Friday, March 20, 2015

Feeling Stuck... just for awhile.

My last post was about feeling victorious and successful as I completed the bitty blocks.

I also hinted that I was beginning a project for the Addicted to Scraps group through Quiltmaker.  All those blue and brown scraps were slated for a quilt, that in my initial idea was only going to be throw sized.

I have changed direction with the layout and plan to make a queen-sized quilt for us!  It is looking lovely!  Again, you will just have to trust me because I cannot reveal a picture at this time. But I really, really want to!

This quilt requires a total of 108 blocks. I started with gumption! I should have approached it as a marathon, not a sprint.  It seemed that after daaaaays of cutting and sewing I still have 40 blocks to complete.  Ugh... However, I think I have reached a steady pace and a plan for cutting and piecing the blocks.  I have broken down the layout and will approach the whole thing in sections. 

Yesterday I completed 20... The day before? 12. Today I hope to get 20 blocks done... well, at least 8 more... the cutting takes a looooong time!

One thing that I can say?  This project is certainly a scrap buster!  I am running low on brown "scraps", but thanks to a couple of kind and generous quilters in the group who have offered to pass on their brown scraps I know that I will make it. (Quilters have to be among the most caring and sharing people I know!  Even when it comes to sharing some of the most coveted things a quilter can have... fabric!)

But none the less, while I was indeed running low on browns, I pulled out some of the larger pieces of fabric (some fat quarters and 1/2 yard cuts) that I had from a collection that I inherited.  Success!

Now all I have to do is more cutting... :( cutting of the whites/lights... just 240 pieces and I can sit and sew... and sew and sew and sew... to my little heart's content.

I definitely see the "light" at the end of the tunnel!  Whoohoo!

For now I will take a break from piecing blocks and "piece" another scrub top for my daughter and get back at it on Monday morning.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Stopped Whining!

I was picking through my scrap bin over the weekend finding fabric for the Bitty Blocks... you know those blocks that had tiny little pieces... and the whining that occurred while working with them.  Ugh! It seemed that I had worked for hours just to finish 3 blocks. 

You can learn more about the Bitty Blocks here... Quiltmaker Bitty Blocks

On Saturday I must have had a better attitude or more patience or something because I managed to complete the required number of blocks (12) and still had interest in moving on to the #3 Bitty Block... a cute and fun little house.

More recently I picked through my scrap bin for blues and browns... 


but I can't reveal what I'm doing yet... you will just have to wait and see. :)

But good golly!  I stopped whining!  Yay me!  Of course, this doesn't mean that I prefer working with tiny pieces of fabric... I will always navigate toward the larger blocks. BY NO MEANS! But working with the itty-bitty, teeny-weeny pieces has certainly improved my piecing skills.  By the time I got to the last block my bitty basket blocks were laying flatter and there were fewer points cut off and seams mis-aligned. Go Melva!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

During the Storm...

I had great plans to accomplish during the storm this weekend.

My full intention was to finish one of the quilts for the Scrap Addict group I am part of...

Scrap Addicts

I can't show you a picture of the project just yet, but trust me... It involves smaller pieces than I typically work with... kinda like those Bitty Basket blocks, but a stash/scrap buster! 

I did find myself a bit distracted and desiring to work with fabric pieces a little bigger.  Up first were some scrub tops that my daughter had asked me to make.  she had purchased the fabric and never got around to making them.  And now that she has a 6-month old daughter that is moving around, she realized that it would probably be awhile before she would have time to do so. 

There wasn't quite enough shamrock fabric for a regular top, so I got to be creative and make up the difference. She thinks that it turned out cute!
Next up were wine bags... made from some of the fabric I was gifted in January!  Wildlife fabric has always been popular sellers at the local liquor store where they are available.

I did eventually get to the scrap addict project and am nearly done with the borders!  However, I did NOT get to the Bitty Baskets... Oh well,  Another time!

This week will involve setting up for the fundraising event.  I'll catch up with everyone next week.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Itty Bitty, Teeny Tiny Growing Pains

I've not had a lot of time to spend in my sewing room this week... and I miss it!  I have been helping the college Foundation get ready for their annual fundraising dinner - an event I have always enjoyed helping plan and feel honored to be invited back each year to offer assistance wherever they may need it.

What little time I have had I  played with some "bitty baskets"... Here is a link to their blog that explains it all.  Quiltmaker's Blog

They suggest making 14-18 blocks.  These are itty-bitty pieces, folks!   The finished block is only 4"... And I only have three done. I still feel strongly that larger pieces/blocks are so much easier... but I am trying to expand my horizons and improve as a quilter.  After all, if you can make a 4" block nice and square, the 12" blocks will be all the better. Right?

Ugh!  However, on the bright side - The weather professionals are predicting that there is supposed to be a big storm moving in tonight and through the weekend.  Which means that I may have plenty of time to work on getting them done... just in time for the next installment of "bitty blocks" in March.

Stay warm and dry!  Happy quilting!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Easy as 1, 2, 3...

I've been busily working on a few quilts... three of them.  You may recall that back in December I had written about how I disliked having multiple quilts/projects going at one time.( I have a problem )  In other areas of life I can easily multi-task, but not when it comes to my time in my studio.

So a couple weeks ago I needed to begin another t-shirt quilt featuring some Colorado Rockies T's.  I will be donating it to the TSJC Educational Foundation annual dinner/silent auction.  I pulled out all of the shirts and began cutting.  Since Todd Helton is to be the guest speaker I began a hunt for a Helton shirt to be included in the quilt...  I had a friend hunting for one in Colorado Springs and when that ended unsuccessfully I hit e-bay.  Success!  But I still needed to wait...

I had unfinished project.  Ugh.

While visiting friends in Texas in January I brought home a collection of fabric.  There were Batik dyed fabrics from Nigera and some beautiful pieces from India (I think) among a variety of other fabrics and unfinished projects.  The previous owner of the collection passed on to me that she had intended one of them for her husband. It was basically done, except for the borders.  I discovered that the border fabric was also one of the beautifully designed fabrics from India that one of her sons picked up for her while working there.

It appeared that the center portion was actually a printed cotton shower curtain since there were a few "blocks" that had been cut off (possibly with the intention of becoming pillows?) and one of them still had the top part with the place for inserting hooks to hang it.  Ingenious idea actually.  While visiting with our friends we learned a bit about Jack's dad, the intended recipient of this quilt, and that he loved ducks. 
It didn't take much to finish the top.  And then I had the brilliant idea that I would free-motion quilt it to look like ripples on the water from the ducks swimming.  Never have I done such close quilting before... It seemed to take forever! And it used so much more thread than I usually use... (but none the less, I have three more empty spools for my count of spools for 2015.)
Project #1 done!  And I was still waiting for the Helton shirt...
While this wasn't really a UFO, I knew that the quilt top would go together quickly since it was just the checker board strip that needed to be created...  In Project #2 I used one of the pieces from Nigeria in a more modern style than I typically am drawn to.  This fabric had a large print on it and it really needed to be left as complete as possible...
It simply would not have done justice to the fabric to make it into smaller pieces - the print would have simply been lost.  I hope that Jamie likes it!
But before #2 was done I received the Helton shirt.  I was anxious to get started since the fundraising dinner was quickly approaching, but needed to finish the binding on the Nigerian quilt.  You can bet that as soon as the last stitch was in, I moved on quickly!
This quilt was graced with border fabric from Nigeria!  It was the perfect color...

So, while I was a bit of a nervous wreck and undecided about what to do next with three UFO's, I have come out successful and ready to move on to the next project.
What WILL it be???

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

I May Need Help...

After having the opportunity to be part of the Quiltmaker test block group a few years ago and having a block accepted into volume 8 of their 100 Blocks publication I have applied several times to be part of their "Scrap Squad".  I, again, applied this year.  While I was not accepted into that group, I was invited to be part of a new group - "Addicted to Scraps". 

It sounds exactly like something I will love being part of!  However, it also sounds as though I have a serious problem and may need an intervention...  I mean "Addicted"?  Really? 

^^ It just feels SO good ^^

Okay maybe I am addicted.  **hanging head, sigh**

Scraps just work for me, though.  I could argue that I don't go out and buy yards and yards of fabric with no project in mind to build up my fabric stash (much, anymore...)  In fact, in the past few years I haven't had any need to do so because I have been blessed to be the recipient of discarded fabric and projects with  GREAT thanks to those that are "enabling" my habit.

But I can also argue that my "habit" has helped to supplement our annual income.  I used to offer daycare for a few babies to get a little extra cash.  And then they all moved away... :'(

So, I guess, I could argue that it is simply a matter of survival. Yeah, yeah, yeah!  That's it.  So, there you go... I don't need an intervention at all!  It is just a way of life for me... us, really.  Fabric and fabric scraps are just a way of life for me.

Move along!  No staring!  All is good here...

I'm going to go hug my fabric now.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Final Count

I had just two days left when I wrote about saving the spools of thread I had used in 2014 and I finished the Old Glory Picnic Quilt. 

It was late in the afternoon on the 31st when my daughter wanted me to count...

I decided to have a little fun while counting and stacked them...

It's getting taller!

All in all... the final count was 58 spools!
This includes thread used for piecing and quilting 27 quilts, quilting two baby quilts for a friend, 7 "memorial" blocks for Quiltblocks for MS, 5 Victorian Christmas stockings, numerous wine bags, casserole carriers and table runners.  And let's not forget the silk wedding dress!  It was a busy year!

It was interesting to see the spools collect and it was fun looking back at all of the finished projects of the year.
Happy Sewing!
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