Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Other arts

So I haven't painted in 15 years, being too busy with cross-stitch and then quilting.  Yesterday, I bought some new paints, and started on this figure, which I finished today:
It is a miniature for a table top role playing game (a la Dungeons and Dragons).  She is a little gnome cleric of a goddess of healing and the sun, hence the fire in her hand (sun=hot=fire).  Anyway, I had a lot of fun painting her... I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed figure painting.  Glad I did it, not sure how many more I might do, but this was enough for now.  

Going back to quilting now.  I made the second block for a bom I'm doing called Pumpkin Patch Lane:
I also cut all the pieces for the third step in the Thimblecreek mystery... I will sew those tomorrow because tonight is my mini-group meeting and I won't have time to sew.  Tomorrow we meet again, but it is for our weekly sew-in at the LQS, so I will have all day to work on quilty projects with friends. 

It felt good to stretch my creative muscles a little and do something outside my recent wheelhouse.  Feels great to know my hands haven't grown too shaky to paint.  


Friday, February 20, 2015

Featured Quilter

Today, I am the featured quilter at amy's creative side.  Go on over and check me out...

...and then look at all the other featured quilters.  So much to see and learn about how people got into their craft and how they see themselves and their work.

Thank you Amy for sharing the stories of so many of us!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Arcadia Avenue block one

Yesterday I finished my first block of Arcadia Avenue... except for the little problem with the colors, I'm very happy with it.




Here are the colors I received to make the blocks... the reason why the blues and greens seem out of order becomes clear when you look carefully:
The yellow and yellow-green are both listed as B colors, and the blue and indigo are both listed as A colors - the pattern of A-B-A-B... etc was broken... I will double check them when I get my next kit and make sure they are correct.  Still, I'm happy with the block and in the long run, no one but me will notice this one little glitch.

Today I pieced my first block for the new Saturday Sampler I am doing at another local quilt shop.  It's called the 'Nifty Nine-Patch Sampler' and here is block 1 from it:

They are doing it all in blues, but I thought I'd like it better in reds... so this is my version.  I know the whole idea behind a Saturday Sampler is that they give you the fabric for free each month if you've done the previous block, making it almost a free quilt... I just didn't like the fabrics they were using. 

And this is the state of my design wall for February:

They don't even look like one person's taste... they are all over the place in regards color schemes, styles, etc... I guess that says something about me, too, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Importance of Labels...

I spent the weekend making paper-pieced sections of a large pieced hexagon.  I finished them today, only to discover that 4 of them were labeled incorrectly.  Half were As and the other half of each 60-degree section were Bs.  The 4 greens and teals were all reversed, so when the pieces are put together, they can't be placed in the right order.  Here are the four green/teal/blues:


As you can see, the yellow green and green should be reversed, and the teal and blue should be reversed.. but they don't fit that way because they were mislabeled (As as Bs and vice versa). 

Here is what the whole hexagon looks like:
It's obvious they are wrong, but I think in the whole quilt when it's put together, no one but me will notice, at least I hope that's the case. 

Here is a link to a picture of the whole quilt:  Arcadia Avenue - Though mine will be on a black background because I think it will  be more striking that way.

Anyway.... right or wrong, it's almost done... I am content.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Work in Progress... back to Paper Piecing

I LOVE paper piecing... Always have since I first discovered it... Followed a book and self-taught the process.  Once you learn to 'think backwards', it's a lot of fun and very precise.  So I started a new Block of the Month called Arcadia Avenue, designed by Sassafras Lane.  (there's no individual designer's name associated with the pattern). 

These patterns are not for the faint of heart, nor for beginners to the process, but I haven't done any paper piecing for about 2 years, being too busy with applique of late... So I was a bit leery of jumping back in with such a complex set of patterns. When my first block arrived, I stared at the components for two days before delving in today.  I cut the fabric mostly according to the instructions and jumped in with the process.. It was just like I remembered...  The only thing I do differently than described in the book is that I chain-piece when I paper piece.   This of course means that instead of having maybe 2 complete blocks and 10 unstarted blocks, I have 12 partially done blocks.

Here's what I've got so far:

The picture in the upper left corner is what the block should look like when it's done.  The papers with the fabric stuck to them are how far I've gotten.

This weekend is Stashbuster's Stay-at-Home Retreat weekend... I sewed most of today (on various projects, including Arcadia Avenue)... Tomorrow is my Dungeons and Dragons game (most of the day) and then dinner and a movie with my husband... I will get back to Arcadia Avenue on Sunday to finish out the retreat weekend.  I am having so much fun with these blocks!  Paper piecing is the bomb!

If you're new to paper piecing and interested in more information, I highly recommend the tutorial at Paper Panache - it is well-written and one of the best I've ever seen or used.

Happy quilting all!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Block Therapy

Mindless sewing can be very therapeutic.  Today I needed a little of that, so I sat down to make blocks for my Cotton and Chocolate block of the month ("Amish With a Twist II").  I put the corners on block 1 to set it on point, and made block 2.  Block one is a simple rail fence, but set on point in a pieced frame, it looks much more complex than the simple piecing would suggest.


