Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of 2009

Where has this year flown?  I feel like it was January just yesterday, not tomorrow!!

Ah, well...  Such is life.  Maybe I'll find more snippets of time in 2010 to quilt.  For now, let me reflect a bit on the 2009...

Quilt Finishes:
Not My Favorite Quilt
Amanda Jean's Nine-Patch Quilt-Along (Apparently, I didn't blog about the completion of this thing.  Naughty me!)
Phoenix Unbound I
Summertime Star
Flying Geese I (Again, I didn't blog the finish.  What was I thinking??)

Works in Progress:
Grandmother's Fan (at the flimsie stage, just needing a backing and to be quilted)
String Quilt
Phoenix Unbound II
Flying Geese II (also a flimsie and needing backing/quilt)

New Toys for the Year:
Janome 1600
Little Gracie II Quilting Frame
Brother PC-210, Runway Edition

As you can see, it's been quite the year for me!  I learned so much about quilting - the actual process of stitching the three layers together - by machine, anyway.  Not only have I experimented with the big quilting frame, but I've gone and practiced on my smaller machine, which I was terrified of.  You'd think it would have been the other way around, but I was pretty comfortable learning to drive the Janome on the Little Gracie II.  I've learned to make double-fold bias binding easily, and fairly quickly.  I've even gotten better at attaching it by machine.  I've learned to accept my personal need to purchase fabric online, due to my budgetary limitations.  My finishes actually outnumber the WIPs, even though two of them are mini-quilts.  They're finished, by God.

Keeping this blog has helped immeasurably in keeping myself motivated to keep going.  I'm really enjoying being able to go back and look at my progress.  Seeing all of those steps recorded...  It reminds me that the next step isn't so bad, lol!

For the year ahead, I would like to:
  • finish the WIPs listed above.
  • create matching pillow shams for Grandmother's Fan.
  • make a table runner with matching place mats for my heirloom table - soon to be arriving.
  • complete the takeover of my son's old room, and make it a proper sewing room
  • buy a cheap table and cover it, to make a larger ironing space.
  • complete three lap-sized quilts, made from vintage scraps, for my friend Suzanne and her two siblings.
  • complete a wall-hanging for my mother-in-law.
  • complete a wall-hanging for myself.
  • become more comfortable with machine quilting.
It's quite the list!  It'll be interesting to see how I finish out 2010, but that's a post for - literally - another year.

To conclude, though, I would like to put out a big "Thank You!" to everyone in the online quilting community that has allowed me to follow their own trials and tribulations, for their inspiration and encouragement, for the give-aways and continued enthusiasm.  I can honestly say, if it weren't for this online community, I wouldn't have gotten nearly as much done, nor still have the love I do for quilting.  So, THANK YOU, and I hope that 2009 treated you well, and that 2010 is as alight with as much promise and hope as it is for me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Give-Away at Park City Girl

Amy at Park City Girl is hosting a give-away to celebrate her 400th post.  I can only imagine 400!  I love to drop in and check out what she's working on, and I especially love that she hosts the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  It's always fun for me to see what other quilters have made.

The prize is as follows (quoted from Amy's post):

"A set of 8 Meadowsweet Fat Quarters has been donated by Quilted Treasures! You may have the group shown or pick your favorites from what they have in stock. Many, many thanks to Kristina for making this happen!"

 Super cute fabrics!  I'm going to take a jaunt over to Quilted Treasures myself and take a peek at their wares.  I'm always super excited to try and support the shops and proprietors that support my favorite bloggers.

In further news, I've finished the arcs for the second Phoenix Unbound, and gotten to the point of ripping the paper off of them.  Now, I just need some time to be able to sit and do the rest of it.

Eventually, I'll find my camera and post pics of my progress... But at least I'm sewing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Summertime Quilt Swap

It took a few tries, but my mini-quilt finally reached the Netherlands!!  My partner was Heleen over at dutch colours.  Heleen is a wonderful talented and creative quilter, and I love dropping by her blog to see what she's working on.

Anyway, now that Heleen finally has the quilt in hand, here's a photo of it (courtesy of Heleen, since I forgot to take a pic of it before sending it out the door!):

I had a lot of fun making this one, tried a few new things, like quilting on my new sewing machine using the walking foot, and using some of the decorative stitches on my machine to anchor the star down.  My favorite polka-dot fabric made an appearance in the center circle and the binding.  I wish I'd been able to afford a whole bolt of that stuff!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Give-Away at Green Fairy Quilts

Every now and then, I'll take a trip through the blogs followed by those author/quilters that I myself follow regularly.

Tonight, I followed my online trail of breadcrumbs through to Green Fairy Quilts, who is hosting a give-away.  I've come across Judi's blog before, and always admired the patterns she designs.  Generally being the forgetful type, I always seem to take months to return to her blog  to "ooh" and "ah" over the pretties.

This give-away is for the items pictured at left:

Judi's new pattern, "Flower Patch"

1 Layer Cake

1 Jelly Roll

Both the layer cake and jelly roll are from the Hello Betty Retro line, which I think is just adorable.

Also of note, Judi is offering her pattern at 'Buy One, Get One'.  You just have to mention it during checkout in the "additional info" box!

Well, that's it from me for the evening.  I'm working on a second iteration of Phoenix Unbound, for the friend that I originally had in mind when I designed the quilt.  She's selected a slightly different color palette, replacing the aqua blues with purples, and widened the range of reds with some oranges.  I'm really liking it so far, but no pics yet!  I'm still piecing the arcs.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Birthday Block Swap

I've been in a creative rut - the holidays always do that to me. Combine the time of year with the fact that I have a two year old who clings to me like velcro when he's awake, and I just don't sew. *whimpers*

I want to sew. Really.

I have a quilt top that will fit our queen-sized bed, perfectly. I need to come up with a plan for backing, and get it done. It's beautiful, and I want to do it. I desperately need some time to myself to do this though. I also want to make pillow shams to match this top, because I think it would be just awesome to have a coordinated set on my wrought iron frame.

Time is my enemy.

Anyhow... In order to help me crawl out of this rut, and to possibly challenge myself, I've joined the livejournal Birthday Block Swap. I'm looking forward to it, to try new blocks and new color combinations.

I picked Blockade for my block. I'm picturing it in a very similar color palette (purples and aquas) to this image here, just scrappy. So scrappy. I love scrappy.

I don't know why I like this block. I was looking through patterns, and tripped across Blockade. I think i just like the potential. There's a lot of play room in this block.

It was requested I provide a pattern... So obviously, I couldn't find one that wasn't paper-pieced. I ended up drawing one up in Adobe Illustrator. Should be fairly simple though, because the starting square for the HSTs should be sized at 3-7/8" X 3-7/8".

In other news, I've been string piecing. Out of scraps even. And I'm geniunely using as much as I possibly can from each scrap. I'm only throwing out the littlest bits, because I'm not going to ruin my eyes further by trying to make mini-blocks. I'm just not that crazy.

In further news, a friend of mine was cleaning out her parents' basement. Both of her parents are gone now, and she and her siblings are dealing with the estate. In going through everything, she found a bag of vintage clothing that was going to be recycled into rag rugs, along with stuff that had already been cut into strips. It's nearly all shirting, or cotton dress scraps.

My friend thought of me, and brought me this garbage bag full of stuffs!! I washed the largest pieces, which were nearly whole dresses and shirts. Now, I'm in the process of sorting the wheat from the chaff. I think this will all go into a series of string quilts. I'd really love to make one for my friend - it's all part of her heritage, and I think she'd really appreciate something made from these scraps.

I think, though, that I'll have to put these scraps on a muslin foundation - just for stability. I wouldn't want the thing to just fall apart, though the fabrics have lasted this long anyway. That's the wonderful thing about cottons. I just worry about quilting the thing, though. It seems like it might be super thick and super heavy. My friend will love that - she's always cold, and her significant other is always hot.

*sighs* So many projects, so little time. Actually, if I'm truly honest - there is time. I just have to take that gap between the Zeb-head going to bed and my own bedtime, and use it. On that note, I end this post. To go and use the time I have.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Some Renovations...

I felt the need for some 'pretty' on the blog, so I did some futzing this evening. There will be some further changes to the side-bar; I just have to decide what I'd like to see over there. Something matching, most likely :)

Eventually, I will be able to post a picture of the mini-quilt I made for the Good Ol' Summertime Quilt Swap. I sent it out a bit ago... I can't even remember exactly when.

It came back.

I'll try again this week, and cross my fingers and toes. Only when I know my partner has gotten it, will I post a picture. I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Baby

In my last post, I mentioned having gotten a new sewing machine...

My Brother CS-6000i has been my baby for about three years now. I love that machine to death. I think that might have been literal, though. It had begun to have high tension from the top thread, no matter how low I set it, even at 0... Taking it in to be serviced would cost me $75 because it's a computerized machine. Well... I only spent $150 on it, and was reluctant to put half the purchase price into it for a repair.

My mother-in-law came to the rescue, and purchased me an upgrade! I opted to go with another Brother. This model is the PC-210, the Project Runway edition. I was a little hesitant, mainly because I hate reality television with a passion. I am pleased to be able to say that this purchase was totally worth it. I LOVE THIS MACHINE.

Interestingly, the spool of thread feeds horizontally, as you can see in the picture to the left. This is a small godsend, for me, as I have three cats and a two-year old underfoot. I can close the lid, and have the whole threadworks completely contained and out of temptation's mind.

It's also very nice for me because the auto-stop for the bobbin winder broke off on my CS-6000i (hubby moved my machine, and it banged against a wall). It all being enclosed means that the chances of this happening again are pretty small.

What I truly adore about this machine is that the feet are all in a little organizer, nicely labeled (not that you can see the labels in this picture). Mind you, as a quilter, I'm not often switching feet in and out, but being fairly near-sighted, trying to tell which foot I do have can be a bear. I love the fact that I can keep four bobbins in the tray too, so no hunting out my bobbin cases. I can keep matching bobbins close at hand.

I quilted Phoenix Unbound on this machine, my first attempt at quilting on a small machine. Quite pleased, especially since I was able to use some of the decorative stitches. The best part? The PC-210 is a Brother machine too, so all of the feet I bought for my CS-6000i work. Yay! I don't have to have two sets of feet.

