Friday, October 24, 2014

Stocking Stuffer?

I did indeed get that last quilt pin-basted, and I need to cut out another quilt, but today we had several errands to run, and I just couldn't get into cutting with so many interruptions. When I was cutting out all those 30's repro Dresden Plates a while back, I ended up with odd shapes at the end of my strips that weren't big enough to get another petal. I sewed them together into three strips, and figured I could make my oldest granddaughter a doll quilt for Christmas. 

In my short time in the sewing room today, I put those three strips of 30's repro into a doll quilt top. This is approximately 20" square. I wasn't aiming for a square quilt, it just ended up that way. Now I have another quilt to quilt when I get back home, but this one shouldn't take long. I've been having a hard time coming up with things to put in my granddaughter's stocking this year, so I may stuff this in it!
It's funny, I was taking to a woman at JoAnn's a couple days ago, and she was struggling to find some fabrics to use in her grandson's quilt. I laughed, and said I must be wired for boys, because I find boys quilts easy and fun. Most of the time, for boys or men, I just start with great novelty fabric, and the quilt practically makes itself. Really girly things I can do, but it's harder for me. I am not a big fan of florals, so right there the girly stuff is harder for me.
Goodness knows I have a ton of florals, mostly given to me. If I am doing my own shopping for fabric, I really love geometrics, and anything with a vine or scroll on it. I can't keep stripes in my stash, because I use them so quickly. I love plaids too. Paisleys are great, and although they normally include flowers, I don't think of them as a floral. Every once in a while, a floral will entice me, like this one from Connecting Threads
I've been wanting to try making a One Block Wonder, and I chose this fabric to do it. It looks better in person, the colors are so rich and vibrant!
Tomorrow I will be cutting, mostly 1.5" strips that will finish at an inch. I will purposely overcut, because I'm planning both a pineapple and a log cabin from the same colors, and since the size of strips is the same for both, may as well cut them both at once. Now, if I have more fat quarters than I think I do, who knows, I may end up with more than two quilts, but that's ok too. At the rate people I know are getting married and having babies, it would be great to get ahead a couple of quilts!
If anyone has any great ideas of what to put in an almost four year old girl's Christmas stocking, let me know. Her twin brother is easy, anything car related. She is much harder, and so far we've avoided the Barbie thing, which makes me happy. I always preferred my brother's Tonka trucks over the girls toys, so even though I had three daughters of my own, I always had an easier time shopping for my two boys. I had forgotten how hard it was for me, until this year. Last year it was still little kid stuff, now its real kid stuff, and the twins will turn four in January, so I'll have to do it again then. I think I must still be a tomboy at heart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ducks in a Row

I'm going on a trip to see my parents soon, and I'm trying to get everything to a good starting place for when I get back. I've pin-basted two quilts in the last week, and I plan to pin-baste one more tomorrow. I just finished that quilt top today. This coming weekend I am planning on doing most of the cutting for an upcoming quilt. When I get home from my trip, I'll be all set for a both a sewing and a piecing spree.

I've also been getting a couple projects to the next step. Remember all those trimmed HST's?

I was playing around with ideas for these pink HST's with really scrappy backgrounds, and decided on these. I have no idea what that block is called, though I keep feeling like I should know it. That's one of the things I love about HST's, especially using them in 16 patches, you can make SO many different designs with them!

I had no idea how many of the pink HST's I had, so I just made blocks until I ran out. I ended up with 21 blocks, so I guess I had at least 336 of them! I think 20 of these set 4x5 will make a good baby quilt after I add some sashing and cornerstones.

I also finished making depression blocks when I ran out of the HST's with WOW backgrounds.

I ended up with 110 of these blocks, which means I had 1,760 bonus HST's with WOW backgrounds! This number of blocks leaves me in a bit of a quandary. I didn't think I'd end up with this many blocks, and my original idea was to make a wall hanging for my sewing room. The largest the wall hanging could be in the space I want to put it is 72 blocks, though I could make something smaller as well. The thing is, do I want to make it small enough that I have enough blocks left over for a baby quilt, or should I just set it 10x11 and make a throw sized quilt? I haven't decided what to do yet, and I'm putting these aside for now anyway. My next two piecing projects will use a dark piecing thread, so it's not time to push these leaders/enders any further right now.
^Remember when my bonus HST collection looked like this?

