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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Just say no to tearing fabric

As I was unfolding fat quarters today to press and cut them into strips, I became increasingly aggravated by the waste of good fabric I saw because of tearing.

At least a quarter to a half inch on each of three sides (with the exception of the selvage), and sometimes close to one inch of the fabric in places is marred by the fact that it was torn instead of cut.

And blah blah blah about making sure it is straight of grain, etc. I think we have come far enough in recent years that most fabric from quilt shops IS straight of grain. This is good quality fabric from reputable manufacturers, I certainly paid a good price for it, and I feel cheated when I see this much fabric that is unusable on each side.

I tend to be very frugal with my fabric, and become frustrated when I experience things like this. I also realized after unfolding that a couple of pieces were not even 18 inches wide (closer to 16 inches), thus felt doubly cheated. Do I need to start opening fat quarters that are so neatly folded into cute little tucks and measuring them to make sure I am getting my money's worth? Perhaps fat quarters are not such a bargain (I know they will never be 22 inches long, since very rarely is fabric 44 inches folded). I know that it is not as quick or convenient, but I'm thinking I should go back to picking out fabric on the bolt and having it cut. CUT, not torn. And if a shop will not accommodate me on that, then I will find another shop - there are ones out there that will cut for me. Lebanon Vac and Sew did a wonderful job of doing just that the other day, and I am headed back there to get some more this week. And they did not have any problems cutting quarter yards for people. Just saying...

Strips for my two classes are pretty much cut (carrying more fabric with me if needed), and I think that even though I haven't finished the blanket stitching on this month's Fall Frolic block, I am going to relax with a little cross stitching this evening. I am working towards a dragon's head on Black Swan's Avatar... :)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Preparing for classes

I have spent much of today preparing for classes and a quick demonstration that I will be doing at our guild meeting on Tuesday. There are a lot of different size strips to cut for Smith Mountain Morning! Every time I think I have enough done, I realize I need to cut some different ones. I know it will be beautiful when I do begin piecing it during class but I haven't even gotten to the browns yet (I am going to do it like the model, in browns and blues).

Here is the backing fabric I'm using for Rockin' Rail Fence.

And I realized today that I will need to run to Lebanon Vac and Sew again to get more of two fabrics - I calculated what I need, and realized I only got about half that Friday when I was there. :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mock-up block

Today I drove over to Lebanon Vacuum and Sewing and wished I could have had a half-yard of just about everything, drool... As it was, I found the perfect flannel fabric (photo to come later) for backing the Rockin' Rail Fence quilt. It was almost exactly what I had envisioned, which I didn't really expect.

I picked up a couple of other fabrics while I was there. And then I came home, cut and seamed the backing fabric, and started working on my Jared Takes a Wife block. I had pulled out several fabrics yesterday afternoon based on my mock-up in EQ7. I thought they all worked pretty well together, but when I actually started sewing them, the inner star points were just too dark and indistinct. So I took those back off and tried a different inner star point fabric (actually one that I bought today). This lent a completely different look to the block, which negated the inner square fabrics I had planned on using. After searching through my stash for about 30 more minutes, I finally found some fabrics that would work well. Here are a couple of photos - the first using a flash, the second no flash, which is darker, but the flash causes the metallic to really flare, so that you can't see the color underneath.

I've decided this quilt will be the perfect gift for our longtime friends Jeff & Jennifer. I will have to be careful and deliberate when piecing, with the design choices I've made (directional fabric in the inner star points, browns for one side and blues for the other side of the outer star points), but I am very pleased with this, and looking forward to taking Bonnie's class to learn all her tips and tricks and make some good progress on the blocks.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy dancing time!

I can't wait to show CC, and then get it packed up and ready to be quilted! Ta-da!!!

Now to go off into the sewing room and figure out fabrics for my Bonnie Hunter classes next week. Lots of the girls at retreat were deciding on fabrics, cutting up strips, and even putting together sample blocks to see if they liked their choices. What a wonderful week it has been so far!

Huge half square triangles

Are finished...

