Making Elephant Abstractions Quilt

Hello!  Things have been plugging along here at Chez Orooni.  I actually finished two pairs of socks:

Finished them all the way, no hanging out with toes ungrafted for years for these pairs. 

Both pairs are Felici and both were made exclusively during work meetings/trainings over the last few months.  The bright sock on the left is missing some pink in the cuff because I found myself finished with one sock and ready to start the next but didn't have the second ball, so I just used the end of the first ball.  Fascinating, I know. 

Yesterday we hit the Sheep & Wool Festival (which the two-year-old kept calling the Sheep and Vegetable).  It's one of my favorite things to do every year, though this year wasn't so exciting on the purchases front - I'm saving up my crafting budget for a wheel, and I also haven't used up anything I bought there last year yet.  Did knit part of a mitten, though.  

Life is in some ways an ongoing struggle between knitting and quilting.  As the weather gets colder, ideas for things I need to knit pop into my head continuously (little Citron shawls for each of the girls, my felted clogs have busted holes in the heels, Other would like a wool hat), but my quilting list gets longer, too (the Red Quilt for girl 2, an in-between size quilt for girl 1, a patchwork quilt with the banner fabric Other likes...).  

And in very, very exciting news, I've completed the 97th fragment of the Elephant Quilt and have started putting the pieces together.  Pictured below are the feet: 

Whenever anyone sees the Elephant Feet, they yell, "Elephant Feet!"  One of the bonuses of having your design wall in the kitchen/living room. 

I've looked around a bit on the web for people making this quilt, but have only found where the kits are being sold.  Am curious what others have done with the background.  I'm substituting a Connecting Threads solid (custard, I'm pretty sure) for the "gold" that the kit came with, and will use the gold for the back.  Will probably piece some of the leftover elephant colors into the back as well, because I can't really see using them for something else.  

If you're making this and run out of one of the colors, I'd be happy to send some along.  I was very careful to get the most mileage as possible out of the colors, and ended up with tons left over.  (Phew)

It's been hard to stay on track with the elephant - I'd love to churn out a quick little baby quilt or something.  But I want to get this done and dusted, because it's hard to pick up again if I wander off.  I also really, really can't wait to see what it looks like finished.  

I hope your fall is as crisp and energizing as fall can be.  Happy crafting! 


FO: Christmas Medallion

I finished this quilt a few months ago, and finally gave it to my mom last month.  It was a surprise (Merry Christmas!) and she reads the blog, so there was no posting about it. I wanted to do something as spectacular as I could manage, so I chose a medallion quilt with spiral quilting. 

And now, for lots of pictures:

So finished!

Just started!

The middle!  A ribbon star and pinwheels

Making trees!

More trees

I have a tutorial for the 6" finished evergreen block I made up.  Will post that soon. 

Preparing pieces for the economy block border

Peppermint idea shamelessly stolen from Good Golly Ginger

Top finished
Spiral quilting
Wobbly center
The back!  

My mom had recently left a box full of old fabric, a lot of which was Christmas-themed.  There was a lot of fabric, so there's a bit more left over, even after making another very simple little throw.  

So glad to finally post this.  Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts. 

Happy crafting!


Right angles, wrong angles

The elephant continues.  26 pieces complete, 71 to go.  As I go, I realize that this project leans entirely on my biggest weakness as a quilter, which is my complete lack of spatial intelligence.  Have you seen that spatial intelligence test where you look at a drawing of an object and then they show you four choices and you have to select the correct drawing of the object viewed from a different angle?  I have, and I probably scored worse than random guessing would have.  So taking a little triangle of fabric that I know will cover the intended space and then having to figure out how to angle the seam so that it actually covers the intended space is an exercise in frustration.  

Take 23C here, which is that gray piece sticking out in the position it had to be sewn in order to get the angle right.  (This is after it was trimmed down - I'm not so insane that I try to get things exact.)  So, if I've learning anything going forward, it's that if a piece has a wonky angle and yet isn't sticking out wonkily as I sew it down, it's probably wrong.  A handy rule of thumb, sure, but I don't seem to be improving much past that.  

Onward, elephant ho!  

Happy crafting! 


