Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"WIP"ing along...

Ha - thought my title was witty, but it just looks like I'm cleaning up!  Well, maybe I am, since I am working at cleaning up all the piles of projects I have going on in the sewing room these days....

This is a second sample for my newest pattern - Jolie.  I love the fabric - from the Sweet Serenade line.  The blocks came out great, and the center went together great, then I hit a roadblock.  The fabric I chose for the inner border just wasn't working.  I love the patchy chevron but it had zero contrast with the center, and that's the entire purpose of having the inner border!  What to do?

I had the bright idea of adding a narrow flange.  I found a lovely peachy fabric that was perfect, but realized that if I pressed the flange toward my center I'd be hiding my lovely points...nope, didn't want to do that.  Then I realized why flanges always press in toward the center - in order to add them going the other way you have to miter the border!  Ok, I can do that.  Unfortunaterly, when I realized I needed to make my inner border 1/4 inch wider to make up for the flange covering part of it I forgot to add the 1/2 inch for seams.  So, now my inner border is actually only 1/2 inch showing instead of the 1 inch.  Sigh.  
But now the top is done.  I need to quilt it up, but I am mostly happy with the end result.  It will be hanging in Threads That Bind for a while to sell some of that pretty fabric, which I am sure it will do nicely.

How are your WIP's (Works In Progress) coming along?  I hope you don't have as many problems with your projects as this one gave me!  

Check out the Quiltsy Blog to see what my fellow quilters are up to this week!  Feel free to add your own link and share your projects as well.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Something Special in My Mailbox

I had something very special in my mailbox today!  Last week I entered a giveaway on The Selvage Blog for a cute little pincushion...and I won!  Woohoo!  I was not expecting it to arrive already, but found it on my front porch this afternoon.  I was a little upset because it had fallen several feet off the top of my mailbox, but Karen had it packaged up as securely as possible so no problem at all!
The colors are so cheerful - and the little glass dish is so cute!

I love the pinsies she included - isn't it so pretty on my window sill?  What a lovely day for taking a picture of my happy new pincushion!  Would you like to have one of these for your own sewing room?  Karen has lots more in all sorts of beautiful fabrics - check out her pincushion buns here!

Karen is one of my Quiltsy team members on Etsy, but I know her from her blog the best!  If you love selvages, scrappy quilts and just all around neat quilts you need to go take a look at The Selvage Blog.  I have so much enjoyed seeing the wonderful quilts she has featured over the years - we definitely have similar taste!  Another thing Karen has in common with me is that she designs original patterns!  If you like fun, modern and scrappy you will love her patterns!  I would encourage you to make sure and check them out - I'm pretty sure that there will be a Red Zinger in my future (but maybe not RED!!!).

Thanks, Karen!  I love it!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Farmer's Wife, Football and Freedom!

It was a nice quiet weekend, that is if you don't count the really crazy thunderstorm we had Saturday afternoon!  Lots of bright lightening and booms of thunder shaking the house.  At least it did not last very long and we never lost power.

We had friends over for a late lunch and football yesterday - it was fun and I got to advise my friend on some Etsy stuff - when she starts up her shop I will let you all know so you can check it out!  She's a wonderful quilter and I'm excited that she is going to start putting some things up for sale.  I always enjoy discussing Etsy with other people - it sharpens me up as well, and it is fun to encourage other people.  I know that there are many who are unhappy with all the changes and things that happen on Etsy, but I have just enjoyed the outlet of being able to sell my quilts and share them with other people and love to share that with others.  Definitely has been a blessing for me, and for many others.

I've been really struggling with trying to get my sewing room in better order.  Too much stuff in there and it really is hard to work when there is so much clutter around.  My local library is having a craft sale and has asked for donations, so it's a really good time for me to get rid of some of my overflow, but it means I actually have to pull stuff out and go through it now!  So far I have 4 large paper bags and a big box full of stuff - you know, the easy stuff like all the corduroy I've had for years and haven't done anything with, and a bunch of heavy fabric that I haven't touched in ages.  I need to go through some magazines and books as well as things like zippers and trims.  I have a lot of older things that I'm not going to use and need to let go off.  I'm  looking forward to having more freedom of mind when I can get some of the clutter gone and not have to deal with all the piles!

