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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hand appliqué block finished

Rose Spray block

Here is what I've been working on for the past several nights, finally finished: my first entirely hand appliquéd block, called Rose Spray. This is the block I mentioned in my last post from the Teach Yourself Blocks from the Past book. I tried several methods for the appliqué: needle-turn, back-basting needle-turn, and invisible. I also tried to kind of pre-turn the edges on one of the leaves, but didn't use any starch or other basting, so it didn't really hold very well. The pieces are really small, so I had to be careful not to cut the seam allowance too large or too small.

I'm pleased with how this block turned out, given my experience. It's a little rough in some places, and I certainly strayed from the lines a bit, but I like my fabric choices, and my stitches are decent. I would like for it to be a little smoother in some places, but I accept that it will rarely be perfect. I also have not yet pressed my block nor trimmed it to size (6 in. finished, so need to trim to 6½ in.), I started with a piece of background fabric 7 inches, so I'm kind of curious how much it shrank due to the stitching.

I haven't done any actual quilting lately, so that's on the schedule for this evening. It's been a while since I've played with my class quilt, and I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Dance 7 of 16

Here is Waterlily Pond Quilt square 7 of 16. I finished it over the 4-day weekend. It's such a shame that our vacation is over. I'm ready for Thanksgiving already!

Here is a new pic of my Grandmother's Flower Garden. I haven't yet gotten to the row where I can add the acid green fabric (that will be row after next).

And here's the Schnibbles pincushion I put together. This is the first time I made a quilt block that had ¼ (finished) pieces. It turned out pretty nice, I think. There are 5 more Schnibbles patterns, I think I'll try another one next weekend.

One more thing I decided to try - no picture yet - is a hand-appliquéd quilt block. I have this book, Teach Yourself Blocks From the Past. And I've been looking at it for a while now, thinking I'd like to make the quilt. And there are quite a few appliqué blocks. And I've been wanting to try some hand appliqué now that I've done several blocks with the machine. So I started one. It's over halfway finished, and I'm liking it so far, though it is a little more time-consuming.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"My give up!"

Every once in a while I think something in Jar-Jar speak (Star Wars, episode 1), and it just seems appropriate.

I was trying to put together a little quilted bag, and it just seemed to get more difficult as I went along. I really hate trying to work with extraordinarily bulky seams, and I'd already had to walk away from the sewing machine a couple of times. But I finally got the thing put together. It didn't look the best, but I was determined to get it done.

Then came the grommets.

Apparently I can't do grommets.

I tried.

I couldn't get the grommet tool out of the first one once I hammered it in there (and it didn't seem to cinch all the way down anyway. So, in trying to get the tool out, the stupid grommet came apart too.

I tried again on another side.

Same problem. And don't think I didn't hammer the heck out of it, because I did. But this time, something must have slid a little out of place, because it looked all wonky. Then it came apart when I was trying to get the little tool out again.

My give up, as Jar Jar would say. Maybe I'll try a buttonhole stitch to seal up the edges. I don't know. But I feel I need to walk away from it (my first instinct is to pitch it in the trash). I have no idea when I would pick it back up again without some aggravation bubbling to the surface.

I think I'm going to go work on something else now, try to calm down.

Friday, October 16, 2009

4-day weekend

CC and I decided we needed a little break, so we are taking Monday and Tuesday off (vacation days), and not planning on going anywhere or doing anything (well, we might go out to eat).

I've been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt this week, so expect a new progress photo soon. I am eager to get to the next time that I can start new flowers (after I complete the current and next row of hexagons), because my dear friend did the sweetest thing! Her great-grandmother also made (by hand) a GFG quilt, and she showed it to me one day. We talked a lot about the fabrics, especially this one particular acid green that I've never seen anything like. Well, she happened to have some of this fabric in addition to the quilt, and she gave it to me! I just can't wait to include it in my quilt. Such history, her great-grandmother was quilting it while she crossed the ocean on the USS Iowa.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Second Saturday ramblings

First, another gratuitous kitty pic, Stilts making herself comfortable on my just-washed sweater and a pillow.

