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One of the reasons I haven’t posted in so long was that I was flitting from one project to the next without finishing anything! It was really frustrating for me because I’m someone that likes to focus on one or two projects and see them through to completion. If I’m going to put something to the side than I want to leave it to the side for months. And I really try to keep the number of projects I do that with to a minimum. Right now I have four quilts in limbo land….

But that’s the least of my worries. First I got into knitting, made it 2/3 of the way through a sweater and then ripped it all out- have I restarted? Ummm, no.

Then I got really into the idea of making clothes and got as far as purchasing some patterns, planning fabric and even buying fabric. I even got as far as cutting one set of pattern pieces out. I started with the intention of making a couple patterns from Simple Modern Sewing but they have put way to many patterns on only a couple sheets of paper. Since all the pattern lines are in black and they are all overlapping I can’t tell which lines go to which pattern. It REALLY frustrates me because I was really excited by this book and now I want nothing to do with it! I would gladly have paid extra to have a CD with individual patterns I could print out or for them to print the pattern lines in different colors or ANYTHING to make it possible to discern one set of lines from the other! So I switched gears and bought a couple Simplicity patterns but realized I’m drawn to patterns of clothing I don’t wear. I need clothes that I will wear and use. Enter the simple dress shirt pattern from Simplicity (I think…) I’ve cut most of the pattern pieces out and started a muslin but I can’t concentrate.

I finally realized I needed any easy project, something to express my creativity and gain a sense of accomplishment. But I didn’t want to start anything totally new (I have enough in progress projects at this point!) So I pulled out the fabrics I’ve been collecting to make a Christmas quilt. I’ve always intended to make a simple bowtie quilt. Since it’s soo easy it was the perfect project and I finished up this quilt top in a couple days :).

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I wanted it to be appropriate for Christmas but not to Christmasy. And for me my favorite thing about Christmas is the multi-colored lights. This quilt reminds me of those lights with all its bold colors.

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It features a few of my favorite Christmas fabrics but I won’t feel guilty or lazy if I leave it out for all of January and into February.

Ideally I would have made the back and really finished this quilt but I want to wait until Brrr by Laurie Wisbrun comes out and use that for the back.

Brrr! Quilt pieces

You wouldn’t know it from the total lack of posting lately but I finished some older projects and started some new ones!

First up is my Modern Meadow two sided quilt. I designed it so that neither side was “the back.” While I love the mustard yellow its a very strong color and I wanted something to switch to if it got to be too much.

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I think the soothing aqua blue provides a nice counter balance.

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While a quilt can have two different personalities when it comes to the fabric and pattern it can only have one quilt design. That is the point where I stalled for months! I couldn’t decide which side I should base the quilting on and then I couldn’t decide how to quilt it…. Ultimately I quilted it with the circle even though I think the blue side will be up more often. I was drawn to the idea of concentric circles and I think it works well on both sides.

I actually did this on my home Janome 6600!

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I used my quater inch foot as a guide and went around and around and around. I won’t lie to you it was at times very frustrating to try and man handle the quilt, go around the circle and keep the stitching straight and even. But I love the results!

You can probably tell that this quilt has spent most of its life folded up. I started it to be a couch quilt for the winter but didn’t get it finished in time. Now its just too hot!

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Oh well we are ready for next year!

I have been busy trying to work through the quilting on this monster!

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I don’t have the money to send it to a longarm quilter and even though I paid a couple hundred dollars learning the basics of longarm quilting so I could rent time on one at a local shop I’ve never made it over there again… So this quilt sat for a long time until I decided that I was just going to do it, the way I’ve always wanted to do it and I was going to do it on my own machine! The problem? Well I wanted to quilt concentric circles. I asked my husband to make me a giant compass so that I can stitch the circles one inch apart but he got bogged down in school and I never say down to do it myself. Instead I got the crazy idea of using my 1/4 in foot. That’s right I’m stitching quarter inch concentric circles on a full sized quilt on my home machine, I am in fact crazy…

I’d show you a status picture but that would require me to remove it from my machine and I’m not going to do that. All I can say is I’m really glad that I offset the circle because I cannot imagine working the whole thing from the center. As it is I can only work on this for 20-30 minutes at a time because it’s just so exhausting manhandling the quilt around to ensure the circles are generally even (they are far from perfect) and that the stitch length is mostly the same.

I’m hoping to be done with this in a couple weeks. I’ve been trying to work on it everyday but I’ve been distracted by knitting.

I asked my SIL to make me a knit cowl for Christmas and she made an amazing one but as I started looking for patterns I started seeing more and more things that I loved and wanted. I figure she can’t be my personal knit slave so I would have to learn myself. This pillow is my second project. What I really want to make are sweaters and knee high socks but I figured I should try a couple smaller projects first.

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I love how the pillow came out, unfortunately my cats really “love” the pillow as well so it only sat on the couch for about 30 minutes before I had to pack it away…

But high on my success I did start a sweater (actually I started another “skill building” project but quickly got bored. I’m not big on learning on smaller projects. Instead I’d rather go big and if it doesn’t turn out perfectly that’s okay). I bought the yarn from a local yarn shop because if you do then they will help you with your projects! Now that’s win win as far I’m concerned. I’m maybe 1/5 of the way throught the sweater so we’ll see how it goes…

I didn’t realize that it had been quite so long since my last post! I spent a lot of that time just hanging out with my family and enjoying not having to travel for work but I did get some crafting done.

