Showing posts with label Slice and Dice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slice and Dice. Show all posts

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tying Up Some Loose Ends

I love completing my projects! Not the actual work, mind you.  Planning something new is much more exciting that finishing it. It's the having it done that's so wonderful. No more nagging little thoughts to keep me awake at night, just that feeling of accomplishment and relief that the work is done and done as nicely as I know how.

Finished this week:

1. One fat quarter quilt! 
I was worried about this little quilt early on, but now that it's finished it looks great on our glass table. A quilt provides important protection for the glass and adds color to the room, too. A double win for us.

The quilt on our table.
Here it is in natural light.
Draped (sort of) on a chair.

My hubby is encouraging me to make a pattern for this design. Should I, though? Would anyone want to spend $5 for this? I'd have to make another one - minus the mistakes this time. I'd also want to use totally different fabrics - something fun and bright. That's a lot of work. Do I want another quilt in the same pattern? In the right fabrics it would definitely make a sweet quilt for a child. With additional blocks and a border going around and it could be a bed quilt. Right now I'm just thinking out loud on my computer screen (if that makes sense)  and wondering if a pattern is worth the effort.

2. The bottom section of one apron pattern.
If you missed it, the process for making bodice and neck section was described in last week's blog.

Except for the pockets and waist ties, the entire vintage style apron pattern is complete.  I'll make those last pieces when I'm ready to use them. I won't have time to make the apron quite yet, but it's nice to have the pattern ready when I do have a chance to sew it up.

Step 1. Sketch the pattern and take measurements. I sketched the whole pattern, but since the bodice pattern is finished,  these measurements are only for the skirt section.

A: One half the width of the bottom of the bodice section.
B: One half the width of the skirt. I like some coverage around my hips, so I measured this generously.
C: The total length of the skirt from the bodice to the bottom of the hem. 
D: The distance from the bodice to the waist.
E: The length from the waist to the bottom of the hem. 

Step 2. Draw two rectangles on tissue paper. You may have to tape two pieces of tissue paper together. 
The small, upper rectangle will hold the section from the bodice to the waist. 
The larger, lower rectangle will hold the section from the waist to the bottom of the hem. 

Here you can see the upper box clearly. The horizontal line in the middle of the photograph is the width of the pattern.
Step 3. Shape the underarm. Another plastic pot liner was perfect for doing this. I'd never have guessed that those pot liners would come in so handy!

Step 4. Draw the final pattern with a dark marker, using dashed lines to show the fold line. Be sure to add in seam allowances and the hem allowance. I added 2 1/2" for the hem because I like the nice way a wider hem lies.


What's next? Tote bags!

My granddaughter is going to California in ten days. She'll be visiting my sister-in-law and her son and his family for a couple of weeks. This will be her first trip on an airplane and her first visit to California. We have one very excited teenager! My daughter has crocheted some cute items for the children, and I'm sending a couple of totes for the hostesses. I haven't a clue what to do for my nephew except sending my love. He is such a sweetheart, but masculine gifts are so hard to make! I'll post pictures of the totes when all is done.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

This is the story of my week. I'll start with the happy news - stepping forward.

I've made progress on three fronts!

1. The wheelbarrow block for the 2015 quilt along is stitched and finished!  I have only the templates to draw and a very quick pattern to write. This one will be ready to publish next weekend with time to spare! Sneak Peak!

2. Next step forward. I had started this last week, but now the latest mug rug for my daughter's office pals is completed. I'm halfway done with that project. Four down and four to go. There it is, at the bottom of the row of mug rugs next to (insert drum roll) the finally completed fat quarter quilt top on my design wall!

3.  Yes, the fat quarter quilt top is completely pieced! It's a week late, I think. Or is it two weeks late? Nothing that I'm going to fret about, though. At least it didn't get tucked away in the soon forgotten box of quilting UFOs!

The quilt top is 48" x 48" and the colors are much softer than they appear in this photo.  
And that leads me directly to the first of my backward steps this week.

Big fail!! I really messed up on the goal that I knew would be the hardest to meet. "Try to use fabrics from my stash instead of buying new fabric."  It started with the quilt top. I had thought I might use it on our dining room table. We are so very overdo for a change, and the green is an exact match to the cushions on our dining room chairs.

I thought I'd get my hubby's opinion first. I could keep it this size to fit diagonally on the table or I could easily turn it into a lap quilt by adding a border. This is what happened when he saw it.

