Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Every task takes longer than you think it will...

So I think you know my older son is getting married at the end of April. He and his lovely bride to be are trying to keep the whole wedding/honeymoon within the budget they set for themselves, and both families are pitching in to help. The mother of the bride is making the wedding dress (it is going to be gorgeous) and is dealing with the flowers and  decorations and a million assorted details. I volunteered to make the invitations, and to sew table runners, and make quilt/signature squares for the guests to sign. So far I've tackled the invitations and I'm working on the signature squares, but each task is taking longer than I planned. Which is exclusively a function of my tendency to grossly underestimate the time reality of most projects. Its a math thing... I don't do addition or multiplication well - LOL!

Anyway I've been working on the invitations for a while now but put the pedal to the metal the last week or so.

Here is my dining room table covered with paper and ribbon and glue and cardstock and... you get the picture.

And here is Big Dude trying to help me out... opposable thumbs would be very beneficial! But you can see that I have all the individual elements done and I'm in the final assembly stage.

Here is a breakdown of the invitations. I've covered up the details like names and dates and places. The invitation includes from left to right - the outside mailing envelope, a two pocket folder, the invitation card, the reply card and the envelope for the reply card.

When assembled the invitation card fits in the front pocket of the folder, the reply card and its envelope in the back pocket. The wedding colors are turquoise and orange and I've used these colors in the invitations. I made the envelopes from a variety of scrapbook papers from Stampin' Up.  I found some great ribbon in the wedding colors to use at the top of the invitation card at Hobby Lobby.  I think the all the little details and separate elements make for an interesting package.

My son and his bride to be composed all the text for the invitations. Guests are invited for a evening of  "merriment and marriage".  There will be a "Happy Hour - Wedding Hour - Dinner Hour - Party Hour." The reply cards give you the choice of " Yes, Of Course! I love free grub and grog!" or "Nope. I will be drinking in the couple's honor from afar that evening." Creativity and sarcasm run deep in these two- LOL!

So I'm in the home stretch. Need to type up the address labels and take one to the post office to be sure of the postage.  They should be in the mail next week and I'm onto another wedding project... the quilt/signature squares. I'm rethinking my original plan and I'll show you what I come up with when I've got it nailed down.

Hope you are warm where you are... it is frigid here... about 20 degrees below normal.  I heard last night that it is warmer in Fargo, North Dakota than here in Cincinnati, Ohio. I can't wait for Spring!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, February 23, 2015

A change in direction... maybe...

Tap tap tap... is anyone still out there? Sorry to have disappeared I have been up to my eyeballs in making invitations for my older son's upcoming wedding. Check back tomorrow for some pictures, but right now lets look at my design wall. Sooooooooo.... I was all gung ho about the APQ "Go Four It" QAL and got off to a pretty fast start, but now I'm falling behind. I'm blaming it on my other obligations and the fact that I wasn't as happy with the layout as I thought I would be.

Here are about 35 blocks using the layout from Moda Lissa's version of "Go Four It". I like the scrappyness but the more I looked at it the more I wasn't thrilled with the little bright squares running in a vertical direction.

And then I saw Thelma of Cupcakes 'n Daisies take on this quilt - go check it out here. Sooooooooo....I rearranged the blocks with the little bright squares running in a diagonal direction.

And I'm still undecided as to which version I like better. Now if I do keep this second layout I would be able to remedy my anal OCD issues with text and directional fabric running upside down or sideways...as in these two bad boy blocks.

See how the little girl in the bottom left hand corner is sideways and that petunia block is standing on it's head?  In the first layout they are always cattywampus, but in the second layout I could make them right side up... and I would like that...A LOT!!!  You wouldn't think that would bother me as crazy and busy as most of my quilts are but it does. I blame in on the need for order and guilt instilled in me from twelve years of Catholic education administered by nuns in black habits... with rulers.  They liked order ... A LOT... LOL!  Anyway we all have our issues don't we?  Some of us have a life time magazine subscription of issues!

