Monthly Archives: September 2010

Pookie’s Works In Progress

So, I’ve finished Darla (maybe you’ve heard?) — now what? I have a whole slew of works in progress, none of which are screaming out to me, “Finish me! Finish me!” I’ve been puttering along on a bunch of them, waiting for inspiration to strike. But the ones that are highest priority seem to be Henrik Jane and Dalarnananana.

Henrik Jane (Sept 2010)

Pattern: Chippewa Nine-Patch by Minick & Simpson; Fabric: Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey

I thought Henrik Jane was really on a roll when I put those two blocks of nine-patches together. Then I looked at the pattern and realized I need to make 25 of those blocks. Sigh. But hey, once those 25 blocks are done, it’s all downhill from there, right? Right? I also discovered that I haven’t even cut up samples of all the fabrics to be working into the nine-patches. Me so smrt. I think I have the project on the right track now, though, as I’ve decided instead of making nine nine-patches and attaching them, I’ll make one 81-patch. I don’t think that will be faster, but at least it’ll cut down on the number of individual trips to the ironing board.

Dalarnanana (Sept 2010)

Pattern: Dalarna from Quiltmania; Fabric: Rouenneries by French General

Dalarnananana is like Henrik Jane’s total opposite. No bright colors, no square piecing, no shortcuts on pressing. In that respect, the two projects play very well together. I discovered, to my complete surprise, that Dalarnananana is actually a quarter finished! Who knew?! I have 50 of 200 blocks done! At this rate, it’ll only take me four years to finish it. That doesn’t seem too bad at all, really. Seriously, though, the problem with this project is that I go on binges where I make four or eight blocks in the blink of an eye and then suddenly, half-way through the next set of blocks, it’ll feel like pulling teeth. I don’t know what it is, if the color palette gets boring, or worrying about making all the points meet up is too exhausting, or what, but it happens every time.

Fortunately, there’s a project like Cheeky Dracula to distract me.

September 13, 2010

Pattern: Dresden plate; Fabric: Everything Halloween (heh)

There’s nothing dull about this puppy! I have four of nine plates constructed, and one appliqued to its backing. I have a feeling that if I buckled down and worked only on this, it would be done in no time. But I’m trying to hold off on it until the hockey season starts and it feels sufficiently Autumn-y around here. Also, I’m inexplicably terrified of what to do about the centers, since I think I need to use interfacing on the centers with white backgrounds. And I don’t know what I’m doing about sashing. This is kind of a flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants project, which is pretty fun and refreshing.

Another “I don’t really know what I’m doing” project is “Farmdale of the Dale”:

Farmdale of the Dale (Sept 2010)

Pattern: Flying geese-ish zigzag: Fabric: Farmdale, Bella solids (“Country Red”), and assorted prints

This is my first scrap quilt and my first self-designed quilt. I saw a really cool zigzag flying geese quilt on Quiltindex.com and decided it would be superfun to try. Then I saw Alexander Henry’s Farmdale line and feel head-over-heels in love. Then I looked at the shelves in the living room groaning under the weight of all the fabric I’ve bought in the last 2 years and though, “Man, I really need to start using that stuff up before buying new stuff!” So then it hit me — why not make a cool zigzag flying geese quilt using the adorable Farmdale apples and all kinds of autumnal prints from the stash? I’ve wanted to make a scrap quilt, but I know I have a terrible eye for color. I really wanted to make this quilt with lots of browns, even though the background for the apples is black. Fortunately, affirmation that a black and brown quilt isn’t a totally terrible idea came in the form of a gorgeous quilt in the background of a scene from “Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman”. I guess we can’t all find inspiration in cool places, can we?

Overall, I’m pleased with how Farmdale is looking, but it is a little stressful to not really know if it’s going to end up looking like the vision I have in my brain. I guess I’ll just have to keep plugging along with all those 3″ half-square triangles until I get more blocks done. In the meantime, I can dabble in less stressful things, like this confection:

Dolly Dresses (Sept 2010)

Pattern: ???? by Jo Morton; Fabric: Dolly Dresses by Holly Holderman

Thanks to the bubblegum pink in this, I’m calling it “Bazooka City”. This quilt is a joy to work on. The fabrics are adorable, the blocks easy-to-construct, the cutting painless. The only problem is I’m making the quilt larger than the pattern and I have a thousand-and-one fat quarters to use. I did the math in the beginning and think I have enough, but… Well, let’s just say I’m not totally confident in my math abilities. My favorite part of this pattern is the border of 6.5″ squares around the outside. I’m afraid if I cut up all the bits for the blocks, I won’t have enough for the border, and vice versa. I could just sit down and do the math again, but that seems like too much work. So, dabbling is all I’ll do on this one for a little while.

