Thursday, March 28, 2013

Still Quilting, Almost Done

Some days I think I'm truly psychotic.  I have been feeling that the hand quilting on the Florabunda quilt has been taking   F O R E V E R  (said in my best teen sarcastic voice).  I'm nearly finished the quilting on the next-to-last block and was thinking how I am going to miss this when it is done.  How can I feel like I'm going to miss this and wish it was done at the same time?  Craziness.

I went to a quilt retreat two weekends ago and left the hand quilting at home.  I've been itching to do more machine sewing - actually putting together small bits of fabric into larger pieces.  I took along some scraps and sewed triangles that will eventually become a scrappy top.  But, the project I had most fun with was a small machine applique piece.  I saw on a TV sewing program a woman who teaches applique and has her students make an applique 'envelope' to hold pieces in progress without having to fold them.  I thought this was a terrific idea and decided I had to make one.  My first inclination was to make it out of some fruit fabric as the entry into my guild's challenge quilt this year.  But, when I was looking around for a pattern for this 'applique envelope', I found these terrific cat patterns by Val Spiers.  You can see her work and these designs on her blog.  Immediately, I abandoned the fruit idea and decided to make these cats.

The portfolio is a little less than 14' square and will fit nicely into the plastic tote I'm using as my applique design case.  I had to buy the foam core, but everything else is from my stash.

The other thing I accomplished on the retreat was to repair a shirt I had made for my mother-in-law some 10 years ago.  

I did this machine applique with the flowers going over the shoulder.  She gave the shirt back to me probably 2 years ago because she developed thin spots on the inside of the left sleeve.  Apparently she uses that crook of her arm to carry things.  I hesitated to do anything with it for a long time, but found it when I cleaned out the closet and decided it was high time to do this repair.  I opened up the seam on the sleeve, drew these black eyed susans, fused them to the sleeve and did a zig zag around the edges.  Just as I turned the corner on one of the middle petals, the shirt tore again.  So, the lady bug was positioned created and added to the design.

Now it's done and will soon be returned to her.  But, no more repairs - the rest of the shirt is too thin to work on.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

New Car, New (old) Project

I did finally get a car.  After narrowing my choices down to 3, I test drove those 3 types one day and decided on a Mazda3.  Then it was just deciding on what I thought was a fair price, and what color I wanted.  I decided on Copper Red Mica which is, apparently, not easy to find.  I did find one at a dealer about 90 miles west of here, negotiated the price and drove the car home the day I saw it two weeks ago.  It's still strange to drive, but fun.

In the mean time, I'm still quilting on the Florabunda quilt and have 3 more blocks to do before that is complete.  This is the block I'm working on now.

I also cleaned out my craft closet (a very small space that was crammed with much too much stuff).  My guild was having a UFO auction and I used that as an excuse to clear out some stuff.  I donated some, threw out a whole bunch of junk and organized the rest.  This is what is looks like now.

 It still looks messier than I want.  I guess I should attack those flags and other decorations hanging on the door next.

Oh, and this is my entire stash (excluding the scraps I've got packed to take to a retreat soon and the plaids on the shelf below) on that shelf.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  There is really not enough of anything that goes together for a quilt, but I'm doing more scrap stuff and appliques lately, so it's probably not bad.  The shelves above and below the fabric have projects  and UFOs sorted into bags.  There are more of them than I remembered, so my plan this year is to finish as many as I can and get them to good homes.

Which brings me to this project.

This is what I'm calling a third generation UFO.  My mother-in-law bought these die-cut hexagons as a project for her mother some years ago.  Laura was my husband's grandmother who passed away 15 years ago.  After her death, my mother-in-law gave me all of her UFOs, including this packet.  I started these blocks a long time ago and they resurfaced when I cleaned out the closet.  I just finished piecing the blocks (by machine) and now I need some fabric for surrounding hexagons.  I'll probably pick up something this week.  I'm not terribly fond of this project, but I think it can look nice when completed.

Oh, and 6 of those UFO projects in my closet belonged to my husband's grandmother.  So, they're not all my fault.  I will take the blame for the other 4 in there, though.

I think I've made quite a bit of progress and have some good plans for what to work on next and for some time after that.