Friday, July 31, 2015

Another Animal Has Arrived for the Elephant Parade

I was minding my own business, hurrying up to finish the Irish Chain quilt so I could start something new, when lo and behold, this animal showed up in the sewing machine.  Yeah, it is one of those whatever you think it is animals. What do you think it is? Yes, that is exactly what it is.

I like that he is on an incline. Keeps the parade more interesting when the road isn't exactly flat. I lost his ear - I didn't want to fuse any of the applique on until I was sure, so this is a temporary one. He wound up with a shorter body than I was envisioning. Darn seam allowance. At this point, I can still change the ear and tail to make it look more like the animal you think it is.

 I think this means that I have enough blocks for the quilt I originally planned.  (4 x 4).  I'm tempted to make it a 5 x 5, but that would just delay the finish of this quilt.

I think I am going to add another couple of rows on the Irish chain. I have some more nine patches left, and am not sure I like the idea of a square Irish chain quilt. But I do want to keep the nine patches in all four corners, so I have to add two instead of just one more row. This quilt seems so boring when compared to all the new quilts I have been thinking about, but I know I wanted something simple and fast to balance out the slow moving quilts I have been working on. I was tempted by alternate pieced blocks and applique, but I do hope I can keep it simple throughout, even though it looks so boring right now. I will free motion this quilt though instead of diagonal straight lines to make a modern feel to it and to practice my free motion quilting. I haven't done that yet on my "new" machine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I'm Going to Make Orphans!

I have been eying a lot of quilts the last couple of years, and in some ways, was happy that I was not able to get a hold of the pattern because the library doesn't carry it.  The thing I noticed is that most of these are sampler type quilts that don't really look like sampler quilts.

My Small World - pattern in Quiltmania Spring 2015
Nature's Journey by Anni Downs
The Gypsy Wife pattern booklet by Jan Kingwell

I've decided that I am going to make a sampler type quilt. I'm really not sure what type of layout I will use, but I figure it will give me permission to make little orphan blocks with the hope of someday putting them together in a quilt like one of these. It will give me a chance to use up those free patterns I have collected over the years without having to make the whole quilt. Just some blocks collected here and there.

This idea fits in well with the quilt I have been making A Life of Plenty - making individual blocks and fitting them together in a quilt. And no, this isn't because I am tired of the repetition of the Irish chain quilt.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Quilting Day

I'm not finished with all of the things that had been pushed back, but I am thoroughly enjoying having the time to finally get to them.  There is a joy in having time to do the things you have to do, even if you didn't really enjoy doing them before. Even things like cleaning and yard work.

But now, I have finally given myself permission to get back to quilting.  I have been looking at blog posts and Pinterest and seeing so much inspiration for new projects, but I am holding myself to finishing my current projects.  They still hold my interest, as tempting as it is to start something new.

In case you don't remember from my very sporadic posts, I started three quilts this year.  Two of them were Quiltalongs. One is called Elephant Parade, which is a modern quilt with cute elephants, frogs, flowers, and turtle.  I have changed it up by using animal prints and by adding additional animals.  The other is called A Life of Plenty and it is more folk artsy with piecing, applique and embroidery.  Both of these use a lot of different fabrics, and my sewing area still has a jumble of fabrics I brought down so I could choose the perfect fabric for each.

I am not sure whether I mentioned the third quilt I was making.  I realized as I was making the quiltalong quilts, that I needed a Leaders and Enders quilt.  I tried as best as I could to just use the same quilt as a Leaders and Enders or alternate with the other quilt, but in the end, I realized I needed something mindless that I could simply run through the machine so I could get the piece I was working on out of the machine without having those long threads.

It was around Saint Patrick's Day at the time, and an Irish Chain quilt was something that has been on my to-do list practically since I began quilting.  I found some fabric on sale - it just have been right after the holiday - that would be perfect for it, so I went ahead and started using it up.  It is slow going, of course, since I only use it when I don't have something on my current projects to run through the machine, but now I am thinking that if I could get it done, I could then work on the triangle quilt for my bed.  The triangle (or thimble, depending on what I decide), will then be the Leaders and Enders I will use to keep the two main quilts moving along.

Even with these picture closeups, I think it is pretty obvious that my sewing room needs a serious cleaning.  I've got competing interests this week - "Finish something and use up what you have!" and "Clean and organize so you have space to work!"  I plan to do both this week.

While I was catching up on my blog reading, I read several posts about cleaning clutter and not buying things as a substitute of actually making things.  I recommend the following: for quilt fabric for craft supplies for genealogy documents

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Bison at Darby Creek, Columbus, Ohio

My crazy days of working 55+ hours a week are over now. I've neglected my blog during this time period, but many other things also were neglected. Things like quilting, for sure, but also house cleaning and errands were made to wait until the crazy time was over. That is one of the challenges of working on projects. When you know the end date, you wind up throwing as much to after that date as possible. "I'm not even going to think about it until after this project is over."

Even dealing with the empty nest syndrome was pushed back to after work was over. I did get a chance to see this lovely scene at a park with my family, but my daughter wasn't there to see it. They said that the bison rarely come so close to the fence but that day they did and they posed for us for many beautiful pictures.

Fountain at Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada
My sister wanted to go to Canada to see an Islamic museum, and I told her to wait until after work was over. She did. Work was supposed to be over on a Tuesday, and she planned the trip for Wednesday! There were some events she wanted to attend that required us to go right away.  I packed on Wednesday morning, and at 9 a.m, we headed off for a long car trip. All those geometric designs in the museum are very inspiring. After we came back, I rested. Now I have been slowly incorporating all those things that were pushed back. Laundry! Cooking! Cleaning! Errands! Gardening!

Quilting is next. As always happens when quilting is pushed back, when that Pandora's box opens, everything comes spilling out. I want to make that triangle quilt I mentioned last time. I want to make a hexagon quilt. Have you seen the Millefiore quilt? And that brings to mind other EPP quilts. And then what about all the quilt ideas I got from the museum? I still need to work on cleaning up the sewing space and finishing up some WIPs before I let any ideas about starting any new projects get too big.