Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hands2Help update - fabrics!


Time for a little update (a few days late from the Sunday update on Sarah's website, but that's how it will be for at least another couple of weeks!)

I got a packet of fabrics last week from my swap partner - 8 coordinating FQs with a theme that reminds me of my roots (ah, the Great Northwest!)

(Okay, not entirely - we don't have moose in Oregon. But just a minor detail...those fishing creels bring back memories...)

I've already learned something about myself from this Challenge - that is how much my own color palette has changed over the past 20 years or so. The first quilt I ever made (only quilt I made for a long long time) was exactly this set of colors. But that was in 1990 -92 or something like that. Now, as I looked through my stash to add to these for a quilt, I find it is full of much brighter colors. In fact, I realized that it's true - when I need something more muted or neutral I often need to go look at the fabric store. But I did find several pieces in my stash that I think will complement these - and for this particular project I think mixing in some brights will be a nice balance for a cheery children's quilt.  At least I think so...we'll see as I move into cutting what will stay and what will go...

My swap partner Brenda suggested solids may be a nice addition, and that's where I started...then I found some additional complementary small prints and some scraps of this little woodland print I used as part of my Fat Geese quilt top (those owls are my favorite - so cute I used them in my Valentine's day pillow too, hehe)

Scatter them all together and I like where this is going. The solids really pull out the color from the FQs my partner sent.  

( as an aside to this self-discovery - I hope my fabrics didn't send my swap partner into a diabetic bright fabric-induced coma! I wish now that I'd taken a picture before I sent them off.  I took votes around the house and everyone here voted for the brighter set rather than the more sedate blues and greens alternative set - but they've become brainwashed by my chronic color saturated choices I think!)

For the quilt, I'm thinking of using this Plus Quilt pattern (free download - nice pattern!!) 

The smaller size version is close to the H2H size requested and it calls for 18 FQs which is about what I have assembled - though I think there will be a lot of scraps leftover, those can be used in the back if I feel in the mood for a pieced backing (which is usually)

Of course, I won't be able to get much cutting done for about 2 weeks due to various circumstances: 1) my craft table serves as our second Easter Sunday dinner table, so I have to reassemble my craft corner to be ready for regular operations. 2) we have our totally awesome annual Parish Retreat (at Bishop's Ranch in Sonoma County...bee-oooautiful!) this weekend, and 3) I have one more business trip the following week... but after that I am home for awhile and will be taking some extra time off around Memorial Day weekend to recharge and catch up!


Linked to Sara's Whoop Whoop!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our little bunny garlands...

I spotted this printable from Hello Clementine on etsy yesterday and fell in love! I'd been wanting to sew some banner or something for Easter but just never got to it. So this seemed like a craft project for the kids AND a nice touch for our Easter decor before my in-law families come over tomorrow!

Well, we've been busy here at our house today - preparing Easter Bread and desserts, lamb, vegetables all ready for roasting...vacuum, spit and polish...the works. And I didn't get too much participation from my kids on this craft - Teen Wonder had to be somewhere and Wild Thing was only interested in directing what to dress the bunnies in. Nana (aka Mom) did most of the work.  And we have 2 cute garlands - one in the dining room over the buffet and one on the mantel in the living room.  The pictures aren't the best because it's night and there isn't very good light. But I won't have time tomorrow...

It's hard to appreciate from these photos how cute these look in the house - we have a little California East Bay stucco box (aka "bungalow" or ?? "more like a little casa") - anyway, the square footage and scale is pretty small, the ceilings are high, the windows are large...and the decorations are pretty minimal this year. I put bunches of daffodils all around and the little decorations we do have are scattered around (thanks to Wild Thing and Mr. Wonderful, otherwise I would have been frantic this week!).

But these bunny garlands really added that missing touch for Easter.  Blessings to all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Too late for the Heather Ross QAL...but these blocks are for ME!

edited to link up to "Stash Project of the Month", since this is such an impromptu stash project and I'm so happy with how it's going!

