Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Goes Out, One Comes In

Jack Johnson is my current soundtrack to life.

One goes out... The first grade's fundraiser gala project:

Carrot-stamped + embroidered napkins!

Children stamped and embroidered. I "fixed" their embroidery (scruched stitches, wild lines...), matched two napkins together and sewed around the perimeter. Ta-da! Double-sided napkins with embroidery thread safely tucked inside!

For another fundraiser gala project, see the third grade's walnut-dyed quilt (posts here and here, pics here).

One comes in...

I made my own "jelly roll" of 2.5-inch strips.

There is something soooo soothing about ironing and rotary cutting.

Don't ask me the yardage. I used remnants and scraps and didn't even figure my exact needs for the quilt. I figure I'll use leftovers in binding or some undreamed future project.

"Sunkissed" by Moda in five-inch chunks tops my roll like whipped cream or citrus syrup!

It's the Spliceosome Quilt top all cut set for planning and piecing!

Off to visit one of my new MCMQG friends this morning! I can't wait to see her work in person! Happy Saturday, and happy DAFFODILS-IN-BLOOM!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sew It Begins!

From a starry mess...

... to something like this!

Attaching hexagons to stars is less cumbersome than I thought it would be. How quickly it is coming together already!

So quick, in fact, that I went ahead and laid out another block.

To infinity--and BEYOND!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Crocheted Wrist Warmers


A bit ago I told my friend I wanted to make something for her. I felt like it needed to be black. She seems to own enough scarves. I decided to make her a pair of wrist warmers!

This was a first for me! I tried a couple of methods. The yarn (Sensations "Kashmira") tended to unravel or catch under my F/5 crochet hook.

Then I saw this tutorial and finally felt I had a direction! I didn't follow the pattern, though, just went roughly for a similar feel.

Making a matched set was harder than I thought! I ended up making three wrist warmers. The first was too loose, and the second was snug. The third was composed partly of the end of the skein and partly of the first one (pulled apart).

I'm happy with the way they turned out, and I hope my friend loves them and feels loved by receiving them!

Daffodils are beginning to bloom, but none yet in my direct path. Maybe tomorrow?

Monday, February 21, 2011

All Stars Complete!

I finished my last few stars. I couldn't wait to spread them all out. I was amazed to see what I'd done!

Each piece--piece, mind you--was hand-traced, hand-cut (with scissors, not a rotary cutter), carefully matched and hand-stitched. There are 121 stars altogether.

I was a bit flabbergasted at what I'd done. And then I wanted to somehow organize them (a seemingly impossible task) before setting them with the hexagons. My roommate came into the room and requested the camera. She caught me mid-bemusement...

... and wearing these socks. Good things happen when you wear robots on your feet. (Two pairs for a dollar at Target--and that "children's size" thing is really just a fancy way of saying "ankle socks for adults".) Robotic feet. Mmm...

Needless to say I was too overwhelmed to lay out the entire Geometry Quilt. I started with one block, though. I've organized my hexagons according to color, hoping to construct blocks like the one below to set off the stars and display nuances of the prints.

"... If you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one." --C. S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

I like having handwork. I expect this will take considerably less time than my cathedral window chuppah (also entirely done by hand), but I'm in no rush. This one's for me, and I've all the time I need. :-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Molecular Mug Rug

My calculations paid off! I attended my first meeting of the Music City Modern Quilters Guild yesterday with templates in hand and had a lovely time constructing my Java mug rug!

I did, however, miscalculate when cutting my pieces. Instead of cutting my green pieces 1/2 inch beyond the traced line, I just took into allowance 1/4 inch. Essentially I'd only accounted for half the seam, and consequently I had issues on machine and ended up taking it home to finish by hand. This done, it was less puckery.

I love how it turned out! Each black line represents a bond between atoms or molecules. The molecule itself represents theobromine, the chocolate molecule!

Vintage lime green all-purpose thread blended marvelously, and leftover black and ivory fit the molecule.

The best part? She matches my favorite mug oh-so-well!

So maybe it's not a typical interpretation of Java, but it's meaningful and wonderful to me! I never thought I'd enjoy a trend so much, but wow. I love my mug rug!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

OWOH Winners + Quilted Bits of My Cerebral Cortex

Thanks to everyone who entered my One World, One Heart Giveaway! It's been a pleasure meeting so many of you!