I enjoyed working on some Farmer's wife today - after I spent a bit over an hour trying to find my book - oops.  In all my cleaning I somehow managed to put my book in a bag with the American Girl patterns I was organizing earlier in the week (oops - see what I mean about the clutter!).  Happily I did figure out where it was and promptly got to work making these:

I know, some people would not classify using 40 pieces to make a 6 inch block, including odd shaped pieces and lots of triangles, but I love a good challenge!  It is quite satisfying when you can get most of the points to match and even fussy cut some cute little christmas motifs to go in the corners.  I'm working my way through the book from front to back, just because that seems like the simplest approach to me.  It looks like next weeks blocks are easier, these were a couple of tough ones, but enjoyable for sure.

I've got my work cut out for me next week - I have a set of drapes to sew as well as a wedding gown to create, so definitely enjoyed my quilting fix for the weekend!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A New WIP - The Farmer's Wife goes Christmas

I've had a pretty productive week this week - finished a few projects and worked a bit on cleaning out my sewing room.  That's a big job and won't be done overnight, but I hope to keep it up 15 minutes at a time and get some of the excess clutter cleared out of there once and for all!  No sense on hanging on to all of the fabric that I will never use - much as I love my bits and pieces they are starting to overwhelm me in a big way.

I did allow myself to start a new project this year for fun - I'm going to make a Farmer's Wife quilt in Christmas colors!
I figure since we have a real guest room with a real bed that it is going to need some quilts!  Especially a nice Christmas quilt, because someone always comes home for the holidays :)  The plan is to make 12 blocks a month then put it together and have it quilted for next Christmas.  I think I may have enough of the holly print for the background of all the blocks, and I plan to mix contemporary fabrics in with the many traditional (um, 80's and 90's) fabric that is in my stash.  I did buy a fun bright green that I may use for the sashing.  We'll see....

Other than that, I'm just doing the normal sewing and alterations.  Hemmed three pair of athletic pants and hemmed a couple of formal dresses this week.  I'm looking forward to getting back to a more normal routine and spend time in my sewing room - lots of projects to be worked on!  Hopefully I'll have some good progress on Northern Lights to show next week :)

For more WIPs check out the Quiltsy Team blog - I always enjoy seeing what everyone else is working on, it's very inspiring!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Special Delivery

I love getting pretty things in the mail - oh, the anticipation when I've ordered something special and can't wait for it to get here!  (Don't get me wrong, I do most of my shopping at the local shop I happen to work in, but once in a while a girl needs some fabric that isn't to be found within driving distance!)

I wanted some fun valentine themed fabric to make some table runners out of my Charming Hearts pattern to add to my Etsy shop, and found the perfect fit "Surrounded by Love"  by Deb Strain for Moda fabrics.  I love the chevrons, a nice touch of grey, and pretty pinks and reds.  It works up great into a table runner I think.  So pretty!

(Sorry for the not so great pictures from my phone.  I lost the card reader for my camera so I'm just making do until it turns up)
If you'd like to make your own table runner, you can find Charming Hearts on Craftsy or on Etsy.  Or you can always buy the finished runner - I have enough fabric to make a few more :)

Sunday, January 05, 2014

2014 UFO Challenge

I am setting a challenge for myself this year and trying to empty out my drawer of a rather neglected assortment of partially finished projects that are just languishing there.  Each month I will draw a number and work on the project that is designated.  This way there is a bit of randomness and hopefully the one I really don't want to work on won't be the last one (which it would be if I weren't doing it randomly!).

