Friday, January 31, 2014

There Are Times...I'm a Doofus

Do you ever have times when you really start questioning WHY you do this quilting thing?

I'm having one of those moments.  Maybe I just have too many things I'm trying to focus on including my mom's issues, and now my Aunt Irene's 80-year old husband landed in the hospital too, same one as my mom!

My January NewFO is Twisted Sisters by Ami Simms.  I've had this pattern and the template for a good many years.  She has spoken at our guild, and is a very good guest speaker and also very, very funny.  If you're not on her newsletter or blog list, you should be.  Both can be accessed through the link provided.  And to access the linky party for our January NewFO's click right here for Cat Patches, our wonderful host blog.

Cast of characters, sets of 4 on left to be cut using acrylic template, 3 1/2" center squares, and strip sets to be cut into sets of 4 as on the left.
First two blocks...before measuring, but you can see where they don't align at that lower seam.

When I pulled the pattern, and the fabrics, and sewed my test block, I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out why I couldn't get the block to the same size she says they should be in her pattern, 9 1/2", they were too big.  I began sewing really fat 1/4" seams, and still couldn't get close.  I was convinced that something must be wrong with either the pattern's measurements, or the acrylic template.

My attempt at artistic photography.  Stack of sets of four.
I sewed a second, and a third 'test' block and still just couldn't get it right.  Today, I determined it must be a faulty measurement, so I thought I'd start with the center square which is called out at 3 1/2" and took a scrap and cut it to 3 1/4" instead to see if maybe that was the culprit.  I sewed on the four blades, used my regular scant 1/4" seam and they seemed to actually look like they were fitting better, but.... I finished one block, measured it and whoa, wait, what?  It measures 10" square, exactly. Now come on, how on earth can it be still close to the same size as the other blocks when they're supposed to be 9 1/2"?  OK, so a scant quarter inch on 1/4" smaller square equates to a fat 1/4" on a 3 1/2" square, so nothing gained, except...hold it, it was time to pick Nick up from school so I left everything as it was and left.

And a slightly different angle.
When I came back, something started clicking in my head.  I was frustrated though that the blocks just weren't matching up with the directions, but then I started thinking, 10" square?  Hmmm, did I erroneously get it into my head that the squares were to be 9 1/2" before sewing into rows, or did that pattern say 9 1/2" finished squares?  Where's that pattern?  Let me find that line in the pattern instructions. Oh shoot, oh shoot, oh shoot!  Well now, do I feel like a real doofus, and I think maybe I ought to go back and take remedial reading lessons.  Of course, it IS 9 1/2" FINISHED, so 10" is the correct measurement of the raw blocks.  Why didn't the pattern SAY that:!!?

I have eight blocks now from which to completely pick out the sewing, carefully press flat again, and then resew.  I'm so thankful it isn't more than that!  Oh, and I didn't mention that there are a lot of bias edges, so I really do need to be extra careful while pulling out thread, and pressing.
Ok, some hours later after dealing with the family issues going on up looks like I'll head that way and hopefully, hopefully, miss snowy weather in the passes as I drive, probably leaving Sunday, maybe Monday...lots to work out tomorrow.

A remade block...still problematic! Ugh!

I finished picking the eight blocks apart and have resewn one, but using my scant 1/4", here's a picture of how it looks. It's 10" square - sorta, right?  Wrong!  OK, time to make another one with a regular 1/4"...back in a few...

Well rats! The next one isn't going together right either, and I think I need to just give up for now, and ultimately, will give up until I get back from up north. I'll post more info over at D.O.O.W about my travel plans.

If you've done this pattern and have some tips, I'd appreciate them.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Let's Book It ... to the 9-Patch!

The project I chose for January's Let's Book It, hosted by Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts, is from 101 Nine Patch Quilts by Marti Mitchell.  The book was published in 2000, which would put it within the first couple years of my quilting journey.  However, I have no idea if I bought this book or if it was given to me, but I suspect I purchased it myself.   

Scrap O' Nine Tales is the pattern I'm following, well, sort of.   

The above photo is from the book.  That little paragraph is pretty much it other than a brief statement underneath that includes an arrow pointing to one of the single squares in the 9-patch block saying that if that square is 1" (finished size, so 1.5" cut square), the finished quilt size is 45" x 57" (doing the layout as shown).  

