Summertime!

So summer has officially started… and here is where I’m at with the Dragon Quilt.  It’s a slow process, but it’s coming along nicely.  Now that I have a feel for how long this part will take, I figure I’ll be stitching these together through August and September maybe.

If I had more time, I’d be going quicker, but this has been a very busy time for us with  a lot going on.  One big thing is I’m looking to buy a new used car… and if you have ever done this before, you know what a pain in the butt it is.  But it will be worth it ~ if I have a car, I’ll be able to get out to the coast more often (which is what I really want) and I’ll be able to get to the Sisters Quilt Show this summer without any problems. 

Speaking of which… my Villa Villa Kula quilt will be on display at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild area of the event.  So excited to have a quilt in the show!  I’ll be there no matter if I have a car or not by then… and I’ll be volunteering in our section from 2-4pm (July 14).  So if you’re going to be there, plan on stopping by and saying hello!

Peek-a-boo

One week into sewing the strips together for the dragon quilt:

His face is starting to emerge… peek-a-boo!  At my current pace, I’ll be happy to have the quilt top finished by the end of August.  My goal is to have the whole quilt completed by Oct. 7.  That’s the date I started this project, so that will make it a full year of sewing on it. 

For those of you who are wondering, I spend usually between 3-4 hours sewing everyday.   So…. 8 months x 30 days x 3 hours per day (avg.) = approximately 720 hours of stitching so far… it’s like 18 weeks of full time work!

I find my sewing time to be after dinner, when everything else is done (or done enough), from about 9pm to 2-3am depending on the work load during the day.  I watch a lot of cheeezzzy late night movies!

When is your favorite time of day to sew?

It Has Begun…

That’s right, I have begun sewing my hexie strips together for the Dragon Quilt!!!  Squeee ~ super exciting!  Yesterday I was able to sew two rows on while at the All Day Sew that the PMQG hosted… and I figured out a better way of sewing them. 

To sew the rows, I put the hexies wrong sides together and stitched from the outside so when folded open the seams totally disappear.  This is great, but very hard to do sewing a strip to a strip.

I WAS folding the hexie strips in weird positions to get the two right sides together to sew my hidden seams, but I found that it is way easier to leave it flat and work from the backside and use a simple small whipstitch.

Here’s a shot of the backside of the project.  You can see my new little whipstitches which work GREAT.  My biggest worry about hand sewing is that it may fall apart… but not so with this stitch.

I had a great time hanging out with my quilty friends yesterday ~ as my friend Rachel says “Quilters Rock!”

Dragon Quilt Milestone

Woo Hoo… I just finished sewing the last strip of hexies together for the Dragon Quilt!!  It’s a huge milestone, and I feel very accomplished right now.  Next up is sewing the strips together, then I’ll take the papers out, add a border… and some hand-quilting too!   I would love to finish this quilt this year.  Here I am sewing that last strip… getting closer everyday.

 

Stitchin’ Away…

Wow… time really flies!  I’ve been so busy with work, it’s been hard to find time to sew all that I would like.   However, I have been diligent in my hand-work on the Dragon Quilt.  Here is a quick pic to show how many strips I’ve finished:

What I have circled in red are finished strips… as you can see, I only have a few more left along the bottom to finish, then I’ll be over halfway!!!  I finally decided on the MUD color fabric (Michael Miller cotton couture) for the border ~ I am in love with that color and the fabric itself is a dream to work with.  After getting some for the border of this quilt, I had the idea to use it with orange and mango and aqua to make this quilt top:

This top was inspired by the improv techniques that Michelle showed us at a PMQG meeting a month or so ago.   I really do love just sewing without too much thought.  This was a super fun quilt top to make!!  Now for a back and some actual quilting ideas ~ Okay… I guess it’s time to get busy! 

Dragon Progress

I figured it’s about time for a progress report on the Dragon Quilt.  In the picture above you can see the strands of hexies I’ve finished in the center.  The strand I’m currently working on is at the bottom of the photo, when it’s finished I can lay that one back in the bottom opening, and pick up my next strand. 

