Showing posts with label Bees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bees. Show all posts

Monday, March 25, 2013

Caught Up on Bee Blocks

Well, while the Virtual Quilt Show was running I was actually getting a lot of sewing done. Right after QuiltCon I actually wrapped up my latest project for work and I out myself on a personal hiatus. I am actually trying to take a whole six months off. I know that's what I said last time, and my friends and family have bets out on if I'll actually be able to make it the full six months, but nearly one month in and I am loving the time off. 

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I spent the first week or so just cleaning out my studio space and trying to get it into workable order. And I've spent (most) of the rest of the month trying to play catch up on UFOs and bee blocks so I could clear my plate and start to focus on the stuff I really want to focus on for me. And I am happy to say that I am now completely caught up on bee blocks. The first ones I tackled were the last ones I owed for the Bee a Lone Star(burst) Bee because those blocks for Candy were embarrassingly late. Her month was November. But Now they're done and that bee has been laid to rest. No more paper piecing bees for me. At least for a while. I do love these blocks and you can find the template here, but four a month was more than a little aggressive.


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Then I started catching up on my blocks for the Hope Circle. In January Janet asked us to make Quatrefoil Blocks using only brightly colored solids. I love these blocks. In fact I asked a bee to make them for me a few years back. And each time I make them I get a little better with giving enough seam allowance so the points of the petals don't get lost in the seams. 



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Then for February, Suzy asked us to make these awesome (and easy) Stash Buster Blocks using an alternating Cool and Warm palate. I got a little overzealous and ended up making her eight blocks instead of four. Oops! Well at least that's a happy accident.



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And for March in the same bee, Muriël asked Woven Blocks in greens and blues suitable for a boy, since boys don't get as many quilt donations as girls. I can't wait to see how these three quilts turn out. And April is my month so I need to start thinking about what kind of quilt I want the bee to make this time around.


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Then I had to catch up in the Sewn Together Bee. In January Mary sent us some gorgeous fabric and requested Potager Blocks from the book "Modern Blocks - 99 Quilt Blocks". I love the colors she's using in this quilt. After all, gray is my favorite neutral. 

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Then in February Rick asked us to help him make a quilt for his brother. His brother loves to fish so he sent us some fish fabric and colorful batiks for the strips. I think his brother is just going to love this quilt when it comes together. Phew, I made it through the bee blocks owed and now I'm up-to-date. No more lagging behind for me. Work got really intense last year, so I'm hoping the time off will get me back on my game. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

QuiltCon Day One Recap

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Oh, I don't even know where to begin with documenting the whole QuiltCon experience. I am still basking in the afterglow, and trying to catch up on some sleep. It was amazing and I am already planning for the next one in 2015. I think to do it justice I might have to break my recap up day by day to avoid sensory overload. I also have a plan to share a virtual quilt show for anyone who wasn't able to make it to QuiltCon so everyone is able to experience all the wonderful quilts featured there. 


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I flew in on Wednesday night and my flight was delayed so I got in very, very late and didn't get much sleep. I had a plan to wake up early on Thursday morning to get to the show and the vendor floor early, but, instead, I took my time getting there, partially out of fatigue and partially out of a little fear. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was a little intimidated walking in on my own, not knowing anyone. 


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The pile 'o crap that I accumulated while at QuiltCon. It's a mixture of swag, class materials and new purchases.
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First off, upon registering I was presented with an amazing swag bag. I didn't even know where to start. And it was heavy. And I had to tote it around with me, along with my personal bag with my supplies for class all over the vendor floor. I had a couple hours before my first workshop so I headed to the vendor floor to check out some of the booths and the quilt show. 


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My quilt hanging in the show.
The vendor floor was small enough for one to easily navigate in a couple hours. Hopefully next time, there will be even more vendors and more interactive booths. I must admit, the first thing I did was search out my quilt in the show. It was one of those pinch me moments and then, true to my nature, I started picking it apart in my head. I need to stop doing that. But, nevertheless, it was exciting to see it hanging with so many amazing quilts. 

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My first workshop was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. I started with "Every Last Stitch" with Anna Maria Horner. Since I have a passion for handwork, I thought a hand sewing class with AMH would be perfect. And I would do anything just to be in the same room with her. She is so amazing and gracious. She just exudes loveliness at all times. She started the class by showing us some of her hand work and talking a little about her hand quilting and embroidery theories. 


