Thursday, May 31, 2012

Desperate for a Design Wall

Have you voted for my Ace of Spades mini quilt in SewHappyGeek's PLAY competition? Go vote! I'm lucky number 13.

I didn't post yesterday, because I was so sure I would get to share a WIP design wall post. Alas, it just didn't work out that way yesterday, or today. It's high on my priority list to make a design wall happen, but there's a lot going on. Getting two big sheets of insulation from the home improvement store requires borrowing a truck. Ideally I'd have help from Mr. Pins, but I'm prepared to fly solo if the weather will cooperate. 

I've resorted to desperate measures in the meantime. This is a poor substitute for a design wall. Wish me luck in my crafty endeavors. 

Good luck with yours, too! And go VOTE!

Monday, May 28, 2012

PLAY Competition at Sew Happy Geek

Jenna at Sew Happy Geek is hosting the PLAY Competition for folks to design mini quilts around a playing card of their choice.

SewHappyGeek Play Button

My blog reading has been a little disorganized as of late, but I was reminded of the competition when Jenna extended the deadline to May 28th instead of May 21st, since she's in recovery from intense knee surgery. Here's what I came up with in a jiffy!

Ace of Spades

Taadaa! This little number is a hodge podge of embroidery and appliqué with random bits of fabric from every corner of the clubhouse. I like to dig in the dirt as much as I love to dig through my stash, so gardening inspired quilting projects definitely call to me.

- Kona white for the background.
- Spade: silver ironing board cover, gold lamé, and linen from my Zakka potholder.
- Dirt: pinecone print on cotton from my Mom's stash.
- Strawberry patch: fussy cut from a Lizzy House print for Andover Fabrics.
- Abstract plant: color wheel charm swap squares and Kate Spain Terrain fussy cut flowers.
- Embroidery: the spade on the handle and the A's were backstitched.

The back of my mini quilt is Kitchy Kitchen fabric, and anyone who wants to send me some more of this print to squirrel away in my stash is welcome to do so at any time.

This was a really fun project. Switching my brain to appliqué mode was really challenging. You have to think in layers to do appliqué instead of thinking about piecing horizontally like you do when putting a quilt top together. It's probably good that this project had a deadline. My fingers are ready for a break from appliqué.

There's going to be a Most Popular vote over at Sew Happy Geek, so go check out the handiwork and vote for me if you like! I know I'd like it ;-)

Happy appliqué adventures for all!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rose Star Saturday

I got The Clubhouse (aka, my sewing space) about half picked up today before I started wrecking it again to work on Rose Star blocks.

Gimme a break. It's just easier to put a block together if I can see all of my fabric at. the. same. time. It's only possible thanks to the manageable size of my stash. Trust me. I'd rather have the other problem.

Happy crafting this weekend!

Claire Jain

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Rose Star Block Design

I'm trying to set myself up for success with my Rose Star blocks by doing the design work ahead of time. I find the design part of it tedious. I just wanna SEW! Choosing fabrics, a layout, then cutting out 31 pieces of fabric takes me about an hour. I managed to design and cut three new blocks this past week, though. Now I'll be ready for any found sewing time.

The fun thing about these blocks is you can still change your mind about the design by swapping around a few of the pieces before you sew them together.

Rose Star Blocks
1. Block 1, 2. Block 2, 3. Block 3, 4. Block 4, 5. Block 5, 6. Block 6

Here's where I am with the assembled blocks. If you've never done any English paper piecing before (like me) check out Clare's tutorial at selfsewn. It's very interesting, and this is such rewarding hand sewing to have with you when you can't sew at your machine.

Summer Sampler Series Blocks

I originally saw these blocks on Fresh Lemons this summer, but I probably wouldn't have made them if it wasn't for the Austin Modern Quilt Guild's block swap. I've definitely learned some things making these blocks, so I've been making some to keep for myself as well. Hopefully I'll have some more done before our meeting tomorrow evening!

Storm at Sea Queen-Sized Quilt

Get ready to weigh in on this one. I'll write a separate post with more details to paint the whole ugly picture for you. I'm either going to have to sew what I have and let points float and get squished where they may or pick apart hundreds of seams and re-sew. I almost think I could start from scratch faster than that, but I won't be trying both and timing myself ;-) Finishing at least the top of this quilt is one of my goals for 2012, so I can't ignore it forever.

