Monday, December 27, 2010

Coming Soon

Okay maybe not soon enough. There are some new fabric lines coming out that I am really excited about and although they may be considered to be coming soon I still hate the wait. I mean really they tease us with these great creations and then make us wait. One thing I know for sure is that I am going to start saving my pennies now for lines that are set to hit stores in April. And just in case you haven't seen them yet I thought I would share some of the things I am particularly excited about.

Soulful (Photo from Mark's Blog)

This first line is one I just learned about thanks to a kind comment on my blog (Cara I hope he knows how lucky he is that you are spreading the word). Mark Sesarik's first fabric line is set to release with FreeSpirit and the best part of this one is that it scheduled to be released this winter. The collection debuted at Fall Market and I am sure it will be a success. A few of the things I love about this collection are the architecture of the prints. Mark used background elements of some of the larger prints to make stand alone prints or maybe he used stand alone prints in the background of some of his larger prints. I can't be sure which way it happened but I LOVE when designers do that. Of course I already did a google search and haven't found the fabric to be available as of yet but you can bet I am keeping my eyes open and will be one of the first in line.

Rhythmic Toss

Not to long ago there was a lot of buzz about a limited number of precuts being available for Sherbet Pips of course with the Holiday Season being in full swing and some of my friends being quicker on the computer I didn't snag any yet but I will be getting this line when it comes out in April. I don't sew clothes but I think pj's would be super cute made from this line. I can't wait to make a snugly quilt to cuddle under all next winter with this line. Aneela did an amazing job on this collection and judging from the buzz already your going to want to pick this one up when you see it. Something tells me there will be a Sherbet Pips Freaks group out there before to long.

Sherbet Pips (Photo from Aneela's Blog)

So there you have it just two of the lines making my heart go pitter patter. What about you guys, are there any lines you are excited for? Of course I need you to share because maybe I just haven't seen it yet.

Christmas Project's Revealed

Okay I know I promised to show you all what I was working on for the Holiday's. I made two presents for my mom this year and I didn't want to feature them here until she received them just in case. Turns out she knew the whole time anyway. One little sneak peak and she was already sure it was for her. I guess next time I can't even share a sneak peak. Sorry you guys but you can blame her.

The first gift was this table topper. I followed the pattern from Camille's book and it was super quick and easy to put together. The hardest thing was quilting it. I didn't want to quilt it super heavy since it was going to be a table topper. Although now seeing it finished I wish I would have done a little more. I guess we are still in the learning stage here so it's okay to make mistakes. The next time it will be better than the first. The back is the same floral print as the front. I of course forgot to snap photos of it so these were taken by my dad. Thanks dad!

The second little ditty I made for her was a cover for her sewing machine. Here it is on Bertha (my machine) and I'm hoping it will fit Birdie(my name for my mom's machine) a little better since it was based on her measurements. The back is a solid white and the variegated thread I used in bright yellow, green, and orange really stands out. I wanted this to just look sort of impromptu so I did straight line quilting but at somewhat of an angel so they aren't really straight and I cut all of the squares and rectangles on the front in different lengths. My plan was for it to look modern but I'm a little worried it just looks like I didn't know what I was doing.

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and that you have a very Happy New Year. For now I am going to stay bundled up inside and hide from the snow. It's very pretty through the window.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow

Some of you might remember last winter when I was super excited about the fact that we were getting a whole whopping 2 inches of snow. I was thrilled because we hardly ever see snow here on the east coast of Virginia being as close to the ocean as we are. But man that snow storm last year has nothing on what's going on around these parts today. At last check I had 10 inches of snow on my back deck. I thought at first it might have been in part due to a drift building up out there but after taking a quick peak at the cars and the roof of my garage I actually believe we have gotten that much snow. In even better news (well if you like snow) it is still falling. Nothing like the help of mother nature to make me want to stay inside with some Peppermint Tea and my sewing machine. I have been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about what I want my sewing goals to be for the upcoming year and I have a lot of ideas running around in my head. Because of that I want to make sure that all of my bee block commitments are current and that no one is waiting for me.

