Look! I’m sewing. I mean, sure, I list quilting as one of my major hobbies but I hadn’t been doing much of it.
Recently I started working on two projects out of the gazillion I have in pieces in my sewing room.
De La Prominade by Quilt Fusion
I saw this pattern on Instagram when they were testing it. I had to have it even though it was completely impractical. It is a bed sized quilt when done, which I don’t need. I can make it a bit smaller by leaving off the outer borders. If I hang it, it would need to go horizontal and I don’t think I have a big enough spot. I still don’t care. I love it.
This is the center block. You trace the pattern pieces onto paper backed fusible web. Then you cut out all the pieces and build it.
This block sits above the carousel block. This is designed to be quilt as you go. That’s nice because you don’t need to maneuver a big quilt through the machine. After I made the block I spray basted it to batting. Then I free motion quilt around all the pieces. Once the whole thing is together and quilted you add the backing fabric and quilt around the blocks to hold it all together.
I also started on a snail quilt that I’ve had the pattern for for a while. The husband, who thinks he’s funny said, “That sounds like a slow project.” It turns out to be pretty quick though. I made all the bodies in one sitting. Then I’ve been making a few shells at a time. The finished lap sized quilt has 60 snails.
This is the big one that makes formatting book reviews simple. It is a paid plugin so it must be good if I have it since I am cheap. There is a learning curve for this one because it can do so much but there is great support. I also have add ons for this:
Automatically send my published reviews to Goodreads. (I like that this gives an option to send an edited review to Goodreads if I get too rambling here.)
Reading challenges add on makes the little bars on the right side of the screen that track categories of reviews. My only complaint is that I write a lot of reviews with multiple books and you can’t track each one.
I just downloaded a multiple rating report that I may use for audiobooks to separately rate the narration and story and any other category I want to make up.
My UBB wishlist:
The ability to host cover images on a third party site
Automatically sending reviews to Amazon or other sites
Featured Image from URL
My theme has the big picture at the top of the post. I love the look of that but I didn’t like having to host all those images on my site. This plug in lets you host pictures on Flickr and then use them as a featured image. I love, love, love this one! Find it by searching on your Add Plugins page.
Where do all those stock photos come from? Pixabay is my favorite free stock photo site. I can usually always find a great image that ties into whatever I’m writing about.
If you write a lot of posts that follow the same format, this is a time saver. I use it for my Monday posts. I click on last week’s and it copies the post to a new draft. I change out the galleries of the books I am reading but my headings and featured picture are all preset. I use this for monthly wrap ups too where I am updating information on challenges. I don’t have to look up and link to the challenges again. It just gets copied over. Find it by searching on your Add Plugins page.
WordPress Editorial Calendar
I love being able to move posts around on my calendar. I write down title names when I get an idea and if I don’t get around to writing it or if I want to change when it is posted, I just drag and drop. It is so much better than working off a list. Find it by searching on your Add Plugins page.
I use Later.com to schedule tweets, instagram posts, and pinterest posts. When I write a review, I send the cover photo here and then write the tweet to go out once in the morning and once at night. It is easy to use the same picture for Pinterest but it isn’t as easy to pin to multiple boards as Tailwind is.
You’d rather take pictures with a camera instead of a phone and edit them on your computer
You’d love to schedule a bunch of photos ahead of time
Later can help
I love taking pictures with my camera. Getting them to Instagram was awkward. I’d have to download them to my computer, edit them, email them to my phone, download them on the phone, and then upload them one at a time when I remembered.
Later is a website and an app that work together to simplify the process. When I’m ready to schedule Instagram photos, I go to the Later.com website.
I can upload all the photos that I want to work with and drag them onto the day and time that I want to post them. This is perfect for photo challenges if you take a bunch of photos at once but need to wait until the appropriate day to post.
Selecting a photo brings up this screen.
From here you can crop, change the date and time of posting, edit captions, and even make it add a link in your bio.
Ideally, Later would then publish the post for you but this is were it gets little bit awkward still. Instagram does not allow third party software to post directly to the site.
Instead, you have to have the Later app on your mobile device of choice. At the time that you scheduled, you will get a notification that you have a post ready. You open the app and select post.
The app downloads the photo to the device and asks you to select Instagram. It also copies your caption to the dashboard.
You are able to do any additional editing like normal with Instagram. Then you paste the caption into the text block and post.
Is a perfect solution? No. Does it help? Absolutely. I like being able to batch upload my challenge photos once a week and then not have to think about it again until I get a notification.
That’s 2 in less than 30 days. I know, I’m shocked too.
Of course this one had a hard deadline or it wouldn’t have happened so fast.
The pattern for the whales is Preppy the Whale from Oh Fransson. It is a hard pattern to design with if you don’t want to make a zillion whales because it is long and narrow. I added the black and white checked stripes because the top was too boring without something else.
