Category Archives: Quilting

TAW Update

By now, I’m pretty sure you’re probably getting tired of seeing my little trip around the world quilt, so I’ll just apologize now.  We get our assignments monthly, so I like to document the stages of this fun project.

Thimbleanna: TAW

Our assignment this month was for rows 24 through 30.  We technically have until the end of the month to reach row 30 (if you’re trying to keep up like me), but I’m getting ready to go on vacation and I didn’t want to return and be behind.  The rows are really getting time-consuming now, so, to be behind just a few rows means to be behind a lot in time.  I’ve been working like a crazy person to get this far and I’m so pleased that I made it before I leave on my trip.

Thimbleanna: TAW

It’s been amazing to me that I’m not tired of this project yet.  I love picking out fabrics for new rows — even though I don’t really know what I’m doing anymore.  I’m basically just trying to stick with the basic colors that I used in the first 9 rows.  It’s really surprising to me to how it changes personality as the rows are added.  I really liked the way rows 1 – 9 started out (upper left), but I worried after rows 10-18 (upper right) that it was looking a little too yellow/red/brown.  (Btw, sorry for all the different lighting — ideally, I’d take the pictures in the same setting, but it doesn’t always work out.  I was hoping to go outside tonight, but it’s been pouring most of the day, so I had to stay inside.)  Then, by rows 19 – 24 (lower left) I’d managed to add more blue in which made me happy.  I thought maybe I should tone the blue down a little, and now (lower right) there’s maybe a bit too much green going on.

Thimbleanna: TAW

I’m guessing I’ll have 10 – 12 more rows, so I need to take more time and figure out how to finish it up to get the effect I want.  As if I even knew what I want.  That might be part of the problem.  I’m pretty far out of my comfort zone here!!!

Anyway, if you’re still here, thanks for sticking with these TAW posts.  If you’ve never tried a TAW, you might really love the adventure!  This little quilt is getting pretty big now — it’s just a bit bigger than the top of a double sized bed.  And, as you can see, when it’s rolled up, it pretty much fills my little train case.  I’m going to need a bigger case!

Thimbleanna: TAW

That’s a good problem, right?
XOXO,
Anna

Trip Trippy Dip

I’m still working hard on my Trip Around the World.  This is my baby through round 24.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Amazingly, I’m still on schedule.  The assignment for this month was rounds 19 through 24.  The instructions were to a) use our exchange fabric, b) have at least one row be a “make-do” row (i.e., play like our pioneer grandmothers who would have run out of some prints and had to improvise in some of the rounds by using more than one fabric), and c) use the red dot in another round.  I used my red dot in round 24, my exchange fabric in round 22, and rounds 21 and 23 were make-do rounds.  Round 21 was a true make-do round — I was four squares short of that green spotty fabric, so I placed a the green polka dot from round 4 in the corners of round 21.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

I’m thinking I want my quilt to be at least a double and maybe a bit bigger.  I calculated how much more work would be needed if I went to 44 rounds (which would make the quilt 88″ x 88″).  I’ll only need 20 more rounds, but surprisingly, in terms of actual little squares of fabric, I’m not even half-way yet.  The half-way point will occur somewhere around row 29 or 30.  Yikes!   I’ve been at this for 2 1/2 months now, so if I could hold to the current pace, I’m guessing it would take me another 3 – 3 1/2 months to finish.  I don’t see that happening though — fall is always a busy time around here and the big winter event will soon be just around the corner.  So, I’ll keep plodding along (although, I’m thinking a lot more time will be spent in choosing fabrics and colors — it’s getting harder and harder!) and not be disappointed if this project doesn’t wrap up until after Christmas sometime.

I wanted to show you something fun (at least to me LOL) — remember in the Becky Goldsmith post where I mentioned that I’d dipped into the 70′s stash for one of the fabrics?  That fabric is the little blue floral in round 23.  I’ve placed my TAW on top of a quilt that MeMum made in the early 80′s using that same blue fabric.  She uses her quilt every day and I’m amazed at how well the blue in the fabric has held up.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

When TheFirstChild was about 6 months old, I told MeMum that I wanted to learn how to hand quilt.  She sent me this LeMoyne Star quilt that she’d pieced so that I could figure it out.  I quilted one block in the center (there are 12 blocks in the quilt) and realized that TheFirstChild would be an adult before I finished the quilting.  Since we wanted it to be done in a more reasonable amount of time, we sent if off to a quilter.  It was a good decision and it’s fun to look at the quilting and figure out which block is mine — you can definitely tell.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Life is a little slower now without a baby, and I’m really enjoying all of this handwork. If you missed the first Trip Around the World Challenge, Brigitte has started another one. I’d tell you how to find it, but facebook and I hate each other* and I can’t figure it out. You could probably start by going to Brigitte Giblin’s homepage (don’t blame me if that’s not her homepage … see previous comment about me and facebook) and poking around. (Good Luck LOL!)

