Monday, January 30, 2022

Furever Homes - FINISHED!

So... I finished a thing! A thing with cats!
 Here's the whole thing (please forgive the weird bright sunlight and shadows):
 Here's some of the houses in the village (top left):
And here's the woodsy cabin (lower left):
 On the wrong side of the tracks, things are a little shadier:
Good thing there's a nice cannery on the waterfront to make all the cat food for those cats:
The back is a fun rainbow print, with two of the extra blocks inset. The center of that star is where I wrote the label:
This quilt will ultimately benefit Good Mews Animal Foundation, a non-profit, no-kill cage-free cat shelter that I volunteer for.  How it will benefit it remains to be seen.  Several people have asked how they can get a chance to win this quilt, but unfortunately online raffles are illegal for the state of Georgia. I've inquired with the fundraising chair for Good Mews if they'd be willing to do an in person raffle (and I could be the go-between and take ticket "orders" for people I know that are out of state), but haven't heard back from the Chair yet.

In the mean time, I've listed it on my etsy store. All proceeds from the sale will go directly to the shelter, and the buyer will be listed in the honorariums in the quarterly shelter newsletter. If there's no buyer for it on etsy, and the shelter doesn't want to do a raffle, I'll donate it for their silent auction in the fall.

BOOM. Found a buyer! My parents are buying the quilt and sending the money directly to the shelter, so the etsy listing has been deactivated. And I get to keep it long enough to show off to Tiny Stitches and the AMQG meeting this weekend. I knew I was raised by the right people...

Sunday, January 29, 2022

Sunday Night Stash: Jan 29

A pretty productive week - finished two quilts and worked on my daughter's room makeover! Didn't get much sewing done this weekend due to spending so much time painting.
  • Used this Week: 23.5 yards
    • 8.75 yards to make Ted
    • 9.5 yards to make Furever Homes (pics tomorrow!) (for charity)
    • 5 yards for curtains for Bloomer's room
    • 0.25 yards for Hello Kitty pillow for Bloomer's room
  • Used year to Date: 55.25 yards
  • Added this Week: 7 yards
    • 5 yards for Bloomer's curtains
    • .5 yards white fleece for Hello Kitty pillow
    • 1 yard green swirly cotton print
    • .5 yards yellow polka dot to make bunting for Bloomer's room
  • Added Year to Date: 26.75 yards
  • Net Used for 2012: 28 yards
    • YTD Used for Charity: 21 yards (37% of total used)

Friday, January 27, 2022

Where's the Podcast For 1/27?

Weellllll... I mentioned last week that I was nearing my bandwidth limit. I've haven't hit it yet, but am at 85% of allocated bandwidth, which is due to reset on Feb 7. Rather than push it by putting out an episode today, (and not next week because I would surely be hitting the limit then), I am taking at least this week, and possibly two weeks off.  If the numbers look okay for next week, I might squeak out a short one next Friday (Feb 3) and risk hitting my limit for a couple days until the 7th.

I know, I'm not happy about it either. It was my plan to continue a weekly podcast with the exception of two weeks (due to vacation times) for the foreseeable future, but given the limitations of Podomatic, that may not be possible. It seems like a bunch of people figured out at the beginning of the year that they needed to subscribe to the new feed and BLAM! there were a ton of downloads at once. So this may not be a permanent change to my schedule, but I gotta tell, the my OCDish traits are killing me with the inability to stick to a schedule.

While you may not hear my voice over the podcast feed for the next couple weeks, I may see about doing video (hosted on YouTube) or something to tide you over. I'll try to be better about blogging regularly and not just when I finish something. I've been thinking of doing a "studio tour" (a grand name for holding the FlipCam while I spin slowly in my chair, surely).

If you've got suggestions for blogging, tutorials, or video topics, let me know in the comments. I think I might do one on adapting illustrations for applique since apparently I'm making a Hello Kitty wallhanging for my daughter's room redecoration.  You know I won't be sitting idly by during this time, so there will surely be plenty for me to talk about when I'm back to the airwaves!

Thursday, January 26, 2022

Insert Boring Technical Podcast Stuff Here.

