Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Stitchy New Year

New Year's has taken me a bit by surprise - I've been so preoccupied by basting my nine patch. That's done! More tomorrow on that.

I did manage to run out to the backyard and take a couple of photos. The snow is deeper than my ankle boots, so I got a bit wet! The light and shadow in this photo of our flower pots make it look like the north pole, rather than just Toronto:

The hydrangea is always photogenic. I love how the two separate snowfalls have layered to give the flower heads pointy hats:

As far as last year's New Year's resolutions go, I am zero for three. Still no finished quilt, after at least five years of resolving to finish one! This year though, I am so sure I will finish at least these two that are basted that I am not even going to make a formal resolution.

Sedona Star is also not finished, as I already discussed. I didn't say, though, how valuable just making the commitment was. Maybe it was still too big a project even for a very determined novice, but it has required me to improve many of my skills, including paper piecing, which I now love!

My unplugged Sabbaths lasted until March. Now, rather than taking a whole day, I am giving myself more "time outs" when I need them through the week. It seems to be working, so that was a valuable exercise too.

Intentions for 2013
  1. Learn hand quilting
  2. Hand quilt one project
Plus there are a few UFOs that are ready to drop that I would like to finish by spring:
The chickens and the yoyos are both slated for hand quilting, so maybe I won't finish them by spring, but at least I'll make a start. After the past year, Collector is feeling extremely easy, so I want to at least get the flimsy done by spring. Depending on how it goes, I may hand quilt that one too.

Right now, though, I am laser-focused on getting these two basted quilts quilted. Starting tomorrow!

Happy stitchy new year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nine Patch Flimsy

Well, here it is, finally. I love that secondary trellis pattern that appears from such a deceptively simple block, even with so many different fabrics. On this one I took the time to trim the nine patch blocks to exactly 6 1/2", and checked those first seams as I paired them with the solid fabric, so that everything was accurate across the row. It seemed time-consuming, but it was totally worth it. The rows went together so well that I did not even have to check all the corners, because I could feel them locking together perfectly as I sewed.

My plan today was to go and buy more safety pins to baste it. But right now it is snowing again, and our garbage bins are blocking the driveway, so I'll see if it looks any better later this afternoon.

All my pins are currently still in Edward's quilt. I am struggling with that one, it is quite heavy with its flannel backing. I think it would be best to work the kinks out of my machine quilting technique with this one first. I had to do quite a bit of thinking and re-organizing to set up my small sewing space for quilting. But, I think I have all the theoretical problems solved, so now it is just practice.

This is my third finished flimsy, but still no finished quilts. This will be the one, though, I'm determined!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Smoky Mountain Santa

Here's the last Appalachian Santa from Mill Hill, the Smoky Mountain Santa. It's been in a partially done state for quite a while - I think I started it 18 months ago while waiting for my car to be smog checked at Canadian Tire - so I am happy to see it finally completed.

I hope everyone has had/is having a great Christmas. Mine has been excellent. Plus, I got an extra present when I logged on today - my blog just passed the 10,000 page views mark! That's a good-feeling milestone.

Back to quilting tomorrow. I've started the machine quilting on Edward's quilt, and the nine patch flimsy just has four long seams left too. My goal is to have them both quilted and bound before the next meeting of my quilt guild at the end of January. Celtic Spring will be a year old next month, so I'd like to finish it before the end of January too, but I don't know if that's reasonable. Everyone has been asking me what I plan to buy in the Boxing Day sales tomorrow, and I've been saying that I really can't even fathom any more new projects right now. I am so ready to close out some of these lingering projects! I am in a finishing frame of mind. Let's hope it lasts. :D

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blue Ridge Santa

When I saw Jillian's finished Mill Hill ornament Melchior last week, I thought it could be a good way to test out my wrist again too. This is the second of the Appalachian Santas, the Blue Ridge Santa. I stitched it entirely while watching dippy Christmas movies. This was silly fun at first, but believe me, I am WAY past the saturation point on Christmas now!

I have the third one half done and ready for the beads, but I think it will go back in the box for the time being. I'm not sure if I'll be posting again before Christmas or not, so if not,

Happy Christmas!

Related Post

The first Appalachian Santa

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One Year Blogoversary

Technically, it was one year yesterday, but close enough! The photo here is from our Christmas tree. I just managed this one shot today before the clouds rolled in.

My wrist situation is somewhat better, but not 100%. I've been doing some re-evaluating of my stitching activities as a result! With the blogoversary, the end of the calendar year, and the injury, it seems an appropriate time to consider what's been working and what hasn't.

  1. Blogging in general. I enjoy writing about my creative process, and crafting a post about a project is almost as much fun as the project itself.
  2. Blogging community. I've loved making all my new blogging friends, and I love how we all inspire each other. And, I really love all the encouraging comments!
  3. Blogging as a design tool. This has been an unexpected benefit of my blog. Like a quilter's reducing glass, the blog lets me step back from a project and evaluate it more impartially. I think several improvements have been implemented as a result!
Not Working
  1. Book Reviews. The book reviews are a lot of work, and while they do seem to bring in traffic, I'm not sure it is the right traffic. Going forward, I'm only going to review books that have made a difference to my work. Plus, the affiliate program with The Book Depository has not been successful, so I'll be removing those links soon too.
  2. BOMs and Quilt Alongs. I started this blog to follow my progress on the 2012 TQS BOM Sedona Star. I love the design, and I'm still going to finish it, but I've learned that I need to get my head around the whole project first, before I can really get started. All those waffling posts at the beginning of the year would have been avoided if I could just have read all the instructions at once. I think BOMs are a great way to produce a really spectacular quilt, but from now on I'll be waiting until the whole thing is available before I decide whether to make it.
  3. Motivation. I have to say that I did think that blogging would shame me into finishing more projects, but apparently I am shameless! From now on I will be giving priority to inspiration, rather than motivation.
Unfortunately, CQJP 2013 is going to be a casualty of my dodgy wrist. It will be too much extra hand sewing, so I'll be bowing out before it begins. Maybe next year! In any case, spending more time on the sewing machine instead will be beneficial to many other projects.

To wrap it up, I want to send out hugs and a big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported my blog this year. So many people have been so open, helpful and supportive, and I really appreciate it. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sore Wrist

Hi everyone,

I have a repetitive strain injury happening with my wrist, so I'll be offline for the next two weeks.  Comments will be saved but not read or posted until I am back.  In the meantime, happy sewing!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

CQJP 2013

I know, I need another commitment like a hole in the head, but nevertheless I have just signed up for the 2013 round of the Crazy Quilt Journal Project. For the past year I have been admiring all the work that was done in CQJP 2012, and I couldn't let it pass me by this time.

The big question has been what theme to use.  It hit me today:


I have many books on wool embroidery...

...and I have never made one project from any of them! I haven't made a crazy quilt either, so this will be two birds with one stone. Well, three birds, because I've been wanting to a make a wool quilt too.

I hope to make it a sampler of as many techniques as I can fit in.  Different types of wool embroidery, some needlepoint on waste canvas, wool felt applique... and I'll use up some of those perle cottons I bought too. Dark, neutral fabrics, bright embroidery.

I want it to be a useable size for a throw, so my plan is to go big - 16 x 16" square blocks. A little primitive, big and chunky. I have loads of navy wool suiting that I never had time to make into suits when I was working, and which will be perfect for some sashing between the blocks.

I think weight will be an issue with this quilt, so I will not quilt it, just back it and put in a few ties. I also think it will be wise to avoid buttons and beads for this project, for the same reason.

It's going to be fun!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happily Stripping

Here's the photo that got Eleanor Burns on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  It's from Failblog, and the caption reads "Nobody wants to see that.. ever."  To me, what's really funny here is that the teenage boys (and Ellen, apparently) who run Failblog assumed that Burns didn't understand the double entendre.

I saw this when it first posted on Failblog, but it wasn't until I watched Eleanor on TQS that I heard about Ellen's involvement. I would love to say that I stopped reading Failblog because I'd matured, but the truth is that the ads became so intrusive that I couldn't hear the videos! Here's my all time favourite photo from Failblog:

Today's title includes the word "happily" because I have just figured out that I can sew strips without pins.  It is extremely freeing!  Not to mention way faster.  Right now I am making placemats.  These ones will be with the Christmas fabric I just bought at Fabricland:


These are nice, wide strips that will finish at 3.5" and are mostly from a lightweight home decor fabric. They went together so well that I was inspired to try it without pins. Then that went so well that I tried it with quilt fabric. First with 2" finished strips, and then when that worked, with 1" finished strips:

The real breakthrough came this morning when I tried to put the final chequerboard together, also without pins:

Every corner came out perfectly! Win!

The secret is to keep the strip with the seam allowances that are ironed upwards on top, with the seams pressed the other way on the bottom strip. This happens automatically when you are alternating directions like I did here. Then the presser foot pushes the top seam against the bottom one, and does the work for you. I have a few strip-pieced quilt projects similar to these waiting in the wings, so I am thrilled to have improved my process like this!

Although I have never read a book from Eleanor Burns, I really enjoyed her Legends show on The Quilt Show. She wrote her first book before she finished her first quilt! I identified with her quite a bit. :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...