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42.6 Whirlwind spring before whirlwind local quilt show

July 10, 2018

I have been more on a board game and video game kick as of late, so my sewing has been limited in scope this year. Not to mention time spent in my garden which is finally now paying off pretty well with pretty flowers, landscaped border and a few herbs, tall tomato plants, tall pepper plants, and a cucumber plant.

I decided to put myself in charge of quilt drop off and pick up, creating, distributing, collecting new quilt forms for all the quilts hanging in the show, organizing the quilt rack layout, and hanging the quilts for the local quilt show.

This responsibility has caused much panic on my end, I have had to get up and speak in front of the guild every single guild meeting. Sometimes, the panic has been because I have been less prepared beforehand. In addition to panicking about panicking about the whole thing. Don’t ask. I am not sure exactly myself.

The show was just over a week ago, and I feel like I have prepared for, and just ran, a marathon. Or half. At least half, right?

Luckily, the show is every other year. Next year, we only need to work for the much larger regional festival. Which is its own time commitment.

The local show, quilt wise, is set up like this. We only have 3 categories, a small, medium, and large quilt category. No juries, no voting, everyone usually gets their quilts into the show without issue. Sometimes we are bargaining with people to please put in quilts into the show at the last minute because we don’t have as many entries as we would want.

We also have a featured quilter, someone who has a large body of work who will display many of their quilts from years past. Usually they get their own section, and tell their quilt story.

The last two shows we have added a challenge quilt section, where we make something with specific parameters. This current challenge was the theme “summertime” and the dominant and secondary colors are blue and red (can you tell?) with one side of 16″.

For the show itself, we have no judges, but the most liked three in our three categories get a viewer’s choice award.

As for the quilts of my own, I always intend to take pictures of all the quilts, but less confident that I did this year with everything going on. I can’t find pictures of two of my quilts.

Which is sad because it means I may have forgotten to get pictures of an entire row of quilts. Which is my original job, to be the unofficial guild historian.

 

 

My challenge quilt was this one. Based from a 2017 BOM called Caught Ya from Craftsy. It’s called Red Rattle Traps and it for certain means summer to me. I poked myself hard one one of those fishing hooks, so before the show I hot glued the ends. Rather than fish, they are supposed to be lures to catch fish.

We also had a charity portion of the show. We set up a boutique and proceeds go to two local sources.

There was talk of manning the booth for a local festival for the leftover pieces from the boutique to further help the charities involved.

I did not get a picture of the guild garage sale during the show. Our guild typically does not swap fabric pieces throughout the year, so it falls on the local garage sale for our quilters to purge their currently unused stash.

Well, after a full strange week at work after the show, I was glad to finally have a weekend of low responsibility for once. Finally, finally, finally. Hopefully I remembered to get all my stuff done for the show, i took copious notes before-hand and more afterwards about what worked and what didn’t.

It’s hard to work so hard in the middle (early) July when it’s brutally hot.

Next time (2020) I don’t know if I will be blessed to be able to take the whole week off because of the weekend of the show might more readily align with the 4th of July weekend. For my role, it was essential that I do so to be able to get everything done and to try to mitigate stress as much as possible.

Once I knew the quilts were hung, my stress level went way way down because then, I just had to show up and help during other portions of the show, and not make too many decisions.

There was a funny time where for 2-3 hours we didn’t know where one light switch was. Which caused a whole row of quilts to be hung in the dark (mostly) during that time. Which was too bad because that was where our mini quilts were hanging. Later, the light was not an issue and now I have notes on how to do it for next time too!

 

 

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42.5 Trimming up the last week of March A Long

March 23, 2018

It’s been a sorta boring month during the March A Long. I have been dutily trimming up these leftover squares every morning all month long.

I never knew that I had so many pieces to trim!

It’s been fun motivating myself to get to work as of late. I am glad I am finally taking care of this!

But, you guys, I came up with a cool round for the medallion quilt I am working on! So this is incredibly motivating me further. A little bit of YouTube video in the morning, a timer, and enough timevto squeeze in 12 + minutes before work, and some times the full 15. I even have been trimming when I get home if I felt like I was shorting myself out.

 

All the grey and orange pieces shown have been trimmed during the month of March. Plus another 96 pieces of other orange pieces not shown here.

Calculating all the pieces, I have trimmed since March:

The grey / grey border pieces are 6 X 9 X 4 pieces (one side not pictures for sewing purposes), or 216

The middle orange pieces are 7 X 4 or 28

The orange pieces on the side are 33 + 1 miscut piece

The grey / grey pieces 2.25 inches are 77

The grey /grey pieces that were sewn too small measuring 2 inches are 35

The original orange pieces not shown here are 96 I believe.

So, if I do my math right, I have trimmed up during the 15 minutes of sewing in March: (drumroll please)

 

486

 

Wow! That’s a lot of trimming, about 500 pieces trimmed up in March! Dang! This doesn’t include the light grey pieces I cut up to go with the half square triangle pieces.

Now to go through the task of sewing these pieces together. Maybe I will work on that this afternoon. See what motivation can be found in getting a large task off your back if done in really really small chunks! This was (mostly) with all “found time” that I wouldn’t have been sewing — okay I admit to probably doing a little more on the weekends, but dang! That’s a lot of trimming up!

What have you been doing in March A Long? Have YOU been doing the 15 minutes of sewing? Can you get a monkey off your back as well and work out something you keep putting off and putting off and putting off just like I have?

Or can you accelerate your thinking about your own quilting project even more than you already have?!

Thanks so much for playing along guys! I am very proud if you do for 1 day or for all 31!

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42.4 Pi Day in March A Long 2018

March 14, 2018

I finally have time to sit and write a blog post. The sun is finally shining for the second day in a row, the weather is nice, and it is 3-14 otherwise known as 3.14 or pi day as of late (American date style, I guess).

For March A Long, (or is it March-A-Long or is it March Along?) we are encouraging each other to sew for 15 minutes every day!

Anyway, I am so excited for the many people who are joining in sewing for 15 minutes every day, or at least trying to! When I first put up the post, I got a quick comment about how someone couldn’t make themselves ONLY do 15 minutes a day!

That’s super inspiring!!! Super unrealistic for me personally, but I am so stoked that I have at least one person I know that sews for more than that every day!! Probably more than that one person, in actuality.

I have heard more than one person who started setting up their 15 minutes and then kept going a little bit for several days in a row!

You are all inspiring! Check out by doing a quick search of the word #marchalong or #sqmarchalong on your favorite social media sites, and see what everyone else is up to!

For my part of doing March A Long, I have gave myself a rather boring and uninspiring task.

Trimming.

The little grey pieces in the picture on the design wall. Yeah, I’ve been trimming those up to something resembling square.

I decided to go with 2.25 each half square triangle. The most interesting I first thought to do was to put them on my wall like the picture above.

But then because I started working more on trimming the dark parts, I started putting them up in the design and I like this idea better than just plain diamonds.

So now I am going to try to make this work for a round on my medallion quilt.

Earlier last month I was attending a quilting retreat and all these yellow and orange squares I was making for a mystery quilt (Charlotte Hawkes Quilts) I am working on and I had to show off my matchy-matchy colored snacky.

This was the set of blocks I made too big because I didn’t follow the directions. But No Pie here.

Last fall I attended a retreat and put together a pie quilt of watermelon pie. Well Not exactly, but if you squint or don’t think about it too much, this Dresden quilt can be considered to be made of pie with the coloration of watermelon (my inspiration)

Which is actually the only pi I got right now.

Last night I gave a “short presentation aka update” on the guild opportunity quilt which I have designed, and I showed them that I wrote the pattern a second time for these blocks I made last fall.

It was the first time that several of the guild members received the instructions. I don’t know what about it made me so nervous about it.

Did I share that I had so many water melon pie pieces left that I have enough pie for a whole other quilt?

I hope this update is much more exciting than just a small bunch of triangle blocks, which has been the true and real update of what’s been happening in my sewing room since the last time I posted at the beginning of March!

Anyway, I am inspired to keep on sewing! Here’s looking forward to another half of the month that we can get our 15 minutes in every day! #marchalong

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42.3 Are you ready for March-A-Long?

February 28, 2018

Are you ready for March-A-Long?

Wait! I am not! Not really. We will make do this first few days this month.

Every year I like to “host” a month (March) where we encourage each other to sew for 15 minutes a day! This includes the weekdays, which I am terrible at sewing.

Somehow every year February gets shorter.

This year something grinded into the normally “well oiled gears” (aka something dramatic happened in personal life) and made this year even less prepared than ever to host March A Long.

No Pictures. Well maybe this one.

Something happened to the font size when I went to save it and I can’t understand what or why to fix it. New to me “graphics program”. (art originally done by my friend LynAnne in the background)

Anyway, if we want to encourage each other to sew for 15 minutes a day each day in march we can do so by using the hashtag: #marchalong in posts.

If people get creative and share, I can share back what others are doing.

I am not picky on what we call sewing for 15 minutes a day. While actual sewing is nice, sewing in the mind (planning/designing/looking on pintrest etc) will all count as well as the essential tasks of fabric shopping, cutting, tracing patterns.

