Tuesday, April 26, 2011

{FiW} Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Fresly Pieced

I propose we change the name of this weekly post to {FiW} Wednesday...as in FINISHED it Wednesday.

(which I guess should be {Fi} Wednesday, but go with me, here.)

Because there were a LOT of finishes this week. Phew!

Well, two. But that feels like A LOT when you consider how long those things have been on my WiP list.

First, I finished my pineapple blocks for Yolanda in the Bee Happy Bee. I was (as usual) intimidated by her blocks, mostly because of what I've heard people say about pineapple blocks. She found a pattern by Allison Quilt Designs (called the Crimson Rambler) that didn't require paper piecing, and assured us these weren't difficult. I believed her, really I did! It's just that I had to finish Libby's blocks before I felt like it was fair to start Yolanda's. AND...and that's a big and...I knew I needed to be able to do them when I could concentrate (read: not while the girls were awake and playing) and when I had a large enough block of time to finish them (read: not while the girls were simply napping). But I found time to wrap my head around the process, and another chunk of time to get them finished. I really like the way the two I made turned out, and I can't wait to see her finished quilt! It'll be stunning!

Yolanda's Bee Happy Pineapple Blocks - together

My other big finish this week is the quilt I have been working on for the Quilts for Japan drive. There has been a wonderfully huge push to encourage the quilters of the world to make quilts for the people who were devastated by the earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan in March.

I've had this design in my head since I started swapping hexies in (funny, Yolanda's) hexagon swap on Flickr. (Yolanda is clearly a big part of my quilting life this week!)  The Quilts for Japan drive was just the push I needed to actually get the hexies out and work them into a quilt.

I have decided to call this my "TNT Quilt." Mostly because the best thing that could happen to this quilt is if it got just a little too close to a stick of dynamite. :o) No. Really, it's because I tried SO doggone MANY new things with this quilt. Get it? Tried New Things? Catchy, no?  For starters, I used quilter's spray adhesive to hold the hexies on until I raw-edge appliqued them down. Second, I used Kona Premium muslin for the white. It was VERY nice to have a whole piece of fabric and not have to piece anything. I also added a little yellow hexie for the label.

TNT Quilt ~ The Back

Oh, and FYI - the hexagons were all cut with the Accuquilt Go! Studio hexagon die.

Next, I quilted it myself. (TOTALLY new thing for me!) I knew this was too big for me to quilt on my home machine, though, so when my rock star friend, Traci, and I took a long arm class at our LQS, I knew this quilt was destined to be quilted on the big APQS Millenium (a.k.a. "Millie". Unique, no?)  The class was really good, but I didn't have enough time to finish it there that day. Thankfully, I have a wonderful neighbor who offered to watch Mookie (who will be 3 in a few weeks! Gasp!) last Friday morning while I went down and finished this. I took Sprout (and a bag full of toys) with me.

Just in case anyone is wondering, the floor of a quilt shop is probably not the best place for a curious 11 month old who thinks every single thing on the floor belongs in her mouth.)

Sprout didn't last on the floor nearly as long as I was hoping, so I'm thankful I had my Ergo with me. She fell asleep as I was quilting this, which is suprising considering how much commotion and noise that machine makes!

TNT Quilt ~ Quilting Close-up

I have to say - I was surprised at how much the backing and the top moved and shrank during the quilting process. Well, and during the trimming process! I had to cut a LOT off to square it up!

And then came the binding. (sigh). I decided that since I needed to finish this quilt quickly (Lecien, a Japanese fabric distributor in California, is offering to send them to needy families in Japan), I needed to machine bind it. I really should have taken a step back and watched some tutorials and talked to people who machine bind, because I could have used some serious help! My corners look like something the dog would roll in, you can sometimes see the stitches from the other side, and it's not perfectly even all the way around like it would have been if I'd hand-bound it. BUT I don't know how many months later I would be finishing it if I'd had to bind it by hand!

(notice how I am not showing you any pictures of the binding? I'll leave that to Kelly and her superstar binding!)

Mookie has helped make this quilt from the very beginning. Since she loves to swipe the hexies and make a "fairy path", I had to explain to her that this quilt was for a special family. A family that doesn't have a home anymore. A family that is very sad. And so anytime I was working on it, she would talk to me about the family, and ask me a zillion questions. When I showed it to her this morning and asked her to help me take pictures, she was very excited. I love that she's compassionate even at a young age. :o)

TNT Quilt ~ She Understands

The finished quilt is about 50x80". Kinda long, but that's okay. That's how long it had to be to incorporate all the hexies. I like that the quilt "became," for lack of a better term. I had no plan (which is very unlike me) - just a handful of hexies that I wanted to use. The quilt dictated the rest for me. Rather like how a novel "writes" itself, well this quilt "created" itself. :o)

TNT Quilt ~ On the stairs

And since Sprout was such an integral part of the making of this quilt, I will shower you with a handful of gratuitous baby shots. :o)

TNT Quilt ~ She matches the quilt

Sprout (and a smidge of the TNT Quilt)

TNT Quilt ~ Sprout Playing

Now then.
Back to the works in progress...
I haven't touched anything else all week. :o)  I haven't started anything new (including the bee blocks for Janice that are about to be a month behind...).  But I've got a few more things that I have to finish soon, so I hope to get to work on them tomorrow.

