Saturday, April 5, 2014

My oldest UFO

This month I finished up my oldest UFO.  I'm happy to have it completed... it is 1/3 as old as I am!  Don't get the wrong idea here - this poor guy has spent most of his life in a drawer.  I busted him out recently and got to work so that I could start a new knitting project.  When it comes to yarn, I'm committed 100% to just one project at a time and no stash.  After all, I've got plenty of stash and UFOs around from my sewing projects without adding more crafts to the bins.

Pattern from the book Color-Bright Creatures by Anne Halliday.  

I started crocheting when I was a kid, and by the time I graduated high school I had made a crocheted blanket for each of my sisters.  I never got to making one for myself, so I guess this little guy is mine!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Snowflake Things

Inspiration on a walk

Plans and sketches

Make for a new quilt design

The fabric is from the Color Me Happy line, which I love because I adore those beautiful sketchy flowers and so many low volume prints.  I backed it with a lightweight Japanese print that I bought several years ago at a local shop and pieced a binding from little pink dots and my favorite aqua floral print.  I wrote up a tutorial for this quilt design, and you can find it on The Intrepid Thread's blog. Happy quilting everybody!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Charity quilting, 2014

I decided to make it my goal this year to finish at least 10 charity quilts.  This is my third charity quilt for the year (I don't always show them when it's not a new pattern - I always have postage stamp quilt just like this one going on that I use as leaders and enders). 

Happy prints in pinwheels.

Backed with a Jenean Morrison print that I've been hoarding, quilted vertical straight lines, and bound in a teal solid.  

7 to go!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Improv, Baby!

When we came up with the idea to do an all-day improv quilting event in my local guild, I'll admit that I had some mixed feelings about it.  People were pretty excited about the idea, and a day of sewing sounded fun.  Buuuut... improvising means working spontaneously and/or without preparation.  I have the impression that with true improv you kind of go about willy-nilly sewing things, and there is a very real chance of creating something that doesn't appeal to you in the slightest.   Kind of like what happened with this improv quilt.  I'm trying to clear out old UFOs that got derailed along the way, so the thought of creating another quilt top that would just be a problem child was no bueno. 

Besides that... I really love planning!  If I head into sewing without a plan or goal, I'm just pushing fabric through my machine.  Good for therapy, maybe, but who needs therapy when you're spending the whole day hanging out with your quilty buddies? 

In the end I came up with a plan, which was to have a plan.  At least, a loose plan.  I love the design of this rug, so I decided to make a few square-in-square blocks and few stripey blocks and then add some solid pieces to create a similar look.  I was pretty confident that if I kept it simple and used a color palette that really grabbed me, I would be happy with the end result. While I don't feel like I went "aggressively improv," I assembled my blocks with no pre-determined pattern, block size, or quantity, and then worked through arranging them and putting together the top. 

I love how it turned out.  I did re-discover something that irks me a little about improv piecing.  It really is more work to get everything fitting together when you don't plan it from the beginning.  Curvy, wonky improv takes doubly long because you have to custom cut every piece to match what's already been added.  Ah well. 

I free motion quilted the top with Leah Day's pipe maze pattern.  She has it marked for beginners, and it's true that it was really easy - plus it has amazing texture.  Free motion hasn't been my favorite in the past, but I think as I improve my skill I will also like it more.  It's a little easier on your body than straight line since you don't have to haul the quilt around as much.  So, I'm working on it.

This was *ahem* supposed to be a donation quilt for charity, but I fell in love with it and ended up making a different quilt to donate in its place.  This guy is going to hang on the wall in my sewing room - I've just finished painting in there and am waiting for the fumes to clear.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Marci's round robin quilt

It's hard to believe it, but my guild round robin group has only one round left.  I'm a little sad because I have really enjoyed these challenges - but on the other hand I couldn't be more excited about the quilt top they have been creating for me.  I believe that I will have that back sometime around April, and I can't wait to show it off here. 

