Thursday, June 30, 2011

Small projects with quick finishes

Small projects are a great way to keep your crafty interest going and to feel a sense of accomplishment in the midst of several larger projects.  My WIPs at the moment are all fairly sizeable, and some are ongoing like the Birdie BOM and the Kaleidoscope QAL, so having smaller items to finish is keeping things interesting for me.  (How's that for a mouthful of crafty acronyms!)  I have a couple of recently finished small projects to share though.

This cute little drawstring bag was made from an unidentified fat quarter and with no pattern.  I took some notes along the way, and I think I may write up a little tutorial for it, but I need more 'in progress' pictures to really do it justice.  It's a great size for many things like knitting projects, a lingerie bag for travel etc. but its current job is to hold plastic bags at the shop.  I love the green swirls on this fabric.  It makes me think of Ireland, especially the circles at Newgrange.

A mug rug is on my list of things to do, but I wasn't feeling too creative when I realized that I need some kind of coaster for my sewing table.  I made a simple 9 patch using pieces from my favorite Mezzanine line by Patty Young / Michael Miller.  I've been snatching up bits of the line at some great prices, and I'm going to be terribly sad when its all gone and I've used my stash of it.  Its just so fun and perky.   The quilting is just a somple crosshatch through the squares.  Here's the front and the back, with a beginner binding job.  I really need to work on my binding, and small projects like this coaster are a good way to keep improving skills.

I'm also kind of excited that I just learned how to combine photos in PhotoScape.  Now if I can just take better photographs to start with, I'll really be on a roll!  The lack of natural light inside my house is never so obvious as when I want to take a picture.

Any small projects in the works at your place?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Not much quilting going on at my house.  My works in progress are more organizational than crafty these days and there's nothing terribly interesting to share at this point.  Unless you'd like to discuss how many sets of mixing bowls you think a girl needs, and where precisely she should put them in her awkward kitchen cabinets. ;)

I have finished 2 rows of my Orange & Pink Waves, using the New Wave pattern from Oh, Frannsson.  I really like the pattern, and I really like the fabrics I've chosen but I'm having a hard time keeping my seems even.  Sewing on the diagonal is harder than you'd think for a newbie.  I'm finding it difficult to get the triangles matched up evenly on the sashing as I go along.

I was quite tickled to finish the second column, but once I lined them up on my bed I realized that some of the sewing is a little off.  I think I used more than the standard 1/4 inch on one or more section of sashing on one column, or perhaps less than 1/4 inch on the other column? 

"Houston, we have a problem"

The odd thing is, that when I switch the placement of the two columns, the error doesn't seem quite so bad.   In this photo below, I matched the left side of column A to the right side of Column B instead of A-right to B-left.

And the error(s) isn't quite as dreadful.  There is definitely still a problem though, and I want to fix it before moving on.

I'm also 'working on' being brave enough to cut into my collection of Pop Garden and Nicey Jane for the Kaleidoscope Quiltalong.  I'm just not sure I've chosen the right color values, and I would hate to begin cutting and then end up with a bunch of scraps on the design wall that don't play well together with the pattern.   On the knitting front, my nephew requested a Jedi cloak in black and I've been working on that using the Wizard's Robe pattern from Charmed Knits.  I don't think I've done any knitting in almost a year, and I'm finding it very relaxing.  Plus that allows me to accomplish something while I'm sitting on my tush watching various shows on the DVR.  Getting something done while veggin out - gotta love that!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

If variety is the spice of life, its also the spice of creativity.  Sometimes I think you need different projects for different moods, and certainly your circumstances create limitations.  I'm planning a road trip soon so I'll be bringing along some knitting and probably some embroidery.  No hand quilting in the car for me!

Here's the January block for Birdie Stitches.  I've got all the fabrics cut and partially sewn for the borders, but I don't have the borders on the blocks all just yet.  This requires some planning, so as to be sure I don't end up with certain fabrics right next to one another.  I love the January block - I made my birdie red for a winter cardinal, and the snowman is a fairly predictable blue.  But I made the snowy swirls pink.  I kept thinking about the blizzards in DC two years ago, and walking Katie in the deep, deep snow when there were no cars around.  It was so peaceful and truly beautiful, and for me it was food for the soul.

And here's May.  Yes, I know its weird to skip months like that, but I wanted to start with May because that's when I joined in and I figured I'd catch up with the other months later. Call me kooky.  So May was actually finished first, and I used purple for the field of small flowers because I used to bring my mom violets on May Day when I was a little girl.  The larger blooms are all sunny colors to celebrate spring.

I'm finding that even though I take my time sewing, I still end up crooked.  What is up with that?

Moving on to a new project, a couple of weeks ago I got a crazy notion that I wanted to do a pink and orange quilt.  I decided on the New Wave pattern from Oh, Fransson and found about half what I needed in my stash.  A quick trip to the LQS for some additional fat quarters and Bob's your uncle. Or so they say.  I've finally gotten everything cut and started sewing the columns this week.  I'm really excited about this one!

It's a well written pattern and easy to follow.  The time consuming part so far was the cutting.  Well, I started off with a brief delay of a few days because I didn't have a large enough piece of quilters template plastic to use for the 6x9 block template, but once I got past that wee hurdle I was on my way!

I thought I had a good shot of my orange & pink fabrics all stacked up but I can't find it.  I've been very out of sorts this week for some inexplicable reason.  The sewing has helped to center me, and since I've gotten two embroidery blocks done I feel like I've actually accomplished something. 

What are you working on?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jumping into June

Can you believe its June already?  I have a couple projects languishing because I've been busy with the shop and with guests for Memorial Day weekend, but now I'm back to getting into the fabric, instead of just daydreaming about it.

I've decided to participate in two group quilty events this summer.  One is hosted by the lovely Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy. She's doing a Kaleiscope QuiltALong and I think it will be lots of fun.  I love this block, and I'm hoping that having more of a deadline will keep me steadily at work. Self imposed deadlines don't always work for me when it comes to crafty projects.

My current plan is to use a selection of stash fabrics from Pop Garden.  They're so cheery and I'm anxious to use them in something bright and fun.  I added the top one from Meadowsweet.  I think it'll work.  I'd like to look for something in blues to add, so I'll have 4 basic colors: yellow, hot pink, green, blue.  No clue what the background will be for the blocks.  I'm thinking a pale yellow.  What do you think? 

In addition to the Kaleidoscope QAL, I also signed up for a red & white block swap over on the HGTV Quilting Discussion Board.  This is a great group of ladies who like to talk quilts and do swaps.  I was a member of the discussion board several years ago, but when I switched crafts I abandoned them for a time.  I've joined up again and its fun to chat and see what everyone else is accomplishing.  They are full of encouragement, advice and fun!  The swap is for 12 blocks due September 1 and I'm really looking forward to it.  I've chosen a fairly detailed block that will be a challenge for me, and also great practice.  You can never have too many red & white quilts, right?

Are you in any swaps or quilt-a-longs for the next few months?