More, more, MORE!

Yes, I am still plugging away at the piles of scraps. My rate of progress has slowed significantly over recent days, however, as my MIL is coming for a visit. I must stow the mess away for a bit.  😀 Below are the new blocks for Soy Amado since my post last week.

The animal print blocks got quilted and trimmed.

The animal print blocks got quilted and trimmed.

This FMQ pattern is based on Leah Day's Cartoon Trees design. I thought it evoked tiger stripes just as well.

This FMQ pattern is based on Leah Day’s Cartoon Trees design. I thought it evoked tiger stripes just as well.

I made these Easter weekend. The colors & fabrics seem very "spring" to me.

I made these Easter weekend. These are the best pinwheel points I have ever achieved. 🙂

More animal print blocks.

More animal print blocks.

Some improv-ish batik blocks.

Some improv-ish batik blocks.

Playing with curved seams. Can't decide how to quilt it yet.

Playing with curved seams. Can’t decide how to quilt it yet.

And finally, the next block ready to be stitched together.

And finally, the next block ready to be stitched together.

Hope you’re all having a great week! Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.WIP Wednesday

Mission Status

So, that goal of controlling my scraps by making blocks for Soy Amado? It’s going well. Mostly. I am really pleased with the blocks I’ve made, but my scrap pile doesn’t seem to be getting smaller very fast.

Ah, well. Such is life. Focus on the important things, right? Which in this case are 1) making stuff for kids who have almost nothing, 2) use up scraps, and 3) have fun! And with each of those, I am succeeding. Also, one awesome thing I hadn’t considered at the outset is that this is allowing me to use up scrap batting and bits of thread that weren’t sufficient for a larger project. Use of the batting in particular is freeing up a lot of space on my batting shelf (a.k.a. leaning tower of fluff). So here are update photos since my last post:

The sock monkey blocks are done!

The sock monkey blocks are done!

006 008 010A few one-of-a-kind blocks are also fully complete.

Using these as an opportunity to practice my FMQ technique (by far my weakest quilting skill).

I’m also using these as an opportunity to practice my FMQ technique (by far my weakest quilting skill).

I've been trying to include some blocks that will appeal to older kids as well as the young ones.

Trying to include some blocks that will appeal to older kids as well as the young ones.

I’ve got a bunch more blocks that are ready to be layered and quilted. Here is the next batch–again aimed at older boys. In looking through the Soy Amado quilts that have been completed thus far (20 of them!), most read “girl” to my eyes. I wanted to help balance things out a bit. Plus, I’ve got some cool stuff that works perfectly thanks to a couple of wedding quilts I’ve made. (That’s where all the animal prints you see below came from–one of my girlfriends is a huge fan of them.)

The next set of three in line for layering and quilting.

The next set of three in line for layering and quilting.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.WIP Wednesday

On A Mission

When I cleaned up my sewing room & fabric stash several weeks ago, I realized that my scrap pile was at least twice the size of the container it’s supposed to live in. Meanwhile, I’d been following Little Island Quilting for some time, and decided that I could gain control over my scraps by making blocks for the Soy Amado endeavor.

Because the requested block size for Soy Amado is large (at least compared to my previous projects) I foolishly thought that I would whiz through loads of scraps with just a few block sets. Whoops. These are ready to be mailed:

I don't generally go for hearts myself, but these fabrics and the project theme seemed to require it.

I don’t generally go for hearts myself, but these fabrics and the project theme seemed to require it.

Since the first set was so very girly, I wanted to make one that was very NOT girly.

Since the first set was so very girly, I wanted to make one that was very NOT girly.

These just need a bit more quilting and to be squared up:

The small blocks were left-overs from a baby quilt I made about five years ago. Re-visiting old work is interesting: I could match those seams so much better today!

The small blocks were left-overs from a baby quilt I made about five years ago. Re-visiting old work is interesting: I could match those seams so much better today!

I’ve also made five wonky log cabin blocks with sock monkey portraits at the center which still need to be sandwiched and quilted, and my scrap pile(s!) still looks like this:

Not too long ago all of my scraps fit in a 15 x 13 x 7 inch bin.

Not too long ago all of my scraps fit in a 15 x 13 x 7 inch bin.

So my mission is to make and contribute enough blocks to Soy Amado that my scraps fit back into that clear plastic bin you can just barely see there on the right. It will take me longer than I’d hoped, but Little Island Quilting is taking a break this month, so I’ve got time.  🙂

Not Just One

I have TWO finishes to share for TGIFF today! That makes me a happy girl. Oooh, and this week it’s being hosted at Quilt Matters. There’s some pretty rad stuff on that blog. I especially like that several posts actually have me excited about doing quilt math. Weird, right?tgiff-button-blog

Both are pieces I started in February at SewDown in Portland. (SewDown: Nashville starts today. I am jealous!)

It was quite a memorable weekend. Both for the great instructors and for the crazy weather. I know that for many of you, what we experienced wouldn’t qualify as “crazy,” or even “moderately inconvenient,” but here in the Pacific Northwest we are prepared to deal with lots of rain. Once water changes to its more solid forms, we don’t know what to do. We lack the necessary equipment. As a result, even public transportation shuts down. FedEx, et al refuse to deliver things like fabric and sewing machines because they are not matters of life and death. (Are you kidding me? Of course they are!) Some serious improvisation happened in order to pull the event off, and I give kudos to those who worked their magic.

Since I live so close, I had only purchased the local package, planning to drive home each night with my machine. At essentially the last minute, I was able to secure a room at the hotel, and my dear hubby braved the roads to drop me off and then pick me up again two days later. (Good thing, as I would have done some serious pouting if I’d had to miss out.)

