Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What I'm Up To

Last weekend I spent a day sewing with some of my quilting friends.  I didn't want to arrive empty handed, so I made pincushions for each of them using some of my scraps.  I was inspired by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.  I adore her blog.  Go check it out!  The top center pincushion below was made using one of her tutorials.  I was inspired by some of her other pincushion pictures to make a few of the others.  I used some previously made HST on a few and tried improv piecing (or as close as I ever care to get) on another.

Hopefully you can tell this is supposed to be a spool of Aurifil.  I should have quilted diagonal lines on it to make it look more realistic though.
This one is all made from Lori Holt fabric.  The HST finished at 1/2".  I may be crazy.  Ha ha!  It didn't seem so bad when they were 1" squares before sewing.  These HST were all trimmings from previous blocks.  Any time I trim off triangles, I sew the extra seam in to make new HST.  I'm happy to have used some of them.
Last week I mentioned I'd pulled out a project from 2005 (designed by Kimberly Einmo).    I think every block was a different size!  Since my piecing wasn't the best, I decided not to worry overmuch if things didn't line up just so, and just went for it.  So now the bulk of the top is assembled.  I have the first row of the borders assembled and partially sewn on.  Then there are three more borders after that.  

I also have been spending a lot of time this week trimming the blocks I sewed over the weekend.  I'm quite thankful for the rotating cutting mat and the Bloc-Loc ruler on these!  It felt like the never ending cutting job.  In reality there are around 240 of them.  Next up on this project is deciding on a layout.
I'm more than halfway done with the binding on the S'mores quilt, so I decided I needed a new handwork project.  I'm planning to work on this cross stitch kit.  I think I previously put in about 30 stitches before setting it aside a good number of years ago.

I'd also mentioned that we bought a bunch of magnets from Harbor Freight to assist me in putting quilts onto the longarm frame.  We purchased three of the magnetic tool holders (free this week with coupons!  Boo, missed that one!  Those things are like $12 a piece) and also some rectangular magnets.  We found a 3D printed magnet holder pattern on Thingiverse, and I wanted pink, so we ordered some filament from Monoprice.  It finally came last Friday and it took a good day to print four handles.  Here they are, mostly ready, but probably needing another coat of clear over the magnets since they were giving off black smears and I don't want that on my fabric.  By the way, these puppies are STRONG!!!  I was trying to set them near each other and they snapped together like this.  So if you choose to go this route, please exercise caution!


Oh, and I signed up for round 4 of the BC Barn Quilt Swap and should receive my partner assignment soon.  This is my favorite swap, and the only one I seem to sign up for at all anymore, with the exception of my guild swap.  I'd be open to a private swap of mini minis as well.  Follow my Instagram feed (over at the right---->) to see my progress on the barn quilt swap.  

Enjoy your long weekend!  Our school summer starts this weekend and right now it's looking like it will be a whirlwind of activities, appointments, and, unfortunately, jury duty for me. :(

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler Update & More

I've been keeping busy lately, although I haven't really worked on anything much; not sure where the time has gone.  The end of the school year always feels that way.

I finished the horse cross stitch last night, pulled out the frame, and noticed this:
What in the heck am I going to do?  The frame is a little too small for the stitching.  How annoying. Maybe this is a good time to start working on my unfinished-for-more-than-10-years-cross stitch houses project.

I also pulled out this Kimberly Einmo mystery quilt from 2005.  It was published in the AQS magazine.  I think I quit working on it because I noticed I'd sewn part of the blocks wrong.  Looking at it now, I really don't think it will matter much.  I re-pressed the seams so that the blocks are a little flatter.  It should be interesting piecing this one together.  My seams weren't especially good/consistent back then.  I've improved a lot in 12 years!  I'm hoping to get this top put together in the near future.  I think it will be a good one to practice quilting from the front of the frame. Here are the two blocks that make up the majority of the top:
I'm having a sewing date with some of my friends this weekend.  I'm going to work on this project:
I haven't updated my progress on the #sewcialbeesampler in a while, so I thought I'd share the 15 blocks I've completed so far.  I took all these photos at the same time in the same conditions.  I find it weird how different they all appear in regards to exposure, etc.  Plus Blogger is fighting with me on how they will be displayed.  Sorry they're in such a long string.
block 1
block 2
block 3
block 4
block 5
block 6
block 7--I think this may be my favorite.

block 8
block 9--this one turns out dull no matter how many times I photo it.  :(
block 10
block 11
block 12
block 13
block 14
block 15
Registration for MQX Midwest opened Monday and I signed up for three classes--one lecture/demo, one hands-on class, and one trunk show/lecture.  I also signed up as a volunteer in my off-time. I'm a little nervous, but it should be fun.  I have four months or so to stew over it!  Ha!

I was looking for a video about using Leader Grips and found an excellent one by Seder Quilts.  You can search on You Tube and find the video.  As a result of watching, we bought lots of magnets over the weekend!

Have a great week.

















Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Kristine ID Wallet, Quilts, & Cross Stitch

Yesterday I finished up the Kristine ID Wallet (pattern by Uniquely Michelle).  I made mine with a thin, soft denim and quilting cottons.  The pattern is easy to sew.  I think the hardest part was turning the wallet right side out--I managed to make some marks in my ID window vinyl during turning.  :(  The only other part I thought was hard was getting the key ring into the tab at the end.  You may notice in my pictures that my key ring (recycled from something else) made a grease mark on my tab.  Ugh.  It should come off with a little Dawn, but still, UGH!  




There are a few things I'd do differently next time.  First, I would find a flatter magnetic clasp. This one, purchased at JoAnn, was too thick in my opinion.  Second, I would try harder to place the snap according to the pattern.  I moved mine down a bit because I was having a hard time getting my chunky little hands in there enough to move it higher.  Third, I'd consider putting a D-ring and hook on the tab instead of the key ring.  The pattern is written to have a lanyard hook onto the key ring, but I'm unlikely to ever use a lanyard, and that key ring was hard for me (chunky little hands with stubby fingers).  Other than that, there are always things you do to make the pattern your own, but it works well as written.


I finished quilting the S'mores Snowman quilt.  I learned quite a bit on this one.  First off, the pantograph I chose was just a little too large for my machine throat, so I could only sew one pass of the pattern at a time instead of two.  So I had to think about how to advance the pattern in a little different way.  Secondly, this quilt was pretty wavy.  I got down to the last 14 inches and realized there would be a huge tuck or the quilt would be extremely out of square.  You Tube to the rescue--I found a few videos (one by Kelly Kline, and sadly, I can't find the other video to credit) showing how to use starch and your iron to reduce waves while your quilt is on the frame. It took me a bit longer than the demo videos, but I did it and it reduced enough bulk to finish off the quilt.  I still need to sew down the binding and bury all the threads before the final reveal.
I'm planning to quilt this Valentine's Day quilt next.  It is far more wavy than the S'mores was, so this should be interesting.  I was going to try to piece a backing out of the leftovers, but decided against it since it would be so many seams.  I'm going to pick up some Kona Snow at JoAnn's this morning instead.  I will have a ton of leftovers from piecing, so I'm considering making some charity quilts with them.

We're close to drywall in the basement, and once that starts, I will likely be without access to the longarm until we're done painting.  I'm trying to get as much done as possible until that point.

I'm making good progress on the cross stitch horse, especially considering how little time I devote to it.  
In other news, it was long overdue, but we taught both kids to ride bikes over the weekend.  A crow keeps trying to eat our bird suet.  A Baltimore oriole made a brief visit to the suet as well, but just as I was about to take the perfect picture, he flew away.  At least one hummingbird has returned.  We survived the monsoon (three straight days of nonstop rain, no storms) we had last week and surprisingly there was no flooding.  The wheelbarrow had about 6" of standing water in it.

I really want to go to MQX Midwest this fall.  I've received the green light, but am feeling guilty about the amount of money.  Registration for classes starts Monday, so I'll need to decide soon. Until next week, happy sewing!
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

R2-D2, Strawberries, and Birds

R2-D2 is totally finished!




I also finished the top for the Strawberry Social quilt.  My daughter tells me she wants custom quilting on it and I'm not very good at that, so we'll see.  It may sit here another two years.  Sigh.


I'm trying to catch up on the Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks.  I'd gotten several weeks behind.  I'm hoping to be totally caught up today.  I'm also hoping to get the back pieced for my Snowman S'mores quilt and then onto the frame.  I made that top probably seven or eight years ago.
It needs a good pressing!

I've had pretty much the same to-do list for the last month.  R2-D2 was a big one on there, so now that it's out of the way, I have high hopes to get stuff done.  It is, however, the end of the school year, and it's a busy time.  I'll try not to beat myself up too much, but I always feel like I should be more productive than I am.

My husband filled our bird feeders over the weekend after leaving them empty for around a month.  We immediately had rose-breasted grosbeaks.  Usually we only have them for a few weeks in late spring, so I guess he timed that well.  I learned yesterday that the males have a rosy pink under their wings that you can see when they are flying.  The females have an orangey yellowish pink under theirs.

We were watching some red headed woodpeckers inspect a dead tree with many holes on the next lot over.  Hopefully they will nest in it.

Our flowers are putting on a show.  I'm still waiting for my favorite iris (Crater Blue Lake) to bloom.  Fingers crossed.
Caesar's Brother Siberian iris
Clematis
Iris Batik
I can't believe the roses are blooming already.
The side garden. 
Before tying up the clematis, but much better lighting.
Can you see my son's rock collection?
Until next time...
PS--I've lost 10 pounds now.  :)
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Finally, Some Progress

I've made a good deal of progress on my unfinished Strawberry Social quilt.  We've agreed on a layout (which I spent a ridiculous amount of time on yesterday), so now I just have to sew the columns together and finish the top.  
I had set this one aside for the longest time because I got hung up on one part of the instructions.  It truly wasn't difficult and I'm not sure why I waited so long.  One thing I was really surprised by was one of the trimming steps.  I cut off a good deal of fabric!

Top row is before trimming, bottom row is after trimming!
I also have finished quilting R2-D2!  I'm going to machine bind this one.
In other news, we discovered that something, probably a squirrel, has chewed up three separate sections of our composite decking.  This does not make me happy.
I also discovered fire blight on both my newly planted pear trees, so we spent an evening trimming off and burning the infected parts.  Hopefully this takes care of it, but I'm feeling rather pessimistic right now.  The Moonglow variety is supposed to be more resistant and it's the one that had it the worst.

The potatoes are coming up pretty well, and I'm starting to see some growth in the broccoli rabe and the cabbage.  My lettuce seems to be faltering.  I was really hoping for a harvest by now, especially since there are signs at the grocery store saying there's a lettuce shortage!  (What???)

Anyway, I feel like I'm finally making some progress sewing-wise, so that's good.  Have a great week!