Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Seattle

The husband and I took a vacation!  This was our first vacation together since I was pregnant with Miss C. almost four years ago.  My brave sister offered to watch our kids for a weekend so we could get away.  I'm not sure she really understood what she was getting into.  When I called Sunday afternoon to chat, she said that after taking my kids to church she is more tired than she has ever been in her life.  My sister knows tired.  She is a pediatric nurse and works many nights.  It made me laugh because I'm amazed at how tired they make me too.  They are three little innocent kids, but boy they wear you out.

On a whim we decided to go to Seattle.  It was a short flight, and somewhere we haven't been.  My husband went there for a high school graduation trip, but that doesn't really count.  We explored, did some touristy things, took some drives, ate good food, and slept in.  It was only 3 1/2 days, but it was really nice to get away from all parental responsibilities and just spend time together.  We got back yesterday afternoon, put the kids to bed, started working through mounds of laundry and are now back to the grind.  It's amazing how quick vacationing wears off, and you have to return to normal life. 





I just loved the colors in this string of peppers.  Wouldn't they make a great quilt?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spray Paint

4.5 cans of brown primer
16 cans of glossy black spray paint
An extremely sore index finger
Very dirty toes (real shoes would have probably been a better option that flip-flops)
A HUGE mess to clean up
A super stinky garage and house
A brand new kitchen table and chairs
And I am never, ever, ever, ever going to do that again!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Embracing Imperfection

I received a few packages of Kona solids in the mail recently, and I think I'm hooked.  I LOVE solids.  They just look so beautiful and simple.  I have had dozens of ideas going through my head recently using only solids, but haven't cut anything until today.  This project just felt right for me right now.  I think in quilting and in life I get so caught up in perfection that I forget the beauty and simplicity of imperfection.  I have been trying so hard to get all of my corners perfect in this insane subway quilt that I'm going crazy.  I do the same thing as a mom and wife at times.  I worry so much about what I should do to be the perfect mom that I make myself crazy.

Today during my quiet time while the kiddos are asleep, I've been embracing imperfection.  You know what?  I'm loving it.  I can't wait to see what this becomes.  I'm just sewing.  No perfect 1/4" seams. No rotary cutter.  Just me, my scissors, my sewing machine and a super hot iron with lots of water. I'm using the piecing technique shown in the Mod-Mood quilt-along from daintytime.


I really like the contrast between my two projects hanging next to each other.

I'm being paged by a child who decided she is done napping for the afternoon.  It's time to be the mom again, but tonight after they are all asleep, I plan to continue working on my "forest" with all of these great pieces.   

Have a great afternoon!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It made my day!

Last night I was once again on Flickr.  I love that place!  Under "Recent Activity" I noticed that Rita from Red Pepper Quilts wanted to add my Hope Valley quilt to her Flickr group!  My quilt design was heavily influenced from a quilt she made a while back.  I pretty much love just about everything she does.  She is one of my quilting idols.  I felt like the shy girl in high school, and the cheer leader was talking to me!  Then I noticed she actually put a comment on my blog post!  Then she commented on Flickr as well.  I had to read it to my husband, I was so excited.  This definitely makes me a quilt nerd, but it totally made my night.

Argyle Pillow

I finished this great pillow during nap time. This is why I love diamonds.  It turned out so fun, but I also hate them because it is so dang hard to get all the points to meet.  Does anyone have any great tips for lining everything up?  I definitely did better with practice toward the end of my piecing, but it was driving me crazy.  There are many imperfect points on this pillow. 

We have my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas this year.  They are fully aware that they are getting a quilt for Christmas so this isn't spoiling anything.  I even asked for some input from my sister-in-law on what she would like.  Her favorite color is green and their front room is decorated with some green so I am definitely using that.  The other day I bought a sweater with an argyle design on the front and thought argyle would make a fabulous quilt for them.  My SIL loves argyle.  Although, this pillow reminded me that I don't like piecing diamonds and would probably have a nervous breakdown making a quilt full of them.  So sorry Sabrina, no argyle quilt for Christmas, but it would have been wonderful.



