Friday, February 19, 2010

My lovely little envelope from the Fat Quarter Shop arrived last night. I may have actually squealed a bit in the kitchen when I saw it. It was just a couple of random yards and some charm packs but I have plans for some and none for others and it just seems like a little package of possibilities.

I think it's important to make things seem accessible to kids. With that in mind we try hard to teach Chloe the safe way to interact with objects rather than to just tell her not to touch them and not give her any reason she can understand. Which means that I usually let her play with just about any of my sewing stuff she wants. The rotary cutter and scissors get put away but she can dig around in the chalk and the pounce pad and even the pin cushion. If you ask her about pins she says "Always hold them by the circle!" and so she does. She just wants to move all the pins out of the "potato" and in to the couch cushion and then back again.

So when I pulled the charm packs out she immediately wanted to see them, touch them, talk about the polka dots and the stripes and say "This ones is my quilt fabric." I love seeing her interested and fascinated and I hope she gets a love for the pure tactile sensations of it. Which is why I don't mind the aftermath.

Charm pack before Chloe:

Charm pack after Chloe:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quilts in progress: The Scrappy Circle Edition

Chloe's been getting a touch too big for the quilt she uses at daycare so I wanted to make her a bigger one. I went for scrappy, machine quilted, and fast because I know that this will get serious use and some amount of beating up. She's a toddler, they're not known for being delicate with their things.

I dug in my scrap boxes and found some of the girliest, sweetest stuff I could. The border is kind of a random piano keys thing. I took leftover bits from after I cut the circles and made them all 2" wide and then just however long they wanted to be. So all the pieces of the border are different lengths. I think it both adds to the scrappiness and pulls it all together. This isn't a masterpiece but it makes me happy to look at it and I know that Chloe will be warm and cozy underneath it.

I've been bringing it to work to pick out the decorative stitch I put around the narrow pink border (mistake! mistake!) so I took the opportunity to get some pictures of it even though it's not bound yet and so the batting is hanging all over the place.

Here it is lounging around on the conference table, basking in the afternoon sun. It's so -OMG the glare! the glare! I have to quit taking cell phone pictures with direct sun shining on white muslin. Yikes.

Here's a decent shot of the borders and the basic loopy quilting. I love that pink paisley, it's so stinkin' girly.

But this one, this is my favorite. I don't know why but something about the juxtaposition of the kind of formal stripes with the bright pinks and yellows just floats my boat.

Ah, here's our darling out of the direct sunlight. I ended up draping it over a railing in the office and all the coworkers are like "Have you lost your mind?" Possibly. Quite possibly.

But I've enjoyed every moment.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Sewing Rule: The more adorable a special decorative stitch is, the bigger a pain in the butt it will be to pick out when you get the length/width wrong.

These cute little daisies looked so great on the test patch.. and on about 3/4 of this border they look great. But that last 1/4? It's taking me hours to get them out. From now on they only go on sleeve cuffs. :) (Also, omg I need a new seam ripper so bad. This one is acting like it's been through the garbage disposal. And we don't even *have* a garbage disposal.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oooh it was payday and there were sales. And you know that's just never a good combination. This is my first full paycheck since the Great Unemployment Drought and I knew I'd have a little fun money left over. I got some charm packs that I'd been looking forward to (Breath of Avignon, Eden, Make Life) and some extra yardage from a couple of online places (some leftover Neesha to finish Steve's Bear Paw of Manly Manliness quilt, and two American Jane basics, some orange from Recess and some yellow from Happy Campers) but the real haul was, believe it or not, from JoAnn's.

They started a big President's Day sale this weekend with all their quilting notions and Fiskars cutting stuff at 50% off and I scarfed a 40% off one item coupon and a 20% off the whole order coupon and headed off at lunch. Traffic tried to thwart me but I still managed a good bunch of loot:

  • Quilt in a Day Triangle Square Up ruler
  • Quilt in a Day Small Flying Geese ruler
  • Omnigrid 4X14 ruler (I needed a ruler that wasn't square and wasn't my basic desk ruler)
  • Two packages of machine quilting needles
  • 4 yards of white muslin
  • 8x8" rotating mat (my other rotating mat is 14x14 and sometimes that's just too big
  • 5pk of rotary cutter blades
  • Embroidery scissors (so I'm not using my hand-forged iron Viking snips on my applique projects)
  • Feather template that will fit the borders of the Strawberry Parfait quilt
  • Pack of Rolos (I'm PMS'ing, do not lecture me about my food, just be glad it was only one pack)
Grand total: Less than $50.

I just wanted to giggle my fool butt off. Normally just the rulers would have topped that price so I'm feeling quite victorious.

