Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Work Wonky Star Runner

Finally.  I finished the Wonky Star Runner.  It's all of 15' long, and about 17" wide.  Yeah.  It's long.  I don't think I ever want to bind another one like it.  :)

But I am pleased with the overall effect.

It makes things much calmer looking in my cube.  (Please ignore the tub up front in the picture).  The Wonky Star was easy to make up and piece together, and it only took a few days to put together.  The binding was the longest part!  I will admit, that was the case because I opted to hand stitch the back of the binding.  And it takes FOREVER to hand stitch 30+ feet of binding.  Wheeeeee!!!

 Here's the other half... It currently bunches up a little behind the computer, but I can fix that tomorrow morning before I clock in!

Now all I have to do is bring in blue, silver, and white deocrations, and I am all set for Christmas at work.  Whaddya think?

I have a few battery-operated candles that I will light up for December, and so on... but I am so far quite pleased!

In looking at the pictures, I am a little weirded out.  Not because of the state of my cube - it's actually pretty tidy (which IS weird, but that's not what's got me).  I have never made a holiday-themed decorative piece for myself.  It just doesn't happen.  And I have certainly NEVER made a Christmassy-winter quilted project.  Things like that have always smacked of... well... my grandmother and my great-aunt.  Not that there's anything wrong with that (she says hastily, forestalling the glares).  It just wasn't me.  It was them - quilted ducks with wreaths around their necks.  Pillows that said NOEL in appliqued red and green letters.  I don't know why I developed an allergy to those things, but I did.  "Not for me!" I'd say to myself.  "I won't be making Christmas crafts for ME."

And yet... there it is.  It isn't screamingly Christmas.  But it's holiday quilted decorations.  For me.  I don't know what it says about me.  Maybe I'm getting lax in my 'old age.'  Maybe it's just different enough that it doesn't somehow break my self-imposed ban on holiday quilting crafts.  Maybe I'm just branching out.  I don't really know.
What I do know it that it's still not my grandmother's/great-aunt's Christmas craft. 

Now.... for the rest of the projects in progress!!!  It might be a little tough to get things roaring along again, because we're having massive house-cleaning for the rest of the week.  The woman we bought the house from last year is coming to see what we've done.  We invited her last year, but she wasn't able to make it.  She finally is, and so we're going to be doing a nice hard clean-up to get things perfect!  Vacuuming, mopping, the whole shebang. 

I still hope to get a little time in to finish up a few things - namely, BST and my second AAQI quilt.  I am getting close on the AAQI, and have plans for a third.  Hopefully my skills are improving with each one (I think they are), and will raise at least a little for AAQI.  Oh, yeah... I made a tunic-style shirt Sunday.  I should post a picture of it (on my mannequin). 

We shall seeeeeee.......  tonight, there will be a ridiculous amount of cleaning.  And maybe tracking down a basket for all the cat toys.  (I have a smart cat.  This is not always a good thing).  She's getting bigger all the time, and while I know every cat owner thinks their cat is smart (okay, not ALL cat owners... because let's be honest, some cats are just NOT smart), but Joji is.  She's figured out where the cat food is, and is working on trying to learn how to open it.  (It's stored in a trash can with a step-on lid lift thing).  She's a problem-solver.  Should continue to make life interesting!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When did it get to be Tuesday???

Wow, how the time slips into the past....

Long weekend.  The day before Thanksgiving, my dad called and said my mom was in the hospital with chest pains.  That was the longest drive ever.  Normally, it's 4.5 hours.  This time, because of stress and traffic, it took almost 7.  I think.  Something like that?  6 maybe.  *shrug*  The long and short of it is: she's getting better.  Strong heart.  An artery clogged, but treatable with meds.  But it was a weekend of in and out of the hospital.  And I had to come back and come to work.  We did manage to eke out a little Thanksgiving - it was just weird.  This was already going to be the smallest Thanksgiving for our family EVER, and Mom in the hospital just made it weirder.  My sister and I made most of the meal, and it turned out pretty good.  But we definitely missed having Mom at the table!

She's doing much better now.  My dad just texted me to say that they are going to go out to lunch, so she's getting better all the time.  And that's good news.  So now my days can slow down and I can take a look around.

So here's what I have been doing today.  Hickory Nuts.  Why?  Why not.  I think I will wind up turning these into either tree ornaments (with a little more decoration on them), or string them together for a little colorful bunting.  I am not quite certain yet, obviously enough.  All I wanted to do was see how it all went together!  Pretty easy, neh?  Needless to say, they go together quick.  I will decide more firmly what I want to do with them later on.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or this weekend.  So much still to do!
On the "What I did this weekend" front...  I managed to finish everything but the binding on the Wonky Stars, pick a quilting motif for Crazy Diamonds, finish BST's top and get batting and backing.  I hope to pin it tonight and I can show a pic then.  I am a little more excited about it now that I can see what it looks like almost completely done. 

For this week, I intend to finish the binding on Wonky Stars, quilt BST, finish quilting my second AAQI quilt, and get started again on Little Moo.  Not too much, right?  We've hit the slower part of the month at work now, so I am hopeful.

And coming up again - First Monday Trade Days.  I love First Monday.  I've been going since I was very very small (I was a short child), and still look forward to it.  Of course, it's changed a lot over the years, but it's still an amazing place.  And this time we're totally tracking the brisket tacos down.  Those were amazing!!!  If I can remember, I'll take pics to post.  It's... huge is an understatement.  Fruge comes closer, but still doesn't quite catch it. 

In passing.  The next time I decide to make decorations for my work cube, and measure to cover the inside of the cube to sew up a cute little runner... someone remind me that binding 15' x 1' is... tedious, monotonous, and very much a marathon!!!!  Sheesh....


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Running Screaming into Wednesday

Gift dress - done.  Anything else?  Well... nope.

Work.  Work.

More work.

And exhaustion.

So.... yeah... anything else will have to wait until after Thanksgiving. 

Now for the cleaning and packing and prepping and maybe even sleeping.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday (deep breath) and duct tape

Whew.  Made it through the weekend!  No, it wasn't a bad weekend, just one that happened at light speed.  I spent most of my weekend in the forge, working away at a variety of projects - from piecing to cutting to sewing a gift dress, to... to... ugh.  I don't even remember it all!

Oh, and a better picture of Sea Glass.  I like this one.  We finally found something to drape the quilt over so we could get it out in the sunlight for a picture.  I'm much more pleased with this pic!

Let's see... I worked on Crazy Diamonds (both halves are pieced now... now to decide how to quilt them!).  I finished up the individual blocks for my Wonky Star Runner.... sometime this week (or next weekend) I will cut the sashing and borders and get that done.  Quilting it will be a breeze (she says boldly, once again using WAY too many parentheses). 

Here's a collection of the Wonky Stars.  There are a fair number of them, and I am looking forward to seeing the whole thing done!  I was a little surprised, when we went to find material for the sashing and border, that fabric with stars on it didn't look good.  I went with a muted blue instead - not what I expected to get, but it looked better with all the myriad blues already present.  Should have seen us there, laying blocks over fabric, turning them, muttering under our breaths....

And the other project took up all of Sunday.  14 hours' worth, anyway.  I won't post pictures yet - both because it isn't QUITE done yet, and because while it's a slim chance, there's still a chance of her stumbling across the pic.  So... no pictures yet.  Maybe after Christmas.  :)

Here we have Shay's duct tape solution to sewing problems.  The edge of my work space is... unfinished.  Rough.  It catches.  And on the project from previous paragraph, I couldn't afford for the fabric to catch.  (It's fabric that catches easily already, it doesn't need help!)  So out of sheer frustation, I duct taped the edge of the work top.  Y'know... it doesn't even look that bad. 

One of these days I will paint the work space.  Eventually.  Right now, it's not really that big a deal.  It works for what it's intended, and it kind of fades into the background.  But I never actually thought I would be using duct tape for sewing solutions.  Silly me! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday, round 2!

Got all the blocks made for Crazy Diamond.  Tomorrow... stitch 'em all together and start panicking about how to quilt them.  (Well, not really panicking... that would be silly.  But thinking really hard about it).
Star light, star bright...
Got half the blocks made for my Wonky Star runner.  It's going to be quite nice, if I do say so myself!  I just need to finish the rest, pull fabric for the sashing and borders, and quilt and bind it.  (No problem, right?)

And, for the other sewing projects: got fabric for my Phoenix quilt (hooray Batiks Galore!), got fabric for a tunic for me (hooray Batiks Galore - I love that shop!), and got the pieces for a gift cut out and ready to sew tomorrow.

Oh, and I mailed out the block exchange blocks (finally!  The wait at the post office was silly long!) and my first AAQI quilt.  Working on finishing the quilting on #2 tonight.  Some.

And made a batch of dressing.  It was... okay.  Think I know what I need to do to tweak it.  Tomorrow, test batch #2!

And I should go to bed now.


Saturday, round one!

More star blocks.  Yes, this one will be my humility block...  I stitched the white a little far out.  But, I think I like it that way, so I'm not concerned.  And since this one's for me, that's all that matters!

Today will be sewing and piecing and maybe a trip down to the Semi-local LQS for more fabric.  We'll see. 

And, if the sun co-operates, we'll take another good pic of Sea-Glass and get that on the pattern cover, and I can send that sucker off to pattern companies.  *fingers crossed* 

Oh, and I have to figure out how to make dressing for Thanksgiving today.  It should be fun!  (And a good thing D likes dressing!).  The biggest challenge is not the making of it, but making it tasty and as traditional as I can (for my father, who really wants a traditional Thanksgiving this year) and still making it vegetarian so my sister can have some.  So, kitchen playtime, here I come! 

I am also going to try to finish piecing Crazy Diamonds.  When I started this one, I swore it would be the project I worked on when I didn't have anything else going, or when I needed a break from other projects.  Somehow it hasn't worked out like that.  Somehow, it has become another of the "oh, I really need to get this one done!" projects.  So, if I can get it pieced today (only 24 more blocks to go!), then I am set - while I figure out how to quilt it! 

At any rate, there's the day as I have it planned.  Well, as much as I plan anything, really.  Wish me luck!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday forging

For all that is going on with the day job, I feel like I am not making enough time for the things I really enjoy - the sewing, the quilting, the MAKING of stuff.  So despite being up to my eyeballs (or so it feels) with the day job (10 hours a day adds up!!), I did manage to get a little bit of forgework done.

Here is the first block of my winter Wonky Star runner/cube decor.  I'm pleased with it so far, and only 14 more to go!  The pattern is ridiculously easy - less measuring than most, and easy piecing, and a lovely result!  I'm so glad to have been introduced to the block.

I'm intending to get more blocks done this weekend, and I will take pics and post as I finish them (well, maybe not POST them as I finish them.... that would be a lot of posts in a relatively short period of time!)

So... that's where I am as of this lovely chilly Friday morning!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday outside the forge

We looked outside the other day, and lo and behold, Texas has had fall.  Overnight, our lawn went from green green green to covered in the neighbor's leaves! 

In a way, it's nice.  Cooler temps are good, even if it meant moving the miniature tree orchard inside for a while!  And that's all right with the cats - means they get to explore new things and curl up in giant pots.  They seem moderately okay with that. 

We had class last weekend - unfortunately, a lot of people had to bail at the last minute, but that's okay.  We'll do it again, probably next month!  I can't wait to see how people's quilts turn out! I'll post pictures as soon as I dig the camera out of the pile of fabric it dived into.  Really.

This weekend will be hectic.  Not only is there quilting and piecing to be done, but Thanksgiving prep, and even working my day job on Sunday.  That part doesn't thrill me, but we're in a short business month because of holidays, and there's so much still to be done!  But... at home and in the forge, there are too too many projects happening!  I did manage to get enough pieces and bits to finsh up Crazy Diamonds - now I just have to do it.  And.... I pieced together blocks for the class, step by step to show how the block goes together.  And decided I really liked the color combo.  So.... need to get more material this weekend and work on that.  A lot more.  King-sized, even.

And mail my blocks to my partner in the block swap.  And then and only then (after Thanksgiving, probably) post pictures!  And finish my second AAQI quilt.  I'm working on the hand quilting now, and moderately pleased with it.  Moreso than the last one!

And I have projects to finish for other people before Thanksgiving rolls around (ack!  A week from TODAY!).  Wednesday will be work and then immediately hit the road and drive - leaving town to go see my parents and sister on the other side of the state.  Fortunately, D will be at the forge to keep the fires going!

Tonight... tonight... I will work on a runner for work - I almost have all the pieces cut out.  Once they're cut out... well, obviously I start putting them back together again!  And I'll post pics as I finish blocks.  Right now it's planned as 15 blocks.  We shall see!  One of these days I am going to post nothing but pictures!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Quick update

Life.  Sometimes it gets in the way.  Mostly it's work right now, in all honesty.  It's hectic.  Testing, end of year, beginning of year, short months because of holidays....  And long days at work.

But.  I am still managing to eke out a little sewing time, and a little time for the other things in my life.  This weekend we're running another class, teaching one of my patterns.  If it goes well, there will be another one!  (and another, and another.....).  Oh, and here's the pattern we'll be doing.  Everyone has their own fabrics, so every quilt will look different!  Hooray!  I have three examples to show them, as well as a step by step breakout of how the blocks go together.  Since it is so simple, I have high hopes!

What I have managed to get done - in addition to prep for the class....

1. finish AAQI quilt #1
2. join Quilt Block Swap
   2a. pull fabrics and make test block for swap, decide I really like it.  pull more fabrics and cut.  (to be sewn tonight).
3. plan AAQI quilt #2
4. finish design for Bat Flight and purchase fabric (to start cutting tonight)
5. work on Crazy Diamonds
6. Clean the studio! (yes, this is technically prep for the class, but sometimes it just needs doing!)

 Here is my first AAQI quilt.  As soon as I have the number for it, I will send it out.  I'm both pleased with it and disappointed in it... it's not EXACTLY what I wanted, but it's not HORRIBLE.  Everyone else seems to really like it.  So it's going.  I wasn't sure, but I'm going to bite the bullet and send it off.  It's called The Fading Forest... there are more trees quilted into it  that didn't show too well in this pic.  Hopefully it will raise at least a little money for Alzheimer's research.

I have more planned, hopefully better.  We shall see... I always seem to have more and better things planned. 

When I am not in the forge working, I work in an office.  I'm not a very good office drone, really, but I am efficient and intelligent (usually) and manage to get my job done.  It's now progressed to the point where other people (who have been here YEARS longer than I have) ask me for assistance and for information.  It's both amusing and annoying.  I'm the new girl on the block - only been here three years....  I have my little cube, usually with small scraps of fabric, thread, and at times needles.  My Thanksgiving decor this year for the office consists of a giant stuffed fabric turkey.  He's cute!  Very low-key, for a giant fabric stuffed turkey. 

Soon will come the flurry of Christmas, and decorating for the season... I am half-tempted to make a quilted runner for my cube - just to post around my wall on the inside.... might have to do some measuring....  Looks like 14" wide, and long enough to run all the way around the inside.  Hmm... and a simple block... Maybe a Christmas-themed wonky star?  Might be workable.... More on that later!

Wish me luck for the class!!!