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!


FO: Loving Kindness Wallhanging

I'm moving into a new and tiny office and am using this chance to make everything look exactly how I want it.  Which, of course, means lots of quilts.  

The design for this one came as I was sitting looking at the couch that's currently in my office and seeing a little pillow laying on the back that looked like a stack of sideways half-square triangles.  I thought it would be nice to make it look slightly plant-like by putting petals at the top.   

The assembly was quite fast, given that I was using a charm pack from the Connecting Threads "Luminescence" line. 

 I sat and embroidered while watching lots and lots of Netflix.  

The words come from a loving kindness meditation I learned in a class about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, which I've used a lot, especially recently. Our little community has had a rough time of it over the last couple of weeks. 

I machine-quilted in the ditches first and then echoing lines in the non-wordy triangles.  The binding is yardage from Luminescence.  

Hoping that I haven't missed the deadline to link up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday

Happy crafting! 


FO: Soccer Ball Quilt

It's finished!  And it's called "The Soccer Ball Quilt," and it was named by my 4-year-old.  These are some of my old soccer shirts.  I struggled mightily with how to design this quilt, given the various sizes of the designs and my utter inability to get squares to come out 18.5".  

I didn't want to use stabilizer on all of the t-shirt parts, and I didn't run into much trouble with the t-shirt fabric.  I made sure that I wasn't ever seaming t-shirt to t-shirt - everything is seamed together with quilting cotton.  Making the big squares went so well that I used some of the excess tie-dye material as colored fabric for the square in the bottom right, and that went just fine, too. 

A shot of the full thing.   It's about 54"x62".  The little blotty square is the back of a t-shirt that has a bunch of signatures on it.  Blotted out what are probably mostly obsolete maiden names by now. 

Ribbon Star

The big patterned squares are a ribbon star, churn dash, and X marks the spot.  These shirts were from 20+ years ago, so I decided to use a very old bit of stash, too, which is the blue heart/leaf batik that I got at Joanns slightly less than 20 years ago.  I had a bunch of fat quarters of it, and used up nearly all of it.  

The back is a recent purchase from a LQS (the black and white flower), more batik, and some Cyber Monday yardage from Connecting Threads (the green).   With the borders, I didn't quite have enough batting without cobbling some together, so the last little bit of January's spending money + a 50%-off coupon got me some Pellon Cotton with scrim off of the big old roll.  I felt like I was taking a gamble, because I'd never used that kind before, but I really love the crinkle that it ended up with.  

The batting was nice and flat, too, which is more than I can say for the kind that comes in bags.   I pin-basted most of the quilt and spray-basted the t-shirt fabric so that it would be less likely to shift around.  I quilted this with an all-over loop, and there was only one big expanse of t-shirt (around the signatures) that got a little bunchy.  I can live with it. 

Quilt Stats
Style: T-shirt quilt without stabilizer
Size: 54"x62"
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton with scrim (off the roll at Joann's)
Thread: Essential Pro (for piecing and quilting)
Binding: Double-fold machine sewn to front and hand-sewn to back

Linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish it Up Friday.  Happy crafting!


New Projects

I hemmed and hawed about which project I should start next - a t-shirt quilt I've been meaning to make for ages, or the next original design I have in mind.  So, I finally started with the t-shirt quilt.  

And I have mad So. Many. Mistakes.  The only one I haven't made yet is the one where I cut a one-of-a-kind, unreplaceable t-shirt too small.  I cannot add up the size of blocks to save my life, I cannot figure out the right amount to add to HSTs to get them to come out the right size, I cannot figure out how to put borders on.  

I'm living on the edge by not using any kind of stabilizer on the t-shirts.  I don't want a quilt full of stabilizer.  So far, I've sewn t-shirt to quilting cotton without any problem whatsoever - I just use tons of pins and put the t-shirt fabric on the bottom.  Perhaps the real problem is when you try to quilt it?  

Because the t-shirt quilt mostly involves putting borders on, with some block-making, I decided I needed a leaders-and-enders project and started the triangle quilt anyway.  

My original vision for this quilt was something way outside my comfort zone - an Anna Maria Horner type of mix of dark but bold colors, rather than the separated, orderly stuff I usually go for.   (Prints with more than one color, WHAT?) 

I want a range from red to blue, with lots of purples in between.  I've been saving up some fabric for this, then added a bit more (including some actual AMH fabric).  It's safe to say that right now, red-purples are way more in than blue-purples.  

I thought the pinks looked garish because of the nighttime lighting, but then I took another picture this morning and it still looks garish.  It doesn't look garish in person.  The pinks do stand out, but not as much as in the pictures.  

As you can see in the lower right-hand corner, I'm trying out a more random layout than the hexagons, and I think I'll finish the hexagons and then mix it up a bit.  Maybe pull out the lightest pink.  There are a couple more fabrics that didn't fit into the blue, blue/purple, and red/purple categories that I made up to make the hexagons, and I can intersperse those a bit, too.  

Once this is ready to start sewing together, I can go back to redesigning the t-shirt quilt after adding borders that made a square way too big to fit into the neat little grid I'd gotten all the other squares to agree to.  

Designing is always interesting.  This one is coming out close to my vision for it, but it turns out my vision doesn't look how I was expecting.  Weird.  

Happy crafting! 


FO: Block O-hio Star Quilt

It's finished!  And wrapped, and given.  Witnesses report that the recipient was happy about it, but I was holding it up and couldn't see the reaction.  The recipient is not a huge quilt person, but is a huge Ohio State person, so maybe that worked. 

I bound it in a black print after realizing that I didn't have nearly enough dark gray to do the job.  Borders just didn't happen, but I did finish this early in the day on Christmas Eve, so that's a win.  I failed to measure it before giving it away, but I had to stand on the glider footstool to get this picture, and I'm 5'4", if that gives you some idea. 

I've mentioned that naptimes recently have been hit or miss, and the last naptime before we got on a plane looked like this:  

That is a child under the fabric that was to become binding. 

Cute and terribly unproductive.  So that night after the kids went to sleep, I got the binding cut and sewn on, then grabbed time as I could sewing it to the backside.  In the car on the way to the airport, late at night instead of sleeping.

For the quarter-square triangles for the Ohio Stars, I used a technique that is kind of strip piecing and kind of chain quilting.  I made half-square triangles by the seat of my pants. 

If I had to do this again (which, please, no), I'd use a more limited range of values in the red, keeping it medium-to-dark. 

I'm very, very proud of the drop shadow, and the range of grays I used to create it. 

Right now I'm enjoying this moment of after-Christmas freedom, thinking about all the wonderful things I can plan for next year. 

Bonus FO: Owl Mittens
These owl mittens were a special request - also in Buckeye colors, perhaps you are sensing a theme - and were given for a mid-December birthday. 

I'll link up to Crazy Mom Quilts on Monday.  

I hope your gift-giving went well, with met deadlines and delighted recipients. 

Happy crafting!