Monday, March 30, 2015

On my design wall

Nothing of my own on my design wall today, but one of my goals each month is to keep up with bee blocks, which to me includes BOMs.

My LQS has a First Saturday BOM program that started in August, so we're 8 months into it. Just to see progress, I put them all up on my design wall. I really like this year's color palette with all these fall colors.

Here's the main block, with this month's version at the upper left.
QF 1st Saturday Main Blocks

Here's the alternate block. These are 12" blocks, two per month, so I guess this year's quilt will be pretty big with 36 blocks. Not sure I'm loving the alternate blocks, but we'll see what the plan is at the end.
QF 1st Saturday Alternate Blocks

I don't count any of this fabric into or out of my stash because each month we get kits with only exactly enough for that month's blocks.

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times, WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Stash Report and Goals Update

Stash Report

Even though it's not quite the end of the month, I don't have any fabric purchases planned or any projects ready to be finished, so I feel safe in counting my monthly usage today. I'm linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

IN this month: 3-1/8 yards (2 yds Easter print;  3/4 yd for STLMQG collection challenge; 3/8 yd STLMQG door prize)
OUT this month: 20 yards - Yes, 20 yards! (1-1/8 yd leftover from swap pillowcases to STLMQG free table;  8-1/2 yds for Gramercy & Friends flimsy;   2-3/4 yds wide backing for Plus Dash;  3/4 yd for Plus Dash binding;  1/4 yd for Running Around block sample & bee block;   6-5/8 yds for potential publication project flimsy)

IN YTD: 36-1/8 yards
OUT YTD: 54 yards
Net Change: 17-7/8 yards OUT
Whoo-Hoo! I can do some serious shopping in Paducah!

One of this month's little projects (for which I bought two yards of fabric but only used one) was this Easter basket liner. This is for baby CJ. The basket was actually Grandpa's when he was a boy; it's "vintage." Grandpa didn't think we wanted the mess of plastic grass so he asked me to make a liner for the basket. The bunny will fill this basket for CJ and his dad here at Grandma & Grandpa's every year, regardless of what he delivers to CJ's mom's house.
Easter Basket for CJ


March Update:
The surprise arrival of the proof of my book, which required immediate review and corrections, rearranged all my priorities for March so some things just didn't get done.

1. Complete Gramercy & Friends flimsy (it's on LAQ's waiting list for April). Done
2. Layer, baste, quilt & bind boy charity donation quilt, due 3/17. Not done. I can finish it for a different children's quilt donation drive later in the year. I donated 3 quilts to the drive that ended 3/17.
3. Prep Gramercy backing. Not done. Must get that done this week.
4. Add borders to complete potential publication project to the flimsy stage. Done
5. Make Easter basket for CJ. Done
6. Keep up with bee blocks. Done
7. If Plus Dash is returned from the quilter, complete the binding. Done
8. Finish writing Plus Dash pattern. Done

Other, #1: Received proof for my book, reviewed & made corrections; received 2nd proof, reviewed & made additional corrections. Total 4+ days of very focused work!

Other, #2: Remade Running Around block and sent tutorial to STLMQG BOM chair.

April Goals:

1. Prep Gramercy & Friends backing; make delivery arrangements with the quilter.
2. Prep piecing group project to hand out in May.
3. Work on Hands to Help quilt (UFO from earlier pattern test)
4. Keep up with bee blocks
5. Go to Paducah for Quilt Week

The April list is relatively light due to Paducah and in order to leave time for any book stuff that may come up. I don't know if there will be any book stuff; my editor said when we were discussing the final corrections that I might not hear anything "until I find two cases of books on my doorstep one day."

There is still a chance the book could be published in time for Paducah Quilt Week. That would be pretty cool, to be there when they introduce it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Plus Dash Finished

My Plus Dash quilt is finally finished, quilted, bound, labeled and photographed. Quilted by my friend Sandy E. who did a fabulous job - I love it!
Plus Dash, 70" x 86"
Sandy's quilting
Beautiful quilting; perfect stripe for the binding
Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Check out all the other quilty inspiration over there. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Running Around block

I think I've over-committed myself. I sat down and made a list of all the stuff I have to get done with due dates, and I'm committed through July. So, I need to work only on stuff on my list and stay focused. A lot of them are small projects, so as I get them finished I'll feel less pressured.

