New Knitting Again

Kira K Designs
Kira K Designs

After my recent scarf finish, I think I need to learn to read a knitting pattern so I can knit more interesting items. I was thinking about some fingerless gloves that one of the ladies at the knitting circle showed me. She was using a much smaller yarn, which is what I have, so I know that it would work. The issue is that I have 3 skeins, about 1300 yards, and I don’t want to make 15 projects with the same yarn.

I started to ask questions about the pattern I chose to accommodate the yarn I bought at PIQF last year. I absolutely do not want stash yarn and loved the shawl, which I will knit to keep at work when the air conditioning gets to be too much. Apparently, the yarn is wrong for the pattern, so I needed to choose a new pattern.

The shop owner asked me to come back the next day as she was rushing to a board meeting. I went back the next day and she showed me how Ravelry works. It has a great feature where one can put in the difficulty of the project you want as well as yarn you have and the system will come back with projects that will work. I found a sweater that I like and will try.

I went back, again, the next day to talk to the sweater queen who didn’t really like the sweater construction,but was very kind and helpful.

It turns out I have been doing the stockinette stitch wrong. It didn’t matter when I was doing my own scarf pattern, but I would have to translate stitches, if I continued on knitting the way I was. Thus, I came home with videos to watch and knitting practice to do.

DIY with Fray Check

New Sheers - March 2019
New Sheers – March 2019

Last weekend we hung new sheers.

We had great sheers from Crate & Barrel that I loved. They were more than 20 years old and starting to rot from sun damage. They were a good investment, I think.

My old curtains had multi-colored dots on them and I really wanted more of the same. Of course, because everything must be new, that style was no longer available. I found some curtains with silver dots and decided those would work.

We had never hung a real curtain rod and had some sort of jerry rigged system using one of those curved rods and a bunch of nails. When we moved in the YM was 6 months old and we were a little busy.

Various finials we did NOT choose
Various finials we did NOT choose

Several months ago, I started looking at curtain rods. We have a corner window, so needed a system with a corner connector. There were a few, but the finials in all of these were TOO MUCH. They screamed “Welcome to my curtains”. That was absolutely what I did not want.

For this sort of shopping, at least for me, online shopping is sub-optimal. I need to see the size and finish of what I am looking at.

Living room finials
Living room finials

DH was home last Friday for Cesar Chavez Day, so we went out and looked at rods. In addition to the crazy finals, we found that the diameter of the rods was too big. We went out the next day, again, which is some sort of miracle because it was Saturday and we don’t shop well together. I tried to think of it as kind of like a date, though. We found a great, subtle rod at Target with a corner connector! We hadn’t even planned to go to Target, but we parked near it and stopped in. Their selection of curtain rods and hardware was pretty decimated, but we found a finial we liked. They had all the pieces and parts we needed, so we bought it and left.

DH doesn’t have much time at home, so I was planning to have our handy man put them up. DH started moving furniture and measuring on Sunday morning and spent a happy, I think, 3/4s day putting them up. I had to help him at various points, which was great, because he was getting it done. I knew there wouldn’t be another half finished home project in our garage.

Fray Check DIY
Fray Check DIY

This style of curtain rod has supports. We did not want to use the rings designed to work with these curtains, so we cut the back of the curtain rod pocket, sealed the edges with Fray Check and hung them up. Nobody will see the cuts.

I hadn’t used Fray Check in a long time. I was pleased that my bottle was still good. I used too much on the first one and it took forever to dry. I used a hair dryer to be sure it was dry. Otherwise, the whole project went relatively smoothly.

I am pleased with how the curtains came out except, because of the online shopping aspect, they are much less sheer than our other sheers. I would have preferred more sheer to let more light in, but done is better than perfect. Now that we have secure curtain rods up, we can change them more easily.

 

Really Finished: Purple Improv

Purple Improv Donation Back
Purple Improv Donation Back

It took me awhile to get the back for the Purple Improv donation quilt finished. It is now done and I, unexpectedly gave it to Tim at Sew Day yesterday.

