Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Surprise! There's actually progress!

Hello, lovelies!

It doesn't feel like I've been doing a lot of sewing since last Wednesday, but when I take stock of it, I've been clipping along! I have almost all the hexies sewn together for my Kona solids challenge mini-quilt, and I've started putting rows together for my kaleidoscope quilt. I'm a little intimidated to quilt it, but I won't ever get it done if I don't tackle it, right?

I've also been sneaking a half-hour here and there to work on my hand-quilting on the spring wallhanging. I finally got the right size needles and I feel like I'm getting the hang of it, and it's going faster than I'd thought--I'm already at the point where I need to move my hoop!

Hand quilting

I spray-basted this, and so far the quilting is going smoothly. I keep having to stop and pet the quilted parts, though!

Just a reminder: I'm offering two fabulous prizes in my first-blogiversary giveaway, and entries are easy! Stop in on the giveaway post to enter--the giveaway closes on Saturday, so you've still got plenty of time!

The WsIP stats:
New projects: 0
Completed projects: 0
In progress: 9

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

One year ago today, I decided to start my own little quilting blog: so I could comment, and join the community, and keep track of my own slow-poke projects.

It's been quite a year--I initially got back into quilting (after a six-year absence) to deal with an incredibly stressful tenure situation (which isn't resolved, but that's neither here nor there). I have found a lot of inspiration, community, and satisfaction in the online quilt-o-sphere, and what better way to celebrate that than with a giveaway of my own?

I'm going to be giving away TWO--that's right, TWO--fabulous prizes!

Number one:

I have some leftover bits from my Kona challenge classic charm pack--I have a stack of 2 1/2-inch squares that I don't have plans for, so: For this prize, I will baste those squares into 1-inch hexagons before I send them along, and you'll get a rainbow stack of hexagons ready for a project! Just like this one:

Hexagon Rainbow

Number two:

My LQS always has some treasures that are out-of-print, and this one is no exception. For this prize, I'm offering one yard of fabric--four fat quarters of Luna II by Maywood Studios. These luscious chocolates will make a delicious little treat, or a lovely addition to your stash!

Giveaway: Luna II


You'll get one chance to enter for each prize--I'll keep separate lists and use a random-number generator to pick the winners. To enter, comment and tell me what you'd like to do with each prize: for example, if you tell me you'd like to make a mug rug out of the hexagon prize, that counts as an entry on the hexagon list!

If you'd like to enter for both prizes, you can include your plans in a single comment. (I'm using 'plans' quite loosely, here--if your immediate plans include nothing more than petting the pretty fabric, that counts!)

I'd appreciate if y'all would spread the news of my little giveaway--or not, if you want a better chance of winning! *g*

The giveaway will close on Saturday, August 27th, at midnight CST. Please make sure you aren't a no-reply blogger, or if you are, please leave an email address where I can contact you to arrange for your prize.

A big thank-you to everyone who has made this year a good quilty one for me, and I'm looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why yes, I do enjoy starting new projects!

...although I'm trying to finish some, too?

I haven't been sewing as much as I thought I would, lately, but I am feeling the end of summer fast approaching and have missed chatting fabric, so I thought I'd stop in and share what I have been doing. Which isn't so much finishing as it is starting new projects!

At the beginning of August we traveled north to visit my brother and his family, and since I finished the piecing on the spring wallhanging, of course I needed another hand-piecing project, right? So just before we left I cut the batik fabric I'd bought (ahem, six years ago) for the autumn wallhanging, and while on the trip I pieced almost half the blocks I need!

Hand-piecing project #2

I starched my fabric before cutting it, and I'm unsure if I like hand piecing the starched fabric. We'll see how it turns out!

I've also started hand-quilting on the spring wallhanging, but so far I don't really have enough to show you. I think my stitches are horribly large, but I'll get it figured out by the time I'm done with the quilt. And the kaleidoscope quilt didn't get finished in time for the quilt-along prizes, but I'm getting close--the rows are complete, and the top is almost together!


And last but not least--the other new project! My guild (the Rock River Modern Quilt Guild) got some charm packs of Kona solids and we're challenged to make something with it--here's how far I am right now:

Hexagon Rainbow

I already know the name for this one, and it's going to be a mini quilt for my sewing room wall. I'm very excited, as I'm really feeling like I'm designing this one, all by myself. (I really should identify which Kona solids are which, as it would be like having a 'color card' on my wall. *g*)

This is my 50th post, and I see that my one-year blogiversary is coming up on August 22--I'll be posting a giveaway that day, so make sure you stop by to check it out! :)

The WsIP stats:
New projects: 2
Completed projects: 0
In progress: 9

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sewing Ironically

Hello, lovelies!

This week saw me at an online-teaching workshop (to help me learn how to teach online courses), and our typical schedule allowed an hour for lunch--which, in true professorial fashion, meant we would sit around talking. So naturally, I brought my sewing (I'm putting the final borders on the spring wallhanging, and oh, what a joy to sew such long seams!).

At one point another young prof said something about a thing she'd like to do in one of her classes that was a bit outside the norm and many of us laughed about it being scandalous. I did a whole 'clutching my pearls' gesture--which caused a bigger uproar when J pointed out that I did it complete with a thimble on my finger!

New thimble!

He backpedaled a bit, saying that I know I look like an old lady while sewing, so it's okay: I'm sewing ironically.

Which then sidetracked the whole table into a discussion of how 'old lady' crafts are making a big comeback among our generation. I got to talk about how my tattoo-artist younger brother knits his own socks--and no, I have no clue how he does it. He has a bunch of little needles and giant meaty hands, it's just amazing to watch. :)

What do y'all think? Does it ever bother you that the 'image' of the craft is solidly in 'grandma' territory? (Of course, if you are of the 'stereotypical quilter' generation, do you feel hemmed in [ahaha, punny! *groans*] by expectations?)

As for me, I feel quite proud to be carrying on this tradition, and learning how to make such beautiful things with my hands. And I can get so much done, even while chatting with friends--I kind of wished I could sew while in session, too. :) I kind of feel sorry for my students who give me weird looks when I mention that I quilt, like they don't understand the satisfaction that comes from creating something.

A rose is a rose

Here's a finished project! This little counted cross-stitch took me forever to actually complete. The fabric is ivory, and the pale pink and pale ivory half-stitches were impossible for me to see what I was doing unless I was practically in sunlight, so I stalled at several points. Ah, well, it's done now! And looks lovely on my wall.

Linking up with:
Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, July 15, 2011

Value in Repetition

Hello, lovelies!

I figured I'd reveal my Super Secret Sewing Project once it arrived at its destination, and today I heard that the package made it safely, so: Here it is! (Click for bigger!)

Comfort pillows--pre-stuffingComfort pillows
Comfort pillows, all together This owl is not impressed.

These are comfort pillows for a dear friend who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She's headed in for surgery on Monday, and I hope she finds these useful and cheering! (The bone-shaped pillow is from this pattern on Connecting Threads, the bird is from this pattern by Pillow and Maxfield. The rectangular one was half-mistake, half-late-night-crazed-inspiration, and I really like the baffling baffled box pillow I ended up with. *g*)

I also attended a Rock River Modern Quilt Guild meeting this week, and had a lovely time chatting with everyone! Jeanne of Grey Cat Quilts talked about being in a 'sampler quilt mood,' as opposed to making the very same block over and over, and it got me to thinking.

Sampler quilts can be a lot of fun--I'm in the middle of my first two, right now, and it's nifty doing so many different blocks! There also seem to be lots of sampler quilt-a-longs going on in blogland right now, which is also great.


I think there's a lot of value in doing the very same block over and over, too, especially for beginning quilters. (I think Jeanne's a long way from a beginner, let me be clear!)

For me, I don't think my skills particularly improve in one block, but across many--I would be far less confident with my kaleidoscope quilt if I hadn't had sixty-seven blocks of pinwheel practice with my Tweetygigs quilt. I'm finding my kaleidoscope blocks are getting better, too, and I'm only a third of the way through putting them together.

