Star Count #6

Finished star # 3 this week!  I didn’t intend it to be all orange, but sometimes it seems like I have no control over these things.  I got a lot of other things basted and little bits here and there sewn together, but I didn’t get any pics of that.  Next week!

This week it was really the motivation of the linkup and the weekly progress report that kept me stitching, so, thanks Jessica for your Monday Morning Star Count!

Star Count #5

This week I allowed myself to put another star together!  If you’re following along, that brings my total to: 2.  Hooray!

I want to get the quilt mostly laid out before I do too much assembly, so I am free to rearrange the shapes for as long as possible.  But I was really in love with this star, so I felt safe sewing it together.  A lot more shapes got cut out and basted, too, my little tray is filling up and the picture doesn’t even show the shapes that I’ve been playing with on my dining room table.   (They were on the kitchen counter for most of last week, until I left the house to go to the grocery store and my husband moved everything out of sight to the dining room.  So I would have room to put away the groceries, or so he says 🙂 )

Some of these won’t get used in this quilt, but I’m enjoying the idea of building a pre-basted arsenal of shapes, ready to make quick little projects whenever the mood strikes.

Thanks again to Jessica at Life Under Quilts for the Star Count linkup!

Star Count #4

I spent most of my crafty time last week finishing up the quilting on this quilt so I could enter it into the DCMQG’s quilt show.  But there was a little time to baste this little stack of neutral-y diamonds.  The creamsicle orange + neutral color combination is killing me with its awesomeness.  I kind of want to throw out all the other pieces I basted the past 3 weeks and start again with just these.  But that’s just my crafty ADD talking; next week I’ll have a new love either way.  This week I’ll start laying out my shapes; can’t wait!

Why UFO?

I just noticed this neglected project (UnFinished Object, which is something totally different from a Work In Progress, isn’t it) shuffling around in the basement… It was going to be a little circular pouch, last summer I think.  The pieces are almost all together, the inside of the pouch is already cut out, I even made a test pouch out of a single fabric to test my pattern.  So why isn’t it done?  I honestly can’t even remember why this got shoved aside.

Finding this set off a few days of self-reflection on my sewing habits and methods.  (I didn’t let myself start to obsess about my general life-habits; I’m taking baby steps…)  For a while I couldn’t stop thinking about how I must look through the eyes of my mother.  Mom is a very linear person and finishes everything she starts and doesn’t have 37 projects in various stages of completion cluttering up her basement.  I don’t even think she plans her next project until the one at hand is completed.   My fluttering about must make her feel all twitchy until she has to look away and shake her head.

What it is about me that keeps me from seeing things through?  Is it the lure of something exciting and new?  Am I over-committed?  Maybe just self-indulgent and undisciplined? Ugg, I think it might be those last two there.  Time to be honest.  If I don’t wanna do it, most of the time, I just don’t.

While I was working on the Strawberry Shortcake Quilt just now, I didn’t work on that many other things.  Just one quilt from start to finish; it was easy because I gave myself deadlines and I wanted to keep plugging away at it so I could be done and move on to the next project.  I had the goal in mind; gifting the quilt while the baby was still tiny enough to use it, so I knew I couldn’t set it aside and start something else. It worked.  And it felt so good! So I’m working on more of that now.  Goals, deadlines.  And the sweet taste of success when something is actually finished and put to use.  Why did it take me this long to figure this out?  Here’s hoping I do turn into my mother after all…

Star Count

Is it really Monday again?  I did not complete any new stars this week.  But, I did get a pile of pieces basted and ready, and that’s totally progress when you’re talking about English paper piecing.

I am trying to be more disciplined than usual with this quilt.  Normally I would choose a few fabrics at a time, baste a few pieces, make one star, then repeat.  But this time I want to get most if not all of my fabrics selected first, and mostly cut out and basted, so there’s no unhappy surprises at the end.  It’s a small quilt, so there’s less room to hide something that doesn’t work out as envisioned.  And less room for all the pretty stuff I want to fit in.  So I’m making sure it’s right before I sew it all together.  One thing I love about English paper piecing is that it’s so easy to play around with the basted shapes and see exactly what the finished piece will look like before you commit!  I’m bringing in some tan fabrics to give the pretty colors space to breathe, and the deep marine blue to ground all that sweet bright color.

Linking up again to Monday Morning Star Count over at Life Under Quilts!

Star Count

Last night I started a new English paper pieced project!

I have been completely smitten with this teeny floral since I found it at a quilt show last fall.  Like crazy in love, and I’ve been dying for a project where I could really enjoy using it.  Back then I was sure that the family-member-in-utero was a boy (and I wasn’t actually planning on finding out the gender at all until the big day, so a more neutral quilt would have been in order.) I thought this would make its way into a big quilt for me (it still might.)

But things changed and now that we know we are getting another little lady, I’m free to dream up sweet confectionery quilts in sherbert-y hues, and this fabric is the inspiration.

I started a preliminary fabric pull celebrating the pink-peach-orange-raspberry-lemon colors but I still need to pull some neutrals and something deep to ground all this sweetness.  How I love picking fabrics.

I’m linking up again with Jessica Alexandrakis’s Monday Morning Star Count and my count this week is: 1!

A sweet finish

Here is a quilt I’ve been working on in little bits over the past few months…

Not my typical style for sure, but I loved the new English Paper Piecing pattern I got to use!  I wanted to make a quilt for our friend’s new baby, and the mom-to-be requested that I use these Strawberry Shortcake fabrics…

Strawberry Shortcake Collage

I don’t often buy novelty prints, so it took me a while to come up with an idea that would feature the prints while being fun for me to put together.  I knew I wanted to use English Paper Piecing, so I could work on the quilt in little bits of time- at the table with my kids doing schoolwork or on trips in the car.  Eventually I settled on this open-centered chrysanthemum (I’m calling it a sunflower) because I found the shape of the petals so appealing, and the big circles worked to feature the big prints.  I love the methodical pace of EPP- iron down the freezer paper templates, cut out the shapes, baste over the edges, join the shapes with tiny invisible stitches, remove the basting, remove the papers… then in this quilt the shapes have to be appliqued as well, so there’s another round of basting and more tiny invisible hand stitching… this is just the kind of quilt I love to work on.  I kept it ever handy in its little tray so I could work on it at any time I had a few minutes.  School time, car time, guild meetings, Sherlock reruns…  They all add up to a finished quilt before you know it.

After all the blocks were together and up on the design wall, I realized that the intense color was pretty unrelenting, so I added the tiny white sashing to break up all that color.   I used tiny yellow cornerstones for a little extra sweetness.  The quilt is backed with one of the Strawberry Shortcake prints which was a really thick, cozy flannel, so it has a nice heft.  It’s quilted simply with a little perle cotton.  Quilts like this that are all about the fabric don’t need extensive quilting, in my opinion.

The quilt was delivered last week, in time for baby’s 2 month birthday… pretty good by my usual standards and, in my defense, she came earlier than expected!  I am feeling antsy now without a project to focus on.  I’ve got too many up in the air and I can’t decide which is the most important.

I just found a new weekly linkup that is just my style- Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts.  Jessica Alexandrakis, author of Quilting on the Go, is a fellow proponent of EPP, and she hosts the linky to provide some encouragement to keep plugging away at our projects!  I”m really looking forward to watching other quilters’ projects progress!  For this, the first week, she asked for a picture of our sewing kits, so here is the kit I carried around when I was working on this quilt:

I loved using a tray rather than some sort of bag, because everything stayed so nice and flat!  Everything was easy to find, too.  Highly recommend it!

Cozy Wozy

These are the best kind of days.  It’s wet and windy outside and we are warm and dry inside.  We have gingerbread-chocolate cookies and apple cider and enough apples in the house to make 80 quarts of applesauce.  Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons concerts streaming in the kitchen.  There’s a pile of basted hexies beckoning me to settle in and stitch them together, some precious new fabric to run through the washer and dryer, and more apples, apples everywhere.  The children have concocted some sort of dinosaurs-at-school game and they even remember to include Eva in the fun.  Just when I began to worry that I was not doing enough for the children with our homeschooling, I heard Gus drilling Violet and the dinosaurs in Latin roots and I was reassured that everything is OK.  Eva desperately wanted to go outside and so all 3 suited up in their rain gear and went out on an adventure.  Everything is different in the rain.  I watched through the window with hot spiced cider.  I’m sitting now in my room looking out at the treetops and I love how the rain makes the bark on the Sycamore look even prettier.

I want to make some pretty stitched things to hang above the mantle.  Just simple embroideries.  Probably some English Paper Piecing, too.

Happy Swap!

This summer Natalie of the NOVA Modern Quilt Guild invited members of the local guilds to a secret swap- to give us the chance to “meet” members outside of our own Guilds.  I don’t often sign up for swaps because truthfully, most of the time I’d rather sew for myself.  🙂  But, it sounded fun to get to know some other Modern Quilters in our area so this time I joined in.

Natalie asked us to make a little pouch and fill it with some little goodies.  We all started with the same instructions for the pouch, but were free to customize them for our intended recipients.  We each made a photo mosaic to help inspire our secret sisters.  Here’s the mosaic I was sewing from:

Beautiful, but a bit mystifying at first!  Most of the mosaics I’ve seen use mostly images of fabric and quilts, but hmm, the beach, paper crafting…  I decided I really had to rise to the occasion and do this mosaic justice, so I made the mosaic my desktop background, and I’d just sit and stare at it a few times a day until it started to speak to me.  Really, it was so fun to glean little bits of inspiration from all these images!  I’m glad my partner gave the opportunity to stretch my creative muscles.  Here’s what I finally pulled from the images:

Colors: mint and aqua, sky and sand

Feeling: quirky, romantic, dreamy

Likes: Chunky embroidery, Mixed-Media, Quirky Animals

And here’s the bag I made:

I threw in my own quirky animal, some chunky perle cotton hand stitching, and used lace for the drawstring in a nod to the mixed-media piece in the mosaic.  I tried to make it mint green because that’s her favorite, but I’m afraid it came out more aqua.  I guess my stash overwhelmed me!

I filled it with my new favorite brand of ruler, some FQs and trim in her fave colors, a few little notions, and a tin of fruit candies.  (She said her favorite candy was coconut, but try finding coconut candy that won’t melt in the summer heat!)

PS- see the tiny dot I used for the lining?  That’s my own fabric, he-hee!

I really hope Katie liked the bag – at least now she knows I was really thinking about her when I made it!

Now for my mosaic:

In the only other swap I’ve done recently, my partner never gave me a mosaic or any kind of clue what she likes.  Then she dropped out at the 11th hour anyway.  Arrg.   I didn’t like that experience of sewing blindly so I felt like I had to really take care of my partner and give her some specific clues as to what I like.  Perhaps I was too specific!  I didn’t mean it to be a list of demands…

I said that I like hand sewing.  I said this because I thought she might throw in a pack of hand sewing needles or something- not because I expected that my bag be totally hand made!  But that is what Natalie did.

Wow.  English paper pieced, hand applique, hand quilted with perle cotton.  Just my style (tearing up here..)  And Natalie has twin babies at home.  Amazing.  I don’t know what else to say except that it’s waaay more than I expected!  Thank you Natalie!

My little girls were so excited BTW when it came in the mail, let me tell you!  It’s a purse!  It’s a purse!

Modern Solids

So, I got one more surprise from In The Beginning Fabrics- I had asked if they had any scraps of their Modern Solids that they could throw my way.  In stead of scraps, I got this:

A fat quarter bundle of the whole range.  Yum yum….

The Modern Solids are cross-weaves, which means that two different colors of threads are woven together to make a solid.  Jason from In The Beginning chose threads with only slight color variations, so the effect is very subtle- but it gives the fabric more depth and it’s just a little more interesting than a plain dyed solid.  It’s a really wonderful idea.

My favorite part of the bundle is the lovely range of neutrals that’s hiding under all the color:

The fabrics are a little sturdier than Kaffe Fassett’s shot cottons, but not as thick as Robert Kaufman’s Carolina Chambrays.  In fact the weight is really similar to other quilting cottons, which makes them perfect if you’ve been afraid to quilt with the shot cottons.

Tonight is the hand-sewing club at Patches, so I have these cut out and ready to go!

Thanks again, In The Beginning!