Sunday, January 31, 2010

Take 2: Mellisa's Block

I have finished Mellisa's block for the Modern Tradition Bee. I even managed to turn everything the right way this time. Nothing like doing the first one right away making a few mistakes and then waiting till the eleventh hour to try again. Sorry Mellisa but I promise as soon as some of this snow melts I'll have it in the mail to you.

Here's what I learned:
  • Things are not always easier the second time around. After my first attempt at this block going together pretty well I felt confident that the second time around I would be able to just whip it up. But it wasn't as easy as I thought. There is a lot of bulk in some of these seams where several things come together and even though I pressed and pressed it took me a long time to get everything to lay flat.
  • I really like the addition of yellow to the orange and pink combo.
  • It's fun to spend a whole day inside not doing chores and sewing. How do I make that a full time job?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sew Day ur um Snow Day

When you live on the east coast of Virginia near the beach snow isn't really one of those things you think about much. I really enjoyed the two years we lived in Charlottesville, VA because of the snow but here in an area where no one owns a snow shovel and plows are pretty much nonexistent I think I'd prefer to stay inside out of the snow and away from the crazy people who are pretending to know how to drive. Here is what my backyard looked like a few hours ago and it hasn't stopped snowing since.

On a happier note the snow means I don't have to spend the day running around doing all the chores that normally consume my Saturdays and I get to sew instead. Leanne sent out some beautiful fabrics for her blocks for February. Luckily I received them before the snow hit. She sent each person different fabrics and overall I think she has more than 40 going into this quilt. She asked for log cabins and left the other specifics to us. She didn't necessarily want a light and dark side. She wasn't particular about where anything went she just asked that we let the fabric tell us what to do. I have to admit it wasn't hard. As soon as I saw the fabrics I received they made me happy. I've had them sitting out on the table since they came two days ago and this morning I just jumped right it. The first block I made I used the flow of the colors to determine the placement and it was great. All of the fabrics she sent just seemed to flow into each other.

I just couldn't resist snapping a picture of the finished blocks in the snow. They are so happy and against the bright white with natural light. Well what can I say I've always been a sucker for those pictures of finished quilts in snow cover trees and since this never happens here who knows when I will get to take another picture of some pretty quilt blocks on a snow covered porch. I know this quilt is going to look amazing when she is done and it makes me want to make one too. That's the only draw back to bees I have so far. With each little package I receive I see more fabric that is a must have and more quilt ideas that I'm not sure I will ever get to. Well I'm off to sew more but check back later I just might have a very productive day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hope for Haiti

I'm sure you all know about the devastation in Haiti and the many relief efforts to help the individuals there. Working for a nonprofit organization I have seen the outpouring of LOVE for Haiti first hand. There are so many great organizations out there trying to help in whatever ways they can. With that said I want to encourage you all to go over to Beth's blog and take a look at a few auction items. I have refrained from posting about the many great programs until now because I knew I couldn't list them all and I didn't want to pick a choose a few favorites. But I am going to tell you about these items because I had a hand in making one of them. Last October/November I participated in a scrappy Christmas block swap over on Beth's blog. Each person from the swap made an extra block which we sent to Beth to be made into charity items. As it turns out they were finished just in time for this auction. So what are you still doing here...Go on Beth is waiting for you bid. And just so you know my block is in one of the tree skirts. Hope you have a great Monday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thinking about Stars

Don't you love blogland? I see so many exciting projects out there that my friends are making and there is a ton of inspiration all around. Recently I came across a post on Rachel's blog for a pinwheel sampler quilt along (be sure to check out the link over there on the sidebar) and it really made me think what other types of blocks would look great in a sampler type block.

Two of the quilt bees that I joined this year are pick your own and I'm thinking a lot about stars. There are so many beautiful blocks made with stars. I think that unifying them by using the same fabric might look nice. This one is very intimidating but it might be my favorite to date.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite star block? Do you think a quilt made of this type of variety would look good, silly, or even bad? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What's Black and White and Red All Over

A newspaper or in this case Heidi's block. I use to love that joke from the taffy when I was a kid. I don't know why. For January over at the Circuit Block Party Heidi asked that we make a Dutchman's Puzzle block using the tutorial at Modify Tradition. The block looked easy peasy to me so I thought no worries. It is eight flying geese arranged to make an inter pinwheel. Easy peasy, who was I kidding. It seemed like I was fighting the fabric the whole time I was working on this block. I made the flying geese and they seemed warped and crooked so I took them apart and made them again, same effect. I tried pressing the seams open. Then I tried closed. No dice. I made the block and overall I am happy with the look of it. Hopefully when it is squared up with the others Heidi will be happy with it as well.

I'm not a big fan of oriental inspired fabrics but I think Heidi's choices for this quilt are going to be great. She did a great job of mixing them in there in a subtle and non overbearing way. My only complaint at the end of this block is that Heidi ask we not square them up. Of course it bothers me to show a block here that really isn't finished because you get to see how messy I am. But I think over all it will be good for her because that way she will be able to trim them all to the perfect size for her. Can't wait to see the finished product.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Slow and Steady

My mother use to tell me slow and steady wins the race. But I have always been one to take on a million projects at a time and then go at them all with great enthusiasm. Well for the first few days anyway. I tend to get bored easily and often loose interest in things before they ever really get off the ground. Such is the case with the paintbox quilt along I signed up for last week. I read about it thanks to someone in one of my flicker groups and I really liked the layout of the quilt. I ordered my Kona rollup and even posted about it along with a few others here so all of you could join in the fun. Then I waited and even though my Kona rollup was shipped really quickly and I got it the next day it felt like I was waiting forever because I placed the order on a Saturday. (The rollup came the next Tuesday.)

