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Saturday, August 31, 2013

And the Saturday after vacation's not so bad either

Well, it's nearly bedtime, but I managed to finish assembling Clifford's Bear Chase quilt top tonight! I spent quite a bit of time after sewing the last seam picking off all of the little pieces of fabric that were scattered all over the quilt, the floor, the ironing board, everywhere. I love the look of homespun plaids, but good grief, it's a pain and a half because the fabric sheds threads at the edges SO easily.

Anyway, here he is!

That was the main thing I wanted to accomplish this long holiday weekend, so I still have a few days to play with other quilts, yippee!

Friday, August 30, 2013

I love a vacation day

First off, my design wall at the beginning of the day. I pulled out all my Fall Frolic blocks so far (there is only one left), and trimmed them to the appropriate size. As I did that, I just pinned them to the wall.

As you can see on the design wall, I worked a little on my Hex on the Beach this week also - 2 rows are completely pieced and a third row is started.

While I was doing some other piecing, I decided to pull out the 18 HSTs required for attaching to block A on Fall Frolic, and now that section is finished.

And today I spent working on finishing all of the units for Clifford's Bear Chase. Here are the 9-patches, sashing units, border units, and corner units. Now it's ready to begin assembly!

I just love spending the day sewing and listening to audiobooks. :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 2 of my Virtual Quilting Retreat

Today I worked on Clifford's Bear Chase. Now that I have finished all twenty bear paw blocks, it's time to start working on the units that go together to make up the sashing strips and squares.

First thing I did was cut 50 WOF 2-inch strips with my die cutter. That seriously cuts down on the time it takes to cut the strips, and helps prevent shoulder pain from repetitive motion from that much rotary cutting.

I combined those with plaid strips that were previously cut and made these units.

Then I started making additional units that will combine with those to make the sashing strip sections.

And those that will combine to make the sashing 9-patch squares.

I'm planning to work on this quilt some more Friday, since I'm taking off a few days around the holiday. Hoping to make some really good progress!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 1 of my Virtual Quilting Retreat

I didn't get to accomplish as much today as I had hoped, because DH wanted to do all of our running around today and get that out of the way - fine by me, because that means we'll get to stay in tomorrow and I'll have more time to play then.

I finished squaring up the 70 HSTs for Fall Frolic that I started working on a couple of weeks ago. Now I have 130 of the 195 required for this quilt. I will wait to finish the rest until after I receive the final 10 fabrics with next month's block, so they can be mixed in with some of the previous fabrics.

Here are my HSTs so far, in groups of 10 held together by safety pins, which makes it very easy to count - thanks to Bonnie Hunter for the tip!

And I finally finished Block 1 of Chateau Hexagon last night. I am not thrilled with my satin stitching, especially of the heart, but DH said it looks like a heart to him, and I picked it out and restitched it 3 times, so I'm leaving it. My satin stitching will probably get better as I go along. I do like my lazy daisies, and as I mentioned before the french knots. The space in the middle is where the birdhouse button will go once the quilt is finished - I'm going to wait until then to attach it.

My plan for tomorrow is to work on either Bear Chase or Jared (or both), but we'll just see what screams the loudest once I head into the sewing room in the morning. :)

Happy Virtual Quilting Retreat Weekend!

By the way - I just realized I didn't explain how this weekend came about. A couple of stitching / quilting friends and I were talking about quilting retreats back in July, and we decided we would set aside one weekend a month to "get away" to work on our quilting projects. Since we are so far away from each other, and actually getting together every month would be cost-prohibitive, we decided to make it a virtual quilting retreat.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Crown motif finished

I couldn't help myself - I just had to put the beads in and finish the crown motif at the top of Bluebeard's Princess - and I love the colors. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pink hexies

Here it is, my first pink pieced hexie block (not yet trimmed and bordered, of course).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Finally received my order

for the beads, silks, and other metallics that go with Bluebeard's Princess. So last night I started filling in / out the crown motif at the top of the design, and this is the latest so far:

I had a wonderful night out with the girlfriends, dinner, show and tell, sharing, and a little stitching / knitting / etc. I even made a few more hexies, and finished my first pink hexie block (pic to come, hopefully tomorrow).

Three more days 'til the weekend!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Purple hexie blocks, part deux

I decided to go ahead and finish these out this afternoon, since I had my black strips sizzixed and my purple fabrics close at hand. Purple hexie blocks are framed and ready to be pieced into the quilt (once I get all other 42 blocks finished).

Trimming off the hexie blocks

One of my hexie princess friends came over today and showed me her beautiful Kaffe Fassett hexies that she is making into placemats (gorgeous, let me tell you - and they will go perfect with Fiesta dinnerware!). She wanted to see the trimming process that I'm going to be doing for all my little hexie blocks in order to make them square and then add the fabrics that frame them.

Here is my first purple block (actually the last block that I put together) with the black inner framing border. I haven't cut out my purple outer framing border fabrics yet, but will do that soon. I love how this looks already!

It is a shame that some of the hexies get cut WAY down, but still, this block is so cool! I might go ahead and do the other six purple blocks today, since they're ready to go...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Creative Chaos

Or is that chaotic creativity?

I am hoping to spend a little time in my sewing room tomorrow, but I walked by the room today and seeing this just made me happy.

I like to keep up works in progress on my design wall, and there are currently 5 different projects up there, mostly so I can enjoy them until I need the space for a different project. They vary quite often, sometimes week to week, and soon I will be putting up some purple hexie blocks with the first inner (black) borders for Over the Rainbow (the plan is for doing that Sunday).

I also need to chop up the latest fabrics that came with Block K for the setting blocks and make some more HSTs from them.

And I'm starting to feel the urge to sizzix some strips for the Bear Chase sashing and piano key border, now that all of those blocks are completed. I'm hoping for some quality time in the sewing room over the next few weekends, especially with the Labor Day holiday coming up.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Block K finished

And I probably would have finished it two days ago, had I not decided to spend a little time playing LEGO Lord of the Rings. :)

The weekend is almost here! Hard to believe we're halfway through August (and it felt more like October this morning).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My well-established problem

... which is - I see something I want to do, and I go ahead and either start it or sign up to start it SOON.

Just as I am winding down my Fall Frolic block of the month (this month and next are the final installments), I stumbled across a new wool felt appliqué block of the month that is just too beautiful not to do. Rainbow Garden starts in September, and well, of course, I had to sign up for it. Here is the model photo:

And their blog post about the new block of the month program has close-ups of the first three blocks.

This afternoon I fused Fall Frolic Block K and got it ready to stitch down.

Since I mentioned them in yesterday's post, I thought I would go ahead and share my progress on Bluebeard's Princess and Chateau Hexagon.  I am still waiting on my silks and beads (hoping they will arrive this week), so this is just DMC and one metallic.

I'm taking my time with Chateau Hexagon, since it is my first embroidery stitchery, ever (other than the Textured Floral wool one I have in progress that I REALLY need to get out and finish already!). I refer to the directions and model photo all the time to make sure I'm doing this right, but I have to say - making french knots look good on this are easy-peasy compared to doing them on cross stitch fabrics. And making backstitches look good is much easier on cross stitching fabric vs. here, because there is a specific length on cross stitch fabric, and here I just wing it. I think lazy daisy stitches also tend to look prettier on regular fabric for embroidery than cross stitch fabric. Trade-offs for each.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bright and cheerful blocks

Here are August's blocks for my SSS 2013 quilt, nice and bright and cheery.

I'm also working on my newest Mirabilia project (Bluebeard's Princess), but I still haven't gotten the silks and beads for it, so I'm just working around those stitches with the DMC I have. And I've put some of the embroidery stitches in Chateau Hexagon, but still have more to do there. My pink hexagons are starting to take shape, and I have one pink block about halfway pieced. Oh, and I just received my block of the month for Fall Frolic, so I have those pieces to trace and cut out and get ready to put together. Lots to do, lots to do! :)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Finished pillow

This morning I finished quilting my pillow cover and assembled it. I just did simple straight line machine quilting, because I wanted it done quick so I can use it in my bedroom. Here is the result, so "me".

I had extra time today to work on it because, even though I am no longer going to quilt guild meetings, I'm still going to take time off each month to sew and quilt.