Speaking of stupid hang-ups, here’s Taffy City!

Taffy City (Sept 2010)

Pattern: Saltwater Taffy by RJR; Fabrics: Everything But the Kitchen Sink VI

This quilt is fun and easy and satisfying to piece, and I have a quarter of the blocks done, and I’m actively looking forward to having it and it’s 30’s charm on my bed, but… I haven’t cut all the white pieces yet. I’m almost out of the stash I’ve got. Cutting them is a total pain because it requires a template. ::heavy sigh:: I’ll have to do it at some point, but I’m thinking maybe over Christmas vacation, when I’ll have lots of other downtime to make up for the hours I have to set aside for cutting, tracing, and cutting again a billion white triangles and trapezoids.

Speaking of annoying cutting, it’s “Whirlygig City”!

Whirlygig City (Sept 2010)

Pattern: Whirlygig by Thimbleblossoms: Fabric: Simple Abundance by Bonnie and Camille (?)

I actually have made progress on this since my last report. I think I’ve attached four whirlygigs and made up four more. That’s progress! The fact that I still need to cut and make 4,000,000,000 more shouldn’t detract from that!

I have made no progress since my last report on either “Broken Dishes” or “Red Letter Day”:

Broken Dishes and Red Letter Day (Sept 2010)

I’m afraid Broken Dishes might be taking Darla’s spot as “The Quilt That Is Never Going To Be Finished”.

So, that’s where things stand (along with a Christmas scrap quilt I’ve technically stitched a little bit on and a slew of shared projects). So many fabulous projects to work on, so many ideas of what other projects I want to do, and so much excitement for the hand-quilting class we’re all taking on Sunday! Now if only I didn’t have to go to pesky old work and could just sit at home quilting all day long!

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Oh. Em. Gee.

I’ve been dreaming of the day I could write this post for months, but now that it’s here, I’m almost too overwhelmed to know what to say! In fact, I’m so overwhelmed that the day I could write this post has been since a week ago and I’m only now sitting down to write…

I finished the quilt top for Darla!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! ::passes out::

Here it is in all it’s finished-quilt-top glory.

September 7 2010

I almost can’t believe it’s finished — I’ve been working on it on and off for a year and a half! That’s a year and a half of cutting out, marking, hand-piecing, and pressing over 2,200 pieces of fabric. I almost think I might miss this project it’s been such a constant in my quilting life!

There were definitely moments when it seemed like one of those projects that would never, ever be finished. I just hoped no one would ever look under the pile of scraps of batting in the corner of the dining room to find the pizza box full of Darla strips, nor would they look in the back of the stash closet in the guest room to find the stack of neglected finished blocks. Of course, I knew it was there, the telltale stack of fat quarters haunting me every time I started a new project. I’d get all gung-ho about getting this project off the books and in six weeks I’d hammer out three of the 16 blocks. “I’ll finish this quilt in no time,” I’d think, “and then I can work guilt-free on however many new projects as I want!” and then mere moments later I’d realize if I ever saw another 1 1/2″ square of red gingham again it would be too soon. Finally I hit a groove with the final three blocks and I stopped focusing on how much I hated attaching those stupid squares at the ends of every strip, and starting focusing on how awesome it would be to be able to post “I finished the quilt top for Darla!”

The motivation was evidently enough because last Monday night (two days after the deadline I set for my birthday the last time I got a bee in my bonnet to finish it, way back in April) I was able to shout to the world, “I finished the quilt top to Darla!”

Say, have I mentioned I finished the quilt top to Darla?

P.S. The pattern is Sandy Klop’s “Crisscross Quilt” and the fabric is Tanya Whelan’s “Darla”.

{Posted by Pookie}

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Now That It’s Fall (Read: “The New Year”), It’s Time To Take Stock Of My Quilting

I am horribly lazy about organizing any aspect of my life; I’m one of those people who has giant heaps of crap all over the place, but claims to be able to find anything anywhere on command (whether that’s true or not varies from situation to situation). I’ve recently had to admit, though, that my scattershot approach to keeping track of my quilting is totally not working. I have a stack of four plastic “pizza boxes” that I keep next to my seat on the couch, and that’s where my projects get haphazardly sorted. It’s also the place where finished quilt blocks or segments go to die. In the last few months I’ve managed to panic about losing significant portions of two group projects and one of my own quilts. Confronted with an extended holiday weekend, I decided the time was right to sort through the boxes, get all the quilts matched with their appropriate components, and take stock of what I’m really actively working on. It turns out that I have 17 (!!!!) quilt projects I currently consider “active”, but not including the three group (or “quilt factory”) projects Boomer, Pookie and I are doing, the quilt top I’ve set aside for my first hand-quilting undertaking, the entirely-finished-but-for-the-binding Christmas quilt up in the guest room closet, the Three Sisters kit from Fat Quarter Shop that I’m going to cut into next week, and the Massive, Self-Designed, Inspired-By-A-Picture-From-The-V-&-A Pineapple Quilt that I’m still figuring out how to draw the pattern for, the following is a catalog of my in-progress works.

Fuddowsweet

This is Fuddowsweet. It’s the “log cabin” (I think it’s more “housetop”) pattern from Kaffe Fassett’s Quilt Romance, a pattern I’ve already rendered once in French General’s “Rouenneries”. I so enjoyed this project that I not only earmarked it for Sandi Henderson’s “Meadowsweet”, but I excitedly chose this as the project I wasn’t going to be allowed to start until the Devils lost in the playoffs. It was meant to be a way to sweeten the blow of the Devils’ annual failure, but it mostly served to make my beloved team’s March swoon and April suck-fest even more interminable because all I wanted was the stupid team to just lose already, so I could get started on Fuddowsweet. It was motoring along until I came upon a minor cutting error, and I’ve been distracted by enough shiny objects since then that it’s a bit in a state of stall.

Cotton Candy Blooms

This is “Cotton Candy Blooms”, a kit from Fat Quarter Shop that uses Chez Moi’s “Hunky Dory”. Like Fuddowsweet, this project just screamed “wonderful springtime colors!” when I saw it online, and I breathlessly awaited the day it would shift from the “coming soon” section of FQS to the “new arrivals”. As soon as it was delivered to my door, I had Pookie cut into it for me, and then I discovered that the entire gist of the pattern is strip-piecing. Little skinny strips of fabric. Sigh. I’m trying not to be as machine-sewing averse as I used to be, so I was all, “FINE. I’ll do it.” I got a few strips in, and Boomer finally told me to step aside, and she’d take care of it. The strips are all finished now, but it’s not springtime pink outside anymore. I still love this quilt (especially now that the machine piecing is done), but while it’s still in my “active” pizza boxes, it’s realistically not going to get worked on much before this coming winter.

Top Secret Diamonds

You know that feeling when you’re overwhelmed by how many projects you’ve got started, and you’re sort of ashamed of how much you’ve spent on fabric recently, and you vow that you’re not going to buy any new projects until you finish at least two more entire quilts, but then you stumble across a fabric you just can’t live without? That was me and Alexander Henry’s “Farmdale”. My workaround for the “I’m not buying anything new until I finish more quilts” promise was to convince myself that it doesn’t count if I buy the fabric for someone else. Our friend Patty (In Dallas) is a brilliant home decorator, with an impeccable eye for details in her adorable ’50s ranch house. She’s got a strong retro sensibility without being kitschy, which means that I often look at retro fabrics and think of her. But like I said, she’s got an impeccable eye, so I’m sort of terrified that she’s going to hate this quilt. Consequently, I’m trying to reveal as little as possible to her until it’s finished, so that I won’t have violated my vow not to buy new fabric. If she hates it when it’s done, drat — I get to keep it. If she loves it? Even better! I know, I’m a genius.

Happy Campers

This 16-patch lapquilt using American Jane’s “Happy Campers” is my neverending “super-easy” project. I’m making enough squares to do some piecing on the back of the quilt, too, so it’s going to take a lot of squares for a relatively small project. But still, I’ve been working on it for about a year now. The reason it’s so slow-going? I don’t ever work on it in earnest. It’s the perfect project to have on hand for those times when I finish everything in one step on a primary project, but there’s still half a period left in the hockey game I’m watching. When there’s not enough time to keep working on the primary quilt, I just pick up some Happy Campers squares and 16-patch away. I don’t know what I’m going to do in those situations when this is finished.

If That's Arnold...

Well, maybe I’ll be able to do this. A few years ago I gave Pookie a “fat quarter bundle of the month” subscription from Fat Quarter Shop for her birthday, and this year, in return, she is giving me a custom-selected equivalent amount of fabric every month. A recent entry in the series was a layer cake of Barbara Brackman’s “Arnold’s Attic”, a line I’ve been quietly admiring from afar for ages now. It’s so deliciously autumnal and just lovely, and as soon as the layer cake arrived, Pookie remembered we had a pattern we’d picked up in Columbus for a funky-yet-simple squares-and-rectangles sort of quilt that uses one layer cake and one jellyroll. WOO HOO! Arnold’s Attic is underway as of this weekend! You can never have too many quilts that reek of Fall, the most wonderful time of the year.

