Monday, October 15, 2018

Something Bugs Me

Do you see it? Does it bug you too?

Look closer at the top and the bottom.

Ahhh, fixed. Much better.

So what was the problem and what did I fix? I didn't like the "missing" ends of the diagonals at the top and the bottom. Before: see the big space at the bottom of the second column in the photo below? It seems like another block should be there.

Fixed by adding another partial block to extend the visual diagonal.

I'm much happier with the result. I'm glad I found some fabrics in my stash that would work!

Sometimes you just have to see something on your design wall to know if it's working or not.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, October 12, 2018

What I Worked on at Retreat

So Monday, after being at Sew Me for three days, I was almost too tired to write a blog post, so I just showed the bee blocks I made for my friends. Then Wednesday I recapped all the fun I had. Today I'll show the projects I worked on.

First, this one with propeller blocks made by my bee friends, shown here on the design wall as I was prepping for retreat. 

All the rest of the blocks needed were cut and labeled.  After I pieced them, I was able to join all the blocks into columns.

And laid them out on the floor in the hallway.

As you can see, the blocks are offset to create the diagonals, so borders are needed at the top and bottom to fill in the spaces. I was too tired at 11:00 at night to figure out the measurements, so I packed it up and came back to it the next morning.

A sideways view. You can see it laid out with the filler pieces. A couple of blocks will get cut off, one at the top and one at the bottom (sides, in this pic).

And all sewn up!

On to the next project. Sports Plus was planned and kitted up after I came back from Paducah last spring.

Since it was all organized, labeled and ready to go, it didn't take long to sew it together. It will finish at 48 x 56. I forgot to take a picture at retreat, so here it is on my wall at home.

It's a donation quilt, and quilts for older boys are always needed. I bought FQs of some of the sports prints and added other fabrics from my stash.

Several people asked at retreat what size I cut my squares and how I organize/label/pack a project like this for sewing later. I ended up giving an impromptu tutorial. The pieces are cut at 4-1/2" square to make best use of a fat quarter. With careful cutting you can get 16 pieces plus a leftover 2-1/2" strip from one FQ. If anyone is interested in my organization method, leave a comment and I'll write a separate post about that.

Last but not least, I made some headway on this project.

Last year I got a die cutter and I cut a bunch of 4" triangles. I sewed the HSTs together at last year's retreat, then arranged them on the wall after I got home. Here's sort of what the layout will look like, but there have been a few tweaks since.

This year I was able to start sewing the HSTs into rows. However, I soon discovered a problem, so progress was very slow. I only got this far (shown on my wall at home) when it was time to clean up and leave.

Last year I had pressed all the HSTs with the seam allowance going toward the dark side. But with this layout, there are many places where the seams wouldn't nest and would stack up, making it bulky and hard to match the points. So I needed to press the seams open, but I needed to keep the blocks in the right order and in the correct orientation. That meant working on only one stack of HSTs at a time, and placing them very carefully on the ironing board and restacking them so they'd come out in the same order. Slow going! I still have five stacks to re-press and add to the rows.

All in all I'd say it was a very productive retreat, including bee blocks for my friends Marie and Judy. I'm glad I had my projects all kitted up and didn't have to think too much about measuring and cutting.

Lots of projects and a lot of fun to whoop about, so I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

So Much Fun at Sew Me STL

I had such a good time at retreat. It's so much fun to do something you love to do with friends who also love to do it. And just hang out together. I haven't laughed so much in one weekend since I don't know when, maybe last year's retreat.

The retreat committee did a terrific job of organizing the event. Thanks, Marie and team! They had lots - LOTS - of great prizes, and raffles every hour.
Swag Bags at the Welcome Desk

The upstairs room was spacious and well lit. We were set up in "pods" which facilitated conversation among the girls sitting together. We had up to 60 people in the upstairs room and another room downstairs set up the same way. Everyone wandered among the rooms and pods talking to everyone and seeing what they're all working on.  

Here's my pod, with a couple people missing. I'm height-challenged so my work space is the one with the booster seat. 

We had I think something like 84 attendees altogether. Everyone brought a treat to share; we had plenty of snacks. And a little something extra on the snack table. 

Since STLMQG is affiliated with the Modern Quilt Guild, we're participating in their challenge. Our talented committee designed a quilt representing the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, and we're all making blocks. This quilt will be exhibited at Quilt Con in February 2019.  

A highlight of Sew Me is always the Scrap Scramble. Everyone who wants to participate brings a baggie of scraps (large enough to be useful) and dumps them on the pile. Then it's like musical chairs, grab scraps you want until the music stops, take two steps to the right, grab scraps again, etc.  

Here we are getting ready. It's impossible to take good photos of the scramble itself because all you get in the photo is everybody's backsides. I contributed a stuffed baggie of scraps and brought home just a few pieces. I don't need more fabric!