Marci's round robin quilt is one of my favorite in our little group - with some stringy lines running around, bursting stars and an asymmetrical layout.  I was really digging the 50's style diner kind of groove that it has going on.  So, I was pretty eager to get my hands on it!  It came to me like this:

I love how all of the initial rounds blend together so that it's difficult to determine where they start and stop.  In case you are wondering about it, I believe this is how the previous rounds were added:
I definitely wanted to extend the seamless look into my round, so I drew out what was already present and then planned my round to continue the lines and themes that were already there.  I also wanted to refer back to the center block, so I incorporated more larger blocks along with more strings and tiny blocks.  I had initially planned on adding equally to all sides, but Marci saw it partway through and was excited about it becoming rectangular, so I added a little extra on the top and bottom.
In the end, it really got huge.  There is another round to go on this quilt, plus Marci wants to add some borders, so the amount of fabric that this took turned out to be quite an issue.  I didn't recognize the problem until I was deep into construction.  I actually eliminated some of the design that I had been planning to do, and it still took nearly all of the fabric that was provided.  Thankfully, Marci was able to find most of the fabrics on a local shop-hop, so it turned out ok in the end.  Still, a lesson learned for sure - make sure you have enough fabric before you jump in! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Color group quilt

Happy new year!  Since I just did a UFO update, I'll refrain from a looking-back-over-2013 post but I do feel like I got a lot done in the end.  I think I might have "finishing moods" where I start finishing up projects like wild.  It catches hold of me and then I come out the other side exhausted and holding a stack of finished quilts.

I think the stress of closing on our house brought on one of those "finishing moods," and the result is that I have a backlog of quilts to show off.  Like this one that I whipped up from teeny tiny blocks that my BAMQG small group made (we interpreted the term small group very literally...): 

I sashed all the blocks unevenly in teal and grey, then sewed it into a top and free motion quilted it.  The last (and only!) time I free motion quilted a project was back in 2010... and at one point I literally threw that quilt across the room.  So, I am happy to say that it went much better this time.  This little guy (36" square) has already been passed off to the guild to be donated to the NICU. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

UFO update

We moved nearly all of our stuff to the new house last weekend.  So happy to be in the new space!  We originally selected our rental house for the price and location - NOT the condition, so there are a lot of upgrades and amenities that we loving about the new house.  My fabric hasn't made the move yet - I know that is usually the first thing people move, but the new house still has some lingering smell from floor refinishing, so I'm waiting for that to clear up some more before I bring my fabric over.

I do have everything packed up, though.  Going through my UFO drawers reminded me that it's probably about time for an update.  Errr.... make that past time!  When I went to pull in the previous list, I discovered that I made it in May of last year.  At the time, I had 8 WIPs.  I finished four of them but added four more in the same period, so I'm still at 8.  The projects are definitely getting more current, though, which is a good thing.

Linen Stripes Quilt  Finished in August 2012!

Sewing Machine Cover Finished it, decided I didn't need a sewing machine cover, and then turned it into a tote bag in mid-2013.

Bed Quilt Finished in November 2012!
This quilt is double-sided and so large that I have never gotten around to taking proper pictures and blogging it.

Embroidered Kitties Quilt  Finished in August 2012!
My niece is using this quilt on her bed!

1.  Wedding Quilt
I have decided that I will probably use this as one side of a double-sided quilt.

2.  Queen of Embarrassing Toasts' Quilt (Modern Quilting Bee)  - This quilt is basted and ready for quilting!
My sister has spoken for this quilt.

3.  Giraffe Quilt (Tethered Threads 2 Bee)
This is one of those times when cutting a precious fabric turned out to be the best choice.  This quilt is definitely staying with me.  The block/fabric combination is straight copied from Film in the Fridge.  Sometimes you see something and you just gotta have it. 

4.  Secret project
What?  It's a secret.  No pictures!

5 (NEW).  Round Boo Bee
My round robin quilt is still going!  We are filling in the four corners to bring this out to square.

6 (NEW).  Other secret project
What?  It's a secret.  No pictures!

7 (NEW). BAM-BOM Quilt (more like an ongoing project than a UFO)
Photo from the design wall - I need to sew these blocks together and then I have four borders planned..

8 (NEW).  BAM Round Robin (more like an ongoing project than a UFO)
I wish I had a more recent photo!  This quilt is going to be epic.
My new (as of this year) approach is to slow down on starting new projects to keep from getting bogged down with new starts, and meanwhile chip away at the older projects in between.  With that in mind, I'm setting my new year's resolution early:  Whether I start new projects or not, I want to get my UFO&WIPs list down below five by the end of 2014.