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We were each given a stack of Field Study fat quarters, batting, some gorgeous backing fabric, a needle and a set of AMH's pearle cotton floss - enough material to make a small quilt. All of us in the class decided to make a whole cloth pillow, rather than a pieced project, to practice our hand quilting. She then split us into small groups and circulated the room teaching us her basic hand quilting technique. Initially I thought there might be more stitches practiced and demoed but I wasn't disappointed because I know that I need work to perfect my hand quilting so I get even stitches. 


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Sadly, I didn't get as far as actually getting to practice the technique she taught us because I ended up spending too much time chatting. It was awesome to find myself in a class surrounded by some of my online friends that I had never met in person before. I got to sit next to my friend Elaine, who I met through a swaps and is in a couple VQBs with me. We've been chatting for a while now, and even though she lives relatively close to me, we had never met. We totally hit it off and barely stopped talking the whole class. Then, much to my surprise, Courtney, who is also in a VQB with Elaine and I, was also in our class. And even more surprising, there were three Holly(ie)s in the class including my old co-swap mama. Not only did I get to meet old friends, I got to make some new ones. 


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After class I met up with some of my good friends Liberty, Liz and Melissa we went back to our hotel to drop off our loot before I went to meet up with another online friend of mine for dinner. The dear, sweet Robyn, who I have known online for a long time, invited me to a wonderful dinner with a lot of fellow bloggers and even some fabric designers. There I finally got to meet Krista, another online friend, who is so kind and talented. Plus, I made some new acquaintances like Rashida, Penny, Monica, Melody, Kristin, Lizzy... the list goes on. 


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After dinner a bunch of us from the LAMQG met up in the atrium of our hotel for a good, old-fashioned stitch 'n bitch. We even gained some more friends along the way. But we ended up getting busted around 10:30 PM and were told by security we needed to shut it down. Seriously, I'm running with the bad crowd! ;) So a couple of us moved up to our room for a little more chatting before calling it a night. Jam packed, I say, but not a dull moment.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Foot Failure

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So I bought myself a walking foot with a 1/4" guide for Hepburn. I didn't even know these things existed, but at our LAMQG Retreat this Fall, Latifah introduced me to this little magical wonder. She pieces with her walking foot and mentioned that it helps especially sewing over some of those bulky seams, which makes sense. Then she showed me this little beauty. I knew I must have it. 


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I tried to find it online (not terribly hard, but hard enough) and had some trouble finding one. Then, one day while I was working in Tennessee I noticed a little sewing machine shop down the road, that happened to be a certified Janome dealer. I stopped in on my lunch break to ask if they carried the foot. They said they did, and I got excited, but then had a heap of trouble finding it. Sadly, I thanked them for trying and told them where I was working for the day just in case they were able to find one. Half an hour later they came looking for me. They had the foot! They were so friendly and helpful. If you're ever in Murfreesboro, TN be sure to stop by Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery.


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I decided to take it for a test run on some of my (past-due) bee blocks. Caitlin had asked us to make Scrap Buster Blocks from Little Miss Shabby's tutorials. Her request was that we use black, white and gray scraps for the 1.5" squares and a bright solid like an orange or pink for the strips. 


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Piecing was going really well. I seemed to be moving right along making the 1.5" square rows and then I started to put the block together. My scrappy rows were consistently too short. I measured them up against the foot guide and it seemed fine. I didn't have the stamina to start all over again so I decided to try and solve the problem rather than "scrap" it. I cut the solid strips wider than in the tutorial and that seemed to help. Then I realized the problem. My needle isn't matching up with the guideline on my new walking foot!


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Ugh. I just assumed that it would automatically be aligned. Well, you know what happens when you assume? You screw up your scrap buster blocks! Ugh! I think I was able to salvage the blocks without starting completely from scratch. I had a few extra 1.5" squares left over from cutting, so I ended up adding extra squares to each scrappy row. That, paired with the wider solid strips helped me to save the blocks. They're now just a scant bi shy of 12.5" square, so I think Caitlin will still be able to work with them. But sigh. These are definitely not my best work.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Finally Some New Year Sewing

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2013 has already been a whirlwind. I finally got home late last week, but I had a migraine that didn't seem to want to cooperate and stayed with me through the weekend. I did manage to pull Hepburn out of my studio (which is chilly right now and crammed with junk that needs to be organized - but that's another story) and do a little bit of sewing. And I also got to try out my new foot...