Making the back was slightly delayed, because I couldn’t get my purple fabric bins. I don’t use purple that often, so they are slightly buried.

I did it a little differently this time. The top was on the design wall. Instead of pulling it off and using the design floor, I pinned fabrics from my stash to the design wall in the place I wanted to use them. This worked pretty well as I could see where I still needed coverage.

Finished: Improv Donation Top
Finished: Improv Donation Top

I didn’t think he would want to quilt the Purple Improv quilt, but he took both the Purple Strip quilt and this one to quilt. He is such a rock star.

Red Strip Donation Blocks

The Purple Improv donation top wasn’t even off the design wall before I started in on red scrap strip blocks, the next color in this unexpected series.

I have 15 more blocks to make, but they go fast and I have 3 in process at the moment.

There is something very satisfying about sitting at my sewing machine, grabbing strips and shards from a drawer right next to the machine and ending up with a quilt top. When I started the Green Thing, it was kind of a lark, an experiment to try the blocks that were inspired by Alison. Now this seems to be a whole project. It’s unexpected, but oddly satisfying.

More Progress on FOTY 2017

There are a lot of pieces to sew for FOTY 2017, but I have, slowly, but surely, been making progress. I thought I could finish the top this past weekend. Even if I hadn’t worked with DH to replace our horrendous jerry-rigged, 20+ year old living room curtain rod, I wouldn’t have had enough time. There are just too many seams.

FOTY 2017 - very early April 2019
FOTY 2017 – very early April 2019

I am not being super precious about placement this time. I would never have started if I held myself to that standard this time around. I do still tweak placement as I go along, for better or for worse.

I am really looking forward to the whole thing being together as I want to see if it looks like a skyline.

The creativity posts will resume at some point.

26 Projects 2019 #4

Finished 2019 Quilt Projects

Finished 2019 Non-Quilt Projects

This category covers bags, toys, aprons and knitting as well as other non-quilt projects.

Doing Good

  • Ends n.7 quilt top and back – finished 1/6/2019
  • Green Strips quilt top and back – finished 1/16/2019
  • Green Thing donation top and back – finished 2/2019
  • Libs Elliot donation top – finished 2/2019 – Cheryl actually did the quilting and the binding. She made me feel good by saying she really liked the quilt. I should try the technique using stripes instead of making stripes and see if I feel differently. I should do a lot of things.
  • Purple Improv donation quilt top – finished 3/2019
  • Purple Strips donation quilt top and back
  • Spiky Stars n.3 donation top and back – finished 3/2019

In Process
The ‘In Process’ is used to denote projects on which I am actively working or are on the design wall waiting for me to stitch. I try not to put away projects, because that will ensure I never work on them

  • FOTY 2017 – pieces cut. The pieces are back on the design wall and I am  almost finished sewing them together.
  • English Paper Piecing Project– half hexies – I have a big stack of stars ready to sew into the quilt. I am still thinking of my friend Faye whenever I work on it. She says that I have to think of this as my slow project.

Still WIPs
I still have WIPs. Who doesn’t, after all? A project in the ‘UFO’ category means I am stalled. A nicer way of saying UFO is a WIP. The list is a lot shorter and the projects are newer, for the most part.

