Monday, May 30, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 30

I didn't think I'd have anything to show on my design wall this week.  As I said the other day, I'm motivated to finish some projects this week, so I wasn't planning to start a new one.  But after quilting 2 baby quilts, I needed a break.

I realized that a group I belong to, QT Mystery Quilts, had a mystery running this weekend.  So I checked out the fabric requirements, and found enough in my stash to make a lap size mystery quilt.  I'm a bit behind on this, because I didn't start this until today and all the clues were posted yesterday, but here are some of my pieces from the first 2 clues.  Other than sewing the first 6 blocks together backwards, it's going together quite smoothly.

Here is Over the Rainbow, pin basted and waiting to be quilted. That's next, when I'm ready to tackle free motion quilting again.


Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stash Report - May 29

What a lovely quilty week I've had.  Lots of progress, and lots of stash used.  I count fabric out when I cut it, so the backings below are counted by virtue of being pin-basted to their tops.  That work all happened yesterday.

1.5 yard - backing & binding for kitty placemats
2.75 yards - Over the Rainbow jelly roll
1.5 yards - backing for Over the Rainbow
.75 yards - backing for Rainbow Dreams
1 yard - backing for un-named quilt
Total - 7.5 yards out, and nothing in.

Overall, 11.75 yards in, 23 yards out.
Net for the year:  11.25 yards out.
 
Check out Judy's blog to see how other quilters are using their stash.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Accountability

It can't just a coincidence.  I logged in today, checked out the blogroll on my blog, and 2 of the newest posts had the word "accountability" in the title.  Couple this with Bari at Crossroads Quilts, who hosts an accountability challenge every Wednesday, and I'm starting to get a message here.  I have been mulling over my unfinished projects for the past several days.  I was on hiatus in January, when Judy started up her 2011 UFO challenge.  I regret that, and I've been wondering if I can jump into that mid-year, and try to clean up a number of my current UFOs.

Perhaps instead I will join Bari's challenge.  At least for the next couple of weeks.  I just spent the evening putting together quilt layers.  This weekend I plan to do the following:
1. quilt Over the Rainbow
2. quilt Rainbow Dreams
3. quilt the unnamed quilt (and name it)
4 label & finish binding my black & white quilt
5. label (and name) my lavender quilt


Check back with me on Wednesday to see how far I got with that list.  Or pop over to Bari's blog to see who is being held accountable this week.

For the record, here is my UFO list as it stands today.
1. Field of Stars - needs binding
2. Dragon stained glass quilt - still in assembly stages
3. Feathered star - needs a setting
4. un-unamed quilt - needs quilting
5. Christmas napkins - half-finished
6. pillow cases - cut out, ready to assemble and send to ConKerr Cancer
7. sleight of hand - needs quilting
8. rainbow dreams - needs quilting
9. tic tac toe - needs quilting
10. tic tac toe 2 - blocks to be assembled
11. tic tac toe 3 - more blocks

12 Grant's quilt - needs quilting

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Assembly

Yesterday I was whining about the difficulty I'd set for myself, with my rainbow quilt.  Lots of "Y-seams" I thought.  As I started to assemble it I realized that what I really have are "T-seams".  Much easier to deal with.  I don't have to stitch every seam to 1/4" from the corner, and hope all 3 tack points line up neatly.

Instead, I can do partial seams rather than dealing with 3 seams joining at a corner.  I stitch 2 blocks together partway along their join, and then when I have the next piece in place, everything lines up for a long seam to finish off the partial one.  I don't know if that makes sense, but it sure is easier to do than I was thinking. 

In case it helps, here's a diagram of what I'm talking about.  This is the upper left corner of the quilt, and the order in which I stitched the seams. Note that #2 and #5 are "short" seams - I did about 2/3 of the total distance in my first pass on these seams.  Then, after joining a few more blocks, seam #6 extended from the end of seam 2 to the block edge (where I will next join a vertical block, again with a short seam).  I'm finding that this is going much faster, and much easier, than I expected.

About 1/3 done today, and this should finish up pretty quickly I think.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Over the Rainbow

Blocks are all made.  Now that I look at the layout, I may regret this.  Notice the 6x8" blocks.  Notice how they are staggered?  Yes, that means y-seams.  On every block, in every row.  This is going to be interesting.  Quilt will be about 36x54" finished (no borders on this one).


These are the binding strips. I'll make a scrappy binding from all the bits that are leftover from the jelly roll.  This means no pink/red in the binding, since I used every last bit of those 2 colours in the main body of the quilt, but I don't think that will be an issue.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 23

 My cat placemats are ready for quilting.  The bed-sized quilt is ready for binding. And I'm ready for something different.  After quilting the big one, I needed a break before I start quilting the placemats, so I pulled out my stash to have a look at what might be next.  I've had a jelly roll sitting around for several months now, and could never decide what to do with it.

