WiP Wednesday as the semester first kicks in

The fall semester has been kicking up into gear, so I’ve had less time to work on projects recently. It’s also influenced what I’ve been working on to a certain extent. That said, I’ve still gotten some things done!

Finished:
I made three notebook covers for classes, following Rachel’s tutorial on Stitched in Color. I’m going to make one more in yellow and red, to match the Plantagenet colors, for my class on the Angevin Empire. And this time, I’ll (hopefully!) remember to add a pocket before I sew it all together!
Notebooks

HST BoM QAL: some progress! I made the second July block & and my first of two August blocks.
July-August HST BoM
-finish second August block (cut and partially pieced)
-fix botched May block already!
-start thinking about how to arrange the blocks & what to back the quilt with.

Knitting lots of progress!
-monkey socks in Persia (Malabrigo sock):
Malabrigo Monkey Socks
The more time I spend on the subway going to and from work/class, the more knitting I get done — I may have to take up hand-stitching things, if the majority of my crafting time continues to be on the subway.

Perk Me Up Bag: some progress.
I finished one side of the bag, which is a patchwork of the various fabrics, and I quilted it, because it’s a lot sturdier that way: I didn’t want to risk knitting needles poking their way through the bag and stabbing someone.
-iron interfacing to back of bag exterior and/or quilt it, too.
-attach pocket to back of bag exterior
-cut strap extender, strap and closure strap, attaching appropriate hardware
-sew lining together with internal zippered pocket in place
-attach lining to exterior pieces
-finish strap and etc.

Simple Math: trimmed a few more blocks!
-finish trimming blocks to 6″ square
-find sashing fabric
-baste, quilt & bind

Baby K’s Quilt: no progress since last week. This one is what’s laid out on my WiP cart right now, but I keep putting things on top of it — I should just get it done! There’s a bit left to work on.
Block2
-sew together two more postage stamp panels
-construct pinwheels
-lay out & attach borders
-construct backing
-baste, quilt & bind

Kitchen Window: no progress since last week.
-sort out cut fabrics into groups for individual blocks
-cut black fabric for frames
-cut green fabric for background parts
-start constructing blocks
-fiddle with layout
-make back
-baste, quilt & bind

Spinning: no progress since last week.
-Merino/yak continues to entice me, but I’m not watching much TV, so not much spinning is getting done. Perhaps I’ll watch a move with friends/family one night this week, to give myself some time off before things get crazy. That might be fun.

WiP Wednesday, 08/08

Last week’s To-Do List was:
Re-organization of space, Mabel Bag, Mini Dresden, Simple Math, Kitchen Window, Knitting, Spinning.

I actually got a good bit done! I re-organized, and now have my sewing machine set up on a table that’s at actual table-height, not coffee-table height. This is very exciting. :) The re-organization resulted in some stash culling: find the things I know I’ll never use here, in a de-stashing sale.

I finished two:
Mabel Bag & Mini Dresden quilt. I’ve already posted about the Mabel bag, and will be posting about the Mini Dresden on Friday.

Some progress on:
Knitting (socks on the subway, hooray!) and spinning (merino/yak while watching the Olympics. Well, while not-watching the Olympic ad-breaks.)

No progress on:
Simple Math blocks still need to be trimmed, Kitchen Window blocks need to be arranged & sashing cut, etc.

New projects:
Since I’ve finished two projects, I can start two more!

1) I’ve cut fabrics for another messenger bag, which will be a knitting bag for a friend. I’m using the Mabel pattern again, but I’ll be adding an interior dividing zipped pocket — wish me luck! I’ve never done this before, but I figure it can’t be impossible to do.

For the exterior, there was a panel print in this fat quarter pack that I simply couldn’t resist: it’s going to be an exterior pocket, so it’s visible.BBagPocket

The other side of the bag was going to be brown, but that’s boring: instead, I’m making a patchwork of these various prints:
BBagMedly

The lining will be a light blue:
BBagLining

2) My downstairs neighbors just had a baby, so I’ve picked out a pattern for a baby quilt, and am challenging myself to make it entirely from stash.

