Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Busy-ness at Its Best

Yesterday was kind of long, and it was my own fault. I didn't get enough sleep Monday night, so I was a zombie at work all day. On top of that, once I was done working, I went to the gym (and boy! am I sore today!). I spent an hour and a half there, doing a full circuit on the weights and biking six miles.

I should have been thoroughly pooped at that point, and I was! Still, took the munchkin for dinner at McDonald's, because he'd reached the crabby-because-he-was-starving phase (you'd swear the kid never eats sometimes). He played and ate. I ate, and limited myself to the chicken sandwich and a few fries (pretty easy, because I've realized that I don't like McDonald's fries).

After that, it was a trip to the grocery store for soup for the hubby. Hubby has an abscessed tooth, and had to drive himself to work. That meant that he could take his antibiotics, but couldn't take the prescription pain reliever. Needless to say, he was a bit of a crab-apple at that point, so I volunteered to go get him some chicken soup.

Shopping trip done, we headed home. Kiddo fell asleep in the backseat (yay!), but woke up as I hefted him out and carried him upstairs (boo!). Still, he'd been pretty awesome and was incredibly love-y, so we watched some train videos before Mama put her (not so) big foot down and said he had to go to bed. Kiddo protested, but only because he wanted to sleep on the couch with Mama.

I'm a sucker, so we cuddled into Cheating on the Farmer's Wife, and we both passed out. About an hour later, hubby moved kiddo to his bed. Yes! We've gotten kiddo to sleep alone 90% of the time. It is AWESOME.

So anyway, I blinked crabbily (my turn!) at him for a bit, still wrapped up in Cheating on the Farmer's Wife, before I decided that I ought to do something with all that fabric that I had cut Monday evening. So, at around 11:30 PM, I flopped off the couch and made for the dining room, a portion of which has been carved out for my sewing space, now that we've managed to move most of kiddo's accoutrements into a bedroom for him. I'll take some photos once I'm done rearranging and decorating to my satisfaction.

#061 Northern Lights
#061 Northern Lights
Northern Lights is a do-over, in order to have this block conform with the overall color scheme of the rest of the blocks. I'm still not in love with it, and it's not the fabrics' fault. I just don't find it to be a very pleasing block, geometry-wise. It feels clunky and lopsided.

#062 Old Windmill
#062 Old Windmill
Try as I might, I don't see a windmill in this block. I see two whole pinwheels, and one fractured along the middle, but no windmill. Either way, super happy with my fabric choices. There needed to be a lot of contrast between the colors for this block to shine.

#068 Postage Stamp
#068 Postage Stamp

This block is completely different from the layout presented in the book. In my head, a postage stamp quilt will always be as many different 1" finished squares as possible. So that's what I did. Eighteen of the patches are neutrals that have appeared in other blocks. The other eighteen were primarily out of the scrap basket.

I could see myself doing an entire quilt top like this.

Obviously, I didn't go to sleep for a while, but I'm okay with that. I have a feeling that tonight will be a rinse/repeat of yesterday, workout included. Hopefully, I can avoid the impromptu shopping trip though!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Still Chugging Along

Only a brief update today - I've been attempting to work on a hand applique project, but have had less success than I would like. I tried a new fusible product to cut the shapes out, and I'm less than pleased with the bulk it creates, and it only exacerbates the issue of the shapes not lying flat when the piece is laid out.

So, it's back to the drawing board, sort of. I'm going to try glue basting next, and switch to plastic templates to ease up on the bulk. I absolutely refuse to give up on this project. My stubborn mule side has kicked in.

In other news, I've completed two more Farmer's Wife blocks:

#070 Prairie Queen
#070 Prairie Queen
I'm really liking the Happy Mochi Yum Yum line.. I might be tempted go look for more... On second thought, I need to work through my scraps before adding yardage.

#107 Windblown Square
#107 Windblown Square
Yes, I'm obsessed with that particular black and white fabric. And, yes, some of my new fabrics are totally making their way into these blocks.

I spent a good chunk of last evening cutting and prepping fabric for more blocks. Once I'm done with this batch, I'll only have those blocks that require paper-piecing or are on an awkward grid for a 6"-square block to do.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Back to the Farmer's Wife

Last night, I treated myself, since it was just me at home. Sushi, solitude and sewing! Well, not so much sewing, but cutting. Stitch N' Bitch was today, so I spent the evening cutting fabric so that I could just spend today piecing.

And piece I did!
#064 Peace and Plenty
#064 Peace and Plenty
I really need to vary up my grays in these blocks, but I love this particular gray and white print!
#089 Steps to the Altar
#089 Steps to the Altar
More new fabric. Lots of strip piecing.
#098 Water Wheel
#098 Water Wheel
This is one of the few white background blocks that I've done so far for the sampler. I need to make a few more to ensure that they don't look like holes in the top.
#103 Whirlwind
#103 Whirlwind
An ultra modern print combined with some fussy cutting and I'm happy!
#069 Practical Orchard
#069 Practical Orchard
I really like the citrus-y fabric I used here, but I'm almost wishing I'd fussy cut those squares... I might yet go back and do that.
#091 Strawberry Basket
#091 Strawberry Basket
Very similar in construction to Steps to the Altar, so I cranked this one out. I'm really digging the mustard and the raspberry color together.
Progress Thus Far

So, now I'm forty-five blocks in. A few more white background blocks, because I need more blocks that are brighter. There a good range of medium value blocks to dark blocks, so that's good. I'll probably end up re-making the Basket Weave block again, because I don't like the cream in it. Same with Attic Window. I want this quilt to be crisp.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Fail at Fabric Dieting

It's that magical time of year, far better than Christmas or birthdays or anniversaries (at least for me).

It's tax rebate time!!

Now, I was a good adult and paid off all of the credit cards and got caught up on the bills. I bought a (truly awesome) dining set for a steal because we needed a real place for us to gather as a family and eat together. We bought our son a new Cars bed and a Cars toilet training seat, because he's currently obsessed with Lightning McQueen. We replaced headlights in cars.

So, in short, we've done all the things we should have done with our refund money.

Then, because there was a little money left over, and I really, really, really want to make Erin Russek's My Tweets (the link leads you to Erin's Etsy shop for the patten for the center). This was Erin's Block of the Month for last year, and I faithfully downloaded all of her patterns (which are now also available in her Etsy shop).

Anyway, I digress from the point of this post, sort of. In my quest for the perfect fabrics for this pattern, I went on a little buying fling... Well, more of a spree.

Okay, honestly?

I went crazy.

I started at Joann's:
And found this really nice blue solid, a whole bolt of it. And I had a 50% off coupon. So I bought everything on the bolt. There was something like 9 3/8 yards. I also found the print on the right, which I decided went perfectly with the solid, and bought three yards of that. 
Cotton Crack
There was a 30% off the cotton prints sale about a week later. I treated myself to a half yard each of the fabrics pictured above. There's sort of a plan emerging here.

But it wasn't enough!!

Because I realized I was super low on white thread. Connecting Threads to the rescue:

Ten spools of white in my cart later, and I still needed more in the cart to make the minimum for free shipping. So I hit up the clearance fabrics:
Connecting Threads Order
I ended up with a half yard of each, except for the last fabric. I got a full yard of the gray and yellow scroll fabric.

And, still, not enough!!

I paid a digital visit to Fat Quarter Shop. BIG MISTAKE! Not that I could be dissuaded from hitting the 'Buy' button. I've never purchased so much designer fabric in my life:
Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 1

The orange is Happy Mochi Yumyum. The two on the right are from Joel Dewberry's Heritage Line. I can't remember what line the gray came out of.

Everything else pictured below, I got a half yard of. Apparently, I'm experiencing an obsession with Pat Bravo at the moment, because I ended up with a ton of her prints.
Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 2
Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 3
Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 4
Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 5

There is now a ridiculous amount of fabric on my table waiting for me to get busy and start cutting.

I can't wait to get home!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Back Again, With a Finish!

Hello, everyone! It's been a while...

I've been swamped, and haven't had much writing time. This whole working out thing is stealing three to four evenings a week from me. I work out for two hours, and then I'm ready to pass out by ten o'clock! Still, I can't really say that I'm willing to cut back.

I get to sew, but not nearly as much as I would like, obviously.

Still, I haven't stopped being productive (and I even got some furniture shopping in):
The Complete Quilt, Front
Obligatory cat photo, because Demon is obsessed with the new table. Throw a quilt on it, and it's home.
The Complete Quilt, Back
The back. From these photos, it's tough to see just how much quilting went into this thing... The quilting lines are spaced half an inch apart. The finished size is approximately 65" X 65".

Yeah, that's a lot of quilting. I spent three eight hour days working on the quilting, plus another two or three shifts of a couple hours a piece. All told, I spent 26 to 30 hours shoving this beast through my sewing machine.

As if that wasn't enough insanity...
The Quilt Label
...I cross-stitched a quilt label. It's edged with bits leftover from the scrappy binding (my first scrappy binding).

And, yes, I actually did finish it in January, despite posting about this quilt today. I put the last stitches into the binding just before midnight on January 31st