Monday, April 20, 2015

This probably isn't what I should be doing...

but I am!  This is THE WEEK... my older son gets married on Saturday.Over the last several months I've worked on several projects for the wedding... there were the invitations, and then I worked signature blocks for the guests to sign... I made 120. After that I worked on runners for the dinner tables and some little squares to top the round hi-top tables. It felt really good to have all this finished. After that it was on to some alteration work on the groom's vest, hemming my younger son's pants and hemming the slacks I want to wear. As of 9 pm EST last night all of this is DONE!  Now the week still has lots of errands but I don't think there is any other jobs that require a needle and thread.

Okay in the interest of honesty, I did sneak in some quilty time during those wedding preparations. I HAD to make some more of those hexagon blocks with the new Phillip Jacobs Spiral Shells fabric. You can see the fabric here. I've got 30 partially made and I played with them on my design wall. This is the layout I began with...


vertical rows... all lined up...hmmm...not really doing it for me. I wanted to use a different layout than I normally pick when I made these hexagon Stack N Whack blocks, but they just seem to mush together. I like each block to shine like the special little snowflake that it is... in my eyes...LOL!

So I moved a few things around and reverted to my standard design and they look like this...


and I really really really do like this better. Each block sparkles and shines... okay... that may only be how I see them, but that what counts!

Did you notice I used a yellow fabric as the background? Again I was going to go in a different direction. The darkest color in the blocks is a chocolate brown and I went to Fabric Shack intent on finding a nice brown tone on tone. Now if you know me even a little bit, you know this is crazy talk. I am not the person who buys brown fabric... if I did, my friends would have me taken in for a psychiatric evaluation.  I did actually lay some of the blocks out on a brown background and well... it was blah... very blah... very very blah. So I perused some of the other tone on tone fabrics and well this one just jumped off the shelf and said "please pick me"... and how could I not acquiesce to its wishes. (Yeah... this is still making me sound like I need a psychiatric consult, isn't it? LOL)  But the yellow fabric knew what it was talking about. I love how it frames these blocks.

So far this is one of my favorite blocks...


It is fun when people look at the blocks that they "see" different things in them. There are a couple where my younger son "sees" vanilla/chocolate swirl ice cream. I actually "see" pineapple slices in a couple of blocks...and a bunch of them remind me of those cheap special effects from the original Batman series with Adam West (yeah I'm showing my age here... POW!!! BAM!!)


I can make about 30 more blocks from the first stack of this Stack N Whack. I still have the other half of the yardage to play with. I'm thinking of pinning it and then cutting strips parallel to the selvedge rather than perpendicular to the selvedge. I think I'd get a bunch of other design and my curiosity is killing me to see them. Really, it is all the fabric's fault...it pushes me around all the time...such a bully! LOL

I had a couple of comments last week asking how you get this effect and I would refer anyone who wants to know more about this technique to research Bethany Reynolds, Magic Stack N Whack. You can see the book here. She wrote this book and several other books on the subject back in the late 1990s. I have ALL of them and Amazon has them too and you can see them here.

There are probably some videos out in the world wide web showing how to do this technique too. It isn't hard. You do have to take your time when you pin the fabric. Accurate pinning gives you great results. And you have to use those flat head flower pins. I've noticed that some people do this technique using 4 repeats of fabric and cut squares. I've made one this way myself. I call it a 4 patch version of Stack N Whack but others refer to it as a 4 Patch Posey...it is the same thing and Bethany Reynolds showed this in her book Stack N Whackier. Also there are lots of quilters doing the hexagon version I'm doing but they don't add the background like I do. They arrange one hexagon next to another, letting the colors flow and it is called One Block Wonder. Maxine Rosenthal wrote a book with that title and you can see it here. I also have that book.

If you want to play with this technique large scale prints work great. I like a print that has a bit of a curve in it... a flower petal, a curved stem, a swirl. I would caution you to stay away from large scale animals... you know those cute novelty fabrics with cows and sheep and pigs and maybe a chicken or two. I know I've mentioned this before but I think it bears repeating. The very first Stack N Whack I ever made involved an adorable children's print featuring a barnyard full of animals. I made an Lemoyne star block and I couldn't wait to see them develop... and then it hit me...oh my goodness... somehow I all I got were butts and udders!  Keep this in mind if you choose a fabric with animals... the resulting blocks can be quite disturbing... LOL!

Don't know if I'll be posting anymore this week. This is the calm before the storm. My list of things to do today is short so perhaps I can sew a few more hexagons, but every day for the rest of the week gets progressively busier. Hope your week is a good one!

happy stitching-
carol fun







Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hypnotized...

