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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I could make stars all day long

... and be happy. These are so much fun to pick out the colors and fabrics and then sew into strips, cut them apart, and sew into stars. Here are the three I made tonight. Click each for a larger view.

Git 'er done

This was a fabulous month for achieving goals and more!

April Goals Report

1. Complete the Fall Frolic block F and the new block for this month (should be G).
Finished both of these - G went a lot more quickly than F, because it was a lot smaller, so I am back on track this month.

2. Complete the April blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.
I love having easy goals in with some that may be more challenging. Finished this one on the day I picked up my block fabrics.

3. Finish the appliqué blanket stitching on Country Baskets May block.
Once I finished the blanket stitching, I just HAD to finish putting the block together, and then once I did that, I just HAD to finish quilting the block. I am all ready for May with it hanging on my wall already.

4. Complete 4 more Anniversary Stars blocks.
I finished these on the same day that I finished the April SSS blocks of the month. It was a weekend that I was able to immerse myself in my sewing room, playing with fabrics and quilts and getting things done.

Coming Up - May Goals

1. Complete the May blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.
2. Complete the Fall Frolic block of the month (should be H).
3. Finish binding the Rockin' Rail Fence quilt.
4. Put the SSS 2012 Block of the Month quilt top together.
5. (Bonus goal) Paper piece the June Country Baskets bottom half and prepare the appliqué top half.

I've made some nice progress on other projects this month, and I'm hoping that continues through May. My latest on Jared is I completed all of the modified nine-patches.

And I have cut some more strips for diamonds in Eldon. These are waiting to be sewn into strips, then cut into diamonds. That will make 9 diamond sets, which leaves 7 more color combinations to be determined. That is so much fun! I love seeing how these are working up into the 8-pointed stars.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

That is one big moon

My latest progress on Spooky House - practically all of my stitching this time has been on the moon (and I got to add the second bat in the sky). That is a lot of DMC 712. I'm about to start my third (or is it fourth now?) skein of floss.

I have also finished 6 more squares for High Cotton.

And I have added strips to all of the four-patches for the Jared quilt, the first step in making them into modified nine-patches.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hexie crazy

I watched the Craftsy online class videos tonight for Pieced Hexies with Mickey Depre. They are quite short, but give the technique and are more inspirational than anything else (for me, that is).

After watching them, I knew I didn't have the exact materials for the class, but thought I could make do with what I had. I also didn't want to try the more complex pieced hexies, so I looked at some of her other designs and saw one that I knew I could easily figure out.

I got my new Sizzix die out and some cardstock and cut out some paper pieces. Easy-peasy, and all exactly the same size! I pieced two strips of fabric together and cut them out at what I figured was approximately the right size.

I basted my hexies (with registration lines) and used the binding clips that are just so darn handy. I used two in this case, because the hexies are a little bigger than I usually use.

Once I got six basted, plus one for the center, I played! I haven't decided which layout I like best, and these probably aren't even all of the possibilities.

If I do anything with these once they are together, they may just be appliquéd in a block - I don't plan to make a whole quilt out of them. But it's really fun to just play once in a while with no end result in mind.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A little happy dance and preparing for a big one

Here is my May Country Baskets block all finished and hanging on the wall a couple of weeks early:

And yesterday I picked up Rockin' Rail Fence from my longarm quilter - I made my binding this morning and attached it, so it is now ready to sew to the back!

And a final package came in the mail yesterday - I picked these 2½ inch strips up in a recent sale from Keepsake Quilting. A few may go in Eldon, and most I think will go well in the Rainbow hexie quilt... :)

Those jelly rolls, charm packs and mini charm packs (charm candy) are beginning to seem very useful.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Game night traded in for quilt night

I really wanted to finish a couple of project stages tonight so I traded in game night for a night in the sewing room. I only had a few more four-patches to go, so I finished those up tonight (Jared).

Now I will begin adding the strips to these to make them modified nine-patches.

Last night I finished two appliqué goals - Fall Frolic block G is the first, and tonight I finished off the 3 M blocks with their square in a square setting.

I also finished the blanket stitching on my May Country Baskets block, finally!

Once I finished the four-patches tonight, I wanted to see my basket block all put together, so I found the basket fabric and picked out a border fabric and got to work. After having to rip out the basket top pieces because I tried to use some pieces that were too small, I finally succeeded in completing the block.

Now I just need to quilt it! Maybe this weekend...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jared and High Cotton

I have been using my Sizzix cutter to help me quickly cut strips for Jared Takes a Wife, including sashing strips from the fabric I picked up in Cincinnati. To double-check that my calculations were correct and that it would look as I envisioned it, I sewed up four strips and put them up on the design wall with my blocks. First is one block with two sashing strips around it, then I put the other three blocks up with the four sashing strips and square to see how it is going to look.

Now that I'm assured those are going to work out okay, I'm working on green and neutral four-patch units that go in the corners of the blocks (120 total, minus 12 in the three blocks already made). In between those units, I finished putting together several more High Cotton blocks, so I have 36 of those completed now.