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Right now my MUST DO LIST seems daunting. I have two sets of bee blocks that were due before the New Year. Plus I have one last swap looming and I need to finish quilting and binding my Broken Triangles Quilt, because it was accepted into the show at Quilt Con! Yeah, that's a piece of news I received while I was on holiday in Alaska and I've been sitting on it a while. I'm still in a little bit of shock. I got it basted and quilted "enough" to submit it in November so now I need to get it finished. 

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I started on one set of overdue bee blocks. But I started cutting the wrong color of 1.5" squares. I got all 176 squares cut before I re-read what she wanted and realized that the scraps are supposed to be black, white and gray. I didn't let it get me down. I know I'll need those other 1.5" squares somewhere down the line. It's inevitable. 


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Then, I also pulled fabrics for the swap. I think Anna Maria, Lotta and Jay will play nicely together, don't you? I have a plan that I think will make my partner very happy. What were you up to this week?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bee Blocks Almost Done

I didn't get nearly as much as I wanted to get done this weekend, but I'm okay with that. Saturday I only left the house once, and spent the rest of the day curled up on the couch, with a fire and the dog catching up on my TV shows and doing some hand sewing. There was so much sewing I actually had to do, but I opted to laze on the couch instead. Yesterday I had a holiday brunch with my friends in the early part of the day any by the time I got home in the mid afternoon I resolved not to leave the house again. This time I did get some face time with Hepburn to catch up on some bee blocks to get me through to the end of the year. 


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I've got next week off work so we're taking a little trip (to Alaska! I'm so excited!) so my sewing time between now and the New Year will be virtually nonexistent. I was behind on some blocks for November so I wanted to power through and get them off my plate. For the Hope Circle, Janet asked for some Garden Lattice blocks in Tangerine using this tutorial

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Then, Flaun asked us to paper piece some amazing solid blocks in the Sewn Together Bee. We used the pattern "It's a Stretch" found in the book "Modern Blocks". I am so excited about these. I absolutely cannot wait to see this quilt completed. It is going to be absolutely amazing. 


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My last block ever for the Sew Fun Bee was a low volume, traditional block for Dolores. She wanted each of us to use modern, low volume fabrics but do a different traditional block. I picked the Quatrefoil block because I love it so much. I really need to make a low volume quilt for myself someday soon.


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I'm really going to miss sewing with that group, but at least that's one bee off my plate. I still have two outstanding bee obligations to finish out the year, one for November for the Bee a Lone Star(burst) and one for the December Hope Circle. Speaking of the Hope Circle, we're looking for two Stitchers to join our circle in the new year. If you're interested in joining us to make charity quilts for Threading Hope with do. Good Stitches, please contact me. We'd love to have you!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Drooling Over City Center

My husband is in Panama this week and I am so jealous. While I'm stuck here working, he's having cervesas on the beach with the boys. Sigh. But since he's not home I am going to try and schedule a serious date with Hepburn, my faithful sewing machine. Since it's also holiday time, my free time at home is actually pretty limited, unfortunately. Last night I got a surprise visit with my aunt, who lives in New York. She randomly texted me that she happened to be in town for a meeting so I met her for dinner. She's one of my best friends so we closed down the restaurant, but I managed to get a little hand stitching done in bed when I got home.

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Tonight, I plan on getting in a few hours with Hepburn (named for my favorites Kate & Audrey), if I get out of the office at a decent hour. I need to power through some bee blocks so I can free up my sewing time on Saturday for some fun projects, because I have a big old pile of fabric *screaming* my name...

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Can I just tell you how absolutely in love I am with Jay McCarroll's new line, City Center? Seriously, there are two lines that were recently released that sent me over the moon and this is one of them. I love Jay, and I have always been a fan of his fabric because I think he has a very graphic and unique point of view but this is, hands down, my favorite line of his. And my husband loves it too! In fact, he picked out the yellow fabric and asked me to make a dog bed for our living room with it. He wanted something fun and funky and something we wouldn't mind seeing every day. Then I picked up some significant yardage of my two favorite prints from the line with the intention of making some dresses for myself. My husband wouldn't let me buy any more when we were at Sew Modern, but he's out of town and they just got Architextures line in so I think I'm going to pick up more City Center while I'm there too!

