Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Almost done! WIP Wednesday

Well, it's Wednesday again and I haven't posted any WIP's in a couple of weeks. It's been a crazy time of a teething Jacob, the added work of mid-term paper due for class, and a sluggish cloud that seems to always hit me in February/March around the anniversaries of my folks' passings. Life stays interesting and now, to add to all this, I'm getting ready to move! My daughter has taken a job near Kansas City and she and her husband and little Jacob will be moving up there this summer and, if I want to keep helping them (helping me!) by babysitting Jacob, I need to follow. So, Friday I'm looking at one place and Monday will see another and then decide if either of them will meet my needs. If so (and I truly hope so!) I get to start moving by April 1 and don't actually have to be out of my current home until May 31. I'm hoping to be done much earlier than that and maybe even get the extra month's rent refunded (these places are nice and rent easily). We shall see...

In the meantime, what have I been working on. My ongoing project of doing the FMQ on my friend Dianna's quilt is nearly done! Hurray!!! All 25 12" blocks are done with the stencil design, the sashings are all done, and I have the first border quilted and am ready to turn the corner to finish it up this weekend.

The other project is the Zig-a-Zag from Eleanor Burns 2013 Pattern Party. I have most of my projects either waiting to be cut or in the queue to be quilted and I felt the urge to piece. After watching EB's video of how to make this quilt and seeing all of the examples in different color ways, I got the jelly roll that had been calling to me out, opened it up, and got busy. It didn't take a day, but it didn't take long either. If I had uninterrupted time, it might have been done in a day. At least I like to think so. :-)

Now the question is what to border it with. I'm not going to trim the bubble print in the triangles, but will leave it there to "float" the zig-zag design over that as a background. I found in my stash a lovely yellow with orange swirls that complements several of the prints from the jelly roll and am thinking about doing either a 1" or 1/2" border and then probably a 4" border of either the purple with gold zig-zag print or the purple swirls. I've put them up on the design board, but still can't really decide. My other thought was to use a very light purple for the narrow border and staying in that colorway for the entire frame. I'm pretty sure I have something that would blend, but be light enough to offer a contrast, but have to keep digging to find it. What do you think?

Starting tomorrow night I'll have little Jacob for 10 days 24/7! My daughter and her husband are going to the Bahamas as a gift from her gramma who arranges house trades around the world. It's their belated honeymoon that they didn't get to take because of jobs and school schedules two and a half years ago. My granddaughter Jordyn will join us on Monday for a few days to help out and to have time during her spring break to work on her quilt blocks. It looks to be a very busy and exciting (and probably exhausting!) week at my house!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm linking up through the WIP Wednesday Linky Party at Freshly Pieced. Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll leave me a comment!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Orphan Blocks to play with!

Last night was my quilt guild's auction fundraiser. Members brought books, patterns, rulers, fabric, abandoned UFO's, orphan blocks, and more from their own stashes, and we all had an opportunity to bid on new-to-me items. There were some beautiful half finished UFOs that went for next to nothing. It's amazing how projects get stuffed into boxes or bags and abandoned, only to resurface and go into someone else's stash. 
I knew I didn't have a lot of spare cash to spend, so tried to look through everything before the meeting to see what items I really wanted to bid on. I successfully bid on a pair of X-Block rulers, a stack of 5 quilt patterns of interest, and hoped to get a stack of random blocks that could be turned into something amazing. As expected, they were among the last items to come up for bid and I bid higher than I expected to, but won out and for $45 got this gorgeous collection of nearly 40 blocks! It was more than worth it to support my guild. They range in size from 13" down to 4" and include pieced blocks, needle-turn applique, hand embroidery, curved piecing (curves done by hand, straight seams by machine), paper piecing, and even a few signed blocks from an exchange several years ago. I'm not sure whose collection they came from, but I'm sure grateful to have them in mine!

From the first time I looked through that stack, I knew I wanted them to make several different projects. The top block in the stack was the Dresden at the top left of the first picture. That and the trees had me looking deeper and then two blocks in particular caught my eye. One was this one with the scissors cutting fabric, and the other is the appliqued hand with the heart on it. That's almost exactly the same image I used on the label of my friend Adele's quilt, "Enlightened Souls."

So, now in addition to all of my own UFOs and voluminous stash of projects waiting to be conceived, I've added a whole bag of beautifully made blocks to do something amazing with. Let the creative juices start flowing!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Unscrambling my brain to get back to quilting

With all those starts & finishes in February, I decided I wanted to start a new project for the 2013 NewFO Challenge on March 1! How exciting!!! Not that my closet and all those tubs aren't already full of UFO's that shall remain countless. LOL!

But wait, it's already March 9 and I haven't posted in what feels like ages! Well, blame that danged sinus infection that kept my brain scrambled for a week, plus Jacob's ear infection. No complaints here--we snuggled more and I sewed less for a week. Gee, sometimes I'm amazed at my life. So, now I'm back to it and after a fabulous day yesterday exploring quilt shops in SE Kansas and SW Missouri (more on that later), I have spent the whole day so far behind the sewing machine nearly finishing up another top.

Before I left California I bought this beautiful jelly roll by Blank Quilting called Skidoodle Jewel and it's been calling to me. After signing up for Eleanor Burns' 2013 Pattern Party, and seeing all the variations of her Zig-a-Zag pattern, I knew that this particular jelly roll was meant to become something bright and lively to add to my quilt collection.What a fabulous array of colors! Yep, it's time to open this baby up and start putting strips up on the design board!

I have followed EB's instructions and am coming up with a fun design, but not what I expected. Not having repeats of any fabrics, it is coming out somewhat different from her example; although, I like the way it's turning out, which is all that matters, right? I've ordered the strips in a descending rainbow of colors and love the transitions from color to color.
Interesting, but not what I expected... Hmmm....
Oh the things you see with a fresh perspective in the morning! Blame it on my sinus-infection-scrambled-brain. I re-read the instructions (Oh, you mean I'm supposed to READ that booklet?!?) and I'd put the blocks up on the board wrong. Well, right, but not tilted quite far enough! And, I also discovered that although I don't have fabric repeats, I do have print repeats in different colors that will give me a couple of zig-a-zags that EB showcases in her pattern. So, I realigned the blocks so far and am getting ready to add the yellow row. Oh, and I got to go frogging (rip-it rip-it) as I decided to change how the next row of blocks were assembled. All back together and ready to sew again! Yay!

My brain scrambled again with the sinus infection, so after several days break looking at the progress on the board, today (Saturday) I finally got back to sewing. And in just a few hours have completed the basic top including the setting triangles. Wow! I'm loving this quilt!
I found in my stash a 16" x WOF piece of lovely purple fabric that was exactly the right size to make all of those triangles. Although the pattern called for a half yard (just a few more inches), this piece was perfect as the blocks were only 7-1/2" wide, so two strips, cut into 10 blocks and one 4-1/2" block out of the remnants, and I had enough to continue sewing and actually assemble the top. And the fun part is the triangles extend over far enough I can float the body of the Zig-a-Zag top and have the triangles transition into a narrow border before I add the final borders.

Yesterday, as I said, I went on an adventure. My young friend Lizzie is only 2 weeks out from her due date, so it was time to deliver my family heirloom cradle (which she slept in as a baby) and her new baby quilt to her before her little guy arrives. Being a crazy road-trip kind of gal, I did a turn-around trip (4 hours one way without stops), leaving at 10:30am and getting home last night at about 11:15pm. Whew!!! The best part (well, other than getting to visit with her and her family for a couple of hours over dinner) was that Lizzie had to work, so I had until 5pm to get to Springfield, MO, and planned my route with lots of shopping on the way. I had fun stops at Itchin' to Stitch in Severy, KS, Bittersweet Quilts just south of Joplin, MO, Country Store Quilt Shop (which I spotted from the highway with 4 foot high letters reading "QUILT SHOP" on the end of the building) in Carthage, MO, and Merrily We Quilt Along in Springfield, MO. As usual my restraint went out the window and I came home with some wonderful books, notions, and fabrics. And I missed several shops with my time limits, so plan to go back and explore further soon!

Included in my finds were two pieces of fabric that will be additional borders and binding for the Zig-a-Zag quilt top. Those will be cut and sewn on maybe tomorrow. I'm thinking about using the gold weave and cutting it so that there is a gold zig-zag that goes around the quilt to compliment the overall zig-zag design and then the doodle purple for the outside border and binding.

It's been a perfect day to sew. It's not especially cold outside, but it has been raining all day long! The Weather Channel says we've gotten about 3/4" with more coming. The area that was covered with several inches of snow just a couple of days ago is now flooded with puddles behind my apartment. The wonderful sound of thunder, a great Beatles/Rock mix on Pandora to keep me company, and the hum of the machine made for a great Saturday! I also had the game tracker up so I could watch the score of the KSU/OSU game and unfortunately, OSU came out on top after a very close game.

Now it's off to watch my KU Jayhawks play Baylor. Here's hoping that the Jayhawks win and take their 9th straight Big XII Title. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,