This picture is from about 10:30 this morning.

I had the privilege of being in two bees this year with Rachel and the poor thing had the last month in both of them. I received her fabrics last week and so I started there. First she is in my Spider Bee and she chose this great strip for the middle of her spider web blocks. One thing I really enjoyed about Rachel's fabrics is that the colors and textures of her fabrics were such a wide variety. She included everything from buttery soft voile to home deco weight fabrics. She did ask that we not sew the triangles together because she is considering setting her blocks on point. I thought that was a great idea for these fun little spider webs.

Next up we also shared the Modern Tradition Bee. For this bee Rachel included fabrics in much the same colorways and asked for Buzz Saw blocks. Here is what I came up with. I knew I didn't want the fabrics in the HST to repeat themselves in the same blocks so I ended up pulling quite a few fabrics from my scrap bin to mix along with those that Rachel sent. The great thing was she sent such a wide variety nothing really seemed out of place. And do you see that instruction sheet there in the middle. I called Rachel an overachiever but she really did out do herself with the personalized address labels she included on and in the package and the instruction sheets in full color on nice shiny paper. Don't get to jealous girls she is a graphic designer by day and used that as her explanation for the great sheets. I was just excited because it made the process of putting her blocks together super easy and enjoyable.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Quilt for Christmas

Whew...the holiday rush is over. As much as I love this time of year the hustle and bustle seems to be taking more and more out of me each year. I thought I would spend the next couple of post sharing pictures of some of the projects I've been working on around here lately. I thought we would start with the chocolate and blueberries quilt that I had been working on for the hubs dad and girlfriend. I made this quilt following Karrie's recipe for Moda's Bake Shop. I made just a few changes to her pattern to make the quilt a little larger. I added an extra row and I cut my pieces larger so they utilized the full 10 inch square of the layer cake. I must admit I had a hard time giving this one away because it would have matched my bedroom so well. The hubs has already requested that I make another one for us so I imagine I will be duplicating at least the front of this one again in the new year. But there are a few projects that I need to complete first. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Year, New Projects

I have been very busy this week trying to get the finishing touches put on Christmas gifts. I've done so much hand sewn binding that I feel like my fingers are ready to bleed and I still have another quilt to go. Oy! It will be well worth it though when I get to enjoy the recipients opening their gifts. What about you, feeling that last push to the Holiday's yet? As this year has been quickly winding down I've been thinking about the projects I want to take on next year. I am really hoping to have more finishes under my belt next year. I feel like this year I've spent a ton of time sewing but not much time actually finishing projects. I've got a few projects lined up already for next year just waiting to get started on but I came across a few this week that I am sure I won't be able to resist. If you haven't seen these yet be sure to check them out.

I already love pretty much everything I have seen by Sweetwater and I was already excited about their new line Sunkissed. I was imagining all of the great quilts I could make with this line. So when this quilt along came up and I saw it popping up on multiple blogs that I read on a daily basis so I knew it was bound to be good. I can't wait to see what this creative team comes up with.

And since I don't know how to do embroidery yet if anyone has helpful hints or a good place to start please let me know because I'm sure Cory will be full of creative genius and I don't want to miss out.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Well I didn't do a whole lot of sewing this weekend but most of the projects I am working on right now I won't be able to show you until after Christmas anyway. But I did manage to get all but the hand sewing of bindings done on a couple different things which I promise to show you as soon as I can. In the mean time there are lots of distractions out there. Tomorrow Sew Mama Sew is hosting another giveaway day. I missed the announcement so while I'm not hosting a giveaway over here I will be hopping all over blog land during the next week and hoping I get lucky this time around. Last Christmas I managed to score some great swag from a few different places. But I also made some great friends by commenting on some profile photos. I mean really who can resist a bulldog (Hi Bea!). I also managed to crank out 1 set of bee blocks tonight and considering it is 3 minutes until tomorrow I think I am going to stop there. This whole not sleeping thing is getting old. Becky asked for simple half square triangle blocks. She sent along some Innocent Crush and a great espresso solid. It was nice to have such an easy block to wrap up the Bee Stitched Bee and since I have been working on Holiday sewing it was nice to have something that didn't take a lot of math skills and brain power. I love her inspiration quilt and in fact I have had a variation floating around in my head for some time now. I am going to have to get that from brain to fabric soon but first I have to make it through the holidays.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Be Not Forgot