Have a great week!
XOXO,
Anna

*Case in point: I think it’s ridiculous that every time you “like” something on facebook, it gets splashed all over for everyone to see. Can’t a girl have a little privacy and support her friends? The only way I’ve found to keep that from happening is to block your friends. That’s just Stooooopid. (I’m done with my rant now haha.)

Becky Goldsmith

Our little local quilt guild has had Becky Goldsmith here to lecture and teach this week.  (Thanks again Jenny for keeping me in the loop!)  I’ve been  long-time fan of Becky Goldsmith, who, along with Linda Jenkins are the team of Piece O’ Cake Designs.  IMHO, Becky and Linda were among the pioneers of the fun, quirky side of quilting.  When quilting made it’s big comeback in the 70′s and 80′s, everything was pretty traditional.  Now we have traditional and modern and we got to the modern side of things with the help of quilters like Becky and Linda.

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

I’ve also been a long-time reader of Becky’s blog.  Long-time being relative, since blogs are fairly new compared to the 20 years that Piece O’Cake has been around.  What I really love about Becky’s blog is that she’s very observant and she makes you sit up and take notice of things you might have missed.  She spoke about this a little bit at the beginning of her presentation.  She showed us interesting slides like the one below.  (Sorry the pictures are so dark — it was dark in the room.)  What is the first thing you notice?

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Becky said she posted this photo on her blog and she was surprised at the number of people who noticed the arrow in the negative space between the E and the X.  Did you see it?

Another thing Becky notices a lot are manhole covers.  I LOVE it when she posts manhole covers on her blog.  Here’s one of my favorites that I remember from her blog and she showed it last night.  I want to hang that one on my sewing room wall!

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

The main topic of Becky’s presentation was color and she spoke about different ways to use it.  I thought the following quilts were interesting.

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

They’re made out of the same pattern.  Becky decided to experiment with colors when she made the quilt on the right and she got a big laugh out of the crowd when she said that quilt “sucks”.  The colors don’t work as she arranged them.  (Below you can see an expanded view that shows that the quilts are indeed, the same pattern.)

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Becky said to embrace your mistakes.  The quilt that sucked became a great quilt back.  I loved this next quilt.   Awhile ago, Becky requested that the readers of her blog each send her a piece of fabric that they thought was really ugly.  I remember when she requested the fabrics and she got some REALLY ugly scraps.  (Another big laugh when Becky said that some of the scraps were almost pornographic.)  She said there were probably only 4 pieces of fabric that she actually liked.  But, she arranged them according to color and made the quilt below — Wow!

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

I loved her message.  Look at everything with fresh eyes.  And use your design wall.   She also talked about cleaning out your stash and only keeping the fabrics and colors that you love.  Get rid of the old fabrics that you no longer love, i.e. ugly fabrics.  I have to say, I disagreed with that idea and had to chuckle when I thought about it after just seeing the beautiful quilt that she made from ugly fabrics.  I have a LOT of ugly fabrics from the 70′s and 80′s.  I don’t like the colors anymore.  But, I love scrappy quilts and you just never know when you might need a bit of ugly fabric.  I just dipped into the 70′s stash this week and found a perfect print for my Trip Around the World.  So … you never know.  I know I’ll never in a million years use all the fabric that I’m hoarding (and sometimes I get sick thinking about it) but, at least, I’m going to have some variety to choose from.  (As an aside, can you tell me why it is, with a large stash, that you often can’t find a color or print that you want?  I don’t mean it’s lost in your stash, I mean you don’t have the color that you need for your quilt.  I think it’s one of the mysteries of quilting.)

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Anyway, if you ever get the chance to hear Becky speak, take the opportunity. She’s fun and inspiring. And if you’re not following her blog, you should!

XOXO,
Anna

Still Trippin’

To quote one of my fellow American Trip Around the World Challenge bloggers, “I’m totally obsessed with this project”.  That’s why it’s been so quiet here — I’ve had my head down hand stitching these little blocks.  It’s really starting to get time-consuming now — it takes me at least an hour to do one side of one round.  Our challenge this month was to complete rounds 10 – 18 by today.  July 15th.  I put the last stitch in round 18 with 45 minutes to spare.  I know I didn’t really have to get it done by today, but I really want to try to stay on track.  It’s been my experience that a little slip in schedule can quickly become a big slip.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I did have a little burp in this month’s task.  I had cut out rounds 13 and 14 and then I had to clean up the fabric that was on every flat surface in my house because people were coming over for the 4th of July.  When it came time to stitch those rounds, I couldn’t find the little cut squares anywhere.  That’s what happens when I clean stuff up and cram it all into my sewing room.  I ended up re-cutting the fabrics in order to continue on.  And then, somewhere around round 17, I found the little devils (pictured below) neatly tucked away in the new train case sewing box.  Doh — didn’t think to look in the obvious place!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I’ve long since stopped finger-pressing the seams on the back, but I wish I was still pressing them.  They’re flopping all over the place and shedding threads.  I feel like I spend half of my stitching time plucking little threads off of the back and it’s driving. me. crazy!  The back does have a sort of pretty texture to it though.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

