Monday, September 15, 2014

Kicking Ass On The New Project!

Last time I posted about my new project, it was totally kicking my ass, remember that? I had to do a lot of trial-and-error to find a piecing method that works for this quilt. Happy to report that I've found a method that, however tedious and slow it is, works awesome. Yes! And as I'm adding another row this afternoon I wanted to throw a few pictures up to share.

Here's the plan for this quilt as recorded in my sketch book back in February. I've actually had the idea for this quilt in my head longer than that, but it took me a few months to work it out on paper. The idea for the colors comes from a very basic color theory assignment; rearrange the colors in the RYB 12-step color wheel in a new way based on personal preference. Since red is my favorite color, it takes the center spot in the design with the other colors from the color wheel radiating out from there. (Remember my color theory assignments? This is assignment #2.)

There's lots of points in this quilt, and thankfully they are looking nice and, well, pointy!

I'm just over half-way finished with the piecing, here it is draped on the ironing board.

I'm pretty pleased, as I wasn't sure I could get my drawing translated to fabric. Yes! It will probably take me the rest of the week to find time to finish the top. Then I have to stew over the quilting for awhile before diving in. Still trying to think of what to call this quilt when it's finished, but I've been referring to it as the "triangle" quilt. What do you think of my triangles so far?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hello September!

The entire month of August was awful, it was like the month of standing still - nothing seemed to move forward. I was stuck on my latest project, we still couldn't get the Meteor to run right, and we spent most of the month fixing up my husband's house after renting it for the past three years to get it ready to sell.

But all that seemed to change once September rolled in. Remember the new project I'm working on - the one that was kicking my ass? I finally found a piecing method that is working for me, and my points and seams are finally lining up - so now I can move forward to finish this quilt top. Which I'm really excited about, because it is already looking fanfreakingtastic!

And, the Meteor is back up and running after what seemed like an eternity! Turns out she needed an entirely new distributor, and we had only replaced the cap. So, I was finally able to take the Meteor to a car show over the weekend, and it was freaking awesome! She still needs work, but she's ship-shape for short drives around town. This fall we'll work on rebuilding the motor, replacing the scratched-up windshield, and taking care of the ripping upholstery. I hope to keep driving her for years to come, I love this Meteor!

After weeks in August of pulling weeds, trimming bushes and trees, scrubbing, painting, and re-carpeting, my husband's old house is finally on the market. This was his bachelor pad when we met, and although it was where we lived when we were married, it's never really been our family home. More like his house that we lived for a few years. But, I digress...because as soon as this puppy sells, we get to start planning for our REAL family home!

AND! There's another "new" vintage sewing machine project in the works, too! This Sews-it-all machine was something that came through a friend. It was pretty trashed out, but I got it working and gave it a custom paint job.

The Sews-it-all machine
The Sews-it-all is an antique 1901 Singer model 15, and it's so old that there's no motor mount on it. I had customized this machine to sew as a hand-crank, but it doesn't work that well, as we just attached a crank to a spare clutch nut instead of using the classic hand-crank attachment made to fit on a motor mount. So, I had planned on starting to look for a treadle base for this machine later this fall.

Can you believe that I stumbled into the perfect treadle base at Goodwill a few weeks ago?

Sweet score! My plan is to modify this treadle base to be more portable; to remove the drawers, cut down the top, and make it easy to attach/remove the wooden top from the base. Then I can disassemble the whole thing, take it on the road, and treadle away at retreats. Or just set up to sew outside for a weekend. The cast iron is in GREAT shape on this base, but the wood is really scratched up and has some surface damage to the finish.

And, not like I needed it, but the treadle had an old Singer 66 in it. Missing pieces, of course. It's a 1924 Red Eye, and I already have one Red Eye in a funky heavy-as-shit treadle in storage, and a custom painted Red Eye hand crank. Not sure what will become of this little 66, but for now it will be safe and sound on my sewing machine storage shelves.


