Friday, October 31, 2014


Hey ho, it's Halloween!  Which also means that it's the last day of October and November starts tomorrow. November! How did this happen? For our part of the country, the first of November opens the betting for when the first snow will fall. Let's hope it's not tonight, because it's pretty cold. Be sure to put those costumes on over a coat, kids!

This week, I finished the Halloween wall quilt, just in time for all the little goblins we expect to ring our doorbell tonight:

I swear that bottom edge is really straight!
This is much bigger than it looked in the magazine. It's about 32 by 16. I seem to have this condition where I'll look at the measurements for a pattern and still have no real concept of how big the project really is. In my mind this should have turned out about half this size. 32 by 16? Tiny. 60 by 80? Should fit a king, right?

No real problem, though, because they're very cute! I added the tabs to make it hang better in my house. Here is the very festive back:

Really, what else would I have used that fabric for? It's perfect here! And you can see behind it that we still have leaves on the maple tree. More raking in our future!

The only other thing I really worked on this week were some new Drunkard's Path blocks:

Gosh, I like this green so much better! And surprise--those pink corners make a very nice secondary pattern when they're together. The thing I like best about these blocks is that the print becomes the "neutral." I think I get stuck on the idea of using white all the time and forget that other fabrics can make very nice quilts too.

I'm really enjoying making these blocks. I never knew they were so easy or else I would have made them years ago! Really, they're each only two pieces. The curved seam takes a little getting used to, but otherwise they go together really quickly. And there are so many cool patterns! I already know that I want to make a second one using a different layout.  I have some turquoise, which I think will make some very nice blocks. Maybe I'll start on those next week. (So much for not getting carried away.)

Everybody have a great weekend! Tonight I'll be guarding the candy bowl and answering the door, then it's more library time for me on Saturday.

Gosh, I hope we have enough!

Hope you get to do something fun. It's cold, so we should all stay inside and sew!

Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazy mom quilts, and Vicki Welsh's Drunkard's Path Quilt Along. Be sure to stop by!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Decisions, decisions

Well, hi there, folks! Hope you all had a great few days. I have hardly sewn a stitch! It was 70 degrees this weekend, so of course we finished up our work outside while dodging political phone calls. It was massive amounts of no fun, even though the weather was nice. Then I spent a long, long time in the library, which was productive in other ways. But I do have some sewing things planned for this week!

First, here is the Halloween hanging, all set up and ready to quilt:

Hey, if it's done by Halloween, it counts!

I laid out the blocks for RSC14, just to see how many more of each block I'll need. Here are the 9-patches:

Yes, that's the brown ruler print hanging off the edge there. Not to worry, I'm sure it will fit in just fine. I think I need 8 more blocks to finish this. I'd like to have the blocks be 5 across, with 4 in the alternate rows. I'm also thinking that I'll use the extra triangles I have to make 4 blocks that I'll put in the center. I'll probably use just a solid white for the sashing because there are so many scrap white-on-whites in here. I have a black and white print for the setting triangles, and I think I might want a multicolored polka dot fabric for the border. I could change my mind on that one, though.

And then here are the Odd Fellows:

Yeah, not the best picture, but it was so dark out when I was taking pictures at 5 pm. It just didn't work to hang them on the fence. Darned planetary tilt! And it's really hard to take pictures of big blocks!

Anyway, I seem to be missing a green. I'll have to look for that one. I decided not to make the brown block. Just not my thing. I could change my mind on that, too, though.  I think I need at least 5 more, because I want it to be at least 5 by 5. Odd Fellow's quilts are usually set without sashing for the secondary patterns to emerge, but I think I want a very small sashing to separate these blocks because the colors sometimes clash and don't really allow for those secondary patterns. It would also mean no matching, which is always good.

Thanks to everyone for their comments on the Drunkard's Path blocks. I think we all agree on the Wedding Ring layout, but I have to change the fabric. That green is just not working for me. Instead I have these:

This will be a much, much better green. The other was just too light. I essentially had two medium fabrics, which made for a really boring quilt. The only real goal I have for this week is to make some blocks and get this quilt going. If I have time, I'll also quilt up some of those projects I have basted.

Finally, because this post was full of boring pictures, enjoy this lovely fall picture from our front yard:

It was beautiful, but all those leaves are on the ground now. Ah, well.

Hope everyone gets some productive sewing time this week! Linking to Linky Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social, and also the awesome Angela at soscrappy for RSC14.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Finally finished Friday

Hi all! So, I had visions of getting a lot of quilting done this week while I was also busy doing actual work that people pay me to do. Guess how that worked out. Yeah. I must have been delusional or something. But I did finish up at least a few things that I can show you, so it was not a complete failure.

First of all, the Fiesta Pinwheels quilt (from June, for heaven's sake) is finally all quilted and bound!

Love it! This quilt comes pre-certified as cuddly. True story: I trimmed the quilt on the table (because who can crawl around on the floor anymore?), measured it, and left it folded on the sofa while I went up to make the binding. I came down to get it to sew the binding on, only to find that Mr. AQ was already using it.

Our conversation went something like this:

ME: Didn't you notice that the edges weren't finished yet?
HIM: Yeah, I wondered about that.
ME: Well, give it here and I'll go finish it and then you can have it back.
HIM: Can it wait until this inning is over?


Anyway, I really like how it turned out, and it now lives in our otherwise tastefully decorated family room. And I love the pictures from the park! Never took one there before, but you can bet I'll do it again. One guy gave me a funny look, but who cares? He's probably not a quilter or else he'd totally get it!

Another thing that I did was make up some more Drunkard's Path blocks and try out some layouts. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but there are so many options! (Marti Michell has a very helpful page with many layouts HERE.) Here is one very traditional option:

(Ignore the wrinkles--they all need to be pressed!)
A very cute option, which would have been absolutely fine if I hadn't tried switching the colors:

I like this better! This actually looks like a path through a garden or something. I would have started stitching these into blocks if I hadn't also found this layout:

Fabulous! So now I have no idea what to do. I want a traditional layout, which both of these are; I just can't decide which one fits the fabric better. Anyone with an opinion, help me out! Of course, I could make two quilts. . .which would be me getting carried away again. Thank goodness I don't have enough of this fabric for two quilts, or we all know what would happen!

And, last but absolutely not least, I got confused for a little bit about this month's colors for RSC14. For some reason I was thinking "brown AND black" and not "brown OR black." So I have these three more 9-patch blocks:

Oh, well--the more the merrier, I guess! Not sure that brown ruler fabric was a good choice, but it seems okay. We'll see when it's time to lay out the quilt, which is coming soon.

Everybody have a great weekend. I will be trying to make my way through the pile of things that need to be quilted up. The sewing room is getting to be too crowded with all of those unquilted projects laying around!

Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazy mom quilts, Vicki Welsh's Drunkard's Path Quilt Along, and SoScrappy. Be sure to stop by and wave hello to everyone!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Goals are nice

Hi folks! Well, we put a lot of the garden to bed for the year this past weekend, so now it's time for me to put some quilty projects to bed too. Here is what I'll be working on for a little while this week amidst all the stress and general mayhem. I have a very hard deadline for something very important this Friday, so I may not get to everything, but its always good to have goals.

First, I want to finish (and quilt up!) the Halloween paper-pieced project. I think it would be nice to have it actually finished in October, don't you? Here is it's current state:

It needs the remaining details and then quilting. By the way, if you're considering making this, the fabric amounts listed in the pattern are greatly exaggerated. For example, the pattern called for 3/8 yard of the green, but I only used a 3 inch strip, so plan accordingly. While I was piecing this, I had to tape some sections together because they were too big to print in one piece. I used a tip from Bonnie Hunter and used "paper bandaids"

These are just labels used instead of tape. They worked great! I sewed right through them and they were easy to rip when I removed the paper.