Also, I figured out a solution to the only problem I have with my new machine. The legs on the extension table fold up under themselves when I'm moving a quilt of any size around. And then I get cranky. And then I do dumb stuff like sew through my thumb. I looked at some of the custom made acrylic ones and though I'm actually making money these days I couldn't bring myself to spend $80 on something I'd actually have to wait 4 to 6 weeks for. Then I remembered a few things. Like, I have a hardware store and a jigsaw and a drill. Also a Dremel. So hopefully a trip to the hardware store and $15 will have this problem fixed next week. DIY funtime pictures to follow. Hopefully not of me drilling into my ear or something.

I made progress on the WIPs, too. Strawberry Parfait is about 2/3 finished. I have to take it in bunches or my wrists just ache like crazy. I may wait to finish this one until the extension table project is done. I got Chloe's circle scrappy quilt backed, basted, and quilted. I have to pick out some of the quilting on the border and patch one little bit on the back and I can get it bound and off to daycare with her. I'm starting to feel like I'm at least keeping up with my WIPs, which is nice.

We're off to do one of Steve's favorite events this weekend. Frostburn wasn't much fun last year but this year it should at least be above zero. And there will be Chloe hugs. I've missed her little face so much. I haven't told Steve that there's a quilting shop about 5 miles from where we'll be camping. I don't think he needs to know that just yet. It'll be our little secret.

I sadly lack pictures for this post so I'll leave you with this one. It's peripherally related to my quilting in that this is one of the reasons I got so much done this week, these are what's waiting outside my front door. Death strikes from above:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I enjoy the designing (or tweaking of others' designs), I love picking colors and piecing and I even love binding. Quilting is calming and meditative and cozy. But the real reason I do it, is so that at the end i can see this:

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A most productive weekend.

We planned ahead and managed to get ourselves snowed in with S&C. Their house is more comfortable, their cable is more plentiful, and their company is superb. It was a great decision. And as thirty inches fell over the course of Friday night and Saturday, C and I worked on quilts, bags, pillowcases, layouts, playing with our machines, you name it.

Which means I was able to knock three UFOs off my list. My lovely sister-in-law's table runner is finished and ready to be mailed. My girlfriend's daughter (and my adopted neice) is getting a pillowcase for college and it is ready to go in an envelope as well. I finished the first of my shopping bags and I'm ready to go for more. The red and white HST quilt I'm making for myself (we nicknamed it Strawberry Parfait) got a backing and got basted and ready to quilt last night.

Also, the circle quilt I made off of Make it a Wonderful Life's tutorial is finished with the piecing. I measured it so I can decide on a backing. It's going to be my daughter's summer blanket for daycare so as much as I like the texure and feel of things like Moda's Snuggles or a good soft flannel, I'm wondering if that's too warm. Bah! I am unable to make a decision. Thoughts?

So with that I've knocked off at least half of the unfinished items on my list and I am free again to buy fabric! Just in time for payday on Friday and the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show on the 27th.

I'm thinking of rethinking that trip. I'm going to check the vendor list against the Lancaster show in March and do the math on whether a trip to VA Beach is worth it. The bus ride isn't cheap, but it is just a daytrip and I could be in my own bed that night. Decisions decisions.

Anyway, I started some new ones as well. (Because what I needed was more projects in the works) I started on a remake of the Moda Bakeshop bear paw quilt that was put up last week. It's wonderful and easy and perfect for my husband. He's a traditionalist when it comes to quilts and he likes his fabrics even more traditional. I found a fat quarter from the Neesha line and he loves it. I'll get a couple more FQ or half yards from the line to finish it up. Luckily the blocks are big so it works up very fast.

I've added a simple circle quilt done with the Delft Remix green prints I got for Christmas. They were calling out for a design big enough to show off their patterns and I think this fits without being too visually overwhelming.

I also am trying my hand at needleturn applique for the quilt I'm doing for my daughter's room. It's going to be long and involved but it'll be exactly what I want when it's finished. I held her up to the computer so she could see what it looked like and i said "What's that?" She answered "A qui-ult." With two syllables and a tone of wonder. She is made of awesome.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Strawberry Parfait Part 2

Where were we? Oh yes, all the little lovelies all ready to go. I put them in a bag and shook it up and randomly pulled them out to sew on. I only put one back if it was exactly the same as one touching it. The randomness turned out really well.

Here's the first of the blocks assembled. The place where it looks like I accidentally added in another white triangle instead of a red (upper left of the center diamond) is really a white with red stars on it. It's reading really light but it's not a problem. I may embroider around it. I may decide I just don't care and anyone who is close enough to see and critique it is close enough for me to punch in the nose.

And here we are all laid out on the "design wall" (large piece of felt hung from my living room bookcases, but hey, it works!) and looking so happy. this is just the top half, the rest will go on soon. I'm so pleased so far. And I promise, after this, no more cell phone pictures on the web!

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