Monday, January 23, 2017

FNSI Update

I must confess that "Friday Night Sew In" ended up being more of a "Friday Night Cook In" at my house so I didn't get all that much accomplished that evening (unless you count the homemade chicken pot pie and ranch pretzels).  I did manage to get the December block from my guild's BOM program completed.

The red I used is a little darker than most of the blocks I've made thus far but going back through the stack I found a couple of others that are fairly consistent in color.  I have quite a few blocks left to complete so I will have to be sure to make a couple of others in these darker colors.

I made a start on the January guild BOM but found as I started the final assembly that the pattern instructions were wrong. I was probably too tired to be sewing - I knew the flying geese seemed wrong but it didn't occur to me until I sewed them together that there was no seam allowance above the points.

I threw all the flying geese in the trash and went to bed a bit frustrated as I had already cut the excess off the corners of the geese and figured I would be starting over. On Saturday I decided to give it a little more thought with fresh eyes and after doing a bit of math (even used the Pythagorean theorem!) I figured out that the instructions called for cutting the geese rectangles a half inch too long. I carefully unstitched all of the geese, trimmed the base and reassembled them.  They didn't seem too worse for wear and I was able to get the block together.

I decided I would get back to my Magic of Christmas project next and finished another one of those blocks (I'm making two of each).

I was originally planning to stick with the MoC blocks but when I took a break from the machine to tidy up the sewing room a bit I ran across a kit I purchased at Renee Nanneman's open house last summer.  I am absolutely not a pink person but I love baskets and couldn't resist the kit. In a moment of weakness I decided to break into the kit and play a bit.

I made 12 of the little baskets (the pattern calls for making 12 from each of 14 fat quarters).  I still need to stitch the handles down but was happy with how quickly these little blocks went together. I have started countless basket quilts that are all very involved and as a result are all UFOs. This one might actually be reasonably practical to finish!

I didn't get a chance to post last week but I did get a lot of sewing done over the long MLK holiday weekend.  I am still waiting for smaller triangle papers from Primitive Gatherings so I haven't officially started Triangle Gatherings but I did make one 6" block for fun. It isn't Primitive Gatherings fabric (bought from them, but not Lisa's lines) so it doesn't really count, but it was helpful in figuring out that I really need to iron seams open and use pins. There is a lot of bulk in some of those corners!

I also managed to finish piecing my En Provence top.  I originally thought I might want to add more borders but decided it really doesn't need them. I don't want to have a solid border - seems wrong with all of that piecing in the neutral border - but my original idea for piano keys would make the quilt huge (well over 100" square).  I think I will probably leave it as is. I do like it now that it is together but have to admit that I saw a few other versions that I liked a little better.

I am making progress on both of my January UFOs and hope to be able to report a finish by the end of month. I'm off to a good start for the year - now if only I can keep it up!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

En Provence & Shiny Objects

While I am not nearly as far along as many others with En Provence, I have finished all of the final pieces and started assembling the top.

I am still not completely convinced that I like how my colors came together in the final design.  It doesn't help that I've seen a few alternate colorways that I like a lot better, but it's too late now!  And I have to remind myself that I didn't care for my Allietare at first either but loved it when it all came together.

I plan to add a border to make the top a little larger. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do yet but am thinking it needs to be about 6" to work with the quilt, so that would bring the size to around 100" square. A bit of a monster but 87" isn't quite big enough for our beds.

I put together my 2017 UFO list over the holidays and plan to play along with both the APQ and Patchwork times UFO challenges. I decided to be a little smarter in how I developed the list this year, only including projects that I can reasonably expect to finish or that I want to be sure to progress significantly this year. I didn't include any new starts or "filler" projects (those things I grab for a trip because they require no prep work).  This month's challenge UFOs are #3 (Farmhouse) and #6 (SLAM) and I think I can make a fair bit of progress on both this month.

And then there are the new things..the shiny objects that grab my attention at every turn. I love Facebook and blogs but sometimes wish they didn't offer up quite so much inspiration!  I fell for Sue Spargo's "Fresh Cut" BOM this year - it should be showing up in my mailbox soon:

And I also couldn't resist Sarah Fielke's "Down the Rabbit Hole" project. I'm not completely sure that I will actually start the quilt but thought it would be worth signing up at least to watch her videos.

And then there was this one that popped up last week - no way I couldn't join in on this one! Never mind that I am still working on the Magic of Christmas blocks...

With the passing of Sue Garman yesterday I am really feeling a pull to work on the quilt I started in class with her at BOTP in 2014.  She was an incredibly talented designer, wonderful teacher and all-around great person that was taken way too soon. I'm so lucky to have had a chance to meet her and learn from her in 2014 and 2015!

So far I've managed to resist jumping in on a couple of other projects that were tempting me, but I know there will be many more. The year is still young!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Back to Reality

Sadly vacation has come to an end...  I feel like I accomplished a lot over the break, but I really wasn't ready to stop!  I am already anxiously anticipating the weekend so I can get back to the sewing room.

Since I was caught up with the En Provence mystery steps I had to switch over to other projects to fill my time until the next clue and reveal were released. I decided to work on my Disappearing Nine Patch. I finished making and cutting all of the additional nine patch blocks I had planned to make and started assembling the final blocks.

I may either need to re-think the size or make a few more blocks as I am finding a few challenges in the block parts that I swapped with friends for this project back in 2007.  I've found a few that were cut a quarter inch short and had to be discarded and am not completely sure what size I was thinking in the first place when I developed my block counts. I need to decide if I will add borders or not, also. My resolution for 2017 is to put better notes in my project boxes and to stop assuming that I will actually remember where I left off when I eventually get back to working on them!

I finished the applique and added embroidery to my SLAM basked block.  This is my third block and it took forever to complete!  

I will be working on an easier one next so that I can feel like I am making more progress.  This one was definitely a pain. I noticed after I took this photo that one of the basket pieces had popped out from under the bottom band so I had to do surgery on my basket to repair it. I am over woven baskets for a while!

I loaded my Allietare quilt on the frame on New Year's Eve and spent a good portion of New Year's Day quilting it.

I had a couple of glitches - mainly thread breaks - and really set myself up for failure by using a mostly black batik back (so everything shows!) but overall I am very happy with how it turned out. It turns out that lots of seams plus a batik back means you have to slow the speed considerably to avoid thread breaks so it took quite a while to finish.

I used wool batting and the quilt has a wonderful soft feel to it. I am almost looking forward to binding it (my least favorite part of quilting)!

The En Provence reveal happened on New Year's Day, so once I had Allitare off the frame I headed to the sewing room to start work on the final step. I am not finished with the piecing but assembled a few pieces to see how my colors look.

I think I am going to be happy with it. I saw one person's version that used solid squares in place of the last pieced blocks (those green/yellow/neutral blocks in the sashing) and kind of liked that look so I may audition that when I get back to it. I have already pieced about 40 of those blocks but will go with whatever looks best.  I also think I need to add another border as the quilt finishes at 86" square which is a bit too small for use on our beds.

I can't wait to get back to my sewing room - I am so inspired to progress existing projects and to start a few new ones. I'm already longing for the weekend!