Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Lure of the One-Inch Strip

My basket of 1" strips has been the focus of my attention lately as I work at making more nine-patch blocks for Omigosh. I've made good progress, adding another baker's dozen to my pile, but I've also managed to do a bit of a squirrel dance at the same time.

Making the nine-patches is a long process because of the number of small pieces needed to make a block (45), and, because I am using up bits and pieces to make up my strip sets rather than cutting widths of fabric (sometimes as small as 1" squares) I think it takes me even longer. Once I get into a rhythm things move along nicely but I really have to concentrate to stay with them.

Enter my distraction. What if I used some of the strips to make corners for tiny little Puss in the Corner blocks?

That sounded like fun, and it was! They will finish off at 3" which puts them squarely in the 'stinkin' cute' category.

Do I have a plan for what to do with them? No. Does that matter? No. Does it make me feel like I am making some progress? Yes. I'm certain that if I made larger blocks I would make much more progress but I seem to be drawn to the teenie tiny right now, so I'll be happy with that....M

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Majoring in the Minors

An ironing board sits to the right of my sewing table so that I can easily press pieces as I sew. I call it an ironing board but much of it seems to double as another table, collecting projects that are in play or surplus pieces to be dealt with. On the far end of the board is a basket runner that I keep meaning to finish up but it keeps getting buried with HSTs or whatever else is going on the design wall beside it. One of these days...

Anyway, I've been working on the tiny nine-patches for Omigosh and every time I press them I'm reminded of unfinished business by the piles of little pieces sitting just inches from the iron.

One of those piles were the cutoffs from the heart potholders that I made for the girls weekend in February. Looking for a break from the nine-patches, I trimmed them to 2" and made two blocks two out of them rather than have them keep floating about the room distracting me. 

It's a fun combo of the plain and pieced triangles all together.

Shoo Fly quilt block: QuiltBee
Beside that pile were a couple of sets of cream and brown blocks that I had cut for Churn Dash blocks. I'd looked high and low for them a while back but only found them in another pile this week when I tidied up a bit. They soon became five little 3.5" Shoo Fly blocks.

I have no idea where they will be used but for now they are in my pile of Kitchen Sink blocks - much better to have them assembled into blocks than kicking around and having me keep moving them around. Besides, they are stinkin' cute at the size that they turned out. There is something to be said for cleaning up a few little bits...M

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Scream Heard Round the Kitchen

Huddle quilt pattern: QuiltBeeIf you heard a long and painful primal scream tearing across the universe lately, please do not adjust your set - it was likely just me at the cutting board. A year ago I received the lovely pattern for Huddle by Eye Candy Quilted for Christmas from my favourite niece so I thought it might be time to get it started. So, I commandeered a corner of the island in the kitchen for several evenings (its easier to cut there than on my table) and slowly worked my way through getting all the bits cut and sorted.

Now, I pride myself as being someone who was good at math but I'm thinking that pride might have been a tad misplaced. I'm not sure if it was 'user error', the fact that several of the piece dimensions differed only by 1/8", I was dealing with positive and negative versions of the same block, or that I was trying to squeeze all the cream pieces out of a piece of fabric that was just not large enough. I will spare you the blow by blow details, however suffice it to say that pieces were cut too small and some were cut on the diagonal that never should have been. Arrrrgh.

I started out wanting to use two creams, the solid for the centre blocks and the darker cream for the border blocks.
That changed to finding a way to incorporate three creams...

and ultimately ditching the solid cream for these three prints plus the scroll print in the image above. What was remarkable to me, the queen of yardage, is that I kept picking fabrics that I didn't have a lot of, which made the math even more interesting.

By the time I finished I was in a bit of a state and I had to let the smoke settle in the kitchen; if I was on blood pressure medication I would have been reaching for it. That said, Huddle is now cut and safely sealed in a project box and I will wait for a day when my noggin is in better shape to start assembling a block or two. Whew!....M

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

God's Green Earth bowtie quilt: QuiltBee
What better way to celebrate the 'wearin' o' the green' than with my finished God's Green Earth? It's enough to make me want to kick up my heels and look for leprechauns and four-leaf clovers!

God's Green Earth bowtie quilt: QuiltBeeThe combination of all those greens just makes my heart sing, and then to have a few reds, plums, teals and even a little black tossed in, well, it really is something.

I think all of the hits of chartreuse make it for me.

God's Green Earth bowtie quilt: QuiltBee
I started out trying not to repeat any of the fabrics but in the end I doubled up on a few favourites.

God's Green Earth bowtie quilt: QuiltBee
If I have one regret it would be that it could be larger (you know me and how I love a large quilt) but I'm happy to leave it as it is. Only for an instant did I toy with adding borders but that is not the look that I had in mind.

It is going to be backed with these three lovelies and then it's time to call Roberta to see when she can fit it into her schedule.

