Sunday, January 31, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Challenge (Jan.) and Quilty 365 Jan. wrap-up

Today is the last day of January, so I need to post my finishes for this month.  I managed to finish my last 3 Pieced Tulips blocks in January's colour of blue.  I mentioned a few days ago that the black blocks that I chose for the centers of the tulips don't show up too well with darker blue fabrics - you'll see what I mean in the center tulip:

I also finished the 8 Dancing Plus blocks for Jan. 24-31 - my January Quilty 365 goal.  Here are the last 8,

and here are all 31 blocks made for January.  I was telling a friend about this project, and she was concerned about needing fabric scraps to make blocks for a whole year, and especially not repeating any of the fabrics.  She obviously hasn't seen my stash!  I don't think I'll have a problem!

I'm off to link up with Angela's January RSC post.  I'm not sure if there will be a link-up post for the 365 Challenge...  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

On the Needles Jan. 29 and cards

I know that I was supposed to post my knitting project yesterday, but once again, there just weren't enough hours in the day...  (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)
Part of the reason for the delay in posting, is that I really haven't made a lot of progress on the baby sweater. I have a few other projects in the works as well, and I worked a bit on two of them as well - but I can't post them right now - the recipient is a follower, and I don't want her to see it until it's in her hands.
Meanwhile, the baby shower was held last Sunday afternoon - minus the sweater.  I told the expectant mom that it will be coming, hopefully before the baby arrives.
I'm working on the cabled fronts - have a look:
I'm about halfway done at this point.  Then I'll have to add the button bands, and knit the hood.
Another thing that kept me from knitting was making a few cards.  My stash has dwindled to almost nothing, and I hate having to make a card just a few minutes before it has to go into the mail.  It's so much nicer to pick one out of an overflowing box!
A friend's husband had surgery last week, and I wanted them to know that we're thinking of them, and keeping them in our prayers, so the first card is on it's way to them; the second card is without a sentiment right now - it could be for a birthday, or a "Thinking of You" kind of card - whatever is called for at the time.  It will only take a minute or two to add something then.

I'll wrap up the month of January with a post tomorrow - I finished my blue tulip blocks for January, and I have my Quilty 365 blocks done for the week - I'll probably post a pic of all the blocks for January!
I'm going to link up on Judy's On the Needles page.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Happenings for Jan. 17-23

Another week has simply flown by, and I don't have a lot to show for it.  We're currently renovating our kitchen, and it seems like every time I pick up my knitting needles, or sit at the sewing machine, hubby needs me for something.  But, I'll be thankful when I have a complete and functioning kitchen, and the knitting and quilting will get accomplished sometime...
That said, I do have a few things to share!  First off are my Rainbow Scrappy Challenge blocks.  Angela chose blue for the blocks made for January.  I decided to use the Pieced Tulips tutorial from Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache website.  The blocks finish at 9", so I decided to make 5 for each month - and I'm finding it a bit more challenging than I expected!  It doesn't help that I miscounted when cutting the background blocks, and I didn't have enough cut - but that's taken care of easily enough.  I did manage to make two blocks so far, and a third one is almost done.  I chose black for the 5 contrast squares for every block - I realized that black is probably the only colour that we won't be assigned to make, so there would always be contrast between it and the block colour.  Well, maybe...  Dark blue and black look quite a bit alike!  You'll see what I mean when I get that block finished and posted.  Here are the two I finished:

The "Dancing Plus" blocks were made for the Quilty 365 challenge too - here are this week's blocks:

And finally, a friend had a birthday, and I made a card:
I used Stampin' Up's "Lovely as a Tree" stamp set.  The card looks more complicated to make than it actually is - the hardest part was pushing the little brads through the ribbon!
I'll post my final 3 blue RSC blocks in a day or two - I hope!  I'm going to post my first two on the SoScrappy page.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Knitting and Quilty 365 updates

Another week has flown by...  but, I managed to get a few things done!  I haven't had a lot of time to knit, but I'm making progress on the sweater that I'm knitting for the baby shower I'm attending Jan. 24th.  The back is done, and so are the sleeves!  Now comes the more difficult part - working up the cabled fronts of the sweater.  I've just got about 4 rows done, so not much to show there...  Here's the progress so far:

I'm also keeping up with my daily "Dancing Plus" blocks for Quilty 365 - these are the blocks for Jan. 13-16.  I've been putting the date on each block (on a seam on the back), so I'll have a reminder of what I chose for that day.  It's fun remembering the projects I made with these fabric scraps!

I'm linking up to Judy's "On the Needles" report.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Leader / ender project - and Quilty 365