Using some batting, I roll the hexies to keep them in order when I take it on the road to sew.  I started with the longest strands first, there are 6 that are full from one side to the other, all the other strands start getting shorter from that point… I have 13 strands completed, and I’m going to guess that part is about 1/5 to 1/4 of the way done.

Right now my contemplation lies in picking out a border color so I can get those hexies made and sewn onto the ends of the strands before I start sewing the strands together.  I’ve had a few people ask me when I think I might finish this quilt… and I honestly don’t really know.  My intention is to have the whole top of this quilt sewn together by August… and then I’m thinking about hand-quilting it too ~ and that will take even more time.

Trust me, no one wants to get this completed more than me ~ my motivation is high, but these things do take time!  This is part of the reason why I’m blogging about it: when it’s finished and people say things like “hey… I bet you could sell these,  you could get a couple hundred bucks for something like this!!”  I can laugh in their face and show them this blog.  Hopefully when people see the work that goes into these things, they will consider their statements and realize this is priceless to me.

Hello Calluses…

I recently finished sewing binding on the King-sized anniversary quilt… and last week I started sewing the hexies for the dragon quilt together.  Guess what?  I now have some very nice calluses on my little fingers… it makes it SO much nicer to hand stitch anything!  I just wish that you didn’t have to go through a week of soreness before the calluses come!  Oh well ~ it’s worth it!

This is what I’ll be looking at for the next few months:

I’m sewing this in strips that run diagonally in the dragon.  I’m excited to be at this point ~ now I just wish I could sew faster.  I really have to pace it though… my hand and finger joints can only handle so much.  I did find this awesome ointment called Traumeel ~ it has arnica in it and it helps my joint pain immensely. 

Okay, I’m off to do some more stitching…

Stitchin’ Time!

To start… I wanted to thank craftgossip for reposting my last blog entry… I received so much great feedback, it made me feel so good and keeps me going on this project!  With all that inspiration, I was able to finish the layout ~ and now I can start stitching these suckers together.  Here is the final layout look:

 To sew the pieces together, I’m going along the diagonals and sewing strips together.  I found a neat way to make it portable too!  First I lay down a skinny strip of batting and put the hexies I want to sew in the order they need to be sewn in:

Then I take a piece of cotton fabric an lay it over the hexies:

Then I roll it up from the far end:

… and voila:  as I unroll it the hexies pop out like a pez dispenser in the order I need them to be in:

I can put this roll into a little plastic container with thread, scissors and my handy dandy leather thimble (that I could never live without!) and I’m off to where ever I want to be. 

Sew Close…

Yep, I’m close… I’ve been arranging and re-arranging the brown hexagons for this dragon quilt for about a month now ~ no lie.  I am SO ready to start sewing!!  It’s close… but not quite:

The area that’s bothering me the most is at the bottom.  I have two fabrics that make “hills” because they contrast with every other color in the palate.  I’m still not happy with how it looks… but like I said it’s close!

My favorite part is the mouth area… and the breath.   So the goal is to finish up this layout this weekend so I can start stitching them together on Monday.

More soon ~

Geeking Out

Okay… I am totally geeking out on this project right now, but I thought I’d stop and give a progress report. 

I got all the creams, greens, and reds how I want them, now I’m just working on the background browns.  This is about the 4th time they’ve been picked up and laid back down… and I’m thinking it’ll need to be done again.   I’m close though… a few more days of this puzzle-piecing madness then I can actually start sewing them all together ~ I’m sew ready to start!

I did finish the quilt top and back for my in-laws anniversary quilt this last weekend at the PMQG all day sew day.  I love those!  There were lots of people who showed up and everyone in working on great projects… so now I have a few more to add to my own list of things to make.  Plus, a whole day of hanging with creative types without being interrupted with life is SO nice.

Now… back to the dragon.

Number 100!

This marks my 100th blog post… and it’s my birthday!  Definitely time to celebrate, although I’m not quite ready.  This week we had some hard heavy rain and our basement flooded.  Since Wednesday we’ve been cleaning and drying and moving stuff and cleaning some more.  Last night was the first time in days I actually found some time to sew, and in all actuality, that’s all I really wanna do for my b-day!

