Sunday, February 27, 2011


Twenty squares done!  Here's how they look:

I'm happy.   If they seem a bit jarring or garish, imagine them separated by lots of squares with white centers or edges.  I'm pleased so far with the lights and darks, as well as the mix of green, blue, range pink...  I think it will be a happy spring time update to my bedroom.

Sneaky Sunday

I've completed about 12 squares now, and have five more at the halfway point.  I think I've done most if not all of the "fun" ones, meaning the ones that involved matching up a print and a solid color.  If I follow the pattern/design, most of the rest will be prints with white.  But I might not follow the pattern.  Although I realize the white is the key to making this work with all the different patterns, my matchy-matchy self just wants to make more pretty pairs of fabrics.

It's sneaky Sunday because I know I should be getting over there to help G. at the house, I just couldn't resist sewing together that little pile that was all pinned together and ready to go.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pretty Piles of Pieces

Here are some goodies! The strip pile, the white pieces, and the squares.  And in the foreground three of the test blocks I have created.   Love them!  (Don't love the unmatched stripes, those may have to change.  I thought I was smart at least cutting them in the same direction, but....  :P)

Here's another pretty pile:   :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cutting like a fool

I've been a slicin' maniac the past week.  I thank the quilting gods for inventing rotary cutters.  I cannot BELIEVE that up until 1980-something people made quilts with scissors.  I remember getting blisters from cutting through so much fabric...
Anyway, I've been doing a little bit each day.  First I finished all the prints, then last night the solids (much fewer pieces).  This noon I got about 1/2 of the white cut.  The white is Kona "Snow" and I love it.  It's not pure cold white, but it's just so slightly warm that it doesn't look wrong with cool-toned prints.

I've been calculating the percentages of each type of fabric to make it about equal to the model quilt.  But I ended up with WAY more center squares than I needed, just because it was easiest to slice up a whole row.  I don't want to reduce the percentage of white very much, because I think it's going to be really necessary to tone down all the bright prints.  So most likely I'll make some other sort of block out of them to use on the back.

Of course I couldn't resist stitching up a couple blocks to see how they will look,  and they are BRIGHT.  But that was the idea.  They are still coming out slightly small, like the friendship block did.  It's so hard to figure what I'm doing wrong.  Maybe the ruler is slipping as I cut, or maybe my seams are more than 1/4, though I test and test and test....   So I decided to just forge on and see what happens.  The worst case is that I will cut them all down  to 10" even.
I haven't taken time to snap anymore photos, but I will this weekend for sure.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finally started the Brown Bag!

12:15  I got off to a lazy start today, sleeping and surfing, but I finally started cutting up the brown bag fabric following the idea of the Sweet Daisy quilt.  The only doubts I have are about the color scheme.  Maybe the original works so well because the prints are more pastel and have more white.  My prints are much more saturated colors and there will be a lot more contrast with the white....  but we shall see.  Maybe I'll use more solid accents and less white.    I've cut up all of one required fabric, and most of a second one.  My plan is to get the required ones cut up, then select and cut their partners, white or solid (or maybe a solid-ish looking print).   Then I can start to make some squares and see how they will look together....

1:50  Okay, all the required fabrics are cut up:
Enough for 1/2 of 42 squares.  So that means I'm more than 1/4 done cutting, right??  I think the rest will go slower, as I have to make decisions about which fabrics to pair together.  But if I follow the model, 70% of all the blocks have white, either border or center. Cutting that should go quickly, since there are no decisions to be made. But that's a lot of white....     I have up to 12 more fabrics to use, but I want to make sure there is enough repetition without getting boring.  I will probably use about 10 of them.  I'm also thinking of substituting some muted prints for the solids... like the orange at the upper corner of the photo above.

Anything over an inch wide I saved to use on some sort of strippy, scrappy back:

That leaves this pile of shreds to be "not used."  I'm pretty sure I'll be over 90% even without the back.  But I want to see how little waste I can end up with.

9:00 pm  Varnishing and working out, and going to dinner, took up most of the afternoon/evening, but I did complete cutting up my solid pink fabric, and one other print as well.   I think I may try a block this morning or at noon.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friendship block

I did the friendship block tonight.
(tilted camera, block's not THAT deformed)

I should be happy to have another UFO checked off, but I'm not totally happy with it.  I picked a pattern from a book that was designed to finish at 9" and resized it to be 12".  It's off by about an eighth or so.  I think my math was good, it's my sewing precision that was off.  and I tried to be SO exact.
When it was first finished it was off almost 1/4 in one direction.  I was able to widen a seam to fix that problem, but there was no way to fix the other dimension without ripping pretty much the whole thing apart.  I should have been checking and measuring each piece more carefully.    Oh well.  I think it's good enough.  She can fudge the seams if she has too.   The funny thing with these is you're not really sure what the person plans to do with them. She asked for 12-1/2" blocks, but I'm not sure how many.... so she could probably make a pretty big quilt, and leave mine out if she hates it.   Well,  anyway, I don't think I'll try another one any time soon!  And at least for awhile, I am NOT signing up for any more challenges, classes, bees, or committees.  Time to do what I want.  (After finishing all the other stuff I've signed up for...).  Tomorrow,  I start cutting for the Brown Bag,  I hope.

