Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: I-5

Block number/name: I-5 “Maria’s Majesty”

Date completed: August 25, 2009

Number of pieces: 6

Notes on block: My friend gifted me with more green fabric yesterday! (Thank you, Evelyn!!!) When I saw this block posted on That Quilt, I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. I just love how the little elephant is framed in the center. I started by reverse appliquéing the outside frame, then I did the melons in the center. I think it worked out pretty well.

Last night (just before I started working on this block) I went and saw the movie Julie and Julia with some of the moms in my neighborhood (Mom’s Night Out!). So much fun! Now I really need to get my paws on a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: E-2 & D-1

Jane Stickle block E-2Block number/name: E-2 “Merry May”

Date completed: August 22, 2009

Number of pieces: 11

Notes on block: The center melons in this block are kind of odd. The pieces as printed out from the software are not quite symmetric—one end of each melon is narrower than the other. I went with it, but it bothered me the entire time I was working on it (though clearly not enough for me to take the time to re-draft them). Fortunately, when I look at the finished block, the disparity doesn’t really bother me.

Jane Stickle block D-1Block number/name: D-1 “Alison’s Guiding Light”

Date completed: August 22, 2009

Number of pieces: 23

Notes on block: I really love this block. That starburst in the center is so striking! I stayed up way too late in order to finish it. Thankfully, I was able to sneak in a nap today to help make up for it. It was really nice getting to take some time to sew last night. I recently took on some freelance work and that has been monopolizing my evenings. The money is definitely nice, but I really miss my stitching fun-time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: I-1

Jane Stickle block I-1Block number/name: I-1 “Ralph and Nelda’s Wedding”

Date completed: August 19, 2009

Number of pieces: 20

Notes on block: Though this wasn’t the next block on the to-do list, I just wasn’t in an appliqué mood last night. So—out came the pieced block. Simple and happy. I just love this pretty green fabric, and it was fun fussy cutting and arranging the little squares to take advantage of the cute flowers. And maybe tonight, should my second wind come along and revive me some, I’ll tackle the appliqué block.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Purple Patchwork Panda complete!

After much anxiety and drama (oh, how I hate you, purple leafy fabric!!!), the Purple Patchwork Panda is complete. Many thanks need to go to AJ for sharing this wonderful pattern in her Panda Quilt Along.

completed Purple Patchwork Panda quilt
Bound and washed, this panda is good to go! And look:

the evil block
There is nary a trace of the purple that bled into the white! I went ahead and quilted and bound the quilt, then threw it in the wash using a little Synthrapol rubbed directly into the stain and four Color Catchers (which did turn very purple). When it came out, I was so happy to see that not only did the panda stay white, but the section that bled was practically white too! Unless you know to look, you'd never notice the bleeding, it is that faint now.

Apparently, pre-washing the back 8 times paid off, because it caused no trouble.

I think the quilting works pretty nicely too. I love all the texture in the panda body! I also stippled in the purple areas and then used different coordinating threads to quilt petals in the pinwheel blocks.

And here's the label. How pretty is that name? I just love the name Frances. And she is the sweetest little baby girl (8 weeks old now!). Hopefully, she'll enjoy her new quilt for a long time to come.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: E-6

Jane Stickle block E-6Block number/name: E-6 “Michelle’s Medley”

Date completed: August 16, 2009

Number of pieces: 28

Notes on block: I think I’ve pushed the limits of “green” on this block. It’s really more of a green-tinged grey. But I think it will look okay in the overall scheme. It is still greenish.

I ran into trouble making this one. After I finished stitching, I was trimming out the background fabric behind the little appliqué squares (because that’s just what I do) when I accidentally cut through the appliqué fabric. Ooops! So off that square came, and I had to appliqué a new one. But I didn’t center it exactly where the previous one was, so it just barely covers the hole I had already trimmed in the background. I think it is okay, but I will need to remember to be gentle with this block in the future.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: LS-10

Jane Stickle block LS-10Block number/name: LS-10 “Megan’s Cathedral”

Date completed: August 13, 2009

Number of pieces: 22

Notes on block: I actually tried piecing the bottom section with those tight inset seams. It didn't work out too well. So I changed course and went with appliqué. But I'm really proud of myself for having given it a try.

