Friday, December 13, 2013

An unplanned hiatus

One of the things I love about where I live is that I walk to and from work. That said, one part of the trail I walk along stays in the shade for much of each day and that created a black ice situation this week. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you already know that I slipped and fractured my wrist this week. The really ironic part was I was thinking as I was approaching this stretch, maybe I should walk in the snow next to the trail to get better traction, and slipped as I was moving toward the snow to get off the paved trail.

One of the plusses of military medicine is that I was treated immediately in an ER that is only open to military members and their dependents, and the next day got a custom splint made for me by the Occupational Health clinic. This means a temporary hiatus from quilting since I can't hold a rotary cutter, and my thumb is locked in place.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sew Together (Again)

I made another Sew Together bag, and I think I'm going to keep this one for myself. I made it entirely from Oval Elements in red/burgundy/pink. And now, I've ordered a heavy weight cotton duck to make a couple more of these as took kits for my rowing team. I currently have a tool bag which has just one main pocket, but my 7/16" and 10mm wrenches are very hard to tell apart when just reaching in for one. With this bag I'll be able to separate them into distinct pockets and have the adjustable wrenches in the third pocket. I like when my varied interests can come together - rowing and sewing - since they rarely have any overlap.

In progress shows the interior clipped to the exterior before they were joined.
 All red zippers on this one - while it may be hard to tell since I didn't take any pictures side by side, the interior is a darker red/burgundy compared to the exterior. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sew Together and a WIP

I first saw the Sew Together bag pattern over the summer on Craftsy, but I didn't get it (it's a little pricey for a bag pattern at $12), but I did purchase it recently, and now it's going to be my holiday gift of choice this season. This first one is going to my mom. When I showed her the pattern, her first thought was color coding the center zippers so that you'd always know what's in which pocket, so this one has three different colors for the inner zippers. The pattern itself is fairly straight forward, although the diagram is a little confusing, and it was easier to read the words instead of looking at the picture (this seems to be the most common sentiment about the pattern). It took about 2.5 hours to make, which included all the cutting and ironing of interfacing.

The other project that I started working on is a paper pieced square in a square pattern. I've always though square in a square quilts looked sharp, so I decided to make one. It's pretty mindless sewing, so I can make a bunch of blocks at a time without worrying about lining up seams or matching things up. I'm also doing completely random color placement with my stacks of fabric, only watching to make sure I don't duplicate any prints within each block. 
On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, one of the DC Modern Quilt Guild members posted to Instagram in the morning that she was going to have a sewing day at home and that others were welcome to join. I went over along with another guild member, Quirky Granola Girl Melinda. We all worked and chatted then had a great lunch at Surfside. I knocked out nearly 30 blocks that day (each block will finish to 6") and I've made another 20 over the last week with more to come today and tomorrow. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Long Overdue Finish

I made a quilt top and quilted it while I still lived in Boston back in January/February. I finally put the binding on it on Tuesday of this week. Yeah, I was slacking on that one a little. As I've said, binding is my least favorite part of quilting, all you people who say you feel zen as you hand bind, I just don't get it.
Here is the quilt while it was still just a flimsy and I was still living in my tiny studio apartment and hung quilts off my lofted bed frame to take pictures. Have I mentioned how much I love have a dedicated sewing room? This is the quilt I made with the fat quarter bundle I won from Diary of a Quilter during the first week I started following her blog. It's Madrona Road. 
This quilt finished to 54"x66" a perfect throw size. 
And here is the pebbling that I did on all the white stripes.
And here are the finished photos. I embroidered the name of a coworker's child onto it. I rarely make quilts with a purpose, which is part of why I don't get around to binding them. And this Corpsman (enlisted Navy medical person, think like a cross between an EMT and a nurse) took particular interest when I had shown him some pictures of my quilts. His daughter is going to be 3 soon, so I told him I could add her name to this without a problem, and I delivered it to him today. 
 I just did a very tight zig-zag stitch and free motioned her name.
 A peek at the minky back and the gray cross-hatch binding. 
 I love backing quilts with minky, it makes them so soft. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Scrappy Plus Finish

This must be some sort of record. I managed to bind a quilt (my least favorite part) less than a week after I finished the quilting. In this case it's the Scrappy Plus Along quilt that was inspired by Amy Given Sewist at Blotch and Thrum. I've mentioned the newest quilt shop that I've been frequenting in Northern Virginia before, Quilter's Studio, and they have a long arm available to rent. I quilted it there, finishing on Thursday, and then bound it off today.

