Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Autograph Quilt

When I left 'gainful' employment last spring to embark on the adventure of retirement I really had a lovely send off.  There were cakes, gifts, plaques, pictures, a cruise on Lake Mead, a lunch with tequila shots...but I digress.

One of the nice things was this group of fabric pieces.

Another manager and I shared the enjoyment of thrift store bargains and she remembered a conversation that we shared wherein I mentioned someday making a quilt from thrifted men's shirts.  She purchased a few, cut them in to strips about 3" by 9" and asked each member of the management team autograph one with a good-bye message.

Today, I pulled them out and decided to put them together somehow.  Various pens and markers were used and I am guessing that not all are washable, so this will be a wall hanging for my sewing room I think.

I pulled out some white strips left over from other projects, as well as some yellow and a blue with a tiny white print.  I cut the strips is various widths, since the shirting strips were not all uniform.  I started by sewing all the shirting strips to white strips and then randomly sewed either a blue print or solid yellow to the other side.  There was an odd leftover, so I made one block with two shirting strips with a white strip in the middle.

This is what I have put together, so far.  When I am finished, there will be five blocks in a row and 6 rows top to bottom.  I am thinking that I may trim the solid strips and the blue print so that they are narrower and more of a frame for the shirt strips, rather than a rail fence look.  I don't have a lot of empty wall space in my sewing room and I think it will still work well on a slightly smaller scale.
Typically, I really didn't plan it out, I just started sewing and it got pretty big, very fast!  I would probably waste less time and fabric if I planned a bit more and jumped in a bit less!

It was really fun to go through and read them all again as I was pressing and sewing.  There were a lot of inside jokes and fun references.  I can't say I miss working every day, but it did bring back some fun memories!

See more Wednesday WIP's here!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stash Update 2013 - Week 4

Not a lot of quilting per se to report for the week.  My focus has been on embroidery and getting the next baby quilt materials ready to hand off to DSis.  

I am counting the fabric that I pressed and cut to give to her.  I am sending her five full feedsacks to use for the backing and one full sack to use for sashing.  I cut 4" strips from a dozen or so others (two 4" strips of a few)  Also, I had some miscellaneous small pieces of feedsacks that I included along with some reproduction fat quarters.  

I came up with a total by weighing the fabric on my kitchen scale and comparing the total to the weight of one sack which is about a yard and a quarter.  I figured the feedsacks separately from the other fabric, since it is a bit heavier.  

Even though it is not a 'finish', I am counting it because it is no longer in my stash available to use.  I am not counting the fabric that I am using for the embroidered blocks until I have finished them.  

Fabric added this week :0 yds
Fabric added YTD: 6.5 yds
Fabric used this week: 8.25 yds
Fabric used YTD:  13.41 yds
Net stash change YTD: -6.91 yds

I did baste a sandwich today, so I hope to have a finish next week!

I am linking up at Patchwork Times here! Nothing like a deadline to keep me motivated!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Pinkest Project

Dearest Sister and I have collaborated on quilts for each of her grandbebe girls. We have completed four, which you can get a peek at here, here, here and here.  I embroider 12 blocks with the chosen motif and select the fabric, mostly from my vintage fabric and feedsack stash. 
I give it all to DSis and she pieces it and then quilts it by hand. 

Oh, and I embroider a label.  

In the past, I have worked ahead, planning for subsequent bebes before they are announced and gender known. 

I have gotten behind.

For number five, a charmer who is currently going on eight months old, my original idea was to use Ruby McKim's Roly-Poly Circus in variegated floss and use various colors of fabric.   I transferred the pattern to fabric and stitched up the tiger and the elephant about a year ago. 
Ruby McKim's Roly Poly Elephant

Ruby McKim's Roly Poly Tiger

I decided that they weren't as cute or complex as the previous projects and the variegation doesn't really work very well in the elephant and didn't show up very well in the tiger.

And it is important that each quilt is as special as the others. 

At the time, we were living in our RV and most of my sewing resources were in storage. One of the projects I had prepared to tide me over was a set of Aunt Martha's "Storybook Animals" to stitch in rework.  Eventually, in my mind, the redwork blocks had become the next quilt assignment.
The Storybook Animals in progress.

After completing about 75% of the stitching, I sat down and sorted out who has what quilt and realized that these blocks will not work for the priority project! The problem is that the oldest sister of Baby 5 has a redwork quilt and her next sister has the Storybook animal motif!

After checking with DSis and getting a feel for when she will be ready to work on BebeQuilt 5.0, I began looking through my embroidery designs, vintage coloring books and Flikr groups for ideas.  

