Friday, September 30, 2011

Making Whirligigs

The problem with not having a dedicated work space is that it ends up getting taken over pretty fast. Or, reclaimed for its real purpose I suppose. This place is pretty small and so my work space is usually the dining table. I do usually leave the sewing machine perched on a corner, and often the cutting mat stays on the table too, but sometimes it's a bit of a pain in the ass having to move all the other things on and off the table when other life things need to happen there. Mostly it was reclaimed with other things, and I haven't sewn all week until today.

Admittedly some of my evenings have been taken up by some other hobbies too. I dug into the game I bought back in March last year, Torchlight. It's a single-player adventure game, in the dungeon crawl/hack-n-slash style. It's a lot of fun, if you care for those kinds of things. Also, I played some Civilization V too, the popular strategy game (and achieved victory as Catherine the Great, whoop!). Both are worth checking out for those of you who also enjoy some computer gaming once in a while.

Trying to sew today was obviously a little foolish too, as both kids are home because of the schools being closed for Rosh Hashanah. But I got a bunch of the Terrain and white solid charms cut and parts of the whirligigs pieced. Even if it wasn't much, I feel like getting back into the swing of things.

Terrain Whirligigs

Piecing Terrain Whirligigs

(Excuse the dark pictures, they were taken with my phone and the indoor/weak natural lighting is a bit odd.)

I'm using a tutorial from this page, which is about how to make whirligigs using charm squares. Handy because I wanted to use the 2 charm packs of Kate Spain's Terrain I won on Melanie's blog. I had 2 charm packs of Moda Bella solids in white, so I'm good to go for a while!

And now off to bake some banana bread muffins with Miss Matilda. Mmm!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yes, Virginia!

No quilting progress made in the past week or so since my last post, this is all due to a trip down to Virginia to see Jeff's parents, which had us gone from Saturday morning (up at 3am to catch a 6am plane to Roanoke, urgh!) until we flew home on Wednesday from Richmond.

It was good to be able to see Jeff's parents, and I know they were both really happy with the visit. While in Richmond (an awesome city) to visit with his mom, we went to the Edgar Allan Poe museum. It's a tiny little museum, located in one of the oldest homes left in the downtown area (if I'm remembering correctly).

The Poe Museum

One of the things on display was Edgar Allan Poe's childhood bed with its quilt. I was naughty, and took a picture of it, even though it wasn't allowed. I wish I'd been able to get closer and pictures with more detail, but it wasn't to be. It was lovely though. It never ceases to amaze me the things people were able to do with much simpler tools at their disposal. Even now plenty of people avoid piecing with diamonds as it being something much too intricate or complicated!

Edgar Allan Poe's Childhood Quilt

I'm looking forward to at least getting something quilt related done over the weekend, even though Saturday will be eaten up by birthday parties, one for a classmate of each of the kids. It's not quite back-to-back parties, but it might as well be. The charm squares that I won on Melanie's blog are wanting to be turned into whirligig pinwheels very badly!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ending the Summer

I feel like time has slipped by the past two weeks or so!

The kiddos came back from vacation with their dad, and last week school started for Dashiell. He's back at Kindergarten, with the same teacher and the same aide helping him, so many things will be familiar for him.

This week, Matilda had orientation for her 3's preschool class, which starts tomorrow. She's so excited. She's wanted to go to school since she was old enough to express a desire to, and since Dash has been going (he's been in various Special Needs school programs since he turned 3 and left Early Intervention for CPSE/CSE).

Summer is almost gone, and it makes me a bit sad. I'm happy for the days with more moderate weather though... what we have right now is perfect! Warm, sunny, days with nice temperatures, low(er) humidity, and cool evenings. I'd like months more of this please!

The past weekend we took the kids to the Renaissance Faire, dressed in last year's Halloween costumes (Renaissance princess and a knight). Matilda really enjoyed all the dressing up. Dashiell's a little difficult to manage at events like this, but I think he enjoyed himself too.

All of this means that I haven't sat at the sewing machine all week, besides to fix some elastic on Miss M's undies, and a ripped seam on her costume.

My Flipside [Rachel Griffith pattern] quilt has been giving me some problems, which hasn't helped. All blocks were partially sewn on my old machine and partially on the new one, so the seams for the older machine stitched parts aren't as accurate, and so the blocks aren't accurate as the pattern calls for. This is an issue because the sashing uses a little block of color on the intersection between blocks, and I'm having problems matching the seams up. The discrepancies are REALLY bothersome and noticeable, otherwise I would have just gone ahead with it. I haven't entirely decided whether I'm going to try again to make things match up, or just do away with the little colored intersection squares, and just make it white sashing all the way. I think the latter may save my peace of mind.

Last week I received some Terrain charm packs in the mail. I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on Melanie's blog My Fifteen Minute Break {thanks Melanie!}. I really want to make Whirligig pinwheels with them. I do have a Lil' Twister ruler, but while fun, that doesn't leave me with square blocks. I'm considering making one of the pinwheel quarters a different fabric, rather than pinwheels all from the same print, but I'll have to play with that and see.

Friday, September 2, 2011

For Avery

The other night I finally finished my baby quilt. I watched myself some of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood (with Cate Blanchett ♥ and Russell Crowe), and hand-stitched the binding down on the back (I much prefer how this looks to machine sewing it down, even if it takes infinitely longer). I saw the movie in theaters last year, so I could work without watching the screen all the time.

Modern Workshop Baby Quilt

The top was pieced in about an hour or two, months ago. It was a free tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman, on her site. It was the first quilt top I sewed. I kept putting off finishing it because the baby wasn't due until July (and the top was sewn in April) because the idea of free motion quilting it myself was pretty intimidating. I still find it intimidating, but I decided to give it a shot. I like how it came out, it looks whimsical, though maybe in future I'd go for an all over loopy stitch, not straight-ish loopy lines.

Quilting Close-Up

This baby quilt is for dear friends overseas. I feel a tiny bit ambivalent about it now, as the baby it was made for sadly died at birth. It makes it tinged with some sadness. The top sat around for a while, well before the birth, as I hadn't been in a rush to finish it before the baby was due. And then the news that Avery was born sleeping, which was so heartbreaking. The quilt top sat in its box for a few weeks longer, and I decided to pick it up again and finish it last week. I wanted some time to go by as well, before I asked his grieving mama what she would like me to do with it. It was made with love for her and her son and her family, but as people grieve so differently, I figured it was worth finding out what would be most appreciated... the receipt of the gift, not sending it, donating it somewhere.

The back is one of the Modern Workshop prints. I picked the brown print as a gender neutral print, and also a dark one in case the blanket would end up being used outside on grass, or on the floor, so that dust and things wouldn't show as much, or that grass wouldn't stain lighter prints. The binding is also a MW print, the green with white (and the occasional yellow one) dots.

Modern Workshop Charm Square Baby Quilt