Sunday, March 22, 2015

Round Robin, Pt 2

My mini group is doing a round robin this year.  There are 7 of us participating and this month was our second month.  I put borders on an eagle panel this month, adding only 2 borders (top and bottom rail fence blocks) with some appliqued stars.  I knew when I started that I needed to calm down the first border of scrappy Americana squares with a more solid looking border. 

However, I didn't put it on the design wall before doing the stars, and I might have rearranged them a little if I'd seen it from a distance first.  Still, I'm happy enough with it as is... I hope the owner likes it when she gets it.  The way it's going, it is going to be a good sized quilt by the time it's done - it's already about 24" x 36".

Other than this little foray into the studio, I've done little quilting of late.  Yesterday was Worldwide Quilting Day and to celebrate (well, not really, they just happened to coincide) we had a quilter's yard sale.  I took 5 bins of fabric and sold some of it... I only made about $300 but it doesn't even look like I made a dent in what I took with me... I will need to do it again to sell more... I just need to get rid of more fabric I no longer want!  Especially if we might move in the next few months (probably not gonna happen, but you never know).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sewing through the Pain

I signed up for a class to be held the 28th of March.  Part of the preparation for the class was to make sixteen 9 1/2" blocks in advance.  I decided I wanted to make the project out of selvage blocks so I made sixteen of them.  By the time I was done making them, three days later, my right wrist was killing me.  I managed to work through the pain to piece them into an 8x2 panel of blocks:
The pain was the result of constantly raising and lowering the needle with the wheel on the right side of the machine.  I'd forgotten I had a button that did that on the front of the machine... would have been much easier and caused me no pain.  Ah well, live and learn... or in this case live and remember.  Next time I hope I recall this little lesson.  My wrist hurt so bad that when I went to see the Buddy Holly Story at the Civic Arts Center last night, I couldn't even applaud.  Tonight I will take some pain meds I think.

I spent yesterday quilting the blocks so that they can be made into a bag.... that part was easy peasy in comparison to the piecing and I DID use the button instead of the wheel to lift the needle. 

Now I have one week to prepare for a fabric sale.  I hope to get rid of at least a couple of bins of fabric to quilters who have less.  I sell the stuff I no longer want for $3 a yard, so it's a great deal.  So sad to let go of some of it, but I know I'll never use it all.  Besides, we just put an offer in on a new house and the less we have to pack and move, the better. 

It feels good to purge stuff I don't want any more... as artists, often our tastes change over time.  Lots of fabric I loved, and just don't anymore... and then there's the stuff that I look at and think 'What was I thinking???' and can't imagine why I bought it in the first place.  All of it has to go.

Last year after this sale, I felt SO good, and I took the money and invested it in stock, rather than more fabric which felt really great to be doing something productive with the money.  This year, that fabric money may be going toward things for a new house... we shall see.

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.