Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WIP July 18

I haven't been getting a lot done in the quilting studio lately, but I have been basting my hexies, which I started July 5th. I have 168 done and expect to do another 400 or so. I started this project with several Hexagon Charm packs from Jo-Anne's (each package has 120 pieces). I picked three different collections and will supplement from my stash if necessary once I decide how far I want to go with this.

I started out with papers from Paper Pieces, because I wanted to be sure that I was using accurate bases. I got a small pack of 1 1/2-inch papers that held 50 pieces. Since then, I've been cutting bingo cards and other heavier papers that come in with my mail. I'd strongly recommend you start with accurate templates. This is a link to where I got mine.

This will be a long-term project because I'm already having hand problems from the handwork. I hope to keep it close by and work on it occasionally, but I will have to limit the basting. I don't want a repeat of the thumb problems I've had before!

Here's what I've learned so far on this project: 1. I need to use the bingo cards from magazines and mailers instead of heavier paper for my pieces. The heavier paper is hurting my hand, while the lighter doesn't. 2. I need to use a darker neutral thread for the basting. The lighter color doesn't show up well and will be harder to remove when the time comes. 3. I'm sure there will be lots more. I'll update.

Besides all that, I have finished the binding on the Safari Brights quilt which Michele quilted for me. I love it! I think I'll hang it in the hallway and replace one that's been on display for several years. I still have another quilt to bind and finish and two more to machine quilt. I want to get these done, but I don't know when I'll be back at it.

I seem to have a hard time going between piecing and quilting. When I'm in one mode or the other, I tend to stay there for a while. I admire those bloggers who seem to jump effortlessly from one project to another while planning a third and quilting a fourth. I guess I'm too old for all that. I tend to work on only one or two projects at a time. The tops pile up until I get the urge to quilt them. When I'm in the FMQ mood, I usually do several.

I'm always dreaming up new projects, but only a few ever see the light of my sewing room. That's the beauty of the Internet, isn't it? We get endless inspiration!

I'm going to link up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday, hosted this week by Taryn. Check it out. There's always wonderful inspiration there!

Monday, July 16, 2012


This is the charity quilt I took to guild last Monday. I was planning to use white for the binding, but changed my mind -- I'm a woman, after all! -- and went with a blue calico. I'd like to think the recipient would treasure this gift but you never know, and blue wouldn't get grungy as soon as white would.

So another finish for the year, and I've made the first of the donation quilts I promised myself I'd make this year.

I don't think I've mentioned that I've begun a Hexie project. I'm in the process of basting fabric to the paper pieces and I've got a loooong way to go. I'm just picking it up when I have some time in the evening. I got quite a bit done over the weekend, especially at the lake.

Not much sewing planned this week. I'm getting ready for a party Saturday with my husband's golf league. I'll be busy doing the housework that I habitually ignore when the creative muse strikes.

Now I'm off to mop floors!

While I'm doing that, you might want to check out the eye candy at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday!

Friday, July 6, 2012

On the needles Friday 7/6

I've been working on these socks off and on since May 11th, and would really like to get the second one done and move back to my summer tee from last year. Maybe that'll be OTN next week!

To get to the details, I think this is Sensations Bamboo & Ewe, a blend of 55% wool, 30% nylon and 15% bamboo (or rayon from bamboo as it says on the label). I've used this yarn before and like it. I'm not positive, because the ball band was taken out of the cake, but I'm pretty sure this is it. The needles are 2.25 mm fixed circulars from Knit Picks.

I use a generic toe-up formula from Knitty Summer 2006, Judy's Magic Cast On here, the Fleegle Heel here and will use the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off here. This is my 85th pair of socks. I love sock knitting, but these have been problematic because of the dark color. It's really pretty, but hard to work with because 99% of my knitting is done at night and this dark charcoal doesn't show up the stitches in the lighting in our family room.

I'm linking up with Judy's On the needles Friday. Maybe linking each week will get me going!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday July 4

My new favorite picture of Cato the Attack Cat.
     Sometimes I feel like I have ADD. There are so many things rolling around in my brain that I cannot focus on anything. Right now, I have several projects in the piecing stage, one I'm machine quilting and two that need bound. And here I sit with the cat on my lap composing a post. And I need to tidy up my house.

     First of all, I won't dump Cato off my lap. We both need this bonding time. He doesn't usually stay too long anyway. Secondly, I'm a slow starter in the morning and I'm not ready to get going until I've had time to check emails, read a few blogs and have a bowl of cereal.

