Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WIP Wednesday: How Is Everything Doing?

It's been an interesting week, starting Monday morning when I learned that my Yahoo email account was hacked, and almost 400 people in my contacts list got an email from me with the subject line "How is everything doing?" Sounds like something I would say, doesn't it? : ) My apologies if you are now the proud owner of an Australian iphone based on my "recommendation." But hey, it's Wednesday, so let's find out how everything is doing.


New:

Another classified project
Yep, another secret quilt that I can't show you just yet. And unfortunately this is all you will see of it for a loooooonnnnng time.

Completed tops awaiting quilting:

No progress:
• Gen X Quilters' Charmed Prints QA
• Halloween quilt
• Farmer's Wife QA

• Skill Builder QA
• Kaleidoscope QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt
• Wonky Log Cabin

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 0
New projects - 1
Currently in progress - 10 (10 seems to be my magic number. I just can't get away from it!)

Okay, so how is everything doing with you all? Link up a post from the past week featuring a work in progress. And get sewing!



Bee Wrap-Up

Since it was my month to receive blocks in two of my bees, I only had to make one bee block in November. And with all of my bees taking the month of December off, this is actually my last bee block of 2011.

Krista of Poppyprint asked the Stash Trad bee members to make this pine tree block. She asked us to do our blocks in any bright color, with a stripe used in the large triangle and a black print for the tree trunk. I don't have a ton of stripes in my stash, but I thought this stripe from the Treasures and Tidbits line would work well.

Ayumi was nice enough to set up a paper-piecing pattern for this block, so that's what I used to get my points right on. I don't think my seams would have been this perfect if I had done it any other way!

So that does it for my 2011 bee blocks! This was my first year being in any bees, and as usual for me, I jumped in with both feet. I ended up participating in six different bees this year (though not all at one time!), and made a total of 54 bee blocks this year! Whew, that's a lot.

1. Mod Mosaic blocks, 2. [Sew] Beautiful January block, 3. String Me Along January Block, 4. Spiderweb block for Elizabeth, 5. Do Good Stitches blocks, 6. Do Good Stitches - Love Circle August, 7. Drunk love block for Emily, 8. Wonky Star block for Rachel, 9. Wonky star block for Rachel, 10. 3x6 block, 11. Do Good Stitches - July block, 12. Do Good Stitches - Around the World block, 13. Cracker Scraps block for Angela, 14. Improv block for Kati, 15. Sew Beautiful - July block, 16. Circle of Geese block for Brooke, 17. Oregon Star 4x5 Bee block, 18. Bento block for Franswimmer, 19. Dutch Pinwheel, 20. Drunk love block for Elizabeth, 21. "Me" block for Angela, 22. Do. Good Stitches strip block, 23. 3x6 bee block - 2nd quarter 2011, 24. HST block for Sharon, 25. Christmas block for Katie, 26. Pine Tree block for Krista, 27. String Blocks for Patchwork Queen, 28. Drunk Love block for Beth, 29. House block for Cara, 30. String Me Along block

Looking forward to more bee blocks in 2012!

Updated to add: If you would like to join a bee, a good place to start is the Quilting Bee Blocks group on Flickr. That group has a list of upcoming bees that are looking for members.

However, my favorite bees by far are the ones where somebody (like you!) just decided to start his or her own bee, and invited some favorite bloggers/flickr friends to participate. So if you would like to be in a bee, consider starting one yourself! Make a list of people that you would be interested in exchanging blocks with, and ask them if they would like to participate. You'd be surprised how often they will say yes (especially if you ask people who aren't already in a lot of bees). "By invitation" bees like this tend to produce higher quality blocks, and the members will be less likely to flake out on you, making for a happier experience all the way around. The Quilting Bee Blocks Flickr group has lots of resources for anyone considering starting their own bee. Look for the "Quilting Bee 101" posts in the Flickr group's discussion forum.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Two finishes this week. You heard me. Two. Finishes.

Completed:
Skirt Sew-Along - I did it! I made a skirt! That I can totally wear! Like, in public! It has a zipper! That I put in! This is worthy of all seven exclamation points in this paragraph! I'll have a full post on it as soon as I can get some decent pictures of me wearing it.