Mom asked me if I had any fabric leftover from the double wedding ring quilt I made for her. I was sure I had a few scraps, but was pleasantly surprised to find the majority of the ones I used sitting in my stash just waiting for me to bag them up and take them to her. She is thinking of making a pillow sham to go with the quilt, which lives on their bed. As I was looking back through the photos of making that quilt, I was not surprised that I couldn't find any scraps for several of the fabrics, since I tend to use scraps in other quilts. I also found some lurking in Dream a Little Dream, High Cotton, Smith Mountain Morning, as well as a few hanging out in the piles I have stacked up for Over the Rainbow. I just love carrying my favorite fabrics from quilt to quilt. My Rail Fence quilt has scraps in it from at least three other quilts, and it's such a joy to look at and snuggle under. So I'm pleased as punch that Mom wants to use scraps from her DWR quilt to make something else, and that I could find enough of the originals to give to her.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Pillow top and hexie progress

Here is my pillow top, ready for me to sandwich and quilt. I used the fabrics from The Morris Apprentice collection, chopped into 2½ inch squares, totally random arrangement. I finished putting the squares together yesterday, and I will probably work on quilting it on Tuesday.

Today I have been working on my Over the Rainbow project some more, in between loads of laundry and the normal weekend chores. I finished putting together the seventh purple hexie block, and feel a nice sense of accomplishment along with just a little sadness that the purple hexies are done. I still have a few purple hexies left over, and I know they will go into some other project in the future (or maybe I'll just pull them out and look at them every now and then). :)

As I've mentioned previously, I started making pink hexies to go in my next set of blocks, and though I don't have quite enough basted yet to make a complete block, I had enough to start. I will continue to baste my stack of hexagons, and put together one or two as I finish a stack of basting.

Here is my little project box - a floss box perfectly holds the basted 1-inch hexies plus extra papers, a spool of my favorite Aurifil thread, a few binding clips, and a pair of scissors (not shown). It doesn't hold my purple Clover needle threader, but I always have it close at hand. I LOVE my needle threader. I use it with sharps, and it works perfectly. I read lots of reviews before I decided to try it, and it seems that people either love it or hate it. And their hating it has a lot to do with the type of needle that it threads (or doesn't, as the case may be). It does not thread needles with elongated eyes (tapestry or embroidery), but it does thread needles with oval eyes, so sharps and quilting work well for me (and the needles don't have to be Clover brand). I haven't tried other needles, but will probably check milliner's needles in the future to see if they work. Also, when using it, you don't hold the thread really tight, just lightly, as you push the side lever. Can't believe I waited so long to get one! :)

Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Perfect day for sewing

It's cloudy and occasionally a little rainy outside today, a perfect day to be spending a little time with my sewing machine and projects. I'm making a cup of Blueberry Creme decaf coffee and putting a few squares of fabric together to make a pillow cover.

This week I worked on a couple of cross stitch projects - one already in progress, though this letter is new - here is N is for Nest so far.

And one brand new start, Bluebeard's Princess by Mirabilia. I recently saw a photo of a finished one on what I believe is this color fabric, and fell in love. This is 28ct. Cashel linen, color Gothic by Picture This Plus. Just the first day of stitching so far - I had to put needle and thread to fabric as soon as the fabric arrived in the mail this week. I don't have all of the fibers yet because I had to order a few of the silks and braids, plus the magnifica beads. Hoping they come soon! I did sub a Petite Treasure Braid for the gold Kreinik, because it just behaved better.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Getting it done (or not)

We have already arrived at August?! Wow did July fly by!

So, let's see how we did for last month's goals.

1. Complete the July blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt and have all 49 alternate blocks completed by the end of July. I finished the July blocks but did not even work on the alternate blocks this month.
2. Complete the Fall Frolic block of the month (should be J) and make 50 of the HSTs that will be used in putting it together, minimum. Yes, I finished both parts!
3. Make the binding and attach it to my SSS 2012 Block of the Month quilt, which is back from my quilter, Ruth Donnell. That way I can mark this quilt as finished! I made the binding and attached it to the front, but I didn't stitch it down to the back yet.
4. Finish piecing the bear paw blocks (6 left) for Clifford's Bear Chase quilt. Yes, I finished piecing the bear paw blocks!

I didn't quite meet all of my July goals. I was quite distracted by a lot of different things this month, and actually finished two cross stitch projects, so I'm not counting it all as a loss. Since some of them were compound goals, I think I need to go back to simpler goals for August, so I can meet them and still do other things that come up as the month goes by.

Goals for August

1. Complete the August blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.
2. Complete the Fall Frolic block of the month (should be K).
3. Hand stitch the binding to the back of the SSS 2012 quilt.
4. Put together at least one pink hexagon block for the Over the Rainbow quilt.