Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post-ABFSI Breather

This is it. The last official hoorah of Thanksgiving dinner at my house. My first ever homemade Turkey Pot Pie. Leftover turkey, leftover peas, leftover corn. I was going to use the turkey stock I made on Friday but forgot to take it out of the freezer and since I still had gallons of chicken broth in my pantry I went the store-bought route on that instead. (Also store-bought crusts. I'm basically pasty-lazy.)

I don't own ramekins. They'd have made this so much easier. The crust is all ugly because the innards were spilling out all over the counter and I was trying to clamp it's escape route down, aesthetics be darned.  I'll also adjust the recipe next time and play more with seasonings. My nephew (who always knows just when to call and get invited over for dinner!) loved it. I thought it needed more something. Not sure what something yet. Just more of it. And, apparently, ramekins. But still, good way to clean out the fridge. No more Thanksgiving in the Kenmore!

And this is as close as I got to fabric tonight. One of the things I had taken from Mom's stash as we were cleaning out her studio after her passing was a full-size, Cotton Theory quilt kit from The Quilt Yard. Something like $140 worth of fabric. The pattern had gotten separated, although I have a vague tickling memory that I did eventually track it down and it's lurking in my pattern files somewhere. I had kept it together for nearly three years because I had originally thought, "Sure, I'll make that." That eventually morphed into, "Well, I don't think I'll make that, but Mom would probably have a fit if I separated everything," But I don't have much interest in doing a full-sized Cotton Theory quilt, so tonight I decided I really ought to break down the kit and let the fabric pieces go live with the rest of my fabric in one big happy family, rather than sequestered off in their own little gated (or tied-with-twine) community. Mom was all about family. She'd like to see her fabric making new friends. And by now, she's probably tapping her foot in mild annoyance and saying, "Oh, would you just get on with it already? Just use the dang fabric!"

Lots of fabric, by the way. More than I'd thought when it was all tightly folded and bound. Most of the ones on the upper left are 5/8 yard pieces, some a little bigger. Most of the near stack are a yard and more--one 2 1/2 yards. That one in the middle? Well, that's a wierd one. Something like 82" long by 22" wide. Basically, slightly over two yards of fabric, cut in half lengthwise. Maybe meant for borders? Not sure. Odd, but then, all families have that eccentric aunt or uncle. She fits right in.

There's something so very relaxing about folding fabric, isn't there? I love it.

I've got a fairly open weekend coming up, so I'll get back to my sewing machine then. Apparently after my super-productive mode of last weekend, I just needed a breather. So I spent an hour petting fabric. Mmm.

Monday, November 28, 2011

ABFSI Report--Anti-Black-Friday Sew-In

Got all my hexies cut...finally... (218 in total.)

Got my Christmas table runner done. 

(Well, technically, that project stretched into Saturday and Sunday but it all blurred together so I'm counting it as ABFSI.) This was the one that I started at my quilt retreat--just had to do the backing, quilt and bind it. This was a "Triangle Tablerunner" kit from Generations Quilt Shop in Pottstown, PA. It's almost 50" long, about 13" wide. I even remembered to put a little label in the corner--which will be handwritten with a sharpie where right now you can barely see my pencil markings. Nothing fancy there. The backing is something I inherited from my Mom--she'd have appreciated this particular use. Stitched in the ditch, no quilting on the border. Very, very basic. This is going to be a gift for a home with little tots so I wanted something sturdy and that wouldn't be fancy enough that it would break anyone's heart if something happens to it. A Very Practical Christmas. But aren't those pudgy birds with Santa hats just the cutest dang thing?

