Saturday, March 30, 2013

#37, 38, 39

For these fabric, since I'm at my mom's house, I got to go through some of my mom's fabrics and use a bunch of hers! I also got to take a bunch for future use. Wahoo!
#37 Flower pot
The large Chinese character on the bottom of the flower pot is 花, which means flower. Nice, huh!
#38 Four Winds
Okay, okay. This is not the Four Winds block. The Four Winds block has a total of 56 #13 triangles, and I saw it and decided, "No thank you!" So I made this one. It's a variation of #30, End of Day. So I shall call this End of Days.
#39 Friendship
I really love this one! These are all fabrics I'm taking... pending approval from my mom, of course. I love the tiny calicoes, and I love the blue and gold combination. And I love the Shaun the Sheep background I decided on while I'm here at my mom's house. ;)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Baby Back

I've got myyyyyy, babybackbabybackbabybackbabybackbabyback...
It only took them 1 day to fix my sewing machine! (and another day for me to go pick it up, and another day for me to finally unpack it.)
Turns out it doesn't wobble because it's missing a foot, it wobbles because of my sway-back table. I forgot to have them look at the little screw that holds the foot on though. It doesn't stay tight. Next time--it's not a huge problem.
Here are some pictures:
back on the desk, ready to be unwrapped
the before picture with the broken spring and dust everywhere
 spring all fixed
 all cleaned out
I'm a little irked because they actually didn't clean it. It makes me wonder if they oiled it like they said they did, too. It wasn't a huge problem though. I just whipped out our air compressor and blew out the dust. I plan on doing this more regularly anyway. I also purchased a cool oil dropper thing so I can oil it more regularly, too. I suppose since I'm sewing practically every day now, I should probably take better care of my machine! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blocks 25 - 27

Despite my sewing machine problems this week, I was still able to sew three blocks! Remember how I was going to stop using as much purple...yeah, that didn't happen. ha!

#25: Cups & Saucers - I couldn't not use purple for this one...the diagram was purple! ;) I liked this one. It's cool how the triangles and squares came together to make the different square and then the neat border (does anyone say "neat" anymore? I need to go to bed, I'm reverting to the 90's).
 #26: Cut Glass Dish - I was about ready to cut someone when I saw how many stupid triangles to cut out for this one. I do admit that it turned out nicely though. I keep swearing that next time there are so many triangles I'm just going to do squares and sew down them twice and then cut in the middle to get the same result. I keep not doing it though. Next time!
#27: Darting Birds - Am I the only one who keeps reading the name of this wrong, like I'm a 12 year old boy? (hehe...farting birds...hehehe...). I think this will look better once it has a border on it. 3 of the 4 birds have funky shaped heads, and the edges are definitely not even or square. My mother told me when she first taught me how to match clothes that purple and red don't go together. Here's some of my teenager defiance shining through. I still think they look fine together. (I'm sure there was more to it than purple and was probably that specific shirt and that specific pair of pants.) Sorry about the crappy picture...apparently I needed more light to avoid camera shake.

Sewing Woes

My sewing machine broke on Sunday! Ok, so actually it probably broke about a week ago. I started noticing it had an extra clicking noise when it sewed. (It's quite a noisy machine so I'm amazed that I noticed the extra click.) I figured it just needed to be oiled and so I started thinking about maybe looking to see if I had any oil in it somewhere...possibly. Honestly, I was only starting to wonder if I could use hair clipper oil on it. I'm a little lazy when it comes to machine maintenance. I need to work on that. The machine I have is the one my mother got when she got engaged to my the 70's. It's an old Kennmore, and it seems like a lot of people have similar machines. They're built solidly and can definitely take a TON of use. I sort of wish that sewing machines had odometers on them so I could tell how many stitches it has sewn. In the past 6 months I have used it more than I have the whole time I've had it.
Anyway, so it had been clicking--I ran out of bobbin (does anyone else still get annoyed when the bobbin runs out and it turns out the past foot you've sewn actually isn't sewn, even though you know it will happen every time the bobbin runs out?). I pulled out the bobbin to wind it anew and there was an extra piece of metal in there with it. (!!!) Look, I took pictures:
 With flash.
 Without flash: see the little piece of metal on the open door?
 It goes right there. See how the right side has a thin piece of metal that loops around the thicker piece of metal? The left side doesn't have that...any more. Also note how dusty it is. I'm looking forward to taking an "after" picture of how clean it is when I get it back. 
Aaaaand another picture just like the second one. 
I took it in to the shop to get fixed, fully anticipating it to take a week. They told me the part that is broken isn't made anymore because it's so old but if they had one on a machine in the back they could just swipe it from that. It's called the hook driver spring. My kind sister-in-law lent me her (also ancient) machine to use in the meanwhile. 
I took it in yesterday and I got an email today saying it was done. I plan on picking it up tomorrow! It's strange how attached you get to a little machine when you use it almost every day. I've felt like I'm missing a limb. Ok, that's a little over-dramatic, but I have missed it. My sister-in-law's machine is nice though. It sure is a lot quieter than mine. It also has tighter stitches. It drives me nuts that it doesn't have a sharp hook to cut threads on though. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