And I'm looking at a happy dance Thursday because I've pieced the top 3 rows completely together, and 4 more rows are ready to be pieced to one another (2 are hiding on a table).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rail Fence starting to Rock

Monday's achievement - all dark strips pieced into strip sets:

Tuesday's achievement - all light and dark strips cut into squares and pieced into four-patches:

On the agenda for today - making huge half square triangles out of all the four-patches.

Having a wonderful time quilting with my friends!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Recent cross stitch stash acquisitions

It seems like I haven't cross stitched in ages - I've put in a few stitches on a couple of projects here and there, but not enough to take a new photo of any (hoping to rectify that very soon - I'm currently working on Black Swan's Avatar).

I finally got out and put away the recent stash I acquired from the local needlework shop that is now closed. Here is what I got:

Linens - pieces of Cashel, Belfast, and R&R Reproductions
the top right two are full-yard pieces

Petite Treasure Braid

Buttons, charms, and treasures

I think I have everything set to go for the quilt week, so I'm going to go do a little stitching and race-watching.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Let the vacation begin!

I am off all next week for vacation, and I am really looking forward to having a good time with wonderful quilting friends. I am planning to sew, sew, sew!

And to start it all off, here are my next 4 blocks on Clifford's Bear Chase quilt.

I am still working on the appliqué for my Fall Frolic block, so no new pic to share yet, but here is one of my "daughters," Stilts, sunbathing. Spring may be here, but you couldn't tell it by the temperatures, so she's keeping warm any way she knows how.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quilt-themed weekend wrap up

Though I had to take care of my weekend chores today, I spent a little time watching more free episodes of The Quilt Show online, pieced some more on the Bear Chase blocks (all of the HST claws are stitched to one another and I started adding them to the paws), and I stitched some on my Fall Frolic appliqué block. I finished blanket stitching the stems, tacked the berries down with Xes, and started blanket stitching the pumpkin.

I was hoping to finish up the bear paw blocks this weekend, but time just ran out. Hopefully I can finish them up this week. I'm starting my countdown to vacation and quilting retreat! I need to figure out just what I'm going to take with me to work on. Since one of my goals is to finish piecing together the dark strips for Rockin Rail Fence, that one is a definite. But I'm also thinking about taking along either Anniversary Stars or maybe Eldon... Wait, what? That's not on my quilt projects list! :) Eldon has one block almost pieced (the only thing missing are the background diamonds). It was a class I took with Edyta Sitar last year when she came to my quilt guild. At the time, I wasn't sure if I would want to make the entire quilt, but I've been thinking about it a lot over the past week, and I think I would like to make it after all.

I have a week to figure it out. Counting down the days!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

International Quilting Day!

And I celebrated by working on two quilts. I pieced the HSTs for the 4 bear chase blocks that I want to complete this month. I did that after working on Fall Frolic. I had prepared my pieces over the past couple of days, and this morning I began placing and fusing them to the background for the latest block (F).

Here is the beginning this morning - you can see I'd just begun fusing under the pattern overlay.

And here is the block fused, ready to stitch. I actually reversed the correct things this time (the appliqué pieces on fusible, not the pattern overlay), and so this block is correct!

It took most of the day to get the pieces all cut out and fused, and I did it while watching / listening to free episodes of The Quilt Show (free all weekend because of International Quilting Day). It was a most enjoyable day.

A stitching friend emailed to let me know that one of our area's cross stitch shops is going out of business. The owner passed away in February, and they are closing the shop after next week. I went ahead and stocked up on a couple of things, since everything was 50% off - got some fabrics and one of every color of Petite Treasure Braid that they carried and had left in stock.

That leaves one cross stitch shop in Nashville (we also have one small needlepoint shop). I hope that our other shop (The Stitchin Post) stays in business for a long time. I would hate to have to buy everything online or at Joann's, Michael's or Hobby Lobby, because their selections are so limited and do not include some of my favorite items (Bohin needles anyone?), and it's more difficult to judge colors online. None of the chain stores hold Moonlight Stitching events either.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I spent a little bit of time this weekend making more hexies for my Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt. Here are my little stacks for the current and upcoming row. I have a couple more hexies to baste, then I'll get back to adding them to the quilt. I also went ahead and planned out the basic colors I'll be using for the rest of the flowers. I'll still choose the fabrics as I go.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

It's that time of the month!