I am not yet sure what I am going to do for March 1st (tomorrow as I type this), but I will come up with something. I may get my blocks out on my design wall and start planning out the wedges I have to make for my tilted blocks.

Or I could spend 15 minutes towards cutting down my dog-ears on my latest project.

I do have lots to share, and I may have to jump ahead a few months just to be more current and then double-back to catch up on sewing projects. I don’t understand why I make this blog posting thing so hard sometimes.

Talk to you more the next few weeks for sure!

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42.2 Making Lanyards for the Guild Show

November 24, 2017

We decided to change the way we were doing our charity project for our upcoming guild show in 2018. We used to make a quilt (or other) and put it up for silent auction to be given to the highest bidder at the end of the show. Instead we are going to make things to “buy it now” – to borrow a phrase from ebay.

Somehow, this flipped a switch in my brain to say – make boutique like items.

Also my old lanyard was starting to look gunky after several years of use, and I decided to make myself some lanyards, at least one for me, and the rest I can make for the guild for the charity portion of the show.

In the meantime, last June, at the Kansas City show, I saw the vendor Project Lydia. I had seen them before.

They are a group of ladies who make colored beads out of very thin strips (triangles) of magazine paper, and then string them into bracelets and necklaces.

From their website:

Project Lydia is an economic development project that lifts women out of the worst of poverty, restores purpose, hope, and dignity. All our paper beaded necklaces, bracelets and jewelry are made out of recycled material.

And I have put my necklace I purchased from them as my own lanyard for the time being. Sorry for the poor quality picture.

I’ll take you through how I am making these lanyards if you decide to make one of your own. I like the Project Lydia piece, but as it is beads and I use this daily, I have had a poor experience where I had a handmade beaded necklace break in the middle of the hallway when using my badge.

Next to the beaded lanyard is a strip. I start my strips for my new lanyards as 2″.

I then fold towards the middle twice. Actually one fold in the middle.

Open the strip up again, and refold to the new middle line that is just pressed in.

I then take some sort of stabilizer. I already had this with the lines on it for a project long ago abandoned.

I cut just under an inch, about 1/8 inch less than an inch, so that would make it 7/8″.

And I slip it into the middle of the opened up strip, trim it up.

I don’t honestly know exactly how necessary it is for the stabilizer. I have chosen batik fabrics for my lanyards as a good chance for the ends not to unravel.

The next part of this, I fold everything back up, press it again and sew it down. Don’t worry, I forgot to take a picture of this part so I decided to slip it under the presser foot so you could see.

And most of my lanyards are at this stage right now!

The next part of this is the tricky bit that gets rid of the cut edges from being exposed.

I unloosen some of the end stitches on each side, and open up the lanyard about half an inch. I decided to reach in with my scissors and cut just a small wedge on ONLY the inside piece.

Repeat on the other side.

I then decided to notch the front folds just a little bit to help reduce the bulk here.

Then, we turn inside out the very end tip, pushing from the back side, and then using fingers to press this all down. A spritz of water helps with this process. If you see below, there is a fold towards the inside of the very little section (maybe a fourth of an inch) of the end piece.

Definitely fiddle with this to get it flat and then sew down the edges.

How they go with the lanyard pieces.

The reason I start with 2 inch strip is that my lanyards have about a 3/4″ flat space. I purchased them on Etsy about 5 or 6 years ago. This size of strip lays flat exactly with this size of lanyard piece.

For the folding of the lanyard, I chose the best looking side to go through the lanyard piece.

Then next to the back side of the lanyard – OUTSIDE the lanyard, I place the other side, making sure the lanyard is flat all the way through the fabric portion. This is folded back toward the main part of the fabric.

The first piece is now folded over to match the previously folded piece.

Be sure to give yourself a large enough “tail” here. You want to be able to have enough space for your presser foot to be able to reach on both pieces of fabric and also NOT hit the metal portion of the lanyard.

Sew many times back and forth as this is going to have a lot of strength on it. Make sure you sew or correct the last part of the tail that was previously un-stitched by one of the previous steps. For the one in my tutorial, I made the full length of the lanyard a “little bit longer” than I normally like.

Here’s the end stitching.

This shows how it looks from the side.

I should have cut this down a little more. This was done at width of fabric from the original piece, so it started as a 40-42″piece. If I had wanted a shorter one, I would have cut it before folding in the ends. I can work with this long of lanyard just fine. I just hope someone else will like this length too.

Since most of the rest of my lanyards haven’t turned in the sides, I can rectify this for the future pieces. I think we need to get this to the proper length, also taking into account that there will be about 3-4 inches taken up by the bottom section folded over.