There are no specifics given for fabric quantities with each project, though there are directions in the front of the book with detailed instructions for calculating how much is needed based on your layout and fabric choices.  Putting it in other words, it's a book you actually have to read if you're not familiar with how to calculate your fabric based on a picture and your personal measurements.  The author also provides blank grids so that you can work your own project.

The box of 1.25" wide strips.
This is yet another scrappy quilt project for me, and while poking around in my stash closet, I found a small tub and a small box of strips which are not the sizes I now use. The largest quantity of them was already cut into 1.25" widths, so that's what I chose for these 9-patches.  There were also some 1.75" strips  that I trimmed down to 1.25".  And believe it or not, I even had strips that were only 3/4" and 1" widths.  THOSE are going straight to the strings bin.  I suspect I was cutting these many years ago, before I became acquainted with Bonnie Hunter's methods.  I've since been reformed!

After Celtic Solstice I was ready for something a bit easier and simpler or so I thought.  Hah!, so what do I do?  I pick a project with 9-patch squares that finish at 2.25"!  You read that right, the finished 9-patch block will be only 2.25".  Easy but small.  And I need a gazillion of them! 

To do a slightly larger quilt than shown in the book, I have figured that I need something like 313 9-patch units plus about the same number of solid squares in order to get the size quilt I want. I'll recalculate that once I reach the point where I actually have to go back to my scrap strips bin and cut additional fabric.  I may change my mind by then.  That number also was assuming a square quilt, which this will not be but I'll have to think about what actual dimensions I want.  In the mean time, I'll keep working on the little 9-P blocks. 

I've given you a sneak preview before of the sets I've clipped together.  These are now all in various stages of progress to becoming 9-P units.

You saw this layout recently too, although I don't plan to use those yellow squares.  They worked as filler to show how the 9-Patch units will be set.  I've not decided what color I'll use for the 'solid' squares, but I'm thinking I like the scrappy look but I'll stay within one color family so I may have to audition some groupings of squares in order to decide what color works best.

This is the sum total of completed blocks for this project to date.  So far, 35 9-patch units are done. 

I had a lot in the works in January starting this project, another project as a NewFO and also finishing my Celtic Solstice top.  Hoping to keep up with my project decisions and to keep progressing on the starts and eventually get some finishes in as well.

Off to find a Let's Book It project for February!  Come join the fun :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Design Wall Monday, No.4, 2014

I would love it if these weeks would slow down a little.  I feel I'm spinning my wheels more than I'm accomplishing the things I try to focus on.  

Well, still on my actual design wall is Celtic Solstice, and I need to get the borders put on so that I can take part in the final link-up on that this coming Sunday.

Also still on my design wall is a row of six individual Sister's Choice blocks.  I do like them just hanging up at the top next to the ceiling rather looking like a wall-paper border.

My non-design wall has two other projects in work, yep two of them!  The first of which I wrote about last Monday is the one with the itty-bitty little 9-patch blocks, you'll recognize the photo above.  The other is from a pattern I've had around since a guest speaker spoke at our guild half a dozen or so years ago. Without further ado, I shall post a couple pictures of that one.  

L-R block sets cut, center for all blocks, and strip sets awaiting the rotary cutter.

L-R: a couple of finished blocks, the block centers, and the same stack of block sets.
By the time I get around to posting, there's usually already a large number of folks who've linked-up at Patchwork Times showing what they're working on.  Head on over there if you haven't already been there.  If I ever get organized (laughing up my sleeve) I'll have my post ready a day ahead of time and then I'll only need to link-up!  Not holding my breath!

Enjoy the day, it's time for me to sew now that I spent all morning in the kitchen and running an errand or two.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stash Report - No. 4 - 2014

I had planned on going to the Road 2 California Quilt Show yesterday, but the last few days have been a bit draining (see my posts at D.O.O.W.) and I just felt it would be better to hang around home.  And by not going I saved time, gas money, admission money, and likely saved myself from spending money at all the temptations brought by vendors.  There'll be another big quilt show in March that's a little closer to home so I can live with that.  Having saved time by not going, I was able to spend more time in the Sanctuary doing some sewing, to the neglect of my housework (does that ever go away?) but I'm not going to feel guilty at all about that!

Unfortunately, by not going to R2C there is no increase to my stash (that's both good and bad) and I didn't accomplish enough sewing to count anything out quite yet.  But once I get those borders on Celtic Solstice, I can count some "out" here's looking to next Sunday's report, hopefully and barring any long-distance driving to the wet land, I'll have the C.S. top done.

