Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blocks 10-12

Block 10 Bowtie
Block 11 Broken Dishes
When I read the name for this one, I knew I had to do it in blue and white, like a broken Wedgewood bowl or something. In Elementary school, my friend Sophia and I found a broken dish like that on her neighbor's curb. We decided to put it back together, so we picked up all the pieces we could find, put them in a box, then tried to put it together using glue and paintbrushes. We actually got a lot of it put together, which is amazing, considering it wasn't just a crack or a clean break. It had shattered into about a million pieces. And we glued most of them back together!
Block 12 Broken Sugar Bowl
Okay, it took me until this week to realize that the blocks are alphabetical. Is it just me? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


There was this little family of tomatoes hiking through the forest. There was a daddy tomato, a mommy tomato and 3 little tomatoes. The little tomatoes kept goofing off and lagging behind. The mommy tomato went back to encourage them to hurry along twice, yet they still dawdled. Finally the daddy got fed up and hiked back to the dilly-dallying tomatoes. He stomped all over them and yelled, "Ketchup!"
Here are my ketchup blocks for last week:
Block #7
This block had OH so many little tiny pieces. I actually didn't read the instructions right and had only cut out 12 purple triangles when I needed 24. I really liked how it turned out. I'm always surprised by how much the designs shrink when it comes together. 
 Block #8
I was nervous about putting these colors together, but I think it turned out alright. I used my new squirrely stripe in olive fabric and planned it perfectly so that both squirrels would be showing in the "leaves" of the bouquet, but then I forgot that there would be a seam allowance, and so all 4 of the squirrels are decapitated. Ha! That being said, I think this looks more like an ice cream sundae than a bouquet. Maybe I'm just hungry. 
 Block #9
I used my new shirt stripe fabric for this one and quickly realized that it's going to be interesting using this fabric to piece blocks because I have to make sure to cut out the pieces with the stripes going the correct direction. For this one I decided to put all the stripes going the same way, but I think next time I use it I will try them going different directions. 
Stay tuned this week for posts about this weeks' blocks from Chelsea and me. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Gallactica

#7 Birds in the Air
This took me two tries to get the colors just right. I'd cut out another print for the "sky," but when I came across this blue polka-dot, it was so perfect, I went ahead and re-cut the whole square. I think it's perfect! It looks just like birds flying south for the winter-- or north for the spring-- as much as any quilt block can.

#8 Bouquet
 This is my favorite block so far. The green prints are from some new fabrics I bought this week. I finally found a shop that sells quilting fabric! Usually what I find is bedding fabric (which has a different weave and shrinks substantially) or shirting fabric (half of which has stretch in it). So they're not ideal, but I finally found a shop that had exactly what I wanted! The shopkeeper told me, "A lot of you foreigners love to buy my fabric." I tried to explain what we make with it, but it was a bit confusing.
#9 Box
 I think this one looks just like a box-- one you open in the mail, and looking in from the top with the flaps opening toward you. We got a box of Christmas presents in the mail this week, which was awesome! (Thank you, Mommy and Daddy!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Uh Oh!

Hi, my name is Sarah, and I've become a fabric snob and addict. I mentioned in my last post that I had run out of red fabric choices so I could continue through the purples and whites without repeating. Well, I realized shortly thereafter that I don't have any green or gray left either.
Since I am spending so much time and effort on this quilt, I want to use fabrics that I absolutely love instead of settling for just anything. That way there's a better chance that I will use the quilt once it's complete as well as a better chance of completing the giant project that this is.
For example, the white fabrics I got, I saw while searching for fabric to make pj pants for my dad and brother for Christmas. I thought about them for a full week after seeing them in the store, so I knew I had to go back and get some. I hadn't even thought of doing this quilt yet, but they're perfect for it!
I spent hours scouring fabric shops all over the city for greens, reds, and grays that are perfect, and came up empty-handed.
I do some on-call at-home sewing for a friend of my cousin's. She sells adorable puff quilts in her etsy shop, and I help her sew them so she can keep up with her high demand. Ugh, don't compare our blog to either of theirs. Their creative-ness just oozes out their fingernails as they type.
Right, so she did this post a few days ago about where she buys her fabric, and oh man...I'm hooked. Luckily I only spent $28 on fabric on this site to bulk up my greens, grays, and reds for the FWQ. I could spend thousands.
Here's what should be arriving in the mail sometime in the next week!