I have decided to use the Aunt Martha Baby Animal's group. It comes with 7 designs: cat, dog, lamb, duck, bunny, sheep....and elephant.   While the elly is cute, since it is sort of the odd man out, I am going to save him for another project and use the other six twice to give me 12 total. 

In the past, we have tried to be gender neutral, so I could start before we knew who was expected. No need, in this situation!

I am going with Pink!  

I have sorted through all my pink feedsacks and I am waffling between embroidering on the solid pink feedsack, or use a white flour sack with various shades of pink floss. I only have one pink sack in a shade that plays nicely with the other prints, so I will see if that will be enough.  There are several prints in the bottom of the stack that are multiples, enough for a quilt back, I think.

So, the Storybook Animals go on the back burner. I am sure they will be needed at some point and when they are, I will once again be working ahead!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stash Update 2013 - Week 3

A couple of things got checked off the list this week!  

I finished the Madrona Road challenge quilt and I finished the hanging sleeve for my Quiltcon entry. The challenge quilt used 4.5 yards of fabric and the sleeve used .66  yards. 

Fabric added this week :0 yds
Fabric added YTD: 6.5 yds
Fabric used this week: 5.16 yds
Fabric used YTD:  5.16 yds
Net stash change YTD: +1.34 yds

I also made progress on another project. I finished this top that I made following the Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month. 
Please excuse the distorted image!  I hung it in my kitchen for the photo and the stove was in the way!
I didn't make all of the blocks exactly the same as the BOM, but I did use the same techniques.  I particularly enjoyed the paper piecing.  I have seen the Circle of Geese block (upper left) in a lot of places and thought it looked really fun.  Now that I have the paper piecing pattern for it, it may pop up in lots of my projects! 

I am thinking that I might enroll in Leah Day's Craftsy free motion quilting class. She is using this sampler quilt in the class and it would probably stretch my fmq skills more than just quilting it up with the patterns that I am already comfortable with.   I don't want to enroll in any more classes until I have completed the ones I have already signed up for, though.  As much as I would like to be able to report the fabric usage for this top (after it is complete) and put my usage in the 'black', I think I will wait. 

I decided not to make all the blocks for the 2013 BOM, though. I plan to only make the blocks that are a new technique for me.   

I haven't started the January Lucky Stars BOM yet, but I still have 10 days left in the month. 

This time next week, I might start feeling a little behind, but just now, I feel like I am on track for a very successful year of quilting!

I'm linking in at Patchwork Times Stash Updates here!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Finish! Madrona Road Challenge Quilt

Someday I will take 'artful' photos of quilts on a fence, on the grass, etc.  It was too cold and dark when I finished this to try.
This is my first finish for 2013!  I received seven fat eights of Violet Craft's Madrona Road fabric at the December Meeting of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.  The Michael Miller Fabric Company offered the fabric to participating guilds.

The challenge rules were to create a quilt, at least 18" x 18" using only the Madrona Road fabric issued, other fabric from the line or solids.  The design was to be a modern take on a traditional block, and the traditional block was to appear somewhere on the quilt.  

My first pieced back!  I was glad to see it turned out pretty straight...

I used Elizabeth Hartman's Wonky 9-patch Trellis design and alternated traditional 9-patches with wonky 9-patches on the pieced back.

Quilting detail on the back.
I quilted wavy lines through the 'trellis' and free motion flowers in the white squares.
Quilting detail on front.

The wavy lines did not turn out exactly as I envisioned, but I think they are effective, especially where they cross.  The flowers were inspired by Angela Walters' "Flower Power" from her book, "Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters"

Before I resolved to sew from my stash last fall, I had purchased some half yard cuts of Madrona Road, but in the other colorway.  The only one that I felt worked in this project was the text print on white.  I also added some Kona solids in purple, blue, mustard and grey.  I pieced the binding with the gray, blue and purple and added some of the blue Haystack print that I mis-cut and couldn't use for the blocks.

I should have cut the binding a little wider, to account for the heavier Kona, especially since I had starched the fabric when pressing.  I realized it was a bit scant, but in my haste to finish I didn't want to take it off and resew it with a smaller seam allowance.  I stitched it down really securely though, so I think it will be fine, just more narrow on the back than the front.

These colors are not ones that I am drawn to, but I think it works.  The finished quilt is about 40" x 50". I think it could be a modem baby quilt.

The reveal will be at the February KCMQG meeting.  I know from looking at our Facebook page there will be lots of interesting quilts. 

 Can't wait to see them!

To see more  Madrona Road Challenge quilt finishes check out today's post at the Modern Quilt Guild or the Flikr group here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stash Update 2013 - Week 2

Well, after two weeks of the year, I thought I would be able to post that I have used some fabric from my stash and made at least a small dent. 

