In Under The Wire

June and July have been rubbish for crafting; for some reason, they often are for me. But since I already let June slide by without a single post, I couldn’t let the same happen to July! I’ve managed tosneak in a bit of sewing here and there, and I have a few things I’m excited to work on or be working on, so here they are. 🙂

Honey Pot Bee Blocks

In some ways, you could say that this has been a “distraction” from finishing other projects, but on the other hand it’s actually been one of the few reasons I’ve had recently to slope off to the craft room for a bit of quiet sewing that I’m not sure I would have managed otherwise, so on balance I don’t think this was a bad project to join up with! I’m not yet caught up with all the blocks, but I have made progress with several of them.

One of May’s blocks was the Feather-Leaf block by Julie of Intrepid Thread. Initially I decided to modify my version by piecing my strips slightly wonkily on a foundation of interfacing, and used scraps of the Kona Graphite background to make the leaf edges look jagged:

They’re…. ok? I liked the effect in general, but for me they didn’t sit as well with the other blocks as they might, so last week I whipped up a more “vanilla” version but gave myself permission to use some “virgin” FQs to make them. After all, if I didn’t have scraps in the colours I wanted, it was clearly time to create some!

Much better! These are a bit more zingy and modern in feel. Not sure if I’ll use all four yet, but at least I have the option.

June’s blocks were the Economy Square by Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts and the Urban Woven block by Mimi of Sew Says Mimi. The Economy Squares are super-easy to snap together and highly addictive! I bobbed together nine in no time at all to make the centre of a top for a Project Linus quilt:

I’m not completely sure about that autumn leaf/”cornflakes” fabric choice, but it’s done now and it certainly won’t show any baby puke! 😉 It was a really nice way to showcase this scrap of Forest Animals fabric that I had knocking around for exactly this kind of project, and I will be making some more for my Honey Pot Bee quilt(s). I’ve already fussy-cut a bunch of centre squares, now I’m auditioning borders:

The Urban Woven block gave me some hesitation, partly because of how I wanted to interpret it, but when I finally transcribed the instructions onto a piece of paper, took it into the craft room and got to cutting and piecing, it went together really nicely:

July’s finished blocks are the Blended Scraps block by Leanne of She Can Quilt and the bonus Mushroom block from Stitching Notes.

After an initial, “Meep I don’t have enough colours!” moment, it turned out that really I totally did have enough colours and this was a very enjoyable block to make, and very effective.

The Mushroom block was proposed as a possible alternative block back in May and I had five printed out and on my list of Do Wants already, so when Molli posted a Magic Mushroom Giveaway chance, I whipped one into shape:

These things are loads of fun to make, the other four should follow along soon. 🙂

The “RSC17” blocks are starting to look pretty good as a group, though it’s going to be one heck of a quilt in size!

My floor isn’t big enough…

I still have a couple of book blocks and a stack of mini log cabins (and maybe the bonus trees from back when the Bee was announced) to make, but I’m pretty pleased with Operation Catch-Up. 🙂

French Knot Folly

Inspired by a swap on Craftster (which thankfully I didn’t join, or I’m sure I would have disappointed my partner), I started a rather epic embroidery project of French knots on a silk ground (lined with cotton for better stitching and sturdiness):

I’m using a sit-on hoop that I might like a lot better if I replace the hinge hardware with something half-decent. As it is, it’s quite hard to tighten it enough to really stop the hoop drooping when stitching at the furthest points. And zillions of French knots are slow going! But it’s a nice project to have next to my chair in the sitting room because it doesn’t require loads of thought – just grab some variety of blue embroidery thread (so far we have cotton floss, silk perle, cotton perle, rayon and metallic threads) and get knotted! The beads have added a glitter and sparkle that I’m really enjoying and I also have more buttons and shells to add to break up the area. The tide’s coming in – slowly!

Hexie Swap #2

A Craftster swap that I did decide to join was the second Hexie Swap, to add to my stash of 3/4″ hexies for the Infinite Hexie Map project (infinite because it might be infinity before I finish it!) This time I sent hexies to six people and have so far received hexies from two partners. These are the groups I sent out:

And these are the ones I’ve received so far:

They chose some great fabrics, although I realised I would need to re-make the hexies in the left-hand photo because they came up a whisker under 3/4″ and at that size a difference is really quite obvious and irreconcilable. Such things are always a risk when swapping with other people, but one I accept. They’re already unpicked and pressed and I have plenty of spare templates! Speaking of, here is the mini-mountain of finished hexies so far:

It’s been a lil while since I counted, but I think there are well over 400 hexies there already! Many have been made by swap partners, but quite a lot are ones I’ve sewn from my scraps. It’d be great to reach 800 or even 1000! My hexie-stitching kit is well stocked so I’ve no excuse:

I’m going to need to print and cut more templates soon, though!

