Work-in-Progress Girl


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Oh Canada mini quilt

Look how cute!

Oh, Canada!

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.

Oh, Canada!

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?!)

Oh, Canada!

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″.

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Quilts I Own: The Red Quilt

So I’ve been thinking about how I haven’t really had a lot to post lately (I say that, but have three in progress posts, all very overdue, which I could expand out to six, but won’t…) and that got me thinking about how I should do a series of posts about the quilts I own. Not the ones I’ve made, though I’ve got a couple of those, but just the quilts that are in my possession, all of which were either given to me or which I liberated from my Mom’s house. The quilt I’m going to talk about today was kind of given to me, but kind of bought by me. Bought for a song, really, hence the kind of given to me part of it…

Back in I think 2010, my mom’s family had a family reunion – it was held out at my Aunt Helen’s house in the Fraser Valley in BC and relatives from the US (California, Alaska, Montana… no wait, North Dakota… the one with Mount Rushmore, maybe that’s South Dakota?) and all over western Canada came out for the weekend. In order to pay for the food and a bit of the water/electricity bill and all of that, the family donated items for a silent auction. My Aunt Helen took me upstairs to one of her closets and pulled out a pile of unquilted quilt tops and asked me to help her decide which one to put into the silent auction. My aunt at one point quilted A LOT (she’s more into making glass beads now), but she (like me) had a lot of finished tops and not so many finished quilts, so from the few she pulled out of the closet, I picked the red Double Irish Chain. I LOVE a red quilt, so hells yeah.

Quilting Detail - Red Irish Chain

I was ever-so-slightly afraid that my family members would bid like… $5 and a two-four of beer for this double or queen-sized entirely hand-stitched quilt, so I made sure to put down the first bid, and I bid $50. I thought for sure someone would bid above that, but I wanted it to at least start with a number less insulting than I thought some of my family members might give it. Nobody outbid me. (I mean, c’mon! It’s hand-stitched! It’s made of fabric, which is not free or even cheap! It came attached with a promise to get it quilted and usable! This was worth so much more than $50!)

It took a couple years, but when my aunt was coming through Calgary in 2012, she brought me the hand-stitched, hand-quilted quilt:

Red Irish Chain

Love! Did you see that quilting detail? The entire thing is hand-quilted in a one-inch diagonal grid! Crazycakes. When I got it, it was covered in cat’s hair, which I have some allergy issues with so I was going to wash it, but then I discovered some cat’s claw marks in it too:

The Dangers of Cat Claws!

Two edges of the quilt had several claw gouges in it, right along the edge of the binding, and I was afraid to wash it, just in case those clawed areas ran or frayed a lot. So instead I folded it up and put it away in the closet for two years, until this week when I decided to just suck it up, chuck it in the wash on gentle and see what would happen. SUCH a bad idea.

Forget the claw marks, which did fray a little, and which I think I should just whip-stitch together and then patch a bit of red blender fabric over top of. Forget that entirely, instead, think about what happens with cheap, non-quilt shop quality red fabric:

Cheap Fabric! Cheap Fabric!
Cheap fabric! Cheap Fabric!

The staining is almost all of it from just one fabric in the mix – that one with circle dots and stripes on it. Everywhere that fabric is up against a white patch, it has bled. (Sometimes it even blend from folded over areas in the wash-machine and the white patches it was touching were also bled all over.) It’s so frustrating and so disappointing because this is such a lovely quilt and I was really looking forward to having it in rotation with some of my other bed quilts. But to be honest, I could be a lot more upset about than I am, I’m going to try washing it with Oxy-Clean and see if it helps, but if it doesn’t… I’m still just going to use it. It’s a nice quilt, even if it does look like it went a dozen rounds with a sippy cup of juice.


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Ellie-cases and Valentines in December

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.

Ellie Cases

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!

Elephant Pillowcases

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!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

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.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

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!).

Valentine's Wall-hanging

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!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

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.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

Except for this one. Washi tape sucks!

