Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thinking About 2016 (Already)

I have been thinking about where I want to go in 2016, especially in regard to my work with fabric and fibers and such.

A couple of things I am thinking about:

The Rainbow Scrappy Challenge 2016 hosted by Soscrappy.

Another challenge I am interested in is making a dent in my WIP's and UFO's.  I really admire Vicki Welsh and her variety of projects she works on, not just fabric things.

Of course, I am working on the 1930's Farmer's Wife QAL and the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt 2015 and will probably do it again next November/December if she offers again.  But part of my 2016 is to reprioritize my projects and start moving through some of them.

I also have signed up already for the Bee Hive swap this year and have been assigned a "hive" and will start in January on this monthly swap.

With Lady K being in day care starting the first of the year so Texter can go to school and I can go to work, I will have some 'alone time' during the day to work on my projects (can you say excited!).  

Stay tuned for my plans for 2016!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fox Cowl I

I had originally thought about this cowl for Lady K.  She has gotten demoted on the list, so to speak.  Texter decided she wanted one first.  And I am making one for someone else's daughter.  But Texter did not want the 'fox' colors, but loved this color, Aspen Tweed, when I picked it out.  I call it my Tundra Fox Cowl.

The yarns I am using, Lion Brand Heartland and Lion Brand Hometown USA, are so soft and cushy and a dream to work with.  Texter snatched it from me the minute it was done and has been wearing it ever since.  Yes, indoors too.

Texter is my cold natured child and anything below 80 degrees is chilly to her.  She has been wearing it inside to keep her neck and head warm.  For some reason, her bedroom is colder than mine.  Bummer for me.

The Failynn Fox Cowl pattern is a dream to knit also.  The instructions are easy to read and simple.  This is a great pattern for curling up and watching TV while knitting.  Nothing to really involve a lot of attention, like a lace pattern would. And if you don't have to contend with a Lady K, it would only take a weekend (or less) to complete.

So one down and at least one more to go.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Another Off the To-Do List and Onto the WIP List

Back when Lady K was still a small thing, I purchased a panel of flannel and the backing for a quilt for her.  And it languished in the 'to-do' pile.  So when a friend announced she was going to be a grandmother, it seemed like the perfect time to pull out the panel and move it from 'to-do' to 'WIP'.

It's not going to be a huge quilt by any means.  But it will be a nice size to throw on the floor or tuck in a stroller.  And being flannel, it will wear well.  Lady K has talked to me about the animals as I've started working on it.

But this is one of the reasons why I originally bought the panel.  I wanted to quilt it using embroidery floss and big stitches.  I plan on outlining the animals and the borders which should give it some 'quiltiness'.  I also doubled the batting to make it nice and soft and puffy.

It feels good to have embroidery floss in the needle again.  It has been years since I could rattle off the color just hearing the DMC number.  I am using all 6 strands and just outlining, but it is fun.  Enough fun I will be digging out the Christmas stocking and working on it.  But I don't plan on having it finished for this year.  

So off to knit before off to write.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mystery Quilt and Stash Enhancement

I have committed to a friend to do the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt this year.  One, because wherever KE leads, I just need to follow.  Second, it's based on Italy!  Italy...what could be wrong with a quilt based on one of my favorite countries.  So I am batik seeking.  I decided I would do it in batiks.

So the grey to the far right is my 'constant'.  Then I have my golds and I need some more black.  I have discovered one problem with my batik plan is the fluctuation in tones throughout the fabric.  So I will probably get a bit more fabric than called for by Bonnie Hunter in order to do a bit of picking and choosing for the correct look.  Now I need to get 1 more yard of blacks, some brick red and the biggie - whites.  And not just any whites.  This may be an issue too.  But I'm up to it.  KE also said I could come raid her stash and she has a stash very raidable!

In addition to the gold and black I picked up yesterday, I also found a couple of fabrics on the clearance table.

I have to double check, but I think the far left piece is part of a collection I have some fabrics to already.  And the smaller flower matches pretty well.  With them being on the clearance table I was 'forced' to buy a yard of each.  Twist my arm why don't you!

