Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bit by Bit, Putting It Together

I'm still working on projects that have been sitting around. This one goes back to 1998, I think. Whew.


I am really close on this. I have most of the piecing for the next borders done. First, the squares in a square you can see here, and then another border of triangles. I just need to figure out the spacer border strips.

I also finished up the round robin baby quilt I had got back to earlier in the spring.


That's headed towards a baby who just arrived a few weeks ago. Isn't that a better place for it than sitting half-done in my closet? (Why, yes, Terrie. Yes, it is. Who knew?)

And, let's hear it for eye surgery. I can once again see well enough to hand quilt! So I'm finishing up this little mini. All I have to do is a line of quilting along the outside edge of the painter's tape. Then, binding. We'll see what tomorrow brings.


Next I'm pulling out an old hand quilting project that goes back even further than that 98 medallion!

I am ALL about finishing projects at the moment. I have to admit, I feel burdened by the (embarrassingly large) stack of finished but unquilted, nearly finished, half-finished, and the scattered, hopeful "we've only just begun(s)." Sometimes I see new projects that would be fun to start but then I think about all that's waiting and I flat out wilt.

So, now's the time. Progress may be slow but at least it is progress. I'll also say, though, that it's important to me that I enjoy doing this. I would hate it if working on these older projects just felt like a chore. Fortunately, I'm really enjoying working on them again. And it is a thrill to see them cross the finish line.

Well, some of them are just getting closer to the finish line. I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Red, White, and Blue

To all those celebrating, happy 4th of July!  

What a good day for a flag project, right? I'm still pulling out old projects to work on. This morning I finally created a setting for a little needle-punch house and flag I had done up years ago.


That's supposed to be a star in the blue corner of the flag. Of course. My own true love asked why the flag has a fish on it. Okay, then. It's just part of that homemade charm we all love (and some of us achieve more naturally than others).

The binding is a half inch instead of a quarter because of a mistake I made, but sometimes mistakes are for the best. I think the wider binding is a better choice for this one. Let's hear it for the oops that make things better rather than worse!

This last week I finished the blocks for the star quilt and assembled the blocks into rows. I'm waiting to put the rows together though. I signed up for a Craftsy class on machine quilting in sections and I'm considering it for this project. (I've quilted in sections before but I definitely need to refine my technique). In any case, glad to be done with four-inch stars!


I really like the design on this quilt. Ultimately, I'll add a narrowish red border and a wider blue border. Decisions for another day. 

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the rest of our Independence Day,  remembering the celebrations of my childhood. We'd go to my aunt's where we'd eat lots of good food, pick cherries right off the tree, play ping-pong, throw horse-shoes, and climb trees. Lovely memories. 







Sunday, June 25, 2017

I Can Almost

See Clearly Now

At least, that's the plan. I'm in-between cataract surgeries. Things are looking pretty wonky with one eye recovering from the surgery and my other eye its out of focus self. I'm feeling particularly grateful to the library for downloadable audio books! 

I had my own true love searching through the romance category for me. Poor guy. The titles nearly did him in. I'm late on the audio book train. I've always preferred just to read, but so far I've been through a Debbie Macomber novella and novel and I'm just about halfway through a Eileen Goudge novel. 

I set up some lightweight work for the sewing room. Lord knows what I'll think of my seams once I get decent eyesight again, but finished and imperfect is better than unfinished perfect in mind only, right? 

I pulled out a project I started years ago. Now it's up on my newly created design wall. (I have a design wall! I have a design wall! After all these years, I have a design wall! -- Can you tell I'm thrilled?)




I designed this years ago in EQ. Now I'm remembering why I shoved it in the closet partway done all those years ago. That's a lot of 4" stars!


Still, coming onto the fourth, this seemed like a good project to work on. 

Since I designed it in EQ, it was possible to come up with some really different looking versions. Here's the red, white, and blue version I'm working on: 


And here it is in reproduction pink and brown: 


It never ceases to amaze me what color and fabric choice does to a design. 

And so, this is it for me. I'm done squinting at the screen. Time to listen to a book on tape for a bit. I'm enjoying that more than I expected. I read relatively fast, so having the experience where every word gets its due is new for me. I'm enjoying it a lot more than I expected I would. Old dog, new tricks.

Monday, June 5, 2017

GO! Bee Coasters





This week I was distracted by one of my favorite AccuQuilt GO! projects -- circle coasters.


