WIP(s)

Sometimes the best incentive to finish a quilt is the burning desire to start the next one.

I saw this kilim (kee-leem: a middle eastern flat woven rug) on Instagram a few weeks ago and couldn’t get it out of my head. It is so obviously meant to be a quilt.

Moreover, it seems it is meant to be a quilt done in solids. What??? I know. Not my usual thing. But in this case I think any print would take away from the graphic impact of the design. I truly want to make a quilt that looks as much like this exact rug as possible. I don’t stash solids, so I’ll have to do some shopping. Oh darn!

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I started sketching and experimenting with different ways of putting this quilt together. If you are an experienced quilter, you probably noticed the HSTs (half square triangles) right away. They’re set on point (diagonal) but I think I can handle that aspect. The truly challenging part has been deciphering a repeatable block pattern to make the process more reasonable (to avoid the tedium & confusion of piecing this row by row).

Ultimately I came up with this block.

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Set on point and colored in, you can see the kilim design begin to emerge.

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Now, this doesn’t quite replicate the rug exactly. There will be some small differences, but I hope to capture the essence of the kilim while at the same time creating a quilt block that can be easily shared and replicated by others.

It’s going to be a lot of HSTs. A lot. I’m going to try a different method this time- kind of a “back to basics” approach. In my HST tutorial, I advocate creating oversized HSTs and trimming them down (a very common modern day method). But as my sewing accuracy increases I’m not sure it’s necessary. And it’s such a pain that I’m not going to do it if it’s not necessary. I’ll test it and report back! I may be updating that HST tutorial soon.

I guess I need to be careful making absolute statements like “I don’t use solids” or “I always trim my HSTs.”

But meanwhile! I have another quilt that I am forcing myself to complete first, at least to the “finished top” phase. I am so close.

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I’m hoping to be able to share it on Friday because HIP HIP HOORAY SPRING BREAK IS OVER. Spring break is very hard on the mothers. My preschooler goes back to school on Thursday, and I’m planning to stitch this all up then.

I am also collecting fabrics for one more project, but I’ll share the details of that another day. Here’s a sneaky peak of the growing pile though.

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Mmm. These are personal favorites of mine, all Denyse Schmidt (Katie Jump Rope, Flea Market Fancy, and Picnic & Fairgrounds).

I’m sure it will be the thought of cutting into this project that gets me through all those HSTs for the kilim quilt. And the cycle continues…

WIP wednesday: funkify

I’m not sure what came over me after my post last week, but I suddenly got the urge to switch this quilt up a bit in order to feel more excited about it.

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I wanted it to be a little less pretty, and a little more “funky.” I can’t remember exactly how the idea came to me (probably surfing instagram) but somehow I decided that it would be more interesting (or at least more “me”) if I varied the backgrounds. Thankfully I only had 3 Marmalade striped ones completed so I’ll be able to use them no problem. (That also leaves me yardage of the Marmalade stripe, which will be great for a backing or 2).

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Then I decided that I’m going to leave out the sashing… which of course means I’m going to need 30 (instead of 20) flowers. I’ve done 9, and I’m going to try to knock the rest out 3 at a time for a week or so. Maybe a little longer since I’m eventually going to need to make more petals.

I’m much more excited about this project now though. It would have been very pretty the other way too, but my goal for this year was to really focus on producing quilts I love and determining how and why that happens.

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I think I’m going to love this one.

Obnoxiously upbeat Monday post

I’ve talked before about how I love the fresh start of a new morning or a new year. I feel the same way when I finish a project, and boy did I just finish a big one.

I have been working so hard on a super-secret-not-allowed-to-talk-about-it project for the last couple of months and it is finally done. I cheated a little and shared this picture on instagram:

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That’s as good as it’s gonna get until April! I am extremely excited to share this project and the related tutorial. It’s going to be a really fun one.

In the meantime, I am taking great pleasure in choosing which project to focus on next.

Gypsy wife?

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Modern flower garden?

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Something brand new?