Block 1 on point
Block 2 is a four patch of four-patches.  It isn't in a frame to set it on point yet, because the blue fabric to do so wasn't included in the kit - yet.
Block 2
Also included in the mindless sewing of the day was 6 rail fence blocks made for the piano key border that will, in a year's time grace the quilt as well. 

When it's done it will looks something like this:
The shop I'm doing this program through is using slightly different fabrics, but the blocks are the same... I actually like the Jinny Beyer fabrics that we are using better than the original ones in the quilt.  They are very rich and tonals, rather than solids, which would be a bit boring. 

Accomplishing these blocks might be  a small thing, but it made me feel good, and we should all do at least one thing that makes us feel good every day.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday Rainy Day Sewing

After an intense session of Dungeons and Dragons, I decided to get busy in my studio.  I finished the sashing and borders on another Saturday Sampler from last year.... still needs a back made for it, but the top is finished...
The sashing and cornerstones might be a little bit too bright, but the quilt is bright too, and I think it will make a nice quilt for a child - girl OR boy.  So I will pair it with a unisex back, stash it away once it is quilted and save it for another rainy day. 

I really enjoy sewing on rainy days... I feel freer to be in my studio - no guilt for not spending time doing other things, and I love the view out my studio window - the lovely gray clouds and the sounds of rain pattering down.   What joy!

What do you do on rainy days?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Postcards from the Edge

Today was a busy workday for me.  I got the second set of instructions for the Thimblecreek Mystery.  I made the block today:


Then, when that was done, I finished some postcards I've been working on.. I had to complete cards for 4 different swaps.  The first was for 'Opposites':
The second one I completed was for 'Love, hearts and flowers'
The third was for the February postcard 'lottery' among the group I belong to:
And fourth and finally is for a 'tag' swap with the theme of texture, shape and lines:
Lots of fun in the studio today - I made a total mess and enjoyed every minute of it!  I hope the ladies who receive these cards like them.



Monday, February 2, 2015

Making Progress, Making Blocks

I did more things on my list today.  I made a very busy little animal block for a block of the month I'm doing:

Lots of little pieces to cut and fuse, but it's done... I've got to stitch the pieces down, but the hard parts are done. (tracing and cutting all the pieces, fusing them down without burning my fingers, lol).

I posted a picture of part of this quilt in my previous post because I couldn't find a picture of the entire quilt online... I scanned it from the book I found it in... Maybe I couldn't find it because I thought it was by Yoko Saito, but apparently I was wrong, it's by Satomi Funamoto... Just so cute!!! can't wait til it's done... but OH those borders ... they will take forever I think.



My second project of the day was an easy one.  A pre-fused, laser-cut quilt called Spooky Hallows.  This is block 4 of the quilt:




I just love the black kitty (and the little frog in this block is just adorable too).  Nice big pieces, no chance of burning my fingers... easy to stitch down the edges when i get around to it.

Tomorrow, I ship my Woodland Creatures quilt off to Paducah for inclusion in the Lancaster AQS show.  And my to-do-list has me making fabric postcards and tags for exchanges... Should be fun to make the postcards, but the tags have me a bit challenged... I have to work with textures, lines and shapes... that is the challenge... Not sure what to do yet,  but I'm sure I'll work something out.


The Power of the List

Lists have great power.  I notice that truly busy people keep lists of what to do when and do their best to follow them, get to meetings on time, finish projects on time, and so forth.  I have been keeping an daily online to-do list at 1-3-5.com for several months now and it has done wonders to help me stay on track with projects.  I highly recommend some method of keeping a to-do list - virtual, on paper, whatever works for you.

Today was a sleepy day - I woke up, took the dog to the dog park, and came home to crash on the sofa.  I slept through about 3 episodes of Law & Order, waking from time to time, only to fall back asleep again.  Husband woke me up about noon to go to the grocery store with him... I shopped, came home, ate lunch and dozed off again... Why couldn't I keep my eyes open all day?

Finally, about 4pm, I woke up enough to do a little sewing.  I sewed down about half the appliques on my Pumpkin Patch Lane block of the month.  Then I came back to the computer and ran Dungeons and Dragons for some friends for a couple of hours.  Then it was dinner, and back to the sewing machine to finish that block.

Pumpkin Patch Lane block 1, in progress

 Saturday, I traced all the shapes of the animal block #4 from Yoko Saito's Past and Present book, onto WonderUnder and set them aside.  After sewing my bom, I chose fabrics for the Animal quilt and pressed the WonderUnder onto the back sides of the fabric... Tomorrow perhaps I'll cut them all out and begin planning block 4 of the quilt - placing the appliques where they belong and pressing them permanently onto the background.  Of course, I'll still have to sew them down, but if they are pressed, they won't be going anywhere.

This is a little preview of what a part of this quilt will look like - The original is all made from homespuns, flannels and wool... SO very much, NOT my personal aesthetic.

Still, I had to make it, because I love all the little animals on it... I will try to get some pictures of the blocks I've done in the near future.  Maybe a pic of the whole quilt if I can find one 'out there' on the web.

I've really discovered the true benefits of 'to-do' lists in the past few months - I get much more done, and I'm more motivated to finish tasks when I have a list and endeavor to follow it.  While I didn't finish everything quilty on my list yesterday, I did finish 2 tasks, which I wouldn't have even started without my list!  I feel semi-accomplished at least.