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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Snow Puzzle update

I played around and played around with the layout last night and finally came up with something I like. I liked the idea of making it like Nova, but since the squares were not using unique fabrics, I wasn't sure how well I could pull that off. Here is the bottom half of the quilt laid out, and the top half will mirror it, so there will be light fabrics in the corners darkening to the center.

The four blocks set on the sides are actually going to be corner blocks in the border, and the border will match the background fabric.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Retro Rib Sock and Delaney's Snow Puzzle

Here it is, finally, the Retro Rib Sock (first of the pair).

And today I finally finished stitching down the curved bias edges of all of the blocks for Delaney's Snow Puzzle. Now I just have to figure out how I want to arrange them. Should I just let it be random? Should I somehow arrange them by value? By color? Suggestions anyone? Here is exactly one quarter of all of the blocks - one of each color - 33 in all (132 blocks for the quilt). This is kind of just a random order on the design wall.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ramblings and updates

Work has been super-busy once again, but I just finished two really big projects, so I'm feeling a good sense of accomplishment right now. I've gotten great feedback on both of them, which also makes me feel good about all the work I put into them. I've gotten pretty good at multi-tasking lately. :)

On the knitting front, I've finished the first sock and started on the second, photo to be taken soon, I promise! I even took my knitting to the TVQA Assembly Day and wasn't the only one knitting at the table. It's a great conversation starter. I was glad that I'd brought it too, because I was a little disappointed in the program, especially the second guest, and it gave me something to do during that program.

My complaint - it all seemed to me to be like an infomercial. I know that a lot of times we have programs where they demonstrate a product and then offer it for sale, and I don't have a problem with that. This one, however, did not really demonstrate it. It basically went, "Here's a variation of the product I have for sale, here's a sample made with the product, and today -- and today only -- when you buy this product, you get this little extra thing with it." That was it - the entire program was one sales pitch right after the other. I think if the person had actually demonstrated how to use the product, maybe gave some tips, it might have been more interesting.

On the quilting front, I've finished hand-quilting the Double Wedding Ring quilt. Now comes the extremely scary part - curved and pointed bias binding! I watched a video online, and know that I need to go out and buy some starch and a few other things before attempting this. I actually tried out a little practice piece, and it went so-so. Not good enough (very wonky, actually). Which is why I went searching for better instructions and landed upon the online video. It goes into some really good detail, and I realize that I'm going to have to really take my time with this when I get it started. I'm still aiming for a mid-September finish right now... I've also practiced my machine quilting a little more, and I've worked on Delaney's Snow Puzzle squares a little more too. I haven't worked on the Grandmother's Flower Garden any lately, but now that the hand-quilting is over on the DWR, I'll probably get it back out - I do like the hand-piecing of those little hexagons, perfect for when sitting in front of the television.

On the cross stitch front (yes, I am occasionally still cross stitching), I am working my way down Winter Maiden's dress. I'm hoping that I have enough of the Wisper thread to finish it, but I might have to go and buy another card. :( We'll see. I stitched on her last night as we watched an episode of Buffy (season 6) and one of Angel (season 3). Both were major cliffhangers, and it's not even the end of the season for either one yet!

It's nice to have Stargate Atlantis back, and Eureka will be starting up next week. Those shows and the DVDs are all we are watching right now (well, besides NASCAR), and I think we'll probably be finishing up Buffy and Angel right before the beginning of the Fall TV season.

I finished the story mode for Lego Star Wars Complete Saga, so just have really a few more things to do in it. But I bought a game that was recommended as one of those "if you like Zelda, you'll like..." It's Beyond Good and Evil (GameCube), and I started it last night. So far, I'm just learning the controls and exploring. It also kind of reminds me a little of Jak & Daxter, which I really want to go back and play again. Alas, again it's the quandary - so many interests and things to do, so little time! C has been racing with Grid a lot lately, so I've been taking advantage of the time to play a lot of games myself this Summer. Probably why I don't have any pictures this post... I'm too busy playing to take them. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More on the T-Shirt quilt

I've been asked about how I made the t-shirt blocks, so I thought I'd share here. Major disclaimer - these are my own instructions, and I am not a professional, so they are just from my notes. I hope they aren't too difficult to understand! :)

So the t-shirts themselves were 12½ inches square once they were fused (woven fusible interfacing) and trimmed. They would be 12 inches square finished.

