Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Echino Top Finished!

Well, I sewed the 10 extra blocks onto the main quilt this morning.  It went really fast.  Yea!  Unfortunately I used more white Eiffel Tower fabric in the new blocks than I used in the old ones so the left side of the quilt is kind of heavy on white.  But it is probably one of those things that no one else would notice unless you pointed it out.  Which I guess I just did.

I bet no one would notice my daughter's head peeking out over the top of the quilt unless I mentioned it either.  I need to make her do more push ups so she will be able to hold quilts all the way up over her head for loooong periods of time.  You have to have good upper body muscle tone to be in a quilter's family.  :)  Seriously though, I usually take the quilt pictures around here, but I held up a quilt for someone awhile ago and my arms got tired fast.  So I have a bit of empathy.

I think I am going to skip the batting and use fleece to back this.  Has anyone done that?  Good results?  Things to look out for?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Extra Echino Blocks Made

Today I finished trimming the 10 blocks that I will add to my brother's quilt to bring it from child to man sized.  It didn't take as long as I thought and was rather fun.   It didn't make as large of a dent the box of neutral colored scraps as I had hoped.  I need to sew more and use up all that fabric.  :)

My overlapping hexagon quilt has languished recently.  I was trying to figure out why I hadn't worked on it in awhile and I determined that it was because I work on it while I watch TV in the evenings.  My daughter and I finished watching the Wolfblood series and have moved on to watching To The Beautiful You, a Korean show about a girl who dresses up like a boy so she can go to an all boys school and be close to this high jumper she is obsessed with.  It is full of all the silliness you would expect, but the problem is that it is in Korean with English subtitles.  I don't mind that, but it makes it nearly impossible to work on English paper piecing when you can't look down for a few seconds at a time without missing what they are saying.  We are almost done with the series (everyone found out she was a girl last night!)  so hopefully I will get back to my English paper piecing.

So, any show recommendations - in English?  Bonus points if it only has 25 minute episodes so I can send my teen off to bed early.  :)

Linking to Scraptasitc Tuesday.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Echino Car and Neutral Quilt: Finished-ish

So a few weeks ago I had a really bad day.  Everything seemed completely pointless.  I knew I was just being crazy, but I also knew that I needed something to distract me from how totally blah life was until I snapped out of it.  So I turned on BBC's The Lord of the Rings (LOVE IT!) and started to sew.

I had been crushing on this quilt for a couple of weeks and decided it would fit the bill.  It would be low stress sewing (no matching points or exact cutting) and I could use up the small cuts of Echio fabric that I had been collecting.  I thought it would be fun to make a car inspired quilt for my mechanic brother, but knew it would take a ton of (expensive) Echino to make a full quilt.  With this quilt I could use what I had and fill in the rest with neutrals.  Lots of the neutrals were scraps from my neutral prisms quilt.  Sweet!

I pieced bits of the Echino canvas for the centers and just started adding fabric around them.  I finished up 20 blocks that day.  The only problem is that it is a little on the small side for a grown man.  (48 x 60)  But to make go from 4 x 5 layout to 5 x 6 I need to make 10 more blocks and that feels like a lot.

We'll see what I end up doing.  Maybe improv borders would be faster?  I know I need to finish it, but the I-must-make-that-quilt! itch is gone and I have other projects on my mind. is to hard when you have so much fabric.  :)

Have a great weekend!  I am linking up with Finish It Up Friday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Best 100 Day Project Ever!

Last Wednesday was the kids' 100th day of school.  The younger kids had fun activities all day centered around counting to 100 and as part of the 100th Day festivities our 7 year old had to bring a project made with 100 of something.

This year we made a fun and fast garland with 100 paper circles.  (Not a ticker tape quilt like last time!)  All the kids wanted to make one and they were able to punch out the circles by themselves and count them out into 10 sets of 10.  I bought the 2" EK Tools Circle Punch.  It was easy for the kids to use and when we used it upside down, they could see if the hole was completely covered by paper.  After the punching, the sewing started.

I love the idea of teaching my kids to sew, but when it comes down to it I am just not patient enough.  This was the perfect project for them to sew all by themselves.  The garland is so forgiving.  You just have to sew kind of in the middle of each circle of paper and just keep feeding them in.  It was good practice for getting the feel of how the pedal works and how the sewing machine feeds the paper/fabric through.The 7 and 10 year old sewed their circles together independently and I controled the foot pedal for the 5 year old.  She was too short to reach and didn't want to sew standing.

The kids have hung their garlands in their rooms and they look so fun and festive.  I love projects that they can successfully complete themselves.  It's a win-win.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Blocks for the At the Fair Block of the Month

Well, it is snowing here in Iowa and I have to say everything is much prettier covered in snow.  Before it started snowing yesterday, I went out and took these pictures of the February blocks for the At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month.  I had a lot of fun making them.  They came together fast and stress free, which was what I needed after dealing with the flu and a broken sewing machine earlier in the week.

 This is the block from Debuque County.  It is called State House.  Wouldn't it look great repeated for a whole quilt?  It measures 12 1/2".

This 8 1/2" block is one of my favorites ever.  It is so simple, yet it is still interesting and has great movement.  It was submitted by Clinton County and is called Balkan Puzzle.

I was able to track down the names for both of the block designs in Barbra Brackman's Block Base program.

You can find more information on the At the Fair Block of the Month Program here.  You can sign up at anytime and receive all of the earlier block patterns.  Sign up here.

You can see some of the January blocks people have made here on Flickr.  They are Amazing!

A bit of business:  gfpaloney, please contact me.  I need a new email address for you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Making Progress

Well, I have been making some progress with my scrap hexagon quilt.  While looking for something else in my sewing room I found the purple and orange block.  It is a leftover from my Flower Garden quilt and fits right in.  If I remember correctly I have a few more extras.  Maybe it is time to do some cleaning....

Linking to Fabric Tuesday and WIP Wednesday.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Best Foundation Paper Piecing Class EVER is on Sale!

Carol Doak's Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing

I've got the foundations printed and fabric picked for on of February's At the Fair Mystery Quilt Blocks.  It is going to be Amazing!  Seriously, it is one of my favorites in the quilt.  It looks so complicated but comes together really simply with foundation paper piecing.  A few years ago I was terrified of foundation paper piecing.  Then I tried it and it wasn't bad at all - totally doable!

But my comfort and skill grew by leaps and bounds when I took  Carol Doak's Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing at Craftsy.  Carol is the Queen of Foundation Paper Piecing and goes over every step in detail.  And her tips for making sure all of the seams and points line up is simple yet brilliant.  She is a great teacher and I cannot recommend her class enough.

I am sure you have heard that Craftsy is having a sale this weekend on tons of their classes.  If you want to learn how to or feel more comfortable foundation paper piecing Carol Doak's Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing is the class to take.  It is worth every penny (especially at $15 off regular price!).  The sale goes through Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

**affiliate links in post**

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Scrap Hexagons

I finished going through all of my small scraps (less than a fat 1/8 of a yard) and cut them all up into hexagons.  It is kind of fun to see what fabric I use the most of.  I have tons of red, pink, yellow, aqua, green and black/gray but I was surprised how little blue and orange I had.

I decided to try something different with this English piecing project.  I am making overlapping large hexagons.  The overlap will keep things interesting and will help to use up odd numbers of hexagons.  I am really liking it so far.  I don't know if there is such a thing as improvisational English paper piecing, but I think it will be a lot of fun to make up the design as I go along.  I am aiming for a lap sized quilt.

I set aside all of the strips that were too small to cut hexagons out of.  They range from 1-2.5" and are 4-42" long.  They would be perfect for a string quilt, but I don't think I am going to get to that any time soon.  So, if you would like them, leave a comment and I will send them to you.  (First come, first serve.)

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday and WIP Wednesday.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Christmas Quilt Finished...before Christmas!

 I ended up finishing this quilt before Christmas and I love it!  I love the colors and the fabrics.  I am super in love with the red polka dot flannel backing.  It is so nice to snuggle under.  It is still on our couch and I don't know that it is going anywhere soon.  (Kinda like the ribbon on the columns.)

I was planning on straight line quilting on either side of most of the seams but about 1/2 way across the first row I remembered how much I hate straight line quilting.  I feel like any wavy-ness in the line shows up a ton and I was wrestling with the quilt non-stop.  I didn't wear my quilting gloves like I normally do and wonder if that was part of the problem.  But I didn't think that I would need them with the straight lines.  Anyway, I quilted the bottom of each row 1/4 inch-ish from the seam.  

I was really frustrated with my inability to do the cool straight line quilting everyone else seems to do so easily and well, but a day later I decided that I actually liked it with less quilting.  I think sometimes we can forget how beautiful our quilts are just with the piecing.  It is nice to take a quilt "to the next level" with quilting but a quilt can be just as beautiful and enjoyed just as much with simple quilting.

I hope you had great holidays.  It has been bitter cold here and all of our quilts have gotten a lot of use.  But I can tell it is getting warmer because the cat meows at the door to go outside instead of me having to forcibly throw her out the door twice a day to do her business.  :)

And now that the kids are back in school there might also be more time to get down to the business of writing about some of the other things I have been working on!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

What's Going On

So this afternoon after wrestling with an uncooperative computer, I sent out the first installment of the At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month.  The block on the left is my coloration and the block on the right is the coloration of the original tile block at the fair grounds.  If you would still like to sign up click on over to my Etsy shop and the first month's files will be immediately available for download.

 Earlier this month I was able to go and visit friends in New York City.  I brought some English paper piecing to work on during the flight and got one of their girls hooked on it.  We decided to go to the fabric district to look for some fabric for her to work with.  (I wanted to go anyway.)  Most of the shops carry apparel fabric (there was one street with 4 spandex stores!) but we asked in one shop if they had any remnants we could buy and the owner gave my cute little friend some fabric for free.  While wandering from shop to shop I realized that I need to sew more.  There are so many wonderful things to make and beautiful fabric (and trim!) to make them out of.

A bank facade inside the museum.  The street lamps use to stand outside the Met until the lights were updated. 

I think my favorite part of the trip (aside from just hanging out with my friends) as visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It was AMAZING!  Some of my favorite things were seeing all of the real rooms from different time periods.  The Met is immense.  I kept saying I was going to leave and then I would get sucked into "just one more exhibit".  I really liked the exhibit of mourning dresses from the 19th and early 20th century.  And I got a new quilt idea from a jade (?) piece of art found in an Egyptian tomb. 

Then I was home again just in time for Christmas.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year's celebration!