Friday, January 23, 2015

The Quilt That Almost Killed Me

Y'all.  This quilt.

I don't even know where to begin.  Every single step of making this quilt was cursed.  I thought about stuffing it into a project box and hiding it in the corner of a closet at least 63 times...but I didn't.  

Over the several weeks I spent working on it, I took lots of deep breaths, dropped a ton of F-bombs, drank several glasses of wine...and a couple martinis too!  I won't go into painstaking detail regarding what went wrong, but I will give you the bullet points:
  •   CJ (aka #spoiledrottenmongrel & #rottenmongrel on IG) claimed this quilt as his own during the basting process, walked onto the top and got mud on it.  I got most of it out, but there is still some faint staining.  
  •   I mis-measured and cut the backing fabric a good 8” too short; so I had to add a strip of  something else at the bottom
  •   You may have seen the pictures on IG of my quilting nightmare -  I spent days picking out all the stitches
  • When I started quilting again I had to pick all the stitches again because of my needle/tension/whatever because I had those big loopy balls of thread EVERYWHERE
  •   When I was picking out stitches, I poked decent-sized holes in the fabric – I managed to quilt over them enough so that they won’t fray and grow bigger, but still...
  • When I went outside to snap a quick pic this morning, I backed up a few steps and almost fell down the stairs, bruising my bottom and shredding my most perfect pair of yoga pants!  Forget the fact that I could have broken my neck - let's focus on the important thing - do you know how hard it is to find perfect fitting yoga pants when you have actual hips and a big ol' booty??? Also, I couldn't even use the pics because it's so grey and dreary outside!

I don't know if it's because of, or in spite of, all the drama involved in the making of this quilt, but I freaking love it.  If you've seen any of my other quilts, this may surprise you.  I usually go for brighter colors and a lot more...activity in my backgrounds.  This quilt is much more low-key than what I usually make.  It's fun doing something different - sort of like a palate cleanser between courses.  

This quilt marks my first experience with hand binding.   I struggled a bit at first, but once I got going, I loved it.  It's definitely worth the extra time.  In fact, I sort of want to rip off the binding from all my older quilts and hand bind them...sort of. (OK, let's just get real for a sec: ain't nobody got time for that nonsense!)  One thing about the binding: I had a very hard time picking the right fabric for binding this quilt so I put it up to my Instagram friends and went with their choice of a print from 2w3nty-Thr3e by Eric & Julie Comstock, which I LOVE. So thanks IG folks!"

You can find the quilty stats for this one here.

One last shot of this quilt....

As you can see, CJ and I are still debating which one of us is the proper owner of this quilt!

It was a busy week here in Eastern Tennessee and I'm a bit late with my To-Do Tuesday post, so I'm including it here.  Since I'm so late with my to-do list, this week's to-do list is pretty simple:
  1. Prep binding for the whirligig quilt
  2. continue cutting for my next quilt 
  3. Make at least one Anvil block for a guild charity project
  4. Knit a little
I'm linking up all over the place this week!

Stitch ALL The Things - Richard and Tanya Quilts

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Not My Most Productive Week

OK- so technically I know Sunday is the first day of the week.  However, if we go with that logic, it means I didn't get in a blog post for last week.  So, we're going with the 'Sunday is the last day of the weekend; therefore, this post still counts for last week.' logic which means I didn't blow that resolution in the first month of the year.   Yeah, I know that logic is a bit dicey, but I'm OK with it. 

I spent three days in Atlanta earlier this week specifically to pick up a painting that my grandfather left me and to go to IKEA with my mother.  I struck out on both accounts!  First, the painting (which is gigantic!) did not fit in my little Honda.  Second, traffic Wednesday morning was horrific - or should I say more horrific than usual for Atlanta - and I could tell my mom was not in the mood for it., so I took one for the team and suggested we go elsewhere and avoid downtown.  

Because I was gone for three days, I didn't get a lot done this week.  However, I did manage to do a little...

I started hand binding the Florence quilt.  At the suggestion of Christine from Stitch All The Things, I ordered some milliners needles to aid in the process.  After double checking, it turns out I was using a needle that was too big, which I found to be a relief since I was really struggling to pull the needle through the fabric.  I was using an 8 when a 10 would have been much better.  So, I'm holding off on continuing with that until I can get some tens.  This is my first experience with hand binding... I'm loving the look and am sure that once I have the right sized needle, I will find the process much more enjoyable.

