Work-in-Progress Girl


Star Surround Finish

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

Star Surround

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

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

Star Surround

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

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

Star Surround

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

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



Star Surround Top

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

Star Surround Quilt Top

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

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

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


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

Finally, I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Star Surround Progress

I’m on holidays from work this week, and I have plans. Oh yes.


I don’t know, realistically, how much I’m going to get done because I have a bunch of other plans too – a friend and I are going out for lunch tomorrow (it’s my birthday but none of my family around town right now), I’m going to meet up with a different friend later in the week, my parents/younger sister are coming up on the weekend, and I intend to leave the house at least once every day for a walk – but I do want to get done as much of this as I can.

I spent a good chunk of time today on the first thing on the list – the Star Surround quilt. I didn’t finish last week’s homework on time, so this week I’m doing last week and this week’s work. Which is basically just finishing up the entire quilt top. (This may, seriously, be the fasted I’ve ever finished a quilt top. I usually never blast through piecing so quickly as this. It’s kind of nice – no time to get bored of it!)

Star Surround (In Progress)

I’m making a baby size quilt, comprised of four of those blocks, so that’s one quarter of the quilt. It’s a 20-inch block, so it’ll be about 40-inches square in total. I’ve got a second one finished since taking this photo, but there’s no light for taking a picture, so maybe tomorrow I’ll post an update. Or maybe just when I’ve got the whole top finished. Edited to say that I’m a dumbass and they’re actually 24″ blocks, so it’ll be a 48″ quilt top.

When I was pressing this block together, I discovered a little happy accident:

Star Surround (In Progress)

On this one little seam, I discovered that the cars from one piece lined up exactly with the cars on the piece below it – love these little multi-coloured cars. So cute! (And to think, I hated this fabric!)

My big disappointment so far with this quilt is just how badly my flying geese came together. I’m usually really good about having perfect points, so this is kind of appalling:

Star Surround (In Progress)

Almost all of my flying geese were off by enough that my points are nipped off all over the place. I don’t know what I did differently this go around than from normal, but it’s kind of disappointing. I don’t think it’ll be so noticeable in the long run, especially once it’s all quilted, but right now they’re all just staring me in the face.

Done is good, though, right?


WiP Wednesday and a Giveaway Winner

So first up, the winner of my little giveaway, via Mr Random:



Incidentally, Cathy ALSO owns a pair of completely adorable Liberty shoes, though not the same ones as mine! In any case, I haven’t emailed her yet, but Cathy is my winner! I still haven’t decided what I’m going to make for her, but… it’ll be something. And maybe some fabric or something along those lines, because Cathy I know DOES sew. (In fact, I have a sweet little needle book from her from a Modern Scrappy Bits Swap last year!)

Moving on the WIP portion of the post, I’ve got myself into the middle of two different projects and I should really just settle down and finish one of them instead of bouncing back and forth like a demented pinball, but… yeah. Sometimes that works for me?


I’m still working on the pouch for my Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap on flickr. For this first round, we’re swapping a handmade pouch and fifty charm squares. (I tried to argue, briefly, for 42 as it’s the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything. But… fifty is sort of a rounder number, I guess. :D) There isn’t much of the pouch to be seen in this photo, although layered in that photo somewhere are both sides of the pouch. The rest of it is the first 30 charms. I had a really hard time figuring out how to decide what sort of fabrics to pull for the charms, but fortunately my partner has a very extensive likes/dislikes list, so I figured out ten things she’s into and am doing five of each of them. (I’m also aiming, in a way, to mix and match a bit to get in more than 5 of various things she likes… if I have 5 plaids, that’s great, but there might be a plaid in the pile of browns as well, and then if I can, I’ll fit a brown zigzag into that set of charms as well.)(Just for the record: plaids, zigzags, and browns are not on her list of likes or dislikes.) I’m hoping to get the pouch finished up tomorrow, and the charms finished up the day after that, so that I can drop it all in the mail on Saturday.

So my other project is the Star Surround project. I’m only done about half of this week’s homework:

Star Surround

There are sort of two components this week, the surrounds and the corners of each block. In the photo above, you can see all the parts of the surrounds sewn into two strips, which will eventually be joined. I chain pieced everything and haven’t cut them apart yet. They’ll need to be pressed and then pieced together.

