Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For My DQS7 Partner...

Hello to my DQS7 partner!

I figured I ought to give up some more details about myself, expound on the fairly succint form that I submitted. The problem is where to start... Often I find it easier to define the things that I don't like. Well, let's start there then.

1.) I am not a pastel girl, at all. I love my colors to be strong and vibrant. I'm more often drawn to jewel tones: sapphire, ruby, amethyst. Oddly enough, despite it being my birthstone, I'm not really into emerald or other shades of green.

2.) I don't dig reproduction prints at all. I like modern, expressive, funky prints. I just adore stuff with an Art Deco, or Art Nouveau flair. I'm addicted to paisley - I still haven't figured that one out... I don't like plaid, country, or folksy.

3.) I'm really not into the whole "art" quilt thing. I like to look at something and see a definitive image. It's why I'm not so into the whole abstract art thing either. I like function with my form, I suppose.

4.) I don't like kits. I like the idea of having just created a unique piece of art.

Hmm... I think that's it for the "dislikes" section. At least, that's what I can define at the moment. Let's move on to the "likes" and "random factoids" portion of the evening.

1.) I have been known to purchase fabric because of its sheer ugliness. I am driven by some need to make something spectacular out of those uglies, or challenge fabrics. Truthfully, I think those "uglies" make spectacular zinger fabrics.

2.) Fabric designers that I love include Jinny Beyer, Gudrun Erla, Tracy Porter, Heidi Grace.

3.) I buy for my stash, not necessarily for a quilt. I see something I like, and I purchase it to percolate in the back of my mind until a full-fledged quilt expresses itself to me.

4.) I began quilting as a scrap quilter. I will probably die a scrap quilter, though I occasionally dip my toe into the coordinated fabric pool.

Hmmm... That's everything I can think of for the moment. I'm sure there's more, but I'm also sure I will love whatever quilt I receive.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stash Attack and More

So, after spending a soul-sucking day at work (yay, retail!) I was determined to finish up the nine-patch quilt. It's been quilted for about four days. I just needed to do the binding, for which I'd purchased the fabric last week.

Is this not the most scrumptious polka dot?? I love this print. It's a Heidi Grace print. I saw it in the store, and immediately knew that this would be the binding. I'd been looking for something bright, fun and polka-dotted. I'd originally thought a red with white dots would be the binding, and had even bought the fabric... The fabric distorted when I hit it with my iron. Awesome. So anyway, then I found this delicious lime green with bright dots. I bought enough for the binding and extra to go in my stash.

I probably spent too much time at Joann's this week. For the last month or so, I've been finding it difficult to find anything that really caught my eye. The biggest exception was the lime green binding fabric.

Yesterday broke that streak. I decided to photograph everything that I'd purchased recently. From left to right: Reagan's Closet by Heidi Grace, Daydream Believer by Heidi Grace, Brown with Green and White Polka Dots, Brown with Green and White Spirals, a Debbie Mumm fabric.

I was definitely feeling the browns and the dots. Normally I think that Debbie Mumm is just way too country, but this aqua and brown fabric just caught my eye.

I would have taken pictures of the nine-patch quilt, but I have to pull the stitches out of one side of the binding and re-stitch it. Somehow, despite pinning the heck out of the thing, my stitches failed to catch the edge of the quilt top (?!?!?!). The other three sides worked perfectly, so I'm completely confused. Ah, well. Tomorrow's another day, and once that fix is done, I can throw it right into the washer and dryer. With any luck, it'll be nicer out, and I'll be able to photograph the quilt outside on the lawn.

There's more, I'm sure, like the fact that I picked out the fabrics for one of my quilts swaps. I'm now sufficiently wound down from sewing that I simply don't care to continue this particular post. I'll show off those fabric selections tomorrow, when I'm less tired. With that, happy quilting to everyone. I'm going to crawl into bed :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Glutton for Punishment

Doll Quilt Swap 7 is open for registration. The first 200 sign-ups will be accepted, guaranteed. Visit the Flickr group for information on how to join.

I'm apparently insane, and don't have enough on my plate, so I've sent in my sign-up. I spent part of this evening skipping through Flickr and marking some of my favorite quilt images.

This is okay, really. I've actually figured out what I'll be doing for my 'In the Good Ol' Summertime' Mini-Quilt Swap partner. Look for sneaky peak pics over the next couple of weeks. Now that I have a plan, I'm inspired! I'm thinking teals, oranges, and white. Maybe with a splash of hot pink as a zinger color. Nice and bright, and very summer!

I might have to make two of this mini-quilt, just so that I won't miss this quilt when I mail it to my partner.

The downside to being in these two particular swaps is that both swaps are due for mailing within a week of each. This makes is that much more important that I get cracking NOW. If I end up with a second international partner, shipping costs are going to be painful.

