Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fractured Grinch One Step Closer

"Fractured Grinch" was put on the back burner as I made 4 bags for Texter to use for herself and to give as gifts.  So since she and Lady K are in the Carolinas visiting family, I am using the time to get the blocks put together.

I moved my sewing machine upstairs to the living room so I could listen to the TV, sew and watch the birds at the feeders.  During the day it's great as I get a nice amount of light in the room.  However, at night, it does did dark.  

Friday and Saturday was spent sewing together most of the 410 squares together in order to come up with the 41 blocks.  The only problem with the fractured pattern is I couldn't really get it straight in my head, so I had to constantly refer to the pattern to be sure I had my block laid out correctly.

I finished up the blocks and laid them out based on the overall pattern.  Technically, to follow the pattern I need 7 more blocks, but I bought the fabric and then decided on the pattern, so I am using the fabric that I have.  I also have a lot of the small blocks left which I will use as a 'border' maybe.

Sorry for the dark picture, but I was taking this at night.  But it does highlight the light/dark of the blocks.  Mojo was no help in the process.  

I am going to wait until Texter is back before I decide on the final layout.  Right now I am deciding between splitting it into 2 lap quilts or one large almost-twin-sized quilt.  She has a good eye and gives some good insight into my projects.  If I split it into two quilts, they would be 4 x 5 feet.  One large quilt would be 5 x 8 feet.  

So right now I am tired and I think a milk shake would help!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm a Winner!

I follow Vicki Welsh at Field Trips in Fiber.  She is so talented with her hand-dyed fabrics and quilts and fused glass and....well, there is just not anything she isn't great at.  But I won a fat quarter of her fabric last week (and sorry that it took so long to post about it).

It was great walking out to the mail box and coming back in with a lovely card and this great little package inside.

I braved the single digit temperatures in order to photograph this in natural light, by the way.  It's a lovely blue/green.  I can see going a little fussy cutting in order to utilize the wonderful right corner of this piece.  Right now I am leaning toward making it into a compass rose or center medallion paired with a red (leaning toward the maroon side) or yellow (leaning toward gold side) batik.  I am going to tack it up and think about it as I want it to be a featured fabric and don't want to waste it.

Such a lovely way to start out the holiday season, don't you think?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fractured Grinch

I love The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  It has been my favorite Christmas program for decades and I love his little, bright green self and crooked smile to pieces.   So it was not surprising when I walked into one of my LQS and saw a whole row of the Robert Kaufman line of Grinch fabric, that I had to buy some.  

I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I HAD TO HAVE IT!

It sat here for a couple of weeks while I pondered and thought, and thought and pondered.  Oh, no, no regular patch for the Grinch.  And then I spied these postings by Exuberant Color using the Fractured quilt pattern.

The more I looked,
The more I spied,
This was the one,
I could not deny!

And to make it a go, the pattern is by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsessions and I had the book already!

So (forgetting to take pictures BEFORE I started cutting up the fabric), I cut out my blocks yesterday afternoon and starting piecing my "Fractured Grinch".  It won't be a full size quilt (unless I can't resist and get more fabric), but it will be a fun quilt. 

(Please note the glass of iced tea to the left.  It is also a "must" for the sewing room.)

Some of the fractured squares waiting to be turned into blocks.

With all the cutting and hacking, hacking and cutting, I managed to get three blocks completed.  There are 4 blocks to this quilt, A, B, C, and D (very Seuss-like, don't you think) and I have 3 of the 4 Block A's done.

My lighting for the blocks is not the greatest in the basement.  But they are BRIGHT!  And wonky!  I am so excited about doing this quilt because, so far, it is coming together like I pictured a Seuss quilt would be.  Texter is going to be my assistant in laying out the blocks.  However, she has some definite ideas about how the fabrics should be combined, so there might be an issue here in the future, we will see.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

One Block Wonder Started

Quilter in the Closet

With Texter's help, I picked out some fabric for my first attempt at the One-Block Wonder.  Jen at Quilter in the Closet is leading a QAL for this method of piecing (and is doing a tremendous job).  I selected by fabric, but I wasn't really "thrilled" at the choice and came home with doubts as to it's workability, especially after seeing some of the selections on our Flickr group.

