Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fabric-less Vacation

Can you believe this...I went on a week long vacation and didn't buy a single piece of fabric.
That's not to say I wasn't doing things that were appropriately quilt related.

While we were lining up for Rolling Thunder (a motorcycle even in Washington DC with 1/2- 1 million bikes riding in memory/honor of MIA/POW), we met Mike Frazier and a group of Nam Knights.  Mike is a Marine who served in Afghanistan.  Not only will he be getting the Quilts of Valor quilt my group made, but we're on a mad dash to make a wedding quilt for him and his Navy nurse fiance Monica.

I was also reminded when I went to the National Museum of Art that I really need to finish the quilt that I started of this painting - Monet's Lady with Parasol.

This is about where I lost momentum.

I bought books to make new quilts that I don't have time for.

And I have a sketch book full of applique ideas like Miro's Dog Barking at the Moon.

Plus tons of architectural details from the Smithsonian that will someday be quilting patterns.

But for now...I must dash off to work so I can pay off the bills from the vacation!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bright Shiny Objects

I started my day determined to finish this quilt.  It's my variation of Elizabeth Hartman's Knee Socks Quilt Block.  I say variation because I had a bunch of strips in various widths and colors left over from the Quilts of Valor project that my Quilt Group worked on.

Since they were unpredictable widths, I made the end pieces about an inch wider, which allowed me to line everything up and trim these blocks to  12.5".

I was making great progress until I hit about 10 am and realized that I have some major gaps in my wardrobe for my next vacation, and this was my last week-day off to fix the problem.

I did find a mesh style motorcycle jacket to survive the Virginia humidity.

However, I was not successful finding nice cool cotton tops to wear.  This season's tank tops all appear to be polyester.  Ick.

So I went home and pulled some pink cotton t-shirt fabric out and tried sewing up a Simplicity tank pattern.  It fits much worse than this blurry photo suggests.  There are odd gaps at the arm holes.

I started re-drafting a pattern, but decided I needed to make a quick ride to Calidonia - the amazing fabric store that has yummy fabrics.  If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it.

I came home with a yard of a purple bamboo blend knit.

And this cool lycra blend which I plan to turn into a work-out style tank.

Ditto with this one.

Then I came home and threw a turkey in the oven (it's been in the freezer since November and I just realized it was there).  While it was cooking, I tried to sort out several tank patterns, then gave up and cleaned the house (company arriving tomorrow).  As the bird was resting, Zoe stopped by and I was inspired to finish sewing the Utah pillows that I'd made to commemorate Spring Break.

Zippers were hastily added to both girl's pillows and another thing crossed off the to do list.

And at long last, I spent the last 30 minutes piecing together the quilt I was going to finish at 10 am.

It was going to be another Quilts of Valor quilt, but as I was finishing up, decided that it needed to be a Groom's Quilt for another friend name Dave.  He's Army National Guard and has had several overseas deployments.  That counts right?

And besides...I know Dave.  He WILL be sleeping on the couch.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

It is time again for Blogger's Quilt Festival!

My big finish since the last time is this hand quilted double wedding ring. It is a gift for a good friend who is getting married in August.

I started this last June with a request for my blogging friends to send me any turquoise scraps they might have and were willing to share.

By July I had the piecing done.  It was something that went much faster than I'd feared.

I've always been afraid of this pattern and had it on my list of "quilts I will never make".   In a weak moment, however, I bought a DWR template on sale.

The quilting, took a long,long time.  I even forced myself to quilt less than I really wanted - just the outline of the rings and some echoing in the grey.

It took every episode of Cake Boss to finish it.

Thanks to the bamboo batting and the limited amount of quilting, the end result is amazingly soft and drapy.
I did take lots of the scraps to make this groom's quilt.

On the back, hers will say "Sarah, welcome to the family".

His will say " Dave, because we know you'll be sleeping on the couch."

I've been practicing my FMQ to fill this in.  But now am thinking I'll try something a little less ambitious.

I have until August to get that second quilt done.  Guess I better get busy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Citrus Squares Really Finished

I am finally really finished with this quilt.  It's bound and washed and quite nice if I do say so myself.

I realized that people who comment on my posts get a reply, but the rest of you don't get to know the answers to the inquiries.  Let me share some Q & A from the previous post...with a mix of the real replies and sassy answers that I chose not to say at the time.

Q: Why don't you use scraps for the binding?
A: Because I used them all on the back

A: Because the little bits and pieces I have left in these colors are no bigger than 4".  It would take 6 hours to piece together enough for a binding.

A: Because for $3.50 I bought this fabric which was perfect.

A:  Because I would have missed having the the following conversation:
Phone call with husband: Me: I'm leaving work now but need to stop at JoAnn's for some fabric. Blair: Oh Good! I was worried we were about to run out.

Q: Why don't you use beige to match the writing for the binding?
A: Beige is not a color.
A: No one in their right mind would think that I have beige fabric anywhere in my house.

Q: …and we just love that wrinkle don’t we?
A: Yes, it coordinates with those wrinkles under my eyes. 

Q: Why don't you use a thread stand?
A: Because it didn't come with my machine.
A: Because I can't see buying a gadget when there's only one thread that gives me trouble.
A:  Why don't you buy me one?

Looks like it's going to be a lovely weekend, which means time outside instead of inside sewing.   Will catch up with y'all much later.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Citrus Squares

Am I the only quilter who completely misjudges the length of time that it's going to take to finish a project?  I worked on this all weekend and still need to bind it.

I think that's going to mean a fabric purchase as I only have scraps in these colors.

This was a stash clean-out project.  Earlier this spring, I decided to pull out some orange fabric to make room for my growing batik stash.  I had an assortment of fabrics that I'd received as a gift that are printed with batik looking designs.  I had purchased the fabric with fruit names written all over it about a year ago (on clearance) thinking I would use it for a quilt back.  That inspired me to add the yellow and lime to the mix.  My only regret is that one of the greens I used is too light.  Oh well.

Jackie at Canton Villiage Quilt Works had posted this work in progress from her design wall back in February.  I had planned on making HST triangles into squares, but fell in love with how she arranged them in different sizes.

Thanks to Jackie both for the inspiration and permission to re-post her photos.

This is her finished quilt.  You really need to head to her post on this quilt to see the other pictures!  The close ups of the zig-zag quilting are great.

I was pondering how I was going to quilt it when Deborah at The Blue Hare posted this picture.
Isn't that texture amazing?

But could I really make myself quilt that much?

Answer:  No way!

But I do like the varying widths and decided to try something similar. (Thanks also to Deborah for inspiration and photo permission).

I used 3 colors (green, gold & orange) of Aurifill thread and quilted straight lines 1/4 to 1 inch apart.  This is the second project that I've done with Aurifill.  Sadly, my machine does not like this thread.  I tried everything to make her think otherwise.  I used a new needle (size 75 quilting), adjusted the tension, but the thread insisted on breaking every time that I sewed at full speed.

Interestingly, I had less breakage once the thread cones were down to about 1/2.  I had a similar problem with a different brands large cones which makes me suspect it has to do with the vertical spool position where so many of the machines now have a horizontal feed.