Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday with some noticeable progress

squared up granny squares
After what seems like forever, I finally finished making all my granny squares for this month's jelly roll quilt. FYI - I squared up all my granny square blocks to 9".

Um, fyi - I probably won't completely finish my jelly roll quilt this month. You know, in case you haven't already figured that out for yourself. I'm planning to at least finish my quilt top by Saturday, though.

Warning: Feather-phobes, avert your eyes!

quilting plans 
Here's a peek at the quilting pattern I'm planning to use for my granny square quilt. I didn't even have to shrink or enlarge the pattern. It fits in the block perfectly. It's fate. This pattern is destined for this quilt.

solid love 
I also received the fabric I ordered for Triangle Modern Quilt Guild's block swap. I decided to go with a few different solids. Now I just need to cut and package them up for my fellow swappers and decide what types of blocks I most covet. (stars, geese, pinwheels, log cabins, etc.)

  • Projects started this week: 0
  • Projects finished this week: 0
  • Progress on the nutty WIP spreadsheet: I got to check off ONE box. Holla! 
  • Total number of WIPs: 24
Check out WiP Wednesday over at Lee's place for more quilting project updates.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, March 23, 2012

Scrap Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered the scrappy giveaway! Here are the winners of the various scrap bags...

Ladies, be sure to check your email! 

Newsflash: Did you catch this post on True Up earlier this week? I'm obsessed with that fabric now.

In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be granny squaring it up!

granny squares in progress

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Save Me From Myself

It's Saturday at 7:30am as I type this post, and I've already been up for 2 hours. I've planned our meals for next week, made a grocery list, and done a load of laundry. I hope the husbatron wakes up soon, so I can eat a real breakfast.

Now, on to the meat of the post.

I'm a few weeks months behind everyone else, but I'm finally getting on board with the whole decluttering train a little bit at a time. The other night, I got it in my head that I needed to throw away/donate/recycle 31 things from my sewing room, since there are 31 days in March. It took me less than 10 minutes, and it's kind of hard to tell that I threw away anything at all. Oi.

I donated a pile of quilts to donate to the local guild at the last meeting for some of their charity efforts. I had a fun time making these quilts, but we don't have a need for them right now, and their existence has been properly documented in photos.

letting go II

And I also sent a small pile of unfinished projects to Sarah. Again, I enjoyed working on these projects, but I haven't found the inspiration/kick in the pants to finish them in the past couple of years.

letting go
I'll admit it. I'm a hoarder of scraps. See this post for evidence. It's become pretty apparent in the last few weeks that this monthly jelly roll quilt project isn't exactly going to help my little scrap-hoarding problem. Yes, I'm using a jelly roll to make a quilt each month, but I'm not using up the entire jelly roll each month. There have been a fair amount of leftover scraps from each project thus far that I have saved. Because I am crazy.

In an effort to get some of the crazy out of my sewing room and into someone else's, I'm giving away a few sets of scraps.

Group 1 - I save all my "cutaways" from flying geese units, snowball blocks etc. This set of cutaways came from this oversized Schnibbles quilt. I think the fabric group was called Spring Meadow. It's a fun and happy set of fabrics for anyone who's welcoming the warmer weather and sunshine with open arms.

spring meadow scraps

Group 2 - This set of scraps is kind of hard to see, but it's from my first ever (and only so far) sampler quilt. I love this quilt and fabric. It makes me think of everything I love about fall. I also have a little more yardage of the fabric, so I have no need to hoard all these itty bitty pieces. The fabric group is Sonnet by April Cornell.

sonnet cutaways 

Group 3 - These scraps are from last month's jelly roll project. Since I did my own thang for the border, I don't need to save the 15" that remain at the end of all 40 jelly roll strips for the border, as the pattern dictates. 15" x 40 strips = 600" worth of jelly roll strips to play with. Maybe make some of those Granny Squares that are all the rage? I'm also throwing in all the "cutaways" from the block construction. The fabric group is Botany by Lauren and Jessi Jung.

botany scraps

Group 4 - Finally, these scraps are leftover from my Glam Garden Gala dresden quilt. I thought they'd make the beginnings of a great confetti quilt (like the confetti block I made for Jules), but I'm not entirely in love with the fabrics for this block, mainly because I can't decide on a background fabric color. I'll save this quilt pattern idea for another pile o' fabric scraps.

glam garden scraps 

So, if there are any fellow scrap enthusiasts out there who'd like a chance to own some of these scraps, just leave a comment on this post, ranking the groups of scraps in order of your preference.

For an EXTRA entry, leave an additional comment, letting me know if you've enjoyed a good (new or old) movie lately and what it was. My Netflix queue is looking a little tired.

I'll close down the giveaway on Monday night and announce the 4 winners thereafter.

Update: Comments closed. Thanks to all who entered!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making it Up As I Go Along


I've been making some glacial progress on my Granny Squares. I tried a couple of blocks following Jolene's tutorial religiously. But the middle row of my blocks - the row with 7 squares - kept bowing to one side or the other, and then the blocks themselves would get a little bit frilly and wavy when I joined together all the rows. There's only so much I can do with spray starch. Please note, this undesirable frilliness is a result of my own subpar piecing skillz, NOT a result of Jolene's tutorial. She's fabulous. I'm so thankful that she started this whole craze. Here's the first block I tried out:

first pass

You can't tell from the photo, but once I pulled out my ruler to start squaring up the block, I realized I was in big trouble. I see lots of sashing in my future if I use this particular block. 

