Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day of the Deadline

31 hours worked already this week - and not on sewing projects mind you...

Over the weekend I had a bit of a break though, my second Sew Day with the Mad Mod quilt guild.

In preparation, I broke out the pins.

Somehow in glancing around my sewing room, I missed the huge package of pins I'd purchased for basting... Instead I pulled the old container of random sized pins from my desk drawer. Once I'd picked out all the easy to use pins, I started thinking to myself that I must have more pins somewhere. Then, after using most of the small pins and rumaging through the desk drawers again to steal additional small pins from assorted sewing kits, I finally spotted the 300 nearly new pins I'd looked for earlier perched on a shelf with my fabric stash.
Anyway, I need to get this shipped off pretty soon. The baby will be here in a few weeks.
It coordinated so well with my machine as I stitched it up!
All that's left is the binding. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Block 2 - Autumn Tints

I suppose it's fitting that I chose fabrics with some leaves given the title of this block. I didn't do it intentionally; I was more just trying to set a precendent not to use the same fabrics in all the blocks.

This pattern was pretty simple to cut and didn't take as long as my first block.

I decided to square up my 4 patches after closer inspection. They weren't too far off, but in my efforts to make scant 1/4" seams I think I actually wind up making them even narrower than they need to be.

I am absolutely thrilled that my points came out so well in this one!

Up next is Basket. It has an appliqued handle. Overall, I'm not sure I like the basket patterns much. Should I stick to the integrity of the pattern or skip over them and fill in with other patterns?

I paged through the Pony Club version of the Farmer's Wife Sampler and I think I could pull some from there without getting duplicates...

First snow!

It's been snowing since before I woke up this morning. It's rather pretty.

Perhaps it would have been a good idea to have Will get sand bags and install them in the back of the truck before he left for the weekend though...

I'll just drive slow I guess. I meant to go out to lunch and shopping with Wendy today, but she is home sick. :( At least she has cuddly quilts and kitties to help her recuperate.

I'm still planning on the shopping bit. I've decided to splurge on the baby quilt I am making. One of the local shops here still has some bolts of Little Apples. I want the apples on white for backing and the red sweater print for binding.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Tonight I made my first foray into the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt. I know I'm well behind the bandwagon on this one, but...

Block 1: Attic Windows

I'm going for a navy and neutral color palette so that in the end the blocks will coordinate.

Should I continue that on the back too? I have a red fabric I really like... I might just take on another traditional quilt at some point. What do you think?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Hello again.

Lately, I've chosen to sew rather than to write about not sewing. It felt like I only had time for one or the other.

A charm pack project:
My newest project
Planning to send this to a friend who is having a baby girl in Feb.

A scrap project:

Scrap swap challenge for the MadMod QG.

Patchwork jean purse - for the inside pocket I reused a back pocket!

My grand finale:

I always think of the opening lines in Aladdin when I look at this quilt.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

H-H-H-Happy Birthday! - Gus Gus

My parents are visiting this week, so my husband and I have the futon in the living room. I think I'd need to stay in bed at elast 12 hours to get enough rest. Instead, I feel a bit more like a zombie every morning.

I'm glad they're here though. They did some exploring on their own while we were at work Thurs/Fri and then yesterday we took them to the farmers market (they loved it) and the arboretum (left after the sunset rather than stay for the entire tour - too tired). Between those two outings, I took my mom to a couple local quilt shops. I enjoyed that; she seemed to too. My friend Wendy met us at the first one so I could introduce her to my mom - surprisingly, none of us found fabric we felt we had to buy there (a first for Wendy and me). At the second one, I bought 1/4 yd more green veggie fabric to finish a second grocery tote. That reminds me, I haven't posted a picture of the first yet although I've been using it for several weeks now... I also bought some Cindy Lou Who to add to my mom's Christmas present.

She loves the Grinch. We always watched it around the holidays when I was growing up. I already had some of the red on red stripe and these grinches with trees to make a pillow and was considering getting a couple yards of Whoville to fussy cut for a quilt. I think I should. I suggested it to her and she was pretty enthusiastic. I didn't buy it yet though.

In other news, I've been making more progress on the quilt I'm tenatively calling Agrabah.

All the thread ends are tied in now.
I would be working on the binding, but when I laid it out to trim the edges, I decided the corners were too wonky for my taste and ripped out a few places.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Eat organic

If I haven't mentioned before, we signed up for a CSA this summer. Every week we get a box of organic produce delivered. Last week, I also ordered an additional amount of basil - 12 bunches - which amounted to a full second box!

