Monday, March 31, 2014

March - Big Events for My Boys Month

I haven't posted in two and a half weeks...gosh, I wonder where I might have been! ;)

If you need a hint, "Eolmana ma?" is how you say "how much for a yard?" at a Korean fabric market. Sort of.

And this is what 15 yards for $45 looks like.

And that other thing we went to Korea for...I think that went well. Honestly, I'm not going to breathe again until we get initial approval. But, we met the Little Man and he flopped right down on the quilt I made for his foster mother and hugged it, so I like him already.


Both long-time UFOs, so good to knock those off the list.

Some smaller projects...

...a table runner for a friend...

...a pillowcase for the Dude...

...and a birthday table runner. For my NINE YEAR OLD.

Central Park Sudoku / Reverse Hearts - Hearts is now bound but not all the threads are buried. CPS is waiting for binding.

Spin Cycle - adding a few blocks every week. By the way, who bet on 2.5 months before Little Miss Fluffy Tail ripped the design wall down?

Bedtime Monkey {my NewFO} - done to the applique. I can't decide if the monkey ought to have shoulders. He looks a bit weird without them.

Striped Tablerunners - I took a class on these at the beginning of the month and whipped together a few more. Only the birthday ones have been quilted so far.

Weekly Churn Dash - quickly polished off the last two {bottom row} this weekend. The darker teal is from Boardwalk, and the other is, of course, my most favorite fabric ever, the Lovely from my Celtic Solstice. {Does it count as a scrap if you're not done with the quilt yet?}

And speaking of Solstice, I didn't do any sewing on it this month. In fact, I unsewed. I decided the pinwheel centers in Block B were too distracting, so I used the 12+ hour plane rides to rip some seams, and the down time in Seoul to sketch out a plan.

And I dug out Toy Story 1 and discovered it was a whole six seams from finished. So now it's a top.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chunky Log Cabin - Finished!

Hmmm, what shall I post about finishing first? There's starting to be a pile-up! I'm still hand stitching the binding on some table runners, so Chunky gets top billing.

Oh, Chunky. What can I say? I got swept up in the fervor when Denyse Schmidt's first line for Joann's was released, and bought a whole stack of reds and blues for no good reason. I don't even remember if I thought they were pretty - Blogland said BUY!

{Oh, in case you're wondering where I fall in the "quilt shop quality" debate that this line sparked for a while - just google Denyse Schmidt Joann debate - I buy quite a lot of fabric from Joann's and Hobby Lobby. All my Konas. Almost all my backings. I've got stuff my mother grabbed when the Rag Shops closed in the mid-00s. I use VIP fabrics from the 80s and 90s...that I bought in a thrift shop or stole from my mom's stash. Obviously, I fall into the "who gives a flip?" category.}

{But don't worry - I know it's important to others, so if I do a swap, I buy from a street market in Korea quilt store.}

Um, anyway, Chunky. I believe I picked the log cabin because DS is famous for her wonky ones. I am not wonky, so they are nice, normal, boring ones.

I just pieced away with no plan until they were about 14" big. Then I played around with the layout for a while. A loooooooong while. {Circles? Furrows? Streak of Lightning? On-point or medallion-ish? I know at some point I must have considered and rejected - without photographing - a barn raising.}

Finally pieced them into the furrows, because that is the most symmetrical of the layouts. {Clearly, the ability to do wonky log cabins is in my near future.} Then I swore I wouldn't let the project sit - I was going to put the borders on right away! Hahaha, yeah, so a year+ later...

I'm not too sad it got set aside. After a lot of practice on the long arm, I got brave enough to try feathering the individual "furrows." I did a little bit of block stuff on Swoon, but this was the first time I really focused on a block design instead of an allover design.

And this brings up the inherent difficulties with renting the long arm. 99% of the time I love it - thread is "free" {seriously, do you know how much it would cost to have that big of an available rainbow?}, and I have all the fun of a long arm with zero maintenance, no worries about fitting it in my house, or dealing with CC climbing on it.

But when you've already spent 2.5 hours doing somewhat-detailed quilting, and the next person showed for their scheduled rental time, and you haven't even gotten to the borders yet...! Makes you want to get a long arm...or go back to the super-fast-all-over-loops.

Man, this is a wordy post, isn't it? More quilt pictures!

Flowered borders, flowered quilting...I had about 8x5" of this border print leftover after carefully cutting it apart and piecing it back together. #winning

The backing is Daisy Mae, a subsequent DSQuilts line. Obviously I had to get it, what with the name and all.

I let my husband pick the binding - I had enough leftover of the pink dots or the blue with little red flowers. I was leaning toward the blue, since I tend to prefer bindings that blend into the border. No idea why...lazy? Afraid of trying something else?

Anyway, he picked the pink, and since it's my least favorite of the fabrics, I agreed mostly to use it up. And looks kind of...not bad. Kind of like a nice frame. Maybe there is something to varying your bindings. ;)

So that ends another quilt that spent a veeeeeeeeeeery long time in progress. Most of the leftover red and darker blues are heading into my Trip Around the World know, the one I started cutting last year and...that's as far as I've gotten. Ah, it never ends, does it?

{Oh, so I took all of Lori's advice, and went to a nearby park. {Get it? Picnic? Fairground? Park?} Paid attention to my lighting and shadows, got some posed shots with the help of the Dude, even climbed up the slide ladder to get a shot. And then some people started playing at the park and it became creepy again. I'll never make it as a photographer!}

Quilt Details
Fabric: Picnic and Fairground, DSQuilts
Backing: Daisy Mae, DSQuilts
Binding: P&F, DSQuilts
Size: 62x74"
Pattern: Log Cabin with 2.5" unfinished strips, Furrows layout

Gratuitous kitten shot! But Momma, I'm not touching it!

Oh, and if you made it this far, and it's still Friday, the giveaway on Skorca is active until midnight PST. And yes, I did add the strings left from the binding to the bag!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekly Progress - Still Moving Along

Still doing a pretty good job knocking things off the UFO/to-do list. It helps that I have so much stuff allllllllllllmost done, plus nervous energy to spare. 

And I know this is the home stretch - in less than a month, the Little Man should be home with us, and my sewing time will be severely limited. Since I've been waiting, oh, almost two years for this, I plan on enjoying the break.

Skorca! - and after promising it to the Dude for two years, it was a good finish to knock off the list!

{Oh, and there's a giveaway on that post. You might want to check it out.}

Chunky Log Cabin and Central Park Sudoku - Chunky just needed the borders, and CPS was pinned to my zippers, so it got ahead of Reverse Hearts. I do have binding for Chunky, but not CPS, so it'll still be a while before CPS becomes a finish.

Okay, it's not quite piecing, but I cut out the letters for the growth chart that went with the H is for Henry quilt panel. That meant the teal leftovers were finally free to...

...become a Weekly Churn Dash. Henry was my first ever long arm finish, so of course one of his teals would make it into the churn dashes.

I started a table runner based on my Hearts and Cabin, for a friend. One more heart and it's into the quilting box!

More Spin Cycle blocks, slowly moving along here. Really wish I could get a good shot, but we've got some rainy, dreary weather out here.

And I strip-pieced the main body of the Monkey quilt. It's supposed to be a "bed," with the white as a sheet and the blue dots as a pillow. I can't decide if the monkey applique is too small - it's only about 10" on a 44" quilt body. But the monkey will also have paws and a tail appliqued onto the "sheet," so... I don't know. It seems like a lot of white space for a kid's quilt!

And gratuitous kitten pic. What, were you USING this?


Friday, March 7, 2014

Skorca! - Finished

Just running right through the list of UFOs. This is another longtime one - finished the top in March 2012. I covered the problems I had with quilting it earlier this week - short version, that many bias seams and a walking foot do not make pretty.

The longarm makes a huge difference, and changed my love/hate relationship with Skorca to just a simple like. The top still has some puffiness to it, but it's not a disaster like it was before.

Oh, right, so there's this show, the Penguins of Madagascar. It's basically awesome, and the best episode of all is Skorca.

The penguins at the Central Park zoo are afraid of the Sky Orca - the Skorca. I swear, the first time we watched this, I laughed for five minutes.

As I remember, I started Orca Bay with Quiltville right from the start, and it was renamed by the Dude to Skorca within the first week. Skorca was my first time doing a mystery quilt, and was a learning experience.

{That bear peeking out is hands down my favorite scrap in this quilt.}

I didn't do a good enough job picking fabrics - some of my black and whites had too much white, and the blocks aren't as defined as I would like, as you can see above. I solved that by letting the Dude draw on some of the blocks.

The quilting, which you can almost see in the above picture, is a looped swirl with a meander in between.

The Dude picked more than the name - the borders, backing, and the quilting were his picks as well.

Oh, and there's a story behind the layout, according to him. The penguins {border}, obviously, are on the icebergs {stop border.} The black and white blocks are the orcas, swimming in the blue {block} ocean. And the red is the BLOOD OF THE ORCAS' VICTIMS.

Living with a boy is super fun.

I also discovered I hate - and I do mean HATE - string blocks. I will never make one again. If pattern calls for them, I'll just substitute a single solid block. Don't try to convince me that they make the quilt better, because...

My hate is your gain. As I cleaned out my scrap boxes, I've been stuffing everything under 1.5" into this box. It's about a gallon size bag or so of skinny strips, selvages, and some random triangle-y shapes.

Want 'em? Enter with Rafflecopter. You don't need to comment or like me on Facebook or Tweet about it. However, there are scraps in there from Joann's and Hobby Lobby, as well as "quilt shop quality" - so if you don't want them...don't enter.

