Showing posts with label Quilts-In-Progress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quilts-In-Progress. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sewing ADD For Me

Last night's girl's night was awesome. Eight of us cozied up in my living room and shared our creativity. I just worked on some needlepoint but this morning I'm back at my machine. Actually, I've been having a little bit of sewing ADD lately. I have a few quilts brewing around in my head. I pulled a stack of fabric for one of them. I'm not sure if I'm going to add hand stitching or not but I pulled a roll of Pearle Cotton just in case. One thing is certain though, my broken triangles are making a comeback.


I also finally bit the bullet and bought three yards of the AMH "Field Study" voile that I've been drooling over lately. Since I'm not working I put myself on a fabric diet, but I finally caved at the last LAMQG meeting and bought it. Our meetings are held at my favorite fabric shop, Sew Modern, and it's always difficult to walk out of there empty handed. But my birthday is coming up and I have a wedding to attend in May so I thought that was the perfect excuse to wipe up the drool and buy it.


So I am working on some things for me. And I realize that lately I haven't been as good about posting about my process here. Frankly, I do a lot more process posting on Instagram. You can follow me over there as well, if you'd like. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Eleven


Eleven months ago when I started on my Marathon Quilt I thought I would be a little further along than I am. But I'm not complaining. Well, maybe I was. I laid the project out this morning on top of our king sized bed to add some scope to the project and I was lamenting its current size in my head when my husband came in the room and commented that he couldn't believe how big it's grown since I started working on it last May. It's all about perspective. And I apologize for the crappy lighting. It's gloomy by the beach today.


I carry this project with me practically everywhere I go, just in case I find myself in a place with a little idle time on my hands. It's slow work. Methodical work. Most days I love the work. But I'll admit there are some days I would rather be working on something else. And I'm learning to listen to my instincts. This isn't a race. There is no deadline. It's just for me.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Scrappy Trout Along

Recently I had quite a lot of amazing crafty girl time. My friend Liz hosted some sewing at her place. And so did my friend Liberty. Then I also hosted a little stitchy slumber party at my house. Only one person actually spent the night, but most of us were up and sewing away until 2:30 in the morning. I used that opportunity to jump on the Scrappy Trip Along train that's been snaking it's way across Instagram. I've never participated in one of these online sew alongs before, though I've wanted to, but now that I have free time it seemed perfect. I blame it all on Ramona and Liberty. They made me do it!


I decided to go monochromatic with this one. I wanted to make it for our living room and have it big enough for my husband and I to cuddle up under it together. I considered making it purple since we have a large purple wall in the room. Orange was another color I considered to accent the orange chair that's a favorite of ours. Ultimately, I settled on my favorite neutral, gray. I thought it would be the perfect blender in the room and it could allow for pops of color to shine through in the prints used.


I knew my husband would love the scrappy style and Ramona convinced me that it could come together quickly. Who knew that the secret to this quilt was that it's actually strip pieced! Okay, so it took a little longer than I anticipated but I had the top pieced in less than a week. And it even was nicknamed the "Trout Quilt thanks to my friend Melissa. She said it reminded her of fish scales, which I think is kinda' cool!


But now I think I need to make it bigger. At first my husband thought it was too big. Right now it's measuring about 96"x72", but now he wants it for our bed, which is king sized. So that means I need more gray. He also went crazy for the text fabrics so I'm on a mission to find a few more gray tonal text fabrics because I want to push the scrappiness even farther. If you want to take the trip too you can find the tutorial here. Just beware, it's addicting!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Ten

Ten months have passed since I started on my City Weekend Marathon Quilt. This month I didn't make as much progress as I had hoped. Honestly, I lost a little steam in February but I'm hoping that I can recover my momentum in March. 


I also realize that I'm not using the fastest method to make this quilt. I'm using a ladder (or slip) stitch instead of a whipstitch to assemble the pieces together. I am sure this is absolutely the wrong method, but it's been working for me best because of the curves. I'm also okay with the slower pace that ladder stitching causes. There is no rush to finish, although I might have been a little antsy in February because I'm already percolating on and idea for my next hand-done quilt. 


March is longer than February, so let's hope I have more progress to show next month! Oh, and be sure to stop by tomorrow when I start the Virtual QuiltCon Quilt Show for everyone who couldn't make it to Austin.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Nine


It's a couple days late, but I promised a nine month check in on the Marathon Quilt. (I almost could have had a baby in the amount of time I've already put into this quilt!) I was traveling a lot for work in January, so that meant a lot of time on airplanes with time to hand sew. And I got a lot done, but I was a complete idiot when I was laying out pieces so the work I accomplished didn't necessarily help me properly this month. 


I've been laying out pieces for my rings and then stringing them together in order so I can just work semi-brainlessly when I'm traveling. Well, you know me and my blonde moments. I do have them quite often it seems. In my haste, as I was laying out the pieces for the next five blocks I ended up laying out extra in between rows. I didn't notice my error until I was almost all the way finished with them, so when I started piecing them with the centers I started to notice that my rings weren't flowing right. I know, it's scrappy so it shouldn't bother me, but it does. I was able to fudge a couple of them, and I know I'll be the only one who will ever notice the inconsistencies, but ugh! So I have a few leftover rounds that I know will find homes later, but I just couldn't bring myself to pick them a part. Instead, I just made new ones. 


So, there are more homeless pieces this month. After that pile had dwindled to almost nothing. But I'm excited that I have pretty much used all of the little ring pieces that I pre-pieced so long ago. Now, I'm working from scraps and enjoying the basting in between the sewing. And I did get five new blocks pieced... almost. Even though they're not joined to the main body of the quilt yet. This little project keeps growing every month. I'm not anticipating much growth this month, though you may see me working on it a bit at QuiltCon. Less than two weeks away! I am so excited!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Eight


It's been a little silent around here because the husband and I took a little trip over the holidays. I had ten days off from work so we headed up to Alaska. Neither of us had been and we got an amazing last-minute deal so we just went north. We had an agenda for the trip, which is totally unlike us, but the weather thwarted almost all of our plans. It was unseasonably warm while we were there, but we still had a blast. I did had a cold that I couldn't seem to shake the entire trip so I spent most of the days sleeping in, skiing half day and then retiring back to the room to rest before dinner. 


I did manage to get some sewing done during my rest periods. So, I actually made a lot of headway on my Marathon Quilt. Last month I only had 9 blocks fully completely, but only six of those blocks were actually sewn together. I went to town on making blocks during the plane rides and rest time in the hotel. In fact, I now have 15 blocks completed AND they're all joined together. 


Unfortunately this cold lingered and turned nasty as soon as I got home on New Years so today is actually the first day I was able to drag myself out of bed. I felt like I really needed to make an appearance at work this morning because on Sunday I'm back on another plane and will be gone on business for the next ten days. Ugh. I really hope I can shake this thing and fast.


While lying in bed the past couple days I did also manage to plan out the next four blocks (block 5 is complete spare for the middle). I'm planning to take this project with me on my business trip, so I anticipate making even more headway this month. Slowly but surely it's coming along. And Mercedes was very interested in my little photo shoot this morning. She kept trying to eat the pieces. Silly chicken. Happy New Year to all of you and yours!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spray Basting Tutorial


Recently I basted my Broken Triangles quilt and it's not secret that I favor spray basting over pin basting. And I've had a couple friends ask me in the past what method I use when I spray baste. I don't know if my method is pretty standard or not, but this is how I do it. Ideally I would prefer to spray baste outside, unfortunately, if I'm basting at home I don't have an outdoor slab of concrete flat, large or clean enough to baste a quilt so I have to do it indoors. I usually clear out my dining room since it's pretty open, which means better ventilation. I also open all the windows to keep the air circulating. Spray basting isn't horribly messy, but you're dealing with aerosol glue in a can, so you need to protect your workspace. I wouldn't recommend basting too close to furniture you want to keep. 


First, I lay my quilt back (right side down, of course) flat and use masking tape to adhere it to the floor so it stays as flat and taught as possible. I use 1.5" or 2" wide masking tape (the wider the better) and I tape the quilt back down with newspaper to protect my hardwood floors. I leave a small gap between the quilt top and the newspaper so the tape can also adhere to the floor, securing the quilt top. The first time I spray basted in the house I didn't use newspaper and it took me about an hour and a lot of elbow grease to get the dried glue off my floors. I learned that lesson quickly.


Then, I lay out the batting over the quilt top, smoothing out any creases. Once I am happy with the positioning I fold up one short side about 12" or so and I spray the basting glue onto the quilt top all he way across and then I fold the batting back down, smoothing out all the creases and bumps. 


After I've secured that end of the batting to the quilt back I move to the opposite side of the batting and I roll the batting all the way back to the other end, stopping where I can feel the adhesive on the other end doing it's job. I will be on my hands and knees (no shoes but with clean feet!) In the center of the batting that's been secured down and continue my way down through the middle of the quilt as I tack the rest.


From here I start spraying the adhesive about 12" wide from one side of the quilt to the other. Depending on the brand of spray baste you're using will dictate how densely you apply the glue. I usually spray from one side to the other in a zig-zag motion, and then sometimes add one more spray, directly across in the opposite direction for good measure. (I hope that makes sense!) Then roll out the batting, to around the point where you think the glue ends and smooth out any bubbles and creases. Repeat this until the entire batting is tacked down to the quilt back. 


After the batting and the quilt back are adhered together I repeat the entire process to secure my quilt top to the batting. Once it's all sandwiched, I remove the tape and it's ready to quilt. I am sure there are lots of other ways to spray baste out there, this is just the method I've developed that works for me. Do you do it differently? What works for 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.


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...


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!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Marathon Quilt: Month Seven

Thank you so much for the support I've been getting from a lot of you over the past few days. It really means a lot to me. I've always used my sewing as not only a way to express myself artistically, but also as therapy to help me work through things in my personal and professional life. I've often explained my craft to people who don't get it that it's the one outlet I've found in my life that allows me to completely unplug from the rest of the world. When I'm in front of my machine I have to concentrate on the task at hand or else I start to make mistakes. It forces me to focus on one thing, not many things at the same time like I have to do in the rest of my life. 


This weekend my husband and I went up to San Francisco for a couple nights for a Holiday work dinner for him. Our flight was delayed getting up there so I had several hours in the airport to work on my marathon quilt. I didn't post a six month update, and that's because I really didn't have anything to show for it. I made little to no progress on the quilt during October, but I was able to make quite a bit of progress this month. Now, seven months into the quilt, I have nearly 12 blocks completed. And I pieced six of the completed blocks together, which was a little challenge. Woo Hoo!


I often get asked how big I'm making this quilt. When I started I had visions of a King Sized monster for our bed, but now my answer has changed. And it's simple. I don't know. I don't know how big this quilt wil end up being, all I know is that when it's the right size, I'll stop. I realize now, having it on our bed really won't be practical. Our dog loves to get up on the bed with his messy paws and I don't want it ruined. But I do want it used because, ultimately that's the main purpose of making a quilt. 


So, I'm seven months in, with no end in sight. But that's okay. I'm in no rush, and I'm still not sick of it. I still find myself with a deep desire to work on it all the time, even though it often gets marginalized because there are so many "Have To" projects on my list. Hopefully, the husband and I will be taking another road trip over the holidays, so that means more time for hand sewing. Yippee!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Focusing on Me

I have hardly had any time for sewing lately and even less time for blogging, which makes me sad. I didn't even have time to blog about the amazing time I had at the LAMQG Retreat, which happened over two weeks ago. Ugh. Life has just been incredibly overwhelming this Fall. And I miss blogging. But I'm making some changes to hopefully free up a little bit of time to focus more on sewing for *me*, when I have the time to sew. 


When I was on the retreat (which was so absolutely amazing and fulfilled my soul) I started working on a project that has been trapped inside my little head for about a year and a half now. I just resolved to focus on me and my art and finally start to let it out. 


I think I need to be a little selfish for a while. Not completely selfish, but I just need to allow myself to be a little more focused on my own art. Especially since things at work always seem to be consistently dramatic and stressful and that won't change unless I choose a new career path, so a little bit of internal focus at home is okay. So, I'm sorry I haven't been around as much as I would like to be, but I do appreciate you all hanging in there with me. The juices are flowing so I just need to start channeling them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quilt Marathon: Month Five

It's been an exhausting whirlwind, let me tell you, but I am finally back at home. And I can't tell you just how good it feels to say that. I'm going to be playing catch-up on posts for the next week, likely. I had pictures ready to go before I hit the road but had no time to blog. I was literally averaging 3 hours of sleep a night, 7 days a week the whole time I was gone. The hours I wasn't sleeping, I was working so there wasn't even a moment to watch TV or read for a half hour, let alone sew. Well, I did get some hand sewing in on airplanes and in airports and I managed about 15 minutes on a toy machine - but more about that later. I am still exhausted and trying to catch up on sleep but I also want to catch up on blogging too. I know I'm very tardy with this update, but I did, actually shoot these photos on the morning of the 4th. So while my blog post might be late, the update on my marathon quilt is quit accurate. Let's just pretend it's the 4th, m'kay?


I have to admit that during the month of September I really felt like I was getting into a rhythm with this quilt. I seemed to have more time to dedicate to the process and I really felt like I was making some progress. And that's not to say that I haven't, just when I hit the 4th I realized I hadn't made quite as much progress as I intended. I think part of that is because I expected I would have a significant amount of free time in the evenings to work on it while I was on the road. Since I was originally expecting to be on the road for only a week I didn't pack my machine, so this was going to be the only project on my plate. Well, things changed. I bought a toy machine (more about that later) and my time was increasingly filled with more and more work. 


Another problem I have encountered, and I chalk this up to operator error, is in the planning. The beauty of this piece is that it's scrappy, but if you know anything about me I like order in the midst of chaos. So I am trying to control the chaos. But it's also teaching me a valuable lesson about letting go and allowing the fabrics to flow as they may. And I think that's important for me. This quilt is really helping me grow. So, as I plan out each block, following the order I laid out early on, I am finding myself having to play with which way I structure the rings since I chose to work with an odd numbered amount of different fabrics for in the rings. Which is fun, but sometimes after it all comes together I realize I don't like the path I took. Sometimes I go with it and sometimes I don't. When I don't, I end up with homeless pieces. But I know that eventually they will find a place to reside. Then, other times, I have made an unnecessary ring, forgetting where the rings meld together. I just look at it as less work for later. 


I have a feeling that October is going to be another slow month, as it seems that most of my free time will be spent either on planes (where I will sew if I'm not sleeping) or working on bee blocks and swaps that need to be finished. I'm just looking forward to November and the LAMQG Retreat where I promise myself I will take time to do hand work while I'm there so I can enjoy time with my friends even more.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Quilt Marathon: Month Four


Did you think I missed my four month check in? Well, I didn't. I might not be posting this update on exactly the right date, but I swear I took the pictures then. September 4th marked the end of the fourth month working on my City Weekend Marathon Quilt. But, I think you can tell from the lack of blog postings lately that I haven't had much time to sew this summer, and that means very little progress on this project. I'm not letting that get me discouraged, though. There is a reason I'm calling it my "marathon" quilt. Slow and steady, right? There's also a reason I didn't get this post up on time this month, and it's a pretty good excuse. I was in Mexico. Don't be a hater!


I've always had that fantasy of walking into an airport, looking at the list of departing flights, picking one spontaneously and just taking off to somewhere unexpected. This trip was probably the closest I'll ever get to that. Last week, we determined that we would need to go dark for a week, meaning we would be taking an unplanned, unpaid vacation. The funny thing is, I had tried to build a vacation week in between the job I am currently working and the next one but, as is usual, this job is going longer than expected so it looked like that wasn't going to happen. In fact, as of Monday I'll be working two jobs at the same time, probably through the end of he month. Ugh! So, as soon as I discovered that I was going to have this week off I jumped online to see where we could go. My husband has been itching to get out of town so I started researching and found insanely cheap, last minute tickets to Puerto Vallarta and two days later we were in Sayulita, Mexico.