I was talking to my mom the other day about what I was going to do for my sister in law for Christmas and she reminded me about the wall hanging I started for her last year. Those of you who have been with me since I started blogging just over a year ago may remember that this was the very first project that I posted about. You can read about it here. Well I am happy to report that I got it back out of the work in progress box and it is now 98% done. All that's left is to hand sew the binding. Last year I was going to attempt to hand stitch around the applique pieces and I had only made it around 1 of the trees and it wasn't looking so great. Thanks to a bee mate who asked for appliqued blocks last month I got a little practice and with the help of my machine's guide I think I'm making progress. It isn't perfect by any means but it looks a lot better than my hand sewing. Not to mention it is a lot faster, which is good if you are like me trying to crank out Christmas gifts still. T minus 3 weeks and counting. Lucky for me I don't have to ship any of our gifts so I can work on them right up until Christmas Eve, Eve which is good because I have a feeling it's going to take me that long.

Especially when the list is growing instead of shrinking. Right now I have this fun variegated thread in my machine doing some quilting. It's another one of those projects I'm not ready to show just yet but after the holidays I should have lots of good stuff to share. At least that's the plan.

Oh Christmas Tree

For the last 8 years my Christmas tree has looked the same. The first Christmas I was married I asked my husband to pick out the color ornaments he wanted, I assumed he would pick a shade of red or green. Instead he picked blue. So I decorated our tree in blue and silver for the last 8 years. This year I decided it was time for a change. Now that I have this great tree skirt with such a wonderful story behind it (you can read about it here if you missed it) I really wanted to do something different. I don't have many red and green ornaments because they don't match the tree but a few years ago after Christmas I got some red and gold stars from cracker barrel on clearance and I had some red and green balls I got for a table center piece once before. I decided to use these as the base ornaments for the tree and then just fill in with whatever other ornaments we had. You will probably all think I'm crazy but when I do the silver and blue tree the only thing that goes on that's not blue or silver are snowman. I know I can get away with it because I don't have kids yet bringing me homemade ornaments.

Here's a look at some of my favorite ornaments on the tree this time. This wire angel I'm pretty sure my mom made as decoration for our presents about 3 years ago. I have two of them on the tree but they just look so nice to me. They pick up the white lights and of course they are angels which makes them special by their own right.

Last year my mom started a tradition with my brother (well his wife) and I that we get to pick a ornament off their tree and then she writes the story behind it and passes the ornament on to us. This was my pick last year which turns out to be a good one because it hung on my mom and dad's very first tree. They made it using a kit from a local hobby shop in New Mexico where they lived at the time. I like it because even if I go back to my blue and silver tree it will still fit in and it has sentimental significance.

Last up is the angel that is on top of my tree this year. This angel has decorated the top of my parents tree for as long as I can remember until my mom gave her to me a few years ago. My mom made her the year I was born as she has a great family story behind her. So this is my sentimental tree from the skirt all the way up to the angel on top. And since I've been feeling a little like a scrooge this year having this tree around is a nice reminder not only of why I celebrate Christmas but because of the blessing it represents as well. I hope you all have a blessed holiday season.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Tease

Just a little something to let you know I'm still here and sewing. As promised I wouldn't be able to keep this off my blog forever so here is a little sneak at just one of the projects I'm working on for Christmas. Never mind my messy stitches here they have since been corrected but it still gives you an idea. Also in this photo the lines I drew haven't been washed out yet so it looks a little gray around the stitches but that too has been corrected. Hope you are all having fun working on your various holiday projects. I'm sure it will be a little slow around here until after the holidays when I can show off in full force everything I've been working on quietly around here.

