New Year’s Day sewing

Well, this back to work thing has certainly put a kink in my blogging. I’m still managing to get quilting done, but not to tell much about it.

I’ve managed to get 4 tops through the Monstrosity. Three of them even have bindings and could be considered Done. The last one is still pinned on the frame since I finished it as I ran out of the door yesterday. 2013-12-25_09-57-48_913

And I ran out the door to spend the day sewing with a friend. Good time to catch up and we both got a lot done. Well, even if it doesn’t look like it.

All of my productivity for yesterday can be viewed on the ironing board. I got about 300 HSTs stitched, about 45 strip of three (going into nine-patches) and one nine-patch to see what they are going to look like.

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Now take a look at it in scale with the quarters.

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It doesn’t look like a lot there on the ironing board, but if I had been working with 4″ blocks instead, I’d be most of the way to a twin-sized quilt of nine-patches. Still more to go though, I need 55 of those little nine-patches.

 

Getting stuff quilted

Yesterday I loaded up the big quilting machine with a charity top and got it going. It went better than I expected. So I loaded up another one this morning.

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Project of the day – part II

One project done as far as I can – floral top is done.

Since I couldn’t crawl around on the floor right now to be able to lay out the blocks, I had to use the guest bed and do it in chunks.

Design "surface"

And the “chunk” method left something to be desired. There were several places in the quilt where one chunk butted against the next and I had duplicate fabrics. I would have seen that if I had been able to see it all at once. But it’s done, at least as far at the borders and that is going to require a shopping trip – either to the store or if I’m lucky I’ll have something in the stash that will work.

Floral flimsy

Floral flimsy

The next project on the sewing machine is a Christmas scrap quilt. But first I need to do a little tidying around here.

Project of the day

I’m beginning to feel like I’m doing a project a day. In a way I am. Every day or so I go up into my bin of partial projects and I pull a couple out to work on.

First thing I did this morning was to finish up the last project. I got the borders on the blue/purple batik top from yesterday and packed that up to await a turn on the mid-arm to actually be quilted.

From there I went back to the HST’s quilt. I trimmed a good-sized bag of scraps and odds/ends into stuff I could use. I need to cut extra 4″ squares because somehow, somewhere I lost the ones I had cut. I’ve lost that little bag of 4″ squares and about 2 yards of red Christmas fabric. It’s somewhere in the house, probably somewhere downstairs, but I’ve been looking for 4 days now and can’t find them. So now the next time I need something mindless to do I draw diagonals.

So then I moved to a bag  of floral fabrics cut in strips. I got into the bag last night to see what was there. There is only one pattern that I could think of that used strips of that size, Yellow Brick Road, by Atkinson Designs. And sure enough in the bag were also some spare blocks from that pattern in similar fabrics. I rummaged around to cut a few more strips, but 90% of the strips I needed were in the bag to be able to make a generous lap quilt. With the extra blocks in there I might be able to make it a twin.

Florals

Florals

We’re supposed to be getting snow starting this afternoon, so I’m hunkered down and this makes a good project. I’m really itching to make a zillion Christmas cookies – that’s what snow days in December were designed for! But I overdid this week and slowed down my recuperation. I’m still having challenges getting things in and out of the oven, so doing that every 10 minutes for a few hours isn’t going to happen today.

Today on the machine

What a crazy week. I’ve barely been at my machine for the last 4 days. I overdid a bit in my recovery and have been taking it easy with trashy novels, but there is something on the machine this afternoon that I can show:

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These are leftover blue and purple batiks that I used in a friend’s quilt and there were enough left to make a small charity top. The blocks were made and bundled as a project so I’m working on getting them assembled. More when they are together.

Folded fabric ornaments

Yea! More stuff I can actually show.

Yesterday I started making “pinecone” ornaments. I couldn’t find any styrofoam eggs in my errand running so mine are based on “balls,” but it’s the same technique and method.

I’m not going to teach you how to do this, but expect for a 3″ ball to need 60+ 2″ squares of fabric and about 125 sequin pins. (If you want to learn, I recommend a great video on YouTube – Folded Fabric Pinecone Ornaments.)

