Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aaaand We're Back!

Did you miss me?  I've basically been on vacation for the past 3 weeks, which meant not much quilting and not much blogging.  I've enjoyed myself immensely, but tomorrow I go back to work and things around here will be back to regularly scheduled programming.

Two of my quilt are going to their forever homes tomorrow. Is there anything better than quilts ready for gifting?

The Sherwood Forest quilt is for a wedding, along with a couple of jars of pepper jelly.

The Sherbet Lane quilt is going for a new baby, along with a couple of bibs and tie-dye onesies.

And on the design wall this week, yup, it's still Texas!  I am so ready to have this thing together so I can use my design wall again!  Here is a close up of central Texas. Only one block to go, I still need to do the Valley.

Although I am not particularly ready to go back to work, I am looking forward to getting back to my routine sewing :) 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tie Dye Days

Every summer I get the itch to do some tie dye and last week was the time. This time I decided to try some shibori in addition to other techniques.  For a great primer on tie dye I recommend Amanda's posts at Jedi Craft Girl.

I did all this with a single "Tulip" tie dye kit with a dozen colors.  It did 5 boys large shirts, 2 adult larges, 5 2T shirts, 5 4T shirts, and a dozen onesies in various sizes.

The real technique in tie dye in in learning different folds. I tried a bunch of shibori this time, which involves rolling the shirts around PVC pipe, wrapping with string, and scrunching.

That shirt is part of the set above, after a wash and dry.  Pretty cute :) 

As far as the shibori, I really ended up liking the ones done with a single color dye.  The two on the left were done with just blue. After a wash a dry there's a lot more contrast from light to dark within thm.

I definitely like the ones done with a single colors dye best.

Here's a spiral design in progress.  I put a cooling rack over a pot to let the dye drip through.

Here's the finished onesie, along with some others.

Of course Wilson was on hand throughout the process to supervise.

He took time off to stalk some grass hoppers, too.

After marinating over night the shirts were ready to be unwrapped and hung to dry.

As a bonus, the shibori yielded pretty dyed cotton string. I'm think these will be perfect for wrapping gifts.

Baby gifts for the next year, all set!  If you are interested in seeing more of the individual shirts, here  are some below.  Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stay-cation sewing things

I haven't been posting reliably lately, but it isn't because I haven't been doing things. I am having a stay-cation at the moment from work and have been sewing, tie-dying, pickling, and generally crafting to my heart's content. This afternoon I made cayenne pepper hard candy :)

I'll do a more thorough post on the tie dying later, but for now here are some photos of the finished shirts drying and Wilson being "helpful".

After being removed from my folding board, Wilson holds down the laundry basket.
Speaking of Wilson.  If you've been reading here for a while then you probably already know that Wilson is a highly-allergic, generally sensitive kitty.  He basically has kitty COPD now from all his chronic respiratory issues.  For the past 6 months or so he's been on a daily low dose steroid that have helped a lot, and he will probably stay on it for the rest of his life.

Wilson was jealous that Elvis was sitting in mom's lap.
Anyway, it's flea and tick season as you probably know and Wilson can't have the drops between his shoulders because it gives him a nasty rash and makes his hair fall out. We've always done flea collars in the past, so I put one on him about a week ago, then today I noticed that the hair had fallen out under the collar all the way around his neck and parts of it were rashed and bloody!  Needless to say, the collar is off and antibiotic ointment is on.  Sigh.  Does anybody have any ideas for flea and tick solutions for allergic kitties?

I am still managing to stay up to date with the Texas Quilt Along.  We are on the last quadrant now.  That's what is on the design wall. And on the design floor, as it were, I basted this batik quilt I made from the Summer Slice pattern at Cluck Cluck Sew.

I had no idea I even had that many batiks until I started cutting in to them!  Have a happy week, everyone :)

Linking to Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Still working on Texas

Design wall Monday snuck up in me again. Those 3 day weekends always seem to go so fast! I have still been working on Texas for the Texas Quilt Along.  The entire West half of the state is done and the final quadrant, south-central Texas, is begun.

The first city block for this last quadrant will be posted tomorrow.

I have also been working on more crumb blocks.  These are the crumbs that weren't big enough to make the cut for the Crumb Jar Nines quilt.  Not sure what I'll do with these yet... I'm just enjoying looking at them.

