Wednesday, October 27, 2010

UFO Busting with Pat Sloan, Step 2



The next step that Pat posted a couple of weeks back was to pick a few UFOs to work on.

She gave lots of ideas on how to choose. Pick one that is...
  • Fast to finish
  • Looming with a deadline
  • Fun to work on
  • A long-term project
  • Intended to be a gift
  • A love in your quilting life and can finish easily

Ultimately, Pat recommends narrowing down your choices to between 3 and 10 projects. I'm going to err on the side of caution and only choose three.

DSCN1468

I'm going to go ahead and say the same thing I've said to a couple of commenters. I don't know that I'm going to be able to completely finish these projects by the end of this UFO-busting process, but if I can at least move a few of them from one stage of the process to the next - quilt top to basted quilt top, or quilt blocks to pieced quilt tops - I'll consider the UFO-busting challenge a smashing success.

Now, down to business. My 3 favorite works in progress...

  1. The Martinique quilt - Despite the epic arithmetic blunder from the summer, I'm still enamored with this fabric and cannot wait to see the finished product.
Source: http://bunnyhill.blogspot.com/2009/10/you-are-amazing.html
  • The Scrap Quilt - Admittedly, I'm adding this one to the list because it's the closest to being finished. But there really is something special about this quilt. It's my first "true" scrap quilt, where I just pulled a bunch of dark 2.5" strips out of my 2.5" dark scrap bin and didn't worry about anything matching. Even the leftover blocks on the back are all mis-matched and even mis-pieced in some places. I think that adds to its overall charm, though.

DSCN1474
My stash in various levels of organization. My scrap bins are in the right set of bookcases on the middle shelf.
  • I think I'm going to have to say that the Gobble Gobble 9-Patch would be my final pick. I'd love to be able to finish this quilt in time to enjoy it before Thanksgiving or at least during Thanksgiving weekend, but eh, we'll see.

Gobble Gobble NIne Patch

A little over a year ago, Pat issued a challenge to Moda Bake Shop readers to use Gobble Gobble fabric in some way to decorate their home for the fall holidays. Waaaay back then, I started on this project but obviously never finished it. I think it would be neat to wrap up this project for another challenge that Pat issued. See the flickr pool for pictures for more Gobble Gobble projects from last year's challenge.

UFO Busting with Pat Sloan, Step 1

A few weeks ago, Pat Sloan started a series of UFO Buster Tips. What is a UFO? About.com probably has the most succinct definition: A UFO is an Unfinished Object--the remnants of those quilts we start to make but never seem to finish.

I'm already a bit behind on Pat's tips, but I'm going to try my darndest to catch up, since the first few tips are mainly just housekeeping.

So, Tip #1: Know what you have and categorize it.

Group A - Almost done
– not much left to finish it AND I LOVE the project and WANT to finish it

My First Scrap Quilt!
  • Scrap Quilt I - It's all basted. I just have to quilt and bind it.
Group B – Almost done but .....This is the group that you have lost interest in and really don't feel like working on it any more.. GIVE THEM AWAY.. yep.. you'll feel MUCH better.

State Fair leftovers
  • Peace on Earth Sampler - I don't think this project has even seen the light of day on my blog or flickr. I started it a few years ago as a Christmas present for the Hubz. I loved the fabrics separately, but once I put them all together, the quilt started to look a little girly.
  • Leftovers from Hunky Dory State Fair Schnibbles (leftovers pictured above)
  • Figgy Pudding Picnic II - leftover basket blocks from the first Figgy Pudding quilt

Group C – Partially done AND I LOVE the project and WANT to finish it

Charm pack quilt along completed blocks
Group D – Partially done but....Do you REALLY want to finish them? I think we often have more in these piles than we think we do

Group E – Barely started – do you want to keep or not?
Whew, you'd never guess that I was on a crusade for closure a few short months ago.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just One Charm Pack + The Triumphant Return of Menu Plan Monday

So today, I'm very excited to lay the groundwork for what I hope will be a great series of tutorials - Just One Charm Pack.