I did do a little quilting on CC's Flannel blankie last night, and hope to do a little more on that again tonight.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Trying to make a little progress on a lot of things

Before I get to stuff I worked on this weekend, I have to share my latest progress picture of Kitty Litter - I actually got this far before I went to Cincinnati, but didn't get a picture taken until today. I just worked on the third little kitten this time.

Yesterday I finally finished the stitching on Block F of Fall Frolic. This one was a huge block. I love the colors used in it, and it really is the perfect centerpiece for the quilt.

Before I went to Cincinnati, I received the materials for Block G in the mail, but since I didn't have Block F finished, I didn't want to start on it. Well, this morning I managed to get it all prepped for stitching - and it's a much smaller block (plus 3 more of block M), so I should be able to finish it on time this month.

Yesterday I picked up my April blocks of the month from Quilter's Attic, and went ahead and stitched them up - I really like how they are very scrappy - Civil War fabrics with 1930's fabrics with much more modern fabrics (over the course of 4 months so far), and the colors are very scrappy too.

Eldon has 16 blocks that each contain 8 little log cabin blocks, plus 9 alternate blocks comprised of 4 little log cabin blocks each. That's a LOT of little log cabins (they end up with little half inch pieces, finishing at 4½ inches square). Since there are so many, I thought I should probably go ahead and get started on them because it takes a lot longer to get these finished than the 16 strippy stars. Here is my second set of 8 (the first set is already set into the first star block I made back in 2012). This just looks like 3, though the middle is actually a stack of 6.

I managed to piece 4 brown anniversary star blocks this afternoon, so that goal gets marked as completed!

I think I'm going to go try to get a little hand quilting in on CC's flannel plaid blankie before bedtime. Looking forward to some more quilting and stitching tomorrow and Tuesday before heading back to work on Wednesday. I just love vacations!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cincinnati fun

Wednesday a friend and I left for Cincinnati to go to the International Quilt Festival and visit a quilt shop near there. We just returned (a whirlwind trip, for sure!), and came back with bags much fuller than when we left.

Preview night was much less crowded than the regular quilt show days, totally worth it - easier to see the quilts, and easier to get around in the vendor booths. I'm not going to share pictures of any of the quilts, but I will show you my new stash.

I picked up some more of my favorite Aurifil colors, plus one spool of King Tut from Superior Threads. Also from Superior, I got one of each of the SuperBOBs, The Bottom Line version - these should be good for appliqué. Bottom right are some little 6 inch scraps that I got during one visit to The Quilt Box - more on that later.

We saw this awesome quilt in the Paper Pieces booth, a variation on a quilt in the Hexa Go-Go book called Over the Rainbow Quilt (like this one, only with black sashing, and made completely with batiks, swoon!), and were so impressed, we both got more paper hexagons (and several other paper pieces like pentagons because I want to make one of these fabric bowls and diamonds), and picked up these really cute little packs of 2½ inch square fabrics from Moda called Moda Candy (aka Mini Charms). Realizing that those were perfect for the 1-inch hexies, I also found some batik charm packs (you can make 4 hexies from each of those!) called Kapalua, Color Splash, and Over the Rainbow. I tore into these when we got back to the hotel room, and here are all the hexies I made in one evening.

This is a closeup of two of the blocks in that quilt I mentioned earlier. I love this idea! I think that I'm going to use a combination of batiks and other prints in mine though...

Okay, back to stash additions...

I am trying to build my neutrals / lights and I need lots of these for several quilts I'm working on, including Jared Takes a Wife. About 1:00 a.m. this morning I woke up and realized that I need a variety of lights for the sashing that I want to do for that quilt, and I also needed the green for the sashing triangles at the edges, plus a fabric for the sashing squares and couple more fabrics for the outer stars (blues and browns), so those are all shown here. That stair steppers package of batiks is the only one that made it home with me, but I put my fingers all over the other packages - they had so many colors, it was so tempting but also so hard to choose, so I just chose the one.

Besides... I don't think I have mentioned yet that The Quilt Box was celebrating their 30th anniversary this week, and all fabric and patterns were 25% off! I took great advantage of the sale, and got a variety of ¼ yard cuts of batiks.

And a few other fabrics (trying to beef up my greens - my stash is not great which is strange considering that green is my favorite color).

Back at the show, these are some fat quarters I picked up - part of the top two rows were packaged together, the rest were individual fat quarters.

And finally, I stopped in Primitive Gatherings booth and got more O 540 Valdani pearl cotton for my Fall Frolic (I am getting very close to the end of the first ball!) and could not pass up some more greens and another pack of assorted dark, rich colors that I can use in Hop To It. Bottom left is a pattern for a quilted sweatshirt I want to do (the model was gorgeous, and I don't have one yet). I also saw the cutest shop model at The Quilt Box - Live, Love, Laugh, and Feed the Cat, and had to have the pattern (bottom right). It is small, and I'll probably hang it in my sewing room when I get it done.

