Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WIP Wednesday

There are some wonderful blogs out there who publish "Wordless Wednesdays" with lovely photographs of nature, loved ones, new treasures and whatnot.  Personally, I think my photos are not quite up to snuff for that sort of thing, so I've decided to present you with "Work in Progess Wednesday" instead.  So here's what I'm working on!

I've been enjoying sewing some pinwheels using the leftover Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabric and a pretty floral white on white.  I have no clue what I'll do with them, but they make for some easy sewing when I'm not sure what else to do, or when I just need to sit and stitch unthinkingly for a few minutes.  One of the pinwheels here is backwards, but I'll fix it. My points are getting better all the time - practice really helps!

I've started the Birdie Stitches Block of the Month being offered by Little Miss Shabby.  Her blog is just wonderfully inspirational, and I've been admiring her BOM all along.  I chose about 14 FQ's from my stash in mostly saturated colors with a few lighter ones, and some white on white yardage for the embroidery space.  There are so many pretty rainbow quilts out there in blogland and on Flickr, I just had to try to create one myself.  I'm gaining confidence in combining fabrics, and I'm looking forward to the embroidery for this project.  I haven't done any in about 5 years, but I'm sure it'll come back to me quick.  This is the May block.

Finally, a patchy lap quilt of Strawberry Fields is on the design wall.  I love the strawberry red, and I'm kicking around the idea of not using the red charms in the main quilt, but creating a red flower applique in a corner or two.  I need some yardage too, but I haven't stumbled across any online or in my LQS yet.  Does it want sashing or should it just be patchy?  I've got 2 charm packs though, so this will likely get larger as time goes on.  The collection has a nice range of values and scales, like all Moda lines, and it was alot of fun rearranging the charms until I found an arrangement I like.  Its inspirational just on the wall!

Do you have more than one project going at a time?  Tell me what you're up to!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Katie Quilt

The Katie Quilt is finally finished!  The binding seemed to take forever, but I think I was a little more interested in watching the episodes of MI-5 on my dvr than I was in working swiftly. I used a couple of black & white FQ's which set off the green sashing quite nicely. I also did a double layer binding this time so we'll see how it wears in comparison to the Daisy Chain quilt which has only a single layer.  Always learning!

It was a beautiful sunny day when I finished - I sat out on the patio with an audiobook in the MP3 player and zipped right along.  I love the Mezzanine backing.  This quilt is long and narrow, and perfect for using on the backseat to protect the upholstery.  I think it will also work nicely on my bed where she lays, to protect my own bedding from her dirty tummy.

And speaking of dirty tummies, this is what I saw after my little photo shoot.  She rarely digs in the yard, but on occasion she likes to dig a bit in a flower bed.  On this day, she was burying a rawhide with her nose.  Her nose and paws are usually white or cream - not dirt colored!  Isn't she a cutie?  I didn't yell at all, so please don't think she's been scolded.  She is the best dog, even when she's a bit naughty.

I think she's thinking that if she doesn't look at me directly, somehow I won't notice!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stash Enhancement

On my day off this week I decided to stop by fabric heaven, aka Rainbows End Quilt Shop.  I have to tell you, just walking in to the place is good for the crafty soul.  There is inspiration everywhere with shop samples and lots of fun extras, like gorgeous woven ribbons, fabric glitter, patterns and quilting supplies galore.  I was looking for some Breakfast at Tiffanys to add to an upcoming project, but I didn't find any.  Not to worry though, I found plenty of other trouble! 

Some red fat quarters for no special reason, other than I adore red.  The top right is tiny dark red polka dots on a tomato red background.

I was also looking for fabric to go with this gorgeous Flower Fairy panel from Michael Miller.  Last fall while I was waiting for some yardage to be cut at the very same shop, the lady ahead of me showed me what she was getting and I just couldn't resist.  (Temptation is everywhere at this shop!)  I impulsively bought the panel, figuring if my niece didn't like it I could find another recipient, but she does and I want to get to work on it soon.  Of course I forgot to take the panel with me, so I was guessing as to whether any of these fabrics would work.  I couldn't find any other coordinates from the original panel, but I think one of these will do, don't you?

And then I found some other cute prints I just couldn't pass up.  The cupcakes will become a half apron for me to wear at work and the girly pattern will probably become a drawstring bag for travel and toting various things around.  If I still had a vanity, I'd re-upholster the chair with the girly print, but alas there is no vanity in the house I'm living in now.

I'm on a semi-fabric diet.  My plan is to use up some of what's in the stash already, but you know you never seem to have exactly everything you need once you settle on a pattern.  At least that is what I am finding in my own stash.  The red FQs above were half off, and I don't have a specific plan for them, but I'm sure I'll find some way to use them!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some Lessons Learned

Now that I've finished my first quilt project, I am obsessed with quilting and I can't get enough.  The next project I wanted to work on is a quilt to cover the backseat of the car, to protect the upholstery from doggie detritis.  I usually use a fleece blanket or a quilt I got at Marshalls, but I really want to make something new and fresh for Katie.  I had two panels of Lakehouse Fun Flowers and I thought they'd make a fun, quick quilt.

Isn't that pretty?  I took this photo before I was finished with the flimsy, so you'll see 8 blossoms in the final.  The green sashing and the backing are part of Mezzanine by Patty Young from Michael Miller.  I love the pink and green, since its so cheerful & springy.

I'm rather far along in the process of quilt number two now, and I thought I'd share a few lessons I've learned in just two quilts worth of work.

Spray baste is your friend.  I had such a hard time with the Daisy Chain quilt in the pin basting process - I just couldn't get everything straight and even and where I wanted it to go.  This time I used spray baste before pinning and it makes things so very much easier.  With the spray, it seemed easier to smooth out the fabric and batting, and then pinning was a breeze.  I used my dining room table and foolishly sprayed without covering the table, so now I have spots where lint is collecting.  Note to self:  be sure to throw an old sheet over the basting surface.  It creates a somewhat stiff sandwich, but I'm finding it easier to quilt.

Go slow and do your best.  My mom used to tell me that all the time, and I can hear her voice telling me the same thing as I quilt.  It is a challenge to shove the sandwich past the needle perfectly, but practice does make better.  One of these days it'll get closer to perfect.

Go ahead and wad it up.  It'll be okay.  It's much easier to smush the sandwich through the neck of my standard sewing machine if its rolled up.  The quilt bounces back quite nicely.  I'm not quite sure why I thought I needed to be all prim and proper with it and keep it flat, but no longer. 

You need a large clear surface.  This should probably come first.  My sewing set-up is a little odd, and I hate putting things away.  This is a bad combination for sewing anything over a 12 inch block.  As the flimsy got bigger, and then once I began quilting, the sandwich started knocking things off my tables and driving me insane.  Taking 10 minutes to put things away and clear the space was hugely valuable.  I will try harder to keep things tidy to keep from going batty.

Nike was right.  Just do it.  Prior to the Daisy Chain, I'd done alot of household sewing projects, small applique, and cut fabrics for about four different projects, but I hadn't been able to bring myself to start putting a quilt together.  I'm not quite sure what my hang up was, but now that I've gotten to work and finished one quilt in its entirety, I'm thinking there is nothing I can't do!

Isn't it fun to learn along the way?  What have you discovered lately?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finished Object

Since I didn't get a full photo the other day, here's my new beauty!  The sun hat is there for scale, and because its cute.

I wanted to get a good shot of Katie on it, but of course she wasn't interested.  Silly dog.

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day to you!  May Day means alot of different things to different people, but for me its all about the beginning of Spring and FLOWERS!  When I was a little girl, I used to pick violets from our yard, place a bouquet on the front porch for my mom, ring the doorbell and run away.  Of course she knew who they were from, but she played along any way.  What else would a mom do, right?  I can't bring her violets any more but I sure am thinking of her today.

In Annapolis, Maryland they have a lovely tradition of celebrating May Day by putting flower baskets outside, both residents and local businesses and the town explodes with color and creativity.  People come into town from all over on May Day, even buses of people from Baltimore and they walk the streets downtown, enjoying all the gorgeous flower arrangements.  When my shop was in Annapolis, I had a great time coming up with a new theme each year.  This is from a couple of years ago - a butterfly themed basket complete with butterfly house, two art glass butterfly feeders and feather butterflies all over.

Hope you have a beautiful, flowery day with a lift in your heart at the start of a new season!