Wednesday, June 29, 2011

{WiP} Wednesday, Lucky 13

WIP Wednesday at Fresly Pieced


I'll count this block as a "finish", although I'm not completely finished with the entire task. June was Katie's month for the Bee Happy bee, and she sent us two sets of fabric and asked us to make two tree blocks. One for a Christmas tree quilt (red and aqua), and the other for a rainbow tree quilt. We either got the red or the aqua for the Christmas tree quilt, and we each got one color for the rainbow tree quilt. Kelly and Natalie have both finished and posted about theirs, so if you want to see what my blocks are up against, you should go there! :)  I'm happy with the aqua Christmas tree block (although I'm glad I didn't get red because it looks a LOT like the Macy's Christmas tree logo, no?).  I'm not as happy, though, with my rainbow tree block.  I don't really like how it evolved. Which is to say that it is nothing like it looked in my head!  I'm still working on it.

Bee Happy Bee ~ Katie's Rainbow Block

I still need to get it to the right size, but since I'm a quilting vampire, I wanted to take a picture of it in daylight!

Also finished are my lollipop tree blocks for the Faith circle of the do.Good Stitches bee. Lots of trees in June... :o)  Taffyjane-Des asked for 4 little blocks for a quilt for a new baby, using a modification of the Moda Bakeshop pattern for Love Beads.  They were super easy, and I suspect the final quilt will be incredibly cute.

do.Good Stitches {June} ~ Lollipop Trees

And, finally, among the finishes, I completed two more blocks for my Birdie Stitches Block-of-the-Month stitch-along. March and April are done, and I've started on May. Forever behind... but the good thing is, there's no real deadline for this, and I can complete it when I have the time. And I plan for it to be for me, so I'm not trying to hit a gift or mail deadline. Whew!

Birdie Stitches BOM ~ January through May

All of the ones I've completed, although I'm unsure of the layout.

Birdie Stitches BOM ~ March


Birdie Stitches BOM ~ April


Still Needing Some Lovin'
  1. Robert Kaufman Solids Challenge -- it is in progress. It's such a mess right now that I won't even bother to show you pictures of the pile of fabric that WILL become this quilt. I've also identified who I'm giving it to. Now I just need to get it done!
  2. Jen's purse -- no progress, no change, nothing.
  3. Bottled Rainbows QAL -- unstarted, still.
  4. Secretive Get Better Quilt -- unstarted, still. Which is a good thing when you consider that it will be a gift for someone going through a difficult time...meaning that person isn't going through that difficult time, yet!
  5. Secretive P&P Quilt -- unstarted, sigh. I have to have this done by October, so I guess I need to get started now, eh? :)
  6. Fabric Hutch-- I took off some doors, and put baking soda in there. I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't the smell of the wood I'm smelling. Whatever. I'm not in any rush. :)
  7. Mug Rugs -- no progress. I didn't even put any thread through the eye of a needle to work on this one!
 New This Week
  1. Habitat Challenge -- Free Spirit has graciously offered 6 fat eighths to all MQG members wanting to participate in a challenge. We got our fabric bolts yesterday and will be giving out the bundles once the fat eighths are cut.  I'm either going to make a skirt or a bag... And this one will be for ME!!!
  2. Camera Strap Cover -- this one is for the back burner, too, but I want to keep track of it.
  3. T-shirt Quilts -- I am going to be a part of making 3 t-shirt quilts over the next few months. One has a deadline and is for someone else, and the other two are for a quilt-along with a friend whose husband doesn't appreciate her pile(s) of t-shirts. :)  Between her pile(s) of shirts, and Dave's pile(s) of shirts, we should come up with two very lovely quilts!
I think that about wraps it up! I fully acknowledge that this is JUST TOO MUCH, but I'm not sure how to minimize, and what to eliminate. It seems that as I finish one project, three more crop up. I love what I'm doing, I'm just feeling too much pressure right now. (That's me bearing my heart to y'all. I know you know where I'm at because a lot of you have either been there too, or are there now.)

