Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WIP Wednesday*

*This post was previously posted on my personal blog, but I've moved it over here and filed it under WIP Wednesdays.

As I said, I've been trying to produce some items, rather than just dreaming about them, doing calculations, purchasing supplies, purchasing supplies, and purchasing supplies. (I've had two dresses on the back burner since this summer!)

I have my little black book, seen above, where I scheme and plan and keep notes.

Here's my list of projects - the left page is "to do" and the right page is "done"...

Tells the whole story right there, doesn't it? "Done", of course, just means a flimsy - the top of the quilt. All the flimsies still have to be paired up with a backing fabric, and then quilted. But I'm saving that for when I get to where we're going and I can put up my quilting frame.

Like most retail stores, online fabric stores are having end of the year sales and I grabbed up three layer cakes and a jelly roll recently from fantastic Burgundy Buttons. These are all earmarked for projects.

I love the designer Kate Spain and her latest line is called Central Park, which is inspired by... Central Park, if you can believe it! It even has some of the animals from the zoo (it's missing the Alice in Wonderland mushroom, tho...). I love, love, love it. And I am using the layer cake (pre-cut 10" blocks) to make a quilt of "deconstructed 9-patch" (also called a "wonky 9-patch" or a "stack and whack 9-patch") blocks. A really forgiving block for a beginner. This is a nice how-to explanation. Here are my planning notes for the quilt:

It's a lot of math. I hate math. I once read that men are better at spacial manipulation than women and since then, I've acted like I've had some sort of mental handicap. I can't just use my brain to shift and manipulate the blocks, I have to write it down and sketch it out a million times!

Here's the work in progress:

The finished quilt will have 2" sashing between the blocks, which should alleviate some of the busyness.

This next one I really like, as well. I literally poached the pattern off the interwebs and worked out the math for myself. Is that illegal... I'm not sure. (Probably.) A good person would just buy the book and give the money to the publisher and the creator of the pattern. A sly person just finds the basic construction measurements on Google Books...

It just needs two corner triangles and one more border. It's from Jelly Roll Quilts and it is called Floral Bouquet. The fabric is another Kate Spain - purely coincidental - called Verna. Not a name you hear much any more, but could it make a comeback? You be the judge.

And because I can't throw anything away, I'm making tiny half-square triangles with the leftovers from the flower points.

Also, leave it to some bloggers in California to teach me something about Minnesota. Dunn Bros cafes, local coffee purveyors, roast their own beans daily. As a result they have an overabundance of food grade burlap sacks with awesome prints on them. Of course, the coffee is raw, so the bags smell like burlap, rather than the rich aroma of coffee.

But at most stores, the one in Eagan for sure, they give the bags away for free, as there aren't any recycling facilities or processes available (this is true in many cities for local roasters). Every crafter loves free fabric! (I did pay $1 for one at the Apple Valley Dunn Bros, tho.) Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Here's the beginning of my table runner.

I made some cutting mistakes, so I'm sad that I used up my Sumatra and Columbia, but the Congo still looks good. I can always take it apart and start a-fresh with nicer bags. Since it is the inaugural coffee bag item, there are lessons a-plenty to learn!

After several weeks of waiting, Jerahmie finally found a Costa Rica "Pura Vida" bag, which I had been hoping for. Unfortunately, I decided to try to wash the bags because I read that it makes them a bit softer. However, it just made them so much smellier and the paint faded quite a bit. Interestingly, the African bags (Tanzania and Rwanda) held up much better than the Central/South American and Asian bags.

Like I said, there's a seemingly never ending supply, so it's OK if a few get axed in the process. Jerahmie suggested a laptop sleeve and I've found a couple good tutorials, like this one. I think they are also good for gardeners for covering plant beds or bushes for the winter. So much more colorful than just a plain burlap sack! And...

Dogs love them! Well, Moby loves to sit on them, so maybe I should make him a little bed out of the backs of the bags. Doesn't seem too comfortable to me, but dogs don't make a whole lot of sense, do they?! Nothing like wet golden retriever smell mingled with burlap. Eau de stank, a new frangrance, sold exclusively at Walgreen's.

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