So Monday morning my local crack dealer quilt store sent me an email to inform me that the latest Kaffe Fassett Collective was in the shop. I swear they are psychic as I had just mentioned to my son, mere moments before the email pinged my inbox, that I wondered if this collection had arrived. We left posthaste for lunch and a stop at Fabric Shack to drool over the new goodies. You can check there out here for yourself. There are lots of prints in this collection that I want to add to my stash (including a fish print that BEGS to be stacked and whacked) but one in particular had me hypnotized... you  are getting sleepy...sleepy...


this is Spiral Shells by Phillip Jacobs in the multi colorway... darn it looks like Fabric Shack is already sold out of it... I hope that is just a glitch on their website as I think I need more of this one. I purchased 4.5 yards. It is a BIG repeat...25"... and I wanted to have 6 repeats so I could make my favorite hexagon block. I couldn't wait to get home and whack this. I'm cutting the triangles at 3.5" and I will be able to get 7 strips from each 25" repeat, and 9 blocks from each strip for a total of 63 blocks. It took over an hour to get it pinned and while I had other projects I need to get to, I rewarded myself by cutting one single solitary strip.

OH MY GOODNESS..... what wonderfulness appeared... I can hardly stand it!!!!

There are 3 ways to orient each block...





















I LOVE every single arrangement of this one...






This one has great swoop and spin...





particularly this version...





Here are the first seven blocks on my design wall...




I'm sure that some of them will get changed around when I have time to sew them together but boy do I like looking at them.

As for the tulip blocks I had on the design wall on Monday, this is as far as I got...


This is the layout in Quilty Fun and it will be a lovely lap size that should fit nicely on the wall in my living room if I want to hang it... whenever that time comes...which may be next Spring as I have been totally distracted by something new and shiny... AGAIN...LOL!

I hope to link up to Freshly Pieced later today.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blooming in the basement ...

We've had some nice Spring-y days... my daffodils are blooming and the grass was about knee high until it got cut yesterday. The tulips I planted in the yard have buds but nothing has bloomed yet...except for the tulips in my basement sewing studio. Remember these from last Spring? Every tulip is a different dotty fabric. You can click on the picture to see more detail.




They are my version of Lori Holt's tulip block from her Quilty Fun book. You can see it here. When I was in the throes of infatuation with this block I planned to make a quilt for my double bed... I have since realized that I do NOT need to make that big a quilt from this pattern. Making a quilt like the one she calls Tulip Patch - about 57" X 67" - is plenty big enough. Then I could take the leftover tulips and make a table runner or use them to edge some cute pillow cases...oh lots of other new projects...shiny things...boy I hope this ends well - LOL!

Anyway they sure look Spring-y on my design wall. I can admire them as I finish up the tablerunners for the wedding and my son's vest. There is less than 2 weeks till the date...ackk!!! Taking deep breaths now...

And I wanted to show you the quilt top I was working on last week. I got it all put together and bordered and whisked it off to Terry who will quilt it for me. I found an adorable panto with little birds that is perfect for this one.


Can't wait to have this one on my bed!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Slow to stitch on Sunday...

So I'm slow to stitch and slow to get this posted today...I think that's because the rest of the week has been flying by fast. I haven't had as much time to cross stitch as I would like, but then I never have as much time as I want!

Here is my by Band Sampler from Cross Stitch It as it stands today. You can see the full sampler here.



There are two large motif bands for April. So far all I got done was the first flower of the first band. My plan is for this band to be soft and yellow and the second band which has an iris like flower and a large star to be bolder... turquoises and oranges is my plan.


I like the diamond motifs that finish up this section...they remind me of God's Eyes.


And here is a closer look at the big soft yellow flowers...


Maybe I'll have time to put a few stitches in tonight...right now I gotta get the lasagna out of the oven for dinner.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, April 10, 2015

Look.... I still knit...

It has been a while since I showed anything I've been knitting. I finished the scarf/shawl I want to wear for my son's wedding but I passed it on to a wonderful friend who is going to block it for me and I forgot to take any pictures of it. I will take a picture when it returns and I know it will look fabulous!

In the meantime I've always got a pair or two or three of socks on my needles and here are some I finished.

This pair is knit with Regia Colormania. I got it at Simply Sock Yarn and you can see their selection here. I don't remember which colorway this is but I don't see it on the site right now. It has a black background/undertone with lots of brighter colors randomly appearing. I thought when I started knitting them that a pattern wouldn't show up so I just did a vanilla, stockinette sock, but by the time I was halfway down the first leg I changed my mind... but I was too lazy to frog it... so I continued on.


I bought two other colorways of this yarn... a green and a red... and I may do a pattern with one of those skeins.


