29 August 2011

Scrappy block, take two

     One Postage Stamp block down, nineteen to go for the Scrapbuster Block Swap.  So I thought until I measured it.  Finishing up at 8 3/8", it's an 1/8" shy of what it should measure.  Naughty thing- now I have to unsew you!  Ah, well, I wasn't really in love with the block anyway.  There were too many aqua tones in the block.
     After a little trip to Hart's Fabrics to pick up a few FQ's and raiding a friend's stash (which negates the"scrapbusting" part of the swap), I started the second iteration of Block #1. 

It measures up at exactly 8 1/2" square.  
     The first block was strip-pieced, which went mighty quickly.  The second was pieced individually.  I enjoy piecing individually piecing the components better than strip-piecing.  It takes more time, but I like playing with fabric selection and placement.  That, or I just like doing things the hard way.

26 August 2011

A quilt retreat, a first day of school and a scrapbuster swap

     My first quilt retreat!  A handful Bay Area MQG quilters spent a long weekend near Sonora at the vacation home of one of the guild members.  It was enjoyable getting to know the ladies who went on the retreat.  I didn't accomplish much sewing (three quilt blocks), but for me it was the perfect balance of sewing and socializing, chocolate and wine.
     And I received some lovely gifts:

I owe my retreat mates a goodie bag, which I will bring to the next guild meeting.  I've got some ideas that require a little knitting or sewing.  Thank goodness I only have four gifts to assemble since the next guild meeting is less than a week and a half away.
     I can't believe we have a 3rd and a 4th grader in the house.  Time passes so quickly!  Monday morning was hectic with the drama and excitement of the first day of the school year.  I think it felt more chaotic than it actually was because I felt out of sorts from being away all weekend.  It took a couple of days to get back into the homemaking routine.  I've finally unpacked the fabric I picked up on the retreat:

The other reason I only finished three blocks- getting a little side-tracked by scrumptious fabric!  Can you believe I found yardage of Katie Jump Rope?!  I've always liked it but was too late to the quilting party to see it in shops.
     Encouraged by one of my fellow guild members, I've joined my first block swap.  It's a scrapbuster swap, so we use scraps and fabrics from our own stash to make the same blocks.  I've signed up to make twenty "postage stamp" blocks.  Twenty.  A little ambitious for my first swap, but I do have a large stash of fabric and scraps scattered all over the house.   

16 August 2011

The other needles

     I'm throwing another project into the mix... this time a non-sewing project.  I'm picking up the knitting needles after a year or so of leaving off unfinished knitting projects.  I basically stopped knitting when I stopped working because I stopped riding the train, which is where I did my knitting.  I also blame sewing and quilting. 

     It's out with the old, in with the new (knitting projects, that is).  I decided not to pick up where I left off on the three sweaters I had going.  Instead, I cast-on for the Maple Street Cardigan from the Fall 2009 edition of Interweave Knits.  Although I love it in lavendar, I decided to knit it up in the Dark Green colorway of this yarn.  Dark green isn't really an accurate description of the yarn- it's more of a teal color.

     I hope I can actually finish this sweater.  I have only completed two knitting projects.  The first was a scarf I made for Tonio, from a cheap acrylic yarn which has pilled most horribly.  The other was this  cute little poncho for Martina in a nice silk and wool hand-dyed yarn.

My mother shrank it in the wash on her last visit here.  Shrank it down to barbie doll size.  I've promised little momma to make her another.

04 August 2011

First Quilt-Along

     Having joined the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild this summer, I'm excited to participate in my first quilt-along.  I'm not sure if there is an official name for it- I think we're calling it the A to Z Quilt-Along.  In a nutshell we sew a block (or two) a month, each month having a designated letter.  The fun begins by scouring books or the web for blocks beginning with the designated letter for the month.
     My color palette is yellow, pink and orange.  I've chosen Jennifer Paganelli's "Honey Child" line as the inspiration fabrics, and supplemented with a few others:

     [The fabrics are, from top to bottom: Honey Child Flourish Papaya (Jennifer Paganelli), Weekends Hopscotch Butter (Erin McMorris), Honey Child Blooms Papaya, Girly Girl Berry Whispers (Art Gallery), Weekends Hopscotch Pink, Trick Or Treat Orange (Riley Blake), Kona Curry, Honey Child Abstract Orange, Queen Street Maeve Fuschia (Jennifer Paganelli), Kona Pomegranate.]
     We're currently on C blocks for August.  [Edited 8/7- we're actually on "B" blocks.  I got ahead of myself.]  At the suggestion of one of the BAMQ guild members, I purchased Judy Hopkins' 501 Rotary Cut Blocks.  I love that this book has pictures of the blocks in alpha order at the front if the book.  It also gives measurements for multiple sizes.  The only drawback is that there aren't explicit instructions on how to make the blocks.  You also have to do a little extra math if you want to speed cut and piece (e.g. quick piecing multiple HST's from larger squares or strip piecing).
    Below are the blocks I've got so far:

Antique Tile Block
Bachelor's Puzzle
Castles In Spain