Now, you should totally go over to Lee's place and see what my {WiP} compadres are doing this week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

{WiP} Wednesday #12

(I've been doing this for 12 weeks? How is that even possible?!)

WIP Wednesday at Fresly Pieced

I'm here again, linking up with Lee, to report to y'all how I've done this week getting stuff OFF my to-do list.

Finishes this week:
I finished my quilt for Craft Hope (to be sent to Alabama) and sent it off. I miss it already. :) You can read about what that quilt taught me here.

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ What Quilt?

I've finished prepping 2 more of my Birdie Stitches block-a-month blocks. I need to trace the embroidery on the center blocks, and then they're ready to be stitched. It'll be nice to only be 3 months behind instead of 4. :)

Birdie Stitches BOM ~ January through May

I also finished that ding-dang camera strap cover I promised my friend at Christmas. (Slacker!) I really hope she likes it. It's a bit scrappy, and I don't know if she'll like that part of it, but the other side is solid, so that's good. I like it, and if she doesn't, well, no harm done. (I used THIS tutorial again.)

Camera Strap Cover ~ For Jamie, Scrappy side

Camera Strap Cover ~ For Jamie, Solid side
In looking at my blog post when I made my own last year, I realized that I had fully intended to make another one for myself. Then when I took it off the camera strap to try Jamie's I realized that it's stained, and it shrank, and it's just...elementary. I totally need a new one! I can not, however, make a new one for myself right now. WAY too much to do. Maybe next week. :)


Still needing some lovin'
  1. Robert Kaufman Solids Challenge -- (sigh). I still haven't started piecing it. I'm SUCH a bad role model. I hope to get piecing on it this week. I HAVE TO get piecing on it this week! Dang.
  2. do. Good Stitches Bee {Faith Circle} -- lollipop blocks, still unstarted. I haven't even pulled fabrics. I will, though!
  3. Katie's Bee Happy bee blocks -- Christmas tree and Rainbow tree. I had hoped to finish these Tuesday, but dadgum "life" just got the best of me. I hope to get to them today or tonight.
  4. Birdie Stitches BOM blocks -- even though I got some prepped, I'm still shamefully behind. I hope to make some good progress this week as I will be away from my electric sewing machine and will have to rely solely on the sewing machine attached to the end of my wrist.
  5. Jen's purse -- right. I need to start this one on the back burner so maybe it'll simmer enough to actually create an idea I can go on! :)
  6. Bottled Rainbows QAL -- unstarted. I'm collecting scraps for it, though. Does that count? :)
  7. Secretive Get Better Quilt -- unstarted, I could at least start it so when the time comes to need it, I won't have to panic. Hmmm....
  8. Secretive P&P Quilt -- unstarted, must buy fabric and set this on the back burner as well.
  9. Fabric Hutch-- the doors are open and airing out the cigar smell.
  10. Mug Rugs -- I unearthed a couple of mug rugs I started in January, I think? I'm going to work on them this week. They're for a very sweet couple who could use some cheering up.
New This Week
 Hmmm...I don't think anything! I've certainly got enough on my plate! But I will add "camera strap cover" here, so that next week, when I look back and maybe have a bit of time (hahaha!), I'll remember that I wanted to make one. I'm thinking yellow and aqua this time. I'm SO loving that combination. :)  Or rainbow. Always love the rainbow.

Have a great week, and I hope you get a lot done! And if you've got some extra time, you should see what others are working on this week. Click here to go to Lee's link-up.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Right Where It Belongs

I finished my quilt for the Craft Hope // Security Blankets drive. Good thing, too, since it's due on Wednesday. It felt SO good to get it in the box (had to do the old sit-on-the-suitcase maneuver, though!), and take it to the post office and see it on its way.

I've been working on this quilt for about a month. Not a record time for anyone, but since I can only work on it, really, after the girls are in bed, it has taken me a while. I remember hearing about the Craft Hope drive the first week of May, buying my fat quarters around the 11th or 12th of May, and then really hitting it hard after that. I quilted it Memorial Day weekend, and bound it this last week. I washed it last night, took pictures this morning, and then took it to the post office.