Jan eloquently wrote about viewing your colors out-of-focus, so I thought it would be fun to look at my block that way.  It’s so funny to me how this block is taking shape — I don’t feel like these colors are “me” at all.  I’m not sure what “me” colors are,  and I like these colors, but they don’t quite feel right.  I’d love to make another version in different colors.  Or maybe ten more versions — then maybe I’d find “me”!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

A little closer look and you can see some of the prints a little better.  I love the Alison Glass text print so I had to try to use it here.  I threw in three blue rows in a row in an attempt to “blue up” this block, but it doesn’t seem to be working.  I still see predominately yellow and brown.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I might have to get more aggressive with the blue this next month. We have a fun new twist to the challenge. A partner will send us each a quarter yard of fabric and we have to use it in a round. I’m afraid to do any more rounds until I see my exchange fabric so I hope it will arrive soon!

We’re having the most beautiful summer this year. This week we’re experiencing another polar vortex and let me tell you, a polar vortex in July is a whole lot more fun than a polar vortex in January! I’d gladly suffer through the brutal winter that we had this year in order to have a beautiful, cool summer. As a snow lover, I feel like we hit the weather jackpot this year. I wish I could share our cool summer with those of you who are burning up here in the northern hemisphere– come for a visit!

XOXO,
Anna

A Trip Around the World

How do you like that post title?  Are you thinking travel?  Or Quilt?  While I’d love to be on a real trip around the world, this trip is quilt related only.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I’ve been a huge fan of Jan at Be*mused for many years.  She was one of the first blogs I ever read and she has a quiet sophistication that I love.  Years ago, I was pinning so many of her projects on my pinterest boards, I even joked that I should have a board dedicated to all things Be*mused!  So, when she posted about an online Trip Around the World Challenge a few weeks ago, the pictures of her beautiful start made me sit up and take notice.

After reading about this challenge, there were several red flags for me.  First of all, I really didn’t need another start.  I just started Phebe and I’m going to start the Aunt’s Quilt in the fall.  I don’t usually join challenges for fear of not being able to keep up (still a very real danger, but, oh well.)  I’ve never really liked mystery type challenges either — I like to be a little more in control of my project.  And the biggest red flag — this quilt is all hand-pieced.  I’ve never really understood the point of hand-piecing in this sewing machine world — except, maybe for intricate or curved little pieces.  Why on earth would you ever hand piece a quilt that would be so easy to machine piece???  You’d be crazy to do something like that, right?

But.  If Jan was doing it, maybe there’s something to it?  So, I timidly requested to join the group, and after a bit of wavering, I jumped in.  And, oh.my.gosh, I’ve been having so much fun!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

The hardest part has been choosing the fabrics.  I love most all fabric and color combinations, and I really have no idea how these fell out of the mix.  I’m really trying to get more of a blue/green vibe going on, but, as Jan pointed out in her post, this quilt sort of has a mind of it’s own.  I’m sure I’ll try to work harder on the blue/green — I hope I don’t ruin it by fighting with the quilt.

There are guidelines for this quilt, and it’s interesting to me how they can be interpreted differently.  I’ve read and re-read several parts, wondering how to proceed.  And in reading over Jan’s post again this morning, I’ve realized that she and I interpreted the instruction to “eyeball the seamline” differently.  For, some reason, that didn’t jump out at me as a “rule” but rather a suggestion.  Jan had mentioned to me that if you cut your fabrics on the grainline, you can follow a thread as you stitch.  I painstakingly cut out my first six rounds on the grain — by pulling a thread through the fat quarter (how time-consuming!), but when it came time to stitch and have my eyes follow the thread — not happening!  My eyesight just isn’t that good.  So, I’ve been drawing 1/4″ seams on every other round.  Ooops!  What should I do now?  Try and eyeball?  Might not be pretty!  It’s funny that I didn’t connect the dots between the instructions and Jan’s comment about following the grain (even having read Jan’s post) before now.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

And there was mention of not pressing the seams as you go.  That’s driving me crazy!  Is that a “rule”?  I need to read over the guidelines LOL.  I’ve been finger pressing like crazy, just to get my big square to behave.  Like Jan pointed out, I love how you can pinwheel the seams — revealing a little 4-patch of sorts at each intersection.

For the next month, we’ll be working on rounds 10 through 18.  The rounds are really starting to take some time now, so I’m a little worried that I might not make the deadline.  I’ll try my best though, and enjoy every minute of the stitching.  It helps that I’ve found a fun little sewing buddy.  Do you like my new little Better Buddy sewing case?  I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time and I finally got one.  It’s perfect for this little project.  I throw the quilt and my better buddy in my bag and it’s a great take-along project!  (The sides are magnetized, so they hold pins and needles — even that whole box of pins.  I love that I can just toss my needle in there and not worry about finding it the next time.)

Thimbleanna: Better Buddy Case

Ok. Back to stitching. There’s a new round to be discovered!

XOXO,
Anna