Recipient: A friend who is having a baby very soon
Ideas about the Project: A charm pack of SS Bluebird from the OG Cotton + Steel – laid out in an ombré from light to dark, with 2 dark borders and 2 light borders hopefully from SS Bluebird fabrics with the extra 4 charms as cornerstones. Planning to quilt with a pattern from Melissa Marginet’s Walking Foot Quilting Designs book (available on her website). It’ll be quilted with a beautiful blue Aurifil thread #2780.
Project Stage: I’m done everything but trimming and binding.
General Thoughts: I’d have liked to have done a quilt with some kind of dog fabric because my friend who is having a baby this summer is super into her dogs. But I don’t know of any good dog themed fabric that’s out right now. Also,.. I already had the SS Bluebird charm pack. Just need to buy backing and borders.
The quilting is a pattern called Bevel – it’s not finished here but it’s kind of an idea of what it looks like in the centre of the quilt. I’ve done something a little different in the borders… and I’m not so happy with them. I didn’t give myself lines to follow and just eye-balled the points I needed to hit and it’s all a bit… hit and miss. I’m hoping that when it’s washed it’ll blend down a little better.
Except for the red block, I did the whole layout in an ombré with the lightest at the top left and the darkest in the bottom right. I pieced everything directional in a particular way except somehow managed to get that ship upside down. Oops.
Every year I try to make my mom a mini quilt for a different holiday or season, for a quilt rack I bought her a few years ago, with my sister usually pitching in some cross-stitch (as her craft of choice). I’m slowing picking away at major holidays and some more generic ones to hang in between times. There are a few I’ve never posted here (including one for winter and an Easter one), but if you’re interested you can go see: a purple orchid, Valentines, summer/growth, Halloween/fall, Christmas.
This, of course, is for Canada day, featuring a beaver (our national animal) and the flag and maple leaves and little bit of anthem lyrics.
I drew out the lettering for the ‘Oh Canada’ by hand and stitched most of it myself, with a little help from my sister, using back stitch and chain stitch for filler. I should have drawn on a line so that my writing would have been straight, but I didn’t and so it takes a really sharp upward slant.. it’s a bit goofy, but there was no fixing it.
The beaver is a fantastic pattern by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts. I think it’s so cute! Although my mom did say, ‘Now what creature is that?’ and…….. I don’t know how she missed the beaver thing. I told her to show it to her friends without telling them it’s a beaver and to see if they can figure out. It’s not that hard to tell it’s a beaver, is it? (Is it?!)
The rest of the pattern is my own. The leaves I just worked out based on the size of the partial leaf in the flag/beaver and I added the checkerboard at the top to get the project up to an appropriate size.
The quilting is pretty simple – a fairly tight meander in the background, some veins in the leaves, straight-line quilting the red part of the flag and an outline around the beaver. I did match my threads to the fabrics so nothing really stands out that much.
I’m really happy with how it turned out and even though my mom didn’t realize it was a beaver, she seemed really pleased with it. (Of course, the colours are amazing, so… how could she not love it?)
Finished February 17, 2018. Approximately 15.5″x 22″.
I’m in Saskatchewan now for a week or so, but before I left, I had a mad rush to get a few things done for Christmas gifts. I’d promised to bring one of my friends some shortbread cookies on the Saturday before I left, but I forgot to buy butter, which kind of put paid to that idea, so instead I decided to make her some pillowcases using fabric I’d bought months ago with her in mind. She’s a huge fan of elephant everything, but only if the trunks are pointing up (because it’s supposed to hold in the luck?), so when I stumbled over this Madhuri line of fabric, I’d had to pick some up for her.
I made two pillowcases for her, and kind of did it in a fabric wasteful way – I wanted the elephants to be running left/right rather than up/down, so I cut the forty-four inches down the length of the fabric and then trimmed the 26″ from the width of the fabric – so many prints run in the wrong direction for the hot dog pillowcase method and that’s the only way around it, other than just living with it. Normally I am okay with that, but I guess the luck would run out if they’re sideways? I don’t know – this friend has a thing about the trunks so I indulged it!