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ The Front

It's gone. I don't know its future. I know it's going to New Jersey, and will then make it down to a charity in Alabama, but from there, I do not know.

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ The Complete Front

I don't know anything about the family that will get it, what happened to their property when the tornado hit, or what devastation they have been through since that awful day in April. I don't know if they believe in God now, or whether the tornado had anything to do with that. I can imagine that for some, their faith was quite shaken after the dust settled. But I can only hope that more people came to know that God was with them as they huddled together as a family, unsure of the future.

So many people lost so much. So many lost everything. And even what was left had to be destroyed because it was so far beyond repair. And yet they have hope. Beautiful, enduring, peace-giving HOPE. And the knowledge that they are not alone, that they will be cared for, and their needs will be met. As I was working on this quilt, I prayed that the family receiving it will have all their needs me, and will know that God is with them.

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ What Quilt?

And as I worked on this quilt, I knew I would have to send it off before our next Modern Quilt Guild meeting. Kristen stopped by the LQS as I finished quilting it, so she got to see it (sorta/kinda) as I was taking it off the long arm. My neighbor saw it when I brought it home that day. You've all seen it in pictures on the blog. But that's it. That's IT!! 

I've spent more than a little bit of time this last week wallowing in the fact that no one else (that I know) gets to see this quilt. No one else gets to appreciate it. No one else gets to tell me how beautiful it is, or how colorful, or how much they love how I quilted it, or how perfect my hand-binding and mitered corners are. No one.

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ Back - quilted, labeled and bound.

But as I was finishing the binding, I felt God saying that this isn't about me. I didn't do this for the glory. I didn't do this so people would tell me wonderful things. I didn't do this to feed my pride.

I made this quilt for a family who lost everything. I made this quilt for a mother who doesn't have anything to wrap around herself as she thinks about how she will rebuild her life. I made this quilt for a young couple who don't have anything to cuddle under and remember that they can get through this together. I made it for a couple of kids who don't have a big enough blanket to make a fort. I made it so they would know they are not alone.


So, rather than have this quilt here where people can admire it, it is on its way to its new home...where people can admire it. Right where it belongs. And I've put my pride away. Right where it belongs.  :o)

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Kitty Cat Helper

Alley is helping me with my binding.
I wish I could be someone's helper by simply curling up on their work.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{WiP} Wednesday #11

WIP Wednesday at Fresly Pieced

Sadly, I didn't chew down my {WiP} list as much as I would have liked. Such is the life of a crafter, though, right? I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have a ton of stuff on my to-do list!

  1. Kelly's Bee Happy Bee blocks -- Kelly asked for one door block and one window block. I made the door first, modeled after the front door of our house in England. The big tree on the right was a gangly bay tree. I maybe picked two bay leaves the entire time we lived there. :)  I modeled the window block after a circular window of an old building where I used to work. The windows had SO much character. Well, the whole building (and the entire campus!) had so much character.   The other Bee Happy bees are making some INCREDIBLE doors and windows. These ladies are seriously super creative.
  2. Kelly's Bee Happy Blocks ~ Window and Door
  3. Mystery mod mosaic block -- done. Kicked my butt, but it's done. That design? Wow. I've seen it done, and never realized how intense it was to make! Now I understand why I haven't seen a zillion of them! :)  Wonky log cabin? Zillions. Easy. Mod mosaic? Few. Challenging. And, of course, since it's a mystery, I can't show you pictures. :) 

