Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'll take a yard of everything, please

Is it just me, or do you go through stages of being very greedy about fabric? I've been in this stage for a couple of weeks now, and despite exerting tremendous restraint, I've still managed to bring in over 14 yards. Some was on the red tag clearance table at Joanns, so I don't feel badly about that at all. And try as I might, I can't feel badly about this either:



The large floral is the same fabric I used in the back of the twin quilts. Today I noticed those lovely crosses had all the same colors, and then I found the other two prints and the stripe and an idea was born. An idea for a lovely, if somewhat superfluous, quilt. A lap quilt for my daughter. She has a lap quilt, of course, but we've been keeping it in the car for those cold mornings, leaving her with nothing small enough to carry around the house (except for the 3 crocheted and 1 knitted afghans. I'm a quilter now and afghans don't count).

Coinciding with this, is Twin Fibers latest finish of a strip quilt. It's becoming a pattern that I want to copy EVERY THING SHE DOES. I'm not a stalker, I promise. I just love everything I see on her blog and want to do it for myself. There are quite a few bright & happy Kona solids that will go perfectly with this, so I think I want to do exactly what she did, assuming I can find some ric rac I like. The word fabric on the left is set aside for the back, I think.

When I showed the fabrics to my daughter, she gave me a big hug & told me it was the best thing a girl could get. She's very expressive.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Flowers, one of ?

As I've previously mentioned, I have a little bit of yardage in the Happy Flowers line. Only time will tell exactly how many projects will come of this.

But here's my first:


And here is it's fraternal twin, yet to be quilted. And ironed, apparently.



If you saw my original plan for these blocks, then say it with me: "Ahhhh - so much better."

I just love this fabric, and even though my original plan for these two colors didn't work out, I don't for a minute regret buying so much. Look at this face - have you ever seen a cuter face on fabric?



If the front isn't bright enough for you, check out this backing fabric




It took me forever, and two stores to find something I liked for the back. In case these go to actual twins, I had it in my mind that the backing for both needed to match. I don't know why. But the whole time I was sewing the binding on this, I kept looking at it & realizing how very much I loved the colors & the pattern. There are probably 8 Kona solids to go with this, all bright & cheerful. I think I'm going to have to go back and get some yardage.



These will be going in my shop eventually, but I want to wait until the pink one is done as well. And, just between you & me, I'm still on the fence about that purple color in the pink quilt. I love it in the blue one, but I think a darker purple would look so much better in the pink. I'm going to have to look at it a bit more before I quilt it & make it permanent.

But for now, I'm linking this post up at Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it up Friday. I love that she does that - I love seeing what everyone has done.

Friday, January 20, 2012

There is something to learn on every quilt



And for this one, it is to only buy fabric you LOVE.

When my step-daughter was a teenager, clothes shopping was not a quick endeavor. I'm sure it isn't for most teenagers. I was uncharacteristically patient with this. I remember telling her one time that life was too short to wear ugly clothes.

Well, it's too short to sew on ugly fabric either. Even if that fabric was priced low enough to be considered stealing.

I'll finish it someday, but in the meantime, THIS is what I'm talking about.



I have no idea what caused me to do a search for it on Etsy last night. Other than the fact that I've been drooling over this line for months now. But I ran across this listing last night & knew it was meant to be. I never would have brought myself to buy a whole fat quarter bundle, and a charm pack just wouldn't have done it, but this little scrap package, especially at this little price, is exactly what I need.

If I've estimated correctly, I'll have enough to make this stunning quilt in a size to fit my bed.

You may officially consider my double hourglass quilt a UFO. Carry on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm not good at slow

Slow, slow, painfully slow progress on the string X.



I need some mindless chain piecing now.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Slowly working our way out

The stomach virus has slowly hit every member of our family, which I guess is better than hitting all of us at once. But now I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed at the task before me, that of getting my house back in order. Why is it that you neglect it for one little week, but create a month's worth of work for yourself?

I did find a little sewing time. Why is finding sewing time easier than finding housework time:) Nevermind, don't answer.

I've been working on my string X blocks a little. Some of them are lining up perfectly and representing themselves as exactly what I wanted from this quilt.



Some of them are not.




That strip of pomegranate Kona was only 1" to start with, so it's only 1/2" finished. This has proved itself to be a very fussy, tedious block. The thin strip of Kona is what is causing the most difficulties, but it's also what makes the design striking. I should have enough extra blocks to just not use the worst offenders, and it is going to be so very pretty when I get done.


Isn't that gorgeous?

I've also spent some time with the double hourglass blocks.



In contrast, these have snapped together almost effortlessly. I've been amazed how how the seams line up on each and every block. I have all but one of these done. Yes, one. In very atypical fashion, I just sewed a bunch of blocks and then decided how to lay them out. I'm usually much more anal than that.

