2013 Finish-A-Long

This year, I’m going to be participating in the 2013 Finish-A-Long. It looks like a lot of fun, and like a great way to get me to finish some of these projects that have been sitting around forever.

she can quilt

There’s no penalty for listing more things than you can finish, so I’m going to make a pretty ambitious list for myself, and see what happens. (I can predict what happens: I don’t finish all of them.)

Let’s start with the biggest ones and work down:
1) I’m going to finish the Scrappy Trip quilt top. This is a pretty big goal for me, while the semester is going on, especially since it’s going to be a queen-sized quilt, but I’m going to go for it. It makes for really good mindless-sewing, so perhaps I’ll have some luck working on it.
Scrappy trip-a-long

2) I’m going to finish my New Wave quilt. It’s all cut — all I have to do is pick the order of the fabrics, piece it, and quilt it. All. Hah. I’m actually pinning the fabrics up next to each other for this one, and I’ll be posting about that soonish.

3) I’m going to try finish up the 2012 In Color Order Half-Square-Triangle blocks, sash them, and quilt the whole thing. These are one of my July blocks, and two of the March block:
July March2

Finishing this up is a bit of a bigger task than it sounds, because I’m doing 2 blocks for each month, which makes for a twin-sized-or-bigger quilt, not a lap quilt. The main question will be figuring out the sashing, backing and binding fabrics.

4) I want to make a Pinwheels and Postage Stamps quilt using two charm packs and two mini charm packs of Simply Color. I think it will look LOVELY. And I’m not sure how big it will end up being — that’ll depend on how much I can eke out of the fabric I have.

5) I’m going to make a handful of little change purses with keychain rings as gifts for friends using this tutorial on Noodlehead.

6) I’m going to make a trio of fabric baskets to hold my 2 1/2″x2 1/2″ fabric squares and my leaders and enders. The main question for this is picking the fabrics!

7) I’m going to make a weighted pincushion organizer for my sewing table, because it would be nice to have somewhere to put thread scraps without bending over to figure out where I’ve put the garbage can, and I actually don’t have a pincushion right now.

And, honestly, that’s more than enough for me to have on my plate for the spring semester, with all the coursework I have in store!

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!

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!

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.
-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.

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:

These are the February blocks:

These are the March blocks:

These are the April blocks:

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

This is my first June block:

This is my first July block:

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.

Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month

Happy belated 4th of July! I hope everyone who celebrated it had a good time. We watched fireworks over the horizon and met up with. neighbors and friends.

But back on topic! Remember this?

Man, do I feel behind! Jeni just posted the July Block, and I haven’t even made up a single June block yet!

Last weekend I was able to trim all of my half-square triangle blocks for my second blocks for January-May, and two sets for June,, but not to sew them together, because I couldn’t figure out how to change the stitch length on the sewing machine. Why? Well, it’s a Singer 66. I don’t have a picture of it just yet, but this will give you an idea.

This is actually the machine I learned to sew on, but when I was learning (oh, twelve or fifteen years ago, now) my grandmother was taking care of my sister and me and she knew how to make the machine dance. In contrast, my approach to it is “Think really hard: maybe I can logic it out!” and my mother’s is “Turn everything that turns, oops, that’s not supposed to come off!” For some reason, these were not the ideal approaches.

So I’ve done a little online research on the Singer 66. That let me figure out how to adjust the tension and stitch length I oiled all of the various joints and hinges. It works more smoothly now, and I’ve been able to see up my second blocks for January through May. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish my June blocks and one of the July blocks: I didn’t bring enough white fabric with me to make two sets of July blocks. I’ll still be closer to caught up than I was before. :)

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.

Block of the Month Progress

I’m participating in Jeni (of In Color Order)’s Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month quilt along. So far I’ve finished the blocks up through April, and I can’t decide if the pinwheels or the flying geese are my favorites.

I am very proud of the way the pinwheels all line up in their centers, though.

I’m not stopping with April, of course. And I thought I had finished May’s block, before I realized that I had flipped two of the light-blue half-triangle squares. I took the one side section off, flipped it 180 degrees, and thought “There! Now the light blue triangles are facing the right direction!” And then I looked at it, and realized that now the corner blocks faced the wrong way.

