Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Officially GIVE UP!

{If you are looking for my giveaway, go here.}
I have tried to use this crappy embroidery thread that I thought looked more like the kind that Clover and Violet recommended for their quilt along, but I give up! It just looks crappy. I fussed about it last week because it seemed a bit thick and bumpy, but I finally decided to just go with it. Not anymore. For those 'tighter quarters' areas in a very small butterfly, the thread is just too thick and I was very unhappy with how it looked.
You can't even tell that those are french knots inside circles on the top half of the butterfly unless you are right on top of it. And unless you're really looking you can't tell the bottom ones are french knots either. It all looks clumpy and bumpy in person. I should have known better since this is that thread that comes with those friendship bracelet kits. So the heck with it. I'm pulling it out. I've decided to go with my original plan for the quilt and just do what i had planned all along.

I went through my DMC thread I acquired over 20 years of cross-stitching and matched up my threads. I'm just going to use it. It's what I'm used to anyway. Hopefully it will match up enough that you won't notice one square is using a different kind of thread. We'll see. Maybe I'll just make sure to put that square right in the middle of the quilt. That way it will look like it's supposed to be a bit differerent. I just refuse to go buy more when I have a ton of thread here. Now, off to become friends with my seam ripper.

On a brighter note, last night I started something for me that I hope to finish before going to my sister's Saturday. Jennifer knows what it is because I responded to one of her comments quickly last night and mentioned I was in my sewing room. She got curious as to what I was working on because I told her I'm using an online tutorial. I'm excited because I'm actually using some fabric from my stash that I picked up back during the Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop. Always nice to make a dent in the stash! I'll hopefully have some pictures to show of it tomorrow (if I can convince my children to make a Hobby Lobby run today so I can pick up some interfacing!). Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WiP Wednesday!

Hook, line and sinker! I am addicted to progress! Take a gander at all the other progress over at Lee's today.  Oh, and if you're looking for my giveaway, go here! Be prepared to laugh a little!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

So what have I been up to since last week? Hmm... let's see.
Well, I finally finished my X Marks the Spot quilt completely!
I'm very excited and proud of my first ever design. I've already got a few others on paper (got to get them running!). I know I posted about quilting it the other day so you can find some closeups of it here.  I asked opinions on what color binding and had actually almost talked myself into trying a split color binding I found here so I could have green on the front and black on the back, but ended up finding two prepackaged black bindings in my stash. Couldn't say no to that (making binding and putting on binding are not exactly my two favorite things!).
I also did decide to go ahead with the X's in the quilting for all the block centers. I had planned on doing all or nothing. I just did two before I began questioning it, but I didn't want to finish them all and have to pull them all out cause I didn't like it.

Okay, so I wasn't going to add finished pictures because it didn't look that different than when I posted the 'quilting' pictures the other day, but Linz said she wanted to see it in all it's glory so I came back in to post a few.
 I can't believe it's finally done. Well, except for a label. Darn, I just can't finish anything!

In Progress
I've also been making some slow progress on my red and white hexie quilt, as well as my Grandma's Garden hexie quilt.
Here's Grandma...

Instead of just flowers, I'm choosing to do a row of flowers, a row of singles, repeat, repeat,... well, you get the idea. I am planning for this to be my 100 Quilts for Kids quilt. Still got a looonnnnggg way to go...
Same goes for my red and white hexie quilt (no, the fabric is not dirty in spots; I used various colors of cardstock for my templates).
I had actually meant for the hexie quilts to be 'traveling' quilts I could work on when I didn't have access to my machine. But I got a little obsessed. Just a bit. A little, wee, smidgen...oh, what the heck! I threw everything else to the backburner and got full blown crazy, okay? But I'm okay now. Really. Has anyone seen my hexie templates? The medication should be kicking any time now (mommy?...).

I also finished block two for Leila's Skill Builder Sampler which can be seen here. Loving this series! It's great for working on improving old skills and learning new ones!

