Sunday, August 29, 2010

Modern Swappers Package

Sometimes a plan works out and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes your first, second, and third attempts fail. I signed up for the Modern Swappers swap over on flickr what now seems like forever ago. We had our partners assigned and we had 3 months to put our package together. Boy, did I struggle with this one. My partner and I have very different taste. Not a bad thing it just makes it hard sometimes to imagine if the receiver will like their package. Since there were 3 months to put it together it was a pretty good size swap. The requirements meant that we were to send a homemade item, something to decorate our partners sewing space, and at least 1 1/2 yards of fabric. One of my first plans was to make pillowcases for my partner, and I did though it took several attempts. I cut my fabric based on one pattern and then realized I didn't want to do it that way and switched patterns. They turned out but just barely. If she has over sized pillows I'm afraid they won't fit.

I had also planned to make a fabric basket. Well I only bought 1/2 a yard of the fabric thinking it was right but again my mathematical skills were lacking that day because it didn't give me enough room to cut out the pattern for the size basket I wanted. I scratched that idea all together. This morning I was feeling really down and out about this package because I just didn't like the things I had come up with. At this point I had a half finished throw pillow (we won't even discuss it) a scratched plan for a basket, and the mailing deadline is Wednesday. Seeing as I have the worse luck ever with the postal office and it always takes me longer to get there then I plan I wanted everything ready to go tomorrow morning. I sat down with a bag of scraps my mom won online and was nice enough to share with me and I just started sewing the strips together. Frustrated really and with no clear plan. Then I thought I could make a pincushion, right? I mean I did need an item to decorate her sewing space and I did have like 7 pounds of walnut litter for insides.

I am very happy with the results. Mom I owe you big time for sending that bag of scraps home with me because it saved my project. I just sewed the strips together and then instead of cutting a square I cut them on a diagonal. I love it because the front and back are traveling in opposite directions. I didn't have a plan and sometimes I think those are the projects that turn out the best. I am going to have to make another one of these because I love it and I need one for my sewing space now.

Also going in this package is a set of coasters. A while back one of my online friends was nice enough to send me some KJR Ribbon Flowers. I thought using those fabrics would work well since my partner loves bright colors and I am seriously lacking in the neon fabric world. I think the KJR fabric is a nice balance between the two of us so I am hoping that she will like them. All of the patterns I looked up suggested a lot of quilting on the coasters but I really wanted to keep them simple to show off the fabrics. I just did one row of quilting about 1/4 of an inch from the side. I do think they would look great with squares going all the way to the middle and I might try that on the next set. I guess we will just have to see. There are some other goodies going in my box as well but I thought I would share the basics with you guys. My packages is coming in sections because my original partner backed out of the swap at the last minute but I have some angels who stepped up and I am sure that I am getting the winning end of this deal. Kelly has already sent me some beautiful fabrics and I can now say that I have held a piece of AMH voile and it is as butter soft in person as everyone describes it to be. I am holding on to those for a special project but I am so thankful for the great choices she made just for me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spider Webs

In my very productive weekend I also managed to finished two sets of Spider Web Blocks for the Spider Web Bee. Whew no more blocks there until September, which of course I know is right around the corner. The first set was very similar to those we have been doing with the group. I used the Quiltville tutorial and used a paper base to construct the blocks.

For July we mixed things up a bit and used fabric foundations. These are the blocks my dad measured for me so all I had to do was sew. I think I like the fabric foundation a little better than the paper method. It seemed like the blocks didn't stretch as much and it was a lot easier to get the points in the middle to match nicely. I think if I ever make these blocks again after this bee (and that's a big IF after 12 months of them) that I will try this method again. I like that she picked slightly smaller blocks and I love the color combo. I'm not usually a big fan of purple (so please stop sending me the chain letters) but I do like the way this color pallet worked out.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Four Hands Are Better Than Two

This is what my to-do list looked like at the start of the weekend. I know you have heard (well read) me say before that sometimes I feel like I get so far behind on bees, quilt a longs, and sewing projects that it looses a little bit of the fun. Okay lets face it a lot of the fun. Yesterday I got to go to visit my mom and dad and I spent most of the day sewing with my mom. I think she was planning on working on some of her own projects. But my mom just took a paper piecing class and since I don't paper piece and the blocks for Bee Stitched for August were sent with a nice little paper piecing pattern I quickly talked my mom into showing me what she had learned. Of course my mom didn't raise a fool so after those blocks were done I taught my mom how to make a Spider Web Block. Selfishly I was also getting something else checked off my list at the same time. All in all I managed to finish (with the help of my mom) 10 bee blocks this weekend. Let me tell you it feels great to be crossing into the almost caught up zone. Here's a look at what that to-do list looks like now.

I don't want to overwhelm you guys by sharing all of those bee blocks at once so lets go slow okay. First you might remember these blocks from this post. Since we had a little mix up with some fabric being sent to a member who previously dropped out of Bee Stitched I had the pleasure of making two extra blocks after the fabrics were rerouted. This time I choose a pinwheel pattern for the middle of one block and a very easy paper pieced block for the middle of the other. I think I am just determined to learn to do it at this point so that I can say I know how. As of today I am still not a fan.

Next up lets take a look at those blocks my mom so willingly helped me with. For August Mary requested that we make these wonky blocks. She thought the directions were a little confusing so to make it easy she drew up a paper piecing pattern. To me that only made it seem more difficult but when I tried to think of how to do it free form that wasn't really clicking in my brain either. Here's what we ended up with.

They aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination and even though the pattern used was the same for all 3 blocks they are all different as I compensated for mistakes. If you look close you can even see where I pieced a small scrap there on the side because I cut the fabric to short. Lucky for me that will be in the seam allowance of the block but I wanted to fill the space to make it easier for Mary. More on the rest of the blocks coming soon.

PS: My dad also got in on the action by measuring an marking fabric triangles for a second set of Spider Web Blocks as well. Big thanks to both my mom and dad for helping me get caught up on things in the sewing part of my life.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Originally uploaded by gretters_h
Last night I finished up three squares for the Mod Bento Box II Swap. I am already far more in love with these squares than the ones I did for round one. During round one it was suggested that we use jewel tones which at some point transitioned into fabrics that were saturated with color. After seeing the blocks that came back in the first round I thought these Nest fabrics would blend well with the squares I had received. The first time around I didn't keep any of my own squares. This time though that is going to be different. Two of these quarters will be staying here with me. I started cutting some Anna Marie Horner last night to make two more squares. I made 10 blocks for the first round for a total of 40 quarters. This time I am only planning to make five or six blocks. But they are pretty easy to chain piece so who knows what will end up happening. I want to have a nice size quilt with these blocks but I haven't really taken the time to figure out many squares I will need for that. The other thing I haven't figured out yet is if I want to just sew the blocks together as is or if I want to add a thin piece of white between the four pieces. I'm think small,like a fourth of an inch when finished just to add some deminsion. Or I guess I could sew the blocks together without the white and then just add a sashing. What would you do?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Not Sew Much

I haven't been doing a lot of sewing lately. I still haven't even finished cutting all my strips apart for Amanda Jeans quilt a long and she posted the last step today. One of these days I will do a quilt a long and stay on track. Sunday I decided to try and organize my sewing space. It took a lot longer than I thought (especially since I have just taken up what use to be the dining room) there has to be a better way. I did manage to get these packages out to my Bee Buddies for the Circuit Bee. I'm only about a week late. But seeing as how the hubs has been asking me to make this quilt for the last two years I figured it was time to recruit some help and make it happen. Hopefully in time for a nice Christmas gift, assuming I can find a long arm quilter who knows what a tarheel is and can do an allover pattern with out leaving me messy strings. You might remember last years Christmas gift mess. I asked the girls to make blocks with simple lines and I am hoping to make something half as nice as this quilt which is the inspiration. I know nothing new there.

I also started working on some blocks for round two of the Mod Bento Box Swap. Those blocks aren't due to be mailed to Jessica until the start of September but lets face it they are easy to make then any of the bee blocks I have on my table right now and I just needed some sewing distraction.

Last up I laid out all of the blocks I've gotten back so far for the Modern Tradition Bee. I had asked those ladies to make scrappy blocks for an Arkansan Crossroads quilts. As the blocks started to come back I was really second guessing myself. Not because the girls didn't do wonderful work but just because well I'm not really sure I like the scrappy look. I know shocking because every bee block I've sent out so far has been scrappy. Seeing the blocks all laid out like this I kind of like it though. So I have a few more blocks to collect and a few of my own to make and then I should have one nice scrappy quilt.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Little Luck & A lot of Pinwheels

I am one of those people who never wins anything. I usually don't even bother to enter giveaways in blogland because I doubt I will win anyway. Last Monday I got an email from a friend congratulating me for being the winner of the weekly giveaway from Hawthorne Threads. The funny thing is because I had looked at the newsletter on the new to me iphone (a hand me down from the hubs) I didn't see the whole newsletter. But thanks to Debbie for pointing it out this little bundle of happiness showed up at my door on Thursday.

My mom and I went on a mini shop hop around town on Saturday and I had a little luck then too. If you have been reading for a while you know Heather Bailey is one of my favorite fabric designers. I have been making swaps and slowly tracking down Freshcuts which is no longer in print. My Canadian Fairy Godmother Leanne had sent me two sets of strips which are in progress of being sewn up for Amanda Jean's Quilt A Long. So I couldn't believe it when one of those quilt stores had these jewels in their sale rack. When I saw the first one I actually grabbed it and hugged the bolt. I'm pretty sure my mom thought I had lost it at that point. You can only imagine when I turned the corner and saw two more colorways. Of course I bought all three and I am contemplating the 45 minute drive back just to snatch up some more before it is to late.

Since there wasn't much time to sew this weekend I have been finishing up a few more Pinwheel Blocks for Kim for the Circuit Bee. She only asked us for two but she sent so much fabric and lets face it I love pinwheels. I spent a lot of time on flickr looking for new blocks like I mentioned before. This block was inspired by this lovely block on flickr. I like the scrappy look of it and I think it will help balance the other scrappy block I made. The block went together really quickly and so I tried out one more.

This is probably my least favorite of the four blocks I made. It just looks off to me somehow. I think it is the corners. I made this one after seeing this block. I don't think it will hurt my feelings if Kim decides not to use it in her quilt.

Here's a look at all four of the blocks together. I know I just made an entire quilt out of pinwheels but I really like these blocks and they are missing from the original so I might just have to make a few more. Besides I told Leanne I would make some in Meadowsweet for her so I might as well make two if I am going to make one right?