Wednesday, August 1, 2012

75% There on Ultimate WIP

My husband and I just returned yesterday from visiting our daughter in Oklahoma who is in week 30 of her Ultimate Work In Progress- producing our first grandchild! We were quite busy there helping prep the nursery. My husband and son -in-law not only assembled the crib but also made the nursery door into a Dutch door so the bottom half can be closed to keep kitties out while the top half can remain open for loving periodic gazing upon said sleeping infant. We shopped and gave input on the decision process for the changing table, rocking chair, and high chair purchases.  Amidst closet cleansing and reorganization we still found time for watching some Olympics and an Olympian effort in quilt and crochet events.

On the plane flight out from California and back I finished crocheting the pink/white/mint/lilac cardigan and cap set. All that remains to do is sew on the buttons and make and attach the pom-pom. My crochet skills are not on the same level as my knit skills, so there are a few places I fudged an increase or decrease to get the required stitch count.  I have a hard time distinguishing what is "into" the single or double crochet. Is it directly above it or is it into the laid over stitch resulting from making the single or double crochet in the row below? I initially figured if I am consistent it should not matter.  But then again, with rows you can wind up with a leaning parallelogram when you wanted a rectangle and with rounds, the beginning of the round can keep spiraling off in one direction. I must have guessed right most of the time because overall I am pretty pleased. Here is the end result - shy buttons and pom-pom - but I will add them tonight or tomorrow.

While there I took a free motion quilting class, my first, from my daughter's quilting friend/teacher Mary Ann. She started her class by each of us writing the word quilting on a white board. She then pointed out how everyone's penmanship was so different. Why should we expect our loops and flowers and wavy lines to look like hers or any one else's? This was such a revelation and strong point. I was really struck by the simplicity but also the truth of the concept. She also said that our brain was learning a new skill - instead of moving a pen on a piece of paper we were essentially moving the paper under the pen so we should be patient and develop the muscle memory. I am not giving away all her class secrets because she had a lot of other gems and I highly recommend you take a class from her. She teaches out of Quilters Corner in OKC. Mary Ann changed my attitude- which is often as important, if not more so, than strengthening a skill. That said, I will present with cautious pride a section of my doodle cloth from the class. My loops need a lot of practice to be even but they are not too jagged and I think my flower was not too bad for a first attempt. (See, Mary Ann instilled confidence!)

I keep waffling back and forth on self-quilting the Duck, Duck, Goose strip quilt, shown here. It is a good simple project for a first effort - strips, not blocks and not huge-  and I feel more confident after Mary Ann's instructions and encouragement. But I am still a bit "chicken" that a gift to my grandaughter will be a shoddy piece of work. 

A stitch/speed regulator is not available for my Pfaff Triptonic so I was hung up on not being unable to produce a uniform stitch size. Mary Ann assures me that is not critical, that a smooth sweeping line is more important. She reasoned that stitches tend to nestle down and are not quite so exposed on the surface after a few washings. With renewed confidence I am going to practice a bit more and then quilt this Moda Pink Sample, that I zipped up in very little time one quilting afternoon. It is very small so I am willing to sacrifice my efforts on assembling it if it turns out disastrous. 

I love the material I picked for the border and backing.
Oh! I would hate to waste it!
See what I mean.  I still have strong tendencies toward being an FMQ wimp! 

We also did some fabric shopping. I bought these Moda Reunion fabric lines fat quarters to pair up into blocks with a companion block reversing the fabrics.  I showed my husband the three pennant prints and the circle print and he comment how is was odd that there were three triangle prints and that the circle one seemed odd man out.  He laughed at my solution when instead of putting back the circles. I picked up two more prints to solve the problem.

I bought some real icky-cute colored crooked polka dots prints a few months back that I think will just go awesomely with these bright abstract fat quarters.

These were too pretty and bright to pass up.

I have no plans whatsoever for these.  I just liked 'em.  I have a weakness for polka dots and I believe ya can never go wrong with a stripey binding.

Completed projects:
  1. Baby hat and sweater in white, pink, lilac, mint... so close I counted it
  2. Helping daughter and son-in-law with nursery
Ongoing projects:
  1. Pink squares baby quilt
  2. Little witch girl quilt to be.. sneak peak here hidden in June 20th post 
  3. Duck, Duck, Goose - completed binding- change mind, will quilt by self
  4. Doll quilt - attach binding
    Knit/crochet projects I want to start:
    • Peach/lilac/pink baby blanket
    • More baby socks
    • Baby crocheted dress
    No progress (but re-listed here so I do not forget and leave buried in closet):
    • Presents with Bows quilt kit- really want to start
    • The Ghastlies- strip quilt- want to start
    • Fire and Ice Quilt- sitting in closet awaiting decision on backing
    • Grinch Quilt - ripening on the design wall
    • Pumpkin/Iris/Blossom square wall hanging- needs backing and binding
    • Hexagon Mask Quilt - layout begun but overwhelming- actively disliking this one!
    This week's stats:
         Completed  projects - 2 (I count generously)
         New projects - 0, I just bought more fabric instead
         Currently in progress - 4

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


    1. That is a beautiful little set for your granddaughter! Just gorgeous!

      Well done on the FMQ! I really struggle with it and end up going back to my ordinary straight line quilting! I think so long as you are happy with the end result, that's what counts :)

    2. I took a FMQ class last month, and on Monday I go back to quilt a Quilts of Valor quilt. I'm a little nervous about it, but know it will be good practice. I wasn't nearly as 'fluid' as I would like to be, but was my first try! I think you did great! Here's a link to my practice:

    3. Sounds like you all had a great visit together. Next time you go out there, you'll be able to snuggle with the baby in one of the many blankets she will have!

    4. I know I have said it approximately 2,783 times before, but I. LOVE. That. Sweater! It is so cute and I am so excited to see the scalloped edges on it. I'm also glad you had fun with FMQ! I will admit I still send my Big Achievements out to be professionally quilted, because I also have room to grow, but it really is nice to just be able to finish your little things here and there a little more quickly. I think that Charm Pack quilt is a great idea for a first quilted quilt, and remember you can always practice more on a doodle cloth before committing if you want to. Your stuff does look great, and I envy that Calypso fabric!

    5. Diane, I see loops going around those rows of ducks in your duck fabric. You're pretty good at loops!. And a flower in each pink square would look superb! Your FMQ sample still looks great!