Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another One For The List

Because it's not already two pages long . . .

But I was Googling quilt images (I do this every so often), and saw this one at Genome Quilts.  I at first thought the rotation of the blocks was random, but then I started reading . . . and found out that Beverly St. Clair uses the four gene bases (Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine, remember your biology?) to write the code for a gene in quilt blocks!  The nerd in me rejoiced.  So now I have to make the red cone quilt, and I want to track down some other gene sequences to make my very own new genome quilt.  Of course, this will happen many moons from now, after I cross some other projects off the two page list . . .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Double Star Creams

This is an ongoing project that I try to work on in between other projects.  I usually refer to it as the master bedroom quilt, but really, it is a variation of this Double Star quilt designed by Lila Scott from the October 2005 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting (sorry for the really bad picture).

 I started collecting fabrics then, thinking I would make an all-white/neutral quilt for my "trousseau", if you will.  (I read a lot of Little House on the Prairie and similar books growing up . . .).  I switched the original design from a throw quilt to a quilt big enough for our queen-sized pillowtop mattress, and I changed the borders.  This is my EQ6 drawing that I did this past winter when I decided I really needed to finish this project.

Double Star Creams copyright 2010 Rachel Ashby, Farm Gal Designs

There's still a little fudging to be worked out on the outer border to get the pinwheels completely square, and the inner border will be strip pieced (not blocks), but it's a good start.

Obviously, I got the idea for this project in Fall 2005 when I was engaged, and have been working on it (or not working on it) since then.  I finally decided I was tired of it sitting and made the decision to finish it.  My goal is to have it completed by the end of the year (12/31/2010).  Completed as in quilted and bound - completely and utterly finished.  That means I have a lot of work to do, especially considering the other projects I have going on or want to do this year as well.

I had done some of the basic piecing a while ago, and this weekend pulled the bag out and did some more.  I had several blocks with the quarter units done, so all I had to do was attach them to the center square.  I've finished 9 blocks of those and worked on more of the quarter units for additional blocks.
 A couple of individual blocks (some of the better planned ones).
 I decided I'm a masochist, because what person in their right mind picks a double star block with partial seams for one of their very first quilt projects???  I loved the idea of the all white/neutral quilt when I started; now, I kind of hate it.  But I'm determined to finish it so I don't feel guilty, and I'll probably like it when it's finished.  I figure it will make a nice spring/summer quilt for our bed.

I have 13 of 42 double star blocks complete.  And I haven't even counted how many pinwheel blocks I'll need yet.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

They told me it helps the economy!

Now I have something to tell DH when I buy fabric . . . it's my patriotic duty!

I was watching Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting today on our public television station, and they said to "go visit your local quilt shop and buy fabric!  It's good for the economy and makes you happy."

What more reason do I need? *big grin*

P.S. - Not much sewing going on here, but still slowly working on the scrap bags.  My crazy week is over, so I should have a little more time for sewing, at least until it's time to work on the vegetable garden . . .

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I've Been Cutting

Haven't sewn since finishing the burp cloth, except to add a selvage or two to my first selvage block.  I'm going to try a few and see how they go.  I'm not so sure of this first one.

Oh, and I did make up some quick sheers for our kitchen window (from an existing panel) so we didn't have to look at the construction going on next door (and so they couldn't see in).
But I've found a lot of stuff and cut a lot of scraps from the blue bin. 
There are still two grocery bags of scraps to cut, and I have lots of yardage that needs to be folded properly and organized, but that is not as big a task as controlling the scraps. 
 I definitely feel like they are more usable cut into strips and squares than the odd shaped pieces they start as (see below for an example - and it's not nearly as funky shaped as some of them).
From a funky shape . . . to neat 1.5", 2", and 2.5" squares and an odd triangle.
You might be wondering where I got these random scraps.  Well, some of them are from things I have made, but most of them are from an estate sale I attended with my grandma when I was a kid (probably middle school).  There was a big box of scraps along with a thing of buttons and other odds and ends that we bought on the cheap, and I've kept them for years because I  might use them (but I haven't in probably 10 years).  So I'm trying to get them in usable order.  One small step in controlling my ridiculous stash.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Work in Progress

Well, I dragged out the big blue tub from the bottom of my craft closet and started sorting and taming.  This is the big blue tub that has been with me since high school and is full of scraps and random fabric.  It takes up the entire bottom of the single closet in the guest room (now my craft closet).

Bonnie Hunter says to cut for 15 minutes at a time, but I'm a bit obsessive and did probably an hour.  So far, I've found 5 fat quarters, about 4 yds of fabric (a few pieces from 3/4 of a yard to >2yds), several patterns, two partially completed cross-stitch kits, and tons of scraps and nice sized pieces of fabric that I can put with the FQs.  There was this lovely windmill print.  I cut it into small pieces - like Bonnie says "if it's still ugly, it's not small enough!"  For those of you who like this - the camera flatters it.  It's not even this pretty in real life.