Used This Week: 0 yards 
Used Year to Date: 0 yards  
Added This Week: 0 yards  
Added Year to Date: 0 yards  
Net Used for 2014: .15 yards

We all know where to link up, and you probably came here from there, but if not, here's the link:  Patchwork Times for Stash Report Sunday.

May the remainder of your day be blessed ... and if you're in one of those really, really cold locations, please, please stay warm and safe!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


The past two days have been pretty busy again, so I've only managed to slip in a few combined hours worth of stitching.  

Tomorrow morning will be shot as well (see my D.O.O.W. post from today) but only because Nick needed a dental appointment as he's complaining of pain when he eats or even if he shakes his head like a dog to get the water out of his hair after his shower.  The dentist could only fit him in at 9:30 so he'll miss all morning of school, and it's all the way across town.

My sewing time was spent on these, the tiny little 9-Patch units I posted about on Monday. :

These are partially sewn sets that still need to be pressed open to add the third square to each row, and then have the rows sewn together.  Those little clips are coming in quite handy for this purpose.

These are 9-P blocks already sewn.  There are 30 in the stack on the left, and I think five in the stack on the right.  That stack in the background with the blacks interspersed are my prearranged sets for bow ties which serve as my leaders and enders.  I used to think they were fairly small...until I started sewing these 9-Ps, and now they seem ginormous!
Hoping you had some sew time on your schedule today.  I'll get a bit more in before heading to bed tonight.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Design Wall Monday

I spied some eye-catching works over at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday; I'm linking up too.

Celtic Solstice is still pinned to the design wall but I'm sure you've seen enough photos of it for awhile.  I finished piecing the pieced borders but still need to select the first and third borders.  And since it's ON the design wall, I'll use my travel iron mat as a mini-design wall and show you the new project I began_finally_just yesterday.  

The new project is for a monthly link-up hosted by another blogger, so I'll hold off on those specifics until that link-up.  I will show you the first set of blocks that I've completed.  

The photo only reflects a possible lay-out and only the five blocks I have done with some plain squares thrown in.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Stash Report - No. 3 - 2014

Reporting in for my usage/additions of fabric for this third week of January. I haven't done much sewing all week with my attempts at organizing and cleaning things up a bit.  In doing that here in the Sanctuary, I came across a fairly small piece of fabric in my stash and decided it really just isn't suitable for quilting.  It is so thin that I don't think it's usable in much of anything, and it only amounts to .15 yard, so it's out of my stash, and into the trimmings bucket that will either be used as stuffing for a pet mat or donated to someone who does such things here in my guild. 

You can see the size of that trimmings bucket, it's nearly as big as the grocery bag (recycled paper trash) and my regular trash bin.  I've lined it with a plastic bag so that when it's full I need only pull the bag out rather than attempt to dump it into a bag and get cotton dust all over the place.  I'm very happy to be caught up on cutting up my scraps into strips and squares.  My strips bin is almost full again, so I'll have to plan another log cabin.  I left some scrap pieces in big pieces and will cut them later if I need them, to whatever size the need is.

Used This Week: .15 yards 
Used Year to Date: 0 yards  
Added This Week: 0 yards  
Added Year to Date: 0 yards  
Net Used for 2014: .15 yards

Linking up at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Silence From the Sanctuary

Hmmm, seems I've been silent here on the quilt site for a few days.

If you check over at my D.O.O.W site, you'll see why, at least for the most part.

My body is sore from the chores and rearranging and I'm moving a wee bit slower today. 

In the Sanctuary, I haven't made any sewing progress since Monday's post, for I've been working on tidying up some of the scraps from the last three or four projects and letting my mind and machine rest a bit.  It's amazing how quickly things can reach a state of disarray. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Design Wall Monday

Still on my design wall is Celtic Solstice.  The blocks are now all sewn together.  I am so pleased with this stunning quilt pattern and colors designed by Bonnie K. Hunter.  I've pinned one strip of the pieced border up - I have two strips done, two to do - and am actually liking it.  As I've mentioned before, I don't much care for orange, but this all works together so well, how can I not like it?  The orange is not so much that it overpowers and in the main body of the quilt, the blues, greens and white/creams pop more than the orange.  I still need to choose my inner and outer borders.

It's another busy day with some decluttering and rearranging planned in my dining room, and today is also Nick's first day back to school, and first day at the local high school.  I dropped him off at 7:45 a.m. and I haven't had any phone calls yet, so all seems to be well.  He gets out at 3:00 so I need to get focused (that's my key word for the year - focus) and get the planned chores out of the way, and plan for dinner so that I can get back up here and get some sewing in today.

Oops, almost forgot to add Judy's link:  Patchwork Times ... where there's much to see from other quilters design walls.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Stash Report - No. 2 - 2014

I can proudly say nothing in, as much as I'd like to be adding to my stash.  I can likewise say, though not proudly, that there is nothing out, as much as I'd like to be using.  

Used This Week: 0 yards 
Used Year to Date: 0 yards  
Added This Week: 0 yards  
Added Year to Date: 0 yards  
Net Used for 2014: 0 yards

Road to California will be coming up in less than two weeks, and I'm hoping to go.  It's a bit of a drive, but a favorite when I can go.  I doubt I'll be able to resist temptation, but knowing I can't spend much will certainly curtail any purchases.

Linking up at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Did I Take A Break?

No, I really didn't take a break, but I haven't had enough brain-thoughts to get anything posted since Monday, yikes!  I've continued to work on Celtic Solstice having two rows sewn completely together and the rest in two block segments which are pinned  to make half of each row.  I'd like to get the top finished by tomorrow to take when I meet with my friend Panda now that she's back from her trip. 

I hate to admit, but I'm itching to work on something else.  I have a new start to find for the NewFO Challenge (Barbara at Cat Patches) and a new start to find from one of my many books for Let's Book It (Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts).  I would also like to make progress on some of the 2013 NewFOs, not to mention some of my years older UFO's of which at least one, maybe more, were started over ten years ago.  I would really like more than one finish in 2014.

Today is busy though, as most seem to be lately, yet I'm dragging my heels.  I think I've reached the point of knowing that there are way too many things that I've put off that I now must tend to and that's keeping me from sewing and from even focusing well.

Nick has his piano lesson this afternoon which eats up an hour and a half of my day, I have to plan and prepare dinner, and tonight is a guest speaker at quilt guild, and I haven't been in months and months, but really would like to hear the speaker.  She's been here before and I really enjoyed her last time.  I wish I could feel comfortable spending the money to take her class which is scheduled on Saturday, but such things are no longer in the least not without feeling guilty if I were to take part. I have her pattern/book, so maybe I'll ease my regrets of not being able to go to class by starting that as one of those two projects I mentioned.  Yes, that's what I'll do, less thing on my mind :)

Wonder Clips
 My daughter sent these to me for Christmas.  My daughter says they're wonderful.  I think I agree.
 The red is so wonder-fully vibrant, and they come in this really nice flip-top plastic case.
 A few shown singly so that you can see them better.  Such a simple design, yet so effective, and easy to use.
As I took the blocks off the design wall I did so in order, labeling them with row/block# and then clipped them together.  Oh yes, way easier than trying to pin them and more secure than just stacking all the blocks.
Callie and Raven thought they made quite a nice resting spot after they were grouped together.  Actually, I think at this point I had already sewn them into sets of two but still clipped together by row.  The clips hold nicely and firmly.

The clips came in container of 50, but in checking at they are available in packs of 10 and 100, and also in a larger size which comes in green.  It appears there is no other color choice.  For those who work with yarns, I noticed that there are also clips for crochet and knitting and they're purple!   I also noticed that they are a bit on the pricey side, and currently showing to be price-slashed you might say, but then, skeptic that I am, that may just be a marketing ploy to make you think you're getting a really good deal so that you'll stock up on them.  I wonder how many one needs to completely clip the binding on a large quilt?  I suppose if you don't have enough, you can do one side at a time. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Updates

Monday has two updates, and because I had to take care of some household chores and financial things this morning, and it's getting late and I need to go work on dinner, I am once again making this a combined post.  The subject covers both updates anyway.

The first is Design Wall Monday, where so many have already submitted links at Patchwork Times showing what's on their design walls.

The second is to Quiltville, where we're all showing off our progress on our Celtic Solstice Mystery quilts.  And aren't there some beauties there, including some wonderful variations both in the design and color choices.
All blocks of the smaller of the two versions for my Celtic Solstice are done, but not yet sewn together.  I like it!  It's wayyy brighter than most quilts I typically do, and as Nick says, it's "active" and it is.  There's a lot going on in the quilt.  

