Sunday, January 27, 2013

Star Wars Crown of Thorns top

 Star Wars Quilt 070

finished my Star Wars top (insert silly reference to movie here, something like the Force was with me today).  Ever since seeing THIS lovely by Tiffany, I wanted to make a Crown of Thorns quilt.  My top measures approximately 60” x 60”, or 9 (3x3) 20” blocks.  I used 5” squares to make the half-square triangles and trimmed to 4 1/2” unfinished. 

Star Wars Quilt Top in Snow

the Star Wars fabric is by Eugene Textiles for Camelot Cottons.  The center of the crowns comes from this panel:  I worked the panel pieces into a snowball block that finished into a 12” block.

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There are only 8 characters, so I took Leia and Obi Wan from one of the companion fabrics.  By the way, what’s up with no Leia in the panel?  jeesh!  Yo – Star Wars marketing team – girls like Star Wars, too!!!

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I ordered most of the Star Wars fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop.  There’s some available at eQuilter, too.  The solids all came from (my favorite) Hawthorne Threads.  They are a mix of Free Spirit Designer Solids, Pat Bravo Pure Elements and just a few from Michael Miller Cotton Couture.  I especially like the Free Spirit and Pure Elements. 

The grey is Free Spirit “Manatee” which has a sheen to it and is very silky and floaty.  I know we’re all supposed to be in love with Kona, but I’m in search of solids that aren’t as stiff.  not that Kona is terribly stiff, but the Free Spirit and Pat Bravo fabrics have the nicest hand and they drape so beautifully, plus the color seems more saturated than Kona.  I’ve worked with Moda’s Bellas too, which also are silkier than Kona, but they have a tendency to get caught up in my machine at the start of a seam, which is a drag when making tons of HSTs.  maybe the Free Spirit and Pure Elements have more sizing?  not sure, but they were very easy to work with. 

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Manatee is a medium-dark grey with a brown undertone.  The solid colors look great against it, but I’m curious about Pat Bravo’s Moonstone, which seems like it might have more of a blue undertone.  Moonstone was being reordered when I placed my Hawthorne Threads order and I was too impatient to wait, so I went with Manatee and don’t regret it.  (Though “Moonstone” is more fitting for the quilt theme – don’t think that didn’t bother me!)  This quilt is a little different for me.  I love prints so much and solids seem so boring when placing an online order, but I am trying to use them more. 

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I love the way they work in this quilt!   I’ve been finding with my scrappy patchwork projects that if I can throw in some solids, the overall quilt is more pleasant.  less busy.  I just wish I had color cards for all the solid collections out there.  they’re so awesome to have, but I hate to spend my fabric allowance on them.  I also probably should’ve asked for Hawthorne to label the fabrics before sending to me.  oops.  next time…

 Star Wars Quilt 047

trying to take pictures in the snow with a teen who has better things to do is always interesting.  then we had this guy watching us.  He wasn’t too sure what we were doing and started barking at us, running towards us and then running away.  I could go into this whole diatribe about dog owners letting their dogs off-leash in the park, but this guy made me laugh today, so I won’t.  I was able to coax him over for a little scritch-scratch, but only after folding up the quilt top.  guess he doesn’t have a quilter in his house!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

FAL Goal One: Bee Better

 bee blocks 001near impossible to get a good picture of this block in one piece. parts of it fuzz, the color gets weird.  It’s approximately 36” x 12 1/2”.  This was the block for October in Sew Buzzy.  yes, October.  that is why it was goal number one for me in the Finish Along hosted this year by Leanne
This block is for Lee, who will probably never like me given that she’ll always know me as that gal that took 3 months too long to make a quilt block.  hopefully she’ll like the block well enough that it won’t matter how long it took to get to her.  She is making a quilt for her Aunt who was a school librarian.  I can’t wait to see the finished quilt.  The blocks are fabulous!
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I’m not great at embroidery.  I can do it, and I think I’ve done an alright job with the book titles, but it takes me forever, it’s hard on my hands and eyes and I’m never quite sure if I’m doing it right.  I had to stop all sewing to get this off my todo list and I get kind of cranky without some sewing.  Sewing is like meditation for me, I guess.  So I don’t think there will be a lot of embroidery in my near future.  I love the look of it, but I need to reserve it for a point in my life when I have more time for handwork.   
That said – I really did enjoy this block.  The fabrics Lee sent were wonderful and I was able to pull a little blue out of my stash to add in.  I’m overwhelmed with greens and blues these days.  and pink, which is why my scrappy tripalong is being done in those colors.
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I thoroughly enjoyed trying to remember what books I liked when I was in grade school and high school.  There’s a ton of book lists on scraps of paper and bill envelopes all over my apartment right now.  In the end, I could only pick a few so I went with some that I liked when I was school age and then threw in a few for the really young that I think are must-haves.
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(titles I chose) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  The Stone Bull by Phyllis A. Whitney.  The Fire Cat by Esther Holden Averill.  The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving.  Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  Angelique by Seargeanne Golon.  The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.  Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey.  Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.
I was also able to finish the January block for Sew Buzzy, so now I’m in good shape to accomplish my first goal in the FAL – to catch up and stay caught up with my bee blocks.  (I’m still waiting for my November block to be received by Muriel.  It had to go to the Netherlands, so I guess it could take awhile.  I hope it gets there soon – there’s always that “what if” that goes through your mind when you put something you’ve made in the post.) ETA - the Netherlands block made it! :-)
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January’s block is for Ursi, who wants a Japanese x and + quilt and is using the Saltwater line from Tula Pink.  She wants her blocks to finish at 12 1/2” and linked us to this tutorial.  I want one of these quilts, too and had joined this flick’r QAL group, which uses Badskirt Amy’s tutorial for a smaller block (I think 7 1/2” finished).  before making Ursi’s block, I did a little practice run with my own fabrics and I like the size of it, so I’m going to stick with that for the rest of my own x and + quilt. 
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hope you’re finding time for your own fabric meditation and goal reaching!  happy FAL.  :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 Finish-A-Long Q1

