Friday, April 29, 2016

Been AFK for a While

Been AFK, or away from keyboard for a while. It still feels a little odd to go this many days without working at my desk. But life is good. Few freelance writing jobs to work on this week, until today. There is a lot of outdoor work to tend to, and after that, I tend to sit downstairs and do some handwork to relax.

My easily distracted craftiness has made me:
  • Stall out on finishing piecing my large hexie project

  • Start another crazy small (half-inch)hexie project, making it up as I go along. Going to be a Christmas wreath with a scrappy red border, just a small wallhanging.
  • Take a diversion through tatting, a craft I had made some progress in long ago, but cast it aside. It takes a lot of practice to keep from knotting things up, and to make the loops and picots of a consistent size. I have made the longest piece of tatted edging I've ever been able to do without a terminal screw-up that knots things up so badly that it gets cast aside into the graveyard of tatted bits.

  • This one got screwed up shortly after I started it, when I attached the next loop to the top picot instead of the side one.
And I finished a crochet baby hat for donation, and learned how to do double ended crochet to make dishcloths, hotpads and such.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Free quilt design software

I do guard my pennies well now that I am mostly retired. I have been wondering if there is any free software out there for designing hexagon quilts. So far, I found this.  It's called Quilt Assistant. Works fine on my Windows 10 laptop.

Within two minutes of downloading and installing, I was sitting at my monitor designing a hexie layout. Love it!  I'll never have to buy adult coloring books for relaxation if I have something like this to play with.

It does more than hexagons. Try it!

Perfect toy for a rainy Saturday.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Finished the binding this afternoon. Now I need a new machine piecing project....what will it be? I think I feel a need to do something controlled scrappy instead of arms wide open-anyfabricgoes kind of scrappy on the next one, either by:

  • Using a limited colorway of scraps like blues or purples
  • limiting to a fabric type like all batik or all thirties repro. Very strong chance it will be thirties repro, since they are all in one bin together. I took them out to share some of them with a friend who is making a dresden quilt, and I kind of missed them, even though I thought I wouldn't be making anything more that is strictly 30s. 

Actually I should try to baste and quilt either Lazy Sunday or Fading Charms. Those are the two large tops that are sitting neglected in the UFO drawer of shame. It would be nice to get at least one of those done before the weather gets too hot to stay too long near the ironing board. No AC in the quiltorium....

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Scraptacular basket wallhanging almost done

Or Aunt Jo's Scrap basket, as it was also named. Just have an hour or so of handstitching on the binding to finish, and this one is crossed off the list.  The scrappity wonderfulness of the blocks hides so many mistakes, drawing the eye away from unmatched points and such. For once I am pretty pleased with the way the hand quilting turned out, too.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It was a mulchy week, so not much quilting

It was time to attend to some spring yardwork this week. We are still having frost overnight, but the days are warmer, almost warm enough for shirtsleeves. Since we are blessed (or cursed) with a lot of oak trees, we have to do a fair amount of spring cleanup. So many leaves and acorns. Then I weeded and mulched the two front flowerbeds along the path to our front door.

In the meantime, I did work on my hexagons and will continue to do so after church today. I laid my project out on the dining room table like a jigsaw puzzle and began assembling. Miss Bonnie decided to keep me company, in her usual shy quiet way. There was a nice patch of sunshine for her to snooze in and an opera score on the floor by the music stand that she seemed to want to study.

This is a lovely photo of her sweet face. She lost the other eye before we adopted her, but she is still our beautiful princess cat. 

Life was good, until Clyde found us. He just rolled right in there, and made her move away from the sun.
There was a bit of a scuffle after that.

I need to upload one more photo from my ipad, that showed the further chaos caused by Clyde when he decided to lay right on my layout. 

Having been bitten by the hexie bug, I have pinned tons of ideas to my hexie pinboard. Also a few hexie-ish ideas for yo yos.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Work stoppage

I was coming down the home stretch. Then Clyde decided that despite other quilts that are available for napping, he needed to rest here.

So i came downstairs with my hexikit only to find Bonnie in my favorite chair.  Tough day here for quilting.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Basting Away

I pieced a backing from stash, found a big enough piece of soft n toasty batting, and am  done with pin basting the scraptastical wallhanging. I always feel good about using up stash.

Took a break and will start the machine quilting as soon as I attach the BSR to my Bernina Aurora. She thought she had been permanently shoved aside in favor of my Singer 301. Have to show them equal love, as they each have their strong points.

