Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hippity Hop...

Easter's on it's way. (Side note -- am I the only one who remembers this song? I started singing it earlier today and got a strange look from dh, I'm used to them, but still). How do I know Easter is on its way? Why, because the Easter Bunny delivered my basket of goodies early! These came in today's mail thanks to that delightful little bundle of egg delivering, cotton tailed sweetness.

THANK YOU EASTER BUNNY! (Reality check here -- thank you, thank you, thank you Mom for the lovely Easter time gift)

These fabrics are NOT my usual style at all -- but I am really looking forward to playing with them. Why? As my dh said -- not your usual retinal burn fabrics are they? Well -- no, but dd LOVES Dick and Jane. One of dh's aunts sent her the book this past Christmas and I have spent HOURS reading it to her since then. Of course, I could wish she would say the whole title rather than shouting "Dick!" when she wants me to read it to her. The first time she did that in front of my mil I almost choked on my drink trying to explain what she was asking for. Luckily I "won" in the in-laws lottery and mil laughed and did NOT think I had been teaching dd bad habits with my own language. It also turns out dd had already shouted it out and shoved the book at her at the same time when mil was watching her earlier that week. So, the bunny's (aka my wonderful mother's) gift to me will become a quilt I can "read" to dd and I am thrilled!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

UFO question

When does a UFO become a UFO? This is not just a rhetorical question. Thanks to my pledge to reduce my UFOs this year, I actually need to define it for myself to know just which projects get priority. Now some projects are obviously UFOs.

My Summer Sorbet quilt that I've put aside to chill until I can figure out what to do with the borders is an obvious UFO. (here are all 12 blocks -- although I am thinking I do like this layout, any opinions?) So is the small flannel receiving blanket sized quilt I started while pregnant and still need to quilt. So is the "Monsters On My Bed" quilt that I pieced when dd was two months old that is basted and waiting for me to quilt. I have plans that all three of these will be finished this year, and again, since two out of the three are in "flimsy" stage it's obvious that they qualify as UFOs.

But, the question still stands. At what stage of a project does it become a UFO? Does it start when you've actually cut some of the fabric? If so, does this count? These are a bunch of 2 1/2" strips of fabrics I have used in other projects in the past year. I found a cute scrappy pattern in Quilter's Home that uses a technique I've been wanting to try. So, I have the collection of print strips I need, just need to cut a ton of background strips. And, while I did cut these strips to this size with the pattern in mind, they were scraps in the first place. I simply cut them down as I was either putting away scraps for later use and/or as I was finishing the projects they came from. So, while the fabric has been "cut" does it count as a UFO -- or is this simply gathering materials?

And while I'll even accept that a project may be a UFO if anything has been cut (and I'm tempted to believe that) where does that leave this one? These (not the cut squares in the background but the folded batiks and prints towards the front) are for a quilt for my mil. They will be her Christmas present. (No, I'm not worried about her seeing them, she already has -- my theory on this one is that if I am going to make this for her, I want to be sure she is going to love what I make so she knows about the quilt). I haven't cut anything, but I have begun to prepare the freezer paper templates and all of the fabric has been purchased and pulled from the stash. So, minimal work in, but ready to begin the work at any time. This one is the most troublesome for me because I have anywhere from 15 - 20 projects like this. The fabric is purchased, patterns selected or settings designed, everything is kept together in project bins and/or drawers, but nothing has been done with them. Do these also count as UFOs? Or are they simply projects that may or may not ever be begun and the fabric is simply hanging out in a special part of the stash? Except that I won't use it as part of my stash since it is meant for another project?

I really don't know -- and I suppose that the only reason I'm having angst about the subject is because I started a new project this week. The angst is because it is none of the projects mentioned above -- instead it is an entirely new project that wasn't even on my radar until this weekend. I was trying to decide what was next after my little bags and came across another pattern from a recent (I think) issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting (hmmn -- a lot of magazine patterns cropping up here, then again, by actually doing some of these patterns I can justify purchasing them in the first place). I had thought the pattern looked interesting when I first saw it, and when I looked at it again I realized I had a grouping of fabrics I had collected with vague ideas of doing something with them that would work. A quick trip down to my stash to check -- and yep, I could do it, and better than that I could do it all from my stash with only the possibility of some thread being purchased for the entire project.

So, instead of finishing one of my UFOs or one of the other projects that I have all of the materials for -- I started something else entirely. I really will get to the UFOs and the other projects. Eventually. Probably. I hope? In the meantime, a little tease of the stash fabrics I'm now playing with. Really, how could I resist? So, all of the fabrics ironed, cut down if necessary and cut to assembly dimensions -- and now to piece the blocks!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring has sprung...

