Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stringing Along

I made a few more string blocks over the weekend, and a few more (not pictured) last night.  I'm having a lot of fun with these--just going with the flow.

And I ironed some more recycled shirt fabrics to add to my growing stack.  These are ready to be cut into strip and strings, a la Bonnie Hunter, and go into the bins.  I've made my peace with this as just an ongoing process, and not something I'll probably ever be "finished" with.  Deconstruct a few shirts, iron some pieces, cut some pieces as the spirit moves me.

For some reason, I just really enjoy the process of deconstructing clothing.  I enjoy doing it with sweaters as well, reclaiming the yarn for future use.  There's something almost meditative about it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Weekend Progress

I worked on my Star Struck blocks this weekend, perfecting my stitch-and-flip technique on those 2 1/2" corner triangles.  Here's the stacks of block parts, one stack with corner triangles attached, and one still awaiting the blue-green triangle.  And behind that, the big pile of chain-pieced units!

Of course, because I am an impatient quilter, I had to stitch together a couple of blocks and then put those together.  You can see them on the left-hand side of my messy  creatively chaotic bulletin board.

I also put together the four little string blocks I made--those are on the lower right.

Here's a close-up.  As you can see, I'm not too attached to the idea of the strings running parallel to each other.  Lots of my strings are angled, and if I run short in one area, well, I just smack something else on there!  In the lower right-hand block you can see that I used a "string" that was a leftover from the Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks you can see above.

These sure are a lot of fun to play with.  I foresee a whole quilt made up of these in my future.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tidy and Untidy Stacks

Last night I worked on my Star Struck quilt--adding light corner triangles, pressing and squaring up bonus half-square triangles, and cutting out dark 2 1/2" squares for the opposite corners.  I've chosen deep teal and  blue-green for the dark triangles, to act as complement to all the warm colors of the stars.

I hope this turns out as pretty in real life as it looks in my head!

Everything looks so tidy in this picture, but turn around 180 degrees, and you get this:

Task for tonight or tomorrow:  Clean up this little area of my sewing nook.  It's such a small sewing space that even this amount of excess can really take over.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekend Stash Acquisitions

Lately, I've gotten into the habit of "giving" myself $20.00 to spend every weekend at garage sales on whatever I want, and of course whatever I want usually turns out to be men's shirts to deconstruct for fabric. Sometimes, however, I get lucky and discover a sale with actual fabric for sale, which was the case this past weekend.

I stumbled across a woman selling some of her grandmother's old stash fabrics and project remnants.  Woohoo!  Vintage fabric!

Some of these beauties are clearly small-scale calicoes from the '80's or early '90's, but I'm thinking other prints may well date back into the '70's or even the '60's.  Check out that wonderful orange, yellow, and purple floral on the left in the last picture!  I love it!

Then there were these fabulous blocks that Grandma had made for her granddaughters:

The young woman told me proudly that her grandmother had drafted this leaf pattern herself, and then made blocks for her three granddaughters.  These were the only three remaining after they had picked their favorites to keep.  I love this last one with the odd 1970's conversation print containing horses and carriages, dogs, cacti, mandolins.

I haven't decided what to do with these three blocks.  A quilt back? Pillows?  Seems like they deserve to be featured somehow; I'm just not sure where.  Someday I'm sure I will find the perfect place.

There was also this terrific little box of cut octagons:

These are in all kinds of vintage prints and dressmaking fabrics--a little bit of everything thrown in there!  There's the one block that is put together, and then the rest simply cut and grouped into groups of nine.  I haven't decided what to do with these, either.  They could certainly be English-paper-pieced into a quilt top just as they are (which would be pretty retro, for sure), or added to with my own scraps for even more octagons, or even cut into 2" or 2 1/2" squares.  Right now they are simply a little box full of inspiration and discovery!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cranky Thursday

Everyone in our house was cranky last night, including me.  I am blaming the extreme heat--100 degree temps and 100+ heat index.

So I made myself an adult beverage and set to some mindless ironing, which of course made me hot and sweaty but did give me a sense of accomplishment.

Then I worked on my Star Struck quilt (a Bonnie K. Hunter design) which I am making largely out of my 2 1/2" strip bin, with some stash fabrics thrown in to make up the difference.

I'm using a variety of light fabrics and all the warm-color strips I could pull out of the bin for the darks.  It's shaping up very nicely, and I have gotten to the step of adding the light triangle, using the stitch and flip method.

Bonnie recommends that you stitch again about 3/8" away from the first stitching, to give little "bonus" half-square triangles, so of course I did that!

I have a nice little pile of quilt units started, plus a little stack of half-square triangles.  But once again, bed was calling so I called it a night, tired but a lot less cranky than when I started.  Quilting can do that for a girl.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mid-Week Quilting

Last night I worked on my Rustic Circles quilt, stitching the blocks together.

I always find this one of the more boring parts of putting a quilt together, so I just added one block to each row before I moved on to more interesting things.

Cutting up some of my big stack of recycled shirt fabrics!

My cut strips are on the left-hand side of the cutting mat, in the top photo.  I am using Bonnie K. Hunter's Scrap User's System, to which I have added a 4th strip size--4 1/2".  This seems to be a very usable size to me, playing well with the 2 1/2" and 1 1/2" strips, and making 12" blocks more achievable from scraps.

I am loving this system, as well as the fun of finding and cutting up used men's shirts.  It's an addiction...but a very affordable one, so I'm not being too hard on myself!

I had a little help from my two charming and adorable stepdaughters.

Thanks, girls!

And from that little pile of strings there in front of the flowers, I couldn't resist making a little 6 1/2" string block.

Although I was tempted to stay up and whip out a whole pile of these, I had to head for bed.  That whole business of getting up in the morning and going to work really cramps my quilting style!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

1000+ Degrees

Forecast for today in NW MO:
102 degrees, heat index of 110+
Oy vey.

Everything is wilting, including me.

These are the kind of days that I think about the pioneer women, wearing their long dresses with long sleeves, plus petticoats.  How did they do it?!  Those women were made of stern stuff.