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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Working on those goals

I chose some of log cabin fabrics and started making blocks. Here are two additional sets. That leaves about 6 sets to piece, I think.


After I finished piecing those, I started working on piecing together various sections of Fall Frolic. I have the top two-thirds of the interior pieced, and am LOVING how it looks.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rainbow Garden block 2 (aka my first block)

I just put the finishing stitches into block 2 (we'll be doing block 1 next month), and I love how this looks.


As Donna reminded me, Hop To It was supposed to be my next wool felt project, after finishing Fall Frolic - that was my plan. Of course, plans changed as soon as A Rainbow Garden was announced. But I might have to go ahead and work on another block, just because it's so pretty. I might have to just add that to "the list". :) I would definitely be lost without my lists - but, as with anything else, they are subject to change at a moment's notice.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Quarter close

As my husband gets ready for "quarter close" at work, I realize that we are nearly 3/4 through this year already. It doesn't seem as if it has just started, but I am amazed that we are already that far through it, Autumn is coming, and Winter will soon follow.

Knowing that there are only 3 months left in the year, I have started to think about what I want to accomplish by year's end. I made a list of the 6 needlework projects I haven't yet touched this year, and I would still like to work on each of them at least a little. That means basically 2 per month. One I might even be able to finish.

  • Chinese Dragon Gate
  • Dragon Ride
  • Egyptian Sampler
  • Magical Night
  • Use It Up
  • Textured Floral (crewel)

I also made a list of some of the quilting projects I would like to work on and what I'd like to accomplish with those (in addition to my blocks of the month).

  • Dream a Little Dream - Finish the first panel
  • Blocks from the Past - Do at least one more pieced and one applique block
  • Country Baskets - Finish all the basket blocks, including quilting.
  • Fall Frolic - Piece the top together now that the last block is finished
  • Eldon - Pick out the fabrics for the remaining log cabin blocks (actually this part is done unless I change my mind) and piece them together (but not necessarily into the star blocks)
  • Jared Takes a Wife - Piece all of the blocks

A rather ambitious list, I think. And I don't even have any crochet or knit projects listed, and those will probably want to come out to play too, once the weather gets a little cooler.

I will have one quilt to finish that is a gift, before the end of the year - Clifford's Bear Chase is at my quilter's, and it will need to be bound when it comes back to me. I was originally going to try to finish Jared also this year, but I may not get around to piecing that one together - it totally depends on the time and not having the other projects screaming louder at me. Jared was originally to be a gift, but I recently learned that the couple I was going to give it to, well, they're getting a divorce... so I'll eventually finish it, and I may keep it. Or I might save it to give as a special gift to someone else down the road. I'm just sad that I won't be giving it to that couple. We enjoyed spending time with them, and I'm bummed we won't get to do that anymore. But I'm kinda glad that we found out before presenting them with the quilt. I wouldn't want them to fight over it, and I know how "couple" gifts can often just be reminders of something you don't want to think about. Anyway, for now I'll work on it and keep it for the future. When the time is right, I'll know what to do with it.

I have been blanket stitching my new Rainbow Garden block, and almost have it ready to photograph. Just a little more stitching, some lazy daisies to add here and there, a few french knots... it's so pretty. Tomorrow will be a full day of quilting and stitching - hooray for weekends!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Um.... wow

As I mentioned to some friends recently, I have completely lost my mind - again. :)

I had heretofore said that I would not buy the Wind in the Whiskers kit by McKenna Ryan because it is SO detailed and huge, and I just didn't think I was up to it. And now I'm eating my words.

Today, the kit for the first block came in the mail, and my jaw dropped when I saw it (that's a whole lot of fabric!). Then I realized, it contains fabrics for the entire quilt, not just the first block. I don't plan on starting this soon, but once again I couldn't help myself from going ahead and ordering it once I changed my mind.


I never imagined I would do any appliqué quilts. A couple of appliqué pieces on pieced quilts here and there, but never a huge, fully appliquéd quilt. Just goes to show you how things change. :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Prepwork

While yesterday consisted of a lot of sewing, today consisted of some prepwork for future sewing.

