Sunday, October 21, 2012

Catching Up

The past few weeks have been very busy, both at work and at home.  As a result, sewing has taken a real hit. My sewing desk is such a mess that I took a photo of it.  Things just continue to be tossed on it and not dealt with.
There's like 20 different projects just stacked up!

On the plus side, I am only working on things I am interested in and excited about right now, so I think they will all come along.  (Oh, and this morning after I took that photo, I organized my sewing space!) Hopefully I will be able to check most items off my 100 day hustle list.

I still haven't posted a recap from my quilt guild's show back in late September, and honestly my photos of it aren't that great.  I didn't get any ribbons, but this week I got back the judges comments from the show, and my landscape quilt got +'s in all categories! The only critical note the judge had was that my batting was too poofy (I used leftover dream puff).  This really pumped me up, because that quilt was a really challenge and branch into a new direction for me, and it sounds like it's a direction I should try again.

Last weekend my mom and I attended PIQF.
Here we are in front of the first place innovative, if I recall correctly. About 3/4 of my photos can out blurry, so for much better recaps of the show I recommend checking out Quilt Inspiration and The Quilt Show.

It was a fun, busy day, and I still haven't gotten around to really sorting through the patterns and products that I collected through the day. The including a really cute mini rotary mat (I think it will be great for trimming during paper piecing) a LOT of patterns, and a few sizes of twister templates. Fabric prices were at a premium, so I only bought a few pieces that I needed for a specific project.

This weekend I was finally able to sit down at my machine again and make progress on some things.

I finished off the November block for my guild's block of the month, and got the instructions typed up. It is based of the Layer Cake quilt along from Moose on the Porch quilts, but I changed the November block a bit because I didn't like that the original block used 5 layer cake squares (and had a lot of unused fabric from those squares).  I changed it so it now only uses 4 squares.
Here is the finished block.  One thing I have done on both the October and November blocks is not pay attention to the print on the fabric when doing my cutting.  On here I don't care a ton that the stripes are going all over, but it drives me nuts that I didn't cut those diamonds along the proper grain.

I have also been progressing on my "for fun" monthly project of the "O is for owl" wallhanging.

When I last posted, I had been having fun doing my first "scrappy" project, piecing together the sky background from all of the dark blue fabrics in my stash.

Since then I have finished the top! I always enjoy testing out colors, although it involves tossing pieces of fabric everywhere and generally making a mess.
 Here I was trying fabrics for the tree branch and leaves.

This is testing the owl colors along with the others.  I love how all these shades look together!

 Here are the owls. A little eerie looking until they will get their button eyes.  The little guy is supposed to be a lighter version of the big guy.

And here is the assembled top! I think it's pretty cute and I'm looking forward to quilting it....eventually.

The last item I have news on is my little EPP side projects.  I have finished my first hexagon! Below is the back and front.

I have no rush on finishing this project or even really a plan for it.  It's just really convenient to have a little baggie on hand sewing work available to take with me wherever I go for when I'm bored. :)

I've also made progress on some Christmas projects, but probably won't post about them until after they are opened. I have been debating about Christmas gifts for work colleagues.  I was going to make toiletry bags but my mom pointed out that I shouldn't be spending a lot of money on work gifts and it can start to feel like an obligation and a chore and the costs can balloon. The toiletry bags don't cost too much, but they do each include a zipper.  Last year I made coasters for work colleagues, which definitely cost less. So now I dunno if I'm doing too much and if I should find something scaled down. Any ideas?

Okay, back to sewing. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monthly project progress and 100 day hustle

Hello hello! I haven't posted in a while, but I have been busily working away on my 100 Day Hustle projects.  I originally wrote the list of just things that MUST get done, but I want to expand it to include all of my other wishlist projects too.

Here is my updated 100 day hustle list with progress updates:
  1. Monthly guild project. October block is done, November block is in progress!
  2. Finish off this evil jacket. I'm sewing together the currently completed portions so I can perk myself up over how far I've gotten.
  3. Finish this charity wholecloth quilt that was due back in July. Yeah, not happening.
  4. Christmas presents. Progress is being made! Might not be able to post much about these until after Christmas.
  5. Placemats. I have made three out of six. This is a UFO, haven't worked on it in a few months.
  6. FMQ Challenge. Not happening yet, but I really hope it does!

Okay, onto the actual progress! For this post, I'll stick to my guild monthly project blocks.

We are following the Moose on the Porch Quilts 2010 layer cake quilt-along. My layer cake is called "Simply Color."  Here is a shot of some of the different fabrics in it- check out all those colors!

Here are the three I chose for the October block.

And here's the finished block! Not perfect, but hey.  I think I've figured out that I love applique projects so much because I'm very bad at straight piecing.

Here are some progress shots from the November block - half square triangles!

 So for the November block, I'm debating layout.  I have 12 little blocks that I can basically arrange however I want.  The solid pieces of fabric are under spaces where there's a solid square instead of a HST.  I can't decide whether I want the white or the pink for my squares. And then I can't decide how to point all of these HST's!  I could just follow the pattern, but picking my own layout is more fun.

This is an amalgam of two different layouts. I oriented the hst's so that each background square wasn't touching any piece of the same color.

