When computers break

This morning, i woke to find my computer had exploded.

Because your hard drive partitions disappearing into a puff of smoke isn't worrying or anything 😨

A photo posted by Joanna (@riddlingwhimsy) on

Considering my hard drives show up as puffs of smoke, exploding is a fair assessment!

What this means is I’m not going to be blogging for a bit until I get my computer back up and running. My main computer is a Mac while my backup computer (a laptop) is not so my blogging related doo-dads and files are not compatible to transfer to my laptop so I need to wait and fix my Mac. Boo.

Luckily we have a social media, so if you still want to see what I’m up to you can find me on instagram as @riddlingwhimsy or facebook (where my IG feed is also displayed in a tab and I’ll try and remember to post IG pics to the main feed as well!

Finish Along: Quarter 2 goals for 2015

The second quarter of the year already?! Yikes!

I managed 4/9 finishes from the first quarter and now the weather is substantially cooler, I’m hoping I can start quilting the larger quilts to get them checked off this time too. After working on so many minis lately, I’m looking forward to getting some big quilts out of the way!

Q2 Finish Along projects

So, my eight goals this quarter, listed in no particular order:

Project What I need to do
Lizzy House Mini Swap Make a backing, quilting, binding
Swell Add a border, make a backing, quilting, binding
Flight of the Bumblebee Make a backing, quilting, binding
Anna Maria Horner charm swap quilt Piece the top, Backing, Quilting, binding
Sunnyside Dresden Work on top, backing, quilting, binding
Anna Maria Horner Mini Swap mini Choose a pattern, piece a top, Backing, quilting, binding
Frosted Cheerios Piece together backing, quilting, binding!
Disappearing hourglass to border or not to border? Quilt, bind

That’s 4 large quilts, 2 minis, a baby quilt and a baby quilt sized mini! Not too dissimilar from last time so let’s see if I’ll be as productive!

Moon Trance

With all the swaps I’m doing, it was only about time I started my own swap, yes?! Sarah of Smiles Too Loudly and I have teamed up to start the Lizzy House Mini Quilt Swap on instagram. We had about 130 people sign up altogether and we’re moderating 60 odd people each in our groups. I have no idea who is making for me as Sarah picked out partners and I picked partners for her so we’ll still be surprised when the due date comes around :D

Riddle and {Whimsy} Lizzy House Mini Swap (wip front)

I came across the Prismatic Medallion pattern recently and wanted to make it for a swap and combined with some Constellations I think it makes the perfect Lizzy House mini! Now I just need to work out a quilting design and talk myself into angled binding…!

Despite how it looks, this pattern is super easy to put together. You cut out rectangles and then cut them in half and then arrange the half rectangle triangles to make bigger triangles which then form each section of a hexagon.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Lizzy House Mini Swap (wip)

The trick is not cutting out too many pieces (oops) and making sure you have the right colours angled the right orientation to fit where you want them. In the original pattern you end up with enough triangles to make two identical minis, so technically you could get away with cutting half the amount of fabric which is what I didn’t pay attention to. So I have all these excess triangles to do something with. Oh bother! I think I’ll sew them into a panel for whatever extra I make to go with it!

Does anyone have any tips on the best way to add hangers to the back of this? As someone whose house has brick walls, I need some kind of hanging mechanism as I can’t simply use push pins to hang up minis, so I like to be  accommodating and provide options for my minis in case my partners face similar issues. Except I’m not sure how the best way to go about it on a hexagon?!

He’s In A Giant Clam!

The next Mini Swap on my to-do list is the Aussie Tula Pink Swap (the instagram site itself now links hashtags, woo!).

My original plan for this swap was to make a mini of clams for the Clamebake Quilt Along. Once I figured out how to press the curved seam over to stop it from foofing up (starch!) I started attaching them to my wadding, quilt as you go style. My clams are 4″ and so I drew lines 2″ apart to line up each row.

Riddle and {Whimsy} #aussietulapinkswapTula clams

Part of the way through I started noticing problems.

First, each end of the clam (I guess the “crotch” part if you think of the bottom of the clam as a pair of undies lol) is supposed to be sitting on the line… mine are creeping up away from the line which means the length of the mini won’t be what I calculated when putting together a layout!

