Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday On Hold

Today I've been looking at my secret sewing, but it hasn't come to be.  My extra sewing hasn't either. 

In fact, today was cancelled for me by a nasty cold that won't let me go yet.

I've been outside,  sitting in the stillness, with some hot tea,with Stella. The wind picked up and it began to snow.

I went to bed and looked through my grandmother's Sunbonnet Sue file. Then I was catted and it's all over for now. I'll be back in a few days with plenty of energy I hope!

Happy sewing!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wavy Gravies No More

I did it!  I managed to fix the Beanstalks quilt top!

Remember this one?

Wavy Gravies Together....;(

Boy were they skewed. I this blurry picture, I even tried to straighten them, but you can see they are sticking up in ripples.  I called them the Wavy Gravies! I really was stuck on this, so I let it sit for a year and a half. 

This January, I decided I wanted to finish all the Works In Progress I can. They don't have to be perfect, but I want to try to not get stumped. So when May asked me if I wanted to join a sewing retreat with the  Flickr group, the Lazy Bums, I knew I had some company.  No pressure, just some good-natured moral support and a bit of nagging too.  Sometimes we pick out challenges for each other, based on the list we each made of our WIP's.  For April, The Beanstalks Quilt, AKA Wavy Gravies made the list. 

I know that this pattern by Tula Pink already looks pretty organic, but I want the quilt to be a rectangle and not a triangle.  I could see it needed to be cut, or pieces removed and perhaps some kind of "dart" put in, as for altering clothing, but I really was at a loss as to how I could do it without cutting through the whole thing and losing the lines of the stalks.  I ironed the thing and spread it out to assess.  I drew chalk lines on the areas that stuck up.  I asked for.  I did other sewing while I had it in the back of my mind.  

Finally, I spread it out one last time, and straightened it as best I could. Every little ripple that stuck up, I taped or pinned.  Then I took it to the machine and sewed a new seam on the line where I had taped to move it straight.  There are 4 fixes.  Three of them barely show, and one has a bit of a pucker.  I think quilting and washing will camouflage this quite a bit.  Most importantly, the quilt is square, and soon I get to quilt it and use it!  I have missed the blue and all the nice florals!

Beanstalks Quilt Top, Straightened at Last

It's gone from a problem to a finish (the top at least) and I'm psyched about that.  I'll take it!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Forest Garden Angled Frames

I'm so happy that I finally finished a larger quilt top!  I heard about the ORBC Angled Frames QAL in the beginning of April, and I got to work right away picking out a palette.  Two of them actually!

Possible Angled Frames Quilt Pull
This pattern that Delores from Deero Designs came up with is a perfect fit for large prints, and for some sewing that can get you out of a rut. Just what I needed!  There are a few fabrics that I have been enjoying on the shelf too long. How can you really see them if they're all folded up?

Another possible fabric pull

I love how improvisational the finished result is. I mixed up my colors about 3 or 4 to one in the order that I sewed them together, and that made some interesting things happen when the strips were sewn together. It is like a giant log cabin block, but with strips joined together with a bias cut, just like making binding. 

 See how the angles just happened to line up right here on one of the edges?  That kind of happy accident is the best!

I had a great time thinking about colors and livening up browns and indigos with a little mint and antique pink.   And, I found out that one of the prints that I'd been afraid to cut into has been reprinted.  This Sand Dollar Print from Kasuri is now out in Moda's line Hearty Good Wishes.  Awesome!

Isn't this Kasuri the same as Sand dollar from Hearty Good Wishes by Moda?

I like how the prints lined up in some places, and I like how the quilt developed its own story.  I think it looks like a garden with a forest beyond.  
I think the wide strips really make the cheater print shine  at this scale.

The tutorial is for a lap sized quilt, but I just added three more rows to make it large enough for my tall person.  It extends over both sides of this bed.

So far, I've only made one, but I am sure to make the other one pretty soon.  It comes together quickly after all the cutting is done, and it is a really nice way to use your fabric and make space for more!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lots a happening!

Hiya!  I've been busy the last two weeks!  How about you?

I've been hemming and hawing about the Beanstalks quilt, getting opinions from taller people about how straight or crooked it really is-- taller guys tend to have better vision that way, huh?  I've thought about cutting it up and going really improv with it, but that seems like a really rash solution.  So the best I came up with is to sew new seams where I've taped it straight(-ish) and add a wedge of Stella blue at the top left, where it is still a little shy.  Then I can square it up and add the sashings.  I think when it is all quilted, the extra seams will read as character, not disaster.  Here's hoping!