Fortunately, these are pretty quick and easy to put together, even with the additional odd cutting. Not too much time or effort required to make them, and they look pretty great. She was also pretty happy with them, though I’m sure her husband wants to kill me. (Poor guy – I wrote him an apology on the gift tag.)
The other thing I needed to get put together was a wall-hanging for my Mom for a Christmas gift. Last year my sister and I made a Christmas wall-hanging for her and we also gave her a vaguely Halloween-ish quilted owl wall-hanging and for her birthday I gave her a more generic spring/summer wall-hanging, all for a quilt rack we also gave her for Christmas last year. So we’re trying to give her an option for every holiday, but we’re spreading it out a bit, rather than giving her a pile of them all at once. This is a Christmas gift idea that can go on for a few years!
We needed something pretty quick this year because my sister was in India for a good chunk of the fall (for work) and then everything after that just seemed to come too quickly and we kept putting it off and putting it off. Suddenly it was 5 days till I was leaving and my sister was so slammed at work that her job gave her carte blanche to work as much overtime (from home) as she can in order to get it done.
The only craft she really does (besides a tiny bit of scrap-booking) is cross-stitch, so we chose a really simple pattern from a book called Stitch Graffitti (the Christmas wall-hanging came from the same book) and she did a row here and a row there while waiting for her work program to load or run updates and so on. She got it done on the Thursday before I left, so Friday I pieced the stripes around it to bring it up to size (it’s about 15.5″ x 18″ I think – I don’t have it here to measure!).
I did matchstick quilting, which was unbelievably time-consuming, but which I think looks pretty great. The worst part was hiding all the gazillion threads on either side of the cross-stitch section – so very many starts and stops!
I was vaguely concerned the stripes of colour really didn’t work together that well, so I thought maybe quilting closely with the same thread over the whole thing would kind of help tie it all together a bit, as if it were one weirdly striped print, rather than all the random long strips of scrap solid fabric I had in a colour range between pink and burgundy, with a little purple and pale blue throw in for good measure. I was going to quilt it with a grey thread all over, but discovered a variegated thread in my stash that ranged from the palest pink to a deep burgundy – the perfect choice!
I bound it mostly with a grey dot, but also used a little of a pink flower dot that I’ve had in my stash for ages and ages. I intentionally avoided prints in the main part of the quilt – I thought it would be too distracting, and I wanted as much of the focus as possible to be on the cross-stitched area – so I thought the binding would be a nice place to add in a little printed texture. I had the whole thing quilted by Sunday, but then it was getting the binding done. It’s small enough not to take an enormous amount of time, but I didn’t want to have to bring it back to Saskatchewan with me – too easy for my mom to find it in my things. Monday night I stayed up stupid late to get it finished, since I was flying out Tuesday morning. I took my photos sometime after midnight, under the light of my harsh overhead CFL light – I’m surprised these photos came out as well as they did.
So first up today is this itty bitty stitch I did last night.
Yesterday I had a package arrive in the mail from Sublime Stitching, with two packets of their new floss (for me, and one for my giveaway). For myself, I choose the Portrait and Parlour palettes, and for this stitch I used Portrait.
I freehand stitched the little Kokeshi doll from the Thank You note seen here, slightly larger than the picture (the original was about 2-inches tall, I suppose, and mine is about 3). It came out a little bit wonky, and I probably should have treated the flowers more delicately, but I think it came out really sweet. I didn’t use all the colours from the palette, just the brown, charcoal, pink, and golden bronze. If you’ve read anything about these new palettes, you probably know they have more fanciful names than that, what I really used were Silky Cocoa, Eyeliner, Lip Gloss, and Bronzer. I was in a rush and cut the fabric very badly – it’s too narrow to keep it in the hoop, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with it in the end. Maybe turn it into a little hanging ornament.
The big thing, though, is my Wonky Star quilt. Which I’m fairly confident in saying won’t be finished by Boxing Day (I’d hoped to send it back to Saskatchewan with my parents so that they could deliver it to my Grandma), but I’m still plugging away at it as if it might still happen.
Of course, right now I’m not working on it because I’m typing up this post, which is taking longer than I’d like it to be… I work nights all this weekend, so my sleep schedule is really messed up and in the meantime I have to get the house ready for guests (my little sister sleeps in my sewing room, so I need to clear off the futon before they arrive and at the moment, it’s a Big Damn Mess with all the things that are usually on my sewing table) and then I have to also host and feed said guests, so I really should be quilting madly away instead of talking here.
Anyway… here’s a couple close ups on the quilting I’m doing. Nothing very complicated or special, but it’ll do the job and I think it looks nice anyway, even if it’s not AMAZING.
Just a quarter inch around the inside of each of the stars, so far, but I’m going to have to go back and do something else in the centre, since it needs to be quilted a little more tightly than that. (I used a batting that needs to be quilted ever 4 inches, but my squares are all 4.5 inches, so I’m being cautious – that half inch mightn’t matter, but maybe it will.) Probably I’ll do a smaller square in the centre, or an X, like I did in all the full print squares.
The one bit I’m still having a problem with is what to do with the bits where the star points are at. I did do one of them already, just to try something out, and I kind of hated it. Not enough to pick it out, mind, but enough that it’s the only one that’ll have that pattern in it. Maybe I’ll do some free motion stars, one in the centre of each. I don’t know, I don’t know…
Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll probably not be back until the New Year, although maybe I’ll surprise myself and get something in the weekend between Christmas and New Years.
In which I show off an afghan I received from Amber, a few cards I received in the mail, a pouch I made for my Modern Scrappy Bits swap on Flickr, and my Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt, which is currently being quilted.
I wanted to be this far along a couple days ago, but I got distracted by MadMen. I finally borrowed season 5 from the library (I was on a wait list for a long, long time) and even though I sew most often when I’ve got tv I want to watch, I really shouldn’t watch such compelling tv when I’m trying to sew because I just get nothing done. (But Pete, that skeevy creep! And Don! And Peggy!) Six episodes down, and only eight seams to show for it.
Anyway, that’s the wonky star top put together, made using Vintage Modern, some Cotton Couture (the red), and some random white on white fabric.
I want to try this different way of basting, where you clamp it onto a table to pin it, rather than taping it to the floor. Which I’m hoping won’t just save my back, but will also help get it all more taut – I always have issues with the back shifting, no matter how much I pin.
Anyway hopefully it’ll work out, and then I just need to figure out how to quilt the thing. I’m not very good at free motion quilting yet, so I don’t want to try it for this quilt. I’d rather get more practise on something I care less about. Which leaves me more or less with something involving straight lines, but what, exactly, I don’t know… I keep turning ideas over in my head, but nothing is really sticking with me.
Next week is going to be a bit of a crap week – I work six days and both this weekend and next (I usually work alternating weekends) – so I’m not sure how it’s all going to go, but I really, really want to have this done before Christmas. So I guess I’ll cross my fingers (and hope I get through MadMen fast, so that I can focus a little more).
I thought for certain that my work in progress for the day would be the quilt top for my Vintage Modern Wonky Stars quilt (or even better, the basting/quilting rather than just putting it together). And I thought I’d also still be working on the giftie for my recipient at the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on Flickr. And I thought I’d be done with my wall-hanging from last week.
Well, I am more or less done with the wall-hanging from last week. I’m still not totally sold on the centre bit, but this might be as good as it gets. Mom, if you’ve followed a link to my blog, please close it now because this is your Christmas gift and I don’t want to spoil it.
I tried a lot – a lot – of things to solve the poof problem with the middle panel of this wall-hanging. I stitched around the outline of some of the words in a variegated green thread, but the green stitches on the back really, really bothered me. Some were up/down left/right, but others were kind of angled or… I don’t know. It bothered me. I tried coming up with some kind of miniature snowflake pattern that I could stitch in white on some of the white places so it wouldn’t stand out on the front, but wouldn’t be out of place either, but again with the way it’d look on the back. I tried outline stitching the few red places so that they’d blend on the back, but I used one strand of floss too many and it looked too heavy and dark on the front.
Finally I made a kind of peppermint stripe around the outside edge of the cross-stitched area, stitching with white perle cotton, and then weaving in red around it. Which I should have done in reverse because the white shows on the back (a lot, but it doesn’t bother me because it’s just a nice looking square) and the red wouldn’t have.
I really like the look of it, except that it was a bit pointless because it doesn’t hold down ENOUGH of the poof and, well, the white is totally invisible if you back away from the macro setting on the camera…
(I haven’t, by the way, had a chance to take proper photos of this yet, in decent light. We’re all light-shunning vampires at my house, so all the blinds and curtains are closed at all times and this was photographed in my kitchen, by the light of some our energy-saving area lights. I won’t do a proper post about this until after Christmas, with better photos that don’t currently exist.., just because if my mom hasn’t paid attention and is looking at this, at least she shouldn’t get the full-on rundown of it now.)
Anyway, I’m thinking that I just need to suck it up and stitch some snowflakes into the white area, back of the quilt top be damned. It’s going to be hanging against a wall and anyone who looks at the back deserves to have an ugly view for NOT doing the right thing and just admiring the front. Right? Right… I’ll keep telling myself that.
But moving along: Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt. I STILL haven’t finished my last couple blocks. Tomorrow morning. Or Friday. I’m kind of messed up this week because I work a night shift tonight, which I NEVER do, and my head’s all on backwards until I get back to “normal” night shifts, which is every Thursday night and alternating Friday/Saturdays. (This is my weekend off! So fortunately I’ll be able to spend a lot of time crafting. My sister has a funeral/memorial to go to on Saturday, so I’ll have the house distraction free even.)
This is an old photo, with five unfinished blocks. There are only THREE unfinished blocks left and then I can get the top put together. I am toying with the idea of putting the blocks on point, so that the quilt will be larger, but I need to figure out what size backing I’d need if I do that, because I’ve already bought my backing and it takes 2 weeks to ship it in, so I can’t get more. It’s flannel, so I’m not sure if I’d like to piece the back with non-flannel to get it up to size. Has anyone done that? How weird is it, blending the two, on one surface?
Anyway, I’d planned to do those blocks this morning, but then I realized that TODAY was the fifth of December, not tomorrow, and that meant that I had to get my Scrappy Bits swap package in the mail. I hadn’t made it because I couldn’t get a really clear read on my partner’s likes and dislikes, and I kept wibbling over what to make for her. I mentally auditioned about a dozen types of ornaments and I contemplated adapting a particular paper piece pattern to a circle to make a particular type of pouch and I wibbled about colours and I wibbled about fabric types and if to add embroidery and what sort of embroidery and then time was ticking ticking ticking and suddenly I had to have it in the mail. I didn’t have any more time to figure it out!
I’m a little worried it looks lazy and sloppy (I was hoping the frayed edges on the stars would look kind of blurred, as if they were twinkling) and maybe… childish? Somehow the idea didn’t translate as well as I’d hoped. It looked better brainside than out in the world, I think. I mean, I think it would be great for a little girl, maybe, but for an adult woman? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out. (I rather suspected my last swap partner didn’t like what I sent her – she never talked about it on her blog, though she posted a photo with an enthusiastic enough couple lines about it on the swap group.) I hate to think my indecision might have left me to turn out something my partner won’t like, though. So I’m still toying with making something else and sending her a second package. (God I’m good at stressing myself out over things…)
Anyway, that one’s not a WIP at all, is it? Unless I do make something else…