Sunday, December 21, 2014

Loose Ends

The end of the year is such a nice time to take stock on ongoing projects.  I spent a good deal of the afternoon tidying up projects to figure out which ones will continue to next year and which ones I should try to finish up now.

The giant postage stamp quilt is almost done.  I just need to add the lattice and cornerstones around the border and then do a nice ironing job on the lot.  I still have scads of postage stamps, so I'll try to finish off the smaller version of the same blocks next year.
I finished off Mai Tai Sunrise with rainbow nine patches this year.  There are, of course, lots of extra nine patches though, so I was trying out new patterns for those.  Such fun!  I think I am going to do something similar to the baby quilt that Bonnie Hunter just finished.  I tried it out this afternoon and I think it will work beautifully.

These applique baskets have been going on for a while now.  I want to start an orange peel quilt this year though, so finishing off the baskets is now at the top of the list.  I think I have enough already prepped, it is just a matter of putting them in the ready bag so they can come along for the next quiet moments of waiting.  I am picturing small lattice strips for this in random bright colors with plain large setting triangles.  As a sign of my dedication to getting it done, I'll leave it up on the wall until the last blocks are done.  Do you have any handwork projects in the works?  Check out Kathy's Quilts and Handwork Sunday to admire all the slow stitching going on in blogland.

So Close

 I didn't get much sewing time in on the first day of winter break.  We were working on PVC frames for science fair boards which took trips to Lowe's and Home Depot.  Kurt has everything cut for me and I'm about halfway done with the glueing.
The giant postage stamp quilt is my first goal for the break though.  I finally decided to use four patches as cornerstones, which meant a slightly wider lattice strip than I had originally envisioned.  That, sadly, meant that I am now out of Kona white with 9 strips still to cut.  Maybe I'll shift everything to the center and add the outer border later?  Now that I think about it, I could even use a slightly different shade for the outer strips to achieve a faux border effect.  I think that might work.  I love blogging as a way to work things out logically.  Problem solved with no shopping required.  So nice given the traffic yesterday.  Frightening!
Last night we went to a Christmas party with some of Kurt's work friends.  They live on the water and so we enjoyed a boat parade past his back yard.  This float was the kids favorite.  The reindeer took turns lighting up to give the illusion of flight.  Kurt and the kids have gone to see the new hobbit movie, leaving me alone to sew madly.  Vacation!  Such a beautiful word.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Taking Stock

As the end of this year approaches and a new year gets ready to begin, it is time to take an inventory.  Quilts to finish this year, quilts to carry  over to next year, and quilts to start anew.  Here is my stack to finish this year.  I will carry over baby nine patches and little postage stamps.  Starting anew, well that is the fun list.  The new sampler of course, the new New York Beauty blocks which are just slightly started, some tiny split string blocks, and maybe an orange peel for hand work.  What is your list looking like so far?  The linky below is for any Rainbow Scrap Challenge related updates.  Let us know how your plans are progressing.

Friday, December 19, 2014

New York Beauty 5

 Yesterday was a supersize day and a half.  Finishing up exams is greuling, science fair is in full swing, and Christmas festivities are frantic.  I came home exhausted and collapsed at 9 something.  Passing out at 9 something came with waking up at 4 something, and I felt like getting some work done.  So here is New York Beauty block 5!  Very sunny, right?
 Look at the spark that it adds to the NYB wall so far.  Who knew I could do that?  I sure didn't!
I have been officially tasked with construction of new science fair boards for next year.  We've been using these giant wooden tri-folds.  This year we got a big fancy printer though, and these PVC frames are supposed to support the printed posters at fair.  It should be much easier to transport.  Kurt did the cutting, 'cause I'm a little terrified of large power tools.  I've just been doing the assembly at school between exams.  So, 15 down, 45 more to go.
Speaking of count downs.  LAST DAY before winter break.  Just two exams today and then finishing the grading and the last minute odds and ends.  Yahooo! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Baby Steps

As close as it is to the end of the semester, busyness still prevails.  Today was a social after work and then a singing performance for Sydney.  Nobody came for lego practice though, because of exams.  So here are just a few points for my next New York Beauty block.  One seam at a time.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Postage Stamp Progress

I thought I would whip up three blocks on Saturday, leaving Sunday open to work on my new sampler or NYB blocks.  Not quite.  The three postage stamp blocks somehow took all of the weekend.  I also did lots of scrap sorting and cutting.  All that remains is to add a border to the last few blocks and then figure out what to do with sashing.  I was thinking of white, grey white stripes with nine patches in the corners.  It might be too much though.  I always think that I want rainbow cornerstones on rainbow quilts, but I never end up liking the way they turn out.  Maybe I just don't have the right rainbow fabric.  It is the last week of school before winter break and exams started today.  Serious crunch time for the kids, but I've been catching up on lots things while they played review games.  Yesterday was catchphrase and today was pictionary.  My file cabinet is no longer overflowing, and I am almost out of piles of papers to deal with later.  Almost.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

End and Begin Again

This is the week for one last push to the finish.  If you are at all like me, not everything is going to get finished this year.  I did dig out this one last project that I think is within reach for 2014.  I missed three blocks along the way, mainly due to lack of fabric variety in the scrap stash.  The light blue is almost done, I just need to add a black/grey block and one more in browns.  If I can find enough scraps in those colors, this postage stamp quilt will be pretty quick to finish.  Then I can jump back into getting ready for next year's projects.
I've been having SO much fun playing with my snack pack and getting ready for the challenge quilt next year.  I wish I could show you the beautiful blocks I have already made with Vicki's fabrics, but the January posts are already scheduled, and February is on the list for this weekend, so it won't be long now.

Add that to my new addiction to New York Beauty inspired blocks, and a plan for a new string project next  year, and you can see why I really should finish off some of the already started projects that are on my list.
Misterlinky is below so we can all see how the begining of the end is going for you.  It has been exciting for me to start seeing all the beautiful finished quilts popping up.  Great inspiration for next year and maybe a few more after that!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

More Projects

Over Thanksgiving I was browsing on E-bay for zippers.  I had so much fun making little zipper pouches this summer, but was surprised at how expensive zippers were.  Usually $1-$2 EACH!  So 100 zippers for $7.99 plus free shipping sounded much better.  I'm on a piecing roll right now, but as soon as it takes a pause, I would love to make some more nifty zipper pouches.  The kids loved the earbud pouches, and I keep putting charging chords back in the mini box pouches, and I am getting a lot of use out of my two big boxy pouches, one for sewing supplies and one for travel bathroom things.
The girls are off making caramel corn.  They are using the recipe that Amy posted.  It smells heavenly!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

New York Beauty Block 4

 The girls wanted to go to Joann's this morning.  They are working on Christmas gifts for one another and needed some supplies.  Can you believe that I went to a fabric store and came home empty handed?   I actually need to get some Kona Cotton slightly darker than silver grey to bind the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler Quilt 2014, but I didn't feel like waiting in the Sunday cutting line for just that.  We did get lunch out though, so it wasn't a wasted trip for me.
 I came home anxious to try out another New York Beauty Block.  Curved piecing was not my friend on the last block, and I was determined to do better this time.  So the pattern is drawn out on freezer paper, which is big and cheap and even ironable.  I drew arcs at 10, 8 and 6 inches for this block and inserted wedges into the inner arc that alternated between 5 and 10 degrees.  I bought a fancy new compass to try out, but it didn't come with instructions and I couldn't figure out how to use it.  True story!
Edited to add: I did a search and found some instructions for how to use an extension bar on a bow compass like the one I bought at Hobby Lobby.  I like the keep track of things like that in case I ever want to know later.  So I'm off to try the next block with my fancy new tools.  
So I used the easy and cheap pencil on a string method again.  Worked flawlessly.
The fabrics for this quilt are a batiks mixed in with hand dyed fabrics from Vicki Welsh that I have been hoarding for too long waiting for inspiration.  For this block, I pulled the oranges from color wheel packs in light medium and dark.
 I traced the wedge segments roughly onto freezer paper and added a quarter inch all around for seam allowances.  I didn't cut the shapes exactly, but at least I wanted to know that they were at least big enough to fit.
 The pieced arc was paper pieced, but the other three pieces were just ironed onto the freezer paper and trimmed with a extra quarter inch on the edges for seam allowances.  I also left an extra quarter inch outside for "just in case"
 So I am starting to realize, that although curved seams don't fit together when the pieces are placed right sides together on a flat table, they do match up nicely in 3 dimensional space.  So I worked with curving the pieces and pinning first in the middle, then on each end, and dividing each segment in half again until everything seemed secure.
 So it looks like about 8 pins for the dark orange arc.  I know some people are able to do this without pins, but this is what worked for me.
 Here is the finished block.  TaDa!
And here are the first 4 blocks on the design wall.  Keep in mind they won't go together like this.  
Hopefully more like this when 12 blocks have been sewn.  I'm 25% of the way there. Pretty good start, right?  By the time I get to the end I might even get good at curved seams!

Behind the Scenes

With the finish of yesterday's Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014 Sampler Quilt, I felt free to get started on putting next year's challenge together.  Oh what fun!  I spent most of the day playing with fabrics, sorting them out to decide which fabrics would go with which blocks, sewing together test blocks, even planning out the sampler blocks for the year.  So today I got up bright and early and started making blocks.  The first month is done!  So now I'm ready to start putting together the tutorials, but first, I went ahead and scheduled the color announcements for the rest of the year.  Yep, there they are, the whole year's challenge colors all ready to go!  So the house a mess and I have no lesson plans yet, but at least my blog is in good shape.