Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What Next?... Bee Block Auditions

Did you ever try out for anything in high school?... for a cheerleader, a sports team, or even a main character of a play? I guess we all know how important auditions can be... really getting to see who fits the open spot the best.

I notice that after I finish a major project, I find that I need some kind of quick sewing project as a way to catch my breath from the mountain that I just climbed... and after having made it to the top of my Mt. Everest, I thought that playing around with some possible blocks for when I am queen bee would be a nice little distraction before I take a deep breath to gear up for some finishes.

There are three quilts that have captured my attention recently, and even though I am not the "queen bee" until summer, I like having the time to really think about what I want to work on then.  The first blocks that I have been auditioning are from Stichery Dickory, and are from her January Sugar Block of the Month series. I first fell in love with her Churnstile quilt, but after playing around with placement options, I decided that I prefer the blocks set straight rather than on point... the responses that I've gotten on Instagram confirmed my gut instinct. I think that this could be a  fun block since other bee members are not limited to one color palette.

My second block audition is inspired from Gigi's Thimble's pineapple quilt. I love everything about this quilt... especially the colors! This is actually an 18 inch block, and I hesitate asking my fellow bee members to make a 100 piece paper pieced block! I have decided that even if I do not choose this one, that it would still make a stunning pillow.

The last quilt that just has my heart pounding is the Green Smoothie quilt that Sew Kind of Wonderful released in thier latest book. I love the simplicity of this quilt, but am also asking myself if curved piecing is the right thing for a bee block. It's a lot for me to finish, and I'm not sure that I want to do that to myself either! 

Well, in any case, which ever block I decide to pick, you can be sure that you will find a few of these Alison Glass lovelies worked in somewhere. I just adore the Endpaper fabrics from her latest Sun Print series... swoon!

So, do you "audition" blocks before you decide on making a whole quilt?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social, Sew Cute Tuesday, and Modern Patch Monday

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mini Mini Goes Practical

If you are a hand quilter then you automatically fall into my utmost-and-highest-respect category. The patience and endurance to hand quilt something is just levels far, far above anything that I can fathom!

Flipping the story just a bit, some time ago, when my mini mini phase was all you saw around here, Tracy, had left a comment on one of my posts that she just might get sucked into all the craziness. So, I naturally asked her if she wanted to swap with me too. After she gave me a long list of all the reasons that she shouldn't, she spontaneously decided to jump and take the plunge too as I had.

Like only husband's can, it would seem that both of ours poked fun at us because of the silliness of a "mini mini" quilt... I mean, what the heck do you do with these sweet, but labor intensive goodies, anyway? After having made my mini mini and finding that it was not as fun as she had thought it would be, Tracy graciously offered for me not to make a her's in return... but that's not exactly a swap, right?

So, determined to make both of our husband's eat their words, I decided to take it to the next level and make Tracy's mini something practical. I relatively quickly decided that a travel needle would be the perfect thing for her since she does a good amount of hand sewing. (and her stitches are just so tiny, delicate, and so perfect... I really don't know how she does it?!?) I loosely followed this tutorial, but had to make some adjustments since our sizes where not the same.

I really enjoy adding some nice little decorative accents myself...

Be sure to read Tracy's blog post and see what she made for me... her post touched me very much when she explained why she chosen each thread, fabric, and her inspiration behind it. It left me laughing out loud and smiling the whole time!

So, here's another WIP, finished and marked off my 2016 goals! Just one more quarterly goal to knock off my list.... and it's only Febuary!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Penny Quilt Project

When I had first shared my Scrappy Windmill quilt finish it was perhaps not expected that it would be such an emotional post. The story behind it, if you have not read it, is a beautiful one of a long time desire coming to pass. Even though I was only the giver of the quilt, it was still totally emotionally satisfying to touch others lives with something that I had made.

For a long time, I have been asking myself, why am I sewing?... what is my purpose? While the idea of growing my blog to generate income is a nice thought, the reality of it is that I'm not sure that I can keep up with the constant posting, emailing, and all the social media that is demanded of a full time blogger. Of course I get fulfillment in creating, but how does that make a difference in others lives?

And when I took a closer look at things, I realized that I've gotten more fulfilment in knowing how one small quilt deeply touched others in a way that moved them to tears than anything that I could make for myself. So with that feeling in mind, I started what I am calling the Penny Quilt Project.

Penelope, or Penny for short, is the name of the sweet recipient of my Scrappy Windmill quilt, and I thought that it was totally fitting to name this quilt, and my concept of giving quilts in her honor. Isn't if fun to know that her name means weaver (worker of a loom), or also "pene" - thread (on a bobbin) and the Greek verb "lepo" - to unroll.

