Saturday, January 28, 2012

Swoon 3

Swoon 3 by VioEleven11
Swoon 3, a photo by VioEleven11 on Flickr.
I spent way too much time thinking about this fabric and where it all needed to go. I'm really happy that it came out so well, but I think I'll stay away from directional fabric for now. That being said, I have a date with my best friend this weekend and she just happens to live next to the quilt shop where I've been getting all my lovely Asian print fabrics. We'll see how long I can stay away from directionals. :o) I want to have lots of color in the quilt, but it's kind of hard. I think I already have enough off-white, I now have two blocks that will have blue and green (different shades), so I guess I'll have to start venturing out to orange, maybe even yellow.  We'll see when I get to the store. These first 3 blocks are kind of muted. Not bad, but that's not how I want my whole quilt to look like. I have two solids that are crazy bright for Swoon 4 and 5.

I was a little late with finishing the 3rd block this week. My first two were finished on Tuesday and Wedneday. I finished block 3 on Thursday. I'm doing well since it's supposed to be one per week. I know myself, though, and I know that if I stop it's really hard to get my motivation back up and running. I have the fabric for my next two blocks already cut, so I'll probably work on them at the same time. I find that I usually do one night to make all my half square triangles and  flying geese, and another to put them all together. This last time, I think I cut a little bit of time off my construction by pinning both sides of a strip and then pressing. I also brought my squares out of my sewing area and took them to my daughter's ballet class. I was able to mark them all in the 30 mins I spent waiting for her class to be over. I almost have a routine! Yay me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow day!

We don't get a lot of snow in the Seattle area. And when we do, we're wimpy about it! :o) Sure other places don't shut down with the "small" amount to snow that falls... BUT WE HAVE HILLS! Today's snowfall is not little by any means of the imagination. Parts of the area south of Seattle are getting 13"! That's crazy snow! I think my area, Seatac, got about a good 6". It's been such a storm that work was actually closed! Whoo hoo!
There's a street in there somewhere.

We started to get some snow Sunday and Monday so the kids, hubs and I had already gone out and built a snowman, and had several snowball fights. Seems like this storm wasn't for fun. We took a walk around the block and it took us an hour! Well, it was a long block, but still. That got the kids nice and tuckered out so I was able to sew for a couple of hours.

I've been sewing two things at once, my Swoon block and my daughter's sawtooth stars. I'm making flying geese for both and I'm using grey thread, so why not?! I can't be a true quilter without a couple of things going on at once, can I?

I call my daughter Poop-a-loops, Poopster, Poops. So this is a Poops Star.  She's only 5, I wonder how long I can keep it up. ;o)

Over the weekend, I also cut out all the fat quarters I bought for the Irish Chain Quilt. I laid out the strips in the pattern I thought I was using, but I think I may like the second one better. I'll have to lay them out and take another look.

I had a hard time squaring my Swoon2 HST to the supposed 3.5". I kind of fudged it and hope nobody is looking too hard. Unfortunately, I cut out a BUNCH of my background already, so I can't start cutting the rest of my blocks at 4" until I finish the 3 7/8" ones I already have. I'll just have to be SUPER careful when I piece from now on. So with that warning, don't look too closely. PLEASE.

I've decided that two blocks with off white/snow are enough. Asian prints can be so bold and vibrant that I want to bring more bold solids into the mix. Thankfully this snowmaggeddon has prevented me from going to my LQS to shop for more fabric. I have enough for 2 more, plus one print that's looking for a solid. I'm doing good, though! It's week two and I have completed two blocks.

Block 3 fabrics.

I'm semi ahead of myself, as I already cut out the fabric for block 3. I'm SO ahead of myself that I wore out my rotary blade that I installed last week! That's another thing that will have to wait until the snow melts. Oh well. Happy Snow Day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Swooning Along

I've joined my fist quilt along hosted by Katy of I'm a Ginger Monkey. I had already mentioned that I wanted to work on the Swoon pattern I bought a bazillion years ago, and this Swoon Along just pushed me to get it started now instead of later. Of course, now that I'm so excited with it, I may have pushed my daughter's quilt further down the line. :o( BUT I'm not going to let that happen! I need to work on multiple things at a time. I've finished my Swoon block for the week, so I need to start cutting fabric for other projects.

