Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another project completed--yippee!

My MIL's quilt is done! Just as a reminder, it's a pattern named "Floral Bouquet" from the book Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. (This time DH is playing quilt hanger. He didn't complain as much as my usual DD quilt hanger does!)

It wasn't a hard pattern to put together, although I discovered this time how very stretchy jelly roll strips can be. You don't expect it because they're not on the bias, but they're on the width-wise grain which can be a bit bouncy. I had a little more problem keeping my blocks square with this pattern than I expected, but at the same time it was a very forgiving pattern because it had all that nice white space to give me room for squaring things up every step along the way.

Here's a close-up of one of the blocks. I tried to stay as random as possible without repeating a fabric in a block. I then mostly stayed random with placing the blocks in rows but I did switch out one or two that had too much repetition right next to each other.

Here's my label. (Yes, although I said in my podcast episode today I was considering not doing one, that was mostly due to time. But I ended up with time I didn't expect to have. It looks out of line because I blurred out part of it in the photo.) This is the first time I've made a label using the embroidery stitches on my sewing machine. It's not an embroidery machine so I don't have a ton of options, but it does have lettering. I had to practice on several scraps because I couldn't quite figure out how the embroidery would line itself up but finally got it. I drew some guide lines to keep each line relatively straight and each line evenly spaced from the other. The label doesn't have as much information on it as I usually do but it's never going in a show and I'm documenting all the additional information in my own records.

I left the lighting unbalanced in this one so you could see the quilting better (I hope). It was done by Andrea of Olde Glory Quilting. She doesn't have a website or I'd link it--sorry! She's a local long-arm quilter that only does pantograph--all over--quilting, but does a really nice job and was amazingly fast! I had it in a week. All I had told her was that I wanted something that would pick up on the floral but would stay "open and airy." She showed me this pattern and I knew she was right. It was perfect.

So that's it! My MIL will love it, I know. I also know I probably should have ripped the binding out and redone it because it really didn't work the way I wanted it to, but in the "real world," it's fine. And it's done, and now I can move on to the next project!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A wonderfully quick gift--sachets

Lavender Sachet
Originally uploaded by sandyquiltz
I whipped up this sachet tonight adapting a tutorial from Quilting in the Rain blog at Her tutorial has a different design which I really, really like and will do at some point--it just didn't fit the particular scraps I wanted to use tonight. These are scraps from my MIL's quilt so guess who's getting the sachet?

My LQS had bags of dried lavender there when I stopped by last week. Couldn't resist picking up a baggie. Now I want to go buy more and use up a lot more scraps. I just started growing lavender myself last summer. We'll see if I get enough expansion this summer to be able to dry some myself.

The corners aren't pointy because I decided to reinforce the corners a bit by sewing a short seam diagonally across the corner seam. I had a sachet years ago (it was either a gift or I'd picked it up at a gift shop at one point--don't recall how it came to me now) that popped a seam in a corner and I ended up with little whatever-they-weres all over my drawer. So now I'm a bit nervy about those things. I decided I'd give up a bit of corner perfection for a bit of reassurance.

Anyway, cute project. Fun project. Fast project. Check out her blog!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A completed project I forgot to mention...

...because it was laying on the side of my cutting table for awhile waiting for me to do that one last step before I could call it done!

When I was at the quilt festival in Houston last November, I discovered the vendor booth of "Wooly Lady," who had all sorts of wonderful colors in felted wool, and fantastic kits and designs, different from the usual country colors and primitive-art-inspired felted wool kits I know and love. I succumbed to the lure of this kit, mostly because I knew this one would actually fit in my suitcase. Others that made me drool would've required a little extra ingenuity in packing to get home.

This photo really, really doesn't do the colors justice. If you want to see the original, use this link and scroll down until you see "Hollyhock Wool Applique Bell Pull." I'm noticing as I look at the one on her site that she did more embroidery on hers than I did on mine. Oh well--mine is reveling in its basic-ness.

I had a near tragedy with this, though. I had the top piece (the purple with all the applique pieces) downstairs where I could work on the applique while I was watching TV. Meanwhile, the black backing piece was folded up on the edge of my cutting table. I noted its presence there as I began one evening to cut fabric for another project. "Hmm...I should probably move that," I thought, "before I accidentally clip it with the rotary cutter." Did I move it? No. Did I clip it with the rotary cutter? Ahem. There's a nice little wedge-shaped piece now that I had to sort of glue into place. Good thing the black was on the back.

