So… I decided to start over with my Sugar blocks. The novelty, directional prints didn’t seem to work well with the block patterns. At least, I wasn’t sold on them. I do have a project in mind for all that fabric, but I won’t get to it for awhile.
Using Kate Spain’s Daydream collection – warm palette – I like how these blocks turned out way better! The prints are really pretty pieced like this. I am really excited to see how all the blocks come together over the year.
And, um, lesson learned from mis-cutting way too many pieces the last go around, I wrote out all the measurements onto a sticky note and stuck it right above my fabric cutting area. And then I labeled each print. That little bit of work up front made cutting the pieces more efficient.
I love this little kit.
I used a well written tutorial by Amy at Lots of Pink Here, and it is the perfect little kit for holding my paper pieced hexagon supplies. My favorite part? The thread spool holder – such an ingenious idea!
I was using a plastic box to hold all my fabric, paper templates, needles (which would get lost in amongst all the things), thread and scissors. It was a hot mess, if I’m being honest. And not terribly portable due to the size. But this little kit is small enough to throw in my purse or bag.
Amy’s tutorial is very clear and easy to follow. The only change I made was to interface the pocket pieces, including the scissor holder, with craft fuse to make them a bit sturdier. It did not take me long at all to make this. Probably the hardest part was choosing the fabric! I dug through my box of scraps for the interior fabric, pockets and binding. For the exterior, I cut into a 1/2 yard cut of this print from Kate Spain’s Central Park. I had been hoarding that piece for way too long.
I love it! I can see myself making more of these as gifts for crafty friends or to add into swap packages.
This week has been a bit of a tease. Weather-wise. I can feel the warmness in the air – which surprises me because the landscape is contradictory in it’s brown and muddyness. Some days everything is colored gray because of the clouds.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. In the past few days, I’ve been able to run outside – in shorts, no less! – walk to grab a salad for lunch – without my coat! And today, it is sunny and warm. I can hear the kids at the child care center playing outside – laughing and yelling.
I expect to see green grass and plants sprouting and flowers blooming. I am ready for spring, my friends. Are you?
I’ve had a rough go of it at work. So much so that I applied, interviewed and was offered another job. In a completely different industry. And boy. Turning down that opportunity was a hard one. I tried, really tried, to convince myself (and JJ) to say “Yes!”
In the end, I’d just be trading in my current set of problems for another. Nothing is really perfect, right? And the whole decision making exercise was really helpful in reminding me of the things that I do love about my job. I was working myself up over too many areas that really aren’t in my control. I’ve been making the daily (sometimes hourly) choice to focus my energy in the areas I influence and to not waste any more time on the stuff outside of my control.
*sigh* The whole ‘choosing’ thing again.
I’ve been making progress on some projects. And I’ve started some new ones.
I basted the 2013 Sugar Block top. And I started quilting it. Except after quilting a 6″ square area, I decided that I did not like how it looked. And then spent the next hour ripping out the stitches. Have you ever ripped out machine quilting? It takes forever…. two episodes of The Walking Dead in this case.
While sitting on the couch with JJ watching Season 2 of House of Cards, I’ve been making these little hexagons. I’m using leftover fabric from the Cropshoot Quilt. It’s Kate Spain’s Terrain, which is my absolute favorite fabric line so far. I love that I’m able to work with it again.
I pulled out my improv blocks from the Jacquie Gering class my guild sponsored back in November. I’m thinking that this will either be a wall hanging for the living room, or a lap quilt for a friend.
And finally, I joined some coworkers at a local sewing machine/vacuum/quilt shop for an Open Sew last weekend. I was able to finish a baby quilt top and started stitching a bunch of half-square triangles. I don’t have a huge stash of pre-cuts, but I was able to make a dent in the stock I do have.
Have a good day, friends!
Hello again friends. It has been a busy busy few weeks for us around here. And to be truthful, February has kicked my ass. *sigh*
I made a deal with myself to NOT start the 2014 Sugar Blocks until I finished putting together the blocks from 2013 Club. And I did finish the quilt top – getting the quilt basted is another story for another time. And I’m not quite there yet. Soon though. Soon.
For the 2014 blocks, I am using a fat quarter set of Bluebird Park by Kate and Birdie Paper Company. Super super cute collection with some nice blenders thrown in too. At first I was concerned about the prints and how they would look all patchwork-ed, but honestly, I have other things to worry about. I’m just going to go with it, and see how it looks when I’m finished. Take that, Quilt Police!
Here’s January’s Block:
And February’s Block:
So, the quilt isn’t technically finished. I still have to piece together the back. And then sandwich a piece of batting in between the top and the back. And then baste it. And then quilt it. And then bind it. hmm. I still have a ways to go. No matter. I have the top together and I’m damn happy about it.
So, the 2013 Sugar Block Club has transitioned to the 2014 Sugar Block Club – which, yes, I joined again. I really love what Amy does with these traditional-ish blocks. I think they’re great. But back to my quilt top! I’ve steadily worked on this all of last year, and I’m really excited about it.
To put all the blocks together, I totally stole the layout from a quilt made by Faith Jones, featured in her (and two other quilty peeps’) book Vintage Quilt Revival. I added a thick turqouise border, then a skinny white border followed by a skinny navy border to frame the blocks. I have some ideas, and some leftover half-filler blocks, for the quilt back. I just need some time - ok, lets be real here, more energy - to get it pieced together so I can finish this one.