I am so easily distracted. Of course that's why I have 20+ WIPs that span the types of needlework I do. And why things linger as WIPs for so long...

Take, for example, the fourth pair of socks I started knitting WAY back in December 2008 (right after I finished the third pair). I can't remember for sure, but I don't even think I mentioned them on the blog. I decided to try knitting two at a time. Bought a book, two pairs of circular needles, new yarn, and started them. Got through the ribbing, and then something else caught my attention, and I put them down for about 10 months. I just have to laugh at myself sometimes. :)

Anyway, I finally found them (I had to look through several project bags, yikes!), and then I had to find the book to remember how to do it. But before I got started, I made a knitted preemie hat, just so I could get back into the knitting groove, since I haven't knitted in months. Once I assured myself that my tension was all good again, I started working on the socks. And here's where I am now (yes, finally a picture - I didn't take one of my previous progress), working my way down the heel flaps.

The concept is interesting, and it's supposed to help combat SSS (Second Sock Syndrome), but I don't know that I really enjoy making socks this way, because it can definitely be confusing. I think I'd prefer to deal with SSS than trying to remember which set of needles I'm supposed to be working on and trying not to get everything tangled. Maybe I could just get two small circular needles and work two socks at the same time on them - separately. It's really just too much work this way (for something that's supposed to be relaxing!). But I plan to do this to the finish of this pair anyway, just so I can say I've been there, done that.

This month I finished my Second Saturday block, the Double X, on the day I got it. Just two more months (and a third finishing kit) to go.

And one last picture - I've started putting my Bamboo blocks into columns. Here's a so-so picture of the first three columns. There will eventually be black strips of fabric separating them, when I put them all together into the quilt top.

I have no idea what I'll be working on next, but I have a desire to bring out the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt and put a few more hexagons together. I haven't worked on it in ages either...

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!!!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Holy smokes, it's October

As usual, this year seems to be flying by even faster than the last. We aren't even going to mention that C word - I'm in total denial about how fast the end of the year is approaching.

I finally put together September's block of the month - Fool's Square. I think this one is really pretty, and I love the fabrics in it. The scale of the prints, plus the difference in values, make it quite striking.

I finally decided on how to quilt my sunburst wedges (there are 8 of them) in the Quilter's Palette quilt. One down, seven to go.

And last but certainly not least, I finally have Happy Dance #6 of 16 in Chatelaine's Waterlily Pond quilt. I started this block way back in March. Then I put it down and didn't pick it back up until last week. Once I started stitching, I couldn't remember why in the world I put it down... until I got to the point where I did - some of my stitching in the dragonfly body was off by a stitch diagonally. But I didn't realize it until I had stitched a whole lot around it. It was too much to pick out, and I really didn't want to start over, so I set it aside. Sometimes, I just have to do that. And when I picked it up again, I didn't notice until I had stitched even more around it. So I left it as is - and just modified a little of the stitching. It's really only noticeable to me, and I probably won't even remember it once the blocks are all assembled into a quilt, because it doesn't look out of place - only when comparing it to the chart.

One thing I have noticed while stitching these charts is that, unfortunately, they are not complete, or they are different from the ones that were originally stitched as part of the mystery. Designs #5 and #6 in particular - the key does not have all of the symbols (yellow H and yellow D in particular), and I've had to go looking online for pictures of what other people stitched to figure out what they should be. And on Design #6, the border shows a single cross stitch in the chart, and does not mention any specialty stitches in the directions, but when I compared it to completed designs, I realized that there should also be an elongated cross stitch covered by a regular cross stitch in between the single cross stitches shown in the chart (or maybe it was a modified Smyrna cross). Or at least, that is how it appears in the ones I've seen online. The other thing is that dye lots may have changed some in the time since the chart's first release, because I know I have the correct thread colors (they match what is called for exactly in the variegated silks), but they look different from the completed pictures online, even taking into account camera and lighting differences. Just some observations...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Time for a little change

I was tiring of the pink and grey, so I decided to jazz it up a bit. Just in time for Fall, too. And it doesn't hurt that this is really a favorite color palette. Okay, tomorrow I plan to post a couple of new photos. Now it's time for bed. Happy weekend!!!