I used the last of my Tula Pink yardage for the back. I couldn’t pass up the thematic opportunity to put the octopi on the back of the whale quilt.
“It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harveyville, Kansas, where the crops are burning up, and there’s not a job to be found. For Queenie Bean, a young farm wife, a highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of local ladies dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their quilting skills to good use. When a new member of the club stirs up a dark secret, the women must band together to support and protect one another.”
I love Sandra Dallas’ books. She writes historical fiction about women in the western United States. Most of them involve quilting at least peripherally. If it isn’t a major component of the story, then the main character does a least a little quilting at some point in the story.
“After moving with her husband, Matt, to the small college town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, Sarah McClure struggles to find a fulfilling job. In the meantime, she agrees to help seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate, Elm Creek Manor, for sale. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this cantankerous elderly woman, who is a master of the craft.During their lessons, Mrs. Compson reveals how her family was torn apart by tragedy, jealousy, and betrayal, and her stories force Sarah to face uncomfortable truths about her own alienation from her widowed mother. As their friendship deepens, Mrs. Compson confides in Sarah the truth about why she wants to sell Elm Creek Manor. In turn, Sarah seeks a way to bring life and joy back to the estate so Mrs. Compson can keep her home — and Sarah can keep her cherished friend.”
This is the first book in a long series. I have mixed feelings about it. The author made up the town of Waterford in central PA. The only problem is that I grew up in Waterford PA which is not in central PA and not a college town and not most of all the other things in this book. It is totally jarring for me to read about.
She also has a very annoying tendency to use the phrase “master quilter” like it is a distinct level you can achieve. I don’t know if the quilting fairies descend and anoint you with a magic sword or what. The closest thing I can find is a program where you submit a quilt to be judged by a committee who will let you into a Master Quilters club if you pass. No one does this. No one cares. But in the books everyone seems to know what a “master quilter” is and whispers it in awe when the person walks by. Yeah, no.
Other than that the series is good.
Those are the only books about quilting I read. Another book that is about handicrafts usually done by women that is really good is
“Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling twenty-six-year-old fashion designer follows her mother’s advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself.
She arrives on the west coast, in the seaside hamlet of Glenmara. In this charming, fading Gaelic village, Kate quickly develops a bond with members of the local lace-making society: Bernie, alone and yearning for a new purpose since the death of her beloved husband, John; Aileen, plagued by doubt, helplessly watching her teenage daughter grow distant; Moira, caught in a cycle of abuse and denial, stubbornly refusing help from those closest to her; Oona, in remission from breast cancer, secretly harboring misgivings about her marriage; Colleen, the leader of the group, worried about her fisherman husband, missing at sea. And outside this newfound circle is local artist Sullivan Deane, an enigmatic man trying to overcome a tragedy of his own.”
I was a complete quilting slacker in 2015. Thank god for people having babies (words which have never before been uttered on this blog and will probably never be heard again) or I’d have never gotten anything made.
This was a baby quilt for a coworker in the spring.
So in the spirit of turning over a new leaf and all that, I started a new project – because I don’t already have a room full of abandoned projects – shut up! I did something revolutionary with this project though. Something scary.
I’m Using My Special Fabric
You know the fabric. You bought the bundle because you loved it and then you put it aside for something special and there it sits. You can’t quite bring yourself to cut into it because you are waiting for the perfect project.
I’m using it.
First up was this FQ bundle of Birds of a Feather. I bought it for a specific pattern. When it got here I realized that it wasn’t going to work at all for the pattern I had picked. Mind you, I don’t remember what that pattern was because I never got around to picking any other fabric and making it. This has been sitting on my shelf for a while. It is going to be the center crosses in these Raspberry Kisses blocks.
I’m using scrap white on white for the rest of the center and then doing low volume on the corners. This one actually hurt.
The fabric on the left I special ordered because I liked other fabric from that line. It was really hard to find. I haven’t used an inch of it. The next three are from a bundle I ordered because I loved the line. I have it in two colorways. Never been touched. I had to give myself a firm talking to in order to open up the package and pull those out. The one with the cameras came from another bundle that I have that wasn’t open.
I’m even using thread that at first I thought, “I should keep this and maybe quilt with it.” Then I thought, nope. Use it up. They make more.
I quilted free form triangles in the sashing and then filled in every other one. I consider that proof that I’ve been reading Free Motion Friday at Kathleen Quilts too much! She always fills in her shapes.
Now it is time to get back to quilting my Spaghetti Junction quilt.
It has been forever since I did a quilting post – mainly because it has been forever since I’ve done any quilting.
Remember how in the spring I decided I was going to make a sparkly hedgehog quilt to hang up during the winter? Remember how I thought that was a good idea since it was so far away that it was no problem to get it done?
