Thursday, August 14, 2014

A stitching time

There's always a time for stitching right?  Or, a dream to be able to do more of it at least for me.  I have been very busy stitching away whenever I can, hand quilting my Gypsy Wife.  I'm maybe 70% done, well that could be a stretch..maybe.  Here are a couple of photos

It is taking some time and while I am usually not too patient, it is also very relaxing to lose myself in hand stitching.  The slower pace also slows my heartbeat and I usually feel like I just woke up when I break from it :)  My stitches are not super even nor are they consistent across the blocks, but hey that's OK!  

I used my ever favorite 505 spray baste to baste the layers of the quilt together but wanted some extra security for dragging this around with me often; so added some basting pins too

I've got a few blocks left to quilt then I'll decide how many of the strips to run stitches down.  I don't want to over-quilt it since this will be on my wall in my basement (maybe) and not laid on (maybe).  Once I'm done stitching and adding the binding I do want to wash it for that crinkly quilt goodness :)

Here is a before and after of my DMC spool so far 

I think I'll put a pretty good dent in the new one before I'm done, but have a 3rd spool just in case!

In sewing machine news, I made my first 241 tote by noodlehead for a swap and shipped it off this week.  I don't want to give away too much since my partner knows I'm making this for her but I made the strap super long messenger-style and didn't plan this too much or too closely but look at my join ~
See it?  :)  Have a great rest of your week!  xx K

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gypsy Finish

I did it!  I actually completed the Gypsy Wife quilt top ...and I'm sort of sad since I had so much fun putting it together, I didn't want it to end!  I think being sad when I finish is a consistent feeling with Jen Kingwell's patterns and me.

As with the Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt, I got completely immersed in this was like coming out of a super-darkened movie theater after a lengthy movie - going from extreme air-conditioning to blasting middle of the day sunshine once I was done.  Know what I mean on that?

I think I used about every fabric in my stash for this, and added a couple 1/4 yard cuts that I scored on Instagram.  There are a few strips that are fairly long so width of fabric was helpful in those instances!

I didn't use many fabrics more than once in this either!  If I did use any more than once it was because I simply had to because I loved it so much...well, actually I love all the fabrics in this quilt :)

Since there are so many seams with all the strips and blocks, I took the opportunity to grab a couple pictures of the back

Do you press your seams open?  I tried it a few years ago and now I find that when I press seams open my blocks lie much flatter and my block sizes usually measure just right

As I was sewing this up I kept thinking about how best to quilt it and ran through a bunch of scenarios/patterns in my head.  In the end I have decided to hand quilt this one.  I have not ever hand quilted any quilt but I just kept thinking that would be the best finish...well, given my stitching turns out OK that is.  And if my patience lasts...

I am using DMC perle 8 with a hoop and finding that I absolutely love hand quilting!  I hope that my stitches even out a bit and that I get a little speedier.  There are so many great tutorials and so much advie online in the quilt blogging community but there was a lot of consistent advice too.  

It is quite hot to hand quilt during the summer but I don't care...I think it's worth it! 

It could take a while to finish it, but it's a good size (59 x 68) to hand quilt and maybe i'll get fast :)  Have a great rest of your week!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gypsy Wife Jigsaw

Do you like jigsaw puzzles?  Every so often when I put a quilt together it makes me think of a puzzle.  I then find myself reflecting on my younger years and putting puzzles together as a family.  We would irregularly have a puzzle 'in the works' on a corner table at home and we'd all put in a piece or two when we could.  My Mom still loves to work on them when she can.  

The Gypsy Wife is definitely a jigsaw puzzle to me!  I have completed the 73 - yes 73! - blocks for the Gypsy Wife quilt and am moving on to assembling it, jigsaw puzzle style!

First let me show you a few blocks I have ready

The blocks for this quilt allow for fussy cutting and focus fabrics and I've had so much fun pulling some oldies but goodies from my stash for it!  I simply love the movie The Wizard of Oz and watch it about anytime I see it on one of the cable channels whenever I come across it.  I have had the above Judy Garland fabric for like 6-7 years and haven't used much of it to date.  I LOVE this block!

Of course I had to use some fish fabric for the square in a square blocks when I could too :)  The fabric in the center above I got in Door County, WI last year or the year before.  There are a few fishy print blocks in queue and I'm really loving these sprinkled in the quilt top.  