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42.1 Fabric Refolding During Watching Dr Who and Sewing Room Organization

November 17, 2017

I started watching Doctor Who when it was on BBC America during the episode “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone.” What was this that the woman in the series kept counting down, and she couldn’t open her eyes, and these scary creatures who only moved when you weren’t looking?

Anyway, since then, I have been pretty hooked! We watched the episodes of Eccleston and Tennant, and I even said, “hey, isn’t that the guy from Harry Potter? as the bad guy from one of the middle books.” These were watched haphazardly, back and forth, and one at a time. I was loving the energy of Smith, and catching up as I was getting along.

After this last series with Peter Capaldi leaving us fairly soon, and a very long, dry year (<9 months, I hope) before regular, steady episodes to be coming out, I decided this was the fall to rewatch the television series in order from when they came out in 2005.

Why talk about this with a quilting blog? Well, it was a constant background this late summer/early fall to my fabric refolding project.

Earlier this year, I took a picture of my cutting station. You can see on the right side a lot of fabric on the wire shelves where I used to store ALL my fabric. And under my cutting station, I have stacked two shoe racks found at either the container store or home depot that I had purchased over the years. The top is just an ikea tabletop and the whole thing just sits there, behind which is my batting that is not designated into various projects yet.

On the left side of my picture, you may be able to see, or not, that I have scraps of various sizes cut up and ready to use.

Right now my 5 inch squares of cool colors are bulging and ready to use. I can usually pull out easily a 5″ square for anything I wish. I think I may decide to do a quick scrap quilt with 5 ” squares and white borders.

I was looking at the other parts of this setup and figuring out how likely it could be to refold my fabric so it wasn’t so tight and narrow and slide it into the various sections of my shoe dividers.

So I took my fabric out, section by section, put on Doctor Who in the background, mainly going from the beginning of “new Who” – starting in 2005 episodes, and background binge watch 134 episodes once I figured out some of the timing of some of the specials. Thank goodness to Amazon Prime that has this available to watch!

I unfolded fabrics and refolded fabrics. Ironing most, straightening up edges that needed straightened up, cutting up and creating more 5″ squares. Here’s my neutrals side that I have built up over the years.

And here is my fabric color side. Bottom so purples and multicolors, and ombre colors, and black and whites, and blues and blue-greens.

I still have a place to stash my fabric scissors, my blue tape (magic), my extra 1 gallon and 2 gallon baggies. Also reds and pinks and yellows.

Surprisingly this is most of my fabrics. Now my wires can house my finished tops and basted tops & bottoms.

I am thinking of relocating my fat quarters into a different area, but that would require removing them from the sections. OF COURSE, I decided this AFTER I got about everything put back into place.

I do have some repurposed DVD shelves that we weren’t using, so they found their way into the sewing room as well. I am thinking as I get out fabrics to use, as I put them away, I will sort them into fat quarter size or less, and half yards and higher. The half yards work well here in the shoe racks, and the fat quarters should work on the DVD rack once they are folded again to the right size.

Back a year ago, I decided not to move my thread rack. I had bought several of these tubs with the locking tops and they work well in my closet, and so for my large thread spools I have kept them in place.

Maybe I will pull them back out later, but if so, they will go somewhere else other than a thread rack.

My little spools I keep getting extra gifts from my aunt and a few times it has been small spools of thread.

I found a littler version of my other bins for the small spool storage.

Here are the bins that have now replaced what I used to use gallon bags for.

My UFO’s live here on the side of my closet and I even found some larger ones at Menards that fit perfectly with the other bins. There is plenty of fabric found here on the side as well. The other side of my closet is almost the same. I was going to try to get the larger sized boxes that fit a 12×12 block and perhaps I still will, but I keep missing the sale on these boxes that I saw one time.

Also this year, I lost the zipper pull on my main small vinyl bag that housed my most used supplies for traveling. This would be things like my glue stick, seam ripper, hand sewing needle, and so on and so forth.

So I purchased this in a set of makeup bags on amazon, and I am liking it so far, seems to be a good substitute that hopefully will be able to survive some abuse.

I haven’t still felt after a year of getting everything exactly the way I want it in my sewing room. I still use a rickety laptop table for my machine proper, which the benefit of is that it can wheel up next to my computer desk to make sewing more accessible from my computer.

This will eventually either be replaced with a handmade sewing table or a Sew-Ezi table. This works and works well until I start sewing fast and then if the machine isn’t sitting exactly right, it wobbles.

