WIPW: Perfect is better than done?

No it isn’t… but my brain keeps trying to tell me that. I have too many works in progress. Each time I try to count them I loose track, and if I attempt to put them all on the sewing table it gets buried and takes forever to unbury it. Here is one of many WIP. I’m trying to whittle them done and not start new projects (but I have two I’ve mentally started anyway).

wonky cross blocks pillow top

This will be a pillow top that coordinates with a pillow that I finished two years ago and cut out three years ago. I had 7 extra blocks, so I made 9 more. I had to get a little creative with that red dot since I was running out of it. And then I went and decided that I couldn’t live with the blobby pinwheel in the center of the top so I had to rip three seams and reassemble it (lesson: layout before seaming blocks). I’m still not really happy with it, but am calling close-enough. Now to find my stash of crummy fabric to use on the back of my pillow-top quilt sandwich.

March 5, 2014. Tags: , . quilting. 5 comments.

WIPW: Aerial Quilt

In May I was able to take a class from Carolyn Friedlander about [foundation] paper piecing at Modern Domestic. The pattern/project for class was Carolyn’s Aerial quilt pattern. As written it can be a table topper, a wall hanging, a throw or a full/queen bed quilt. I love when pattern writers take the time to give us multiple quilt sizes (and their yardage requirements). The class happened the day after I got back in town from a week+ trip. Before the trip I pulled some fabric possibilities, but I forgot to finalize my decision until I arrived home the night before class (I left myself no time to start second guess, or shop obsessively for the “perfect” pieces). With my sister’s help I settled on the blue & grey selection and I love every piece that I choose (most purchased just because). I even tossed in a couple “my precious” pieces.

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I did a couple b&w shots to help me with value variation and started piecing. I think I finished two blocks during class.

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The week after class I was super excited about the project and worked on a block a night for a few nights. Then I had 5 out of the 6 blocks needed and it languished. I finished that 6th block over the weekend. But I’m not sure it should be a wall hanging anymore.

Should it be a table runner for my new rectangular table?

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(how long are table runners supposed to be anyway?)

A wall hanging? Or should I make 30 more blocks so it can be a throw? Do I attempt to bed-size it?

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(that is laying on the unmade bed of the guest room, I think the wall color is blue, but it looks minty in certain lights).

I never bought the border fabric, so while that is an undecided factor, it opens up possibilities instead of limiting them due to fabric quantity. I estimate that if I cut up the rest of the fabric (I cut one to two strips from each print initially) I need about one more yard to have enough for 30 more blocks. But I found that last block sort of tedious to make (there is one seam I find myself ripping and redoing 2-3 times per block). What if I hate making them after a few more blocks? Does it really work for my house? Do I just want to be done with the project? What sort of end project will I find most functional in my home?

September 11, 2013. Tags: , , . quilting. 3 comments.

Second Saturday in July

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The second Saturday in July is the Sisters’ Quilt Show. I’ve been lucky enough to go for the past three years but this seems to be the first year I actually managed to upload the photos and write a bit about it. The weather was just about perfect, hot but not too hot (well just a bit if you were standing in the sun for too long). It seemed a little bit less crowded than years past, but maybe I’m just adjusting my expectations. I got to wander the show with a few friends, that was nice and we took breaks for lunch, fudge, and ice cream. Kettle corn was also purchased. A bit of fabric shopping (I stuck to the fat quarters so I wouldn’t have to stand in line twice – once for cutting and then for paying).  This is a photo heavy post, so I’m going to make them smaller than usual, and if you click through to flickr you should find the accompanying photo with information about the quilt. There were many more quilts that I liked, but I tried to restrain myself with photos this year.

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Amy Walsh (L) & Betty Daggett (R)

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Hilde Morin (L) & Karla Alexander (R)

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Betty Daggett (L) & Besty Biller (R)

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Cathy Campbell (L) & Betty Anne Guadalupe (R)

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Tierney Hogan (L) & unlisted employee of The Stitching Post (R)

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Pam Bush (L) & Kristin Shields (R) (a better shot of the swing attached to the quilt)

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Kristin Shields (L&R)

And my own PMQG had a special exhibit (I did not enter anything in this – I keep saying “next year”). But I was an idiot who, since I recognized most quilts completely forgot to take photos of the tags. I’m sorry fellow guild members – if I managed to get all the info I’ll edit this so everyone gets credit for their quilt. Thanks to the PMQG post I was able to give attribution, and if you want to see larger photos of each quilt individually check out the PMQG post.