For the tan border of each block, I cut 2 strips that were 12½ inches by 1½ inches and sewed these to the top and bottom of the t-shirt block. Then I cut 2 strips that were 14½ inches by 1½ inches and added those to the left and right sides of the block.

For this quilt to work, your sashing (background) should all be the same fabric. You'll use the sashing fabric in a tiny bit of the shadow part of the block also. I picked a light gray tone-on-tone print for the sashing and a dark gray tone-on-tone for the shadow. Because I was doing twenty blocks, I cut them like this:
  • 2 strips 2½ inches by WOF (width of fabric - selvage to selvage) of the light gray fabric,
  • 1 strip 12½ inches by WOF of the dark gray fabric, and
  • 1 strip 13½ inches by WOF of the dark gray fabric
I sewed one of each of the light gray strips to each of the dark gray fabrics. Once I had the seams pressed, then I cut them apart into 1½ inches strips. Each strip had a little 2¼ inch piece of light gray fabric along with the larger dark gray fabric. One set of strips was 14½ inches long and the other was 15½ inches long.

Just to be consistent, I sewed the shorter one to the right side of the block first, then added the longer one to the bottom. The blocks now measured 15½ inches square (as long as my seams were all ¼ inch). :)

To separate the blocks in the quilt, I cut strips of the light gray fabric 2½ inches by 15½ inches and sewed one in between each block (only making inner vertical sashings), and so I had my rows.

Then I calculated (and measured) the width of the rows and used that as my measurement for the horizontal sashing, 2½ inches by that measurement. I had to piece these together to make them long enough. I added one in between each row and one each to the top and bottom of the quilt top.

After that was done, I measured like you would for borders - the length down the center of the quilt, cut my strips 2½ inches by that measurement, and added vertical borders to the outside, thus completing my quilt top.

Hope that helps describe the process. Someone else may have a quicker or easier way, but that's how my mind works through the process when I'm creating my own blocks that aren't from a pattern (scary place to be - inside my head - eh?). :)

Hope everyone is having a happy Tuesday - I'm off to have dinner with my girlfriends!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quilts in progress

Today is Super Second Saturday, so we went and picked up my block kit for July. I think this is my favorite so far this year - Card Basket Block.

We also ran by the local office supply store and picked up a package of sheet protectors. I have been stacking up the quilting magazines for over a year now, and it is well past time to go through them and put my favorites in my quilt patterns binder. The binder has been an invaluable tool, and I've used it to find patterns to make several quilts already (Delaney's Snow Puzzle, Hollywood's T-Shirt, Flannel 4-patch, Winter Night for C's mom, plus two that I haven't started yet, but have the fabric picked out and set aside for when I finish several of the ones I've already started). I know some magazine purists who would gasp that I rip my quilt mags up, but it's what works for me. I can find what I need, when I need it, and I can get rid of the parts I'm not interested in - they don't take up valuable space in my craft room (or other parts of the house).

Oh, and here is the picture I promised of Hollywood's quilt top. I still plan to quilt a few more baby quilts to practice, and then I'll baste and begin machine quilting it.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Holiday Weekend!

And it couldn't have come at a better time. Work has been non-stop busy with projects, and will be for the forseeable future, that I'm glad to have an extra day tacked on to the weekend where I can play.

And play I have. I spent nearly the entire day yesterday playing Lego Star Wars. C has been racing Grid online, and we both stayed up past midnight last night - I can't remember the last time that happened. :)

Today I decided to work on some quilts, so I've been in my craft room watching videotapes of Simply Quilts while piecing some on Delaney's quilt. After lunch I decided to work on Hollywood's t-shirt quilt while I listened to my latest audiobook, Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card. This one reads kind of like a Michael Crichton or Robin Cook novel, and I'm enjoying it so far. Oh, and I finished Hollywood's quilt top! No picture yet... maybe in a few days...

Now I think I'm going to knit some more on the first of my 3rd pair of socks. I took a picture about two weeks ago, and this was my progress at the time. I'm getting close to the end and hoping that I have just enough yarn to finish it. I bought two balls of the Koigu, and I'd really prefer not to have to buy a third for just a few rounds of knitting on each sock. Maybe this is why some knit from the toe up?