Something Old

Oooo look! Progress on an old (very old!) WIP! I was having something of an off-day where I wanted to do something but didn’t want it to be anything terribly complicated or fussy, so I made myself trim down all the shockingly badly cut batik charm squares I bought to extend this Disappearing Nine-Patch:

Pro tip – 4.75″ is a terrible size of square to use in a D9P quilt! But I’d started so I figured I’d try and finish, so a load of trimming and half-a-dozen new D9P blocks later and I have this:

I like it rather better now it’s bigger. It still needs some borders to frame it and make it a bit more sensible still, but now I feel like there’s hope for it. What it probably needs next is a really narrow dark border that will pull it together and also allow me to “fix” any size weirdness caused by the initial use of 4.75″ squares. I already have several batik samples and bits in a similar colour palette, so a border of some kind should not be too hard to create. Flying Geese, maybe?

ArtLanka Elephants

Staying on the subject of batiks and borders, I had a very lucky find at the local car boot sale at Clarach not long ago. It was 99.999% total tat, but during my brisk cruise around the rather tired offerings, my eye snagged on something that looked a little more promising and a little more fabric-y. Some examination revealed two batik panels in similar colours and both with elephants as the central feature. At £3 for the pair, I genuinely couldn’t leave them there! Other than a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie, they were the only things I bought.

They even still have the artist’s information and serial numbers stapled to them:

Currently I’m thinking that the tall narrow one could become a wall hanging and the more square one might make a great bed or throw quilt. Hmmm, matching decor, too twee? I suppose I’ll find out! If I manage to organise myself a trip to the Festival of Quilts next month, I’ll be taking these two along with me and hunting for suitable batiks to make borders for them both. The loose plan currently is to base border designs on the batik designs present in the panel, if I can figure out how to implement them nicely.

So, that’s about where I’m up to. It actually seems like quite a lot, it just doesn’t feel like I’ve made much recently! Perhaps I will have to sneak in another crafting holiday if/when work permits. 🙂

 

The WIP Whip-Round

Better a little late than never, today I corralled all my quilty WIPs, took new mug-shots of them all and am sharing them here in a “name and shame” list.  🙂  They range from “partly quilted” to “bunch o’ blocks”.  The Great Hexagon Project is not included since that’s my “slow stitching” thing that I know is going to be a little-and-often job and when it’s done, it’s done (or I use up the hexies in other projects).

Turns out I have 11 official WIPs.  Each one is listed in the Rogue’s Gallery below with a brief description, last sighting, photo(s) of the current state, what needs to be done next to move it along, and a project prognosis.

1. Oh, Christmas Tree

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What Is It?  An advent wall-hanging.

Last Sighting:  Quilting the Christmas Tree, back in February 2016.

What’s The Hold-Up?  I really, REALLY hate quilting this thing with the wadding I used.  It’s ghastly fluffy polyester rubbish that I bought way back when I didn’t know what “proper” wadding ought to look like.  Oh, and I am using metallic thread on it because I am some sort of crazed masochist.

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However, I haven’t tried quilting on it since I poked the wibbly needle-holder on my Pfaff.  The pockets are ready to attach once the quilt is finished, so I think it’s time to see if I can’t cut this tree down to size at last.

Dead or Alive?  This one’s still got life in it!  I really want to see it finished.

2. Frostbyte

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What is it?  A wall-hanging assembled from a procedurally generated pattern.

Last Sighting:  Frogging in the Frost(Byte), almost exactly a year ago.

What’s The Hold-Up?  Un-doing is never as much fun as doing.  Especially when it involves trying to extract layers of not-very-good and not-very-visible machine quilting.  Looking at it today, I realised that I’d covered a lot more area than I remembered.  That makes it worse.

Dead or Alive?  I really don’t want this project to be dead, I think it still has potential buried in there if I can make myself spend some evenings attacking it more with the seam ripper.

3. The Wedding Quilt

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What is it?  The “wedding” quilt that I promised to give my sister and her husband when they got married almost six years ago.

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Last Sighting:  A Billion WIPs, back in January 2015!  Eeep!

What’s The Hold-Up?  I finally managed to baste it, with fancy bamboo wadding and all, but I am unduly nervous about tackling the quilting on this, especially as I’d like to do some (or all!) of it as FMQ.  Right now I’m unsure how to start or what I want to do on it, and indecision is a total progress killer.

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Dead or Alive?  Definitely still alive.  My aim is to get this one done in the first half of this year, so it can be their anniversary gift.

4. Damask Suns

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What is it?  A throw-sized quilt that I started as part of a group project at Quilt Club.

Last Sighting:  Something Old, Something New, August 2015

What’s The Hold-Up?  I can’t decide if I want it to be bigger or not.  Also, I wish I’d used the blue batiks for the negative space around the stars to make them more star-like.  There’s no way I’m going to try and retro-fit that, but I am considering using left-over strips to make more suns in my retroactively preferred blue/yellow combo so that it can 1) be more like I should have made it in the first place and 2) be a more sensible size.  But it’s rather at the back of the queue in terms of sewing priority.

Dead or Alive?  There’s a pulse.  Just.

5. Black&White D9P/Batik Lonestar

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What is it?  A double-sided Disappearing Nine-Patch/Lonestar bed quilt.

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Last Sighting:  A Billion WIPs, again.

What’s The Hold-Up?  The Lonestar back (or will it become the front?  Ooooo, suspense!) needs to be finished.  IIRC, it needs to be squared up a bit better and brought up to size.  I’m also struggling with the fact that, at this point, this may just not be me any more.  It looks like the last dregs of my teenage taste escaping.  Hmmm.

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Dead or Alive?  It’s touch and go with this one.  There’s bits I really like, mostly to do with the Lonestar.  But there’s much of it that just isn’t speaking to me these days.

6. Marsala Spice

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What is it?  A bed quilt I designed as part of the Pantone COTY challenge in 2015.

Last Sighting:  2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Top-Only Entry

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What’s The Hold-Up?  It needs basting.  I have an idea for lining up the front and the back (or trying to!) and then doing some quite elaborate FMQ designs in the tile blocks.  I have actually bought some special soluble threads to help me achieve this, I just haven’t taken the plunge with it yet.  I also kinda wish that I hadn’t used that leafy print on the front, so that’s a bit off-putting, but I shouldn’t use that as an excuse to not finish it.

Dead or Alive?  This one’s definitely still kicking!  Despite my slight misgivings about how the final flimsy finished (morals of the story – always calculate your yardage before you go to the fabric shop and always listen to your own instincts when it comes to your own design), I like it a lot and I think it’ll be a really good canvas for some FMQ practice.

7. Irish Charm

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What is it?  Scrappy Irish Chain throw/bed quilt.

Last Sighting:  Irish Charm, September 2015

What’s The Hold-Up?  Not really sure, other than my butterfly brain!  It needs borders adding (I have the fabric for that) and it’ll be backed with a sheet I salvaged from the great Airing Cupboard Clear-Out.  It’s also a project that I am actively looking forward to quilting, since I have quite a clear idea of what I want to do.

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Dead or Alive?  Very much alive.  I have quite a lot of affection for this one, cutting all those squares helped me through a stressful period and I love the shabby chic, country-cottage vibe it has.

8. Crying Over Spilled Tea

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What is it?  It was a test piece for me to practice the D9P block (clearly necessary, as the oops in the middle demonstrates).

Last Sighting:  Lost to the mists of time….

What’s The Hold-Up?  Lots of things, really.  The colour?  The fact that I stupidly trimmed the starting squares to 4-3/4″, thereby making cutting up the nine-patch blocks (or trimming more charm squares to make it larger) just that bit more annoying?  The size?

Dead or Alive?  Ehhhhh.  The next-of-kin and executors are hovering vulture-like over this one.  While there are things I could do to it, I’m really not sure whether the end product will be worth my time, which already has many claims on it.  It’s not even the kind of project that I’d donate to Project Linus – unless I wanted to give some poor kid a complex!  It might see new life as a test-ground for FMQ patterns.  Maybe.  And then possibly be relegated to the dog’s bed.

9. Paper Cranes

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What is it?  Blocks from a craft swap I participated in over on Craftster last year, based on my own design.

Last Sighting:  Craft Swaps, August 2016

What’s The Hold-Up?  I need to make more blocks to make the layout I’d like.  The templates are printed, but I haven’t seized an opportunity to crack on with them as of yet.  Alas!

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Dead or Alive?  Kicking and screaming!  This is a project I feel very positively about, plus it has other peoples’ efforts in it, which adds an extra dimension of expectation.  This will be a QAYG project, to cut it down to manageable size and provide some relief among all the BIG projects I seem to have!  Those three cranes at the top are an oops – one of my partners made them too small initially (probably thanks to US/UK printer differences), but she very sweetly did three more full-size ones as replacements, so the first three will go on the back – they’re too cute to not use.

10. Disappearing Hourglass

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What is it?  Blocks I made by following a tutorial by the Missouri Star Quilt Company on Youtube.

Last Sighting:  Apparently never?

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What’s The Hold-Up?  I made all these blocks with layer cakes of Moda’s Cold Spell and Snow, then decided that I wanted it to be a bigger quilt (just what is it with me and big quilts?!), so I halted progress on putting the blocks together until I got more Cold Spell (check!  Bagged the last layer cake in the shop, in fact).  New blocks will use both the stronger blues, as here, and the lighter all-cream prints, to mix things up a bit.  I also found a Moda layer cake of blue/cream flannels, which are going to be perfect as the backing.  Most of the delay on this one is down to my low distraction threshold and the comparatively low priority of this project currently.

Dead or Alive?  Alive, just dormant.

11. Monster

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What is it?  A thing that should not be, horror personified in fabric form.

Last Sighting:  …In Which I Create a Monster

What’s The Hold-Up?  It’s hideous, I hate it I hate it I hate it.

Dead or Alive?  Due for a lethal encounter with the seam ripper.  RIP!  😉

So there you have it.  I’ll be honest, I was actually expecting the list to be much longer, but perhaps 11 projects is plenty when 7 of them are throw-sized or larger!  Clearly some are much more likely to see completion this year than others, but most of them still have a spark of life that makes me want to see them done and dusted.  I really want to be crossing at least some of these off by the end of 2017!