Friday, January 30, 2009

Quilt Ideas

I know I've been bad about posting lately. A class that I'm taking at my work has me spending too much of my own time doing the homework. I love it when its a "work" class that takes 3 hours and about 4 hours of homework and you can only charge 1.5 hours of time to it. The rest is on your own. Yuck!

Enough of my ranting though. I thought I'd post some sketches of the quilts that I plan on making over the next few months (otherwise read as probably the next year). One of the quilts is from Judy Laquidara's Nine-Patch Extravaganza. Its called "Heat Wave". I don't have a sketch of this one since I have the book and the pattern at home. Its looks like a very cool quilt though.

The second quilt I'm doing is actually a color variation of Judy's "Shine on Bayou Cane" that she did as a Quilt-for-an-Hour project last year. I saved the instructions since I didn't have time to do it right then, but now I want to make it. I did sketch it up in EQ on my own because I wanted to test out some other colors. I don't have a stash of lots of different colors (yet), so I couldn't just do the stars in it as scrappy colors like she did. Here's my sketch from EQ. I like the reds/pinks and the greens in it. When I pick out the fabrics I just need to make sure the reds and greens aren't too close to being Christmas colors!

The last quilt that I'm doing is actually my own design that I did in EQ. I plan on making it for my husband's grandmother. Its a variation on the Trip Around the World pattern and I thought the rainbow colors would look really happy on the quilt.

It may be a while before you see any actual pictures of the quilts because I have three quilt tops that need to be quilted and bound, our large quilt needs to be bound, and I have a baby quilt to make for a co-worker (baby is due in March so I better hurry up!).

Happy Quilting!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quilty Pictures

I actually got some things accomplished tonight despite it being an EXTREMELY long day at work. Not only did I go to class (a work training class that meets 3 hours every Monday and has homework - yuck!), but I made dinner, finished adding some borders to a quilt, and took some photos. I also managed to break a needle in my sewing machine (a first for me).

I'm usually ultra careful about putting things close to the needle while its moving. Unfortunately, my little stylus that I use to keep seams together right up to the needle got a little close. A HUGE pop and twang and the needle was in pieces. Thankfully it didn't damage the quilt (or more importantly the machine) and I just needed to put a new needle in after finding all the pieces of the last one. I also got some binding strips sewn together for the Rainbow quilt. I decided to use strips of all the colors that I used in the 9-patches for the binding and it works out pretty much perfectly. Now I just need to find time to quilt it!

So here's the quilt that I picked up this past weekend from the longarm quilter, Karen. She did a fabulous job. I didn't have time to really spread it out, so its just a few pictures of some of the squares. I used the traditional Fifty-Four Forty or Fight pattern with just a slight modification to the middle square (solid instead of a 4-patch). I still haven't figured out what I want to call it though. No matter.... it will be weeks before I can get the binding on it. ;-)

I tried to get some photos of the music notes in it, but its hard to see on the white fabric. Karen didn't want to make the quilting stand out too much, which was perfect for this quilt. I'll definitely go back to her when I have a few more large ones.

I also made a quick little "blanket" for the bear my mother-in-law made for us. It was really just some testing of methods, but it seemed to fit right with him. Sorry about the quality of the photo... the flash on the camera wasn't that great since the battery was low.

Finally, here's the picture of the Rainbow quilt. Its not quite rainbow colors, but it seems cheerful. Now its JUST a matter of quilting it! :-) It will be a while before I get to this one as I have two others in line before it.

Quilter's Block

It seems like over the past week or two I’ve had major quilter’s block. For whatever reason, I haven’t been able to get much done quilting related although I’m sure it has to do with work. For those of you who don’t know me very well, I work 40+ hours outside of the home as a mechanical engineer. I work at a company where I design components for steam turbines that are sold to customers for generating electrical power for all of us to use.

Work has been crazy busy since the beginning of the year. Late last year, it was like pulling teeth to find work whereas now, I have more to do than I can think about. It seems like its either feast or famine around here when it comes to how much work you have. I’ve been pretty stressed out about work and having so much to do and not having time to do it. By the time I get home in the evening, I’m so exhausted from work that I almost have to force myself to sit down at the sewing machine, which makes it no fun. Last week I was able to get a fair amount accomplished at work, so I don’t feel quite so harried anymore and hopefully I’ll be able to devote more time to quilting.