After crazy weather for most of this winter this weekend had unexpected sun and warm weather -- and I saw these peeking up in my neighbor's little front garden

My dd's pleas for "ouside" FINALLY were answered with "yes". So not much quilty going on here but dd did get to wear her new "jacky" (complete WITH buttons -- amazing since I tend to put off any hand sewing until I absolutely have to do it). So the final photos of this project include an adorable (if I do say so myself) model

We had fun playing with the soccer ball, swinging on the swings and generally getting muddy because of the rain we have been having -- but the same rain turned the grass spring green and oh was it nice just hanging out.

Of course, my little one did not think the hour or so she had at the park was anywhere near enough -- or that she needed lunch and a nap before going back out again -- if mommy wouldn't help her with the coat, she could take matters into her own hands

Mommy (mean person that she is) however did manage to prevail. (she did get to go out later -- but that was AFTER nap time, much needed despite the pleas of the not quite two year old).

I did manage to get SOME quilty stuff done this weekend -- plotted out my next project, selected fabrics from the stash, etc. But I will write more about that later. Another beautiful spring day here and I can just hear dd beginning to wake up from nap -- and expecting "ouside!"

Friday, March 23, 2007

Emergency Sewing Break...

There was something nagging at me today. I had my day all planned out, teach class, hold office hours, go home and do homework, play with dd before her bed time, have supper with dh, go back to homework. Nice, neat -- but still, something was missing. It's the end of the month -- guild meeting is next week -- isn't it? A quick check of the newsletter and the short answer is no. Guild is tonight. Ok -- no problem, if I can get enough homework done, I can pick up dd from daycare early -- still get in play time, AND go to my guild meeting, late supper with dh before he leaves for work. Problem solved. If not, I can always just miss this month. Glance at the newsletter to see what's on the schedule for tonight -- hostess/hospitality list (at every guild meeting we have "hostess" gifts, guild members are selected at random from the attendees and they can choose from gifts other members have supplied, who brings the gifts is rotated) -- list of names -- MY name -- Ummm -- ok...problem. Guess I can't miss the meeting, and I have to come up with two or three gifts. Ok, I'm a reasonable adult, I can handle this.

So -- gifts for two or three quilters -- what do quilters like. Umm -- fabric? Yeah, fabric sounds good. Quilters like fabric. (Duh -- you can see my mental processes were not quite catching up to my change in plans here) Fat quarters! That's it -- I mean, it's fabric, quilters can always find a use for fat quarters -- I'll buy a few and package them up nicely. A quick trip to the new LQS (which is as dangerous as I thought it would be -- sorry Nines, no luck that it doesn't suit my taste) Yeah, that will work. So what to do? Wrapping paper? Umm -- nope, don't have anything at home that will work (tons of Christmas and baby stuff, nothing for guild) and I don't want to go to another store. Use fabric scraps to tie around them after they're rolled? Umm -- nah, doesn't seem right somehow. Hey -- wait a second, there was that cute drawstring bag pattern in the new Quilts and More I just saw that featured Heather Bailey's yummy Fresh Cut fabric (which if you haven't seen btw -- check it out, I've been looking for it locally but looks like I'm going to have to order some online). The pattern takes two fat quarters -- is big enough to hold several fat quarters -- seems simple enough -- should be quick and easy -- oh, and the LQS has a cute sample made up of it. I have the magazine at home -- ok, a bag with coordinating fat quarters it is.

So, I spent my afternoon making four little drawstring bags (what, you didn't think I would spend the day sewing and not have one for myself at the end did you?). The weather was wonderful, sun was shining, I opened up the windows and lost myself in the fun of sewing. Of course, they took much longer than I thought. A rush trip to pick up dd (who was tired and cranky) from day care, an emergency trip to the local chain fabric store for cording, a set of plastic Easter eggs for dd (she LOVES those things -- will spend hours pulling them apart and putting them back together and for $.50 I figured it was a small price to pay), a plastic bucket to put eggs in, and a dash home to pull through the drawstrings while dd wants to play with HER bag (let no one say my daughter does not know what she wants) later -- I managed to finish two bags in time for my guild meeting. I even managed to snap a couple of shots of the bags and their accompanying fat quarters as I rushed out the door. I even (kind of) made it to the meeting on time -- really, I was only a couple of minutes late and there were two others who walked in just ahead of me.

Wait a minute -- didn't I say I made FOUR bags? Not two? Well -- yeah, two got done for the meeting, the other two I got back to when I got home. And since I had some extra fabric (did I mention I tend to overbuy fabric?) I decided to make two more. I still have to go back to the local national chain store for more cording for the two in the back.
One will go to the tired cranky toddler who was so upset that one didn't seem to be for her this evening. The one I was going to take to guild will go to a dear friend and fellow quilter (and mother of my goddaughter) as a "I know you're having a tough time right now and you seem like you could use a fabric pick-me-up" gift. One will go to my mother with a suitable Easter-time present in it. And, one will actually go to me!

