Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Low volume table runner

My second and final submission to the Strip Easy Quilt Challenge is done and on the table.
I used leftover strips from my low volume quilt, Robert Kaufman Essex linen for the borders, and it measures a whopping 18.5 x 51.5.

A little wavy line quilting and scrappy backing made this table runner happen in an afternoon.  Seriously, if I'd known there were great projects to be made with all my leftover strips I would have done this a long time ago.  Thanks Denise for a very motivating challenge!  I'm not done digging through that basket yet, since I'm still plugging away on my crochet rag rug.

And here are my blocks so far for the Pack Patch QAL.  I really didn't like a few of my fabric choices until I laid all the blocks out together.  It's starting to grow on me. We have 4 more weeks to go, and this Friday we get our next block "theme".  How we are going to put this all together is a mystery, but I'm enjoying the 2 block weekly updates on Flickr, and will miss it when we're done.

Hope your week is magical.

Linking up to Pieced Brain, for the Strip Easy Quilt Challenge

Monday, May 19, 2014

Haiku shawl and a traveling quilt

Some time last year I bought the pattern and yarn for the Haiku shawl and I finally pulled it out to work on it.  If you go to the Quince website, check out their yarn while you're there.  I really love the colors and the bird names, and now that I have tried it, the Tern yarn is just wonderful.
When I was in grade school we learned how to write a Haiku, and I still remember that assignment like it was yesterday.  The teacher taught us about syllables by clapping her hands as she pronounced each syllable in a word.  We all joined in reading aloud and clapping together.  Then we wrote a Haiku printed in our best penmanship and made a special cover out of colored construction paper that was decorated with blobs of paint blown across the paper with a straw.  Remember doing that?  This resulted in not only getting dizzy, but being sprayed with paint by your nearest classmate.  Usually it was a boy doing the spraying, as they could never contain themselves while brandishing such delightful weapons as straws and paint.  I remember my cover paper was pink, and my paint blobs and sprays looked like tree branches filled with blossoms.  My mom saved it, and I was quite proud.
I loved that assignment because it combined the mechanics of writing, with art and creativity (Thank you Mrs. Rhiehorst, wherever you are.)  It's what I like about quilting and crocheting too.  You follow a pattern, measure, and count stitches (mechanics), and choose colors and textures with fabric or yarn and embellish a pattern to make it your own (art and creativity).
Anyway, I have no idea where I'm going with this, but I can tell already that this shawl is going to be pretty, especially if I block the haiku out of it.  Maybe I'll give it to my mom. She'll be so proud.

The roses are from my yard, I can't seem to cut them fast enough.  The fabric was a sale purchase at Joann's, justified by the 5 projects I made this year out of my scrap bin (two more are in the works).

The quilt blocks are going to be a family gift.  So far the plan is to make 64 blocks, resulting in a wall hanging about 45x45, to be hung in my living room.  When we all get together this Thanksgiving, everyone will sign their name on a block.  Each time we add a new family member through marriage or birth, they sign a block.  Like a family tree quilt!  Then, maybe the quilt can "travel" to different homes of family members, stay for the year, then get passed along to someone different every Thanksgiving.  I told my daughter, that when I'm gone, someone has to keep the quilt "alive" until all the blocks are filled up.
She said that when I go, she goes, like an Egyptian tomb kind of thing.  I laughed and said just don't bury the quilt.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Still pulling strips

