Friday, 31 August 2012

Friday Finishes for August

Lots of finishing this month, both quilting and knitting.  First, my socks are done!  First pair (well, srot of - I did make a pair from some waste yarn last year).  These were done toe up, on 2 circular needes.  Once I got the hang of keeping the yarn untangled, it was really easy to do.  And I love the fact that when I was done, I was DONE.  No second sock hanging around guilting me.

I'll make a few adjustments next time, but not too bad for a first pair, I think.  The key learning point for me was - cast off loosely means LOOSELY.  I had to go back and redo my cast off, so that I could actually get the sock on :)  I should have taken a photo before I put the socks on, so you can see the pattern.  They are made from a pattern on Ravelry, and it worked out really well.

Then there are a pile of quilts.  Some already shown on this blog, and some just finished last night.  First, my January colour challenge.  No too bad - 9 months start to finish :)  I love colours in this one, and it was my first hint that I was going to have a lot of fun with the colour challenge this year.  It's really forced me outside of my comfort zone.

 Then, a mystery quilt from last year.  This was one of the first quilts done on my long arm.  And now it's bound and ready for donation, only 1 month after I quilted it.  Not bad.

Followed by another colour challenge quilt.  "Rising Sun" won out for the name, but I still say the quilt was "easy as pie" to make :)

And then finally (or actually, firstly since they were finished earlier in the month) 2 baby quilts ready for donation, after serving as the guinea pigs on my long arming skills.  The contrast in the colours is better in person.

Joining  a few links ups today:
Judy's Friday "What's on your needles"
A stitch in time August finishing party

And, Judy's UFO challenge (if I have the dates right).  None of these quilts were my UFO for the month, or even on the list.  But I'm counting them anyway, as the first 2 have been sitting around waiting to be quilted and/or bound for several months.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Holiday Quilting

I'm on vacation this week, mostly to make sure everything is done in preparation for back to school on Tuesday.  However, with two teenagers, that leaves me with plenty of time to myself now that we are back from a brief trip to Canada's Wonderland.  1 shopping day for each child, and the rest is unscheduled.  And, when the oldest takes my car for the day what am I to do other than sew?  And sew I did.

I finished the Blogger's block of the month block for August - which brings me to the end of that BOM.  I'm trying out different layouts now - thinking I'll probably add a 1.5" or 2" sashing (in black) with cornerstones in the various colours.  But I also want to wait and see if there is a setting suggested for the BOM - which means waiting until Sept 24 to do anything with this.  So it will hang out on the wall as I play with the layout.

And, because simply waiting for the next step is not high on my list of things to do, I jumped into my next quilt project.  Here are the first few blocks.  In fact, I have 30 made, but decided not to put them all up on the wall yet.  Lots more blocks to go.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Design Wall Monday - Aug 27

There has been zero change to my design wall since last Monday. 

But that doesn't mean I've been entirely idle.  My log cabin star just came off the long arm this morning, and is ready for binding.  I quilted this with a pantograph that I designed myself. 

I had originally considered custom quilting in each block, with feathers. But my skills aren't quite up to that yet.  So I took the easy way out.

And I have one more Dancing with the Stars block almost done.  It's vacation week for me, so I'm hoping to get a bunch of sewing done, in between shuttling kids around to handle all the last minute back-to-school purchases.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Stash Report - Aug 26

I bound 2 quilts this week, and made the backing for a third.  I think August may be "finishing month" :)

Used this week:
4 1/2 yards - backing for log cabin star
3/4 yards - binding for Rising Sun and last year's mystery quilt
Total used this week - 5 1/4 yards

Stash usage this year: 120 yards out

Hop over to Patchwork Times to see what everyone else has been up to. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Design Wall Monday - Aug 20

Here is what my design wall looks like today.  Only 3 of the blocks are new - I pulled out the companion blocks to see how things are coming along.  It seems that the Bloggers BOM (the dark backgroun) must be finished next month.

My sew-in Sunday was a rousing success.  I completed the binding on 2 quilts.  Attached the binding to 2 more.  Made 3 blocks from my 2 BOM projects.  And made a backing for my log cabin star and loaded the quilt on the long arm.  Almost completely finishing my To-Do list for the weekend.

I was overly optimistic about how much paper piecing I could do in a weekend, but hopefully I can plug away at the next 3 blocks and be caught up by the time September rolls around.

These 2 quilts will be donated to the local children's hospital, when I (hopefully) manage to attend a guild meeting in September.  I bought 3 coordinated fabrics from a sale bin, added in the brown and a blue on the warm wishes quilt, and made the quilts to practice my long arm skills.  The first is custom quilted in each block & border, and the second one is a pantograph.

Hop over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their design walls today.

