Category Archives: Progress Reports

A Quilting Day In The Life, By Pookie

Last night I finished my fourth quilt top in the last few months! Woo-hoo!

Bliss Top Finished

I saw this pattern (“Hook and Eye” by Teacher’s Pet) done up in these fabrics (“Bliss” by Bonnie and Camille) at Quilt Asylum in McKinney, TX last year and decided I wanted a quilt exactly like it. I thought it would be a lovely Christmas quilt, but it could also be a plain old Winter quilt for January and February. I finished all the blocks just after last Christmas, but then dragged my feet on laying them out. Then I lay them out months ago and sort of forgot about them. Then I picked them up again recently, but lost track of how they were laid out. In the end, I had a lot of instances of the same fabrics showing up right next to each other. Um… that’s charm, right? ::shifty eyes::

Anyway, I’m quite pleased with how it looks, especially against a backdrop of July corn. Of course, now that it’s done, I’ve been thrown into a tizzy of having a billion projects I want to work on and a full Saturday with nothing else to do but quilt and watch DVDs. I’m so all over the place with what I want to be working on, so I figured I’d keep a running diary of what I manage to get accomplished today.

11:00 am: The first thing to do on a day like today is admire one’s work on a newish project. In this case, I laid out the first five blocks for FiestaFudd.

FiestaFudd In Progress

Just after finishing “Bliss” last night I realized I wanted to be working on something new. Something bright, sassy, and fun, but preferably with nice big pieces. Of course, starting a new project in quilting is tough because you have to cut the pieces and get them marked. So really, FiestaFudd could not have been more perfect! It’s bright (um, probably to a fault), sassy and fun, and it’s got big pieces that I had already cut and marked. But it’s not new! Waaaah! Just kidding.

11:15 am: Consider whether the panel from the giant stack of Helen Dardik fabric I got last week will work in this awesome quilt from the book “Gone To Texas”. The answer may surprise you.

Quilt Planning

The answer? No. No, it won’t work. Shuckydarns. But, there’s still hope that the fabric line will work for this pattern, just without showcasing the adorable panel. At least this means I don’t have to get online and order yards more of the panel today.

11:30 am: Press pieces stitched the night before.

Ironing

I had some loose FiestaFudd pieces, and the top to Bliss, and the background square for Cheeky Dracula to be pressed. Pressing is a great way to kick off a stitching day. It’s kind of like organizing a desk or weeding a garden bed.

12:00 pm: Seethe with jealousy over Schnookie’s new project, “Basement City”. It’s going to be an incredible quilt made up entirely of 1 1/4″ squares (3/4″ visible), all made with repro fabrics from Boomer’s stash. She ordered some lime green solid for the background, and then started picking fabrics for the prints.

Basement City Materials

Basement City Begins

At some point today, I have to start cutting these fat quarters up into thousands of teensy tiny squares.

12:30 pm: Decide the thousands of teensy tiny squares can wait. Sit down on the couch and waste time on the internet and on buying stuff on iTunes (I’m pretty sure lots of people buy Dolly Parton and Fantomas at the same time. I hope I screwed up Apple’s demographics on that spending spree.)

1:00 pm: Put in the first stitch of the day. Yeah! I’m stitching up a storm today!

2:15 pm: Two television episodes later, I have 1/3 of a Cheeky Dracula dresden plate attached to the background. Threads of Fire, that’s me! At this rate, I’ll have this quilt done in… um… ::does some math::… 100 years!

2:16 pm: Commence cutting the first of 14,000+ 1 1/4″ squares for Schnookie’s “Basement City”.

Schnookie and Her Squares

Dear Accuquilt,
Please create a 1 1/4″ square die.
Hugs and kisses, Pookie

3:00 pm Cutting several hundred 1 1/4″ squares actually went pretty quickly, thanks to Schnookie helping out with the trimming. If you ignore the 8 1/2 yards of background we have to cut, the whole thing doesn’t seem that bad. Since I still had some cutting get up and go, I launched into a proof-of-concept block for the Farmyard fabric we ordered a few weeks ago. SeptemberFever has been creeping into the air here at Maple Hoo (probably thanks to the 5 hours of rain yesterday) and there’s nothing more September-y than this line.