Yay! It's Super Second Saturday, so I picked up from Quilter's Attic and pieced together my 4 blocks of the month for March today.

So far I have loved every fabric they've chosen for these blocks. Whoever gets to pick out the fabrics each month has a great eye for color, pattern, etc. Okay, that is one goal done for March!

I have spent most of the week working on a crochet project I started last year - the Puff Stitch Granny Square afghan. I have finished 28 of 117 squares that will be made for this quilt, and the only reason I can tell for my not having worked on it since April of last year is that I am easily distracted. :/

I've also been going back and weaving in all of the ends except the outermost off-white one. Not sure if I can use that to help put them together or not, but wanted to leave it just in case I could.

While I was at the quilt shop, I picked up a couple more ArtBin project boxes (they were on sale, and I will be needing something to put my Bonnie Hunter blocks in when I take the two classes with her in April).

And to top everything off, I went to Joann's today with coupons and bought ... more yarn ...

I am thinking about using one to make a hat, and the other a scarf - just haven't decided which one will be for which yet, and whether they will be knitted or crocheted.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Wow, that seemed to take a long time

But it is finally finished! After seeing several others' posts about what is "On my needles," I decided to dig this project out, hunker down and finish it. I finished the binding off last night, and then tonight I wove in the yarn tails. CC is anxious for this to help keep him warm now that it is done.

I went to pick up my dies today, only to find out that they shipped the wrong hexie size, so I only came home with my 3½ inch strip die. :( And of course, the correct size is actually out of stock, so it will be a little while before that one gets to me. Guess I'll cut a few more hexies out with my scissors - I've been doing it that way all this time, it won't hurt me to do a few more. I was just excited to get my new die and start slicing and dicing away. Oh well - it's not like I don't have anything else to do. :)

Friday, March 01, 2013

Seeing Stars and Getting it Done in March

I managed to complete a couple more star blocks in February for a total of 6. The two new stars use the brown fabrics I chose instead of green for the pattern. And just because I wanted a preview of how this is going to come together, I pieced several of the light and dark strips together into the light and dark 9-patches and put them up on my design wall. Yum!

Before we get to March goals, I'm listing a reminder of February's. I'm happy to report that I accomplished all of these, even with the detour I had to take while my main piecing machine was in for repairs.

February's Report

1. Finish piecing the light strips for Rockin' Rail Fence.
2. Complete all February blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt (in other words, keep up!).
3. Complete 4 more star block on the Anniversary Stars quilt.
Done, plus 2 more for a total of 6, plus 4 9-patch blocks!
4. Complete 4 more bear paw blocks for Clifford's Bear Chase quilt.

I feel very good about both January and March - achievable goals that allow me to see progress on projects, with very little stress (there's enough of that from work - don't need it to carry over into my hobbies), so I am going to try to continue the trend for March.  Of course, I have a week off this month for a quilt retreat, so that is bonus time!

March Goals

1. Complete 4 more bear paw blocks for Clifford's Bear Chase quilt.
2. Complete the March blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.
3. Complete the Fall Frolic block F (this one is a little larger, I believe).
4. Finish piecing the dark strips for Rockin' Rail Fence.

I am also hoping to make some more progress on quilting CC's Flannel Plaid quilt #2, and my Hexie die is on the delivery truck, so I should be able to pick it and and my 3½ inch strip die up Monday after work.  Looking forward to cutting more hexies (the easy way) for my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt!  Anything else I do is just gravy on top! :)

Ooh, plus I am thinking of colors and layout for one of the Bonnie Hunter classes I'm taking in April (Jared Takes a Wife) - I created this layout in EQ7 based on the pattern and someone else's quilt layout. I may change the colors, but I'm kind of liking these so far.

Want to see what others are getting done? Check out Judy Laquidara's Getting It Done February/March post