Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Thing, One Week Challenge :: 6 Alas!

Amy's Creative Side

Well. I'm afraid I don't have much to report with regards to my One Thing, One Week Challenge goal from last week. I'm afraid events got the better of me... preschool meetings, husband's crazy work hours, Big Bear's birthday party (he's 4 today!!!!), and a cold (*sniffle*). Not much quiltin' goin' on here.

But, lots of other people were able to make their goals, and I take heart in that. If they can get it done, maybe next time I will too. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not just virtual any more!

It is real! Or, at least the center is...

the completed center of my Jane Stickle quilt
It still needs a good pressing, but here is the completed center of my Jane Stickle quilt top!!! Woo hoo!!!

Holy cow. I still can't believe I have gotten so far.

Time for some borders!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Style Stitches Monthly Bag Challenge: The Cosmo

Style Stitches Monthly Bag Challenge 2011
For Jem Jam's January Style Stitches challenge, we were to complete bag number one, the Cosmo bag. I got mine finished, and I'm thrilled with how well it turned out!

Cosmo bag, front view
It's a happy bag...

Cosmo bag, side view
... with side pockets and French kitties. I especially love the big wooden button I found for it. Some have complained that the side pockets are so deep that they're impractical. But I rather like them. I think they'll be handy to just drop some keys down or to stick some printed directions into with no worries that anything is going to fall out.

Cosmo bag, interior peek
The roomy interior has big side pockets. I thought about maybe adding a zipper pocket, but I probably wouldn't use it (since I never use the zipper pockets in my current bag). The only change I made to the given instructions was to add a layer of peltex (the super-thick interfacing) to the bag base to help give it some stability.

me and my Cosmo bag
And, for scale, here I am with my new bag. It's big and fabulous! I've taken to calling it my "Excursion Bag," as it is going to be perfect for all-day diapering adventures.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Thing, One Week Challenge :: 6

Woo hoo! It's time for another One Thing, One Week Challenge, hosted by the fabulous Amy!

Amy's Creative Side

I've decided that this week, my one thing will be completing the quilting in the center of my "Forest Canopy" quilt. I think this is a do-able goal. Of course, that is assuming I can focus myself on doing it.

Forest Canopy quliting inspiration
I thought I'd share my little inspiration board that's in my quilting area to help keep me focused on my plan. Happy leaves!

Unfortunately (at least in terms of completing this challenge), right now my focus is almost entirely on my Jane. One more seam and the center will be complete! One seam! And then I can move on to borders. Sigh... I probably should have made that my one thing for the week. But I have this crazy notion that I really need to challenge myself for the challenge. So, quilting it is.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

With more chunky goodness!

I'm continuing to make progress on putting my Stickle blocks together. I've assembled a few more chunks o' Jane:

assembled blocks, G-10 to J-13
G-10 to J-13

assembled blocks, K-7 to M-9
K-7 to M-9

assembled blocks, K-4 to M-6
K-4 to M-6

There was some seam ripping involved in these after I accidentally added bottom borders to all of the M blocks. I realized after they were complete that in order for the triangle borders to fit, there can only be a 1/4" border on the outside edges of the center. And since my plan is to do those outside borders as long solid strips, the wider pieced ones had to go. At least I figured it out before I got everything together.

I'm nearly ready to assemble the center! (And trepidation grows as I try to psyche myself up for the triangle borders... bias edges, here I come!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quilting "Forest Canopy" - Phase 1

I've finally decided on a name for the "Prairie Pinwheels" quilt I've been working on: "Forest Canopy." Not only that-- but I've also finally started quilting it! Yay!

A few years ago, I took a machine quilting class from Sue Nickels. She suggested quilting any long, straight lines first, so as to help stabilize the quilt and make detail work go more smoothly. Because of the size of this quilt, that seemed like an especially good idea to me! So here is my quilting plan, updated to show the straight lines I am quilting (in green):

Forest Canopy quilting plan
It is pretty slow going, not only because the quilt is huge and difficult to maneuver, but also because quilting in the ditch is hard. I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job though, and it is a big confidence booster. In the picture below, you can see some of my ditch-quilting.

quliting in progress, Forest Canopy
It's not wildly exciting (heck, when I do it right, you can't even see it!), but I think doing this is going to make the next phase (when I start freemotioning) easier. So it is definitely worth it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More pillowcases!

Before Christmas I had a pillowcase cutting spree. I finally managed to get them all sewn this week.

January pillowcase frenzy
I put together 15 pillowcases: 13 for ConKerr Cancer, and 2 for me, using a total of 14.75 yards of fabric.

