Monthly Archives: January 2017

Two Purple Trees

I kept working on my Stash Bee blocks in RSC colors this week and came out of it with two more purple improv trees.

I think I’m getting better at it.  The tress didn’t take nearly as much background material, though I still ended up with substantial scraps.

I’m generally happy with these three trees, though piecing them wasn’t a lot of fun for me.  I don’t think I’m going to make a quilt of just RSC improv trees.  I’m going to stick with my original plan of integrating them into a year-long quilt of improv-leaning blocks from the Stash Bee in the RSC’s colors.

I still have another block or two that I’d like to make from this month’s Stash Bee hives, and I’ll probably get one done this coming week, but the other two need more thinking (and possibly a die-cutter).  They’ll go on my Project List (see the menu bar up above) under “Someday”.

In the meantime, I like my trees!

And I can’t wait to see what else will join them.

I’m linking up with RSC at so scrappy.

Grackle Party Planning

Let’s talk about Grackle Party.  I’ve shared some individual blocks, but not my design for it.  Well, design hope, since only the design of the center is really set in stone now.  I did talk a little about how it started in this post, basically as a reintroduction to sewing after having my fourth child.  Grackle Party is going to be a wall-hanging, though how large it’ll be is still uncertain.

I was looking through some pictures from before my move and hope they’ll help illustrate.

I went with the center square design and cut more mitered frames in the same size and bigger ones to go around it.  I figured only the center square would have a complicated pieced center, since I really didn’t want to bother with more and it was a good focal point.  The fabric from Spoonflower also came in a larger print size, which was perfect for the insides of these squares.

Then I decided that having double mitered frames would look weird and would be too annoying to EPP, so I alternated the mitered frames with straight frames with cornerstones.  Below you can see an example of each of the two blocks.

On the left is the mitered frame inside.  On the right, the mitered frame is outside.  The small block above them with the big frame might go into the border.  I thought I’d put the bigger framed blocks on point with scrappy neutrals between and then border it with the smaller framed squares, floating in the background.  At the bottom, you can see that I was toying with the idea of adding a colored bit in the center of the neutral areas.  I’ll come back to that in a future post.

The math to make it all fit was annoying, and I didn’t really like the border idea.  So, I stopped thinking about the border at this point and put all of those parts away and focused on the center (essentially square-in-a-square) nine blocks.

You’ve been seeing those blocks as I finish them, and I have more to show you in the coming weeks, especially if I can find more of the planning pictures form before the move.

Purple Heart and Tree

Today was a dark day for our democracy here in the US.

I did some hand-sewing for Grackle Party, which I’m not ready to share yet.  I don’t want to associate that piece in my mind too much with this part of history.

A few days ago, I did my first Stash Bee blocks in that month’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge (from soscrappy) color.  January is PURPLE.

First up was Hive 2’s January heart block:

I didn’t quite hit the final measurement of 8 1/2″ square, mine’s more like 8 1/4″, but it’s close enough for an improv-ish block.  It wasn’t supposed to be improv, but it’ll likely fit better with the improv blocks than the more traditional ones.  I also learned that I need WAY more light in my sewing area to cut accurately.

Second was Hive 6’s January improv tree block:

I didn’t even bother with her width and height requirements and my top’s uneven, but I think I nailed her look.  I enjoyed this one so much (though it had a steep learning curve for me) that I have trunks cut and pieced and purples pulled for two more blocks.

I’m going to have lots of neutral scraps for other projects or blocks when I’m done with these trees:

It was a mess, but I think I understand better how the angles go together now.  The back’s less of a mess than the front, amazingly.  I did press after each seam, which helped.  Unfortunately, the purple fabric’s been in storage for a LONG time and I could not get that crease out.

I’m linking up with RSC at so scrappy.

Finish Along 2017 Q1

For a more complete list of my WiPs, look above my header image at the “Project List” link.  That list is a work in progress, too.