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Petra Anderson, Nancy Kennedy, Christina Lane (L) & Katie Sciarrino, Amber Wilson, Gail Weiss (R)

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Gail, Rachel Kerley, Linda Nussbaum (L) & Chelle Casey-Stevenson, Suzanne Gray (R)

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Jeri Bonset, Jen Carlton-Bailly (L) & Cris Pera, AnnMarie Cowley (R)

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Kimberly Lumapas, PMQG Collaborative Quilt

July 20, 2013. Tags: , , . Life, quilting. 2 comments.

Quickie Project

I see cute coaster projects on a regular basis, but I would always think, “that’s nice, but I don’t use coasters.” But recently I noticed the little wooden stool I use as a side table was looking sort of worn. Maybe I should make coasters… I took a pile a scraps and some small squares of quilt batting with me to SewDay.

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Since I had a few 2 1/2″ squares already cut I started by making four-patches. Then I put them on batting and did a bit of free form straight line spiral (echo?) quilting. And then sewed right sides together with a plain backing, trimmed any batting out of the seam allowance and flipped it out. Then I used the for the next month without slip stitching the opening shut.

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But I did that the other night – yay finished object.

July 10, 2013. Tags: , , . quilting, Sewing. 6 comments.

Finished it Friday

My late Madrona Road challenge. No chance of prizes for me, oh well, I’m glad it isn’t a UFO.

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See the earlier WIP here. I tried to make the puddles work, and to incorporate a little bit of selvedge from the fabric line, but it just wasn’t. So I simplified and finished it. I bought more grey fabric (Northcott though I don’t recall the exact color at the moment) just in case, but in the end I just barely eeked out the binding (2″ strip leftover) from my first yard. I trimmed it to be around 27″ x 29″ and now I need to decided where to hang it in the house. I should probably title it PNW Spring, though I called it Raindrops at show n tell last night.

March 22, 2013. Tags: , , . quilting. 3 comments.

Imperfect

Perfect is the enemy of done. Done is better than perfect. Except most of the time when I try to remind myself of this fact, I transpose the two words and say to myself, “perfect is better than done.” Seriously, nine times out of ten. I try to think of this often as I set about quilting (maybe an odd choice, since sometimes quilting seems so focused on perfect 1/4″ seams and perfect points and corners) so when I was reading over the PMQG Madrona Road challenge, incorporate a word into your quilt, this idea of imperfection came to me. I don’t play with letters much in quilting; but I settled on imperfect for my word. I sketched a few things out (all too literal) but then got the itch to make Tula Pink’s raindrop quilt from her new book, Quilts from the House of Tula Pink.

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Well, except for the fact that I had 7 fat eights, so clearly I wasn’t getting a whole quilt. And then there was the tricky matter of bad formatting in the e-book that I had borrowed from the library, the list of fabric amounts and fabric cuts had some sort of bug, causing the numbers with fractions to be smushed together. I could have converted from the given metric measurements but I had another idea. Imperfect. Following the basic construction I decided that I would work on being imperfect in my quilting. Not quite improv, but close.

And so I started cutting rectangles. I wasn’t ready to abandon my rotary cutter and ruler, but I did not measure, simply used the guides to keep things square (baby steps). I placed those rectangles on my small design wall.

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And then I realized that I only had 1 yard of grey for my background – so I had to think smaller. I settled on one raindrop out of each fabric.

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There was a moment of crazy, when I thought 1″ squares were a good idea (I sewed two and then realized my error, so those tiny grey bits have gone to the scrap bin – ignore the crazy of keeping 1″ squares of fabric).

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And eventually I got stuck. The puddles (not part of the original inspiration piece but I had these thin strips of fabric and puddles seemed appropriate) were proving a little troublesome.  I’ve messed with them a little more since this photo, but nothing has struck me as right.