It doesn't look like I'll be quilting the nine-patch top any time soon :( My mother-in-law has moved into an apartment in the next building over. Totally thrilled about this! I love my MIL - she is the sweetest woman. The downside? Building her furniture. My husband has his strengths, but following directions and assembling furniture correctly is not one of them. It looks like I will be spending tomorrow evening building a desk and chair for her. Tonight, I'm putting together my husband's new desk.

Yay for late night assembly and rearranging. For those of you lucky enough to enjoy some quilting, enjoy a little for me :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Update

It's done!

The pincushion for my swap is done, AND I'm slightly ahead of schedule. Deadline for mailing is July 17 :) To the left is just a sneaky peak of the pincushion and the small gift that I got my swap partner.

I actually finished one right after joining the swap, but I hated it. I'm so terribly critical of my work, especially when crafting for someone else. I'm always so worried that they'll hate it.

Now, if you've been keeping up with my blog, you know that I joined a mini-quilt swap.

I know myself. If I don't start now, and get working, I'll ignore it, right up until the deadline. Which is just not good, because my partner is international and if I ship right at the deadline, it will arrive late.

Unfortunately, I'm in a quilt-y rut. I can't think of a design. It's partially my hyper-critical tendancies. But it's also due to the fact that I haven't done a quilt smaller than 40 X 60 since my first quilt.


I need to find my EQ5 disks, and get the program reinstalled. It'll be so much easier to come up with something once I've got that. I just can't sit down and draw it out. My son will "get involved", which means that nothing will get done, and I'll have ruined sketches on my hands.

And for the geek-y, print-minded side of me - I really, really, really need to find those EQ5 disks... Once I have a design done, I can take the file into a PDF, and then take that sucker into work, and print it full-sized on a single sheet of paper. SQUEE! (I work in a print center, so I have a lot of nifty, nifty tools at my disposal. This is also why I no longer print at home - I am spoiled by having an arsenal of laser printers at my disposal.)

I have not started quilting the nine-patch top. I filled all of my bobbins with the blue thread that I ended up hating. I'm so not unwinding them and wasting that thread, because it's variegated and gorgeous -just not on this top.

I have white thread now, but I am awaiting the arrival of 24 brand spanking new bobbins, courtesy of eBay. I'm still debating quilting designs, so this time away is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm starting to lean toward outlining the sashing and attempting freehand flowers in the nine-patches themselves. We'll see.

I also have a copy of Beautiful Quilts: Art Deco: Making Classic Quilts & Modern Variations by Jenni Dobson arriving shortly. I would really like to get my hands on Material Obsession and Material Obsession 2 now. Reviews on these two books has been pretty phenomenal. I just get frustrated purchasing books, only to find that a huge chunk of the book is dedicated to a how-to section.

Hmm.. I think that's all of my ramblings for the day. It's time to fetch laundry from the dryer anyway. Yay, clean socks!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Piecemeal Quilts Give-away

I'm so excited! A fellow blogger local to me, who also happens to own the same quilting frame and nearly the same sewing machine for said frame, has reached 100 posts on her blog. Sandi also owns three cats (or is that owned by the cats??)

Sandi's just awesome :) She has a comprehensive list of things to trouble shoot when setting up the Little Gracie II frame and the Janome 1600P (or whichever variation of that machine one has). It was invaluable to me when I finally got the chance to play with my machine and start quilting.

Anyway, for her 100th blog post, Sandi is hosting a give-away:

"To celebrate my 100th post, I’ve arranged a little giveaway. The winner will receive six half yard cuts (for a total of three yards) of one of the following fabric groupings. You choose which set – I have a huge, eclectic stash and I tried to pull groupings that would appeal to different people. If I have more than 100 comments, I will give away a second set, and a third set if I reach 200 comments."

To see the absolutely delicious fabrics that Sandi is offering up, visit http://piecemealquilts.wordpress.com/. I was lazy and didn't feel like putting up pics for this particular post - forgive me. I'm in love with the Asian inspired set!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Annexing the Living Room...

...or so my husband claims I'm doing. I've migrated from the bedroom, to the dining room, and now to the living room. Each time claiming a little more space. Again, all according to my husband.

In an effort to keep our toddler out of my husband's gaming supplies and cards, I emptied out my storage cabinet. It shuts so that Zeb can't access them and unintentionally destroy them. Hubby will now be storing his hobby items in the Rubbermaid unit.

For my sewing, we re-did the whole set-up, moving me to the living room. I've got another desk and two sets of shelving along one wall now:

I'll be picking up a couple of baskets at the Goodwill for further storage of scraps. That diaper box was just a temporary measure when I realized that my previous storage method was starting to overflow. It's amazing how quickly they build up! Anyway, once I do, they'll probably go down on the floor, and the flimsies will shift to the top shelf. I just need baskets that are short enough.

On the whole, I'm quite happy with it. I can roll my chair from my sewing machine to my computer. My fabric is out where I can see it and be inspired by it, even if Zeb can get into it. At least he can only make a mess of my fabric, rather than destroy it the way he was his father's cards.

In other news, I have the nine-patch quilt-along top on the frame. I tried doing a diagonal grid quilting pattern, but I suck at doing straight lines on this thing yet. Plus, I was using a blue thread, thinking it might be cute. Not so much.

I spent ten minutes putting stitches in, and another thirty pulling them.

So, while this top is on the frame, it will be waiting until this coming weekend for quilting. I don't have any white thread of the appropriate weight, and no extra money for the thread. We'll see what I decide to do as far as quilting once I've got the thread.

In the meantime, I'll go ahead and work on my applique project. I borked the bias tape the first time around, ruining the fabric that I originally wanted to use for the leaves and base of the wreath. I found another fabric in my stash that I think will work well enough though, so I'm not too upset.

I also found some notebook paper that's starting to turn yellow, it's that old. I'll take it to work tomorrow, and cut it into squares. I'll use that as a base for some string blocks. Gotta use up those scraps!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

So Excited!!

Well, I didn't win the grand prize drawing for Sheree's big ol' box of scraps, but Sheree decided to draw five more winners for smaller boxes of scraps - and I was one of those winners!! I'm so thrilled - it's the first blog give-away that I've won. I'm so excited to get my hands on those scraps... Of course, it is more fabric! And such pretty stuff too... THANK YOU, SHEREE!

The quilt top for Amandajean's quilt-along is done. I had thought that I wanted to add a total of three borders. After getting these two rows of scrappy squares on, the quilt top screamed "Finished!" to me and I left it alone. Any more futzing with it and I would be unhappy with it, I think. I love the scrappy simplicity of this top.

Tomorrow, a trip to Joann's is in order to pick up more of that Kona white cotton. I have a strip of extra large nine patches done to go down the center of the backing, but I need white to flank those patches. I've pieced just enough batting together from the pieces I had left from previous quilts. Thank goodness too... Money is a little tight this week. Paying rent is really putting a cramp in my quilting style!!

And now I have to wax eloquent (or not so much) about my newest stash addition...

Thanks to another blog give-away, I was introduced to the King's Road line of fabric called Belle. In particular, the stunning ruby red colorway of large tone-on-tone flowers. After nearly a month of searching for an online store that still carried this fabric, I found some! It's not the large flowers, which is the print I actually wanted. Much to my chagrin, when I saw the ruby red, I simply hit buy without really looking at the photo. But, I don't care! It's still pretty, and I'll just have to console myself by purchasing the large flowers in the gray colorway. Mwahahaha!

See? I don't need much of an excuse to add to my stash.

Speaking of the stash...

It's getting a little out of control. I have a single Rubbermaid plastic closet to keep my fabric in.

It's full.

To bursting.

So, in an effort to really, truly start using my stash, I've done a couple of things: I've joined the Good Ol' Summertime Mini Quilt Swap sponsored by the Quilt Gallery. If interested in joining, click on the button in my sidebar. The second thing is that I'm taking a good hard look at the fabrics in my stash - definitely not a hardship, mind you. I have (more than) a couple of prints that I've just hung on to because I didn't have enough to make a full-size top. They're gorgeous, but they need to be used, or go. So, they'll be used.

I've got the beginnings of a 3' X 3' wall hanging cut out. The center panel is going to be appliquéd - a wreath I think. I'm a little intimidated. It's been years since I did any applique, and since I don't like fusible, it's all going to be traditional, needle turned appliqué. *gulp* But I want to do this. I need to do this. Appliqué isn't really all that scary, just a little more time consuming. And the results will be so worth it!

While I will never be the type of quilter who keeps a tally of fabric purchased vs. fabric used, I will move a little faster, and try to stay ahead of the acquisitions. Really, I think I just need to set a goal to finish at least one quilt per month. And completely finish it, from piecing to binding. I think 12 quilts a year is pretty good, especially since I've moved on from crib and lap quilts to bed quilts.

*sigh* I'm biting off more than I can chew, most likely. I just can't help but give into my creative urges lately. I really am happy pouring myself and my energy into quilting. It's such a satisfying "hobby". Yes, "hobby" in quotes. I think most quilters, myself included, should really call it a "vocation".

Anywho... It's late, like 2:00 AM on what is now the Fourth of July. So, with that, I bid all fellow Americans "Happy Independence Day" and head for bed. Sleep is calling.