July 31, 2013

Should be, Seem to be, and Actually Am Doing...

My last post was about what I'd been doing (while not posting).  But, I completely forgot to mention what I AM doing.

Should be doing:  No question, I should be working on a quilt I am making for a gift.  I'd show you, but I am keeping it a secret.  (You've seen it before--before I knew it was going to be a gift, but I don't want to remind someone)  And since I'm not doing it, what's to show anyway?  :)  It just seems so uninspiring and unexciting....even though it is close to being put together. 

And, decisions always get in the way of finishing.  I'm to the point of trying to piece the back, and don't like what I've done.  So I AM procrastinating about it.  If I wait long enough, won't it look better?

Seem to be doing:  In a prior post I showed the pink hexagon quilt, and mentioned I was Pinked OUT.  Cutting all those hexagons, left an abundance of pink, black and red scraps.  What to do? 

The garbage can beckoned.   I could not force myself to sew more pink and black together.  But being too frugal to throw away good scraps, I experimented with adding more colors--didn't photograph them, sorry. 

After much trying, I settled on lime-ish green as the antidote to pink.  I added some green triangles, some paler pinks, and some white/lights, and took out the reds.  I even had to buy some greens to have enough variety.  (This is an excellent example of how using up scraps just breeds more scraps and more UFOs.  Note to self:  Next time just give scraps away--you will have fewer and save money spent trying to make them work!)

This has been on my design wall for a couple months....

Progress is awfully slow.  Somehow sewing a row a week just doesn't seem to be accomplishing much.  But, I AM working on it--sometimes.

Actually am doing:  Yes, I AM actually doing something else.  Something unnecessary, but that just seemed more fun.  (Add one more unfinished project to the list.) 

I blame Heather who blogs at Happy Appliquer for my new project. :)  Heather blogged about a quilt along she was participating in.  It sounded fun, so I took a look--just a tiny peek actually.   (The Star Surround Quilt Along is being hosted by Melissa who blogs at Happy Quilting .) 

I only intended to read about it.  But Melissa had different sizes, all so organized.  I did need a baby quilt.  So I took another look.  And then another one.  The next thing I knew, I was back in the sewing room yanking fabrics out, trying to find 9 that looked good together.  (I wasn't going to buy new fabrics because I was just "seeing" if I could find 9).  A girl needs to use her stash, right?  I made a wonderful mess.

Stack One

Stack Two
Pretty soon I had a big stack of fabrics I liked--far more than 9.  In fact I ended up with two stacks of girly fabric.

Then another stack for a boy.  Since I don't know if the baby is a girl or boy, maybe I could make two?  (No, No, NO!  Get real.  It will be a miracle to get even one finished.) 
Boyish Stack
Since I couldn't decide on only 9 fabrics, I went back to the instructions, and decided to make every fabric (except the background) different.  (Yay!  27 fabrics--more is always more fun!) 
Last night I cut out the fabrics.  In looking at the squares, I actually used only 26 fabrics.  In all of my stash, I did not have enough of the right green. (and several greens I did have are a newer purchase or are a bit of a stretch colorwise, which may get swapped out)  Guess that means I'll have to do some shopping for minty green.

Today I finished sewing the first step, the half square triangles.   Now I'm all ready for the next step!

Bunches of trimmings were left afterward.  I put these in a garbage can lined with an open fabric pillow/bag.  When it's full, it will be sewn closed and make a pillow for a kitty at the animal shelter.  Good for the kitty, uses up waste trimmings, and helps me use fabrics I wouldn't have used otherwise for the bag.  And, I can always tell myself that starting a new project is good for a homeless kitty. 
Cut, cut, cut!  Let's make a kitty more comfortable, right?

And now that I'm all caught up, I guess I'll go see what other trouble I can get into.  Maybe sew a row of triangles?  Doubtful.  But I could clean up a little, and see what happens.  Maybe some more scraps have been breeding, and I do need to figure out a quilt for Stack Two and Boyish Stack, don't I? 

No, I'll be good.  I'm going to work on a block for my Flower Garden quilt--if I can find it.....

 Happy Stitching!

July 26, 2013

Four months and ten things.....

It's been awhile--okay months--since I posted.  And no, I did not sew myself into the new machine--at least not yet.  It's just the longer I go without posting, the more difficult I find it to post again....as in where do I start.....what to say and so little seems of any real importance, but here goes my best shot.  Since my last post....