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And so it sits – for the past week. Which wouldn’t be too bad, but I feel like I can’t work on other projects until I get this top done. Oh, and there is that little thing called a deadline if I want to enter it in the larger Modern Quilt Guild’s Madrona Road challenge. I need to refocus on my word, imperfect, and get a move on it.

January 29, 2013. Tags: , , . quilting. 2 comments.

The Good Stuff

I did finish things last year, and yes, I never expect a period of time where I won’t have WIP or be dreaming up new projects. Hopefully this year I’ll be better about photographing the progress (and the finished objects, I’ve spent the last few days gathering and photographing things).

I finished my spring garden quilt and it was in a quilt show!
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I made pants. I find this so amazing I must say it again, I made pants – honest to goodness trousers with a front fly and a blind hem and they fit me.  Honestly I think sewing up the muslin and having help with the fitting (I took a class for the pants) possibly took less time than I sometimes spend shopping for a pair that fits.
And then my photo was a total bust, no worries I’m making another pair.

I made a bag for my featherweight sewing machine. I was told that since I have an original case I should baby it and not carry it by the handle if possible.
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I made a cute little zipped boxed bag to store knitting projects.
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I made a cute little drawstring bag to wrap a christmas present.

I made a carseat cover for my SIL (and niece).
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I made a chart keeper for my knitting.
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I made a tote bag and zipper pouch as part of a gift (I also made a second unlined tote bag).
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I made this fabulous small ironing station with storage.
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I finally finished this pillow (it started out as a rectangular mini-quilt).
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I finished my Quilt Club Block-of-the-month quilt top (and the back, now I just need to sandwich, quilt and bind it).
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And according to my Ravelry project page I finished the following things:

I made my sister a darling headband with cute crochet flower.
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A keyhole scarf for my nephew.
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A ribbed & buttoned neckwarmer.

A darling February Baby Sweater (and it fits my nieces!).
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A zig-zag (stranded colorwork) hat.
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The Aviatrix hat*, it’s been on my to-make list forever and I used scrap yarn!
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A pair of ankle socks.
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Two Baby Bibs*
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A Gretel Hat* (which will be frogged significantly or entirely)
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A Farm Hat*
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A cozy cardigan* (which I then decided to redo, but for today’s sake I’m counting it).
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*Yeah, these weren’t done in the official sense (end weaving, button sewing, that sort of thing) but I’m counting them anyway, some of them need to be re-done in some manner and so they managed to make both my WIP list and my  FO list.

January 13, 2013. Tags: . Knitting, quilting, Sewing, Thoughts. 4 comments.

FF: Long awaited dissappearing nine patch

Finished Friday.  After putting off quilting for so long I managed to finish two quilts last December, the already shown Ducky Quilt and this quilt for my niece B.

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I had to practice another free motion quilting design, since I wanted to quilt this with randomly placed flowers.  When I was doing my practice piece I tried traveling from one flower to another but found the traveling stitches too distracting and chose to do each flower individually  – never again – soooo many ends to bury (4 per flower if I was lucky). I aimed for each flower to be about the size of my hand.

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The quilt measures about 45″ x 60″.  I used 5 fat quarters and 2 half-yards of the black & white prints for the front, a whole piece of green polka-dotted yardage that was just barely wide enough for the back (I had to quilt this, because it didn’t have the fabric overage a long-arm quilter requires) and 1/2 yard of a third black & white print for the binding.

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The quilting thread I picked out, a light green that looked subtly variegated on the spool but not at all on the quilt, was just different enough that I could see what I was doing as I quilted but it did not stand out – which meant that my random spacing left a few holes that I didn’t notice until the quilt was washed and crinkly.  Luckily the unquilted spots are still within the quilting distance minimum prescribed by the batting.

March 2, 2012. Tags: , , , . quilting. 2 comments.

FF: Ducky Quilt

This is a story of small risk and big reward. I had a quilt top lingering, it started as practice, but I feel in love and feared screwing it up. “Just send it out,” my mom said, but I had declared I’d do it myself. Last November when Christina of A Few Scraps, announced that she was teaching a free motion quilting class, I jumped at it.  We brought our own machines and she supplied small quilt sandwiches, instruction and trouble-shooting.  I was so excited and proud of my little practice pieces. But then the fear set in… the risk felt too high, my free motion quilting wasn’t really that good, what if I screwed up the quilt?  So I decided I needed to practice some more.  Except I’m still in love with most of my fabric stash and making stacks upon stacks of FMQ swatches wasn’t sounding appealing.  That is when I spied the remaining 1/2 yard of the duck print used in the on my crochet-edged ducky blanket (such creative naming, I know).  I quickly plotted a low risk quilt, made of large squares, alternating solids with the duck print.  I ended up buying another yard of fabric, two solids (Kona Papaya and Honeydew) and two prints (Tula Pink’s raindrops and a Navy & White polka dot) from Cool Cottons.  And then I pieced two remnants of flannel pieces I had bought along with the duck print so long ago for the backing. And then I had to go back for another 1/2 yard for binding (I often forget to buy the binding while I buy the other fabrics).

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I started thinking about what I wanted to free motion quilt, an all-over pattern, something that reminded me of moving water.  I settled on the curvy key from Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project.  I practiced on paper with a sharpie, then I practiced with a couple bits of spare batting and the flannel that wasn’t needed for the back of the quilt.  Finally I sat down and quilted. Halfway thru, I started getting worried, the prints read much cleaner on the unquilted side, but the whole point of this was to free-motion quilt a quilt. Perhaps not surprisingly once the entire quilt had the same texture that was no longer a problem.

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Of course I did make a few mistakes, my sizing/spacing is inconsistent (design feature I tell you), sometimes my curves are choppy, my stitch length isn’t consistent, and at the very end I made a wrong turn that nearly resulted in crossed threads… but I saved it with this little drain (design feature!). I conquered my FMQ fear (with help).

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I did however forget to take a photograph of it once I “washed out” the mistakes and turned it into a perfectly crinkly quilt.  The quilt itself is just over 40 inches square.

February 24, 2012. Tags: , , . quilting. 2 comments.

Weekend goodness

Saturday was the last Portland Modern Quilt Guild All Day Sew of the year.  Practically any quilt guild event totally refreshes me for quilt sewing.  Although before hand I completely (well almost) panic regarding what project(s) I should bring to work on.  I ended up packing four different projects.  Ha.  The stack of fabric I lugged with me, versus the stack of fabric I actually used is nearly comical.  

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I’m a slow quilter, and I spent the first 4 hours of the day in a vague fog due to lack of sleep, so while some people made entire quilt tops, from cutting, piecing blocks and assembling the top… I made one 12 1/2″ block and almost finished a mini-quilt top (16 5″ blocks).  Of course I also had 3 mini fabric shopping trips, 1 lunch out with a friend, several good and sometimes long conversations, and gave a tiny bit on input into a charity group our guild is working on.

First up, my quilt-club (a group/class at a local quilt shop that involves making one block a month):  I would have never picked these fabrics myself, but I do like them.  However I’m not so happy with my which-fabric-where decision.  Oh well, I suspect the entire will work nicely when it is finally put together.  And these blocks are learning tools for me.

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And now my mini quilt.  In my quilt guild we have some amazing artists, creating their own patterns and it is very inspiring.  But I’m mostly a copier, I see a quilt and think “I want that” so I set about to recreate it.  In this instance I spied a block that was part of Black Rock Stitchery (5th photo down) and  an entire quilt of them flashed before me.  And since I’ve had a piece of aqua fabric hanging around I decided to copy the color scheme too.  Now individually this block is a wonky cross and there are some beautiful wonky cross quilts out there, but I had a slightly different vision for it.  I did make a couple mistakes in my process, but overall I am pleased with the progress and execution of my vision.  The top isn’t quite complete, but after working on it for a few hours I decided it needed to let it sit for a bit.

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All in all, I really recommend putting effort into turning what can be a solitary activity into a social one.  But, if you notice, I only used the 3 fabrics sitting on the top of the pile and a small roll of fabrics (just enough) that I was given for the quilt club block.

October 23, 2011. Tags: , . quilting. 3 comments.

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