Before the end of March, I hope to finish (or work on or think about):

  1. The Star Wall Hanging on black, for my mother.  Two more years and it’s still not done yet.  Argh.
  2. Tiny Flower Garden for Prim.  It’s a lot more done now than it is in this picture, and I have more pictures of its assembly which I have yet to blog.  I think if I really push, I can get it quilted and bound and ready for hanging in under three months.  I’m dreading the applique to the borders, but I think I’ve done enough hand-sewing by now that it’ll be fine.  I have no idea how I’m going to quilt it beyond “simply”, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

3. Pumpkin Patch for Sec.  I’d decided that this would be a twin-sized quilt, but I’m going back to my toddler-bed-sized plan.  It’ll be a faster finish and he’s not super-into pumpkins anymore, so this can go into storage for someday when he moves out and takes it with him.  Or he can use it on the couch.  Or both.

4. Red and white twin-sized bed quilt for Sec.  Not blogged (or named) yet, I’ll add a link when I post about it.

5. Improv linen throw quilt.  Chunky rectangles of color, accented with black and white.  1/2″ seams, not blogged yet.

6. Toddler placements.  I promised these to the kids’ (old) school, and I’d like to get them finished up and mailed.  Not blogged yet.

7. 16″ square epp pillow cover.  It’s currently just paper shapes, not blogged yet.

8a-d. Four 7.5″ x 8″ drink/snack mats for the kids’ new drink station.  These are EPPed and I’ll have to redact the photos, since each features its owner’s first initial.  I have Prim’s ready, but I need to re-do the binding as I rushed it and it’s not great.  The paper for Sec’s is cut out and I’m in the basting stage.  These are four separate projects, since they’re time-consuming, but they’re part of a series so I’m listing them together.  Not blogged yet.

9.  Four 7.5″ x 8″ alternate drink/snack mats.  These will be machine-pieced and are much simpler, so they count as one project.  I have the top of Prim’s sewn together and Sec pulled fabrics for his, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten.  Not blogged yet.

And I’ll leave it here, since I don’t want to miss the link-up for the first quarter.  I’ll keep updating my “Project List” link, since I’d like a master list of my WiPs to work from.

Linking up to the Q1 2017 Finish-Along.

Four Minuscule Hexagon Flowers

Terrible low light photo ahoy!

Four minuscule hexagon flowers done, and after taking the last photo on the light background, I realized I liked it much more than the bright green I’d used to baste some of the hexagons.

But now seeing the flowers on this more muted, olive-y green, I like it more then the white I’d intended to use as the path.

But I already basted and sewed most of the background together and I used one of the few flowers on black I have in the center.

But it’s not centered.

A cascade of “buts”.  I”m thinking about just stuffing this one into a container with this green and a strip of white and coming back to it later.  It’s just not fun sewing these little things together anymore and I’d like to make progress on my other projects.  We’ll see if that’ll stick.

Minuscule Hexagon Flowers

As I was working on sewing the minuscule hexagons together for the flowers, I realized that it wasn’t that much fun.  The small needle was too small and it was easier with a longer needle, but still no fun.  So I’m only going to make four flowers for the needle book.  I don’t need flowers on the back cover or spine.  They’ll be a feature for the front.  Here are the three I have done, and a few basted hexagons of the green path fabric.  Only the orange flower left to go.

I was planning on a white/light hexagon with a fussy-cut motif for the center of the four flowers, but I’m not finding anything suitable in my stash.  I thought the fabric I have them on above would work, but it’s not precise enough a motif.  I’ll keep looking.  I haven’t had time with the kids on Winter Break.

Also, I see, especially in the photo, that the stitches are showing more than normal (and they’re about six on each edge, not seven).  I hope the fabric will relax a little when I take the papers out, as I do plan on taking the papers out.

