Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Welcome to the land of finished objects!
Well, they're small finished objects. And one of them is only a finished component of a bigger project. But I'm moving along, even if it's baby steps.
Another pair of socks is done. I've only been working on these since December.
Please don't ask me what this yarn is because I can't remember. I think I bought it at La Bella Vita in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, last spring. But I could be wrong. These are pretty plain--k2p2 ribbing throughout.
I like ribbed socks--they fit. The only pair of stockinette socks I've ever made did not fit, so I've never made that mistake again. And purple is like a neutral color for me. So I expect these to go into heavy rotation come fall.
And, another set of tiny star blocks is done. This will be for exchange #4 of 10 exchanges. Each exchange consists of eight each of two colorways--16 3.5" blocks each time. The blocks will finish to 3", and each of the swappers should end up with 160 tiny stars.
I guess I'm liking the Quilt in a Day Flying Geese Ruler better. It's getting easier. I only made one set of eight wrong here--just can't get it in my head which color will turn out to be the the star points and which will be the background. True confession: the rust was originally supposed to be the star points. Oh well....
Officially, the rust background has become "an artistic decision".
Finally, a sad story. A friend made a wild and wonderful Lone Star wall hanging with some great solids from the Gee's Bend Collection by Windham. The setting pieces and border were brilliant black and white prints--a wonderfully zoomy quilt. The fabrics WERE all pre-washed.
After the quilt was completed, she washed it again and this is the result:
An allover PINKNESS. The setting and border fabrics are now uniformly pink and black, and the red dye has dulled the color in the star.
Such a disappointment for the maker. So this is a "buyer beware" warning--these Gee's Bend fabrics appear to be loaded with extra dye. Washing with some sort of fixative might be a good idea. Or using some different fabric might be an even better idea. After seeing this, I don't think I'll be buying any of the Gee's Bend solids.
As for my friend, she is now RE-MAKING this quilt with the same black and white fabrics, but different solids.
Monday, April 19, 2010
A mostly at-home weekend. Project #1: the strippy star quilt was completed and delivered to my longarm artiste, Marge West, so that she may work her magic on it. It's out of my sewing room for now!
Half of my blocks are made for the next round of the tiny star block exchange--eight down, eight to go.
I'm getting used to the Quilt in a Day Flying Geese ruler which I'm using for the star points. It's putzy, putzy, putzy, but yields perfect results. These tiny blocks need to be smack on the money.
I cut the corner pieces oversize, so I could trim the blocks evenly once they're finished.
There's a retreat coming up in a couple weeks and I want to be ready with some kitted-up mindless sewing that will work well with lively conversation and Merlot. So I went into a bit of a cutting frenzy this weekend. First of all, I have fabric cut and ready to go for a Bonnie Hunter Bricks and Stepping Stones.
And I'm in the midst of chopping up a drawerful of 2" strips for a scrappy braid quilt.
This requires a lot of cutting! I love Bonnie's variation with the red squares. So this is what I'm shooting for.
This does my mental attitude a lot of good--using up bits and pieces, wasting-not and wanting-not. I may not get both scrappy quilts done at the retreat, but it will be nice mindless sewing for the next few months. There are a couple more demanding projects on the horizon, but sometimes you just want to sew and not think about it too much.
I'm ready for that.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A busy and highly motivated week of intensive sewing! I've been so enthused about this strippy quilt--I'd be thinking about it all day, eager to get to it in the evening.
The quilt top is all assembled, borders and all, after what seemed like MILES of foundation pieced sawtooth borders.
The results are worth the effort, but paper-piecing certainly is a mind-numbing process. And if the sewing itself isn't tedious enough, removing all the papers afterward is no fun at all.
One thing that helped was to fold down and score the paper on each seam line right after it was sewn. Ripping off those papers was tiresome, but they ripped quite cleanly and the task was done relatively quickly. Here's a peek of the completed top:
Things don't line up perfectly, so the quilt police would have a field day here. Let 'em! The small half square triangles are one inchers, but the sawtooth borders had to be oddly sized. In fact, the top and bottom borders are slightly different from the side borders. I am choosing not to be bothered by any of it. We will call it artistic license and leave it at that.
With luck, it will be off to Marge, the ace long-arm artiste this weekend.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Been busy! My star blocks have been repurposed into a quilt that *I think* is stronger than the original quilt I had planned. And I have blocks left over for another project. What's not to love?
I've taken 28 of the 36 star blocks I made and have put them together into a smaller strippy. The striped fabric I found at Primitive Gatherings is working out great, and the main part of the quilt is assembled.
Not only do I have star blocks left over, I only used about half of the half-square triangles I had made and trimmed. It's like money in the bank!
Even though I had several fabrics that might have made good borders for this quilt, I've swallowed hard and am now knee deep in paper-piecing a sawtooth border. So far, so good, although the strip I made tonight is about one inch short. A bit of tweaking is needed and I can deal with that. But not tonight.
Paper-piecing is putzy and uses up a good deal of fabric--yes, I know. But I've had trouble in the past with long, skinny triangles. With paper-piecing they will turn out sharp and true. It's not fun. But it will get me there.
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Sad family pet news this week.
Cosmo the cat, who was part of our household for several years while his mistress (our daughter) was serving in the United States Peace Corps, has passed away in his adopted hometown of Washington, DC.
Never one to back down from a challenge, real or imagined, Cosmo lived a life of intensity. While not exactly a party guy, he enjoyed his life, made no compromises, had his opinions, and imprinted his personality on us all. Sometimes literally.
He will be missed. RIP Cosmo.