Since I have several quilts in the works, I wanted to work on something that I could quickly finish. Heather Ross, Lizzy House, and favorite colored low volumes with dashes of soft color have been my fabrics of choice... much softer than usual. I was inspired by V and Co's Super Star quilt, and used the Simple Star block from Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage book in 6 and 12 inch blocks, and added a few V's like in my inpiration quilt. It might perhaps seem that this just popped up out of no where, but I've been sharing a good bit of my progress on Instagram.

Currently I don't have a specific recipient for this quilt, but I really would like to perhaps find a family with a sweet little girl that has been struggling with health issues, and such a quilt might bring life and light into the situation. I have found that often when I have such inspirations, that if I start on it, it's not long before I stumble on the need.

Have you done any charity sewing? Did you work with a charitable organization or with a local quilting group? Do you know of any charitable organizations in Europe?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Facing East Quilt Top FINISH!

Take a really deep breath in, and then breathe out... wheh! Yup, that pretty much sums it up how I feel right now. I've been living in surreal land the last several days, and I have to keep asking my husband, my children, and just about anyone I can find to pinch me because I just can't believe it myself... after having started a little over a year, I finally finished my Facing East quilt top! Somehow the first steps just seemed to drag on for forever, leaving me with the feeling that I would finish this sometime around my 80th year of life, and then bam!... all of a sudden it came together faster than I had realized! Would you believe that this was originally planned to be one or two blocks... perhaps even a pillow... something small to experiment with paper piecing?!?

Help, help, help! So, now what? Well, I really don't know. From the very beginning I've been saying that I would like to send this off to a longarmer, but as I got closer to the finish line, I started wondering if I could quilt it myself? I'm not a stickler for "if you didn't quilt it, then you didn't really make it"... in fact all I have to say to that is hogwash! I know, blah, blah, blah with the fulfillment of having made it from start to finish down to the last stitch, but there is a part of me that is far to practical to be bound by such thinking. I'm pleased with my skills as a piecer, and really enjoy the fabric pull, the combinations, and the design, and I don't even mind basting, but somehow I just can't see quilting designs. Is it on the verge of sounding sacrilegious to say that the quilting part is my least favorite?... the irony is that it's kind of a necessary evil of quilting, isn't it? Free motion is no option for me, because I really am a beginner quilter, and I would need tons more practice before I would even consider tackling a quilt like this! So, as it is with most of my projects, I'm going to ponder this for a while... and bask in my moment!

Quilt pattern: "Facing East" from Savor Each Stitch by Carolyn Friedlander
Started: January 2015
Fabrics: Basic Grey Grunges, selected fabric accents from Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler fabric, and various additional prints. Low volume background fabrics

Finished quilt top size: ca. 63 x 83 in. (160 x 210 cm)

So what is it for you?... the design? the fabric pull? cutting? piecing? quilting? basting? binding?... what is your least favorite part in the process of making a quilt?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

In The Home Stretch!

I remember when I was pregnant with my first son, there was a whirlwind of emotions that had to be sorted out, but it only happened in little steps all along the way. On one hand forty weeks felt like an eternity, but on the other hand it felt like it was in the blink of an eye. Gradually, day by day, each uncertainty, worry, hesitation, decision, attitude change, or even roller coaster feeling had to be worked through as the time got closer... but yet once the time was there, baby was coming ready or not! Perhaps you might find it a little strange to compare my working on my biggest and most monumental quilt ever to that of a pregnancy, but oddly enough, it's kind of how it feels.

Since my end goal quilt had grown to such epic proportions, it felt like the end was so far away, that I almost could not imagine it having an end... and I realized that now that I am coming into the home stretch. Each block consists of four separate paper pieced rays/corners, that too have to be connected... and then the center applique circle! So, working on it day by day, here and there, week after week, only felt like drip-drop, gradual progress, but now it is almost a surreal feeling that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!... and it gives me that ready-or-not-here-I-come feeling that I experienced as a mom-to-be once my due date drew close.

I'm three quarters of the way through, and it hit me that this work-in-progress actually drapes now!... no more blocks on the wall that are being re-arranged, waiting to have the circles finished, and then and only then be connected.

And like a new mom, the feelings of... and now what are coming up! How in the heck am I going to quilt this thing with a walking foot?!? (no free motion for this gal yet) I originally thought that I wanted to give it away to a longarmer, but now I'm just not sure. So while I'm just ONE ROW away from a quilt top finish, I'm still processing (as usual) about what to do once I'm finally finished. (So, I hope it obvious that I am more than open to suggestions!)

Have you had any quilts that almost felt like it was birthing a baby?  How long did your longest quilt in the works take to finish?

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social.
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