Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fabric Frustrations

Ever have one of those days? I did last Tuesday. Everything I tried to start failed in utter misery. I'd decided to start the quilt top I'd designed for my mom. The fabric had been sitting idle since last summer thanks to my shoulder injury, so I figured I'd go ahead and start it. The problem arose whilst I was cutting. There wasn't enough fabric.

Not only did I not have enough fabric, but the fabric I was using was produced by a company that had been purchased by another company this year and there was no telling if any shop would be able to get more.

I beat my head against a wall for a bit and then combed the internet. Happily my search was fruitful and I could support a small quilt shop in the process. But I had to wait. I'm still waiting for delivery as of today. The tracking number shows it arrived in town yesterday, so hopefully tomorrow it will be in the mailbox.

Then I thought I'd play with a new template that allows you to create strip of prairie points. I bought it to use on a quilt for my great-niece who will be born this summer. I remembered I'd kitted up a project several years back that featured prairie points (now abbreviated PP for simplicity), so I excavated it in anticipation of play with my new toy. For grins, I also pulled out a single block kit that was a door prize at a shop hop.

Alas, I'd already cut all the pieces out for the kit that featured PPs!

At this point I said some words, which roughly translate as 'hang it all,' and started in on the single block kit to clear my head. Besides, the day was getting away from me and I wanted to get something accomplished.

That's the block. Very bright and happy. I thought about what I could do with a single block and decided I could frame it in black and then maybe find one of those fabrics to make a second border. Then urn the whole thing into a tote bag. The difficulty? Remember I mentioned the company that was bought by another company earlier? Yeah. Same company. *sigh* So it was put into a different section of my stash and I moved on.

The 'prairie point kit' has been in my stash since 2010. The design is called 'Stars, Stripes, and Prairie Points,' and was designed by a local woman who taught the class at our local quilt shop called... wait for it... Prairie Points. Primarily because it got put away while Confetti was so ill. After she died, I just never dug it back out. The design wasn't something I'd gravitate towards, but I remember wanting to learn how to make PPs. I've since learned how, but that kit had mostly been forgotten.

As I dug through the pieces I remembered a couple more things. I hadn't been able to afford really good quality fabrics when I kitted it up. I'd also put together enough fabric to make one for a friend. As I worked, the design grew on me. Mainly because I could appreciate the cleverness in using the PPs to draw the eye to the center of the quilt.  By that evening, I'd pieced both tops.

As you can see, the designer wanted to utilize the PPs to accent the flag blocks and not the edge of the quilt, like what is usually seen with PP's.

I quilted both in the same fashion: invisible thread in and around the flag blocks and then meandered in the borders with variegated thread, with the addition on hand-drawn stars to create more interest. The basting stitches across the top are holding the hanging sleeve in place. (This photo is also truer to color than the others.)

The tricky part was needing to pin the PPs out of the way in order to quilt the borders. The above picture was taken late last night after I'd finished that, the second, quilt top. The first was finished Friday and has the binding halfway on. It just needs hand sewing to the back.

You might think this is where the fabric frustration ended, but you are mistaken. Originally, I knew I only had one fat quarter of that yellow fabric remaining.  I also knew darn well I'd made bolts for the Patchwork Peach shop with the blue and red fabrics. I really wanted to stretch that yellow fat quarter, so why not use the last bits of the red and blue to make a fun scrappy binding? Brilliant! However that would require being able to locate the last of the red.

I'd found the blue fabric, roughly half a fat quarter, after some digging. But the red eluded me. I finally decided to not stress over it and just use the yellow for one and the backing fabric for the other. The backing fabric is a Debbie Mum and has tiny little flags all over it.

After I'd already cut, sewn, and attached the yellow binding, I made one more attempt at locating the errant red remnant. And found the bloody thing. Another half of a fat quarter, neatly folded, and wedged in between some other red fabrics in the drawer. Fortunately I was already resigned to this project being a problem child. I left the solid yellow border intact and went to work with the remaining pieces of yellow that was already cut on the bias. I also had a strip of yellow left from cutting the squares for the PPs... whenever that was. I omitted the white because it a) was the poorest quality of the fabrics and b) really needed to just be in the quilt center to allow the eyes to rest, went to work.

This is the binding I originally wanted for both pieces. I 'frankensteined' it together from a strip set I made from the one yellow strip I had left, the yellow bias-cut remnants from the other binding, and two different width strips of each of the other fabrics. I'm really quite proud of this binding.

The nice thing about all the piecing and quilting I've been doing for the last few weeks is it's actually therapy for my shoulder. I know for certain that I can piece a twin-sized quilt top by myself now. I also know I can quilt a 20" square quilt "sandwich" alone. Today I'm going to see if I can quilt a baby quilt by myself.... after I attach the scrappy binding to the second flag quilt. ;-)

I'll see you all next week! Until thing, happy (insert your preferred craft/art here)-ing!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Quilting Great and Small.. and A Bunny

FH and I finally have a weekend at home where we don't have to do lots of yard work. It's a welcome change of pace. This past week I've kept myself pretty busy, so a nice break to spend time together is just what we needed.

On the quilting front, I finished another top. This time it's the one for FH.

As you can see, Artie has remained helpful and attentive to this project.

In the realm of smaller things, I now have 604 miniature bolts of fabric for The Patchwork Peach quilt shop.

 And the bunny! We took Victor outside to see if he'd like to nibble some fresh mint. He was too overwhelmed to want to nibble, though. Maybe next time.

And a bonus picture of my new foxgloves beginning to bloom!
That's all for this week. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Quilt Along and Flowers

FH are currently driving back home from being down south again. This time we went so I could visit The Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis. However once we got to town Aunt Pat was ill, so instead I ended up going to my favorite patisserie and quilt shop. There are now fourteen more fabrics for the Patchwork Peach!

I also have a couple of new applique patterns in my stash.

I made a new friend recently and we did a mini shop hop a couple of weeks ago. Last Monday we had a play day to work on quilts using our fabrics and a new pattern. I fussy cut my feature fabric, so it took me longer to get my blocks going, but I did catch up to her.

I finished the top on Thursday. After that, I pondered a few patterns and the rest of my new fabrics. Once I figured out what I was doing, I started in on blocks for another top. Artie is "helping" make sure the fabric doesn't get away.

The picture doesn't do the fabrics justice. The dark green in the center of the left hand block is the same green I used to frame the feature fabric blocks in the first quilt. The black and neutral prints are similar in tone to the black and neutral border and block fabric from the first quilt too. I still have 20 more blocks to piece and then some borders to cut out.

Neither of these will be quilted anytime soon. I've got too many backlogged projects  that need to come first. But it was fun to have a break and sew with a friend. We're going to do some more fabric shopping and sewing next Wednesday, if all goes as planned. I did find possible backs while I was down south. I'll compare the colors once we're home.

I did also get some garden work done. This is the current layout of the three tiers of perennials I have planted out back. I don't know if you can read my notes when the picture is full-sized, but I've labeled everything that's in there and marked where other things need to go in some cases.

The yellow circles are where I planted a yellow cultivar of foxglove. We found them on Mother's Day at a nursery near my parents' home. They aren't blooming yet, but when they do I will post pictures.

The white ovals on the far ends of the middle bed are Montana sandworts. I found them on Wednesday at a local place. They are a low, spreading plant that will look nice in from of the purple spiderworts and yellow foxgloves. Here's a closer picture of one.

The vegetable garden is coming along nicely. No recent photos of it... I wasn't thinking about it when it wasn't raining. Blame the irises for being too distracting.

The mauve iris by the AC unit will be transplanted to the main iris bed once they have stopped blooming. I'm not sure how it ended up there, but I think it needs to be rehomed.

The lily of the valley are blooming here too.

And speaking of flowers, here are some more roses that still need leaves and sprayed with fixative.

I've been so busy I haven't had time to work on more since before Mother's Day. Here's hoping I can get caught up with things. I'm way behind on my project to-do list.

There are mini quilt bolts to roll, fat quarter bundles to make, shelves for said fabric bolts to construct, dolls to sculpt and dress, an entire physical therapy office to construct (long story), and the list goes on and on! Let's not forget the quilts! A diaper bag, two baby quilts, two table runners, a lap quilt, and a full-size bed quilt are all sandwiched and waiting for me to quilt them. I don't even want to think about the stitching and crocheting unfinished objects...

That's all for this week. Next weekend we're staying put, so hopefully I can get some things finished. See you then!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dresden Tea Cozy

First off: Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in the US!

Now, I eluded to a new quilting project last week. I figured now would be a nice time to post about it. FH and I are currently driving back from down south. Had to go visit our moms for the weekend.

This project started out on rocky footing. I couldn't find a design I liked anywhere and finally I decided to draft one myself.

The front sports a small Dresden plate made with a 30 degree ruler. I used three different fabrics for the petals.

The back started life as a strip set.

Then I turned it 90 degrees, made an even edge, and cut 2 inch strips off. The rectangles were alternated to create a diagonal stripe. However, it's at home and I forgot to get a picture of it before we headed south.

To make it up to you, here's a picture of Thursday night's miniature group project. We made roses.
That's all for this week. See y'all next Sunday!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Things and Stuff

I really couldn't think of a better title. My brain's been fried from working outside a lot this week. ;-)

FH's seedlings for the vegetable garden needing repotting, so I took care of that for him.

Any excuse to work with plants as opposed to doing heavy landscaping. Although there's been some of that going on too. The 'Bed from Hell' now has a cute little pathway through the front. It leads through the lilies I transplanted from the center to the area that will become a vegetable garden.

Today I finished removing all the decorative plants from the center section of that bed so FH and I can get it tilled. What follows are before and after shots of where I put the remaining lilies from that bed. This is one of the beds that sits on the garage-end of the house. There's one on either side of that neglected walkway.

I had to dig out some stumps and saplings, not to mention rake out all the leaves and get rid of the grass that encroached. The far section of this bed still needs some TLC. I'm hoping to get to it in the next week.

I was able to repurpose the edging from the bed across the walkway to keep the dirt where it belongs. That other bed it going to be removed and paved over with brick anyway. We'll be housing the yard waste cans there instead of in the garage when that project is finished.

We also have some tenants living above one of the carriage lamps on the garage! FH accidentally frightened the mother when he turned walking to the garage, but he saw little faces pop up after she flew away.

We actually saw the mother last night when we came home from the neighbors' house, but we didn't know her eggs had hatched.

Lastly I'm working on a small quilting project. There are more photos, but I think it is going to warrant it's own post. I will leave you with a teaser though!

Until next time!