Monday, November 17, 2014

MQG Scrap Swap and Catching Up (again)

These last months of the year are speedy, aren't they?  Here I am, catching up after a long break again, my apologies!  But busy I have been.  In the quilty department, there is this:

The Modern Quilt Guild I'm now a member of has monthly meetings.  There are a great group of ladies and several men in our growing guild.  A couple of months ago there was a challenge where members signed up to swap a shoebox full of scraps and make a quilt out of the scraps--keeping the modern aesthetic in mind.  I was very lucky and my name was drawn to swap with one of the finest and most prolific quilters.  However, that was a bit intimidating and I pondered, made a board on Pinterest, pawed/sorted the scraps, and scrolled through many of my quilt show photos but still could not come up with anything striking, until, of course, the rapidly approaching deadline.  The funny thing is that one of the photos I happened upon late and thought, "oh that would be a great idea",  turned out to be of one of HER quilts at the County Fair in 2013! (here it is---note the Blue Ribbon)
  It was a good jog of inspiration, however, and off I went. 

In the box were a lot of solid strips and chunks, and a lot of prints.  I decided to separate them and make a two-sided tablerunner.   I played around with pencil and paper and came up with these banded pairs of solids.  We were allowed to add one fabric; I added the green Kona solid in Tarragon, as my swap partner Kathy told me she liked sage green. I actually took a scrap from the box and matched it.

 I thought making the banding in black and white would help unify the design.  I think it did. 

The alternate blocks got random triangles, mostly in the neutral scraps. The hardest part of this was getting the triangles on the corners, oddly enough.  Then, for the prints, I decided to unify them with one shape and started cutting tumblers. 

While my pencil and paper idea included a lot more open space, it didn't turn out that way when I laid out the cut tumblers.  I loved all her modern prints and wanted to use as many as I could, weaving in the background color, in a sort of color progression.

Very simple machine quilting and binding.  Originally I was only going to use the green for the binding but at the last minute I threw in the black and white print around one corner.  The binding got put on the morning of the deadline!

 My co-worker held it up for me during a quick photo break. 

Back view.  Finished size was about 21x50.

I was so excited to see if Kathy liked the tablerunner that I nearly forgot I was getting something back.  The first two pairs of swappers had fantastic ideas and some made multiple items from the scrap boxes.  Then it was our turn.  I showed Kathy what I did with her scraps first and was pleased that she really liked what I came up with. Then she revealed what she did with mine: 

I had by this time completely forgotten what was in the box of scraps I submitted.  Kathy took all the Asian prints and chunks and made a HUGE bag--probably 24x30".  She and her husband have been bringing similar bags to the Guild meetings that hold quilts to share and projects they are working on.  These have been much admired by all, including me (excuse the lighting making pics way too yellowed).

The bag is completely lined and has a giant pocket inside. Kathy even added some hand stitching around the handle opening and on the inside pocket.  The blue fabric surrounding the rectangles is what fabric she added.  She also made me a small bucket from other scraps, which I neglected to take a photo of, but now lives on my ironing board.  We both agreed it was a fun challenge for making your brain work, and I'm sure a lot of members were kicking themselves for not participating. I can't wait to use the bag for the next guild meeting :)  

Since my last post, I have been able to keep up my early morning sewing for a number of days.  It really is nice to get some stitching in before going to work, and inspires me to get back to the sewing room at night, too.  There is certainly enough that needs to be done in there. I'm working away on the Winding Ways commission quilt and hope to be sewing the top together before too long.  It is a challenge of another kind!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Round Up

I thought September went fast, but October passed by in a blur as well, though plenty of events occurred.  DD Erica went to London, Paris, Edinburgh and Glasgow.  No sooner was she home than DD Elaine and family went to Puerto Vallarta.  Grandson Cove was a champion traveler, his parents reported.  He turned 8 months on the day they returned. All had a wonderful time, thankfully. 
Cove studying the Airline Safety Card
My sewing room has not seen nearly enough action this month, nor has my blog.  One more year without my finishing the Witches quilt or a Halloween wallhanging, both of which are still neatly folded on the Hoosier cabinet.  I'm still working on the Winding Ways quilt but it is very slow going.  I did spend time with a box of pieces last week, pinning segments, in a waiting room while DD Erica had a surgical procedure.  I also put some  "big" stitches in the Pink Lemonade quilt, which is still not done.  Erica didn't need much nursing when we got home, but still I couldn't seem to settle to the machine.  I had to ask for another month to get Winding Ways completed, and hope that is enough.  Sheesh.

Halloween week snuck up on us as well.  The decorating was haphazard at best but there was some done! 

The owls are felt coasters from Target last year.  The skull light has some great flickering bulbs.  (No idea where to get replacements for them when they finally burn out!)

Erica and her best friend obliged at the last minute on Halloween with cobweb duty.  (Pay no attention to that silly man in the doorway).  We had more trick-or-treaters this year than last--its always iffy when the holiday falls on a Friday, in my opinion, as it seems more people hold parties instead of going out.  Grant resorted to handfuls of candy in the last hour when things slowed.  It was all over by about 8:30.  Our first trick-or-treater of the night was our grandson.  His mom and a best friend plotted for a year the babies' first Halloween costume and revealed their secret only on October 31st.  It did not disappoint:

In the hat, Cove was Wayne, from Wayne's World, and friend Jude was Garth.  Party On, Excellent!    Southern California got a treat Halloween night as well, a drenching storm, with some showers overnight and the next morning.  Our rainy season starts October 1, so it feels a good omen that the month did end with measurable rain!

Cove spent today with Mimi and Papa today while his parents celebrated their 3rd wedding anniversary.  He's crawling, standing, jumping, babbling, and rarely still.  Which explains the short naps.  We loved every minute, of course, he is such a sweetie.  November is filling up with events and the holidays will be here before we know it, so it was nice to savor a Sunday with Cove.  My goal for the coming week is to get in some sewing time every morning, even if it is only a segment or two, then continue that after dinner.  Fingers crossed!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mixed Bag Continues

The mixed bag of goings-on continues here at the Orts compound.  I couldn't stand the state of my sewing room anymore and spent last weekend wading through piles, bins, boxes, and more piles.  There was folding and sorting and shoving and tossing.

Many of the piles here, there, and everywhere were scraps that needed to be cut down.  I was ruthless in getting rid of scraps I never want to see again.  Do your scraps do that to you?  I was so sick of some of them! I shoved a bunch in a plastic bag and it will go to the charity shop; ones that were too thin, too stiff, or too small went into the trash.  I do not save strings, selvages, or anything smaller than 1.5" wide. The rest I cut to the sizes I had already set up: 1.5", 2", 2.5", 3.5".    They were sorted ROY G. BIV style and placed back in the drawers.  Larger scraps will be cut into 2.5 strips with my GO! cutter at a later date.  The eventual plan is to separate the precut squares from the strips for easier use.  There is also a drawer of neutral scraps that needs to be dealt with. 

To also cut down on visual clutter, I covered the cutting table with a king sized sheet to hide the bins/drawer stacker/tools, etc.  Lucy thought that was great fun (see her tail there on the left).  This blurry shot was me hurrying before she ran out, which she did, seconds later.  So, while I still have piles and unfinished projects, things are a bit neater.

Friday I worked an early shift and came home in time for DH and me to get out of the house for a sunset stroll on our city's pier, and dinner at a favorite restaurant.

The "marine layer" hanging offshore looked ready to roll in.  But there was no wind and it was warm out yet.

Orange-tinged selfie!

A few dozen surfers off the point, tiny specks.  There wasn't much wave action and most of them were just sitting on their boards, enjoying the sunset.  We had yummy fish tacos at Spencer Makenzie's and were home before eight.  We promised ourselves more of these types of workweek endings!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Current State of Affairs

The current state of affairs around here is quite the mixed bag.  I feel behind on everything and the end of the year is rushing towards me at top speed.  A number of deadlines are looming.

This is the current state of my sewing room.  It's amazing anything nice comes out of this disaster. Someday I hope to see the tabletop of the Hoosier cabinet again...

On the cutting table currently are this batik table-runner, layers basted and binding cut, ready for quilting.  I've promised this to my dad.  His birthday was this week and I skipped the party due to catching a cold.  My dad never wants anyone who is sick to show up and possibly infect him.  Plus Cove was there and I didn't want to get him sick, either.  Today I'm home from work due to said cold. 

These mug mats were made for the guild meeting--at the last minute, of course.  I had some tumblers precut and matched up some other scrappy leftovers to fashion the mug mats. 

Simple stitch and turn and some minimal quilting. I like to have little things like this on hand to give as gifts.

I think I mentioned my sister and I joined the local Modern Quilt Guild, a couple of months ago.  This month we signed up to provide snacks for the members.  Kathy made a blackberry cobbler and announced that "none of it better come home with her".  That started a run to the snack table.  I made the fabulous dark gingerbread that Trader Joe's sells this time of year, and provided whipped cream for the topping.  That was popular too :)  Some members rented a table for $5 each to sell their surplus items.  I came home with these fabric chunks.  There are William Morris prints and a bundle of coordinating fat quarter prints tied with the ribbon.  These will fit nicely in the stash dresser. Can't beat the prices! 

Winding Ways block parts are slowly accumulating, but not fast enough.  I am way behind and already have been working on them between coughing attacks.

Of course there is baby spam.  Here's Cove this morning with his basting brush and plastic box.  His father laments that he is stretching out all his pants when he crawls.

But Cove helps out with the laundry he makes!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Design Wall Monday--Oct 6, 2014

The continuing saga of the Winding Ways quilt is on my design surface today.  I started with the focus blocks to give me inspiration to keep working at all those curved seams.

The only straight seam in the whole block is the 1/2" joining of the center bridge piece between the block halves!  Otherwise it is curve curve curve.

I worked until late last night to complete all nine blocks that have the turquoise parts.  The rest of the blocks will be copper and cream. 9 completed, 81 to go! So far, so good.  Trying not to stress about imperfections in the block centers--that 1/2" wide bridge piece is darn fussy to get right.  I've resewn a couple of block centers but have been satisfied with them for the most part. Turns out I've used block parts as leader-enders so work on last week's design wall hasn't progressed.  

And now, more baby spam!

Cove is standing in his crib--and everywhere else now.  Good thing he is short or he'd be out of there in a minute!   See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.