Cutting Scraps

4:00 pm: Time for more TV! What are the chances I can finish the dresden plate block before dinner?

4:43 pm: I was fairly confident that my zeal for all my quilt projects would overcome my recent obsession with “Red Dead Redemption”, a.k.a. Grand Theft Horsie. It’s now six hours since I got out of bed today and I’m starting to get twitchy. Must. Not. Turn. On. xBox… Must… Quilt… Arrrrgh!

5:30 pm: Dinner is still hours away, but the dresden plate block is done! I’m doing excellent stitching!

Another Plate Attached

6:30 pm: Test proof-of-concept block of “Farmyard”.

Farmyard Proof of Concept

Looking good! I was very worried that once again I’d have chosen poorly vis a vis the scale of the prints and the pattern, but I’m satisfied that even with the biggest print in the line, the pattern pieces are just the right size. We’re thinking a deep chocolate brown background will be the way to go. Of course, no more progress can be made on that quilt until getting the background fabric, so onto the next project!

7:00 pm: Finish cutting the centers for the Cheeky Dracula plates.

Cutting Cheeky Dracula

Boomer picked up a circular cutter and it seems to be working quite well. Also working quite well? The towel draped on the dining room chair. It’s meant to keep Rollie from scratching the chair’s upholstery, but it doubles as a very effective miniature design wall:

Cheeky Dracula Centers

7:30 pm: Dinner’s almost ready, so it’s time to hunker down for the evening. After all that work I put in today on Schnookie’s new quilt, Cheeky Dracula, and Farmyard, it’s now time to focus on either more FiestaFudd, or more V&A clamshells. Or both! Either way, I’m feeling very, very accomplished already today. (Which means, I could turn on that xBox afterall and not feel like I’ve wasted my day… If only Grand Theft Horsie had an expansion pack where John Marston goes to a county fair to learn how to quilt from all the local rancher’s wives!)

Clamshells

8:30 pm: Finish dinner, tipsy from a very full glass of delicious red wine. Yessiree, today was a Saturday well-lived.

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Another Finished Quilt Top! Another New Project!!

After last year’s miserable showing in terms of finished quilts (I can count on less than one hand the number of quilts I finished), I’m on a bit of a roll this year. Believe it or not, I actually finished piecing Henrik Jane! It only took two years! I finished six months earlier than my target date! And… I forgot to take pictures before I gave it to the quilter! Sorry. It ended up looking way awesome, if I don’t say so myself. I promise I will take pictures in August when it comes back from the quilter.

While working on finishing up Henrik Jane, and while working on beating Red Dead Redemption (a.k.a. Grand Theft Horsie), I also managed to finish piecing my MoMo-fabric-based bento-box-ish quilt, MoMoBeBo:

MoMoBeBo Top Finished

Sorry, this picture is totally out of focus, but I’m too lazy to take another. You get the idea of what it looks like, right? I’m such a great blogger. Sigh.

I am delighted with how this project turned out. I knew it would look exactly like what I wanted because I just copied someone else was strongly inspired by this post. I had long admired the bento box quilts I’d seen on Flickr, but most of them were done in either solids (which are lovely, but if you look at my past history with overly busy quilts you can tell they aren’t really my thing) or in wonky blocks which really aren’t my thing. I like my cutting to be neat and orderly, thank you! Anyway, I ordered the official bento box pattern right when I started quilting but it seemed way too complicated to a newbie. There were so many variations and the cutting seemed strange for something that was just rectangles. But this tutorial (which I originally found on Moda Bake Shop) was so straight-forward, and the result was so charming! Charming, and crazy busy and bright, just like I like ’em, and not at all wonky!

