Thursday, January 23, 2014

Owl tea towel progress

I have made a start on my tea towel challenge. My first task was to stabilize the tea towel since it is made of a looser weave linen than the usual quilting fabric. I decided to baste some light weight interfacing to it rather than use iron-on. I've had some bad luck with iron-on stuff lately.

My plan is to use shapes from the tea towel design, so I drafted a half circle block to go around the first orange border.

This morning I made a prototype of a cross block that will be a top and bottom border - this should square it up a bit more. This is a fiddly block that I drafted to match the shape of the owl feet. I have to cut it "old school" using a template because of the odd angles. These will take a while to cut, but they go together quickly like a crooked 9 patch.

I will probably make one more pieced border, no specific plan yet. The beaks are equilateral triangles and I might take my inspiration from them.

One of the parameters of this challenge is to do something that I've never done before. I guess everything I do is somewhat new since I rarely use patterns or do the same thing twice. But, that seems a little weak.

I have been pondering the ultimate "thing I never do" - hand quilt (EEEEK!). It seems appropriate for a little retro quilt like this. I am envisioning chunky stitches in bright colors...hmmm...

Join me for the Tea Towel Challenge 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tea towel challenge - fabric selection

I've decided on my tea towel - I had two to choose from, both vintage, and both ordered on Etsy. I just couldn't help choosing the cute and quirky owls; the Christmas one will have to wait for some other project.

I looked through my stash and I only had one fabric that matched, so I headed off to one of the local quilt shops on Friday to pick some more fabrics. Easier said than done, but I eventually found a selection that I am happy with.

I have no idea what I will do, but I think I will start with a narrow border of orange and I will finish with an orange binding. I am considering replicating an owl or two in applique - I already have 2 favorite owls (are they marching or dancing?).

I'm in the process of packing up my sewing stuff. I've allowed myself 3 plastic storage boxes for projects and 'essentials' like thread and rotary cutters. The rest will be put into storage for the next few months. I just can't decide which machine to keep set up and which to pack up.

Linking up to Sopie's blog - she is hosting the tea towel challenge.

Join me for the Tea Towel Challenge 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thoughts on the past year

Everyone in the quilty-blog-sphere is posting reviews of 2013 or is goal setting for 2014. I have done the same for the past two years but somehow don't feel like it this year. I think it's because I am distracted and am (not) looking forward to a move next year. I have two houses to sell and one that is barely habitable to move into and renovate.

This should be exciting, but I am hung up on all the chores and jobs that need to be done before I can sell this house. My usual long and lazy summer break at the beach was replaced this year with a short 2 weeks at home painting and trying to de-clutter. I have failed to get much accomplished and am back at work on Monday. I guess this just leaks into my creative life and I am having some trouble appreciating this year's accomplishments.

I went through my old blogs and cataloged my finished projects - and there are a few. This year seemed to be full of small projects started and finished and fewer long-term projects finding their way to the finish line. I love the rush of a cute little finish, but I think that I really feel a true sense of accomplishment with larger (and longer) projects. But, the appeal of challenges, round robins, bees, etc. make it hard.

I've continued my participation in Block Lotto and although some months I only made one block, I still really enjoy trying them each month. I also did 2 round robins - the first with my own center block (and contributing to 3 others) and a second as part of a large gift quilt for the organizer of the round robin. I'll be doing another this year and already have my center block ready to go.

The new business, Sew Frisco, took a lot of my time this year and we had our first public outing at the Auckland Festival of Quilts. It's such a thrill when an order comes through, but this is not nearly often enough.

My two favorite projects were the scrappy diamonds that I just finished and the green/black hexagons. These were the two biggest quilts that I made this past year.

Next year will be very busy for me and I've already committed to do a few challenges. At least I am never bored. Did I mention we have a new kitten?