Sunday, April 3, 2011 in crafty things

Quilts on the go

I cut out a whole pile of new quilts recently, so I’d better list the ones in progress.

Jitterbug – 30’s prints from jelly roll book. Currently away as I’m taking a break
Christmas Cross – Ron & I picked it out. Blocks almost done.
Green/pink/brown/blue – jelly roll I finally figured out what to do with. kinda Trip Around the world. Maybe 1/4 done, if that. Lots of tiny squares.
Blue & Yellow bento box – all blocks done. need to lay out & put together.
yellow/pink/orange – yes, this one is really bright. crazy eights pattern, which works up really fast.
green/brown/red – Picture this, large blocks and I cut out enough for a queen sized bed because I am insane and it used up a lot of fabric. still have a lot left tho.

edit: forgot the red/black/brown one – this was a brick pattern, but I pieced the big rectangles in a long strip to cut it up smaller, and like the big pieces too much. the fabric is pretty, so it will be 3 or 4 rows of HUGE rectangles instead of 24 rows of tiny ones.

This doesn’t count all the finished tops waiting for quilting. I need batting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011 in crafty things

Paddington quilt

I am excited!

Friday afternoon, I went to Sew With Jo, and I *only* took 3 small quilts to quilt. Nothing to piece. Thereby forcing myself to get over the fear of quilting part. My plan was to use my walking foot on all the straight quilting I had to do across all three quilts, then use the other foot to do free motion.

Quilting in progress

I got all the straight quilting done on the blue Christmas wall hanging that Mom made me, and I got almost every line done on the Yellow, White & Red Paddington baby quilt. I even bought a new blue marking pen while there.
I marked on my quilt.

Then I ran out of bobbin thread. Did I bring extra? No. I can’t wind bobbins on the machine I had (long story) and Jo’s machine would not wind my bobbin. the store had no pre-wound bobbins. So I had to tell Ron to come get me. I had two and a half lines left until the quilt was DONE. Pooh.

I did finish it after I got home, and wound up starting supper a half hour late, even tho I left early.

This quilt is one in which I celebrate the mistakes. 🙂 While I was trimming the batting, I accidentally cut part of the backing level with the edge. My plan had been to fold the backing over to the front. So along that one side, I had to add a piece. there was also one block with a tiny chunk out of it that I had meant to put along the edge. It wound up almost in the middle of the quilt and of course I noticed it while quilting it.

fixed

I just sewed extra stitching around it.

labelled

I also had a couple places where the binding didn’t quite catch and had to re-sew sections. If you look close, no doubt you can see these spots. I celebrated by stitching around my label, all the way through, so you can see a rectangle of stitches on the front.

front side

I used all cotton batting in it, which shrinks enough to make the quilt crinkle after your wash it, so I tossed it in a regular load and threw it in the dryer. Some loose bits showed up after that, and I just stitched them flat.

Paddington quilt

This quilt? This is one for a new baby boy. I expect it to get loved and used, so hopefully with the imperfections celebrated, the boy and his parents will happily drag it around the house, build couch forts, use as a cape, cuddle it, throw up on it, and generally love it.

Because it’s a quilt made with love. 🙂 And I am heartily in love with the batting and how it affects the finished quilt.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 in crafty things

Red & yellow progress

The red and yellow disappearing nine patch quilt I am making is finally coming together.

Coming together

In total, it has seventeen different rows, seventeen different prints, gradated from a deep red to yellow. Some of the challenges with this particular design were ones of my own making. I had an idea in my head to start, so I know what I wanted the finished quilt to look like. Usually, I work backwards to that – knowing the pattern and picking particular fabrics usually winds up a surprise in what the actual top will look like. (Well, somewhat, but you know what I mean.)

In this case, I wanted certain colors in defined places. With the disappearing nine patch pattern, one usually makes a large nine-patch block (3 blocks by 3 blocks) and makes a cut horizontally & vertically through the middle blocks. Since I wanted particular placement of colors, I cut each one to start and worked row by row according to my diagram.

Tho at times I didn’t look at it. 😀 First small issue: in my zeal to finish, I had sewn every print block to a white rectangle in pairs, except the 3″ block rows have a block at each end, and the large block rows have a white rectangle at each end. So the other night, I had to unpick a white rectangle off the end of the smaller block rows and sew it on to the bigger ones.