So I urge you, if you're a beginning-to-intermediate quilter, not to dismiss single-block quilts. Sometimes repetition really is the best way to learn!

(Linked with Fabric Tuesday, check out all the goodies there, too!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Late-Night Experimenting

Hello, everyone!

Just zipping in with a quick WIP Wednesday update--it's a gorgeous day here, so I'm headed out for a long walk soon. This past week has seen me working on my Kaleidoscope quilt (which included a clean-and-oil of my little Husqvie and some musing on how she talks to me), with a break for a sewing project I can't quite show you yet. :)

Last night I finished my layout, and started sewing blocks together:

Kaleidoscope: Layout!

That's where the experimentation came in.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Does your machine talk to you?

Hello, sweet sewists! :)

Today saw some significant progress on my kaleidoscope quilt--I spent time getting the quarter-blocks together:

Quarter-block chain piecing

And I was considering how my machine 'talks'--it tells me when I need to clean and oil it, just from the way it sounds and how it feels when it's running.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday! Now actually on Wednesday!

Ah, Wednesday! Today is the day we all recover from our long holiday weekends!

My holiday weekend consisted of fourteen hours in the car, three repetitions of Beauty and the Beast, at least six repetitions of the Beauty and the Beast original Broadway cast recording on CD, one family reunion, one long-overdue and far-too-short visit with Tracie, ten years' worth of family memories while hunting for Grandma pictures, lots of glow-necklaces and glow-sticks shared among the family, a half-hour of delightful fireworks with commentary provided by Zoe, and more brats and hamburgers than I've eaten all year.

Today, we recover!

Fortunately, long visits also mean hand-sewing time, so I've made significant progress on my hand-pieced spring wallhanging (as always, click for bigger):

Spring wallhanging progress

I've got the center all together, and the first two borders on! Isn't it exciting?

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Hello, lovelies!

My rotary cutter and I got a workout the past couple days: I'm making a lap-size quilt for the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along over at Don't Call Me Betsy, and the cutting instructions went up on Thursday. I've been working in chunks--90 minutes of cutting seems to be my max before I begin to worry about slicing fingers and need a break--and this morning I finished!

Kaleidoscope QAL: Scraps

Saturday, June 18, 2011

FNSI results! And beautiful flowers!

Hello, lovelies!

It's a muggy Saturday here, and my sewing room is becoming a guest room for a couple days, so Friday Night Sew-In was my last chance at the machine for a few days!

But before I share my results, I want to point you in the direction of an artist friend of mine: Tracie Thompson in Minneapolis. I love pretty much everything she does! Case in point, her watercolor flower sketches:

Irises Peonies
Petunias Poppies

Aren't they cheerful? I'm thinking I may need at least one of these lovely watercolors for my sewing room! Unless one of y'all get to them first--Tracie has good prices, and she'll ship all over. (She does pet portraits, too--OMG SO ADORABLE--I encourage you to check her blog out! Each picture takes you to Tracie's blog, where you can also see the flowers in much better detail.)

And now for FNSI results! I got two blocks done last night (one for the layer cake QAL and one for the jelly-roll Quilt of Valor, and as always, click for bigger):

Layer Cake QAL: Block 8

Quilt of Valor: Block 10

And behind the cut, more pictures--I've gotten a lot done this week!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In Tonight!

Hello, lovelies!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Friday--I certainly am! It's beautiful outside, and my house is clean(er than it used to be), and it's been a delightful Zoe-and-Mom day. I'm looking forward to doing some sewing tonight!

Handmade by Heidi

Care to join us?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Growlery

Growlery growl'er-ee, n (English; cf. Dutch grollen, to grumble)
A retreat for times of ill humour. This term has largely become obsolete, which is strange, given that so many people seem to have a place to go when they are in a bad mood - a place to be alone and think. It's similar in meaning to the Latin-derived sanctum sanctorum, with the added connotation that the individual in question is going to the place to be alone while upset. (From Forthright's Favourite Words)
An excellent word of the day, don't you think? It also happens to be perfect to describe my sewing room this past week: I had a few days where I really needed the escape!

