Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Look, Ma! I Finished Somethin'!

I wouldn't say my quilting has gone by the wayside - I always have something on the burner - but it's definitely taken a backseat to crochet lately. I'm keeping myself busy rather than idling away the hours doing nothin' or nothin' good, but today I finished one.

I volunteer weekly for Haven Housing, and this one will be a donation for their annual spring fundraiser. My extra set of arms are in the shop this week, so I don't have a shot of the full thing. There is a shot of the completed top on my Instagram page if you head on over there for a look see. This was a block-of-the-month of sorts, using the pattern included with the Fat Quarter Shop Sew Sampler Box each month. Each basket block was designed by Lori Holt, and I used Riley Blake Confetti Cottons for all the bright solids.

Speaking of both Lori Holt and of crochet, she shared a quick(ish) project for these hot pads a few weeks back. We were in the middle of an April snowstorm, so I was in a Christmas mood.

The red one was my first crochet project. It was several weeks between that one and the completion of the green one on the left, and I think it's evident in the tightness of the stitches on the first. It was a fun project, and I've no doubt I'll be making more in the future.

Till next time...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

How Many Crafts Can One Do?

I've recently taken up crochet. Why? I dunno. Keep my mind and brain occupied. Idle hands, ya know. I ordered a set of crochet hooks and they came in this fancy pantsy bag...

Yeah. That big is not really my bag, man. Know what I mean? The contents of the bag suited my needs, but the cheap flowery bag had to go. I wanted something more my style and a little bigger to also hold a small ball of yarn. I pulled out some fabric that I've held onto for a couple of years now.

Now that's more my style! Everyday is Halloween (if I had my way anyway). I dug out a coordinating orange solid for the top and for the lining, along with some batting to give it some bulk. I wanted this to be a quicker project and didn't want to deal with any quilting, so I sewed the top and back to the batting as I went.

Soon enough, it was zipper time. I dislike sewing zippers. Intensely. Immensely. I don't find it especially difficult, but I do find it tedious. I'm also on the edge of my seat hoping I don't break a needle. And I did today. Twice. It makes me jump. Maybe I need to learn how to do it better (or properly?), but it did turn out nicely once I added the top stitching.

Once that was done, the rest was a relative breeze. I sewed the sides together, boxed the bottom corners and Bob's yer uncle! I little bag for some doodads.

Isn't it just the most precious thing you've ever seen? No? Well, me either, but it's serving its purpose.

Monday, March 19, 2018

It's Dusty Up in Here

It's been...quite a while since I've visited my own blog. Laziness? Not really. Still working away on all things quilty. I'm just not a good blogger, and no matter the strength of any resolution to change that, it may not happen. Nonetheless, a couple of things that have taken up my time recently.

I've been a fan of The Golden Girls since it first aired, so this was a really fun project. I used a cross stitch pattern by weelittlestitches and converted it to a quilt top, converting each cross stitch to one inch of fabric. I used Lori Holt's Spelling Bee for the lettering. It'll be quilted in the next few weeks and then I'll add embellishments - buttons for jewelry. Riley Blake's beautiful line of solids, Confetti Cottons, made up the entire quilt. I have no idea where the Girls will end up when they're completed, but I'll be sad to see them go.

This is my current project. Well, one of several I'm working on at the moment. It's a Fons & Porter pattern called Diamonds and Pearls. The pattern suggested batiks, but I'm partial to prints so I used a two Riley Blakes basics lines - Kisses and Shades - for the blocks. Next up for this is the pieced border, using smaller diamond shapes. Borders are typically my least favorite part of any project. Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to it, but it'll complete the project nicely. I love the harlequin look created by the diamonds and squares.

Susan Ache's fun, colorful book Start with Strips has lots of fun projects using 2.5" strips and this one was my favorite. I was on Christmas break when I got the book and managed to piece the whole quilt in a few days. Amazing what a little inspiration and a lot of OCD can produce! This one will be quilted in the next few weeks, because I have way too many UFO's to finish!

That's the haps right now. I'll be back with more next week!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Finishing Projects Left and Right

While I want to get my big queen-sized Aunt Gracie's Garden quilt, I've done a couple of other projects. The first - and most fun for me - is my Halloween Dresden plate quilt top. It's all done, and I just need to find the time to sit down and get it quilted.

I love it! I fell completely in love with the cauldron blocks; they're my favorite next to the ghost block. It's the first of two or three Halloween quilts I'll be making this year. One of these days, I'll finally get to quilting the Christmas quilt top I finished three years ago. Ugh.

It was also time to swap out the placemats on my dining room table. I've had the same autumn-themed ones there since late August. I finished a couple of 12" blocks from Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage book and turned them into placemats with little pockets for the silverware. I'm a leftie so I moved the pocket on my placemat to the left. :)

I'm more of a fall/winter guy, but I do love how these look super springy.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Holiday Projects...Already?

I've been putting off this project, and the fabric's been collecting dust, so it was time to do something about it. I know it's still March - though barely - but Halloween fabrics are hitting the market soon, so I'm in the mood. When this happens, I have to get to work or the feeling fades pretty quickly.

