I've basically been just working on these two quilts for the past 3 months! I have done a few other small projects and some artwork, but mostly all other sewing projects were shoved to the side until I finished these quilts. Doing these mystery quilt challenge quilts sidetracked me from the kind of projects I would normally be doing this time of year so I don't have any Christmas projects done for 2016. I'll probably be working on those in January!
But I had to finish these before doing anything else. There was no other option!
For the past several weeks I have been participating in a 7 week quilt challenge sponsored by the Project Linus organization. It is a fundraising project and the cost to participate was $15. That gives you access to the quilt pattern and instructional videos for constructing the different blocks and the quilt.
Each week we were given a clue for part of the quilt with written instructions and a video tutorial.
Week 1 - butterflies
Week 2 - flowers Week 3 - hearts
Week 4 - the sun
Week 5 - watering cans
Week 6 - Gracie the owl
Week 7 - final construction
This is the Gracie's Get Well Garden quilt as I constructed it.
This is my alternative layout using all the same quilt block patterns for a second quilt I decided to make.
There is a Project Linus Mystery Quilt Challenge Facebook group for sharing your quilt challenge sewing progress and seeing what everyone else has chosen for their fabrics. It's fun. Also a quilt contest/fundraiser begins December 15, 2016 for participants, if they choose, to enter their quilts to help raise money for Project Linus and have a chance at some very nice prize's.
I liked the results so much from my last scrappy trip-around-the-world project that I just keep on doing more of that. This is a table runner for a little longer coffee table.
And this is a scrappy square table top quilt for and end table.
I sewed a couple more little projects this month but mostly just took care of my garden and recovered from a painful tooth extraction! Ouch!
I finished hand quilting this little block last month. It will probably end up being a wall hanging. I am doing some embroidery embellishment in the white space around the center heart applique. This make take me a little while. I'm trying to keep it out in the open so it doesn't get lost in the pile of other projects to finish (that may or may never be completed!).
Simple things, easy things, no-brainier things. That seems to be my typical summer activity.
I've just been working on a few little projects to fill in a few hours here and there and to escape the sun and the heat of summer by retreating to my cold, windowless basement craft room. I really would prefer to have windows in my craft room but in the summer, windowless is perfect. I'm not a summer person.
This is a pencil case, or a zipper pouch for anything. Made with Grunge Basics by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics in bright colors and a print from the Doe collection by Carolyn Friedlander. These are some of my new favorite fabrics.
This is my First Aid bag. Someone is always looking for a band aid and for some reason they always seem to end up in two or three different places around the house. And all the other little things that go with them. Where are they? This is my solution. One bag to hold it all, in one place, and very obvious. It might work for awhile.
A little butterfly bag. This was actually suppose to be smaller to use as a tarot card bag but it's a little larger than I planned on making it. After I started to make it I realized the butterfly print was too wide for the size bag I was planning so I just worked around it and made a little bag anyway. We can all use an extra little bag for something, right?
And a scrappy table runner. I've seen a number of examples of the Trip Around the World quilt block made with scrap fabrics online. They are all so unique and interesting and such an incredibly simple pattern. I see it as a sort of organized randomness, the best of both worlds. And a great was to use up a pile of scrap squares.
So I've been working on a little of this and a little of that. That's another way of saying I'm just doing what I feel like at the moment. One day it might be sewing, another day it might be artwork, or it could just be doodling.
I finally finished the collage I started working on some time ago. This started as a canvas covered in narrow strips of fabric, painted in shades of purple and used and the backdrop for the smaller squares the small squares are made from thin strips of various purple fabric prints collaged onto painted card stock paper that was then cut into 1 1/2" square and the edges dipped in dark purple paint. The squares were then glued to the background canvas and coated with clear acrylic gloss medium.
I decided to try to turn this doodle idea into a font using the iFontMaker app on my iPad so I could use that font in another idea I have to create a print in Photoshop.
My cell font idea.
I love all the new fabrics with unexpected prints especially all the text and graphic elements. And I love the Grunge Basics line of Moda fabrics especially the turquoise blue, so I decided I needed a new pen/pencil case made from this fabric because it will be something I use every day.
I didn't like how the first one came out (that little misalignment is driving me crazy) and it wasn't quite the right size for my collection of gel pens, so I made another one.
This is perfect and big enough for my growing gel pen collection.
I started using gel pens when I found out they don't bleed through any paper especially Moleskine paper and I have several Moleskine notebooks and planners I write in daily.
How many gel pens in your collection?
And I had this little crazy piece of over stitched patches that I made just as an experiment and decided to make it into a little bag.
When I'm not very focused on any specific project I resort to finishing up something from my collection of already sewn quilt blocks. Two benefits to this, I get to check something off my list of things to do as completed and I don't have to think too hard. I just sew.
Small and mini quilts I finished in May:
When I'm not sewing I'm just doodling or painting something abstract. I think the doodling and abstractedness is all a reflection of my unfocus.
Well, this turned out strange, a collage of nothing and everything. This collage never looked finished to me and I didn't have a clear direction I was going with so I just kept writing various symbolic information on it until I got tired of doing that.
What happened to March and April? I have been busy, just not with craft projects to post about. I got into a serious spring cleaning project and totally sorted and reorganized all my cloths, shoes, linens and blanket storage areas. I picked a ton of stuff to clear out and loaded my car trunk with everything nice enough to give away and hauled it all to Goodwill. The remaining items were either trash or to be recycled as rags, or craft materials. I've made many rugs from old sheets, curtains or t-shirts in the past. It's a good feeling to be organized even for a little while. Life always tends toward chaos so this exercise will be repeated again sometime in the future.
After enjoying the contentment of being organized for awhile I started on my next big project that I have to admit has been planned for a couple years! The goal is to paint the kitchen/dinning room (all one large area) and laundry room. I knew I would need about a month to do it and it would be disruptive and physically tiring for me so I've procrastinated for as long as I can. I had to start it no matter how I felt or what ever else was going on. That's a lot of wall, odd spaces (like behind the fridge), a lot of small and large items to move out of the way and a lot of woodwork to paint on hands and knees. I started in late March and I'm still not done. I was being overly optimistic to think I could get it done in a month. I can't work on it every day. I have bad days (bad weeks) when I can't do anything that physical and I have to rest a day or more after doing something very physical. So the project drags on but now that I've started I will finish it. Eventually.
So that's what happened to most of March and April and on into May. But I do take time to work on some crafts because they make me happy when everything else feels like work and drudgery.
I've been working on some fabric designs to print at Spoonflower. I've done a little of this in the past and while I'm still learning how to make the most of this service, I put together files to test print my designs. The fabric prints never look exactly like the digital file. The colors look different, the edges are fuzzier, some colors that are distinctly different in the digital file look nearly the same color printed, and this time some of my design detail was completely missing in the printed fabric version.
This is a one yard piece of Kona cotton fabric printed with designs I'm working on:
This is a collection of indigo prints I designed. I'm happy for the most part with these but the background color printed as a solid blue and it is suppose to be a scratchier aged looking background. That detail in the digital file was completely lost in the printing process.
I designed this simple half square triangle geometric using my favorite colors. (digital version)
This is the final printed version of the colorful geometric design shown above. This photo doesn't show how nice it really came out.
This is a collection of half square triangle quilt design elements that I use when designing new quilt patterns. There are 256 different elements and it's a fascinating design process that has intrigued me for years. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this. I just wanted to see it printed on fabric.
And this is a sample of a pattern I'm trying for a topographic or contour line fabric. In this case the fact that the fabric print comes out just a little fuzzier than the digital file actually helps the appearance of the design. I'm encouraged by how this looks in this rough form.
More recently I just sat down and did some sewing. I just feels good to finish something I can use right away. My husband thinks I'm a little late in getting this done. I told him I was actually early.
This is a Christmas table runner.
I think of end products as the tip of the iceberg. So much of what we do has hidden behind it hours of planning, training, trial and error, time and energy, skill, practice, repeated efforts, anxiety, frustration, maybe even pain and suffering. The thing you admire in the end is the sum total of all that went into it.
I'm still making bead jewelry and I just finished a super long multi-gemstone necklace.
But first I used up some leftover burgundy pearls to make a matching bracelet for the Rose Quartz and Pearl necklace I made earlier. I had these neat little magnetic clasps and had never used them. I wasn't sure how well they worked, how much weight they could hold without just popping loose, or how well they would hold together during normal daily activities. A bracelet seemed like a good experimental project. If it came loose and I lost it while wearing it I wouldn't be devastated. It actually holds very well and makes putting a bracelet on much easier. But I think I would feel better if there were a safety chain between the two ends so if the magnet came loose the bracelet wouldn't just fall off the wrist.
I also wanted to try making a necklace that did not have a clasp. I realized that the necklaces I'd been making didn't need to have clasps, they were long enough to slip over a persons head. But I didn't know exactly how to finish a necklace off without a clasp. I had an idea but wasn't sure how 'real jewelry makers' do it so I looked it up on the Internet. That's were I find almost everything because I have no one to ask about almost anything I have questions about. In this case I know no one who makes jewelry, and why waste a clasp when you don't need one? I found a YouTube video showing a method to do it that was basically exactly what I was thinking so I made this long necklace out of a mixture of random gemstones with some clear and copper colored glass beads.
It's a fun little casual necklace and even long enough to wrap twice around the neck with no clasp.
Finally I felt like tackling a longer no clasp Earth Power Bead necklace with the 42+1 gemstones I have. Because it was going to be so long and I didn't want it to be too bulky I only used the smallest beads I had in each of the 42 types. I have some larger beads (10mm+) in some, but not all, of the gemstones I've collected. I used four of each type plus a few extras and sorted them by size and color so it is sort of random but also by design in sets of three all separated by copper colored metal beads.