Good thing I had a bunch of stuff already cut, eh?

I have *LOTS* of pictures to share, so I'll start with a yummy stack of fabric. That's right, my fabric for the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along arrived this week! It's mostly Fresh Flowers by Deb Strain (SO PRETTY OMG), and the 'solid' I found is a white tone-on-tone that has adorable flowers and vines that go perfectly with the other fabric.

Kaleidoscope QAL: Fabric!

There's still time to join! C'mon, you know you want to...

And follow the cut for many many pictures!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quilting Along!


It's a fine Sunday morning--I'm out on my deck, feeling the breeze between my toes, and it's wonderful! This week has seen me in my sewing room more often (yay!), so I actually have some sewing progress to share (double yay!). I'm catching up on a couple quilt-alongs and getting ready to start another--but I won't get behind on that one, honest!

First up, my first three blocks for an informal quilt-along I'm doing with my mother-in-law (as always, click for bigger pics):

Quilt of Valor blocks: All together

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, and hello again!

Hello, quilt-blog-land! Miss me?

*crickets chirping as everyone goes, "You were gone?"*

Hee! It looks (from catching up with blog posts) like I missed a bit of a quilting-world storm, but that's OK--I've had storm enough at home! (I'm not done with the semester yet, but since today is Mother's Day, I'm taking a breather. :)

In between the craziness, I've had just enough time to finish a couple things. First and foremost, I present:


TweetyGigs: Finished!

~70" x 88"
Fabric: Tweet Tweet by Keiki, Spirit by Lila Tueller, and Bella Solid Bleached White
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Quilted at the Backyard Quilt Shop in a loose swirl with pale pink thread

Follow the cut for more TweetyGigs, and some mug rug goodness!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finish! HouseCheering


This week I got just enough time in the sewing room while Z wasn't feeling well (thanks for saving it for spring break, Z! /sarcasm) to finish the housecheering gifts I got so close to finishing during last weekend's FNSI. Here they are (click for bigger), presented with a little help from Z herself!

Check out the animals!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In: Finally, some sewing!

Hello, everybody!

You'd probably figured the minstrel had wandered off, and indeed, I got lost under a pile of grading and have only recently managed to find my way back into my sewing room! Just in time to participate in this month's Friday Night Sew-In.

I started out with this, on Friday afternoon:

FNSI: Start with some rows

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hello, March

I'm sneaking in under the wire to get my WIP Wednesday post up!

I was pretty excited to finish my Sliced Coins Quilt-Along quilt, which I named 'Blue Canary' and blogged about here.

It's Echo-cat approved:

Echo Approved

At the Rock River Modern Quilt Guild meeting a couple weeks ago, I finished another hand-pieced block, so I'm at 24/25 blocks for the all-by-hand spring wallhanging. It's getting so close! But I'm afraid that's about all the sewing I've managed lately.

This week's stats:
New projects: 0
Completed projects: 1
In progress: 5

I encourage you to check out everyone's WsIP at Lee's--they're all inspirational!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In: Results!

Friday night was sew-in! And I managed to get that much closer to finished with my Sliced Coins quilt!

I got the back pieced together, with every last scrap I had:

Backing--every last scrap I had!

And I got it basted! I ran out of pins in the last corner, so a little bit is basted with basting spray.

All together now


This little quilt even gave me its name while I was working: "Birdhouse in Your Soul"

Birdhouse in your soul

Now I'm debating how to quilt it--I'm wanting to do some free-motion, but I'm not sure if I want to try stippling or what. I was at the Rock River Modern Quilt Guild meeting today (what fun ladies!) and I saw some wonderful loopy quilting that I liked a lot.

Ideas and suggestions are welcome! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taking just a moment to say...

I don't generally go beyond quilting topics here, but I would like to take a minute to share a couple thoughts about what's going on in Wisconsin right now:

I'm a state worker. I teach at a state university, my husband works as a programmer here. And I listened to Governor Walker tonight--and I'd like to thank you, Governor, for stating very clearly that the people who were protesting deserved to be heard while at the same time you were very obviously not listening.