Not really sure if pins would do better than super scotch tape at this point.  I am tired of fiddling around!  Of course, if it's a wash, I'll just redo.

I've also gotten a little farther with Jan's block, for the Stash Fabulous Bee.  I have all the measurements now, and fabric pulled.  I may change some of the low volumes.

I have some more fabrics pulled for some secret sewing, that I hope to show in a week or two :) 

These are the blocks I sewed for the Scrappy Trip Around the World Bee.  My two are in the bottom right hand corner.

And I also joined a little quilt along from Chase at Quarter Inch Mark, called the Stack Patch Mini QAL.  She showed us how to make a small 12 patch block, and she has prompts for how to choose the colors, for two blocks a week.   It will go about 5 weeks (two down already) and this will be a mini that I keep for myself!  Truly selfish sewing, as choosing the colors is really personal.  It is a fun exercise!  So far, we've done, True Colors, Favorite Colors, April Showers and May Flowers.

True Colors (top) Fave Colors (bottom)

The top is of my true colors, and the bottom is my favorite colors. Red is a tough color for me. I love to see it, but it is not my first choice for clothing or sewing. But for as long as I can remember, people have told me it's "my color." And it does have a special place in my heart.  The next one has some of my favorite colors. I use a lot of orange or coral in both sewing and painting, and deep blue shows up often too. 

April (top) May (bottom) 

Next is April and May. I chose grey and gold for April because those are the colors I see all the time right now, with the barley field that has the grey Cranes grazing on it these days. And I am looking forward to May, when our daffodils will bloom and tulips will too! 

These little blocks are a really great way to take a look at the scraps, and a surprisingly fun color exercise.

I'm linking this up to WIP Wednesday, at Freshly Pieced

And Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sew Fresh Quilts

 Come back tomorrow to see about the Angled Frames quilt top I just finished and some more sewing I've gotten myself into!
I hope to report soon about those Beanstalks!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Moment of Truth

I've dragged out my Tula Pink Beanstalks quilt, which I see I worked on 18 months ago!  It is a little wonky, but I've decided this is the year to make it.  I can either sew it and it may straighten up......

Or maybe I'll end up letting it be a little crooked. Or maybe cut it up and turn it into another colorful quilt. But I'm working on it today to see what to do....It's too pretty to hide away!

And, I'm pulling fabrics for some scrappy trip squares.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilting for WIP Wednesday.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Eleven Questions from Wendi at Prsd4Tim2

While I was deep in Swedish slumber (Feb through almost the whole of March) a blogger buddy sent me a message that she had nominated me for a Leibster Award.  It's a really sweet thing to do, to recognize the work another blogger puts into making blogland a happier place.  
I don't really feel worthy of such an award, as I am simply not consistently here, but I can't deny the friendship and fellowship Prsd4tim2 gave me by offering it.  She said she loves my mix of quilts and nature photos, and well, that shows she gets what I'm going for here, even if I don't sometimes!
xoxo BIG THANK YOU WENDI!!! xoxo 
So, in the interest of friendship and getting my act together, here are my answers to her Leibster Questions:
 1. Why did you start blogging?
I wanted to encourage myself to create, be it collage or quilting, and I was drawn to the idea of combining pictures and words in an informal, but accessible setting.  I thought if I learned anything, others might learn from me too. I thought of it as a fun way to send letters back home to my family in the States too.
2. What is something this year that you are really looking forward to?
This year I am looking forward to finishing two sampler quilts and a pile of UFO's, one at a time.  I'm also looking forward to becoming an Auntie for the first time!  And I'm hoping for another trip somewhere, but we'll have to see......
3. What is your favorite thing to do to unwind?
I'm a TV gal when it comes to unwinding.  I also love to walk in the forest and take pictures, and I love to read before bed.  During the day, I like to sit on the window seat for a few minutes and look at the birds.
4. Photos say a thousand words so share a photo that means the most to you. Why is that picture important to you?
It's hard to choose one photo, but the one I really love right now is one of my father and me, from when I was a child. I found it displayed upstairs in my Grandmother's house when I went home for a visit/her funeral recently.  We both look very happy.  It is a picture of me, but when I see it, I feel how much my grandparents loved me, just the way I am.