Pear Tree project - also done. Also awesome. Mark your calendar for March, because that's when I'll finally be able to show it to you.


New:
I don't know how far I'll get on this one before Christmas, but I spent a little time today deciding which charms to use. I ended up with a combination of charms from AnneMarie's Spoonflower and Japanese swaps, plus some prints from my stash and Heather Ross scraps that Kelly was nice enough to swap with me.

I'm thinking of something along these lines for the accent prints in the feature blocks.

Completed tops awaiting quilting:

No progress:
• Halloween quilt
• Farmer's Wife QA
• Skill Builder QA
• Kaleidoscope QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt
• Wonky Log Cabin

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 2(!)
New projects - 1
Currently in progress - 9

Link 'em if you got 'em! You all know the rules - link back here, comment, blah blah blah. Have a great week!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Learning Curve

My friend Lisa recently asked me to give her a little sewing lesson. I was super excited about it, because Lisa is always telling me that she's "not crafty." I think the only reason she's not crafty is because she's never tried to be! She's got a great sense of style, and she's one of those rare people who has a real appreciation for handmade items even though she doesn't actually make things herself. To me, that's a crafty girl who just hasn't been turned to the dark side yet. : )

So we sat down and made this pillow together. She shopped my stash for the fabric, and gravitated straight to this bold zig zag print that I recently picked up for bags and the like. Here's Lisa's finished pillow looking mighty happy in its new home on her sun porch.

I don't know if I'll turn Lisa into the sewing nerd that I am, but our little lesson got me thinking about the nature of "craftyness." I believe everyone has the capacity to be creative. But it's like so many other things in life—if you don't use it, you lose it. The more you flex your creativity muscles, the stronger you'll get at it. And I know everybody has the capacity to learn a technical skill like sewing. That just takes motivation and practice. (I won't lie—sometimes it takes a lot of practice.) In my mind, creativity + technical skill = craftiness. Therefore, everybody has the capacity to be "crafty." Yes, really.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I believe it really comes down to motivation. If you truly want to learn how to sew (or knit, or decoupage, or whatever), there's nothing stopping you. So what are you waiting for? Get going!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Whose Echo?

First, a big huge thank-you for making my WIP Wednesday anniversary celebration so fabulous! I'm overwhelmed by the number of links we got last week, and by the numbers of comments on those links! You guys really brought it. Not that I would expect anything less from you, the most fabulous blog readers in all of cyberspace! And I think the "most comments" giveaway was a big success, so I'm now actually considering doing that every so often, just to get everybody reinvigorated about commenting. Fun, right?

Anyway, what have I been up to? Let's take a look.

New:

Skirt Sew-Along - Well, I've now made it through Day 3 of Anna's sew-along, and I'm very pleased with my skirt so far! Next up is that darned zipper. I think I've been avoiding this step, but I'm hoping to tackle it soon.

Completed tops awaiting quilting:

Completed quilts currently being bound:
Secret Pear Tree project

No progress:
• Halloween quilt
• Farmer's Wife QA
• Skill Builder QA
• Kaleidoscope QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt
• Wonky Log Cabin

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 1
New projects - 1
Currently in progress - 10


Winners!

Now let's find out who gets a bundle of Echo FQs!

The winner of the first bundle, which goes to a random WIP linker-upper, is link #136, Tami of Tami's Tiki Hut! Yay, Tami! Enjoy the Echo, I can't wait to see what you do with it.