I've also been cutting out a bunch more Drunkard's Path blocks.

I decided to keep the original green. I want to start putting some blocks together this week so I can see what they look like together. While I'm thinking of it, does anyone have a good use for the leftover "bites" that get cut out of the squares? They seem like such a waste, but they're an odd shape. Maybe I'll just stitch some of them together into circles. I hate wasting fabric!

 I also have a small pile of things to be quilted, so it's time to get a move on!

Okay, it looks like a small pile, but believe me, that will take me a while.

I also have two quilts that are all quilted and sitting here waiting for binding.

Pretty backings, aren't they? Wait until you see the quilts!

That looks like a pretty ambitious list for me for the week, so we'll see how far I can get!  

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social. Happy sewing, everyone!

One final note: I had to disable anonymous comments on the blog because of a very persistent spammer. If you want to say something but don't want to register, go ahead and email me: academicquilter AT gmail DOT com. Thanks for understanding, friends!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Small victories

Well, I don't know how your week has been, but it has been a very stressful week here, with large amounts of rain and gloom. This was compounded by almost 48 hours without Internet, phone, or TV. I know. It was like living in 1990 all over again, without the cheesy sitcoms. This affected several homes near us as well, so we weren't alone. It took a while but three different utility crews finally fixed it, including our totally fried cable box.

I did finish a few things this week. First up is the black/gray Odd Fellow's block:

Happy dance! I think he looks great. And I'm really hoping that either November or December is a black and white fabric month. I have ideas--and scraps!

I also made up those snowflake blocks into a small table topper, about 30 by 30:

I went with a monochrome look, which I think worked. Also, I decided not to rip and restitch the blocks after all. I figure after I quilt it and wash it I can touch up the seams with a marker if they still show, as Julie and Lorna both suggested. And if some thread shows, oh well. I'll find a way to live with it.

And I made up two test Drunkard's Path blocks:

I'm not sure I like that green. It's richer in person, but it's a bit pale. I may have to make a few more with different greens. Or pink! Pink would be nice too.

I also found this very useful book on modern Drunkard's Path quilts:

I think I'll be making a traditional layout, but this is a very nice book if you are like me and like to look at pretty things. It also has some useful ideas for piecing and color choices and such.

Finally, this is where I am with the paper-pieced Halloween project:

All the sections are pieced, but they need to be joined and there are a number of details which have to be added in, like fangs on the tiny vampire. Proof that big pieces do not necessarily mean fast and easy. I might get to do some more work on it this weekend.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. We are pulling out the annuals this weekend, since they are mostly dead now, and maybe dividing some perennials too. Oh boy. Can you feel the excitement? We may even get in the last lawn-cutting of the year. Now that's a cause for celebration!

Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazy mom quilts, and SoScrappy. Be sure to stop by!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Little bits

Hello friends! We are having a dark, wet, and gloomy time around here, so I hope it's warm and sunny where you are. It is October and this is what we expect about now, but that doesn't make it any easier. On a related note, does anyone besides me miss the smell of burning leaves? I know it's air pollution, but that smell really means autumn to me.

Well, since I finished Burgoyne Surrounded last week (which is now at the quilter--yay me!) I thought I would stick to some small projects this week. I know I still have the Ocean Waves quilt to finish (and not far to go on it, either), but I am just not up for working on a big quilt right now. I just don't have the mental energy. Plus I want some immediate gratification!

While I was mucking out the sewing room this weekend--which was a disaster, let me tell you--I found these snowflake blocks:

Someone gave me these a while ago. (I mean years ago. True story.)  They are well-made, but as you can probably see, they were sewn with white thread. Take a look at the close-up:

Yep, you can see the white thread showing through the seams.  It's pretty distracting. These are constructed on a 9-patch grid, and I think I can just rip the main seams and restitch them with a dark gray thread and call it good. I don't want to put a lot into this, but I still think I can make them look a little better and use them in a winter table topper or something. I forgot to measure them, but I think they're 9 inches finished.

I also started on one of the paper pieced projects I showed before:

This is the Halloween one. Did you know that some patterns that are printed in the magazines are also available in easily printable form on their websites? I never really paid attention to those little notices in the magazine, but lo and behold--there they were! No tracing! Just download and print. It was great. And you can see that I couldn't stand to use gray so I used this star/sky print instead. I like it. This uses big pieces, so I hope to finish it this week.

I also decided that I'm going to give Vicki Welsh's "Cross the Drunkard's Path" quilt along a go. It goes until the end of the year, so I have a shot at finishing something by then. I have these to use:

I've had these templates forever, so now I'm finally going to put them to use. They make 4-inch finished blocks. And I always seem to get carried away with these things, so I'm limiting myself only to the fabric I have here. There is almost a yard of the floral fabric, all leftover from a backing for a previous quilt, so it's in pieces. There's also about a yard of the green, which is not a Kona but an Art Gallery fabric which has a great hand. I think I can make a fairly small quilt and enjoy the process during a high-pressure time for me here near the end of the year.

That's enough for now, don't you think? Also, I did see that Bonnie Hunter has released the colors for this year's mystery at her blog. It's in brights. Oh, the temptation! I suspect I know what I'll be doing in January!

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social. Hope everyone has some happy projects to work on this week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Burgoyne Surrounded

Hi all! Doing the happy dance again here today, because Burgoyne Surrounded is finally a finished top! She was very temperamental, though, and didn't want her picture taken, so she looks better in person than in pictures.

I am so happy with this quilt!

This quilt looks really complicated, but it isn't. It's mostly 9-patches and 4-patches. If you could strip piece everything instead of using little pieces like I did, you could seriously knock this out in no time. And if you have 1 1/2 inch scrap strips already cut, you are halfway there already. Almost all of the colorful pieces in this quilt are 1 1/2 inches, except for the center block squares, which are 2 1/2 inches.

I did not use a single overall pattern for this quilt, but did use several different resources. I can't really recommend the book I showed last time. It's not bad, but it is better for people who have previously made the same quilt. Eleanor Burns's book was very helpful for the main block, and then I paged through several other books from the library for setting and finishing options. There are several options, so it's worth looking at different books.

My quilt ended up at about 85 by 85, with 16 blocks, each of which finished at 15 inches, plus the sashing and borders. All of the solids were scraps, with the largest pieces in the stash being 10 inch squares. I would guess there were about 3 yards of scraps, plus 5 1/2 yards of one white fabric. You could do it with scrap neutrals, too, if you had pieces big enough. I also think it would look great on a black background.

I almost never make the same quilt twice, but I would totally make this again. Wouldn't it be great in just two colors, as it's traditionally made? I'm putting a blue and white one on the list. It will be a little while, though. I need to recover!

Of course, I also worked in a few minutes for a couple of rainbow scrap blocks:

I was skeptical, but I think they'll fit right in!

Everybody have a great weekend! We will be celebrating our anniversary with dinner out. Plus, the hubs brought pizza home on Thursday, which was our actual anniversary, so I got out of cooking twice. Best husband ever!

Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazy mom quilts, and SoScrappy. Stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Almost there!

Hi all! We have definitely taken a turn toward fall here. It flirted with freezing this weekend, but I don't think we actually made it to that marker. It was rainy and cold outside all weekend, and there were apparently a great many very important college football games, because that's what was on our TV constantly. Can you guess what I was doing instead?

Well, I was working on this quilt, which I will definitely finish this week:

That's one section of Burgoyne Surrounded. Doesn't it look good? There are 4 sections, and they are going together quickly. The main thing I have to do now is figure out the border. The border is pieced to finish the trails in the blocks and involves "partial" 9 patches. A little weird, but it shouldn't be hard. I love how they look together here, but can I just say that Kona cottons, while they come in a lot of colors and are very pretty, are so thready that I just don't want to use them again? Seriously, these pieces lost threads everywhere. It's not that bad when you mix one solid with prints, but all of these solids together are like a thread bomb. Can't they just charge a tiny bit more per yard--like 25 cents or so-- and use better fabric? 

[Deep sigh.]

One of the other things I did this weekend was go fabric shopping. It was great. There is so much pretty stuff out there right now. I got this small pack of Elementary fabric by Moda:

It's so pretty! No idea what I'm going to do with it, but I think one of those browns could just become an Odd Fellow's block. And I usually don't like text prints, but I love these. Either one would be a great backing, too. I'm going to have to go back and get some yardage before it's gone.

I found some gray fabric for the paper pieced projects, too.

Not a lot of choices beyond the solids, but they'll make a nice squirrel and raccoon. I only got the small pieces because I know it will be hard for me to use them up.

Speaking of those paper-pieced projects, here is the fabric I pulled out for the Halloween one:

I can't wait to start working on this one, just as soon as Burgoyne is finished. And look what scraps I found for the RSC:

I was so worried that I wouldn't have anything to use this month, but I'm almost there! There is just enough of the gray leaves on black for an Odd Fellow, and the colored dots will be enough to make a 9-patch.

On a completely different topic, Vicki Welsh is hosting a Drunkard's Path quilt-along on her blog. I may be crazy, but I'm thinking of quilting along. Drunkard's Path is another one of those that has been on my list for a long time. I'll be thinking hard about it while I finish Burgoyne. [On a side note, would anyone out there in blogland be willing to point me towards directions for putting those buttons and such on the sidebar? I need directions for non-technical types. Thanks!]

So that's what I'll be doing this week! It's midterm here also, so there's a lot of "real" work to be done too. And it's our anniversary Thursday, so we'll work in some time for a small celebration, too. Should be fun!

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social. Happy sewing!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall Friday

Hello all, and welcome to October! Hard to believe, isn't it? There are a lot of leaves already on the ground, so there will be some raking this weekend. Not my favorite thing.

I am sorry to say that I did not finish the Burgoyne quilt this week. Or the Ocean Waves, either. I don't even have a good excuse except that it was starting to feel like work, and who wants that? I did have a lot of actual work to do this week, and that seriously cut into my sewing time. Doesn't everyone know that I have a few quilts to finish?  I'm disappointed that I didn't finish either quilt, but all the blocks are done and all the sashing parts ready. Here's a picture of that happy little pile:

Blocks among the leaves!
Don't they look friendly? This quilt would be MUCH further along if I had been able to strip piece everything. Since I was using squares, I kind of invented my own method of "strip" piecing:

These are the individual colored squares stitched to long strips of white. They kind of look like paint chips, don't they? After this picture I took them in and cut them apart then pieced them into 4-patches. It really made that chore go faster. Purists everywhere are having a heart attack over this, but it worked out well for me.

The only other thing I finished this week was an RSC14 block. October's color is brown, but I don't have brown. Okay, I have a little bit of brown, but nothing that I want in my quilt. Angela did say that black and even gray are also good for this month, so I pulled something out of the black scraps for the triangle quilt.

Mary Englebreit to the rescue! I think it looks okay and will look good in the quilt. It's as close as I can get to a "happy" black fabric. Now I'm really stuck, though, because I've got nothing else. Maybe I could find some black polka dots? How about a black and white print? I'll dig through and see what I can find this weekend. Otherwise I'll have to add it to the shopping list. I'm totally stuck for the Odd Fellow's blocks too.

I hope everyone has had a much more productive week in the sewing room and a less busy work week. Enjoy your weekend!

Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazy mom quilts, and SoScrappy. I do love looking at everyone's projects. Stop by and make some new friends!