I've had this bundle of fabric for a while, Spooky Delights by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda Fabrics, and I'm finally putting it to use. I didn't even really have a real design idea when I sat down in front of the machine, but sometimes that's okay. Today it seems to have worked out, judging by block one anyway.

I decided on a cream spider print from the Happy Hauntings line by Riley Blake. Fun, right? Or creepy. I'll take fun or creepy.

I cut some 5" x 2.5" pieces from strip sets (which always feels like it takes foreeeeeeevvvveeer) and used a Dresden ruler to cut them.

Cutting is the worst part of quilting for me. I'll take ironing over it anyday, but pairing up the different fabrics for each block alleviates some of the boredom that task manifests. To lessen that monotony even more, I turned on one of my favorite Halloween films...

Halloween II. It's one of those movies I can recall seeing for the first time, and it's stuck with me all these years later. But back to the fabric!

Chain piecing the units through the machine is the fun part for me. Once I'm in the groove and let the machine do it's work by gobbling up each piece of fabric, I can feel the project coming together. A string of Dresden petals is kinda festive, like a series of pennants. Except even better, because they're Halloween pennants!

🎃  🎃  🎃  🎃  🎃

After that the Dresden plate comes together rather quickly.

It's cute enough on its own I think, but I figured I was going to be bored with just a plain circle in the center of the plate. That's when the idea clicked to add a Halloween-themed applique to the middle. It was also partially inspired by Lori Holt's Sweetie Pie sew-along. I had too many projects in the hopper or on hold (this being one of them) to participate, but I think this will fill that void. I'll to an a few different appliques to the center circle, but this is the first fella that came to mine.

Isn't he cute? My embroidery skills are really pretty basic, but I'd have to put them to use to give this fella some eyes and a mouth.

There he is in his final...resting place? I opted to applique him with black thread to give him a little more definition and make him stand out from the cream background fabric. His eyes aren't as even as I'd like them to be, but I shan't stress about it. I'll figure out some friends for him to be the center of the other blocks.

This is a quilt I'm looking forward to finishing. I just have to make sure I don't make it all up as I go along.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I Present to You - Aunt Gracie's Garden

I am done with this quilt top. DONE! Over three months in the making, and I'm so thrilled to be done with it. Not only because I love it, but because it was a challenge. Piecing the blocks wasn't terribly difficult and, in pieces, the applique itself wasn't either. However, there are a lot of applique pieces and getting them on was so time consuming.

At first, I wasn't sure if I should attach the borders and then add the applique or add the applique to the border and THEN attach the borders. I'm glad I did the applique first. It's quite a chore cajoling a queen-sized quilt around the sewing table. The corner flowers on the border had to go on last after the borders were attached. Honestly, I was about 60 seconds from throwing things at one point. I'm pretty even tempered, but the moving all the fabric around - and, at one point, getting a grease spot from sewing machine lubricant on the white fabric (gone now, thank goodness) - was frustrating.

By the end of it, I had to trim up the outer border because it had frayed quite a bit after being moved around so much. Mitered borders aren't my favorite and they're far from perfect, but I'm mostly happy with the outcome. Next, she gets quilted. I can't wait for this one to be done! It's the first, and probably last, queen-sized quilt I'll finish. Famous last words...

The quilt is 83" x 105" so it's too big to get a flat shot of the whole quilt in my small house. Here are some photos. Enjoy!

I'm also linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts! She does beautiful work and I love her fun patterns!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chug Chug Chuggin' Along

Small aside: whenever I say "Well, hello!" - which it's often - I say it just like Brenda Dickson in her infamous Welcome to My Home video. Now that you know that...

Well, hello! Look at me offering TWO updates within the same six-month period. Trippy, right? Anywhats.

While I'm not finished with my Aunt Gracie's Garden quilt, I have made some final decisions. Finally. I'd been waffling back and forth between following the pattern and using rick rack for the vines and stems or going with traditional 1/4" bias strips. Let's explore the advantages.

Rick Rack

1/4" Bias Strips
Looks better
Lasts longer
More options

Yeah, rick rack was only offering me one advantage -- laziness. I threw that idea out the window and got all my bias strips ready for applique.

Pretty cute, eh? Before I did them, I made a test bias strip with one of my fat quarter scraps. I also used it as an opportunity to test the layout of the applique flowers and leaves.

I'm in love with it! I'm also in love, it seems, with putting it off as long as humanly possible. I'm not a hand-appliquer, but even doing it by machine can feel monotonous and never ending. I'll have to stop planting those seeds in my brain and just get down to it. I know that once I do, I'll enjoy the process. It's the mitered corners I'm really dreading, but one step at a time.

In the meantime, I was procrastinating yet again and made this little cutie pie potholder.

Almost too purty to use...almost. It was my first time binding with bias strips, and I'm mostly happy with the results. The part I'm not too pleased with is partially hidden under the loop. I'm not taking part in Lori Holt's most recent sew-along, but I wanted to put some of her fabric and templates to use. Hopefully, I'll have some actual progress on those applique borders to show you in my next update. So...like...a year from now? No! Next week! 😀