This was my last finish of 2011 and one of two that I made solely for donation. I noticed last year as I went through my stash that fabrics that I like when they come out (but don’t love) often ended up sitting in my stash unused. Since then I’ve tried hard to purchase only those fabrics that I really love and in doing so have saved myself money and space! I’m also trying to complete more non quilt projects. I mean how many quilts does one person need? Not to mention the fact that I have so many quilt tops already completed that still need to be turned into actual quilts!

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This was my first finish of 2012 (although all but the basting and quilting was done in 2012). I’m working hard to finish everything I’ve already started before I let myself begin any new quilts. At the rate I’m going I won’t be making any new quilt tops until 2013!!

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I let this project (and so many others) languish in the WIP pile because I didn’t have the skills or the time to quilt them the way I would have liked to. My original intention was a simple loopy loop quilt design but doing so required time and patience that I didn’t have. And because the the quilt itself ended up a bit wonky any attempt at straight line quilting would have drawn attention to the wonkyness. So I used this as an opportunity to try out a different quilting skill- free motion stippling. For a long time I was scared of dropping my feeddogs and I thought I would stitch myself into a corner and not be able to get out. But overall it wasn’t too bad. There was a bit of ripping when I first started before I got the tension and speed just right. I got myself some gardening gloves to grip the fabric and knocked it out in about a week. My stitch length isn’t totally uniform and I did cross my lines a few times but you can’t really tell. For a first attempt and on such a large quilt I think I did exceptionally well!

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Over the break I also bought a bunch of fabric to try sewing my own clothes and I picked up knitting! So far I’ve made a cowl that I gave to my mom and I’m about halfway through a pillow cover. I’m trying to make sure I sew and knit items that I will actually use. When I bought fabric I stuck to neutral colors in simple patterns or solids. I bought enough to make a skirt and two blouses. I figure if I make them and like them than I’ll branch out and the same with knitting.

Sorry for the prolonged absence I’ve been traveling quite a bit for work and “leisure” lately and haven’t had time to do much crafting. And my large stack of quilts is still staring me down waiting to be finished so it’s been hard to motivate myself. But I did participate in a couple of swaps over the past month or so that were definitely worth blogging about.

First up was the Pretty Little Pouch Swap. In which I got this little pouch

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Which goes beautifully with the tote I got in the For the Love of Solids Swap (which is going to start up again after the holidays if you are interested).

Right after the pouch swap I joined the Goodie Bag Swap. I made this Amy Butler pattern using the Melody Miller Bee fabric.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I had a really hard time letting this purse go and if the fabric wasn’t so expensive I probably would have made myself one!

Of course the bag I got in return was just as cool.

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And it even came with a change purse!

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I loved the purse I got in this swap and the little pouch from the other swap so much that I decided to make another little pouch to match my new purse. The colors aren’t a perfect match but they go well together and I wanted to use what I had on hand instead of purchasing new fabric.

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Now regardless of which purse I carry I have a matching pouch that will hold my phone, wallet, chapstick etc so they won’t get lost in the bottom of the bag :).

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I missed out on the Alexander Henry Ghastlies prints last year so I made sure to purchase them when they were rereleased this year! I even knew when I bought them that I wanted use them with the I Do pattern from Cherri House. I think the large piecing and simpe design of the quilt works beautifully with these fabrics.

The original pattern called for 12 prints and 12 solids but I felt that would look too busy. I’m not a super scrappy quilt type person. Ultimately I used 12 prints, nine from the Ghastlies and three that I had in my stash. I’ve cut way back on my fabric purchasing this year by focusing on buying fabric that I love. Rather than purchase twelve new prints because that’s what the pattern called for I bought the nine prints I loved. And I think the three prints from my stash work beautifully!

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Since the color scheme of the Ghastlies prints is fairly limited and I prefer a limited palette I only used six solids- white, black, two shades of gray and two shades of pink. I wasn’t sold on the pink at first but I went with my gut and LOVE the results. I’m not normally a pink person but this is an exception.

My goal is to have this finished by Halloween but between work and school I think next Halloween is probably a more realistic goal!

Alexander Henry Christmas fabric

I was cruising the aisles today at my local Jo-Ann’s when I spied this fabric. I was quite suprised since it was printed last year and I remember snagging the last yard of it from Jo-Ann’s this past January. I had an intense desire to buy the whole bolt (6 yards) because I love this fabric and it was on sale for 30% off but I “behaved” and only bought two yards. I would have bought more if I thought I would use it anytime this year but I won’t. I already have an idea for a two sided Christmas quilt so I won’t need yardage for that. The two yards I bought will make some nice pillow or a table runner or maybe even a Christmas tree skirt.

I didn’t think Alexander Henry (the fabric’s manufacturer) was reprinting Christmas fabric from last year but I guess I shouldn’t be too suprised since I also found this fabric again this year.

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I must say I think it is interesting that more and more fabric manufacturers are choosing to reprint popular lines. The most well known is the upcoming Flea Market Fancy by Free Spirit but in the coming months we will also see another round of Mono Pez and Henna Garden and this summer Alexander Henry released another round of the Ghastlies. While I’m glad manufacturers are choosing to reprint I agree with many others that I wish they wouldn’t “tweak” the colors or only rerelease certain prints. I’m very disappointed in the Flea Market Fancy rerelease. You can see 19 of the 20 prints that will be released here. I really wanted the green posies and the blue seeds, neither of which looks like made the cut :(. I’ll probably buy a 1/2 yard of four or five prints. To be honest I’m more interested in what everyone else does! The madness is sure to be exciting, I just need to make sure I don’t get caught up in it and buy more than I really want.

Are you looking forward to any rereleases?

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