And while I was gone from the blog, we got our dose of winter here in southwest Ohio. Snow, bitter cold, snow, bitter cold, snow, bitter cold and more snow and more bitter cold !  Okay it isn't as bad as the East coast but right now there is about 10" in my front yard. This week's forecast is for more cold but hopefully no more snow till the weekend. I hope they are right but their track record last week was less than stellar.  A forecast "nuisance" snow of an inch or so ending up being about 4 inches.

Well I hope to get in some sewing time this week. The invitations are in the home stretch, just need  a bit more assembly, some address labels and postage. Hope your week has some quality sewing time!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Continuing to "Go Four It" on WIP Wednesday

Yesterday was a quality sewing day and I completed 20 blocks to make 3 rows for my APQ "Go Four It" QAL. Yeah me!

This spans my entire design wall which is 8 ft wide, so it should be plenty big for my double sized bed. I'm planning on adding a scrappy border like Moda Lissa's version. Oh I would so like to spend more time on this RIGHT NOW, but other obligations beckon. I need to finish up the invitations I'm making for my older son's upcoming wedding, and there are signature blocks for a wedding quilt that need to be assembled and table runners - acckkkkkk!!!! Maybe I can squeeze in a couple more block in between those jobs.

I'm glad I made myself a cheat sheet for this quilt. As I was sewing yesterday I thought I only needed 5 blocks across to make my width - wrong! Having it up on the design wall makes it easier to see what I have and where I'm going (which is crazy town -LOL!). My strategy is to add a row at a time, working above and below what I have now so I can hopefully keep the colors and the fabrics randomly scattered.

Here are close ups of two blocks I've stitched - love the purple typography square - its says "petunia" - ok  it will only say "etunia" but I'll know what it meant!

And this block includes my chickens and do you see that blue/green block to the right of the chickens?  Look closely - they are snails!

I didn't see them at all when I bought the fabric, I just liked the colors and I thought it was just a swoopy design. I'm not a fan of snails in my garden but these are kinda cute...and I bought them in a yellow/purple colorway too!

So off to work on wedding jobs. Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday right here if she has a link up today. Hope your week is going well!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Go Four It" on Design Wall Monday

Well, last week I was totally into working on my newest project from the APQ "Go Four It" QAL. You can read about it here. After getting my April copy of American Patchwork and Quilting and looking over the instructions I came up with my own version. Instead of the 6" finished blocks they called for, I'm doing 9" finished blocks. This will still give me a nice double/queen sized quilt with waaaay less blocks - theirs calls for 162, my take only needs 85. And with that said there was still a ginormous amount of fabric to cut! I spent at least 3 afternoons, several hours each time, in my sewing room doing nothing but cutting cutting cutting.

Here's what I have to show for my efforts. I think I've cut a little more than I need, but not much.

Since I want my version to be very very very scrappy I'm piecing the 4 patch blocks individually instead of sewing from strips. Those trays are take out containers from Bravo's Italian Grill... their Chicken Milanese is excellent! These are a nice way to corral all my squares and I can stack them and easily move them from place to place.

So once I finally felt I had a handle on the cutting I started making 4 patch blocks. Some are very  color coordinated...

Some are a bit more mixed up...

I have modern prints, typographic prints, novelty prints and even some 30's prints...

I'm very happy with the eclectic mix of fabrics and my goal is not to pair the same two fabrics twice. Yes, this is probably unrealistic with my quilty ADHD paired with my quilty OCD, but I'm going to try.

Now my favorite 4 patch so far is this one! Too stinking cute!

And here are the 75 or so 4 patches I've made so far. This is less than 25% of what I will need. This is gonna take  a while- LOL!

I slapped some of these up on my design wall to get a feel for this top and so far so good.