Not only do I love the look of this block, but its name is great too. Last weekend, my sister-in-law, Megan, returned home after more than 7 months in New Zealand! We went and saw her when she returned home and celebrated her birthday together. It was so wonderful getting to see her after so long. Welcome home, Megan!!!

I’ve had a couple questions in the comments recently to which I have been unable to respond because they are set to “no-reply” in Blogger. So I thought I’d address them here:

Have you tried laying the blocks out around each other yet?
Nope! Not yet, both because of lack of space and also lack of time. But I do update my virtual design wall (example below) every time I finish a block (though I generally only share it on here once every couple months, after I’ve completed a decent number of blocks). That design wall is so helpful! I actually reference it every time I choose fabrics for a block now.

How many blocks are there left in the whole quilt?
There are 225 different pieced blocks in the quilt (169 center squares, 52 triangles, and 4 corner kites). I’ve completed 133 so far. So I guess that means I have 92 left. Woo hoo!

my virtual Jane Stickle design wall

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: BR-4

Jane Stickle block BR-4Block number/name: BR-4 “Candy Dish”

Date completed: August 12, 2009

Number of pieces: 26

Notes on block: It has been awhile since I’ve spent any quality time on my Stickle blocks, and it felt really good to work on this one last night. I’m feeling energized about this project again and am hoping to get the next three prepped and ready to sew later today.

Sometimes, I find that taking a little break and then coming back to a project can help a lot in building back some momentum. The danger in this is sometimes I don’t ever go back… resulting in a large pile of UFOs! I’m really hoping that once I get on top of the baby quilt production (one to quilt, and one to make still), I’ll be able to shift my energies to that pile of languishing projects and maybe even finish one. And stay on top of my Stickle blocks. And my BOMs. And whatever other things come my way!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Snip. Sew. Send. Month 3

After the last couple of months of doing everything at the last minute with no small amount of stress (I swear, I'd blink and then the month was gone!), I decided I needed to try something different and finish my Snip. Sew. Send. block before the end of the month. Crazy!

August is Zonnah's month and she requested a 7.5" block that included circles and/or curves. I've had flying geese in my brain lately (in more ways than one, maybe!) and I decided to try and get them out of my system.

original block drawing
Inspired by this and this and Gail Garber's book, Stellar Journeys: Flying Geese and Star Quilts, I drew this block.

Then I used freezer paper foundation piecing to create the geese (a la this fabulous tutorial from Twiddletails).

samples of my freezer paper foundation pieced geese
This was my first time trying this technique, and I was super happy with how well it worked. I can see why many prefer it to traditional paper foundation piecing-- no dulling of the needle and no having to tear paper away!

I decided to go ahead and applique the geese onto the background. This may not have been the best decision because I had a very difficult time trying to position them (I did them needleturn, using freezer paper on top) and there was a lot of bulk in the seams. I had to do a couple of the points twice before I was happy with them. I suspect it probably would have been easier to just do some curved piecing. Live and learn!

completed block for Zonnah
The points are still not perfect, but I'm feeling okay about them at this point and I am happy with the overall look of the block. Hopefully, Zonnah will be happy too!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Despite many good intentions, I only just managed to get the Purple Patchwork Panda basted and quilted this last weekend.

As you may recall, I was having trouble with one of the fabrics in the quilt. In one of the blocks, the purple fabric began to bleed into the white background. After a couple of failed attempts at trying to mitigate the bleeding, I decided to just get it quilted and see what happens in the wash. I also decided to stay with my plan to use the same purple fabric on the back. But, before basting, I went ahead and washed the backing to be safe.

purple-i-fied color catchers
After 8 (yes... that's right... 8!) washes, the Color Catcher was still picking up dye (though, as you can see in the picture above, by the last couple of trips through the washer, the Color Catcher was only very lightly colored). I used Synthrapol in the first 3 loads, then I switched to regular detergent. Apparently, this fabric is just cursed. And, having seen that, I came to the conclusion that the project either needed to be scrapped, or I just needed to go for it. So it is quilted, and now I'm working on the binding.

binding the panda quilt

As soon as the binding is complete, my plan is to wash the quilt. We'll see what happens!

Friday, August 7, 2009

My kitchen buddy

The Boy loves to help in the kitchen. I decided he needed an apron.

ducky apron
I used the Kids' Four Corners Apron from Vanilla House Designs. I'm thrilled with how it came out! It is super-cute and it fits nearly perfectly (next time I might make the neckband a little longer to make it a little easier for him to put it on by himself). The trickiest part of the pattern for me was placement of the neckband. I'm not sure I did it quite right, because the stitches are showing on the front (I think they're supposed to be hidden by the triangle flap?). It wasn't in the pattern, but I decided to go ahead and topstitch the ties, the apron, and the pocket-- I just think it gives it a more finished look.

I'm actually thinking this apron might be a great option for birthday gifts next year (similar to how I did the crayon caddies this year). It is a great pattern!

But, I think you need to see it in action to truly appreciate it:

a smiling boy in the kitchen
Cooking is fun! (And flour is tasty!)

boy thinking about doing something with that bowl
Hmmm.... maybe...

boy sticking finger into bowl
Yeah... definitely better test it out...

boy licking tasty batter from finger
Mmmm.... cupcake batter!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why I should not sew when sleepy...

This month's block exchange block:

block exchange, Sue's block oops

This month's actual block exchange block:

block exchange, Sue's block

Sigh... But at least I saw the mistake before I turned it in! This quilter included a picture of what she planned to do with these blocks, which was fun to see. Very cute! She included the blue, the leafy batik, and the center sunflower print, and then left it to us to choose our own brown/gold accents. I thought that was a fun idea.

The block exchange is almost complete! I should be receiving my box back in September. I'm excited to see what I get back! (Don't know what a block exchange is? Check out this post for an explanation.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Playtime: the counter

It's been awhile since I've worked on my Playtime project. This block was initially pretty intimidating. It took a little time to psych myself up for it.

Behold! The counter:

Playtime: the counter block
As with all of the other applique blocks in this pattern, I started by reversing the pattern (since it was designed for fusible applique, and I'm doing needleturn) and tracing a vinyl overlay to help in placement. Then I made many, many little (.5") circles. Forty-eight little circles, to be precise. Fortunately, I finally got a set of Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles templates and was able to use Carrie P.'s technique for prepping circles. It worked like a charm!

Here's my (virtual) progress on the quilt thus far:

Playtime, months 1-5
Now that I've finished this block, I'm feeling pretty excited about getting back into the swing of things with this project. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Autumn House - Block 6

Despite the heat last week, I did manage to do a little handwork (though not as much as I would have liked!). Now I'm one block closer to being caught up on my Autumn House quilt. This is block six, "When the crow is on the pumpkin, Autumn is in the air!":

Autumn House, block 6
Everything went very smoothly on this block. Similar to the last block, in the inner points I employed Janet's tip, but this time tried out the Roxanne's basting glue instead of Fray Check. It worked like a charm. Yay!

In other exciting news-- my sewing machine is back from the Bernina spa and is now clean and sparkly and ready for some stitchin'!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Because of the unusually high temperatures here over the last week, the upstairs of my house has been unbearably hot (and the sewing/blogging room even hotter!). Thus, an unexpected blog break. I actually took advantage of the heat (since I couldn't do any sewing) to send my little machine to the Bernina spa. Hopefully, it will be ready to come home tomorrow and I can get back to my plethora of projects.

Anyway, I do have a project to share. I finished a pair of pajama pants for The Boy:

KS 3126, toddler pajama pants
The pattern is Kwik Sew 3126. I cut a 3T, and shortened the length by 1.5". Easiest pattern EVER! Only 2 pieces, and they went together super-quick (only 45 minutes from start to finish, and next time I know it will be even quicker!). And the fit was great. They even fit over his bulky nighttime cloth diaper with no problem.

pajama pants label
Since I was having a hard time telling the front from the back, I went ahead and added a little label. I need to start doing that for everything I sew, I think!

my super cute little boy in his new pajama pants
And, of course, the happy customer. He LOVES his new pajama pants and asks for them every night. They are nice and lightweight for summer (though not light enough for 3-digit temps... those were diaper-only nights!). Another pair of these is going on my to-sew list, stat!