and I need to find my Insulbrite for those… I know I’ve got two opened packages of the stuff, so I really do need to look) and some other little bits and pieces. None of it sounds like so much when I lay it out like this, but I never seem to sew half as much as I want to, so I never can tell if these ideas of what I should do are realistic. In any case, these are only the things I hope to get done this month… and the Gypsy Wife stuff is the actual proper goal.

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30/30 Sewing Challenge: Month End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radiant Orchid mini quilt

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

Gypsy Wife – February Wrap-Up

So I never did get around to posting my last blocks for February and it’s already a week into March! February was kind of a wasted month, craft-wise, for me, but I did get a big burst of things done right at the end of the month, including a second set of February blocks all in lower volume fabrics.

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

I spent a lot of January toying with the idea of a low volume Gypsy Wife quilt – it’s such a vibrant, kind of crazycakes quilt that I started to wonder what would happen if you turned everything down a notch. Or ten. And so I put together this block (actually, even before I finished my brights version I’d done this one). It’s very pastel, at least in the centre, and that’s not something I really have a huge amount of in my stash, but I do have a lot of neutrals, so I’m cautiously committing myself to two versions of this quilt. (Cautiously because I’m a little afraid I’ll hit some point where I can’t keep up with two versions, and this will be the one to get put on hold, or converted to a baby quilt or something if I have enough blocks, or I won’t have enough interesting fabrics to make a lower volume version.)

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

I keep saying “lower” volume, rather than “low” because I’m not quite sure where to draw the line on what is low volume and what is… just quieter or greyer than a lot of the particularly bright, clear colours I have. Just for some examples, when I was looking through my fabrics, I thought the gold in that honeycomb print was sort of… near enough to a neutral that it wouldn’t read too dark/too loud, but it feels a lot darker than anything in the colour wheel block. Or say that tan print in the lower right block – doesn’t it seem kind of dark? The red and the blue on the bottom left also seem just Too Much, even though they both seemed to be very white-heavy prints when I choose them. I guess with those particular prints, it’s partly that I was looking at a larger piece of fabric and then happened to land on cuts that actually contained more of the colour and less of the white space – so I do need to be more conscious of what the fabric will look like when it’s a very small piece, placed into something else. And I need to remember too all of these are just rather small pieces in something that will be much larger, so they might not feel too dark or too bright once they’re surrounded by all the other things.

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

A lot of these fabrics were fished out of my scrap bins and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to use even the uglies – skip back up one photo and look at that truly horrendous pink floral or even this one here with the ladybug: that print has SNAILS on it (one of my most horrifying sense memories was stepping barefoot on a slug squish and even though snails have shells, I still associate them with slugs and that revulsion I still feel when I think of stepping on it – I’m come from a very dry place where slugs are NOT a going concern, it’s possible I didn’t even know they existed and that running around barefoot in British Columbia in a grassy backyard was a Bad Idea). I’m trying to remind myself that even the uglies can have a place in a quilt, but man is it hard to look at some of those prints and feel okay about mixing them in there!

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

These are all my blocks so far – brights and quietish. I guess we’ll see where all this goes!

I need to run for work, but I want to offer up a link to a spreadsheet I spent a ridiculous amount of time building, which can be found here that shows all the blocks in the Gypsy Wife quilt with their name, size in quilt (so your loose blocks should be 1/2-inch larger than this), page location in the booklet, month we’ll be sewing them, and (more importantly for me!) what section of the quilt you can find them in. Here’s a small section of it below:

gypsyspreadsheet

I’m planning to “file” all my blocks in large envelopes by section as they get made (since they’ll overtake my design wall before too long, especially if I keep up making two versions!) so I wanted to know exactly which section each block belong in. Maybe you’ll find this useful too!

Finally, I really, really need to go, but I want to remind everybody about all the incredible, awesome sponsors we’ve got for this quiltalong!

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Spoonflower

gypsy-oakshott


Oakshott Fabrics

gypsy-hawthorne
gypsy-hawthornehues


Hawthorne Threads

gypsy-freshmodernfabric


Fresh Modern Fabric

gypsy-fatquartershop


Fat Quarter Shop

gypsy-cucire


Cucire: Fine Fabrics & Sewing Notions

gypsy-crimsontate


Crimson Tate

gypsy-aurifil


Aurifil

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong – February Blocks and Giveaway

Are you participating in the Gypsy Wife Quilt-a-long? I hope so! It’s a gorgeous quilt and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun putting it together. I’m still hoping to hook in a few more people to join us on this Gypsy Wife Quilt-along; we’re still so early in the process that you could very easily jump in! We’re doing just a handful of blocks each month, so even a couple months from now it would still be pretty easy to join in without being too far behind. (Here is the schedule if you want to see what’s coming and just how easy it’ll be to sew along with us.) As someone with 30+ somewhere-in-progress projects sitting around, I know how hard it is to add another one, but… I also know how very fun it is. (I wouldn’t have 30+ unfinished projects if starting new things weren’t the funnest thing there is!) So why not join us? You can still pick up the pattern from Westwood Acres or Modern Quilter or Queen Bee Fabrics or Vintage Modern Fabrics or probably a dozen other places.

GypsyWifeQAL

This month we’re sewing one Colour Wheel block and six 4-in Pinwheel Blocks. (Four of the six pinwheel blocks will become 6.5″ unfinished blocks by adding sashing.) Here are mine:

Gypsy Wife blocks - Colour Wheel
Gypsy Wife blocks
Gypsy Wife blocks

First up is Pattern Errata: There’s a tiny mistake on the Colour Wheel block — the bottom centre unit is missing it’s quarter square triangle. Not much of a mistake, just helpful to fill in the lines for when you’re laying out the block; my repair is shown here in blue.

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In any case, I thought I’d offer up a few tips for sewing these as accurately as possible.

Colour Wheel block
There’s a lot of seams sewn on bias cuts in these blocks and that can mean stretched fabric and wonky sized blocks. Usually I try to minimize sewing on a bias cut by doing two units at a time (ie. leaving the squares intact and sewing a quarter inch on either side of the centre line, then cutting it in half and getting two units). You can’t really do anything about the about the units in the middle of each outer row/column, but if you’re willing to make your block with only two main colours, rather than four, you can eliminate the potential stretch on the four outer corners:

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I’ve skipped over a lot, there, but you’d cut the background and centre fabrics as described in the pattern. The outer corners would be sewn as in my picture, but the rest you’d proceed as in the pattern.

I wanted mine as scrappy as possible, so I did something else entirely: I sewed mine with paper underneath. I didn’t think to take photos of this when I was working on my blocks, so I’m going to show you while sewing some pin wheel units. The principle is exactly the same, the pieces are just a little larger in the Colour Wheel.

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I sewed mine onto paper meant for foundation piecing, but you could also use regular printer paper; I just happened to have this in my sewing room. All I’ve done is put my triangles right sides together, laid the unit on top of the paper at the left edge, and then sewed it 1/4-in from the edge. I also dropped my stitch size to 1.5 on my machine – not as small as I’d use for paper piecing, but smaller than I use for regular piecing. It’ll help keep your seam tight when you pull out the paper (though I do that very carefully anyway).

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The reason I specified stitching it from the left is this — I like to do several in a row without pulling the units off each time. When I have a longer piece of paper, I’ll do more down the length of the paper first.

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When you take off the paper, you want to fold it back against the seam to help break the perforation. Tear in from the edge of the paper to the first hole of the perforation, then holding one side down tightly, pull gently on the other side of the paper so that it’ll pull away. Once that strip is gone, grasp hold of the fabric unit and gently tug it away from the rest of the paper. Don’t pull it up or down from the paper, just tug it gently to the side – that’ll help keep your stitches in place. Press along the seam line with a nice hot iron after removing the paper and that’ll help tighten up the stitches again too.

Another option is just to pin the crap out of it. I know pinning is boring and feels like a waste of time, but any time you’re sewing on a bias cut is a great time to pin pin pin. It’ll help save your fabric from the feed dogs pulling and stretching the fabric out of whack.

Okay, and my final tip with this block, and with all the pin wheels: TRIM YOUR UNITS. After you press your units, trim them down to size. There’s not much excess, but any little bit that’s there can throw things off; a little extra here plus a little extra there always adds up to weird sized/shaped blocks. I know because for years I ignored the trimming thing, and then one day I didn’t and things started coming together the way they’re meant to. It’s like angels suddenly singing over your quilt blocks, the way things go together after a good trim.