A few months ago, there was a Quilt-a-long at Sew Sweetness - the Heather Ross Quilt-a-long.  I wanted to join it because I LOVE Heather Ross prints...but I'd used up most of mine in Angela's quilt and Megan's quilt. Then I won a giveaway of Heather Ross fat eights from Angela at Fussy Cut...and I went through my scraps to salvage whatever I could find that I had left, and then I bought a couple of additional pieces off of Etsy.  Then I ordered some FQ stacks of solids from a couple of different places. I really wanted to make a reasonably sized quilt for me - one that I could curl up under and admire close up.

But everything has just been sitting in piles in my crafty corner under other piles and projects for some time.

This past week I needed some basic OCD free-form creative activity. So I first cleaned off my sewing table, and then pulled out all the Heather Ross cuts and scraps I had pulled together and the solid FQs I've been collecting for the past few months and set out to work mixing and matching.  I am not using a pattern of any type or even a well thought out plan with a sketch or anything - I thought I'd use a basic "boxed in" and/or simple log cabin approach for the blocks with some wonky-ness and scrappy-ness allowed as needed or desired.  I plan to have 10-11 different solids (or maybe 12) with about 3 blocks using each color as the outside border to get at least 30 blocks. They are cut to 11", so will finish at 10.5" each - so I think a 5x6 arrangement with either sashing or borders will give me a big enough quilt for a decent lap-size. 42 blocks would be better especially since I've been leaving borders off my quilts for the most part, but I just don't think I have enough of the prints to cut it (punny - hehe). We'll see how it goes as I move along.

So here's the WIP from the past week or so. I've got 17 blocks so far and they are just as cheerful and happy as I had hoped they would be. This quilt won't be chock full of prints like the other two I've done with these Heather Ross lines, but showcasing the prints with solid borders really feels like it will make more of a story stimulating piece.

some of the blocks are more scrappy...

...and some are quite basic boxed in layouts.

I'm off for a business trip this week, but I'll be working on a new sweater for Wild Thing on the plane and during my insomniac wee hours, so perhaps I'll have a new knitted FO to post soon!

By the way - Sara's Heather Ross quilt at Sew Sweetness turned out absolutely fabulous!! wow - go check it out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011 which you should always expect the totally unexpected

Okay. I've made 2 different posts about the Fat Quarterly Reader Competition and how it inspired me to pick 2 projects from the fantastic issues of FQ that I bought and downloaded sometime toward the end of last year.  If you are a quilter and you don't subscribe to Fat Quarterly, you must go forth and check them out!

Last night I had an email from Fat Quarterly with some utterly unexpected news! (stand by)

First here are some photos of the entry that I didn't finish in time to enter the competition.  This quilt top was done, but I just couldn't get it quilted and bound by March 31st. I finally took the top outside and snapped some photos early this (grey overcast) morning so I could do this quick post during my lunch break today.  This one is based on a Flying Geese pattern - but I don't have the FQ issue in hand right now to tell you which one or the exact name of the pattern.  My interpretation of it was to add the alternating diagonal sections of warm, cool, and dark neutrals across the quilt to add more motion to the quilt.  I like it!  The fabrics are mostly from Moda Wee Woodland by Keiki with some additional prints thrown in to round out my color needs.

Can you feel the movement?  I hope so.

This was my first time with half square triangles (HSTs) - I can see why some quilters get addicted to these. There are so many different ways they can be arranged - I think that doing the flying geese in this non-traditional way gave even more movement to the alternating colorways.  To be honest, when I was working close up I wasn't sure I'd like the combination of fabrics or the colors...and then I couldn't get a sense of whether my concept would work until it was all pieced together.  Now I wish I had more time to quilt it - I'd like to do a zigzag echo type quilting I think.

Piecing triangles like this was a challenge to keep all my points and line them up. Overall, I'd give myself an A- maybe, or maybe a B+. You can see several spots with misalignment, but overall I managed to stay "on point" (hehe)

Okay - now for the unexpected you've all been waiting patiently for. My Circular Logic pillow was the winner of the category 2 entries in the Fat Quarterly Reader Competition!!  Since I got the email last night I kept thinking "no, there's been a mistake...the most I even aspired to in the beginning was MAYBE a runner-up".  But today they posted the results - and there it is!!  I am so honored and flattered - there were 20 fantastic entries and I can't even imagine how the judges were able to pick a top 3.  Please go and take a look!!