Stay tuned, friends. I hope to have a finished quilt to show you soon.
(in no particular order)
*that some days are easier than others.
*that I don’t like to run while sick.
*that 5 degree runs aren’t that bad if I double up on tights and tops. And wear a face mask.
*yak trax are amazing (but I knew that already).
*that I really need to plan better or run early in the day.
*that I should invest in an iPhone armband thingie.
*that my running playlist needs some serious help.
*that maybe I should re-visit this challenge during the spring or summer.
*that Miles, at 4 years old and 32lbs, still fits in (and enjoys) the Bob.
*that a short run is always better than no run.
Committing to this challenge seemed easy at Thanksgiving. But faced with an uncommonly long string of single-digit temperatures really made it tough. Not just for me and my comfort, but I just couldn’t put Miles in the jogging stroller and take him with me when it’s that cold outside. I actually don’t mind running in the cold – in fact, I’ll take that over the heat anytime. And I don’t mind running in the dark either, especially since my sister-in-law gifted me knuckle lights for Christmas. Which are just what they sound like. Lights. For your knuckles.
I missed 9 days out of 35.That earns me a C for this year. But the real benefit I’ve observed is that I’ve re-learned how to run on consecutive days. Since my stress fracture, I’ve been very conservative with my running. Though now I know to follow a hard effort with an easy effort. And I’ve (mostly) gotten over the notion that a run isn’t really a run if it is less than 3 miles.
So I ran. I ran in the dark. I ran early in the morning and late into the evening. I ran during my lunch hour. I ran after work. I ran on a track and around my neighborhood.
I ran and ran. And it was good.
My word for 2014 is choose.
And it came out of a reading assignment that was part of an amazing 6 week yoga series hosted/taught by my friend Alex. (Ok, so I haven’t finished reading all of the Upanishads, but I did read a few of them. I’m a terrible student.) And this passage, from the Katha Upanishad, has just stuck.
Everything we do requires us to make a choice.
Do I get up and work out or do I hit snooze?
Do I skip the salad in favor of the fries?
Do I play with my child and hear his laugh or do I check my phone for the 100th time that morning?
Do I make the choices that grant me joy? Or am I choosing something that gives me brief pleasure?
In my bigger decisions, I strive to choose the harder right over the easier wrong. That is something that has stuck with me since the first time I heard the Cadet Prayer in 1995. However, in the smaller areas of life, its the little, daily decisions that I want to focus on in 2014.
I’m planning to participate in a year long, guided reflection surrounding my word – choose – in the hope that I live with this word. That I live this word. That I can be open to observing and participating in how life can unfold for me with this year-long centering thought.
So here’s to 2014, and to choosing joy.
I finished this one up today. And yay! Its my new favorite quilt. I really like how it turned out.
While finishing this up, I watched the end of Sons of Anarchy Season 4. And ugh. It did not end the way I wanted it to. I was hoping for Clay to get what he deserved, but oh well. There’s always Season 5… which is playing right now as I write this blog post! Enough of that. On to the quilt.
Titled: For Seester
Quilted with Gutterman 100% cotton, 50wt quilting thread.
Fabrics: Terrain by Kate Spain, Kona solids,
Previous posts outlining the process are here, here and here.
Here’s the back. Please ignore the fuzzies. I washed it with some towels and … well, I probably shouldn’t do that again.
(Someone wanted in the photo)
And a close up of the quilting:
This year has been my best quilting year! I’ve finished five quilts this year, and four of them were fairly large lap sized ones. I am slowly improving. I’ve picked up some really good tips and techniques from my guild members. I’m really glad that I joined this year, and am looking forward to learning more in the coming year.
2013 was a very good year.
I wrote a post awhile ago about free motion quilting and my Juki. I’m about a third of the way through quilting this quilt and I thought I’d give an update.
I complained about quilting my mom’s quilt at a guild meeting in July. I got a lot of super helpful tips from other Juki owners. The biggest improvement happened after I switched thread. I jumped on the Aurifil bandwagon (I read too many quilting blogs!) and tried it and I don’t like it. The 50wt Mako cotton thread is really thin and didn’t work well for quilting. Given that, I probably should have used the 40wt for machine quilting. For this quilt, I am using a spool of Gutterman cotton quilting thread and I’m not having any problems (yet).
I do recognize that the type of needle is a factor, so consider that as well if you have trouble free motion quilting. For the record, I’ve been using Organ needles, and will continue to use them until I run out. Since I have around 200 Organ needles, that won’t be anytime soon.
I happy to say that I’m quilting on the Juki is really great. I set the speed to about half, and then just push the pedal and go. For this quilt, I am using the Modern Art design on the plain blocks. I really like how it looks so far.
In the 9 patch blocks, I’m doing a kind of echo quilt, joint, square corners kind of design. Pretty much just making it up as I go along.
I work on a few blocks in the evenings, generally only quilting for about 20-30 minutes. Unlike quilting my other quilts, I changed my workspace set up – meaning, I don’t change to a specific ‘quilting’ set up. I bunch the quilt up on my lap, pile it up on the table and really only focus on the 8-inch square under the needles. I can’t tell you how much easier and less physically demanding this set up is for me compared to how I quilted my quilts before. And since I’m not moving furniture around and creating a hot mess, I feel like quilting. Its nice to be able to do about 3 minutes of set up before getting to work, and then spending another 3 minutes to put things back in place.