Happy St. Paddy's Day everyone!....M

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Good, Better, Best

There's been more klepto quilting in the sewing room, all with the intention of moving things along and finishing up another quilt. This time it was Betty's turn to scan the shelves and cubbies to see if there was anything on hand that would suit to back and bind her white-on-white Mother-of-the-Bride.

My apologies for the colour quality. We laid the quilt down on a dark carpet in a windowless area so the photos are a bit dark.

I have accumulated quite a number of potential backings (I hate paying full price for backing and like to pick them up on sale) so there were a few choices to be had.

This is the first combo that we auditioned - the berries would be the backing and the pin dot the binding. If there was nothing else it would have worked, but the backing print just had a much more contemporary style than the quilt top so we kept looking.

Option two was to use a stronger binding print. We were getting there...

There  was another backing print that we tried but it appears that in our frenzy I didn't get a photo of it - it too was more contemporary - it looked like small, hand painted cherries.

And then Betty spied a piece that hadn't been 'filed' with the backings, sitting atop the shelving unit. Jokingly I said, "Get your hands off that!", but we could see instantly that it was perfect - it had just the right touch of aged beauty and romance to complement the quilt. And the colours were much more suited as well - the soft grey, those loose cabbage roses - it just worked.

The muted green and cream piece that we had pulled as binding fabric for the second audition is even better in this combo; it almost looks gold. Drool. Is there any way that this quilt can get better? Now to see it quilted!....M

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Spring Forward

I'm a little groggy today. We changed the clocks last night for Daylight Saving Time which is a sure sign of spring (I LOVE it as we 'spring forward' and move to more hours of daylight) but losing that hour of sleep always takes a day or two of adjustment. Time to find something that's not too taxing to do.

I haven't touched Anna Levens for quite a while so it seemed like a good time to check in with her.

The basket of hexies to be turned under is always at hand so I'll put my hand to that today.

I've cut a few hexies from the mauve fabric that I used for Minnie last week, so I'll start with them....M

p.s. I know that I have anal tendencies but I don't think I'll ever get to the point of stitching miniature hexies this small! O.M.G!

Friday, March 08, 2019

The Plan

Things continue to fall into place with Anne's Carpenter's Star/Moda Love lap quilt, thanks to a little klepto quilting (AKA digging through someone else's stash to find what you need, something our gang does regularly). She stopped by the other day to see if there was anything in my stash that might help round out the blocks that she's sewn and we had great luck finding just what she needed.

We found a great little blue and cream pin dot to use between the randomly placed star blocks - it's just enough to tie in to her fabrics without making a big scene. She's got a few scraps of her prints left so there may yet be the odd tiny Ohio Star added to the mix.

The backing is a piece of white and turquoise  (the fabric on the right - it's really not grey but a nice soft turquoise) and she will bind it with that too. And, just to make things a little more interesting, we found a soft mauve that she will incorporate into a faux flange binding. I think that tiny strip of mauve will be the perfect finishing touch.

And what's this? Christmas in March???

We had ordered a lap hoop for Anne as a Christmas gift but its delivery was somewhat delayed because they are handmade and quite in demand. It didn't seem to matter much that she was only receiving it now - when she saw the box she tore into it like a little girl.

It's beautifully hand crafted and quite ingenious, and I'm thinking well worth the wait. Those six small discs on the centre round are magnets - very strong magnets.

And they connect to this piece...

which then attach to this piece that you use to adjust the angle of the hoop and sit on for stability as you quilt. Quite brilliant. They are made by Barnett's Laptop Hoops and there are any number of configurations to choose from. If you are in the market for a hoop it would be worth a look.

We were so eager to get into the box that I didn't get a pic of the complete setup but will get Anne to send me one that I can share with you. I'm thinking that it is already in use as she virtually skipped to the car with her box 😉....M

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

On The Lighter Side

Moda Love quilt blocks: QuiltBee
Rich and primary colors and prints tend to be what Anne gravitates to in her quilts but she took a slight turn at the girls weekend and started one with a very soft, dreamy palette - hearts, hot air balloons, stars and scrolls in soft blue, green and peach.

She's had a fabric bundle from a Scandinavian designer that she picked up a few years ago and decided that its time had come - she wanted a throw for her sunroom. Not really knowing what the end result would be, she made a pile of HSTs for Moda Love/Carpenter's Star blocks.

There were enough HSTs to make three large stars so, after a little noodling, she set about using up the scraps to make a few smaller stars that will be set randomly in between.

Its interesting to see the effect of the different combinations.

It is all pieced by hand but she is taking a page from Jane and Betty's books and seemingly tearing through stitching them.

There is still a little more work to be done to figure out the final layout and find the fabric to set between the blocks, but it is coming along beautifully - she is going to be napping under it before you know it. So etherial!....M