1.  We helped my daughter move to a new apartment.  Did you know that 2 flights of stairs are farther up than they were 20 years ago?  Good thing she is young.  I've already told her to seek other help if she decides to move again. Boot camp would be easier.  :)

2.  I finally finished this quilt which I gave to my mom for Mother's Day.  (Stripping Vine from the book, Material Obsession


Yvette quilted it wonderfully--hope you can see the detail. 

She went around each of the white dogwoods, invented a special design for the orange triangles that mimics the fabric pattern, and stitched each of the star centers differently in a way that coordinated with the fabrics.

A really lovely job!

This is the back. I pieced the back in stripes, hoping to give it a different, semi-Bohemian look.  I made the stripes before I decided to give it to my mom.  Definitely too modern for her, but orange and black are the local college's colors and she and my dad are very loyal boosters/fans, plus Mom's favorite color is teal.

My mom's comment on the quilt: "You should have just made the whole thing out of the border fabric--it is beautiful".  Oh well.  She isn't a quilter.

3. I finished this Bordered Diamond quilt for my sister and her husband.  They actually liked it and it looks nice in their bedroom. 

Again the quilting is by Yvette and wonderful.  She used a variegated thread and quilted each diamond differently.

The outer border fabric is the same one I used on another Bordered Diamond quilt I made for my aunt.  Even though the narrow border, binding and backing are all different, the quilts look very much alike. 

For the backing, I used an out of print fabric by Philip Jacobs.  Not sure of its name--maybe Lilac Rose?

4.  I repaired the Teal Quilt that I had given to my son and his wife for their anniversary last year.  Their dog had chewed on it along the border and had made a couple of holes farther in--my fingers are in one here.  I was pretty disheartened when they brought it back for repairs, and stuck it in a bin for several months while I thought about how to fix it.
Luckily, I was able to find each of the damaged fabrics on the front and back, and able to match up the pattern (I had a triangle left from the original cutting--cutting too much does have its benefits, as does having an outrageous stash).  Here are some finished photos with a couple of the patches circled.  Being able to match the fabric perfectly really helped the patches disappear.  The repairs really aren't visible unless you look closely, and if you see like me without glasses, you almost have to feel to find them.  And, I gave them the repaired quilt back for this year's anniversary. :)
 5.  I completed one King George III block:

6.  I made a table runner of some leftover blocks for my daughter's birthday.
7.  I made potholders for my sister and daughter, as a project to figure out machine quilting on the new machine (and I know I need much, much more practice and shouldn't have used such a contrasting thread color, but there is a certain freedom in sewing for people who don't sew and don't know how bad something is.) :)  

Unfortunately, I was trying to be efficient as I made these, so I cut them out in pairs, stacked them, and began to sew.  I finished quilting the first one, and looked around for the second.  It was nowhere to be found...I looked everywhere--twice--was very puzzled until I realized I had sewn the two potholders together, and left out the insulated batting.  Now my sister has one very thick potholder.
Whoops--two sewn together!

9.  I made a little quilt/table topper for my daughter as a piece to practice different machine stitching styles on.  Most were very roughly done, but hey, practice is practice, and I worked on it late at night to finish it. In other words, don't be judgmental, as I know it is flawed (but it IS finished) :)


10.  And, finally, this is non-quilting and sad news.  I spent a few weeks nursing our dog, Tessa.  Sadly we lost her last month.  Rips my heart out--she was with us almost 14, or is it 15 years?  A long time, but way too short.

Tessa and her duck
Although I've never been a dog person, Tessa seemed to know that right from the start and was on her best behavior, always trying to please me.  I will always remember the time I did yoga, and she saw me laying on the floor for the first time.  Knowing it wasn't right for me to be laying flat on the floor, she ran over and laid next to my head trying to revive me.  It was quite funny and touching that she cared, and she didn't give up on trying to get me up, even as I moved through the yoga.  Later she (and her duck) did their version of yoga on my mat (below).

Tessa was a great fashion advisor, and had a wonderful sense of style:


She had to wear shoes on walks due to a bad foot.  The day she got to go into the store to pick the shoes out, she was very proud,  but we were both disappointed in the color selection in her size. (She wanted red or purple)  She tried to be a good sport about wearing them, even though she hated that they made her stumble as she aged and couldn't lift her feet as well.

Tessa lived her life fully and with exuberance until the end, despite many ailments.  This photo was taken on her last trip to visit my parents, just days before she became ill.
Tessa, May 2013
 She was such a special sweetie.  I still look for her around the house, and I miss her everyday.  I hope she was as happy with us as we were with her.  I can't imagine a better dog.  Love you Tessa!