Yeah, I hardly remember it either.
I made 2 of 4 hedgehog blocks all year. Then I made the other two the day after Thanksgiving.
Yeah, procrastination is fun. Now they are sashed and getting a quick echo of the hedgehogs. The sashing is quilted with triangles to mimic the spikiness of the hedgehog spines. I’m quilting one hedgehog a day so then I can bind it on my next day off and have it hanging by this weekend.
I’ve made a few hedgehog faces for my Christmas quilt.
My mother gave me a bunch of my grandmother’s fabric. I want to make a quilt for my mother with her mother’s fabric. The problem is that it is all horribly ugly and some kind of cotton blend that is really rough. I’m thinking that it make it work I need to cut it up into really small pieces. I’m playing around with some small 9 patches. These finish at 3 inches. I’m thinking of setting them with alternating white squares. I’m not sure if I like it enough it commit to it yet though.
I just received a big box with a rainbow of solid fabrics.
I never use solids because I think they are boring and flat but I have an idea for a quilt that would require them. That’s why I need to stock up. Now I just have to map out the quilt design. I’m hoping I have enough here to make two quilts – one for me and one to give away. This project is everything I don’t do.
Working with a strict design
Making multiples of a design
Making a quilt for me
I don’t know what’s come over me.
I’ve even sewn a little more on my hexy quilt. Hand sewing still really hurts my hand so I only let myself do a little a few times a week. Someone who lives in this house recently inquired about the likelihood of this quilt being done by the time we are 50. It might happen.
That was what the back of my yard looked like. (I took this picture from a second story deck. There aren’t power lines near the ground.) It is horrible for gardening. There is English ivy coming from a neighbor’s yard that climbs everything. We’ve made progress in getting it off the big oak trees. It is part shade. I tried to plant a garden in the sunniest part and everything got eaten by varmints.
I decided to tackle it this year. I cleared out all the little scrub volunteer trees. I want to make this food producing so I took some inspiration from Paradise Lot and ordered some paw paw trees.
Paw Paws are native fruit trees that make a fruit that supposedly tastes like bananas and mangos. I ordered bare root, grafted trees.
They look dead.
They are about 5 feet tall so hopefully they will survive and give fruit in a few years.
I also got some roses this year. I love them and I found two sunny places in the front yard that should work for them.
The existing plants have really taken off this week even though it has been cold enough to see some snow flakes.
The hostas are insane and need divided.
I wasn’t even sure if the astilbes were still alive last week and now they look like this.
I’ve given up trying to plant other food in the back yard. I’m doing containers this year on the back deck because there is sun and it is safe.
The container on the left has kale and lettuce. The one on the right has strawberries. I left the strawberry one at the base of the stairs to the deck for one night and some nasty rodent pulled out two of the plants. I replanted and they are doing well now.
This is basil, lavender, and some cute decorative plants.
I finished a quilt! I’m a starter and not a finisher but this had a hard deadline so I was motivated to get it done. I gave it to a coworker during our little baby shower for her yesterday.
Side note – I gave a baby quilt to another person who was there. He talked all about how useful it was and how the baby slept on it and all kinds of nice stuff. He said they got a few quilts so they could wash and rotate. It was very nice. Then he showed me a picture of her using my quilt. That was also nice but it wasn’t my quilt. I just giggled to myself and didn’t say anything.
This is Preppy the Whale by Elizabeth Hartman. The theme was underwater so I made the whales. Then I added borders to get it up to 36″ square. I quilted waves in the blue and seaweed in the pink vertical borders.
It is no secret that I hate Disney stuff. Before 2008 I was mainly just not that interested but since then I’ve been dealing with an autistic child whose obsessions are always Disney and something else. The something else varies but Disney stays the same. That means at any given time she only has two topics of conversation and she talks nonstop. I want to scream, “Please, for the love of all that is holy, shut the $%# up about Disney!!” but that is considered rude. For the last year she has been obsessing about Disney cruises to the point that she knows the layout of all the ships and the number of bars. She gave me a whole monologue this weekend about how I have failed her father because I am holding him back from going on a Disney cruise. Explaining that her father thinks going on a Disney cruise would be a new level of hell that Dante hadn’t even imagined didn’t work.
The child and her mother are going on a Disney cruise in June. This weekend when I went to pick up the child, the mother held out a bag and said, “We were wondering if you could make this up this weekend. I mean, if you can’t we can do it with Grandma.” Note the lack of a please, thank you, or question in there. The child explained that I needed to make something for them for their cruise. The level of stabby was high before this project even started.
Apparently, on Disney cruises you need something called a fish extender. There is a fish decoration on the door and you hang pockets from it and people give you presents.
They provided me with fleece and a nasty crunchy fabric with glitter that dulled my blade and needle. I decided to make it fancy and then threatened to sign it so they had to think of me every time they saw it.
I cut two pieces of fleece 8″ x 24″. I layered them with batting in between.
I sewed 1/4″ along the long sides to hold them together.
I cut the pocket fabric 6″ x 11″. That was suggested on other sites I read in order to make pleated pockets. I folded over the top and bottom and topstitched the top so it wouldn’t fray. I didn’t stitch the bottom. I figured it will get sewn down when it gets sewn on the background.
Of course I had to get fancy and fussy cut the Tinkerbells. Pin the sides, center the design, and then fold the pleats. I just eyeballed this.
I did a double row of stitching across the bottom to reinforce that weight bearing seam and to make sure I caught the folded edge. I started with the first pocket at the bottom and then put two inches between the pockets. I bound the edges with the Tinkerbell fabric.
I put a fleece hanging pocket on the back for a dowel rod.
One finished fish extender (what a stupid name!). The husband has helpfully pointed out that there was no thank you forthcoming from either of them. I just love making projects for hateful people!
In happier sewing news, I started sewing the fourth row onto my hexie quilt.
Last Saturday was Quilts of Valor’s National Sew Day. I sewed together this quilt that has been stuck on my design wall since last May.
I got the first block done for my Christmas Hedgehog quilt.
I have the fabric picked out for the other three too. They are all going to have the same face with different bodies and spines. All the fabrics have a little metallic thread in them.
I also finished the quilting on this giant star quilt. It has a lot of stops and starts so I have lots of thread ends to get rid of. There is one small section in the center that needs removed and redone because the tension went wonky.
A long, long time ago I made a quilt top. I didn’t make it for anything in particular. I was doing it mostly to use up some really strange and ugly fabrics that I had. It was a Scrappy Trips top. Quilters might remember that a year or two ago this became a cool top to make. Everyone was doing it. I had a total hipster moment as I watched all the pictures of it pop up while I thought, “I did that before it was cool.”
I don’t remember exactly what year I made the top. I know where I was living at the time. The top moved houses with us once. It got put aside because I tried to free motion quilt spirals into it and the tension was wonky. It got put in time out to think about its poor behavior and it stayed there.
When I got to my new job a coworker said that she liked quilts that didn’t match. I told her that I had just the top for her and that I would finish it and give it to her. That was vague. I need deadlines. I have made a few quilts for other people having babies in the office since then. Each time I mention a quilt she half-jokingly asks where her quilt is.
So I decided to make it for her birthday. Her birthday is in February. Last July that sounded like a good idea.
In October I thought that maybe I should think about working on it. I thought about it in November and December too. Somewhere along the way it had gotten half quilted with an all over pattern. How hard was that going to be to finish up? Plenty of time.
In January I thought I really should get serious. I looked up her birthday hoping it was the 28th. It was the 3rd. I absolutely had to finish the quilting on January 30. I didn’t even start. I got up early before work on the 31st and knocked out a lot of it. I talked to other another coworker that day about party plans. (This is the birthday of the coworker that plans the birthday parties for everyone else in the year so we have to step up.) I said that the birthday was Monday. She told me it was Tuesday. My brain said, “Plenty of time!” because my brain is stupid and forgets I work all day Monday. I forced myself to get it finished on Sunday.
So many years and 2 days later, I have a finish.
One totally unmatching quilt ready to go.
Please tell me that someone else does this too or is every other quilter out there good at finishing projects before the moment they are due?
This Saturday is National Sew Day for Quilts of Valor. I’m planning on sewing together the quilt that’s been on my design wall since last May. It was part of a huge push we did for a Memorial Day presentation. When I realized we had enough without it, it sat.
I’m also going to join the Hazel the Hedgehog quilt a long hosted by Gnome Angel. I bought the pattern in December intending to get a Christmas wall hanging done by December 2015. As I’ve confessed in this post, I need a deadline. I will finish the top by the end of the quilt a long.
I finished the fourth row of my hexagon quilt this week.
I was especially excited about this because the whole time I was sewing it together I thought it was the third row. What a pleasant surprise!
My stepdaughter wanted a sewing machine for Christmas. She wanted to make fashion. No one in her life actually believes that she is going to like sewing. She is unable to handle any frustration. It is one of her major triggers. Sewing is a mixture of tedium and frustration at times. I’m not dealing with her going off into a rage in my sewing room. But then it occurred to me that her mother wanted us to keep the machine here. It would only be polite to keep it set up for her. She’s only here every other weekend. If I set up my machine for quilting and maybe just did a bit of piecing on hers, that would just be a logical use of resources. The husband got her a cheap little machine but it will work fine for piecing. Yay! I have two machines!
For the record, she didn’t ask once about the sewing machine after she unwrapped it.