Friday, September 28, 2012

Cases for a Cause

I have something to celebrate getting done this Friday , although I did not really plan it that way...I got 6 pillowcases done and 6 more pinned up ready for sewing. I will celebrate by playing along with Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Why am I doing this, you ask...

I was browsing around some blog links from my list of blogs that either don't get updated often or I don't get to read often and I came across the blog of a friend who lost her 8 year old daughter back in the spring. That child had the biggest smile and most sparkly eyes and she had been through so much in her short, medically complicated life. I used to read updates about how she was doing with, well, a sharp stab of guilt actually. See, I have a son that was born just two weeks after Emily was and he visits the doctor literally once a year, typically for a well-visit (visits to the ER for broken bones and self inflicted eye injuries not withstanding - this kid has 'thrill issues'). Knowing what Emily would be doing and learning and accomplishing if not for her medical challenges just made the already heart wrenching news about setbacks and medical procedures all the more painful. Conversely, when there was good news about her walking with assistance or sitting up and playing on her own I was SO proud of her and the efforts her mom made to make those things happen for her. Her mom has, understandably, been in a lot of pain since her death. Emily's ninth birthday is coming up in October and her family is planning a celebration of her life. Part of that celebration is a drive to collect fun and festive pillowcases to donate to the Mattel Children's Hospital where Emily spent so many days. Her mom says that something as simple as a 'happy' pillowcase can make such a big difference over the 'sterile hospital white' they are surrounded with. The information about the drive is on her blog here.

These six are done!
I got to thinking... I have lots of ~1 yard cuts of bright, fun prints that I have accumulated over the years thinking I would use them for something for my own kids. Then life happened and the kids grew out of them or the right idea never came along. So I started making cases. It only takes a 26.5" length of 41" wide fabric and a 10" x 41" band of complimentary fabric and surprisingly few seams. I made 6 without breaking a sweat (or buying any fabric!) and today I went out and bought a few lengths so I could use up still more of my stash that I didn't have the right go-with piece for. I will have to sacrifice one to my 4 year old... she spotted the princess fabric in the stack and begged me to let her have one of the two cases that yardage will make... I did buy it for her originally and could never think of anything to make with it. Voila! A Princess pillowcase to go with her pink sheets that didn't come with a pillow case of their own. If you have any fun fabric laying around, waiting for the right idea please consider making a case or two in honor of Emily.
This is fabric for another 5 earlier today - they are cut out and pinned up ready for sewing and I
forgot to take a picture of the fabric for last two - from Aunt Lindy's Paper Doll fabric... SO cute!

These are shown above... Too buggy? Would that be weird to sleep on bugs,
or will some future entamologists think they are the coolest thing ever?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

IX challenge

Hello all! The Diva challenge this week is to use the relatively new pattern IX in a piece. When this tangle came out I played a little with it and found it 'ok'. I have the most trouble with the ends which I have not found a truly satisfying solution for... I don't even really know what it is about them that doesn't work for me so it is hard to fix it. I do like it curved rather than straight and I like lots of overlapping lines because I like the woven look the junction gets. I have already seen some great interpretations posted as responses to the challenge (I peeked before I posted mine which I usually try not to do!). Anyway, here are mine for the week...

I will likely be pretty scarce here on the blog for a while. I am preparing for an exam that dredges up a bunch of information that I knew pretty well... 20+ years ago, I have a degree in it after all. The results of this exam will determine if I am able to step through the looking glass and change careers in the most lucrative way possible in the near future. As such, I am trying to motivate myself to study a few hours a day. The study itself is not so bad except for the fact that not remembering any of this stuff I used to know so well is a little depressing and ends up making me feel a bit brainless. I am also trying to finish quilting the endless quilt (I am never quilting one this way ever again!) a few minutes at a time when I can and teach my two after school classes and do everything else that a mom of three is required to do. I hope to keep tangling, if only to 'chill out' once in a while, but no promises about posting them! Once things calm down some I hope to have a little  celebration of my first whole year of blogging and having 50 whole followers! WooHoo! I will keep you posted. For now I have to go stop the boys wrestling match before someone breaks something (don't laugh, it has happened before, twice), get the middle boy to return the box turtle he found today to the woods and put the 4 year old to bed.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Out of Bounds

This week's Diva challenge for Zentangle was to "break free" from constraints and boundaries. Whatever it was/is that contains us we were supposed to defy that with our tangles. What a happy coincidence since I have been on a bit of a mission for a few weeks now to not be so hemmed in by THE LINE. When I am feeling less that inspired and creative because I am too busy and scheduled I have a tendency to both feel constrained by but also be a slave to THE LINE of the string... and at the same time I tend to make pretty yucky strings (too much thinkin' about it and/or trying too hard). Isn't that just the way... the harder you try the worse it gets... very un-Zen. So I have been trying hard to 'let go'... which is sort of at cross purposes, no? Anyway, this challenge was right up my alley.

It is hard to see how much this one 'broke free' of the string because there is little visible of the original string. Basically the top boundary of the string was used as a 'suggestion' of where to begin to end the Hill and Dale (a pattern I keep meaning to publish the steps for-let me know if you are interested).  In the bottom section the Huggins (or whatever it is) 'leaked out' into the next section and also did not strictly follow the boundary of its own section. There were only the three sections to the string.

This one clearly shows the boundaries, but also leaks out of them. The Kunstler leaks into both the Lap and the outside. The Meer leaks a little into the Lap and the Printemps floats out of bounds as well. The Lap actually dictated lines in both the Meer and the Kunstler as well. I like this one the best - see my need to 'stay in the line' shows even here where I am trying to break free!!