Of course, now that I've had two excellent experiences with Brother sewing machines, I'm seriously considering buying an embroidery machine... I've determined that I'll only do that I start making garments for myself though. I love the look of quilted lines, and am not brave enough to incorporate embroidery into my quilt tops.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


*GASP* I know... I've been gone a while. I got distracted by a writing project, quitting my job, finding and starting a new one, being sick twice in the last two months.

I finished my quilt for DQS7. Quite pleased with it, though I didn't get to do as much to it as I would have liked. The entire quilt was a learning process for me, from designing a circle quilt from scratch, in Adobe Illustrator, to the applique, to binding a quilt with irregular edging. I even used my new sewing machine to quilt it, with the walking foot, rather than the big beast.

This little quilt went through three sewing machines. My Brother CS-6000i decided to have tension issues. I love that particular machine so much, but when we took it into the local sewing machine shop, it would cost $75 to service it because it's computerized. The machine only cost me $150 :( Then, a friend of mine loaned me his Brother machine, not computerized, but with the capability to do a satin stitch (I've not figured out how to shorten the zig-zag stitch on my CS-6000i to do such thing). I appliqued the bird on using that machine.

Then, my mother-in-law generously offered to purchase a new sewing machine for me, as I was waffling about spending $75 to repair a machine that only cost twice that. I eagerly agreed, and took the opportunity to upgrade. I again went with a Brother, this time the PC-210, the Project Runway edition. I am in love. This machine is wonderful! I'll post pics later, in another post, and move on with the story. Phoenix Unbound was quilted on this new machine, using a couple of decorative stitches (a first), a metallic thread (another first for me!), and my walking foot (owned for two years and never used until this quilt).

I'm very glad I made this quilt, but very disappointed in myself that I forgot to take a quality photograph of it before I sent the quiltie out. My hubbie took a quick pic with his cellphone, which I am very glad for.

Pardon the grainy-ness and the weird tones... I tried to color-correct this in Photoshop as the original photo was very yellow.
You can kind of make out the wavy stitch I used to do the rays in the white circle. Unfortunately, you can't make out the variety of aquas and reds that I used in the inner circle or outer border. I really love how the yellow actually manages to tie the whole quilt together.
The 'phoenix' didn't come out quite as fiery as I'd hoped... It looks more like a loon, but I'll take it! I used fusible to get it to sit in the right place, and pretty much winged the machine satin stitching to get it to stay down.

Monday, August 17, 2009

DQS 7 Progress

I feel like a slacker... I have a month before my swap quilts are due in the mail, but I haven't gotten nearly as much work done on them as I've wanted to. It's just been so incredibly hectic, as I've been stupidly busy building furniture for my mother-in-law, helping her get more of her stuff moved in, and getting my own home in order. We've got a new bed arriving this Friday and have been trying to get the whole house reorganized and clean in anticipation of this.

Above is the sketch I came up with for the DQS 7 quilt. The inner yellow circle will be echoed with a yellow binding. Below is the image of the top in progress:

The outer border evolved from simple wedges into paper-pieced triangle-thingies. The yellow isn't nearly as distracting as I thought it would be. I'm very glad for that - I just wanted the yellow as a "zinger" fabric. I'm pleased as punched so far :) It's turning out better than I expected.

Tomorrow, I'll finalize the outline for the phoenix that will be going on this. On Friday, I'll pick up fusible webbing, so that I can attach the bird to the top. I'll also get some red thread, to satin stitch the bird down. I seriously debating doing some beaded embellishment.

Well, I should say I hope to be able to satin stitch it. My sewing machine is sick, and the top tension is way too tight no matter what I do. I've changed the needle, re-threaded the thing at least a dozen times... Nothing.

If my machine doesn't get fixed in a timely manner, I might have to reconsider my plans for this quilt... Maybe do some embroidery in the white area. Let's just say that I really, really pray that my machine gets fixed. If the repairs will cost more than $75 though, I'm just going to junk the thing and look for a new machine. The Brother CS-6000i got me through almost three years without a problem, and I love it, but it only cost $150. I can't see spending almost half the purchase price to get it fixed.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking...

So, in an attempt to re-invigorate my interest and justify the disgusting amounts of money I've spent on it, I've decided to post about my digital scrapbooking here as well.

I love scrapbooking. I do. It's a wonderful hobby, and a way to make sure the memories actually mean something more than a stack of photos moldering away in a box. I just hated doing it the traditional way: Cut up pictures, cut up paper, tape/paste/otherwise attach all items together.

I'm a digital girl when it comes to creating pretty paper things - which is just funny considering that my other, primary hobby is something as traditional as quilting. So, shortly after my son was born, I discovered digital scrapbooking and a whole community of designers who create digital kits that allow me the freedom to make up a scrapbook on my computer.

I LOVE digi-scrapping. There's no wasted materials. I don't have to buy two of everything if I want to make another book for someone else. I can reuse as much as I want. I can play with layouts as much as I want, because I'm not committed to anything!

With all this said...

This is the title page for my son's scrapbook. Look at that precious face! The paper is from's Family Memories Collaboration Kit and the lettering is by Jennifer M. Tripetti, from her "Tough Guy" kit.

This is the second page for the book. Everything on this page is from Jennifer M. Trippetti's "Tough Guy" kit.

When I'm happy with the number of pages I've got done, I'll get the book professionally printed and bound. I'll need at least two copies - one for us, and one for my mother-in-law. I'm debating just doing three or four. That adds one copy for Zeb and his family when he's older and one for my father.

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 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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Sheree's Alchemy Give-Away!

As the title says :)

Sheree is giving away another box of scraps. This time completely full of Amy Butler fabrics. I still have no clue who this designer is, but the fabrics are just scrumptious. The scrappy deliciousness that could emerge from that box.... Mwahahahaha. Of course, there is also included another Amy Butler pattern.

So, rush over there and sign up. Five ways to sign up. July 1st is the cut-off date. See Sheree's
blog for more details.

And now, to return to sewing 2.5" squares together to make the first of my borders for my nine-patch. I'm slowly understanding just how many extra squares I cut the first time around - not that I'm sorry!

Sewing Time!

So I had time to sew late last night, and early this morning...

quilt top,quilt-a-long

This is the quilt top for crazy mom quilt's quilt-along. It's about the size of a lap quilt right now, but I'd like it to be larger, so I'm going to be adding three borders: one row of scrappy squares, then a border of white four to six inches wide in which I'll applique a vine, flowers and leaves, then three or four rows of scrappy squares. I just have to get to sewing all those squares together, so they're ready for when I can pick up the white fabric. I only bought two yards of the Kona cotton, and it just got me through the quilt top. One yard should get me through what I want to do, but I'll probably get more, three or four yards maybe. It's such a nice, lovely feeling cotton that it'll be a staple in my stash.

I've got most of one more New York Beauty block done. I just have to sew on the corner, and I've got five done. I'll finish one or two more before I post pictures though. I'm definitely liking the more complicated NYB blocks though. They are fun, and the play of shapes and color in them make me a lot happier. Figures I'd like the harder to make blocks, wouldn't it?

In other news, I have the pincushion for the swap done. I just have to get it in the mail. I need to buy more batting, for three tops now and figure out backings. That'll be interested. They're fairly large tops, and I don't really want to do it all out of my stash. I'd burn through quite a bit of fabric - and I really want to save that stuff for tops. I do have some larger cuts, that might work, but they'd still be pieced backers. Not that I mind pieced backers. I actually really like the look...

Anywho :) That's it for now. I am going to take advantage of Zeb's nap, and get back to the sewing machine.

Update 11:37 pm:

I just saw earlier today that I have my first follower. SQUEEEE! I know. I'm a dork :) Hello, Michelle, and thank you for joining me. I'm so excited to know that someone out there in blogland is reading and enjoying ramblings :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Scrappy Give-Away and a Blog-Hop

So, I've been surfing random blogs, just because I can, and because I love to be inspired by other people's work. During my journey through blog-land, I came across Sheree's Alchemy and her give-away.

Sheree is giving away a Flat Rate Priority Mail box full of scraps. And such pretty scraps too. Just droolicious. So, I'm entering. I have to enter. I'd have so much fun playing with those scraps. The give-away also includes an Amy Butler pattern. *grins* Not that I know who she even is, but it's a cute pattern.

So, go visit Sheree's blog and enter. Entry ends on Wednesday, June 24th, and there are 5 ways to get an entry. Winner will be chosen by random number generator.

Another awesome method to win some cool prizes and get to know some really awesome designers is the:
Visit each one of the following blogs, leave a comment and be entered to win prizes. Each designer/blogger will host a free demo or pattern, introduce themselves, as well as have a give-away. And that's just a small part of it! Visit each blog on their day, and leave a comment on each one, and you'll be entered to win a larger, grand prize!

June 22. Gudrun from GE Designs

June 23. Heather from Anka's Treasures

June 24.Celine from Perkins Dry Goods

June 25. Roseann from Rosebuds Cottage

June 26. Sherri from This 'N' That

June 29. Kari from New Leaf Stitches

June 30. Terry from Atkinson Designs

July 1. Shelly from Cedar Canyon Textiles

July 2. Jamie from Scrap-bags

July 3. Mary from Quilted Treasures

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Paper Piecing...

I've had New York Beauty paper piecing patterns printed for about six months now, from Ula's Free Patterns. I've been debating actually using them for about a month. I've been hesitating because I've never paper pieced before.

Today, I finally got motivated and pulled them out:

I like the look of the blocks (Update 6/26 - I changed out the black & white print in the second block to a black on grey print) , but paper piecing just feels like so much work! It doesn't feel as intuitive as normal piecing does.

As you can see the fabrics are fairly coordinated in each block, but I'm not looking at these blocks to have the same colors all the way through them.

I don't want to stop, but I definitely need something to keep motivated. What do you think? Do the blocks work? Is this the beginning of a scrappy New York Beauty quilt?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stash Additions and More...

Well, after Joann's Firefly summer sale and my eBay splurges, I have added more to my stash once again. I don't think I will ever be able to declare a hiatus from purchasing fabric - most fabrics lines just aren't available in stores long enough for me to do that. Nor can I resist walking into a fabric store and petting the pretties :)

The three horizontal fabrics are for my crane panel. Well, except for the repeat stripe. It's in the wrong colorway. I couldn't tell from the craptastic photo of it on the eBay auction, but I only spent $2.99 on it, so I really can't complain. I'll just make do with what I have in the correct colorway.

