Happy Halloween!

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4.5+4.5=12?

You know how everyone always says they love to see imperfect blog posts where the author shows you the mistakes? Well, if that’s your cup o’ tea, I’m about to make you smile…

I’m plugging away at the 4 baby quilts for Annie’s teachers. For baby quilt #1, I made economy blocks by following this recipe from Crazy Mom Quilts. I pulled purple solids from stash for the backgrounds.

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It’s set 4×5. 16 of the blocks have centers enhanced by the kids, 4 are just the tie dye.  It’s for a baby girl, due 11/9. Mom is the former math and science teacher who is transitioning to being the part time curriculum supervisor after baby arrives… Also, please do not look at my points. They are awful. But see below for an explanation as to why you should never cut the squares BEFORE you dye them…

Baby quilt #2 was tricky- the blocks by the kids were in 2 different color ways that didn’t have a ton in common. I decided to use the Modern Plus Quilt Tutorial from In Color Order to enable me to mix in loads of fabrics- trying to make things “go”. I was able to pull some from my scrap bins, and cut some from stash. Bonus: the plus signs- this quilt is going to a little girl born over the summer to the new math and science teacher. Plus signs for a math teacher make me smile! This one is set 10×10, so should finish at 40×40 inches.

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I’m worried about how much easing I had to do while piecing this one. MAJOR lesson learned from this project: don’t cut the fabric squares before the art teacher dyes them. On many, the edges frayed well past the seam allowance area. I would have cut them smaller but we would have lost a lot of the kids artwork then as well :-( Hence the easing… Those wrinkles you can clearly see in the photo are partially the ripples of my high tech design wall, but also partially crooked piecing. Yikes!

But that’s not the mistake I’m talking about. I started the 3rd quilt top over the weekend. I used tutorials for the first 2 tops, but I decided to simply wing it on #3. I pulled some fab backing fabric from my stash, and planned to make 2 borders around each kid block- 1 pink and 1 yellow. I wanted the blocks to finish at 8.5″, or 8 when sewn together…

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(Did I mention that the dad to be, a math and social studies teacher, is a star wars and scifi buff?)

Great idea, right? I was going to set them 4×5. Then I thought I might put the star wars fabric in as sashing with pink cornerstone squares. Sounded awesome. But as I started putting the blocks on the design wall, I realized they looked larger than I planned. Hmmmm.

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So I pulled out a ruler. I’m so brilliant, I made them all 12.5″ instead of 8.5″. WTF? How did I do that. Oh. I see. I added on the width of my fabric borders but didn’t take into account that the measurements needed to be doubled as they were on all sides of the squares. Go me.

So no sashing, as there are 16 of these blocks (I’ll be only using the centers the kids made, no adding in any plan tie dyed squares!) It’s going to end up 48″x48″  without sashing or borders… Instead of doing all the blocks w/center squares followed by pink followed by yellow, I’m doing 8 pink/yellow and 8 yellow/pink. I’ll set them alternating, and throw the star wars stuff on the back and all will be will. But boy do I feel dumb!

Meanwhile, I got a sweet and polite email from the art teacher wondering how the quilts were coming along. Time to get my ass in gear. 2 babies are due 11/9… and I don’t know if I’m going to make it in time…

Time for a bit of happy news: WE HAVE A NEW ROOF!! It was installed Friday last. Gutters go on tomorrow. And the internal repairs to the house started TODAY! I might have my house back by November! Please keep your fingers crossed that the internal repairs go smoothly.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.

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Tula Tuesday: 84 and 85

Two more down…

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Apparently this week I was feeling pink and grey…

Block 84: soft grey and the neon pink dots that I love.

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Block 85: pinks and my AMH focus fabric. Not as successful as i hoped- the original Tula print in the sample block is so perfect, with the circles, but I don’t own any of it… I should have fussy cut the medallions that you see in the upper left corner. But I didn’t think to.

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Probably would have been a good block to sneak in some more little animals, but that didn’t occur to me until later. Meanwhile, with these two blocks, I finished the next to last section of the book! 15 blocks to go (plus all those baby quilts I need to make…) The last section is the “random” one- and I think I’ll find some great ways to work in more novelty pieces. Hooray!

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51-75 blocks 76-85

Did you have any Tula progress this week? If so link up below…

I’ll be linking up at Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.