Now it's down to this! I have plans to use the HST's in the three rows to the right in Lady of the Lake blocks, but I need to make some large HST's before I can make those.

I finished both a 6,000 yard cone and a cone 1400m cone of Aurifil this week.

Last, but not least, we bought a new mini-van this week! It's a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan, and since the 2015's are out, we got a pretty good price on it. Love that dark red!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Third Wedding in a Year

DD#2 was married in December, DS the Younger in March, and now we had "Adopted" DD#4 married on October 11. Before anyone thinks it's mean of me to point out she's adopted, notice the quotes, she's not adopted legally, she has her own family, we just kind of casually adopted her into ours too. She's not my only "adopted" kid, I have several, but two I am especially close to, and this is one of those.

"DD#4" was stuck on a venue, and since DS the Younger successfully married on our backyard, we offered it to DD#4 too. So this past weekend we had another wedding in our backyard!

Tardis-esque lanterns painted by DD#3. The couple are Dr. Who fans, and these lanterns got a Dr. Who makeover for this wedding, after having made an appearance in DD#2 and DS the Younger's weddings. Re-use, re-purpose, re-cycle!
Getting the tables ready for the wedding. Once the tables were set, I knew we had it under control.

Looking good!

 Everything ready to go, gift table in the back is even starting to fill up!

 Sweetheart table. I made runners for some tables, and square table toppers for others.

Check out the flowers in the centerpieces! DD#2 made these out of old comic books. If you look closely, you'll see tardis fabric around the bottom of the vase, and some dice thrown around because the groom is a big tabletop gamer.
The ceremony. DD#2 was the Matron of Honor, and DS the Elder was a groomsman.

Mr. and Mrs. Gibbner
No time to rest after the wedding, because Sunday we had a scooter event, that ended at our house! I had the dishwasher going before the wedding was over, and because the tables and chairs weren't getting picked up until Monday, we could leave those where they were.
Sunday while DH was riding with his club, I was busy trying to put away some of the wedding stuff, putting the meat DH had smoked earlier into crock pots, and making all the sides for the BBQ. Since I knew I'd be tired after the wedding, I planned accordingly, and made sides that took a bit less work. For dessert I made brownies, and had gallons of ice cream with various toppings available, a nice sundae bar.
Now that a few days have passed, the house is pretty much back to normal. Toys are once again scattered in the living room and backyard. All the wedding paraphernalia has been dealt with, whether boxed up to go to it's rightful owner, or put away here in my house. The guest bed has been changed and all the laundry and dishes caught up.  Honestly, I'm still tired from the weekend's festivities, even though it's now Thursday. It's a good tired though, a satisfied, that was fun kind of tired.
Today I even got back to quilting! I have three quilts that need to be pin-basted before DH and I fly to visit my parents on the 28th. I usually only pin-baste when the twins are gone to their other grandmother's house, and this afternoon was one of those times. I always wonder why women crawl around on the floor to pin-baste a quilt. I always drape mine over the kitchen table, and rarely have any problems at all. I pin-baste everything on the table's surface, then move the quilt as needed, smoothing, smoothing, smoothing the layers after each move. If I had to crawl around on the ground to pin-baste a quilt, I'd never get it done. This way, I just move from chair to chair around the table, pinning all I can reach before moving to the next chair. Occasionally I stand to reach the center of the table, but this way is much easier on my back and knees than getting on the floor would be. You can see my tablet on the table, I was watching (more listening) to Star Trek Voyager on Netflix while pin-basting. I used a king sized poly batting I picked up at a thrift store for $3.
This was the largest quilt I needed to baste. One of the quilts I need to baste is still in blocks, but I plan on getting it into a quilt top this weekend. The other that needs to be basted is a completed quilt top, with a pieced backing ready to go.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quilt for my Granddaughter

I've finished the quilt I designed for my latest granddaughter. This was not my first granddaughter, though this quilt has a bunch of firsts involved for me.

