Saturday, November 30, 2013

Expanding the star

Our weather is cold and yucky. My husband is on his days off. I have had 4 to 9 kids here round the clock. I cooked all day yesterday, so of course, today I sewed. I'm not sure which one was harder on my body, LOL. Both gave me a back ache.

I pulled out my radiating star flimsy and worked at piecing the next section. Though piecing one section actually figures out the opposite section. Since I am using HST's, I have a pair of matching squares. I keep them together and make one section mirror the opposite section, on the other side of the center star. Less work figuring out the 4 sides of placement and how to keep the fabric from repeating. Design the placement once, get 2 sections created. It does make me acknowledge that I may be a little obsessive compulsive though. Oh well ....

I had to sit down and sew more HST's. I knew I had some ready but not enough. And since the pattern design was evolving, no point in stitching too many, then changing my mind. I almost went through a third charm pack of Lovely fabrics. Not a problem though as that is why I bought them.

The purple star is completed but I can't get a pic of the whole thing yet. I was using my bed as a design space and that was not easy. At one point I looked up from sewing and my German Shepherd was flopped in the midst of my placed squares. Not cool Isis.

I am delighted to say I am done placing squares. I still need to cut the big pieces for the corners of the quilt top. Then stitch the 3 sections of each row section. Yada yada yada. Then each big row together to make a top that should finish out about 120 inches. It's a big sucker :)

Do you Mystery Quilt?

Do you do Mystery Quilts? I have never joined or followed along. I have done some of the block of the month quilt a longs. I have never finished one of the quilts though. Sighsss ... I do have some cute orphan blocks.

I am a novice quilter. When they hit a difficult block, I falter. Hexies? Cute but I have scar tissue in my neck which hinders my hand work, so I don't do much hand sewing either. Paper piecing? Some I will try, others I laugh and move past.

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville Quips and Snips has an annual Mystery Quilt. I didn't find her website until this year so it is a new idea to me. It sure seems like fun. I want to be successful, yet a Mystery Quilt is a mystery. That means I don't know if it is easy or difficult. Beginning or expert quilters.

I am going to try :D

This year she is doing Celtic Solstice which appeals to me due to it's inspiration from Bonnies trip to Ireland. Her colors are orange, yellow, green and blue with a natural color background. Bright. Cheerful. Vivid. I like her colors. Then I started noticing the fabrics other quilters were posting as their chosen colors. Oh. My. Goodness.

Brave quilters trading one color for another. I think it is gorgeous! Not so much their specific choices but the reality that they are taking Bonnie's pattern, instructions and making the quilt personalized right up front. I had thought about making it with Bonnie's colors then if I liked it, make it again using different colors.

Now I want to make the quilt twice. I cannot explain why, LOL. I like Bonnie's scrappy look designs. They use many fabrics and have a lovely, busy texture. I think it would be fun to sttch the quilt in the designs colors, then also stitch another quilt using hot pink, lime, turquoise, bright yellow and black as a background. Modern. Pop! It would be for my youngest daughter.

Now to get enough fabric in the right colors. Buy the proper rulers. Work on my nerve and tenacity. Maybe you would like to join us?  

Monday, November 25, 2013

My final decision

I pulled out my Lovely flimsy and was staring at it while I ate lunch today. It's my idea of entertainment, LOL. Anyway, as I stared I noticed that while I got the various HST's in the right place, I did not rotate them the same way I drew the pattern. Duh!

I got in a hurry since dinner was about ready the other evening and goofed. I kept staring and pondering should I remove the offending squares, rotate them and reattach ..... or accept imperfection and move forward. Final decision - I laughed and decided the off kilter squares would stay. God made me imperfect and He loves me unconditionally. My quilt top can be imperfect and I will still love it. I am thankful for God's grace that is teaching me that imperfections are ok, just keep trying.

Bonus? The decision to enter this quilt in Missouri Quilt Co.'s Iron Quilter contest is final. I am not entering. It might have been exciting, though so far, it mainly made me a little anxious. I'm a great sewer of clothes, bags, random fun stuff - I am still a novice with quilts. Why add unnecessary pressure? This will be the biggest quilt top for me and the most HST's ever. That's enough of a challenge.

My original design was for many star shapes radiating outward. I love it but decided that I did not want to mix any other floral fabrics in with my Lovely fabrics. So I will stick with solids and the Lovely charm squares. I redrew my pattern and found this really simplified the whole project. I will have 3 floral stars and 3 solid fabric stars radiating outward. The 4 corner sections will be solid blue. I have already pieced the main center section. I will have minimal piecing in 4 other sections but the bulk of the piecing is done. Voila!

To balance my 9 sections, I added another row on the outer edges of my flimsy, 36 squares. That makes a total of 100 4" squares. It also lets me see more of the solid purple star forming. I can see my idea coming to life and it's really amazing to me. Is my novice enthusiasm too silly? Have a great day!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Starry start

I finally finished squaring off the HST's I sewed from the Lovely charm pack. Dinner was started so what did I do? I started laying out my squares! What was I thinking? Once I started, I couldn't stop!