Now I need to start thinking about what colors I want for a quilt if I get accepted for the Bee Hive Swap 2016.  I'm thinking bright!  Purple and yellow maybe?   Those should be fairly easy for people to get their hands on.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

One Project off the "List" - Canyon Cowl

Ok, so it's taken me several months to actually sit down and make this cowl.  Which is a shame, because it is actually a quick and easy project.  But I did it.  Even with having to find an additional skein of yard (thank you Ben Franklin Crafts) and a button for it.

I took it into work on Friday and handed it off to the person I was making it for.  She reluctantly allowed her picture to be taken in it.

Then I got a message later in the evening she had made it home and inside the door and then it 'disappeared'.

Someone else was happy with the cowl.  But now that one is finished, I can turn to the Fox Cowl for Texter.  And maybe, just maybe, the cowl above can be returned to it's original owner when she receives one of these...

The Failynn Fox Cowl by The Velvet Acorn is also where I got the pattern for the Canyon Cowl I have now made two of.  (oh, no, Lady K just saw it...so I guess now 3 fox 'hats' are in the works!)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

It's a Mystery to Me!

November is my 'writing' month.  It's all about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  So that is my excuse for agreeing to participate with a friend in a Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.  This is KE's third year at doing it and my arms are very sensitive and I was distracted, so I quickly agreed.  It also helped my decision knowing Lady K and Texter will be spending two weeks at Christmas in South Carolina with the other grandmother.  Two weeks of FREEDOM! And no little hands helpin'.  So I will be able to spread out and leave things out.

Anyway, I decided to do it in batiks.  And I love the fact Bonnie gives you the 'color swatches' from the paint store as the colors for the quilt.  It really makes selecting fabrics easier than just saying 'two yards of grey'.  So I have a file folder with the initial directions printed out and the swatch cards glued to it (KE also brought me color swatches to push me over the decision edge.  Have to love enabling friends!)  I also snipped a bit off the cards and put them in a little notebook I am trying to keep all my sewing info in for reference and ease of carrying to the fabric stores.

I started with the grey, because that is suppose to be the one constant in the quilt.

I thought this piece captured the spread of the shades of grey and also the pattern would give some movement to the quilt.

Unfortunately, the whole process has me thinking of 2016 quilt plans.  Let's not think about the stuff I already have, that's stupid.  On my wish list of quilts are the following ideas...

Fancy Forest Quilt is one I would love to do.  Texter would also love for me to do it (hint, hint).

I also have my eye on a Jen Kingwell design.  (We will not discuss the several Judy Niemeyer patterns I have all ready to go!)  Gypsy Wife is what I have my eye on.

And the Tokyo Subway Map quilt is still on my 'want-to-do' list.

Needless to say, none of the quilts I want to do are 'quick and easy' in category.  And my fabric stash is very limited, which means I HAVE to build it up.  Right now, when buying fabric for anything, I usually round up to the nearest yard in order to have extra to add to my stash for future quilts.

But December will also find me combing through my bins and updating my 'project' list.

I have a couple of 'ideas' in my head for a couple of quilts.  One is my "Tree of Life" quilt.  I have a panel I need to finish calculating the borders around the panel and stitch it all up.  It will be similar to the Asian themed quilt I just did for Savvy (which needs to be quilted, by the way).  I also have fabric for and an idea for a "Batman" quilt for Texter.  I want do to a design on the quilt which looks like the old "Pow" graphic design on the TV show and comic books.

But right now, it's a search for batiks and a lot of writing.  See you in December!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Block #20 - 1930 Farmer's Wife QAL

The block was released on Thursday, two days after I had spend the morning playing catch-up.  So I was a little peeved and thought about waiting until the next one was announced so I could do two at a time.  But the current block was #20 - Caroline. Looking at the block I knew it was HST (half square triangles) and didn't want to do it as FPP (foundation paper piecing).  

Let me stop and interject here - this is not a book a complete newbie could pick up and figure out.  There are no 'step-by-step' instructions. I consider myself an intermediate quilter, but I am glad I am in this QAL for the tutorials.  I looked at the first couple and they weren't going about it the way I thought I wanted to do it - HST's.  Then I looked at Jess of The Elven Garden tutorial.  She constructed this using HST's.  And boy, did I learn a few things!

  • This block reinforced the premise there is no quilt police coming after me if I don't do it a certain way.  There are alternate methods on each block (at least up to this point).
  • I can press seams open!
  • Jess showed me how to line up the seams so the points come out sooooooo good.
  • As the leaders have said from the very start, this quilt is a learning process.  I can't wait to see what tips I pick up on the rest of the blocks.