Pin Wheels
Okay, so there are a lot of ways to make a pin wheel block and I’m going to go over a few of them here. It really depends how scrappy you want your blocks and your quilt to be – I’ve done a couple blocks with only two fabrics, but the rest are at least a little more scrappy than that.

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If you want them to be completely scrappy (ie. 8 different fabrics per block), then I’d sew them like I did above – on paper. You can use the four remaining triangles from your Colour Wheel block (you’ll have to trim them down – just cut one new triangle at the proper size, lay it on top of those spare triangles, and trim the larger ones to match the smaller) or cut 8 new squares of fabric, cut them in half, and then start sewing them all back together. Save those other eight triangles for something else or mix them in with still more triangles so that the fabrics get spread around across multiple blocks.

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Or you can cut a 4.5 inch square out of another fabric and sew four of the spare triangles onto the straight sides to create another pin wheel worth of units. Likewise, you can use a charm square – there’ll be a little waste in either case, but not too much. This method helps deal with the problem of bias cuts – if you keep your charm square on the bottom, you’ll be sewing on the straight of grain, so there’ll be less chance of stretched block units.

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If you use something busy enough (like that orange and blue Amy Butler print) you might be able to make at least part of it look like it’s a different fabric entirely. (That blue and green triangle? Came from the exact charm square shown in the previous picture, same as all the orange/blue prints in the block.)

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For a less scrappy block (two fabrics) you have two options. First, you can cut 2 squares in each of 2 fabrics, sew them together on either side of the centre diagonal, cut down the middle of each, and be left with 4 units to make one block.

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Or you can sew together two 4 1/4″ squares. You want to throw a couple pins in the middle of this one and then stitch around the outside, 1/4-in away from the edge. If you draw on your diagonal lines, you can stop when you reach the line, pivot and continue around the square. (In fact, you should do this, otherwise you’ll have to do like I did and unpick those couple extra stitches in that last quarter inch.) Next, cut on the diagonal in both directions to create 4 units. They units will be about 1/8-in too large, so you’ll definitely have to trim them down to size.

And I think that’s all the ways I know to make pin wheels. (Except one that makes two blocks at a time, but I didn’t want two identical blocks in my quilt, so I didn’t use it!)

This is kind of a SUPER long post, but I hope there’s been something useful in here for making your own Colour Wheel and Pin wheel blocks! Pop back over in the last week of February and I’ll be hosting a link up and giveaway for everyone’s finished blocks. You can stick photos in the flickr group as you make them – I know we’d all love to see them!

Giveaway
If you haven’t joined up with us because you don’t have the pattern yet, I’m also offering a giveaway of the pattern book this week! Leave a comment below if you’d like to join in and I’ll enter you into the draw. I’ll draw the winner a week from today and get the pattern sent out to you as quickly as possible.

gypsywife

If you’re already participating, that should be reward enough ;D Just kidding… sort of. There’ll be a link up at the end of the month and everyone who links up their completed blocks will be entered to win that giveaway! Michelle has been hard at work lining us up some sponsors: Hawthorne Threads will be furnishing a prize in December and Fat Quarter Shop is providing us with a few prizes to spread out through the year! These are two of my favourite fabric shops, so it’s extra exciting to have them help us celebrate making this brilliant quilt.

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Ramble Ramble (Random Thursday)

So it’s been a little while. I’ve been sewing, though, so I figure it’s all good! I meant to post last week, but then I just didn’t have anything to show and I didn’t even work on reorganizing my sewing room, so then I was going to post over the weekend, but it was my weekend off and I was actually sewing and no way was I stopping just to write a blog post. And then this has been a weird, weird week. I normally work a really set schedule, but I had a first aid course to attend on Tuesday (which shifted my work day by 3 hours from 6 AM to 9 AM) and then I had a training thing on Wednesday (which shifted my work day by 3 hours) and at least when I’m working my normal 6-2:30, I can get home when there’s still a drop or two of sun in the sky, but coming home after 5 pm means it’s already dark enough not to make photo taking virtually impossible.