I arranged my floral star. Then my blue star. More floral going to the purple.

Once I had all my squares laid out, I had to sew them. I just could not help myself. So I delayed dinner a bit. And started sewing the squares into strips.

Then I sewed the strips together.

And my iron started misbehaving. That's ok .... I can slap it around tomorrow to fix it.

I'm pretty pleased even if it does need starched and ironed. Now to make the other sections of the quilt top.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jumped in the deep end

I have jumped in the deep end of the quilting pool. I fell in love with the Lovely by Debbie Beaves with RJR Fabrics Charm pack on the Missouri Star Quilt Co website. They are having an Iron Quilter contest using at least one Lovely charm pack. I admit I am not at all sure I will actually enter the contest. I may not even have my project stitched up in time. I have started though.

Again ... without a pattern.

I want to do what I call a radiating star. Not a Lone Star - this is simple shapes - squares and HST's. I'm sure there is a pattern out there somewhere. I just don't have one. It's the story of my life. I'm lazy, too tight or maybe too stupid to buy patterns of many items. I make lots of stuff after drawing my own pattern - skirts, aprons, pillows, placemats, nightgowns, it's crazy. Basically I sat down and started sketching and figuring out how many squares and HST's of solid versus patterned fabric. Blue versus purple. Then to try the math of using 5 inch charm squares. How many stars? How much yardage to make what I want ....

Then I saw there is a very similar one on the Missouri Star site. Oops. I'm not trying to copy anybody. I just have a crazy thing for stars. I love trying star blocks. Eventually I will have enough orphan stars for a whole quilt. In the meantime I have been cutting, pinning and started sewing. We will see how it goes :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Aprons and such for fundraisers

I have been sewing hot-cold rice bags and aprons to sell for a fundraiser for my daughters youth activities. I was quite proud of myself for getting all the sewing done a good week before the event. I can procrastinate with the best. I had set a rule for myself to NOT start any other sewing projects until this one was done. Otherwise I would have had a couple dozen UFO's sitting around and nothing to sell. I know me ;) 

I made extra soap for the fundraiser too. I will be happy to share that another day. I am not an expert soap maker. I make it for myself. It is better, more moisturizing for my skin, plus I can make the bars any size I want to fit my hand. A young lady at the event was born with a stunted arm and hand. She has had multiple surgeries at the Shriners Hospitals for Children. She heard me mention I make small bars to fit my hand and showed me her own small hand. I am hopeful my little bar of Chocolate Mint soap will make her bath time easier. 

The rice bags were too simple and quick, thank goodness. I made several last year as Christmas gifts. I have some left and will share them with friends. I just got a message from a friend that is having arthritis pain in her hands and heated up one of my little rice bags. She loves it! The channels allow her hand to nestle in gently. The slip case will help keep the rice bag clean. After chatting with her, I now want to design a rice pocket. Like a mitten with rice channels to wrap her hand in warmth. A new goal :)

The star and thorn of this fundraising was the aprons. I drew up my own pattern which meant I was working without directions. They went together fine though I spent hours pondering this way versus that way. I was afraid I would mess them up, so I tried to figure out the pitfalls first. I hate wasting fabric. Instead I feel like I wasted time. Maybe I should be more bold?

Once finished, they looked great. I did not get pictures of each one, my bad! Each apron was unique. My girls and I rotated the different fabrics to make sure each one had its own personality. It paid off. I am delighted to say one of my aprons is being shipped to Kazakhstan in Russia! It will be a gift from one mother to her sons' mother in law. How sweet! I hope she enjoys it. 

Have you ever sewn for money? Craft shows? Fundraisers? What did well? What crashed? 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I won! I won! I won!

I won! I won! I won!
I am so excited to say I won a packet of patterns from Missy over at Missy's Homemaking Adventures. I have not been able to sew one up yet due to the fundraiser sewing but I plan on digging in soon. Thank you Missy!!! 

I'm a horse nut, have been since birth, so this is so fabulous! I'm thinking to use the applique pattern to make a baby quilt? Reverse the horse, use different fabrics and colors. It will be adorable! We have 5 horses and an ass now. Our numbers fluctuate as I rescue and rehome animals :) 

Check out this stuffed reindeer head. Who shot Rudolph and stuffed him?!? LOL Just teasing! I love it! Make Rudolph, his friends, maybe a girlfriend ... what was her name in that one Christmas special? You get the idea. 

Missy is in the midst of a move from Texas to Missouri. As a veteran of many moves, she has my sympathies. There are so many details that have to come together to make the transition smooth. Missy has several rescue cats plus a fabulous collection of old, antique, collectible, working featherweight sewing machines. She is so talented she can hand crank her machine and free motion quilt at the same time. She can treadle and free motion quilt! I'm still mastering pushing the pedal and not stitching my finger to my fabric, LOL.