Monday, 25 April 2016

Making progress

I didn't sew a lot in the last week.  I IS baseball season...and I had chores to do.  Oh yeah, and I guess I work for a living too.  :p    I did, however, get to the semi-annual Creativ Festival though and I picked up a little tiny bit of fabric I have been coveting.  More on that another time.

I think I have mentioned before that I am trying to chip away at my 2013 Lucky Stars BOM.  If I manage to get it done before the year is up, I will only have managed to be 36 months behind!  Haha.  I did manage to piece one of the small blocks using mostly scraps so I'm one step closer to being able to turn it into an actual quilt top.  I WILL get this done this year.  Maybe I should make it one of the finishes for the next quarter of the Finish-a-Long.  

I'm always happy that this messy looking gob of fabric...

...turns into this little bit of loveliness 
I have eight months worth of the 12-inch blocks but was missing a chunk of the 6-inch blocks and I'm beginning to remember why.  All those teeny-tiny bits of fabric in the small blocks!  So.  Much.  Concentration!  I think I only have one more missing small block before I can have the joy of going back to working on the gigantic ones. 

Brought it upstairs with me so I can at least cut out the pieces while I watch the Jays beat the pants off the White Sox! news that's a bit more fun...I am starting a secret sewing project!  SQUEEEEE!!!!!  I happen to love both secrets and surprises!  Here is a hint:

Paper piecing is involved!  I just kind of adore the precision of a paper pieced project!
Let's see how long it takes me get this done so I can post it!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Knockin 'em down!

I feel like this whole finish-a-long thing might be really good for my sew-jo.  I've already finished one of my goals -- and it's only been a week!  All it took was the previous posting of a seriously aged WIP (as in - it may have been old enough to get married and have quilt babies).   So I dug out a couple of almost finished quilt tops and then knowing they were sitting there, and knowing I was now obligated to get them done, finally lit a fire under my ass.  

This quilt was something I had intended for a friend pretty early on in my quilting journey.  Unfortunately, I got...well...a little distracted by everything else available out there in the quiltiverse and so I never quite finished it.  A little motivation though, and it seemed to take care of itself.

I got up early the morning after my initial post to sew together some franken-batting so I could baste it.  I had it all properly basted before lunch.
Dog fabric!!!  Loves it! I bought this fabric the first time I went to the Creativ Festival -- which is this weekend coming up!  It was a Moda fabric by Basic Grey if I remember correctly.

It was a mission, but I buckled down after lunch that same day and got the thing quilted.  Its not a huge quilt - but its no baby quilt either!  Only binding to go!

In for a workout -- even looking at this picture makes me want a massage!

I spent Sunday evening hand-sewing the binding and got about halfway done.  One more session on Friday night and it was finished and ready for its crinkling up in the washer and dryer!

And this was Saturday morning!  All done!
This is not necessarily the quilt I would begin now -- there's not as much negative space as I find myself liking -- but its still cute.  And given the recipient's affinity for dark colours and leather, I think it will suit her space.   And the border?  The plain fact that there is a border at all?!?  Yikes!

I quilted basic dog commands and the name of my friend's new puppy into the border.  Since there was a border, I felt it needed some detail.

The back is a wonderfully soft, pre-washed flannel.  Its mostly dark brown to play off the front but who can resist a little contrast!

A little close-up of the stipple that was used in the main part of the quilt.  A little hard to see, but you get the drift.
 So I'm calling this quilt "Puppy Love" and giving it to one of my closest friends.  Her name is Sydney (she's the one I make competition suits for -- a.k.a. blinged up bikinis) and she has a SUPER cute new golden retriever puppy named Henry.  Well, he's not SO little any more -- he's now a 38 pound 4-month-old.
And there she is!  All ready for gifting this afternoon.

I couldn't resist a little of my puppy love next to Sydney's new "Puppy Love"

So that's one of my three goals achieved!  Yay!  And I still have two and a half months to go!  Woohoo!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Extrinsic Motivation

I'm a pretty motivated person.  I don't need rewards usually - just the desire to do something - and the accompanying stubbornness (which I have in spades) typically helps me follow through.  I am my own best competition after all.

However, that last sewing hiatus I took?  It was epic.  And I'm trying to figure out any/all contributing factors.  One might be that I have SO many projects on the go and not a lot of finishes to be proud of. I get to a point where I know I shouldn't start anything new, and yet I don't want to finish the old stuff....and then....nothing.  Hence, maybe its time to add in some extrinsic motivation.

So I've been successfully peer pressured by How My Time Flies to join a Finish-a-long being hosted by She Can Quilt (among others).  I'm going to publicly declare a few finishes and then welcome the accountability to get those things done.

I'm joining in on the second quarter of this Finish-a-Long and have until the end of June to transform my projects from WIPs to Gifts (except the scrap baskets - which are selfishly for me).  Hopefully moving the older stuff out will make some space in my sewing room.

Here's what I think will be reasonable to manage as we get into the most chaotic part of the school year:

First up, is Puppy Love - a quilt top, pieced back, and made binding combo I have had sitting around for LITERALLY six or seven  years.  What a disgrace.  This will be a finished quilt by the end of the quarter.
Second, I will finish the Red, Orange and Yellow one hour scrap baskets I need to make to finish off my rainbow.  I can then save the pink, grey/black and neutrals ones for the next quarter.  I think I might also need more shelf space to keep them.  :)
And the third finish will be this quilt -- made with Jaybird's Dance Floor pattern, I just need to add  pieces to make it bigger, piece the back and quilt the sucker.  I even know who I want to give it to!  Again, it shames me to admit that this quilt has been sitting around for four years.  Yikes.  Move on already!
Okay, that's it.  Anything above and beyond this will be a total bonus.  AND moving out a quilt means I get to start a new there are two new quilts in my future!!!  Yay!

Good luck to all who are participating!

Monday, 4 April 2016

And that's a wrap!

I have a finishing problem.  Well...not really a finishing problem - it can more aptly be described as a not-having-the-degree-of-expertise-I-want-so-I-put-it-off-for-forever problem.  What seems like a gajillion years ago (but which is actually about 22 months ago) I started a 40th birthday present for my friend Brenty.  He the best.  He's like a living cartoon character...or a muppet.  The big brother I never had.  Anyhoo, I bought all the fabrics and cut them all up and planned out this quilt with a little help from the birthday boy. 

The random pink circle is courtesy of the aforementioned muppet
I got to this point VERY quickly: then it sat there....and called to me....and mocked me...and I ignored it....until Brenty started whining.  Nothing lights a fire under your ass like an almost 42 year old who whines that its almost time for ME to turn 40 and he doesn't have his quilt yet.  Jerk.  :p

So I buckled down over the last couple of weeks and finally finished it!

This thing is a bit of a monster.  Its 90" x 100"  and I bitched and moaned that my friend Alice was doing enough to make her wing span quilt-suitable.  I'm a good friend.

The quilting is done with a bright turquoise thread.  In one direction the lines are two inches apart.  In the other direction, they are random distances.  Thanks to A and L for their input on how to finish the quilting.  It matches the wonky crosses.

The backing is a black and white print from ikea that may have been $3.00 a metre.  Gotta love cheap ikea fabric for quilt backs.
I attached the binding by machine.  It follows my rules for quilting -- boys, kids and dogs get machine done.  They don't care that much, right?

And there you have it!  Hi-Jinx.  A quilt for Brenty.  May his next forty years be better than his last.  I'm officially back in the quilty saddle.

Also, here's a photo of my dog giving his bff a know, just 'cuz.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Ohhhhhh....I have a blog!

Guys!  I have a blog.  I feel like I forgot.  More importantly, you probably feel like I forgot.

I've been busy.  Super busy.  Epically busy.  I lost my sewjo.  I lost my sewjo so bad that I didn't touch my sewing machine for over seven months.  I lost it so bad I even stopped buying more fabric than I know what to do with.  

I moved.  I moved jobs.  I then was successful in making it to the Principal's pool.  I'm waiting (not so) patiently for my own school.  I moved houses.  I got a puppy (FYI, he's not a puppy any more).

Everyone meet the Tuckerdoodle!  My very own 60 pound ball of fluff!
So after I stopped sewing (and blogging)...I started again.

I have decided to try and finish my Lucky Stars BOM.  I'm only 30-something months behind!  I have chipped away at a couple of missing blocks.  My goal is to make this into a quilt this year!  I have eight more months to make that happen.

I have also started making scrap baskets....out of hold my scraps.  My friend Atty would be so proud.  Or maybe not.  She used to like to use the giant pieces of fabric I scrapped to make things. #sorrynotsorry

Purply one!  My favourite!

In my whole ROYGBIV arrangement, I really only have ROY left.  But I kinda need a pink one, and one for grey and black.  Maybe one for neutrals...oh, and one that's chartreuse.  Most of my green scraps are actually chartreuse and they look really out of place in the green one.
I also made another Sew Together Bag for my VP partner's birthday.  A little Tula Pink never hurt anyone, right?
Some Eden and some True Colours and little Lizzy House for good measure!
And after all of this I got ambitious.  So I've had this bundle of Joel Dewberry's Birch Farm sitting on my shelf for over a year (during the dark ages of my sewing history) and I love the geometric and graphic nature of the prints.  They were screaming to be made into a big block quilt that would allow the fabrics to shine.  I knew just the right pattern...but I didn't have it.  No problem -- I just reverse engineered the thing from a picture.  A little sketching, a little colouring and a little quilt math...BAM!
Not too shabby!
And less than 24 hours later:

Now I'm quilting an almost 2-year old quilt I made for my friend Brenty's birthday while I wait for the backing fabric for this to arrive.   I think my sewjo is back.

I have more to show -- perhaps I should strive to make this blogging thing a regular occurrence?  Keep myself accountable to someone?  Maybe?

We'll see!  :p

Monday, 8 September 2014

My Stop on the "Around the World Blog Tour"

Hi everyone!  Welcome to my little corner of the quiltiverse!  

My friend L, over at Buttons Quilts participated in the blog tour last week and nominated me to take part too.  L is one of those special quilty people that I get to know in real life too (which means we can go fabric shopping together).  She has a really pretty, modern aesthetic to the things she makes and - holy smokes! - can she churn out a quilt or 12 in a jiffy!  Plus, she makes me feel good about myself because her tendency to fabric hoard stash build are bigger than mine....and as long as someone is worse than me, I have plausible deniability about the depth of my own problem!  :)  

I came by quilting quite by accident.  About 6 years ago I asked my parents to buy me a sewing machine for Christmas.  Nothing fancy.  I just was sick of paying to have my work pants hemmed.  It added 12-15 dollars to the purchase price of every new pair of pants I bought.  Grr!  Right?  So anyhoo, I get this newfangled machine (which I can't work) and it sits on my floor for three months.  One weekend, I ask my grandmother to teach me to use it and this look of evil glee spread over her face.  "Sure" she says.  "I'd be glad to" she sings.  Because I was such a beginner, she decides she is going to first teach me to sew a straight line.  She hands me a couple of charm squares and gets me to make a 1/4" seam down one edge.  Mission accomplished.  Then she hands me another so I can "practice some more."  At the end of that week, I had finished my first quilt.  A simple nine-patch with sashing and posts.  I didn't learn how to hem my pants for another year-and-a-half.  Sheesh!

This is the first quilt I ever made -- totally not my tastes now but I still love it.  Its all soft and worn in and delicious.
I am supposed to answer some quilty-related questions so you folks can get to know me, so here goes:

1. What am I working on? 

Um...conquering the quilting universe by creating my own quilt army!  :)  Hehe.  