A Big Mountain

So, I've embarked on a project that is clearly going to take a long time.  This is a particularly straightforward journey, though, because I'm working off of a pattern and templates that I didn't create. 

This is the first several pieces of The Elephant Abstractions quilt, the kit for which was a birthday present this year.  And the finished quilt will be for my dad, who really loves elephants.  I finished Template #11 today, and there are... 97 total.  So, woo, only 86 to go!  Plod, plod, plod. 

I had never ever paper-pieced before, so there has been a learning curve.  Happily, using solids means that I don't have to keep front-side/back-side straight, because I guarantee I would have ripped out more than one seam by now if that weren't the case.  Sadly, until the last seam is sewn, I will be worried about running out of fabric, even though I'm sure that the amount of waste in this process was taken into account by the designer, and I could almost certainly track down more of what I needed, because I didn't sit on the kit for 20 years (why, hello, experience, thank you for letting me learn from you!). 

So, I hope to be pretty faithful to this project, which means the next several months will probably be more of the same picture above and a faint counting sound in the background.  Maybe I'll buy some fabric occasionally in order to have something else to talk about.  Yeah, that's the ticket. 

Why, here's some right now:

More birthday gifts!  Mostly Connecting Threads, several backing quantities, a background yellow for The Elephant (custard), and a banner print that was on clearance at Hawthorne Threads.  My husband finds the banner print deeply pleasing, so I plan to figure out some sort of patchwork thing that will work for a quilt for him.  (I'm thinking a checkerboard of different-colored solids.) 

Hope to get Template #12 in the can tonight, then onward to 13. 

Happy crafting! 


FO: 12 Hundred Quilt

Finished this little one last weekend.  Here it is fresh out of the dryer: 

 Here it is right after finishing up the binding, and before its wash: 

And the back, made of a bigger piece of fabric bought specifically for backing, plus some scraps:

And finally, the 100 square close up: 

I'll take this next week to the place I made it for.  They are celebrating a centennial with an art show around the theme of "100."  Hope they like it - it's a bit weird, with the contrast between color and b&w, and the asymmetrical layout.  

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at crazymomquilts.  Happy crafting!


WIP: True Blood and 100 Quilt

Oh, and a little teeny tiny FO:

 A leetle zipper pouch.  Done from a tutorial at aspoonfulofsugardesigns.  

That is scraps of fabric and batting and a 4" black zipper.   

Today I finished quilting the 100 Quilt:  

I used my free-motion foot and made up a sort of beaded-cord-with-echoes quilting pattern, which really only shows up at all on the blackest square.   Being 30"-ish by 40"-ish, it went really fast. 

Now to cut and bind.  

I've picked up spinning again - there was one night that I was so tired that I couldn't think of anything other to do than spin.  

BMFA Polwarth in "True Blood Red"
And speaking of blood, last Friday I was cutting the new fabric that had come to finish up the 100 top and I sank my rotary cutter right into the tip of my left index finger.  Boy, did that hurt.  It was about 11:20 pm, and I went to the ER and ended up leaving around 1:30 am without even seeing a doctor, because it seemed like it wouldn't need stitches.  It was shallow but wide and long, if that makes any sense. and I thought it was swollen but after a week of healing I'm now thinking that my finger's just going to have a slightly different shape than it used to.  Anyway, PSA:


Finally, a picture of the 100 quilt when it was being all intriguing in the evening light:

Happy crafting!  Watch out for those rotary blades! 


Progress Post: 100

The quilt I'm working on now is for a centennial celebration for a local organization.  They're asking for any artwork on the theme of "100."  I kicked this around in my head for a long time before the design appeared, nearly fully-formed.  

I've ordered two more fabrics that will go in, but here's how it's looking right now:

There are 100 different fabrics in the colorful block.  At first I was worried that I may not have enough individual fabrics to do 100 squares without repeating, but... yeah, that wasn't a problem.  The little squares finish at 1", and not wanting to piece all that traditionally, I took a look at something that had stuck with me for a long time: this tutorial on using fusible interfacing to quick-piece little squares.  I didn't have interfacing and was looking for something that would be less rigid, so I worked with a piece of muslin and a glue stick. 

First rows
That worked just fine, although it's also pretty rigid.  This likely won't be a problem, because it will probably be used only as a wallhanging.  It may soften up after the glue washes out, too.  After the first row, I learned to leave the tiniest sliver of daylight between rows to allow for folding.  Not sure yet how I'm going to quilt it.  Maybe diagonal lines, I do love a good crosshatch.  

Happy crafting! 


Unfinished Socks

What you're looking at here is my pile of socks-in-progress.  Four socks unfinished, three needing only the second toe grafted and ends woven in order to have a complete pair of socks.  Self, you should really get on that.  

Happy crafting!


FO: Triangle is the Word Quilt

Finished!  Binding is sewn down and hanging sleeve is attached.  

Before washing finished pics.  

Stash batik for the back. 

Quilting detail on the back. 


Quilt Stats:

Name: Triangle is the Word Quilt
Finished Measurements: 45" x 44.5"
Batting: Mystery 100% cotton, Heirloom, probably
Backing: Purple Batik from old stash
Thread: pieced with EssentialPRO white (Connecting Threads) and quilted with C&C Dual Duty in four different colors to match hexagon colors.  

There's more about the process of making this quilt here.  Linking up with Finish It Up Friday

Happy crafting! 


Progress post: triangle quilt

AKA "the bird quilt."  Because of the bird.  

Here's the initial sketch - I grouped colors (dk pink, red-purple, blue-purple, and blue) into hexagons first. 

Then I scrambled them a bit, switching triangles with neighboring triangles.  I was going for a semblance of order but not completely - I wanted it a bit mixed up, too.  Off-balance.  

Sewing this many triangles together never would've happened if it were the only project I was working on.  It was the leaders-and-enders project for a long time.  I've since started putting a pin into the block/triangle/fabric piece that goes on the left as I chain-piece, in order to keep the order straight as I go, which helps a lot. 

My initial plan for this quilt involved more stuff on top, but at the very last minute I decided that it was too much, and this should just be a triangle quilt. I also toyed with adding black squares all along the ends of the rows so that I could have straight edges without cutting it down, but punted on that, too. 

With the edges cut down, the top just barely fit onto both the backing and a spare piece of batting I had.  I safety-pin basted yesterday and have spent a lot of time quilting today. 

See the bird?

The obvious quilting plan was to quilt 1/4" from the edges of all the triangles and horizontal seams, but that just wasn't speaking to me.  So instead, I decided to emphasize the hexagons and am quilting 1/4" from the edges of the original hexagons in thread that matches most of the colors of that hexagon.  Only doing that would not have been quite enough quilting for the batting, so I'm also quilting in the ditch across the horizontal axis of each hexagon.  (I tried to figure out a way to stitch over every seam in the hexagon without tracing over any, and if there's a way to do it, I haven't found it.)  

I've done the pink and blue hexagons, and will work on the blue-purple next.  Don't have any red-purple thread, so I may try to pick some up in town tomorrow.  Am hoping that this will be my next finish, and soon. 

Happy crafting!


Craft Like You're Being Chased by a Bear

I am on vacation!  Today is the first official day of my vacation, and I have spent the morning sewing with the intensity of a person being chased by a bear.  This was mildly uncomfortable, so I went for a jog and pretended I was being chased by an actual (lazy and slow) bear, and that worked out some of the energy, but not all of it, so back to the grind.  

Right now I have some terrible pictures to show you of Child 2's Big Girl Quilt.  

Here's my design wall, which I have recently been chastised for:  

Apparently some people can't look at three separate quilts in order to give feedback of the one on top.  Noted, but there's very little I can do about it at this point, especially given that that same person would probably object to me covering the rest of the walls upstairs with batting, so. The Red Tumbler quilt is on top, and it's just the red or reddish pieces. 

Here's the bottom half of the quilt, spread out on the back of the Gorilla Quilt, draped on the couch.  I honestly don't know how people work without design walls - I can't visualize for squat, so I have to lay eeeeeverything out to see how it looks, then mutter to myself as I move the pieces around.  

 This morning I got all of the rows sewn together (thereby unearthing the triangle quilt underneath, as well as getting lots of those triangles sewn together, too).  Now I'm taking an eating and blogging break, and I have to decide what to focus on for the afternoon crafting frenzy.  

