Thursday, December 29, 2011

Meadow - December progress

If you haven't guessed by now, I like to have a lot of variety in my projects.  This is the needlepoint project I started this fall.  The design is by Elizabeth Bradley, and this one is from the Natural History series.  I've loved Elizabeth Bradley designs ever since I bought her books back in the late 1980s.  About five years ago I found that the kits were available online, and I've finished two so far:


Duck Pond

My general plan is to join them into a wall tapestry, but I don't know how many I will do.  Although there are ten designs in the series, only four are available as kits.  Once I have finished all the kits I will consider if I am sufficiently inspired to keep going.  My intention is to do one each winter, because needlepoint is too hot for our Toronto summers.  Back in November I calculated that if I did about an hour a day, most days a month, I would be done by April.  I lost a lot of time in December when my allergies flared up (including my allergy to wool), but I'm hoping to get back on track now.  Monthly updates here should keep me motivated!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

409 Yoyos!

Here they are, all 409 completed yoyos!  I am actually a little sad that this part of the project is over.  It's been fun catching up on my tv shows while making them.

The next step will be cutting the background fabric into long strips and sewing them down.  Here is a better photo of the background, a brown batik:

The pattern suggests that the yoyos be sewn down with a running stitch and strong hand quilting thread, rather than an applique stitch.  I have tested this and I like it.  If I take the stitches between the gathers I can preserve the dimensionality of the yoyos, which will be nice.  I'm really hoping that this next stage will be easy enough to do in front of the tv as well!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Auditioning Backgrounds for my Nine Patch

This is a "repurposed" UFO that I've just started to work on again.  I cut the fabric over a year ago for a different project.  Since then I have become a convert to using washed fabrics, and none of these fabrics were washed.  I also recently realized that I made a cutting error, and cut the wrong proportion of large squares to small squares.  Then finally, I decided that it would be better to paper piece the original design, using washed fabrics.

So, what to do with all these unwashed squares?  I decided a basic nine patch would use up some of the small squares, and I will try to wash the remaining large squares to use in the paper pieced quilt.

My only remaining question was what fabric to use for the background squares.  The first is the Redwork Toile by Alex Anderson:

And the second is from the Jubilee Garden collection from Connecting Threads:

It is interesting how different they look in photos compared to real life!  In real life I immediately preferred the second one, which looks kind of plain in the photo.  But upon reflection I still will use the second one.  I don't like the way the darker lights seem to clash with the toile, and even in the photo you can see it is too busy.  The toile is beautiful, I'm sure I will think of a better use for it.

This is yet another quilt to finish before I start Sedona Star!  But I cannot order the fabric until after January 1st, so that gives me a little extra time.  In any case, Sedona Star will come first, and this quilt is in the "nice to have" category, but not essential.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Edward's quilt

Here is my progress so far on Edward's quilt.  Edward is my brother-in-law, and this quilt started as sort of a "thought challenge."  Edward is a very urban guy, not at all country, and not a big fan of a lot of colour either.  So all the usual men's quilts that you see, with moose or fish or tractors, would not at all be appropriate.  He is a snowboarder, but I knew that wouldn't be right for their uptown house either.  I wondered if it would even be possible to design a quilt he would like.

I decided on a black, white and taupe colour scheme, and started to search my go-to website, eQuilter.  When I found this fabric, I started to have the germ of the idea:

The Asian warriors were sufficiently "manly" without being kitschy.  Edward and my sister met in a Tae Kwon Do class, so that was appropriate too.  This fabric will be the border, although I am now a little worried that the wine coloured circles will clash with the brighter Chinese red of the other fabrics.  So many of the co-ordinates that I found had kanji or other Asian scripts on them, that I decided to use only them for the rest of the quilt.  I am always a little concerned about using script that I cannot read - if you read Hanzi Smatter you know what I mean - but I hoped that quilt fabric would be pretty safe.

The design has also gone through some variations.  The original plan was Sawtooth Stars (which seem to be my favourite block), but then I saw this design in Carrie L. Nelson's Schnibbles book, and knew it would be perfect.  I had to buy more fabric, of course!

Sadly, this quilt has been a UFO for about a year, but I am really hoping to get it done before work gets intense on Sedona Star.  Did you all see this Zits cartoon this week?  It hit close to home!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yoyo Alchemy

There are a few quilts in the running to see which one will be the first one that makes it all the way to completion.  You would think that since I am making them, I would know which one will win, but I really don't.  Smart money, perhaps, would be on this yoyo quilt I am making, the one from the cover of American Patchwork & Quilting last spring:

I was immediately enamoured of it when the magazine came out, but with many other projects to do I did not start making yoyos until a few weeks ago.  They are completely addictive!  I am using the Clover extra large (60 mm) yoyo maker, which makes them super easy and beautifully even.  The magazine has a great video tutorial on how to use it here.

It is fun to see how all your more dubious fabrics are magically transformed when you make them into yoyos.  I managed to use up a few duds from my stash, but I will admit that I have been buying nicer fabrics as well to feed the yoyo monster.  The quilt calls for 409!  These two Farmer John's Market fabrics are good examples of the amazing transformations of the yoyo maker:

And it's hard to go wrong with these fabrics from Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett:

Don't worry, not all the yoyos are red!  In fact, too few were red, so I am sticking to red at the end here.  Right now, I only have 40 left to do.  I am hoping that sewing them to the background will be equally compelling.  Happy stitching!


I've wanted to keep a stitching blog for a while now, but I've been waffling, trying to find a clever name, and wondering which craft to focus on.  You can see I gave up on both of those!*  Now I am finally inspired to get started, mainly because I've decided to commit to the 2012 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show.  After that huge commitment, a commitment to a blog seems easy in comparison!

The TQS 2012 BOM is Sedona Star, designed by Sarah Vedeler.  She provided an uncoloured pdf of the quilt so that we could design our own colourway.  I immediately felt challenged to create a colour scheme that was meaningful to me, and I spent two days colouring it by hand and choosing fabrics online.  Now I pretty much have to do it!

The quilt design is a gorgeous mandala-type design in nine sections.  You can see it here.  It is WAY beyond anything I have yet attempted.  I usually think in squares when it comes to quilting!  I am still a beginner appliquer as well, so this quilt will be a huge stretch.  But, I think this is a great opportunity as well, to utilize the online resources from The Quilt Show, and hopefully make a quantum leap in my quilting.

Oh, did I mention that even though I've been planning, buying fabric and starting quilts for over 30 years, I have yet to finish one?  It's true.  But 2012 will be the year!

(*Update June 6, 2012:  The original name of this blog was Stitching Journal)
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