Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What I'm Working On Now

A beginning of the year trip to Hawaii.  I worked on my dance steps and my tan.

Just kidding about the tan.  I'm a redhead and that just doesn't happen, less white is all I can hope for.
  Despite much time spend relaxing on beaches.  This one is Kapalua Beach on Maui.  

Lots of fun and now I'm back to real life again.  My first order of business is to clear the decks in my sewing room.  My sewing room doubles as our guest room and one of Miss Main Street's friends stayed overnight after interviewing for a job to teach English in Japan after graduation.  The room got its first clean in quite some time.  I sent two finished tops off to be quilted and unearthed Little Butterflies, a project I appliqued and pieced in 2015.  So, definitely a UFO!

Little Butterflies is about to be quilted, by me, by hand.  I've been meaning to do this for a while but got side tracked by other projects.  My plan is to quilt a sort of grid behind the butterflies, to make them stand out more.  No marking necessary, I use painter's tape.

Painter's tape comes in several widths (I'm using 7/8" wide) and it sticks to the fabric without leaving any residue behind after removal.  You can re-position the tape several times so each piece is re-usable.  After a few times, it won't stick as well; I just ball that piece up, throw it away, and start with a fresh piece of tape.  No marks to wash out after quilting is done.

I'll be back soon with some progress shots.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Plans for 2017

OK, I bought the cardboard, the comic book backing boards.  Did you somehow miss out on this "thing?"  These pieces of cardboard were originally sold for comic book collectors to use to protect their collectibles and keep the paper from creasing.  A clever quilter re-purposed them as the stiff center for mini bolts of fabric.  After folding yardage a second time length-wise, it becomes the right size to wrap around the card, creating a mini bolt that can stand upright on a shelf.

So, I bought a package of 100 (surprisingly inexpensive) and spent the long weekend cleaning and organizing the closet in my sewing room.  I like the way they stand on end, like a bolt of fabric in the shop; it makes it easier to pull a piece of fabric out to check and easier to put it back in place than the piles I had previously.  Unfortunately, they take up about the same amount of room as the folded piles of fabric that were my previous method of organization.  I had visions of being able to squeeze more into the closet.  I have several plastic bins of fabric that I store in the attic (really, a 3rd floor) but out of sight, out of mind.  My goal is to get my entire stash into the sewing room.  It's not happening this year though.

What is going to happen this year is completion of a UFO, Little Butterflies.  I finished the top in mid-2015 but it has been waiting for me to get to the hand quilting.

And I updated my Quilts to Make Pinterest board.  Well, I updated it in my usual way, editing the board's title to change the year while deleting the few projects I finished in 2016.  It still holds way more than I'll get to this year but my priority projects are Colorway (I have the fabric purchased and set aside with the pattern), a Christmas quilt (probably All Wrapped Up), a lace clutch using my collection of vintage and cutter linens, some pillow shams or cases, and some smaller projects.  I'd love to make a Flowering Snowball quilt with my stash of Kaffe Fassett fabric and am looking for the perfect background fabric to use.  Oh, and I ordered paper pieces for a new English paper piecing project.  It will be my new portable/travel project, not necessarily to be completed in 2017.

What are your quilting plans for 2017?

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Monday, January 2, 2017

It's A Wrap

I finished piecing my scrappy Fig Tree quilt top.  It is pressed and folded, ready to be shipped off to the quilter, as soon as I piece the back.  I found some fabric in my stash, an off-white tone-on-tone with a large floral design, that is perfect.  And the piece I have is just the right size, so that is perfect too.  

The photo is not great, it was raining and I had to take the photo indoors with the lights on, which gives the quilt a yellow cast.  

The design is a variation on Irish Chain, and a sort of mash-up of two quilts I saw on line.  First, the colors are from this quilt from the Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe.  And the piecing instructions are from a tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts.   The end result is exactly how I expected it to look, which does not always happen, so I am happy.  And of course, I'll like it even better after it is quilted.  

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Projects in Review

I had lots of big ideas for 2016.  Looking back on my post on my quilting goals, written in early January, I even then had an inkling I was being too ambitious for myself.  While it doesn't seem like I accomplished all that much, I'm happy with what I did make.

I finished Rondeau (aka La Passacaglia), which I consider one of my more significant projects to date.

And I finished Ocean View, a simpler but still satisfying project.

I have two major WIPs.  First, my version of Plantation Road by Red Crinoline Quilts.  I made this quilt from stash, always very satisfying.  I have the backing pieced (also from stash!) and just need to get it to my quilter.

And I tackled another project in my Fig Tree Harvest collection.  I'm thinking of calling this one Pieceful.  I made all the blocks and just need to sew them together.  So there's a good possibility I'll have two early 2017 finishes.

I have several projects in mind for 2017, but first I need to clean up and re-organize my sewing room. I want to start the year with a fresh outlook.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last Finish Of 2016

It's Ocean View, quilted, bound, and labeled.  This will be my last finish for this year.

I finished the top six months ago, sent it to my longarm quilter, who got it back to me very promptly. But I hand stitch my binding down and I didn't want to sit with a big quilt over my lap in the summer. I kept putting it off and putting it off, then sewed the binding on in early December and took the last hand stitches in it on Christmas day when we were all lounging around the house between brunch and dinner.

I made Ocean View using a Moda Bakeshop pattern called Simply Woven.  The directions call for two jelly rolls plus some background, to make a twin bed size quilt, 72" by 96".  This is what a single block looks like:

It's a real "slice 'n dice" pattern and I enjoyed making it, only botching one block in the process.  My photo tutorial is here.  

Karen Thompson of Greenbrier Designs did the quilting, using a swirly motif.  

You can see the quilt design a bit better on the back.   I used a light green and aqua batik for the backing and a turquoise and green batik fabric for the binding.

I have several WIPs from this year that won't get finished until next year, but more about them in my next post.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Ultimate Power Tool

It was my birthday on Sunday.  Among my gifts was a t-shirt sent by my sister.

It even got a laugh out of Mr. Main Street.  My sister suggests I wear it to the gym.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

My La Passacaglia - Quilted, Bound, and Labeled

Isn't she gorgeous!?  It is my finished La Passacaglia quilt, finished and hanging in place.  

I made my version to hang in a particular spot in my kitchen.  I had to reduce the size a little to fit in this space.  The finished quilt is 38" by 55" which I managed by making fewer "blocks."  And I knew when I started that I would not use a border.  I used one of the green fabrics to make a narrow binding.  

I named my version Rondeau.  The quilting was a custom job done by Karen Thompson.  The quilting enhances the design; I like the loops in each pentagon.  Karen is making her own version of La Passacaglia and gave this one some extra attention to figure out what would work best from a quilting standpoint.  

More quilting...

Rondeau looks great in my kitchen space.  I like it so much that I'm already thinking about another English Paper Piecing project!  So many quilts in my head!

Did I inspire you to think about making your own La Passacaglia?  Well, here's a little help.  I happen to have an extra copy of the book that started it all, Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein.  Time for a giveaway; just leave a comment here if you would like to win a copy.  But US addresses only.  I'll do a random draw of the winner on Sunday evening, Dec. 11.  Added Sunday night:  The winner is Karen!

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