Friday, April 17, 2015

Improvise

What do you do when something  is not the way you want it and getting it right is not in sight? You IMPROVISE!
I have been stalling about sewing my blocks together because I really need to see more of the quilt than I could put up on my 4 foot square design space.  So... I hung a 31 x 40 inch portable design board on the wall with Command hooks on one side of the existing design pace. That wasn't wide enough so I taped a 18 inch strip of batting to the wall on the other side. This way I have been able to put almost half of the blocks on the wall.

I will get my design wall right eventually and it is probably my own fault that I didn't get it right in the first place after our move. However, this will work for now.

I really need to make sure that I am distributing the gray patches evenly over the whole quilt. I wish I had taken the gray squares out of the layer cakes before I started but at the time getting out to shop again was not going to happen and after taking out all the white 10 inch squares I needed to keep the gray. They aren't terrible but using them requires more care in placement.

I have been telling myself I could get along without a big design space but the truth is that doing so has almost killed my motivation to quilt. Just having this makeshift design space has made a big difference in my enthusiasm already.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Progress!

I finished all of the blocks today for the quilt I am working on. I finally feel as though  I am getting somewhere.

This is what I have on my dinky 48 inch square design wall right now; this is only so I could see how the pattern developed with the  "real fabric" blocks.  I am not sure yet how I am going to lay this out without a decent design wall. I am thinking it over. I might have to lay it out and sew it in sections and line them up somehow to see how it looks before I sew the next section. The colors and fabrics are really random so I am not too concerned, but maybe I should be.

There are:
61 - 16 patch blocks (8  x 8  finished size)
60 - X blocks (8  x 8  finished size)
20 - 16 patch half blocks (4  x 8  finished size)
24 - X half blocks (4  x 8  finished size)
2 - 4 patch corner blocks (4  x 4  finished size)


This is the EQ version of the quilt. I have half blocks around the quilt on all four sides  and 4 patches in the corners to complete the pattern. I have the Moda fabrics that I used (Fresh Cut by Basic Grey) in my EQ fabric library s  ,even though I added other fabrics, I was able to have a good idea how it way going to look.
I ordered fabric today for the borders the green for the inner border and and binding and a floral with a pink background for the outer border both from the Fresh Cut line.

Below, on the left, is a box of scraps from ends of strips and narrow strips from fat quarters and other odds and ends of misfits. In the middle there are left over parts from strip piecing and left over strips and 2 1/2 inch leftover connector corner squares. These will all get added to my scrap containers and probably used for "making fabric" and odd scrap projects. 

 
And then there are the triangles that I cut off of the Connector Corner blocks. I used them for thread  catchers when chain piecing and I will press them and trim the HST's to 1 1/2 inches . There are about 550 give or take a few.  
What will I do with them? 
Maybe I will glue them on my head after I tear my hair out.



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A nice Surprise

Yesterday I received a sweet surprise in the mail. It is a fabric postcard from Annie (freezeframe030).
I have admired her postcards for a long time and I am delighted to have one. It came through the mail just like this and it is perfect.
I love everything about this postcard and I really like the way the binding is finished, if you click on the link or on my sidebar you can find  tutorial for the binding on her sidebar and also a tutorial for a Christmas tree skirt which I used 3 times.
Thank you Annie!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A New Plan

After a frustrating day yesterday I came up with a new plan for constructing my blocks. I have 2 quilts with this pattern and you would think I knew the best way to put it together. What I forgot was both times I make this I used blocks that someone else constructed or at least made some of the components. Once it was an online 4 patch block swap and once it was my Friendship block swap group. This is what I have up on my tiny (4 ft x 4 ft) design wall. You can see how the pattern works up.

The 3 blocks in the lower right corner show the original block on the top. that worked out very well when I got blocks from the Friendship group.
The lower 2 blocks that are side by side are the two blocks that I am going to make instead. When I sewed those original blocks together yesterday, I made mistakes in the placement over and over. I made mistakes even when I had a sample block right in front of my sewing machine. I think what I did so often was turn the blocks to align the edges I was going to sew; then I turned the block and sewed the wrong edge. This is something I have done many times before over the years. I fall into the habit of thinking about other things when I do something repetitious and simple.  At any rate this is a much better way to do it as it gives me more control over the 16 patch blocks. It doesn't really seem to matter so much how those points are colored as it does for the squares.
I am finally beginning to see some progress; there is a long way to go yet but I  can see that I can gt it done. I am still kicking myself over my pattern and even fabric choices but it is a lesson learned......again.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Time Out Project

I needed a break from the big quilt I am working (and working, and working etc) on. I wanted something simple, quick and upon the wall.
I used the bird panel that I bought recently and just put borders on it and did some simple quilting to look like window panes. I fused the panel to PFD fabric because didn't want to quilt anything except around the rectangles. I know from experience that is not enough to keep those areas from sagging. I also fused the hanging sleeve and the binding when I turned it to the back. Maybe it is more craft than quilt but it is done and everyone here likes it because all of the birds, except the Rose Breasted Grosbeak, have come to the feeder right outside the window.  I may not like it quite as much because I know how little time I put into it.   I still need to block it to make it hang nice and then maybe I will like it more.

Anyway it was a nice break from  making 4 patches and connector corners. I still have 14 pairs of 10 inch strips to sew together and cut into 2 patches beside 4 trays of 2 patches to sew into 4 patches and 200 connector corner blocks to make, that is 400 CC squares to sew on. There is a lot going here too other than the quilt.
  What was I thinking? 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Time for a Break

It is time for me to take a break when I make a mistake like this.
I can salvage the block if I want to bother. I can take out a few stitches in the orange triangle and then take the stitches out of the pink connector corner because I have not trimmed the triangles away on the back.

As I am looking at this photo I see another mistake that is ready to happen. The upper left background is a different fabric. I cut a few squares for connector corners from a fabric that I had. I wanted to make  a few trial blocks to see if I really liked this pattern. When I measured the fabric and figured out what I needed, I did not have enough for the quilt. I ordered something else because I did not want to have to fuss around with 2 different background fabrics when it was time to put it all together. I have a deadline for this and I could not have chosen a much more labor intensive project. One more thing to think about would have put my frustration level over the top.
I will take a break from sewing the connector corners and clean up my bits and pieces that are all over the place. A little bit of reducing the clutter should make things run smoother. Maybe I will sew some strips together for 4 patch units before I get back to the connector corners; that should cut down on the boredom factor.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Prep stage

This is where I am now in the preparation stage of my next big project. I have all the strips cut from the layer cakes and some from the raindrops bundle. I added four more fabrics that are from another line and I'm going to have to find more fabric for 100 more inches x 2 1/2. I don't want to buy another layer cake or Jelly roll and precuts are all I can find locally in this line. I changed my mind about the pattern I want to use and now I'm coming up short.
I have also decided that I really do not like working with precut fabric if the precuts are supposed to be the size I need. A few of my pieces were almost a 1/4 inch short. I knew this from previous experience but I forgot. The day I finally got a chance to get out to shop, when I found something I liked and layer cakes were all they had, I bought 2. Now it appears that no one else that is within an hours drive carries this line.

 I've been here before but after I started using EQ, I no longer found I didn't have what I needed. I have been working from stash and scraps for a long time and I have gotten out of the habit of planning first before shopping. Ah well...... I also know from experience that this kind of situation forces me to become creative and sometimes find a solution that turns into a better quilt. I am hoping that will be the way it works this time.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Flimsy.....Maybe

I finished up the HST quilt top yesterday. As it came together I could see that some of my first blocks didn't look as good as the later blocks, however I am not going to take them out. Well, maybe I won't. The things that don't look as good really show up in a photo but not so much in real life.

As it is now it is 48 x 72; even with borders, that is not exactly a usable size. I have a bunch of 3 1/2 and 4 inch squares cut and a pretty sizable number of HST's. If I make 12 more blocks the top without borders would be 72 x 72; that is getting closer to king size. Depending on how I handle the borders it could be a king size. Of course I could make 12 blocks and see where to go from there.

I started this because I wanted to clean up some of the stuff in boxes in my sewing room. I had a large number of 3 1/2 and 4 inch squares and a fair number of HST's. I have generated almost as much as I have used because I needed different colors and values. I probably don't need to cut more squares, except a few light colors.

I am tempted to keep going on this and I am even thinking this could be the wedding gift after all.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Fabric Shopping

 I was finally able to get out yesterday and shop for fabric. I have been trying to do this since the first of the year. Either the weather was bad or we had Dr. appointments or one or the other of us was sick.

I did not have a firm plan in mind, and I still don't  but I do have 2 or three ideas. I saw a lot of fabric that I would like to use for something other than what I was shopping for,however I reined in my enthusiasm (well mostly). I usually avoid precuts but yesterday I needed  to find a large number of fabrics and with Jack waiting for me I didn't want to spend the time auditioning. So I went with 2 Layer Cakes of Moda's  "Fresh Cut" and a fat quarter bundle of the raindrop fabric from the same line.















I also bought some 1/2 yards that were in the same display.


After searching  the shop for a bolt, I bought 3 fat quarters of this fabric, all that we could find.

Last, I picked up this panel, just because it said "SPRING" to me; there were some samples in the shop that caught my attention. One sample was attic windows and in the other the motifs were cut out and sewed together as they were cut and it formed on tree. I think I might just add a border and quilt the white strips to look like a window with small panes. That will be quick and up on the wall just in time for spring IF IT EVER COMES.



I think I might just add a border and quilt the white strips to look like a window with small panes. That will be quick and up on the wall just in time for spring IF IT EVER COMES.



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Sad Day

Yesterday was a sad day for us; we had to take kitty to the vet to be put to sleep. We knew it was coming as she had been declining in health for several weeks.

Soon after our move to our daughters house the cat and dog took over my training as their companion. He was just happy to have us around to let him in and out and take him out for walks. She had more specific tasks in mind. She took over my sewing chair when ever it was free and eventually I put a little cover on it and let her have it.  I
pulled it up next to my desk chair and she would come up and tap me on the arm to let me know it was time to groom her or pet her before her nap.

She won Jack over as well; he is trying to look exasperated over her taking over his foot stool but he eventually gave it over to her altogether and moved it over to the window so she could watch the birds when she wasn't napping.

She like to sleep on the cedar chest under our bedroom window, especially when the sun was streaming in the window. She thought the tree skirt under the Christmas tree was just for heras well as a doll bed (no photo) that I brought out one day for my granddaughter. Lately, she had taken to jumping on my desk if she wanted more attention that she was getting from tapping me on the arm or shoulder. At times she just stared at me and other times she settled down for a nap..
She was an old cat but she was still curious about everything and she still found things in my sewing room to play with. For several weeks she had not been eating as much and had been getting thinner and thinner. We changed her food from dry food to canned salmon and she seemed to like it but then she stopped eating and just went from one sleeping spot to the next and only got up to drink water and use her litter box. She still followed either Jack or I from room to room and slept in her favorite spot in each room. She slept on my on my lap for the last time on  Sunday evening, purring all the time; after that she preferred the floor or a table in front of a window,where we placed a chair for her to use as a step up.

I have had a number of cats and I was fond of them all. I never before had cat that bonded with me so completely. She turned out to be my all time favorite cat.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Moving Along ...............Slowly

I am moving along with the HST quilt but not very fast.  There have been enough snow days that it would seem as though I would get a lot more sewing done.


This is what is up on my small design wall; I have only finished 11 blocks. I thought I had more than enough squares and HSt's but I needed more variety and more "'sparklers". That meant dragging out more fabric to cut squares and then making more HST's. This is probably the layout I am going with unless I decide to make a larger quilt and then I might change my mind.

I'm much happier with the new arrangement in my room. It is easier to work now; when the weather improves and we can get some more insulation board, I will probably have a larger design wall.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sometimes you have to stop and sew

It took me several days to get back to straightening up the sewing room. When I got around to it I decided it was time for a major cleanup and rearrangement. Jack and I moved a large cabinet from it's original place, a few feet from the door, to a corner where it should have been in the first place. It opens up the room and if that were the only change it would be worth the effort. I had to empty the cabinet in order to move it; while everything was out I went through all the contents and discarded a few things and set other things aside to go to storage in the basement. That gave me the incentive to go through everything in the room( I really mean everything)  desk drawers, bookcase, sewing chests, boxes, shelves, yes.... everything. When you put things away haphazardly just to get it put away, it gets to a place where it is impossible to find anything. I was there!

I am not finished yet; this is a table of stuff that has to be put away. There is also a bunch of stuff in the hallway that is not coming back in this room. When we moved I reached a point where I couldn't decide whether or not to get rid of some things; a lot of it came along with us. I am much more objective now about what I really want to keep.
However, sometimes you just have to stop, clear a bit of space, and sew.








 There were two finished blocks on the design wall (yep, I now have a design wall of sorts) and two blocks ready to be stitched together. I sewed the 2 blocks together and put the four blocks up on the wall in this arrangement. This is not what  I thought I wanted originally But the real life version looks a bit different than the EQ version. I am going to wait and see how it looks when I get all of the blocks made before I decide which I like better.




These are two mock ups using photos of the four blocks to see the pattern that would develop. I thought the pattern below would be too static but in actual fabric I see how much variety there is of color and pattern .   I will wait and see which I  like best.
Actually there are several other variations that I saw and eliminated when I was playing and manipulating the blocks in EQ. I might revisit those before I make up my mind.



Meanwhile it is back to making order out of chaos. It really has to be done! The way things have been, I have not been able to work in this room and sustain my interest in anything.