The above is also a favorite block made with Sweetwaters Road 15.  It looks a little plain maybe?  Well, back when the gals at Sweetwater asked their blog readers to send in addresses so they could design this print, I did!  And you know what?  My childhood home address is right in the mix of the square above...pretty cool huh?  

Yes - I am keeping this quilt for me!!

Here is some assembly progress ~

It is a little challenging, which I am addicted to!  There are strips that run through the blocks that match from top to bottom.  My design wall is getting a workout!  I hope to have this one put together soon and on the blog. 

Also - I have to make a correction to a previous post!  I had said my hydrangea was a limelight when in fact, it's actually a quickfire hydrangea - here is a recent snapshot. 

At any time during the sunny hours of the day there are quite possibly dozens of varieties of bees and bugs on these flowers.  There is a sweet scent just bursting from it but it's not too too much, just simply perfect!  I read up on this type and it seems that the more you clip it/trim it pre-growing season, the more it flowers...

I say, flower away :)  Have a great rest of your week!  xo Karen

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fair Weather

Did everyone have a good weekend last weekend?  As it was the 4th of July (already!) my husband and I escaped to northern Wisconsin.  We visited a lake in the Chequamegon National forest (I still have no idea how to pronounce it!)

The lake we were on is Ghost Lake and it is absolutely surrounded by trees.  So very quiet and so very filled with mosquitoes but we enjoyed it.  Northern Wisconsin is beautiful!  The area has a bunch of wildlife which I did not capture but we saw an eagle, a deer in the lake and heard many wolf.  There is a controlled group on Elk in the area too!  The weather was perfect and not a single firecracker was lit.  Love it!

Then back home I was anxiously awaiting the opening of the N Wisconsin State Fair.  This fair is not a large fair as they typically get about 70K people through the gate annually.  Remember I entered a couple quilts?  Well, last night we finally went and my husband and I walked by the display a couple times until we realized my Green Tea quilt was on the wall!

With a ribbon :)
These are cell phone pictures but you can bet I'm going back to get better photos!  I was truly surprised and jumped up and down like a little girl seeing a puppy in the window. :)  

While we were looking at other crafty displays, I was approached by the local quilt guild to see if I was interested in joining.  I had thought about this group before but was thinking I wasn't mature enough as the group meets at the local Senior Center.  I surely may be the youngest new member - nothing like feeling young right?

You have a good weekend!  xo K

Monday, June 30, 2014

Much Ado

Much Ado about (not) nothing.  I have been a busy one over here and mostly it's because I just got an idea in my head for a design for a swap (here Schnitzelandboo and #makeaquiltmakeafriend #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap on Instagram).  Check it out if you get some time because there are so very many absolutely gorgeous minis - oh, check here too!

When I saw this Dahlia pattern a while back, set for release first week in June I knew I wanted to make it!  
By April

Now, keep in mind that I had to order this pattern, get it in hand and make a mini quilt to ship by first week July!  I dawdled. I planned.  I had to wait a bit for the pattern.  I became obsessed with my plans and mailman.  When I did get the pattern, I gave it a few more days.  Then last Monday I could take some time off work in the afternoon.  Yep, a full 9 days before I had to ship I started - STARTED.

I had a bunch of True Colors fat eighths from here and dove in.  Then I discovered I needed more than a fat eighth for the outer rings....OK, plan B, add in solids (I have plenty and they seem to multiply on their own!)
I was on a roll!  I figured I would have no problem, in fact I thought it was looking pretty good.  Then I sewed
 hmm - not too flat right?  seam rip then.....

Still not too right...followed by a third attempt.... and here is where I started to panic (remember if you will, I'm competitive, I was going to win!).  By this time, I had posted progress on Instagram and Flickr and I couldn't didn't want to scrap it and start something different (I was going to win right!?).  I just couldn't figure it out.  Panic and a looming deadline plus self-inflicted pressure?  I became a spazz (whiner really) - me?!  So, thankfully the pattern designer gave me some pointers.  Perhaps if I'd been in my right mind I would have figured out..eventually. And yes, it was likely my haste plus the pressure that made it not fit too well the first 3 tries!  

My fabric was getting a little tired too; in particular, that cornbread solid close to the center?  It's an organic and it was 'growing' after being manipulated and ironed so much.  In the end I learned so.very.much!  Much about the pattern, the fabrics (I am now a true Anna Maria Horner fabric nut), and myself = and thankful for a pattern designer (she has fabric out too!) who could calm me down!