I've come to realize that I feel very restricted - presented with 2.5" strips, in predetermined colours, my creativity disappears.  So I got out my thinking cap, and sketched a few options, for 2" strips.  There are 10 colours in the roll - a dark and a light of each of five different colours.  This is the "Moda Brights" jelly roll from last year.  I finally came up with this block - which I think has potential, with a light/dark combination.  Not sure of the layout yet.  The random isn't speaking to me.

I'll probably end up with something more like this one.  Although I'll have to move the colours around to get a more realistic rainbow out of it.  I've finished sewing about 1/2 of the blocks I cut out, and have enough strips for probably another 2 blocks of each colour.


Head over to Patchwork Times to see what other quilters have on their design walls today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stash Report - May 22

I had hoped that I'd have some usage to report today, but no such luck.  My numbers are the same as last week.

Overall, 11.75 yards in, 15.5 yards out.
Net for the year:  3.75 yards out.


I do have an excuse - I call it a beautiful day.  Too nice and sunny to stay inside and quilt yesterday.  Instead, I played in my garden.

And then last night decided it was time to finish my pot drawers.  Not a quilting project, but I do count this as a finish.  And a reduction in my stash of melamine :)

Check out Judy's blog to see more stash reports.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Garden

It has been a beautiful day here, to kick off the Victoria Day long weekend.  Traditionally, this is the weekend to start gardening, and Mother Nature is certainly cooperating this year.  It rained all week, but today is bright and sunny and warm.  I did some weeding (weeds pull out really easily, when the ground has been saturated by a week of rain), and inspected all my trees and bushes.


I am so happy!  I planted a Japanese Lilac 4 summers ago, and it has never bloomed for me.  It always looks healthy, with lots of green leaves, but it has never flowered.  I read last year that they are sensitive and thought maybe the planting had been hard on it.  But it's in a sheltered yard, and when it didn't bloom last year I was losing hope.  But it has buds this year!  I can't wait to see it in full bloom.

I have a couple of other lilacs around the house.  They are one of my favourite plans, so this year when I wanted something to camouflage my new rain barrel, I planted this lilac.  It is supposed to bloom twice a year.  Hopefully it lives up to expectations.

I do believe it really is spring finally.  In fact, we are moving quickly into summer.  All of my daffodils are done, tulips are ending, and my irises are blooming today.  See the tulip leaning over to get its head in the picture?  :)

Weekend plans

It's been a long week.  Lots of meetings at work, including a couple of evening events. So I've done absolutely no quilting all week.  I did get my lawn mowed today, in the hour before the rain came today.  I sent my kids off to the their father's for the weekend.  I even have leftovers in the freezer.  And it's a long weekend!  So I have a few days which could be spent in uninterrupted sewing, guilt free.  I am looking forward to it. 

Of course, there are the other projects on my list.  Finishing my pot drawers.  Running some cables so I can move my TV.  Painting my deck, and weeding my garden.  So many possibilities, so little time.  I wonder what will win out.

I'm almost 1/2 done the quilting on my latest quilt, but it's been sitting on my machine since last Sunday, waiting for me to have enough energy to get back to it.  My placemats are sadly waiting for attention.   I think I need to setup my second machine.  Then I could leave my quilting in progress and take some breaks from that work to do some piecing, without having to completely disassemble the quilting setup.

In any case, I should be able to finish both those projects this weekend, and get started on something new.  Or maybe I'll pull out a UFO and work on that.  The possibilities are endless.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 16

I got busy this week, and my design wall finally has something new to show.  This is my next set of placements.  I've had the cat fabric in my stash for ages - 2 fat quarters.  I used the original coordinating fabric for something else, so I dug around in the stash and found a 5" noodle of the brown circles, and a 1/2 yard of the border fabric.  I would have liked a bit more of the circle fabric for an inner border, but I worked with what I had and I think the result is going to be acceptable.

It's odd - I've had this cat fabric, and I knew it went together, but I never realized that the small print has the same cats in it as the larger print.  It's not obvious in this particular mat, I see, but those kitties definitely show up in the second print.

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters are up to this week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Construction

Quilting isn't the only thing I do around the house.  I am the resident handy(wo)man, and today I finally got tired of my pot cupboard.  It's been annoying me since I moved in - 1 large space, with only a 1/2 shelf in the middle, so there was lots of wasted space.  And in order to store items in there, I have to stack them - and then unstack to get at the one I want to use.   I've been wanting to put drawers in for ages, and today I finally decided it was time to move forward with this.  I bought the drawer slides, and a sheet of melamine for the boxes.

Brought them home, measured, and realized that the hinges on the cupboard doors would prevent any normal drawer slide from functioning.  Replacing the hinged front with drawer fronts is not a simple option, and I knew would never match well, so I wanted to avoid that.  I pondered this for a while, and then hit on a solution - attach the doors to the bottom drawer, so that they move forward with the drawer instead of opening to the sides.


I cut the pieces for the drawer - and realized that I didn't have any appropriate screws.  So another trip out to the store.  Much fiddling and measuring later, I have a drawer!  Access is from the side, obviously, but I think this will work out just fine for me.