Since I had to put the Florence quilt on hold, I managed to get most of the Whirligig quilt quilted.  I had originally planed to FMQ the hell out of this one, but after having so many issues with the Florence quilt, I chickened out and am doing a grid with my trusty walking foot.  Also, I'm using the seam guide that Christine suggested and while it does vibrate a bit, I'm loving it.  It's so much easier than marking up the top.  One more note about the seam guide: Christine wrote a review post and an update that sum up quite nicely my feelings about the device, so I thought I'd share the links to her posts instead of writing similar reviews.  The update addresses the vibrating and provides an ingenious and easy way to fix the problem.

Since I spent 3 days in Atlanta and am now in Virginia for a few days, I'm making great progress on my Cozy Striped Blanket.  This is such an easy pattern- and it's free!  

Next, I'm going to share some pictures of some of my mother's quilts.  She's not crafty, so she didn't make these; but she has a good eye and loves a good quilt.  The star quilt is my favorite as it was a gift from my late grandmother when I was baby.

Lastly, I wanted to share that I attended my very first guild meeting yesterday!  One of the first things I did when we moved to Tennessee was research the area to see if there was a modern quilt guild in the area.  Luckily for me, the Knoxville MQG meets fairly close by.  I attended their meeting yesterday and was very happy to find a group of great women!  They made me feel right at home with their smiling faces and enthusiasm.  I was very pleased to find that they are quite organized and have some fun things in store for 2015. My only regrets were that I was unable to stay for the entire meeting and that I didn't get the opportunity to meet everyone who was there.  I had to hurry out of the meeting to get on the road to VA, but I did join the guild before I left.

Hopefully next week, I'll have a finish to share.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

To-Do Tuesday | 01.06.15

I had grand plans for this week.  I thought I'd have the Florence quilt completed by Sunday, Monday at the latest, and have started on something new by mid-week. And then this happened...

Somehow I failed to notice this mess not only after I'd basted the quilt, but after I'd quilted 3 of the six rows!  When I finally did notice it Saturday afternoon, I was so disgusted with myself, I had to walk away from the quilt until Sunday morning.  In hindsight, I should have started picking stitches out immediately because it takes forever!!!!  I'm still picking stitches and it's Tuesday morning.  I was planing to have a Friday finish to write about this I'm not so sure.

Here's my To-Do List for the week: 
  1. Keep picking out stitches
  2. Try hand binding for the first time (er...if I get all those stitches picked and requilted that is!)
  3. Keep knitting a Cozy Striped Blanket
  4. Follow up with Joann's on my batting order- for the second time! 
  5. Find and unpack my quilting books

Before I discovered the debacle that is the back of my Florence quilt, I had planned on starting, or at least planning out, a quilt made with my Comma scraps.  I am still head over heels for that collection and have been planning to make myself a quilt since I finished my aunt's quilt in 2013.  So, well over a year later, I'm finally getting around to it thanks to @projectleasa and #SewMyStash2015.  I mean, seriously- what's the point of having all this amazing fabric if it's just going to sit on a shelf gathering dust??

Alright, I'm off to pick out some stitches while I wait for it to warm up enough to take my mongrel for a walk.  All of a sudden, it's winter here!

Linking up with Christine @ Stitch All The Things

Stitch ALL The Things

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Year of Finishes

Happy New Year Y'all!

I managed to complete 9 quilts this year.  My goal was 15, but life got in the way.  I'm actually surprised I managed to finish 9. In addition to the death of my grandfather, which hit me very hard, I had some health issues to deal with and a spur of the moment move from North Carolina to Tennessee.

This year, I'd like to finish 12 quilts.  That should be attainable considering I've got 5 tops waiting to be basted and quilted. Also, I've already got the backing and binding fabric for all of them. That leaves just 7 quilts to make from start to finish. Considering I've got a couple of other projects in the piecing stage, I should be in good shape.

I'd also like to blog a bit more.  I really enjoy the process and it keeps me on track.  I went months last year without one post. This year, instead of setting a lofty goal of three posts per week, I think I'll just shoot for just one post each week.

As stated in my previous post, I'll be participating in #SewMyStash2015 and #WhipYourWIPs2015 on Instagram.  Obviously from my comments above, my WIPs are out of control.  The only thing more out of control is my stash.  Why am I buying all this fabric if I'm not using it?  Of the 12 quilts I'd like to make this year, I'd like at least 10 of them to include fabric from my stash.  That leaves me a little wiggle room in case something comes up and I need project-specific fabric.  

Those are my quilty goals for 2015.  I'm putting them out there in hopes that it keeps me honest and helps me achieve them.

Since it's Friday, I'm linking up as I finished my Shoo Fly quilt earlier this week.  

