Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Stash Busting Stars: half-star #4

And *just like that* .. bingo! ... half-star #4 was finished!

oooooooh!  I'm half way done with the half-stars!  A milestone!

Work continues with half-star #5, using the dark hued striped fabric.  I'm using  the striped fabric in position 2, so I hope that the entire effect is pleasing.  If not ... eh, shrug.  :-)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stash Busting Stars: half-star #3

Yup, here it is, in all its glory ... the next completed half-star!

This makes #3 of 8.

If you count the fabrics from the center outwards,
#1 is the blue diamonds
#2 is a pink floral
#3 is a pink/green print
#4 is the green

Fabrics #2 and #3 were 'donation' fabrics, in that they were given to me by a quilter who was purging her stash.  They are perfectly good fabrics; the prints are simply something that I wouldn't have normally chosen for myself.

But, this project has been pushing me to consider fabrics that I wouldn't ordinarily use.  Fabric #2 is actually rather old-fashioned looking, where as fabric #3 is VERY VERY busy.  I really can't even describe the over all impact of fabric #3.  :-)

But, together?  I actually think they work rather nicely.  I'm sure that's a metaphor for something in life. :-)

Work on half-star #4 is progressing onwards.

As I was rummaging through my fabric bins for something else, I came across a dark hued striped fabric.  In keeping with using fabrics that are a tad outside my limits, I decided that it would be a good candidate as an anchor fabric for a half-star.  It has enough other colors for coordination.  We'll see how that one turns out. :-) 

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Stash Busting Stars: half star #2

Having finished all my full Stash Busting Stars, I have turned my attention to the half-stars that are needed for the layout.

Here is the second half-star I've completed.

And then ... listen to my tale of woe.  Woe is me.  (there's more).

The quilt project that I am currently working on is out of my comfort zone.  Yes, I did intentionally decide to do this.  It's a (for me) artsy-fartsy sort of design of leaves "blowing in the wind" but in a controlled sort of way.

Additionally, I am using some rainbow ombre quilter's lamé fabric, purchased God knows when or from where.  I had about 1/4 yard and that was *IT*.  There's not a glimmer of a chance of getting more, so that is exactly how much fabric I have to work with.  Therefore, I cut out exactly as many leaves as I could ... and that's all there is.  Period.  I gotta make this design work with the number of leaves in the colors that I have.

After looking at lots of inspirational pictures, I came up with a design that I kinda/sorta like and can live with.  It's not as dismal at you might think because, having no original design gene in my make-up, I never "know" what exactly to do, so everything is shades of "can I live with this?"   And the design I came up with was on the "yes" side of that question.

But, the design felt as though it needed an "anchor point", so to speak.  I figured a green stalk would hold down the design in an asymmetrical sort of way.   I do have a shimmery green fabric in my stash but it's more of a remnant than yardage and was nowhere near the amount that I needed for this stalk.

So, I went shopping online.  I figured some shot cotton would be cool and I found some.  While I was waiting for my order to be delivered, I came across a design that *immediately* jumped out at me and said .. OH YES!  THIS IS THE DESIGN TO USE!   Not only was I so pleased to be enthusiastic about it, it happened to be a free tutorial!  With the pattern!  Oh, hooray, hooray!  This design is a lovely, lovely bare tree trunk and branches with leaves scattered all over.  It was a MUCH better design than what I had come up with.

I eagerly started reading the tutorial only to find that the design had found the process of getting her pattern pieces to the publisher (she apparently had it published at some point) rather difficult because the design is just so large that she point-blank told her readers that there was no way she could provide the tree pattern on the blog and her Dear Readers should simply ... *draw it freehand*.  Oh My Goodness.

Well .. I suppose that having  a picture of her tree will guide me to drawing FREEHAND my own tree.   :: gritting my teeth ::

But now ... if you remember .. I've already ordered the green stalk fabric.  It's on it's way and can't be cancelled.  Tree trunks are NOT green.  Unless they are covered with moss and even then, there's some "tree trunk" color showing through.  Sooooooo ... since my leaves are ombre rainbow anyway (and not real leaf colors), should I just use the green fabric for the tree trunk?  It'll look rather surrealistic.  Or should I put the green shot cotton into my inventory for another project and go looking for some brown tree trunk fabric?  Would a realistic brown tree trunk go well with rainbow colored leaves?  Or should I just leave the tree green because the whole image is preposterous anyway.   :-)    I'll think on it.

Meanwhile, back at the online site, I decided that it was about time that I came to a conclusion about the background fabric for the Stash Busting Stars (and you thought that topic was finished for this post, right?)

Looking at the clearance section ( ... LOOK at how much money I'm saving by purchasing it on SALE!!  :-)   ), I saw a very soft butter yellow fabric that, in my mind's eye, would work rather nicely with the stars that I have made.  Unfortunately, I ran into a problem when I added the butter yellow fabric to my cart: they didn't have enough of it for my background.  Aaarrgghh.

Back to the clearance section ... and I found a white-on-white design that would suffice.

The fabric was ordered and my life moved on.   Several days later, my bundle of joy arrived in the mail.  Hooray!  This was my green stalk fabric and my butter yellow background!  Oh yes, I could definitely see that butter yellow as the background!  It was going to be so pretty!

But wait, you say.  Didn't you actually buy the white on white?  

Well, yeah, but my one remaining brain cell hadn't remembered that.  To say that I was 1) puzzled 2) annoyed and 3) disappointed when I pulled out 7 yards of white on white is an understatement.  Then I remembered why it was white on white and not butter yellow.

Unfortunately, my brain is still fixated on the butter yellow.  It's not really *liking* the white on white.  And I'm stewing.  My mind is frowning.  What can be done to remedy this situation?

BUT WAIT!!  A solution has been thought of!!  Dang, I can DYE THAT FABRIC!    I've dyed white on white fabric before and it comes out a wonderful tone-on-tone because the printed white design absorbs the dye differently than the base fabric.  When the dyeing gets done, it will be a yellow tone-on-tone in a very unobtrusive sort of way .. and it will be *fantastic*!

Yay, me!  :-)   So, *that* project needs to be done before I can proceed with using it as the background for my Stash Busting Stars.

Post Script:  as I was writing the above, the image of a green tree trunk VS a brown tree trunk was swirling in the back of my mind.   I'm leaning on the side of using the green because the leaves are outrageous already.  :-)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Stash Busting Star #11; Ribbon Box top

Wow ... I have FINALLY completed my very LAST full Stash Busting Star!  It was 5 months ago in September 2016 that I started this project with the VERY ambitious plan of doing a star a week.

O.M.G.  A star a week.  How formidable a goal was that?  Reality certainly set me straight in short order.

But, I have now finished 11 full stars and 1 half star.  I must admit that even though I am certainly capable of dedicated working on a project for many months .. even years ... I am kinda tired of working on these full stars.

Luckily, I need only 8 half stars .. and one of those is already made.   Half stars should go twice as fast as the full stars, right?

Right.  :-)

And then ... this past weekend, Dear Husband and I stayed at Skyline Wilderness RV Park in Napa, CA.  It's nearby to us but we had never been there before.  It's a gorgeous low hill area that abounds with trails to walk on, paths to ride your horse (bring your own!) and even has an archery range (bring your own gear).

Due to an unfortunate car mechanical problem, we were unable to enjoy Saturday at our leisure but Sunday was just for relaxing.  The weather wasn't quite as nice on Sunday as it was the previous day but Dear Husband decided to go for a "walk" anyway.

I took one look at the gathering clouds and the chilly temperature outside and wished him safe travels ... *I* would stay inside the trailer and SEW!  :-)  

I had prepped for this particular project by cutting all the pieces at home, labeling and bagging them.  I was very pleased to have been able to use my flannel scraps/remnants to construct the top ... including the background.

The pattern, "Ribbon Box Quilt", a freebie available from, was easy enough to sew together .. provided that you paid attention to which piece was going where!  The overall layout was woven ribbons, so if you got a piece out of place, the entire effect would be ruined.

sewing station at the dinette
This was the first time that I actually sewed *inside* the trailer.  All of my previous sewing endeavors have been outside on a table.  But with the cold temperatures and sporadic wind, it was much better for me to be inside.

pressing station at sink counter top
I was able to sew all afternoon and made excellent progress.  When Dear Husband returned from his walk (uphill both ways, of course), we went out for dinner.  After that break, I continued with sewing and was able to finish the top that evening.

Back at home, I found an extra wide piece of flannel to serve as the backing (seamless!  score!) and I made the double fold bias binding so that when this top eventually gets quilted, it can be bound in short order.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tahitian pareau: needleturn applique UFO finished

On our 20th wedding anniversary in 1999, we returned to Tahiti, where we had gone for our honeymoon.  I discovered there were no fabric stores on the main island of Tahiti ... certainly not any on the smaller islands either.