It is very very very scrappy. A comment last week said it looked "crisp and cheery", and that's what I'm going for! In my mind (which is a very cluttered place, dontcha know) I envision a vintage-y quilt, soft and crinkly with lots of things for you to look at while you lounge in bed. Wish me luck!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Some slow stitching on Sunday

It is a nice slow Sunday around here and I'm taking some time to stitch and veg. Yesterday was gorgeous - sunny and 50 - a tease for Spring. Today cloudy, still warm but the change is in the air and it will be back to more "seasonable" weather this week. Well, I've picked this piece up and put it down several time the last couple of weeks but I finally completed the January section of my newest GIANT cross stitch project - Band Sampler Calendar 2015 by Cross Stitch It.com - you can see it all here.

I like how this section looks...

I've had a couple of mistakes - all my fault - but I think I've recovered from them. That orange-y band is not stitched like the one on the chart because somehow I thought I had memorized the pattern and went on my merry way. I only realized my mistake when I was 2 motifs from the end. First I ran out of thread, so I substituted. Those last motifs are a bit lighter but I'm okay with that. And then I realized that my pattern doesn't come out as balanced as the charted one. I stewed over it for about a week, and thought of frogging the whole row but in the end I decided that it would be one of my many "personalizations" on this sampler, as I'm sure there will be other lapses on my part.

Remember this is going to be about 40" long when complete. So far all of the threads have come out of my stash and so did the linen so I consider this to be a free sampler. (We don't need to talk about the price of the chart...ignorance is bliss! - LOL) However, while the chart isn't cheap, it is a very good pattern. The graphs are large and easy on the eyes. There are suggestions as to colors and stitches that can be used and it includes a page that can be printed out as a calendar for the month. I went ahead and purchased the entire series at one time,as you got a discount and they automatically send you each month when it is released. I received February before the month of January was over. All in all a good value.

This is a pic of February.I'm looking forward to doing the alphabet sections but my flosses will be more toward the turquoise than the blue.

The BIG A and Z are worked in a decorative stitch, an addition that I always like in a sampler. And I will stitch the C and N in a color unique to those letters for my sons. Their names begin with C and N. Little changes that mean something to me.

Sooooo... I was reading blogs the other day came across these FREE little charts from La-D-Da ... check it out here. Which lead me to mosey over and look at her newest releases and two of them really caught my eye. I jumped over to an online store and was happy to see that both of the charts were in stock and ready to be shipped... and then I had a thought...might I already own these charts??? Hmmmmm... so I hauled my butt out of my stitching chair and went into the other room and started going through my boxes of charts and whaddaya know... I already do own both of these charts! Glad I didn't order them again - LOL! And then I felt virtuous because I had saved myself money... and shouldn't that entitle me to something else? Well, I mulled that over and decided I would wait to treat myself until after the new stuff comes out at the upcoming needlework market in a couple of weeks. I'm sure something there will tempt me.

Okay, I'm going to stitch a bit more and then pull dinner together -my son and his fiance are coming. Nothing fancy but it will be a nice time.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thoughts on Thursday

Okay so two weeks ago I posted that I might take time to ramble on Thursdays, and I'm thinking once or twice a month would be good timing. So today I want to reflect on what a crazy place the internet is. No not the porn, and photo shopping, and the conspiracy theories, but the quilting world. If you've read my blog for any period of time you know that I like BRIGHT LOUD CRAZY quilts. I rarely use brown and I don't own any Civil War reproduction fabrics. Sooooo, the last place you would think of finding a mention of my blog, is on Barbara Brackman's Civil War blog, right? ...you can go check it out here.

Take a minute and read the article from Wednesday, February 4th. She has fascinating information about Cheddar fabric, that golden orangey color that makes me want to rummage around in fridge for a hunk of sharp cheese, crackers and some wine. As you scroll down you see this picture....

this is from my blog!!!! I was totally blown away. How does Barbara Brackman know about my little blog??? And this is not from a current post. I had this picture on my blog back in 2011. I am kinda giddy! I'll bet millions of people read this article... oh I'm getting light headed - LOL!