So those of us that had to move from to Podomatic (or some other service) are dealing with the rude awakening of bandwidth limitations, which is something our Podbean quiltcast sisters have been facing for quite a while. It's just that our listeners are SO AWESOME they like to listen to us all the time!  I've got a couple suggestions to alleviate the bandwidth blues:

For listeners:
  • Only download a podcast episode once. This might sound silly, but I know I've been guilty of having the podcast download automatically on my laptop, but, being too lazy to sync my iPod at that time and impatient to listen, will download the episode a second time directly onto my iPod via the wifi connection. So that counts as two downloads for the podcaster's host, soaking up the bandwidth.
  • Listen to it streaming direct from the podcast host site or embedded player on the website. I know this is possible for Podomatic and Podbean, but not all podcasts have this option.  So if you're going to be around your computer and can listen there instead of downloading the mp3 file, do that since I don't think playing on an embedded player counts against bandwidth.
For hosts:
  • If you're on Podomatic, use the "Light" quality setting. You get that option when uploading a new episode (or editing a different one) in the "Review/Publish" section, as below.  Click the blue "Format Settings" link and change from Standard to Light. It will reduce the quality of the file, but since we are talking about quilts and not producing fabulous concerts (except Daisy - love her voice!), it should be okay.
  • Reduce your file size by fiddling with your settings. The easiest place to do this (in Audacity - can't speak to other recording software) is in the MP3 conversion.  There are several resources on what to change to reduce file sizes, including Podcast Answer Man and Audacity to Podcast. I know it's technical and somewhat scary, but 15 minutes of recording a sample and fiddling with settings can pay off in the long run. And besides, learning something new never hurt anyone! Well, except learning that you don't want to be a lion tamer - that might come with boo-boo's.  This, ladies, is not lion taming, and remember, even monkeys can learn!
  • Blog more. I know! Crazy talk. I got into podcasting because it was easier to sit in front of a mic than type out a lot long boring words. Many of you are already better than me at blogging regularly, but I'll be dipping back into the written word more if I'm limited to podcasting every other week instead of weekly. It's a good thing quilting is a visual medium, so it makes sense to balance the visual with the auditory.
Most of all: let's go sewing something beautiful!

Tuesday, January 24, 2022

Meet Ted (Giant Hexie Quilt: FINISHED!)

Meet Ted:
Ted is made up of two layer cakes of Circa 1934, some Kona Sand fabric, and 2 yards of some weird gold color for the backing.

Why is he named Ted, you ask? Because of this Buffalo Border:
I call this sort of thing "buffalo quilting" because you use up every last fabric scrap, like the Native Americans did with their buffalo kills. Buffaloes make me think of Ted Turner because he single-handedly brought the bison out of endangerment through his ranching and breeding efforts (thank you, Stuff You Should Know podcast!).

Now, since this is a gift for my husband, do I mind him snuggling with Ted? Nope. I'm pretty secure in our marriage.
 Here's Ted's backside (that won't get old!):
It's primarily "B-roll" layer cake squares (filler prints), a buffalo strip, and a 2 yard piece of that gold-ish fabric that I seem to have in plentiful supply. Seriously, I have at least 4 more pieces of yardage in that gold tone.

That's another 8.75 yards in the "Used" column of Sunday Night Stash Report!

Sunday, January 22, 2022

Sunday Night Stash Report

I want to be more mindful of the amount of fabric coming in (and out, but mostly in) to my stash, so I'm going to give this "Stash Report" idea a spin.  I'm guesstimating what I've used in finished projects since the beginning of the year based on what I've blogged, so this is sort of a catch-up post.
  • Used this Week: 7.25 yards
    • 5.25 yards to make 5 pillowcases (3 for charity)
    • 2 yards to make cat bed covers (for charity)
  • Used year to Date: 31.75 yards
  • Added this Week: 16.75 yards
    • 5 yards for blue Swoon backing
    • 5 yards for purple Swoon backing
    • 4.5 yards for purple Swoon background fabric
    • 1 yard Hello Kitty fabric for Bloomer's pillowcase
    • 1 yard Happy Birthday fabric for Boxer's pillowcase
    • .25 (fat quarter for one of the Swoon quilts)
  • Added Year to Date: 19.75 yards
    • 1 yard light blue cotton from the remnant bin
    • 2 yards fleece for cat bed covers (for charity)
  • Net Used for 2012: 12 yards
    • Total Used for Charity: 11.5 yards (36% of total used)
I also want to track what I'm donating to charity - I don't have a particular goal in mind for the percentage (over 10% maybe?), but wanted to see what it actually comes out to.  I've got the Furever Homes quilt coming up to add to the charitable crafting, as well as a twin-sized quilt for the Wellspring Living house and whatever smaller Project Linus ones I'm inspired to make. Of course, with the 3 king-sized quilts I want to make, too, that'll shove that percentage in the other direction!