It took me all weekend to pick the leaves off the stems and turn it into pesto. I did it in batches in my food processor between trips to the grocery store when I ran out of one ingredient or another. (Can't say I did very well planning ahead...)

Anyway, the freezer is now stocked. (Those are new containers too.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shopping therapy

Hopefully I'll be setting aside more time for sewing soon as I've purchased quite a lot of fabric in recently! I went on half a shop hop, well 7 of 12 shops.


I tried not to buy anything without a plan:
- solid navy (on top) is to go with some scraps for a small sprocket pillow
- bright blue was free and thus did not need a purpose
- yellow, orange and blue dots will work with my rainbow charms
- pink checker board was also free
- black and white stripe will become binding
- second navy blue actually has cute moons and stars though it appears near solid in this stack
- ants would be perfect for a picnic quilt but were more of an impulse buy
- spider webs (hardly visible below ants) will probably be a pouch lining or something for halloween
- red presents might become stocking lining or be part of the outside
- grinch stealing trees (also hardly visible) and red stripes will be a pillow for my mom because we always watched that cartoon at Christmas
- notebook paper will probably become a book cover or pouch
- purple with flowers was free
- blue/ white/ off white (bottom 6 fabrics) will be used probably for farmer's wife blocks

My most expensive impulse buy adds another quilt to my queue.

Have you ever seen Simply Shabby Chic bedding at Target? The designer is Rachel Ashwell and I think her style is so pretty. (We currently use a white coverlet from one of her lines on our bed.)

Anyway, these colors seemed to me like a slightly edgier version of many fabrics she uses. I have to come up with a suitable pattern - something more traditional than modern I think, although Rachel's currently available quilts seem to be either simple patchwork or whole cloth. Obviously, I can't do the latter with what I bought.

I'll probably seek out some other neutrals before making my mind up on these - plenty of time for suggestions if you have them!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My first mini (in pictures)

Measures 9.5 x 16 inches. I plan to wash it this weekend since the markings I made to guide my quilting did not come off with water as the pencil's package suggested. Also, I should add a tag.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Quilting with Audrey

On Sunday evening I basted my stained quilt. First, I used up the 50 special quilters safety pins I bought a while back.

Not enough...

I got out my little box of variously sized regular safety pins. (Gift from my mom at some point during college; they used to be part of her sewing supply stash.)

Still not quite enough...

I pondered going over to Joann's. Not worth the drive - time or gas... I pondered going over to Target - closerd, but more effort to find exactly where safety pins are stocked. Then it dawned on me, I'd used several safety pins to jimmy up the black out lining for curtains at our old apartment. Since we've yet to put the curtains up again here, I stole the 24 safety pins from that "project."

Victory! It was just enough!

*Side note: I actually thought it was easier to work with the straight safety pins, so I'll be stocking up on those.

In the middle of basting

As you can see, I used a larger piece of batting than necessary. It was on hand. I really didn't want to spend more money just now. Besides, with smaller pieces of batting to use up, maybe I'll make some mini quilts or something. (Does anyone know whether it's advisable to use batting in coasters? This is Warm and White.)

There's about an inch and a half of batting beyond the quilt top on all sides.

I also cut it closer to the edge of the quilt top than is recommended I think. I'm cheap trying to be thrifty by keeping the left over bits as large as possible so the can be more readily used later.

On Tuesday evening, I began stitching in the ditch. I meant to post about my progress that night as well, but my computer was playing dead. It made an awful beeping noise when I turned it on, then had to go through a repair scan since Windows failed to start for some reason.

Long story short: it scared me, but seems to be back to normal now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


So, I've decided to go with simple.
(You're probably surprised, given that I've made this project so complicated up to this point.)

The back of my stained quilt will be all black. This will make my desired quilting pattern so much easier. I'm going to stitch in the ditch around each of the puzzle pieces, so to speak.

Previously, I mulled over making more blocks and piecing them into the back; however, for this option:
1. I would have wanted the back blocks to be mirror images of their counterparts on the front (as far as shapes, not exact fabrics).
2. I then would have tried to line them up exactly so as to have my quilting be stitch in the ditch around the puzzle pieces on both sides of the quilt (where applicable).

I am pretty pleased with this little detail though:
Mitered corners in the border!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How much Kona Black?

I'm such a perfectionist.

Despite numerous assurances from others that my quilt was coming along fine and I should just get on with it already, I spent several hours pondering over and adjusting it.