Anyway I wonder what readers who Googled my blog thought when they arrived here. If they were looking for Civil War reproduction quilts they were sorely disappointed. However, I think this little episode underscores how all of quilting is tied together. While I'm not a big fan of CW reproduction quilts, I appreciate their historical significance and what they have contributed to the craft. I have seen some beautiful quilts made in  Civil War reproductions and I have admired the design of many of the quilts. In fact, now that I think of it I did make a CW quilt... this one!

Hot Flash  # 914! by carol fun 2005

I know you are shaking your head and wondering what in the world am I talking about. Well, the design of this quilt is taken from a Civil War era quilt. A friend, showed me a picture of the original quilt from the 1860's and the Log Cabin blocks she was making to reproduce this quilt. I was totally blown away by the graphic quality of this quilt...that  Princess Feather in the center and all those Log Cabin blocks - there are 128 10" foundation pieced blocks.  I had to make one for me but not in a CW palette.

I used million different tone on tone yellows for the background (okay there may be a slight exaggeration there but it was a lot of different fabrics.) And I decided that the center of each of the Log Cabin blocks should be different... very different...in fact, I fussy cut each one of them to feature a different image.

A happy dragon for my younger son who was fascinated with them as a child!

A horseshoe for good luck! This is in the upper right corner and the horseshoe is properly orientated so the luck doesn't run out!

There were lots of cats in the center squares and this one is sporting a polka dot bikini (bet no one in the 1860's thought that would be a fabric -LOL!)

Here's a little red headed girl with glasses, but in the interest of honesty I had the glasses, but I wasn't as red headed as a child as I am now.

Of course there were chickens of the polka dot variety... and this was years before I named my blog The Polka Dot Chicken.

A nod to the characters of my youth, Tony the Tiger... They're GREAT!

This block in the lower right hand corner has so many things I love incorporated into it... a cozy little yellow house (Mary Engelbreit...I heart her stuff!), flowers, kitties, friends.

And I can't forget the King, ELVIS!!! He may have left the building but he's here on my quilt!

So I have to give thanks to the quilt makers of the Civil War era. Their work has inspired millions of other quilters, although I'm not sure this quilt is what they had in mind. Oh well, it goes to show what a crazy place quilting on the internet is!

happy stitching-
carol fun

PS - When I started writing this post this is not where I thought I was going... it just happened... kinda crazy too!

PPS - Thanks Meredith for telling me about the mention on Barbara Brackman's blog.

PPPS - Thanks Kathy for showing me this quilt all those years ago.

PPPPS - If you Google images of  Log Cabin quilt from the 1860's or Princess Feather quilts from the 1860's pictures of my quilt appear -- ain't that crazy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I shouldn't have...but I did...

I shouldn't have started a new quilt project, but I couldn't resist. Here are the blocks I completed.

This is my version of the American Patchwork & Quilting 2015 QAL: Go Four It! I am completely over the moon for Moda Lissa's quilt called Rainbow Rows.

This picture came from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2015 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

I read about this QAL over a week ago and thought about going ahead and cutting pieces out then, but I didn't have the time. My copy of AP&Q arrived last Thursday and I eagerly poured over the magazine to look at the cutting directions... and then I saw it. The block size for this quilt is only SIX INCHES finished! Oh my goodness, no wonder you need 162 blocks! I'm sure that lots of you are going to make this pattern per the instructions. You are a better man than I am! I LOVE this quilt but I know my quilter's ADHD will never get me through 162 blocks. Soooooo... I'm making 9" finished blocks. Not a huge change in size but it will allow me to make a double/queen sized quilt with only 85 blocks. That I can manage... I think!

So I sat down to do the math for my version.