This is where I’m at with the dragon:

I picked up all the browns and will be re-laying them out in a better pattern next.  It’s definitely a labor of love, or at least…something to obsess over.  Last night I was up late playing in my sewing room ~ there’s no clock in there, and I listen to books on CD so I can get really lost in time.  No surprise I didn’t get to bed till about 5am.  But, I got a lot done!  The anniversary quilt top is just about finished.

Oh yeah…  HAPPY NEW YEAR – year of the Dragon starts today!  With the new year comes high hopes for progressive change and continued happiness and contentment with many friends new and old.  Thanks for sharing in it with me!

Slow Going…

Slow going is the way I would describe my sewing ventures lately.  With the new year comes new plans for our business… so I’ve been spending more time on that end of my world.  However, I am working on a schedule to be able to spend a little more time actually stitching ~ even when business picks up… but we’ll see how that goes 😉

I did get the first stage of the dragon quilt laid out:

I’m making a few color changes… for the “beard” I’m changing it up to aqua, and then I’m starting on the next stage.  That will be to pick up all the browns and rework them by pattern into a wood grain look as the background… then I can rework the other colors using the shade values for depth. 

After all that, I can pick a border fabric… and then start sewing them together. 
It’s not the quickest process… but I am enjoying it!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody!  I am personally very excited for 2012… it’s the year of the Dragon, and the galactic alignment of the stars.  I’m sure we will be seeing all sorts of craziness this year.  My hope is for change, growing towards a people and planet working together for survival and sanity instead of money and power.  This may be too utopian for most ~ but I think that’s the type of living we are all searching for. 

In my search for sanity, I sew to keep me from doing negatively-addictive things with my hands.  For instance, next month marks 15 years of no cigarettes.  At one point I chain smoked 2+ packs a day… now I sew 40-50 hexies and I’m all good!

Speaking of which… here’s a pic of the hexie project I’m currently working on with a dime to see size.  *thanks for the idea, Rachel!*

And here is where I’m at with the layout so far… it’s going to be a Wood Dragon ~ which also happens to be my husbands Chinese Astrological sign.  So if I can get this done by June, he’ll have an awesome birthday gift!

My books on CD just arrived at the library.  I’m listening to the Game of Thrones book series, and just started book 3 with book 4 already in.  That means I have to listen to both books in 3 weeks ~ which will hopefully also mean I’ll get a lot of sewing done!

Laying It All Out

So, for those of you following my Dragon Quilt progress… I have 3,652 hexies made!  I’m close to having them all completed, so I started laying it all out last night:

It’ll take a few days to get them laid out in their color families… then I’ll go in and reposition individual hexies to create some depth and movement.

That’s all for now folks… I’ll check in soon with more progress pics  🙂

Quilt Start: Anniversary Quilt

At the last PMQG All-Day Sew, I started a brand new quilt.  It is for my In-Laws 50th wedding anniversary next April… and I’m pretty excited about it!

It is a first in creating a full pattern before I start sewing.  I took my Mother-In-Law fabric shopping the last time she came to visit, so she was able to pick the fabrics she liked most.  This is good because I really want them both to love this quilt!  She picked a couple florals, a stripe, and a solid and requested some shiny gold to signify 50 years.  Later I added a solid muted aqua color (can’t remember the color name) that will help in making this design look a little modern.    

I thought I’d share my progress on this quilt as I go since I’m just getting started.  Here is my design and notes etc…. the highlighted yellow denotes the blocks I have finished.  Next post I’ll have some photos of the fabric.

The quilt will be 110″x95″  so it will fit a king sized bed with full hang on 3 sides.  It will be the biggest quilt I’ve ever made.  Which already has me questioning the quilting.  I need to talk to Nancy!

I’m super excited about our PMQG meeting tonight!  It’s going to be a potluck and gift swap… and we get to see more amazing quilts!!

Oh ~ for those of you keeping track, I’m at 2975 hexies made for The Dragon Quilt… less than 1000 to go and I can start laying them out!!  Special thanks to Ale, Rachel, Brittney, and Michelle for your brown scraps! 

Need More Browns

Dragon quilt update: 2,703 pieces made as of today.  I would just keep sewing, except I’m out of papers, and brown fabrics.   Thanks to Miss Rachel for giving me a bunch of awesome brown scraps ~ I was able to get another 300 done… but I still have 850 browns to go.  Here is a quick shot of the colors I already have:

So if anyone has any scrap fabric with blenders between tan and gold or a more butterscotchy-type brown that are at least 1.5″ square… and would be willing to share… I would be more than grateful!  It’s a hard color to find in monochromatic patterns ~ but I’ll be looking this Saturday when we have our All-Day Sew at Fabric Depot.

Since I’ve had a little extra time in the sewing dept. while waiting for more paper pieces to arrive, I was able to work on the Holiday Gift Swap for our PMQG.  I’m very happy with my results with a new technique ~ and I can’t wait to share!!  Here is a sneak peek:

 

The Count Is In

Last night I counted all the half-inch hexies I have finished for my Dragon quilt…  2,232 pieces done!!  Woo Hoo ~ I’m over half-way there!  My new goal is to have all the pieces finished by the end of the year. 

After all the pieces are finished, I’ll lay them all out and play with it until I get what I’m looking for, then I can start sewing them all together.  It’s a process, but I’m loving it.  These are the bins for the cream (dragon body) and the brown (background) colors.  I have all the cream I need, but I’m only halfway finished with the browns.

Outside of quilting, I’ve been getting ready for Thanksgiving.  I cook every year (I love cooking almost as much as sewing) and this year is no exception.  Luckily for me, I don’t put much stress into it.  This year will be a little different because I will not be cooking any grains or refined sugars… but I’ll manage just fine.  It’s just nice having a little down time with family!

Dragon Quilt Check In

Today marks 3 weeks since I’ve started sewing hexies for the Dragon Quilt… and this is what I have so far:

It may not look like much… but there are 1,363 hexies made already ~ that averages 64 a day!!  For me, this is a fantastic pace… much faster than my squid quilt.  I hope I can keep it up!

These are all the basic colors of the quilt:  creamy offwhites for the body, bright greens for the belly, reds and oranges for the top scales, and  golden browns for the background.  Looking at this photo, I want to add more oranges to the reds and more blues to the bright greens to round out colors.  The most hexies are the golden browns.  I have 539 done, and still need 1,522 more. 

I’ve gone through all my scraps ~ so now I’m on the hunt for monochromatic patterns in these colors.  Fabric depot had some fat quarters that will work well ~ I’m interested to see how many hexies I can make from a whole fat quarter… although I prefer using smaller pieces so there isn’t too much of any one pattern.

Okay… I’m off to sew a few more!

One Week In

Woo hoo!  Here is my progress so far on my new Dragon Quilt!  The plan is for 3,942  1/2″ hexagons to complete the image.  I completed 432 in a week ~ so if all goes well, in 10 weeks I’ll have all the pieces made.   Then I’ll put them all together and try to have this finished by the end of 2012 since it’s the year of the dragon! 

 The dragon will be a wood-dragon, so all the colors will be earthy, the background will be browns and golds ~ here are some brown hexies.  Aren’t they just so cute!  I’m TOTALLY addicted.

Tonight is the PMQG meeting and I’m pretty excited about it, I have 2 quilts to show!!  One is the Villa Villa Kula quilt I posted earlier… and the other is a baby blanket for my friends new daughter, Ona.  I’m really super happy with my free-motion-quilting on that project.  Here is an up close shot, I’ll post more as soon as I have good photos of the finished quilt.

See all you locals at the meeting tonight ~ YAY!

Dragon Quilt Start!

I’ve had the idea for a dragon hexie quilt even before I finished my squid quilt.  After a long summer, I finally have the design finished!  What do you think?  It’s just a rough idea of what actual patterned fabric will look like, and I may change color families as I go ~ but it’s a good start. 

This quilt will need at least 4,000 1/2″ hexagon pieces which is a much bigger project than the squid at 1,432 hexies.  Am I crazy????  Maybe… but I really miss having something to work on wherever I go ~ and honestly, finishing a hand-pieced quilt is pretty satisfying!  I ordered some of the pre-cut paper pieces today ~ that means I will start sewing in about a week. 

The dragon image was chosen because 2012 is the year of the dragon ~ my hope is to be able to finish by the end of 2012…. we’ll see how that goes ~ wish me luck and quick callouses!