Saturday, August 6, 2016

Christmas in July

Now that I have a sewing space to work in again (finally!), I'm getting done some of the little Christmas gifts I like to get started on during summer break. Well, first there was a birthday gift for a little girl -- pretty in pink!


And I've been making up some more to have ready for the end of the semester. I love these little bags with the vinyl windows. Such a brilliant idea! So useful! I can never remember what I put in a bag, being able to see it without opening it up? Genius. Kudos to whoever thought of it.


And another more somber one.


Is that manly?  From the back?


And I haven't completely ignored the AccuQuilt GO! either -- some Xmas hotpads for the newlyweds.  Notice the owls in love?  Awwwww!



It's been so long since I've had a sewing space, I'm out of practice. I'm starting to warm up though. I've got plans.

Truth is, I always have plans, more plans than conclusions, truth be told. I'm telling myself there's a good amount of fun to be had in dreaming, too.  It's my story and I'm sticking by it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GO! Squares

Isn't it nice to use up little bits, the leftovers of this and that?  I find it SO satisfying!

Our department administrative staff has been getting hammered with challenges this summer. They are the best staff ever, and they seem to have an apparently endless store of patience while they deal with faculty and students. I thought a little cheering on was in order.

First, I made up some little fabric baskets.



I used the Pink Penguin fabric basket pattern -- one of my favorite patterns.



Because baskets alone are not near gratitude enough, I actually filled them with chocolate before passing them on.  I work on the principle that chocolate always makes things better.

I used the GO! two inch square die and Pellon's fusible grid. (I did a blog post years ago showing how I use the die and the grid.  You can find it here if you are interested). I also had some leftover blue charms, so I made up another couple little things.



Another basket  and a zipper case. I love vinyl windows -- so useful! Kind of a pain in the neck to sew, but I love the result.



And then, I've still been crocheting up a wee storm -- making up chalkboard wipes for the wedding (which is right around the corner!) -- I am a sucker for little projects.


Of course, my quilts in process collection would be a lot smaller if I was as big a fan of finishing large projects as I am of finishing the small. I'm putting that bit of truth into the "oh, well" column -- as Popeye would say, I am who I am. If I haven't managed to become a more perfect version of myself by now, it's just not going to happen. On the list of sins, I'm saying unfinished quilt projects is small potatoes. I still want to work at finishing them, but I've decided to give up feeling guilty about them.

Am I the only one? How do you justify that unfinished pile?
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

About That Sewing Room

Oh, remember when I was so happy about the redo on the sewing room? Such a sad tale it is. The room looked great -- but smelled BAD. Nasty and chemical and potent enough the room was unusable. And it continued to smell bad, as we continued to try and air it out.  For months. We were convinced it was the new flooring. We eventually pulled out the flooring and . . . wait . . .  what? . . .  the room still smells?! Which left the only new element in the room as the paint. And after some research which suggested paint can go bad and, no, you can't just paint over it, my sewing room now looks like this:


Yup. We're removing the dry wall. (That's the royal "we" -- my own true love gets to tackle this one.)

This is what that corner looked like back when I was setting up the room after the redo:


Such a sad story.

But speaking of my own true love, he knows my being without a sewing room for the last five months has been wearing on me. He ever so generously offered to sacrifice out his game area (big board games) to allow me a place to set up while we continue to try and rescue the sewing room. So we did yet another shuffle on the sewing piles scattered around the downstairs and I now have this:



Yes! A working sewing space again!  Bring it on!

I finished the signature quilt for a friend.



(Those are hubby's gnarly feet down there!)

The GO! dies really came in handy on this one. I used the signature die for the signature patches, the 3" finished half-square triangle die to square the signatures, and the 2" strip die for the framing.

And I'm back to working on the GO! Rag Circle denim quilt.



So, that's where I'm at for the moment. I'd love to get back to my GO! Sew Challenge, but there are some other holdups still in the way.  Meanwhile, I may not be on my personal challenge time, but the GO! is back to getting a workout.

Yeah for sewing rooms! Thanks, honey! (So very many reasons to love that big-hearted guy.)

I'm also getting some crochet in for our son's upcoming wedding: washcloths for the showers and wipe cloths for chalk boards.  Aren't those colors bright and happy?



One of the things that pleases me is that, apparently, I have no ambition when it comes to crochet. With quilting I was all about learning new techniques and playing around to see how I could tweak them (which is how I came up with the variation on Fold and Sew that makes the miniature quilts). But with crochet? Nope. It seems I am perfectly happy to make washcloth after washcloth. I really like having this little side hobby where I feel absolutely no pressure to grow at all.  It's a relief.

Sometimes easy, mindless, and unchallenged is exactly where I want and need to be!



Friday, May 13, 2016

Humble Quilts Doll Quilt Swap

It's reveal day and I finally get to show the beautiful quilt I received from Nancy. Is this not wonderful?


Oh, I love it! Thank you so much, Nancy!

Here's a little close-up:


I'll never get over my love of reproduction fabrics. Aren't they luscious?

And as if that that lovely little quilt weren't enough, she also sent me a fabulous book.


I love this book. There are just so many little quilts to admire, and more than a few to consider making up myself. I'm grading up a storm at the moment (in these final days of the semester), but grades go in next week, and then I see some serious sewing ahead!

Thank you for the beauty of a quilt and lots of temptation!

And for those of you wanting to see the swap quilts all together, head on over to Humble Quilts and enjoy the collection!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

One Thing Leads to Another

Well, I started with the little squares I had cut from the leftover charms, and I made the little basket (which I forgot to take a picture of -- oops). And then I thought about using some of the squares I had left to make up a hot pad. Like this:


I took a bunch of photos and meant to write it up last weekend and then accidentally deleted the photos. (Oops, again!)

So I made up another so I could take some photos.

To begin, I once again used Pellon's 1" fusible grid interfacing. I cut 12 by 12 on the squares and then cut out a two inch square from each corner.


I laid out thirty-two 2" squares on the grid and pressed.


After folding over and sewing as usual, I made a small cut at the corners to meet the seam line.


I also trimmed off a wee bit from the seam allowance.


The little cut I made meant I could press open the seams at the cut-out corners as well.



Seams all sewn and pressed! So fast and easy. I love it.



After I grabbed a bit of spare batting, I settled for some easy straight line quilting.


I used the AccuQuilt GO! 8" circle die to cut out the hot pad circles--  the cross lines make it easy to center the patchwork.


So I ran the pieced and quilted section thru, and then a little Insul-Bright, a backing piece, and another piece of batting. Easy peasy.


So, it may have taken be a little longer to get there, but this little duo accounts for my GO! Sew Challenge for last week and this week. Whew. That's good, because this quilter just had a very nasty bout of food poisoning, or maybe the flu, and I am wrung out. Writing this up is the only thing I've accomplished all day. I could use better photos or perhaps more time in Photoshop but, hey, sometimes good enough is good enough, right?

And, as Scarlett said, Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gotta Sew!

Gotta sew! -- despite sewing room challenges. I've staged a coup on the dining room table. So progress IS being made. For one, I managed to sew all the GO! Tumbler rows together.


Isn't that pretty? Having got it to this stage though, I'm pretty sure I need to add one or two more rows. From this angle it looks plenty long, but that's my camera skills for you. When I hold it up, I can see it needs to be a little longer. It's destined to be a lap quilt that a guy could use --  so while it is plenty long enough for little ol' height-challenged me, it's not long enough for the male contingent. Perhaps by next weekend it will be ready for borders.

I sewed up the latest Westering Women block from Barbara Brackman. Was I the only quilter to find this block an absolute pain in the neck to sew? My inset seam skills abandoned me. I am afraid I periodically used language unbecoming a gentlewoman and scholar.  Still, the block did come out to size in the end. (That had quite a bit to do with a hot iron, steam, elbow grease and determination.)


And there's some more GO! work ahead. For one, it's never too early to start holiday sewing, is it? This year I'm making up some little baskets using Pink Penguin's basket tutorial. It's a good use of leftover charms, for one.

The basket pattern calls for 2" squares and I have a 2" GO! die, so that's perfect.


A few years ago, I gave myself a GO! Challenge to use the 2" inch die and cut up charms into entirely useable pieces. You can see the results of that here.  This time I wasn't aiming to be that frugal. I was entirely fine with just getting four 2" squares per charm.


A few passes through the GO! and I've got a happy little assortment to play with.


When I make up the basket pattern, I like to use Pellon's Fusible 1" grid. It speeds up the sewing process and gives the basket a little extra body as well. Here it is with the first set of seams sewn. (I created a couple tutorials on using the Pellon grid that you can find here and here.)


And in no time I've got the two patched sets I need for a basket. So cute!


And there's lots more to keep me busy this coming week.  GO! Sew indeed.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

GO! Workout

When I think of things I'm grateful for, that I picked up quilting as my hobby of choice always makes the list. It's brought me good times, helped me through hard times, and invited the friendship of wonderful women into my life. I love, too, how quilting lets us bring gifts to others as well. A friend is fighting cancer and so I've been collecting well wishes from co-workers. This weekend it's been all about sewing up those blocks.  (I whited out the names to protect people's privacy).


These have been great blocks for my leaders and enders tumbler project. Wow, have I made progress this weekend!


They may not look like much all neatly folded up (there's some more strips out of the camera image as well), but I have the rows for the lap quilt nearly all finished. Just a few more patches to add and then I'll be joining the rows together. I'm excited about that -- all part of my current need to finish the old as well as start the new.

The working dies for this week:


I love when dies play well together -- like how the 3" finished half square triangles line up so perfectly with the signature die.


And there is a new Big gadget in my sewing room!


That was an indulgence that nearly had me hyper-ventilating before I clicked purchase. Though there is at least some reason to the madness. My doctor has a habit of starting sentences with "Well, at your age . . . ." And what being an old gray mare of my age means is that those repetitive stress injuries are way too easy to come by. I can feel it on occasion when I'm doing a lot of GO! work -- cranking that handle again and again. I feel it with rotary cutting as well. My elbow and shoulder just ain't what they used to be. So I'm hoping the GO! Big can keep me quilting away with a little less wear and tear, since I am a woman of a certain age (and then some).