WiP Wednesday, January 2013

New Wave quilt:
I’m using the Sunday Best bundle from Pink Castle Fabrics, but I replaced the two white prints with blue and grey, because I didn’t want white tumblers framed by white sashing.
photo (3)
(I promise, those ones that look white are actually light blue or light grey: I can’t find my real camera, and an iPod can only do so much…)
-Piece tumblers and sashing into strips
-Piece together strips into quilt top
-Figure out a backing (dark blue?) using extra tumblers
-baste, quilt & bind

Strip and Flip Quilt
I altered this one a little bit — I cut the strips 2 1/2″ wide instead of 2″ and I was very careful sewing the strips together, to keep as much length as possible, so it’s a bit larger than the pattern suggests. The cat is thoroughly unimpressed by it, but I’m looking forward to finding my camera and taking proper pictures of it.
photo (4)
-buy binding fabric, bind the quilt, figure out who on earth it’s for.

Simple Math:
This one hasn’t gone much of anywhere since I last posted, because its blocks are sitting on the back of my sewing cart, and apparently out of sight is out of mind. Oops.
-finish trimming blocks to 6″ square
-find sashing fabric
-baste, quilt & bind

Kitchen Window:
This one has only seen a little bit of progress since the last time I posted, too, but I’ve got parts of it halfway done — enough that the next time I have black thread on the machine I can start piecing blocks together to see what they look like. I think part of the reason I keep putting this one off is because it’s for a queen-sized quilt, and the idea of that large a project is a bit daunting. Still, just a step at a time, and I’ll get there eventually.
-sort out the second half of the cut fabrics into groups for individual blocks
-cut the rest of the black fabric for frames
-cut the rest of the green fabric for background parts
-start constructing blocks
-fiddle with layout
-make back
-baste, quilt & bind

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.

My (new) sewing space

I just re-organized quite a bit so that all my crafting materials are in one room, and my desk and schoolwork are in another: having the sewing machine next to my computer was too good for procrastination.

I pulled a table and an old TV cart out of the basement, and now one wall of my bedroom looks like this:

(I haven’t found a chair yet. The step-stool works okay for now.)

If you turn to your left while sitting at the table, you see this:

All of my fabric, fiber and yarn in one place. There was some serious tetris-like packing going on while I organized this, and I have a sinking feeling that it’s going to be like packing a suitcase for a trip: on day one, everything fits, but by day three, you can’t shove it all back in no matter how hard you try. So far, though, it’s been great incentive to use what I have and work from stash, because I simply don’t have enough space for more fabric to join me.

The bookshelf below actually holds a lot of books that ought to be in my study, but they fit here, so I have to get up and go get them, if I suddenly need something on Troilus and Criseyde, or on how to date manuscripts, or late medieval literacy rates. The top right shelf is history/biography that’s not related to school: I call it the “shelf of depressing” because it’s all things like Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, and a biography of Ernest Shackleton, and 1491, and so on. Interesting stuff, but a lot of lying, betrayal and death, none of which is fictional.

But back to crafting. Here’s a closer view of just the supplies, not the books:

The basic layout is: top row fiber, second row mostly fabric (but some fiber on the right), bottom row mostly knitting stuff (but fabric & books on the left).

There’s very little on those racks that isn’t yarn, fiber or fabric, so I’m using an old TV cart to hold tools & supplies. When I’m not using it, it fits snugly under the table like so:

The cart’s organization is still something of a work-in-progress itself, but it’s working well so far. The top left is a box that holds my rotary cutters and scissors and sewing machine feet, as well as any small random things that I don’t want to have to get up to put away right away. The top left is my sewing kit, with chalk pencils, velcro, binding tape, needles, pins, a pincushion, etc. Behind them is a work-in-progress: my second Mabel bag, which is waiting on the arrival of more fusible interfacing.

On the bottom left, there’s a box that holds my bags of scrap fabric. On the right, there’s a little Lane cedar box. When it opens up, you see:

Some of these are spools I’ve had for years (from well before I knew how to pick thread) and I’m planning on gradually replacing my thread with better quality as it runs out, but for now, I’m using what I have.

The top of the tv cart is where I lay out works-in-progress. The tabletop I’m using as my bench is only about 18″x36″, so the extra space is handy.

Speaking of the tabletop, here’s what it looks like close up. The left side has pieces for my Kitchen Window quilt:

The center is where the rotary cutting mat lives! It has pieces of the Hot Pink Quilts baby quilt I’m making for our downstairs neighbors, who just had a baby boy:

The right is where the sewing machine lives. I move it to the back when I’m cutting, or line it up along the edge of the table. It’s not perfect, but it works!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with it: it makes a distinct space where I can sew and quilt, which doesn’t overlap with my desk at all.

I do have to be careful, though — if I leave the tv cart out, I can’t get into my closet! Gotta love living in NYC.