And what kind of projects do YOU have in process this fine September?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nice Headlights!

I just finished this block as an addition to a Chicago Modern Quilt Guild group project to support breast cancer patients/research. Each one of us is making a block based on a slang term for the breasts (and I've seen sneak peeks of some of the other blocks, this is going to be a fantastic quilt).

Naturally, I chose to work with "Headlights"!

Nice Headlights!
And of course, the Meteor was my model!
I used a combination of fusible webbing and stitches to make the block, using the photo as a guide.
It was fun, and I'd LOVE to make a larger piece based on the Meteor sometime soon! I think it turned out pretty awesome.
I'll definitely share photos of our finished CMQG charity quilt when it all comes together, and I can't wait to see all the other blocks! Next on my list is going back to the "new project" for another try, hopefully it will start to come together for me - and I'll share photos of that, too!

Friday, August 1, 2014

T-Shirt Sample Half Square Triangles

I recently came across some salesman samples of t-shirt fabrics, which amounted to a bundle of very colorful small rectangles of knits backed with interfacings. At first I was thinking that I would just pass them on to Fidget to play with, because did I really want to sew a quilt with t-shirt knit? But the more I looked at those samples, I realized I really loved the colors all thrown together - the different values, shades, and little pops of bright colors.

And I also remembered this - one of my favorite pictures, a late 1960's Jason Crum mural (from a vintage visual teaching aid). I love the half square triangles; the colors, the patterns made by the lines and different values.

Lucky for me I just bought a die cutter, and in less than an hour I had run all the rectangles through to become half square triangles. I pieced the HST's somewhat randomly, the only criteria was that the two halves could not be from the same color family, and one half had to be a lighter value. And so, with help of my lovely assistant...
Here is my Jason Crum inspired t-shirt sample half square triangle quilt top!


To be honest, I needed a project that would just go together fast and be finished - know what I mean? So yes, the piecing is a little wonky - some of the corners do not line up perfectly, but that doesn't bother me in the least. I still love it!

I plan on quilting it as simply as possible, turning it into a wall-hanging, hopefully to hang somewhere in the house!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A New Project (That's Kicking My Ass)

I've had this totally awesome, exciting idea all year long for making a medium sized-ish quilt based on a Color Theory exercise, one where the colors of the color wheel are arranged in a new way (based on how the student feels about the colors). I messed around with my design on paper for a couple of weeks, and finally recorded my favorite design in my sketchbook back in February. I have to say, I absolutely LOVE the sketch, and want desperately to see it rendered in fabric!

So, I've meant to start this project all summer long, but had a feeling it was going to be a challenge for me (read between the lines, challenge = pain in the ass), so I've conveniently found ways to put it off for the past two months.

I finally started working on this project last week, the first steps are trying to figure out how to faithfully transfer my tiny, exacting design drawn in my sketchbook into a larger quilt pieced with fabric. Now, let me say right here - I'm not at all sure I'm fully capable of making the final design as perfectly as I'd like it to. And there's the challenge; find a way using all my skills to try and pull this off.

Because I'm not sure if I can even pull it off, I'm a little afraid to share my little sketch with you until the whole thing is finished. Well, that, and then there's still the feeling of shock at having one of my original designs magically rendered by someone else and pictured in a magazine and credited as their very own original design. Yes - fear of having my design rendered by someone else before I even finish my own (is that crazy?).

I started with what seemed like the simplest idea to transfer the design to a larger quilt, which was making some measurements for how to cut the pieces and assemble them. I did a test with the first few rows of the design.

The test showed that I wasn't getting accurate enough using this method. Score 1 for the project, and 0 for me! My next idea will be more accurate where the piecing is concerned (or so I think), but it's also a longer process. I'm starting this week with making a few preparations, and hope to do another piecing test soon - which I'll share with you here, and hopefully can show the finished project in the coming weeks along with the original sketch. Or, I'll have to admit defeat and move on to something else!