Saturday, January 22, 2011

Plugging Along

I haven't been doing a ton of sewing but I am slowly plugging away at my postage stamp quilt along (there is still time to join and you know you want too).  I am hoping to stay on track with this one because all of those who do will be entered into a drawing at the end.  Well you don't have to stay on track you just have to have a finished top by the deadline.  I changed out my rotary blade and spent a ton of time cutting my strip sets into strips to be sewn back together into the blocks this morning.

After that I managed to get the first too blocks sewn together.  One of each the A block and the B block.  I am sure that when I chain piece this process will go much faster but I really wanted to see a finished blocked so I started there.  I'm using Innocent Crush and Bella White for my fabrics.  I haven't decided on my backing and binding yet.  I have my favorite prints but they may not lend themselves to being the best choices.  What about you, what would you use?  I'd love to hear about the projects your working on now that 2011 is in full swing just because I need more ideas like I need a hole in the head.  Happy Sewing!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sewing with Bertha

Bertha and I have been quietly working away today putting strip sets together for Rachel's Postage Stamp Quilt Along.  I am playing a little bit of catch up because I was very indecisive about what fabrics I wanted to use for what.  I love the new Sunkissed line and apparently so do a lot of you.  Corey is using that line for her Birdie Block of the Month, Rachel is using it for her Postage Stamp Quilt, and if you haven't heard Block-a-palozza is going to feature the line as well.  I'm holding out to use it for Block-A-Palozza and I'm thinking I will be using Nicey Jane for my Birdie Stitches Blocks but I haven't completely decided yet.  For the Postage Stamp Quilt Along I finally decided on Anna Marie Horner's newest line Innocent Crush and I am pairing it with White.  I struggled with this one too because I was thinking about using a darker solid like espresso or raisin but in the end I went with the white for a couple of reasons.  One because we I hate cutting and using one of those colors would have required me to buy yardage and cut the strips myself.  Second my mom had already ordered the white so I had it on hand today and I really wanted to get started because I am determined to stay on track with this quilt along.  I finished up my A Sets today and I am working on the B sets now but I don't think I will get them done tonight since it is already 9 and there is still laundry waiting to be folded.

Now you know I have told you a ton of times that I don't like cutting so precuts seem like a good idea, especially for this project.  Bertha (my machine) however I do not think agrees.  She just returned for her annual cleaning and I was looking forward to lots of great sewing time with her.  But before I even finished the A sets she started squeaking so I opened her up and cleaned out the dust.  Funny how when I started sewing today she didn't have a speck of dust on her and after only a few hours of sewing she was as dusty as when I took her for her cleaning.  Bertha is a hand me down machine from my mom (but I named her) and she is a Bernina 1230.  A bit of an older model but I love her.  I could never afford to by a Bernina on my own so I am very grateful that Bertha came to live with me once my mom got a new machine.  When I went to pick her up from the repair shop I said "Come on Bertha, let's go home."  The lady looked at me at first like I had 10 heads and then started laughing.  What doesn't everyone talk to their machine?  Then she told me most people name their Bernina's "Nina" and I laughed.  I very politely told her my Bertha was a work horse and needed a good strong name.  I'm not sure what she thought as I left but I love Bertha and I like her name.

PS-I call my mom's new machine "Birdie" because she hasn't named her.  But Birdie is a much lighter newer machine so I think the name works for her.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tiled Snowflake Sky

Do you ever have those moments where you think this is to much of a coincidence to be ignored?  I had that going on for the last week so I am putting my thoughts to paper and hopeful that will become a quilt.  Here is the back story for those of you who are still with me.  Growing up in Northeast North Carolina snow is not something I am use to.  When I was a child my family went to North Dakota every year around Thanksgiving to spend time with my dad's family so it wasn't like I didn't know what it was I just wasn't use to it.  I was probably to young to even notice then but a few days after Christmas we got a snowstorm here in Virginia and quickly accumulated over a foot of snow.  That just doesn't happen this close to the beach so it was a little amazing to me.  The one thing I noticed more than anything was how at night everything outside had this blueish/gray tint to it.  Immediately I thought this needs to be a quilt.  Since I had just gotten Elizabeth's new book for Christmas her birdbath pattern stuck in my mind.  I still just couldn't articulate the thought.  Then when I was flipping through I noticed that one of her alternate colorways was a blueish/gray tone.  It was exactly what I had in my mind.  Not too many days later I was reading my daily blogs and saw that the Modern Quilt Guild had announced their Round 2 Challenge.  A monochromatic quilt.  Now I have never entered a contest like this before.  Apart from winning a art contest when I was in elementary school (because of concept not necessarily talent) I do not participate in things like this.  I find myself easily frustrated when I think of my idea in comparison to those around me.  Maybe it is a lack of self confidence or a fear of failure but have you seen some of the blogs out there.  Killer creativity and talent!  So I was tossing this idea around in my head of entering the challenge and making something that would reflect the feeling of that blueish/gray night sky that only happens when it snows when I noticed the tile in the bathroom floor at my office.  So I snapped a picture with my phone (don't worry I was the only one in there).  And yes we actually work in a really old warehouse where everything is falling apart so the tile is really that dingy and gross.