A look back 12 years ago...

Twelve years (and an hour and 20 minutes) ago, I married the love of my life in a ceremony that only took 11 minutes (for some reason a friend of mine timed it). This picture represents us perfectly.

I made my own wedding dress.  It was a lot of work, but the marriage has been worth it.

Friday, January 20, 2022

HtbaS: Episode 64

I talk about my quilt "pile-up", cutting the Swoon blocks, meeting the lovely Frances from Off-Kilter Quilt for breakfast, and give out a pile of birthday and anniversary wishes!

Note: I'm at 70% of my bandwidth for the month, with two weeks to go before it resets. There's a very real chance I'll have to skip next week's podcast, but am looking into ways to reduce file sizes and other boring technical stuff so I don't permanently have to go to every other week.

Oh hey, did I mention I had breakfast with someone?

You know... a rhombus is just an off-kilter square. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, January 18, 2022

I Get By With a Little Help(er) From My Friends

I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and thoughts after last week's episode.  The good news is that I was correct in assuming it was at least partly hormonal, and that wave was crested and subsided. I'm feeling much better, and will continue to look out for myself and my family.

So while I was working on projects to keep my mind busy, I got a little helpering from a little helper.
Zoom loves that spot on my sewing table, although it is incredibly inconvenient for productivity.
And here's part of what I worked on:
The wrong side of the tracks blocks! Clockwise from top left we have the Pussycat Club, bar, used car lot, and tuna cannery.

Now, I do actually have the entire top put together, and the back pieced, but I'm going to wait to show any more pictures until it's quilted and bound.

Friday, January 13, 2022

HtbaS: Episode 63

It's another episode of Hot Babes! (That's what Jaye thinks "HtbaS" looks like.)

I take a bit of time at the beginning to talk about yucky emotional stuff, which segues into talking about finishing the Grama's Hankie wallhanging.  But then there's fun stuff about giant hexagons, Swooning Along, and being on the wrong side of the tracks with the Houses Sampler.

Giant Hexagons (with a lot of scraps)!

I'm still deciding between the Ruby fabric from the kit, and using Christmas cat fabric to make a quilt for my daughter for the Swoon-Along.

Thursday, January 12, 2022

Grama's Hankie: FINISHED! P.S. Bring a tissue.

Well, I'm bringing this to a tearful close. I finished Grama's Hankie last night, and got a chance to photograph it today.
Zoom says hi! But it's okay, because Grama Eddie really liked cats, too. Here it is without helpering. It's about 28" square.
I embroidered her name (in her handwriting) in the center of the handkerchief, and also a quote around her name. It says, "Gramas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever."

Excuse me while I get a tissue.

The trapunto wreath around her name and the quote I drew myself - apparently I embroidered the quote in an ovalish shape instead of a true circle, so I had to make my own pattern (using a template I made for the two sizes of feathers).
I put Dresden fans in the corners to frame up the center hankie. I had a nice batik FQ with butterflies and swirls on it for the outer fan blades and center. The medium fabric in the fans and flying geese border is a FQ of a McKenna Ryan print in soft green and lavender. Those are the colors of my childhood, I think, but Grama Eddie was a fan of red. She was a fan of anything I made, so I don't think she'd mind I used my favorite colors instead of hers.  It's also an homage to that year I was 8 or so and wouldn't wear anything unless it was lavender. I think she's the one that bought me that lavender velour tracksuit. Might have been my mom, though.