That is not the case.

I am not going to count fabric as "used" until the project is completed (to help me stay on the finishing track).  Even though I have been sewing quite a bit, I have been working on a couple of quilts and have not finished either.  

And, I bought 6.5 yards of fabric at guild meeting.  

We usually have a meeting sponsor, generally a local quilt shop, who pays our meeting room rent in exchange for setting up a small shopping opportunity before the meeting and at break.  This month, the sponsor was a small shop that is (sadly) closing their doors at the end of the month.  They brought all their remaining fabric which was 40% off!  Well, I wouldn't be a good member if I didn't support our sponsor, right? Right.

So for the second week of the year:

Used this Week: 0 yards
Used year to Date: 0 yards
Added this Week: 6.5 yards 
Added Year to Date: 6.5 yards
Net reduction for 2013: - 6.5 yards

Next week, I am determined to make the last number a positive one!

I am linking up at Patchwork Times to help me stay on track!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Bluebird of Swappiness

Last fall, I participated in a pin cushion swap at quilt guild. The swap committee arranged to swap with other modern quilt guilds in Baltimore, Austin, and Vancouver.  We were not  partnered with anyone in particular, so there was no need to try to make one to suit some one's taste.

I made this little bluebird from a design in a Stash Book called, "Little Birds".   The designer is Laura Clempson who blogs at

I did not enlarge the pattern, so it is half the size of the one in the book. Because it was smaller, I also did not stuff the wings.  I just used really thick wool felt.  I stuffed the body with wool roving and added the flower head pins for feathers.

It was a little nerve wracking trying to come up with an idea .  The instructions just required a "modern aesthetic".  I kept thinking a quilted design would be more appropriate, but I just couldn't think of a way to make a quilted one that would be special.  In the end, I was pleased with how it turned out and it was really fun to anticipate which one I would get to take home with me. 
We submitted our finished projects at the November meeting and received the new ones at the December meeting a few weeks ago. 

This is the one i got from Kim in Austin:

It is filled with walnut shells, which Is new to me, so I am anxious to see how it compares. It is certainly more decorative than any of my traditional tomato pincushions!  It will be nicer to use when I am watching TV in the living room, since I usually leave a pincushion on the end table. 

And, a couple of weeks  ago, I got a very nice email from Ann, in Vancouver, who was the recipient of my little bird!  

We have a great swap/challenge committee!  I can't wait to see what they come up with this year!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ringing In

So, I am late to the 'goals for 2013' party, but let's just call it fashionably late, because I have been making lots of plans and lists!

I don't have a collage to show the things I got accomplished in 2012, but a good many of last year's starts will be finished in 2013, so I show them later. 
(One goal is to implement a better organization system for photos and more regular posting!)

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have resolved to sew from my stash in 2013.   It has not been easy to get out of the habit of shopping the sales, but after six weeks of sticking to the plan I am feeling better than ever about it.  And, I have lots of fabric, so it is really not a deprivation. 

High level goals:
Quilt at least one of the backlog of tops that are hanging in the closet each month.
I have 3 or 4 that I have made and a couple that I picked up at estate sales.
Make at least 6 quilts for charity - probably Project Linus (I have lots of flannel that I want to use!) 
Finish embroidering the vintage Story Time blocks to pass off to Dearest Sister to put into a quilt for her grandbebe girl #5. This is actually a high priority, as she is on track to finish up quilt number four pretty soon.  

Skill building activities:
Finish the Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month that I enrolled in 12 months ago and started two weeks ago.

Progress, so far.  New skills:  Dresden Plate, English paper pieced hexagons, and the slashed blocks - wonky pound sign and the asterisk.  I am also getting fairly consistent with my quarter inch seam. 

Craftsy 2013 Block of the month 
Possible fabrics...

Skill Builder Block of the Month at Pile o Fabric

Still auditioning fabric for this one.  I tried to pick a palette from Dropseed, but I am not confident of my choices.  

Lucky Stars paper piecing Block of the Month at Don't Call Me Betsy
I am going to try to mirror her fabric choices, as best I can.  I might use solids. 

Other Craftsy classes:
Machine Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters
Inspired Modern Quilts and
Creative Quilt Backs with Elizabeth Hartman
Color Play for Quilters with Joen Wolfrom 
Knit sock Workshop with Donna Druchunas

As you can see i went a little bit nuts during the Xmas sale at Craftsy.  It seems shopping for on-line classes may have taken the place of shopping on line for fabric, but I am excited to learn some new things and continue sharpening skills.  

I hope you all had a good holiday season and that getting back into routine goes smoothly!