  1. FOTY 2018 – this has to be on the list now as I have cut a ton of squares and need to arrange and sew it together. As I am still working on FOTY 2017, I haven’t made a start on this yet.
  2. Handbag Sampler – this is still the forgotten project. It should be on the UFO list. Too bad I don’t have one. The blocks were teaching samples when I taught a sampler class the time before I started writing the quilt class sampler tutorials. I found one block recently, but otherwise I actually don’t know exactly where the blocks are hiding. I have an idea and still have to crawl up in the far reaches of my fabric closet soon and see if I can find them. I haven’t even found a picture of all the blocks. Sad.
  3. Lobster – I still have more stitching to do and then I need to quilt it. Probably also a UFO, but it nags at me from the small design wall.
  4. Pies and Points from 2016 Victoria Findlay Wolfe class. The last time I worked on it was when Julie and I had a playdate in April 2018. I brought this piece with me so I could cut more elements (Julie has a Sizzix). I lost my excitement about this piece shortly thereafter and still have to get it back. Thus, I had to move this to the WIPs area.
  5. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. No progress.
  6. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I am still stalled on this again. As one of my oldest (I am pretty sure) UFO, I put it on my blog and out into the Twitterverse and Diane suggested that I not consider this as a self portrait. I think that strategy is a great idea. I am now trying to think of a new persona for her.
  7. Black and Red quilt – This came about because of two other projects. I made a whole bunch of bias tape as part of my failed attempt at doing the Mighty Lucky Club a few years ago. Another part of the inspiration came from my class with Tina of Little Blue Cottage fame. This was going to be for a nephew, but I think it will be for one of my SILs and BILs. I have rectangles cut and some bias tape ready. My next step is to sew the bias tape to the rectangles like pickup sticks. I don’t have any photos of this, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
  8. Who Am I? – This piece is up on my design and I keep meaning to work on it, but I haven’t. It requires a lot of satin stitching, but I don’t want it to end up like the Self-Portrait, so I’ll get to it sooner rather than later.

Small Projects in Process

Most of my progress involves thinking or just cutting.

  • 4-Zip Organizer – part of Crafty Gemini Organizer Club. It is on my list, but I haven’t actually started
  • Chubby Charmer with Good Fortune charm pack – gift; not started.
  • Mondo Bag – started laying out mini-charms
  • Retreat Organizer – another project from the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club, also on my list, but not yet started
  • Solid black cell phone wallet – The pieces are cut out and ready to sew, except that I misplaced the box with the pieces. Sigh.
  • Ultimate Project Organizer – another project from the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club, also on my list, but not yet started
  • White on black dots cell phone wallet – The pieces are cut out and ready to sew, except that I misplaced the box with the pieces. Sigh.

Ready for Quilting

In Quilting Process

  • BAMaQG IRR –I have been working on this lately and am making progress. It is slow since it is hand quilting. I might add some more machine quilting to the project to move it along
  • City Sampler was taken to Colleen on 2/26/2019.
  • Theoretically, the Tarts Come to Tea is still in the quilting process, though I haven’t worked on it in a while. Mom said she is really looking forward to me finishing it, which might be the incentive I need to get back to work on it.

Binding

Nothing now.

Hunting and Gathering

  • 30 Something: I continue to cut 1.5 inch squares. I am pretty sure I have the 800 I need, but I am not ready to sew them together yet, so whenever I have a chance to cut more, I cut more. It will give me choice when the time comes. I looked at whether I could start piecing this, but I found I need to cut some other sizes. I got those sizes on the cutting sheet and have a cut a few. I need over 600 of a size something like 1.75×3.75. I need some more accessory boxes to organize these new pieces. I’ll have to think up a new name for this quilt, too, since I am not using 1930s fabrics.
  • Blue Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch blue rectangles. It has to end sometime. I wasn’t sure I was ready to put this together, but I think I might be. I might do a couple of gradation quilts in a row just to get the practice.
  • Blue Lemonade: cutting blue, green, purple 2 inch squares. I used a lot of these squares for En Provence.
  • FOTY 2019: I decided to cut 2.5 inch squares again for the 2019 version.
  • Pink Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch pink rectangles
  • Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I might have to cut some more background fabrics. I probably have enough fabrics and just need to decide to start.
  • Windmill quilt: Still hunting and gathering. I am supposed to be cutting a variety of greys for the background, which required the purchase of a new template. Cutting is very therapeutic, so I should try and do it when I have a few minutes, but not a lot of time.