Do you follow me? Via feedly or email or bloglovin’ or just popping by every now and again to see what’s new? Leave a comment below – anything you like, you can tell me know you follow me or how you found me or whatever – and I’ll pop you in a special post-Sew Mama Sew giveaway draw for two mini charm packs of V and Co’s Color Me Happy line.

Color Me Happy Mini-charms

I picked these up especially for this giveaway when I was at Periwinkle Quilting when I was in Saskatoon on Tuesday. I wanted to do something special for those of you who’ve been around a while (even if it’s a very short while!) but without pressuring the entire Sew Mama Sew commentariat into following me just to get included. I’d always rather people follow because they want to, not because they think it’ll give them a better chance at winning a draw. I’ll draw names whenever I wake up on December 28, so try to enter by December 27, I suppose. It’ll probably fall to Random.org to draw the name. But maybe I’ll write them out on slips of paper and pull it out of a bucket. We’ll see.


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Double Hourglass Quilt

This post has been a long time coming, but I didn’t like my photos when I first took them threeish weeks ago, and then kept putting off taking more.

Hourglass Quilt

Not that this is such a great photo, stuffed into the bannister of the stairs, but it seemed like the light was going to be good for once (and then it turned out kind of weirdly overlit anyway!). Winter in Canada. A whole season of everything being underlit or overlit via light bouncing off snow. Yay.

Anyway, I finished this one around Thanksgiving, maybe October 14 or 15. It’s a baby quilt, about 36″ x 43″. I didn’t follow a pattern, but this is a very jelly roll-friendly quilt, and a very easy one to make. (If anyone wants to know how, ask and I’ll let you know, but the gist is “sew two strips of fabric together, cut into triangles, rotate to create hourglasses, sew together into a square.”) This quilt was all tailored for an old friend who hadn’t been super into baby themed items for babies (you know, little teddy bears and… I don’t know, whatever), but I didn’t wind up sending it to her in the end. (And when she sent me a picture of her baby, he was wrapped up in something with cute child themed prints anyway – maybe she’s loosened up in the intervening years on the subject. It has been 6 or more years since we’ve seen one another!) I let my mom talk me into sending her the Star Surround quilt instead, so this one will get donated to a Linus group, which is a great way to use it regardless.

Hourglass Quilt

I talked a lot in the past about the fabric selection process for this quilt (here and here) and still wound up changing things a little (I took out one of the fabrics and swapped in a different one), but generally speaking it fits the colour scheme and the type of prints I was aiming for: orange, green, blue, and red using stripes, dots, and other geometric prints. The rope text print doesn’t quite fit, but I let it slide on the basis of it’s a baby quilt. The two Stof prints are certainly more organic than geometric, but they both created a striped effect so I thought that was okay too.

002

The fabrics I had the most difficulties with were the off-white ones. As a general rule, I don’t ever put an off-white print together with a pure white print, because the off-white one comes out looking dingy and dirty in comparison. But I bought the fabric online and some of them were more off-white than I was expecting. I even added in the blue/off-white loop print to try to tie in the three existing off-whites. I kept telling myself that all colours go with white and thus off-white also should go with white. It’ll be fine, Kristel. Don’t worry about it so much and nobody will even notice! But it does bother me if I spend too much time looking at those particular prints. (Colours pop so beautifully against pure white, it seems a crime not to use it!)

Hourglass Backing & Binding

I used my favourite print for the binding – that green and navy print from Emily Herrick’s Technicolor line – but it really wasn’t a great choice for a binding (seriously – scroll up to a picture of the entire quilt!) because the look varies so much from one part of the print to another. Still, I love having that green around the edges (and my different coloured corner, of course, in the red and white stripe). The backing you can see is a flannel version of one of the chevrons I used on the front of the quilt – it’s also a larger size chevron. (I think that is a medium size, where the front has a small size on regular quilting cotton. All three of the chevron fabrics I used are from Riley Blake, anyway.) This picture also shows the quilting. I went pretty minimalist with this one and only quilted on the diagonal, a little more than a quarter inch away on either side of the seams. (The foot I use has a marking on the inside of the foot at the quarter inch, but I lined it up with the outside of the foot, so there’s probably an extra 1/8-inch.) I had thought about adding something more, maybe on the white parts of each block, but didn’t want to overkill it, and anyway I find quilts more comfortable when they’re not quilted too densely (though it sure does look good!).