Happy Monday y'all! I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fibonacci block {do. Good Stitches, July}

This nicely complex block is a WHOLE lot easier to make than it looks.

It's July, and I'm so excited that it's my turn to host again in the Nurture Circle of do. Good Stitches!  This month we are all going to be making blocks based on the Fibonacci sequence.  The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical concept that was discovered around 200 BC.  In fact, it's been around even longer than Fibonacci, who it's named after, but he introduced it to the western world, so he got the credit.
The sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two previous numbers.  Traditionally the sequence starts with 1, but the numbers themselves aren't actually what is important, but the ratios between them.  The cool thing about this is that this sequence of numbers, these ratios, show up all over the place. 

The Golden Spiral for instance is made from boxes whose sides lengthen following the sequence.  This spiral shows up a lot in nature.

But it's not just nature, it's architecture, art, even web design.  The golden spiral is very pleasing to our eye.

Many trees have branches in combinations of the Fibonacci numbers and even in the bumps in their bark. Sunflowers and some other flowers have petals according to these numbers. It is nature's numbering system, for reasons that we don't entirely understand, but it is without a doubt both aesthetically appealing and efficient.  

I have been fascinated by the Fibonacci Sequence even since I learned about it in high school.  You can see in the image above how the sequence is used in this month's block.  With nature itself on our side we can't help but make a beautiful quilt, so let's get started!  This technique makes 2 blocks at a time, which is all I am asking you for, but in order for the design to look right I really will need a 6x6 layout (36 blocks). I am planning to make the extras myself, but if anyone wants to send extra I would appreciate it!

For this quilt I am thinking of colors similar to this quilt we did before. You will each need to choose 2 complimentary solids with a decent amount of contrast between them. (No pinks or purples please, let's keep it boy friendly.) Cut a 14" square from each solid.

Slice each of the squares into strips, (2) 1" wide, (1) each of 1.5", 2", 3", & 4.5". (There will be a narrow strip leftover which you can toss into the trash or your scraps.)

Swap every other strip between the sets to make 2 complimentary, inverted strip sets. Be careful to keep the strips in the right order.

Sew the two strips sets together into 2 new blocks and press toward the darker fabric. It's easiest to press as you go along, after adding each strip. (Normally I am not a stickler about pressing but in this case it is important. If one of the fabrics isn't obviously darker, just pick one to press toward, but keep it the same for both blocks.)  You might check your measurement here. At this point the blocks should measure 10.5" in their shorter dimension.

Square up one end of the strip sets.

Then slice off strips going crossways in the same measurements as before: (2) 1" wide, (1) each of 1.5", 2", 3", & 4.5".  Again there will be a bit leftover, but probably not much.

Again, swap every other strip between the two sets to create 2 complimentary blocks.

See how the seams nest? (Yes, sorry, the fabrics changed colors.)
 Sew these together carefully.  The pressed seams should nest, allowing you to get really crisp intersections without pinning (but absolutely do pin if you need to!)  Be careful that the ends line up; this time we don't have any to spare.

You can press these seams all the same direction, to whichever side you want.  Please do run a line of stay stitching around the block about 1/8" from the edge to protect seams from splitting in shipping or assembly.  You blocks should measure 10.5" square, but trust me I know how hard it is to stay precise with this many seams. As long as you are within a 1/4" or so don't stress and send what you've got.

Thanks so much for being an awesome group, Nurture Circle! I look forward to our finished quilt!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Finished Split Nine Patch Quilt

Another Friday, another finish :)  This is the Split Nine Patch I have been working on for a few weeks.  It was based on this one from a do. good Stitches circle.  It has already been gifted and is in use at its new home!

This is the second quilt I have made with this color scheme (first was the Squirrely Triangles quilt) and I am starting to run low on these colors.  I still haven't grown tired of it, though.

This quilt includes one of my favorite prints of all time, this one from Tula Pink's Saltwater collection, along with a lot of scraps from Hawthorne Threads scrap packs.  Happily, all the white in this quilt was gathered from scraps!

I quilted it with what is rapidly becoming one of my favorite FMQ designs, the square spiral from Angela Walter's book.  It makes a good alternative to stippling for equally dense and quick quilting.

The quilt finished at a little over 65" square.  I had initially intended to make it bigger but thought better of it, so the last 3 nine patches ended up on the back. I think I like the back almost as well as the front!

It's bound with a yellow solid, washed, dried and ready for use.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.