This quilt will be going to one of my patients. She was in a skydiving accident where the parachute collapsed on itself ~80 feet off the ground. She has to be in traction, and since it's a military hospital most of the donations we get are geared towards men. I didn't make this quilt with any reason other than I wanted to make this pattern, and I know it will be loved by both her and her family (her mother has already invited me and several of the other nurses to visit their home in Georgia where she's already told me about a quilt museum set up in an old railroad car).

Home right after the quilting. 
 With binding!
 All the corners. 
 Rolled, and all the corners because that's the thing to do (or so show all the other quilting blogs).
 The backing, it's 2/3 dot print, 1/3 white. This shows the quilting well. 
 And this was in my apartment when I realized my living room really shows the fact that I'm a quilter based on what's on all the seating choices. That said, the pink quilt and yellow/green one on the far chair are out so that I can hang them on the walls. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bee Blocks in the Mail

This morning I sent this quarter's 3x6 Bee Blocks in the mail. I made the last two yesterday. These are going all over the country: Texas, Oregon, Washington State, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Tennessee - I love how the Flickr Bees connect quilters from all across the country (and world).

Here are the last two of the blocks individually: 

And here are all of the blocks up on the design wall. The Blue/Green/Orange one stays with me, the rest went out of the rest of the hive. I can see making a whole quilt of this with sashing between the blocks. There's also the possibility of making the secondary pattern of the squares/diamonds created from the negative areas around the stars. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bound and Done

Two days ago I finished up the Asterisk Quilt, but the lighting was terrible for doing photos, so I waited until today. What's great is next to my apartment there's a trail that has a wooden rail fence as one of the borders. This quilt will be going to hang in a local quilt shop in Northern Virginia, where I'll be teaching paper piecing. The quilting was FMQ boxes in the white text areas. The backing is the same as the corner pieces (which was a stash buy last summer), and the binding is a black and white varied width stripe.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Putting Together Bee Blocks

I may not have posted recently, but I have been plugging away. And I've got the countdown on until I'm back to day shift - 6 work nights left! Part of why I haven't been posting is the light is pretty crappy a night. And I will say these pictures are meh, but better than nothing.

Here is the Scrappy Plus Along - 35/42 blocks completed. The only color set left is the gray.
 This one was actually taken during the light of day - it's a bee block that I fully assembled after getting home from work one morning. I had pieced the sections the night before. 
 This is all the bee blocks I received when it was my month for Bee(ful) of Paper. I sashed and added corner stones. The back is the same as the corner pieces with one strip of the black text print running through it to make it wide enough. I'm planning to do double layer batting to make the quilting really stand out on this. I'll be doing FMQ of a yet to be determined design over the white text areas. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Scrappy Plus Along

I took a little break from bee blocks (they're not due to be sent until Nov 15 anyway) to start a new quilt. This one came from Instagram inspiration. It's the Scrappy Plus Along from Blotch and Thrum. I've had charm packs from Simply Color sitting around since the line came out, yeah, I didn't have that burst of inspiration that gets me excited to make a quilt. But this quilt just yearned to be made from one of the charm packs. A single charm pack plus the sashing that is all from my stash will yield a 60"x70" quilt top. And this design allows for almost all chain piecing.

The one really unfortunate this is this morning as I was working on one set of the blocks, my sewing machine decided to suck the block down. I stopped immediately so as not to damage the fabric or the machine, but now something is not right at all and the thread keeps knotting and the machine keeps pulling the fabric down into the bobbin area after 3-4 stitches. I got out all the lint, and all the everything that might have been causing it to catch, but it continued so I will be taking my machine to the repair shop as soon as it opens. Conveniently there's one less than half a mile from my apartment.

1st block
 All the pinks (this charm pack only had 3 from that color way). And a couple purples.
 It's growing. 
 And now half the greens are done. 
 All the greens and oranges minus one since it's still sitting uncompleted due to the machine troubles. This will end up taking over my design wall. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Half way there

I've made 3 of the 6 blocks I need to do for the fall paper pieced bee. So far, I think my favorite is the middle green and gray one, although I did have fun with the rainbow block and that print from Riley Blake gives the block motion.
Orange, Aqua, and Gray with Gray background
 Gray and Green (with Navy) on White background.
 Rainbow on black background.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sun Star for Fall 3x6

I joined the 3x6 Flickr Bee again and chose the Sun Star block from for this round. It definitely will lend itself to playing with color with three focal points per diamond, I've already done some mental planning for the other blocks - the rainbow ones in particular will be fun. 
These colors are brighter in real life but since this picture was taken after midnight there was no natural light. I've already started on the first that will be sent out. Pictures will be forthcoming as I make this in 6 more color schemes.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Some design wall time and big quilt quilting

I finally put my design wall up - I've had it for awhile sitting folded on the futon that's in my sewing (guest?) room. I put up the bee blocks I received from the Bee(ful) of paper. I'll be making one more myself. And now I'm deciding if I want to do sashing, solids, other text prints, or what. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments.

 The other thing I'm working on now is quilting the roller rink quilt. I'm doing straight line quilting along the big seams, and stippling in the centers of the blocks. I haven't decided if I'm going to do anything in the gray/white areas. Perhaps, but for right now I'm thinking I'll leave those areas unquilted. This is a queen size quilt that I'm doing on my home machine - lots of squishing around under the throat.

Monday, August 26, 2013

100 Quilts for Kids Charity Quilts

Katie over at SwimBikeQuilt runs a charity donation called 100 Quilts for Kids. I've had these two quilt tops with me since 2010. I made them both that summer, but never got around to finishing them. That changed on Saturday when I just felt like quilting rather than piecing. I also purchased the Elmer's Glue spray adhesive since it's water soluble and will thus wash out. I'm pretty pleased with it. The needle didn't get gummed up and the thread never broke. It's also cheaper than 505. 

Before I actually used the Elmer's Spray on an actual quilt, I did a test piece, and I wanted to really see how it would do with dense quilting and the needle passing through quite a bit. That means I practiced feathers. I think I'm getting decent with my travel stitching along the same path and that this feather turned out pretty well.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Little things

I have finished the big block quilt top with the mitered corners. Last weekend at the DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting, pictures were taken of it, but they haven't made it to Flickr yet, and since I was behind the quilt holding it up, none made it onto my camera or phone. I plan to get a queen flat sheet to back it with and do straight line quilting. Although this picture is from before it was actually pieced it's laid out on the floor and gives a decent idea of what the top looks like put together: 

 Many of you have seen all the bee blocks that I make for my hive mates, but here is my collection of received blocks from the paper pieced hives. My color scheme is orange, lime green, and bright blue. For half the hives I requested white backgrounds and for the other half, I requested dark gray - I love how these have turned out. I haven't decided yet if I want to do another couple of rounds or leave it smaller like this (48"x48") and use as a wall hanging.

And lastly for this post, one of the nurses I work with commissioned me to make a pencil case for her daughter who starts the school year on Monday. Her daughter hadn't liked any of the ones that were at Staples when they went shopping. That evening, I texted several pictures of fabric, and what I thought was funny is initially her daughter chose my ironing board cover as her favorite print (it's white with pale blue polka dots), but once I figured that out and she chose from the actual fabric available (all from my scrap bin) she chose this combination and I had free reign on the design. I made it more sturdy with fusible fleece ironed to the outer pieces. The soon to be 9th grader was thrilled with it, and really that's what matters with commissioned pieces, that the recipient will love and use it.