The verticals, from left to right: King's Road "Belle" in the rust colorway. I really, really, really want to find some of it in the ruby red colorway. To. Die. For.

The pink is a large scale Tracy Porter print. I absolutely adore her designs. The bluey flowers are just an addition of two yards or so to the yard already living in my stash. I love this print. The pale pink is a very traditional print, which is sort of an odd purchase for me now. More and more, I've been getting into very bold, graphic prints. The paisley I thought was just fun. I couldn't resist it. And the last floral is from an Asian-inspired line carried at Joann's. I just liked the color saturation in it.

And now to rave about the eBay purchase I was waiting for most eagerly: the Sewline Mechanical Pencil.


It is, hands down, the best tool I have ever used to mark a quilt top (and I've used everything, from soapstone and graphite, to a silver pencil, to a regular pencil with very soft lead, to those "vanishing" ink markers). I tested both the white and black leads (made of CERAMIC!). They went on so smoothly and with the amount of pressure I would use for regular writing. Then, the real test... Could I remove the markings? Oh, hell, yes. So easily too! Even better, I could hardly tell where the markings had been. After washing the quilted top, I won't be able to tell at all.

Seriously, buy this mechanical pencil. You will be so happy you did. I'm already planning to go back to eBay and purchase the pink, green and yellow leads.

In other news, I'm nearly done with the pincushion for my swap partner. I'm really enjoying the process of making it. It would be done, but I was waiting for one last component to arrive, again from eBay. No pics yet - I want it to be a surprise when my swap partner opens her package up. I also picked up a small giftie to add to her package. Hopefully, she likes it :)

I'm also done with all of my nine-patches for the
quilt-along. They're sashed together, and I've got the sashing stripes done. Just have to stitch them all together, but this is what the blocks look like put together:

I decided to go with a plain white cotton - it's been forever since I purchased just plain white cotton. It's a Kona cotton - Joann's started carrying them recently. I'm in love! I love the feel of this stuff in my hands. It's so nicely woven, with nice weight and texture. Definitely my choice of brand whenever I have need of a solid in a design from now on.

Well, I think that's enough rambling and typing for the day. I have sewing to do!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Time to Say Good-bye... a project.

I've had the pieces cut for a Double Wedding Ring quilt for eons. I loved it when I started. I still like the basic idea: bright orange wedges surrounding melons and centers of a lovely teal, marbled batik. Machine pieced, accuracy was not a problem at all.

The problem?

I've had it for eons. Okay, four years. Not really that long in the life cycle of a quilt top, at least according to my history.

It's been in storage for nearly all of its life cycle. I cut the pieces and had to put it away shortly after doing so - I don't remember why at this point. In that time, one of my cats got to the ziploc baggies and pieces got scattered about, especially during the moves. So, now I'm not even sure I've got all the pieces I cut. And, I'm not so thrilled about some of the oranges. I remembered some of the selections being so much brighter, more flame-orange. Instead, I've got some distinctly fall-like oranges in there, and it just throws the whole quilt off in my head.

Sure, I could take it all apart and start over. I just don't care to.

And yet, I feel guilty for abandoning this quilt. I've only ever given up on one other quilt, and that one I took the time to re-make (the Grandmother's Fan). I don't have the desire to do that with this one. Maybe further into the future...

But for now, this project is going to go far, far away. I'll probably donate it to the Salvation Army annual fabric sale.

On the other hand, this means that it's time for me to decide on a new project. My Grandmother's Fan top is completely pieced. The nine patches for my quilt-along are done, and I've purchased the sashing fabric. In just a few days, that top will be done.

I've got most of the fabric I need for my crane panel quilt. I found a steal on eBay the fabrics, and got another yard of the cream and one of the border fabric for $2.99 each.

I'm not sure what I'm in the mood to make at the moment.. I'd like to spread my wings a little, what direction? I have the sheets printed for a paper-piecing project - New York Beauty patches. Maybe I'll start that. Otherwise, the desire to make a Lone Star quilt has been rattling around for about six years. Maybe I'll finally I'll do that. We'll see.

Of course, I did splurge on eBay this week - besides those two fabrics for the crane panel, I purchased three yards of King's Road Belle fabric in rust. I wish it had been the red... That colorway makes me drool, but the rust is pretty too.

I also ordered the Sewline mechanical pencil. Of all my purchases, this looks to be the most promising! The leads are made of ceramic, erasable ceramic! If they work without leaving permanent marks, I'll be so happy!!! I got the separate eraser, extra erasers and white and black leads. If they're good, I'm ordering lead in all of the colors available. I know for sure green, yellow and pink are up for ordering.

I'm always on the search for a good, removable way to mark my tops for quilting. If these work, I'll be sure to spread the word.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Little Remiss in Posting

It's been a while since I got a chance to blog, but we've had guests over quite a bit over the last couple of weeks, and blogging while I should be playing host makes me feel like a very bad person.