One thing I’ll definitely be working on this week is a Noodle-head divided basket for my barn door quilt along winner! Mr. Random chose number 1, Kris from Sew Sunshine, who made this beauty:

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I’ll be working with Kris to choose colors and fabrics. Maybe I’ll work on that while I’m still trying to decide which quilt to work on.

Which quilt would you like to see me choose? Gypsy wife or modern flower garden? Something new?

I’ll be back with my answer for WIP Wednesday.

WIP wednesday: dreaming of next Christmas

So many fabulous Christmas projects around the interwebs lately! I’m terribly jealous because I pretty much only have time to pin to my Pinterest page and dream of next year. I’ve decided that I’m going to completely block off November and December next year for holiday sewing!

Here’s what I’m working on instead:

  • I’m sewing the binding down on my penny sampler. How exciting is that?? As soon as that’s done I’ll be on the lookout for the first available moment for some decent photos. DSC07082
  • I’ve been setting up my new sewing room, and getting used to sewing in it. I’ll be sharing much more about that when it’s in a more presentable state. This week I’m painting the walls and soon I’ll be making curtains out of this voile I finally found an excuse to buy. I would seriously buy that fabric in every color of the rainbow if it was regular quilting cotton.DSC07058
  • I’m hand quilting a great big quilt that will be a Christmas present. I’ll share it with you after it’s gifted. (No picture allowed!)
  • But I’m the most excited about the present I am making for YOU!

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How bout that? I’m participating in Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway Day next Monday. I’ll be giving away a Noodle-head divided basket. Here’s a sneak peak:DSC07078

Ok, so technically no longer a WIP. This went together much faster than I expected. I’m usually pretty shy about 3-dimensional objects but I was determined to conquer this pattern because it’s such a cute & useful item. I’d love to have a whole bunch of them to organize my scraps. It also seems like a great go-to pattern for baby shower gifts (you know- when there’s just not time for a quilt).

In case you missed it, I’ve posted the fabric requirements for the barn door quilt-a-long. But DON’T PANIC. We won’t be starting until after the holidays! I took advantage of the Fat Quarter Shop black Friday sale and ordered the fabric for mine. I’ll share that as soon as it arrives. That is going to be some happy mail!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday and NTT!

Resolutions

A little early for New Year’s resolutions, I know. But I tend to organize my mind pretty rigidly into weeks, months, years… So I’ve already been thinking quite a bit about “2014 quilts.”

When I think about 2014 quilts, I think about how much I don’t want to finish (most of) my WIPs.

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(Click the images to go to the posts about these quilts)

I’m trying to figure out why I don’t want to finish these quilts and what to do about it.

2014 will be my 3rd year of intense, obsessive quilting. I can’t believe how far I’ve come, especially this year.  I have learned so much and worked so hard and had so much fun getting here!

But once in a while it’s good to reassess how things are going:

  • Are you making quilts you like?
  • Are you still having fun?

After my reassessment I’ve made 2 decisions about 2014:

I’m going to finish most of my WIPs by making them into baby quilts. I will finish the green and white Christmas quilt as planned because it’s almost done. I’m not going to do the red and white one at all. (Anyone need any 2.5 by 6.5 inch solid red?) I’m definitely not throwing anything away. Some cut pieces will go into my scrap bin. At this point I don’t think I’ll have to scrap anything already sewn together, which is good. I’m just going to scale back the size of some projects and call them finished.

When all (ALL) of my WIPs are off my list, I’m going to try a new 2-part strategy:

  1. I want to try to focus on just one quilt at a time. I’ve realized that I get more and more tired of projects the longer they hang around. Probably you more-experienced quilters have realized this lesson long ago! I won’t be too strict with myself if it’s in my best interest or the quilt’s best interest to have a break. But I definitely think having 5, 6, 7… 10 quilts going at once is making me unhappy. I want the freedom to join quilt-alongs and start exciting new projects without WIP guilt.
  2. I’m going to use the fabric, patterns, and ideas I’m excited about right now because that can change so fast. I want to use my fabrics with reckless abandon, knowing that the next great fabric line is always around the corner. Have you seen this or this?

I’ve also been thinking about quick quilts vs. true modern heirlooms. But I think that probably deserves its own post.

How many WIPs do you? Do they bug you late at night?