Congratulations to Deborah! Expect an email from me soon!

Honestly I didn't get to all the blogs in OWOH this year. As my giveaway post reflected, I'm in the middle of some major transitions that are requiring time and energy. Thus far, however, the return has been great. I'm genuinely happy as I pursue my new adventure. Connections and supportive friendships continue to grow. I am quite excited as I jump into this new year.

In the interim, here's a bit of what's been firing through my cerebral cortex.

I have less than 15 stars to piece for my Geometry quilt! I can't wait to start laying them all out and playing with hexagonal configurations!

I broke my fabric fast. I bought a couple of remnants--white on white and green zebra (hello? Who could resist green zebra?) but my excuse is that they are going towards a specific purpose. One purpose is...

Surprise second giveaway winner!

Mazl tov, Elsina! I shall share my oh-so-horrible-it's-good green zebra print with you! :-)

With purpose in mind, I found myself at a local quilt shop this weekend. I was hoping to find Java by Moda in person. I don't really like jumping on bandwagons, and quite honestly this whole "trendy fabric" thing is, to me, a little silly. However, the Music City Modern Quilters Guild is meeting on Saturday, and we are making mug rugs (oy, another trend!) for Burgundy Button's Java Mug Rug Challenge. I came to the shop with scraps in hand, not trusting online images but hoping for some in-person comparing. Fortunately or unfortunately, as I wandered, I found the following fat quarter:

It had to come home with me, and I knew almost immediately why. Following my fabric purchases, I delivered my hand-quilted Valentine, ever after to be known affectionately as "Professor Tinyquilt". Looking around that friend's living space, watching the reaction to the gift and realizing that there was far too little of my artwork on display, I decided to make a real quilt for that friend. My purchases from earlier in the day would be perfect!

I knew I wanted something modern but playful. After considering traditional patterns, I decided to create a piece inspired by the electron microscopy-generated images of spliceosomes my friend captures. Each block will feature a piece of text surrounded by black and white elements with a few colorful scraps thrown in. Eight text blocks and a ninth "blank" block in the center will make a nice quilt, I think!

Continuing the math/science theme, I turned my attention to the looming mug rug challenge. My creative process is usually organic, unhampered by challenges or fabric constraints. And to create there in the company of other quilters--I was surprised to find myself stressing!

Finally, I decided to forget about the challenge and focus on what I like. Right now, I like molecules. I'd seen caffeine molecules... Hey--caffeine? Java? A quick google image search told me that theobromine, the "chocolate molecule", has a very similar structure to caffeine. It is represented by a hexagon and a pentagon...

... But how does one create a pentagon given a ruler and one side length? I puzzled over it for awhile--several days. Finally, in despair, I did the easiest thing I could. I printed off a pentagon and cut it down to size, then made a template.

And what's in the bottom of my new favorite mug? Is it theobromine? Caffeine? An interpretation of mocha? Perhaps!

Looking forward to all that's ahead, quilt-wise and otherwise! Perhaps my posts will become more cohesive as "transition" fades into "new reality". Until then, thanks for wandering with me!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Scrappy Valentine's Day Tutorial :-)

Without the snow day, I probably wouldn't have bothered. However, these turned out pretty cute...

My scrap bin has inspired me a lot lately! I started by matching Valentine-colored fabrics and sewing them together, cutting out hearts and ironing the seams to one side.

Next I trimmed the bottom of the seam so it wouldn't show on the front of the heart.

I pulled out a scrap of red broadcloth--how it is even in my stash I do not know as I rarely work with the stuff! I folded it in half, arranged my hearts and cut out rectangles to fit.

Then I turned to my scrap batting. I cut off lengths and pieces to cover the hearts.

After some trimming, I popped the batting inside the folded rectangle and sewed all around, trying to keep the batting inside. Since I'd aimed for a scrappy look, I wasn't concerned about matching seams too closely, and frayed edges were a plus!

I pinned the hearts on and sewed them in place, again keeping edges raw.

Ta da! Scrappy Valentines! Add a message on the back with a fabric pen and you're set!

May you know how much you are loved this Valentine's Day. "Scrappy" Valentine's Day to you!