My new map:

I made several attempts to rearrange my original 20 blocks before I came upon this configuration. First, I moved just the blocks that seemed to be the culprits. That merely led to more troubles - I basically would have ended up putting a blank spot every other block.
Second, I tried gathering all the blocks with characters and laying them out first so I could disperse those blocks that all featured the horse, or camel, or people in jars, or... you get the idea. Well, this worked until I tried to fill in spaces left empty with the remaining blocks. Inevitably a brown pearl bracelet wound up next to another brown pearl bracelet.
I put everything back according to my 4x5 block map. I thought about just sewing things together that way and trying to just be happy with it.

THEN, it occured to me that I could just shift 1 row over. I tried it. Then I shifted 1 block back to it's original spot and shifted half the new column down. There. That spaced out characters and candles.

I had just enough pre-cut black sashing to complete my 5 new blocks. (Plus stitch 2 of them together - lower left corner.)

Now I just need to figure out how much more Kona Black I will need.

And also, decide whether to make still more blocks for a pieced back or just use a great swath of black. I discovered another small pile of matching scraps in a box I was unpacking in search of interfacing, so additional coordinating blocks are a possibility without hunting down more Peeps.


Monday, May 28, 2012


Yay! I've sewn all my Stained blocks!

There's just a few little things bugging me now that I've laid them out...
1. the blocks that feature the 3 characters in jars/ baskets are next to each other (middle row, left)
2. there are 2 blocks with the candle print in a large vertical piece in the same row (4th from top)
3. also, 2 blocks that show the magic carpet and horse are next to each other (bottom right corner)
4. maybe it should be bigger? 5 more blocks would make it square...

And a larger question: what should I do for the back??? I could play it safe and just use black. I could try to make it more interesting by making some extra blocks like the front - maybe enough for 1 column? It would hide the need for a pieced back; however that option would also spark my perfectionist tendencies. I was thinking that it would be cool to have the patterns be mirror images of the front column, and then quilting in the sashing would line up on both sides! Is that a good idea? (I mean quilting in the sashing?) Another idea I have is to buy invisible thread and then quilt around each shape somehow...

Any thoughts?

In other news, I'm really excited for the Madison Modern Quilt Guild meeting this Wednesday night!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Back in the saddle

Actually using my sewing desk

Over the weekend we got most of our furniture arranged. This place seems much more homely now, though a lot of stuff is still boxed up.

I pulled out my Stained quilt pieces Monday night - 6 blocks left to sash now. It felt so normal to sit and sew for a while - nice considering all the changes in my life at the moment.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Madison, WI

Well, we're starting to settle in.

Our new jobs are living up to expectations quite nicely and the new apt is getting there... sort of. There are still some small fixes to be done by the landlord, but it should be livable for a while. It's much improved already. On the day we got here, one bedroom was bright yellow and the other was lavender. The carpet was still damp from cleaning (which it so happens was not very thorough as it took 2 hours today to vacuum up remaining dog hair). And the kitchen sink was leaking.

Anyway, today we arranged furniture and the sewing machine very nearly came out of its box. Soon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Down to the last minute!

Bah! I've been meaning to do this for days... So here I am, finally linking up for Rhonda's FAL.
Last quarter I finished 50%! (Ha! That means 1 project.)

This quarter:

1. I hope to finish the other project I set forth in Jan, my Purple Haze Quilt. I did make some good progress on it last quarter - it went from charm squares to a pieced top. I still need to baste, quilt and bind.
2. I joined Sarah's Stained QAL in Feb. I'm at the sashing stage now. So there's piecing the top, basting, quilting and binding to do still. Hidden in that simple list there's also choosing a backing fabric and quilting pattern... Here is my first block:
3. The first QAL I joined was Oh My Stars. I'm still working slowly on it. I highly doubt I'll be done with it this quarter, but maybe... According to when I uploaded this picture to Flickr, I was last actually sewing stars at the end of Jan. How shameful... After that I did at least cut the necessary fabric (and then some, accidentally).
There's about 30 minutes left if you haven't linked up yet!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday the Fourth

Finally, a black bobbin.

A little wonky, but should work out.
I've received the DS fabrics I ordered! I'm leaning toward a kaleidoscope type pattern with a white background, but I'm not completely sure yet. I have a few more prints from FMF on the way - an early birthday present from my husband! (My birthday is Apr 27th.)
Hope Valley

I got the purple haze top done! I'm counting it as a semi-finish.

No Progress:
Oh my stars
Purse for me
Granny squares
Farmer's wife

Would like to start:
Sew out loud
Single girl (with rainbow charms - received, but not yet sorted)
Foundation paper piecing for the terrified

New Projects - 2
Completed projects - 0
Currently in progress - 8