Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dare To Dresden

Today is Day 4 of the "Dare to Dresden" blog hop, organized by Madame Samm  and hosted by Christine .

 Over 100 quilters signed up for this blog hop, with several bloggers each day  sharing their adventures in making Dresdens.  I'm glad you have dropped in today for my turn. 

When I first learned about the "Dare to Dresden" blog hop, I immediately knew which Dresden project I would like to try.  It's a pattern called "Kaleidoscope" from a book by Amanda Herring called "Big Fun With a Little  Fabric", and has been on my "to-do" list for a long while.  Here is Amanda's quilt:

I love how varying the size of the  petals on the dresden flowers gives them such a different look.   

I started with this fabric as my inspiration,

and chose to make Dresdens in these colorways:

Amanda's quilt is big enough for a bed, but I wanted a wallhanging, so I made all of my Dresdens smaller than the pattern called for.  In doing so, I had to come up with a different arrangement, but here is what I have on the design wall so far:

I'm not quite done with my design.  I'm thinking of  adding  some smaller Dresden flowers in the blank spaces.   I'm also thinking of raising up the bottom border, and having part of  the large green flower extend over it like it was falling right out of the quilt.

The center circles are not sewn down, and I may make them bigger.  The whole look of the Dresden changes when you adjust the size of the center circle.  For example, from this:

to this:
Lots of room for adjustments yet with this quilt, but it has been fun to play with making Dresdens of various sizes.

I'm glad that I took the dare.  It encouraged me to just get out those fabrics and give it a try.

Thanks for visiting!
Be sure to visit these other bloggers who have also 
Dared to Dresden!

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Working with scraps

This is the final block of Pam Buda's  Pocket Patchwork sew along.  The theme for this sew along has been to use up orphans and leftovers from other projects to make a small quilt from scraps.  Here is this week's block:

How's that for cute?  A 4 1/2" Courthouse Steps block with lots of different fabrics  Thankfully, Pam provided a template for paper piecing this one. 

This was a great opportunity to find a home for little scraps and tidy up the yardage.  I gathered up the small pieces I had already created when making the first 3 blocks, and sorted those into lights and darks.

I still needed to cut from yardage, so I sorted through my fabrics and chose the ones that had odds and ends poking out along one edge.

I lined up the odd bits,

and cut my new strips from the excess.
This helped to neaten up the edges of my scraps before they got folded up and put back into the bin with the other fabrics.

After I had my fabrics all cut, I decided where I wanted them to go and starting sewing.  The paper piecing went fairly smoothly, but about halfway in I realized that I had switched the position of the lights and the darks.  Instead of this:

I had this:

I decided to finish the errant block, hoping it would still work out, but  I didn't like the result.  It looked more rectangular than square, so I went back to the drawing board, (or should I say "back to the cutting mat")  and I made the block all over again.

Here are the 4 blocks I have made so far:

Next week we'll see how Pam has us put them all together into a small quilt.

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Friday, January 25, 2013


At long last there is forward progress to report on the sweater I am knitting.  I successfully reshaped the cap of the sleeve from long and narrow, to short and fat.

The sleeve on the left is the original sleeve that resulted from following the pattern.  On the right is my own version with shaping that I hope will better fit the armhole.

Now I just have to rip out about 8 inches on the sleeve on the left, (down to where the sleeve cap shaping begins), and re-knit to match the other.  Then I will have a front, a back and two sleeves ready for the next step which is to figure out how to sew them together, and then pick up stitches for a collar.

My son might just get to wear this sweater this very winter!!!
(Shhh!  Don't tell him I said that!!!)

Over in the far left of the photo are two UFO's that I hope to complete during the upcoming "Drop and Give Me Twenty" challenge.  The purple and green is a card trick quilt that is basted and ready for quilting.  The bit of brown fabric on top of the green and purple is a basket quilt that needs some rehab to give it flat borders.

Hope to get lots finished this February!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Drop and Give Me Twenty

"Twenty what?", you ask.

Twenty minutes of sewing for every day in February. 

Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Design, and who blogs at Quilting Hottie Haven is sponsoring a month long challenge to help finish up our UFO's by committing to just 20 (or more) minutes a day for every day in February.  She's calling it "Drop and Give Me Twenty" or "DaGMT" for short.