All in all it was a good day, I didn't get done what I had planned to do at all. But, it was bright and sunny, the windows were open and letting in the warm breezes (and despite the fact that my allergies decided to kick in big time and I'm on a decongestant induced insomnia jag it was worth it), and I got to spend the day doing something I love -- play with fabric that was as bright and sunny as the day was. What more can I ask for?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Too much homework...

to get any sewing done in the past couple of days, so I thought I would post a picture or two of some recently (this past October to December is still recent isn't it? I seem to be losing time these days) completed projects. One of my challenges to myself this year is to finish off some UFOs (more on that subject in another post). I had at least two quilts finished (sent out to be long armed) and just waiting for binding -- that had been in that state for over two years. YIKES!
This top was finished in 2004!! I got it back from being quilted in early 2005. And I finished binding it in September of 2006. Talk about delayed gratification. Here it is finished and hanging at my guild show this past fall -- no I didn't expect it to win anything, but it was nice getting some comments on my technique which is all I wanted.

I was so happy to finally have it done and it was nice to curl up under for Halloween this year -- finally! Since every fabric except for the backing and binding are Halloween or fall themed, it was a great way to finally USE all of my holiday fabric. Of course my dd hasn't let me put it away yet -- she loves picking out all of the cats (meows), bats, and moons. Who says Halloween has to end in October?

My other project that I finally finished in December is one that was even older. It was a wonky split rail fence from Jan Mullen's book Cut Loose Quilts. I started this one in 2003 and had it back from the quilter in 2004. Um -- anyone seeing a pattern here about binding? Yes -- I had a totally irrational fear of finishing a binding. Something to do with having to hand sew it down to get it to look right -- after binding four quilts this December I'm over it -- but it took that many for me to feel comfortable. On the plus side it meant I could finally give my cousin her long overdue quilt for Christmas.

This picture doesn't really do the quilt justice -- but it's the only one I have. All of the fabrics are batiks (I simply can't resist batiks -- at one of my favorite LQS's one of the ladies who works there always teases me about my batik addiction). They are all in luscious tones of burgundy, gold, rusty orange, tans and a hint of grey. There is also a fun batik that is black with cat outlines in the tans/golds. My cousin is a devoted kitty cat mom and I love the way this ended up looking like the cats were peeking out from behind layers of rocks.
And yes, my couch is covered in quilts here -- two others, one for my dd and one for my aunt are hanging out plus the usual assortment that are available for cuddling up in front of the TV. I'll post pictures of the other two I finished for Christmas later -- but they were actually started and completed in the same year -- go figure that. I also need to dig out the photo (an actual physical one, none that are digital) of the quilt I made for my mother for Christmas. Hmmnn -- looks like last year was really productive -- what is happening to this one?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Color me pink

While surfing blogdom the other day I saw another quilter's post about her favorite color -- pink. It made me think about my own relationship with pink. If you had asked me three years ago if I liked the color -- I would have looked at you and said "do I LOOK like a pink person"? Which is odd, since as a child, it was my absolute favorite color and I even convinced my parents to paint my room hot pink. Then my dear friend became pregnant and had a little girl. Ok, girls get pink right? I have some pink fabric hanging around in the stash -- and being a contentious godmother -- I need to make my godchild a quilt. Let's forget for a minute that said godchild's mother is also a quilter. So -- some pink fabric is not enough for a quilt so I'll just buy pink fabric -- mini-challenge to myself to make a quilt entirely of one color -- and I will buy the fabric at random, not trying to "match" it, just keep buying until I feel it's ready. The only rule for the purchases is that the fabric has to say "pink" to me -- in other words, be the primary color. I figured that I would either end up with a cute and quirky pink quilt -- or the world's ugliest quilt.

Yards and yards of pink fabric later -- I decided to take the plunge. By this time, I was pregnant and my goddaughter was almost six months old. Turns out, I had purchased enough fabric for two quilt tops (did I mention I tend to overbuy fabric?). I still didn't know if I was going to have a boy or a girl, but hey -- the second one could always be a charity quilt. By the time the top was together, I knew I was having a girl as well. Because of my dislike of the color, and because of my own "rules" for making the quilt -- "Puke me up Pink I" and "II" were born. One for my goddaughter, and one for my own daughter. What you see here is "Pink I" -- my goddaughter has hers across the country and I don't actually have a photo of it finished.

A funny thing happened when I was working on it though -- I rediscovered how much I actually LIKED pink. Working with all of the bubblegum colors and hot vibrant fuchsias made me remember how happy they made me -- and what they reminded me of. Pink peeps with the gooey marshmallow. My first pair of Nike's which were baby pink with a white swoosh. My room as a child with hot pink and lime green wallpaper with white cartoon bunnies everywhere. The pink and white shag carpeting in my room. Plucking fresh raspberries off of the bushes in the backyard and eating them while they were still warm from the sun. Something else happened too -- since the two pinks, almost every quilt I have made since then has had pink in it. What started out as a project to use up every scrap of pink in my stash, has now created a whole pink section of my stash that has threatened to take over every other color.
I'm glad I rediscovered a former favorite, but I wonder if I'm the only one this has happened to? Are there colors that you don't like/can't stand and then working with them helps you appreciate them? Or is this just a strange quirk of my own?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Quilter's block

I'm stuck. I have a quilt I've been working on since the first of the year (well -- working on it as much as time allows with school, dd, dh, and work all screaming for my attention). It's a quilt I've been planning/plotting/buying fabric for for over two years. I fell in love with one of the fabrics while I was pregnant with my 21 month old daughter because it reminded me of my craving food -- rainbow sherbet. Since that first fabric, I've been collecting others that fit in with my sherbet/sorbet theme and finally decided enough was enough, I was going to put this one together.

I started the blocks, and have in fact finished all twelve I'm going to use in the quilt. It's a scrappy log cabin variation set on point. Here's a photo of a partially completed block waiting for its triangles to set it on point. And yes, I do realize this one is going to be BRIGHT. I'm at the point where I simply have to arrange the blocks into rows -- but I've suddenly hit the wall with this one. Partially it's because I'm not sure what I want to do with the borders. The pattern I'm using has a plain fabric border. Two problems for me. 1) the fabric I WANT to use (the original inspiration fabric) I don't have enough of, and since I bought it so long ago can no longer find anywhere (and that includes the internet) and 2) I've pretty much decided I would rather do a scrappy border and really make it busy. So -- I think I have enough leftovers from the top (am I the only one who tends to overbuy fabric for quilt tops?) to piece together the borders, but I'm still unsure whether to just do strips, do smaller log cabins and take the design to the edges, etc.

Maybe this one just needs to be put away for awhile to stew -- since I'm planning on finishing it for my daughter's graduation to a twin bed and that is not going to happen for another year (her crib converts into a toddler bed so we have some time), maybe I should just put it in the UFO drawer an let it marinate. Maybe I'll find another inspiration fabric that will sing "border" to me -- then it will be on to the next crisis -- a cutting mistake means the binding fabric I was going to use is not an option. Luckily I DID find some of that online -- just need to bite the bullet and order it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Danger, Danger Will Robinson

While surfing around the web tonight I made a wonderful/awful/potentially expensive discovery. I just found out that there is now a quilt shop within 10 minutes of my home. Eeeek! One of the things that has been helping me keep my stash manageable is the fact that it is a 45 minute drive to get to my nearest LQS. I either have to go 45 mins east or 45 mins west. The only other option is the local major chain fabric store and since I will admit to being a fabric snob -- I usually manage not to buy much more than notions and the occasional magazine there. What is a confirmed fabricaholic to do??

Thursday, March 15, 2007

First Post

I've been surfing quilting blogs the past couple of months and have been really impressed by the talented folks out there. I've also been thinking about how nice it is to have some feedback on projects in progress and contact with other quilters and crafters. So -- why not add one more voice to the mix? This will be my all things quilting blog -- a place to post pictures, talk about progress (or non-progress as the case may be) and to just have an outlet to talk about my favorite fabric obsession.
One thing I have noticed is that quilt blogs include pictures! So, to join in the fun I'm posting a picture of my most recent project. A fun little jacket for my daughter that I have been meaning to make for the past year or more. Luckily the pattern goes up to her current size. I made the "scrappy" version which involved tearing up strips of fabric and tacking them onto a muslin foundation then "quilting" it together to create the fabric for the jacket. Then I used a minkee type fabric to create the lining so she'll have a nice little spring jacket. Which reminds me, the next time I decide to use either fleur (which I THINK is the name of the stuff I used) or minkee or anything else of its ilk -- I need someone to do a sanity check. It is wonderful when finished but I am still trying to sweep up all of the fuzz and I have at least one black shirt I don't think will EVER be the same!

I still need to add buttons, but she's already grabbed it down from the table and put it on wanting to go "outside!" Unfortunately for her, that is going to have to wait until our weather is a bit more predictable. And luckily for me, I still have time to make the second jacket out of just flannel and fabric that is sitting on my ironing board waiting for me to have a minute to sew. Speaking of which -- insomnia is raging, hubby is at work and my active toddler is soundly asleep. I hear my sewing machine calling!!!