Friday edit: go check out Sarah's Whoop Whoop linkys for the week!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stylish Blogger award!

What a nice surprise to find in your mailbox! Cassie at domstiCass gave me the Stylish Blogger award!

I feel so honored to receive this fun award that's been circulating around lately!  Thanks so much Cassie!! Please drop by her blog and take a look around. p.s. She is having a giveaway as part of this award.!

In accepting this award, I have agreed to do a few things:
  1. To thank the blogger who nominated me and link back to her blog  (check!)
  2. Share 7 things about myself
  3. Nominate 6 newly discovered bloggers for the Stylish Award
  4. Let my nominees know so that they can share their award with others.

7 things about me
(why are these sharing things always so hard?)

1)  I love Doritos, the nacho flavor original.  I didn't always like them, and I never buy them - but whenever there's a lunch meeting at work I grab the Doritos from the chip basket before anyone else can get them.

2) I'm a science nerd. When your mom makes fun of you for being a nerd because you are reading some non-fiction nerd book while lying on a beach in Spain, then you know you really are even though you never have reached Acceptance of this fact.

3) I wish I were fluent in at least one other language. It's sort of embarrassing when you work for an international company and you can't get past phrase-book level in any foreign language. I wasn't brave enough to really practice in public even when I studied Spanish for over 3 years.

4) I'm an Episcopalian. I'm not a very good Christian, because it's tough for science nerds to accept much of the miraculous faith part of religion. I didn't go to church for a huge chunk of my life in the middle, but as I get older, I feel like I really dig who Jesus was and what he tried to teach.

5) I've had type 1 diabetes for 31 years.

6) I break rules when they make no sense and are counterproductive.

7) I've occasionally been accused of being a perfectionist - which always makes me laugh because I NEVER do anything perfect (and it drives me crazy).

The fun part! - 6 newly discovered bloggers: There are so many great bloggers - but some of my new "discoveries" have obviously been discovered already by hundreds (or even thousands) of followers.  So I tried to stick to those who have fewer than 100 followers - the fewer the newer I figure. Go follow them!! Also, some of the newer discoveries I've found have already been awarded the Stylish Blogger so I didn't hit any of those...this was a tough choice.

 - Bry at A Blond Quilts - I like the name of her blog (hehe), and she has a great sense of color. Check out one of my favorite projects - the Jam Session quilt.

 - Suzanne at Girl For All Seasons - I love how she incorporates hand embroidery into her beautiful projects, and that she made a quilt for Modern Relief Japan (raffle unfortunately closed for legal reasons), but the money was to go to Mercy Corps - one of my favorite charities.

 - Sarah from Pings and Needles - she has the most fascinating "about me" page (Me Me Me) because she's had such a fascinating life.  Right now she appears to be in Berlin and seeing the most fabulous crafty colorful things. I wish I'd seen her posts 2 weeks ago since I just went to Berlin on business. Of course I would likely not have had a chance to check out too much...but it would have given me a different set of eyes for the city.

 - Ali at a-squared(w) - You have to check out her tutorials page! I love them all and plan to make at least 2 of them this year.  Plus she's a middle school rockstar math teacher.

 - Dawn at quilted by dawn - seriously beautiful quilts! She got my attention taking on the Crazy Mom Quilts postage stamp QAL - wow! And check out her queen size Single Girl quilt.

 - Lisa at The Red Headed Mermaid - she uses so much color! Check out her Leftovers quilt - this is an inspiration for me to just dive into some fabrics without too much overplanning.

Go check out some of these blogs!

Last note - I should have realized that Berlin may be rich with crafty inspiration and sources - I snapped this photo of a clothing store that had floor to high ceiling windows wrapping around a quarter city block and lined all with antique sewing machines!  It was so awesome.