Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another quilt top finished...

Manly, right?

One more thing to cross off the list.  Now to find the time and space to baste like a madwoman!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sewing and Sleeping

My internship is winding down but the last few weeks have been particularly intense.  Plus, the snow has arrived and the shifts in the weather have done a number on my noggin. ( I LOVE snow; I hate low barometric pressure and dramatic temperature swings.  :-)  I fell asleep so early on Friday night that it was still Friday.  Normally, I don't retire until the wee hours of morning.  Night was still well in control of the clock when I lost consciousness.   Then I had a terror-inducing nightmare involving a dragon-zombie apocalypse.  If you wanted to know what any of that meant, (and trust me, you don't) I could describe it in a staggering amount of detail.  Apparently, my dreamscape is the latest of things available in HD.  Once I got over the disturbing bits, I was strangely fascinated by it.  Always, the bright side.

Before I crashed early once again on Saturday, I managed to get some sewing done (two weekends in a row - what the heck???).  Family - if you are reading, I once again ask that you stop here.  In fact, let's just declare the blog off-limits until Dec 25th.  Please and thank you.

So far, I have sewn twelve of the squares inside of squares ( of 24) and 24 of the square in the corner blocks.  These are destined to become a lap quilt for Father.  

I started with a sketch.  I'd bought fabric a month or so ago and just couldn't pick a block style.  I wanted something masculine but everything I saw was just too fussy...  I came up with the design above, calculated how many of each piece I'd have to cut from how many strips and when rotary-cutter crazy.  Then I realized that *I* was crazy.  My piecing has been dodgy.  I have not been able to sew a scant 1/4" since, well.... ever.  And here I have several pieces that would end up with a 1/2" width.  Yeah, this ought to go well.

Then I thought, "Hmmm, based on my success with the Winter Woolies a couple of weeks ago, maybe I should paper-piece it..."  So I made a template and that's what I did.  Because I'd already cut the fabric, I am finding that it takes a bit of pinning to make sure that it ends up in the right place when you sew it.  I can't chain-piece and it is taking me a lot longer to sew but the results are so precise, it's entirely worth the extra effort.  Plus, this block combo is very forgiving when it comes to finished size.  If I find I'm running shy of 9.5", these can trim to 9.25" without ruining them.  Yay!
This photo turned out super-saturated for some reason.  Bad lighting + tomato red =  vintage 70s look?

Total finished this weekend:
-12 fiddly paper-pieced squares ( plus 24 easy blocks from last weekend)
-two quilt backs (one for the lap quilt, one for a top finished last weekend)
-couple of metres of double-fold bias binding in a particular shade of purple to match the fabrics I chose from Seester's gifts


Long-suffering, patient, neglected friends seen:
-none, but in my defence, I once again fell asleep at the dinner table on Friday.  Driving is never a wise decision when you've come ever-so-close to mashed potatoes up the nose.

Percentage of body and spirit restored:
-nearly 100%, ready for another week!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A long weekend means I actually finished something....

There is something lovely about having no marking or lesson planning to do over a long weekend.  I almost didn't know what to do with myself!  Luckily, I have Christmas presents to work on.  (At this time, Mum and Seester, I ask that you stop reading this post immediately.  Unless you wish to ruin Christmas.  Yep.  I said ruin.  :-)

Nothing like a well-placed guilt trip!

My nephew is only just ten months old but when I saw Riley Blake's Pirate fabrics, I knew I wanted to make him something with it.  It was my dad who suggested a twin-size quilt for when he graduates to a big boy bed.  I had a bundle of 10" squares, a bundle of 5" charms, and a yard of the black text print.  I also had no idea of the pattern I would use.  I definitely didn't want it to look babyish or fussy.  If I could help it, I wanted it to last him a while and grow up with him a bit until he was "too cool" to have anything with pirates.  I left the back pretty plain so he could flip it when the time came.

I threw the charms on the floor, raided my Kona solids (I had just scored 6.3m of charcoal with a 40%off coupon) and came up with this.  The "X" I made from the black and white 10" squares.  I used Steam-a-Seam on the black, drew my X, cut it out, ironed in on and zigzagged around it.  If the edges get a bit raggy over the years, I'll be pleased and call it "authentic pirate weathering". During a spare hour last weekend, I managed to get it basted and then went on a complete tear this weekend getting it all finished up.

I also added my new label.  gutenTAGS.  Saw them on everyone else's blog and thought it would be a good idea.  They went from idea to reality so very fast that I was shocked when they turned up in the mailbox shortly after I'd ordered them.  I love them.

The idea for the quilting came from a photo I'd seen on Poppyprint.  I thought it looked like a drop of water in a pond and it definitely was interesting than the straight-line quilting I usually do.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out - definitely masculine.
Yes, that's my squeaky, creaky sewing machine on the floor.  My sewing space is wherever I find room at the moment.  Wednesday night was floor and bad lighting night.
And once finished with Pirates, I moved onto finishing the top for this one.  Wasn't able to take photos of it yet though.... There are prying eyes and inquiring minds afoot!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hot streak, cold weather, warm heart

I've had a run of luck the last few weeks.

I won an e-book copy of Modern Mix on Amy's Creative Side.  Can't wait to have the time to try some of the patterns, though right now, I'll have to content myself with the gorgeous photographs.
Then I won a book of poetry, Today's Special Dish by Nina Lindsay, at Both Fires...  It hasn't arrived yet but I delight in knowing that I will soon have a feast of words in my hands..

And then I won a paper-piecing pattern by Very Kerry Berry, on Live a Colorful Life.  I'd have posted about this earlier but I wanted to wait until I'd tried it. I've wanted to give this technique a whirl for ages but hadn't gotten around to it.  No excuses left this time!  For a first project, I'm thrilled with the results! The precision in the piecing amazed me, especially the teeny tiny parts. I still have a ton to learn but for now, I have a cute Winter Woolies set.
Clearly, I finished it in the nick of time because this is what I woke up to:

And now, I must depart the sewing machine and get back to marking.  The last night of the school play was Friday and, after all the rehearsals at lunch, after school and weekends  I treated myself to a lazy Saturday, thinking about what those talented kids accomplished on that stage.

For some reason, the gratitude of young people never fails to move me.