Progress Made

November 9, 2011

I finally finished Julia’s quilt and shipped it off to her, along with a few gifts for her new daughter.  I’m happy with how the quilting turned out.  I was super torn with how to do the actual quilting, especially since I’ve only done a total of 4 quilts.  I knew I wanted to emphasize the diagonals in the middle section, and I thought outlining the large stars would look good.  At the last minute, I decided to do the small stars too.  They were actually easier than the big stars and went quickly.  I wasn’t able to get any good photographs that really show my work, but that’s okay.  I also did the binding, agonizing over the correct shade of red.  I sent my friend photos with 3 choices, but the lighting in the house is bad so the photos weren’t super accurate and she left it to my judgement. In the end, I think I went with the right shade of orangey-red.  Gracie misses this quilt.  She took every opportunity to curl up on it.

Julia's quiltGracie find a warm place to nap

Along with the quilt, I sent a little sweater dress I knit.  The pattern was super easy, although I made some modifications based on feedback from other Ravelry users.  (Here’s the ravelry info.)  I used some leftover Sundara yarn which is super soft.  The only downside is that it’s hand wash, but hopefully that isn’t a big deal.

sweater dress

I also sent a little elephant which I made from the book Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.  The elephant was relatively easy to make and I think it turned out well.  In fact, I made two of them.  One is for another friend who is having a baby in a few weeks.  I think the hardest part of the elephant was stuffing it.  I took my time doing it, and once it was done, it looked like I should have stuffed it some more.  My only complaint with the finished product is that they are hard to photograph.  It doesn’t help that in both cases, I was in a hurry too.

An elephant for ellieElephant for Baby Lee

The last thing I included in the box for Julia was a cotton hat.  A basic roll brimmed hat, but with nice soft Blue Sky Organic Cotton Yarn.

It’s a big relief to get those things out to Julia.  She received the box and was very happy with how her quilt turned out and she like the gifts.  Yay!  Now I can focus on packing which is good, because we are moving in about 10 days.  Ack!


Mystery Revealed

August 7, 2011

Back in March, I went to Minnesota and did a mystery quilting weekend with my girlfriend.  It was the first time I’ve done anything like it, and it was very fun.  A bit challenging for me as I would categorize myself as an “adventurous beginniner” but I muddled through.  I worked on the project off and on, but really picked it up again in June and July.  Last week, I mentioned how I was considering redoing a portion of the quilt because my squares were wonky.  It took me a week to redo the stars and last Monday I was able to lay out all my pieces.  Of course before I was able to do the layout, I had to quickly make myself some design boards, a la Oh, Frannson!’s awesome tutorial.  Bill helped me of course and my design boards made everything so much easier.  Most importantly, they freed up my floor space so I was still able to walk in my craft room, and it’s a much better viewing angle.

quilt on display boards

And here she is.  I spent all afternoon Monday placing pieces.  Bill asked me how long it would take to finish and I guessed a week.  I was right on target!  It came together much more easily than I anticipated it would.  My remaking on the sawtooth stars squares was the absolute right decision.  I was amazed at how many of my corners were matching up as I put the rows together.  Experienced quilters wouldn’t be surprised by that, but I was!  There are, of course, some ugly spots but I figured that once it’s all quilted and washed you won’t be able to see those problem areas.

you can't resist the belly

This is from Thursday or Friday.  I’m actually surprised she doesn’t have random threads on her belly because she did have a lot of those on her this week.  I have to be super careful when I’m working at my machine.  My chair is on wheels and unfortunately, Gracie’s survival instinct does not include how to avoid wheels.  She likes to stretch out next to me, begging for pets, or sit at my feet, or sneak up behind my chair.  She’s a fun distraction though.  Anyway, back to the quilt.

Today, I was able to finish up my quilt top.  I sewed together the last seam, down the middle and I open it up to iron it and WHAM!  Two squares of the same fabric, right next to each other.  Noooooo….  Despite my hours of staring at the design boards, I still make a “mistake.”  At that point, I took a nap.  I woke up and decided to replace one of the offending squares.  I contemplated living with it, but thankfully, the mistake was in the easiest possible place for me to fix it and so I did.  Had it been more complicated, I would have let it go.  I think.  Anyway, twenty minutes later and she was really done.

my mystery quilt top completed

The pattern is Sew Many Stars by Glad Creations.  It’s currently not listed in the online store, but I’m sure you could contact them and I’m sure they would be able to help.  This is by far the most complicated thing I have ever done.  I can’t believe I made it.  I love how it looks in the mod, bright prints.  I used a lot of Amy Butler, some Anna Maria Horner…  I saved the print names from the selvedges so that I could put them on the back of my quilt.  I blogged about my fabric choices here.  The finished quilt should be queen bed sized, but I haven’t measured it.  I’m going to put this aside for a little bit and finish some of the other quilts I have going on.  But I’m anxious to get this one done, so I don’t think it will sit for long.


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Goings On

April 18, 2011

79/365

Things have been relatively quiet in Napierland.  (Actually, I mistyped quiet as quilt so you know where my mind really is.) We’re just chugging along.  The weather is turning spring-like and gorgeous.  I love walking the neighborhood at this time of year.  The flowers smell amazing.  It’s extra special to me because I have suffered with allergies for years, but since moving here, I can actually smell things.

another flower from my walk

This past weekend, I was worried I had come in contact with a deadly illness.  I knew something had to be wrong with me.  I went to my local yarn store, that was having a sale, and I didn’t buy a thing.  Not. A. Thing.  Since I have survived the weekend and didn’t succumb to the ebola virus or hemorrhagic fever, I realize that my body was temporarily possessed by a mature, responsible adult who realized she already has plenty of beautiful yarn.  While not as dramatic an infliction, it was still scary.  I’m better now.

fenced in quilt, coming along

I’ve been making slow and steady progress on my fenced in quilt. It was moving really quickly and once I realized I needed to order fabric for the quilt back, things started to slow a bit.  My original plan was to do a solid color background but I couldn’t find a color I really liked, so I went with one of the aqua striped fabrics from the quilt top.  I only have four more rows to put together which should go pretty fast.  And then the sashing.  I don’t think I’ll get the whole quilt finished by the end of the month, but we’ll see.

ironing block

One thing that is a huge help with the quilting projects is my new ironing block.  I used one during my quilting weekend, and it was great.  I can keep the block on my table and it saves me floor space because I don’t have to pull out my ironing board for these small pieces.  It was a super simple project.  Bill cut a piece of wood for me.  The wood is a 1/2 inch thick and measures approximately 17 x 22 inches.  I used some batting and then two layers of insul-brite (like you use for oven mitts, available at Jo-ann).  Then it’s covered in fabric and stapled to the back of the wood.  The two layers of insul-brite is probably a little much.  I am contemplating undoing the fabric and taking out one of the layers.  That sounds like work though.

105/365

The last thing that I’ll share with you is random.  Bill went to a our new Safeway (grocery store) that was celebrating its opening weekend.  While at the register, the manager spun a wheel, and it landed on Bill’s checkout lane.  He won a bag of groceries! There was good stuff in there: a bottle of laundry detergent, a loaf of wheat bread, cookies, salsa, salad dressing, peanut butter… That bag was heavy!

99/365

And that’s our goings on.


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Restless

February 18, 2011

I’ve been a little restless this week.  Not sure what my problem is. I have plenty of things to work on, but none of them are talking to me.  I’m also trying to figure out what my next quilting project would be, and I just can’t decide.  Too many options. This sometimes happens to me.  When there are too many choices, I sort of shut down instead of just picking something and going for it.  I end up doing nothing when I could be making progress on something.

mystery quilt fabric

mystery quilt fabric from a different angle

One thing I didn’t have trouble deciding on was fabric for my mystery quilt.  I’m doing a mystery quilting weekend with a girlfriend which I’m really excited about, but also a little nervous. Julia is a friend from college and we’ve managed to keep in touch over the years.  We reconnected at her wedding and it’s so great to have her in my life again in a more meaningful way.  So I am really excited about spending a long weekend with her and that we’ll be doing some crafting is icing on the cake.  What I’m nervous about is the actual quilting.  I consider myself a beginner quilter, but I’m always up for an adventure.  I’m also nervous because I hope I like the quilt when it’s all put together.  The fabric was a bit of an investment, although really it only cost me $30 out of pocket because of a birthday gift certificate from my mom and a groupon I happened across (and was the reason I joined groupon).  I picked fabrics that I love so I think I will be happy with the end result.  Right?  I was also a little nervous because I’ve never had to pick out a palette of colors for a quilt before.  My instructions were to find 16 “darks” and 1 “light” for the background.  Yeesh!  Actually, I think I lucked out because it wasn’t that hard to find 1 light and a bunch of darks; all I needed was enough contrast because the 16 and the 1.  I think it would have been much harder if I had to find 8 of each.  Julia sent me a photo of her palette which was very helpful to me.  (She’s done a couple of these.)  These are her fabrics:

julia's mystery weekend fabric

Our color palette is pretty similar, huh?  I didn’t intend it to be that way, it just kind of happened.

Now I’m having the great internal debate of “to prewash or not to prewash”.  I don’t know why this is turning into a debate.  I always prewash.  As soon as I buy fabric I throw it in the washer through a rinse cycle and toss it in the dryer.  It seems like every step of this project has me questioning myself.  I think that’s part of the restlessness.  I hope it passes soon.

Maybe part of it is rain induced.  It’s been a pretty gray week. Sunday was really our last beautiful day. And it was gorgeous.

flowering trees

I cant’ really complain about the rain because we need it.  But rainy days make me want to curl up on the couch with a book and not be productive.  I’ve been trying to do some knitting.  I started a new project because I couldn’t resist.  I bought the yarn on my trip to Petaluma.  I saw a sample of the shawl in the store and loved it.  Had to have it, couldn’t live without it.  But it has been a pain in the buttocks.  I started it on Superbowl Sunday and had to frog it.  I could have sworn I was supposed to knit it with two strands together but after doing one repeat of the pattern, I thought “how am I going to have enough yarn” and then I read the pattern instructions.  All the instructions.  Nowhere does it say hold two strands together.  It was a $&!#% to rip out.  It’s mohair and silk and the fuzzy yarn likes to stick together.  So I restarted and it has just been slow going.  It’s knit the long way, and for 10 rows in the project, I have 600 stitches.  Those are some long rows to knit.

big furry mess

I also made the mistake of leaving my yarn cakes on the coffee table and Gracie found one in the middle of the night and played with it.  I’m lucky she only played with one.  I was mad and amused at the same time.  There’s something about the mohair that she really likes.

I’m roughly at the halfway point of this project.  I hope to finish it soon.  If I didn’t know how great the end result would be, I think I would have given up by now.

And that’s that.  It’s Friday and I’m looking forward to the weekend.  I’m hoping Bill doesn’t have to work (he’s been super busy) and that we’ll have some time to chill.  I hope you all have great plans for the weekend!


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The Helper

April 9, 2010

I’m all about the zig zags these days.  Zig zag patterns are very popular these days.  As a beginner quilter, I found this tutorial that achieves the zig zags without using triangles.  Yay!  I had a bunch of Heather Bailey Pop Garden fabric and I added to my collection and found a great green to break up the prints.  I’m making this quilt for my living room, and green is my accent color in that room.  I love to have a quilt on my lap while I watch tv or nap on the couch.

I started cutting the fabric last week and finally finished it up the cutting and piecing Wednesday night.  Yesterday I washed the floor in my craft room so that I could lay out the quilt.  When will Margaret wash the floor in her craft room?  Once she needs to lay fabric on it.

Bill came home from work to this.

img_2950

See my helper?  Doesn’t she look all innocent?  She got bored and hopped up into her chair.  Bill and I headed out for a bite to eat.  We came home to this.

img_20100409_171052

I think she’s saying “don’t you like this better, Mom?”

I’m starting to put the quilt together and am very pleased with it!


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My New Table Runner

May 14, 2009

AKA a much larger project than I thought it would be. But I’m very happy with the final result. I started it on Sunday afternoon and thought I would be done by Monday. What planet was I on?

I finished the first two squares on Sunday after a lot of ripping out and redoing. I finished the second two squares on Monday and sewed it into one piece. I started the quilting on Tuesday and didn’t like how it was looking so I undid it. Then I restarted it and was much happier with the results. I did diagonal lines and my idea was that one side would go one way, the other side would go the other and they would meet in the middle forming a chevron. Sounds easy right?

The first half went well. Really well. Couldn’t have been happier with the result. The second half was a nightmare. A nightmare I tell you. Getting the lines to be even and symmetrical was a pain in the ass. I did about half of the second half and had to undo it. It was horrible. Then I tried again and got through another half of it and it still wasn’t working out and need to be undone. Again. For the second time. But at least this time it was a respectable drinking hour and my glass of wine made ripping it out not as horrible as it was the first time. So when I finally resumed the quilting (for the third time on this side) I drew the lines and went very slowly. Oh, and I ran out of the color thread I was using for the quilting so the second half is done in a different (yet very similar) color than the first half. Then the binding looks like a three year old did it because I couldn’t stitch straight to save my life. But it kinda works for the table runner and the crazy uneven squares. You can see more detailed photos here and here. (Sorry for the poor quality)

Despite the difficulties, I am very happy with the end result. My table has character and I’ve brought some color to that side of the room. I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn about quilting. I am also appreciating all its imperfections because they give it character. Personal growth; it’s a good thing.


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About Me

Welcome to my spot on the web where I talk about needlework, crafts, and [many] other random things.

A few tidbits about me: I met my husband in college, flirting over tuba letters in the Penn Band. Our dog, CJ, and our cat, Sabrina, round out our family. I'm a sewist, knitter and needlepointer, and an occasional scrapbooker. I love organizing, reading, making jewelry, and hiking. A Chicago girl at heart, I am an avid follower the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks.

You can email me at mlynapier [at] pobox [dot] com. Thank you for stopping by!

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