Monday, November 22, 2010


The only problem with sewing when you can't sleep is that by the time morning comes around you spend a lot of time with your buddy the seam ripper. Saturday night I just couldn't sleep so after finishing piecing a project a can't show you just yet (don't you hate reading that on blogs) I decided to start in on the next thing on the list. After all Christmas is now only 5 weeks away and quickly approaching. I know you don't need that reminder any more than I do. With the goal of giving more Homemade gifts this year the hubs and I agreed a while back that I would make a quilt for his dad and his girlfriend (yes the dads girlfriend, not my husbands). I knew when I first saw the Pure line that it would be a near perfect choice as it would match the colors used to decorate their house. I was unsettled on a pattern until I saw this one over at Moda Bakeshop. It looked easy enough and so I ordered the materials made a few changes and had all the pieces cut. Saturday I sat down matched up the squares to make into half square triangles and then trimmed them all down after saying I was going to bed. Didn't stop there and I added the small rectangle to the blocks. Pretty proud of myself I finally went to bed at 3am. Wide awake by 8:30 on Sunday I sat down and added the side piece and squared up all my blocks again. Which left me with this good looking pile of progress.

Only then when I went to layout the quilt did I realize that the half square triangles were directional. Who would have thought. I only had to rip apart 16 of them which took most of the day Sunday but before calling it a day again at midnight last night I managed to get the first 2 of the larger blocks sewn together. I'm pretty happy with how things are looking so far and I'm ready to get rolling on the rest of the blocks and the boarders.

I even have a plan for the back so the goal is to have the top and back pieced by Thursday so I can rope my dad into helping me baste it while my mom is busy basting the turkey. Love that teamwork.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Trying Something New

For October in the Modern Tradition Bee, Sandra, asked us to make a log cabin block with strips from a Verna Jelly Roll she was sending. Here's the catch, she wanted us to pick an applique pattern and use fabrics from our stash to make a little magic in the middle of the block. Let me start by saying that up until I made that goldfish block a few days ago I have never appliqued anything in my life. Obviously I was a little nervous when the fabric reach more doorstep a few days before I left for Texas. Turns out there really wasn't anything to be scared of. I really like the over all look of this block and it gave me the chance to try out somethings I had been wanting to do for awhile. I got my applique pattern here. The last flower on the log cabin logs isn't attached. I wasn't sure if Sandra would like it there so I am sending it back to her along with the finished block so she can decide, but I thought it was cute.

Ever since seeing this pillow my friend Cory made I knew I had to try out those birds. I wrote her and asked how she did it and then filed her response in my, if I ever get that brave bucket, and went on about my business. I love the look of Cory's black outline on her birds because it makes them look like a little sketch. I however used the same pink variegated thread I used for the applique. I'm wondering now if this was a good choice but I think it's kind of cute. So for me I'm considering it a win. Here's a close up of my bird. Not perfect, but not bad for a first try and well I kind of look that he looks like his feathers are ruffled because I've been feeling a lot of that lately so it suits me.

Finally I managed to finish the third goldfish block today. Nope, still not a fan of paper piecing. I don't think it looks horrible but it's far from being great at the same time. I hate sending something to a bee mate that I'm not totally proud of so I hope my extra block will make up for some of the imperfections. I can't believe the year is coming to an end already and that most of my bees will be wrapping up soon. I'm glad that I'll be getting some sewing time back for things other than bee blocks but it's a little bittersweet as well. To be honest I look forward to seeing those little packages each month and wondering what's next.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two Stinkin Fish