Pat Bravo - Rock n Romance - Stardust in MidnightSarah Jane - Out To Sea - Anchors Away in Gray
Stardust in Midnight and Anchors Away in Gray
Denyse Schmidt - Chicopee - Shirt Stripe in Red       Robert Kaufman House Designer - Spot On - Small Spots in Cardinal
Shirt Stripe in Red and Small Spots in Cardinal
Tula Pink - Prince Charming - Frog Prince in Olive       Jules Davis - Garden of Delights - Squirrely Stripe in Olive
Frog Prince in Olive and Squirrely Stripe in Olive

I'm debating whether to do this week's squares (7 through 9, btw, I didn't post about it this week...those posts kinda bore me a little bit, so I'm assuming they bore anyone else reading them, too) just using the purple and white for all three, or to repeat some of the greens, grays, and reds I've already used and just force my OCD into the other room while I do it, or to wait and do two weeks' worth of blocks next week. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Week 2 Blocks - Sarah

Yikes! It's already Monday! It's strange how days just all blend together sometimes. Here are my week 2 blocks:
Hmm. I hadn't thought of it looking like a swastika, but I guess it kind of does. I think it looks like a 2 or a backwards S. The template in the book just looks like a volleyball that's been flattened and squared. Anyway. I like it. The color in that picture is sort of off though. The picture below of block #5 is more true to color. I really need to get a new camera and stop subjecting my facebook and blogs to cell phone pictures. 
 This is my batman block. I think it looks more like a bow-tie since I used the polka dot fabric. I remember throwing rocks in the air to attract bats, too. Speaking of bats, remember that one time I brought home a mouse I had found a cat playing with. For some reason Mommy freaked out and made me take multiple baths per day for a week (checking for fleas??). Anyway, the bat block's picture is more true to color.
 This is my big dipper block. I just realized that all three of my blocks this week are monochromatic. I'm trying to use all my fabric selections once before repeating any, but I'm all out of red. All I have left are 3 purples and an off-white. I just can't make myself do the random selection thing. There always has to be an order. Time to mix it up, Sarah! It really irks me that this one isn't square so there may be some seam picking happening to it in the near future.
Oh, and on the topic of freezing weather. It's nowhere near the -22 it was on Chelsea's "vacation" here, but living in a drafty century-old house with original windows and no insulation in the floors is a bit chilly (as I sit here wearing my wool trench pea coat over my multiple layers of clothing with the gas fire and heater on) so I have been getting area rugs to make it a tiny bit warmer and more homey. I found these beauties for accent rugs in our room so we don't have to step out of the warm bed onto the frigid floor. They were only $11 at costco! (I may have bought 4 of them for around the house and I want to get more).

I think they'll go lovely with the FWQ once it's done!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Week 2 blocks

I noticed this week I'm kind of craving something bright, yellow, and happy. I think I'm just trying to off-set the hazy, grey, freezing weather we've been having for the last few weeks and months. And after spending a frigid few days up in Harbin this week, it was good to come home to some bright, fresh, floral fabric!
#4 Basket weave
 I made this one wrong, but I did that on purpose. I think the original version looks too much like a swastika, no matter which way I arranged the colors. So I sewed it together backwards, and I like it much better!
#5 Bat Wing
When we were growing up in New Mexico, we had a street light in front of our house, and in the summer evenings it would attract bugs. Bugs attract bats, and so sometimes we'd see bats swooping and fluttering through the lamplight. We'd go outside sometimes and throw tiny pebbles as high as we could into the air, and the bats would swoop in to chase our rocks, thinking they were super-bugs. Fun in the desert!
#6 Big Dipper
I made this one wrong, too, but not on purpose. When I cut out all the pieces, I had 16 half-square triangles. So of course, I just sewed them all together into squares. And then I realized my mistake. Ugh! Instead of unpicking them all, though, I just unpicked 4 of them. Then I sewed the remaining four squares into the center pinwheel section first, then added the triangles on the corners next. It all turned out well in the end, I guess.
And as for the name, Big Dipper? It works for me. I love the stars, and that's one thing I really miss living in a big city. I love the dark, clear, crisp nights in New Mexico where you could go outside and see the entire galaxy! I love finding Orion, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, the Pleiades (thank you, spell check!), the Milky Way, and the lady whose name I always forget, but her constellation looks like a W. Sacajawea? Andromeda? No, that's not it. Cassiopeia! That's it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