There is still a bit of work on the points, but, boy, it's so much closer than it would have been if I had done it my usual way.  Plus, I probably wouldn't have figured out the big blocks are QST (Quarter Square Triangles) rather than HST.

Once I got my measurements figured out for the blocks, with Jess' help "Caroline" was a breeze!  I can't wait to see what I learn next. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Flannel, Flannel Everywhere

With cooler temperatures having arrived and a sale at Joann Fabrics, I decided to make everyone a quick and easy pj pants.  On those days when we aren't rushing around to work and school, we all like to get comfy and I thought some flannel pants would be great.  Big, baggy, soft and warm.

I had assistance picking out the fabric for everyone.  She liked the fabric so much I had to reclaim from her in order to cut out the pants.  Luckily, there is enough left over from each to make her a 'wild' pair of pants this week so she can be comfy and warm too.

Wrapping up in the length of fabric seemed like the thing to do last Saturday morning.  Guess my idea of warm, soft and comfy was spot on, pants or not.

Texter was excited about her pair of pants and couldn't wait to get into them.  Now the question will be how to get her out of them to wash them!  I had enough fabric I made eye masks out of each fabric.  Lady K refers to the as 'eyes'.  Savvy and Texter's bedrooms are light and they were both excited to have an eye mask to wear to cut out the light, especially for afternoon naps.

While in the flannel mode, I bought this plaid to make into a 1890's dress for the Big Read at the library in October.  I haven't used flannel 'shirting' before, but it is so soft.  A little thin, but with the apron I have planned to wear over it, it will be fine.  I have a pair of lace-up shoes which look old fashioned I will wear with it (maybe-depends on my bunion!)  My plan after the Big Read for this is to keep it as a night gown!  The style of the dress is big and loose and it will make a great 'granny gown'.

Once the dress and a couple of aprons made, it's time to start on the mock-ups for the cosplay outfits Savvy and Texter want for next year.  And I have the Farmer's Wife 1930 QAL starting next week.  Luckily, that will be stretched out over the next year.  Lots of plans for time at the sewing machine!

NOTE:  I forgot I had written this post almost two weeks earlier.  Everyone loves their flannel pants and Texter picked out 3 fabrics for cotton ones.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930 QAL - Week 2

This week I am playing catch-up.  With sewing for the Big Read (and life in general) I only got one of the 3 blocks completed.  Well, actually, since I am doing 2 of each block, I got 2 out of 6 done.  So today I ignored housework in order to get caught up.

I am still amazed at what a difference fabric selection makes.  Same blocks, different styles and colors make it a totally different quilt.

Some of the things I am learning and liking or not liking so far...

  • Going to have to figure out getting the printer to print out correctly.  Right now I am having to 'guess' at some of the sizes of the block pieces. Don't think the directions are the best in the world or all that clear.  I would not like to be a beginner and not have this group to fall back on. I don't understand on some of the blocks why we were suppose to cut out triangles and deal with bias edges rather than making HST.  But then, that's me.
  • My points are becoming a bit better, even when I feel like I am guessing at the size of the pieces.
  • It takes almost as long to figure out what fabrics I want in each block as it does to make the block.  I am also finding myself paying more attention to the direction of the design and how it flows in the various directions.
  • Pressing seams...I can tell there is going to be issues further down the line.  With some of the blocks and how intricate they are, pressing is going to be important.
With four blocks down, there are only 95 more to go.  I hope I am as pleased with the last four as I am with the first four.  Now, onto pj pants for Texter!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

1930's Farmer's Wife QAL - First Block

So it's started.  The 1930's Farmer's Wife QAL.  And this is the first block.  They are starting us off easy so even beginning quilters can grow their skills.  Me, I'm the crazy one and doing it in two different styles of fabrics.

This block is done in more 'traditional' fabrics and I foundation paper pieced it.  Only to realize my 'inch' scale on all the 99 blocks I copied off is just a hair off.  Hmmmmm.....  So either I am going to have to deal and realize my blocks will be 5.5 inches finished or I am going to have to reprint all the pages as I go along.  Decisions, decisions.