If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see a ripple on the larger row with the red & white gingham. I hate that fabric. It has a higher polyester count, I am sure, and it slippery and prone to ravel. Because of that, my seams are off in this row and it is about a half inch longer than it should be. I’m being extra careful to match seams when I sew rows together, so this will take some easing when I sew it to the next row. The spray starch helps, but it can’t fix everything.

In the pic above, most of the rows have been paired. There are six more rows on my work table waiting to be assembled this weekend.

Ron also pointed out one row where I used a directional print, and half of the blocks go one way with the rest of them going another way. Small tiny issue, yes. This one doesn’t bug me. (much.) Otherwise, that’s it. There’s no complicated sewing, just straight seams. The small blocks are 3″, the large ones 6″ and the rectangles 3×6″. Cutting was extremely easy as those are the widths of my rulers.

The takeaway lesson here I realized last night when seeing how it all came together and where some fabrics were placed. There were some fabrics I had limited amounts of, and because of this, placed them in smaller rows instead of a larger one – a row which would have made a better transition of color to the next row. So: when planning a quilt with prints in particular places, don’t constrain yourself with fabric amounts. Get more. 😀 Substitute if you have to.

Also see when I cut it out and
when I planned the quilt. I took a while with it because I really had to think about the fabrics and the placement. Just restating that more fabric in some prints would have helped. For the curious, a fat quarter was more than enough. I just has scraps of some and tried to squeeze out what I could.

This is a quilt I would actually make again, and I am strongly considering writing up a pattern for it. It would mostly deal with how to pick the colors and where to put them, because the sewing bit is the easy part. I’m thinking next time, go from a deep blue at one end, to a green at the other. Ooooooooo…

Sunday, January 30, 2011 in crafty things

In just a few minutes

People keep asking me how I get all this sewing done. Even the other quilting ladies.

Actually, this is my only hobby right now. I haven’t even really taken very many (non-quilt) pictures. I don’t go on photo hunts, I cleaned out a lot of my scrap booking stuff and I barely watch tv. If I do, it’s usually online.

Yeah, I gave up housework, too. 😉 A looong time ago… ANYWAY!

My home office is at one end of my house and the ktichen is at the other end. Far enough away that I cannot hear the timer on the stove. even from the old office, I couldn’t hear it. Ron sometimes could, but I could not.

So, after a few burning dinners or running up & down staircases multiple times in five minute increments, I decided to just stay downstairs for however long it took me to reheat or cook whatever we had.

My sewing machine is set up in a room downstairs in the middle of the house. Just a few steps through a small hallway and I’m back in the kitchen, actually. The sewing machine is always plugged in and I can leave my work in a second. There’s always something to work on, and I just grab whatever is on top of the pile.

I sew and sew, with a lot of chain piecing. that’s just pushing in one seam after another without cutting threads between them. I sew whatever seams I need to as long as they do not cross. I use all white thread. If i do need to use another color, I will plan multiple projects of just those colors.

Sometimes I will spend my time cutting instead. That’s how I wind up with ten quilts cut out though.

Sometimes I will iron instead. I don’t have a dedicated ironing station, so I’ve been using the kitchen counter for smaller ironing. For larger pieces, I either do it down at the quilt shop where she has custom boards, or I use the dining room table. I’ll do a couple of items at once then.

Right now I am still sewing that red & yellow quilt. I’m piecing each row together in stages, usually chain piecing two rows at a time, cutting sewn section apart from each other as they come out the back, and lining them up for the next seam to go through the front. I think there’s a piece halfway through the machine if I go look now.

I usually start supper, get to a spot where I don’t have to stir anything, set the timer & go sew. Maybe it’s five mintues, maybe it’s ten. Sometimes it’s two. I do two meals a day, and sometimes if I am really tired of sitting in font of the computer, I will go downstairs and sew for a bit instead. Half a hour maybe. Or iron as I puzzle something out and figure out how to phrase a support questions without sounding condescending or frustrated.

One tough Monday, everyone had communication issues, so I went and sewed every time I wanted to scream at the computer. I got a lot of sewing done that day. Since I work on multiple projects at the same time, there’s often only a few steps needed for each one to reach completion, so it looks like I finished a whole bunch of things at once. A lot of the recent quilts I’ve finished, I actually cut the pieces out two or more years ago. I just told myself I needed to finish the tops before I cut out any more, and that’s been my motivation.

Of course, now I have a large pile of quilt tops to quilt, instead of a large pile of cut blocks to sew, but that’s a different problem. Right?

(Hrm, it would probably help the readers at home if I linked to the different entries in the archives for each quilt. Ooops.)

At any rate, my point is just something like ten mintues twice a day at the machine adds up by the end of the week. It’s all straight sewing, nothing fancy.

Monday, January 17, 2011 in crafty things

Another one down

I finished this quilt top.

new wave quilt top

Calling it Blue Wave and Emma called dibbs on it. For her “new” room (Sarah’s old room) she wants to paint the walls blue. It’ll be a while until we get to it though. We have to do Meaghan’s room first. 😉 I’ll piece the back from some of the scraps (not much) and use a LOT of what. No idea on the binding or the quilting. I would *love* to do an allover stippling or waves, but my skill level is not there.

I also finished this top last Friday, but didn’t get a recent pic.

sunshine & shadow

All that needed to be done was sew two borders on the side. The blocks had all been sewn together, and the first two borders were on. They are also black. I will back this with black fabric and quilt it with black thread. No idea on the pattern yet though.

Friday, November 26, 2010 in crafty things

I sewed with Jo

Our local quilt store, Christmas Crab Quiltery, has a free sewing afternoon pretty much every other Friday. they have a wonderful large shop with a second room all laid out perfect for classes. It’s HUGE! It is also heavenly to sew in.

it had been snowing all morning, and while it was not stormy (at least by Maritimer standards), it was steady so I got Ron to drive me in. I was the only gal who showed up, which was fine, because that meant I got the BEST table all to myself. I also brought in a few quilts tops that were all finished so I could show them off. Jo & Shelly have a slightly different style than I do, and many of the fabrics in the shop reflect that style – deeper, darker colors, lots of beige, brown, rust navy – great colors, but not always me. 😉 I prefer brighter colors and modern contemporary patterns. even the pattern I bought there I did different than their sample. That’s the awesome part about quilting.

Shelly has a blog here, go read it. She noticed I use a lot of cherry fabric when I can find it, so I joked that she’ll probably call me as soon as they get any fabric in with cherries.

I got a LOT of work done. The central table was large enough for me to spread out the way I like and work best. The iron was all set up, hot and waiting. Company was awesome, and there was even hot chocolate. What more can a gal ask for? I did not even get upset when I discovered I had sewn some quilt blocks in the wrong order and will have to take out three seams. It was no biggie because everything else went that much smoother. Probably not a good idea of me to wear my polar fleece sweater though. I have thread snippets stuck all over me.

No, I did not take pictures, or bring my netbook to check on tweets, or even tweet from my phone. It was a good three and a half hours away from technology, just talking and sharing and sewing, and even quiet times. At one point, I broke the silence by saying, “Wow, I have sewed for more than ten minutes and nobody has interrupted me. Not once.”

I am going to make this a regular habit, as I can see how very useful it will be when I finally get around to quilting some of these tops. At least it will be sooner than it is possible for me to get a new craft room. Kinda like having my cake and eating it too, even if it’s at someone else’s place.

Added bonus: when I run out of things, I am RIGHT THERE in the shop! 😀

My back hurts from being hunched over my machine, and I am really tired & sleepy (plus wound up from the chocolate) but my creative soul is happy. I have half a chapter left to edit, and a pile of screenshots to sort out, but after a good night’s sleep I’ll be refreshed. At least I hope so.

Worked on:
– quilt back for Dandelion Girl Chinese Coins, prepped binding, discussed quilting ideas
– trimmed back for rainbow quilt, cut binding
– 4 or 5 rows for red & yellow Disappearing 9 patch quilt
– 3 half rows for purple & blue New Wave quilt (minus mistakes, ran out of white fabric strips)
This one takes longer to sew, because of the angles, so I spent about half my time on it.