I think it is the way she always saw me, mischievous, happy, waiting and believing something fun was about to happen.  And I'm wearing red, which she loved (but a color that is harder for me to wear right now.)  I know that when this picture was taken, my socks kept falling down.  She gave me a pair of rubber bands to hold them up.   When I visited just, I looked and she still had a bunch of rubber bands on the handle to the living room door. Of course I took a pair with me :) 

4. What quote inspires you the most?
 I can't remember the exact quote, but I say "Pulling the roses won't make them grow faster" and I think about how the tiger in Leo the Late Bloomer pulls on the flowers so much, he pulls them out and they don't grow at all!  Patience......
5. Name a quilting tool you can’t live without & why?
 There are plenty of good quilting tools, like the rotary cutter, and the Omnigrid rulers, especially the Square Ups, which are really convenient for cutting accurately.  I really love my can of compressed air for cleaning out threads and lint from the machine.  
Edited to add:  I really love Superior needles and couldn't live without them!

6. Where is your favorite vacation spot?

 I love Crete!  It is fairly easy to get to from Sweden, and I love the rugged nature and the fresh veggies and warm people.  Austria comes a close second, for the amazing landscapes.

7. What is your favorite blog?
There's no way I can choose just one favorite blog!  But I do have a list on my side bar of those I visit pretty often....

8. What is your favorite way to work out?
Sigh....I don't work out.  But when I did, I loved biking and running and swimming and even lifting weights.  Sure would be nice to do that again!!  I bet I have to swap running for walking though.

9. Where do you like to shop?
I love to check out grocery stores when I travel, and I love open markets if there are any.

10. What's the best advice you've ever been given?
The best advice I ever got was to speak from the heart, and speak truthfully.  Not to be mean, but to be honest.  Nothing is ever so big that you can't share it, and sparing someone's feelings can often hurt and confuse the matter more than just saying what you truly feel.

11. What is your favorite blog post you've written?
My favorite blog post would have to be Thinking About Sis and Grandmother because it was such an active post, sewing and thinking about my family, sending and receiving pictures back.  The next in line would be Zackie Boy Is In Doggie Heaven, because it came straight from my heart, and because of the love that came back to me from sharing it.

Now, I'd like to do a twist on the Leibster and nominate ALL who read this for a Leibster.  No pressure! Just take the questions below, answer and post if you'd like to share some cool info about yourself!  Then, if you want to, no pressure, add a link to your answers here to share more!
1. Why did you start blogging?

2. What is something this year that you are really looking forward to?

3. What is your favorite thing to do to unwind?

4. Photos say a thousand words so share a photo that means the most to you. Why is that picture important to you?

4. What quote inspires you the most?

5. Name a quilting tool you can’t live without & why?

6. Where is your favorite vacation spot?

7. What is your favorite blog?

8. What is your favorite way to work out?

9. Where do you like to shop?

10. What's the best advice you've ever been given?

11. What is your favorite blog post you've written?

Happy sewing!

Thank You!

Thank everyone who reads this little blog.  I am aware that it doesn't grow much bigger than little, but that's how it is.  The ebb and flow in my life really goes back and forth, and the way I react to it does too.  It's been forever since I posted anything (last February?) so I am rusty about writing.  But I've missed you guys!  Missed me too.  SO, here goes....

I've been sewing bee blocks, and taking pictures.

Bee Blocks

                            I'm about ready to sew the 2012 FQS Designer Mystery BOM together!

The Last Four 2012 FQS Designer Myster BOM's

I also have enough received and made bee blocks to sew up the other sampler I've been working on.
Sashing and straightforward?  On point with lots of white and a few pinwheels?  Not sure yet, but I know I want it to be a longer quilt.

Mostly, I'm just trying to get my act together. Every year, for the past several, I get down in the dumps sometime in the fall, and sometime in the spring. I never know when it will happen, and I'm frankly tired of talking about it or feeling guilty about disappearing. Or trying to figure out what to say without saying that it sucks again. So I'll just say I'm back again.  I've had some life stuff, like the death of my grandmother, and a wonderful trip home to see everyone.  It really was fantastic to see my family again, but the depression hit afterwards.  I always think I'll be able to head it off, but it just doesn't go till it's good and ready.  

 So, I was away for part of February, and I just have to call it that I skipped March this year.  I have some photos to show for it, but I really can't list what I was up to.  I don't know.  I'm telling you, even the birds went back to the forest for a while, when we had an early thaw.  I'm just glad to be back again, feeling more positive and blessed, and looking forward to sewing and snapping pics and sending little blog "letters" out into the universe.

Thank you friends!