State workers have already, in the past several years, given up a lot--I've had a substantial pay cut in the form of furloughs, which doesn't change my workload or tenure expectations. And state workers are not necessarily angry that you're proposing additional pay cuts (the way you and yours are demonizing us and spinning this whole thing)--no, what people are protesting, and what people are really, truly angry about is your proposal to eliminate rights that are guaranteed to private sector workers by federal law: the right to collectively bargain with our employers.

What the governor is proposing is not about balancing the budget--if he really wanted to do that, why not eliminate tax cuts for corporations? What the workers are upset about is not about balancing the budget on our backs--well, that's certainly part of it--but honestly. Take away our right to organize, what's next?

I'm tired of being demonized for trying to do my job (to give kids a college education, to help make better citizens out of freshly minted high school grads--which, if anyone would like a stab at it, be my guest) and paying taxes just like everyone else.

And that's it for my off-topic-ness. Quilty discussion and fabric pictures will resume after Friday Night Sew-In, and thank you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WiP Wednesday #14

It's that time again: WiP Wednesday!

I'm knee-deep in grading and other job-related stuff, so my sewing time has been reduced pretty drastically, but that doesn't mean I'm out of the groove entirely! I got the rest of the fabric for a quilt-along I'm planning with my MIL, as well as some sweet fat quarters (Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow) for a girl baby quilt:

New fabric!

Ahhh, Blissful goodness!! This jelly-roll quilt is going to be a Quilt of Valor, and I'm really looking forward to starting it in March. It also makes for an inspirational set of fabric stacks to decorate my sewing table!

Inspirational stash

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sliced Coins: Now With Sashing!

So now that the TweetyGigs is off the guest bed, it's time to catch up on my quilt-alongs! I'm less behind on the Sliced Coins, so this is where I started. I had less sewing time this week, as the first round of portfolios have come in for grading...

But today I put the last sashings on the Sliced Coin quilt!

Sliced Coins: all together!

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's a Block Party!

Hello, everyone!

Quiltstory is hosting a Block Party:

Fresh Poppy Design

I've amazed myself, a bit, with designing a block! This one is inspired by one of the stained-glass windows at our church, which actually has three quilt-block-looking patterns together on one window. I present (and click for bigger):

Leaded Glass

New Block: Leaded Glass

Please do go check out everyone's blocks! Let's have a party!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend Accomplishments!

Hello, lovelies!

I am beside myself with excitement! This weekend's sewing time was devoted to getting Z's TweetyGigs finished and ready to go to the long-arm quilter. I'd gotten the backing seamed together, a slice cut through to add the charm row, aaaaand...the charms sewed on the wrong side. So Saturday night was spent picking out 80 inches of stitching. GRRR, ARGH.

But! This morning went far better!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What I did Wednesday

This is what snow days should be! Lounging in the sunshine with the kitties:

Snow day relaxing

And playing with fabric. I was toying with a block design to potentially enter into Quiltstory's Block Party next week, and I made it mug-rug size. It didn't turn out perfect, but I have a better idea of how I'd piece it next time around so it will look cleaner. What do y'all think? Should I enter this one, or make version 2.0 for the party (which is kind of where I'm leaning...)? Should I give this mug rug away, or keep it for myself?

Block party block?

Also, does anybody recognize this block? I was inspired by one of the stained-glass windows in our church, and I suspect it might be a published quilt block somewhere.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowpocalypse YAY

I'm sure everyone is posting about the SNOWPOCALYPSE, and I, for one, am quite pleased about the whole thing--classes at the university have been canceled tomorrow, so my girl Zoe and I are going to be camped out at home. Fortunately she really likes watching DVDs on the little portable player on the guest bed, so I will have some time to sew! (We won't spend all day in the sewing room. But more than I usually get on a Wednesday!)

So, even though I'm a little early for WiP Wednesday, here's an update!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Over the weekend, I got the Sliced Coins baby quilt stacked together (click for bigger):

Sliced Coins: Stacked!