PS: I’m still de-stashing fabric and a little bit of spinning fiber.

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:

The lining will be a light blue:

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.


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.

WIP Wednesday

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and to the Small Blog meet-up at Lily’s Quilts. If you’re stopping by for the first time, you might be interested in learning more about me, or in looking at my finished quilts. If you’re interested in any particular kind of project, check out the tags in the lower right sidebar.

This is a remarkably picture-poor post, largely because it’s a to-do-list of the various projects I have in progress right now. Never let it be said that I’m a monogamous crafter? Projects are arranged in (sort of) order of least-work-to-be-finished.

General To-Do List:
-Tape a large piece of batting up on the tops of my two really tall bookcases and pin things to it, in an attempt to create something that sort of resembles a design wall
-Clean crafting stuff off my desk so it’s actually usable for schoolwork.
-Likewise clear books out of crafting space so I can actually sew w/out moving piles of stuff.

Test-Drive Mabel Bag To-Do List:
-Be proud of inside pockets and the fact that the lining actually (mostly) fits inside the exterior of the bag.
-Attach strap and strap extender once bag hardware arrives in the mail
-Sew around the opening, matching lining to bag outsides
-Turn it inside out to end up rightside out & sew up lining bottom
-Iron (and maybe topstitch?) for a finished, professional look

Mini Dresden To-Do List:
-Back of mini Dresden quilt: alternating tumblers in a variety of fabrics across a brown background: figure out the right size of tumbler
-Finish the corner fans of the mini-Dresden quilt, and arrange so that they will look all right after binding
-Binding of mini Dresden quilt: probably in a darker brown, but possibly in a scrappy series of colors. I’m torn between wanting to make it more cheerful and wanting the focus really to snap to the middle medallions
-Quilt & appliqué!

Simple Math To-Do List:
-Finish trimming all blocks from 6-and-almost-a-half-ish-inches to 6″ square
-Re-jigger design to figure out yardage needed to make a double-bed quilt out of slightly smaller blocks
-Pick out sashing & binding fabric (next week, with L, hopefully!)
-Cut sashing
-Piece a scrappy border, alternating white and blue
-Piece entire top (ugh!)
-Figure out backing for the quilt (!?!?!)
-Sandwich, quilt, bind
-Give to mom on October 18

Kitchen Window To-Do List:
-Cut the black 1 1/2″ strips for the “frames”
-Order more Kelly green and cut green strips for “borders”
-Cut about a dozen more organizing cards, number all 36 of them from 1-36
-Start laying out all 36 blocks, figuring out which ones need to be oriented vertically and which horizontally
-Piece blocks
-Arrange blocks on (hopefully!) “design wall”
-Piece top & figure out backing and binding
-Baste, quilt, bind

Knitting To-Do List:
-Subway socks (Malabrigo Monkeys)
-Red NaNo Sweater started in *cough* 2010: finish arms, finish torso. Yes, it’s fiddly cables: suck it up and knit it already.
-Modern Baby Blanket: finish while watching Olympics. Hope I have enough yarn.
-Finish the legs of those red socks already. Give them to mom on October 18.

Spinning To-Do List:
-Get cracking on that yarn for mom’s sweater. Finish it up by December, for a Christmas present.
-Spin exclusively from stash: maybe some merino/yak? Or the lovely greens from MA Sheep&Wool.

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:

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.




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.


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.

Quick post!

I’m running off to California for a wedding this weekend, and my computer will be staying at home to avoid flying hassles at security, so I’ll be a little scarce, but I’ll be back on Monday!

I just finished my Filmstrip quilt Tuesday evening. It took me about three and a half hours to hand-sew the binding onto a quilt that only had about 200″ of binding: this is why I usually machine-bind my quilts. Perhaps I’ll get better and faster if I do more by hand. And I watched some episodes of Chevalier D’Eon while I worked on it: the dub is really quite awkward, and the premise kind of absurd (that’s not how alchemy works, guys!) but I still want to know what happens next.

I’ve tried to photograph the Filmstrip quilt and I hope to be able to post about it on Friday as part of Thank God It’s Finished Friday, which Plum and June is hosting this week. But that may not happen, depending on how busy things are once I get out to California. I’ll be staying with my college roommate, and I’m not certain how much free time we’ll end up having.

In the meantime, I’m auditioning colors for the “frames” of my Kitchen Window quilt. I’m torn between navy blue and black. Here are two photographs:

The photo taken with flash:

The photo taken without flash:

Opinions would be greatly appreciated. I like the warmth and interaction of the blue, but I find it draws my eyes away from the prints. The black is a lot starker, but I find that that makes me look more closely at the prints, ignoring the black as if it were a framed photograph.

What do you think?

Linking up to WiP Wednesday, because, hey, this Kitchen Window quilt is totally a work in progress, and there are always some really excellent projects and posts linked up — go check some of them out!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced