Monday, August 24, 2009

Pink Lattice Quilt in progress

I did a lot of sewing on the Pink Lattice quilt this weekend. Hadn't planned to, but by the time I'd sewn pink strips to a gazillion 3.5" & 2" squares I wanted to:
1) Find out if I'd made enough of them (I'd only guesstimated number of rows), and
2) See what they'd look like all laid out

I don't have a design wall (yet), so I cleared space on the sewing room carpet, and laid everything out. Turns out I'd made about a half-dozen extra squares, so no need to sew more (phew, 'cause I was feeling done with that step).
Problem is, when I looked at it all laid out like that, I realized that putting it away would mean either:

1)Picking up each row into a neat pile and labelling it somehow so when I got back to this in a week or a few months I'd know exactly what order to stitch it together in. A more accomplished and experienced quilter might be able to handle that but for me that would be a guaranteed disaster, leading to many mis-sewn and ripped out seams, and a loss of both patience and enthusiasm long before the job would be done. So no-go on option 1.

2) Sewing it all up, so the center (what I've got here, borders to come later) is done and could be folded up and put away. Not how I planned to spend so much of the weekend, but other than an afternoon at the volcano that's mostly what I did the past two days.

Here's where it's at this morning:
Sorry for the crappy photo, but I realized when the flash didn't work that the battery was on the verge of kaput (again), and sure enough it gave up after this, so no chance to take a better one.

As you can see, I've been sewing this up in chunks instead of long rows. A few more seams to go, which I plan to accomplish a seam or two at a time over the rest of the day during breaks from everything else I have to do.

After that, this is going in a UFO bin in the closet. Then I'm going to be strict and make myself finish the bedroom curtains before playing around with any other projects.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A new project

I should be finishing up the bedroom curtains, but I'm at a stage where I need to be careful and not make any idiot mistakes, and this past week or so my free time and focused brainpower have not intersected to create a curtain-appropriate sewing opportunity.

So, instead of FINISHING something, I've started yet another project. Don't know what happened to my clothes-sewing mojo, but inspiration seems to be coming in the form of quilt ideas these days. Above is some early-on string piecing for a lap quilt I'm making entirely from stash fabrics. Yes, there's a lot of pink in the pile: that's a fuschia solid that will be the lattice around many different scrap squares.

Here's where I got the inspiration: Kaffe Fassett's "Taupe Lattice" from his Glorious Patchwork book. The book's on loan from the library and has to go back soon, so I snapped this pick as a reference.

The quilt in the book is quite large, and mine will be significantly smaller, so I'm not planning to do the wide border shown here -- although I love it, and do think it makes the quilt. But it's at least 8" wide each side, which for the size I'm making would leave very little of the middle and probably the proportions would look all off, so I'm going to come up with something a bit narrower. Probably. I'll deal with border decisions when the center is done (at which point this book will be long gone, hence the need to have this photo on my hard drive).

I'm eager to see how this looks with a hot pink lattice compared to the neutral taupe KF used. I like the variety of lattice intersection colors he used (the smallest pieces), but am going with a very narrow range of flame oranges for mine.

This is not a priority project, and I have the usual zillion other things I should be doing, so there's a good chance it will go into a bin at some point before I finish it, for a nice long rest while I tackle more important things. In the meantime, cutting basic squares and strips and string piecing are the kind of thing I can do when I need a break from the computer and want to do a little sewing without tackling any kind of project that needs brainpower.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Curtains inching along

No photo today, I have nothing to brag about except that I've been making forward progress on the bedroom curtains. The top and bottom borders have been cut and sewn, bottom hem done, top pressed and ready for lining, the linings have been cut to length, hemmed, and interfaced at the top for 3". (My hope is that the interfacing will keep the curtains from sagging too much between clips.)

Now I have to trim the sides of everything, and sew fronts and linings together. I'd have made more progress today but I've been greatly distracted by obsessive checking of online weather forecasts re Hurricane Felicia. I'm pleased to say that as of the 5pm update today the forecast track no longer passes DIRECTLY over my house, but has shifted slightly northward.

Fingers crossed she continues drifting to the north and doesn't wander back this way. Chances of Felicia dwindling to a tropical depression before she hits (passes by?) Hilo on Monday have been lowered since yesterday, but even a tropical storm is better than a hurricane, and I remain hopeful she'll suffer a catastrophic breakdown sometime in the next 36 hours.

Best case scenario it will all turn out to be much ado about not very much weather. I'm prepared for the power to be out for at least a bit and maybe a while. Which means I might need a hand-sewing project to keep me entertained. I'm thinking scrap-fabric leaves appliqued around the bottom of my pink linen skirt. I think I'll Google "leaf applique" and see what I can find online.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tactical error and a new rule

The new rule is "never buy anything smaller than a fat quarter!"

I'm liking this, because it provides a built-in reason to buy more (i.e., FQs) rather than less (charms, layer cakes, jelly rolls) fabric. But there's a very practical reason behind it.

The tactical error I made was to purchase several "jelly roll" selections of Kaffe Fassett prints, because I wanted to broaden the range of fabrics to include in a future project, but a little bit of most would be plenty. I'm going to finally follow through on my goal to learn foundation piecing this year, and figured the 2.5" strips would be a perfect size for the pattern(s) I have in mind.

So far, so good, but it was not until I received the "your order has shipped" emails that I realized my error: I'm a dedicated pre-washer, and if I were going to mix the new bits in with existing fabric stash (which is a given), I'd have to pre-wash the jelly rolls, too. I love love love KF fabric, but dang, the stuff does shrink. Mixing unwashed with prewashed KF does not strike me as a good idea. Especially because I will be using a lot of his very intense colorways in deep reds and blues and purples.

I have to say I was tempted to ignore the strident yelps of reason from the logical side of my brain, but in the end I gave in. The pic above shows what about half a jelly roll looks like when it comes out of the wash. I did put it in a net bag, and grabbed it out of the dryer while still quite damp (ironing with a hot but no-steam iron dried it out fine), but still... what a mess.

The strips sure are gorgeous, though, and worth the hassle (although I don't plan to go through it again, it's FQs or bigger for me from now on). They aren't quite the pre-cut 2.5" width any more, but I'm not planning to use any of them for the kind of pattern other folks use jelly rolls for, so not an issue for me.

Here's today's pick of three I wish I had larger pieces of. There are many others, but today I especially like these. The red "big blooms" to the right I do have a large piece of. It's one of several reds that will feature prominently in a very ambitious (for me) project I have planned. More on that later.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Do I dare...

... post a photo of a gift for my mom here?

I don't think she reads this blog, but maybe she takes a peek from time to time. You'd think my own mom would be a "follower" but I doubt she knows what following is, or how to do it (she only recently got her own email account, a big step for someone of a generation for whom all things digital can be intimidating).

Mum's turning 75 in September, which seemed worth making a bit of a fuss about, although she says she'd rather ignore birthdays at her age. So, way back last winter I got started on a gift for her, something mostly hand-sewn that I could work on in the evening while watching TV.

I am totally patting myself on the back for starting it so early, because it's the kind of thing I'd work on for a few days, then drop for a couple of weeks. Progress was slow, but it only took me seven months (I'd allowed eight) to finish what for some might have been at most a week or two project.

Anyway, it's finally done, and turned out gorgeous, and I soooooo want to put up a photo and show it off.

But I don't want to be a spoiler, so I'm gonna hold off for a bit longer. I'll provide a teaser, though, by saying that the finished product falls into the "home decor" arena, and by showing you a fabric sample to illustrate the prints/color scheme:

Mum loves softer blues and demure florals, and I'm an Amy Butler addict, so these are a happy compromise: the colors are "Mum," and while the prints are bolder than she'd choose for herself they make the gift look like something made by me.

I'm going to go take a photo of the finished ... thing ... right now, so I can really show it off here after the big day.