Thursday, November 29, 2012

Easy Street - Week #1

I'm bringing up the rear with my post, but I finally made up my mind whether to go scrappy with my greys or to stick with a constant.

I made 28 blocks using 3 different greys, just to see what a scrappy version would look like.  Here they are all together. (Sorry for the shadows, it was a rare sunny day between winter rains) 
Scrappy close-up:
Then I separated out a constant:
I really liked the look of a constant fabric, but I only had a fat quarter and I had to wait to go to the states (Lynden, WA) to get more.  I held my breath hoping they didn't sell out.  I was okay with scrappy if they didn't have enough, but I finally got there and they had enough for both me and my friend Kim (no blog). 
The fabric Spiral Floral by Springs Creative Group.  The only place I found online to buy it was in Australia, and the shop I got it at doesn't sell online, so I waited until after the American Thanksgiving to go down to avoid the border lineups.  It has a purply-grey background with the black flowers, and since I'm switching up my colour order to be more purple and less green, it is going to be perfect!
It's never too late to start - check Bonnie's website for instructions.  Be warned, they will be available for a limited time only so if you can't start right away, you'll want to print them off.
Now I'm all set to try and get these finished before Bonnie releases her next step in about 9 hours!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Stash Report #46

Nothing new in to report, but I'm starting to see progress in the almost-finished column - mostly Christmas presents which I can't share here yet.  I did finish one thing for me, a tote bag for my Featherweight sewing maching:
It is my own design and I used the contents of a Moda Scrap Bag purchased from Fabric Depot a couple of years ago.
I love these little scrap bags - they actually hold quite a bit of fabric (I estimated between 2 - 2 1/2 yds) and are all from one coordinating line.  The only downside is you don't get to specify.  Only once have I received a bag with fabric I wasn't crazy about (a civil war reproduction), but I just fed the strips into my scrap bins and some of them found their way into my Orca Bay quilt! I use Bonnie Hunter's Scrap User System, which has increased my productivity four-fold.
Each side has a pocket, which fit all my essential tools (the 6x12" ruler fits in the bag, I just tilted it to show it.)  The bag looks a little big right now, but I wanted to allow for shrinkage the first time it is washed.  I made it to protect the case and handle, as the bottom edges had a little fraying, and I've heard the handles can give over time, and I want to preserve my case as best I can, since it is in such good shape for a 65-year-old!
The strips on the pockets line up with the strips on the base.  The whole piece was made using the quilt-as-you-go method and I also incorporated the handles  into the base sections as well for additional strength.  There is no way those suckers can pull off!  I covered a button with coordinating fabric and made the tab from scraps. 
I made a matching mat to go under the machine when I'm sewing.  When I sew at my friend's house, we use her dining room table and I want to help protect it.  I just realized as I took these pictures, I forgot to do the double-lines of quilting beside each seam, so I'll go back and add those before I stitch down the binding (after I finish this post!).
I used a simple white muslin on the back of both the bag's quilted pieces and the mat, since you won't see them anyway.
The binding was pieced from the rest of the scraps.  I think I only had about 24" of 2"-3" wide strips left, which have now found their way into the scrap bins, to be used in a future Bonnie Hunter scrappy quilt.
So at the end of the day, my stash went down a little - with the backing I've estimated a conservative 2.5 metres.
Used since last report:  2.5 metres

Used year to Date: 88.25 metres

Added since last report: 0 metres

Added Year to Date: 93.5 metres

Net Used/Gained for 2012: 5.25 metres
This week should show a huge number used, as I have started quilting Zoey's quilt.  It has to be done by Christmas, but I want it done by Thursday so I can start living on Easy Street!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


How hard can making these blocks be?  Apparently quite difficult if you are me.
My test blocks came out at 8 5/8" (when I did them over a year ago-yikes), so I blindly went ahead and did four blocks - which finished at 9 1/4".
I guess I should have read my own post on how I did them the first time
I was showing them to my friend, Kim and she came up with a name for this quilt - Quadrapus - because the final layout looked like a four-legged octapus to her!  I can't wait to assemble the first quadrant now.
Back to the drawing board!
(Fabric is Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda, block is known as Snail Trail, Parasol or Virgina Reel depending on which book you refer to)
My biggest fear now is that I don't have enough of the white-background fabrics for the layout I have in mind - and of course, because I have procastinated on getting rolling on this project, it is now a long-time discontinued fabric.  However, I did see a bolt of one of those prints a couple of weeks ago in Lynden, WA and I'm going there next week, so I'll pick up some to spare.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fallen off the Stash Report Wagon, Week #44

I started this post almost a month ago, and since I haven't accomplished finishing much of anything, I figured it wasn't a big deal. 

Once I started editing, I realized what was stopping me - this is what I had last typed:

Today (October 7th) is a bittersweet day, as it would have been my mother's 73rd birthday. It is because of her I have a love of sewing, although she never was a quilter. She died almost 12 years ago, due to lung cancer caused by smoking. She thought she finally got the monkey off her back when she successfully quit after 44 years of smoking, but was diagnosed just 8 months later. Today I am grateful that I never smoked, my daughters don't smoke, and both their husbands have successfully quit smoking this year.

Sometimes it just hits me like a brick that I lost my best friend, and miss her terribly each and every day.  She was my rock, my shoulder to cry on, and the person who supported me the most.  I left my husband when my daughters were 3 and 10 months old, and before I had even arrived back in my hometown, my mother had made all sorts of arrangements for me, from renting me a place to live to buying me a car (nothing fancy, a 16-year-old Dodge Dart in good repair).  She was there for me all the years that my girls were growing up, and I am so sad she never got to see what lovely young women they have become.

It's been a long month, I didn't even know why I was so sad, but I am grateful that I have been blogging, as it has given me a place to jot down my thoughts and gives me more insight into how I'm feeling.  Maybe it's not always about sewing or quilting, but I write for me!

Now that I got that figured out, back to the Stash Report:

 I have accomplished more than I thought - I just have to do the finishing touches on a few things and my numbers will improve on the finished side.

Used since last report:  4.75 metres
Used year to Date: 85.75 metres

Added since last report: 5 metres

Added Year to Date: 93.5  metres
Net Used/Gained for 2012: 7.75 metres

I finished all the Christmas pillowcases, now just to coordinate with my sister to finish filling them with little gifts (it's our version of a stocking, and is keeping up a tradition my mother started - the Gramma Goody Bag).  Of course, I can't find the camera I took those pictures on!

I've added a few thing over the last month.  A selection of fat quarters and fat eighths for no reason totalling 2 metres, plus 3 metres for the curtains to match Zoey's bedding.  I hope to have that out this week, and her Christmas present will be done.   I can't wait for Bonnie Hunter's next mystery quilt-along to start, and all I need to buy is 2 metres of one gray constant fabric - I have enough of everything else.  I might still pick through the fat-eighths bin at Hamels just for fun! Again, no pics!
Since I don't have pictures of fabric, these will have to do:
Zoey getting to know Kitty
Alex is great at letting me do some sewing (or tracing patterns)!
This is his version of our new family, since he wants to live here forever!
(From left to right: Kitty, Daisy the dog, Zoey crawling (even though she walks), Alex with a sword, his favourite Blue Puppy, and Gramma!



Friday, November 2, 2012

The 'Week-long' Sleepover has begun!

Both of my daughters and their husbands have taken a week's holiday, and are about to board an airplane to Veradero, Cuba~!!  Alex has been prepped for mom and dad's absence and for the last two weeks, he has been excited by the prospect of a 'week-long' sleepover.  I wonder if he realizes exactly how long that is? 
I have Alex, 4, and Zoey, 16 months for a total of 8 'sleeps' (we talk a lot of 4-yr-old language around here).  Plus I have Alex's 5-month-old kitten, Kitty (he named her!).  So far the kids have been great (it's only been 9 hours), other than they had dragged out everything they brought within a few hours!
The kitten is another story - within the span of 2 hours, (1) she had ridden the hand rail - sliding from top to bottom:
(2) almost fell off the top of the half-wall you can see in the upper left (that would have been a 12' fall) and (3) knocked a picture off the other side, it fell 8' but thankfully the glass didn't break! 
Hopefully, I can still get some sewing done at night, after they go to bed.  I want to have all my Christmas sewing done before the American Thanksgiving, so I can spend time working on Bonnie's newest mystery (see my post below)!.
In the meantime, wish me luck!  I haven't done this single parent-of-preschoolers thing for a long time, and I'm 25 years older now!