This is a fun little narrow wallhanging that will be able to move around my house as whim and decorating schemes require--just right to fill in an odd little blank spot. Love it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

And My Next Project Is... (Drumroll please)

OK, I think I know what my next quilty project will be. We finally finished putting away the Christmas decorations today--they'd been down for some time, but stacked on our dining room table. For awhile. It's amazing what you can learn to ignore. My husband decided to tackle the job this afternoon and got everything packed away, then turned to me and asked, "Do we have something more springy to hang up in here?"

The wallhanging I have in our dining room is actually non-seasonal, but I will admit it leans towards fall and winter months better than spring and summer. It's a 9-Patch Pizazz in coppers and golds. It's supposed to go with how we'd planned on decorating our dining room when we first moved in, but we never quite got the dining room actually, well, decorated. It's still a bit plain. So the 9-Patch Pizazz pretty much determines the mood of the room completely on its own.

As soon as my husband asked me the question, my mind immediately started running through my stash. "I don't have anything yet...but I could make something!" I scurried right up to my sewing room for a fun hour of choosing some fabrics, scanning them into EQ7, and creating a design. I'm keeping it simple--just pinwheel blocks, each of one of four different colors, a couple of borders, and multi-colored pinwheel corner blocks (pictured). I played with several variations then showed my husband the top 4--he liked one better than the others so I let him make the call. I was pretty evenly divided between a couple of them.

The only thing stopping me from diving right into this tonight is the fact that my design calls for white-on-white background and I ran myself completely out of that on my MIL's quilt. I'll have to make a run to my LQS sometime this week.

The design only requires about a third of what I have of each of my chosen stash fabrics. I'm thinking if I really get going on this, I may make a tablerunner for the dining room table or for the top of the buffet out of the remaining fabric. Might be fun to have something that coordinates. One of my 2011 quilty goals is to have more seasonal quilts to use year-round and I have almost nothing for spring and very little for summer, so it'll be nice to meet one of my goals while still doing something purely on impulse--what fun!

I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

More fabric somehow found its way onto my shelves...

More fabric purchases
Originally uploaded by sandyquiltz
My son had an appointment today conveniently near my LQS. So while I was waiting for him I scooted over because I knew they were having a sale. These four beauties were just calling my name. Nice stash builders. (And yes, they're already folded and labeled to be stacked in their appropriate new homes.)

Meanwhile, I'm now sort of waffling about what I want to tackle next. Do I want to finish a UFO? If so, which one? What about that last Momufo still on my UFO shelf? What about those charity quilt projects in the plastic bag next to my cutting table? Or do I want to start something new? Would it be a pattern using some of the pre-cuts that I have so many of in my stash, or playing with some of my new fabrics?


Apparently I've been so driven the last couple of years that, now that I've done all the projects I absolutely wanted/needed to get done, my mind is flailing a bit trying to figure out where to go next!

Never fear. I'll figure it out. Meanwhile, I'm having fun going through my stash and my books in an effort to see what grabs me...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Check out the video of entrants into the "Quilting...for the Rest of Us" March Stash Mystery Challenge!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Of Cabbages...and Fabric...

Originally uploaded by sandyquiltz
Tonight, DH and I took my IL's to a beer and food pairing event at the NYS Wine and Culinary Center. In honor of St. Patrick's Day but in keeping with the NYSWCC's emphasis on eating locally, it was various NYS beers paired with traditional St. Patrick's Day foods made from local ingredients.

It was amazingly good, and it was an amazing amount of food. I always think of "tastings" as being little nibbles of something and little sips of something. I had actually had the passing thought of eating a small dinner before I left home. Glad I didn't! This was an actual meal. Appetizer of cold salmon on Irish Soda Bread with an herbed mayo--amazing, and I'm not a fan of cold fish. Corned beef and cabbage--very good, and I'm not a fan of corned beef. My fave was the lamb stew with potato three ways, although I only ate my potato one way, so to speak, because at that point I was ready to burst. Dessert was a chocolate bread pudding kind of thing, with ice cream made from Irish Red Ale. Sounds weird? Yes, it was a bit mind-bending to be able to taste beer in my ice cream but it was also surprisingly tasty! The pudding was also good but by then I had to admit defeat and left quite a bit of it on my plate. Each course had a different type of beer paired with it; they were more circumspect with their servings in that regard--probably all four tastings added up to one actual glass, and maybe even a short one at that. But that's all you needed. Again, any more and....kablam. Plus there was that hour drive home to think about.