Other

Gross usage is down a little bit, because I bought a small amount of fabric. I am at 54.5 yards gross and 40 yards net YTD . Some of this is  fabric that I will be donating to the free table. Still, it won’t be here so I don’t need to store it. It is still early in the year so I am hoping I can still use 100 yards of fabric net. I’ll need to get some quilts finished.

What’s on your list?

Purple Improv Donation Top Finished

After many hours of sewing and listening to audiobooks on Sunday, I finished the Purple Improv top. I have been enjoying it on my design wall for a few days, because I couldn’t make the back right away.

Finished: Improv Donation Top
Finished: Improv Donation Top

There are a lot of small pieces in this quilt. As much as I could, I pressed the seams open to reduce bulk. This caused some issues with sewing. As I trimmed shards, I gained holes and had to be careful to make sure they were fixed before I moved on. I think I like the medallion style of the Green Thing better. I saw improv-ish quilt blocks by @saija_elina and thought, perhaps I would use that idea for another one of these scrap busters. I am not sure I want to make blocks, however.

I am not a huge fan of the T motif that ended up on the quilt, but c’est la vie. That is improv and that is what happens. Perhaps someone with a name that starts with a T will become the owner?

Red Strip Donation Quilt

The red scrap drawer is overflowing so red strips are next. I made 5 of the strip blocks on Sunday night and 3 more yesterday.

One thing I noticed is that I have a lot of dots on red background prints. They are different, but I am trying to keep them separated by other fabrics so they don’t flow into each other. I also get to visit with some fabrics I didn’t have much of, but really liked.

The size of the scraps in my scrap drawer is kind of crazy. I don’t know what I was thinking putting such large (half a FQ-ish) into the scrap drawer. Of course, I don’t have anywhere else to put that size, so I guess it makes sense. I’ll have to cut some of the scraps into sizes I need for other projects as I work on these donation quilts.

More Purple Improv

Purple Improv mid-March
Purple Improv mid-March

I made quite a bit of progress during the last little while using this piece as leaders and enders for the FOTY 2017. I started out with some largish chunks and grew it.

I am not a huge fan of improv piecing, as you have heard a million times. I have to admit, however, it is fairly mindless and a good way to use up random scraps.

When I come across a larger piece, I am cutting it up into some of the shapes I am Hunting and Gathering for other projects. I especially need to beef up my collection of 2″ cool colors after the En Provence quilt.

Purple Improv - late March
Purple Improv – late March

So I am still beavering away to make something large enough for a baby quilt. The pieces are much more square, but I still have work to do.

FOTY 2017 Progressing

FOTYY 2017 - end of March in process
FOTYY 2017 – end of March in process

I have been tired all week, but FOTY 2017 is progressing. I am sewing so I can arrange further. As per usual, the design wall is too small, though I think DH is happy otherwise I might make a quilt as large as the house. 😉

The piece shrinks a lot due to some trimming and also the seam allowances.

I hope to finish the top this weekend.

Under the Sea Pillow FINISHED!

Under the Sea Pillow Finished- front
Under the Sea Pillow Finished- front

Yep. It’s true. I have finished the Under the Sea piece after many years of working on it. I can hardly believe it.

I am so thrilled that I have one hand project that is finally done. Granted, I could have just said “this is done” and moved on, but projects speak to me and this one was very chatty. I finally feel like it is really and truly done – enough embroidery, enough embellishment, enough stitching.

Under the Sea Pillow Finished- back
Under the Sea Pillow Finished- back

As I have said, I started this piece in a Pamela Allen class in April of 2009. I hope it was worth 10 years of work (not constant work).

The London Portfolio fabric seems to fit the front pretty well and I am pleased with the black binding.

This was not an easy project to finish and included a lot of ripping out, but like Beach Town and the Flower Garden, I am pleased with the style of working and the results. Pamela Allen is a design genius and if you want to learn to design quilts, she is a great teacher.

