Catching Up...WIPs, BOMs, and Finishes, O My

Boy, howdy, has it been awhile since I've written a blog post! My apologies. It's not for want of quilting to show, it's for want of time to write the posts about the quilting I've been doing. It's time to play catch-up, and the fastest way to do that is with a little photo-essay...

The Progress Down Easy Street (not in strict complete weekly order)


I have everything pieced--just have to put the top together. I'll be talking about this in an upcoming episode.

My Guild Paper Pieced Block of the Month
We're using Carol Doak's 300 Paper Pieced Blocks book. The BOM leader is choosing the block each month. I'm using only scraps from my scrap bin as much as possible--so far, with only two months under my belt, so good. We'll see what happens when I get into months 10-12! I'm trying to keep all the colors at the same intensity and saturation level, with scrappy white backgrounds, so no matter what the blocks are I'm hoping they'll all hold together at the end. But I'm also being flexible--if I can't get them all into one project I won't sweat it.

January's block

  February's block already done (woot! I'm ahead!)

My little growing village. 
@verylazydaisy said they looked like gnome houses; 
so now I think of this as Gnome Village. 
We'll see what the next block brings!

An Impulse Project: Christmas Tablerunner

I bought some Christmas fabric on sale that I really had no right to be buying given that (1) it was a couple of days before Christmas and (2) I already had a respectable stash of Christmas fabric at home that hasn't been used. So, to waylay the guilt factor, I immediately made a table runner out of it that weekend and successfully used up all the Christmas fabric I'd bought plus some white from my stash. So while I still have the aforementioned respectable stash of Christmas fabric, at least I didn't add to it! (My apologies--I stuck a black border on the picture and belatedly realized it makes it look like there's a black border on the tablerunner itself. There's no black border on the tablerunner.)

I also poked away at a quilt for a family member but it got set aside until I can finish Easy Street. That one really isn't picture-worthy yet--mostly a bunch of cut fabric at this point.

We have family in from out of town for the rest of this week/weekend so no more sewing for a little while. Things should settle down next week so I can get back into a blogging routine again!

Found Time--and Some Quilt Progress (WIP)

So my eponymous (sigh) hurricane downed our offices server-wise (we're based in Valley Forge, PA), so I ended up with today off. I could've spent the day working on another closet, but I'm a firm believer in "Found Time." When you end up with time you didn't expect to have, you should enjoy it! Thus, off to my sewing machine I went.

If you've been able to listen to the podcast episode I posted right before the storm hit on Monday evening, you'll know I'm working on a challenge project for my guild. If you haven't been able to listen to it yet, you might need to wait a bit. The podcast host servers also seem to be down now so if you didn't download it the night I posted it, you might not be able to for a few days. Sorry about that!

So, to recap for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about--this is the Untouchables Challenge, in which the challenge is to use that fabric that's been on your shelf for a long time and you (1) haven't wanted to cut into it because it's too pretty and you're sure you'll ruin it; (2) it's a tricky fabric and you're just not entirely sure how to use it; or, (3) it's butt-ugly and you can't imagine what you were thinking when you bought it.

Fortunately, my fabric for the challenge falls into categories (1) and (2). It's a McKenna Ryan collection. In my podcast episode, I talk about how I ended up landing on the technique I'm using so I won't go into that here. The nutshell version: It's the 9-Patch Pizzazz technique by Judy Sisneros.

Right now the blocks are all just hanging out on my design wall--I haven't actually figured out my final layout yet. This layout was simply me seeing whether I had enough blocks to work with.

I'll eventually have it in a layout that helps your eye travel more and blends better. It's very low contrast intentionally--sort of a spa feel. I may do something with the border to give it more definition. Or not. Haven't decided yet. I need to let it brew for a bit.

I think the colors blend in person better than they seem to in this picture. Lighting issues.

I made a 9-Patch Pizzazz a few years back. This one is named "Roman Pizzazz." It hangs in my dining room most of the year until I switch it out with a flag quilt that hangs from Memorial Day to Labor Day (or, like this year, until tonight when I realized, "Yeesh--the flag is still up!").

It's named "Roman" because the focus fabric felt very romanesque to me. Other than the border quilting which you can see pretty clearly in this picture, I quilted the rest of it with climbing leaf vines to give it an ancient ruins-kind-of-feel.

Whenever you do listen to my episode, you can probably see what I mean when I referred to some of the fabrics blending *too* well in this quilt--you can't even tell that most of those blocks are 9-patches. But still, I like the colors!

Boy, does it feel good to be making progress on projects again!

Progress! One Finish, a WIP, and a Challenge (O My)

Yesterday was a banner day here in the "Quilting...for the Rest of Us" quilt studio. (Ooh, doesn't that sound all sorts of official?)

First, I started out with a little mini-project that I'd volunteered for last week. If you're following my Fabri-Sabbatical blog, you'll know I spend Wednesday afternoons with the Women's Learning Club, which is a group of recent arrivals to the U.S. from Burma. Last Wednesday, a couple of women from our church brought some fleece, hearts cut out of fabric, and embroidery threads to make baby blankets that will be donated. This is a project they've been doing with various groups for a few weeks, so we thought it would be fun to include our group as well, and in the process, teach a fast and inexpensive way to make extra blankets for your family if you should need them.

The women organizing the event decided it would take too long to do a blanket-stitch around the outer edge by hand, so they were taking them home to do by machine. I volunteered to take one as well, so I decided to knock that out first. It turned out OK, although I still prefer doing it by hand. It took about twenty minutes to sew, and then another twenty minutes to get all the fleece lint out of my machine.

One of our group had embroidered the heart onto this one, and she taught me how to do the chain stitch as she was doing it. My chain stitch doesn't look nearly as good as hers yet!

That project done, I moved on to my funky landscape quilt in progress.


...became this.

Everything is just stuck down with glue stick at this stage, so I may still move some things around. I'm playing with perspective and balance and such. And I'm still working on getting the fern-y things to look more like ferns and less like Seussian birds. Quilting will help that a lot, though.

Haven't decided yet what's going in the center section. I'm going to live with it for a bit to see what comes to me.

Then I turned to my guild medallion challenge. The dang thing is due tonight, so I really wanted to get it done. And I did! (Only three more borders to go until the challenge is done. I'll find out tonight what the next border is supposed to be.)