     As for my WIP, I'm still working on my Christmas Diamonds, although only at my Thursday sewing circle (which only meets twice a month). The Smith Mountain Morning quilt has seen limited progress because of the Linus Quilt which is now awaiting quilting and gifting. I'm going to call that done for now, while aknowledging that it's not really done until it's bound and gifted.
One-patch donation quilt

     The machine quilting project is just a simple one-patch, that probably will be quilted by the time you read this. I'm going to do a simple serpentine stitch in the narrow border and in the white and then bind it. It's alternating calicos with white muslin, so I'll bind it with white. There already are several different muslins in there, so I won't worry about matching the muslin.

I call this Safari Brights
     The two projects awaiting binding were long-armed by the very talented Michele. They're not very big, so they shouldn't take too long, I just need to get going on them. The first is a project we did in a class at a local quilt shop many years ago. I think it came from a magazine, but I can't remember. I was trying to be scrappy even back then.  Michele did some custom quilting and I love it! It will finish about 48.5 square. I have the binding picked out but not ready to go.

Sand Pails?
     The other is a Buggy Barn stack 'n' switch called Basket Crazies. I used bright summery fabrics and a 9-patch sashing to make it a little bigger. I'm thinking of calling it Sand Pails, but I haven't decided for sure. I'll have my husband hold it up for a better picture when it's done. I don't know which fabric I'll bind it in.

I'm linking with WIP Wednesday. Check out all the inspiration if you have time on this busy holiday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Awesome book!

     I just got Leah Day's newest book, 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, and I am newly impressed. I've been following her blog for some time now, and I have three other of her publications. I have learned so much from her!

     This book, a printed compilation of all her free designs,  is really awesome! First of all, it's beautiful. I love the glossy paper and the photography is first-rate. I thought I was familiar with all the designs, but I was surprised to see several that were new to me, either because I missed them or didn't notice them on my computer screen. And each time I open it, new stitch-outs catch my eye.

     There's something different about seeing those designs in printed form, I think, that I really appreciate. Blowing up some of those designs to 6.25 inches square really makes a statement. The stitch-outs really pop on that glossy paper, and the colors are fun, too. It's hard to believe she doesn't have a stitch regulator; the stitches seem so even and precise.

     I especially like #42, Sea Oats; #55  Wheat in the Wind; #132, Swirling Petals; #186, Swirling Feathers; #301 Root Pockets; and #363 Feather Leaves. Of course, those are just the ones that caught my eye while I was writing this post; there's a lot more eye candy to be seen in this 252-page book. 

     The only quibble I have with the book is I'd like to have them listed by degree of difficulty as well as chronologically (maybe a star system?). She does have such a listing on her website. I understand publishing restraints probably prevented another page, but it would have been nice. On the other hand, I guess if I really want to use a design I should figure out how to do it, probably through practice or by watching the video on her site until I can achieve it.

     I wanted pictures to go with this review, but didn't feel comfortable just taking them from Amazon or her website, so I asked and Leah generously gave me permission to use the pictures in this post.

     I bought through Amazon, and couldn't be happier with my purchase. I would definitely recommend 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs to anyone who wants to improve her free motion quilting. You can get it here  or here.

    Video tutorials for all the designs are available on Leah's web site, If you're not familiar with that site, I urge you to visit and see what she has to offer. There's a wealth of information on free motion quilting and it's all FREE!

     She's also running a series of lessons on FMQ that have been comprehensive and enlightening. I haven't been disciplined enough to go through all the exercises, but I've still learned a lot that has improved my work. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

    Leah and her husband also operate an online shop which has merchandise which can help improve your FMQ. Be sure to check it out!

     This review has been pretty "gushy." I hope that doesn't prevent you from checking out Leah's books, site and store. If you want to learn this skill, here's an excellent place to start.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Design Wall, July 2

     I love this pattern!

     I was lucky to be able to take the Smith Mountain Morning class from Bonnie Hunter when she was in Columbus in May. Unfortunately, this is all I've been able to get done in the six weeks since. Three lousy blocks besides the four I made in class! It's not that I don't want to make it, other projects have intervened.
     Namely, the Linus Project. A group of us decided to make some of these in memory of a friend we lost way too soon. We wanted to make quilts for bigger kids and boys, since that's an ongoing need.

     That top is done, the back is pieced and the binding is ready. I used fat quarters I already had, but I bought the sashing and cornerstone fabric. I used a pattern called Squareville, designed by my friend, Becki. Quick, easy and fun. I hope some young person will love it. It's really bright, but kids like bright, right?

     This also fulfills my ongoing desire to make more donation quilts this year.

       I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday. Check out the incredible eye candy there!