Designing a quilt with Excel, part II

—At long last I have finally finished the quilt top I began months ago where I used Excel to help me determine the size and block layout. I can’t take credit for the original design; it’s called “Patio,” and it’s by Monica Solorio-Snow who blogs over at Happy Zombie.

Before I show you the top, I’d like to digress for just a minute about the pattern. I saw it on Pinterest and at the time, the pin did not have Monica’s name or blog on it. I tried to find the designer at the time, but couldn’t. (I’ve since updated the original post.)

I say this because I really do believe in giving credit where it’s due. I hope others will feel the same about my work. That’s why I don’t think it would be right for me to do a tutorial for this block/pattern.

However, I do think some designs are pretty easy to figure out from the photo, even more so if you have the size/dimensions of the finished quilt. I’m no math whiz, but I’ve sewn and quilted long enough to have a pretty good idea of block size, especially when it’s a simple block like this one.

So, does that make me unethical for not buying the pattern because I could easily do the math? I don’t think so, any more than I wouldn’t feel obligated to buy a patten that was a set of nine-patches or similar traditional block. If my final quilt doesn’t match the original version exactly, I’m OK with that. If I didn’t learn any tricks in cutting/piecing/etc., by not buying the pattern, I’m OK with that, too.

Enough of my soap box. On to the quilt!

DSC_0033It was incredibly sunny yesterday, so it was tough to get a decent photo. I decided the shade was going to do a lot better than the bright sunshine of high noon when I shot this. I even got on a ladder so I could get a better angle.

Here’s a close up: (the colors are much truer on this pic.)

DSC_0043I’m really thrilled with how this turned out; now I just have to decide on the quilting. Initially, I toyed with the idea of doing something fancy in the white areas, but I really love the simplicity of straight-line quilting, even if it takes forever. I’ll probably wind up doing either that or a simple meander. I really want to show off the beauty of the fabrics here.

Speaking of which, here’s what I think is my favorite fabric of all. I wish I knew what it was because I’d buy yards of it if it were still available. It’s a Kaffe Fasset, called Peony, but after more than 10 years, I think it’ll be pretty difficult to find.

DSC_0042The gray flower has such a cool art deco/nouveau kind of feel to it, don’t you think? And I love the lavender shading in it.

What do you guys think? Are you willing to pay for a pattern that seems simple enough to determine from the photo? Do you think I should have bought Monica’s pattern? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

XOXO,
Sandra

Supernova Friendship Block Swap: the final question

supernovabuttonWe are finally at the last question for The Supernova Friendship Block Swap. Stephanie and I hope that all our participants have not only enjoyed making their quilts,  but have also made new quilting friends for life.

Friendship is definitely a blessing so this last question seems like an appropriate way to end our swap:

What are the unexpected blessings in your life? What are the things that maybe you at first thought were a terrible twist of fate, but then turned into a lovely gift?

For me, the twist on this question is thinking about the unexpected. Certainly, I have many things for which I am very grateful and blessed, but something bad that turned out not only well, but became a blessing? I’ll definitely have to give that some thought.

In the meantime, I’m working on my next tutorial — an easy lap-sized quilt that you can make in time for the holidays!

XOXO,
Sandra

 

Finished: My 1956 slipstitch knitted shawl

When the poncho craze hit a number of years ago, like a lot of knitters, I hopped on the bandwagon and made a few, but I was never really happy with the triangular shape with the points hanging down the middle.

What I really wanted was a shawl/cape, but preferably one that was long enough to cover my bum, for warmth, as well as a little vanity. I also wanted it to work with some yarn I inherited that I knew wasn’t quite enough to make a complete sweater.

After doing some digging online a few years ago, I found this pattern from the Bernat Handicrafter Book No. 58, “Fast and Fun to Knit Bulkies,” from 1956.

1956 slipstitch capeIsn’t it just darling? It’s also quick, due to the  large gauge (9 stitches = 2 inches), and the pattern is a basic slip stitch that couldn’t be easier.

Since I had enough yarn, I decided to go for one color, rather than the two tone version:

DSC_0017DSC_0018 DSC_0019 DSC_0021I made the buttonholes a stitch smaller than the pattern suggested, since I knew they’d stretch a bit. I also didn’t face the front edges with ribbon as the pattern said to do since it didn’t seem necessary.

Now that I have my stylish new cape, I am ready for fall, my favorite season!

XOXO,
Sandra

 

Supernova Friendship Block Swap: Question 4

The other day Stephanie and I were on the phone chatting when we realized that we’d both whizzed by the August deadline and getting question number four to you for our Supernova Friendship Block Swap.

We both hope this is better late than never. Here goes:

Forgiveness is an integral part of any healthy relationship. What does forgives mean to you? Share with your partner an example of a time you had to forgive someone — or someone had to forgive you — and how it strengthened the relationship.

Seems kind of an appropriate question about now, doesn’t it?

Since I had a bit of free time this weekend, I decided to take the fabrics I was going to use as a redo of block number one and use them for number three instead. I’ll go with my original idea for the first block, since if I don’t like it with the rest of the blocks once I have them, I can always throw it on the back.

