Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Sampler Series Week 2 and Current Projects

I've finished my blocks for week 2 of the Summer Sampler Series quilt along on flickr.

Summer Sampler Series Block 4: Flower Garden Path
Summer Garden Path

I quite like this block and I tried really hard to be accurate with my piecing. I would have preferred to piece the path (yellow) as a square but my brain couldn't handle the math and the alternate tutorial for that method wasn't posted yet when I worked on the block. I made sure not to use a print for the path because it broke up the appearance of the square.

Star Block (Block5) Summer Sampler Series

Some blocks don't need fancy names and this is one of them. "Star" says it all. :) This was paper pieced.

Arkansas Traveler Block, #6 in Summer Sampler Series
Arkansas Traveler

This is my favorite block so far. I decided to add the green floral in because I am trying to challenge myself to see other possibilities for these blocks than what we are given in the tutorials. The tutorials are fantastic, I just tend not to think about other ways I might attempt a block--different placements of lights and darks, etc., so I want to work on that. The diamonds in the center are pieced and then the outer sections are paper pieced to the diamonds. I liked doing this combination.

Blocks after week 2 in Summer Sampler Series

Sampler Blocks so far

Houses 3 & 4

I also made a couple more house blocks for my Cracked Pots quilt border. The blue house is my current favorite. I think I need to crank up my house building if I want to get this quilt top done any time soon. I am setting myself a goal of 4 houses per week for the next four weeks. Then, I will need to make four log cabin-style stars and hopefully, the top will be finished.

Currently, here is what I have going (or not going):

Noro Fingerless Gloves: Finished. Christmas gift. Photos to come
One Cable Mitts: One Fingerless Glove Finished. Christmas gift.

Shark Mitts: I stated mitt number 2. Mitt #1 has a body but no teeth or fins or eyes. Once I get the second one crocheted, I'll add them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quilty Updates

I've been making lots of progress on my quilts lately. I am happy to say that I finally finished the top of my One Block Wonder quilt!

One Block Wonder Top Finished

I'm very happy with how it has turned out! This is my second time doing mitered borders and I still don't really feel like my method is precise enough--I find it difficult to get the accent strips to line up neatly at the corners and it seems to be magic or luck when they do. I have been searching the Internet and books for more accurate ways to do this next time. If you have recommendations, please leave a comment!

So I'm going to take a little vacation from it while I think about how I want to quilt it. I'd really like to have this finished before classes start again in late August. I've got a few larger Christmas gifts I'm working on, including this one, and having them mostly finished before I go back to teaching would be wonderful!

I've also finally gotten the first border on my Cracked Pots quilt.

Cracked Pots Gets a Border

This quilt really stalled for a while because my quarter square triangles were not precise enough--the points didn't match up and three of the four border strips were half an inch too long! I tried doing square in a square blocks instead and that was worse! I spent hours pouring over Harriet Hargrave's series of quilting books (Freshman Year, Sophomore Year, Junior Year, etc.) trying to improve my technique (and she doesn't get to triangles until the junior year!). I considered eliminating this border altogether.

I let this sit for quite a while and then decided I was ready to deal with it. Kim suggested I just sew some of the seams a bit deeper to shorten the too long borders. She's a genius!

Now I've started the borders for round two: houses.


I was considering just doing a house in each corner instead of all around, but my quilting buddies on flickr gently suggested that this was perhaps not the best option.


Here's a view of what the pattern is supposed to look like. I guess I'm thinking that I'll follow the pattern for this second border but I think I'll skip the third pieced border. This quilt is another Christmas gift.

Swim, Bike, Quilt

I joined the Summer Sampler Series Quilt Along on flickr run by three very nice quilters: Katie of Swim, Bike, Quilt, Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts, and Lee of Freshly Pieced. Each week, each of them posts one block with a tutorial on how to make the block.

I started with this photo as my color palette inspiration and worked from there. Kim, again so helpful, helped me choose some fabrics. They're a little out of my comfort zone but I really needed some bright, bold colors after working with all that black on the One Block Wonder.

Here are the blocks from week one of the series (they are huge, 12.5"!)

Summer Sampler Series Week 1

So that's pretty much what I've been up to lately. The only other thing is a class I've been taking on making lemoyne stars. I'll have to post a photo once I get a star finished. I'm thinking of maybe making a Christmas table runner or wall hanging out of it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Potholder Pass 8 Projects Finished

One thing I've recently realized is that I'm not so good at following up on projects I've mentioned on the blog. Eventually I post when I finish something but I don't really keep people up to date as I'm working on them. This is an element of my blog that I'd like to improve on, as I think progress/process is an interesting part of crafting.

I finished my Potholder Pass 8 projects, which I mentioned I was working on in my last post. For the partner receiving potholders, I had make a circle of geese block but hadn't made the other potholder. The other potholder was inspired by this beautiful pillow (photo below) from the Pillow Talk Swap.

pillow talk swap received!

Wasn't Randi (i have to say) a lucky swap recipient?

Here's my version of the square in a square and the finished circle of geese potholder, too.

Potholders for Potholder Pass 8

I decided to keep the rainbow theme for both potholders and used some lemon/orange fabric for the center square and backing.

Some thoughts:
Quilting these potholders is really difficult because a layer of Insulbrite and a layer of batting make for a thick quilt sandwich. I used a walking foot and reduced the presser foot pressure to the lowest amount possible and I still find it really challenging. I don't know if anyone else has this problem in the swap or if it is just me?

I had to redo the binding twice on one of the potholders because I misjudged how wide the binding would need to be to accommodate the thickness of the batting.

Grommets/Eyelets--they don't explain very well on the Dritz kit package how the two pieces of the long shaft-thingy fit around the eyelets. After a few failed attempts, we finally figured it out. We? I had to ask my husband to help me hammer them in place. Oh well, I suppose Dritz can't do anything about my meager upper body strength. I'm really happy with how the eyelets look and I'll definitely use them again.

I was swapping a bag with my other partner and I showed a photo previously of the completed Jane Market Bag. Here it is with a potholder I included in the package.

Potholder Pass 8 Bag Swap

The heart potholder comes from Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts and can be found on the Purl Bee blog. I noticed my partner had this favorited in her flickr stream so I thought it would be fun to try it and surprise her. The front is patchwork squares with her initial in the middle. I'll post a photo after I know she's received it. This time, I didn't quilt the potholder and I was much happier. :)

I've also been a lucky recipient in Potholder Pass 8. My potholders came in the mail and I was so excited when I opened the package!

Who's a Lucky Girl?  I am!

Isn't this fabulous! I love everything--the colors, the prints on the fabrics, the happy strawberries with faces (you know how much I like cute stuff), the pincushion, hexie and the cute little paper clips. And crocheted cloths with flowers? Seriously! I'm feeling so lucky and like I just had a second birthday. chloeandme is the best! Now I'm anxiously waiting for the grocery bag from my other partner to arrive!

In future posts, look for updates on the One Block Wonder Quilt, my Lotus Tile Quilt, my green Cerisara cardigan and more!