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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Ladies in Red

I had a lot of fun making this quilt!  As I was working on it, the lyrics in the chorus of "The Lady in Red"  kept running through my mind - the Xavier Cugat version as performed by Ricky Ricardo, not the one by Chris De Burgh...
Oh! the lady in red, the fellows are crazy
For the lady in red.
she's a bit gaudy, but laudy,
What a personality....

This quilt is my entry for the Red and White, Too quilt exhibit that was conceived by my friend and fellow guild member Carolyn (also known as Lady Scrapbag).  I wanted to do something other than a traditional pattern, yet I wanted to keep the design simple and quick - the center is appliqued from one  piece of  fabric!

The Red and White, Too exhibit will be at the Art Enables studio in Washington, DC, February 6-24.  There are approximately 40 quilts in the exhibit - I've seen some of the entries and they are gorgeous! 

You can read more background on my piece if you hop on over to Sew We Quilt - it's one of those featured in February's banner!

Sew forth and sew on

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cutting it up

Three things to be happy about:
(1) unexpected kindness
(2) a baby's laugh
(3) clear directions

Has anybody else had problems with your blog not posting?  Have you ever scheduled it to post automatically and it doesn't, then when you look at the Dashboard, it's reverted to a "draft" version?  Wierd.

Well, I've been a real cut-up lately!  I'm sticking to my self-promise to move through my scraps, and I've been cutting up 2" and 3-1/2" strips to make the Japanese x and + blocks.  Julie asked what makes them Japanese?  I think someone dubbed them that because the original quilt we've been copying was photographed at a show in Japan?

In between other things I've cut up a few squares and rectangles, and my next step will be to make them into sets.  Lots of different colors in that scrap bin!

I haven't been over-thinking the fabric, I just cut what I pull from the bin.  I made a test block after I had cut just a few pieces, but I can see that I definitely like the pattern! 

The block on the left was my first test.  My color choices weren't the best on that one, I have to be aware about contrast on the corners of the 3-1/2" squares and I want to make the overall colors more balanced.  It's a keeper though; by the time I get a lot of these put together, you won't see the two dark squares sitting right together on the block.  I did a better job on the second one, on the right.

Large-scale patterns won't work so good on the little "plus" squares, see the pinkish areas on the left?  They were cut from a piece of  African fabric that I had a suit made from... years ago!  But I can use them on the 3-1/2" blocks.

The x and + block is very easy to put together and it's a good one for using up scraps, since each block calls for 7 different fabrics.  The most you'll need of any one fabric is eight 2" squares.

So that's two down, who-knows-how-many to go!  If it takes me the rest of the year to do this one, it's okay.  I consider this a "whenever" project just to use my scraps.

If you decide to make one, I'd love to see your take on it - meanwhile, Orca Bay is calling my name!  Have a great Saturday...

Sew forth and sew on

Friday, January 27, 2012

Is it Friday already?

Time really flies when you're having fun!

Three things to be happy about:
(1) a phone call from a friend
(2) the latches on storage jars
(3) being nice to your neighbor

Well, yesterday was trash day and they'd left my neighbor Mike's can in back of the house on the other side of me, so I kindly closed the cover and dragged it back to his house.  Kudos for me!

In yesterday's comments I was asked about my scrap sizes, I have so many different pieces that are odd shapes and sizes in that bin! 
and these are just the ones I've tossed in there within the last week or so!

While I was sorting/folding my fabric, I usually kept pieces that were a half yard or more in the regular yardage, but if I found a piece that was less than width of fabric, like these...

I tossed them into the scrap bin.

And then there were pieces that were width of fabric, but kinda skinny

and I considered those scraps, too.  See the piece with the birdhouses?  I kept not using it, thinking I'd fussy cut the bird houses, but I've had this particular piece a very long time, and I haven't fussy cut it yet... so into the scraps it went! 

And the yellow is a bright piece -- I've always collected brights to use in children's quilts or in houses or stars. I think I've used some of this one recently (within the past 6-12 months) but I tossed that piece in with the scraps too.

I was also finding pieces that started out as half-yard pieces, and I had cut chunks out of one end.  I didn't bother neatening them up into fat quarters, I just tossed them in the bin.

And then there's this piece of aqua:

I've had this one so many years, it's old enough to vote!   I kept saying to myself  "it's trees, I might need those trees!" 

Well.... I haven't used it yet, so in it went!  Get to steppin'

And as for deconstructing the shirts, I used a method I found on Jo's blog; since I only had 3-4 to deconstruct, it went pretty fast! 

I did cut some strips yesterday, but I hardly made a dent in the scrap bin... you know how that goes.  I've decided to start kitting up fabrics to make the Japanese x and + blocks that I've been seeing, so I cut a few 2" and 3-1/2" strips.  I'll make a few blocks, then if I still like them I'll cut more fabric over time - they look pretty interesting.  I found a tutorial for them here.  I also have a separate bin that I've been tossing ugly fabrics into, I'll cut those into strips to mix in there.