There is nothing on my design wall today. All the little Dancing Plus blocks have been put away for later.

Instead, I'm showing you one block on my "design floor":
Running Around block

One of the items on my list is a block tutorial for STLMQG. Our secretary put out a call for BOM tutorials and I responded that I can take an early month - May - because I already have one ready to go. It's the block above, which I submitted to Modern Quilts Unlimited's new designer challenge in 2013 and it was chosen as a finalist. You can find the complete Running Around block tutorial here.

Ready to go, except that I no longer had the block (it was sent to the magazine) so I had to make a new one. Voila, I made the one shown above yesterday and got that checked off my list. I can pass it to Kelly at the April STLMQG meeting and e-mail her the tutorial.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out everyone else's design wall (or floor!) for inspiration.

PS - just by coincidence, the fabrics in the block above came from a STLMQG charm swap and their free table, so I used fabrics from STLMQG for STLMQG.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stash Report 3/22/15

Overall a good week for the stash, and I'm still moving in the right direction.

IN: 2 yards Easter print for basket liner; 1/2 yard for STLMQG "Focus Fabric Collection Challenge" swap.

OUT: 2-3/4 yards wide backing and 3/4 yard binding for Plus Dash, which is now finished.

I'll tally up the totals at the end of the month, but I think I'm doing OK this month. Which is good, since I'll splurge in Paducah next month!

Here's a detail of Plus Dash, finished, showing the quilting & binding. This quilt is actually very hard photograph. Because it's big, the details of the prints and the quilting don't show up when I get a shot of the whole thing. This is definitely a quilt that looks better live than in photos.
Plus Dash Detail
Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out the other stash reports over there.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sandy's Quilting

My friend Sandy is a long arm quilter extraordinaire. She does mostly custom work, and her quilting always enhances whatever quilt she's quilted. Her waiting list is often several months out, so I usually put my name on her list when I start a quilt, so by the time it's ready to be quilted, I'll have a shorter wait.

This week she returned one she had just quilted for me and I absolutely love it! The quilting is so perfect for the design of the top. We talked a just little about the general nature of what I wanted, and Sandy did her thing. I'm so pleased with it!

Here's a close up of the back; can you guess which of my recent quilts this is by the quilting design?
Sandy's Quilting

I'm currently working on the binding so technically it's not quite a finish yet. I'll have to wait 'til next week to post finished pictures. Meanwhile, I think Sandy's quilting is whoop-worthy, so I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dancing Plus Blocks

AKA Wonky Plus Blocks

I couldn't resist trimming a few up and playing with them on the wall. These are little blocks, 6-1/2" after being trimmed (6" finished). I'm using scraps for the colors and mostly scraps so far for the low-volume backgrounds, but I'll need more backgrounds soon.
Dancing Plus Blocks

For anyone interested, my instructions for making the blocks are here.

I got absolutely nothing else done last week due to dealing with the book proofreading and corrections. My house is a mess and some administrative stuff has to be dealt with today as well, so not much sewing will happen for another few days.

Check out what everyone else is accomplishing in their sewing space over at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday. I'm also linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Stash Report 3/15/15

IN this week: 3/8 yard text print and Charm pack of new Casablanca line, STLMQG door prizes. 40 charms is 5/8 yard, so 1 yard total in.
OUT this week: 1-1/8 yards leftover from pillowcases, donated to STLMQG free table.
Stash is still moving in the right direction. I'll tally up the totals at the end of the month.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out everyone else's stash reports over there.

Special thank you to all those who've offered encouragement and moral support regarding the situation with my book. I didn't hear anything from the publisher after they received the package with my edits on Friday. I'm sure they were not happy that there are so many corrections needed when they thought the proof was "final."  I'll have to call them tomorrow.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Book Update

A lengthy post - sorry - but to me it's a big story.

Finally, after not hearing anything about my book from the publisher since early November, I heard from them this week. Totally out of the blue, they sent me an e-mail with a link to what they're calling the final proof, for me to review within 48 hours, and sign off so it can go to the printer.


Long story short -
There's been a regime change at the publisher, and there's now a new executive director of all publications, and my project got caught up in the transition.

Sneak peek: This quilt is POSITIVITY, which is the first quilt in my book, using the PLUS block.

Good news/bad news:

The good news is great, actually. Whoo hoo!

First, they made it a 64 page book instead of the 32 page booklet they had told me they would make, and they didn't omit anything. I'm thrilled!!!

Second, there's a chance my book will be published in time for the AQS Show in Paducah in April.

Third, I really like the overall graphic design. It's clean, I like the page layout, and the colors relate to my quilts.

Fourth, I had a really nice conversation with the new executive director of publications, and she's OK with me taking an extra day to review the book.

This is HEAT WAVE, using the FOUR CORNERS block:

I haven't seen the cover yet. There was an issue with the title. They didn't use the one we had agreed on after I compromised caved when they didn't like my choice of title. I don't know where the title they ended up with came from, but we resolved a spelling issue and the book's title will now be Cut and Shuffle.

Further good news - I was able to thoroughly review the book for corrections and get everything sent back to them so they'll receive it all today.

This is ZEN GARDEN, using the LABYRINTH block:

Bad news -

The so-called final proof was filled with graphic errors and copy errors.

First, the same quilt block drawings are used throughout the entire book and sometimes are also used as graphic elements on the pages. There were seams in the wrong places in the drawings in every single block on every single page. I sent them a quick note about the corrections needed Tuesday and the graphic artist was already working on the block corrections Wednesday.

Second, the copy team did a good job of simplifying my overly complex border instructions, but the graphic designer used only portions of my original border assembly diagrams. Therefore the partial diagrams didn't make sense at all, either visually or related to the simplified text. So I'm asking them to eliminate several confusing graphics and replace them with new border diagrams. The graphic artist will have a lot of work to do to create these new graphics and fix the pages where they're needed. I e-mailed visuals of the new diagrams I want to the executive editor Wednesday but I haven't heard back from her.

They'll receive the package with my edits and corrections today. They will not be happy. There are copy and graphics problems on every page.

They want me to sign the release so they can edit and go straight to printing. I won't sign the release until I get to see a final proof again. There's just too much wrong with the first one I saw. It's not my fault that they chose not to sent me a draft earlier. I was promised two opportunities to review it. Getting only a "final' proof, filled with errors, does not make me confident that I can trust them to get it right without me seeing it again. I would rather delay the publication and miss the Paducah show but get the book right than publish a book filled with errors and incomprehensible illustrations.

Overall it has been a very frustrating experience, but I'm hopeful now that eventually there will be an actual book and it will look good when it comes out.

This is certainly whoop-worthy so I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Check out everyone else's whoop-worthy projects over there!

Monday, March 9, 2015

My Leaders & Enders Project

I'm using this project as my Leaders & Enders, but that's not the real story. I could have titled this post any of the following:
The Elusive 1/4" Seam
Bee Blocks
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Dancing Plus Blocks

A friend and I were recently lamenting the inconsistent 1/4" seams in bee blocks we've received. We found blocks with seam allowances ranging from 1/8" to 3/8", which dramatically affects the finished size of the blocks. I actually took apart and resewed a couple of my blocks from last year's go-round. My friend has one block with such heavy seams that it measures nearly 2" smaller than it should.
For this year's go-round, I want to hand out something foolproof. I want the block to be slightly oversized so it can be trimmed down to the correct size without sacrificing points or any other design element. That way it won't matter what size seam allowances everyone takes.
I'm inspired by 6" Plus blocks over at Shauna's World that her bee mates are making for her. Bright plus signs on light low volume backgrounds - so cute. So I cut a few from scraps and I've been using them as my Leaders & Enders. Here are my blocks on my wall.