I got a few other things - a ruler I didn't have, a new small pair of scissors, a package of needles, some ruler grips, Mistyfuse to try, replacement Martelli Ergo rotary cutters for the two that were broken (I thought they were guaranteed, found out that they are not, and that they no longer like to replace them at shows). They did replace mine at half-price, but seeing how one of them was almost brand new, I didn't really feel like that was a great deal - the spring was broken on both, not my fault, I think it is a design flaw. I went ahead and replaced them this time, but I will not be getting them again, and I will be looking for a replacement in the future. Oh, and I got one of those sticky rollers that you rinse off - I am constantly having to buy the tape ones for clothing (cats, you know), and so it will be good to keep one at work and one at home - plus one in the sewing room to pick up the lint from the ironing board, etc.

We had an absolutely fabulous time, and I totally feel like we got our money's worth. Tomorrow is Super Second Saturday (block of the month), plus Marita called me to let me know that my hexie die is finally here, so I'll get to pick that up too! Looking forward to the weekend off, plus Monday and Tuesday.

Oh, and one more picture to share before going to play some more - my sock is about ready to start the heel.

I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up - retired! Until then, I'll just have to plan some more vacation days.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

My new travel project

I don't do well with reading in the car, nor small stitching projects - I get a headache very quickly with those sorts of things. But I can crochet and knit in the car, and I know I will be doing a little traveling soon, so I wanted a small project to take with me (I could do the afghan squares, but they are a bit bulky, and I don't want to take more than I absolutely have to).

So, I decided to start a new pair of socks with the sock yarn I purchased a few weeks ago (buy one get one of equal value or less free), and here is my just barely there start.

This is Steinbach Wolle Aktiv Effekt (Austria) #235, and I'm hoping it will stripe up nicely - we shall see!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

A little strip piecing

This morning when I got up, I went into my sewing room and my intention was to tidy up a little bit, and put some things away. Boy did those plans go off the rails! I saw the fabrics I had gotten for Eldon, and decided, in order to put them away properly, I should go ahead and cut some strips for the stars and log cabins.

I cut some strips

Then I cut some more strips

And I was so pleased with what I saw that I wanted to sew the strips into strip sets. Of course, I couldn't stop there - I had to cut them into diamonds to see what they are going to look like when pieced. These are not yet pieced into stars. But they're so pretty anyway - and CC likes them too (no, this is MY quilt - he gets Rockin' Rail Fence). :)

I was thinking of trying to tidy up some now - but who am I kidding? I will probably cut some more strips... LOL! Then it's an afternoon of cross stitching with friends I haven't seen in a while - what an awesome day!

Friday, April 05, 2013

A dragon's head!

Avatar's dragon finally has a head with a little definition (I just had to do a little of the backstitching last night to see the eyes, nose, and mouth more clearly). He is finally coming along!

I was looking at my list, trying to decide what would come out to play next, since I am going to my LNS' Moonlight Stitching tomorrow night, and I think it might be Spooky House. Or possibly Kitty Litter, even though that one is huge. Hmmm... decisions, decisions...

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Getting it done in April

First, how did I fare with March goals? Three out of four ain't bad...

March Goals

1. Complete 4 more bear paw blocks for Clifford's Bear Chase quilt.
Yes, done.
2. Complete the March blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.
Yes, finished these too.
3. Complete the Fall Frolic block F (this one is a little larger, I believe).
Alas, I did not finish all of the blanket stitching, about half is done.
4. Finish piecing the dark strips for Rockin' Rail Fence.
Not only did I finish piecing the dark strips, I finished the entire quilt top! It is now at the quilter's. :)

April Goals

1. Complete the Fall Frolic block F and the new block for this month (should be G).
2. Complete the April blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.
3. Finish the appliqué blanket stitching on Country Baskets May block.
4. Complete 4 more Anniversary Stars blocks.

Smith Mountain Morning class

Our last day with Bonnie Hunter today. We learned a lot about working with the tri-recs, easy-angle and companion angle rulers. I wanted to finish my blocks before we left, and was sewing until they nearly turned the lights out on me, but I made it!

I got home and unpacked my machine and table. Of course, I would prefer to sit and sew all day tomorrow, but alas, I didn't take the day off from work (I should have). So I will have to wait until the weekend to do any more sewing / piecing. Tonight I plan to work a little more on my Avatar dragon - I should be able to post a new progress picture this weekend.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Jared Takes a Wife class

Today's class was so much fun! Bonnie showed me her current hexagon quilt in progress, and I am going to try some of her tips with basting and adding hexagons (as soon as I get to where I don't have any more made up).

Here are the results of today's class - I managed to finish (after a couple of false starts) two more blocks - the original one is the bottom left, the other two were pieced together today.

Bonnie had her quilt model in the front of the classroom. Near the end of the day, we noticed there had been an addition to the quilt. Then there were several more additions. Not everyone got to add their blocks, but several of us did, and here is Bonnie with our "embellishments."

And a view from the left instead of the right