Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I just found out about Work in Progress Wednesday through some blogs I recently started reading and so I thought since (a) I love to make list, (b) I find when I put it out there on the blog I am more likely to finish it, and (c) I love linky parties it might be just the ticket to a regularly schedule blog post that actually chronicles more than just a finished project.

Hot at the Machine:
Spring Weekends- I'm doing a little modification on this quilt top.  I'm going to make one more block and changed the layout to 6 by 6.  It will be a little shorter but also wider which I appreciate.  I found a great vintage sheet to use for the back so this one is almost ready for a little basting spray and then quilting.

Close up of Spring Weekends Quilt Top
Mod Times Quilt Along-This is a new quilt along and this week is all about cutting the fabrics and getting ready to go.  Since I decided I wanted to make my rectangles rainbow string blocks I am working on putting those together first.  I still need to cut the other pieces but I have my solids all ready to go.

The start of my rainbow blocks.

Central Park Quilt:  This quilt would be progressing nicely.  But I need to order another jelly roll (bad math skills) and some fabric for the back and then figure out who I want to have quilt it.  It is a little big for my home machine so I am pretty sure I'll be sending this one out to be done.

Awaiting TLC:
Freshcuts Square Dance: This one is at the long arm quilters.  She is having her studio remolded and I'm not sure where this one is on her to do list but hopefully I will have it back before to long.

Fussy Cut Bee Log Cabin:  While I have a lot of bee blocks from last year I'm not ready to commit to all of them yet.  I broke this one out first because I have a bit of a plan for it and I think I can make it happen.  I'm on a push to get some things finished because I've made a deal with myself that I won't be buying any more fabric until I use up some of what I have.

While my overall to do list is much longer than this I wanted to start small.  Sometimes my list gets a little muddled with things I want to do and not just the things that are actually started or that I have actual materials for.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is doing over here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Foiled Plans

Last night while the vintage sheet was in the washer I had planned to cut my blocks for the Central Park Quilt and get busy sewing.  Unfortunately it didn't work out like that.  My jelly roll only yielded enough for half of the blocks I need for the quilt.  So I am putting that one on hold while I wait for another jelly roll to arrive (have to wait until next payday to order it).  In the mean time I went ahead and got started on the next thing on my to do list.  I decided that I wanted to do the Mod Times Quilt Along.  Now I don't have any kids of my own yet but I do have a brand new nephew not to mention the number of people at work having babies so i thought it couldn't hurt to put a few baby quilts away in the closet for those times when I need a gift but just don't feel like making something right then.

One of my goals for this year was to try and think outside the box a little more.  This quilt along is great and I could have just picked a great print and went about it the easy way.  But no not me I decided I needed to be more complicated then that and I needed to make my rectangles from rainbow colored string blocks.  I've had plenty of practice with paper foundation piecing since being apart of the Spider Web Bee last year.  I made my first few blocks.  I can't decide which way I like them better.  The first block I tried to go in ROY G BIV order but since I am making two of my rectangles from one paper foundation only half of the rainbow ended up in the block (not to mention I forgot the yellow) and then because of a piece that was too short I ended up cutting the second side of the block down into two of my needed squares.  The second one I pieced I used a more random plan and just grabbed whichever strip happened to be there.  What do you think, do you have a preference as to which looks better? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Return of the Mojo

After whipping up Spring Weekends this past weekend I found myself with time left in the day and a desire to keep on sewing.  It's been a long time since I felt like I was able to really sit down with Bertha and accomplish something.  I joked with my good friend Leanne who's been MIA for a while that I was glad she came back and brought my mojo with her.  I had a jelly roll of Central Park and no specific plans but a quilt I had seen a while back that I couldn't get out of my head.  I don't typically like to make a quilt in the same fabrics that I've seen someone else use.  Don't ask me why I'm just big on changing it up some at the very least by using different fabrics.  But Laura's quilt was just so stunning.  I've been a member of the Old Red Barn group over on flickr for a long time but I've never actually made one of the quilt along quilts.  Okay well I started the hexagon quilt but lets not talk about that.  Regardless it felt good to have a plan and to have something I could work on while looking for a vintage sheet for the back of Spring Weekends. (Which incidentally I found today at the very first thrift store I went to.  I expected it to take a lot longer.)