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It takes a long time to get Around the World…

3 weeks ago, I was tagged by the fabulous Lucy over at Lucymade to take place in the Around the World Blog Hop. I assured her I was up for it, even with all the health and house woes of late- and then I fell and sprained my ankle! A lame excuse, ha ha, but true. It took me til today to sit down and write this post, in part because of the ankle and general busyness, and in part because I was worried about what I would say to you all about myself… Meanwhile, here I am earlier this week, up in Vail, wearing the shawl I knit while in bed after the gallbladder removal.

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What am I working on?

Of course, as anyone who’s been by this blog knows, I’m plugging away at my Tula Pink City Sampler. I’m past block #80 now, and hoping to finish all 100 before December. I also recently committed to make 4 baby quilts for teachers at my daughter’s school. 1 top done, 1 in progress, fabric pulled for one, and the last one not started at all.

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And oh yeah, 2 more baby quilts for friends. So it appears I might be finishing out 2014 with nothing but baby quilts! (In between projects, I am plugging away on my scrappy trip along blocks, too.)

And I’m always knitting something. Since my surgery, I’ve been on a shawl kick. I’ve finished 3 since August and am on my 4th. I also recently finished a pair of fingerless mitts for my husband. And I assume I’ll move back to socks soon.

How does my work differ from other of its genre?

I thought long and hard about this one. I have trouble even deciding what genre I fit into. I don’t know that I fit “modern”, but I’m sure I’m not traditional. Contemporary? Why not… What makes me me is my use of color, and the fact that I’m not tied down by modern rules. I still use batiks, dammit. I love them. And it’s very, very rare that you’ll catch me making a quilt from all one line of fabric. I went through a brief phase of that a few years ago, but it really wasn’t for me. Picking out my own combos, like in my Catvent quilt, is what makes me happy. Colorful, unfussy quilts full of fun patterns- that’s me.

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Why do I write what I do?

Partly, to chronicle my work for myself. Partly, to get feedback from other quilters. Partly, to make new friends. I have realized I am not a deep thinker who’s going to write posts that change the quilting world. And I’m okay with that :-) Sharing my work, and my not so deep thoughts, and making friends long the way is more than enough for me.

In fact- last week, Audrey from Hot Pink Quilts was in town, and I got to meet hit in real life, and we had a fabulous night of tiki cocktails, fabric shopping, and artisan donuts… What more could I ask for?

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How does my writing/creative process work?

Not very well.

I have found that if I set myself a schedule with goals and deadlines, I am more likely to keep my butt in gear. That’s why I try to do a Tula Tuesday post every week- knowing I’ve committed to that motivates me to sew even if I’m tired or too busy. Likewise, taking part in linkups like WIP Wednesday, etc., gives me a reason to sew AND take pics, and post… But if I get derailed, I find it hard to get back up on the horse. I’ve taken several longish breaks over the years.

When it comes to my design process, it’s kind of a mess. I don’t generally have the kind of brain that comes up with totally original ideas. Instead, I see something I like, be it a full pattern, a block, or a tutorial, and I try to put my own spin on it. I often get stuck in the initial phase of a project- I have a tendency to overthink things. I have worked in several places that use the Strengths method from “Now Discover Your Strengths.” It’s a cool management tool that focuses on using what you do well naturally to accomplish your goals, as opposed to trying to force yourself to work in ways that don’t come naturally. Unfortunately, all my strengths are the “stuck in your head” types- input, intellection, etc. The kind that make you want to do loads of research but put off a decision forever. The same can happen to me when sewing. Pinterest and Ravelry are especially dangerous for someone like me!

 

PS I’m supposed to tag someone, but I feel like everyone may have done this already?? Please feel free to tag yourself- and let me know if you do!!

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Tula Tuesday: blocks 81-83

Thank goodness I finished these…

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…before I did THIS:

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Ooops. Sunday morning I slipped in our kitchen and (mildly) sprained my ankle. For real. I know. It’s ridiculous. I’m ridiculous. It’s not too bad, and should heal fairly quickly.

As opposed to our poor house. All of your good thoughts, prayers, and happy vibes worked. The insurance inspector came out on Friday as planned, and DID declare our roof a total loss. So rather than dealing with spot repairs at our own expense, we will be getting an entire new roof for barely more $$, one that will be under a nice fresh warranty. We also need at least 6 windows completely replaced, a few more screens, all the gutters, a lot of the house repainted, and all new patio furniture. Oh, and my 2 garden gnomes also have hail holes! The inspector even put them on the claim. We’re now waiting to hear back from the insurance company about how much they’ll authorize for all that work. The hardest part is going to be finding a roofer to do the work- they are ALL backed up. We know at least our 4 closest neighbors need new roofs as well. Maybe we can get a group rate…

Meanwhile, the blocks.