And here is the burp cloth I finished last night.  It was just what I needed to get me going again.  A quick, easy project (especially as I had already cut and pressed the pieces).  If I ever get an Etsy shop up and running, it will be for sale.  I am making a baby quilt with the remaining fabric, eventually.

Well, it's late, and I have lots of cleaning to do in the AM, so I'm signing off.


Don't Hide Them

This is totally me:

“. . . do not stop buying fabric – it is a part of the collecting process. Don’t put your new acquisitions away or hide them from a disapproving family. You bought them to enjoy, so do just that, even if that means just stroking them occasionally.”
- from Stash-Buster Quilts by Lynne Edwards

(She goes on to mention that you need to start mixing them with other fabrics and cut them up and use them, since that is what you bought them for.)

I'm trying to work on taming my scraps.  It's a slow start right now, but I'm working on it.  I'm hoping to drag out the big blue bin this weekend (after cleaning and some actual sewing, I promise!).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I've been blocked

I haven’t blogged in a bit, mainly because I haven’t sewed a stitch in almost two weeks! After finishing the Easter dress, I decided I wouldn’t do anything else until I’d made all the alterations. Well, I don’t want to. And it’s been blocking me because of that. So I am going to make just a couple of small adjustments and call it good enough. And then I have lots of things to work on that will make me happy (pretty fabric, easy to finish).

1) Finish the burp cloth that has been sitting undone for almost a month.

2) Sew up another baby sling using my modifications (to sell).

3) Finish the ironing board cover – it’s mostly cut out; I just need a little time to get everything figured out and actually done.

4) Work on some Master Bedroom quilt blocks. I haven’t done that in quite a while, and I really want to finish it by the end of the year.

5) Nursing Cover for my cousin (test project for the pattern I’m working on)

6) Kitchen dishtowel project

7) My sister’s college blanket and birthday present

8) Baby quilts to sell – I have one cut out and another partially cut out that I would love to start piecing (maybe a good opportunity to try out “leader/ender” technique?)

9) Start taming scraps/fabric . . . I’m going to have to do this anyways to make packing easier this fall.

I have also designed some fun quilts on EQ6, but my list is such that it will be a while before I make them.
I’m going to force myself to sit down at the machine tonight come **** or high water. I managed to get it set up last night, so at least it looks inviting.

TTFN :c)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Dress

Here is the fabric and pattern at the beginning of the project. I used View B of Simplicity 3503, and the blue (although it seems purple in some lighting) and white fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics, purchased with a trusty 40% off coupon.
 According to the pattern envelope, I was about a size 20 (makes sense, I usually am two sizes larger than in ready to wear, and I’m a 14-16 in that currently). Once I finished the dress though, I realized those measurements don’t mean jack. I may be a little larger than normal, but I was not THAT large. I had to take in the side seams quite a bit, and while it worked for the day, I need to make some alterations to the dress. I think this is going to entail taking apart the bodice (joy, joy) to move the gathering under the bust in towards the center. This is my problem. I’m carrying some extra weight, but I’m not super wide. I have an average to small frame, especially on top. But since I’m nursing, I am a D cup, which means I have to make the bodice bigger to accommodate the bust, but the rest still needs to be narrow so the arm scyes and shoulders work (my boobs don’t hang out under my arm, they tend to sit front and center . . .). Not a big deal in wovens, but with a knit dress that’s gathered over the entire front bodice, this makes my alterations a bit of a pain. In addition to the front being skewed, the back was gaping a bit when I straightened my shoulders (when I wasn’t slumping), so I need to take that in as well (increase the overlap) to get rid of the gaping. Once I remake the bodice, the remainder shouldn’t be too bad. I just need to take in the sides a good bit. I think next time I make this dress, I will cut the bodice to the size 20 length to accommodate the bust, but make it size 14-16 width to keep it narrow and correctly aligned with my body.

I finished the dress just before midnight on Easter Eve. It took longer than expected (I didn’t want to have to sew it at the last minute) because I had a nasty cold all week and just didn’t have energy. And when I did work on it, I hated the gathering on the first shoulder and decided to rip it out and redo it.

Here is a picture of the dress, taken on Easter. I look so . . . round, I guess. I’m not happy with this body, so I really need to find time to get back on the exercise wagon. Happily, warm weather usually makes healthy eating much easier. But the dress looked nice, and I know once I rework it, it’ll look even better.
 Next up, I’m not sure. I have tons I need to do, but I’ve just been a bum lately. I have a half-finished burp cloth that needs to be completed, an ironing board cover that’s cut out and needs to be worked on, and a nursing cover to find fabric for and make for my cousin. Not to mention the master bedroom quilt that has been patiently waiting in its tote bag to be worked on. Of course, I would rather start on some blocks for my Farmer’s Wife Sampler quilt. Or write a pattern for my version of a nursing cover and the new quilt I was designing during choir practice last night.

And a random picture - Miss Dixie likes to help make sure the fabric (interfacing in this case) doesn't run away . . .


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