Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Have Projects, Will Travel


 As I mentioned in my last post, I am on the road traveling with my husband while he trains for his new job in the civilian world.   Did I mention that we are driving with three Yorkies in the car?   Well, we are and I can tell you that it's a lot of time in the car when you have three Yorkies insisting on potty breaks every few hours!  

Of course, as all avid quilters do, I brought along a project to work on while my husband drives.  In part, this is so that I make some headway on some of the many "hand-work" projects that I brought along with me.  But another reason is that I find I am much better off in thoughtful prayer with my eyes down and my needle moving while my husband re-lives his air-refueling days as a pilot in the US Air Force.  I tell you, sometimes he rides so close to the cars around him I can read the labels on the other driver's t-shirt.

Anyway, I brought a couple of projects in the car and am happy to report progress...

My Antique Rose Quilt is from a McCalls Quilt pattern that I started ages ago and have yet to complete.  I mentioned this quilt in a previous post and it's on my Piecing List so I'm glad I am making progress on it.  This is where it was when I started working on it again:

And here it is now... Color difference is from using a new camera to take the pictures

Can you tell that now all the red flowers and yellow centers and one of the blue "bear paws" are done?  I use a template-free applique technique so it makes it hard to tell what is basted-on versus sewn-on.  Not as much done as I would like but it's a start...

Now, my mom started this same quilt about 6 months after I did and hers is done!  I have it loaded on Gammill Bea (my longarm) and am almost done quilting it.  This is an early-on shot taken just as I started the quilting.

Once we arrived in Phoenix, AZ. we settled into Dave's folks house. We are very fortunate that it's only a short distance to the training site and that his parents, who have fled from the nuclear hot Phoenix summer, were so kind as to allow us to stay in their home...with three Yorkies...while they are away.
God Bless you, Dave and Carnell!

  If you look back at my previous posts, you'll see that I have spent some time at the Arizona quilt shops.  From Tuscon to Prescott and most places in between there are some really great shops here but on this trip I didn't go to any of them!  Now, for me, that's a hard thing... I hate knowing I'm passing by a quilt shop and can't go in.  But I had my reasons... First off, we were down to one car so I only had a couple of days when I could shop. The main reason though, is that I have soooo many projects already and I really, really, REALLY want to get some of them done!  So, I decided to stay home and get a few of my projects off the list.
I brought about 15 projects along with me all in various stages of completion.  I decided to just dive in and I am happy to report that I got two projects D-O-N-E!
The first project is this cute tote bag from the book
Everyday Living, Make It & Sell It. 
This pattern uses French Seams which is not only a very
cool technique but makes a wonderful neat seam.
This is the seam.  I know it's a little hard to see but that's what makes it great :)
The next project is a new spin on an older technique...
Remember the watercolor quilts that used the grid-interfacing? 
 Well, Quiltsmart has put together the Mondo Bag using a
grid-interfacing and - to make things really easy -
you can use mini-charms!
As you can see I used "Ticklish" to make my Mondo Bag.

I thought I'd share a few things I learned while putting this bag
together so that if you decide to give it a whirl you'll avoid
some of the pitalls I encountered.
I purchased 5 mini-charms as I was told that's what was needed to make the bag, which is true if you don't consider the handle part of the bag.  So, buy six if you want to make the handle out of the charms as well.  I ended up using my lining fabric for the handles and was happy with the results so that is always an option.
There are four grid-interfacing panels that make up the bag.  When using the mini-charms, layout all four panels at one time.  I did mine individually and found that I had used my favorite fabrics from each mini-charm pack all up before I got through the third panel. You will use all but maybe 2 or 3 of the squares from the five packages so you may want to buy a few extra mini-charms if there are fabrics included that you don't want to use in your bag.
Here is a layout in progress
Once your've completed your layout you iron everything in place and then using a 1/4 inch seam allowance start sewing just like you did for those watercolor quilts. 
Here is the panel after it has been ironed and sewn- 
The back-
And the front- 
 Perfect Corners!  Which is one of the reasons I love
this grid-interfacing techinque! 
This is my helper, Katie Belle. 
She is a 3 month old Yorkie and makes it her business to insure that everything I make can be used at naptime.  Riley and Murphy, my other two yorkies are smart enough to stay out of my way when I'm quilting.
Here is my finished bag.  The interfacing gives the bag body so that it doesn't fold in on itself.  In this picture it kinda looks like the bag is hanging on the wrought-iron shelf but it's not!
Again, this bag is MONDO!  Great for almost anything, I used it at the grocery store and was able to fit about 15 things in here!  See how well it stands open?
Fabulous, right?  This would be great for any day trip or an overnight trip. 
You can get so much in this bag it's crazy! 
 I also mangaged to get some of my Farmer's Wife quilt blocks done too. 
Have you seen this book?

This quilt is based on submissions to a publication called, you guessed it, The Farmer's Wife.  There are 111 blocks in this book... each 6" finished.  I belong to a block of the month club and each month they send 8 or so blocks to complete.  They are on month 4...I am on month 1 and playing catch up. 
Thanks to the miracle that is the internet, I belong to a Yahoo! Group called...you guessed it!...The Farmer's Wife and they have provided paper-piecing patterns for all the blocks!  Hooray!
Now, it's my experience that most quilters either love or hate paper-piecing.  I happen to be one of those who love it for the same reason I love the grid-interfacing technique...the precision is wonderful! Here are the blocks I have finished so far...

3 down, 108 to go.
One of things I decided to do is put the date I complete each block on the corner of the page and swatches of the fabric used for each block.  You can't see the date in this photo but there are the color swatches.  I'm not sure why the picture is sideways....oh well, you get the idea.
My mom is also doing this quilt and just like with the Antique Rose, she is way ahead of me and getting her blocks done each month as she receives them.  I wanna be just like her when I grow up!
Well, I'm afraid I've been a bit long-winded (or written) again.  That's good news because it means I got a lot done that I could share with you! 
Keep Quilting!

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