We spent six glorious moving from the pool to the beach and back, so needless to say, I didn't get much sewing done. But I did get engrossed in a fabulous book and drank some great tequila. I did try to work on my quilt but had some trouble because the wind kept tangling my thread, so I went back to my book instead. It's been a long time since I've had some quality time to read so it was a welcome respite.


That's a long way of saying, all I really accomplished this month was to complete one more block. But hey, it's another block, right?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quilt Marathon: Month Three

Saturday was officially the end of my third month (and the beginning of month four) working on my marathon quilt. I really don't every post on weekends so I saved my progress report for today. I am making more headway, I'm happy to say. But, honestly, I was really striving to get just one more block done this month to round it out to an even six blocks. Alas, that's not the case.


The quilt has moved into it's new home, though. It's happily encased in the awesome bag that Kay made for me. It's the perfect size to house all the random little bits and pieces, as well as the larger finished blocks and spare fabric. Although, I think soon that I'll have to start storing the actual quilt in a more flat manner. Perhaps it will take up residence on my design wall.


There is an order in my piecing, but seeing as how I'm working with uneven numbers, the pieces at one end or another don't match up exactly correct. This works, though, since the overall look is supposed to be somewhat scrappy. But going into each new block, I do follow an order, although on more than one occasion, I realized too late the I pieced something in the wrong order so I've ended up with some random bits, currently waiting for a home. I would say that this slowed up my process, but I realize that later it will speed up my process so it all balances out.


Most importantly, I'm still in love with it. I'm not working on it at home as much as I would like. I am trying to be respectful of the time my husband and I have to snuggle on the couch so I try not to work on it a lot while he's around. But living in the new bag makes it infinitely more portable than it was in the big blue box. And I do have a couple trips coming up this month, which means sewing time on the plane! Let's see how far I get this month.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quilt Marathon: Month Two

I just had a total brain fart and accidentally deleted the entire blog entry I was about to post with no way to recover it. So sad! Ugh. I think I just taught myself a valuable lesson. Sigh. I'll try it again. I'm officially two months (as of yesterday) into my quilt marathon, as I've started calling it. I spent so much of the first month getting organized, basting all of the intersection pieces and starting to baste the internal ring pieces. And I felt like I made a lot of progress in the first month.


June was a different story. It's not that I didn't make a lot of progress this month. I did, in fact, but I wasn't able to concentrate on this quilt as much. Work was crazed, which did allow me to take some hand sewing with me on the road. I was shooting a new project all month, and I like to get to location early so I'm not late, so I take hand sewing with me to work on in my car when I have time to spare. But I also had a lot of projects with impending deadlines to work on and since my City Weekend Quilt has no deadline, it's easy to push it aside. Much of my downtime was spent hand sewing two Joseph's Coat Blocks I'm making for a swap. Coincidentally, learning how to baste these curves is really helping me in my Double Wedding Ring piecing too.


That's not to say I didn't have any time to spend on this quilt. I continued to baste the ring pieces until they were overflowing the ziploc bag I'm using to separate them. Part of me considered continuing to baste the remaining ring pieces, but I was also getting a little antsy and was ready to move onto something new. I'm nothing if not organized, so even though it wasn't entirely necessary, I split the outer ring pieces (that connect with the intersections) in half. These are the only pieces that are directional - half need to point one way and the other half point the opposite direction. I didn't have to do this, but sometimes I just don't have the energy for anything else so I did. And I basted one piece in each direction so when I start making more of these I know which way they should go.


I also started basting some center pieces and the internal ring pieces settling on Kona Snow for these. There was a lot of debate about which Kona I wanted to use for these pieces. Ash is a personal favorite, and usually my neutral of choice. I was also considering Kona Natural. The white shades tend to be a little too stark for me. But after careful consideration I decided that Snow was the way to go with this one.