I can't wait to see how it looks laying on a bed.  Photos do not do it justice. 

Without further comment, here is my progress and design wall occupant.

Celtic Solstice

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Stash Report No.1 - 2014

As Judy of Patchwork Times continues with helping us keep track of our fabric in and fabric out for 2014, with a goal of reducing our over-flowing stashes, I will continue joining in on the fun.  

I'm proud to report that I have not made a single purchase of fabric for 2014.  OK, alright, that's really not such a biggie for me since the year is only five days old, and I haven't made a fabric purchase since last July as I'm still adjusting to Marty's job loss and lack of new job. I'd sure like to be buying some new fabric. 

Used This Week: 0 yards 
Used Year to Date: 0 yards  
Added This Week: 0 yards  
Added Year to Date: 0 yards  
Net Used for 2014: 0 yards     note that I had to update this to 2014 after posting!

As a change to how I've reported my fabric usage in the past, this year instead of counting it when a quilt is completely finished, I will be following the same method Judy says she uses, which is three count-levels, one when the top is finished, another with the backing added, and a final with the binding added.  I do a lot of piecing, just not a lot of finishing (YET!!) so I do have fabric out that's never been counted...some of that will get to be counted this year as I hope to draw some of those projects closer to the finish line.

Blocks Done

Today I finished the individual blocks for Celtic Solstice.  Wow!  I've pinned some up on my design wall in the layout given, but only as 7 blocks by 4 blocks ... just enough to get an idea of how it'll look.  I have, of course, seen images of many others since the reveal was made on New Years at midnight but I was anxious to see how mine was going to look.  Some of you out there don't waste time finishing at all and are already finished up to and/or through borders, and I think I've even seen a picture of a few who have theirs quilted!

As I sit here typing and looking up at the blocks on the wall, all I keep thinking is "Wow!".  It's bold, it's bright, it's busy, it's beautiful!  I have a lot of the 'same fabrics' together or close-by each other but there's so much going on in this scrappy quilt that it isn't obvious, so I don't think I'll be doing any block-shuffling.  Each block will fit right where it ends up.

This picture does not do it justice.  Oh, ignore that very top row of star-points; that's a row of Sister's Choice blocks that I've been keeping up on the design wall...I love looking at them and it's a bit like having a wall-paper border on that wall.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Behind Again?

Well now, how'd I get so far behind?  And I haven't said Happy New Year?  And here I thought I had, but haven't, even over on D.O.O.W..  So, Happy New Year!

Actually, I think I was distracted by a very good quilting reason, as Bonnie Hunter surprised us ... and don't most of you in blogland already know that? ... with the reveal of Celtic Solstice at midnight of New Year's Eve (east coast time), so at 11:30 p.m. Pacific time, I noticed that but was on my way to bed - yeah, a real party animal here, hah!  I vaguely recall being roused from sleep by the sound of firecrackers and just a couple boom-booms, before then sleeping soundly until morning.

It then took several hours to get my act together, browse blogs, check email, eat breakfast and have coffee and drive over and tend my friend Panda's kitty, before getting home and begin working on Celtic Solstice.  I was glad I had all the components done to that point so that I could jump right in and start sewing units together to make the blocks.  

 I chain pieced through my stacks of units to make the 54-40 or Fight block rows.
 Callie was very happy at this point.
 I also chain pieced the units for the Birthday Girl block.  For both blocks I'd meticulously (that's a word my daughter said describes my quilting) laid out each block as I stacked them prior to chain piecing.
 I then pinned two rows together of each Birthday Girl block, and this is where Callie's smile turned upside down!  My fingers are so sore from pinning, but that's how I get accuracy.  There were a number of 'ugh' spots where things just didn't quite line up as they should, and some unsewing and resewing took place.  I know I pressed in the directions Bonnie said to, but it seemed that those seams just didn't play well together.
Then Callie just gave up in exhaustion after spending 8.5 hours on New Year's Day.  I was ready to toss this project into a box and leave it for my descendants!  And now it's Jan. 4th and having spent another 8.5 hours over two days after deciding I'd push on, I have discovered that the rows are fitting together much better.  I don't know why that first set of blocks was giving me fits. 

At this point, I have 54-40 or Fight sewn into three rows for each block, and I have rows 1 and 2 of each Birthday Girl block sewn and pressed, and have pinned row 3 onto 15 of them.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...