Top Secret Triangles

Speaking of birthday fabric, I bought this kit with my May birthday-month discount coupon at Pennington Quilt Works. I went in just to browse and maybe pick up some random fat quarters at 20% off, but when I stumbled on this shirtings-esque, complicated patchwork sample hanging on the wall, I decided I had to have the kit. When I got closer to the fabrics, I realized they weren’t just normal shirtings — they were basebally. I am not a baseball fan, but I have good friends who are; I won’t say much more about this project except to add that it is TOP SECRET. I’ve probably already said too much. Heh. (It does include foundation paper piecing, a technique I need to have figured out before I can start one of my kits from Den Haan & Wagenmakers. I’ve been stunned to discover how much I enjoy it.)

Beaks Street

Ah, Beaks Street, my beloved. As you can probably tell from this post, I have a whole lot of projects that are started, but not grabbing my attention as full-time projects. Beaks Street is probably the closest to being that quilt I just really commit to finishing fastest. I love putting long strings of little (in this case 2-inch) squares together, then making those strips turn into a pretty design. Beaks Street is getting near to being a quarter of the way done, and I feel like the section I’ve got going just turned the corner from being “a long, sorta wide strip of squares” to being “a quilt top”. That’s always a good point to reach in a quilt.

Shot Cottons

Several months before my last birthday, Pookie showed me this post on Red Pepper Quilts. I emitted several long, pointed, dreamy sighs to let her know how much I needed to have that project, and then promptly forgot all about it. Fast forward to my birthday, and what should be waiting for me under the birthday tree? Why, an ENORMOUS heap of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, of course! Pookie is the best. I can’t even describe how lovely it is to work with these fabrics, and this project is a lot like Happy Campers, in that it’s perfect to fill a few minutes here and there. One of the reasons I had to clean out my pizza boxes is that this quilt was one of the ones getting lost. It was buried under heaps of useless stuff, and I’m happy to report that this weekend has brought it out into the light of day.

Whimsy

When Fig Tree Quilts’ “Whimsy” first popped up on Fat Quarter Shop’s “coming soon” page, I nearly died from how badly I wanted to work with it. Then, when they published this jellyroll pattern along with the release of the line, I nearly died from how badly I wanted to make exactly the same quilt that was in the picture. Because it’s a jellyroll strip-piecing quilt, I had to — gasp — use the sewing machine, but it’s all part of my master plan to become more comfortable with all aspects of quilt-making. The strips for this Whimsy quilt are all sewn, and several of the squares have been assembled. I see myself gearing up production on it as the days grow colder, because it’s got such a snuggly, wonderful, wintry sort of vibe.

Bananatanagram City

Finally, I have Bananatanagram City, my other “Happy Campers” quilt. This is a giant extravaganza of little diamonds that conspire to make up stars, and it’s going to take me the rest of my life to finish it. But for all that I don’t prioritize working on it, I regularly think about how much better my entire life is going to be when I have it on my bed. That’s one of my favorite parts of quilting — the heartfelt belief that my newer, better life is just this one epic quilt top away. I’m sure I’ll find a few more quilts I feel that way about before I finish this one off.

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Olde Timey Plowing! Yeah, We Are SO Cool!

One of the items on the Scavenger Hunt 101 list is “a beast of burden”. Maybe some folks would have difficulty with that one, but when we saw that all three of us said, “No sweat! We’ll just go to the Plowing Competition!” This is the third year in a row we’ve gone. The first year was the day after Schnookie gave me the Canon DSLR for my birthday, so we didn’t really know what we were doing and we had to share the camera. The second year, I took a polarizing filter I didn’t really know how to use and then tried to use a custom white-balance setting I really didn’t really know how to use. Needless to say, all my pictures sucked. So this year my goal was to not share a camera, not use a polarizer (even though the bright blue sky would have been perfect for it), and not take pictures quite as crappy as last year’s. I took the Lensbaby and the 15mm fisheye lens Schnookie gave me for my birthday this year (it’s like a super-wide angle 50mm — I’m in deep smit with the fisheye) and Schnookie took the 70-300mm lens. Here’ s sampling of the pictures we took.

— Pookie

Novices, Not Listening

Plowing

B/W Mules

Composition In Horse And Barn

The Team Of Black Horses

Teams

Plowing Attitude

Mule Eyes

Fisheye Plowing

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