Recap of WiPs:
    Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ Binding roll
  1. Craft Hope/Alabama quilt -- stll binding. I had a bit of a disagreement with my sewing machine, and so I'm hand binding this. I am a hand-binder, mind you. I don't really like to machine bind, but I don't have much time left. However, if I were serious about machine binding this, I would have to rip out the stitches where I attached the binding to the front of the quilt and start over from scratch. And that would take MORE time than binding by hand. So bind I do.
    Plus, I tried my hand at making a continuous bias binding? Never again. That was such a pain in the neck. Preparing the binding takes enough time as it is. One does not need to increase the time spent by following an agonizing and not-that-worthwhile process to get the binding strip(s) cut.
  2. Robert Kaufman Kona Solids Challenge - unfinished. I have my design (I chose RF3 since it's a little edgier and way more modern!) I have my background fabric (Kona Pacific, bought with a coupon at Fabric Bliss for $3.85/yd. Woot!), now I just need to do the math (EQ7 would be super handy right about now!), and start cutting. (it's due at our July meeting)
  3. RK Solids Challenge ~ RF on the design wall
  4. Camera Strap - unstarted, but I need to move this up on the must-do list! Seriously. I kinda need to finish this one this week. Gah!
  5. Jen's Purse - unstarted.
  6. Birdie Stitches - some unfinished, some unstarted. I'm going to a retreat in June, and I plan to take these along to work on there. I'll have lots of handwork time on my hands. :)
  7. Bottled Rainbows Quilt-along - unstarted.
  8. June do.Good Stitches bee - lollipop tree blocks. I need to move these up my list, too. I can't forget about them!
  9. Secretive Get Better quilt - unstarted, but I'll put everything aside when the time comes to make this.
  10. Secretive P-n-P quilt - unstarted, must buy the fabric and then figure out a pattern. (I actually love the pattern I used for my Alabama quilt, so I might just go with that again!)
New this week
  1. June Bee Happy bee -- Katie is having us make 2 "tree" blocks, one Christmas and one rainbow. Sounds cool! I should get the fabric in the mail this week.
  2. Fabric Hutch -- I found this hutch on CraigsList on Saturday, and spent the better part of the day (a) getting it into my SUV, (b) getting it out of my SUV, and (c) cleaning the film of ick off of it. I love the design, but not the wood finish. Or the handles. Or the permeating scent of cigar smoke.  I don't mind the smell of cigars, it reminds me of my great-grandpa, but I don't want my fabric smelling like Great-grandpa Williams! :)  So I will be sanding it down, temporarily removing the glass, repainting it black, and putting lots and lots of baking soda inside to try to draw out the smell in the wood. :)  
The Fabric Hutch ~ Before (Day 1)

I feel like there must be more on my list! Am I forgetting something? This just can't be everything on my craft list! I've got a couple of baby blankets in mind...maybe by next week I'll have a plan for those. :)

Anyway, go to Lee's blog and see what my fellow crafters are up to their necks in this week! :) Me? I've got about 290" to go until that baby is bound.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Really? That's it?

You would think 492 feet of continuous bias binding would look more impressive than this!

(it's actually about 465" long)

Since my quilt for Alabama (Craft Hope) is so large, there is quite a bit of real estate to be bound. (sigh). I don't mind binding. Some people hate it. Tonight, however, I am hating the continuous bias binding process. I'm not convinced it was faster or better than simply cutting the strips and sewing them together.

If I never see a continuous bias binding again, I'll be a happy woman!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

{WiP} Wednesday #10

Smell ya later, May. Butt-whoopin' time is over. Go away and let me get some rest!

Whew. From top to bottom, May has been stressful. I feel like we've just gone non-stop, had parties or guests all the time, had birthdays and deaths, finals and graduation, projects completed and more projects started. I'm really hoping June isn't half as crazy and sleepless as May was.

Last week, we saw me partway finished with the quilt top for the quilt I'm going to donate to Craft Hope Project 13 for their Security Blanket drive for survivors of the tornadoes in Alabama.

I'm calling it Building Blocks of Hope, I think. Something like that. Anyway, I was on a very tight timeline to finish the top and the back because I had a 1:00 sew-time on Friday at the long-arm. I finished the back at 12:20, and still had to cut the batting, square up the edges, pack up, grab some lunch, and drive the 20 minutes down there. Needless to say, I was late. :)  Not too bad, and I'd reserved the machine for the entire afternoon, so it wasn't a big deal, really.