What else has been going on with me this week? Well, I won some fabric this week. Twice actually! I mention this only because the two sites I won from are great and I wanted to give them a little bloggie love! I won some great Artful Home fat quarters from Ryan Walsh at I'm Just a Guy Who Quilts. He has some fabulous tutorials (I love the Eye Spy Monster Pillow!) and does some great interviews with other quilters/bloggers/designers.  I also won some stars and stripes fabric from Rachel at Just Sew Ya'll Know. I love how she recovered her hammock. So cute!

Have a great week you guys and I wish you all much progress!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

100 Posts Blog Party and Giveaway!

*This Giveaway is now closed*

I made it! 100 posts! Happy 100 to me! And to you too. Because you get to benefit from it. I am having a little giveaway to celebrate!
Remember that Austrian/ Japanese quilt I'm making? Well, when I bought that Hideaway charm pack, I bought two. So one of you gets the extra one!
And you never know what I might add into the mix. I may add to it or pick a second winner. We'll see! This giveaway starts today, Tuesday, June 28th.

Here's how to enter:
1. Leave a comment. I've had kids on the mind lately. So if you have any, tell me the funniest thing your kid has ever said (Personally, my 5 year old son's new favorite phrase is ,"Well, that's awkward!").
2. Become a follower, or let me know you are one by leaving a second comment. If you tell me both things in one comment, that is only ONE entry!

That's it! I will leave the giveaway open until 6:00 pm (EST) on Friday, July 1st. I will use random generator to pick one lucky winner at that time.
US and Canada shipping only guys, sorry!

I am leaving for my sister's on Saturday for a few days but I will be taking my laptop with me just in case. That way I hope to be able to get your address and send it out ASAP!
Good luck everyone!

I forgot to add, if you are a no-reply blogger, please put your email address in the comment section. I already have one of these, so Homeschool Mama, please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm done!

Well, I guess it takes making something a specific goal to get it finished. I am linking up to Amy's Creative Side for her One Thing One Week Challenge.

Amy's Creative Side

My first goal was to finish my second block for the Skill Builder Sampler. That can be seen on yesterday's blog post here.
My second goal was to finish quilting my X Marks the Spot quilt. I finished that about 30 minutes ago!
I do have one question about it that I will post at the end.
Here is the overall front.

I still have to do binding but I my goal was just to get the quilting done, so I'm okay. Although, my neighbor is driving the kids to swim class this afternoon so I still plan on getting the binding done today before quilting guild meeting tonight!
Here is a close-up of how the blocks are quilted.

I could have quilted it with an emphasis on the X's but instead I chose to go against it and do blocks. Hubbie said he liked how the quilting went totally against the design. But it does follow the blocks so it's not totally bucking the system!
I just followed the corners with double lines.

And here is the back.
Now, I'm totally satisfied except for one thing. The idea was to do blocks that graduated upward in size, but I did something extra on a couple of blocks before not being able to decide if I liked it or not.
I added those emphasis lines to the X part. Just not sure about it. It's the only thing on the quilt that's not a box. Here it is from the back.
I'm tempted to take them out because it kind of makes me think it looks like I couldn't make up my mind; boxes or X's. What do you think? Also, if there are any opinions on black versus green binding, I'd love to hear them!
Tomorrow is post 100 so come back for my giveaway!
Oh, I also decided to add this to Sew Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations as well.
{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sewing Girl!

It dawned on me that I had posted my second Skill Builder block on my Flickr but not on my blog, so here it is.
I also got a new vehicle yesterday (well, new to me!) and it is now sporting a cute new little sticker my friend Mitzi got me.

Thank you, Mitzi! It looks so cute!

* Later addition to this post:
My new least favorite word in the world is "Sah-Rree!" (Sorry) being uttered with the most sarcasm my 9 year old daughter can muster. This is her new response for those occasions when she's been asked repeatedly to do something, and when I walk back in the room later she is still sitting where she was before. When I tell her that I will not be asking her again, I get this lovely retort. Can someone tell me please when 9 became the new 15?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quilting Designs

So I got my X quilt pinned together but then I got stuck. I had no idea how I wanted to quilt it. So I started thinking about how I could play around with some designs in a drawing but see how they would fit onto my design. So I came up with this.

