Friday, June 7, 2013

Hippo Nostrils and Other Animals

Tonight I got a little bit more time to work on the quilt top and made 8 more blocks.  This is how it looks right now.  It is about 24" square.  I thought I wanted it 5 X 6, but I am not sure if I am going to like the incomplete square look.  I may have to make it a 6 X 6 to finish the look.  However, that's 20 more blocks and I am not sure I have enough strips for that.  Below are some close-ups of the strips.  

lion eyes and ears

Hippo nostrils!  My favorite!

Hippo teeth and monkey faces.   This fabric is fun.  Okay, Mom, look.  Does that gray fabric (light gray calico-ish) look familiar now?  I promise it came from you. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The newest in the series of Strings

This past week was chock full of fabric store stuff.  Our new JoAnn's had their Grand Opening last Thursday, Friday and Saturday and were giving away 100 gift cards each morning. So, of course, I had to go stand in line to get one. Unfortunately I didn't get one of the $250 cards, but I did get three (one each morning) ten dollar cards.  ($30 to spend on anything in JoAnn's - free!)   On Saturday, I did the usual, get there early, sit in my car and read - count how many people are in line - read, finally with about 35 in line and more people getting out of their cars, I get out and go stand with everyone else.  I don't think 100 people showed up to stand in line any of the mornings.  Anyway, on Saturday, I spent my gift cards and then headed to Andrews where the Sewing Cottage was having their newly re-modeled (kept typing re-molded - couldn't figure out how to spell, there for a second LOL) sale.  I found some goodies I couldn't pass up and then I got, in my bag, an added bonus.  A cute little hand made bag - think small  - with some goodies inside.  There were two pieces of chocolate - they are sitting on my nightstand since Saturday night when I remembered the clerk telling me not to let them melt and I went out to the car to retrieve them - they were melted, but now have hardened again and are ready for me to eat.  (rambling much?) Anyway - there was also a pattern with an interesting border, may have to try it and then - - - several pieces of fabric.  Cute, fun zoo fabric.  Hippos, zebras, lions, giraffes, etc.  This fabric is a good size chunks, but none of it is the same size.  These are really cute, but what can I do with them?  I unfold them and stack them leaving about 1 1/2 inch strip showing of the fabric underneath wondering how they would all look together and I think!!!  strips!!  What else?  LOL That is where my brain is right now.  So, tonight I cut them into strings - no specific width on these strips - and then I start rummaging in the rest of my stash.  I had at first thought I would add some pinks and yellows/golds with the fabrics. (pink hippo noses, mouths and ears)  However, when I began cutting, the color gray kept showing up.  In almost every fabric.  So, the gray drawer comes down, I pull a few grays out to cut into strings and in there I find some pre-cut strips.  These fabrics are old - at least 30 years old.  They use to belong to my mother, but I took them - many years ago - (actually she gave them to me when I began making quilts 20+ years ago.  They were strips she had previously cut for a quilt class she took with Sharon Newman or a quilt she wanted to make after the Sharon Newman class?) Well, I ended up with them and didn't think I would ever use them.   I couldn't throw them out so they have been loitering in the gray fabric box for a really, really long time.  Now they are the center stripe on this string piecing quilt I am making.  Along with the grays, I added some black and white from the black and white blocks I just finished - didn't put the fabric back in the drawer so it got used - some blues from the other block I made - the tub of blues and greens was still sitting out - and of course had to pull in some of those greens.  Now, it's no longer a pink and gold dominate quilt, but a blue/gray/green dominate quilt.  This one will definitely be for a little boy someday.  Below, I have pieced four blocks - cut up an old phone book for the paper backing - and have sewn those four blocks together.  Since these squares are 6 1/2" squares I will try to make this a 5 X 6 setting and add a border of some kind.  I really like the way it is looking just from these four squares.  I can't wait until tomorrow night to add the next four blocks in an X style to see the pattern emerge a bit more. 

I love the hippo noses and the lion eyes.  It's all so fun and cartoonish.   Even though the center strips are all the same size, I am not being precise on the middle placement of them.  My thought on this is, "as long as it covers the center points on the paper, I am good with it" so you can tell that the gray strips don't match up 100%.  However, it's close enough that it moves the eye around the block an will create movement in the quilt.  Okay, yet another strip/string project for me.  Has any of this inspired you to start a strip/string project yet?  If so, I would love to see what you are working on. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Swap Blocks and Bag

 Swap blocks are done for both May and June for my Bee Balm block exchange group.  Here are my four for Melina.  They are not sewn together, just put up next to each other on the board for the picture.  I won't cut them apart before I mail them so she can decide how she wants to use them.  This was fast and easy once I cut me a 6 1/2" circle template.  (I am the world's worst at cutting out circles free hand.  Just ask my mom and friend Liz)  I really like the way these look and may have to make me a black and white bull's-eye quilt.  I can't wait to see how she uses all  these blocks in her quilt.  Whether she keeps them whole or chops them up.  Also, how she incorporates the red fabric she posted that she wants to use.   

Here is my  block for Elisa.  She sent an EQ pic of the block and the background was all blue.  Without any other instructions, I made it before we got the posting to use any color scraps for the background and not just blue.  I pulled several blues out and once I cut them the correct size - and also figured out how to make the corner blocks - this block went together really, really fast.  I wasn't sure about taking it apart and "fixing" the corner where the dark fabrics all came together, but decided that was part of the charm of scrappiness.  Those are three different fabrics in that dark corner and it would all have to stay just like that.  Elisa sent us the pink/magenta fabric pre-cut and the center block.  I am curious if everyone got the same colors or if she sent out a mixture of fabrics.  This is a large block 18" finished.

I can't wait to see what everyone else has lined up for us to make the rest of this year.  I can't decide what I want to do when it's my turn, but I have until October to make up my mind since my month is November.  Do I have everyone make seasonal blocks or something entirely generic since I may not get them all back until the new year?  And then definitely won't get it finished in time for Christmas.  Decisions, decisions. 
I have also been working on a new bag to house all my sewing machine supplies.  I had previously made an ugly yellow bag that I was trying new techniques out on and for some reason, have never replaced that bag.  I carry it around and surprise, surprise, get compliments on it all the time.  (did I mention that it is ugly?)  Anyway, I wanted to make a wider, shorter bag this time, but had problems figuring out how to attach my zipper portion.  It is off to the right about a 1/2" and I DO NOT want to take it apart and fix that problem.  I am not completely happy with the bag and now I don't even want to use it for my sewing supplies. I think it's too pretty for that usage.  I quilted the lining of this bag to give it some extra sturdiness and had to take out two pleats on each side to make the opening a little wider. You are probably yelling, "where is the bag?"  "post a picture of the bag so we can see what you are talking about".   Okay, here is the bag: 
I had two pieces of this snowman flannel laying around the room and decided to make something with it.  These are leftover pieces after making some wonderful, comfy pillow cases that I use all the time in the winter.  I love my flannel pillow cases. Anyway, I had two pieces of fabric and I decided they needed to be used up.  So, I came up with this bag for one of the pieces.   This piece was about 14 X 19 and I wanted the opening to be smaller, so I put in four pleats in the top.  I took out two pleats on either side of the middle on each side and just left the double pleat in the middle.  That was done after it was all put together except for the zipper part.  Which also meant that I had to re-do my zipper.  I have the first zipper ready to go for the next bag, though.  (you can see the ugly yellow bag in the background.  It is made from 70's fabric that wasn't going to be used for anything and since I hadn't planned on keeping the bag - just trying out a technique I was making up - I thought it would all end up in the trash. Not being used for the past 10 years or so)

I love the lining fabric.  It was from a dress I made about 20+ years ago.  When I decided that it was too pastelly and looked babyish I cut it up and put it in my stash where it has resided until now.  I had to piece this inside section because I only used the bodice parts (lining and front and back pieces)  to make it. I am saving the skirt portion since it is in larger sections for another project.  I really do love this fabric.  Just look at the finished edge of this bag on the inside!!  It has binding around the top edge because I couldn't figure out how to attach the zipper piece and make it a finished edge on the inside so I bound the top edge first.  A lot of work has gone into this bag and it's sad that I am not completely happy with it.  Oh, well, it was a learning experience.  I may put a strap on it next to be able to carry it easier.  Love the purple zipper that was picked up in a box of goodies from an estate sale years ago.