The front was pieced with Deb Strain's Family Tree collection along with various neutral low-volume prints.  The back is a Brother & Sister Designs dot print I found at Hobby Lobby and loved.  I also incorporated one of the panels from Family Tree and the extra block I accidentally made for the top.  You can find the details for the quilt here.

Linking up with:

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Plan for 2015...and a Finish!

Well we did it.  We are officially (almost) settled in at our temporary home in Tennessee!  It's been such a crazy month.  Hubs and I both suffered through what seemed like a never-ending flu bug; we somehow managed to get most of the boxes unpacked or at least stored; and we were able to make the apartment not only presentable, but fairly well decorated for house guests our second weekend in the apartment. No small feat when you're so sick with the flu that you can barely stand up, let alone hang lights.  All in all, while it was definitely the most low-key Christmas ever, Hubs and I managed to have a really fun holiday.

Of course, all of that left little time for anything craft-related.  I finally unpacked my sewing machines and some of my quilty WIPs last weekend.  I was inspired to start sewing again when I saw that Fat Quarter Shop had a sale and I could get a layer cake of the new 32 Kona colors for under $10!  Naturally it was the appeal of new fabric instead of the looming stack of WIPs that inspired me.  Nonetheless, at least I unpacked those pesky WIPs, even if I did ignore them for awhile longer while I pieced a quilt top with my Kona layer cake. I used one of the text prints from Riley Blake's The Cottage Garden for the background. I don't know about you, but I love solids with text prints!

I was hoping to have this quilt finished before the first of the year.  Unfortunately I didn't have enough batting on hand.  I had to order some because Google told me there wasn't a Hobby Lobby or JoAnn's nearby.  Apparently Google is a big fat liar because it turns out there is a JoAnn's about 20 minutes away.  I might swing by tomorrow while out running errands.  I mean, it's not like you can have too much batting, right? 

Since didn't have any batting to finish the Whirligig quilt, I finally finished my Shoo Fly quilt!  I started binding this thing months ago and then got caught up with other things and didn't want to finish it.   I used Deb Strain's Family Tree collection along with a lot of my low volume neutrals and a couple of coordinating solids.  The binding and backing both came from Hobby Lobby.  I've used some of their higher quality fabrics for several projects and they seem to hold up pretty well.    

Here's a close-up shot of the quilting.  I kept it simple and just did a large stipple, or meander.  There's a lot going on with the blocks, especially since I used multiple prints for the background.  The great thing about stippling is that it adds a lot of yummy texture, but doesn't take away from the fabric.  You can find all the details for this quilt here.

Over the course of the past week, I've become disgusted with the number of unfinished projects I have lurking about (I think there are 12-possibly more!).  I proclaimed to Hubs that 2015 would be the year of the WIPs and sewing down my stash.  I swear, I could make 30 tops without having to buy anything except batting.  It's embarrassing how much fabric I've amassed in less than 2 years.  So I was thrilled when I stumbled across @projectleasa's Instagram feed last week and saw that she'd started #SewMyStash2015.  Perfect!  I jumped at the chance to participate and have been excited to see so many of my IG friends commit as well.  You can learn more about #SewMyStash2015 by following @projectleasa on Instagram or by visiting her blog.  Then, as if that wasn't enough, @WhatTheBobbin posted with this hashtag: #WhipYourWips2015.  I jumped on that one too.  I haven't seen anything on her blog yet, but it's definitely worth a visit! I have a feeling both hashtags are going to see a lot of activity over the course of the year.

The one thing I'm not committing to is a fabric fast.  I know my limits...and I've seen the upcoming collections by Tula Pink, Denyse Schmidt, and Anna Maria Horner.  No way am I passing those up.  However, I'm going to try to avoid buying any other fabric unless I have a specific use for it.

I'm even good on basics (which I never seem to have enough of).  Thanks to the holiday and end of year sales, I've stocked up on Kona Snow, black yarn dyed Essex linen and some Cotton + Steel Netorious in Kerchief.  Also, I've built up quite a stash of binding fabrics over the past year.  I watch my favorite shops for sales and buy a yard or two of anything I think might make a fun binding. I'm fairly certain I've got something for just about any color combo I'll be using for the next several months!  I've even been hoarding fabric for backings- like Geekly Chic glasses, Britten Nummer, and those 2 wide back text prints from Windham. So, with the exception of batting, I'm pretty set...for awhile anyway!

