Sunday, January 30, 2011

One more row to go

Five blocks left to piece sounds better than "100 more half-square triangles to go!" I'm stopping at 30 blocks because that's all the cornerstone fabric I have, and the quilt will be plenty big by then: 70"x84."

 Some blocks from the past week.
The binding is on Zach's quilt, labels made and attached, quilts washed and packed up. This week I'll be shipping off quilts to four boys. Just a couple more quilts to make for special people, and I can start something new relatively guilt free. Ha.  
The front of Zach's quilt.

The back of Zach's quilt.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Evolution of a UFO

This isn't the UFO. This is progress on the Aboriginal quilt.
Or why the Internet is evil. Before the Internet, I would procrastinate doing something by cleaning, usually the kitchen cupboards or the junk drawer. Now I read blogs. Lots of blogs. And find lots of great projects to start. Usually I can stop myself from starting them. Usually.

But recently I was lured into beginning Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt Roll Roll Cotton Boll. Hey, it could be made entirely from stash, and I wouldn't have to think, just do whatever she said each week. A nice little break from my Aboriginal quilt and avoidance of the purse and tote bag I really needed to make for the nieces.

This is part of the UFO: Fabric and sewn units from some steps.
So I pulled lots of fabric, watched for each step to be posted, and promptly fell behind because that Bonnie is a task master. Then I saw the step that called for 600 HST (that's 600 half-square triangles!) I looked at the other steps and thought, "Oh no, I'm making the same blocks as in the Aboriginal quilt. The quilt I'm trying to take a break from."

More UFO parts with other project scraps.
After a half-hearted attempt to find a fast method to make half-square triangles that was accurate without requiring lots of trimming, I have not put another stitch in this quilt, but I haven't packed it away in a drawer yet as evidenced by the piles around the quilt room. I've seen a few finished tops, and it does look quite nice, but I'm so far behind now.

Getting the focus back on the Aboriginal blocks.
Hitting the wall on the mystery quilt did prompt me to work on the purse and tote bag, and I've made a couple more Aboriginal blocks, which I think I'll concentrate on now. Although I just got the Material Obsession 2 book, and I want to make every quilt in there! And Lori's doll quilt is terribly cute ... and small ... and could be made entirely from my scraps ... and I wouldn't have to think, just do whatever she said.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Four projects in one post

Back in August I stayed with my sister for a couple days. We went to Porstmouth, NH, for lunch and afterward walked around downtown, where I saw a fabric shop. I asked if I could pop in for five minutes. My sister, nieces and brother-in-law followed me in. The Portsmouth Fabric Company is an amazing place. I'd wished I'd asked for more than five minutes. One niece dragged me over to a store sample of an Amy Butler purse, then the other one wanted to show me a tote bag she'd like, but in purple. My sister found a quilt that would look great in her bedroom. Only my brother-in-law didn't ask for anything. I guess none of the purse patterns appealed to him.

On the way to the airport a couple days later, the oldest niece asked for a piece of paper. She made me this list:
I've been procrastinating on these non-quilt items, but the girls haven't forgotten. So over the holidays when I had time off and nothing special to do, I got the purse and tote done! 
The pattern is Amy Butler's Frenchy bag. I think the main bag fabric is Anna Marie Horner. The pattern instructions were clear and easy to follow.

Here's the interior. If I make this bag again, I would stitch the pockets down the middle to the lining. Can't do that now, and I'm not crazy about how they gap open, but I don't think the recipient will mind. They're more like dividers than pockets. My first attempt at magnetic closures went well.  

The purple tote bag was made using this tutorial from J. Caroline Creative. Also easy to follow instructions, except no mention of seam allowance that I could find. I assumed 1/2-inch (same as the Amy Butler pattern) and that seemed to work.
The tote has a zippered interior pocket (at the bottom of this photo) as well as an open pocket. Kind of hard to distinguish either pocket with all that purple.

Yesterday I was inspired to make a reversible drawstring bag with my leftover purple strips. I based the construction on Ayumi's tutorial that I've used before. Super easy, and I kept a few more scraps from going into my giant scrap bin. 

I also made 11 tissue covers using Barb's tutorial. Also super easy. I'll put one in the tote and one in the purse to make up for the long wait.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

End of the year finishes

Maybe it was the threat of another year passing and these quilts not being complete that compelled me to stitch binding on six quilts. Yeah. Six. Now there's just the hand stitching to do. At least I won't be watching TV with idle hands for awhile.

Got the binding on one of the twin's monkey quilts done. Finally. I used a blue satin (which looks white in this pic, but isn't really) and made the binding extra wide so there'd be a good bit of it for them to touch. I've noticed that little kids like the soft feel of satin. The blue center squares are flannel, and the browns and light blue monkey print are regular quilting cotton. Hope they like the textures. The pattern is my own invention to show off the monkeys.

Here's the back. Leftover monkey fabric and a couple of very cute prints with monkeys I found after the quilt tops were done. One more identical quilt to bind, and these can be mailed. Well before their second birthday!

Also finished the binding on the orange stars for Luke. Soon as I get the binding on his brother's quilt, I can put these in the mail too. Well before they graduate from college!

This is the back of of the orange stars quilt. More orange.  Of course.

I wasn't planning to do anything more with this pinwheel top, but something about it was bugging me. I used the last bits of the black with gold print to border it, and it looks much better. I'd love to add another border in red or purple, but there's not enough of either color for that. I'll just leave it on the wall for awhile to see if I'm inspired what to do next. If not, it will go into the cupboard to keep some other tops company.

Barbara Brackman has started a new blog, Civil War Quilts, where each week she'll give a pattern for an 8-inch block related to the American Civil War. There'll be stories and pictures too. A block a week. That's doable, and I could use up some of my reproduction fabrics that I haven't touched in awhile. Hmmmm.