To me this one section of tile looked like a snowflake.  I don't know if I just had snow on the brain because I was still thinking about this quilt or what but I imagined that if I could drawn an architectural picture of a snowflake which would translate into a quilt block it would look something like this.  So this morning I spent some time making translating a part of that tile into a quilt square and then making a mosaic so I could envision what the finished quilt might look like.  I'm still working out the numbers in my head but I think that I am going to go for it and make this quilt a reality.  If it's done in time I am even going to enter it into the contest but if not then at least I will have a snugly new quilt to remember how much I enjoyed the snow and the beauty of the night sky when it was here.   

The coloring isn't right yet because I still need to decide if I want to go with blues or grays but this is an idea of what I'm thinking.  What do you think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, reactions, color suggestions.  You name it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Freshcut Square Dance

For the last few weeks I've been feeling this need to actually finish something.  I realize that a finished top is not the same as a finished quilt but it is one step closer.  Bertha is going into the shop tomorrow for her annual cleaning and check up and since I don't know how long that will take I wanted to get in a little sewing time today.  The hubs and I have both been battling a case of the yuckies this weekend and so it has taken me a lot longer to sew together the last few steps but I'm happy with the way it turned out.  We are having rainy yucky weather here so I wasn't able to get any good outdoor shots of the finished quilt top but here's a look at the top and a close up of the center.

Fabric: Freshcuts by Heather Bailey

If you are looking for the giveaway post you can find it here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


WOW!  I can't believe I've been blogging for just over a year now and it has taken me this long to reach 100 post.  When I saw that as I opened up to post today it just made me SMILE!  I was telling my mom this past week that I felt kind of unaccomplished this year in respects to my sewing.  I know I spent a lot of time in my sewing room but when I look back at what I have actually finished it really doesn't seem to be that much.  As always my mom was more than encouraging and said well just think about all of the bee blocks you've made and all of the things you've sent off to someone else to help them with a project.  So here I find myself writing the reflective post that I told my mom I wasn't going to write.  First here is a look at the few things I did complete from start to finish.  A few swap items and surprisingly enough 2 quilts.

As you also know I have been working my way through 5 bees this year.  Yes I now know I was slightly crazy to take on that many.  But when I see the blocks all together like this it makes me feel a little better about having bees as a creative outlet to try new things and to challenge myself in ways I probably wouldn't otherwise.  For example through bees this year I have learned to applique, paper piece, as well as a ton of other things.  For me it has been more about the experience and the friendships I have found than anything else.

There are a few bee blocks that I forgot to take photos of before sending them back to their owners but this is a pretty good representation of the blocks I have spent the last year sewing.  I still have a few more blocks to make and send back for some of my bees and not all of them are wrapping up with December so I have a couple more months of block making to go before my first round of bees is officially completed.

So what do I have planned for 2011?  Well in general I am hoping this year will be better than the last.  2010 has been a pretty hard year for me so I am looking forward to taking many more steps in the right direction.  From a crafty standpoint I am hoping to learn more new things.  To start I am planning to follow along with Corey and her Birdie Stitches Group and learn how to do some embroidery.  The first block was posted today so I better order some fabric soon.  I'm also looking forward to finishing the tops with the blocks I received this year from my bees and block swaps.  All together I think I have all or most of the blocks for 7 tops just from those.  I also have so many other ideas floating around in my mind that I am itching to transform into a quilt or two.

And let's see didn't I say something about this being my 100th post?  Well what would a 100 post be without a giveaway of some kind.  I'm not even sure yet what it will be but maybe some fabric and a few other goodies tucked in a nice little package for someone.  I don't normally put you guys through the paces for my giveaways but this time it's going to take just a smidgen of work.  I'd like to hear about at least 1 project you are looking forward to in 2011.  Feel free to link to the tutorial you plan to use or your inspiration.  One entry per person and I'll draw the winner using the RNG a week from today on January 8, 2011.