The number I drew for January is number 7 - Northern Lights.  This is a quilt I designed for Threads That Bind.  We kitted it up and I wrote up the pattern.  I ended up taking a kit home for myself and it's been hanging out in various places in my sewing room.  I resisted putting it in the designated UFO drawer for a long time because it was never started, but I decided that since it was a kit that I should.  When I pulled out the kit I realized that it was missing a fat quarter....wonder how that happened?  So I had to go digging in my stash for a replacement.  Now I have all my fat quarters ready to go and will start working on piecing the top this week!  I will need to buy a back for this, so will be on the lookout for something I like.
This is what the original sample looked like...I love the border fabric!  As I work on this I'll be double checking my pattern instructions and will add it to my patterns for sale when I finish.  I thought it was a fun idea for a pattern.  I'd love to try it in some different fabrics, but I need to make this one first and get it done.

I'd love to have you join with me in my challenge - feel free to make your own list and play along - if we can get a few people interested we can link up at the end of the month to tell about our projects :)  Here's to ending 2014 with less UFO's and more finished projects!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

First quilt finished in 2014

I am really glad to finally have this quilt finished!  I had hoped it would be done earlier, but I'm happy to at least have it done this week.  All of the center is made out of baby clothes!  Lots of stretchy knits, cuddly velours, not to mention cotton prints, corduroys and fleece.  I ended up having to foundation piece it because of the crazy stretchiness of it all, not to mention the various thickness of the different fabrics.  I think it came out beautiful, though and am very happy with the results.  I used a cute soft flannel for the border, and this
quilt is queen size, and very heavy.  It will be nice and warm, not to mention cuddly and soft!

I used a cute little hat to make a nest and appliqued a couple of birds in the blank white square.  I did this because we wanted to feature some birds in the quilt.  They are a little primitive looking, but cute!

I also added a bird to the bottom right border.  This picture shows the backing fabric as well.  I thought it was pretty with the front.  

This shows it on my bed for size.  Nice and large!  I am happy to have it done, and pleased with the results as well!  Here's to more gratifying finishes in 2014!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

WIP Wednesday and the Final quilt of 2013

Happy New Year!  Can't believe 2013 is gone and it's a new year - have to practice writing 2014 on my checks....always the first challenge of the new year :)

My last effort of 2013 was to finish a project I've been procrastinating on for way to long.  My husband requested a special quilt for a friend of our family and it's been really hard for me to get it going for some darn reason.  I intended to have it done before Christmas, but missed the mark by a few days.  The jockey was the worst part - those sleeves were making me really worried!  I finally decided I didn't need to make two sleeves, so I just used stitching to define the front sleeve and it worked out perfectly.  Those squares are 3/8 inch finished squares - I strip pieced those and it came out well.  The fusible doesn't work well to hold down all the layers with the seams, so the satin stitching was needed - but looks just fine and defines the sleeves quite well.  The hands, cuffs and pom-pom are all teeny pieces, held on with fusible web and topstitched like the rest of the larger pieces are.  Challenging, but doable.  The goggles are stitched with a heavy weight thread to show up well.

The blinkers were done with the same checkerboard as the sleeves of the jockey.


The tail was a spontaneous idea.  I used the same heavyweight thread that I used for the goggles, wound a ton of it around my fingers, then cut in half, stitched down the center where the tail belongs, then folded down and top stitched 1/8 inch from the first stitching!  I was very pleased with the result!

Here is most of the quilt.  The horses legs are blackened with threadwork.  I was happy overall with the quilting I did, I think the horse came out quite well!  I'm happy to cross this one off my list, and it makes a good final finish for 2013.

This quilt will be my first finish for 2014.  This is a custom order for a queen size quilt made out of baby clothes.  It's really heavy, but will be a wonderful keepsake!  I plan to do some echo quilting to bring out the circular patterns in the piecing.  The white square will have a bird and nest applique - should be quite cute when finished!   Here's to many more finished projects in 2014!

Check out the Quiltsy team blog for more WIPs by the talented quilters on Etsy!