In addition to finally finishing the Shoo Fly Quilt, I've repurposed my Florence stash.  I originally bought it for a QAL last Spring.  I lost interest in that and let the HST and geese blocks I'd pieced sit in a box.  I've taken the HST's and started piecing them into these blocks:

I've got enough to make a nice sized lap quilt once I add sashing. I've also got enough of the geese blocks to make at least a baby quilt, maybe even another lap quilt if I add sashing and a border.

Since we're hopefully buying a house sometime in the second half of 2015, the more of my stash I use up, the less of it I have to pack...again.   So here's to a productive year of sewing down my stash and whipping my WIPs!

I'll wrap it up with this:  Happy New Year!  Here's to your best year yet!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We're moving!

After what seems like ages of trying to relocate anywhere in the Southeast, Hubs, CJ and I are leaving the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina and moving to............


We're both still in shock.  Even though it's been our goal to relocate for a few years, we went from no hope at all to hurry up and get to Tennessee in 2 weeks!  EEK!

Lucky for us, we never unpacked the boxes we had packed when we thought we were moving to Charlotte earlier this year.  We've still got an awful lot to do before we clear out of our house, but we're very thankful half of the kitchen is already packed along with a lot of books and decorative items.

We'll be trying to move a 3 bedroom house with a full basement into a 2 room apartment for the time being.  I doubt that will be much fun, but we're going to do our best to avoid having to get a storage unit!  

Two weeks doesn't leave a lot of time for house hunting and we haven't even had a chance to talk to a Realtor and get our NC house listed.  I have a feeling there will be some back and forth driving in my immediate future, but that's fine- as long as the weather holds out. We have to go directly through the mountains by Asheville to get from one place to the other, so I will not be going anywhere if there's even a chance of ice and snow.  I love my little Honda Fit, but she's not built for that.

The one down side is that I won't have any time for blogging in the immediate future. Between the move, trying to sell our house, trying to find a job and house hunting- I doubt I'll have much time for quilting anything more than the pinwheel Christmas quilt let alone trying to write about it!  Fingers crossed that I get this quilt finished before Christmas!

I'll be eager to get back into the swing of things once we get settled though.  I'm also excited that we'll be near Knoxville so I'll be able to visit the Knoxville MQG. I've never been to a guild meeting, so I'll be interested to see what their group is all about.

I'm linking up with Christine over at Stitch ALL The Things one last time before the big move, so I guess I'd better get to my To-Do List.  Last week we were in Tennessee doing some house hunting, so I didn't have a very successful week.  This week, my list is short & sweet:

  • Get a move on with my Solstice Pinwheel quilt!
Someday I'll get these pinwheels done...someday!

  • Pack
My stash has been packed...well, most of my stash.
  • And then pack some more!

Lastly, here's to a holiday season filled with love, cheer, family and friends.  I'll see you all in the new year, if not before!

Happy Holidays Banner

Linking up with Christine @ Stitch ALL The Things
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

To-Do Tuesday... on Thursday!

I had this blog post all typed up and ready to go last night.  Then I promptly deleted it.  Awesome.  

So let’s try this again…………..

I am finally making some progress in the sewing room.  Stress on the word “some”.  I had to use my sewing room as an impromptu storage space for items that usually live on our back porch while we waited (and waited some more) for new doors that were finally installed Monday.  Now that I don’t have to perform an acrobatic routine to move around in there, I am eager to spend as much time as possible working on quilty things.

Naturally, instead of getting caught up on existing WIPs, I’ve started another project.  No guilt about this one though.  It’s a Christmas quilt, which I am sorely in need of since I ended up selling the Modern Trees quilt earlier this year.  I don’t know about you, but I love a good Christmas quilt.

Since I want this Christmas quilt done by Thanksgiving, I’m keeping my To-Do list short this week.  Also, Christine from Stitch All The Things and I have decided to skip another week of F Word Blocks, so that’s one less item to mark off this week’s list:

  • Finish cutting squares for the Christmas pinwheel quilt.  I’m using some of the prints from mySolstice F8 bundle along with some coordinating prints and a bunch of white on white prints for the background.  I’m really excited to get this done, so I can snuggle up under it while watching A Christmas Story, Scrooged, and all my other holiday faves.
Got the Reds done.  Next up: Greens and Grays!

  • Piece another Ampersand block
First 9 of 100 squares sewn together for block 2 of the
Ampersand quilt

  • Work on my current knitting project, the Cozy Striped Blanket pattern I found on Ravelry.  I’m following the pattern exactly, except for the stripes part and I’m using different yarn.

That’s it.  If I manage to make progress on anything else (doubtful at best!), it will be a bonus.

So, what are you working on this week?  Link up over at Stitch All The Things and show us!

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