"It's beautiful!" he said. "A perfect match for this room. Is it finished?"
"Umm, no. It still needs batting, backing and binding."
"What's backing?"
"The fabric that goes on the back of the quilt." I showed him the back of a handy quilt.
"Oh. I forgot," he said.  "I can never remember the names of all these quilt parts.  What are you putting on the back?"
I admitted that I hadn't purchased a piece from the same fabric line, but that I would probably be able find something usable in my stash.
"No," he said. "You'll ruin it. Buy something that matches."

I'm sure that my eyes positively lit up at that idea. So, I promised myself that I would buy absolutely no new fabric for at least the rest of February, and within minutes I had ordered a matching piece online!

Then my son brought a shirt over. A button had fallen off and he didn't have the right thread. I didn't have matching thread either, so I headed off to buy a single spool of gray thread. It was either that or remove all the buttons and replace them with thread of a different color.

Have you ever gone into a fabric store and come out with only one spool of thread? New spring and summer fabrics were everywhere! Shelves and shelves and shelves of beautiful newness! And the intoxicating fragrance of the fabrics... and the soft silky smoothness gliding under fingertips... the visions of new quilts that came suddenly to mind...

I was doomed from the moment I opened the door. Fail #2. Yup. That makes two mess ups in two days!

I'm done! I swear, no more new fabric for the month of February.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Progress and a Case of Quilting Hiccups

I began the week with high hopes for reaching my goals, but, as you know, not everything works out quite as planned. It was the nine-patch quilt that messed up my week.

I would have saved so much time if I had planned it more carefully, and I know for sure that I would have been happier with the outcome. In the end it will be fine. Not as wonderful as I had imagined, but acceptable.

I keep saying I'm going to break down and buy a good program for designing quilts. This may have to be the year I give in. Sigh...

Goal #1: Finish the nine-patch quilt top. 

I thought I had my little nine-patch quilt all figured out. The nine finished blocks looked great, but I wasn't quite ready to stitch them together.

I had this vision of doing some slicing and dicing. I wanted to add some narrow cream colored stripes to break the blocks up a bit, two down one side and two across the top. Then I would arrange the blocks into this really interesting and attractive layout. I could see it in my head, and it looked lovely.

I had planned to make four 1/2" stripes, two vertically, two horizontally. At the last minute I changed my mind and decided that wider strips of fabric would be easier to work with. I cut the fabric strips 1 1/4" wide and grew the stripes to 3/4".

That was the first hiccup in my plan.

I started by making one block to use as a my pattern for the others.  I had sliced and added three stripes to the first block when I stopped and double-checked the yardage of the fabric for the stripes. It measured just a bit too close for comfort. There was a simple fix, and I liked the fact that it would cut down on my stitching time.  I simply skipped that last stripe. The block wasn't exactly what I'd envisioned, but it was still cute.

That was hiccup number 2.

From here on, it was downhill. If anything could go wrong, it did.  I'll spare you the painful details of my non-stop hiccuping, but I'll give you a hint.

My mother was a wise woman, and when I was just a little girl she made sure to teach me two very important lesson for anyone who sews:
"Measure twice, cut once."
"Never sew when you're tired or in a hurry."


When I finally called it quits for the week my blocks had lost 1/2" in each direction and they could only be placed this way or that way. But seams match up! I guess it could be worse.

Here they are on my design board. They still need sashing and a border to make a quilt. It isn't what I'd seen in my wonderful vision, but it will be okay. I just hope no one notices the really big "oops'! Can you find it?

Goal # 2: Complete a name mug rug each week.
I didn't exactly accomplish this, but, two new mug rugs are ready to quilt and bind. I'll be adding the musical notes to the templates and updating the pattern before too long. I'm waiting to see what other templates I may need to toss in.

Goal #3: Sketch every day.

I've done fabulously with the sketching bit. Lot's of itty-bitty 5" houses in the works. I have no idea if they'll ever turn into something, but right now I'm on a roll. So much fun! 

Goal #4: Make a new mug rug pattern by the end of the month. 
Will I finish the new pattern by the end of the month? My gosh, that only 7 days off! I might be able accomplish this, but I'm not sure. Regardless, I won't be able to do it with just one pattern. I'll have to make a pair. The theme is fowl. Giggle! (Sorry. That was a teacher joke.)

Goal #5: Write a weekend blog.
Yes!! And this is it!

Wishing you a super week!!

Still giggling. :)