Hexie Madness

I got a case of hexie attention deficit disorder yesterday. I wanted to see if I could do really small ones, and started on this....I think it's going to be a small Christmas wallhanging. I'm working on the center of the wreath right now. 

It seems a little crazy, but these work up fast--they are like popcorn.
I was able to just grab odd pieces out of my crumb bin (which is overflowing and how many crumb projects can one make, anyway?) grind them through the Accuquilt and then baste.   I have the die with three sizes of hexagons. I haven't found much use for the largest size yet, other than making some rice bag handwarmers last Christmas.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Making a little headway

Such a yucky day here, although I am glad the weather was nice this morning and I got in my usual almost 4 mile walk. 

Been working on various things here in the quiltorium, and in my easy chair. Decided to see how this hexie project might go together. Those dark hexagons are actually a deep forest green. My goal is to fill in and fill out the flowers with some very luscious batiks, mostly greens, but maybe a little bluish green to suggest a nearby pond. I am not graphing this out. I figure I can get most of it laid out on the table, snap a photo and use that as my map for connecting everything up.

I think I've finished my scrap basket top. With input from friends over at the quilting beehive, an internet group I've belonged to even before that was its name (loooooong story), some of whom also blog here and here, I added a narrow border of the setting triangle fabric. I also changed out one of the outermost cornerstones that was fading into the green. The other dark ones that I left in actually contrast ok in real life. I fiddled with some of the seams at the corners to get the whole thing to flatten out before adding the borders. It's wider than it should be and it really is square, it was just hard to get a good photo when my usual quilt holder was out running errands. I will trim that outer border down about a half inch after the quilting.

I also realized I had so many projects going on in the quiltorium that I had ground progress to a standstill. I was cutting squares for this, strips for that, triangles for something else, and felt like I wasn't making progress on anything. I will try to get this one quilted this week, let's see how that goes.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Someone put the hex on me

I am getting back in the groove with something I started and abandoned years ago.  I am not sure where this is heading yet. My quilting process has evolved over time. It used to go:

See design in book or magazine-----purchase fabric-----cut it up-----piece it-----quilt it-----bind it

Now it's more like this:

Get inspired by a design, fabric or technique---make a few blocks----throw it at the wall----walk away, mull it over for a while, and decide on a general direction----design as you go along---quilt it----bind it

I guess that's somewhat like what is going on over at KnitNQwilt, where she is doing fantastic modern designs and really stretching her design skills. Take a look at her innovative alternative to a design wall while you are over there, as well. Except I'm still working in a more traditional quilting mode.  Mostly because I have all this ancient stash to use up!

I have been using this great little kit that I got years ago. I think it was meant for scrapbooking, a craft I never got into. One side can hold your work in progress (as displayed in the above photo), the other side holds your tools, and its partitions are somewhat configurable. I've used it for cross stitch, other forms of embroidery, applique and hand piecing over the years, now it is my hexi-kit.

Also, Wonder clips are very helpful in setting the first few folds on the paper piece, then I fold and stitch from the opposite side.  And those fiskars hexie punches are making quite a dent in the junk mail cardstock. I'm just waiting for election season direct mailing to heat up.....

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Piecing done, but.....

The mistake in my last post only took about 15 minutes to repair, I don't know why I get so frustrated by things like that.

I have finished piecing, but I am a little concerned about getting it to lay flat. I think the corners on the right side may need to be replaced. I will measure it and see how far things are off. I'm not sure if I want to do an outer border, so I will put this aside for a while.

I was able to fix that block I didn't like, by partially disassembling it and then swapping in a different large triangle and putting it all back together again.  

Time to tidy up a bit, and maybe do some handwork before finalizing the chicken teriyaki that is bubbling away in the crockpot. 

So what do you think? more borders or no? I would like it to hang either over a sofa or in my kitchen, so I don't want it to get much bigger.  

A picture is worth a thousand words....

I just had to resort to the quilter's emergency chocolate......

Haste makes waste, yes it does.

Off to do the froggin, hoping to have this all pieced this afternoon, after correcting this mess. 

Friday, April 01, 2016

Self Realization

I realized I have issues with certain aspects of quilting. If I had to draw a diagram, it would look like this.

How about you? What part of quilting do you love the most? I'm talking about actively quilting, not dreaming, reading or chatting about quilting. Would your pyramid look the same as mine?

I should have subdivided piecing into piecing blocks and putting blocks together. But I've wasted enough time now, and have to get back to..............putting blocks together!

Maybe more coffee first.

Have a great Friday!