Thanks for the Zipper Pouch

Zipper Pouch from Angela
Zipper Pouch from Angela

I was pleased and very surprised to receive this belated Christmas gift from Angela. It meant a lot to get it on a random date in March instead of with the onslaught of other Christmas gifts. I am not sure what I did to merit such kindness, but I love this pouch and am very appreciative.

She made the Trixie Zipper Pouch from one of the Crafty Gemini  most recent bag club. I am not a member and making it never crossed my mind. Still, I am so pleased to have received it

You will notice how well she knows me when you see the fabric. That is a Philip Jacobs print and I love the way she fussy cut it so the flower is the star of the pouch.

Trixie Pouch open
Trixie Pouch open

Angela also said she adjusted the size of the netting on the inside so that spools of Aurifil thread would fit. This is so great, because I can fill it with Aurifil I may use on a project (e.g. the Tarts Come to Tea uses a lot of different threads) without hauling my giant thread box with me.

And, yes, the fabulous Angela put a spool of thread in there for me as well.

Also, look at those stripes!!! Aren’t they awesome? Great use of fabric and the light fabric makes it easy for me to see inside the pouch.

Zipper Pouch from Angela- zipper pull detail
Zipper Pouch from Angela- zipper pull detail

Angela also changed the zipper pulls. I know there are tutorials out there to do that, but I have never tried it and am really impressed with the attention to detail. I found video tutorial by Crafty Gemini that includes changing a zipper  pull, but also has other tips for zippers such as resizing them.

Purple Improv

Purple Improv donation top in progress
Purple Improv donation top in progress

This is what I am making in order to clear out some more purple scraps after finishing the Purple Strips donation top. I started with some shards that I had made for some forgotten project. I have added to the original pieces quite a bit.

Because of what I started with, this is less like the Green Thing in that it is less of a medallion style. It may end up a little like that, but we will see. I don’t yet know where it is going except that I need to add some larger chunks or strips to the piece to provide some breathing space.

Under the Sea Pillow

Under the Sea ready to bind
Under the Sea ready to bind

I wanted to finish Under the Sea by now, but I had to backtrack and do some repairs, so finishing will take longer.

I made the piece into a pillow. To do that I used up the polyfil I had leftover from the dolls I made for my little niece. I didn’t have enough, so I cleared out my batting scraps and used bits of batting for the rest of the stuffing. I would have preferred all polyfil, but as a lot of this project was from reclaimed materials, I thought the batting scraps were fitting.

Under the Sea back - Michael Miller print
Under the Sea back – Michael Miller print

I wanted to control where the stitching went, so I didn’t plan on sewing right sides together and turning the piece. I sewed wrong sides together, then left an opening I could use to fill the pillow.

The backing fabric is from the Michael Miller London Portfolio collection. This particular print is called Anjou Pour Vous. I don’t know why it would be called that if the collection is called London Portfolio, but I am sure the designer has a reason. I have a number of these prints and will have to use one for a backing.

I also wanted to put a black binding on. I did that to cover the raw edges, then machine sewed the back down. I ran into problems with the black thread catching some of the pillow top and also showing in the corners where it didn’t quite match up with the top binding. Again, I ripped and replaced the bobbin with Aurifil monofilament and restitched the binding so the mismatched binding front wouldn’t have a black line around the corners on the actual top.

Also  the larger glass beads are coming off. For some reason, my French knots are not strong enough to hold them with the stress of handling. Again, I am using Aurifil monofilament to secure the beads and not disturb my overall design. The Aurifil monofilament is a hassle to use, so that is also a thankless task.

I will be so glad not to see this project on my to do list when I am finished. I know I will like it again, but right now I don’t.

 

Purple Strips Donation Top & Back: Finished

Purple Strips donation top
Purple Strips donation top

Last Friday, I finished the back of the Purple Strips donation quilt. It is ready to go to Tim for his magic quilting.

I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out, though Mom vindicated my thoughts around using green. I might try something else in purple and green. Right now my purple scrap drawer is much reduced. I am hoping to reduce it more with the purple Improv donation quilt, but we will see.