Sunday, February 28, 2010

Construction Zone . . . . . .

Hello!! I'm making a few minor changes to my blog and don't have a post for today, hopefully I'll be back in action by Tuesday. I've finished Faceted Jewels (on goal WOO HOO!!!) and have started State of Grace, so come on back ya' all, ya' hear!!

And don't miss the Parade of Schnibbles on March 1, sponsored by Sherri and Sinta !!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thinking Ahead . . . .

I finished the last of the blocks for the pieced border of Faceted Jewels today. All that's left is connecting the blocks then rows. My goal is to have this top done before March 1st. I guess it all depends on how easy the blocks go together as to whether I make it or not. At this point, I've spent too much time and effort in all the pieces to ruin the whole thing by rushing to get them all connected. The date's only important in my mind.

When I get close to the finish line on one quilt, I start thinking ahead to the next quilt I want to start on. I review the pattern, make sure I have what I need as far as fabric, and rewrite the pattern instructions in a way that suits me. When I finish one quilt I don't want to waste time trying to decide what to do next or the best way to go about it, I want to be ready to attack!

I've decided my next project is State of Grace that uses Shangri La by Three Sister for Moda.

Awhile back I asked for some help with this pattern. I'm just not in the mood to draw all those lines on all those strips. Nicole uses the Angler 2 when she needs to sew angles and her work looks great. I'm also thinking about drawing the block, shrinking it down, and paper piecing it.

This pattern calls for this jellyroll. Is it hard for you to untie these adorable little bundles?

It is for me.......

I'm guessing this roll is thinking, "free at last, free at last". My rolls think the same thing after I eat pizza and get out of my jeans.

Here are the strips, breathing like fine wine, in my sewing room. I just love looking at them while I consider the possibilities. I'm thinking of going with a controlled scrappy on the blocks, making them all in one color know me and scrappy!

I've got at least 3 more days to change this pattern at least a dozen times before I get to actually start on it. Stay tuned, who knows what I'll end up doing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

All done and then some . . . . . .

Yesterday, waiting for me on my front porch from the mailman, was my October Schnibbles project, Cindy Lou Who, that I named, One Star Two Star Red Star Blue Star.
It's all quilted and bound.

For those of you new to my blog, I chose to super size my Schnibbles.

There's a little bit of everything going on with the quilting, the red stars are quilted with a circular design and the blue stars are quilted in the ditch. The snowball blocks have a star design. The outer row has doodles.

Here's a closeup of the border design.

I'm sticking with my original plan of buying a white coverlet for my king size bed, and positioning this quilt in the middle of it. Probably during the month of July.

I got something else in the mail, a surprise!

This is the entryway of my house. Unless it's Christmas, my furniture surfaces are pretty much knick knack free.

I received this unbelievably beautiful doily in the from a fellow quilter, Dortha, who won one of my giveaways. I have nothing like it in my home and I just love it!

It looks perfect in my entryway, welcoming folks who stop by. I was really needing a little sumpin' sumpin' for that space.

Dortha, thank you so much for the doily, it was very thoughtful and deeply appreciated.
I'll treasure it always!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Of the same and something new more. Hmmmmm...

I'm still using Yoda for my post titles....sure you noticed, am I.

The pieced border for Faceted Jewels calls for 100 tricolor flying geese. Another first on this quilt for me.

I go back and forth between Eleanor Burns' rulers and Open Gate's rulers for making geese. Eleanor Burns' rulers don't allow for a mixed sky so I was glad I had another method that I was familiar with and could use.

So if you ever need to make tricolor geese, this is the ruler for you!

Several folks left comments on my Hibiscus at My Caribbean Cabin post about Judy Martin having a new book!! That was news to me, thank you!! I got right on that little tidbit.

Here it is, Stellar Quilts......I'm loving these quilts, I'm loving these quilts so much that I can't even imagine changing them up!!

Ooh lala
Look at this corner!!

I love this pattern too!!

Look at THIS corner!!