You know those days where nothing goes according to plan? That was me today! I think I remember telling you all yesterday that it is only 6 weeks until Christmas and I have a ton of things to do. Well none of them got done today. I have been in my sewing room most of the day and once again my seam ripper has been my best friend. Remember when I told you guys I don't do paper piecing, well lets just let it stand that I still don't! This month for Bee Stitched, Mary sent along two paper pieced patterns and asked that we make of each block as she will be alternating them in the quilt. Last night I managed to make the first one and get started on the second. This morning when I got up the pieces for the second block just weren't right so I started over. All day I have spent in my sewing room (with the exception of a few interruptions) and still I have only managed to make 2 out of the 4 fish necessary for this block. I don't know what it is about this that I am finding so hard but I keep making mistakes. And not the same one over and over but I find new ways to mess it up every time I try to make the next fish. So at the end of the day all I have are two stinkin fish.

The first block turned out okay but when I look at it in detail I can still see a few mistakes. Hopefully they are all in the seam allowance or will be covered up by the quilting. I hate sending bee blocks to someone if I don't think they are great. But at the same time I have to admit that paper piecing is not easy to me and even though it's my best I'm sure someone else could do it better. What do you think, can you find the mistakes?

Finally I decided I was going to make a peace offering square. You know an extra block so a I could tell myself today hasn't been a total waste and b just in case I never get the two other fish right. I mean after all I would hate to not do my part for this bee. I am the bee mama after all. But get this just now when I was snapping a photo of that peace offering block I realized I made it 12 1/2 inches. Why, well because that tends to be the size block I make all the time for bees. Only when I went to put it with the other paper pieced block did I realize that the paper pieced blocks are only 8 1/2 inches. Oy! Hopefully she will still be able to use him. I'm calling it a him because I think of goldfish that way for some reason. Maybe on the back she will be able to find a place for him. It was my first time doing an appliqued block and I have to admit it wasn't that easy but the end result I think looks pretty good if I do say so myself. And it was good practice for the next bee block I have to make which is also an appliqued middle.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


You know when you want to title a blog post with something cute and sort of smart to grab every one's attention and get them to read what you have to say, well lets just pretend I did that here okay. After what felt like a whirlwind trip to Texas and back I have locked myself in my sewing room today, did you know it's only 6 weeks until Christmas. Yikes I better get busy if I'm going to have everything done in time. Maybe I should start with those "almost" finished gifts from last year that I haven't worked on since giving up on them making it under the tree in time. But I have so many new ideas that I want to try and get done, why can't we have 26 hours in a day instead of 24? If we stopped messing with the clocks eventually we would gain time, right?

So while I have been busy today I still don't have much to show for it. I have one project sans boarders but I can't show you that because it's a surprise. Hah Hah, I laugh because everyone who knows me knows I am horrible at keeping secrets especially ones that involve gifts of the homemade variety. I'll just put it out there that sometime between now and Christmas it is bound to end up on the blog. Enough about that though here's what I can show you. I finished up this second improv block for Nicole for November in the Circuit Bee, it's hard to believe but that bee has 11 months of bee blocks down and only one more to go (well I technically still have 2 because I have to do the ones for a month I sorta skipped). It was a little ironic that Nicole asked for improv blocks because I did the same back in August because I just had no idea how to go about putting together my husbands UNC quilt when he asked for something simple with straight lines. But here is a look at my two blocks together.

After that I moved on to the November blocks for my Spider Web Bee. I'm not sure how many more months there are in that bee because we have skipped a few times and moved them to the end of the original time frame. I love the bright blue kites with the fabrics that were sent. Most of the strips are Bliss but there are a few others thrown in there including that great polka dot. The original instructions didn't request the white around the blue so I had one almost done before I saw that request in the discussion thread. I think one of each will be fine though because there were some overachievers who finished their blocks before it came up in the discussion.