Star Surround

And this long garland of chain stitched pieces will be the corners of each of the blocks. They likewise need to be trimmed apart, pressed, and then sewn together. That I’d like to be done by Sunday. And then… I’m on vacation for a week! I’ve not got too many sewing plans, but I’ve got a few things I’d like to finish up. It’s going to involve freezer paper, which I’ve never used before, so that’s a bit exciting/scary. And possibly embroidery. And also hexagons. But we’ll see.

And finally, I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Sunday Stash, Star Surround QAL & a Union Flag

[Edited on Monday morning to add a reminder that I’ve got a give away open on the entry prior to this one – scroll to the bottom of that entry (work in progress Wednesday) for the details. It’ll remain open for entries until Wednesday August 21. Sorry no direct link, I’m updating from my phone at work and don’t have time to track down the direct link.]

So, some of the people whose blogs I follow have been doing a Sunday link-up called Sunday Stash, wherein you show off something in your stash – something new, something old, something special, whatever. I don’t know that I’ll do it every week, but it seemed like a fun thing to do, so here’s my first Sunday Stash post. (Last Wednesday’s post could easily have been one too!)

This is my most recent set of purchases from Mad About Patchwork. There’s one more package from Pam en route, but it’s just 6 yards of a background material for something I’m about to get started on. (Super nervous about, though: I need to learn to do hexagons!) And then that should be the last of this spending spree,… at least until I need something again. (And by need I actually mean Need in order to finish something.)

Sunday Stash

First up, a low volume Fat Quarter bundle. For such a long time, modern quilting seemed to have been mostly all about having the right kind of bright fabrics. Bright this mixed with bright that, and I like bright colours and I like rainbows and pure hues and all of it, but I’ve always loved the quiet stuff too, so I like that Low Volume has become a Thing in the last little while. That said, I don’t have a ton of low volume fabrics, so one of the things I’ve been looking for more often are the quiet prints that appeal to that side of me. These are, left to right top row first: Indian Summer Wilderness in Rose, Oval Elements in French Vanilla, Architextures Blueprint in Grey, Bijoux Sublime Stitchery in Spring, Benartex Crayon Stripe White, Pearl Bracelet in Sandbox, Pirouette Ballet Dictionary in Mocha, and Glimma Marby in Mineral Dust.

I also picked up a few half yards of some other low volume prints, and a couple Briar Rose prints.

Sunday Stash

I didn’t think I’d buy any of Briar Rose, I haven’t liked any of Heather Ross’s fabrics so much as I liked Mendocino, but then I got thinking about this embroidery thing I’ve been working on (but haven’t talked about in months – that’ll be for another day, though) and I need some background fabric for that and those little bumble bees (and the colours) will be perfect for that. The strawberries probably won’t work, and I can’t even really say why they appealed, but they did.

Anyway, clockwise from the bees: Briar Rose Hex Bee Yellow, Briar Rose Strawberry Orange, Color Me Retro Dulcette Lobelia, Glimma Kulla Rosey Cheeks, Architextures Cross Hatch Peach, and Bijoux Sublime Stitchery in Spring. I also picked up a hera marker, which is something I’ve never used before, but have recently noticed people talking about. I thought it might be interesting to try out!

So that’s my Sunday Stash. And now to figure out some way to fit them into my fabric shelving units…

I worked nights all weekend, so I didn’t have as much sewing time as I’d have liked this week, but I did make myself stop being a slug today long enough to get a few things stitched up. First, I caught up on the Star Surround Quilt-a-long:

Star Surround Quilt-a-long

This week we started putting the blocks together, staring with the star in the centre – at this point, they’re very much like any regular quilt block, the size I’m working with is even 12.5 inches right now. But soon we’ll start building the “surround” part of the star surround, and I’m definitely looking forward to that!

And finally, a paper-pieced Union Flag:

Union Flag

I think I should have chosen a stronger aqua for this block, but overall I’m pretty happy with it! This is for a swap I’m doing, but the photo is locked on Flickr so that the recipient won’t see it (since she may spot it there, but will be unlikely to read my blog here). There’ll be a second one as well, in the same colours, but with a different orange and a different aqua. I can’t wait to see how the finished project will turn out. I hope it’s as fantastic as I’m imagining it.


