Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WIP Wednesday 10.8.14

 Hi!  I have been doing some sewing.  Not much blogging, though.  I have a good reason.  Mr. Riley had back surgery last week and is home for a few weeks recuperating.  I don't mind him home, but its weird.  Plus the fact that I have to do all the driving for everything, so its been a bit busier than normal.

 I'm working diligently on my #igminiswap.  I've got my diamond pattern figured out.  The blue was the last test one.  All good as far as the pattern goes.  I would re-do the too light blue if it was a real block, and one point isn't quite matched up, but I'm ready to move ahead in the real fabrics.

 Here's a look at the 'real' fabric.  This will be the center of the quilt.  I did this part EPP.

 This is just a quick panel I'm putting together. 
And of course, the ongoing WIP, my temperature quilt.  Done through September. This picture is right to left, Jan to Sept.

By the way, I'm much more consistent on the daily goings on around here on Instagram.  You can find me there rachel_thelifeofriley.

Perhaps I should mention that I made a fabric pledge.

 No new quilting fabric for the next 6 months.  Exclusions are yardage for background and backing. (probably don't need those, either).  Its pretty freeing to delete all my email ads and throw all catalogs away as soon as they come in.

Linking with Lee @ Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pleiades - A Finish

This post has been a long time in coming. You see, I started making these paper pieced stars way back in June.

Then in July I had a finished top, and the top quickly turned into a finished quilt.

I couldn't share it before today because it was for a guild challenge.  The only rule is that the quilt had to have one 5 pointed star on the front.  We were given a paper pieced star pattern as a start if we needed it.  That's what I ended up using for all my stars.

Last night was the voting on the anonymous quilts.  I missed out on the voting because of family obligations.  The winners will be announced at our Holiday Party in November.  Fingers crossed....
Pleiades - named for the constellation of the seven sisters.  This quilt has seven bright white stars, representing those 7 sisters of Greek mythology.  There are seven blue stars to make a total of 14 visible stars, which is what can be seen with the naked eye.  The quilted in stars represent the many, many more stars that make up the constellation that can only be seen with telescopes.
I quilted around each star for definition and then went back to quilt in the rays.  I did the rays with my free motion foot, so they are not perfect, but I'm perfectly ok with that, especially with all the texture the quilt got after I washed it.  Each star is made from a different fabric.  7 blues and 7 white on white fabrics.
The back is made form a bunch of uglies that I mashed together.
Some quilting detail from the back.
My quilting threads.
I love this shot with WP laying next to the quilt.  This is actually before the binding and washing.
My moment of brilliance when I used the practice block for my label!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

 If you haven't seen at least one blogger participating in the Around the World Blog Hop, then you've probably been under a rock.  I know I've seen a few.  It was pretty exciting, though, when Cindy from Live a Colorful Life tagged me to participate!  She's been working on her own version of the Temperature quilt, keeping track of both Fresno and St. Paul.

So, on to the questions that are part of the blog hop.

1. What am I working on? 
My latest finishes consist of a menagerie of pin cushions.

And a 100 Blessings Quilt for friends.
Right now I'm trying to work on my Instagram Mini Swap ideas.  I block tested to see if I could paper piece the diamond shape.  I need to add some seam allowances and match points better, but it worked.  I tested in green because emerald is my birthstone.

I'm always working on the Temperature Quilt

I'm also always working on the 10 year hexie project

Soon I hope to also be working on my next Four-in-Art quilt. Urban: Lights.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
What's a genre?
OK, really, I do know, but I don't have one.

I make traditional quilts.

 Art Quilts

 Mini Quilts

Modern Quilts? (a whole 'nother discussion)

 Charity Quilts

And baby quilts, pincushions, bags, pillows, costumes, dresses, skirts, pants, and so on.
(the above quilts are all from 2014 - and can be found at the 2014 tab at the top of the page)

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
This question could probably fill an entire post, so I won't get into why my blog is the way it is, but rather say I do this creating thing because I have to.  It keeps me sane.  It feeds my creative side.  I can make a quilt and my kids won't come along and unmake it.  Actually I just had an 'a-ha' moment.  I rarely make the same quilt twice - and even if its been the same pattern its been different fabric - now I know why.  I clean the same toilets, fold the same laundry, vacuum the same rugs, but the creation of something, like a quilt, is always new!  I've never once in my whole life followed the instructions for a quilt and made it to look exactly like the picture. (exception may be The Downton Abbey one, but I did add a border and I didn't know what it would look like, because it was a mystery quilt along!)
4. How does my writing/creating process work?
 That is an interesting question.  I make blog posts when I have time.   I don't worry so much these days about posting everyday, so now its more when I have the time and something to write about.  And reasonable pictures.  As for creating the quilts.  I think about them a lot.  Sometimes obsessively, often times when I'm laying in bed.  I know I've referred to some of my ideas as "needing to get them out of my head".  There are so many ideas in there and so little time!

So now that I've met most of my obligations, here's where it gets interesting.  I was supposed to tag three more people to do this blog hop.  No one said yes.  It was for various reasons; one doesn't blog much, another had already participated.  It was even referred to as a 'digital chain letter' - that made me laugh.  So I'm going to let this particular length of chain end here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WIP Wednesday 9.24.14

 After spending a week making seven(!) skirts for E - I was ready for something entirely different.  So this week its been all about pin cushions.
 First up, my flock based off a pattern from my Block Magazine.  I just love these girls.
 Then I tried a couple patterns out of my Super Cute Pincushions book.  I'm not feeling as much love for the bunnies
 but I think I was supposed to add seam allowances to the pattern, so I'll probably try again.  After all, the longest part of the project is sewing on the buttons.

 I am pretty enamored with the mouse, though.  Almost too cute to put pins in.  I also added some wire to his tail, so I can mold it.  I'll do a couple things differently next time around, but he's a keeper.
 The package man delivered this today, so I'll be getting those chicks filled up.  They would probably make good pattern weights as well.

Part of the reason I'm trying out these various pin cushions is because I am the co-chair for the Boutique for our upcoming quilt show. (by upcoming I mean October 2015) And I figured I'd use them as props to motivate fellow guild members to get their sew-jo going!

Linking with Lee, as usual.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blue & White Quilt for E

 This quilt has a lot of back story, but not a lot of great pictures.  When I sat down to write this post, I realized why I hadn't done it before.  The pictures aren't the best, and of course right now, the quilt is on the bed, and the baby is sleeping.  So this is what you get.

A long time ago, when I was expecting E (baby #1) I knew my grandmother would make a quilt if I wanted.  Well, I knew that E would end up with lots of quilts, so instead, my grandmother crocheted a lovely white afghan for E.  (which I was always terrified to use, it was white!)
 Then last year, I was going through all the quilts and blankets that each kid had and realized that they all had quilts from Grandma, except for E.  Now, grandma makes a quilt for each birth and graduation.  Well, Grandma just turned 98.  I'm not saying she won't be around for E's graduation, but you never know....

Anyway, I decided to ask if she would be willing to make E a quilt, in her favorite color, blue.  She said "of course".
 (clear shot of quilt, blurry kid)
I sent along some blues, and she added some from her and my aunt's stash, and a lovely twin size quilt was created.

We were out to visit in August to celebrate Grandma's birthday, so E was able to receive the quilt in person.  Such a special day.

 And a shot of the two Wilhelminas, just 97 years apart!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday 9.17.14

 How are you all this fine Wednesday?  The weather here couldn't be more beautiful.  As a family, we've been taking climbing lessons at our YMCA, and last night, the third night, I found out why its considered exercise.  Boy are my arms sore today!  Its fun, too, and the challenge is totally what keeps you going.  Wanting to get to the next grip, or go faster, or a different route.  I totally see the appeal.  We've got 5 more lessons to go.  I think I'll have to start doing pushups!
 Over the past week I've pieced four tops from the leftovers of the Blessings Quilt.

I picked up a new roll of batting this past Saturday, so hopefully I'll get these quilted up and out of the house sooner than later.
I did a bit of shopping for the igminiswap.  Some purples and grays with a shot of lime.  Now to find pencils or crayons to match and do some coloring and planning.