I ordered the "New Colors" roll up and now I'm wondering if I made a mistake. There are a lot of colors in there but a lot of them are very close to being the same. Including two awkward shades of sea foam green that I just can't find anything to match. Before the fabric came I spent hours online looking at fabric and matching things up. Then my rollup came and I thought it was blah. There wasn't as much variety as I was expecting after looking at the above photo. And the colors seem more muted in person. I don't know if it has enough variation for the overall look I am going for. I picked these two color combinations to do first because they are two of my current favorites. I was hoping it would turn around my thoughts on the project and make me excited again.

I like the over all look of these four blocks but they are some of the most cheery in the group. I guess I just need to get some more of them done so I can get a real feel for the overall look. I didn't get much sewing done this weekend because I wasn't home much and the time I was home I needed to get caught up on some of the household chores. Not a lot of fun there. I did manage to finish my first two sets of blocks which means I'm only 12 blocks behind. I'm hoping to get caught up this week but first I have some bee commitments to finish up for January. Two of the February bee members have already sent their packages so those should be arriving shortly. They are both coming from overseas. Okay not really one is coming from Canada but from what I've been reading about their mail system it might as well be across the world.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January Spider Bee Blocks

I finished up the last of my triangles for the January Spider Bee. Anna asked that we not sew the four triangles together so that she can mix them up for even more scrappy goodness. Here are a few things I learned along the way:

  • I don't really enjoy scrappy. I know that is hard for some of you to understand but to me it always looks uneven and unbalanced. Of course this is why I will be doing all pink and orange fabrics when it is my month in the Spider Web bee.
  • I don't really understand why these blocks are paper pieced. It is probably common sense but for me it's a concept I don't really get just yet. The advantage is that it make all the triangle the same size and it does make it easy to trim to the right size but it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
  • I over think everything! Maybe this goes back to the concept of scrappy being so hard for me but truthfully I spend a long time looking at the photos of blocks that were already done and imagining that if I were Anna and I was mixing these up would there be room for these triangles in the finished quilt. She sent along fabrics but I tended to use more of my own scraps because I just couldn't grasp all the Christmas fabrics that were in my scrap bag. I don't think she intends for this to be a Christmas quilt just scrappy so it was hard for me to use some of the very blatant Christmas prints but I did sneak a few in there.
  • If all of the starting strips aren't the same size it bugs me. I think this is because they don't look like they are going to line up correctly. Or maybe it is just my compulsive desire to have things more matchy matchy.
  • Overall the blogs were fun to make. The constant trips back and forth to the iron were not so much. I should be really good at making these by the end of the year. 2 down and 20 more to go. Not including the extras I will need to make for my own quilt.

These blocks were made using the tutorial that can be found at Quiltville. You can also check out our bee blog here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Quilt Along

Elizabeth over at Oh Frannson! is hosting another quilt along. It looks like it will be alot of fun and there are several different variations. Be sure to sign up and join the flickr group so you can quilt along as well. I saw this thanks to one of my online buddies and I think it looks great. For all my quilting friends you know you want one more project to start. I just thought I would share in case you want to come and Quilt Along with me and all the other crazy people who are thinking one more can't hurt right.

Most of you already know about the great group over at the Old Red Barn Quilt Along since that is where I met you but for those of you who don't it looks as though round five will be starting in mid to late February so you have a little bit of time to prepare for this one. It is going to be a pinwheel quilt and we are back to Dana from Old Red Barn Co. herself. Check out the flickr group here. And even if you don't make any of the quilts the ladies and gentlemen over there are still great resources.

Are you still there or have you scurried off to search for fabric and to check out these great groups? Well I am hoping that you are checking out these great quilt alongs but before you go I have one more to tell you about. The ladies over at Modify Tradition are gearing up to start round two of their quilt along. I know what you are thinking, I just can't do any more! But wait this one will feature 12 blocks perfect for a sample quilt or you can use the individual blocks to make other goodies. How many people are on your Christmas list for next year? I know you already made a mental promise to yourself that you were going to start earlier next time. This round they will be showing useful projects to use one block or multiple blocks as they go so you don't have to commit to making all twelve. Well don't take my word for it go check them out.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chicken Dance

I haven't quite finished up my remake of the block for Melissa yet so I decided that I would share this very simple project instead. I made this apron for my mom for Christmas. I have to admit it went very quickly which was surprising since I didn't have a pattern and just made it up as I went along.

There are things I would do differently the next time like most of my projects. I didn't include any pockets because to tell you the truth I'm just not sure what you are suppose to use apron pockets for. But I just feel like it is missing something. Maybe next time a pretty ruffle at the bottom would dress things up a bit.

I really like this pattern although I haven't tried it out. What about you, do you have a favorite apron pattern? I personally don't wear an apron in the kitchen so their practicality is lost on me.