Happy Crafting!  Don't let that bear get you. 


Oh yeah, I have a blog!

Seems that recently I only manage to post when I've finished something, which is why you haven't heard from me in a while.  First I decided to knit on a blanket that is a looong-term project:


Hm, seems I haven't photographed that one since I picked it back up.  It's pretty, I'll photograph it sometime.  It's Hue Shift in decor.  

Then I needed an emergency Thanks-for-Being-the-Best-Boss-I've-Ever-Had gift, so I forgot all knowledge I have of how long it actually takes to knit things (because dude, look at all the stuff I've knit, it's like millions of stitches), and I ordered me up an enormous amount of fingering weight merino/cashmere/nylon blend yarn, and cast on 452 stitches or whatever and that was in the middle of March.  

I knit the final stitches last night - the bindoff I haven't brought myself to face yet is next.  In the process of knitting this thing, I have watched an UNGODLY amount of Gossip Girl*, and I'm very ready to be done with both.  

Peeking from behind the Blue Scarf of Interminable Gossip Girl is some fabric that got here today (YAAAY!) from Hawthorne Threads.  (They shipped about two hours after I ordered it, because they are awesome).  I'm making Big Girl Quilt #2, and she chose red.  Here are today's new ones:

And here is the whole pull so far:

And here is a bunch of fabric I got awhile ago with some fun money that was timed very nicely with a Connecting Threads sale:

The fabric on top there is not CT - I used all of the half-yard I got as part of the backing for the soccer ball quilt, and I like it so much that I tracked down a bit more online.  

Aaaand, that's about it for me.  Hope that soon I will unearth my sewing table and start quilting again. 

Happy crafting! 

xoxo - orooni

*embarrassing aside: if I have to hear Blair telling Chuck that she loves him but can't be with him ONE MORE TIME, I'm going to roll my eyes so hard I fall off the couch and sustain some kind of injury.  YOU know what I'm talking about.  And if you don't, maybe you don't realize how much respect you should be losing for me, but I assure you, it's a lot.  A lot. 


FO: Petal Pillow

When you make small projects, they get done faster! 

I made a template for the two peels on the loving kindness wallhanging, and- well, here's what happened.  I appliqued them, I enjoyed it, and I was bingewatching Nurse Jackie and desperately needed some hand work to look at during the gory parts, so I grabbed some yellow and some blue and made one of these squares.  

Nurse Jackie has seven seasons.  

I decided to try two layers of batting and chose, from my tons of batting scraps, an anonymous 100% cotton.  You can see here the depth it gave to the (minimal) quilting, which I really like. 

Last night I spent a very long time creating the pillow insert out of fabric and batting scraps, as well as some home dec weight fabric that I bought not realizing that it wasn't quilting cotton.  I used that fabric in the Gorilla quilt and it being a different weight doesn't stand out at all, but I probably won't mix it again, so it became the sturdy outside of the pillow form.  

I had a batting bag and rubbermaid bin of scraps.  It contained little actual fabric scraps, ends of threads that are too short to reuse, bits of yarn too short to do anything with, and lots of fabric sandwiches that have been cut away from the edges of a finished quilt.  The fabric sandwiches I sliced to bits using my old partially-retired rotary cutter, because I don't mind the blade dulling from all the batting.  Oh, and there were also those tangles of yarn that you cut from the edges of fabric after you prewash it - those are the best, along with the yarn.  Wool is so springy. 

I used an envelope pillow tutorial from crazymomquilts that worked well.  I grokked the spirit of the deal and then proceeded to wing it, and next time I will definitely have less overlap in the two back panels.  It was way past bedtime last night, and my husband was watching me try to cram the finished pillow form into the cover.  He watched for a while, and then said, "We will never wash it."  Which is, word-for-word, exactly what I was thinking. 

The back is (mostly - the hidden part may have its secrets) this awesome batik I got at the LQS with my birthday gift certificate.  While it looks like it may match the front pretty well, ehh, it really doesn't.  It's not garishly different, but yeah.  Don't look too closely.  

It was deeply satisfying to use up so many scraps, and this thing is dense as a brick and about as heavy.  I could see more scrap-stuffed pillows being on the horizon.  

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.  Happy crafting!