Category Archives: Sugar Block Club BOM

My Kingdom for Another Yard

So, back in 2013, I made 2 sets of Sugar Block Club blocks- one for me and one for my mom. You’ve seen how my mom’s ended up. But what about mine? Here’s where we left off in Jan 2014.

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Left to right, top to bottom, that is January to December. And please please join me in pretending that you can’t see how much smaller that final block turned out. Ugh. It was paper-pieced, and I checked the printer twice, so, no idea how that happened.

I love these together, and am not thrilled with a few of them individually. I wasn’t sure how to set them, so like my mom’s, they sat around for a year. And then I decided to make another set, and make the top bed sized. We don’t need another purple throw sized quilt around this joint, and I want to keep it.

So this past week, I pulled out the patterns, and the secret stash of fabric I had leftover from the original blocks, and got to work. This time, I tried to make more darker/higher contrast blocks.

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This is what I got done this week- half a year’s worth. But then I had to stop.

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Why? Because this is all the background fabric I have left. I grossly underestimated the leftover pile. I had enough of all the prints to make it through another 12 blocks, but apparently only enough shiny lavender background fabric to make it through 6. The worst part is that I don’t know when I bought this fabric (aside from “over 3 years ago”), I don’t know where I got it, and I don’t know the manufacturer because the selvedge is plain. So when I say I am out of background fabric, I am totally out of background fabric.

Here are all 18 together.

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So now I have the added challenge of deciding how on earth to set 18 blocks. I have varying amounts of all the other fabrics left. And you can sort of see the striped Kaffe Fasset woven below the quilt- I had it pulled aside to do something with this quilt, but what? I’m truly hoping it won’t take me another year to decide…

MEANWHILE… I have a new idea for background fabric for my Tula blocks. After spending the last week looking at layout options, I realized I am really attached to the simple king sized grid layout from the book. With that in mind, I went back to the drawing board, and came up with 2 fabrics from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures line. What do you think of either of these?

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To refresh your memory, here are the blocks…

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I feel like the darker version could really make the blocks pop, without being TOO dark… And the idea to a slightly textured solid is very appealing to me. What do you think?

And if anyone happens to recognize that solid lavender shot through with silver sparkles, speak up!

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, Tula Pink QAL

Sweet, Sweet Sugar

I am so happy to finally be able to share this finished quilt.

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In 2013, I joined Stitchery Dickery Dock‘s Sugar Block Club BOM. I made 2 complete sets of blocks– one for me (in purples and blues) and one for my mom, in much more earthy tones. I gave my mom a set of blocks, not even a top, for Xmas 2013, and the promise of a finished quilt to follow soon after. So that didn’t quite work out. I did manage to finish the top in early 2014 (in fact, almost a year ago to the day!), but I had no idea how to quilt it. I picked it up and put it down. Many times. And felt so guilty that my mom wasn’t getting her gift. Sigh.

Finally, just a few weeks before Xmas 2014, I decided to send it out to be quilted, cost be damned. But I hadn’t sent one out in forever, and I wanted something special and custom. As luck would have it, the mom of a student at the school where I work is an amazing quilter who is just getting her business (Snowflake Quilting) off the ground. And she had time to finish the quilt before Xmas, or at the very least before my mom’s 12/30 birthday. I sent her photos of the quilt, and when we met in person, she had an AMAZING design already sketched out. Each block had its own motif, and then, she created an overall design to tie them all together. The trickiest part for me was choosing the thread color.

In less than a week, Snowflake Quilting had returned my quilt to me, quilted to perfection. The best part? She delivered it to my office when dropping her son off at school, so I got to bask in oohs and aahs from my colleagues. I easily got it bound and washed and wrapped and under the tree by Xmas Eve!

I think my mom likes it!

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And you know how I was torturing myself with guilt all year, because this took me so long? Well, as mom opened it, she was truly confused and shocked. “What is this?” She had forgotten about it! I hope that doesn’t mean I have failed her so many times that she never expects me to follow through with things?

I chose the colors to compliment her basement, which is finished and lovely, and has her comfy couch and big TV. But she likes it so much, she wants to use it upstairs, where she spends more time, even if it doesn’t coordinate as well. I’m glad she’s so happy!

Here’s a closeup of the quilting on each block:

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Amazing, right? I’m so glad I sent it out. I would never have been able to pull off anything half so great myself.

It was finally nice and sunny last weekend, so we took the quilt out for a walk, right behind my mom’s house. Her garden opens directly out into some open space… convenient for nice photos!

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Oh, the back and binding is a fabulous Kaffe that I was able to score on clearance! And… have I mentioned that my 13 year old daughter is now 1/2″ taller than me? That’s her holding up this large throw for me. Yikes.

I don’t think I’ve felt this good about a finish in years and years. Next up- finishing my OWN Sugar Block Club top!

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday.

 

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Filed under Finish It Up Friday, Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM

WIP Wednesday: Top, done!

I am SO excited.

On Sunday, while everyone else in Denver was watching some football game, I was sewing.