DSC_0022Gotta say, I love how using a pale color around the center square creates a kind of halo effect from a distance. Here’s a closeup:

DSC_0023I’m just about done with the redo of block one, and putting what I have so far on the design wall, it’s pretty exciting. I’d show you now, but a cranberry red room with pale gold curtains does not for a good photo make. One of these days I’ll get around to painting it.

XOXO,
Sandra

 

Shhh … It’s a secret

Amy over at 13 Spools recently confessed some of her dirty little quilty secrets and asked her readers to do the same. Here are 10 of mine:

image1. Sometimes I press, sometimes I iron. Most times it’s a combo deal of the two.

2. I don’t like my machine anymore, but I’m too cheap to buy a new one. At least for now.

3. I absolutely detest and despise basting, almost enough to stop me from quilting entirely. If I had the money, I’d send my quilts to a longarmer just so I wouldn’t have to baste them.

4. I love coming up with ideas/patterns for my stash, but I change my mind a million times before they ever get made. Sometimes the perfect idea doesn’t stay so perfect.

5. I’m not a big fan of the crinkled look on washed quilts so I don’t usually wash mine until they get really dirty. I don’t pre-wash my fabrics either.

6. I don’t love every quilt I’ve ever made. Quite a few have just been learning experiences.

7. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to consistently sew a perfect scant 1/4 seam, but it hasn’t stopped me or anyone else from enjoying my quilts.

8. I am so grateful to the bloggers who post tutorials and process posts. I have learned so much from them, and I hope to repay the favor through this blog.

9. I don’t like fat quarters and prefer to buy half yards so I can have the full width of the fabric.

10. Since I’m too cheap to get rid of the traditional fabrics in my stash, I like using them in modern ways. If that makes the quilts not truly modern, I don’t care.

What about you? What are some of your quilty secrets?

XOXO,
Sandra

The one where I redo Supernova block #1

I shared with you in my last post how I really wasn’t crazy about the first block I made for the Supernova Friendship Block Swap Stephanie and I are hosting. it was OK, I just knew I could do better.

Mine’s the one on the right. I’m using this photo that Stephanie took since I didn’t even bother get a photo of it before I sent it in the mail!

Thankfully, she likes it just fine, and I think it works with her cooler color palette. We’re using Splendor 1920 by Bari J along with pieces from our stash.

I’m just being a picky perfectionist, and I’m glad to have her blessing on the redo.

DSC_0016I didn’t veer too far from the original, I just switched one palette for another. The geometric print will still be on the outside, and the yellow will be next to it. The centers will have the birds and feathers, and the green will be in the very middle.

I just need two more fabrics and I can start sewing. Wish me luck!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP_Wednesday

XOXO,
Sandra

Finished: Supernova block #2 and my cotton infinity scarf

I have two finishes to share with you today, my second Supernova block and the cotton infinity scarf from last week. Let’s start with the block:

DSC_0011I decided to go a little bolder this time; I also didn’t use Lee’s directions for choosing fabrics but just picked them as I sewed. I’m much happier with the result than with my first block. In fact, since I hadn’t made a duplicate of that block before I sent the first one off to Stephanie, with her blessing I’m going to redo the first one for my quilt.

What’s really cool about the block above is how when you look at it from a distance, the pale yellow fabric creates a kind of halo around the darker colors. I got the idea from some the photos on our Supernova Flickr page.

So, are you ready for the question for August? This time, Stephanie did the honors, and it’s all about making memories:

During this last month of the summer, your assignment is to sit back and think for a minute. Think about your childhood summers …

Our memories make us who we are. They provide us with a sense of self. This month, Stephanie and I invite you to write about your best childhood memories and share them with your partner in the Supernova Friendship Block Swap. You can share one, you can share five — whatever you’re inspired to do.

When you share a memory with a trusted friend, it’s like giving a little gift, a small piece of yourself. These are the gifts that truly allow friendships to deepen and flourish.

I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful blocks and the friendship you’re developing with your partner. Don’t forget to post photos on our Flickr page. Even if you’re not participating in the swap, there’s some wonderful quilty eye-candy to enjoy!

For the scarf, I powered through the rest of the weird shiny polyester string-type yarn I had so I could finish. Let me just say I was glad it was long enough by the time I decided I couldn’t take any more of the yarn’s splitting and slipping. I didn’t even finish the entire skein. I. was. done.

DSC_0013On the far left is the Rowan cotton that I began the project with (and that makes up the back side), followed by another Rowan cotton in a slightly lighter weight. Next is the bouclé, and last is the string stuff.

One of the other things I didn’t like about the string stuff was that it showed even the slightest problem in tension. Since cotton doesn’t have the same stretch and bounce that wool does, which is what I typically knit with, this meant there were more issues than I would have liked.

Still, when it’s double-wrapped around my neck, no one will notice.

DSC_0014I mentioned last time that I didn’t anticipate the edges curling knitting stockinette stitch in cotton, but it turned into a happy mistake and make it much easier to hide the ends that I wove in.

I love it when that happens!

XOXO,
Sandra

 

 

WIP Wednesday: cotton infinity scarf

Do you ever have a project that starts out as one thing but ends up as another? That’s what’s happened with my latest knitting project.

DSC_0003I have a bunch of white cotton in my stash, of varying types, and I thought a good way to use it up and do some mindless knitting would be to make a hand towel.

What I didn’t bank on, since I had no idea how much yardage this would take, would be that I would run out of the particular kind I was using (Rowan) just before the finish.

I also stupidly did not believe all the knitters who said stockinette stitch would curl on the edges. I knew it did with wool, I just thought it wouldn’t with something that didn’t have any stretch. Oh, silly me.

After sharing my Pinterest board with a new knitting friend, Kim, at work that had both of us drooling over an infinity scarf on Etsy, I thought to myself, “Why not make an infinity scarf out of the cotton?” It’s always freezing in my office, even during the summer, so I could use it to warm up and not look like an idiot for running my space heater in July.

Yes, I have run the space heater during summer. More times than I care to admit …

DSC_0002I threw in a few rows of garter between the varying skeins, whenever I felt like it. I really enjoy knitting scarves for that reason; you can make up your own pattern on the spot.

The second skein was similar to the first, just a lighter weight. (Unfortunately, not all the skeins in my stash have tags, since many were inherited from my mom.)

Then I moved to a kind of bouclé:

DSC_0004Now I’m using some sort of polyester shiny, silky-like string stuff, only it’s not quite as soft as the real thing:

DSC_0008Best of all is now the curling on the ends will work to my advantage by hiding the back side of the scarf, saving me from making a tube in the round.

DSC_0007I’m about two-thirds of the way done on this, so I probably won’t get to wear it much this year, even though we have warm weather well into October. In any event, I’ll definitely be ready for next year.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

XOXO,
Sandra

Finished: The Atomic Apps Quilt

I just can’t begin to tell you all how excited I am to share with you my finished Atomic Apps quilt. This is the one where I served as a pattern tester for Kati at from the blue chair, with its design based on a drawing made by her six-year-old daughter.

atomic_appsKati did a great job with the pattern. In fact, I’d say it was one of the fastest tops I’ve ever finished. The straight-line quilting, however, not so much, but that’s OK, because I’m in love with how it turned out and was the perfect thing for my 1950s-inspired look.

front-detailA serendipitous element occurred when I had to buy more Kona medium gray. At the time, I didn’t know how much variation there is with Kona dye lots and wasn’t sure I wanted to proceed until I had enough to make the top from the same lot.

But I decided to go with it, and I’m so glad because I think the variation makes the top even more interesting.

Here’s a look at the back, which I kept pretty simple and with a focus on the inspiration fabric:

finished backBelieve me, the middle isn’t that wonky, it’s just my bad camera angle. Although if it were, it would go with the front.The batting was some Warm and Natural that I had on hand. Not my first choice, but it was actually pretty easy to quilt on, and the price was right. I made the scrappy binding with some of the leftover scraps.

I can’t resist adding one more detail shot, just for fun and a little self-promotion:

finished back2If you’d like to make your own Apps quilt, you can purchase the pattern at the following links:

http://www.craftsy.com/user/1036910/pattern-store

https://www.etsy.com/shop/fromthebluechair

I’m linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday — my first time ever! Have a great weekend, everyone.

XOXO,
Sandra

 

A very inspiring award

Just when you least expect it, the nicest thing can happen to you. I was minding my own business last night, watching “The Bachelorette” (try not to judge, even if you really want to) in between bursts of finishing the quilting on my Atomic Apps quilt.

I decide to take a quick look at my mail and saw a message from Erin at Crosstitchery telling me that she’s nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

very-inspiring-bloggerTo say I’m gobsmacked by this doesn’t begin to do my feelings justice. Erin, thank you so much. I am truly humbled by this honor.

There are a few requirements that go along with this nomination:

  1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know that they are nominated.
  5. Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger that nominated you.

Having had to come up with 25 things for Stephanie and our Supernova Friendship Block Swap, finding seven is easy:

  1. My favorite place on earth is the beach.
  2. On a rainy afternoon, there’s nothing I like better than stretching out on my couch under a blanket with a cuppa and a good book.
  3. My three favorite animals are cats, elephants and whales. Unfortunately, I can only keep one of them.
  4. I love all kinds of music and have sung semi-professionally.
  5. I love old movies. One of my favorites is “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney.
  6. I am seriously addicted to oatmeal and eat it for breakfast every morning. Sometimes even for a late night snack as well.
  7. I love the adventure of going to new places. I hope to cross Australia off my bucket list one day.

Here are my blogging nominations (in no particular order):

  1. Tallgrass Prairie Studio
  2. Late Night Quilter
  3. House on Hill Road
  4. Buzy Day
  5. Christa Quilts
  6. From the Blue Chair
  7. Wasn’t Quilt in a Day
  8. Wombat Quilts
  9. Cross Stitch Bobobitch Mononitch
  10. Simplify
  11. Lollyquiltz
  12. CraftyPod
  13. Don’t Call Me Betsy
  14. Freshly Pieced
  15. Film in the Fridge

I hope you’ll check out these other great blogs. They are definitely where I get daily inspiration!

XOXO,
Sandra