I used 7 prints, 7 solids (8 including linen background) and 8 different colors of thread - for a mini that I now don't want to send out :)  I have this hanging in my sewing room and every time I look at it I sigh just a little.  Would I change anything?  Oh ya!  I would change quite a bit in placing it perfectly, not over-sewing, not over-ironing and it with so much daily (well, hourly really) scrutiny!  I would also love to rewind and take some extra time!  BUT I know I want many many many more of these dahlias!  Truly hope my partner likes it!

Whew - OK - back to relative normality and a couple pics of what a wonderfully rainy and sunny summer is doing to my hydrangea!  It is taking over!  

limelight hydrangea bush
Have a great week! xx K

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gypsy Wife Quilt - It begins

If you've been hanging around my blog for a while you might remember I made the Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt by Jen Kingwell last year.  I still miss working on that quilt!  I was so completely drawn into it that I lost track of time.  Here is the link to how it ended.   I am entering that quilt into our local fair for display - so wish me luck...maybe I'll get a ribbon :)

So, with all but a couple of deadlines on my sewing schedule I jumped in on the Gypsy Wife (also by Jen).  After the first block I was hooked!  This one is Colour Wheel ~

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen these - but I threw a couple different pictures on the blog since I'm sneaky like that.  I am lucky enough to have subscribed to the Westwood Acres inside voices club before it filled up so I have many low volume fabrics that I can draw on for this quilt; not to mention a growing color-filled stash that could benefit from some air :)

The next few blocks went pretty fast.  I love this block called Pershing, but it did come out about .5" short all around.  Think I'll improvise when I put it in the quilt :)

This one I may re-do - but I'll see how it goes when I put the sections together

Not too gung-ho about this From the Heart block as well, so it may be re-done

Really love this block called Hope from Hartford!!  I used a fussy cut Pam Kitty print for the center :)

 This block is a less crazy Crazy Anne block - I used up my very last Annie's seed catalog in this one - Anne and Annie - get it? :)

I cannot wait to get on with more of these blocks!  I'll keep posting pics, and hopefully more soon.  On a closing note, my dog Stella (now 10 months old!) is a total cling-on so getting sewing time can be a little tricky.  She loves having her paw on my foot :)

xo Karen

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Test patterns

I just looked and it has been over three years that I've been blogging and stalking blogs!!  Time goes so fast doesn't it?  Since that time and after participating in a bunch of swaps and checking out blogs, I regularly add 'need to make' and 'want to make''s to my project list.  I hope I get to many of them, well, maybe half of them!

One of the people I follow is Janine at Rainbow Hare since I sent her a swap project some time ago.  Janine has some super creative projects going on with sewing and knitting and a few farm animals thrown in ~ you should check it out!  On one of her blog posts, I saw this sewing machine cover 

I grabbed this picture from Janine's blog

and instantly fell in love!  First of all it is too dang cute right?  Secondly, my old sewing machine cover was made for my machine when it wasn't flush with my sewing table, and lastly it was made long ago and I needed something cute to dress up my sewing machine and sewing room!

So, when Janine released the pattern and posted on her blog how to make it I went for it!  I had been hoarding some linen and a darling Kokka sewing print for a while and decided they would be perfect for my version

 I didn't add the side wheels that are outlined in the pattern as I really liked this cover without.  I just love how it turned out!

This project was very fun to make, and there are some cute details.  I think this is the first time I've made bunting for anything too!  You could easily take off on this with added items on this cover.  I told Janine that a little roll up shade, a license plate, people peeking out the window, lawn furniture, - you know, sky is the limit! 

Another blogger I follow is Aylin over here and always enjoy her use of color and her purse and bags she's made!  She has participated in so many swaps that I was also involved in that I have often crossed my fingers to be a lucky recipient of one of her projects!  Unfortunately, that has not happened but seeing the opportunity on her blog, I jumped at the chance to test her Everyday Bag pattern!  

I picked up a jean remnant a while back and this project seemed perfect to use it in.  I am particularly hard on purses and bags, so I thought this fabric would hold up quite well.  

The pattern has a magnetic snap for the flap (above) 

and a back zip  and under the flap is a pocket

perfect for keys!  Then the inside is the best part ~
There is a center zippered section and a slip pocket along the back!  I just love this fabric I picked up as a contrast to the denim, it is a print by Juliana Horner and available at Joann's!  

I know there are others that are making this bag to test for Aylin and I can't wait to see other fabric combinations.  I already have another of these planned since it is definitely a perfect sized, Everyday Bag!  

Hope you have a great week!  xo Karen