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And a bunch of fabric, pins and a thimble later-

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I’m still deciding how I want to finish the tops. I’ve seen them  with greenery and ribbon, but I’m not sure. I think it  depends  if they are hanging on a tree or going in some type of container.

So who wants some for Christmas? They’re really addictive to make and I can see making a bunch of them.

 

Pinks and blacks

Finally I can show something!

Everything I’ve been doing the last couple days have been Surprises, so I haven’t been able to blog about them. Some have good stories too that I’ll share once the items have been shared.

But today I am finally working on something I can share. A friend gave me some pink and black fabrics which were left over from a quilt she made. I tucked them away to make a charity quilt and pulled them out to work on the other day. When I counted how many squares I had, I realized I didn’t have enough to make the quilt big enough, so I picked up some music fabric on my field trip out into the world the other day.

2013-12-04_10-36-03_635It is probably only going to get as far as the center of the quilt today. I’m pretty sure there is leftover yardage downstairs that I could use for borders/binding, but I’m still not up to going into the basement and digging around yet.

 

All Christmas

There’s not much that I can show because it’s all Christmas. Or if it isn’t Christmas it’s a prototype of something that might be for Christmas.

About the only thing I can show is this little fabric box that I made out of scraps from another of yesterday’s projects. The basic directions were in this month’s issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.

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It’s cute. You can get an idea of the size from the rotary cutter, probably about 3″ square. I’m going to have to think about what I could really do with it.

Finishing up

Yesterday was one of those days where I made a lot of progress finishing things up – but only because everything was already well started and I just needed the time to come back to it.

The Christmas Surprise quilt is coming along nicely. As soon as I finish here I’ll be looking at getting the borders on it and getting it that far done.

The second project of the day was a top for Quilts For Kids. The 4-patches were made, the alternating squares were cut. It was a quick assemble, and then get borders on it. But it’s one more thing out of my bins of half- finished projects and has moved into the line of things that need to go through the quilting machine.

Quilts For Kids top

Quilts For Kids top

The picture is lousy, I need a better way of  hanging things to take pictures other than off the ironing board, but you get the idea. They are orange and yellow google eyes 4-patches set with some really happy frogs. The pattern is from the Quilts For Kids website.

My other finish is a “me” project that I’ve had sitting there for quite a while. It’s a table runner for the cabinet in my kitchen. I started going with the red/brown theme a while back and this is to go over an ivory colored cabinet to make it blend a little better with the motif.

New kitchen table runner

New kitchen table runner

The fabric was cut last spring and I’ve been working on it off and on for the last week or so.  I don’t make a lot of things for myself so this was a nice treat. The pattern is “The Big Easy!” by Pieced Tree Patterns. (And it is EASY!)

Scraps defy nature

How do you take something that is full, take things out of it permanently and repack it and have it be just as full? No, I didn’t add anything to it.

It isn’t really a trick question, but any quilter knows the answer – somehow scrap baskets follow their own laws of nature.

Yesterday I dove into the pastel/floral scraps. Just like my kids brights, they are in a cloth bin/basket that fits on the bookcase in the sewing room and it was pretty full. And the process looked pretty much the same as the day before.

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Generally I start with the smaller scraps and once a center is made I add the scrap strips around the outside like a log cabin until they are the right size. I make them to be 8×8′ finished.

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Trimming blocks

I made better progress than with the brights.  I managed to make 24 blocks which is enough for a small charity quilt (prefer 28 blocks). But I have a stack from the last time I made blocks upstairs so I’ll mix and match them when I get around to making tops.

But how could I make enough blocks for a lap sized quilt, have a half a small trashcan of trimmings that are too small to use and even toss a couple pieces of fabric and still have this full bin?

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How is it still full?

 

For Thanksgiving I started stitching a Christmas present. It’s a team effort with a friend and me.  She got the fabric and got it cut out (things I still can’t do) while I have taken on the sewing. No pictures yet. I have to see if I can show pics here and still keep it a secret.