Pioneer Courthouse

Pioneer Courthouse

No risk of that, folks!

No risk of that, folks!

Enough about the weather. On to the good stuff! My first class was with Heather Jones. She taught her you + me pattern. I didn’t have time to select and pre-cut my own fabric (because work!), so I ordered a kit from Drygoods Design. Also, I have to admit I wasn’t all that excited about making this quilt, as I felt it was simple enough that a class was kind of unnecessary. Then I saw all the cool things people were doing with it to make it their own, and I was bummed that I hadn’t been able to do the same. On the upside, I am completely in love with the blue fabric that came as part of the kit and will be getting more!

I managed to complete one block during class.

I managed to complete one block during class.

Some of the cool variations made by my classmates.

Some of the cool variations made by my classmates.

Once I got home this and the other projects took a back seat to a BFF quilt (I’ll show that off in a later post), so I just finished it up this week. I’ve called it “Greek To Me,” because the design reminds me of the Greek national flag.

From the bannister.

From the bannister.

From the front porch.

From the front porch.

In the back yard.

In the back yard.

Because the front is so bold and graphic with its parallel lines and 90 degree angles, I wanted contrast on the back and in the quilting with loops, swirls, and filigree to “girly it up” a bit.

The sun cooperated nicely for this shot of the quilting.

The sun cooperated nicely for this shot of the quilting.

Two fabrics from the Zen Chic line made it onto the backing.

Two fabrics from the Zen Chic line made it onto the backing.

I bound it in Pearl Bracelets.

I bound it in Pearl Bracelets.

I love it when good things happen unexpectedly, and this quilt is one of those. I am so pleased with the way it turned out–makes me feel a little bad that I wasn’t looking forward to the class.

Finish number two this week was class number two for me at SewDown: “Improv Round Robin” with Sherri Lynn Wood. This one had me nervous! I’d never tried improvisational piecing before, and I’m the kind of person who agonizes over most decisions. So the idea of making decisions about other quilters’ projects was kind of terrifying. But this class turned out to be another of those unexpectedly good things. I learned not only that I can make decisions quickly, I can actually be happy with those decisions. Sherri Lynn’s instructions helped a lot. She compared the process to a conversation, and asked us to look at each piece and think, “yes, AND.” Time constraints were a major factor–no monologues allowed!–and if you were mid-seam when the timer went off, too bad! I got loads better with each round at determining what I could successfully contribute toward the theme of each piece. Some of them turned out so cool! Mine is nowhere near my favorite of the pieces created that day, but I was determined to finish it as a reminder of the experience.

The starting point for my piece. After this, four other people contributed to the "conversation" before I saw it again.

The starting point for my piece. After this, four other people contributed to the “conversation” before I saw it again.

At the end of class it looked like this.

At the end of class it looked like this.

I really wanted to stick with the spirit of the “conversation” metaphor by not changing the others’ work. But I couldn’t quite make myself do it. The Lotta fabric across the bottom with the gold flower buds had been torn instead of cut (to save time?), and the damaged portion was not concealed in the seam allowance. I removed it and replaced it with a slightly larger chunk, then added more bits around the edges until I had something I felt was balanced and that I would be able to square up. I backed it in muslin and quilted it with simple wavy lines. When it was time to make the binding I felt it needed just a touch more red, so I took a cue from the fabulous Molli Sparkles and added a bit of “glitter.”

My first ever improv project!

My first ever improv project!

As soon as I purchase a dowel of the right length, it will hang in front of my machine. I’m hoping it will remind me to keep trying new things.

Happy finishes!

WIP Wednesday #2

I’ve run myself out of time today. I have to get ready for work soon, so this will be short and sweet. This is still happening:003 006The first photo isn’t blurry–the chalk has just smeared. I wish my stitches were all a bit more “perfect,” but I don’t wish it quite enough to take them out and start over. Hah!

I’m also nearly done with one of my SewDown projects: an improv piece from a class with Sherri Lynn Wood. I know some of you are getting ready for the Nashville event now. I am jealous and wish that I could ditch work and join you. There I go wishing again.040At any rate, I hope to have it done in time for TGIFF.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced.WIP Wednesday

Dragon Daze

I had to work this past weekend. Saturday was slow, so I decided that on Sunday I would be prepared with something to do. I dug out an old WIP that required hand-sewing for its next step and took it along. Generally I avoid hand-work, which is why this WIP got put on the shelf the last time, but taking my machine to work is not an option. Surprisingly, I’ve been enjoying it. Mostly I enjoy making progress, since this one is for my husband and he chose the fabric about four years ago now. Yikes!

This is the design I’m working on now. There will be a total of four 7×7 inch blocks.002

I completed this one on Sunday at work. (You’re not going to tell my employer, right?)003The third and fourth designs are more complicated. They are from Susan Briscoe’s Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match. Check it out. It is a gorgeous book.

005They will be added to a whole bunch of paper-pieced flying geese…007 008…and these dragons to make the final quilt. 009 010It was supposed to be a quilt my husband could relax under while watching TV, but it’s not going to be big enough. (He’s 6’4″.) So I’m thinking it will be a large wall hanging instead. I’ll make him something bigger for lounging.

This is my first link-up to WIP Wednesday!  🙂 Ooooh, and this week it’s being hosted by {no} hats in the house. I’ve been crushing on Sarah’s quilts for months now–they have such a lovely ethereal quality to them.

WIP Wednesday