This is a Paton Kroy I picked up at Joanns. I believe it is the Meadow Stripes colorway.


There is no such thing as too much self-striping sock yarn in my world!

And yarn is still sneaking into my house... I have this mail slot that drops the mail right into my living room...very clever - LOL! Anyway this yarn appeared about a week ago, again from Simply Sock Yarn. It is the Potpourri collection from Opal. You can see it here.  I was entranced by the colors and the names. Now I took some German is college...9 credit hours in a whirlwind 3 week stint... we called them 3 week wonders. I remember NOTHING.. and no I'm not doing a Sargent Schultz impression from Hogan's Heroes! Anyway... where I'm going with this is the colors of the yarn caught my eye and then the names...


of course I got the sunny yellow/orange skein called Trauminsel, that means Dream Island. And the turquoise skein in the middle called Paradies means Paradise, but that last skein... I laughed when I read the name Bootsfahrt...boots fart...I know that wasn't what it meant but that is what my little pea brained processed and I laughed and laughed and laughed... I am easily amused. Anyway it jumped into my package and made its way into my home. Oh Bootsfahrt means Boat Trip... see... it's waaaaay funnier as boots fart!

Hope you have a great weekend. I've got tickets to go see Lion King at the theater and the weather is suppose to be gorgeous. I can't wait!

happy knitting-
carol fun

Monday, April 6, 2015

I fell down a rabbit hole... on Design Wall Monday

I know it was Easter on Sunday and I feel like I fell down a rabbit hole. I had family over for dinner and it was lovely. Last week I bounced from project to project ... again. Nothing got finished but something else got started. This quilt...


I fell in love with this new fabric line from Abi Hall called On the Wing. You can see it all here. The first fabric I had to have was this bird print...


such sweet little birds on a sunny yellow background. And then there is this print...do you see the birds?


And this print reminds me of a peasant top I made in the 70's... a nice memory!


The pattern I used was Mahalo by Fig Tree. You can see it here.  I used the Charm pack layout but I made the quilt with a Layer Cake.  Right now it is about 62" square and with borders I'll get it up to about 80"...perfect for my bed.

It shouldn't take too long to get the borders on this but there are other projects I need to get to ...NOW!


Soooooo.... today is Opening Day for my beloved Cincinnati Reds...I'll be listening to the game on the radio... tonight is quilt guild meeting...Tues/Thurs I need to run my son to his classes...Wednesday I'm attending a family birthday party...I need to spend some time with my younger son to help him on a class project...and I need to alter my other son's vest for the wedding... yeah... another busy week. Hope there aren't any rabbit holes in it! LOL

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, March 30, 2015

Bouncing around... on Design Wall Monday...

Well, as my sainted father always use to say, I'm still "bouncing around like a BB in a boxcar" from one project to another. First I did 10 more blocks for my AP&Q "Go 4 It" quilt...


... 55 blocks completed and 26 more to go!

Second, I did get the  borders on my Sunday Charmer...


... now to find a back and get it off the the Terry for quilting.

Third, is this almost moldy golden oldie... a Stack N Whack done with the fabric line "The Quiltmaker's Gift"...



...I got 2 more rows sewn on. That makes 9 total rows assembled and 4 more to go. Each row takes about 30 minutes to pin, sew, adjust, re-pin, re-sew, over and over and over. But in the end the points are meeting quite nicely. This is one of the 3 red stars that will appear in the quilt...


...if you look closely you will see that the fabric in the center is bear butts. This is a re-occurring theme in SNW quilts I have made that have animals in them. The very first SNW quilt I made was in a class, long long ago in a galaxy far far away. The fabric I selected was a farmyard scene...pigs, cows, donkeys and chickens. I enthusiastically whacked away at my fabric and began laying out my blocks... Oh my goodness! Some how all I got were butts and udders!! All other parts of the animals had somehow disappeared into the seam allowances. I had meant for it to be a baby quilt but I couldn't subject some innocent child to a quilt that turned out a bit obscene. Insert hanging head in shame!

This theme still continues to follow me...the butts of bears... and in the photo below I somehow only have the rear end of the horse...will it ever stop!!!


I do like that block with the top hats!

So I have lots of things I should be working on... tablerunners for the wedding, altering the groom's vest, finishing the shawl I want to wear at the wedding... but somehow I don't think that's going to happen right away. I feel the need to do something fun...perhaps start a new project... a quilt, a shawl, a cross stitch sampler... I have one of each of these I'm chomping at the bit to get too... and like that BB I will bounce again to another venture! No wonder my father always shook his head when he talked to me - LOL!

happy stitching-
carol fun