Monday, August 30, 2010

Design Wall Monday::An Actual Finish

I went to a mini-retreat with my sewing group this past weekend, and, TA-DA!, I actually have something new to show on my design wall today.  This is a little wall hanging that somehow got stalled out over the summer.  I had nine blocks done, but the other four blocks had to wait until this weekend when I finally got them put together, along with the sashing.  I love this little block.  It's a great way to use up odd scraps and to play with a lot of color combinations that I ordinarily wouldn't try.  The pattern info is here, if you're interested. (I had to go in the WAY BACK machine, ahem, last June, to find it.)

Because I can't resist, here are some pictures of some of my favorite blocks:

And another one:

BTW these blocks are 8 inches, finished.

And, I got some other things done, too!  Ah, it felt so good to be able to sit and sew.

I finished another of the basket blocks from the basket quiltalong at Piecemeal Quilts.  The pattern is available right there on Sandi's sidebar.  This is the third one I've completed, and I love her clear directions.  Thanks, Sandi!

I did two other blocks at a retreat last spring, and I might have enough for a quilt top sometime this decade... IF I get to attend enough quilt retreats.

But that's not all.  I got some of my civil war jelly roll fabric cut for the album quilt I've been eying here and there on the webs.  I also picked up some Moda Bella solid for the background.  I have the pieces for one block cut out, but didn't have time to get one whole block put together.

Alas, Sunday afternoon came too soon and I had to pack up all my stuff and come home. 

You can check out what others are working on this Monday by checking out Judy L.'s blog Patchwork Times

Have a great week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

What do you do when you don't sew?  Shop.  Online, that is, since I certainly haven't had time to make it out to a quilt shop.  In my last post I talked about the nosegay block that those of us in my sewing group had been admiring.  We couldn't figure out how to make the kite shape for the "handle" of the bouquet.  I went ahead and ordered the plastic template from Marti Michell and it arrived in today's mail.  I don't know when I'll ever get to this, but at least I can cut the pieces when I finally have some time.

I was in a bit of a fog this weekend, trying to recover from my first full week of school and catching up on things I let slide during the week.  By late Saturday afternoon I needed something I could do that wouldn't require too much in the way of brain power.  I had been admiring the Willow Cowl (Ravelry link) and since it just needs one ball of sock yarn, which I just happened to have lying around, I fired up some movies on Netflix and started knitting.

I worked on it a bit on Sunday, too.  Round and round knitting; all you have to do is keep track of is the number of rows in a simple pattern.  Just what the doctor ordered for de-stressing after a long and tiring week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

School Days and a Nosegay

School started this week.  (Insert descending chord here.)

As you may recall, I moved to the middle school this year.  I spent most of the month of May packing up the tons of teaching gear I've accumulated over the years and dividing it in two parts: a Mt. Everest size pile of primary (grades K-3) materials and a Mt. McKinley size pile of intermediate (grades 4-5) material.  Mt. Everest got transferred by my always-patient-and-helpful husband and me over two hot and sweaty weekends to a storeroom I am lucky enough to have access to.  Mt. McKinley was moved over the summer to my new classroom, just waiting for me.  It took the better part of a week, but I managed to get all the boxes emptied and broken down and the stuff put away before the doors opened on the first day of school.

This week I felt as though I had started a whole new job. New procedures, new forms, new computers, new schedules, new students, new faculty and staff, new everything.  This year is going to be an adventure for sure.

As far as sewing goes, except for my Friday night sewing group, I haven't picked up a needle for a week or more. 

I do have a quilting story to share, however.  Two weeks ago at our Friday night sewing group, one of my friends brought over two absolutely beautiful heirloom quilts that belong to her neighbors.  One was an appliqued poppy, done in several shades of red and dark pink on white muslin, which I didn't get a picture of.  The other was a nosegay pattern. I borrowed these pictures from my friend Anne's cell phone.

I know that had I seen this pattern in a magazine or book I might not have taken a second look, but in person it is truly amazing.  This one looks as though it was sewn last week.  All the fabrics are bright and unfaded and it showed very little wear. 

We all began to try to figure out how to make the kite shape at the bottom of the bouquet.  Anne found an older pattern, but it called for making 1-inch grid paper and tracing the pieces (remember those?).  I thought I had directions for rotary cutting a kite shape, but it turns out that the angles are the wrong size.  What to do? 

Saturday I googled the pattern and I found one at the McCall's website, but I couldn't get the templates to print out at the right size.  And then I saw several references to a Marti Michell pattern that was in the October 2010 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.  The very selfsame issue that was sitting on the table next to my computer.  In fact, we had been paging through that magazine the night we all saw the quilt. The paper templates are, of course, in the magazine, or you can order plastic ones from Marti's website. 

It just blew me away that I had paged through that magazine so many times and never noticed the quilt.  The quilt featured in the magazine is very pretty, but not "my colors".  I guess my eye just skipped over it without absorbing what it was. 

So another project is added to the list..

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More Odds and Ends

These blocks have been sitting on my design wall since last month.  Each time I thought about cutting the lattice strips and starting to put this little quilt together I hesitated.  Thinking it over, I finally decided that I really LIKE these little things and I want to make more. 

So the other morning before it got too hot in my sewing room, I cut out fabric for a few more...

I have a large scrap basket next to my cutting table just for reproduction fabrics and I pulled fabrics more or less at random.  There is enough cut here for four more blocks; I'll sew those and then decide whether to go on.  I think I probably will.