I have been thinking of reorganizing my sewing room. My cutting table is just a half an inch too narrow for my full cutting mat. If I can give up the large amount of space in the middle of the room that is (mostly) untouched, then I could upsize my cutting table, switch my current cutting table to my sewing machine.

But I am not ready for this as of yet. So a nice start is Doctor Who  and folding fabric that I have already done. I am not a quick one to make quick decisions. Quick decisions don’t normally work very well for me, but eventually I may reorganize more and differently. I don’t currently find I use my portable mini design wall. And when I do put something there, I look right past it for a couple of weeks trying to find it.

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42.0 Designing a quilt for the guild

November 10, 2017

Every other year our guild is making an opportunity quilt – sorta like a raffle quilt – for the guild. Our current one will be drawn for in a few more weeks.

Here is our current guild opportunity quilt that is just about out the door!

We used Tula Pink’s Modern quilt blocks in greys and blues. Bordered in green to help get the blocks to the correct size, and then grey sashing with subtly darker cornerstones. We were making these blocks from our own guild’s stash, and it turned out great because there is such variety in the colors used.

We did this with expressed permission from Tula Pink, and specific instructions for guild members with the patterns involved. Which makes sense for the designer to protect their own copyright.

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Somehow for the next opportunity quilt, we were having a guild discussion and, sorta because I through out a question or two, I sorta attached my name out there for designing/picking the next one we do as a guild.

We won’t have to have the quilt fully made until like January or February of 2019, but I am trying to think early, think ahead on this.

Something about this project was nagging me. I spent a good chunk of time looking through quilt block books, scrap quilt books, this year.

I have been spending time flipping through my quilt-block calendar.

I usually flip through this and leave it up on a block that I would like to make, like the one in the picture above.

I went through lots of designs on electric quilt 7 and just spent time thinking and thinking and planning and planning.

I printed out several different types of quilts that would be fun to do.

I had some time away from my computer and away from Electric quilt. During the times I was away, I used my book of 1000 quilt blocks, and my calendar and started sketching by hand on my moleskin, and used my good coloring pencils for some design inspirations.

A few days I couldn’t find my moleskin and I used this sketchbook to get a generic idea for other blocks.

As you can see, I like the grid work already done, everything is much better attended to.

Something about this block drawing and coloring is very soothing.

I think some of these would be nice to add into Electric Quilt and then explore some other color ranges.

I also think I zeroed in on some designs that won’t work well with a mixed group, but will work better as a non-scrappy quilt, that I am saving for myself. Tell me a better way to start and desire to make many many more quilt starts?!

I was attempting to figure out what blocks would be interesting enough that one would want to purchase a chance at, but also easy enough to have people work towards the quilt together, that will work as things with their stash.

I kept coming back to a quilt design that I had done a while ago. That I had altered a while ago. A quilt block called Aunt Sukey’s Choice.

Over and over, I saw this design and kept thinking it would work!

I was able to make one block for the quilt, and I even showed it off to the guild. A guild member had a good suggestion about the middle portion being one piece instead of four smaller pieces and reworking the white sections nearby. I like this idea and it will help simplify the quilt a bit.

I tend to work in “cool color pallets” or “warm color pallets” when doing scrappy quilts.

I ended up reworking this quilt a little bit after showing it off to the guild. The one I had shown to the guild was just blue and green alternating. I was leaning towards cool colors anyway.

But If I think of this quilt block as a sort of “nine patch”, the half square triangle sections could look just as good in reverse as they do pointed out. And alternating reverse blocks with non reverse blocks would be good design in and out and have a good direction to the the quilt.

So this is my rework of this design, which, for the moment, I am calling Sukey’s Reverse.

I am going to write up directions to the quilt, This is the same block but with different colors and a reverse section next to a non-reverse section. Nothing harder than what was already done.

I am giving myself the option to use a small amount of sashing that could fit in between blocks with dark blue cornerstones if the quilt blocks are not squared up correctly.

A suggestion has been to get members to upsize the blocks and then cut down to the correct size before putting together. Also we could assign the half square triangle blocks to someone, and the four patch blocks to someone, and we could cover the various amounts of skill needed for the quilt.

If we’re smart, we can do this out of our stash.

I kept getting told to use a block or pattern that was either free or get permission to buy the book. And depending on my pattern writing skills, my guild members may ALL agree in the end. But this is what I wanted to do from the outset, take something familiar and then make something new with it.

If this pattern is already out there and possibly popular, please let me know, but this was something I truly created from a block pattern and a good design program. I am liking the blues on all the outside blocks, and the other colors on all the inside blocks I think this will ground the quilt but also have a nice variety of colors and interest and fabrics!