Sunday, November 25, 2012

Four Day Weekend To-Do List

I had the best intentions to do lots of sewing over the Thanksgiving four-day weekend.  My plans included:
  1. finish the pineapple blocks and sew them together
  2. bind an almost finished quilt
  3. make a Christmas stocking for Dillie, our puppy
  4. cut out my next quilting project
  5. re-hem a pair of pants that my mom left with me
You probably sense where this is going.  I partially completed #1; I finished all the pineapple blocks and they are assembled on the design wall but not sewn together yet. 

Clearly, I needed a 22 day weekend!

But I did some other things that weren't on my original list.
  • Played a rousing game of Monopoly on Wednesday night, followed by Scrabble on Thursday night.  Soundly beaten by daugher in both games.  (Wow, we raised her right!  While Mr. Main Street - the English teacher - and I were forming three letter words like aim and hag, Miss Main was forming six letter words like fasten and plenty.) 
  • Visited a LQS, Olde City Quilts, for their sale.  Was seduced by displays and bought supplies for two impromptu projects.
  • Because LQS did not have one thing I was looking for, surfed various quilt supply internet sites and placed an order.
  • Visited the gym to work off the turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie.
  • Made my Christmas gift list to use while shopping. 
The long weekend is over and now it's back to the regular routine.  With luck, I might get to #2 on my original list by next weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Still Pineappling...And Happy Thanksgiving

I managed to make a few more pineapple blocks since my last post, though I have been busy with other things, like work and cooking.

Yes, very busy with all the activity that goes with Thanksgiving.  And one of my local quilt shops is actually having Black Friday specials!  I'm tempted, very tempted.  But I do mean to put in some serious quilting time. It is a four-day weekend, afterall!

Wishing you the best Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Even More Pineapple

Inspired by a picture on Pinterest, I decided to try out an idea for the border by making a few blocks.

I'm using various French General fabrics (Moda) in this quilt, mostly from the Rouenneries Deux line, augmented by a few prints from Rural Jardin and French General Favorites.  The creams include a few miscellaneous items from my stash and the red square centers are a hand writing print from the Etchings line by 3 Sisters for Moda. 

The French General reds vary from a faded pinkish red to deep red while the neutrals range from an off white called "pearl" to creams, beiges, and dark taupe. I'm using the lighter neutrals in all the blocks but the border will be formed by replacing the reds with the darker taupes.

So far, so good, but I have many more blocks to make!  By the way, I got some questions about these blocks.  I cut the strips of fabric 1.5" wide and the blocks are coming out 10.25" (will be 9.75" finished).

Monday, November 12, 2012

More Pineapple

I've been working on my pineapple blocks and during the past week, went from this... this.  From eight blocks to sixteen.

I was not at all careful about how I put the blocks up on my design wall but you get the picture.  I'm going for a 7 by 7 block setting, for a total of 49 blocks, so many more to make. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On Dasher, On Dancer, On Prancer and Vixen

I've been working with my Blitzen jelly roll and have more stars finished.

The pattern is Jelly Stars by Fig Tree Quilts.  It is going together well but I need to put it aside for a little while.  I chose the fabric for the sashing, border, and binding and am awaiting delivery.  No matter, I have plenty of other projects to work on in the meantime!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jelly Stars Quilt

I haven't abandoned my pineapple project, just realized I need more fabric.  So while I wait for my online order to arrive, I started another project.

This one was a total impulse.  I saw a sample quilt on display at my local quilt shop, Pennington Quilt Works.  The display quilt was a Lone Star design made from the Sentiments fabric line, a holiday line from Moda.  I liked the design, which turned out to be a pattern from Fig Tree Quilts designed to use a jelly roll.  Perfect for my jelly roll of Blitzen, another holiday fabric line from Moda!

The pattern is called Jelly Stars.  It calls for simplified construction techniques to strip piece the stars from the jelly roll strips and add the background.  Here are the strips from my Blitzen jelly roll, arranged on a small drying rack I use for hand laundry.  This little rack was perfect for keeping the strips organized in sewing order. 
You sew the strips together in sets of three then cut the strip sets apart, then sew some more to make diamonds.  Eight of these diamonds make up one star.  The quilt is fairly easy and goes fast, but the pattern directions are rather cursory.  I think I get more out of looking at the photo and illustrations than from the directions themselves.  This pattern really assumes you know a lot already; it would be improved for beginners if it included more tips on such topics as how to avoid stretching bias edges, how to match up the seams on the diamond shaped pieces, etc.    Actually, this is the kind of pattern that would benefit from a companion YouTube video to demonstrate some of the construction.

When it all comes together, you have a finished star block like this.  The blocks are big; four of them make a quilt that is 73" square.  You can make a smaller block if you cut your strips narrower than the 2.5" width of jelly roll strips. 

I had my star diamonds all made before the storm, then used some daylight hours when we without power to cut the background pieces so I was ready to resume construction when the power came back on.  I have one star finished, need to complete the other three, then decide what I'll do about sashing and a border.  I used the mottled white, called "Grunge," from the Blitzen line for the background. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Back in Business!

Our power went out in the storm on Monday evening and we did not have it back until last night (Thursday) - 3 full days without lights, heat, or internet, but I'm not complaining as it could have been much worse.  Many in our area still don't have power and there is devastation everywhere in NJ but we were almost unscathed.  The wind was absolutely ferocious,bringing down tree branches and whole trees, which in turn pulled down power lines.  Utility poles toppled over as well. Our block of Main Street was closed to traffic until Thursday afternoon because downed power lines were lying in the street.  But we did not have flooding in our area.  We are some miles inland from the shore, the rain was not that heavy, and the ground was not already saturated (unlike last year's storm).  Most of the areas that experienced floods were hit by surging water from the ocean or up the Hudson River.  My sister-in-law's house on Long Island, one block from the bay, was flooded on the first floor, with water up to the roof of the car parked in the driveway (the family was on a trip to Toronto at the time of the storm so all are safe). 

In our case, we just experienced first world problems under post-storm third world conditions - how to keep our cell phones and e-readers charged, the monotony of meal after meal composed of peanut butter sandwiches and Halloween candy, and the anxiety of trying to get Miss Main Street's early decision college application due Nov. 1 sent on Oct. 31 without internet service.  Wow, I needed something stronger than a Diet Coke after that process!  The worst was the cold; by Thursday morning the temperature in our house had dropped to 52 degrees (F) and it's a real downer when you feel cold all the time.  Fortunately we have a lot of quilts to wrap up in.

Speaking of quilts, I got some binding done during daylight hours (which are surprisingly short this time of year), and here is my latest finish:

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember my project I called Magic Eight Square from back in May.  My tutorial for the block made from layer cake squares is here.   I made this quilt from a layer cake of Lately Arrived From London by Barbara Brackman for Moda, a 19th century reproduction collection, along with some yardage for border and binding. 

I had the quilt long arm quilted with a pantograph design and it was only as I was putting on the binding that I noticed my mistake.  Did you notice?  The two blocks in the upper right corner are reversed.  Too late to fix now and fortunately, it does not totally ruin the quilt.  In fact, if I don't call attention to it, maybe no one will notice.

I could name this quilt Numbskull, but I think I will go with Humility, after the Amish concept of the humility block (because only God is perfect).  Also, the name Humility fits the Victorian look of the fabric prints. 

I did more than finish Humility during this adventure.  I'll be back in a couple of days with more to show you.