I used to take photos of everything with flash because fuck it, what else can I do? But I’ve been trying to be at least a little better with my picture taking. And to that end, I asked my mom to buy me a light box for Christmas. Which yay, lightbox! But I can’t get enough light into it! I can clamp lights onto the table for either side, but I don’t have any lamps high enough to get above it and the lighting in my sewing room is unbelievably terrible (I could take off the light cover, which would help a little, but it’s not the most attractive of looks, having a bare bulb), so even the light box isn’t helping too much! (I’ve been trying to use one of the clamp on lights from the top and one from the left and then tilting my sewing lamp in from the right, but the angle is all wrong and the lamp on top is too heavy and it rests right on the light box surface, so it doesn’t really diffuse the light properly. Basically I’m winding up with kind of yellow photos and still having shadows where shadows ought not to be. A couple of Giveaway Day’s ago I won a pdf guide to photography from someone, but do you think I can find that file now?

Anyway, on the subject of Giveaway Day – I never did find a good entry to pop this in, but if I’m calling this one random, then why not now? (Finally!) This December I won a giveaway from Stephanie at Simple Sewendipity!

Heat Pad

How pretty is that? It’s a heating pad with lavender in it and it just smells unbelievably delicious. You microwave it to heat it up and then just apply wherever needs some extra warmth. Lovely! (I kind of want to pull it off the heating pad, though, and just hang it up in my sewing room it’s so pretty!)

Right, so, weekend sewing. I started out by pulling a long-standing WIP off the design wall:

Design Wall

I think I started this one about two years ago and I love it immensely, but it just seems like so much work every time I think about it! (It’s all with inset seams and it just gets heavier and harder to put in the bricks each time.) I’m a little worried it’s going to fade since it gets a shot of sun every day, and also it’s kind of made my design wall useless to me. So time to go.

Now this is all that’s up there:

Design Wall

Two of these are going away because they’re bee blocks. The other is my first Gypsy Wife block – just testing things out!

Hive 12: January Block

This is my first Stash Bee block, for Heather at Quilts in the Queue. This block was paper-pieced in the centre and then it’s just a sea of white around. I had to make this one twice – the first one when I was pressing it, suddenly came up with two dots of that blue water-erasable ink, which was a bit weird because I hadn’t been using the stuff! It didn’t come off with water like it usually does, so I thought it was going to be garbage and I rotary cut off the white from the sides so that I could trim it down into sizes useful for remaking the block. About an hour later, one of the dots had disappeared and now the second one has gone away, so I don’t know what that was all about. I still have that extra centre unit, but it’s got a 1/4 inch border of white sewn on and I’m not sure it’ll be easy to get off – I’d left on the paper and so I’d used a tiny little stitch to sew it down, and I don’t relish the thought of ripping all those little stitches.

Aeneous - January block

And this is my last block for the Simply Solids group on Flickr, for Laura at Waffle Kisses. This block uses this herringbone tutorial from Bijou Lovely and I think it comes out pretty great looking. I’m really happy with this one and hope the recipient will be happy too.

I also sewed up an entire quilt top, which you can see on Instagram (I’m @clumsykristel), but I haven’t been able to take a proper decent shot of it. It’s too big to tape to the wall for a photo and my yard is such a snowy mess that I can’t take it out and pin it to the fence either. Anyway, hopefully the backing material will arrive soon and then I’ll be able to take a finished photo! (I hope!)

Linking up with Really Random Thursday and Let’s Bee Social:

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LinkyBees

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

I was thinking the other day about how, x-hundred years from now, when Chinese or Australian or Indian (Japanese, European, African, South American…) archaeologists are picking through the rubble of post-apocalyptic North America, they’re going to start uncovering the remnants of dozens and dozens of Scrappy Trip Around the World quilts and Economy Block quilts and Single Girl quilts and think there is some kind of special meaning beyond the fact that we all just love our x-alongs. We run a lot of quiltalongs in socialmedialand.

Here’s another one. Maybe the best one. A Gypsy Wife Quiltalong.

gypsywife

You know you want to! How could you not? And, alternatively, Intrepid Thread is running a Gypsy Wife Block of the Month (wherein you get the pattern to begin with, then an assortment of fabrics every month), but this is such a scrappy quilt I really can’t see wanting to buy a bunch more fabric for it. Especially since I did a little stocking up before December was over, with just this quilt in mind…

Gypsy Wife fabrics

I want it to be bright and happy and a little bit crazy because that’s exactly what it should be. (But there’s another part of me that kind of wants to make a second one, all in neutrals and low volumes, just to see what would happen… or maybe blacks, whites, and greys, with occasional bits of red.)

If you’re looking at that pattern cover and thinking, “Yes, please” but also “Oh my god, way too complicated,” then please rest assured that it’s not going to be very difficult. A couple of the blocks are a little more complicated than the rest, but for the most part it’s a lot of things you’ll already be familiar with – square in a square blocks, pinwheels, and so on. AND I happen to have already seen Michelle’s proposed quilt-along schedule and there aren’t all that many components to be made in any given month; it’s going to be so very easy-going that it won’t interfere with whatever else is on your plate. In fact, if you really get going on it, you could find yourself finishing it a lot faster than the quiltalong will ask you to finish it. I’m going to use this as a little side-along to whatever else I’m doing for the month – I can spend a chunk of time one Saturday a month making a half-dozen or so (often small) blocks and then package it up and set it aside until the next month. [ETA: The schedule was posted – you can see it here – after I wrote this post, but before I took the photos to include in it, so it was sitting around as a draft while that schedule was getting it’s first moment in the sun. Also? Michelle is giving away a copy of the pattern! Drop by her post to enter by/before January 16.]

We won’t start sewing until February, so there’s plenty of time to pick up the pattern and decide on fabrics. Check in with Michelle at Factotum of Arts to see the schedule and join up with the Flickr group here.

GypsyWifeQAL

Cmon…. join us! Ahem. Audrey! Erin! Ashley! Sarah! Joanna! This means you! I’ve seen you all back-and-forthing about it in one place or another….

Sunshine & Cats

A little while back I got a mini-charm pack of Kate Spain’s Sunnyside collection – I didn’t pick it out or even have a plan for it because it was a gift included with a purchase over $50 from an Etsy shop – but I found a pattern at Sew Me Something Good for a Christmas pillow, Joy that I thought I could turn into something more sunny.

We’ve just had a blizzard that dumped piles and piles and piles of snow on us, so it’s particularly good timing – I could use the reminder of summer and sunlight and bright things.

Sunshine pillow

This is a general idea of where the thing is going. It’s a bit more put together than this now, but it’s far too dark for photos – even these ones are pretty flooded by the light I use to light my table for sewing.

Sunshine

I swapped out JOY for a quote from the song “My Girl” but I got a bit lazy and didn’t want to do the bottom layer of the appliqué (in the original pillow, you sort of have a drop shadow behind the word) so I just hoped that the bronze thread and the bright orange would provide enough contrast. I think it works okay, but the gold I used for the stitching is… not ideal. A little too similar to the background, alas. Ah well, it gets the gist across anyway!

Cat-vent Quilt-along

I’ve also been cat-venting along with Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson!. This project is so very, very much not like me and I don’t know at all what inspired me to sew along with it, but four days in and I’ve sewn a four different cat faces.

Cat-vent Quilt-along

I think I started it in part because I happened to have a partially used jelly roll of Kona cottons sitting on the floor in my bedroom and I was reading the original post about the Cat face quilt and it was done in a rainbow of colours and I just kind of went… I could do that. And so I am. I’m trying to use scraps only for the prints, which means I’m probably not always going to have the best colour-matches in my blocks – the solid above wasn’t a great match for any fabrics I had and the solid orange really only closely matched the Natural Elements print, but I think as long as it’s within approximate range it’ll be okay. I don’t have a plan for this once it’s finished, but it may either be donated for a Linus group or it may get saved in my closet for a future baby gift. I thought all my friends were mostly done having babies, but it turns out I’ve been wrong about that, so no harm in having some spare gifts around!

I’m still working on the hexagon quilt, but I haven’t touched it in the last couple days. Tomorrow I’m hoping to get all the hexagons done for the last two blocks, even if I don’t get them sewn down just yet. My freezer paper hexagons have mostly lost their stick (I’ve used them five or six times already) and I’ve been torn over whether to print more or if I should just keep trying to get by with the ones I have. I’d like to just get by, but the last set of hexies gave me a little trouble because it kept peeling up on me at inconvenient moments. We’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow, I guess!

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.

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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.

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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.

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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

WIP Wednesday: Needlebooks and Quilt Blocks

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

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

Outside of the Needlebook

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

Taco-shaped Needlebook

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

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

Block in Progess

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