So after playing around a little bit with the layout, I decided to break down the piecing another way.

step 1: Instead of piecing one on-point row at a time, first I piece and press the 3 rows that make up the 9-patch in the middle of the block.

the core of the block

step 2: Then I piece the 4 rows of 3 squares that surround the 9-patch, press, and add them.

outer borders

step 3: Then I add the final background pieces to the edges and press.

the final touch

Here's the cliff's notes version for anyone who's a super visual learner:

broken down

There's much less likelihood that I end up with bowed rows and frilly blocks by making it this way. AND I'm getting much quicker at piecing the blocks together. I think it works out to less ironing, which is always a good thing for me. But I could be making that up because I want it to be true. I haven't actually timed how long I spent ironing doing it one way vs. the other.

progress thus far 

So that's the main action in the sewing room these days. I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Lee's place. Head on over there to see what projects other folks have been working on this week!

And it's been awhile, so I'm sharing my nutty WIP spreadsheet, in case you'd like to peek into the madness of my sewing organization. Even though I've finished up a fair amount of quilts lately, the sheer volume of WIPs in my life hasn't decreased all that much. As soon as I finish one project, I start a new one.

I had a breakthrough at some point last month. It's probably pretty obvious to most people. Finishing WiPs is the same as losing weight or increasing wealth/saving money. If you want to lose weight, the general rule of thumb is to burn more calories than you eat every day. If you want to save money, the general rule of thumb is to spend less than you earn each month or pay period. Similarly, if you want to whittle down your list of WiPs, it's probably advisable to finish more projects than you start. Duh, right?

So on the weeks that I decide to get serious about whittling down my list of WiPs, I'll try to be more accountable about the number of projects I've started and finished.

Stats for this week:
  • Projects started: 0
  • Projects finished: 2 (I sent a couple of my unfinished projects to Sarah for her quilt ministry to finish. More on that later this week.)
  • Total # of WiPs: Gulp, 25

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trends


I'm finally giving in to the Granny Square madness. I'm using Jolene's tutorial to make up Granny square blocks from a charm pack and some stash for my March jelly roll project.

So, for those of you who haven't yet played along with the jelly roll challenge because you didn't have an official jelly roll, this month's for you.

I started with a half-dozen or so half-yard cuts that I cut down into 2.5" strips, along with a coordinating charm pack I happened to have on hand, but you can substitute more strips if you'd like.


IMG_3065-e


All told, I'm going to need 30 strips to construct the blocks the way I want.

I'm still on the prowl for some Kona Ivory fabric from a local source to round out the rest of my background. I only need one more yard of it, and I keep hoping that the Hancock Fabrics near my house (where I polished off the last of the bolt) will get it back in stock in the next week or so. All my other usual fabric haunts are out/backordered for this particular color, and I hate to order online for just one measly yard of fabric, y'know?

I know a lot of people are using granny square mania as a good excuse to use up their scraps, but I'm really excited to go with a controlled color palate for this block. Admittedly, the Etchings line from 3 Sisters is supposed to be reminiscent of French city streets, but I can't help thinking of Downton Abbey when I work with this fabric (speaking of trends).


homemade jelly roll

Anyways, back to the cutting board for me!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Botanical Floral Bouquet

The sun finally returned to NC over the weekend. I snapped this photo yesterday, as soon as the quilt came out of the dryer.

botany finished

I glanced at my archive last night and realized I didn't really have too many in-process posts for this quilt. That dearth of posts is largely due to lots of stuff going on at work. Once I made the time to sit down and do something fun, I wanted to sew, not blog about sewing, y'know?

just the top

So I'll do my best to recap the details for this quilt. I actually followed a pattern for February - woohoo! I used the Floral Bouquet pattern from Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. After winging it in January without the official pattern, it was kind of a relief to have clearly written directions to follow.

Of course, I didn't follow the pattern *exactly.* I changed up the borders and the settings. Other quilts from this pattern are long and skinny with skinny-minnie borders, made from leftover strips. Since I had a large-scale print for the border, I decided to make my quilt a little stouter with chunky borders just on the top and bottom. I changed up the setting for the middle of the quilt, too. Instead of having a rectangular on-point setting, I opted for a square on-point setting for the middle. I had to make an extra block, using a strip from my stash, but besides that, everything worked out pretty perfectly.

IMG_3073-e

Here's a close-up of the quilting (and the awesome border fabric!). I did a squiggly line grid on the diagonal in the middle, and some large loops in the borders. It's pretty wide quilting, compared to some of my other quilts, so it's nice and snuggly.

IMG_3072-e

Here's a shot of my favorite block. That bright pink just makes me happy.

IMG_3071-e

For the background, I used Kona Khaki, since I didn't really like the look of any of the white/cream background colors with this fabric. They all seemed to wash out the bright colors when I tested them out.

amelia scrap bag

Finally, the winner of the Amelia scrap bag/strip roll is Carla, who made a super-cute strippy quilt from the Reunion fabrics by Sweetwater. Carla - be sure to check your email for a message from me!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the February party. 26 more days until the March party starts - that's plenty of time to work up a strippy quilt (top), if you're so inclined.