Monday, January 30, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Turnaround

Today's Modern Block is Turnaround by Monique Dillard.

This is one of the more intricate blocks, but so fabulous!  I love the motion of it, and think it would be an awesome one made into a whole quilt or used as an alternate block to create a cool secondary pattern.  Are there any blocks that come to mind that would be a good pairing with this one?  Let me know what you think!

My one bit of advice is to trim away the excess fabric from your flying geese units to reduce the bulk.  Also, lay it out on your sewing table with the picture.  If you look at mine and the original, you will see that I turned my center unit the wrong way.  I don't think it particularly matters, but it is easy to do.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Folding Fabric

Since I have to pack up my studio, I decided that this is as good a time as any to change my fabric storage method. I've been looking through my favorite blogs and searching Pinterest for ideas, and decided to try out the comic book board method.

Allison wrote about this, but I was reluctant to spend the money on boards.  I was looking at the number of boards Allison needed and assuming my stash was similar to hers.  Once I actually counted, though, it looks like my overwhelming stash is only about one tenth of Allison's!  (confidential to the Pit Boss:  Looking pretty good now, huh?)

I also had no idea that there was a comic book store nearby.  I have never heard of or seen one around, and couldn't believe it when google told me that there was one practically within walking distance, one I drive past at least once daily.  And they had the boards!  I ran over there and picked up a hundred to get started.

Let me tell you, it's addictive.  I've wrapped fifty of the boards so far, and I'm probably about a third of the way through my yardage.  I love how the fabric looks and how little space it takes up.  This is just a start, but here's how it's going so far:

Pretty!  Right?

Also, just because the words "comic book store" make me think of The Big Bang Theory:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Stonehenge

Today's Modern Block is Stonehenge by Amy Ellis.

 This is another simple yet striking block.  It would make a fantastic two-color quilt, and Amy suggests strip piecing if you were going to make a bunch of identical blocks.  It went together in a snap, and (I think) would offer an interesting secondary design. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Escalator

Today's Modern Block is Escalator by Ann Haley.

This block looked harder than it actually turned out to be, and could be laid out in a whole quilt a bunch of different ways.  I used all the 1930's prints left over from Boxed In, and it went together easily. 

My only suggestion is that you lay it out on your sewing table with the directions in front of you and take your time.  It would be very easy to get a piece out of place, and those bias edges could get wonky quick if you had to rip out.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Boxed In

Today's Modern Block is Boxed In by Faith Jones.

This is a fun simple block that gives you a chance to experiment with value and scale.  It reminds me a little bit of a wonky bento box, and I think you could assemble it the same way I did the one for Deuce.

I played a little bit with the fabric and used one 1930's print and one "modern" print in each color. I think this would make a very cute and fast baby or kid quilt in all kinds of bright colors, and I'd love to see it all done in batiks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - April Showers

Today's Modern Block is April Showers by Kirsti Underwood.

I haven't done embroidery since I was a teenager, but have been wanting to give it another shot ever since Bari J. was on the podcast. This was a perfect way to jump back in - no complicated stitches and a very cute design.

If you've been thinking about embroidery, try April Showers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Studi-O-rganization - This Time It's Serious!

So it's January and you know I'm going to be yammering on about how "I'm going to get organized once and for all this year," right?  Right.


I got all excited about Allison's Studi-O-rganization challenge, which she issued and then promptly went on vacation.  But now she's back and inviting guest bloggers to write about fabric storage.  You mean it isn't supposed to be piled neatly on the floor? 

 I know, I know, I say this every year.  And every year I mean it.  Every year I'm hopeful.

But this time it's serious!  You know why?  Because this time it's not up to me.

I didn't share this before because it was still grossing me out at the time, but on New Year's Eve we had a plumbing emergency.  The bad kind.  The kind you call in professionals to clean up.  That's all I'm going to say about that.  We had plumbers and "mitigation experts" at our house until 6:30 pm on New Year's Eve.  You know what's more expensive than a plumber on a weekend?  A plumber on a holiday weekend!

Luckily only a small area of the house was damaged, and luckily very little of our stuff was damaged.  Luckily we didn't have to move out of the house, and we were only without water for a few hours.  Luckily we have insurance.  However, it seems that a small amount of damage can be a lot of work to fix.  There is drywall to patch and paint, and a whole lot of carpet to replace.

To make a long story short(er), we are going to do some other work while we have the contractors here and the house is torn up anyway.  That means packing up all my studio.  Everything.  And if I'm going to go to that kind of trouble, I might as well sort it all out and figure how to store it beautifully and neatly when I unpack. 

So I'm spending a little too much time on Pinterest fantasizing about my perfect sewing space doing research about the most efficient way to store my fabric and tools. 

I'm so open to suggestions and cannot wait to see the posts over at Within a Quarter Inch. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Alleyways

Today's block on the Quilt Along is Alleyways by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle

This is another awesome stashbuster, but my sample shows exactly why I never use sashing without cornerstones.  I tried to pin and carefully piece this so that the sashing would line up, and it is still off.  I'd love to know how you get it straight!