And it looks just like it did before, from the outside.  Two more drawers to make, but that will have to wait for another day.

Stash Report - May 15

I made lots of progress this week.  The placemats I showed yesterday used 2 yards.  I have almost completed the tops for another set, 1 more yard.  And the backing for my latest bed-sized quilt is 3.5 yards.  So that's a total of 6.5 yards used this week, and nothing added.

Overall, 11.75 yards in, 15.5 yards out.
Net for the year:  3.75 yards out.


Woohoo!  Made it into the black this week (or is that red, since it's negative growth in my stash?).


Check out Judy's blog at Patchwork Times to see more stash reports.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Placemats

My first set of placemats is complete.  Inspired by this post, I figured out that I could make a set of 4 slightly different mats, by cutting 4 fat quarters into strips and rearranging the order for each mat. Then the leftovers became the binding - a different shade for each mat.

I quilted these with a wave design, because the colours remind me of water.  These pieces are actually leftovers from my Waterfall bargello quilt.

I still have some fabric left - enough, I think, for a table runner.  But first, I'm moving on to another set of fabric for some more placemats, in between quilting my latest bed-size quilt.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 9

I don't have progress to show on my design wall this week, but I pulled some fabric choices for my next project.  I have not had placemats for my kitchen table since I moved into this house - 5 years ago.  So, I decided that it is about time.  In fact, I was inspired by this post.  I've never been sure what pattern I wanted to use for my placemats, but I think I've found it.  I hope Nancy doesn't mind if I borrow from her design.

Here are the fabrics I've pulled. I figure each placemat takes about 1/4 yard, so 4 fat quarters will make a set of 4 mats.  Not sure if I'll make all 4 sets, but I'll do at least 2.

I love these cat prints.  I've to come up with a design that lets me highlight them.  The green/pink on the right needs another fabric.  I'm not sure if this combo is going to make the cut, but I think it would look great with the stripe print as a border.



These 2 are leftovers from a couple of quilts I made.  I like the colours, but I'm not positive they'll work in my kitchen.  I'll have to bring them down and have a look.

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have on their design walls today.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

I was feeling sorry for myself today, because my Mother's Day wasn't the day I dreamed of.  No smiling children making me breakfast in bed.  No gifts, or flowers.  I dropped my mother at the airport this morning - early enough that we didn't even have time for brunch together.  My lawn needs mowing, the dishes need to be done, and I have done 6 loads of laundry since this morning - and I still have nothing to wear tomorrow.

But then I read a few posts, from people like me - grumbling that they didn't get their "perfect" mother's day.  One had a list - everything I want for Mother's Day this year.  It included sleeping in, perfectly behaved children, pampering from a husband, and time to herself.  Then she listed what she would get this year - a lot of dragging kids around to activities and trying to keep them occupied.  And as I read it, I realized that she was ignoring the treasures that each day offers her.  I think a lot of us do the same thing.

We complain about having to cook dinner - but we neglect to appreciate that fact that we have food to cook, and a place to cook it.

We bemoan the fact the our children drive us crazy, running around making noise and creating chaos in our house.  But we should give thanks that our children are healthy enough to run around, and that we have a place for them to create chaos in safety.

We long for an opportunity to sleep a little longer, and groan about the ballgames, and concerts, and dance recitals that we schlep our children to and from.  But we should appreciate the people - many of them volunteers - who organize, and coach, and encourage our children in their endeavors, and we should applaud our children for their efforts and successes in all their activities.

So maybe I didn't have smiling children making me breakfast in bed, but they both gave me a big hug when they got up. I didn't have brunch with my mother - but I got to spend 3 1/2 weeks with her and we had plenty of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners together.  The housework will never end, but my children are a pleasure to be with and they help around the house whenever I ask them.

Maybe your Mother's Day didn't match your dreams.  But you are blessed to have a reason to celebrate this day.  So go grab that reason and give them a hug.  Find the joy and pleasure in the chaos and vexation they bring to your life every day.  Children grow up and leave home, and I plan to enjoy the time I have left before mine do.

Happy Mother's Day

A very happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there.  I think Mother Nature's children must have disappointed her by forgetting about Mother's Day this year, because she seems kind of gloomy today.  It was supposed to be a sunny, warm weekend, but we have clouds as far as the eye can see.  No rain yet, however.

I told my kids that what I wanted for Mother's Day this year was to be able to quilt uninterrupted all day.  They were agreeable, so what did I do?  I spent 2 hours quilting, then I went shopping, and when I came home instead of making a quilt, I whipped up this: a liner for a bread basket I bought on my shopping trip.


Small, and quick to make.  But I think it will keep my bread warm and toasty :)

It used about 1/2 yard of fabric, so my stash report this week is pretty slim.  But I'm chugging along again with my quilting again, and I expect to have more to report next week.

Overall, 11.75 yards in, 9 yards out.
Net for the year:  2.75 yards in.

Check out Judy's blog for everyone else's stash reports.