Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Terrific Triangles

Sorry for the late post, I had hoped to share pictures of the fun decorations from Little Girl's 2nd birthday party, but it turns out no one took a picture of them. I was running around crazily trying to get things taken care of and didn't think of it until we were all packed up to head home. Oh well. I plan to re-install them in her room at home so I will share them after that.

Time for the next installment from my quilting class. This past Friday we worked on an old favorite of mine: Nine Patch. I am truly loving the Nine Patch with the ombre batiks, even if there are blocks of the same color the variation of the dye process makes each unique. 

9" Nine Patch

We were supposed to make eight total nine patch blocks for the quilt, but being the over achiever that I am (hahaha) I decided to do twelve. No I'm not just making the extras for the fun of it. The finished sample quilt has 9" black squares in the corners and I wasn't too keen on that, so I did a little extra work hopefully it will pay off. I know my new pressing technique already is!

Next is the part of the class that I had simultaneously been looking forward to and dreading: triangles. Triangles are an aspect of quilting that I'd been trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid. I've never been any "good" with them and they never seemed to line up in a way that I was satisfied with. Enter the Flying Geese quilt block. The first help to me is that these triangles are rather large so it's easier to see if points are lined up or not (7 1/2" triangle). 
Two halves of a Flying Geese block

I'm still trying to decide on color arrangement that's why the two halves aren't paired. I've also got to trim all the little "ears" off of the other squares. Still loving the ombre batiks, both of those triangles are cut from the orange piece!

This Friday I get to look forward to a block I haven't tried before: Jewel Box. A lot more triangles in that one, wish me luck!

Is there an aspect of your favorite craft that you avoid because its "too hard"?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Back to Basics

The grocery bag tutorial will have to wait a few weeks as hubby gave me a laundry list of adjustments to make to my pattern.
For Valentine's Day was this past Friday I had a little fun with breakfast and added some red food coloring to the pancake batter. I kept adding what seemed like a massive amount only to end up with pepto-pink pancakes. Hubby said they looked more like candy than a healthy breakfast item. That's what I get for trying something fun and different... I think they still tasted good. :-)
Pink pancakes on the griddle.
If you remember I got a new sewing machine for Christmas from my family. I've been happily creating away on it, learning that it could likely do everything for me if it became sentient. Let's hope that doesn't happen as I enjoy being the creative force. With the sewing machine purchase came the option of two classes: Beginning Sewing or Beginning Quilting. Initially I scoffed at both. I've been sewing off and on for most of my life, and quilting for over half of it. Then I thought to myself, I have never taken a formal quilting class it couldn't hurt to try one now.
So my first quilt class was this past Friday. It did begin on a rather tedious note for me reviewing seam allowance, how to use a rotary cutter, and the like. Finally we got into the meat of the subject and started cutting pieces for our first pieced block. A basic log cabin 

A basic 18" log cabin using dip dyed batiks.
It felt right to me to start this class with a log cabin block as that was the very first pattern I sewed with my mentor back in 8th grade. I also learned a little historical tid-bit with log cabin quilts: traditionally a red center symbolized the hearth of the home, and a yellow light was a welcoming light through a window. I managed to have both.
Happily, it wasn't all review and history, I did learn some new cutting techniques and that I have some bad habits that I need to break. Next week we start on 9-patch and flying-geese blocks.
Would you ever take a beginner's class for a hobby you've been doing a while?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Wonderland

It snowed for three days here in Portland which tends to  everything down because A) it's not normal to get ANY snow and B) the city doesn't have the equipment to deal with it. So we've been on house arrest since Thursday. Today they're predicting freezing rain on top of it all.  

Looking out my front window. 
Hubby asked if we should listen to Christmas music, I threw a shoe at him.

But you know what they say, you gotta make lemons outta lemonade.... or something more wintry... snow day equals sew day!

So with me, hubby and baby girl stuck inside for going on five days now I've been quite the domestic diva. Of course I've been sewing like crazy, but I'll get to that later, I have been making magic in the kitchen. This isn't a cooking blog, so I won't dwell on it, but wow what I little time and effort can produce!

I made a half mile trek in the snow to the grocery store to acquire a whole chicken. (It felt like it was up hill both ways, but hubby assured me it was not.) I found a recipe for herb rubbed chicken on Better Homes and Gardens which baked in the oven for a little over two hours. Man, that chicken was PERFECT and I didn't have to do much to it once it was in the oven. Last night I used what was left of the chicken and made pot pie, including the crust from scratch. Ok, I'll admit I made the pie crust a week ago and it's been in the freezer. The recipe is Perfect Pie Crust from the Pioneer Woman.

As far as sewing is concerned,  I got half a dozen block made for the quilt I'm calling "No Place Like the Nest", including one that I sewed backwards. OOPS... I think they're beautiful so far.

"No Place Like Home" blocks using "Nest" fabric collection.

I got a little bored slash side tracked with that project when I started poking around on Pinterest.  I was inspired to make my own grocery bags. However, after poking around for a free pattern or tutorial that I liked with no luck. I ended up making my own. 

I'm going to put them into practical use on our next grocery trip (whenever we dig out), likely make some adjustments, and then hopefully post a tutorial next week.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A trip down memory lane

One thing I love about having been quilting for a long time is all of the memories in the form of fabric scraps in my stash. As the history of the things I have made grows, so does the collection of scraps. I think that may be (another) part of the reason that I enjoy crazy quilts so much is I get to go through my scraps and experience a bit if nostalgia. I remember the quilts I've made and given away.

As I was finishing up another Franken-pillow, I was trying to decide on what fabric to use for the back. I initially was going to use a solid piece of fabric, but decided that that didn't fit the "theme" as well as a pieced back would. I dug into one of my bins of fabric from my first years as a "serious quilter". What discovered took my breath away for a moment because the fabric I found had so many memories tied to it that I was caught off guard. I'll be honest, I've dug past this fabric before, I've even used it in other quilting projects before but I found a completed leftover block.

This four-leaf-clover with lady bug print I bought to make my uncle a quilt when he first started going through treatment for cancer in 2004. He died in 2009 and his wife died in 2012, they didn't have any children so I have no idea where the quilt ended up. I feel like in a way these blocks and this fabric is a way of remembering him every time I use it.

There is one thing I do now with every quilt I make that I didn't then, and that's label it. I am very happy that my new sewing machine has the ability to do lettering so I can do things like this:

That way if the original owner is lost there is still memory of who made it and when.