I struggled over how to give this the argyle look.  I seriously considered using this technique from Moda Bake Shop.  After testing it out, I knew it wouldn't work.  I racked my brain for ideas and finally asked my husband what he could come up with.  He immediately said, "Why don't you just quilt the lines with a zig-zag or something?"  It really was brilliant and much more true to the real argyle look.  I tried about 10 different decorative stitches and opted for this one.  I have never used decorative stitches and had a bit of a learning curve.  I pushed my fabric too much sometimes and messed up the design.  I learned I just had to guide it and let my machine do the work. 

I opted for a simple back with just one pieced strip.  My fabric is some flavor of brown I had in my stash, Kona Ivory and Kona Green Grass.  By the way, green grass just might be my new favorite color.  I love it!  I love it even more because Joann's carries it, and that means I can use my 50% off coupons.  I cleaned my local store out last week. 


The final pillow size is about 20".  The diamonds were cut from 3" tall strips making them 2.5" pieced.  Now I think I need to come up with a couple more pillows to go with it to change out my summery pillow covers for fall ones. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

WIPs

I started a few new projects this weekend when I needed a break from the Subway quilt.  I am generally a one-quilt-at-a-time kind of person.  I don't like multiple quilts going on mainly because I just don't have the space to put them all.  It is kind of fun to sit down and have several choices for projects to work on, though.

I'm still plugging away on the subway.  I finished the first block of the third row and have three more blocks designed and ready to sew.

I also cut all the strips and triangles for my lattice quilt over on the left.  I started sewing the first few blocks.  I decided not to paper piece this one and it seems to be working just fine.  It's a pretty simple design. 

That argyle on the ironing board is getting closer to being a pillow.  It was a test run to see if I still hate diamonds as much as I remember.  I do.  I just love the way they look so much, too bad I hate piecing them.  Good thing it's small.

I also bought some super cute corduroy to make fall jackets for my girls, joining in on the sew-along with From an Igloo

Last night I spent my evening cleaning out our basement bedroom (AKA the dumping ground for all objects without a home).  My mom is staying with us this weekend and needs a place to sleep.  The bed was covered with lots of stuff including multiple finished quilts that aren't being used.  I said to my husband that maybe I should stop quilting as much considering how many quilts we already have that aren't being used.  He gave me that "Yeah, right" look and just kind of shook his head.  I guess I don't believe I can quit either.  I'm a little addicted.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's starting to look like a map!

I'm really liking how this little quilt is turning out.  I have finished the first two rows, although I haven't sewn the second row blocks together yet.  It's starting to take shape.  I have even finished two stacks of fabric.  I'm done with my darker green squares and my bright blue squares.  My husband wants to hang it in our house, but I'm not really into hanging quilts.  I'm not exactly sure what my hesitation is (except that we have three kids who would probably be swinging from it).  I'd like to get a quilt rack, but said kids would just use that as a new piece of jungle-gym equipment.

I know it looks like I have a white spot on my purple line.  I freaked out when I saw it in the picture, thinking I had messed up.  It's actually a white chair on a purple background from Tufted Tweets. I don't think I'll use that fabric again on here.  The seam allowance cuts away too much of the background.   

I decided to enlarge my "design wall" just a bit.  It's really nothing fancy, but it's about all I can do. This is my little sewing corner of the family room.  I share it with the dog.  I seriously considered getting rid of her large kennel and demoting her to the small travel kennel, but I think it would be pretty tight quarters.  I ended up pulling some batting scraps out of my basket and just taping them to the wall.  It works just fine.  I would love to have an official design wall like Heather from ala mode, but I just don't have the space to put it.  I rehung my little design board on the wall above the kennel for additional projects. 

I am definitely getting a bit burned out on this quilt.  Too many 2" squares.  I'm still planning to keep up with the group if I can, but I have two new projects I plan to start in the next few days.  I have a quilt in my head inspired by this one on Film in the Fridge.  I also want to try a pillow using the quilt-as-you-go method.  I'm thinking of doing one to match my Raspberry Citrus Confetti quilt.  I have been interested in this method for a while and was inspired to give it a try because of Heather's quilt-along, but I'm not convinced yet about doing it as a whole quilt.  I'll see how it goes with the pillow.  I also have some fabulous Kona solids on their way to start a City Quilts inspired quilt that I am so excited to start.  Although, I think UPS is shipping my box here on horseback.  It won't be here for an entire week!  

I was perusing Flickr last night because I'm pretty much addicted now.  I came across a picture of a quilt that looked quite familiar.  Lisa from Shiner's View made a quilt using the same Oh Fransson pattern that I did for our bedroom quilt.  She said that she was inspired by my quilt!  I was so flattered.  It just made my day. I love hers, especially the colors she chose.   

Finally, thanks to Linda from Stray Stitches for nominating me for her Sunshine Award on her blog.  She said she looks forward to my blog and that makes me happy.  Check out her blog.  She is a great quilter who is always doing something new despite the fact that she suffers from ALS.  She is also sponsoring a giveaway right now through Monday. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Subway Continued

Holiday weekends really are wonderful.  It's so nice having an extra day to get things done.  We got several projects done that have been on the list for quite a while.  I also made some more progress on my subway.  I have learned two things though since starting this quilt:
  • I have no patience for quilt-alongs.  I like quilting when I want to quilt rather than waiting for the next post to go up.  I'm glad I have my own "map" to go from.  So far only the first block has been posted.  
  • Second, I need a bigger design wall.  I'm resorting to taping my blocks on the wall to get a picture of my progress.  I'm trying to figure out how to make it work.  I have thought about piecing a bunch of my Warm and White batting scraps and just taping them to the wall with painters tape.  I don't want anything permanent, but I'd really love a bigger space to stick my projects to.  I have hung a sheet in the past but had to pin everything to it.  I love how my blocks stick so well to the Warm and White.
Here is a picture of my current progress.  I finished the first five blocks, completing the first row.  I also stitched around the outer edge because my seams have started to unravel a bit even though I did a lock stitch on every seam. I like how the colors are coming together.  This has been a fun challenge, though I have plans to start a couple new quilts in the next week or so.  I need a diversion from this one. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Getting Started


I finally finished cutting those little squares last night.  I only cut about 1/4 of the white ones I will need, but I was tired of cutting and wanted to start sewing.  I'll cut more as I go.  They are the easy ones anyway.  I did quite a bit of fussy cutting and that took so much longer.  It was really nice to finally get into this quilt and start sewing it. 

Since I have my revised pattern all put together, I cheated a little and am now ahead of the game.  I did one block last night and did two more this afternoon during naptime.  Once I finish block 4 & 5, I think I will sew them all together to see how it looks.  It's starting to take shape with only three blocks placed side-by-side. 

I was very pleased when they each measured just scant of my 12.5" square ruler.  I was nervous about getting all the seams to line up, but so far I have been able to be pretty consistent on my seam allowance.  It's certainly not perfect, but I'm not about to unpick it when everything doesn't line up exactly.  No one will notice.

One of my fussy cut squares. 

Sewing the blocks together isn't as hard as I imagined, but it does get a little tedious and repetitive to sew all of these seams.  Although, I think I will really love it when I'm done. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quilt-Along Craziness


 You may already know what all of these tiny, little 2" squares mean:
  • Craziness
  • A sore wrist from way too much time with the rotary cutter
  • A lot of work still left to do and not even close to actually beginning anything
I decided to join in on Oh Fransson's Toyko Subway Quilt-Along.  This is my first quilt-along I have ever attempted.  Of course, I choose the one that requires me to cut up 1600 tiny squares.

Seriously, what was I thinking?  I started cutting squares two days ago and have spent the majority of my free time doing so since.  I still have so many to cut.  I almost gave up at least three times. 

Then I finally decided I was really committed, so I copied her pattern into Excel to more easily change some of the color lines to better match what I have in my stash.  I had to recount how many blocks I would need for my changes and couldn't really do that with the pattern sketch she had posted.  Then I decided that a 60" x 60" quilt of 2" squares wasn't enough torture so I decided to design an additional row of blocks making the quilt 60" x 72".  I'm just not a huge fan of square quilts, and 60" isn't long enough to really wrap up in.  I have too many smaller quilts already.  I loved her subway design back when she did it as a wall hanging and was really happy to see she was doing it as a quilt.  I'm excited/terrified to get started on this.  She posted the first block last night so I'm already behind.  I still have to cut bright blue, gray, black, white, pink, brown, and navy. I also need to pick up some Eggplant Kona for my purple line and maybe a few more grays.  I have a feeling I won't be keeping up on this quilt-along.

I should be working on quilts for Christmas presents.  Instead, I'm just adding another one to the WIP pile.  But really, aren't all these tiny squares so dang cute?