This week my real goal is to choose a couple of patterns that I would like to make over the next few months. As I said in my stash busting post, a local quilt shop is having a fabric sale this coming weekend, so its time to pick out the patterns and get the fabric! My plan for tonight is to get some borders sewn onto the Rainbow Quilt and take some photos of the few things I’ve accomplished over the past week or so. I also want to take a picture of our big quilt now that its been quilted.

To help myself feel like I’m getting things done at home along with at work, I’ve actually started making a list of 5 things that I want to get done each evening. One item is always going to get done because its making dinner. ;-) But it is something that has to be done and then I know I can at least cross off one thing on the list. I used to make the lists really long and I would never get even close to finishing the list, so I’m now limiting it to 5 reasonable things. That way I don’t feel too discouraged if I don’t get everything done. If I get more done than what’s on the list…. BONUS!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stash Busting - 1/25/2009

Definitely fell off the quilting wagon over the past week or so. I haven't gotten a lot accomplished quilting-wise, but I've been doing a fair amount of "testing". I have two lap-sized quilts that I need to quilt and I've been experimenting with different methods of marking them so that I can actually remove the marks!

I also picked up the BIG quilt this weekend and its fully quilted. It looks amazing and the longarm quilter did a fantastic job. Now I just need to bind it! That's going to take a while since its close to a King sized quilt. All together, its about to be about 450 inches of binding. Ooof! I guess it will keep my hands busy for a while.

I'm also trying to pick out a few quilt patterns that I want to make over the next few months. A local quilt shop is having a sale next weekend on all the fabric (60% off everything) so I definitely want to pick out some stuff to work on and get the fabric at a reduced cost. Expect to see some yardages added next week. ;-) I figure I'm just doing my part to help the economy. haha!

Fabric Added this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Added YTD: 45.4 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used YTD: 7.20 yards

Net Fabric: 38.2 yards

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stash Busting - 1/18/2009

I did get some sewing done this week (see here), but since I hadn't counted that material in the stash reports... it can't be counted this week. However, I was really good and didn't buy any material either! ;-) So here's the report:

Fabric Added this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Added YTD: 45.4 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used YTD: 7.20 yards

Net Fabric: 38.2 yards

Hopefully everyone else had a more productive stash busting week!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures!

I finally got around to taking some pictures of the stuff I've been working on the past few days. I actually ended up taking them early this morning while I was waiting for my tea to brew before leaving for work.

I've finished up sewing the binding on the tea cozy. Its not as great as I had hoped, but it was a good testing ground for some free-motion quilting.

I also finished up putting the rows together for the Rainbow 9-Patch quilt. I was able to get the 9-patches done during the Quiltathon last weeked, but the rest of it was done in the evenings this past week. I'm waiting to get to the fabric store for some tan fabric before I add borders, but hopefully that will happen this weekend. I still need to put the setting triangles on the four corners, but its pretty much set at this point.

The only item I can't take credit for is the stuffed bear. My Mother In-Law (MIL) loves to knit. She knits like a mad-woman and can make just about anything. She's made bags, purses, sweaters, kid clothes and now toys. For Christmas, Rich and I gave her a book for a whole bunch of patterns for really cute kid toys, and she was able to finish the teddy bear and gave one to us. The bear is completely knitted and the sweater is knitted, too. The sweater even has these tiny little buttons on the shoulder so you can take the sweater off and put a different one on. Its completely adorable!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quilting Away

I know I don't have any pictures to post right now, but I have been doing some quilting stuff this week. The class that I'm taking at work took up a few hours of valuable quilting time, but at least my homework is done for the class and I can REALLY start quilting now. ;-)

I finished sewing the binding onto the tea cozy last night. I had originally intended on sewing the binding completely by machine, but it was pain to get the awkward shape of the tea cozy under the sewing machine so I decided to do it by hand. I also have all the 9-patches and setting squares/triangles sewn into rows. The QST on the four corners of the quilt aren't sewn into the rows yet, but they'll be added after I have the rows trimmed up.

I hope to have some pictures for everyone in the next day or so. I won't be able to do the borders until this weekend, but I can do pictures of the majority of the quilt top. I had originally sketched the quilt on paper and colors just the 9-patches, but after receiving EQ6 for Christmas I put the quilt on there and colored everything. I decided I didn't like a black and white border because it just looked like too much white. So I need to make a run to the fabric store this weekend to get some tan fabric for the borders. I want the borders to kind of have a picture frame feel with the tan and black.