I love how easy the GO! makes these to make. The directions for these coasters are all over the web, so you can find detailed tutorials elsewhere. Look for Criss-Cross Coasters, such as here and here. I should note that some of the other tutorials don't use batting. I like the extra body and support some batting inside provides, so that's how I prefer to make mine. It's not necessary though. Here's a brief rundown on directions of how I make mine for anyone so interested.

I use the GO! Circles die for the 5" fabric circles and the Dresden Plate die for the 4" batting circles.

First, cut out circles --  5" circles out of the fabric and 4" circles of batting. Each single coaster takes six fabric circles (4 for the four-patch top, 1 for the backing, 1 for the lining) and one batting circle.


Choose the four fabrics for the top and iron them in half.


Then create the layers, starting from the bottom.
1. The lining circle, right side down.
2. The batting centered in the circle.



3. The backing fabric right side up.
4. The first of the half circles.



5. Place the second of the half-circles perpendicular to the first.
6. The third and fourth half-circles continue to work around, with half of the fourth half-circle tucked beneath the first. I use a ruler to make sure my four patch is square.



After that, I clip the circles with wonder clips. I make sure both the front and back are lying flat.



Then sew a 1/4" seam around the edge.


Turn it inside out and there it is, one perfect circle.


With pretty fabric on the back, too, so these are double-sided. (I love that).


We have new patio furniture (well, we have the parts -- my own true love still needs to assemble them).  I'm looking forward to sitting out on the patio in the evening, sipping a glass of wine, and appreciating the bees which have spent a busy afternoon pollinating our flowers. Soon, I tell myself.

I've used the GO! for coaster sets before. I made a fuller tutorial using Insul-Brite instead of batting since I wanted to use them inside with hot mugs of coffee. I also used the Round Flower die on them so that the backing circle is actually the top. You can find that tutorial here.



And last year I made some with clock faces. So much fun. You can see more on them here.





I like to use charm packs. Now, I'll admit, that's a close fit. The charm square is 5" and the circle is 5", so there's no overlap of fabric over the cutting edges on the die. I'm just careful to line up the charm square so that all four sides touch the edges of the circle on the die. It works just fine.

So, that was fun. Now I'm on to a bigger project. More on that later.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Home Sweet Home

No working on the little squares in squares this last week. Instead it was time to finish up another little quilt swap -- this time with the theme houses and villages.




I wanted a happy neighborhood, so lots of bright colors.

This quilt is a pattern I bought from Cluck Cluck Sew.  Such a fun and easy pattern to make.

This next week I hope to work on the little reproduction quilt again. The week after a friend is coming in from out of town and we'll be working on a bigger project, so this next week is good for me.

When the semester is on, the summer looks like it will be a vast sea of time. Playtime at that. But then the reality is I have a number of other commitments, and there's still school work to do even if I'm not teaching (I have a new class to design). Still, no complaints. There's a lot more time than otherwise. I'm hoping to get a lot done. (I always hope.)

And I did get another little red and white(ish) pincushion done this last week.


I love that wooden bowl. Obviously hand-carved. It was my mother's, and my grandmother's before her. It sits on my dining room table and I get to admire it everyday.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

When It Snows

Well, here in Colorado it's been making more like winter than spring. Snow and more snow. Whenever I dared to stick my nose out the deck door, all I heard was the snap of tree limbs cracking throughout the neighborhood. Ouch.

Though, I have to say, bad weather makes for good sewing. The miniature quilt in plaid got finished.


I really liked the little one that got sent off in the quilt swap.


So I'm making another one, in softer colors this time. (Hmmm. Terrible color in that photo. It's actually very soft and pretty, I think. Perhaps my photo once it's quilted will come out better? . . . Hope springs eternal.)



I really couldn't ask for a better way to unwind from end of the semester chaos than reproduction fabrics and little quilts.  Of course, before long I need to start prepping for a new class that's just beginning this fall. That will be fun though. So, reading, writing, sewing, crochet, and continuing my efforts to learn how to knit. My goals for the immediate future.

Ahhh . . . .

Monday, May 15, 2017

Plugging Along

So, this past week it's all been about finishing up the semester: grade, grade, grade, break, grade, grade, grade.

There's a limit to how long I can grade at a time, so I've been pulling out little projects to work on. I cut out the patches for this pincushion years ago. Something that doesn't require mental concentration is exactly what I need during a grading break, so a project where all the thinking has already been done is perfect. All I needed to do here is sew the patches together.



I'm hoping to fill a basket with red and white pincushions. Here's my start:


There's just something about red and white . . . .

But then, once I finished the pincushion, I needed another little something, so I pulled out homespun patches I had also cut out years ago. First, I laid out the patches.


And then started sewing them onto a Fold and Sew foundation. (I call this my long tumbler to set it apart from the tumbler foundation that is in Miniatures in Minutes.)



Perhaps I'll finish that up later this week? I love the warmth of homespun. And it sure feels good to get some of those little projects hanging out in the drawers done!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Humble Quilts Doll Quilt Swap

And a half-hour after I posted that last blog entry, my hubby walked in the door with a package for me, a lovely quilt from my swap partner Carol.


I love cheddar and blue as a combination. What a gorgeous little quilt!

And look at the beautiful hand stitching. How pretty and even those stitches are!


Carol sent some lovely little extras as well.


More of those reproduction fabrics we love and a cute button and tape measure fabric. There's also some Canada flag fabric but I missed getting that in the photo. (Oops.)

Thank you, Carol!

My first little quilt was a little too little. It's here with the pincushion I made as a little extra.


I also made one of the Pink Penguin fabric baskets in linen and reproduction fabrics, but I forgot to take a picture of that.

Here's a second take on a doll quilt, a little bigger this time. The X-Blocks finish at 3 inches.


To get a look at all the wonderful doll quilts, hop on over to the Humble Quilts blog and have fun with the linky party. Thank you, Lori, for once again organizing such a fun swap!

Almost Sew Time

Oh, the semester! How it interferes! But, I'm almost there. It's the week of finals. Which means grading chaos, of course.

Still, earlier in the semester I pulled out my AccuQuilt GO! and ran off more tumblers and sewed them on. This guy is -- finally! -- ready for borders.


And I joined in the Humble Quilts doll quilt swap, so I'll have pictures to show soon.

But for now, it's grading, and looking forward to sew time ahead!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Little Bits

Every bit of progress counts, right?

I finished another miniature in process that has languished in a dresser drawer for years. I am so happy with this one. I love how dramatic the red and black is. This is scrappier than it seems at first glance. Each one of those half-hexagon(ish) shapes is actually three 1/2" finished triangles. A bit insane, really, but I love it.



Then I used some GO! dies to add appliqué to the round robin I'm (finally) working on.



They're working well, I think, to cover up bare spots that turned out to need something.

I used leftovers to piece together a backing.


Now I need to baste it together and get to the actual quilting! School is on, however, and that means quilt time has cut way back. Particularly since I've got a set of papers and midterm exams to grade. (Give me a week and life will resume).

And since I want to continue to work on finishing up other little projects, I'm returning to the Kaleidoscope Kreator block I made years ago. I decided if I made up another one, I could use the pair as outer pockets on a tote bag. I got to play for an hour one morning and came up with the new design. Even though I haven't made much with this program, I'll admit, the designs it creates really are incredible.


Here the new design is, starting to sew the feathers.


And now I just need time to get back to the sewing room. I go to my office with the old Rawhide theme in my head: "Grading, grading, grading . . .  keep those essays moving . . ."

Friday, January 27, 2017

Blocks Be Gone!

So, one set of blocks that have been haunting the closet shelves are gone. First, I made a baby quilt.


Very bright and happy.

Then I took the leftover blocks and made a pile of hot pads. I used the AccuQuilt GO! to cut the circles.


I think they look very summery!

I also finished up a little miniature quilt in process that had been stuffed in a drawer for several years. When I took the photo, I was still tacking down binding so that explains the clips in the corners.


That miniature was an experiment. Believe it or not, the central piecing -- the shoo-fly blocks and the sashing -- was all done on a single foundation using Fold and Sew. It worked but was way too fussy to be a truly viable method. Still, I'm impressed it worked as well as it did!



And then, for this weeks GO! Sew Challenge, I'm working on finishing up another project that has been sitting in the closet for years. (So-o-o-o many of those!) This will be another baby quilt for a charity. This quilt was a round robin. I'm using the GO! dies to finish in some blank areas that I think need some filling. At this stage, I'm just cutting out paper shapes to see how they fit.


We'll see where I am next week. Right now, it just feels right to work on clearing out the old before bringing in any more new.