Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Getting Back Up to Speed - Part 3

This will have to be a late post today!  I spent most of the day in our community garden and afterwards stopped off at Aldi's and Home Depot.  Being that it was the first long day working in the garden, I needed a long soak in the tub when I got back!  Only after seeing hubby off to work and catching up on my email, could I finally get back to quilt projects and posting.

With this post, I'm now up to the May projects!  As I was working on my friend's mug rug last month (see the previous post here),  I got an email from Piecing the Past Quilts about their monthly mini quilt kits.  I have been following their free Civil War reproduction Block of the Week programs "Peace and Healing" (which will be ending this month) and "Rest and Refreshing" (which just started this month and runs until September).   As soon as I saw the blue and white basket quilt kit,  I knew it would be just the thing to swap out with my little "Tucker" wall hanging for Spring decoration. 

Initially I held off getting it because as I said in my last post, I REALLY don't need any more project stash.  Yeah, that held until I saw these:

You may know Michelle Foster from the Quilting Gallery blog or from her Aiming for Accuracy pattern series.  Well now she is also selling buttons and other embellishments online at "I Love Buttons, Ect.".   I admit my Quilters ADD  has me wanting to do more embellishing of my quilts and I have seen a lot of cute quilts that had added buttons for that purpose.  When I saw the flower buttons, the Basket Mini immediately popped back into my head (a perfect vessel for flowers!) and it wasn't too long after that that the kit and the buttons popped into their respective online shopping carts!!

Of course I justified it by thinking that it being a mini and good for some Spring decorating made it totally acceptable to get them!  Actually, the only true justification will be to finish this one up quick, put it up for display and move on back to the other things I'm SUPPOSED to be working on!!

So right now I'm here:

I have to finish piecing the pieced corner setting units and then I can finish putting the top together.  I also think I may try to "age" the buttons a bit -- they're very bright against the repro fabric palette.  The quilt kit comes with enough fabric for the top, binding and the solid cream fabric is for the backing.  Oh, and it all came in a great little vinyl zippered storage pouch which you'll see later turned out to be very fitting! 

However, I was cleaning out my email box recently and happened across an old Quilters Newsletter post about Pam Rocco's "Kuba Carpet" quilt project:

The rails in her blocks reminded of the sashing in the mini and I liked the idea of maybe doing that for a pieced back.  So I'll be working on this little project for at least the rest of this week.  I'll check back in when it's done -- I promise that will be before June!

Also as my "leader/ender" project while working on the mini, I've been making more Bonnie Hunter "Scrappy Trips" blocks. 

Up until now I had kept my finished blocks in a storage box with the strips, leftover pieces and ideas for other quilts to make from all the strip leftovers. 

It was getting a little crowded for all that AND the blocks so I looked around for something separate to put the blocks into.  Then I remembered something else -- I have a stash of vinyl from making covers for the cooler we keep on our terrace (long story for another time).  Back in February or March, I had pulled out all the vinyl scraps with the idea of making some storage bags.  I have a great "Work In Progress Bags" pattern by Amanda Jean Nyberg -- more famously known as "Crazy Mom Quilts" -- that I had downloaded from Connecting Threads back in 2015 (and she now sells the pattern through Craftsy).  I matched up the vinyl leftovers with different sized zippers from my stash (so I can make a few different size bags) and had set them under my cutting table for an "In Between" project.  Well once again, the QADD set in and despite being in the middle of the basket quilt project and the Trips blocks, I decided to try whipping one up! 

Fortunately, this made up in an evening!  What was cool was that the zipper I had set aside for this is an old metal one that is from my grandmother's sewing box back when I had incorporated her stuff into my stash.  The package says it was 45 cents back in the day -- you know that's an old zipper but it still works!! 

At least this quick little diversion is also a useful accessory! 
So that's where I am right now.  At some point I need to reset my plans for the rest of the year since I'm waaay off track from what they were at the start of it.  All the UFOs from my APQ list have not been touched so far this year and are awaiting quilting.  I'd still like to get my En Provence mystery quilt completed sometime this year (at least the top but preferably quilted and bound too).  I've also still got the two QOVs I worked on last year and it would be nice (but probably not likely) to get them out before or for Memorial Day.  I'll just have to see what May quilting flowers April's diversion showers will bring! 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Getting Back Up To Speed - Part 2

Continuing from the last post with what I worked on in April:  I FINALLY quilted and bound my friend's mug rug that I started back in February.  It finished at approximately 6" x 15".

This is my mini version of the "Ah + Shift" variation of Susan Cleveland's "Ctrl+Alt+Del" quilt that's in her book "Marvelous Miters".

I had bought a kit which used Cherrywood fabrics a few years ago with the intention of making something to hang in our computer area (and hopefully having some leftovers to add to the stash!).  I still may do that but when I decided that I wanted to do another mug rug for my friend's work cubicle (you can see the first one I made her here), I figured a mini quilt made from the kit wouldn't require too much fabric or at least it wouldn't be hard to replace what I used when I wanted to make a bigger one. 

I don't feel that the 3-D effect came out well when making it on this smaller scale.  It really relies on the direction of the light and how it hits the fabrics as to whether the keys "pop" like they should.  Also the fabrics look more washed out here than they do in person since I was trying to get a shot where the quilting shows up.  No matter, she likes when I make her things so I think she'll appreciate the thought and get a kick out of the sentiment.

It took me a long time to settle on which of the ideas I had for quilting it that I would use.  In the end,  I decided to quilt the words "Cubicle Cowgirl", "404" (for the computer error code that comes up when an online file can't be found), "Desk Jockey" and "9 to 5" and did straight-line matchstick filler around them. 

More caveats on this one:  I really wish I had made the quilting more visible.  It wasn't until after I finished the quilting that I remembered reading that Christa Watson likes to use  Aurifil #4241 (a very dark gray) when quilting on black because it gives a nice bit of contrast on that color fabric.  I must get a spool of that so it will be in my thread arsenal in the future.  I also totally forgot about the dark gray Sulky 12 wt cone I had bought when they had a "discontinued colors" sale back in January.   I purchased it and some other thread colors to execute the special quilting I have planned for my Gee's Bend project (which I'm still debating about whether to do by hand or machine) but could have probably used it for this too.

To round out the mug rug gift I'll be adding -- what else -- a mug!  I had picked it up awhile back  (long before I thought of doing this rug) knowing that I could use it one day as part of a gift for her because she loves cats.  I also plan to bake up some cookies to send with the mug and rug so got a pack of coordinating treat gift bags from the dollar store.

So at least her gift is done - oh, except for the label.  I'm still trying to figure that out.  I used a specially themed backing fabric for the rug:

This is from the "Rush Hour" fabric line by Studio E Fabrics that I purchased from City Quilter just before they closed their retail store.  It took me a long time to center the backing to get a range of the motifs included and I don't want to cover them up too much.  Once again, not until after completing the binding step did I think about doing a monogrammed quilt label on the back binding (you can see an example of that here).  Of course there is NO WAY I'm taking off the binding and re-doing it since this gift is already three months overdue!  I'll think of something while I'm working on finishing her husband's quilt. 

Edited To Add:  In the end, I took a cue from the clock in the backing fabric print and using one of the circles from the Karen Kay Buckley "Bigger Perfect Circles" set and a seam allowance guide, traced and cut a circle of fabric for the label.

The orange Glow Line tape on the circle template lets me know where I will have to fold in the edge of the circle to line up with the quilt edge.  I gathered the edges of the fabric around the template and pressed it with starch to prep it for stitching.  After folding up the edge, I hand stitched the prepped circle to the back and wrote in the label information before packing the mug rug up for gifting.

As for her husband's quilt:  sigh, yes, I still have that to do....

And yet, in typical Quilter's ADD fashion, I have already started on yet ANOTHER project....but that's a story for the next post.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Getting Back Up To Speed - Part 1

It's the merry month of May!  Gardening season is finally getting under way, Mother's Day is next weekend and my birthday is the week after.  Time to get back to who I am!

Unfortunately, once again I am playing catch-up on my quilting.  I really thought I would get moving after my last post for National Quilting Day back in March.  Yes and no -- I did get started that week on cleaning up my buried cutting table and (once again) organizing my project piles.  With so many other things also going on, I didn't get all of that finished until the end of the month so didn't get back to work on projects until April.   However, rather than picking up on some of the in-progress stuff,  I began with some new things like: 

On Easter Sunday I made this little wool bunny ornament.  It's from the "Leaping Into Spring" pattern from Meetinghouse Hill Designs.  I had got the kit in March last year from Quilting In the  Country when they were cleaning out their retail store stock.  I have long envisioned making an Easter themed display using the wool bunny and these:

One day I want to try these wool and embroidered eggs by Susan Wojciechowski of Ewe-niversity.  I got this pattern but will have to wait until I either have fewer current projects cluttering the quilt space (because I REALLY don't need to add more to my "stash") or luck up on a really great sale on pastel wools.

However, cute as he is, now that I have made him up I realized that he's a little small for the display I had dreamed of!  I should have taken note of the fact that on the pattern cover, the bunny is pictured next to a seed packet which should have clued me in to his actual size, LOL!!  No matter, now that I am familiar with how to construct him, in the future  if I do get around to making those eggs, I'll enlarge the pattern and make a bigger bunny.

That said, as always the Quilt Gods were looking out for me because that same week the Quilting Arts/Quilting Daily blog  (re-)posted a pattern by Gudrun Erla for some quick and simple to make egg ornaments that can be made from scraps.  Since I was still egg-cited about the bunny finish, I decided to make those up to go with my new little friend.

These were cute and easy to make up.  For those of you that keep a year-round mini Christmas tree display (or have considered doing so), you might think about making these ornaments for an Easter themed tree.  Actually I've seen ornament patterns (like stars and pumpkins) that could be used for any number of other seasons so that is something that could be a seasonal decorating theme.

There's more of April's projects to come in the next post!