Wednesday, November 16, 2011

a little progress: the return of the Mystery Quilt and the "dead simple" Little Apples quilt

We are having the most beautiful, extended fall in recent memory, and this week I took advantage of the mild weather to document -- outdoors -- some recent progress in ongoing sewing projects.

First off, I took a little break from lecture prep to make the "week 7" (really fortnight 7) blocks for the Mystery Quilt project by Bluepatch Quilter (Sheila).  I was off to such a good start with this fun quiltalong, blogged here, here, and here, but that was months ago -- May, to be exact! Yikes.  And so now, after a long hiatus, I finally seem to be back on track with this one.

Sheila had us make two Friendship blocks.  Here's one:

 We also made two strips of plaiting, used to link one of the new blocks and one from earlier weeks:

Finally, this cluster of blocks was joined to a couple more blocks from previous weeks.

I rethought my choice of the light pink Alexander Henry "Heath" fabric used as filler (above), and wanting more contrast I substituted more of the AMH dots that I have been using as my (unlikely) background fabric throughout the project.

Okay dokey.

Since the mystery of the Mystery Quilt's final design has already been revealed (I am that far behind!), I know that I have a few more piecing adventures ahead of me.  I love the fact that this project has pushed me to do new things.

Yesterday happened to be a very good mail day: not only did I receive my new Gutentags-made labels (more on that in a future post!), but I also received the Little Apples yardage and gorgeous red flannel for my simple patchwork nap quilt (inspired by Lynne's "Dead Simple" QAL).  You'd better believe that I cut into the LA yardage straight away, and now -- ta da! -- here is the completed quilt top, on my leaf-strewn, overgrown lawn:

This is such a crazy-easy quilt, but I adore it.  The colours in the aqua Little Apples print look so much more rich and vibrant than I expected.  Sometimes a small swatch -- like the charm squares of this print, already in my possession and already part of the quilt -- fails to capture the appeal of a print. That's definitely the case here.

The central panel in this quilt is made from one charm pack of Aneela Hooey's "Little Apples" combined with 5" squares of a variety of prints and solids from my stash (bringing the total number of "charms" used to 81, arranged 9 x 9).  I surrounded that panel with a 1.5" strip of white sashing (finishing to 1") and then an 8" border of the Little Apples print (I had 1.5 yards, and now have some nice sized scraps left over).

This quilt top is special because the stash fabrics were chosen with the assistance of my littlest one: she was really and truly helped, and expressed opinions, and that makes it all the more beautiful to me.

I have a sewing day scheduled with my quilty friends Tong, Sheila, and Sylvia -- and maybe I'll make some progress on quilting this one.  My sewing time is still so precious that I am trying to avoid feeling any pressure to finish this or that project: whatever I feel like making or doing is what I will make or do.  So there!

In the meantime, I would love to find a name for this new quilt.  It isn't constructed ONLY from "Little Apples" fabric, and it wasn't STRICTLY following the quilt-along, and yet it is awfully simple so its name really shouldn't be anything too elaborate...any ideas?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the sewing scramble

There's news around here!

(1) book manuscript: submitted!  Yay!  This is, of course, the biggest news of all :)

(2) Janome: working again!  It didn't need a repair, after all -- just some skillful adjustments by my sewing machine dealer.  This is very good news in terms of work-life-craft balance and general sanity.

(3) sewing: lots of it! I have had a couple of evening of frenzied sewing, making up for lost time.

First off, I made little Frida two pairs of much-needed school pants, neither of which I can show here since one pair -- light blue twill, flannel lined, with Kokka print patch pockets -- is in the wash, and the other -- periwinkle corduroy -- is currently in use.  I will try to document these soon.

I also finished up my third version of the ModKids "Frida" dress (have to love that name!), which had been languishing in a half-assembled state for several months. This probably won't enter wardrobe rotation until springtime, but here it is, made from Jennifer Paganelli's "Loopy Vintage Floral" with Kaffe Fassett shot cotton for the bodice lining, side ties, and skirt trim.

Buoyed by my finishes, the first in ages, I whipped up a little scarf for myself -- following last winter's tutorial on Twin Fibers, and finally dipping into my stash of Little Folks voile. 

This was probably the quickest sewing project I have ever had -- and I have a feeling that I will be getting a lot of wear out of it.  Please excuse the reflected clutter; I think it's about time to retire the Halloween buntings and birthday balloons!

I finished assembling and trimming the blocks for my son's new quilt, which I hadn't touched since September 30 (thank you, blogger archive).

Honestly, I'm a bit tired of green -- but these fabrics were my son's choices, so on I go!  I have yardage of the stripey/cross-hatch print (Moda "Origins") in shades of yellow and green for the quilt back, but I do wish that I had bought a flannel instead.  Hmmm.

And finally, a little time spent organizing my pattern box revealed some forgotten treasures, like this drunkard's path template set.

These are great: they are really hard acrylic with a kind of papery-textured back (very little slipping), it's easy to manoeuvre the rotary cutter around them, and they are also perfect for charm squares.  What a nice discovery!

I cut up a charm pack of Oliver + S "City Weekend" (again, something that has been sitting in my stash for quite a while)...and I will pair these up with DP pieces in kona snow: I have a plan!

And along the way I will a chance to try out my Curvemaster sewing machine foot, which I have also had for a few months, without having had the time to use it.


Now off to care for my feverish -- but very cheerful -- littlest one.

I hope November is off to a good start for all of you!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Farewell October!

Fresh Sewing Day

It's Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts and time for a fresh start chez Bobbin.

I'm happy to say goodbye to October: it was a hectic, busy, stressful month...and in just a few days time my book manuscript will be out of my hands. I can hardly wait!! November promises to be a happy month.

Today is a day of what did I stitch up in October? Not nearly as much as I would have liked, and certainly no big finishes, but a few little things nevertheless.

I started (another) handsewing/English paper piecing project, perfect for the conference travel we had to do at the beginning of the month:

I'm up to 15 hexagons in this project, and I am going to keep working (slowly) on it...on those rare evening when my hubby and I can watch television!

In October I made a few blocks for the Farmer's Wife QAL, imperfectly pieced on my 1947 Singer Featherweight, but cheerful nonetheless:

And finally, a few days ago I jumped into Lynne's Dead Simple QAL by piecing a Little Apples charm pack with a few coodinating stash fabrics:

I have some Little Apples yardage and Riley Blake red patterned flannel on  order for a border and backing fabric, respectively.  The end product will be a nap quilt for the littlest one.

Now to some gratuitous Halloween cuteness (October ended with a bang!).

Here is Frida as a pink bunny rabbit:

Her Daddy was a magician:

And her best friend dressed as Ramone (our black cat):

I hope November brings us all peace, joy and creativity!