Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Fancy Cats and a Fairy Tale Confection

One of our quilt guild members has made a commitment to finish at least one UFO (UnFinished Object) a month.  I've decided to follow her example.  Of course, I start at least three more projects!  But, progress is being made.

A glimpse of the back

I started the Fancy Cats quilt in August of 2016, and the top and backing hung in the closet for months, waiting.  I finally finished it in October 2018.

I started Fairy Tale Confection ages ago, even before Fancy Cats.  Finished it in November 2018 (although it still needs a label).

I did hand appliqué, machine appliqué, machine piecing and quilting.  All the little appliqué hearts have fairies in them.

Doesn't it look like a birthday cake?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Shawl is Coming

A new crocheted shawl design is coming soon.  I've been playing around with a prototype, and plan to grab some more yarn, and take better notes while making the real thing.

I've gotten lots of compliments on this along the way; I think it's the beach-y, soothing colors.  The next one is going to be a little more dramatic, color-wise, since that’s what I have in my stash.  This one still needs to be blocked.  All in due course.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A for Effort

Keeping true to my word to work on charity projects on each holiday, I managed to finish the jelly roll race quilt top (just the top, so far).

Luckily, there are eight days for Chanukah!  A migraine headache slowed me down, but I rallied just in time.

Below is what the first pass looks like, all smushed up after sewing all those strips together, short end to short end.

Here are the fabrics I chose for the Christmas Day project.  A couple of them are left over from the previous quilt top.

I saved this ad from a quilting magazine awhile back because I liked the design.  This seemed like the perfect time to make it.  I decided what size I wanted the finished blocks to be and drew them out on graph paper.

That helped me figure out what size to cut each piece.

I got a head start on cutting the fabric a day or two before the Big Day, and would have gotten more sewn yesterday except--guess what?!  I got another migraine.

Maybe these projects are causing me too much stress!  I detect a pattern here.  If I get another migraine on New Year's, I might have to rethink this.  I never have liked deadlines.

Anyway, it's up on the design wall, with just a few more seams to sew.  I might quilt this one myself, so I will make a backing for it at least.

A word about the fabrics:  these were all donated to the Guild for charity projects, and though they are pretty, many of them are poor quality.  Really thin, hard to work with because they want to stretch out of shape no matter how careful I was to cut along the grain and pin before sewing.  So...unless you are on a super tight budget, do not buy cheap fabric!!  It might cost you in migraines.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Not Forgotten

Back in August, I dropped off a few knitted and crocheted items to a local church that was collecting things to take to children who have been detained at the border.  I have promised myself not to get political on this blog, but taking children from their families?!?  It's insane and cruel.

Lately, I've been caught up in making my own projects, including challenge quilts for the Guild and Fibervision, but I haven't forgotten about making things to donate.

In the back of my mind I keep hearing whispers from the boxes full of fabric I've had for ages, from the Quilting Angels charity and our guild's Community Quilts.

The whispers get louder sometimes, and eventually can't be ignored.  And frankly, I need the storage boxes for my own ever-growing stash.  Let's get real, my motives are a good deal selfish.

So I decided, from now on until the charity fabric is gone, I am going to work on a charity quilt on every holiday.

Here's the top I did over the Veterans' Day weekend.  I've sent it on to the Quilting Angels, along with  a backing I made for it as well, and the last of the Angels' fabric, including scraps from quilts I've already made for them in the past.

I'd hoped to do something nicer with the Beatles fabric, but by the time I got around to it, I didn't have the patience anymore.

I did an ersatz version of the Jelly Roll Race quilt for the side panel, with 4.5" strips instead of 2.5."

At least it was fast!

On to the Community Quilts fabric:  I made this one over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Let's hear it for that panel in the middle.  I was not going to get fancy at this stage.  I plopped the panel onto some batting, made a quick backing, did stitch-and-flip borders right onto the whole sandwich, and then quilted a giant spiral.  I'll be turning this in at the next Guild meeting I attend.

Is it a bit garish?  Yes, but not as bad as the Beatles quilt!  I feel I owe an apology to Beatles fans, including myself, for that quilt top.

I'm planning a real Jelly Roll Race for the next charity quilt, and I've already made my own jelly roll from Community Quilts fabric.  I'm ready to roll!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Workshop Wonders

I've been pretty quiet on the blog lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy making all manner of shawls, quilts, and wall-hangings.  I took a couple of quilt guild workshops, one from Sue Rasmussen on curved flying geese.  She's a great teacher, I love the sample I made, and I hope to make more of these.

I've made a few curved flying geese before using directions in the book Flying Colors by Gail Garber.  Slightly different techniques, and I love the book, but there's nothing like a live teacher, in person, who can give you great tips for saving time, accuracy in piecing, and so much more.

I also took a workshop from Irelle Beattie, using her Not So Twin Strips pattern.  She's taking a break from her Etsy shop at the moment, but at some point, you may be able to buy the pattern there at JibberishDesigns.  Here's the layout as I was playing with it a couple of weeks ago.  

Changes have been made, but I'm almost done sewing the top together.  Another super fun technique!

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Yes, I have made another Franken-object.  There was the Frankenhat, the Frankencowl, and the Frankenbear.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the latter, but if you click the above links you can read all about my Mad Scientist Knitting Experiments.

Just to give you some perspective, that chest the Frankentote is sitting on is three feet wide.

Here's how the Frankentote evolved.  A couple of years ago, I took a one-day class to learn how to make a sewing machine cover.  I was told I could modify the directions in order to make a larger one for my larger home machine.

Math ensued, sometimes correctly, sometimes not.  The instructor would try to help me from time to time, but she was busy with other students, and seemed to be having an "off" math day herself, perhaps.  There were many pieces, and there was foam to cut, and fabric, and ribbon, and so on.

The hours wore on.  The classroom was small and crowded.  Any time anyone needed to cut fabric or stabilizer/foam, one had to move one's sewing machine onto the floor, and pick up one's cutting mat and put it on the table, and then reverse the process in order to sew.

Couldn't you hear me cursing?  Don't you remember that day a couple of years ago when you suddenly seemed to hear someone cursing loudly right next to you, but you were alone?  You weren't schizophrenic--that was me!
By the end of the class, I had: nothing.  Basically a bunch of large flat pieces of foam and fabric.  Some of the foam was covered with fabric, some not.

These large flat pieces lay across bags and bins of other fabric in my closet for YEARS.  Sorry, didn't mean to shout.  They were in my way every time I wanted to dig something out of said bags and bins.  I was constantly moving them around, irritated every time.  Twice I pulled them out and said, "I am going to finish this," and I would read the directions again, because I had completely forgotten what I was doing.  I even retyped the directions with my math revisions hoping that would help me move forward.  I thought of making a tote out of it instead.  I couldn't decide.

It was too confusing, and I had too many other projects to distract me, and back the big, flat, annoying pieces would go, into the closet, forever in my way.

Then one evening, someone brought a Janome sewing machine cover to the Treasure Table at the guild.

She murmured something vague about how it might be a good item for one of our raffle baskets.

I said, "I need this," and shoved it in my bag and walked away.  I still marvel at my selfishness.  In my defense, she should never have brought it anywhere near the Treasure Table if she meant it to go in a raffle.

Now I had a sewing machine cover!  I didn't have to make one!  Glory, glory, hallelujah!

The decision was made:  the giant flat annoying pieces would be a tote!  Out of the closet, onto the cutting table, combining the original pattern with a different pattern.  There were a few mistakes made, there was a bit of seam ripping, a bit of cursing (under my breath; I'm certain you didn't hear me), and behold:  IT'S ALIVE!!!!!

With pockets!  Let there be dancing in the streets!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Quilt Show Boutique

Here are "before" pictures of my display table in the boutique at the quilt show this past weekend.

When I got there to set up, I saw I had mistakenly reserved only half a table.  I had enough items for two tables!

Luckily, fellow guild members came to the rescue and reorganized some smaller displays so that I could have a full table, right by the entrance to the boutique, no less.

I am so grateful!

Everything looks a bit jumbled, but I rearranged and re-rearranged throughout both days, so sometimes it actually looked appealing.

I was too rushed to take an "after" picture, but I did sell quite a few items and I'm pleased.

I also did some shopping, yet I am happy to report that I actually made more money than I spent!  It's a first!!!

I got the lovely purple and gold fabric from the Patti Cakes Quilt Shop booth, and the thread set, plus an extra spool, a major (but discounted!) purchase from Private Source Quilting.

Not shown?  Ten yards of white on white fabric for 3.95 a yard, also from Private Source.  That fabric is on a bolt and it has already been absorbed into the stash in my closet.  Yes, as a quilter, I have graduated slowly from buying fat quarters to half-yard cuts to entire bolts of fabric.  But look at all the money I saved!  (Fabric, for those of you who don't know, usually costs around three times as much per yard.)

As I write this, I'm getting the feeling I'm more excited by what I bought than what I sold.  This can't be good!