It has colors I liked (purple and green).  It has movement.  It is a nice size motif.  But then, like I said, after I bought it, I started having doubts.  I kept thinking I wanted a large, bold, colorful pattern.  But Texter told me to go with this.

So I have enough not only for a quilt top, but to probably do some strip piecing on the back of the quilt.  But that lingering doubt was there and I couldn't get to it for about a week.

The book is correct, the initial 'set-up' is fiddly, lining up the pattern, all 6 layers of it.  But once you get that set it is pretty straight forward.  Still doubting the outcome, I only did three strips.  I figured I didn't want to waste the fabric if it wasn't going to work.

I cut my triangles out and put them in my box (my attempt to be organized) and carried them into the sewing room and sat down to see how big of a mistake I had made with my fabric selection.  It didn't take long for me to get into a rhythm and I felt a bit like Noah's Ark, 2 x 2.  

I would sew 2 sets of 2 triangles together and lay them with the third set of 2 unsewn triangles, do a bunch, take them over and press the seams open, and then come back and sew the third triangle on to each set of 2 to form my half-hex.  Then I would press that seam open and put them on my new design board. 

And much to my surprise, this is what turned out.....


Of course, Texter is in the background with a smug expression on her face, going "I told you so!"

I am seeing some blocks that are very similar (if not identical).  But the movement is there and it is hitting all the right notes on my 'kaleidoscope nerve'.

So I am going to continue.  What is on the design board now is about 3/4 of the 3 strips I cut out earlier.  I am thinking now of some of the additional design elements Maxine Rosenthal mentions in her books. I have some purple batiks I am thinking of adding...we will see.  

Once I get my half-hexes sewn, I am then suppose to separate them out into dominant color.   What I am seeing so far isn't so much 'color', but value - light and dark.  I can see the quilt going from dark to light with some solid batiks included also going from dark to light.

This quilt was an 'experiment' in the method and so far I am pleased with how it is coming out.  However, I do still want to go with a bigger, bolder color combination, so I can see this will not be my only One-Block Wonder quilt I will be doing. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Like I need MORE projects, I signed up at The Sewing Palace for this year long MODA U class.  The pattern we are using for this class is called "Joy" by Whirligig Designs.  This is the pattern we are using....

Of course, I have to be difficult different.  So I am going with a 'reversed' design in coloring.

And it is all because of this fabric, "Autumn Harvest" by Jason Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics

Isn't it yummy?  I wanted to use all of this fabric that I could in the quilt, so I demanded decided I would go with this as my background. Not only were the colors luscious, but with the circles it brought out my love for mandalas/compass roses. This is the remainder of the fabrics I picked out.

From left to right, Dit-Dot by Jason Yenter for In the Beginning, Acacia by Tula Pink are the Racoon and the circles.  The rest is back to Autumn Harvest by Jason Yenter.  So I have 2 lights, 2 mediums (I am considering the fans medium) and then 2 darks and my background.  (I am proud of myself I remembered to jot down the fabrics I am using for the posting.)  On the pattern, I have to remember to reverse the fabrics when they specify light and dark.

Crazy, right!  I may have made the biggest design errors in selecting what I did, but I was going with my gut on this.  I just wanted these fabrics and I may be making the craziest quilt around, but right now I am happy with my choices.

This is what block 1 looks like.

It is definitely not a QUIET quilt by any means.  I can't wait to see how this quilt goes together over the next year.  I am so jazzed about it I just want to start cutting and sewing on it, but I will be a good girl and stay with the class on this one.  

It does bring "Joy" to my heart to see it and I guess that is all that matters.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Can't Contain Myself

Ever have one of those days when you agreed to do something you really wanted to do, but when the day arrived you really didn't want to do it?  That was me on Tuesday.  I had signed up for a class at the Sewing Palace, "It's a Wrap" based on the book by the same title.  I was really jazzed to take the class, but when the time came to go, I was really dragging my feet.  But boy am I glad I went, dragging feet and all!

Maybe because it was two days after the end of BOW and I was still getting my energy back from such a fun weekend, but I threw together some scraps of fabric that I thought might go together, put "Stitchy" (my sewing machine) into her bag and off we went.

Ann taught the class and had tons of wonderful examples of the things you could do with this technique.  In fact, Indygo Junction has a pattern out that I am going to have to get because they have a lined purse using this method.

But this is my first attempt at a 'basket' made with fabric and clothesline.