I put a little feathered vine in the background between the hankie and Dresden fans.
I had enough of the McKenna Ryan FQ to eek out a 4" Hunter Star to put at the top center of that border. I'm really happy with the quilting in that flying geese border - it's a pattern I found while Googling around.
And here's a gratuitous photo of the back in case you want to see the quilting detail un-impeded by the piecing on the front. Click to embiggen!

Wednesday, January 11, 2022

Quokka Quilts: Blogger's Choice Entry

In case you didn't know, Quokka Quilts is doing a fabric giveaway sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop, asking bloggers to pick 12 prints and 3 solids. I'm not entirely convinced I'd win with this assortment, but honestly, it speaks to me at a cosmic level because it is cosmically imspired.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

I picked fabrics that reminded me of Star Wars. Duh.

Lots of Death Star grays, cosmic blacks (with a glow in the dark star print for good measure), topped off by C3PO gold, R2D2 blue, and a nice Leia hair bun brown. Do they go together in the conventional I-want-to-make-a-traditiona-pretty-quilt sense? Maybe not, but I would totally make those work in a Star Wars quilt.

Saturday, January 7, 2022

Saturday Sampler: Grandma's Garden and Memories of Provence

Today was the first pick up of 2012 for the Saturday Sampler program at Tiny Stitches, so I picked up the 7th block for Grandma's Garden, and the 1st for "Memories of Provence".

Supposedly, this is a magnolia. Those words are exactly what the shop owner said, too, and I agree. This flower seems rather closed up for a magnolia, so perhaps it's still in bud form. I tend to think the shop owner is getting slightly disenfranchised with this particular BOM program, and probably won't buy a series from this same company in the future. Every block has some weird template instead of simple cutting instructions, which drives me nuts. 

Since there wasn't a lot of white space, I stuck with the short and sweet quote, "I love you".
The new program for 2012 is called Memories of Provence. I chose the red colorway (as opposed to black or blue), mostly because I thought this would be a good quilt to give my parents for their guest bed.  The finished quilt will be 86x103", and their bed is a full size so it should work out great. I don't have plans to add anything special to the blocks because I think they are gorgeous on their own. 
I might even use some of the blocks in future quilts, although I have to say a square in a square in a square is not my best technique.  I am super proud of my points and corners on this block, though, so it turned out okay.  Each block will have that fussy cut motif in the center, so I need to find my 3 1/2" fussy cut square - not sure where it got off to.

To see the finished quilt, click here.  That sample is the black colorway, however. I think I can get it done in time to give it to my mom for her birthday next year (it's at the end of January, and we'll get the last block at the beginning of December. It might be my BDSI project for next year!)

1Q FAL Addendum

Well, since I blew my Finish-Along goals out of the water last week, I thought I should challenge myself a little more, so I'm adding three other projects to the list.

First up: finish the Houses Sampler, to be named Furever Homes, I think.  I finished the 12th block back in December, but I need to design the 4 others for the wrong side of the tracks, then create the railroad tracks, sashing, and picket fence border. It will probably end up a full-sized quilt, I think.
Second: the Lilac Hill Trapunto quilt (final name unknown). This has all the parts cut for the top, and the piecing will be pretty simple. The trick is that I want to do a trapunto design inside each of the 10" squares. And it's king sized. So... yeah. Insane.
 And the last, and smallest, will probably cause the most tears. It's truly a UFO because I started it about 10 months ago. It's one of the handkerchiefs I got from Grama Eddie's things when she passed. I got far enough along to embroider her name in her handwriting in the middle and a nice verse around it, but I stalled on finishing it because I kept tearing up. Plus I wasn't sure what else to do with it - maybe Dresden plates on the corners? I think I want to do a trapunto effect around the quote as practice for the king-sized quilt above, but don't have a template or pattern in mind yet.

Friday, January 6, 2022

HtbaS: Episode 62

I talk about the 2012 1Q FAL, the Leaf Me Alone quilt, Snowbunny tablerunner, and the Swamp Thing landscape quilt. Discussion of FMQ techniques and art quilt tips.

Also, I tried something a little different on audio quality so it wouldn't be so bandwidth intensive. I was getting concerned I am close to hitting my bandwidth limit so I'm trying to conserve so I don't have to go to podcasting every other week. Let me know if it sounds weird to you - I couldn't tell a big difference.
  • Finished pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer:
  •  Railroad block for the raffle quilt for Wellspring Living:
  •  Bonus picture of Zapper, who was sleeping during the podcast this time:
She is unimpressed with the lack of snuggling going on because of all this sewing.

