Thursday, May 28, 2015

Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward

I am slowly working my way toward several finishes on my sewing and stitching projects, but the going is neither smooth or without setbacks.  That is real life, and it’s sometimes frustrating.

On my black and pink (etc) CQ project, the front is all completely stitched together. I had a backing and batting, which I finally realized was WHITE and totally inappropriate for the inside of this wallhanging-to-be. I don’t need much loft, just stability and the assurance that the inside will not beard through the needlepoint. Also, I didn’t want to order an entire batt or a complete roll of black, so I went off to my LQS and compared options.  My choices were a lightweight generic black batting (90 inches wide), fusible Pellon 911F interfacing, black knit interfacing or black felt.  I chose the black felt and got 1.25 yards. The facings were both too lightweight, and the batting would’ve had so much waste (and I don`t see myself using the leftovers in another small project in this lifetime).

So now I can begin construction. I am tempted to make my quilt sandwich and quilt between the squares and around the needlepoint.  Then I can add a few embellishments over the seams on the top, bind it, add a sleeve and be done. I may finish this by the end of the month. If not, then next week for sure.

This next project, the Brucie’s Blue Banjos (or whatever we end up calling it; right now I’m calling it 4-letter words....) is where the One Step Backward comes in. And that rightly should be several steps backward.

I had 6 rows of 8 sewn together, then began my sewing session yesterday by pressing the top. It was puckered, and I stopped to figure out why. It turns out that in my last two rows, my sashing strips were 2.5 instead of 2.0 inches wide. I had to rip out 2 rows of fat geese plus three sashing strips AND every sashing piece between the geese.

BSR (Before Seam Ripper)
But I am pleased, to tell you the truth. It would`ve been much worse had I finished stitching in oblivion (who knows where my mind goes....) only to realize the problem later. Problems. The other issue was that the 2.5” strips were a different white.  In looking for the rest of the white from this quilt - well, I couldn’t find it. I could have SWORN I cut all the strips out ahead of time, but maybe I ran out. So I had to go to 2 LQS’s to find a passable white. In the end, it too is different, but oh well!

And now it all sits innocently next to my sewing machine, waiting to be re-sewn. Those strips there will go into my scrap bin where they belong.

Farm Girl Fridays - this week’s blocks!
These were the blocks assigned in our sew-along last Friday, and I have finished them in anticipation of the two new ones tomorrow. I had a BALL with these blocks - choosing the fabrics, cutting and sewing. They all came together delightfully.  These are from Lori Holt (of Bee in my Bonnet)’s new book Farm Girl Vintage.  It is packed with great blocks, ideas, patterns, etc.

Chicken Foot Block

Canning Season Block
Lori Holt will be teaching at a local retreat nearby in June, and I am signed up to attend. I am so looking forward to it! Besides her obvious talent for quilting and writing, she is also a Pyrex collector and loves the mid-century farm aesthetic. And you know me, I worked at Wheeler Farm for 4 years (and loved to pretend it was my farm. My cows. My chickens. Their weeds....)

And speaking of local fabric celebrities, Joel Dewberry has invited us members of the Salt Lake Modern Quilting Guild to his home tomorrow for a fabric buy.  I cannot even tell you how cheap the fabrics are going to be, (not quite as cheap as the bolt of Riley Blake fabric I found in the thrift store last month), but hey!  I can’t wait to pick up more Notting Hill in tangerine to finish the quilt blocks I started a couple years ago.  I actually have plenty of that fabric, but that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

That’s it for now. I will probably have a post on Saturday for Scrap Happy Saturday; three wonky green log cabins made.

See you soon,
Cathy maroon

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Work in Process Wednesday; Progress but no Finishes

One of these days, I am going to write a post and show off a dozen finishes! HA! But that day is not today.  :-)  But I do have a few bazillion  projects I am working on. And since the weather here continues to be cloudy and rainy for the 3rd week, and working outdoors is not going to happen soon (in fact, I may have to move it from my To Do List to my Bucket List), here is a progress report on some of my stitchy, quilty goals.

Starting with the oldest project, this is a vintage needlepoint I bought at an estate sale, onto which I am adding 12 crazy quilt blocks.  Those blocks were part of a 2012 Crazy Quilt Journal Project, and I just finished stitching the final block this week.  Yeah, I know!  But at least I am still in the same decade..... LOL.

Now 8 of the 12 blocks have been added, and the final four will go on this week.  Then I will fill in any remaining bare spots with some stitching, stabilize it, add trim around the center and then back and bind it. It will be done by month end, come hell or high water..... and the high water is no laughing matter around here.

Next up is the Bright Banjos for Bruce using the Pow Wow Pattern from Cluck, Cluck, Sew. All the blocks are sewn into rose, and I only have 3 or 4 more rows to add.  Then baste, quilt, bind and viola!  Another hopeful finish for this month.  Excuse the wrinkle-y top. I have had it folded (and the cats have found it to be a lovely nap spot)

And then there are the ever-present wonky log cabin blocks. I have made 2 of three for this month, but I am likely not going to finish the 3rd until next week. And I have so many green scraps that I think I will start making some 16-patch quilt block to use some up.

If they look PARTICULARLY wonky, it is because they are laying on a pile of fabric scraps from yet another project..... making more fabric packs for my Etsy shop. Never enough hours in a day...

And finally, my Farm Girl blocks. As I mentioned last post (and you can see from the logo on the sidebar) I am participating in Lori Holt`s Farm Girl Vintage quilt-along. These blocks are the Baby Chick (from week 2) and Baking Day and Butter Churn from Week 3. I am loving these blocks and having a ball!!

Baby Chick

Baking Day (with some vintage Pyrex)

Butter Churn
That catches me up on my quilting and stitching news for now.  I have also planted all of my (12) Mexican Talavera pots with flowers for the front walkway. They are lovely, but I want to wait to get a picture until (1) it stops raining (2) it stops raining long enough for Bruce to mow the lawn and (3) it stops raining so I don’t rust. Or, it could just STOP RAINING!!!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, May 9, 2015

It’s Easy Being Green

I love green.  This time of year, everything is green. And if you live in the Salt Lake Valley, it is not only green, but wet and overgrown.  We have had steady rain for a week, with a couple dry mornings - long enough for some (who are home on weekdays) to slosh their way through mowing the lawns. But I am not complaining. Our veggies are in and the new BBQ is on the covered patio, and we are poised for outdoor living to start. Soon. Hopefully.

And this month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, where Andrea so skillfully directs us through using our colorful scraps of fabric creatively, the color is also green. I have started sewing...

This past week, I worked out a quilt pattern with these scrappy log cabins I have been making.  Have you seen the site called Grid Paint? Basically, I laid out a quilt using my scrappy log cabins as the blocks, planning colors and sizes along the way. It turns out that for a queen-sized quilt, I will need 30 squares (16” squares, made up of four smaller blocks like the green one, above). With 2” sashing (and cornerstones, of course), that will give me a quilt about 92x110”. Yes, I could do that math in my head (and have). But I wanted a plan for the colors - where they would be laid out and how many I would need. And it worked great!

So, it turns out I will need more than 2 blocks of every color, and have some catching up to do. But since we will have two months on blue - we already did dark blues and will do lighter blues/aquas later - I will catch up on those later.  And we will have another month of lighter greens, so I will just work through my dark/bright greens now.  I don’t know all the colors that Andrea will select, but if she chooses one that doesn’t work with my plan, I can use that month to get caught up on one more block each of pink, yellow and purple.

I am also participating in Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet’s Farm Girl Vintage Stitch-Along. I am doing 12” blocks, and we are going in order. The first week had one block (the Apron Strings Block, below).

The second week, and from now on, there will be two blocks per week. At this time I only have one of those done, and I have until next Friday to stitch up the next one. Below is Autumn Star.

Am I allowed to say this? .... I hate this block/pattern.  Why? Only because I am an inexperienced piecer (of complicated patterns) and cannot do it justice.  I spent hours and had a meltdown (a nice way of saying an adult temper tantrum, alone in my sewing room, complete with whiney tears) before I got this block done. And I I still didn’t get it properly matched up, flat and cut off corners.  So, before I do the next CUTE CUTE CUTE block (a baby chick), I am going to do this one over, with more autumny-colors. Until it passes!!  :-)

OK, I have a question for you experienced quilters (if you are still awake at this point in the post).  I cut my pieces for the above block precisely as instructed and used scant 1/4” seams. But it still seems to be short; there is not enough background fabric to allow a 1/4” seam around it (when attaching to the next block) to avoid cutting off pieces even more. Should I cheat and cut the pieces another 1/8 - 1/4” larger? Or will that throw off all the measurements and diagonals? Is there a secret to this that I haven’t learned yet??  I want to get this block right, even if it kills me!!

Well, that’s enough for now. I am looking forward to some more quality sewing time over the next several days.  And quilt market is next week, so we will see all sorts of new and fun fabrics and photos!

Life is good!

Cathy maroon

Monday, May 4, 2015

The New Issue of Crazy Quilt Quarterly is out!

The new issue of Crazy Quilt Quarterly is out, and this super issue focuses on techniques and embellishments that you will LOVE and want to include in your seascape or under the sea crazy quilting.  There is a lot more great stuff, naturally, so you will have a lot of fun going through this issue. Order yours in print or as an e-mag. Either way, you will enjoy curling up with a cuppa and this great read!  :-)

You can order your magazine here.

Cathy maroon