Saturday, 23 March 2013

Retreat - Day Four

I forgot to tell you about yesterday's finish! I picked up some really cool fabric on the trip home from Florida after Christmas. I used I to make Jaybird Quilts' Dance Floor patern. Sooooooo happy with the results and I was able to get it done (minus the cutting) in a single day. My next challenge is to determine what the heck I want to do with it....hmm....

Today I have been working on a Daisy Chain stripy quilt from Amy Butler. However, I haven't gone very far before figuring out that although I like each individual block, I'm probably going to want to put it together in a whole differe t way.

Finally, I made myself a new wallet - the best part is, I can fit my phone inside it so its hypothetically the only thing I need to grab when I leave the house. Seeing as how I hate carrying anything, this is a total score!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Retreat Day 2 - A Finish!

After a mistake, lots of seam ripping, some choice 4-letter words I shouldn't have said in front of my Grandmother, and a desire to give up machine and thread altogether, I finished my "Skittles Squared" quilt made from "Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe."

Not too shabby! New project tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Quilting Retreat - Day 1

Today we left bright and early for the retreat. We arrived at about 11:30 and my partner and I made lunch and we started sewing. Eight women, lots of tables, machines, cutting mats and irons - in other words, HEAVEN!

There are folks working on table runners, placemats, wall hangings, quilts, and other UFOs. I have started my skittles squared quilt and I'm aiming to have all the blocks sewn together, ready to cut apart and mix up, starting tomorrow.

Best part - it's someone's birthday so there was cake!

Gotta run, folks are making progress without me!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Ready to go

After I completely slept in this morning until 10:30 and I managed to get myself up and caffeinated, the dog walked, the paper read, and myself showered, I thought I should finish cutting up my last quilt that I want to take on the retreat.  I'm going to save SO much time by having those all cut out up there anyway.  

This is the one I'm going to turn into Jaybird's Dance Floor
Then, instead of basting the Keystone Lodge quilt and getting started on that, I decided to start in on a project I'm doing for a friend.  She is VERY into health and fitness and does figure competitions.  She made provincials which is the first weekend of June and she has trusted/requested/mandated (I can't even remember which) that I make her a new competition suit.  This is INTENSELY outside of my comfort zone but a friend is a friend, right?  Anyhoo, step one was pulling all the rhinestones off the old suit so we can re-purpose them and save some money.  Hence, my thumbs are on fire right now as I picked off about 250 stones.

This is one side of the top before.  Multiply these stone by about 5.
This is what it looked like after I pulled off the stones.
And here is the whole suit naked.  After which point I could slowly start pulling it apart...

The first step was to deconstruct the main parts so I could see which pieces go where...

And then I took about a billion pictures of the way it was constructed.  Seams, elastics, shapes, attachments.  I will spare you the horror and show you just one:

Now I know when I go to make the new one that the strap to the left is a totally different piece than the cup to the right.  I also know to zigzag stitch the new one to account for the stretch of the elastic rolled into that strap.  Although I already am of a mind to try something different.   I'll keep you posted on how this whole escapade goes.  I'll probably want to punch something before its done as I'm pretty sure I've bitten off more than I can chew.  

Friday, 15 March 2013

Fabric Cutting Party!

Did I mention that next week I am headed out on a five day quilting retreat?!?  There is this place called Quilters Miss Bee Haven up in the Muskoka area and I am going with a bunch of the women who taught me how to quilt (including my awesome Grandma!).  I always aim to get piles and piles done as its pretty much the only opportunity I get to spend straight days sewing.  We even maximize food prep time be breaking up into pairs and having each pair prep, cook, and clean up for only one of the days.

Anyhoo, in order to get as much done as I can , I thought I would be a total smarty pants and wash, iron and cut all my fabrics in advance.  So, my first step was to dig out some stuff I want to work on.  I came up with these:
That's 24 fat quarters and a WHACK-load of Kona Khaki

I'm aiming to turn those into this:

And since I'm a total genius, I decided to cut out enough of the fat quarter colours to make two of these quilts because; a) I love it so much that I want to make two with different coloured neutrals as the background, and b) every time I make a quilt for myself that I intensely love, someone else also ends up loving it and I end up giving it away.  I'm getting smarter at this I think.

Additionally, this humongous pile of Amy Butler's Daisy Chain line...

...will eventually and hopefully end up looking something like this:

Finally, on my recent family trip to Disney World we passed by an AWESOME quilt shop just outside Atlanta called A Scarlett Thread.  They had a giant assortment of modern fabrics and patterns so I picked up this:  

Its called Cosmopolitan - I love the lime greens with the charcoal greys.
Which will ultimately be made into this:

So, if it was my aim to get this all washed, ironed, and cut - how did I make out in the last 10-12 hours?  Well ALL the fabric is pre-washed and ironed.  That actually took half of the total time I spent doing this today.  Cripes, I need a man-servant.  

And I ended up with these ready to go:
I'm going to eventually call this quilt Skittles Squared.
Even the borders and bindings ready to go
It being midnight now, I'm not diving into the last pile of fabric tonight.  That will be tomorrow's mission.  And, by my calculations, I have saved myself at least an entire day up at the retreat by having all that ready to go before we head out! Yahoo!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

"March-"ing on!

You know, for it being March "BREAK" I feel like I haven't had two minutes to rest...yet.  This officially changes today.  I'm not making any more plans until after school starts back up again.  I spent today cleaning my house and then when I was done, I felt the March block for Don't Call me Betsy's Lucky Star BOM calling my name.

Here's the thing though - the templates called for making the block in 8 parts:

See?  You make 4 of each of these and then join them. 
Unfortunately, from my calculations, and from my extensive creeping of the flickr group for this project, doing it this way makes for four seams that have the potential to not match up perfectly and thus there is great potential for me to get intensely pissed off.  So, I changed the game a little:
First, I cut out all the pieces I needed to, and then thought of joining them to make four triangles instead of the four squares called for.

I just used a little scotch-tape and eliminated the middle seams.
The only problem, was that Betsy called for the use of multiple fabrics for 1A/1B to give the whole finished block some movement.  K, dilemma.  How to do that.......?  Think. Think. Think.  And solution!  I'll just sew  two different fabrics together for AB in order to start the whole thing off.  And then the finished product:
Do you see? No unnecessary seams for me to potentially screw  up  just in front of where each yellow  meets each white
And finally, the first three months together, all lined up:

I'll have to admit, I'm kinda getting into this one too.  I'm excited to see how it will all turn out at the end.  

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Its been a while!

Cripes!  What happened?!?  My last "real" post was eight days ago!  Yikes.  It was crazy busy at work and I think I just ploughed through to the end knowing that March Break was coming up!   Now its here!  Yay!

So today, after a whirlwind of a weekend which included changing a pair of my friend's golf pants into golf shorts for his trip to Vegas, and taking in the overly wide legs on another pair of his pants, going over the border to Buffalo shopping on two different days and hanging out with my niece, I'm finally finding my staycation rhythm.  This included getting my March block done for the Sugar Block Club after having had the pieces cut out since the 4th.

I'm really digging the choices I made for the fabric here this month.  No idea why.
Here are my first three months all together:

The picture quality isn't that great but I think its looking alright!
Seeing the progress I'm making is making me pretty excited to get to April!

Today, I also pulled a very rare move of venturing into the kitchen.  Lets be honest, I do NOT enjoy cooking.  Its not that cooking can't be fun but I live alone and its frankly way too much effort for the output.  However, its March I made these:

Delightful, delicious, mock skor bars!
These puppies make my taste-buds sing!  Not to hard, just butter and sugar boiled together and layered over soda crackers and topped with chocolate.  Yum!  These little babies should sustain my sewing efforts for the next few days at least!

Now.....I go to cut out the paper pieces for the Lucky Stars BOM.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

You HAVE to read this...

By no means am I a romantic - in fact, in all honesty, the words make me shudder.  However, every so often, in the expression of something completely real and non-gimmicky, I too can utter an "awwww."

Today, since I just walked in the door from work at 8 in the evening, I don't have much to share myself but I did have the urge to pass on this little chunk of positive energy from someone else.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Sometimes you just don't get much done.

