Friday, April 24, 2015

finished a quilt top!

In a fit of cutting and sewing last night, I managed to finish up the top to the baby quilt I started a couple weeks ago. It took me some time to decide on what to do to finish off the medallion, but I kept coming back to the thin round of bright red-orange to frame it, so I just started there.

When that was finished, the strips of hourglass blocks just sort of mentally clicked into place. I had been considering all sorts of things, but this block - simple but striking - suits the piece in terms of scale and feel. I'm really glad I added in the light green. I was originally going to keep this a slant rhyme to primary colors, but the green sets everything off so nicely.

I wasn't sure I was quite finished there at 38" wide or so, but when I took out the stripe I have been planning on using to test how everything was looking together and it was basically within an inch or two, I considered that serendipity and a sign that I was done. How frustrated I would have been if I had kept going wider! I've had the gray stripe in my head since the whole thing started. It was quick work to cut two big pieces and zip down the seams to append them to the top and bottom of the panel. And voila! A finished quilt top. I've already got an idea of how I want to quilt it. I just need to pick out a backing and figure out what I'll do for binding. Excited to see this come together!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

improvised medallion

I have a few baby quilts to make, so this should help me get going on the sewing again. This first one needs to be done by early May so I'd better get hopping. I read through a few of my pattern books for inspiration but ended up deciding to pick out some fabric first rather than the pattern. I have lots of girly fabrics, but don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl so I need to stick with something more universal. I found my stash of leftover pieces from a quilt I made for my friend Anna a couple years ago. I added a navy print to the light red, yellow, and blue and voila I found my color scheme.

I've been following, though not participating in, the Red Sky at Night quilt along at Tales of Cloth, and the Squash Blossom block has been on my mind. I think the pattern is in line with the trendy tribal things I've been seeing around the internets lately, and I've been hankering to try it out. 

I ended up with about a 17.5" block after I added the sashing, which will make a nice center piece for a crib-sized quilt. I'm thinking I'll go with 42" x 54" or thereabouts so I can get away with not piecing a backing. It was pretty simple to put together, I made a bunch of HSTs and then trimmed the rest of the squares I'd cut to match the finished HST size. (No planning here! Just winging it!) In the original squash blossom block, there are a few rectangles but I just pieced a couple of squares together since I already had them cut. 

I made a bunch more HSTs for the first round using light red and navy. The fun thing about HSTs is there are so many ways to arrange them! Originally in my head I had decided to set them all in a sawtooth pattern, but upon flipping things around multiple times to see which color should go where, I landed on this arrangement. I've got a nice gray stripe picked out as the background, but I am trying to decide on maybe one more round and a couple more design elements on either side to achieve the overall width I want. I'm actually really pleased with how this is looking so far. I've got a couple more weeks to finish it so stay tuned for the wrap. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

solid as a rock

Well, I finally did it. I bought color cards for solid fabric. I've been frustrated at my lack of solids hanging around my stash, and equally frustrated with the selection of solids at the fabric store I can get to easiest. I'm picky enough about colors that taking a chance on ordering online without knowing the color is not a great idea for me. So with this solution I can buy online with confidence that I'm going to get the shade I'm hoping for and take advantage of the sales and selection.

I got the Kona color card with all 303 colors on it (wow that's a lot of choice!) and the Moda Bella color card with something like 240. I think with a choice of 543 different colors I can make anything work, don't you?

I ended up getting both cards just to get over the free shipping offer limit, which I did by 5 cents. Go me. The reason being 1) I hate paying shipping, I'm happier if it's just factored into an overall higher price and 2) I also bought this:

That lovely stack is a fat quarter bundle of Mustang from Cotton and Steel. I've been holding out getting any new fabric for a looooong time, but this was on super good sale and how can I resist a fabric line with those colors, horses, and bees all in one great place? Exactly. I couldn't. PLUS perfect addition to the color card costs to get free shipping. Serendipity.

I'm looking forward to testing these color cards out on future projects, most notably I want to get some navy fabric for my Lonestar Hexagon quilt. Of course, that means I will have to consider all 20 of my options very carefully….

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Despite what the frequency of posts may indicate, February and March were not months without crafting. On the contrary, I just was not inspired to write because I didn't think I was doing much. Now that it's April and I've had a short bout of Spring cleaning, I have a few of these projects gathered together and I realized that I have been creating, just in a slow and steady way rather than my past flurries of making. I'm still getting back into my groove, I suppose. I got out of the habit of sewing while I was working in Sacramento and it's taking some time to shift back from the long bouts of knitting despite the fact that I want to play with fabric. Isn't that odd? Since we redid the office, I have to find a new way of navigating my fabric play time. I can't have my card table and sewing machine out in the middle of the room anymore because this is actually a place where Dave needs to come and accomplish things.

So in the spirit of transitions, I have a couple of knitting projects and a small foray back into sewing to share. This first project I started shortly after Valentine's Day because I'd been craving a maroon *something* to wear around my neck. I hope I'll still be craving maroon next winter because it is now well into Spring.  

It will be a triangle-shaped shawl that I'm sure will look great wrapped as a scarf. The pattern is meant to look like repeated hearts, which I'm sure will take shape when the lace is all blocked out. It's fun to work on, though hard to talk to others when doing so. I made a lot of progress during downtime at a work retreat last week when I could sit quietly on my balcony to recharge my social batteries during longer breaks. Quite a ways to go though!

This next piece is exciting … it's the back to my Aidez sweater that I've been working on for a long time. I'm a little bit afraid it will be too long (my gauge must have increased since I swatched) but I'm going to power through and see how it turns out. Even if it doesn't fit quite how I imagined, I'm sure it will still be a cozy sweater and I will learn a lot from finishing all of the pieces and assembling them. If it turns out it's way too big for me, I'll be happy to donate it because it's going to be epic and awesome and someone should get to enjoy it. Just look at all those cables.

These little lovelies are for my niece's quilt. I ambitiously decided to make an EPP quilt and enlisted the help of an online quilting bee last January. I've lost track of one of the blocks, which annoyed me enough that I haven't wanted to work on this for quite some time. I've decided I'm over it (sort of) and am going to get on with my quilt-y life so I can finish both this and my Lonestar Hexagon quilt for Christmas presents this year. There I said it. This year! It's going to happen. At any rate, I found my hand stitching kit and put it next to a particularly comfy chair, which has motivated me to baste a few hexagons here and there. 

There are, as always, a few more things in the works but these are the latest things I've had my hands on. It's good to take stock every so often, and I'm glad I remembered WIP Wednesdays exist so I could link up and share!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

horsey accoutrements

Barns are full of dust. That's a fact any horse person can tell you. A friend of mine, quite some time ago now, said out loud while hanging her helmet "I need a helmet bag, kind of like yours maybe" and just like that I decided to make one. Mine isn't at all fancy, just a black knit bag that came with the helmet when I bought it. 

Making my own was not all that complicated, actually, it really is just a simple drawstring bag. I decided to line this one because I wanted to use a quilting cotton for color and that just seemed too thin to use unlined. I used my helmet bag as a template for a couple of fabrics I thought might suit her. On the inside is a gray polyester that I think will actually 'repel' dust and grime quite nicely. The outside is a great navy and cream print that reminds me of her barn name, Sapphire Farm. The bag is technically reversible, but it is easier to slip a helmet in and out with the gray polyester on the inside.

I've had bundles of this heavy duty cording around forever and I'm always tickled when I can find a use for such things. It justifies the storage space, so to speak. I fudged some hand stitching around the openings where the cords come out and I'm sure given the other wear and tear this is likely to take, that won't be a big deal. Next time though I will have to plan my seams better. I improvised my way into that problem. :) 

I started this so long ago and finally sat down to put the cord in and "fudge" the aforementioned final touches on today. I'm excited to give it to her this weekend, as I'm sure she's forgotten all about it and will be surprised!