Aside from quilting, its been STUPID cold here the past few days. Currently it is 2 degrees with a windchill of -6, which surprisingly is up from yesterday when the windchill was -15. I've had to break out the REALLY warm winter coat and wear my wool pants to work to try to keep warm. Thankfully I have a little heater under my desk so when I get into the office in the I turn it on and try to thaw my feet out. I'm glad that I have a hobby that involves doing stuff inside right now! :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January Quiltathon - Sunday

I didn't get as much sewing done as I would have liked today, but I did get some done. The morning started out with having to clear the driveway of 7.5" of snow. Since we don't usually get a ton of snow in the winter (typically just one or two good snowfalls), we don't own a snow-thrower and the clearing is done the old fashioned way....brute force. My husband and I were out for about an hour clearing the snow so that he could go snowboarding and I could go get a facial (my one vice that I really allow myself).

Once I got back from the facial, I put the crock pot on and started the laundry. I had to press all those little squares that I had sewn last night before I could put them into the 9-patches, so that took a while. Eventually I did get everything sewn together. I have a total of 30 9-patches that will be a finished size of 4.5". I still need to press the white material for the setting squares, but that will be another day.

Hope everyone else had a good quilting weekend!

Stash Busting - 1/11/2009

While I didn't get much sewing done this week (a little bit yesterday), I did get a bit of stashed used...mainly because I had to supply the backing material for the quilt that I'm having quilted. So I've used 5 yards of material this week. I'm not counting the fabric for the Rainbow quilt because I already had that planned and didn't count it as part of the stash. Here's the final report:

Fabric Added this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Added YTD: 45.4 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 5.0 yards
Fabric Used YTD: 7.20 yards

Net Fabric: 38.2 yards

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quiltathon 2009 - Saturday Evening

I was able to get some sewing done today despite having to do a lot of errands and help put together a bookcase. So the first two pictures are an experiment of mine. I'm a big tea fan, but I do not have a tea cozy to keep my teapot warm. So I decided to try to make one with some fat quarters I had laying around. I also decided that it would be a good thing to practice my free-motion quilting on. I know it looks a little funny, but I'm sure it will work. Today I was able to put the two halves together and to machine sew part of the binding on the bottom. I was going to machine sew the entire binding, but its a little difficult to fit under the machine, so I'm just going to do it by hand.

Now here are all the little squares I had cut out earlier this morning. I'm about halfway through the last set and its time to clean the machine, put a new needle in and all that.... so its waiting until tomorrow to get finished. ;-) I have plenty of sets of 3 to press tomorrow too, but you can see the fairly large pile of sewn pieces. Right there is about 80 of the sets of 3. After I get them all nicely pressed, it will be time to match all the those seams and make 9 patches.

On the weather looks like we're going to be having a lot of snow. The snow started around 7:30 and its only gotten heavier and isn't supposed to stop until tomorrow at lunchtime. Then it will be time to move all that snow! Yuck!

Quiltathon 2009 - Saturday Update

The quiltathon is on! While I did get up early this morning to get to cutting fabric, the majority of the cutting got delayed a bit. My husband insisted that the Christmas tree come down this morning, so we spent about an hour or so taking down the tree and boxing everything up. Since Mother Nature is deciding that Albany should be in the Golden Snowball Race this year, we had to do our grocery shopping since we have a winter storm warning in effect from 4pm until tomorrow afternoon. We're expecting to get about 8 inches of snow.

I did however get some "quilty" stuff done. I dropped off the "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight" quilt to be quilted. I also did get the colored fabric cut for the "Rainbow Patch" quilt. Here's some before and after pictures from the cutting:

I'm hoping that I'll be able to get a few of these sewn this afternoon before I quit for the day. Happy Quilting!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Quiltathon Tomorrow

Judy over at Patchwork Times is hosting the first Quiltathon of 2009 this weekend. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to sit my butt down and sew this weekend. I've spent most of my evenings this past week washing and refolding yardage and fat quarters. Last night I pin basted a lap-sized quilt that I was originally intending to start quilting this weekend. However, I'm still waiting for some stencils to arrive, so no quilting will be done on that quilt this weekend.

The plan for tonight and this weekend is to pin baste the Irish Rails quilt and start cutting and piecing 9-patches for the Rainbow Patch quilt that I'm going to be making (there's no picture of this one yet). Basically its various 9-patches of two shades of fabrics from the Moda Marbles collection and the 9-patches are set on-point with white setting squares between them. I'm hoping that I will get it pretty much completed this weekend, but that will depend upon how often my husband decides that he needs or wants my help doing something. :-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Winter Day & Stash update

Today is yet another yucky day here in the northeast. Just about every school is closed in the area today. We received about 2 inches of snow overnight and now its freezing rain. Everything is getting ice coated again like it was back in December. We're supposed to have freezing rain all day today and the roads are supposed to get worse as the day goes on. Thankfully, my work gave me both a workstation and a laptop so I can actually work from home today... which I'm definitely doing!