I’m not very pleased by it right now, but once I’ve forgotten about the amount of ripping and re-sewing I had to do, I’ll probably be a lot happier with it. I’ll probably fix it over the weekend, and also get June’s block cut out, because it looks like one I’m going to like quite a bit.

I’ve been half-seriously considering doing two blocks for each month, to put together a larger quilt top when this is all over. Of course, that simply highlights the fact that I haven’t the faintest idea what on earth this quilt will be when I finish it: a gift for someone, presumably, but for who? I have no idea.

It’s funny: I appear to be very much a process quilter, while I’m sometimes a very product-oriented knitter or spinner. Who knew?

Mixtape progress and Block of the Month question

First of all, here’s the rather pathetic progress I’ve made on the Mixtape quilt since the last time I posted about it:

I’m looking forward to finishing it up, but I think it’s going to have to wait until the end of the semester: something about the potential finished-ness of it once I sew in the long sashing strips is giving me pause.

In the mean time, however, I’ve changed up the fabrics I’m using for the Block of the Month quilt:

The new one in the dark blues is the cities print from 1001 Peeps; the yellow dotty ones are Ta Dot by Michael Miller, which I’m fond of.

Here the light blue has benefited from the addition of some Ta Dots as well.

And because just cutting them was putting far too much temptation in my way, here are two blocks that I’m almost ready to sew together:

This is the March block, and I think I’m pretty okay with how it looks.

This is the January block. And for this one, I could use some advice: which orange? Or should I pick something else entirely from the fabrics I showed above? I’d love a second (or third, or so on!) opinion, because I’m really not so sure about this one as it sits now.


You may have noticed the three icons that have popped up in the sidebar. The first one is the My Precious Quilt-Along, which challenges you to use some of that fabric you just can’t get yourself to use — something old, or rare, or out of print, or just something you’ve been hoarding instead of using. I think it’s a fantastic idea, and I’ve loved poking through the images to see what fabrics people have been hoarding.

It’s hard to call my behavior true hoarding when I’ve only been quilting for a little over a month, but there are fabrics in my little stash that I look at and take out and pet and look at, and then put away carefully because WHAT IF I MESS THEM UP!? I had thought that knitting and spinning had cured me of my desire to keep the pretty things instead of using them, because I’m pretty good about knitting with or spinning up that really pretty yarn or fiber. But it turns out that’s really not the case at all when it comes to fabric: I get all grabby and want to just leave them on the shelf, because they’re pretty there, and clearly I’m not nearly a good enough quilter yet to merit using these fabrics.

The ones I’m most inclined to put back on the shelves just in case are from the 1001 Peeps collection, by Lizzy House. It’s not super-old (it seems to have come out in early 2011), but some of the prints are getting harder to find, so I hope it qualifies for the QAL.

I used a tiny bit of it for some Simple Math blocks, but for the My Precious QAL, I’m challenging myself to use more than one of the prints, in more than just a teeny strip. In other words, get that precious fabric off the shelf, and into a quilt. It was like pulling teeth, to get myself to actually pull even just a few of the prints off the shelf and into the queue for the Block of the Month quilt. I’ve ended up echoing the colors of the Blocks of the Month QAL over at In Color Order.

The only one here that I’m worried about messing up is the Illuminate.

Here I’ve got two from the 1001 Peeps collection: Peeps and towers, both of which I’m very fond of. I’m hoping I can sort of fussy-cut a little bit to get people in the triangles.

Here, again, is the Illuminate print, which I thought was too pale for the oranges. We’ll see how it works out in practice.

I’m going to swap out the orange print with crosses or the one with keys for the Scheherazade print in orange, because it’ll provide more of a contrast with the white half-triangles. It only took me sleeping on it for a night to decide that, yes, I could use that one, really. Apparently I really do want to keep some of these fabrics on the shelf.

And then I’ll have one of the prints I’m all grabby-hands about in each color group.

The third button, the Retro Flower QAL, is more of an aspirational project — once I work myself up to the idea of quilting curves, I’ll get going on it. For now, it sits in the sidebar to remind me that there are always new things to learn.