You all know how it goes, right? You're in your favorite fabric shop, picking up a border or backing fabric, just eeking by with your monthly allotment for fabric, and you spot a charm pack of a cute new collection, so you add it to the top of the stack to ooh and ah over the new prints, since you can't afford to buy a bigger pre-cut or yardage at this point. OR, you fall in love with a set of fabric about 3 weeks after everyone else does, and there is NONE to be found ANYWHERE, except for a lone charm pack in a shop in your grandparents' small town that you discover while you're still so bloated and disoriented from the carb overload that was Christmas dinner that you forget to check for any coordinating yardage while you're in the store. Can I get a witness?

Charms!
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luladahl/4623389868/

You get the charm pack home with every intention of making a cuuuute table runner the next weekend, but you're quickly distracted by the avalanche of pine straw that seems to have suddenly materialized in your yard. So the charm pack sits, forgotten and neglected, in a drawer or maybe on your cutting table, along with all your other single charm packs. Once you work up the gumption to do something with the charm pack, you start cruisin' the Internet for some sa-weet tutorials. Unfortunately, almost everything larger than a tablerunner uses at least 2 charm packs, and even some tablerunners require a few extra squares than what comes in the standard charm pack (I love ya dearly, but I'm looking at you, Miss Rosie, with your Schnibbles patterns). Am I the only one who finds myself in this predicament? Maybe, but I hope not.

Because I'm about to tentatively step my toe into the already whirling, busy world of quilt blog tutorials, with what I hope is a useful series of (free!!) scrappy quilt patterns. All of the tutorials will use one and only one charm pack (or 40-42 (5") squares for those of you with a large stash of pre-cut scraps), plus some coordinating yardage for borders - because I love a few good borders - and a fair amount of background fabric, since I've been coming around to the idea of white/blank relief space at a fast and furious pace for the past year or so.

DSCN1480
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35981592@N04/5117568448/

The sizes of most of the quilts I'm envisioning will range from large baby quilts to lap-sized quilts, and as mentioned earlier, background fabric will play a heavy hand in stretching the charm squares into larger quilts. If you're up for the fun, get ready to become BFFs with your favorite Kona or Moda Bella provider.

Source: http://www.threadedmess.com/2010/08/i-heart-kona-solids.html

I'll warn you, these won't be stash-busting tutorials, per se. If you're looking to use 234,634 charm squares in one lap-sized quilt, um, well, as much as I would love to help you and then oooh! and ahh! over your final project, these tutorials probably won't be for you.

But before all this hoopla can happen, this tutorial newbie actually has to make the quilt AND write up the tutorial. So, in the meantime (and just in time for you folks who are all about making your own holiday gifts), here are a few of my favorite tutorials already out there that already use just one charm pack (+ some other stuff, usually).

source: http://www.cian-erc.org/tech-transfer.cfm

A quick disclaimer about my yet-to-be-created tutorials: Most of them are going to be based on pretty traditional patterns and won't be completely original (hellloooo, 9-patches). Especially since the web has become a much more social place, the quilting community is ginormous, grows a little every day, and exchanges information (via tutorials) like whoa. Odds are, I probably keep up with only a very small wedge of it. Over the next few months, if you notice that I've ripped off or hacked a pattern or tutorial that's already out there, puh-leeze let me know. Such a faux-pas certainly wouldn't be intentional, and the last thing I want is to steal someone else's creative thunder.


Finally after a 2 (3?) week hiatus, Menu Plan Monday is back. Here's what's on the dinner queue for this week:

Check out OrgJunkie to see what other folks are cooking up this fall!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Glam Garden Gala - Dresden Plates

I'm pretty sure I'm coming in to this at the tail end of things, but I'm finally entering a quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Fall Festival.

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

In my opinion, this event, organized by Amy, is truly one of the coolest things out there in quilt Blogland and by far the best type of quilt festival because 1) no admission fees 2) it doesn't end after this week - you can go back and view all the entries 4 months from now if you want. So if you have other things on your calendar this week, no biggie. 3) you can go to this quilt festival in your jammies.

