Sunday, August 28, 2011

Unpacking and Tidying

Today I'm unpacking all my sewing stuff from retreat last weekend and doing a bit of tidying. My portable Rowenta that I love and use all the time was bit by a power surge I think. I didn't have it plugged into the surge protector while at retreat. I'm going to get another one, I love it so much. It gets HOT and it's small - perfect for ironing blocks. My only complaint is that it gets so hot it takes a while to cool down.

I decided to throw the blocks I finished at retreat on my design wall. After all, that is what it's for, right? So in no particular order, here is where I'm at on Harvest. I'm using Christmas fabrics instead of the featured autumn colors. The rest of the pieces have been chained pieced and assembly should be quick once time is found. These blocks still need sashing (white) and cornerstones (black with red dots) but you get the general idea.
You can also see a peek at two other projects I'm working on here and there. One is my 2010 $5 quilt with the border fabrics laid over it and the other is very small glimpse of a Jo Morton project. Sadly my quilt shop has discontinued Jo's Little Women. In September, I'm going to join the Pioneer Women Sewing Circle led by the same instructor Jan Vaine but hosted at another shop. I've learned so much from her and enjoy these small (but not quick) projects.

I picked up Anniversary of the Hearts yesterday. Other than the hornbook I did last weekend, I have not stitched a stitch in 6 weeks. It felt good to be back to it and I stayed up late stitching. I have about 2/3 of the house for March completed.

I hope that everyone has a great week and that your stitches are happy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Retreat Weekend!

My retreat was last weekend. It was a BLAST! You'll just have to trust me because my camera battery was dead when I took it out to take the very first picture. I'm signed up for the next one in January. You can read about my previous one here. This time the General brought his wife with him and a 2 star General and his wife. They spent quite a bit of time with us. There were 27 Quilts of Valor that were donated to the base.

I haven't unpacked so I can't show you the blocks I made....and honestly there aren't a lot of them. There might have been a bit of socializing. I did all my chain piecing and trimming and all that stuff so I'm pretty ready to go on the quilt I'm making with Christmas fabrics.

I did have one stitching start and one stitching finish and it's the same project. Quick and easy to assemble!
Primer Hornbook
Primer Hornbook
40 Count Lakeside Linen Vintage Pearl Barley
Thread: Gloriana, Florimel, and Belle Soie

I'm still catching up on blog posts. I hope your stitches have been happy ones this week!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Busy Weekend But...

...not much to show for it! My friend Teresa and I are going to the Old Green Cupboard Retreat next weekend and I thought I'd finish cutting out an entire quilt. I took a free class for it a couple of weeks ago. Cutting is SO not my favorite thing so I generally cut a little bit and then sew a little bit. I was also inspired by Teresa (another Teresa, one I don't know in real life) and her very organized log cabin project box that she posted about on her blog Fabric Therapy. So this was a bit new for me. And boy, did it take a LONG time! I spent almost all day yesterday cutting fabric. I cut everything but some of the 1.5' sashing and the border. I had so much fun I almost don't want to sew the thing together.

I even separated my pieces by color! One of the good things that came out of this was the recognition that there is a lot more of the green in this jelly roll than I thought. I'll make an effort to use some of it in each block so I won't get stuck with using a lot of green in each block at the end. This quilt uses almost every strip of the jelly roll so there won't isn't a lot left over.
I even drew the lines for the triangles on the backs of 192 squares.
Not. Fun.
Though I'm sure I'll be very happy about it later!
Threw in my pattern, the extra background fabric, and my test blocks and I'm ready to go!
I'm curious, is this how most of you start a quilt? Cutting everything out?

Something I generally do all the time is label my fabric. I know me and my memory. I'll have no clue what I planned later on. I just don't finish quilts fast enough to remember.
I need to add "Border 2" to the red polka dot fabric.
Today was Greg's birthday so I started the day making him breakfast and then making sure he didn't do anything all day. It was hard. Then I went looking for a chart and absolutely tore up my sewing room doing so. It's still in bad shape but I found the chart and 7 out of the 8 monthly BOM packages. I hope I can find the last one. I also started pulling things for retreat and hope to have my quilting, knitting and stitching packed up by Tuesday night.

So a busy weekend with out anything to show for it. But I'm sure I'll be grateful for all the time spent prepping when next weekend comes along. So what did you do this weekend?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Leaf

I do still knit! As evidenced by the completion of my First Leaf Shawl! This project was one of my goals for this year so I'm happy to cross this one off the list.
First Leaf Shawl
Pattern: First Leaf by Brenda Patipa
Yarn Lisa Souza TImaru
Colorway: South Pacific
Needles: US6
Detail of Edging
I didn't get my points blocked uniformly but I'll do better next time and I don't expect it will be really noticeable when wearing. LOVED this yarn. The color repeats are so small that there wasn't any of the big pooling of colors that you sometimes see in hand knits. It didn't split at all either.

As far as that list I mentioned above, I think I may avoid a lot of what's left! There aren't any list police that I've seen lately so I think I'll be pretty safe. Happy Stitches!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Design Wall...

A few weeks ago I mentioned that we (and I mean Greg) were going to put a design wall up in my sewing room. After a brief delay due to illness, it's up! We did it on the cheap.

We bought sheet insulation from the big box home improvement store. They'll cut it to size for you there. We bought 3 sheets because I wanted it a bit bigger than the size of one sheet and since we mounted it slightly off the wall I wanted two thicknesses for stability. I think they cost about $10 each.
Greg first laid the sheets out in our living room to get an idea how they'd stack together.
After using a bit of white duck tape, Greg glued the sheet insulation together with construction glue. He thinks it was $5-$6 a tube. It dried pretty quickly.
Then we wrapped the flannel around the sheet insulation. I ordered 108" flannel online becauseI didn't want to have to piece it. I think it was $25. The flannel was then taped to the back with duck tape. We could have pulled it a bit more taut.
Since I didn't want it glued directly to the wall, Greg screwed in a very thin piece of wood to the studs ($5) top and bottom and then screwed the design wall into the wood. We covered the screw heads with little pieces of flannel.
Design Wall Complete!
You can see a slight line where the two pieces come together in the bottom half but I didn't want to use duck tape on the top side as I might need to use pins.
I was really glad I went with the flannel (thanks Karen Dianne) as it's held everything I put up there very well, including a small quilt top (one of my Jo's projects that is less than 24" square) without pinning. It measures about 6'x6' so I should be able to keep a lot on it. Maybe I'll finish up some of these projects if they're not out of sight! Right?!

I do have the some sheet insulation left over from having some of the length cut off. It'll be enough for me to make a mini portable design board like Lori uses. Living in Florida, I always have the ceiling fan on and it blows my smaller pieces of fabric around when I have them laid out in block formation.

In stitching news, there isn't any. I haven't stitched in over 3 weeks. Not sure why but I never picked it back up after being sick. I am knitting more and hope to have a picture of a finished project soon. I'm even feeling like casting on for another shawl....see, I'm still a knitter!

Thank you for all your well wishes after being sick. I'm fully recovered now, thankfully, and back in the groove of every day life. I hope all your stitches are happy!