I always have a list of things I’d like to change about the quilts I make – there’s always something in retrospect I wish I’d done better – and in this case, I wish I’d pressed all my seams open. I’m pretty back and forth on that one, but in this case, all those dark edges of fabric that got pushed toward the white (this happened when joining the rows, generally I press toward the dark if I don’t open my seams) show through. When I first took it out of the wash, I was terrified that it had bled because I could see all these kind of streaky bits of colour, but when you get up close, it’s just the fabric pressed under in those particular places. Sigh. Oh well, as far as things I’d like to change go, I’m happy that that’s my only real complaint. I’m usually pretty good at picking apart my flaws, so that one little thing isn’t so bad at all. (Okay. That and those off-white prints. I mean, seriously, designer types: why the off-whites? Do you want dingy looking fabric, because I don’t!)

Anyway, done is good. And that’s another finish for the year. I’m not a terribly prolific quilter (like some bloggers are) and I tend never to finish things, so every finished piece is a bit of a victory.


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Star Surround Finish

I stayed up last night until nearly midnight so that I could finish and submit my Star Surround quilt for the SSQAL Parade at Happy Quilting. It might have been a dumb idea, I don’t know, but I had to get up at 4:30 AM, so dumb feels like an appropriate word. But FINISHED is another, and finished is a very, very sweet word indeed, because I never finish much of anything.

Star Surround

This quilt might be my fastest finish ever – I started it in mid-July and it’s just now mid-September and the entire thing is done and dusted. Well, I haven’t washed it yet, that’s the next step, but I’m pretty confident it’s not going to fall apart in the wash (which is my usual unfounded fear with quilting). Anyway, as a rule, the only things I ever finish in a timely fashion are small items, like pouches and pillows and pin-cushions. (Well, maybe not pin-cushions – I don’t think I’ve ever made one! Just wanted a third ‘P’ because things sound better in threes.)

On Saturday, I pieced the backing, basted the quilt, and got the straight-line quilting done on the top. Then on Sunday I spent most of an hour practising some free motion loopy quilting so that I could add that as well. And then I trimmed, made and machine sewed on the binding, and then stitched it down on the back. I was planning to try machine sewing the binding (and watched about six different videos on the subject) but got scared at the last second and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Star Surround

Anyway, quilting. If you look closely at that photo, you should be able to see that in two quadrants I stitched north/south in the ditch (every 3 inches) and in the other two quadrants I stitched east/west in the ditch. In between those stitches, I FMQed the loopy lines, which are all kind of variable in stitch length and sometimes a tiny bit choppy, but largely came out pretty well. I’ve always been pretty terrified of FMQ and it feels a little bit like cheating to have chosen a method that didn’t just let me cross my own lines, but actively required it. But I’m really kind of ridiculously proud of myself anyway. I only had to pick out stitches once (where I kind of jerked and wound up with a toe-catcher), and that seems like a pretty big victory. I guess I unpicked a few more times, but that was always only because the thread snapped as I was sewing, so I had to unpick enough so that I could bury the threads and get back to it. I quilted it with Aurifil thread, 40 wt. 4663, which is Baby Blue Eyes Variegated. I had about 6 or 7 thread breaks, well, I say thread breaks, but it was more like it sort of shredded apart, and you could pull of loose tufty bits when it broke like that. I’ve never had that happen with other thread before, but I also have never really done FMQ before, just bits and pieces to practise in the past, so I don’t know that it wouldn’t have happened with other thread.

The fabrics, if you’re curious, are from two different Riley Blake lines, One for the Boys and Boy Crazy. (Two prints each – in the photo above, the dashed stripe and the stars are from one line, the cars and the spiral stripe are from the other.) The background fabric is Kona Robin Egg, which is a gorgeous blue, and the red binding is Kona Coral. The quilt backing is a random no-name flannel that was in my stash.

Star Surround

I didn’t take any particular good photos of the backing, but it’s not a great match for the front – it’s a slightly greener aqua than the Robin Egg, but I thought it worked well enough. Especially since it’s on the back. When I bought fabric for the backing, I accidentally bought enough for the length, but not for the width and so I had planned to piece the backing with… something that wouldn’t look terrible, but didn’t find anything that seemed like it would work. So I dug this aqua with white dots out of my (rather small) flannel stash.

Anyway, that’s that quilt done. Now I kind of want to make another one, but in fabrics I love, and large enough for my bed. But probably I should finish some things… Maybe quilt some of the tops I’ve got laying around. Especially now that I’ve lost my FMQ virginity ;D


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Weekend Goals

I had Sunday off again, just like last week (and what I wouldn’t give for a full weekend off – Saturday AND Sunday!), and so I had a list of goals again.

1. Cut out Star Surround Quilt top
2. Make another Churn Dash with the red fabric from Kiss Mary
3. Make a flag for Lac Megantic
4. Transfer final Doctor Who Stitch-a-long pattern

I mostly achieved all of that. Yay for productivity!

The mostly is this: the flag isn’t finished, and my in-progress photos were awash with a lot of yellow light, so I’ll write more about that when it’s finished. Also, the Churn Dash is done, but there are no photos. I just didn’t think to take one. Also, it is currently in two pieces, because I’ve decided to stagger the columns and if only 1 column in three will start with a full Churn Dash, there’s no point in having them all sewn together into complete blocks, since I’ll just have to rip a seam anyway. (I think I’m going to aim for a 6×7 layout, so I’ll have 4 columns with broken Churn Dashes, so my next couple that I put together will be left a little bit in pieces.) There’s no photo to show of the DWSAL because… it’s a secret (and I can’t pull the angled photo trick again – I haven’t started stitching it, so you wouldn’t be able to see anything – no thread to stand up off the fabric).

So that leaves me with the Star Surround to talk about. Do I often say that I’m not going to start anything new because I never finish anything? Yeah. Yeah, I do often say that. I’ve got a million unfinished projects to work on! My entire blog name is based on the fact that I never finish anything! Every year my biggest goal is to finish old things and to start nothing new. But then something always slips by and I find myself working on something I didn’t intend to work on. Something like Happy Quilting Melissa’s newest quilt-a-long, the Star Surround quilt.

Last week I entered one of my posts into Freshly Pieced‘s Work in Progress Wednesday link-up, and whenever I do that, I always check out all the blogs on the same row as my post as well as everyone on the line above and everyone on the line below. And I kept stumbling across people who were making plans for the Star Surround QAL. And oh my is it great looking or what – seriously, go click on that SSQAL button and just LOOK at the quilt in those green and blue fabrics. I half want to buy the kit to make that exact quilt because I love the freshness of it. But I wasn’t going to do it because I SO do not need any more projects. But then I’d find another blog talking about it. So I started looking around more closely and Melissa has created the quilt-a-long in a way where there are options for sizes ranging from a single 16″ x 16″ pillow to a 96″ x 96″ queen size quilt. All in various block sizes and block counts. And one of those sizes was a 48″ square baby quilt made with four blocks. And all the fabric you need for the top is 4 half yards plus a little over a yard of something for the background. Well, I have lots of solid fabrics, and I just happen to have decided not to use four half yards of fabric that I bought for that baby quilt I’m planning for my old friend.

Star Surround Quilt-a-long

So those fabrics that I didn’t like enough to put into a baby quilt for a friend are being repurposed for this quilt. I didn’t like them because they seemed dingy looking, up against the other fabrics I’d chosen, but somehow with that blue (which I think might be Kona cotton in Robin Egg) they seem a little more alive. Brighter. I don’t know how well they’re going to work out in something like this – directional prints and lots of half square triangles and flying geese? – but we’ll see, I guess. Worst case scenario, I hate it, and give it away. I think I can live with that. (Especially since I’ll probably give it away regardless!)