Block 81: raccoons in tiny pieces.

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I love it.

Block 82: deep blue with some fox field horses.

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I love how I accidentally made that one horse look like it has the longest body ever…

Block 83: parisville and polkadots.

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Looks like I was on a serious purple kick this week. (Shocker.)

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51-75 blocks 75-83

Ta-da! Are you working on any Tula? Share it here:

 

I’ll be linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social, and WIP Wednesday. And stay tuned- I was tagged by Lucymade to take part in the Around the World Blog Hop. I’m running behind- the post was part of my Sunday plan- but I’ll get to it ASAP, I promise!

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Tula Tuesday: Blocks 76-80

And… September’s goal, done!

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Had to wait until after the epic hail storm to get photos. Wow oh wow, did our neighborhood take a beating. Neighbors have so much damage- next door even had paint stripped right off their house! On top of the damage we noticed yesterday, today we found paint damage, screen damage, and holes punched straight through the vinyl frames of some windows! Yikes. Waiting to hear when the storm crew from the insurance company will be able to come assess the damage. Please, please, send trashed roof vibes. It would solve so many of our other house problems…

Okay, back to the blocks!

Block 76- deep blue-greens and a yummy Amy Butler.

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Block 77: purples and a Heather Ross fave

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Block 78: my AMH focus fabric and a pretty green blender.

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Block 79: (easiest one in the whole book?) I busted out some Tula Nightshade, and purple solids…

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Block 80: Tula, polka dots, and a cotton & steel. Yum.

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So, yup, I’m caught up! 80 down, 20 to go. I had to make the final mosaic!

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51-75 blocks 76-80

 

Feels good to be back on track. Now I just have to balance October’s 10 blocks with the 4 baby quilts I committed to make before November. Yikes!

Meanwhile, I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday, Let’s Bee Social, and Sew Cute Tuesday. And if you happen to have any Tula progress you’d like to share, link up below!

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Coming tomorrow: Tula Tuesday

I couldn’t get photos of my newest Tula blocks yesterday because THIS happened:

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Had to open a NEW homeowners insurance claim to see if our roof is even worse now. Honestly our best case scenario is that yesterday’s storm destroyed our roof and insurance will cover a new one. But it may take up to 5 days to get officially inspected as this storm caused “catastrophic” damage to our area…

It never ends here.

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Tula Tuesday: Blocks 71-75

This weekend I played catch-up!

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5 more blocks down, and I’m 3/4 of the way done with the entire book! Hopefully by this weekend I can finish through 80, and get myself back on my 10/month schedule.

Meanwhile, here’s a brief view of my progress.

Block 71: raccoons!

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Block 72: polk dots and neons…

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Block 73: turquoise and squirrel!

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Block 74: grey and the floral green that photographs way more yellow than it really is.

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Block 75: pinks and my fave focus fabric yet again.

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I am supremely pleased to be able to report that I am feeling better. For real! I had the energy to do fun things with my family- like the Botanic Gardens Corn Maze and a pre season NHL game. In fact, on Sunday afternoon I started feeling achy, and realized I had gone the entire day with NO ibuprofen until 3pm! And I hadn’t missed it. This is very very exciting. I feel like I am slowly reclaiming my life. If only I felt that way about my house.

As always, here’s my progress to date. Next week I’ll have to start a new collage!

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51-75

Meanwhile, I’d love to see any Tula progress you’ve made. Link up below.

And I’ll be linking up at Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social. Hope to see you there!

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These are the kind of stitches I like…

The only upside to my recent downtime has been…lots of knitting! I finished a pair of socks, knit an entire shawl in under a week, and knit the next shawl in 2 weeks… And I’m halfway through a pair of fingerless mitts for my husband, too.

Today I’m just sharing the second shawl- still no good pix of the first.

I bought the yarn years and years and years ago. (Also known as Jan, 2009.) I had it in my Rav destash section, but then, I saw this blog post from Fancy Tiger, and I had to cast on one of my own ASAP. The original yarn I tried fought with me- first by tangling horribly while I was trying to wind it (took 2 days to untangle) and then by not at all looking like it did in my imagination :-( So I had to go back to the drawing board/stash- and this 5 year old skein was just the ticket.