As a matter of fact, I love all the patterns. Plus the book shows different layouts and color ways for each pattern. This book must have over 100 different options/patterns in it! I couldn't come up with a different take on any pattern if I tried, Judy has done it all!

The patterns look complex, but I like a challenge every now and then. The perfect setup would be a week retreat with Judy as an instructor. If anyone hears of one let me know. In the meantime I may have to figure out how to have a week retreat at home!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Making Progress, I am. Yeessssss.

Andrea of Under a Blue Moon mentioned last week how she was struggling coming up with clever titles for her posts. (Andrea has a beautifully written and wonderfully eclectic blog, you must check it out if you've not done so) I have to admit, I have the same struggle some days. Andrea fixed her problem by translating her English titles into French. I have no idea what they mean, but they sound so ravissant ; )) . So that got me could I change up my boring titles....I decided to translate my titles from English to Yoda...yes Yoda, from Star Wars.... I hope you enjoy the change of pace.

All this talk of spring.......

and this is the view from my window.......I think spring may be a day or two away for me.

I'm progressing right along on Faceted Jewels and enjoying every minute of my time in my sewing room, I think it's the bright and cheerful colors.

So from this, I went to this.....

I have all the center blocks pieced. I reduced the block size from 12 inches to 9 inches and I'm so glad I did! I was worried that making the blocks smaller would would ruin the secondary pattern created when connecting the blocks, it did not.

Isn't it just like magic, the way all those squares and straight lines form circles!!!

I also tried something new when assembling the blocks. On other scrappy projects, I would make one block, making sure I had a good mix of colors, and put it on my design wall. Then I would make the next block, making sure I had a good mix of colors AND that no like colors from the first block touched the second block. And so I would go, mixing and matching one block at a time until I got just that perfect block to go with the rest of the perfect blocks.

Remember my flying geese for Toulouse? I spent several hours putting them in order on my design wall, rearranged them all night long in my sleep, and tweaked them a couple more times before I was satisfied and willing to start sewing them together. Lisa/Stashmaster had the exact same geese I had (we did a swap) and pieced her geese by picking one from my pile then one from hers. I could hardly wait to see her border made up of random flying geese. It was gorgeous!! There was no noticeable difference between our borders.

So with that in mind I chain sewed my Faceted Jewels blocks together.....WOW did those blocks go together quickly! I'm not someone who's into quick and easy, mainly because I'm lucky enough to have plenty of sewing time and few if any deadlines. But wasting time is a pet peeve of mine, and all that work I was doing on finding the perfect combination of scrappiness was a waste of time. I think I got a nice assortment of scrappiness without all that extra work.

Something else that was new to me were the triangle-in-a-square units (tias units) that were in this block. I had never worked with them before. I made them by using the Tri-Recs rulers created by EZ Quilting.

For some reason the tias units were a smidge smaller than the 3 1/2 inches they were supposed to be. Luckily for me, when I pieced the units, I was able to line the point of the triangle up with the seam in the four patch block then ease it all together. I'm not sure why they came out smaller, something I'll need to work on the next time I make them.

So now it's on to the border, it's a pieced border and something I hadn't started on before I packed everything up, so it's back to cutting and trimming and sewing..but no fabric decisions, that's all done.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quilt Number 33 - Simon's Quilt

Meet Simon . . . . .

Simon's no longer with us, but he was 90 pounds of personality. He was the happiest dog. One of his favorite pastimes was to ride in the back of my car with the top down. As a matter of fact, he could only fit in that car when the top was down. Folks would point and wave at this big dog riding in the backseat of my car.

Before I came up with my current design wall I had a design bed. I would lay out all my quilt blocks on the guest room bed that's next to my sewing room. If I wasn't looking, Simon would get in the middle of the bed, push all the blocks in a pile, then lay on them. I don't know how many times I had to repress and redo my layouts because of that dog.

One time I was complaining about it to my daughter and she said she thought Simon did that because the blocks smelled like me, and why didn't I make Simon a quilt.

So I did. I think this fabric was called Doggie Delight.