 I was able to get the jelly roll strips all sewn together into sets of six.  The next step is to cut these strips down into blocks and then sew them back together into a top somewhat like a rail and fence pattern.  I'm really excited about this one too because I think it will be big enough to replace our bulky comforter on the bed for the Spring and Summer.  I'm one of those people who has to have covers but hates to be hot so something light will be just the ticket.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Weekends

I recently found some new to me blogs that I have enjoyed reading for the last couple of weeks.  One of those blogs is Elizabeth's.  Oh before we get to far into this you might want to grab a snack and a drink.  I have a lot to say today and lots of links for you to look at.  Go ahead I'll wait.  Well one of the features on Elizabeth's blog is Work in Progress Wednesday which you can link up to by visiting Freshly Pieced each Wednesday and sharing your current projects.  While following the links I noticed Lee had linked to a quilt along.  I assumed it was a new quilt along so I followed the link and got really excited by what I saw.  Yes I know I have a million projects going but there is just something about a quilt along that I usually manage to keep up as long as I get started at the same time as everyone else.  I completed missed the dates and the fact that this quilt along actually took place last year.  But this quilt along only called for a single charm pack and 3 yards of solids.  I knew right away that I would use my lonely charm pack of Dream On because really there are so few projects for just one charm pack.  But what color would I use to go with it.  A quick look around flickr and I had it narrowed down to a few choices.  I could go with aqua, corn, or ash.  I already had white in my stash so I knew I could mix any of the three with the white.  I also thought I could use aqua or corn with the ash.  A quick trip to the local quilt store and I discovered aqua was the only one of my three choices they had in stock.  So aqua and white it was.

I love how quickly this top came together.  I started piecing my squares on Friday night at about 9 o'clock and sewed until about midnight.  By that time I had all of the inner boarders on and one side of my outer boarder.  yesterday I spent a little bit of time sewing and by the end of the night I had squared (well really wonked) all of my squares.  The rows went together super fast and then the top as well.  I have to admit I was a little nervous about the wonky part.  I don't do wonky really well but this was a great quilt for getting my feet wet.  These blocks are wonky on purpose and not just because my seams aren't quite right.  And now that I've accomplished the look in a way that makes a lot of sense it will be a method I can see myself using again. 

I'm going to check out a couple of thrift stores this week and try to find a vintage sheet for the back of this quilt.  Something nice and bright.  And then I plan on doing a little free motion quilting on it myself.  I think that this one is small enough to manage on my home machine.  It's a little smaller than what I usually like to make but I think this one will be just right to keep around on those spring days when you need a little something but don't want to be completely bundled up.  I'm considering Spring Weekends as the name for this one but as always I'm open to suggestion.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Suprise & Delight

In the office we have a little joke about surprise & delight because it usually in tales someone bringing in cake or some other form of reward in the way of food.  Every once in a while though surprise & delight really is a surprise & it really does delight.  Today we found out at about 1:30 that the office was going to close at 3pm today.  Yeah!  More delight was that with my extra two hours off I came home and took a much needed nap.  You know the kind where you sleep so hard you wake up in a haze and think man is it tomorrow already.  More delight is that my husband and brother in law are busy playing video games so Bertha and I are going to spend some quality time together turning these pretties into something wonderful.  Hopefully I'll share my full plan with you soon when I can get some better pictures.  Happy Easter and Happy Sewing!

Dream On, Kona White, & Kona Aqua

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Well Hello Betty

I finished the Hello Betty quilt top and I already have ideas spinning around in my head for my next project.  Overall I like the way this quilt is turning out.  She is going to take a break as a WIP for a while though because I haven't figured out if I want to make more blocks and make this quilt larger or if I am happy to just keep it as a baby size and share with some cool little girl I have yet to meet.  Right now the top is about 45 by 45 inches and I do love the way these fabrics and this design came together.  I think they work really well to give it just the right amount of vintage modern flair I was after.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Feeling the Love

I've been having a lot of conversations lately with one of my good friends about how I can improve my little corner of the blogging community.  We've talked about things like taking better photos, posting more consistently, and writing tutorials.  All of those things sound great in theory.  My own conflict with myself is that I want my blog to be consistent and focused just on my quilting projects.  If I start talking about other things I'm afraid I will become a big jumbled mess.  So I started doubting my reasons for even maintaining a blog.  Truthfully when I first started it was all about having somewhere to display all of my bee badges and then it became something more, something fun.  I'm open to any suggestions you have for making this little bit of the blogging world better.  So as I was wrapped in my blanket of self doubt Beth nominated me for an award.  Thanks Beth

Let me tell you a little about my history with Beth.  Beth hosted the first swap I ever participated in which was a Scrappy Holiday Squares block.  You may remember me talking about this around Christmas time because my mom surprised me last year for my birthday with one of the charity tree skirts made from that swap.  You can read more about that here.  I didn't realize until a little more recently when Beth started commenting that she was actually still following my blog.  That realization reminded me that one of my goals for this year is to leave more comments because I read a ton of blogs where I have never said anything so the author of those blogs probably doesn't even see me out there reading.  One more thing about Beth, she is going to be someone to watch ladies, I don't know if she knows it yet but she has a talent for design and I know she is working hard at getting some patterns released.  Hey Beth if you ever need a pattern tester just let me know and then remember the little people when you hit it big.

Okay so the rules of this award are really simple.  All you have to do is link back to the person who nominated you and then nominate three blogs yourself.  One thing I love about this award in particular is that it is meant to highlight smaller blogs.  Those blogs you love to read but feel guilty about keeping to yourself.  So my nominees are Mary, Leanne, and Lesly (Girls if you don't want to participate then feel free to pass.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011


52 is the number of seams I ripped out today so that I could trim 52 HST to 2 inches.  Last Saturday my mom and I had a sewing date and I haven't touched Bertha since.  Today I decided to get back to it and I picked up my Hello Betty quilt again.  Now might be a good time to mention that my house is in total disarray as my brother in law has moved in with us for a while.  Needless to say I wasn't prepared when I got to my mom's last weekend.  I forgot my 1/4 inch foot among many other things.  In my haste I went ahead and sewed those little HST to the ends of the strips thinking that I could always fix them later.  Yeah that didn't work out quite like I saw it in my head so the seam ripper it was.

But in the end I finished all of the blocks and now I'm ready to start sewing the quilt top together.  Even though Corey's instructions were easy enough to follow I had a really hard time with these blocks.  I have a particular way I like to make HST and if I had thought it through enough I would have just stuck to what I know instead.  Also I have found that when using precuts it's a little more fussy to get everything just so.  I don't know if it's because there are slight variances in the precuts, if it's because those little spikes on the ends kind of freak me out, or if I just don't know how to sew a straight line.  In any case I always find cutting up precuts and putting them back together to be a little more complicated.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Irony at it's Finest

 At the risk of offending someone I thought I would tell you guys about my next project...

City Weekends Baby Quilt by my Mom
I was talking with my mom today about my last blog post because she has been out of town and was oblivious to what I was talking about.  During that conversation my mom was sharing her thoughts with me on how when she first started quilting she was only drawn to what "modern quilters" would call calico prints.  As I started quilting I never once told my mother I thought her choices were bad.  What I did do was send her lots of pretty fabric photos to look at and links to some of the blogs I like to read.  Please understand I didn't do this to change my moms opinions.  I wasn't trying to influence her into liking the same things I did but rather I wanted to introduce to her that there were other options out there.  I realized in this process that my mom was picking up designer names and it became a little challenge to her to see if she could identify a designer or line in a photo I sent her about my next project.  To me (which is just my opinion at the risk of offending someone) my mom now uses a mix of "modern" and "old school" fabrics.  I used "old school" because I don't have a better word for it right now.  Sometimes my mom picks things that I wouldn't and sometimes I can see her picking over at my project when we get to sew together and I know she's thinking "I don't like that!"  But that's okay because we are both making things we really enjoy.

Polka Dot Remix Baby Quilt by my Mom
I say all of this to tell the back story of what I'm about to blog about.  Wasn't that nice.  In this conversation my mom thanked me for teaching her about designers and showing her there were other options out there.  I call this irony because today in my mail box I got a Hello Betty Layer Cake that I ordered for my next project.  Yes, Hello Betty as in a very retro vibe kind of print.  I don't know what it is about this line because I don't really like retro.  I'm not typically drawn to reproductions or the anything with that retro vibe.  I know a lot of people from my generation are collecting "vintage" but it just never really appealed to me.  This line though has been in my head since I first saw it at a quilt show more than 2 years ago.  When I saw Corey's latest Bakeshop project I knew I had finally found the perfect project for Hello Betty.  There was something about her quilt that just made me think immediately of that line.  Do you ever do that?  Most of the time I find projects I like and then search for the perfect fabric.  This time it was an instant knowing that I had to make that quilt and I had to use Hello Betty to do it.  My layer cake came in the mail today and I've already started cutting my pieces.  Twisted Fandango is still in the works but the boarders aren't coming out the way I want and so I'm taking a break from it for a little while.  Don't worry, I will push through it and finish it.  But for now some easy sewing in my hectic life is what I'm after.

I love the way all these little pieces look when cutting.

Hello Betty

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dumb? Who Me?

I don't usually join in on these kinds of debates or conversations because my mom taught me a long time ago that if you can't say something nice you shouldn't say anything at all.  Well in this case I don't have anything mean to say so I think I'm safe.  Apparently I live in a bubble because I had no idea that there was a debate going on about "Dumbing Down Quilting" but once one of my regular reads responded I did a little research and I have to admit I was shocked at what I found.  It seems like everyone has an opinion on the subject.  And like everyone else I have an opinion too.  It seems like what started this whole debate was the complexity of a pinwheel.  Did anyone stop and think about this?  There are lots of different pinwheel blocks.  I made this set for charity and I would agree.  Easy peasy, doesn't take a lot of time but leaves you with a fantastic looking quilt at the end of the day.  When I was brand new to quilting I hated these blocks because those pesky little points in the middle never seemed to line up just like I wanted them too.

Then over the last year as I developed as a quilter (at least I like to think my skills have improved, although to some that might be a questionable point) I was asked to make pinwheel blocks for one of my fellow bee members for a pinwheel sampler quilt.  You can see the blocks I made here.  Some of those blocks were not easy for me.  Maybe they aren't what some would call advanced or even intermediate but for me they were more challenging than what I personally would consider a basic block.  Humm maybe that's the point here.  Opinions are after all subjective.  So maybe what I consider to be intermediate you think of as basic.  But I don't think that makes me dumb. 

I am really looking forward to developing my skills as a quilter but as a 20 something (okay thirty something) quilter right now my focus is on my job and building my family.  Quilting for now is a hobby.  Something I enjoy doing but sadly falls to the bottom of the priority list.  As much as I wish I could spend time everyday with Bertha (my machine if you're new around here) that's just not realistic for me right now.  So I join in things like quilt alongs and quilting bees.  Some of the women in my life that I consider my best of friends are women I've meet through these experiences.  They are my friends not only in this online quilting world but in real life too.  They are the people I trust to ask for advice and to share my bad days with.  But they are also the ones who challenge me to become a better person.  Not only in my quilting but in my life as well.  I don't think you can cheapen that experience by somehow implying that those experiences have been unproductive by not advancing my skill level.

On that same note one of the things I love about quilt alongs is the fact that while everyone is working with the same pattern the quilts all look different.  Each person brings their individual skills, taste, and twist to the project.  Take the postage stamp quilt along for example (since it was my most recent experience we can look at those) this quilt, this one, and this one were all made as part of the same project.  So on first glance one might be seeing the same quilt on a ton of blogs all at once.  But if you look a little closer you will see that it's because it was part of a project each quilter chose to participate in and then you get to appreciate the differences of each quilt.  Same basic pattern, each with it's own special twist.

I love my quilting community that embraces me, challenges me, and shares with me.  Maybe I don't yet know what kind of quilter I am but the journey is where the fun lies.  I look forward to continuing to develop my skills, try out new things, and quilt with great fabrics that I love (even if they aren't the same ones my mom or grandmother would pick).  Because I choose to believe that just by being fellow quilters we have a shared passion no matter how we choose to express it.