Sunday, 22 June 2014

Hi-Jinx - A finish!

I am not sure how it started...but whatever it was that was slowing me down over the winter seems to have left my system cuz now I'm cooking with gas!  School has been kind of easing up as the year winds down and so I have been contemplating all of the stuff I want to do....and...you guys...ACTUALLY DOING IT!!!  Friday evening, I pulled out the fabrics I got back in December to make my friend Brent a house-warming present.  In fact, over the Christmas break from school I even drafted out the quilt.  Well, he's been in the house for about eight months now and his birthday was looming so I finally pulled it together to make him a quilt.

Remember this?  From January?  Finally got to work on it!
The pattern isn't too complex so I was able to cut out all my fabric pieces on Friday evening after work.  That way, when I woke up at the ungodly hour of 7:30 on Saturday morning (I recall, with great nostalgia, being able to sleep in till noon in my twenties) I was ready to start.  By mid-afternoon I had all my blocks done!
These colours REALLY pop against the dark grey background.  Loves it!
I was so productive, I was able to lay it all out and start piecing the rows together by evening!  When I got up this morning - again at 7:30 (super Grr!), I only had to finish piecing the last two rows.  Then, by lunch-time, I only had a couple of seams left.  Woot!
Last seam -- ever notice how much you're just gunning to get finished by the end?
So...early this afternoon....voila!  I'd like to introduce you to "Hi-Jinx."  My friend Brenty's 40th birthday present quilt!  This monster is a tad on the large side at 81 x 90 inches.  It was so large I couldn't quite manage to get it all in one photograph - even standing on the damned furniture.  Should be fun to quilt...er... ya...real fun.  :0


Also, in other quilty news, I went on a tiny shopping trip to Greenwood Quiltery last Friday with my new sewing-army convert.  You know, I only managed to spend all my grocery money for the next two weeks.  But...worth it!  I picked up all the fabrics for the Swoon-a-long my friends and I are going to tackle this summer.  Lots of Violet Craft Waterfront Park which has these lovely, happy, summery colours, with some Meadow by Leah Duncan and some Art Gallery Squared Elements for fun.  
Maybe not the greatest and most centred picture but its so pretty I don't care.
Check out the luggage sized bag I hauled out of that store!  I'm equal parts thrilled and embarrassed with myself.

And this is PART of what Camille purchased -- its for the Sew Together Bags we are going to make to help her hone her newly acquired and constantly improving sewing skills.  Her choices are TOTALLY up my alley.  This could be the beginning of a beautiful fabric hoarding relationship!
A little Kaffe Fasset and some hot pink Sketch!  Delish!
K, gonna go and keep riding this wave of motivation!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Colour Cuts Done #AviatrixMedallion

I'm making slow and sure progress on cutting out pieces for my aviatrix medallion quilt by Elizabeth Hartman at Oh, Fransson!  In fact, tonight I hit a milestone -- I finished cutting out all (8 million) pieces out of the 20 coloured fat quarters that are required...and this thing has templates!  My grandmother has this theory that I seek out new projects based on how much I will be challenged by them.  Like it needs to be wicked hard for me even to be interested.  Maybe she's right.  I mean, the Aviatrix Medallion is so complicated you have to make a legend for all your fabrics.

See?  Here's my legend.  You are supposed to glue the fabric squares on the sheet but I don't have glue....so scotch tape to the rescue!
 Here is a delicious rainbowy-goodness look at what the cut up fabric looks like all ready to go for the various borders.
Looking at those delicious colours makes me super happy.
To keep everything adequately organized I am putting each border into a separate Ziploc bag...there are 6 borders in total - then, they all go in a bin so it stays together.  I'm not too far into this but I have a deep, sneaking suspicion that things could get mixed up in a heartbeat if there was no system.

These are all the pieces for border 6 - in order of how the legend goes.  There's NO way I'm going to accidentally sew the wrong colours together
And here are all my pieces and my bin with all my colours cut and ready to go.  All I need to do is cut out the neutral shades of grey and I will be good to get to sewing with this one!

Now, to just put this all back in the bin and I'm ready to roll!
Not gonna lie people, I'm pretty stoked about this one!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Two Things at Once

I multi-task...a LOT.  In fact, I think being successful at my job even requires it.  However, no matter what I do lately, I can't seem to sew AND blog at the same time.  Jeez.  You get one or the other.  Better yet, you get one....and then a gajillion years later, you get the other.

So I have been sewing.  I haven't gone on some epically long hiatus like I did this winter.  I just haven't taken the time to write about it.  I'm changing that today.  Oodles of catching-up pictures will follow.  I hope you like pictures.  They say a picture tells a thousand words -- if so, this is a novel.

So first up, I was in progress making a birthday present for my new niece who turned 5 a couple weekends ago.

I moved down to the living/dining room so I could use my table to support the weight while I quilted.
 I had the whole top made at the end of April and then...? I let it sit.  So I finally bucked down and basted and quilted all in a single weekend.

My mom and niece tried to hold it up so I could get a picture before I wrangled it into my car for the drive up north.
And here is the happy birthday girl on the day of the celebration -- with her Uncle Punching-Bag.  Weird nick-name - I know.
So cute.  She has apparently been wrapping herself up in it since it was gifted.
The same weekend that I was finishing off Maddie's Birthday Tweet, I FINALLY convinced my friend Camille that she could sew herself a pillow!  Hehe.  Did I mention that I'm trying to create my own quilt army?  I'm taking enlistments!  Anyhoo, she decided to make an alternating cool and warm HST pillow.   First, she waded through my ri-DONK-ulously huge stash of scraps to find 25 warms and 25 cools.  Then, I taught her to use a rotary cutter and ruler to make 3-inch sqaures.  She fastidiously cut out 50 sqaures without getting pissed off and throwing in the towel -- I call that VICTORY #1.   Then, she had to mark her squares.
So patient and precise - a quilter after my own heart!!!!
She then chained pieced them together to make a lovely pile of almost-HSTs.
Chain piecing on the evening 1 of the pillow project -- I had SUCH joy watching her work!  Excuse the picture darkness though.  It was kinda getting late.  
She finished the evening by slicing and pressing her chain pieced units.  And VICTORY #2 -- She hadn't quit yet!  In fact, she was having FUN!!!!  By the next morning, she had this lovely stack of HSTs awaiting her arrival:
These are her 100 HSTs - all stacked and pretty.
Next it was time for her to trim and square them up - she patiently trimmed all those HSTs.  However, that;s not the most epic part -- the most epic part is that she saw fit to go buy her own rotary cutter to facilitate the trimming!  VICTORY #3!!!  Once you have a cutter - that's it - you are hooked!  There's no going back!!!
There's not much better than a satisfying pile of fabric trimmings!
She pieced her HSTs together that day in rows of 10 and then learned to pin and match seams to make her pillow.  By the end of the second day, with an envelope backing hastily pieced by me, she had this GLORIOUS finish!
Its SO AMAZING!!!  I want it -- or she could MAKE me one!  
I'm jealous!  But, the best part?!?!  She wants to make Sew Demented's Sew Together Bag next!  Hook.  Line.  Sinker.  Welcome to the quilt army, C!

Oh ya....and I guess I should add, I have also sewn together super boring curtains for my friend Brent's new place.  I HATE this red fabric.  Don't tell him - he's in love.
       

And (as per usual) I have been amassing and hoarding collecting fabrics like its my job.  My very fun and very beautiful and calming and satisfying dream job.
The result of a delicious Pink Castle sale.  They were such a good deal, they were practically free....ish.  :)
And thanks to my quilty friend L, who split a Tula Pink Fox Field half-yard bundle with me, I was able to introduce my  Tula Pink Acacia's to their new room mate.
So...see?  All is right in the quiltaverse with me.  Now I have to go and cut out some fat quarters for my aviatrix medallion challenge (I'm onto you L!)

Monday, 28 April 2014

Quilt Math Karma

The universe is teaching me a lesson.  I see you universe.  I know what you're doing.  Smart-ass.

In my last blog post I lamented on the fact that altering a quilt pattern required me to do quilt math.  I should have kept my blogging mouth shut.  I should have celebrated the relatively simple math I had the wonderful opportunity to calculate.  But nope.  I complained.  And then the universe got even.  

On Saturday evening I went to visit my niece Rachie.  After dinner my sneaky, sneaky Momma pulled an innocent photo out of her purse and she handed it to me.  Apparently my mom and grandmother were looking at some quilt pictures trying to figure out which quilt to make for my parents' bedroom after they lay some hardwood floors and redecorate.  What they found was a quilt that my Nan made in 2007 with her BFF.  Unfortunately, she can't remember where it came from.  Hence, I got the opportunity to backwards map the quilt and figure out the block size and fabric piece sizes.  It took me more than three hours.  Its a good thing I love my Nan and Momma!
First I had to figure out how it was made.  Then I had to figure out how big the block was.  Then I had to figure out the fabric requirements.  Its a good thing I love pencil crayons.  Did I mention my brain hurt when I was done.
I was also pretty productive on the home front too.  I managed to finish the quilt top I am making for my niece's birthday.  I'm calling it "A Birthday Tweet" for Maddie.  Hehe.  Ya....I'm pretty clever.  
There she is - taking up my whole island.  Surprisingly, this quilt is a LOT smaller than the ones I usually make.  It measures about 55 x 63.  A good size for a little girl to grow into and haul around.
These birdies are just SO.  Damned.  Cute!!!!
And the best part?  And my favourite part?  I am all OVER this cute fabric I used for the bindings.  Apparently these are Lovebirds.  Whatevs.  I think they are dead cute.  Not gonna lie, I even bought a bunch of extra so I could be sure I had adequate leftovers.
Who doesn't love a fresh roll of ready-to-sew binding?!?
And you know, just because I enjoy a challenge, I posted a wee one to my friend L via instagram on Sunday afternoon.  There is this BEYOND brilliant quilt pattern called Aviatrix put together by Elizabeth at "Oh Fransson" (seriously - check it out) which might be a great bit of a skill builder.  Well, I did a fabric pull from my stash of solids and then challenged my pal to join in.  Did I mention the pattern is 17 pages long?  Yup.  Apparently karma is everywhere today!
This will be AMAZING!
Okey dokey.....gotta rest up.  I feel like I'm gonna need to concentrate for this!

Monday, 21 April 2014

It's an Easter Miracle!

I haven't sewed for fun in EONS.  Well...it feels like eons anyhoo.  However, after having bought some special fabric last weekend to make my new niece a quilt for her birthday in May, I have to admit I've been having the urge.  My quilty friend A came over on Friday and we had a sewing day.  Some other friends stopped by in the middle with some sewing questions so we weren't as productive as we have been in the past but it was time well lost -- I think I just might have convinced another friend to start sewing!  Um....have I mentioned I'm creating my own personal sewing army?  Armed with stitch rippers and rotary blades, we're here to take over the world!  Ha.

So a couple weeks ago I had found the cutest little panel and saw a tiny crib quilt made with it.  I'm not normally your panel type (yup, I'm that snobby chick who thinks its cheating).  But take a look -- how can you NOT find this to be the cutest?!?
I can't lie - these birds make me happy.  They are super cute.  Maybe it's cuz, if you look closely, they kinda have no bodies.  Just heads on legs.

By the time A left on Friday and I had to head up to my grandparents' for my mom's birthday/graduation celebration I had this lovely pile all ready to go on my kitchen island:
And then I got to stare at it....for two days.....two long days....while I was too busy to touch it....harumph!

Today though, in my post-Easter, pyjama-paradise, stuffing-induced haze I got to work!  Yippee!

Not so fast, mister!  There was quilt math.  Scads and scads of freaking geometry with the ever elusive extra half-inch that needs to be added to all of your measurements to account for stupid seams.  Can you tell I did a whole lot of seam ripping?  So there was a free pattern download on the website of the company that made the fabric line (Yay!) but the instructions were for a quilt measuring 35x46 (glorified tea towel, am I right?).  I decided to add twice as many blocks as it called for and then change the orientation. That's where all the quilt math came in.  Unfortunately, due to a horrid circumstance at work, I had already done about two-and-a-half hours of math and clearly, my brain's math compartment was full.  Hence...
Sewed all my sashing strips together and realized I had miscalculated by about an inch and a half on every. Single.  Piece.
 I have to admit, it was relatively easy to fix but a serious pain in the ass.  Speaking of which, do you ever wish that you cut perfectly straight and square pieces of fabric, sewed an exact scant 1/4 inch seam on the straightest of planes?  Hmm?  Do you?  Today sure made me wish I did.
I wish I was less concerned about having as close to perfectly squared blocks than I am.  Sewing would go much faster.  This was round three of trimming.  
All the hassle was worth it though -- I feel like I was super productive today.  By about 8 p.m. I had finished the quilt top (minus the borders which I can put on tomorrow....or the next day).  Not too shabby.  I think my niece Maddie is going to love it.  I'm contemplating a snugly minky on the back if I can find an appropriate colour.
The lighting sucks here cuz it was dark out as I finished.  I just need to trim the edges before I put the border on.
Now I'm on a bit of a finished quilt top high.  Sweet.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Return of the Cutter

Perhaps I just needed a little blog post to kick me in the ass and get me going again, but I feel like my desire to do pretty things with pretty fabrics is returning.  I certainly know that my desire to acquire pretty fabrics is returning.  Yum.  Can I tell you how much I love bluey-purples?!?  I want them all.  All the ones ever made by Kate Spain and Tula Pink and Kaffe Fasset and whoever else makes them.  If you happen to be ridding yourself of moderny bluey-purples....I'm your girl!

I guess you already saw, but after I cleaned my house from top to bottom this weekend, I felt like some semblance of order had returned to the world.  The above zero temperatures aren't hurting either.  I decided I could finally get my act together enough to sort through the GAJILLIONS of pictures I've taken since January (have I ever mentioned how many mundane pictures I take?) to find the ones that represent my creative endeavours since the beginning of January.   And then I posted.