I took a plastic baggie and cut it apart.
Then I took a few small pieces of tape and attached it to my paper design.

I used a Sharpie to start drawing out ideas for my design. If you had a Vis a Vis pen you could wipe away your design if you weren't satisfied. I won't show you what I finally came up with but I just thought I'd share the idea.
Stay tuned next week for my giveaway!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Surprise! Surprise!

First things first...I'm excited at how fast my red and white quilt is coming together. I think it helped getting a lot of sewing done during swim class this week. Anyway, so far I'm here.
It's about 20 or so inches across at this point so it's gradually getting bigger and bigger. I'm excited! If I can get it to bed size, I'm either going to put it in the extra bedroom or my bedroom. Of course, my walls are green so I don't know how good that will look. And hubbie will definitely point out that the curtains won't match anymore, so... I guess I would be making new curtains! But I made the old curtains so that's fine!

I also inadvertantly found out I won some fabric this morning! I was checking out Ryan Walsh's blog, I'm Just a Guy Who Quilts, because he's running another giveaway for a fat quarter stack of Kona in pinks. Lovely! Go check it out! I just happened to look back up through the posts he had and noticed that I won the giveaway he had for a fat quarter bundle of Heather Mulder Peterson's Artful Home.
Artful Home by Heather Mulder Peterson
I'm thinking about making a fall quilt for my bed. So maybe the red and white one can stay in the extra bedroom anyway! Thanks so much to Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring this one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Smack Dab in the Middle!

I started prepping my X Marks the Spot quilt for sandwiching this morning before swim class. It took a long time to trim all those stray threads, but I didn't want any black or green to show through the white fabric. I put the backing on the floor and decided not to tape it down. I just placed some soup cans on the corners to make sure it didn't move too much. I got the batting situated right before we left for swim class. Well, we just got home an hour or so ago and I decided to finish sandwiching and get it pinned. I was really worried because the front pattern is so structured, as is the back, so I had to get it perfectly squared up on both sides to make sure the quilting looks good later.
I only did a little situating and decided to just start pinning and figure out which way I needed to move it after the fact. I did a pin in the center. Then I basically pinned a big plus sign, following the lines straight up and down, then side to side out from the center just so I could check how straight it was on the back.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Here is my pin in the very center of the front.

When I flipped it over, the pin ended up right here in the center square.
I was amazed. Then I checked the lines I'd pinned. They went straight up the center of the back, and straight across the center. I was so excited! I just need to add a few more pins for stabilization and I get to start quilting! Now, if I can just figure out exactly how I'm going to quilt this bad boy! I have no clue. Any ideas?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WiP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Wednesday again. Some things were done, some things not so much. Let's see where we stand. And don't forget to check everybody out over at Lee's.
After trials and tribulations, block number 1 is done for Leila's Skill Builder Sampler.

You can read about my fun with that one on that on yesterday's post here. I will say, I like it now that it's done.
I also got a bit farther on some hexie work.
Haven't made any more flowers since the other day but I'm going to start making some white ones soon to separate the ones I have. And I'm further on my red and white hexie one.

Only the one surrounded in red on the left is still not competely sewn yet. But I'm excited as it comes together. I'm getting lots of hexies done while the kids are at swim lessons, but it sure is hot in there!
Earlier in the week, I also finished my first block for Embroidery 101.

As far as ongoing projects go, I wanted to get the quilting done on my X Marks the Spot quilt but I only just picked up the batting yesterday so I'm a bit behind on that one. My plan is to get that sandwiched this morning before swim classes again.
So I got a lot done on several new projects but didn't finish anything old. Isn't that always the way?
Oh yeah, and I'll be hitting 100 posts in about a week so stay tuned for a giveaway!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Skill Builder Sampler Block: Part Deux! et Trois! et Quatre!

So let's review my progress thus far with trying to do this first block for Leila's project.
First I had this pile of fabrics I scrounged together from my stash.
Not what I wanted but I thought it would be okay. I made Block Number 1.
I was not happy with the color combination and didn't like the way values were too erratic.

I pulled out some parts of it and redid it, but I still wasn't feeling it.
So I just said, "Forget it!" and bought new fabric.
I got a fat quarter bundle and some extras to fill it out. I was very excited and threw caution to the wind. I decided to do the courthouse steps version of the block rather than the log cabin version. So I cut it out and sewed it up, cause this is the easy part, right? Not if you cut it wrong.
Hence, Block Number 3. I kept wondering why there was so much excess material at the ends of each row. Well, if you don't cut the center square SQUARE, then your measurements are messed up! I have no idea what I cut that center square, but it is not 4.5 x 4.5, I promise you. It was longer on one side than the other. I also noticed after the fact that all the rows of flowers are going the same direction except for one. So I salvaged the flower fabric and cut it for the shorter pieces, changed the blue and ended up with this.
I changed to a darker blue to give it more value contrast. I actually think I would have been fine using the original fabrics if I had gone with this block instead. Oh well, hindsight and all.
You know, so far quilt alongs and I have not gotten along well. This is only my second one, but I miscut fabric on both this one and the Embroidery 101, so I don't know what my problem is lately.  Maybe I need to concentrate more, I don't know.
And to top it all off, I spilled my cereal on the floor while I was working on this a few minutes ago. I am on a roll! Woohoo! Really, I don't know what I did to deserve all this but I apologize, repeatedly! Besides, I thought bad luck things were supposed to come in threes, not be continuous and ongoing!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Admit...

I have a bedbuddy, and it's not my hubbie. Well, it's in addition to my hubbie. Hmmm... maybe I should explain.
It's my wrist guard. I pretty much sleep in it every night now. I started having signs of carpal tunnel about 25 years ago. Yeah, I've had it for a while. I don't actually notice it a lot unless I'm crafting. Crocheting just about did me in, so I started sewing again. This manifested into quilting. And quilting manifested into milder symptoms of CTS. It's still there but doesn't hurt as much as some other crafting avenues.
Unless, of course, I'm hand sewing. Which, of course, I started doing with hexies. Oh well. Athletes perform in pain, dancers perform in pain. Why shouldn't crafters produce with a bit of numbness? See, I can still create...
I've got 9 flowers for Grandma's garden (1.5" hexies, a quilt for 100 Quilts for Kids)....

and I got the very center of my red and white quilt done. I do mean VERY center. Yeah, of a big medallion-ey looking center. You'll see. Eventually. Oh, and I'm going shopping today! I plan on looking for Skill Builder replacement fabric but I also plan on looking for some giveaway fabric. My 100th post comes up in about a week and I'm closing in on 5000 hits, so it's time to celebrate. Make sure you come back for it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Update from Yesterday

Okay, so yesterday I posted this block that I wasn't too happy with.
I wasn't completely pleased with it so I moved some things around and came up with another option.

It's still busy with fabrics but I don't get a feeling of their being overpowering colors present. It's just a calmer version, I guess. We'll see. I still may throw it to the side and pick out completely different fabrics. Who knows?

I am planning a giveaway coming up in a  week or two. I am about to reach 100 posts and 5000 hits around the same time so I am very excited! I thought I'd celebrate it with a giveaway. I am currently getting ideas and putting it together so stay tuned!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Took the Progress Pledge so...

Because of the Progress Pledge, I chose to discuss those things I do that turn out well and those things that could have gone better as well.
I started my Skill Builder Sampler yesterday. I was determined to use fabric from my stash instead of going out to buy fabrics, though I did have to pick up 2 for darks. I wasn't excited about the combination I had because it seemed a stretch that they would go together. They were definitely not fabrics I would have put together if I were purchasing.
So I saw that the first block was a log cabin. I've done a log cabin before but the only one I've ever done was for a Christmas quilt. I just decided to throw some of the fabrics together and go with it.
Hmmm... Yeah, I'm not sure I like it. At first I thought it was too busy, but I think you can get away with busy if your fabrics compliment each other. I think that might be my problem. I don't know that they compliment each other enough. I don't know, maybe it's fine. I think when I try to force something I have a hard time seeing it for what it is. I overanalyze it and in the back of my mind I keep thinking, "This is not how I would have done it if I had purchased the fabrics together." looking at it now, I kind of wish I had traded the green fabric with the flowers with the funky multicolored stripe on the other side. Then I don't think I would have used pink. I'm either going to leave it like it is, tear it apart or go shopping. I know, I know. But I want to love the things I do. Otherwise, why do them?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Projects Galore!

Okay, so I finished the embroidery in block number 1 of Embroidery 101. I think I just had a brain issue with it yesterday. It's fine as it is, I'm not redoing it. I went back and looked at the embroidery I'd done of the kids and it does pretty much the same thing as this thread does; it just doesn't show up quite as much. I think it looks fine.
My neighbor's daughters were here playing Wednesday when I was working on it. Her 3 year old was very concerned about who was going to get this piece of work. She was also very vocal about her choice of colors I should be using. Needless to say, I did as I was told.
I also did some playing around with my scrap hexies and started on some red and white hexies as well. I was stuck in the car picking up Thing 1 from Girl Scout camp, and earlier a friend and I took Thing 2 and her kids to BK for lunch and playtime. Needless to say I had a little downtime for some hand stitching. Got a few flowers done.
Ignore my toes there. I was trying to make sure I got all the flowers in the picture seeing as how I was having to hold the camera in the air.
I also got a few red 1 inch hexies done.

I decided to wait until at least Sunday before starting to quilt my X quilt. I went to sandwich it and figured out I didn't have a big enough piece of white batting for it. And I only have one piece so I can't even sew some together. I usually get it at Hobby Lobby and they don't have their overall coupon for anything in the store until Sunday (it's an every other week thing!). I still need to sit with it and trip stray threads, fun (NOT!) so they don't meander and show through all the white fabric.

It's a boy! No, not for me. That ain't happenin' evah agin! No, my Japanese/Austrian quilt looks to be going to be for a boy; they just found out. So I will be leaning it heavily toward the greens, yellows, blues and reds. Good thing those are all well represented in the Hideaway fabric! I just still need to figure out exactly what I'm doing design wise. He's not due to show up until November but I need to at least get an idea floating in the old noggin'!

Don't forget to check out Leila's Skill Builder Sampler. It starts today! Looks like block number 1 is a log cabin block. I am already way behind because I don't even have my fabric pulled together yet. Sigh... too many pans in the fire methinks!
BWS tips button

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Second Thoughts...

So I started my Embroidery 101 blocks yesterday. I'm just not sure what I think. It's not the design or the block or anything Clara and Jennie suggested. It's the thread I'm using. See, I initially was going to use DMC floss because I have a ton of it. Then I read their suggestions for floss. They suggested this different type of floss that has a tighter weave and the strands don't come apart. I didn't have any so I was still using my DMC. I went to pull my colors together and remembered some floss my daughter had from kits to make friendship bracelets. Low and behold, the floss looked exactly like what they were talking about. It's not the same, but it looked like the floss to which they referred. So I made up a color strip like they had for their kits.

Now keep in mind I have no way of knowing if mine is the same size they suggest or anything.
I started sewing last night and, unfortunately I chose to sew in front of the TV with very little light because I wasn't really seeing what it looked like. It's okay, but it gives the impression of being bumpy. It kind of looks like bumpy, flat, bumpy, flat. Even if my stitches are exactly the same length, it looks like shorter, longer, shorter, longer. I don't think it's responding well to the backstitch.
It's kind of hard to get a picture of.  I don't know if it bothers me enough to pick it all out. The only thing I have left is the grass. I hate frustration.