First Blocks and Week 2 Introduction

Well, Sarah, it's about time! Ok, I finished my blocks on Thursday or Friday, but I'm just now finally getting around to sitting down to blog about them. As my previous post stated I had to re-do my first three blocks. I'm actually glad I did. The second set looked much nicer than the first. Here's the comparison:
The second set is on the top row. I think the squares turned out more, well, square. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the old botched up set. I'm thinking maybe making them into rice bags to warm up in the microwave so I have a set of those that match my new quilt. I'm open to other ideas though!
I haven't appliqued the handle onto the basket yet because I haven't decided whether I want to do it by hand or by machine. I'll post that when I get it finished.
I'm really loving my gray damask fabric and I'm a little bit bummed that I wasted some on the not-so-square/wrong-sized square #2. Oh well. I suppose I could always go buy more.
On to week 2...
Week 2's blocks are:
#4 Basket Weave
#5 Bat Wing
#6 Big Dipper
All three look like fun squares. #4 looks like a volleyball, #5 looks like a fighter jet from Star Wars, and I think #6 looks more like butterflies than any sort of star constellation.
Templates used:
In other news, I have button created so we can get the Linky Party show on the road this week! Make sure to check back to share your sewing creations.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My first three blocks!

I'm excited to show off my first three blocks. Yay!
 For the basket handle, I found that a really steep curve didn't work without making the fabric bunch up. So it has to be a pretty wide curve. Then what to do about the ends? I opened the seams, poked in the ends, and sewed it back up. I don't know if that's the "right" way to do it, but I think it turned out great! And for the record, this is my first ever applique quilt block. Probably.

Attic Windows
 I don't love this one. I like the yellow in the middle with darker colors, but the prints look kind of weird together. Plus, it didn't turn out quite square. If I feel like it at the end, I might redo it. But for now, it stays.
Autumn Tints
Theoretically, I think it would have been nice to use autumn colors in a block called Autumn Tints. But moving on.... these are the fabrics I bought thinking I'd make the entire quilt out of them. I really like them together, but I felt like adding more variety. It will be nice to have a color coordinated block every here and there, I guess!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pure Evil

Are you kidding me, Sarah? We can only do three blocks per week? Aaaaghghghg! That's so mean! You realize I finished all three in one evening, including cutting the templates and everything? I mean, it's true I ignored my family, let the girls watch a few too many episodes (hours) of Curious George. And we had tuna sandwiches for dinner. But still! I should be able to do more per week!
Maybe in a couple months I'll be singing a different tune, once I'm behind on blocks.
It's just not nice to force the hare to go at the tortoise pace. Even if he does win in the end.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not Too Hasty

Ok, I know today was supposed to be the first linky party. Well, that's not going to happen. Sorry.
Here's what did happen. I was awesome and finished all three quilt squares yesterday with no stress, just working on them when I felt like it for a half-hour at a time or so. It was great. They came together decently, they looked super cute, and they weren't too difficult.
Well, today I was printing some other pdf files (you know, like the templates, but not the templates), and I noticed our printer was set up to print to 96% or something; and to shrink to fit page! Wonderful. I had printed all my templates out at the wrong size.
No granted, it was only an eighth of an inch too small, but that eighth adds up when you're piecing together a quilt, especially when you're being OCD about it like I am. So, tonight, after I put kiddo to bed, I started from scratch.
I got all the templates and fabric for the first three squares cut out again instead of researching and setting everything up for the linky party. We'll do the first one on Saturday instead.
Anyone else want to share a sewing flop story?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Me too!

Ooh, ooh! Can I blog, too?
I'm really excited to do a FWQ, and doing one at the same time as Sarah is probably the only way to make it even cooler!
Except that I haven't gotten my book yet, so I'm doing what preparations I can.
Here are my fabrics!
I've chosen my fabrics. The larger pieces along the top were my first choices, but after I got looking around on the internet for FWQ images, I realized I liked the more random versions than the matching-color versions. So I picked through my scraps and found some to play into the mix. I think it will turn out very... vivid. And I figure, if I hate one or two blocks, I can always go back and redo them at the end.

My organizational binder. Sarah, I made one for you, too!
I don't have the book yet, so there's only so much preparation I can do. So I bought some 40-page sleeve-protector notebooks, numbered the pages to keep track of them, and then went out to buy one for my sister. Aren't sister's great?! Our goal is to make three blocks a week, so I made three boxes on each sleeve page. I had 3 extra pages, which might be perfect for holding the templates.
So Sarah, I'm mailing one to you. It should arrive before I get my book...

Wait a second, you said we could post other stuff we're making, and not just about our FWQ? Well... that changes things. You'll be hearing from me soon!