Friday, January 29, 2010

I've been a little busy sewing....

...and neglecting my blog, that's for sure! I got the little doll sized quilt done for the swap, I wanted to get it done before anything else could come up and put pressure on me. This is what I gleaned from my partner's Flickr favorites and her blog and her list of likes and dislikes- I hope she likes it. It measures about 24" x 18, roughly. The little blocks finish at 2.5". I thought it needed some life and color so I appliqued on some birds made out of fabric scraps. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Then I decided to make another little one- this one is a beach scene that reminds me so much of our times at the beach house which is owned by our friends, Katie and Patrick. It's in FL and we have so much fun when we go down there. Like someone said when they were helping our visiting friends find the house- "it's always a party at 1610!" I might be sending this quilt off to someone if their partner flakes out and fails to come through as prearranged, but I sure hope I get to keep it, I really like it!

This is heavily appliqued and the back looks like a line drawing of all the detail on the front, it's very cool looking.

There are several 3D features on this little quilt, which measures about 13" x 12". The palm tree leaves, the napkin under the drink, the beach towels and umbrella all stick out somewhat, giving it lots of dimension.

Nosey Parker felt the need to help arrange the noisy beads as I was setting up the photo shoot. Then I realized it wasn't done, I hadn't put on the 2 cool leaves! Eeeek.

I've also been making string blocks for another quilt along. This is so much fun! Bright, aren't they? :) I'm having a ball laying these out, finessing the layout only to have a renegade kitten come flying thru and rearrange them all for me. I finally took a photo so I could remember where I had them. Twist one block and the whole design goes wrong!

This quilt along design incorporates several different kinds of blocks together- the strings like the above photo shows and some Crazy 9 Patch blocks, and some pieced and appliqued circles. I made 13 of these Crazy 9's but didn't like them too much as I messed them up a bit. (The top one in the photo below- see how the middles are much bigger than the corner bits?) That was really bugging me and it was only going to get worse when I sewed the blocks together to each other. So I "fixed" them by adding in strips of black. I cut an inch out of the middle of the block in one direction first, added a 1" black strip, then cut them again and added another black strip going the other way. That made the trouble areas smaller, perfect! I was happy to have found a solution that worked.

So that's what I've been doing- sewing, pondering, planning and plotting and scheming.... And I'm having a lot of fun hanging out at the DQS8 Flickr group and seeing all the little lovelies that the ladies are coming up with. It's quite addictive and informative and very inspirational, too. I have a million ideas in my head of things to make. Now, if only I could get some of them done!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

DQS8 is about to begin!

DQS stands for Doll Quilt Swap, something I didn't know until last week, when I got talked into joining it by my friend, Dena. I am SO glad she was persistent, because it's going to be great fun, I can already tell. This is being held over at Flickr.

Here's how it works- 160 or so people signed up. A number of "swap parents" are given a group of about 20 quilters and their questionnaires that they filled out. It's up to each Swap Mama or Papa to assign a person to receive another person's doll quilt, which is between 12" x 12" and up to 24" x 24", any shape or size in between. They aren't partnered, though, so while I'll be assigned to make a doll sized quilt for someone, a different person will be making one for me. So it's all a surprise, no one knows who they are getting from. Doesn't that sound fun? It's going to be torture, though, because all along the way, quilters will be showing their quilts in progress, or sneak-peeks of them, to tantalize and make the others drool, but since you don't know which one is for you, they could any of them be for you!

In order to make a quilt for your recipient that you think she/he will like, you have to stalk them at Flickr, or at their blog, being sneaky and stealthy so they don't know why you are there. You look at the things they've made, the things they've marked as a favorite, you look at their personal photos, if you can and see how the decorate their home, etc. You basically get to pry! lol I'm up for this task, somedays I think I should have been a private detective or a cop, anyway. :) And I'm marking a lot of people as contacts, so just because I might have marked YOU, that does not mean that you are the person I am making a little doll quilt for!

And you also have to leave clues for the person who is making YOU a quilt. So here we go- clues! The photo above is a mosaic of some of my favorite doll quilts that were made in prior swaps. I just love these. And in my profile on Flickr, I've made a list of the things that please me the most. Hopefully it's enough to give my "maker" some clues and hints, but if not, maybe someone could give me a heads-up to be more specific. I'm pretty much an open book, though, and not what you'd call "deep" so I should be easy enough to get a handle on.

Today we get the name of our recipient. I can't hardly stand it, I'm already having fun with this!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Revamped Ironing Board Cabinet with Selvages...

In my last post, I showed what the ironing board cabinet looked like with a pink floral fabric in the door. Here's what it looks like today.
Inside- please notice my winning wall hanging compliments of Lynz. I think it's just perfect in there and I'll see it ALL the time. Thanks again, Lynz, I really love it!

That bit of lime green inside the cabinet is a permanent reminder to me of why you shouldn't paint a room that gets little natural light, lime green, no matter HOW much you love lime green. :) I painted it again, 2 shades lighter, the minute my husband left town for a few days. I'm not sure that he has ever noticed the change! lol I couldn't stand that much lime green, though, it was photographing nicely but in person was such an overwhelming color and it had a gloss to it that made it even worse. This is much better!

This cabinet is right next to the hutch that holds all the fabric, so I dug out my selvages that I'd been saving and lined them up on a piece of Warm and Natural and sewed the down. I also marked several lines on it to help me from running off level as I sewed.

Once they were all on, I trimmed it and then added a backing fabric and used the pattern on that to quilt them together. I basted around the edge after trimming it again to size and then I hot glued it into the frame. I didn't have any pretty cord that was big enough to cover the raw edges so I covered some cord with a bias piece of fabric that went with the colorful selvages.

Close up of the cord- it looks like spline, but it only covers the raw edges.

And the exterior- fabric by Paula Prass.

And Nosey Parker is SO sweepy! Actually, I sweep and then she jumps behind the broom and scatters my pile of debris. What a girl. :)

Her daddy sees her like this and says "she's retracted her landing gear." lol Spoken just like the pilot that he was. And honestly, I DO mop, but the floor sure looks dingy in this photo! It must be the artificial light! Yeah, that's gotta be it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sewing with selvages...

It's hard to get a good photo of a black cat, so you have to admire Sammie in this one. :) He's our little mutant kitty, he has a stubby tail and long fangs, the victim of horrible inbreeding from a bunch of wild cats over at Jim's mother's old house. We rescued him while he was young enough to get over his feral beginnings. He's a very sweet boy but he loses collars at a horrible rate!

I've been working on two different selvage projects. Here's one of them, I think it took me all of 5 minutes! I made a cat collar for Sammie out of a piece of selvage fabric from my last quilt, it looks pretty cute on him and if he gets it off this winter, maybe I'll be able to find it out in the drab woods/snow. See the selvage dots on his collar?

A better shot, but only slightly.

The other project should be done tonight or tomorrow, but all it is is a selvage quilt for the door to my wall-mounted ironing board. I had a piece of fabric in it that I just didn't really like. It was wrapped around the board that was originally in it, it was a tole painted thing from 20 years ago that I covered with fabric. Anyway, it was too thick and kept wanting to pop out of the frame so I thought I would quilt something to fill that space. Here's the before- it's the pink rectangle on the left. I just laid out selvage strips and sewed to them to a piece of Warm and Natural. I'm backing it with a piece of black and white fabric and machine quilting it right now. A little binding and some tacks and it'll be done. I'm excited. I'll see the selvage strips all the time because I rarely close this cabinet. The cover on the ironing board is black and white, too.

So that's what I've been working on. Stay tuned for a finished shot hopefully tomorrow.

Stash post........ this is almost embarrassing...

My quilty friend Lara suggested this, taking stock of what we have..... and a smart person would have straightened up the mess before photographing, but I didn't. I do it every month or so, though and it's almost time to do it again, but it seems like the minute I get it all straight, I start a new project and trash it immediately, so I'm beginning to understand the futility of it all. lol Anyway, here's one shot of it right after I got the hutch and put my fabrics into it. That was July, I think. This is super-tidy, it is not like this anymore.