I was supposed to go somewhere Sunday afternoon and it got cancelled, so I made very good headway on my pinwheel wallhanging, too. It was a banner weekend for quiltmaking up in these parts!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Get 'er done...Niece's quilt on to the next steps

"Shadow Boxes" Full
I was able to get the top and the backing completed tonight--woohoo! Now I've just got to put in a call to My Fabulous Long-armer and see if I can drop it off tomorrow. The pattern is "Shadow Boxes" by Mary Danielson, #506 in the Five Yard Quilt collection from Fast pattern for a gift. The fabric is the Sausalito collection from P&B Textiles. I'll be talking about this project, the pattern, and the fabrics in my next episode--hopefully posting tomorrow...
"Shadow Boxes" Close

WIP: Niece's quilt (Take 2)

Got the center pieced yesterday (while my dogs were still in recovery mode and therefore leaving me very much alone). Today I just have to put a couple of borders on, then get the backing together so I can drop it off with the long-armer tomorrow.

Unfortunately, we've got high winds today which makes me really super-headachy (sinuses) so I'm seriously dragging. I'm doing a little self-care this morning in hopes that I can perk up this afternoon and get done what needs to get done.

In the realm of "what needs to get done" also lives grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner and posting a podcast episode. So here's hoping I can get a little more giddy-up in my get-along or whatever the appropriate phraseology would be!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

OT: It was apparently a rough morning...

My daughter and I took our two dogs to the vet this morning. This is where one of them has been, ever since.

Paint Chip Challenge...the story continues...

Kona Solids charm packs to the rescue! I ordered three charm packs of Kona Solids from Fat Quarter Shop: Brights, Pastels, and one in grays and blacks that I think was named "Silent Movie" or something like that. Even though I technically only needed three colors, I decided it wasn't such a bad idea to add some solid charms to my charm stash to help round out charm packs for projects. As I've talked about in past episodes, pre-cut packs are always way heavy in the mediums and struggle a bit with lights and darks; plus, solids in small pieces can sometimes provide a nice counterpart to a whole lot of pattern going on.

In any case, I matched my paint chips pretty dang closely, don't you think?

I also got another fabric to go with this too--but can't show a picture of it because it would completely give-away what my plans are for the challenge project. And I want to keep that a least, until I know if I can actually pull it off!

By the way, don't forget to leave your own thoughts about what you'd make from these colors on the first post on this topic to have your name entered for a give-away. (Please do leave it on that first post--can't guarantee I'll catch your name for the drawing if you leave it on a different post!) Thanks to everyone who has already commented--I've really enjoyed reading them!

Friday, November 18, 2011

WIP: Niece's quilt

Originally uploaded by sandyquiltz
A quick update on my goings-on, as I've been going-around. I was out of town for a few days again this week...last trip until February! Woohoo! But that meant I had to do a little radio silence again as I had very little Internet access while I was gone. I did manage to knock out some more blocks on my niece's Christmas quilt on Sunday afternoon, though, so here's a sneak preview of what we're aiming for.

I hope to get the center pieced tonight, and then borders on tomorrow, so I can get it to Andrea (my fabulous long-arm quilter) early next week.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What Would (a) Quilter Do?

Paint Chip Challenge Chips
Originally uploaded by sandyquiltz
My guild is doing another paint chip challenge--one of my faves! We draw three paint chips at random from a jar. We then have to use fabrics in those colors, add a black and a white, and make it work. We're not supposed to use fabrics that have any other colors in them--and no shades or tints. It has to be as close to that actual color as we can manage to get. I'm thinking it would be virtually impossible to avoid having any other colors at all in our projects unless we all only use solids--I'm trying to remember what I did last time we did this a few years back. However, our guild can be quite forgiving, shall we say. And there's really nothing at stake--it's just for fun. So although I'm interpreting it pretty darn closely (yes, I am using predominantly solids), I may veer just a hair off the path.

I know what I'm doing--I immediately saw it in my mind when I looked at these three colors in my hand. I just went online this morning and bought the fabric I'll be using; although I've got plenty of black and white in my stash, I didn't have anything distinctly any of these colors.

