Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking ahead

Hi all, and welcome to the last post of 2014! Who else can't believe this year is almost over? When I was a kid, the year 2000 seemed soooo far away, and here we are nearly 15 years past it, and still no flying cars.  I would settle for a regular one that's indestructible, if anyone is working on this.

First, I have a picture to show of the only Christmas present I made this year:

I don't usually make Christmas presents, but my younger daughter really needed a footstool, and I couldn't for the life of me find one that I liked in the right size. So I made one, and I even let Mr. Academic Quilter pick the fabric. I was dubious, but she really liked it, so wins all around!

Has everyone finished their quilts for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for this year? Me either, but I am working hard at it. In the meantime, I am planning for a new scrap quilt for this year's RSC, and I thought some people out there in Internet-land might want to join me. Here's the plan:

I want to make a row quilt out of classic quilt blocks, using the colors for RSC15 each month. Here are some of the blocks I'm planning to use:

The center of my quilt will be 60 inches wide, and the length may vary because some of the blocks can be made in various sizes. I chose to make mine 60 inches wide because the factors of 60 are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30, and 60, meaning that blocks in any of these sizes will make rows that finish at 60 inches wide. That makes the math easy, since these are classic blocks in many of these sizes. I did include some 8 and 9 inch blocks which will also make a properly-sized row with the addition of spacers. It sounds complicated when I type it out, but I've done the math and it works fine. The quilt center should be between 72 and 80 inches long.

If you'd like to come along and make a row quilt using your scraps (or other fabric if you'd like!),  I'll post a tutorial on the first Tuesday of every month for the block for that month. (Don't quite know what to do about September yet, but I'll figure it out when we get there!) You can see that I have a bunch of blocks planned already, but I may change my mind about some of the colors. This could even be made as a sampler with one of each block. Either way, it will be fun!

I hope you'll join me in this adventure! I may even learn to do link-ups if enough people show interest.

Everyone have a great time celebrating the new year. Hope you get a few more stitches in before 2014 leaves!

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, and Let's Bee Social.  Be sure to stop by!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Odd man out

Hi folks! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday celebration! We had a very nice Christmas with lots of food and family. The only weird thing was that there was no snow at all! In fact, the sun came out for the first time in weeks. We had a white Thanksgiving but a brown Christmas. It was a very strange feeling. 

In addition to baking seventeen dozen cookies, I finished one thing this week:

This is the last block for the Odd Fellow's quilt, which was my second project for RSC14. I actually started sashing the blocks this week too, so this quilt should go together quickly. The sashing for these is a very narrow solid white, with no cornerstones. It sounds dull, but it looks great.

Here is this week's block with some of his brothers and sisters:

Look! Sunshine!

Notice anything? This last block is made in opposite values from all the others. Why? Because he's the Odd Fellow! Okay, maybe a bad joke, but it will make complete sense when the whole quilt is together.

That's almost all the sewing I accomplished this week. It was a very busy week! Somehow vacation was busier than work. Hope you were able to fit in a few stitches this week too. Enjoy your weekend!

Linking to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Amanda Jean at crazy mom quilts, and also Angela at soscrappy. Happy sewing!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Triangle surprise

Hello folks! How are you doing this lovely, cold day? It has been so, so gray here and I am longing for sunshine. I have a finish to show you today that is a bit of a bright spot in the grayness of this winter. The triangle quilt for RSC14 is finally a finished top! And it turned out to be a little bit of a surprise, so I've named it Triangle Surprise:

Notice anything? No borders! I never did find a border that I liked with it, and after auditioning several, I decided to be all modern and go without. Plus, I do love the floating effect of the triangles on this fabric. I did add a 2 inch border of the sashing and setting fabric all around just to make it a little bigger and avoid having all bias edges. The fabric seems to have a striped effect in the pictures, but I didn't notice that in person, so I'm calling that a camera effect.

 This quilt turned out to be a beauty, but it gave me some fits along the way. I've done on point settings many times, but this time I seemed to have a problem thinking about it properly. For some reason, nothing wanted to go together correctly.  And those cornerstones kept getting turned strangely, but they were totally worth the work. I love them!

Doing a happy dance about this happy, scrappy quilt!

So, we are nearing Christmas, and I'm going to set aside most of my projects for the next week. I may do some on the Odd Fellow's quilt, and I want to make some more Drunkard's Path blocks, just to have something to work on. Otherwise, it will be baking central around here as there are tons of Christmas cookies and breads still to be baked, plus presents to wrap and two small things left to shop for.  And then the family shows up!