I cut out some additional fabrics for 3 more of the little log cabin block sets.

I ironed fusible to some fabrics for the next two Country Baskets Calendar blocks (September and October). I haven't cut out the pieces yet to fuse them to the backgrounds but I expect to do that within the next week or so.

I also cut and fused my new wool appliqué project block pieces to the backing fabric, prepping it for the blanket stitching and other embellishments. I am going to try to use my stash of Valdani pearl cotton instead of buying the ones that the shop is using. I may end up needing one or two more colors as we go through the project (14 months), but I'm really hoping to utilize what I've already purchased. This is block 2, and I have to say, I'm very pleased that the wools are much more muted than the photo of their stitched model. It's funny how photos can skew the actual colors occasionally, depending on lighting and / or flash. The photocopy of the photo that was included in my kit this month was even brighter than the one on the blog. The photo below is pretty true to the actual colors.


I plan to start stitching on this tonight. I would like to keep up with this project each month, like I've done with Fall Frolic.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

More blocks finished

First up is the third pink hexie block for Over the Rainbow, finished last night just before bedtime.


Next up is four more sets of (8 each) little log cabin blocks.


It took me all day to finish those four little sets! But I did have to cut some of the pieces out, and there are 32 blocks total, so I'm not feeling bad. I think I have 8 more sets to make. I have some of the pieces cut out, but not all, so I'll have to do a little of that when I get ready to piece those. I listened to an about half of an audiobook while piecing - so relaxing and enjoyable - I just get lost in my own little world.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Started the virtual quilting retreat a little early

I actually started piecing these Tuesday evening, but didn't get very far. Then I pieced a little more yesterday after work, and then finished them up this afternoon. I'm hoping to get a couple more sets done this weekend - we'll see how it goes. These strips are 1 inch, finishing at ½ inch wide, and each block is 4½ with seam allowances, finishing up at 4 inches square. Lots of pieces for such a tiny thing. And there are 8 of each colorway to be set in to the star blocks for Eldon.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall Frolic ready to be assembled

Tonight I finished the appliqué on Block L, so it is ready to start the assembly. Of course, there are all of those HSTs and squares to piece together as I begin assembling the blocks, so it will take a little while to finish, but I am really looking forward to seeing it come together! Here is a (little dark, little blurry - sorry!) picture of Block L.


I have decided what I'm going to work on this weekend for the Virtual Quilt Retreat - those itty bitty log cabin block sets for Eldon. I finally picked out what I believe will be the fabrics for the rest of those, and it seems like there are a bajillion of them, so I'd best get started. :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chateau Hexagon Block 2

It's finished! Once again, where there is a missing element - this time a flower - that is where a button will go.


I'm also working away on the Fall Frolic Block L, about halfway finished with the blanket stitching. And I'm trying to decide what I'm going to work on this weekend for the Virtual Quilting Retreat. I have several projects in mind, but I'm trying to narrow it down to one, maybe two (one machine-piecing project and a hand-piecing one).

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blocks of the month - such fun!

I think I have become addicted to blocks of the month. One is ending, one is just beginning, and 2 others are currently in progress.

Because of my Chateau Hexagon block of the month, I have a product review for pre-cut hexagon appliqué papers from Hugs n Kisses.

Product description (from their web site): The Appliqué paper is unique because it is made up of half soluble and half non-soluble fibers. The 50% soluble parts will dissolver inside the appliqué when washed leaving soft fibers inside your quilt. So it does not need to removed after appliqué is complete but can be left in the quilt or project giving stability until laundering.

With my second block for Chateau Hexagon, I received a new product that the shop sent along for us to try. I'm generally game to try new products that might improve my quilting, decrease the time it takes to do something, etc., so I set about fusing my little ½ inch hexagons to the wrong side of the fabric. Then I cut them out with my ¼ inch seam seam allowances (sometimes a little less, because these are so small but larger than 1/8 inch).


closeup of the appliqué paper fused to wrong side of fabric

What I normally do with both paper and plastic templates is baste them through the seam allowance, but not through the papers, so the basting never shows on the right side of the fabric, and you can just pop the papers out, leaving the basting threads in when they are attached on all 6 sides.