I can't wait to see everyone's WIP updates! I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced, Sew Much Ado, Whatever Goes WednesdayRae Gun Ramblings, and Ameroonie Designs.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Copy Machine as Quilting Tool

I got so much done last week in the kitchen, yard, and garage. I volunteered at one craft fair and visited another. I ran errands, got a great deal on a mid century sideboard, and relocated furniture around the house, but none of those feats was sewing-related. Sorry it was quiet around here. This week I'm back in the clubhouse (aka my sewing space) making some progress. 

I decided I needed to make good on all of this talk about designing Rose Star blocks ahead of time so that I will always have hand sewing with me when I'm on the go. In order to do this, I needed plenty of the  paper kites and hexagon pieces cut out. The few pieces I had been reusing weren't going to be enough to make piles of blocks.

I couldn't seem to scan and print to scale at home, so I went to the nearby office store to take things up a notch. Copies were cheap. I was so pleased the edges weren't chopped off of my templates and everything was to scale. I got home and started cutting out all of the shapes.

Even with shapes cut from just a few sheets, I was able to get two blocks designed and ready to go. Yay!

The design process is tedious for me, and cutting all of these pieces takes awhile. I think it's about an hour per block. Of course the clubhouse looks like this:

That's normal, though, right? Getting a design wall up is definitely on the to do list. If I keep enough stuff out on the floor maybe Mr. Pins will lend a hand.

If you've discovered any secret ways to make office supplies work for your sewing process, I'd love to hear about them.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Irresistible Stash Addition

I couldn't help it any more. I'd gone into Stitch Lab and ogled them so many times. I just couldn't continue to watch the bolts shrink without taking some home for myself. These are the typewriters from Melody Miller's Ruby Star Shining line. They're definitely a special addition to my stash, and I can't wait to craft something up with them!

Happy Sewing!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Finished: Circle of Geese Pezzy Print Mini Quilt

Circle of Geese Pezzy Print Mini Quilt

Taadaa! Turned out pretty cute, right? Pezzy Prints are so cheerful. They just can't help it. I did a little stitching in the ditch to quilt it as well as some straight line echoing with my walking foot. I cut some Pezzy Print charm squares in half and sewed them end to end to make 2.5" binding. I sewed it onto the front with a 1/4" seam. I would have preferred to sew it on with a wider seam, but I would have squashed points. All in all, it's a really cute 12.5" block turned mini quilt.

I drew the lucky number and won two free yards of fabric from Remnants here in Austin thanks to this little paper piecing adventure. You can take a go at it yourself by using the free template.

My other finish for today is another Summer Sampler Series block. This is the Six Pointed Star block. I decided not to make the string quilt version. 

This block is going towards a charity quilt from the Austin Modern Quilt Guild. I wasn't really happy with the first block I made to donate. I liked the fabric that I used, but I wished that I had put more effort into the design of the block. I had a bit of an epiphany at that point. Just because it's for charity doesn't mean that it shouldn't be your very best work. You should love what you make even if it's being donated to someone you don't know. 

Since then, my donation blocks take just as high a priority as the things I make for myself or loved ones. I pulled yellow charm squares from my piles of color wheel charm square swap fabric to make this yellow block, and I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. I starched everything as I went, and this block could stand up straight and walk away on its own if it wanted. 

I hope you have a weekend of starching and sewing ahead of you! I'm linking up with Quilt Matters, Under the Table and Dreaming, Canoe Ridge Creations, and Sew Happy Geek.

UndertheTableandDreaming {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Geese and Blocks

At our April Austin Modern Quilt Guild meeting, Heather with Fiberosity gave a little paper piecing workshop, and it was lots of fun. I'd done a little paper piecing while making the Arkansas Traveler block in the Summer Sampler Series, but it was definitely hard for me to get my mind back into it at the meeting. I kept sewing the wrong parts together. Back at home, I used some Pezzy Print charm squares to make this Flying Geese circle: 

I found myself wishing that all the colors of the color wheel were represented in the Pezzy Print line. There were twelve colors in the charm pack, but two of them were black and brown. They just didn't set my soul on fire in this layout, and we're only supposed to sew stuff that we love, right? I'm happy with the six colors I ended up choosing. I decided repeating was fine. I think I'm going to make this into a mini, since it's so cheerful.