The sashing in this quilt had me using a ruler new to me, the Omnigrid On Point Ruler. Figuring out which sized HST's and QST's is easy, but having to cut those on point squares at weird measurements was a headache before I found this ruler. I now have no intimidation at all about using on point squares for anything.

The backing wasn't quite big enough, so I pieced in some of the sashing fabric, at what seemed to me a somewhat interesting design. See those wavy borders? First time I've attempted that too, and it was easy using the Eleanor Burns Scallops, Vines and Waves template.

Here in the close up you can see a few more firsts. It was the first time I have used gingham for a binding, which I think is adorable and I will use again. This quilt has my first ever Dresden Plates, these were made using Marti Michell Miniature Dresden Plate Templates. These Dresden Plates were the 5 1/2" rounded petals. It was also the first time I used my Accuquilt GO Critters die. There are two bees, two dragonflies, and nine butterflies on this quilt. This quilt was also my first quilt using 1930's reproduction fabrics. The borders and backing are modern prints, but all the rest are 1930's reproductions.

When my DD#1 asked me for a ultra-girly quilt, coral and teal predominant with NO blue and limited pink, plus having butterflies, this is what I came up with. What do you think? Mission accomplished?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Which Part of Your Stash Works Hardest?

Over and over again I am reminded I am a hard core scrap quilter. Anything I can save from the trash just makes me happy! If I'm really stressed, sewing string blocks always calms me down. Those bonus HST's I've been playing with? What a blast! they are so much fun to make into usable, fun quilts.

I was making these blocks while assembling my latest granddaughter's quilt. Here are four so you can see how they play together, I've got about 20 made so far. It just brings me joy to be able to make something pretty out of what others may call trash. This, to me, is what quilting is about. I've been wanting a couple wall hangings for my sewing studio, and I think this project will be one of them.

I've been getting so excited playing with "new" scraps, I started wondering when I really use yardage. I finally came up with borders and backings, and even on that I'm piecing more and more borders and backings.

I recently found out I have another great niece on the way. I tried thinking of what theme or design I'd like to make her quilt, and I did indeed go straight to yardage. I found some fabric with shoes and purses on it, and decided that may be a fun fabric to use as a backing. I took note of the colors in the fabric, then went straight to my scraps and leftover bits, to see if something came to mind. I realized that this is pretty common for me, I look to yardage for inspiration, but my scraps and small pieces actually do the "work". I do on occasion use a single fabric for a background, and that can use up a LOT of yardage, especially since I make so many king sized quilts. More often than not, yardage is for borders or backings at my house.

I have been waffling back and forth on Bonnie Hunter's next mystery quilt. I hate it when I have to bow out, and last year I was sad I couldn't play along, but I was so busy with two kids getting married and house remodeling, it just wouldn't have worked. This year I have quite a bit going on, and I certainly could make legitimate excuses why I shouldn't do it, but instead, I came up with a legitimate excuse why I should.

DD#1 asked me to make her a new quilt. I told her there was no chance of her getting it this year, but she said that was fine. She lives in South Africa, and they have no central heat, and during the winter (which is mild as winters go), it's often colder inside the house than outside. She wants a quilt to cuddle up with in the living room. I had a design in mind, and even had some fabric in mind, when I remembered she always likes to follow my blog when I'm doing Bonnie's mysteries. I'm not sure how big this year's mystery quilt will be, but I'm sure I can adjust it if I need to. I asked her if she'd be interested in choosing the colors I use, and then we can find out together what her new quilt will look like. She's as excited as I am, and it allows us to "do" something together, even as she's on the other side of the world. We'll talk over color choices when the fabric requirements come out, and then we'll both check the clues as they come out, and she'll be able to guess with me how we think it's going to come together.

I've used Bonnie's mystery quilts as gifts before, if I needed a wedding quilt in certain colors, I've adjusted the colors to meet that need and then didn't have to choose a pattern to do, but let Bonnie do that. This, however, seems quite a bit different than that, since my daughter will be in on the whole process. I went from waffling about doing the mystery quilt, to anxiously awaiting it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

HST Heaven

I did it! I processed those two gallon sized Ziploc bags into usable HST's!