To update:

The Grandmother's Fan top is completely pieced. YAY! I just have to pick up the batting and decide on a back. I'd like to do a back from a single fabric. This means ordering something online, because it's measuring in at about 90 X 90, according to the math. I haven't actually measured yet. I need to get enough clear floor to do so.

I also need to take a photo of this top - I did take one about a week ago, but looking at it made me realize that I'd put two of the rows on in the wrong order, so the quilt wasn't symmetrical the way I'd intended.

I have completed all of my nine patches for the
quilt-along. I still have to photograph the blocks and post them to the Flickr pool. This puts me well ahead of the deadline to have them done. I need to take a look at the photos of the completed quilt and determine how the sashing was done to continue to proceed. I don't think I want to wait for the deadline.

And... I have completed ANOTHER quilt! That's TWO in two(?) months!! I'm so excited. This one was Flying Geese I. I love, love, love the colors in this quilt top. Hands down, it's my favorite as far as color scheme. There were so many things wrong with the piecing - it was the first top I'd pieced completely on the machine. There were so many things I didn't know! This particular quilt was a learning effort from beginning to end.

What I find interesting about the photographs is that the stripe fabric washes out whenever I take a photo of the full quilt. If you look at the second photo, of the detail, it's a far more accurate representation of the colors.

Flying Geese I

Flying Geese I

Flying Geese I

I'm just super pleased lately with my quilting efforts. I've fallen in love with quilting all over again since the beginning of the year.

This Friday, I have to get to Joanns and spend some money on myself. They got some absolutely delicious red and black fabrics in that just make me drool. There's two or three fabric that I have to get two or three yards a piece of. Thank goodness this weekend is their Firefly sale, and I have several coupons for 50% off.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

On The Frame

Today was spectacularly full of progress. I finished, ironed, and squared up all of the Grandmother's Fan blocks. Now, I only have to piece the top, and I have another flimsy to add to the stack. It looks like it'll finish around 92" by 92" inches.

I ironed the backer to Flying Geese I, and got the top, batting and backer loaded onto the frame.

Flying Geese I,quilting

I decided to do this quilt with a tan thread, because I didn't like any of the purple machine quilting threads available at JoAnn's. They were all too bright - the same for the pinks. I'm moderately happy with how it looks so far:

Flying Geese I,stippling,quilting

As you can see, I'm doing a smaller meander/stippling in the spaces around the triangles. This is giving them an awesome 3D effect that I really like. If you look into the background, you can see that I was attempting to do parallel lines in the long stripes. I wasn't too successful for that first try, but I think I'll have to leave the stitches in. They're really small, now that I've mastered my speed versus that of the machine, and I'm just not patient enough to rip them all out.

I don't hold out much hope for the lines at this point. The top was pieced a VERY, VERY long time ago. It was probably the first that I'd pieced on the machine, and while I thought I'd measured twice, and cut once - Yeah, not so much now that I'm at the point of quilting the darned thing. It's puckering, quite a bit, because the border fabric that I used for the stripes distorted. I hadn't realized just how much until now.

Ah, well. I'll chalk it up to another learning experience in quilting.

Anyway, I'm nearly halfway done. With any lucky, I might have this top quilted in time to go in the wash!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Swap and a Giveaway!

So, sewing and quilting have consumed me once again. I have creative drive again! I didn't realize how unfulfilled I was without my form of expression.

Quilting, in all of its stages, makes me happy.

I love selecting the fabrics and deciding how to use them. I love the crisp feel of making a slice into a beloved piece of fabric. I love sewing it all together and seeing my vision come to life. Quilting the sandwich is a whole new joy for me - with my frame and Janome 1600P, I tend to 'zen' out. It's so relaxing. Perhaps even more disturbing, I even enjoy the process of ironing all the fabrics when they come out of the dryer.

Having come back in touch with my quilt-y side again, I've got the itch to create other things and stretch my wings in other ways. So, I joined a Creating By The Lake's
pincushion swap. I spent a day looking at pincushion patterns and getting ideas. Once I get assigned my partner, I'll determine what materials I'll actually use.

In the process of taking a look at Creating By The Lake's blog, I came across this
giveaway. I just have to throw my hat in the ring, because that fabric is just beyond delicious. Even if I don't win, I'll probably have to order some online when I get a little extra money. Just yummy!

The buttons for both the swap and the giveaway are in my sidebar. If pincushions are your thing, there might still be slots open in the swap.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birthday Treats for Me!

My birthday was this past Friday. As a present to myself, I set aside money for me to go to the Rock Valley Quilters' Guild Show. I've been looking forward to it since I designed and printed the flyers and posters for it.

Anyway, I nearly made it out of the vendor's hall with my wallet intact. Until I saw this panel and its coordinating fabrics:

YUMMY!! Now, I normally hate panels to death. I just can't ever figure out what to do with them. But this one just called my name. The colors and design are just perfect. I love that deep eggplant shade, and the graceful lines are just delicious.

I had to have them, so $45 dollars later, I was the proud owner of the panel, two yards of the border print, and one half yard each of the all-over florals in purple, pink and golden cream. I'm just afraid that I'll end up needing more than I bought, and have to order it. Thank goodness for selvages.