Ooh, and speaking of which...so that cowl I had made but never managed to take a picture of?  I took one:
Not too shabby for a first knitting project, right?
This thing is delightful.  Not only is it a pretty colour but it is soft as hell.  If you know me at all you know that texture is overwhelmingly important - it HAS to feel good to be good.  I made it slightly longer than the pattern called for - I hate the chokey feeling of turtlenecks and wanted to make sure this was loose but that I could still wrap it around.  I got to practice different stitches too.  I like knitting.  Not as much as I like quilting....but I think this just might stick.  I already started something new!

And tonight?  Shock of shocks, stunner of stunners?  I finally dragged out my cutting mat and my recently acquired collection of Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelets and got started on cutting the Bloom Bloom Pow quilt that's been marinating in the back of my head for months.
Ooooh!  Fabric was being sliced and diced tonight!
I'm not in a rush on this project.  I have something in mind I want to make for my niece and after a field trip to a certain not-so-local quilt store this weekend, I will likely work on it instead.  However, I'm not gonna lie, it feels good to be working on something again.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sometimes there's just no explanation

I know.

You don't even have to say it.

I've been negligent.

I'm sorry.

I kinda lost my sew-jo/mo-jo this winter.  Maybe it was the cold.  Maybe this disgusting winter made me curl up on my couch under a blanket and will it and implore it to be July....or just 30 degrees.  Or just 20.  Hell, I think I would have settled for 12.  Maybe there seemed to be a lot more mentally exhausting things going on at work.  Maybe I was working on learning a new skill.  Maybe something sad and unexpected happened.  Heck, maybe it was all of it.  But somewhere, as a result, I wasn't sewing.  I wasn't even thinking about sewing.  I wasn't lusting after fabric in the same way I usually do.  In fact, I wasn't even reading the blogs I usually read.  Weird.

I'm pretty sure this was the last thing I was working on.  I think it might have been at the end  of January.  It's the chunk-of-the-month with the guild.  I think it's starting to look visually interesting.  Well...not visually interesting enough to blog about or anything....(should I stop being sarcastic with myself?) but, still.  I'm now officially two months behind on this.
I was playing with this on the floor of a mini-retreat hosted by our guild - it makes a good work space.
As my learn-something-new goal for 2014, I decided I wanted to learn how to knit.  So....a bunch of YouTube videos and a couple of trips to Michael's later, I was able to do this:
I have, at this point, made three of these dish cloths and a delightful, soft, cowl which I have no pictures of so I will show you later.
Since then, I have made a couple of trips to fun yarn stores (ya, whoever thought I would string the words fun, yarn, and store together?!?).   I have lovely sets of needles and am currently halfway through the gap-tastic cowl which was all the rage all over blog-land this winter.  Not gonna lie, this may serve to distract me from sewing.

At the beginning of February I was feeling pretty smug about having SCADS of time to make my BFF's brand new competition suit.  Then...well...you know...life happened and all of a sudden I had one week left to cut, sew, and bejewel the thing before my March 9th deadline.  Ugh.  Nothing like a little stress to get a person motivated.  Have I ever mentioned to you how I'm not a person who lives for the last minute?!?  Needless to say, I cut out all my pieces on Saturday, sewed the whole mama-jama on Sunday and placed about 700 individual crystals on it in about 10 hours.

Here she is modelling the thing as soon as I finished it at 1 a.m., the night before I was supposed to leave on vacation.  It turned out not too shabby if I do say so myself. 
Since the competition suit almost-fiasco of early March, I have started to crawl out of my little winter-induced hole.  I started reading my blogs again, I have been reconnecting with my fabric lust.  The last two weeks alone prove this to be true.  I have spent more money on fabric over the last two weeks than I have in the previous three months.  This is helping:
Only about the cutest thing ever, right?
This is my niece Maddie.  We were having a day-long, carpet play-date.  We coloured.  A lot.  Like, I think we may have killed the markers we coloured so much.  We also played dominoes, read a book, coloured some more, and played with stuffies.  Then, Maddie decided she wanted to peel all the labels off the crayons.  Although this upsets my need for ridonkulous amounts of order in the world, I dived in.  There were peels flying everywhere and naked crayons lying all over the floor.  I mean, look at that face.  How could a person look at that face and NOT pull the peels of the crayons.  *sigh*  I'm in trouble.

And, in a sure sign of spring and an end to my winter no-sew blahs, this arrived this week:
Delicious fat-quarter bundle of Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelets.  
Even better!!!!  Delicious fat-quarter bundle of NEW tone-on-tone Pearl Bracelets!  So pretty!
So the first bundle is hopefully going to one day find itself into a Bloom Bloom Pow quilt.  I have kinda wanted to make one of these since it was on the Freshly Pieced blog last summer (I think).  That second bundle?  Truth be told, I think I might be happy to let that live on the shelves for a good long while.  :)

Now, I gotta go dust off my sewing machine.  It's time to work my kinks out.