For my sake, I'm just going to type out a little list. I know I'm going to need to refer back to it soon enough. :o) 
-Audrey's mug rug (and about 3 other mug rugs for other people)
- A few more infinity scarves
- My Robert Kaufman Kona Solids Challenge Quilt
- A few bee blocks
- My birdie stitches blocks

Oh, and in the "canvas" department, Dave and had a little "wine time creations" of our own on Friday night. It was Good Friday, and I thought it would be nice to paint something to reflect the sacrifice Jesus made for us that day. I showed Dave a few photos of my idea, and we got started.

Even though it was Good Friday, we painted the scene for Sunday morning.

Dave wants to paint The Scream next. I'm not sure, but I think that one is going to have to go in the "unspeakable wifely duties" category. (I do not like that painting!)  The good thing about Canvas and Cocktails is that you don't have to paint what the rest of the class is painting. Thank goodness! :o)

I hope you have a great and crafty week!

(Yesterday's bad weather moved on and left us with a clear, bright morning for taking outside pictures.)

TNT Quilt ~ From Colorado to Japan

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

{WIP} Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Fresly Pieced

I'm in the middle of WAY WAY WAY too many things. Ugh. I want to be at the END of some of these! And yet, somehow, I still keep adding more...I'm not too bright. :o)

Well, okay. I do have one finish. See that new little button on the right? Yup. We now have a button for our local Front Range Modern Quilt Guild! Yay!

And on that note, we are going to do something in the fall that I'm just a little too excited about. I don't know what we're going to call it, but something like "UFO"...as in "Un Finished October" where anyone who wants to participate agrees to not start any new projects for the entire month.

Did you swallow that? No. New. Projects. For an entire month. And it's a big month, too! Not a little month like February or April. A month with 31 days! We do get one mulligan, though, if we need to start something new. :o) The idea is that we spend our creative time finishing projects. Especially leading up to the holidays, this should be a good thing. I'll let you know how it goes. Heck, maybe I'll even make a button for it since I'm all skilled up in that department now. :o)

Where was I? Oh, right. Works In Progress = Too Many.

I've got my Japan Quilt. I took a class at a LQS on their long arm machine, and I was able to do one row of meander stitching before I had to hustle home to my babies. Unfortunately, the tension was off for about 1/4 of it, so I spent a little time last night doing some "reverse sewing" with my reverse sewing machine (a.k.a. seam ripper). (sigh)  I am going to spend a couple more hours on the long arm on Friday, and I absolutely positively MUST finish the quilting on it. I found a pretty rainbow polka dot (on a black background) for the binding, and I'm going to try my hand at machine binding the behemoth. Otherwise I'll never finish it in time!

I used Lady Harvatine's Hexagonia tutorial for machine piecing hexagons, and I'm totally smitten. Here's a sneak peak at a block I did. I'll tell you the story about it later. The important thing is that I am now The Hexagon Master east of the Rocky Mountains.

I am in the middle of making my bee blocks for Yolanda. She asked us to make pineapple blocks that do not require paper piecing! Did you swallow that? No paper piecing! And the pictures that the other worker bees have done look really great. She's going to have an incredible quilt when we're all done!

I still need to embroider my Birdie Stitches for March and create my block for April. (Heck, I might as well just create my May block while I'm at it.) You can see the orange border here for March. April's block will have a yellow border, and May's will have a green border. I am surrounded by rainbows right now! (Which I love...)

And then there's a mug rug for my guild-mate, Audrey (I'm only showing you the carnage).  I'll show you the finished mug rug after I give it to her. We were supposed to give them to our partners at the April MQG meeting, but she wasn't able to attend. She asked me to give it to her in person, so we'll all just have to wait till after May 9th. I'm kind of excited about it, though. :o)

And, of course, my Robert Kaufman Kona Solids Challenge. See the dust collecting on my charm pack? Hah. I have a million ideas -- some easier than others, of course. And I had a fabulous idea the other morning, but I need to do a test run to see how easy it is.  If I wait much longer, I'm going to have to default to my easiest design and just whip it out!

And with that, I'm off. I know there are other projects I'm in the middle of, but I just can't think of them.

OH...how could I forget!!  It's not really a true "finish", but it is something creative that happened this week. Last Saturday night, Dave and I went to a place in Denver called Canvas and Cocktails. They give you all the supplies to paint a picture, AND they put an instructor at the front of the room to tell you everything you need to know! It was a lot of fun. Saturday was their first "Guys' Night", so half the room was men, which really changed the chemistry of the night. Normally it's a bunch of women and a lot of wine, and there's a whole lotta chatting going on. We all know men are different, and are less likely to chat while they're doing...well, heck. Let's be real. They're just less likely to chat. Period. No matter what they're doing. :o)  Can't use up their 500 words for the day, right? Haha. :o)

Here's what Dave and I made. You can see the inspiration painting in the background. He didn't do too bad, did he? :o)

Canvas and Cocktails ~ at the scene

I hope you have a great week.