And without further adieu, I bring you my finished Glam Garden Gala quilt!!

glam garden gala side view

If you've been hanging around here for the past couple of months, you probably noticed that it's been on my mind (therefore on my blog) for awhile now. Here's a brief re-cap:

quilting along the side
  • QuiltDad, who serves as the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild's swap-sami, hooked up the guild with 25 FREE Ten Squares (Kaufman equivalent of layer cakes) of Glam Garden by Josephine Kimberling.
  • My stack of fabric sat on the back of my sewing table for about a month, untouched, while I dreamed of making a dresden plate quilt and merrily worked on KarrieLynne's charm pack quilt along.
  • Then about 2 months ago, I had a bit of a reality check and realized that I better GET ON IT if my dream of a dresden plate quilt was going to come to fruition with this fabric.
  • That's about the time this quilt started to take over my crafty life.
Here's a brief re-cap of how I made this quilt using 10" squares. Please note that this quilt relied heavily on tutorials posted by fellow bloggers who are much wiser and more articulate than I. In short, this project is definitely a testament to the coolness of the Internet.

First, a few comments about this stack of fabric - there were 40 total squares, with 20 different prints, so there were 2 squares of each print. BUT even though there were half as many prints as what you'd find in a Moda layer cake, I thought the designer did a great job designing a wide variety of prints in this collection. The prints were definitely a bit less matchy-matchy than what I usually envision for a collection, and maybe for some patterns/quilters that wouldn't work very well. For the scrappy dresden plate, however, I thought the variety of prints worked out well.
So, my first step was to cut (4) 5" charm squares from each of the 10" squares. For some of the large-scale prints, this kind of broke my heart. But I managed to keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on.

From there, I used this tutorial and this ruler to cut 3 spokes from each charm square, yielding 12 spokes from each 10" square, or 24 spokes for each print. This took much longer than I anticipated.

Then I used this tutorial to start making the pointy spokes. Again, this took much longer than I could have imagined.

After all my spokes were made, I started playing with the look of the plates. Options: Did I want to only use one color or print per plate? What about 1 of each print in each plate (there are 20 spokes to a plate with this ruler and 20 total prints in the layer cake)? I finally settled on using 2 prints per plate. That way, there was a little bit of scrappiness without looking too frenetic, which was what happened when I tried one of each of these prints in one plate. System overload.

Glam Garden dresden plates

After matching up the prints, I kept using the same tutorial to construct the outer ring of the plates.

Glam Garden dresden plates

By this point, it was time for me to start seriously considering machine applique. Time was closing in rapidly, and this would be my first adventure in machine applique. Efficiency was of utmost importance. After perusing blog-land and considering other folks' kind suggestions, I settled on this method for the circles, and this method to applique the plates to the background fabric. Surprisingly, this didn't take nearly as long as I anticipated. Y'all - I don't think I've ever said that about any part of any of my projects.

Now it's time to talk about layouts. My initial idea for this quilt was to have a huge piece of white background and randomly applique the plates all over it. After looking at applique tutorials, I realized it might be a tad bit easier to work with smaller background pieces for my first machine applique adventure. So, I was on the lookout for settings that would make my quilt look a little more random. I soon stumbled across this quilt from Lisa. I loved how she left some white space interspersed between the blocks to make things look random.

For the machine quilting, I used Elizabeth's loopy flowers tutorial at Oh Fransson. I already want to use it on 3 other quilts.

glam garden quilting close-up

And lest I forget, the backing fabric is from Pretty Please by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit Fabric. I got it for a great deal from Wish Upon a Quilt's sale room.

glam garden gala backing fabric

A BIG thanks to Robert Kaufman for sponsoring the guild's challenge!!

glam garden gala

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm here.

Last week seemed awfully busy, so this week, I had every intention of doing some catch-up blogging.

Our cable/internet company, however, had other ideas in mind. We've been without our internet and our already measley cable choices (the 1st 25 stations) since Monday. The first night of the media outage seemed like pure misery for about a half-hour, as I accumstomed myself to the idea. I don't really think of myself as one of those people who watches a ton of TV or NEEDS internet access to survive every second of the day, but I did have some things that I had planned to do online that night. Once I reconciled myself to the fact that those plans were pretty much out the window, my attitude improved, and I went upstairs to sew for awhile.

I won't lie. I'm still trying to make peace with the fact that the cable company said the cable/internet outage might not be fixed until Friday afternoon, since it's not considered a "major outage." But in the meantime, if you haven't heard from me, trust that I'm probably upstairs stitching away on this quilt, in hopes that I'll be able to curl up in front of my Netflix On-Demand movies this weekend, while I sew down some binding.