Stuff and Things

Earlier this week, every time I thought about writing up a post about what I got done over the weekend, I’d start thinking instead about how I needed to be stitching up my Tardis block and so I’d wind up not writing that post. But here’s more or less what I finished up this weekend:

1. Sewed, pressed, and trimmed all the half square triangles and flying geese units in my Star Surround quilt top.

Star Surround Flying Geese

I still can’t pretend to love these fabrics, but I do like them a lot better here than I did in that collection I was trying to create for a baby quilt. Maybe by the time this is all sewn, I’ll like it so well, I’ll just give this baby quilt to my friend rather than doing the double hour-glass thing I’ve been planning.

2. Sewed up a sample pouch for the Simple and Sweet Swap (wherein we will swap a pouch and 50 charm squares with someone)

Don't be scared off, Simple & Sweet Swap Partner...

I hadn’t made one of these in a while, so I picked a few fabrics up off my pile of solid fabrics and thought “The more garish, the better” apparently, and then added some matching scraps of an Amy Butler print. This has a kind of early 90s vibe (for me, but most trends hit my hometown late). I just wanted the practise, so it didn’t really matter what I used. Style-wise I think the pouch is pretty great. Colourwise… it’s certainly interesting. I may give it away someday, but I’m not really sure who would want it. (I had someone in mind, but seeing it finished in all it’s technicolour glory, I’ve kind of lost the desire to send it to her.) There are a couple small flaws (my ruler slipped when I was trimming one half of it, so you’ll notice the colour lines don’t meet up on the side seams – I lost close to a quarter inch on that one side) and I flubbed something to do with the zipper that I can’t really explain but which means it’s a bit lumpy near the opening of the zipper. (I pressed the fabric to one side, but should have opened the seam.) Anyway, now I know what to avoid, so I can make a proper pouch for my recipient. (But I won’t show it until after she receives it because it’ll be obvious to her that it’s for her if she sees what I’m planning to make.)

3. Stitched up a Hufflepuffian quilt block.

Black and Yellow Quilt Block

There was yellow and black fabric on the futon in my sewing room, so… I made something with it. The colour is a little off in this photo – the wall is beige not grey – but it’s surprisingly close to the real deal. The yellowest yellow you’ve ever seen.

I feel like there should be more – I wanted to do another churn dash block and I wanted to get a couple flags done for Lac Megantic – but I went on a cleaning spree in my bedroom and got rid of a bunch of stuff that needed to be recycled or donated and I straightened up the fabric shelves in my sewing room. Surprisingly, both those things took quite a long time.


I went through most of the fabric that was new or hadn’t gone back onto the shelves after being put to use (or after testing and rejecting it for some project or other) and got it refolded and stuffed back on the shelves. I haven’t come up with a storage solution for my solids (not visible in this photo) yet or my voiles, flannels, children’s fabrics, home decor fabrics, linens or linen blends. Or the few pre-cuts I’ve got. (There aren’t many, two or three jelly rolls besides what’s stuffed into one of the shelves on the right.) Oh, or the “quilt in a bag” kits that I’ve got – the bag in the bottom right hand cube is actually a quilt top in a bag (along with the pattern), but there are two or three others I’ve never gotten around to making…

And then finally, the other thing I did was sort out the unruly, unholy mess that was my “Quilting” bookmark folder in my browser. I went through and sorted everything by type of link and deleted any dead links and links to things I don’t think I’ll use (or know I won’t).

Quilting Bookmarks Folder

You can’t, of course, see into any of the folders, here, but all of it was in one very, very, very long folder, mixed in with a bunch of embroidery related links (I still need to sort those ones out, but there aren’t nearly so many). So much neater and more usable now! The ones at the bottom that aren’t in a folder are for projects currently in progress and though there is a folder for that, these are ones I want dealt with now, not just soon. (The Leibster link… I’ve been nominated 3 or 4 times, but keep not following through. I’m really undecided on the whole concept because I’ve never liked anything that involves chain letter style attempts to make people “pass it on.” And it’s a nice thing to have someone choose you, but I don’t know what point it serves? I don’t know. Still churning that one over.)

Anyway, I guess it was my weekend to organize as much as anything else! But now… I should go sew.