Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Up to Something

Well, I must be, right?

Since I last posted, I finished another Geese in a Circle block, for a bonus bee swap with a flickr friend.  She requested ivory and red, and I have to say, I love it!  I see a theme growing.....

Bonus Bee Swap , Red and Ivory

I've been cutting all the fabrics for the last 4 blocks of the 2012 (!) FQS Designer Mystery BOM quilt. To finish these blocks is my January goal for the Lazy bums Flickr Group. I really want to drop everything and just Finish these!

I saved the cuttings of all the Half Square Triangles I made with the last batch.  They are still big enough to make another round of (smaller) HST's.......

And just beyond these is all the fabric leftover from cutting all the blocks.....

Including some lovely selvages to make into something nice.
And beyond that is this...

and this...


and these guys...

... and a house to clean, and a dog to walk!

 So I better get going!  But I'll be dreaming about these also, that are ready to turn into bright bee blocks as well......

Can somebody help me wring some more hours out of the day?!??

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tjugondag Knut

Tjugondag katt

Today's the twentieth day after Christmas! in Sweden it's called Tjugondag Knut, or St. Knut's Day. It's the traditional day to take down the Christmas tree and all the lights and decorations from the Christmas season, and finish up the Christmas cookies and candy. By sun-up (which is around 8:30 in the morning, where I live up in Jämtland.)

We started the day taking down lights, and went on to the tree.  Everything is taken down now, and it really feels like Christmas is over.  There were no candies left to eat.  We took care of them already!

Tjugondag knut

I got a bunch done over the weekend, when I finally took down some BOM's I've been hanging onto.
I finished 4 blocks!  I had company with a flickr group called the Lazy Bums, who were holding the first annual Lazy Bums Global Retreat, to tackle some of our worst UFO's.  We used a shared spreadsheet and checked in with each other during the whole event. It was lots of fun to sew and chat a little too.  Now I have only 4 blocks left to do. 

Cleanup time!

And a bunch of cleanup......

Starting lazy bum global sewing retreat! Midnight local time....Getting there!  14.35 local time...

Happy sewing from Lizzie in Sweden!

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Few Threads...


 ...can make a Big difference!  Half an inch's difference if you have 5 seams, as you do for the Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks.

These blocks look innocent enough, but one if them is 12 1/2 " square, while the other is barely 12".
That isn't going to make a very nice row, especially if I send it away to a swapper!  It may not matter if all my blocks are off, but they're not. I'm not sure how my seams got to be soooo off, but I think it may have started when I switched feet and started using my machine's quarter inch seam setting. Add my over 40 year old vision, and I have trouble lining up the fabric under my foot.  I am sure I have had the seams sticking out to the right a bit too much.

This doesn't really matter with paper piecing, where you sew on a line, or with improv quilting or even applique, but it's been bugging me that I haven't been able to work out a consistent seam.

Luckily, I found a great discussion about this on several blogs, including the Gen X Quilters.
There I found several ways to check if you have a true quarter inch seam, or a scant quarter as I have seen it called.  I followed Anne Marie's test for checking the seams, and checking my ironing preferences-- for the scrappy trip, I like to iron to the side so the seams lock in nicely.   

Off by half an inch--that won't do!!!
Turns out, after trial and error, my quarter inch setting + my sewing as a blind person style + my ironing preference for these blocks means I need to move my needle 3 clicks to the right to make everything line up when I finish sewing and ironing all the seams. 

I like to say I am a recovering perfectionist, but in this case, I can't let the chips fall where they may. As they say in carpentry, "off by an inch means off by a mile!" and it'll only get worse the larger the quilt gets.  Especially if I mix different size blocks.  I might let it slide for me (or try to) but I can't send the swap blocks away like that.  

I hated the trial and error process! It wasn't hard, just a tiny bit tedious.  I made it out much harder in my head than it turned out to be. Now I know my settings, and I feel prepared and confident for trickier pieced blocks, and confident to send my scrappy trip blocks away.   They aren't going to be shy, and they won't be warped. That is going to give me time to do more sewing and less ripping!

What a difference!
You all probably already know this, but if not, check out different blogs and even youtube for posts and articles about the scant quarter seam.  I sure am glad I did!
As for the shy blocks, I'm not sure if I'll turn them into scrappy trip pillows to go with the quilt, or use them on the backing, but I like'em so I'll not scrap'em too far!

Happy sewing!


Thursday, January 9, 2014


Thank you so much for the kind words you guys sent in the last few days about Zackie Boy.
It is heavy here, and very quiet, but I know it is very good that he didn't suffer for so very long. 
Our other dog, Stella, is missing him too, but we have been coping by getting her out on longer walks than we have in the past year, when Zack's leg slowed him down. 


Stella needs some walking, and so do we.....

I really do feel better in my heart from the support you all sent.  Back to some sewing stuff tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Zackie Boy Is In Doggie Heaven

 He was a good dog.  He loved to chase the ball, loved french fries and pig's tails, and he liked to talk.  A lot.  Dog talk, mumbling and grumbling, squeaking when he yawned.  He loved cold more than heat.  His favorites were Fatcat, and Papa, but he didn't like it when the cat tried to lick his ears-- too ticklish!  He stole all of our spots in bed whenever he could, and he stole our hearts.  

Officially Good Zack   
Zackie boy. Big guy.  We're going to miss you.
 Zackieboy in Doggie Heaven

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Lovely year of Finishes

Welcome 2014!  I've decided to join  Melissa of Sew Bittersweet Designs, and Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts in their Lovely Year of Finishes 2014 event.  I've got some big things to work on, and some little things to finish, and a bunch in between.  I'm giving myself permission to do less, by taking on fewer swaps, and more, by challenging myself to finish more of what matters to me.  Of course, I will keep swapping, but I want to make sure to catch those flakes and crumbs and threads and batting bits too, and sew them up into somethings marvelous!


My January goal will be small but meaningful.  I have a mini quilt that is almost finished, from the Fat Quarterly Retreat, that I've been hemming and hawing about.  I made it in the workshop that Lu Summers held that goes along with her book Improv Quilting.  The workshop was really fun, and I cut and sewed up a little quilt in a matter of hours!  But then, when it came to hand quilting it, even with the table top casual workshop, I only got so far.  And I never picked it up again after I got home.  Afraid to ruin it?!?   Afraid for it to end?!?

 So, I'm going to make the decisions:
  •  Take out the stitches I started with, or continue as-is?
  • Start at the same place or Start over in another spot?
  • Smaller stitches?
Baby steps to get over  the hurdle of a project that I realize I have gotten a little stuck with! I want to see this baby on the wall!  With a label and a date, quilted and wonderful.

I have other projects to do this year, new and old.  Some of them are:  to finish the 2012 (!I know!) Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery BOM, to continue with and assemble the wonderful bee blocks I've been receiving and working on,  and to learn how to sew English Paper Pieced (EPP) hexagons.  I also want to make at least 4 very basic quilts, and one or more complicated ones.  

AND, I am still taking photographs as part of the Flickr group called 365 Days in Colour.  
This month's color is Dark Green.  A photo a day for the whole month. I probably won't have them on this blog often, but you can check out those photos if you go to my Flickr stream.
We'll see how it goes.  It's a balancing act!

Brokad 9

Happy Sewing and Happy New Year! 
Lizzie in Sweden