Sunday, January 31, 2010

Conquering the Wonky House Block...

...or, at least, not being defeated by it ;)

missmonnyquilts requested wonky house blocks in bright colors.  I attempted this block about a week and a half ago, perhaps two weeks.  I am not ashamed to admit that it confounded me.  I am not a wonky block person.. I have a hard time winging it and not working according to a pattern.  I persevered, though, and refused to give in to my hang-ups.  The block at right is what I ended up with.

Not too bad, but I felt it could have been better.  A lot better.

So, today, once kiddo was down for his afternoon nap, I sneaked into the sewing room, picked a different batch of fabrics (though the white-on-white fabric is the same for both blocks), and got cracking!

I picked some of the more 'wild' fabrics from my stash.  The roof fabric is a particular favorite of mine.  I've only about a yard left of it, sadly - and I've only used it in things I've sent out to others.  I'll have to use it in something for myself soon.

I'm much happier with the way this second block turned out (at left).  I like the scale of the fabrics in relation to each other, as well as the colors.  Which, by the by, are much brighter than photographed.  I did some lightening up and editing in Picasa, but there's only so much I can do without having Photoshop at my disposal - my primary hard drive developed a bad sector, and in order to have a functioning computer, I had to format the blasted thing.  Thank goodness I had everything important to me backed up on my secondary hard drive as well as my external.

Next up, I'll start on carilea's blocks.  She's specified quilter's choice, but in blues and greens.  After that, I'll do the angel blocks I've volunteered to do.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More Birthday Blocks

I've had these finished for about five days now..  I've been skipping about as the mood strikes me, though I did attempt the first of the Wonky Houses for missmonnyquilts.  That was a spectacular failure in so many way.  Not only did I somehow miss the specification for 'bright houses', I managed to put my last white strip (making the block the requested 12.5") on backwards.  Don't ask me how.. I don't get it.  Tonight, once munchkin goes down, I'll be trying my hand at it again.
At any rate, I've finished the Tennessee Blocks for grain_damaged.  I'm super pleased with them, and LOVE the fabrics in them.  The combination of black with the bright batiks has my heart positively singing with happiness.  I'm inspired, and I have to get more of the Kona Cotton in black to make myself a batik and black Double Wedding Ring Quilt.  I'm finding that I really love the Kona Cottons and their weight and hand.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


As you can see, I decided to renovate this space again.  I got bored with Blogger's very standard templates, and started testing new, very pretty templates out.  After playing around with a few two column templates, I decided that three columns was the way to go for me.  More organization, more room to play...  I think I like it.  I think it'll stay the way it is now, though I've downloaded half a dozen other templates in the event that I change my mind.

I think it's cute though ;)

In other news, I've gone and joined another quilt-a-long.  This one is hosted by Rachel at p.s. i quilt.  The sampler quilt we'll be emulating is gorgeous!  I look forward to this one - a good chance for me to strengthen my piecing skills.

My camera is broken, so any photos to my blog for the duration will be taken with my phone, a Blackberry Curve.  It's not a bad camera, by any means.  It's simply not capable of producing the images that a dedicated piece of equipment is capable of.  With any luck, I'll be able to find room in the tax refund to purchase a new camera, perhaps with more features than the last.  We'll see...

I've finished another five blocks for my scrappy string quilt top:
Twenty-three down.  I've no idea where this thing will top, though, so I can't judge how many more I've to make yet.  The blocks are 6.5" 6.5", for a finished size of 6" X 6", and are comprised of strips of varying widths froms just about every project I've completed and/or attempted.

I'm enjoying it.  It's pain-free, guilt-free piecing.  There's no plan to adhere to, all of the pieces are scraps, even the white centers (left over from Amanda Jean's quilt-a-long, blogged here)... It's so simple to do, it's actually quite relaxing for me.  I just have to settle down and get several paper squares cut down.  I'm using standard lined, three hole punched paper.  It's so thin, it tears right off, though I'll be saving my old phone books in case I have the yen to do something similar in the future.

Of course, as I went back and re-read that last paragraph, it struck me anew that the whole project is comprised of scraps.  So I stopped typing, and counted my white strips.  Thirty-two.  Thirty-two blocks before I have to decide if I'm content to stop there, or if I should buy more white and keep going.  There will always be more scraps to work from...

Meh.. No worries.  I'll let the quilt decide when we get there.  Hmmm.. That's what I'll called this little string quilt - No Worries.  It's appropriate. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sweet Give-Away!

As you all know, I tend to trip through blog-land randomly looking for cool things to inspire me and keep me drooling... A random look through comments at The Happy Zombie resulted in finding 44th Street Fabric...

...where Bev is hosting a sweet, sweet give-away!!  See the post for the rules of the give-away.

 Photo borrowed from Bev's post

Is this not absolutely adorable and scrumptious?  It's Feathered Friends by Wendy Slotboom for In the Beginning Fabric.  I love the colors.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Sew-In

Heidi, of Handmade by Heidi, is hosting the first Friday Night Sew-in of 2010!  She's got several people signed up, and will be doing a give-away to one lucky participant.

The idea is that on Friday, January 15, 2010, we all sit down and work on whatever projects we like - sewing, scrapbooking, knitting...  What ever makes your heart happy.

On Saturday, January 16, 2010, post about what you worked on, preferably with some pics to show off.

Sunday, January 17, all participants will be entered into a give-away!

Sounds like fun!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pretty, Pretty & Progress

My intention tonight had been to get a backing together for Flying Geese II.

I am made of fail, though.  I managed to select fabrics to audition for the backing, got as far as getting them out to the living room, and that was that.  I fell asleep with the kiddo, and woke up about an hour ago, with the desire to eat a beef and bean burrito.  So, Flying Geese II continues to laze about on the living room floor.  Perhaps tomorrow...

In other news, as implied by this particular post's title, I have progress and pretties to show off!

First, the pretties.  One of the members of the Birthday Block Swap requested bright batiks.  I forget which member at the moment - but it is 2:07 AM.  I'll let this slide, LOL.
In a happy coincidence, Joann's happened to be running a sale on batiks for 25% off, as well as having a coupon for 10% the total purchase.  Score!

Aren't these just scrumptious?  The one on the far left is my absolute favorite out of the bunch.  I might go back on Friday, and purchase more if there is anything left.

And now for the progress...

I am sad to say that there is no ironing fairy, at least for me, so everything here was done by me.  Several hours, much cursing at my slowly dying, in-need-of-replacement iron, and cramping of the shoulder muscles and the hand holding said iron...  Ta-daa!!  PROGRESS. 
I buckled down and have worked my way through a good portion of the stash enhancements that have been languishing for attention.  Stack on the left, done.  Stack on the right, still in need of attention.  *whimper*

A trip through the blog, Sonnet of the Moon, has resulted in the OCD need to re-visit my stash and begin the process of re-ironing and, most importantly, trimming the selvage off my fabrics.  I read her post on fabric storage, and was inspired.

Why do I care?  Well, really, it's just a convenience thing.  If I cut the selvage off right away, there's nothing but usable fabric on my shelving.  This means that I can just grab my selections and begin cutting patches right away.  Nothing to hinder me from simply diving in.  No to mention, it just looks better on my shelving.  My eye is drawn to the fabric, not the white edging peeking out of a folded bundle.

Sonnet of the Moon may have also solved a quilting quandary for me!  I've been debating what to do with a certain set of coordinating fabrics.  I love them.  They're gorgeous, and screamed my name whilst still on the bolt.  (I'll post a pic later, when I've better lighting and the oomph to take a decent photo - now being 2:32 AM.)

The problem?  Now that I've got them home (been here for a couple of months now), they taunt me from the shelf...  They're too match-y, match-y.  As a quilter who has, in the past, delighted in throwing fabrics at each other and seeing if they bond, these are just too... pat? ...neat?  ...coordinated?  ...alike?

A satisfactory word eludes me. 

But, oh!  They're gorgeous, and demand to be used.  I'm just not the sort of quilter who can take a batch of coordinated prints and make something happen with just those prints.  I've since purchased fabrics that might work - some Kona Cotton solids in coordinating colors, and prints from other lines.  Still, the problem lies in just what to do with them.  They're large enough that they call for a larger, simpler block to showcase the fabrics.

To the rescue - this post, a lovely tutorial simplifying the Bento Box pattern!  Some lovely examples of Bento Box quilts here, here, here, and here, not to mention Sonnet of the Moon's delicious yellow and green example in her post.  I especially love the quilting and colors of the last link.  Just adorable!

On that note, I will leave you.  Despite the lateness of the hour, I'm still determined to get up each day at 7:30 AM.  I'm an unapologetic morning person, and can get quite a bit done if kiddo follows his usual pattern of independent playing upon wakefulness.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The First Birthday Blocks

OK, some I'm overly ambitious, and decided to try and make two blocks for everyone in my Birthday Block Swap.  Mainly as an "Aw, poop!" back up plan, if something should come out not quite roses.

aphoenixrain requested wonky log cabin blocks, 13" square, in blues and greens.  Now, I've never made a log cabin, wonky or not, in my life.  Still, I refused to be intimidated!  I did a quick review of Quilt Dad's tutorial and got going.

As I made these blocks, I was tickled by the sheer range of fabrics, which actually encompass the full range of my quilting 'career'.  As long as I've made quilts, I've purchased fabric as my joy button lit up and urged my lizard brain to acquire accordingly.  And yes, now that I'm several years into quilting, there are several fabrics in my stash that make me go, "What was I thinking?"  Will I get rid of them?  Probably not.  I do enough scrap quilting that I can discreetly work those fabrics out of my stash without feeling awful.

Also while making these blocks, my brain wanted to go horribly Type A the entire time.  A little voice kept screaming at me, "You can't be doing this right!  And those fabrics don't match!!"  At some point, I simply told that voice to stuff a sock in it and proceeded to blindly grab from the stash and simply evaluate the fabric for how 'true' a green or blue it was, as subjective as that is.

I actually quite pleased by the blocks - I really thought I'd hate them once was all said and done.  LOL!  But anyway, I thought I'd post a photo of my staging area as I began the piecing process:

As you can see, I set it up so that I could simply swivel my chair around and flatten out the seams as I went.  It worked quite well, and I'll have to remember this when I finally get around to getting a table for ironing.

Speaking of ironing...  That large stack of fabrics on the very right edge of the photo?  Yeah, those are all in desperate need of a visit from the ironing fairy.  And yes, all of them were purchased in 2009.  A very quick estimate, based on there being 44 unique cuts of fabric, with an average purchase of 2 yards per fabric, with adjustments for FQs and remnants...  About 75 total yards of fabric.

The mind boggles.

Thus, my new New Year's Resolution...  To make more quilts, faster.

EDIT:  As I posted this, I noticed that my total blog post count for last year is 34.  I think I'll set a goal of 75 posts for this year.