Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I thought I was done...

On Sunday, I finished reconciling my books for my business so I could turn everything over to the accountant.  What a weight off my shoulders but, UGH!  Hours of looking at numbers on a computer screen!  The perfect remedy for the malaise that brought on was, of course, quilting!  I finished piecing my Star Sampler top!

At least, I THOUGHT I was finished, but the darned thing is screaming for some kind of border to me.  I'm thinking continuing the Irish Chain out half a block more around the whole thing.  What do you think?

Then, despite the fact that I am a hand quilter, I am sending this out to a long armer.  There is NO WAY I'm going to try to hand quilt through all of those batiks!

This quilt makes me happy.  Know what else makes me happy?  This month, my husband and I finally paid off our student loans, 24 years after graduating from college!!!  We're headed to Cancun this weekend for a 5-day "Spring Break" to celebrate, just the two of us.  I'm dancing the happy dance!  I plan to eat, sleep, read, sit on the beach and knit and that's IT!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

One for the books

I get some unusual requests at my shop...but I think this one takes the cake.  I was asked to make a Virginia Military Institute scarf for Mr. Potato Head.  I like a challenge, so I gave it a go.
I thought she wanted a knit scarf since we're a yarn shop.
But then she mentioned wanting the VMI "spider" logo, so I tried again with knit fabric.

I hope one of these fits the bill.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up my Star Sampler quilt.  The fourth and final star we'll be making, Rising Star, is my favorite, I think.

I hope to finish piecing the top tomorrow.

I'm linking up with Oh, Scrap and Monday Making.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Orphan 9-patches

Well, basketball season is officially over for my family.
My youngest and me at the game, wearing our pom poms on our heads.
My husband's team lost in the semifinals yesterday (by TWO HEARTBREAKING POINTS!!!), so all of a sudden, I have a little more free time.   Time to visit my sewing room that I haven't set foot in for quite some time.  I did a little tidying up, and then unpacked a bag of scraps that someone had recently given me.

Lo and behold!  What's this?

There were nine 9-patch orphan blocks in the bag, too!  I could have thrown them into my orphan block drawer, but chose instead to throw them up on the design wall and play around with them a bit.  Add some snowball blocks and some setting triangles from other fabrics that I found in the bag, and I may have the beginnings of little quilt here.  It's busy, but it reminds me of the old-timey scrap quilts that I love.  Hopefully some big, dark borders will calm it down some.
It isn't sewn together yet.  Gotta let this marinate, not sure I'm committed to this.
As a leader and ender while making the snowball blocks, I sewed together a couple more Charming Plus Blocks.  Still not sure what I'm going to do with these, but I love seeing each one come together.

Play time is over, though.  Work calls; I have many college admissions files to read before March 1.  Meanwhile, I'm linking up with Oh, Scrap and Monday Making.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Start of my Star Sampler

A month since my last post!?!  How embarrassing!  Of course, I have been crazy busy...

And I have been creating.  Lately, it's been A LOT of knitting, but also working on a Star Sampler quilt for a class I'll be teaching.  I'm using a batik charm pack and a coordinating 2.5" strip roll and a gray Kona solid for the background, setting the four different star blocks that we are making with simple Irish Chain alternate blocks.  We are doing the ribbon star


the woven star

the simplified lemoyne star

and the rising star (which I haven't finished yet).
Is it possible I only have 8 blocks done so far??  I need to get cracking!
With three of each star block and 13 alternate blocks, they can make a nice 60" square quilt in no time.  I need to sit down and crank out the rest of these blocks this weekend so I can hang the top in the shop as advertisement for the class.

I've also been working on my row for the 2017 Row by Row Experience, but I can't show you that!

Here's hoping everyone out there is finding some "me" time in all the craziness of 21st century life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Patchwork, sewn and glued

My "to-do" list yesterday was longer than my arm!  Of course, rather than tackle it, I hid away in my sewing room and sewed together a pixelated heart quilt for my shop window.
made from 2" squares - I hope to get it quilted before February
Then, because I have so many precut squares and because I had a plywood leaf made for my secondhand (leaf-less) shop table, I spent a couple hours Mod Podge-ing squares onto the leaf to make it more appealing.
Before the plywood leaf - this is a typical Thursday night at my shop and it is WAY too crowded around the table!
The new plywood leaf added LOTS of room (36" on each side), but it's kinda blah.  And rough to the touch.