This is now- fabric stacked 2 layers deep with more on the sides when there's room..... Blues and purples on the top, pinks and greens and novelty fabrics folded on the middle shelf, red, orange, yellow, black and white and Kaffe Fassett's on the bottom.

More fabrics on these sides- muted fabrics I rarely use and fabrics that are reserved for special projects and batiks-

In the drawer- a layer cake and jelly roll and yardage of Neptune and a pattern for a Candy Bar Road quilt, some Authentic, a quilting booklet and a whole big bunch of Mendocino.

I think I've bought a little too much fabric lately. I'm afraid to open the drawer and the glass door at the same time in case it decides to fall over on me! I would just die. Not from the crushing blow, but just thinking about the mess it would make and the shattered glass and wood.... oy.

And then in the little hall up in the sewing room, I have a shelf unit with a fabric cover. In it and on it are overflow fabrics, battings, interfacings, paints and boxes filled with color-sorted scraps.

Seriously, I need to go on a fabric diet. This is pretty ridiculous and even I know it. I just wish my buddies would quit showing me the wonderful, cute things they're making out of the new fabrics that are always coming out!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! Presents, kittens and quilts, oh my!

New Year's Day- it was a tough night! Nosey Parker needs a little icebag for on top of her noggin. Poor thing partied just a little too hard! And would you look at those MANKY paws? :) They aren't the sweet little pink things that they used to be, not even close.

Giveaway photos! Woo hoo, LOOT!

Recently, I won another giveaway from my quilting friend, Marguerite, at Adventures in Quilting and Sailing. She had a very generous giveaway with lots of prizes and winners and I was lucky enough to be one of them! The package arrived in perfect condition from the UK and just chock full of great loot! The big prize is a notebook with a cover on it made from the most gorgeous Laurel Burch fabric, Dancing Horses. I just love this, Marg! It's so ME, bright colored fabric, wild with lots of action, thank you so much. And the cool green notebook with the holographic green cover- it's almost a shame to hide that inside this cool cover. Also included was the CUTEST little felt kitty! At first I thought- "oh, she made something for Nosey Parker, isn't it adorable?" and then I felt it, it was heavy and kind of hard. *lightbulb moment* I tugged on it's little tail and voila! It's a tape measure! How cute is that????? I just love this and it's going to come in so handy, I'll be putting this in my purse when I go shopping, but the rest of the time it'll be in my sewing room, someplace safe but where I can see it all the time! (I may have to attach it to the ceiling to keep it away from marauders!) It is beautifully made, just perfect and quite inspirational, if you know what I mean! Also, a lovely Christmas card with very kind sentiments inside and some cool labels, too! Loot, I'm tellin' ya! What a fun package to get!

I started a new, small quilt the other day. I had 2 charm packs of Neptune, by Tula Pink, and a nice solid Kona cotton. I had seen a whirlygiggle quilt made up that used a more triangular shape than the usual whirlygiggle quilt, giving it more rotation (at least in my mind) and it also used Neptune, so I thought I would make one too, hoping the original artist didn't mind. I mentioned on her blog, Salt Marsh Designs, that I planned to do this and asked permission and she never said no so I'll assume that's a yes. :)

Here are some of the pieces, this was taken in progress- I used 70 charms and an equal amount of the solid aqua blue. I had to steal a piece from a layer cake to make up the last pair of charms. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the solid color, I'm thinking it's Kona Aqua but I could be wrong. I bought it months and months ago before I realized that I should write this important stuff down. And Hobby Lobby has stopped carrying this color, I made a special trip there to find it Thursday and they don't have any and won't be getting any and they didn't know the name of it, either. Grrr.

Here's the top, nearly finished. I just have to sew my rows together. I had to square up each block as they were quite wonky, so I squared them to 8" and that made a wonderful difference and made the rows go together like a dream. Finished it will be about 37" x 53". Not too big, just right for a snuggly quilt.

I'll get this finished up today and set it aside to finish when I get something for the backing. I love this fabric, though, it's so fun!

I hope you all have a great 2010 and get lots of fun things made and enjoy being creative.