The quilter added two layers of batting to make it nice and fluffy for Simon. For some reason, when I got the quilt back from the quilter, I was afraid Simon would tear it up so I wouldn't let him lay on it. My husband kept getting on me about it, I'm not sure why I made it only to let Simon look at it. Finally my husband shamed me into putting it on the floor for Simon to enjoy.

Simon loved it, he laid on his quilt in the sunroom everyday, just like he knew it was his. Sadly he died only 2 months after he got his quilt. I'm so glad I finally let him sleep on it!

Now it's Cooper's Place, by place I mean, we say, "Cooper, go place" and Cooper sits or lays down on the quilt until we say "free dog". It's great for when the UPS guy rings the door bell or company stops by. Even though it's Cooper's Place, we still call it "Simon's Quilt". This is quilt number 33.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Presidents Day ! ! !

Hey, how was your weekend? Are you watching the Olympics? For some reason I hadn't jumped on the pre-olympic hype bandwagon this time around. Past years I was counting the days before they started and missing them when they concluded, this year they snuck up on me. Well it's taken me no time to get sucked in again, I've been staying up every night until 11 enjoying every sporting event. I'm not sure how long I can keep it up!

I hope you had a nice Valentine's Day. We're pretty laid back about Valentine's Day in this house. Some years we do stuff, or exchange gifts, other years not. This was more of an off year. I did wear a red sweater, my red heart Valentine socks, and baked some chocolate chip cookies. I heard on the news that the average person spends $125 on Valentine's to whoever got a $375 gift, you're welcome!

A couple of years ago my daughter sent me this spatula for Valentine's Day, it's one of my all time favorite gifts. I've had a thing for cupcakes for a long time. It's normally in the kitchen, not my sewing room, but I figured this was as good a place to take a picture as any.

Paprika update......

I've packed it up......for now. Lesly at Pickle Dish is going to be working on this quilt and Linda F also left a comment about buying the 19th Century Red fabric. So I'm hoping watching Lesly work on her quilt and hopefully hearing from Linda will help me get over my Paprika funk. I just don't know why it seemed fine at the quilt show and such a mess in my sewing room. I could have finished it up as is, and probably talked myself into liking it OK, but I think I can do that's my goal, to do something with that fabric, maybe even use the original pattern, but I want to like it and I don't want it to feel like work. Thanks so much for your feedback and comments, but for now, I'm just not in the mood to fight with this fabric.

I've got something new in my sewing room.......

see those glasses......they are light weight and fit just great, but we're not getting along either! They're trifocals!! ugh... I've had them since the first of the year but I'm having a hard time adjusting to them. It seems like my eyes are always looking through the wrong place in the lenses. When I walked out of the eye doctor's office wearing them, I about broke my neck stepping down a curb that wasn't even there. I bet that's part of the fun of working in an Optometrist's office, watching the folks with new trifocals navigate their way out the door and to their cars.

Usually, as I'm wrapping up one project, I'm thinking ahead to my next project. Since I quit Paprika so suddenly I wasn't really prepared to start something new, so I got out Faceted Jewels by Glad Creations. This is the picture from the pattern.

For you folks new to my blog, I started this quilt in October but packed it up in November. I put it away while I got ready for the holidays and worked on my Red and White Snowball challenge.

I got all the parts for Block A completed but still had to finish the parts for Block B.
It was my first official UFO. I left really good notes on what needed to be done so it was a breeze picking up where I left off.

I had already chosen and cut most of the fabric, so all that's left is the sewing. No fabric fights.....for now.

Friday, February 12, 2010

One in Fifty Million . . . . . .

I heard on the news that 50,000,000 Americans have been impacted by the snow storms hitting the nation.

So while I may not be special, I still think the snow sure is pretty.

Looky what I first Tuffets!!

I used Maison de Noel scraps, and I mean scraps, to make these. I was surprised that it took me pretty much all day just to make 3. But I think it was time well spent, I'm pleased with how they turned out. I'm also glad I got around to trying out the Tuffet pattern because now I have a better idea of what I should be keeping instead of throwing away. In the past I would normally only keep strips and larger pieces of leftover fabric, but these tuffets can be made out of fabric that usually goes into my trash. So now I'll have two bags of leftovers, large pieces and Tuffet pieces.