I’ll be using the pattern written up by Audrey of Hot Pink Quilts in her Let’s Get Acquainted blog hop post. All I know so far is that I’m going to be using Kelly green (Kona) and the green Hello Pilgrim stripe for the borders, and pulling the little squares from stash.

KampfQuilt1

I’m considering using Elizabeth Hartmann’s suggested interfacing-layout method from her Stamp Collection quilt for these 2.5″ squares. The patchwork parts of this quilt are nowhere near as work-intensive as the Stamp Collection quilt, but they’d still be a lot of piecing.

Mabel Messenger Bag: Done!

My green bird Mabel messenger bag is done!

Pattern: Mabel Messenger Bag by Jenna-Lou Designs
Fabric: Leftover from my Mixtape Quilt. And of course I forgot to write down what it was at the time.
Hardware: 18mm magnetic snap (I got mine from Purse Supplies R Us on Etsy) and a rectangle ring and slider from Jenna-Lou’s Etsy shop. There are lots of other options for what hardware to use, even if you limit yourself only to Etsy. :)
Alterations: I added a flat-applique’d on pocket on the interior, which will be nice for being able to locate pens and pencils and small things quickly. I also top-stitched around the edge of the bag once I was done ironing in the hopes that that will help it stay a little bit crisper in the long run.

GreenBirdDoor2

GreenBirdWhole

GreenBirdHardware

GreenBirdTopstitching

This was a pretty straightforward pattern. A little dense in places, so reading the whole thing first was definitely a good idea! I managed to attach the straps wrong the first time, and had to un-pick and re-attach them, which was a little annoying. But there were pictures for all the steps that I might have been confused by, which was nice.

Only one oops: when I put the lining in, I forgot to check which side the zippered pocket was on. Usually (at least, I think usually) the zippered pocket is on the back of the bag — in this case, the side the closure flap is sewn to. Here? It’s on the other side. Oops.

GreenBirdLiningOops

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

GreenBirdDoor1

Linking up to Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, which is hosted at Missy Mac Creations this week!

Next up in the bags queue is a second Mabel messenger bag, in Perk Me Up. I still haven’t entirely decided on how to use the fabrics, but I’ve got a little while to play with ideas yet.

A finish and a start

I’ve joined two charm square swaps. The first is the the Let’s Get Acquainted I-SPY Swap, for which I’m sending two sets of blocks, one of moons and stars and the other of bananas. (If you’re interested, it’s still looking for more people!) I’m planning on making a quilt to donate to a children’s charity with the squares I get back from this swap.

Then I stopped by my local fabric store today to pick up some yellow and brown dotted fabrics for the 3×6 Fabric Swap. Now I just need to pick up a yellow solid (all the ones at the local store were greenish, or too orange for my taste) and cut it and the brown and I’ll be ready to send off all the charm squares. Now to find envelopes to enclose that will hold the right number of charm squares so I can figure out return postage. :)

While I was at the local fabric store, I noticed that they’d gotten a new shade of green in: Kona’s Kelly green. I looked at it and it looked like I’d prefer it to Clover for the background of my Kitchen Window quilt: it’s a more sober tone, and I think it competes a little less with the prints. It presents less of a contrast with the black, too, which I think I like. Here’s a quick photograph of the two of them side-by-side:
Green-backgrounds

I’ve just started a handbag using the pattern Mabel, by Jenna Lou Designs, which I found through Purse Palooza 2012 on Sew Sweetness. I’m going to try to make an altered one with an internal dividing zipped pocket, so I figured I should make one following the pattern as written, first. I’m using scraps from the Mixtape Quilt. They ended up being cut sort of sideways, so the birds are all facing the wrong direction, but I think that will be all right in the end. It’s a good test case for getting used to working with interfacing, which I have not used before.

