Wednesday, January 18, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: The Return to Sewing

We had a busy holiday weekend but I finally got a chance to spend some serious time sewing.  It was such a treat to sit down with my freshly serviced machine...  it practically purrs and finally having my knee-lift fix was heavenly.  Thanks, Daley by the Yard!!!

I kicked things off squaring up all my #100Days100Blocks City Sampler blocks and adding the sashing.  I've decided to use the gridlock layout which probably means more work but I think will look awesome.  I'm still deciding on the cross color...  I love the grey in this one by my friend KayakQuilting but I might go for something fun with more contrast.

With my LQS closed I've started buying solids by the bolt so I'm ready for anything!

Sewing sashing is rather mind numbing but it was the perfect excuse for a Gilmore Girls marathon to hear those final 4 words.

Are you back in the sewing groove after the holiday madness?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

State of the Studio

It's a new year and time to make a plan.  While I did finish 3 quilts from last year's UFO stack I've managed to add to it so I'm starting this year off with 13 WIPs.

5 quilts are in the To Be Quilted pile.  I plan to quilt Going Coastal and Sloops at Laurena's Longarm so I just need to get on the phone and schedule some time.  I started the straight line quilting on the Houndstooth but I want to practice my pebbles before I tackle the the navy sections.  I need a quilting plan for Big Swoon but the Mendocino ZigZag is ready to go.

I have 5 more finished flimsys...  3 of them need to be basted before advancing to the TBQ stack.  Blue Plate Special is bigger than my floor so I'm saving that one for this year's BostonMQG retreat but Toes in the Sand and SugarPlums are ready to go.  The other 2 still need backs.  I have the fabric for Here Comes the Sun but can't seem to settle on what to do for the Tie Fighters.

I've been stalled on my La Passacaglia.  I'm having a hard time picking fabrics for my remaining cogs.  I need to make 1 more large cog and figure out the outer rings of the Neptune cog.  I've got a few centers done for the filler cogs but since I want things to blend I'm trying to switch my thinking to work from the outside in.  There's no real urgency on this one but I do like having handwork I can just grab and go so I'm trying to push myself to make some decisions...  fabric shopping may be required.

I've also been dragging my feet on my Snake Trail quilt.  I've sewn all the arcs to fusible and I put the peanut gallery to work turning them all.  The next step is to cut the background squares.  I picked up a bolt of Fog Cotton Couture but haven't gotten motivated to chop it up.

Finally, there's one last push with #100BlocksFinished to get all those #100Days100Blocks turned into a City Sampler quilt.  The deadline is January 25th and I still haven't decided how to set the blocks so it's going to be a stretch but for now that's my #1 goal.

Of course only working WIPs is no fun so I've got a few fun new ideas percolating.  I like to time my machine's trip to Daley by the Yard for its spa services with my own vacations so I don't lose too much sewing time.  I picked up my baby yesterday and we've got a ton of snow rolling in this weekend so it's the perfect time to get sewing!  What's your plan for 2017?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review

2016 by the numbers...

15 pillows - 2016 will definitely go down in history as the Year of the Pillow.

13 finished quilts.

1 hard core crush on Heather Ross' Briar Rose which resulted in 2 quilts and 3 pillows.

The #100Days100Blocks challenge.

4 delightful days on retreat with the amazing ladies of the Boston MQG.

More La Passacaglia pieces than I can count

3 skirts added to my closet for selfish sewing week.

18 Spools of Aurifil.

137 Books Read - Best of the bunch: The Fireman, Last Days of Night and All the Missing Girls.

2016 was a year of changes for me and I'm still processing what all those changes mean.  My goal for 2017 is focus...  and lots of quilts;-)  Wishing you all the best for the new year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

So the problem with getting all your holiday making done early is it leaves time for people to say "Oh, I want one of those..."  In this case my son claimed the first Tardis pillow and I was forced to make another.  This time I went for a slightly simpler 10" Tardis by SewHooked.

There aren't as many pieces and it's straight squares rather than parallelograms but those paned windows are killer.  I definitely think the Constellations background works better with this design.

Since this is a smaller block I added some sashing to the block to make it a bit bigger which gave me more room for quilting.  For this one I quilted rings that get further apart as you move out to try to create a black hole effect.

Wouldn't you know I have a zillion zippers and not one in royal blue.  In the end I did find a black one but it would have been cooler with a contrasting zipper.

This time I skipped the piping and used my regular bound edge finish and zipper back à la s.o.t.a.k handmade.  I'm much happier with the results!

Wrapping up the year with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.  We're on vacation so this will be my last make of the year.  How are you wrapping up 2016?

Pillow Stats:
Finished pillow is 14" x 14"
Pattern: Tardis block by Sew Hooked for Fandom In Stitches.
Fabrics: Fabrics: Kona Cottons from stash, Constellations by Lizzy House for Andover Fabrics.
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Black.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Black (2692).

Friday, December 23, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree!

alidiza: Oh Christmas Tree!
I've been obsessed with this Christmas Baubles quilt ever since last year's tempest in a teapot.  In my mind it was just absolutely perfect for my holiday foyer.  When I found myself with a little break in the action prepping for our annual cookie party I decided it was time to try it again.

I'll admit I had to psyche myself up a bit for making all those snowball blocks again...  sewing 88 1 1/8" squares on to the corners was bad enough the first time.  Doing it again was painful!

Once that's done the rest goes together pretty quickly.  I took my own advice and added a white border to give the tree some breathing room and provide room for more quilting.  Definitely an improvement!  I went with the same BettyCrockerAss inspired snowflakes but did a better job spacing them this time.  Practice makes perfect;-)

Audrey wandered thru as I was putting on my binding and asked, "Mom, don't you ever learn?"  Apparently I'm incapable of working without a cup of tea at hand...  luckily no spills this time.

I got the binding on just in the nick of time so I'd have something to do at the basketball game.  Cheer season never ends but at least it makes time in my schedule for hand work.  I don't think I'd have finished this in time for the holiday otherwise.

alidiza: Oh Christmas Tree!
And now I have the foyer I dreamed of...  wait, maybe it needs another pillow;-)

Feeling festive with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 20" x 26"
Pattern: Christmas Baubles by Jen Daley for Moda Bake Shop.
Fabrics: Assorted Solstice, Flurry, and Jingle scraps by Kate Spain, Bella Solids Bleached White
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Natural White (2021).

Friday, December 16, 2016

In the Bag

For this year's Boston MQG holiday swap I decided to think small...  a stuffed Tiny Lined Drawstring bag.  I'm always envious when my friend Taz whips out her adorable little bag full of clover clips to bind her quilts.  I figured I couldn't be the only one secretly plotting how to liberate Taz's so I decided to make 1 bag for my swap gift and 1 for myself while I was at it.

Of course I got carried away digging thru my scrap bin and ended up making 5.  The more the merrier;-)

I'd already used In Color Order's amazing Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial to make retreat bags for my friends but in the spirit of giving (and to save my brain from quilt math) I bought the full pattern to get the measurements for the tiny version.  I'm not going to lie, making something 1/2 the size is twice as fussy!

A few lessons I learned...  I prefer to place my turning hole on the side rather than the bottom so that it's hidden and to give the bag more structural integrity.  The sweet spot to start stitching is about 1 1/2" above the bottom corner.  You want it high enough not to interfere with boxing the corners but also below the drawstring portion.

I also used this genius tip I learned from Elizabeth Hartman to anchor the bottom lining to the exterior.  Match up the bottoms so that the sewn seams match and stitch each side together inside the seam allowance.  It's a bit fiddly and your bag will look at bit like a twisted infinity symbol but when you turn it the lining will stay in the bottom and it gives the bag more stability.

For top stitching the drawstring channel turn the bag inside out and stitch around the edges with the excess pointing up.  Rather than marking I just used my 1/4" foot to stitch around the top edge and then used the other side to stitch 1/4" above the focus fabric seam.

Ta-da!!!  They're just sooo cute;-)

That's the last of my "mandatory" holiday making but I'm still hoping to finish up a few little things.  Have you finished your gifts yet?

Feeling festive with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tiny Bag Stats:
Finished bags are 4 1/2" x 3 1/4"
Pattern: Tiny Lined Drawstring Bag by In Color Order.
Fabrics: Assorted scraps including: Cotton + Steel, Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey and Bonnie & Camille.
Thread: Coordinating 50 wt. Aurifil threads.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Serving Up Some Holiday Cheer

My holiday making continues...  I churned out two sets of napkins this weekend.  I used my self binding napkin tutorial but changed the size so I could get all 8 out of the white linen I had left in my stash.  For these I cut the linen squares at 10 1/2" and the prints at 14 1/2" so I end up with 12" napkins.

I used Burgundy Aurifil for all the top stitching to help unify the different prints. I'm getting faster at whipping these out...  I finished all 8 of these in just under 3 hours.

Now I'm on to my next project, a Yankee Swap gift for our Boston MQG holiday gathering.  Are you still working on your handmade holiday gifts?  Tick, tock... only 15 days left until Christmas;-)

Spreading holiday cheer with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Napkin Stats:
Finished napkins are 12" x 12"
Pattern: Adapted from my Self Binding Napkin Tutorial.
Fabrics: Assorted prints from Figgy Pudding and Fruitcake by Basic Grey.  Essex Linen in White.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in Burgundy (1103).