I've also been making some skirts for E for school.  Four are done, so far.  I'll hopefully get her to model today.  She requested "short and stretchy".  Short is relative, because at school, they have to be below her knee cap!  And so far, none of them have really met her requirement.  She did wear one to school today for pictures.
Completely unrelated to sewing; we had a monarch in the house for about a week.  The boys had found a chrysalis, which we brought in to watch.  6 days later the monarch emerged.  We let it go in a sunny and flower filled location.  It flew directly to a goldenrod plant and ate for the longest time.  I hope it makes the trip south!

Tomorrow we start celebrating birthdays.  There are four birthdays within 10 days on Mr. Riley's side of the family.  Two of them are our kids!  Let the cake making begin!

Linking up with Lee.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Making a 100 Good Wishes Quilt

Now that the craziness of putting the 100 Blessings/Good Wishes Quilt is over and it has been gifted - I thought I would put together some thoughts and suggestions in case someone else was thinking of making one.

 In northern China there is a centuries old tradition of creating a "Bai-Jia-Bei" otherwise known as a "100 Good Wishes Quilt" to welcome and celebrate a new life into the family. One hundred family and friends donate a piece of fabric along with a written wish for the child. The wish can be anything: a quote, a poem, a saying, a story, a verse or a simple wish from the heart.

This practice has been adopted by many families who are adopting children from China as a unique and special way to welcome the child into their family. What we did for my friends and their new little girl is create a quilt with donated fabric and a book filled with the blessings to accompany the quilt. Each page of the book has the blessing written on it, a piece of the corresponding fabric attached to it, and the names and pictures of the people who donated the fabric and wrote the blessing. This way their daughter will always know which square came from whom, and what blessings and prayers were meant for her with that particular square.

1. Announcing the idea:  I used both Facebook and an announcement at church to let family and friends know about the project.  I wrote up instructions on a single sheet of paper that could be handed out.  I also put the information up on a special page on the blog.

2. Timing:  Plan on lots of time, as much as you can get away with.  First, give people who are participating lots of time to turn in the fabric.  Give them at least a month and plan on getting fabric even after your deadline has been reached.  You will eventually have to be firm on when you will no longer accept fabric because you will need to have enough time to actually construct the quilt.

3. Instructions: Be clear about how you want people to participate: What kind of fabric? How big of a piece? Where can they purchase it? What kind of fabric won't work? Are you working from a color scheme, or can people submit what ever they want?  Where can they mail it?  Also, you will need instructions regarding the Wish or Blessing. 
 **No matter how clear you think your instructions are, people will still have questions!  Be prepared to answer the same question many times.

4. Fabric: Be clear on what kind of fabric you will accept.  For instance, I asked for 100% cotton, quilting cottons, novelty prints, or fabrics from the baby section.  I still ended up with a couple of knits, two home decor weights, and a couple of flannels.  It will be up to you to decide how you want to deal with those.  I interfaced the flannel and home decor fabric, and returned the knit.
Also decide on a minimum size.  I asked for 10" square, knowing that I could definitely get an 8" square to work with out of it and a 2" square for the scrap book.   (most people gave much more than the minimum)
 **Be prepared to work with fabrics you would never in 100 years purchase.  I often say I've never met a piece fabric I didn't like, but there were a couple submissions I don't think I'd ever willingly purchase.

 5. Quilt Design: I did a simple square blocks with white sashing and red corner stones.  The white helped off set the many different fabric blocks and the corner stones helped pull the quilt together visually.  As I was working, I was formulating other design possibilities: Perhaps circles or hexagons, or if you were doing something smaller, balloons tied together.  I chose the square blocks because I didn't want to cut up the fabrics, so they were easily recognizable.  Each square of donated fabric finished at 7.5", so with the sashing and border the quilt ended up fairly large - 74" x 84".  Keep this in mind when asking for fabric, if something smaller is what you are planning, ask for smaller pieces of fabric!

 6. Scrapbook/ Memory Book: For this project I created a standard page for people to fill out and attach a picture.  I did the attaching of the fabric (in the upper right hand corner) as I cut the squares for the quilt.  Each page was then put into a plastic sleeve and they were all put into a binder.
 If anyone has any questions - please feel free to leave a comment or email me and I'll be happy to respond.