My Swoon is going to be a King size, 16 blocks total. My husband dictated the fabrics. He wanted Asian prints, and I'm matching each with a coordinating solid. My original plan was to use Kona Ash as the background, but JoAnn didn't happen to have any, so I went with Kona Coal. I'm super happy with it, I just hope I bought enough! I have another 50% off coupon that's good next weekend. I'll have to make a trip. ;o)

I started cutting my fabric on Monday, right after I bought my background. I couldn't help it, I was too excited! I thought I cut enough Coal for two blocks, but alas, it was only one. I'll have to get on that tomorrow.

Block #1 Fabrics Kona Coal, Kona Snow, and random from Kona Bay Fabrics (I believe)

Block#2 Kona Coal, Random Christmas Red left over from Stockings and another Random print.
I was surprised how quickly the block came together! I'm just a beginner, having only done a handful of half square triangles and even fewer flying geese. Not counting cutting, I pieced the block together in two sessions of two hours. I did have a few hiccups. I started drawing the line for the HST on my 3.5" squares only to realize (when I was done) that I was doing it on the wrong ones!! I also had to think a little bit harder about my color placement since I was using a "white" for my "color 1" and the Coal for my "white" background. I hope I don't have that problem with the rest of the blocks. I pressed my seams open, first time doing that, so I think that's also why it took a little bit longer than the 2 hours Katy quoted on construction. I'm beyond excited on how it came out though!! 
 Isn't it gorgeous?! P.S. This is also the best picture of fabric I've EVER taken!

It's definitely addicting. I want to go shopping for the rest of my fabric NOW!! It will have to wait, though. :o( Back to work tomorrow... to do more daydreaming about quilting. :o)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Oh goodness...

I had such a productive day today! I finally bound my sampler/niece's quilt. *Happy Dance Time!* I love the gray polka dots I used. It gives the quilt a final note.

I also started cutting the 2.5" strips I'll need for my friend's triple irish chain quilt. My daughter and I had a very eventful trip to the quilt shop yesterday. I bought about 15 fat quarters in yellow, lime, and aqua, and a yard and a half of solid white to start with.

And now, I see there's a Swoon along at I'm a Ginger Monkey. And I may have said I'd Swoon, too. Eek! It's supposed to be semi casual, with a block a week, but I'm doing 16 blocks instead of 9, so I'm not sure if that means I should be working harder and faster or since I'm a beginner, it means do what I can when I can. I'll decide as I go along, I guess. :o)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

To do this year...

(Present from my mom)

2012 is my first full year of quilting. It's going to be a busy year, too! Now that I'm done with my Christmas deadlines, I can move on to quilts I'm making for other people, mostly family members. I have a list going of who's getting a quilt and what fabric might work for them, but most importantly what type of pattern I want to use. I'm the only one in my close circle of family and friends who does any quilting and I want to make sure I match the quilt to the person as well as I can. I like to assume that they all appreciate receiving hand made things from me, and I don't want to turn them off for sure on quilting! :o)

My only problem comes with... well, everything. Since I'm just starting, I don't have a stash of fabric to work with. I'm buying fabric to match the recipient. Not too bad of a problem since the bottom line is I get to shop, but my mind works in over time all the time. Until I put my foot down (and drown it in cement to make sure it doesn't go anywhere) I tend to change my mind about patterns, or fabrics pretty easily. I think it's just so easy for me to be inspired by everything I see being done that my mind keeps wanting to up the ante with my choices. And that's really why I call it my "Craft Monster". It just doesn't know when to stop! Just when you think it's down for the count... BAM!!! It's up and running before you can be safely out of the way. *Sigh* I could have worse problems, I guess. :o)

I have a couple of quilts that are further along in the pattern/fabric process, so I'm going to start with those. I have one deadline: August 4th. I have some friends who are newly engaged so of course I want to make them a double wedding ring quilt. Wait, what?! You mean, and "advanced/experience needed" type of pattern?! With a deadline in less that 8 months?!!! Yeah, scratch that. I'm really fascinated with double wedding rings, I think they're gorgeous. BUT the curved piecing makes me nervous. My local quilt shop is offering their first double wedding ring quilt class at the end of March. It's two sessions and at the end I would have a baby sized quilt. Craft Monster tells me "No problem! That only leaves you 4 months to grow it to a queen size, quilt and bind it. You can do it!". What Craft Monster seems to neglect is that a) I'm a mother of two, a wife, and I work 40 hours a week. And two: I'm a beginner who wants to do other quilts, too! So rational Vio won.