Okay...aside from that....

I have a few projects on the go.  One is the aviatrix medallion for which I only need to make and attach one more border!
Here it is with border four on -- border five is on, but I like this picture better!

I also am working on putting the last zipper on my Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented.  I made two this weekend - one was for a sewing friend who is injured and couldn't make her own.   This one is for me.  I actually had the zipper on, but its ripped (and I totally didn't notice till I was done!  That drove me to drink!) and so I need to replace it. 

Can I add, this bag is AMAZEBALLS!  Everyone needs one...or seven

I also have to quilt my Swoon Quilt which was part of a summer Swoon-a-long I did with my local quilty friends:

I'm either waiting for divine inspiration before I proceed or for my quilting skills to improve to the point where I feel like I can do this bad boy some serious justice.  Conclusion....not just yet.

And finally, I am working on a simple triangle quilt for my uncle.  He is having hip surgery at the end of October and asked me if I would make him one to lay under while he recuperates.  How can a girl say no to that!?!

Hopefully masculine enough for my manly-man of an uncle.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

Yikes.  This is a hard one.  My default is to say that its not.  I guess its easiest to think about in comparison to the stuff my quilty friends make.  I LOVE big, loud, bold, prints like Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, and Tula Pink...but also the really saturated colours typically used by Alison Glass and I'm the only one of my quilty friends who has this obsession.  I have tastes that are really modern, and not traditional at all.  I also HATE batiks (don't shoot me!).  I have no idea why. 

I think my work differs from others because I don't start with a pattern - my love of fabric means I start with a fabric I can't stop thinking about and I build from there.  Often, I like projects that showcase the fabrics.  I also tend to like to put many fabrics from the same collection together...but I'm making a conscious effort to do that less to force myself out of my comfort zone.  

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

I have a really intense job as a high school Vice Principal.  I throw myself into it hard-core and it takes a lot of my mental and emotional energy...but it also feeds my soul in an amazing and incredibly indescribable way..  Also, as my friends will attest, I have a really hard time turning off the educator-y/leader-y persona at the end of the day.  Quilting, sewing, and writing about it are a massive outlet for me.  It makes me concentrate on something other than work that is totally unrelated.  Its complex enough that I have to be mentally engaged, but not so taxing that I find it draining.  It also allows me (a REALLY structured and regimented person) to be creative and fun.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

My creat-ing/ive process is actually pretty simple.  As a person, I love a challenge and I love the sense of novelty from  learning new things, so I will most often choose projects that I think are a total challenge.  Hence the Swoon quilt, the Out in Space quilt I finished last August, the Lucky Stars BOM, and the current Aviatrix medallion.  I love starting something and not knowing I can do it well...or at all...and the sense of satisfaction that comes from persevering until it turns out just right.  Like BAM Quilt World, look what I can do!

In terms of writing about it - the easy answer is that my friend L bullies me into it!  Ha!  But honestly, I think I'm most effective when communicating in writing - its like letting folks see what I'm thinking as a large project comes together in stages.  Blogging is a way of keeping myself accountable for the stuff that I've started.  But mostly, I like the pictures and having something to go back and look at later...after someone has given me their puppy dog eyes and made me give away something I started by thinking it would be all mine! 

Okay, now for the fun part - I get to nominate three people whose blogs I read:

First up, is Elaine from Crazy Quilter on a Bike.  Elaine is another person that know in real life -- I believe can do ANYTHING with fabric.  She is an awesome teacher, has tonnes of helpful info on her blog, and has the ability to multi-task like no one else I know.  The greatest part is that even though she is (to me) an absolute expert, she is still so overwhelmingly excited by all things quilty.  I want to be her when I grow up.    

Next is Heather/Winding Bobbins at Crafting... .  I stumbled across Heather's blog about 8 months ago (I think when she was either part of another blog tour or someone who was on that blog tour linked to her).  She's a Canadian blogger (which I love).  What keeps me going back though is her sense of honesty about when she succeeds and/or struggles with a project.