Monday, November 12, 2012

do. Good Stitches October Blocks

I am getting so excited. I can't wait for Thursday. This weekend is the annual LAMQG Retreat. I should have spent the time I had to sew this weekend prepping for the retreat, instead I caught up on the last of my tardy bee blocks. As of now, I am all caught up. I only have November blocks in the queue. Yippee!

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Robyn asked the Hope Circle to make two 12.5" unfinished Patchwork Wheel Blocks using this tutorial. She also selected an autumn palate for us to use. I struggled with this palate, I have to say. It's not that I didn't have autumnal fabrics in my stash, I do, granted not a lot, but I'm just not as comfortable with this palate, I suppose. 

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I think I need to get more comfortable with it, though, because my husband loved these blocks and colors. He never usually comments on the blocks I make for bees but these struck him. I think I need need to work with these colors more often. 

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I actually made 4 blocks since we had a member drop out of the circle and I didn't want Robyn to have to pick up the slack. Remember, if you want to do some good too. You can always sign up to join in a do. Good Stitches Circle. And Rachel is also hosting a celebration of do. Good Stitches and anyone can join in by stitching up a quilt for charity. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Celebrate Good Stitches

I've been hosting the Hope Circle for do. Good Stitches for over two years now. And while I have fallen behind on quilts in the past, I never fell behind on blocks until September when my work trip screwed everything up. So I was frantic to catch up on blocks for Suzy last week. She asked for Herringbone blocks using Holly's tutorial, but she wanted us to send the halves separate, so four half blocks instead of two 12.5" finished blocks. 


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Things were going along just fine until I realized that I didn't read the tutorial all the way through before starting and I got ahead of myself and realized that I made all four halves going in the same direction. Ugh. Well, as it turns out, we unfortunately lost a Stitcher. I thought she had made her blocks for Suzy and I was just going to pick up her blocks for October while I tried to (successfully, I might add) woo Natalie back into the bee. (Doing the Happy Dance!) Then I discovered that she was unable to complete September as well so my unfortunate mistake turned into a happy accident. I made four more halves in the opposite direction and sent all four blocks off to Suzy. 

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I simply adore the color scheme she requested we use for this quilt. Suzy wanted us to work in blues and grays with one red or orange strip in each half. It doesn't hurt that these are favorite colors of mine and I am currently obsessed with the herringbone pattern. You'll be seeing more of this pattern and, coincidentally, color scheme again very soon. I am already swooning over this quilt. 

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And if you haven't heard yet, Rachel is planning a fabulous end of the year celebration for do. Good Stitches, But you don't have to be a member of the bee to participate in the fun! Just complete one quilt for a charity of your choosing and you can be entered to win some fabulous prizes. Hop on over to her blog for more details and to join in the fun!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blocks for Francine

First of all, my thoughts go out to my friends and family back on the East Coast. I am so glad you are all safe and I'm sending big hugs your way. I was actually supposed to be on a flight to NYC yesterday morning for work, but Frankenstorm Sandy changed all of that. My trip was rescheduled for today but since there is no power where we are supposed to be shooting, the trip will have to be rescheduled entirely. In anticipation of another week away from home, I tried to blow through some more bee blocks this weekend. 


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October was supposed to be my month in the Sewn Together Bee, but when things got hairy with work and traveling I asked if anyone was willing to swap months with me and, thankfully, Francine offered. When I finally arrived back home I expected her fabric to be waiting for me, and I even asked my husband if there was a package for me, but there wasn't. So I got worried and told Francine that it hadn't arrived. She was at the ready and sent me more fabric almost instantly. The very next day, my husband came home and sheepishly admitted that he accidentally took some of my mail to his office. Lo and Behold Francine's original package was there, thankfully not lost. Since she had already sent the second package of fabric I decided to make her five blocks. Well, okay, four and a half. I ran out of enough fabric to complete the fifth.


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Francine cut into her precious Silent Cinema Fat Quarter bundle for these blocks and also included some solids in the mix and asked us to make her some Drunk Love inspired blocks. Slightly wonky is okay - super wonky is not. 


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Every time I make these blocks I fall in love with them a little more and I feel compelled to make my own Drunk Love inspired quilt. One of these days I swear I will. Just put one more thing on my (Want) To Do List. What are some of the things on your own (Want) To Do Lists? And Happy Halloween to everyone! It's my favorite holiday of the year, but for the first time ever I don't have a costume this year. So Sad!