Wednesday, April 5, 2017

And today is April 5th, I've made a big pile of projects on the living room floor, took a picture to place on Instagram and on the linkup for the second quarter. Funny how it seems there are three recalcitrant students being held back a year, every quarter. Even funnier, I just did a headcount and fully half of the contestants are laggards. I would laugh if I could.

Top left is the spiral hexaround, a Julie Yeager design. I found three packs of Big Twist in a peacock stripe (50% off coupon made the skeins $1.48 each). There are 24 motifs done, unfortunately I decided to complicate the matter by adding an extra row around with various colors picked up from the stripes (lots of indigo). 

Next is the latest reproduction of Cheerful Child by Carolyn Christmas - such an easy and quick set of patterns; then a T-shirt I am drawing Jean-Michel Basquiat's Trumpet for fun using a grid method; then the stubborn string wall quilt. Second row a large brown motif afghan which is in the stage of sewing all the motifs together, but this one has proved back-breaking in the assembly stage. I need to just bite the bullet and finish, which is what I was trying to do last night with the Monet baby blanket A. There are many more rows to go!!
The scrappy brown triangles/white panels will have cats appliqued at the finish, now I'm hand stitching random patterns in each white panel. 

Third row holds two colors of linen and a dress pattern, I would like to make sheaths but haven't gotten past the cutting paper stage. Two sunflower towels, one newly finished baby quilt A in Ladies Luncheon pattern (it looked quick easy fun) which awaits a fun-flannel backing and more free motion experimentation (poor little patient). The Happy Wishes quilt top is all together and will be backed by a crazy quilt selection of flannels. The last row is the Danish Mermaid color selection of Scheepjes Hygge CAL 2017, then baby quilt B which now needs only binding. Grand total of 14 for whoever is still awake. However, I know I will "do better" than last quarter when I mailed the first finished piece to my brother, and forgot to take a picture of it before doing so. Penalty kick!
June 2016 I was traumatized, reading of the tragedy of Kathreen Ricketson. I was so impressed with the material in Brave New Quilts that I took copious notes on the lessons and the projects, wanting to utilize color as she explained it, and even bought some gray yardage, wanting to try her "Gray Play," an exercise with tones of gray (warms and cools look different with the same gray.) I haven't sewn it yet, but I will - I owe it to her legacy to proceed from her guidance.   

Fast forward nine some months - I may be finished with the blocks - not sewn together yet but here is my Gray Play exercise. There are sixteen blocks finished in the example shown below - red center surrounded by gray and vice versa. I grabbed and arranged nine pieces to show for one day in the IGQuiltFest Amy Ellis scheduled in March, trying to give a good representation of the exercise, and my goal in making these blocks was to have presentation of both warm and cool colors to express the warm and cool sides of gray. Thanks Kathreen, rip.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Here We Go 2017...Q1 FAL

Dreams, hopes, plans and fears - for the next three months - all personified and captured in one messy photo of projects strewn over the family room floor.Going clockwise, top left corner around is 
1.T-shirt art (playing with fabric pens!!), 
2.hexie blanket (50 some hexies sewn together already) 
3.crochet baby blanket A in "Monet," 
4.scrappy wall quilt, 
5.Resolution block baby quilt (blue - almost cut off), 
6.full-sized afghan in browns, 
7.Pat Sloan's Scrap Happy Little Wishes challenge quilt, 
8. and 9. two crocheted (small) area rugs, one in brown, one in yellows. 
In the middle, top left and clockwise - 
10.Julie Yeager's Spiral Hexaround in peacock, 
11.mermaid blanket in peacock tones, baby blanket B and 
13.Cheerful Child in pumpkin, yellow, dark orchid and two tones of green. 

Well all right then!!!!

October November December

What is it about creativity versus determination? For five quarters now I've entered the finishalong hosted by A Quilter's Table (let's be honest, I piled a bunch of UFOs on the floor in the living room and took a picture of them) and have struggled to finish them. In the interim, I've started and finished lots of other projects, but since they weren't in the official beginning of quarter picture, either I don't want to work on the official entries or I'm perturbed that I can't count the in-betweens. Laugh out loud. Serves me right? In any case, I've found inspiration and ideas browsing the works of others, as well as a small increase in self-discipline, to follow through to the finish. I've also realized there are some roadblocks to finishing things for me, e.g. the realization that since I'm not free motion or longarm quilting (I've been quilting by hand) so it takes forever. Another insight - this is why there were quilting bees, once upon a time. They didn't have internet or email, they got together to finish hand pieced quilt tops and eat chocolate.

Last October I was visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Dallas, then friends near Syracuse; while on vacation I was working on this Cheerful Child blanket. The outside picture from late October just doesn't show the colors (Vanna's Choice). 

I bought the brightly colored "Backlights" (Red Heart) on impulse, visualizing it as a constant color stripe with many other colors, chosen from the range of colors in Backlights. It has earned many kudos and much admiration. Size J hook.

I've been admiring stripey blankets for a while now, even created a Pinterest board. I love their crazy quilt appeal - a real blast of random colors and variety of stitches. And it's so much better in person.
Early December I came across the blog of two salmon fishermen known as the "Salmon Sisters" and enjoyed their spirit, creativity and entrepreneurship. At the end of the month I purchased one of their grab bags, which has 3 items (a hoodie and 2 other items) which will be in the size you specify. I ended up purchasing enough items to get the free shipping (since the shipping alone was $21) and happiness day was Monday, January 9th when my grab bag box arrived. One of the blind items was "The Mermaid Life" which is a super incredibly comfy shirt with raglan sleeves, thick cotton with fleece on the inside. Retracting the raglan sleeves - the shoulders are extended and droop over like raglan sleeves.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Three down, mumbamillions to go

This last week's labors spent finishing and last minute touches and rechecks on the baby quilt for Savannah (#Savannahsmiles!!) which will be sent out today. This baby quilt marks my first real attempts at freemotion quilting, as I learned how to drop the feed dogs and put the foot on my Elna. Zach at ABS in Vacaville was most accommodating, waiting while I pushed the feed dogs up and down several times. The foot was $11 which seemed entirely reasonable, due to the price-checking I'd done at a certain nationwide chain, whose staff has been just plain UNhelpful and one baby step away from rude. 

The blanket is the Carolyn Christmas' Cheerful Child, from pinkmambo, which I have now made three times. This pattern's skill level is "adventurous beginner" (her classification). I've found the pattern to be easy enough that there has been almost no frogging, yet subtly complex enough to delight all viewers. My only frustration was in taking the photo, finally took this side-by-side on the cedar Adirondack chair. The baby quilt is match-up of orphan blocks (16patch small batiks and neutrals) trimmed to 5" squares, matched up with a charm pack by Penny Rose Studio, Toy Chest. There is now a Toy Chest 2, this was from the first Toy Chest.

These pictures are only of one finished project, which is "E" (Baby Quilt A nine-patch/charm for Savannah); to be added at a later date, e.g. tonight or tomorrow will be the "pink pile" from the middle and "C" the Stripey Blanket.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Finish Along 4th Quarter

I've been wondering about my participation in the finish-along, specifically if it has helped me to actually finish projects. Yes, in that my head count is 2 baby quilts, one mini-wall quilt and one child sized blanket. These are tangible, finished projects - yet somehow I find myself lacking, possibly because it takes so long to finish a full-sized project. A year ago, I finished the quilt top for "Gypsy Wife" but it languishes in the stack of quilt tops. I've been pondering this, and have come to the conclusion that I have to improve my ability to finish a quilt, specifically doing the quilting. There is a Brother Computerized Sewing Machine sitting on my worktable, and me unable to figure out how to work it. I'm no novice to sewing machines, just recently (without manual or internet access) at a friend's house, I figured out how to thread, wind the bobbin and sew on a friend's machine, then taught her how to do all of the above. I've decided that my Brother inability is not reflective on my general ability. Anyway, my goal for October is to get that thing going and finish a quilt top. 

And in that spirit, here are my proposed finishes for the fourth quarter of the Finish-a-long. 

Clockwise, from the top left: 
A-Christmas quilt (double quilt top of Ohio Stars & red-edged appliqued Christmas trees,     B. Pat Sloan's Little Stars 2015 Scrappy Challenge, 
C-Stripey Blanket, 
D-Baby Blanket A (Cherry Blossom), 
E-Baby Quilt A (nine-patch/charm for Savannah), 
F-blue linen sheath, 
G-jade linen sheath, 
H-Julie Yeager Garden State CAL,
 I-Scrappy Wall Quilt (making its 4th appearance? lol), 
J-Baby Quilt B (Resolution block set on point), 
K-Afghan in multi-browns, 
L-set of two appliqued terrycloth kitchen towels. 
In the middle, from top, log cabin in aquas and newsprint, baby afghan in Monet, and the pink pile is Cheerful Child Blanket (Carolyn Christmas) which is almost half-finished already. That's a lot! I'd better get going to finish!

Friday, October 7, 2016

One Is Better Than None...

I am a butterfly, I flit and I float and I enjoy the journey as I create. Here's to finishing one project and enjoying what I did in the last 3 months. Baby Blanket "B" in brights. Huzzah!