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UFO confession time: 4 quilt tops (and 1 back) to sandwich, quilt, bind, and many blocks in various stages, but the very first thing I have to complete is October’s block for Sew Buzzy.  Aside from having some personal issues this holiday season, I’ve learned I’m just not that fast or skilled at embroidery. 

1.  Finish and Catch Up (and STAY ON TOP OF) Bee BlocksFAL 034 The end quilt is going to be phenomenal and I know Lee has some time before the quilt needs to be finished (and is aware that I’m taking extra time to complete the block) but jeez I feel bad that it isn’t done.  I think it will be done by tomorrow and then I can put it in the mail.  I hope she loves it and that erases any irritation at having to wait so long for it.  Then I can do my January block for Sew Buzzy and feel good about my Beeing. 

2.  Finish Madison’s Bowtie QuiltFAL 005After my Bee blocks are caught up, then I can finish my niece’s bowtie quilt and send it to her in California.  I wish I could hand deliver it – I miss that little girl.  not so little anymore, but still young enough that I could probably get a squeeze in without eye-rolling and such.   The other two quilts in that picture are my FWQAL top and the Over Under Scrappy Do.  I’m pretty happy with how those two quilts are going to look together, though I think the FWQAL will end up in the living room a lot.

3. Wolski Packers/Bears Baby Quilt                                           Fun Chicago Bears Wallpaper

Before I can work on the quilts for my home, I need to figure out a baby quilt for a house that’s half Packers, half Bears.  I know I can combine Dark Green, Gold, Navy, and Orange in some way that isn’t hideous, but so far nothing concrete has come to mind.  It’s a spring baby, though, so let’s hope my muse favors me soon.

I’ve already started on goal 4, which is a four-quilt project with some Star Wars fabric for four kids.  that’s a lot of fours!!!  I should be able to complete that project before Q1 ends.  I think.  :-)

  4.  Four Star Wars Crown of Thorn Quilts for the P’relli KidsFAL 042 FAL 043

If all goes well with goals 1-4, then I’ll get back to my Mermaid Swoon. I’ve got 8 of 9 blocks done. I’m iffy on the eighth and also toying with the idea of making 12 blocks, but this one’s been hanging out there a little too long and needs to be finished.

5? Mermaid SwoonFAL 033

On the side, when it suits me, I’m doing a few scrappy trip blocks, but I have no time goal attached to that project.  It’s nice to have something without a deadline when I’m feeling too much pressure or just want some “just for fun” sewing.  and I’ll continue to try to find time for the endless quilting of my Pickle Dish.

2013 Goal – FINISH QUILTING THE PICKLE DISH.  FAL 026 (can you say albatross?)

I know it’s not a full confession, but there are 3 other quarters to the year – right?  :-) here’s the linky.  I think I just made it!  (phew)

she can quilt

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 – the year of scrapping and stashbusting

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or so it seems on January 2nd…  I actually started this scrap project a little bit ago, but just finished the top tonight and put it on the bed to check the size.  the pattern is from a book by Kim Brackett called Scrap-Basket Sensations (Over and Under).  I changed the borders as I always seem to do.  I hope to finish this one before too long – I’m anxious to get it on my bed to help cheer up what can be very grey days during the winter. 
This year I am going to try (same as all of us) to finish some of the UFOs that’ve been hanging around here and I’m going to use more of my stash and scraps this year.  This week I’ve been working on finishing up bee blocks which should’ve been done and mailed already.  I’m totally stressed about them being late.  I’ve one to mail tomorrow and one other to finish embroidering and then I’m caught up.  This weekend I have to start another project which is an obligation (and not as much fun as scrap quilting – for sure!) and hopefully finish that by next weekend.  Then I’m fairly certain I’m clear of the holiday chore sewing and back to the just for fun quilting.  not that the holiday sewing isn’t fun – but adding deadlines does take away some of the enjoyment for me.  I have enough deadlines at my 9 to 5, thank you.  :-)
I joined the scrappy trip along that seems to be everywhere right now.
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not really sure if I like the pattern but I’m thinking of sashing instead of butting all the blocks together.  they are fun blocks to make.  and I say that even though part of the process requires seam ripping.  I’ve got too much green, blue and pink in my stash, so I decided to keep these blocks to those three fabric drawers.  I keep most my fabric in a dresser organized by color and it’s hard to even close the green and blue drawers.  and the red, yellow and orange drawers always seem to be too bare.  :-)
I’m still trying to clean the kitchen and the rest of the house which are in disarray from all the end of the year hooplah.  It’d be nice if there were a New Year’s fairy that would just magically put them all back to clean and organized at midnight on the 31st.  alas, it’s left to me.  and I’d rather sew than clean!!! 
Happy 2013!  :-)
WIPWednesday (see – Lee is scrap tripping, too!)