Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Second UFO of the Year

I finished the I-Spy Quilt! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get a photo of it yet. With a husband on the road for work a good chunk of the last couple of weeks, a 19-month-old who has decided he wants to be carried everywhere all of a sudden, and rainy (yes, in January) weather, I haven't been able to take a good picture. By the end of this week, though, I need to get one since I need to get it mailed out. As soon as I get a photo, I'll post it here.

But, with my first UFO of the year done, I promptly started work on my second one. It's a baby quilt I started for my son before he was born. I almost finished it for his first birthday. Now, the goal is to finish it by the end of February (or if I really get going, maybe even by the end of next week). It's a tied quilt, so it's really almost finished, but after how he tried to adopt the I-Spy Quilt, I know I need to get it done.

I'll post a better photo once it's finished, but for now, here's a sneak peak.



Yes, it's a minky turtle. This quilt has four minky animal squares and five pieced cotton squares, and it's very cuddly and soft. I hate working with minky -- it gets everywhere! -- but I wanted to make the quilt extra special.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Almost

The I-Spy quilt is now officially sandwiched, and I'm half-way through tying it. (I really should be working on it now since Mister Mister is napping, but instead, I'm catching you up.)



A couple of notes:

  • When you have a quilt that "grows" as you add more and more fabric to it because you decided it was too small, make sure you measure the rest of the fabric you bought (backing, batting, border) and make sure you have enough. I had to go up a size on the backing, had to cheat with the border and turn it into a pieced border since I didn't have enough race car fabric to go all the way around, and I (luckily) just made it with the backing. Wasn't a huge fan of the border at first, but the more I look at it, the more I like it, especially for a 7-year-old. (I'll show it to you with the finished quilt photo in my next post.)
  • Lining up points is apparently not my thing anymore. Luckily, you can't really tell unless you look closely, and I've decided not to look too closely. Please ignore my mistakes.
  • When you are sewing strips together, make sure they're all going the correct way. One of my I-Spy strips ended up upside down. I asked my husband if he could tell which strip was wrong, and he couldn't, so I left it. (I really want to get this quilt done.) 
  • When you change out the blade on your rotary cutter because you can no longer cut a single piece of fabric with it, don't forget that the new blade is sharp. Yeah.
  • And, finally, don't lay out an I-Spy quilt (or any quilt) anywhere near your toddler. He will grab it, walk away with it, and curl up and try to go to sleep on it. (I swear, as soon as this quilt is done, I will finish the one I started for him. I'm in the middle of tying it, and not to tease, but it is adorable!)
I told my husband that this quilt will be done by the end of this week, so I better make good on that or figure out how to hide my projects better so he can't tell that I'm still working on it after this week. But, really, my goal since the beginning has been to get this finished and mailed out by the end of this month, and the end of this month is coming up really soon. Back to tying...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Long Week

I'd love an explanation from other bloggers -- moms, quilters, knitters, crafters, anyone. How do you get so much craft-related stuff done in a single week? I see people posting newly finished or just photographable projects every couple of days, and I don't know how they do it, keep their kids fed and clothed, and get any sleep. (Maybe that's the secret.)

This week has been busy, but I haven't gotten much done with quilting. My only excuse is that the only time I have to sit at my machine is when Mister Mister is asleep, and this week he didn't sleep very well. But, I did get the strips to the I-Spy Quilt put together, and it's just waiting for the rest of the sashing and the border to be attached before I can sandwich it.




Another excuse for not getting more done on the quilt is that my attention was divided a bit this week. I had a quilt guild meeting where I got to dye a silk scarf. I'm still looking for another group of quilters -- preferably in or closer to my generation -- but in the meantime, it's an excuse to learn about quilting once a month.

Photo of scarf I was trying to set up on my son's rocking chair.
He wasn't willing to share and threw it on the floor...


I spent a little time working on a cross-stitch kit I bought last year. This is a great project I do very slowly at night in front of the television on the few nights a week I get to sit and watch something.

This is as far as I've gotten so far.

This is what it should look like.

I also finished knitting a scarf for my husband that I started about three months ago.

I still need to weave in the ends, but this gives you an idea.
Pattern courtesy of The Purl Bee.

I also got to go shopping for fabric! I needed to get a backing for the I-Spy Quilt, and my husband mentioned that I should buy some fabric for myself while I was there since it's been a long time since I've shopped. So, this is what I ended up with:


I'm not sure what it will become, but it will be for me. Maybe something a little more modern than I usually do to get out of my comfort zone. Any ideas for a pattern or inspiration?

Finally, my husband was wonderful this week and let me go out another night (first night was for my guild meeting) to a John Fullbright concert with my local Mom's Group. The opening act was a group led by a local woman named Julia Klee. Her voice was spectacular. Pretty much overshadowed the headliner for me. I bought her CD Big Charade at the concert, and I've been listening to it all day. Completely worth it. If you're looking for some new music, you should check her out.

So not a lot of quilting, but a little of everything. But, really, advice on how to sneak more sewing time into my day. Anyone?



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Progress

Fellow blogger Lee runs a blog called Freshly Pieced, which I highly recommend. (You'll also find her button on my sidebar. I'm not even in her league when it comes to quilt-blogginess.) Every week, she has something called WIP Wednesday, which is a day when quilters can publicly display their progress on one or more Works in Progress during the week.

All of us quilters have projects that are not yet finished. Some call them UFOs (Unfinished Objects), some call them WIPs (Works in Progress), some quilters say the terms cannot be used interchangeably, and other quilters say they're all the same. I'm in the group that says anything not finished is both an UFO and (optimistically) a WIP.

This year, I'm in a UFO challenge in my online quilting group, where I have registered 14 UFOs in various stages of (in)completition. My actual goal is to finish five of these partially-finished quilts. One is the I-Spy Quilt for the 7-year-old little boy, which I'm describing below. Two of them are in cut-fabric-sitting-with-the-pattern stage (for two friends who had babies, although one of those babies is now two), one is in a needs-more-hand-quilting-so-it-doesn't-rip-apart stage, and one is in the tying/hand-quilting stage. I'm not going to worry about the other nine unless I make real progress extremely quickly this year.

The WIP in progress that I have made real progress in this week is the I-Spy Quilt for the 7-year-old boy in Ohio who I mentioned in an earlier post. Yesterday, I had six blocks done. As of today, I have all twenty blocks finished! (My son helped by taking a full nap today.)

All 20 squares for the I-Spy Quilt

Since I don't know the boy I'm making this quilt for, I tried to pick generic "boy" fabrics -- bugs, sports-themed fabric, guitars, tractors. I really hope that it ends up looking boyish enough when it's done.

Here are a couple close-ups of the blocks. (No, I don't have a design wall. Yes, it's on my list of things to try to put together this year. In the meantime, the floor of my sewing room is where everything gets laid out.)




What do you think? If you were a 7-year-old boy, would this work for you?

Next up is to cut and attach the sashing and the border, sandwich it, and I think I'm going to tie it so it gets to him faster. I will get this quilt finished and mailed in January. I don't want to leave this wonderful little boy without a blanket for too long.