I also purchased a pattern for an adorable pattern for a purse by Lazy Girl Designs. When I get the bag made, I'll post it. At JoAnn's, I purchased myself a new, 2' X 3' cutting mat.

On Friday itself, I purchased a set of vinyl nesting boxes. They're perfect for keeping quilting projects in. I would have purchased the second set that we had on Saturday, but a friend of mine had to have a set too. So, now I'm on the hunt for something similar in order to have additional storage. I love the clear vinyl, because I can see my progress.

In additional news, I'm one day ahead on the nine patch quilt along at twenty-fout blocks. I've also separated out the rest of the fabrics I need to cut down for this project. My only rules are that there be distinction between the two fabrics in each patch, and that I use up all those cuts of fabric that amount to 1/8th of a yard or less. As a result, I'm going to have a bajillion 2.5" squares coming out of my ears, but I figure I'll make a scrappy Irish Chain or another top that's been living in my head for a while. I'll also have a ton of longer scraps leftover that I'll probably do a paper-pieced strip quilt at some point in the near future.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


After far longer than I care to admit, I have finally taken a top and quilted it. I even got the binding on! It's got its share of mistakes, but I think I did pretty well for the first machine quilted top, and the first binding I've put on entirely by machine as well. It's even my first pieced backer. A lot of firsts in this quilt for me :)

I actually finished it a few days ago, but I finally washed it today, AND it's gorgeous out.

In other quilty news, I've finished all of the fan blade sets for my Grandmother's Fan top. Now I just need to finish them off, and then I can assemble them into the completed design.

I'm a bit behind on the nine patches. I'm hoping I can not only catch up, but get a bit ahead. I believe we're on day 23, which means I need four or five to be current.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Continuing Saga of "Not My Favorite Top"

Today would have been productive, had I not made HUGE mistakes when working with "Not My Favorite Top". I am going to be so very glad that this quilt is finished.

Anyway... I spent Zeb's nap today making the fabric leaders for my Little Gracie II. I've had the frame for nearly three months, and haven't been able to do a thing with it. The frame came with tubing for only the crib sized rails, and I put together the frame for the queen sized rails. I rarely do anything smaller than a lap quilt, thus the need for the larger size.

I did manage to find the appropriate sized tubing at Walmart - it's actually aquarium tubing. Purchased it for far less than what Grace Frames wanted for the stuff. "Woohoo" for determination.

So, I got my frame ready for use. I'll post pictures later, when I'm not so irritated beyond belief at myself.

This prompted me to prepare backing for "Not My Favorite Quilt Top". I have a beautiful Tracy Porter fabric that I just love, and decided to use it for the backer, since I couldn't imagine using it in a top. It's just such a large print. Looking at the fabric and the finished size of the top, I decided to do a pieced backing.

I have not one clue where I went wrong. Everything laid out properly on the floor. But then, I cut the fabric. Not a big deal - yet. I put together a stripe of 7" squares of the fabrics that were in the top. Awesome. That looked great. I then sewed this stripe to one half of the Tracy Porter fabric. Okay.

With this done, I laid it back on the floor to pin the other half to the opposite side of the stripe. (@$&($!!! I totally sewed the first half on backwards. #(#&%$&)@(!!!!

Fine. Whatever. Pin the other side and sew it on, then pull the first set of stitches.

The second set of stitches was finished, and for whatever reason, I decided to make sure the backer was wide enough. Yeah....

Instead of being six inches bigger all the way around, the backer is nearly the same width as the top, and nearly 18" longer. I have not one clue where I went wrong. At this point it doesn't matter though. The fabric is cut, and I like where the backer is headed. Although, I do really just want to burn this thing now, but I WILL FINISH.

Now I am very grateful I still had that extra yard of black fabric that should have gone into the top. I've cut 6" wide stripes to flank either side of the central pieced stripe. That will give me the extra width I need.

Soon, very soon, I can get this whole thing on the quilting frame. Really.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Very Productive Saturday!

Zeb took a very long nap today (two whole hours!). I am ecstatic. More sewing time for Mommy!

Immediately, I set to work on more of the nine patches for the quilt-along. I only had five done at last post, which put me eight behind as of this morning. Well, not only did I get my eight done, I managed to get an additional five in!!

This means that I'm gravy until Friday morning!! Yay! I still have an urge to work on nine patches though... They're like chips for me: can't make just one.

In addition to my nine patches, I was able to work on my Grandmother's Fan blocks. I haven't squared them up, but they're ironed. Yay for progress!!

I think this is pretty good for two hours!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Quilt-Along!

Yesterday, I was shopping at Walmart with my mother-in-law, looking for things for Zeb, and for her new apartment. In six short weeks, Ma will be moving into the same apartment complex, which I'm very excited for. As much as I love Zeb, he can be a handful, and having Ma around to baby-sit on occasion will be a relief.

Anyway, I found a cute, little, metal trashcan in an aqua color, and decided I had to have it for my scraps. I was simply keeping them in a canvas shopping bag. This meant that the kitties and kiddo would get into them on a regular basis. The trashcan is the perfect height for my scraps and to hide away my scissors and rotary cuttery out of Zeb's sight.

In other news...