I did run out of fabric and the only Bliss I have is in the form of a charm pack so I added some scraps of Hunky Dory I had left. I'm thinking this color combo would make a great Christmas quilt. Maybe just because I'm in the holiday spirit (it is in 6 weeks) or maybe because my tree is blue and silver, or maybe just because I realized that those reds and greens look like they would make some great Christmas decorations. I already made a mental note to myself to be sure and pick up some yardage of a few of the prints for some holiday decor. Well Bertha and I have a date to get at least one more thing checked off the to do list tonight so until next time I hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Manic Monday

I really love that song and it about sums up my day. Did you know November is some sort of something about blogging everyday during the month? I have no disillusions about pulling that off but it looks pretty neat and you can win some cool prizes. If you have time to blog everyday this month go check it out. I will be in Texas next week making some long overdue visits all because my aunt (Hi Aunt Fran) was smart enough to ask me on her birthday when I was coming to visit and wasn't happy when my answer was next July. So I got to talking with my mom and dad and what do you know it worked out that not only are my mom and dad going but so is my brother and sister in law. I actually don't think all 6 of us have ever been there all at the same time. Okay I could talk about how excited I am to finally get to see these people for a long time so I'll spare you the details and move on to quilt like stuff.

I am busy trying to make sure all of my bee commitments are up to date before I leave because I know when I get back I will be making that mad dash to get Christmas gifts done before the holidays. So for the past week or so I have had mini log cabins in my head. I couldn't remember why. I received fabric today from Nicole for the November blocks for the Circuit Bee. One of the photos in her inspiration mosaic showed small log cabins. She asked for improv style blocks using the Glenn Bee style. I'll admit I'm not really all that familiar so I just looked at her inspiration photos. I got busy sewing along on these 3 mini log cabin blocks. When I finished the three little log cabins and was moving fabrics around to fill in the rest I moved another package on my sewing table. Bingo! Now I remember where the mini log cabins were coming from. November in the Fussy Cut Bee. For that bee there was a theme of mini log cabins in the inspiration board. So it looks like I'll be doing more mini log cabins tomorrow. I was hoping to get the two blocks done for Nicole tonight but it's been a long crazy day and so I am heading off to bed. Hoping tomorrow will bring some new inspiration and happy sewing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


You know that stack of quilt magazines and books that you've collected over time because there was A project in it that you wanted to do. If you are anything like me then you know that feeling all to well. You see one thing you want to make and you purchase the book (I use to be the same way with music, then itunes came along) thinking oh I'll find something else I like in here. Well I got a copy of Camille Roskelley's book for my birthday and in all fairness I had to share my thoughts on this with you. I spent two day just looking through the book. I read some of the commentary which is written in a similar down to earth way as Camille's blog. I haven't read all of it yet but I can tell you unlike a lot of books where I just read the pattern I'm working on I will be reading this one cover to cover and probably more than once.

I would however like to ask Camille what part of this book is suppose to simplify my life. Maybe because of my need to come up with solutions for a few more Christmas presents, my quilting ADD, and because I'm this close to finishing the front of my Freshcuts Square Dance quilt another project is taking shape on my sewing table. I'm afraid this is the only sneak peak of the project that you'll get until after Christmas because while I'm not positive I have a pretty good idea that the recipient reads my blog from time to time. So far the hardest part about this project is that since I cut my pieces from fat quarters I already had instead of using a charm pack it took me a while to do all of the cutting. Otherwise I would say this is a project that could probably be completed start to finish in a long weekend. Some of you faster quilters could probably even do it in a day.

In other "stupid news" I figured out today what was wrong with my rotary cutter. A while back I changed the blade. Everything was fine but it was leaving this fuzz everything I cut. Even my dad commented to me about it. I just put it away and used another one. Today though when the blade in that one needed changing I decided to change the other one instead thinking maybe I had just gotten a bum blade or something. Turns out having two blades on your cutter at one time makes fuzz. I know it's these little things that make you all wonder how I've made it as long as I have.