I used crushed walnut shells to fill them. The Maison de Noel family of fabric came with linens, cottons and velveteens. The velveteens made horrible geese but great backs for Tuffets.

I'm hoping to make tuffets from all my finished projects .

I'm still trying to decide what to do with Paprika but have really appreciated your comments. Yes, I agree, your eyes don't have any place to settle when you look at those blocks. I think I have too many print fabrics. As someone told me, "you need some prints that read as a solid". I also really liked what Quilter Kathy said, ask the quilt "what do you want from me". Right now I want Paprika to appear less busy and Paprika wants me to accept her as she is.....we'll keep talking this weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trouble, oh we got Trouble . . .

Right here in River City! With a capital "T"! That rhymes with "P". And that stand for Paprika......well I think The Music Man thought "P" stood for Pool......but you get my drift!!

Paprika.....remember the lovely 19th Century Reds fabric and Fons and Porter pattern I picked up at "The Road to California" show?

Here's the picture I took at the show. I wasn't in any hurry to get to it, but knew I wanted to make it this year. I don't have any particular deadlines on any of my projects, but it must be my Accounting background that makes tend to go FIFO (first in first out) when it comes to my projects. I do my older ones before my newer ones. But Lesly/Pickle Dish also fell in love with this quilt and asked me if I was interested in doing a sewalong. I had so much fun with Toulouse I said sure, and switched from FIFO to LIFO (last in first out).

Here's the jumbled mess currently on my design wall.....for some reason it just doesn't look good to me

So I unscrambled the light blocks, each individual block has the same fabric, but the blocks are made of different fabric. A controlled scrappy. I like it. I left the dark blocks scrambled, I don't like that.

So I unscrambled the dark blocks, better but not great......

This is block 'B".....I love it..nothing to change here.

This is block "A", how the pattern calls for it to be made. I don't like the center.

So I tried something else, I don't like this either . . . . .

So I tried this, and I don't like this either.....too much red maybe?

This is better, but I'm still not over the top with excitement....

So what's up? What am I missing? I feel like the problem is the center of block "A".. but maybe not. Maybe the problem is me..... and the quilt is fine. But I'm just not loving it.

I'm going to get my hair done this morning and when I get home I'm so hoping someone has left the perfect solution for my quilt. And I hope it's not put it in a box and forget it!!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Back to Normal . . . . .

Last week was a crazy fun blog week, between my top two all time favorite quilts, my giveaway, your quirks, and the Super Bowl, there was always something going on. It feels good to be back to normal this week, blogging about another one of my finished quilts, it's like having a great vacation but being so happy to be home.

I went through a brief, very brief, Asian fabric craze. I made quilt #3, Irish Chain Nine Patch, from Asian fabric, then started on this pattern. This pattern was from the 2005 Easy Piecing Quilting magazine, is called Oriental Plates, and was designed by Gai Perry.

I went right to town making those plates, I made several from different fabrics thinking I could pick my favorites for this pattern. I couldn't find any fabric for the "shelves" in the pattern or a border fabric to please me so I started thinking about what to do.......

Look what I found in my binder with this pattern, my rough draft of how I would change this pattern. This was my fourth quilt and I was already changing up the pattern, something I continually do today. I just can't help myself, I remember my Mom continually saying, "Thelma, can't you leave well enough alone!" Guess not.

Here it instead of going with the plates on a shelf idea, I decided just to sew some rows of plates together and make some smaller plates for the border.

This is quilt number 4, I made another just like it for a friend which is quilt number 16. Number 16 lives in Boulder, Colorado.

This is the second and third quilt I made from a pattern out of a magazine.

The background fabric is a white on white gingko pattern. I think the quilting sets off the plates nicely.

I kept all these fat quarters of Asian fabric until just few weeks ago when I finally admitted my Asian fabric stage was over, and gave them all to a friend. I'm happy to have the space and she was happy to get the fabric.