Sunday, July 26, 2009

String Quilt Top - A Work in Patience

. . I would say a work in progress, but it's really mainly done. I will be adding a three inch sashing in white on all sides. This photo only has 72 squares, as I took the opportunity provided by the break in the seemingly omnipresent clouds yesterday to snap a photo. I added another row last night to make it a wee bit bigger.

The quilt top currently measures approximately 52" across by 65" down, and I'm thinking I will add 3" inches on all sides. I'm planning a very plain backing, although I can't resist just a wee bit of piecing. My plan is to piece the back, and then put them aside for awhile so I can work on other projects. (Like 4(!!!!) small baby gifts I want to put together for recently-born or soon-to- be-born babies. I'm hard at work tonight on some piecing for some cute bibs).

Advice on how to quilt this thing once it's all sandwiched up? Ashley at Film in the Fridge, who made the beautiful Kaleidoscope quilt and brilliant accompanying tutorial that guided this one did a meandering free motion, but I don't think my machine could handle such a big quilt (it's a bit stubby!). I was considering something like this - thoughts?
I used the "eyeball" method for laying out my squares, that is, I didn't measure where the white strip should go, I just tried to line it up as best as I could. I didn't use pins at all except to try to hold my seams together when attaching rows together. I say this not as a suggestion on what to do . .just a confession. In the recent quilting class I took, the instructor said "oh, you can pin, but you'll just have to take them out as you go" . . I kinda took that to heart! (Call me lazy!)

I didn't have a hard time getting the paper off at all - I just bent each and every row of paper back before tearing it .. my stitch length was so small it really was as though the paper was perforated . I used regular copy paper and a few scraps of newspaper when I ran out . . both worked fine.

I used 1.25" strips instead of 1" for the white as Ashley did - - looking at hers, and looking at mine, I wish I had followed her suggestions as I like how her white pattern is slightly less prominent. Lesson learned. For next time . .these are addictive. My string bin will remain close at hand for me to chuck potential strings into as I sew other things.

On another, much less exciting note, I go back to work, full time after a year of maternity leave, in just two weeks. I expect the time alloted to sewing to dwindle extensively. I'm very concerned about how little sleep I've been getting and how that will affect my work performance (maybe I'll just adapt, but I must admit that often when I'm sewing at night my eyes go a bit out of focus and I know it's time to pack it in for the night . . I am thinking earlier nights will have to become the norm with my youngest daughter being such an early bird). After staying up until 11:45 sewing last night, topping up the baby with milk, reading for a few minutes (a nightly ritual) and tossing and turning with visions of string quilts dancing in my head, I fell asleep at 12:30am with baby m waking at 5:30. It was my husband's turn to "sleep in" so up I got. (The quotations denote that a sleep in at this house=a 7:30am rising).

Good thing this is the face I get to look at so early in the am.

- Donna

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Making it Work" quilt is finally complete

When I had the idea to make a quilt for my mom and stepdad (what else was I going to make them, really?!) I knew I wanted to use Daisy Chain in this colorway. They just repainted their house and these colors fit in well with their decor (I hope!).
I've had the fabric for a while now, but was struggling with what pattern to use. My mind went through a good many patterns before I got frustrated and just started ripping the fabric and sewing strips together. And so it became what you see here, the "Making it Work" quilt. Once I had the strips, I just made it work from there!
My intention was to make a checker board with white blocks between the blocks of strips, but it looked too bland with just the white, so I cut up the white blocks and framed up some Robin's Egg and Stone Kona solids.
The binding is pieced with each of the five Daisy Chain fabrics in the blocks and is sewn on entirely by machine. I'm pushing two weeks late on this one, so some sacrifices had to be made! I am quite pleased with how it turned out. My picnic quilt also has a machine sewn binding, but it's lacking a bit since I didn't figure out to sew the 2nd time around on the front until this quilt! Much neater this way!
Throughout the process, I was never 100% sold on this quilt, but I've never met a quilt fresh out of the dryer that I didn't fall in love with.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shop Update!

I've added more vintage bed linens to the shop if you're interested! This time they're in fat quarters and full pillowcases. I couldn't bring myself to cut those sweet borders, so they're there in all their pillowcase glory!



July 5X5 - Wonderful Wonderland

Sara shared some of her excellent Wonderland fabric this month; lucky me. I hadn't managed to get any of it for my stash yet so what a welcome addition.
She also sent the cutest vintage apron which my daughter M claimed for herself. She loves wearing "airpanes." Check out this great print:

Methinks I'll be claiming it back.