#34, 35, 36

#34 Flock
I like the white background with this, and I like the green. It's from Ikea, though I bought it in the factory remnants shop at our fabric market in Shenyang. There were a few Ikea fabrics, and a couple prints I later found to be from Old Navy blouses. China's a funny place.
#35 Flower basket
I should probably sew the handle on. Hmm... I like the basket material, though.
#36 Flower Garden Path
I really like the fabric combinations, though I don't really like the block itself. Plus, it had about a million #13 triangles, and I'm really loathing them at this point.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

#31, 32, 33

So I'm posting this as if I wrote about these blocks on March 16. But on March 16, I was completely jet-lagged out of my mind, having just flown from China to America with two small children in tow. We made it, though, and now-- a whole week later-- we're pretty well adjusted. 
#31 Evening Star
Our cousin, Vanessa, gave me these fabrics several years ago, and I think it's the first time I've ever done anything with the ballet shoes and music. I really like how it turned out, especially that you don't really notice how the corners don't line up! But this will be my last beige block for a while.
#32 Farmer's daughter
I'll be doing more white backgrounds, like this one! I had trouble finding a good color mix for this one, and I think I cut out two or three fabrics for what finally wound up being the red pieces. You can't go wrong with red, white, and blue. But this definitely strengthened my resolve to avoid matching colors at night.
#33 Farmer's puzzle
I really don't like this design. I didn't like it in the book, and I don't love it now that it's finished. But I used colors without a lot of contrast, so as not to emphasize the pattern. I think it looks like a swastika. (Apparently I think a lot of things look like swastikas.) It isn't, though, really. It's just a pinwheel shape that's been outlined. But still. I don't love it. Love the fabrics, though!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Layout of Blocks 1 - 24 by Sarah

I saw that Chelsea had posted a picture of all her squares to date laid out so she can judge which colors to stop using as much and which colors to use more of. (ACK! horrible sentence, I'm sorry.)
I decided to do the same, even though I have 7 fewer squares completed than she does. (ahhh, redeemed by the proper use of "fewer" instead of "less")
Here it is:

What do you think? I am thinking it's pretty even...possibly a little heavy on the purple. Also, I realized I need to complete my #3 block before I run out of that fabric, not that I'm even remotely close to running out of that fabric. I still think #8 looks like a bowl of ice cream. I still love #12 the best.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blocks 22 - 24 by Sarah

I'm not even sure what week we're on or what blocks are supposed to be done anymore. I'll figure that out one of these days and post an update about it. For now, here are blocks 22 - 24 by me.
22: Corn & Beans
 I do have green in my selected colors for this quilt, but yellow is not in my selection of colors. I'm not sure I could have handled putting green and gold yellow into a quilt because they're my high school colors. I'm not as school-spirited cool as Chelsea is I guess. When I chose these fabrics for this block, I was thinking the "corn" triangles would look more yellowy green, but looking at it completed, the smaller triangles don't stand out like they should against the larger triangles. I still like how it turned out, although this block was a pain in the rear to iron. There are some thick clumps of fabric where all those tiny corners come together.

23: Country Farm:
Confession: I love the gray with silver damask so much that I went and got the matching green and purple fabrics to go with it. I thought I'd display them together in this block. The combination of the three makes this block quite modern looking and it will probably stand out a bit when I assemble the quilt, but that's ok. I like it. I probably won't put all three of these together in the same block again though. 

24: Country Path:
Explanation of fabrics: The green is a new one, recently added from my trip to Hobby Lobby, as are the two purple floral fabrics. The purple polka dot is from my mother's stash. I liked using the template for the middle of the block. It was a nice change from all the triangles and squares.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Blocks 19 - 21 by Sarah

Sorry, I only have the one Catch Up/Ketchup joke.
Good news though! You know that phrase about the lemons and life? Well, when life gives you amazing new, free cameras...
#19: Checkerboard
 I like this one. It was fun to do all different reds so it still looks like a checkerboard, but there are so many different patterns in each square. (Note the red w/ white polka dots and the red with burgundy floral design are new fabrics that I got at hobby lobby the other day while I was there. Yes, I *needed* more fabric.)

#20: Churn Dash
I just decided to google "churn dash" to see what a churn dash actually was (something having to do with a butter churn I'm assuming???) and turns out that it is a popular, traditional quilt square. Turns out that maybe these names aren't made up by the author of this book arbitrarily like I thought they were. Once we're finished with this giant quilt project, I may try making quilts entirely of my favorite blocks from this sampler. I guess that's the point of doing a sampler, right?

#21: Contrary Wife

Based on my discovery above, I'm going to stop questioning the names of these quilt squares and just comment on the aspects that are more...interesting? For example: Interesting fact - All 3 of these fabrics are from my mother's stash of scraps. I didn't think that the green would go with my quilt based on the pictures she sent me, but it works perfectly. Now you know.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Good, better, best

#28 Ducks and ducklings
This one is another attempt to add some more green. Leaves and cherries-- it works.
#29 Economy
I simply love this color combination! I never even considered putting them together, but then one day as I was refolding and putting away my fabrics, these to ended up next to each other. And voila! I didn't want something too busy for a block called "economy," so I think this color combo fits the bill.
#30 End of Day
And this is my absolute favorite block so far. I love the way the fabrics look together, so bright and fresh. I love the design of the block, but I was also impressed with the way it looked when I rearranged the four quarters before sewing them together. You can put the smaller triangles in the center and have a pinwheel encased in a block. Or if you invert these two halves, there is a cool design of a square made of stripes. Hard to explain, but I may make two more of this block just to show those variations. Every time I see a square made up solely of 36 #13 triangles, I'll be tempted just to throw one of these in instead.
Actually, consider it done. I hate the #13 triangle!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Well, I was going to try and get ahead of the game in this quilting project, before last week, but it didn't happen. The reason I was going to get ahead of the game is because I had a minor surgery scheduled last week. I'm up and around again now though, so look forward to some more quilting posts from me. :) From what I hear, Chelsea is trying to get ahead in her quilting as well because she will be without a sewing machine for a little while... Hypothetically that means tons of posts coming your way!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

This week's blocks

I suppose I could have just back-dated my previous post, and you would have all (all both of you) thought I'd actually posted it on time. Oh well. 
#25 Cups and Saucers
I realized that my quilt needed more green. It's only my favorite color ever, and I flipped through my blocks so far and realized there was a severe lack. So here's another green block! I was thinking the leafy fabric looked like a nice chintzy china pattern, and the green made it look like a garden tea party. But it really looks like poker table green. So I guess it's a tea party on the poker table.
#26 Cut glass dish
These are the last three scraps of this pretty teal polka-dotted pattern, and I reserved them especially for this block.
I'm getting to really loathe the #13 triangles, which this one has about a million of. The #13 is the tiniest template, and it winds up being one half of a 1" square. If the pattern calls for the #13 triangle, it usually asks for at least 20 of them. Barf! It takes forever to cut them all (even when I cheat and use the rotary cutter), and then it takes forever to sew the intricate block.
#27 Darting Birds
I know I'm really mature, but  every time I read the name, darting birds, I'd change it in my mind to "farting birds." I don't love how this block turned out, but with its gajillion #13 triangles, I'm not sure I'll redo it. It can just stay wonky.

Last week's blocks

So I had some trouble uploading pictures the last couple weeks. I just polished up my geek skills, though, and got flash to start working again on my computer. So yay! Pictures!
#22 Corn and Beans
I kind of hate autumn colors like orange and brown (together). But the name of the block reminded me of the Native Americans in New Mexico who used to eat primarily corn, beans, and squash. And somehow, these colors worked for that. I like how the block turned out, but I don't think I'll be making the whole quilt lean towards this color scheme.

#23 Country Farm
I decided to use my cherry fabric in this so it would look like cherries growing on a farm. Very deep, I know. I guess green and red usually look like Christmas, but when the red is cherries and the green is flowers, I think it looks more summery than wintery.
#24 Country Path
So I haven't decided if the path is supposed to be the square going around the center or if it's two paths criss-crossing the center of the path. Hmmm.. either way, it's a nice block, but I'm starting to kind of hate the blocks with the teeny tiny, one-inch squares. Bah!