BirdStrap

BirdFlap

BirdBag

Of course, I only ordered the magnetic snaps and strap hardware today, so I’ve pretty much gotten as far as I’m going to get until it arrives. Maybe I’ll work on putting in an interior zipped pocket on one side and appliqued, open pockets on the other, just so the bag will hold something useful and not be an enormous black hole of stuff. It’s mostly a test case for a potential knitting bag, so I think I’ll try out pockets from this knitting bag, putting the outside pockets on the lining of the Mabel bag. We’ll see how it all works out!

Finally, I finished my red monkey socks this week. They ended up being too small for me, and there wasn’t enough yarn to finish them even if the ankles hadn’t been too narrow, so they’ll be a gift for a friend.

RedMonkeysFinished

The friend I’ll be giving the socks to is further along in her PhD program than I am, and she’s writing her thesis, so we meet about once a week and study together. It’s a really good system for me, because having someone else around helps me focus and keeps me from spending too much time surfing the web, or knitting or quilting or otherwise putzing around. It works surprisingly well.

I’ll cast on a new pair of socks this weekend or early next week, using a Malabrigo sock in the “Persia” colorway. I’m not sure about the pattern yet: something with some stretch to it, and an easily memorizable repeat.

Blocks of the Month, halfway done.

Hooray for holiday long-weekends: I was able to catch up on the Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month Quilt Along last week. I finished second blocks for January through May and made one block each for June and July — then I ran out of squares of white fabric and had to stop. Poor packing — next time I’ll know better.

These are my January blocks:
January2

These are the February blocks:
February2

These are the March blocks:
March2

These are the April blocks:
April2

This is my second May block: (the first one is still not fixed)
May

This is my first June block:
June

This is my first July block:
July

A number of the points on the blocks aren’t matched as precisely as they might be — it’s visible in the June block, for example. It’s true of a number of the second blocks, which has a lot to do with having sewn them on the Singer 66, with a little less attention to spare for making sure everything lines up, since I’m concentrating on treadling, too.

I’m not a hundred percent happy with the make-up/final appearance of all of the blocks, but I’ve been regarding this quilt-along as a learning process in selecting fabrics. There are some blocks I’m particularly happy with: the all-solid January block and the July block are favorites of mine right now. I’ll have to see how it all comes out in the end. :)

It seems appropriate to link up to WIP Wednesday today, given that this project is almost exactly halfway done: I’ve got twelve of my final twenty-four HST blocks.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Other works-in-progress that I’m working on (or planning, but haven’t cut just yet) are a knitting bag for a friend, using the Perk Me Up fat quarter bundle, which just about yelled her name at me when I saw it. I’ll be using this pattern, with the modification of adding both an inner, zipped divider pocket as in the orange example in the linked post, and a set of flat pockets for knitting needles and other tools, along one of the inner walls of the bag.

I made two Dresden wheels of the coffee fabric — at first I thought I’d applique one onto the bag, but that idea died a swift death. Now I’m thinking about putting together a mini quilt for the EZ Dresden Challenge, with three wheels on the front, one larger and two smaller. I would have pictures, but it was dark by the time I finished the second one on Tuesday evening.

I was going to try to make a large (queen sized) Dresden quilt for the EZ Dresden Challenge, but I decided that trying to make, quilt, bind and finish a queen-sized Dresden quilt by August 31st when I have class, volunteer work, a MA thesis to finish, and plans to go to Europe for eleven days in August (though it’s not set in stone — I don’t have tickets yet…) — well, I figured trying to shove in a complicated queen-sized quilt on top of that was a little bit crazytown.