The past two nights I've spent washing a bunch of fat quarters that I bought in December. I didn't include them in my Stash Report on Sunday, but I feel they definitely need to be added to the Stash Report since they are a significant source of fabric! ;-) So here are my new numbers....

Fabric Added this Week: 45.4 yards
Fabric Added YTD: 45.4 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 2.2 yards
Fabric Used YTD: 2.20 yards

Net Fabric: 43.2 yards

Wow! I need to get sewing!! Too bad I end up putting in about 9 hours of actual work (10 hours with lunch and commute included) outside the house. That leaves me very little time for sewing. I'm jealous of those who can sew and sew and sew all day. ;-)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Long Day

Today was my first day back at work after being on vacation for 2 weeks and let me tell you, it felt like today alone was 2 weeks. A part of me was glad to be back in the routine, but another part wanted the vacation to last a little longer. Aside from doing the usual minor grocery shopping tonight, I was able to get the rest of my fat quarters trimmed (they raveled a bit in the wash) and folded about half of them.

Does anyone else wash and fold their "stash" fabric before using it? I guess the way I see it is that if I wash and fold it neatly, then at least I can see my fabric and I know I can pull it right away and just press it before cutting. No waiting for the washer! ;-) My husband doesn't quite understand this and gave me funny looks when I was folding fabric that I probably won't use for a while.

I think I'm going to have to revise my stash report from last week. I didn't include my fat quarters in the count and after my "retail therapy" in early December, I really should count the fat quarters since I have a few. ;-)

Rock Climbing

I've gotten a few comments (make that two comments LOL) about my rock climbing habit. I haven't done rock climbing in a little while now after having surgery on my foot last year, but it is incredibly addicting! I only do indoor rock climbing where the safety ropes are tied off to the ceiling and someone else is holding the other end of the rope so if I lose my grip I don't go falling very far. The longest I've ever fallen is about 2 feet.

The first few times I went climbing I was pretty scared since I have a "thing" about heights. However, it is actually somewhat interesting because while you're climbing up you don't notice how high you are and since you don't actually have to climb down (the other person lowers you) you don't even have to look at the ground to see how high up you are. At first my goal was just to get to the top, but then I after a few times going I was able to actually follow a planned route up the wall.

If there's a place near you, I would definitely recommend trying it out. Its pretty liberating knowing that you can do it and its all very safe. Most places let you rent shoes and a harness so you don't even have to buy the equipment to try it. It does require some strength in the upper body, but if you try it a few times and just keep going, you build up the strength without having to do anything else (like lifting weights at a gym). Just enjoy doing it!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Stash Busting - 1/4/2009

This will be my first year in really having a stash to "bust" for quilting. Just after Christmas I was able to get a bit of fabric from a Joann's store that was closing. I'd like to keep track of how much fabric I really do buy and use. It will be interesting to see how the numbers change throughout the year. So here's my report:

Fabric Added this Week: 32.4 yards
Fabric Added YTD: 32.4 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 2.2 yards
Fabric Used YTD: 2.20 yards

Net Fabric: 30.2 yards

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Irish Rails Quilt

Just before Christmas, I was able to finish up a quilt-top that I had been working on. With everything going on, this is the first chance I've had to take some pictures to post of the quilt. I'm making this quilt for my Dad who was diagnosed with cancer in the beginning of October. He's very much into the irish theme, hence the Irish Rails name for the quilt and the green fabrics. Enjoy the eye candy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Winter Weather

After spending a few days at my parents' place, Rich, Laura and I headed back to Albany for some much needed quiet. The drive back was "interesting" to say the least. It took us an hour to drive a section of the highway that usually takes only 30 minutes. Here's two pictures taken from the car while traveling. I particularly like the 2nd photo where you can barely see the vehicle in front of us.

I haven't been able to get a lot of quilting done lately since we've been pretty busy hosting and visiting people. I did take advantage of Joann's store closing near my parents'. All books were 50% off, fat quarters were only $1, all fabric was 40% off with an additional 10% if you ended up buying the entire bolt. I stocked up on some FQ's, yardage of blue fabric with stars, and some muslin. I was also able to get a few pre-packaged batting sizes. Now I just have to figure out where to store it. ;-)