So, what do you think? White center diamond? Pink center diamond? Pink/white mix center diamond? Pink or white for the solid square areas?

Okay, back to all of the projects I am chugging away at!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Last weekend I came away from my guild's show with  a nice, small pile of treats. I would have bought far more, but actually ran out of time!

Here was the take:
 First let's talk about the teapot book.  I got it because I've been wanting to make a teapot clock based on one in my "Fast, Easy, Fun Fabric Clocks" book.  The book shows the clock but gives no pattern for it. And a book of many different teapot patterns is just what I need!

 Next, these solids. I got them for $2 each and they are all 1 yard pieces. Quite the deal, huh?  I've never made a quilt in all solids, but this is a lovely color palate that I could definitely do one of those fun "modern" designs with.
 This is a half yard.  I have no plans for this fabric, but it was so pretty that I couldn't resist it.

 This is the first jelly roll I have ever bought.  I have seen many, thought the colors were gorgeous, but been turned off by the price tag (usually $40) and the limited things that be done with them.  However, lately I have seen some pretty cool jelly roll quilt patterns.  And did you see the price tag on this in the above photo? $12! You can't go wrong!

My goodie pile was added to by the arrival today of a layer cake in the mail from Fat Quarter Shop.
 I bought this for my guild's monthly project, which is following the Moose on the Porch Quilts 2010 layer cake quilt-along. I had heard the words "layer cake" before, but assumed they were something like charm squares or jelly rolls - lovely fabrics but weird sizes.  However, this thing has 42 10"x10" squares.  Each of those squares is definitely big enough for cutting some real shapes...I think these are very versatile and there may be many more in my future.  Although, I don't really need 42 completely different fabrics.  A quilt should have repeats - too many colors makes it hard to know where to look.

Well anyways, tonight I will whip up our first block to show at the October meeting. It's always fun to get new things!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monthly Project!

Well today my guild's October newsletter came out and with it my first block of the month article! Exciting, but I also saw that our president was looking forward to my monthly projects in their original form and I felt a little bad that I changed the plan to something admittedly less exciting.

Soooo....we'll do the monthly projects on here! I would create a button and such but I don't think this blog is quite big enough for that.  Plus, since I'm going to do it as a casual thing on my blog, I probably won't get any of the samples done on time (or, let's be honest, ever).

My plan for these was to find a bunch of free tutorials on the internet each month around a different theme, which might be a technique, or in the case of this month, a critter. The original plan for October was to find projects around the theme of "owls" in honor of Halloween. Searching for free owl patterns is a black hole...there are so many and they are sooo cute! Also, I found out while searching for "paper pieced owl" that apparently the term can also mean objects made out of pieces of paper. Who knew?

So, here are all of the free tutorials I gathered up for various owl projects. Admittedly, most are not quilting-related, but they're all cute and fun. Click on the text below each image to go to the original website that hosts the tutorial.

Owl orns 1

And those same cute wool owl ornaments were used to make this equally cute owl mobile by Jill

"Slumbering Owl Applique" by WeeFolkArt

Okay, that's all for now!  If you know of other free owl patterns, let me know and I'll add them to the list!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cool Product: Superior Conductive Thread

I am a slowpoke at reading mail. I was just cleaning out my inbox and read about the following awesome product on the Superior Thread newsletter (which always has great tidbits):

1.  This is EXTREMELY INNOVATIVE.  Be the coolest (no, the warmest) person this winter.  You're outside. It's cold. You're wearing gloves. Or maybe it's not that cold and someone you know is golfing and wearing a golf glove. Or they are on the ski slopes.  In order to use your smart phone or iPad or tablet, you have to remove your gloves and then your hands freeze.  These devices require the static electricity in our fingertips to operate, and gloves block that. We have the solution!  Use new Superior Conductive Thread to hand stitch 'connections' on the tips of your gloves so you can use your smart phone or tablet without having to remove your gloves. As long as thread reaches from the inside finger tip area of the glove (to touch your finger) to the outside fingertip area (to touch the smart phone screen), the static electricity in your fingertip will be transported and you will be able to use your smart phone with your gloves on.  Everyone will wonder how you do that.  (You may want to carry a few bobbins of Superior Conductive Thread with you to sell to those who envy your technology.) This product is going to spark many business ideas. Golf gloves, regular gloves, and anything covering the hands can use this new idea.  Stay warm and connected. 
Superior Conductive Thread is made from soft, pliable stainless steel fibers. It is easy to use by hand stitching it into the fabric. If used in a sewing machine, know that it is not a top thread so use it either in the bobbin or couch it onto the fabric.  A single bobbin holds 10 yds. of thread which enough for many gloves. 

More Uses for Superior Conductive Thread 2.  Electric Quilting.  Our son, Todd, loves his guitars.  After many years of working together, the quilting influence rubbed off and he made his first quilt -- a guitar quilt, of course. But there is more.  His quilt lights up because he used the new Superior Conductive Thread.  View a fun video telling the story of a first time quilter and follow his steps from start to finish. 

Um....this is AWESOME!!!!!!

And no, I have not done any quilting tonight. Instead I thought about who will get what Christmas present and generally procrastinated.