Second, some of my top stitching of the upper clam wasn’t catching the clam bits hidden underneath so I had a few unprotected seams sticking up. I do not want to unpick this because that would be painful and I can’t unpick a little bit because each set of clams is done per row. So if I unpick something in the middle, I’m going to have to unpick everything below that. Yikes!

Riddle and {Whimsy} #aussietulapinkswap Tula clams

I decided that this kind of quality isn’t what I want to send out in a swap. Sure from the front in the top picture it looks fine, but who wants a quilt that has exposed raw edges for the reason that it wasn’t stitched down properly?! I’m not about to send out poor workmanship and claim it’s the best I can do. So, sadly I’m going to have to keep this for myself hehe. Personally, I’m not bothered about making it look a little dodgy to get the seams down for myself. I’m thinking of turning it into a cushion cover.

So, with my planned mini idea down the drain, I had to come up with another idea. Flailing time! I don’t actually have much Tula Pink fabric and I had to use some since this is a Tula Pink swap. I had the Birds and the Bees line which I’ve been using in a quilt and all the scraps were turned into the clams! The rest of my Tula stash is made up of a few random Fat Quarters and random bits and pieces, so I needed something completely scrappy that used minimal pieces. I started scouring pinterest for ideas, inlucing my partner’s own board, but couldn’t find anything do-able so I flicked through some of my books. Pillow Pop had the answer!

Riddle and {Whimsy} #aussietulapinkswap mini (front)

This pattern in the book is called “Don’t Be Square” and only required 2.5″ squares for the coloured print pieces. At first I was a little unsure if it was an okay pattern to use — using so little Tula fabric in it actually makes me feel like I’m cheating… however by my count I’ve managed to cover 6 different Tula lines here (Birds and the Bees, Saltwater, Acacia, Parisville, Prince Charming, and Foxfield). Sooo… that counts for something?!

Riddle and {Whimsy} #aussietulapinkswap mini (front)

I did try to fussy cut where I could, which resulted in the bunny and seagull, but most of it I had to just make-do with the small pieces I had! I do think it would look more fun and Tula-obvious if I were able to add more fussy cuts of Tula designs.

The quilting for the pattern in the book was large straight angles. I tried to make large boxes, but one thing I struggle in free motion quilting is making designs  large and spaced out properly and I usually end up with small squished in designs instead and that’s exactly how my FMQ went with this, so I’ve got loopy boxes.

Riddle and {Whimsy} #aussietulapinkswap mini (front)

All up, I put together this mini over one afternoon-evening and then finished up the binding the next morning. I was surprised at how quickly it came together, after having come out of panic mode for the previous attempt, which had taken me a number of days to just get as far as I did. Huge relief to go from “the end is nowhere in sight” to “completely done”!

Riddle and {Whimsy} #aussietulapinkswap mini (front/back)

A printed binding just didn’t feel right, and even a colour in general didn’t feel right so I opted to use the same white as the background. I want to say it’s a Bella Solid but I’m not sure. Hopefully my partner isn’t scared of lots of white! I used a Rainbow Textured Basics print for the back as I thought it had a spinning look like a wheel to match with the colour wheel on the front. For some reason it reminds me of a mullet: business in the front and a party in the back…

My partner in this swap has been pretty quiet in regards to swap participation, though I have seen her around on other non-swap instagram photos so I can only cross my fingers that I’ve made something she likes. I received a lot of positive responses I for this mini on IG, and hopefully they all speak for her as well. I figure too that the colour wheel is probably better than the clams on the off chance that the busy-ness of the prints isn’t her thing and no one can hate a colour wheel, right?!

I’m pretty sure this mini is due at the end of April/early May so this one is done with a few weeks to spare. Only two more swaps to go…

2015 Stash Report: March

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Most of the fabric that came my way through March, I didn’t even buy, but won from a giveaway from Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty. At the time of entering, I didn’t know what she was giving away, so it could have been a booby prize of all her ugly fabrics for all I knew! :) She sent me the most perfect set of fabrics though; all from Amy Butler’s range Violette. I wish I took a photo of how she packed them as Michelle had folded them up all so nice and pretty and cute and then I just ripped it all apart with my greedy grabby hands, but Michelle has a picture of the little bundle on her blog.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Stash Report: March: Amy Butler Violette

These colours are so perfect and are some of my favourites together! I have no idea what pattern to make with these, but I do know I want to use them in a cushion or two for my loungeroom as the colours are so perfect for in there.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Stash Report: March: Amy Butler Violette
Ironing is for chumps!

This print is my favourite of the bunch and I don’t think I can bare to cut it up! Contemplating if I want to either use it as a cushion backing, or have it as a plain front…

I did do a little bit of buying myself so I’m not completely innocent for spending! Serena of Sew Giving had made plans with a couple of other local Instagram ladies to visit what happens to be my LQS so Serena asked me to come along too. Figured I might as well since the place is barely five minutes away, and it saved me money on not having to post the next Possum Magic as I could just hand it right over … and that’s  money I could use on fabric instead! So maybe I can give myself a pass on this spend?! ;)

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The top two fabrics are text prints from Bonnie and Camille’s Daysail – two of the prints I’ve been wanting extra of the most from that line so it wasn’t too much of a random buy since I’ve wanted to buy them anyway. The bottom one I couldn’t resist because I think it’s a cute text print! A lot of the words remind me of Desiderata. I’m not sure what it is as I ended up with the blank part of the selvedge!

Finding these new fabrics at my LQS was actually a surprise as they don’t really have much new there (but I did also see some bolts of Kate Spain’s Paradiso that was tempting). The last time I visited my LQS was when I bought fabrics for the Bonnie and Camille charm swap and that’s going back 6 months ago! 99% of the fabric there now was the same (and even in the same place) as it was back then, and all the other times I’ve been. Yet the blue text on white from Daysail was apparently the last of a bolt so if the new stuff is selling that quickly (within days/weeks) that kind of says a lot about what’s left on the shelves (a lot the predates 2010). Having a mostly retail related background, I find it baffling that a quilt shop wants to hang onto 5+ year old fabric, trying to still sell it at full price, instead of cutting some losses and marking it down on clearance over time to get rid of it, just like any other store sells off old merchandise that’s out of fashion.

Not pictured because it was late to the fabric party, is a metre of Lizzy House Constellations in white. One kind Instagram swapper remembered that I was looking for more of this in a destash post and had found some herself and offered some to me! I didn’t want to be greedy so just went for metre. I wanted more of this fabric after being sad about using up most of what I had left when I made one of my Disney minis (the print in the top right).

So, the damage this month?!

March Yards
Fabric IN 3.75
Fabric OUT 4.25
Monthly Total -0.5
Year to Date -7.75

As for my outs, I used up fabric on my Possum Magic border for Jane (fabric I actually bought ‘in’ last month!), made two drawstring bags for my two upcoming swap deadlines and finished off another swap mini and a quilt (the latter two to posted about soon)! I finished off another quilt top too, though since I had started that last year, I’m not counting it towards the report since the fabric was already “in use” (basically, if I wasn’t a slacker and finished the top last year when I started it it wouldn’t even need doing now!). Once I get a backing started I’ll be counting that since that will be something new.

Q1 2015: Finish #3

Over the past week or so, I’ve been a little blah about blogging which is why I’ve had no new posts since I haven’t written any. This is a good thing though as less time on the computer = more time actually sewing and I actually accomplished some things this week!

First though, I need to share a recent finish that I’ve been working on for a while: my Catvent! This makes it three finishes from my Finish Along goals this quarter.

After losing interest in my original catvent (from the 2013 quilt along with Elizabeth Hartman), I started a new one, using scraps from each completed quilt to make Memory cats. Each single cat represents the first 25 quilts I have made. I only symbolised quilts, and not other things, like minis.

Overall, I am glad this project is done. When I first started it, I was excited about the project, making the majority of cats all at once. Then I ran out of quilts to make cats for, so had to make a cat for each quilt I then made. At first it was fine, but after a while it felt a bit like a chore and I got behind. If I’m completely honest, I think in the end I pretty much rushed making the last few cats and putting the top together just to have it done. When I was done with a quilt, I just wanted to be done with the quilt, but having to make the cat as well felt like it was dragging that quilt on when I just wanted to move onto the next project…

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From left to right (each * denotes a quilt I have given away/no longer have):