I TOTALLY want to do it in fabrics I’ll like, though. Like, bed-sized, using any of the gagillion fabric lines I’ve been saving for “the right project”. Of course, most of those are in fat quarter form, rather than the larger amounts those larger quilt sizes need, but maybe once I see how it’s all constructed I’ll be able to figure out if I can do one of those larger sized quilts using, say, 24 fat quarters rather than nine 2/3 yards. Not that I need another project…


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WIP Wednesday

I’m on vacation this week, so I feel like I’ve been spending all my time sewing. That isn’t quite true, but it’s true enough as far as that goes – I’ve sewn 15 quilt blocks and cut out somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300 strips of fabric to turn into baby quilts. (Twelve of those quilt blocks were made with strips from that pile.) It doesn’t seem like very much, spread over four days, but I’m not very good at sitting still and getting to work. Every day I try to go for a walk, and I’m trying to clean part of my bedroom each day as well, so I usually try to do those extra things in between bouts of sewing, whenever I start to get to restless.

Batiks

Anyway, I was mentioning the other day that I’m tired of all my batiks and so I sorted them all out of my stash into their own little pile so that I could do something with them to get rid of them. The general plan was to turn them into Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks and to make charity quilts out of them. After that little sorting expedition, I went on a much more arduous, harder on the back expedition and cut the entire pile into a nice, neat stack of 2.5 x 16-inch strips of fabric.

Batiks

I was able to break it down into six colour units of approximately the same number of strips: purple, orange, blue, yellow (which also has red, burgundy, and some other random bits and bobs), green, and brown. There are enough strips to make four baby quilts, plus I have enough uncut fabric left to add a border to each of them with hopefully plenty left-over to send along for binding. And then there are all the off-cuts. I have two fabric baskets stuffed full of my off-cuts, which… I don’t even know. I can think of nothing in particular I want to do with them, but maybe I’ll sort through and cut them into strips 5 inches long and then start making strips like a coin quilt. Or maybe I’ll find someone who wants a bag of mixed scraps (nothing longer than 16 inches unless it’s narrower than 2.5 inches). Who knows? I’ll be so sick of batiks by the time I’m done four small quilts with them, I probably won’t want to see them again, in any case.

Batik Trip Around the World

Still, there’s one mostly finished quilt. I’m still planning to put a border around it – probably a four inch border and it’ll be something blue based, since I’ve got mostly blue background pieces left over. (I also have a fair bit of a kind of beige one, but it doesn’t seem like it’d work for a border, so I don’t know what I’ll do with that yet.)

Anyway, to take a break from that, and to get some of my other responsibilities taken care of, I also made 3 blocks for exchanges. The first two are for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks exchange, both March birthdays. One was the dreaded Best of All block, which came together… fairly well, though my points are NOT exact.

Best of All block

The request, beyond being that very difficult block, was for batik fabrics, with medium and dark mauve where I have purple and a mauve floral for the centre. I think I really only managed to get the centre in the mauve range, but I couldn’t find any batiks that worked. I just really hope the recipient will like it. I have a feeling she’s going to get a whole range of colours beyond what she asked for, but sometimes a nice range comes together better than something really planned. I guess we’ll see.

Ship at Sea

This second block requested a ship at sea, with no other real directions (beyond, you know, sky coloured sky, water coloured water). I used a block from Modern Blocks compiled by Susanne Woods, which I actually also made last year for a different recipient. There are some things I like better about this year’s block – the water has a better contrast and although both are good water prints, I prefer the motion that this year’s block has – but it does look bare with plain white sails, and it really needs that flag blowing in the wind. I couldn’t find any fusible so I skipped over it, but I should have sent along the cut out flag (it’s in my garbage bin!) just in case the recipient had some and wanted to fuse it down herself.

Square in square

Anyway, the last block I made was for my Simply Solids group on Flickr, where the recipient mailed the pre-cut fabric and we just assembled it. (Precut but without direction of which colour to put where – we could have put the rings in any order because there was enough fabric for any of them to go around the outside.) I’ve had those fabrics sitting around waiting on me for nearly a month, so I’m glad to have it done. Somewhat frustrated to find that it was almost harder to put together than that Best of All block up above – I think I just don’t sew long straight lines very compentently because I do fine on weird triangles and corners, but this little 12 seam block gave me fits.

Anyway, I’ve also been working on pattern making, super secret pattern making, for Fandom in Stitches, and I’d really like to have this done by the end of the week, but I can’t figure out how to clean up my lines and make them LOOK like a pattern. I mean, it’s one thing to have scratchy pencil marks in patterns I use for myself, but you can’t exactly give that to other people, you know? And I don’t have any software on my computer any more for editing things like that.

All of this also represents HOURS of tv watching. I got through most of season 3 of Justified, two seasons of Slings and Arrows (short seasons: they only have 6 episodes each), and I’ve started in on season 1 of due South, which I never watched when it was originally on the air. (Well, actually I never watched any of this when it was originally on the air. I haven’t seen any of Season 4 of Justified, which I think hasn’t quite finished up yet. I’ll have to wait till its out on DVD and I can borrow it from the library.) I don’t tend to pay a huge amount of attention to the tv when I’m sewing, it’s more background noise, but I do watch parts of it at least, so I wonder how much more I could get done if I, I don’t know… listened to audio books instead.

Linking up to:

The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced


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Beauty is You wall-hanging (#1)

Last year for Christmas I gave my mom a quilt rack from Robinson’s Woodcrafts and a couple of mini-quilts to hang on it. The mini quilts were this Halloween(ish) themed quilt and (I never wrote a proper entry about it, having never gotten any decent photos) a Christmas wall-hanging, which my sister and I made together. The two options didn’t exactly cover a great deal of the year, so back at Christmas, I promised my Mom that I’d make her another quilt, a more generic one, so that she’d have something else to put on the rack the rest of the year. It was due to be done in time for my parents’ next visit out here, which finally rolled around this past weekend.

My Mom’s house is decorated in some slightly… difficult colours for matching things. In the upstairs/main floor, some of the walls are a sort of buttery off-white, but some are a kind of dark brick red, and some others are a mustardy yellow. In my experience, quilt fabrics do not come in the colours that my parents’ house comes in. I had pulled a few fabrics that I thought might match, so that I could get my Mom to pick some favourites for me to work on another mini quilt for her, but when we were up in my sewing room, looking through them, she found my collection (small though it is) of Cori Dantini fabrics and fell in love.

I can’t pretend to understand the whys and wherefores of fabric sales, but I’m always sort of shocked that Dantini’s line for Blend Fabrics, Beauty is You, wasn’t some massive runaway juggernaut of a line. It’s utterly gorgeous, but I’ve seen very few pieces made using the fabric. (You can still buy it from some Etsy sellers and in part at Lark Cottons. Hawthorne Threads will be selling Dantini’s next line, which drops in July.) I imagine there is a lot more of it out there in people’s stashes than I know about, but every time I see someone post a picture of it on Flickr, there is an inevitable Oh my God, what is that where did you get it how come I haven’t seen it before? response. Which actually was my exact reaction the first time I saw it.

As it turns out, Cori Dantini is an artist who has moved, in part, into fabric design. She also has an etsy shop, Corid, where you can buy prints of some of her artwork. Before I ever got any of her fabric, I bought a print of one of her pieces, which I think is called “From Here on out, It’s You and Me.” I had to do my photoshoot at midnight in my bedroom (my little sister was sleeping in my craft room), so I taped the wall-hanging up beside that picture. As you’ll see, Dantini has a very distinctive style…

Cori Dantini x 2

My photos were all a bit dreadful, I’m afraid. As I said, I photographed this around midnight, just after I finished stitching up the last of the binding. I knew my parents were coming up this weekend, but I’d been putting off making the wall-hanging because I was afraid I’d ruin the fabric and I only actually started it Tuesday last week. I was stitching on the binding when my parents and sister arrived on Friday, and then didn’t finish working on it until the night before they left. (Look for a video post tomorrow or Wednesday in which I’ll talk a bit about the wall-hanging.)

The panel that I used for the main part of the mini is the centre panel of three large pictures. My mom’s favourites were the two on either end, but I wanted to quilt them by stitching around the pictures and I was terrified of ruining the two favourite pictures, so I started with the one my mom was least interested by. If it didn’t turn out well, then at least the others would have still been waiting!

Beauty is You wall-hanging

I do think it turned out pretty well though. The quilting doesn’t show up in any of my photos, but I stitched around the outlines of most of the elements in the picture. It wasn’t perfect – some of the tighter curves came out a little bit more… angular than I’d have liked, but it went pretty well. I didn’t use a free motion foot or anything for quilting, just used a regular foot with the feed dogs up, which makes for slightly more difficult movement, but more even stitching than I’m capable of with free motion just yet. On the pieced border, I just quilted in the ditch through the triangles, travelling from top to bottom.

Beauty is You wall-hanging

The seed fabric in the pieced border (and making up most of the binding) is from the same line as the printed panel, but the script print is Michael Miller’s Old Script. And that bit of red in the binding is something random from my scrap bins.

Every time I look at this, I just think the artwork is so exquisite. I’m really pleased with how it all came together and my mom seemed pretty happy too. Eventually I’d like to turn the other two panels into wall-hangings as well, so that I can give my mom the one she REALLY wanted, but for the time being, I think this one works perfectly. And the colour will probably suit her house a little better anyway!

This project is 16″ wide, but I’m not sure how long, perhaps 22″? It was finished on March 2, 2013, late enough in the day that it was almost March 3. I think this is my third finish for the year, which feels kind of good considering how slowly I usually finish anything.


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Work in Progress: The Mendocino Baby Quilt

Do please ignore the multitude of creases that need to be pressed out of this top. And the piles of crafting crap surrounding it. Just squint your eyes a little, maybe unfocus a bit, and pretend nothing is there but that swathe of purple surrounding some gold and pink mermaids and seahorses.

Mendocino Posh Tot quilt top

Rumour has it that I’m working on finishing this project in February. Rumour might be wrong. Or exaggerated, possibly. Just a little bit. If I had, say, pressed the top, I might consider that evidence that work is being done, progress is being made, but no. I didn’t do that. I did drape it over something in hopes that the wrinkles might sort of drift out a little bit, but if I really want that, I should go hang it in my bathroom. I’m not really a super-hot shower kind of person, though, so it probably wouldn’t help much – not enough steam.

Today, I went looking for the quilt pattern – this is Posh Tot by Blue Underground Studios – so that I could see what size quilt backing it thought I should have, but no dice. Somehow in the last two years, that pattern has gone missing. So I had to do the much more difficult work of actually measuring the top and, you know, figuring out for myself how much fabric I’d need for the back. I also drew out a sample quilt back, and figured out approximate sizes for everything.

Planning

Like my four-limbed octopus?

I also dug around in the bin of fabric with my solids (if you look in the top photo, there is a stack of three plastic bins on the lower right hand side of the photo, kinda sorta just barely visible in that heap of crap you’re squinting your eyes to avoid seeing, one of those three is over-filled with solids) and found my Kona Mulberry yardage, which is the primary fabric in the quilt top, and also the Kona Daffodil, which is the yellow in the centre of the block squares. And then I hauled out my stack of Mendocino fabric, so that I could have a long and difficult debate with myself about the likelihood of my cutting into my last remaining fat quarter of the pink Swimming Sisters for piecing something interesting into the back.

A quilt back?

But that heap of Mendocino fabrics (top left – it contains one fat quarter of every print in the line EXCEPT the giant octopus with the gold background, plus assorted yardage and smaller pieces of several prints) also has a collection of smaller scrappy bits, and I found that scrap with the octopus on it. That print isn’t on the front of the quilt, but it fits right in. AND it saved me from having to decide whether or not to chop into my swimming sisters fabric.

I should really get working on this today – pressing EVERYTHING, because my god! the wrinkles. But somehow every time I think about it, my brain drifts away to other things. Wondering if someone on Flickr will bite, as regards this fabric I’d like to trade away:

Monaluna's Circa 60

Wondering what the heck I did with the last package of fabric that arrived. (Two yards of texty goodness – one in an old-timey script, the other like a hand-writing workbook I might have filled out in first grade, before I figured out that half-printing, half-cursive was a much faster way of writing. And also some Yuwa text fabrics, more of the olive Je Vous En Prie fabric, and a couple rose prints with a newsprint underly. I’d show a photo, but I don’t remember what I did with it!) Debating whether or not to bake a potato and make some roasted vegetable sauce to put on top of it – it’s after 11, I should really decide now if that’s the route I’m going. Or maybe just Havarti cheese on toast, because I broke down and bought some cheese the other day.

I don’t know. I have a pathological aversion to crafting when I try to give myself a deadline, anyway. I enjoy crafting, but finishing things? Ugh. I think I need to get rich quick so that I can hire an assistant to finish everything I start, once I get bored of the project. Can you imagine, just starting everything you ever wanted to start, but not having to worry about the tedious detail of finishing 100 bitty little blocks or putting together rows of finished blocks?


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February Goals

Do you think it’ll be easier to accomplish my goals if I talk about them more often instead of just thinking them, and then promptly ignoring them? I guess we’ll see… I had a goal in late January to take on a challenge I’d stumbled over on someone’s blog to spend 20 minutes a day, for the month of February, crafting. And I thought, hey, what a great idea. I can find 20 minutes on any given day – just leave the dish-washing till tomorrow or put off my laundry by one more day or spend less time contemplating how to pluck my eyebrows into just the exact shape I want them, or… you know, whatever. So the very first day, February first, I had worked a night shift and I was tired and I knew I didn’t want to set up my sewing table (which is still in the quilting configuration, rather than the sewing a quilt configuration), so I got out an embroidery project I’ve been working at off and on for months. I think I spent an hour and a half stitching before crapping out and going to bed, but I was pretty self-impressed because hey, I’d done more than twenty minutes!

But then the next day rolled around and I’d worked another night shift and I was even more tired and I thought about it, getting out the stitching again or going to make a different sort of mess of my sewing room so that I could sew again, but instead I justified skipping the day – I’d spent 90 minutes stitching the day before, so really that was kind of like 4 days worth of 20 minutes. But then I skipped another day and another day and somehow now it’s been five days and I haven’t done any crafting. Ooops. So much for that goal.

Well, it was just a thought anyway, a nice thought, but just a thought. Here’s a real goal:

In February, I will baste, quilt, and bind the purple quilt in the following photo.

Posh Tot quilts

Two years ago my co-worker found out his wife was unexpectedly pregnant, and before they found out if they were having a boy or a girl, I thought I’d just make one quilt for each eventuality and then finish the one that was needed. As you can guess, they had a boy, so that blue quilt has been done for a while now (you can read about it here), but the purple quilt top has languished. Nobody I know has had a baby girl in the last two years, so I haven’t really had a reason to pull it out from the closet and sew it.

Anyway, now is the time, so I pulled it out of the closet on Tuesday and tried to shake out the wrinkles (it’s going to take a good bit of pressing…) so that I can get it finished up. I need to find the quilt backing: I’m pretty sure I’d bought fabric for the back at the same time, or at least I hope so since I’m not sure that colour is available any more. Oh, then again, I’m totally wrong: MadAboutPatchwork does have Mulberry in stock. And now that I think of it, I think it’s the purple in my OTHER Mendocino quilt that’s not being made any more. And then I need to decide how to quilt it – I’m leaning towards figuring out how to do something wave like or water-motiony. I’ll probably default of straight line quilting because I’m lazy and that’s easy but hopefully I’ll be able to figure out how to do something more organic and pretty than that. I think I need to find binding for it too – I think a bright pink would be assume, but maybe I’ll just go with more Mulberry or pull in that Daffodil yellow again, since there is so little of it in the quilt.

My other goal for February is to finish up my ABC Sampler.

Daisychain ABC Sampler in progress

There isn’t much to see in this photo, but my camera is downstairs so I can’t take a more up-to-date one. Anyway, I want to get this sampler done so that I can move on to my next embroidery project without getting all stressy about having WIPs in two different crafts. (I have enough quilting ones I definitely don’t need embroidery ones as well!) I think I only have 3 or 4 letters left to go and then it’ll be finished – just blocking and framing.

Anyway, linking up to:
A Lovely Year of Finishes
A Year of Lovely Finishes


The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced