July 31, 2011

July's UFO (and May's too!)

The number drawn for July’s Patchwork Times UFO Challenge was #2.  Since I’ve been working ahead, my #2 was done back in May—click here to see that post, but for a reminder, here’s a photo of finished #2, which is one of Kim McLean's Roseville Album blocks.

 So what did I do in July? 

Well remember this package?  It was a birthday gift for my dd, and inside the package was this pillow, which was just a teaser for the rest of her birthday present. 

Which was this:

If it looks familiar, it is my May UFO, CapriccioALL FINISHED--but kept under wraps.  Since my daughter opened it last night, I can finally show it to you.

I tried to use bright, happy colors and fabrics that I thought she would enjoy, although I have to admit that it is sadly lacking in dog prints.  I guess I just don’t buy many dog fabrics—cats are a different story thanks to Laurel Burch designs. 

Since the top ended up reading a bit more yellow/green than I planned, the backing fabric I’d purchased didn’t really seem to match the front of the quilt.  But neither did anything else I tried—even yellow or green, and I couldn’t find anything else that I thought would work better.  After mulling it over, I decided to go ahead and use what I'd bought since the red print would give her an entirely different look if she wanted to “redecorate” just by flipping it over.

I’m glad the red stayed as it adds to the cheerfulness, and I think it looks great with the quilting Yvette did in yellow.  The red backing is from the line, Lift Your Spirits by Wendy Bentley for Timeless Treasures.  The pillow center panel and the label on the quilt back are both from that same line too.

Gotta admit, though, my favorite part is the black and white squiggly binding!  I love it and have to remember to buy more! (I think it's by Blank Textiles--called coffee something or opposites attract.) 

But this has been done for a couple weeks now.  So what did I do the rest of July? 

Pretty much nothing!  I have prepped some more Flower Garden blocks, but have barely put in any stitches.  I’ve been itching to start something new (hexagons keep calling my name), and been doing some retail therapy and a little mental planning of a new project, but looking at the calendar (and knowing tomorrow will bring a new UFO Challenge number) is holding me back. 

Maybe I’ll go clean on my sewing room so I’m ready for a new UFO….or work on some quilt binding, or maybe I’ll just take a nap and rest up…..there must be a reason they call these the lazy days of summer.

Happy Stitching!

July 18, 2011

Two More Flowers...

I finished and ironed a couple more flowers from Kim McLean's Flower Garden pattern.  The background is the same as on the earlier ones, but for some reason looks more tan--perhaps because I'm having to use a different camera/flash now.  The fabric is actually Kona Snow. 

So that makes 8 of 24 finished!  One third of the way (unless you remember those huge borders, but let's not think about that now.)  I tried to make these flowers darker and with less pink because too many of the others are pinkish, but these both ended up partially pink anyway.  Guess I like pink!


I have another couple of flowers in process, but after those, I'm guessing I'll go back to work on the Roseville for awhile--or at least until next month when a new UFO number is drawn. (Unless something new calls my name, but I'm trying to be strong--for now!)  Happy Stitching!

July 16, 2011

So far in July--and today's a very important day!

The UFO challenge number drawn for July was #2, but since my #2 was already finished in May, I decided to work a bit on  #12--Sunshine and Shadows.   It’s pastel and seemed appropriate for a hot summer day.  I originally started it sometime in the 80’s with the grand plan that it would hang on one of the large empty walls in my (then) new house.  It was the third quilt I’d started.  (The second quilt I started is also still a UFO, and my first one fell apart on its first washing, but that’s another story.) 

A couple of babies got in the way and this wasn’t finished.   Which seems to be my pattern—I just don’t finish things, although I do move them forward periodically.  It’s a talent to get things close to finished, but not across the finish line isn’t it?

I do have doubts about whether this should even be finished.   I used whatever fabric I found in the stores back then, not knowing what I was doing, and some is very lightweight.  When I learned a bit more about quilting, I went back and made more blocks, trying to match the feel and colors of it, and replacing the crummiest fabrics, but I didn’t replace everything.  And then, there is the issue of accuracy.  When I started this, it was before the days of rotary cutters (at least in my world), and so these were made with templates, and these templates don’t look real accurate to me--several have even been distorted by an iron--whoops!

At some point in the past 25+ years, realizing that the blocks varied significantly in size, I squared them up rather harshly, and stitched some of them together.  Needless to say, there’s a bit of variety in the size of the strips, which really is OK--perhaps even better since it disguises how poorly these were sewn, but they are definitely not as originally intended.   (The small corner triangles were supposed to be the same size and the strips were the same width, in theory at least!)  But the blocks are the same size--now!

At least half the blocks originally made for this have been set to the side—and will be tossed—their quality just doesn’t justify any more time being spent on them.  The ones remaining that I’d actually stitched together aren’t that much better—I’m guessing they were made of the more substantial strips, or maybe I liked their colors better, or maybe I just had enough to make the size I’d decided on (who knows).  I’d also cut a bunch of squares and started making half square triangles for the border.

So, this week, I stitched the borders together, and attached them.

Then I started to cut cream borders to go outside them, but found I was short--about 8 inches, unless I wanted to piece them.   I'd apparently pilfered a bit sometime in the past 25 years.

So then I "decided" that the quilt borders needed a bit of pizazz, and started playing around with the corners like so...

And, now this top is finished, the backing has been pieced and it's all been ironed and packed up to be taken for quilting--and I forgot to take a photo!  Guess you'll have to see the finished quilt whenever UFO #12 is drawn! 

And most importantly, today is my beautiful dd's birthday!

Happy Happy Birthday honey!  Wish we could be together today, but since not, we'll celebrate as soon as you're home!  Love you!

PS.  Tessa says Happy B-day too!

July 01, 2011

June UFO Challenge

My UFO Challenge project for June was a set of three patchwork pillows I'd started back in 2005.  (Yikes!)

They'd been intended to liven up my daughter's couch at college, but she's since graduated, and is now in graduate school.  Since her couch stayed home to keep us company while she's away, the pillows haven't been needed--or finished.

At the start of June, the pillows were just three “mini quilts” made from leftover plaid fabric squares (mainly Roberta Horton plaids). One of these had been layered with batting and muslin, and I had begun quilting it, but that’s where the work had stopped.

June’s UFO Challenge has changed that. I quilted a different grid on each of the "mini quilt" pillow tops (straight, diagonal, and off-centered) , added an invisible zipper on one side of each, and stitched the remaining seams closed.

These are two close ups of the invisible zippers and quilting (which will definitely not win any awards).  I like the clean finish an invisible zipper gives to a pillow, and they aren't difficult to put in.

 The backs of the pillows are batiks chosen by my daughter so she could choose to have a more contemporary look.

And now, a mere six years later, they are three completed pillows.

Well almost....I'm one 18" pillow form short, but I'm not buying one until the pillows can go to a home of their own.  So please pretend not to notice that one of the pillows is a bit overstuffed and lumpy. After all, we all have personal challenges....and I think that pillow reminds me of someone I know all too well.

                  Happy Stitching (and Happy 4th of July)!