Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Always a Work-In-Progress

Its been a while since I've posted. I feel like I have no time to sew, let alone post anything.
Because I've been busy. The ubiquitous excuse. Is it really true though?

My list of to-dos seems to just get longer and time seems like such a fickle thing. I feel like I never have enough, although I could recount to you the number of naps I've had last week (three- three NAPS!!! unbelievable, unheard of....) and I read the new Alan Bradley novel (great Canadian author, I mean, really, he had me when the first book I read opened with his main character imagining her funeral and all the people who would miss her- which come on, who hasn't- and the character's name is Flavia and she's eleven and likes to poison her sisters... need I say more). I feel guilty that I've been doing those things instead of blogging, but really come on, priorities people. Naps first, blogs last.

When I haven't been lounging around, I have been sewing some things though. I managed to finish two Sew Together Bags (downloaded the pattern from Craftsy here). There were a plethora of birthdays last week, like an epidemic really, and I thought some bags for each of the ladies who were having said birthdays would be a great gift.

Of course, I only managed to get a couple pics of the one I did for my friend (bad ones at that). She's a big Union Jack fan, so I pieced one together for the exterior and then used some fabric panels I had for the interior. The other bags were sewn under the wire and hastily thrown in gift bags and given away (I know, I put a bag into a gift bag, it felt ridiculous, but I did it anyway).

My sewing machine hates sewing through anything thicker than a piece of paper, so trying to do the bindings on these things was H-E-double-hockey-sticks. I have one left to go for my mother, although I'm not sure about the fabric selection for it (sigh).

Also, my eldest ripped the cover on his Pokemon card binder (surprise, surprise). So I said I'd recover it for him. I got a paper piece pattern off of Fandom In Stiches, and am trying to finish the rest for tomorrow when its Pokemon trading day at school (I know, I know, how on earth is Pokemon still a thing, but it is).

Then, THEN, ALL my fabric that I've been sending to my sister for the past like forever, finally muled it's way up here (seriously, I won't even tell you the amount of stuff they brought up for us- obscene really- and thankfully the customs lady was nice and only made them pay tax and duty on part of the goods, which was still waaaaay cheaper than shipping it all to us).

The Kool-Aid is for dying Easter eggs (even though Easter is over). I think that the Canadian rules for food dyes and artificial flavours is a lot more strict because I can't find half the Kool-Aid flavours here that you can find in the States- if I can find it at all (also the reason why there's no blue in Fruit Loops cereal up here- although for a limited time they have a special edition with the blue. Which I didn't buy for my children despite their cries that we never get any good cereal).

Anyway, part of the fabric haul was this delicious stack of In the Beginning Modern solids that I scooped up from Pink Chalk Fabrics. I have big plans for this. BIG PLANS!

And I'm glad that the weather is finally nicer and the boys can go out to play so I can sew in relative peace. Although they have just exported their atrocities to the outdoors now.

I'm calling it terrestrial terrorism, like Eco-terrorists, except they hurt the earth instead of protect it through random acts of destruction. Never mind we own a sandbox that sits not ten feet away from this dug up piece of turf. Put 'buy grass seed' on my list of to-dos....

So little time....
Linking up, because, you know, life... the eternal WIP.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, 11 April 2014

Star Wars: Episode- Done!

So I'll spare you all the Star Wars quotes and allusions this post. much as I can.

Finished it is! (promise only this one)

Yesterday I put the binding on and it and was done. Not a moment after, my son took possision of it. I almost didn't get any pictures. But pictures I have! (OK I lied, last one promise)

I used mainly Kona solids for this quilt and a grey Star Wars print that I found at my local fabric store. Usually, I find that novelty prints are not that great in quality, but this Star Wars fabric feels and drapes great.

I used patterns from Kristy at Quiet Play to create the faces (you can find them here). For the light saber and the Death Star I had to strike out on my own and create my own patterns to paper piece- old school, by drawing then out on paper (I really need to get some software to fix that). Anyway, look back here to see more of the genesis of this quilt.

When it comes to quilting I'm always caught between wanting to do very dense, complex quilting and wanting the quilt to be soft and comfortable (as dense quilting tends to make the quilt more stiff). In the end I did some straight line quilting on this quilt. I though striaght lines match the industrial feel of the greys, blacks, and blocks. I downloaded a Star Wars font and traced out my son's name on the quilt so that it's his (keeping in line with the fact that we put his name on everything, which helped yesterday when  he lost a boot at school).

For the light saber, I found this variegated thread at my local thread store, a.k.a. my mom's- really sometime remind me to show you her thread stash, it's epic. I have yet to get on the Aurifill bandwagon, mostly because I'm a spontaneous thread shopper and when I need thread I need thread like right now. And none of the shops around here carry Aurifill, so I've stuck with Gutterman. Is there really a difference? I'd love to know. Maybe one day I'll pony up the cash and have enough forethought to find out. Anyway, the thread provided a little variety to the red in the quilt.

I tried at one point to add some pink strips along the edge of the light saber to make it pop, but the man in charge vetoed that idea (ever since he wore a pink shirt to church and one of his friends told him he was wearing a 'girl' colour, he has shunned pink- grrrrrr, I'm not even going to voice my thoughts on that because not enough words can explain how I feel about someone teasing him that he is wearing pink...and, AND calling it a GIRLS colour... oh seriously, I have to stop here).

Deep breath.

So, I pulled a few props for some of the shots of the quilt (rest assured we have many, many Star Wars 'props' around here). It was great to see the pieced blocks up against the 'real' thing. They really look quite similar. I was afraid I had put too many or not enough lines on Yoda's face, but I think it worked out just right. If you're interested in how I did the faces, I put up a tutorial a while ago.

I'm so glad this quilt is done (never mind it was suppose to be done by Christmas). And it's the first finish on my new FAL Q2 list!! I feel like I deserve a ceremony- just insert me right along Chewbacca (video courtesy Jesse Mohler, YouTube).

Linking up with TGIFF and Quiet Play

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Finish Along Q1..I Mean Q2 List

So my list for this upcoming quarter for the the Finish Along, being hosted by Katy at The Littlest Thistle, looks a lot like the list that I posted for the first quarter. It is, it is exactly the same. Well, minus the finishes that is.

You see, today feels like spring outside, and perhaps, just perhaps, spring is on its way. And then summer. And we don't get a lot of summer. When summer comes you've got to take full advantage of that

Anyway, I decided I would be realistic this quarter (I know, I know, but I can manage to get my head out of the clouds once in a while) because I might not want to be stuck inside sewing (as much as I love sewing). And heaven knows I don't want the boys stuck inside (bad things start to happen).

So I've kept my list, and myself, to what I absolutely want and can accomplish this quarter. In other words, all the stuff I didn't manage to get done last quarter. My list is going long term, like more of a finish-it-all-over-the-four-quarters kind of thing. I'll just keep rolling over what I don't finish (which sounds ideal and pretty focused for me, so we'll see how long that lasts).

SO the list:

1. Star Wars quilt. Well, almost done. I have like two more lines of quilting and then I have to bind the sucker. My son has aided in its completion by periodically asking when it will be finished, periodically being like all the time. Hopefully, you'll see this finished this week. Friday is my deadline (but the sun is shining guarantees).

4. Clam quilt. Currently this project is on the design wall. It's coming... some more fabric that is. Every time I look at it this quilt it changes colours and design.

6. Union Jack quilt. Pulled the fabric out, looked at it, hated some of the fabric, needed more, bought more, now waiting for fabric... and time...

7. Disapearing 9-Patch quilt. Started this for fun. Promised it to my other sister. The top needs to be finished. The whole thing needs to be finished. I ordered some orange fabric for the back, even though my sister will hate the colour. Again, waiting for the fabric cartel pipeline to start funneling some backing fabric my way at the end of April (I CANNOT wait for the end of April, seriously).

8. Triangle quilt. I just need a backing to proceed on this quilt. I have probably bought more fabric this month than I ever have in my life (ordered online, coming to me, from my sister- end of April people, END OF APRIL!). But did I think to buy any for the back of this quilt. Nope. And now I have no money...

Also, the following projects aren't really part of the FAL and don't qualify for the prizes, but I'm keeping them around to remind me to get them done.

1. Oil landscape. See previous lists. I'm hoping summer and all the plants growing will provide some motivation and inspiration to just finish this piece.

2. Smokers. Again see previous list. They are sitting in a bin with a pile of paint and materials needed to finish them. The whole corner of my workspace is an eyesore. And it's taking up space. So this will probably get done soon.

And there you have it, the list for this quarter. Even if I never win anything for my finishes (cause seriously, there were like a million finishes for this last quarter- stop finishing things people, give me a chance), the FAL has been great for tracking my progress and urging me along.

So again, I will be linking up to the awesome Katy for the second quarter (of what feels like the second coming).

Finish Along 2014

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Stash and Scraps

Today I spent the morning going through my scraps, which then led to cleaning up the stash and trying to find spots for some of the more recent acquisitions. It's like trying to do renovations- one thing leads to another, which leads to another... You get the idea.
Scraps of Birds and Bees by Moda, Cat and the Hat by Robert Kaufman, and others that for the life of me I can't remember.

When it comes to my stash, fat quarters are my achilles heel. As in, I'm always picking up a few despite the fact that I have no plan in mind for them. Despite the fact that I always go to use them and need more- half the time they are useless to me!

Lately, I've been picking up... what you might call novelty prints. Fat quarter novelty prints of course!

Star Wars print. If you know what this is, or where I can get more, please tell me. I only bought a fat quarter...and now...yep, I need more!

I always have a soft spot for novelty prints,  and I have no idea where my desire for cute characters and pop culture images comes from, but it's there and I succumb to it every time.  (EVERY-dang-TIME!)

Wrens and Friends from Moda, Sasparilla by Riley Blake

I also find that my fat quarters lately have favoured a more pink/red colour scheme (call it my red phrase).

From left to right: unknown (because again, I only bought a fat quarter), Feathers by Alison Glass, Green Eggs and Ham by Robert Kaufman, and Crabby also by Robert Kaufman.

Look at the selvage- how cute is that!

And since I spent the day going through my stash, I thought I'd share (although you haven't even seen the shameful novelty fabric I have- think Star Trek.... I'm not even a trekkie or a fan for pete's sake!).

Linking up with the divine Molli for Sunday Stash.

Molli Sparkles

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

FAL Q1 Reckoning and WIP

So.... I made a huge list of things to be accomplished for the Finish Along 2014. I swore by my big fat jeans the list would get done and well, I lost five pounds and got a few done.

So... I'm counting that as a win. I think my list might have been a little ambitious anyway. Lots of projects will be carrying over that's for sure. So... I'm counting this list as a work in progress (a tenuous connection to be sure, but I'm doing it)!

So... here it is- the tally and the reckoning:

1. Reception quilt. Done! The FMQing was fun, not perfect, but fun. The whole quilt taught me a lot. It's now on its way to my sister.

2. Star Wars quilt. Well, almost done. I am currently trying to quilt it. Then it needs a binding. I hate bindings...

3. Feathers quilt. Done! And I really love this quilt. The fabrics are some of my favourites. And even Alison Glass liked it, eeek!

4. Clam quilt. Currently this project is on the design wall. It's been there a couple of weeks, just saying.

5. 241 Tote. Done! I love the bag, although it is a little small for my needs (see "I have kids" excuse). But the pattern was easy and great. My MIL has even requested one.

6. Union Jack quilt. Pulled the fabric and promised it to my sister. Still promised, still a stack of fabric. Sigh.

7. Disapearing 9-Patch quilt. Started this for fun. Promised it to my other sister. The top is almost done. Just waiting for the fabric cartel pipeline to start funneling some backing fabric my way at the end of April.

8. Triangle quilt. I re-purposed the cushion covers from the living room for this quilt. The top is finished on this one as well. I just need to find the perfect backing.

9. First quilt ever. Done and sitting on my second son's bed.

Now, the following projects aren't really part of the FAL and don't qualify for the prizes, but I'm keeping them around to remind me to get them done.

1. Oil landscape. So close to being done and then it got painted on (yes, I know it's a painting and is suppose to be painted on, but by me, not others (guess who?)) Still hanging up on the wall awaiting some attention.

2. Olliblocks. Suppose to be done for Christmas. Done and currently all over the upstairs living room floor.

3. Smokers. They burn incense and it looks like they are smoking. It's a German tradition. I have one for Halloween and one for Christmas. Again, almost done and then some unfortunate painting happened (this time by the other guess who). Still have the unfortunate painting. Really hoping I'll get these ones done before Halloween or Christmas this year.

4. Log tables. Done, and I would love to say that our living room is no longer a jungle gym, but to boys couches are trampolines. On a bright note, I've only had to warn the boys off of them a few times (I thought it would be like a million times a day). The crack in one of the logs has widened as it has dried, which makes a perfect slot to stick a sword in to reenact a Sword in the Stone scene (or Lego to get caught in). But they are great conversation starters!

So not too terrible of a quarter. I wish all my projects were done. I also wish I had  million dollars too so...until next time, linking up with everybody this morning (Katy, Lee, and Lorna- oh yes, I can and I will)!

Sew Fresh QuiltsFinish Along 2014WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced