Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just Takes 2 and a UFO

I'm making some progress on my Just Takes 2 blocks.  I have them all printed out, but reading on their website, it appears there may some issues with sizing on the foundation blocks.  I thought I noticed that last night when I was looking at one of the blocks and trying to figure out how to rotary-cut it instead.

Because I'm doing these blocks during my "stress-relief" time, so far I've been focusing on the easiest ones that can be assembled using pre-cut strips and rotary cutting techniques.  So far, this is what I've accomplished this week.

There is one thing I'm not crazy about the instructions - it's hard to figure out the finished size of some of the smaller HST and QST pieces so I can adapt them to rotary cutting using the Easy Angle and Companion Angle.  For the most part, they are there but buried in the instructions.

I'm not a big fan of the "Cut it Big and Whack it Off" club.  The best thing I've ever done for my piecing skills was participating in Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt-along this past year.  I have gained so much confidence using the right tools and speed-piecing techniques. 

Here's my finished Pinwheel block -

(The block is straight - it's just the camera angle.) On the top, you can see my UFO leaders and enders.  I've even manage to start assembling a few blocks for that quilt as well.

Here's how I'm working with the Just Takes 2 blocks so far.  First, I cut a WOF strip from each colour (Kona Ruby and Bella White) in each of the following sizes:
1.5", 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", 4", 4.5"

I had actually started out making little kits for each block, but quickly realized that I was using alot of the same size strips.  If I need an odd-size, such as 3 3/4", I just trim up a piece of a 4" strip.  There aren't many odd sizes, so I'm not worried about waste.

I'm also making a spreadsheet to track which blocks I've done, the name of the block and the inspiration quilt from the Infinite Variety show.  I plan on buying the catalog when it comes out and it will be great to have my references organized. Did you know you can download an app for your iPhone to view the show?

So far, I have bought 3 yards of the white (from and 2 metres of the red (from Hamels, my local quilt shop).  I didn't want to order the red online as I am very picky about what shade of red I like.  I prefer blue-reds, not orange-reds, and Ruby fit the bill!

All organized in my project box, all ready for the next blocks - which I'm off to do a couple more!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Stash Report Week 17

Happy Earth Day!  I had a couple of finishes last week, but didn't do a report because I had a weekend away.  Which led to  some more adding!  I hosted a scrapbooking retreat across the line in Monroe, WA, which had the added bonus of letting me visit some quilting shops.  I didn't go to as many as I would like, but still added to my stash.

Used this Week:  1.3 metres
Used year to Date: 45 metres
Added this Week: 6.5 metres
Added Year to Date: 41.4 metres
Net Used for 2012: 3.6 metres

One of my finishes was the binding on my Orca Bay quilt - the fastest finish ever in my quilting life!  And also the biggest quilt I've done!

I used a freckle dot in white on black for the binding - it came out perfect!  The backing is a red flannel with a black swirl and it was quilted with a variegated thread by Rhonda at Quilted Cats Hideaway.

Here's a close-up of the back and the binding:

And the finished quilt - I tried to pin it to the clothesline, but the new pins I bought won't hold a facecloth, let alone a quilt!

And the other one was the binding on this little quilt, folded in half it fits perfectly in the playpen when Zoey comes for a sleepover.

The binding matches the pants of one of the little overall girls.  I normally prefer a darker binding, but I already had this from the kit, so I used it up!

And on to the additions - a total of 7.25 yards, which translates to 6.5 metres.

Some odds and ends for card-making, a sharpener for rotary cutter blades (I hope it works), some 1/4 yd. pieces to add to my stash for future Bonnie Hunter quilts, a yard of Walk in the Woods to add to my Aneela Hooley collection, and 4 yards of a cute seersucker line to make some sundresses for Zoey.  I just had to pick up that shirt piece, it reminded me of Bonnie's love of shirts in her quilt-making.

I'm going to make this dress for Zoey, I made one last year for a niece and I loved how it turned out!

I am feeling very stressed and in a time-crunch these days.  Not only do I have to do my taxes by the end of the month, I have to take 3 courses to renew my mortgage broker license this week, create a couple of photo book projects that I have credits for, and work full-time, but I also have to get ready for a long-anticipated trip to Tuscany, Italy!  (I know, such a hardship!)  This trip has been in the works for almost 2 years, a group of friends and I have rented a private villa half-way between Florence and Sienna for two weeks, then 3 of us are taking a train to Rome for 5 days and 4 nights.  I just have to get through these next two weeks of stress, and then I can relax.

One of the ways I am relaxing is taking anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour each day and playing in my sewing room.  I have a leaders and enders project on the go, while I tackle a few new things of play.  This is what I accomplished in the last week.

I've been tackling that pile of samples and bolt-ends I bought for my birthday, stripping them into 5" strips first (good to create charm squares from), then down in 1/2" increments from there.  I got this idea from Bonnie Hunter, of fame, and her Scrap-User's system.

This is just a small portion of what still has to be stripped.  Anything larger than a Fat Quarter doesn't get stripped.

Against my better judgement, I started a new project.  This one doesn't have a deadline but it is very special to me and I've wanted to do this one for a long time.  It started with a T-shirt my mom used to wear to work.  She worked at Sears and when they launced the Christmas catalog (back then it was in August or September) everyone would wear their Christmas sweaters, vests, etc.  Because it was so early, my mom would get a kick out of wearing this T-shirt and getting a laugh out of the customers.  When mom passed, this is the only piece of clothing I kept.  Last year, I started dreaming up a quilt to honour her love of Christmas and sense of humour.

I saw and bought a panel of "The Grinch who Stole Christmas" last fall, and started planning and sketching out a preliminary design.  I backed the T-shirt with lightweight fusible web, then trimmed out the panel.  Because of the sleeve holes, it came out a funny shape, so I added wonky flying geese to square it up.  It measures 19" square and will be the centerpiece.

I'm also going to add words a la Tonya Ricucci.  I picked up her book "Word Play" last month.

Here is the selection of fabrics I might use so far.  The dots are from the Dr. Suess line, another of Mom's favourites.

I've been doing leaders and enders, so I'm making progress on my Thangles quilt (without using the Thangles).  I've done about 20 of 288 HST's so far.

I also finally got around to piecing some of my "Just Take 2" blocks.  These are blocks 28, 31 and 32.  I've been making up little kits for each block, using rotary-cut strips as much as I can, rather than cutting individual blocks like the patterns call for.

And last but not least, a few more hexies.  I'm up to 67 of 270 now, and since I plan on taking this project to Italy with me, I need to prep some more flowers and punch some more cardstock.  So far, I've been able to make each one different, no duplicating the centre/petal combo.

Have a great week!  I'm going to be working hard the rest of the day on taxes, courses and photo books (and fit in mowing the lawn before I need to buy a goat!).

Friday, April 13, 2012

Look out, Washington, here we come!

Besides being a quilter/sewer, I also love scrapbooking - so much so, that I am a Creative Memories consultant.  Twice a year, I organize a retreat at a lovely place in Monroe, WA, just 2 1/2 hours away (not including sitting at the border).  Our motto is eat, sleep, shop and scrapbook! We love to help the local economy - we can usually find really good deals.

I have an ulterior motive - I can visit all those terrific fabric stores between here and Seattle.  Look out - here we come!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Stash Report, Week 15

Happy Easter or Passover, whichever you celebrate! Where has the time gone?  It's been four weeks since I did a stash report - how did that happen?  Okay, I confess - I do know why I haven't added things up. 

Hi, my name is Terri and I'm a fabriaholic. (And I didn't want to admit it)

I got done in by our local Sewing & Crafts trade show, and the fact it was my birthday seemed to have granted me permission to buy, buy, buy. 
So - drumroll - please!

Used this (4) Weeks:  3.6metres
Used year to Date: 43.7 metres
Added this (4) Weeks: 18.25 metres
Added Year to Date: 34.9 metres
Net Used for 2012: 8.8 metres

Even though there hasn't been a lot of sewing, at least it's still in the positive.  It's been a busy 4 weeks, as it is and it's income tax prep time and the mortgage market has started to heat up here in the Lower Mainland of BC.  Good thing, because I have a big trip coming to pay for!

One of my favourite booths is Quilt Essentials.  They have a huge table with piles and piles of fabric scraps, bolt ends and manufacturer samples and it's like sharks having a feeding frenzy. I wish I thought to take a picture - it is so much fun!  I bought 2.75 lbs of fabric.  At roughly 2.5 metres per pound, I got about 7 yards of fabric for just $38.  Regular prices here run about $13-$16/m ($12-$14.50/yd) so $5.50/yd was a terrific bargain, especially when it included some new designs that haven't even been released yet, including Kaffe Fawcett,  Michael Miller and Moda fabrics, and much, much more.  I did give up a yard of Sweetwater's Hometown to another lady, as I had just bought one the week before (it was probably the bolt end from the bolt I bought off of at full price).

 My other favourite booth is Hamel's Fabrics.  They are located in my hometown and my first stop for any fabric or notions I want to buy.  I always stop to say hi to the ladies working so hard and see their displays, as they are usually different then what I see in the store - they do a lot of trade shows across Canada and have a huge internet store.  Because they were so busy, I made a stop by the store on my way home to buy what I wanted and I got another 7 metres (7 3/4 yds) - a finishing kit for these blocks!

I posted about these blocks here.  They were a Thangles Block of the Month project, and I finally finished them off - 24 6" blocks.  

I'm not sure what I was thinking but I was surprised when I opened the instructions and discovered I had to add another round of HSTs to each block:

I have to say I was both dismayed and relieved - I hope they will help improve the contrast on the block, I'm still not thrilled with how the smaller blocks have turned out but it will get finished, come hell or high water.

Over the last few weeks, I've made some other purchases.  I purchased a metre of Sweetwater Hometown, a 1/2 m of Sherbet Pips, the cute little puppy on blue & some polka dots for bibs, and 3 other Fat quarters.  No pictures but my total purchases over the last month came to a whopping 17 1/4 metres!

But I have had some finishes.  I made this cute little skirt for Zoey from an old Moda honey bun I've had hanging around.  I think it was Oh, Cherry.  

I also made 2 baby bibs and a blanket from flannel backed with minkee for my niece's baby shower.  Again, no pictures yet - they're on my sister's camera.  I made another bib for my daughter's friend as well.  The bibs used some of the puppy dog fabric I picked with, with adorable brown polka dot ties. Perfect for little boys!

Today I'm hand-sewing the bindings on two quilts, the small one in my previous post and my Orca Bay!!  I picked it up at the quilter's, Quilted Cats Hideaway, on Wednesday and I'm saving the reveal until that binding is down - all 336 inches of it!  It finished at 77" x 87", perfect for the double bed in the grandkids' room.  And I just had to add another metre to my purchases - I forgot I picked up a cute freckle dot in white on black for the binding. I also finished a small chair "rug" for my dog to lay on when she lays on the spare chair in my sewing room.  She doesn't shed but at least it will keep it clean for visitors. Again, no pics - I must get better about that!

It's a beautiful, sunny warm day so after finishing spring-cleaning my kitchen, I'm off to my daughter's for a non-traditional Easter barbeque!  I'm really happy I don't have to cook!  Have a great one, everyone and thanks for sticking with me this far.  I don't always respond to comments (between 3 jobs and life, I read more than I post) but I appreciate each and every one!