I much prefer the color that the fabric adds to the leaf!

Don't tell, but I stood on the table to get this shot.  TSP stands for The Stitchin' Post, which is the name of my shop.
Lots and lots of squares used, and I didn't have to cut anything!  THIS is why I cut my scraps into precut sizes - when I just want to sew, I can just sew!

I'm linking up with Oh, Scrap and Monday Making.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sunny Day Sewing

I love my sewing room, particularly when the sun is streaming in the windows, warming up the space and dancing with all the colors.  Monday was such a day, so I spent hour after hour down there, working on several different projects.  (As a shopkeeper, my "weekend" is Sunday and Monday.  Sunday is more of a family day, but Monday is all about ME since the kids are at school and I am off.)

First off, I pulled some neutral strips and starting sewing together some 4-patches.  I bet a good number of you can guess why.

Yep, I'm jumping on the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt bandwagon!  I've made several of her quilts and have all of her books, but I've never done a Bonnie Hunter mystery.  When describing En Provence, she mentions being inspired by lavender fields.  That was enough for me - lavender and lilac are my two favorite flowers and anything inspired by either appeals to me!  I'm a week behind, but I'm sure I'll catch up.

I made a couple more PLUS blocks.  These are fun to make as I work my way through my scrap bins.  The idea is that once I pull a fabric out of the scrap bin, I use it up completely, either by putting it into a quilt block or cutting it down to one of my precut scrap sizes or both.

And I thought I had made all of the strippy four-patches that I needed for this quilt, but it turns out I'm missing one.  Only one set of 10 blocks has been sewn together so far.  I'm hoping that making the strip sets to go in between the 4-patch strips will use LOTS of scrap strips!

When I wasn't sewing, I was knitting.  The color in this cowl makes me happy, the way it pops out against the black.  The yarn is Bamboo Bloom Handprints, and the pattern is Interrupted Cowl.

All in all, one of the most productive weekends I've had in quite some time.  It feels GOOD!  I'm linking up to Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Home Stretch!!

The Community Quilt came back from the quilters and Oh!  What a beauty!  It always amazes me how the quilting can really make a quilt sing!  Since I am a hand quilter and don't have experience "sending out a quilt", I didn't realize it would come back all trimmed and ready for binding.  BONUS!  So yesterday morning, I made a scrappy bias binding, thinking that a scrappy binding would play nicely with the scrappy top.  I'm getting better and better at making continuous bias binding - practice makes perfect!
To make the binding, I picked a couple of fabrics that I had less than a fat quarter of, but at least a square of 13", and used them all up.  Man, that feels good!  Although I'm going to miss this fun fabric!
I picked up the quilt in early afternoon, and used the time before my kids were done with school to sew the binding to the front by machine.
You can see some of the quilting here.  I think she called the design she used "Blooming Feathers."
Then I spent a lovely evening working on sewing the binding down to the back by hand.  In some ways, this is my favorite part of making a quilt!  So easy and relaxing and SO CLOSE TO THE END!
Binding Clips, how I love you!!  Those metal snap shut barrettes served me well for years, but these binding clips are just THE BEST!
But, of course, I can't just work on one thing at a time, so my leader and ender for the day was Block 10 of the Westering Women BOM, Rocky Mountain Chain.
I didn't cut off the points on the right in real life, just in my photos.
My fabric placement is a bit different than suggested, but I really like how this one turned out!  And HURRAY!  No Y seams!  Thank you, Barbara!!

Oh, and one last little bit.  This is a bit of bragging, but so much has been going "wrong" in my life these days, I want to focus on what is going "right" even if to do nothing more than cheer myself up.  When I picked up the quilt from the long arm quilter, I met her at our Monday quilt group.  When I came back from putting the quilt in the car (after showing it off to everyone there, of course), she was raving about my piecing, how row after row was exactly the same size and how she never sees that.  Again, having never sent quilts out for quilting, I didn't even realize this is important.  She said that if she graded construction on a scale of 1-100, she'd give mine a 95.  A for the day!!  Whew!  Putting blocks together made from over 60 people with different levels of experience was a bit challenging, but it worked out.  I guess taking the time to square up my blocks at every step is worth the trouble after all (although when I am doing it, I am grumbling the whole time, wanting to rush ahead with more piecing).

Have a great day, everyone.  And no matter what happens in our Presidential Election here in the US today, remember that we here are all united in our love of quilting.

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh, Scrap!