ConKerr Cancer requests that all pillowcases be washed, pressed and individually packaged in a ziploc bag. Here are mine, all packed up and ready to go:

pillowcases packed and ready
Woo hoo!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Style Stitches Monthly Bag Challenge 2011-January's Bag

So I stumbled across a new sew-a-long group via a post on the Fat Quarter Shop's Jolly Jabber.

Style Stitches monthly bag challenge
It is being hosted by Jemellia of JemJam. Inspired by Amy Butler's new book, Style Stitches, Jemellia decided that she is going to challenge herself to make one bag a month from the book. Since I just received the book as a Christmas gift, joining the challenge seems like a fun way to push myself to start making stuff from it. I find that having people to stitch with (like a quilt along or a BOM group) really helps motivate and inspire me (and keep me on task!). I don't know that I'll manage to make a bag every month-- but I'm hoping to at least try a few of the designs out.

First up in the challenge queue is the Cosmo Bag. It is big and spacious and looks like it will be perfect for an all-day diaper bag (as opposed to my current bag, in which I only carry a single change). I found some fabrics in my stash that I think will make for a fun bag:

fabrics for my Cosmo Bag
I didn't actually have the yardage requirements for the exterior or the "solid" coordinate, but having made some Amy Butler bags previously, I felt pretty confident that I could go with less fabric than called for in the pattern. In this case, the design calls for 1 3/8 yard of the exterior, and 1 1/4 yard for the coordinating solid-- I managed to get what I needed out of just 1 yard pieces. Yay!

Tonight I cut all the pieces. Now I'm ready to start sewing!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New year, new goals

I can hardly believe 2010 is behind us already. So quick!!! It was a pretty productive year here in Crafty Musings land. Here are a few statistics:

Quilts 2010
  • 7 quilts
  • 5 flannel blankets
  • 28 pillowcases
  • 2 Halloween costumes
  • 6 aprons
  • 1 crayon wallet
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 1 set of curtains
  • 1 stocking
  • 1 mug rug
  • 1 fabric basket
  • 1 diaper bag
  • 1 diaper clutch
  • 63 Jane Stickle blocks (and now all 225 complete!)
  • A whole bunch of miscellaneous blocks for BOMs, quilt alongs, and bees

  • and...
    Big Bear and Little Bear!
  • 1 baby boy!!! (There he is at 6 months old with his big brother!)

In terms of goals, I set four for myself in 2010. How'd I do?
  1. Use more fabric than I buy.-- Hmmm... close! But not quite. Final tally:
    Fabric Stats 2010:
    Fabric In: 136.955 yds
    Fabric Used: 116.292 yds

  2. Make and donate some quilts for charity.-- I was able to make and donate 2 quilts this year.

  3. Finish some UFOS.-- Technically, I would call this one a no. Though at least I finished something!

  4. Take better care of me.-- In terms of getting more sleep and exercising, this one is definitely a fail. But, I also have a new baby. So I'm not feeling too bad about this one.

And now for some goals for 2011:

  1. Use more fabric than I buy.-- I was so close in 2010. This year, I can do it! For reals!

  2. Finish at least one UFO-- My guild is having a UFO challenge this year that will hopefully help me in making this happen.

  3. Put together my Jane Stickle top.

  4. Have fun with being creative and making stuff!-- Just because I need to remind myself to do that sometimes.

Here's to a happy and productive 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jane Stickle Quilt: TR-7, RS-5, & TR-11

Jane Stickle block TR-7Block number/name: TR-7 “Norway’s Fjord”

Date completed: December 30, 2010

Number of pieces: 22

Notes on block: It has been quite awhile since I worked on this project. The last block I worked on was finished on November 9. But I think the break must have been good for me, because it feels so awesome to have completed a block! And this was a fun one to work on too. I really love this fabric and the block design.

Only two triangles to go!

One of my goals in the New Year is going to be getting this quilt top together.

Jane Stickle block RS-5Block number/name: RS-5 “Geisha Girl”

Date completed: December 31, 2010

Number of pieces: 27

Notes on block: As I worked on this block, all I could think about was that this is the second-to-last block. And then the blocks will be done. DONE. And it feels a little weird. Exciting! But weird.

Jane Stickle block TR-11Block number/name: TR-11 “Phoenix”

Date completed: December 31, 2010

Number of pieces: 23

Notes on block: The last block!!! I was so excited after finishing RS-5, I had to go on and complete this one too. And even though I finished it at 2 A.M., I’m counting it done in 2010!

All the blocks are Done. I can hardly believe it. Now comes the task of putting them all together. Exciting!!! And what a cool way to start the New Year.

Happy New Year!