I'm registered for two classes in May,  I didn't realize they were the same week, so I'll be taking a mini-quilting retreat vacation right here in Bellingham.  The first one is a two-day workshop with Janet Fogg. She does work that uses both traditional block piecing and pictorial art... should be interesting.  Then on Friday of the same week, Gwen Marston, and the Liberated Log Cabin.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

For the Birds

I finally turned in the super top secret bird block, only a week late.  There was stress this morning, as I thought I would simply zigzag around the edge to finish it and call it done.  The machine kept jambing and the stitches were all uneven.... grr.   I have not had any problems with this machine at ALL until this morning.  So after ripping out three or four different zigzag edges that looked like crap, it was getting too frayed, and of COURSE I had cut everything down instead of waiting until it was edged to square it up..

So in desperation I pulled out my bin of ribbons and trims, and found a black and purple tiger-stripe ribbon that I actually sort of liked.  It definitely stands out but I like the way it balances the purple house. I left the raw edges criss-crossed sort of like a rustic log frame... but she can cut them if she needs to, I guess.  I think Lee liked it well enough, but maybe she was just being polite.  Anyway it's done and comes off the UFO list.

And I can't WAIT to get started on the Brown Bag quilt.  I know what I want to do, and if it turns out ANYTHING like the model I'll be thrilled.

Then again, maybe I should finish some of the small projects first... and see if I'm really going to send Cloister in for that show...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Got kind of stuck last night on bird eyes.  I couldn't manage to cut out a small enough piece of fabric without fraying it, and beads didn't seem to convey the expressions I had on the sketch.    I pulled out the feathers, but the are all bigger than needed and trying to cut off or trim down to small bits was just resulting in a lot of fuzz everywhere.  Maybe tonight.  Or maybe I'll just skip the feathers, at least for now and work on more beading and embroidery.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Down to the wire

I was lucky enough to get a week's reprieve on the Super Secret block, as I'd hoped there was the "given" deadline and the "I really need it by" deadline.  But I couldn't give much time to it this weekend, because of the big push to get the rental house done.  So I had to "steal" little bits of time, coming home on lunch hour, sketching before breakfast.   I guess that's a sign that I'm doing something I really love, right?

I went back and quilted without destroying the beadwork Saturday night, though I did loosen it a bit, I'm afraid.  Then yesterday I sketched out some birds to go in the house.  So this morning's project was just to get the bird sketches onto freezer paper, so that I can start cutting out some appliqué pieces tonight.  They're tiny but I just need two body pieces, then some tiny bits for eyes and beaks.  Or I could make the beaks with embroidery, possibly.

I owe credit to Laura Wasilowski for inspiring the birds, but I hope I'm just being inspired, not plagiarizing.  Maybe I should do something different with the head feathers.  Maybe I can come home at lunch...

1:57 -  I was able to get time at lunch to make up some Misty-fuse backed fabric, and found a template for a circle that will be the right size.

Tuesday am: the birds, wings, and house-holes are cut out and ready to be fused, after I figure out feathers, eyes and beaks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The UFO list has officially reached 13.  Lucky 13, right?  Since three of them have very real deadlines somewhere between next week and April 1 I have no choice but to finish them, really.  The Sacred Threads submission is due by March 1, and I have to edit Cloister first, if I want to make it big enough to submit.  But that's not a UFO yet, just an idea.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Back at the Brown Bag

Colors in this photo are not very true - the lower left is soft pink, the solid in the second row is magenta not red.  I'm going to do a square-in-square design, sort of like this one.  (I Love her quilt designs).  I hope I have enough white.  An alternative would be to go "crazy" like this one.  But I think that sort of thing works better with smaller fabrics. I like being able to "showcase" the prettier ones in the large squares. 

Required Fabrics

I think I will start by making blocks with the required fabrics in them, combined with one of the other options, or white.   Then I can decide how many of the others are used.   The model I'm following has at least 20 fabrics, but because of the white it seems to come together.  Hopefully mine will too.

A lot of the modern quilts I look at on Flickr harmonize beautifully because the fabrics are all selected from coordinated lines from one designer.   Somehow this feels like cheating to me.  Oh well.   More woodwork must be completed before I can quilt.  We have resolved to finish the rental house by the end of the  month.

In other news I've been given an extra week on the Secret Project, which is the only way I'd get anything done.  I boogered it up right before leaving on the trip and had to spend a lot of time ripping, and resewing by hand.  I tried several embroidery techniques but didn't like most of them and ripped them back out.  Last night I decided to rip out all the hand sewing, as it was a big mess.  I did some beading which I actually liked (!) 

but realized I probably should do at least a little quilting before there are too many beads in the way.   Sigh.  Maybe if I work on woodwork until 8 or 9 I can sneak in some quilting time after that.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Post-vacation Post

I'm back and trying to get into the swing of things again.   My ears are plugged from diving, so I feel like I"m in a fog.  FFFC Challenge 53 has come and gone.   Tromp l'oeil was the topic.  At this late date there's no point in starting something, even if I did have the time.  And I don't.   I'm not too disappointed, I think it would have been a hard one for me to do.

Many people seem to have interpreted the challenge as just making something "photorealistic" which to me is not the point - it needs to actually "fool the eye" into thinking you are seeing something - a three-dimensional something - that isn't really there.  There is one of a window that really meets the intent, in my opinion. This one could also work, if it were hung on a background like the background...   it would have been cool to do just the jeans, in an irregular shape...

Anyway,  I'm stressing about the secret block, which suffered over vacation, I had a big mess trying to sew it by hand, and spent several hours trying to add embroidery embellishment that I ended up hating and ripping out.  I'm planning to beg for more time - unless a miracle occurs tomorrow or Thursday.