Still, these are 16 of the 20 colors I’ll use, when I do start that quilt, which I will in September:
Blue Brown Dresden trial wheel

In the meantime, last night I cut up some red Cosmo Cricket Circa 1934 and some off-white Kona cotton to put together a Film Strip / Little Plates quilt — inspired by Books Bound’s recent baby quilt, which is based on Crazymomquilts’s Film Strip quilt. I also looked a little bit at the pattern in Elizabeth Hartman’s Practical Guide to Patchwork, which pairs prints with prints in some blocks. I’ve been looking for a pattern that has comparatively large pieces of fabric, to show off the typewriter keys and the larger numbers of the Circa 1934 prints, and this looks like it’ll be fun. It also looks like it’ll be a fast project, which is something I’m really looking for — for some reason I’ve been itching for a finish for the last few days.

Small projects & HST Quilt-along

On Wednesday, instead of banging more Latin into my head, I made another bag using Jeni’s tutorial on In Color Order. I added pockets to this one, too — I love the pockets. I think the next time I make one I’ll use a different color for the edge of the pocket than I used on the main body of the bag: I keep imagining how a white stripe there (or even maybe a red or other colorful one) might look. I suppose I’ll just have to try again.

Black bag 1

The lining of this bag is also black, as is the backing of the pocket, so keeping all the pieces straight while I was sewing was definitely important!

Black bag side

It’s a nice size for holding all kinds of things — including sewing and quilting tools. I may use it this weekend when I go away for a few days, to be sure I can work on something in the evenings. See how nicely the rotary cutter fits?

Black bag 2

As for what to put in the bag, well, I’ve got that all planned out.

I’ll be spending the weekend with my family in CT, in a house that has solar electricity. The system works well (and much better than when I was a kid, when turning on one light meant every other light in the house dimmed!), but it’s still not sturdy enough for much hard work, such as ironing, for example. So I prepped in advance: I cut all the half-square triangles:

Half-triangle squares cut

And then I ironed all of them flat and ready to be trimmed.

HST squares pressed
You’ll see that they’re all laid out on little cardboard squares with months on them. That’s because I’ve decided that I’m doing two of each block for the Half-Square Triangle Quilt-Along. I’ve already made one each of January through May (though May was fussy, and I haven’t fixed it properly just yet), so there’s one of each of them, and two for June. Some of the blocks are really fun to make, and I like the idea of being able to put 24 12.5″ blocks together into something with blocks on the front and on the back, or something with matching pillow-cases. Or both: I haven’t done all the math yet to see how they could go together.

Hopefully I’ll have time over the weekend to trim all the blocks square and sew them (at least one block’s worth!) together, and then I’ll have pictures for next week.

A little bag, but a not-so-little choice of fabric

I’m considering submitting this little bag to the next round of the My Precious Quilt-Along, because it took a pretty ridiculous effort to get these fabrics off the shelf. “Surely I can use another fat quarter or something less pretty!” my mind wailed. “Not those ones!”

Minaret bag 1

But, no. These are two of the fabrics from Lizzy House’s 1001 Peeps collection, which I bought when I first started quilting, and which I’ve been having a hard time getting myself to cut into.

The My Precious QAL is brilliant: it got me to actually use the fabrics I bought because I like them, instead of just staring at them in the hopes that they’ll stay where they are forever! I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy them to have them gather dust, no matter how much the little grabby-hands part of me may disagree.

Minaret bag open top

I like the ways the fabrics work together, and I’m probably going to end up making another bag from this pattern. This one is already on its way to a friend, and it was a lot of fun to put together. The pattern is by Jeni of In Color Order, and she posted recently about a modification to add pockets. Both sets of instructions were beautifully clear and easy to follow.

* * *

In non-quilting news, knitting on the subway has netted me half a sock this week, going to and from classes (in Manhattan) and study sessions (in the Bronx), but that’s about all. I’m taking two Latin classes this summer, one in June (classical Latin) and one in July (medieval Latin), and this past week I’ve spent what feels like a lot of time studying for my Latin final exam, which is this evening. I just hope it’s enough.

And hopefully the instructor will give us Cicero or Nepos, not Caesar. Wish me luck!