Well that's how my day went, I hope you had a productive one!  Sew forth and sew on

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another day older and business as usual

Thanks everybody for my wonderful birthday wishes!!  It makes a lady feel right loved  :o*)

I had planned on goofing off yesterday but I didn't get around to it!  The only thing I did differently was, I didn't blog hop ... but isn't blog hopping sometimes called "goofing off"??  Oh, I know - it's considered goofing off if you do it all day long!!  Didn't happen for me yesterday  ;o)

I won these lovely red fat quarters on a Mystery Monday giveaway from Annie at Ruby Slipperz...
the color came out all wonky but they're pretty in real life!

And this great giveaway I won came yesterday from Sue at Snippets of My Life

She crocheted these herself, aren't the colors great?  It's a dishcloth, a coaster and a scrubbie on top.  The coaster can also be used as a face scrubber - I think that's what I'll use it for because it'll be so soft!

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, but not before I got a shot of the latest in the remodeling going on next door...

See that hose coming out the side?  They were blowing in insulation, this is very interesting stuff to me!  They were also installing some insulating pads, probably wrapping the new air exchanger system they put in.  The company bought it for $312,500, which is less than the previous owner's asking price.  It'll be interesting to see how much they flip it for, with all the work they're putting in it!  I called the office yesterday to ask some nosey questions, and he told me they're "putting a new house in an old shell" and he's inviting me to the open house they'll have in March.  I was going anyway.

Now, just so you know I didn't spend the entire day minding other people's business, I deconstructed some shirts I've had for awhile, so I could put them where they belong (wherever that is - but it's not tossed in a pile on the cutting table).  I need to press these and cut them into strips, and remove the buttons from the collars and cuffs.  I'll get whatever I can from them (nothing smaller than 1-1/2" strips), then toss the rest in the trash.

I also sorted and folded some more fabric. I was surprised at how many scrap pieces I had in my yardage bins... no wonder they were so tumbled!  I've needed to redefine my definition of "scraps."

I've had a dry cough/sneeze combination for a few days and the doctor told me the same thing he told me in early November:  I need to get a humidifier for the bedroom -- he recommended a sonic one.  So yesterday when I left his office (with a coupon his wife gave me) I got a Sharper Image one from BuyBuyBaby.  I'm impressed with how quiet it runs, we'll see if it makes a difference.  I'm also taking MucinexD twice a day for a few days... wish me luck, I've had enough of this cough/sneeze.

So today it's business as usual again, sew forth and sew on

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy birthday to me...

Today's my birthday and I'm goofing off!

Sew forth and sew on...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wonky house swap progress

Actually, my houses are all done; I went back and put some trees on some of the plainer blocks...

I didn't take individual pictures because of the loading time, but if you're interested in seeing the final blocks you can see these and all other participant blocks on the flickr group.  There's some good stuff on there!

Now that my houses and siggy squares are done, I can clean off my cutting table - what a mess!

But before all that, I'm off to the post office and Walmart's.  It's such a nice day outside, I have to take advantage of it!

Have a great day everybody, sew forth and sew on

Monday, January 23, 2012

Houses on parade

Three things to be happy about:
(1) joining a kewl house swap
(2) working on the houses
(3) putting it all in the mail

I finished all my wonky houses, yes!  I might go back and do some landscaping on a couple of the blocks, but I think they look nice the way they are...

On these next two I extended the height of the house a bit, for a different look ...

I think my favorite of these is the orange house with the cat in the window.  He can't decide if he's more concerned about monkeys on his roof... or puppy footprints on his sidewalk!

That's it for the houses, you can see the entire collection of all the participants who posted, by clicking the Wonky House Swap button on the right.  I just need to do the siggy blocks, then everything can go into the mail.  As much fun as I had, I'm actually glad to be finishing these so I can clean off my cutting table - I need to use a whole different set of fabrics for two other projects!

Enjoy your Monday, sew forth and sew on

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

S'no surprise...

that we got it!

They were calling for snow for today but I hoped they were wrong... but we did get some

view from my front porch, to the left... to the left...

to the right... to the right
I went to bed early last night and woke up around midnight when I heard car wheels spinning.  When I looked out and saw it had started snowing, I said "oh man!"  It's not really heavy but the icy patches are the tricky part. 

I had a pleasant surprise when I got up around 8:30 and looked out the front door, though...

someone had shoveled my steps and walkway, woot woot!!  I'm just seeing it now, but they took a couple half-hearted swipes at my windshield too!  I think it was my neighbor directly across the street, I'll have to thank him or give him a neighborly wave when I see him. 

Anyway, the tv news is saying how bad the icy patches are and we're in for freezing rain, event cancellations, yadda yadda yadda... so the executive board has cancelled our guild meeting today. 

It looks like a stay at home day for me - no worries!  I have plenty of cleaning, neatening and sewing I can do today, I hope yours is a good 'un!

Sew forth and sew on

Friday, January 20, 2012

Four-inch Friday

Time for another 4-inch block, #22. 

I like this combination of pale gold, grey and white...

It was inspired by an online game that I sometimes play on PopCap - Bejewelled Twist

This is the screen that comes up just after you load the game, and I thought it'd make an interesting block. 

As you can tell, this project has ceased being a block a day... it's turning into "at least one block a week"!  Since I started posting these in November, at one a day I'd have at least 75 by now.  It's all good  ;o)

Sew forth and sew on

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just a little bit finished

I had fun doing Marcia's Scrappy Quilt Challenge! You still have time to make a small item to enter, it only takes a few hours and she's leaving the linky up until January 23 (scroll to the bottom of the page).   Her prize?  She's drawing for a free quilting of your piece!  Doing my little challenge quilt was really fun, I'll definitely use this pattern again! 

Yesterday I showed my fabrics and how I did the rounds, using Marcia's great denim block pattern tutorial.  I finished all my blocks and put them on the design wall to see what they looked like "on"...

I know the point of this pattern is not to have things too matchy-matchy, but I wanted to sew these together in rows, so each had to be the same height.  So I trimmed 1/2" off the middle block in the first row

then I sewed the rows together and flipped it vertically...

it was accidental, but who knows what, anyway?

Border decisions...

The border on the left would have given me a purple quilt... I didn't want that.  Now the one on the right is from the focus fabric but it makes the piece look a little "blah" to me!

this brown is a bit too dark, I think...


It's funny, but I had placed this one on the wall to see two sides at once; my first impression was that it looked a bit "Gee's Bend"


it's not so bad!  It won't win any prizes, but I think it's a cute little top and I used some fabric that was just sitting in a storage tub.  I wish I could say I used "all" of any one piece but I didn't - this was made from yardage rather than scraps.  Also, I didn't over-think the layout, I just went with the first way I laid it.  

This quilt finished at 22 x 23-3/4, a nice size for a table or hallway, because my base pieces ranged from 2x2 to 3x4."  I can see how fast and easy it would be to make a larger quilt using bigger starting pieces. 

Sew forth and sew on

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just a little bit challenged

After seeing a lovely little quilt on Sharon's blog, I decided to participate in Marcia's Scrappy Quilt Challenge using her Denim Block Pattern Tutorial.  She shared her pattern with us at Sew We Quilt in November - that pattern rocks! 

To get started I opened a fabric bin that was on the floor and pulled 4 fabrics, then I chose 3 more that sort of coordinated with them. 

There are one or two fabrics in the group I didn't use yet, but my focus fabric is this piece of "Kaleidoscope" by Hoffman that I've had for a very  long time! 

I've had it so long that I don't know how old it is, I just know it's time to move it along.  Get to steppin'

I cut my focus fabric in squares and rectangles at 2x2, 2x3, 3x3 and 3x4 (plus 1/2" seam allowance), then I added fabric strips cut at different widths around them log cabin style...

Round 1.  That light green batik is actually a fabric that wasn't in the first photo, it was on my cutting table from something else.  

When I went to do the second round, I realized I didn't have to use the same identical fabric for each round, so I mixed it up a bit...
at least... I hope I wasn't s'posed to!

At this point I noticed I was working with 10 pieces, so rather than cut two more to make it an even dozen ... I just eliminated one of em!  I can always use it for something later... maybe a mug rug or an oatmeal mat, as Gene made for his Nana.  With 9 pieces I'll have an easier 3 by 3 layout.

In Round 3 you can see the pieces taking a more definite shape...

They're not all the same size, but I think the design element of this pattern is based on them not being too matchy-matchy.  Variety is the secret sauce in this one!

And last but not least, Round 4 where all sides of the center focus fabric are surrounded, log cabin style.

My next step will be to lay these out and "fill in the cracks" with whatever size strips necessary so the blocks can be sewn together in rows.  Piece o cake?  I dunno yet, we'll see!

Yesterday morning there was a discussion on Exuberant Color about color theory... I commented that I did take a class but all the info went right out of my head, so my color combinations are sometimes just gut instinct.  The fabrics I'm using for this challenge are an example of me flying by the seat of my pants, so to speak.  They may not all have tea and crumpets with the focus fabric, but they do have a passing acquaintance!  It's just a quilt.

If you'd like to participate in this challenge, do visit Marcia's blog, read the rules and regs, then pull some fabrics and get started!  It's a cute pattern, and she's giving away a great prize!  PLUS she has a linky, and you can show your flimsy if you finish it before January 23!

Sew forth and sew on