And check out more finishes at the August Finishing party.
August Finishes

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Stash Report - Aug 19

It's been a good fabric usage week. 
2 yards - backing for "Think Outside the Box" - now renamed
4 1/4 yards - August colour challenge

Today, I'm have a quilting day.  Judy's quilt-a-thon last weekend inspired me, and since I didn't get as much done as I hoped, I'm doing it again today.  Slight crimp in the plans, as I discovered that my current block of the month has 1/2 the connecting blocks sewn together in mirror image :(  The debate - redo the wrong ones, or use a slightly different layout and call it design intent.  What do you think? 

Picture 1  or Picture 2 (the blue/red in the top row is mirrored in each picture).

Stash usage this year:
114 3/4 yards out

Hop over to Patchwork Times to see what everyone else has been up to. 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Friday Night Sew In

My plans to join the Friday Night Sew-in were sidelined this evening.  A friend emailed with a plea for help - and an offer of ice cream. How could I refuse?  I headed out after dinner to help him figure out a solution to a flooring problem.  After much contemplation and discussion, we determined an easy solution - so simple that I'm sure he was kicking himself for not thinking of it earlier.  When you can't access one corner of the floating floor you are installing, simply slide the floating floor aside, insert the problem piece, and slide the floor back in place.  Problem solved.

Sewing however became a much shorter endeavor than planned this evening.  I did manage to squeeze in an hour of stitching, and put together all the blocks and the first border of my current quilt.  I must stop here however, as it is getting late.  Tempting as it is to continue, I need to get some sleep so that I can take the 3 kitties off to their checkup in the morning.

More sewing tomorrow afternoon and evening I hope.  I have plans for a thread catcher, and catching up on some block of the month projects.

Friday Knitting

My current knitting project is dose of newness for me.

1. socks - which I've only knit once before
2. toe up
3. on circular needles
4. two at a time

So far, so good.  It took a while to get into a rhythm with this, and the tangled mess of yarn almost had me throwing in the towel (or is that sock?).  But I persevered, and I'm now at a point where I can keep the yarn reasonably untangled without much effort.  And I can tell which step is next (which side of which sock am I working on) even if I put the work down mid-round.  I think this might be a successful trial.

I'm not overly fond of the shaping of the toes on these.  I'll see how it is when finished, but I think a new pattern will be required for the next pair.  My toes aren't quite that pointy :)

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their needles today.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Tuesday finish needs a name

This quilt just came off the long arm. Still needs binding, but even more than that, it needs a name.  I've done much denser quilting on this than on any previous quilt.  I think "long arm fever" took over me for a while :)  With the really dense quilting, it's not exactly a cuddly quilt right now.  A trip through the washer should fix that right up, though.

I knew when I was loading it that this quilt needed a design in each block that would help accentuate the layers in the quilt design.  I ended up with a sunburst pattern, I think driven by the yellow center of the blocks.  Each sun is cropped where it intersects with the block that sits on "top" of it.

Yesterday, I had decided on a name - "Easy as Pie" - in deference to the original inspiration for this quilt:  Judy's moldy pie and the colour palette challenge back in April.  However, as I took the quilt off the frame today, this block caught my eye, and it said "House of the Rising Sun".  So, help me choose.   Which name do you like best - or suggest a new one.

Check out more work in progress over at Freshly Pieced and The Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Design Wall Monday - Aug 13

Thanks to Judy's quilt-a-thon, I got lotst of quilting done this weekend.  My design wall has my August colour challenge quilt.  The center is done; just needs to be stitched into rows, and then all the borders made.  One pieced border, and 3 plain ones.  If I stay focused, this might get done this week.  Which would be good - I have a pile of BOM  blocks to catch up on.

Also in progress today is an earlier colour challenge quilt.  I pieced the backing today, and loaded it on my long arm.  The quilting is much denser than I usually do, but this just seemed like the right pattern for this quilt.  And it is certainly a good workout for the machine :) 

I'm finding one of the biggest problems is picking a thread for each quilt top.  I got a bonus pack of 50 cones of thread with the machine - so logically, I should use this thread for my quilts.  So far, I'm running about 0% on matching my plan.  But I have managed to find something "close enough" for each quilt I've attempted so far.  One day I'll have to bite the bullet and try a different brand of thread, so that I know if I have the freedom to expand.  Actually, I have 5 spools of thread for my  Building Blocks quilt, which I am determined to use.  So I guess I'll have to test the waters before I am ready to load that one.

Check out Judy's blog for more design walls today.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Stash Report - Aug 12

I missed the stash report last week because I was out of town.  So 2 weeks are covered here, and in fact most of the usage is from the first week.  I did a lot on my current quilt yesterday, but forgot to track strips cut, so I'll report usage on that when it's done and I can just report the whole thing at once.

3 yards - borders for colour challenge
3 1/2 yards - backing for mystery quilt + binding

More fabric has come in, in the past 2 weeks than I care to remember :)  Fabric for the August colour challenge.  Backing for 2 large quilts and fabric for a 2 colour quilt.  At least it all has a purpose - that's a step in the right direction.

