Sunday, December 30, 2012

Scrap-o-process and some tools

I made more scrapolator blocks today. The start of making this quilt was easy for me. You need a bunch of strips. Well, when I cut fabric, I always cut an extra 2 1/2" strip or two (because there are approximately  947 thousand million quilts you can make with strips of that size).  I keep these in the "2 1/2 inch strip" drawer.
(Aren't they nice and neat?)
I always, also, end up with random strips for whatever reason. These go in the "not 2 1/2 inch strip" drawer.
Hmmm. Not so neat.

When I started making the blocks,  I grabbed a bunch of strips from the "not" drawer and cut them into (approximately) 10" pieces. That's an OK size, but I'm only getting one triangle per strip set. For the all-brights version of scrapolator, I cut the strips in half (20") and I get 3 triangles from each of those strip sets.

The strip sets should be totally random, so I grab a handful of strips and toss 'em on the table. I don't care what strip I grab next - it gets sewn on regardless of whether it "matches" or not.  (By the way, to get your strips all mixed up really good, toss them in the dryer on air fluff for about 10 minutes. That'll mix 'em up for you!)

A random handful-o-strips

Now turned into a bunch of strip sets. all pressed and waiting to be cut.

Voila! A stack-o-triangles

And here are the remains. I used these in the wonky star, here

5 more blocks, waiting to be trimmed

Trimmed and neat and added to the stack of blocks. Now there are 45.

Here are the sewing tools I can't live without

My fingers get soooo dry when I'm piecing; Sortkwik is my solution. And a stiletto is a must for me. My two best sewing buddies.

So only a little progress today, but some is better than none. Now to go knit a bit and make progress on the scarf.

Thanks for stopping by.

And just like that, not so much!

As productive as the previous day was, Saturday was a relative bust! I got a little done, but not much.

The second set of Blue Onion blocks are done:

Here's a close-up

They are made from sliced stacks. Here's the book, by Karla Alexander. The pattern is Red Onion. I made this once in browns and tans (me!!). It turned out really nice,

 so now I'm experimenting with blues and the wonderful Westminster target fabric. (I don't have the one above anymore: I gifted it.)

I did a little more knitting - can you tell the difference? (HA!)

Just for fun, here are the current "Books on the Nightstand" (yes, I read multiple books at a time).

Fiction: (on the iPad) The Racketeer. John Grisham (he's always a good read)
Non-fiction: The Nine. Jeffrey Toobin (about the Supreme Court)
Philosophy: Ethical Theory. Louis P. Pojman (what can I say? I love this stuff)
Classic: The House of the Seven Gables. Nathaniel Hawthorne

I also listen to audio books as I sew. I've just finished Victims, by Jonathan Kellerman (goodness, he's a productive writer!!) and made a library run for another fresh selection, so nothing on the stereo at the moment.

Two fun blog reads for the day:
Victoria Findlay Wolfe (again) - her favorite moments from the Africa trip
Jane LaFazio - how much fun are these plates and cups?

Hmm. No wonder I have days when I don't get much sewing done!! Well, off to put in the miles: it's right-smart chilly out this morning. The walk will be ... um ... refreshing.

Thanks for stopping by! Come back and visit soon.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lots Done!

A good, productive day.

The backing and binding for the poppy quilt are done, so now the quilt is in RFQ status (ready for quilting).
(poppy backing)

I worked on more free-form blue blocks (see them in this post). I finished the ones with the too-drastic curve (yikes!) so now am having a much easier time of it.

This project is from some of the (many) bunches of blocks I made over the last month. It's half-together now so should be a top soon.

I also played around with some wonky star blocks. OK - ONE block

(the blocks on the top are from my Parts Department stash - see Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston's technique). This is just a test block, to see how the process went. I used the remains from trimming strip-sets that are used for the Scrapolator blocks (See Dianne Springer's Scrapolator book - I want to make most of the quilts in that book!!). After I wonkied the star points, I then "made" fabric for the center, still using Scrapolator strip-set remains. (see Victoria Findlay-Wolfe's 15 Minutes of Play technique. She has just returned from Africa, so you may want to spend some time reading through her blog. Great stuff!)

I'll do more of these blocks, but learned some lessons in making the test one (like - don't bring the star point out the top - see the red on the center-right.) I also think I'm going to use black-and-white for the backgrounds. Black and white is an easy fix to design challenges so is looked down on by some, but I think it works great so poo on the color snobs.

I also knitted a bit more on the scarf - a little at a time will get the project done!

About 2 months ago I made a huge pot of bolognese sauce from an Ann Burrell recipe. It's wonderful, but of course way too much, so I froze it into one-serving containers. That was dinner last night: I'd forgotten how delicious it was. A nice glass of Pinot Noir was the perfect accompaniment. Yum!

As I said - lots done! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Poppies and Scrapolator Blocks

I finished the Poppy top:

So simple, but really a nice quilt for a quick gift. It looks kinda square, but it's just the angle. I'd say it took just about 4 hours to put together.

I made more Scrapolator blocks (11 more): They aren't trimmed yet - I was too tired. Now I have 40 for the true scrap version. Halfway there.

No knitting today. Dang. I need to stay on top of these UFOs! (A tiny little bout of food poisoning didn't help. Ugh!)

That's today's progress.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Back to Sewing

Some people have a sewing room. I have a sewing house with a sleeping nook (and a kitchen).  This means I have to find places for all the stuff so my family can have Christmas brunch in my "studio". This entails a few days of no access to the sewing machine. It's tough, but I made it. Today, though, I got to sew again.

Doesn't look like much, does it? But I do want to start keeping better track of my progress. This will be a top tomorrow - it's fast and furious and is a great pattern for charity quilts or a quick gift or fabric you just can't bear to cut up.

I also did a little knitting today.
This scarf has been on the needle for way too long.

Seriously - it's time for me to make an even bigger dent in my UFOs. Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Not much to update

It's been mostly cooking and prepping for THE BIG DAY. Of course, it's over early for me since I host the family for brunch. Now that everyone is grown, they have their other families to attend to. This brunch thing works great for us. Really it's more breakfast than brunch - we gather at around 10:30. That gives me the rest of Christmas day to - yes - sew.

So far I've made saltine toffee, peppermint bark, dilly ranch oyster crackers, and oreo truffles. The truffles and bark were new items for me this year; I'd not made them before. Melting white "chocolate" in the microwave was a challenge, but I overcame it. When I made the bark, the chocolate melted beautifully. When I made the truffles the next day, it never melted and was a burnt mess.  I thought I'd have to toss the truffles, but then realized the difference: The Bowl. Aha! I whipped out my ancient (heavy) pyrex bowl again and the chocolate melted beautifully. Lesson learned!

Other than cooking and prepping, I've only been working on bindings. OK - binding. Singular. Hopefully I'll finish that one today - I only have about 12 more inches (but I'm exhausted after the walk AND the cooking AND the cleanup AND the prepping), then I can take a pic and post it on the "finishes" page (and learn how Pages works here in blog land).

It's cold in sunny northeast Florida today. Below freezing, so I'm waiting till about 9:00 before taking my walk. Hopefully the sun will have warmed things up a bit more by then.

And that's what I've been up to for the past few days. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oh yes, the Holiday Season

So much to do that the blog has taken a back seat. Well, here are some pics of what I've been doing.

More blocks

Still more blocks. These are free-form cut, and I've cut the curve way too sharp. It's a challenge getting these to lie flat.

These blocks are now a top.

 Yep. Still more blocks. I get in moods where I want to sew but not think. This is when I'll sew blocks for simple quilts.

Prisma is now a top. Yay!

This is a full top now. More pics soon.

 Same here. I think you'll be surprised at the difference the border made.

 Scrapolator blocks. Such fun!

The blocks on the left are straight from the scrap pile; no thinking. The ones on the right are all brights. Isn't the difference amazing?

 I have 29 of each set done (true scrappy, and brights) I love them!

No wonder I haven't had time to blog! Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh yes, I've been busy

Thanksgiving sort of shook up the routine, but I've been working away on my projects.

All the blocks for the third design-your-own are finished and ready to be made into a top.

Blocks for a group quilt. This will be cool with stripped sashing. It's all batiks.

The inside of Prisma is put together. Ready for the first border, and the outer border, which is more strata.

Slowly but surely. Plugging away at the in-process pile. The holidays are upon us, but hopefully I can still keep plugging away at the stack.

Thanksgiving at "the crik" was fun, as always. Burgers on the grill, and a turkey, and family/friends. How could it be bad? I hope yours was as much fun as ours.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fun, and progress

I'm still playing with a number of different projects. Gosh it's fun to work this way! No boredom. Even the not-so-fun parts of quilting are easier to take when I know I only have to do a little of it before I can jump into the next thing. (Note: this doesn't work for people who get over-angst'ed by having more than one project going at a time.)

I finished the last of the "big" Safari blocks (4 shown here). Now I can put this top together. I'm still thinking it's going to need something else. Buttons? Some applique? I'll know more when I see the whole thing put together.
 More Scrap-o-lator blocks. I'm really enjoying these, even when they get wonkified. I have 11 so far. The pattern calls for 91, but I don't want to make a quilt that large so I'll need only 72. I see more than one of these quilts in my future. Such a fun way to use scraps!
 More blocks from the third design-your-own quilt. This one has a Halloween theme.
 I got more of Prisma put together. I still don't like that upper left corner. I think the purple shouldn't be broken up with that yellow; the purple should be a straight line. What do you think?
 The lower left corner got put together.
 I found these pieces while digging through more STUFF. (I have a lot of stuff). The first pic is of parts made in my class with Jean Wells at Empty Spools earlier this year. I think I'm ready to make a couple of small works from them.
 The triangles were made in Gwen Marston's class (also at Empty Spools earlier this year). They have potential ... I'm not sure what yet, but I like them.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Finding Stuff

I took a deep breath and dove into the Closet of the Great Unknown Projects the other day. I was looking for one specific project, and (oh snap, what a surprise!) found others I'd forgotten about. I've been having such fun just playing. Work a little on one, a little on the next. Never bored that way. Here's what I've been up to.

Prisma is still in pieces -

but not as many ...
The upper left corner is together. I'm not sure it'll stay that way, but for now at least there's progress.

I've made more of the big Safari blocks

Oh looky! I found some New York Beauty blocks. Playtime!

I actually went looking for this Tree of Life. I started it years and years ago and decided to get to work on it again.

Well. I got one more row added.

There's no real pattern, so I'm guessing on a lot of the parts. That upper left corner presents a challenge, so who knows what will happen, but it's still fun to play with.

Speaking of fun - I started making some Scrap-o-lator blocks (from the book of the same name, by Dianne Springer). Wow, what a blast these are!

Here's the last of my recent shop-hop stash

And here's my Crate and Barrel booty

Yep, that impromptu shop hop (which included Crate & Barrel, and Ikea) was not one of my least expensive weekends. Fun anyway.

And that's what I've found. Can't wait to see what I do next.

Thanks for stopping by.