I'm curious: What would you do with these? What do they say to you? (Leave your own response by November 27th and I'll draw one lucky commenter's name for a fabricy gift! *Editor--I've extended the deadline a few days because of a glitch in my podcast that meant I couldn't give listeners as much lead-time as I'd like. So you have a few more days to respond!)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yes, it's another WIP

Originally uploaded by sandyquiltz
I just can't seem to stop myself. Yet another project in progress. This is the Sausalito line from P&B Textiles--very purdy. The quilt should come together pretty quickly...a girl can dream, anyway.

I'll keep you posted!

Working on this week's podcast episode--should go live tomorrow...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hand-dyeing Fun

Like my last post, this one is also related to episode 66, "In Which We Go on Retreat," of my podcast series. In that episode I described the class we had in dyeing fabric. What a hoot!

The first example is my least favorite, which is why I'm starting out with it. Maybe seeing the others below will blank this one out of your memory.

That being said, parts of the stripes look like a reflection on a calm I can easily see some fussy-cut-utility here.

I heart this one. Blues, greens, and lots of white space.

My first attempt at the Shibori technique. (For a great blog post about Shibori, visit here.)

Didn't work so well because my fabric really wanted to come unwrapped when I scrunched it down the PVC pipe. I like the colors and it's still a very usable result, but I wanted a more distinct pattern...
...and so I tried it again. Got a much better pattern this time, but traded off the heavy orange at the end of the last one with a lot of white at the end of this one. This technique takes some practice.
I had no idea the blue was going to turn out this brilliant...and no, no photo-editing involved! The other color is raspberry, which also came out pretty intense, but I did dunk the hey out of it so I suppose it's no surprise. Digging the results.

I believe I just wadded this one up randomly and wrapped rubber bands around it at a variety of angles.

No idea how I did this. Wish I could remember because it's a look I'd love to replicate in other colors. It's a mix of teal and plum. (The center looks bright white in this picture--it's actually more of a very, very soft teal.)

And my other fave. Looks like a frosty windowpane, doesn't it? Super cool. Too bad I have no idea how I did that one either.

I had a blast dying fabric. So much so that I've promised myself I'm not going to buy any of the supplies to do more until I've used at least a few of these pieces in a project.

So I guess that means I have to get to work!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Retreat Progress

In episode 66, I give an overview of my quilt guild retreat a couple of weeks ago, with some product reviews and project updates. I promised they be!

One of the only two blocks I got done for the Jelly Roll Sampler quilt, "Tulip" block. (From Jelly Roll Sampler Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. I think this is the Fig & Plum jelly roll by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda.)

Because of the way the dark strip gets cuts, some of the print makes certain pieces blend a lot with the background. Fussy-cutting isn't really an option when you're trying to stick with just using a single jelly roll with no additions for the project. Oh well. C'est la vie.

"Rocky Road" block (from same).
I really like the blue in this fabric line. Nice cross between beachy and cottage-y.

"Triangle Tablerunner" kit from Generations Quilt Shop.
(I talk about Generations in episode 64.)

Not hard to put together as long as (as they suggest) you keep track of where the straight-of-grain edge is on each of the triangles and make sure they're on the outside edge--keeps the strip a lot more stable. I like the red sashing.

Close-up of part of "Triangle Tablerunner" kit to show fabrics.

I'm bumming I can't see more of my fat little birdies with Santa caps. They're dang cute, aren't they?
...And finally, the "stack n' slash" using flannel fat quarters. I didn't do too much variation in this. When I've done others in the past, I've divided into two or three different piles so I'd have different looking blocks. Rotated throughout, in some cases it's hard to tell where the blocks are. In this, all the blocks are the same so there are definite visual lines.

But it's still a nice cuddle quilt for a rainy day.

Of course, now that I'm looking at it again, I'm seeing blocks I'd like to swap around. Random. Pshaw.

Stay tuned for another blog post in a couple of days with hand-dyed goodness!