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Happy Ending

Remember back when I finished Deuce's 8th Grade Graduation quilt and told you about one of my favorite quilts for a teenage boy, like, ever?  That quilt turns out to have a happy ending after being lost for TEN YEARS!

It's also a cautionary tale about the importance of putting a label on a quilt.  Jaye has a great explanation of how she makes her back with the label pieced in so that it can't be taken off without ripping out quilting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Just Passing Through

Today's block on the Quilt Along is  Just Passing Through block by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr .  This is another fun block that really allows you to play with color.  I didn't put the darker fabrics together like the one in the book, but I think the effect still works.

Just like with the last block, Blue Lagoon, this one makes me think about how the colors might run together or graduate from block to block.  I'm definitely doodling with colored pencils for this one.   

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Going to Guild

Last night was guild night. We have been having some unbelievable fog and rain, so it took all I had to make myself go. It didn't help that there was no fabulous speaker or project to lure me in! I'm so glad I went, though.

For one thing, I got to see Lene's President's Quilt finished. Isn't it gorgeous?

In the past we have done a top only, but this year they decided to present a finished quilt. Lene wrote to us all that she went home and hung it in her front hallway within five minutes of arriving home. This has only made me more determined to finish mine in time for our guild show this September.

It was also the meeting where we showed off completed UFOs and made our list for next year.  You can put six on your list and have to finish four of them to get the cool UFO/alien head bead for your name tag.  Let's see if I can actually earn one this year!

Looks like we are going to have some awesome programs and classes this year.  I cannot wait!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Blue Lagoon

Today's Modern Block is Blue Lagoon by Pat Sloan.

I adore this block, and not just because it has three of my favorite fabrics in it. It went together quickly and easily. I love the slight contrast of the blues. I think if you put a bunch of them together, there would be a cool secondary design with those half-square triangle blocks and the cornerstones.

I'm picturing a quilt where each block features a different color.  Maybe where the color runs from one block to the next.  It would also be a great leader-ender project. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Polaroid

Today on the Modern Blocks Quilt Along I made the Polaroid block by the book's editor, Susanne Woods.

This block spoke to me from the moment I saw it.  I love using photographs in quilts.  I decided to use my mom's favorite picture from when my brother and I were little and make it into a Valentine's Day pillow.  It's hard to see, but those corner squares are really a pale, mottled pink.  I have a pink, white, and red fabric all picked out for the backing. 

This has me thinking about a whole quilt design of these blocks in various sizes and scattered across the page like in an old scrapbook.  I would love it even more if I could find a silver pen to write captions like The Pit Boss's Papa used to use.  He kept incredibly beautiful, detailed photo albums with dates and milestones recorded in his gorgeous calligraphy.  

What picture would you put in the middle of this block?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Riverbank

Today's block on the Quilt Along is an interesting study in line. It's called Riverbank, and it was designed by Tiffany Stephens (can't find a link).

I love the one in the book.  I thought it looked like a fantastic way to use scraps in a similar way to a Chinese Coins quilt.
Riverbank by Tiffany Stephens
When I made mine, I didn't like it nearly as much.  It was immediately obvious that using a diagonal print in between the rows of horizontal scraps was critical to the design.  When I chose a fabric that read as a stripe, I thought that would be enough.  In fact, using a horizontal stripe might have been worse than using a solid or a vertical stripe.

Frequent readers will be shocked at what happened next:  I ripped it out.  We all know how I feel about that!  But it was only two seams and I needed to fix it.  Luckily I had another piece of the "stripe" that was big enough to cut it again on the diagonal.  I wanted to use the exact same placement instead of remaking the block with different scraps so that it would be a fair comparison.

I like the resulting block so much better, don't you?

If you'd like to learn more about line and other design elements, try reading Artquiltmaker's blog or listening to her podcasts with Sandy from Quilting for the Rest of Us. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mail Time!

I have been remiss in sharing this sweet little packet that arrived in the mail back in early November from Kim of Kim's Big Quilting Adventure. Kim was one of the stops on Madame Samm's "The Ghastlies" blog hop, and I was the winner of one of Kim's patterns, Eye of the Beast.

I completely forgot that I won, and must confess that the envelope sat buried under the crap unopened on my desk for a few weeks.   So sorry!  Imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope and saw this awesome pattern made with 5" squares!  I wonder where I'll get some of those...hmmm...let me think...

I have two charm packs of Moda's Adoring by Sandy Gervais, and I think this quilt - it finishes out at 54" square - might make a beautiful Christmas tree skirt!  What do you think?

Thanks so much, Kim!  I hope to report back soon!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Pinball Machine

Allison is on vacation so Brye and I are alternating every other day this week.  I hope these posts aren't boring you, but I guess something quilty is better than my normal rambling or nothing at all, right?

Right. ~nod nod nod~

Today's block is called Pinball Machine by Jessica Brown.  I LOVE this block.  It would make such a cute quilt with lots of motion and places for awesome quilting.  I originally picked it in honor of The Pit Boss, but I would definitely make this quilt.

Cutting all the different sized pieces out for one was a little bit tedious and time consuming because they are all slightly different, but I think if you were cutting a bunch of them it would get much easier.  Once cut, though, it went together in a snap!

This is one of the blocks where I love mine as much as the one in the book. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Queen of the UFOs - AGAIN!

Remember last year how I was crowned queen of the UFOs over at Stashbusters? Well, believe it or not, I got an email from Ellen on December 18 saying that I was the newly crowned queen and that I had to have a finish by Christmas Day!  What is up with that?

Last year I was fine because I had finished my mom's quilt in time for Christmas, but this year?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  

I was bemoaning the fact that I was going to owe another fat quarter penalty (which I wouldn't mind so much except for the going to the post office part) and criticizing myself for not finishing one more project.  I decided to go ahead and make my list for this year when - Hallelujah! - I realized that I had never sent her my Green Guild Challenge.   The one I never took pictures of?  Yeah, that one.  It's also called Pam's Gift on my UFO list, and I had never checked it off.  I took a quick phone picture and sent it off to avoid the penalty.  Phew!

Anyway, it's time once again to face the music and list my UFOs and projects for the year.  Sadly, many are still on the list from last year and the year before that

What I got completed: (YAY!)
UFOs that never made it off the list: (Boooo!)
  • 2010 Guild Home Challenge
  • Cut Ups 4" Block Swap
  • Halloween Round Robin
  • Christmas Round Robin
  • Jewel Box Jacket
  • Breast Cancer Ribbon Quilt
  • Purple Medallion
  • Winnie the Pooh/Lazy Crazy
  • President's Quilt
  • Purple Block Swap
And - the list I'm most proud of - new projects that need to be finished:
  • NONE!  Nada!  Zip!
While I still have ten lingering UFOs to finish, the list didn't grow at all.  That's progress no matter how you slice it.

I also have no new projects that have to be done this year.  No babies on the way, no graduations, and no big birthdays.  Every bed in my house (and in my mom's house) has a quilt or two.  I can focus on my UFOs and projects I want to do.  If I can even get that UFO list cut in half by December I will be happy. 

So 'fess up.  What does your UFO list look like?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Modern Blocks Quilt Along - Higgledy-Piggledy

My next block in the Modern Blocks Quilt Along over at SeamedUP is called Higgledy-Piggledy by Kate Henderson

This block reminds me of bargello and went together very simply.  I'm having trouble picturing how I would use it in a whole quilt and would love to see the EQ version of it as multiple blocks.   A series of them would make an interesting table runner or wrap.

December Book List

I've just wrapped up my New Year's resolution to read fifty-two books in 2011.  December was busy as usual, and I got bogged down in a Sherlock Holmes collection, but I finally squeezed in the last two during my post-Christmas relaxation.

This month I read The Affair by Lee Child.  This is the prequel to the other Reacher books, which I love.  Normally we buy these the minute they come out, read them at a gluttonous pace, and then move on.  This time The Pit Boss decided to download it onto his iPad, so I couldn't get my hands on it for awhile.  Luckily he moved on to a "real" book this week and gave me a chance to read this one.  It was excellent and answered a lot of questions from the series.

I also read The Fair Tax Book by Neal Boortz and John Linder.  In my political discussions with my crazy liberal California brother (that's a term of endearment, by the way) we have discussed The Fair Tax at length.  He had questions I couldn't answer - good questions.  I sent him the book for his birthday and sat down to read it myself in the interest of furthering our discussions.  I think it's a must read.

That puts me at exactly fifty-two books in fifty-two weeks!  YIPPEE!!

How are your 2011 resolutions going?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Thanks to Madame Samm for the cute graphic!

After yesterday's Top Ten list for 2011, here are my Top Ten hopes, dreams, and wishes for 2012.
  1. For wisdom, for myself, our country, and all the world's leaders.
  2. For focus and balance as I begin to figure out what I want to do "when I grow up."
  3. For peace, in our hearts and in our world.
  4. For clarity, as Deuce applies for college, and strength, for me as I begin to imagine our household without him in it every day.  I hope I can hold onto the excitement of his new adventure without being selfish about how much I'm going to miss my boy!
  5. For joy, and remembering to appreciate the little moments.
  6. For patience, for all of us, as The Bear learns to drive.  Especially for him to be patient with himself, since he seems to think he should be an expert the first time he tries something new!
  7. For healing, for all of those who are suffering physically and emotionally. 
  8. For understanding, as Grace enters the thirteenth year of her life and begins middle school in the fall.  I've been bracing myself for this roller coaster ride!
  9. For continued love and laughter as The Pit Boss and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.  Where have the years gone? 
  10. For another happy, healthy year.  2011 was pretty good to us in this department, and that's the most I can wish for!  

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