The committee worked hard to acquire an abundance of desirable prizes; unfortunately I didn't think to get a photo of them all laid out on the table. The welcome swag bag contained goodies and a raffle ticket for the whole weekend, and drawings for prizes were held just about every hour. My bee contributed a basket of notions, patterns and books. I was thrilled to win a gift bag from Dottie containing scissors, a rotary cutter, and a gift certificate toward long arm quilting. Dottie is a good long armer with a computerized machine, and I know just what I'll ask her to quilt for me (when the top is finished, of course). 
Gifts, Winnings, and Swag

My bee also had a Secret Sister gift exchange, which was planned months ago and we all listed likes and dislikes so our secret gift giver would have some input. Em liked what I gave her. And I absolutely love what Marie gave me! She made me a Sew Together bag in a spicy Cotton + Steel print. Marie knows me well - she knows I'd never make one of these on my own. I love it! Thanks, Marie!

So much fun! And I haven't even shown what I worked on all weekend. Come back Friday for that; this post is long enough already. 

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, October 8, 2018

Retreat Recap Part 1

Sew Me STL was so much fun!

I have lots of unpacking and reorganizing and cleaning up to do today so here's just a couple of pics from STLMQG's retreat this past weekend....

I got the measurements from Judy and made her block. The problems were 1) extra charm squares in the kit; and 2) cutting directions describing the number of WOF strips and sub-cutting them, but not clear what corresponded with the charms and precut parts in the kit. Judy explained everything and I was able to put her block together, easy-peasy. This will become a cute low-volume baby quilt.

Marie's block was a little more complicated, but she had the colors all numbered to correspond with the directions, and had her sample block available for reference. Plus, she sat next to me. So helpful! This quilt is going to be a riot of color - I love it!

I'm happy to make blocks for my friends and help them move their projects along.

More later, I have to unpack and sort everything and edit photos.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Saturday, October 6, 2018

October AFS

My goal for AFS* this month was to trapunto the centers of the Dresdens.

Last month I showed the blocks to the girls and asked what they thought of the lumpy centers. I know I didn't like the lumpiness; Margaret confirmed "We don't like lumpy" and that was it. I knew I needed to fix them.

So after a bit of a setback, I added batting to them so the centers are no longer lumpy.

Now all twelve centers are nicely padded and smooth, done on time. 
The goal for the next month will be to sew the Dresden and Checkerboard blocks together.

*AFS is Alternative First Saturday, a small group of friends who get together for coffee and conversation instead of participating in a local shop's structured First Saturday BOM program. We decided early on to keep ourselves accountable by declaring a goal for the month, or progress on an ongoing project, and showing our progress each month. So I guess AFS could also stand for Accountability First Saturday.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Getting Ready for Retreat

STLMQG's retreat, called Sew Me St. Louis, is this weekend. I'll be attending Friday and Saturday and maybe Sunday. Since the retreat is in town and I'll be sleeping at home, I only have to pack sewing stuff, friend stuff, and a snack to share. I'm almost all prepped, packed, and ready to go.

First project:

This is a block my Sew Bee It friends made for me earlier. They made propeller blocks, but I need a few more.

I pulled a few more fabrics from stash and cut all the parts. I like cutting, but not at retreat because I need to pay attention, and I get too distracted at retreat. I prefer to have everything cut ahead of time.

Since everything was on the wall anyway, I went ahead and labeled the blocks so I can easily set them together. I also snapped a shot of the wall for reference.

In addition to this project, I have bee blocks to make, and two other projects all kitted up and ready to go.

One of the projects is "Sports Plus," which will be a donation quilt for an older boy. The patches are organized and clipped together to create the plus-sign layout. There are several sports-themed fabrics, but they're not showing in this photo of the kit.

The other project is a continuation of a project I worked on last year at Sew Me. This will become another donation quilt.

I completed all the HSTs at Sew Me last year, and laid them out at home, and this year I can set the blocks together. Here's almost what it'll look like; I tweaked the top right corner slightly but forgot to take a photo before I labeled the blocks and took them off the wall.

If all that's not enough to keep me busy, I'm sure I can find something else, but that's all the projects I have packed.

I also have my gallon ziplock baggie of scraps for the Scrap Scramble. It's always fun and hilarious - Imagine sixty women diving into a huge pile of scraps, bits flying everywhere, and everyone coming up covered in threads.

The girls in my bee, Sew Bee It, drew names earlier this year for a Secret Sister swap. My gift is all ready to go. I think she'll like it.

Last but certainly not least, my travel sewing machine, tools and supplies, seat cushion, etc.

All that's left is to load the car and stop at the grocery store on the way. Should be a fun weekend!

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

CSQ Baby Shower Quilt

CSQ, the small traditional guild I belong to, has adopted a charity that supports military families. One of the things they do is provide baby showers to expectant families, so we're making baby quilts. I showed the fabrics I'm using in an earlier post, but here they are again:

I just needed some simple mindless sewing so all I did was cut squares, then a narrow accent border, then an outer border of the stripe. The top came out to about 39" x 47". 

When seen from farther away, that stripe kind of vibrates, doesn't it! I'm happy to use it for a CSQ charity project because I got it from the CSQ fabric swap earlier this year; someone in the guild de-stashed it. 

There wasn't enough of the speckled orange (top photo) so I found another orange in my stash that would work. The fabric combo still works as a gender-neutral palette, in case the organization needs non-gender-specific baby quilts. 

I'll use the rest of the stripe for the backing and quilt this with an easy all-over meander to keep it soft and drapey. There's no deadline, but I see the charity coordinator each month so I can pass the finished quilt to her any time. 

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts