Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finishing up with February

It's time to tally up my progress in February's "Drop and Give Me Twenty" challenge, but before I do, here is one last project I finished this month:

Even though the Christmas season is long past, I have continued to use the mug rug that I made with Christmas fabrics so it was time to create something new.  I looked around my sewing room and found this little 5 inch square of sashiko quilting:

I created this little sample at a quilt guild meeting last fall when we had a speaker who taught us all about sashiko, and we all got a kit to try it out.  By the end of the meeting I had this little flower done.  I thought it would make a great little mug rug with a little quilting and binding.

I layered it with thin batting and a piece of blue and white fabric, then outline quilted around the flower shape:

Then I trimmed away just the batting:

Next I trimmed the backing fabric to an even one inch all around, and used the iron to press a half inch fold:

I turned the folded backing up onto the front of the mug rug and sewed along the edge:

When I reached the corners, I first folded in the corners at a 45 degree angle:

When the last side was folded and sewn, I had a new little mug rug!

The best part was when I took it to the kitchen and realized that my mugs were a perfect match!

It was a  complete coincidence that I have navy and white mugs with little 5 pointed flowers on them!

Being the last day of February, it is time to look back and the month and see how I did in the "Drop and Give Me Twenty" challenge.  My goal was to sew at least 20 minutes every day in February.  I started off great and logged in well over the 20 minutes a day for the first half of the month, but then I got side-lined with a miserable cold that turned into bronchitis so I did little to no sewing during the last part of the month and turned to knitting instead.

On the plus side, 20 minutes a day for 28 days is equal to 9 hours and 20 minutes, which I most definitely achieved this month, but only because I was an overachiever at the beginning.  Also on the plus side, I reached my original commitment goal which was to start and complete the first 5 steps of my guild's Mystery BOM and I made that happen.

In addition, this month I also:
  •  resurrected a project from 2009  and re-purposed it into a Quilt for Kids donation, and a table runner
  • dug out a miniature cheater quilt  and got it quilted and bound
  • turned an orphan sashiko sample into a mug rug.
  • finished knitting a prayer shawl, and almost finished crocheting a second one.
What I didn't get to do was spend one of the weeks in February practicing/playing with Free Motion Quilting.  I just didn't feel healthy enough to immerse myself in that.

It has been great fun to visit the Facebook page for the "Drop and Give Me 20" challenge and to be inspired by all the progress being made by the other 50-plus participants.  Overall, I'm going to call it a success.
Thank you, Beth Helfter for being our hostess/cheerleader.  I look forward to next year.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday with Toby

Toby has been "hounding"  me to write up a post that was just about him, so here goes:

Here he is just hanging out with a friend.

Keeping a watchful eye on the weather.

While the rest of us have grown weary of all the snow, Toby loves nothing more than to be outside in it, repeatedly burying and digging up his tennis ball.

 When things get dull, he is a great source of entertainment, 

especially when he is being goofy.

However, he balances his silly behavior with moments of regal dignity.

Toby recently celebrated his 6th birthday, and we are so glad to have him as part of our family.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rose Wreath mini

How cute is this miniature Rose Wreath quilt?  I purchased the little cloth panel at a quilt show years ago, with the intention of hand quilting it.  It was going to be a little take-along project for the road.  I started the quilting, but then realized that I much prefer knitting or crocheting for on the go.  

The whole thing measures just 7 inches square.  Yesterday, I came across it and decided it might make a cute mug rug.  It didn't take long to pull out the small amount of hand quilting, and replace it with machine stitching.

The hardest part was actually putting on the binding.    Here's a pic next to my rotary cutter for comparison:

In the end, I decided it is too cute to ever get a coffee stain on it, so it won't be a mug rug after all.  Too bad I don't have a doll house.  
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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Enough with the snow already

The first couple of snowed-in days this winter were sort of fun once the preparations were in place.  Groceries? Check.  Batteries and candles?  Check.  Gas for the snowblower?  Check.  Plenty of fabric and  projects?  Double check!  But the whole snow day/sew day thing is getting kind of old....

The good news is that I had plenty of indoor time to devote to getting caught up on my guild's mystery quilt.  I have the first 4 steps completed, and it's still anyone's guess how this mystery will turn out.

While going through my fabrics I came across another mystery...this assortment of ziploc bags:

This was the current standing of a quilt that I started in a class back in 2009.  I remembered what it was supposed to look like...a Card Trick quilt, set on point, in a Garden Maze setting.  However,  I did not find any pattern directions so it was a bit of a mystery to figure out where I had left off.

I sorted through the bags,  and found that I had completed enough units to make 12  Card Trick blocks:

I have all the rows sewn together now, and will make them into a donation quilt.  There are lots of strips leftover that were intended for the Garden Maze setting, but I can use them for sashings and inner borders on future quilts.  There was also a large enough piece of the ginko leaf fabric that I can use  for borders or a backing.

Today was Day 7 of Beth Helfter's Drop and Give Me Twenty challenge, and with help from lots of snowy days I have managed to keep up with sewing at least 20 minutes each day so far.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Decisions, decisions...

I'm not a big fan of Mystery Quilts, and although our quilt guild runs one each year, I have only participated once. It's hard to make construction choices when you can't picture the finished quilt.

This year, my friend Rosemary suggested we give it a whirl.  The cost was only $7.00 for the pattern, and the hostess of the Mystery told me it could be made with scraps if I didn't want to purchase yardage.

I decided to jump on the bandwagon.   It is a lot of fun at the "big reveal" to see how everyone's quilts came out.

Step 1 was to choose three fabrics: a light, a dark and a medium.  I decided to raid my Civil War repro bin and this is what I came up with:

The plan was to use a variety of pinks and browns, but use the same tan fabric throughout.   During the Superbowl, I retreated to my sewing room and cut out all the pink and brown components.

I had the choice of 2 similar but different tan fabrics to use for the third color.   However....

the amount of yardage I needed was just a little more than I had of either of them! The whole time that I was cutting up the pinks and browns, I was debating whether or not I could just use a little of both.  My goal was to not  purchase any fabric for this quilt, but without knowing the final block pattern, I couldn't tell what effect it would have by using 2 fabrics instead of one. After much internal debate,  I decided to just go with a little of both.

I ironed the fabrics, and smoothed them out on the cutting table.  It was just then that I wondered whether there was enough contrast between the pinks and the tans, so I took a bunch of the pink squares and tossed them on top:
Not enough contrast. 
What little I knew about this Mystery quilt was that the third color should provide good contrast with the other two fabrics.  Now there was a new internal debate about whether the tan fabric would do the trick. (Did I mention I'm not a big fan of  Mystery quilts?)

In the end, I had to go to the quilt store and buy yardage for the third fabric.  I found a light beige with a tiny print that provided a much better contrast to the pinks.

I took my purchase home, washed it, ironed it, cut it out, and finally got to do some sewing.  Here is Step 2:

Switching  fabrics  provided me with the inspiration for the name of this quilt.  Instead of calling it "the Quilt Guild Mystery Quilt", I am going to call it "Harlequin", like the ice cream:

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