This little cutie came to live with me as a birthday gift from my friend Mary. Turns out our birthdays are only about a week apart. See I told you guys I have some of the best online friends ever.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Full Circle

Today I am celebrating my 30th birthday and my mom and dad surprised me with a pretty cool gift. Way back around this time last year I joined my first online quilt block swap. Beth hosted a scrappy Christmas block swap using a tutorial from Elizabeth. We were each paired up with 3 other people and sent them 2 blocks each. The blocks were made from Christmas fabric and the selections chosen were from a large variety. Along with the blocks we made for our partners Beth also gave us the option to make an extra block or two to donate to charity. This of course was before I was overwhelmed with bee blocks and swap packages so I had extra time and made a few blocks to send for the charity quilt.

Fast forward to the earthquake that hit Haiti earlier this year. At that time Beth asked us if it would be okay to auction off the quilts to benefit the relief efforts. Of course we all said yes and the auction began. At the time I remember thinking how nice it would be to have one of the pieces with one of my blocks in it. Sort of sentimental memorabilia. I remember telling my mom the pieces had gone up for auction but I don't recall telling her my thoughts on wanting to own one of those pieces. One with my block in it in particular.

Now my mom is like me or maybe I should say I'm like my mom in that when I get someone a gift I get so excited about it that I want to give it to them right away. Not that this is a bad trait but it makes shopping in advance for holidays next to impossible, sometimes even costly. So imagine my surprise when we were opening gifts tonight (I say we because my brother's birthday is next week and we had a joint dinner and celebration) and I opened a box from Beth to my mom. Of course I recognized her name right away. After all she was the swap mama for my very first swap and I happen to be in a few flickr groups with Beth and am a follower of her blog so I knew exactly who it was. I just couldn't imagine what my mom could have gotten from her. So there you have it, the story of the tree skirt that I helped in a small way to create, that holds a special place to me, and that made it's way back to me as a piece of sentimental memorabilia.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Block That Almost

Did Me In

Way back at the start of July (yes I know it's October, don't judge me) Lydia sent along this great Happy Campers fabric and asked for a star block to make a concert quilt for her and her husband. At that moment I was pretty caught up on my bee blocks so I got started right away. Back in February at the Quilt Show I went to with my mom and dad I had picked up a few new tools. Well I LOVE my Tucker Trimmer, it makes those half square triangles so much easier to get just right. At the same time I had bought the wing clipper but I hadn't tried it out yet. I made up the first 4 flying geese blocks for the block and they turned out perfect. I was so excited I thought this was going to make flying geese into something I didn't mind so much. But then went I made the next set of four in the other color way something went really really wrong. I sewed something backwards and ended up with a seam on the front of my points. Okay that wasn't such a big deal I could try again. So I made another set of four. No way, they were all wonky and not even close to being the right size. I couldn't even use them because they weren't even something I could pretend to trim to the right size.

Frustrated I put the block away thinking I would just come back to it in a few days and everything would be fine. Well when I looked again I realized I only had enough fabric for one more attempted and if it wasn't right I wouldn't be able to try again. So I let that block sit there for a while. To be honest I was scared of that block. Scared because I didn't have any more Happy Campers fabric should I have another Epic Fail. Scared because I didn't know what the solid was and I was quickly using all I had in these failed attempts. Scared because I just didn't want to mess that block up any more. Well the other day I took that block back out determined to finish it and get it back to Lydia. Partly because I didn't want the block to conquer me, partly because I felt guilty for getting behind on my bee blocks, and partly because I just wanted to get the pieces cleaned up from my sewing space. Whatever the reason I managed to get the flying geese made with little trouble. I did however do it the good old fashion way and not with the wing clipper. I'll give him another chance someday but this was not that day. I started to assemble the block but when I went to trim up the center square I was feeling good that it ironed flat really well and all the points matched up. But as I was looking at it something just didn't seem right.