I plan on using as many of the white background HST's as I can in the Depression blocks I've started making. The HST's with cream backgrounds I plan on using in a scrappy Lady of the Lake quilt. The pink HST's with the busy backgrounds I think I'll make a star baby quilt out of, and the odd ones I'm not sure about. The few I have with black backgrounds, I will be able to use after one of my upcoming projects. After that project is done I'll have a LOT more with black backgrounds, so I'll simply draw my second line at 1.75" so my bonus HST's will start out this size, and play nicely with what I've already got. I have no idea what size any of these quilts will end up, I'm just using up these HST's and what will be, will be.

I was working on Miss A's girly quilt, and I found out the hard way, that I shouldn't have used a scant 1/4 seam on the pieced sashing. I should have used a full 1/4". I should have measured after the first one was done, but I have been using a scant 1/4" seam so long, it never really occurred I'd have a problem. My sashing pieces are a bit too big for the blocks, and I don't have time to re-sew them all with larger seams, so I'm easing them in, and hoping for the best. I think adding the borders will be the hardest part, and I plan to tackle that tomorrow. I'll have to carefully measure my borders to go with that center measurement so I ease the edging sashing in the correct amount, or it will never lie flat. I've had pretty good luck fudging quilts in the past, so I'm hoping that after it's quilted, it won't be too noticeable. Good thing I was planning on using poly batting for this one anyway, I need the puffiness to disguise the easing.

That wedding in my backyard in 10 days? Yeah, still haven't done the sewing for that. I'll get it done, but likely next week, nothing like waiting until the last minute. I really want to get Miss A's quilt in the mail, as I bought her a few outfits too, and I need them to get to South Africa before she outgrows them. DH is going to a scooter rally this weekend, so I should have quality sewing time. DD#3 has been around so she's watching the twins herself, so I've gotten a lot more done than usual.

I've been working on Christmas shopping, which always brings the new year to mind. I haven't met all my goals for this year yet, but they are doable. I want to finish 4 more quilts this year, one of which I'm assembling, one is pin-basted, two have completed tops (one of those even has a backing pieced for it).  Still a lot of work to do, but I think I can get it done before Christmas.

Let's see, for next year, I already have on my list two queen/king quilts, one throw, one twin sized quilt, and one baby quilt. The rate everyone I know is getting married and having babies, I'm sure those numbers will go up, it's just what I already know about.

DH and I are hoping to take a BIG road trip next June, and towards that end, I'm thinking of making 2015 a no-buy year for quilting stuff. I'm pretty stocked up on batting, I just made a big thread order, and I could go a few years without buying fabric most likely. I'm not sure I can stick with NO buy, but I need something stricter than LOW buy. In the Stashbusters yahoo group, no buy allows you to buy the 5 B's- batting, backing, borders, binding, background. That's too much leeway for me. Unless I'm REALLY productive, I shouldn't need batting next year. Backings are a great way to clear out stash, so I definitely don't want to buying that. If I don't have a suitable fabric for a border, then I have learned I can usually piece a nice border from stash. Binding doesn't take that much fabric, I should be able to improvise something, so that just leaves backgrounds. Most of my quilts have multi-fabric backgrounds, but sometimes I like playing with solids as a background. I also like making scrap quilts that have a solid as a constant. I have some solids in stash, but I'm not sure I have enough for the quilts I'd like to make next year. Of course, there are a lot of variables, and I'm not sure how much quilting time I'll have, nor which quilts I will actually make next year. I think I'm going to give myself two loopholes in my no buy.

No Buy Loophole #1- I can buy solids IF I do not have enough of the right color in stash.
No Buy Loophole #2- I can use a gift card if one is given to me. That will hopefully be enough to get me through any situations where I need something other than a solid.

I think it will be hard to go no buy on quilting stuff, especially the remnant bin! Still, I should be able to happily quilt with what I've got on hand. I have made some dents in stash this year, and if I can stick to my no buy plan for next year, there should be even bigger dents. I'd like to get back to dealing with my scrap baskets next year, and that will create a huge mess, and remind me I have plenty to work with! If I break a ruler or something, I wouldn't hesitate to replace it, but keeping my quilting expenses very low next year will help us go on that trip!