So at first, this is what I tried to do. Only since these are woven papers, it's not quite as easy to know that you aren't piercing through to the front. Also, since it's woven (and thinner than the papers I'm used to - card stock for English paper piecing), it's flimsy, for lack of a better word. It doesn't really have a good crisp, hard edge that you can feel and be sure that you're folding only the fabric at the edge. In other words, I had to check and double-check and sometimes triple-check that I wasn't folding the woven paper in addition to the fabric.


very flimsy hexie basted (please ignore the manicure - it's Friday and time to re-do the lacquer, obviously!)

I decided to try the glue method next. I have one of those glue pencils (I think mine's a Fons and Porter one), so I put a small line of it on the edge of the paper, then carefully tried to fold my seam allowance down. Part of my problem was likely that I tried to put all 6 glue lines on the paper at once, and even though it's a really small piece, the glue dried immediately, almost on contact. Oops. At least I got the first side down. Then I tried the other sides and by the time I got to the last one, they were more finger-pressed than actually stuck down. I also like to tuck the last edge under the first, and had to peel up the first edge to do that. Not really convenient or time-saving. I didn't think the glue would hold, so I ended up getting needle and thread back out and basting it like the other.

The nice thing was - the shop I bought my block of the month kit through said in their instructions, "We're trying this new product, but if you don't like it, let us know and we'll send you the regular papers." So that's what I've asked them to do. I am very comfortable with paper pieces (card-stock weight), so I will just use that from here on out. The Hugs n Kisses applique paper may work for other uses (applique), but for me (your mileage may vary), it just doesn't do the job I want it to do for my hexies. So I printed out some ½ inch hexie templates on card stock and will remove the fusible (fortunately it seems to come off fairly easily) from my fabrics for this month's hexies.


card stock paper basted hexie - not flimsy AT ALL

Here are the hexies side by side, wrong side up. I hope that putting them together will be okay with the wibbly-wobbly one next to a stiff cardstock one.


And here is the block that I am working on for this month. The appliqué is finished, and I'm working on the embroidery now.


Now for two other blocks of the month - I just love packages in the mail!

I just received these two yesterday - on the left is my final kit for Fall Frolic, in the middle is my new pattern, and on the right is the first kit (actually block 2, block 1 comes next month because the fabric for it just came in) for A Rainbow Garden.


Again, lots to look forward to! I think that might be one of the reasons I love blocks of the month so much - they are generally not overwhelming, give a really nice sense of accomplishment, and give me something different to work on besides my normal quilt projects each month.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Mermaid hair frou-frou

I settled down the past couple of evenings with Bluebeard's Princess, and could not resist adding the beads to her hair. Here is the latest progress photo with another view at a slight angle so the beads show up a little better.



I still want to revisit all of my cross stitch wips before the end of the year, but the mermaid has a hold on me at the moment. :)

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Block of the month a week early

I had to run up to the quilt shop yesterday after work so that I could go ahead and pick up my block of the month. Being on call two weeks in a row, I didn't want to chance that I'd get halfway there and have to turn around to deal with a work emergency.

So I went ahead and picked up September's block(s) of the month, and now they are finished. This month's blocks are not as bright as last month's blocks, but they are very pretty nonetheless. Do you see the paw prints in the compass fabric? Too cute!


I also had to pick up some more fabric for the alternate blocks. I will eventually find where I put the remaining fabric from the first 30 that I pieced - I just don't know when I will find it. And I didn't want to take the chance that I wouldn't have enough, and they might have sold out of all of it by the time I realized that.

So today I finished up those alternate blocks too - all 49 are now ready to be pieced into the quilt in December when the remaining blocks are done.


Last night I finished the blanket stitching around the appliqué pieces, so this morning I also finished piecing that block together. Now both July and August are ready to be quilted. Perhaps I could work on September this month too...


I also picked up backing fabric for Clifford's quilt, so now I just need to run over to Ruth's and pick out a quilting pattern. Maybe one day next week after work...

And I'll leave you with a sight often seen (and heard) around our house - Stilts, having just finished putting the pillow down from her mouth (where she had been howling with it), is telling us ALL about it.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

July basket ready to be quilted

I really like this one. Love how everything turned out. I managed to finish the blanket stitching last night, then pieced it all together today after work (it helped that I had all the pieces pre-cut and didn't sew them together wrong!). :)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Last day of stay-cation

I did it! I finally buckled down and finished the binding on my SSS 2012 block of the month quilt, yay! Here is the husband holding up the quilt, and a closeup of the binding and a little of the quilting. I had it quilted by Ruth Donnell, my wonderful longarm quilter. I'll be seeing her soon to take her Clifford's Bear Chase to quilt.



After that, I got back to my hexies and finished up pink block #2.


Today I'm working on the blanket stitching for my July and August country baskets applique blocks. And maybe a hexie or two.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

More blocks on the design wall

Today I finally finished those star point units for Jared. Honestly, had I not decided to get all fancy and put directional fabrics in them (and not used two colors for the star points - blue and brown - in each block), they probably would have gone a lot faster. I had to make sure everything was placed correctly before piecing them together.

Here are 5 new Jared blocks hanging at the top of my design wall. I now have 11 of 30 blocks put together.


And now I'm going to, once again, work on the binding for the SSS 2012 quilt. I got another third finished last night, so I'm kind of hoping to finish it tonight. Tomorrow at the latest. :)

Monday, September 02, 2013

Next on my to-do list

The fourth and fifth items on my extra-long weekend quilting to-do list were to prep some more blocks for High Cotton, and to work on Jared Takes a Wife. Today I did both of those things.

I prepped 7 more fabrics, equaling 14 more blocks for High Cotton, mostly blues this time around.


I then spent the rest of the day working on Jared Takes a Wife. These little units take forever! I am not finished - I think I have about 7-8 more blocks' worth to do, so I will try to work on that some tomorrow. Then I can start finally putting the rest of the blocks together (I have 4 of 30 complete).


I am going now to work on my binding some more. I got about 1/3 of it sewed down last night. :)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Today's works-in-progress

Before I started this weekend, I made a list of some of the projects I wanted to work on and what I wanted to accomplish. As of today, 3 of the 5 goals are complete (Clifford's quilt top done, Fall Frolic's A block pieced together with 18 HSTs were 1 & 2). Today I worked on the third, which was prep the July calendar block for blanket stitch appliqué and do the paper pieced basket bottom for that block. Well, I actually got both July and August prepped, and was a little surprised at how well it all went, only having to rip out a couple of stitches along the way. Here they are, and now I have some handwork to do before finishing piecing them into their respective blocks.


But before I pull them off the wall, I'm going to pull out that quilt that needs binding and work a little on it this evening. Really it shouldn't take but a few evenings of work to sew the binding to the back, and I am determined to get that done this month! Claudia, you're absolutely right, and that's what I'm going to do - little goals of binding work, then my reward is hexies (or appliqué or whatever). :)

August and September Goals

Time to report and plan

Goals for August - how did I do?

1. Complete the August blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt. DONE!
2. Complete the Fall Frolic block of the month (should be K). DONE!
3. Hand stitch the binding to the back of the SSS 2012 quilt. Not even started.
4. Put together at least one pink hexagon block for the Over the Rainbow quilt. DONE!

Well, once again, other projects claimed my interest more than stitching the binding down on that quilt! I really need to get that done so I can mark it off my list, but since it's my quilt, and binding is not nearly as much fun as say, making and piecing hexies, it just isn't getting done. I'm going to try one more time...

Goals for September

1. Complete the September blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.
2. Complete the Fall Frolic block of the month (Block L).
3. Hand stitch the binding to the back of the SSS 2012 quilt.
4. Finish piecing the alternate blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.