Yup leave it to me to sew the two pieces on upside down. Of course I didn't notice it until I had both side pieces on. So I pulled out four seams and redid the center square. After that I didn't have anymore trouble with this block and I think it looks pretty good as a finished product. But boy was that block rough. I can laugh about all of these silly mistakes now because the block is done. I hope you can laugh at all of these silly mistakes too. Sometimes I think that people who maintain blogs only share the things that go right. We don't get the chance to see the mistakes to often but I appreciate the fact that quilting is something I am learning to do and I believe the only way to really learn something is through trial and error. I'm not the only one sharing mistakes this week, be sure to check out this post for a good laugh and one of those that is something I would totally do moments.

I moved my sewing area into the spare room in our house over the weekend. Better than the dining area that is connected to our living room that I previously occupied. Well I realized I would really like a trash can in my sewing space for all of those little scraps and threads. I went looking for something really cheap but because I am a Target shopper the cheapest trash can I could find was $10 bucks. Not in this budget! Instead I found this "jar" in the bathroom section for 3 bucks. I really like it because it has a lid but the hole in the lid is just about the perfect size to slip those small pieces through.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let's Talk About Bees, Man

Quaterfoil Block for Rebecca
August Modern Tradition Bee

About this time last year I saw a lot of blogs talking about the wonderful adventure of quilting bees. The great friends you could make, the fun of making and swapping blocks for 12 months, the ability to try out new techniques on a single block and not a whole quilt. Being overly zealous as usually I found myself joining a bee, followed by a few more, and then to top it all off I started one of my own. Through out the last year these bees have been amazing. I have gotten to try things I never would have tried on my own. I've made some of the best friends in the world and even if I never get to meet them in person I know they are amazing women.

Around the world star for Lydia-July Modern Tradition Bee
This block almost made me give up sewing,
check back for more on that later.

So why talk about bees now, well along with the good always comes some level of frustration. A year ago I wish someone would have told me to slow down and take it easy. While bees are a lot of fun they are also a lot of work. Imagine how busy you are at any given moment in your life and then ask yourself how many blocks can I make in a month that aren't my own choosing. See sometimes people pick easy blocks for bees and sometimes they pick really hard blocks. Sometimes you have to make things a few times before you get it right. Sure playing with other peoples fabric is fun but it can also be stressful if you make a mistake and can't find what you need to correct it.

Purple Bali Pop Blocks for Leah
October Circuit Bee

I'm not saying don't join a bee, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm just saying before you go signing up for 5 of them (like I did) think about the amount of time you have to commit to the project. I'm slowly digging myself out from the blocks that I haven't returned to my fellow bee members. And as I catch up I've been thinking you know it really wasn't fair for me to have this block for so long. I sure hope they weren't in a hurry to finish this. And even though I know a lot of my bee mates are in no hurry and I try to communicate with individuals and bee mama's when I'm running behind on things it still makes one more thing for someone else to keep up with. So ladies I'm sorry if I sent you bee blocks late or if yours are in this stack going out on Tuesday and are behind but I'm glad I could share with those of you looking to join a bee a few things to consider.
Churn Dash Blocks for Heather
September Modern Tradition Bee

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Freshcuts and Love Notes

I've slowly been making progress on the Freshcuts Square Dance quilt top. I think it gets a little more wonky with each row that I add. I knew there was some discussion about this over in the flickr pool and I'm starting to think I am going to have to try out some of these backup techniques. Overall I am really happy with the way this one is looking. I had planned to make a pieced back for this one from the pieces of Freshcuts that with the help of my mom I have picked up here and there but now I'm thinking I might back it in a snuggly soft minky or flannel so I can have a little bit of spring in the middle of winter. I can't decide if I want to keep it light as a spring quilt or make it into a fall/winter quilt. What do you think?

In other news the hubbs scored some big brownie points this week when I pulled this sandwich, complete with love note from the fridge for my lunch box. Isn't that sweet. I had planned to post this earlier in the week but got busy, nothing new there. Since I already got called out by one of my west coast friends on flickr for working on bee blocks at 2am today be sure to check back later for another post with some finished bee blocks.