Oh, and imagine my surprise when, the other day while surfing someone else's Pinterest board, I found this little banner for with my three patterns on it; Groovy, Islette (spelled wrong) and Brainz. I don't think I ever published the breakdown for two of them and had never even heard of the website. I am not even a member of it, yet I am apparently one of the 'designers'! What a surprise when there are so many people much more deserving of that designation than I! I was also a little taken aback that I am apparently on the sight in the form of my patterns and had never even heard of it. I mean, I know what I publish on this blog is 'out there' for whatever purpose anyone has in mind... but I was just surprised to actually see it happen and without my knowledge. Not sure how I feel about it actually, I am still processing. I guess the really nice thing about the whole experience is that I ran across some really great 'new to me' patterns by people I knew about before but had somehow managed to miss (like Lap, by Lizzie Mayne). Now I need to draw out the breakdowns and add them to my file. 
Hope everyone has a great end of the week and weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2012

On my Wall today...

The project on my wall today is not a quilting project, although I am using many of those skills to do it...

My oldest son's Boy Scout patrol (the Eagles) is belatedly making a patrol flag and asked for my help. Thank goodness for Steam a Seam! I hope to finish this week but they have to make a few decisions about how to hang it and what else goes on the flag before I sew the seams and inset the trim.  For now the roman eagle needs to be ironed on still so it can go to the meeting tonight.

I have been quilting some lately. I am in the middle (literally - it will have to be moved to sew the patrol flag) of the Holiday Wreath quilt I have spoken of here before. I don't know WHAT I was thinking when I decided how to quilt that... it is taking FOREVER. I also dug out my collection of charity tops that have not yet been quilted and selected a small one to get me 'back in the groove' so to speak. I added the purple border and quilted the one shown here which was made out of left overs from several other projects. I even used up tad ends of bindings on this one, as well as a scrap of batting and a pastel striped piece of fabric for the backing. Feels good to be done with one that can now go to a new home. I have several more in line, slightly larger but still manageable. I hope to knock them out before getting seriously involved in piecing anything else. I am really warming up to quilt two of my own that I want to enter in the local show. Before tackling the larger quilts I started small and quilted these two tiny ones... one left over block from a backing that was made out of trimmings leftover from the front of the same quilt. Leftover squared? It is a cute mug rug size and it was nice to finish up something quickly. 

Then this one is a little larger, the house is about 6". I have been kicking around the 'little house craze' inspiration in my head while thinking about how to finish off a left over HST flimsy (below) and got interested in the little house craze going on right now. I purchased the book "Down in the Valley" by Derksen and Harder and will probably use several of the house patterns in there to make it look like a little town commons with cottages, a school house some barns and trees on one side ... call it "Cross Roads" or "Village Cross Roads". This extra block was an early exploration of making a house and did I need the paper pieced foundation and could I make it wonky with or without one and, hey, what about doing a 'crumb' inspired house quilt? Once the Cross Roads quilt is is done I think I will choose one house pattern I really like and make up a bunch of papers for each section. I will stack them in the crumb drawer and piece them out of there in an ongoing process where I can just do a few at a time when I have the chance. That drawer is filling up again and I think it would make a cute quilt and use up lots of scraps. I think I will make all the chimneys the same brick fabric and maybe all the windows the same gold to unify things. Everything else will be scrappy and maybe I can throw a few trees in there too. 
Check out the adorable quilt on Judy's wall over at Design Wall Monday and have a great week!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Finally a challenge response!

I have spent some time this week tangling... no sewing so far. That is about to change, as my oldest's Boy Scout patrol needs a flag and he thought they would get a good result if I was involved... gee, thanks for the vote of confidence... I think. Anyway, this week's challenge from the Diva was to use Copada, one of Margaret Bremmer's tangles. I love her style and use a lot of her tangles all the time. This was one I hadn't used yet. The 'strip' nature of the pattern screamed for a double pencil string, which I had not done in a while. There are so many possibilities with this tangle that this piece quickly became a mono-tangle... why would you need anything else?
There was another project I worked on a lot this week... my younger son has a binder for school that allows you to slip a paper under the clear covering. I suggested he draw a picture to go in there... he suggested that I draw a picture to go in there.  So I worked on this 'cover page' for his folder for about a week on and off. I think he likes it, I know that I am pleased with it. It was nice to use color and I really like the pencils I used... each is a combo of three colors in one, which gives a nice subtle variation.

I have also done a bunch of paint chip bookmarks and discovered yet another of Margaret's tangles, Kunstler, which is awesome! Check it out and have a great week.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A little tangling to keep me sane...

I have not intentionally been neglecting this blog, my sewing or tangling... I just haven't had time to post. In addition, I have been in a bit of a slump with tangling (not liking my results for challenges and such much) and the weather has been unfriendly to taking good quilting photos so I have not had much to be excited to post about! Add that to getting really back into the swing of school, volunteering, teaching after school science club, applying for a new school opportunity myself, staying up late and getting up early and I am whipped! BUT, I did zip off this little Zendalla for challenge #21 because I really liked the simplicity of this string. I wanted to try to do more but time has just not allowed and I have been working on something else. I had been browsing for inspiration when I came across Michelle Beauchamp's post about a tangle called Scroll Feather. In typical fashion, hers is elegant and lovely and flowing and made me drool. So I adapted the shape a bit to fit this Zendalla and had a little Scroll Feather fun of my own. It is a bit chunkier and less elegant, but does well with this shape and I like the repetition and the regularity imposed on it's otherwise flowing and organic shape. I have been trying for a while to be not so attached to the hard line shape of the string I am working with (like fill to the edge and stop). So this was a little success at that, although the shape is still pretty strictly followed. I am working on something else for one of my boys and am trying to work a bit 'stringless' to see if that helps. I will have to share the results of that a little later. Gotta run so I can sit in the preschool carpool line!