I may or may not post something next week, so if I don't get another chance, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas! (Cue the Jose Feliciano song!) And if you celebrate a different holiday (or no holiday!), I wish you a wonderful, happy week as well.

Peace and joy to you and yours!

Linking to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Amanda Jean at crazy mom quilts, and also Angela at soscrappy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sew relaxing

Hi all! How is your Christmas sewing going? I am gradually relaxing. There is still a lot of Christmassy stuff to do (cookies!), but the grades are in and I have a little bit of time to play. Plus, I get to learn some new things that I usually don't have time for. For example, this weekend I learned that I can't watch The Walking Dead. I know a lot of people love it, but it's definitely not for me. Good to know.

Since I finished the candy row on the winter quilt, I started a new row--snowman faces!

Aren't these fun? I haven't decided for sure, but I think I'm going to applique some eyes instead of using buttons. I think it would look better all around, plus no lost eyes, which would make for sad snowmen. I have a few more to make, but this is a fun row.  (Patterns available HERE or HERE.)

I also did a few of step 3 for Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt: 

These were super-easy and I think the colors look really good together.

I'm liking this mystery more and more because I don't think I've seen these units together before. This seems really original and different.

That's all that's happening in my sewing room right now! Well, I'm also working on finishing the triangle quilt, which has been in progress forever. At least that's what it seems like. But it's moving along, which is something. I would have a picture, but we have been socked in by fog for the last several days. Yes, fog!

Hope everyone is holding it together with the holiday projects. I know for sure I will not be sewing for a couple of days because the electric company is shutting off our power all day (really, 8 am to 3 pm!) to replace the neighborhood transformer. In December, in Wisconsin. Nice planning, guys! We'll be hitting the movies and anywhere else that will be warm (and have wifi). Which means no cooking for me, so maybe it's not all bad!

Linking to Linky Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let's Bee Social. And Bonnie Hunter's link-up, too, just for the fun of it. Stop by and wave!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Put your feet up

Hello everyone! Today is a happy day--the last day of the fall semester! Okay, not officially, but it all gets a lot better from here. There is still grading to be done, but this one is just about in the archives. College kids should be arriving home any minute. Bet they'll need a nap!

With all the tumult this week, I only finished this little piece:

Cute, but remarkably hard to photograph!

This little seat is just an unfinished wood piece that I got from the big-box craft store, then painted white. The hexies are made from some scraps I had, then cut and hand-stitched together. I quilted the hexie piece to a muslin backing since that part wouldn't show.

I used almost the same upholstery technique I used on the little pressing station I made. I glued a small piece of 1/4 inch foam to the seat, then covered it with an extra piece of batting and stapled the batting to the bottom of the seat. Then I just tacked the quilted piece on, stretching as I went.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out, especially since there was very little time invested. This little footstool will live in our family room where there are a lot of yellow and blue quilts. It will fit right in.

Herbert seems to like it!

I also worked on the candy pieces row for the winter quilt. I decided to take Rachel's advice and use half-size spacers between the "candies." The math worked out okay; I just had to add one extra candy to make the row long enough.

It's about 4 inches by 58 inches, which makes it really hard to get a picture of the whole row. I promise that you'll be able to see it better once it is sewn to the rest of the quilt.

Everyone have a great weekend. There will be some Christmas shopping on my agenda, plus my local quilt shop is having its holiday open house. Sure to be festive all around!

Linking to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Amanda Jean at crazy mom quilts. Stop by and get inspired!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Projects in pieces

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my little corner of the Internet. For today's post, I was going to make a list of the things that are stressing me out right now, but the list itself made me panicky. Instead, how about we ignore all of that and look at pretty quilty pictures instead?

I've gotten started on the next row of the winter quilt, which is a row of candy pieces:

I changed mine up a little bit from the pattern. The pattern has them all in the same fabric, while I just grabbed a bunch of bright scraps for mine. I know I want the pieces to alternate "up" and "down" so that it 'waves' across the quilt, but I can't decide if I should still put the spacer pieces in the row or not.  The partial row on top in this picture has the spacers while the bottom one does not. Which do you like better?

I also made some of step 2 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt:

I strip pieced these and it went pretty well. (Tutorial with great pictures is HERE.) These are all that I'm making of this step for now as well. (No stressing out over quilt projects, remember? This is my new rule--for myself, of course! Feel free to bask in as much anxiety as you feel comfortable with.) I suspect these pieces are for a border because they remind me a lot of the border pieces in Lazy Sunday (which I haven't made but hope to one day). I guess we'll find out!

Finally, I did work some on the triangle quilt. I decided to make it one row longer, which means more triangles. I swear these are the last of them:

These better be last of them, because I'm starting to be tired of it, even if it is pretty bright and happy. What was I thinking, making 6-inch blocks? Should have known it would take a ton of them to make a decent-sized quilt. Good thing I was never a math major.

Hope everyone gets some sewing done this week! Those holidays are coming, faster than we think!

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

Friday, December 5, 2014

No stress Friday

Hi all! Is everyone getting into the Christmas spirit? I am trying hard to be jolly. I am also sticking to my pledge not to be stressed over things, especially sewing. It's kind of working, kind of not. There's just no way to escape all of it.

I had a VERY full week and little time to sew, but I did work some more on the winter row quilt. First, I fixed the tree that I had made incorrectly:

Yes! This one has a snow drift, which is what I left out of the previous one. Easy fix!

With that fixed, I was finally able to stitch the major center row together:

Looks great to me! See, three different trees, like there are supposed to be. This row is the biggest one, about 22 by 58, and is the center of the quilt. All the other parts are smaller rows with repeated motifs. I went ahead and made one this week, the star row:

Long skinny photo!

This row is much more manageable, finishing to about 6 by 58. The winter sunshine keeps bleaching out my yellows. Here is a slightly better picture of them:

Okay, a little better, not a lot better.  But the stars really are yellow, from a marbled fat quarter that I had.

And here are the rows together:

I didn't stitch these together because I'm still playing with the quilt as you go idea. Seems to me that a row quilt is perfect for that, but I haven't found a back that I like yet. Too busy shopping for presents to shop for fabric!

Wow, lots of dark blue in this post!  Don't let that get you down, though. Lots of color yet to come.

This weekend we are putting up our Christmas tree! It promises to be quite a festive time. Hope all of you have a great weekend too!

Linking to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Amanda Jean at crazy mom quilts. Stop by and get inspired!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Playing with blocks

Holy cow, it's December.

Anyone else feel a little panicky about that? Just me? Oookay.

So, we are stuck in the deep freeze again. The hubs and I visited our daughter on the East Coast for Thanksgiving, which was fabulous, and then got home to the single digits. Welcome home! It's sunny, though, so it's not all bad. As long as it stays sunny, I'll be okay. No promises for when it snows again.

I have been playing with a few things in the sewing room. Really trying hard not to stress out over any project, so I've done a little bit on a lot of projects. Take a look!

The first 16-inch section of the wintry/frozen Drunkard's Path quilt (which really needs a name if anyone has a suggestion):

Gosh, this will be pretty. I decided to keep the Fairy Frost. And it has my favorite sewing feature--very little matching! (Yes, I see that one block is pressed wrong. I promise it isn't stitched wrong.) For anyone who's interested, the pink and green one went to the quilter this past week. Those last few pieces went together okay. I promise not to make the same mistake again.

(Also, does anyone know anything about the specialty machine foot for piecing curved blocks without pins? I just want to know if it works, because it's kind of pricey. It would be worth it to make this faster, but only if it actually works. Thanks!)

More progress on the winter quilt from Cindy at Quilt Doodle Doodles:

Another tree! I thought this would finish the center row, but I actually messed up and made the same tree twice. Oops. There are three trees, each slightly different, but I lost track of which ones I had already made.

The mistake will be really easy to fix, or maybe I'll just leave it. We'll see how motivated I am. The rest of the quilt is rows of repeated patterns, so I'm not sure which one I feel like making next. I guess we'll find out next time I feel like sewing on this. (Buy the patterns HERE or HERE.)

Okay, I know I said that I was waiting to make Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, but I was feeling left out after doing the last several mysteries, so I made a couple of blocks for the first step:

They're just so colorful, I couldn't resist! I made ten of these blocks and that's all I am making for now. I figure that this way I can play along without stress and have a start on the quilt if I want to make the whole thing. Worst case, I have potholders or a small table topper. Plus, the colorful blocks really brighten the place up, and who doesn't need that in the winter?

For the rest of the week, I plan to work like crazy on finishing the RSC14 triangle quilt. It really wants to be finished! It's been nagging at me all day. "Put down those curvy blocks and come work on me! I have nice straight seams!"

I may be a little tired right now.

Anyway, hope everyone has a really good and productive week! If it warms up a little, we will be putting our Christmas lights up this week, and I have definitely started shopping. I am starting to get a little holiday spirit!

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