Oh, and sorry - since we're leaving for Korea shortly, I'm limiting this to US entries. I just don't have time to make it to the post office and find the proper stuff for international.

{Why yes, that is a Perry pillowcase from Phineas and Ferb, our other favorite show.}

Quilt Details
Fabric: hahaha, you're kidding, right?
Backing: from Hancock Fabrics
Binding: more B&W scraps
Size: 66" square
Pattern: Orca Bay by Bonnie Hunter, now found in String Fling


Monday, March 3, 2014

Weekly Progress - Striped Table Runners

Y'all. I have a new addiction.

And it's not a TV show.

Or Benedict Cumberbatch.

{CC....still a PITA!}

I took a class on these striped table runners, because my mom bought the witch fabric a while ago and asked for one. I bought the pattern in Oklahoma, but finally committed to the class here, because I wanted someone to hold my hand for the first few cuts.

They are so easy, once someone holds your hand through the first few cuts! A yard and a half yields two long runners and one hexagon one, with only a little bit of excess fabric.

I may have a problem. But at least it's a quick project!


Reverse Hearts top - ready to quilt!

I feathered all the blocks of Chunky Log Cabin, but ran out of time before I got to the borders. Back on Wednesday this week.

I have been picking out the quilting in Skorca for a while now. I originally quilted it at home with my walking foot, and it was terrible. Not in an "oh, I think it's terrible but it's really kind of okay" - really, terrible. 

It was well pinned, but see that bubble behind Skipper? The quilt kept shifting and stretching over and over with each line, and it kept getting worse. My stitches were awful - I'd hit a massive seam and stop, then have large jumps when the walking foot finally made it through. There's puckers all over the back.

I made it about halfway across the top and quit last year out of frustration. I honestly think Bonnie Hunter's patterns can't be quilted at home with a walking foot - there's just too many seams and bias edges.

Enter the long arm late last year, and suddenly Skorca is a viable project again. I'm down to one episode of Downton Abbey of stitch picking to go, and the plan is to get it quilted and bound for the Dude's birthday. Only two years late!

Weekly Churn Dash - the border from Flirt, because I love Flirt so very much and I would make every churn dash this month from it if it hadn't been a jelly roll.

Spin Cycle is moving along well. Once all the square-in-square blocks are done, each block goes together quickly.

I'm debating using the dark blue from Happy Go Lucky. I like it...but I think it's way out of the color scheme, and would be distracting. I don't need it - I have plenty of fabric to finish without it - but...I really love those puff balls! Thoughts?


Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Goals

Well, my main goal is to travel to Korea and meet my son. And be approved by the adoption court. And not get lost in Dongdaemun Market.

My main sewing goal {and Something New} would be to make the Little Man's quilt. I'm using a Sock Monkey jelly roll to strip piece 3/4ths of it like a bed, then appliqueing a sock monkey face tucked onto a pillow. Like this Moda Bake Shop, but not Christmas and not hourglasses.

I also plan on whipping up some stripe table runners - I'm going to a class on them today. I cleaned my sewing room until I found the pattern and tucked it into a bag with everything else - aren't you all proud of me? Of course, then I promptly lost my monthly coupon booklet for that store. {Don't worry, I found it again!}

Let's see - Chunky Log Cabin is quilted to the borders, and Reverse Hearts is ready to go. Poor Central Park Sudoku has been on my zippers for nearly a month now, but I've yet to have extra quilting time. I've also been picking out the quilting on Skorca, in the hopes of redoing it in time for the Dude's birthday.

Some little projects - a friend asked for a table runner based on my BOM house and heart table runner. I want to make a growth chart with the panel and leftovers from H is for Henry. A hanging sleeve for my husband's llama wall hanging. {What? Doesn't everyone have one of those?}

I actually don't have much planned for big project piecing - just keeping up with Celtic Solstice and Spin Cycle. Finish Cat Tails if the background fabric comes in time.

Hmm, looking at the UFOs, I think I should pick Toyland as my Something Old - I think it just needs rows pieced together. Somewhere. If I can find it.

The Rainbow Scrap color of the month is teal/turquoise, of which I actually...don't have a lot of scraps. I know what you're thinking. Hello, Celtic SolsticeH is for Henry, Flirt Marks the Spot, Spin Cycle, Boardwalk... Problem is - they're either not done yet, earmarked for other projects, or not the right size for my churn dashes. I know I can start with scraps from the border of Flirt, but...

I did save all the snowball corners from Flirt, so I can whip something together with those 1.5" HSTs. That'll be fun to trim down... Do you think they'll let me take a rotary cutter in my carry-on to Korea?

Considering I'll be spending a week out of the country, this is probably overly ambitious for the month - but really, most of the projects are smaller. The bigger stuff is already almost done. So I should be able to check off a lot of it.