Making it Monday on Tuesday

  How I get 'em...

How I get 'em...

I was out of town from Thursday through Monday morning around 10a, having taken a red-eye flight back from my work trip on the West coast. Therefore, Monday was a total loss. Well, not total. I did a couple of "mindsweeps" for work and home and got a bunch of tasks plunked into my list for the next few weeks. So there is that. 

Today, however, although still pretty fried (as of this writing in the afternoon I'm still debating if I'm up to going to my guild meeting tonight), I did get some necessary errands run and I unpacked. After that, I figure anything else I actually get done is gravy. I got my Cotton Cuts Puzzle Mystery block of the month in today's mail and, since those aren't overly challenging, decided to stick to my "get it done immediately" record from the last two weeks. And sure 'nuff, an hour later I had the blocks done. The only unsewing I had to do was when I ran out of bobbin thread halfway through a piece. Given how exhausted I am, I consider that a serious win.

  Completed blocks

Completed blocks

To recap: This is Cotton Cut's Puzzle Mystery Block of the Month, and I'm doing the Portofino Colorway. I'm part of the Facebook group for this mystery quilt and it's wonderful to see all the different colorways (I almost jumped on the bandwagon to do a second one once I saw some of the other fabrics being used, but sanity won the day). It's also available as a large or small size--I'm doing the small, if I recall, and it's a throw size. But the blocks aren't identical between the two sizes so I can't wait to see the difference in the two quilts once they're put together. 

This BOM is already closed, although they do suggest you can email them (email address is at the link I've given above) to find out if there are still any available in any of the colorways. Sign-up for their fall quilt opens on May 25, and the first block ships in July. I'm already pretty sure I'll be signing up for that one--I've been averaging about an hour a month putting these blocks together so it's extremely do-able, no matter how busy I get!

I think I'm going to risk doing a little more sewing. I'll probably last another 15 minutes before the tired-dumb kicks in. Then I'll go back to things that don't involve sharp objects.

Cotton Cuts Mystery Quilt--Month 1 Done!

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You may recall me mentioning awhile back (and on my podcast episode too, I believe) that I'd signed up for the mystery quilt available through Cotton Cuts. I had in my head that I wouldn't get it until the middle of February but it shipped on February 2nd and I got it Monday! 

I didn't have anything on my schedule Monday evening and had already planned on spending some time sewing. I confess to some "Squirrel"ing, however, as I really should've been focused on the 9-Patch Pizzazz (aka 9PP). However, I was excited to break open the Cotton Cuts bright pink padded envelope, plus I really don't want to get behind in this thing, so I sat right down and got to it.

As you can see from the photo, the first month included a pattern page, the die-cut pieces, and a little package of doo-dads.

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At first glance, I thought the doo-dads were embellishments for the quilt that I'd have to put away and keep track of. Then I realized...wait, they're snackies!

And very tasty, too, especially since I was doing all of this in the hour before dinner. Ahem. They're like little slices of fruity candy-canes. Yum.


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Anyway, back to the sewing. This mystery quilt BOM is all pre-cut. All you have to do is follow the directions to put the blocks together. It's about as fool-proof as you can get, although I did still manage to have to do a little reverse sewing a couple of times. I'm rusty. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

They provide this very handy swatch sheet to use. Since there were something like 12 possible colorways, this allows us to all follow the instructions easily. They only send this swatch sheet once, though, so they warn you to make sure to keep track of it. 

I chose the Portofino colorway, which makes me #teamportofino. Woo--I'm on a team! I love these colors even more in person than when I chose them on the website. This is going to be so bright and cheery.

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And here are my finished blocks for month 1. 

All in, it probably took me about an hour, including the reverse sewing. I had to unstitch one set of half-square triangles because the stacks of fabric pieces were obviously packaged "as-is" from when they were die-cut. In other words, each stack had one piece right-side up followed by the next piece wrong-side up, then right-side up, wrong-side up, etc. I noticed it on the print fabrics right away as they're really obvious which side is which. I had already sewn one of the background pieces in wrong-side up, though, before catching myself. It's a tone-on-tone and not as obvious...until you do it wrong. The other unstitching was just because I didn't like the way one of my long strips had gone on. I knew I could do better.

Boy, it felt good to get one "assignment" for the month done. And this one wasn't even on my list! Now it's back to the 9PP.

Making It Monday

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Thanks to a couple of sick days and a major power outage in the same week, Block 5 is now done.

This one went really smoothly. The only issue was that one of the third little kitty's french-knot eyeballs started hanging on by a thread as I stitched the rest of the block. Although that has an appropriately-Halloween-y feel to it, it was a bit more gruesome than this project requires.

So I had to stab him right through the middle of his eye with a sharp needle to tack it back down again.

Gruesome.

Pretty Mail (AKA: Like I Really Have Time for This)

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Yesterday I got the first couple of installments of the embroidery Block of the Month (BOM) that I signed up for at The Quilt Block, Inc., when I was in Exton, PA, in April. Woot!

I ended up getting month 1 and 2 at the same time due to some delays around getting my payment info to them, etc., which is part of the fun-tricky part of doing a LQS BOM from a distance. Still, we worked it out, and it's all good. It was a kick getting a box filled with goodies!

 

The BOM is "Postcard Cuties for Halloween," from Bunny Hill Designs. My package included all sorts of great stuff to get me rolling!

Even candy corn for a mid-project sugar fix!

 

 

There's a jelly roll of fabrics to work with--Moda's Spooky Delights by Bunny Hill Designs.

As you can see if you use the link for the whole project above, ultimately this finishes to a 38" x 36" finished wallhanging. To date, I've never made a Halloween quilted decor item of any kind, although I do have a few patterns I've collected over the years. As I told my daughter yesterday when she was admiring my pretty mail with me, this isn't my usual style. But even if I don't love it when it's done, it would only be hanging up for, at most, a couple of weeks a year. (More likely, the way I usually forget to decorate until the last moment, a couple of days a year.) 

I do the cutting for each block as I work on them, and it looks like I can choose which fabric I want to use each time, so that'll be fun too. The only thing I'm a little worried about is whether I'd end up with two fabrics sitting next to each other in the finished wallhanging (which would bug me no end) so I may end up, for simplicity's sake, just following her picture. That's not normally like me, either, but much of the time I'll be working on this I'll be deeply enmeshed in work travel and schoolwork again and won't want to unduly stress myself out for what's supposed to be a fun project.

I know my limits.

 

 

The package also included some Tulip embroidery needles. This is a Japanese brand made in Hiroshima. According to the packaging, they're made in such a way as to make them slide more easily through the fabric. I bought some Tulip needles when I was at the shop but I made the mistake of opening the package and dumping them into my usual magnetic needle case with all the rest, so I have no idea now which is which to compare. I'll keep these needles separate with this project to make it easier for me to get a feel for them.

 

And then there's the embroidery thread--everything I'll need for the project. This is Cosmo embroidery floss, another product from Japan. I noticed that it's also sold on the Bunny Hill Designs website so she must be a fan of this floss; hence, it's use in her project. 

I'm not familiar with Cosmo, but since it's from Japan, and since Bunny Hill Designs is Australian, I'm thinking maybe Cosmo is more common in Australia...? Any of my Australian/New Zealander buddies want to comment on that? I'm looking forward to using it to compare it with DMC and the other threads I'm used to working with. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Error here--sorry. I had Bunny Hill Designs and Lynette Anderson Designs mixed up in my head. Bunny Hill is not in Australia, Lynnette Anderson is. So Australian/New Zealanders would have no more reason to be familiar with Cosmo thread than I do!

 

And just to be extra nice, they included a water soluble marking pen. I already use this type and really like it, so I'm glad to have another!

 

Month 1 will be fun--I get to start out embroidering bats. Woot! I need to make five bat blocks altogether, but it's a really simple design so I don't think it'll take too long. I will have to practice my satin stitch a little more--I've not gotten that one really smooth yet and it's used for the bats' eyes. The bats are scattered throughout the finished wallhanging on that orange dot fabric included with the package. The official first block includes a cat and spider (on the off-white background). It's got a little more going on, especially in the satin stitch department. If I'm not good at that satin stitch now, I will be by the time this puppy is finished!

 

Month 2 is another cat block with some lettering. That one is simple enough that again, it should go pretty quickly. (I know, I know: "Famous last words.")

Month 3 comes in July, but I do have a few other projects I really ought to get done before starting on this so I may end up with Month 3 arriving before I've managed to get both 1 and 2 done. I'm determined not to fall too far behind, though!

I'm thinking I may have found the ultimate use for the Annie Unrein toiletries bag--I feel like it would be the perfect project bag for this BOM. It would easily hold all the supplies, so it's just a matter of what size hoop I'll need for the blocks. I'll keep you posted...