The second bundle goes to one of the readers with the most comments on other links. There were 17 amazing ladies who went around and commented on every single WIP Wednesday link. Great job, you guys! This is what WIP Wednesday is all about! I wish I could give every one of you an FQ bundle, because you all totally deserve it. But according to the random number generator, the winner of this bundle is #14. The fourteenth person to tell me that she commented on all the links was Allegory of {sew} Allegorical. Which is awesome, because when I commented on Allegory's WIP post, I told her that if I had a bundle to give away for best WIP post title, she would win it with her "WIP Wednesday: Robots and Bacon Edition." Unfortunately I had no such giveaway this week, but it looks like she got the bundle anyway! Allegory and Echo were clearly meant to be together. : )

Speaking of comments, I really tried to get around to all of the links myself this week, but I just couldn't manage it. I ended up commenting on about 100 of the 145 posts. So I just want you all to know that even if I don't make it to your post every week, I really do appreciate you linking up. But with so many links to get to every week—and with husband, kids, sewing, and other blog posts to write—that's just gotten unmanageable. I wish I could get around to all of them, but something had to give, and I guess it's been this. But I do try to hit at least a few posts each week from people who are new to me. And even if you don't see me, please know that I appreciate your being there!

Thanks again for making last week's celebration so much fun! Here's to another year—now let's link 'em up!



Monday, November 14, 2011

Photo Shoot with Susanne

So do you guys all know Susanne? She blogs at Susanne Loves and is such a talented sewist, quilter, and photographer. And (at least temporarily) she's a fellow Wisconsinite. Not only does she sew some beautiful things, she takes gorgeous pictures of said things, so there's always plenty of eye candy on her blog. She is also completely hilarious! I love reading her about her take on life.

Anyway, it crossed my mind a few weeks ago that it would be nice to get some family pictures taken—we've never done that, beyond the usual mall studio shots of the girls when they were babies. And hey, maybe I could even get a decent profile picture of me at the same time? And who better to take those shots than Susanne?

She lives about an hour and a half from me, and was sweet enough to offer to come to me to do a photo shoot with my whole family. She got some fabulous shots of the girls—don't they look like angels here? (Trust me, they aren't!)

Some of my quilts also got the Susanne treatment, as you can see above. I may even have snuck into a few of those quilt shots myself. : ) So a new profile pic should be coming soon. In the meantime, check out Susanne's blog post about our photo shoot. Thank you, Susanne! We had a great time and it was wonderful meeting you at last!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Trying Something New ...

I think I've officially lost my mind. I'm attempting to make myself a skirt!

I know, right? Since when do I make clothes? But one of the biggest lessons I brought home from the Sewing Summit was to try to break out of my comfort zone and make things other than quilts. Like bags, for instance. Or maybe even a skirt. (Because that has to be one of the easiest garments to make, right?)

Then I saw that Anna of Noodlehead had made herself the cutest little skirt, and that she was going to do it as a sew-along. Since patterns confuse the life out of me, what better chance for me to give that a try?

And here it is so far! It kinda sorta really looks like a skirt, right?

It has pockets and everything! I've only made it through the end of her Day 2 post, but so far, so good. I was concerned about the fact that the back of the skirt seemed to be at least 2" wider than the front—leave it to me, the quilter, to want everything to match up perfectly. But Anna assures me I should be okay.

And behold my French seam! What a useful technique this is for encasing raw edges, and so easy too. Even if the skirt doesn't turn out in the end, I'm glad to have learned this.

So no problems so far, knock on wood. Anna's directions and photos have made everything very clear. I don't think I would have gotten even this far if I were relying solely on the pattern! But then again, there is the dreaded zipper coming up ...

I'm linking up to TNT Thursdays at Happy Quilting. This is definitely the ultimate "trying new things" for me!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Anniversary Edition

That's right! WIP Wednesday is one year old this week!

Hopefully you already saw my big finish of the Original Supernova. Completing that long-term WIP was my way of kicking off this week's celebration. But wait–there's more! Today I'm featuring the 8 original WIP Wednesday linky ladies from one year ago. And of course, what would a party be without a giveaway?

But first, I want to thank every one of you who has linked up to WIP Wednesday over the past year. WIP Wednesday got its start after I had already done a few of my own (non-linky) WIP reports, and Elizabeth had the genius idea that I turn those weekly posts into a linky. That first week, eight people linked up. A year later, look how it's grown! I love hearing that WIP Wednesday motivates people and helps them get things done.

Another shout-out goes to the 8 wonderful ladies who linked up that first week. You guys have been with me from the start, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. I also think these 8 bloggers represent a nice cross-section of the many quilters who link up each week. So instead of my usual WIP rundown (which will return next week), I thought it would be fun to find out a little more about their WIPs.

Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy
What is the largest number of WIPs you've had going at any one time? Looks like it was back in June, when I was averaging more than 10 projects at a time, like WIP Wed #30.

What is your longest-standing unfinished WIP? Right now, my longest WIP is definitely my Single Girl quilt. The top has been finished since March, and I can't seem to bring myself to attempt quilting it. It's king-size, and though I've quilted 3 queen-size quilts, there's something about those extra 10" or so that keeps freaking me out. I'm fully aiming to finish this quilt before the end of the year.

Tell us about the WIP finish in the past year that you are most proud of: I think my favorite finish at the moment is definitely my most recent finish—Fabricland. The design is near and dear to my heart and it is just so soft and perfect for snuggling.

Leila of Sewn by Leila
What is the largest number of WIPs you've had going at any one time? I would guess that I average 5-7 fairly active works in progress. We don't count the ones that haven't seen the light of day in over a year, right?

What is your longest-standing unfinished WIP? I have been quilting for 10 years, ever since a friend talked me into going to a block-of-the-month club at a quilt store. My oldest not-at-all-in-progress quilt is that block-of-the-month quilt. What to do for the border has hung me up for years. I think I have decided to do an applique border, but I don't want to start another handwork project until I finish up my Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagon quilt—which I wrote about in my first WIP Wednesday post. My little girl and the quilt have both grown in the last year, but they are not finished yet.

Tell us about the WIP finish in the past year that you are most proud of: One of my favorite finishes this year is the Tree Quilt I made for my brother. It was made from blocks from the Bee Improvisational group and I love it. I made a smaller version as a commissioned quilt this fall—I'm still in love with the design. Now I need to make a full-sized quilt for myself.

What is the largest number of WIPs you've had going at any one time? Right now I am at my highest. I stopped counting at 20 ... way too depressing.

What is your longest-standing unfinished WIP? My grandmother's flower garden quilt. I don't know if I'll ever even finish it! It's so not my style anymore, and it's so time consuming. I haven't touched it since last year and don't miss it at all!

Tell us about the WIP finish in the past year that you are most proud of: My Dr. Seuss quilt for the baby! I think it's super cute and I was actually able to finish it! Amazing in itself!

What is the largest number of WIPs you've had going at any one time? A guess would be about a dozen (everything from cut pieces to finished quilt tops all ready to quilt).

What is your longest-standing unfinished WIP? That would be my first quilt, started for my boyfriend at the time, who's now my husband of 19 years. I finished it last year on our 18th anniversary.

Tell us about the WIP finish in the past year that you are most proud of: In the last year, it would probably be my first Project Linus quilt ... made from an old UFO that I dissected and split up into 2 smaller "charity" quilts.

What is the largest number of WIPs you've had going at any one time? I would have to say somewhere around 6 or 7.

What is your longest-standing unfinished WIP? Ironically, it would have to be my Apple Core Quilt and my 2010 scrap quilt, which I wrote about in my first WIP Wednesday post. Before I started blogging, I was actually pretty good about finishing a quilt.

Tell us about the WIP finish in the past year that you are most proud of: That would have to be the memory quilt that I made for a friend. It was a quilt that I designed myself and I just love how it came together.

What is the largest number of WIPs you've had going at any one time? I had to laugh at this, since I probably have the longest list of WIPs on the planet. There are somewhere in the ballpark of 30 in various stages.

What is your longest-standing unfinished WIP? That would be the very first quilt I made, the Sherbet quilt. It took 3 months to start, another 3 months to piece the top, another 3 months to make a back, then another 14 months (give or take) to get to the quilted stage. How many months until I bind it? Who knows!

Tell us about the WIP finish in the past year that you are most proud of: I think my two favorites would be the Sleepytime Baby quilt I made for my cousin's baby, and the collaboration quilt made with my mom and sister for my friend's baby.

What is the largest number of WIPs you've had going at any one time? I don't keep track of my UFOs, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would say I have close to 20. I host a lot of swaps on a quilting forum and I need to get all of those blocks into tops and get them quilted!

What is your longest-standing unfinished WIP? That has to be my Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Bill Travel the World swap quilt. I hosted a swap in 2005 with 50 quilters. We each made 50 blocks using either the Sunbonnet Sue or Overall Bill pattern, so that we all received 1 block from each swapper. I have yet to make those blocks into a quilt, but I plan to do it someday!

Tell us about the WIP finish in the past year that you are most proud of: It is my Friendship Piggy Quilt! Friends from a quilting forum that I frequent are always sending me pig fabric, because they know my husband and I collect pig pottery. Over a period of 5 years, I received many fat quarters, and finally I had enough to make this quilt. I use it on my couch to wrap up in at night—it's like receiving a super hug from all my friends every time I use it!

What is the largest number of WIPs you've had going at any one time? I've had as many as 6 projects on my WIP list and have worked very hard not to increase that number, as I have little space in my house for storage.

What is your longest-standing unfinished WIP? Sliced Coins is my quilt that has been on my WIP list the longest, as I joined the Sliced Coins Quilt-Along with Elizabeth back in January. The quilt top is finished but has been languishing in my closet (where I have most of my WIPs) for months. I would like to finish this one up, as it is destined for a spot at the end of my bed.

Supernova - Finished
Tell us about the WIP finish in the past year that you are most proud of: Honestly, my greatest WIP is my Supernova, as I was instantly drawn to the pattern/quilt-along when Lee first announced it. As I moved through the QA, I felt my skills getting better, and although the finish is not perfect, I learned a great deal about quilting. Supernova is now folded nicely on my couch and joins me on my lap on the nights I actually have time to sit on the couch.

Well thanks, Susan! And thanks to all the ladies for the fun run-down, and for being there for my fledgling linky a year ago.

Giveaway!

As a thank-you to you all for making this linky what it is, I'm giving away fat quarters of Lotta Jansdotter's new line, Echo. I'm crazy about this line and I love her designs. Two winners will each get 8 FQs of this fabulousness.

Chance #1
Link up to this week's WIP Wednesday.
Link up any blog post from the last week, featuring a work-in-progress. That means there must be something unfinished somewhere in your post. Posts with only finished works will be disqualified.
• You must link back to my blog, Freshly Pieced, either in your post or on your sidebar.
• The linky closes tomorrow morning at 2 a.m. Central time, so you must get your links in by then.

Chance #2
Between now and Tuesday, November 15, comment on as many WIP Wednesday links as you can. Whoever comments on the most links gets an FQ bundle.
• Leave a comment on this post telling me how many links you commented upon. You must leave your tally in a comment on this post by Tuesday, November 15, at 1 p.m. Central time.
• I will be verifying the winner's comments—if you win, but you don't have as many as you reported, I'll move on to the next person.
If more than one person ties with the same number of comments, I'll draw a winner from those top commenters.
One comment per link please.
• This part of the giveaway is open to everyone, even if you don't have a blog.

UPDATED TO ADD: So far we have five rock stars who have commented on every single link! (Minus their own.) So at this point, to be eligible for the giveaway, you must comment on every link—your own link and my post do not count. Those are still very good odds, so keep commenting!

Good luck! I'll announce the winners in next week's WIP Wednesday linky. Thanks again for linking up with me, and here's to another year of WIP Wednesdays. : )




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Supernova Redux

Okay, get your fainting couches ready ...

My Original Supernova quilt is finally finished! Only fourteen months after I started it.

Tomorrow marks a whole year of WIP Wednesday linky posts. One year! And I thought, what better way to celebrate than to haul out one of my longest-term WIPs and actually finish the darn thing? Also motivating was a hilarious comment from Eryn on last week's WIP Wednesday that if I didn't finish off the Original Supernova soon, she was going to find out where I live and swipe it. Well, here it is Eryn—swiper no swiping!

The front is made up entirely of Hope Valley prints by Denyse Schmidt, Kona Snow as the background, and Kona Stone for the star "extenders" and binding.

I pieced this differently than the method I used for my Supernova quilt-along. Original Supernova is pieced entirely from squares and HSTs. It is also much smaller than my QA Supernova—Original Sup is 48" square, with each Supernova block finishing at 12" square.

