It’s Monday!

Just thought I’d drop by to update on my weekend progress. Nothing terribly exciting, but some progress nonetheless.

First up, since the BTN provided us with some spring football (and we all know that football is the best time for hand piecing), La Passacaglia got a little love. I completed the first of three Rosette 2s.

Then I put the Rosette 1 next to it (randomly, mind you) just to see how they fit together.  I think I’m going to like this.

Yesterday, I finished the top and bottom sections for the Surrounded by Scraps blocks. The plan for today (as soon as I post this) is to assemble those blocks. (I think I’m going to end up calling this Surrounded by Happy Scraps).

It does not help anything that I seem to be coming down with a cold again. Didn’t I just do that? And didn’t it hang around forever? Grrrrrr!

What did you do this weekend?

Quilt on!

Saturday Stuff

First and foremost, if you are reading this before 11:59 pm EDT on Saturday, April 15, you still have time to enter the giveaway. Just click here, follow the directions and use the Rafflecopter widgets.

Now, I just thought I’d update you on a little bit.

  1. DD seems to be feeling better although certainly not well. But better is good!
  2. I’ve made a little progress on the Surrounded by Scraps. See:
  3. I opened up the layer cake that didn’t make it into the giveaway. I can’t wait to use this. 2 more weeks!
  4. I’m three for three in meeting daily goals:
    • Thursday – taxes done and submitted
    • Friday – dining room table sorted and springified
    • Saturday – filing caught up and reorganized
  5. There may be a little La Passacaglia progress since there is spring football this afternoon. Somehow football season seems to be the time I do the most hand piecing.
  6. Last post was my 800th post. I saw that and thought, “I need to have a giveaway!” Then I realized that I already had a couple layer cake giveaways going on. 😄
  7. I can’t wait to write the post announcing the giveaway winners. Tomorrow! Happy Easter!

How’s your weekend going?

Quilt on!

La Passacaglia Progress

I feel good about the progress I made during football watching. I got the wreath attached and all ten stars made.

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That took until after the end of the game. Which is a good thing because I have not yet cut the diamonds to go between the stars in that wreath. I haven’t even chosen the fabric yet. I haven’t even really made up my mind whether I want to stay with the pink focus from the star centers (the points are a deep grapey purple, by the way) or go back to the greens and blues or what. Here are some of my fabric auditions for those diamonds.img_4965

This is the same fabric as the centers.img_4966

A little orange and white.img_4967

Not feeling this one at all. img_4968

Maybe if I fussy cut to get mostly the orangey centers…img_4969

Not a fan of this purple thing at all.

img_4970Not quite as bad, maybe.

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Maybe if I’m staying with the reddish orangeish this might be a winner.img_4972

This is the same fabric as that wreath. Too much of a good thing.img_4973

I actually kind of like this one. Not sure why. If only there were a bit more blue.img_4974

Here it is closer up.img_4975This might be a little too dark.

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Maybe more red than I wanted, but maybe not.img_4977

I’m not a fan of this one, either. Maybe the pink/orange route is a better way to go.

What do you think?

Quilt on!

Beginning La Passacaglia

As I mentioned earlier, I did not get any hand piecing prepped in time for last week’s Michigan football game. Yes, I did make a lot of progress going through stacks of magazines and dismantling them, but I wasn’t going to be able to work on those when I drove my DH to his meeting on Tuesday evening, so I had to get my pieces prepped by Tuesday evening. This involved really learning to use Inklingo and becoming comfortable with it.

Are you shaking your head in confusion? I don’t blame you. I like hand piecing. I like it a lot. Maybe that would indicate that I should like English Paper Piecing but, to be perfectly honest, it is just not me. I find it tedious and it seems to me to lack precision. (Just so you don’t picture me as a type A person or anything, I guarantee that quilting is the only part of my life where I crave precision!) I also don’t like the idea of whipstitching an entire quilt together. Or taking out all the papers afterwards. (Yeah, I know. I like regular paper piecing and the taking the paper out there doesn’t bother me. Am I supposed to make sense? Really?

