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Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Accept the Challenge!

I need all the help I can get, and hopefully, this WILL help.  This is a challenge over at Quilting Hottie Haven, and all I have to do is put my commitment in writing, and, oh, ya, follow through!
So, here goes:
I, Colleen (a quilter who is drowning in UFOs) am joining Quilting Hottie Haven's second annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for 20 minutes (or more!) every day of the month of February, 2013. In doing so I hope to use up some small portion of my stash, and open up some space in my sewing room to add more fabric (gasp!  did I say that) and I think Beth Helfter (the Quilting Hottie herself) is brilliant for coming up with this concept and inspiring me to join.

So, now I've joined the 2013 Finish-A-Long, the UFO Along and this challenge.  If I don't get a few projects done this year, it sure isn't the fault of my bloggy friends!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What's All This About Then?

Last May, a new Manager was placed in our department.  She came from another department and the staff did not know her - didn't know what to expect.  Some were a little leery.   Well, to our delight, she turned out to be warm, sunny, energetic and full of great ideas about how to improve the services we offer and the way we offer them.

At Christmas, she arranged for fun, office appropriate (read: taking only 5 minutes) activities, which we all enjoyed and appreciated.  One of my co-workers came to me and said "We have to do something for the boss!"  I suggested she talk to some others and see what they thought.  The next day, a small group came to me and said "We think we should make her a quilt!"

I reacted with a gape!  None of them know how to sew.  Out of 30 women in our office (no men), there are only two of us that sew.  They had no idea what kind of undertaking that would be.   I'm a very slow quilter, and their idea was that they would put this together during the 3 weeks this month when the boss would be on vacation.  Not happening ladies!

They came back with Plan B, and it's a plan I could work with.  We would cover a canvas with fabric, then fuse on squares of fabric with notes and signatures from staff.

I took a look through my stash, and - what a surprise! - I had some fabric that would be perfect for the signature squares.

(The light wasn't great when I took these - they are actually brighter than they appear.)  I fused paper backed fusible on the back, which makes for a better writing surface, and got to use my wavy rotary blade for the first time!

I also had some fabric which is perfect for the background.

I took it all to work yesterday, and the organizers loved it.  I had envisioned the squares laid out in neat rows, but they took them and placed them at different angles, overlapping in places, and it looked great!  Monday, we start getting staff to sign the fabric squares, and a quick touch with the iron, and we should have a fun piece of wall art to show our appreciation (and belated welcome) for a great Manager.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Craftsy January Block

Well, I've finished the January block in the Craftsy 2013 Block of the Month.  Laura, the instructor, is starting out nice and slow, and from the comments on the course, there are many beginners, so that is a good thing.

Here are mine.

January block

I forget what she calls them.  Something like wonky log cabin, or uneven log cabin - in any event, the light strips are 1 1/2 inch wide and the pink strips are 2 1/2 inches wide.

One thing I really like with the instructions are that she gives the size of the block at each step in the process. So, you can check your piecing before you get to the end and find out your finished block is 1/2 inch too big or too small!  For this block, of course, it's easy to figure out yourself, but I found that really frustrating when I was working on the Freebie Fifteen blocks.  You were working with squares that were, say, 3 5/16, cut on the diagonal twice and sewn to other pieces, and set on the diagonal, and you had no idea what size they were to end up!  All you designers out there, keep that in mind!  Tell us the measurements at each stage in the construction, please!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Craftsy 2013 Block of the Month

2013 Craftsy Block of the Month

I've decided to join in the Craftsy Block of the Month this year.  It is taught by the famous Laura Nownes, co-author of "Quilts Quilts Quilts".  Looking at her picture, above, she must have been 12 when she wrote that book.

In any event, the blocks look interesting - starting with the very basic, but working up to some techniques that I have never done - i.e. Y seams.  One month is tumbling blocks, and another is a Lemoyne star.  I can't believe I haven't ever done either of those, but there you go.  

I'm hoping to make it completely from my stash.  I pulled some fabric last night.

The instructions call for 2 yards of background (I'm using a white) and a whopping 33 quarter yards of various prints.  When looking at the cutting guide, though, some of those quarter yards are used to cut, say, a 7 inch square.  If you're not using 33 different fabrics, I really don't think you need all that much.  At least, I hope not. 

The top fabric is an Amy Butler print that I'm using as a focus fabric.  I've got a metre of that, and plan to put a bit of it in every block.  Then I've got about a metre of the stripey and the dotty fabrics, and smaller amounts of all the others.

Are you doing this Block of the Month?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chugging Along on Freebie Fifteen

I finished a couple more blocks on the Freebie Fifteen quilt.

freebie fifteen 12
freebie 11 companion

I went back to doing the pinwheels with the templates, instead of the cheating, quarter square triangle method.  Those flying geese are 5/8 by 7/8 finished.  At least mine are, but you can see they aren’t all that equal in size.  One complaint I have about this series is that they never tell you what the parts of the blocks are supposed to measure out at.  And the pieces are such odd sizes that it is challenging to figure out yourself.  If I ever design a quilt, I will be sure to put in the size of every portion of every block!

One more block to go.  I haven’t even unfolded the instructions yet, but I can tell it’s a doozie.  Looks like about a million tiny pieces!

This quilt also calls for a many, many hourglass blocks.  I’ve been saving those up, and was working on what will be about 100 of these today, using The Angler 2 taped to my sewing machine.  I put the 4 1/2 inch squares together and was using the Angler to sew 1/4 inch on each side of the diagonal.  After sewing them all, I noticed that I had bumped the Angler at some point, and my seams were off.  Oops!  So, tonight, I’ll be measuring them all, and ripping out the ones that are off.  There is a good movie on tonight (Inglourious Basterds – Brad Pitt!) so that will be a good TV watching job.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Finish A Long Continues

Finishalong button

I’m so glad that Leanne has decided to take over the Finish A Long for 2013.  I really need some incentive to get these UFO’s completed.  You probably wouldn’t think that if you saw my 2012 finishes – only 4 quilts!, but it IS incentive, believe me!  I wasn’t blogging in 2011, so I don’t have a record – but, from memory, I think I only finished 2 quilts that year.  So, the Finish A Long has helped me double my output!
In any event, I now have to set some goals for this first quarter.  Here they are:

First, I have some blocks from a Block of the Month that I did several years ago.  I had purchased fabric to make the entire quilt out of them, including enough to do some alternate blocks.  Then they sat.  And sat.  This year, my niece bought her first house, and I was trying to think of a housewarming gift.  My mom suggested that I make her placemats, and told me she likes jewel tones.  Well, I just happened to have 12 batik blocks – in jewel tones!
I made 4 placemats and a table runner for her.  My DD took the photos with her phone, so the colour is not that great.
batik tablerunnerplacemat 1placemat 2placemat 3placemat 4
Now, on to the next 6 blocks:
batik blocks
I plan to do the same with them – one table runner, and 3 place mats.  I haven’t decided yet if I will use them myself, or save them for a gift, but I’ll get them done!

Second goal is a carry over from 2012.  I have not done any more work on the Freebie Fifteen quilt, since September.
freebies laid out
I have 3 blocks to complete on this one.  At least, I think I do – it’s been awhile since I’ve looked at it!  And a bunch of quarter square triangle blocks for the border.  There are 24 twelve inch blocks, and I’m going to put them together with sashing, so it will probably end up twin size.  I have no idea what I will do with this once it’s done, but I really want to get it done.

That’s it.  Two goals are enough for one quarter for me!  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s goals.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

True Colours

A few weeks ago, we participated in a True Colors Workshop at work.  In it, we completed an analysis of our personality type, and were grouped by colours - gold, green, orange or blue.  I came home with a gold wristband that had written on it "Loyal Dependable Prepared".  I complained to Mr. CQT that it appeared that I would make a good St. Bernard!

The workshop itself was fascinating, and if you ever get an opportunity to participate, I would really encourage you to do so.  I see that they have had a show on PBS during pledge week, so that is probably a good chance to find out more.

Gold people are organized, family and tradition oriented, follow the rules and get things done.
Green people are analytical - the scientists and inventors.
Blue people are social - warm and friendly.
And orange people are the risk takers - artistic and creative.

We all have a bit of all colours.  But it became clear to all of us very quickly that we did fit clearly into one or two categories.  (My second colour is green.)  The instructor grouped us with our like colours and had us do an exercise.  We had fun with that, as we all tended to agree.  And, then we started looking at our co-workers and thinking, "Hmm...That explains a lot!".  For me, it was eyeopening to realize that not everyone sees the world as I do.  I mean, I did know that before - but it made me look at people through a new lens.  I work with many social workers - blue toned, all of them!

I can see my colours in my quilting too. (No, I don't make green and gold quilts.) I'm a traditional quilter, and have never made a quilt without following a pattern.  I love gadgets, and want them all, and when I get them, I read through the instructions and learn how to use them properly!  I'm not adventurous, in that I don't just try something on a whim - but I do like taking courses and learning new techniques that way.

I used to think maybe there was something wrong with me, when I read blogs and hear interviews with quilters who say that they never follow a pattern, and they're always trying new things that they have just made up themselves.  They say that quilters should think outside the box and be creative.  But now I realize that they are probably orange.  And I am gold - and there is nothing wrong with either of us!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Tablet Sleeve

My son is in his first year of a New Media Technology program.  He’s learning webpage design, graphic design, photography and photoshop, videography, etc.  It’s quite an interesting program, and it’s fun to see him actually excited about going to school!

We bought him a tablet to help with the computer work.  It is the neatest thing – it looks just like a black, well, tablet – no screen.  Actually, it kind of reminds me of the slates they used to use in school in pioneer times.  He writes on it with a stylus, and  whatever he writes shows up on the computer screen.  He let me try it.  It’s harder than you would think! 

I was tickled pink when he asked me to make him a sleeve.  I found instructions from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson.  The instructions were really easy to follow, and it all went together really well.  I couldn't find fusible fleece, so I used batting and muslin and quilted it.

I have a bazillion fat quarters, so used a few of those, instead of just two.  The fabric is Wordplay by Michele D'Amore (Benartex).  DS didn't even mind that most of the words were quilt related.  I did think the black, grey and white were masculine.

Here are a couple other views.

I think I might be making myself a laptop sleeve next!