Thursday, January 11, 2018

TGIFF: Hawaiian halter apron

Welcome to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday, and presenting my First Finish of 2018!

This is only my 2nd time hosting (last was in October 2016, followed by a desert in my blogging presence).  What this means: you, too could be a volunteer host.  Do you have a New Year's Resolution to try new things?  Break out of your comfort zone?  Head on over to the tgiff link to sign up for a volunteer week (or two).
Happy birthday, cherub!

My finish this week is not the result of weeks or months of tedious work.  Nah, that would be the item I thought would be finished.  This week I celebrate a quick make: an upcycle (and a gift for my youngest cherub).

Before: a pair of Hawaiian print shirts, purchased at a thrift store because they reminded me of my recent vacation.  Actually a bit difficult to find said Hawaiian print shirts in cotton--mostly they are rayon.  But cotton is the better choice for an apron designed for actual kitchen use.

After: cute halter apron!

I couldn't find the instructions I used the last time I made one of these, so I just based my cuts and stitches on the apron at hand.  (I wear that one all the time.)

Made things intentionally a bit bigger, to better fit the recipient, but still threw a couple box pleats in the back.  Hope she likes it.

Now it's your turn:  Link up any finishes for this week and don't forget to stop by some of the other finishes--leave them some comment love! Grab the TGIFF button and link back to this post, so your  visitors can see other dynamite finishes.

Powered by...

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Report out: December goals & blogging

I set monthly goals for December (first time since March), so it's time to look back and see how I did.
At the same time, I signed up for 31 days of blogging in December, although it was clear at mid-month that 31 blog posts was not really gonna happen.  But 13 posts did happen, and that is a huge change.

December goal report

1.  Finish super-secret quilt Done!
Almost got to the recipient in time for Christmas.  But what a delight to see and hear how much she loved it.  Like giving birth...

2.  Finish baby quilt for Guild charity drive So close...
I put on the binding.  I removed the partial bits of my previous quilting, and I started tying the quilt.  Just didn't get it done in time.  So it got put aside in the pre-Christmas rush.

3.  Finish puppy pillow sham  Nope
This will eventually be a gift.  Just not for Christmas 2017.

4.  Hand-stitch binding on Circles BoM quilt  Again, so close...
I stitched while my son was visiting one December weekend (much good football watching).  But alas, still have about 12" left.

5.  Make/complete 3 blocks for Woven BoM  Done!
Updated the display at the shop, with Four completed blocks.  Looking good!

6.  Finish 2 chirimen samples  Nope
7.  Finish "C is for Chicken" book  Nope
8.  Memorial stockings for the siblings  Nope
Did not touch any of this in December.

What happened?
Well, I actually picked up a totally different unfinished project.  Hand work.  Traveled nicely when I went to see family and friends at many holiday gatherings.

There are eight cats to blanket stitch outline on this twin-sized quilt top--a project started in 2014 (and stalled significantly since then).  I suppose I could look back at my December goals to analyze why I went so astray of what I said I wanted to work on.  But, ya know, it was a holiday month, so I think I'm gonna just let it be.

To recap: some cute cats got their blanket stitch on, my largest ever quilt was completed and sent to its forever home, and I still love to sew, regardless of my perceived productivity in any given month.

Happy stitching to me!  And happy 2018 to us all!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

1930's Scrap Quilt finish

I'm happy with posting all these finished projects!  This quilt *may* have been done in 2016--it was certainly well used over the course of this year.

 Last appeared on the blog in June 2016; I had just finished piecing the back at retreat and dropped it off at the long-arm quilter.

Jayne is such a wonderful quilter!  This is the 3rd quilt she's done for me, and I don't think I said much more than, "Please do something in line with the nature of the 1930's timeframe."  She created an amazing border treatment of feathers and waves in the scrappy-cream negative space.

I didn't really love my pieced back, but the quilting really improved its likabiliity.  And has not diminished my using the quilt this year.  It's one of my favorites for napping on the couch.

Successful scrap quilt!  Made from someone else's cast-off scraps, even.  And made entirely from stash, including using up all of a 20+ year old piece of background fabric.

Thanks for a great 2017!  More completed projects need to show up on the blog, and more in-process reporting should happen as the backlog of the unblogged gets sorted through in 2018.

See you next year.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Grandmother's Fan Pillow finish

Look, another finished item makes it into the blog!  This was one of my goals to finish in March, and I had to confess that I still hadn't finished it by July.

I used a pre-printed muslin backing to make the Grandmother's Fan block from an assortment of blue fabrics that were leftovers from making another pillow (not yet blogged).  Probably my favorite aspect of this pillow was the Man About Town background fabric from Northcott Studio.  (I have since purchased another big length of it--too versatile not to have more of this.)

This same fan was previously seen in pink fabrics, from a challenge block I made in January.  I also have a few more of these fan blocks made up, in Japanese indigo fabrics.  And I have yet more of the printed muslin, just no plans for it...