Back to Inklingo. Several months ago I had tried to begin printing the pieces on the dark fabric, but wasn’t having any success. The freezer paper kept coming off (my first hint that my Oliso iron wasn’t doing its job as well as it had been) and I couldn’t see the printing. Any of it. So I emailed Linda Franz, the awesome creator of Inklingo, and her answer was to print on the freezer paper instead of the fabric on the dark fabrics because you really don’t need the stitching lines on both pieces of fabric. So, that’s what I did.

I also got better about following directions and printing test pieces so that I would know what color ink to use for each fabric. That helps a lot.

So by Tuesday evening, I had some pieces prepped. Here’s what I got done:

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The inner star. Yeah, I know. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to fussy cut this, but I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I want to mess with that yet.img_4956

The ring around the inner star.img_4957The first wreath for around the inner star. Today I will start with joining this to the center and move on to making the next wreath of stars.

What are you working on this weekend?

Quilt on!

Labor Day Sew-In Update

I sort of started my Labor Day Sew-In on Thursday night by hand piecing while watching the Michigan – Utah football game. Football is so great for hand piecing because you can look up for the plays and replays, but you can sew while everyone is just talking. During the football game, I got 8 of these done for the the 2011 Designer Mystery BOM:

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Friday afternoon was our church hand quilting meeting. It was just Amy and me for that, but I got the crosshatching in one pineapple completed.

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Saturday I was starting to get sick (thanks to my very generous DH), but I did get downstairs to do a little more hand quilting. I finished the green parts of the leaves and the outline of the pineapple, although I took this picture before I quite finished the last green line.  (I also pressed Scrap in a Box and some borders to add but took no pictures.)

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Sunday I had absolutely no energy. Didn’t go to church. Didn’t read. Didn’t sew. Binge watched Criminal Minds and took a nap. Blew my nose a lot.

Yesterday, I did some of the feathers around the pineapple.

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Then I did some more hand piecing for the 2011 Designer Mystery Block.

Four of these:

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Four of these:

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And four of these:

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Yep, not much more to do to finish this block! But I did run out of steam there, so either I’ll do it during Saturday’s football game or I’ll do it sooner. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Quilt on!

Thoughts on Thursday

Please note that this does not say deep thoughts. I’m pretty sure none of those are going to show up.

The church quilt quilting really needs to get going. Between my MIL leaving this world, us traveling, and my surgery, we are way behind schedule on the quilting – and this is a wholecloth quilt! Arrrgh!

The heroes of my thyroid surgery are the anesthesia team! I felt nothing and, although I was nauseated enough that they kept me overnight because I couldn’t eat, I never vomited. This is a first in a very long time (as in any time I’ve ever had anesthesia!), and I am grateful.

Apparently when they use one of the new operating rooms in Mott’s Children’s Hospital, you actually stay in Mott’s children’s hospital (not that I was anywhere near any children, mind you!)

I really need to get busy on my nephew’s wedding quilt. The wedding is next month! It shouldn’t be too time consuming though. I hope. I really hope.

It is hard to get used to working even 2 days a week once you’ve been retired for a few years.

When you have surgery you get pretty flowers like these from your sister and brother-in-law:

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College football starts tonight! Okay, not college in general – we saw the exciting finish of the Montana – North Dakota State game last weekend. Michigan football starts tonight! You know what that means – hand piecing between plays! Best sport for hand piecing. Baseball is a close second.

I think I’m married to the biggest Michigan fan ever. He has spent weeks studying the roster so he will know who he’s looking at during the game. Yes, he does this every year. Both of his grandfathers taught at the U of M, his father worked there, all of his mother’s degrees were from there, his brother’s B.A. is from there, his own B.A. is from there and our younger daughter’s MSW is from there.

I went to Michigan State. My father went to Michigan State. Still, since I always know more about the Michigan team, I cheer for Michigan most of the time. If they’re playing MSU, I just cheer for everyone.

Maybe after tonight’s game and tomorrow night’s MSU game, I’ll have some finished BOM blocks to show! We can only hope.

I think I’m done thinking now!

Quilt on!

A Little Progress on Something

I am such a slacker lately! Grr! I need to get back to some productivity here! And some blogging! So to start with here is a short post.
Remember back a ways when I changed my rules about completing the 2011 Designer Mystery BOM before even starting the 2012 because I was seduced by fabric? (That post is here if you are interested or have forgotten.) Well, I haven’t made much progress for more reasons than you can shake a stick at (what does that even mean?). Anyway, I got the first block of each cut and did assemble block one of the 2011. And I cut out the blocks number 2 before I went to the Grand Rapids show, thinking that I would feel inspired to piece in the evenings. (Didn’t happen. Too exhausted by evening!) 
But I have finally pieced block one of the 2012! Here it is!
And here it is on my new design wall. (Yeah, somehow I managed to put a couple of the hooks for the design wall too close together, but they are fairly easily movable once I have time. But for now:

Making a Group Quilt, Part 4 – Assembling Block Kits & Distributing Them

I probably mentioned before that very few of the people who work on this quilt are quilters other than for this. Part of the original plan when this fell to us was to involve as many people as possible. We wanted more of the church to feel ownership for the quilts, especially since the person who buys a quilt is frequently one of the people who worked on it. Or her mother, in the case of one quilt where we had a couple of young piecers work on it. Also, of course, the more people who work on the quilt, the more quickly it gets finished. (You probably already had that part figured out.

To that end, we recruit anyone with a sewing machine or anyone who is willing to do a little hand piecing. We put together block kits (we use a lot of Zip-Loc bags for this part), complete with instructions that cover every eventuality that I can think of and color pictures of each step made with the fabric we are using. In order to emphasize the 1/4 inch seam, in later years I have included index cards gridded in 1/4 inch measurements to help people without quilting machines that already have the appropriate markings.The instructions emphasize the necessity of an accurate 1/4 inch seam, which directions to press the seams, and finished size. In years with more than block, this means several sets of directions, of course. All of this (except the directions so we don’t waste church paper making more sets of directions than necessary) goes into a numbered Zip-Loc bag.

Once the kits are assembled, I print up sign out sheets which include the kit number and columns for the name of piecer, her email address, the date the block was taken, and the date it was returned. I use numbered bags the first year, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get them all back. But we learn from our mistakes! And, yes, because I am cheap (or to help the environment) we reuse the bags from year to year.

Then the kits go to church to be distributed. The first four years I stood up in each service (well, at least each English speaking service) and described what was going on. (I like microphones even less than I like cutting!) Last year’s top was already done so I got to skip this step. Over the years I have assembled a pretty comprehensive list of email addresses, so this year I just emailed everyone and before I knew it the kits were gone! 2/3 of them are already back!

The other thing we did this year was use block assembly as the craft for one of our church’s MOPS meetings. You may remember that last year the MOPS group made the “Brown Bear” quilt because they wanted to contribute to last year’s quilt but that had been already done by someone else who donated it. This year I held back some blocks, and we put them together at their meeting this week. Young future quilters!

Below is a copy of this year’s instructions. I saved them for the end because they are only an example and they can be pretty long and boring!

Thank you for agreeing to help assemble this year’s quilt for the Lottie Moon Auction. Here are the directions for putting together a block. But first, a couple of notes to get you started.
1.     These fabrics are batiks. This means that the color has saturated the fabric due to the way they were produced. This makes it hard to tell the right side from the wrong side. I look for sharper edges and slightly brighter colors, but if you think it is too close to call on the center square, everyone else will too, so don’t worry about it.
2.     The ¼ inch seam is imperative, whether you are hand piecing or machine piecing. If you have to draw a line on the back of the fabric to get an exact ¼ inch, please do so. No one will be seeing the back of the quilt top.
3.     One of the fabrics has shades of yellow, green and purplish pink. Your pieces may not look like the picture.
4.     Be careful with the directions the squares are turned when you are assembling the block rows. I had to unsew a little the first time I put this block together. Be more careful than I was.
5.     Also, if you are machine sewing, you don’t have to backstitch the ends. If you are hand sewing, you do need to put in knots.
Okay, on to the real directions. This block is technically a nine-patch block. It is made of 9 squares of fabric sewn together. In this case, 8 of the 9 squares are made up of triangles. These are the ones you have to make sure are turned correctly when sewing them together.
Here is an example of the 9 squares, in no particular order:

 

 

Now it is time to really get down to business. You will be sewing together three rows of three squares each, and then joining them to complete the block.

When sewn together, the first row looks something like this:

 

 

The first row seams should be pressed away from the center square. Please try to keep the diagonal seams from the triangles flat under the vertical seams you sewed. You may need to use a pencil tip or something to keep it in place while you press so that you don’t burn your fingers.

Row 2 looks like this when you have assembled it:

For the second row, press your seams toward the center square

The third row will look like this:

 

 

In the third row, please press your seams away from the center square, being careful to keep the diagonal seams as flat as possible again.
Now that you have the three rows sewn, you can sew them together in exactly the order they are pictured above. Because some of the seams are pressed toward the center and some away from the center, you should be able to butt the seams up against each other pretty tightly.  When you have sewn the rows together, press those seams both in the same direction, either toward the top or toward the bottom of the block. (If you are making more than one block, alternate some of the blocks so that some are pressed toward the top and some toward the bottom.)

Your final block should measure 9 ½ inches square and should look pretty much like this:

 

 

Today’s Accomplishments

Well, another day of work. We had staff meeting today, so that took up a bit of my time. And I still had more people to catch up with so… I still didn’t get a whole lot of sewing done. But I did get eight of these done:

Of course, I still have forty more to go. And the pressing and the trimming. These will be added to all 12 of the blocks for this quilt. And the flash really washed out the fabric in this picture.
I guess I could sew these more quickly by machine, but if I have machine sewing time, I’d like to be working on my paper piecing project. And if I’m sewing by hand at home, I’d like to spend as much of that time hand quilting the big WIP in the Basement. To slow things down a bit, it looks like I will be helping with a big project at work in addition to my regular duties so… less sewing time. But I’m not complaining! I like my job and like the idea of being more helpful there. 
That being said, I still hope to have two big finishes in the next month or so. Actually, there is every possibility that I could complete 4 bed sized quilts (3 queens and a twin) in the first 6 months of this year! Whew! I will be so amazed with myself! (Of course, it hasn’t actually happened yet.)

Apparently

If I don’t work, I don’t do much blogging. It certainly isn’t that I haven’t been doing quilty things! I am making good progress on the neverending hand quilting project. And I have organized our church’s quilt for the auction next December, including cutting, putting together block kits, making the sample block so that I could type up directions, typing up the directions and passing out most of the available block kits. (See the sample block below.)

I also have done little bits of organizing and rearranging my sewing space. It used to be that the only precuts I ever purchased were jelly rolls. But look how many charm packs I found! How did this happen?

I blame the pinwheel thing. Honest.

Seriously, though, I looked at that method of making pinwheel blocks where you sew two charm squares together around the outside edges and then cut it into four parts by cutting on the diagonals, and I thought there might be lots of other things than just pinwheels that could be made with those units. I do plan to try someday soon. But I sort of have two finishes in sight and I really want to get those done first.

So now that I’m back at work, what am I doing today. Well, first I’m catching up on all the things that happened while I was out of the office (due to budget considerations, in case I never mentioned it). Then I spent the rest of this afternoon drawing lines on 48 1 inch wide strips so that I can do the next step in my American Beauty BOM. I could start the sewing today too, but I think I’ll wait on that. Tomorrow is another day.

Here are the strips, piled up and from the back so that you can see the lines I drew. Tomorrow I’ll show you the other side after I get one of the new units pieced.

Quilt on!