September 20, 2011

Les hexies sont finis!

The scary hexies are now a top! (And no, I do not speak much French so hopefully that is stated correctly.)

The top was made from a French General kit that I was lucky enough to win in a giveaway from Thelma at Cupcakes N'Daisies.  (Thank you Thelma!)

I made the kit just as directed in the pattern, although I just had to add a few more different French General fabrics (if ten fabrics are good, fifteen are better--I can never resist more variety).  Of course I just told myself it was because I wanted to add a smidgen of green to make the quilt be a bit more Christmasy without it being a Christmas only quilt.  Here's a closer view... 

The kit had a generous amount of fabrics even without my additions, so now I've quite a bunch of French General scraps as well as some half hexies and quite a few whole hexies, so I'm sure you'll see another hexie project here sometime--but not soon.  First I've got a few  million other UFO's to finish, and of course, this still needs quilting!

Happy Stitching!

September 19, 2011

So far in September...

In honor of 9/11 (or maybe just for fun) this patriotic balloon passed over our house on September 11, giving us all a treat—except for Tessa (our golden) who felt the need to protect us and bravely chased it off.

Then it was back to work (play).  This month’s UFO Challenge is #11, which for me is two quilts that both need to be quilted.  (What was I thinking--two??!)

One of them, the New Wave, is at the quilter's now.  This is a photo of the top when I first finished it a year or so ago.  I  pieced a back for it, and even though it was on my living room floor for several days, I apparently didn’t photograph it—guess you’ll have to wait along with me until the quilting is finished—likely not until sometime in October.  So it's as finished as can be for now!

The other UFO quilt is a Watermelon top, which is now all ready to be quilted—the borders are on and the back is pieced.  But when I thought about getting it quilted, I had second thoughts.  I’m not sure I want the expense—at least not now (the king size teal quilt and my daughter’s quilt were big and expensive, and I’ve two more currently being quilted.)  I would likely only use it for a summer tablecloth--it does fit perfectly on my picnic table.   Hmmmmm...

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a two sided tablecloth?  I’d like to come up with a good idea for the back.  Maybe something summery—flowers?  Fireworks?  Fall leaves?  The backing is a tiny green check.  I would love suggestions. 

And what about the quilting?  How do I make it look ok on both sides?  Would I need to hand appliqué something on after the front is quilted?  Or would an all over design quilted right across appliqued flowers or leaves look awful?  Any and all suggestions are welcome!

So with the borders on the Watermelon top, and summer when I’d use the tablecloth coming to an end, I’m considering it done—for now.  Sometimes just making a decision about a project’s next step is enough progress.  While it is still a UFO, it’s a totally different UFO! J

I’ve also started working on the Roseville Album again.  Picking out little bits to appliqué always makes a horrible mess of my sewing room.  One day while I was sitting on the floor (my only clear area), folding up the many Kaffe fabrics I’d auditioned for the latest Roseville block, I came across this pattern.

Forgetful me.  Back in July, Kelly at I Have a Notion had a giveaway, and I was lucky enough to win this lovely pattern designed by Amanda Murphy called Portraits of My Garden.  I'd kept the pattern out—so that I would remember to blog about it, but of course, it got buried in the mess of Kaffe fabrics spread all over the sewing room.  So many THANKS Kelly--sorry to be so slow--I am thrilled to have won it!  (Kelly has several other patterns by Amanda Murphy available in her shop--check them out here.)
And since I was sitting on the floor, and since either getting up or continuing to clean would take effort, I read the pattern instead.  It looked like it would be quick.  I’ve been trying to resist buying new fabrics—except where absolutely necessary (which is pretty often).  So I started trying to remember any fabrics I had that would be big enough for the background piece (I think 2.75 yards if I remember).

Not sure why, but I remembered a piece of fabric I had bought during one of my pregnancies—at least 25 years ago.  I had planned to make a Laura Ashley sort of jumper  (very  IN at the time), and it took quite a bunch of fabric—enough to cover my growing baby bump.

Although I was a bit concerned that the flowers wouldn’t look very good cut up and resewn as in the pattern, the piece was large enough (and then some--that baby bump is now 6'6" tall, and it wasn't little then).  I started digging out any and all fabrics that would possibly coordinate.  This became my own personal stash challenge—no new fabrics.  And in no time, the center portion was done.  (It goes together really quickly.)

Figuring out the borders wasn’t quite so easy.  I confess I hate piecing borders.  I generally like to buy the full length and figure I will use any extra fabric on something else just to avoid having a seam.   So this was a struggle.  Anything I had that was long enough likely was purchased with something else in mind, and rather than use up something that belongs to another UFO, I forged ahead and pieced some borders.  The narrow pink I had plenty of, but the green floral was a remnant I bought on sale to make a pillow or something (??) and was just barely enough.

I followed the pattern as written, but after finishing, didn’t like the green borders.  I decided they were too busy and/or wide, or maybe too narrow for such a big print, so I cut them down and added some more of the background fabric to kind of calm it all down.  Actually, I added ALL of the background fabric that was left—which makes determining how wide the borders will be pretty easy.  Here's a close up view:
And here's the finished top, being double checked by my assistant, who is not my cat.  NOT.  Just the neighbor's cat who has decided she would rather live in my yard than at home, and the neighbor doesn't seem to care (or feed her, given her hunger level).  So I guess I have a new outdoor only assistant (I am really allergic).  She's a nice cat though, and wants to learn to quilt, if anyone would like a kitty....

And, I am still working from time to time on the hexies.  More on them to come soon!

Happy Stitching!

September 01, 2011

Conquering Fears...

My UFO #7 in the Patchwork Times UFO Challenge is finished!  Finally!  I started this quilt about 1992 as a gift for my mom--so hmmmm almost twenty years ago--aren't you impressed with my speed of completion?

When I first started it, the pieces in each block were made of the same two fabrics, with a different two fabrics for each block, but when I put the blocks together, it looked too choppy, so I picked it all apart and stitched it back together with the fabrics mixed.  (insanity!)  Then I decided I wanted the outside triangles on the edge to both be dark to make a bit of definition. So I picked it apart again, and replaced the white with teal.

When the top was complete, I showed my mom. She is a non-sewer, non-quilter, and grew up in the age where poor people had quilts on their beds and rich people had bedspreads. (She was excited when she could afford a real bedspread.) 

Her response to the top was, "Why would I want that?!"

Yes, I was crushed.  But I spread the quilt top out on a queen size bed of mine, looked at it, and decided it would be better as king size anyway, given the block scale, and for balance.  So I took it apart, and added a row.  Of course I sewed the new row into the wrong place and had to pick it out again before it was put in correctly.

And, that is why a quilt takes twenty years to finish--lack of preplanning!  I worry a bit that the fabric will fall apart the first time it's washed--it's been picked apart that much.   Here's a closer view of the lovely quilting Yvette did, and the fabric on the back.

I wanted to hang it and take a long full photo, but it is just too big for me to handle--and yes, that is a whole lot of binding!  And that's all I've accomplished this past month--at least that I finished.  But I have an admission to make.  I've started something new--and not just one new project, but TWO! 

I've always been drawn to the circle type quilts I see on so many blogs, so I purchased a pattern called King George III Quilt, available here.  It wasn't exactly what I had been looking for, but it was close enough and I didn't think I would ever draft circular patterns on my own.  (I later figured out that the pattern I had been looking for is apparently a BOM from Amitie--oh well.  There's also another lovely circle pattern called Camelot by Trish Harper if you, too, want circles.) 

The King George pattern had languished in my sewing room due to my fear of hand piecing.  I've tried hand piecing a bit in the past and found it difficult and tediously slow.  But now for some reason, it doesn't seem so slow (perhaps it is at my pace now).  Here's my first (and only) completed block.

It went together relatively well (although I was short on the green fabric so couldn't make all the pieces match completely--as my daughter points out.)  And I guess the block isn't really done since it is still a circle and not yet put into a square, but since I'm not sure what I'm going to use as the background, this is done for now.

My second new project was with hexagons--another project I had postponed due to fear.  It is from a wonderful French General kit, Reine des Abeilles, I won earlier this year from Thelma at Cupcakes N' Daisies. I had decided I would work on it this fall, so I cut out the pieces this month (to be ready, of course).

But then I couldn't wait, so I started piecing them together.  Here's part of the first panel (on top of the other projects on my design wall).                       

Turns out that circles, hand piecing, and hexies aren't that scary after all!

Scoreboard for the Month/Year/Total Project:
Roseville Blocks -  8/13 blocks, 1/4 panels, 0/4 borders completed, none in August
Flower Garden Blocks - 6/24 completed, none in August
King George III - 1/12 completed, one in August
UFO Challenges Completed - 8/12, one in August  (up to date)
Old projects Entirely Completed - 4, including the Teal Quilt in August
New Projects Started - 8, including French General hexies and King George III in August (this explains a lot about my growing number of UFO's)
UFO's to Finish - More than I can list on two pages!  So sad...and truly SCARY!

Happy Stitching!