Meanwhile, loving this finished pillow!

Friday, December 29, 2017

She Likes It! Christmas Quilt Unwrapped

Now that the Christmas dust has settled, and the shredded wrapping paper gone to the bin, I can happily report on the largest quilt I've ever made: she likes it!

Here is the inspiration.  A painting from her house, that her husband said encapsulated the kind of art she likes.

Also, "her favorite color is purple."  These are the fabrics I pulled.

And I put them together pretty much in that order, using a variation on Elizabeth Hartman's Metropolis pattern from her book Modern Patchwork

One quilt "block".  King size.  Purple?  Check.  But not quite in line with the inspiration artwork.  No problem, this quilt has 2 sides, I'll just make it reversible!  And so, I moved far far away from my comfort zone...

Bought a giant swath of stunning fabric: Discovery Tree, from Frond Design Studios (whose mission is "to keep hand-designed art in fabric") and started playing around on my design wall.  My main concern was how to let the fabric be the star--not cut it up into blocks and lose all its fabulousness.

I had one repeat of another Frond fabric, Metamorphosis Hurricane, so I worked to insert one of its motifs into the fiery party.  And I was off and running!

"Running" is not quite the right word for it.  Despite using a free-form, improv cutting and piecing technique, I was tortured about every cut and placement.  I spent hours deliberating over which fabrics to insert, as I gently pried apart the flames to inject variety and break up the five repeats within the main fabric.  Used two different colors of Moda Grunge fabric along the top and bottom, but continued the set-in bits of color there as well.

So worth it!  The look on her face, the squeals of "I can't believe you made this for me." And, "How did you manage to keep this a secret for a whole year?"  Yep, Christmas joy, right there.

Thanks for reading along this far.  I have a tendency to gush over my completed projects.  It's the main reason I started blogging: to track my finishes, and to tell a complete story with each quilt.

Since this is such a big finish, I'm linking up with TGIFF

hosted this week by Kathy's Kwilts and More.  Follow the link to see some other amazing December finishes--I think many of us have been keeping mum on Christmas projects.

To Cathy. Love, Alla

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Textures: I Ruff You

I am in love with textures lately!  (Okay, maybe always, but I'm working on a couple textured projects, so it's only natural to highlight textural elements.)

The shop has a panel that will stitch up into a children's book.  (One of Sandra Magsamen's Huggable and Loveable book panels.)  I happen to have a soft spot for children's books--especially those made of cloth. (see some of my previous book makes here and here)

So I stitched it up!  But I had to add a few embellishments.  You know, just because.  On the front cover, I couched down a striped cord for the heart/balloon's string.

On the page with the words "10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes", I stitched on buttons from my big ol' button jar: ten of 'em!

I appliqued a matching eye patch on one page, made from KraftTex (a washable paper that feels and looks like leather).  Oh, and can you see the french knots I added to the dog's ears?  Black-on-black doesn't show up so well in photos...

What goes around the outside of a Valentine heart?  Well, I used rick-rack instead of lace.

I just used good old Perle cotton to stitch around some of the words pre-printed on the panel.

 And finally, the doggie on the back cover was missing a tail!  Can you imagine?  So I stitched up a little felt tail.  Much improved.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of cloth books?  Any favorite textural elements that the kids in your life really like?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mid-month Check-in

"Forgiveness is important when you're trying to do something every day." --Abby Glassenberg, from the While She Naps podcast

It's more than halfway through the month of December, how is my 31 days of blogging coming along?  Well, dear reader, you have probably noticed that I have not written a blog post every day.  Yup, that happened (or didn't happen, really).

Pro's and Con's: what have I learned so far?

  1. As of this post, I have published 9 blog posts in December.  This is more posts than I had in the entire year before December.  So... essentially going from not-blogging to somewhat-frequently-blogging.
  2. The app on my phone no longer supports my blogging.  So I don't have the option to quickly snap a picture or 2 and have a simple blog post that way.  I should probably download one of the paid apps for this purpose--the photo step really tends to get in the way of quick posting.
  3. On at least 3 occasions this month, I have been at a place where I consciously chose to sew instead of blogging.  If I get the chance to choose sewing, that will almost always win.  So how do I structure blogging so that it doesn't actively compete with sewing?  Hmm, something to think about...
  4. Even Cheryl Sleboda, the lovely hostess of this 31-day challenge, has missed a few days.  December daily anything is HARD.
  5. Perfectionism really gets in my way.  Always.  I have 29 draft posts in "partially completed" form, that could become published blog posts.  If only I didn't need to: take the picture, edit the picture, find the link, mess with the formatting, etc. etc. 
  6. Hand sewing beats blogging?
  7. My posts tend to be looong wordy.  True daily blogging would require shorter posts, with less emphasis on them each being a work of art.

These seem like valuable lessons.  I think embarking on new adventures and taking on challenges can provide those lessons in ways that clumping through life in my normal manner would not.  Have you learned from a recent challenge?  I'd love to hear about it.