In any case, we had a really nice time. That was our first time doing one of those events and we're definitely going back for other ones. They do a wide range of food-related programs and cooking classes focused on using local ingredients. I think I've found something to add to my Empty Nest List--cooking classes!

On the fabric front, pictured is my recent medicinal fabric purchase. When I was down with food poisoning, I fell victim to a Hancock's of Paducah sale email. It hit me at a weak point. On the other hand, I also figured that form of doctoring was still cheaper than a hospital stay. In any case, I had enough presence of mind to only purchase fabric that would fill in some blanks in my stash. I ignored all the pretty, pretty prints that threatened to turn my sleep- and food-deprived head. All of these were somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% off, and I got a yard of each. Not terribly exciting, but definitely useful!

I had a little bit of time to work on the Floral Bouquet quilt today--got the center part trimmed and squared up and the border segments sewn together. Tomorrow I just put the border on, get the backing ready, and hopefully drop it off at the long-armers. I'll post a photo once the border is on. I'm pleased with the way it's come together, although I've got an amazing amount of scrap I'll now feel the need to do something creative with...

Monday, March 7, 2011

But I'm Working on White Fabric!!!

Dinner Injury
Originally uploaded by sandyquiltz
Last spring, my son worked for awhile as a Cutco knife salesman. He actually did quite well, and ended up with almost a complete set between the samples he had to purchase to start and what he earned as rewards for high sales. Since he's still in a dorm, I get the benefit of the cutlery. They're good knives. However, I manage to cut myself just about every time I user them--they're dangerously sharp.

So I'm getting dinner ready tonight and slicing potatoes (I should learn not to use Cutco while chopping potatoes--I inevitably cut myself that way). Sure enough, this time I lopped off half a finger nail. As I'm holding my hand under the tap and my daughter and husband are running about trying to find the first aid supplies, all I kept saying was, "*!&!&*%$. This is going to bleed like the dickens and I'm sewing on white fabric tonight!!"

We have our priorities, after all.

Pictured is my daughter's attempt at bandaging. Not very skilled or pretty. I said I was tempted to draw a face on it and put on a puppet show. But at least it kept the fabric blood-free.

Doesn't do much for typing, though. I'll have to work something else out in the morning.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Finally...The End in Sight

The end of illness as well as the end of piecing!

If you're in the podcast BigTent group or connected on Facebook you already know that I've been down for the count for the last several days. I flew to NYC (delayed on the way there) on business Monday morning and by Monday night was laid out with food poisoning. Camped out in the hotel room all day Tuesday--up and around Wednesday but still not a whole lot better. Flew home Wednesday night (delayed, got home at midnight), took a step backwards Thursday. Finally today, I can say that I'm starting to feel somewhat human again.

As I'd posted in BigTent yesterday, I decided to release myself from the thought I'd pull off a podcast episode this week. My first goals were to eat, and then to sew. Anything after that is frosting. Not that I can face frosting at the moment. In any case...

Eating. Check. (Well, as long as I keep it small and very, very bland!)

Sewing. Check. Woohoo!

At about 5:30 tonight I decided I thought I could tackle the sewing machine. Funny, I worked all day with relative success, but the idea of being around sharp pointy things was a little more daunting. I'm pleased to say, though, that I have now finished piecing all the blocks for the Floral Bouquet quilt. I decided not to push my luck and try to start putting the blocks together--plenty of time for that tomorrow and Sunday. Like my meals, I think I'm better off for the moment keeping my quilting small and very, very bland. A few straight seams, no corners to match, we're golden.

And by the way, I've mentioned to friends that NYC is not my fave place in the world. And this trip didn't do much to endear it to me. Flight delays coming and going and it bit me, to boot. Maybe it's just getting me back for talking bad about it behind its back.