Thursday, June 29, 2017

progress report

I figure it's high time 
for a little update on my latest commission project.
Here is my collection of blocks to date

I try to make a few blocks
a couple of times a week,
but there've been some weeks
where I've not managed to make any.

I don't have a definitive deadline,
so I don't stress about it when that happens.
But I don't want it to drag on forever, either....

I color in my little block map when I finish a block,
but my colors aren't very spot on most of the time, 
so I'm not sure if it's really all that helpful.

If nothing else though,
it looks nicer than marking a big X across the block
to signify it's 'made' status.

Since many of the blocks 
I just made up,
I'm also just making up how to make them as I go.

I should probably work out some of the maths more.

That's all I'm going to say about my
'winging it' approach ;-)

Of course, there have been times when I have 
worked out the maths,
I didn't work them out correctly.

It doesn't help any
that the Cotton & Steel jelly roll strips I bought
'for greater variety'
aren't quite 2.5 inches wide,
and my entire quilt is built on 2" increments....

Tyler has a work dinner tonight,
which means I get a few extra hours to sew:-)

this is one of my favorite blocks!

I can't decide though
If I'll knock out a few more of these blocks,
or get started on a new project.

decisions decisions...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

picking paint and looking old

I really want to throw my arms across a bar,
lay my head on them,

I'm beginning to think my dad was right;
am incapable
of picking paint.

I've lost count of the number of trips I've made
and how many paint samples I've bought.
If we haven't hit double digits yet,
we're close.
But still,
I am no closer to finding 

It's all making me very weary.

In addition to the paint choice angst I'm dealing with,
when I was at the paint store today
(not to be confused with when I was there yesterday.
or Friday (twice).....)
a lady (probly 10 yrs older than me) and I were chatting,
and she asked how many kids I had.
I told her 8,
and added that they were spread out over 22 years.

And she said,
"You must have waited a while before you started."


I'm still trying to come up with a response.

But you can see why
I'd really like to fling myself on a bar,
and cry


*I don't necessarily mean a bar bar,
it's just that a bar is the right height for upper body flopping on.
(for a short person)
(which I am)
(though I am apparently an ancient short person.)

**to be fair - Dad was joking.

*** but it does sorta feel as if he was being prophetic...

****I checked the mirror when I got home;
I wasn't looking especially haggard

*****If you're curious,
(and I'm sure you are ;-)
this elusive color is a light grey/blue/green
it's more color than white,
but it reads as a neutral - not really a color,
and makes the space feel 
and inviting
Like a slow contented sigh.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sleeping Porch, Sparkling Stars

And now,
we've reached the third, and final installment
my family's favorite - Sparkling Stars

This one was (mostly) fun.

I drew up a design on graph paper
using  30 8 inch blocks
in a 5x6 configuration,
and just plugged in different sizes and styles of stars,
making it so that I have very few seams to match up
when joining blocks, to speed the process up a smidge. 

I made notes of how many I needed of each,
and also how many filler squares,
and rectangles,
and which way the rectangles were oriented.

I chose fabrics for,
 and cut and pieced 
a few stars at a time.
I cut a few of the squares and rectangles as I went, too.

Over the course of a few weeks,
working 20 minutes here, and 40 there,
I managed to get most of the stars made,
and one Saturday in mid-May
Tyler let me have the day off from working on the house
(we are building a house on our property.
We've been at it a little over a year,
and the end,
though still a ways off,
is finally in sight)
and I laid out the quilt,
made a few more stars,
and cut the rest of the filler blocks,
rearranged things a few times,
and got the top sewn together.

This one got a fun big polka dot thrifted sheet backing,
and then I got right to work learning a new quilting motif - swirls.

After practicing for about an hour,
on both paper and fabric,
I felt confident enough to start quilting
for real.
I think the swirls are a great complement
to all of the angles of the stars,
and coupled with the warm and natural cotton batting,
they create great texture, too.

Sparkling Stars got a lawn binding also,
because it's just so delightfully soft,

This one is also in the shop,
and all proceeds from the sale of it
will go towards the purchase of a sewing machine for Rahab's Rope :-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

feeling groovy

There are people who just do everything fast.

I am not one of those people.

I wish I were.
There are certain tasks
 (vegetable chopping, for instance)
that I've done so much - I've naturally gotten faster;
but as a rule,
I'd say I'm average, at best,
and even sometimes, downright slow.

Bag-making is pretty much my molasses.

I'm usually tickled with them in the end,
but goodness, the making of bags
takes me a dang long time!

I do believe this one,
clocking in at 7 1/2 hours,
is the record.

It's a good thing I really love Amy,
and I think she really deserves it,
because that is just about ridiculous!

But -
it's a really cute bag!!

You might remember that Lily had a really rough night at camp,
and Amy helped her through it,
so I was already thinking I ought to make her something as a thank-you.

But then,
when she up and went to Lexi's camp also
(and changed her bandages
because Lexi wasn't sure the nurse would do it properly)
I knew I needed to.

Amy is a little bit of a hippie,
so I was kind of already thinking maybe something with a VW.
I found out that she drove the big ol' church van
(through the construction area that brings me to tears 
nearly every time I drive in NWA)
she loves Volkswagen Beetles,
and well, that sealed the deal.

I added elastic to the inside of the bag,
so she could securely carry essential oils in it if she felt so inclined.

And then, thinking that 
if she did carry oils in it,
maybe there should be some padding in the center, too,
so the glass bottles wouldn't be hitting each other,
so I made a padded pocket divider thing.

And after I had the entire bag done,
and the opening sewn shut,
I discovered 
that when you add a divider
to a zip pouch with boxed corners,
you must remove some length from the divider.

How much length 
seems to be determined 
by how much you box the corners.

It took me about a half hour to fix my error,
so I guess, 
the bag only took 7 hours.

But that's still a record, I think...

In all seriousness,
I am so grateful that Amy sacrificed a week of her life
to love on my girls,
and I was happy to spend a few hours of mine,
to make a bag that says
thank you, sweet friend!! I think you're groovy!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sleeping Porch, Squares

Continuing in our Sleeping Porch Series,
(3 different quilts, made with the same line of fabrics,
Heather Ross' Sleeping Porch,
and some Art Gallery Fabrics' Specktackular, in gold)
next - we have Squares.

This one was a bit of trickster.

When I saw this quilt,
I knew it would be perfect to showcase the unique SP fabrics.

Instead of piecing it the way Shannon did,
(sew a corner onto 4 squares, then join those 4 units into a block)
I thought to myself,
'why not just applique those squares on?
that would be so much faster,
plus - no seams in your beautiful fabrics....'

I am here to tell you 
that it is not faster to applique those squares
on point
onto larger squares,
even if you don't calculate in the time it took 
to prep the squares
(also - do you know how hard it is to press 4 sides and 4 corners
into a perfect square??)

I took to Instagram to see if I was ignorant of some all-important
applique knowledge that would speed up the process,
but no,
the consensus was - it just takes a long time.

I foolishly thought that so many people enjoy this applique thing,
surely it doesn't take forever;
but I was wrong.

Applique takes for-ever.

But look!
Invisible stitches!!

Once I got the darn 2 1/2" squares sewn on,
sewing the 10" squares together into a completed top
was nothing.

Because I had anticipated
 I would have very little labor in this quilt
(cough cough)
I had decided to splurge on a yard and a half 
of the moths on green
for the backing.

I may have seriously underestimated my time,
but y'all,
that backing was a good idea,
because this quilt is positively the most delightful quilt
I've ever felt.
It is so light and airy;
it's the quilt angels dream about, I'm pretty sure.

After lots and lots of practicing,
I free-motion quilted feathers around all of my squares,
and I must say,
I am really quite pleased with how they turned out!

Then I added hand-stitching to all of the appliqued squares
with magenta perle cotton
and inside that,
machine quilted 4-petal flowers

I finished off the quilt
with pink lawn,
machine attached on the back,
and stitched down on the front
with big stitch hand quilting.

At approximately 40x48,
this quilt is perfect for growing with a baby for many years,
and it'd also be a good car quilt,
or even a small lap or wheelchair quilt.
It's beautiful to look at,
but honestly,
this one is far too scrumptious to hang on the wall!

Sleeping Porch Squares is available in my shop
(and 100% of the profits
will go towards buying a sewing machine for Rahab's Rope)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sleeping Porch, Diamonds

I know I just introduced you
to the finished Sleeping Porch Series,
but I wanted to give each quilt 
an opportunity to shine, on her own, if you will.

For Diamonds,
I made 80 half rectangles
  Heather Ross' silky Sleeping Porch cotton lawn
and Specktakular, in gold, by Art Gallery
and arranged them with Lexi's expert help.


I wish I would've tested before sewing up all 80,
because my corners did not match up 
about as often as they did.

I let go of some of my perfectionist tendencies, though,
because even with some sawed off points,
I think Diamonds is very striking.
(It'd actually look great hanging on a wall,
but gosh - I'd rather see a quilt getting used and snuggled)

Instead of quilting with a walking foot, 
I used a ruler foot and my add-a-quarter ruler
(which would have been far more enjoyable
 if my machine wasn't so finicky!)
I didn't mark anything, just picked certain 'landmarks'
as quilting guides.

And, of course, 
I added in a bit of hand quilting.
I hope the recipient loves that touch as much as I do....

I used a thrifted sheet as the backing,
to keep costs lower.
The bonus surprise
was the quilting looks really great on the back.

I decided to keep with the soft and silky theme,
and bind it with lawn,
so it's extra nice for little fingers to rub.

I hope the little one that gets this quilt
sleeps well under it,
plays and grows and learns new things on it,
and loves it to bits.