I had a “Wonderland” layer cake moldering in a closet upstairs, and a gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop burning a hole in my pocket so I picked up a layer cake of “It’s a Hoot” to go with it. Mixing the two lines was a lot of fun; I felt like “It’s a Hoot” made “Wonderland” a little more playful, while “Wonderland” lent “It’s a Hoot” a little sophistication. Sure, some of the colors didn’t seem to play perfectly together all the time, but this was a great lesson for me in just going with it, and seeing where the quilt took me. After all the tiny pieces of Henrik Jane, it was great to just rip through the easy cutting and enjoy the easy piecing. The MoMo fabrics were so soft and thin, I could finger-press most of the seams, too, making it even faster to hand-piece.

My only concern with bento box quilts is that I don’t like seeing the plus signs created at the corners of the blocks. I want to see the repeating squares. My solution to this is to hand quilt this puppy! Woo-hoo! My hand-quliting on Raccoonsweet has been going very well, and I’m really enjoying the process. It’s time to ratchet it up and hand-quilt a quilt I love, rather than one that’s only so-so. I’m thinking I’m going to use bright yellow thread to quilt squares in each round of each block. I just need to bite the bullet and get basting, which, let’s be honest, isn’t high on my list of things I’d love to do.

What’s more fun than basting a quilt? Starting a new project, of course! Meet FiestaFudd!

Feistafudd Blocks

The color in this picture is a little wonky; I can assure you the lemon yellow looks good in person. Honest!

When I saw the early pictures from Quilt Market showcasing the new Anna Maria Horner line, Loulouthi, I knew I was in love. Anna Maria’s “Good Folks” is still one of my all-time favorite lines, but the quilt I’m making out of it is slow, slow going (although I did finish another block for it in the last two weeks; that only leaves something like a zillion still to go). Meanwhile, I had fallen in love with the cover quilt from one of McCall’s Quick Quilting books. “Quick quilting” seemed like a really appealing alternative to the glacial progress on the Good Folks broken dishes project. It was a match made in heaven! The only catch was finding a solid to go with the prints. I got it in my head that I only wanted to use shot cotton, which, of course, I don’t have a color card for. I ended up ordering some lemon shot cotton for another project and lo and behold, it looked pretty awesome with the Loulouthi. At first I wasn’t sold, but after making these test blocks, I like how it gives it an almost Mexican pottery feel. Maybe it was all the time spent in Mexico in Grand Theft Horsie, but that was enough for me to say, “Lemon it is!” Each time I see this quilt, I’ll think of playing poker in Chuparosa with John Marston and the gang.

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Works In Progress

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything about my quilty works in progress, but I’ve had good reasons! OK, I’ve had some good reasons and some bad. The good reasons are: I’ve been working on secret projects (whee!) and I’ve been too busy sewing to write. The bad reasons are: I’ve been lazy and I’ve been working on stuff that’s really sort of too boring to want to show off. Of course, I can’t show you the secret projects, but here’s some of the rest of what’s been going on.

Most excitingly, I finished the quilt top to Taffy City.

Taffy City Finished Top

Salt Water Taffy pattern by RJR Fabrics; Fabric: Everything But The Kitchen Sink V

Schnookie gave me this kit for my birthday in 2009 and now it’s finally ready to be quilted! I’ve wanted my own ’30s quilt for a long time, so I couldn’t be more thrilled with this. The fabrics are so charming and sweet, but with a little drama from the dark red and black accents. The process of making it was super fun, too. I learned a lot about using templates and about pressing 8 pointed blocks so they’d look good. I didn’t do any thinking of my own because I just followed the picture of the front of the kit, but sometimes that’s all I’m looking for. (I did give myself a challenge with the borders. I managed to cut 6 of the 8 borders 1.5 – 2 inches short each time. I still don’t know how the last 2 ended up being spot on when the earlier ones were all wrong.) Thanks for the delightful birthday present, Schnookie! (Anyone interested in the pattern can download it for free from RJR’s site.)