But I think my favorite is going to be my black and white version.  Not only is it sharp looking (to me, at least), but if you look at the black with the stars - where the two blocks come together - I cut completely by accident and it pieced as a whole star. But what a difference fabric choice makes.

Overall, I am really pleased with how this block turned out.  They are now safely in their little protective sleeve and I will do the second block for the week today.  It's also fairly straight forward with regard to being squares and rectangles, so I will probably cut my fabrics the 'true' size.  Or maybe do FPP on the traditional fabric and correct size on the black and white one.  Interesting, isn't it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930's QAL

I have joined a QAL starting on the 28th of this month.  There are several different ways to do the 99 blocks for this quilt, using templates, paper piecing, hand piecing, etc.  One of the reasons I want to do this quilt is the chance to practice some more complicated techniques and to practice my paper piecing skills.

A lot of the participants are using reproduction fabrics and being true to the time period and look.  I'm not really a reproduction fabric lover, so I am going a different route.  I have also signed a pledge not to start until the 28th in order to be in for a possible giveaway win.  But I have my patterns copied, my book I had spiral bound in order to use it better and I have my fabrics selected for my quilts.

Yes, quilts!  Why do anything the easy way?

I have been wanting to do a black and white quilt and selected these from my stash.  Black and white with a pop of red on the blocks for color.  I do have a bit of black/cream in there I will have to weed out unless the piece can be done on the black part of the fabric.  Texter already has her eye on this one.

The second one I am going to do is also pulling from my stash.  I have this layer cake and charm pack I need to do something with.

I figure it won't be hard to find other fabrics to fill in with these colors if needed.  

The background I am going to use on the black/white/red will probably be various light grey.  I will see what I finally use for the French General lines.

But I am really excited and figure with the quilt being spaced out over several months, I should be able to do the two quilts.  We will see.  In the meantime, back to watching Longmire and crocheting on Sophie's Universe.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Planning and Plotting and Organizing

My list of projects is HUGE!  So what do I do?  I keep adding to it!  Isn't that what you are suppose to do?

I knew I had these projects coming up and now I will have space to sew on them, they have moved up on the 'list'.  Actually, two of them were only just released as patterns for the fall.  Texter saw them and has been haunting Joann's to them to arrive and the patterns to go on sale.  Frankly, paying $20 plus for a pattern is not in my budget.  But 99 cents each or 5/$7 is.  So I make a list and catch them on sale.  This is especially important since I usually buy both the large and small size in case I need to  make different costumes.

It's the same with the materials needed for the costumes.  For example, the blue Tardis outfit requires about 8 yards of fabric just for the dress.  It doesn't include the linings, etc. on the outfit.  The total yardage is about 14 yards.  So if I have to pay $13 a yard for fabric, already I am into triple digits.  But if I wait and watch, I can get a 40% off coupon or catch the fabric on sale and drop it back into something reasonable.  Also, this planning/plotting means I'm not sinking a huge amount at any one time into the outfit.

Now that I can plan and plot, I have my little notebook where I write all my 'requirements' down.  This way I can whip it out and when there is a sale on notions, for example, I can pull out my list and check it twice and buy what I need.  So soon, there will be a bin labeled 'cosplay' with my sewing stuff so I can dump it in there and know where everything is when I get ready to whip out an outfit.  (I also have to update measurements for the girls so I know I am using the correct pattern size.  Pattern size and ready-to-wear size are ssssooooo different.)

So for Texter, and the patterns she has been waiting for...

Bottom, left, Harley

and, of course, Tardis.  Maybe Lady K as a Darlek?

But the real ambitious one is going to be this one...

Yaya Han is like the top of the Who's Who in cosplay.  Savvy is all over this one.  But I am thinking 'black'.  Raven.  Face mask with feathers sweeping up over her head.  And maybe one white feather in the mask.  

But then there is also a more mundane cosplay outfit.  Both of the girls want something 'steampunk' and I have several patterns and ideas, both for them and for me.

The one of the left.  It has chains.  Of course, I have to figure in an outfit for myself.

Then there are the True Grit outfits I may or may not be making for the October Big Read at the library.  Still on hold for those.

But in the meantime, I have plans to make 2-3 of these in either wool or fleece to be able to throw on and go during the colder months coming up.  I can make large, so one-size-fits-all in the house.

It's a McCalls pattern and one of the quick and easy ones.

So lots of sewing coming up after the move!