Stash usage this year:
108 1/2 yards out

Hop over to Patchwork Times to see what everyone else has been up to.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Quilt-a-thon progress

Judy's hosting a quilt-a-thon this weekend, and I finally got on board today.  First, I wanted to finish my Camp Loopy knitting project.  As I worked on the final ribbing for the sleeves, I realized that it was going to be very close - I might run out of yarn before I ran out of ribbing.  So I rushed to finish, in order to have time to order more yarn if necessary.  Finished this morning - with exactly 2 yards of yarn left over.  So fortunately, I do not need to buy any more. The sweater is now being blocked, and will be a little wider and shorter when I'm done.

Then, I headed over to my LQS.  They were having a sale today!  And I needed to return a quilt that I finished for someone, so I had 2 reasons to head over.  The quilt I worked on was adorable - the cute little monkey's ears are 3-D.  I kept the quilting really light, because the backing was minkee and I didn't want to risk pleating it.

I came home with backing for 2 quilts, and fabric for a new one which I had quickly sketched out last night when I found out about the sale.  No pictures, because the fabric is all in the wash.

Finally, I made it into my sewing room late this afternoon.  I managed a lot of progress on my August colour challenge quilt.

Friday, 10 August 2012

More knitting

I'm making good progress on my Camp Loopy project #3.  I started the bind-off for the main ribbing this week.  It is Applied I-cord cast-off, which I had never heard of before.  So I did a google search, found the instructions, and I'm working my way through it.  Very slow going, since you knit an extra 2 stitches for every one cast off.  But it makes a lovely edge, and I expect to use this again.

Here's the sweater from the back.  You can see part of the ribbing, ,where I've already cast off.  The rest is bunched up on the needle, which is why it's not hanging straight.

This picture from the front shows the ribbing better.

Tonight's plan is to wash the fabric I bought for the April colour challenge.  Judy is hosting a Quilt-a-thon, and although I've missed the first two days I plan to jump in tomorrow and see what I can get done.  After I drop by the local LQS to check out their summer sale (uh oh, that sounds dangerous).

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Wednesday progress

I realized that I'd been quiet here for a while, with nothing new posted, so I thought I'd join the Wednesday linky party and update you on what's been going on.  I haven't been idle, but nothing "new" is going on right now.  I did make a purchase on the weekend, of fabric for this month's colour challenge.  I know what I want to do there - just need to write out the block directions and cutting list for it.  And wash the fabric of course.

I finished another quilt on my long arm.  A small-ish quilt from a mystery earlier in the year.  Things are improving, and I am starting to understand the statement everyone makes about "watch where you are going, not where the needle is".  My curves are much smoother when I focus at the end of them, rather than where I am.

And I quilted a quilt for a friend on my long arm machine. I'm not really planning to quilt for others, but she was desperate to find someone to finish a quilt for a baby who arrived several weeks early. So I agreed to help her out, with the caveat that I'm still learning this thing :)

No pictures today, because my computer is acting up :(  My son has promised to re-image it for me, which I hope will resolve all the annoying issues.  And then I can get back to posting photos and updating my blog more frequently.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Pets on Quilts Show

Lily Pad Quilting is having a Pets on Quilts show, and I realized that I have the perfect quilt to enter here.  A few years ago, I participated in a guild challenge.  My primary fabric was what eventually became the border - a pile of kittens.

The challenge was fairly broad, and in the end left us with a series of blocks - a few applique, some flying geese, half-square triangles, and 4-patches.  And the final challenge was to put them together "somehow".  I was still a pretty new quilter back then, but I did my best with my odd sized blocks, and came up with this cat-themed quilt which I named "Cats Galore".

Of course, living in a house with 3 cats I knew this was not my quilt to keep.  Here is Rockie, checking out the quilt and staking her claim, as soon as I laid it on the floor.  I think she's casting a warning glance at the other kitties, to keep them away from her quilt.

Although you can't see her, Caramel is hiding under the quilt and Rockie is not too impressed to be sharing.

Peek-a-boo!  Here she is. Caramel thinks it's hers.

Head over to Lily Pad Quilts, and check out all the other pet-themed or pet-claimed quilts on display.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Knitting Progress

After finishing my colour challenge quilt earlier this week, I haven't been into my sewing room much.  No TV in there, and I do want to watch the Olympics as much as I can.  So rather than sewing, I've been knitting for the past few days.  Here's my progress on my sweater so far.  I'm about 2/3 done the body - then just ribbing to go.  I'm knitting it top down, so I'll just go until I run out of yarn (and hopefully I'll guess correctly about when to start the shaping at the bottom).  This is a really quick and easy pattern - a nice change after the lace shawl I knit last month.

Check out Judy's blog today to see what others have on their needles.