Next-most-excitingly, I’ve made huge progress on Henrik Jane. I have 17 of 25 of the 81-patches finished, all of the setting triangles sewn, and all but four of the snowball blocks sewn. I could, if all goes according to plan (which is probably won’t), be putting this together in about a month! I don’t have any good pictures of it, but here’s what it was looking like a few weeks ago:

Henrik Jane Progress End of February

I spent a chunk of time last weekend divvying up the rest of the 1 3/4″ squares for the remaining 81-patches, so it’s all pretty much downhill from here. I realize I still have a lot of work left, but the end is definitely in sight. My goal for this year was to have this pieced by Dec 31st, but now I’m thinking I could easily have it quilted and bound by 2012!

Since my approach of having Schnookie or Boomer take a few minutes on weekends to machine piece the strips of nine to make the 81-patches leaves me with downtime during the week, I’ve been puttering away some other stuff, including this little number:

MoMoBeBo April 2011 2

I found this tutorial and loved how it looked. I had a layer cake of “Wonderland” sitting in a closet upstairs, and had a gift certificate for Fat Quarter Shop so I picked up a layer cake of “It’s A Hoot”. The tutorial is for a bento box-ish quilt, but due to copyright issues, can’t call itself that. Since I purchased the official trademarked Bento Box pattern, I feel like I can guiltlessly call my quilt a bento box. And since it’s all the same designer, I’ve decided to call this MoMoBeBo. Heh. (If I was using Film in the Fridge’s modified bento box pattern, I could call it MoMoMoBeBo!) Anyway, this tutorial couldn’t be easier, this fabric couldn’t be nicer to work with (this stuff practically finger presses itself), and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s looking! I should have it finished soon and then I’ll have to decide if I want to hand quilt it. I’ve been having a blast hand quilting Raccoonsweet, and I’m tempted to try some big stitch quilting with some pretty perle cottons, but it’s just so much easier to have it done for me. We’ll see. (Raccoonsweet, by the way, is chugging along. I’ve only been working on it sporadically, but I think my technique is really improving. I’m getting about 7 stitches to the inch now!)

Since the last time I posted, I’ve whipped up a few more squares on Dolly Dresses:

Dolly Dresses April 2011

I also finished one diamond for my V&A Liberty clamshellstravaganza:

Clamapple City First Block

Last but not least, is a project that’s close to being finished:

February 22 2011

I haven’t written about this puppy at all because it’s modeled exactly after a shop model I saw at Quilt Asylum in Texas, so it doesn’t seem very exciting to me. I mean, I’m loving how it looks, but I knew I would since I’ve already seen what it will look like. Heh. I finished all the blocks for this just after Christmas, but I’ve held off on putting them together. I’m thinking this will be the perfect project to take on the two mini-vacations I have coming up. It won’t require thinking or pressing! Perfect!

So, in short, I’ve been busy!

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Darla’s Done — What Next?

Going into 2010, I had three major projects in the works. With Darla off the books, I’m left with Dalarnanana and Henrik Jane and the hopes that I can finish one of them in 2011. Dalarnanana is a fine quilt and all, and I have about 60 of 200 blocks ready to go, but… It gets a little boring. All those triangles! All that red and brown! All that pressing every five minutes! Ugh. So that leaves Henrik Jane! When we last saw HJ, it was looking like this:

Henrik Jane (Sept 2010)

Progress as of September 2010

I was hand-piecing zillions of nine-patches made from 1 3/4″ squares; I’d made somewhere around 36 or so nine-patches out of the 225 I needed. It was slow-going to say the least. The idea that I’d ever finish this quilt was sort of laughable. So I decided to rethink my approach and came up with hand-piecing 25 81-patches instead of 225 nine-patches. I’m a genius. ::eyeroll:: One 81-patch later I put the project back in it’s pizza box, and put it aside for 3 months. It took Schnookie coming up with the idea of machine-piecing the strips to make the 81-patches to get me to dig it back out again two weeks ago. Brilliant! I still get the joy of hand-piecing the strips together, but this is what the project looks like now:

Henrik Jane Progress At End of 2010

Progress as of December 2010

Holy cow, right?! I might actually finish this puppy in 2011! Seriously, while I’m not a New Year’s resolution kinda gal, I am trying to encourage myself to dedicate my energies to this quilt until it’s done. Sure, I’ll work on other stuff too (including a top secret project, as well as my “Bliss” quilt which I’m 75% of the way through but which I haven’t photographed yet [I’m making it exactly like a store model I saw and thus the lack of creativity has led to me not bothering to take pictures]), but my goal (not “resolution”, just “goal”) is to do some work on HJ every week. I think that’s doable, don’t you?

Henrik Jane Beauty Shot

It had better be doable because I really can’t wait to see what this will look like all quilted and washed. I was a little freaked out that I wasn’t getting the contrast right on the nine-patches, but based on these pictures, and based on how every other quilt I’ve finished has ended up (i.e. now I can’t find the things that made me freak out while making them), I think I can stop freaking out. (By the way, the fabric is “Nicey Jane” by Heather Bailey, and the pattern is “Chippewa Nine-Patch” by Minick & Simpson.)

As for other projects I’ll be puttering on, one has to be mentioned for it’s sheer mind-blowing awesomeness. Behold…

Clamshells Without Paper Piecing

Clamshells made with running stitch! I KNOW! We can pause for a moment to wait for the Earth to get back on its axis.

So anyway, back in September, Schnookie gave me a stack of fat quarters from the V&A Museum’s Liberty reproduction line:

V&A Liberty Fabrics

She suggested I use it to make a clamshell quilt, specifically the one in the Kaffe Fasset “Museum Quilts” book. She’s a genius! (In trying to find a picture of the inspiration quilt, I stumbled on this — a Flickr set by the V&A shop explaining where each of the fabrics came from! How awesome is that?) I ordered clamshell papers and then put them all away because I was daunted by how much work paper piecing is. Then finally, over Christmas, I googled clamshells to get a tip on how to best handle basting the fabric to the paper. Instead I found a video on how to piece clamshells with running stitch. I was all, “But… it’s just curved seams… I’ve done curved seams… WHOA.” Who needs papers?! So I cut a few out (using a handy acrylic template) and got to work.

Clamshell Plan

The quilt (sorry I couldn’t get a better shot of the inspiration one) is going to be made up of clamshell diamonds, each with the fabrics laid out in a mirror-image pattern. I think this whole running-stitch approach is working. I’m not convinced I’m being precise enough but, hey, what’s the worst that happens? I mean, it’s still clamshells. Made with running stitch! Sorry, I am not sure the novelty of that will ever wear off.

{Posted by Pookie}

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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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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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Filed under Pins and Needles, Progress Reports, Quilting

What’s Up With Pookie’s Quilting

So how goes the quilting?

In my last progress report, I bemoaned the lack of finished projects. Since then, I’ve helped finish one queen size quilt (Boomer did most of the binding, but I did contribute enough to say I helped) and one lap-sized quilt top, neither of which I have pictures of, and one queen-sized quilt top that I do have pictures of:

Bobo City

I’ve documented here in the past that all my bed quilts (all two of them, heh) are too short. I had a duvet and a heavy, queen-sized tweed blanket for the Winter that cancelled out that problem, but as soon as it seemed even remotely Spring-ish outside, I couldn’t deal with having them on my bed anymore. They were for Winter and Winter only! After a few nights of freezing my little toesies off, I said, “Dammit, I need a bed quilt that’s the right length!” (No, not “Dammit, I have to get my duvet out of storage!” — which, by the way, would mean picking the duvet up off the chair I tossed it on when I took it off my bed.) So I grabbed an easy queen-sized quilt pattern I’d seen on Moda Bake Shop (“Easy as Cake”, by Moose on the Porch), and grabbed the half-yard bundle of Alexander Henry’s “Willow Orchard” I’d impulse bought in January and got to work. 23 days later, I had a completed, entirely-hand-pieced quilt top. For someone who’s used to spending months on a quilt, being able to measure the time in days was just plain strange. But it should be big enough to keep my toes warm next time I decide in mid-March that Winter is over for good.