I have some UFO's that I would like to see go from "almost finished" to "finished".   For example,  I can think of 2 table runners that just need to have the bindings sewn on.  This seemed like it might be just the challenge I need.

I'm joining up with Beth and several other quilters who are taking the same pledge:

I, Auntie Em, am joining Quilting Hottie Haven's second annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for 20 minutes  every day of the month of February, 2013. In doing so I hope to have some projects finished and off the UFO list, (and I'd like to  thank Beth Helfter  for coming up with this concept and inspiring me to join).

Beth has rounded up some sponsors who are offering prizes for this event.  If you wish to learn more about the challenge,  and to link up with the other participants, click here.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Again with the knitting....

"Pulling out rows and rows of yarn is so satisfying",
 said no knitter EVER.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pocket Patchwork continues

I sewed up Block 3 of Pam Buda's Pocket Patchwork sew along.

Pam used 16 different lights and darks for her block, but I used 2 each of 8 fabrics instead.  I started by making 16 oversized half square triangles, and then trimmed them down to 1 1/2 in size.

To help reduce bulk, I constructed the block in quadrants, instead of rows:

and rotated the seam intersections wherever possible.

Here are the 3 blocks we have made so far:

On a completely different note...
I went to JoAnn's fabrics yesterday to pick up some needles.  I saw that they had all Christmas decor at 90% off, so of course I had to nosy around a bit.  I was surprised to see that they still had a few of the houses from their Christmas village series.
Perhaps these were passed over because they actually have "JoAnn's Fabric and Crafts" printed above the door.   But have a look inside:
Bolts of fabric at the cutting table!

The price on the corner of the box says $49.99.  But at 90% off it was only 5 dollars, so home it came.  I won't even take it out of the box until next Christmas, but it will sure be fun to unpack it next year.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Knitter's Knightmare

Almost a year ago now, I was "persuaded" by my son to knit him a sweater.  It has turned into a monumental task.  There were many, many times where I had to rip out and start over.  There was one wrongly twisted cable that involved tearing out the entire top of the sweater, right down to the armhole shaping.  After a multitude of false starts and much frustration, I got the front, the back and one sleeve done. Alas, the sleeve would not fit into the armhole. 

At that point, I needed to just walk away from the sweater for a while.

Summer came.  I told my son it was too hot to knit.

Autumn rolled in.  I told my son "after the holidays".

Now here I am, with the one year mark approaching.
I need to get this thing finished so I can move on to knitting fun things again.  I spent a whole day trying to figure out how to re-knit the cap of the sleeve so that it will fit into the armhole.

There was much measuring:

There were calculations:

There may have even been some voodoo involved:

Unfortunately, (oh, you thought this post had a happy ending?)  I have not figured out just how to solve my sleeve problems, but  I'm still hoping to work it out.

In the meantime, I did create a cool new knitting tote to store my project in:

It's just your basic tote, with some roomy pockets on the inside,

and  an awesome  matching button for the closure:

I may not be the most savvy knitter, but at least I can look cool when I carry my albatross knitting project around.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Dog Days

Here at  Procrastination Laboratories, we have been studying a new life form.  It came to us in an oblong vessel where it has been slowly maturing.

After many weeks of gestation, the furry creature appears to be  ready to hatch!

It opens it eyes!

We hold our breath as it slowly becomes aware of it's surroundings,

The creature takes a moment to observe it's brand new world.

Without warning,  it leaps from it's egg!

Relying only on instinct, it seeks out the nearest life form and demands:
Take me to your pack leader.

I know.  It's silly.  But every time I see him squish himself into that little bed, I think he looks like he is about to hatch.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Orphans and Scraps Sewing

I sewed up the second block of Pam Buda's Orphan's and Scraps Sew along.  Pam is posting a new block every Friday for 5 weeks.  Here is the block for week number 2:

Pam has shared a great technique for creating this small block with many pieces.  It starts with four hourglass blocks:

Then you need four additional squares for each hourglass:

You sew a square to two opposite corners of the hourglass in a sew and flip fashion.

And then do the same for the opposite corners.

Isn't that a neat little trick?  Here are the first two blocks together.  I left the rotary cutter in the photo so that you could see just how small they are.

Update December 2014:
Hi! This post has been getting a lot of traffic lately.  I'm very pleased of course, but also very curious.  Could you kindly leave me a comment and tell my how you found me?

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