There will be a blog post for 2017 plans, but it’s not done yet.  I do plan to backdate it to the first.  Try not to freak out about it, my single blog follower.  ;)

Plans for 2017

This is a picture-free post (and backdated from the 9th to the 1st), so buckle in.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what kind of person I want to be, what kind of parent, and I want to be someone who finishes things.  I love starting projects, but I often don’t see them through because I’m so wrapped up in them being “perfect”.  As we know, “perfect” is the enemy of “good”, and it murders “done”.  In the interest of pushing myself to rack up some finishes in 2017, my word of the year is:


Obviously, some of my handwork projects are long-term, and it’s fine for me to have long-term projects, but I need to get some done and quilted and finished.  I also want to blog more, so every post I do is something that I can call “done”, even if it’s not perfect, which it won’t be.

Now for more concrete goals:

WiP List.  I’ll have a separate blog post with finishes I’d like to make, in conjunction with at least one blog’s link party (see below).

Blogging more.  Will this be daily?  Doubtful.  Weekly?  At least.  Somewhere in between?  Likely.  I need to figure out a more efficient way of watermarking images (I think, like Bonnie of Quiltville fame), I’ll just put the info in the same place and size for every picture and make a macro.  I also want to take better pictures, since one of the pleasures of following a craft blog is seeing all of those amazing colors and fabrics.

Blogging more diversely.  This isn’t just a quilt blog, though it’ll be mainly a craft blog.  But I do have other crafty interests, and as I get to do them, they’ll likely be the subject of a post or two.  Expect, in the next year, posts about apparel sewing, cross stitch, knit, and crochet.  Also maybe doll repainting or rerooting.  Maybe doll clothes-making.  See below about Throwback Tuesdays.

Blogging community/Link Parties.  I’d like to use my blog to reach out to the quilting community.  I’ve followed some blogs for almost three years now, and I’d like to share in that.  To this end, I’ll link up to some parties, hopefully on a regular basis.  Right now I’m thinking:

  • The 2017 (Quarterly) Finish-Along (I refuse to spell it “Finish-A-Long”), probably through She Can Quilt, which I follow.
  • One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts, though I missed January’s intention post deadline.
  • The Rainbow Scrap Challenge (Saturdays) at So Scrappy, when my color aligns with the color of the month.  January is purple, so I won’t be linking up in January.
  • Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, since I plan to be doing a lot of handwork this year.
  • Others that I’ve forgotten–I’ll update this list once I see I’m doing them.

Unpacking.  We moved in the summer and my sewing/crafts area is nowhere near unpacked.  This is a priority, since I can’t find anything, and if I can’t find it, I can’t use it.

Giving up.  I have projects, mostly crochet projects, from DECADES ago.  I’ve kept them and moved them, over and over, thinking I’ll finish them or re-purpose them or save the yarn, but none of that has happened, and I know it’s never going to happen.  So, as I unpack, I’ll end up tossing a lot of acrylic yarn projects that aren’t in a state to proceed with and/or that I have no use for and/or aren’t my style anymore.

Throwback Tuesdays.  Or maybe Thursdays or Mondays or whatever.  As I go through my old projects, I intend to photograph them and blog about them, so I have a record of them.  These span the gamut from embroidery to knit and crochet.  A very few might get finished, but the rest are for the trash collector.

Stash Bee Blocks.  I don’t have time to do a bee, but I follow the Stash Bee blog, and I’ve decided to make a block of my favorites from each month, eventually to end up in two quilts, modern and traditional, where I can also mix in orphan blocks gifted from my sewing relative and one-off or tester blocks I make over the year.

Design.  I’d like to continue designing my EPP sea-life blocks, as well as trying my hand at some surface design.  I have some books I want to read about it, and I can give it a try on Spoonflower when I order labels.  These, especially the latter, are likely both multi-year projects, but I’d like to get started on them.

Kid Craft Involvement.  This is a multi-year project, but the best time to start is now.  Prim is working now on hand-piecing the exterior of a tote bag for himself, and he’s said he’d like to learn how to crochet, so as I go through my old projects and yarn, I’m sure I’ll be able to find some light acrylic yarn and a hook for him to work with.   He’s young, and I remember at that age it was hard to keep with it, but if we start with something smaller than a scarf (and I do the foundation chain and first row), I think it’ll go well.  I’m really excited about this one.

And, that’s a lot, but I’m interested to see how it plays out.