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Not too overpowering, but still fun. Rabbit Ridge Designs sock yarn in Petal, in case you were wondering.

The pattern, Antarkis, was a bit of a splurge, but after I saw it I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I bought it, and got started. Had I not dropped a stitch, and not noticed, at the very end, I would have been done a week ago. But I ended up ripping back and redoing the end of the shawl- and it was worth it. The error would have made me furious had I left it in, and I never would have worn the thing…

So without further ado, ta-da! The new shawl- and ME! Because I felt well enough to be in a photo and let you see me…

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If I ever make it again, I’ll go up a needle size (from 5 to 6.)  I’ve been known to knit very tightly… especially when stressed! I had enough yarn left at the end that I repeated the final section one extra time.

I wore it to work today, and got loads of compliments- a nice ego boost AND bonus distraction from the house/healing stress! Now to finish the second mitt for my husband, and then decide what to cast on next.

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Tula Tuesday: Blocks 67-70 (finally!)

I sewed.

For real!

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I finished my August Tula blocks, halfway through September. SO glad I finished the triangle section before I got sick! Would have sucked to come back to those!

Brief sam-post-gallbladder-update for those who are interested. If you just want the quilt blocks, skip down 2 paragraphs, no hard feelings. I am finally, a month post-surgery, starting to feel like myself again. My pain level around one incision stayed pretty high for longer than expected, and the verdict was eventually that the sutures were pressing directly on a nerve. No wonder I hurt so much! One of the sutures was forcing its way out of my body- a shockingly common and, to me, truly disgusting, post surgery occurrence- and after the surgical nurse fixed it, my pain level dropped instantly. Meanwhile, I had yet another blood pressure scare, which was, after more tests, determined to be stress based.

Stress, you say? About that. Aside from the lingering pain, there’s the slight matter of the house. There was some major miscommunication with the contractors. They were all set to start repairing the insides of our home that have sustained water damage from the leaking roof. So all set that they sent movers to take apart our home. After promising that the kitchen wouldn’t be touched, they accidentally packed up the entire thing, and moved the fridge, microwave, toaster oven, table, and chairs to the living room. Awesome. The next day they informed us that they weren’t able to test our roof for leaks due to liability reasons, and if they proceeded with the repairs without the test, the repairs wouldn’t be under warranty.  WTF? We had asked them to do that test 8 times, but they didn’t say nope, never, until after they ripped apart our house. Awesomer. There was so much hail in Colorado this summer that roofers are backed up for weeks, and it took hours of calls to find one who could do the test sooner than 2 weeks out. And then? We failed the test. So our house is ripped up, our roof could still leak in heavy rain, and insurance doesn’t cover the roof repair. I can’t imagine why my blood pressure is through the roof, can you??

I did finally squeeze in some sewing during all of this. First, I had to cut hundreds of white 4.5″ squares. Because at Annie’s school, 2 teachers, and one teacher’s wife, are pregnant. Because I need a deadline like I need a hole in my head my roof, I contacted the art teacher and offered to work with her to help the kids make a quilt for each of the 3 babies. 2 are due the first week of November, one in mid-December. The kids are going to dye the squares, and I’ll piece them together. The school is tiny- 60ish kids from 6th-12th grade- and I’m looking forward to helping them with this project.

After the cutting, came the sewing. 2 episodes of OITNB later, I had four blocks, and had finally finished my August goal.

Block 67: I busted out one of my fave ever Heather Ross prints. I found an extra yard of it stashed in the guest room (when we had to move Henry in during the dry-out of his room), so that’s a positive.

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Purple, grey, and pretty.

Block 68: my fave feature print and some happy green solids.

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Block 69: teeny tiny pieces, and squirrels. I love the squirrels. (Top photo’s color is a better representation.)

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And finally, Block 70: purple! My fave Tula Acacia print. Happiness! (Bottom photo is a better color representation.)

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Next up, the squares section of the book. Squares I can handle :-)

As always, here’s my work to date:

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51 thru 70

 

Just in case anyone is still out there, and also made it all the way to the end, and also wants to share their own Tula progress, here’s the linkup:

 

Meanwhile, here’s hoping I’m back to blogging and commenting and reading more regularly. Hope you are all doing better than me and my house!

PS Now that I have some actual work to share, I’m linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and WIP Wednesday

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