But, the one fabric item that was in abundance were pareaus ... the Tahitian version of a sarong.  I chose a dramatically colored black pareau with vibrantly colored tropical flowers around three sides.  I suspect that the flowers were wax-resist batik, as they aren't screen printed and they aren't machine printed onto the fabric at all.

Now, it was never my intent to WEAR the pareau ... I don't wear strapless garments.  :-)  I envisioned this as a lap quilt.  However, I did want to put "something" in the black area, as otherwise it just looks like a void.  I had no idea what that "something" would be, so I waited.

And waited.  And waited ... for the right "something" to hit me between the eyes or make its way known to my consciousness.

My patience was rewarded!   In 2013, I was incredibly fortunate enough to take a class with Nancy Lee Chong of Pacific Rim Quilting Company.  It is her version of front-basted applique that made me come to love-love-love needleturn applique.

At the class, I bought another pattern from her (and had her autograph it!  OOOH!!!  I'm such a fan girl!) which was for a tablerunner ... or a border.  There was also a subset of the applique suitable for placemats or a small wall hanging.  It was the small wall hanging motif that eventually caught my eye to fill in the black area of the pareau.  The pattern is "Crowning Glory".

I already had on-hand an incredible yellow-to-red-to-purple-to-blue gradient fabric.  It fit *perfectly* with the amazing tropical flower colors.

It took me one afternoon to do the prep work for the applique.  I began stitching on January 10, 2017 and finished on February 22, 2017.  I wasn't working on it all the time, which is why it took as long as it did.

As I stand back and look at it, I am so pleased with the colors of the applique.  I do wish, however, that I had placed the applique slightly higher and upon closer (much closer) inspection, I didn't put all the layers in the same position on both sides.  I *thought* I was being careful, but apparently not. In any case, it is what it is, and there the applique will stay.


another close-up

yet another close-up

Now, it goes on the pile of Tops to be Quilted, which is getting higher all the time.

OH!! That reminds me ... one of my online & real life quilting buddies inquired as to the height of the stack of unquilted tops I had.  Honestly, I have no idea how many tops there are, so I told her that when I got back home from our February Quilting Retreat, I would take pictures of those tops.  I gotta remember to actually DO that. :-)

Stash Busting Star #10

Every February, the online quilting forum group I belong to has a real live quilting retreat in Phoenix.  This year was our 15th gathering.  Over the years, we have forged true friendships online and while some of the members live in Phoenix and see more of each other than the rest of us, it is something that we always look forward to ... quilting with each other in real life.

Because I fly in from California, I rarely bring a quilt for show-n-tell, preferring to bring in smaller items that will fit in my luggage.  Similarly, I don't bring in my sewing machine ... not even my Janome Jem Gold, which was designed for traveling and workshops.  The hostesses *very* graciously offer their extra machines to us out-of-towners to use, should we want to machine sew a project.

But even THAT is too much effort for me .... egads, I need to pack ALL of the piece parts, ALL of the fabric I want to use ... even the fabric that I'd like to have an option to use.  Plus all my tools of the trade for sewing.  Ugh ... it's just way too much effort for me to bring along a sewing machine project.

So .... what DO I bring to work on?  My Forever Project(s)!!!   Currently, I have a several Forever Projects and I brought all of them, because you just never know how fast they will get done.  :-)

One Forever Project is smooshing together medium sized hexie flower units, which will end up as the center medallion of a quilt.  Another Forever Project is a needleturn applique of a Tahitian pareau (sarong) that I bought for the express purpose of turning into a lap quilt.

But the Forever Project that I decided to concentrate on was Stash Busting Star #10.  I also brought a prepped Stash Busting Star #11, *just in case* I was very speedy.  :-)  So, all that long weekend, from Thursday night through Saturday, I steadily worked on Star #10 and BY GOLLY!!  I got it finished!  Woo hoo!  (After this star was done, I turned my attention to the Tahitian pareau.)

In looking at my collection, I think I have an overabundance of blue stars, not that is a bad thing but I think that some more red stars could be in order.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Stash Busting Star: #7, #8, #9

I have been remiss in posting my Stash Busting Star finishes.  Let's blame it on Christmas, laziness and traveling.  That'll work for me. :-)

Here is Star #7, finished 12/26/2016.

Here is Star #8, finished 1/28/2017:

and Star #9, finished 2/2/2017

I have 2 more full stars to stitch, 4 quarter stars and 5 half-stars.

And, of course, decide on the background fabric.