Sara tucked in a few of her awesome business cards from her new etsy shop, Frugal Adeline, and I was really thrilled to see some of her photographs on them. They're really great, and so perfect to slip into her packages. I can't show them since my baby got ahold of them and evidence of her ever inreasing number of teeth has made them look a bit gnawed. . . but trust me, they look awesome. I'm so proud of Sara for making the leap into being an etsy shop owner.
Just for the record, Sara, I think we should do this swap again next year, too. I think it's so much fun. Cheap and cheerful! Gotta love that.
- Donna

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 5x5 in my hot little hands

Once again Donna has outdone herself with the 5x5 swap. What she calls mismeasurement, I call a happy accident! They may not all measure 5x5, but I do believe it worked out to my advantage! This month inspired me to order myself some of those "O's". They're actually called "Mingle" and they're designed by Jennifer Moore. I ordered a yard each of leaf, summer and blossom from fabricworm. "O" dear!

Thanks so much, Donna. You're the best!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Button, button, who's got the button?

I recently participated in Wonder Mommy's Button Swap. I was fortunate enough to be paired up with Sara from Mexico. I know, same name! Take a peek at the little lovlies she sent along; tiny notecards, some adorable button action and 2 meters of Mexican lace! So pretty.

She also sent a sweet little stationary set for Big E, but that was squirreled away just as soon as it exchanged hands, so no photos!

Have I mentioned my love for swaps lately? I really do love them!

Thank you so much for the goodies, Sara!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quilt the Seasons

My first ever giveaway win!

I had signed my name in the Sewn Launch Giveaway and was pleasantly surprised to hear from Pat Sloan, that I had won a copy of her beautiful book, Quilt the Seasons. It is chalk full of inspiring projects that I'm itching to have a go at. I think they're more than likely a bit above my current skill level, but it can't hurt to try.

Thanks so much, Pat!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Houston, we have a quilt top!

I'm with Donna, it's hard to sew when it's Summer! I have a hard time finding anything I like about winter, so when the warmer weather comes around, I park my buns outdoors and soak up every minute that I possibly can.
That said, this quilt is coming together at a snail's pace. It's a present for my mom and step-father's 20th wedding anniversary that was...ummm...last week. Late again! Good thing they love me.
For fabric I chose Amy Butler Daisy Chain and Kona Solids. The pattern is me winging it and the whole thing currently measures 47.5" x 57". I suspect it will shrink a bit since, as per the usual, I didn't prewash a thing. Can you imagine where I'd be if I took the time to prewash? I'd never get anything finished!
I have to be away for the whole week for work, so this poor quilt top will sit as is for the week...unless I get a bolt of energy this evening and decide to baste and quilt it. Unlikely, but not impossible.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Slow and Steady Progress

I've been picking away at the string quilt blocks, and my pile of blocks has slowly grown to 22.

Sewing in the summer is hard . . there is so much else to do . . .we've been berry picking, which resulted in two jam making nights in a row . . we tried a new (but old) method of pectin-free, low sugar jam. It worked out pretty well, although you do get far fewer jars of jam as it's really more of a concentrated fruit reduction. But it's summer in a jar, and you can't beat that. I found the recipes over here, if you're interested. We made strawberry and cherry blueberry.
But back to the string quilt . .

... I think I might be falling in love.

My husband's only comment thus far, when I force him to look at it is "it's colourful." And that it is. Which is why I think i love it. I love that it's perfectly imperfect, and that it's helping me to clean out the fabric cupboard. I love that there are so many of my very favourite prints in it. And most of all, I love that it's relatively mindless sewing at this point. Perfect for those lazy days of summer.
I wanted to give a shout out to Christina over at the Sometimes Crafter, too. If you haven't been over to her blog, please stop by for a visit . .if you're here via her blog, welcome! We hope you'll come again!
Happy weekend, everyone!
- Donna

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm hooked on strings

Ever since I read about and feasted my eyes on Ashley's beautiful Kaleidoscope string quilt, I've been hankering to get started on my own. Then she kindly posted a tutorial and I really started making plans.

I have been setting aside scraps since I started sewing, and two nights ago I began the process of cutting them into useable strings. I also grabebd some bigger pieces of fabrics I really love, as well as some that I don't think I'll ever get around to using. I think a string quilt is a great place to use up some of both. I had initially planned on using up only things I didn't really care for, but a friend convinced me otherwise. "Use what you love," she urged, and since this quilt is going to be mine all mine, I'm taking her advice. Oh, I might just be using up the last of my Flea Market Fancy!!

I cut. And I cut. And I cut some more. I have no idea if I have enough, or even how large I want the quilt to be. As suggested, my strings range in size from 1" to 2.5". I realized that too many of my strings were on the wider side so tonight I cut some of them into more narrow pieces. I am using 7" squares as my foundation pieces, and we'll see how it shapes up. I'm pretty happy to be working on a block quilt for the first time. While I'm terrified that my cor ners won't come close to meeting up, it's super nice to be able to pick up a few strings and sew up a block when I have a few minutes to sew. With two kids under three, sometimes a few minutes in one go is about all I can manage.

Here is a shot of my first four blocks . .more to come. The process has me intrigued, and firmly hooked.

- Donna