Thanks to the Vintage Quilt Revival blog tour, I was finally inspired to create a setting for my 2013 Sugar Block Club blocks… (and I bought a copy of the book, too…)

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I bordered each block in a solid. This had two benefits- first, 3 of my paper pieced blocks came in 1/2 an inch too small, so I used the borders to plump them up to size. Second, I really feel like the borders allowed the individual blocks to shine. I wish I had had a bit more of the green and brown solids left, as I would have been very happy to have a bit less orange and a bit more green, but overall, I’m happy. The solids were all FQs, and there is very very little left.

Then, I used the prints as the setting squares. I really love how this helped me balance out the colors and prints in the individual blocks.

And I bought the most wonderful backing fabric, on clearance for $6.84 a yard, no less, from Fabric.com.
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It’s a spring 2013 Kaffe, and it has all the colors of the front in it. UPS is supposed to bring it today, so maybe I can baste over the weekend and finish it up while I am still motivated. I was thinking a row of flying geese from the leftover front fabric, backed in the white, would be a nice addition to the back.

Maybe my mom will actually get her Xmas gift in time for Valentine’s Day.

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Filed under Gift, Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday: the penultimate 2013 Sugar Block Club Block!

I did it!
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12 months, 24 blocks. No, neither top is done yet, and no, I didn’t quite get the 24th block pieced before 2013 ended. But still! All 24 blocks, to be made into a total of 2 quilts, are DONE!
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The final Sugar Block Club installment of 2013 was a lovely paper pieced star. You saw the other one a few weeks ago.
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I’m always amazed by paper piecing- the piece on the right and left are pieced identically, but the one on the left has been trimmed to size. Amazing!

And I have to say, the biggest improvement to my piecing skills in 2013 was paper piecing. I had never loved it, or been all that good at it, but it turns out that’s because I was (poorly) self taught. Amy‘s instructions and tips changed that, and I no longer dread it! I might even be feeling cocky enough to take on the fabulous Doctor Who blocks by Trillium Designs.

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Meanwhile, it’s time to work on laying out these quilts. I’m a little frozen. I don’t have any fancy quilting software to help me draft a layout, and I want something more interesting than just 4 rows of 3 blocks, maybe with sashing. The blocks finish at 12″. Do you have any favorite layout tips or tricks for twelve 12″ blocks? I have some, but not tons, of each quilt’s background fabric left, as well as some, but not tons, of each fabric used in the blocks. And for each quilt I do have some yardage of other fabrics that work well with them, even if they’re not in the original blocks.

But what to do? Please, send ideas!

(BTW, obviously, I didn’t give my mom her quilt, finished, for Xmas as I had hoped. Instead I wrapped up the blocks, put them under the tree, and took them back after she opened them… I decided I’d rather have a late gift than one that I wasn’t happy with.)

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday: December Sugar Block Club

It’s DECEMBER! (Just in case you didn’t know that, and weren’t already in crafty-holiday-gift stress mode…)

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December means it’s time to sew the final 2013 Sugar Block Club block… So far, I’ve gotten one done of my two. I’m in crunch mode! I’m knitting away like mad on a blanket for Henry that is 90% done, and I have that baby quilt to finish, and then, one of my 2 Sugar Block quilts is for my mom, for Xmas (shhhh!), which is getting really really close now. So I may not piece the 2nd December sugar club block for a while- my quilt doesn’t have a deadline.

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A week ago, I started my new job- the first change in my career in over 8.5 years! I’m 5 days in, and aside from being exhausted by EVERYTHING in my life being new, all is well. I actually did have enough energy, on a weeknight, to piece this block! That’s huge for me- usually after work, I just want to collapse! But my commute home is about a 3rd of what it used to be, so that really helps.

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This block consists of 8 paper pieced triangles that make up the block. They were simple enough to piece, and as always, selecting fabric took me as much time as sewing (well, nearly.) Again, I used my super-technical method of seeing which fabrics had been used least in the previous 11 blocks.

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I am always amazed by the scrap and mess pile generated when paper piecing!

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The center of the block upsets me a little- the batik was cut out of one lengthwise strip, and the journey from green to orange is much more obvious than I had realized. But oh well- the paper piecing turned out nicely, and I like the colors overall. And done is better than perfect, as many of you have pointed out to me before!

It’s time to start thinking about settings. Amy has some great ideas over on her blog… I really like the idea of setting the squares diagonally, but I suck at math and don’t own any fabulous quilting software to help me. (Hope I win the fabulous SBC giveaway!) Your ideas are welcome, hint hint… I do have loads of the background fabric left and varying amounts of the solids and prints.

Hope you are all doing well with your own holiday crafty deadlines! (Linking up at WIP Wednesday…)

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WIP Wednesday: First Frost (November’s Sugar Block Club)

11 months in already? Only one to go? For real?

Yikes.

For once, I didn’t agonize over my fabric choices. I went through the previous blocks, and chose the least used fabrics…

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And now, after a Saturday spent binge-watching Top of the Lake and sewing, my November Sugar Block Club blocks are done!

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I now have a total of 22 blocks, 11 for each quilt. I’m still torn on a few of them- should I go back and re-piece the messy paper pieced February blocks or let it go?

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Only one more month to go! Can’t wait to see that last block…

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WIP Wednesday: 10 months done!

In some ways 2013 has seemed like the longest year ever. Work has been stressful, Annie had some serious challenges, my grandma passed away… But in other ways the year is flying by. October? Really? I mean, it must be, because over the weekend we set up our annual Halloween graveyard in our front yard, and if it’s not really October, well, then I don’t think our neighbors will appreciate it!

It also must be October because on Monday I pieced not just one, but both October blocks for the Sugar Block Club. (I’m making two quilts from the patterns…) This month, the pattern is called Lucky Star, but it wasn’t totally lucky for me.

First, I’ll show you the less successful block. This one has incredibly mismatched points. I mean, YIKES, look at the center patch of the top row. And the fabrics didn’t work the way I intended- the two prints are too similar. Grumble.

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But the second one came out MUCH better. The points are better, and the colors worked out more the way I intended.

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I can’t believe there are just two blocks/months left. I have really enjoyed having an assigned project each month- it’s kept me on track when otherwise I might not have sewn anything. I’ll have to start making a good plan for next year…

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday: Bingeing on Sugar Blocks

Before the sadness of Monday, I had a huge (for me) sewing day on Saturday. Each kid was at a different birthday party, and I actually ended up with some free time. So of course I combined binge-sewing with binge-watching, and spent a few hours catching up on the August and September Sugar Block Club blocks while finally checking out Orange is the New Black.

And yes, I totally loved it and got sucked in. 6 episodes down, 7 to go. And happily, I hear there will be a second season to binge on.

Meanwhile, you probably care more about what I sewed than about a TV show that everyone discovered months before me… So perhaps it’s time for some photos.

August, Quilt #1:

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August, Quilt #2:

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September, Quilt #1:

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September, Quilt #2:

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Quilt #1, January-September:

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Quilt #2, January-September:

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For fun, I laid the blocks out in the same order for each quilt, just to see the different effects caused by the different fabric choices… Quilt #1 will be for me, quilt #2 is an Xmas gift for my mom.

I’m glad I got to spend some time sewing this weekend, as now we’re headed out of town for the funeral, and then on to a vacation that was scheduled back in May, and by the time we get back, and celebrate Henry’s birthday (which is actually on Friday the 13th), I have no idea when I’ll get another block of uninterrupted time…or have the energy to sew.

Thank you to everyone for the kind comments about my grandmother. It wasn’t unexpected, but still, it’s very hard to lose someone at any time.

(Linking up over at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.)

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday: the OTHER lime sherbet

It took me until the 7th month to fall behind, but fall behind I did. My second July Sugar Block Club block sadly didn’t get completed until August. At least it was the first week of August, but it still certainly wasn’t July.

And I have a sneaking feeling I will not get August done until September. We’re going on vacation, a wonderful, amazing vacation, and I don’t have any sewing time left before we go… Still, it’s a price I’m willing to pay!

I felt like this block needed to be darker than the last few, so I chose colors with that in mind.

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In my first Lime Sherbet block, I was worried that you couldn’t really see the Ohio Star that makes up the center of the block.

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But this time, I feel like you really CAN see the star.

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I really like how this one came out, and I think it does a lot to balance out the others. I wanted to keep it from getting to orange and sunshine-y, and this one helps with that nicely.

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7 down, 5 to go.

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WIP Wednesday: Lime Sherbet

Summer continues to be nutso around here. Today I actually had to write down a 3 paragraph plan to coordinate all the drop-offs and pick-ups required to shuttle my 2 kids between their combined 9 performances at theater camp this week. (Annie is Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein, and Henry is Tommy in The Music Man.) Zoinks.

I did manage to work on my July Sugar Block Club block- Lime Sherbet. It’s a traditional Ohio Star, which is then set on point with paper pieced triangles added on. It’s a lovely combo.

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Now that we’re halfway through the year, I decided I need to be more strategic with my fabric selection. I sorted them into used twice, used once, and used not at all yet piles. I found three in the “not used at all” pile that worked together, and got to cutting.

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The dark grey is very very dark, more so than I realized before stopping to look at these photos. It’s by far the darkest of all the fabrics I pulled for this project. I think it will be okay, especially if I put it into at least one more block.

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I’m not totally sure if I like the background fabric as the star. When I get around to making the 2nd one for my other Sugar Block quilt, I think I’m going to try it as a different fabric… It might just be that the values of the grey and the print fabric are so very wildly different.

Meanwhile, look! 7 done! More than halfway there!

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(Sorry for the supremely lousy photo!)

Finishing the block was a bit bittersweet. I’ve mentioned before that I stream TV shows via netflix while I sew. Recently, I finished Battlestar Galactica, and I was fracking sad to see it go. About 15 minutes before I finished this block, the final episode of Buffy ended. I cannot believe it took me so many years to discover that show. I may have come to the Whedon-verse late, but man oh man, am I happy to be there.

Now I just have to catch up on Breaking Bad before the new season starts. Which means I’ll have to find some more sewing time 🙂

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, WIP Wednesday