Today is the first Scraptastic Tuesday for 2016 - and being new to this challenge, I wanted to make sure to link up to it!  Basically, you work on something "scrappy" and you post a picture of it - whether it's completed or just progress made on a project.
I'm currently working on a new quilt (no pics yet), but there are a lot of spots that require pressing before you can go on to the next step.  I really like to press all the parts at one time - and I hate to stop what I'm doing, cut my threads, and then have to make sure that I grab my threads when I start again, to prevent a horrible "bird's nest" of threads when I start stitching again.  The best way I've found to work around that issue is to have a "leader / ender" project on the go at the same time.  Basically, it's a work-in-progress - but it's really not as critical a project as the one I'm working on.  When I finish stitching a row on my "real" project, I grab a few pieces of my "leaders / enders" and I stitch them together.  Then I press my original project, and start stitching it again, with no "bird's nests" or wasted thread!
I found a really great leader / ender project this past summer when I did the Hands2Help challenge.  One of the guest bloggers, Joanne, shared one of her favourite "go-to" patterns - one she called 'simple bricks'.  It's SO easy to do!  Choose a size (1.5" x 2.5"; 2.5" x 4.5" or 3.5" x 6.5"); cut ALL of your fabric to the size you chose, and start sewing them together.  First, you sew 2 together along the long sides, press your seams, then grab another brick -sew it across the top of those 2 blocks; repeat with the bottom; press.  Finally, sew 2 strips together on the short edge, press and sew that long strip to the side of your new block.  Repeat for the other side - and that's it!  I told you it was simple!  The problem with that block is - it's really addictive!  I found myself sewing multiple strips or sections together, when it's just meant to be an in-between "project".
Have a look at how it turns out:
The top shows 2 blocks, and the bottom photo is 3 blocks sewn together.  I'm using the 2.5" x 4.5" size, and I just may have this top done before I finish my "real" quilt!
I'm also keeping up with the Quilty 365 challenge - sewing one block each day of the year.  These are the blocks for Jan. 9-12, so I'm still keeping pace...  3 of the blocks used batik scraps, and the pink and grey owls fabric was leftover scraps from a baby bib that I just made for a friend's baby granddaughter.  I already have my fabric chosen for tomorrow's blocks, so that will probably be my first item sewn in the morning. 
I'm linking up to the Scraptastic Tuesday post.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Quilty 365

A blog post with the button for Quilty 365 caught my eye just at the beginning of the new year.  I wasn't really looking for more "new" projects, and yet, the concept sounded intriguing - make a quilt block for every day of the year - marking each day with a different fabric or combination of fabrics.
I'm almost positive that everyone is making circles, but I can be a bit of a rebel sometimes, and I've decided to make my blocks using Jan Ochterbeck's Dancing Plus block variation.
I don't think that I'll be posting my new block every day, but will probably bunch them up a bit.  I didn't intend to go 8 days!  I was also going to note why I chose each particular fabric, but that's going to get REALLY long and wordy, and it's not my intention to bore anyone!  I will note though, that my first block used one of the florals that I used for my Disappearing 4-patch block swap with Cathy.  The second block is a great mottled blue fabric - just like the sky that day; the third block shows snowflakes - like the ones that I hoped would fall before Christmas...  I also thought about using all blue fabrics for Jan. - the chosen colour for the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge, but after making a few blue blocks, I decided that I might not be able to handle making 30 blue blocks in a row!  Then I found my batik scraps... So, here are my first 8 blocks:
It might be a little tricky to pick out exactly what a "Dancing Plus" block looks like, so here's the top left corner block - once the block is made, you can tilt it either to the left or right, and trim it down - then, when they're all assembled, they'll look like they're dancing!

On my needles Jan. 8...

As I mentioned a few days ago, I'm hoping to blog more often, and also to take part in more challenges.  I posted my knitting progress a few times in Judy's "On the Needles" posts last year, but I'm going to try to participate more often this year.
So, here's what I'm working on now - my nephew and his wife are expecting their first child next month, and there's going to be a baby shower soon.  They've decided to wait to find out the baby's sex, so I tried to find a pattern and yarn that will be gender-neutral - and I think that I've found a great combination! This is the back of what will be a hooded, cabled sweater from a  King Cole pattern book, design #7:
The sweater is almost to the armhole decreases - rather "mindless" knitting to this point, but I'll have to concentrate a lot more carefully for the fronts!
Check out here to see what other folks are working on!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Some housekeeping....

We're 5 days into the new year, and I've already changed a few things up for this year.  I'm hoping to blog a bit more often, to share more "in the works" posts, and also to take part in some different challenges.
I've already mentioned that Melissa and Shanna have wrapped up the "A Lovely Year of Finishes" challenge. They kept a lot of crafters accountable, and I know that I accomplished more than I would have if it wasn't for their encouragement!  So first, I've got to post my finishes for this year - and here they are:
I worked on a number of other projects too - just didn't get around to finishing them up....  Maybe this year will see my Dresden plates actually appliqued onto their blocks so I can complete that one!
As well, my Disappearing 4-patch swap with Cathy is done - we'll be exchanging our final set of blocks on Friday, and then we'll see who gets their quilt done first!  (My guess is that it will be Cathy!)  She's drawn up a few really fantastic layouts, and I'm hoping to use one of them.
I've decided to join a few challenges - you may have noticed the buttons on my sidebar.  I did the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge two years ago, and decided not to do it last year, but I'm giving it another shot.  I've also seen a Quilty 365 button on a number of blogs, and checked it out - it sounds like a great idea, so I'm committing to do it this year as well.  You choose a fabric every day, and then make a block using it - at the end of the year, you'll have enough blocks to make (at least) one great memory quilt.  I'm not planning to share my block picks every day, but it will happen at least weekly.  I'll post the first bunch later this week.
I'm also going to try to be more deliberate about using my fabric scraps and sharing the way I use them.   Add in a few knitting and card-making updates too... That should keep me out of trouble!
I'm off to link up for the last time with  Melissa's wrap-up post!