Thursday, January 5, 2022

Swamp Thing: FINISHED!

Subtitle: In your face, Rhonda! (see her comment on the previous post about the Snowbunny tablerunner)

(Sub-Subtitle: I'm assuming Rhonda was joking in that comment. If she wasn't, then I reserve the right to say disparaging things about her in therapy in the future. Otherwise: IN YOUR FACE!)

So I finished my other UFO for the Finish-Along. Also, this sort of progress is probably why I don't have that many UFOs to begin with. So, without further ado, here is the finished Swamp Thing!
 Say, what's that thing behind that tree?
Let's look at it from a different angle... that's a strange shadow being cast there.
What the...? AAAAAAHHH!
Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with this piece. For the trees, I tried to do a bit of shading - each one had two thread colors, and then I touched up with a brown crayon on the left side and white crayon on the right side. Not sure you're "supposed" to use crayons, but that's what I had around.  The cypress leaves have a mix of embroidery floss and a couple different trims couched over the applique pieces.  "Couching" in this case means I FMQed over the bunched-up trim to hold it down.

The Swamp Thing is another applique piece, this time couched with a grumbly sort of yarn. His eye is a yellow faceted plastic bead I colored black with a Sharpie (again, that's what I had around to play with), mounted on top of a white sequin.  The tentacle is a tube of fabric stuffed with 3 pipe cleaners twisted together (with more of the yarn sewn on) and hand stitched onto the piece. The dragonfly he's bringing to its doom is a button, as is that little bee.

It's not a perfect piece, but rather than point out flaws, I'm just going to enjoy my weird sense of humor. For the morbidly curious, here's what the back of the piece looks like - to say it's pretty heavily quilted is an understatement.

Wednesday, January 4, 2022

First Finish of the Q1 FAL!

You guys should probably know that I was the only person in my high school graduating class to turn in my senior term paper for English class early.  That's set the tone for my attitude on finishing projects, particularly quilting ones. As a result, it's no surprise to me that I've finished one of my two items for the Finish-Along this quarter already.

Here's the Snowbunny Runner:
I used some of the jelly roll scraps to make the triangle points, and then the leftover candy cane stripe for an outer border.  This is the first time I've done a non-90 degree angle on binding, and it turned out pretty well - only one of those corners came out a bit wonky.

I did all straight line quilting, so it worked up pretty quick. And now I can stuff it in a drawer for next Christmas!

Monday, January 2, 2022

Leaf Me Alone - FINISHED!

I finished the Charming Stars quilt made from a Kate Spain Terrain layer cake, and have christened it "Leaf Me Alone" in the spirit of the spa quilt (and in honor of those leaf shapes I quilted in the some of the star centers).  The "spa quilt" idea is such that when you are wrapped up in this quilt, everyone should leave you alone because you are having a mini-spa moment to yourself.  You can't abuse the privilege however, or no one will take the spa quilt idea seriously. Girl who cried quilt, and all that.

Here's a close-up on one of the leaves before all the other quilting - I did a chrysanthemum, this leaf, a daisy, and a squiggle (like in the green square in the lower left below):
 Here's a section of those four designs - click to go to flickr to embiggen.
The backing fabric I found at JoAnn's and sucked it up and got it there because it was the perfect shade of aqua green. Since it was JoAnn's fabric, I pre-washed the back but not the front (since it was a layer cake) or batting. It still turned up nice and crinkly.
 And now time to conquer another project in the sewing room!

2012 FAL - First Quarter Entries

I've got two things nagging at me to finish for the first quarter of 2012, spurred on by Rhonda's (Quilter in the Gap) 2012 Finish-A-Long.

The first is my (first) landscape quilt, leftover from the class I took last October.

It needs to have the applique finished, and then be embellished and quilted.

The second is a table runner from the leftovers of the Snowbunny Quilt.

I've got the center part done from leftover Snowbunny blocks, but I have some other jelly roll scraps and 1 1/2" HSTs to play with.