Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weekend Quickie

So, I have a new sewing scheme in life.  Weeknights I work on the Single Girl.  I have tunnel vision.  (Except when I'm writing posts...or reading blogs...or watching tv...you get the idea.)

On the weekends, I let myself work on other random projects.  Weekend quickies, if you will.  Last weekend I cut into my Half Moon Modern (and a few solids) to make this:

I love it! Partly because I love this fabric line and partly because it made me feel super productive to make a whole quilt top in 2 days.  (2 days! WHAT?!?!)  It will become quilt 1 of 2 for twin girls that are still incubating.  For twins, I like to make quilts that are similar but not the same so I'm not going to use tumblers for the other one.  Since the weekend is almost here again (woohoo!) I have to pick another shape toute suite.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Mail

My amazing, sweet, generous cousin sent me a present.  It was a quilt made by my great-grandmother, Granny Irene!  WHAT!?!  That's right!  It's been hanging in my cousin's house and she thought that I would like to look after it for a while, seeing as how I'm quilty and all!  I almost fainted!  (Bonus points to my cousin for cramming this whole quilt into a medium flat-rate shipping box...she's amazing in many ways!  I wish I had taken a picture...opening the box was like watching a clown car!)

This one has been seriously loved...just the way a quilt should be, if you ask me! Check out those quilt fragments flappin' in the breeze!  Pieces of the backing and batting are missing too...it's like a giant version of my childhood "blankie!" 
I'm guessing it's pretty old but it has a really modern look to it, no?  I love the fabrics and I love the block.  When Meesh posted her Carpenter's Wheel I almost fell out of my chair!  It's the same one!!
My dad says Granny Irene would save every scrap of fabric she could get her hands on to make her quilts.  (I think they were hand pieced...I could probably go check but I'm too lazy to walk to the guest room...)  Then she and her friends would sit around the quilting frame to hand quilt each one.  This one was quilted with green thread that looks like Pearl Cotton.  LOVE!
 The orange and gray block below is my favorite!!
I only met Granny a few times, but having this makes me feel close to her.  I'm hoping I can restore the quilt.  It will be a long, long, long-term project but I'm up for it!  Thanks again, cuz! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Remember me?

...Your friendly, neighborhood blogger?  Yep, I'm still alive and kickin'!  Sometimes I have a thousand things to share...and then life gets busy and I don't post them...but I still keep doing stuff...and then I start hoarding show-and-tell items....and then I get overwhelmed by the number of my hoarded tidbits and never end up posting any of them!... (Which is exactly the mentality that will land me on some sort of intervention show!)  But that's no way to blog!  So here's a quick update and then I'm going to try really, really hard to be good in the coming weeks.  (I know, I always say that!...but I'm really, really, REALLY going to try this time!)

Finished my last Swoon block.  Currently dragging my feet and trying to avoid dealing with long pieces of sashing.
Slow but steady progress on that orange quilt I told you about a few months ago.  I'll take some pictures soon.  Slower and not-so-steady progress on the Single Girl. 
Went to Chicago for work.  Did a little fabric shopping at the Needle Shop.  (Hey, a girl has her priorities!)  It was a great little shop and the guy who works there rocks a serious brostache!  You should go just to check it out.  He's super friendly.  He would probably let you take a picture of it.  You should check out their blog too...I just looked at it and it appears to be fan-freakin'-tastic!

Bought approximately 8756 clothes pins for about a dollar.
Maybe next month I'll get a clothes line...

Tested fabric that you print at home...washed up nicely....see?
I ironed it so I could take this picture.  It was face down on the ironing board.  I smelled my mistake almost immediately.  And so tonight, instead of sewing, I will be washing papery-gluey-residue-stuff off the iron. 

And last but not least, I registered for SEWING SUMMIT!!!  WOOOT!!  Any of my peeps going?  It's going to be so fun!!  I can't wait!!  In fact, if I didn't have to clean the iron, I'd start a countdown right this second! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April showers? Heck no!

April is my month for do. Good Stitches!  I'm keeping it simple with a string block.  Ashley has a great tutorial over on her blog.  We will be using a solid white, 1/2" string (finished) with warm colors on one side and cool colors on the other.
photo courtesy of the fabulous JeniB
 Jeni has a fantastic post about warm vs cool - it's part of a super-amazing series on the Art of Choosing.    Go check it out! 

Even though my month is April, for colors think May flowers and summer fun.  I found my initial inspiration at Pink Castle Fabrics:
If you can look at these beauties and not be inspired, you might want to seek immediate medical attention.  (Just sayin'!)

Out of good ole fashioned laziness, I made a few modifications to Ashely's method when I made my blocks.  I started with a pack of super-cheapo drawing paper (I got an entire pack at the dollar store!  WHAT!?!) but any sort of tear-able paper will work.  Here's how I did it.

Trim paper to 12" square.
Line up the 1/4" mark on your ruler with opposite corners of the square and draw a line.
Repeat on the other side of the corners so that you have two lines, 1/2" apart (bold lines in the example below).  Then go nuts and draw as many parallel lines as your heart desires.  (Use variable strip widths but keep seams parallel...no wonk, yo!)
Now you can breathe a sigh of relief...the hardest part is over.

I started with my white string piece covering those big bold lines above - my strip was about 1.5" wide so I didn't have to be too precise with my positioning...this is the lazy way, remember?  Since I didn't even want to bother with straight lines when I cut my fabric, I used standard paper piecing methods to sew my block together, trimming seam allowances as I went.  (Ashley's paper was on the bottom during sewing and she used the edges of her fabric as stitch guides, but mine was on the top so I could use my drawn lines as stitch guides.  Like this:)
Since my seam allowances were not uniform, I trimmed them down after I finished each seam.  If you need more info on this, let me know and I'll find a link or take some more photos...).  Just keep adding strips until the paper square is covered.  Flip the block so that your paper is on top and trim the excess fabric using the paper as a guide.  Go ahead and smile at your happy block.

I already made three!  (The fourth one is really calling my name though...)
I can't wait to see everyone's blocks and I'm already looking forward to May when I can start putting them all together!  Happy sewing Empower peeps!  I hope you have fun with this one!