I came up with the alternate way of piecing this for the quilt-along to eliminate the HSTs and give people fewer squares to piece. But I think there are benefits to this method as well. I definitely recommend this method if you have a lot of directional fabric, because the other way requires a lot of advance planning to coordinate the direction of the prints. If I were going to make this quilt again, I think I'd go back to this original method, but I would increase the size like I did for the QA, and I would use Thangles to piece the HSTs.

PTS Redo

Speaking of Thangles, I have to add one more thing to this post: Check out this a-MAZ-ing pillow made by Amy of Don't You Know Who I Am? These are the TINIEST Supernova blocks EVER! Each block measures just 7", with each teeny square 1" finished! Amazing! She used Thangles for her piecing as well.

Anyway, I'm so happy to have Original Supernova in the "finished" column at long last. The top has actually been done for just under one full year. It's also worth noting that this is my 10th finished full-size quilt of the year—I just need to complete two more by the end of the year to meet my goal of 12 quilts in 2011! Woo hoo!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for my big anniversary celebration of WIP Wednesday. There will be a giveaway for everyone who links up, and a special "retrospective". You won't want to miss it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Rerun

Okay, seriously. Working on one secret project for two straight weeks makes for some BOR-ing WIP posts. Sorry! I promise there will be more to see here next week. Although I'm pretty sure I said the same thing last week. In the meantime, please enjoy some lovely recycled photos. (But you loved them so much that you can't wait to see them again, right?)

Ongoing:


Secret project - I finished the blocks tonight, so I just need to put the top together and make the back, and it will be off to the long-arm quilter.

Completed tops awaiting quilting:

Hope Valley

No progress:
• Halloween quilt (Yes, I am stubbornly still intending to work on this as soon as I get half a chance—if I don't, I'll just be in the same boat next year!)

Farmer's Wife - Week 5

• Farmer's Wife QA (*sigh*—still on hold)
• Skill Builder QA (ditto)
• Kaleidoscope QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt
• Wonky Log Cabin

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 0
New projects - 0
Currently in progress - 10

Okay, give me what you've got! Link up your WIPs below, and have a productive week.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One More Summit Swap

I have one Sewing Summit swap item that I made, but unfortunately didn't complete in time to actually swap it in person at the Summit. Happily, Elizabeth's mini is all done now, and she has received it, so I'm free to share it! This was for my "roommate swap" with AnneMarie and Elizabeth. Elizabeth's mini is the same design as AnneMarie's (which you can see here), but in different fabric/colors.

As you might remember, each star is from Carol Doak's 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars, which features stars named after each of the states. So I went for the hard-core symbolism and did four stars: Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and Utah. One for each of our home states, and one for the state where we all met. I really love how both of these minis turned out!

I used yellow thread to quilt Elizabeth's, a decision I questioned after it was done. But now I like it and I'm glad I broke out of my usual thread rut. : ) And I love love love the stripey binding. I usually like to do striped binding on the bias, but this one just called out for straight-grain, and I'm really happy with the end result.

Here's the back, with several iterations of Dena Designs' Tarika. I love these prints.

Yay for roommates, sewing buddies, and friends. Thanks for a fun swap, ladies!

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Disclosures

In addition to my paid sponsors, I sometimes accept free fabric, notions, or tools in exchange for posting about it on this blog or my other social media platforms. But I pledge that this practice will never change one of my product reviews or lead me to use fabric or other items that are not "my style."

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Copyright and Permissions FAQ

Can I make a quilt that looks just like one of yours? Of course! You don't need my permission for that. But remember, it's polite (and helpful to others) to credit your source of inspiration.

Can I share one of your photos on my blog or website? Probably! But please contact me for permission first. Use of my photos for commercial purposes is prohibited.

Can I pin your photos to Pinterest? Yes, please do! I love Pinterest!

Can I sell individual items made from your tutorials or patterns? Yes! But please don't open a factory and start churning out hundreds of them. : ) And please do not reproduce or sell the patterns or tutorials themselves. Thank you!