One of my many faults is that I can get distracted very easily, often moving from one UFO to the next before completing anything. And I do have a fear in the back of my head that working on a project of this scale for so long will start to bore me. Thankfully, so far that's not the case. But I did have an overwhelming desire to see one block completed before the end of the month. And, at this point, I have more than enough pieces basted to start making blocks. In fact, from here on out, I think I'll be doing a mixture of basting and piecing at the same time just to help keep things fresh and be able to see some progress.


There are thirteen different prints I'm using from the line to make up the rings (not including the intersection pieces) so I played around with them until I came up with a layout that satisfied me. I strung these pieces together to create a reference strand I'm using as I work. Because of the number of fabrics I'm using and the way the rings intersect I feel like this reference chain will help me control the chaos.


These blocks are not for the faint of heart and they are time consuming. The first block took me a couple hours. But the result is so worth it. My husband may think it's too girly, but I am in love and since this is for me I don't care. Hopefully I'll still feel this way six months from now when I'm still working away on it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Quilt Marathon: Month One


I've been getting back into the swing of things at work and it's caused a major dent in my sewing time. I hate when that happens. But I've actually been doing a lot of hand sewing lately (and probably will be for the next couple years!) because it's so easy to take with me on the go. On my birthday, some of you might remember, I started on an epic endeavor, my City Weekend Double Wedding Ring Quilt. I really need to find a better name for it. I am aware that this project will probably span a couple years. My goal is to have it finished before my 40th birthday.


Today marks the end of the first month on this project. And I have made some headway. There are so many little pieces and they all came jumbled together in one big bas so it took me a bit of time to sort through them all. But I thought it was important to have them separated because the intersection pieces are very similar to the outer ring pieces that join the rings to the intersections. I don't know what else to call them, so I hope I'm using the right terminology.

DWR Sketching

So, I mentioned that idea I had about changing up the centers and making it more scrappy. A couple days after that post, I was at my friend Ramona's house and she pulled me into her bedroom to show me her double wedding ring quilt. She had done a "scrappy" version and it gave me a great visual of how it could look and assured me that I wasn't crazy. Still, I went home and sketched out my idea. I think I just need the small, oval slices to stay consistent to make it work. I really would like to do a Kona Ash because gray is my favorite go-to neutral, but I think Know Snow would probably be a better choice because of the true white accents in the City Weekend line. I think it might get too muddy if I start introducing yet another color. I don't know. What do you think?


I started on the intersection pieces. My plan is to alternate the four patch intersection between the two square prints in the line. And I am happy to say that I got all of those pieces basted this month. It sounds like a bigger accomplishment than it is though. The paper piece kit I bought will make 36 blocks that measure 10" each, creating a 45" x 45" quilt. Honestly I think that's too small for what I want so I'm planning to possibly double the pattern. Go big or go home, right? (Talk to me in six months when I've decided that 45" is just fine.) But for now, that means I've got exactly half of the intersection pieces basted. I can't do the other half until I have the pattern pieces liberated.


After I finished those, which actually did feel good, I started on the mountain of teeny, tiny inner ring pieces. And it really looks like I've made a ton of headway with these, doesn't it?


Until you see how many are still left to go. But one month in and I'm making waves.


My husband thinks I'm completely insane. I keep the naked pieces and the completed intersections in a box in my studio so I don't lose anything. Then I keep the pieces I'm working on currently in my travel bag, along with needles, thread and scissors. This bag goes with me everywhere. And I mean everywhere. If I find myself with even a spare moment I quickly speed through basting a piece. My hands are always busy it seems. I even clocked myself when I was making the intersection pieces. I was basting one about every two minutes. The intersection pieces needed a little more precision at the corners. The smaller internal ring pieces move much faster, but there are much more of them. So there we are. One month in and many, many more to go. Let's just hope I'm not sick of the sight of it by the time I finish this marathon.