Today was not a day of great accomplishments.  I'm having a crazy allergic reaction to what I'm guessing is something I ate.  I know I'm allergic to pineapple but I definitely didn't eat any on purpose this weekend.  Regardless, the extra strength benedryl is sapping all of mine.  I did manage to get the pieces for the March Sugar Block Club block all cut out so the evening isn't a total loss.  It'll give me something to look forward to doing tomorrow.  I've been on flickr already and am liking what I am seeing!

Back to traditional piecing for March - lots of triangles though!
So back to the weekend.  I went on a Mystery Bus Shop Hop on Saturday with my grandma and some quilting ladies.  It was actually quite fun.  We started out at one of the closest quilt shops around that carries a multitude of modern fabrics.  Sew Sisters is actually one of my default shops.  We left there at 8:30 knowing we could come back at the end of the day and knock ourselves out at their rather large, newly expanded and awesomely organized store

The great thing was that I got to go to a few places I had never been before.  Our first stop was the Ultimate Sewing Centre in Oshawa.  I think it might have been my first time to Oshawa -- even though its just down the highway.  I never get out that far east.  The store wasn't bad.  There were loads of patterns and notions and a great selection of Kona solids.  Its too bad I wasn't yet awake enough to want to buy anything.  
This is Shirley, the owner.  
The next stop was Thimbles and Things in Orillia.  There was a fair mix in here.  Some traditional and some modern.  I saw an amazing modern quilt hanging on the wall - lots of finely quilted negative space and mostly solid colours.  I bought a cool layer cake here.  I'll show you later. 

The best part of Thimbles and Things was this puppy quilt!  I SO want to immortalize the Moosh in one of these!
The next stop was Country Concessions in Cookstown.  I like this store a lot.  I have been to it many, many times.  The best part of this store was the intense number of Amy Butler Home Dec weight fabrics that they had on sale for 8.99 a metre!  That's INSANE!!!
I could have cleaned them out of stock except that I have a pile at home already, waiting to be made into a weekender bag for my mom.

After Country Concessions, we came back to the T-dot and finished up at Sew Sisters.  This is where I finished my fat quarter collecting and got the Kona solid backing for my new project.  I cannot WAIT to get cracking on it!  Yay, March Break!  I'm glad it was the last stop mostly because I know I could do some SeRiOuS damage in that store.  They have a room FULL of fabrics that are all priced at 6.99 a meter.

Anyhoo, I didn't take very many pictures, mostly because I only had one coffee and wasn't alert enough to recognize I should until we were at the third store.  Whoops!

I liked the concept of the Mystery Tour.  I got to hit shops I had never seen before and didn't have to do any of the driving.  Will have to modify this with some friends in the summer and do our own little mystery shop hop.

I clearly need to win the lottery.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Finally! Done!

Yay! I finished the quilt I made for my friend Alice!  Finally.  Super finally.  It took me 16 bobbins to machine quilt it -- SIXTEEN!  I said that to a non-quilter the other day and they were like *shrug*..."okay." You get it though, right?!?  Sixteen!  I literally thought I would have multiple birthdays before I finished.

Okay, so here are the details: the fabric was an Amy Butler Midwest Modern fat quarter bundle in the Ohio Sky colour way.  The pattern began as an intended Yellow Brick Road but I abandoned it after I got the pieces cut and sort of went off on my own tangent.  Its a large throw size and I machine quilted it myself with a meandering stipple.

Here she is:

Holy smokes do hand-bindings ever slow me down!  That took a week.  I reiterate my previous musings on how a full-time job really bites into the quilting time!  I could be SO productive if this is all I had to do with my time.   Can I also mention that I happened to say I hated doing bindings at my guild meeting last week in front of EVERYONE and...well...I thought those ladies were gonna toss things at me.  Yowzer!  Regardless, I painstakingly finished them and now my friend Alice is ready to enjoy her new quilt.

Ooh.  Also, I have given myself a reason to finish with the "Keystone Lodge" quilt (formerly the UQ).  I picked up fabric for a new quilt while I was on a Mystery Shop Hop bus tour.   This is what is next on the agenda as soon as I finish it:

I'm so excited, I can't wait!!!!  And just think - March Break starts at the end of the week!  I'll have so much to do!