As if I don't have enough UFOs, but now I've gone and joined crazy mom quilt's quilt-along. There's also a Flickr pool at which to view everyone else's blocks. I'm a little late to the party - we're seven days in, which means I should be seven blocks in.

However, I did get five of them made this afternoon while Zebediah was napping. They went together gratifyingly quickly. It's been so long since I did something as simple as a nine-patch that I'd forgotten how snappy they were, even with stopping to press open my seams. I'm also making sure to cut extra 2.5" squares for the borders so that I'm not stuck cutting 144 of them at the end of doing all the blocks.
In the process of selecting fabrics for the nine-patch blocks, I discovered one more yard of the black fabric framing the blocks in "Not My Favorite Top". More than a little irritated here. And fighting the urge to rip hours of stitches out and make the top the way I wanted to. Considering how little I like the thing right now, I might just do that, if I have enough of the other fabrics. On second thought, I'm lazy, and just DONE with that top.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hmm... Not So Bad!

So, I've added the borders to this top.


Forgive the crinklies, and it not being squared up. I just wanted to photograph it right away! And look! No kitties!

But, huh.

As I said yesterday, this isn't my favorite quilt top. In fact, due to the huge amounts of pink, my emotions regarding it bordered on hatred. I'm totally not into the "girly" end of the color spectrum.

But now, I look at this with the borders on, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I rather like the floating effect the blocks have because of that stripe of pink just inside the final border. It's still not my favorite, but I no longer detest this top the way I did. I might even be able to quilt it, and begin to appreciate it even more.

And even with this glimmer of a possibility of like for this quilt top, I don't think I'll be keeping it. It's just not me. I'm going to finish it though.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Am a Sick, Sick Monkey

I'm very bad. Very, very bad. I keep promising to use my stash, but instead of using it, I add to it. To be fair to myself, I had never anticipated the difficulty of sewing around a rambunctious seventeen month old who is instantly jealous of anything Mommy does that isn't centered around him. Zebediah is my sweetums, but he's a demanding sweetums.

Anywho... This is what I get for having a Joann's two doors down from work, and for loving color and pattern.

The photo shows off what I've managed to acquire since the beginning of the year. What you see there is 28 yards, and that's not all of it. Just what is washed and ironed (I prewash everything!). I am so disturbingly ill, but I just can't find the willpower to find a cure.

Looking over this fabric, I am struck by the range of patterns and colors. I don't normally stick to a 'genre' of fabric, the way some of my quilty acquaintances do. I just have to see potential in a fabric, and it will probably make it into my stash.

Speaking of the stash... With these purchases, I have officially broken the 400 unique fabrics mark. It's funny, too, looking back. Some of these fabrics are from when I first started quilting, 15 years ago. The way my tastes have migrated from very traditional, tiny prints to, well, anything under the sun, just strikes me.

I wonder if I'll break the 500 mark before the end of the year. I don't know if I can afford to! My fabric closet is running out of space!

On that note, I'm going to escape to my sewing machine while the going is good. Zeb is asleep, and I've dug out one of my tops that was just awaiting the last borders to be put on (again with the prerequisite cat):

Not one of my favorite tops. My original intention had been to have the entire top be composed of the black bordered blocks. That failed when I discovered that I didn't have enough of that black fabric.

Not being one to give up, I decided to switch tactics and throw in big squares of coordinating florals.

I've been sitting on the coordinating border print for a while. Just didn't have the ambition to sew it on. Now, I do. I've got my Little Gracie II and my Janome 1600P, and I want to put them to use. This particular quilt will be the first one I machine quilt AT ALL, as well as the first on my new set up.

So, shortly, I'll have those borders on, and I'll press that top one more time. After that, I just have to purchase more muslin for my fabric leaders and some tubings for the Fabri-fast system, and I'm ready to start quilting!

I'm off to sew!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Blog

It's been forever and a day since I kept up a regular blog. I just lost my motivation, and quit. This time, I really want to stick with it. Really. I stay more inspired when I keep track of my accomplishments and what I'm doing.

Anyway, I recently pulled out a favorite quilt top of mine (photo to the left - cats included, of course). I've avoided sandwiching and quilting it for eons. Why? Because it felt incomplete.

I love the colors, and the repeat stripe that I used. It's why I made this top the way I did. I wanted to show off that glorious border print. I actually really love the fact that I used a thin stripe of a mustard yellow fabric around the main portion of the top. I think it helps it 'POP' some. But the more I looked at it, the less happy I was with it.

Finally, about a month ago, I determined that it needed another border around it. So, I went shuffling through my stash, certain that I had enough of each of my green, blue and aqua fabrics used in the top to cobble together a simple border.

Boy, was I wrong!

Apparently, I used every last scrap of each of those fabrics to put this bad boy together. That only made my dilemma that much harder. Should I give in and just quilt this thing, to get it out of my (ever-growing) UFO pile? Or should I cave and see if I could find fabrics in similar colors?

I finally gave in last payday and purchased 14 fabrics that coordinated with my quilt. They're not the same exact fabrics, but they match the color scheme. I'm much happier now with the addition of this five-inch wide border. Now, I just have to select a backer fabric, decide which red fabric I'm going to use for binding, and get this sucker quilted.

On the whole, I'm pretty happy with it. At least, I'm far happier than I was without that border.