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ Front

Mookie wanted to dance on the quilt.

I used 10 fat quarters for the top, and was able to make a strip of leftovers on the back.  Overall, I used about 6 yards of Kona Snow, but that was for the front and the back. I've got a pile of scraps and strips that probably come close to a yard, so if I had been extra careful, or pieced some of the scraps, I could have gotten away with less. But, like I said, I was in a hurry, and that $5.00 in extra yardage was worth it.

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ Back

I quilted it with a random, meandering loop-de-loop design, and I am SO VERY GLAD that I did this on the long-arm. There is just no flippin' way I could have man-handled this huge quilt on my home machine...large throat and all.  The finished size (before binding) is 6 1/2 feet by 7 feet. It took me about 2 hours of actual quilting (and walking around/taking a break) time, which is phenomenal compared to how long it would have taken me to do at home.

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ Quilting, Inspiration

The colors in this strip were the inspiration for the rest of the quilt. Like I've said, this isn't in my normal range of color choices, but I like how they all came together. I hope the recipient does too. :)

Building Blocks of Hope for Alabama ~ Quilting, Binding

I'm going to bind it in the aqua in this picture, and plan to have that done and mailed off by next week. Honestly, I'm a bit bummed that the deadline for the drive is before our next MQG meeting. :) I like to show things off. (don't we all?) I am really pleased with it, though. Mistakes and all. Every time I walk past it on the dining room table, I pet it. There isn't anything fancy about this quilt, really. It's not an original design, it's not terribly funky or fresh or modern. The quilting isn't terribly inspired or intricate. But sometimes there is beauty in the simple. And I really hope that whoever gets this will agree. :o)

Between busting my tail to get that thing quilted, and a family-focused holiday weekend, I didn't get much else done.

I did finish (and mail) my squares for the May do.Good Stitches {Faith Circle} Bee.  You can read about them here.  The finished quilts are going to be SO cool!

do.Good Stitches, {Faith} Circle ~ May String Blocks

(They look better in real life. It was super windy outside when I went to take pictures)

Recap of WiPs:
  1. Robert Kaufman Kona Solids Challenge - unfinished, but I'm stoked about my design! (I actually came up with another new design yesterday. I created a mock-up in Excel and can't decide on RF1 or RF3. RF2 is just too predictable. This is supposed to be a challenge, doncha know.)
  2. Kelly's Bee Happy door and window blocks - unfinished, but halfway done.
  3. Camera Strap - unstarted, but I need to move this up on the must-do list!
  4. Jen's Purse - unstarted.
  5. Birdie Stitches - some unfinished, some unstarted. I'm going to a retreat in June, and I plan to take these along to work on there. I'll have lots of handwork time on my hands. :)
  6. Bottled Rainbows Quilt-along - unstarted.
  7. June do.Good Stitches bee - lollipop tree blocks. These are VERY new on the list, so I have no guilt about them. :)
  8. Secretive Get Better quilt - unstarted, but I'll put everything aside when the time comes to make this.
  9. Secretive P-n-P quilt - unstarted, must buy the fabric and then figure out a pattern. (I actually love the pattern I used for my Alabama quilt, so I might just go with that again!)
New this week
  1. Mystery mod-mosaic block. I know some really great people that have THE BIGGEST hearts around. That's all I can say. I should be working on it right now, but I left the mailbox key in Dave's car, and his car isn't here right now, so I can't get the mail to get my fabrics!! Dangit! 
Hopefully next week I will have a finished quilt to show you, some finished door and window blocks, some progress on my solids challenge quilt, (hah) progress on that dern camera strap, progress on my lollipop trees, and maybe a start on my June Bee Happy bee squares.

I hope you have a great, crafty week! I've linked up with Elizabeth at Don't Call Me Betsy (changed for this week) for the {WiP} Wednesday collaboration. Go and see what everyone else is up to!

...and this is what my littlest does while I'm focused on taking pictures of a quilt!
Future in Horticulture, perhaps?

It's a good thing she's cute. :)