I was originally going to call this post "still stripping", but I figured I'd get a lot of unsavory hits from search engines, so I changed it.  I'm a chicken like that.  Well this week is starting off pretty special.  I won a beautiful doily over on Pammy Sue's blog and was given a Liebster award from Shelly.  Thank you both for your kindness, it made my day.
The Strip Easy Quilt challenge has really got me motivated.  This weekend I sorted through my scrap bin and was able to come up with yet another strip project (although it's not a quilt).
I finished my Thimble Blossom mini Spool quilt, which was a lesson in patience and accuracy for me.  It's far from perfect and a little wonky in places but I learned a few things about piecing postage stamp size squares.  The biggest thing I came away with was to cut more pieces than you actually need.  I had to re-do a few blocks and it was easier to cut a bunch of 1 inch squares from strips at the beginning than to go back to the cutting table, search for a scrap, and re- cut a teensy weensy piece.  I also bought a small rotary cutter (can't believe I didn't have one), which helped a lot.  Except for the white background fabric, this mini quilt is made entirely from strips pulled from my scrap bin, including the binding.
Over on Crazy Mom Quilts, Amanda has a great tutorial on how to crochet a rag rug from fabric strips.   It's really fun to see how the fabric yarn plays out as you crochet.  I like this project a lot, and would like to make two, (ha ha, so ambitious, since I barely have 4 inches done on the first one) one for each pedestal sink in my other downstairs bathroom.
Now if any of you are finding yourself with lots of spring Asparagus on hand, I made a really good soup last week.  You only need 3 main ingredients, leeks, asparagus and chicken broth.
I finished it off with a splash of real cream, and it was super easy and delicious.  Recipe here.
Enjoy your making this week!

Edited to add:
Spools mini quilt by Camille Roskelly for Thimble Blossoms  15"x17"

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Street Faire

Last weekend I went to the Lodi Street Faire with my daughter and sister.  Two weekends a year in May and October, they close off the streets in the center of town, and it's filled with antiques and collectibles, and other crafty type stuff.  We arrived in the morning and started out with coffee and chocolate croissants at the Dancing Fox.  The weather was warm, the shopping was plentiful and the people were interesting.  That little Bulldog puppy was getting a lot of attention, with everyone wanting to take a picture of his cute smooshy face, including me.
Around lunchtime we popped into a cheese shop to taste samples, and came away with a delicious hunk of Dutch Gouda and some salami. We brought it with us into a wine tasting room to rest our feet and drink Mimosas.  We ended up Champagne tasting, and hung out there for quite a while (hiccup). Never did make it to the craft street.

Anyway, I bought those pastel colored pickle dishes, (I want to make a pickle dish quilt
  It's been on my bucket list for a while now), a pink 40's apron, and two small curtain panels of navy and white which will eventually find their way into a quilt.  Speaking of buckets, isn't that little woven bucket bag cute?  That was the first thing I bought, and I carried it around proudly the entire time, loading it up with my goodies. I plan on lining it with some calico and using it for a sewing basket.
 I also bought the colorful rag rug in the second picture.  It was calling to me, or maybe that was the champagne?
And yes, there is a pile of yarn in the picture above.  I've started a big bright ripple.  There are so many colors picked out for this thing, it might get ugly.  Hand quilting a mini is also in the works, so I'm definitely not bored at the moment.

 Go make something!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Simple shoo fly

Insert dog picture here

I've wanted to make a shoo fly quilt ever since I saw this one on the Susan Branch blog (scroll through the post).  I used scraps from my stash and ended up hand quilting it.  The background is my old standby in Kona snow.  Since I had a $20 gift certificate, I finally broke down and bought the entire bolt from my LQS, receiving an additional 20% off.  Deal! I've already cut into it quite a bit.

The spool blocks are from a Thimble Blossoms mini pattern called, you guessed it, "Spools".
I thought I would torture challenge myself further by sewing more tiny blocks.  I'm making these as part of the Strip-easy Quilt challenge over on Pieced Brain (see the button in my sidebar).  The idea is to use leftover strips from your stash to create a project (up to 3) and submit them by the end of May.  Last week I made a table runner with my low volume strips (I just need to sew down the binding and I can take some pictures).  I have a lot of leftover strips, and it's been pretty fun (and challenging) to sort through my stash to see what I can come up with, but I think 2 submissions might be all I have time for this month.

I just noticed I used the word "challenge" 3 times in this post.  How about you? Trying anything new and challenging? (4 times, haha).