  1. Scrappy Zig Along*- early 2013
  2. Disappearing Mermaids* – early 2013
  3. A Walk in the Woods  – mid 2013
  4. Road to Avalon* – late 2013
  5. Bungle Jungle  – late 2013
  6. Briar Rolls –  late 2013
  7. Sweet Jam* – late 2013
  8. Dreaming of Jelly – late 2013
  9. Santa’s Sleigh Ride Around the World – late 2013
  10. Layercake Lushonade – late 2013
  11. Orbit Around the World – early 2014
  12. Economy Block Along – early 2014
  13. Bluebird Park – early 2014
  14. Nocturnal Fields – mid 2014
  15. Treeline* – mid 2014
  16. Road Rage* – mid 2014
  17. Spanish Chains – mid 2014
  18. Border Inspired* – mid 2014
  19. Spare Change – late 2014
  20. Under the Sea* – late 2014
  21. Take Flight – late 2014
  22. Little Red’s Granny – late 2014
  23. Charity quilt* – late 2014
  24. Yes, Deer – late 2014
  25. Quite Contrary – late 2014

I do like having the reminder of my first quilts though, however some of those quilts no longer have “good memories”. The first quilt I ever made was for a co-worker before she went on maternity leave for her first child. I wouldn’t say we were friends but we were closer than other co-workers just due to being of similar age with similar circumstances (partners, wanting families, mortgages etc. compared to the others whose life revolved around uni studies, partying, random hookups). At the same time she left to have her baby I was moving house, and I gave her a few random things she had mentioned wanting that I was going to donate anyway during moving cleanup (like an unused chest of drawers). When she was due back from maternity leave, I fought with my manager to get her hours again with us and despite trying to keep in touch (she even told me “don’t be a stranger”!) when I quit that job months later, I never heard anything back from her after I had occasionally sent text messages and Facebook messages asking how she was so I just let it be. Late last year I noticed she removed me from Facebook entirely which turned on my paranoia switch about this job and how there was more going on behind my back than I ever knew and that perhaps she’d been “in” on it the whole time (long story…).

I’m not saying “I gave her stuff so she should like me” but it does feel like a kick in the gut when I went out of my way to do nice stuff for someone to help them out, purely just because to then basically be removed from that person’s life without a word. If she didn’t want or appreciate the things I did for her she could have said no and given it back/refused to take it! So now when I look at that first cat in this quilt, all those memories and feelings come rushing back, and I’m left wondering if she even liked and/or used the quilt to begin with. People in my life have complained I don’t “socialise enough” or “do enough” or whatever, and I just think of things like this, and this is why I don’t usually do those things because after I do, I get kicked in the face. So I might as well do nothing at all, and not get kicked around huh. There are similar feelings towards the second cat, just because the person it was for was another co-worker who saw the first quilt I made and wanted one for his own daughter.

On the brightside though, despite the bad, making those two quilts for co-workers gave me the push and a reason to actually finish a quilt. Neither were the first quilts I had started, but they were the first I finished and if it weren’t for them, then I possibly may have never even finished a quilt ever and wouldn’t be here, quilting and blogging, now.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Memory Cats Catvent (closeup)

For the quilting, each cat is quilted differently with the design I used to quilt the actual quilt. So my Jelly Roll Jam with Daydreams was quilted in a stipple and my Christmas Scrappy Trip Along was quilted with matchstick quilting. The charity quilt had loopy boxes and my re-worked Oh Deer quilt had a spiral.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Memory Cats Catvent (closeup)

I’m not entirely happy with how the quilting came out. I’m not sure if it’s because I should have done stitch in the ditch around the sashing first or not, but parts of the sashing came out poofy whereas other parts are flat. The poofy parts really annoy me. You can kind of see the poofy difference above, in the sashing above the spiral quilting.

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For the back, I used this thin drill fabric featuring cat memes and vintage ads, which I had also used on my Kitten Mini Swap backing. The binding is from V and Co’s first line and was what I was planning to use with my Supernova and changed my mind because I didn’t like how random the stripes became because of the zig zag. Since I had it cut up and prepared as binding, I just used it for this instead, because why not.

So, that’s my first 25 quilts memory project. I am continuing my memory project but it’s pretty slow going since it’s just hexies, but I find it more feasible in terms of a memory quilt since I can just do it while watching TV instead of having to allocate extra time to the project!

I know my catvent has inspired some others to do a memory block project as well. How are you all going with that?!

Previous Catvent posts: