Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easily Distracted

Last weekend, a few friends and I had a spontaneous day of sewing together, so I took the time to make a quick top out of a roll of strips that I had in my stash.

The strips came from a fellow guild member who had put them on the "free" table at our guild's last yard sale. I was amazed that someone would want to give away 50 strips for free, so I decided to give them a good home. The guild member warned me about why they were on the free table, and she was right. It was a roll that she had purchased at Wal-Mart and the quality of the fabric is far from ideal, but they work nicely into a charity quilt, especially after it's washed with some fabric softener. I based my quilt on this tutorial, except that I used 2 1/2-inch strips and cut the sections at 9 inches, 6 inches, and about 38 inches, so my version is wider and longer than in the tute. My strips don't exactly line up because I discovered that the 2 1/2-inch strips weren't all cut accurately, but heck, that's what I get for grabbing some WM fabric at the really cheap price of free. The white horizontal strips are actually more of a light cream color with a blue print, which can't really be seen in these photos taken in the basement in lousy light.

I made a smaller quilt with the leftover strips....

So as you can see, I was easily distracted from completing other projects, but I figured that I had finished enough in January that it was OK to start something new. Especially something that didn't require a lot of thinking while sewing with friends. After all, who wants to waste time really thinking about our sewing projects when we can spent the time solving all the world's problems?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another Finish for January

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about these ten-year-old double-pinwheel orphan blocks (read the story here). The quilt is now finished and ready for a new home, probably a charity.

The scrappy back...

...and a closeup shot of the free-motion quilting...

With the completion of this quilt, I have now used up at least 15 (!) yards-worth of fabric out of my stash/scraps/orphans in the month of January. And a bunch of leftover batting, too. And I have so much thread that I won't be needing to buy any of that for years. Not a penny spent on anything except for the electricity for the iron and sewing/quilting machines.

It feels very freeing to use this stuff up, but I shake my head at how much fabric I still have.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nothing Goes To Waste

I know that some people will call me crazy for doing this, but these are the slivers from the trimmed blocks in the quilt I showed in my previous post. And they're not in the trash can...I'm saving them for a project that I am anxious to try. If it works, I'll blog about it someday.

These don't even fall into the category of scraps...they're definitely slivers. I suppose I could change my 4S project (Stash, Scraps, Selvages, and Strings) to my 5S project by just adding the word "Slivers".

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pulled In

OK, I was pulled into making another top....

...but at least I didn't buy any new fabric for it. Everything came out of my stash.

Earlier this month, my guild sponsored a workshop on the "tube" method for making double-hourglass-style blocks, based on a video by the Missouri Star Quilt Company. When you have a chance, take some time to check out the great videos they have on their site.

Anyway, since I was in charge of arranging the workshop (but not teaching it -- that was done by guild member Peggi), I decided that I should make a top along with everyone else. But I did most of the sewing and cutting of the blocks ahead of time at home. That left me time to help out at the workshop as needed (hey, someone had to go get the pizza for lunch and give out door prizes). But I didn't sew the top together at home because I wanted to spend some time deciding on a layout. It was fun watching guild members play around with various ways to lay out their completed blocks. I finally decided on what you see in the above photo.

The black and gray fabrics are leftovers from one of my art challenge quilts (you can read about it here). The whites and red have been in my stash for a while.

I've decided to not put a border on. Leftover blocks are used on the back...

And I even have the binding ready...

If you want to see some photos from the workshop, check out this post on my guild's blog.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Found Treasure?

It's amazing what you find when you start cleaning out your quilting studio...

I'm not sure I'd call it treasure, but I'm definitely not throwing out these flannel scraps. I had completely forgotten that I had saved them in this big tin, but I do need to make some flannel pillows to replace ten-year-old ones. Another project to add to the list for 2013...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I've Been Busy

As I said when the New Year arrived, I plan to make my 2013 quilts using my stash, scraps, selvages, and strings and using up orphan blocks and finishing UFOs. I've been successful so far and what you see in the photo are eight (count them, EIGHT!) quilts that I've pieced and quilted, all done without buying new fabric or batting. The bindings have all been sewn on by machine and the hand sewing is finished on the top three. Now I'll work on the other five, and since I have finished a couple of quilts already this year, I'll give myself permission to start piecing another top...without buying new fabric, of course.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Can't Stop

I can't seem to stop going through my scraps and stash to see how much I can use up. I found this Amish-style "cheater" panel (or as I've seen it called in some places, "convenience" panel) that I had bought for a couple of dollars at some sale held by another least five years ago. My initial plans for the panel was to use it to practice quilting on my mid-arm, which I did a couple of times, using water-soluble thread in the bobbin. That worked great because I could re-use the panel several times. However, after a couple of times doing that, I decided that it was really a waste to do all that quilting and then have it disappear when I dissolved the thread. And the water-soluble thread was expensive, too. Since then I've decided that practice quilting doesn't need to disappear -- it can be fine for many charity quilts (as long as it's not really, really bad quilting).

Once I found the panel, I pulled out a lot of scrap pieces of solids to use for a pieced backing. Here's what I came up with for that....

I like it quite a bit. As you can see below, it's just enough to fit...

Of course, if I was to give this to a machine quilter to quilt for me, I wouldn't give her such a small backing. But I can deal with it and make it work.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Yet Another Finish -- #4

I blogged about this one a few weeks ago (see my blog post here) and now it's quilted, bound, and labeled. And going along with my theme of using up scraps, the quilting was done with three different colors in the bobbin. I was too lazy to rewind them when they ran out, so I just grabbed another partially-filled one. The backing is so busy (it can be seen in that previous blog post) that you can't tell that there are three different colors of thread on the back.

Here's a closeup of the free-motion meander quilting, done on my HQ16...

It feels so good to have so many quilts finished this month...and I haven't spent a dime in 2013 (except for the electricity to power my sewing machine and iron)!

Friday, January 18, 2013

One More! -- #3

OK, so this was 99.9 percent finished when I took the photo before the snow came, but I'm considering it a finish for 2013 because I just finished the label. All the fabrics were in my stash before I decided to make this.

Here's the back (again, the photo was taken before the label was done)...

And a closeup of the quilting....

The colors in the closeup shot are the closest to what they look like in real life.

This is the umpteenth quilt I've made using my favorite quickie pattern, The Quick Strippie by Mary Johnson of Mary Quilts. Now it's going to my cousin's soon-to-be two-year-old cutie-pie of a daughter. With a Russian name like Sonya, of course I had to make her a quilt with Russian matryoshka dolls.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another Finish --#2

Using the same pattern that I showed in my previous post, I made another fun quilt using Spiderman fabric leftovers. Again, I had long narrow directional pieces, so this layout was perfect.

And continuing with my plan to use up fabric, I pieced the back...

And here's a closeup of the quilting...

Again, lousy color in the photos...especially the solid's much nicer in person.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January UFO Challenge Complete -- #1

Back in November, I blogged about a challenge issued by my guild's president -- we were to list six UFO's that we had sitting around and give her the list. Every month for the next six months (except for December), she will pull out a number, from one to six, and we are supposed to finish the UFO that matches that number on our list by the next month's meeting. Every time we complete a UFO, our names will be entered into a future drawing.

This is the UFO that is due at my guild meeting next Monday. It's a child's quilt that I quickly pieced with some leftover Berenstain Bears fabric that I had in my stash. The pieces that I had were long and narrow, but I didn't want to cut them up too much because of the large print. So I just figured out this easy pattern that highlights the fun fabric.

Here's a closeup shot of the quilting....

And a look at the pieced backing...again, from my stash...and so was the binding....

This will probably be a charity quilt...not sure yet.

To see first UFO that I completed in this challenge, click here.

I wonder which challenge will be next?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Orphans Find A Home

As I mentioned earlier this month, I plan to make quilts this year using orphan blocks and fabric from my stash/scraps. I made the double pinwheel blocks that you see in the above photo about ten (!) years ago, shortly after I bought the fabrics for a couple of dollars at one of my guild's yard sales. I found the blocks recently and decided to finally make them into a quilt, so I added the black solid from my stash and I have to say that I like the way it looks (and it looks much better in person).

I used three leftover blocks for the back, along with other fabric pieces from my stash....

Then I pieced some leftover batting scraps...with black thread because that's what I had in my machine and I was too lazy to change it....(eight pieces of batting scraps)...

Now it goes in the queue for quilting and binding...

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Hit The Jackpot!

Last month, I entered a giveaway and won these gorgeous hand-dyed fat eighths from Vicki of Field Trips in Fiber blog. The photo doesn't do them justice...they are absolutely divine. If you've never seen the fabrics that Vicki dyes and sells, check her shop on Etsy.

I have no clue what I'm going to make with these. It will definitely have to be something special, but in the meantime, I'm just going to admire them.

Thank you, Vicki!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Something's Not Right Here

When is a quarter inch not a quarter inch? When it's from a block that came from someone else. This is why I don't really participate in too many block exchanges anymore...

I will admit that I was often guilty of this when I first started quilting, but I quickly discovered that markings on a machine are not always correct.

That's, OK...I will find a use for this block somewhere in my 2013 quilting plan.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Orthodox Christmas 2013

To my family and friends who are celebrating Orthodox Christmas today...


If you'd like to read my explanation of the date for Orthodox Christmas, check my blog post from a few years ago here

Friday, January 4, 2013

Can't Wait

This Sunday is the third meeting of the Ithaca Modern Quilt Guild. I've been to both of the previous meetings and have enjoyed them quite a bit. The quilters in the group have been pretty excited and the meetings have been full of inspiration. Lots of great show and tell.

The group meets at a wonderful quilt shop -- Quilters Corner  -- in Ithaca, NY. It bugs the heck out of me that the shop doesn't have an apostrophe in its name, but I'll forgive them since I really, really love the shop and since they are so gracious to let the IMQG meet there.

I'm taking a couple of friends with me to this meeting...we can't wait....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

OK, Here Goes

My first project for the new year involves both orphan blocks and the use of my 4S (see the last two blog posts)...

I made the blocks from Tuesday's post into a small quilt top adding fabric from my stash and then found some pieces that could be sewn together for a backing. The only pieces that I did not use for the backing are those two small scraps on the left side of the photo...they'll go back into my scrap collection for future use.

In the photo below, you can see that I had just enough fabric for the backing...

Then I went into my supply of batting scraps and found these....

...which I sewed together (using the flat joining seam on my Bernina) to make this....again, just enough to fit...

...and last, but not least, I found four strips that will be sewn into a scrappy binding...
(sorry for the awful photos taken in my basement)

The seventh block of this orphan bunch will be used for something else someday...