I figure for the background I need 376  3.5" cut squares and 778 2" cut squares. And for the colorful squares I need 778 2" cut squares. I plan on using 8 different colors  and if you divide 778 by 8 it comes to 97.25 squares per color. I'm going to round to 100, and use 10 different fabrics for each color and cut 10 squares from each. I'll have extras to choose from.   All in all this is a LOT of cutting - 1,932 squares and here's what I've completed so far.

I still have a long way to go. But I am liking what I have so far. I have a healthy stash of polka dot fabrics on white backgrounds, but I didn't have any other fabrics on white backgrounds that would work for this quilt. So I took a trip to Fabric Shack and came home with a lovely stack of 1/3 yd cuts. It the amount I purchase when I'm stash building. Now I went shopping with the idea of getting low volume prints but I'm not sure I'm capable of low volume. My choices are a bit on the loud side, but I think it will make for an interesting quilt.

Here are some of the new pieces I added to my stash. I do love that print with the little girl and the dog! And the typography piece in the middle 4 patch makes me smile!

Some of these prints are a bit noisy but I hope they will all play together nicely! LOL

As for the quilt project I should be working on,  I did get two more rows sewn to the top... seven rows down, 6 rows to go! Past the half way point! I love this fabric from the Quiltmaker's Gift.

It takes me about 30 minutes to sew one row on. Lots of pinning and adjustments and then I press the whole seam open. Not a quick process but the points meet nicely when I take my time. So, 6 more rows means at least 3 more hours of work on this, and then onto the borders.

I'm not sure if there is a link up today on Freshly Pieced. However if one shows up  I will be linking up with WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced. Go check out what everyone else is doing. I love looking at what other quilters are up to, I just don't need to find another new project... but I probably will!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, February 2, 2015

Proof Positive that UFOs are a GOOD Thing

Oh I've been busy busy busy the last week and most of it had nothing to do with sewing. Lots of family events that were so enjoyable, so I won't crab too much about the diminished sewing time. And before everything got busy I did get some things accomplished.

First, my Pretty Petunias are finished! It came about about 55" X 66". That outside border may be a tad too wide. In the photo I think it needs to be narrower but in real life I like it. That inner border is reading black but is actually a dark purple.

I am soooooo glad I found this UFO and got it together. It is going to look great on my living room wall whenever Spring arrives. I heard Punxsutawney Phil said 6 more weeks of winter, but Buckeye Chuck said an early Spring - Chuck is my guy - LOL!

So,  while I was searching high and low for the Pretty Petunias UFO I unearthed this one, which by my calculations is at least 12 years old!

My design wall was full of petunias so I laid this one out on the floor. This is done with fabric from The Quiltmaker's Gift based on the book of the same name which was published in 2001. The book is still available on Amazon here. The fabric line is by Benartex and came out not long after the book became a hit.

All of the hexagons were cut from this fabric which looks like a giant crazy quilt.

This is a HUGE repeat - 24 inches! I've made LOTS of Stack N Whack quilts and this is one of the biggest repeat lengths I've every come across. Luckily when I rediscovered this UFO all of the blocks had been sewn into rows and I had pinned the number of the row to it! I can't believe that I did this, as the biggest lie I tell myself is "I'll remember what I was doing" - LOL!

When you look at the blocks you see bits and pieces of the motifs in the crazy quilt.

In total there are 98 different hexagons and I love how each one draws you in to look at it closer. In the second row of the pictures below there are two blocks which each have a different portion of the unicorn. From a distance you just see in interesting design but up close it is another story.

This is going to be a nice size lap/almost twin size quilt. I'm not sure what I had planned for the borders but there is some of the blue and red fabric in the plastic bag so after I get the rows together hopefully I will remember what I planned to do. I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY like this UFO and I am soooooooo HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY that I found it. It underscores my personal philosophy that UFOS are a GOOD Thing. When you come back to them you are usually close to completion and the enthusiasm to finish is back again. Perhaps before this week is out I'll have this one all assembled.

happy stitching-
carol fun