Despite my utter lack of energy, and utter lack of funds, new project bug has hit me pretty hard. Maybe it was because I didn't have the energy to really tackle a current project, but I spent almost all of yesterday either wishing I was at a fabric store, or browsing fabric online. So far, I've managed to resist. We'll see how long I hold out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

After getting the blocks separated, all quilting plans have come to a screetching halt as my daughter contracted some kind of stomach virus. Why those things always hit in the middle of the night is beyond me, but I put my healthy daughter to bed at regular time only to be woken up at 1:30 am by her saying 'mommy, I think I threw up on my bed.' I'll save you the details, but suffice it to say it took me 30 minutes just to get her & her bed cleaned up. Luckily, she missed the quilt completely:)

My daughter also has this thing where if she's woken in the middle of the night, she's awake for hours, so despite the anti-nausea medicine that's supposed to have the desired side effect of sleepiness, we were awake until 4:30 am.

I don't think I've recovered yet from that sleep deprivation.

It did give me a chance to try out the frog quilt as I snuggled with her for about an hour in a vain attempt at helping her drift off. If you've never backed a quilt with flannel before, you need to do so now - on the very quilt you're working on. The slight extra weight felt wonderful as did the softness. It was just the best quilt I've ever laid under!

So, on my plate now are the pink & blue blocks to be made into separate baby quilts, a double hourglass, and a string X quilt. Should be enough, wouldn't you think? But I got these wonderful fabrics from my friend Mandy for Christmas:



And I just keep wondering what to do with them. All but the cat print lends itself to fairly small pieces, so I've been looking at this pattern this morning & thinking it might be just the ticket. I've gotten out my Kona card (also a gift from Mandy) and picked out Snow as the background and Peony & Bluebell as the sashing colors.

Yeah, that's what I've been doing instead of working this morning. I'm blaming the lack of focus on what should be my priority on the lack of sleep. I have to say, this morning is a perfect example of why I love working from home on my own schedule rather than someone else's.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Unpicked



Getting a bit of deja vu as I look at this stack of blocks. I was looking at the same stack just 2 days ago.

Normally, I just hate when my evening is spent picking rows apart as opposed to sewing them together, but I was very happy to do it this time. Those poor blocks needed to be separated. Now that I have them apart again, I'm seeing that the purple looks surprisingly good with the blue. If you had asked me to make you a bright teal and a dusty lavender quilt, I would have surely considered you crazy.

Happy Flowers

I have Happy Flowers to a flimsy sans borders.



I know - I see it - you don't have to tell me. It's an assault to the eyes. But for now, let's pretend it's pretty and discuss the problems I have with construction. With both this, and my mother-in-laws quilt, it wasn't getting the triangles that formed the octagon to line up that was the problem. It's the squares, seen in purple in this quilt. You'd think that would be the easy part. But I've had a horrible time with both quilts.

In both, I made the triangles larger, in the hopes of getting better accuracy, and then trimmed them down to size. In my MIL's quilt, I trimmed with the block face up and just trimmed it square. In this block, I turned the block over, and put my ruler right on the seam lines in the hopes of getting better accuracy. If anyone has made a kaleidescope before and can give me some pointers, I sure would appreciate it. I love the block and can see me making many quilts out of it, but I've got to get some accuracy with those corner triangles.

But now, with that out of the way, we can go back to the sheer ugliness of the thing in it's current condition. I planned it for my daughter's bed, a twin size, and just didn't have enough of the happy flowers fabric in a single color to make it all one colorway. The Happy Flowers fabric looks very good with itself in all the colorways, and I really liked the way the Kona Bright Pink and Kona Lagoon looked with each other and with their respective Happy Flowers fabrics. I picked out the Kona Lavender as I wanted the squares to be less noticable and I thought a darker purple would battle with the pink & blue I chose. After putting it all together, I think the Lavender look awful with the other two, brighter and more saturated colors.

So when I got my daughter home from pre-school, I set this abomination and the beautiful frog quilt in front of her and told her to choose. Since she has eyes in her head, she obviously chose the frogs. I've removed it from my shop and it's now resting comfortably on her bed where it belongs. I didn't really want to sell that quilt anyway.

Having established that, I came to realize the biggest problem with this quilt is too many colors, and this pattern in general doesn't lend itself to the checkerboard effect I've thrust upon it. So I'm going to disassemble the blocks and make one pink and one blue quilt to sell, both toddler sized. I think those will look great, even with the purple squares. The purple actually looks nice against the pink, and not badly against the blue - it's the three colors together that doesn't work.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My sad little UFO

I haven't been quilting long enough to have a stack of them, as some people seem to have. I only have one, but it weighs pretty heavily on me.

This is an alphabet quilt I started for my daughter.



When I was pregnant with her and planning her nursery, I settled on purple pansies. I'm not sure how or why, but I did and it was gorgeous. I painted her walls a periwinkle, and set about finding appropriate purple pansy stuff. Which wasn't easy. But I did. A lamp, a clock, a stuffed Hello Kitty, some decals that I put on her garbage can and on white letters that I attached to her wall above her bed. The biggest find was a fleece blanket. I cut it down to about 4' x 6', bought some coordinating fleece and a huge zipper and made a giant pillow for her floor. It was the size of a rug, obviously, and gave her a great place to play on her hardwood floors. The pattern was an adorable teddy bear surrounded by purple pansies. Add white furniture and fixtures, and I was very pleased.

The problem is that kids change so darn quickly. In the time between me planning this quilt, and getting this far, she went from a toddler sleeping in a toddler bed and not knowing her ABCs to a pre-schooler sleeping in a twin sized bed singing the alphabet more than I even wanted her to. And that pre-schooler had different ideas about what should go in her room. Princesses and Scooby Doo overtook the pansies.

This all happened in about 6 months time.

I have a list of problems with finishing this quilt. The biggest being that it no longer represents who she is. Another being that since what you see is only about 30" x 45", I can't figure out an attractive way to add enough borders to make a twin size quilt. And finally, I've made a mistake that tires me to think of re-doing.


I had never done sashing on the diagonal before and miscalculated how long to make it. I have enough fabric to re-do, but it's hard to find the motivation when there are so many other issues with the quilt.

But on the pro-side of finishing it, I do absolutely love it. I think the fabric and syle are beautiful. I think I did a good job of appliquing the letters. I've tried to talk myself into finishing it as a wall hanging. I've tried to talk myself into finishing it to sell - I simply can't do that. It has too much meaning to me, representing her toddlerhood the way it does.

When my friend Mandy was over a few weeks ago, I was showing her a quilt top my grandmother had made but never quilted, and she encouraged me to finish this thing - to not let my daughter be showing this to her friend 40 years from now and lamenting the fact that it was never finished. She's right, but for now the pros & cons seems to be balancing each other out & it just sits here. A sad little quilt that hasn't quite gotten to be.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My decision is made

My next project will be to cut these



to go with this



for this little girl.



I saw Happy Flowers by Donna Dewberry for the first time on Etsy and it was already out of print when I saw it. Panicking, I snatched up a half yard bundle in both green and yellow. Then I went back and snatched up half yard bundles in blue and pink. And finally a yard bundle in purple and a panel. Wow. The next thing I knew, I had 11 yards of this stuff with no good idea of how to put it together. In case you aren't recognizing the theme, I agonize over patterns excessively. The only thing I knew was that I wanted the large flowers on the dot background to be fussy cut. They were too cute to not be made focus.

A couple of months ago I saw this pattern


 in this magazine


 and knew I had my pattern. It's basically a cross between a kaleidescope and a dresden - it goes together like a kaleidescope, but has a center applique like a dresden. Only the center applique is an octagon, which is more interesting to me.

Here's a copy of their finished quilt to help you visualize the pattern.


I have some purple purchased for the quarter squares that come together to form the squares you see in a mustardy brown. It's a bit lighter than the pink & blue I have chosen, and I'm not quite sure about it yet.

I've also promised her a flannel backing on this quilt. Not only does it just plain feel wonderful, but she's still young enough that she has trouble keeping her covers on her at night. I'm thinking a flannel back will help with that.

I haven't gotten very far on this one, so if I stay with it until it's done, it will be a while before I have another quilt finish. Staying with it isn't very likely though as I suffer from quilters ADD like nobody's business. Part of that is by necessity as my sewing machine is right next to my daughter's room, so I do the noisy business of sewing while she is awake and do my cutting & ironing while she is asleep. If I don't have any cutting or ironing to do on one project, I just start another. I also have 2 projects very near completion and I'm not sure I can put off completing them until this one is done. I'll probably bounce around the three projects, getting them all done within weeks of each other like I did the last group of quilts.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My happy little quilt

I sat, in my dirty house, yesterday and just stitched away at this binding.



After getting the quilting done, and the binding attached, I was just too excited to see the finished product to do anything else. (I have since cleaned the house, and consider my priorities to be in good order despite my husband's grumblings to the contrary.)

I just LOVE this quilt!



The bright, cheerful colors. The fun pattern:



And those adorable frogs!



I'm not a frog person, but how could these not make you smile? The backing is another huge plus. It's a super nice flannel with even more frogs.



It's a twin size - 66" x 76", and for sale in my shop.  Nevermind, I decided to keep it:)



The frog fabrics came from Joann's and the Kona solds used are Pear and Petal. The flannel came from Hobby Lobby. The batting is Warm & White.

I have no idea what I'm going to work on next. I have some double hourglass blocks made & that would be the quickest project to finish, but I also have a some adorable Happy Flowers fabrics I'm wanting to make into a quilt for my daughter. Either way, I suspect I'm hours away from cutting into more fabric. At any given time, I'm usually only hours away from this:)

(Edited to add) I'm linking this up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday. I'm so glad she's continuing that in the new year. And a link to Confessions of a Fabric Addict.