Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Second Hand-Embroidered Block or Now I Remember Why I Bought an Embroidery Machine

I was ready to toss this out when I finished last night.
Adding to my already abyssal embroidery skills, I ended up drawing most of this freehand because the stabilizer on the back made it difficult to trace the pattern.  I didn't have that problem the last time because I forgot to use stabilizer on the first block.  On top of that, my new fading ink pen fades really fast!  The manufacturer used to say that it would last 24 hours, but I always found that the ink lasted much longer.  I could go back days after and still see the lines.  This new one fades within hours!  When I came back to this after dinner, the leaf area was gone.  I'm glad I did the flowers and butterflies first!

Judging this on its own rather than comparing it with the other participants' blocks, it's okay.  It is, after all, only a four inch block.  In the scheme of things, it will just be a bit of a blur in the corner of a big quilt--way in the corner, on the other side of the bed, against the wall;-)

I'm thinking that I might start substituting some of the many yo-yos I make when traveling for a few of these blocks.  That would like nice, right??

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The New Cutting Table Ruler Holder

I have a place to hang all my rulers when I'm not using them that works great!
(I wrote about making these pegboard inserts here)
This is usually enough cuz I'm just working with one or two of them.  However, I've been using four different rulers for the courthouse steps blocks.  As the blocks grew, another ruler worked better for squaring.  The rulers were all over!  I went to Staples for a file holder and found this:
It not only holds the rulers I'm working with, but all the other little things I'm using AND it twirls.
Both sides have lots of little places for pins, rippers, cutters, scissors, chalk wheel, disappearing ink pens and still lots more room.   It spins on ball bearings--really smooth.  The base is sturdy making it quite stable.  The 25" ruler can stand upright--nice for keeping it out of the way.   This little wonder on sale right now for $19.??  Best $20 I've spent in a while.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finally! The Garden Steps Blocks are Together

OMG!  This was time consuming.  While we are only going to embroider one center square every two weeks on these blocks, I wanted them ready to go rather than putting together a block at a time.  I'm glad I did.  I was on the tenth of twelve blocks before I felt like I really knew what I was doing!  Doing one every two weeks would have been a constant relearning experience for me. 

I bought one of the kits Clover and Violet offered through two of their sponsors, and these are way more girly/bright prints than I would ever have chosen.  I'm still adjusting to them.  I definitely will put a fairly wide white sashing in between.  That should bring the bright factor down a bit, right?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Melissa's Soothing Lighted Bowl

Look what Melissa made!  This looks as beautiful with the light off as it does on!
It's so quick, easy, and inexpensive especially if you have a decorative glass bowl hanging around. If not Marshall's or thrift stores will have something cheap reasonably priced.  Once you have the bowl, here's what to do:
Get some glass pieces from a Michael's kinda store
(Use your coupon!)

Get one of these lamp wires from Home Depot or Lowes
for about $5
Don't forget a low watt bulb.
Drop some of the glass pieces in the center of the bowl and lay the bulb on top.
Pour on rest of the glass pieces, and light it up!
Is this not lovely mood lighting?  I've got to make one for our family room.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Craftsy Blocks for March

Although I belong to a quilt guild, I don't do a lot of quilting.  I buy books and magazines about quilting and plan way more than I actually do.  The two quilt alongs (QAL's--they even have an acronym!) and the online quilt bee have been the perfect push to get me moving.

Now I'm realizing how little I know about quilting!  I'd never even heard of foundation piecing before this month's blocks. AND, my definition of a throwaway scrap has changed this month.  It's gotten way smaller.  Here is my new scrap trash container that can sit right on my table.
Did I mention that I have a cold?  I have a lot of these empty boxes right now.  This is so much easier than the usual little trash container on the floor--which I always miss anyway.

Here are my March blocks in the browns/blues:
The one on the right is called Broken Spider Web and the left is String Block pattern.
and the orange/blues:
Here are all the months' blocks so far in brown/blue:
and orange/blues:

I'm still working on finishing the Clover and Violet quilt blocks.  Five are finished and seven more to go.  Next month when I go to the quilt guild meeting, I won't feel like an impostor :-)

I also gained a new sewing convert!
Melissa has decided she wants to learn to quilt.  This is her first block!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pleated Pillow is Finished!

I did this as a sew along that Craft Buds has been doing.  I had narrow strips left over from the Craftsy QAL that worked great for it.

The tutorial (you can get it here) calls for making the pleats less uniform, but I just could not bring myself to do it that way.  I kept going back and fixing it until, eventually, the pleats were pretty much uniform.  In addition to the downloadable tutorial, there are posts covering each aspect. I probably should have paid more attention the the casual pleats part, but, actually, I'm happy with the finished product.

To show you how simple it is, here is the front panel prior to pleating.
 In retrospect, I should have just ironed in a couple of pleats at this point since I prefer the "neat" look."

The back has two overlapping pieces to slide in a pillow.  If you've got some little scraps you can't bear to toss out, this is a great way to use them up.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

First Clover and Violet Garden Steps Quilt Block

So there it is!  All hand embroidered and everything.  My hand stitching is not the best, but it looks good in a  folk art kind of way.

Fortunately we will only get one small bit of embroidery every few weeks for this quilt-along.  I have no idea what I'm doing despite watching some videos on embroidery stitches to get ready.  My stitches came out nothing like the ones in the video.  Close enough for me, though.

This is a whole new experience for me.  I've never had to work this hard at keeping all the pieces in order when quilting.  The fat quarters get used with only an average of one inch or less off the ends!  Not much room for error here!
As you can tell from the fabric piles on the floor at the top of the above picture and the unbelievable mess on the other side of the table in this picture:
I'm not the neatest worker. (It's just my craft room that looks like this. Really! I swear!)   I'm gonna have to clean it up tomorrow so that I can put together the rest of the blocks.  Doing a block every few weeks leaves me way too much time to get everything mixed up.