So 2010 won’t go down as a total failure quilt-wise, since I should be able to cross those three projects completely off my list before the end of the year. I won’t, however, be able to say I finished Darla by my birthday like I’d predicted in my last update post. In fact, I’ve barely worked on it at all since then. I started to futz with it two weekends ago but then discovered one set of strips is cut wrong and that successfully put and end to that futzing! I made up for it but putting in some significant work on Dalarnanana, including putting some of the blocks together.

Darlarnanana in Progress

I am over the moon for how this project is looking, but after a few weeks of steadily working on it, the colors were starting to seem too monotonous, so I put it back down again. My third in-progress bed quilt is Henrik Jane. Other than making a nice handful of nine-patches, it hasn’t progressed much, either. I just keep getting distracted by shiny objects, or at least the fabric equivalent of shiny objects. Like, say, “Dolly Dresses” by Holly Holderman.

I spent my Christmas gift certificate for Fat Quarter Shop on a bajillion fat quarters of Dolly Dresses, so I could make the High Cotton pattern from Kim Diehl’s “Simple Comforts” book. Every single project I’ve seen in this fabric line made me love it that much more, so for a few months while I was waiting for it to come out, I couldn’t stop thinking about how wonderful my life would be once I finally had Dolly Dresses to work with. So as soon as I finished the borders on my “Willow Orchard” quilt, I cut into it just enough to get a sense of the blocks I’d be making.

Dolly Dresses

Look! I finally successfully matched a print size to a pattern! It looks like it’s scaled to make sense! Woo-hoo! But… I think I have to tell myself I can’t work on it any more until I finish either Darla, Dalarnanana, or Henrik Jane. It’s been fun to flit from project to project after all those years of being the uber-disciplined “Threads of Fire” who only ever worked on one sampler at a time, but what I’ve been doing the last few months is pretty ridiculous. Some semblance of discipline is in order.

At least when it comes to bed quilts. Lap quilts? All bets are off, baby! I’ve only got to attach all 64 blocks of Racconsweet together.

Raccoonsweet

It’s not really turning out how I thought it would when I chose Kona Banana as the solid color. I was expecting a bit more contrast between it and the prints, but oh well! I still adore the fabric line (“Frolic” by Wendy Slotboom), the pattern is also super fun (“S-C-H-Double O-L” from “Four Patch Frolic”), and will probably be one I revisit in the future (perhaps the near future when American Jane’s next line comes out this Fall) and I think the finished project will be a really fun quilt to bring out when the Spring fever is kicking in. .

Speaking of seasonal fevers, the Fall Fever was ratched up in the last few weeks. July and August were always traditionally the months during which I’d want nothing more than to stitch Prairie Schooler Halloween pieces, like this:

When Witches Go Riding Finished

So what’s a girl to do when she wants that Prairie Schooler Seasonlonging, but wants to be peicing? Why, she starts a Halloween scrap quilt, of course!

Cheeky Dracula City

I had a small stash of Halloween fabrics (including some that we salvaged from Boomer’s ancient basement stash) but I didn’t know what to do with them. Schnookie came up with the brilliant idea of using them to make a Dresden plate, so I snatched up some Spooktacular on mega-sale for the background and some Alexander Henry “The Ghastlies” to fussy cut for the centers. I think the result is hilariously awesome. It’s like Prairie Schooler to the nth degree. How much more Prairie Schooler Seasonlonging can you get? None! None more Prairie Schooler!

So that’s where I stand now. Two quilt tops done, one lap quilt about a month away from finishing, one seasonal quilt in full swing, and a new-found resolve to finish a fancy bed quilt sooner rather than later.

{Posted by Pookie}

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Filed under Pins and Needles, Progress Reports, Quilting