Plus Blocks on my Design Wall
What if I make the outsides of these little Plus blocks slightly larger? Then I can trim them down to 6-1/2" unfinished and they'll all be the right size.

But wait - I don't have to trim them all straight on square! I can trim some of then tilted to the left, some tilted to the right, some straight on, and when I put them all together they'll be wonky and dancing. Even better to hide the differences if varied seam allowances make the actual plus shape a little undersized or oversized.  So here's an oversized block and I've drawn lines showing how it can be trimmed down to make the blocks dance.

Oversized Block Concept
If you want to make Dancing Plus Blocks like mine, you can use scraps or one 5" charm for the colored Plus.
Cutting, for each block
  • Colored Plus:  Cut one piece 4-1/2" x 2-1/2" and cut two pieces 1-1/2" by 2-1/2"
    • Note, if cutting from a charm, cut the charm in half (two 2-1/2" strips). Trim one of these pieces to 4-1/2" long.  Then from the other piece cut a strip 1-1/2" wide running the length of the charm (5") and sub-cut it into two 2-1/2" pieces. This will keep your print going all in the same direction, like my striped blocks above.
  • Background: Cut four 3" squares.  Cut four pieces 2" by 2-1/2". 
Block Assembly:
  • Sew a 2" by 2-1/2" background piece to each small colored piece and to each end of the larger colored piece. Press seam allowances toward the color.
  • Sew a 3" background square to each side of the small unit. Press seams toward the outside.
  • Sew rows together. Press seams toward the center.
Oversized Block Assembly

  • Unfinished block will measure about 7-1/2" square.
  • Use any 6-1/2" ruler and place it any way you like on the block. Trim around all four sides to yield a 6-1/2" unfinished block.
  • Vary the angle of trimming for the "dancing" effect. The orange Plus below will tilt to the right when the quilt is assembled.
Trimming to Create the Dancing Effect
You'll notice that in my first photo I haven't trimmed the blocks down yet. I think I'll wait until I have them all, lay them out for best color placement, then decide how each one should be trimmed.

So this is the story of how The Elusive 1/4" Seam and Inspiration for Bee Blocks combined, by Necessity, to Invent my Dancing Plus Blocks, which I'm using for Leaders and Enders. .

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times, WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Stash Report 3/8/15

IN: 0.  No fabric in this week, whoo hoo!
OUT: 8-1/2 yards used for Gramercy & Friends flimsy. Bigger whoo hoo!!! See previous post below for pics.

Moving very much in the right direction. I'll tally year to date totals at the end of the month.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times. Check out other stash reports there.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Gramercy & Friends Finished Flimsy

Finally! Gramercy & Friends is finished to a flimsy.
Oops, a little wind gust...
Much Better... Gramercy & Friends Finished Top

I really, really like this one. Maybe because it's so tailored, not at all frou-frou. This one's on the waiting list of a local long arm quilter, Jane, who does amazing work with her computerized system.

This top actually has 25 different fabrics in it, and used a total of 8-1/2 yards. Seven of the fabrics are from the Gramercy line by Art Gallery Fabrics, and the rest - the friends - are coordinates from stash and various other lines. This project was inspired by the FQ bundle of Gramercy I won at STLMQG's Sew Me St. Louis event last October. Thanks, STLMQG!  

A reader commented on the irony of a blog named The Colorful Fabriholic featuring such a neutral quilt. This quilt was actually an exercise in working with value. It's all about the placement of light, medium, and dark. OK, so I've taken a break from brights with these low-chroma neutrals, but now I'm ready for some color again!

In other quilty news, Zenia over at A Quilted Passion, has finished her version of my Broken Chevron pattern, which she named "Walk Like an Egyptian."  Thanks, Zenia, for pattern testing for me.
Zenia's "Walk Like an Egyptian"

These finishes are whoop-worthy so I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

PS - Also whoop-worthy: I get to go visit new grandbaby CJ and my son tomorrow. Whoo Hoo!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Progress, or lack thereof but a good excuse

My design wall looks a lot like it did last week. The difference is that the sashing is all cut and placed, and some of it is stitched to the blocks. The blocks in the top row are joined together.
Sashing in progress, design wall 3/2/15

I had hoped to have the flimsy complete last week but life got in the way. DH fell on the ice while walking the dog last Sunday so we spent the morning in the ER. Yep, broken arm, just above the wrist. At least it's his left arm and he's right handed. So Monday we called the orthopedist and got an appointment for Tuesday morning. Tuesday we saw the orthopedist. Yep, the break needs a plate and screws to hold it together. So surgery was scheduled for 6am Wednesday. Surgery went well and DH is recovering. I played nurse and chief able-bodied head of household all week.

Over the weekend we got about 7" of snow. I was able to get half the driveway shoveled yesterday and the other half done this morning. I can tell that all my hard work at the gym is paying off. (This week is my five year anniversary of starting to exercise and I've kept it up and kept the weight off.)

Well, that certainly went off on a tangent...
Back to quilting, hopefully I'll get Gramercy & Friends finished to a flimsy this week. I did squeeze in a little other sewing last week - I made four pillowcases using fabric I brought home from the fabric swap, pictured in yesterday's post below. I wanted that fabric out asap. Plus, the deadline for turning in pillowcases is March 14.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday, Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fabric Swap, Stash Report & Goals Update

CSQ Held their annual fabric swap this week. I destashed 17-1/8 yards, and trashed two yards of damaged fabrics.
CSQ Fabric Swap Table
Scrap Frenzy!
I had good intentions of not bringing any fabric home, but I found some that would work well for pillowcases. My other bee is making pillowcases for a local children's hospital, and the prints I found would work for boys. So I brought 5-1/8 yards home. And I used 4 yards of it right away! (the remainder will go to STLMQG's free table in March so I'll count it out next month)
More Pillowcases

Stash Report:
February IN: 13.25 yards  (wide backings for two projects; 3 yds sashing for Gramercy; 5-1/8 yards from fabric swap)
February OUT: 34 yards  (8-1/2 yds camp pillowcases;  1/8 yd label borders;  17-1/8 yds to fabric swap;  2 yds batik dot charity top boy colorway;  2 yds trash;  4-1/4 yds add'l pillowcases)

YTD IN: 33 yards
YTD OUT: 34 yards
Net change:  -1 yard
Whoo Hoo!!! I'm in the black!

I anticipate a small purchase of Easter fabric in March. I'm hoping some finishes in March and April will move my numbers enough in the right direction to offset any purchases I might make in Paducah in April. My goal for the year is to break even.


February Update:
1. Make two 24" blocks for Gramercy & Friends at camp.  Done, but not at camp.
2. Make 8 pillowcases at or before camp. Done
3. Work on Gramercy & Friends to complete the flimsy. Completed all the blocks; sashing is in work but not completed. Decided no add'l blocks or borders are needed.
4. Work on project for potential publication. Set blocks together for center of top.
5. Keep up with bee blocks. Still in work, due 3/3, 3/7, and 3/14 so there's still time…
6. Pull unwanted fabric from stash for guild Fabric Swap on 2/17. Gave away 17-1/8 yards and threw away 2 yards of damaged fabric.
Extra: Made four more pillowcases with fabric acquired at fabric swap.

March Goals:
1. Complete Gramercy & Friends flimsy (it's on LAQ's list for April).
2. Layer, baste, quilt & bind boy charity donation quilt, due 3/17.
3. Prep Gramercy backing.
4. Add borders to complete potential publication project to the flimsy stage.
5. Make Easter basket for new grandson CJ.
6. Keep up with bee blocks.
7. If Plus Dash is returned from the quilter, complete the binding (may not get it back this month).
8. Finish writing Plus Dash pattern.

Looks like that'll keep me busy! What are you working on?
Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times - check out everyone else's stash reports over there.