Rose Star Blocks
1. Block 1, 2. Block 2, 3. Block 3, 4. Block 4, 5. Block 5, 6. Block 6

This is my little English paper piecing adventure. I picked up this skill thanks to Clare's tutorial at selfsewn. Doing design work is still the hardest part for me. I'm hoping to cut another one tonight so that I can have some hand sewing tomorrow during a little adventure in town. These will also come in handy when I'm waiting around during jury selection next week ;-)

Summer Sampler Series Blocks

I originally saw these blocks on Fresh Lemons this summer, but I probably wouldn't have made them if it wasn't for the Austin Modern Quilt Guild's block swap. I've definitely learned some things making these blocks, so I've been making some to keep for myself as well. Hopefully I'll have some more done before our meeting tomorrow evening!

Storm at Sea Queen-Sized Quilt

My Storm at Sea quilt does have some problems related to sewing machine user error. That's why I haven't touched it since the fall. There's going to have to be some tough decisions or major hands-on work (probably both) to resolve those issues and make these blocks into a quilt. Finishing at least the top is one of my goals for 2012, so stay tuned. I want to bust this baby out again next week.

I can't wait to see everyone's WIP updates! I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced, Sew Much Ado, and Rae Gun Ramblings.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced   

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Geese Peek

Mr. Pins and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday. It was a great day full of things we enjoyed and some (surprisingly) tasty old cake.

I was back at the sewing machine today crafting up some fun! Here's a little sneak peek:

I found myself longing for a purple Pezzy Print. Clearly a missed opportunity there, even though the aqua color will always have a special place in my heart. 

I had a great time at Talkin' Tuesdays tonight. If you've never participated, mark your calendar for Tuesdays at 8pm Central time. You're guaranteed some thought provoking questions about the present day quilting experience as well as some highly entertaining answers. Plus, there's a chance to win some goodies like I did tonight! I'll keep you posted on that. 

I know tomorrow is WIP Wednesday and all, but don't stay up too late at the sewing machine. 

Happy Crafting!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finished: Black Sheep Don't Sleep Baby Quilt

Taadaa! This is my big finish for the week. I ended up having to travel for the past couple of days, so I'm glad I got it in under the wire. This quilt was pretty easy to put together since the big squares were cut to 8" and and all of the colorful strips were cut to 2.5" wide. I was inspired by this pattern, but I needed larger pieces to really show off the prints and allow me to piece the top faster.

I took photos before and after washing. There was great sunshine on the evening before I washed it, but of course it was overcast the next morning.

The prints are Organic Monaluna fabrics from the Taali collection by Jennifer Moore with a little Kona White for contrast. The Monaluna fabric seemed to have a very fine weave. It had a great feel, and I will definitely buy more of their prints to work with. The little sheep are too sweet!

I stitched in the ditch for the most part, but I quilted (mostly) straight lines though the middle of the squares just to stabilize the batting between the two layers. I didn't know what the recommended quilting distance was for this batting. The largest unquilted areas ended up being 3.75" squares, so that seemed pretty safe to me.

For the back, I pieced several sections of yardage. The middle print with all of the cars and bikes and little houses would be a great for a game of "I Spy."

For the binding, I used the extra 2.5" wide strips and pieced them together. I sewed it to the front with a 1/4" seam, wrapped it around to the back and then stitched in the ditch on the front to secure the binding to the back. It picked up all of the binding on the back without me having to go back and handstitch any skipped spots ;-)

I love the way the binding contrasts with the large fields of print on the back of the quilt, and it just makes the front of the quilt all the more lively.

Quilty Stats:
Pre-wash dimensions: 41.25" x 61"
Post-wash dimensions: 39.75" x 58.5"
Batting: Very soft 1/4 batting that I no longer had the package for. It might have been an 80/20.

I hope this quilt brings lots of smiles in its new home for a long time to come. Happy Friday, everyone!

I'm linking up with Sew Happy Geek and Canoe Ridge Creations!

SewHappyGeek  {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another Rose Star Block

I had plenty of time in the car today to do a little hand sewing. I kept at it, and finished a sixth Rose Star block. 

Taadaa! The center hexagons in my Rose Star blocks measure 2 5/8" (6cm) on one side, so a finished star measures 14 1/4" (36.2cm). It's a good size. I'd love to end up with at least enough for a throw. I'm just going to keep turning them out in the meantime, though.

You can totally do this English paper piecing project. Check out Clare's tutorial at selfsewn!

Use the blog labels to see my other Rose Star blocks or check out Sewing Over Pins on flickr. I'm linking up with Somewhat Simple.
Somewhat Simple