I decided to go back to my very first idea which was a Triple Irish Chain in their wedding colors of lime, lemon and aqua. I'm going to do it with lots of different fabrics with a white background. I'll figure out the backing and binding when it gets closer. I even drew out a sketch to figure out how I want to lay out the colors. I think I like the top one better.

My niece's quilt is all finished... except for the binding. I was supposed to get it started last weekend, but I was just down in a funk. All I did was read my book club book (Moloka'i by Alan Brennert), fold some laundry, and finally play Lego Harry Potter on XBoX. BUT I told myself that I'm going to make myself happy this year, and right now, quilting makes me happy. So... back to binding I go! I even have the fabric! I just have to start cutting. Maybe this Friday I'll bust out one of the 3 seasons of "The Big Bang Theory" I got for Christmas and make a night of it. :o)
Next is my daughter's quilt. We went to the zoo for her birthday this summer and she became enamored with giraffes. Not regular giraffes, of course. PINK giraffes. Soon after, I found Zoology in Bloom by Michael Miller and an idea was born. (I just hope she still likes it when I'm finished with it.) I was inspired by AmandaJean's Star Quilt Along but because I want to feature the giraffes, I'll only be doing sawtooth stars with the setting blocks. I was originally going to use gray as the background, but I quickly realized that gray is not in the rainbow, and therefore not one of my daughter's favorite colors. :o) I switched to a bright pink, but I had put too much time and effort into the coloring... just imagine the gray is pink, and the pink is gray.
My poor nephew... he hasn't gotten a blanket from me!!! I was going to crochet him one when he was born, but I was just not happy with the yarn I chose. It didn't matter how many different patterns I tried, it just never materialized. He's now 4 and a half (oops!!!) so he's next on the list. His dad is REALLY into comic books and super heroes, which of course means that he is too. I found this fabric while perusing one of the online quilt shops and I just had to buy it.
It's kind of hard to imagine what to do with it! That big one is literally BIG. It's a super big scale. I thought of doing 12.5" squares of all 3 fabrics with a 4 patch in green, blue, red and yellow. The bottom two fabrics are kind of khaki colored, almost like old newspapers, so I thought I'd do some brown sashing to compliment.
BUT now I don't like the idea of brown next to the big scale print. :o( I saw Corrie from Quilt Taffy use the Kitchen Windows pattern by Elizabeth Hartman for her Ghastlie Blog Hop and I like the idea of keeping the scene "untouched". So now instead of trying to make my own pattern, I will do a couple of Kitchen Windows for the big print, with some solids and the other two fabrics filling in some of the other panes. I haven't done the math, but I hope it looks good.

The only way I could convince my husband to let me make a quilt for our bed was that he got to pick the fabric. He decided that if I made a quilt using Asian inspired quilts, it could go on our bed. I fell in love with Swoon by Camille Roskelley when I first saw it and I think it could look really good in Asian prints paired with some solids. I'll be making it 4 by 4 for our king sized bed.

I think this will be the only project that I'll be working on while I have other ones going on. I can make a block here and there. :o) I'm nervous that if I just start cutting into everything, nothing will get finished.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I do have one other non quilty thing. I promised my best friend a Birdie Sling last July. Yeah, she was kind of expecting it for her birthday. Oops. Well, at least I have 6 more months until it's due again! I still need the fleece interfacing, but I think they have the one I'm looking for at JoAnn's.
(Yes, that's barbed wire fabric. She chose it for the inside.)

And that's it! ("For now!" says Craft Monster) It's a lot, but at the same time, it's not. I just have to keep myself motivated and remember how happy it makes me. Oh, and since I'm not taking the double wedding ring class, I think I'm going to take the basic long arm class instead! The quilt shop offers rentals on their machine, after you take the class of course. I'm making a visit this weekend, and I'll have to ask how much it is to rent. I imagine it's way cheaper than sending out my quilts to be done by somebody else. :o) I just don't think my machine has a big enough arm to fit a queen/king sized quilt.

P.S. Maybe if I start blogging more often, about all my steps and the wanderings that Craft Monster does,  I won't have to write the great American novel every time I sit at the computer! Whew! Or it could be that I just talk way to much. :o)