Last, but not least is Katie from Karma Willow Designs.  I really enjoyed her post "10 Quilty Little Secrets" and the pics she put up of an Alison Glass Trunk Show.  I really enjoy her completely egalitarian view of fabric though.  She's not necessarily caught up in the fabric designer fuss and mixes and matches to her heart's desire.

Well, thanks for stopping by and getting to know me!  I hope you enjoy the next blogs!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Sunburst and Aviatrix Deliciousness

I feel like I've been on a bit of a sewing bender lately.  I mean, I understand that I have an addictive personality and all but this is amazing.  I choose to explain it by claiming that I'm just trying to make room for all the fabric I can't help myself from continuing to buy. Um... Ya....That's it....

So my friend Alice moved in with me for a year this summer.  She needs a little something to brighten up her new digs and to give her room some personality and I had a pretty idea brewing in my head based on a picture I saw and wanted to emulate so the perfect occasion was born.  I took a charm pack of Alison Glass's Sunprints that I got in a Quilty Box a while back and some low-volume scraps I had and went to town...

I made some HSTs...64 of them and laid them out in this pretty design, then got to sewing together
You know what two things I loved most about making this project?  Because it was a charm pack, it was pre-cut so I was pretty much able to bang this out in a day.  And second, here is my fabric wastage:
That's it!  HST trimmings were the only wasted bits.  I LOVE that.
I chose an Art Gallery Fabrics Oval Elements in Curry to bind this cuz the contrast with the other fabrics used was awesome.  It measures a finished 32 x 32 inches!  Just need to hand sew the hanging sleeve onto the back and she is ready for the wall!

Happy new room, Alice!
Also, pretty much since I started quilting/sewing I have had the incredible pleasure to attend a quilting retreat at this awesome converted farmhouse called "Quilters Mis Bee Haven" with a group of seven other women once or twice a year.  Its scads and scads of fun and I get to learn and acquire (by osmosis too I think) new skills, tips and tricks from a group of women who have well over a hundred years of collective sewing experience.  That's right - bask in the glory of their awesomeness!  This year, we switched it up a little and went during the summer.  As per usual, it was amazeballs!  I took a couple of projects with me (more because I have unrealistic expectations of my own productivity than anything else) but I pretty much spent ALL of my waking hours on the aviatrix medallion which I had slaved over cutting out all spring long.

The first evening we were there I was able to go to work on the centre medallion. about complicated!  Starch and accurately marking the fabrics were my new best friends.  Those pieces are small and are cut on the bias so there is a lot of potential for stretching.  Just after breakfast the next day, I had the centre done.
Finishing this medallion has been the most satisfying part of the whole experience so far.  I was SO relieved when this was done.
After that I just went to town on the borders.  We were there for five nights and aside from the one day of cooking and cleaning duties, I was free to sew!  And I did.  Often for about 10 or 11 hours a day.  Did anyone say massage? Each border gets a little bigger and more complex and, in my opinion, slightly more awesome!

The first border was all grey-scale HSTs.
Border two was a selected random smattering or intensely coloured stripes:

Then border 3 started to get a little complicated.   This one took me more than a day to complete.  Good thing I had nothing but time!
I could look at this ALL day.  I am loving the solids!
Border 4 was a bit of a relief.  After 19 pieces x 25 blocks that comprised the third border, I was looking for a little chain piecing in my life.

Simple 1 inch squares
And although there were 40 blocks in border 5, I felt they went together pretty quickly and simply.

Getting SOOOOO big!
I was able to get the grey frame on the fifth border before we had to pack up and go home.  I can see light at the end of the aviatrix tunnel!  Only one more border to get on at home and then I can start to contemplate how I will quilt this massiveness.  Five days and five borders strikes me as not too bad of an accomplishment at all.  I will miss the amazing food and the time and space to sew to my heart's content.  

I can't WAIT till next year!