I alternated a black fabric with yellow and red fabric and got this striped bowl.  It's about 8 inches across and about 6 inches tall. 

After yesterday, the colors remind me of a Western Tanager.  (I have birds on the brain lately, although there are those who would call me 'bird brained' anyway.)

Since I had cording left over, I pulled some more scraps from the box and made this one.

The bottom and top edge were dark green fabrics.  The main color was a striped fabric.  I wanted to see how stripes cam across in the process.   About 10 inches across and 7 inches tall, this is my 'grass' basket.

These are really easy to make, just a bit time consuming wrapping the fabric around the clothesline.  However, that makes for a great in front of the TV activity.  Once wrapped, all you have to do is sew and it goes relatively quickly.

There are 'tricks' involved to get the different shapes and I can't wait to get more clothesline and try it out.  I am really impressed by how study they really are.  They are not flimsy at all.  I have in my mind coasters, placemats, purses and more 'pots'.  In fact, Texter has already advised I will be making small baskets to put her Christmas gifts she is making in, color coordinated of course.

I can't wait to get more clothesline and embellish the pots with beads and fibers.  "It's a Wrap" is just a start for me.  Ann's examples she brought had my mouth watering and my head spinning with ideas.  Watching my classmates make their's and how different fabrics make for different looks is amazing.  

I am glad that I decided to take my dragging feet onto class.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Yo-Yo, Yo-dog

I'm not sure of 'his' name yet.  I do feel he is a he, but then I could be wrong.  But he does have personality though.

About two months ago, Texter, Lady K and I were exploring our new downtown area and walked into Prickly Pear Quilts.  I say walked, actually I think I was running through the door.  Once again we were greeted like old friends (I am so loving Montana).  Anyway, Lady K spotted this little yo-yo dog on a shelf and they gladly let her play with it.  Texter and I exited the building with material for an owl quilt and the pattern, by Indygo Junction, for this little guy.  

Texter was going to make it for Lady K and after getting sidetracked a bit, she spent a couple of hours going through my 'allowable' fabric for the material needed and cut out all the pieces.  This was the first time she had actually cut something out from a pattern to sew something.  At this time we did not have the yo-yo 'makers', but as it turned out a couple of weeks ago, in the sale basket at The Sewing Palace, they had all sizes of the Clover Yo-Yo makers and I snapped them up.

I had never made yo-yo's before.  I had an idea of how they were made without the forms, but had never actually sat down and made any.  I am sooooooo hooked now on yo-yo's.   They are as addictive as hand sewing hexies.  I want to make a yo-yo quilt now (I think).   Since the sewing room is downstairs and we spend a lot of time upstairs, I need 'handwork' and this was perfect for that.

I do have to say that the little pieces for the head were not my favorite thing to stitch - thus his personality.  And I didn't have any fray check or buttonhole thread.  I used clear nail polish (to stabilize the knots) and embroidery floss (all 6 strands) to sew him together.  The instructions did call for making a little slit in the head to sink the shank of the button, but I just pulled them tight and doubled the thread through the shank.  I felt with my shaky stitching on the head if I cut two holes in it his head would explode.

So Yo-dog is finished (and one project scratched off my long list of things to do).  Now I have Yo-Monkey to make (also by Indygo Junction).  Guess I'll set Texter onto my fabric shelf again.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I set aside my central medallion for the Marcelle Medallion quilt.  The Y-seam was getting my goat and I was getting frustrated, so I set it aside until I could approach it without wanting to wad it up and throw it out.

So, in the meantime, Texter and Lady K threw in a couple of projects on me.

The first one, which is finished all except for the stuffing, is a large floor pillow.  Based on a McCalls pattern, I made it out of flannel from my stash.

The finished size is about 27 x 27 inches and will make a nice play pillow for Lady K.

The other project will take a little longer to accomplish.  Texter and I are making stuffed baby blocks.  I saw this tutorial on Sew Like My Mom and decided it would be nice for Lady K.  However, Texter took it a step further and wanted the entire alphabet and numbers.  

So we have the letters cut out and with fusible webbing on them, are putting them on the blocks.  I, however, got the great idea of rather than machine appliquéing them, I would do a blanket stitch around them to be sure they stay on well.  I have 6 letters down and only 30 more letters and numbers left to stitch.  But it is a great project for sitting in front of the TV in the evening and doing.

I had purchased several yards of flannel when Joann's had it on sale, so we are using it for the blocks.  Today we are finishing up cutting out 36 4.5" squares from each fabric and ironing on the letters to the different colors of blocks.  Then they will go into my stitching bag to blanket stitch before we assemble them into actual blocks.

Luckily, we have coupons for both Michael's and Joann's for polyfil.  We will need a ton of it for 36 blocks.  And a large bin to keep them in.  But can you imagine a kid sitting in a pile of cushy blocks to play with.  I want to play too!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday's Spicy Spiral

I finished up the top of my "Spicy Spiral Table Runner" by School House Quilts between feeding Lake K and her napping.  I had cut out the strips earlier and last night sewed the strips together and cut out my wedges.

Texter and I loved the lime green and black combination when we saw it at the quilt show.  This color combo really speaks to me.  I want to do more with this neon green and black.

So, with Lady K up and entertaining herself, I used this Sunday morning to stitch the wedges together.

You cut out the wedges by layering two 'strata' of strips.  By inverting one on top of the other, when you cut, you get a light and dark wedge.  Once the two curves are together you stitch them together to form this lovely spiral.

Now I have to even up the outside edges so it makes a nice curve.  I also have to find a backing fabric for it, then layer and quilt.  I will probably use it on my dresser as a runner.

Couple things I really like about this pattern.  First, I have never sewn wedges.  This was a great starter project using wedges.  Since I want to do some really large circles made of wedges, I had a taste of what it is like to work with the wedge ruler.  Secondly, I now have my thinking cap on about how, other than appliqué I can use this pattern and set it into a quilt. 

Warning:  this pattern is addictive, so approach with care!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Projects on the Burner

One of the wonderful, and crazy, things about being retired is that my list of 'to-do's' is growing by leaps and bounds.  In the stuff I am having shipped from North Carolina are two big bins of needlework which I now have the time to work on.  Hopefully, I will finish up some of those partially completed pieces that have been languishing for ages.

Not content with that, I have also lined up a couple of 'new' projects.  The first one is weaving on this loom. 

I saw this loom at the quilt show in April and bought one.  I want to make some woven rugs out of old sheets and jeans.  I have been buying old sheets at yard sales and Goodwill for the vintage fabric for quilts, but I will probably use some of them for rugs.  This is something I will probably work on while watching TV in the evenings.

Another project I to do is one that I have wanted to do for decades.  I saw this pattern years and years ago and was probably one of the reasons I learned to knit.

Photo by Vogue Knitting

This is the Map of the World Afghan.  It is knit in four panels and sewn together, which I really don't like.  I had thought I might try knitting all the way across but I have a couple of road blocks for that plan.  The first is that there are 'points' along the long edges of the afghan.  If I wanted to do it all in one go, then I would have to knit all the points and have then on needles to add as I go along.  Doable, but fussy.  The second, and most important one, is the weight.  A friend pointed this out to me.  Being in worsted weight yarn, the 324 stitches across would get bulky and heavy to knit in one go.  But I HATE seaming.  So I might try to do it in two panels rather than four panels in order to only have one seam to sew.  

The original is knitted in a tweedy yarn.  I went with the "Michael's option" (cheaper) and the amount of yarn needed fills this bin. 

Somewhere in there is my 40 inch circular needle (or somewhere else in the house!).  This is another project which will wait until the weather turns cooler and will be worked on in the evenings.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

I have been 'crafty' all my life....for better or worse.  I think I have dabbled in about every medium out there, with various levels of continued interest and success.  I have also encouraged my daughters to be creative and crafty.

So with the birth of Lady K, Texter has pulled out her crafting abilities.   

She had seen the large letters online, decorating baby's nurseries, and decided she wanted to make them for Lady K's room.  Painting a base color of brown, painter's tape was applied several times to make stripes in different colors and widths to match the colors in Lady K's room. 

She also learned the trials and tribulations of 'creating' with a baby whose needs take precedence over the process.  Babies don't care if you are in the middle of a project or not.  They have to be older to understand when mom says "just let me get to the end of this row".

And after a couple of days and a lot of starts and stops, the final product went up on the wall in the nursery.

Yes, Lady K is going to have an excellent example in her mother in being creative.